The Rough-and-Tumble Life

Most days are full of running around, hurrying everyone up to get into the car so we aren’t late, or quickly moving to the next activity because my kids have the attention span of a goldfish (do goldfish have short attention spans, because it i feel that they do). There’s rarely down time. So when we do get a chance to take a deep breath and relax it’s a nice change of pace.

A Saturday morning, just the boys at home taking it easy. A cup of coffee for dad, some milk for the boys and Blaze and the Monster Machines on repeat. I mean can you dream up a better start to your weekend? Neither can I, but that’s what easy mornings are now… a dream.

I try to let Stephanie sleep in as much as possible. I’m an early riser and waking up before anyone else enables me to have a quiet cup of coffee. I’ll gladly wake up with the birds if it means a silently enjoyed cup of coffee and an uninterrupted few minutes of SportsCenter. It rarely happens, but when it does it’s heavenly.

…I put the remote down, sit back and and take the first sip of a perfectly brewed cup of joe, sure enough, here come the footsteps down the stairs. It sounds like a stampede, did a herd of elephants just over take my once peaceful house? The scene is fuzzy as I’m still wiping crust from my eyes, but I can just barely make out a couple of sets of little arms and legs as they land on top of me knocking coffee everywhere. The dogs, once relaxed are now barking and trying to lick coffee stains out of the carpet. The day has begun.

Two little boys jump, arms outstretched, are now flying through the air. I feel like I’m participating in a Ringling Brothers’ acrobatic act. It’s just a blur of body parts pushing me over. One of these little monsters shows his claws and gnashes his teeth, I swear he’s possessed (it’s all fun and games until you need to call an for an exorcism).

I didn’t ask for this. I just wanted some kids to help with the household chores and laugh at my jokes. I didn’t realize I was going to be dealing with broken arms, bloody noses and CTE.

Exhibit A:

…Hashtag Brain Injury

Added to the chaos is the fact that Oliver is now almost two and living the daredevil life. He’s up, he’s down, he’s all over the place. He jumps off the couch with the look of an old school Hulk Hogan leg drop. He rolls down the stairs… I swear lately he’s been trying to ride Buster like a wild bull at a rodeo. As a kid you love having a tough sibling… especially when you live the rough-and-tumblr life like these two. Honestly, Oliver isn’t just a little brother, he’s a real life crash test dummy.

Exhibit B:

…Hashtag Vehicular Homicide

I’ll tell you this… Oliver is one tough little dude. He’s survived two years of Jackson saying, “I swear it was an accident dad!” Parent life is not all rainbows and unicorns around here. There’s little down time and there sure is very little quiet time anymore. But, I wouldn’t want it any other way. (Although it’d be nice to have to make such frequent trips to the ER).

Oll-E > Wall-E

Both are pretty cute and they even sound the same

I’ve blogged about all the normal baby and toddler firsts… I’ve talked about cleaning nuclear-like diaper messes and first solid foods… I’ve written about bubble wrapping and baby gating the house for their first steps. Now don’t get me wrong those are all hugely significant moments in time, but they all pale in comparison to hearing you child speak their first words. I’ve been in educational for nearly 20 years… I’ve taught children to read, to multiply triple digit numbers and I’ve taught children how to explain their thinking, but teaching a child to speak… that’s just magical.

Parenting is just a series of events that makes you feel equally proud and sad… watching your child become more independent each and everyday makes your heart both swell with pride for the amazing little being you are raising and also makes your heart long for the days when your baby needed you for everything. Like Elton John said, “it’s the Circle of Life” (I’m not sure if that analogy works here, but it sounds good so if you don’t mind, please just roll with it).

Listen, becoming mobile matters, it’s a huge step (pardon the pun) in the growth and development of a child. Learning to talk… to have a reciprocal conversation… is like the when the caveman first discovered fire, or first time you realized you didn’t have to actually flip open a cell phone to use it. It’s a game changer

Oliver has been saying words for a bit now… some much more clearly than others. But to hear him say his own name… I don’t know why… it was really cool. It was special. I know he has asked for juice when he’s wanted it and I’ve heard him yell, “dog” when Buster and Max were being naughty, but this… saying his name… I feel like it transforms him from a parakeet to a real person. I’m not sure why (especially since he was literally repeating his name), but just stay with me here… it’s my blog so I can write whatever I want.

Talking is transformative, getting to a point where you’re child knows his name, can say his own name and can string a word or two together changes an entire parent-child relationship I’m just hoping we are getting to the point where we can get a response from Oliver when ask him, “why are you screaming and what was the purpose of throwing yourself on the ground just now?”

