Posted by mike On May 29, 2014
Ever notice that, sometimes, kids say stuff that make you do a double-take, like you can’t believe what you just heard?
Shoot, I talk to B and J for long enough, and I’m saying “What!?” more often than Lil Jon.
No rhyme or reason, either. Doesn’t matter what their little moods are. The randomness out of their mouths is always unpredictable.
See, they could be happy, like this example…
B opens the fridge, then gets excited:
‘Blackberry yogurt! Is this new? I’ve never seen this before! They don’t make pennies anymore but they make blackberry yogurt!’
(Note: I think that we mentioned to B once, months ago, that Canada discontinued the penny. Somehow, this fact stuck. Meanwhile, I tell him to tidy his room, and he tells me that he forgets how to do it.)
Or they could be mad, like this example….
B (to me, angry) – ‘Do it! Or else I’m not going to let you take me to my birthday party!’
(Note: It’s May. His birthday isn’t until December. Based on how he talks about it, though, you’d think it was right around the corner. He also keeps inviting people, mainly strangers or kids that he just met, to come. At this rate, with his growing guest list, I’m going to have to rent out the Rogers Centre.)
Or they could be having some sibling rivalry, like this example…..
B and J are putting on their pyjamas. B picked his out.
B – ‘I’m the winner! My shorts are shorter!’
(Note: Didn’t realize that they were in a hot pants contest. With his tight shorts that were halfway up his thigh, he looked like an NBA player in the 80s.)
Or even when they’re feeling silly…..
Right now, B is all about the penis, and its various synonyms (the PG rated ones). Cracks him up, he thinks they are hilarious. Thanks, B’s kindergarten class, for the anatomy lesson.
K and I told him one day that weiner was also another word for a hot dog. So of course a few days later:
B – ‘Dad, you lied. I told everyone that a hot dog was a weiner and everyone said that I was wrong.’
(Note: Who’s he talking to? How many people is everybody? The image of B telling anyone who will listen at his school about hot dogs and weiners is ridiculous, and reeks of say whatness, for real.)
Anyway, at least that comment was in the privacy of our own home.
Unlike this time at the grocery store…..
B was in a shopping cart. I’m grabbing some corn husks out of a bin amongst a crowd of people. So this naturally led to:
B (loudly) – ‘My dad is brown! My dad is the brown one! My dad is the brown one!’
(Note: This was said to no one in particular. Hey, at least the little old ladies who were also at the corn bin weren’t confused about who his father was.)
You get the idea. Me saying ‘What?!’ comes at any given time. It could even occur during serious conversations, like this example….
Once a couple of weeks ago, while he was quietly playing with his cars:
B – ‘I’ve had beer before, right?’
B – ‘Yeah I did. I like beer!’
Me – ‘No you haven’t! Don’t say that out loud!’
Me – ‘Yeah I did! I went to a birthday party and I tried beer. I liked it!’
Me – ‘That was pop!’
B – ‘Oh, yeah. I liked pop. Right.’
(Note: And then it was back to playing quietly, as if claiming to be an ultra underaged alcoholic was no biggie.)
Yep. Every now and then, talking to B can make you feel like your mind is playing tricks on you, no doubt.
It’s not just B, however. J has her moments.
Like this time, a couple of weekends ago….
Me – ‘Lunch time! What do you want?’
J – ‘Chicken and fries!’
Me – ‘No. Something else!’
J – ‘Chicken!’
Me – ‘We don’t have any chicken.’
J – ‘Fries!’
Me – ‘We don’t have fries, either. Do you want a sandwich? What kind of sandwich do you want?’
J – ‘Chicken!’
Me – ”No chicken!’
She sat down at the table, so I made her a sandwich. Peanut Butter. As I brought it over to her:
J – ‘Yay! Chicken!’
(Note: Holy one track mind, Batman! Anyway, she happily ate it. Maybe she was pretending that it was chicken.)
Afterwards, I gave her a coconut cookie. As she was eating it, B, never to be out done, walked over:
B – ‘Hey, where did she get that chicken?’
Sigh. One more time, please:
Posted by mike On May 15, 2014
I thought that things would be different.
Getting B to go to bed occasionally borders on ridiculous. Some of his exploits have been legend – wait for it- dary (word to Barney Stinson!). He’s a non-stop maniac.
Conversely. J has such a chill personality. I figured that once she hit the terrible twos, by comparison, getting her to hit the sack every night would would be Easy Street.
As usual, I was wrong.
Take the the other night, for example. K had gone out, so it was just me with the kiddos. My routine evening was then, of course, interrupted by the Bedtime WTF Awards! The nominees are:
1) To encourage the kids to use the toilet before bed, we’ve been giving them little treats if they go potty. What a foolproof system, right? No possible room for loopholes. So, with the promise of chocolate, B dutifully took a duty in one bathroom, and J took a tinkle in the other bathroom. After I gave them their chocolate, B said that he had to go again. He clearly just wanted another chocolate, and held in some poop, so he took off to the bathroom J was in previously. Yeah, Maybe my system isn’t so foolproof, I know. J, upon realizing that there was a chance for more chocolate, ripped off her diaper and took off to the bathroom that B was in before. I helped her onto to the toilet and had this conversation:
Me – ‘Do you have to pee?’
J (smiling, in a sing songy voice) – ‘Nooo.’
Me – ‘Do you have to poop?’
J (same goofy grinning singy voice) ‘Noo.’
Me – ‘So why are you here?’
Silence. Blank stare. Then she hopped down and walked away.
Logic: 1, chocolate loving toddler: 0.
2) After the kids’ bowels were empty, it was story time! I asked B to pick a story. He looted his book shelf…and selected the one book that wasn’t a story. It was some educational phonics workbook. I told him to try again. He did some more looting…and, with a smirk, handed me the same workbook, but upside down.:
3) I figured that I’d stay upstairs and get some important work done. And by important work, I mean stretch out in my bed and watch Lebron James work his magic. The kids were in B’s room. Suddenly, J walked into my room. She had her nightie lifted up and was wearing a pull up diaper in such a way that it somehow looked like she had crotchless panties on. I walked her back to B’s room, and saw that B was trying on different pyjamas and pull ups. I don’t know, maybe he was walking the red carpet later and wanted to pick the right outfit.
