30 November 2012

How I Saved the World from a Zombie Apocalypse

This morning, as I sat savoring a quiet cup of coffee, my wife and son came smiling down the stairs. The reason I consider this worthy of note is simple - it hasn't happened frequently here lately. The boy has been teething again and has been crankier than an old man who's wife has drug him along to the quilting bee.

Anyway, the boy got ahold of a Wii remote and started happily slinging it around. This concerned me, since the things aren't cheap, and I am. So I asked him to bring it to me.

He refused.

He smiled real wide and I knew - I had to deal with this carefully or I could spend the remainder of the day locked in miserable combat with a two year old. So I asked him again to bring it too me, at which point, he smilingly laid down on the floor in front of the back door and put the remote under his head while giggling at me.

Now I don't think he was being malicious, he just thought it as a game. But you have to be careful about these things. The game of today can turn into the thermonuclear devastation of tomorrow. So I asked myself, do I want to preserve the day and give in, thus setting my son of for a life of running from the zombies who inherit the earth after he giggles and decides punching the red button on a tour of the White House is funny, thus setting off the nuclear apocalypse which mutates all survivors except himself into brain eating zombies, or do I want to ruin the whole day, and smash his developing sense of independence and fun by forcing him to return the remote.

I decided to explore the situation and gather more information. Kind of like one of those Senate fact finding missions that politicians enjoy so much. Except without the champion bar and the private jets. And hopefully with more useful intelligence, although I wasn't sure.

I asked the boy, as he smiled up at me, if he thought he was cute enough to get away with disobeying Daddy, in answer to which he smiled even bigger and nodded vigorously.

At this point, I was in dangerous territory and I knew it. I had to defuse this situation carefully. So I looked back into the fog of my accumulated knowledge and decided on the one ploy that may avert disaster. The big stick compromise. Oh ya gotta love Teddy!

I told the boy with a big smile on my face, "Okay, I'll let you play with it for now, as long as you play very carefully. You can't swing it around or hit anything else with it. You have to hold it in both hands and not by the cord. Do you think you can do that?"

He jumped up smiling even bigger - that boy can smile with his whole body -and nodded so hard he got dizzy, after which he carefully clasped both hands on the remote and began playing.

Shortly after, I heard it hit the bakers rack.

Uh oh.

I told him that he had broken the deal and he had to bring it to me. He shook his head. Dang, how could I solve the situation. I don't want screaming today. "Bring it to me son", I say. He runs to mommy.

Ah ha!

"Okay, son" said I, "give it to mommy." That brought him up short. He was confused at first, but he knew he was outsmarted. Mommy knows she can just go to her office and close the door. Mommy wouldn't hesitate to make him scream by taking away the toy. He handed it over to. I called him to me, hugging him and forgiving him - so he would know he had done wrong (as if he cared), and got set him up with some safer toys.

This round went to Daddy. I was able to finish my coffee in relative peace, while patting myself on the back for saving the world. Zombies averted.

This time...

29 November 2012

The Crazy Time

I know it sounds ridiculous, but as much as I hate the grouchy, tantrum filled hour or so leading up to it, I get the biggest kick out of the Crazy Time.

If you're a parent, you know what I'm talking about. The Crazy Time is that hour or two (hopefully less) when your precious child has passed the time of  "I'm tired, ready for bed, but - for whatever reason - unable to go to bed yet" to "WOW! I'm so tired my brain has gotten confused and thinks I'm Super Man! I'm gonna run around, climb the walls and bounce off the ceiling like an out of control balloon - all while laughing and shrieking hysterically!"

This evening, Little Man passed the barrier into Crazy Time and I actually managed to catch a couple of pictures of this amazing transformation. They're a bit blurry, but the laws of physics are pretty clear about the impossibility of a child staying still long enough to be caught in a photo. Something about the speed of light being slower than the speed of a toddler in the grips of Crazy Time.

