Monday, November 25, 2013

It Happens, With an Sh

As parents, we are all aware that sh*t can go south in an instant.

I know this because that happened to us just last night.  Let me set the scene.

We had just finished dinner, and were going about our bedtime routine with the kids, which involved taking them upstairs and getting them undressed, cleaned, a ready for stories.   However, with our garbage pickup being the next day, I needed to take out the trash, including the diaper bin.  So, leaving Mrs. LIAYF with the 2 now-naked kids, who were playing near the bookcase in Lukas' room, I made my way to the basement.

It couldn't have been more than 2 minutes after I left that I heard the screaming.

It didn't seem like a pain scream, but it did sound traumatic. It was Lukas.  I waited a second (a prerequisite) to see if it resolved itself, but when the screams of horror continued I ran back up the stairs to see what was going on.

That's where I found my wife, shirt on backwards, holding Annabelle whose feet were slipping around on the floor and on top of some books. Lukas was sobbing in the bathroom.

Apparently, as Mrs. LIAYF walked down the hall to change into PJ's Annabelle, unbeknownced to Lukas,  pulled some of his books off the shelf, and proceeded to play with them whilst also going about some of her other nightly business, right over the top of them!

It was at that point, we are surmising, that he reached down to grab a book and came up with a handful of baby sh*t instead.

The horror!

He immediately screamed and ran out of the room leaving Annabelle, who started crying uncontrollably as well,  crawling over the books and tracking her poo everywhere.

Hearing this transpire, Mrs. LIAYF had haphazardly dressed, led Lukas to the bathroom to rinse his hands, and was now holding a crap covered Annabelle at arms length when I arrived!

It was a chaotic scene for sure.

She handed Annabelle off to me without full explanation and headed for the bathroom to run a sink full of water for her leaving me holding a poo covered baby girl, wildly kicking her feet, in my arms.  Of course it wasn't long before I had received a tiny brown foot imprint on my shirt.  It was oddly reminiscent of  a father's day card her daycare had sent home this past summer.

Good times.

Then, after depositing Annabelle in the sink full of water with Mrs. LIAYF, and consoling a still sobbing Lukas who had realized his room was in need of a scrub, I was informed that there were a pile of the books in the tub which needed thrown away.  Seeing that they were 'Little Critter' books, I didn't feel so bad but when I reached in to grab them I instantly realized why Lukas was so traumatized as I came up with my own messy handful.  Yeesh!

"What are you doing?!" my wife emphatically asked as I went to rinse the books in the other bathroom sink.  "Not there!  I wash my contacts in that sink!"  So, instead I reached into the tub and turned on the faucet to rinse off the books there when the shower head turned on instead, soaking me from above!

"Ahhhhh!!!" I yelled out, water streaming down my neck and back.

Apparently, he felt better seeing this transpire.  Like an elixir,  witnessing me get the brunt of the water made Lukas laugh uncontrollably.  His laughter was contagious too, instantly spreading to Mrs. LIAYF who was still bathing Annabelle, and finally to me.  We all got a pretty big kick out of the crazy scene that just took place.   After all it WAS pretty funny.

We then cleaned up his room. And with that, thankfully our crappy night had just turned into a pretty funny story.

Plus, I got to throw out recycle a couple of Little Critter books.  Not my favorites.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Like Vegas....Only a Daycare.

"Okay, NOW I'm ready."  I let Mrs. LIAYF know last night as I readied the camera.  "You can let her go NOW."

And with that my lovely wife released Annabelle, whom she was holding onto by the arms.  They were both in the middle of the bedroom floor, and with a disturbed look on her face our little girl, barely 1 year old, plopped gently down onto her behind with a thud and a whimper.

This, of course, was followed by another attempt.  Same results.

It was apparent that we had missed our opportunity to record -  best case scenario - her first steps, or at least her second stint of standing unsupported on her own.  Her doing that last bit had precipitated me running down the stairs with abandon moments earlier to grab the camera that now sat in my hand.

