Thursday, July 31, 2008

Confessions Of An HG Husband

Hyperemesis sucks. The constant nausea and difficulty keeping liquids or solids down has wiped my wife out. She's only been dehydrated once so far but she's pretty much been knocked on her ass. Even little things exhaust her and just about any time she eats it's followed by a nap as she tries to keep from vomiting. We knew what we were getting into after going through this twice already but it's still a struggle. It's left us wondering what we were thinking on more than one occasion. Speaking from the point of view of a husband of and HG wife, I've got to say it takes a lot out of everyone involved.

Yes, it means more of the household responsibilities are up to me. I actually gave the kids a bath last week which I think brings the grand total of times I've flown solo on that to four, maybe. It can also be a bit much to have them constantly pulling at me and asking for things. It certainly means it takes longer to post one of these things. Apparently watching daddy type is not what they consider "quality time". Throw in making sure mommy's got everything she needs and it can take a toll. We're lucky that we've got family around us that's very helpful and supportive though which is nice. In my opinion though, HG does have its upside.

When I say it has an upside I'm strictly talking about me. I can't imagine what the positive of actually having this could be and I'm thankful I don't have it. Since I'm not the one in a constant state of nausea induced exhaustion let me tell you what the benefits are for me. For starters, when the kids finally get to sleep and it's time to just relax and watch TV, there's very little debate about what we watch. "What do you want to watch? Oh, you're asleep already. Ultimate fighting it is then." Little tips for HG husbands, if she's awake just let her watch whatever show she wants. Two minutes into Ugly Betty or that show where the couple has eight youngsters and she'll be asleep. The remote is then all yours and you still get credit for being supportive. Thanks to that I've had lots of extra time to get reacquainted with old friends like Seinfeld or Kenny vs. Spenny. I've even gotten into Entourage. I'm not really sure what it is about that show that appeals to me but it's on at least one channel just about all the time which is nice. Also, with the help of the baby monitor, I can keep track of how everyone is doing while I spend time in the basement playing video games. My thumb is starting to toughen up again. If we didn't have kids I can't even imagine how much time I'd have for the things I like to do.

Added free time isn't the only good thing. There's also the food. There's only a select few things she can manage to keep down. At the moment that's pretty much just ketchup chips and croissants with jam. Most other things she can't even be around. That of course leaves just me and the kids at mealtime. It means I have to cook usually but it also means more food for me. The kids hardly ever finish everything on their plates which leaves the rest for me. Provided they haven't turned it into something too disgusting, it could mean quite a feast for me. We also save on grocery bills since we're not going through quite as much food. Another tip for the husbands, buy a few things you know your wife enjoys but that you like too. Odds are she's not going to be able to eat much of it, if any, which leaves a nice little treat for you but you still get the credit for being thoughtful. "If you're too nauseous I guess I could eat that whole cheesecake. The smell of those mozzarella sticks makes you feel sick too? I'll get rid of them for you then." I didn't learn that one the first pregnancy and I actually lost about 15 lbs or so. She couldn't eat much or stand the smell of most foods so I didn't eat as much as normal either. Having kids that need to be fed makes a difference though. Like I said, I get to eat my meal and finish off theirs most times. It's a win win.

Finally, there's the big advantage of HG. It's not my wife's fault that she can't do as much around the house. She's very sick and does as much as she can. (For the record, she does more than I would do if I was in her shoes. I'd be on my back all day long soaking all the pity I could.) It does leave more for me to do around here and that results in one thing, guilt. She feels guilty about not being able to help as much. That guilt just keeps increasing. Think of it as a high interest bank account that you get to cash in at the end. I'm hoping my account will add up to a new gaming system so keep your fingers crossed. That leads me to my final HG husband tip, always make it look difficult. Even if you find it easy, make it look a little bit difficult. You don't want to make it look so tough that she feels horrible, just enough to cause a little bit of guilt. It will also make your wife feel better about herself as a mom when she sees you struggling to do something she does easily on a daily basis. Guilt plus increased self esteem, that's a winning combination.

So it's a very long tough journey getting through an HG pregnancy. It takes a tole on everyone involved. If you're an HG husband though it doesn't have to be all bad, provided you handle it right. You can have free time to watch sports or play video games. You can pretty much eat whatever you want as long as you do it discretely. And ultimately you can bank a nice little guilt account that you can cash in later on. If it wasn't for the horrible, life threatening illness part, it'd be great for everyone involved.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Always Read Warning Labels

Why do kids think it's ok to put anything they find in their mouths? I guess tasting something is one of the quickest ways of finding out if you're going to put it in the good or bad category. It's still pretty gross and so very annoying. Especially when you show poor judgement.

For instance, if you let your little girl hold onto the sunscreen spray canister. In my defense it was switched to the locked setting, which is not as secure as the name would indicate. One little twist and she was more than happy to spray some in her mouth. I imagine a sunburn to the tongue would really sting but I still think she was being a little to cautious. My wife witnessed this improper application of UV protection and immediately starts to dial poison control.

"Don't you think that's a bit hasty?"

"It says right here on the bottle to call a medical professional or poison control if ingested."

"Oh, fair enough."

"Why did you let her have it anyway?"

"It's sunscreen for kids, why wouldn't it be safe for them to handle?"

"It says right here above the poison control advise to keep out of reach of children."

"I hate you, you sunscreen container. You're just a fountain of information after the fact you smug little bastard. Where were you five minutes ago?"

Our little one didn't even cry or gag from the sunscreen so we weren't too concerned. Everything seemed to be fine which is good since my wife seemed to be on hold with poison control. Personally. with a name like poison control I'd expect them to have operators standing by. If the folks at Time/Life books can do it then why can't they? Anyways like I was saying, all seemed fine while my wife was on the phone with poison control (that really sounds bad when you say it out loud) until the little one started screaming and crying. I picked her up and was surprised to find some weird blue thing hanging from her lip. It turned out to be one of those little chip clip things which only surprised me more because I didn't even know we had any of them. I quickly got it off of her leaving her with a little cut on her lip where it had been pinched.

"Holy crap, I'm like the Inspector Clouseau of parenting right now."

While I wondered if those clip things have a warning on them, someone answered at poison control. They let us know that there wouldn't have been enough in a little spray to be harmful to her.

"You stupid canister. Why'd you get us all worked up like that if your sunscreen isn't even strong enough to harm a child? You're on thin ice so I'd watch my back if I was you."

