Sunday, September 28, 2014

Daddy Need to go Night Night!

You WILL go to sleep now.  Capisce?

I have a feeling that one day, in the distant future when Annabelle is a mother and we all have flying cars or at least our own jet packs, she won't have any trouble getting her kids to quiet down and go to sleep.  We should all be so lucky right?

I make this bold prediction, not without anecdotal evidence to back it up.  Quite the contrary actually as our little sweet cheeks has been practicing the art of putting things to sleep for months now.  

For the most part the beneficiaries of her sleep training techniques have been Lukas' stuffed animals as she will plant herself solidly in the middle of his bedroom floor, or alternatively his bed, and line up several of them for night night time and carefully lay a cloth over the back of each one and pat them.  

The only problem?  She can be a wee bit (and I by wee bit I mean no such thing) firm while patting them to sleep.  It's almost as if she is trying to desperately dislodge something stuck in their windpipes.  I think one of them even let out a squeal of pain earlier this evening, but who knows, I could have just imagined that.

Any-hoo, after the stuffed panda and leopard were beat solidly into slumber tonight, our little Miss A was not yet done as Lukas lay on his own bedroom floor with a blanket, hysterically laughing at her antics and saying "Lukas needs to be put to sleep too, Annabelle".  Of course that was all and good until my daughter then looked at me and gave a deliberate point at the floor.

"You want to put Daddy night night too?" I asked.  She nodded.

How could I resist?

And that's how Lukas and I ended up on the floor on our stomachs tonight with a 1 year old between us laying on a blanket and beating on our backs like a Swedish masseuse.   We, of course were laughing uncontrollable about this, and at the same time trying to emphasize to her to be 'gentle' with her sleep subjects.

But for now Annabelle would have none of our nonsense, even going so far as to shove our heads back to the floor  while saying 'Ni-Ni' when we were so bold as to lift them to see what was going on. She was obviously very serious about her parental duties.

It was a lot of fun, and also pretty scary at the same time. Like I said, I think someday she isn't going to have a bit of trouble with her kids sleep routine.  

She will have plenty of practice by then.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hearing Voices

I'm lucky he talks so much!

As I was closing my car door tonight and pulling the seat belt strap over my chest, I heard the phone ringing in my jacket pocket, which was sitting on the passenger side seat.  I had worked late, and was exhausted from the day.  

I finished my task before attempting to answer.  But unfortunately, I was too late and missed the call.  I did see that the number was Mrs. LIAYF's , which was not unexpected.  I figured she was checking on my progress as she was picking up both kids tonight.

But when I dialed the number back, I got something unexpected.  Something which made my heart sing just a little.  "High Dad" Lukas' voice bellowed over the phone.  "What do you want us to order you for dinner?" .  I hadn't anticipated he would answer, and it was a pleasant surprise when he did.

Lukas still has a perfect kid voice, which is high in pitch and crackles just a little bit when he speaks.

He could talk about the intricacies of financial accounting, or the latest developments in IRS tax code law and it would come out sounding like awesomeness.  Heck, he could ask me what I wanted for dinner that night and it would be music to a weary set of ears.

Which is precisely what happened tonight.

I'm not sure exactly why hearing my kids voice over the phone makes me so happy, but it does. Annabelle too, even though she still has a limited vocabulary, being only one.  You might hear the same thing, and think nothing of it.  But if it were your kid, it would be most likely sound awesome to you too.

I guess it's just another sign of how much I love my kids.  How much they mean to me.

I have a lot of short videos of them which includes audio, but that requires watching too.  I think it may be time to record some simple audio clips to file away in my archives.

I'm sure they'll be gold to me someday.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Those ARE Pilllllowwwwws!

"Does Dad ever sleep at work?" Lukas asked Mrs. LIAYF the other day.

I'm not sure what her answer was, but it should have been "Nope".  Sure, I find myself dragging myself around like a character from the Walking Dead on some days.  But I survive, and am still very productive.

He had a good reason for asking, but I will get to that in a moment.

But first,  I'll admit it.  I haven't been getting enough sleep lately.