But for now… I’ll take the slow and steady progress, even if he sounds like that robot WALL-E when he talks!

Elf

Boys night watching #Elf 🌲🎅🏼

Half and hour in and my four year-old has already made approximately 187 references to Elfie (his #ElfonTheShelf). Check out @thedadexperience on Thursday, December 20th for a hilarious look at how that damn Elf has ruined parents everywhere. There’s also an in-depth look at the #Hanukkah equivalent of the Elf called #MoistureOnAMat

What breakfast, lunch and dinner looks like with two children

“The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.”

1.21 Gigawatts

“That was the day I invented time-travel. I remember it vividly. I was standing on the edge of my toilet hanging a clock, the porcelain was wet, I slipped, hit my head on the sink, and when I came to I had a revelation! A vision! A picture in my head! A picture of this! This is what makes time travel possible: the flux capacitor! It’s taken me nearly thirty years and my entire family fortune to realize the vision of that day.”

That’s exactly how I felt yesterday. I’d spent my entire adult life wishing I could invent something. Create something to better the world, something mankind could benefit from… maybe even make me rich. And all this time it was right in front of me. In plain sight… already inside of an appliance we use everyday (one parents are especially used to… as a parent you could win the Nobel Peace Prize and not feel as accomplished as you do when you finish the laundry).

The AGELSTERILE. The part in every dryer that no one know about… why not?… because Jax just invented it. It’s there. It’s always been there… right in front of you.

That’s why I have this kid around… he’s a GD genius. Anyone know knows me know I’m not the handiest of people. I usually just take things apart and put them back together (minus a few screws) and hope it starts working. I’ve been relatively successful with that strategy. Although now I have a mason jar full of random screws, I consider myself capable of fixing most small household items. I have installed new smoke alarms, hooked up new lighting in the dining room and even rewired cable and electrical wires to hang the TV on the wall, but those projects paled in comparison to taking apart a dryer to install a new AGELSTERILE.

That’s why I am so glad I have kids. These major projects, the ones that could cost you or hopefully save you thousands of dollars, are where Jackson comes in to save the day.

I must have watched 15 how-to YouTube videos. I read the instructional manual, all to no avail… and I’m not to manly to ask for help, so I did. I called in the one guy who could assess the situation and make a confident decision… my four year old son.

I’m not going to say I knew what I was doing the majority of the time and I definitely won’t say that I knew the name of many (none) of the parts I was looking at, but I will say that spending time with Jax while working on fixing something was well worth the effort. He was great. He had his tool box and kept asking great questions. “Dad, what is this called?”

“Im not sure,” I’d reply often with a little sadness in my voice.

“It’s ok dad, I know what that is… it’s an AGELSTERILE,” he would respond with a confidence in his voice that made you think he knew something you didn’t.

This kid either has a fantastic imagination, or is the next Emmett “Doc” Brown, Ph.D. I’m impressed either way. Even if he wasn’t able to help me figure out where those three extra screws were supposed to go.

I Gotta Say, It Was a Good Day

In what can only be called a crazy turn of events long time educator and still relatively new school administrator Peter Fragola was charged with daddy daycare duty on the morning of Tuesday, September 19, 2017. With current and raining babysitting MVP Bammy on the disabled list and back up second string babysitter Pop-Pop also being unable to take part in Tuesday’s action due to injuries sustained being a grandfather Peter was called up from the minors

In what could be One of the most controversial, yet exciting September call ups in recent history. With the team trailing late last night and all options being considered, including possible retired Manny, up-and-coming babysitters, and even distant family members who’s travel expenses would far outweigh their salary. With nowhere to turn and limited options to choose from (limited meaning none) there was no other choice but to call on this energetic, yet inexperienced talent to care for Baby Ollie for the day.  

A call up of this magnitude is usually not made at such an important time. With an eight-month-old who refuses to drink from a bottle and has yet to nap more than 10 minutes at a time i’m sure having someone with the ability to feed the baby and get him to sleep would have been more preferable. But again with nowhere to turn the team as a trusted Peter with a daunting task.   

A Quick look up Peter’s stats show a relatively successful and injury free infant period for younger brother Jackson. However Jackson a relatively easy child could take down a bottle no matter who was holding it and to this day can fall sleep anywhere his head hits. And that was years ago… Coming in for a job like this is not like riding a bike that you can just pick up a where you left off. The subtle nuances of the midday shush, hold, cradle and rock, the extremely specific angle at which the bottle is held all need to be figured out and figured out quickly. Yes, he’s done nighttime and morning time duties, but a last minute daytime event like this calls for concentration and confidence.  

