Wednesday, February 25, 2009

All I Ever Wanted

Vacation? It has been so long since I actually had a real one, I had to look up the definition on websters online just to make sure that our short excursion actually counts.

And yes, it does!

Lukas was still 3 months from first seeing the light of day when Mrs. LIAYF and I last went on holiday. (A memorable trip to Oahu)

However we, along with Lukas, will be boarding a Big Ol’ Jet Aeroplane tomorrow for a trip down the left coast a few hundred miles to the city by the bay, San Francisco. It is meant to be an extended weekend of sightseeing, fun, relaxation, and visiting family who have never met our new addition nor we thiers.

Hopefully, relaxation will be the end result. We really need it.

I say hopefully only because this will be the first flight for our son, and even though it is only a short two hour trip, I am a bit nervous about how he will react to it, and to being away from home. I know, I know. Most of you out there with kids his age have probably been on several flights by now with the little ones and consider it no big deal.

We, however, are a family steeped in routine. And this routine has worked out well for us so far. Other than a couple of nights at the hospital back in October, Lukas has not spent a night away from home since he was born. He is in bed and asleep by 7:30 each and every night.

So to us, and more importantly to Lukas, the flight and hotels will be a considerable change. I do think Luke is plenty old enough to take the change in routine in stride, but like most change, it still makes me just slightly nervous to consider. Plus, there is the whole concept of what to pack for an extended trip with a toddler. Will we choose the right things for the limited amount of space? I know. I'm really not as concerned about this as it must sound.

I sure will be happy when all that speculation is past and we can finally get on to the business of having fun, forgetting about work, and getting together with family.

It should be a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


“Sleep's Overrated!”

Yes, that would be our rallying cry so many years ago when my friends, my Band of Brothers and I, were young, single, childless, and in denial in the face of a duty to rise early and be productive in the coming day. And why not? In those moments there was still fun to be had, memories to be made, and a resolve that no matter what pains the next day would bring, in the end it would all have been well worth it.

Now? Is sleep overrated now?

Well, it wasn’t overrated when Mrs. LIAYF and I decided to stream that second episode of ‘LOST’, effectively getting us to sleep around midnight last night. But we did it anyway.

It wasn’t overrated after I was startled awake at 2:30 AM and couldn't get myself back to sleep once my mind began racing through every conceivable thought rattling around in my head. And the ‘Happy Place’ I was supposed to go to in my mind to relax me? Not so happy when you can’t bring yourself to stop there long enough to soak up the sand and the sun.

Again, sleep was not overrated when, hours later I finally nodded off, only to be awoken not 5 minutes later from a happy dream that consisted of my 'running the table' in a game of pool. This time I was woke by Lukas, who decided 5:20 was a decent enough time to rise for the day.

And friends, sleep is most certainly not overrated as I sit here now, looking rather blankly at my desk and a pile of work ‘issues’ that will most certainly not miraculously decide to resolve themselves.

Yes, those days are long gone! Now excuse me while I properly caffeinate myself.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Curious Case for CPS

Lukas loves to read his books. And, like most kids his age he is enamored with that naughty little monkey, George. Well ok, George is actually a good little monkey...but always very curious.

Now, I like the Curious George series, plus the concepts seem to resonate well enough with our son. However, the more I read these stories over and over, coupled with my becoming ever more experienced as a father, I can't help notice something.

The Man with the Yellow Hat is one seriously crappy parent.

Honestly, how old can that little monkey be? Maybe 3 or 4 years old, tops? Now, I give him props for trying to be a good father figure, but what does this Yellow clad (not just the hat) parent do every single time they go out to spend a bit of quality time together?

YES! I know!!

Now, picture if this were me and Lukas. "Lukas, here we are in the middle of a crowd at the zoo, I want you to stand here by yourself while I go waaaay over there, out of your sight, for 10 minutes or so and buy us some cotton-candy. I'll be back after you've had ample time to put your life in jeopardy, but even though you have only seen these animals before in books, don't get too curious"

It's a no brainer that after a couple of episodes similar to this I would either have my back side thrown in jail for child endangerment, or at the very least had someone call Child Protective Services to have my little guy taken away. But the Yellow hatted dude? Well, he is a bonafide celebrity. Even been in a recent movie! Go figure.

(Lukas, sit here and read while daddy runs out for coffee, but don't get too curious)

And while I am at it, does anyone else wonder what how this guy became the guardian of a juvenile monkey in the first place? Did he buy George at Petco? Or worse, off the black market? I am sure there is a story behind it, but I haven't seen it explained in any of the tales that I have read. I probably should check Mrs. LIAYFapedia to find out.

What I do know is that times have changed, and some things that passed muster for good parenting over 60 years ago when George first came out, could get someone in some mighty hot water in today's day and age. Yet the series is still as popular as ever. Somehow we can all look the other way in the face of parenting skills as blatantly bad as Yellows. Curiously enough. I wonder if our two year olds are picking up on those finer details?