I'd like to blame the kids for this, and really they do play a big part in the fact that I am tired a lot, but honestly I can't lay the blame firmly at their feet.  I just stay up way too late anymore, and get up just as early.  I could avoid this, of course, if I just went to bed right after Mrs. LIAYF and I got them to bed, got the dishes and laundry done, lunches made, and our calendars up to date.

But I don't. I find I still need some time to wind down after the long day.

This results in my often attempting to function the next day on a few precious hours of sleep.  And that doesn't work out as well for me as it did when I was in my 20's, or even my 30's.  Strange, right?

Lukas has noticed too.  That's because, as it was relayed to me, he spent a recent recess during school sitting with a 'cute' girl who had an interesting book of goofy inventions.  And when a page turned to reveal a particular bright idea, Lukas knew just where it might best be used.

"That would be perfect for my Dad" he announced to the girl - who was a friend.  And, upon hearing about it, I guess I would have to agree.  I could use one of those sometimes.

What was this wonderful invention? The one that seemed absolutely perfect for his old man?

Wait for it........

It was essentially a hat,  but made with pillows surrounding it.  That way, if the wearer happened to, oh I don't know, FALL ASLEEP in the middle of going about their day! they wouldn't bump their head.  Rather, they could just take a nap.

Yeah, apparently dad needs one of those.  He must think of me as a Narcoleptic.

"That is brilliant!!"  I told Mrs. LIAYF with a chuckle late last night when she told me.  "It's so nice to know that my loving boy is thinking all about me and my well being."  "Maybe I should go to bed now."

But alas I am tired once again today.  In fact, I think I could really use that awesome pillow hat invention thing.

I wonder if today they'll get to the page with the toothpicks that hold open eyelids.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Just Call Me Her Booking Agent

"Good Morning Sweet Cakes" I whispered to Annabelle as I pulled her out of her crib this morning.

Being Monday morning, a morning that Mrs. LIAYF and Lukas could actually sleep in a bit longer than myself and my little girl, I had just tiptoed upstairs ever so gingerly, avoiding all to the problematic creaky spots on the fir stairs like Baryshnikov in his prime. (Okay, maybe I was lumbering a tad more than Mikhail would have, but in my defense I hadn't had my morning coffee yet.  The point is, there were no creaks - from the floor at least).

And, as I do on most mornings such as this one, I gently laid her on her changing table while handing her her morning milk.  That usually keeps her busy while I diaper and change her into her clothes for daycare.

But this morning, as I was handing her her bottle she swept her arm at me, knocking the bottle out of the way rather grumpily.

"Book" she said, still obviously a little bleary eyed from her sleep.   I again tried to hand her the bottle, but again she swatted at it.  "Book!" she said, louder this time.

"I'll read you a book when we get downstairs Sweetie"  I reasoned.  "Right now I need to change you for school"   "BOOK" She then raised it a notch, loud enough that I thought she would wake up the rest of the family.  "Shhhhhh!" I put my finger to my mouth indicating she was breaking our agreement.  Of course, she has never actually agreed to any such thing,  but it's kind of like George Costanza's deal with the Pigeons.  It's unspoken.  THEY KNOW THIS!

"BOOK"  She continued,  smiling now.  "BOOK. BOOK", ultimately forcing me to relent under the dual forces of cuteness and self preservation.

"Okay, okay!" I whispered, reaching over to the nearby bookcase and pulling out the first book I could grab.  "But let's read it quietly"  I exaggerated my mouth at this point. Qui-et-ly.  The book was 'Good Night Gorilla', which she enjoyed while I got her changed and ready for daycare.

Mrs. LIAYF and I are actually very pleased that our 1-year-old is now so interested in books (She is obsessed with them of late).  It's like a switch has turned for her.

That's because for the longest time, she wouldn't sit still for them at all.  I would try and try again, but her attention span, coupled with her constant need to be in motion, resulted in her often losing focus before we would finish the first page.

I knew she would come around.  That she would love books just as much as the rest of the family. There are, after all, books everywhere in the house and Lukas has been reading her stories recently as well.  I wouldn't even be surprised if a big reason for her interest in books is watching her big brother bury his nose in them.  She imitates so much of what he does after all.

