Sep 23, 2008

My heart leapt as I watched and listened to my son puzzle out the words on the page. I watched his face twist as he found the words. I saw his little fingers trace the letters, first above and then below. I listened as short ‘O’s became long ‘O’s and vice versa. He listened as I tried to shake a few common rules out of the English language.

I didn’t expect to be so excited about red fish and blue fish. Certainly, I’ve read it before. There are sad fish and glad fish. I know how it goes. I have an idea how it ends.

Reading is something that comes out in fits and starts. It’s a true learned skill, something that the five year old rarely has to wrestle. Books are often met with interest and enthusiasm. Reading, however, has its moments of victory and frustration. It doesn’t come easy or, at least, it doesn’t come without trials. Luckily, I’m a parent of little boy who isn’t about to give up, a little boy who senses that he’s getting it, and a little boy who couldn’t be more proud to read to his little brother.

As I sat down on the floor today with my two boys on my lap and a book in my hands, my heart leapt on a little on each word. It wanted to force each word from his lips. I hoped it would stay in my chest.

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Bits and Pieces

Nov 16, 2007

Cambell and Chase got into an argument the other day regarding who is bigger.  Chase is developing a bit of a complex.  He’s the smaller of the two by about two or three inches.  He’s also two years younger.  This fight will be interesting when they are closer to 10 and 8 than 5 and 3.

The wife’s Star magazine rests upon a shelf directly above the toilet of our master bedroom.  Britney, please get your act together.  You are haunting me while I pee.

As a bit of a planning exercise for my upcoming anniversary, I took a look at the local performing arts centers.  There’s nothing exciting happening this weekend but they are showing Underpants next year.  I qualify that search as a success.

The wife was quite unaware of any recent arguments concerning height.  Still, she made magic mashed potatoes for dinner.  You know, the kind that make you taller as you eat them.  According to the lines she drew on the wall, the potatoes had a dramatic effect.  I, however, can report no noticeable changes to the overall results.

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Jan 2, 2007

“There are three stages of man: He believes in Santa Claus; he doesn’t believe in Santa Claus; he is Santa Claus.”

— Bob Philips

I’m looking forward to next Christmas. I really am. I can’t anything away from this past year, which was wonderful and left me feeling about as blessed as a person can be, but next year is going to be fun.

Next November, my little one will turn 3. That’s a magic age, an age where Santa becomes something more than a name you hear a lot and an outfit of strange lap. It’s the age where Christmas becomes something real and tangible. I’ll have to chase him down the steps Christmas morning, much like I did to another little boy just two years ago. It’s going to be great.

While I wait, here’s some of the things I enjoyed this holiday season.

Spending just a little time with my grandmother and now 4 year old son. Watching my grandmother and my son interact at a time where he’s too young to be fearful of the nursery home around us was a treat. He may not remember the time he spent with his great grandmother, who is working her way to age 99. I will.

Watching my son’s first Christmas pageant. The four year old group rocked the very crowded house.

Getting a chance to host my sister’s family during Christmas. I love the chaos of Christmas morning. The more the merrier. I’m incredibly glad that I reconnected with my favorite sister this year.

Listening to my sons sing in the car. Cambell can belt out a great version of Jingle Bell Rock. Chase can’t seem to find the end of Jingle Bells.

Having a great Christmas season. It’s hard not to take things for granted when they are going so well. I look into the stars every once and a while and thank God for the little ones that scurry my floors with brand new bikes and a handful of Matchbox cars, the family that shares our Christmas meals, and the wife I’ve woken up next to the last ten Christmas mornings.

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Not His Best Day

May 23, 2006

When the wife and I brought Chase home from the hospital, we felt a lot of things. We felt tired. We felt worried. I’ve talked about our concerns. There’s nothing like the scars of a fresh surgery to amplify those feelings. The doctor told us that the surgery went fine. We felt hopeful — at least we tried.

The following week didn’t reinforce the doctor’s statements. Certainly, the little tike was doing better this time around. His wounds were healing at a fast rate. He looked better, a result that surely included two parents with adjusted expectations. His recovery was worlds quicker. After about an hour of entering the house, he wanted out of our arms so that he could hold a full audience with his toys. Two parents had little heart attacks as his tiny steps broke into a full run.

These were rather wonderful things but it was easy to temper our enthusiasm. His eyelid appeared to droop. It didn’t look much better. In fact, it didn’t look much different at all.

This was an emotional fact to confront so I didn’t. I rationalized. He’s healing. It’s still swollen. He doesn’t know it’s fixed. He doesn’t know what to do with it.

As the next or so week passed, the wife and I witnessed flashes of hope. Occasionally, both of his two eyes would appear completely open. He looked up at my wife without the need for me to qualify the experience. The little boy appeared to be progressing but still we worried. His follow-up appointment was scheduled. We feared the results.

ChaseI’m quite happy to report that . The surgery was a success. He’s not done with this problem in his lifetime but he’s done with it now. That’s a timeframe I can live with.

