Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Fully Vespered


Sugarpop went to Millikin University in Decatur. She was involved in their choir and in her four years there participated in their long running annual tradition of Holiday Vespers.

On Saturday she took me to the 50th Anniversary of Millikin's Holiday Vespers. To say I was a not looking forward to it was an understatement. This weekend was a busy one with the Oh having three birthday parties to go to, the Santa Train at Monticello, Church, and then Sugarpop and I were to go to
Ain't Misbehavin at Assembly Hall.

It was just too busy a weekend for me so to kick it off with a trip to Decatur, leaving Dewdrop with a new babysitter, just didn't light my fire.

Of course I moaned about going for two weeks, but when the sitter was settled and we were on the road to Soybean Capital of the World I knew I'd enjoy some alone time with Sugarpop.

We arrived in time for the reception and enjoyed the deli tray as well as the cookie tray. Sugarpop ran into several fellow alumni who graduated with her so she had fun catching up with them.

Soon we were off to vespers held at the Kirkland Fine Arts Center on the Millikin campus. Our seats were decent, about midway up and towards the middle. Soon the lights dimmed and the "show" began.

Long story short, Sugarpop wondered if I would be bored with the whole thing when in fact I was enthralled. The staging was magnificent and choir members appeared and disappeared throughout the theater. Up in the balcony, in the aisles, on stage. It was truly a beautiful site and a beautiful evening with my wife. It was an unexpected delight and one I shall want to continue as a holiday tradition.

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's A Beautiful Day


The last few days the Happy Elf has greeted me each morning by saying, "Daddy! Daddy! It's a beautiful day!"

None more true than Sunday when we awoke to a snow covered C-U. I immediately went into "storm warning" mode and was planning out how I was going to shovel the drive and walks, should I use salt?, and I needed to get over to my parents to shovel their drive.

Kudos to Sugarpop, who, with 90 minutes until she and the kids needed to be off to church, had the boys winterized and outside with me. Instead of shoveling the drive Happy Elf, the Oh, and I used our new snow shovels to shovel "roads" in the yard. We built snowmen, tromped around, and knocked snow off the branches of trees.

Did the driveway get shoveled? Eventually, but our time spent in the first snow of the season, true to Happy Elf's statement, made it a beautiful day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

1-Word Wednesday


Change
(You can sleep through)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Concert in Central Poop

As a parents of young children: the Oh (4.7), Happy Elf (2.5), and DewDrop (3 months), Sugarpop and I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking, talking, and worrying about the evacuation factories of our kids.

A typical conversation when picking up the kids from the in-laws goes something like this:

Grandma: The Oh pooped when he got home from school. And Happy Elf had a big one this morning. 

Me: What about Dewdrop?

Grandma: Nothing yet today, just a few wet diapers.

[Later]

Sugarpop on cellphone to me: Hey, I should be home around 4:30. Did the Oh poop today?

Me: Yep and Happy Elf did too. But nothing from Dewdrop yet, but I figure after I giver her a bottle she'll blow.


The Oh, after starting him on toilet-training at 2.5, was resistant to going regularly out of both ports until this summer. The #1ing came early this summer and he's had very few accidents since. The #2ing happened later in the summer over just a few days. This is after trying everything and nothing worked. Rewards, games, cajoling, scolding, being strict, laying back, watching movies on the laptop while sitting on the throne, even resulting to suppositories up his backside and mineral oil in his apple sauce (yes we were that desperate).

We just thought at 4+ he should be doing this and it seemed like he was never going to get it and then just like that [snap] he started going. No big deal. So the advice is true; they do figure it out eventually.

The Happy Elf at 2.5 is just starting toilet school. Of course now he has an older brother who models the correct behavior. He'll probably get it a bit sooner than the Oh just because he's more laid back about things.

Which brings me to Dewdrop. Today, with Sugarpop off writing her "Special Fields Exam" for her dissertation, I was home with kids for about four hours. The Oh and Happy Elf played nicely for an hour and Dewdrop and I watched the first quarter of the Bears/Vikings game. 

It always startles me when baby's explode in their diapers. Nothing to gusher in a second flat. We had recently gone up a size in diapers for Dewdrop, but I had just diapered her with one of the old smaller size ones trying to use them up. Feeling The Surge I knew she had probably had a blowout. The stain on my white t-shirt confirmed this immediately.

Stripping off her church clothes I started wiping, sitting her up to see how widespread it was, I saw that she had not only breached her diaper up her back, but the poop ran all the way up to the back of her head! Bath time! Setting her in the infant tub I began a complete wash, rinse, and repeat cycle. She didn't like it and was letting me know. She has this very effective knack of crying and looking you right in the eyes, "Why are you doing this to me?" she seems to be saying.