Especially when said toddler is launching himself off the ottoman towards his father's temporarily unprotected crotch. Thankfully, God gives Daddies special guardian angels. How do I know this, you ask? Because a pillow miraculously fell on my lap mere nanoseconds before his feet crashed into me. It was astounding! I'm pretty sure I heard a rip in the space time continuum as the universal laws of toddler physics were broken.

So for the first time ever (at least on this blog) here is the amazing transformation caught on film.

He's almost there. Note the drooping eyes and sagging mouth. The transformation is about to begin.
There it is! Caught on film for the first time ever. Crazy Time has begun!
And this is when God intervened to protect me! Note the faster than light travel.

Crazy Time is trying, and often grueling. Perhaps even infuriating at times, depending on how far you are from their beds when it hits.

But most of the time, if you can manage to keep your sanity and just watch the show, it's absolutely hilarious.

Just remember to protect yourself.

26 November 2012

Thought for the Day #20

I miss driving so much. But I must admit, long road trips are so much more pleasant now that I can sleep - and let my dear wife do all the work.

(Shhh - don't tell her I said that!)

24 November 2012

Thanksgiving Terror

So, everyone except the kids and I were out shopping, taking advantage of the early shopping deals on the night of Thanksgiving.

I figured I was in for a pleasantly quiet night, seeing as how both kids were asleep, everyone else was gone and I was happily ensconced in front of the TV, slowly recovering from the nearly overwhelming amount of excellent fare in which I had been indulging all day.

To aid in my recovery, I decided to play a little Wii tennis, but I soon tired. After all, Mom makes great candied sweet potatoes and I had very nearly eaten my weight in them.

So I turned off the Wii and decided on a quick potty break. By the way, how do you know a 40 year old man has children under five? He says he's taking a potty break.

So anyway, I took my potty break and walked out of the bathroom - and then everything went crazy.

I suddenly found myself under attack! In my In-Laws home! Hoodlums were flying around the room, screaming and howling and generally acting like some insane group of howler monkeys.

It was horrifying.

My own safety was disregarded - I was expendable. But I had SLEEPING babies!! Right in the next room. Something had to be done. I would sacrifice myself, if necessary, to keep those little ones peacefully slumbering.

So I faced the band of hooligans and tried to reason with them. I tempted them with loot. I begged them to take their chaos elsewhere. But to no avail. The attack simply intensified.

That's when I heard the boy scream. I quickly left the gang in my wake as I ran to my son. I vaguely remember the violent din behind me dying down. Perhaps the hooligans had run off in search of easier pickings. I calmed my son and soothed him to sleep. I blessed him and tucked him in. I checked on my daughter, returning Snuggle Elephant to her proper place on the pillow, and quietly slipped out of the room.

Whereupon I was once again immediately beset by the returned terrorists. They were even more violent than before. This time I attempted to take the battle to them by a quick flanking maneuver around the sofa. Ah, but they were fleet of foot. They outpaced me and their cacophony reached unheard of heights.

And that's when my son awoke the second time.

Again I retreated from the field of battle. The boy must be quickly soothed before he becomes so wound up he'll never go back to sleep, and possibly wake his sister. This had to be avoided at all costs. After five minutes sleep, the girl can function with incredible hyperactivity for at least another eight hours. She must NOT be disturbed!

The boy soothed, and the girl still blissfully dreaming, I quietly tiptoed from their room. Only to be met, you guessed it, by the now familiar band of hoodlums.

By now, I was recognizing a pattern, so I quickly retreated to my nearby bedroom, and was pleased to hear them once again stealthily sneak off. To further investigate, I began to slowly open my door, to once again be met by raucous ranting and raving, cursing and threatening, bullying and bravado.

This is when it dawned on me.

I was being held hostage. A hostage! On Thanksgiving, no less!

I realized I had to do something soon. I had to call the Hostage Rescue Team. I didn't want to. I knew it could end badly, but it had to end. I made the call.

