I’m Allergic to Housework

You expect 140 posts about the good, the bad, and the ugly of parenting? Here is the latest one. I am off on a tirade—or tangent—about what goes on in the average home. Every blog is part of my digital time capsule that stores the fodder of my life. And the news is not always exciting. Sometimes life is just mundane. I am stuck in a rut of work, taking care of kids (two little ones), and a bit of housework to help my wife. I must say that I am allergic to housework and pick and chose what I am willing to do.

Here is my abbreviated list of acceptable chores:

  • Occasional dishes and kitchen cleanup—no more than twice a week
  • Unloading the dryer (after someone else does the laundry) but not folding sheets. They end up as triangles or odd shapes.
  • Emptying the fridge of old, rotten food (otherwise the kids could get sick, so I have a motive)
  • Changing the water softener refill in the shower head (but not scrubbing the tiles)
  • Pruning the yard and raking leaves in autumn (one season is enough)
  • Hosing the sidewalk and degreasing the driveway of oil spills (after all, they are caused by my car)
  • Repairing small appliances like toasters and coffeemakers (or I don’t get my morning breakfast and jolt of java)
  • Vacuuming the stairs with the canister model, the only machine that I care to lift as I go to the second floor
  • Organizing my desk in the home office (or everything goes in the trash—or the shredder)

Did I say shredder? Yes, I did.  We have a compact portable model from https://www.shredderlab.com that my wife loves to use to make mince meat out of old paper. Bills, documents, financial statements, personal correspondence, reports, etc. It is all the normal stuff of everyday life. Shredding it is fun and convenient. There is a lot less to haul out to the trash. I should add this job to my list as I actually like it. I love watching the little iron “teeth” gobble the paper and crush it to death into tiny unreadable pieces. It is such a vicarious pleasure. You can take out your frustrations or hatred of anyone by making it personal.

Crumpling paper with your hands is also therapeutic, but I love thinking of the shredder opening as its “jaws” and the documents as tasteless food. Or I think of Pacman eating his way unto eternity. It seems like we generate enough paper for an eon. I could put shredding at the top of my list so there is no mistake about who gets to do it. However, once a task is assigned in my house, it is yours for life.


Whoever Decided Stainless Steel Was a Good Idea Obviously Didn’t Have Kids

Life is crazy, hectic and so rewarding when you have small children. I can’t wait to write a new blog to recount some antic or milestone. They are the joyful moments of my life. I want them drilled into my memory through photos and blog entries. Parenting is an art and one that I am willing to learn whole hog. I want to know every tip and trick and apply it with love. Time flies so I hope to document, in front of my reading audience, the trials and tribulations I encounter. In the process, I want to give you a perspective on parenting from one point of view. I think my home is pretty average but special moments are not rare. I will look back on my posts as the fodder for a mental time capsule I keep in my head to remember all the wonderful times. Any “bad” ones are certainly minor, but they do exist.

A typical example of a minor irritation is when the kids gets get their grubby little hands all over the stainless-steel refrigerator. It isn’t attractive. I always know someone has been there looking for a snack; and it wasn’t me! Whoever said that stainless is the modern route to take for new appliances didn’t have kids. Yes, it looks great, but what a lot of work keeping it pristine. There are all kinds of products out there on the market to help you restore its shine. The problem is that it doesn’t last long. I have been designated as the restoration king since I made the choice. It takes one five-year-old visiting the kitchen faucet to cover the gadget with obvious fingerprints. I bought the faucet a few years ago from Kitchen Faucet Depot when everyone was upgrading with the newest designs. You get touchless usage, filtered water, instant hot, etc. I just had to have one. I took the recommendation of a review online and got the stainless-steel finish.