And now that I know that I can actually buy her silence with a good book, I'm not opposed to riding that horse until it drops.  That's a win win.

Now, if I could only get her to sit on the potty for a book too, I'd be golden.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dog Gone Antics

I scream, you scream.

It has been an absolutely beautiful weekend here in Seattle readers. Our fair city was bathed in golden sunshine on Friday, my birthday, and again today for Lukas' first soccer match of the fall season.

I am happy to report that the Silver Eagles soared this morning, although Lukas was only 1 of the 5 kids who showed up for the game.  Thankfully, they play 4 on 4, since one of his team had to leave halfway through the game.  Lukas was exhausted after having played the entire game.

Later on this evening, to celebrate said birthday and soccer victory, Mrs. LIAYF and I loaded Annabelle (and intermittently Lukas) in the red wagon, and headed out to our local neighborhood town center enjoy the weather and to dine out.

After dinner, we all walked down to our local ice cream shop for cones. Coconut for me, Nutella for Mrs. LIAYF, Peppermint for Lukas, and sampling's of all of them for Annabelle who moved from family member to family member flashing her adorableness until we relinquished tasty bites.

As it turned out, she wasn't the only one looking to sample our ice cream tonight.

About half way through, a Mom pushing an empty stroller sat  a couple of seats down from us outside the ice cream shop.  She also had a friendly looking yellow lab on a leash.

"Can I go pet the dog?" Lukas asked.  "As long as you ask first" Mrs. LIAY reminded him.  It turned out the dog's name was Stella.   Stella was a nice dog.  But as Lukas leaned over to give her a pet, she completely engulfed the rest of his peppermint ice cream cone in a flash. It happened so fast, that no one seemed to know what had happened.

Lukas jumped back, looking stunned for the briefest of seconds.  That's when his emotions took over.

And he broke into uncontrollable laughter!  "Oh my gosh!" he managed, in between hysterical laughs.  "That's the funniest thing that has ever happened to me!" he gasped.

It was a refreshing response compared to his younger days.

The mother, of course, looked mortified.  "I'm so sorry!!" she said.  "My husband is right inside, he will buy you a new cone."  But it wasn't necessary, as Lukas was about done with  his ice cream anyway.  He rarely finishes a whole cone.  Plus, he was too busy laughing to respond.

And with that, we gathered up our kids and our red wagon, and headed towards home.  Taking into account all the distractions along the way, it took us a good 20 minutes to walk the 5 minute route back to our house.

And as we finally did arrive at home, Lukas was still laughing about the lightning quick demise of his Mint ice cream cone.

You'd think that would teach him a lesson, but I'm not altogether certain he will be more careful next time.

He might even be looking for a friendly dog.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Laser Show

A rare early sighting 

I was in the middle of bathing Annabelle last night, with my back to the door, when I heard something zoom behind me.  I turned, but saw nothing.  

"Weird" I said to no one in particular, although I should have been informing Annabelle, who was busily attempting to shove 9 rubber duckies into an over sized cup.

Then I heard it again.  It made the sound of the wind blowing down the hall.  "Strange" I said aloud, having seen nothing, as I turned back around.  I looked one more time, just because, and that's when I saw him.  He was a Super Hero in a blue mask and a long blue cape emblazoned with an red "L" on a large white star, surrounded by another circle of white stars.  I recognized him.

"Laser Boy!"  I said.  "You startled me".  To that he just smiled.  "I am in need of service, Laser Boy" I continued.  "I can't find Lukas, and he needs to come in here for his bath!  Can you help me find him?"

Laser Boy nodded slowly.  Then was off in a flash of light.  Presumably to search for Lukas.

I returned to bathing Annabelle, when moments later Lukas walked into the bathroom.  His belly was extended and seemed sort of cushy under his shirt.  "Lukas" I said.  "Did you eat too much?  Cause you look a little full.  Oh, and did Laser Boy find you?  I sent him to look for you just a bit ago."

"No Dad, I haven't seem him" he replied with a broad smile.  "I'll go and look!"   And with that, he was off.

