Friday, July 24, 2009

No More Mr. Mom Guy

This post is part of Fatherhood Friday over at Dad's Blogs.

My wife left town yesterday morning to visit some friends in Michigan. The entire week I've been telling clients and co-workers that I will be home on Thursday and Friday being Mr. Mom. I thought it was cute that I was saying that, until I thought about it some more. I mean, it seems innocent enough right? But when you think about it some more, it's really kind of insulting. There's something more to it. Like when you ask a couple if they plan on having kids. The real question you're asking is if they plan on having unprotected sex anytime soon.

So when I said that on the surface cute little saying but really deep down is terribly insulting, this is really what I was saying. First, I'm saying that a Dad can't really watch the kids because he's a Dad and Dad's aren't really built to watch kids. He can't be Mr. Dad. He's got to be Mr. Mom in order to do that. That's stupid, really. Second, what I'm also saying is that it's a Mom's job to be at home with the kids, while the Dad goes out and earns a buck. I've got to be Mr. Mom because it's the Mom whose job it is to watch the kids. That's really stupid, too.

So from this day forward, if I find myself staying at home to watch the kids while the wife is away, I will be playing Mr. Dad. Or maybe I'll skip the whole so cute it's kind of stupid little saying and I'll just say that I'm staying home with the kids while my wife is away on vacation.

Friday, July 17, 2009

11 Year Old Boy + Skulls = Awesome

This link is part of Fatherhood Friday over at Dad Blogs.

I love my son's age. It's an interesting age for a lot of reasons. But the biggest of these is that I know exactly what he's into. It may go down in the books that I will always know what he deems "cool", but I doubt it. Eventually the gap will spread and he and I will be on different pages. But for now, I'm on it. 11 year-olds like death. Yep. Death and destruction. On the surface that sounds dark, but really it's not. Anything with a skull on it is golden to my son. I could put a skull and crossbones on a pink Care Bear and my son would sleep with it every night. That's how it goes.

The other day, I was purchasing a pair of shoes for myself on-line and I thought that I might pick up a pair for my son while I'm at it. I mean, not that I don't love his old shoes that smell like some has been living in his shoes, and that someone died about 100 years ago, and that while that person died, they shat themselves about a dozen or so times. That really has nothing to do with it because I think the senses in my body that would be offended by that foul smell, died a long time ago. So anyway, I'm looking for shoes for my son and within about 10 seconds I find them. There they are. A bright and shiny death beacon on a web page filled with shoes.

Needless to say, I was a hero. And for that day, I was the cool Dad.

Friday, July 10, 2009


There's been a lot of talk recently about Steve McNair and his untimely death. Of course it's been surrounded with controversy due to how he died and why he died. There's also been a lot of talk about his legacy. There are some who want to only remember what he did on the field, and there are others who say "but wait a minute here, what about his off the field performance?"

I'm an avid follower of all things football, due mostly to my deep religious love of Fantasy Football. So not only do I know what's going on with my Chiefs, I also know how many touchdowns Peyton Manning threw last year because I may want to draft him this Fall, even though I hate his guts. No doubt Steve McNair has done some pretty incredible things on the field. And he did a lot of them with hurt legs, cracked ribs and whatnot. But I would be an irresponsible idiot if that's all I chose to focus on. And I would be a bad Dad if I told my son to do the same (he too is a football fan).

I guess what's really rubbing me wrong in all these arguments is how everyone talks about what kind of Father he was to his kids. Was he there for them? How could he do this to his kids? Maybe he was a really good Father? I think what we've lost sight of is the definition of being a good Father. Or at least the definition I live by. To me, being a good Father is also being a good husband. In all these arguments about Steve McNair, there is no talk about his wife. Just about his kids. I guess it's obvious that he was a bad husband due to the circumstances of how he was killed, but I don't think you can be a good Father and a bad husband. It just doesn't work that way. Of course, this argument doesn't include single parents, who are single parents for one reason or another. And by no means am I saying that a single parent can't be a good Mother or Father. I just think that the whole idea of being a good spouse has been lost somewhere. I'm married and I know that being a good Father means not only being good to my children, but being good to my wife as well. To me that's Fatherhood.

