Monday, May 30, 2011

(Father) Painful Lesson

Doesn't this look nice?  So relaxing and peaceful.  This position would be anything but relaxing at my house.  There is absolutely no good reason on God's green earth to be on my back inside my home with two boys.  It doesn't matter where they are in the house, how interested they are in the toys they are playing with, or if they even know I'm in the house to begin with.  They will run, they will jump, and they will land on my scrotum.  It has happened too many times for me to think it's a fluke.

It used to be, "Hey dad!"


"Here I come!"

I would act scared, they would laugh, run, and jump to my "prepared for impact" body.  That wore off pretty quick.  So the stealth attacks started to happen to my "not so prepared for impact" body.  That proved to be a lot funnier. 

Even if it isn't my scrotum none of the landing spots are a great alternative.  An untightened stomach takes a while to recover from.  Especially after I have just eaten.  The problem is I would most likely be on my back for a more comfortable position after eating too much. 

You may think, "Children cannot jump that high so how bad can it be?"  I'm here to tell you.  A 40 pound cement bag dropped from 2 inches still hurts.  Then you add bony appendages from that cement bag.  A couple of elbows and a head butt make the impact more of a buckshot than a bullet. 

To see me in pain is to add joy to my children's life.  Either they think I'm joking or it doesn't really matter.  And I'm either too shocked or hurt to respond with any kind of punishment.  I just groan and do my best to regroup.  Meanwhile, they are cackling a half an inch away from my face with spittle spewing into my eyes and mouth.  A simple act of adding insult to injury.  I have to then take my hands away from my scrotum and put them to my face to act as a spit shield.

Let's assume the impact wasn't that bad.  I get a knee to the chest.  But at some point Fire must get up.  And if he is on my body then I am his platform.  And when Fire gets up he must press down on a certain place in order to gain leverage to pull himself into a standing position.  That may also be my scrotum since I have put my hands to my face to act as the spit shield and left myself unprotected.  I have learned that the after landing is simply the eye of the hurricane.  As soon as Fire has regained his feet he has landed on me again.  If he has really hurt me then this might happen 3 more times before I get to my knees.  Beast has almost certainly heard the commotion by now and has already given me his own 5 drop kicks to go along with Fire's beatings.  It's not that unlike a mobster movie where Vinny hasn't paid off his debt to "Big Jim" Colosimo and the boys have come to break my knees for payment.  I'm covering myself up just hoping it will end soon.

But let's say I gain a wild hair and start to playfully fight back.  30 seconds later and one of them is screaming in pain.  I'm the one with bleeding scratch marks on my neck but Daisy runs to the child that hurt his knee while kicking my face.  Then I sulk away feeling guilty for hurting one of my dear precious little boys.  That is, until I make the mistake of lying on my back again.  In fact, I wonder how fast Fire's little owie would heal if I immediately laid on my back.  How fast could his little finger find my eyeball?  I doubt I could fully lie down flat before a chunk of my eyebrow went missing into Beast's mouth.

I have tried laying on mys stomach but it really doesn't seem to matter.  Pain finds me.  Or more specifically, Fire finds me from across the room.  You would think that by laying down with my sons to play leggos would provide sanctuary for my body.  I have found this unwritten rule only applies to the one you are playing with.  2 days ago I was laying on my side with Fire to my right and Beast to my left.  It was like some sort of tactical hunt you might see on Animal Planet.  Fire distracted me with putting together a pirate ship while Beast speared his head into my stomach.

"Chuckle chuckle.....snort.....chuckle.  Hee Hee Hee..........let's do that again!!!"  I cover my stomach before then next spear hits me.  "NOOOOO"  he whines.  Almost like I'm trying to keep him from going down the slide one last time before we have to leave the park.  So what do I do?  After a couple of struggling attempts to try to remove my arm I relent and let him spear me a couple more times.  What's a dad if he is not a punching bag.  I have to admit I cheated by tightening my stomach muscles.  Yeah I know.  It's not saying a whole lot is it?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

(Father) Heel Thyself

I don't have a dog but I do have children.  Can the two be interchangeable?  I took my dog/child to the park and we played with a ball.  My dog/child was tired and hungry so we went home.  My dog/child liked his meat warmed up.  My dog/child gave me kisses and went to sleep on his bed.  The point is that some people treat their dogs like they are children and some people treat their children like they are dogs.  Treating dogs like they are children seems acceptable but the children like dogs thing isn't something most people encourage.  Of course the way some people treat their dogs in America is better than people in other parts of the world can afford to treat their children is something to consider.  In that case, treating your child like you would treat your dog could be a good thing.  I digress.

