Water Balloon Fight!

When a four-year-old lefty and an eight-year-old dog corner you during a backyard water balloon fight, you back off.

Two big reasons:

  1. The dog will eat the balloon. #Bad
  2. Your daughter will cry when you hit her with the balloon. #Bad

The only option? RUN or get wet. I did both.

We used Bunch O Balloons – REALLY easy to fill a lot of balloons at once with a garden hose. They tie themselves! And playing with four kids, 100 balloons lasted an acceptable amount of time, before everyone was ready for snacks.

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bodily fluid emojis

Bodily Fluid Emojis

The Best Mom and I have a deal: We make each other greeting cards for birthdays and other celebrations whenever possible. We love cards from companies that specialize in the right words, but there is an inherent challenge in writing it yourself.

For my birthday this year, she went above and beyond.

Now that we have three kids, life is messy. And lots of that mess comes from the insides of our children.

We aren’t the people that pretend the mess isn’t there; we are the people that dive into it (not literally, most of the time) and own the mess.

As such, her hand-made birthday card to me featured hand-drawn bodily fluid emojis. It is the sweetest card I’ve ever gotten. And my favorite.

bodily fluid emojis

The Passive Aggressive Calendar

As parents, we take inventory of our kids’ favorite things.

Sure, it’s good to know what they like.

But the real reason is much more practical.

We give them things they like…and when they act poorly, we know exactly which things to take away.

It’s the evil part of parenting, but critical.

“If you don’t clean your room, we’ll take away toy X!” has zero impact if the kid doesn’t like top X, right?

Our daughter, Beanie, has a Disney Princess calendar that hangs on the door to to closet. Each night, she crosses off that day as part of her bedtime ritual.

One recent evening, she was acting horrible. Why? We had no idea. I’m guessing she was over-tired, with a teenage-size tantrum coming out of our four-year-old.

We tried to calm her down, but nothing worked. Not hugging. Not talking. Nothing.

So then we went for the jugular and threatened to take away her calendar.

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Bingo. Or so we thought.

Instead of calming down at the prospect of losing her beloved calendar, it only perpetuated the tantrum.

Which left us one option: take the calendar.

So we did. And it wasn’t pretty. Even though we told her she could get it back tomorrow if she was good, the tantrum continued for 20 agonizing minutes before Beanie fell asleep.

In the morning, after a good night’s sleep, she was a different child. Happy. Loving. Not crying or screaming. And apologetic for her behavior the night before.

As I drove her to daycare, I thought about ways to give her calendar back to her that re-enforced the positive behavior.

“#ParentingWin,” I thought to myself.

That evening, when I picked her up, she could not have been more proud of herself.

“#EPICParentingWin!” I thought to myself.

Then she grabbed my wrist and excitedly dragged me over to her cubby.

With the biggest smile on her face, she showed me, with tremendous pride, her latest creation.

“You took my princess calendar away from me, so I made a new calendar all by myself!”

Hanging on the wall was a hand-drawn calendar that looked something like an Escher piece, but, overall, very calendar-ish.

calendar

Bean had created something to replace what we had taken from her. She had passively-aggressively shoved our punishment back in our face.

My instinct was to be REALLY mad. But I took a deep breath and then all I felt…pride.

Instead of crying about her situation, she did something productive and creative about it.

#EpicKidWin

the joy of peeing alone

Going to the Bathroom Alone

the joy of peeing aloneFor the first few decades of my life, I took something precious for granted.

Going to the bathroom by myself.

Once you have kids, it’s over.

Naturally, when you are at a restaurant or running errands, your little compadre(s) must come with you everywhere you go. They are your #1 (and…uh…#2) priority at all times.

That’s not what I’m talking about though.

I’m talking about in your home.

You SHOULD, in theory, be able to go to the bathroom in peace in the comfort of your own home. It’s your domain. Your castle.

Not anymore.

Every parent has had kids swing open the door trying to investigate what’s going on in there. One of my kids tried to see what was going on a little too close one day and I’ll just leave it at that.

What’s your favorite kids-in-the-bathroom story?

Party of Five

IMG_7029There was a time when my wife and I could slip into a quiet restaurant on a Friday evening and enjoy a nice meal.

Put us on the waiting list! We’ll hang at the bar until our table is ready! Awesome!

Now, with three kids, we are a party of five. Without Neve Campbell and Matthew Fox.

Now, we require a minivan to go anywhere.

Now, we are a traveling tornado of loud.

And never was that more on display that a recent trip we took to Nando’s PERI-PERI, one of our favorite restaurants. Our local Nando’s is in a mall; they play loud music – all the signs of a kid-friendly experience.

At this location, the host assigns you to a numbered table, which is tied to your food order. [Remember this.]

It was no surprise when they put us, all five us plus Auntie Loo-Loo, in a big corner in the back of the restaurant. Right next to the bathrooms, which I greatly appreciated.

Sitting at the the table next to us was an elderly woman. Her dining companion was ordering food when we arrived – complete with baby asleep in the large red stroller, son dripping wet after swim lessons, daughter whining about….who knows what.

“Oh, heck no!” the woman said.

She then proceeded to get up, unfold her metal walker, and slowly cross the restaurant to get a new table, as far away from us as humanly possible. Table number, be damned!

An elderly woman who has trouble walking basically ran away from us. And ruined the restaurants seating system in the process.

Look – some people may be embarrassed by this.

Luckily, we aren’t those people.

I know what my family is right now. We’re loud. We fill up a room. We’re awesome.

We’re also not for everyone.

Thoughts On “Meternity”

12961491_10101010180961189_5322587186628313575_nYou’ve probably heard about Meghann Foye, an author who wrote a book about a woman faking a pregnancy in order to get maternity leave.

Her book, “Meternity,” and the mindset that goes along with it, created such a stir that Foye backed out of an appearance on Good Morning America.

I completely reject her concept that parental leave is “a sabbatical-like break that allows women and, to a lesser degree, men to shift their focus to the part of their lives that doesn’t revolve around their jobs.”

I’ve discussed my experiences from my three paternity leaves. No sleep. Eating crap to give you energy to bounce a baby from 3am-4am. And then driving the older kids to school, running to the grocery store, then running back to the grocery store because I forgot pretty much everything I went to the store to get. [Lack of sleep for the win!]

Women give birth to a human being out of their bodies. Not just a human being, but one that weighs as much as a bowling ball. Also, this bowling ball-sized person has been growing inside of them for the better part of a year. Thus, a good portion, if not all, of a woman’s maternity leave is spent physically recovering to the point of being a functioning human being again.

Don’t mistake this for “Eat. Pray. Love.” There is no period of rejuvenating self-discovery. I’ve seen maternity leave. Three times. [Don’t believe a Dad’s take here? Check out ScaryMommy’s thrashing of Foye’s position.]

Does Foye actually think that parents get a free pass on work? That sounds like an individual company issue and not a societal one. Companies should be applauded for flexibility for working parents. But if a company blindly allows parents to toss work on non-parents, a conversation with HR is in order.

Look, I clearly support parental leave. And I also support paid sabbaticals. Many companies, including mine, offer them for tenured employees. But to link the two as if they are equivalent is horrifically misguided.

My final thoughts for Foye? Thanks for starting a national conversation on this topic. Maternity trumps Meternity. Always. Best of luck with your book.