There, I've said my peace.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I'm A Lot Younger Than I Talk

I often forget my age. It's true. I pride myself on my age forgetfulness. It doesn't mean that much to me because I rarely act my age. My kids love it and my wife often says that she has three kids to take care of - me being the third kid. It's a luxury and I'm lucky to have a wife that puts up with it.

But this morning all that went out the window. I traded in my kids shoes for some crusty, old wingtips.

I was finishing up my workout this morning and I was in the locker room of the YMCA. I point out that it's the YMCA, because the clientel there usually skews a lot older - not that there's anything wrong with that. But an older gentleman was in a conversation with another about kids and video games. Specifically a story about a kid who killed his parents because they cut him off of his video games. I have no idea if this story is true or not, but it was interesting enough to me for me to butt myself in and give my two cents. And here they are. I told them that my problem with kids and video games is that it stifles creativity. That it does everything for them. Because of video games, kids don't make anything up anymore. Okay, if I would have left the conversation right there and been on my merry way, that would have been fine. But I didn't. I'm not one for subtlety. I continued about a story where I used to visit my Grandmother in Avoca, Iowa. She lived in a small house on a small little stamp of land. She didn't have TV. She didn't have board games. All I remember her having was a box full of random things. A door knob. And a plug. And a fuse. And a battery. And nuts and bolts. And when I would visit, I would dump that box out and create entire worlds with all that stuff. I made it fun by being creative.

I told that story and suddenly I was the oldest man in the locker room. I was the guy who crawled up hill both ways in seven feet of snow to get to school. As I was telling the story, my inner child was trying to pull all the words back into my mouth as they vomited out of my head. But it was too late. I had won the one-upmanship old guy award and I feel shameful. And what's worse, it's all kind of bullshit. Not the story, but it doesn't necessarily describe me.

Here's the truth.

Truth #1: I played a lot of video games in my childhood. A lot. Channel F (if you know anything about this console, you're obscure as hell). Atari. Coleco. Intellivision. I loved them. All of them. And I'm now a Creative Director in an advertising agency. So one might argue that the video games obviously didn't hurt my creative side. Or maybe it did and I'm still fooling everyone.

Truth #2: I still love video games. I play them often. On my computer. My iPhone. PS3. Wii. You got it, I'll play it.

Truth #3. My son loves video games. But my son also loves soccer. And baseball. And basketball. And riding his scooter. And collecting baseball cards. He plays a lot of video games, but he also does a lot of other things, too.

So why am I writing all this? I guess to confess. To cleanse myself of my old ways which were shamefully on display this morning.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Getting Shots Sucks Ass

Getting shots sucks ass. That's what my five year old would say if she understood what she was saying. I should teach it to her. Lord knows, I've taught her worse. My daughter does not like shots. I say that as if there are kids out there who do like getting shots. But my daughter hates them a lot. On a scale of 1 to 10, she's at 33. And who can blame her. Seriously, is it not 2009? I can surf the net on a plane at 30,000 feet and we haven't found a better way to get shots? Or take blood? There's some sick twist out there who is in charge of shots. And shot evolution. A guy comes to him and says "sir, we've found a way to painlessly give shots." Only this sick twist refuses to listen to him. He gets some kind of pleasure from all the emotional and physical pain that is caused by shots. In fact, he says that they should make the needles longer. And thicker. And they should have to stay in your arm, your leg or your ass even longer. And maybe move them around while they're in the skin. I refuse to believe that there is not an easier way to do this.

