Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Belated Mother's Day...Suckers!

I have some strong feelings about Mother’s Day, in general, and my wife, in particular.

Before we get to the wife, I have some news for you.

Mother’s Day is a load of crap! 

Never mind that, like Valentine’s Day (another holiday I don’t really celebrate), it was invented by Hallmark. 
Think about what we do for our moms on Mother’s Day — breakfast in bed, a day at the spa, brunches in their honor.

Why do we do all of these things for them?

Well, if they are good mothers, then they have spent the previous year at home, taking care of the children, cooking my steak just so, and making sure that your house shows no signs of the zoo that is raising children. (sarcasm on)

What do we do on Father’s day?  Here are the kids…take them to the actual zoo.  Why?  Well, if they have been good fathers than they have spent the previous year providing for their family at work.  If they did it right, than they have spent a significant amount of time away from the kids.  They have missed their first steps, the first day at school, and, if they are really exceptional fathers, they don’t yet know how the washing machine works.  So finally spending a day WITH the kids makes sense…right?

We live in a society where women are made to feel guilty if they spend one waking moment putting themselves ahead of their children.  We literally had to carve out a day for them to be relieved of this burden.
Then, there is my wife.

Unlike the rest of you, my wife is a saint.  She does deserve a day to feel special.  She works her ass off to keep this family humming along and without her me and the boys would be living at the Salvation Army.  Well, I would at least.  I would be forced to surrender the kids to the state.  Even giving them to a pack of wolfs would leave them in a better place than alone with me. 

Her importance to the family, in general, and our children, in particular, cannot be understated.  When I thought about her gift this year, I knew I’d need to bring it.  Here it is…

Seriously, this is how much I love her.  This horridly obnoxious monstrosity of outdoor “decoration” is the physical demonstration of what her kids put her through.  She loves it, and she had been asking to buy it since she first saw it a year ago.

I had told Glenn that it was a secret.  He made it a day and a half before Tammi said she wanted him to tell her over and over how much he loved her on Mother’s Day.

“No, Mom we got you a rooster.” I was outside at the time.  All I heard was both boys shouting Cock-a-Doodle-Doo!!!

I know what you’re thinking.  I should have stood on my principals and refused to celebrate.

Maybe next year I’ll send her off to the zoo.  I might even sleep in and go get my nails done. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Stay at Home Secret

I have to apologize.  I am writing this on the fly, so I am certain that the grammar and spelling will be a mess.  I just couldn't wait to share my secret.

I’m going to let you know something.  Stay at home parents won’t share this with you.  My wife has a grand idea of what happens that is both not true and still annoys her.  I get grumpy when I don’t do it.  And yes, sometimes even I deny the existence.

Like the magician who shares secrets to tricks, I may lose my stay at home dad card over this, but consequences be dammed.

I take naps almost every day!

Everything you have imagined about staying home is true.  It’s no wonder I don’t consider staying home with the kids to be a job. If you need to reach me between one and two, your call will be blocked.  I often just turn the phone off during nap time.

Now, I can’t say with any certainty that other parents, who stay home, also take naps.  They may very well be telling you the truth if they deny it.  I suspect they are not.  It all comes down to the age of your children, and what their nap schedule is. 

When you have a baby, people will always tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps.  I don’t know why you would think this advice changes as they grow into toddler-hood.  Glenn no longer takes naps, but Jackson sleeps from one to, sometimes, as late as three.  That’s up to two hours of sweet uninterrupted slumber, while Glenn watches cartoons.

Maybe uninterrupted isn't the right word there.  Actually all of those adjectives are wrong.  The problem is a matter of definition.  How you define nap, goes a long way towards understanding.  There is a large chasm between what Jackson does in his bedroom, and what I do on the couch, and only one of them fits your definition of the word nap.

When I was in my twenties I would take naps.  I would get up around 11, eat some breakfast, watch CNN, take a nap for two hours around 3, get up around five, and be ready to go out for the evening.  Those were REAL naps. 

Now not so much…

In fact I don’t even refer to them as naps to my wife.  It tends to make her angry.  I refer to it as my lunch break.  After all, my lunch is taken in secret when my kids are distracted, lest I have to share.  Two hours is definitely not the norm.  More often, I have 45 minutes to close my eyes, while Yo Gabba Gabba plays in the background.  45 minutes is a very reasonable lunch break. 

Let me set the stage so I can be perfectly clear. 

We eat lunch at 1130.  (A far cry from my 20’s when I was just getting up, and called it breakfast) Jackson gets to watch one cartoon.  Usually during which, I am frantically trying to finish my chores, so that I may close my eyes afterwards.  I am often not successful.  I’ll read Jackson a story, spend some time with him, take Glenn to the bathroom, and then I am done.  This wraps up just a little after noon.  If I am done with my chores, I can sit down.  As I said, this is often not the case, and I’ll spend 15 minutes picking up toys, or whatever other crap I need to do.  Around 12:30 I’ll explain to Glenn how long I want to sleep.  He can’t tell time, but he can count cartoons.  So if I need to get up at 1:30, he will wake me up after two cartoons. 

It takes some time to wind down. Perhaps I should stop drinking so much coffee.  I am often interrupted by Glenn needing to go to the bathroom, or whatever other crap he needs.  After one cartoon, he’ll want to play with another toy.  I’m not sure why he wakes me up to let me know, but I wish he wouldn't.  Usually by the time the second cartoon starts, I finally really fall asleep.  Then 15 minutes later, it’s over…Time to start the second part of the day.

Like I said, maybe nap isn't the right word.  I still like to use it.  Do you know why?  Because, it pisses off you working stiffs.  What you imagine and the reality are so vastly different, that I just tell you what you want to hear.  It makes you feel good about yourself to imagine ME as the bum.

Unless your my wife…Than I haven’t stopped working all day.  Except to eat, “lunch.” 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Should I be a Deity?

I am a GOD among women…mostly women… OK, parents.

Well, that’s probably over stating it a bit.  Regardless, I have got some mad parenting skills, and I am not ashamed to admit it.  They just took a bit longer to kick in than I expected. 

I have been watching three additional kids on top of my own.  I’m not certain how their parents will feel about me blogging about them, so forgive me for treading lightly. 

There is the Girl (5), the Boy (3), and the baby (3 months).  When you include my children into the conversation (2 and 4) then I have almost every age group 0 to 5 covered.  If I watched my nephew (1) than I would complete the, what’s the word for a group of six? Oh yeah sextet.  I didn't know that…had to Google it.

