Tuesday, January 30, 2007

RSV and Merlot-swilling Irresponsibles

As much as I love my son, I'm going to have to start refusing his gifts. For example, his generosity in sharing his RSV ("Respiratory Syncytial Virus") with me, while very noble, is just too much. I'm embarrassed to accept such unexpected and extravagant gifts.

How do you know you have RSV? The signs plastered all over your son's day care that the HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS virus has been confirmed in two, no... scratch that... literally scratch it out with a pen and write over it in blue ink, FOUR cases... then scratch that out and write MANY above where you wrote FOUR... was our first clue that the week wasn't going to go as smoothly as we had hoped. A quick check on the symptoms of RSV on WebMD only confirmed our fears as we nodded solemnly while checking off each bullet point, one after another, while comparing them to Chunk's recent behavior and levels of streaming goop.

But, RSV is just for kids, right? I would have thought so, but here I sit, aching, wrapped in the shaky throes of a fever, trying to see how long I can go without swallowing to avoid the brutal pain of my sore throat. Its possible that its not actually RSV, but some other nameless, also icky bug that's going around, but for now, RSV gets blamed for everything.

My inability to sleep?


Chunk's unrelenting whining?


Global warming?


The situation in Iraq?

RSV... and the Bush administration.

Melissa Summer's interview on the Today Show on Friday?

RSV and some Production Assistant named Alicia Ybarbo, apparently.

Yes, since its all the vogue to talk about women and their drinking habits around their children, I'm going to chime in with my thoughts as well. Simply put, I'm 100% behind Meredith and their psychologist guest. Women should not be drinking around their children... ever. Mothers have a responsibility to serve as pristine, even virginal examples to their children and if they're carousing around like sailors on a 48-hour leave, they're not doing their jobs. Melissa and all of the other Chianti-sipping irresponsibles out there should be ashamed of themselves, and at the very least, investigated by Social Services.

Had you going for a minute there, didn't I?

Considering my blog crush on Melissa (and many others), it's no surprise that I'm siding with common sense on this one, and not the ever-reliable and irrefutable science of psychology. I think Melissa is right and the people who look down their noses at those who drink socially are just looking for another example of irresponsible parenting. If it isn't there already, there seem to be a group of people who need to create new rules or guidelines for all to be judged by, reaffirming that they were right and even righteous, all along.

While discussing this with Denver Mom, she quickly jumped in with, "What about BBQs? Is it not okay to drink at a BBQ if kids are present?" It's a good argument and one I've seen echoed in the parent blogs following Friday's show, but I think the problem goes even deeper than that. It's not just about drinking, it's about controlling other people and how they parent. California is considering a bill that would make it illegal to spank your children, and while Denver Mom and I have decided that spankings aren't going to happen in our house, I can't really see how our decision should in any way impact another family's decision for how to discipline their child.

The same goes for any number of hot button topics that our country continues to debate, over and over again, if you call shouting and holding up grotesque signs a "debate." I promised myself I wouldn't get political on this blog. I created "Denver Dad" to talk about my son and the unexpected surprises of fatherhood, but parenting and politics sometimes collide. Whether you mean for it to happen or not, sometimes they do intersect. So, for those of you who are sensitive to personal opinion, you should probably click on another link and ignore the rest of my post.

Mind your own business.


Don't tell people that their decisions, because they are contrary to your own, are wrong.

Don't foul up our legal system with added legislation that isn't needed.

Don't assume that your way of doing things is right, not just for you, but everyone.

Don't believe, for an instant, that the choices families or individuals make are easy and irresponsible and that you know what is best for every situation.

Just don't do it.

If a law is being broken, prosecute, but otherwise, just mind your own business.

I'm very serious about that last one. If moms are leaving play groups, completely loaded, and are driving their children home in their speeding death-mobiles, arrest that mother. The same goes for dads. If it makes you happy, tighten the handcuffs more than you should and maybe even bump their head into the door while you're pushing them into your squad car. I don't have a problem with that. Drunk driving and child endangerment are crimes and they should be dealt with appropriately. Beating a child is also a crime, so if a spanking goes beyond a swat on the butt, deal with that appropriately. But, don't tell anyone that what they are doing is "wrong," because its different than how you do things. Don't be so quick to judge. Don't find excuses to put yourself and your thoughts above another person.