It was all a good learning experience though. Sunscreen for children doesn't necessarily mean what you think it might. Poison control is not as urgent a place as you might imagine. And if you need someone to look after your kids, I might not be your first choice.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

ER Visit #1

It's been less than two years since we dealt with pregnancy around here. It's easy to forget all the stuff that goes into it. The getting pregnant part has never been a problem for us (didn't mean for that to sound like bragging). It's the aftermath that always proves interesting. By aftermath I mean the Hyperemesis. If you're not sure what that is the click here. Also, if you don't know what it is then how the heck did you find my site in the first place?

Anyways, the HG seems to have hit full force yesterday. Suddenly the ultrasound and the concerns it raised didn't seem quite as important. After a full day of throwing up, 28 at last count, my wife made her first ER trip this pregnancy for fluids. Vomiting that much leaves you dehydrated, as well as tired and emotional. After going through this twice and spending a fair bit of time in ER's, I've got to say that can be one interesting place to be.

It's generally boring as hell but all the waiting is worth it when you get to hear about a guy who punctured his scrotum. He was walking so very gingerly and then we overheard how he'd done it by smacking into some sort of chair. Ouch. I also enjoyed the time a couple police officers brought in a guy they'd pepper sprayed. Not sure what he did but if he's smart he won't do that again. He was whining and carrying on and then one of the cops said "Quite whining. We got sprayed too and you don't see us crying about it." Classic.

I wasn't there very long last night. I spent only about 45 minutes there when I went to pick her up after work. We did get to hear a lady on the phone telling someone about the guy she came to pick up. Apparently he'd broken his ankle when he crashed into a cornfield while skydiving. In my opinion that's about the most badassed way to break a bone. You could go up to just about anyone in a cast, listen to what happened to them and go "You think that's bad, listen to this story." Unless you bump someone who hurt himself fighting a couple bears, you win. I'm sure with all the ER visits in our future we'll eventually bump into that guy. Until then, we're pretty much in maintenance mode, trying to delay her next trip to get IV fluids and sit around for hours on end listening to all the stupid and unlucky stuff that happens to people.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Waiting Game

So we had our first ultrasound today. The first for this pregnancy that is. We had tons with the first two. Part of it is because of how sick my wife gets when she's pregnant and part of it is just because they have the fancy machine to start with. Lord knows if I had something like that I'd be using it all the friggin' time. I'd use it on everything in my house. After I was done with every last body part I could comfortably reach on myself I'd move on to food, furniture, the cupboards, it wouldn't matter. "Are we out of soup? I don't know. Just let me get the lubricating gel and I'll check."

Anyways, like I was saying, it's not the first ultrasound we've been through. The first few we were captivated. Just staring at the screen as we got our first glimpses at our little zygotes, or embryos, or whatever the right term is (I'm too lazy to look it up). By this point we only had one real question, "there's only one in there, right?" From what we're told it is just one (thank goodness). The problem is that we've had so many my wife knows how to read the screen. Even worse, she's aware of what the heart rates of our first two kids was and what's generally in the normal range. All this conspired against us when she noticed the heart rate this time was a bit below those numbers. The ultrasound lady asking if we'd ever had a miscarriage didn't help matters. In my head the answer was "WTF are you thinking?"

So of course the wait between that and when we got to see the doctor was an absolute joy. The kids running around like waiting room fighting over toys really brought a sense of calm over everyone. When the kids are really in a mood I like to take them to the waiting room at the ultrasound place and doctor's office just to freak out the expectant parents. First timers are so funny. I tried to ease my wife's concerns but I don't think she bought it. "I'm sure the kid's heart rate was like that because he's just really laid back." That got an "F you" look.

After what seemed like quite a while we finally got to see the doctor. For the record, I think our doctor is a great doctor and a really nice guy as well. We're lucky to have him. That being said, I kind of wish he'd just lied to us today. When the subject of the heart rate came up he told us that there is some evidence that links low heart rates early on with an increased risk of miscarriage. In my head, "Have you met my wife? WTF are you thinking?" Why'd we have to get the guy who knows what he's doing and answers all our questions? On the other hand, I wouldn't want to have the guy who looks at the chart and goes "Well I'm stumped. I don't know what the hell any of this means." I guess we can't have our cake and eat it too.

So we're left with three weeks until the next ultrasound and doctor visit. Hopefully the news will be better for that one. In the mean time all we can do is wait. The only advice anyone has is not to worry about it which is all you can tell someone I guess but that's easier said than done. To me that seems like telling someone who's deathly afraid of snakes that you put a giant python in a box over in the corner of the room. "I'm pretty sure I locked the box but I'm not certain. Either way, just try not to worry about it. See you in three weeks." I'm sure everything will work out but until then, waiting sucks.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Honey, I Shrunk The House

When did my house start shrinking? I remember when we first moved in and it seemed almost big. So much empty space, more rooms than we needed, and places to store things. Now I can't open a cupboard or walk up a flight of stair without running into a doll. "Be quiet, my dolls are sleeping in their bed."

"My mistake, I thought that was the china cabinet. Do they need a playhouse? I could just move the TV out on the lawn. Calm down, I was just joking."

It doesn't seem to matter what we do either. We have toy boxes and rubber made containers for their toys. All of which seem to be full yet the house is still one big toy obstacle course. I'm convinced the toys are reproducing somehow. I swear I've heard cheesy porno music coming from the toy boxes. I also believe they can walk or at the very least crawl. The kids can't possibly be the ones putting toys directly in the paths I most often take at night, can they? Sitting in their bed and asking me to get them a drink in the middle of the night and then waiting anxiously for the inevitable crash to follow. I stub my toe on a doll and stumble down the stairs as I hear laughter coming from her room. "I got you daddy. That was a good one."

"Yeah, you got me. See how funny you find it when I come back with your drink and a Halloween mask on."

It's not just the storage though. I got home from work last night to find my bed full. I had to try and maneuver my way into a spot among the two kids and my wife. After we all staked out our spots on the king size bed there was no room left for the dog. He chose to sleep in the closet rather than fight for some space. I think he might actually have been the smart one of the bunch. We've got three bedrooms, a crib, and four bed set up in our house but the four of us were squeezed into the same bed. The kid parent kid parent setup also made things interesting since the kids don't like having the blanket on them. I, on the other hand, prefer not to freeze my ass off.

When I asked how it came about that everyone was in the same bed I got to hear about the guilt trip that was responsible for it. "I just want someone to cuddle with. Why do I have to sleep in my bed while you cuddle Cameron to sleep?" I would have had no chance against something like that so I couldn't even be upset about her caving in. Actually, the fact she wasn't sleeping in our bed with a new doll means my wife did better than I would have.

