Thursday, April 29, 2010

Like a Clown, Only NOT Creepy

My son is kinda like a clown. Only not one of those creepy clowns, but rather one who makes a lot of people happy. There must be some of them still out there.

We live in the most populated neighborhood in our city, within short walking distance to a host of interesting places to visit and things to do. Given that, we get out and about around here a lot with Lukas. And, whether we are pulling him around in his red wagon, pushing him in his Kettler tricycle, or more recently walking beside him as he rides his balance bike, he is always drawing attention.

Lots of attention.

And, being the proud and also protective father that I am, I am continually gauging reaction of the people we come into contact with. What I have found, and also what I don't find at all surprising, is that he invariably makes quite a few people smile. And often laugh out loud.

I don't blame them. At nearly 3 years old my son seems to have found the sweet spot of cute. He is fully conversational with an adorable inflection in his voice, as well as being perceptive beyond his age. The only thing Mrs. LIAYF and I need to be fully cognizant about is instilling a proper amount of caution into him of strangers. But when with us, he is not at all shy about striking up a conversation with the people we run across. And they are generally rapt. Often you can see their mood change instantly.

It's a great feeling as a parent to be out and about with him and to see the fleeting moments of happiness engaging with a cute kid gives people. Lukas even made two teenage boys smile and laugh out loud yesterday. He had been devastated after dropping his ice cream cone at the local ice cream parlor. Seeing this, the boys immediately gave him a replacement cone.

A 100% sincere "Thaaaank yu-oohoh" followed by a thousand mile wide smile, and these two boys just couldn't contain themselves - as much as you could tell they wanted too.

I'm sure there will be a time in the near future when people stop seeing the adorable, happy boy my son is right now and just see another kid out and about with his parents. That will be just fine with Mrs. LIAYF and I because we will know that he is the same terrific boy we have always known.

But while it lasts, it sure is fun to be out in public with our little guy.

This post brought to you be Dadblogs Fatherhood Friday. Head over to check out other great posts.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Revolutionary Post

Good morning. Today I published my first post over at, a new side project I am working on with a great group of active, engaged fathers from around the country. Please go over and check it out.

The project has taken a bit of work to get off the ground, so I haven't been around here as much lately but I am happy to report that we now have plenty of momentum on our side.
The idea of DadRevolution is to be a positive catalyst for changing how today's fathers are perceived in society. All of these Revolutionary fathers know what it is to be involved, positive forces in their children's lives and the daily posts will reflect that level of commitment we all share.
I'll be posting every other Tuesday over at Dadrevolution, but as I mentioned there will be a new post every day from one of the dads in the group. So, if you haven't already, please bookmark the site or add it to your reader.
We'll be looking forward to having you as a supporter of revolution.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hammering Man

Man, I'm sore right now. In fact, today is one of those keep the bulk bottle of Costco ibuprofen handy days. My shoulders hurt, my arms hurt, and my hands hurt too. I'm even having trouble making a grip with my right hand. My swinging hand.

Yesterday, I had my first audition for a North Korean hard labor camp. I did so well, that Kim Jong Il presented me with a rose afterwards. I think I may even be headed to Pyongyang.

Ok, actually I bought a sledgehammer and pounded four huge concrete anchor balls into small pieces of rubble. They were leftover detris from a steel climbing structure I took out last fall. Kim wasn't in touch, but I am expecting to hear from him once my exploits with the hammer get out. I very was impressive in my minds eye as I laid waste to those giant boulders and I'm sure that Mrs. LIAYF would agree. Scratch that. Don't ask her.

Do you own a sledgehammer of your own? I think every guy over the age of 25 should. Especially if you live in the city and/or work at a desk. It provides a terrific sense of manliness. To be able to wield a stick with a 16 pound blunt head attached and use it to beat something - anything - to a pulp is quite a stress reliever.

I felt like John Henry.

Just one piece of advice if you get your own. Don't think that you are too manly to wear a pair of work gloves while swinging the sledgehammer. You may just end up with a few blisters on your hands to go along with the aches and pains you will have the next day.

