Archives for posts with tag: stay-at-home dad blog

A couple Fridays ago, Worm was oozing with double pink eye and a cold. It was supposed to be my working day but the little rat couldn’t wait until the weekend to get sick. I had a bunch of things to catch up on, but as I now know from loads of experience, it’s impossible to be productive with a kid at home, especially without incorporating duct tape and noise cancelling headphones. So Worm and I decided to get out of the house to run some errands.

Knocking about town on what was our first impromptu father-son day, we tackled a couple of parent/progeny hotspots: the Post Office, Home Depot, Target, and my bank. (Who am I kidding…Target is THE hot spot to see and be seen for parents and young kids…)

Anyhow, we were having fun and keeping tears to a minimum, all while working up an appetite. Lunch time came around and food needed to be hunted.

Surely, I wasn’t going to cook lunch! My meal motto is: If I didn’t kill it myself, I’m not cooking it! (Just kidding, Steph.) Since the Mushmonster was at daycare, I thought it would be neat for these two dudes to sit inside a fast food restaurant and chow down! Typically, I pick up lunch in the drive-thru when I’ve got both kids with me, because trying to dine in a public establishment when Mushie’s around is kinda like bobbing for apples with no teeth…you’re making a mess, people are staring, and even with all that effort, you’ve got nothing to show for it.

We go inside Wendy’s fine dining eatery. It’s already a treat. Worm gets excited when the lady behind the counter greets him. Then he clams up with shyness. So, I order nuggets, fries, and a couple of burgers. He scouts out a table and we sit down.

Another food connoisseur (besides us) comes up to him. She’s wired a little different mentally. (I can’t say she’s handicapped or disabled, because who really knows what’s going on in her head? Maybe she just can’t get certain parts of her brain to coordinate ‘appropriately’ with her actions and vocalizations. Anyhow, I digress.) She’s different. Either way, she’s very friendly.

“Oh hey, I love kids! How are you? What’s your name?”

“I’m Gavin.”

She looks at me. “Are you his daddy or his uncle?”

“Um…I’m his dad.” I answer.

“How old are you Gavin? Oh, I love kids! You’re so cute!”

“I’m Sil-ur-ee!”

She translates the toddler talk and confirms what she heard. “Three years old!” and she looks over at me again, still puzzled. “Are you his step dad or his dad? You’re his stepdad, right?”

“No, I’m his dad.”

“His real dad?”

“Yes, I’m his real dad.”

“Oh!” and she went away to eat her lunch.

This very honest, nice young lady looked at the two of us and couldn’t see that we were Worm and Honeydaddy, apple and tree. I’m sure that a lot of other people don’t see it either. I swear he’s mine. Maybe he wasn’t cooked long enough in the oven. I don’t know. Almost four years ago, I was as baffled as this poor girl. Nowadays, I don’t even think about it. He’s just my albino son.

I’m not the only one in the world who mixed brown and white and didn’t quite get the color they expected. These other parents (as well as myself) share some anatomical features as their offspring, but the different skin colors bemuse the casual onlooker. I’ve read a few blogs where parents are slightly insulted when asked questions about their off-color, mixed race kid. Some of these blog posts make me sad. So to remedy my sadness with some humor and cover up my true feelings by laughing over them, I’ll tell you how I deal with this situation.

Personally, I’d rather someone ask me directly if it was my kid instead of dreaming up all sorts of things behind my back. That’s just the way I am. There should be no shame in honesty and curiosity. That’s how we figure this life out.

So now that I fall into the category of “Who’s that guy with that kid?”, I’ve come up with some nifty responses for use at the playground. Feel free to borrow or quote them for yourself.

Here they are, in no particular order of usage:

Random Person: Hey dude, is that your son? (In California, everyone’s a dude…)

Me:

  1. No, I’m the painter. I’ve been working on these peoples’ house for a few weeks now. Me and the kid just started hanging out.
  2. Well, I’m the brother of the babysitter’s cousin. It’s a long story. I’d share it, but you can’t really tell anyone, ok?
  3. No, I’m the stepdad. I’m not really into the wife, but I’ve always wanted a white kid of my own. So I married into her family.
  4. No, I’m the boyfriend. I take care of him when his dad’s out of town.
  5. Not really. I was hired to be part of a clinical study called “Brown Daddy, White Laddy”. We’re collecting loads of data. He’ll find out I’m not his dad when the experiment finishes after he turns 18.
  6. Yeah, I’m the dad. That kid right there is proof that too many dental x-rays changed my body’s DNA. Doctors said my pigment chromosome was messed up!
  7. No, we’re just smoking buddies. “Hey Worm! You ready for a cig, yet?”