At the rate things are going I expect by the end of the week I'll be sleeping in the closet with the dog. Hopefully he'll let me have some blankets.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

It's Not Real?

I've never been a big one for watching the evening news. On the other hand, my wife never misses it. Not a big deal since I'm usually working when it's on. So yesterday she sat down to watch it like any other day. The kids cooperated and played in the room with her while she watched. It was a nice relaxing little treat, getting to watch some grown up TV instead of having to entertain the youngsters. Everything was going fine until they did a story about local fella who apparently made a horror movie. I guess they figured it was newsworthy because Robert Englund, the guy who played Freddy Crueger, was in the movie.

So they do their story about the movie, no big deal. The problem was that they showed a scene from the movie in the course of doing the story. I didn't see it but I'm told it was pretty graphic and very creepy. It certainly wasn't the sort of thing you'd expect a TV station to show at 6 in the evening without any sort of warning about the nature of the content. Previously, the only thing I'd see as being at all offensive on that station's evening news was the time the anchor introduced a piece about the increase in childhood obesity by talking about "the rise in the number of fat kids in today's society." I swear those were his exact words. I taped it and laughed my ass off each time I watched it. It makes me think the anchor is some sort of Ron Burgundy type who will read anything they put on the teleprompter. Anyways, my wife was so disturbed by what she saw and the fact they gave no warning that she did something she's never done before. She called the station to complain.

She emailed them first actually and then called. She spoke to some guy there and explained the situation. She mentioned the graphic nature of the images and the fact there'd been now warning. He listened to her concerns and then said the words that made me laugh so very hard when the story was relayed to me minutes later. He actually said "Well you know it's not real, right?"

My wife played the concerned parent card by answering "I know it's not real but my three year old didn't." That was probably the right way to answer but personally when I was told the story my mind began racing with possible alternative replies to his condescension. I figured I'd throw a few out there and see what you think of them.

1. Hold the phone away from her mouth and pretend to yell to the crowd around her. "Calm down, everyone calm down! I've got some good news."

2. "So I'm guessing I am the first person to call your station who wasn't a complete moron."

3. "Originally, I was upset but after talking to you now I'm more impressed you can actually operate a phone."

4. "Can I speak to your supervisor? I have a new complaint now."

5. "Not real? Are you talking about the scene or your entire newscast? Because I make a lot of decisions based on the information you guys give me."
Too bad I can't figure out a way to make a living by being a smartass.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Keep Trying

I need to do a better job of cleaning up around here. As I've said before I've made the mistake of leaving scissors, pepper, sprinkles, and who knows what else lying around. Every time it came back to bite me in the ass. Each of those just resulted in a little problem that was easily cleaned up. My tidying 'tardedness left me with something to deal with all day long just recently though.

I woke up the other day with my little girl sitting on the foot of my bed with a Toys 'R Us flyer. She was very interested in the Barbie ride on car they had on the cover. "It's got a wheel to drive with and a horn. You can put stuff in the back and the seat belt is purple." That's not the sort of thing you want to hear at 7:30 in the morning. Especially after having stayed up until 1:30 the night before watching the ballgame.

"This could be a long day.'

So we started our day, that car still the only thing she wanted to talk about. I got to hear about how it's just for little kids while we ate breakfast. I mean a snack. Heaven forbid we should tell her she's eating a meal. "Here's your snack, a grilled chicken breast, mashed potatoes, and corn on the cob." After we ate, it was playtime. The kids rode on my back while they pretended I was a car. I assume she's trying to physically wear me down until I cave and buy it for her. Good luck, I'll play that game until I drop before I buy that car.

After getting a break while they played together in the big one's room, I suggested we go to the park. Always a popular idea with the youngsters. I buckled them into the double stroller and off we went. Guess what she talked about on the way there? Yep. She has big plans too.

"When I'm bigger I can drive my car. I'll drive it to school and my friends can ride in it. When I get to school I will get out and go to school."

"Did you just say you're going to drive your car to school?"

"When I'm bigger."

So she plans to drive herself to school. Part of me would love to see that. I can just imagine her being the only kid driving herself to kindergarten on the first day. Extolling the virtues of the vehicle and trying to physically beat me into submission didn't work but the complete absurdity or her plan make me lean in her direction. I think she thought she'd won too when it came time to go pick her mom up from work.

"Time to go get mom."

"Are we going somewhere after we pick up mom."

"Yes, we have to.."

"We going to go get the pink car?"

She was so hopeful that I almost felt bad about laughing. Almost. Instead I as just about in tears laughing. It helped that she found it as funny as I did. I think at that point if we'd had the money she'd be well on her way to driving to kindergarten on her first day. Guess she's got some work to do. And I need to keep the flyers out or her reach from now on.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It's Not How You Start, It's How You Finish

It's nice when a day that starts out crappy gets turned around. Yesterday, I got to wake up with a ringing phone waiting for me. On the other end was my wife letting me know the car broke down on the way to work and she was at the garage getting it fixed. "Oh damn. Are you sure loud squealing and grinding noises are really that bad? Just turn the radio up." Turns out that is the sort of thing that requires immediate attention. Almost seven hundred dollars later and it was ready to go. "Yeah, I didn't feel like paying all the bills this month anyways."

So forking out that kind of money before noon when I didn't plan to usually means the day is shot. I have to admit it got better though. Since my wife didn't go to work because the car wouldn't let her, she decided we were going to go swimming when she got home. We quickly gathered up the swimsuits and towels and were out the door. Who would have thought a public pool would be crowded on a hot summer day? I know, I was surprised too. Surprised my wife didn't expect there to be so many people there. "Oh really? How about after this we go get some ice cream and then go to the beach? I'm sure nobody is doing that either." We managed to stake out a little corner for the kids to have fun in. They had a blast which of course is contagiously mood brightening. After an hour we decided to leave since I figure that's almost the point where the ratio of water to little kid pee starts to lean toward the disgusting side. I was feeling pretty good when we left. Then I remembered they had gymnastics at 4:30.

While driving there I had flashbacks to last week that I can only describe as Apocalypse Now-esque (oh, the horror) I was not optimistic about how the class was going to go. I braced myself for the inevitable car wreck as I watched the clock inch closer and closer to 4:30. The time came and nothing. The big one went off with the other kids and the instructor without so much as looking back. "Are you serious? Am I about to be Punk'd?" My excitement was only increased when a couple of the other kids in her class started crying and had to be tended to by their parents. "Yes, it's not mine. It's not mine!" Just a tip, don't actually yell that out in the viewing area. The other parents generally consider that sort of gloating to be a tad bit dickish. It wasn't perfect though. The little one decided she needed both her parents with her but compared to last week that was a cake walk.

