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, February 26, 2011

Here's to family love. Cheers. *clink*

I understand the Middle East keeps melting down, but Bryce just isn't sleeping well.

I've been on the couch, which is by no means any consolation to the Mama who has been miserable with lack of sleep.

It's not that Bryce is all that colicky; we've heard other intense horror stories that we're not experiencing.

She did have a cold recently and she's teething; there are now two bottom fronts poking their tops from sweet pink gums.

She's six months old and nursing, but Beatrice nursed until she was 13 months old, and from what we remember, she slept better at some point between 6-12 months.

It's upwards of four times per night -- and although Bryce usually goes back to sleep, Mama does not.

Nope, she can't take valerian root; can't take much of anything while she's nursing. Nope, I can't nurse, and even if she pumped more and I fed Bryce bottles at night, it still wouldn't help Mama sleep. Not while the baby keeps waking up multiple times.

We also read about developmental changes that occur between 6-12 months that can also affect sleep patterns. And now that we think of it, Bea slept poorly at 6+ months old, which meant we all did.

For Mama to sleep better, baby has to start sleeping better -- doesn't matter where the Daddy sleeps. So while we try to figure it all out, I can't help but reflect on the family love we share.

Take daddy daycare yesterday afternoon. Bryce woke up before Bea from the afternoon napping, and so we played, giggled, laughed and snuggled.

I fed her some baby cereal and then gave her a bottle. Bea never took bottles well from me (or anyone), but Bryce is a good eater when it comes to the Daddy.

I'm not the Mama, but while I fed her the bottle, our eyes locked and we cooed at each other and she'd smile and reach up with her tiny hand to touch my face and beard.

Sweet as a ladybug. Sweeter if she slept better, but sweet as a ladybug nonetheless.

Then there's our new after-dinner family play. We go upstairs and Beatrice cries out:

"Hide!"

Which is my queue to go hide, wait for her to inch as close as she dare come to finding me, and then I jump out and scare the Be-Jesus our of her.

And she loves it. Every single time.

"Hide! Hide! Hide! Hide!"

"Gotcha!"

Bea jumps -- giggles -- dives into my arms and all the while Mama holds Bryce who whelps it up longing to join in on the play.

The B-hive troubles are nothing compared to what the folks in Tripoli and elsewhere are dealing with, but you know there are families here, there and everywhere not sleeping, crying, playing, living and loving regardless of circumstance.

Here's to family love. Cheers. *clink*

(Too bad that doesn't help us sleep either...)


Saturday, February 19, 2011

What makes the mall experience rock? Orange Julius, baby.

Never thought I'd be pushing two sick baby B's in a Lil' Limo stroller through a cold rainy mall parking lot into a mall in February with a hot Mama by my side.

What a difference a destiny makes...

And a food court with kids play area and Justin Bieber and Katy Perry video pop poppin' on the surround-sound HD-TV screens...

Hey, it was time to get out of the house, because after days of hot snot and cold rain the B-hive was buzzing in the red -- as red as Bea's raw cheeks.

For those of you who don't frequent your local mall (or have kids), think of it as the modern day village square surrounded by merchants and food booths hawking their wares. Daddy and Mama needed a new pair of Mary Janes anyway, baby.

Oh, how I remember the mall days when I was a child -- being forced from store to store by Mom's firm grip and little sister in tow, monotone AM gold poppin' from nondescript mall speakers.

But there was one thing that made the mall experience rock then as a child, and now as a parent with children.

A freshly blended Orange Julius.

Ah, not a care in the world...until there's more hot snot to clean up.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Don't do it for me, or even you. Do it for them.

I remember sitting riveted watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. It was the early 1970s, close to the height of domestic violence in our house.

I sat riveted while animal after animal killed one another. Not for sport or murderous intention, but because of hard-wired survival instincts to eat or to fend off being eaten.

I had a hard time reconciling then why a father would beat up a mother, just because.

Just because -- of a bad day, a good day, too much booze, not enough booze, a rainy day, a sunny day...

As far as modern biology and neuroscience can show us, the greater animal kingdom has no conscious design to kill for killing's sake or to rape for raping's sake.

But the great human race does.

It's equal-opportunity killing and raping. Granted, the news this week has highlighted this stories:

Which primarily focus on women, but the forcing of oneself on another isn't relegated to women. However, statistically speaking, most of the time it is.

Random acts of violence and sexual assault aside, let's talk about intimate partner violence (courtesy of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence):

In February of 2008, the CDC released the most comprehensive US survey regarding intimate partner violence.

The results:

  • 23.6% of women and 11.5% of men reported at least one lifetime episode of intimate-partner violence.
  • In households with incomes under $15,000 per year, 35.5% of women and 20.7% of men suffered violence from an intimate partner.
  • 43% of women and 26% of men in multiracial non-Hispanic households suffered partner violence.
  • 39% of women and 18.6% of men in American Indian/Alaska Native households suffered partner violence.
  • 26.8% of women and 15.5% of men in white non-Hispanic households suffered partner violence.
  • 29.2% of women and 23.3% of men in black non-Hispanic households suffered partner violence.
  • 20.5% of women and 15.5% of men in Hispanic households suffered partner violence.

And this is just what's reported and tabulated.

Consider this:

"A study published in the November 2003 issue of Child Abuse & Neglect found that children exposed to abuse on their mothers -- but not mistreated themselves -- also display increased behavior problems. The research was compiled by the University of Washington-Seattle and the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center. The study surveyed 167 Seattle women, all of whom had children between 2- and 17 years old.

The results were stronger among the children who had been abused -- but those only exposed to their mothers' abuse were also affected -- they were 60 percent more likely to show externalizing behaviors. They were 40 percent more likely to test in the borderline to clinical range for total behavioral problems."

Because it's the last story -- 5 Browns dad pleads guilty to sexually abusing daughters -- that bothers me the most.

Because I have two daughters and would and could never harm a hair on their heads. My sister and I had to deal with enough harm of our own growing up.

You can't manage others' impulse control or the whipped fervor of destructive intention, but you can manage your own and teach your children to do the same.

Do me a favor and look at your children today. Take a long look at them and then hold them close and tell them how much you love them.

Don't do it for me, or even you.

Do it for them.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day, Hot Stuff

This morning I hugged Mama and whispered in her ear:

"I love me."

Wow. Daddy's still the selfish romantic after all these years...

*sigh*

For those of you significant others with kids, you know what I mean about what it takes to keep the fire stoked over any length of time -- a day, a week, a month, going on 14 years...

But take it from me, if you want love to remain, you'll pay the love piper and not count the cost, because nothing says nothing like a love grown cold.

And it really isn't that much work when you dig the other every day.

I remember when I had a painting commissioned on behalf of my love for Mama, long before she was the Mama (shortly after we met). It was based on a poem I had written her:

Sketch Pad

I trace neck
curves to belly dip bottom rise,
your back to my front in summer evening glow
as dim dusk light drains out your window.
You moan thin
gasp through full mouth eyes shut away,
love scent chants our sides with blanket trance
as cool night breeze slips in your window,
we draw the other in.

I'm telling you, after all these years and two gorgeous little girls later, through thick and thin and from sugar-daddy thriving to day-to-day dollar thimble diving, you've got to remain entwined heat.

Happy Valentine's Day, Hot Stuff.

video

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Melmo's Wuhld is everything and everything is Melmo's Wuhld

"Good morning, Beatrice. It's a bright sun-shiny day! What shall we do?"

"Melmo's Wuhld!"

Wow. And so the TV show addiction begins.

But hey, Mama and I grew up watching Sesame Street -- glued to it actually -- and we grew up okay. We didn't have Elmo, because Elmo the character we know and "wuv" didn't come on the scene until 1985.

But boy do we wuv Melmo's Wuhld today -- we being the B² formula of the family, because now Bryce is getting a hit of the Elmo smack.

Good times.

Hey, Elmo's World talks about shoes and dancing and weather and food and telephones and music and exercise and family and sleeping and --

Everything. Melmo's Wuhld is everything and everything is Melmo's Wuhld.

Mercy, both Beatrice and Bryce and growing up faster than I can download Elmo on iTunes (if we lived in South Korea, however, it would be the other way around).

Growing up. *sigh*

Let's see how a daddy does it...

[wink]

Thank you, Daddy!

[Elmo laughter]

Hey, Dorothy wants us to sing the Daddy song (sung to the tune of "Jingle Bells"):

Daddy, Daddy, Daddy
Daddy, Daddy, Daddy
Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy
Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!

No more coloring inside the lines, kids.