The brownest part of Worm are his poops. I don’t expect his skin pigment to ever match mine, even with the global warming in his future. This situation, though, was a reminder that we all still see color…and that a skin color match between parent and child is one of the first (and sometimes only) things people look at for resemblance between family members.

I’m going to have to live with this little white boy for the rest of my life. Does it change anything for me? No. He’s my son. Does it change anything for him? No. I’m his Honeydaddy. Of course, I will teach Worm to recognize skin color. It shouldn’t be discounted. But it’s not a big deal, either. It should really be about as important as the question “How many monster trucks do they have?” And for us, it is.

 

 

playing_hookie

We were lucky. Our kids conformed to a great sleep schedule early.  A few months into this world, they each figured this out. When mommy and daddy looked exhausted, they needed to go to bed. When the sun peered into their bedrooms, it was time to wake up. When we pulled the blackout curtains to darken their rooms, it was nap time! A strict schedule and straightjacket swaddle were essential to their (and our) nocturnal bliss, and we enjoyed our peaceful slumber until recently.

The key word from the above paragraph is “were”. They’re no longer our children. They have become sleep deprivation devices, SDD1 and SDD2. They are small robots that effectively suck the life out of parental units within a 50 feet radius. And they do so by not allowing our adult bodies to reach REM sleep. If I am dozing off in bed, SDD1 or SDD2 will sing loudly, kick the walls, or pierce the air with high decibel shrieks. Randomly. Once we hit alpha waves, they respond accordingly. (Sorry, geek speak.) SDD1 and 2 are not usually working at the same time, as they telepathically communicate with one another so that at least one of them is sleeping (read: recharging) while the other is working to make sweet dreams a distant memory for us.

SDD1 has a brand new technique. Ever since we allowed him to enter and exit his cage bedroom at will, he’s been finding it convenient to waltz into our room at all hours of the night like we’re a 7-Eleven. (I need to turn off the Honeydaddy sign between the hours of 10pm and 7am.) It’s about 5 times a night…and that doesn’t include the amount of times SDD2 wakes us up with her noisemaking antics. (It’s great that she wants to be a singer, but for the love of Tebow, she should be practicing in the daytime!)

His techniques of torture:

SDD1: “Whaaaah!” (Usually around midnight this happens…and it’s a simple way to wake just about anyone. Even the dead.)

SDD1: “Mommy (or Honeydaddy), can you cover me up?”  (as if his arms are too tired to work between 1 and 2am…)

SDD1: “I want some hugs!” (What parent will say no to that?  This is an easy one for him. It never fails any time of night. Never.)

SDD1: “I have to go poopie. I want you to watch me!” (Really? Watch? I can’t participate? Like a well-oiled machine, the poop monster rears its head between 5:35 and 5:50 daily. Take that last sentence however you want. One day, I’m going to shove a cork in him and send him back to bed.)

The other sleep deprivation techniques aren’t that bad, but the poopie one kills me. I usually can’t go back to sleep afterwards. It’s that last hour of sleep that’s so coveted, so precious, so delicious…and I can’t have it. The dogs wake up from the toilet flush. Worm is hungry from the early morning ‘effort’. And we are pretty much forced to get out of bed before 6. I’m dying from this lack of sleep…I feel it in my bones…

They've taken over my eating schedule, and now my sleeping schedule!  Argh!

They’ve taken over my eating schedule, and now my sleeping schedule! Argh!

Gavin – 37; Honeydaddy – 21 (You already eat my food. Now you take away my sleep. How else will you torment me?)

It’s official. The Worm has wiggled his way out of his wormhole and into the still of the night.

I’m assuming that the majority of crib escapes happen under complete darkness.  As a parent, I imagine rolling over in the middle of the night and opening my eyes to note the time on the bedside clock.  Instead of numbers, I see a set of piercing eyes hovering 3 feet off the ground. I jump to the other side of the mattress and huddle behind my wife to protect my body and limbs from attack.  I look harder and see disheveled hair and a shiny object.  I yelp…in a manly way…as a signal for everyone in the house to wake up and run for safety. Then I realize that it’s only the Worm, who is standing there clutching a night-night book with a reflective mirror cover.  It’s not Chucky coming to take my life, but my own child who has broken out of his cage crib.

