Diary of a SAHD: Year round Nativity Scene? Sure why not.

So I guess we’re into this phase now. You know, the phase where your 4 year old asks questions you’re not smart enough to answer.

You wanna tell this face that he will die someday?

You wanna tell this face that he will die someday?

I’m not talking about why is the sky blue? Or if gravity is so strong how can I just yank grass out of the ground? Or my favorite, Why can’t we pass everybody on the road? No, those are easy. Basic physics and traffic laws gives us the answers to all of that.

I’m talking about questions from Frank about heaven, and dying, and when will he die, and how will God find him to take him to heaven when he dies. Again basic theology and some good ole gospel talk has the answers for the questions, but really offers nothing for the fear and uncertainty of a 4 year old child who just became aware of his mortality and is now afraid to die.

I will say this, I was worried Christmas was becoming this gift grab, with total emphasis on how much stuff he was getting. When we started to explain about, death, heaven and Jesus being the way to get there, he tossed out this grenade, “If Christmas is celebrating Jesus’ birth why don’t we leave the Manger up and celebrate that all the time?” Good question.

Well, because we have to decorate for Valentines day silly!

Haha. Wow that was a question I was not prepared for in the least. So he appears to be thinking about more than gifts and Santa at Christmas. I gotta believe he’s not the only kid who’s had that thought process. The problem: what’s the answer? Is there one? I mean a good one, not my flippant Valentine’s Day thing.

We kept Easter low key gospel wise because we chickened out. With all the death talk and questions about eternity we weren’t sure we wanted to restart that conversation by saying Jesus’s dad sent him here to kill him so we can live. Unfortunately that was the perfect opportunity to do it, but like I said we got skeert and we like our sleep too much. Did I mention all this life actualization comes in the wee hours of the morning?

Sunday brunch kids, embrace it. Great time to ask stuff like this. Who couldn’t field these questions over a plate of eggs and chicken nuggets at 11am? At 2am there are several synapses not firing, hell both of my eyes may not be open. That’s another, possibly tougher conversation than year round Nativity Scenes.

Time of day not withstanding, you would think it would be easy enough to say, well we just celebrate birthdays one day a year, like mommy and daddy and AM do. The problem is we put the Chritmas stuff up mid December and take it down New Year’s eve day. So the man made Christmas “season” turns out to be harder to explain than the actual human birth of Jesus.

After all of that the question remains and the answer just as elusive. Why don’t we celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world all the time? Be advised I’m assuming the people who read and follow here are smart enough to understand we are a family who believes but doesn’t require you to. If you don’t that’s great, but you still have something to add.

Having a different set of beliefs doesn’t shield you from your kid asking a question about heaven or God or Jesus. It just means we’ll probably answer those questions differently. That’s ok too. There is always something to be learned from parents as they relate to their kids about serious life and death questions regardless of philosophical approach.

Anyway, what’s the answer? Why not celebrate the birth of God’s son with a manger scene displayed year round? Would save me from having to drag it out every December, but my laziness can’t be the final answer.

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you dare.

You know the drill, answer in the comment section.

 

 

Ponies in my pocket: The night of a thousand pees.

I’m sorry Whitney. I lied to you. Well, I didn’t really lie so much as I inadvertently omitted a few key pieces of information when we were talking potty training the other day. While it’s true getting a kid to be full on potty trained, where they can clean themselves, wash up, turn off the light, and close the door, is possibly the greatest human achievement aside from landing on the moon, there can still be issues. And they be nighttime issues.

So Frank is a certified, licensed, bonded and insured pottier. He’s qualified to potty indoors and outdoors by himself. He prefers outdoors which is to say, “Daddy I have to potty, can I pee in the forrest?” The forrest being the line of trees that separates our backyard from the next property, an undeveloped plot of land that has seen far too much of Frank. Before I can answer the moon is out and Frank is watering the indigenous vegetation.

Damn-it Frank!

Damn-it Frank! The potty boy, pee in the potty!

But all those fancy credentials and experience aside, Frank still has the occasional workplace accident.

It has been 0 days since our last workplace accident.

Around 1am on a clam Friday night I notice Frank’s door open as I come to bed. I peek in and see my #1 child laying across the bed, half in and half on the floor. I step to pick him up and rearrange things for him and I’m greeted with a splash. It was a true WTF moment. Turns out the what was a giant puddle of pee in the door way. Not sure if this was some sort of perimeter defense he set up or he slept his way to what he thought was the bathroom or forrest and let fly.

Undaunted but with slightly warmer feet, I get to Frank. Oh guess what, he’s soaking wet almost from head to toe. The bed is wet, the pillow is wet, the blankets are wet, the carpet around his bed is wet.

WTF!

Only Perry the Platypus escaped the carnage, Lenny/Lambie (Lenny goes to Finland for the full 411 on that situation), Dog, Mickey, they all got caught in the field of fire. It was a massacre.