"I guess we'll try again later." I declared, secretly hoping that a few moments break would give her the second wind she needed.   And there was indeed another opportunity, but again things didn't quite work out.  In the end I didn't get the photo I had hoped for.  You know, the one where she is looking straight into the camera with a giant smile and look of accomplishment, arms out to the sides, as her foot is poised to move in the direction of the camera.

But I did get this one:

One pinky! That is all that's supporting her.

For now, It's better than the nothing I had before.  But the 'walking' watch is most definitely on.

Something tells me I shouldn't be as excited about this as I am.  But hey, it's a mighty big deal.  My parents don't have any pictures of my first steps.  And what dad doesn't want to give his kids better than he had?

Not this one.

That brings me to this morning, when I dropped Annabelle off at The Circus Circus.  It's also known as her daycare.  When the caregivers asked me how her night was, I let them know what had transpired, and how close she was to walking.

Then I reminded them, in no uncertain terms, that I considered her next several trips there to be like a Vegas vacation.  What happens there stays there!

That way, one day at her wedding, when I tell my little girl that it seemed like yesterday when I watched as she took her very first steps, it will be the 100% truth.  At least as far as I know it to be.

Then, I'll whip the picture, or better yet video of the event out of my tuxedo so we can watch it together as I walk her down the aisle before letting go of her.

It will be the perfect moment.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Gifted Dad

With a genuinely puzzled look on my face, I looked back at the mother in line behind me and asked "Do you have any idea why this isn't working?"

It was early in the morning and I was dropping Lukas off at the before school program he goes to a couple of days a week.  Granted, I am rarely doing drop-off at this particular location.  That would be Mrs. LIAYF's job, while I am dropping off Annabelle at her daycare several miles away.

But this particular morning I had both of them.  And I was in a hurry after learning last minute that I was needed to do his drop-off as well.

So as I entered the building with my baby girl in one arm, and the mother I mentioned above - acting like she was also in a hurry - queued up behind me, I approached the check in screen and pressed the button to get the process started.

Nothing happened.

I then pressed the button again with the same result.  Then again, and again.  "What the....?" I thought to myself.

It was at that point I turned to the mother behind me, as described above, and asked what I was doing wrong.  I was obviously stumped.

"You might want to try using the mouse" was her reply.


For the Gifted Dad!

Yeah, like an idiot I had been pressing the button on the computer monitor over and over expecting it to respond like our Kindle Fire tablet.

"I guess we live in a touch screen age!" I sheepishly replied, feeling pretty foolish.

Thankfully, as I mentioned, I don't drop Lukas off at that location very often.

I'm sure she won't remember me.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Long Term Projects

As if from a squirt gun dipped in a tea pot, the tiny stream of hot water unsuspectingly sprayed me right  in the middle of my left eye.  "Gahd!" I yelled, and shook my head as I grabbed the dish towel from the counter-top next to me and wiped off my face.

I should have known it was coming.  After all it has been an annoyance for a while now.  There is a microscopic hole in the top of our kitchen faucet.  And when I turn the water pressure up high enough, it sprays out its steady stream about 8 inches into the air.  This, the spray that is, only happens when I am using the sink for specific tasks that require a steady stream of water.

Like the dishes.

Okay, as you may have guessed this is becoming a major nuisance.  You might even think I would have done something about it by now.  But alas I have not.

Neither have I replaced the porcelain sink bowl of our main floor bathroom.  That cracked a few months ago when a thick glass container fell off a shelf above and smacked it hard enough to take a chunk out of the outer ring which is where the approximately 7" break begins.  Then, of course, there is the paint that is peeling away from the north side of our house, and the deck boards out back that are beginning to rot away.

I had hoped to get to those jobs before the rainy season began. But we live in Seattle where we have a saying that we have two seasons.  Winter and August.

Yes, as funny as that sounds, it's a fallacy. Really.  The truth is we had plenty of great weather this Spring and Summer when I could have worked on those house projects.  Those, and the multitude of other house projects that Mrs. LIAYF and I would love to get to.

