Wednesday, November 30, 2011

When I Grow Up

If you would have asked me in middle school what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have told you a Marine Biologist.  That worked out great until I realized I really didn't like biology and that a janitor at Sea World has a Master's Degree.  So, in high school I decided I wanted to be an Electrical Engineer.  I thought it would make my Dad proud since he had been an Electrical Contractor all his life.  That worked out great until I realized it was really, really hard.  Too bad I was already in the third year of college when I figured this out.  So, what am I now?  I know at this point you have to be thinking author, brain surgeon, rocket scientist, or something along those lines.  Nope, I work in retail.  Alas my life long dream has come true.  What I have always dreamed of being is now reality and what a dream it was. 

The next question is how did I get here.  It's simple.  I was a sophomore/junior in college when I met my wife.  I had been in college almost six years and still had not even became close to graduating.  It didn't help that I had participated in the Co-op program for two of those years.  The work really made me feel I had made the right choice.  Unfortunately the classes didn't agree.  So, here I was struggling part time in school and working part time when I met my significant other.  By then I knew I was just spinning my wheels going to class and wasting my Mom's money to boot.  Shortly after we began dating, she became pregnant.  It wasn't a hard choice to make, deciding to quit school and begin trying to advance in my current occupation.  It made it even easier when she lost her job.  The opportunity was there, I just had to take it.  I did, and here I am nine years later, an assistant store manager for a major retailer. I wouldn't change it for the world.

So, now I am a father of three, soon to be four.  I have a good life.  Rich beyond my wildest dreams, although we struggle week to week to pay our bills, put food on the table, and take care of our kids.  My wife is a SAHM.  Seriously, who can afford child care for two?  She does a great job raising our girls day in and day out and I work 50+ hours a week.  I love my life.  Is it sad though that I want more for my children?  I want them to be whatever they want to be.  I want them to be successful beyond their wildest dreams. What does that really mean though?  I think I am successful, just not what I thought I would be.  How do we help our children become what they want to be, or what they are really meant to be?

When I grow up, I want to be a great Dad.  Really, that's what I want.  I really don't care about my profession.  Rarely is a coworker going to remember me as a great leader or manager.  My kids will always remember what kind of Dad I was though. That makes me want to be a great one.  I remember my Dad was a great man.  I just hope when my kids are in their thirties they can think about me that way too.  What do you want to be when you grow up?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Santa Clause is Coming To Town or is He?

So, for several years now I have been dreading the time when my oldest would be subject to peoples cruel attempts to destroy her hope.  You see, I believe that hope and dreams in a child will grow and inspire them to do great things.  One of these dreams that I so desperately cling to and hope that she does as well, is the idea of Santa Clause.  Now, if you read me correctly, I said the idea of Santa Clause, not the actual person.  I believe in Santa Clause, what's wrong with that?

So, the other day, Random Girl tells me that one of the girls in her class told her that Santa Clause was fake.  What, she's in first grade.  I asked how she felt about that and what she said.  She told the other little girl that Santa Clause was real and she believed in him.  Whew!  My sigh of relief could have blown down the doors.  We got past the big one, this time. The seed of doubt has been planted though.  The part I have to figure out now, is how to keep the dream alive.

The question I have is why do parents feel the need to tell their children that Santa Clause doesn't exist.  I agree it's your child, tell them what you want, but they also need to know not to spread the word.  Don't crush my child's imagination and hope just because you don't believe.  If you take the idea of Santa Clause, it is about dreaming and hoping and pure innocence.  It's about random, selfless acts of kindness.  It's magical, not only to the kids, but to the parents that believe as well.  If you choose to twist it to be a strange man sneaking in your house in the middle of the night with magical reindeer, then that's your version.  Don't spread it around.  (By the way, his name is Santa, he lives at the North Pole, and you should expect him the same night every year.) 

