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

As soon as Smushie was born, Worm was jettisoned from the family sweet spot.  No longer the baby, he was metaphorically transplanted from his warm, cozy nest to the storage shed out back.  In addition, Worm can’t hog all of our parental love for himself anymore.  We’re now supporting a needy infant who requires a lot of our TLC (Honey Boo Boo, Toddlers & Tiaras, and Say ‘Yes’ to the Dress) to grow.  Therefore, we made the executive decision to proportion the lion’s share of our love to little Smush with the occasional scrap tossed in Worm’s general direction.  It will be enough to minimally sustain him and nowhere near the amount he received prior to his sister’s arrival.  (I’m not worried, though.  Worm will grow to be emotionally scarred, but win out in the long run.  Like an abused puppy, he will be irresistible to womankind and become a lifelong project for them to invest time and effort into.)

The big day was here.  I thought the proper ‘Dad’ thing to do would be to give Worm at least a couple hours notice of Smush’s impending arrival later that evening.  It seemed the perfect opportunity for me to practice this first of many ‘father-to-son’ talks by warming up the Worm to the idea of a sister.  I explained it to him in simple phrases like “more ice pops and cheese balls for dinner”, “nap times may disappear altogether”, and “all of your waking hours could be spent in front of the TV”.  He took it quite well.  (Ok, I could have been more direct with him, but why upset the poor guy?  He hadn’t a clue as to what was about to fall in his lap and I didn’t want to be the bad guy to tell him.)

Not knowing what else to do, I thought it easiest best to let Worm mull over our conversation in his mind while I went back to the hospital to grab the wife and baby.  The plan was for us to check out of the hospital, come home, walk Smush nonchalantly through the front door, gauge the crowd reaction, and then act surprised like we didn’t know how she got in the Subaru do our best to stay calm.

What will Worm do?  Will he be excited?  Will he gouge out Smush’s eyes?  Will he fling poop in her face?  Or will he break out in the Macarena dance?  What about the dogs?  What are they going to think?

We arrived at home around 6pm and collectively pushed baby and car seat through the front door.  The fervor and excitement in the house shot through the ceiling…and took everyone’s brains with it.  With no gray matter to control their bodies, dogs were howling (i.e. Frodo), dogs were vomiting (i.e. Duncan), and kids were flailing (i.e. Worm). Frodo’s howling was loud enough to hear three doors down and Duncan’s distress shoveled his semi-digested dinner onto the carpet.  Worm frolicked around the living room, babbling hodge podge nonsensities at the top of his lungs.  Even hours later, the air was still thick with anxiety and nervous giddiness.  A little too much adrenalin was squeezed out that night, and the troops paid for it in sleep.

The next day came at a fraction of the previous night’s intensity.  With the jitters out, Worm and the dogs got to examine the newest member of the family under the warm rays of the early morning sun.  Within minutes, Worm stamped his sibling seal of approval right on the end of his little sister’s foot.

Worm Gives His Little Sister a Kiss!

Worm Kisses His Baby Sister!  How Sweet!

Gavin – 21; Dad – 11 (You get two points for this one, Worm.  Your heart is so incredibly full of sweetness.)

Dear Smush,

I know you’re still cooking in the proverbial oven.  Don’t rush to come out.  It’s been in the 40’s at night for us recently and that’s quite a bit colder than the 98.6° and occasional 102° Jacuzzi temps that you’re used to.  (I waited until summer time to be born and I’ll do it again when I have to…)

When you decide to take the wild ride down the ‘chute’, just remember that you can’t go back and do it twice…unless we hang your mom upside down.  The hospital will make you John Hancock some paperwork first, so if you want to relive the birth experience, bring a pen.  Here’s an FYI and I know it’s lame, but when you hit the slide, you can’t put your hands out in front of you to save your face from eating the floor.  You just gotta go head first and pray that the catcher doesn’t drop your pitch.  You’ll see what I mean when it’s time.

