Thursday, February 28, 2013

I am Special, and so are you...

There was a blog post over at today where JW of Daddysincharge wrote a piece about how unspecial he is, how stay home dads are all the rage and all anyone talks about, how his life as a homemaker and caretaker for two kids is easy in contrast to his wife's job and sacrifices, and how he doesn't even consider stay home parenting "a job." The author is, of course, entitled to his opinion, but I'm here to put the dissent on record.

Appreciating your spouse's sacrifices and work ethic, as most at-home parents do, does not require belittling one's own contributions nor other stay home parents' jobs. Being a parent requires one to be a hero (at least to a few little people and your spouse) and there is no need to step into the shadow of each other. Family units come in all shapes and sized and everyone (in a functional family) plays an integral part to the success of the family unit.

One of the benefits of becoming a stay home parent for me has been an understanding of the homemaker position and the existing social hierarchy (where homemakers are at the bottom regardless of their sex). Most homemakers are women and the social arrangement placing the value of at home parents below "working" or "contributing" members of society lends itself to sexism. The recent uptick of at home Dads may serve to help relieve some of this imbalance. It's a shame that it takes this change in demographics to help with the problem, but now that I understand the issue better I will take a change in societal views no matter what precipitates them. This is not to say having men in the position will correct the problem, but being outspoken about it certainly helps. At-home fathers face some of the same stigma as at-home Moms and we are looked down upon by some men because we don't fit their idea of what a "man" should be, but everyone should see it for what it is... an attack on a man for doing "a woman's job" is an attack on women as well indicating their roles are less important, easier or subservient in some way.

Women at home caring for their children have been treated as second-class citizens and placed under the thumb of overbearing/controlling men (in many cases) for far too long and we need men who are parenting at home to help communicate to working men the inherent injustice of those views. I've had challenges in my own marriage as a result of the non-traditional arrangement, but we have worked through them all together with understanding and equal footing. I often wonder if the marriage would have fared so well if I was the one working? Without the understanding of the at-home job I think I would feel entitled, I think I would feel superior, and I think I would be an ass (so thank you Vv for not being like me). I'm not a bad guy, but I truly doubt how I would have handled it, which tells me that the lens I've been viewing the world through my whole life was skewed.

Bringing home the bacon doesn't mean you automatically get to direct all financial choices, it doesn't mean you get to tell your wife what to do and what your expectations are on how she runs the household. The reality is you go to a well-defined job with feedback, fellowship (in most cases) and financial incentive while she navigates a job lacking in all of those areas, but it is still a capital Job. A working parent does not become the de facto "boss" at home just because they are a boss at work or just because they bring home a paycheck. Working parents are fully capable of taking care of the kids if roles reversed and at home parents are fully capable of working with adults in a traditional job as well. Changing roles don't affect our worth our abilities or our intelligence. Running an efficient home, shopping smart, and avoiding the cost of child-care are financial contributions of an at home parent and working parents (at least the ones worth their salt) contribute to the care of children every day as well. Everyone contributes, there is no reason for working parents to lord the money over the at-home parent or for the at-home parent to try to dominate the discussion about how the children should be brought up. Parents must excel in the role they take on, because our children depend on it and that makes us all heroes... Moms, Dads, single parents, working parents, at home parents, all of us. I'm fond of saying that doing anything other than treating your spouse like a teammate (a co-chief if you will) is like trying to beat your partner in a three-legged race it's pointless and will result in both of you face down and in last place.

There are days I'd rather be doing performance reviews for a dozen lousy employees (and I've been there) than dealing with two sick kids while feeling like ass myself and there are days when I think "man, playing with the kids sure beats the pants off of an Operations meeting." However, there is no day when I think one of us is a hero and the other is not, one of us has it made while the other sacrifices so much. More power to you DaddysInCharge in speaking your mind, and I hope you reach a new group of working Mom/Dads looking for a stay home parent blog to confirm what they always thought, but most modern parents know that is not the way of the world and I hope every one of them realizes that they are heroes. The Mom making a commute and fitting in time for her kids in the afternoon, the Dad doing the same, the Mom handling it all on her own, the Dad with a sick wife, the grandmother helping out two working parents, the Mom or Dad home with the kids and many, many others are all heroes. Maybe that makes them not special since its not uncommon but I don't really believe that.

A super special hero, married to a super awesome special hero.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Parenting Ain't Easy, but it Sho is Fun

Double-header today...

Parenting Truth #1: Parenting is hard.

Parenting Truth #2: It is totally worth it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Decreasing Odds of Being On Time.

