October 30, 2010

Silent Lucidity

It's Friday night and I'm sitting on my couch. My kids are all sleeping. The wise and beautiful blonde I call my wife is getting some much-deserved time out with the girls. SportsCenter is on, and with the volume at 5, I can actually hear it. It's pretty peaceful around here right now.

Like most parents, I treasure this. We put in the requisite 14-hour day that starts with kids cheerfully bouncing into your bed at 5:56 AM (twenty or so minutes before the alarm is set to go off, naturally; kids always know), proceeds into a caffeine-injected nine hour work day, and concludes after several more hours of breaking up out-of-hand Nerf sword fights, reading one last story and gently rejecting requests for that last drink of water that you know will be the difference between a wet bed and a dry one. After all that, it's great to have a little "me time", a chat with God, some quality time with the Beautiful Blonde. Not to mention time to pound out a slightly silly, sappy blog post for your enjoyment.

The Blonde and I reminisce sometimes about what life was like in the years before kids. On a Friday night in late October we might get some friends together for a spur-of-the-moment late fall bonfire or go out or rent some movies or just...whatever. Some would call it flying by the seat of our pants, a catch phrase that I'm sure is quite apt but for some reason has never made the least bit of sense to me. In any case, I honestly can't remember what it was like to be able to do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted, but for that matter, I don't remember what I had for dinner last night. Persistent lack of sleep will do that, as you can see, but there's no doubt those were some great times. Carefree.

Now I'm fully convinced that one day long ago, God noticed how cocky and self-absorbed man and woman were, so he invented kids to remind them that life really wasn't all about them after all. Then, upon further consideration, he took pity and invented diapers. This parenting thing surely ain't for the faint of heart. But do you know what really puts a smile on my face when I think about those carefree times? It's the fact that the time of life I'm coffeeing my way through right now is much fuller and more rewarding, despite the too-early wake-up calls and kid boogers on my shirt. 

And why should I smile about being humbled like that? Because I like the person I am now a whole lot better than the one I was then, and I know God appreciates that I got the point. In these silences, he has a way of putting things in perspective.

He also makes it pretty easy to enjoy some low-volume SportsCenter.

October 26, 2010

The Amazing Nocturnal Toothless Wonder

Okay, that's not entirely true, but "toothless" sounds better than "toothy", so I'm gonna go with it. Riley got his first tooth about a week ago, closely followed by his second. He went from fussy baby to happy baby literally overnight, and there was much rejoicing. Just don't get too close to that charming little grin...he's got a bite a 12-foot gator would be proud of.

Naturally, I expected that such a big step would launch him on the path to independence, but to my dismay, not much has changed around our house. I mean, he still expects me to feed him by hand and wipe his cute little buttski, and he yells when I'm not fast enough.  Sheesh.  And he's still not sleeping through the night. I had a serious talk with him about this the other day, but he just tooted and gave me a drooly grin, which I took to mean, "Dad, I'll do it when I'm dang good and ready." Hard to argue with that, especially since he doesn't speak English yet.

By day, Riley is one of the happiest, most content little guys I've ever seen. He'll play in his little baby saucer for hours, jabbering merrily at his toys in Cantonese (I think) and watching his siblings play until he poops and politely asks to be changed. By night, however, he transforms into the Amazing Nocturnal Toothless Wonder, fearlessly fighting sleep between one and three AM and not resting until he's gotten a snuggle and a bottle. We've tried all the tricks, like putting whiskey in his bedtime bottle, but he just laughs and asks for another shot. OK, I'm kidding.....no second shot.

All parents go through that weird emotional mix of sleep-deprived panic in the wee hours of the morning at one point or another, so I know none of this is unusual, but I'll still be glad when the Toothless Wonder decides to hang up his cape and sleep through the night. I'm a little tired.

October 21, 2010

Ninjas and Football

First, a little background: my son Brady aspires to someday play for both the Vikings and Twins while moonlighting as Batman. It'll be when he's 20, he says, and I think he could do it, too. He's big and strong, has an awesome roundhouse kick, and seems to be grasping some of the finer points of baseball and football. An example, while watching the Dolphins get ready to attempt a field goal against the Packers last weekend:

Brady: Daddy, why did they all stop playing?
Me: Well, the Packers called a time out.
Brady: (thinks for a moment, then...) Are they trying to ice the kicker?