Anyway, when we first brought my daughter home from China, we had to do blood tests. She was extremely malnourished so her veins didn't present themselves the way they should in order to take blood. She had only been home with us for a few days and she was still in her "what the hell is going on" phase, and here we were taking her to get needles put in her arm. We love you sweetie. We're here to protect you. Now goddamnit, let this woman stick a needle in your arm. Anyway, it didn't take. They couldn't get a vein. And as malnourished as she was, the little girl had some muscle. Holding her down was damn near impossible. They stuck her a few times and then gave up and told us we would need to go to a hospital to have it done. At this point I'm thinking we are the greatest parents EVAAAAAARRRR.

So we take her to the hospital and I have to hold her down on a table while they draw blood. Here's a little example of how strong she was and how much she hated this whole process. When we were finished, she had cut open the back of her head from throwing it around so much. And this was with me holding her down. Like I said. Greatest. Parents. EVAAAARRRR.

So yesterday my son had his wellness check. And unbeknownst to my daughter, she had to get her shots for Kindergarten. My wife dropped this little bomb on her while they were driving to the doctor and my daughter spent the rest of the time dreading it. Trying to get out of it. Putting up large sums of cash to get some other kid to get the shots in her place. When they finally got to the doctor, my daughter proceeded to tell the woman at the front desk as well as everyone in the waiting room that her appointment had been canceled. That there was no need to get a shot.

Now my daughter is very smart. Very smart. I say this as someone who did not pass on these smarts to her. Her smarts are not a direct result of my smarts. Or lack thereof. So the fact that she is telling the woman at the front desk that her appointment is canceled is beautiful. That at the age of five, she puts all that together is amazing to me. And clever as hell. As a matter of fact, it's so smart that if I were in charge of her getting shots, I would let her off the hook. I would pat her on the head and say "not today my little genius." Of course then she would get some crazy ass disease that could have been prevented by this shot and then there we would be.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The More Things Stay The Same

When I was a kid and I liked a girl, there was a process. It was an official process and you followed it to a T. There were no variations. You didn't dare mess with it for fear that you would set other unworldy things into motion.

This is how the process went. You asked your friend to call the person you liked. The friend would make some small talk like "how are things?" or "can you believe what so and so did?" or "don't you just hate that teacher?" Then the friend would get onto the bizzness. And that bizzness was "hey, you know Pat Piper, right? Well, he doesn't know that I'm calling you, but I was wondering if you liked him."

In truth, this is a stupid process. A horrible process. In truth, I'm standing right beside the friend listening in. This phone call has been rehearsed over and over again. And in truth, my friend is not spending every waking moment wondering if certain girls like me. But everyone knows this. It's a gigantic ruse set up because I didn't have the balls or the ego or whatever to ask the person myself. And oh boy is it fun seeing that person the next day after she has rejected you to your friend. Man, that's fun.

So anyway, it's good to see that this process is still alive and well today. My son received a phone call the other day from a girl. This is how the conversation went from my son's end.


Uh huh.

Uh huh.


Hanging up now.

And then he hung up. The girl had called to ask my son if he liked another girl from his school. I can only assume that he confirmed that he knew her and then he said he didn't like her. And then he ended the phone conversation with the warmth of Darth Vader. He later told my wife that the girl wanted to know if he would "go out" with another girl. "Where would we go?" he asked my wife. "How would we go on a date? I'm 11."

My son is brilliant beyond his years. And this side of him is all due to my wife. I can only imagine how I would have reacted when I was his age. "Go out? Absolutely." I would get off the phone and somebody would ask me "where you going?" Or "what do you do when you go out?" And I would say "I have no idea." I never stepped back and observed the stupidity of the question "do you want to go out?" Or "will you go with me." I just played the game. My wife, on the other hand, questions everything. Why do we do what we do? We are the perfect balance for one another. I tell her that sometimes she just has to go with the flow and other times she tells me that I need to think about stuff more. And my son is the perfect balance of us. I'm so glad he got this side of my wife, because it will serve him well.

