Diary of a SAHD: She will not be contained.

It’s common to hear loud thumps coming from AM’s room while she’s sleeping. Once she could crawl it took her a while to find the hard boundaries of the crib and she would slam into the side with her head. Frank did it too, but with him we used to run in like commandos busting through the door of a hostage situation.

The second kid…eh?

I heard a comedienne talk about the treatment second and thirds kids get. She said with the first, if the pacifier hits the ground, it gets washed, boiled, and sent to the CDC for germ analysis before being returned, ironically, to the cesspool that is a toddlers mouth. The second kid’s binker hits the deck and you may wipe it on your leg or if near a sink, run it under some water. The third kid… you think “if there is enough dirt on that I may not have to feed him lunch.”

AM is getting the second kid treatment when it comes to bumps in the night. When we hear a thump from her room we go quiet, as if the silence allows us to analyze the thump and decide what object caused it. After a few seconds we look up at each other, “that was a book” or “she hit her head on the side.” We are about as accurate as weather predictions. But going quiet also allows us to ascertain if she’s crying or upset, in which case Tracy and I run to the car and go for a shake, checking the monitor when we get home in hope she’s fallen asleep.

However, one night we heard an unusually loud thump followed by what sounded like footsteps, then crying. Had no choice, we were going in. Besides it was too cold to run for a shake. The further up the stairs I got the more the crying sounded like it was coming from right behind the door. When I got to the outside of the door I hear more footsteps going away and no crying. Now I’m getting creeped out. Read a few posts back about my insane fear of the dark, which then catapults the mind into all kinds of frightening scenarios. I gotta stop watching Walking Dead.

But I have no choice. I gotta open the door, at the risk of a zombie mauling or not. When I do, I see a 21 month old kid who used to be in her crib, standing in the middle of the room with a look on her face like she knew she was in trouble. Turns out I was the one in trouble. She figured out how to get out of her crib. Did I mention she is 21 months old and born 3 1/2 months early? I’m sure it’s come up once or twice.

Big girl shoes already? Maybe a big girl bed too.

Big girl shoes already? Maybe a big girl bed too.

When Frank looked ready to jump for it the solution was easy. We just lowered his mattress to the bottom rung on his crib. Well AM’s mattress is already on the bottom. She’s using the fancy ledge on the front of the crib to support her arms as she lifts her entire body up and then flings her feet over the side. It’s a maneuver that allows her to land on her feet. It’s not the seeing the Great Wall of China from space amazing, but you can’t look away when she does it. We know she landed on her feet because there was only one thump. Had she fallen there would have been some associated noises, to include crashing into the small table next to the rocking chair.

So what to do? We can’t put a 21 month old a kid bed, can we? She’ll be out of that thing the minute we close the door. Plus she’s has already figured out how to open doors. Once AM gets enough body strength to turn the knob and push or pull at the same time, she will be running around the house all hours of the night like a freaking cat.

As former ESPN anchor Dan Patrick used to say about Michael Jordan, “You can’t stop him, you can only hope to contain him.”

Not to take anything away from Jordan, but I don’t think we’ll even be able to contain AM.






15 more minutes: A Frank’s Place post gets published

Well what do you know about that. Looks like someone rewound the clock on my 15 minutes of fame.

As you loyal followers know, Tracy and I differ greatly when it comes to college sports. She loves Kentucky and I love sports. I am a Tennessee fan, although I went through Maryland’s distance learning program for my BA in history while in the military and walked the stage in the Comcast center to get my diploma.  I am forever a Terp.

But I have become a big Tennessee Vols fan. It’s beyond cool to live five minutes from a major college campus. Even though my wife degrades Tennessee every chance she gets.

I once bought an orange pull over from Dicks Sporting Goods. She took it back. When the dude asked her what was wrong with it she said, “It’s orange.”  

I wrote about the trials and tribulations of rasing two kids in a house divided. It was mildly funny by my estimations. It didn’t get a lot of action, maybe a little less than normal.

Today, 26 January 2014, it caught the eye of a sports website that writes articles for the Southeastern Conference, of which Kentucky and Tennessee are members. You can find them here secwriter.com

They published my post titled A traitor in our midst. They’ve also asked if I might want to write a few articles on Tennessee sports and being a Vols fan. Well of course I do.

So I just want to say thanks for the loyalty, for constantly clicking and reading. I’m nowhere without y’all. Your support of Frank’s Place is the reason it get’s noticed. Up till now it’s been highschool english teachers using posts for their creative and vivid writing classes. But this, this is a whole different animal. So thanks to all of you.

My friend Andy said, “Don’t forget the little people.” Folks I am the little people. The writing still goes on here at Frank’s Place. So hopefully there will be a link to click in your e-mail tomorrow morning.

Here is the direct link to the post on secwriter.  A House Divided

Thanks again!