I might have overstated my confidence when their mother came over to interview Tammi and me.  She asked if I thought having all five kids would be a challenge.  I’m not sure exactly what I said, but it was something along the lines of, “Kids, schmids….I got this.”

The truth of the situation is a bit different.  The first day they all came over, I was a little overwhelmed.  I couldn't get the baby to go to sleep.  Well, that’s not true.  I couldn't get the baby to go to sleep, unless I was holding him. 

They came over in the morning, and it wasn't even until late in the afternoon that I got my head out of my ass.  Uhh HELLO Craig…it’s called a baby swing, and it is in your closet.  By the time they left for the day, my arm felt like jelly.  I awoke the next morning and felt as if I had been in a fight.  Every part of me was sore. 

The next time they all came over I was a bit more prepared.  Their mother handed me the baby, and within moments the kids was swaddled and asleep in his swing.  Still couldn't get him into the crib, but if felt like progress. 

Now?  Now I’m back into shape and ready for the pros again.  Baby went to sleep in his crib.  While he slept everyone else played and eventually I even got lunch done before the baby woke up. Then it was diapers, cartoons, and nap time for everyone under 3.   The two oldest are in front of cartoons, enjoying their quite time.  Jackson and the boy have been asleep for the last hour, and the baby is sitting at my feet, in the bouncy seat, half sleeping and half smiling.  Side note: if you’re having a baby get a bouncy seat, they are from heaven. 

I haven’t even mentioned that I have done the dishes, laundry, and my house is not a disaster zone yet.

So yeah, even though it is likely to all come crumbling down around me any moment…for now I feel like a pro.  Although I guess a disaster would have made a better blog.  I don’t often get to talk of success. 

There was one thing that threw me for a loop.  I’m not used to being in charge of someone else’s kids.  The pressure not to break them is intense.  The girl had asked me for something, and I gave a response that I would have given to my own.  “Well, get up and come and get juice then.  I am not your slave.”

“Craig, what is a slave?”


I would like to amend my previous statements of greatness.  I have no idea what I’m doing.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Breakfast Bar Incident

I tried something new today with Jackson.  I told him that if he got on the computer again, than I would throw away one of his breakfast bars, which he may love more than me.  Of course as I came back around the corner, he was up on the computer doing his best to break it permanently. 

So I went to the pantry took out a breakfast bar, showed him, opened it, and broke it up in the garbage. (I had to break it up, otherwise he would go dumpster diving) On the scale of meltdowns he hit about a 9.  I sent him to the other room until he was able to calm down. 

Honestly I didn't like how it felt.  I felt as if I was rubbing a dogs nose in a urine spot, and I don’t think I’ll do it again.  Then Glenn confirmed that it was probably to much as he went to console his brother.

“It’s OK Jackson, I’m right here…take a deep breath.”  Once he felt as if his brother was OK  he walked straight over to me.

“Dad, you need to be nice to Jackson.  He is little and you need to be more patient with him.” There is nothing better than getting parenting advice from a 4 year old.  I thanked him for his feedback and told him that I felt I did the right thing.

“No Dad, you used bad words, and that isn't nice.  Don’t be mean to Jackson.” Jesus the kid doesn't let up does he?

“OK Glenn…I get it, I’ll tell him I’m sorry.  Also watch your tone when you provide such criticism, but thanks for sharing anyway.”  I love that Glenn feels comfortable enough to critique my performance, just not when I am angry.

Oh well back to the timeouts then…

I have written about Action Jackson and Jackson the Destroyer in the past.  Needless to say this kid challenges me, in ways that Glenn never did.  He has taken some steps forward and a few more back since he officially joined the ranks of the terrible twos. 

On the one hand he has gotten big enough to start time outs.  One minute for every year old he is.  Since those began, I have seen a marked decrease in some of his more annoying habits.  The cable box, the dog bowl, and the kitchen cabinets are all limits that he now understands.

Unfortunately he has become 100 % more mobile.  Shortly after his birthday, he mastered the art of the stool.  He knows where they are, what they are for, and items that can be used in place of a stool.  Think of him teetering on a toy for an extra foot of height.  As such, there is nowhere…NO WHERE…that is no safe from the grabby hands of Jackson the Destroyer.  

So we do a lot of timeouts.  When Glenn was getting timeouts more frequently I always said that after the third timeout he got a spanking.  With Jackson that isn't even possible.  The kid usually clears three timeouts before I can even get his diaper changed in the morning.

If he gets out of timeout, than it starts over.  The kid has Tammi’s family stubbornness, so he often will immediately go back to whatever he got the timeout in the first place, as soon as he is released.

It is not uncommon for me to have ten minutes to myself, two minutes at a time.  So with that in mind here are the best ways for you to occupy yourself, while your demon spawn of a toddler spends the morning in timeout.

#5 Dishes- It’s not sexy or exciting, but it’s also not often that you are able to empty the dishwasher without Mr. McGrabby pants climbing in.  This is a good opportunity to get shit done, without taking away from play time.

#4 Take deep breaths- lots of them.  Find your happy place and go there quickly.

#3 Sweep- Again not sexy, but when was the last time you were able to clean the floor, without a toddler holding the dustpan or walking through the pile.

#2 Nothing- Maybe this should be number one, but my priorities are different.  Regardless, there is nothing better than doing absolutely nothing.  That is nothing better except….

#1 Eat- Without being bothered, it is pure bliss.  No sharing, no tiny hands reaching up at you, pecking away at your well-deserved respite.  Pure chaos may be reigning down in the other room, but you’re at peace in the kitchen eating your pretzels.

Crap…Jackson is pulling out all of the DVD’s from the self.(AGAIN)  Let me go check with Glenn to see what he would like me to do.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


We get what seems like a never-ending supply of packages delivered to our house.  I’m not certain a week goes by without FedEx making a visit.  There is Tammi’s medicine, the dog’s food, packages from Grandma, and anything my wife buys on line. 

Yesterday,  the FedEx guy drops off a box of dog food and, per standard operating procedure, rings the doorbell and sprints back to the truck.  OK, maybe sprint is a bit of an exaggeration.

It still annoys me. 

Then, just a few moments later, the doorbell rings again.

 I look up to see the FedEx guy dropping a second box, and, once again, sprinting back to his truck.

Why does he even ring the doorbell in the first place?

Seriously, they drop off a package, ring the doorbell, and walk away.  This just pisses me off for a number of reasons.  Not the least of which, is its just rude! [Editor’s note: I’m assuming you are standing on your lawn shaking your fist?]