Either that, or he'll never ever get a girlfriend.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kids And Their Lying Lies

My son is a brilliant liar. A brilliant one. It's disturbing how good he is. Back up. Maybe liar isn't the right word. Maybe it's exaggerator. Or maybe he's just a good old-timey storyteller. He is constantly making up stuff about completely random things. And that's why he's so good. He plucks the most obscure apple from the tree and then makes things up about it so you either don't know enough to question it, or frankly just don't care. Where my son is especially good is with statistics. I took him to a football game last fall and he stood with a 50 year old man and talked football statistics for a good 30 minutes. Later, the man's wife (my co-worker) told me how impressed her husband was with the wealth of football knowledge my son had. I didn't have the heart to tell her that he is completely, and utterly full of so much shit it's amazing his eyes aren't brown.

Truth to tell, probably about 1 out of 10 things my son said to that man were probably right. Or accurate. The rest is completely made up. What my son does is get really specific. That's what makes his lies so legit. Because great lying is in the details. Instead of saying that the quarterback is throwing 20% more completions than he did last year, my son will say he's throwing 23.56% more completions. Who will debate that? I certainly wont. Or it's possible that the man could have said that the linebacker averages 2 sacks per game and my son would correct him and say that actually, he has 3.5 sacks per game and that that's a 16.75% improvement over last year.

I envy his talent. He didn't get any of this from me. I lie, or even embellish a bit, I feel bad about it for weeks. But like all powers, it must me maintained. And cultivated. I am Jor-El, teaching my son to put his powers to good use. Because in the hands of a maniac, the results could be disastrous.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Baby Stories - Gotcha Day

If you have adopted a child, you understand the significance of Gotcha Day. That's the day that you received your child. It's as dreamy and freaky as the day you have your birth child, filled with emotions of "Oh my God" and "Oh shit." I really only remember a few moments of Gotcha Day. The rest seems somewhat like a blur of this and that and crying and hugging and whatnot. But as I wrote previously, my daughter asks me from time to time to tell her a baby story about the first few days when we received her, and this will be the first I tell. And I will write it as if I'm telling her the story.

On the morning of Gotcha Day, Mommy and Daddy and Brother were all having breakfast in the hotel. While we were eating, we heard some babies crying behind us. We turned around and saw nanny after nanny bringing babies in to a little room of our hotel. That can't be our baby, we thought. Our baby isn't supposed to arrive for another hour or so. Mommy and Daddy and Brother aren't dressed up enough to receive our little girl. And the room isn't clean. And the bed isn't made. But it was true. Our baby had arrived. Early. And she was waiting for us in a little room in our hotel. Waiting to see her new family. So Mommy and Daddy and Brother ran upstairs to change. And we put on our nice clothes. And we cleaned up our room. And as Daddy and Mommy made the bed, we paused for a moment and thought "this is it. This is really happening." And Daddy and Mommy cried because we were so happy.

When we walked into the room, it was filled with crying babies. It was so hot because the air conditioning wasn't working that day. We looked all over the room and saw so many different little babies. A woman pointed to you and said that you were our daughter. But we already knew from the pictures we had seen. You were sitting on your nanny's lap, looking around. All the other babies were crying, but not you. You were curious. Curious about what was happening. Or what was going to happen. You were dressed in a Teletubbie shirt and Teletubbie pants and squeaky shoes. And you had on so many clothes because the Chinese believe that by wearing lots of clothes, you keep bad germs away. We sat down beside you and Mommy took you and put you in her lap. And Mommy and Daddy and Brother were so happy to have you. We had waited so long and traveled so far and now here you were. Our little Teletubbie treasure with the curious look and cheeks as red as apples from the heat. And from that day on, you were all ours.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Smelly Blanket

One of the things that we learned when we brought my daughter home from China is that it's important that she become attached to something. Something other than a parent. Lord knows she's attached to my wife. I'm more hot and cold. Sometimes I'm the best, and other times she doesn't want to have anything to do with me. I figure once the teens set in and she and her mother are at complete odds, that's when I will swoop in and be the stud father. I'll spoil the shit out of her. Oh yeah, it's gonna be great. I'm going to make lots of "coo coo" signs to her about her mother and then I'll take her out for ice cream. I've got it all planned out.

