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Santa Secrets


I’m more excited about Christmas this year than I have been the past couple of years.  It’s hard not to be excited when a 2 1/2-year-old is running around like a tiny madman, acting as though the lights on the Christmas tree are the most incredible thing ever.

Even more exciting, he’s old enough to get that Santa will bring him a special present this year if he behaves well, which means we get to see that look on his face when he comes into the living room to find out just what he got.  It’s an absolutely incredible feeling.  It makes my heart melt.

Best of all, he’s young enough not to be asking for massively expensive presents.  He enjoys the unwrapping almost as much as anything else, and the smallest things sometimes make him act as though he just received a million dollars.  So when he comes in to find his “good Spiderman present” under the tree, it doesn’t have to be something specific or complicated.  It can be as simple as a lawn chair with Spiderman on it or a Spiderman hula hoop or one of those inflatable bop-it bags, and he’s going to love it.

No matter what we do, I know that with time, that will fade.  He’ll develop much stronger opinions about what he likes and dislikes, and he’ll learn how to express those likes and dislikes more easily and completely.  He’ll start wondering if it’s cool to let his excitement show.  And then gift-giving will get harder.

Until then, though, I plan on thoroughly enjoying every moment of Christmas morning and all these evenings when he starts asking about our Christmas lights as soon as I pick him up from day orphanage, I mean day care.

It’s Because He’s Two


I feel as though there comes a time in every parent’s life when they realize they are saying the same thing over and over and over again.  In our house lately, the rousing refrain is “It’s because he’s two.”

Seriously, I’m pretty sure I say this at least three times a day.  Usually when the Munchkin has thrown a fit over the fact that I still won’t let him eat the cats’ food or watch seventy hours of Elmo’s World in a 24-hour period.  Sometimes those four words are all that allow me to maintain my sanity when something as simple as asking him if he wants water or milk to drink prompts a meltdown.  It’s so easy to lose my temper over the constant whining and pouting if I don’t check myself from time to time.

The other thing that helps me not lose my mind regularly (aside from assistance from Big Pharma) is a reminder to myself that lots of little things in life piss ME off, and I have more than two decades’ worth of life experience to help me deal with it.  I’ve experienced having things not go my way today but turn around a few weeks later.  I know that “delayed gratification” can be fulfilling.  And I’ve had almost thirty years to develop a vocabulary to express myself, to make my wants, needs, and frustrations known.

He doesn’t have any of that.  Heck, half the time he can’t tell me what we did yesterday or what we plan to do tomorrow, so communicating the idea that we’re going to go to the zoo in a week?  Forget about it.  He just hears “We’re going to the zoo” and can’t figure out why we aren’t in the car and on our way ten minutes later.

So, until he starts catching up, everyone in our lives can expect to hear, at least once, a tired sigh and the words “It’s because he’s two” when he does something that just leaves us all shaking our heads.

What I Would Teach My Kids


I read something today that gave me pause and really forced me to stop and think.  This blog post by http://givenbreath.com/2013/09/03/fyi-if-youre-a-teenage-girl/

My first thought is that I am so glad that I am not growing up today, when everything is posted online for anyone and everyone to see.  Because I did some seriously stupid things as a teenager, things that I’m quite happy not to have memorialized for eternity.

My second thought is that I have to raise my son in this world, and I don’t know if I am ready for that.  A world where someone thought that the blog post I linked to, in its entirety, was an appropriate way to reach out to young women and try to convince them to respect themselves.  A world where Steubenville occurred, and a judge in Montana described a fourteen-year-old girl as “just as responsible” for her statutory rape by her teacher as he was.  A world where it remains as popular now to slut shame and make women responsible for every man’s sexual urges as it ever has been.  A world where we’ve made so little progress in teaching our children to respect their sexuality and everyone else’s.

What do I want to teach my son?

I want to teach him that men and women are, first and foremost, human beings.  That it’s insulting to tell someone that you’ve lost respect for them “as a man/woman and as a person” because there is no separation between someone’s humanity and their gender.  We are all just people, living in this world together.  Our reproductive organs and whether we identify as male or female don’t define our worth in life.

I want to teach him that human beings are sexual creatures.  That it’s far healthier to embrace that and celebrate it responsibly than to suppress it.  That he is responsible for handling his emotional and physical responses to the people around him — if he finds someone attractive, that’s his deal, not the other person’s.  The friend zone doesn’t exist, because people he’s attracted to don’t exist just to date him; they’re people first, and friendship with them should be its own goal, not a step toward a sexual or romantic relationship.

I want to teach him to be responsible for his words and actions.  That just because you can say something online doesn’t mean you should.  That if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, it’s time to walk away from the computer before you say something you can’t take back.  That not every picture needs to be for public consumption, so be careful what pictures you and your friends take, even in jest.

I want to teach him about the value of second chances.  That one mistake does not necessarily define you as a person.  Because if you are going to play by those rules, you have to remember that you make mistakes of your own, and you’re going to want to have a do-over at some point yourself.

