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Chicken Nuggets

Who Knew.

Tonight is the first dinner party for which I cooked Chicken nuggets. C had a play date with a girl from her pre-school. I thought it would be marginally more chaotic than my usual nights with C. I couldn’t have been more wrong. They ran into the house, into C’s room, and shut the door. That was the last I heard of them until dinner. Ok, not true, I heard a LOT from them. but mainly squealing, laughing and story telling. Its amazing. I have had one of my more quite evenings ever.

Good to know.

Hunger strikes

So here is a sticky thing.

Of course not so long ago, C drank from a bottle.  But the bottle went the way of the diaper, and with it has come C’s exploration of food and eating. She is a great eater.  Its always good as a parent to see your kids devour good food.

 

Relatively recently, I concluded that as a parent, a lesson I wanted to share with C was that meals are social things, and not just things we do because we are bored or anxious.  And to implement this, I started being more rigid about sitting down to meals.  So, I set a table. I cook, and C and I sit down to breakfast and dinner together.  No toys, and she eats what I eat, with respect for her preferences.  We have table rules regarding asking for things, and using a napkin, and she has to try everything, even is she doesn’t want to finish it.

Like I said, its relatively new.  Not terrible, but I want to give C more of a framework for life.  So you get to a recent problem.  C eats lightly, tells me she is full.  She sits at the table until I am done, then goes off the play. But when bedtime comes, she is hungry.

I don’t know if sheis hungry or tired. God knows its painful to hear your child cry “I’m hungry”.  But I am in a tough spot.  if you want to make a lesson, you need to be consistent, and I know she ate a good amount today.  She might actually be a bit hungry, but its not going to harm her for one night. So I opt to tell her No.  Man, that is hard.  I feel like a bad guy.  But that is parenting right?  Doing the right thing for your child, as best you can see it, instead of what is immediately easy for you or pleasurable for them?

Bouncy house

Let me start by saying that I just f****** love being a dad. I didn’t think I would, so kind of snuck up on me. The streets sweetness from my period you kind of force stop and enjoy things. I’m here celia right now the Guardsman Christmas tree lot. They’re pretty big bouncy houses and not surprisingly she’s going under lyrics s*** on em. She’s embarrassing for about an hour and I have to figure that she’s just going to pass out when we get home. It’s great. But on another note, the thing that happens from time to time. Success is on the bouncy house today right, and some larger kids. Summer more about it than others. I don’t know. But I see no seas coming out of there telling me that the kids are being mean to her. What is a couple things I could do here. I could I pour out of their. I get in there getting ballsy get the kids stop being mean to her. That’s not what I do. Maybe cuz I’m a dad, or maybe just my parenting style, what I do is poker right back into the storm. 1 stick your head out and tells me someone’s being mean to her I’ll say something like really. Or that’s not nice. Because its not and she deserves to be no its on that. So does it give me some options I’ll say do you want to go. Answers always know. But oftentimes a charge to get back in there. To being mean to tell him to stop. And they won’t stop make a decision about what you want to do with that. Not a boy. She’s never been. Nothing even like that. But you will stick up for herself. She will tell kids are being mean. She’s not afraid to take a knock you’re there. Its kinda great. So I’m looking at it right now head to toe pink couple of ponytails in, long blonde hair. She’s in there with you maybe 11 year old boys are fighting in the bouncy house with each other. Never know and then she takes a hip. Or not intentional shoulder. I find the kids are cool. The really mean until they get to be teenagers. But they can be rowdy. Nissan Versa celia to learn but in life if you want to get to the heart of things there’s going to be some time of.

Rainbow Sky

Today C yelled out, “daddy look, RAINBOW SKY!”.  I have always loved sunsets.  I guess who doesn’t.  But I surf, and I guess I get to see a lot of them, and at some point you have a decision to let that be freshly penetrating or just to fade away into normality.  I chose the former.  Maybe not consciously, but every time I see the sunset, I take notice.

Did C pick this up from my habit?  Is it hard baked in her?  Who cares.  Its amazing how the sincerity and excitement of a three year old can just drop silence and total presence into your lap.  If you let it.