4) Anyway, I got them dressed proper after that, and left. All was quiet for a few minutes. J then walked in my room again, but with B following her. She closed my bathroom door, closet door, and then my bedroom door behind her as she left. I got up, went to follow them, and saw that every door was closed upstairs.
Me – ‘What is J doing?’
B aka Captain Obvious – ‘She closed all the doors, dad.’
Me – ‘Why?’
More silence. More blank stares.
5) After getting them tucked in, I left to go back to my game. I could hear the kids talking. Not long after, B ran into the playroom. Said that he wanted a couple of toys. OK whatever. Not long after that, J walked by pulling this:
I saw her loading it up with a bunch of random things. Cars, stuffed animals, a box. She then walked back with it to B’s room. Weird. At the next commercial, I went to see what the deal was. To say that it was a disaster would be an understatement. They had took apart a shoe rack from B’s closet. B had put blankets and pillows on a couple of rack pieces. He actually stacked two pieces so that one end was elevated up a bit. I have no idea what J had in mind. She had the pull toy on top of her rack, on top of her pillow. I stood there in shock, like my name was Jay-Z and my wife’s sister suddenly started pummelling me in an elevator. B climbed over the mess, wrapped himself in a blanket, and lied down on a rack:
B – ‘We made fancy beds!’
Me – ‘No more playing! No fancy beds!’
B – ‘But where can I sleep?’
Me – ‘In your bed!’
We tidied up a bit. Shockingly enough, they were fast asleep a few minutes later.
That night’s winner: Lebron. Doesn’t matter what the competition is, Lebron always wins.
That night’s loser: Me.
Posted by mike On April 28, 2014
You can’t watch your kids 24-7.
It’s impossible. You, and them, need to sleep.
As B becomes more resourceful and J becomes more mobile, I’ve learned the hard way that there is one real shady part of the day.
It’s that time between when the kids wake up…. and when I wake up.
See, they could both wake up and entertain each other on their own, before K and I emerge from our slumber. Or, they could wander into our bedroom first and ask when we’re getting up, resulting in me mumbling some random answer to buy me a few more minutes of sleep, before they take off again. Whatever the reason, this period where they are left unattended usually results in the most ridiculous, illogical things. It’s like an abyss of WTF moments. Like, I don’t understand what they’re thinking as they’re making a mess in the playroom with shampoo, or covering their faces with chapstick, or emptying bins of cars in our in bedroom so that our floor looks like a Hot Wheels factory.
Take the other morning, for example. B and J were up early (like, before roosters early). I awoke with B between my legs, rowing them and rocking back and forth as if I was a stupid kayak or something, while J laughed. I told him stop and go watch TV in the playroom, so off they went. Cool. All was quiet for a bit, but then they wanted breakfast . Fine, whatever. I grabbed some food for them, told them to eat in the playroom, took a quick look around to make sure they hadn’t gotten into anything, and then went back to bed.
After what I said about this great unknown timeframe, you’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now, right?
Of course, not, yo.
I dozed off, and not long after (maybe 20-25 minutes), I vaguely think that there was yelling from K about someone eating candy. Anyway, I got out of bed and saw disposable baby wipes everywhere. On our floor, in the playroom, in the hallway. The kids had gotten into a bag of them. I groggily went into B’s room and saw B by the bag, holding a wipe. He proudly told me to look at how clean his room was, because he polished the walls. Man, getting him to pick up his toys is a struggle. Of course he chose this time, with the wrong object, to become Mr Clean.
After politely telling B to stop, I went to work in gathering up the wipes. Started in B’s room and worked my way out. I noticed that some of them were red. Not blood red but a goopy red. My immediate half awake thought was that episode of Breaking Bad where Walt and Jesse tried to dispose of a body by putting it in some hydroflouric acid. This was followed by my next completely logical thought of ‘Oh, shoot, where’s J?!’
Have no fear, she was just halfway down the stairs, no diaper on, holding a goopy wipe, polishing the hall walls. She saw me, came up the stairs, walked into our room, wrapped the wipe around a dresser handle, smiled at me and went into B’s room. Normal chain of events.
Wait, pause, no it wasn’t!
I followed J and found B had gotten into the bag AGAIN. He had wipes all over his bed. Polishing his sheets, I’m sure.
Anyway, I took the bag with me this time, and went downstairs to find the source of the goop. All of the lights were off except for the one in the pantry so I went over to it. I walked past some candy wrappers, opened the door…..and stepped in a big puddle of pee. We don’t have pets, by the way. Even old Sherlock Homeboy here cracked this case. J took her diaper off, went to help herself to some treats and took a leak on the floor. Once again, perfectly reasonable behavior. After cleaning up that mess, I was more than a little peed off (and on….my foot) so it was back upstairs to talk to J. I stormed into B’s room, and found them like this:
B said that he didn’t like his bed, so he made up a new one out of a chair. J has a toothbrush because…..I don’t know. Hey, dental hygiene is important after sneakily gobbling up candy. My anger turned to confusion, so I just had to laugh at them.
The goop was (and still is) a mystery, however.
Welcome to the great unknown.
Posted by mike On April 3, 2014
I was out for drinks recently with some buddies. We were shooting the breeze, when the conversation turned to my kids and how they were doing. I told them some stories. As I was telling them, a realization occurred to me, and I blurted out “B can be such a douchebag!” My buddies gave me the ‘I can’t believe that you just said that’ laugh but I was dead serious.
See, your kids are the apple of your eye, but when they’re small, they do a lot of irrational stuff. It really tests your patience but it’s OK, because they’re learning and developing. Sometimes, however, they do stuff that they shouldn’t, and they clearly know better. Prick moves, for real.
There’s a fine line between kids just being kids and flat out douchebaggery. B is a habitual line stepper (word to Charlie Murphy!). OK, OK, I can’t front. More often than not, he’s the type of four year old boy who’s polite, funny, charming, smart, considerate etc. Occasionally, however he is also the type of four year old boy who:
– Will start to tell you a story about his day, stop, rip the soother out of J’s mouth, toss it across the room, and then continue the story as if nothing is wrong, while J cries.
