Hugging and Kissing Mommy


Tonight when the Wife was putting the Boy to bed he said “Daddy Kissing and hugging Mommy.”

I hope he sees that every day. I hope he sees affection between my wife and I and that we’re not two sexless mannequins to him. My parents were never romantic, never openly affectionate, and probably never really in love. At least not my Mom.

I want my son to know that women do crave different things. They need something more than the pragmatism of a man. They need to be desired. They need to be complimented. Frequently and spontaneously. Certainly not only after she’s asked you how she looks. One of the compliments my wife cherishes most was one time when we were in a rush when I came to work to make another commitment and when she opened the door when I came home all I had said was “Wow! You look very put together.”

Not really that huge of a compliment but it was genuine and it was spontaneous. She still brings that up long after. There is something in women that still needs to be flattered. Make sure you nurture it.

Road to Daddyhood (and Recovery)


What a difference a year and three months makes. It’s been a long time since I blogged and it’s an entirely different world I live in today.

The Boy now over two years old.
My job dangling by the thinnest of threads after 20 years with the company.
Closing on our first home.
My running coming to a slow stumbling stop.

And me back in recovery.

I haven’t had a drink in over 24 years but I’m back to attending meetings several times a week and reworking the steps over again with a sponsor.

I realized in October that I was on a cliché stereotypical dry drunk. Acting the same way I did when I was drinking minus the booze. Cut that. Acting worse than I did when I was drinking. I was always a pretty relaxed fun guy when I was drinking. It was (and is) always when I am not drinking that I become dangerously anti-social and a threat to myself and others.

I used to pride myself that my wife and son had never seen me drink. Big deal. So what. You mean they’ve never seen me relaxed, playful, and social? Nope. They’ve seen me stressed, cranky, pouty, enraged, paranoid, driven to extreme measures by fear, and wholly consumed by own self centeredness? Oh yeah. Almost every day. That’s the way I am when I don’t drink and don’t move outside of myself and attend meetings.

If you’ve never been an alcoholic and never experienced a dry drunk and want to know what it’s like go watch The Shining. If you subtract the supernatural side of things it’s the most accurate portrayal of a dry drunk that has ever been. From the opening line by Jack Nicholson you smell the rage and the insanity smoldering just underneath a phony facade. You smell that something is off with this cat before he takes the first axe swing. He says all the right words but you know he would just as soon take your head off. He’s faking it to fit in but just hiding behind the forced smile is an thermonuclear explosion gearing up. That my friend is a dry drunk. My dry drunk.

That is why I’m back at meetings, working the steps with my sponsor, and doing everything I can not to have a “Jack” moment.

Ambulances and Terror


You know that feeling when you are about 5 minutes from and your wife texts you and says “I really hope you are close to home!”?
I do.
I think she’s really tired or the dog needs to go out.

You know that feeling when you pull into your apartment complex and see the flashing lights of emergency vehicles?
I do.
I think what’s all this then?

You know that feeling when you pull up to your building and see an ambulance parked in front of it with all their emergency lights going?
I do.
I think “hm, I wonder what’s happened to one of our neighbors?”

You know that feeling when you try to park at the entrance of the building but can’t because of the ambulance is parked directly where you normally park?
I do.
I think, nawwwwww, it couldn’t be our apartment their visiting. I’m married to super mom who would never let anything happen to our boy.

You know that slow creeping panic that takes over as you turn off the car and get out?
I do.
I think but what if……that text…, It couldn’t be…….

You know that feeling as your walk towards the breezeway leading to your apartment and it starts to turn into a frantic run?
I do.
I think no, no, no, no, no, don’t let it be us!!!!!

You know that feeling as you turn the corner of the breezeway and see the front door of your apartment standing wide open?
I do.
I think only oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!!!!

You know that sweeping feeling of relief mixed with tears when your wife comes out right as you get to the door, smiling, with smiling baby in her arms, and Dog on a leash and looks at you and says “oh good, you’re home. You can take the dog out.”
I do.
I think…………oh thank God.