The racket we were causing upstairs attracted the boys from downstairs. Deep into the task of washing poop off of my daughter's entire body I was oblivious to what the boys were doing until I realized they were right behind me as I was bent over the tub. The Oh tooting a cheap, county fair plastic horn as loud as he could and Happy Elf banging on the cymbals keeping to his own beat.

I laughed and loved in that moment that with kids you never know when a concert might break out and what situation you may find yourself in.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Sunday Prayer (Apologies in Advance to Vegetarians)

Sugarpop took the Oh, Happy Elf, and Dewdrop to church as she does every Sunday. I stay home and clean house as it is the only time of the week that one of us has time alone in the house.

The Oh, and this year the Happy Elf, attend Sunday School. All youth gather for songs and prayers before breaking off into their classes. The Sunday School leader asked if anyone had any prayers they wanted to say. The Oh raised his hand and stepped forward. 

Closing his eyes tight and grasping his hands he offered forth this prayer:

"Dear God,

Thank you for all the animals.

And please send some more animals for us to eat.

Amen"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pet Smart II, Sneaky Cat

Sometimes I get freaked out at night when I'm on the computer or watching TV and one of the boys will suddenly appear in the doorway--awakened by something.

I think cats are cute, fun, great companions and all, but sneaky. So with that in mind watch the following video and see why a pet cat is not on our list:

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cry, Baby

Dewdrop turned two months old not too long ago. She's rather fussy, much like the Oh at this age.


We would have been lost trying to soothe them without a nurse at the hospital telling us about a book "The Happiest Baby on the Block" by Dr. Harvey Karp. It saved the Oh and Dewdrop days of crying.


Basically the book suggests that some infants need a fourth trimester. He details the Five Ss: 1) swaddling, 2) side/stomach position, 3) shhh sounds, 4) swinging and 5) sucking--that recreates conditions in the womb. We weren't true believers until we saw the DVD and then actually tried it on the Oh. Most of the "techniques" are things you naturally do to soothe fussy babies: pacifiers, shooshing, swaying, etc.


Most days in those first three months the Oh required all five Ss. Dewdrop is a little better in that we can "turn off" her crying with three or four of the Ss. We don't recall the Happy Elf requiring much soothing, but that's his personality, low key and for the most part mellow.


We're convinced that the Oh and Dewdrop would have cried unceasingly for hours a day. Thanks to Dr. Karp it's only minutes a day and Dewdrop is turning into a decent sleeper too.


The best part is that I can actually be a big help with soothing of the newborns. Sugarpop can always offer a breast, but dads are stuck with what we learn from books and figure out on our own.


I pick up Drewdrop from her grandparents' house after three o'clock near everyday. I get to hold her and talk to her until Sugarpop arrives home. There are usually fussy times when we're at home, but for the most part I know how to calm her.


Today as we were driving home from the grandparents, Dewdrop was crying to beat the band. We got into the house and I took her out of her carseat. She calmed fairly quickly and opened her eyes. I could see that she was stressed and the beginnings of what will be tears were on her eyes.


She'll soon be able to generate real tears, tears that will well up, squirt out her eyes, soak her lashes, and splash down her cheeks. 


Dewdrop will shed many tears in her life--my wish is that they mostly be joyous ones. I hope as she grows that I can calm those sad tears as easily as I calmed her today. 

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Love the Night Life

Inspired by a night of little sleep by Sugarpop. It's not a typical night, but every once in a while we experience this. 


I Love the Night Life
by The Everyday Dad

I love nightime when it's time for kids to sleep
More likely it's the parents that fall asleep deep

First kids are up and then they lie down
If they are up too long momma's face starts to frown

But once they're asleep they'll sleep all night
They've been doing this for years . . . right?

First it's the Oh, then the Elf, then the Oh again
It goes on all night and momma can't win

Stories are read, water quenches their thirst
But then Dewdrop wakes up and she's wanting to nurse

Then finally, at last, all the kids are asleep
But then Daddy is up, down the stairs he does creep

He's off to work early leaving behind his love mate
Maybe tomorrow's the day they'll sleep late!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pet Smart

The Oh has been talking about getting a pet. So far we are a pet-free family. In moments of insanity Sugarpop thinks getting a puppy would be fun. That'd be nice. Of course I'd have to change my blog from The Everyday Dad to Insane in the Membrane: My Padded Room or They Won't Let Me Have Shoelaces. Still debating which one I like better.

As a negotiating ploy The Oh then talks about getting a kitten. Nice try kid, but mom and I are semi-allergic and we're already changing the diapers of 2.2 bottoms each day (The Oh is still working on that aspect of toilet training, but I'll get into that in another post.) and the thought of scooping poop from a litter box in addition to diapers has little appeal.