My wife wanted to get her attached to a doll of some kind. What mother doesn't? It's like some unwritten law of parenthood. Like those God awful Sears portraits when they're babies. Those things are awful. They look awful. The backgrounds are awful. And yet everyone gets them taken of their kids. Why? Because it's part of our DNA. Like Moms wanting their daughters to love dolls. Or Barbies. Well, my daughter wouldn't and won't have anything to do with dolls. She'll entertain the idea. Maybe play with them for a few minutes, but nothing long lasting. So we'll be saving several thousand dollars on American Girl dolls and dresses and steamer trunks and whatnot. We brought a red furry blanket with us to China with the hopes that it would be "her" blanket. It's a great blanket. I want to have someone make a larger one for me and I'll carry it everywhere. In client meetings I'll be presenting some work and rubbing the big red furry blanket on my cheek for comfort. But despite it being a great blanket, my daughter wasn't really crazy about it.

But then came the Smelly Blanket. It's not even a blanket, it's a comforter. It's a comforter in a blanket cover that zips at the top. I can't even remember when we got it. Or where we got it. As far as I know, the damn thing dropped out of the sky and appeared on my daughter's bed. But she loves it. It's a scary love. She calls it her Smelly Blanket because she says it smells like her. I think it smells like the floor and the dog with maybe a slight Macaroni and Cheese aftertaste. Evidently my daughter really likes the way she smells, or she needs to constantly remind herself of what she smells like because she is always smelling that blanket. The blanket could be across the room and my daughter would run over to it just to get a snort. Yes, it's like cocaine.

What's weird is that my daughter is aware of the blanket at all times. A few times she has fallen asleep in the car and I have brought her and smelly up to our bed to change her into her pajamas and then to move her to her bed. While I'm doing this, she is sound asleep. Like dead weight. But then when I pick her up to move her to her bed, her arm comes out and she grabs that smelly blanket to take it with her. It's freaky.

When she comes home from school, the first thing she does is run up to her room to go see Smelly. It's like seeing an old friend. Only it's a blanket. A blanket that she saw three hours ago. She giggles and talks to it. It's cute in a way that might keep you up all night.

My son had a stuffed monkey that he loved. And still loves. His name is "boo." But it ranks about a 3 compared to the scary love my daughter has for her Smelly.

This is a story I transcribed for her about her blanket.


I really like my blanket. And my Mom really loves me. I’m proud of her. And so much that my Smelly and Mom really loves me so. And Daddy loves me. And all the people around me love me. And Smelly Blanket is part of our family. And all the friends that work together. And for all the family members we ever met. And Smelly will always be a part of our family. And he always smells like my blanket. You know that Smelly Blanket is my favorite. And he always knows what he smells like. And he loves me so much. Smelly does not know no matter what. And it smells like Smelly every time. When he looks at me, he thinks he is the most beautiful blanket ever.

The End

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You Know What About What

On my vacation I heard a familiar argument between a child and his parent.

It goes a little something like this.

Parent says child's name. In a stern voice. Something like "Chris!"

Child says "what?"

Parent says "you know what."

I had to laugh when I heard that argument. I've had it millions of times. Haven't we all?

As stupid as the argument sounds, it isn't. It's brilliant. Let's break it down.

The parent says the child's name in a stern voice as if to tell them to "stop it." Only the parent doesn't say "stop it." Or "don't do that." Or "I can't believe you just did that." Or "you should know better." Or "don't make me come over there and put my foot up your ass." They just say their name. In a stern voice.