Parenting Truth #134: Your need to hurry is negatively correlated to the speed your child will actually move. The later you are... the slower they are.  If you have less than 40 minutes to get out the door then you are already late you just don't know it yet. As you approach the event horizon your child's progress will slow to near zero and can even move in reverse. (Chart Below)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

February Showers

That awkward moment when a diaper change for one becomes a shower for two. #DiaperBreach #ItsOnMe #Ewww #DaddyRT #DaddyBloggers

What's Your Sleep Number? Mine is 0.

J Bean yells at the top of her lungs around 4am after already waking us twice prior, "Mom! Mommmmm! I don't want to be up here all night!"

Having just ninja run up the stairs, as opposed to crashing around like elephants doing the Harlem Shake as my upstairs neighbors do at night, I came into the room, "what is the problem?"

J Bean says, "I thought it was time to wake up... and I need more water."

<insert mad, nonsensical rant and threats to abduct stuffed animals>

Of course, she got fresh water and a kiss on the head before I left her room. Damn, she's good.

Then she had the gall to ask me this morning, while calmly and slowly placing pieces of a waffle in her mouth, "How did you sleep last night, Daddy?"

I took it as a thinly veiled threat. She looked at me confidently and knowingly over her glasses as if to add, "Your move, paterfamilias, we can make this easy or..."

Saturday, February 23, 2013

It all comes out in the wash

If you ever see someone in your household put a diaper in their pocket, throat punch them. Then calmly explain to them what a diaper does in the washing machine. Now stand up and stop hitting yourself.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Progress Report

You know those questionnaires you have to fill out when you take your kid to the pediatrician's office? Here are the true answers I would really like to give. 

Orange Snow Julius

Snowed last night so J Bean requested her favorite drink, an Orange Snow Julius. One cup *clean* snow, an ounce of milk, an ounce of O.J. and a teaspoon of sweet cream or your favorite sweetener stir to consistency of a shake. She loves it. Her advice on the matter?

"You shouldn't eat yellow snow unless its a Snow Joomius"

She is wise beyond her years.

Another of our favorite activities that keeps me from having to go out in the dreadful white stuff is scooping snow into a mixing bowl, making a tiny snowman in the kitchen then giving him a home on the window sill or the freezer. Pretzels for hands, raisin eyes, baby carrot nose and a paper hat usually.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

When Toys Get Hurt and Then Receive Medical Attention

You all know I have the "When Toys Get Hurt" ongoing theme, well today we found a serious ear injury on a favored teddy bear named Sooncy (I have no idea how she ended up with this name). Yes, I'm beginning to suspect foul play on my daughter's part as we have more critical patients than your average war zone. This time its real though; Sooncy isn't just any stuffed bear, J Bean put Sooncy's heart heart in personally. I'm being literal, she made this one at the Bear factory or whatever its called and they let you insert the heart into the bear after they stuff its bum with cotton... I know kinky right? She even picked out her fur, clothes and stuffing quantity. Rather than just pointing laughing and taking a picture, this one required surgery so J Bean and I got to work stat!

Prepare the patient and gather surgical tools, notice the torn left ear.

Code Blue, Hurry Doctor!

Exploration of the injury.

Incision time.

Doctor Dad assists with the sutures. 

 Patient is coming out of anesthesia and has been treated with antibiotics.

Uh oh, patient may have a re-injury. Concussion this time. 

Anatomy of a Poop

J Bean: Why did you say Link's poop is smelly?

Me: Because poop is smelly

J Bean: Why is poop smelly?

Me: I don't have an answer for that.

J Bean: Is that a science question, can we look it up?

Me: No

J Bean: Why?

Me: Hey look something shiny!

I love to teach J Bean about science, but explaining to her the chemistry and the biology behind poop stench would just lead to a lot more discussions about my favorite pastime (going and cleaning) than I really want to have with a 3 foot tall contrarian. Not to mention the other parents from pre-k would probably be less than thrilled if I helped introduce gastric fluids and the methane and hydrogen sulfide content of farts to their dinner table chit chat. The irony of discussing poop with other adults here while hoping to avoid it being brought up around others is not lost on me... but you guys are cool.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Then and Now

How funny are our kids going to look at us when they're older and we tell them we used to go to the bathroom and get snacks during commercials?
"What? Why didn't you just pause it and go do that anytime you wanted?"

"Well, this was before DVR, On-Demand or even wi-fi... actually, it was before -fi."