Things are looking up because, more and more, he demonstrates the ability to do just that. He looks up. Things aren’t yet perfect but they are very much improving.

So, today was not his best day. I’m convinced of it. That day is yet to come.

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Counting to Three

Apr 18, 2006

The wife and I have been discussing the possibility of a third child lately. It’s not what you think. We aren’t actually planning for an expansion to our family. But, let’s just say that a third bundle of joy was a possibility — a possibility that a couple of trips to the drugstore helped eliminate.

These types of discussions change a bit when the planning portion of a planned family is briefly taken from your grasp. Memories come flooding back. A little child rests in your arms. The alarm clock becomes a useless device, unneeded when the late morning hours start before the sun rises. Diapers get a bit smaller and bottles again rest inside the fridge.

Emotions you had forgotten stop by to say hello. A little fear, a little longing, and a good mixture of both play a part. Economic ramifications spring to mind and time allows you to consider what more family would mean to your current family.

And then you find out it’s a false alarm. That’s a good thing. I think.

I don’t know if we’ll ever be ready to count to three. There’s a good chance it’ll be never. But, I suppose, you never know.

I wanted to congratulate my friends Jason and Tina on their recent announcement. Good luck you two. The wife and I wish you guys the best.

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Feb 14, 2006

I returned the trash can that spent the last two days resting at my bedside to the computer room this morning. Having the ability to move it, complete with its plastic covering, was a bit of a victory. It implied that at least I was done with the illness that rampaged my family this weekend. That’s a pretty good feeling, almost as good as again being able to fart with at least some semblance of control.

I’m of the opinion that you learn about real parenting when attempting to do it while sick. It’s almost a right of passage. Throw in a sick wife as well as two sick children and the multiplication alone is staggering. It all adds up to a weekend conclusion that was surely drawn up somewhere in hell.

I suppose I could say that it all started Friday night, when my oldest child found that he didn’t like sleeping next to the contents of his stomach, but I didn’t feel it until Sunday evening. The wife and I looked at each over our dinners. Neither of us had much interest in what was on our plates. My wife is a good cook; my belly can assure you that this was a bad sign. We forced our way through bath time and both of us hit the bed with thud at about 8 pm, just minutes after we got the kids asleep.

We also hit the bed at 9pm, 10pm, 11pm, 12am, 1am, 2 am — I think you are getting the idea. Our youngest had taken to projectile vomiting and was, unsurprisingly, unhappy about it. He woke nearly every hour throughout the night, emitting a chorus that was filled with his meals from the day before. I took each opportunity to revisit the bathroom. By morning, there were two weary parents and a child with nothing left to vomit but clear liquids.

At this point, I should mention that there’s nothing sadder than a sick kid. My youngest had no understanding of what was happening to him. He was incredibly tired and suddenly wet. My oldest, who took up the tradition the next day, made us just as sad. He wanted us to provide the magic elixir from the doctor that would make it all better. It just breaks your heart.

I should also mention that I couldn’t be more impressed with my wife through all this. She spent the better part of the first night hanging over the toilet and still managed to hit the ground running when our youngest one woke. By the morning hours she’d get to him before he actually threw up. At this point, I was still moaning under the covers.

Monday was a day of survival in a way. Both the wife and I were still quite ill, not even attempting something like soup until the late evening. The kids needed their parents and their parents needed rest. Occasionally, one parent would fall (asleep). The other would do what needed to be done. The day itself is a blur. I remember cleaning up the dishes and laying on the couch moaning softly to myself from the effort.

Thankfully, today is better. Our oldest is still very much recovering (he was the latest in the time line for the real whammy) but the wife and I feel a lot better. I had a bagel for breakfast! The exclamation point alone should indicate that our victories come in small, meal-shaped packages. The movement of that trash can indicates some independence on exactly where those meals end up.

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Kid Pictures

Jan 27, 2006

Brothers hanging out!!

The wife has started to get on the Flickr bandwagon. The result? More pictures of the kids on the web. Stop by and check them out, if she hasn’t already sent you an update.

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Baby Blues

Nov 28, 2005

My little boy turned one this past Monday. Two days later he had surgery. He spent the first part of his week examining his new cache of toys. He spent the rest of the week recovering.For those who don’t know, my little one had and has a problem with his left eyelid. Put simply, he just can’t open it all the way. Without resorting to fancy terms, he’s missing the pieces he needs to yank that sucker open and that’s a problem. It’s a potential problem for his future eyesight in that eye and, yes, it was at least a slight cosmetic problem as well.As a parent, I’m pretty sure it’s the latter problem that’s bothered me the most, but maybe not for the reasons you’d expect. I’ve always thought that the issue with his eyelid registered about a 2 out of 10 on the child ricter scale. There are children far worse off than mine. The eye itself is fine. His eyelid could be considered a blessing compared to what many parents are forced to reckon with. But the cosmetic aspect of it made it something that couldn’t go away in public. We were asked about it — queried about it at every turn. I carry my beautiful boy around and people want to talk about his eyelid. I wanted to show them everything else.