– Will come running into our room in the morning, asking for breakfast. When told that he needs to get dressed first, he’ll drop to ground like he’s been shot, tell me that his legs are tired so he can’t walk, and beg that I carry him.
– Climbs onto a chair that J is sitting in, force her out of it, and insists that he was sitting there first.
– Refuses to get out of said chair until I say ‘please’.
– Takes J’s toy purse, claims that it is his, and refuses to give it back until she says ‘please’.
– Gets told to not go out in the muddy area, smirks, then goes in the muddy area.
– Likes to talk about being older or bigger than everyone he meets. One day we told him to knock it off, and that he needs to stop worrying about being bigger and better all the time. His reply? “I’m not bigger and better….I’m taller and gooder!”
– Climbs a shelf, gets candy, opens it, gives it to J, runs upstairs, tells me that J has candy and asks if I’m mad at her now.
– Told us that J is sassy and that he doesn’t like sassy people. When told by K that he needed to love his sister regardless and that blood is thicker than water, he burst out laughing hysterically, like that was the most ridiculous concept that he’s ever heard.
– Will be given a big cookie and told to share it with J. He’ll eat all of cookie except for a tiny crumb. He’ll give the tiny crumb proudly to J.
– At a drive-thru, when I pull up to place my order, he will also roll his window down, interrupt me, and try to place his own order.
You get the idea. Can you imagine if a grown man did that stuff? You’d want to slap him upside his frosted-tipped, spiky haired head! And these are just examples from the last couple of weeks. Whatever. I’m not complaining, though, don’t get it twisted. I’m just giving you the realness. Tantrums and crying I expected from toddlers; acting like a douche I didn’t expect. Regardless, douchebag tendencies and all, I wouldn’t change my kiddos for anything. Plus they grow out of it.
Posted by mike On March 24, 2014
For real, there’s a lot of things that, pre-kids, you know of, but then post-kids, you end up knowing very well.
Take TV shows and movies, for example. Sure, I was aware that there were channels dedicated to small children, but it’s not like I ever saw them, or had any idea what the shows were. Unless, of course, it was after coming home drunkenly from the bar at 2:00 AM, and I needed something to watch while I ate the Chinese takeout that I bought near the bar, so I’d end up watching Dora the Explorer and wondering why this Spanish girl and her monkey were yelling at me to do things.
I’d see commercials for kid’s movies, but it’s not like I kept tabs on them. Even if they did look sort of interesting, it’s not like I could convince anyone to go see them with me. And I especially couldn’t go by myself. A grown man watching Monsters Inc alone in a theatre full of families probably would raise some eyebrows, somewhere.
Post-kids, I’ve been forced to be more down with toddler pop culture. I don’t say that with pride, obviously. It’s just a matter of necessity. And in terms of toddler pop culture, Disney has that small kid market on lock! As such, I recently sat down with B and J, and watched The Little Mermaid. It was my first time seeing it!
Yes, I realize it came out in 1989, so this isn’t the most timely review. No, I don’t still own a Game Boy, or acid-washed jeans, or a Milli Vanilli record. Hater.
Note: Spoilers ahead!!!!!!!!!!
Gotta admit, I didn’t see the first 10 minutes, because I was on snack duty. I’m sure I missed some key plot points. I also assumed that Ariel’s parents would die a horrible death at some point early on, so I had prepared an explanation, for that occurrence. I learned to do this when, while happily enjoying The Lion King with B, the little lion’s dad got killed out of nowhere, shocking B, and leading me to do some verbal tap-dancing about the situation. Thanks, Disney! Luckily, there weren’t any moms or dads violently murdered in The Little Mermaid, so kudos for that. There was only a delightful musical number about how much fun it is to chop and maim fish.
I can tell when the kids are digging something based on how much they fidget. If they start squirming, they’ve lost interest and will move on, soon enough, to doing something else. There was a lot of fidgeting during The Little Mermaid. Check that. There was a lot of flying leaps onto daddy, like they were trying to perfect their Superfly splashes.
Anyway, a bunch more scenes were missed, as I was preoccupied watching B and J instead. The part where the Jamaican crab sang ‘Under the Sea’ did lead to an impromptu, Step-Up style, battle dance-off between them. J got served, yo!
B’s at that age (four) where he’s super inquisitive. When he doesn’t understand something, he asks. So there were a lot of questions he threw at me during the movie, that I honestly couldn’t answer. Ariel’s merman King dad freaked out at some point. Started shooting lightning bolts and wrecking thangs up. B asked if me they were underwater (yes) and how could there be fire if they were underwater (uhhhh).
Later, Ariel got feet in exchange for her voice, so she could try to hook up with a prince she saw once and was immediately smitten with (re-reading that sentence, that sounds messed up, but that’s what happened).
B – ‘Are they going to get married?’
Me – ‘ I dunno. Maybe.’
B (shocked) – ‘But you can’t marry someone you just met!’
Later, while the prince was getting ready to marry some other girl that he just met, which caused Ariel to run off crying, B told me that he wanted to marry Ariel. It’s all about the rebound girls, buddy! Strike while she’s most vulnerable. Nice.
I think that the other girl did something to the prince as well. She either hypnotized him, drugged him or got him drunk, I’m not sure. See? As long as one person is in an altered mind state, you can marry someone that you just met. Isn’t that what happens in Vegas all the time?
The prince eventually came to his senses and ended up leaving his new wifey at the altar when…….I’m not sure about the rest. Ariel had a three day limit to hook up with the prince, right? Failing that, she had to go back to being a mermaid, but also a prisoner or something like that. On the second day, she got shown up by a new wifey, though, which was the evil Ursula in disguise? Ursula lost her shell that had Ariel’s voice in it, so Ariel got that back. I think the prince’s beer goggles/drug haze wore off, too, because he realized his bride wasn’t a smoking hottie, but a purple sea creature with a fake voice. Ariel’s dad showed up, cut a deal with Ursula and got shrunk somehow. If I was paying more attention, it probably would have made more sense. But between being bombarded with flying kids and flying questions, it was a lost cause. The movie did have a happy ending, though. Ursula was gored to death in the gut, Ariel’s dad went back to being King-sized, and Ariel got to stay being a human and ended up marrying the prince. The main lesson learned, I think? Mermaid life sucks, humans rule.