To go right along with that, go ahead and tell your kids that all the Disney characters are fake, including the princesses and Mickey.  Tell them that all the cartoons they watch are a useless waste of their time, and that their blanket or stuffed animal that makes them feel safe, really won't do anything if someone comes to get them.  Make them understand reality as soon as possible.   Go ahead and get them a job, so they can start the 9-5 grind and be productive humans.  Stop all this foolish child stuff.

Sorry for the rant, but it is a touchy, and very personal subject for me.  I believe the root of a childs development and oppurtunity to thrive begins with dreams, hope, and imagination.  I grew up believing in Santa Clause and at no time did my parents feel the need to take that dream away from me.  I think I turned out pretty good and want to share that magic with my family.  It's all about perspective, I believe in Santa Clause, do you? 

My Wolverine

So, Monkey and Punky Doodles are inseperable.  They spend the majority of ALL day together and their relationship has its tense moments.  Lately though my Monkey has become Wolverine and bites and scratches Punky Doodles.  Kids will be Kids, right?  Wrong, she scratches and bites hard enough to leave marks.  How do I stop her from doing this?  She says she understands why we get upset with her when she does it.  She doesn't like it when it is done to her, but what can we do to curb this behavior.  I don't want my middle child to be a bully and I don't want my youngest to grow up hating her big mean sister, but I am at a loss.  Where in the parenting manual do you find the answers? 


Monday, November 28, 2011

Body Language

So, one of the things Mom and I think is most important in our children's life is to know they are loved.  We shower them with hugs, and kisses, and constantly tell them how much they mean to us.  Don't take that in a Catholic Priest kind of way, but more like a Garth Brooks "If Tomorrow Never Comes," kinda way.  We love our children and hope that when they grow up, they will be able to tell the difference between real love and just infatuation.  With that being said, one of the habits our oldest has picked up on and passed down to her sisters is "I Love You!" in sign language. For those of you who don't know what that looks like, here it is.
Sign Language I Love You
My wife and I constantly use this to tell each other that we love each other, even when we can't speak to one another.  Our children have seen this and picked up our little "body language."  It's really cute and I hope they know what it means to us.  Everyday I go to work, my two littlest one's will tell me they love me and then hold their hands up to show me.  It's a ritual I wouldn't trade for the world and I think one of the greatest things we have ever taught our children.  So, take some time to not only tell them you love them, but show them too.  That way, no matter how far away you are, driving off to work, or coming home.  You will always know you are loved, and they will too. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Thanksgiving

Large ViewOne of the many things that I am Thankful for today is that my Internet is back up and running.  I know from many years of experience that I can survive quite soundly without it, but it sure is a nice escape from reality on occasion.  I am doubly thankful for the massage pad my Mom gave me for Christmas several years ago.  As I sit here writing, it is dueling the many muscle knots in my back.  After last nights endeavors, I feel like a pretzel factory across my shoulders and lower back.  My third thing to be thankful for today is that I get one extra day off with my family to enjoy some good, old fashioned, family time.  I could sit here and ramble on about all my blessings from this past year, but that wouldn't make for good readings, so I a move on.

Coming back around to our Thanksgiving holiday, I would like to remind everyone out there that there are people working yesterday, today, and tonight, to make your Black Friday shopping experience a satisfying one.  They will go through long, pain staking processes, and great physical work to make you feel in the Christmas present buying mood.  Please, go out and enjoy their establishments and the hard work they've done.  They will be thankful you came by when they still have a job next year.  Their families will be thankful too, when they carve their Thanksgiving turkey today.  We all coincide together.  On days like today, let's remember we all have our place in the circle of life, and that we need to help each other out on occasion.

Enough of my retail preaching.  I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday weekend.  May your soul be at piece for all your blessings, and may your tummy's be full of Turkey.  Happy Thanksgiving!
Large View

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Take Time to Be a Dad

So, all over town there are these billboards that say "Take Time to Be a Dad" and it's really got me thinking.  What does it mean to be a Dad and how do you take the time to do it?  How much time do you need to be a Dad?  And why do I need a billboard to remind me to do it?