Seriously, the next generation is going to see us the way we see our great-grandparents. (You drew your own water and the bathroom wasn't attached to the house?!)

Booger Physics...

Parenting Truth # 64: A child's nose has a gravity field, if a finger comes within 6 inches of the nose it will be drawn into a nostril by the invisible force. Any finger captured by this gravitational field can only be freed by the stronger gravitational pull of the the black hole that is their mouth. Watch closely; Even if you catch your kid with a finger in the nose and say something there will be a nearly imperceptible detour by the mouth as the finger escapes orbit.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

These Are Not the Droids You are Looking For...

J Bean dashes out of the room and tells me its time for hide and seek. A minute later...
"I think I found a little girl, I see your hair!"
She announces, "That's not my hair, that's a giraffe's hair, you didn't find me!"

My mistake...

Monday, February 18, 2013

Nobody move, Nobody gets hurt.

Parenting Truth #67: Games children like to play are usually repetitive, annoying and/or boring for adults and always involve rules that change as you go. You must pretend to enjoy them.

Parenting Truth #68: If you are actually enjoying a game with your child(ren), as opposed to tolerating one, then your child(ren) will
a) misbehave in a manner that brings all fun to a halt
b) get hurt
c) start crying for no apparent reason, or
d) all of the above.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

All the Live Long Day...

Before I say this, please know that I respect working parents and wouldn't trade my at home position for anything. I don't fully grasp the challenges of the working parent, I'm sure, though I do have some insight having been a corporate working Joe before my current gig. With that said, those of you who are at home full time with the kids know it has its ups and downs as well.

First off, toddlers are A-holes... enriching, lovable, wildly entertaining A-holes, but A-holes nonetheless and sometimes that is only clear when you spend every waking moment with them. So when a working parent says to a stay home parent they understand and have experienced the same things as the at home parent, there is some truth to the statement; however, frequency and monotony of dealing with those things all the live long day is what makes the job trying and challenging in a way that can't really be grasped without experiencing it for years. A working parent saying they know how it is to be a stay home parent is kind of like telling the park ride attendant helping thousands of families a day in and out of boats at Disney that you have experienced the ride and understand how it is annoying, especially that dreadful music (It’s a Small World After All <repeat><repeat><REPEAT!>). That’s when the guy, who does this all day every day, looks at you with crazed eyes and says, “You have no effing idea”.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Rough House

My sister-in-law and nephews (8 and 10, I think?) are arriving today, its going to be a great weekend. One thing the boys will want to fill their time with will be climbing on me like a human jungle gym and giving J Bean pointers on kicking my ass. I have to admit, I enjoy the rough house playing as long as tears are not involved (mine or theirs), but I do try to keep in mind that every year I get older and more decrepit and they get closer to 18 and invincibility... at some point I'm going to need a taser. Looking forward to some extended family quality time!

Parenting Truth #119

If you are staying home with a sleeping baby while your spouse and other child(ren) leave the house, the baby will wake up at the precise moment they walk out the door.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Thirst for Knowledge

J Bean: Why is the moon up in the day?

Me: Remember when I showed you about the sun and how the earth moves around it and how the dark side of the Earth is where it is night time? Well the moon revolves around the Earth and is sometimes visible during the day and the Earth makes a shadow on it which is....

J Bean cutting me off: Daddy, Daddy, Daddy... I don't want to learn anything else about science until I'm 6 or 7 and go to big kid school OK?

When Toys Get Hurt

Valentine's Day was not good to Teddy.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Woke up before the kids this morning and was able to accomplish a great deal in just a few minutes. It is easy to forget what fully functioning and efficient adults we were before our bundles of joy isn't it?

I realized that while the kids are sleeping I'm like a ninja Superman moving around in perfect silence near the speed of light preparing bottles, breakfasts, coffee, writing this post, showering and dressing myself in mere moments. I hope I got everything done, because I hear the tyrants stirring and they are my kryptonite. I'll soon be paralyzed and progress will slow to a snail's peace due to their alternating tantrums, unreasonable requests, untimely excretions (mostly Link) and illogical arguments (J Bean). Of course I could have done most of this the night before, but I'm a bit of a procrastinator. Maybe I should start waking up early before the kids everyday? Yeah right, that's not happening.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hey Little Sister...

My sis gave birth to a beautiful baby girl recently and I have to laugh at the evolution of our conversations. We used to talk about philosophy, world events, relationships, movies we'd seen and other random weirdness.  We still do on occasion and I'm sure those talks will become more frequent again once she exits the sleep deprivation torture phase of child rearing (when does that part end again?)

Until then, our new favorite topics are the effectiveness and ickiness of the snot sucker, the horrors of diaper changes, and how impossibly cute our kids are. I'm secretly waiting for the newness to wear off so we join together in ridicule and mockery of other parents (I find is the favored topic of more seasoned parents), oh the fun we will have! Most parents are idiots! Not you, of course, nor my subscribers. All of you people are awesome, I'm talking about those other morons.

Wishing better sleep soon for my kid sister, the sleep part will get better (I promise), but the tyrant will only get more experienced and better at screwing with you in other ways. There is nothing worse and there is nothing better than at home parenting, so enjoy every moment that isn't driving you crazy!

More Jedi Mind Tricks

After helping J. Bean do her first backward somersault she says, "help me again!"
I told her now that I showed her how she can do it by herself. "No I can't!" She protested.
"Kiddo, you can do just about anything you put your mind to" is the wisdom I decided to impart.
Smarty says, "I'm putting my mind to having you help me again."
I helped her. Touché.

(Sorry if you are seeing this as a repeat... I don't know how to use blogger and I'm an idiot).

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Achtung Baby...

Stuck my finger in poop again today. #@$%!! How many times will this happen, how does that stuff lurk just behind the seemingly clean fold of a diaper? It can be so close to that back top edge, right where you need to pull and peek for visual validation, yet it remains imperceptible to the naked eye until your finger is in it. If poop is that close to the edge, shouldn't it be all over his back, or peaking out a little, at least a little ring around the collar or some kind of warning that this is a barely contained explosion rather than a pellet poop? I swear I need to design a diaper dipstick or something that could let me know ahead of time I might want to get some tongs and check the supply of wipes.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Can your Dad come out and play?

It's days like this when you realize that play-dates are more for the parents than the kids. Had a man-date play-date planned for this morning, but Link was sick and feverish last night, so I warned my buddy about it in the early morning so he could make other plans. I was disappointed since we haven't gotten together in over a month with all my world travels and what not. He obviously felt the same way, because when I called him later we were very seriously discussing quarantine methods and whether or not (in our professional medical opinions) Link was even contagious. In other words, we were seriously considering getting together despite the possibility of both of his kids contracting the bubonic plague from my own snot monsters.

We'll probably tell our wives common sense intervened, but I think the real reason our wee ones aren't swapping germs and sharing sippy cups this morning is that we didn't want to miss more chances to play get together next week. Damn you plague, I'm coming down with cabin fever myself now! I need adult interaction stat! I know I'm missing those adult conversations because I took way too much satisfaction from having an internet argument last night. Troll if you want, just talk to me, I'm losing it!

Check me out...

When the hell did we agree to check ourselves out at the grocery store? Used to be I could stand there in line reading about the latest celebrity alien impregnation while the cashier handled everything and a bag-boy would put my shit in a bag AND carry it out for me. Now everything costs more but I gotta scan my own purchases (as if I know which side the freakin' barcode is on a box of wine), run my own card, bag my own crap, push it to the car and then find the ever-elusive cart return and wave thanks buh-bye on the way out? 

Seriously!? I'm a stay home parent, I came here for a break. Why don't these companies do what they're paid for? With this kind of hassle I should have headed out to the farm myself and bartered for my produce. All I want to do is pull out my phone and bust some freaking bubbles or stare blankly at Facebook for 5 minutes with no kids bugging me (if I was lucky enough to get out without them). Instead you have me following orders from a robot that doesn't know my bag from a hole in the ground. "I placed the item in the bag, Asshole!!" 

Another thing, I don't want to carry your crappy little key-chain widgets or stuff another membership/VIP/Savings-out-the-ass card in my wallet. Unless that card is good for redemption on a real-life cashier and a pimply faced kid to transport my crap to the Dad-mobile you can shove it. Well, on second thought, I will take the card because I'm on a budget, but I'm writing in my name as Seymour Butts.

Perfect example of a First-World problem, I know, but still...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Off Key

Some days I wish I had just stayed in bed (if only that were possible). Link has been a terror at bedtime for two nights, not sure if the poor guy is suffering from the same funk the rest of us have this week, if he's teething or maybe has an ear infection. Whatever it is he's not happy and had a rough time going down for nap today and I was less than thrilled I needed to wake him up early to get ready for an unrelated appointment. Just under one hour after spending 40 minutes getting him to sleep, I woke him up with just enough time to get him dressed and get out the door. You can imagine his delight. Anyway, managed to get both kids ready in full cold weather gear (we've got about 4 inches of powder on the ground today) and was about to walk out the door with Link strapped in to his car seat (much to his displeasure). Unfortunately, I couldn't find the keys anywhere. In desperation, I called VV on the off-chance she might know where the keys were. Turns out she drove the car today. You just have to laugh at life's little miscommunications, no one's fault just one of those things we didn't discuss. Oh well, Link didn't feel like going to that appointment anyway and I just ordered Thai food which makes everything better. Lets just hope the doc's office doesn't put me on hold for a "moment" when I call to reschedule.