So Daisy, I, and the dogs went to the coast this past weekend.  Did I say dogs?  I meant children.  Well, they might as well have been dogs by the way I was treating them.  Let me explain.  We can't put leashes on our children although some people get away with it by putting a backpack on the kid with a rope attached.  Our kids do not want to be in a stroller and do not want to be carried from shop to shop on the boardwalk so we do it the old fashioned way.  That is if the old fashioned way is snapping my fingers, slapping the side of my hip, and shouting, "Hey guys.  Guys! I want you right over here.  Yes.  Right here next to me.  I don't want you runnin' around and getting other people's way.  Got it?"  Let's go on an imaginary journey shall we?

You can imagine what it would have been like if, after a couple of minutes, the boys would forget what they were supposed to do and I wouldn't be paying attention.  "Fire!  Hey!  Don't be smelling that other boy's butt!  Yes ma'am.  Yes, I understand your boy and Fire are just being friendly but I've asked him to stay with me.  Thank you for your understanding.  Yes, I'm sure our children would be great pals if they lived near each other.  Oh look they are at it again.  Ok guys, let's break it up."

Beast might run up to a little girl and lick her ice cream cone sending the scoop of Chunky Monkey to the ground.  The parents would be horrified and I would have to explain how I'm training him to stay with me and that I would be more than happy to pay for the damages.  I hear an old woman telling her equally old female friend that back in her day her 10 children stayed right by her side and that, "child training isn't what it used to be."  But it's not just limited to the kids

Next thing you know Daisy is off chatting some guy up about his cute Hawaiian shirt and I have shout across the gift shop store, "Daisy!  Where are you supposed to be right now?"  Then I point to my right foot and look at her like, "Well?"  A little too far when I included my wife huh?  Well, it wasn't too far off when Daisy had to tell the boys and I to stop barking at the sea lions and come back to wear she was sitting at a park bench.  With our heads hung low we meandered back to where she was.  After flicking each of our noses she decided it was time to take us home. 

In imaginary land we whined until she finally relented and took us to the sandy beach where we ran around, fetched sticks, and ran away from waves washing up on shore.  It was all fun until Fire pooped and we didn't have a plastic bag to pick up the doo.  We covered it up with sand and hoped no one would see us do it or step in it.  Going home it was nice to see the boys enjoying the wind by hanging their heads out the window and wagging the tongues.  It's too bad we have to kennel them for our upcoming trip to Europe.  Either that or leave them with the grandparents.  Of course, Beast snarls at grandpa and grandma is allergic to Fire.  I guess we will cross that bridge when we get there.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

(Father) Open Door Policy

When you see a child doing this what do you do?  Do you:

(A)  Look around for the parents.
(B)  Give the child candy.
(C)  Open the door and set them free on what ever adventure they choose.

I know what you would do.  You would look for the parents.  Why?  Because you are a responsible person.  Most people?  They chose C.

Picture the scene with me.  I get out of the car, get the bags, get the children out of the car, order them to stay near the car, take their hands, and walk across the street/parking lot.  So far so good.  Then the children release my hands and begin running like little crazy monkeys on a mission from Satan.  So here I am yelling to, "Get back here!" and "You will not get treat today.  OR EVER!!"  After stumbling over the bag that was once on my shoulder and now hanging from my wrist I might have yelled a little something like, "Hell will freeze ov...........Fire and Beast.......I'm serious, Hell will freeze over before you get another treat!!!"  Just to let you know, those are called empty threats.  Yes, parents like myself, yell threats they really don't mean in order to make the child think the parent has power.  Ironically, the harder and more ridiculous the threat, the less power the parent feels they have.  That was me. 

You might think, "OK Goose, let me get this straight.  You are a grown man and they are little people.  You are telling me you could not catch them?"  To that I say no.  One, they got a jump on me.  Two, kids are a lot faster than we give them credit  for.  They have piston legs that fire on all cylinders and with reckless abandon.  Three, when you do catch up with them you have to bend down half your height while continuing to run.  Fourth, they are small and able to run places I am not.  Like through crowd of people like a hot knife through butter.  Five, This is not tackle football.  You must capture them with few sustainable injuries.  Grab them by the back of the shirt and suddenly their head throws itself forward and then snaps back and hitting your knee in the process.  Sixth, once caught it becomes a matter of containing them.  You don't have to have been part of a greased pig contest to know what I'm talking about.  Finally, and most important, there are two of them.  And they have different ideas as to where they are going.  They act on impulse but their tactical moves are as if they have had it planned for weeks.

So I am gaining ground and have a sliver of hope.  Not only because I am gaining ground but because the door we are approaching is closed, and now they are trapped.  But wait, what is this?  Oh yes, a kindly gentleman who opens the door so they can go through it.  Then he follows, and then the door closes before I can get in.  I look through the glass and there they are.  Fire down one hallway and Beast down the other.  Does this make sense!?!  Well I suppose if it were an isolated incident.  But we are talking about hundreds of times.

Take the gym's child care.  We are talking about parents who know better than to hold the door open for a child leaving the room.  I'm commenting on Beast's coloring project and Fire is heading for the water aerobics where the 70 year old women are beckoning him toward the pools with smiles and coos.  For goodness sake, the lifeguard probably held the door open for him. 