Sure, sometimes a kid is a bummer. Sometimes at night when a friend comes over to join C and I for dinner and its Dora in one ear, and C daying, “Daddy, daddy, daddy” in the other while i am trying to finish a sentence, I feel like my head is going to explode.  And let’s not kid ourselves, that kind of situation is crazy-making.  But there are those moments where a child just takes special notice of something that has muted itself into ordinariness for you that kicks it back into the realm of attention and all of a sudden you are witness to the majesty and brevity of this life and it all sinks in and Rainbow Sky.

So, thanks C.

Fairy bed

When you have, perhaps accidentally but nevertheless earnestly, promised a three year old girl a fairy bed, you deliver a *&% fairy bed.

It doesn’t matter if you have no idea what a fairy bed might consist of.  It doesn’t matter that you have a 2 door Celica to pick up a bed with a massive headboard.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t have enough screws or a mattress.  You get it done.

Seriously it all began with me trying to get Sissy on board with an adult bed.  I showed her some bedding on Amazon and asked which one she liked.  She like the one with the fairy toy on it.  Fine.  Little expensive, for me, but its Sis.  Problem is, the pictured fairy toy was not included.  So the obsession began with a fairy bed and when we finally upgraded from the stdio to a 2 bedroom, it was time to get her a bed.  And in her mind, it was going to be a fairy bed.

A co-worker gave us her daughter’s old bed that she had outgrown.  Picking it up though was a logistical nightmare.  Not M’s fault.  But I was at the beach with Sis and a friend with his two kids.  Its pretty commando fatheirng leading three kids under 5 down a dirt path to the state beach, building a tent, and then letting them play in the surf until they are wiped out.  So we left at 1, Sis was asleep in about 30 seconds – just dropped after 3 hours running on sand, building castles, surf jumping etc.  So Sis is asleep and she is one of those kids who, once they are alseep for a nap, if they are awoken, they are done napping -whether its 5 minutes or 3 hours.  So Sis is asleep in the car, I have a 20 minute car ride home, and I thought “Maybe M is available”.  I called her, and met her at the storage unit.  C was passed out in the back with a box of almonds on her lap.

So now it was time to tetris in the bed.  Remember I have a car seat, 3 surfboards and a sleeping child in a 2 door car with the back seats really only token so insurance companies can cover it like a sedan. I got the (*&^ things in though, and a carpet remnant.  Sis is now awake, its hot, we are driving home, and she is, understably curious about the wood.  So I tell her its her bed, and the eyes light up.  Now its show time. “Dad, I want to sleep in my bed tonight”.  Er…ouch.  No screws, no mattress and, well, its hard work putting those things together.  And remember I have to get dinner into her, a bath, play etc.

But I did it.  We dropped the bed off, I started assembling it, then we headed out to an area that looked like they might sell mattresses.  C liked the store with the balloon.  Which just happened to be a bedding store going out of business.  She wanted a sparkly mattress.  And after I explained to her that mattresses are not sparkly, only bedding, wouldn’t you know it, they had a sparkly mattress.

A sparkly mattress. Who knew?

We got it home, and while she was eating, I got it built and in place.  I slapped in the mattress, fitted the sheets on and oh yes, I had even sourced a fairy doll some time ago that looked like the one she liked.  Shazam people. That is Dad plus.  Got it together, and let her into the room.

Totally worth it though.  Sis walked in for her  “surprise” but it took about 20 seconds for her to lock onto the bed.  Which would seem improbably.  Its the largest thing in the room by about ten times.  But guessing what goes on in three year old minds is an invitation to insanity.  Then she sees it. Then she freezes.  Seconds pass.   Then then intake a breath. “MY FAIRY BED!”  She runs over to it, climbs on, then instructs me sternly that I cannot disrupt the blankets.  She rolls with the fairy for a while, jumps on it, and just lights up the room with her unmitigated joy.  It was worth every moment.

That night, she slept in her bed.  On top of the covers because it was too fancy to disrupt.  But what a happy girl.