There's the bathroom light switch that resides in back of the open door, the dining room light that hangs seriously off center, the bedroom closets that lack any semblance of insulation - resulting in icy wood floors each winter, the curtain rods that need rehung, and the painting.  Seriously, everything could stand a fresh coat of paint around our house.  And that's just scratching the surface of what we want to do.

But to say it's difficult to get many of these projects done these days is an understatement.  Hell, I can't even bring myself right now to fix that annoying kitchen faucet.   The reason?  I know it will take a block of time to replace the whole thing.  A block of time that, to this point, I haven't been willing to sacrifice.  It's even more difficult to imagine getting to the larger projects I mentioned above, much less any of the serious remodeling that Mrs. LIAYF will occasionally propose.

With both Mrs. LIAYF and I working full time, and with young kids (Annabelle just turned 1), what little free time we do have is spent nurturing them, cleaning up after them, and making sure they are safe, happy, & most of all well loved.

So, as I write this it is Sunday night.  Another weekend has passed without the curtain rods being rehung. Without the closets being insulated.  Without a fresh coat of paint being slapped on any surface of our house, inside or out.

And most of all, without that insanely annoying faucet being replaced.

You'll miss certain things if you are otherwise
engaged on house projects

However, and thankfully there is a however.  However, I did have a productive weekend. Yes I did.  I had the opportunity to follow Annabelle up the stairs several times, making sure she was safe and not tumbling backwards down them.  I was also able to spend many hours of quality time with her during this critical juncture in her development.  If I hadn't I wouldn't have watched as, for the first time today, she stood on her own for a few moments after letting go of the gate she was holding onto for support.  She is so close to walking.

I also had the opportunity, along with Mrs. LIAYF, to take Lukas to a local Lego Robotics competition.  He is an amazing Lego engineer in his own right, just from his own devices around the house, and it was a very cool opportunity for him to see what other kids his own age are making as well.  He is set to start a Lego Robotics class in the new year.

I also read to him, played with him on the playground, and watched a classic Fred Astaire movie with him and his mother.  He really enjoyed that.

The point is that while, once again, I didn't take the time to tackle a few of the little annoying projects around the house this weekend, I still had a very productive weekend.

There were a couple of small, and definitely not annoying, large projects that I think I made amazing progress on.  Those were unbelievably fun projects, I have to say.

So, I suppose the house has been here for over a hundred years.  And I guess it'll still be here when I have more time to devote to it after a few more.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The House on Parkour Ave

Lukas flew by me in a flash, headed for our living room.  He was a ball of energy with a new found purpose.

After a few long running strides he leaped up, with his feet coming down on the arm of our leather easy chair - before his momentum immediately carried him right off the other side.  Then, once his feet hit the carpet he curled into a roll as he reached the cushion of our sofa, sprung up,  ran the length of it and jumped from there onto our purple easy chair and back onto the wood floor, before again sprinting around the corner into our kitchen with a spin or two thrown in for good measure.  He finished as he had begun, in a flash diving onto the love seat that resided in the extended family room a few feet away.

"How was that?!" he smiled broadly.

"Awesome!" I responded. "But this is how it should be done.  Watch and learn."

And with that I ran gingerly around our kitchen island,  put my shoulder softly into our refrigerator on the other side, spun off of it gaining my momentum as I found a bar stool a few feet away, rolled my backside deftly across it it one fluid motion before doing a 360 degree spin and jumping up with my right foot onto a dining room chair, and pushed off landing with both feet on the ground and arms raised in emotion.

"Parkour!" I shouted.

This was all precipitated by a conversation Mrs. LIAYF had with another mom at a party last Friday night. Apparently there was a third mother who had placed their bouncy young child in a Parkour class and were amazed at the results.

Neither of us had heard of Parkour before.  But at the mention of a new exercise class for a bouncy 6 year old, our interest was obviously piqued.  A quick Google search had returned some video clips of people of all ages doing some amazing acrobatic leaping and climbing.