If I had a daughter, I would teach her the same things.  But I would also teach her that it’s pretty damn cool to be a woman.  That breasts and all (okay, most of)  the physical aspects of the female body are fun and made to be enjoyed, not to be ashamed of.  Don’t let anyone try to tell you that not wearing a bra is necessarily some horribly inappropriate thing to do or that you must hide your nipples’ existence at all costs.  Oh, and I promise, your body is in better shape than you think it is when you look in the mirror, so embrace the hell out of that.  You are beautiful.  That is something that is so easy to say in retrospect but so very difficult to do.  I know.

Boys and girls alike, have fun getting to know yourselves and growing into yourselves.  You only live once, so love and respect yourself.

But seriously, kids, not every picture and every thought needs to go on the Internet.  If it’s something that you’d be embarrassed to see a parent posting about himself or herself, it’s probably not something you want to post about yourself.  Because that shit is out there forever, and either your parents will find it or your worst enemy will, and nobody wants that.


I love the Munchkin, but I’ve put so much energy into him for the past almost three years that I’ve really neglected myself in two important areas: what I eat and how active I am.  As a result, it’s time for me to get off my duff and get moving while revamping what we’re eating as a family.

What this means in practical terms is that I’ve started getting up earlier every morning to go walking.  If the weather is bad or if I can’t drag myself outside, then I do a workout or two through an app for my phone called Workout Trainer.  I’m spending more time browsing the sales at Aldi on produce so I can bring more fresh fruits and vegetables into the house and onto our plates.  And I’m searching for some new recipes to add to the repertoire; I have to find some new ones to tantalize the Munchkin’s taste buds and satisfy my need for something healthier.

As much as I love the Munchkin, I have to take care of myself so I can take better care of him.

I do have to admit that he eats amazingly well most of the time.  His favorite food is grape tomatoes, which he treats like grapes and chows by the bowlful.  I have to moderate how many he has because of their acidity; he’d eat the whole container at once if I let him.  Little goofball.  :D

He’s two now, about 35 inches tall and 28 pounds.  He’s growing like a weed and developing like mad: his speech is very clear most of the time, and he’s constantly surprising me with what he puts together verbally.  Last week I asked him what a horse says.  His response?  “Neigh.  But cow says moo.”  A little thing, but just one that reminds me what amazing creatures kids are.  Plus, it’s those moments that make up for the days he whines and yells all the way home from daycare or all afternoon on a weekend after waking up from his nap.  They have to keep us from giving them to the circus somehow, you know.


Daddy takes charge and becomes numero uno.

It’s a little hard to take on coming home, especially knowing that I’m heading back out come Sunday, but it’s just what happens when they’re little.  He’ll certainly never remember it, but I have to admit it stings, more than a little, and it will take me a while to forget.

Sometimes this whole finding a balance between work and family thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.


This month has been a tough one from a work perspective: I was supposed to be gone at least one day a week every week this month, which got changed to being gone at least one day every week this month but one.  And did I mention being out of town almost all of this week and then for the next two weeks straight?

It’s the first time I’ve been away like this since the Munchkin was born, and it’s turning out to be a lot harder than I ever realized it was going to be.  I never used to have an issue with long-term trips.  Heck, it wasn’t until a year after we were married that we managed to hit the point where we’d lived together as much as we’d lived apart, and we’d been a couple for six years by then.

This time is different, though.  This time I can’t help thinking about all the things I’m missing out on while I’m gone.  All the good night kisses I’m not getting in.  All the books I’m not reading to the Munchkin.  His non-stop chatter on the way to daycare in the morning and back home in the evenings.  Heck, all the bathroom trips we’re working so hard to encourage him to make when he’s ready, which is so not glamorous parenting at all.

Tonight really hammered it home for me.  On this trip, in preparation for the two weeks solid I’ll be out of town, we both downloaded Skype; once the Munchkin got his bath tonight, we started chatting.

And it just hit me how much I wanted nothing more than to be there on the couch with them both, just hugging him and reading his tractor book and trying to get him to chew up his strawberries and oranges before he swallows them.  I don’t think it helped that I know that, when I get home tomorrow, he won’t be there because he’ll be having a Nana night, so I have to wait that much longer to see him in person.

But I’ll get through this week and be extra glad to pick him up from daycare on Friday.  And then we’ll get through the next two weeks.  I keep hoping it will get easier, especially since this likely won’t be the last time that I have to be out of town for extended periods of time for work.


So, it’s been a while since I’ve updated.  I’d love to blame that on the fact that, since Thanksgiving, we’ve been rushing around in and out of town almost every weekend, but, honestly?  It’s just been laziness.  We have been incredibly busy this year, however, and our (multiple celebrations of) Christmas helped to wind things down and wrap it all up.

Or unwrap it, if the Munchkin had anything to say about it.  Last year, he couldn’t have cared less about presents and lights and trees.  This year?  That all went out the window.  He loved tearing into the wrapping paper to get to whatever was hiding underneath.  Of course, if what was underneath had the temerity to be clothing, he was done and on to the next one.  We made sure he thanked everyone, but it was hard to keep his attention on cute shirts and jeans when he could be playing with Elmo or his new tricycle.