Based on the few scenes that I saw, The Little Mermaid is a movie aimed for kids, and seems to lack the jokes for grown ups that a lot of newer animated films have. You know, those double entrendres and pop culture references that my four year old and two year old don’t understand, but I nod approvingly of. Nonetheless, it’s not a bad way to kill an hour and a half. B and J seemed to enjoy it, for the most part, which really, is all that matters. So, for my review, (yeah, yeah, I know, it leaves a lot to be desired. But, man, if Roger Ebert reviewed kid’s movies while trying to watch them with actual kids, his reviews would have been mediocre, too), I give it three Jamaican crabs out of four.
Posted by mike On February 28, 2014
Oh Canada! The Olympic men’s hockey finals this week was kind of a big deal. The night before, I set my alarm to go off just before the game started, 6:45 AM. The next morning, I woke up, went downstairs, and saw the fam already there. Were they up to watch, too, chock full of national pride?
K was sleeping on the couch, while B and J were watching Disney Junior. Me changing the channel was met with snoring/mumbling from K, loud complaining from B, and J whining while angrily stripping down to her diaper. Pretty much a lost cause, so I made some coffee, and went back to my room to watch the game there.
K gravitated upstairs not long afterwards, which left the kids downstairs…. alone! Cue the studio audience saying “Ooooooh”. They were quiet, and I didn’t hear them doing anything (which is always a good sign, amiright, parents?). I went to check on them at the first intermission. I found them in their coats and boots (J was still in her diaper, so this was all that she had on), just about to go out the front door.
Me – ‘What are you doing??’
B – ‘Nothing.’
Me – ‘Where are you going???’
B – ‘We are going to the car, to get my B.EA.R. book.’
The book was in clear view beside him, sticking out his backpack, so I showed it to him.
Me – ‘You mean this book?’
B – ‘Oh. Yeah.’
He grabbed it, took off his boots and jacket, and went to read it. Pretty sure he was lying about going to get the book. Maybe they were going to a bar to watch the rest of the game? Good thing he forgot to get the car keys. #heis4yearsoldhecantdrive
I stayed downstairs for the rest of the game, however, to make sure that they didn’t try to go on any joyrides.
When the game ended (Canada, what!? Knock knock? Who’s there? Gold medal to the face, that’s who’s there!) I tried to get the kids to watch the medal ceremony. After the first Swede got his silver, they got bored, wanted snacks instead. Kids, nowadays, they have no appreciation for historical moments, sheesh. They gobbled some fruit up, then went back upstairs. A few minutes later, while I was humming Oh Canada, B told me that J had dumped the ‘metal things again.’
Turns out, she had poured a big box of staples all over the floor. Maybe she thought that they were shiny confetti, and she was celebrating the victory? If picking hundreds of staples out of a carpet was an Olympic event, I would have a won the gold that morning (Knock knock? Who’s there? Silver staples in your feet, sucker, that’s who’s there).
Posted by mike On February 20, 2014
At what point is a situation considered an emergency?
Seems simple enough, right? You get the sniffles, you probably don’t need to seek medical assistance. Your buddy shoots you in the groin with a potato gun from a close distance, you probably want to go get your groin checked out after.
As adults, we know enough about ourselves that when something is seriously wrong, we can take the appropriate course of action. Kids, however, until they reach a certain age, they ain’t like that. They are totally dependent on you. So when something is wrong with them, like an illness, they can’t communicate to you what needs to be done. It’s up to you, as a parent, to figure that out.
I’ve come to realize, that unless you’re a trained medical professional, trying to take care of your unwell child is a lot of guesswork. You analyze the symptoms, maybe talk to someone, Google some information, and attempt to take care of the situation. At the end of the day, though, all you can really do is trust your parental instincts. You’ve probably noticed by now that I’m learning this parenting stuff on the fly. My instincts are pretty sorry, no doubt, but luckily enough for me, K has enough for both of us. So when something is wrong with B or J, we’ve guessed right more often than not. There’s really only been one instance where our instincts were wrong, and we should have went to the doctor sooner than we did (that’s a story for another day. Don’t worry, everybody was just fine).
But back to my original question – when is a situation an emergency then? Now that is always a tough call. One time, with B, when he was less than a year old, he had a fever that kept skyrocketing. K and I remembered some advice for fevers from our prenatal class, so we followed that. When his fever reached a certain level, like 104 degrees, we decided that we needed to go to the emergency room. Turns out that the advice we got was apparently wrong, and we got a ‘WTF? Why did you do that?’ reaction from the nurses. That’s the besides the point, though (Do you mask a fever, or let it ride? No really, I have no clue. I’ve gotten conflicting answers). That situation reached a level where it was an emergency.
On the other hand, there’s been a bunch of times where the kids were sick, and K and I had to debate whether a trip to the hospital was warranted, but ultimately decided against it. There’s no easy way around it. Every illness is different, and requires a different judgement call.
I can count on one hand the number of times where we’ve had to take B or J to the emergency room. The good thing is that each time, we didn’t walk out of the hospital feeling like we wasted the doctors’ and nurses’ time. That’s the other part of the equation; when you guess wrong, and your kid’s situation isn’t at the emergency level, so then you feel like a guilty, stupid burden on the healthcare system. When we’re talking about your kid’s well-being, that obviously shouldn’t matter. It still sucks when the doctor pats you on the back and says to go home and make sure your child gets lost of rest, while they roll their eyes at you. And you definitely don’t want to get to the point where you are on a first name basis with the staff, due to your frequent visits at the slightest cough.
So between the guesswork and the
totally justifiable irrational worrying about the nurses and doctors making fun of you, assessing what constitutes an emergency, isn’t easy, for real. I’ve mentioned before, that one of my fears when I’m by myself with B and J, is something bad happening to them. It’s that fear of the unknown, just not knowing what I’d do, or how I’d react, or handle the problem. It’s the fear of making the wrong decision, and what the consequences would be. Situations can turn tragic quickly and easily. Just scary thoughts, man.