The time to study and ask questions had passed… but panic… nope… this guy stepped up to the plate with the confidence of a three time MVP. And you know what just like any future hall of famer the results spoke for themselves. There was nothing that could stop the performance of a life time. 

  1. Bottle for the kid who doesn’t drink from a bottle? ✅
  2. Nap for the kid who doesn’t nap? ✅
  3. Cook, clean and still have enough time to watch Harry Potter together? ✅


In the words of the ever quotable, especially when it comes to parenting, Ice Cube, “I gotta say, it was a good day.”

__________________
Highlights:

There’s no better feeling then seeing your son all smiles after creating your own homemade playpen:

A Harry Potter marathon and some lunch makes for a nice little afternoon: 

All dressed up and no where to go: 

… I guess you can say #SuperDad saved the day again… ​​

For in Dreams…

 Snuck in to say good night… He’s all curled up tight, clutching his #blanky with his #CornishPixie napping by his side! #HarryPotter


“For in dreams, we enter a world that is entirely our own. Let him swim in the deepest ocean or glide over the highest cloud.”   -Dumbledore

Life at 100 MPH

As everyone would expect, a new dad would rarely get much rest and would constantly be on his toes.  As everyone who knows me would expect, this would be right up my alley.  ADHD is an understatement, and there’s no doubt I rarely sit still.  However, this new family thing is a whole new level of not sitting still.

What once would be called a relaxing weekend has turned into an every lasting marathon of events that should not take longer than five minutes.  Yes I know this “play on words” seems a bit extreme… marathons are already long… why do they have to be called everlasting?  Come here on a Friday night, and I’ll show you an everlasting marathon.

Saturday’s main event consisted of watching a movie with the little guy while mom was out at the fair.  Seems easy enough:

Before bundle of joyMake yourself some lunch grab a vitamin water (I’m a dad now… vitamins are important), take out DVD, turn on TV and surround sound, hit play, put butt in recliner and enjoy.

After bundle of joy: Take out cold cuts for lunch, hear a loud rumble from the other side of the room, realize you have to change gigantic messy diaper, realize there are no diapers at the changing table, run upstairs (realize you left baby on changing table alone half way up the stairs, run back downstairs, pick up naked baby, run back upstairs to get diapers), get peed on walking back downstairs, curse at yourself for not wrapping up that little fire hose, change baby, clothe baby, run back upstairs, change and wash yourself, head back down stairs, forget what you were doing before the mud butt struck.  When you see both your dogs polishing off the cold cuts you left out, curse at yourself again and warm up leftovers.  Eat standing up while dangling keys in front of baby to keep him from crying.  Forget vitamin water; quickly take a vitamin with a glass of water.  Pack up toys and Mr. McGibblets for optimum movie watching in the basement (for those of you who are not familiar with Mr. McGibletts see my earlier blog entries from the end of July).  Once you are completely packed up and downstairs, curse at yourself again for forgetting to bring the baby downstairs.  Realize it’s been almost 40 minutes and you no longer have any desire to watch a movie.  It’s a mystery how anyone with a baby watches anything on TV at all.

image

I did get out of the house for a little bit Saturday night, which was nice.  Although a night out with the guys now includes showing each other pictures of our kids and swapping stories about how insane it is to think we all have kids now.

Sunday was epic.  “Let’s go to the pumpkin patch and take some family photos before the Packers game.”  (Famous last words!).  First of all how does layering clothes for an infant work.  Remember that old math problems: Jax has 3 different shirts, and 4 different pairs of pants and 6 set of socks.  How many different combinations of outfits can he make from what he has? That perfectly sums up my morning.  If you buy everything the same size: onsie, khakis, sweat shirt and lined jacket… how the hell are they all supposed to fit.  I literally must have had to try 17,000 combinations of layers in order to get this little guy bundled up.  After struggling to get him all set barely squeezing him into his car seat, I realized he hadn’t been changed in a while… at least now I know the perfect combination of clothes. I remember thinking, “I just have to work backwards to get them off.  I’ll make sure to leave a trail of bread crumbs so I can figure out how to get them back on.”

image

Clearly I could go on explaining how life’s simple events took hours to complete, but I’m sure everyone gets the point.  The funny thing is, I don’t mind.  I don’t mind one little bit.  Every second I spend with this little guy is amazing.  Either way, my ADHD is sure enjoying the ride.

 

This blog entry has been featured on:
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com