Soon Dad arrived to end my plight. Which was only fitting since it had been his job to secure the premises before he left. Unfortunately, by the time he arrived, the boy had been woken another three times and I was exhausted. But he managed to capture all three of the criminals and haul them off to serve their justly deserved time, sitting in a cold car, forced to wait for hours on end for two excited women to finish shopping. They deserved it, the little criminals.

The two Bischons I could understand - they're crazy. But my own Furball! Oh the agony of betrayal! For hours on end, I had been held hostage - by lap dogs.

And Dad, well I guarantee next year he'll lock the little critters up before he heads out for driving duty. 'Cuz one of his own precious little furry ones peed right in Dad's lap. I guess the ornery little critter wanted to warm up.

I know Dad did.

Sleeping Away

As a parent of a preschooler and a toddler, I've found that routines and schedules make life so much easier for everyone concerned. The kids have a set bedtime and a nighttime routine, although that's kept flexible, and a routine for getting up and pretty much for the whole rest of the day. What can I say - my kids are most definitely creatures of habit. And that's not a bad thing. Not by a long shot. It makes things around the homes run somewhat smoothly through most days.

And then we go somewhere. And it bites us on the backside. Hard!

We're  visiting Grandma and Granddad for Thanksgiving. We've been having a fun time, laughing, talking, playing and enjoying too much good food. And dealing with kids who won't eat or sleep regularly.

Hence me being up figuring out a foreign coffee maker at oh dark thirty. Little Man kept us awake most of the night refusing to sleep in his bed. After my sleepy Sweetheart put him back to sleep - oh, I don't know, probably for the fourth time - he figured out he could just climb out of the doggone thing. Apparently it's not escape proof enough. For Little Man, it has to have vertical bars that are really tall and be solid enough that he can't shake it apart. Hmm, I wonder if we can move to Alcatraz?

Sorry, the coffee's not ready yet. It's hard to stay on track with a brain starved of caffeine.

So anyway, the little fellow figured out how easily he could get out of bed, so he just decided not to stay in bed. Of course, he did this after I had fallen back to sleep. Suddenly, I found myself jerked out of my sweet dreams by a tiny, and cold, hand reaching out from the darkness to beat me on the throat! Scared the living daylights out of me! I'm afraid to look in the mirror - I just know my hair is probably doing some freaky Elvira thing. I don't think I'm going to look good with a shock of white hair.

But, like the wonderful father I am, I restarted my heart, took the little boogie man back to bed, rocked him, shushed him and got him back to peaceful slumber.

Or so I thought.

I couldn't have been asleep more than five minutes when I was once again woken abruptly. This time it was a loud thump. I had my suspicions. I was pretty sure the boy was once again roaming on the loose - probably stalking the Furball through Mom's garden.

So, as tempted as I was to let him wander until he found Grandma's room, I decided it might be safer to try to hunt him down first. I climbed out of bed and softly padded off into the night, careful not to wake my sleeping beauty or to spook my prey. My hunter's instinct (okay, okay, I know I'm not a hunter, but I've read a lot of Alan Quartermain stories) told me my quarry would head for food. After all, there's pumpkin pie in the kitchen. Who could rightly ignore such a tempting morsel.

So as I silently stalk through the bedroom and out the doorway into the main hall, with complete confidence in my sneaking prowess, I gleefully imagined the shocked look I would see on my boy's face as I jumped out of the darkness and interrupted his pie fest.

It didn't occur to me, or to my ego, that the hunter could become the hunted. As I came out of the hall, he jumped in front of me and scared me so badly that I'm now afraid all of my hair has fallen out from shock.

Needless to say, once I began breathing again, I surrendered. I know when I've been bested. So, I did what any father would do after being scared half to death twice in less than thirty minutes and woken up beyond any hope of further sleep.

I put the little hooligan in bed with Mommy so she could deal with him, and I went off  in search of coffee. Now that's game I can catch.

20 November 2012

WARNING! Sappy, Emotional, Lovey Dovey Content!

