A collection of 57 posts

When One Plus One is Way More than Two

parenting 3 min read When One Plus One is Way More than Two

In the beginning, and yes, there was a beginning, I was the father of a single child. I moaned and complained about the difficulties and boredom of being a parent. I made excuses for why I didn’t have enough time during the day, why I didn’t get enough sleep, why I had every reason to be depressed. When the second kid came along, I paid for all those earlier lies, and I paid mightily.

Early on, people often asked, “Is two harder than one?” And I would laugh and say, “Not really.” It was the truth. Aside from

Soap Opera Mysteries

parenting 2 min read Soap Opera Mysteries

The stereotypical housewife of my youth was an avid Soap Opera watcher, or so I heard. Even my own mom, before she went back to school and work, watched at least a couple hours of those superbly written, wonderfully acted, not-at-all-melodramatic dramas daily. And yet now, as I stay home with my kids, anxious to waste away the day folding laundry and enjoying the same episode of SportsCenter for the sixth time, I want simply to ask them: how did you do it?

As it is, I rarely find myself in front of the television. I chase kids around all


parenting 1 min read Absorption

The call rang through the house.

"Daddy!  Daddy!"

It was Smartypants, age 5, beckoning from an upstairs bathroom.

"Daddy, I need more toilet paper."

And so Daddy fetched a new roll of toilet paper and delivered it to the bathroom.

"Thanks, Daddy."  Smartypants smiled faintly, seemingly concerned, but she took the toilet paper and finished her business.  When she stood, she stared as though puzzled at the unflushed toilet.

"What's wrong," Daddy asked from the hallway.  "Flush the toilet."

"But there's a problem."

"What's that?"

"There's toilet paper in the toilet."

"That's because you went to the bathroom."

"Not that

The Repository of What We Miss

parenting 3 min read The Repository of What We Miss

In all the lore of humankind, where might one discover the repository of missed steps, forgotten moments, and nonexistent memories? I ask only because it must be a wonderland of smiles, brimming with laughter, perfumed by the aromas of baby lotion, spilled milk and dirty diapers, overflowing with moments of pride, joy, tears and hope. I ask because I want to peruse that repository. I want to locate all the mispronounced words that have escaped my child’s lips, to find all the awkwardly worded sentences that so often make me laugh, to hear all the unanswered cries for Daddy

Cat Kitty Crying

parenting 2 min read Cat Kitty Crying

I hear her. The agonized meow of a stuffed cat. She calls to me through the silence, begging to be held, longing to purr in the arms of anyone.

She is Smiley's favorite little friend. Her name is Cat Kitty.  I don't know why.

If you squeeze Cat Kitty's head, she meows. At least, that's the way she's supposed to work. But, as any toy whisked around by a two-year-old child is apt to become, Cat Kitty was dirty, and so we gave her a bath in the washing machine. Smiley said, "Kitties don't like baths." Apparently, she was correct.

Rebranding Smiley

parenting 3 min read Rebranding Smiley

Once upon a time, nothing short of a grin touched the face of my tiniest and youngest monkey. Whether she was yanking fur off the cat's back, tossing cheerios across a room, plummeting down the stairs, or leaping like a daredevil from the arm of a couch, she was all smiles. Giggly, gleeful, overjoyed by daily discoveries. That was Smiley.

I remember the morning she earned her moniker. The sun was up, but barely. My eyes ached, my ears throbbed, and my head rattled with pangs of exhaustion. And yet the calls echoed from a room down the hall. "Daddy,

The Future Ms. Smartypants

parenting 1 min read

It seems, during these restless summer days of vacationing and celebration, Smartypants has spent her leisure time contemplating the future and its myriad possibilities.  She's apparently working under the flawed assumption that Daddy won't eat the universe any time soon (see post below), but we'll forgive her.

Last week we watched the Space Shuttle launch on television.  She called it a spaceship.  She wanted to watch it fly through space.  I sensed an intense curiosity, and so I asked her a question:

"Do you want to be an astronaut when you get older?"

Without hesitation, she answered, "No."

"What do

Eating the Universe

parenting 1 min read Eating the Universe

It seems Smartypants, with her insatiable thirst for knowledge, has, in her eternal pursuit of understanding, developed a rather bleak view pertaining to the end of the world, and I would like to share with you her stunning take on the destruction of the universe.

