Please Send Help

Please someone help. Send help. Send reinforcements. Send in the National Guard. I’m so unbelievably tired. At this point my body just doesn’t even know the difference between day and night. I can’t remember what the inside of my eyelids look like anymore.

For some reason everyone thinks it’s just new parents who don’t get any sleep. It’s just understood that a newborn causes exhaustion and endless nights. Of course having a newborn involves screaming, midnight feedings, and every-two-minute baby breathing checks. It’s not that bad though. Honestly. It’s par for the course. So, know you’re not going to get a ton of sleep, people around you know you aren’t going to get a ton of sleep and everyone lends a hand and pitches in. People bring you food and drinks. They offer to hold the baby so you can nap or shower, or nap in the shower.

Then years go bye and a second kid comes along. No one cares. No one even bats an eye about your lack of sleep anymore. No one brings you a lasagna, or asks you if you want to go rest for an hour or seven.

At first, people understand that bringing new life also brings exhaustion. It happens, we’ve all felt it. Even Jackson as a baby, who slept extremely well, at least would be up only a few times to eat. The thing is, everyone thinks it gets better… it doesn’t. It doesn’t at all. It gets worse.

I’m positive I’ve read somewhere that it’s a scientific fact that parents never feel like fully-functional human beings ever again. Either that, or the meaning of what a “fully-functional” person actual means just slowly morphs as the years go bye, because I CAN NOT remember what it feels like to NOT be tired. My eyes have finally adjusted to their new norm. You know the one that “feels like you’re driving late at night and you convince yourself that you can just close them for just a second,” just to rest them, and then when you reopen them, you’re seven miles down the road with no recollection of how you got there.

Babys, toddlers… it doesn’t matter. They never sleep through the night. At first you just hope they lay down without screaming like a banshee for hours… then it moves to worrying if they are breathing (OMG he hasn’t moved in 13 seconds. Is he still alive?!?? I better get up and check). Later… no more crib… you hope that little bowling ball doesn’t roll out of bed even with that gigantic wrought-iron fence you’ve strapped to their mattress… you’re still convinced it won’t hold them securely. The worries never end.

The best sleep she’s ever had (hanging over the crib, passed out)

Even as they grow… sleep doesn’t just appear… it’s more of a vision of a watering hole in a dry dessert… a mirage. Toddlers want 18 sips of milk, 12 books, 7 kisses, and a few hours of snuggling before they’ll even consider closing their eyes. The appearance of sleep is there. It’s always there. Not because you are well rested, but because you’ve learned to function on an hour or two of sleep at a time. Even as I write this, I’m amazed at how much I can accomplish with the sleep habits of an insomniac. All parents, in one way or another, just grow and adapt. We’re ready for what our day has in store for us. No matter how heavy those bags under our eyes seem.

It’s more than sleep deprivation though. You know relaxing time you enjoy to do things like pee or shower? Yea… peace out to those days too. The other day I tried to put Christmas decorations away… actually not even away… just take them down put them aside, so I didn’t have to listen to the animatronic Santa sing one more damn carol. I got about three decorations down before I gave up because… “Dad what are you doing?” “Dad can I have a snack?” “Dad Oliver is flushing the trains down the toilet…” “Dad Oliver is trying to ride the dog again!” Dad can I have a snack…” Dad can Oliver have a snack?” …and that was all in one breath.

I always have a tiny human being hanging off me. Hanging on my arms, attached to my leg, under my feet, climbing the wall… they are always somewhere they shouldn’t be. There is NO downtime. NO quiet time. No time to just do mindless things you used to do to relax. The army should just start using toddlers for training their recruits. The level of functioning parents operate on with constant demands, screaming, toys wizzing through the air, and the high pitched screams that come from a toddler who can’t find their red crayon is magical.

Steph nor I have gone to the bathroom solo in four years. Somehow my oldest son has learned to pick locks. This little Ocean’s Eleven wannabe has figured out how to interrupt the one private time us parents used to have. You’d think you could have a few moments to scroll through your twitter feed, or check a few emails whist in the bathroom. That is, until the door slowly, quietly slides open and your child sticks their little head through like the “Here’s Johnny” scene from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.