If you are matching your fixtures and appliances, it pays to select one style. The effect is extraordinary. The fingerprints are not. Passing a wet sponge over the surface does little to erase them. You need the right rag and cleaning solution. On the other hand, stainless-steel is sturdy and long lasting and goes perfectly with most kitchen styles from retro to ultra-modern. Black, white or almond enamel appliances are indicators of past taste. Faucets have been made of chrome for so long that it was time for a change. After all, we had the old one for over ten years. We had a vast array of choices from Pfister, Delta, Vigo and Ruvati. Between these top brands, there is something for every budget and taste. It seemed like a no-brainer decision until we had it installed. It is a beauty indeed if we can keep the kids away, but this is not possible.


When I Get an Idea in my Head…

I promised you 140 posts about parenting and today I offer one more. I can’t even remember the count right now. Many times, I talk about problems and how to discipline offspring and keep them out of trouble, but I would rather discuss ways to have fun. When I was a child, things were different. I couldn’t wait for the weekend so we could all pack in the family car and go to the local drive-in. The venue specialized in kiddie flicks on Sundays. They always included Tom and Jerry and Mr. Magoo cartoons. My favorite was Bugs Bunny. We ate the sparse fare at the snack bar which was mostly hamburgers, hot dogs, cokes, and popcorn. But what kid doesn’t like that? Sometimes we brought our own food but then seldom ate it. We just wanted to get out of the car and see what the other kids were doing.

When my family moved to a neighborhood that had no drive-in theater, I became nostalgic. How would my young ones experience what I had once loved? They would never know the special moments of seeing a giant King Kong or T-Rex. I vowed to find a way to recreate the feeling I had when pulling into our parking space. When I get an idea in my head, I go with it. I could drive to another town but the children would probably be asleep by the time we got there. They find long jaunts to be very boring unless I let them blast the radio. To appease my wife and not render her deaf, I don’t go that route. There is another way to be sure.

Eureka! It came to me in a flash. I would bring the drive-in to them right in the confines of our own backyard. It is rather large and can accommodate our brood and a couple of neighbors sitting on blankets watching a huge outdoor screen. You can buy or rent them in any size you like. I say the bigger, the better. I invited some favorite families in the area and explained the protocol. Bring a thermos and a blanket or towel. I installed some good speakers that could be adjusted to the perfect volume without annoying anyone nearby who was not invited (like that old grouch across the street). The last item on my agenda was to rent an outdoor projector and buy a movie they all would like. I got the idea from here: https://www.outdoorlightandsound.com/installation-ideas-new-outdoor-projector/. My wife whipped up some of her popular chocolate chip cookies and easy microwave popcorn. We were ready to begin.

Everyone had the most wonderful time. Apparently, all the adults felt the same way that I did. They made me promise to recreate the drive-in theater again. A few even volunteered to do it themselves to share the load. But it was no burden to me. I was responsible for a night of pure enjoyment. I would happily do it again.


Why I Can’t Have Nice Things

Sometimes the kids drive me crazy and I can’t wait to get out of the house. It doesn’t last long however. After a long day at work, I miss those little ones terribly. I long to change my clothes, take off my shoes, and get down on the floor and play a game. They decide which one. I will do it for hours if I need to make them happy. Life is full of ups and downs, but a definite up is getting home to my children. It wipes away any trace of a difficult work day and alters a mood from bad to good in an instant.

Kids don’t have to do anything special to be adored. They just have to exist. They can wreak havoc on the household order, but this comes with the parenting territory. I know from first-hand experience. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love bathing, dressing, and feeding them: our life routine. It is even more fun to take them out for a visit to the park or even on errands to the store. I want them by my side at all times. When my wife and I have to go out in the evening, we hesitate to leave them with a sitter, friend, or relative. We call every ten minutes to check in on them. This may seem excessive, but what parent doesn’t worry?

As much as I have nothing but good to say about my children, I have to admit that they can be destructive. They have broken a lamp, messed up the good carpet by tracking in mud, and now they have ruined a new leather business bag given to me for my birthday. I was more than miffed. Why can’t I have nice things? It was brand new and barely used when it happened. I’d wondered if a leather business backpack was the right choice, given the kids – and now I know. They had spotted it lying alone on the floor and immediately gravitated to it like a fish to a lure. They took everything out and put their toys in. so far so good. However, they were drinking cartons of juice and one was spilled into the interior, destroying the fine fabric. They decided to remedy the situation, out of fear or guilt, and pour it on the floor. They placed the bag right on top. Now the outside was a goner. They didn’t say a word until mom got home. She was so mad.

