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Showing posts from February, 2012

They're gonna sivilize me and I can’t stand it

We said there warn't no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft. -Huck Finn Lately, Cole has me wanting to read TheAdventures of Huckleberry Finn again. This morning the windows are open because it's going to be nearly 60 degrees on Leap Day. And there's a breeze blowing in with the sun shining--so he stood in his bedroom for the better part of an hour staring into the alley like it was the greatest thing he'd ever seen.

There he was dirty-faced, tangled hair, silly grin like he was getting away with something. I have no idea where this little boy came from sometimes. It's like some 1950's American stereotype of boyhood where little kids should plot and scheme and make messes and get dirty. I'm all for it. It's just that it bears no resemblance to me as a boy. At least not that I can remember. He's all screams and piles of things on th…

Who taught you that?

It was partly my fault yesterday. The decision to let Cole take a bath at 4:30pm was perhaps not the wisest, but it had been a long day with Kelly not due to be home for another 2 hours in a meeting. It's a bit like the butterfly effect...or is it the actual butterfly effect?

So he spends 45 minutes in the tub and is in a bit of a foul mood because I used a comb to untangle his curly hair that is always getting knots. He can't even stand shampoo--he is a boy who values his personal space. Then he was chewing on the comb--which seemed like a bad idea. Potential plastic bits being swallowed and whatnot.

The rule after a bath is that he can have "run around in a diaper" time. This usually leads to a few wild minutes followed by him wanting to cuddle in the chair. Frequently he gets sleepy which is why this is a great pre-nap activity following lunch.

Me? I'm thinking I should put him directly into his overnight diaper despite not having had dinner and it being 2 hou…

A baseball rant

Today's blog will not be about any of the usual topics. Not parenting (well, maybe a little), not coffee (more about that on a later day), and not about running. This was going to be a baseball rant anyway. Ryan Braun just appealed his 50 game suspension for being drugged up. And someone recently inquired about my opinion of the Cubbies. But today is definitely feeling like a baseball rant day due to some personal family things I can't talk about. Though this one's for you, F.

I'm a sports fan, don't get me wrong. But they keep making it harder and harder. Maybe it's the shift from childhood glory-of-the-game fantasies to the economic and political realities of modern professional sports. Maybe it's that I take greater pleasure these days in lesser-known sports--especially ones like running that I actively participate in. The endurance of a marathon is of far greater importance to me than any Cubs' World Series title. Though I now have to turn in my Wri…

Crib time

With my son, cloth diapering was also a statement in addition to being the right thing. We put a lot of time and effort and research into whether the diaper service would work for us, what covers to use, etc.. In the end, pardon the pun, it turned out great. We loved it and have had every intention of going back to cloth now that the sunny, smelly summer months are over.

Then Leda happened. Not that it was her fault. She's just given us other priorities and worries. My son has his "diapering station" in his room where we've got a changing pad setup on the ottoman with wipes and lotions on the window ledge. For a whole variety of reasons, Leda has taken up semi-permanent residence in the living room. For middle of the night changes that rarely happen anymore. For space. She occupies the long chaise with her padded nest and lap pad at the end. When she was first born, it was just easier than worrying about waking up Cole.

On the other hand, cosleeping wasn't someth…

Road trip

Yesterday was mostly spent on a semi-road trip to grandpa's house. It's about a 2 hour drive to rural northwest Illinois and could not have gone better. Crisp, sunny day. As usual, the hardest part is getting out of the house--walking the dog, packing the diaper bag, getting clothes on and the car loaded. Once we settled in, however, the journey was smooth.

Cole got a bit fussy to get out of his carseat at the tail end, but then was just an amazingly well-behaved little kid at the restaurant. He smiled, he ate everything that wasn't nailed down, there were no tantrums or throwing crackers on the floor. Leda hung out until she got hungry, drank her bottle, then hung out some more.

Then--after a double diaper change in the back of the Subaru (yes, our cargo area also plays home to the stereotypical Subaru-owner rescued dog and there's an endurance sports bumper sticker), we headed to a local playground for some "let's get Cole exhausted so he sleeps on the way h…

Your kid has a gender

our kid is not gender neutral. In case you were living under a rock and missed it, the news has had a few instances lately of "modern" parents who choose to wait to reveal the pronoun of their baby until he/she/it reaches toddler. Lots of analysis, too, about the arrangements for gender-neutral toys, clothes, etc.. Don't get me wrong--I hate pink and preferred my son in greens or animals than "baby blue."

But you can't deny biology. Sure, we can try to be open and flexible with the preferences of our children. It's about boys being able to play with dolls and girls being able to play with trucks. The point is to not force boys into playing cowboys-not-teacups. Not telling girls they can't be a pro wrestler.

To insist that we can erase gender entirely is another matter.

Ok, ok, maybe what these crazies are trying to say is that we should focus on individual personality, not gender? I get it.