Have I mentioned how tired I am? The most rest I get during the day is my hour and a half at the gym lifting weights and running a few miles. Yes, that’s rest now. Don’t get me wrong… parents aren’t sleepwalking through their day. We just learn, we grow and we adapt. We got this. But with the lack of sleep I’m functioning on… if I hear the Bubble Guppies theme song one more time, I might just snap.

……

………

…………. please… just five more minutes!

Happily Ever After

We’ve been through a lot. Raising two little boys is more work than anything I’ve ever imagined. It’s not easy, it’s not pretty, it’s definitely not clean (I was puked on three times today and the diapers that I change were unlike anything that I’ve ever seen before).

The thing is… I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world. Thank you to my beautiful wife, two dogs (no man is whole with out his best canine best friends) and most importantly thank you to my two little guys… even if it means getting puked and pooped on…

Legend says “Marriage lets you annoy one special person for the rest of your life.”

Why Tattoos are Life

Tattoos have been around for centuries and getting a tattoo inspired by your children or your favorite book is nothing new… therefor it’s no surprise two of my tattoos are directly connected to my sons and Harry Potter.

As a guy who enjoys tattoos… I wanted to get some ink done to represent my first after he was born. I decide on a meaningful representation of father and son taken from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [short story] “The Tale of the Three Brothers.”

The story’s moral is that you should live life for the right reasons: love and those you love. The youngest brother in the story youngest brother was a humble man asked for a thing that he could use to live a long and happy life. One in which he was allowed to see his child grow. He was given a cloak of invisibility. And thus because of this he attained a great age and passed The Cloak of Invisibility to his son. I was happy to get a tattoo representing a moment that every father dreams of… Passing down something (knowledge, skill, an invisibility cloak) to their child which will ensure he will live long, happy and successful live.

When I decided it was time to get a tattoo honoring my newest little man it was obvious it would be something related to his name, Oliver, and also had to have some connection to Harry Potter. The olive branch has a very symbolic meaning which made it the perfect choice both references. The Olive Branch symbolizes a beginning of a new life. In the Harry Potter story, Oliver Wood is the first Quidditch player we meet. He is the keeper and captain of the Gryffindor team. He’s an athlete, a leader and a loyal friend. He’s also and one of my favorite characters in the story.

My most recent tattoo is just as special to me as the other ones I’ve gotten that were dedicated to my sons. The first time I visited the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Stephanie and I were walking out after a long hot day and as we pass a shelf loaded with stuffed animals and other HP merchandise, Jax starts pointing and laughing uncontrollably. He was pointing at the blue Cornish Pixie hanging on the shelf… so of course we bought it for him. He still has it to this day… so I got his Pixie (that he calls Pickie) on my inner arm.

Here are my other Harry Potter inspired tattoos:

And a quote on my ribs dedicated to my sons: “If anything should happen to me, the love for my sons should never go unsaid.”

Do you have a tattoo inspired by your child(en) or of Harry Potter? Show them in the comments below!

Owl Post: This Lovey is MAGICAL

 

Wizardry has brought me so much JOY.  It taught me that my imagination has no limits and can take me to amazing places. It has inspired me to create.

I designed the Wizard Collection to teach kids at a young age about magic. I transfigured this print by using basic geometric shapes to tell the story about a boy, his scar and the magical journey he took us on. This collection is for any fan of the Harry Potter book or movie series, no matter how old you are.

“Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.”  – J.K. Rowling

The Owl Lovey is this round’s Baby Jack Lovey of INSTA30, a photo contest we designed to challenge our brand reps. We started with 30 people in January and have narrowed it down to our elite 8. Two people will be voted off this week so please take a moment (Wed – Fri) to look at their Owl Lovey pictures and cast your vote. (Wand not required)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ETZm_cYmCB-lY2OrPsFwm-lorQO8UdKN/preview

 

Video footage courtesy of Baby Jack & Company // Chronicles of a New Dad Peter Fragola who has recently joined our team as a writer and influencer.

