Dreams - name it to claim it.

on Wednesday, July 30, 2008

  • I want to grow up and be a professional photographer.
  • I want to be a professional writer.
  • I want to get one of many stories published.
  • I want several or all of my stories to be turned into feature films.
  • I want to be asked to direct.
  • I want to live in Rome for 2 years.
  • I want to live in NYC for 2 years.
  • I'd like to live in London for 2 years.
  • (Not necessarily in that order)
  • I want to study drawing and painting.
  • I want to take a cooking class.
  • I want to teach a cooking class.
  • I want to learn to place several musical instruments well.
  • I'd be willing to start with one.
  • I want to travel and take pictures.
  • I'd like to take horticulture classes.
  • I want to be a docent at the Huntington Library.

I've got to get back to work.

Glad to be still growing....

on Thursday, July 24, 2008

I had an exchange with our very ambitious son the other day. Laying in the bouncer outside with him, he, out of the blue says....."When I'm five I'm going to be as tall as you daddy" To that I said "Great!!". He followed with "When I'm ten I will be taller than you". To that I said "outstanding!!" Then...the topper...he says with an animated voice "...AND WHEN I'M FIFTY!!...I'm going to be REALLY BIG!!" I was very proud that my son has aspirations of being taller than his daddy. It is something that would please me to no end. Of course my son in any package would please me to no end...short or tall. His last proclamation did give me hope for myself though. Ya see I am 46 years old. He has basically confirmed that you can still grow at age 50. I have 4 more years of growing to do :). I hope it also means that I have, atleast, 4 more years of growing mentally as well as physically. If there is one thing that I can say is that, since my wife and I got married, is that I have grown. Not only as a husband but as a father. I hope that I continue to grow for the rest of my life. I hope I continuely learn how to grow into being a better husband and daddy. Both of which I think I'm doing pretty well cause I get alot of smiles. But I want more :)))

Sometimes I'm just tired...

on Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sometimes I’m just tired.

Do you have any idea how much time I spend defending the actions of my children? And one of them isn’t even out of diapers! The two little angels who came into this world with unblemished character are suddenly on the post offices most wanted list…and they haven’t quite reached the ages of 4 and 2.

Did I put them there?

When they don’t say hi correctly or at all….when they won’t acknowledge someone…when they won’t listen……when they throw sand….when they take the only ball to play with and run with it….when they talk back….when they have a pout…when they have a tantrum…when they won’t get on the phone and say hello…when they won’t get off the phone and stop talking…when they are generally rude…heck…even when they are teasing and laughing….I’m defending them. Or am I condemning them? “They are little!” “ It’s developmental!” “They are learning!” “They didn’t get enough sleep!” “They got too much sleep!” “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” (insert scream here)

What the heck am I apologizing for?

Maybe it’s me and not the children who is the issue. Maybe it’s my expectations of who they should be or what I believe my social group expects them to be.

Here’s the truth: I don’t judge other peoples kids with the same rules I condemn my children. When someone else’s kid is acting out….my reaction is relief that it’s not my child and my conclusion is that it’s one of the issues I noted above. Not a big deal. But when my child throws down….well…suddenly the world is coming to an end and I don’t let the situation drop without a thorough verbal lesson to which my almost 4 year old replies in one of the next several ways:

a.) “Mama, are you done talking yet?”
b.) Putting himself in time out.
c.) Yelling back at me to explain his side of the situation or….
d.) and kids, this is the most terrifying….a smile …the smile that tells me that he’s already picking out the corrupt nursing home he is going to put me in someday.

Next…the battle to get the child to do THE RIGHT THING….followed by a profuse apology to the possibly injured/annoyed/put-out/upset/uninterested party and the all time stupidest question: Is he/she that bad? Am I raising a serial killer? (insert louder scream here…much more shrill and demonic)

All of this is closely followed by a summit meeting by mom and dad to re-evaluate the discipline/raising plan of the kids and regroup in order to raise good Christian human beings who will give joy and take joy in life.

It’s exhausting and I’m tired of being tired.

In my lucid moments I know this: I’m helping to raise two of the most intelligent, enlightened, intriguingly unique individuals I’ve ever met and I’m overjoyed. I’m thankful. These two children are funny, bright and happy at least 70 percent of the time. I know that these times are some of the best we will have enjoying the development of our pair of human beings. And in my most lucid moments I thank God for entrusting these little people to us and hope that we can meet His expectations for raising them.

I’m going to stop apologizing. (at least try)

