Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Wife Blogs Back Edition 3: The Case of the Wife's Uncontrollable Laughter

So as a new mother, I really want to be able to protect my son from any pain (right now that pain is from teething) or any discomfort.  If he is in pain or discomfort my hope is that Josh or I can comfort him and be there for him.

I really have tried to be that kind of mom, but I have a case of a nervous sick sense of humor laugh that has a tendency to pop up at the wrong time.  I blame this on my family.... many of them suffer from the uncontrollable inappropriate timed laugh as well.

Before Rory and Florida:
Picture a grocery store with a florist area full of flowers and green filler leaves that you can put together to make a bouquet.  My friend Sing and I were running around getting some last minute things for her brother's party.  She wanted to also grab roses and some of the greenery.  As she examined which leaves would look best, she accidentally knocked over a whole bucket that was stuffed too tightly with leaves.  As water pooled all over the floor and she was trying to stuff the leaves back into the bucket, my uncontrollable laugh attacked.  I was laughing so hard that I was crying.  When a worker appeared on the scene, I said through my laughter, "She did it!" 

Sing just about killed me.  She warned me that my sick laugh would come back to haunt me at an even worse time and about 10 years later... it did.

Picture the cozy living room of the VonTrapp- Davidson family this past Sunday.  A group of us were meeting for our bible study and were gathered in a circle eating some tasty food before we began our discussion.  Rory was playing nicely with a cute little toy piano on a blanket in the middle of the floor.  I bent down to grab my red solo dixie cup filled with ice cold water and that is when it happened! 

Flooop! The cup flew out of my hand and its contents splattered on the top of my little baby boy's head just like a water balloon.  Poor Rory had no idea what terrible thing just happened to him, but it was probably very cold.  He began to wail and of course my no good uncontrollable laugh began.  I was laughing so hard that I had tears streaming.  It didn't help the rest of the room erupted in laughter too after the initial shock.  I tried to coo to my baby and comfort him, but I am sure he knew that his mother was unhelpful in that moment. It took a bit before we both calmed down.  Daddy had pulled him out of my arms because my laughter didn't have quite the calming effect.

So I hope that the next time my child is upset that I will be a comforter not a laugher.

I also hope that my husband will not continue with his bad habit, something I call "remember the time."  I can just hear it 10 years down the road - Josh, "Hey Kim remember the time you dumped ice water over Rory's head when he was just 6 months old?" 

Comic by Bitstrips

Monday, February 24, 2014

Another Flight, Another Mishap!

I don't know what bad cosmic karma hangs around my family but it seems like anytime someone wants to get on a flight something horrible happens.  If Grammy Kay isn't falling off the plane it's up to Grandma Jo to forget her photo ID.

  "Umm," Grandpa says, "you forgot what?"
  "My license," Grandma Jo cries. 
  Grandpa sighs and throws his bag on the floor,  "Well that's that.  We're not getting to Florida."
  At that exact moment"Please step aside sir and mam.  You might be a terrorist, so we need to ask you some questions.  If you miss any of these questions, you are not getting to Florida today.  Do you understand?"
  Grandma Jo stands at attention.  "Yes sir."
  "What is your name?" 
  "Grandma Jo!" she says with a smile.
  "What is your birthday?"
  She spouts it off with speed and grace.  
  "What year was the car you owned before the one you currently own?"
  "Umm," Grandma Jo glazes over like a donut, "I think it was 2000."
  "Very close!" TSA says. 
   "What is the name of your neighbor's dog?"
  "Sir Tubbington!" Grandma Jo smiles with pride.
  "Wow you actually know your neighbor's dog?  No one knows their neighbor's dog." 
  "I sometimes walk him." 
  "Well you can go right on through mam, but we'll have to check everything in your suitcase!  You might be a terrorist after all."

  After arriving safely in Florida and proving to not be a terrorist, we spent a fantastic weekend together chilling out and enjoying the beautiful weather.  (Grandpa got to experience a true Valentine's Day Photo Shoot)  It was such a great time of conversation and catching up.  It's harder than you can imagine to be so far away from your family.  It's especially hard for Rory's 7 Grandparents to not be close when there are so many fun moments to share. 