In response, the child says "what?" As if to say "what did I do?" or "get off my back, I'm just minding my own business" or "you're crazy for thinking I was doing something wrong because I wasn't doing anything wrong you crazy old person." Only they don't say anything of that. They just say "what?"

The parent then says "you know what." As if to say "don't take me for an idiot. You know damn well what you did wrong and don't make me take the time to explain what you did wrong when you know damn well what you did wrong and if you continue to push me you're going to get in a lot of trouble."

This is in effect a five minute discussion whittled down to about five seconds. Volumes are spoken with only the slightest of effort. This is efficiency at its finest. And I bow down before it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Disney Disease

Man, I got it bad. Good old Mickey has his pearly white gloves in me so deep, I'll never get them out. I just recently asked my wife how many times we've been to Walt Disney World and her response was "a college educations worth." That sounds about right.

I've fallen in love with my wife several times since meeting her, but the day I walked her down Mainstreet, USA and she stopped and said she could cry, that was the day I fell the hardest. I've had it for Disney since I was a kid. I grew up going to Disneyland and I'll grow old going to Walt Disney World. Fortunately my children love Disney as much as my wife and I do. But really, it wouldn't matter. We would still go. Even if we were dragging them. There are parents who say they go to Disney for their kids, like its some kind of burden. And then there's me. I see a picture of Disney and I'm on the phone booking a trip. Someone could say "that guy slipped me a Mickey" and suddenly I'm longing for the place. Yeah, it's that bad.

Every year we go to Walt Disney World for my wife's birthday. And sometimes we go a second time in that year because we're afraid everyone at the Magic Kingdom might miss us. If I were to shoot video of every single Disney vacation my family has been on and if one were to watch that video, one might ask this logical question: "Why the hell do you still go?" The very first time we took my son he came down with the stomach flu the night before and it carried on during the trip. I then got it the day we left. My son has also had strep while we've been there. And food poisoning. And we've been there during tropical storms. And a hurricane that passed directly over our hotel. And we've even had to leave Walt Disney World to go to a hospital to get rabies shots because of a bat that was in our house (it's a long story.) And yet. And yet, we still love the place.

I'm going to say it because I get royalties every time I do. Walt Disney World is a magical place. It really is. I witness magic every time I'm there. In something my child says or does, or while watching fireworks from the front of the monorail (you really should try that) or just in riding one of the rides. But even more than that, it's just a time to regroup. To remember what it's like being a family, and doing family stuff. Some people find themselves among the mountains and beaches. For me and my family, it happens around the animatronic crocodile singing Zip A Dee Do Dah. And yes, bad stuff happens. There are fights and short tempers. But those things wash away like dirt on the knees. And then suddenly we're excited again to go back. We leave tomorrow and you would think I hadn't been there for ages as excited as I am. In reality, we were there last November. Like I said, I got it bad.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

File Under Crazy Part 1

So I've taken out some fresh laundry from the dryer and I've taken that laundry to our dining room table where I'm folding it and stacking it so that it can be taken upstairs and put into the proper drawers only that rarely happens which makes my wife extremely happy. And while I'm folding the laundry I look out into the front yard where our dog is rolling around in something. I find it a bit strange because our dog rarely just rolls around in the yard. As he is rolling, his white coat is getting darker and darker. I think that this can't be good, so I walk to the front door to get him to stop and that's where I see my son sitting on the front step, whistling. He's about five feet away from our dog who is rolling around in God knows what and my son is watching him. And he's whistling la de da. I open the door and ask my son what he thinks our dog is rolling around in and my son says he thinks it's poop. Which it was.