I was so euphoric after gymnastics that we went to the park to play. My wife dropped us off at the park around the corner and then went home to cook supper. We played for about half an hour before getting the call to come home. I understand sand is fun to play on and soft for falling on but it gets everywhere. I still have sand in my hair, not to mention several crevices. Small price to pay though because by the time bedtime rolled around they were exhausted. They were asleep with very little effort on our part. "I don't care if it only took fifteen minutes, I'm still taking credit for this bedtime. It does so count." Apparently, the combination of swimming, gymnastics, and playground fun is the magic recipe for an easy bedtime. Top it all of with an All Star Game that went fifteen innings, ending with a close play at the plate, and I'd say the day definitely turned around. Now if that stupid car would just cooperate we'd be all set.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Oops I Did It Again

So last week I'm minding my own business downstairs when I get called upstairs. Looking back I should have recognised that urgent yell but at the time I didn't think anything of it. I get to the top of the stairs and right away have a weird little stick stuck in my face. Couple that with the constant questioning, "Do you see it? Do you see what I'm seeing? Well, do you?"

"What am I supposed to be seeing?"

"The line, do you see the line?"

"What line?"

"Right there. There's a line. Do you know what that means?"

"Yeah, you need to get your eyes checked."

Just for the record, I totally saw the line. I just didn't want to admit it. In my mind, if I didn't say it out loud then it wasn't real. I tried to say it was just a faint thing you see when something like that gets wet. That caused her to immediately go get another one that she'd taken a while ago that didn't have any line, not even a faint little one.

"You pee on things entirely too much. Seriously, that's not normal."

So that's how I reacted when I found out we're going to have another baby. I tried the total denial approach. It doesn't seem to have changed the results of that test though. It didn't change the results of the test she took at the doctor's office or the blood tests they did either. They all conspired to swing the ratio of kids to parents in favour of those lovable little leprechauns. (Leprechauns partly because of their Irish ancestry and partly because they're tiny, hard to catch, wear diapers with rainbows on them. Definitely no pot of gold at the end of it)

So two out of the three times I found out there was a bun in the oven was by having a pee covered test thrust at me. The other time she came home with a baby on board sticker on the stomach of her shirt. That one wasn't as startling. Who knew giving someone news when you're not panicked is the way to go? Certainly makes for a calmer reaction. I wasn't the only one with an interesting reaction to the news though.

I told my mom and her reaction was "how'd that happen?"

"Seriously? You do know you're a nurse, right?"

Mom in turn told my sister. Her reaction was to email me and say "I'm not sure if mom was supposed to tell me. If she was then congratulations. If she wasn't supposed to, then do you have something to tell me?"

Then there was the kids. We haven't actually told them yet. Here's hoping they don't learn to read and maneuver their way through the Internet to this post. I asked the oldest if she thought we should have another baby. Her response was "you should have a baby for Cameron to play with because she doesn't like to play with me sometimes."

"Ok, so we should have one so Cameron can be a big sister. Do you think she'd like to have a boy or girl to play with."

"Umm, how about a boy and a girl?"

"Go to your room. You can come out when you stop saying things that give daddy a panic attack."

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Recipe For Disaster

I enjoy anything baked. Bread, cake, pie, muffins, cookies, croissants, I love it all. I'm not exaggerating when I say love either; it's almost an unnatural thing. At my local grocery store there's a distinct path worn into the flooring leading from the front door to the bakery section. I don't think they'd have any trouble matching the footprints that made it to the tread of my sneakers. If I was a baker, the bakery would be empty and I'd be the world's fattest baker. I'm nowhere nearly jolly enough for that so I ruled that out as a career path long ago.

With that in mind, it's no surprise my kids enjoy baked goodies too. That's why I figured we'd have fun if we made some cupcakes together. It'd be like arts and crafts except you get to eat it at the end. So I planned ahead and got it all set up. I put the bowl on the floor so all three of us could help and to minimize the risk of spills. Anything falls on the floor and it's easily swept up. I handed my older girl the cake mix packet and she poured it in without incident. You didn't think I was going to make it from scratch, did you? I love all thing baked but I'm not Martha friggin' Stewart. Next came the water with minimal spillage. I got her to help me count as we poured four half spoonfuls of cooking oil in. (Fun and educational, that's just good parenting there.) She even helped crack the eggs without getting shells in the batter. I've got to get her to show me how to do that.

Then the bowl went back up to the counter for the electric mixer to do its job. Kids a safe distance away, so far so good. Once it was mixed I brought it back to the floor so we could scoop the batter into the muffin tray, cupcake tray in this case I guess. Everyone got their spoon and we started to fill up the cups. A little bit messy but that was expected. Everything is under control. "Why is there a paintbrush in the batter?" Apparently, the spoon wasn't good enough for the little one so she decided to use one of her little paintbrushes. She also didn't agree with our idea of putting the batter in the tray and proceeded to paint on the floor. No big deal. I'm pretty sure wikipedia said the early French Impressionists worked with cake batter, or it will say that when I'm done with it. Ok, cupcakes ready to bake with about the level of mess I'd expected, other than the painting of course. If you look at it just right it looks like a sailboat though.

Fast forward half an hour and it's time to put the frosting on. Everyone is assembled happily at the kitchen table, plastic knife in hand. Can of frosting is opened, stirred (I already told you, I'm not Martha) and ready to go. I expected a tornado of frosting but it actually went pretty well. So well in fact that I decided we should add sprinkles. That would be the first big mistake. I got the nice four chambered plastic container full of pink, purple, blue, and yellow sprinkles. The got to pick colours and together we spread them over the cupcakes. All going well until I got a call from nature and went to answer it. Big mistake number two. I can't prove it but I believe they slipped something into my water to make me have to go. With me out of the way, they could launch their evil plan.

I was gone for maybe three minutes. One hundred and eighty seconds. That's how long it takes for two youngsters to completely pop the top off a sprinkle container and empty it. I walked back into the kitchen to the sound of laughing and was greeted with "I'm sorry." Took me a second to realise what she was sorry for and then I saw it. A beautiful rainbow of sprinkles over the table, the chairs, and the floor.

"Oh no, not again."

To make things better I was given the explanation that it was a sprinkle ocean. I was less than impressed but I couldn't exactly argue with that one. After all, it could have been worse. They could have taken advantage of the frosting and iced each other. That would have been fun to explain to their mom. I know how I'd do it though. I'd wait until I was just about to leave for work and then tell her as I was halfway out the door.