I didn't learn about icing the kicker until I was maybe 14 or 15.  Brady is 4. He doesn't miss much.

And apparently, his Batman skills will play a large role in his sports career. We were watching the Vikings play the New Orleans Saints a few weeks ago when there was an on-field injury. I explained what had happened, and Brady thought about it for a while. A few minutes later he turned to me and said, with a little gleam in his eye, "Daddy, when I play for the Vikings, ALL the Saints players will be ninjured." Apparently, "ninjured" is when you get on the wrong side of a ninja and he (or she; are there female ninjas?) messes you up. Being Batman gives you a bit of a leg up in this regard, so when the time comes, I'll be sure to tell him to go easy.

Brady's pumped up for the Vikings to take on the rival Packers this weekend, and it should be a good one.  My prediction: Brett Favre goes downfield to Randy Moss all day,  the defense sacks Packers QB Aaron Rodgers 5 times causing at least one fumble, and the Vikings win 31-27. Oh, and I predict no major ninjuries.

October 18, 2010

International Stick a Pen Up Your Nose Day

I have great kids.  They make me laugh all the time.  Almost as much, in fact, as they make me cry.

And since we're on that subject, did you know that the number of children and grandchildren you have times your age equals the number of gray hairs on your head?  A scientific fact.

A case in point: we went out to lunch after church yesterday, and between kids crawling on the floor under the table, throwing straws, toys, cups, and Cheerios on the floor (we have to tip extra so the busboys don't kick us out), and getting looks from patrons at surrounding tables who no doubt came out to have a peaceful Sunday meal and instead got stuck next to That Table Full of Kids that everyone dreads, we were happy to give the kids real pens with which they could draw on their kids menus.  This is a very big deal, you see, since kids love having things they're not normally supposed to have, and when you give them such things, they think they've really scored.  They give you that look that says, "Man, you really are a sucker.", and sometimes, that's exactly how you feel.  This bought us a refreshing 78 seconds of peace before this started:

We had a great laugh, which elicited another sour look from that couple in the background, and then our food arrived.  Good times.  The moral of the story: a good laugh (and the accompanying family memory) is always worth the gray hairs it takes to get there.

So henceforth, I declare the third Sunday of October "International Stick a Pen Up Your Nose Day".  Put in on your calendars, but don't feel like you have to wait until next year to celebrate.  Go ahead...it's guaranteed to cheer you up.

October 14, 2010

Why, how ironical of you!

Interesting irony you'll appreciate: on the day I start a blog about used diapers, I come home from work to find that at least one of my kids has the, well, you know...let's just say there's a lot of butt-cleaning to do.


I wonder what would have happened if I'd named the blog "If I Had a Million Dollars" instead.  Food for thought, I guess...

A blog named Spot

Naming a blog is harder than you'd think.

It's like naming a pet.  You want the name to convey its personality and be unique without sounding downright stupid.  Does it sound like a blog that will cuddle with you on the couch and lick your face after a hard day, or one that pees on your carpet every chance it gets?  Or both?  This is a weighty consideration.

So, without further ado, I give you The Used Diaper Salesman.  I hope you like it and that you don't end up with too many spots on your carpet.  If you don't like it for any reason, just file a complaint, and I'll ignore it within 7 to 10 business days.  In general, your thoughts and contributions are welcome.

In real life, I'm not actually a used diaper salesman, although I'm sure it's a worthy profession.  I do, however, have a lot of experience with used diapers, so if anyone could sell them, it would be me.  If you care to read, I intend to amuse you with tales of my experiences with used diapers and a variety of other accounts of kid-related hilarity, with occasional photographic evidence included.  I have three awesomely precocious kids, so I can promise you won't be bored.  Well, the two that speak English are precocious, at least.  My youngest is seven months old and only speaks what I think is Cantonese, but I'm sure that whatever he's saying is quite precocious.  I'll also throw in a hodgepodge of sports and political commentary that you may or may not agree with, as well as whatever random thoughts I have while driving to work or sitting on the...well, you get the idea.

In closing, I'd like to leave my fellow parents with a thoughtful question.  When you're changing a diaper and discover that it's mostly but not completely dry, do you put the same diaper back on or do you change it anyway?  And if you put the same one back on, do you feel guilty?  Please discuss.