Either just drop off the package and walk away, or ring the doorbell and give me a moment to answer the door.  Don’t go sprinting back to your truck.  The purpose of the doorbell is to let me know you would like to speak to me.  If you don’t want to actually speak with me, then don’t ring the doorbell.

This really doesn't even have anything to do about nap time.  FedEx mostly visits us after nap time, although they have on occasion interrupted our slumber. 

Truthfully, I don’t want anyone using the doorbell…ever.

It seems, I have a never ending stream of individuals who try to sell me crap by going door to door.  I don’t know why it annoys me so much, but had I wanted to speak with you, than I would have used this new invention called the phone and called you.  A week ago someone was driving a semi by, and was walking down the street, trying to sell stolen furniture.  They didn't say it was stolen, but it didn't matter.  If I wanted furniture, I would have gone to a furniture store, vs. the alternative of waiting for someone to randomly stop by my house during the middle of the afternoon.

Moving on...Between the boy’s Grandmother and GG (Great Grandmother) they receive a care package from the frozen north (WI) once every couple of months.  So when packages do arrive, they lose their minds a little bit.

“Dad! There is a package here! Do you think it’s for me and Jackson?”

“Sorry Glenn, it looks like it is for your mom.”

“Can we open it?”

“No.  It’s is a crime to open another person’s mail.  We will have to wait until your mother comes home.”

“UHHHH!” uncontrollable crying as he falls to the floor. “I never ever get a package.”

“Glenn….you literally got a package from your GG yesterday!”

The next day he will revisit the situation again.  “Dad do you remember yesterday when mom got a package?  I really want to get a package, because I never get one…”

There is a natural progression in life, and I am in a transition phase.  First, I was a smart ass teenager, then I was in my twenty’s, and I was cool and had friends.  Now, I’m in my thirty’s and I get annoyed by strangers just doing their jobs. Soon I will be a crusty grouchy old man yelling at kids for walking in my lawn.

For now, I don’t mind if they run across the lawn, just don’t ring the doorbell. 

[Editor’s note: See]

Monday, April 8, 2013

Stay at Home Dad

If you visit the parenting section of Reddit the term is SAHD, or even SAHP for you more progressive types. 

I’m sorry but we just need a new title.  

At the nonprofit, I am Executive Director Craig Fortner.  Now that’s a title.  When you call us stay at home dads/parents, you imply that is the only hat we are wearing.  Everybody has many hats that they wear in their lives. It’s just at work and at school your hats come with fancier titles.  Hell it doesn't matter if your title includes the word assistant or even clerk.  At least you have the knowledge that there are better titles with in your reach.

All I get is stay at home dad….SAHD.  It even looks like the word SAD.  I think I’ll get some business cards with that.  Craig Fortner SAHD L.  This way when people ask what I do, I’ll just hand them my business card.  I assume they will be uncomfortable, and not ask any additional questions.

I’m not going to lie to you.  I’m writing this the day night before I post it.  (My apologies for the typos and over use of the comma)

Why? Why does this blog post have such a quick turn around?

Because I’m wearing too many GD hats!

Let’s just pish posh away the whole notion that staying at home is in anyway an actual job. Something I wrote about first here, then here and have decided already.  Sure I’m raising a HUMAN BEING, but whatever, no title means no fancy hat. 

So I started to blog.  You know people make money from blogging.  I don’t…but people do.  It’s like being an artist, lots of people make money in art, but many more don’t.  It‘s not a real job, but it is a job.  So it gets a hat.

Then there is the nonprofit.  It is turning into a very fancy hat.  I've started to toss this new hat around, and found it adds credibility to my statements.  "Of course I'm responsible enough to watch your children...I run a nonprofit."

Speaking of, eventually I'll have time to blog about the “Daddy Daycare” opened at my house a few weeks ago. It is going very well but dramatically decreases my writing time…as in entirely.  Even though it’s the exact same thing I do with my kids, I get paid to do it, so it is more of a hat than my primary job.

Least we forget about my actual job, I have one of those as well.  I still work at the hotel.  I joke with my boss when she schedules me 32 hours.  There is no way for her to get it, but that much work at the hotel, just wears me out. 

I don’t say all this to have everyone look at all I do.  Despite the many hats I wear, I don’t really do any more or less than you.  I work, just like everyone else who has a job OR doesn't.  In every single category I listed, there are many people who do that task better than I do.  There is a whole world of super parents, who do a lot more than I.

I am not those people.  I am running out of time in the day, and beginning to wonder when I’ll be given a few extra hours.  I’m sure this is something that everyone can relate to.  My problem with titles is it tends to pigeon hole us into roles.  I feel like I either need to build myself up or bring you down, in order to justify what being a stay at home parent means to me.  As if working parents Tammi doesn't feel like she is wearing too many hats.  She doesn't have enough to worry about and manage from day to day.  Her lazy house husband is stressed because he doesn't have tomorrow’s blog written. 


I just want a better title. 

How about…..BP….Busy Person?

I’d also accept GSD…Getting Shit Done.  How about you, what would your title be?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

An Exercise in Caution

***Legal Disclaimer. I LOVE my wife.  When I first wrote this, I was a bit hesitant to post it right away.  The fellow Dad bloggers I shared it with urged me to delete it and never share with anyone.  You see, my wife came off as, well, in their words, “a shrew.”  This was not my goal.  So after some serious edits, let’s see if I can remain happily married tonight. 

My wife is a bit high strung.  She is wound a little tight.  These are not my words, mind you; they come from the mouths of her internship mentor (a man who taught her and she adores).  To her, I would say that she is just highly motivated, but high strung probably works just as well.   

Everything in this life has a ying and a yang.  High strung is both a positive and a negative.  Tammi hears the word and instantly takes offense.  I hear the word, and I see all of the things my wife does for her family.  Yes, I see the negative side of the word as well.  Rest assured, I see it up close and personal.  

If I had wanted a wife who was laid back, I would have sought one.  I also would probably still be working a full time job, we would have money on the credit cards, and my house would be a den of filth.  I don’t clean the house, because I recognize the benefits of a clean house.  I do so, because I know that my wife has high standards, and more than anything, I want her to be happy.  I wouldn't change who she is, or the adjectives that she is described by, but it does come with some drawbacks. 

Her job is stressful, as all jobs are stressful, and when she comes home from work, it tends to take her some time to return to the woman I love.  This results in some comical questions...I mean, serious performance based discussions as she settles in from work.

<Funny story edited out for my own safety….Actually two stories.  I don’t know why I thought making fun of your wife in a public forum was ever going to pass for good writing.  Let me summarize them, sometimes my wife annoys me.>

Marriage is hard.  When you are younger, Disney tells you that you’re going to find your one true love and live happily ever after.  Bullshit.  We are raised with these ideas that not only will our spouse always support us, they will also never think ill of us either.  How can marriage, even a happy one, possibly live up to these expectations?