You know that feeling when your wife looks at you and asks “what’s wrong? You look like you’re going to pass out” then looks over your shoulder asks “what’s going on? Why is there is an ambulance here?”
I do.
I’m still thinking…..oh thank God.

You know that feeling when your wife sees the tears swelled up in your eyes, looks back at the ambulance, smiles consolingly and says “….oh….you thought…..oh no…… the text too…..oh no….. You thought?”
I do.

Punching Elmo


The Boy’s 1st birthday 1400-1700 Sunday

1130 – Load the car up to the point it looks like we are escaping the dust bowl during the Great Depression.
1200 – Arrive at the park to a locked pavilion.
1205 – locate the park office to find the door locked and an out to lunch sign on the door.
1206-1345 – watch wife become more agitated and impatient and start counting off the symptoms of full blown psychosis.
1345 – Daddy (me) escape with The Boy for a short walk around park while wife and sister put up decorations.
1350 – daddy tries to convince Boy that swings are for going “wheeeeeeee” and primary purpose is not to gnaw on decades old weathered plastic.
1400 – arrive at pavilion to find 30% of decorating done and 10% of guests have arrived
1405 – daddy picks up pizza
1420 – get back with pizza and serve to 35% of guests
1445 – pry clinging Boy from sister’s grasp and try to reiterate this is wife’s Boy and not sister’s Boy
1500 – start stressing about time (piñata, presents, Elmo, all undone)
1515 – get into argument with wife over whether Elmo or piñata should be first
1520 – assign brothers to manage piñatas.
1530 – Elmo arrives
1531-1545 – watch Elmo traumatize the Boy scarring him for life
1546 – tear Boy from Elmo’s arms as he sobs hysterically scarring Boy for life
1550 – explain to Grandfather character’s name is Elmo not Emo
1600 – start piñata bashing
1602 – try to fix piñata line
1620 – try piñata bashing again
1623 – watch kinds scramble over busted piñata like zombies over a wounded expendable peripheral character
1625 – lose patience when string breaks on second piñata
1628 – jump and stomp on piñata for kids
1628-1630 – loudly reminded by wife their were toys in piñata that are probably all broken now
1631 – cake time!
1632 – give Boy first taste of real sugar (smash cake) and watch him get icing in mouth, ears, nose, and eyes
1635 – laugh hysterically and walk around pavilion showing off Boy to guests like he’s the Lion King
1636 – fret terribly I’ve doomed the Boy to a lifetime of obesity and/or wondering if sugar shock is a legitimate cause for late night emergency room visit
1640 – start opening presents
1641-1655 – watch 35-57% of guests leave as their present is opened
1657 – scream and demand that guest take all left over party supplies including plates, cups, sodas, cookies, chips, pizza, helium tank, etc.
1710-1715 – (loudly) being reminded by wife that she’s hosting baby shower next week and now she will have to purchase all new sets of plates, cups, sodas, cookies, chips and a helium tank.
1716 – tell wife how pretty she is and hope distraction from discussing my ineptitude works
1718 – find quiet corner to weep quietly over my ineptitude
1730-1759 – jam, crush, and squeeze presents and remaining items back into car
1830 – arrive home with a very happy and very tired little Boy who celebrated his first birthday party.

Being a parent is exhausting but worth every second.

Baby Likes…


One of the things my wife have tried to be very intentional about is the kind of foods we give our boy to taste. In this day and age of childhood obesity we want to make sure we give him a healthy relationship to food and that includes being able (and willing) to eat alternatives to fast food and processed foods.

Sure chicken nuggets are fast and easy in a pinch but they shouldn’t be the cornerstone of his diet. We believe the more he’s exposed to at and earlier age (hopefully) the less picky he’ll be later in life.

Oh and by the way it’s really fun too. Watching his reactions to different foods and learning what he does and doesn’t like is almost as much fun as the eating the food ourselves.

We’ve been at least somewhat careful about pediatric guidelines regarding what to give him at what age. We’ve also tried to give most things in moderation if there was at least a component he may not be ready for yet.

I feel lucky that my wife is herself somewhat adventurous and diverse when it comes to food. One of my regrets about my own childhood is that with a mother from the Deep South and a father from Iowa my own childhood diet was pretty meat and potatoes. I never had a single bite of even an egg roll until I was a senior in high school.

