Sunday, December 12, 2010

Try Harder

The duties of a SAHD vary.
Some may decide to cook and clean.
Others may decide that laundry should be done and to go nowhere near the kitchen.
Still others may think that since you are home all day, you should be able to do it all.

The Warden always picks option three.

I pick option four.
Which is to enjoy my kids, play video games, and do as little as possible.
It doesn't always work out for me.

Some days I decide to become better at my "job".
I cook, I clean.  I do some laundry.  I go to the store.

This does not mean that I get everything right?  It seems that I cannot, no matter how hard I try.
Get the "hospital" type clean that The Warden wishes.
And sometimes it just involves wiping the counter with a wet cloth.  I just miss it.

There are always things to clean.  The living room.  The kid's rooms....  The kids.
The sheets. The garage. The storage closet. The computer desk. The yard.  The oven.  The counters.  The dishes.
Need I go on?

We all deal with it in our own way.  The Warden waits until she is certain I will not do it.
The goes at it with gusto. And then scolds me like a three year old for not doing it.

I know I should do it.  I know I need to do it.
Clean something.  Cook something.
I think I will. And then..."Squirrel!!"

I'm gone.  A TV show is on.  I saw a movie I wanted to watch.
That new video game is right.... there.

I need to put an end to it.  Or at least keep it in check.

This is my declaration.  I will try harder.
I will put the game away.
I will turn the TV off.
I will stay away from the computer.
I will think ahead to dinner.
Help The Warden more.

This is something I need to do.


The Battle of the Wii

One is crying.
One is yelling.
The Wii is in the middle.

As I come out of the hallway, I see it.   The battle of the Wii.

Princess has a controller.  Monkey has a controller.
I see no problem.   But why is my nice morning sleep being interrupted by yelling?

Here's how it started.  We got a Wii.
Need more?  Okay.  We have kids.
Still more?  Fine.

My son Monkey loves the Wii.  He loves all of the sports games we have.
He especially likes to play the sword fighting game from Wii Sports Resort.
I love to watch this.  He looks like a 4 year old on cocaine.  He just bounces in one spot.
His arms going up and down.  Chopping objects and people with no regard for other's safety.

He also likes Table Tennis.  His arms go back and forth.  *Whack* *Whack*
He's actually pretty good at that one.  At least against the computer.

My girl Princess likes the Wii also.  She likes the Sports Resort also.
She does the Bowling, the Skydiving, the airplanes.  Practices her sword chopping for ten minutes straight.

They like to play with each other.  For as long as they can stand it.
But here's the rub.  They BOTH want that FIRST controller.
The one with the first light lit.
That means that they control what they do.  What games to play.  Who goes first.
I am regretting my purchase.

Now we are back to the current argument.  Monkey wants the first one.  Princess says no.
I have to be the big meanie and tell Monkey that he has to share and let his sister have a turn at being first.
It's time-out time.  Take him to his room.  Let him cry.

OKAY!!!  Lunch time!!

Look kids!!  Mommy's home!!

Turn off Wii.   Start again tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Reputation

How do you see yourself?
How do you think others see you?  Any nicknames?
I have a couple.  Chuckles being one of them.
I got that from my wife.  We worked together in the same job for a few years.
The job required us to be around kids a lot.  She said I always seemed to come to work smiling.  I like the name.
Not like her name for me when something goes wrong.  "Shmuckboy"

Now another area of my life opened up.   School.
Not for me, but my daughter.
When Goober started kindergarten, I tried to do everything I could to get involved in her education.

I showed up at school to drop Goober off. (Way too early for me)
I was there to pick her up.  (For some reason you can't leave them there)
I talked to her teacher. I talked to her Principal.
I volunteered to make popcorn for the kids on Fridays.
With a few minor setbacks, I was a great parent.

The teachers started to talk to me when I said hello.
The other kids realized that my daughter had a fun dad.
There were a few bad points in all of this, but I cannot name them.
I even Joined the PTA Board.

Then came the moment that changed my reputation at the school.
I was volunteered for an event.
A production. A look at America's great people and times in our history.
Martin Luther King, Thomas Edison, Amelia Earheart, The Civil War, Walt Disney, and the signing of the constitution. Just to name a few.

Now which great person or event did I portray?
Edison? No.
George Washington?  Nope, try again.
Thomas Jefferson? Now that's a good one.  But not right.
Lewis or Clark?  Nah, we skipped over that one.
Which one you ask?   Ready?     It was The Mouse.