It will make it hard to grip a rose.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cry Spotting

Not that there is anything wrong with it.....but I'm not a big fan of crying.

Now I'm not going to sit here and try to tell you that I haven't experimented with a bit of crying in my day. But this experimentation mostly took place when I was younger, and more impressionable. Guys, need I say more than Brian's Song? Yeah, enough said.

Before becoming a father, not being a fan of crying and all, I would pretty much tune out any form of it that I would hear from other peoples children. Seriously, all forms of 'kid crying' were like nails down the proverbial chalkboard to me. In fact, if a kid was crying in room I was entering, I would often pull a U-turn on the spot just to avoid the drama, letting the child's parents deal with the issue at hand. I didn't want to deal with it unless, of course, I was forced to.
My real problem was that I hadn't developed Crydar - the ability to spot a genuine cry.

But now it's a different story. Now I'm a dad. Now I can deal with a crying child. My crying child. It has a profound effect on a dad, or mom, to hear their young and helpless child hurt or in pain. And Crying? Crying children trigger some primal response in parents.

In fact, I would argue that there is no more powerful force on the planet than that force which a new parent generates immediately upon hearing the genuine cry from a child they are separated from. Mountains could literally be moved, or atoms split if these very flashes of energy could be harnessed in a safe and usable manner.

However, as children get a bit older, they also get a bit smarter everyday. They subconsciously learn what buttons can be pushed. They learn that if they cry, their mother or father will often instantly melt, and quite possibly, give them whatever it is that they want in the moment. This is a powerful tool for a child and of course the vast majority of kids often test the limits of their parents resolve by running the gambit of dramatic crying episodes...often daily. I don't really blame them though. They often don't realize that they are laying it on thick.

So it has helped me quite a bit that after nearly three years as a dad I have developed highly functioning Crydar.

I can spot a real cry in no time flat. This comes naturally now. In fact, most of the time I can spot a fake cry even when the crier doesn't know that they are presenting one. Heck, there may even be tears involved. Years of experience have helped me hone in on the distinctions.

So, as I put my little guy into his crib tonight, if after a few minutes I hear him crying over the monitor, he needs to realize that his daddy's Crydar will be on. And, if his is not an authentic cry, well then it may be a few minutes before someone makes their way up to check on him. And although we will tell him how much we love him when we do respond, we might just let him cry that fake cry for a little while.

Not that there's anything wrong with it, of course.

This post brought to you by Fatherhood Friday. Follow this link to see other great #FF posts at

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Social Climbing

Do you remember the day you became socially dispensable on the playground?

For quite some time now, any trip to the neighborhood playground has included either myself, Mrs. LIAYF, or both of us hovering around Lukas to make sure that his attempts to climb, jump, or slide didn't end up like a scene from, Trauma - Life in the ER.

Perhaps being first time parents we often took things a bit too far by climbing around on the equipment with him, providing our own form of entertainment and encouragement while our little man learned to navigate the ups and downs, both physical and social, of the Jungle Gym.

Up to this point we have yet to sit back in one spot and watch with confidence as our son climbs from one side of a tall structure to the other secure in the knowledge that he is properly aware of the inherent dangers that it possesses. As a result of this constant presence and interaction, we have most often been our son's social entertainment at the playground too.

However, while arriving a local park this past weekend I was intently engaged in conversation with my lovely wife. Lukas immediately ran over to a playground boat complete with foam 'water' surrounding it and began pretending he was the captain and he had fallen overboard.

Then after a few moments I tuned in to what he was saying and heard him call out "Oh, I fell over board. Someone come and save me!" "I'm coming son. I'm coming to save you!" I called back. But Mrs. LIAYF stopped me and pointed over to an unfolding scene. Another little boy a bit older than Lukas came over and grabbed his hand and led him back into the boat. They then repeated the scene with reversed roles.

Sure, it was a pretty cute moment. But it was a tiny bit sad to me at the same time. I realized that it was just one more in the series of events that constitute my son becoming independent from his parents. Of course there will be many, many more along his journey to adulthood and each will also be bittersweet in their own regard.