I’m probably going to be the first family member to greet you.  I’m your dad.  I know you’ll probably come out white like your brother did and look at me confusingly.  Later, I’ll show you that I signed the birth certificate.  But if you need more proof, we’ll make Maury Povich (I’ve got connections.) do another episode of “Is He the Father?” and get the DNA test done.  Also, I’m growing a little stubble on my chin (and working out my arms) for the hospital birth pictures.  I want to look my best, so try to arrive during the daytime.  That way, I won’t have huge bags under my eyes for the photos.

If I faint at your coming out party, look down on your way out so you don’t fall on top of me.  If I’m awake, I’ll either be standing frozen like a deer in headlights or be sobbing like I’ve just watched ‘The Notebook’.  I’ll also volunteer to cut the cord, if you don’t mind.  This time should be a no-brainer for me.  Unlike with Worm, there should be only one cord to think about putting the scissors to.  (I won’t need to repeat this scene:  “Nurse.  It’s this one, right?  Are you positively certain?”)

After I permanently separate you from your mother, you’ll get to go back and meet her!  She’ll be laying on the bed getting the damage repaired.  (Don’t ask.  But I’m sure when you’re older and have pissed her off, she’ll tell you about what she went through just to bring you here and how you should be more grateful…)  This is the person you really want to make friends with.  Why?  Because you’ll be getting a lot of love, warmth, and most importantly, food from this woman.  She’s grown a nice set of milk pumpkins for me you, so grab a blanket and an US Weekly because this will be the place to see and be seen for quite a while.

Worm is your brother.  He isn’t going to be in the room when you show up.  Steph and I don’t think it’s a good idea for him to be at eye level with all of the, um, action.  He’s all about his tools and his workbench right now and our main concern is that he may try to run his version of the APGAR with his plastic hammer and screwdriver.  Besides, if he was at the birth, the hospital would make him sign a bunch of paperwork too.

I hope you’re not allergic to animals because you’ve got two dogs at home, Frodo and Duncan.  They’re both lovable knuckleheads and you’ll get to play with them once you’re sturdy enough to withstand being bowled over during their feeding time.  They’re a couple of clumsy oafs but we love them anyway.  We think you’ll love them too.  For now though, you’ll have to keep your distance.  Dunkie’s farts are lethal!

So that’s us in a nutshell.  Welcome to the zoo your family!  We’re dysfunctional, but no worse than anyone else…I think.

Family Portrait - Good Enough to Hang Over the Mantle...

Family Portrait – Good Enough to Hang Over the Mantle…


Oh, one more thing.  We hope that you’ll like your name.  Your mother and I couldn’t make up minds about it until recently.  Then we just got lazy researching and so the most recent first and middle names we wrote down have turned to stone.  There are no ‘clicks’ or exclamation points in them like I really wanted.  But in Klingon, your name means ‘digested serpent arm’ and that’s cool enough for me.  In my heart though, you’ll always be known as Smush.

We love you already and can’t wait to meet you!




BathWriters By Alex Toys

One morning, my mom and I dropped into the local department store to give the Worm a new playground to destroy experience.  In our game of hide and seek with the Worm, we stumbled upon the BathWriters set by Alex Toys.  Cool, I thought.  Worm is starting to show interest in writing, so we thought it would make for easy cleaning if he had the whole tub to write in, on, and around!  For the price, we decided to give it a try.

BathWriters is a bath time writing set with red, blue, yellow and gold liquid markers.  It even comes with a sponge to help you clean up the mess your child leaves behind!  The liquid markers are essentially liquid soap and can be used to add more suds to the bathtub when your child has been soaking for hours.

