via IMDB.com

Bruce Springsteen, Santa, and Memories of Christmases Gone By

We’ve been listening to a ton of Christmas music. As you do this time of year. Every morning and every evening, to and from daycare with the girls. Sophia sings along to the ones she knows, while Maddie taps her foot and bobs her head along to the beat.

Rudolph, Frosty, Little Drummer Boy, Last Christmas, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bell Rock. You name it, we’ve listened to it, sung along with it, and danced to it. I figured that Sophia has been listening to and singing Christmas songs at daycare, as well. The other night, she started singing Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town–which is one of my all-time favorites. Only while she sang the chorus, she sang “Santa Claus is coming to town” faster than in the classic. I said to Sarah that I thought she was singing the Bruce Springsteen version. We hadn’t heard that one in the car. So I asked her. I quickly pulled the song up on YouTube and played it. I asked her if that was the version she heard at school and was singing. She said it was! Continue reading

I feel like the message is true. A lot.

How Do You Know You’re a Good Parent?

I feel like the message is true. A lot.

I feel like the message is true. A lot.

How do you know that you’re a good parent? Honestly. There is not test you can take to find out if you’re doing a good job or a really terrible job. I mean, you can look at your kids, see how they act, see what they’ve learned, and take stock in that.

There are plenty of times when I look at myself as a father and think that I don’t have a damn clue what I’m doing. I feel like I’m failing my girls and not making the right choices for them–or for our family. It’s an awful way to feel. It’s not something that I want to have floating around in my head.

Outside of reading as many books on parenting as possible, reading as many parenting sites and magazines, as possible, and talking to other parents, how are we to know what is right? What’s best, breast or bottle? How long do you wait to introduce solid foods? What if I have a picky eater? My kid is being mean, not listening, and is an all-around pain in the butt, how do we fix that? What daycare is right? Am I being a helicopter parent? All these are questions and comments that have come from me or others that I know. AND WE HAVEN’T EVEN GOTTEN TO KINDERGARTEN YET! Continue reading

negotiator

The Negotiator – Training for My Next Career

I don’t know about you, but my negotiation skills have been tested to the max lately. It doesn’t matter the time of day, the circumstances, or location. There is going to be some form of negotiating taking place. I’ll give Sophia credit–and probably every other kid, too–they don’t quit. They will low ball you at every turn. They play for keeps. They play dirty. I really am getting plenty of practice and on-the-job training that I have a good idea that I’d succeed–or fail miserably–in a future career as a hostage negotiator or deal-maker/breaker. One of the two.

I’m gonna talk about the two instances that are daily back-and-forths. Mealtime and bedtime. Continue reading

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Damn You Teething, Damn You!

57085569Dear Sleep,

How are you, old friend? I hope life is treating you well, as I lay awake at night, readying myself for the next scream of pain coming from the room of my one-year old.

What’s the problem, you ask? Have you heard of this thing that babies do, it’s called teething? Oh you have? Good. Then you should know where I’m coming from. If you were not aware of this growing trend, where teeth fight, claw, scratch, and tear their way through the gums, I’d have to refer you to this handy illustrated guide, courtesy of my friends at How To Be A Dad.

You’d like to know what exactly happened? Well, friend that I see all too little of anymore, it’s simple really. Our youngest daughter, Maddie–she’s one now–has three of those little demon teeth pushing their way through her gentle baby-gums AT THE SAME TIME. Those demon teeth are pushing her temperature sky-high, making her uncomfortable at every turn, forcing her to scream for mercy. She just wants relief, Sleep. That’s all she wants. She wants those teeth to stop imposing their will on her gum-line. Just pop through and be done with it, demon teeth!

Let me tell you, Sleep, this whole teething thing is for the birds. Just last night was the worst we’ve experienced to this point. The clock struck 12 and the demons came to play. One whimper turned to an hour of screaming. Then to a short amount of sleep, back to an hour of screaming, back to short amount of sleep, and on and on and on it went until the wee hours of the morning. No amount of Advil or Tylenol or Ora-Jel could soothe her. Shortly before the alarm clock beeped to wake us for the day, poor little Maddie finally fell into your awaiting arms, Sleep.