I could go on and on, but for now, my rant is over. If you have a problem with it, blame RSV. I know I am.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Alone Time For Mommy and Daddy

It was bound to happen sometime. I mean, we could only avoid it for so long. Yes, my friends, Denver Mom and I have started dating again. No, no, I mean we've started dating each other again. I wasn't sure I was ready for a relationship so soon after becoming a dad, but it turns out that the "marriage contract" I signed was an actual, legal document. So, ready or not,we're kind of an exclusive thing.

It's a weird experience, going out on dates with your spouse. Without constantly shoveling yogurt into a waiting, demanding mouth, or fetching ever growing amounts of milk, you actually have time to chat. I'd go so far as to say we've even had entire conversations... conversations that didn't center around "poopy" or Superman. I was as shocked as you are, believe me.

As some of you may remember, Denver Mom went to France last summer, leaving Chunk and I at home alone and completely unsupervised. It was a rousing success for all involved, but Denver Mom had such a great time that she wants to go back. Only this time, she thought that it would be nice if we could join her. I mentioned this to an acquaintance who immediately urged us to leave Chunk at home, while I starred at him, jaw hanging open. Granted, I can see how a twelve hour flight wouldn't be much fun with a two year old, but on the other hand, I can't really see leaving him at home with Grandma for two weeks either. As I explained to this acquaintance, we had Chunk because we actually want to spend time with him. However, having said all of that, I'm learning to appreciate time away from him. I'm learning that a cup of coffee and a roll at the local coffee shop, while he's at home with mom, is a necessity for good mental health and even improves my enjoyment of him. I've said it before on this site, but better people make better parents, and part of being a better person is getting time for yourself.

Time for your marriage, on the other hand, hasn't gotten the same attention from us. Denver Mom gets away to paint and draw. I get time away to worship the dark lord, as he demands, and occasionally get a cup of coffee, but we don't often get time away together. And, now that we are taking the time, it's a little weird. Weird, but great. Denver Mom talks about her art, about some of the blocks she's feeling and trying to overcome with the whole oils vs. watercolors thing. I tell her about Mario Bros. and the blocks I hit with my head, when I push "A" again and again. So, as you can tell, it's all very mature conversation.

This has all been going on at various restaurants throughout the city, restaurants that have been on the "we should go there sometime" list since before we became parents. Some of the restaurants have been great, some kind of disappointing, and one so pompous and irritating that it was the most fun I've had in months.

I usually like to end posts like this with some twist, some sarcastic turn on the previous paragraphs, but I've got nothing. Like I said, it's just weird to suddenly be dating your spouse. Why is that so weird? And, how long before she figures out I really am a massive doofus?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Fresh Blogrolls, Coming Right Up

Having been away for a while, I thought it would be a good idea to refresh my blogroll. Geez, that sounds dirty, but you know what I mean. So, listed below are some of the blogs you'll find in my blogroll, a few you won't find, and some rambling thoughts about why.

. . . and then there was pickle.: Pickle's Papa seems to have fallen off the face of the planet. When he gets back to blogging, his site will be back on the list.

The Blogfathers - Dads You Can't Refuse: A collection of daddy bloggers that would probably be out robbing trains and saloons, if this were the old west instead of the information age. Since there are so many people writing for the page, there's always something there to fit your mood. For example, there's usually a sizable amount of cranky, which suits me just fine.

Cheeky's Hideaway: Yet another daddy blogger. I don't read CroutonBoy regularly, but when I do visit his page, I read it compulsively until I'm completely caught up. He's hilarious and has great taste in music, a subject I could go on and on about, but have decided not to, for fear of boring you. That and for fear of confirming all your suspicions about how lame I am for still listening to all the bands I loved in high school.

Creative-Type Dad: New to the blogroll, Creative-Type Dad is a must read. He wrote about his adventures trying to get a Wii, my most coveted, yet unrealized purchase of 2006. "A" for effort, my good man. I salute you.

DadCentric: I don't read this one as often as I should, which is a shame, because its a hilarious site. Hilarious.

finslippy: Finslippy is one of the first parenting blogs I've ever read and I continue to go back to it. Worth checking out.

