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If your kid wakes up early, you wake up early

Lucy, who is now 2yrs, 4mo old, is a good sleeper. She's awesome at sleeping all the way thru her naps and all the way thru the night without waking up. But ... she's awake at 5:45 a.m. a lot. Like today. So here I am, 6:45, blogging to the tune of Dora the Explorer. Wonderful. At least I went to bed at 11:30 p.m. Mostly on time. I feel rested enough to pull this off. Yeah.

You hit a point with kids where giving up normal comforts like a good night's sleep, or having peace and quiet, is completely ordinary and you just have to accept it. Not doing so will only be cause for a fight. And not like a shouting match, it will be like a kid crying and standing there by your bed while you try to sleep. And if I say, "Go back to your room, Lucy. Go back to bed," she of course won't. She'll just stand there and cry. It's like a pathetic fight. And saying, "Stop crying," always makes her cry harder, and choke out through her sobs, the parroting skill coming into light, "Stop crying."

Peace and quiet are at a premium now, too. Beatrix is a big, big crier. And a big, big baby. Like, she's in the 95th percentile for height and weight. A huge kid. But, her height-weight ratio is on par. For some reason, she cries most of the time she's awake. She loves to scream and shout. It's def her favorite thing. I'm still not completely sure what her face looks like cause every time I see it, her eyes are squeezed shut, mouth wide open, screams coming out, face red.

But parents know that a colic-y baby is no easy thing to deal with. Thank God Megan has a little less than two months of maternity leave left. When she goes back to work, it's all me at home with these two angels. BB is four weeks, five days old today. I think she cries so much cause she has stomach issues up the wazoo. Always puking. Every day, without fail. She urps up multiple times. I guess babies just do this, but it's still weird. She also has lots of farts that seem to be painful for her. I feel bad for this poor kid.

Pretty much every night when it's getting close to bed time, she's inconsolable for a few hours. Just crying, crying, crying. I think she just cries cause she's bored half the time. And if you're not a parent, you're going to get horrified at this, but if you are, you know what an inconsolable crying baby can do to you. It's hard not to be insulted by it, or to start thinking that nothing is going to help, and the urge to smack her always rises up in me. 

Violence against a baby. I can't believe it. Here I am in life. Of course I don't smack her. Maybe I pat her back a little too hard sometimes, but otherwise I'm good at just rocking, rocking, rocking. Getting my ear screamed into. God BB has pipes. She'll be a good singer. Single folks just don't know what this kind of test is like. Kids will stretch you to your utmost. The virtue of patience becomes very, very apparent.

One thing parents never talk about is the urge to hit their kids. Megan and I have both admitted to each other in the past that, sometimes, we just want to smack Lucy. It sounds funny now, but it's such a sensitive issue that you can't really talk about it too freely. Not in public, anyway. But I assure you, every single parent has either hit, or wanted to hit, their kid at some point in their life. Kids misbehave and deliberately try to push your buttons; it's what they do. When adults do that, you want to hit them, too.

Why do you think spanking was such a popular discipline technique when we were kids, my fellow late-20's/30-somethings? Hitting kids was okay to do, until a certain time came about. I'm not sure of the history of children's rights, but sometime in there, hitting and switching was replaced by spanking. Now spanking is discouraged, cause hitting a kid anywhere only teaches them that it's okay to hit, even those you love.

My dad told me about times when his mom would hold him over her knee and smack his ass with a hairbrush. And he cracks up every time he tells me the story of when he got so old that he learned to clench his butt muscles, and she broke the brush over his ass, and then started to cry.

One day I was like ten or something, and my mom says, "Glenn, I'm going to spank your bottom!" And I just kind of smiled, then laughed, and then she started laughing too. My momma loves me. Even though I was a total shithead as a child.

It's fucking early and I haven't had my coffee yet. I guess I love writing.

Here, look at these pictures. All this talk of violence against children makes me want to relish some of the more sweet moments of parenting. Moments like this, and my all-encompassing love for my beautiful girls, make all the hardship worth it. I love my kids more than anything.

Lucy is such a sweety.


Discovered parenting page; became revolted

Conscious Parenting — Parenting Your Children With Love and Authenticity

I ran across this page because the author recently began following me on Twitter.