My two favorite memories of the big day?  Him coming around the corner of the couch to see what Santa brought him and yelling out “Bicycle!”  And then later, throwing himself through his new play tunnel, only to come out the other side to look up at Southern Honey and yell happily, “Hi, Daddy!”  It was just so cute that even thinking about it now makes me grin.

His biggest obsession of the holiday season was something I hadn’t anticipated: He has become absolutely passionate about Christmas lights, which he calls “tree lights.”  Whether they’re on Christmas trees, on houses, on bushes, they’re all “tree lights,” and he adores them.  Even now, almost a month after Christmas Day, he still talks about them as we’re driving to daycare in the morning and home in the evening.  Fortunately, what he understands is amazing, and he now talks about how “tree lights all gone.”

And in terms of what he understands — and what he says — he amazes me constantly.  Last night he was busting out six word sentences in the car on the way home.  He’s my little chatterbox, just going a thousand miles a minute.  He has some favorites he recycles, as though he’s constantly reminding himself of fun things he’s done, but then he comes out with these gems out of nowhere that show me that he understands more than I frequently think he does.  It’s a good reminder not to let any unfortunate four-letter-words slip while he’s around.  :P

Christmas Joy


The Munchkin enjoyed this Christmas infinitely more than he enjoyed last Christmas.  He was all about ripping into the wrapping paper and tearing into the boxes.  So much so that he wanted to help everyone else open their presents, too.

He did end up getting a little overwhelmed by the time all was said and done on Christmas Day, since we did our little family Christmas here at home and then went to my mom’s for big family Christmas there.  Plus he had way more gifts than he really needed — only-grandchild-syndrome is hard to get around — so he was opening and opening and opening.  The funniest thing is that his absolute favorite gift of the day was one of the simplest: a play tunnel like the one he loves to play in at daycare.  Forget the Big Wheel.  Forget the LOL Elmo.  Forget the crayons and coloring book.  Give that boy his play tunnel and get out of his way!

For me, though, the best moment, even over and above his reaction to coming around the couch to see what Santa Claus had brought for him, was when he came out of his play tunnel, looked up at Southern Honey, and chirped, “Hi, Daddy!” on his way back around to do it all again.

Back to the Zoo-ture!


The weather finally took a turn for the cooler on a weekend we had some time together as a family, so we headed back down to the big city to take another trip to the zoo.  Despite a few hiccups starting out (loaned out a car with our umbrella stroller and his monkey backpack/leash inside), we really had a great time.

One thing I think we’re discovering is the the Munchkin has an affinity for things that swim.  Last time it was the koi; this time it was all the fish and turtles in the indoor exhibit.  He wandered along the tanks, poking but not tapping at the glass, to say hi.  Piranha, chiclids, iguanas, an anaconda… I foresee us having lots of adventures in the future.  :D

What was also hilarious was watching him with the goats in the encounter exhibit.  He acted just like he does with the cats: getting a running start up to them, then stopping abruptly, and patting them while saying, “Hi!”  He tried brushing one of them, but he pretty much just ended up getting more dirt on the poor thing, so we wandered him away and let the goat nap in peace.

All the animals aside, I think his favorite part of the day was after lunch when he got to run around the huge playground.  It’s one of those fantastic wooden contraptions with interior stairs and tunnels going up, down, and around, and he climbed and slid and toddled like a madman.  A very, very short madman, but a madman nonetheless.

I’m glad that fall is right around the corner, because we should be able to get a few more visits in.  I love seeing him discover new animals and have new experiences.

Sunday worries


For summer, it’s a fairly mild Sunday outside, although that probably has as much to do with all the rain we’ve gotten lately as anything.  Southern Honey is off to pick up the Munchkin from a night at Nana’s house, and I’m on the couch debating whether or not it’s acceptable to sell one’s child to the circus after he makes one sick for the umpteenth time in the past fifteen months.  I hear that it’s frowned upon.

Despite the rampaging illness scourging the family countryside, the Munchkin is doing pretty well.  Poor little thing has a friend at daycare who loves to bite, so he’s changed rooms.  We’re hoping this will make him happier to get there in the morning, especially since he’s in the same room with one of the little girls he had been seeing pretty much every day for ten months at his old daycare.  It’s been hard, as much of a fuss as he’s been routinely putting up when I drop him off in the mornings — Unless they’re eating breakfast when I get him there.  Then he just settles in to stuff his face and ignores me leaving.  :P — so I’m hoping seeing a familiar face every day will help him, especially once he realizes he’s not going to be gnawed on regularly.

The only thing I worry about is that it’s too much change too fast.  He really has bounced around a lot in the past two or three months, with changing daycares and then staying with Southern Honey’s mom for a week, and it’s taking him some time to settle back in.  I wonder a lot if we’re doing the right thing for him.  But his daily report sheet from daycare almost always indicates that, once he settled in in the morning, he was happy and playful the rest of the day, so that must count for something.

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