I guess getting a fancy business bag made of fragile leather was not such a good idea. You have to consider what young children might do to any of your precious possessions. It is all play potential to them. While my thought it was the perfect choice, it was not. Money down the drain. I told her not to get another one. I need something inexpensive and washable. A synthetic will have to do. Goodbye gorgeous leather! So sorry you didn’t last long.


Surviving Toddlerhood

When I started this blog, I simply wanted to share parenting experiences from the male perspective. Then I wanted to relate cute and funny stories about the antics of children. We all know them well. Kids are all around us and a super important part of life. You are lucky if you have had a child in your life, whether your own, a relative, or a neighbor kid. The family in America is sacred. A marriage isn’t complete until you have a son and/or a daughter.

As time goes on and more things happen in our family, I realize that my blog is a personal journal, just for me, which puts all the milestones of childhood into a written time capsule for posterity. Maybe they will read it when they are teenagers, challenging every rule in sight. I hope I am deft enough to make the toddler years come alive. I want them to see how it was as well as how joyful. We will see. I would have appreciated a diary from my father when I was a teen. I would have learned a lot. I now know the facts and I am imparting them to you.

Today I want to talk about surviving childhood and what it takes for a parent to succeed. First there are the personality traits that are required: stoicism, patience, imagination, cleverness, perseverance, strength of mind, and knowledge of at least one or two ballgames. Tots need stuff to play with and for most, it means tons of toys and a small tricycle. I used cups and saucers for diversion and the kids often liked things from the kitchen better than the toy store. They couldn’t use enough crayons, paints and brushes, and magic markers. I only bought the kind that wash off. When I was young, I decorated the sofa and now I know better than to encourage this.

Surviving toddlerhood means thousands of trips to the grocery store and the park. You find a jungle gym or a softball field and do your best to entertain and amuse. Show the little ones how the game is played. From the point of view of the home front, parents survive with lots of handiwipes, heavy-duty paper towels, Windex, and cleanser. You need bubble bath and scented soap and super soft terry towels. I love to wrap the little bodies in dry comfort. To clean the ever-present mess, get a sturdy upright vacuum cleaner with a big bag – one that will last for years and years. Use a web site like The Vacuum Challenge to help you find the right one for your home. You never stop cleaning, or you and your wife that is. I have practically worn out the living room carpet. Soon we will uncover the wood floors.

Toddlerhood means teaching the ABCs, inspiring art projects, helping the kids learn to read, and making new rules about TV, video games, and cell phones. It is so amazing to see a four-year-old manipulate the most complex phone. They can sneak on the Internet and download games. Who taught them to enter the numbers of my credit card?


How much to install a tankless water heater?

I see myself definitely as a super parent, but I do not see myself as a handyman. I never got the ridiculous idea that many men have that they can fix anything and everything around the house to save money. Maybe it is to prove a point to the wife, but it can get you in serious hot water. For example, I wouldn’t touch an electrical oven or the motor on the swimming pool. I would wash and wax the car any weekend after restaining an old wood bench. I stay away from welding but would saw wood and make a cabinet if asked. Somethings are just too dangerous and beyond my ken. Sure, I could read a manual or watch a YouTube video on line. They explain so many practical things. But I don’t have all the tools or the dexterity—or even the mental wherewithal. Sure, the kids would want to watch and egg me on.

I got into hot water literally when our heater went on the fritz. It had been acting up like a belligerent child and was not producing nearly enough hot water. It would suddenly stop when I was in the middle of my morning shave. It could happen to anyone in the tub or shower. It interfered with the laundry and all kinds of daily household chores. Fortunately, the dishwasher produces its own hot liquid as an inherent feature. I wish everything did. As head of the household, I could tackle the repair job of the water heater, but as mentioned above, it is not my forte. The family wants immediate relief because each of us has been the unlucky one to encounter cold water at one time or another while showering. Brr! I don’t have to convince anyone that a new unit is needed.

