Look out people, she’s a free range chicken!

Well the day has finally arrived. The last tether has been severed. She has been released into the wild, free to roam in her natural habitat. All public service warnings have been issued.

Anne Marie is done with therapy in every shape and every form. She was officially released from her last in home therapy a few months ago. I would have posted this earlier but I was busy with getting pink eye, Frank’s pre-school graduation, Frank’s birthday, upcoming vacation to Jersey, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Yeah I'm two fisting ice cream. What of it!

Yeah I’m two fisting ice cream. What of it!

As with all things Anne Marie, nothing is ever smooth. There were questions from several quarters about her readiness to enter mainstream kid-dom. Although our evidence is anecdotal, we think it’s valid enough to warrant her release.

Well, let’s see now, there was:

-building a ladder to jump the baby gate on the stairs at 18 months

-using scissors to pry open the fridge

-climbing out of her crib at the age of 22 months

-opening doors at the age of 22 months

-climbing the outside of the stairs using the balusters as hand holds at 20 months

-turning on my iPhone and sending garbled tweets through the twitter app

-setting Frank’s alarm clock to go off in the middle of the morning/night

-asking me to “microwave my pizza daddy”  That was a few weeks ago.

-taking off all her clothes, including her diaper, and then putting just her PJs back on and sleeping the rest of the night that way. We didn’t catch that one until we went in to wake her for breakfast one morning. Oh yeah, she tossed her under shirt and diaper into the clothes hamper 4 feet from her crib. Not sure if she did that before or after putting her PJs back on.

-and of course the latest incident of clogging the upstairs sink and flooding the house. Yes, after further investigation we believe it was intentional.

For you fine motor skill enthusiasts, she took the pegs from a peg board test at the doctor’s office and stacked them like a tower. She finished the test first and while I was talking to the doc she decided to stack them straight up, 4 pegs high. These things are the width of a pencil.

We were feeling pretty confident the Doc would agree we no longer needed therapy for the kid. The rest of us need it now, and I’ll surely need it in the future, but the kid is fine. After we presented our evidence the Doc did agree and AM’s release was official.

So with a bitter sweet feeling we say good bye to therapy and our last in home visitor, Maria. As with Kelly Ann and Liz before, Maria was an integral part of Anne Marie achieving so much so soon.

The one positive of Maria and Liz not coming to the house anymore, besides Anne Marie having made so much progress, I don’t have to clean it as much. Less work is always a bonus. Thank God they never knew we lived like animals most of the week and got it together for their visits.

Thanks Maria, you have been and will be missed.

Onward! Pre-school dead ahead!

Onward! Pre-school dead ahead!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally A Parent or A River Runs Through It.

It’s official. I’m finally a parent.

Yeah I had a kid before, Frank, but that wasn’t parenting. He was easy.

He ate everything in sight. He would reach over the bag of chips to grab broccoli. He’s eaten more vegetables by the age of 5 than I have my entire life. He’s polite to adults and most other kids. He says please and thank you. He sings to his sister when she whines or cries. Oh and he sleeps. He sleeps like a crazy bastard.

He no longer naps but when he did they would go from 2:30 to 6pm-ish. Yeah, almost 4hrs. He would get up for dinner and go back to bed around 8:00pm and sleep through till 8:30 or 9am. That’s not even the crazy part. When he started walking, he would take himself upstairs and put himself to nap. Not kidding. At first I would stop him to change his diaper and then send him on his way. After a while I just got used to the sight of him dragging ass up the stairs with Lenny/Lambie and listening for his door to shut.

For his first haircut at an actual haircut joint, he sat there and took it. He even followed Miss Courtney’s instructions. When we dropped him for his first day of pre-school, at the ripe old age of two, he never made a peep and never looked back. Been that way ever since.

That’s not parenting. That’s observing.

Frank was on auto-pilot

Frank’s sister is not on auto-pilot. She is always on a collision course with a mountain top somewhere. In the likely event of a cabin depressurization, complimentary oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling. Please affix your own oxygen mask before helping the person seated next to you.

Now I’m a parent. This kid is running my ass off. I have no ass. Although it may have rotated around to my gut. Regardless, I’m running morning, noon, and night with this one. And my complimentary oxygen mask has not dropped from the ceiling yet. Case in point below.

A River Runs Through It

Last week during the normal course of events it became apparent this child will require much more monitoring. Not necessarily in the helicopter dad mode, more of the NSA – Big Brother tracking her every move, mode.

Whilst folding the morning laundry in my room watching Return to Fat Camp: The Thinning, young Anne Marie played on her own in the bonus room. For whatever reason it felt a little too quiet. I shook that off, thinking I can at least fold these socks before I walk down there.

Always go with your first instinct.

This is what I found when I finally got those damn socks folded.

Didn't van Gogh start out this way?

Didn’t van Gogh start out this way?