Unfortunately, my parental instincts were put to the test a couple of weeks ago.
It was a routine Saturday. K had dinner plans with some friends, and I was just going to stay in with the kiddos. B and J were playing nicely together, but then around 4:00pm, B barfed on the floor, out of nowhere. Awesome. I cleaned him up, then started to work on the floor, but then not long after, he barfed again. I figured it was something he ate, as he was acting like his normal self. Anyway, we threw him in the tub. K asked if she should cancel her plans. My decision? I told her nope. Go out, he’s probably fine, I’ll just keep an eye on him, I said. Anyway, we cleaned B up, got him dressed then told him to rest in his room. He proceeded to throw up again. More cleaning up, but this time, I plopped him in our room. K again asked if she should stay home, and I again said nope, so she was on her way.
B drank some water and was watching TV on our bed, while I sort of entertained J. Suddenly, he threw up again, all over our bed. I replaced the sheets, and grabbed a toy bucket, and told him to use that if he felt sick again. Within seconds, he threw up into the bucket. And then he did it again. I was super confused and worried by this point. He was whiny, but he was still talking to me coherently. He wasn’t burning up or anything like that, either, so I was still going with the idea that he must have eaten something that didn’t sit right.
J, however, was also starting to whine. Not because she was sick, but because she was hungry. I quickly rushed to scrounge up something passable for dinner for her, and when I came back, there was more puke all over the bed. While J happily sang and ate her food, I cleaned up B again, and replaced the bed sheets. He threw up again into the bucket while I was doing this. I ran to get him some ice chips, which he refused to eat. Don’t blame him. From his perspective, the water I gave him didn’t go so well, so why would he trust me with anything else?
Not going to front, I had an overwhelming sense of panic come over me. This was bananas. Why was he throwing up so much? Where was it all coming from? My next (stupid) decision was that I needed to put J to bed, so I could worry only about B for the night. First, though, I figured that I’d call Telehealth (Telehealth is a service that we have in Canada, where you can call and talk to a registered nurse, and ask for health advice). While I was on the phone, I went to get PJs for J. When I came back to our room, B, who had been flat down on his stomach, bucket by his head, dry heaving into it, started rolling his eyes into the back of his head, like the wrestler the Undertaker. WTF! So between the eye rolling, and the Exorcist-level vomiting, I was freaked out to the extreme. B was not even making any sense. He was too sick to communicate clearly. He was just mumbling incoherently between the throwing up. His vomit also was changing colour. I cut the Telehealth nurse off and told her that I needed to get to a hospital.
But more decisions! How do I get to a hospital? I quickly estimated that by the time I called for an ambulance, and it got to our house, I could make a decent chunk of the way there myself, if I drove. So I scooped up J, put her in my car, scooped up B (who threw up all over me, and in the garage) loaded him up, and we were off. I’ll tell you what, man, alone with my thoughts, flying down the dark country roads, I was thinking of the most messed up things. I was trying to figure out what was wrong with the poor kid, and all I could think of was maybe organ failure from dehydration, or maybe he was possessed, or maybe he caught some rare incurable disease. I was retracing my decisions and what I could have done differently. Just craziness. My heart was pounding like I don’t remember it ever pounding before. I tried to converse with B, but he was barely audible. J was having the time of her life, go figure. Obliviously laughing and chatting away. And then she fell asleep randomly. I couldn’t get to the hospital soon enough…
I did call K, and filled her in on what was going on, and she met me at the children’s emergency entrance. I took J to K’s mom, and hurried back to the hospital. Didn’t even notice my pants were covered in barf until K told me. The staff talked to us, ran some tests, gave B some medicine for the nausea and hooked him up to an IV, to get some fluids in him. I’ve never simultaneously felt total relief but also like a failure, until seeing B with tubes sticking out of him while the IV machine beeped away.
The end result was that he caught a bad case of the flu, And was dehydrated. We went home later that night, but had to come back the next day, as a precaution. That was it. Not the most dire situation, but still an emergency situation to me. Funny thing was, two other families with small kids were admitted and sent home within minutes, while we were at the hospital, in the rooms beside us. One with a supposed allergic reaction, one because their baby was a bit sick. Hey, better to err on the side of caution, I guess.
I can honestly tell you, though, that from that experience, and my questionable decision making, I’m a better parent because of it. Clearly, the lesson learned is that K should never……eeeeever leave me alone with the kids again, right? Right?
Final note – the next day, yours truly was chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool, when, suddenly, I felt ill, and had to spend some quality time with the porcelain pool. I stumbled back to our bed, where B was still on the mend, watching TV.
B – ‘Are you sick, daddy?’
M (moaning) – ‘Yeah, buddy, I threw up a lot just now.’
B – ‘You need a stuffy! That will make you feel better! Let me go get you one! Which one do you want?’
A stuffy is a stuffed animal. He took off to his room, and came back.
B – ‘Here daddy!’
He gave me his stuffed horse and Buzz Lightyear. And then he lied down beside me, holding his toy bear. Two sick homies, in bed, watching Disney Junior, cuddling stuffies. Not gonna lie, as bad as I felt, I did feel a bit better then.
Yo, that answers my question. At what point is a situation an emergency? When even a stuffy can’t make it any better.
Posted by mike On February 5, 2014
I used to be sort of punctual. But now, when I need to go somewhere with the family?
We’ll get there when we get there.
I’ve noticed that small kids are blissfully oblivious, in their own little worlds, operating on their own clocks. And their watches aren’t set to the same time as yours. Like, not even close. The thing is, sooner or later, since any other effort is futile, their schedule becomes your schedule.
After B was born, we were automatically programmed to be on baby time. I was vaguely aware of this concept beforehand, but wow, the reality of it hit me like a slap in the face. No, for real. When I was on the after- midnight shift with him, when he would wake up crying and not go back down, I had to slap myself in the face to stay awake. But that was life, with little B and then with J. Baby time meant that our lives revolved around their feedings and their sleep. When you’re used to doing what you want, when you want, changing your entire mindset is hard. You’re not living for just yourself; you’re living to keep these tiny humans living.