I am earmarking next year’s tax return money for a new appliance. It is a priority for the entire family as you can see. We don’t need a vacation, a row boat, a new pair of skis for the kids, or fancy new clothes. We don’t have to eat out much or visit the amusement park. Just in case I want to maximize the coming funds, I decided to read about installing a tankless hot water heater just to see what is involved. I choose this route because it is easier than putting in an old-style full-size tank. There would be no heavy lifting, just some minor electrical work securing a good connection, and locking the appliance into place for safety purposes. Horrors if it should fall off the wall.

Considering all aspects of the installation, I opt for a discounted tankless model so I have enough money for a proper installation. Only at full price does this service come with the product. Rats! Is the special offer I elected worth it? Some simple math gave me an answer. Yes.


The Devil Wrote These Instructions

My life revolves around my wife and two kids. I have the most wonderful family for which I am supremely grateful. The days of fun and frolic are endless when your children are young. Family time is precious and we plan outings and adventures galore. The memories will be treasured when I am in my contemplative years. In fact, they are already captivating. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for the young ones. We all know that they grow up so fast. I may even try my hand at putting together a new bike for six-year-old Angelo. I bought it last year and haven’t had the time or inclination to work on it. It came with instructions so I imagined it to be an easy task. How wrong I was! The devil wrote these instructions. The print was tiny and illegible and the steps made no sense. I read and reread everything, but it didn’t help.

The bike assembly should have been quick and easy but I found that it was taking valuable time—time I didn’t really have. I wouldn’t do this job for anyone but my kid. It was obvious that I needed help. I was having trouble securing the bike wheel so the contraption wouldn’t fall over. It kept moving about as I worked on the assembly. I must have been sending out SOS vibes. My neighbor popped over and took a look at the situation and started to move my bench vise closer to my work area. The vise held the wheel perfectly so I could continue to add parts. I was clearly the labor. Now I was being more productive and had gotten the idea. Bring on more bikes! Now I was making progress. My neighbor sent me a link to this web site later, which had some great resources for woodworking and tools that I could use to learn more. I functioned like a factory robot as I worked frantically to get things done. I couldn’t wait to see Angelo’s face. He had been waiting so long for his bike. He had clearly outgrown the old one. I am not a big do-it-yourself guy, but I have my moments. I can wield a tool now and then to fix something around the house or yard. I thought I had met my match with the bike, but in the long run, things went smoothly.

Angelo adores his bike and rides around the driveway in circles, a huge smile on his face. His brother watches at close range to make sure he is alright. I am also nearby to make sure the bike holds together. I can’t imagine anything worse than a part or two falling off. But it didn’t happen. Over the weeks and months to come, the bike will provide ample entertainment. He thanks me profusely for my skill. I wouldn’t go too far in that direction if I were he, but I did complete the job after all. My real talent lies elsewhere, but I can add to my list of accomplishments—bike assembly.


Well, Now I Know!

Cleats are goofy looking to me. I never wore than as a kid so I have no idea about how they are supposed to look and fit. When my son joined a peewee soccer team, I went out to get some gear and just looked around for “cleats.” Who knew that they are not all the same. I just grabbed some that would match his team colors, as requested, and toted them home. Alas, they were not the right kind. What! I exclaimed. How can that be? My son just laughed and said they are not all the same. He promptly grabbed a sports magazine called Top Corner Mag and turned to a page with an ad for soccer cleats. So, I muttered. Just look harder, he said.

Before I had to go back to the sporting goods store and grapple with limited parking, he gave me a lesson. He’s learnt it all from chatting with the magazine on their Twitter page. Well, now I know. Golf cleats are a basic sneaker with spikes projecting from the soles. These spikes are not of the same ilk as soccer cleats. They are for arch support and lateral stability which most everyone needs in sports, but the shoe itself, whether leather or a man-made material, is quite different. The top-grade golf shoes with cleats feature boost foam technology in the heel and the forefoot for greater underfoot cushioning while playing. Good design will “maximize energy return and comfort in multiple parts of the shoe for complete performance.” Sounds great to me.