Yeah, so permeant marker, Sharpie brand to be exact. However, amongst the myriad of things I learned that day was this little gem. Nothing is permanent for moms. They know ways around stuff dudes haven’t even thought about yet. I’m not ashamed to admit my first thought was to call my sister-in-law Rachel. Well, my first thought really was oh sh*t! Tracy’s gonna kill me, I gotta get this off before she gets home!

My second thought was Rachel. No matter the strides made by stay at home dads, the natural instinct to call a mom you know will have an answer for you, proves that we SAHD’s have a long way to go. I knew Rachel would know what to do. And as usual she did. Alcohol wipes and soak in the bath if wipes don’t work. No go on the wipes, a bath it is. This is perfect, AM loves the bath so this should be easy.

So I do a quick mental check of the ole to do list. Lunch first and then bath looks to be the most efficient use of already wasted time. AM says she wants to wash her hands. Perfect. You can’t see it in the picture but her hands were covered as well. This will be like a little pre-soak before the bath and give me a few minutes to get lunch going before she starts busting my balls about being hungry.

Downstairs I go. AM appears and wants to eat. I listen closely for the sound of water running upstairs. I hear nothing and AM says she turned off the water. OK.

Anyone feeling a little twinge right now. Hold on to that.

We eat lunch and kibitz around a bit downstairs, change a big time dirty diaper, etc… After about 40 minutes I can now hear water running. But I can only hear it if I stand in the hall way near the door to the garage. No sinks are running downstairs. Standing at the bottom of the stairs I still can’t hear water running upstairs. But I’ll be damned if I can’t hear water running by the garage door. I pop it open and take a peek. If Frank was there at that moment he would have said something like, “Daddy, why is there a waterfall in the garage?” Indeed Frank, indeed.

Yep, a full blown Niagara class waterfall coming from the garage ceiling. I’m no plumber but I figure that has to be coming from a sink or tub upstairs. Up the stairs I go, taking four steps at a time. When I turned the corner from the top of the stairs my feet were under water. I’m still not sure how this happened but when I went into the hall bathroom the water was up to my ankles.

The culprit… well we all know who the culprit is, but the cause of the river running through my house was a plastic medicine cup placed perfectly over the drain in the sink. The reason I could not hear the water running was because a wash cloth had been stuffed or “gotten stuck” in the little overflow slit in the front of the sink and the faucet was under water.

Believe it or not the Sharpie covered face was now on the back burner. I’m in crisis management mode. This is one area where me being the stay at home parent is an advantage.

Once I got the water stopped, I’m hauling the mail to the garage to get my industrial shop vac. But I know the Vac can only get the surface water. It’s not strong enough to get the water out of the carpet. For that I’ll need my carpet shampooer. I’m not saying there aren’t moms who could get both of those big appliances up the stairs in one trip, but I gotta believe that’s a few trips for most moms. Engaging my big shoulders enhanced by baby muscles and I’m rolling up the stairs with a Sears & Roebuck vintage Craftsman, 5 gallon, 3hp, variable speed, shop vac, and a Hoover Deep Clean carpet shampoo type machine.

It took a while but I got the water all cleaned up. Even managed to re-org the cabinets and drawers under the sink, as they were all filled to the top with water. I’ve been meaning to do that anyway. The water in the garage poured through an already existing hole, so not much to do there but let it air dry. The Vac/shampooer combo worked to perfection on the hall carpet. Aside from the throw rugs in the bathroom needing to be washed and the hallway carpet being slightly damp, everything was back in order. Almost everything.

While all this was going on my Sharpie covered daughter was laying on her back in the dry part of the hall way with her feet on the stair banisters, singing about wanting to take a bath. Not kidding. So I still have to get her in the tub to de-sharpie-ize her and meet Tracy for an appointment in about an hour. Thankfully Rachel was right and after about 10 minutes it came off. Grammy showed up right after that and I was able to shower and make the appointment.

I figured it was OK to tell Tracy all of this when I met up with her since the water and the child were cleaned up. Wrong. The moral of that story is, don’t tell your spouse anything about the kids or house they wouldn’t have seen on their own.

As for the kid, well she strolled to her room to plot her next conquest. As you can see below, contrary to popular belief Emperor Palpatine is alive and well. Not a Star Wars fans – google it.

So this is what parenting is like.

 

 

 

 

 

Unclean! Unclean! – The scourge of adulthood Pinkeye.

So yeah Pink Eye. I’ll be 47 in august and I’ve been felled by a condition 5 year olds get. Ironically I never got it as a 5 yr old. As a matter of fact I’ve never had Pink Eye. I don’t think any of my 7 brothers and sisters had Pink Eye as kids.

This has been a big eye opener. Yeah I went there.

No clue how I got it either. Neither kid had it when I got it. Thankfully no one else in the house got it from me; an unexplained miracle to this day. I do drop Frank off at that giant petri dish known as pre-school. I can’t imagine what manner of microbes are crawling around that joint.