So to understand where The Oh was operating from I asked him to name the pets he would like to have. He said, dog, cat, and guinea pig. When I reminded him that mom was allergic to cats he said, we could just get a new mom. When I also said I was allergic too he said, "Well . . . you can just stay in the backyard and mow the grass."

Look for my blog in crop-circle form in the near future.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

One of those "Circle of Life" Kind of Posts

Sugarpop and I met nine years ago. We have been married for over six years. We have lived in our house for those six years. Our eldest child, the Oh, is four and a half. Our middle, the Happy Elf, is two and four months, and our little girl Daisy (aka Dew Drop) is five weeks old. 


Her short time in our lives has gone by so fast and we are cognisant of how quickly the years will go by. 


Monday last I was home in the afternoon with the boys when there was a knock on the door. A woman of about 60 was at the door with a double-paper bag full of baby food in jars. She said she was a neighbor from around the corner and had heard we had a new member of our family. She handed me the bag and said there was a note inside. I thanked her and she left.


I set the bag by the door and went back to playing with the kids. It was only later that I read the note. This is what it said.


Hello. I'm sorry, but I don't remember your name. We've spoken to each other on rare occasions. I'm sure you'd recognize me if you saw me--very short white hair. I would walk my dad around the block when he was still with us. We'd bring his beagle with us. She passed before last Christmas.


Pop joined her a few weeks ago. Because of pop's difficulty swallowing, we sometimes fed him baby food.


I noticed you have a new addition to your household. Congratulations!  Maybe you could use this? 


As we were welcoming Dew Drop into our lives, she was saying goodbye to her father from her life. So I savor this day, this moment, and I am thankful.


Saturday, August 2, 2008

What a Month!

Today our daughter turns one month old. It also marks a month since my last post. Yikes! But my work gave me two weeks of family leave and it's taken the month to settle into the pace of three kids.


Her name is Daisy. Sugarpop wanted a flower name and we came to the name Daisy and it just made us smile. And Sugarpop's favorite flower is the Gerber Daisy. Grace is her middle name and it's a spiritual concept very meaningful to Sugarpop.


But let me tell you, from this side of the fence, three is pretty fun. The boys, the Oh and Happy Elf, are loving there sister, smothering her with kisses and always wanting to hold her. We've become more of a family because of our little girl. And not just because as parents we are managing a trio instead of a duo. We feel fuller, knowing that the brothers have a sister, the sister has brothers, and we are blessed with sons and a daughter. It's just enough of happy controlled chaos that we can manage and continue to laugh. Even when Daisy releases her ballistic cry, the corn dogs in the oven are burning, and the Oh has just dropped a duce in his Batman skivvies, what can you do but laugh.


Sugarpop has been a champ. Radically sleep-deprived and left with the kids from 6 a.m.until I come home from work around 3:30. Her hormones pendulating on their destination to normalcy, while breastfeeding, pumping her milk for a surplus supply, and writing chapter 2 of her dissertation--she manages her upbeat disposition.


To paraphrase a song by Bowling for Soup: life with three kids "is not so bad at all!"

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

It's A Girl!

July 2, 2008

Posting from the hospital . . . Sugarpop's water broke at 3:15 am. Left for the hospital at 4:00. Route to hospital was blocked by train in the railroad crossing, but we rerouted and got to the hospital by 4:15 (my top speed through city streets approached 60 mph).

Name: Daisy (Meaning: Day's Eye)
Delivery . . . 5:12 am
Weight: 7 lbs 10 oz
Length: 20"
Sugarpop: Doing great "ready" to go home, but have to stay 48 hours.
Everydaydad: "Over the moon with joy!"

Pictures to follow when I can get them downloaded!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Backflip Mamma

Saturday had Sugarpop, Oh*, Happy Elf, and I traveling to visit my brother and his family in Bloomington/Normal. The occasion was June birthdays of which I am a celebratee, along with two nieces.


We arrived around one and it was decided that the kids and all available parents, aunts, and uncles would attend. Sugarpop came along with her fancy maternity swim suit even though I knew her swollen feet and aching uterus longed to stay behind. But with Happy Elf and Oh (both 2 and 4 respectively and the youngest of the swim group) we needed all the supervising we could get.


I don't know what the pool was called that we went to, but it has a submarine in the children's pool so we've always called it the Submarine Pool. There is one thing one must know about the children's pool---the water is freezing! Not just a refreshing temperature on a hot summer's day. I'm talking Looney Tunes freezing where if you just stuck a toe in your whole body would turn to ice, tip over, and shatter into thousands of tiny icicles.


