30

Two years down, many more to come!

It’s hard to believe we approach the two year anniversary of me being a parent next month! I can’t wait to have a gigantic celebration in my honor for surviving another year raising boys! The road hasn’t been easy, but I’ve made it this far!

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In honor of my children’s fast approaching birthdays, I feel an obligation to impart wisdom on fellow parents. The things I have learned in the first two years of parenting boys who happen to have the same birthday. (twin boys!)

There comes a point, around the first ultrasound, that you begin to lose rights to your Facebook. What used to be party pictures is rapidly replaced by toothless grins and spaghetti messes. Embrace living in the age of the Internet! Like those embarrassing photos from middle school now circulating the Internet waiting to be discovered and made into a meme, your children’s photos will never be lost. Facebook has become a family photo album, which you should be actually quite ok with. It’s nice to catch so many “likes” on a photo that melts your heart. Whenever having a down day, you can swipe through the photos on Facebook and have your heart melt all over with nostalgia.

Accept the fact that each milestone will be filled with equal parts joy and sorrow. You will be happy to watch your child develop, obviously. But, it’s so bittersweet. Often times, I look back longingly at the days before running and talking; when my kids wanted nothing more than to snuggle up with me on the couch and watch sportscenter.

Not every moment needs a picture. I know, I just talked up photos, but hear me out! Most of the time I am too busy enjoying and living a moment to capture it. Some memories are forever etched in your heart. I just spent a week bonding and enjoying my families company in Colorado. I took twenty five photos with my fun and a million memories tattooed forever onto my heart. Catch a smile, cherish a moment.

Tantrums are not personal. Sometimes your kid just has a shit day, they are human. You have bad days, I have bad days, kids have bad days. Being a parent is about being able to assess the situation and redirect it, you’re not the one who should be throwing the temper tantrum. Too many parents get ridiculously frustrated with a screaming kid. Walk away instead of losing patience and dropping to child like mentality. I smoke. If I need fresh air for five minutes I’ll step outside and rip a cigarette. Smoking is better than exploding on my kid, so shove the “smoking is bad” talk. Seriously, just step back. Kids cry, they don’t know what they want sometimes, just like you. Be the cooler head.

Let your children be children. Join them in being children! Kids are blessed with such a pure form of joy, untouched by complexity. There are no gray areas, it’s happy or sad. It’s nice to momentarily fall into the black and white. Kids are a chance to relive the purest form of joy. Bask in it before the world steals their innocence and everything becomes mired in layers.

The zero to two year old phase passes way to fast. Just yesterday we were in NICU. Now they run and play games and it’s too much sometimes. My youth has been slowly siphoned off. But it’s been worth it. Absolutely worth every midnight feeding or stinky diaper. The fulfillment of parenting is unrivaled. Trading in video games for Kipper wasn’t an easy transition, not going to lie. But it’s absolutely worth it. So cheers to two years past, this parenting gig has been my favorite activity to date.

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Oh, and one last final advice. Hide the knife block, far out of toddler reach. For everyone’s safety.

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7

Not Another New Years Resolution

I haven’t given New Years a thought, let alone a resolution. Between the whirlwind of destruction my toddlers cause and preparation for a newborn most days I am unsure of the month let alone the day. I guess a good resolution would be to start paying attention to the dates more, so I don’t forget how much closer to wrinkles and grays I am.

Man what a cop out huh? Fine! I’ll give it a go. I am resolute not to fake interest in a gym membership, pretend I won’t eat that burger and I certainly won’t post a new year new me status. No, none of the clichés! If I’m gonna pledge to do something for the new year it will be some sort of bucket list type scenario. I need something that will pump me up. I need something that will pump those around me up!

This New Years I guess it’s time. Time to pull out the old hairbrush. The one I hide in the shower. This New Years, 2015, the year Punk Rock Papa goes Punk Rock Rappa.

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Yes! It’s time to dust off the hairbrush I hide conveniently in the linen closet near the bathroom. The one that accompanies me into the shower.