Football cleats are another animal. The modern football shoe looks a bit like those used for soccer but the appearance and spacing of the sole projections are different. Cleats all seem to offer grip and control, but on different surfaces and for various kinds of movements. They tout a secure fit and enhanced playing skills. Imagine getting all that in a shoe. The cleats that are billed as “premium” seem to be the most recommended despite the higher price.

Soccer shoes have a cleated outsole (unless you play indoors) and superior construction designed just for this game. The shoe look a bit outer space to me to which for my son is part of the fun. There are soft ground and firm ground versions. The latter has short, circular molded and bladed studs that are patterned strategically on the sold. Note: they can’t be too long. If the player is outdoors on a natural grass surface, as well as turf or artificial grass. Let’s go to the soft ground model. They feature longer and fewer interchangeable studs. These are spaced farther apart to dig into soggy ground. If a team lives and plays in a wet climate, they would choose this model or add it as an alternative style on rainy days.

I bet my son could tell me more, but I think I know enough to go back to the store and select the right item. He told me the name of the shoe and his size so I couldn’t go wrong. I learned my lesson well and won’t make the same mistake ever again.


First Year of Peewee League

It was one of those days as a father you cannot wait for. Your son is finally ready to start his peewee league football career. Seeing him in those impossibly small pads looking so big and tough was awesome. Growing up, my family was way more into soccer. I was the black sheep. I was in awe of that bright silver star and green field of the Dallas Cowboys (to my now eternal regret, but old habits die hard) and didn’t get to play til junior high. My parents didn’t really start caring about it until they realized it was going to help pay for my college education. Then it was all about football and they came to a few of my games. I know they were secretly disappointed that I wasn’t playing soccer, though.

Every Sunday in the fall after church, Angelo and I sit in the living room and watch football. I started this with him when he was a baby. My wife would use the time to shower or go out and I would just sit there with him tucked into my elbow like a little football. I loved it. Lucky for me, it has been the one ritual that I tried to impose that stuck. After school, we practice throwing the ball around. He has really good hands for a six-year-old. I see him and I see the kid that I wanted to be. I know you shouldn’t force your own dreams on your children but as long as he is having fun, I am going to live the childhood I never had through him. I am going to enjoy him liking football for as long as it lasts.

We got to the first practice and it was very exciting. The kids worked on some fundamentals and I saw how Angelo stacked up against some of the older players. He was surprisingly good for not having played on a team before. But that practice did not prepare me for his first game. His first game was absolutely incredible. I mean, yes it was a kiddie league so there were fumbles and confusion across the board. But Angelo was great. He caught a pass and made first down! I was definitely that dad on the sidelines yelling and screaming because I was so happy. We got some video of it and I think I sent it to everyone I know. I may have accidentally texted it to my boss. That is how excited I was. Afterward, we all went out for some pizza and it was great seeing him feel like part of a team.

I cannot believe that I get a full season of this! It is going to be great!


The Perfect Lazy Saturday Morning

There were a million things on my to-do list on Saturday. I went to bed Friday night kind of dreading the next day. And then I distinctly heard the sound of rain as I was waking up. Most of the stuff I had to do was landscaping type stuff, mowing the lawn, trimming hedges, that kind of thing. So if it was raining…. well.

That is the grown up version of a snow day, right?

Then I heard another pitter-patter sound, which could only mean that Selena was awake. She is our relentlessly early riser. If the sun is even thinking about making an appearance, Selena knows it and pops out of bed. The rain probably woke her up too. I warned my wife with a brief, “Incoming!” She had barely acknowledged me when suddenly there was a giggle and a grunt, which meant Selena had—once again—thrown herself on the bed. My wife must have taken a direct hit this time. Better her than me. 20ish pounds doesn’t seem like a lot but when it is hurling at you through space and landing on you like a meteor, it feels much, much heavier.