Here is the thing, as stated above, I love my wife very, very, very much, but sometimes she just pisses me off.  Yet, I don’t need my wife to be perfect.  I need her to push me, make me uncomfortable, and to help me learn to grow with her. 

How can I blog about my life if I can’t tell you when my wife pisses me off?

Why do we try to put forth these pictures of perfection, when everyone knows that we are full of crap?  As a society we discuss, in detail, how to best raise our kids, but we fail to mention helpful tips for our marriage.  This doesn't seem productive.  When I tell you I have no idea what I’m doing with my children, it’s funny.  Yet, when I tell you I have no idea what I’m doing with my marriage, it’s uncomfortable?

Tammi and I try to argue well.  We want our kids to see us get upset with each other, so they can have the tools later in life.  We (try) not to yell, curse, and personally attack.  For the most part we are successful.  By far the most effective tool we have found so far is to allow ourselves do overs.  When we realize we are upset and arguing poorly, we just start over.  Take a deep breath, and make sure the other knows you love them.  Isn't this how we teach our toddlers to deal with their emotions?

You know what?  I’m glad we have had this talk.  I’m not perfect, my kids aren't perfect, and neither is my wife.  I wouldn't have it any other way, and, quite frankly, you’re an idiot if you thought any of us were. I look forward to future discussions on the matter.  

I just hope they don’t take three sets of edits and a pissed off wife next time. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

3 Months in...

It’s hard to believe that the nonprofit is already three months old.  It seems like just yesterday, I was drafting the post which started this whole thing. (
No matter what we get done, there is still a mountain of work to continue.  My sister and I have been meeting on Sundays for two or three hours and mapping out the following week's to do list.  Sure things get marked off but many more items get added on.  I knew this would be a lot of work, but I really had no idea what I was getting myself into.
So let’s start with the good news.  In these three short months S4MS has raised over Thirteen Hundred Dollars!!!  This is amazing to me.  It humbles, intimidates, and motivates me. 
We have also begun planning our first charity event.  We will be hosting a poker tournament tentatively scheduled for Sunday May 26th, the day before Memorial Day.  We already have some great prizes lined up including hotel nights, tickets, a Visa gift card, and plan on having many more.  The goal is for no one to go home empty handed.  More information will be coming on this in the next weeks, but needless to say I am very excited.  Spots will fill up fast, so make sure you sign up in advance once the event is posted.
We have contracted a CPA, and he is continuing the process of notifying the IRS of our existence.  I was struggling to find an accountant and happened upon him by chance.  I was contacting MS support groups, so that I could go and speak.  He runs a support group, and was giving me his email address.  It was something, something, something @ I have MS and do nonprofit CPA work.  Well not really but that is what I heard.  We have had a lot of doors closed to us, in this process.  It feels so good when you see a window open. 
We have 61 ‘likes’ on Facebook.  This is good, but I know that we can do better.  ( Please share the page and let others know about our story.  I think we can double this number by the next post.
So I do have some bad news, but everyone who has experience has told me not to be concerned.  Our survey is used for two reasons.  It helps add perspective to what living with MS is like.  Since every case is different, so our comprehensive support plans will be as well.  The survey is also used to identify individuals in the DFW area that we can assist.  So far we have had 19 surveys completed.  Queue the price is right, you just lost music. 
As a result we have not yet identified the first families we will assist.  I’m not going to sweat it.  I have enough to do. 
I know that the families who need assistance are out there.  I continue to immerse myself in the MS community, and know that I will soon have more candidates than I can assist.  This month I will be speaking at various support groups, begin to more aggressively expand our corporate relationships, and strengthen our relationship with the social workers at UT Southwestern. They are one of the top MS hospitals in the country.  Dallas is very lucky to have them.  Well, people with MS in Dallas are lucky to have them. 
Thank you, everyone I have spoken to has been very supportive.  From the complete strangers who have opened up about their struggles with MS, those of you who have donated or shared our information, and all the kind words of encouragement. 

If anyone has specific comments or questions, you may email me directly at

***You may have noticed this post is out a little late today.  I mentioned in a post last week, that I had found someone who was willing to let me watch their children.  So today, instead of enjoying my many cups of coffee, I wrestled with a 3 month old, a 2 year old, a 3 year old, a 4 year old, and a 5 year old.  Much more on this later, but ya wasn't so bad.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Throw Back Thursday

Since I have had more than 50 post, I thought it was time for a throwback.  (it has nothing to do with the fact, that I have nothing to post...)

This is one of my first post, and still one of my favorites.

A Day With Dad

I have always done the grocery shopping in our family.  My wife, Tammi, has joined me a few times, and it usually involved me getting very angry, and Tammi not speaking with me.  When I go grocery shopping I take use an application on my phone and note every item in my cart.  I walk up to the register usually knowing, within a dollar, how much I have spent. It generally takes me about an hour, whether I have the boys with me or not.  In my head, Tammi walks down an aisle with her hand out, knocking items into her cart. 

When we lived in Wisconsin, we lived in a small town about thirty minutes from Madison.  When I say a small town in Madison, you should understand  I mean I lived on a farm.  The exact population in Stoughton WI is very small.  Let me provide you with an example.  Taco Bell closes at 9 p.m.  I should make that more clear.  Nine months after we moved there, when they got there first Taco Bell, it closed at 9 p.m.  Entire families went to go see the new “restaurant” in town.  One more example, next to the town of Stoughton, is the VILLAGE or Oregon. (Pronounced there as ORE-E-GONE)

Since I had always done the grocery shopping in our relationship, this didn’t change after my first son, Glenn, was born.  I was still working at the time, and, so, would always end up going the same time each week, Monday or Tuesday right after the first nap. I always seemed to run into the same lady working the liquor store.  When ever she saw me and Glenn she would say,  “Ohh, look a day with DAD!”

 I never said anything.  Rather, I just smiled and encouraged Glenn to be nice, and say, “hello.”  Yet, nothing annoyed me more than the “Day with Dad” statement.