Yes that's right. M.I.C.K.E.Y.  M.O.U.S.E.
Big ears, red pants, and a nice big black nose.
Now, I didn't have any lines. But who wants to get hit down there to make your voice squeak on purpose?

A little pantomime while "Walt Disney" spoke, and it was over.
Until I showed up at school the next time.
I was there a little early to pick her up when I passed a class walking in the hall.
Then I hear it.  The words that haunt me to this day.
One little one started it.  Another picked it up.  Then it was almost a chant.
"Hi Mickey Mouse!!!"

That's right.  I am not called by my name.  I am not called Goober's Dad.
I am now and forever more known by attributes that can be put on and taken off at will.
A mouse.

Oh, well.  It could be worse.
At least I'm someone famous.

Or is it famouse?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Legacy

I know that life is short.
I am trying to enjoy every minute of it.
I go to movies as much as possible.
I stay up late to play games, talk with friends, or catch up on the television shows I missed during the day.
I kiss my wife as often as I can.
I love on my children as much as I can.
After all. They are my legacy.

I am not going to kid myself into thinking that my name will be whispered with reverence in every home for a hundred years.  My name will not be associated with some political movement.
My name will go beside the guy who invented The Clapper.

Come on.  Name him.  I dare you.

I might do something good with my life that someone will look back and say.
"You remember the guy who did that thing that one time? That was great."
but probably not.

What I am going to do is this.

I am going to teach my kids the difference between right and wrong.
I am going to show them that no matter what they decide to do with their lives, I will love them the same.
No matter what.
I will be a part of their lives for as long as they will let me.
I will secretly go behind their backs and make sure that the boogyman is not under their beds.
I will let them know what I think. Even if it is not what they want to hear.
I am going to let them know that it is okay to laugh, yell, cry, or scream. Even if you want to do all of those at the same time.
I will show them that I will do whatever it takes to help them. Or protect them.

I am sure I will do many other things that I have not mentioned here.
But the basics are the same.

Love them. Protect them. Let them know it.

I will help them be the very best.
As long as they remember me, and that I love them. That's fine by me.

How Do I Help My Child

I really want to help my child.

My youngest is potty training.
He is having trouble pooping on the toilet.
I know a lot of kids have this hurdle to overcome.

But my kids are not the norm.
Both have had serious bouts with constipation.
I'm talking blood and rashes you wouldn't believe.

It hurts to poop.
You hold it in so you don't have to.
When it finally pushes itself out, it hurts.

It becomes a vicious cycle.

Now he is wearing "big boy" underwear.
He dirtied two pairs today. The poop has to come out.
little squirts every time.

I try to hold him. I try to rub his tummy.
I encourage him to "push it out"

We have even tried a laxative recommended by the doctor.
It won't come out.

I am going to try an enema tomorrow.
And a nice warm bath.

I might have to scrub the tub.
But it will be worth it to not hear him cry.
Worth it to see him go to fall asleep peacefully.

Worth it to see him poop in the toilet!

Monday, July 26, 2010

The End of an Era

The thought is scary.
It terrifies me more and more.
I am uncertain what to do about it.
Is it inevitable? Or can it be stopped?

My kids are starting school and I will have to go back to work.

Now don't get me wrong, I love my current job.
Taking care of the kids is the best thing that I could have done.

But that job is going into the part-time slot.
I will still get them up and ready.
But now, instead of Sesame Street and Dora the Explorer.
I am going to drop them off at school and pick them up after seven hours.

Getting school supplies instead of diapers and wipes. (My wallet thanks me)
School uniforms instead of the Thomas the Tank Engine shirt three days a week.
Backpacks, not diaper bags. School lunch, not happy meals.

I have been a SAHD for NINE YEARS.
From the first breath to the last scraped knee of the summer, I have been there for my children every step of the way.

When my first child went off to school, I enjoyed my time alone.
Caught up on the TV shows that I missed, rented movies galore. Played video games until my finger were sore. Just killing time as she soaked up the world.

Then the second child came along and BAM!! I had a full-time job again.

Now this is my second and last child to go off to school.
I am going to have to figure out a way to earn a little more money than the pocket lint I bring home during the week.

I have had a part-time job for a number of years now. Serving tables and tending bar at a restaurant on the week-end. This brings home some extra spending cash.
But here comes the real challenge.
Am I going to keep doing this? Go full-time.
Or, am I going to try and find another job that pays well, but lets me out early enough to pick up the kids from school.