One day, this whole teething world will be a thing of the past. And both my girls–as well as Sarah and I–will finally be able to re-connect with you, Sleep. It will be a joyous occasion. One where we all well-rested and free of pain and demon teeth. Until then, dear friend, rest easy and be well.

Yours in exhaustion,

Nick

santa

SANTA! I KNOW HIM! And I Know That OTHER Santa, Too!

I didn’t think that my 3-1/2-year old daughter would be as perceptive as she is. She’s three! We did pictures with Santa last weekend. And then, did breakfast with Santa at a local church this weekend. Afterwards, Sophia informs us that “I saw two Santas!”…

Well at least one of them was smiling!

A photo posted by Nick (@papabrownie22) on

 

People have told me since then, all I needed to do was tell her that those are Santa’s helpers. That Santa can’t be EVERYWHERE all the time. I get that. I could’ve done that, too.

I didn’t ask her why she thought she saw two different Santas. I mean, the answer was obvious.

One looked like the real deal.

One wore a darker suit, had a fake beard, and a wig.

OF COURSE, they looked different.

Breakfast with Santa! 😊🎅

A photo posted by @sarie328 on

 

I guess this is a question that Sophia could ask every time we go to a different mall and see a different Santa sitting in his chair for photos. But, most of those Santas look similar enough that she doesn’t think it’s a different one. At least that’s the way I see it in my mind.

Aside from the “Santa has lots of helpers” reasoning, what ways do you explain the appearance of SO MANY SANTAS to your kids? Let me know in the comments, on Twitter, and Facebook.

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Video

Sometimes Ya Gotta Do Stupid Things For Your Kids

Sometime all it takes is a hint of a laugh to break a child from the midst of tantrum-hood.

Knowing what you, as a parent–and tantrum-breaker–can do to get that laugh is going to change from instant-to-instant. Hurting yourself is one way to get a laugh. I’ve gone to that well far too many times to count. Sometimes it takes singing out-of-tune (as if I can sing any other way). Or, telling a joke.

But, there are times, like in the above video, where you just do something completely stupid and it works like gangbusters. To set the scene: We were on our way home on Monday night and Sophia was clearly tired and wanted her cup of PediaSure, which she has every night at bed time. Well, we didn’t have any with us. And we had a solid 30 minutes until we’d be home. The whining started. It got worse. And it got louder. So, in that instant I blurted out that I wanted my milk, in the highest, most baby-like voice I could muster. And, what do you know? It worked. To the point that she clamored for me to repeat it ad nauseam.

I had no idea I could make that voice. Believe me, I’ve done a million voices in my lifetime and THAT was never one of them. I’m glad Sarah was riding next to me to capture it–without me even knowing she was recording it. Seriously, sometimes it just takes you doing the most stupid thing you can think of to snap your kid from sure tantrum into laughter.

What are some of the stupid things you’ve done to snap your kid from falling into a tantrum? If there’s video, share it! Let me know in the comments, on Facebook, or Twitter!

staches

Saying Goodbye: A Eulogy For My Movember Mustache

I can hear Boys II Men’s “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye” playing in my head. A single tear slides down my cheek as I do one final pass with the razor. As quickly as you appeared, you are gone. And I miss you, dear friend.

On Monday, it was your time to go. It was your turn to be laid to rest. You were with me through good times and bad. Through thick and thin. Be it rain, or wind, or snow, you were there. Clutching my face, holding me tight, and keeping my upper lip warm.

I only knew you for a short time–but it felt like we had been together forever. You started out frail and thin–barely a whisker to be found. But you grew. OH DID YOU GROW. Some mocked you and called you names. Names like ugly, gross, disgusting, and creepy. But I know you are so much more than that.

Even though Sarah says she is glad to have her husband’s face back, you will be missed, you will be loved, and you will be remembered. I will hold a place for you in my heart always. You will always be MY Movember mustache–and nothing anyone says can ever take that away from us.

Rest easy, old friend, for we shall meet again another day.

staches