we had a friend and his son (who is 6mo older than calli and half mexican [we'll get to that later]) over for christmas. no big deal he's been coming to christmas for the past 4 or so years. but this year was different. his son's in town from mexico and he brought him along. again no big deal. or so i thought.
during said christmas, i got my first glimpse into what it means to have daughter. and i have wanted to vomit ever since.
ok, i recognize that, contrary to popular belief, i can be a bit dramatic. and i do recognize the fact that my daughter is only 2. but watching them give each other cute little "besos" over and over and over and over and... you get it, from the many promptings of the adults in the room i felt the need to grab my daughter, lock her in a room filled with books and return when she's 30 to let her out.
at first, i loved how they got along. how sweet it was to watch her follow him around. but when she started sharing her gold fish with him my gut filled with concern. that girl never shares. especially food. i looked over at my friend, he smiled and said "latin lover, player". because that's what dad's of boys do. they pat'em on the back and take pride in the way they pray on poor little naive girls. and dad's of girls develop ulcers.
i have never wanted to protect something so much in my life. neither have i ever wanted to knock down a poor defenseless toddler with a swift kick in the ass. but i sure as hell wanted to that day. with much anxiety i admit to myself that this will be me for the next... oh i don't know... 50 fucking years.
this is exactly why i have started a savings account for the private, all girls school here in austin. it's my last defense against all those boy's just like... me.
"omg, i'm boring!"
"wtf, why can't i think of anything to talk about?"
"icbtihtm, (sorry-- i can't believe this is happening to me) i swear my life is fun and crazy."
"hey idiot... shut the fuck up. sit back, relax and relish the fact that nothing is going on. "
"whoa. you're right. calli's not sick. she has been sleeping through the night. both jobs are flowing nicely. she even told me she loved me as i left this morning for work. " (insert tear drop)
"my life is good."
"my life is normal."
"and doggonit, people like me."
this past weekend two friends of mine and their wives drove up from houston to surprise me for my birthday. i've know one of these friends 16 years and the other 8 years. we still chat occasionally and see each other a couple of times a year but we were all so close before my wife and i moved to austin and then when we had calli it got worse.
i was completely shocked when they pulled up late friday night. when they walked through the door, it was as if nothing had ever changed. it felt really good to reconnect. calli latched on to all of them from the get go and it made me really sad as they drove away. calli was blowing them kisses and i started to think about the next time she would see them. i couldn't honestly tell myself when that would be. hell , we have friends here where we live that we hardly see much less 3.5 hours away. but i truly want to make an effort to keep these friends close. i have a pretty small family and she's going to need these extended aunts and uncles in her life. i know it's going to be tough with both my jobs and trying to match up schedules but in the end it's well worth it.
i heard her talking the other morning and went to get her started for the day. i knocked on her door to see what she would do and she so sweetly asked, "who is it?". i thought i was going to melt. i opened the door and smiled at her. she promptly said, "mama? mommy? mama?". how could i have expected anything else? i told her mama was at work. she stopped everything, shot me this hard stare and followed it with a slap on the side of the crib. translation --"what the hell did you just say? don't make me slap this crib again."
this has been her response to many things as of late. the stare down and then the slap of whatever is within reach. the wall, floor, a toy or if we're lucky enough to be in striking distance, one of us. the major problem with this outburst is that it's funny as hell. mainly because she 's so completely serious. it takes everything i have to not break down when i'm trying to administer some sort of discipline. but damn it's hard.
really, what does she think she's accomplishing here?
i don't mean that from a logistical standpoint either. ie. because i'm married to her daughter i have to love her. i mean it from a this-woman-is-crazy-as-i-shake-my-head-at-her-humph-you-gotta-love-her standpoint. look, it would be easy to dismiss her (i'm pretty sure she thinks that's how i approach her anyway) and just say hello and goodbye and let that be it. but we have a pretty good relationship and every once in a while she'll throw an opinion out there (believe me she can throw'em) that it'll make me think. this type of rare occurrence happened the last time she was in town. twice.
(ok, i'm using my thick south-east texas twang because her's is amusingly thick)
1) "now, you know i was 32 when i had my youngest, right? you're behind."
this statement was in reference to my wife and the fact that she is now thirty and only has 1 child. so, according to my mother-in-law's math we should be knee deep in our second round of poop diapers, recycling baby #1 clothes with thoughts of the 3rd getting us giddy. but my wife and i decided we would wait till our first was at least 3 or 4 before we considered #2. we didn't want to be changing diapers for two babies and we figured if one could actually tell us what was wrong with'em we'd be that much further ahead of the curve. as one would imagine, this type of response went no where. no matter how i try to spin it, we're always going to be behind. but we're sticking to our guns on this one and we feel pretty good about it. i do however, get that ache when i see someone holding a tiny baby. i really miss those days. there's something comforting and warm about that. again, something i swore i would never say when i had kids... bleh.
(again with the thick south-east texas twang because her's is amusingly thick)
2) "i think you're different for the sake of being different."
this particular jewel was one of many interior decorating comments bestowed upon me by one said in-law.
ok, so, i hung this window pane in our study which i got from my folks house. an idea that both my sister and i stole from our mother. now, my mom and sister hung a wreath on theirs but i didn't. (insert in-law) according to my mother-in-law, if i did this, it would allow the white pane to not get so lost on the white wall. i told her: i didn't want to copy what they did-and-that i didn't understand why people would want to in the first place-and-that it looked absolutely fabulous as is-and-i'm always right. she said children take on certain traits (like decorating) from their parents because they're comfortable and familiar and that i just like being different. ok fair enough. i can see that and it made me step back for a moment. i have always been this way. from a very early age. but i haven't wanted to stand out or be different i just didn't want to be the same. who knows why or what any of this means i just know it's too easy to "go with flow". and truthfully, it really doesn't matter. but i guess i should be happy that i have someone to keep me thinking... right? in the end i did agree that something hanging on it would add a nice touch but i prefer things like that to be there for a reason. so we decided i would get a hat from her father and hang it on the corner. i thought that would make for a nice story if anyone ever asked. i like decorative items to be discussions pieces also or at least have meaning other than i got that at pottery barn.
seriously though, can i really trust the opinions of someone who still drinks tab soda?
reader: what did you just say?
me: yes, they still make tab soda.
as i mentioned before, the "terrible twos" have set in and the limits of my abilities as a parent are being tested. and when i say tested i'm talking final-chapter-of-any-harry-potter-book-where-voldemort-is-about-2-seconds-from-ending-h. potter-as-we-know-it tested. specifically my abilities to keep my cool and not flip out when i have to tell her for the 37th time not get on the stairs or not stand on the car or not walk on the books or not pull the dog's tail or not --this really could go on for days. so in order to keep sanity in place we have introduced time out.
holy shit! the greatest invention since the wheel sandwich on sliced bread!
my wife used it for the first time on sunday and after two 1 minute stints in t/o she got the idea. when i stayed home with her on monday i threw it out a couple of times and you'd think i was threatening to take her out in the middle of west texas only to leave her to fend for herself till the end of time. she immediately stopped what she was doing wrong to go carry on a conversation with some sorta stuffed whatever that obviously served as a better playmate then me. i couldn't believe it.
hell yeah! t/o kicks ass!
at first i found this hard to believe. when i called my wife between jobs the other day and she said she hit the "terrible twos". i shrugged it off as she's tired or her last two teeth were coming or whatever but not this whole "terrible two" bullshit. then i saw it with my own eyes.
slapping, kicking, pulling and that was only the dogs. she responded to everything with an adamant round of no-no-no, screamed when i tried to touch her and would not stay away from the damn stairs. if someone hadn't noticed her on the stairs she would make some noise till she received acknowledgment and then your eyes would meet and she would smile. like-- "hey, look at me and by the way, this is my middle finger for your authority." whomever was close would go through the motions and pull her off as she flailed and screamed no. the whole display was rather embarrassing. but isn't that what thanksgiving is all about? family.
when i step back and look at the entire situation i feel sort of bad for her. it seems that with this age comes a strong push towards independence. i think that's what makes it so "terrible". they want to do everything on they're own but can hardly do anything with out you. it makes for a pretty lethal combination if you're not in the proper mind frame.
and to think... up until now i thought i was parenting.
two years have come and gone faster than i could have ever imagined. happy birthday to you.
there's so much i want to say but i don't really know where to begin.
well... how about --- you're freakin' crazy. out of everything, this has got to be my favorite. i love to watch you grab life by the balls and just go-go-go. it must be some trust thing you have for your mama and me but you don't give a damn and somehow know we'll be there to catch you. you do what you want-when you want-how you want and it's hilarious to watch. i promise i do all i can to make sure you never lose this.
not only are you a complete nut, you are absolutely the sweetest thing. people love being around you and i know you occupy a special place in many hearts.
i'm not gonna lie and say that things have always been a bowl of chubby hubby, in fact it's been a bowl of soggy dog crap a couple of times, but never have i not loved my life in the last two years. not to get all sappy-pappy but you get me out of bed each morning. i know that no matter how shitty the day's been i can go home to you and-the clouds part-and-the rain stops-and-your halo shines bright-and-birds sing-and you get the point. i can crawl around on the floor with you and nothing else matters. i couldn't thank you enough for that.
you're a special little girl calli. i can't wait to see what you do next.
i love you and will always be here for you.
happy birthday callia.
we went with a dance party theme. no particular era just dance in general.
we through up a slew of gaudy metallic decorations, plugged in couple of colored lights and a strobe, put out a dance floor and compiled the best dance mix from the last 4 decades you've ever heard. we hit the brick house, dropped it like it was hot and definitely brought sexy back. the kids seemed to have a pretty good time. there wasn't much dancing, sadly, but what could we have expected with a bunch of 2 year old kids? plus , i left out all of calli's toys and that was obviously a mistake.
i'm afraid this theme will be hard to top but we do have a year to try and out do ourselves. between now and then, i have to figure out how to get a trapeze, shark tank and that really cool ball-cage-thingy the guy on the motorcycle rides around in in my living room.
i know... it's like this strange weepy over-emotional person has taken over my body when i wasn't looking. i wasn't ever like this before calli came into the world. i can hardly listen to country music at all anymore... i've gone haywire.
freakin' kids man... they make you crazy.
w: "calli... baby... shhhh
m: "why is she screaming?"
w: "she wants water."
m: "i'll get it."
w: "it's ok baby, daddy's getting you water."
all the way downstairs in the kitchen i hear her. again, it's 1am.
m: "here calli. here's your water."
we're quickly approaching calli's 2nd birthday and this year we are going with a dance party theme. it's turning out to be quite an undertaking but i think it'll be really cute and fun in the end. which brings me to my point about the live music.
i was working on the play list for the party last night --the usual suspects, you know snoop, gwen, jt...-- and i was adding some children's music when i realized how lucky we, as austinites, are to have someone like joe mcdermott living and playing in our town on a regular basis. he's this great musician with punk roots who the kids absolutely adore. you need to go and down load all his music and try your damnedest to get to austin to check him out. your kids will love forever for it. plus, we all know how much we could use a break from the backyardigans and the likes.
it is weird that a guy like me was ever in the military and when i do mention it to people it really throws them for a loop. especially when i tell them i served for 7 years. 4 active duty air force and 3 texas air national guard. i didn't take part in any war time situations but there were real life scares while i was stationed in kuwait.
when i look back on my time in the service i smile. i did a ton of go growing up in the military and learned quite a bit about who i am. i used to think i joined out of confusion and a willingness to shock the norm but now when i look back i think i made a much smarter decision than that. i knew i would never make it in the college world right out of high school so this was by far the best decision for a person at my age and position in life.
calli will never know me as that person but she will know of that person and i'm certain a lot of that person will shape the girl/women she will become.
so for that i salute all the men and women who have served and myself ---proudly.
it seems this list (of things i would not do as a parent) continues to grow at a pretty alarming rate. it's actually quite embarrassing. i've never eaten so much humble pie in my entire life as i have in the past 2 years. i guess it comes with the territory sort of like poop under the fingernails.
"i will never tell people they'll understand when they have kids."
"i will never have conversations involving nothing but poop diapers."
"i will never let my child sleep in my bed."
the list could go on but for the purposes of this post i will end it with:
"i will never forget that i'm married".
for the most part this has not been an issue. but since starting this second job, i haven't been around the house much. and the time i have, i'm usually thinking about calli and wanting to see her and hold her and kiss her and... you get it. so, this issue became painfully obvious when my wife had to point out to me how i mentioned i was sad about my daughter leaving for the weekend but not her.
if you look to the left i have a sidebar feature that allows me to update what i'm doing at any moment-anywhere-anytime through twitter. (i'm still not sure what the point of this is other than because i can but that's neither here nor there.) i updated this this morning, mentioning how i was sad about my daughter leaving and as you can see i had to go back and include my wife in a seperate update. that was more or less for her benefit and it gave me a good laugh but it did make me think for a moment.
i realized that as of late i had been unconsciously giving all my attention to my daughter. i think it's easier to assume my wife knows how i feel and my daughter must be shown. this makes sense to me but by no means is it an excuse. i really felt bad. but this does seems to be the case in many relationships. i will however do what i can to see that this doesn't happen again.
mainly because i don't want to deal with all the "what about your wife" emails.
i could not believe how crazy the restaurant got. not only was it my first night i worked cocktail as well. that may not sound like much, but during the week, they serve the full menu in the lounge. i had 8 tables in my section and it was about 8 too many. i'm not one who usually struggles in these types of situations so the unfamiliar territory through me off. the bar couldn't get a drink made in under 10 min and the guest wouldn't wait longer that 4. it made for a deadly combination. i remember stopping --clearly when i had no time at all to stop-- and thinking "damn my mouth is dry... i think i'm gonna throw-up". yeah. that bad. like any situation, i made it through it, eventually, able to look back and learn. sorta. i guess more or less what not to do.
i'm back at it again tonight. in the same section. i'm sure it'll go better than last night but i'm not counting on a smooth flight. still i have to push though and get these growing pains behind me. plus the freakin' money is ridiculous and it's all for calli. right?
get back to me when she's a teen.
anyway, i'm feeling a little sad today because my mom is having to put one of our family cats down this afternoon.
from what i can remember, we have always had cats around the house. for some reason my folks loved to rescue cats from workplace parking lots, the grocery store or some random location where a cat should not have been in the first place. penny happened to be an offspring of one of these particular finds.
she was born when i was in high school so she's been around some 15 years. her health is pretty horrible right now and it's been falling for quite a while. we all know this is the right thing to do but that doesn't make it any easier. i may have bitched about her over the years --pretty much because i had to shovel her shit on a daily basis-- but i'm realizing today she meant something to me.
this has made me step back and think of her which made me think about how i did enjoy having her around. you see, i spent a lot of time grounded in high school and she made me feel not so alone while i got to know the inside of our house. really well.
i truly will miss her.
on a side note
it seems that with kids come pets and i won't be "that" parent who denies their children pets if they really want them. but i can assure you the type of pets i'm willing to own (and take care of because that's how it works) are not many. right now, it's fish. i don't see that changing any time soon.
i'm not quite sure i can honestly say "another successful halloween down". i will say however, we made a giant leap in the right direction compared to the constant crying from the moment calli donned her costume that we experienced last year. but to claim victory would only be a lie. she did enjoy herself --for the most part-- and we were able to contain the crying to small isolated moments. the moments between the wagon and the front door. the most important moments.
she hopped out of the wagon and made her way up the driveway and as soon as she saw the generous person handing over the treats she turned running back to the wagon adamantly exclaiming--
"no! no! no! no! no!"
"calli... why are you saying no?"
"no! no! no! no! no!"
so much for the candy i would enjoy for the next month and a half. as a parent, this is one of the best times of the year. i can indulge in all the candy i would never normally buy without any of the guilt. i think we managed about 6 pieces in all. pretty much a bust if you ask me.
the rest of the baby bunch seemed to have a solid grasp on the door to door concept. my daughter, not so much. she happily sat in the wagon while her paypaw pulled her up and down the streets. i will say she looked damn cute doing it.
over all, the event went well. but next year we are not going out like this. there will be blood, sweat and tears lost between now and then to get this down. i will not have these other dads reaping the rewards of pimping their kids out for the sweet-tooth satisfaction more than me. again.
baby bunch halloween 3.0... here we come!
--insert second job--
in order to fix this "problem" i took on a second job. bleh.
i started last night and the job itself, i like --it's really easy and the money's great-- and it's in line with the "new path" i've chosen to pursue. (more on that at a later date) but the time i have to put in sucks. i leave the house at 630 am and get home around 1030pm. obviously it makes for a long day. but the two job thing is only temporary. once we get on our feet again and through the holiday season, i plan on going to nights only. this will not only pad the pockets a little better, it will also allow me days with calli again --which i miss terribly-- and give me my sanity back. at least in regards to jobs.
so for now, i'll just bite down and grin n' bare it. that's life, right?
according to dictionary.com, a "life" dream comes defined as the above example.
i mention this because i had an interesting conversation with a friend --note: he's not a parent-- about "life" dreams and the path someone takes once they have children. basically, he told me about a high school reunion his sister went to in their hometown and the interactions she had with old friends. at the time she was about to finish her phd and held a faculty position at depaul university in chicago. no doubt a respectable position to be in life. i'm not at all slighting that in any way. i just want to get that out there. i know someone will undoubtedly think i'm an asshole by the end of this post. so she went home, went to this reunion and exchanged pleasantries. the typical "how are you ? what are you doing these days?" blah, blah boring shit none of us care about anyway so why do we even bother, conversations. getting to the point, she told them what she was doing and where she worked and apparently the small town friends pretty much disregarded this as oh nice but here are the 75 photos of my children. i'm sure there was a bit of exaggeration thrown in for emphasis on his part. but he couldn't believe how having children can trump a phd and a faculty position at depaul university.
i'm not sure that one out shines the other but when i said it's hard to understand till you have children i got the whole yeah but you can't just live through you kids- there's more to life than children response.
there are certainly things we all admit we would never do or say when we have kids and i cringe every time i say or do these things. truth is, we all do them and the stuff about how you don't understand till you have kids is so fucking true it makes me ill. having a child not only changes everything, it changes everything. i get the whole notion of how we shouldn't lose sight of who we are as individuals but truth be known, once you have a child, your dreams become their dreams and all you want is to see them grow and learn and smile through accomplishment.
i have been acting for about five years. my wife and i moved out to lost angeles and then back to austin and i pursued it pretty heavily for those five years. in the middle of all this i had a child. this didn't stop me from doing what i loved. it did however magnify the fact that acting is definitely a single person's life style. and of course i knew i would be the one to break that. but once i started missing time with calli because i was rehearsing or shooting something i quickly realized i did want to be the exception to the rule any longer. so i made the decision to set acting aside and find a way to have more time with my family.
from the outside it does seem that a child drives many away from their dreams but i can assure you the parents are choosing the paths they take and as crappy as it sounds, you can not and will not understand till you have a child.
now, don't get me wrong, i'm not living some boring life now because i have a kid, i'm just choosing to pursue a different path. acting turned out not be what i am going to do with my life and that's fine. i'm perfectly okay with that. just know that i will die knowing i made that decision on my own. not because i had a kid.
each morning before calli and i get in the car to leave we step out onto the driveway and look at the stars. this morning the moon sat just above the trees, full and lit the entire sky. she couldn't stop pointing exclaiming, "moon, moon, moon". then, when we turned to head for my car, she extended the proper salutation --"bye, bye stars. bye, bye moon." very cute. still, it doesn't make up for the middle-of-the-night-interruptions we have been the lucky beneficiaries of.
i got to work and immediately took note of how swollen my eyes felt. the computer screen seemed to be fueled by some sort of radio-active matter it was so blinding and i could feel the onset of new additions to my lovely flock of crows feet forming. after combing my mush of a brain, it hit me like a month supply of nodoz. the past two nights calli has been in and out of our bed a couple of times each night. that's why i've been draggin' ass. however, i'm not sure what's going on. according to my mother, she slept both nights straight through when she stayed with her.
how does this happen?
why does our house & her bed make the difference?
is one full night of sleep too much to ask for?
if it's teeth, why didn't the try to come through when she stayed in houston?
i can ask no more question.
there are never going to be answers.
she will forever make my brain hurt.
it doesn't make sense.
nothing makes sense.
i can't think this early without a proper nights sleep.
even with coffee.
it's too much.
sleep is very important.
that trip kicked-off our day and a half mini-vacay without calli and i have to say, it was awesome. the 36 hours we had to ourselves gave us a moment to step back and breathe. leaving calli in houston may have been tough but i don't think either of us realized how much we needed it. we didn't do anything special we just hung out. i was off yesterday and hillary was "sick" so we ran around town like young carefree kids. it hasn't been just us since we found out she was pregnant. it felt like we were 25 again. and really, who doesn't want to be 25 again.
but, in the end, i just want to see my daughter again.
damn curse of a parent.
we must all be masochist to actually beg for the direct and indirect abuse we receive as a result of being parents.
it started out a bit slow. the wife and i had a late night. too much heroes if you know what i mean. it took us a while to drag our lazy asses out of bed and when we finally got around to it, the first thing we saw was a bedroom with clothes and bags and crap everywhere. (we're going to houston this weekend for a couple of family birthdays.) we got caught up in the night and didn't finish packing. we did our best to get it all done before calli woke up and we did an alright job but we ended up running a bit behind.
i finally found my way downstairs --suitcase, backpack, calli's bag & hanging clothes all in tow-- somehow got a pancake going for her and after i shoved everything in the trunk of the car i made it back inside. calli sat patiently waiting for her breakfast and when i set the pancake down she offered up a "wank ooo".
"holy shit, what did she just say?"
this came about with out any prompting, begging or embarrassing pleading on my part. it was as if the clouds parted and a shard of light from the heavens illuminated our child as she delivered those two words i have been begging her to say for months now. i couldn't believe this. i found myself whistling zippity-do-da to this cute little animated bluebird perched on my shoulder as i floated out of the house into the car and into traffic that couldn't phase me.
finally. finally, all the hard work has paid off. she is learning and we as parents are getting through to her. we are not failures. people will not hate our kid.
oh, what a beautiful day!
1. my daughter is possessed.
2. playing music for a child in utero really works.
all drama aside, my child is not possessed but she has exhibited traits of one who may be possessed a couple of nights in the past week. she would wake up in the middle of the night screaming. crazy screaming. holy shit what's happening screaming? we figured it was probably the canine teeth trying to come through, which by the way, we were told are the worse. unfortunately that is not the case so we still have that to look forward to. it's actually a sleeping disorder, my diligent researching wife found, called confusional arousal. the child is still asleep with eyes open or closed and does not recognize anything. and the more you try to talk to them and comfort them the worse it gets. of course we learned this the hard way, after the fact. she started moaning then it continued to build to thrashing around hitting pieces of furniture and throwing whatever she could get her hands on. the first time this happened, we were able to put on the backyardigans --this show at 1am when you're half asleep quickly produces a small amount of vomit in your mouth-- and she snapped out of it. this time however, the colorful singing adventurers of the backyard would not be able to save us from hurricane calli. she proceeded to send books across the room at nolyan ryan speed while scratching and pulling at my face in the midst of my futile attempts to calm her. this went on for 45 min before we gave in and let her massively destroy the living room. as i slumped in a chair, surrounded by defeat a light bulb went off in my head. and that's when the second confirmation set in.
when my wife was pregnant we wanted to find some soothing music to play for the baby and we decided on sigur ros's () album. for the last month of hillary's pregnancy she would put the head phones on her belly and play the cd. she never got past the first song out of boredom but it didn't matter. every time we place that song, calli stops what she's doing and falls into this trance. it's actually kind of surreal. i guess the womb is the safest place to be and the song takes her back there.
so, i got the cd put it on and she stopped. instantly. mid-yell-n-flail. turned toward the television --we don't have a stereo so i had to use the dvd player. desperate measures call for...-- and just stared. after a moment she crawled to get her "towel" (commonly known as the blanky) and curled up in hillary's lap. 3 plays later and she was ready to go back to bed. she slept fine the remainder of the night.
i wish there was a way for me to contact the band and explain to them how life saving their music is. and i don't mean that on some crazy fanatical level. i really mean it's life saving. i really felt like calli could have injured herself but when the first note of the first song on the cd played she went to another space and time. it's truly bizarre to watch.
talk about hard f*#king work. and to think that we chose to be parents. it's a damn good thing she's so unbelievably cute.
that's not to say i don't have friends i see on a regular basis, because i do. lots of them for that matter. and we do cry together about how hard things get and how much we love these little rascals regardless of how big a turd they can be. and yeah some them do cook and the shit is damn good. my point being, the internet has opened this whole other world that helps the understanding process when it comes to the challenges of parenting. the problems may not get fixed but there's comfort in knowing that someone in chubbuck, idaho didn't sleep last night either.
which brings me to my real point. i ran across this posting about the loss of a step-parent. I have always associated the term step-parent as one who "steps-in" when the biological parent cannot or chooses not to be a part of a child's life. for the most part this statement (technically) is correct but everyone knows there's more to it than that.
i grew up with step-parents. in fact i had two step-dads from age 2-28. not at the same time but two during those ages. it all changed when i turned 29. my step-dad, who had been in my life since i was 10 came to me and asked if i would allow him to adopt me. i remember thinking, i'm nearly 30 years old and if this man still wants to claim me as his son after all the shit-fire i put him through then i would love to be his son.
we had a nice adoption ceremony on valentines day 2005 and a great party for friends and family and then my wife and i changed our last name. an overall very cool process. and i have to say as much as i didn't think it would change much, it did. i knew that i could always rely on him as a parent but as a step-child with an absent biological parent there was always this void. once i became adopted the void was filled, much to my suprise. there's been this feeling of completeness. i'm not trying to be mushy and induce tears but it's ture.
so when i read the post about how this woman lost her step-dad it really hit home. step parents are not just stand-ins. they are life's soldiers serving as the stable element a child needs to feel their way through the day. i can't imagine what my life would be with out my father (step-dad) in it.
i will enjoy the fact that my kid is growing up/i will enjoy the fact that my kid is growing up/i will enjoy the...
it seems parents only talk about how their kids get older- change-they can hardly keep up-blah-blah-blah. i get just as tired of hearing this as the next guy but bottom line --it's true. they grow up so fast and you want nothing more than to sit and watch tv holding that warm bundle knowing you're all they need in life. as much as i loved those days --i think i'll long for them more as calli does get older-- her crazy personality is so much fun right now.
it's wild to see the independence start to set in. she only wears the clothes she picks out and when she makes up her mind about something there's no changing it.
a few weeks ago after a bath she put on a nightgown and then had to put on shoes. she wasn't going anywhere but still she had to have them. so she went to sleep with them on and asked to take them off in the morning. no big deal just a normal thing. who knows why but that's how it went down.
on our way home from the park the other day she put on her favorite pair of elton john sunglasses and wore them proudly. so proudly she wouldn't take them off. she got in the tub and when hillary took off the glasses to wash her face she flipped out. i mean real-tears-long-silent-open-mouth-breath-intake-prior-to-scream flip out. so she quickly washed her face and as soon as i got the glasses back on she stopped. pretty amazing. she definitely knows what she wants. thankfully she let me take them from her when i went to put her in bed and she hasn't asked for them since.
not quite sure what prompts these ideas but damn it's fun to watch.
she's just weird. she put these sandwich bags on her hands and freaked as i tried to take them off when we left. who was i to think that these were trash. so, she walked around downtown wearing them. for a long time. it was quite the site and we ended up taking them all the way home.
whether it's which wich sandwich bags on her hands or underwear on her head i swear i will do everything i can to keep her mind as far out there as it is right now.
my two favorite times of the year are summer to fall and winter to spring. here in texas, those are the only chances we get to take part in actual seasonal change. the change may be minimal as compared to other parts of the country but we'll take what we can get. it happens to be that time of year right now , and i plan on taking full advantage of it. last year we were just moving in and didn't have much time to notice the change and how great it can be in our own backyard. i have quickly found out exactly how much i love our backyard. it's huge, the grass is thick & soft and our house provides awesome shade in the afternoon.
the other day we were in the backyard playing and calli took a moment to lay with me (we all know how few and far between these moments are with a toddler) and look for planes. it felt so good. we even got to see one fly by. it made her so excited i though she was going to pee.
she pointed up-- "airpane, airpane, airpane"
fall afternoons in the backyard rock.
if there's one thing we've learned for sure it's that calli loves music. she stops when she hears it and can't take her eyes off it when it's on tv. so when a friend told us about this children's rock show, we had to take her. damn she had a good time. it was her and two of her friends and they romped around like they were at a fugazi concert. 5 acts and 2 and a half hours worth. i've never seen her dance so much. there's no doubt in my mind the we have a joan jett in the making.
i think i take for granted words like "biapers" or "peepoo". you see, those are meant to be diapers and pay-paw. (that's my dad's name for calli) but i hear them everyday and forget how sweet that little voice can be and how special it should make me feel.
it's been an unexpectedly sad start to this tuesday. my wife's uncle lost his dog early this morning and my mother-in-law's boyfriend broke up with her last night. i know how much he loved that dog and i also know how long she has been looking for someone special. it made me really sad for them.
so, in an effort to find something uplifting i remembered being in bed this morning and hearing calli in her room over the monitor saying "biaper" and i smiled. it amazes me how such insignificant moments can turn around an entire morning that's gone to shit.
kids are great, especially mine.
a good friend of ours thought it would be funny to teach calli to say "shit". naturally she said it. then repeated two more times. what a proud day as a parent. i thought it was mildly funny but my wife did not. and rightfully so. from past experiences we have every right to believe she will be quite the hell raiser and the last thing we need is her to be speaking like a sailor at two.
on a similar note, she has developed quite the vocabulary. for the most part you have to prompt her to say things although there are a few things she'll give up on her own. it just goes to show that kids --specifically toddlers-- will say what ever you want them too. well, except thank you.
another friend gave a good argument on toddler cussing and i have to say, i almost agree with her.
"i don't want my daughter walking around cussing all the time but if she knows why she is using the word and the situation calls for it i commend her on finding the proper word for emphasis."
yeah, i though it was a rather compelling argument also.
alright. i've been riding the easy train as of late with my posts. i'm ready to step it up a notch and give you readers something to truly sink your teeth into and ponder til the next moment of brilliance for which i will allow you to be a part of. now this won't change the world or anything i just want it to make you think--act--movethroughyourday--in--a--different--manner than you ever have in the past. simple enough.
parenting is hard. hold on it gets better. parenting is hard and it gets harder everyday.
there you have it. good, right? yeah, i thought so too.
i remember thinking how incredibly difficult life was for us when calli lived in the nicu. all the wires. all the feeding tubes. all the blood tests. all the blood transfusions. all the blah-blah-blah. so yeah, that time could not have been more difficult. at that time. but as we move through this little girl's life things get exponentially more difficult. i'm using the word difficult in a "hi mrs. cleaver, you look nice this evening." says eddie haskell, kind of way. there are moments of truth in the word, but over all the rise in the level of difficulty makes me smile. when one thing seems to ease, another pops up and seems even worse than the last. apparently --per my mother-- it gets harder the further they get away form the home.
i guess all the boring-bullshit clichés are right. fucking experience. it does pave the way. if we would just listen.
so i go back to my little life and continue to help raise my daughter knowing that the harder it gets will never amount to how hard it will get. with ease.
i have posted before about calli's bff giada. the friend she made while in the nicu. it's fun for us to play around and buy them bff shirts and braclets but sometimes it really seems to be the case.
we went to dinner with the mcg's the other night and giada just couldn't get enough of calli. they were running around and giada kept trying to kiss calli. calli had so much fun playing hard to get. she would watch giada getting close and then run. but just to keep giada interested she gave in a couple of times and john snapped a some great pics.
these girls have a special relatioinship. i feel lucky to have met them.
i posted recently about the influences that surround calli. specifically my sister. well now another has surfaced. my mother. i love how calli gets so much time with her, and i know they both enjoy every moment. but through all this quality-time, calli has quickly found an affinity for putting on make-up.
i'm not quite sure how i feel about this. after all the girl is only 21 months old. i'll admit it's quite cute to watch her emulate my mother when she puts her make-up on but i don't think i want her growing up this fast. I know every parent says that same thing but i think they all truly feel it.
either way, the situation brought me back to the thought of who interacts with my daughter. i'm actually fine with my mother showing her how to apply blush it just makes me think about how hard it's going to be when the wrong people start showing up. you can never be too careful but at the sametime you don't want to smother them either. i guess the ride continues.
my wife loves the idea of her getting this exposure. she says calli will definitely need this from my mom and sister since they're way more girly-girl than she.
*on a side note i snapped the first photo and she noticed me there and began to pose for a few that followed. she loves that spotlight. a girl after her own daddy's heart.
"they" always say to keep the child out of your bed. which makes great sense on paper. if they get too attached they'll want to sleep in your bed all the time. yeah, i get it. but at 345 in the am i (or normally my wife) find it hard to just walk around holding a 25lb toddler till she falls asleep again. if she gets in our bed, she generally hits rem sleep within seconds then moves back to her own bed. no big deal, case closed everyone back to sleep by 4am. cool? well, i started thinking differently the last couple of days. she has been in our bed when the alarm sounds and i wonder how comfortable is she with this?
my daughter is smart. i don't say that as some kind of declaration to show how that's my doing. i say that because it just hit me and now i'm really scared. she gets what's going on around her and i can see the wheels of manipulation turning at all times. she knows where she has us and how to use that to her advantage. which brings me back to the sleep thing. how long before she wakes up and has to finish out the night in our bed? without even knowing. the natural, unconscious instinct to cry and continue to cry till she gets what she wants. her little mind has started putting 2 & 2 together and understanding everystep of the way. i just hope this doesn't happen in her sleep.
we're a close family and when i say that i include the extended parts as well. on both side. more so on my side since the majority of my family lives in austin. so we see alot of each other. especially my sister and her "boyance". (pronounced: boy-ahn-say)
they spend quite a bit of time with calli and we love how much she enjoys her time with them. but sometimes you have to step back and take a look and the influences surrounding your child. you have to decide if they're setting the proper example and how the relationship will shape who your child will become.
i have never really thought twice about it since it is my sister. i feel i can pretty much trust her judgement. the worst she's could do would probably be exposing calli to way too much candy. or maybe dressing a little on the slutty side.
whoa! what did i just say?
that's right, dressing too slutty.
apparently my sister dresses too slutty for the women's gym chain curves. yeah, i know. why she signed up to go to there in the first place is a whole other story.
anyway, she and my mom went to workout yesterday afternoon and not even 20 minutes after leaving they were knocking at my door. so i open it and my sister had tears flying from her face and nothing intelligible coming form her mouth. i'm thinking she got in an accident, found out she's pregnant or her "boyance" has left her. oh no that would have been too easy. after she calmed down a bit i got the full story.
are you ready for this? go ahead and sit down.
okay, she got kicked out of curves for wearing shorts that were too short. no lie. and i don't mean you have to leave kicked out. i mean let me rip up your contract-here are your checks-we don't ever want to see your face around here-or-on any of the near by street corners-thank you very much-kicked out.
Of course we all couldn't stop laughing at this but it made me think. what kind of message will this send my daughter. you can dress how ever you want and get away with it? i don't think so. you can bet i'll have a close eye on my sister to make sure she won't be dragging my daughter down that "woman of the night" path she has so willing chosen.
what a great trip!
calli may have been a bit young to enjoy the full experience of the place but what she did see, she loved. and we loved watching her. i had no idea she would understand as much as she did. and the fact that we had so much of my family there made the trip that much more special. not much more to say about this one so i'll let these pics (haines is the password and it's the july album)speak for themselves.
i struggle day in and day out wondering if my kid resembles other kids or if she's unique in her crap-headed-ness. i know theses things shouldn't matter and no two kids are the same but i know every parent thinks it. especially when your kid's being a little shit. who wants to have the bad kid? frankly, it's embarassing and evevryone sees it as a reflection of your abilities as a parent.
with that said, thank god for the latest "newsletter" from parent-blogger extraordinaire dooce. when she compared holding a young pig to holding her daughter in the midst of a fit, i smiled. i smiled from ear to ear. finally someone to commiserate with.
it's not just me. my kid is normal. well you know what i mean. i can sleep again at night ---once the canines push all the way through-- knowing i haven't totally f'd her up already. now for the next 17 years. deep breath. don't panic.
don't let her be like me. please, don't let her be like me. anything, but not like me.
holy crap teeth suck! they suck bad! did i mention that teeth suck?
the first couple weren't bad. that whole milestone thing helped mask the pain and tears. now we're to the point of wanting to give her smoothies the rest of her life.
not only are the teeth pushing through, they're pushing through all at the same time. it seems nothing can make her happy.
she flails when you try to hold her. she flails when you put her down. she grabs, pinches, bites, anything to get your attention to say "hey you son-of-a-bitch i'm in pain fix it." in turn i reply, "i'm trying. ahhhh!" so we get nowhere and her teeth still hurt. what now?
i look out on the horizon and see the "terrible twos" quickly approaching.
parenthood, we do this by choice and somehow love every minute of it.
while it may be all fun and games to dress them up in heels and purses, how do you stop them from growing up so fast? even though i sound like that sappy parent complianing- my baby's growing up too fast and i so wish i could just hold her again- it's kinda true. i get a little ill when i hear these words come out of my mouth but i blink and she moves futher and further away from needing me. i do however look forward to the days where she can wipe her own butt, still, all the other things that make her a baby are quickly slipping away. i know i should look forward to all the new milestones she continuously surpasses but i really just want my little girl to fall asleep on my chest again. i guess these are the feelings that lead to baby #2.
on second thought she is pretty cute when she pinches the hell out of my face because i won't put her down.
we have made jokes from day 1 about how calli and giada are bff and can't live without one another. it's been fun. given us a few laughs. but as of late it really seems to be the case. calli has started saying giada (calli pronunciation--jaaada) and every time you ask her where giada is she looks to the picture on the fridge and points. it's very cute and it makes her smile. anytime we go the mcg's house giada comes to the door screaming and smiling to see calli. calli has other friends she enjoys time with and she does go to daycare but the relationship she has with giada seems different. they really connect. i'm not sure if that's because of the time they spent together in the nicu and all they have been through as such young people but it's neat to watch. i can hardly wait to see the trouble they get into and how close the become throughout the years.
the other day i was swiffering after calli had eaten and i noticed her watching me. i'm not sure but i sensed her judging me. it was probably nothing but i got a little miffed at the idea. so, like any father would do, i put the swiffer in her hand and made her clean up her own mess. i wasn't cracking a whip or anything just wanted to get my point across. your mess, you clean.
i have to say she did an alright job.
we took part in our first march of dimes walk this past saturday. we had a great time with everyone who joined us and our team nicu naughties rasied more than $5000! we totally kick ass!