There’s not much to expect from bath markers, but BathWriters does not clear the bar.  Being well above the 3+ age recommendations, I decided to see how well I could write with these things.  First off, the liquid soap markers are twist open.  I could do that.  Then I tried to write on the wall.  The twist off cap closed once I made contact with the bath wall tiles.  Ok, something’s wrong here.  The liquid soap filled marker needs to make contact with a surface in order to write.  Then why would anyone design a writing tool that stops writing when you push on the tip?  I couldn’t write with it and I’m 100% sure that my toddler wouldn’t be able to use the set either.

So after playing with the markers for a few minutes longer, I figured out that I could NOT write on the wall like it shows in the picture on the box.  I could only write on a horizontal surface…and I wouldn’t even call it writing.  I just squeezed the liquid soap out like a squirt bottle.

BathWriters is essentially colored liquid soap packaged in 4 individual marker shaped dispensers.  I was foolish enough to purchase these on a whim.  The packaging made me believe fantastic things would happen…like they would actually write on the bathtub walls as advertised!  Hopefully in our next game of department store hide and seek, we won’t run into these BathWriters again.


Overall Rating:  1 Worm

Ease of Use: 1 Worm

Performance:  1 Worm

Features:  1 Worm

Durability:  1 Worm

Manliness:  1 Worm

Retail Price:  $8.95



Pretty box.


Boatload of chemical ingredients that are supposed to make liquid soap.  Doesn’t write on vertical surfaces.  Liquid just pours out of the tip and doesn’t give one the opportunity to actually write.

Things I would modify:

Redesign the entire product.  There was little effort put into the actual design of this product and it shows.

Where to find:

Alex Toys Website


Worm is 18 months old.  We’ve kept him alive thus far and cheerfully pat ourselves on the back.  His incredibly resilient body took a lot of abuse and punishment from my inane innate parenting skills.  I look at my fathering style as a healthy blend of unintentional tomfoolery and collegiate style hazing.  “Worm, if you can make it through my method of parenting, you can join us in this club we call manhood!”

I never get anything right the first time.  I shouldn’t feel bad when I screw up the experiment Worm.  That’s why we’re having more than one kid!  One doesn’t just hop into a car for the first time and know how to drive it, right?  I’m sure the third child will be perfect!

Barring the fact that Worm really didn’t start walking much until almost 17 months and really didn’t start talking until about 2 weeks ago, he still made the cut off.  Whew!  With much surprise, we’ve made it through a large list of the 18-month milestones.  Since you can find those boring milestones elsewhere on the web, I haven’t included them here.

You’re Better off as a Back Seat Driver, Worm. We’ll Revisit This When You’re Old Enough to Reach the Gas Pedal…

This is a list of Worm’s latest been-there-done-thats:

  • Tells the dogs “Shut up!” when they’re being loud.  (Or “Sha daa!”  Already picking up our bad habits…)
  • Goes in a closet or corner to potty.  (Good thing he has his diaper on.  It’s heredity.  His father has tried to go out on a balcony to pee…)
  • Plays hide and seek. (He can be eerily still and quiet for this game…good skill to have for NINJA training!)
  • He closes the hallway closet doors every time he walks past and they’re cracked.  (OCD?  Is he going to be the next Howard Hughes?)
  • He Swiffers everything.  His desire to clean is impressive.   (Couch, coffee table, dog beds, etc.  I’m going to build a stool so he can start doing dishes.  More OCD?)
  • If he shreds paper and makes a mess, he picks each piece up to throw away.  (One day, I’ll be able to get him to clean up my mess.  Even more OCD?)
  • He can open a twist-off lid (…and feed the dogs)
  • He puts his fists up to his eyes and fake cries (Thanks Grandma for teaching him this.)
  • When you ask him where poop comes from, he points to his butt cheeks and goes “Ick!” (Thanks again Grandma!  This is going to be useful when figuring out which body part goes on the toilet seat.)
  • Says “Dada” to me  (…and random men in public.)
  • Brushes his teeth (…after he sucks all the toothpaste off the brush.)
  • Feeds himself with a spoon (…and the dogs too.)
  • He sees and points out things that are out-of-place.  (Why is that piece of grass on the sidewalk?  And he puts it back on the lawn.)
  • He points out all of his body parts (…and always double checks that his wee-wee is attached.)
  • He knows pretty much everything in the house (…he just doesn’t vocalize it.  Chicks dig a man of few words.  He’s on it already!)
  • And speaking of that, he stares at the pretty girls wherever we go.  (Right now, it’s the long creepy stare, But at least he’s got good taste in women!)
  • Can survive on grapes and juice for days. (Seriously?  He’s got supermodel tendencies.  All he needs to learn is the “Blue Steel” face.  That milestone’s at least a couple of months away.)