How does that work? If I am to give my son credit for having a brain, I have to assume that his brain works something like this. Son is looking at dog. Dog is rolling around in something. What is dog rolling around in? It looks like poop. Poop is filthy. I kiss and pet the dog. I don't want my hands and lips touching poop. Therefore, I should stop the dog from rolling around in his poop. Only none of that happens. Only whistling.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Part of parenting is trying to make your child not act like you. Which is really stupid if you think about it. Don't drink soda. Don't eat too much. Don't stay up late. Don't watch 'R' rated films. And probably the biggest of these is don't swear. I love to swear. I think I do it well (this may be up for some debate). And because I love to swear, I do it a lot when I shouldn't. And because of this, my children hear me swear a lot. And because of this, my children swear from time to time. How is it that a child can't hear a request that's made for the fifteenth time, but when you drop a swear word in there, it cuts through like a knife. They pick it up perfectly. How to use it in a sentence. The perfect inflections. There might be something there. Maybe teach a class and litter each lesson with profanity so that they understand everything perfectly.

One wonders if the battle against swearing is a one worth fighting. After all, it's just a word. Or words. It doesn't mean anything really. But you want your kids to grow up proper so that when they become adults they can swear like truckers. I guess my philosophy is to treat swearing like the French treat drinking wine. Get them exposed to it early and they won't abuse it later in life.

I'm sure all of us have good swearing stories with our children. I know I do. When my son was about five he was playing cars with my wife. He said he wanted to see his cousins which live a few hours away. My wife said we wouldn't be visiting them for a week or so and then she told him to play with his cars again. His response was "I don't want to play with my fucking cars. I want to see my fucking cousins. Right fucking now." He did not raise his voice. He was not angry. He was serious, but not angry. My wife told me this story and I was shocked, surprised and all. But more than that, I was proud that he used the F-bomb so effectively.

When he was seven or so, I was pushing him around in a shopping cart in Target. There were a bunch of people driving around in those little automatic carts that are reserved for the handicapped, but as far as I could tell there was nothing wrong with any of these people other than they were overweight and lazy. Anyway, these people were driving their scooters around and backing them up and there was that constant beeping sound echoing throughout the store. While I was pushing my son I made a comment to myself under my breath. It went something like this "I wish those people had their fucking carts up their asses." It was a quiet statement, but of course my son heard it and he had to point it out to me because when you're a kid and you're pointing out that someone said a bad word, you're absolved from saying that bad word. So my son says "Daddy, we don't say fucking." But it wasn't quiet when he said it, so I attempted to cough over him saying the word. At that point, I should have let it be but I had to be a parent and tell him not to say that word. He responded with "I didn't say fucking, you're the one who said fucking." Damn. Outsmarted by a child who now has said fucking three times.

My daughter has taken it up a notch. Not to be outdone by her older brother, her swear words are worse. There's a list of swear words somewhere that I'm sure someone has put together ranking each word for its badness. Hell is probably at the bottom and something like dirty fucking cocksucker is probably at the top. Not only that, but my daughter chose a rather large gathering to host her coming out swear party. Why waste really good swear words on Mom and Dad when you can shout it at a bunch of strangers. Anyway, there was a group of friends and co-workers in my basement having appetizers and drinks and I'm sure making smalltalk. My daughter ran down the stairs and stood before all of them and yelled "butt fuckers." And then she ran along her merry way back up the stairs, leaving everyone in complete dismay. Now if there was a swear police squad whose sole purpose on this earth was to investigate where a child had learned certain swear words, and let's say that swear police squad decided to look in to this incident, I'm sure all roads would lead to me.

All this said, my children really are angels. But it is really amazing. It's not like they use those words any more. They know they're out of bounds and despite the fact that Daddy doles them out like pennies in his pocket, they steer clear of them. There's that old parent saying "do as I say, don't do as I do." Fortunately for me, my kids have learned to ignore that first part.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Baby Stories - Adopting

Adopting is a wild and wonderful thing. Wait, let me back up. Any time you bring a new child into your life, it's a wild and wonderful thing. I think back to when my son was born. It was such a strange time. I remember it fondly, but I also remember it being kind of weird. Like a strange dream. So many things happen so quickly. One moment we're sitting around my wife while she is being induced into labor, the next the doctor is telling me that my unborn child hasn't dropped enough and they're going to send us home for the weekend, then the next moment my wife's water has broken and we're being rushed in to perform an emergency C-section. Who prepares you for these things?