Fussy: The John Lennon to Finslippy's Paul McCartney, Fussy is another one of the first parenting blogs I read and I keep going back. Fussy is filled with the kind of sarcastic wit that makes me feel all inadequate and awkward. You can see the smirk while you read it. I also find the turtle updates and yoga practicing G.I. Joes oddly entrancing.

Genuine: A heck of a nice guy. There was a blogging meeting last summer that he invited me to, despite the fact that I had all of four posts under my belt at the time. I missed the meeting, but would have liked to raise a glass or two with him. Plus, he's always posting. You can't open his site without seeing something new.

Kiddley: Kiddley is a site that concentrates on crafts you can do for and with children. Whenever I read it, I think, "Man, I wonder if I can get Denver Mom to do that for Chunk."

MetroDad: Another daddy blogger cooler than me. No, really. This guy hangs out at bars in New York, seems to work in some creative, yet well-paying field, and has that wicked cool iPod-esque icon on his page. Oh, yeah, and he gets me to laugh out loud with nearly every post. If I ever get trapped somewhere (plane crash in the Andes, desert island, Iowa, etc.), I want this guy around. I suspect he'd always know what to do and would always keep you laughing.

Mitch McDad’s World: Another brand new addition to the blogroll, I will go on record and say that there is no finer blog about a man's testicles. And, I'll stand by that statement. Mitch posts a great deal about his junk, but also about his adventures being a dad, and I'm glad he stopped in so I could learn about his blog. Good stuff.

Mom-101: This mommy blogger rocks. There's no better way to put it. Well, okay, yeah, there's loads of ways to put it that are better or more literary, but saying she rocks sums it up nicely. She demanded once that I refer to her as sexy, so she's sexy too.

parent hacks: a collaborative weblog of practical parenting wisdom: I absolutely love the site Lifehacker, so of course I'd like a site about hacking up your baby. Er... I mean, "practical parenting wisdom." There are some very clever ideas to be found on this site. Some are useful, some aren't very useful at all, but they're all well-meaning and... like I said... clever.

peterstephanie.com: I've resisted putting these two on my blogroll for a while, because they don't post very often, but they're practically neighbors and post some adorable photos of their youngin. Worth checking out.

Suburban Bliss:: Birth Control Via The Written Word: Probably my favorite parent blogger ever, Melissa is funny as hell and human enough that she can inspire me. Does that sound corny? It's true. Its one thing to have a few insecurities. Its another thing entirely to post them to the world with such humor, honesty, and zing that you keep coming back for more. Plus, she's a fellow Mac user and us elitist, commie computer snobs have to stick together.

Vampdaddy: I don't even know what to say. If you've read even a little of his page, you'd know how much grace and strength is possessed by both he and his wife. This isn't a blog about caring for a sick child. It's a blog about being the best parent you can be, despite what you have to face.

Want to be listed in the official Denver Dad blogroll? Let me know about your site!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Chunk and the Amazing Expanded Vocabulary

Chunk learns things in a strange series of starts and stops. He'll use the same, limited vocabulary for weeks at a time, usually just endlessly repeating "cooooo-key?" and "no!" then the very next day say five new words, even using them in a short sentence, as if it's no big deal at all. As if he's known these new words the entire time. As if he's just nailed his verbal dismount and couldn't care less what the judges give him, passing them only a look of cold distain, because he knows he's just that good.

We're fairly certain that some of his new words and phrases came from day care. "No mas!" continues to be an important daily utterance and "sit down!" is a new addition we've all grown to love. Who wouldn't love it when a toddler orders you to sit down, so he can climb on you and punch you in the face? Oh, yeah, he's hitting now. This is the glamorous part of parenthood that I've been looking forward to since his birth.

What I find truly amusing is not just the words, but how he uses them. Take the previously mentioned "cooooo-key." Whenever I'm making a meal for him, I make the mistake of asking him something harmless, like, "Do you want some polluted water with your stale bread crusts?" and because I've opened the door with a question, even a rhetorical one, he chimes in with his demands for cookies. When he burps, he follows it up with "kimmie!" ("excuse me" for those of you who don't speak toddler). When I burp, he also says, "kimmie" like the yard tall, Ms. Manners inspired tyrant that he is. My favorite bit of recent vocabulary is his use of the word, "Nice!" whenever he approves of something. It's not just that he says it, but its that he performs it, by letting it slide from his mouth in a quasi-drawl, while nodding his head, and flashing a cheesy smile. Denver Mom assures me that he learned this at home and it wasn't something he picked up from her. I'm still trying to figure out what she means.