This is what has me worried. And here are some starting points.
  • New job or keep current?
  • Start at the bottom, or climb corporate ladder?
  • New people, or familiar faces.
  • How much money will I make either way.
  • Will it be easy to leave or hard to say goodbye.
  • Will I have to grow up too?
  • This will change my marriage .
  • This will change the time I spend with my kids.
  • This will change the amount of time I have for myself.
  • This will change EVERYTHING.
The decisions I am going to have to make will change my life, and effect the people around me.
Am I ready to make the changes that need to be made, or am I just going to cower and run away from them.

Thankfully, I have two years to ease into the decisions and to think about the final outcomes.
I am going to ask a lot of questions and chew the answers over.

To leave with some honest parting thoughts:

The future scares the hell out of me.
I am going to spend a few uneasy nights thinking about these questions and choices.
I am going to shed a few tears for the days gone by.
And I am going to gather courage from my friends and family along the way.

My kids are growing up. And I don't know what to do.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Am I Raising My Kids Right?

As a stay at home dad I have had a thought that just won't go away.

Am I doing the right things so my kids will be the best they can be?

In this posting, I will take a look at the worries I had about being a Stay-At-Home Dad raising a little girl.

Let's start with a little background on me.

I am not a flowery person. I am not into dresses, makeup, Barbie, My Little Ponies, or anything like that.
My favorite color is NOT pink
I was as rough and tumble with my daughter, as I am with my son. I would throw her on the bed, toss her in the air, pick her up by the straps of her overalls, (This works! And gets great looks from moms out there.) and tickle her until I was sure she was going to either puke, or pee.
But I do like human contact, and will give my wife a hug and kiss whenever possible. (She's my wife, and I kinda like her.)

So how my daughter became the little girlie girl she is, must have been beyond my control.
She likes Barbie, My Little Ponies, Littlest Pet Shop, and all the other toys. She will wear a dress when the weather is cold and rainy. But then, she won't get her face wet in the pool when swimming.

A couple odd examples:

My daughter never had the "Fear of Strangers" stage. Okay, she did.
But only for about a week.

She would talk to anyone. Give the business women out to lunch a kiss on the cheek when we went out. (at about 2years old)

While at a sandwich shop, she walked up to every table along a wall and introduced herself.

If we were out shopping, we would turn around to find her walking away from us with a different family.

If we started talking to anyone, she would jump into the conversation and say "Hi, my name's Princess, and this is my daddy, Chuckles.
This got slightly embarrassing after everyone at McDonalds knew my name.

Here are some bad examples:
And some might be my fault, I spoiled my daughter. (She was cute!)

She will whine about the food you give her.

She will ask me for candy, and when I say no, go across the room to ask her mother.
Yes she did this. Wife and I were five feet apart.

I caught her sneaking candy out of the kitchen. (Yes dear, the wrappers make noise.)

At age three, walking through the mall, she says her feet hurt and doesn't want to walk anymore. Until you pick her up and carry her.

Starts crying when you tell her "no". About almost anything.

Poured water on her nightstand lamp. Straight on the light bulb.
The flickering lights gave her away. Along with the sound of electricity grounding out. And that smell when something electrical shorts out.

But then there are the good examples:

While at a park, we saw a little girl, slightly younger than Princess, trip while walking down a hill. Without being asked, Princess walked quickly over to the little girl and helped her up, then asked if she was alright. (Awwwwww.)

She will help with her little brother.

She will help little kids at a playground or at a friend's house.

But she is also the biggest Drama Queen, I have ever seen.

So, I have seen my little girl be her best by helping others, and at her worst when she doesn't get her way.

So I guess I will take the good with the bad. Hope for the best. Then do my darnedest to try and show her the best path to take.
With either a little nudge, a time out in her room, or let her enjoy the consequence, good or bad.

And I know that she is now, only eight.

The worst is yet to come.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bridging the Gap

I have now been to the ceremony.
I watched my daughter walk down the row, and over the bridge.

This is Girl Scouts.
The bridging ceremony.
She has graduated from Brownie to Junior Girl Scout.

She gave up her sash.
Walked across a bridge.
Gave a statement of her honesty.
Accepted a rose.
A new sash.
A certificate.

It was a nice moment.
Even Monkey sat still.

But I knew it would end.
Then, twelve girls would be running, screaming, and jumping.