If it sounds like I'm complaining then forgive me.  It is not out of annoyance as it is out of pure fear that my children could get seriously hurt.  And Daisy would not buy the, "But the kindly old gentleman is at fault.  Let's sue him!"  It would be my fault.  And we would get divorced and I would get depressed and eventually end up eating out of a trash can.  Help a hopelessly disorganized father and choose option A.  Oh wait, I'm already preaching to the choir.  Thanks.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

(Husband/Father) Maurice

This is our fish Maurice.  Or at least it certainly looks like him.  The boys and I got him for Mother's day 2010.  Once presented, Daisy bent down and gave the boys a kiss and a hug.  "Thanks guys!" she said.  With a smile still on her face she promptly stood up, turned to me, and whispered in my ear, "I'm not taking care of this thing."  This was not what I had expected, or wanted, to hear.  Now a fish may not seem like a big deal to take care of but after 12 1/2 years of marriage we had yet to own any pet. 

I have been rather sporadic in my care for Maurice but have been earnest in my efforts.  Some days I wake up and think he has finally given himself over to death.  But, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, he swims to the top of the water and receives nourishment.  He has made it a year and we are so proud.  If we had Maurice before we had kids we may never had taken the plunge into parenthood. 

Maurice presses forward.  In spite of us he presses forward.  One time, as I was putting Beast to bed, I heard him whisper, "Dad.  Is Maurice still around?" 

"He has been sitting on your shelf for the past month."


Maybe if Maurice acted more excited to see us when we got home.  I'll give him the constructive criticism tomorrow.    

Monday, May 2, 2011

(Father) Mad Libs

Fire is my little two year old who will be turning three this month.  He has always been rather verbal which has been a lot of fun.  However, he has shown some verbal aggression that has us frowning in concern.  I think it all started when I would be frustrated with the children but not so much to the point where I needed to issue a time-out.  I would tease them in order to distract myself, and the boys, from whatever they may be fighting about.  For instance, "If you guys don't stop I'm going to throw you both over the fence so the wolves will get you."  At first they would be scared but then they would see the smile on my face.  Beast was always the spokesperson asking, "Are you teasing us?"  I would say yes, we would all laugh, and then move on to whatever we were doing.  Throughout the day one of the boys might laugh and say, "Your not going to throw us over the fence!"  I would say yes, take a step toward them, and they would run away. 

But then Fire began following his own instincts rather than taking his cues from Beast.  You see, Beast runs away from conflict and enjoys being chased.  I soon found that Fire stands his ground and attacks if threatened.  Simple Flight and Flight theory.  So you can imagine my surprise when the day finally came for Fire to show his true self. 

"Your not going to throw us over the fence!"  Beast said.

"Yes I am!"  I took a step toward them and Beast ran away.  Fire did not.  In fact, he turned to face me as if it was high noon at the O.K. Corral.  "I'm going to get you Fire!" and took a jab step toward him.  He frowned. 

"AAAUUUGGGHHH!!!!"  Fire ran at me while swinging his arms in a rather violent fashion.  He finally reached me and began pounding his fists into my knees.  I didn't know what to do.  He stopped, took a step back, and pointed his index finger toward my my face.  "I'm going to throw you in the mud!"  He proceeded to start where he had left off.  Swinging his right arm, then his left, then his right, and his left. 

I knelt down and deflected his little punches.  I lowered my voice to almost a whisper and repeated, "Fire, it's ok.  It's ok Fire" until he calmed. 

"I'm going to get you daddy."  It was said as more of a fact than a threat.  And not said as if it would happen presently but more of something in the future.  Kind of like, "You may have won this time Superman but I'll be back!!"

" about a snack."

"Yeah!!! A snack!!!" Beast yelled as he ran out of the room.  Fire was caught up in the enthusiasm and ran to the table as well.  As if nothing significant happened.  They both sat, smiling at me as I retrieved the crackers and cheese.  I occasionally looked at Fire to see if there was some remaining anger lingering.  If there was it was quite hidden.  Y'know, behind the "Please" and "Thank You".

Indeed, he has since brought out this little Fire demon.  The reason Mad Libs was such a fun game was because you could come up with different words to a story as prompted by the underlined suggestion.  It's not hard to come up with what Fire's standard threats are.

I'm going to ______________  you in the ___________.
                     (violent action)                        (body part)

Go ahead and try it.  Pinch, punch, grab.   Face, arm, knee.  It doesn't matter what you come up with it's still the same.  Daisy and I have a hard time not laughing because he is such a little guy who could do no harm.  Most of the time he is just playing a part such as a ninja, darth vader, or knight.  Or he is about to go do something fun, and has so much adrenaline he doesn't know how to contain it.  Speaking of the devil he just woke up from his nap. 

If he continues this behavior 13 yrs from now it won't be so cute.  Maybe an outlet like football or something............well, I'll let you know what happens.