How NOT To Wake Up In The Morning

Note: This is also posted at my main blog,

About two weeks ago, I had a really rough time at my ice hockey game. It was 6:30 on a Saturday morning, and I was tired, and we were coming off a two week hiatus due to Penn State Spring Break (we have a lot of students in the league and therefore wouldn’t have much players while they are gone). Anyway, those are my excuses. It felt like I was wearing two left skates that game. I fell numerous times for no reason, which doesn’t happen to me anymore. I also took a pretty good check near the front of the net, which resulted in a penalty for the other team. By the end of the night, my back was wrecked.

And it was sore for the next week or so, sore in a way it never has been before. It was pretty rough, to be honest.

Last week, I was sick most of the week and so was my son (4 years old). We did a lot of laying around. That sucked, but it gave my back some time to heal. In fact, I would say by yesterday it was back to normal. And then this morning happened.

So, my son hasn’t been sleeping well because his nose is all stuffy and he can’t kick his fever. So every hour or so he’ll meander over to our room and ask for me. Always me. There’s no real reason why he wants me, I mean our daughter always asks for he mum. It’s just what they do. He asks for me, I place him in his bed, and once it seems he’s asleep, I go back to my room. So, the past few nights I’ve been waking every hour, just as I’m about to fall asleep. I might as well have a newborn.

This is how things went last night until around 5:30 AM, at which point I put the kid in the bed with us and then once I knew he was asleep I snuck to his room, hoping for what would in all honesty be a power nap. In the other room, my alarm was set for 6:45 AM so I could wake for work.

That hour of sleep was glorious. I settled into a nice, deep rest. I couldn’t tell you what I dreamt of, but I do know I was in a deep enough sleep to hit REM.

Then the alarm went off.

What happened next would make a great slapstick comedy scene in a Tim Allen movie. Exhausted, schlubby old Dad, rapidly flips over to switch off the alarm, only to send himself airborne, face-first to the floor. Dad lands on his face/left hand and tweaks his just-healed sore back. This will be HILARIOUS in the movie version. The real-life version isn’t as funny, although I appreciated the blog post material.

So yeah, sore and tired today. It could be worse, though. In the Tim Allen version, I’m sure the poor toolman would’ve landed on a toy on the floor and injured his wang.

Two Years

Two years ago today, I had just gotten out of a meeting and was sitting in my office. The phone rang. It was my wife, and she thought she was going into labor. I dutifully drove home, though I expected it was a false alarm. After all, it was her exact due date and everybody knows babies are never born exactly when the doctors predict they will be. In fact, read my post from that morning: Somebody is Gonna Be Late. Here’s my post from the next day: Spoke Too Soon.

Baby two came into the world much faster than baby one. I think she was only in labor a few hours. I don’t remember exactly. I do remember that she had to wait a while in the visitor’s lounge while they got a room ready for her. Once she got a bed I didn’t even get to spend those first few moments with her because I had to hang out with my daughter while we waited for my Mom to arrive (45 minute drive). Crazy times.

I think we all had head colds when Mr. T arrived in the world. Sleepless nights and illness. Great combination. I remember having a little cry when we got home from the hospital, fueled in part by lack of sleep, but also from an overwhelming feeling that things were changing. My wife and daughter were so close before this new guy arrived, and now that would be different, if only slightly.

The little guy has grown on me, obviously. He learned to talk a little later than his sister, but learned to walk sooner. He now knows his letters by sight, and can say most of them. He’s stringing words together more and more regularly. A favorite sentence of his lately is this: “Daddy’s home!”.

He loves trucks and cars and also the movie Cars. He loves doing what his sister is doing. He even loves Barbie and especially Barbie’s car. He loves pizza and fruit and juice, and touching me with his slimy hands. He’s a pretty cool little guy.

I think year three (counting from zero, right?) is gonna be a pretty interesting year for all of us. We’ll have to cross that potty bridge, and begin the “terrible two’s” journey. On the plus side, he’s going to settle even more into this whole sleep thing, I’m sure of it. Either way, it’s going to be an interesting ride. I can’t wait.