I’m ready to join the echelons of beat murderers and tongue twisters. 2015 will be the year of the dad rap. I’ll call my style parent flow. Ahh I can see it now! Kids in the background bobbing heads in unison. Move aside Barney, you’ve been dethroned! I’m reclaiming my spot at the top of the cool charts, right up there with Old McDonald’s Farm and that woman always coming round the mountain.

An abridged version of this resolution was featured over at DQM. You should check out some of the other bloggers who participated. Hilarity may ensue.

What’s your New Years resolution? What’s the over under on you sticking with it?

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17

The double edged sword, watching your kids grow up.

My sons are transitioning into the talking stage, which is super exciting, if you like them vocally disapproving of your parenting. Milestones have always been bittersweet for me. I am happy for my sons, they are growing up! I will always cheer their accomplishments on, big or small. I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that with each new exciting stage I don’t also get a little sad. My babies are not babies anymore. While the old cliché “they will always be my baby” is cute, they are no longer babies, but toddlers.

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I’ve managed to be there for every milestone thus far. That’s a rare feat and one I’m particularly proud of! Working at night has provided me with the opportunity to be a committed father by day. From crawling to running, I’ve had my cheerleader Pom-Poms in hand and “Eye of The Tiger” blaring in the background, rooting on my tyrants as they discover a new ability.

The joy of discovery that spreads across a child’s face is, quite simply, unparalleled. They beam the biggest smiles and quickly seek you out for affirmation. Pride is shared by both parent and offspring, and it’s one of the purest, most beautiful moments that can ever occurs. The parent-child bond is tangible, an invisible umbilical cord never severed.

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A part of me gets sad though. Each milestone is a move towards independence. Every day my kids are able to do something new for themselves. Their exploration of the world no longer requires me to carry them everywhere like Hodor from Game of Thrones. While my arms may have ached, I always felt a sense of purpose in the times of being a kid ferry. What’s next? What if tomorrow they wake up and I’m not the coolest person they know? I couldn’t bear it, it would be too much! I think there will always be a part of me that misses when I was their primary transport service from room to room.

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When Nicolas began to crawl it was in classic Ridiculous Nicolas form. We were at a buddies house and I was in a side room getting a tattoo, if I remember correctly it was my Little Mermaid piece. Nicolas wanted to hang out and see what was going on, the kids always enjoy watching me get ink. After crying about not being in the room Nicolas decided he was going to get in that damn room and began to crawl. The whole time he inched toward the room with his head down, sobbing and pissed. You could just tell in his mind he was thinking ” YOU ARE GOING TO INCLUDE ME GOD DAMNIT!” Once he made it to the doorway he sat there, just glaring at us, with the reddest face in the history of children.

Killian began to crawl a week later, in less dramatic fashion. He has always had a way of just doing. He likes to watch someone else do something and then just do it. His outlook is Nike. From that point on, major operations of dad shuttle shut down. Once kids go mobile, in my experience, they don’t want to be carried much anymore. Now instead of walking my kids through rooms I chase them from room to room, exasperatingly trying to put a diaper on a naked bottom.

I no longer see my kids as babies, they are truly toddlers now. They run, are quite vocal and seem to have a good grasp on what they want. Every morning one retrieves the remote and brings it to me, the sign that it is time to start Barney marathon morning bonanza. Soon after a hand will take mine to guide me to a high chair, it’s breakfast time. While being bossed around by a toddler every morning is not what I planned, it shows I still have purpose! It will only be a matter of time before the cool thing is to cook breakfast for themselves (two right?).

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I will always feel ambivalence for them growing up, I feel that’s a normal feeling for parents. To be honest I’m more worried about being replaced as their heroes than them actually growing up. They really seem to like that Barney fellow and I’m not above framing him for something horrible so he doesn’t pass me on their list of cool people. All I can do as a parent though is to encourage their accomplishments and endeavors; Pom-Poms and ” Eye of the Tiger” on hand and at the ready at all times.

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How do your kids’ milestones make you feel? Do you have that slight sadness as they grow up? Is traumatizing your child and blaming barney unethical?