The pizza was eaten.
The cake was devoured.
Soda was guzzled.

Now get your butt to bed.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

When Life Gets in the Way

My name is Chuckles and I have a Gaming problem.

What? No not Gambling, Gaming.
Wrong room? In the basement? No, I'll leave.

Here it is. Man, it's dark down here.

*creaking door*
My name is Chuckles and I have a Gaming problem.

(*Hello Charles*)

I have had a gaming problem for 30 years.
Yes Frank, that's right.
Atari 2600.
The first taste of exhilaration .
Donkey Kong, PacMan, and many others, all in my own home.
Get up early.
Stay up late.

Six hours on two-player Defender with my brother.
I can't remember if we eventually lost our fighters, or just stopped.

Then Nintendo. Mario in his own game! Zelda!
I look back now and think. Man the graphics Suck!!
But at the time I it was. "Man, this is AWESOME!!!!!"

Then, Sega Genesis. PC games. Then, Playstation.
Now I have....
All of them. Wii. PS3. XBOX360. And I even play MMORPG.

I had a game going on the computer.
I was doing good.
Space game. Getting lots of ships. Hoarding my planets.
Protecting from invaders.

Then I went to work.
Gotta make the money.

They struck when I was unawares.
I let my guard down.
Lif. got in the way.

My ships are gone.
My planets are plundered.
My rank has diminished.

Time to get back on that horse.
Enemies beware. My new fleet of ships will get you.
Just give me a couple months.

And tell the kids to leave me alone.

Ok. Give me a year.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Jogging is Death

It will be fun! (They said)
It's for a good cause! (They said)
What is it? (I asked tentatively)

A run. It's called The Brew to Brew run.
It's to promote Cystic Fibrosis research.
The race is from the Brewery in the city to a bar in another city.

How far? (worried)

43 miles! It's split into ten parts.
You only have to run one.

Whew! that sounds good. I'm in for a good cause.
Hossman is in! (He'll be the driver.)
It's The Teacher's idea, and he is pushing for more to join.
The Realtor and wife are in. Always up for a good cause.
Others join. It should be a fun time.

I need to start getting in shape. This should be easy.
I will start tomorrow.
It's raining.
I will start tomorrow.
I'm tired.
I will start tomorrow.
Hossman came over for games.
I will start tomorrow.
I don't want to.
I will start tomorrow.
Who am I kidding?
I will start tomorrow.
I will start tomorrow.

What do you mean the race is next Sunday?
We have to start at what time? 6am?!?!?!?!?!

Here we go. Up at 4:30. Meet at the brewery at 5:30.
Race seen off at 6am sharp.

Drive to the first pit stop while cheering on the runners.

Switch the runners.

Drive to the next pit stop.

So it goes.

Wait..... I'm next? Ok. How long is my leg? 2.3 miles. The shortest.
Ok. I can do this. Got my music on. A snack in my belly. I'm good.

Baton is handed off.
Off I go. First 100 yards. No problem.
Second 100 yards. Not too bad.
Almost to a quarter mile!


What is this pain??????? People do this for FUN????
Ok. Walk a little. Legs are better. Start to jog again.

OW. OW. OW. OW. OW! OW! OW! OW! OW!!!!!!!

Walk again.
Oooh! Nice looking women going by. Think I'll jog some more.
Good comment on shirt.

Ok. Ok. OK. OW! OW! OW! OW!
Walk some more.


Why couldn't I have just ridden with Hossman?????

Almost to the end.

I can see the next stop!

Pass the baton. Grab some water!

Ride the rest of the day.

Our group finished with a time of 8:14:31.
Not bad for a new group.

Make empty promise to do this again next year.

Go home to die.
Hope I can move tomorrow.

Winter is Over

Well, it had to happen. Winter is over.
The sun is shining and the birds are flying around again.
People are out walking and the shorts come out from storage.
It's a good thing, right?

The grass is growing, the weeds are growing.
And with the sun out, you can see how dirty the patio really is.
How high the dead sticks pile up.
And how nasty the house got during the snow.

I go to work. Then I get home in the afternoon to relax, and enjoy a little peace and quiet.
Right? Wrong again.
The Warden orders the powerwasher. Torture? Almost.

The patio looks great now.
But the tall grass is keeping the water from running off.
Tomorrow? Please? Honey?

Pity is given. I shall put it off as long as possible.
She can't watch me all the time.