It makes me think of my Dad.  I thought he was a pretty good Dad, but for the life of me, I can't pinpoint the reasons why I think he was.  He was not always there for me.  He wasn't full of that mystical advice that taught me to be a man.  Nothing just stands out as over exceptional, but he was a great Dad.

When I say he was a great Dad, I mean that he was always in my life, apart of my life, even if was just in a small way.  He taught me how to wash the car, the right way.  He taught me how to cut the grass.  He taught me how to treat my wife.  It wasn't so much that he gave me step-by-step instructions, he was a role model.  He left me with little trinkets of life wisdom.  "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right."  Things like when "we" are going to do something, it meant you were going to do it.  He taught me a lot about life.

My wife will be the first to tell you that he taught me a lot about relationships.  I saw it in my parents marriage.  My Mom was my Dad's princess, the most important person in the world.  That included his kids too.  Mom was #1.  I learned that more then anything else.  It was my lasting jewel.

So, with all this in mind, how do I be a Dad to my little girls.  I am part of their life. I shower them with love and discipline, in healthy doses.  I try to be supportive of all their dreams and brag about them to everyone.  I try to boost their confidence.  I try to be everything a Dad can be.  The only problem, is that I don't know what that is.  Am I too overbearing, too much discipline, too easy, what am I doing right?  Everyday I feel like I am half right and half wrong in what I do for my kids.  Now, I have another one coming and I wonder everyday what kind of father I am going to be to them too.  I just hope I am worthy of that title, Dad.  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Shirt and Shoes Required

So, we came home from our road trip to the In-Law's this weekend for Punky Doodles birthday.  It was a typical road trip, full of the kids fighting, Daddy sleeping, and Mommy driving.  Along the way, Mommy had to use the restroom.  This should sound familiar to all you DADDS out there.  News Flash: A Pregnant Woman Needs to Use the Restroom!  As we pull into the front row parking space, Random Girl rouses to and reads  the first sign on the glass at the gas station,  "No Loitering."  After a brief explanation, she reads the next one, "Shirt and Shoes Required.  What does that mean Mommy?"  After, again, another brief explanation, Random Girl responds with "What about pants?"  The hysterics begin.

This brings me to my point, my daughter is six years old, seven in February.  I know I am like every parent out there and thinks that their child is a genius, but all signs point to yes.  During her parent teacher conference last month, the teacher told my wife that she was well above the learning level of the class, she has already passed the final test of the year with flying colors, and is the only one in the class reading at a fourth grade reading level.  She's a genius right? 

Well, never the less, our elementary school here is sub-par to say the least and we don't know what to do.  My sister has suggested that we look into a charter school, but I can't find a whole lot of information on  the two we have locally.  All I want is the best for my children and she is not being challenged where she is now.  Any suggestions on what we should do?  Any experiences I can learn from?  What other options are there out there besides your traditional private and public schools?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Conversation with a Three Year Old

So, tonight my Monkey and I drove to my Mom's house to have a "sleep over" as my daughter puts it.  The trip takes about an hour, so for forty five minutes we had a great conversation.  She started by telling me about her school bus, which magically appeared at the stop light, and how it picked her up every morning and drove far, far, far over that way to take her to her school.  Said school, has a slide that looks "just like that one" at the church as we pass.  Then one day she went to the lake that we just crossed and stood on that dock right there, but she didn't get into the water because there was alligators that ate people.  Her bff Kayla (???) lives in that house right there, or there, or there, and they love to play hide and seek together in those woods right there.  She can't get into those woods though, so Kayla is lost and her Daddy can't find her.  We're on our way to Nana's house, but she doesn't have marshmallows.  She loves her dog Charlie, but he jumps on her.  Then the snoring begins.  It was really interesting to hear what was going on in my little girls head.  It made for good entertainment for a hour long trip and it made her happy to have her Daddy's undivided attention.  I wonder what kind of conversation we will have for the ten hour trip to Disney next year?