Stats on the Worm:

– 34″ tall

– 22 lb 2 oz

1″ vertical jump

– ∞ 40-yard dash  (He can’t run for more than a few feet before stopping to pick up some flower or bug on the ground.)




(The title is a bad nerd joke.  Sorry, I try to control it with medication.)

Should I have my anxiety attack now or after #2 is born?  I know nothing about girls.

Let me explain further.  I know absolutely nothing about girls.  Just ask my wife…

I don’t know if there’s anything that can prepare me for a baby girl more adding an extra bathroom and expanding her dress closet.

Luckily, the internet has loads of the parenting answers that clueless dads like me are searching for.  So, pink doilies, pink ponies, and pink sweatpants with ‘PINK’ written on the backside will be showing up on our doorstep soon.  Thank you Al Gore for one-click internet shopping!

I feel like the expectations for me to raise a little girl properly are high.  With Worm, the bar is set on the ground.  Keep him from torching himself.  Keep him from cracking open his head.  Make sure his limbs and digits stay attached to his body.  Pat him on the back every now and then with a “Good job, son.” thrown in for positive support.  No one second guesses your parenting style with a boy.  They just say “Oh.  He’s a spirited one!” or “He’s got some gumption!”  (Ok, no one under 60 says that anymore, but you get my drift.  Does anyone even say ‘drift’ anymore?)

With a little girl, I fear the mothers’ stink eye.  When we go out in public, I’m sure every mother will be peering into my daddy daughtering techniques.  They’ve got to, right?  I’m raising one of their own species.  They will gasp and chatter about how I’m doing this all wrong and that I’m doing that all wrong.  And that I don’t understand because I’m a man.  I’ll just smile and say “Oh, this time of month is rough for you, eh?  But don’t worry, you look like you’ll be post-menopausal soon.”  Then I’ll just grab #2 and run away as fast as I can!

I know what they are going to say to me.  “You’re supposed to braid her hair, not tie a double overhand knot into it!” Or “Can’t you see the mauve pants and periwinkle tube tops don’t match her green jelly strap sandals?” (Luckily, I can use color blindness as my escape plan.  Ah, the old X chromosome deformity excuse.)  Or even better “Why isn’t she allowed to go to the spa and get a mani-pedi facial?  She’s already 3 years old!”

As a reference, here’s what men are going to tell me.  “You’ve got a girl?  Good luck brother.  I hope you make it out alive.”  Or “Holy crap man.  With two women in the house, you should set up a bed in the garage for the one week a month you’ll be hiding out there.  It will help you defend yourself.”  Or the extremely terrifying delivery of “You’re going to find out more about women than you ever wanted to know. You’ll think the loony bin makes more sense than your house.”

Girls are fragile.  Girls are delicate.  Watch what you say to them.  They are sensitive.  You can’t treat them like boys.  You’ve got to wipe them the other way.  Don’t manhandle them.  Girls are not designed to do one thing at time.  Don’t hold her upside down, her insides may shift around or even fall out.  Don’t say no to your daughter, it will scar her for life.  

Sometimes life throws you a curve ball.  I’m so nervous and excited that I’m just going to close my eyes and let the bat rip.

3 Lines (near the arrow) = Girl. 3 Lines (near the arrow) != pumpkin turned on it’s side with part of the bottom missing.

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