The boys braved it as only kids know how . . . they're having too much fun to be bothered with the temperature of the water. Me? I was Daddy-Sissy-Swimsuit. Whenever the wind blew water from the water spouting periscope I flinched and ran away trying to find a mist free zone.


Thankfully the other pools were much warmer and we spent the better part of our time there frolicking in the 3' 6" to 5' 6" depth pool. The Oh and Happy Elf were having fun. They love to jump in off of the side and there was always a willing cousin there, with us watching over them, to catch them and turn them back to swim to the side.


A couple of the cousins, including the Oh, wanted to go off the diving board. The diving well is right next to the pool we were in so we were able to watch them go off the board from where we were at. 


Waiting in line were two sisters probably about 3 and 5 years old. They had matching suits and matching flotation vests. They'd each walk to the end of the board and then plop into the water; then kick back to the ladder to do it all over again. Watching them was their mother fitting nicely into her white bikini. Se stood and watched like a nervous mother wondering if she was letting her kids out of the safety zone that we parents construct  around our kids.


The Oh and cousins jumped off the board a few times and then rejoined us in the pool. Shortly after we noticed that bikini mom was on the board. We watched and wondered what she was going to do. She kind of cautiously approached the edge of the board and we thought, "Isn't that cute, she's going to jump in like her kids." Then she suddenly turned around and balanced on the edge of the board with her toes and proceeded to due a very decent back-flip. She rung her hair out while waiting in line and when it was her turn she did another back flip.


We were all impressed and it was fun to watch a mom who still thinks and shows to others that she is "all that". 


So here's to you "Backflip-Bikini-Mom". When others are so self conscious of their bodies that they keep their chin and below beneath the waterline of the pool you confidently "strut your stuff" and show that even after pregnancies and mini-vans you've still got it!


*************************************


* Changing the O's blog name to the Oh, because that's the expression he's been using lately. 


O: "Do I have school today?"


Parent: "No O you're on a summer break."


O:  "Oohhh."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Waiting is the Hardest Part


Four o'clock today and I drop Sugarpop off at the circle drive of the clinic of the baby doctor. We were right on time, but I had to go park the car and then trek back to the clinic. Construction around the clinic has reshaped and relocated the entrance several times in the past 9 months and we are forced to the clinic down a chain link fence corridor. I took the stairs two at a time to the fourth floor. I always think I'm in better shape than I am (and I'm not). Those last few stairs always do be in!

I'm hustling because for most of the visits we've been called back right on time and I didn't want to face a Sugarpop-less waiting room and then try to find her amidst the rooms of crinkly papered exam tables and paired knees pointing to the ceiling tiles.

But I enter the waiting room to find her sitting in a chair. The room is crowded with every gal seemingly near full-term. Only two doctors are running late; but HUZZAH! ours isn't on the list. I take a seat next to Sugarpop and we start discussing middle names (I'll post on that later). Every time the door opens we expect to hear us called, but after eight callouts we are still sitting. It's nearing 5 o'clock and our name is finally called. It's a new nurse and she does the usually routine (blood pressure, urine test, baby's heartbeat--a nice calorie burning 142 bpm) and leaves. Normally we may have a 15 minute wait until the doctor comes in, but 30 minutes pass and nobody. I step out into the hall and find Sugarpop's P.A. She comes into the room to chat for a minute, but it's now after five and she's heading home. 

We hear muted "Have a good night." "See you tomorrow." "I'm so glad tomorrow's Friday!" through our door and I poke my head out again and ask a nurse if we've been forgotten. "Oh, no we won't leave you overnight, we're just really stacked up right now." 

I return to the exam room and Sugarpop has depantsed and is wrapped in a sheet on her bottom half. We are now one hour and forty-five minutes into our visit. We're not upset. The wife is a little uncomfortable on the exam table and we ponder whether it's proper etiquette for a patient naked and wrapped in a sheet to sit on the doctor's chair. W decides not to and stretches out on the exam table.

I've discovered that I can carry on a normal conversation with my togaed, pregnant wife, in a doctor's exam room surrounded by pamphlets on strep B and clamidia, for approximately one hour, seventeen minutes, and forty-nine seconds. Then I just stop. I've got nothing. Nothing to say. Nothing to add. Again not upset, just shutting down. I entertain Sugarpop for the next 30 minutes by reading to hear from an Osteoporosis pamphlet about an 81 year old widow named Anne. It starts out with her fracturing her hip and becoming afraid to go out and be active like she once was--thereby isolating herself from her friends. Don't worry. By the end of the tale Anne has made a full recovery and pamphlet closes with a picture of her playing shuffle board.

For the next 20 minutes I read to W from the June 2007 O magazine about the 4 Love Types. We can't decide if we are Builder, Navigator, Explorer, or Director. Thanks for nothing Oprah!

After bumming about not discovering our Love Type we hear a wrap on the door and it's the doctor. She apologizes and says today is just crazy. We've known the good doctor for years--the W taught her kids in school--so we chat a bit and then the doc gets down to business.

End result? Because we were in the waiting/exam rooms for 1/10 of an entire day the W has dilated to 2 cm getting close to 3. Last week she was less than one. Gotta think all that dilatin' happened while we waited.

And though we are no closer to knowing our true Oprah sanctioned Love Type, today we moved a couple of centimeters closer to meeting our baby.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Home Stretched

According to my cipherin' the W is about two weeks from birthing our bambina (due date July 11th). The end is in sight! We've taken the "Birthin' ur Baby" refresher course; filled a closet and a dresser with lots of pink girlie things (what are these hair clips and hair bows and how do you install them?); packed the bag; prepped the boys on who's going to stay with them when the baby is ready to be born; and piled infant diapers next to the Happy Elf's diapers on the changing table.


Still to do: buy new digital camera; install co-sleeper next to our bed; re-review our birth plan and practice some breathing techniques that work for the W in labor; and create a label for W during labor that says: "Hello! Give Me Nubain!"


So we are turning into the home stretch and in just a few days I'll be an everyday dad of three! And I realize that the stretch part extends to our budget, living space, shelf space, car space, and just about every facet of our life. 


And I love it.


Can't wait to meet you Lil' Dragon (name that O originally suggested for his baby sister). Mom will be doing all the hard work, but you'll come to find that I'm always standing by her.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Camp Cousin


For the past 4 years the W and I have hosted any and all cousins of our two boys at our house for an extended weekend that we have called "Camp Cousin".

The boys, the O and Happy Elf, have a total of nine cousins. Two live in New Jersey, one in Chicago, one in Texas and the rest in Bloomington/Normal.

This year our numbers are down a bit, but we are hosting four cousins from Bloomington and, for a few hours, the 5 month old cousin from Chicago. The O and Happy Elf love, love, love their cousins, or "the kids" as O calls them. O spent his first two years being cared for during the day by my sis-in-law so he was with "the kids" in the morning before school and for a few hours after they got home from school. So though at the time he was our only child, in his mind he was growing up as one of seven!

We try to make camp cousin as "campy" as possible. Good meals, arts & crafts, talent show, swimming (it's nice that the W's parents have a pool). Some years we camp in tents in the backyard. This year we are in the house as the W and lumpy ground under a tent was not going to happen. The past few years we have done tie dye shirts and this year we added the creation of a camp flag and window art with these cool "write on glass" markers.

Today was our first full day and consisted of a big camp breakfast, tie-dye, camp flag-raising ceremony, swimming, quiet time (take a nap or read a book), and pizza, park, and a movie and root beer floats to close the day.

Tomorrow are trips to the Farmer's Market with all of us wearing our tie-dye shirts, Taste of C-U, and we take over the in-laws house for the afternoon and night to have our pool-party/movie night. Movie night is extra fun because we have "concessions". Popcorn, candy, soda, nachos---all the snacks. The kids make signs and have "cousin cash" (their faces on $1 and $5 bills) that they can spend only at the concession stand. They love creating the concession part more than watching the movie!

Sunday will bring a close to camp and we'll have a camp flag-lowering ceremony, a big farmer's breakfast, and singing and dancing to the soundtrack from "Hairspray" (this year's favorite soundtrack of choice).

Camp was an extra day this year and it is never long enough. We are all already planning for next year and the addition to camp of our soon to arrive baby girl!




Monday, June 2, 2008

Take One Down, Pass It Around

Apologies for the long absence from the blog world, but ya' see yesterday, the Happy Elf, our two year old, became a man.

We were at my parents' house for Sunday dinner (mom's spaghetti is the best!) and we were joined by my brother-in-law from San Diego who was in St. Louis for business and drove up for a visit.
He and my father cracked open a couple of Coors Light and were pulled into the family room to watch some baseball action and left their beers behind on the kitchen counter.

Happy Elf sensing that there was soda to be had, climbed up on his little stool and while our backs were turned for the proverbial two seconds, wrapped his little hands around that Rock Mountain Silver Bullet goodness.


Sugarpop saw him first and hauled her 10 month pregnant vessel over to the Elf. It appears that he probably got a taste, but didn't like it, but was just about to sample it again to see if maybe it would taste different when it was whisked out of his hands.