No, I didn't think so.

"Yes, of course buddy. Jump up and I'll read it again."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Band of Brothers

(Lukas training for his move to the Toddler Room)

I can’t complain. Things have been going rather swimmingly for Lukas at daycare. Other than the painful departure of Venus a few weeks back, our son has settled into a nice routine with his pre-toddler room Band of Brothers. In fact, there has not been one ‘ouch report’ sent home since the departure of The Nemesis at the end of December. No bites. No being pushed over backwards. No being raked across the face with sharp nails.

Speaking of removing a bad influence, not surprisingly since The Nemesis moved to the next room, neither have we had a single report of Lukas biting anyone. Clearly it seems to have been a defense mechanism on his part, intended to ensure survival in a harsh little world where just one ill-behaving child can wreak havoc on any chance for peace and harmony.

However, now in place of tyranny I get to witness scenes such as the one I witnessed yesterday afternoon while trying to extricate my boy from his classmates. Lukas, finally resigned to the fact that we were in fact going to have to depart the place where he was having such a good time, took it upon himself to first seek out every other child in the room and give them a warm parting embrace. You would have thought we were leaving for good, never to return. It was as if he were saying “Brother, we have been to hell and back together, and I love you man!”

Thinking on this, I can now see the brilliance in my little guy's plan. Yes, The Nemesis is gone, but one day in the not too distant future, Lukas will be moving into the next room too. And how better to counteract tyranny than to build a coalition of freinds with similar goals who are willing to support you?

I can see it now. As time goes by, one by one Luke’s Band of Brothers will form in that next room. And when they do this tiny army, built on love, hugs, and the absence of blood…well, they will have his back.

And The Nemesis will have no place to hide.

At least that’s how I see it going down.

Mrs. LIAYF would argue I read too many historical war novels.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Ugly Truth about Love

Sometimes I am astounded by the lengths I will go to in the name of Love.

It all started with a moment of weakness about a week and a half ago at our local video store. I was alone with Lukas trying to find a video for that evening. Mrs. LIAYF and I had just finished the entire series of "Battlestar Gallactica" - as well as pretty much every other TV series (we cancelled our cable, remember?). We both thought we would enjoy "The West Wing," and I believed I could pop into the store and get it on my way home.

Lukas hadn't slept well at daycare and was particularly fussy. Of course, no "West Wing" was on the shelves. Lukas began to whine and squirm mightily wanting down. I, overdressed in a fleece and overcoat, began to sweat as I quickly scanned the other selections. Lukas crying out a bit louder, and pushing away from my chest with his arms wanting to be put down while the moisture built under my arms. There was NOTHING we hadn't already watched.

I spotted it. And had a moment of weakness. And I took it home because my sweet wife had once mentioned she thought it looked funny.

Fighting my squirming boy, I sheepishly laid "Ugly Betty" down on the counter. The 20-something clerk, who a moment ago had been having an animated conversation with another male customer about the movie "Appaloosa," looked at me, my kid, and my selection and flashed me a brief look of pity. Without saying a word or looking in my general direction, he quickly rang me up. Yes, I could tell what he was thinking. However, fighting the sudden feeling that I had just hit a new low on the Guy-o-Meter, I confidently grabbed the disc head held high and walked out.

"Ugly Betty" sat on our shelf for that whole week and a half, while I convinced Mrs. LIAYF that we needed to watch other shows. Up until Friday night, when we had nothing else to watch that wasn't dark and depressing. So, I relented and asked if she wanted to watch "Ugly Betty." O.k. It wasn't the worst show in the world. And, her smile made it all worth while! Yes, love will make you do some strange things. Some things you would never imagine yourself doing. But then again, it can also be rewarding and make you wonder why you waited so long.

Queue the purple dinosaur, I am on a roll.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

How to Count the Ways?

You mean the world to the men in your life (me and the little one). Without you we would be lost and aimless in this crazy, whirlwind of an experience. We both love you with every ounce of what we are, and are extremely lucky you are ours exclusively. We are selfish that way.
Yes, it's impossible to adequately articulate what you mean to us, however I will risk sounding like a big cheeseball here, and say this:

"To Lukas and I, Love is not a word, spoken or spelled out. It is simply our conception of you."

Happy Valentines Day!


Monday, February 9, 2009

Bits and Pieces

I haven't done a random post in a while, however there are just too many different things floating around upstairs for me to chose to blog about. I'm guessing that is what Twitter is for, but I don't do Twitter yet (in case you are looking for me), so therefore today you get random.