But as open-minded as you can be as a parent there comes a…

Valentine's Day Massacre

It was a rough day in our house...I wish I'd waited to give DLP her handmade Valentine and knitting book until after the horrible day. As it turned out, the day was downhill from there. Well, really I've been up since just after 3am this morning with a certain toddler. But we won't go there.

It was supposed to be an early leaving for work so that she could be home in time for me to take Leda across the street to her 4 month checkup. Then she'd work some more and be back home in time for me to make a 4pm business meeting with a new client.

Then the flat tire happened. Enter:  her co-worker (thanks!) in a skirt changing a tire. Until you get to those damn lug nuts--then a large, older good samaritan is needed. Then you wait for several hours at the tire place, but the supplier is running behind with your special tire delivery. And you stop caring that it won't match the rest of the new-ish tires on your still-under-warranty Subaru.

So I got a crying Cole along at the…

Weekend wrapup -- snot, screaming, & sleeping through the night

It's been a miserable few days for Cole. He's been filled with snot oozing from his nose that crusts his hair to his forehead when he inevitably wipes his face on something. And, of course, he's been in an overall grumpy mood with odd sleeping schedules and lots of tantrums. The upside is that he's been unusually in the mood to cuddle. Now's the time to get your hugs in if you want them. Because he's not normally an affectionate kid. Kelly and I tease that it's more like he uses adults to achieve his ends then dumps you to the side for independence.

Oh and there has been screaming. More like screeching. The tone of the screeching depends on the mood and desires of the toddler. Sometimes it comes before the "laying on the floor kicking and crying." Sometimes it comes during. Sometimes the screaming isn't angry at all and is more a hilarious war cry of excitement--as in the bathtub last night when he discovered that sitting down quickly creates …


There is nothing that divides parents from non-parents quite like this topic. I can remember a time when I'd go entire days--weeks or months even--without discussing anyone's bathroom habits. Being a parent, however, makes these conversations not only a daily occurrence but a part of casual coming-home-from-work conversation.

How was your day? Oh, fine. Let me give you the nap/bottle/diaper rundown to catch you up. (I'll let you, dear reader, fill in the details mentally.)

It seems sometimes all I ever do is discuss this topic. Between a dog with a delicately-balanced diet and two kids, we've certainly come up with our own lexicon. What's that saying about Eskimos having one hundred words for "snow?"

Parents, you know what I mean. Childless, you find this disgusting. To even imagine you could get to the point where you're discussing the frequency, amount, texture, smell, affect of diet on, or proposed changes to achieve better outcomes...I'll stop…

Do or do not...there is no try

You would think it would be the other way around. Becoming a parent is supposed to make you warm and squishy. More caring, feeling, understanding. More patient. More sensitive to the needs of others.


Becoming a parent has made me a cold, hard, calculating, unfeeling Clint Eastwood of a man. Towards my kids. Towards other parents, especially.

I've become a Yoda-esque "either you are or you aren't" kinda guy where there is less shaded grey middle room for discussion and explanations. The world is more black and white...and that's a good thing.

Don't get me wrong, I haven't gone full-Republican turning into some pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps everybody for themselves robot. I have emotional wiggle room for the difficulties others face still.

It's more like being a parent has made me less tolerant of all the whining, complaining, and shifted focus in our society where we like to talk about things rather than actually do them. In practical t…

"Where is his hat?" has been dethroned

My old pet peeve was strangers coming up and asking where my son's hat was when he was tiny. Being a late July baby, he was about Leda's age when I'd pop him in the carrier to go along on a dog walk (because I'm a responsible parent who doesn't leave babies home unattended). Invariably it's a woman--sorry, ladies. Invariably older. Again, sorry.

Now that Cole is older and in the stroller being a wiggle worm, I have Leda in the baby carrier on my front. So now a trip down the street to the playground has me looking something like a cross between a street vendor and a pack mule.

And it happened yesterday afternoon on a walk to pickup Kelly from her working at the library (she's not a librarian, just goes there because it's quiet). Though it has happened a number of times since I've been on my own with the kids. They mean well. No different than the "hat folk."

"Oh, wow, you've got your hands full."

I cringe. Today's poor la…

Dinner for breakfast

Breakfast is not just the most important meal of the day. It's also the best and most appropriate for the early hours of the day. Sure, lunch and dinner deserve respect. But, in my opinion, they are like holidays that should stay in their calendar month and not bleed over into neighboring territory. Sure, you can get a decent or even wonderful meal later in the day. Gourmet restaurants are usually famous for dinner. Though nothing is a surefire guarantee of greatness like breakfast. There are no bad breakfasts. Eggs, pancakes, waffles, a bowl of cereal and coffee, toast and English can't go wrong. There literally is not a bad breakfast, assuming you are not heading off into burrito and country gravy borderlands. Breakfast is, in short, my favorite.

My DLP--that's Domestic Life Partner for those of you playing at home--does not agree. We have curry the night before, she eats it at 6:00am. Cold. We eat pasta the night before? She eats it at 7:00am. Cold. Oh, she…