Once we got into a routine, we had to stick to it. Friends would invite me to do stuff, and I’d have to turn them down. Hey, would you rather pound back some beers with your buddies, or catch a few hours of precious sleep while your kid is zonked out, and you haven’t slept in 20 hours? Gimme some Z’s, yo, every time.
Nonetheless, you still gotta do you. For our own sanity, we had to get out and do stuff, in public. So, we learned to plan family outings around the naps. Break the cycle, but not really. Sometimes that was effective and we had a pleasant experience out. Sometimes, unfortunately, we were that family childless people like to glare at and give the evil eye to in restaurants, because our baby was screaming his/her head off. Looking all aghast at us or whatever. No guff, Sherlock, I realize she’s crying, and I’m trying to calm her so you can enjoy your spinach dip in peace. And no, complaining to the waiter about us doesn’t help the situation. What’s he going to do? Tell me to leave? Take our kid to the kitchen, until you are done your meal? What did you expect when you came here, anyway? Fine romantic dining? The staff are dressed like they’re on safari, and there are smiling robot animals everywhere. Now stop staring at us, and focus on whether you want regular or sweet potato fries with your veggie wrap. Hater.
Whoa, sorry, got sidetracked.
Even as the kids enter the toddler stage, time is still on their side, not yours. Like I said, they are just blissfully in their own worlds, oblivious to their surroundings and to the concept of time. To them, there’s no rush to do anything. Me saying “Hurry up so Daddy isn’t late for work!” while B goes for the Guinness World Record for longest time taken to put on a jacket, is pretty much a daily occurrence. Funny enough, when I tell them that they can’t do something fun, like go to a birthday party, they’ll bust a move, and get cleaned up and ready to go ASAP. Model kids, all of the sudden, like their last name is Cleaver. Go figure.
The net result of this oblivion is that I’ve basically given up trying to be on time, for anything, ever. It’s pointless. Occasionally we get lucky and win the punctuality battle, but more often than not, it’s a lost cause. You give yourself 15 minutes to get the kids ready, it takes 30. You give yourself 30, it takes 45. Something inevitably happens that causes us to run late. B and J put up a struggle, or they want something to eat, or they hide, or they barf or take a dump and have to be changed. I don’t know, it’s always something.
For example, a couple of weeks ago one Saturday morning, B had basketball. Man, back in the day, if I had somewhere to be Saturday morning, I’d shower up, maybe get in a quick game on the old PS2, eat some food, splash on some Drakkar Noir, and be on my way. And show up early!
So, my plan that day was to shower quick, get him ready, and go. Simple right?
Instead, this went down:
– Before I got in the shower, I gave B his clothes, and told him to get dressed.
– When I was done showering, I found B in the playroom still in his pyjamas, watching TV, clothes beside him.
– I got him dressed.
– He refused to leave, because he wanted to sit at the table and eat breakfast. Attempts to explain to him that we would be late fell on oblivious ears. Finally, bribed him with breakfast from Tim Horton’s to get him to leave.
– Got his coat and boots on, and told him to wait, because I forgot to get his water bottle.
– I filled his bottle, came back, and found him outside, trudging through the knee deep snow on our front grass.
– Trudging turns to running and laughing. Running and laughing turns to falling. Falling turns to crying because he’s cold and covered in snow.
– Had to go back in the house, to get him changed.
– Finally put him in the car, and we were on our way. But we had to stop at Tim Horton’s first, which had a long lineup in the drive-thru, because….well, of course there was a long line.
– Got to the basketball gym. Rushed to get him in his gear. B found it funny to mess with me by pulling my hat down over my eyes so I couldn’t see.
Ended up being 15 minutes late, total.
Anyway, so that’s my life now. If I make plans with you, I’ll see you when I see you. Man, I even thought that I’d have this post done a week ago. What can I say? Free time is precious, and a good chunk of mine is taken up by my kids. Yet, even though my life revolves around their schedules, and I’ve been lamenting it, I still wish that I could spend more time with them! These are the best years, and all that jazz.
How messed up is that?
Posted by mike On January 22, 2014
I need to come clean about something.
Not too long ago, our family was homeless. We were homeless for quite a few months, actually.
I need to come clean about that.
See, an opportunity came up which we thought was too good to pass up, to purchase a brand new house, built from scratch. The catch was that we needed to sell the home that we already had first, to go towards the funding of it. When we completed the sale, construction of the new house started, but the closing date on it was like six months later. So, after we moved out, we were technically homeless until we could move into the new place; we didn’t have a fixed address.
For a couple of months during this period, we stayed at my father in-law’s house. He was cool with it, and I’m sure he liked the company. Nonetheless, that was still the definition of super-imposing. Taking one person in is a big commitment, let alone four. If you look up super-imposing in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of my father in-law standing at a window frowning, as K, J, B and I walked up to his house carrying our suitcases. To be honest, the situation felt like the premise for a bad sitcom. Just watch the hilarity when a grownup daughter moves into her neat-freak dad’s place, with her wild n crazy kids and her smooth, funky fresh, fine, wise-cracking husband who has a heart of gold!
Obviously, we couldn’t stay there for the whole six months. And this put us in a bind. We didn’t have any other family to turn to, so where do you live when you’re only looking for something for a few months? We looked at apartments, but everything required a one year lease. We looked at home rentals, but the only places that we could find were crazy expensive, or crazy sketchy (I checked out one house, and then as I was leaving and going to my car, I walked past a prostitute. Pimpin’ ain’t easy, but that’s not a lesson I want to teach my kids yet). We looked at the YMCA (I heard it’s fun to stay there). We looked at hotels. We looked at running away and joining the circus or becoming carnies. No go to them all.
Finally, K found out that the local college rented out its dorm rooms in the summer, and that they had a long-term resident program. Each room had two bedrooms, a kitchenette and two TVs. Housekeeping, as well. It was near the important shopping areas, and parks, too, for the kiddos. No long term contract, either, just pay by the month. So, yeah, man, that’s right, to avoid living on the streets, the four of us stayed in a dorm room for the summer!