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7

Someday my wife will murder me.

My wife might murder me one day. I’m pretty sure she will get away with it too. Diana loves those murder shows. You know, the ones with the women who take out life insurance policies then off their spouses. I’m pretty sure she watches them for research purposes.

It’s only a matter of time before it happens. So I’ve decided to put together a list of possible reasons for a future cyanide sandwich. These are all very plausible causes for why my wife finally snaps.

1) Laundry

I never do laundry, ever. When we moved into our current place the first thing we got was a washer and a dryer. That was the beginning of March. How many times have I used them? Not once! I never do laundry! Without my wife, my clothes would just pile up in a corner of my room. Before Diana I was terrible with laundry, when I needed socks I would go out and buy a pack of socks from the store. 90% of my clothes were Febreze cleaned. Sure, I’ll fold some clothes occasionally but I always have an excuse not to do laundry. From “there’s monsters in the basement” to “I have to use the bathroom can you do it for me” I refuse to do laundry.

In addition to being allergic to laundry I also suffer from compulsive changing disorder. I wear about four different shirts a day. I’ll go from a short sleeve to a thermal back to a new short sleeve only to return to long sleeve before settling on shirtless. All before noon time! I don’t just change my shirts fifty times, I leave them everywhere. Shirt comes off, gets thrown somewhere in whatever room I’m in. Guests probably think we are some nymphomaniacs because my clothes are EVERYWHERE.

2) Dishes

This is a hostile area in our house. I hate doing dishes! Who doesn’t? I’ll wash sippy cups and things of the toddler nature but that’s it. If all the bowls are dirty I’ll pout about the house as I eat cereal off a plate and drink milk from the jug.

This is a hot button issue that has lead to fights. I think I’ve washed a full sink of dishes two or three times. The only reason? My wife literally threatened to withhold sex. No more sexy time with dishes in the sink. You can only be strong for a few days before that threat becomes a real issue. We are a young couple, sex is still fun, going a few days without sex is like becoming a born again virgin.

Speaking of sex…

3) Aftercourse

Sex is awesome, if it wasn’t we probably wouldn’t be on the verge of having our next kid. It’s after intercourse that I get myself in trouble. I’m not a cuddler, at all. After doing the dirty dirty I want to do one of two things; go to bed or eat a bowl of spaghetti. After bang bang time my wife likes to snuggle up next to me and ask what is on my mind. I fail that question. Every. Single. Time.

“I’m hungry.”
“Is there anything on tv tonight?”
“Do we have spaghetti?”
“Spaghetti”
“I love you… But seriously spaghetti”

I can’t help it! My first instinct after a good horizontal shuffle is to run to the fridge and carbo load. I just got done working out, it’s my favorite exercise but still, I need to hydrate and refuel. My libido doesn’t run on cuddles and sappy conversation. I love my wife but if We’ve been doing some boot knocking I need to follow it immediately with a energy boost. At least put some power bars and gatorade by the bed if you want to keep me in it after coitus.

4) Public

I can’t be taken anywhere. I don’t like people, they annoy me. To bring me in public is like taking a dog to the vet, she has to tug and tug my leash to get me out of the house. Once in public my ability to speak with out thinking shines through. Kids say the darnedest things, Briton says the craziest things.

I have an amazingly low tolerance for ignorance and stupidity. If I see someone doing something dumb, I have three snarky comments for them. I also get a huge case of stroller rage. I’m such a defensive driver when it comes to public places. Don’t you dare unintentionally bump my kids stroller, you will receive glares and sarcastic comments. I will ask for your insurance information if you bump carts with me.

5) Sleep

I fake sleep to get out of doing things. If I don’t want to do what’s asked of me I turn narcoleptic. It’s a technique I have honed and perfected over the years dating back to my childhood. The instant Diana asks me about something I don’t feel like answering or asks me to do dishes I immediately fake sleep. I’m sort of like a opossum except I’m defending myself from responsibility.

