Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Help give a voice to those who never found their own.



It's funny.


Then it's not.

"Studies show that if you're a lady, most men want to kill you." (from the SNL video)

The monster at the end of our house tried to kill my mother when I was 12.

More than once.

I remember one night in particular, the monster step-father calling her all sorts of names, and then:

"I will shoot you right now, you f$#%^ b%##^!"

"Just shoot me then. Get it over with."

I imagined I heard the trigger click -- I was completely paralyzed; I had no voice.

Then there was silence. Then crying.

Thank God he didn't do it, but we're pretty sure he succeeded with his previous wife and had tried with the one before that.

No, we never had hard evidence, just enough circumstantial to piece it all together. We never did anything about it; we only got ourselves out of the situation to safety. (My mother is convinced he had tried to poison her as well at one point.)

I can't imagine now where my sister and I would've been if he had succeeded. The gradual verbal and sexual abuse we experienced was enough to know that any escalation would've been been darkness infinitum.

Again, we got out and had an ally that not many people have in this situation: the police department.

My mother was the dispatch supervisor at the time and my soon to be adoptive step-father was a police detective, and when we moved out of the monster's house, we had at least 10 officers there as our protective safety net.

Not everyone makes it out alive with law enforcement by their side. One of my dear friends, Kim Wells, shared Telling Amy's Story on her blog Friday. Kim is the Executive Director of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence (CAEPV) and a champion of the fact that domestic violence is "everybody's business".

Telling Amy's Story follows the timeline of a domestic violence homicide that occurred in central Pennsylvania on November 8, 2001. Amy's parents, co-workers, law enforcement officers, and court personnel share their perspectives on what happened to Amy in the weeks, months, and years leading up to her death. (Facebook page is here.)

I can't wait to watch it. The documentary will be available on Public Broadcasting Stations beginning June 1, 2010.

I'm with Kim when she says, "I hope you will share and learn."

I know not many people read my blog and most are more comfortable with my loving daddy posts about Bea and Bryce and Mama and family.

But if one person is affected for the better and finds his or her voice to help stop the cycle of violence, then it's a win.

Help give a voice to those who never found their own.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The silky breeze of angels, above the morning dew.

Two nights in a row with Beatrice not sleeping well, calling out for Mama and standing in her crib crying.

We're not exactly sure why, only the fact that her teeth are still erupting faster than the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano and is probably a big part of it.

The night before I tried to help calm Bea down, but Mama had to end up sleeping with her, as she usually ends up doing when Bea's upset, but last night I just had to give Mama a break.

So I gave it another try. I pulled her out of her crib and snuggled with her on the other bed we have in the room.

And this time me and Bea both fell fast asleep quickly. Early morning came and I woke early as I usually do. I turned to Bea.

Watching her sleep soundly is profound; I long for that peaceful mindful presence in waking moments.

I could almost see her breath, so soft and still so new.

The silky breeze of angels, above the morning dew.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

I am the luckiest. Thank you Madison, WI.

It's 4:15 a.m. I'm downstairs packing my laptop before I head to the airport.

"Sweetie, come upstairs and say good-bye before you go," Mama whispers from above.

I tread lightly back up the stairs, careful to not wake Beatrice.

"I love you," I say, leaning over the bed where Mama renegotiates her snuggle spot. I kiss her three times and stroke her cheek.

"Love you too," she says. "Miss you."

"I'll miss you too." And Beatrice and Bryce.

I'm on my way to Madison, Wisconsin for an HR/recruiting industry event called TRU USA.

How appropriate since my wife was born in Wisconsin and spent the first 11 days of her life in a Madison hospital getting blood transfusion after blood transfusion because of Rh incompatibility.

She could've died. Obviously she didn't -- too much spunk and angelshine thrive in her cells.

She's an amazing woman. She's tough yet compassionate and one heck of a looker (which is gorgeous in my Grandpa speak, God rest that sweet man's soul). She's the Mama of my sugar-and-spice-and-everything-nice kit.

A champion of personal responsibility and directness, she helped me over the "pick yourself up and shake it off" hump. We've been through boom and bust and back again; we work the rockin' rhythm method.

I love her and miss her madly. I may not always say or do the right thing, and God knows I own plenty of dummy shares still -- mankind's toxic decision-making assets -- but each year I shed a few more on the slippery slope trading room floor, and get a little smarter, a little more aware.

I miss my sun, my soulmate...

You are my sun,
and I am your Moon.
I rise in the night
to settle the darkness
that reflects my past,
but the second you rise
and call out my name
making my day aglow
with a moment of grace,
it’s then I relive our love:
our present eclipse embrace.