We got Selena settled in with a book between us and I closed my eyes again, listening to the rain and trying to doze off again. It is hard, though, when you have cold monkey toes and incredibly pointy elbows coming at you from all directions. I swear that kid is all limbs. She had my wife reading her whatever her new favorite book is, something about a kid who only hears the word no all the time. This went on for about another hour or so and then we heard the not so graceful thump of our eldest flopping out of his bed and onto the floor. Whenever I look at Angelo, I think of a foal just learning to walk. Wobbly knees and ankles turning every which way. I think he is growing faster than his brain can keep up.

Within a few minutes, he was in our bed as well.We were packed in like sardines. If our room was any bigger I would have gotten us a California King but the full size barely fits in here. But Angelo is slow to start functioning in the morning and he is a snuggler, so he curled up into my side and closed his eyes again.

I looked over at my wife’s face and she was smiling down at them. It felt so good to all be together like that. And we managed to keep the kids quiet and happy for another hour. Total win in my book. It is moments like this that everyone dreams about when they realize they are going to be a parent. I know this isn’t something that is going to last forever (cmon, at some point it would be weird) but I can appreciate it now while it is happening.

And to think, I would have missed all this if I had to go out and take care of the stupid yard.


Do I Even Want to be the Cool Dad?

I always pictured myself being the best dad ever. But it turns out there are things about parenting that I just really don’t like. I am not talking changing diapers or being human Kleenex either. That’s the job I signed up for and I am cool with it. It is some of this other stuff that you just don’t realize is going to drive you crazy until you get there.

For example, I will never know what kind of music is cool again. How can I when I am never allowed to control the radio? It’s always kids stations on the satellite in the car. I don’t know, I think it is creepy hearing children sing the lyrics of some of these songs out right now. Then there are the times my wife uses the Bluetooth to play the kids’ obnoxious movie soundtracks and stuff. Even when they aren’t in the car, I will catch myself mumbling along to some horrendous song about getting dressed. What’s happening to me? I used to go to concerts. I used to hear about bands even before they got on the radio. Now unless Kidz Bop does it, I’m never going to hear it.

The kids have also killed fast food for me. I don’t know how. But I would way rather sit around and have some baked chicken and some broccoli than nuggets and fries. It could be because if left up to them, it is what we would eat every single day and I don’t lose the weight quite as fast as I did when I was in high school. But it could also be because of those giant germ factories known as kiddie play areas. I will probably get pink eye just thinking about it. I think places like that keep Lysol in business. I have nightmares thinking about what’s in the carpet there. And although it is called fast food, it is anything but when my kids are involved. We have to go to the playland or else there is whining and screaming. In the amount of time it takes to wear them down, grab the food and come home, my wife could have cooked a nutritious five-course meal.

I also don’t understand the point of a lot of kids’ games. Angry birds? I don’t understand this idea behind birds and green pigs. How does this promote physics? What am I missing? I realize this is the first nail in the coffin for me. Being terrible at apps is an early warning sign. I am a couple steps away from not being able to operate any new technology. I will be that parent who needs written instructions on how to operate the remote. And I am a GUY. We are supposed to be better than that. But I am totally the guy that has to ask my kids to get my apps to stop wiggling around. I tell myself that it is because the kids have more free time to figure this stuff out and that I really don’t care. That is much easier to swallow than me getting old.

I guess all that is left for me is to start wearing khaki shorts with black socks and sandals, right?


Raising a Girl is Hard

raising-a-girl-is-hard

People tell you that your second kid is going to be easier than the first. Angelo was a pretty good baby. So when those two pink lines appeared on the test, I figured–I got this.This is going to be a piece of cake!Yeah, until they did the ultrasound and said,“Congratulations, it’s a girl!”I immediately had this vision of walking her down the aisle at a church on her wedding day. My next vision was of me punching the mystery groom in the face and yelling about my baby girl.

