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 25, 2012

BE HAPPY: But Watch Your Step

"Good morning, Beatrice. How are you this morning?"

"Happy!"

What a sweet thing to hear on a day when business world bullies punched me in the gut. What a crappy difference a hump day makes.

As I knelt crumpled over and holding my belly, I flashed back to my walk through Natural Bridges with the girls the weekend before. Both Beatrice and Bryce running around in the heart of the eucalyptus tree grove, us all laughing with abandon.

The girls kept running back and forth in front sign posted on the fence:

CAUTION: Watch Your Step

IMG 1542

Bryce kept spinning and then eventually lost her footing and fell, giggling. Thankfully she wasn't hurt. Bea followed suit, but on purpose to be silly. It was such a fun time for me watching my girls play so freely and happily.

Being hit in the gut seemed inconsequential after that. Blows like that always do. I've learned to fight back and kill 'em with transcendent success. Screw the kindness (but don't tell my girls that).

BE HAPPY: But Watch Your Step. And sometimes it's okay to put all your B's in the same basket.

IMG 1544

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Your favorite poop spot

Bathroom stall

Where's your favorite poop spot?

Yes, I just asked that question. So where is it?

For my youngest Bryce, it's sitting (and squatting) on her little bedroom chair in front of her little table with the farm house and animals. Or, it's on her little stool in front of her little kitchen set in the

What? She wears a diaper. C'mon.

Same with Beatrice, although we are in a fast-track transition with her finally going pee-pee on the potty! Next stop is poop train to the toilet! Until then the poop spot means quiet time in her bed.

What are you looking at? Get out!

Again I ask you -- where's your favorite poop spot?

Your main bathroom?

The guest bath?

The half bath?

The out house?

The guest house?

The back yard? (Keep that one to yourself.)

The hotel room bathroom when traveling for business alone?

The hotel lobby bathroom when traveling for business with colleagues?

The hotel room bathroom when traveling with family (and room spray)?

The corner stall of the bathroom at work?

The corner stall of the bathroom at work -- on another floor?

The corner stall of the bathroom at another office building down the street from where you work?

A quiet place to reflect, read, meditate and/or pray, to blot out an otherwise business-as-usual stress-filled day?

Mine is our master bedroom bathroom. Or, the male/female single shared bathrooms at work (one at a time, thank you). This may be too much info for the Mama, so I won't speak for her.

Hey, there's a Zen sense of animistic liberty when we poop -- having ownership over a specific bodily function in an otherwise cruel, chaotic world.

For at least as long as we can, baby. We can go out just as we came in, so let's pay homage to our favorite poop spot.

Ahhh. Nirvana…

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A global family failure

JudgesChambers

I trusted him. I didn't know him, or him us, but I still trusted him. He had a kind face, like my grandfather. Warm and sincere, he gave me a sense of real security, like I could tell him anything I wanted to and he would listen and provide the right counsel.

My sister and I sat in his chambers listening to him ask us questions. I felt awfully small sitting in there, sinking deeply into a large leather-bound chair, but again I trusted him. I was about 12 at the time, my sister 10.

The judge began to ask us questions about our abusive birth father, what we did with him when it was his turn to do stuff with us, how we felt about it, and why we no longer wanted to do stuff with him.

I remember the judge asking me directly, "Do you want to spend time with your father anymore?"

"No," I answered.

"Are you scared when you're with him?"

"Yes."

"Does he drink when you're with him?"

"Sometimes."

"Do you think he'll hurt you when he's drinking?"

Pause. "I don't know."

Similar answers from my sister. The entire time the judge enveloped us with a sobering warmth, one that gave me the confidence and comfort to be completely honest.

"Again, I ask you -- do you want to spend time with your father anymore?"

"No."

After that visit, we were no longer forced into visitations with our birth father. A year later was the last time I saw him.

I'm sure that because my mother worked for the police department and our soon-to-be stepfather was a cop, that helped get us face time with the judge, probably circumventing the family court system somewhat.

But it could've failed for us, the entire global family system that included our parents, other family members, friends, the police department, the court system, the social workers -- everybody.

It failed for Charlie and Braden Powell and their mother Susan and the millions of other victims of abuse.

No matter how "evil" we claim the Josh Powell's of the world are after the devastating facts come to light, we all failed in the end because we didn't protect our children and all the victims of intimate partner violence.

We didn't give them a voice. We didn't give them safe harbor. And then we have to bury the victims and mourn the loss that could've been prevented.

It was a global family failure that could've failed us all those years ago. Thank God it didn't.

And thank God the B-hive will always have a voice. The Mama and Daddy promise you that.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pee and pride of another kind

Peeing Calvin

With guys it's easy: we can pee anywhere we want, appropriate or not, legal or not. And we're damn proud of that fact.

With women, not so much, although when the Mama proved to me how utilitarian she was soon after we were dating, my heart swelled with damn proud manly love.

She had me at hello, wearing a baseball cap and peeing in the woods. Mercy me I love that woman (and it is almost Valentine's Day).

But now we're dealing with pee and pride of another kind. The B-hive kind. The toddler potty training kind that boggles the adult mind.

I've written before about how Bea has a slight speech delay, and now her speech therapist's evaluation has confirmed it's more than likely auditory processing disorder (APD), which affects less than 5% of school-aged children.

What this means is that Beatrice has trouble processing the information she hears in the same way as other kids because her ears and brain don't play nice together. That in turn affects the way her brain recognizes and interprets sounds. Also, loud background noise or any sudden loud noise really bother her, and that further complicates and distorts the sounds in her head and the processing responsible for composing speech.

Although it hasn't slowed her academically (for a toddler), it has slowed some of her self-care progress, primarily potty training, but look out world -- Bea's on a pee roll.

For months now, getting the elder B to pee in the big T is what the Mama and me have been working on. Actually it's been more Mama than me, but I help with consistency when I can (I've been working on that previous rhyme, though).

We're focused on the child-centered method, which means, "I'll go on the potty when I damn well ready to." If you've ever experienced potty training, you know that forcing or pushing only leads to meltdowns and breakdowns -- and the kids suffer too. Seriously, forcing them to go when they don't "own it" is a bad scene and doesn't work. At all.

Back to Bea pee -- at first we started bribing with chocolate chips, a variation of the M&M payoff. But then our preschool discouraged the bribing and instead encouraged encouraging the positive behaviors of sitting on the potty, etc.

Which we did. And it kinda worked to get her to sit on the potty, to then still pee in her pull up.

Screw that. Back to bribery. One of her favorite toddler shows now is Super Why!, a show about learning to read (which she's close to doing actually). In this show are four primary characters, each of whom become a reading and problem-solving superhero in Storybook Land.

So the idea was to start putting stickers on the calendar each time Beatrice went pee on the potty, and when she got to 5 stickers, she'd get a Super Why superhero character.

As of last night, she's collected two of the four characters (we're gonna have to get more goods). And just the night before when she went pee she then stood proudly from the potty and said:

"I did it!"

Right on, baby. We are so damn proud of you!