"Oh, by the way, the kids got together and ate a big tub of frosting this afternoon. Have fun with bedtime. Love you, bye."

Follow that up with the sound of tires squealing as I made a Fast and Furious getaway. So as bad as it was, at least it didn't come to that.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Welcome To A World Of Pure Imagination

I absolutely love to see my kids using their imaginations. The things they come up with amaze me and usually crack me up. Well, it's mostly the three year old being imaginative. The little one is more into copying which is actually pretty entertaining too. One kid singing and dancing, cute. Two kids singing and dancing, hilarious.

Like I was saying though, the older one is at the stage where she's big into the pretend play. She likes to get a doll or stuffed animal and tell me "that's my baby and I'm a mommy". So far that hasn't led to any big criticisms of our parenting yet. Mostly she just pushes her in a stroller and puts her to sleep. Apparently, that's all she thinks we do as parents. Ever had a three year old tell you to be quiet so her baby doesn't wake up?

"Yeah, that would suck if someone woke her up while you were trying to get her to sleep. Any chance you're gonna keep that in mind tonight at bedtime? Didn't think so."

It's really cool how she sees things when she's playing. An entertainment centre is a dollhouse. A bunch of couch cushions thrown together is a castle. Put a couple chairs beside each other, grab a toy plate for a steering wheel and you've got a car. Oh, and anytime she's driving her car she make a stop at the Tim Horton's drivethrough. I haven't heard her ordering a double double yet but she's got Timbits and a drink down pat. That and the fact she uses debit anytime she's playing store are the best examples of how much she's been paying attention to us. It's not all castles and cars though. Her creative mind can backfire as when she uses it to avoid taking responsibility.

"Have you seen my keys?"

"I was playing with them."

"Can you go get them for me?"

"I can't."

"Why not?"

"A wizard disappeared them."

"Oh crap. Is he going to bring them back?"

"No, he disappeared them."

"Ok, just let me make a phone call.... Hi, I'm not going to be able to come in to work today because I can't drive my car. Apparently, a wizard disappeared me keys.... Yeah, a wizard disappeared them again. It's crazy right? I think I'm being targeted or someth.... What's that? If I don't show up for work today someone is going to make my job disappear? Damn wizards."

"Good news sweety, daddy's going to have lots of extra time for tea parties. You want to pass me the invisible Timbits and a cup of tea?"

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I Should Know Better By Now

Sometimes I'm amazed at how naive I am about this whole parenting thing. I've been doing it for a little while now, I've been told just over 3 years but who knows for sure. "I'm supposed to remember each kid's exact birth date? Our wedding anniversary too? Crap, I'm going to need an assistant or something." Since it's not my first day on the job you'd think I would remember how resistant my kids can be to trying new things. Luckily, my kids are kind enough to remind me when I forget important details like that.

Yesterday we took them to their first gymnastics classes. The older one had done it before but only in the class where parents participate. That was the class the little one is in now while her big sister's class is just the kids and instructors. We got there a few minutes early and the entire time we were waiting it never occurred to me that it could go wrong. I don't know what I was thinking. The little one went with her mom and the big one went to her class. Inside I'm thinking "yes, all I have to do is sit, watch, and maybe take a few pictures". That was the case for about two minutes, it was a truly magical time, and then the tears started. Not sure whether it was seeing her sister getting to have her mom in the class, the sight of me watching from the viewing area, or a combination of the two that set her off. Whatever the cause was, I had to leave my parental refuge to console her. That took a little bit of time and effort. I used to think it was impossible to express both joy and sympathy in one facial expression but that's was the expression on the faces of all the other parents. That I feel sorry for you but I'm just glad that's not my kids freaking out look that every parent knows. At that point, parental participation in the toddler class seemed like a welcome relief so I was thrilled when I heard the words "I want mom".


I jumped at the chance to switch kids like an Olympic gymnast running down a vault track. That quickly turned into that clip where the gymnast missteps on the springboard and slams chest first into the vaulting platform, when I came to a couple realizations. I have no idea what we're supposed to do at the different stations and it's hot as hell in here. So now instead of trying to calm down a three year old so she'll participate in the class, I'm sweating buckets as I chase an 18 month old and try to stop her from taking all the hula hoops. As near as I could figure, she was supposed to go through a series of hoops that were standing up, hug a teddy bear while she rocked back and forth, and then climb a series of mats. Apparently the instructions she heard was run around and make your dad look like a bumbling jackass. Who knew kids that age had trouble following instructions?

Needless to say, I was more than happy to trade kids again when I saw the other one wasn't crying anymore. Until I got back over to her that is. "Damn it." Thankfully, that was just brief and she happily started jumping over the balance beams with the other kids. I took that opportunity to gradually move further and further away. By the time they moved over to the trampolines she didn't even notice I wasn't with her anymore. So it started out so very poorly but turned around by the end of the class. Looking back at the other activities we've had them in (swimming, dance, play classes) it was par for the course. I should have realised going in how it was probably going to go. I guess it's not always a good thing to repress memories like that.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

You Want Fries With That?

So let me get this straight. On top of putting a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, and vacuuming up all the fairy dust from their rooms so they can sleep at night, I have to feed them too? I really should have read the fine print before I signed on for this. "Let's see, I've got the contract right here. Three meals a day plus snacks? Who negotiated this thing? Consider yourself fired." That makes me feel better but it doesn't exactly help me with the problem at hand.

From the time they get up in the morning to the time I toss them to their mom and dash out the door to work (anyone who tells her I don't work 7 days a week is going on my list), I get to repeatedly hear "I'm hungry". Soon that'll be in stereo since the little one is starting to talk now. Don't get me wrong, I remember being a kid and thinking my parents had magical food powers and could produce a feast just by snapping their fingers. Now that the roles are reversed and I realise that parenthood does not in fact bestow any magic culinary abilities upon me, I sympathise with what they went through. We're not even at the point yet where the kids are that picky about what they eat so we still have that to look forward to. My sister's favourite snack for the longest time was toast cut into triangles, grated cheese, and a fudgee-o. If I ever open a restaurant, I can't ever imagine why or how I would do that, I'm putting that on the menu and naming it after her. "I'll have the super picky weirdo and a coke."

When the kids were just babies, it was all so simple. They got hungry, they got a bottle. They got hungry, they got breastfed. Just as a side note, if I had to breastfeed we'd have some hungry kids. The concept seems so simple, put the kid's mouth there and they eat. The reality of it is so much more involved. Do they have a good seal? Are they suckling right? Did the milk come in? How can I make more milk? "Screw this, you can have a bottle. Your immune system seems strong enough." Next they move on to baby food which is disgusting but still pretty simple. I figure the problem starts, like most of them do, when they get the ability to talk and ask for things. If you want proof of that then look no further than an average breakfast discussion.