But cosmetics weren’t something that would have us run to the hospital, particularly when the heart of someone so young was at stake. Instead, it was the potential of future complications. Without a proper view of the world, he was sure to develop some problems with his vision. He might have a lazy eye. He might lose his vision on the one side completely. That’s when talks of specialists and the possibility of surgery was brought up and, eventually, decided upon.

Even the idea of surgery is a pretty horrid thought to a parent. Trust me, I know. Chase’s surgery was originally scheduled for very beginning of November. We spent a good month dreading the thought. We spent an early morning getting things packed and sifting through hours of traffic. We spent our afternoon cursing the incompetence of an anesthesiologist who was blissfully unaware of Chase’s bout of sickness late in the week before, a sickness that called the whole thing off.

So we got another month to ponder it. We had a birthday to celebrate and a holiday to work around. We got another month of dread and another early appointment. And, this time, he had the surgery.

That morning is still filled with little pictures, some good, some bad: the doctor’s explanation — the wife’s short tale of his sudden nap before it begun — the slow walk to the vending machine, unsure if it was safe to leave the waiting room for even a minute — the sound of his cries as we headed into the recovery room to see him — the time spent comforting him — my first peek at the results. It was a trying day, for all of us. We were grateful to get him home and, perhaps, just thankful that he woke in the first place.

The next couple of days we spent recovering. Our little one wasn’t particularly happy about his eye. In truth, he looked like someone beat him up. His eye swelled open, leaving me to wonder if we did the right thing after all. He was pretty miserable and none of us slept much the first day or two.


On day three, the little guy was sick of being sick. Along with his first birthday, he had discovered the joys of walking. He was ready to continue his journey, which often took him from the couch to the TV to the couch. He was tired of the careful hands that accompanied his attempts at flight but they followed him anyway. They still do.

Thankfully, the swelling has very much subsided. It’s still there but
it looks like the other guy got the worse end of the fight. Three incisions and, their accompanying stitches can still can be found above his left eye. These will be around for a while and the resulting scars will be around a bit longer. But, and this is a very big but, I’ve seen two beautiful eyes staring back at me a lot.

Sometimes they aren’t looking my way. They might be inspecting the end of a spoon or scoping out his next destination. But I can see them and it makes my own eyes well up a bit. I never knew what I was missing.

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Oct 30, 2005

(click for more carving delights)

As usual, I bit off a bit more than I could chew when it came to carving time.

Happy Halloween everyone.

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What Up with the Kids?

May 10, 2005

I’m glad you asked. During the massive gaps in both time and space between my postings over the last couple months, a lot has been going on with the kids.

For example, Chase is rolling over. He’s actually been doing it for a couple of weeks now. As of two Sundays ago, the date of his dedication, he’s been rolling over with a passion, using it as a means of transportation that we’ve termed log rolling. An ability that weeks ago simply worried dad and mom whilst he twisted and turned in his bed is now a source of freedom and a means of escape. That twinkle in his eye as he raises his head and gets his knees under him is his way of telling me that crawling won’t be far behind.

Cambell, on the other hand, is singing, a lot. He started in earnest when the wife decided to place a CD of children’s Christian tunes in the truck. He absolutely loves this music, and finds the time to carry the tune Jesus Loves Me or The Lord’s Army along with him wherever he goes. The only problem is that this particular CD hasn’t left its new home since. I’m starting to get concerned that the truck won’t start without little children singing in the background.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly proud that my kid loves to sing and, even better, loves to sing songs about God. It’s a little startling, in that you just don’t expect him to be able to do something like this at such an early age, and — it must be said — it’s absolutely adorable. But, there’s only so many times you can hear the Christian version of If You’re Happy and You Know It before you want to jump from a moving vehicle. I don’t know how many more times I’ll survive the current play list.

Not to be left out, Chase has begun to speak. I’m very proud that he has chosen his first word in this world to be the nickname of his old man. “Dada” is pure music to my ears. It’d be even better if it wasn’t often part of one demand or another. “Dada, pick me up! Dada, I’m hungry!” I’m, of course, doing just a little bit baby to English translation here.

I don’t know how it happened but Cam has taken a sudden liking to Barney. He’s oblivious to my objections, which are thickly concealed and almost surely a result of how far this particular purple dinosaur was pushed down my throat when I was doing my babysitting more than ten years or so ago (Yikes! Has it been that long?). I don’t really have a problem with this, even though my subconscious has always considered the child’s carnivore to be just a tad evil. The fact that I’m often the recipient of “a kiss from me to you” helps. It helps a lot.

That’s the quick rundown and, as I’m sure will always be the case, it skips a lot of stuff — from irrational fears of the drain to carrots between the toes. There’s only so much time in the day to fill this area with wonderful stories of my kids. The rest of it I’ll likely try to spend sleeping.

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