Oddly, this strange sequence of events with Lukas and Laser Boy both being in our 2nd story, looking for each other, yet NOT running into each other, happened a few more times.  I was perplexed.  Then, a few moments after Laser Boy had shown up, and I had sent him off to find Lukas and tell him he didn't have to look any longer, Lukas walked into the bathroom  holding a cape and a mask.

"I didn't find him Dad.  But I did find this."  He held up the suit with a puzzled look on his face.  "Maybe Laser  Boy zoomed so fast that he crossed into a another dimension." I offered.  Lukas just smiled as he crawled into the tub for his bath.

Then, if you can believe it, an even stranger thing happened.  Lukas, hearing his mother climbing the stairs, darted his eyes around the room to make sure we were not being watched.  "Dad" he whispered, drawing me closer with a the tiny curl of his index finger.  "I need to tell you something."

"Yes" I whispered back.  "What is it?"

And, with a smile radiating brighter than the blazing sun on the early September day we had just completed, he opened up to me.

"I'm Laser Boy!"  He whispered.

I could tell the stress of the secret had been weighing on him.  He beamed. I just looked back at him, my heart now as toasty as the evening air, and with a broad smile of my own said:

"That explains SO much!".

I rubbed his hair lovingly then, and dumped a cupful of water over his Super little head.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Eagles Have Landed

There's a lot going on around here readers.  With Summer winding to a close, Labor Day in the rearview, and school having started, Lukas is once again signed up for a Fall soccer team.

And while the first game isn't for another week or so, he has been busy practicing with his new team once a week for the past couple of weeks.  It's going pretty well for him so far, and he is having a lot of fun, which is the most important thing.  Plus, he is trying hard not to be offensive.


The coach is working on it, but it seems our son fancies himself more of a defensive player, and would rather do that than play forward and attack the goal.  I have a feeling that he'll learn the thrill of playing offense soon enough, but if not he's still pretty good at putting up 'D Fence'.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  As they say, the best Offense is a good Defense.   That is what they say, isn't it?

Anyway, this past practice was perhaps the most important for the team.  Critical really.  That's because it was the one where they would choose the team name.

I knew this beforehand and tried to prep Lukas for it by asking if he had any ideas for a name. Unfortunately, I apparently caught him at the wrong time, since his creative juices weren't flowing and he wasn't coming up with anything.  That was fairly unusual for him. It's possible that he might not have been paying attention to me.  I would like to say this NEVER happens, but hey he's 7.

I tried to throw out some helpful suggestions.  "How about 'The Zombie Jawas'?" I suggested (We have been watching the original Star Wars movies recently). "Or 'The Fire Robots'"  (No idea where that came from)


So, I decided to try again later.  Then halfway through practice I had to go pick up Annabelle at her daycare not far away.  When I returned I was informed by Mrs. LIAYF that they had used that time to choose their name.  It always happens that way.

It was........wait for it........

The Silver Eagles

"The Silver Eagles?" I asked her later, when Lukas was not around.  "Really?"

I'm not sure why I was initially skeptical of the name.  I think it's because, as I mentioned to Mrs. LIAYF, I first thought of a tribal casino.  'Appearing Friday, September 19th at the Silver Eagle - STYX'

It also sounded a bit like a name for a 60 and over basketball team.  The Silver Eagles.  I envisioned Older Eagles while I was pondering this I guess because I started thinking that they might even be Bald Eagles, and then I thought of Bald Seagulls (which I have long thought should be the official Seattle Bird).

Clearly, I was digressing.

Then I asked Lukas what he thought of the name.  Turns out he really liked it, even though the suggestion came from another kid.  Eagles were cool after all.  The good guys in LEGO Chima are Eagles.  And the only thing better than a Silver Eagle would be a Gold Eagle.

Bottom line, Lukas liked it and said it was cool.  Thinking about it again I had to agree.   All it took was a fresh perspective from a 7 year old who is obviously way cooler than me.

And, when and if I ever get out there and join a team of my own (never too old, right) I can name my team whatever the heck I want.

'The Bald Seagulls'  sounds perfect.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014