A Day in the Life of Super Dadd

The last couple of days have been long and flown by, but nothing different then the norm for Super Dadd.  Work is one of those necessary evils that just takes me away from my family time.  I enjoy my job, but it's not all that.  So, Wednesday when I got off work, the family and I went tire shopping for our minivan.  We had been riding on a doughnut for three weeks.  Ugh.  The day ended with things being said like "Why are you trying to stick your foot in the water bottle?,"  "Don't eat that!," and "If you don't buckle your seat belt, I'm going to strap you to the roof!" What an exhausting day.  I was in bed by 6:30 pm.  Unfortunately, work drains me, especially when I am up at 4:00 am.  Thursday was a "rinse and repeat" kind of day followed by a trip to the In-Laws for Punky Doodles birthday.  Hopefully it will be a good weekend and I will be back to my old blogging self on Monday. Until then, Super Dadd is in his temple of solitude...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

And Here Comes Another One

Today we had our first ultrasound since we confirmed pregnancy two weeks ago. It was so exciting and stirred up so many memories of the pregnancy of our other three children. The ultrasounds, the kicks, listening to the heartbeat, all just memories of a new life. It's hard to believe we are going to be a family of four and so very exciting. It seems like yesterday my oldest was born and she will turn seven this February. I took some time to look through some old pictures of my children growing up and it made my heart swell with pride at how much they are growing up. My Punky Doodles will turn two in three days. How time does fly by. Hopefully this pregnancy will go as smooth as the previous ones and sometime towards the end of May, we will be blessed with our newest edition. Cross your fingers we get that boy. We'll find that out in about eight more weeks. All that really matters though is that Mom and the baby are healthy. Everything else after that is gravy...

Monday, November 7, 2011

To Disney or Not to Disney?

Disney World is my most favorite place in the entire world. One of the joys I got out of becoming a Dad was that I would get to take my kids there one day. About three months ago, Mom and I bit the bullet and decided that September 2012 would be the year my daughters got introduced to Disney World. We got the videos, talked to the girls about the trip, and even used it as incentive for Random Girl to do good in school. Now, we've found out that sometime around next May, we're having another baby come our way. So, do we continue with our plans for Disney, adding a 5 month old to the head count, or do we postpone this family vacation for a later date? Does anyone have experience doing a major trip like this one with a new born? Any advice? I just don't know what to do and I hate the idea of breaking my little girl's hearts because we're having another baby. The rational side to me tells me to wait at least another year, but my child side tells me to go for it. What do you think?

Why am I a DADD?

Princess 1, 2, & 3

Well, if you don't know, D.A.D.D. stands for Dad's Against Daughters Dating.  It's especially fitting for me since I have three, yes, three daughters.  Now, I shouldn't say that I am just prejudice against daughters dating.  I think the entire human race under the age of 18 is too socially immature to try to have a relationship.  I would even push to say 21 is still too young.  Is it possible, yes, realistic, no.  Kids today are so much stupider then we were.  Yes, stupider.  I know that sounds immature to say, but fortunately, it's not the end of the world. 

Way to young, but my kinda guy!

When I look at older children today, they have attitudes out of control, over the top personalities, and they believe they rule the world.  Some parents like it that way.  I do not.  I want my children to be strong willed and independent, but polite just the same.  They need to learn to love themselves for who they are, and really understand who they are, before bringing someone else into the mix.  That's my personal opinion and I'll stick to it.  They should be able to accomplish this by their thirties at the earliest. 