Lukas had a tough weekend on the changing table. Mrs. LIAYF and I spent most of the weekend in a pitched battle with our son each and every time we would lay him down in his room to be changed. He would scream and yell, twist and turn, cry and weep like we were subjecting him to a cruel and unusual form of toddler torture. We couldn't figure out what was up until Mrs. LIAYF finally asked him if he was afraid he was going to fall. A whimpering "yeah" confirmed it. After a backwards fall off the bed a few days ago where he wasn't physically hurt, Lukas seems to have developed a fear of falling. We are now reassuring him and hoping it passes soon.

With each passing day, Luke's vocal skills continue to improve. He clearly repeats dozens of words throughout a given day, and has started to put groups of words together regularly to inquire about the world around him. However, in true toddler form, he has running conversations with us where we just can't figure out what the words he is using represent. He will be jabbering and suddenly, displaying what seems like a form of toddler torrets, emphatically shout out a 'word' or two at the top of his lungs to which we are left clueless. Tonight it was CAPEESH! But sadly, no, we didn't understand.

With Valentines Day fast approaching, Lukas seems to have recovered nicely from his bout with a broken heart. As I arrived to pick him up from daycare today, Lukas' caregiver took time to relate to me the story of how one of the two little girls left in his room after the departure of Venus, we will call her Aphrodite, spent ample amounts of time today giving him lingering hugs. "She seems to have been the instigator" commented the provider. And as I held him in my arms ready to walk out the door, she came over with an outstretched hand. I obligingly leaned over so he could take her hand for a passing moment, and take in her bright eyes and big smile. Again, the other boys in the room stared vacantly at this exchange.

Thanks goes out to DC Urban Dad, who bestowed upon me today, yet another blogger award. Though I am a bit fuzzy on what it is called, I really do appreciate it.

This award shows the values that every blogger shows in his or her effort to transmit cultural, literal, ethical and personal values every day.

Oh and of course, the award comes with rules:

1) Accept the award and post it on your blog along with the name of the person who gave you the award.


2) Pass it on to (15) bloggers that you know who deserve it.

(The award is great but I just can't keep giving these awards to the same small group of bloggers who I interact with, so I am passing on the 2nd rule. Capeesh?)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Divergent Paths

We may very well one day look back on this time period as definable for Lukas.

If he continues to take after Mrs. LIAYF, the sky's the limit for our son's career potential:

Nuclear Physicist
Brain Surgeon
Rocket Scientist

However, if he begins to pick up my inherent qualities, who knows what he might end up doing...

Halloween haunted house 'extra' ??

Burger joint spokesman??

Nursing home magician??

Birthday cake "Surprise" guy??

Thank God for mothers. At least with Mrs. LIAYF around, I know Lukas will be just fine.

Whatever the heck he decides to be when he grows up!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

In Case You Missed it on CNN

I announced a while back, to understandably mediocre fanfare, that I am now writing travel posts over at the UpTake vacations blog. Well, today UpTake has launched its official press release. For those interested, you can read the press release here.

Perhaps more interesting, will be the official About Us page for the entire team of bloggers currently writing for UpTake Vacations. They are a talented group of writers, so I encourage you to read all about them (and me). You can also follow the embedded links, and thus be rewarded with hours of extended reading pleasure. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll secretly curse us because you won't get anything else done.

Why read a travel blog? Because, even if you currently can't afford to travel to all the fun and fascinating destinations covered weekly on the blog, you will certainly enjoy reading about them as well as anticipating the day you will eventually visit. You know, when you win the Lotto.

Anyway, if you haven't already done so, go ahead and add us to your RSS. It'll be one of the easier things you'll do today, and we all like easy.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Love Sick Blues

(My Baby Done Left Me: Da, Duh, Da, Da... )

It is a tale too often told. But what makes it hurt all that much worse has to be the timing. Saint Valentine, upon learning of this development, will surely be turning in his grave. Likewise, Cupid must be beside himself, realizing that all his recent overtime on this project might have been for naught. But hey, the breaks don’t always fall your way.
Try explaining that to a 19 month old.

Venus, has left the building. Well, she hasn’t actually left the building per say, but she has bid adieu to the pre-toddler program and has taken up residence with the toddlers in a nearby room. For all intents and purposes though, she is gone from Luke’s daily circle of friends for what could be up to 4 or 5 months. No more Hugs. No more heart stickers. No more helping him off with his coat.
Long distance relationship? Haven’t we all been there? I proposed to Mrs. LIAYF after enduring an excruciating 3 month hiatus when she left this state for Grad School. Best thing I ever did. The kids though, are still a smidge too young for that option, so it looks like heartbreak city for our little Casanova.

Mrs. LIAYF and I will need to be all the more sensitive to his emotions in the coming days. Be there with extra hugs and words of encouragement to remedy Love's lost promise. This could be serious. I wonder if it is just mere coincidence that today, the first day of her absence, I was called to take Lukas home before noon with a high fever. He is clearly not feeling well.

Yes, the fever will pass. But the emptiness will take some time to fill. Of course, in a room bursting with boys, there are still a couple of little girls who are looking for a Valentine.