Today in America, if a father takes any child into the store under four years of  age , he is viewed as a super-hero.  Old ladies stop me while shopping to tell me how brave I am to walk into a store with a child – as if they never dreamed of taking their four kids to the store because their family needed to buy food.  Come on everyone, I think we need to raise our expectations of the American father.  I often joke with Tammi that all I need to do to be a good father is not hit her and don’t leave her ass hanging.  Let me be clear, this is not a Day- With-Dad.  I am his Dad.  He spends every day with me.  Whether I am working or staying home, the kid is my son. When my wife goes to work, I am not babysitting.  She does not cut me a check once a week.  I will not pretend to be emotionless when it comes to my children.  I don’t cry when a hallmark commercial comes on but that doesn’t mean I am indifferent to my kids.

….Besides the alternative is to let my wife spend 40 dollars on organic fruits and vegetables when God intended for that money to be spent on meat and potatoes.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Bad Rewrite

I’m so pissed right now.  I had to write this entire blog over.  Yup, had to scrap the entire thing and start from scratch.  It was funny, insightful, and heartfelt, but you’ll never see it.  All you get is this second- rate rewrite.

What was it about you ask?

How people are a bunch of hypocrites. Well, not everyone. Some of you started off telling me that I was less than a man for staying home with my kids.

But the rest of you, those who said it was perfectly acceptable, I’m talking to you.

For the past month or so, I have been looking to supplement my income by providing in-home daycare.

Not even a nibble.

Sure, I can watch my own kids, but your precious bundle?  No, thank you, I’m probably a pedophile.  So I wrote an entire blog slamming you all for your hypocrisy.

Then, three days before I was set to post, I get a reply from one of the many emails I sent out on  This mom needs on-call care for her three-month, three-year, and five-year-old Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. 

This job is perfect for Tammi and me. Because I only work when she doesn't it allows us to earn money without leaving home. 

Sure, having five kids in the house at one time is certainly going to increase my work load.  Honestly, the number of kids in the house is going to be the least of my concerns.  What really worries me is what is going to happen to Tammie’s ovaries when she holds a three- month-old baby.  I’m seriously worried the baby will send out a chemical literally capable of overriding her birth control. 

Okay, enough about my wife’s reproductive system, and back to the matter at hand.

Why are we so hesitant to have a male watch our children? 

Does it really all come down to pedophilia?

Sadly, I think it does.  Which begs the question “Is a child more likely to be molested by a day care provider or by their uncle?  Stats say they are more at risk from the adults they know.  If that’s true than if I just limited the number of adult males they know than I am limiting the chances that something bad would happen, right?

This is just a result of the society we live in.  Gender stereotypes are not just a topic of conversation.  They take root in our thought process, and have real world results. 

If a strange male interacts with our children, than all sorts of alarm bells tend to go off.  If society tells us that men do not like children, than a man who does clearly like them, must be doing so for the wrong reasons.  Right???

It seems easy to get caught in these inaccurate traps of logic, and I think most of us do on a subconscious level.  Typically, once we realize we are discriminating, then we stop. 

Well, at least one person did, so I guess there is still hope.

It is too bad that someone did, though, this was much better the first time I wrote it.  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Two Shorts and an Afterthought


The last time I posted about Jackson's conversational skills, I was a bit challenged.  Since Use Your Words he has gone through a bit of word explosion, as a two year old is apt to do.  Among my favorites is the word ‘Noooooow?’  This is how it goes…


“Yeah, in just a minute, as soon as I’m done with the dishes.” I put the glasses away.


“No Jackson, I need to do ALL of the dishes.” I put the plates away.


“Not yet, I need to load the dishwasher.”


“Yep…….As soon as I wipe down the sink.”

I know it is going to get very annoying…very quickly, but honestly it is so very adorable.


Battle of the beds: As of writing this I remain victorious.  I know that you were worried.  

During the war of the beds, I would often reward sleeping in your own bed, with cake during lunch.  I no longer remind him of the previous agreement, but if there is cake in the house he somehow manages to remember.  This happened back when Tammi was out of town.

“DAD! I slept in my own bed last night.  That means we ALL get cake today!!!”

“Not me, I don’t get any cake….”

“Why not, you slept in your bed too.”

“Nope…Your Mom’s out of town, I fell asleep on the couch.”

“It’s OK because you wipe my nose, and help me out, and pick up after me, so you can have cake too.  I just decided that.”

One More Thought

I’ll try and make this quick. 

Tammi asked me the other day, if I was happy only working part-time.  The answer was a resounding YES.  Am I recommending that everyone quit their jobs, and stay home with the kids? No. 

I've said this a lot, but as long as you are an engaged and listening parent then you are doing it right.

After that make yourself happy, whether you go to work or stay home.  Tammi gets these moments, as well, and they are just as precious.

“Glenn, I love you this much.”  You know, with her arms extended.

“Mommy I love you six towns away.”  In my head he doesn't even move his arms.

Whatever choices works for your family make sure you’re paying attention, or you will miss these short moments. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

I'm a Dumbass

At some point in my younger years, my evil sister told me that if I didn’t cry when Dad gave me a spanking, then he would think I was a man and stop.

Genius, I thought…

Then I tried it.

When I didn't start crying, my father seemed to take it as a personal challenge.  He dropped my “drawers,” and he made sure I understood how angry he was with me.

A few days later, I was up for another spanking (go figure).  Only now I had mastered the trick.  Before my mother’s hand even made contact with me, I let loose a blood curdling scream.  I kept it up throughout the spanking.  Afterwards, I was sent to my room to think about what I had done.  I sat and happily played with my toy cars, content in my knowledge that I had figured out how to outsmart my parents.  I even heard my mother tell my father, as she walked past my door, “I think I might have hurt him.”

I didn't get many spankings after that.

When people say the word “spank,” it seems to conjure up images of the 1940’s and children getting beaten with switches.  The phrase “rule of thumb” is not a joke people; it used to mean you could beat your wife with anything smaller than the width of a man’s thumb.  (Thank you Boondock Saints)

Violence is not a joke.  Many people who would include themselves in my generation were not spanked, they were beaten.  I was not.  Thousands of women and children are abused in the United States and around the globe every year.  My wife is not one of them.

That is not how I parent either. 

My parents never even used a belt, although some of my friends were spanked with belts and sticks.  This sort of violence is not appropriate.  My parents spanked all of their children until, wait for it, it stopped being useful.  At a certain point, spanking no longer changes behavior, but rather it shames and builds resentment in the relationship. 

I don’t like to use the word spanked, because it has such a negative connotation.  I swat.  Once a child is up and walking around, they get into everything.  We didn't start either of the boys on timeouts (our preferred negative consequence) until they started pushing two.  Until that point the get a swat on the hand for getting into something that they are not supposed to touch.  After that point, when they get three timeouts in a day, they get a swat to the bum. 