The fundamentals of her philosophy became apparent to me in the car yesterday, when I complained I was hungry.

"What will you eat?" she asked.

"Maybe some pizza."

"We don't have any pizza."

"What do we have?"

"We don't have any food.  We're in the car."

"Ahh!  Then I'll eat the car."

Here she giggles

Lost Goodnights

parenting 2 min read Lost Goodnights

As the days of an unbroken family drift further into memory, new realities intrude on an otherwise normal world. One of those realities, a harsh one, is that Daddy's little girls don't always sleep at home anymore. Half the week they stay with their mother, and their beds wait cold and vacant for their return.

At night, when they're home, before I go to bed I do what I've always done. I sneak into their rooms and give each a kiss. I'm not sure it's a smart thing to do, as Smiley tends to wake up fussy and thirsty, but

50 Ways

parenting 2 min read 50 Ways

During every car ride, a handful of requests emerge from the backseat. Smiley begs for a pacifier and also a second pacifier as backup in case the first escapes her mouth. Smartypants occasionally asks that her window be opened or that the air conditioning be turned off, and sometimes I oblige her whims.

Most often, the request I hear is for some form of musical entertainment. The little hoodlums are seldom happy with Daddy's choice of tunes.

Their requests are consistent and repetitive. They ask for Little Mermaid music, or The Princess and the Pauper soundtrack (a musical Barbie movie

A Trip Unto Bathrooms

parenting 3 min read A Trip Unto Bathrooms

Follow me beyond the double arches, beyond the glass doors, beyond the Playland and the soda fountain. Follow me far and follow me further, past the ATM machine, past the bucket, mop and Slippery When Wet sign. Follow me to the farthest reaches of a fast food restaurant and pass into another world. Pass into:

The men's bathroom.

Now remember, you're not just following me. You're following me, Smiley, and Smartypants. And we're running. But why are we running? Is that your question? The answer is simple. Smartypants has to go potty, and the countdown has begun.

The bathroom door

The Potty Mummy

parenting 1 min read The Potty Mummy

A few days ago, Smartypants was leisurely getting ready for school. As departure time approached, I realized she'd been going to the bathroom -- as far as I could reckon -- a LONG time.

I knocked on the bathroom door.  "Everything okay in there?"

No answer.

"Everything okay in there?"

After more silence, I opened the door.  Smartypants looked up at me and said, "I can't reach the toilet paper."

The irony of her statement cannot be fully appreciated here. What you can't see but must imagine is an entire roll of toilet paper (some 600 double-ply sheets) wrapped around

Reading The Tale of Despereaux

parenting 2 min read Reading The Tale of Despereaux

If you don't already know, Despereaux is a mouse.  He is a mouse who, by his own admission, has fallen in love with a Princess. And in the world of mice, falling in love with a Princess is the most absurd thing one can do.

Of course, Despereaux's entire existence is riddled with absurdities. He was born too small. No one expected him to survive. He happens to READ the scribbled lines in a book instead of eating the pages like other mice.

Despite his peculiarities, however, the other mice let him be, until he falls in love with a

Dancing the Future

parenting 2 min read Dancing the Future

The first rattle of a guitar string vibrated through the air, and soon the strumming rhythms had my daughter and I tapping our feet and hopping across the family room.  At age four, my little Smartypants hasn't quite mastered ballroom dancing (she probably can’t demonstrate a decent Macarena either, but who can?).  Her coordination fits the description of ‘goofy and awkward’, but she loves music, and when the radio plays she's smart enough to grab hold of her daddy's sentimental heart every chance she gets.

So there we were, dancing through the room, smiling and laughing, when she stopped.

A Love-ly Interlude

parenting 1 min read A Love-ly Interlude

Smartypants and I  are currently reading a big girl book (i.e. a novel, with few pictures) for the first time.  I'll write more about this in a later post.  But one of the book's central storylines involves a tiny mouse who falls in love with a human princess.  Now, Smartypants finds this notion of love fascinating, and when she gets a new idea in her head it quickly becomes an obsession.

Thus, her Barbie dolls are suddenly falling in love with each other.  As are her stuffed animals.  I could be mistaken, but I think My Little Pony is