Thursday, January 31, 2008

The latest tribulations

It's been a rough couple weeks for the boys. They've gone through a little gastro-intestinal bug and a cough/fever that led to a doctor's visit for Eldest. Nothing too major, but enough (along with a snowstorm this week) to keep them out of school and swim lessons and rock climbing (Eldest only, but read on).

Their bad luck got worse this week. We had wondered which child was going to be the first to require an ER visit. Littlest has a lot of energy and loves to climb, while Eldest is just as energetic and older and likely to attempt things his little brother just can't. The winner: Littlest! I don't think he was climbing up on the couch when this happened, but he fell into the corner of the coffee table, resulting in a little, deep bleeder of a cut between his eyelid and eyebrow. He cried for about five minutes, then went back to being in a good mood, even sucking the water out of the washcloth I was using to stop the bleeding. As I was getting everybody ready for the trip to the emergency room, he even brought his boots to me. Open wound be damned, he was ready to go outside. He got cranky at the hospital -- he couldn't eat anything and it was his nap time -- plus he kind of fought the sedation while he was getting stitched up. So he has three stitches that will come out on Sunday. In the meantime, he was climbing back on that coffee table the next day ...

Just when we resolved one medical mishap, Eldest threw up last night. We think he ate some bad cantaloupe, because all he threw up was orange chunks (sorry for the image). His stomach was upset for a while, though he eventually fell asleep, then woke up in a good mood and started telling Wife a story. His stomach was fine today, though he was really tired at preschool and fell asleep on the way home.

I'm wondering what's next. I'm worried the boys' cough is coming my way. A cough I can handle. Blood and guts (specifically, the puking thereof), not so much.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The second year

Today was the first anniversary of my first day as a stay-at-home dad. I didn't do anything special to commemorate the occasion, other than shovel out from the quick winter storm we got. But it's been a good year. I haven't achieved all the things I had hoped for going into this, some out of my control, some I haven't had the discipline to complete or even start. Yet it's still been worthwhile -- I believe the boys are better off, Wife is better off and I am better off.

Now for the second year. If the first year was just a transition, I'm viewing the second year as the time to perfect what I've started. That means more writing, more organization, more ambition, more following through. That means being a better dad and husband, no matter how good I am it already. That means fighting through those times I want to be lazy and remembering the goals I've set. That means Year 2 must be an improvement upon Year 1.

Let Year 2 begin.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Cough it up

Our house hasn't been the healthiest place this week. We all got this little gastro-intestinal thing (nothing too bad, only Littlest threw up), and Eldest is running a little fever and has a congested cough. He was in a good mood today but we still kept him out of school. I called his pediatrician for some advice, and the nurse said we should bring him in because of the fever.

Of course, we get to the doctor's office, into the exam room, and all of Eldest's symptoms temporarily disappear. All the while, Littlest is having a blast, running around the room, taking the doctor's ear tool, putting a toy train on the stool right near the doctor's butt (I for sure thought that was going to end badly) -- and I finally put him on the exam table (Eldest was sitting on a chair being examined). Littlest then climbs off the table! The doctor showed mercy and gave them both a lollipop. Eldest is fine, just have to give him Tylenol and Robotussin for a couple days. He doesn't like the Robo, and I don't blame him, but this will be good practice taking yucky medicine.

Now I'm just waiting to unfortunately catch what Eldest has. I don't think my mood will be as good.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cars

I took Eldest to the auto show this evening. We're not ready to buy another car yet, and we wouldn't buy one brand new anyway, but it's always fun to look. Eldest didn't get a chance to move around much today, and I kind of wanted to go, so we left Wife and Littlest at home and headed to the show.

Of course, Eldest fell asleep on the way there, but once I woke him he was eager to get inside. The traditional auto show experience for many people is different when you bring kids along. Normally, you take your time looking at the features on a car in which you are interested. With kids, you try to take in as much as you can, tell them not to put their feet on the seats, steal a quick glance at the mileage ratings, then figure out how to get the kids out of the back-back seat. I'm not complaining, it just takes a lot more patience.

I was mostly patient, but Eldest, up past his bedtime started to meltdown right by the classic Mustang display, probably my favorite part of the auto show. He had fun, especially crawling into the back of minivans and crossover SUVs (potentially are next car). His best line of the night: We came across a Saab convertible (Wife's dream car, by the way), and he asked "Where's the roof?"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

It takes a really annoyed village

More proof that I am indeed an adult, especially one with kids, occurred today.

Our Christmas tree is sitting near our curb waiting to be picked up by the city. I was doing something in the kitchen this afternoon, look out the window and see two boys, probably about 10, and one of them pushed the tree into the street. I walked outside and asked, in my best pissed-off-yet-commanding voice, "Are you going to put that back?" The kid asked what, and I repeated "Are you going to put the tree that you just pushed into the street back on the curb?" The kid said he was sorry, walked back and put the tree where it was. All the while, his friend was trying not to laugh. The kid finished, I thanked him, and they walked away.

I've said things like this to misbehaving kids a couple times before. As I say the words, I sometimes can't believe they are coming out of my mouth. But it's the same things adults other than my parents would have said to me if I was acting like a punk when I was a kid. And when I mean adults other than my parents, I mean my parents of course corrected me, yelled at me, were disappointed with me, when I did something stupid. That's what they were supposed to do.

You've heard the "It takes a village to raise a child" theory. That didn't enter my mind when I went out on that porch today. The kid technically committed vandalism and I called him on it, mostly so I didn't have to move the tree back myself. I'd like to think the kid was raised well enough by his own parents that he did the right thing when I asked him to put the tree back. There are some parents that are offended if that would have happened to their kid, no matter how wrong the kid was. There are some parents who would have said nothing to that kid being a punk. I hope if and probably when my boys are being a little punkish, some adult calls them on it, and as long as the adult does so within normal bounds (as I believe I did -- I know kids this age can be morons, I was angrily direct but not raging, and I did thank him), I won't object and maybe be thankful.

Still, it astounds me when I sound so adult. I'm wondering when I am going to start shaking fists at teenagers.

The two boys walked back by the house on their way home, and I noticed them looking over, maybe making fun of me, maybe wondering if I was ready to come back outside. I could only think they were lucky Wife didn't catch them ...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Welcome to Gilley's

I'm watching the Patriots-Jaguars playoff game and switching over to Urban Cowboy on VH1 Classic during commercials. Actually, I'm flipping between the NFL, Urban Cowboy and The Hunt for Red October, meaning I have my choice of Scott Glenn, scuzzy or military. If Silence of the Lambs comes on later, you can add investigative to that list.

Anyway, I'm watching Urban Cowboy and remembering what a mini-sensation this caused in 1980. Wife has a theory that about every 10 years, country explodes in the mainstream, but eventually fades back into country. It's a good point, think of the Garth Brooks success in the early 1990s and the Shania Twain/Faith Hill/Trisha Yearwood/Dixie Chicks stage of the late '90s and Rascal Flatts mania today. If I listed my 10 favorite country songs (and there might only be 10), many would be from the early '80s, including "I Love a Rainy Night," "Elvira" and "Lookin for Love."

One other thing about Urban Cowboy: This is terrible, but watching it today, if I was John Travolta, I might have stayed with Madolyn Smith rather than going back to Debra Winger. She was contrite and urged Bud to go back to Sissy. Doesn't that show moral fiber? Thankfully, they never tried to sequel this movie. It's kind of a classic, but one was enough, and besides, John Travolta sequels are always terrible -- remember (then try to forget) Grease 2, Stayin' Alive and the Look Who's Talking follow-ups. I can't speak for Stay Cool, but let's be thankful there was just one Battlefield Earth movie

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

In the mix

I'm reading a new book that Wife got me, Life is a Mix Tape, by Rob Sheffield. I'm only a couple chapters in, but it's kind of an autobiography in the context of mix tapes the author made and owns throughout his life. So far, it's been interesting, and one thing that may come from reading it is buying songs off iTunes that are on his mix tapes.

I used to make mix tapes a lot. Some for friends, many for Wife, many for my own nostalgic streaks. The making of the mix tapes ended around 2000, when I got a burner on my computer and I started making mix CDs. Those ended after I got an iPod, when it shifted to mix playlists, but honestly, that's not the same. I'm the only one who hears the playlists, and most of them tie into the nostalgic streaks and not for other people. So, I might start compiling more themed playlists and posting them here, as well as burning some CDs. I still listen to CDs, but their organization is such a mess (blame Littlest, who is fascinated in my collection but never puts them back in the right spot), maybe this will spur some action there, too.

Reading this book made me realize how much effort I put into mix tapes way back when, and that I missed it a little. Even if I don't burn any CDs and just compile more unique playlists, I think it will still be worth it.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Back in the swim

The boys started their swim lessons again Tuesday. I was worried they would have forgotten much of what they've learned, as their last lessons were six months ago and they haven't been in a pool in about three. But for the most part they picked up right where they left off. Eldest was as enthusiastic as ever and only kept his face in the water for a second or two at a time. His teacher also noted that as he's gotten taller (he can stand at about 3 1/2 feet now) his center of gravity changed, and he had to get used to finding his balance again while floating on his back. Littlest complained through his lesson just like he always did -- complained he had to work, he was more angry than uncomfortable or afraid -- but remembered he could float.

It was a good restart. We have to take them to the pool more often in between lessons. They don't float for us quite as well as they do with their teacher, but they definitely have more fun.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Stir crazy

January is my least favorite month, partly because there is so little to do outside. There's only so much snow you can play in once it turns to ice. Plus we get these nice little inversions in SLC that blanket the valley with smog. The mix of cold, ice, pollutants and lack of daylight drive me a little batty, as well as the boys, who don't get to run around as much. Two years ago we had a bad inversion, but we drove to Park City one day to get above it, and Eldest (at the time, he was Only) ran down the sidewalk on Main Street, he was so happy to get outside.

Today we went to IKEA and Target, and I could tell both boys just wanted to run. I kept Littlest in the cart at IKEA, which he didn't like, but let him walk around at Target. Kind of a mistake, he wanted to explore when we just needed a loaf of bread. It's supposed to get warmer, so hopefully the snow will melt, and Eldest begins a gym class, his new preschool, rock climbing and swim lessons next week (Littlest also has swim and gym starting up again). Less than two months until March.