"What do you want for breakfast?"

"I want a snack."

"A snack? What kind of snack?"

"A snack."

"You want some pancakes?"

"I don't like pancakes."

"You ate nine for breakfast yesterday."

"I don't like them."

"You do realise I just woke up, right?"

"I want a snack."

"Fine, here's a pop tart."

That brings me to my big problem when it comes to feeding them, I'm the one supposed to make the choices for them. Looking at the way I eat, I'm pretty sure I'm not the most qualified person for the job (I believe baked goods constitute a food group). "So if left to fend for myself I'd eat an entire pie as a meal and I'm supposed to instill healthy eating habits in my kids? Good luck with that one." Speaking of which, all I see is commercials and articles telling me how important it is to model good eating habits for me kids. What happened to all that crap they told us in school about not caving in to peer pressure? I'm getting a real mixed message on that one. Just kidding, that's actually the basis of all parenting. Follow this rule at all times, unless I give you an order that directly contradicts it but benefits me.

Now I'm going to admit to doing a horrible thing. My kids, on more than one occasion, have eaten.... fast food. There I said it. I feel guilty when I eat it, let alone when they do. Sometimes, desperate times call for desperate measures. I'm convinced places like MacDonald's have separate play areas so all of us bad parents can feel a little less guilty while we watch the kids get some exercise on the slides. Free from judgemental eyes, we can drown our guilt in delicious fries and burgers. Somehow it just makes me feel like not making the right choices is ok sometimes.

Monday, July 7, 2008

What's In A Name

In case anyone was curious where I got the name for this little diversion of mine I figured I'd shed a little light on the matter. If you're not curious then I guess you can get back to doing something productive with your time. Yeah, I don't want to either.

Anyways, it started with me making some sort of smart ass comment about parenting. Can't quite remember what it was but it got any eye roll from my wife so it must have been a good one. I responded to her eye roll by saying that I'm so good at parenting I should have my own show. A supportive "I'd like to see that" was all the encouragement I needed. I sent Discovery Channel an email, mostly out of spite I think, and then it's just sort of evolved from there into this. Here's the actual email.

Dear Discovery Channel,

I'm hoping you can help fulfill my father's day wish. I would like my own show about parenting called Dave's Guide to Parenting, Why My Wife is Always Wrong. In the area of parenting my "credentials' come from being a stay at home dad of 2 children for the past 3 years. My girls, ages three and one and a half, have made it this far without serious injuries, criminal records, or substance abuse problems so I figure I must be doing something right. That puts me ahead of most of the parents of young celebrities who are always writing books on parenting or giving advice on the subject.

I would have three goals with this show. First, I'd like to be able to help regular guys like me be better dads. At the very least, make them feel less guilty about their own personal parenting shortcomings. Second, getting paid would be nice. A little extra income on top of the jobs my wife and I have would certainly help to offset the rising price of gas. Third, and most important, having my own show about parenting would really quiet my wife. Any time a parenting disagreement arouse I could just say, "Do you have your own tv show about parenting?" That would be so sweet. If you could help make that dream come true, I'd be forever grateful. If you can't, then could you help me to meet the Mythbusters or at least get a t-shirt? That would also be cool. Thanks for your time.

A loyal viewer,

P.S. When is Shark Week?

To date, I haven't gotten anything but an automated response so I'm still hoping for a real reply or, dare I dream, a Mythbusters t-shirt.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Coming Soon To A Theatre Near You

Last night we actually got to go out and see a movie. In case you're wondering, Hancock is entertaining but I don't think it's worth paying theatre prices to see. We had a couple free passes given to us as a gift so no complaints from me. Throw in the fact that we got two hours away from the kids in it may just be the best gift we've ever gotten. I now know why the credits at the end of movies go on so long. It gifts parents that much more time away from the kids. "Oh, so Fulton Singleton was the rigging grip. He did a great job."

"Excuse me sir, we need to clean up before the next showing."

"Just a minute, I'm trying to find my keys."

"They're in your hands."

"You win this round."

It was a nice escape from reality but it just reminded us more of how things were before we had kids. We'd go out to dinner or a movie whenever we wanted. If we woke up one morning and decided to drive to Montreal to see a ballgame, we could just hop in the car and go. We got to shower regularly. And then in the blink of an eye everything changed. I remember the moment like it was yesterday.

I was sitting on the couch watching tv. I was flipping channels between the Man Show and the movie Grind, a nice little comedy about four skaters who follow their idol on his summer tour in an attempt to get noticed, get sponsored, and become stars themselves. IMDB stole that synopsis from me. If you don't believe me then prove me wrong. Anyways, as I sat comfortably entertained in what I didn't realise was my last moment of not being responsible for another human being, my wife was upstairs about to have a shower. She took the opportunity to take a pregnancy test since she was about to start a new kind of medication and has always been extra cautious about that sort of thing. I wasn't aware she was taking the test so when I heard her yell "get the (expletive deleted) up her now!", I had no idea what was going on. She showed me the positive test, explained how it worked and what the different lines and symbols meant. Once I comprehended what she was telling me, I looked at the test, and reacted like just about every expectant father in history has. "Well, that can't be good." I definitely defy you to prove me wrong on that one because that is word for word an exact quote. Obviously, after our initial panic wore off we were happy and excited but I think if we knew what we were in for we might have stuck with our original reactions.

Now, going anywhere is a process that has to start at least thirty minutes before we intend to leave. Diapers need to be changed, clothes generally need to be switched for clean ones, a bag of bottle, wipes, diapers and snacks needs to be prepared, and more often than not some sort of fight occurs. Parent versus child, parent versus parent, child versus child, or parent versus child versus child versus parent in some sort of Texas tornado cage match of death. Going out without the kids involves pretty much the same amount of preparation and planning. Just throw in getting someone to look after them and add the guilt you feel as you quickly make your escape out the door. That's one of the dead giveaways when it comes to spotting a parent of a young child who's out for a night without the kids, they're constantly checking their cell to make sure there's no messages for them. Other sure signs include stains on the clothes, a sense of urgency as they go about their business (almost as if they're afraid they're being followed), and scratches on the arms from when they pried the kids off on the way out.