The (new) Electric Company

Anybody remember The Electric Company tv show from when you were a kid? To be honest, I have vague memories about it. I remember Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers much more. Anyhow, there is a new Electric Company show on PBS, and my 4 year old is really into it. I have to admit that I am too.

You can learn more about  The Electric Company here (this is a link the the parent’s materials). It’s a good show. If you have a contract with the evil Comcast like I do, you can watch episodes for free “On Demand”. You can also watch free episodes at the website. My daughter likes to watch episodes multiple times (over the course of a week or so), which is repetitive, but also helps her learn.

Last night I printed out an activity for my daughter about the “silent e”. I cut out fourteen pieces of paper. I had my daughter draw a lowercase “e” on one sheet and I wrote words such as “bit”, “cap”, “mad”, and “scrap” on the other pieces of paper, per the instructions. I had my daughter read the words, then we added the “e” at the end and observed what this did to transform the words. We had a lot of fun with this. She surprised me, of course, with how many of the words she got on her own.

Anyhow, it was a fun little game to play. I wanted to share it here with all of you, in case you wanted to try it as well.

A Note From Home

I just received this email at work, as dictated to my wife by my four year old daughter. Sometimes, it’s very nice to hold the title Daddy.

Dear Daddy,

I love you Daddy! I miss you very much. Well, I love you too much Daddy. I’m happy, Daddy that you go to work. Daddy, I just love you.



A Whole New Appreciation

My wife is my hero. I have discovered this in the past few days I’ve been home on vacation with her and the kids. I also have a new understanding why she falls asleep at 9:00 every night while I come home from work and have plenty of energy.

I already knew from other times I’ve stayed at home that being a stay-at-home mother is one of the most difficult jobs around. But these three days I have witnessed it first hand. Let’s just say I only made it halfway through day one and I had to take a nap.

Now, our daughter is 4 years old now. It wouldn’t be too bad if you just take her into account. But then you throw in the 1 year old daredevil crazy person. Little T-Mike had been exploring his surroundings lately, to put it lightly. In other words, I’m still not sold it was a smart idea of ours to teach him to walk.

T Mike is at the stage where you turn your head for one second, and he’s on the top of the love seat. Or, he’s climbing on the dinner table. Or falling off the dinner table. Or, he’s eating something he shouldn’t eat, possibly even the keys he’s pulled off the computer keyboard. When he’s not exploring, he’s wrecking whatever cute game his sister had set up for herself. Oh, and he loves to feign a hug and dig his four teeth into our flesh.

The kid takes an hour nap a day. The rest of the time is just trying to keep up. Throw in preparing breakfast and lunch, cleaning up from the meals, and taking the kids out of the house for playtime, and general sanity, I really don’t know how my wife does it. What I do know is I’m going to think twice the next time I tell her what a rough day I’ve had. Chances are, she’s lived three lives in the same amount of time.

Party Success

Well, the birthday party went pretty well, in my opinion, even though it was nearly 90 degrees outside. I’m pretty sure the ten or so kids attending had a good time, and I know the birthday girl did. That is what matters most, in my opinion.

A couple moments stand out for me. One, was the boys at the party. The boys were mostly brothers of my daughter’s girl friends (save for one boy classmate of hers). The boys had fun mostly playing in the sandbox, including my one year old son who seemed to get along quite well with the other, older boys (mostly 3 and 4 year olds). It was funny really. Five or six boys, all playing together elbow to elbow, without a word between them, but no fights, either. Boys.

Another was my daughter starting the singing of “Happy Birthday” for herself. We tried to hold her off, so my wife didn’t miss it, but it was just too cute.

I’ll get some picture out once we get a moment to transfer them to the computer. Right now we’re just trying to recover from the wild party. I’m yet again reminded that I’m getting old.

Two Thousand Words

I’m still recovering from the 3+ hour (one way) day trip we took to Pittsburgh on Sunday, so I’m a bit lacking in the words department. I’m glad we went though, as we were traveling to attend my cousin’s newborn daughter’s baptism.

To make up for the lack of the bloggy bloggy, here a couple pictures of my kids. Enjoy!