Worm’s clever.  He’s been milking this crib thing for all it’s worth.  The dude’s so big now that if he leaned over the railing, he’d probably fall out.  I tried to teach him how to climb out about 6 months ago, but he wasn’t having any of it.  He feigned weakness and lack of coordination.  It was a very believable, Oscar quality performance.  I bought it hook, line, and sinker.  I left the idea alone afterwards.

Realistically, there’s no reason for him to leave, once he’s put to bed.  Every beckon call is immediately answered with a “Yes, sir? More ice for your water? Could we bring you some games for your evening pleasure? Or perhaps a night time book? A song? 10 touch-me’s? A foot rub? Maybe we could offer you some freshly peeled and sliced apples?”  When he calls to use the potty, he’s answered within seconds.  Sometimes, he’ll get carried straight to the bathroom toilet, his feet never having to touch the floor.  Some people will pay big money for this kind of room service…and I think he knows he’s getting it for free!

He’s 3 and a half now. It’s probably about time for him to move out of the crib and into a bed. Some people think we waited too long, others think we should wait until he’s 18.  I’m just happy I got to be the first to see him climb out. He just called me into his room to take him to the potty, and I was standing there talking to him. He flashed a wry smile and began to survey his surroundings. Then all of a sudden, he hoisted himself up and out.  As I said before, this is something that I think most parents don’t get to see when it happens the very first time. So, I think it’s pretty cool.  Seeing the pride in his face as he successfully swung both legs over the top and plunked each foot down on the carpet of freedom was awesome. We exchanged high fives, cigars and discussed other techniques should he ever find himself trapped inside a crib against his own will.

I got video of the encore presentation, as I was clapping and screaming for more!  He did not disappoint. BTW, we are still working on doing pee pee and poopie on the same potty visit.

Gavin – 34; Honeydaddy – 21 (I think we each should get a point here.  Worm gets one point for taking advantage of his free crib service.  I’ll take a point for being in the right place at the right time! It’s time to convert the crib to a bed…)

It’s the one and only Smush!  (BTW, the past couple weeks have sucked.  Worm is still bringing home germs from daycare…this time, I think it’s a stomach bug he gave me.  That or it was last week’s leftover chicken and rice I’ve been eating…God, I hope I don’t poop myself.)

Smushie is showing a strong personality these days.  I thought that she would model herself after her handsome and debonair father (It’s my blog.  I can write anything I want.) since she sees me every day as a larger than life superhero with a dangerous trio of wit, charm, and looks.  But, unfortunately that’s not the case.  She doesn’t even mimic much of her older brother whom she adores.  She’s got her own thing going.

I didn’t quite understand this colloquialism until recently.  But, it’s clear to me now.  My daughter is a pistol.  (I’m at least certain her head is made of metal.)  Let’s break this down.

I don’t have a hard head.  (Although my wife would beg to differ.)  My crown is a modern, thin-walled type that allows for expansion in the odd case I glean something useful from my time here on Earth.  The Smushter’s head is more Neanderthal in nature.  Read dense.  It’s a furry cannonball.  I’ve witnessed Smushie use her noggin to “examine” the antique bookshelf, the coffee table, her baby step stool and the kitchen floor.  Did she succeed?  No.  Did she cry?  Merely a whimper.  Did any of the contact leave a mark?  Nope, not even the corner of the bookshelf!  I thought to cut her myself to verify that she’s human, but I don’t really want to know.  (The mystery is somewhat exciting to me…and I need all the excitement I can get at this stage of my life.)

Smush, just like a gun, is fun and games until her energy gets directed towards something.  The trigger is pulled when something across the room is something she wants to obliterate inspect.  And once it is pulled, she’s unstoppable until she hits her desired target.  She will rip through anything to get at it.  (I’ve stood in her way and almost got my eyes gouged out.  More than once.)  We affectionately call her “Baby Bulldozer” when she’s in the zone and destroying everything in her path from point A to B.