So far we’ve learned the Boy likes hummus, red pepper hummus, chicken enchiladas, pork roast, samosas, Indian potatoes, vegetable lo mein, Indian cauliflower, refried beans, watermelon, chickpeas, garbanzo beans, lentils, Thai rice noodles, Havarti cheese, roasted red pepper and tomato soup, sweet potatoes, and in fact every form and version of potato ever made. He’s had a wider range of culinary exposure in his first 11 months than I did in my first 18 years. Keep in mind too, please, a lot of things were given in very small moderation. We didn’t, for example, just give him an entire bowl of refried beans. A few bites just to gauge his interest.

If you have little ones of your own I would strongly encourage you to give your child a little taste of everything. is a great resource to help decide what flavor to introduce your young one.

Bath Time


I count myself lucky. Our Boy LOVES bath time. He’ll be in the living room playing on the floor, let out a squeal, crawl into the bedroom, then down the bathroom hall, climb to the tub, and then pull himself on the side of the tub trying to get in. If I put him down to hang something in the closet he’ll immediately crawl off to the tub. He LOVES bath time.

I accredit a lot of this to my wife who from day one has always tried to make bath time fun. Always talking to him, soothing him, being gentle, and working with him instead of against him. She’s always made an intentional effort not to get upset if there are accidents or if the floor gets covered in water. She’s always made sure that there are lots of cuddles and mommy time afterward.

I think too one of the things she’s done right is not to sweat the small stuff and recognize its not a perfect process. It’s ok not to get every square inch every single time. Bath time should be fun and shouldn’t be a scene out of Silkwood (for those of you old enough to remember that movie).

I’m usually at work during bath time so I miss his squeals and splashing and whining when he finally has to get out. That’s ok too. When I am here during bath time I’m usually off during chores around the house. I like to occasionally sit in but I really view it as one of those special mommy-baby times. Allot of times doing things for Mommy means taking the Boy but when it comes to bath time (I think) doing something for Mommy means letting her have those moment with the Boy.

She enjoys it and based on his eagerness to have bath time I’d say she’s definitely doing something right.

Baby Man


I am a man and I fully admit that when I get sick I turn into a baby. I’ve been feeling sick for a couple of days but last night it hit me full blast. After a day of work i came home with a fever. My body ached, my head and throat hurt, I had “fever eyes” but at the same time couldn’t get warm. I just wanted to climb into bed with a bunch of blankets, turn on Netflix, and feel sorry for myself.

You know who didn’t care? My son. You know who else didn’t care? The dishes or the laundry or the dog. My wife might have cared a little. The difference between being sick with and without an 11 month old to care for is night and day.

Childless all responsibilities yield to my whining pity party. The dishes can sit on the stove uncleared for at least a good 24 hours. I can probably get one more wear out of my dress shirt (I do wear undershorts). The dog is still the dog but my usual 20 minute walks can be as short at 3 minutes. Netflix binging is a must.

Having an 11 month thrilled to see Daddy and wanting to explore the world wipes all my poor me sick fun away. My wife, exhausted from a day with The Boy and with her own responsibilities, is more than ready for at least a 1 minute break. That turns The Boy over to me. Sickness and all.

Suddenly I find myself playing with him like I do the dog. Collapsed on the floor with him seated nearby. My one hand outstretched in his general direction (or where I think he is) flopping around with half hearted “wooo’s” escaping my sore throat. “Isn’t this fun?” I mutter with less conviction than a D list actor in an F grade movie.

Any other day I would be romping and rolling with him and chasing the dog around the house. Not today. Today my only goal is to make sure he doesn’t sustain an injury that will send us to the emergency room. I just find myself counting down the minutes to bedtime so I can feel good and sorry for myself.

There are no sick day pity party days when you’re a parent.

Baby’s Favorite


It’s natural. It’s normal. It’s a phase. Mommy’s the constant and Daddy comes and goes. He just accepts Mommy is always there.