Let me tell you, it pisses Diana off. Like really pisses her off. Out of everything on this list this is the most likely to get me killed. Diana flips out when I suddenly fall into a coma because I don’t feel like taking the trash out. I’ve even got a snore down for these rather frequent occasions.

Needless to say, I’m doomed to become a plot line in an upcoming Law and Order. I’ve accepted this and have always known it. Whenever my wife is mad at me those shows get turned on and I see her typing away on her phone. I can only assume she is typing notes so she can get away with the perfect crime. Keep your eyes out for a Dateline special when Punk Rock Papa goes missing, just don’t be surprised when they don’t find my body.

Is your significant other plotting to kill you? Are you plotting to kill them? Do you think I’ll get a whole special or just a segment?

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6

It was daddy, in the kitchen, with the peanut butter

I’ve always felt relatively comfortable in my role as a father. I’m blessed to have been there for every milestone so far, from crawling to first words. One milestone, if you would call it that, made me feel terrible. It was one of those moments where even though it really isn’t your fault, you still feel terrible and like a failure.

On the east coast we didn’t have much of a summer. It was nice to only hit ninety degrees a handful of times. One such day, when humidity was particularly unbearable, I decided a cold lunch was necessary. Not wanting to have a showdown between the air conditioner and the stove, sandwiches were my sustenance of choice.

“What do babies like?” I wondered to myself.

The kids had finally gotten enough teeth in their craniums and this was during the transition to solid meals. I settled on peanut butter sandwiches and banana slices.

I remember being extra proud of myself. The food was laid out nicely, looked like the type of thing you might see on Pinterest! Oh the kids, they loved it! I was dad of the day, nay, the century! As I double fist pumped and the kids finished their meal I set up the daily entertainment, Mickey Mouse (Oh Toodles!!).

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About fifteen minutes went by before I noticed anything. Killian began to break out in red splotchy spots. Suddenly my son started to look less like my son and more like that one muppet character, Janice, from the band.

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When I realized what was happening i went into what I can only describe as robot super dad mode. As I called the pediatrician I also started applying Aveeno to my son’s body. I’m starting to think Kim Kardashian has a spy camera in my house because her latest picture is a direct rip off of how my child looked.

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The pediatrician informed me to get to the hospital. Unfortunately my wife was at work, with our only car. This left me two options; an all inclusive ride in an ambulance or grandma and grandpa.

I’ll make it known right now that Diana’s parents and I do not get along. There is a longstanding hatred there that may never dissipate, but someone needed to watch Nicolas. As I sacrificed pride and all sorts of hatred toward her parent I called. I was told they were “busy”. I told them “don’t worry about it then” and hung up. As I got the kids ready I received a call that they would be on their way.

One awkward car ride later I’m carrying my son into the ER. Now I’ve never been the greatest with talking to people, or words, whatever. As I walk up to the desk I announce rather loudly, “I’ve poisoned my son!!”

I swear to you, orderlies are house elves or something. Five appeared. Five! Out of thin air, I was surrounded! As the receptionist stared quizzically at me I remembered you can’t just get to the point anymore and revised myself.
” I gave my son peanut butter and I think he is having an allergic reaction”

“Does your son have a peanut allergy?”

“It fucking looks like it!” (Remember the lack of social skills?)

As the order of apparating orderlies ushered me into triage I tried my best to remain calm about the situation. I’ve always been a nervous laugher and an inappropriate joker. Making light of situations is my coping mechanism and I would be a liar if I told you on the inside I wasn’t freaking out. The nurses in triage didn’t share my sense of humor. I might have also been a bit on edge, so my comments were rather dickish and insensitive. I didn’t want to sit and talk, I wanted my son to stop his transformation into a muppet.

“Hi, how are you?”

“Not good, I’ve poisoned my son with peanut butter”

“Okay, does your son have a peanut allergy” (this again, really??)

“No, he just likes to break out in hives randomly for shits and giggles, apparently its his thing.”

“You know, allergic reactions can lead to Ana-”

“Anaphylactic shock, I have google and webMD, are you going to help my son or what?”