I often tell my friends (maybe they don't consider me a friend after I tell them) that being a new parent sucks for about the first three months. Your schedule is screwed, sleeping as you knew it is completely over and all your baby seems to do is shit and eat and cry. I don't think in those first three months I ever once sat back and said "wow, here's a brand new baby. Isn't this great?" There wasn't time. And I think I was having a major pity party for myself, thinking that I would never see a movie again. Or go out. Or drink a beer. Or sit in silence. Ever. Again. But then as time passes, your baby starts to form a personality. And they smile. And you start to form a new schedule. And all seems right in the world.

With adoption, it's a completely different story. Or at least with international adoption. You fill out your paper work, meet with lots of people, send in your paper work and then the adoption agency in China supposedly spends several back-breaking hours matching parents up with the right baby. There is no pregnancy. No snarls from my wife for doing something that usually wouldn't be wrong but is wrong because your wife is huge and uncomfortable and has to lash out at you because of it. No morning sickness, or afternoon sickness, or late night sickness (never understood why they called it morning sickness). No Captain Crunch with Crunchberries at 3 o'clock in the morning (I miss that). Nope. You get your baby usually when they're about a year old. So right now I'm thinking adoption is the best goddamn thing on the planet. The baby is already sleeping through the night. There's no meconium in the diaper, meaning I don't have power spray my baby's ass to wipe it. There's less crying and more personality. This is like a baby without all the baby stuff. I love it.

Well, I was wrong about all that as I am usually wrong when it comes to parenting. With adoption there are a whole slew of new challenges. Like sensory issues. Or attachment disorder. Try applying a diaper to a child who has spent most of her first year in a crib. Boy, that's fun. You touch her and she screams because the touch of someone else sends major warning signs to her brain and she panics. Or try talking to a doctor who has never dealt with sensory issues or attachment disorder and have that doctor tell you that your child may be autistic or perhaps mentally retarded. Even the simple things, like bottle feeding, are a challenge because your adopted baby is saying "who the hell are you? No seriously, who the hell are you? Are you temporary or in for the long haul? And why should I trust you? And that sleep thing that I thought would be handled already? It wasn't. For about the first 6 months or so, my daughter suffered from major night terrors. So at any given moment she would scream out bloody terror in her sleep.

But here I am having another pity party for myself. The truth is, I wouldn't change a thing. Not a single thing. As sick as my daughter was, and boy was she sick, overcoming it all and continuing to overcome it all has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. And continues to be. The truth is, there is no easy plan. A baby is a baby is a baby. And just like parenting, once you think you've got it down, the scheme changes. The target never stays in the same place.

Boy have I rambled. I titled this post Baby Stories because my daughter always asks me to tell her baby stories about when we adopted her. And sometimes instead of cracking Dr. Seuss, I tell her a real story about her. This post will be the first of many "baby stories" I retell about the first days when we adopted our daughter.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

About This Blog

I am a parent. And this is a parenting blog. I know, I know, it's the first of it's kind. You can't even get your head around the concept of a parenting blog.

Okay, so what are my qualifications?

I have two children. A son who is 11 and a daughter who is five. My son is by birth and my daughter is adopted from China. I am the best parent or the worst parent depending on the day, hour or second. But that's parenting.

The title of this blog comes from a phrase that my wife and I often share when our kids make us crazy. And they are experts at that.

My mission is to share parenting experiences through the wonderful stories my children have given me to tell. I am not one to grab a camera and snap photos, but I am one to spin a yarn or two. If nothing else, this will be a way for me to keep it all straight.

But ultimately, this blog is a love letter to my children. Because I do love them so much.

Stay tuned.