I am the luckiest. Thank you Madison, WI.

What if I'd been born fifty years before you
In a house on a street where you lived?
Maybe I'd be outside as you passed on your bike
Would I know?

And in a white sea of eyes

I see one pair that I recognize

And I know

That I am

I am
I am

The luckiest.

~Ben Folds


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Think I'm pretty in pink? Somebody call me a shrink.

The other day on Facebook I posted this status update:

So, just because I'm having all girls doesn't mean I have to wear pink. Right?

Well, that was a fun one with everyone teasing me and daring me and reminding me that when in high school I sported the pink IZOD more than once.

God help me.

But I'm okay with pink and girls and estrogen and maybe someday soon being dressed up and made up by Beatrice and Bryce: my-sugar-and-spice-and-everything-nice kit.

Mama loves the movie Pretty in Pink. Bea's Foofa talking doll is pink and thinks we're all so amazing. And one of my HR industry friends says he's buying me a pink shirt to wear at the upcoming HRevolution conference.

Think I'm pretty in pink? Somebody call me a shrink.

(wink)


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

For both my girls, I long for a he-man-woman-hater-free society.

"Alfalfa, will you swing me before we have lunch?"

"Sure, Darla."

"Say, Romeo. What about your promise to the He-Man-Woman-Haters-Club?"

"I'm sorry, Spanky. I've got to live my own life."

When I was in kindergarten a little girl named Judy used to walk home from school with me. She lived up the street from me about five houses, and on the corner before her house we'd stop and I'd ask her to kiss me.

Beg actually. She'd comply with a sweet smile and then run along home.

If there was a day she didn't walk home with me, then Ronnie, the bully on our block, would stand on his fence and throw rocks at me and call me sissy-boy.

With Judy, kisses and no bullying. (She'd tell Ronnie to stop it.)

Without Judy, no kisses and bullying. (Ronnie didn't stop it and I whimpered and ran.)

From that point on I've always had an affinity for strong women -- personally, professionally, intimately and as friends. My mother and sister made sure of that.

I dig chicks. What can I say. I've sailed the estrogen sea my whole life without crashing on the rocky shore of failed maleness...

Fast forward to this past Sunday night at 8:31 p.m. Mama had me put my hand on her belly to see if I could feel Bryce.

And finally I did! Two strong kicks from belly-bound Bryce!

Then yesterday morning we were off to get our fancy schmancy 20-week 4D ultrasound (and of course the standard ultrasound diagnostics).

Amazing to watch the little one float, roll, scratch and kick in the uterine pool while our ultrasound tour guide Lance glided the electronic wand over Mama's wet belly and told us our baby was on the mark with everything intact. Our smiles matched the white glow of the monitors in the Scanbabies dimmed diagnostic room.

The moment of truth -- we wanted to know the gender. Originally we were going to wait like we did with Bea, but Mama looked at me, smiled and said:

"It's up to you."

I wanted to know. I really did. We both thought it was a boy but all we really cared about was another healthy baby.

"And if you look here and here you will see..."

Yes, that would be a girl. Another lovely little girl. Sweet Baby Bryce.

Baby Bea and Baby Bryce. B-squared and the daddy who sailed the estrogen sea...

For both my girls, I long for a he-man-woman-hater-free society. Until then I'll keep fighting the good fight to end violence against women.

And if anything ever happens to them, I'm coming after you. You can count on it.

video

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Take it from Bea, baby pillow diving is the bestest.

Being pretty introverted and fearful as a toddler, I don't remember pillow diving. In fact, I don't remember much of anything before 5 years old and I asked the question recently "Would Bea?".

We'd like to believe she will, regardless of how the brain develops from 0-3 years old. Maybe we're naive parents, but we believe that a loving and consistently secure environment facilitates those memories sticking, or at least some happy vestige of them, as well as developing a confident child bounding fearlessly and faithfully to responsible adulthood.

Mama and I both had our bouts with scary, instability growing up; I believe Mama faired better sooner than me, although thankfully we did both eventually grow up aware and learned to adapt and elevate -- all before we had children.

But I cannot imagine what it would be like to be a toddler (or parent) in Darfur or Afghanistan or Iraq or Burma or poor U.S. inner-city gang-ridden neighborhoods (list goes on and on sadly).

Cannot imagine.

Creating stable, loving environments for our families is where we can make a difference and where can start.

That I can imagine.

Take it from Bea, baby pillow diving is the bestest.

video

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Brought to you by Aaa-pull and the letter U.