I often hear that the reason parents don’t spank is because they don’t want to teach their children that anger and violence is an appropriate response.  Neither do I, but anger and violence is a response and adults often use it.  A fellow dad blogger recently wrote a post about when he almost spanked his child.  In it, his daughter is pushing and pushing and pushing as children do.  Eventually, he gets a book thrown at his face and ends by removing himself from the interaction.  A tool I have often used in the past.  I’m not judging how he handled the situation, but, to say the least, I would have handled it differently. 

I would rather my kids learn what happens when you throw a book at someone’s face now, than when they are in their twenty’s and at a bar.  If they try that shit there, I am certain the person will not simply leave.  (Well maybe Jackson gets away with it)  To be clear though, I wouldn't beat them or spank them, but I would swat their bum as they went to timeout.  Yeah, I would probably yell as well.  After the timeout, we can have a more rational conversation. 

Like many things in parenting, you have to do what’s right for you.  Each parent has to do what is right by them.  I get that, I just wish the word spank could stop being equated with beat.  That’s not what I do.

Besides, spankings (swatting) only works when they are young.  As I said above, eventually it just stops working, and you’ll need to get more creative anyway – something my father was very good at doing.  Shortly after I stopped getting spankings, I wished that I could go back.  When I did something wrong, my father would just give me a stack of paper.

“Write, ‘I’m a dumbass’ a thousand times.”  Do you know how much your hand hurts after that?  Trust me, it was more than my ass ever did.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


A couple of months ago, we put together bunk beds for the boys.  This will, almost certainly, result in a late night trip to the emergency room eventually.  My guess is that shortly after learning how to get up to the top bed, Jackson will just as quickly learn how not to get down from the top bed. 

Yet, even with this potential disaster looming, I feel I've achieved a great victory.

Prior to the bunk beds, I had told you how I had lost control of my OWN bed. No longer was my very expensive Tempurpetic bed for the graceful slumber of a sleep well-earned, nor was it to be designated for other more rigorous activities.

But now the tables have turned.  I am glad to report that since the installation of said bunk beds, I have not had a child in my bed.  Well, that’s not completely true, but there have been only a small handful of occasions.  After installation, we had a solid two weeks of peace.

Glenn is very comfortable getting up and down, but has thus far shown an unwillingness to do so in the middle of the night.  He has only wet the bed twice, and, after the first, I let him know he would be sleeping in his brother’s bed if he did it again.  He did, and he did.  Jackson was not pleased, but it was that or I could take Glenn to sleep with me in my bedroom. 

More importantly, we have not had the struggles of nap time that I remember from Glenn.  I was dreading teaching Jackson how to sleep in a big kid’s bed.

I remember Glenn going to a big bed and having to walk him back to bed for nap time about, oh, does a thousand times seem like I’m exaggerating too much? Jackson has had none of those challenges (knock on wood).

“Jackson, have you had a good afternoon?”


“I’m glad. Are you tired?”


“Do you want me to go?”


With that I get up and walk out of the room.  It amazes me how different these two little kids can be in temperament.  Logically, I can step back and tell you my sister and I are nothing alike.  Sure we share some similarities, but you know what I mean.  We are two different people.  Just like Glenn and Jackson.  Why do I keep expecting them to act the same? 

Am I parenting them differently?

Not really.  It just turns out that we are all different, and we begin showing those differences at a very early age. 

The problem is that now I am paranoid.  Having achieved the victory I so badly desired, I keep suspecting saboteurs to attack.  Every night I go to bed, and I assume that the infestation of children is about to begin.
They will wait until there is a thunderstorm, the sneaky bastards, and creep into my room under the rouse of being scared.  Only next time, when there is a next time, they will come in pairs.  They will tell their mother that they are scared, or they want to cuddle, or whatever cockamamie schemes developed by children. She will fall for it, and I will be given even less room.  It seems that Glenn is willing to have a temporary truce until that time.

I feel like a man 48 hours from death row.  I have won the freedom of my bed back, but I know that this victory cannot be long lived.  In the meantime, I just hope that the trip to the ER isn't as serious (or expensive) as I’m anticipating.  

Monday, March 11, 2013

How to Overreact

When I joined the dad blogging community, something stood out to me right away.  These guys are really defensive about how dads are represented.  For the most part, I thought they were over reacting somewhat.

You see, I know what I do is not the norm, even if it is becoming increasingly more common.  I don’t expect for Tide to advertise to me (yet).  It would be nice if they paid attention, but I don’t buy the cleaning supplies, so they would be missing the mark anyway.  Other men do though, and I think we will continue to see a slow…very slow…move in that direction.

Then, it happened.

I was at my part-time job, and we were just having a normal conversation like any other day.  The woman I was working with had just returned from maternity leave.  Maybe because of social conditioning, maybe because of gender differences, but she didn't bring up her kid to me right away, something I've seen happen at work before.  I suspect that had I been a woman, her newborn would have been the very first topic of conversation.

At some point during the day, she asked me what our electric bill looks like.  I, of course, did not know, because Tammi takes care of it.

“Who is the man in your relationship?” she asks.  Where the Fuck did that come from?  She was happy enough to have me teach her how to swaddle her newborn, but this makes her uncomfortable?

“Uhh, I am…”  This is the last time in the conversation that I attempted to de-escalate the situation, and it was a bad attempt at that.

“Yeah, but your wife takes care of everything that men are supposed to handle.”  I honestly don’t even know what she means here.  Is she asking me if I take out the trash or if I have a penis?

“Well, what are you doing here?  I mean by that definition your being a terrible woman, because someone else is watching your child. Shouldn't you be at home?”

“Yeah, but I’m single, so I don’t have a choice, you have decided to let your wife take care of things.”

Her rigid adherence to stereotypical gender roles shocked me.  Because I’m in a relationship I should make Tammi stop working?  The whole conversation had made me very angry, and I was surprised how much so.

“Well, if you had a penis than you would be smarter and have a promotion already.  Instead you’re 28 and working for 9 bucks an hour.” Essentially, it was the adult version of pulling her pigtails.

At this point, my boss, who had been sitting close enough to hear, decided it was time to step in before I said something that was going to get me fired.

Here is what I would like to do.  Let’s define our gender by the genitalia we have?  Let’s not even include what you do with it or who you do it with in the definition

OK, getting a little too crude….my apologies.

More than anything, I was shocked at how quickly I had become offended.  Was staying at home making me more sensitive? No. She was being straight up offensive.

Listen, the vast majority of people are very comfortable with a dad staying home.  Well, maybe not the majority.  If it was truly the majority of people, than I would be able to find someone to pay me to watch their kids.  I can’t.  Tide would feel comfortable asking me to buy their product.  They don’t. Yet.