Lastly, there’s a boldness and a brashness to the Smush.  (Pistols ooze boldness and make anyone holding them feel the same way, right?)  She’s got a fearless attitude and isn’t shy about showing us.  She dives off the couch and laughs about it…all while we’re thanking Tebow that we grabbed her in time from yet another neckbreaking dive into the carpet.  (It’s Berber, so it’s not really a crash pad, if you know what I mean.)  Even when we’re paying attention, she boldly smacks her mommy and I in the face during our ‘discussions’.  (We’re slowly getting used to her communication style.  It’s unorthodox, but I’m sure it works well in some management situations.)  Sure, she mercilessly pulls our hair to guide us left or right.  She’s not afraid to yank our hair out when we don’t do what she asks.  I’ve tried reasoning with her that sometimes crying just sounds like crying.  She disagrees.

All in all, we’re amazed at how far our littlest Smushie has come.  There are major differences between she and her brother even in these first 8 months.   I’m in awe that two kids raised in the same environment with similar DNA don’t do a damn thing I say  could be so different from one another and so unruly special.

Smushie, you’re a pistol (and more than occasionally, I think a loose cannon could better define you), and I love you for that!  You’re brave, confident, and dauntless.  Your zest for life is apparent and your unbridled joy is contagious.  At times, you can frustrate the hell out of me but you keep our days interesting (and some nights, as well).  When you put your head mind into something, you do so with every ounce of yourself.  If there’s anything that your fearlessness will show, it’s that you will break down walls in both love and life.  And that will take you very, very far.  We’re lucky to have you!  (There’s a reason why we call you “Double Happiness!”)

Sorry, Smushels.  I Keep Forgetting That You're In Charge Now, Not Me!

Sorry, Smushels. I Keep Forgetting That You’re In Charge Now, Not Me!

…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

Really?  Totally naked, you say?

Worm, I Too Thought it Was a Bit Too Risqué...

Dad, Please Say it Ain’t So!

July 2011

Yep, you came out totally naked, Worm.  And you made sure your presence was felt, at the very least, on our eardrums.

It won’t be the last time you get embarrassed, turn beet red, scream at the top of your lungs and then get the whole room to stop and stare at you.  It will happen again.  I promise.  (I cross my fingers for that inevitable event to occur with you as a stage actor rather than you at a Saturday night college frat house party.)

Someone pressed the power on button.  Smushie has been activated.  (Why don’t kids come with a power down button?  Or even a pause button?  Like for when I need to take an afternoon nap?)

About a week ago, Smush came alive.  Up until then she was just a reservoir tank with a sensor that beeped when empty, full, or about to burst from either end.  Also during that time, I tested her for any outward indications of brain activity and got no response.  (The test?  We sat her in front of a few of the best ‘Scrubs‘ episodes known to mankind and there was nary a chuckle, not even a snort.)  As cliché as it sounds, one morning Smush woke up and everything had changed.  The world became apparent and her body started responding to more than just food and a couple of jabs with a stick.

Now Smushie is watching and laughing at my fathering skills (which I mistakenly thought had improved), slapping me in the face, head-butting my collarbones, spitting up on my shirts, and peeing on my hands.  It’s all good.  Sort of.

She doesn’t seem to treat her mother the same way.  In her mother’s arms, she snuggles in perfectly.  She smiles.  She coos.  She lovingly babbles at mommy, with twinkling eyes and all.  When Smush is with Steph, her poops are no longer stinky.  And pee never overruns the boundaries of her tiny diaper.  Their bond is a magical one.  The two of them have filled the space between each other with so much love that they pushed daddy right out of the picture!

It’s no secret that I’m useless to my newborn.  I don’t make milk for her.  I can’t provide warmth.  (I barely have enough warmth to provide myself.)  And nowhere on my body do I have a soft, cushy space for Smushie to bury her head into.  (Though, maybe in a pinch, my butt cheeks could work…)  Yes, I feel a little inadequate as a parent right now and Smushie knows it.  To her, I’m not much more than a walking baby wipe.  One day, I aspire to be more.  But during this time, I am not the best support personnel for baby.  Her mother is.  So there is really nothing for me to do other than drink beer and go hammer stuff in the garage patiently wait by Steph’s side and rub her feet/back/neck until I am called to help.

Until that day comes when I am needed to be the prince in Smushie’s fairytale play, or I must fill the empty seat at the imaginary tea party, I will use my t-shirts to absorb all of the fluids that exit her little body and try not to gag.

Smushie, Can't You Just Make a Normal Face?

Smushie, Can’t You Just Make a Normal Face?

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: