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[So, it’s been a loooong time since I’ve written here. I’ve got two lively children that can’t seem to sit still very long. A lot’s happened since! I’m trying to revive this blog and get some of the memories out of my head so that I can free up some space for learning a second language. Here goes…]

This is from approximately May of 2016…no joke!

I guess if both of my kids were similar, I’d get almost twice as much benefit from figuring out what just one of them was thinking. The reality is that the Worm and Mushie can come up with the oddest responses to my questions. They can even react differently to the same delivery of voice and facial expression on my part.

The Worm is a do-gooder. He wants to do the right thing. One of my goals as a parent, is to corrupt his little mind so that his future will be financially secure as a politician. But sometimes, the, um, “force”, overpowers Worm and he is paralyzed by the fear of making the wrong decision in a certain situation. It’s understandable. He’s only 5 and has not figured everything out yet. I get it. He’s got 10 more years before he becomes omniscient and refuses to listen to either of his parents. I digress.

Let’s take a simple situation. It’s the afternoon. I want Worm to take a nap. I send him back to his room and I tell him that I don’t want him coming out of there until after he’s gotten some sleep. The rules are clear. Stay in your bedroom until you’ve taken a nap.

He goes back to his bedroom, lays down, and eventually falls asleep. 45 minutes later, he awakens, unsure of whether or not he was just laying there or if Mr. Sandman sprinkled him with dream dust. He’s groggy and the only body functions he can manage are blinking and breathing.

Unlike he (or is it him?), I know the answer! Thanks to the magic of wireless baby monitoring (which, incidentally, I plan on using until they go off to college BECAUSE THEY WILL ALWAYS BE MY BABIES), I viewed him snoring heavily. And I did all this from a comfortable and fairly quiet corner of the living room. (Parenting must have been exhausting before baby monitors came along…)

The Worm will shake off some of the cobwebs, rise out of bed, and instead of coming out to the living room to ask me if he complied with my wishes, will head towards the hallway bathroom. He doesn’t signal for me or anything. He just criss-crosses his applesauce legs in the space between the sink and tub. Odd.

I used to wait a few minutes before rescuing the poor kid from himself. But I walked in once and found him softly sobbing…probably in anticipation of this judge finding him guilty and sending him back to bed for 3 consecutive naps with no chance of parole.

This whole scenario doesn’t happen all the time, but a couple times a week is more than enough. And that’s when I wonder where I have failed as a parent…

Is he afraid of me? How did that happen? More importantly, though, is how do I get him out of this mode and empower him?

Solution #1 – Yell at him like a drill sergeant and call him names to toughen him up. “The world is gonna swallow you up, spit you out, and pee all over your feet. Either get used to it, or wear a wetsuit and go swimming.” That phrase didn’t make any sense, but he’d be so terrified that chances are slim that he’d actually be listening.

Solution #2 – Bring chocolate and set in place the idea that sad children should eat sweets for comfort when they’re upset…because, well, food is a great substitute for love…and I’ll stop talking and just leave that right here.

Solution #3 – Relate. Make up some story about the time I was 5 years old and living in a house with a dirt floor and a straw bed. “Son, I had to be strong and face my fears! The dingoes tried to eat us at nap time.

My job as a dad isn’t to instill fear in my kids. I think that parents have a responsibility to form boundaries, encourage independent thought and action, and allow wiggle room for mistakes to be made. I feel like ruling my kids through fear is a great way for me to discourage independence and to get them to see me as a threat to their ability to thrive. Ideally, I want them to see me as a wise, handsome ally, like Obi-Wan Kenobi, the 37th greatest movie hero of all time, but minus the beard.

I decided to conjure up a solution #4 and do nothing. I can overthink lots of things. Luckily, I tire my feeble little brain out quickly and end up with the easy answer.

I let the Worm just be. If he wants to go sit by the toilet after nap and search for inspiration and contentment, so be it. If he wants to cry tears of sorrow into the porcelain god, ok. He can figure what to do. Sit. Think. Execute a plan that doesn’t require a YouTube instructional. It won’t hurt him. Until then, I’ll be on the couch waiting. Not saving him. And it’s all going to be just fine.

burl_bathroom_hiding_t

 

As I laid on my deathbed contemplating where I could find the most peace in my house to recover from this recent illness, I realized that none existed. I’d be more relaxed trying to dodge traffic on my bike in New York city while wearing a blindfold.

I’ve said before that my kids don’t let up. Their intensity hardly dips below 100% during their waking hours.  Their limbs (and vocal cords) are constantly in motion.

The kids have been sick since before Thanksgiving. Has that slowed them down? Nope. They’ve caught multiple versions of cold and flu. They hack up shades of yellow and green with little regard for where it lands. (We have a daughter that thinks every tangible object in the world is a potential food source.) It’s no big deal when they’re the only ones coughing and sneezing.  Since November, it’s been a daily contest of “Who’s produced the most nasal juice today?”, “Who’s coughed a phlegm ball the farthest?”, and everyone’s favorite “How many boogers can you wipe on someone else today?”. (Yes, my usage of punctuation makes logical sense.)

As fun as those games sound, they’re surprisingly not. The kids don’t wash their hands often enough and we adults don’t wear Hazmat suits in the home. I’m constantly wondering whether the wet spot on my face, hands or clothing is water or a bacterioviral mutation of a disease destined to have me spewing liquids from every orifice of my body. (Yes, that’s gross.)

I finally succumbed. With a 103.1 degree fever and chills that three layers of winter wear couldn’t quell, I could barely hold my own head up for the past few days, let alone my body. While I couldn’t see straight or stop shivering, Worm still HAD to climb on my neck and treat me as his human horse. He didn’t care that my brain cells were frying inside my head. My punishment for not carrying him? Asphyxiation by his oddly effective chokehold and a severing of our best friendship. My punishment for carrying him? Mushie’s NEED to hitch a ride, too!

Being sick is not what it used to be. It’s misery now. The days of being able to rest and recover are over. Now I know what other parents mean when they say “We’re in survival mode.”. I get it now. I’m John Rambo in First Blood. Maybe I should go sleep in the woods…

The Midnight Plot to Keep Honeydaddy Sick Forever

The Midnight Plot to Wake Honeydaddy Up and Surprise Attack Him with Germs

Gavin – 38; Honeydaddy – 22 (I’ve survived the onslaught of your microbial attacks, Worm! Thank you garlic and oranges!)

I loved the round belly on my baby Smush (11)

It used to be bigger to match her plump tush. (11)

But then she stretched out, and so did her tummy.

Hugs became puny, not nearly so yummy.

One thing had remained, though.  Her huge appetite

Still flourished and shined like a beacon of light.

 

The question I ask “Would it be fair for me

To stuff those sweet cheeks and grow back that belly?”

I gave her a burger today with some fries,

Believing the meal was too great for her size.

She hoisted the burger with one hand, then two.

I pitied the cow when I heard it go “Moo!”

 

“Calories!”, the reply, of the question “What

Could recapture my glee when tickling her gut?”

Bring burgers and fries, with some hotdogs and cheese

‘Til my Mushie’s a Meatball again!  Oh, please!

 

Am I nuts for wanting to squeeze baby pudge,

Before Smush grows up and gets lanky?  Don’t judge

Me for relishing and savoring this time.

She’ll mature so quickly, then show me that I’m

a silly old man holding on to memories.

 

Usually one would make that face after the first bite, not the fifth one!

Usually one would make that face after the first bite, not the fifth one!

 

 

 

 

It’s been a while since I’ve last posted.  I’ve been recovering both mentally and physically from our trip to Disneyland.

Why would any parents take their kids to Disneyland?  Termite tenting.  (It’s the #248th reason families visit the theme park.  It’s right below “Wanting to hear thousands of screaming children screaming and barfing in giant spinning teacups”.)

Our house was being sprayed and we had to leave.  We needed to go SOMEWHERE.  And silly us, we thought that visiting the “happiest place on earth” would be worth the two-hour drive.

We were wrong.

My marbles haven’t completely come back to me, but let’s recap.  Two hours in a car with anyone under the age of 21 just plain sucks.  I’m not sure why anyone would go through that type of confined suffering, unless it was to drop the kids off at the grandparents…

They’re awful in the car on long trips.  Smushie has become more, um, opinionated.  When she wants something, she’ll let us know.  Usually, it’s by screaming and crying.  But mostly, it’s by screaming.  She has to hit at least 120dB with her wail.  (My ears ring like they would after a rock concert.)  It only gets better when the Worm tries to match her intensity.  It’s the only time I think stereo sound is overrated.

When we booked the hotel room for our trip, there was no double crib option.  Instead, we got another queen size bed.  We only have one portable crib, so that meant one child was going to have to sleep in a bed with a grownup.  (Remember, bot of our kids are still in a cage crib at home.) Wormie nominated himself to spend the night with me.  And that first night, he marked his territory by peeing on it.  (I remember jumping out of bed at midnight with a wet hand, yelping “Steph!  STEPH!  What is this?” as if there was radioactive waste on me.  Ah, memories.

Now for the theme park.  We get to Disney on Superbowl Sunday (supposedly the best time of year to visit)  and the rumors were valid.  It’s not as crowded.  The longest line for a ride was 30 minutes.  Not that we went on many.  The environment was so new and different, the kids’ brains overloaded within the first hour.  They fell asleep in their strollers, steam pouring from their ears.  Though, it wasn’t as bad as you’d think.  Steph and I got to enjoy a walk with some uninterrupted conversation:

Me:  “You look nice today!  You did something to your hair, didn’t you?”

Steph:  “Honey, I got it cut and colored two months ago!”

And we spent the rest of their nap time trying to remember who it was that we had married.

If I could really just list 8 things I learned about taking a 1-year-old and a 2.5 year old to Disneyland, it would be these here:

  1. The fake mustache trick to get on the big kid rides doesn’t work.  It’s not that believable on a baby girl.  Besides, it’s a height restriction not an age limit.  Most rides are 40″ or 42″.
  2. If your kids want to ride something and you think it’s a bit out of his/her league, scream and run away as fast as you can.  Later, tell your child that you saw a ghost and you don’t want to go near that ride again.  Works every time.
  3. You will walk 10 miles carrying 30 lbs of gear and still be unreasonably expected to feed, change, and cater to your children.
  4. If you have any grand ideas that you will be videotaping and snapping photos of your toddlers doing cool stuff at the theme park, don’t.  Especially if it’s your first theme park visit, you’ll be much too busy saving them from eating food off the ground, running full-bore into random strangers, digging up plants from the landscape, and swimming in the pond with the ducks.
  5. Don’t go into the gift shops unless you want to buy everything inside…and/or hear your child whine about wanting everything inside.
  6. If you’re not a fan of mobs of people, hop the Disneyland gate after it closes.  Otherwise, Superbowl Sunday really is the next least crowded day to visit.
  7. The amusement park isn’t nearly as fun as the telephone and plastic cups in the hotel room.
  8. Stay for the parade.  It’s the best part of the day for little ones.

Worm, I came home exhausted from our trip.  I didn’t feel like it was the happiest place on earth like the brochure said.  (I may have missed the fine print disclaimer.)  And from the looks of it, you slept through half of the Disney experience and cried for pretty much the entire other half.

I must say that for a total of one hour of the forty-eight we spent in Anaheim, you were grinning from ear to ear.  And every time you got that big, cheesy smile, I was elated.  For me, you are the happiest place on earth.  You’re my Disneyland.

This Was a Dream Come True for Worm!  A Life Size Mater!

This Was a Dream Come True for Worm! A Life Size Mater!

Gavin – 30; Honeydaddy – 17 (Worm, the look on your face when you saw Mater was unforgettable.  I’m glad your eyes didn’t pop out of your head!)

…our candy haul would be huge!

I looove Halloween.  It’s my favorite holiday.  The candy is the best part, but I’m too old (and have been for some time) to seriously knock on doors for any of that stuff anymore.  Last year, Steph and I took the Worm (and a still-baking-in-the-oven Smushie) out.  I went as a businessman-turned-worn-out-stay-at-home-dad.  My disheveled hair, unkempt beard, stained gray sweatpants and sandals garnered me zero treats, even though the idea was original and my garb, tres authentique.  (A bum on the street did feel sorry for me, though.  He tossed me a nickel and half a jelly sandwich to raise my spirits.)  Our stroll around the block (without our generous friend) brought me back to the good old days.

I miss my prepubescent Halloween excursions where I’d hang out with friends all evening and come home just before midnight with the fruits (yeah, ‘fruits’) of my labor, a pillowcase full of yummy, gummy, gooey, chocolatey, fudgy sweets.  I still remember getting the post-Halloween sugar rush that gave me powers to bounce off bedroom walls, leap over creeks in a single bound, and pedal my bike through my neighborhood for hours with no rest.  I was a superhero every November.

I want that feeling again. (Is this my mid-life crisis?)  And this time, I am prepared to use my daughter as a pawn in my plot to relive some of my childhood!

Kit-Kats!  Reese’s!  Blow-Pops!

Airheads, Nerds and Pop-Rocks!

Gummi-Bears!

I don’t cares!

Gimme all you got!

If I can get the Smushels to stand all by herself in front of a door wearing a cute costume, she’ll score some serious loot.  That’s certain.  Who wouldn’t want to treat a sweet little baby showing off her best trick?  On the other hand, if I’m holding Smush as we go up to knock on doors, she’ll get worthless smiles and a bunch of un-belly-filling “Aw, what a cute baby!” looks.  People will think she’s too young to eat junk food and withhold their delectable bounty.  I think any of us that went trick-or-treating on Halloween knows that the amount of candy you get is inversely proportional to your size (and/or amount of facial hair).  Smushie is at the prime size to rake in some serious junk food for us, but only if she’s in a vertical position.  So I’m working on her balance skills, Bela Karolyi style, which means 8 hours a day on a balance beam.  (Wobbling is fine.  It will actually enhance the candy receiving effect.)

If you’re thinking that I’m taking advantage of my daughter, you’d be wrong.  We have a deal.  She poops.  I wipe.  She pulls my neck skin.  I scream.  This is just an addendum to our current contract:

CLAUSE 49 – Smush works for Halloween candy.  I eat it.

Besides, what candy can she eat with only two teeth?  The single possibility is the “candy that melts in your mouth and not in your hand” (and that’s a choke hazard for her age group).  Everything else requires some choppers (or dentures), neither of which she has quite yet.  So, to make sure our hard-earned chocolates don’t go to waste, I’ll do the honors!

Is this going to be the greatest Halloween in 20+ years for me?  Hell yes.  I’m only telling you guys this because YOU CAN’T STOP ME!  Halloween is back for Honeydaddy!  And for at least the next two years (hopefully three), Smushter will work hard at the end of October, only to wake up in November and not remember a thing.  All I have to do now, is convince Smush that the ground is a stable platform (unless there’s an earthquake).  She just has to stand there in costume and look pretty.  We’ve got less than a week before I’m literally taking candy from a baby…mu hu ha ha ha!

Smush, You Better Bring Your A-Game on Halloween!

Smush, You Better Bring Your A-Game on Halloween!

…babies didn’t drink milk.  They were fed baby giraffes.  Let me show you how these pre-diaper era babies would grab the giraffe and eat off his head like this!

Nom, nom, nom, nom!

We're More Civilized Today!  We Only Eat Rubber Giraffes Now!

We’re More Civilized Today! We Only Eat Rubber Giraffes Now!

July 2011

Me vs. Gavin has survived its inaugural year!

We are happy to announce that we exceeded our expectations (which were zilch, by the way) in everything here on MVG!

I’m personally surprised that in 12 months, MVG got over 11,000 views!  (I have a feeling that half of those views are from my mother…)

For the people who continue to read about the ever stretching Worm, thank you!  We think he’s a special kid (who set the bar pretty high for his sissy) and we’re glad you think so too!

In 2013, we plan to:

  • double the number of children we own
  • half the amount of dogs we own (just kidding…)
  • give the mevsgavin.com website a facelift
  • take on some more cooking duties
  • find time to write a children’s book (will be looking for publishers soon…)
  • and lose sleep every step of the way!

Care to join us?  It is going to be a bit of a turbulent ride for the next year.  So order a few more vodkas from the flight attendant and hold on to the barf bag…we’re about to take flight!

Most read MVG post of 2012: Cow Grates and Cow Boys

Bye Bye 2012!

I’ve Already Forgotten About You 2012!

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