Well, my beautiful, incredible Sweetheart is about to turn, um, 21 years old. I'm taking her out for the special dinner she asked for, and of course, I've chosen a few surprises for her. But, being the hopelessly sappy, and unrepentant, romantic that I am, I also wrote her a love poem.

Now, I could just write it out on pretty paper and give it to her at the restaurant, or maybe slip it into her work laptop for her to find in the morning. But I figured why settle for something so simplistic and private when I can let it all hang out, publicly embarrassing myself for the sake of love, and put it up here for her and the whole world (or at least the seven people who read my blog) to see, so that everyone can know what my dearest friend, my sweetest companion, my lifelong dream who is my Sweetheart, means to me.

And yes, I know full well that I am a few days early. For those of you who know my life, you know that for me to get things done correctly they often have to be done early or late. I didn't want this to be late. And with the holidays and the traveling, I figured I'd better be early.

(I warn you, this is your last chance to back out before it's too late and you find out just how sappy I can get!)

"How have I loved you:

I loved you in the park that day, as the sunlight framed your face and God told me you were mine;

I loved you under the stars that beautiful night you said, "Yes!";

I loved you as I stood and watched you meet me at the altar to join our lives in Covenant;

I loved you as we walked the beaches and sailed the seas, holding one another tight;

I loved you as we chased one another round the country, stealing moments when we could;

I loved you as we dined together each night, though we were a thousand miles apart;

I loved you as I held you while God stood over the deliveries of our dear children;

I loved you as you stood by my side as the doctor said those dreaded words;

I loved you as you held me up through the long and painful years, lending me your strength to carry on;

I loved you as you broke down walls to allow me in where none others had been;

I loved you as I watched you blossom into a Mother of whom mine would be proud;

I loved you as we laughed and snuggled and held hands through the mundane and the frantic;

I loved you as you I watched you sleep through the night, while you held my arms tightly around you;

I loved you as I watched you teach our children how to play leapfrog;

I loved you when you took time off from work to draw a chalk rainbow in our driveway;

I loved you as we learned to live and love as a family;

And I will continue to love you, my Sweetheart, as we walk through the years, hand in hand, holding one another tight as our love grows through all eternity."

17 November 2012

Thought for the Day #19

There's just no way to stay stressed out about anything after you've felt your child patting you on the back while you rock him before putting him to bed.

15 November 2012

My Turn

For almost all of my son's life, he has been Mommy's Little Man. He didn't want much from me, and I could understand that. After all, I couldn't compete with the booby.

Ah, but in the last few weeks a shift has occurred. The universe has changed, and it is good.

I now finally have my Daddy's boy. My Mini-Me. My shadow.

Ah, life is good.

Sweetheart tried to put him to bed just now and he grabbed his blanket, jumped off her lap and ran around searching, singing "Dada, Dada, Dada." She seemed incensed, but I could hear the smile in her voice. I took him to his room, patted his back and he smiled and drifted right off.

I exercise, and he's there beside me, holding my hand so he can match my stride. I play tennis on the wii and he has to have a remote, too. I shave and he "shaves" with a little Taylor Almond Cream from Daddy's bowl, and a few blade less strokes from Daddy's razor. And he absolutely refuses to leave the house without a tiny touch of my Clubman aftershave, so he can smell like Daddy.

I don't know how long it will last. Someday he may jump back to Mommy for a bit. But for now, he's MY shadow, and life is good.

Thought for the Day #18

You know you have an interesting life ahead of you when you have to break out the electrical tape, not to repair wiring, but to keep your boy from ripping off his diaper and waving it at you.

14 November 2012

Thought for the Day #17

I know my children aren't out to get me...

but I don't think THEY know that.

