Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mr. Brown Eyes

**You will notice I've gone back to using names.  I feel like using initials makes it to difficult to read.  So I have made up names, for the people in my life.  If you don’t like the name I give you…well I don’t care.  Except for the wifey, I'll let her pick a new name if she likes. Everyone’s fake name will start with the same letter as their real name. 

“Not to be racist but…”

Never in the history of the spoken word has this phrase been followed by something that isn't in fact racist.  I hate this phrase.  I usually will cut people off when I hear this.

“Then don’t be.”

Soon Glenn turns four, so it is time to start thinking about how to talk about racism.  Let’s start with the bad news.  Outside of his classmates, Glenn doesn't know anyone of non-Caucasian ethnicity, so it’s good we moved from WI.  Wikipedia tells me today that 83% of WI residents describe themselves as Caucasian, compared to 67% in the rest of the country. J’s godfather is African American, but he lives on the east coast and doesn't see him, well, ever.  He is a good friend of mine and we talk often, but neither of us is in position to be jet setting across the country. 

Whenever Terri and I talk about the potential of adopting a kid, I always hesitate.  Here is why. I’m under the assumption that adopting white kids takes more time than adopting a non-white baby. I don’t know if my assumption is correct or the result of television, etc.

So if we were ever to adopt, the odds are extremely high we would have a child of minority descent.  To be clear: I have NO problem with this.  My concern is how do I, as a white person, authentically and honestly teach them about a culture I don’t belong to? It would be important, for me, to teach our new family member about our family AND his or her heritage. I just have a problem thinking this middle-class white guy is the best person to explain racism to a child who will, sadly, probably experience more of it than I have encountered.  Fortunately, I am not currently tasked with that problem.  But the two white kids in the living room, those are my problem.

Kids are not stupid.  If I was racist to people, then they would already know it and have formed irrational reasons in their head for why it’s okay. I’m also certain that they both wonder why they do not see African Americans come over.  (Please do not use that to make assumptions about my views or me based off of this fact alone.)  Regardless, the time to be avoiding the subject with Glenn is over. 

MLK day offered me the perfect opportunity to bring it up.  Well that’s not true.  It being on CNN afforded Glenn the perfect opportunity to ask about it.  A lot of parents focus on answering their kid’s questions well.  I try to focus on asking good questions and helping them with the answers, especially if you don’t know the answers.

“Glenn do you understand what the news means when they say African American?”


 “Does everyone have the same color skin as you?”


“African American is referring to people who have a different skin color.”

“Like Brown skin?” I can see him putting together the list of people he knows in his head.  I think he chose the color brown because he doesn't see African Americans as being truly ‘black.’ We don’t correct bad grammar, or in this case, etiquette.  We praise good grammar and etiquette.

“Are African Americans different than you?”

“…Yes???” At the first sign of hesitation, I know we have reached our starting point.

“Yes, they are different, but in a superficial way.  Like your eyes.  Do you and your brother have different color eyes?”

“Yes, his eyes are blue and my eyes are brown.  Hey, I’m brown too!!!”

Not quite Glenn. 

It seems to me that as parents we have only two choices.  Avoid the conversation altogether, so as to let them make up their own mind.  Or confront the topic head on and help to shape that opinion.  I am not going to leave him alone to form his own opinions about sex or religion, why would I let him come to his own conclusions about race? Yet, I think that a lot of parents do just that, especially Caucasian parents when it comes to the topic of race.  I suspect, although I do not know, that this conversation comes much sooner for minority parents.

I went on to explain why those kids were being sprayed with hoses, but it seemed to go over his head.  This topic is going to have to be talked about over and over.  After all, you wouldn't tell them to wash their hands just once would you? So I am sure this is not my last post.

But because you talk about it, then they are going to talk about it, and I can already see the awkwardness I will deal with.  It most likely will take place while running errands at the store.

“Look Dad…that lady is brown like me!!”