Like I said, it was kind of nice to be reminded how carefree things used to be but I still wouldn't go back if I could. Coming home and having them get so excited that they come running is better than getting to see any number of movies or ballgames. Seeing the sitter look tired and on the verge of breaking kind of makes things better too in some sick sadistic way. Two movie tickets, popcorn and drinks, 32.17, having someone else terrorised by your kids for two hours, priceless.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Blast From The Past

Another July fourth is here, the year seems to be flying by, so I'd like to wish all my American friends a happy fourth. This day makes me think of summertime, baseball, and of course the latest Will Smith blockbuster. Actually, I mean fireworks but that guy is like Mr. Fourth of July Box Office. It's been well documented where my kids stand on the topic of "big bang booms". For me though, I can't think about fireworks without remembering the time Dad had the bright idea to set some off in the backyard. I think it was for New Year's Eve if I'm remembering correctly. Everyone was watching from the safety of the kitchen as he set it up and lit the fuse. Deep down we all knew the combination of Dad and any kind of explosives was something we wanted to see but from a safe distance. As the fuse burned, he scurried into the kitchen to watch with everyone else. It was the perfect spot to witness a gust of wind knock the firework over just as the fuse got down to the end. It took off like a shot, slammed into the shed, and ricocheted up over the neighbour's tree. In my opinion, you can't buy memories like that.

Now that I have my own kids I understand that creating memories is what it's all about. If I do my job right then they'll grow up smart, healthy, happy, and looking back on their childhood as they say "it sure was fun having that silly bastard around". What other possible motivation could there be for piling your whole family into a cramped car or overstuffed minivan and drive across the country? Looking at it from a rational point of view, you'd have to be a complete fool to do something like that. My parents drove right across Canada with us more times than I'm sure they'd like to remember. The one that gets talked about most is the one we all refer to as "the vacation from hell".

They foolishly piled me and my two sisters into the minivan which was packed to the gills and we headed out. We weren't even out of the city and things started to go wrong. They had to make a stop so Mom could drop something off at her brother's house. She put it his mailbox and on her way back to the van slipped on the grass and slid right underneath us. If you're not even twenty minutes from your house and one of you is already under the van, it's probably a sign that things are not going to go well. So after deciding Mom wasn't in need of medical attention, and recovering from hysterical laughter, we headed out of town. Good thing too or we might have missed the traffic caused by the highway construction going on. That brings up an important point. If you combine gridlocked traffic and a minivan of bored kids, you're just asking for trouble. It's also not a good idea to sit in front of me if I have easy access to ice cubes. Those two unfortunate situations collided and an ice cube found it's way down Dad's back as he drove. To say he didn't find it as funny as I did would be a bit of an understatement. If he wasn't amused then the guy hold the slow sign was downright offended. Another useful tip, the guys in charge of holding signs at construction sites do not appreciate it when you floor the accelerator. Also, "sorry, my kid's an a-hole" is not a valid reason in their books.

So after finally making some progress it was time to pull over and relax a little. For us that meant we did a little fishing. Everything was going well until my sister fell off the rocks and into the water. She may have had some help, accounts are sketchy on the subject. Either way, seeing her windbreaker balloon up with air as she splashed about and Dad struggle to pull her out still makes me chuckle. Apparently, it wasn't helpful to have me standing beside trying to hook her with my rod and reel her out. I think it would have made a heck of a nice picture though if I'd been able to do it. I wish I could say that was all that went wrong on the trip but I'd be forgetting about the van breaking down and getting stuck in a little town for a couple days. That left us with plenty of time to swim in the hotel pool. That would have been fine if I hadn't been overcome with the urge to dunk Mom under the water. Since her swimming skills are minimal at best and she doesn't like to put her face in the water to begin with, that probably wasn't the best idea on my part. Dad still talks about the panic on her face when she resurfaced and I'm not sure she'll ever really forgive me for that one. In my defense, adversity does bring people closer together so I was just adding to the overall bond building experience that was our trip.

At the time, all of that seemed like a horrible experience and I'm kind of surprised they didn't just leave me somewhere. Now, it's just more funny memories we can look back at and laugh about. Ultimately, that's what it's all about. Whether it's taking the family on a trip that's obviously destined for trouble or almost blowing up your shed and essentially firing the first shot against the neighbours (they haven't retaliated yet but I still contend they can't be trusted), I just hope I can do as good a job as my parents have done and give my girls lots of fun memories to take with them into adulthood. If I can do it without blowing myself up, even better.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Lullaby And Good Night

Working evenings has lots of advantages. For starters, I don't have to deal with traffic. When I'm going to work everyone else is going home and when I'm on my way home everyone else is sleeping. It also means I get to enjoy the nice sunny days of summer. I get to spend a lot of time with my girls. We get to go to the park, go for walks, and do all sorts of fun activities. In doing so, we don't have to pay for childcare and the kids think I'm fun. From time to time I have to spend half an hour trying to find a doll with pink pajamas (any guesses what I just finished doing?) but that's a small price to pay. Especially when weighed against the number one advantage. Five nights a week, I don't have to try and put the kids to bed.

At least 71 percent of the time I do not have to struggle to get the kids to sleep. Granted I've still got the other 29 percent to think about but that can go either way. One easy night and half my week is great. I like those odds. If both nights go bad then no big deal because it's just two nights. On top of that, I'm rarely flying solo so I can usually call in backup if I need it. "Parent down, parent down. I'm taking heavy fire, send backup." There have been rare occasions, I think plural may be applicable, I've been on my own at bedtime. I must say, it's very easy for things to get out of hand quickly. There's the fighting and crying and "can I just stay up a little later?" that can go along with getting the older one in her bed. So that battle is won and she's now in her bed. That still leaves the little one who feels now that she's doesn't have her sister around she's ready for quality mommy or daddy time. By which I mean running around the bed, twisting and turning to the point that picking her up is like trying to grab a greased snake, and finally testing out about a thousand positions before settling on one. Then just as that one settles down and starts down the road to dreamland, the big one starts yelling from her room that she needs something. "I'm not being loud and I'm not waking Cameron up but I need more milk!" It's a shame they don't understand how lucky they are to not thrown or drugged on a nightly basis.

"Mom, my milk tastes funny."

"It's fine, just drink it."

So that's just an average night. Then there's the nights things really get out of hand. One of them throws up for example. Vomit everywhere, a crying youngster, no clean sheets, and then the other one wakes up of course. So my wife is left scrambling to find more pajamas for pukeface, clean up her mess, try to calm down both crying little freaks of nature, and basically start bedtime from scratch three hours after it began. That's about the point my workplace turns into some sort of magical playground in her head. The idea of me off in the magical kingdom of No Kidland certainly doesn't help things. I've gotten many call on my cell that sounded like they were coming from some sort of war zone. A background full of crying and yelling making it hard to hear as she's saying "I'm not sure we can hold out much longer. What's the ETA on backup? I'm pinned down and outgunned, send in air support now!" Ok, that may not be an exact quote but it's close.