I know most of my readers have tread these very waters - on multiple occasions. It's all part of watching your child grow and become their own person. But do you remember these little moments? Will they eventually blur all together? I think one good thing about writing in this format, itself in the moment, will be to help me remember these moments for what they were.

And, just as I was contemplating those very facts, Lukas was climbing the play structure. He waved me over and said "Daddy, you stay here behind this screen!' "Why Buddy?" I responded.

"Because, I am going to wope you and cage you! Dats why!"

Perhaps I am not socially dispensable after all. Well, not just yet anyway.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Porcelain Gods

Last Summer, while planning our basement remodel, I joked (with only a small hint of seriousness) to Mrs. LIAYF that in the new bathroom we should install a urinal.

"Think of the convenience" I argued. "Slap one of those against the wall and it won't take up much room. Plus, since we could both use the bathroom down there at the same time, there would be plenty of extra time available for me to do important things around the house." Even though I was thinking it, I stopped short of adding, "Like blogging".

It didn't go over very well.

Needless to say, our basement bathroom is now complete - with only the one toilet.

You'll have to excuse me. Urinals and toilets have been on my mind a lot lately. Lukas is at the stage in his potty training where he exclusively uses them now. When there are no 'accidents' that is....and I'm proud to say that my son, who is a few months shy of his third birthday, is progressing very nicely. He actually went the whole week last week (non sleep time) with a dry set of underwear. Notice that I didn't say 'pair'. Yes, we did change him last week.

Anyway, back to the urinals. Again and again, and again. Every time we are out in public these days, sometimes Mrs. LIAYF, but more often me, are taking our son to the nearest restroom every 30 to 60 minutes to do his business - attempting to reinforce the idea that he go on a regular basis. And, since he is a 'big boy' now, he really doesn't want to sit to go pee. I can certainly relate and will always go out of my way to accommodate that desire.

But with the fact that my boy is still barely over 3' tall and won't be able to stand in front of a toilet on his own for some time still, what usually will transpire is that I'll pull down his pants and hold my son over the toilet or up to the urinal to complete the task at hand. This is usually a rather awkward procedure. This process is most often necessitated by the fact that almost no public restrooms, even the ones catering specifically to families, have step stools available. What's up with that? You know, you really don't notice these things until you have a little guy of your own.

All that being said, it turned out to be quite a treat for us the other day while visiting a local children's museum, when we rolled into the men's room and found, at the very end of a row of urinals, a small sized one that began at floor level! I found it difficult to contain my obvious excitement, though I did refrain from hooting in front of the other dad who was present.

I eagerly pointed this small sized receptacle out to Lukas, who seemed to immediately get the significance, or so said the adult sized smile that crept across his face. Not one to miss out on such a significant opportunity, I then parked myself one unit over while letting my son take care of his own business for a nice change. It was strangely a small moment of happiness for me.

Not only that, you can only imagine the time we saved.
Check out the other great Fatherhood Friday posts over at

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Turning the Tables

Seattledad: "Lukas, do you want a strawberry?"

Lukas: "I do want a strawberry, daddy"

Seattledad: "Why?"

Lukas: "Because it's tasty!"

Seattledad: "Why?"

Lukas: "Cause I wike it"

Seattledad: "Why?"

Lukas: "It's (confused, mumbles something incoherent) good strawberry yogurt!"

Seattledad: "Good in strawberry yogurt?"

Lukas: "Yep, dey are. Uh, huh"

Seattledad: "Why?"

Lukas: (staring blankly at me) "Um.......I wike it"

Seattledad: "Why?"

Lukas: "..............We have to eat now. Um.....I tell you after lunch daddy!"

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Rocket Boys

What is it with boys and rocket ships?


For Lukas it started before he was born. Mrs. LIAYF picked up a cloth Space Shuttle complete with a finger puppet Astronaut and Rocket Scientist. Lukas played with that toy quite a bit in his first year (post-stasis).