Diary of a SAHD: The Birthday Circuit

Being a Stay at Home Dad has been one giant learning experience to say the least. There have been a few non-fun type lessons, like adjusting to civilian time. The adage 5 minutes early is 10 minutes late no longer applies. In fact just the opposite seems to be the case, at the doctor’s office, school, the pharmacy, you name it. That adjustment has been tougher than giving up Diet Coke and Italian bread. But it’s a minor deal in the grand scheme.

Most of the lessons have been, in a word, great. Take for example the birthday circuit. Frank is old enough now that he gets invited to a lot of birthdays. Kids from the hood, from school, etc… This is a lesson I’m right in the middle of. With the focus on Anne Marie the past two years, we’ve been late to the circuit.

This is one of those deal you have to experience to appreciate. Like that Calculus II class everyone said sucks, and the professor sucks, and the book sucks, but when you got in there you realized nothing could be further from the truth. Most of my college classes were that way. I had pre-concieved notions that were validated by other’s opinions, only to be completely debunked when I actually experienced the classes myself. Same thing with the birthday circuit.

When Frank got the first few invites my initial thought was, “Aw c’mon man, we’re into this already?” I won’t name names, but there were more than a few parents who fed me some pre-concieved notions that fed into my pre-disdain for kids birthday parties. Like most things, I was wrong again.

I am completely secure in admitting to you the number of things I have been wrong about when it comes to parenting and situations surrounding parenting requires it’s own algorithm to compute.

To put it plainly, the Birthday Circuit is awesome.

The birthday parties come in all shapes and sizes. From bounce houses, (life size, hot air poppers, that use kids instead of popcorn kernels) to activity destinations, (think laser tag and the like) to themed parties, (light-sabers for everyone?!?! Hell Yeah!). Aside from the light powered deadly weapons, the benefits for this SAHD hitting the birthday circuit are almost too numerous to count.

One of the first things that jumped out at me was  the presents are opened later. I love this concept. I can’t and never could stand opening presents in front of other people. I’m like a karate man, my emotion is on the inside. So the person who gives me something is left feeling like I may not have liked it even though I was ecstatic to get it. So I’m a big fan of the open gifts later deal.

The birthdays with bounce houses are like study halls. The kid is in the little bouncy thing, generally safe minus the cracking of his coconut on some other kid’s mellon. While he’s in there I can listen to and/or pick the brains of the parents at the party. It really is a treasure trove of ideas and experiences. Sometimes it can be just a simple, “Oh your kid does that too?” “So while I may be a dope normally, in this case I’m doing this particular thing right.” I don’t usually need reassurance, but I have found it can’t hurt.

Do I even need to go in depth on the themed parties. LIGHT-SABERS!

I just had my first experience with an activity destination. We missed a great opportunity when Grant, a cute kid from our Sac that Frank counts among his four best friends, had a party at Gym-bugs. Our entire house was sick. You may have read about it in the last 300 posts I’ve written. Anyway this joint has ball pits, mini roller coasters, gymnastic equipment, the works. That would have been fun even though most of the stuff would have been too small for me. Sorry Grant, happy birthday anyway bud.

But as the circle of friends grows, so does the circuit.

Another birthday and another activity destination. One of Frank’s preschool classmates had a party at Jump Jam. Trampolines bro, lots and lots of trampolines. A giant floor of trampolines in the middle, giant pits of foam on one side, and a basketball court with a trampoline floor on the other. The party was at 8am on a Friday morning and the temp was 9 degrees in Knoxville. Yeah you read that right, 9 freaking degrees. You got to want it on the birthday circuit.

It was worth every bone chilling degree.

So much for not liking it

So much for not liking it

I can’t remember when I’ve had so much fun. It got started right away when we signed in. The lady handed me one bracelet. I asked if that was for me or Frank. She said, “Oh are you jumping too?” Am I jumping too?! What kind of question is that? Can’t you see my legs? They may be holding up a pear shaped middle, but honey these legs were made for jumpin.

Frank, well he worried the entire ride over that he wouldn’t like it. When he saw his friends already jumping by the time we got there, he had his shoes off in 2.3 seconds. Of course he was a natural.

Once I got physics working with me I was catching some air. Not a lot of hang time mind you. Even Galileo couldn’t save me in that department. But it was still a blast. Best kid birthday I’ve been to so far and best workout I’ve had in a year. Try jumping, chasing your kid while jumping, and climbing out of foam pits while kids jump on you for a straight 60 minutes. You’ll feel the burn. I was sweating like a pig, a pig I say.

The foam pit was not kind to me

The foam pit was not kind to me

Of course there is always some skinny little putz showing off. Some dude who could fit through a mail slot was jumping from one side of the room to the other. His nasty little pig toes were getting about 25 feet off the ground. He was hitting each tramp (that’s how the kids say it) dead center and flying to the next one. I was watching to see if his friggin head was going to hit the roof beams of this joint. No luck, eh I mean  good for him.

Anyway, this was a great activity birthday and I look forward to the circuit this year.


If there was a way we could incorporate light-sabers with the jump jam…

I think you’d really have something there.