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.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mercy what a difference a birthday makes.

"The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love."

~Margaret Atwood


'Twas the night before birthday,
And all through the house,
All my girls, they were crying;
There was gassy reflux everywhere.
God help us.

I got home last Tuesday night from a client meeting and there was crying carnage everywhere. Sleeplessness ensued until we all finally fell into restless slumber. (I don't know how Mama's do it.)

Such is life with two, and yet it's all still pretty brand new.

Wednesday was Beatrice's birthday, but I was away again all day seeing clients and prospects. I got home earlier this time, and mercy what a difference a birthday makes, with everyone's emotional disposition strategically aligned.

Look Ma, no crying!

It was only the four of us and we watched as Beatrice opened a few gifts, her favorite kind: books.

She's a book fiend just like Mama and Daddy. We wouldn't have it any other way. I remember my book hoarding days as a child, teen and adult -- hey, they've never really gone away.

It may take me longer to plow through the word fields with life's rapidly changing seasons, but plow away I do. Mama does too and we read to Bea multiple times per day. In fact, it's already ritual right before night-night. Bryce will hopefully take to it as well.

One of her favorites is Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle, and last night before bed I took Bea outside to see the rising but waning full moon.

She smiled.

You can take everything else away from me, but you can't take away my girls and these moments of lassoing permanence.

And love.

I'll lasso the moon for all of them if I can, my sweet buffalo gals.

Buffalo gals, won't you come out tonight?
Come out tonight, Come out tonight?
Buffalo gals, won't you come out tonight,
And dance by the light of the moon.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Beatrice!

The big 2 baby. You're such a big girl! We love you!

Now, help us take care of your sister.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Like birthday balloons in the fog.

They're like multi-colored balloons loosely tied together coming in and out of focus through the coastal morning fog...

Bea's words. We're almost to her second birthday as the fog lifts from those balloons a little more each day. It's clear we're on the cusp of bunches floating around her as she rips around the living room.

Crystal clear.

Today we were all down walking along the ocean, pushing Bryce in the stroller, when Bea tripped and fell, hitting her knee. She cried for a few and favored it, and when we asked where the "owie" was she pointed and said:

"Knee."

Brilliant. Don't you think?

We do.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Guys can be Gal Pals too to help end domestic violence.

I've been writing a lot on my new work blog (Leaders. Better. Brighter.™) about how emotional intelligence makes for a more engaged workforce and transformational leadership.

Of course that includes personal leadership and the family as well.

Having developed emotional intelligence (as opposed to our standard definition of IQ) means you have:

  • An awareness of your own emotions
  • An awareness of emotions in others
  • An understanding of emotions
  • And the ability to manage one's own emotions and the emotions of others

For many it's no easy feat, but it can be assessed and developed over time.

One striking component of being emotionally intelligent is the high degree of impulse control.

And without it, the lack thereof.

Like those who hurt others in domestic violence.

Conversely, those who are aware, understand and can manage their emotions are more likely to reach out, educate and help victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.

Men and women, mommies and daddies alike can get their Em-tel™ on and make a difference. (Em-tel™ is just my “emotional intelligence” word play on the term “intel”, or intelligence information.)

According to The Allstate Foundation Research, more than seven out of 10 Americans know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence, yet it still remains a taboo subject.

Domestic violence is an issue that does not discriminate - it impacts all genders, races and ages. The Tell a Gal Pal movement asks everyone to face domestic violence together by:

  • Talking openly about domestic violence to break the taboo. Tell your Gal Pals - whether it's your best friend, sister, mother, daughter, niece, cousin or neighbor - to face domestic violence by discussing the issue, educating one another and showing support for survivors.
  • Visiting ClicktoEmpower.org for easy ways to start the conversation, learn more about the resources available for those in need or read inspirational survivor stories.
  • Speaking out against domestic violence when you see it. Call the police or National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE) to report domestic violence - you could help save a life.
  • Volunteering at or donating items to a local domestic violence program. Contact your state domestic violence coalition for more information.

The Allstate Foundation is also encouraging Americans to join the conversation on Facebook to help support domestic violence survivors. For each person who visits the Click to Empower! Facebook page and pledges to Tell a Gal Pal about domestic violence, The Allstate Foundation will donate $1 to the National Network to End Domestic Violence (up to $20,000).

Guys can be Gal Pals too to help end domestic violence.

I've got three ladies in the house counting on that.

By the way, Domestic Violence Awareness Month starts in October, but please make it every month.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bea, a little help.

As soon as Mama goes out to the garage to workout, Bryce wakes up.

Hungry.

Beatrice and I are hanging out listening to Toddler Tunes on one of the cable music channels.

No fear -- Daddy's here.

I can do this. Mama has started pumping her milk for these moments. We wanted to get Bryce on the bottle sooner than Bea ever did. Which, in retrospect, she never really did...

Focus.

Bea's mellow yellow sucking her thumb and listening to music, so I run upstairs to get Bryce.