This looked pretty cool!

It was at about that time that Lukas entered the room, and without much forethought we showed him the video.   At the same time, I had asked the question of my Facebook Dad Blogger group if anyone had heard of Parkour.  Brent from Designer Daddy responded almost immediately that whenever someone mentioned Parkour, he thought of this scene from The Office:

I found this pretty hilarious.

Of course Lukas, having seen the first video started to immediately run around from room to room leaping, and bouncing off every piece of furniture we own.

As for my performance?  It was definitely more reminiscent of the The Office Parkour video I had just watched.  Just not as graceful.

Then, after a few more in house, out of control, acrobatic display's by Lukas, and hearing of another response I got from a fellow Dad Blogger about all the spectacular accidents he'd seen attributed to Parkour over the years, Mrs. LIAYF turned to me with a troubled look on her face and declared:

"Maybe this wasn't such a good idea!"

I smiled at her.   "Parkour!" was all I could muster in response.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Stares Bother Me the Most

Oh, sorry about that.  You can't spell check a title.

I meant the 'Stairs'.  What bothers me most as a parent right now are the Stairs!

Annabelle is bound and determined to climb these suckers.  Over and over again!

It was funny.  On the first day this happened another Dad Blogger from our Facebook group asked the question of how to prevent his 15 month old from climbing them in his house.  One response suggested he "Butter the stairs".  

I had to laugh.  

We do have a gate at the top which has been there since Lukas was born, and which works wonderfully to keep the kids from falling down them.  But we have nothing at the bottom to prevent a determined baby from climbing them.  The layout there is not conducive to a gate.  And believe me, Annabelle is determined.

I am pretty sure Mrs. LIAYF and my solution will be the same as it was with Lukas, which is to just keep a set of eyes on her at all times.  And to follow her up them until she is well skilled in art of the climb.

Plus, a few extra stair climbing reps certainly wouldn't hurt for another member of the family right now either. He is partial to coffee, bacon, and the occasional frosty beverage.

I bet you can guess who that is.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Good-Hearted Boy

I hesitated for the briefest of moments when I saw Lukas dash toward the boy.  I suppose it was just natural human reaction that caused me to pause.  I immediately realized, with a smile, that I shouldn't have.

We were in our community square at a Halloween festival and Lukas, in his Ninja costume, was excitedly going from business to business trick or treating for candy.  More than candy, the experience was a social event for him as he also begged the proprietors to "smell my feet...." before breaking into genuine laughter.

There were also an impressively large gathering of other Ninja's milling about as well, and our son wanted to great each and every one of them, brothers that they were, with a "Hello Ninja!!"   He was more often greeted with a cold shoulder. I assured him that those Ninja's, if they really were Ninja's, were probably "on a secret mission for candy." and couldn't talk.

Despite his focus on making friends there was candy to be had, and Lukas' bowl had gathered a decent store of candy as his grandfather and I walked with him towards the end of the business loop.

And that is when I, turning, saw Lukas dashing towards the boy who was perhaps 4 years old and accompanied by his parents. The boy, who was dressed like a pirate, had just lost his bowl of candy which went scattering onto the ground amongst a group of people.

I'll admit that my first thought was that Lukas was going to start filling his pumpkin with this boy's hard earned candy.  I'm not sure why I thought that.  I absolutely know better than that by now.

Instead of filling his own bowl, my empathetic boy quickly gathered up all the candy he could, and to the surprise of most of the adults there started dumping it back into the little pirates bowl.  Seeing this I felt a dash of pride as my own father looked on.

As I said this shouldn't surprise me.  Lukas is an extremely empathetic boy with a heart the size of the Moon. Over and over again he is the first to respond when another child is hurt, emotionally or physically.  For instance, at a recent soccer match there was a girl on the opposite team who was at least a year older than he is, who had earlier scored a goal against his team.