 On Sunday we dedicated Rory at church and it was quite the feat.  We had literally 5 different people holding cameras with Skype and Face time running to have as many Grandparents there as we could via the internet.  Of course the wifi decided to quit working that day and cause a few problems but we have the whole thing recorded on video and everyone will get a copy of it.   It was kind of a surreal feeling standing up in the front of the church with and Kim and Pastor Tim again.  We'd gotten married a year and three months ago and now we were standing before him again with a baby we want to dedicate to God.  Maybe it's me, but it just was a little strange.  Good.  But strange. 

Afterwards an older woman in our church came up to us with tears in her eyes. 

"I didn't know you were going to do your dedication today, but God was telling me to do something and I have to do it.  It's foolish.  But the spirit is telling me to do this.  I have to lay my hands on his head and let you know that as of today he is baptized in the Holy Spirit before he does anything right or anything wrong.  He will grow to be a strong man of God.  The Spirit will be strong in his life.  I'm an old lady and I won't get to see it.  But his mother will remember this."

It was a pretty heavy moment.  Kind of ironic too, because when I was a young boy an older woman prophesied similarly over me.  She'd said I was blessed and someday I'd speak God's truths and many people would hear my words."

The whole thing was just so awesome.  I can't help but love our church family and the way God's intertwining my family with others! 

The rest of the week went extremely quick.  Grandpa and Grandma got to spend time with Rory, come to our weekly Bible Study, visit other family on the coast, come to school and meet our classes and interact with our kids (and let them cheat at centers.  Oh wait, that was just Grandpa.), and drink as many homemade smoothies as they could down.  (We may or may not have also hooked my dad on the television show Revolution.  Does watching 3 episodes every night count?  I played his old tricks on him.  When I was little he'd always say "Oh just watch the first 5 minutes, and if you aren't intrigued we'll stop it.  Needless to say, he didn't want to stop watching.)

At our Bible Study my Grandpa and Grandma got to meet the Von Trapp Davidson's, which they adored almost as much as Teeny and Tiny, their daughters.  Grandpa talked a lot to Reid because let's face it they are both obsessed with motorcycles and if there is a way to bring up a motorcycle, a road, leather jackets, or Sturgis.  It's going to come up.

"I sure did love talking to Stu," Grandpa said, "I might have to get a winter home down here and go bike riding all the time.  You know, I asked Stu if he rode his motorcycle a lot and you know what he said?  Everyday.  MAN!!!!  I'm jealous."
 "Who is Stu?" I ask.
 "Uh, your friend."
  "No, his name is Reid." 
  "Oh, right, right," Grandpa says.
 "It's so beautiful today.   I think I'll call Stu and ask if he'll let me borrow his bike."
 "His name's Reid."
  "Okay!  Sorry.  I just have to associate it.  So the first little pig bought straw and built his house out of fine reeds.  Done.  It's associated.  I'll never forget it again!"
  "Wow!" I say, "That's great."

"I remember your address now!" Grandpa says spouting it off.
 "Yep!" I say.
 "See I just needed to associate it.  Now it's in my mind for good.  I just have to associate things."

Of course we also enjoyed eating at the best restaurants Florida has to offer.  So clearly we took Grandpa and Grandma to the Hibachi Grill which apparently is just what we do now.  It was their first time at that type of restaurant and they were genuinely thrilled.  They were snapping pictures at the chef, falling for all of his hibachi grill jokes and pranks and yucking it up like no other.  Rory of course was enthralled as always.  It wasn't his first hibachi grill rodeo. (Actually the waitress commented on how much he has grown!)

After Hibachi we got on the highway and were heading to Target to pick up some things for Gina Jo's baby shower when we came to a halt on the highway!

 "Oh what's this?" Grandpa says annoyed.  (He is less patient than I am, if that says anything.)
  "Umm, look at those flames coming off that car," Kim says.
  "You don't see that everyday!" I say.
  "You sure don't," Grandma Jo says.
  We watched as firefighters doused the car with their hoses and gray smoke billowed in the air.
  "Now we're going to have to wait for all those GAWKERS!" Grandpa says.  "They are going to drive by real slowly and just gawk!"
  As we came closer to the wreckage it was amazingly intense.  The front of the car was gone.  Fire and smoke were erupting from the hood!  The firefighters were spraying streams of water towards the inferno and losing.
  "I'm going to shut the vents!" Kim says, "I don't want the baby to breathe in the smoke."
  "Good idea," I say.
  "JOANNE!" Grandpa screams, "JOANNE!  QUICK!  GET MY CAMERA!"
 "I turn around to see my dad with his camera and head out the open window trying to get the perfect shot."
  "We just closed the vents so Rory wouldn't breathe in the smoke.  What are you doing?" 
(He did resist taking the shot in lieu of baby lungs being safe- Thanks Dad)
  "Gosh!"  I say, "Sure can't stand those gawkers!  Don't you just hate them Dad?"