My wife knows these things. We’ve talked openly about them. She’s just ready for the phase to be over. My son is currently obsessed with me. I go to work and he gets hysterical. I take the dog out and he gets hysterical. I go to another room and he gets hysterical. I come home and he crawls and claws over his Mom to get to me. This has been going on for a couple of weeks now.

It’s a tremendous boost to my ego but it makes my heart break for my wife. She’s sacrificed her career and devoted herself to him fully by deciding to stay home with him. All she wants is a little recognition from the boy. I would love to give her some of his adoration. She is the one who feeds him, changes him, rocks him o sleep, stays up with him overnight when Daddy has to go to sleep….she does it all.

She does get adoration but in a very different way. I saw this on Saturday when he was sitting up from a feeding and they made eye contact with each other and their noses were almost touching. They were “talking”, mimicking each other, and giggling. He doesn’t do that with me. I don’t get that intimacy and that quiet calm communication. I get the squeals and gestures for another round of “bouncy” or “chase the dog”. I may be the amusement park ride but she gets to be the trusted snuggle bunny he shares his quiet moments with. She deserves it and she’s earned it.

The Boy has learned to initiate peek-a-boo and it’s adorable. We’ve been playing and enjoying peek-a-boo for several weeks but now he’s figured out how to lift the blanket (at least somewhat) over his face and pull it away quickly. If I blow out my vocal chords I know the last words will likely be “peek-a-boo”!!!!

In fear of R2D2


I’m determined to get on Maury so I can get a paternity test. My so-called son is terrified of R2D2. I don’t mean unsure, I don’t mean hesitant. I mean full blown terrified.

My father got me a 15″ voice interactive R2D2 astromech robot for Christmas. I’m 44. He told me I could take it to work and keep it in my office. My father like Ralphie’s aunt in A Christmas Story has failed to realize I’ve grown up just a little over the last 4 decades.

I pictured my son and R2 having conversations only they could understand. I pictured my son babbling and R2 whirring and buzzing back. I pictured my son developing an extra ordinary early love of the Star Wars franchise. Instead I got a quivering lip, desperate clawing at my clothes, and terrified stream of tears.

Of course I’m being facetious, I realize that it’s just too early for him not to be terrified of an obnoxiously loud inanimate object. I realize he hasn’t watched the Star Wars movies like a bajillion times. I realize too that Star Wars hasn’t been an integral part of his childhood.

Above all though I realize he’s not me. And that’s OK. Will I be disappointed if he doesn’t like the Star Wars franchise? Sure. Will I miss bonding with him over it? Absolutely. Will it be the end of the world? No. I know there will be other things. There will probably even be things I haven’t imagined yet.

I hope and pray he doesn’t put on a brave smile and pretend to like Star Wars just to humor me. That will make me more sad that him just saying he doesn’t like Star Wars. I remember being a child and constantly having to humor my Dad just so he would spend time with me and just so he would be happy. As an adult I get sad thinking about the fact that Dad never took an interest in my interests. It was always me trying to get his attention.

I want more for my son. I want to discover who my son is instead of forcing him to be someone he’s not. I pray that God will keep reminding me to look outside myself and look outside my narcissism so that I can truly appreciate and value who he is. I still want my own interest. That’s for sure. I just hope that I sacrifice the time to look into his world instead of living separate lives that sometimes intersect. I don’t want to just be a roommate to my son the way my father was with me.

340 Days Old


It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and I want to get back on track with it. We are only 25 days from The Boy’s first birthday. It has been an unbelievable amazing year. Since my last post we flew not only to Nashville to see my Mom and sister but in August we flew back to Norway to see my wife’s family. That was an experience I’ll definitely have to share sometime.

The boy is crawling and just on the edge of walking. He’s currently obsessed with me wailing endlessly when I leave the room. It’s flattering but inconvenient. I feel terrible with for my wife who has dedicated her life to raising this boy and suddenly I swoop in for a couple hours each night and steal all the glory. Logically we both know it’s just a phase but I know it hurts her on some level.

The boy has started to mimic us. He will try to brush my hair and crudely try to use a spoon in the bowl.

He’s an amazing child and every day I just love him more and more. I’m lucky and extremely blessed to have such a wonderful child and wife.