“Not quite Glenn”

Monday, January 28, 2013

Use Your Words

Jackson gets very upset when his brother sleeps in our bed. 
The rule is if Glenn wakes him up leaving their shared bedroom, then he has to stay in his own bed.  So the other night, when it was Jackson who couldn’t sleep, I had to use the opposite of this rule. .  I soothed him, began to leave the room, and he let out the “OMG! You’re killing me. Please don’t leave the room. I’m your son. Won’t you just pick me up one more time?” scream.  I walked back to his crib, placed my hand on his chest.
“Jackson, if you don’t calm down and go to sleep, then I am going to take your brother to my bed.”
Not “Ok, I understand. I’ll calm down” silence, though.
It was more like, “I’ve been playing you like a fool for the past six months.  I understand every word you say, and I just thought if I gave you the death scream you might pick me up.  Love you Dad, but I’m sleepy and, if you’re not going to pick me up, I need to get back to sleep.”  You know, that kind of silence.
It hit me like a ton of bricks…Ladies and gentlemen, we have officially entered the terrible twos….Please return your tray tables to their full, upright position.
I have found the terrible twos are a random swinging of two very strong emotions — frustration and empathy.  May I assume you understand the frustration part? 
No? Well, let me be brief. 
Kid cries because he wants a glass of milk. You give him said glass of milk, and he proceeds to lose his mind because you gave it to him in the wrong cup.  You’ve heard of Shaken Baby Syndrome? But they never warn you about ‘Slap Your Two Year Old Across the Face’ Disease.  Understanding the wants of a two year old is to say the least, very frustrating.  Worse, this is all happening two weeks before we move him to a big kid’s bed…that’s for another blog.
Now, if Glenn wanted his milk in a particular cup, he would ask for his milk in a particular cup.  (To which I would say, “This is not a butler service. If you want a special cup, then get a job, hire a butler and have him wait on you. I am not your butler.”)  No muss and easily avoided fuss, if any.
When you’re two, those requests have certain parameters. For Jackson, his verbal boundaries are currently nine words — milk, juice, breakfast bar (pronounced bra-bra), brother (bro-bro), Lola (dog one of three), No (his favorite), momma and dada. That’s it. All his wants and needs and desires and fears communicated through nine words and lots of screams.  After the frustration passes, and I put myself in those restrictions, I only feel empathy.
And to think, I thought it was me who was frustrated.  He has other words that I don’t count yet.  The old spelling bee rule — can you use it in a sentence? I was pretty sure he said, “thank you” the other day. He can also use sign language to say “more, finished, sorry, and please.” 
Think of it this way.  I drop you off in a foreign country where you have study the language to the extent that you can understand 90 percent of the conversation. But only respond with nine words. How long until you start crying?
Can you imagine getting through your day with nine words and some hand gestures?  They aren’t even verbs yet, just nouns.  Let’s say we remove the restriction on the number, and just say you can only use nouns today.
I can hear you at work now… “You…TPS report…ME…UGH”
Nouns alone are too hard to use by themselves.  So the question then becomes, given any, what nine words would you choose to make it through the day?
Here is mine: You, Me, Hungry, Fuck, Help, Sleep, Drink, No, Go

***Update, since I wrote this, last week, Jackson has probably added about 6 other words.  So the good news is that it will get a little easier, every day.  I would suspect that by the time he is up to 100 words will have moved on to the 3’s (spoiler alert) it only gets worse…

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Not So Secretly Judging You

So far, it hasn't happened to me, although for sure I have deserved it.  I have heard it is very common, and I wonder if I've avoided it is because of my gender so far.  My sister had it happen to her the other day for the first time. 

She was running an errand and a complete stranger told her that her son needed a coat.  She immediately began justifying why he didn't, and she was absolutely correct.  Now, I've known my sister for a long time…as long as I've been alive actually.  Justifying her actions to complete strangers is not really in her character makeup.  Yet, she did. 

I would like to think I would have a witty response ready to go. 

“Your right, I’m terrible at this.  Do you think you could take them, or would I be better off reaching out to CPS?”

A small part of me hopes I just go off on the person, but since my kids will be there, I don’t really want them to see me handle conflict that way. Yet, I know I will do the exact thing she did — I’ll half justify my reaction and half walk away.

Like most parents, I've been not so secretly judging you ever since my first child was born.  You’re a terrible parent, and if you were a better parent, than your kids would be more like mine…ya know…perfect.  It is simple really — if my kid is perfect and your kid is not, then the only two options are genetics or parenting…right?  If I were a woman, they would call this “mommy wars.” The idea is that there is a right and a wrong way to parent.  Guess which side you fall on?

I just have enough tact to not mention it directly.  This may shock you, but I even let my friends make multiple parenting mistakes without ever letting them know.  I’m nice enough to point out that they have a piece of food in their teeth but not that they may be ruining their child.

Why does having a child make us ALL so judgmental?

While the most popular mommy wars involve breastfeeding, co-sleeping, home schooling, and car seats, I have never heard anyone refer to “daddy wars,” which I think is more a product of our culture than any superiority or non-competitiveness on the dad’s part. What would ‘daddy wars’ Sound like?

“You’re raising your son as a Notre Dame fan?  You do know that studies have shown this will lead to your children over estimating expectations and constant disappointments?”

“Yeah, well at least he will know the word champion!”

Let’s allow for some over generalizations here.  I think we do not see daddy wars for a few reasons.  Number one: culturally, dads aren't invested in parenting like women are cultured to be, so we don’t care about your kids.  The media is constantly stoking the flames of resentment for women, dragging them into arguments, they otherwise wouldn't care about.  Dads are just as competitive, but as a result of the lack of media attention, your kid being perfect doesn't prevent mine from being so as well. Number two: it is easier for us to admit that we have no idea what we are doing.  Mainly because society tells us we shouldn't.  Finally, and sadly, there are not enough dads who are actively engaged in their children’s life.  Those that still think the bar is set at not beating your wife.

The truth is there is no right and wrong way to parent.  As long as you love them, then you are doing it right.  When asked, my number one piece of advice for new parents is simple.  Trust your instincts, they have been working for thousands of years.  Our family has a list of what is important to us.  It helps to keep out all the white noise and make decisions.  Call it a family mission statement.

Play- —No flash cards, no baby geniuses, just focus on play.  Ask thoughtful questions while you play.

Sleep — Sleep is as important as food.  You wouldn't starve your children; don’t make them sleep deprived.  Our boys go to bed at 7 p.m. and wake up at 7 a.m.  J naps anywhere from two to three hours in the afternoon.  This often means that T and I miss out on things we would otherwise want to do.
3   Consistency — This applies to almost anything.  Consistent rules, punishments, schedules, and diets.
      Respect — This has recently been officially added, but it has always been important.  Respect your toys, yourself, your parents, your house, everything.

This is just what we use. You may feel free to judge us if you like.  Just keep your comments to yourself, unless you’re willing to take over full time.

Monday, January 21, 2013

10 People

I’m not going to lie, I really enjoyed it.

Last Monday’s post ( ) received more than 300 hits in 12 hours and 500 in 28.  I know this is actually a very small number when you consider the vastness of the Internet, but, you have to understand, I can barely get my own wife or friend(s) to listen to me.  The trick is chocolate and beer.  Don’t offer your friends the chocolate, though; it won’t do any good. 

Thank you to anyone who read, shared, commented, or liked the blog in the past.  I hope you continue to read, share, comment and enjoy future posts.  Tell you what; I’ll continue to enjoy writing if you continue to enjoy reading…deal…great! Now, let’s move forward.

So once I got so many hits, I began to look at other mommy and daddy blogs.  I wanted to see what others are doing and how they drive traffic.  What topics are they covering that I haven’t considered?  The first thing I saw was there are a lot of parents out there better at this than me…A LOT. These people do arts and crafts every day. One guy made his daughter a bird costume for Halloween out of feathers.  The world of parenting is either filled with liars or saints, probably both.

The second thing I noticed was that the more popular blogs all had something else going for them.  They either worked with a charity or sold something handmade for children.  So that made me think, I need to get on the ball. 

Allow me to side step a bit here.

My wife, Tammi, runs this house.  Glenn constantly reminds me that, “ Mommies the boss!” She is so strong that even hours after she has left for work, her influence can still be felt.  She runs our budget, organizes our calendar, and brings us all up to the higher standards she requires of herself.  She completed four years of college, a Master’s degree in immunology and completed four years of veterinary school (Go Badgers) and an internship in emergency and critical care.  She cares so much for her animals.  She started and ran her own charity for dog rescues, although she had to eventually step aside.  Aren't husbands and babies a bitch!  Who knows how far she would have gone if I hadn't infected her with baby fever?  Seriously, the drive that is inside her isn't normal, and I sometimes have to struggle to get her to sit still at all. 

She also has MS.

When I was first dating Tami, she took a medication once a week that, as she described, made her feel as if she was getting run over by a Cadillac. It would give her chills, fever, shakes and sent us to the hospital on more than one occasion.  It’s probably because my body is not designed to feel stress, but I never really gave it a second thought.  I didn't know anything about MS, and I certainly wasn't planning on our relationship getting serious.  Ha! When we first met, I was getting ready to move back to Texas.

“Hey, here’s something fun before I leave.”

Six months later I was in a car with four animals, a pregnant wife, and we were moving to Wisconsin. Joke was on me.

Since that time I have learned a lot about MS and how many people it touches.  You would be surprised by how many people are impacted. I’m willing to bet that somebody you know knows somebody with MS.  I’ll post a full blog on just MS in the future.  Otherwise, there are some links and the bottom that provide some good information. 

For now, she carries most of that burden herself.  She doesn't let people know when she is feeling bad, and she tries very hard to hide the hitch in her giddy up.  Mostly she doesn't want others to worry and is terrified that one day she will have to slow down.

There are lots of charities set up for MS, and I would encourage you to visit those pages as well, also listed at the bottom.  I thought very hard about working with one of those, but it didn't seem to fit with Tammi or the blog.

I have no idea what I am doing, or where to get started, but I would like to do something that involves both children and MS.  I thought to myself what would Tammi do?  Well…she would start her own charity, and that is exactly what I intend to do.

Listen, I’m not going to cure MS.  But if I can raise $40 to help other children of parents with MS, than I will be happy.  Even if all I do is set up a support group or give parents the tools to talk to their children, I’ll be ecstatic.  Hell, as lazy as I was BT (Before Tammi) I would be happy with a bake sale.  The only thing I do know is that I’m going to need help. 

My first thought was maybe a children’s book, explaining why mommy/daddy take a shot every day? I need ideas, and any experience someone might have.  Here was my thought:  If 500 people read this, and 10 of them have an idea or insightful feedback (how do you start a non-profit?), than I would be that much closer, to…I guess, I would like this to be a gift for Tammi.  A small thank you for all she has done for me and my kids. 

I post the blog on a wide range of different formats, so please try to comment on the blog itself, so others are able to piggyback on your thoughts, although any feedback is appreciated.  I’ll keep you informed, on what direction this goes.

What is MS?

What are the types of MS?

How does MS affect children?

Popular MS charities

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Cartoon Time

A couple of weeks ago, the boys were at their aunt’s house.  She turned on the cartoons in the morning, and Glenn pointed out to her, ‘Erin we don’t watch cartoons in the morning.  When I shared the story at the hotel, it was met with shock.

“They don’t watch cartoons in the morning?  What do they do?”

They are kids, they play….

We are pretty lucky.  We limit the kids TV time to about three hours a day — two hours while Jackson and I nap and an hour before bed. 

I know of some parents who allow their kids to watch hours of cartoons. This isn’t an issue of how much TV time is good for your kids.  Three hours a day is my personal breaking point. I would rather have the kids screaming and me not getting any work done than watch one more damn minute of these shows.

So, here is my Top Ten Most Annoying Cartoons List.

#10 Blues Clues — I don’t really hate this show, but anytime you make a list, you have to make tough choices.  It made the cut above some other shows because it is so repetitive.

#9 Max and Ruby — Where are their parents?  In what world is it okay to leave your six year old to watch your 2 year old?  I was a latchkey kid myself, but this show takes it to an extreme.

#8 Ni Hao Kai-Lan (knee-how-Ki-lan) This is the same show over and over again.  Very much like Dora seen below.  Let me sum it up for you.  Kai-Lan’s panda friend plays to rough, and offends her other friends.  Then they work through their feelings. 

#7 Dino Dan — This kid needs help.  Why won’t any of the parents involved help this poor dysfunctional child?  He “sees” dinosaurs and interacts with them.  Of course, no one else can see them, but that’s not even the bad part.  When he tells the adults in his life that he sees dinosaurs, they don’t recommend a serious psych evaluation followed by weekly visits. 

#6 Team UmiZoomi — This is a counting show. It’s like watching The Count on steroids. And it fills me with rage.

#5 Diego — See Dora below.        
#4 Dora — I hate Dora with a passion so strong that she has already been mentioned twice previously on the list. It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t so damn repetitive. I don’t mean within each show. I mean that every single show is exactly the same.

#3 Fresh Beat Band — Adults acting like children going to music school and signing “original” songs and dancing.  This wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t gone to work so often with the songs playing in my head.  When I mentioned it to my boss, she immediately started doing the dances.  This show needs to be stopped.  Also which ones are sleeping together?

#2 Oobi (eww-Be) — This show is just creepy.  The characters are all hands with little eyeballs on the knuckles.  They speak in this weird yoda slash just learning English type of speak.  T flatly refuses to watch it.

#1 Wonder Pets — This show involves a guinea pig, a turtle and a baby chicken who “rescue” other animals.  Most of them speak with a lisp and sing the same two songs four times an episode.  There is a lot in this world I would rather do than watch this show.  Commit murder, suicide…pretty much any felony.

There it is.  What would make your list?  I have heard a lot of people say how much they hate Caillou.  This is not a problem we have, as you can see we are a Nick Jr kind of family.  Just not in the mornings.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

Restaurant Games

Anyone who has a four year old knows how his or her active imagination can take off.  The list of games I play with Glenn stretch from the ridiculous to mundane.  We pretend to play football, superheroes, lawn guys, hotel and doctor.

His favorite game to play with his aunt is…wait for it….Trash Guys.  They pretend to drive around picking up everyone’s trash, and we all thank him for it.  Sadly, it rarely results in any actual cleaning.

So the other night, I was making dinner, and he asked if we could play bad guys.

“I don’t want to play bad guys. Why do you always make me the bad guy? Let’s play restaurant?”

Hmm, he was intrigued but hesitant, asking how we play.

“Simple.  You take my order, and then pretend to get me food,” I told him. I asked for pork chops, baked potatoes and corn.  Shockingly, that’s what I was cooking.  As a special treat, he offered dessert — a scrumptious strawberry and chocolate cheesecake. 

It was delicious.  Seriously, someone make me this cake. 

After we were done, I suggested he play waiter, I play cook, and his mom could be the customer.  She ordered the same thing, because she knew dinner was almost ready.  I did recommend that, since his last customer walked out on the check, that he get payment from his mom up front.  Anytime we play a game where I have to pay, I tell him I’m broke.

A few minutes later he comes around the corner, and informs me, “Mom doesn't have any money either!”

“Well, let her know she can either do the dishes, or we can put it on her tab.”  Then, I have to explain that working is the same as money, and that is why doing the dishes is okay. He (smartly) decides she shouldn't be allowed a tab.

I hear Tammi from the other room. “Dishes aren't really in my skill set. Are you sure I couldn't just put it on my tab? I eat here all the time.”

He consults with me, and I prompt him for the next part of the conversation.  “Your tab has been closed due to lack of payments.”

“Can I speak with your manager?” she inquires.

I come out as the manager and Tammi gives me the old eyelashes. “ Isn't there something I could do to pay for my dinner?”

I assure Glenn mommy will make sure her tab gets paid off, so he should seat her and set the table, you know, like a good waiter.

As I was doing the dishes later that evening, I wondered how my staying home will affect how the boys see gender roles.  I imagined Glenn as a 7 year old on the playground.  Someone may say something like, “Only mommies do dishes.” Glenn will dispute this myth.  Boom…his first fight. 

He already has ideas about what boys and girls can (should?) do.  He pointed out to me that only boys can be bosses.  I categorically disagreed with his assessment.  I pointed out all the women in his life who are, in fact, bosses, not the least of whom is his mother.  Society tells my boys the tired cliché that the kitchen is a woman’s place, but he comes home to see it is clearly Dad’s place.  How can we expect him to understand this concept, when my own mother continues to struggle with the idea?

“Craig, where does Tammi keep the muffin pan?”

“She doesn’t have a muffin pan mom, but I have one.  It’s in that drawer over there.”

I want the boys to enjoy cooking as much as I do, but society and the playground will continue to tell him it isn't cool.  So far, I have two responses.  Number one, only an idiot can’t feed himself.  Number two, the best way into a girl’s house is to offer to cook.  Number two doesn't carry much weight right now. 

Like any good customer Tammi made sure to give Glenn a nice tip.  In this case, it was a piece of “mommy’s chocolate.’” As for her tab?  That’s none of your damn business.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Kids Don't Understand Sarcasm

Like many of you, I believe my kids are smarter than your kids. 

I am not.

Who knew they didn’t understand sarcasm?

We gathered at my mother’s apartment the other night eating dinner.  She has a small table for the boys, but it’s not really big enough for both of them at once.  Both boys can easily reach each other’s plate.  So, throughout the meal, J really just grazed from one plate to the other.

G didn't really have a problem with this until J started eating his cheese. “Dad, J is eating my cheese.”
Now, what I said and what I meant are two different things.  What I meant was, “Well G, there isn't much you can do about it.  Try using your words, so he will stop.  Otherwise, just understand he is little, and he isn't trying to be mean.

What I said, very sarcastically, was “Well G, just slap him in the face, see if that helps.”

Another, in a long line, of parenting mistakes. 

Moments after the words left my mouth, I heard the distinct sound of an open hand hitting a face.  Wish I had seen it.  His uncle said you could see the whole thought process working through his mind.  “Hmm, maybe that will work, and I won’t get in trouble because dad told me to do it.”


The only good part was that it didn't work.  J is a trooper and barely flinched.  He just went on eating G’s cheese.  I quickly decided the lesson was that hitting rarely gets you the outcome you desire.

A few nights later we were eating dinner at my sister’s house.  J had been having a terrible couple of days.  The reason I crashed my sister’s dinner in the first place was so I didn't have to parent J alone.  I survived the first day of J the Destroyer, but didn't have enough energy for a repeat performance. 

During dinner, I lost my temper with him.  I don’t really remember what I said, but it was probably along the lines of, “J if you don’t stop being a jerk, you can get down from the table.”

G, who not two nights before thought physical violence was justified to protect his precious, precious cheese, decided to chime in.

“Dad, you need to be nice to J, he just little.”

“Well, I’m sorry but I’m just frustrated.”

“Dad, he’s little, and he doesn't mean to do it.  He’s my brother, and it’s my job to look out for him.”

“G this behavior has been going on for two straight days…When is it going to stop?”

“I don’t know dad.  You just have to be patient.”

I've had the inverse of this conversation, it seems like, a hundred times with G. There is nothing like a three year old putting you in your place to make you feel very, very small.  How can children be so smart, so socially aware, and, yet, not understand sarcasm?  I've read that with younger kids, you have to be ready for vast leaps forwards and backwards at any time.

The only common thread to these stories, unfortunately, is bad parenting.  I have said this many times before, but we are all bad parents.  Kids are smart. They will look through all those mistakes, and eventually come out as adults.  I just wish I had known that they don’t understand sarcasm, but oh well.  They are little; you just have to be patient. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

No One Wins When Grandma Leaves

LETS GO IRISH!!! LETS GO IRISH!!!  I am literally crawling out of my skin, waiting for tonight’s game.  Ten hours away, and I am cleaning my house like a nervous wreck, just to stay busy. OK, OK, on to the blog…

Just say the word, and you are guaranteed to get a reaction, usually a negative one. I tell someone my mother-in-law is visiting, and they have nothing but sympathy for me.  I tried to get away.  I literally moved across the country. (sarcasm)  Yet, there she is in my living room.

It used to be worse.  She owns season tickets to the WI Badgers and drove into town every week to visit.  She would leave Sunday, saying, “Okay Craig, I’ll see you on Thursday.”

This visit was new for me, though.  This was her first visit since I had quit my full-time job.  Three days before she got here, I had (what seemed like) a three-page, to-do list.  Before, the only opinion I cared about was Tammi’s.  Now, on top of all the other judging our in-laws do, I have to worry about the F-ing baseboards.  I care about baseboards getting dirty as much as I do the apocalypse.  They are both gonna happen at some point, not much I can do about it.  Yet, here I was making sure, as Glenn would say, everything is clean and nice before she got there.

A wonderful visit was had by all.

And then she left.

And I got my ass handed to me.  We had all gone soft.   For the past seven days, the boys had lived under a soft shell of the former rules.  Even I, a six month seasoned veteran of stay-at-home Dadhood, collapsed under the weight of Grandma leaving.  Here I’d been taking two-hour naps every day.  I hadn't slacked off on the chores, but since I had cleaned the house top-to-bottom prior to her arrival, honestly, there wasn't much to do beside maintenance.