She says a lot of vague, friendly things about parenting through the veneer of being hippy dippy. There's even a misused phrase in the first sentence of the only entry. It's a very hippie thing to do, to not care about typos. Indeed, hippies tend to disregard little annoying mistakes in their very selves (little annoying tweaks in their personalities) that drive friends and family crazy. They also tend to keep their heads in the clouds about it.

Every time I read the word conscious here, I think couscous.

Let me get to her actual thoughts instead of my immature reaction to the page's design.

But first, it's not pink. Thank god. No pink anywhere.

There are, however, typos everywhere. She misuses common words and phrases frequently.

Okay. She's doing this thing that Ayn Rand did, but to a much smaller degree. She's taking her own idea and assigning it to all human beings. People don't have a 'natural state.' People just exist.

People are all different. Not everyone naturally wants to be a good parent, or has it in them, and even less are willing to be called a Soul Keeper.

But seriously, Soul Keeper, if you want to sell your messege, use proper grammar. Type in a language people are used to reading. You can't reinvent the wheel until people prescribe to your ideas.

In the last graf she mentions herself in the third person, and then tries to sell you on what seems like a series of classes, or maybe a way of life. She calls it a 'perspective.' Let me just quote her:
With over ten years of experience helping adults to empower themselves and create the lives they prefer and having been a successful elementary school teacher for five years, Kalyn B Raphael offers a wonderful perspective on parenting which will help you be the Conscious Parent you always wanted to be while helping you have the well-behaved, happy child that you wish to raise.
If you're gonna say you have a lot to offer, offer more than one blog entry! She seems full of herself, enough to refer to herself in ... ugh... 3rd person. Rand can do that. Not Soul Keeper.





It occurs to me that I should be posting more on this blog, but fuck, a new baby is a lot of work.

Especially when you've already got a two year old running around!

Megan does have the time off work, so life is relaxing enough around here. The screaming baby does make it difficult at times, but at the very worst, it's just really annoying. Aggravating. Sometimes I find myself thinking, 'I don't deserve this!' when BB gets in one of her screamy moods. And I get mad then. And it's not productive. She doesn't know what mad even is!

But one thing makes it much better: she sleeps thru the night. IN THE CRIB. I mean, she wakes up at 5 or 6 am, but she's out by like 11. And she sleeps thru most of the day, too.

My kid's not sleeping in my goddam bed and keeping me awake. No way. The queen size is big enough for mom and dad, not a squirmy toddler, not a don't-put-blankets-on-me-or-I'll-suffocate newborn. Babying kids is not what they need. Kids are jerks. Kids need to learn to sleep the hell alone.

Today BB is 3 weeks, 4 days old. She's starting to cry less and be calmer when she's awake, which is a great fucking relief, cause she was crying nonstop while awake for the first three weeks. Mostly. She's showing more concentration with her eyes, and they aren't as crossed as often. I can tell she's seeing better. She's also making little sounds that aren't cries--I read that that's her trying to talk to me, and that I should talk back. So I do. It's adorable. She looks right into my eyes when I do.

I was telling myself that I should write about this stuff specifically because I am in a time when writing is hard to do. Cause I only get a few hours of free time per day, and I want to use it to relax and play video games and turn my brain off! And writing requires brain power. And effort. You know, the thing about writing for me is, I always feel good doing it, and it becomes effortless when I get started.

But anyway, how many dads chronicle their time raising a new kid? Don't we always see new parents kind of fall of the map for a little while? That's cause newborns are demanding, even when mom is home.

See, mom also has to heal from the birth process. And she's gonna be stuck breastfeeding an infant who cries a lot, so basically she doesn't leave the house, and she's lucky if she can get enough of a break to do anything physical. It's up to dad, in these occasions, to pick up the slack chore-wise, and helping fetch things for mama that she can't easily get up to get, and rocking the baby to sleep at night when mama's too fucking tired to rock the baby anymore and the baby won't shut up and it's 11:30pm. Doesn't leave much time for writing.

But see, then what you lose from this is experience on paper, written at the time it's happening, from dads about raising newborns. That's valuable information, being that the majority of parenting advice is written by and for mothers. This makes it kind of annoying for dads to seek out parenting advice.

One reason is that mothers are spazzes about their children walking to the edges of cliffs and dads just kinda say, yeah well if they get hurt they learn a lesson. A place for dads to get newborn, infant and toddler-raising advice from other dads needs to exist. Dads are relaxed and with it, and they don't take shit from misbehaving kids.

