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

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,



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!

Our Little Linus — Maddie Needs That Blankie

Kids have a certain need to feel comfortable. At all times. Hell, even as adults, we have our own needs to feel comfortable. I know I do. Having something that can make you feel reassured whenever possible is a must for many people. For many adults, that item is oftentimes their smartphone. But, that isn’t what I’m gonna talk about. For lots of kids, through the ages, there is that one thing they just can’t let go of–the blankie.

Linus courtesy

Linus courtesy

Sophia never really had something that she would always need to have with her. Unless you count the pacifier. If you do, then she had that–for a long time. But, Maddie is different. Siblings can be different, did you know that, guys? It’s true. Maddie has recently taken to toting one of two blankies around with her, as often as possible. One if blue and one is brown. Aside from color, they’re virtually identical. Each has an animal head pillow, which I guess makes it more comforting–since she just plops that bad boy down and lays down in the middle of the floor all.the.time.

I’ll be honest, I love that she has found something that makes her happy, that makes her feel comfortable, that makes her feel a sense of security. Do I KNOW for a fact that’s how she feels? Of course not, she’s one, and can’t talk yet. But, I can sense it. She reminds me a lot of Linus from the Peanuts comic strips. Heck, she even looks like him half the time when she pulls the blue blankie around, as you can see in the picture above.

I honestly don’t remember if I had something that made me feel secure when I was a kid. There are two stuffed animals that I have a vivid memory of from my childhood–one a penguin, which I named after the book Mr. Popper’s Penguins. The other was a tiny stuffed clown with shoe laces to tie, a zipper on its hat, and buttons on its vest. His name was Buddy Buttons. I still own him. Sophia would sleep with him for a while, until the zipper snapped off and a jagged edge was left on his hat. As for his name, my cousins renamed him “Pee Pee Clown” when I was young. Why? They said I tossed him in my kiddie pool and proceeded to pee on him. Did it actually happen? I hope not. But, they claim it did, even all these years later.

Back to my main points. Knowing that your children have something they can hold tight–and hold dear–that makes them feel just a little more secure is a wonderful thing. Now, if Maddie is still clinging to that blankie when she hits her 20’s, well then that may be a different issue entirely!

What about you and your kids? Did you or they have something that makes them feel more secure? Let me know in the comments, on Facebook, or Twitter.  

Discipline, Kids, and You: My Reaction to the Adrian Peterson Story

APUnless you’re living under a rock, you’ve heard, seen, or talked about the Adrian Peterson story. How he used a switch–a tree branch with no leaves–to give his 4-year old son a “whooping”. Why did his toddler son deserve to get beaten, bruised, cut, and scarred with a branch? He pushed one of Peterson’s other children. He was indicted in Texas by a grand jury on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child.

You are also probably aware that the Minnesota Vikings deactivated Peterson from Sunday’s game against the Patriots. And then on Monday, decided it was the right thing to do to activate him again, stating ” they will let the legal process play out before deciding on further action.” Continue reading

Uncomfortable Positions In Parenting

You want me to be real? As a parent, you find yourself in the most uncomfortable positions known to man. Seriously, man, I’m not kidding. From the moment you bring your screaming bundle of joy home from the hospital for the first time, you need to condition your body to get into some insane positions–all for the comforting of your little ones. Contorting my body is a daily occurrence ’round these parts. It honestly doesn’t matter what it is that I’m doing, my body is going to have contort in ways that I didn’t know were possible.


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We Don’t Say That – It’s A Bad Word

bad wordKids pick up on every single little thing you say. Everyone knows that. Whether that means they watch what they say in front of kids, well, that’s a different story. Actually, that’s a story I’ve written about before. When they do say words they shouldn’t, it’s important to teach them that the word is bad, wrong, something they shouldn’t say. Yeah, I mean, eventually they’ll say them, but hopefully that is years down the road.

Anytime Sophia says a word she knows she shouldn’t be saying, like dammit or shut up, she immediately knows what is going to come out of our mouths: “We don’t say that, it’s a bad word.” Sometimes, she’ll even preempt us and tell us we don’t say shut up, or we don’t say dammit. Hey, at least she knows she shouldn’t be saying them.

BUT, that has put me into this habit of saying “we don’t say that, it’s a bad word” anytime I hear the trigger words. Continue reading

My Daughter Is Just Like Me As A Kid–And It’s Driving Me Nuts

When I was a kid, my mom used to say “I can’t wait until you have a kid and they are JUST LIKE YOU. Paybacks.” That’s a true story. You know what else is a true story? The fact that she got her wish. From the day Sophia started being mobile, she has been non-stop. I mean NON-STOP. Talking all the time? Check. Running around non-stop? Check. Never wanting to sleep? Double-check.

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What Do You Mean My Kids Won’t Be The Same?!

No dad, we aren't the same.

No dad, we aren’t the same.

You have one kid, go through all the ups and downs in their time as a baby, into toddler-hood, and beyond. They learn at their own pace, as do you. You become accustom to how you did things with them. How they slept. How they ate. How they reacted to being sick. How they interacted. Their general disposition. And in your mind, you think “when we have a second kid, it will be just like this all over again”. Totally logical line of thinking. Wait, what?! Continue reading

What Time Is It? Tantrum Time

hair pull out“Oh, you think the twos are bad?! Just wait until they hit three! They’re even worse!” Just wait, they said. It’ll be bad, they said. Who are “they”? Try every parent I ever encountered in the last three years. And ya know what? THEY WERE RIGHT. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells, or through a mine field, at all times. It’s a matter of when not if a tantrum is coming. Because OH IT’S COMING and it’s coming STRONG. You see Al Bundy over there on the right? That’s how I look pretty much at all times when at home. With less hair, because, ya know, balding. Continue reading