13 November 2012

Feel Good Moment

The other day, I had the whole family out shopping for a new outfit for my Sweetheart. Yes, I know that was a stupid idea seeing as how the kids were both tired and cranky and the boy was spewing snot everywhere, but that's not the point - and in any case, I'd only slept a few hours in several days, so I wasn't in my right mind, and as such I'm assured complete immunity by the Daddies Bill of Rights for any snot or vomit covered clothing or shopping carts, and for any headaches, blurred vision or seizures caused by the screaming of my overtired children. (And don't get all self-righteous on me - you know danged well your kids have done the same thing.)

Ah, but I digress. So as I was saying, I had the whole noisy messy bunch at Kohl's, watching serenely as the Little Man screamed and cried and pulled his limp noodle act and rubbed snot all over me and his Mommy. Generally, he was just trying to be annoying enough that he would be allowed to get down and run around naked (yes, we've reached that wonderful age of streaking), but God was sweetly buffering me somehow that afternoon, and I was strangely un-annoyed. Or perhaps I had a really bad seizure and went temporarily deaf. Whatever the case, I was enjoying roaming around my beautiful wife, enjoying the view and taking turns wrangling the boy and keeping an eye on the Princess, who was bound and determined to get at least thirty or forty new outfits of her own.

Well, we finally tracked down numerous outfits for Sweetheart to try on and proceeded to the dressing room. Then things got even more interesting. To cut my long story short, let's just say that the boy went crazier than usual and was tossed back and forth between me and the dressing room. He stripped, he tried to tear off his diaper, he screamed, he threw up, he produced a larger volume of snot (by weight) than his own body mass, which is one of those mysteries of physics which I am struggling diligently to solve. I figure I'll be getting the Nobel Prize for it eventually, once I solve the puzzle.

Now, normally, this would have had me as cranky as the kids. I'm not sure what the difference was this time, although I suspect that it has something to do with Sweetheart and I coming to the realization that if we don't try very, very hard to maintain a great (not just good) attitude, then all the health issues we've been having to deal with will drag us down, and that's not what we want for the kids. In any case, I wrestled the Little Man into the child seat of the cart by tilting the whole thing back against me and tying him down with the straps. Sound horrific, I know (I sure know he thought so), but I figured, hey, that's what those things are there for, so might as well use 'em. As I tied him in, I put my mouth to his ear so he could hear me over his screaming, and softly told him that all he had to do was sit in the seat until Mommy was done. I gently promised him that as soon as she got out, he could get out and walk with her. I had to repeat myself several times before he began to calm down enough to understand me, but he actually settled down and sat fairly quietly until Sweetheart was done. I don't know who was more surprised by the whole episode, him or me.  What I do know, was that there were lots of women passing back and forth, most of them looking at me like I was some kind of child beater for making him sit.

What I didn't know was that one woman was watching the whole thing. She could have sprung her surprise on me alone and I would have been shocked enough. But nope. She waited until my Sweetheart rejoined us and then she slipped up behind me. When she told me, and then repeated it to make sure my wife heard, that she was impressed and thought I was doing such a great job with my children, you could have knocked me over with a feather. She went on to assure me that my kids were no bother at all and that they were very well behaved and obviously were being reared well.

I was tickled pink! For her to have told not just me, but my wife, something so pleasant and wonderfully kind, was such a blessing. As a disabled father, I often worry that I'm not measuring up and that my children are suffering because of my disability. To have a stranger acknowledge my efforts and offer completely unsolicited praise was an incredible pick me up. It was a great feel good moment.

04 November 2012

Workin' Out with Daddy

Well, my Weight Watchers experience is going great. So far, I've lost 5% of my body weight in just six weeks. Without feeling deprived or hungry. In fact, we've been experimenting and enjoying new ways of cooking and baking, to the point that we are enjoying our food more than ever.

But I digress. My Sweetheart managed to catch the photos as I was enjoying my favorite light work out. I play tennis on the Wii while I'm walking or running in place. I do an hour or so of it every day, and I've also started an actual workout program as well. But today, I was just enjoying my favorite when, all of a sudden, my Little Man came up beside me and started trying to match my pace to walk in step with me. Then he reached up and took my finger. My kids inspire me!