So, to all the DADDs out there.  All we can do is hope and pray that our little girls heed our advice, hold off the boy thing as long as possible, and that we don't kill the first boy to break our little girls heart.  Short of that, we must band together and support each other through that tough time.  We may not all be the shotgun cleaning type, but hopefully we can instill in our daughters the need for their boys to live up to their DADD's expectations.  They may grow up, but they will always be Daddy's little girl.  DADD's forever.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

What Did You Call Your Sister?

So, yesterday, Random Girl and Monkey were outside playing when all of the sudden the door flys open and Monkey walks in with this huge pout on her face.  As she slams the door behind her, Super Dadd's super hearing hears "blah, blah, blah...Whiney Butt!"  being screamed at her by Random Girl.  Whiney Butt?  Where on Earth could she have heard that?  So as good, responsible parents, we call in Random Girl and tell her that it's not nice to call her sister names.  Point taken.  Day continues.


This brings me to my next point.  Whiney Butt?  Yeah, that was me.  I am the offender who spread that name to my children.  You see, unlike my wife, who's Halo of Patience shines brightly, I have little patience with my children and all the antics that they bring.  We strongly discourage name calling.  Words like stupid and idiot are banned from our home.  My kids don't use them and will be the first to tell you "that's a bad word." I do unfortunately have a tendency to let a "whiney butt" slip on occasion though.  Oops!


I could blame this lack of patience on my job easily enough.  When you have to lead others and work with the mass public in general, it's easy to lose a lot of patience.  I just don't really have the capacity to deal with people ALL DAY LONG!  Unfortunately that includes my kids too.  To blame my job would be a lie though. I've never had patience, neither did my Dad really.  That was Mom's thing.  I think it runs in the family.  I just hope as a I grow older and my kids grow up.  I learn a little more.  Hey, I never did take that class, "How to be a Perfect Parent."  I always knew I should have scheduled that one in somewhere.

That brings me to my next point.  What is the deal with kids today?  Not all kids are in this category, but most little one these days have over-the-top personalities and an attitude to go with it.  When I grew up it was "Mommy, can I please have some ice cream?"  Now it seems to be "Mom, give me the friggin ice cream. NOW!"  Excuse me, what happened?  The worst part is, that this little attitude rubs off on everyone else's kids.  I'm sorry, don't raise that.  They will not be productive human beings.  Just sayin. 
So, we could just say that I have no patience, for my kids, your kids, or any one else for that matter.  It's kind of funny that I work in a retail with that kind of attitude, right.  I do love my children deeply though, and my job, and of course, my ever patient wife.  Hopefully they know it and the "whiney butt" slips will just go by unnoticed. 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ewww...Your kids aren't vaccinated.

As a new blogger, I will try to keep from bringing up too many controversial topics.  I do want people to read and the quickest way to stop that is being too controversial.  I do want to touch on this topic though because I am a parent, my kids aren't vaccinated, and it's close to my heart.

Several years ago, I met a dad and we became close friends.  One of the secrets he shared with me was that his kids were not vaccinated.  He never explained all the reasons why whether religious, medical, etc.  but he did say that he didn't share that information with a lot of people because if they knew, his children would lose friends.  I thought it sad that he felt that way.  Then again, my children weren't vaccinated either, so what was there to be concerned about.

Children's vaccinations should be an educated choice, not a mandated rule.  One doctor explained it to me that it was our mistake to make, either way.  I liked how she put it and have remembered that ever day.  You see, my oldest daughter has most of her vaccinations. Not all were done on the mandated schedule, but they were pretty much all done.  Shortly after her last vaccine, the MMR, she had her first febrile seizure.  She was two.  The coincidence was too much for us to handle.  No, the vaccine didn't cause the seizure.  The fever (105+) brought on by the vaccine caused the seizure.  Vaccines don't cause fevers, right?  Oh yeah, and febrile seizures are harmless too.  Well, a year later, she had another seizure brought on by a high fever.  Yes, the first ER doctor told us that this could happen.  No, we didn't expect it.  That was it!  Our decision was made.  We did our due dilegence and we did what we thought best for the health of our children.