Every day a new batch of bacteria delivered in the form of a snotty varmint wiping their noses on sleeves, touching door knobs, coughing into the air as to get the most effective germ spread pattern possible. The ultimate biological weapons packed in the deadliest of delivery systems – a kid. Surprised I haven’t gotten the Plague yet. But thanks to the anti-vaccine crowd I hear there is a good chance the Plague might make a comeback.

Anyway my eye started feeling weird last Friday afternoon. By dinner I could barely see out of it and by bedtime (12:00-1:00am for me) it was hard to keep open from the pain. We had eye drops left over from when Frank had pink eye a month before. So I bathed both eyes in that stuff.  Worked too. By Sunday morning both eyes were glued shut. Here is what it looked like by Sunday afternoon.

WARNING! Graphic eye picture dead ahead!

Drops didn't work dude.

Drops didn’t work dude.

That’s just nasty.

The pain was a little surprising. Anyone I talked to said it should itch but not hurt and that includes the doc I went to on Monday. Never got the itching part. But man it hurt. I did learn something. Telling kids not to touch their pink type infected eyes or not to scratch a rash is just about the dumbest thing we could say to our kids. From the jump I couldn’t keep from touching my eyes. It’s a wonder it only lasted 3 days the way I was pulling and poking and rubbing my eyes. I’m surprised my hands didn’t get infected. How in the world could I expect Frank or Anne Marie to posses that type of discipline? Crazy.

But the bigger issue is the shame. I learned long ago with Frank it doesn’t matter if you’re sick you still have to operate in public. Groceries must be bought, kids must be dropped off, errands must be run. We have a very active cul-de-sac, can’t avoid everybody, should I wear a sign? I don’t want infect the Sac kids and their parents but I don’t want to ignore them either.

The problem was my eyes looked hideous as you can see from the picture above. I’m much cooler looking with Pink Eye right? During the day it wasn’t too hard because I could just go the too cool for school rout and drop the shades to cover my unclean state. But at night it was tough.

Wanted to get a little mcReeses mcFlurry on the way home from the mcPodcast, well I had to look away from the dude at the window for fear he wouldn’t serve me. Then I realized he became more frightened I might stick up the joint, so I sped away.

Need to hit the Kroger on the way home from tee ball but now it’s dark, what to do? Do I stare people right in the eye and dare them to comment, shout Unclean! Unclean! if I see someone get within two kroger-meters of my position. Do I just look down in shame and avoid all eye contact what ever? It’s a quandary.

I went with the for shame eyes down method, if you were wondering. I really wanted to shout Unclean! just to see what happened.

My eyes are clear now and apparently I was only contagious the first 24 hours or so. But I was quite the social pariah there for a while.

Thankfully my long national nightmare is over.

Until the next snotty little beast infects me with something.

Parenting is great!

 

 

Zach Rosenberg: A dad you should know.

Starting a new segment here at Frank’s Place. As I have progressed through this little social experiment called blogging I have run into some of my like kind. As it turns out there are a lot of dads out there blogging (yes I live with my head in the sand). As it also turns our most of them are better writers and much funnier than me.

Again I don’t care for people much, so what did I know. I thought I was the best thing going.

I was also never one of those big, “get out of your comfort zone” guys. That’s so dumb, people operate most efficiently in their zone.

Anyway, joining a dads blogging group on Facebook was the big get out of my zone moment.

I even interact with a lot of these dudes. Go figure.

All that to say this, there are some exceptional dads out there who write some funny and insightful stuff, sometimes both at the once. From time to time we here at Frank’s Place will highlight a dad from that group. You’ll see their picture, a brief description and some links to their blogs, FB page etc… Partake at your leisure.

Zach Rosenberg - funny and funny lookin. Hard to beat that.

Zach Rosenberg – funny and funny lookin. Hard to beat that.

The first contestant is Zach Rosenberg.

Zach Rosenberg is a fellow dad blogger and one of the two creators of 8 Bit Dad.

Don’t let that muskrat on his chin fool you. Dude can throw down when he takes pen to paper. (figurative people, figurative)

Here is the blurb from his About page on his blog:

Zach Rosenberg Co-Founder / Editor-in-Chief at 8 Bit Dad.

Zach grew up under a nearby orange tree in California’s San Fernando Valley. He has worked at publications such as Filter Magazine, Geek Monthly Magazine, UNleashed Magazine, WYWS Magazine,The Los Angeles Sentinel (“the largest Black-owned newspaper on the West Coast”), and also worked on His Side with Glenn Sacks (“The largest mens’ and fathers’ issues radio show in America” in 2001). His son was born in January 2009.

A link to a few of his latest posts at 8 Bit Dad: Get your ass back to work   World’s Toughest Job

I know you’re used to the comfy, country church feel of Frank’s Place, so be warned that’s a big operation over at 8 Bit Dad. They have staff writers and such. Fear not.

Do yourself a favor, go check out Zach Rosenberg and 8 Bit Dad.