Just to be safe we've scheduled an intervention with the Elf and instead of enrolling him in a summer art program he'll spend the summer in detox.


So we're taking it one day at a time and our proud of the Elf's one day of sobriety.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Let's Go Fly A Kite

The whole family went to Meadowbrook Park this morning. In tow were two recently purchased kites. We are on our, oh, about 9th kite in the past year. Previous ones were bought more on style than flight ability. We've had a shark, dragon, jet, a small fabric kite, another jet, another shark, and another fabric kite. All of them had little air time. They'd go up and then would turn and pancake into the ground. No amount of tail trimming made a difference.


Today we successfully launched a SpiderMan kite. Sadly our other kite, Buzz Lightyear performed just as Woody said, "You can't fly." Another ground slammer. Spidey is a traditional "bat" kite and it flew this morning like a champ. 


We were just south of the Prairie Play area in the big grassy field. The O was excited, but after a few minutes of kite flying he was ready for the playground. Sugarpop went with The O and the Happy Elf and I was ready to reel in the kite when she said, "Keep flying it, be 10 again!"


So for the first time in over 30 years I was 10 again.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Old Men and The Old Man



The Old Men


The W and I went to the Illini Basektball Banquet last Tuesday. It's an annual thing we do with my parents and it's usually a quick evening (over by nine so babysitter, in this case Tia, Ali's sister, gets home at a decent hour). 


It's a typical "rubber chicken banquet", but when you're trying to feed 800 people what can you do? People will always woof down their meal regardless. 


Each tables seats 8-9 and we were maxed out at ours. Me, the W, my parents, a good family friend, two 40-ish buddies, and a pair of septuagenarian men. One of the gentlemen was sitting next to me. At all the tables the desserts are already set out. Usually they are centered in front of each place setting. That night they were scattered around like toys in our living room--all over the place. I didn't pay much attention to that fact until it we bounced the rubber chicken down our throats and turned to dessert. Alas I had no dessert in front of me. The closest one was by my elderly table companion. I could have grabbed it, but he had already placed a half-eaten dinner role on the plate and it was touching the cake--by rule he had claimed the cake.


Unfortunately the way the pieces were laid out if everyone had grabbed the cake to their left we would have been OK, but everyone was playing fast and loose with the rules of cake! By the time the dust had settled "my" piece of cake was eaten by one of the 40-ish dudes. He scored two pieces of cake that night (probably the best night of his life) and I . . .  none.


That's not the point of this story, but when you get gyped of cake you got to let someone know! What was a delight to see was that one of the old men had cleaned his plate of everything . . . all but the cooked carrots in the mixed vegetable medley. He had carefully segregated them so that at the end of his meal he had an island of cooked carrots in a sea of clean plate. 


It was revealing to see that whether 4 or 74, when you don't like cooked carrots, you ain't gonna like them, you ain't gonna get used to them, and you ain't gonna eat them.


The Old Man


Sugarpop, aka--the W, left for a conference in Toronto Friday morning. Last night she packed from 11 p.m. until 1 a.m. Set her alarm, was up at 3:30 a.m., and out the door at 4:15 a.m. She'll be gone until late Sunday night. The fact that last time she was gone I experienced this and the fact that an earthquake shook the land a few minutes after leaving does not bode well for my fate this weekend.


So this afternoon I'm reading the paper and the boys are playing on the floor. I finish up the paper and start playing with the O and the Happy Elf. The Happy Elf and I got into playing "Cars" (the movie) and the O busied himself with his beloved Schleich animals.


A few minutes later the O had moved to the LazyBoy and was looking at a book. 


"What are you reading? I asked.


"I'm an old man and I'm reading the newspaper." he said.


"Oh. What's your name Mr. Old Man?"


"Daddy."


Oy. 

Friday, April 4, 2008

Pardon the Interruption

Long time no blog. I should post more often and boy do I think about it, every time I'm away from the computer.

But ya' see the boys got sick. First The O during a day trip to the Field Museum over spring break. No yakking, but he crashed in the stroller after 20 minutes and that kicked the Happy Elf out of the stroller. Trooper that the Elf is, he walked the next two hours through the museum. And so ended the great debate: With a 2 and 4 year old do you take the double or single stroller on such an outing? The 2-seater seemed excessive. We figured both boys would be out exploring through the exhibits . . . barring illness. Needless to say we will be packing the 2-seater stroller and whatever contraption we purchase for baby girl Dragon.

So The O was down (this was Thursday) and by Saturday the Happy Elf punched his ticket for Fluville. By Sugarpop's and my ciphering, the Crud ran through them in about eight days.