Oh, man. I know nothing about girls.Absolutely nothing. I grew up with three brothers. Girls kind of terrified me my whole life.I’m not even sure how I got my wife to marry me. After knowing her for 10 years, she is still a complete mystery to me sometimes.

Then Selena was born and that protective dad instinct kicked in hard. She is the exact opposite of her brother in so many ways.It’s terrifying. She’s three years old and already all the little boys around here know her name.She’s very social.She knows everybody and she wants to help everybody.That’s great, but as a dad, I am always looking at the longview of things.So I’m seeing her in high school where all the boys know her name and she’s nice to everybody, and she’s bringing these stray boys home who can’t get their crap together.Sheisn’t going to see the kinds of things that I know boys think (because I was one, and that really, really bugs me now).

I feel like we almost have it easy right now.She’s not really into pink or flowers or anything like that. The thing she was most in the world is a bike that’s as fast as her brother’s.The only thing is her hair. She is girly over her hair. I don’t know how to braid itand I even brush it wrong.I didn’t know there was a wrong way to brush hair, but there must be because she gets so mad at me.I’m straight up terrified of the moment she asks me where babies come from. I just better not be the one that has to take her to the store to buy any sort of feminine related thing. Even prom dresses.As far as I’m concerned, she is never going to prom.  She’s just not going to date, ever. We’ll meet a nice boy at church and she will see him on Sundays and then one Sunday they will just get married and that’ll be that. They will have separate bedrooms and maybe adopt me a grandchild. I think I could live with that. But she’s not dating.There’s none of that. I’m not gonna have some boy that I don’t know drive up to the house in his pathetic jalopy and say he’s taking Selena on a date.Like heck you are.Over my dead body.

Angelo, I can talk to. I can be like,“Look, this is how you treat a woman. This is how you handle yourself. This is how you make decisions,” and that’s it.I can start doing that now so by the time he is interested in girls he is already a gentleman. But girls? Little girls become young girls who become women and that scares me to death. My wife is going to laugh at this post but I wanted other dads to know. Raising girls is hard.


How do I Have a Kindergartener Already?

Kindergartener drawing with markers.

It is hard to wrap my brain around this. I remember taking Angelo home from the hospital. How terrified I was of loading that carseat into the back of my car the first time. How I nearly caused an accident because I kept looking in the rearview mirror instead of at the road. He was so very tiny, and every time I had to dress him I was afraid I would break his arms trying to get him into his clothes.

I can see the spot in the kitchen where he took his first step. We don’t have it on video because we weren’t expecting him to walk at 9 months. I can look at that square of carpet and see it in my mind so clearly. I remember his first word—“mama.” He said that while we were feeding him dinner one night. I remember looking at my wife and just seeing her entire face light up like it was Christmas.

All these little miracles, these milestones, they all feel like yesterday.

The date has been circled on the calendar for awhile now: Angelo’s first day of kindergarten. He was in preschool last year but it wasn’t all day and it didn’t really matter if he went to school or not, preschool here doesn’t really count for anything and you don’t really get a report card. But this is the big time now. They take attendance and the state gets involved if he isn’t showing up enough. I don’t know if they get actual grades yet—guess I will find out soon enough—but he gets a report card. I can’t believe it. My little man is going to bring home a report card!

We had to get him school supplies. That felt weird. Last year all the parents just kicked in a few dollars and the teachers got whatever they needed for the classroom. But now he needed a backpack and pencils and scissors. All kinds of stuff. I saw the list and my jaw dropped. I can see him in my head when he was still standing on tiptoes to reach the doorknob. And now I have to put him on a bus so he can be away from us all day.

I will admit that the idea of him being away from home all day is freaking me out a little. That’s where it starts, right? It will start slowly—he will come home asking about stuff the other kids say and I’ll have to explain it. Eventually, he’ll decide what they say is right and I don’t know anything. I am not looking forward to that. My wife tells me I just have to have faith that we’re raising him the right way. But how do I know that when he’s only six?

It all seems too soon, doesn’t it? Maybe I should have asked if we could redshirt him for a year. Bench him and keep him back in preschool just a little longer…