Come hang with us next year and you too can be cool.
long ago i decided i would leave home and start my own life. with my own family in my own town with my own family traditions. not that there was anything wrong with where i was from or how i grew up. i had a great childhood. i think the male in me wanted to explore and conquer. whatever that means.
well, 13 years later i find myself in a totally different place altogether.
as a side note, i didn't get very far. i had these grand intentions of living in the big city or in foreign land where i couldn't speak the language but somehow i landed a mere 3 hours away from where i grew up. and there you have it.
so now i live in autsin with my wife of eight years and our 1.5 year old daughter. we love it here. then my parents and my wife and i bought a duplex together about 7 months ago. this was a big step. not only buying a place but having my parents share the space as well. keep in mind this is a second home for them so they are not here all the time. still, them is some close quarters if you don't have the right relationship. luckily we do and we have enjoyed every minute of it. the question now is how long before they make the move permanently and how will that change life? i have a feeling i'll be able to answer this very soon.
all this has made me realize the utter importance of family and i'm glad i ended up so close to "home."
reasoning with a 17 month old is a ridiculous notion. i get the idea behind this approach to parenting but in the end you're left with a defiant little
who the hell am i kidding? nothing works on these little
hell yes! the moment i have been waiting for has finally arrived . calli has started dancing. it's not much yet, but she hears the music and gets that's little bounce thing going. i have been working on the one-hand-in-the-air hip hop groove and she's getting that down. but the other night, we were watching american idol and she stopped playing to watch the show and started bouncing and waving her arms in the air. it totally kicked ass. as soon as i can figure out how to get the video online i'll add it.
i think robert (our roommate) and i laughed for about 15 minutes the other night when calli began her life-long pursuit of testing me as a parent. at first my jaw was on the floor but then i thought, oh my god... she is smart (insert single tear about half way down my cheek). for so long hillary and i have said-- "well if nothing else our kids well be cute." now that's not us being too proud of the way we look, we just thought we needed something to justify how our kids were more than likely, not going ivy league.
so, robert and i were sitting on the couch watching my darling daughter roam the living room in search of any two things she could smash together. when from the corner of her eye she caught the light bouncing off the edge of an oh so tempting cd case. with all other thoughts and plans quickly forgotten, her only goal in life was to get there and grab hold of her favorite. beck midnight vultures. instead of getting off the couch i simply called her name in the hopes that she'd listen to me, see the wrong in what she was doing and turn to apologize.
yeah, you're right.
so i called her name again this time with that stern dad voice. again my attempts have apparently fallen on deaf ears. she finally reached the basket of cds and turned to look at robert and i. she then set up distraction with a smile and not so subtlety reached behind her back and grabbed a cd. i am completely shocked at this. how the hell does this child, who has been walking for maybe a month and a half and can barely say anything other than poop, know how to manipulate. i tried so hard to remain the parent but my efforts were useless. and we laughed. and we laughed. and we laughed. not laughter from the humor of the situation but rather "oh shit i cannot believe this"laughter. at that moment i saw myself... and my life became difficult.
"well, you spoke with them earlier and i think maybe you should continue to work on this matter. there's no telling what i could say and at this point i can't really control the amount of expletives that may fly from my normally clean mouth."
yeah, you're right she rolled her eyes, became the strong one and called. they were extremely apologetic and assured us this would never happen again. they also removed the girl from calli's class.
you know, these are the times that parenting seems an impossible job. you want to look out for your child's best interest but at the same time you have to realize these things happen. but how much do you let happen before you pull a child for one facility and enroll them in another where biting will inevitably happen?
calli recently began an arduous journey into the world of daycare. much to our chagrin we did this because we had to. the first week roled by as expected. it was in the second that all our fears came to life. the sweet little girl, whom we thought had been adjusting quite well, reached out to a peer and yanked her "binky" from her mouth. i won't get into how inapproiate i think a "binky" is after the age of one but keep in mind it's been noted. so the girl, in her shocked state, grabed calli and bit the side of her face. i mean individual teeth marks still present by the time i picked her up at 430pm. the daycare tried to reach me twice and then finally spoke with hillary to inform us of the situation. apperently they were affraid of what my reaction would be if i didn't know in advance. i'm not sure what that means, but i guess i've left some kind of impression in the past.
well, the day we've been dreading has arrived. calli starts daycare tomorrow. we're not happy about the idea but we know it has to happen. we're siked however to see how she interacts with other kids. she's been around her own friends of course, but an entire class is a whole other world for her. will she be the shy baby off by herself? will she be the fat, happy baby making everyone laugh? or (god help us) will she be the baby who pushes, slaps and pinches anyone who invade her personal space? i'm reluctant to say i think she'll be the latter but at least the other kids will know how she rolls right? i guess this is where the real parenting begins. it keeps getting harder and harder but much more worth while at the same time. having children rocks!