I bring her downstairs and she wails in my ears, I pop the bottle of breast milk in the microwave (no calls, please) and get the rubber nipple read for placement.

Bea hasn't moved. Just gently rocking to the music. Bruce Springsteen is singing "Chicken Lips And Lizard Hips".

Ping.

Bottle out, nipple on, secure baby in my arms with the boppy pillow in my lap -- it's magic time.

Bryce is drinking contentedly.

*sigh*

I smile. Give myself a confident nod with a lower-lip raise.

But wait. I'm forgetting something.

The burp rag!

Bryce is much more of an "urper" than Bea ever was. Not abnormal reflux, but definitely more milk coming up than any parent would want.

Where is it?!?

I scan the living room. There! On the couch above where Bea is laying.

"Beatrice, can you bring me the burp rag please?"

Nothing.

"Bea, please bring daddy that rag above you."

Crickets chirping.

"Please, sweetie, bring me it to me. It's right there. Look up."

Dust motes float by.

"Bea."

Bryce finishes her milk.

"A little help."


Saturday, September 11, 2010

I too dream.

"Dream of a peaceable kingdom

Dream of a time without war

The ones we wish would hear us

Have heard it all before



A wave toward the clearing sky

A wave toward the clearing sky..."

~Neil Peart, "Peaceable Kingdom"

Happy Birthday Neil (9/12/52)


Thursday, September 9, 2010

No worries. Daddy's here.

She's crying, standing in her crib, lit only by the streetlamp from outside our house.

"What's the matter, sweetie? Did you have a bad dream?"

She collapses in her crib, thrashes, wails louder.

I move towards her crib. "I know, sweetie. I'm sorry. Daddy's here."

"Mommy!"

"Mommy's sleeping, Beatrice. Daddy's here."

Bea thrashes some more and then settles, stroking her fuzzy blanket. She sucks her thumb.

"I love you, sweetie. It's okay. You can go back to sleep now."

She raises her right arm, wants me to stroke it lightly. Mommy usually does that, but sometimes she lets me.

She yawns. "Yes, you can go back to sleep, Bea."

Because no matter what, I'll never fail you or Bryce as a father. I'll make mistakes for sure; fail at this and that and the other. Already had plenty of it before you ever arrived.

But never as a father.

No worries. Daddy's here.

She sucks her thumb, closes her eyes, exhales.

"I love you."

I can't go back to sleep.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hey, that's the way me and Mama roll, Labor Day style.

This Labor Day Weekend is exponentially profound.

Two girls almost two years apart born bookends to two Labor Days, Bea a few weeks after and Bryce a few weeks before.

I witnessed the labor and birth of each. I held Mama's hand with love and conviction, unable to do anything more than that.

Oh, and then there's the little labor of my own, moving from my seven-year span with HRmarketer.com into a new endeavor of leadership development with Glowan.

All in an uncertain world. Hey, that's the way me and Mama roll, Labor Day style. I'm sure there are many others doing the same if not similar leaps of faith.

Good luck and Godspeed to us all.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Domestic Violence Awareness: B² means to make it your business.

In the midst of B² baby poop and pee bliss, I can't help but think about how my daughters will grow up, how physically and mentally healthy they'll be, how well they'll do in school, how they'll fair the workplace and will they be influential leaders, how emotionally intelligent and spiritually intelligent they will be, how sound their relationships will be especially with significant others...

How sound their relationships will be. If they are sound, they will be, but that doesn't mean they won't run into others' instability. For those of you who know me and follow my blog you know I periodically write about domestic violence and violence against women awareness and prevention.

Having two daughters, and growing up with domestic violence, makes it very much my business in a world that has a difficult time making it its business.

Last week on the Domestic violence and the Workplace blog, my friend Kim Wells posted Why Is Domestic Violence "Everybody's Business"?.

They had recently posted a story on their Facebook page about a person who heard her neighbors having a heated argument "screaming at each other" -- she had her window opened and listened to the whole dispute that night but never called 911.

Her neighbor was killed. Her alleged murderer was her boyfriend and a man with a history of domestic violence. The woman who did not call said, "I feel bad now that I didn't call 911. I could have prevented this."

Maybe. Maybe not. She should've called, though. It's everyone's business when it comes to preventing violence and death.

Because it could be you or yours someday.

I remember watching an ABC movie of the week when I was 11 or 12, called "The Girl Who Cried Murder" or something like that, based on real events of a girl murdered on a New York street with multiple witnesses, and yet no one called the police.

That one stayed with me.

Every year there are stories of people witnessing horrific acts who never call the authorities.

I wonder how many of our neighbors heard the physical violence in our house when I was little and yet never called the police.

Kim writes in her blog:

But at the end of the day, we all have a decision to make. Will I make this "my business" or not?

I hope you do.

Mama and I hope you do, too. So will my daughters.

By the way, Domestic Violence Awareness Month starts next month, but please make it every month.