April 27, 2008

Well this week has been a bit crazy, but we got through it. My wife had to go out of town for a few days and with five kids all involved in different activities (except the girls, they’ve been staying together for now) that meant a fair amount of running around for me. I had to get help from a few friends here and there and that definitely made things easier. So, thanks, Friends!

The boys’ baseball teams are doing well and the younger one’s Tball team has already inspired one essay to completion and I have another one started. Now, I’m no Rick Reilly (to me, the best sports essayist there is) but it is nice to be inspired, regardless. I don’t know if I’ll be able to write about my older son’s baseball team, because some of those kids get MAD.

This kid will make the team in a few years.
This kid will make the team in a few years.

I finally finished reading “With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa” by E.B. Sledge, which is about as funny as it sounds, but I found it really interesting anyway. That book is being used as part of the basis for the HBO miniseries The Pacific, a companion piece to Band of Brothers.

So now we’re getting ready for another hectic week with more baseball, lacrosse and gymnastics AND I need another book. Maybe I should just get back to writing one.

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Little man

May 19, 2007

My four-year-old son is getting to the point where he wants to help me do everything, so I have begun letting him take our Schnauzer (who I call “Schnozzie” due to her penchant for nudging things with her nose) out for her afternoon walk to the end of our backyard. I won’t get too graphic here, but her afternoon walk is when she does her “number 2”. She’s on a schedule. It’s very important to me that she stay on her schedule, since that frees up me up from having to constantly watch her and ask her over and over again if she has to go out. No one likes to have their day revolve around what might be coming out of a dog’s butt. So the point is that the afternoon walk is a big responsibility and is key to my daily sanity.

I, in my wisdom, have assigned this duty to a pre-schooler.

Since it’s so important to me that the Schnozz stay on her schedule, I have implemented a daily debriefing session with the four-year-old (Bud) immediately upon his completing of his dog walking duties. Here’s an example:

ME: How’d it go?
BUD: She did only one thing.
ME: Was it poop?
BUD: Yes. And pee.
ME: Wait a minute. Did she only do one thing, or did she do both things?
BUD: Only pee.
ME: She didn’t poop?
BUD: Yes.
ME: Start over. Did she pee?
BUD: Yes.
ME: Did she poop?
BUD: Yes.
ME: Ok. Thank you. Good job.
BUD: She only pooped.
ME: C’mon Dude! Did she pee or poop? Which was it?
BUD: Only poop.
ME: Are you sure? Only poop?
BUD: Yes. Only poop.
ME: Only poop.
BUD: Only poop.
ME: Thank you.
BUD: And she peed a lot!

The debriefing lasts twice as long as the dog’s walk and at the end of it, I’m never quite sure if the walk was successful or not. Bud, on the other hand, feels very good about himself and his ability to do a “grown-up” job and feels that he is really helping me out. So I let him continue to do the job in the hope that, someday, he actually will.

So S.A.H.D.

January 2, 2007

Monday, June 12, 2006

So S.A.H.D.

The following is a message I posted on a message board in response to
a debate/argument some people were having about stay-home parents and
kids and all kinds of touchy subjects. It got a pretty good reaction over there, so
I thought I might share it over here. Feel free to let me know what you think, even if
you hate it.

I’m a stay-at-home-dad (SAHD – and I don’t like that acronym one bit).
I freely admit that I’ve lost my mind. Actually, I turned my mind over to
the authorities when we made the decision that I was to quit my job and
spend all my time with pre-schoolers. I thought my mind was possibly
defective and wanted to get it fixed.

no luck. out of warranty.

So, I mindlessly trudged on. I truly do appreciate that I get to have a hug
from my kids when they wake up, hear them say, “Good morning, Daddy”
and then tell them to go back upstairs and brush their teeth. I don’t look
back wistfully at my former job and wonder what it would be like if I
hadn’t given it up. I do sometimes think of the boat I could buy with all
that extra money, but otherwise it’s best if I just realize how lucky I am
to be in this situation.

It can be hard and some days it takes quite a bit of effort to stay grounded
and centered and not get frustrated. I mean, just because I chose to be
a stay-home parent, that doesn’t mean my kids have suddenly become
the Brady kids, forming singing groups and performing in talent shows
wearing matching outfits. They’re still kids. I’ve been doing this for
five years now and I STILL have days where I wander the halls in
confusion muttering, “What the hell is going on around here? Where am

Bored? Sure they get bored. I have a 13 year old who can not sit still
for the TWO MINUTES between the time she’s ready for the bus and
the time the bus actually arrives. She fills those two minutes telling anyone
within earshot how bored she is. That back to school commercial with the
guy in Staples – I’ve done that. I re-enacted that commercial in the
Staples store. It went really well until I crashed my shopping cart into
another guy doing the SAME EXACT THING.

Being a stay-home parent is truly a blessing, but it is still really hard to
spend your entire day, seven days a week, with kids. Parents have to
find a way to be grown-ups from time to time. A supportive spouse makes
it much, much easier to handle. I am in awe of those single parents who
are taking care of everything solo. I don’t know how they do it and they
have my respect.

Some stay-home parents miss the working world and feel like they’ve
sabotaged their career and maybe they have. But the other day, my
son brought home from school a paper about what he wants to be when
he grows up. The paper said, “Fireman”. I asked him, “So, you really want
to be a fireman, huh? That’s pretty cool.”
He said, “Not really. They made me pick from a list.”
I asked, “Well, what do you really want to be?”

“A regular dad, like you”, he said.

That’s enough for me.