A night off from the Goo Goo Ga Ga

It's Wednesday morning and I'm basking in the fact that I actually went out on a date with my wife. The train that is the goo goo ga ga is nice to step down from once in awhile. But as with most parents that "sneak" away for some alone time, the conversation is always dotted with thoughts of our kids...as it should. They are such treasures in our life. We go through what all parents, we are finding, go through to some degree. The listening issues. The power issues. The struggles to get them to eat. The struggle to just get them in harmony about taking a wagon ride together. But if you itemize the time spent with this struggle. It really is a short percentage of our time. The goo goo ga ga train usually flows well. It just happens unfortunately when we are the most tired and have the most trouble focusing on the underlying reasoning behind the behavior and addressing it. The wife and mom sent me a video today of a lady that said that the first thing you think you want to say to your child should be shelved...particularly if it is going to be a negative response to a behavior. Rather you should look to the underlying reason for it. It is so true. I'm ashamed to say that I don't practice this as much as I should. I am usually slow to anger, but I am finding myself with a short fuse when it comes to my children. I have to remind myself that they are young children and do not have the capacity for moral clarity at this time. And to expect that is foolish. Not sure that I developed that trait till I was in my 20's. Things like please and thank you were not really in my vocabulary. It wasn't till I was in maybe my 20's that I had an epiphany on the subject. It was right to think of other people’s feelings. It was right to open doors for ladies, and anyone else for that matter. It was right to be thankful for everything thing that was given to me. To expect our little ones to grasp this totally at their age is setting too high a bar. The best we can do is to shape them. Our children do say please, they do say thank you, they do listen to us....some of the time :) It is our job to continually discipline. And disciplining not in the common usage. The Webster's usage tells us that disciplining is "teaching" "molding" not yelling and screaming. I do ramble but I am striving to be a better dad that does what we continually request from our children....LISTEN to them.

As you can see, even on a fabulous evening with my wife, our thoughts continue to be on our beautiful, thoughtful children.

BTW...Indian Jones last night was a fun movie. Lost both of us a little when the aliens appeared ...lol. Daddy's back on the Goo Goo Ga Ga.

Reminder to self:

on Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these - George Washington Carver.

In Search of World Domination

on Monday, July 21, 2008

It was a beautiful day in the world. Sun was shining. Nonna had just gotten her travel plans ironed out at the local post office, with the assistance of our son and daughter of course. With the remainder of the morning at my disposal I suggested a quick trip to the "airplane park". It is called that because of the vintage Vietnam era jet that is propped up in the entrance to the park. The visit to the park started off innocent enough...big jungle gym...sand...slides...swings. Nonna took our daughter on a little walk. Our son....venturing on the the jungle gym, encounters a boy half his age...it is then that the beginnings of world domination begin. He proceeds to block the little boy with a stern look and a unwillingness to let him pass. I, as the witnessing dad, proceed to tell him to let the boy pass...he proceeds to, begrudingly, let him pass and then proclaims to the rest of the world that "WHEN I GET BIG I'M NOT GOING TO LET ANYONE PASS!!" Made me hope that he would not be tending to a bridge and asking for peoples favorite color. I had to silently chuckle and take him aside and remind him of the ol parenting line of "if you aren't nice to them they are not going to want to play with you" to that my world leader sulked over to a tunnel planning my demise I'm sure. He emerged later and asked to go to another part of the park to which I told him it was almost time to go home. Well...our beautiful sunny morning ended with water works and sadness to my dismay. At this point I was pretty sure I was going to get the silent treatment home and I was correct. I am glad to report though, that as with any good diplomatic world leader, within the hour, he is happy again to let me help him with his train set. I am also glad to report that I received I love you's, smiles, hugs and kisses from my WHOLE family as I left to go back to work. I am truely blessed....Ahhhh....Life is again grand on the goo goo ga ga :) I can't wait to get back home!

4 Things....maybe 3

on Thursday, July 17, 2008

4 Things that I learned, figured out, confirmed or was pleasantly (OK, outrageously) surprised about today.

· My recently potty trained little boy can wipe!!!!!! (outrageously, happily, phenomenally surprised!)
· I confirmed that Elizabeth Hasselbeck on “The View” bothers me in a profound way.
· I learned that watching the reality show “Hopkins” documenting an almost 3 year old's heart transplant and woes can almost put me in cardiac arrest and deep fear. I'm forever thankful that my little ones are sleeping peacefully and healthy. God bless them. God bless Peyton and his family. To read about Peyton's story or see the episode click to: http://hopkins.abcnews.com/patient_updates/patient/peyton-penrod
· I figured out…well…I was hoping that I'd figured out something today, but upon further review….I’ll have to hope for the best tomorrow.

Four year old's musical tastes.

on Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm frequently amazed by my son, T. O. He is almost 4 years old. His taste in music is an evolving fabulous thing to behold. His recent favorites are the soundtrack to the movie Mulan. Tracks 1 2 4 and 5. The soundtrack to Curious George, tracks 1 and 5, and of course, the ever popular and absolute fabulous favorites of Mary Poppins Soundtrack and The Polar Express. What impresses me is his attention to detail of the music and his love for ballads as well as instrumentals. The music suites of these soundtracks are some of his favorite pieces. I remember suffering slowly as a child as my sister made me listen to a slow ballad...and here is my 4 year old getting it. I love it!

Great T. O. moment tonight at an outdoor concert near the beach: I sang a funny little ditty that I remember from a fabulous old movie called "Cheaper by the Dozen".

"We're sorry to see you go, we're sorry to see you go. We hope to heck you never come back, we're sorry to see you go!".
He heard it once while I jokingly told The Husband and proceeded to sing it with the correct tune over and over again. The husband was a laughing and was shocked not only that he could sing it perfectly after hearing it once, but a little nervous that he was going to sing it in front of the people we'd been teasing.

My almost 2 year old is just as fabulous....she knows what she likes and sticks with it. Dalmation Plantation! Again, Mama! Again! Well...that's life on the goo goo ga ga.