And honestly, it wasn’t so bad. The kids had a blast. They got a kick out of living in a ‘hotel’. They especially loved going to the ‘movie theater’ on our floor and hanging out there. Plus, it wasn’t like the place was crawling with partying, beer ponging, keg-standing students, either. It really was quiet most of the time. Met a ton of nice people, too.
It wasn’t all fun and reliving my younger scholastic days, though. On the real, kids are creatures of their environment. B basically acted like he was on vacation the whole time. Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn, say what! The summer was spent with him seeing how far he could push us, which was way more than usual. I needed to adapt my parenting methods accordingly.
Awww, who am I kidding.
The only adapting I did was, instead of pushing the buttons on the elevator myself, I let the kids do it. Regardless, in such a confined, unusual setting, you do what you can as a parent, in terms of discipline and control, but you can only do so much.
One of the main ongoing problems was (SHOCKER) the bedtime routine. J would need to be put down for bed early, yet she shared a room with B. If we sent B to his room to play, he would inevitably get too loud and wake J. Or he would inevitably get bored of playing and find new ways to amuse himself, which typically involved getting into things, or trying to hang with K and me.
One time, he came running in all excited, just to hold his arm out and tell me how long it was. I mean, it’s not that I don’t care but………wow, I don’t know how to finish that sentence. Oh come on, don’t hate. When your kid does something not very interesting, you nod and mumble ‘good job’, too. Never, ever bash them to their face, but deep down, you wish that they’d stop jumping up and down, or spinning in circles, or clapping their hands, or whatever regular thing they’re doing that they’re making you watch them do. I know I’m not alone on this. Now, if they were spinning circles while jumping and clapping hands, that’s different. Congratulations, too. If you’re looking for a circus for your little acrobat to join, message me, and I’ll refer you to some contacts that I found.
For all I know, one day in the future, B will be holding out his arm to show me his new tattoo, and I’ll miss the days when he was just excited about showing me how long his arm was, and I’ll start singing ‘Cats in The Cradle’ because the full meaning of that song will hit me at that moment, and B will walk away from me shaking his head in confusion and hop on his Harley hovercraft or whatever people will be riding in the future, and float off into the sunset, and…….
Whoa, sorry, back on topic.
B realized early on that we were screwed at how we could control him, while living in rez (yeah, the hip kids call residence rez. Gimme my hip card! ). He had some moments there that were real doozies (no one says doozies anymore? Hey, where are you going with my hip card?).
Take one eventful evening, for example.
Ladies and gentlemen, that night’s Bedtime WTF Awards:
1) Lying in bed flipping through channels, I passed Criminal Minds on a French channel (in Canada, we have some French channels on our TVs):
B – ‘Hey, I like that show! I like that police car!’
Me – ‘You’ve never seen that show. It’s in French, too. You don’t speak French.’
B – ‘Yeah I do (he stands up, starts yelling) BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH!’
Pretty sure that wasn’t French…
2) Nothing on TV, plus B was hanging out in our bedroom. I figured I’d watch a totally kid friendly film….Semi Pro. Wait, it’s not appropriate at all! So that didn’t last long. Before I turned it off, though, B did find his microphone and sang along to ‘Love Me Sexy’ by Will Ferrell. Later, he also jumped on my back and sat on me like a horse a bunch of times:
Me – ‘Why do you keep doing that?’
B – ‘Because I like this movie.’
Next time you’re sitting and enjoying a video with a friend or significant other, randomly start to ride them like they’re Seabiscuit. Why? Because you like the movie.
3) And no he didn’t like it. B got bored, and watched Curious George on the Playbook instead. At some point, he noticed that George had a TV tray, like his, and he went off to find it. He was giving me the play by play while’s looking for it (‘I’m going to look for it!’ ‘I found it!’ ‘I’m going to carry it!’ etc). I kinda tuned him out, because he’s no Al Michaels when it comes to giving the play by play. At some point, I thought he said that he was going to set it up by my feet, at the end of the bed. Anyway, I should have paid more attention. I go to stand up later, and yup, I stepped on the tray, and hurt my foot. Ouch.
4) J woke up screaming, so I went to the kid’s room to calm her down. She was wide awake, not going to sleep anytime soon, so I chilled with her in the bed in their room. B sauntered in eventually:
B – ‘Now, if you need help calming J down, just let me know and say my name! And I will come and help you.’
Huh? Who’s the parent here?! Literally 10 seconds later, J started whining, so I called the dad in training over:
Me – ‘OK, B, can you come help me calm her?’
B (in a serious voice) – ‘No.’
He left and closed the door behind him.
5) It’s flippin’ midnight, and J was still up but fading. B strolled in again:
B – ‘OK, Dad, I’m turning the TV off. It’s past your bedtime.’
Me – ‘Go to bed! It’s past YOUR bedtime!!!’
B ended up sleeping in my bed, with K. I end up in B’s bed, in his room. The joys of parenthood, for real.
6) Instead of waking up to my usual obnoxious alarm (that week: WWE wrestler Fandango’s theme), I woke up to a loud thump and crying at like 5:30 AM. B fell out of our bed. Didn’t hurt himself, don’t worry!
That night’s winner? Esprits Criminels? That show has a new fan, apparently.
That night’s loser? Me.
Anyway, we did move out of rez life before the school year started, and eventually into the house that we currently live in, which ended our homelessness. And B and J have adapted just fine. No more nonsense, for real.
OK, OK, I need to come clean about that, too……another time, though.
Posted by mike On January 11, 2014
For real, I’ve never really been afraid of a lot things. Horses and heights come to mind, but I got over those fears. More recently, though, one thing scared me more than anything else:
Extended time on my own with both kids.
I mean, my kids are my world, I love spending time with them. Don’t get it twisted. Thing is, before having kids, I honestly wouldn’t even hold other people’s babies, because I was worried that I would drop them.
So yeah, the first few months of Brax’s life, with a fresh child and everything being new, I was petrified at being alone with him. What was I supposed to do to entertain him? How do you stop his crying? The little guy was helpless and was totally dependent on me to take care of him. Holy nerve-wracking! It took a while, but it did eventually get to the point where K could go out comfortably and not to worry that she would come home to any serious damage/ injuries. B would be fine, too.