  All too soon, they were off (with Grandma's ID, that a friend was nice enough to send to Florida) and heading back to Wisconsin on a jet plane.  I can't believe how fast it went, but it was magnificent. I enjoyed every moment, the fruit stands, the smoothies, Grandma snuggling with Rory by the campfire, Grandpa playing my guitar to Rory. How can you feel like you've grown closer to people you've known for so long already?  You just can I guess.

Comic by Bitstrips

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Wife Can Also Sing Annoying Songs...

The weekday routine goes as follows:

 6:00-   Kim's alarm goes off. 

    She sits there until 6:10 looking at her phone until it goes off again.  Then she gets into the shower.

  My alarm goes off twice but it always manages to turn off while she's in the shower.

    6:30-   Kim yells at me to get up. 

    6:35- Kim tells me again we really need to get moving.  She might say something like, "If you don't get moving, we won't have time for Dunkin Donuts."

  6:37 - I get up and wake up the baby.  We laugh.  We change his diaper.  We wipe him with one of those eco-friendly smells really good baby wipes.  I dress him.  I come out and put him in his high chair.
  6:42-  I take a shower while Kim feeds him his banana cereal and bottle.

  6:59- As I step out of the shower, I listen as Kim sings her burping song to Rory.  EVERY DAY!

      Tune of: I'm a Little Teapot.

    "Burp for your mommy, burp today!   
      Burp for your mommy, in the burping way.
      Burp for your daddy, burp for your dog.
      Burp cause you're a baby polliwog!"


   Hmmm.  I wonder if Rory is going to be a singer/songwriter as well...  Or maybe just obnoxious like his caretakers. 

  I guess only time will tell.

Comic By Bitstrips


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ultimate Paradox: Teaching Vs. No Child Left With Any Sort of Creativity or Drive At The End Of Their School Career

This subject may seem a bit mainstream for the Adventures of a First Time Father Blog but my wife and I are both teachers in the public school system and with having a child that will someday enter that system, it makes you think.  (In fact, we thought about it this very weekend)

At this exact moment, if Rory was of age we'd rather not send him to public schools in Florida.  I know it sounds horrible considering we both teach amongst the palm trees and practically all of our friends do too, but lets be honest, the reason we wouldn't send him there has absolutely NOTHING to do with the teachers. 

It's the suits.  The state.  The ones in charge of deciding it's cool to cram everything and the kitchen sink down their little elementary aged throats and then test them incessantly on skill after skill until they can all chorally repeat the main idea of a story, why the author wrote it, and dissect every inch of that story and then relate it to their life.  Don't get me wrong.  Knowing these skills are all good things.  But, can't we leave it at that?  Teach as hard as you can and let the children progress at their own developmental age.

No.  Of course we can't let kids learn at their own pace.  We have to set a bar that every kid MUST jump over.   And oh for kicks, let's make it a pass/fail bar so if that little 3rd grader can't pass this test, then we'll just retain them and make them do third grade all over again.  

But maybe you're thinking, well, all the kids do need to know how to read and comprehend and well if they can't do it, then maybe they should be held back.

I forgot to introduce you to your class:

Suzy- She is a great student.  Always listens.  Reads every night with her mom and dad.
Bobby- Quiet.  Is still blending the sounds of words together in 3rd grade.
Dale- Thows tantrums.  Distracts everyone.  Shouts out.  Pulls things off the wall in fits. 
Ricky-  Doesn't speak English very well.  No parent support.
Connie- Dad's in jail.  Grandma's doing her best to raise her.  Distracted.
Paul- Low income.  Only speaks English in school.
Bill- Super nice.  No parent support.  Struggles with academics.

Now Teachers :  Let's see if you can get all of these kids to jump that same impossibly high bar.

 If you do, you're school gets funding, you get paid more than the average teacher this year, and all your kids pass.

If you don't.  Your kids get held back, you get less pay, and the State will come to your school, and probably force all the kids to stay at school an extra hour a day, and tell you to only teach the specs for the test.

But... what about the kids?

I wonder if I should apply this to parenting.

Now Rory.  You are almost 6 months old.  Now sit there and let me tell you how you will be able to crawl. Then I want you to memorize that and then when I tell you to crawl, you are going to do it.