Two children later, and neither of them have been vaccinated.  They have lived healthier, less dramatic childhoods then the first.    Our pediatrician decided they weren't going to take care of them anymore because they were not vaccinated.  See ya later Doc.  It's my choice, not yours.  Which brings me to another point.  Parents of vaccinated children, what are you scared of?  My kids are the ones "unprotected."  If they are the carriers of the apocalyptic plague, you should be safe, your vaccinated.  We should be more afraid of your children, then you are of mine.  Yours have been exposed, mine have not.  Mine can't make yours sick if the vaccinations work.  Just sayin.

Having your children vaccinated is a parent's choice and right.  They can still go to school (In most states), they can still live normal lives.  Nothing is different except that they aren't exposed to the same things other children have been exposed to.   It's your choice though.  In my heart and mind, I have made the right choices for my children.  That's what being a parent is about right, trying to make the right choices for your kids.  I've said before, I'd do anything for my kids and I meant it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Let's Talk Kids

OK, so you know by now I have three little girls. Yes, I know every Dadd out there knows my blessings.  I dread the day they recognize boys for what they are and what they want them to be.  Yuck!  But then again, you may not really know my blessings, not yet.

I always wanted family, like ALWAYS.  I knew I wanted little rug rats running around .  I grew up, kinda, knowing this is something I wanted, one day.  Well, many years and many loves passed and here came the "one!"  Guys, you know the one I'm talking about.  The one you can actually see yourself spending the rest of your life with.  The one who gives your life eternal meaning.  You see yourself creating that family you've always wanted, right?  Here she was and I knew it.  Then she told me the saddest thing ever, she couldn't have kids.  She had been told that since she was fourteen.  Bummer.  I remember driving along with my best friend, telling him all about her, how great she was, pretty, smart, funny, and yeah, almost perfect.  Those were my exact words.  Almost perfect, except she couldn't have kids.  I could deal with that because she was the "one."  That's when you know love.

Well, a little time passed and guess what!  God blessed us with a child.  What a surprise.  My wife's doctor said that's why doctors "practice" medicine.  Jokes on me right.  We named her Grace because we had her by the Grace of God and so my family began.  Seven years later, God's blessed us with three girls.  Don't forget, I said the jokes on me. God has a great sense of humor, and we recently found out that we are expecting our fourth child.  We hope it's a boy, but in the end, we know it is going to be what God wanted it to be in the first place, our child.

I say all this to remind everyone, count your blessings.  God will work miracles in your life and bless you in ways you can't imagine.  Remember to love selflessly, appreciate all your blessings, and don't forget to pray a little either.  Everything will come in time and in God's way.  You just have to wait your turn.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

And we begin.....

Today we blog!  I wake up this morning to the wife asking me to get our oldest up and take her to the bus stop.  Another day begins.  Getting ready in the morning is like an Easter egg hunt.  Clothes laid out, less socks, book bag ready, less homework folder....  and the hunt begins.  Thankfully, socks were in the laundry room  and the folder was by the door.  No need for my X-ray vision.  Not my typical morning.  The other's are up when I get back and make the coffee.  The morning routine continues with Disney Jr. and a cup of coffee.  Did I mention the cup of coffee?  Seems lately I can't get started without the stuff.  How did I go by 31 years without it?  It's warm, it's bitter, it's the essence of life and I love it!  I wonder if I can talk my wife into naming our next child Juan Valdez?  My day continues as I cook Super Breakfast.  a.k.a microwave eggs.  It's not much, but it makes me a hero in my young one's eyes. The first thing out of their mouth in the morning is they want something in it.  Eat?  Eat.  Eat!  My early morning conversation.  My girls were blessed with super powers too;  super hearing, super speed, and super appetites.   I have to say they get it honestly.  Today is an off day, so I'm going to get it started...maybe.  Up, up, and away!