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, June 26, 2011

The B-hive's got each other's back

Let the sibling rivalry love blossom.

And indeed it has. Now that Bryce is coming up on one year and Beatrice is almost three, their playful interaction has increased dramatically.

What at first was an alien fascination with the new baby (like, "What the heck is that?") has now turned into a rag-tag-team sister act.

Bryce wants to be everywhere her big sister is, wanting to touch everything she touches (well, not touch, more like eat everything she touches), and wanting to share the Mama constantly (well, not share, more like steal Mama away from her sister). Bea's pink "fuzzys" are off limits (her blankets) though, and fortunately Bryce's soft yellow blankets offset her fuzzy coveting.

Then there's the game of crib bumper pinball. That's when Bea wants the baby in her bed with her. To play. At first. However, aggressive emotions eventually take over Bea and she begins to pummel the baby with light kicks and hits. It's fine as long as Bryce is laughing along.


But, once the crying starts, the pinball game is over.

Speaking of being everywhere her sister is, Bryce has been crawling like a madwoman all over the house. Something Bea never did. In fact, Bea never crawled until around 17 months, although she was walking at 11 months. And now Bryce is standing, cruising and a stone's throw from walking. Just yesterday she took 1.75 steps on her own. Didn't get it on video yet, but you know we will.

I'm no soothsayer and have no idea what'll happen with their relationship throughout childhood, teenage-land (God help us) and into adulthood.

But for a Daddy who lives in the now of mindful presence, the B-hive's got each other's back. And each other's ice cream.

I couldn't ask for more than that. Except, can we skip teenage-land?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Greatest Gifts a Father Can Give

"Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown." -- Author Unknown

Four downturns in, this daddy takes a look back.

I was a teenager in the early 1980s recession, in my twenties during the early 1990s recession, in my thirties during the bust, and in my forties when the global pool of money melted down the world's economic engine, I became a father to two beautiful little girls.

During the first two I had steady jobs -- working in the produce department at a grocery store in my hometown and then working in alumni relations and fundraising at SJSU, my alma mater.

The third was a demise where we all lost our jobs and then the latest involves making a living stringing together risky business endeavors post a long-time leadership position in a local firm.

I read at the end of last year that millenials (i.e., Gen Y, those born somewhere between the mid-1970′s and the early 2000′s) will have at least 7-8 careers in their lifetimes. I’m a Gen Xer and I’ve already had 6 now. The top concern for many daddies (and mommies) of any generation today is to stay afloat financially in the Bermuda Triangle of jobs, homes and keeping food on the table.

Four downturns in and I take an even further look back at the careers of my dad and my grandfather, because we all share generational contrasts in lifetime careers and the cobbling together of others.

My dad was a mechanic in the Air Force. After serving he then returned to his home town of Porterville where he became mechanic foreman for the local Chevrolet dealer. This was back in the 1960s when you could practically listen to a car and diagnose its problem. After that he went in a completely different direction and became a police officer where he spent the rest of his career, complete with a short stint as a deputy sheriff in the South Pacific and then eventually becoming a "special agent" in charge of the forgery and fraud division at the Visalia Police Department (my hometown) where he happily retired.

My grandfather (my mom's dad), according to his own incessant quoting, was a "Jack of all trades and master of none." He worked on the railroads back in his home state of Missouri. He then moved the family West to California's Central Valley where he worked odds jobs before working on the Friant-Kern Canal construction. When he hurt his back he went into life insurance sales until he retired. But even retirement didn't slow him down; he worked as a custodian in a middle school for many years after. And throughout his whole life he was an avid tinkerer, watch and clock fixer and home gardener. I remember watching with magnetic fascination my grandfather fixing the tiniest of watches and watch parts with the biggest of hands and fingers.

Through thick and thin they both took care of their families. For the most part none of their children really knew the financial struggles they went through, because the greatest gifts a father can give his children are love, security and presence, all of which transcend economic peaks and valleys when passed on in kind.

Happy Father's Day, Dad and Grandpa. I'm passing them on in kind.

Besides, how can we go wrong with clipping these kinds of coupons?

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Thrilla in Vanilla

It was the thrilla in vanilla. Vanilla pajamas with polka dots that is, with little Bryce in them, her pulling open the bottom dresser drawer in our bedroom in order to stand and investigate.

Pulling it open because she can. Just like she can crawl like a 9-month-old espresso-powered tortoise all over the house, the grass, the sandbox -- quite a contrast to Beatrice who walked at 11 months but didn't crawl until almost 17 months.

Bryce, a flower of awareness awakening to the morning dew and the warm summer sun. Bryce, much more of a Curious Georgette than her sister, getting into anything and everything and ensuring it's strewn willy-nilly all over the friggin' place. (Well, Bea did/does that too; they both make a mess.)

However, just like her big sister did, Bryce is now bonking her head and body all over the place. Because that's a universal for all babies, toddlers and children -- falling down and beating themselves up in the name of exploration and unknowingly fearless acrobatics. Parents need zero gravity rooms, you know?

So that was the deal earlier this week, Bryce pulling open the bottom dresser drawer to stand tall like a big girl, until --


She fell and the small drawer knob punched her right in the left eye and she was down for the count. Thankfully she had closed both eyes prior to hitting, but it still left quite a welt and a mark under her eye (which has since subsided). Mama made it all better and then we went on with our day.

But then later that same day when Mama's out with Bea and I'm working out in my home office, our diligent childcare specialist (better name than the "sitter" and not as pretentious as "nanny") comes out carrying a crying Bryce who now has a bleeding, fat, split lip along with her swollen eye. She had fallen and hit her mouth on the baby "lights, shapes and sound" activity table we have in the living room child toy kingdom.


Not the Thrilla in Manilla Ali-Frazier fight by a long shot, but no parent likes to watch their child wail in pain after falling down again and again and going --


No, we prefer the smiles and goofy looks our babies give us, at least until rounds two and beyond.


In this corner, wearing white, from the city of the "Holy Cross" by the sea...