Frank’s just standing there, still in a sleep induced stupor. He managed to get off one question, “Daddy why am I soaking wet?” Indeed Frank, indeed.

All peed out and no place to sleep.

All peed out and no place to sleep.

Well, I ain’t cleaning this up tonight. This won’t be a wet cloth with some club soda operation. This is a full on code 5 industrial, requiring my heavy duty carpet shampooer and some serious laundry cycles, plus stuffed animal triage. In other words it’ll wait till Saturday morning. Frank, having no clean sheets now, got dry PJ’s and slept in the recovery ICU, aka between mommy and daddy. This normally means a spleen-ectomy for me, courtesy of Frank’s knees. But we have dueling adjustable beds now so our mattress is really two smaller mattresses squeezed together to form a king.

Frank got stuck in the crevice between the two and only the left half of his body was visible most of the night. Never fazed him so we let him be. I was getting a back ache just seeing that, but he woke up around nine the next morning, extracted himself and was right as rain.

Always the trooper, Frank cleaned up his trains so I could have a clean run at the carpet. He only stepped in the puddle once.

Midget#2 on the other hand was intent on stopping the operation. Not sure if this was some Green Peace protest against industrial equipment or what, but she did everything short of laying herself in the pathway of the carpet cleaner. Once she succeeded and we shut everything down to address her concerns it turns out all she wanted was for me to carry her two princess ponies or whatever they were, in my pocket while I cleaned. She saw them go safely in my pocket and she walked away happy. Cleaning operations commenced and went smoothly. Frank’s linens were laundered and all animals antiseptic-ized.

Of course as this always goes, since I had the damn thing out I might as well address those coffee stains on the stairs.

Unbeknownst to me, while stair operations were in full swing, midget #2 figured out how to undress herself and remove her diaper. She appeared at the top of the now clean stairs completely unclothed, holding a tragically mismatched pair of pants and shirt, babbling something about, “Mess on the ground.”

It took me a few seconds but connecting the dots, she was in PJ’s – now has pants and a shirt in her hands – is yelling about a mess. She must have baptized her closet.

Yep. Back up the stairs with the carpet cleaner. We are now at -1 days without a workplace accident. Is that even possible?

So Whitney I will say this, it might not get better right away once they become full fledged pottiers, but it gets more funny almost instantly, in a sleep depriving, tearfully tragic sort of way.

Good luck!

 

T-Ball: Good lord what have we begat?

So yeah T-Ball.

Wow.

I never played organized stuff as a kid. My first experience with organized sports was my senior year in high-school. The Track team needed a pole-vaulter. I was the only idiot to volunteer, so the job was mine. Nice. Obviously I survived, but I had a few close calls. Anyway, now I have to get involved in this stuff because Frank is trying a myriad of sports for that well rounded foundation before we turn our laser focus on building his pro golf career.

But man, T-Ball.

Eight kids standing on the infield as a kid stands at the plate and hacks at the ball set on a tee.

Batter Up!

Batter Up!

Try to imagine ye old Scotland at the time of William Wallace. Gas powered mowers are centuries from invention. The trusty scythe was the implement of choice. A grizzled old farmer works his share crop on the edge of the Scottish coast on a piece of link land. So named because it linked the inland with the beach, later deemed so bad for farming or grazing, people built golf courses on it instead. Hence St Andrews and links golf. Hoping to avoid eviction by the lord or knight of the manor, the farmer swings to and fro his scythe, desperate for a decent crop yield. Gnarly hands struggle to hold the scythe in the freezing summer winds and ocean mist. Yes summer. He can’t stop. He’s working to pay the man. A two handed device that was gangly but lethal that scythe. Not lethal to the grass but to the person wielding it. Mind you this was a lawn implement.

That almost compares to the way 4 year old kids swing the bat at a ball perched on a tee. The ball is in no danger. Ever. It is the tee for which we weep.

You can almost feel the pain of the Tee as the batters rain blows down upon it, while the ball sits safely in the holder or gently falls to the ground and rolls a few feet away. Now if the ball does leave the tee another natural phenomenon is cast into motion. In Frank’s Place Latin – Jugis de Gnati or running of the child, occurs naturally this time of year across the United States. Eight or nine undersized kids wearing oversized t-shirts, ball caps, and mitts, or gloves, reflexively run at the ball as it leaves it’s protective habitat atop the tee. Every once in a while a rare sighting occurs when the child who just bludgeoned the tee causing the ball to be set in motion also chases it instead of running to first.

Jugis de Gnati also requires that each child throw him or herself onto the child who actually trapped the ball under their person. This Canem Cumulus, or dog pile, takes place regardless of time elapsed from the ball being trapped by the original child and the final child reaching said dog pile. In other words, if a kid has to run from the outfield to get a ball hit to the pitcher, so be it. That child will run the entire distance offering him or herself to the top of Canem Cumulus upon completion of the journey.

The one redeeming quality of Tee-ball: it’s apparently ok to laugh at the kids without facing the wrath of the sports parent or Athletica Parenti. In fact the horror stories often associated with the overbearing parents at their kid’s sporting endeavors seem non-existent at this level. Here’s hoping it stays that way. Fingers crossed.