GET $5 OFF YOUR VERY OWN WIZARD OWL WITH CODE “OWLPOST”

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ETZm_cYmCB-lY2OrPsFwm-lorQO8UdKN/view

Never Lose Your Dinosaur

Me: Listen to me. Jax, look, when I was a kid…when I was a little boy, I always wanted to be a dinosaur. I wanted to be a Tyrannosaurus rex more than anything in the world. I made my arms short and I roamed the backyard…and I chased the neighborhood cats, and I growled and I roared. Everybody knew me and was afraid of me. And then one day, my dad said, “Peter, you’re 17. It’s time to throw childish things aside.” And I said, “Okay, dad.” But he didn’t really say that, he said, “Stop being a fucking dinosaur and get a job.” But, you know, I thought to myself, “I’ll go to elementary education school…l’ll teach for a little while, and then I’ll come back to it.

Jax: How is that a skill?

Me: But I forgot how to do it.

Jax: You’re human. You could never be a dinosaur.

Jax:- Dad, what’s the point?

Me: The point is… don’t lose your dinosaur.

Thank You Jackson

This is the last blog entry I write for you before you officially meet your baby brother. There is nothing in this world that I can compare the past three years with you to. You have literally been my world for so long I can’t remember what it was like before you came. 

I often go back and reread some of the things I’ve written to you (or about you) and can’t believe how much we’ve been through. For someone who (used to) enjoy talking about himself… I’ve enjoyed not being the center of attention because you have been just that, the center of attention, since the day you were born and you should be because you are the most caring, loving, funny and energetic little boy I have ever met. Now you have to share the spot light. I’m not going to lie… it’s not easy. Take it from the oldest sibling… the big brother… it ain’t easy! the good thing is… I’ll always get it… I’ll always understand what you’re going through… I’ll always be able to relate to how you feel as the oldest. 

You’re always going to be blamed for “it” because you should know better (but if you’re smart you can set your little brother up quite easily… little brothers usually will do what you say). You’ll always have to “set the good example” (even when you’re both at fault).  

But here’s the thing… you have to be careful… because with great power comes great responsibility. You literally are going to teach your brother everything. You are going to have to talk him out of dumb decisions, both because you’ve made those same decisions and also because you know better. You’ll get his back when things go wrong and he’ll get yours as well. If anyone is going to kick his butt… it should be you… and vice-versa. 

The thing is, no matter what happens you’ll always have me in your corner. I’ll always be here for you… nothing will ever change that… not another baby… not another son… not a brother… nothing. I will always cherish the last three years with you… and look forward to seeing you continue to grow up and even more so look forward to watching you help your brother grow up.  

Thank you for making my life so amazing. I love you Jackson Carmine… I always will. 

Trust me, I know a thing or two about being a big brother

In Difficult Times

As Jax begins a tough week (tougher for me then for him probably) I hope he knows that life isn’t always fair… But as Dumblefore once said, “It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Our entire lives we are lead to believe there is a reason that things happen the way they do, or that someone else is pulling the strings. That fate holds our lives close and dangles, what we think we want in front of us, only to pull it away like its a whimsical children’s game to be played when we are bored.  

The problem with fate is that if we believe we are being controlled by an outside force then we are conceding that we are actually not in control of our own destiny. I refuse to believe that we do not have a say in how our lives turn out. Saying that something happens for a reason or that “it is what it is” is a cop out for the weak of heart and for those who underestimate the value and worth of what ever it was they are chasing. It is the characteristic of the strong man that he can bring momentous issues to the forefront and make a decision about them. The weak are always forced to decide between alternatives they have not chosen themselves.

Nothing in life is perfect, and nothing in life is ever going to follow the path that was cut by thoughts and ideas, but the things that are meaningful are worth working for, no matter what other say or the obstacles that stand in the way. The obstacles, that like an iceberg at the surface, seem simple to navigate, but are much deeper and can sink even the most sturdy ship. 

But it’s the destination that makes every icy ocean, every complicated situation worth it in the end. They say all those who wonder are not lost… But then it can also be said not all those who are lost wonder. Once what you have is worth fighting for then it’s not about how you get to the point you want to be at… It’s about making sure that you do get there that matters. 

Sometimes you have to take the harder path to make it to safety, and sometimes the path of least resistance is not always the best way to travel.   

✌🏼️

😘