While she was here, Tammi woke me up one afternoon with the sound of disgust in her voice.

“Why don’t you get up?”

“Why can’t I sleep?  The house is spotless, one boys asleep, and the other is watching cartoons.”

“Fair enough.”

It’s not the day she leaves that is so bad.  We all kinda steel ourselves for that day.  I start telling G, just a few days after she arrives, how many days until she leaves.  Even though the day after she leaves is never fun, we begin to ease our way back into older habits.

It’s the evil second day after she is gone that everyone starts to miss Grandma.  Once finally awake, I realize how few chores have been done, and that the boys are running roughshod over me. 


Timeouts for EVERYONE! Why? Because, I can’t get my crap done if you two won’t stop screaming at each other every five minutes.  If your mother comes home and realizes how little I have done over the past two days, then I’m done for.  Important life lesson: Shit rolls downhill.

Sorry boys, but no one wins when Grandma leaves

Seriously, come on Irish! I have rooted for this team longer than any other.  My early childhood is full of memories watching football with my dad on Saturdays.  What would the odds be that I cry, if they win?  They last won when I was 8, and I have been a football fan ever since.  I’m not going to wake up the boys (on purpose) instead I’m going to record the game, and watch it again with them in the morning, if they win. 


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Action Jackson -Part 2

Jackson is going through a very long daddy stage.  It started about a week before Christmas, and is just now showing signs of letting up.  Daddy stages are nice, but they are also very challenging.  When he is happy it is great.  When he is not….

Jackson has two nicknames— Action Jackson and Jackson the Destroyer (preferably said in a booming voice).  One nickname is for when he is good, and the other is for when he is not so good. There is much to say about Jackson, and I sometimes feel he doesn't get as much play here because of his age.  Also at two, his personality is really starting to come through.  Here are some of my initial observations. 

#1- The boy is hungry.  He literally eats all day long.  So far the only things he will not eat include broccoli and dirt.  And, to be fair, he was much more willing to try the dirt than the broccoli.  If you are trying to be his friend, just give him some food. You will have a friend for life. 

#2- He has zero preservation instinct.  If he can climb it, jump off of it, run into it, or balance on it then he has at least tried these feats.  Trust and believe that as soon as he is barely big enough, he will attempt to jump from the roof to the pool.  Over/Under on broken bones by 18, is 2.5.

#3- He is very grabby.  If there is something that is within his reach, he will get it.  If there is something that is just out of his reach, he will get it.  See item #2. The only nice thing is that if it isn’t edible (see item #1) then he will generally bring it over to you.  Each morning he collects anything that was left out from the night before and brings it over to me.  If you ever need help getting motivated to clean, just let me know. I can bring him over.  He is the ultimate clutter picker upper.

#4- Although he is generally a very happy little boy, he flatly refuses to smile for the camera.  The only pictures I have ever seen Big Mike smiling in are shortly after shooting a deer and/or with his girls.

5# He is very stubborn.  This kid is hard now. God help me when he turns 18.  I think Glenn will probably survive being a teenager, without getting popped in the face. Jackson will make me do it just to prove a point.  We have started him on timeouts. He took a time out for 30 minutes, because he didn't want to apologize for touching the Christmas tree.  Once finally done, he walked over and touched the damn tree.  You cannot stop Jackson the Destroyer; you can only hope to contain him.

#6 He is very affectionate.  He is still at that adorable age where he will lay is head on your shoulder.  When he first wakes up he will spend the first 30 minutes eating and giving kisses while he sits on my lap.  Since the daddy stage started he has flatly refused to let anyone put him to bed, but myself, and that includes Grandma.
#7 If his brother is doing it (he calls him bro-bro) than he wants to do it.  If Glenn stuck his hand in the fire place, and then ran away screaming, he would be right behind him.  I would have two boys to take to the ER.  I can almost hear the CPS agent now.  “So the first was an accident….”  Again see item #2

#8 Lastly, he does not have an off switch.  Action Jackson is in a perpetual state of motion.  But with great energy comes great responsibility.  Action Jackson turns to the Destroyer (don’t forget the voice) very quickly, and often back again just as quickly.