Beatrice is speaking more beyond a-da-dat babble! She's really trying to pronounce more sounds form words.

And they are tasty. Like apple. Mmmm...

Or more accurately: aaa-pull.

That's what she started saying yesterday. While holding an apple, or a stuffed rabbit, or her fake phone, or her LeapPad story teller thingie, or the letter U from her new magnetic letter/number set.

Oh, how she loves the letter U as well. She points it out everywhere and asks "Dat?".

"That's a U."

Sometimes pursed lips of understanding in return. Sometimes a nod. Sometimes a smile. Sometimes a frown (she's practicing that one a lot lately - *sigh*).

Ah, but brilliance doesn't fall far from the daddy and mama tree. Those genetic experiments and performance enhancing drugs were good for something.

Just kidding. Really.

However, there would even be more brilliance if daddy got himself an iPad. That's what Bea really meant by Aaa-pull; she's "pulling" for me you know.

Gimme an A!

Gimme two more A's!

Gimme a P!

Gimme a U!

Gimme double hockey sticks -- LL!

What's that spell?

Magic!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

This was a test of the baby mind control prevention guild. This was only a test.

There's an insidious evil emanating from our television that only Beatrice can sense.

Each time one of them comes on she stops everything she's doing and fixates on the screen.

Eyes glaze, drool drools, face slackens -- it hypnotizes her and traps her in a muted bubble of candy-coated mind control.

Drugs. Legal drugs. Mainstream pharmaceuticals as baby whisperers ensuring a future market that fixes every ailment and woe.

Celebrex
Nexium
Flonase
Topomax
Boniva
Paxil
Pristiq
Symicort

Like words from ancient Sumerian script, they are undecipherable to us, but to Bea, they are keys to transdimensional travel and a lifetime of possible chemical dependency.

How do we stop this marketing mind and body control?

Um, sure, we could turn the TV off, go outside and play. Good idea.

Beatrice, give me the remote. Beatrice. Beatrice, are listening to me?

Beatriccccccccccccccccccceeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

***

This was a test of the baby mind control prevention guild. This was only a test.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

The monster at the end of this book, this house, this block and that IP address...

One of Bea's favorite upstairs books is The Monster at the End of This Book: Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover.

I say upstairs because it's one of many favorite books we read to her in her bedroom, and then there's a whole other set of favorites downstairs in the living room, Bea's play room, which is what the living room has become (hey, we're fully prepped for Bryce -- bring him/her on).

In the story, Grover begs and pleads with the reader to not read to the end of the book because there's a horrible monster there. In fact, he does everything he can to thwart the reader, including tying pages together and building brick walls, all in hopes of stopping us from reaching the monster.

Who is Grover himself.

Grover jokes nervously that he knew the monster wouldn't be scary, but we get the fact that we can be scared of our own shadow, the mysterious other self of the unknown that is known.

***

Bea woke up yesterday morning a couple of times crying and cold. Sometimes she loses her blanket somewhere in the night and hasn't figured out how to pull it back on herself. Plus, her teeth are still coming in and bothering her.

Usually Mama gets up to console her, to tuck her in again. Sometimes she has to pull Bea in the big bed that's on the other side of the room from her crib and lay with her for a bit. Mama's always a loving comfort that way.

But yesterday morning I gave Mama a break and brought the baby monitor downstairs. When Bea started crying I went up to console her. I bent over the front of the crib, rubbed her arms softly and told her how much I loved her. I told her it wasn't time to get up yet and to go back to sleep.

She held and stroked "fuzzy" (her blanket), sucked her thumb and went back to sleep.

***

Jarred Harrell lived down the street from Somer Thompson.

***

When I was 10 and my sister 8, there was a monster who lived with our mother at the end of the house.

He was mentally ill and abusive to us all.

We had no idea at first. It totaled almost three years too long, but we got out intact.

But not unscathed.

***

The growing incivility of our children to others and acts of bullying, cyber-bullying and Internet trolling are reprehensible.

***

Last night I waited patiently with hand on Mama's belly, longing to feel Bryce move. It's still a little early for me to be able to feel, but Mama can already feel the movement -- the flipping, the flopping, the kicking and the hiccups.

It was at 21 weeks when I first felt Beatrice, so we're getting close to that window with Bryce.

***

The monster at the end of this book, this house, this block and that IP address...is us.

The difference between the real monsters and Grover is us.

God empowers the difference, but it's still up to us.

Those of us with sound hearts and minds can intervene, prevent and protect. Those of us without, cannot, and must be protected against.

***

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

***

Mama and I love you Beatrice and Bryce.