I’d like to feel that when confronted with racism or sexism or some other -ism that I respond with a reasoned and mature response that avoids name calling.  I want to tell the person that, even if they are not racist or sexist or some other -ist, the comment was, in fact, sexist. And we can do better than that. We have to because A) it benefits us all to allow each person to contribute their best work instead of being shoehorned into a role they don’t like and B) it’s simply the right thing to do.

That’s what I’d like to do every time. This time, I made a penis joke and thought some inappropriate words.  I’m sure there will be a next time.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Single Cell Amoeba

Tammi left last night for a trip to Vegas.  I can think of no one worse to go to Vegas with than Tammi (she’s a bit straight-laced, too cheap to gamble and always wants to be asleep by 10:30).  Well, except that time we got married. That was fun.

It’s a work trip, and she will mostly be in class all day, in a hot tub during the evenings, and going to bed early.  I am very envious, but it’s not the trip I would take, you know, if I got to take work trips.

Now, I am home with the boys for four days. All. By. Myself.

This is a grand opportunity. I was thinking, “If I can’t go to Vegas, why not bring Vegas to me?”  That sounds like a plot to a bad sitcom.

I once had a theory that it would take “Old Craig” approximately two hours after Tammi’s departure, to revert back to a single cell amoeba. Previously, it has, on occasions, taken mere seconds after she leaves for me to be in my boxers, beer bottles everywhere, smoking inside, and with a sink instantaneously full of dishes.  The return to form took about 12 hours.  The night before her return, I would stop smoking inside, pick up the trash, start the dishes, and go to bed early.  In the morning, I’d clean the floors, add some Febreze, and I was good to go. 

Now, it’s different.

I tried really, really, hard but I wasn't able to de-evolve all the way.  The farthest I have been able to revert back to is a one-kid dad.  It’s already been 12 hours, and I think that amoeba is out of the question. 

Sure, I had the guys over.  We didn't pick up after ourselves, we all took care of  our heroin addiction (i.e. cigarettes) inside, I stayed up late, and we didn't recycle.  I made it all the way to 10 a.m. before plopping the kids in front of cartoons, something I’d generally avoid. 

Yet, stuff still has to get done.  There is a four and a two year old in the other room. If I sit them in front of cartoons all day today, then it’s just going to make tomorrow more horrible.  Plus, eventually, they are going to demand I feed them.  Or, worse yet, not say anything at all until the sugar imbalance becomes so overwhelming that my day of peace is shot. 

It’s more than that though.

Prior to Tammi leaving, she had worked, what felt like much more than just, six days in a row.  I feel like I haven’t seen her in two weeks for more than 30 minutes.  Additionally, people who would normally come over and visit have had other things going on.  One of them had the nerve to get a girlfriend. While my own sister seems to think it is important to have her child sleep in his OWN crib. 

After about day four of her working, I started to get depressed, but I didn't finally realized it until around day six.  When you’re depressed, there is a vicious cycle of doing less and less, only to have that make you more depressed.  I could devolve to as close to a single cell as the boys will allow.  It’s only going to make me more lonesome and more bored and more depressed.

You know, we are not so different than those little creatures we try so hard to raise well.  I’d be outraged if someone suggested I plant my kids in front of cartoons day and night for weeks and years at a time.

Yet for some reason, as soon as I put them to bed, I turn the TV on and stare blankly for hours until bedtime.  We have a sugar balance, we need to eat our own vegetables, and we need some outside time. 

With all that said, I don’t plan on dressing the boys today, but no one stops the dishes monster.  God forbid, I ignore the laundry for a day.  It’s time to stop writing and get to work, my hangover is gone and cloth diapers do not fold themselves.

“Boys, TURN OFF the cartoons!”

Monday, March 4, 2013

No Convincing Otherwise

As Glenn quickly approaches his fourth birthday, I can’t help but think how far we have come.   There are a few pictures in particular that for some reason I have always used to measure his growth.  The first is him, as a newborn, lying on his blanket.  He is happy, unable to roll over, and on his stomach in our living room floor back in Wisconsin.  The second is him in the same spot, approximately a year later, only now he has managed to crawl about ten feet away from the blanket.  The third, another year later, and he is sitting by the corn field looking back across the street at the house, seen above, his little blanket still sitting on the living room floor.  Now he is in Texas and I feel like he will forever be exploring farther and farther away from his little blanket.  I’m looking forward to the growth curve slowing.

It’s tough, because I want him to grow up, I want to him to not need company or assistance when he goes to the bathroom.  Sometimes I wish we could just fast forward to him at 22, and sit together at a bar.  Discussing life, love, and politics like two friends.  He is close to moving beyond the little boy stage.  Will things be easier or do they just remain differently difficult?  As parents the more work we put in, the less they need us.  Eventually he will be 22, and he will no more want to spend time with me than he needs his little blanket.

Despite what seems to be his accelerated pace towards adulthood, we still have some time.

The follow is a list of items/habits that we are “working on”

#1- His Uncle did not make his Nani.(pronounced na-nee) The stuffed animal he sleeps with at night.

#2- He had not previously met a friend of mine even though I hadn't seen him in years.  “Yes Dad I met him a long time ago…

#3- His uncle did not give birth to his second cousin. 

#4- I can’t get him to stop referring to stores, by the state in which they reside.  ‘Dad you remember that time grandma took me to Wisconsin Wal-Mart.  I remember that.’

#5- He does not need to scream my name in order to have his nose wiped.  A much better solution would be to move his hand 30 inches to take the tissue and wipe his own nose.

#6 His brown eyes do not help him see in the dark

Truth be told I’m glad because, I want him to stay right where he is at.  Where he can look past every bumbling mistake I make, and still see me as a superhero.  Where he randomly will tell me that I’m his best friend, spend the morning cuddling with me, and show me his ‘moves’ as he wrestles with imaginary bad guys.  More than anything I want him to stop crawling further and further away from his little blanket. 

Monday, February 25, 2013


This has been a crazy month.  Six weeks ago I floated the idea of a non-profit by my sister.  I didn't know what it would do, but I wanted it to revolve around MS and children.  My wife has MS and I first presented the idea to ya’ll last month in Ten People.

Since then I have gotten a lot of great ideas, and support from everyone that makes up my circle of influence.  As you may imagine there are a ton of steps to take in order to convince the IRS not to take your money. 

S4MS will provide assistance to families affected by MS.  Helping to enrich the time spent with their children through community involvement, financial assistance, and information.