The analogy I've been given to try and understand what bedtime is like is to first select the two points in the house furthest apart. One in the basement and one on the top floor. Now set them both on fire and then try to put the fires out with a bucket of water. By the time it's over, you're tired, wet, messy, and the house looks like a friggin' disaster. It makes the point but I think she just uses the fire analogy because I haven't had the best luck in that area.

We had just moved into our house and I was cooking some chicken fingers. As we all know you need to take them out halfway through and flip them over so they cook evenly. I did that and went back to watching TV with my wife. Soon after the smoke alarm went off, not a big concern as it's quite sensitive and goes off almost every time the oven is on. I went to check and was greeted by an oven full of flames. "Get the (bleep) up here now." She bolted from the basement and we put out the fire with our fire extinguisher. The entire house was full of smoke though so we went outside. After some discussion we decided it might be a good idea to call the fire department just to be sure no fire had spread through a vent or anything. She expressed to them that it wasn't an emergency and expected an inspector or two in an SUV or something. The sirens in the distance told us it was more than two guys coming. Two firetrucks full of firemen show up and go every which way in the house. Of course, that causes the neighbours, who I hadn't even met yet, to crowd around and see what's going on. I turn to say something to my wife and she's not there. I look around and she's trying to blend in to the crowd, and act like she doesn't know what's going on. Traitor. So now I'm the jackass in the neighbourhood who can't cook without burning the place down. I don't know why none of the neighbours ever come over for dinner. By the way, the cause of the fire was a pair of scissor with a plastic handle. They'd gotten stuck to the bottom of the tray when I flipped the chicken and then melted and burned in the oven. The firemen were cool about it though. One guy looked at the chicken fingers all covered in fire extinguisher chemicals and asked "you gonna eat those?"

So at the very least, being married to me has prepared my wife for dealing with potential disasters. A skill that comes in handy every night as she wages her constant war against childhood insomnia. And after getting text messages and phone calls detailing the pitfalls and setbacks, work doesn't seem quite so bad. "I don't care if we're done for the night, I'm not leaving. My kids are still awake."

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hope Everyone Had A Happy Canada Day

I don't like crowds or carnivals and I don't really get the appeal of fireworks. So obviously Canada Day is right up my alley. Despite being a bit of a festivity scrooge I have to say I was pretty happy with the way yesterday went.

We decided to go to the aviation museum to see the Skyhawks put on a parachuting show at noon. On the way we noticed a lady dressed a little skimpy and my wife commented to her brother on the phone that she just saw a midday hooker. It's a good thing the car was stopped or I would have crashed it when a little voice from the backseat asked "what's a hooker?" Great question because I wasn't the one who said something they shouldn't have heard, for once. Apparently, it was the completion of a karmic circle too since my wife asked a similar question of her mom when she was a kid. They were in Philadelphia with some friends and happened to drive past some streetwalkers. She asked her mom who those ladies were and was told they were musicians. I wish the story went on to include follow up questions about what sort of instruments they played but sadly no. Having learned from that we told our little one that a hooker is someone who uses hooks to make rugs. Kindergarten could be interesting considering all the new words she learns from us. "Miss, did you get that rug from a hooker?"

Once I stopped laughing enough that I could drive we headed over to the aviation museum. There were lots of people there but there was also loads of space so it was great. The Skyhawks put on a great show, definitely check it out if you get the chance, and there was lots to see and do there. The kids got to sit in a glider, paint a plexiglass wall, make some crafts, and see the displays in the museum. Fun for the whole family and all for the affordable cost of absolutely nothing. That's a Canada Day celebration I can get on board with. The festival in the park we went to after wasn't.

We drove back across town and found every parking lot at the park to be full. Four different parking lots and not a space to be found. That does bring me to a helpful money saving tip. If you don't want to pay five dollars for parking then just park at the movie theatre half a mile away and walk. Also, if you stop at a gas station on the walk to pick up cold water and snacks you don't have to pay carnival prices. All these savings did wonders to counterbalance my usual humbuggery (that sounds wrong but I'm too lazy to look for an actual word). I may be a party pooper but more than that, I'm cheap. So after a nice little walk, first Canada Day I can remember without any rain, we got to the fair. I believe they officially called it a festival but I prefer to think of it as "let's stand in line for 15 minutes for our turn to do something that's not fun". I can see where their terminology would fit better on a sign. So after finally getting their faces painted, my kids are mental for face painting for some reason, we went on the merry-go-round. The older one wasn't impressed as evidenced by her tears. Her sister however had to be pried off the horse when the ride was over. I mean I literally had to pry her fingers off the bar one by one. Then it was on to the games. That went well since they left with a couple stuffed animals each and a ball. Their mom isn't beg into sports but she's like the Tiger Woods of carnival games.

So the crowds and carnivals went well, on to the fireworks. The kids aren't big fans of loud noises so we decided to park far away enough that we could see them but not hear the noise. As I was told when we got home "I don't like the big bang booms." We heard the parking lot at the hockey stadium was a good spot so that's where we went. There was about a dozen other families too. Everything was going well until some twit decided it would be a good idea to set off his fireworks in the parking lot. A few loud bangs later and I had a crying child thrust into my arms as my wife went over to express her disapproval of his actions. From what I could see it was going ok and then as she walked back to our car he set off another loud one. Oh crap. I handed off my crying youngster to her grandmother and headed over. Partly to help my wife and partly to ensure she didn't end up charged with assault. Luckily a couple folks who were closer got there first and expressed their views that he was showing questionable judgement. All was well and we went back to trying to calm down the kids. We got them calmed down to the point where they didn't want to leave and then some other jackass start shooting his store bought pyrotechnics. Motherfu..... I marched over and chatted with them. Nice fellas, just a little on the dim side. They eventually saw my side and the explosions stopped. As I walked back it dawned on me. I'm now THAT parent. The one pointing out others poor decision making ability and its effect on my kids. The one those guys are referring to in their blogs (read telling their drunk idiot friends about) as an A-Hole. To be honest, I'm fine with it too.

So all in all I'd say it was a good Canada Day. Last year I went on a kiddie train ride with my oldest and she got so upset that she peed on me. Always the sign of a good festival when you leave smelling like urine. Like they say though, it's better to be pissed off than pissed on so I guess this year was a step in the right direction.