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Charlotte’s Web

Last Friday evening, at bedtime, I read my daughter her first ever “chapter book”, i.e. a book with mostly words rather than pictures. It’s about three years earlier than I thought, mind you, but I’m very excited. It seems to me like my parenting philosophy of letting things like this happen and seeing what the reactions are, is paying off. I guess you could call it “seat of the pants” parenting, not much different than my writing, really.

Here’s how it happened. Friday night, my wife took our daughter (who is nearly 4 years old now, eek!) to the library for a bingo night.  I’m not sure what really happened at bingo night other than they were in the kid’s section of the library, they weren’t allowed to be “too loud”, they had a really good time, and my daughter won a copy of  Charlotte’s Web. Upon hearing this I was ecstatic. I mean, free books? Yay!

When it was time for bed, like most nights, my wife took the boy to feed him to get him to sleep, and I went with my daughter to her room to read to her a bit before bedtime.  I asked her if she wanted me to read Charlotte’s Web and she said yes. I told her there weren’t any pictures and she said she was okay with it. I read a chapter, not sure how long I’d keep her attention and even more unsure if it would help her fall asleep. Well, she had a few questions while I was reading (a good sign) and we made it through one chapter before I asked her if she wanted to continue to read or go to sleep. She chose sleep and I put down the book.

The following night we read a second chapter and she did equally well, remembering right where we left off. It was an amazing feeling.

So, yeah, we’re now onto “real books”. It’s very cool indeed. I’m sure we’ll continue to do picture books as well, and I’m happy with that too. Still, I feel like we’ve leveled up a bit, my daughter and I. I also know these days won’t last forever. For now, though, I’m enjoying every minute of it. Now, if we could just get the one year old to sit still long enough to finish a five page board book. Boys…


I feel a bit better today, but still a bit tired. Could be from giving blood, or it could also be from staying up too late to watch the All Star Game. Either way, here’s another short post. Sorry.

I love the randomness of kids. I particularly love the randomness and enthusiasm of phone conversations with my three year old daughter. I never know what exactly she’s going to say when they call me at work, but it’s usually funny and with the energy only a young person can have.

Case in point.  They gave me a call this morning. My wife handed the phone to my daughter. This is what happened:

Me: Hi Emma

Emma (before even saying hello): My fishies are swimming underwater and my kitty’s just loookin’ around…

Me (laughing): That’s nice …

It turns out she was working on a drawing at the moment her mom gave her the phone. That was pretty much the highlight of my morning.  I also can’t wait to see this drawing of hers. Hopefully the kitties keep just looking around, and don’t eat the fishies.

Three Years

Baby Pushups
Three years is nothing more than a twitch of Father Time’s eyelid. And yet, three years can also feel like an eternity. It feels like both to me as we get ready to celebrate our daughter’s third birthday.

When I look back at myself three years ago it’s amazing how much I have learned. Back then, I knew nuthin’ about nuthin’. If I were making the decision right now about myself then, I would never allow myself to be in charge of a tiny infant. And yet, that’s what they did, and that’s how I learned.

It’s not really about me, though. It’s about my daughter. She shares her name with a Jane Austen novel, but that’s not where she gets her name. She gets her name from her great-grandmother (both of them if you consider her middle name). If she could be half the person as they were, she will be fine. She is well on her way.

Just today, after work, my daughter regaled me with a lovely rendition of an original song, titled “Friends”, which itself is a variation of her original work “Happy day.” “Happy day, happy day. Happy day, happy day.” Repeat at the top of your lungs.

Most days she makes my face hurt from laughter and my eyes tear with pride. Nearly every day she amazes me with her quick wit and her memory (far superior to mine). She is definitely a bundle of joy.

It seems like we went from being astonished she smiled, to her first wobbly steps, all the way to her counting to 30, in the course of an afternoon. We don’t have a baby anymore, that’s for sure. We have a little girl in the house. I have a feeling the rest of her life I’ll be running just to keep up with her.

Anyway, happy birthday my sweetie. I hope it gives you as much joy as you’ve given us.