However, when a kicked soccer ball struck her in the face, he was the only person to go to immediately go to her assistance with genuine concern.  He put his hand on her back and walked her toward the sideline where the two of them were met by the opposing coach.

Those are the kinds of act of empathy and kindness that we see often from Lukas.  Of course, that's when he isn't being a silly, social, and loving 6 year old boy.  Those are the traits, in part, which Mrs. LIAYF and I recognized in him that convinced us that he would be an excellent sibling, and that any child would be blessed to have him as an older brother.  We were spot on in that assessment too, as he continues to be such a terrific brother to Annabelle.

So, again, I am not sure what led me to hesitate when I saw my son rush towards another boy whose candy had spilled out onto the ground.  But afterwards I felt a bit silly for doing so.

Especially after he, seeing that the other boy who was sad because he had lost one sole piece of candy to another child in the incident, then dug through his own bucket, found his own favorite treat, and deposited it in the Pirate's bowl.  All without one bit of prompting.  I just rubbed his head afterwards and emphasized to him what a kind boy he was.  It was one of those nice parenting moments you don't soon forget.

Witnessing such moments, Mrs. LIAYF and I would love to take the credit as a parents.  Of course we've had had influence on who he is, but the reality is that Lukas is his own person now.  And that person is continues to be a good-hearted person.

I'm proud of him for that.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Warriors.....Come out and Get Candy.

The strangest thing happened to me last night readers.  Realizing how cute she was in her baby Rat City Roller girl Halloween costume, I was pretty sure that Mrs. LIAYF and I had sat Annabelle down with her orange pumpkin candy receptacle before taking her picture for posterity.

But when I looked back down at her, the plastic pumpkin was gone!

I thought I was just old and losing my mind, until later when I looked on the camera and saw this on the digital picture!

It was a Ninja.  A Black Ninja had stealthily snuck in and stolen away the pumpkin!!  Can you see it happening in the picture above?   Don't blink or you may miss it.  Anyway, If it weren't for the magic of digital photography this mystery may have forever gone unsolved.  

And, putting two and two together I realized that this Black Ninja might be the same Black Ninja who appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, in the gaggle of kids we were out trick or treating with later that evening.  

This particular Ninja would always be the first to the door, knock, and when the unsuspecting patron opened the door he would grab a handful of candy and have slipped away into the night before the homeowner had even detected him.  All that was ever heard was the echo of a "Thank you" from somewhere close by.  This would obviously leave the poor dad, and yes they were usually the dad's handing out candy, confused and also a bit frightened.

I was impressed.  I just wish Lukas would have been there to witness the amazing moves of this particular member of the Ninja brotherhood.  But for some reason I couldn't find him until later, at home.

I was able to witness this, only because I was walking among the aforementioned gaggle of kids, carrying Annabelle, or 'Hell's Belle' (her roller derby name) from door to door to collect some candy of her own.

Hard to see, but I have a bruise above my right eye
for authenticity.  I got it practicing my walking.
Honestly, it's been about 18 hours since we finished our 1.5 hour tour of the finer homes of our neighborhood and my arms still feel like jelly.  Jelly!!  Carry a 25lb baby - face out, chest high, up and down stairs for 90 minutes will do that to you.

But it was totally worth it.  Totally.  To see Annabelle, who turned one the day before,  reach down with a smile and grab out Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers,Twizzlers, (and even once a two pack of Twinkies) for her daddy was enough to warm my heart.  Not to mention making our friends and neighbors very happy and willing to give out extra goodies.

The night was extra fun, because it was also Mrs. LIAYF's birthday on Halloween too!  Happy Birthday again, sweetie.  We celebrated with gifts, cake, and presents in addition to the trick or treating.  It was certainly a pretty fun evening all around.  So much so, that I think we'll do it again next year.

With a first birthday party, two family birthday's and Halloween all in the course of a 4 day period, this dad and husband is completely spent.  

I think I'll go sleep now.  Or maybe once the sugar rush wears off.