I think I got ahead of myself.  What is Multiple Sclerosis?

MS is a neurological disease where your body’s immune system attacks your nervous system.  Think of your nervous system as an electrical wire, with the wire protected by the plastic covering.  MS attacks the plastic covering.  When you tell your hand to move, only your hand receives the message.  When the plastic covering is removed, the foot may also receive the message for my hand to move.  This is a very simplistic way of looking at it, and if you would like to learn more, than this is a great place to start, What is MS???
The symptoms of MS vary greatly from person to person.  Some people have vision problems, others digestive; many have trouble with balance and often will need some form of assistance walking.  Because of this MS is a diagnosis of elimination.  You don’t have a funny feeling in your leg, go to the Dr.’s, and the next day you have MS.  When Tammi was diagnosed, prior to meeting me, she lost the vision in her right eye for three days.  It was not until three months later that she received the diagnosis of MS.  Although she did not yet have children, this is an especially stressful time for the children. 

S4MS is going to select four families and provide them with support, services, sanity, and strength for an entire year.  We will provide them with a personal comprehensive support plan.  It may be small things I go grocery shopping once a month, or clean their house, it will certainly include a weekend at a hotel, and I’ll mow their lawn, build them a wheelchair ramp, fix a fence, or even provide a counselor for personal and financial advice.  The idea is to take stress off their plate and to replace those with positive moments with their children. 

Please help me in having as many people see THIS....Yes THIS survey, and collect as much information as possible from individuals with MS. 

The Board of Directors has been set, the corporation will be officially formed this week, and then we will be able to let the IRS know we exist.  You can now go here Here...Yes Here!! to make a contribution.  Please do not think that a small donation now, is not helpful.  As soon as the dill holes at the IRS file my paperwork, all donations will be considered a charitable donation.  *If any employees of the IRS happen to be reading this, please know that this was a joke.  One made in poor taste and for that I am sorry.

Additionally if you have any questions or additional feedback, you can reach me directly through, S4MS' Facebook Page.  Don’t forget to like the page, and suggest it to others.  You can also follow the organization via twitter at

Everyone who is working with me on the Board of Directors was chosen for a particular reason.  I am very much looking forward to working with them.  Without them today's post would have been summed up with…I’m working on it.

Steve - GM Embassy Suites

Ms. Webster- Owner and Operator of local Montessori School

Carolyn- DFW Realities

Ellena Fortner-Newsom- Sister and public relations savant

Me- Executive Director

Thank you again for sharing this information with others, and as always I will continue to keep everyone informed.  My hope is to post about S4MS on at least a monthly basis. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Ashe to Ashes We all Fall Down

I thought I could do anything. 

I am Super Dad — fussy children crumble beneath my powers of persuasion.  Diapers, low blood sugar, even nap times are powerless against me.  I thought.

Also I love Ash Wednesday Mass.  The Lenten season is one of my favorites, and I look forward to its start every year.  The message of Ash Wednesday has always resonated with me.

Lesson One: You’re going to die.  Not only are you going to die, but this world was spinning before you got here, and it will continue to spin after you leave. 

Lesson two:  You have made mistakes…bad ones even.  You will make more mistakes in the future.  You will even make them knowing they are bad mistakes.  Try to do better.

Lesson Three: When you’re not making mistakes, keep your mouth shut.  Stop talking about the awesomeness of you.  No one cares that you give 10% of your income to your church.  No one even cares what church you attend.  Every time you talk about a good act, it devalues the act itself. 

Regardless of what, if any, religious affiliation you have, these are good lessons.  Lessons that even at my boys’ young ages of four and two, I want them to start hearing.

This Ash Wednesday, I had to work in the morning, so attending in the afternoon when it was convenient to the kids didn't work. Our best option was 6:15 p.m., otherwise known as 45 minutes before bedtime.  This was not going to be easy. 

I got home around 3:30 in the afternoon, giving me enough time to spend five precious minutes with my wife, before she left for work.  I collected the boys and headed off to the grocery store for Valentine ’s Day.  It was already a full day, but even that trip had its moments.   We got home about twenty minutes to five and I shoved left over mac n cheese down their throats. 

Jackson was already showing signs of this not ending well, and I had to use every trick in the book to get enough food, i.e. energy, into him to make this work. 

I knew Mass would be crowded, so we left early.  As I get the boys out of the car, I realized Jackson had a dirty diaper. I Thanked the deity we were about to go see, because I had run back inside for diapers and wipes just before leaving the house. We get inside Church just as they were asking everyone to scoot in closer.  I was lucky enough to find a seat, and we had about ten minutes until Mass started.  Jackson was good, but I could see that Jackson the Destroyer was not far off.

We all stood up for the opening hymn, and, although Jackson demanded I hold him, everything was off to a great start.  I heard tunes of SUPER DAD in my head. 

Then, came the first reading and followed quickly by the screaming.  Jackson the Destroyer was only happy if I was holding him, err I mean put him down, no that wasn't right pick him up again, ya know what maybe I should just let him wander the church pew.  Well, that wasn't going to work. 

After an eternity, the first reading wrapped up and there was a short song.  A few short moments of peace, where my blood pressure was not peaking to heights never before seen.  I let Glenn know that we were going to move to the quiet room if Jackson did that again. 

As soon as the song ended Jackson the Destroyer let me know of his presence again.  I gave Glenn the head nod to know that we were moving.  As I stood up, there was silence in the church, just enough silence for Action Jackson to make a cute appearance.

“Bye-Bye!” He shouted with a smile as he waived.

When we turn around I saw how crowded the mass had really become, and there was a throng of people standing in the back.  We shuffle our way to the cry room only to discover it is not only out of seats but all available standing room as well.  That’s when I see that Mass had passed the stage of over crowded about 50 people ago. A throng of people stretches into the hallway and through the next room. 

This is ridiculous, “Boys we are going home.”

When we get in the car, I let Jackson know how upset I am with him.  I am ranting, raving, and generally making an ass of myself in front of the boys.  How do I know? Well, I hear Glenn talking to me softly in the backseat.

“Dad, its O.K.  I am right here.  Take a deep breath.  Breathe in (provides an example) and then breathe out. (Providing another example)  You see Dad, that’s how you do it.  You need to relax, Jackson is little and he doesn't mean to.  It’s O.K. I’m right here.”

I didn't want to calm down. I tried to stay mad, but, damn it, if that’s not the cutest thing I had heard all day.  So after ten minutes of ‘soothing’ me, I let Glenn know that I’m better, and thanked him. 

This is after all the Lenten season, self-improvement through suffering…Super Dad I am not.