Another thing that amazes and amuses me is how some words are perfectly formed, enunciated with precision and care, and so many others a garbled mess of sounds that only just barely recognizable. I would estimate that over seventy percent of his vocabulary is still in that jumbled mess of sounds that includes "kimmie," and I'd go so far as to estimate that only half of that number are words that other people can understand. We're constantly translating for him, even for people who are around him a lot (family, coworkers, the whino we sometimes hire to watch him when we get that persistent eyelid twitch that usually accompanies a stress headache, etc.).

In some ways, I feel like he isn't speaking as well or clearly as I expected, but then other days, he just blows me away with his understanding of language and the ease by which he's willing to try it out himself. Sometimes the results are jaw dropping. Other times, they take a little coaxing and patience before they really shine.

For real fun, ask him to say, "Truck." That'll make the grandparents blush every time.

Friday, January 12, 2007

I'm Not Back

The problem with announcing your return from a long break is that you're actually expected to, well, return. If you say, "That's right, I'm back, baby! I'm back!" then you have to take the time to put up a few posts. Reliably. More than once a month. If you think you know pressure, try writing a weekly post for the two or three people that visit your blog once per month! Yeah, that's right, you couldn't handle that kind of stress. It's rough, man, really rough.

So, I'm not going to say I'm back. I'm not going to tell you that I've returned, newly invigorated, and filled with parenting wisdom and adventures that will have you either nodding your head in agreement or frantically calling Social Services. No, I'm not going to anything of the sort. I'm just going to see how this plays out and try not to miss too many of my own deadlines.

I hope all three of you enjoyed your break from me. I was kind of cranky, so it was good that we spent this time apart. It wasn't you, it was me. No, really. I just needed my space... a little time to figure out me. Don't cry. I got you these flowers. Aren't they nice? Hey, remember that time when I posted about potty training and....

Yeah, okay, I'll stop. Sorry about that. I was just getting a little emotional.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Glasses vs. contacts, in a no-holds-barred cage match!

I decided to get contacts. After twenty years of glasses, in various shapes and clunky 80s styles, it seemed clear to me that it was finally time to get over my squeamishness regarding jabbing curved plastic bowls into my eyes.

My vision isn't terrible and it hasn't been all that bad since my first pair of spectacles. For example, I can ski pretty confidently without my glasses, but driving seems just a tad too risky (and illegal). I have no trouble getting through my day without glasses, but don't want to pay to see a movie without them, and so on.

The problem is my son. My son loves glasses and loves grabbing them, whether they are on my face or not, so as creeped out as I was by the idea of putting foreign objects in my eyes, it seemed less bothersome than cleaning toddler fingerprints off my glasses six to eight times per day.

How has it gone, so far? Well, I'm in that stage where my eye doctor and I are "evaluating," which is a fancy way of saying I'm forking over a copay every two weeks for a five minute session of "Did I tell you that you have an astigmatism? I did? Oh, okay."

This week hasn't gone very well. I've been waking up to goop and my right eye has been hurting for several days now. Both eyes have also been bloodshot for a month, making me look less "athletic and carefree" and more "trapped in a month long bender." I have another copay this afternoon, ummm... I mean, appointment, and I'm expecting to be told that I'm really not a good candidate for contacts after all, that'll be another $35 please.

I'm not one of those people that believes in fate. I've seen some mighty convenient coincidences in my lifetime, but it's hard to swallow the concept of some invisible force guiding me through my life. However, I do like to think that you can learn from coincidence, that although events in your life aren't preordained, you can still come away from them with a bit of wisdom. So, what did this experience teach me? What was my lesson? I have no idea. I think it has something to do with the fact that spending twenty minutes in the bathroom, swearing at what looks like a piece of round, expensive cellophane, really isn't for me. So, its back to the glasses, the pocket protector, and getting bullied for my lunch money.