Then, at some point while reading the multitudes of various books to our little spaceman Curious George and the Rocket became one of his favorites. He especially enjoyed the countdown sequence where at the end I would make that gurgle hissing blast off sound with my mouth and slowly move my hand up into the air to simulate the rocket breaking the force of the Earths gravity. I read it over and over again and always, as I raised my hand, I could see a bit of wonder fill his eyes.

More recently we picked up a couple of other books depicting young boys and their rockets. He loves Space Boy which is a fun story of a boy who doesn't want to go to sleep, so he decides to climb into his backyard rocket and travel to the moon for a picnic. Space Man Sam is another one, which was actually given to us by the owner of Seattle's Atomic Boys toy and candy shop. It has several interactive flaps as well as a second smaller book at the end in the shape of a rocket which can be shot out of the spring loaded back page (In truth the book doesn't travel more than a half an inch, and as Lukas quickly discovered, the springs will shoot graham crackers much further.)

This fascination with rockets and spaceships also led to the palpable level of excitement that burst forth from our son when, to our surprise, we recently happened upon 'The Reading Rocket' at Seattle's Izilla Toys. Lukas, grinning from ear to ear the whole time, couldn't get enough of this kid sized rocket ship complete with a ladder, lights, dials, chair, and a kid-sized space suit. In and out. Up and down. We must have circled the moon a hundred times that afternoon.

All in his imagination.

Then, early Sunday morning while still half asleep and reading a stack of books to my son, he pulled that old copy of Curious George and the Rocket off the shelf for me to read.

Being exhausted, I couldn't muster much more than a half hearted blast off sequence. Then it hit me. I finally had an idea that realistically should have come to me a long time before, especially given the day and age we live in.
"Lukas, do you want to watch a real rocket taking off?" I asked. "Yeah!" was his obvious answer. So, once dad had been properly caffeinated, we pulled out the laptop and witnessed several different 'blast-offs' all from the comfort and gravity of our own dining room.

"Whoa. I wanna do dat!" he excitedly intoned as he watched the sequences.

-"Buddy, you're two and a half. When you are grown up, you can do anything you want. Including taking a rocket to space" I proudly replied.
Hey, nobody said imaginations were limited to the little guys.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Unprepared for the Big One

(Nearly 2 years later, he is still in here)

Pssst! Hey there. I don't want to jinx it, but (talking out of the side of my mouth) Lukas will be 3 in a couple of months and he is still sleeping in his crib. Yes, In his CRIB.

It's true. I'm not sure how long this will last but up to this point our son, who by the way is turning into a champion climber on the playground, has not yet made an attempt to throw his leg over the side of his crib rail and exit the confines of his cozy sleeping cell.

However, times they are a changin. As he has gotten older, it has become ever harder to get him to sleep by his 8PM bedtime. Sometimes he will lay there and talk to himself for an hour or an hour and a half before finally dozing off. Other nights he will go right to sleep, but he still hasn't once become so frustrated that he has decided to go all Houdini on us and jump ship.


We know it is only a matter of time. It's like the BIG ONE. We all know it is long overdue, but there is no way to predict when it will hit. We could be sound asleep in our bed when we hear a loud bang and feel the floor rumble. I'm sure it will be a chaotic moment. Hopefully though, we will get some sort of warning prior to our big one hitting. Perhaps the cats will begin to act goofy. Maybe stop running under my feet at inopportune times, or actually want outside to hack up their hairballs. Who knows?

We do have had a toddler bed which has been waiting in our garage since last Fall. All we have to do is dig it out and haul it up there once it becomes necessary. You may ask: Why wait for necessary?

Well, Mrs. LIAYF and I both love our sleep. And now, once Lukas is in his crib, he stays there. But once the big one hits...all bets are off. It's hard enough to convince our little guy now that he shouldn't plead and yell and beg for more stories once bed time comes along. Take away the fences? Let's just say it'll be somewhat chaotic around casa LIAYF for a while afterwards. Perhaps I should prepare more.

Maybe get the Benny Hill music queued and ready to play.