As we got Killian weighed and into a hospital room his skin and swelling had gone down. I explained to them I had used Aveeno on him immediately and the doctors decided to keep us a few hours for observation. Occasionally my best friends, the nurses, would peek in and check on us.

“How is he doing?”

“Not dead”

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As nurse visits became surprisingly less frequent, Killian and I became anxious to get out of there. An orderly apparated in the hallway and I asked him if we could go. The doctor came around with his gang of glaring nurses and released us. Before we left head nurse “taught” me how to use an epi pen. I say taught in quotations because I’m pretty sure she purposely showed me how to do it wrongly on purpose, all the while emphatically telling me how bad it could be if I used the Epi wrong. Luckily my amazing webMD and Google skills, coupled with my ability to read directions, prevented me from stabbing myself in my finger while trying to prevent the next accidental poisoning of my son.

Now obviously there was no way I could have known my son would react that way to peanut butter, but that doesn’t change the terrible feeling I felt. In that moment I felt like a horrible parent. It’s just one of those things that happens and you move past it, but you don’t feel any less bad about it.

Things like this happen, I’m sure throughout parenthood. From poisoning my son to any other parenting hiccup I’ve learned that you can’t beat yourself up, you have to move on and continue parenting. So while I might have felt like the worst parent that day, I learned a good lesson in the naivety that comes along with parenting. I also know I sure as hell won’t be feeding Killian any peanut butter again.

Have you ever had a parenting hiccup? What was it? How did it make you feel? How did you move past it?

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10

Dad Shaming and Chupacabra Attacks

I am lucky enough not to suffer from “daddy insecurity”. What’s that, no one asked? Okay, well I’m going to talk about it anyway. Do I consider myself a fantastic father (alliteration for the win)? Not especially. I have major faults and flaws. Each day though, I put on my special dad pants and give the parenting another go. And you know what doesn’t bother me? Other people’s opinions, blogs about dads being dumb and the Chupacabra.

There is an entire niche in the blogging community that thrives on making dads out as dumb. Personally, I find it absolutely hilarious! I don’t do dishes but once a year when my wife threatens to withhold fellatio I’ll pick up a sponge. If it wasn’t for my wonderful wife I would always be in dirty clothes, we have had a washer and dryer for a year now, I’ve used it a total of zero times. Keep calm and go ask mommy where your onesies are kids, daddy couldn’t find the laundry room with Dora’s assistance.

That’s not to say I’m a dumb or useless dad. A lazy person? Yes, but not a dumb dad. I change dirty diapers, give baths, help the kids throw pasta on the wall. Hell, I even sweep! My kids adore me and I them. We have matching mohawks! How frickin cool is that? Our days consist of cuddles, snuggles, laughter and soggy diapers, and it’s always an adventure!

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I’m not nor have I ever felt defined by the opinions of others. Life is stressful enough without the added worry. I’ve managed to read pieces on dads being dumb without coming out of the article completely transformed into a useless father. That’s insane right? These articles aren’t affecting how I raise my kids! If I am comfortable with myself as a parental figure, why should I be bothered by these articles? I’m not, I don’t have “daddy insecurity”!

Being comfortable and confident in your ability to parent is an essential component to laying the foundation for your kid’s future self-esteem. Wow, I got wordy there. For any dumb dads reading, being sure of your ability to dad could help your children grow up and be sure of themselves.

So there it is! The truth of it! “dad shaming” or “dumb dad fodder” doesn’t bother me. I don’t really see the point in getting riled up over them. Satirical articles used as click bait to drive up numbers and viewership. They are usually the same joke rehashed for the millionth time. Why should that bother anybody? I know the father I am, an article doesn’t change that for me. In actuality the likelihood of a Chupacabra attack is significantly higher than an article transforming you into a bad parent. If you are still worried about it though I have a new line of helmets like the one Magneto wore that will block out the powers of dumb dad articles, just leave your ssn in the comments section.

How do you feel about dumb dad pieces? What about parental insecurity? Do you need a magneto helmet?

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