 

Summer

I am here laying out on the couch right now.  C is in the bath.  Everytime the music turns over she asks me what the song is.  I tell her every night that I need to clean, which I do, and I do, but once I am done I lay down and read.  Or write.  It helps me maintain the balance.  But she is there, calling out, without a thought in the world that I am not going ot respond.  That no matter what I am doing, she is important, and that no matter how mundane her observations she wants to share.  And I love it all.

It used to sometimes feel like drowning.  A long stretch of single fatherhood- admittedly nothing compared to some single parents, but if we all have to compare our experiences to make the credible then none of us get to talk about anything- and I would feel harried and exhasuted.  But I don’t get that anymore.  I don’t know what changed, though I do remember when it changed.  C was just two and her mother headed to NY for work for a month.  With C day in and day out for that month, it all piled up.  there was no time to do laundry.  No time to check in with me after she went to sleep.  I was going from diapers to work and back and back and back.  Then it all broke through and all my resistance to letting C in to the center of my life and acknowledging that my life in fact orbited around her and my role as her father collapsed and then there was silence.  Not literal, more spiritual I guess.  The resistance, the breath holding until the next strech where she was at her mother’s house, fell away.

And now she gigles in that bath. I can hear her talking to herself and playing with her bath crayons.  And I love it.  I feel complete.  I am grateful for the chance to love someone completely, and for the honor of the trust and love she gives me.  Falling asleep against me, on my chest or against my arm.  Leaping from the side of the pool to me without a care that she doesn’t know how to swim.  That she has never tried to escape her crib because she knows that I am there and that I will get her when she is ready and I can.

 

I guess I think of this because I just got back from a family reunion.  A week with C and I feel more refreshed and centered than I imagine I could if I had done a vacation on my own.  Noticing how I sleep better when she is around, and laugh harder.  And its because L is leaving for another month.  This time for a NYC vacation.  And this time, I am looking forward to the inevitable deepeneding of my relationship with C.  how she and I will lean on each other more and more and grow closer and closer in ways that can’t be made up, and can’t be undone.  We will always be closer for them, and I will always have that summer with a three year old.

 

Turds

Last Tuesday, C came bouncing out of the car to greet me.  We danced, and played and settled down to use sidewalk chalk.
C is toilet training.  Sometimes we have accidents.  She still wears a diaper most of the time.  She is supposed to tell me when she needs the toilet.  We are still miles from the goal, but she is doing well and making progress identifying the urge and using the potty.  I know.  Sexy stuff.

So there we are drawing.  I drew a moon.  In Blue.  She drew a rainbow. And a circle.  Then she crapped herself.

She stood and it was dropping down her pants leg.  There is nothing special about the story that far.  But the thing that arose within me was wonderful.  I stood, and calmly asked her “did you make a poop?”  “Yes Daddy”,  “Ok then, shall we get you to the toilet” “Yes Daddy”.

She was clearly uncomfortable.  I picked her up, and carried her upstairs.  I asked her to stand and wait at the threshhold.  I was thinking fast.  I decided the bathroom was the best bet, took off her shoes, and carried her in.  I placed her in the tub, took off her shirt, then peeled off her pants and socks.  They were, obviously, the main victims in this.  Into a plastic bag.  Then the diaper.  Then I got paper towels and wipes.  When she was 99 percent clean, I poured some water in the tub and got the rest.  Then we got into dry clothes.

The reason this was wonderful, was that I could watch C’s face the whole time and I could tell that while she was uncomfortable, there was absolutely nothing in my interaction with her, in my response, that caused her a moment of shame.  She was taken care of, she was appreciative and we learned a lesson.  And there wasn’t any anger, yelling, blame, frustration, dissapointment etc from me.  It was just love, and caring for someone, and taking care of business.

Is that worth a post?  Yes, but I can’t explain why.  Sometimes its goo to be a dad.  It teaches you about love.  And sometimes you get a chance to be better to your kids than you are to yourself.  And then, sometimes, you heal yourself just a little bit.  And you have your kids to thank for that opportunity.  And their turds.

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