Sugarpop's mom is still suffering some two weeks later. I contracted the Crud last Saturday, but soldiered on through the week (thank you new private office). Sugarpop felt it coming on Wednesday night, but with her built-in prego-super-immunity she woke up Thursday morning and felt OK. Sleep-deprived crazy? Yes! But CrudFree at least.

Several questions arose during The Seige on the Crud. Normally we try to limit TV time to 20 minutes, er 30, well maybe 1 hour, OK less than a couple of hours a day, but all the boys wanted to do was curl up on the couch and zone out. My own childhood, as best I recollect, involved the couch and TV--and this was with only 3 channels (How else can I explain my in-depth knowledge of "Dark Shadows"?). So thank you multi-channel digital TV of the present and special shout-outs to PBS Sprout and Noggin.

It seems we have settled on a policy that sick kids get all the TV they want. Standard Parenting procedure? Bueller?

Halfway through the Crud we also introduced small cups of Sprite. We figured they needed to stay hydrated and they were rejecting water, milk, and juice, as well as most medicines (thank you Triaminic Strips). The Sprite seemed to gladden their hearts a little and I remember when sick as a child that besides the couch and TV there was also 7-Up. "Just sip it." mom would say. And so those were the orders to the boys. Again it seemed to make things just a little better for them.

So we have become rule-benders when it comes to the kids and illness. What rules go out the window when your kids are sick?

Another issue that came up for the first time was: What does a parent do when they are sick? As grownups the flu would send us to our beds or couches with TV and Sprite. There we would lay and nap, maybe yak, and then nap some more. This was the first time I had been sick since the O was born. By the time I started illin' the boys were well onto recovery and back to pre-school and grandparents' child care. But the house schedule has me out the door by 5:30; "Emaw" or Grandpa Coach coming over around 8; the O and Sugarpop head off for preschool drop-off shortly after; and then Happy Elf and grandparent hang out in the house until noonish when they head over to "Emaw's" house until I pick up the boys there around 3:30. I guess normally the sick parent could just stay in bed until the house emptied, but my "parent-guilt" tells me if I was staying home shouldn't the kids be here too and give the grandparents a day off?

My own memory of my parents being ill involves dad in his chair with a migraine for an evening and in 20+ years living under my parents' roof I recall mom going up to bed before 8 pm twice. Once was after a Memorial Day cookout when after feeding our brood and cleaning up the kitchen she disappeared upstairs. I remember quietly going upstairs and cracking her door open. "Mom? Are you OK?"

"Yes. Just a little tired." she sighed.

The other instance was a Thanksgiving when, after hosting 26 people, serving pie, cleaning up, and wishing guests safe travels, she promptly went upstairs, threw-up, and went to bed. Next day? Right as rain baby, right as rain.

Maybe as parents we get a little tougher with common illnesses and are able to resist a total collapse of our health in order to take care of the kids. Here's hoping at least.

Anyway. Thank you moms everywhere--in our pasts, presents, and futures--who, even while prone over the toilet, want only to assure their kids that the world is safe, stable, and OK.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hola Chica!



A healthy little girl!

Strike us dumbfounded. We are found dumb! You get in your head (unwanted or not) how things are going to be. We were thinking and feeling boy all along. My three sons, turn the bedrooms into one giant bunkhouse, casa de testosterone!

The sono-technician got all her measurements and then you could tell she was working her way down for the "reveal". In that moment I flashed through a universe of thoughts. What do I really want? Do I have my heart set on anyone? So much wanting and wondering in those few seconds. And so much excitement! My mouth is hurting from grinning so much!

A girl. A little girl. Sugarpop gave a little gasp that only she and I noticed. In that moment I think she felt all the possibilities of mother/daughter: going to The Nutcracker; American Girl Doll Store; Anne of Green Gables (and bicycling around PEI); Laura Ingles; all that girl stuff!

We are also quite relieved. You see the O yesterday, 24 hours before the sono, stood amongst his peers on the carpet at preschool and announced, "Everyone! I'm having a sister!" Do angels whisper in kids's ears or what? Thankfully he will not be wrong and his standing amongst his peers is preserved for now!

We feel blessed and thankful for the joyous news of a healthy baby girl and it's pretty cool to share the news with y'all!

Now let the sorting of names begin!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Boy or Girl?

Congratulations to Mrs. Chicken! She found out today that her second child is a boy.


SugarPop has her sono tomorrow at 4 and we'll find out if we'll be a household filled with three strapping young lads or if the O and the Happy Elf will be welcoming a sister.


The O has said since before conception that we would have a girl. The names have ranged from "Dragon" to "Machu Picchu". So it's not like we won't have some decent names to choose from for use in the blogosphere!


Although he also said that we would have five kids in our family. I don't know if the W's uterus would agree!