Okay.. Crawl!  Why are you sitting there?  Crawl!  I don't care if you aren't ready to crawl yet.  You have to do it right now!  You are so behind!  Crawl now!  No!  Stop putting stuff in your mouth!  Stop trying to explore the world at your own pace!  I said crawl, right now!

Could you imagine anyone talking to their babies like that?  Then why do we have to teach that way?

I firmly believe this program has taken the creativity away from the children and their desire and drive to accomplish anything.  We need to let kids explore options and subjects they have interests in.  Reading skills are great, but can't kids progress and learn in the way that suits them?  Isn't that what teaching is really about?  I don't want my son to be zapped of creativity.  The world is at his fingertips.  Why should he begin to hate learning because he's forced to be a high achiever on a standardized test?

Moral of the Story:  I love teaching, and I love my students!  I just am not impressed with the system.

Comic by Bitstrips

Saturday, February 8, 2014

This is Our Life Now

If you know me at all , you know I am constantly singing some little diddy.  Most of the time they are homemade and highly obnoxious to my wife.  What she won't tell you is, that the only reason it's obnoxious is because she picks up the tune and starts singing along.   Then it stays in her head for hours.  I guess I should write commercial jingles. 

Kim: Oh I'll tell people that.  It's annoying. They are in my head all day and I start singing them and then I don't know why I'm doing it.  (edited in upon proofreading)

The most recent jingle I've made up is a simple five word masterpiece that drives her up the wall.  Although I'm not sure if it's the song or the timing.

"This is our life now," I sing as Rory is in a crying fit. 
"Will you stop singing that song?"  Kim shouts.
"This is our life!" I continue.

"This is our life now," I sing as I get up at 3 A.M. to a crying baby.
"Stop!" Kim whines.
"Oh, I see you really were awake," I say.  "Were you just laying there pretending to be asleep waiting for me to get annoyed with the crying first?"
"Yes," she grunts.
"Me too!" I say.  "You win this battle!"

"This is our life now!" I sing as Rory cries in-between every bite of his green beans.
"You are really making me mad with that song.  You make it sound like everything is horrible."
"Umm aren't you listening to the words?  I'm just stating the obvious.  And I also sing the song when he does good things too."
"No you don't!" Kim shouts picking up a pitchfork.
"Yes, I do.  You just tune me out 80 percent of the time now.  I sang just the other day when he lifted his whole body up off the ground.  You were laughing and hee-hawing so hard you didn't hear my magic voice.  And the other day when you and Rory were cuddling on the couch I sang as well."
"Oh," Kim says, "I don't believe you but I'll give you this one because I don't remember anything past five minutes ago."

"Dear lord Rory!  What did you eat for dinner?  Kim! He took a poop that looks like it came from a water buffalo!"
 "Well," Kim smirks, "This is our life now.  And it's your turn to change him."

I guess I had that coming.

Comic by Bitstrips

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Room of His Own

I'm sure you remember all of that time before Rory was born when we worked endlessly on his nursery.  It was one of the most fun pre-baby activities I've done, and I think it looks stellar!  I'm biased though.  Of course that was back when I had energy to do such things. 

Now almost 6 months after Rory's birth he is finally utilizing the room during the night hours.  It was hard making the transition from our bedroom to his own, but in the end it seems to be for the best.

He's been sleeping in his room for a week now and magically sleeping through the night.  If he wakes up at all, it's only once or twice because he wants his binky and apparently feels "lost" without it.  There were three nights however that he slept all the way through.  And you know what's weird?  I feel semi-human again!  I actually feel like I've gotten sleep and can get through my day without stopping at Dunkin Donuts.  (Although I try to pit stop there at least twice a week for my addictions sake.)

It's weird.  In some ways it seems like almost overnight he's not that helpless little baby anymore.  I mean sure he can't walk or talk yet, but he's rolling and pushing himself forward, lunging at empty bottles thinking there's more in there, communicating with intense eyes, laughing and smiling at us, and trying to ride our dog.  ( I may have started something with that.  Sorry Bella.)

Maybe I'm exaggerating the little things or the fact that he doesn't need to sleep in the same room with us anymore is making me sentimental. He's getting older and as tired as I am and as much work as it is, I still want him to stay as that small little baby that I can cuddle with in an exhausted heap on the couch.

Who knows?  I'm just enjoying every minute.  It's true what they say.  It's all happening so fast.