Then, when J was born, those old fear feelings came back. You gotta be on point 100% of the time with kids. You turn your head for one moment, and things could get real ugly, real fast, for real. Kids like to explore and do the most illogical, nonsensical stuff, so you need to watch them like a hawk constantly. While I’m helping one with their jacket, the other one will sprint off towards an open door. I leave the table to get them drinks, I come back, and they’re standing on their chairs leaning far forward, like they’re re-enacting Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal video.
That’s the basis for my fear, I think. They’re little maniacs. I don’t want them to get hurt on my watch, and I worry a lot about the consequences and ramifications if they do.
When it’s just me with the kids nowadays for a few hours, my gameplan involves staying home. Ahhh, home. A nice, safe confined setting. But, occasionally, K is gonzo for an extended period of time. When this happens, more often than not, the kids go stir crazy hanging out in the house all day, and I need to get them out. That involves leaving my comfort zone to go with them…on an outing.
Like I said, I do enjoy doing things with the family. But man, even with two parents, the process of getting ready, packing diaper bags, and even putting on their shoes is an ordeal. Then while we are out and about, it’s always an ordeal, never relaxing. I know, I know, as long as the kids have fun, that’s all that matters!! But eliminate one parent from the equation so the remaining one is outnumbered by the kids? You better batten down the hatches, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Here’s an example. Our daycare provider went on vacation for a week, so K and I and some other family members took turns taking time off from work or whatever to watch B and J. How’d my day go? Well…. First, in the morning, while trying to get ready to leave, B was watching Youtube videos on the Playbook:
B – ‘Go away. I’m busy.’
Me – ‘Busy doing what?’
B – ‘I’m doing my job.’
Me – ‘What’s your job??’
B – ‘Watching this!’
Huh? He’s too young to be smarmy and indignant! I blame that jerk Max, from Max and Ruby for the attitude, by the way. Jeez, my disdain for that show is a post for another day.
Anyway, he did finish his job, and we could go…. But before we left, I went to our room to get my keys, and I heard a high pitched blood curdling scream. Yeah, remember what I said about my fear of them getting hurt? I thought J was injured, so I rushed to see what happened.
Instant worst case scenarios flashed through my head. It was just B, fortunately, who screamed, not J. He saw an ant. Anyway, we did head out after that terrifying incident.
Our trip took us to an indoor play gym (or as my one friend calls them – playgerms). In theory, great idea. Just put the kids down, let them run amok, and I would join the other parents on parent’s row. You know, that area in every play gym where the dads sit around in tweed jackets, smoking pipes and reading the Wall Street Journal with their monocles. Or not. I don’t know what goes on in parent’s row, because I’ve never been there. In actuality, I always end up chasing the kids around, and playing with toys, and trying to make sure that they don’t hurt themselves by falling the wrong way down the climby things. It really is a good workout. Anyway, besides all that, while we were there, J, who had been sorta been walking previously, but just in baby steps (taking a few steps on her own before desperately seeking something to grab onto for balance, that type of deal) saw the other babies there walking by themselves. She succumbed to peer pressure, and spent the rest of the day walking on her own too. Peer pressure, that’s what I’m talking about!
Also these conversations happened:
B – ‘Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news.’
Me – ‘What’s the good news?’
B (takes my hat) – ‘I found your hat!’
Me – ‘Thanks? What’s the bad news?’
B – ‘Woody’s not coming back.’
B – ‘Dad, you’re bad.’
Me – ‘What did I do??’
B – ‘You hit me!’
Me – ‘No I didn’t!’
B – ‘Yeah you did, last week!’
Me – ‘No I didn’t!!’
B – ‘Yeah, you pretend hit me last week!’
Argh! I never touch him, and I don’t know what pretend hitting is. You might have noticed that B has a pretty vivid imagination. Luckily, no one heard this exchange either. What’s up with that? It’s like my kids enjoy making me uncomfortable. I remember one time, B walked out to the porch while we were trying to get ready to leave, and started screaming ‘HELP!’ for no good reason. Whatever. We left the play gym, and it was onto the next one, as Jay-z says.
While driving, we passed a husky looking boy with long hair and man bosoms:
B – ‘Why does that girl have a big tummy?’
Me – ‘Uhh….that’s a boy. Maybe he has a slow metabolism?’
B – ‘I have a big tummy too! I eat a lot!’
We ended up going to an Early Years Centre. These places are sweet. Government run centres where parents/caregivers can go take their kids, and there’s a bunch of activities and programs to take part in. And they’re free. AND it’s crawling with professional, trained, child care people. Even a clueless dummy like can have a sense of calm that the kids will be OK. As a way to get out and kill some time, it’s a nice option. We went there, and the kids were doing their thing. Playing with toys, messing around in the sand station, and so on. It was getting close to closing time, and of course B didn’t want to leave, and was being stubborn about it. Remember what I was saying about them making me uncomfortable? Yeah openly and loudly disobeying me in public definitely qualifies. Don’t you just love when you have to put on a show in front of other people, so you don’t look like a bad parent? And then, when it doesn’t work, you just do whatever you can to curtail the situation instead? No? Maybe that’s just me then?
Actually, knock on wood, I haven’t yet been that person storming out of Walmart holding their screaming kid on their shoulder like a 2×4 piece of lumber (K on the other hand, that’s a different story).
Anyway, to get him to leave, I bribed him with the incentive that we’d go for treats if we left right then. He insisted on ice cream. Insisted. So we went and got some. He of course dozed off in the car after we got it, because that is totally what you do when you’re excited for something, so I had to frantically monitor the melting ice cream situation while driving. I wasn’t very unsuccessful. The steering wheel ended up pretty sticky. We got back to the house, and ate in the backyard, because it was such a nice day. B got it all over his face and hands, and started complaining that he was cold. His teeth started chattering, he started shaking like he’s a Polaroid picture.
He dropped the ice cream, freaked out, cried hysterically. Awesome. Had to go inside, change him, and wrap him in a blanket.
B – ‘Now can I have my ice cream back?’
Sigh. You know, after writing this, maybe I take it back.
Sometimes spending lots of quality time together on my own with my maniacs can be pretty cool. I think what I fear the most now, though….is for my sanity as B and J grow up.