I would be shocked if we were having a girl and the W wishes for a boy in her heart of hearts. 


Anyone who has at least one child knows that you get the child you are suppose to parent. Who is better able to raise your unique, wonderful, odd, awesome kid other than you?


Of course gender never matters as long as we are blessed with a healthy baby.


Tune in tomorrow for the reveal!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Fully Vetted Dad

I'm thinking of renaming my blog to the above title. After 4 years of parenting, two years with one child and four years with two, I've been fortunate to do 99.8% of parenting with the W.


In saying that I mean that together we've gotten through the typical situations of parenting: explosive, blowout diarrhea at a park with the diaper bag sitting on the counter at home; tantrums in public places; battle of wills between the adults and the children (I'll have to get back to you on whose winning those); numerous illnesses; you know, ALL of that.


I'm a typical dude in that the W does the night-time parenting thing. There was the one day, turned into night, turned into next day of a nearly 18 hour marathon study session that the W had for her stats class. She started the day at 9 a.m. and I heard the garage door raise the next day at 3:00 a.m. But the boys had been fed, pajama'ed, and bedded in our night time routine without mom.


So here's the setup. The W had left for Chicago at noon on Saturday with her parents and siblings to attend a wedding reception. They are staying the night and returning to town tomorrow around noon. Basically a 24 hour operation. She was worried that the boys would freak that mom wasn't home. I assured her that I could handle it. I actually told her, "I have 0.0% concern about night-time." Way to tempt the fates!


We say bye to Sugarpop and commence an afternoon of naps, play, and some favorite shows on the tube. Late in the afternoon we head to my parents and dine on take-out Jupiter's pizza. I had brought PJs and toothbrushes so we left my parents' with the boys ready for bed. 


Normally we have a 7:30 to 8 bed time. However, on nights like this when the W won't be home for bedtime due to a night class or out of town wedding reception and it's the weekend I usually let them crash on the "couch-into-a-bed" and as they drop off to sleep I carry them up to bed. 


The Happy Elf crashes in the van on the way home. Straight up to bed with him. The O stayed up and watched a Land Before Time movie before giving in to sleep an hour later. I placed both boys in the "family bed" our king-size tempur-pedic. O usually starts his night in his own bed and then at whatever point in the night climbs into bed with us. The Happy Elf was in a co-sleeper next to our bed for his first year, joined us in the family bed after that and has never left.


I watch a little TV and then head up around 10:30. I nestle in to Sugarpop's spot ready to play "substitute momma" at night. So to just set the scene the Happy Elf is on the outside, the O in the middle, and myself on the otherside. The boys are entangled in each other, legs layered like Lincoln Logs.


I'm just dozing off when I hear the Happy Elf cough and then hear the splash of vomit as it leaves his little body and canals its way along the mattress. I hop up and pop on the nightstand light. I'm rather vision impaired so before I could assess anything I had to run into the bathroom and get my glasses. 


Who really handles vomit well? I'm not a candidate, but hey my kid just yacked and it's pretty much on everything, including his 4-year old brother so I jump into action. The O is carried to his room, stripped of his 'jams and new ones put on and he is resnuggled back into his bed. I take the Happy Elf and remove his considerably more soaked pjs and wipe him down and repajama him. This is all done in the bright glare of the bathroom lights. In replaying this later I may figure out a less intrusive light strategy.


He's clean, but crying in a bedroom corner. I tell him it's OK and I move on to stripping the bed. Luckily the Tempur-pedic came with a water-proof mattress cover. So everything comes off the bed, including the cover. The Happy Elf and I navigate downstairs. I set him up in the couch-bed, not sure if he'll blow again or not. I have extra sheets, but no extra mattress cover so I'm reluctant to put him back into the bed without it's underlying protection.


So here we sit at 1: 57 a.m. The O is peacefully sleeping in his bed. The sheets and mattress cover are going through the SuperWash cycle twice. I don't even want to think about the possibility of sleeping on residue vomit, hence the extra cycle.


The Happy Elf, true to his nature, is happy. He's drinking some flat Sprite and has shown no signs of re-heaving. He sits on the couch bed smiling and clapping as Dora and Friends cavort across the screen. He's much less shaken by the nights events than I.


We'll return to bed once the mattress cover is dry and back in place; perhaps he'll fall asleep on the couch bed.


Did I mention it's Daylight Savings Time and as I type this my computer clock just jumped from 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. I have officially sprung forward. So it looks like the bed could be ready around 4 a.m. . . . lovely.


So I feel with the night's happenings that I have at least been vetted as a dad. Fully vetted? I probably won't be that unless Happy Elf hurls in bed again tonight.