Mind your phoniness

If your child is trying to get your attention right now, you'll want to see what they want before you read THIS, otherwise, you'll be loaded with more guilt than it will already bring you. We do need time to ourselves and social networking is helpful for sanity, but as they say, there is a time and place for everything. Don't over do it and for F's sake, don't drive and text because if I see it I will throat punch you. Seriously.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Doctor Will See You Now...

Dear Office Staff at our Pediatrician's Office,

I called to set up a 1 year appointment for Link this morning. This was necessary because you wouldn't let me handle the scheduling during our last office visit like every other freaking professional in the world. You said an appointment couldn't be made at that time because the "calendar isn't set 3 month's in advance yet." Actually, yes it is. February has 28 days this year and starts on a Friday. It will have 28 days for the next two years too if you want to draw it out on your appointment book. Watch out though, in 2016 there will be 29 days but I digress.

I called and you asked if I could "please hold for a moment". Newsflash: 5 minutes is not a moment for anyone and for a parent of small children 300 seconds is an eternity in which a lot can happen. When I made the call J Bean was busy giving a bunch of little people a "hayride" on a tea cart and Link was eating lunch. Five minutes later, I'm still listening to a muzak version of Highway to Hell, J Bean is bored and asking for a list of snacks and entertainment, Link filled a diaper, his food is somehow all over the room and the oven is beeping (silly me, thinking I could eat something at lunch). I proceed to change a diaper with you on speaker. Link jams to the elevator music, I clean up the food, find a WordWorld episode for J Bean to watch, shove a paci in Link's mouth, set him down and pick up the phone again in time to hear the automated voice say my call is important to you... really? Is it? This is when the fire alarm goes off as I left my lunch in the oven too long, pandemonium breaks out as both children begin crying and the security system shouts "FIRE, FIRE, FIRE" along with the ear shattering siren and I finally give up and hang up the phone having accomplished nothing other than raising my blood pressure. Ever try to explain to a 4 year old that everything is OK and there is no fire while a female voice louder than yours shouts "FIRE, FIRE, FIRE" from above and you try to fan smoke away from the smoke detector with a bib? You should try some time, its fun.

Listen, I understand offices get busy, I'm sure you get annoyed at the unwittingly bad timing of us pesky clients, and I have no idea how many other calls you had this morning, but a simple "I'm sorry, but we are swamped and I really don't have time to make an appointment right now" will do. Better yet let your answering system pick it up where I can leave a message, but do not tell me to wait a moment if a moment is going to be longer than... a moment.

I think I'll just show up the day after Link's birthday walk up to the counter and ask you to hold on a moment while I finish a call then 5 minutes later tell you I have an appointment and let you search that for a while. What's the worst that can happen, you can make us hang out in the waiting room with flu victims and my own crying children? That happens about half the time when I have an appointment anyway so who cares? See you then, have a nice day! I hope J Bean doesn't get bored in your office and pull the fire alarm.

Too busy for your BS.

Chart of The Day

Saturday, February 2, 2013

When Toys Get Hurt

I'm not sure what happened to this Barbie knock-off, J Bean did her hair like Diana Ross then I later found her like this. "I will Survive?"... Not this time lady. Oh well, I'm not shedding a tear. I despise Barbies, this one was a gift but we'll miss her endless love.

Friday, February 1, 2013

I Like To Move it!

Sure Shot by the Beastie Boys.

"I want to say a little something that's long overdue
The disrespect to women has got to be through
To all the mothers and sisters and the wives and friends
I want to offer my love and respect to the end"

It has been a while since I had a song to add to the "I Like to Move It!" series. This one is NSFK (not safe for kids) despite the presence of sesame characters. After all, it is a Beastie Boys song and a parental advisory is in affect due to Cookie Monster's potty mouth. With that said, it is worth a dance alone or with the kids and some well placed sneezes to cover the cursing. Enjoy!


Sorry if this shows up in your feed, just a spot for me to keep and use my logos. Have a great weekend!