Well, dads, here I am. Ask me something. I'll give you the answer, and it won't be coated in pink and sugar. I don't sugarcoat.

Here's one example: You ever hear that line about how kids grow up so fast? And that you should treasure it while they're young? Bullshit.

It takes kids a long time just to grow up a little bit. Just to hit milestones that come easily to adults, like walking, reading, talking, basic motor skills, overcoming childish fears. Kids don't usually walk until they're a year old, give or take. You realize how long a year is?

Think about this: kids don't shit in the toilet till they're about three, on average, and that's just starting to! You've still got to wipe them! Then they're four and five and you're still wiping their ass after they shit on the toilet.

Five years of cleaning up someone else's shit for them.

Kids do not grow up fast. They take forever.

Here's some free advice: is your kid misbehaving? They're looking for attention from you! It's not real! They're testing you!


Surprising pleasant encounter

Impromptu Gardening Tutorial

I was in the bathroom at home yesterday and heard an old woman's voice, and Megan's. I assumed they were talking to each other. It appeared, by tone of voice of both vocalists, that the situation was somewhat dire.

It turned out that our neighbors had caught a man underneath their 1980's-era truck, trying to steal the catalytic converter. Our neighbors are an elderly man and woman. The woman was talking to Megan from our backyard/driveway and Megan was standing in the back door, coming in from bringing in laundry. The woman wanted to let us know what happened and warn us, and from the tail end of the conversation I caught, I could see she was shaken.

So Megan fills me in on the details, and I ask her if the woman said what the guy looked like, and she said no, so after a slash I went outside to ask one of them. I met Robert, 79. He gave me some details. Then he kept talking. And talking. He wasn't interested much in what I had to say, and I politely stayed and listened to him meander around topics and swerve around ideas.

He was born in western Kentucky, during the Depression. Had a farm, and learned to work on it from an early age. His hometown is bordered by two rivers, which is why he thinks it has never seen a tornado. In the past ten or more years, he's been moving around from place to place. The house he's in now is a house belonging to his wife from a former marriage.

I showed interest in peeking over his fence to look at all his plants and assorted greenery, and he invited me in to show me around. It occurred to me that if I refused, I could get out of a very long thing that might be boring. But I wasn't afraid, and I didn't refuse.

He showed me his stream that he landscaped and installed himself, and the myriad flowers, vegetables, and fruits he's growing all around his house. And I do mean all around--every side of his house is flanked by plants, on either side of the circumferential walkway.

He led me all the way around his house, and showed me every one, and I mean every one of his plants, giving me names and details. He offered me some of the rhubarb he's growing. He also told me about his 40 x 100ft lot at a community garden that he attends to about three times per week. I was quite impressed and I told him so. He sort of guffawed at my compliments on his gardening talents. A humble man.

We got all the way around and he shifted gears from Tour Director, to Agitated Homeowner Who's Just Caught a Thief Under his Truck Trying to Steal Parts. He said he had to get to work repairing the damage, so I went back home. The cops could handle the douchebag thief. Soon I may take Lucy over there to see his stream, as per his invitation.

Walking back thru the alley to my door, I felt a warmth of neighborly interaction.


Pretending violent

Cocky little bastard

Yeah so I was driving my entire family home from Magnussen Park today. We'd ascended the hill from Sandpoint, driving west on 65th, and were heading back down.

On the left ahead of me are two jock-looking teenage boys at a bus stop. One is white, blonde, dopey looking. Whatever. The other is brown, like Latino- or Pacific Islander-type brown. Red shorts, white tee shirt. Both have backpacks. Probably going to school.

Like Stephen Colbert, I don't see race. I just want to give you a good idea of what I was looking at. The picture in my brain.

The brown one extends his entire arm and makes the gun shape with his finger extended. Like this:

He's pointing right at me. And he's moving his arm to keep his finger trained on my head, inside the car.

He's making eye contact and smiling, and he never breaks it. His arm moves with what appears to be trained precision. When I'm as close to him as I can be, when I'm right next to him, he cocks his finger up, as if he had just pulled the trigger.

If I didn't have my family with me ...

Thinking of investing in car-dedicated tire iron. Gonna go Jack Bauer on a motherfucker. Shit.