The true heroes of this little social experiment called Tee-ball are the coaches. God bless them crazy bastards. What drives these men and women to sign up for this? What do they get out of it? I’m not seeing it. But again, God bless em. Someone has to do it I guess.

I learned from last Fall’s soccer experiment, which resembled a giant 6 kid amoeba roaming the field attempting to assimilate the ball, to keep my expectations low. Just try to enjoy Frank enjoying himself. He enjoyed soccer. Never kicked the ball through 8 games. Not once. And he loved it. Running with his friends was all he wanted. He had no desire to enter the scrum to get the ball. He was happy so I learned to be happy about and with him.

What a difference a season makes.

Making the play on the hot corner!

Making the play on the hot corner!

The first time Frank took the field I was very nervous, completely unsure of what he would do. But true to his herd, as the first ball hit the dirt rolling non-aggresively toward the mound, Frank, along with 8 of his teammates, stampeded toward the ball. The pitcher, or kid standing on the mound, was first to the ball. Poor kid. Nine kids later, to include the batter, the first dog pile of the season was complete thus signaling the boys of summer are back.

I was stunned that Frank was so willing to dog pile. But what happened next was earth shattering for two reasons:

1. the ball was struck with some pace and was on a inside-the-infield home run trajectory.

2. Frank dove to his left, glove in proper position, snagging the ball and triggering a roar from the crowd.

We had played catch in the back yard, but I was never allowed to throw the ball in the air. Frank always made me throw him ground balls. I naturally assumed he was afraid of the ball. Turns out the kid knew what he was doing.

Color me surprised. I did notice he enjoyed the people cheering for him a bit more then I would have liked. He’s starting to like this tee ball thing way too much.

I just hope it doesn’t mess up his golf swing.

 

 

 

 

Hey Frank: It’s Masters Sunday!

Aside from two major holidays, Christmas and Easter, there is no more hollowed week in this house than Masters Week.

That’s golf by the way.

For a golf fan Masters Week is the Super Bowl but without the two weeks of media redundancy leading to the actual event. The Masters competition starts on Thursday and ends today, there is the par three competition on Wednesday and State of the Game address on Tuesday, with an opening tee shot by Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, and Jack Nicklaus starting things off early Monday morning.

This year a new event has been added to the “Tradition unlike any other.”

Masters Week now starts off on Sunday with the Drive, Chip, & Putt contest. Think punt pass and kick. Regional winners from across the country, ages 7 – 14, come to Augusta National to compete for the championship in their age group. All 4 hours was televised on the Golf Channel. Guess where I was last Sunday.

At 8:00am I settled into my office chair, propped my feet up and watched little kids, boys and girls, hit their drivers 250-300 yards. Clearly poisoned by the steroid ear of baseball, those kids must be on the juice.

Anyway, my 2yr old daughter waddled in, said GOLF! and climbed into my lap. It was shaping up to be a good Sunday morning.

Well for a bit anyway.

Out of no where my beautiful bride appears asking, “Are you taking Frank golfing?”

Crazy at it sounds I had no plans to golf that day or take Frank.

“Well he just gave me detailed “constructions” on how I was to watch after Anne Marie while you two went golfing. He’s in his room getting dressed, polo shirt and all.”

OK then I guess we’re going golfing.

It’s no secret I am trying to get Frank hooked on golf. I have no delusions about watching him compete in the Drive, Chip, and Putt competition at the Masters. Besides each competitor can only bring one chaperone, and I know he would pick his mother.

No, I’m just trying to cultivate some playing partners for the next 15-30 years. The Masters would just be a sweet bonus.

But for real, how awesome would I look in the white coveralls each caddy must wear during competition, toting Frank’s clubs as he comes down the back nine on Sunday at Augusta?

Back to realty. We’re dressed and hauling the mail to the Par 3 course about 5 miles up the road. Then off to the driving range at our home course to put in some work.

Peep the skills of my 4yr old.

New Tee boxes at the Par 3. Old boxes couldn't contain him. The course has been Frankified!

New Tee boxes at the Par 3. Old boxes couldn’t contain him. The course has been Frankified!

Posture getting a little closed. Trying to really pound this one.

Posture getting a little closed. Trying to really pound this one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going for the green in one.

Going for the green in one.

His first ever par putt.

His first ever par putt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chasing greatness can be a lonely business. The great ones put in the work after everyone else goes home.

I’m just taking pictures and eating a hotdog I had actually bought for Frank, he’s doing all the work. Keep working Frank, still got some chips to eat!

It’s hard to see but he’s throwing the balls around the chipping green and chipping them until they go in. The beauty of golf, he stops to watch a flock of birds fly over. Do that on a soccer field and you might take one in the onions.

All that work leads to the payoff, imitating a move he saw in a dopey Adam Sandler golf movie.

Enjoy Masters Sunday!