Saturday, July 31, 2010

Crisis Averted

The pee was cleaned up, the children were entertained. We picked up the car, and it only cost us $240. We took the boys to the JCC Family Park, where they played in too-cold water for an hour and a half of so. Then, we went to Don Pablo's for dinner. Not so good; the boys were not particularly in the mood for sitting in a restaurant. It didn't help that our waitress was Slappy McNoTip, the slowest waitress on the planet. Once the food came, they were focused. It just took too long to get there.



We made a try to go to Barnes and Noble, but couldn't find parking spots; so, we went home to play outside. We played outside until 8:00, then bathed boys and put the little one to bed. The big one took part in "movie night" and watched the first hour of Shrek before fading. Only about 15 minutes of sitting with him.



Bedtime, once he gets in his bed, consists of two phases. "Daddy, sit!" means for me to sit with him. He'll do that got a minute or two before getting bored. "Daddy, go!" "Well, The Boy, Daddy will go, but only if you stay in bed!" "Okay, Daddy!" The door is not quite closed before he's out of bed. This wouldn't be a problem if he had his own room; I don't really care if he gets up, plays for a little while, then goes back to bed. He did this during one of the sleep-by-himself iterations in New Jersey. The only problem is, it would wake his brother, who is the lightest sleeper (besides me) in the family.

So, Mommy tags into the match and sits with him. She has the magic touch to calm him down and keep him in bed. He eventually asked for Daddy to sit with him, and then she left for Walmart. (That doesn't happen every night. Just tonight. We're not so much a People of Walmart family, although we do love the Wally-world.) I sat with him until he fell asleep, watching the baseball game on my iPhone.



The boys had a pretty good day, I think. The playing-outside was quite cute. Younger Bro would try to climb up the slide on the swingset, playing with a plastic ball. The Boy slides down (caught by me to reduce momentum), and the two boys play tug-of-war with the plastic ball until the collapse into a wriggling, giggling heap of toddler. Then, The Boy goes back to the top of the slide and the whole thing starts over again. They even played well together in the sandbox, passing toys back and forth while they dig and fill buckets and dump buckets on their laps.

Keeping Myself Busy

Yesterday was, by all counts, a pretty crappy day. Long story short, I didn't get the job, I wasted 3 hours sitting on a plastic chair at the car dealership to find out I need a $300 brake job (that wouldn't be done that night), I whacked the crap out of my toe on some toys, listened to the baseball game just long enough for the one pitch to make my team lose, AND I found out that one of our online friends / Wilms Tumor people had her third relapse and a metastatized cancer. Crappy day, all around.

Today's a little better. Decent quartet rehearsal with only three guys, some nice playing, and

Gotta go - pee on the floor.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

You've been told...

So, The Boy is playing letters on the fridge this morning. Once he assembled the letters, he pointed at each and started to sing the alphabet song. I started to sing along, and he turned around, pointed his finger at me, and sternly said, "No! It's The Boy's turn!"



He waited until I stopped, then turned back around and resumed his song.


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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Whole New World?

Tomorrow (I guess, technically, later today) I have a job interview for a high school south of town. I'm kind of nervous about the whole thing, for more than the normal reasons. I mean, of course it's an interview and a big deal.

But, I interview well. I have a lot of natural energy and I interact freely with groups of people. I usually use good, thoughtful answers and come off well. I'm fairly sure that, all things being equal, I can knock off an interview well.

It's a tough thing because of the size of the job. I did this job earlier in my career, and it's a 60-70 hour per week thing. I really enjoy my sons, and I don't want to put them behind or neglect them. I want to see them grow up and to be a part of their every day life. I'm afraid that, if I'm accepted to the job, I'll lose track of their lives.

I know that it's a trade-off. It'd be a really rewarding job in a rich program, with a chance to make a big difference in many students' lives. It would just mean that I need to be more careful about scheduling time with them and keeping that time sacred.

It's traditional, in Western society, for the man to be the breadwinner and only partially involved in their kids' lives. I understand that, just as I get that I'm a different person, in a unique situation with two unique children. I know that our parents would be more comfortable with that arrangement. And, the stipends from all of the extracurricular activities would give us enough money for a house and an iPad. (That would be my end-of-year present for myself.)

What do you think? After perusing the district's website, I'm 95% sure that I want that job. I want to wait until I meet the administration, see the facilities, and meet the staff.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Question:

Younger Bro, why are you rubbing broccoli in your hair?






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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bedtime Rituals

So, how free or flexible does one need to be, in regards to bedtime rituals? If you've been reading my blog or Logical Mommy's blog, you'll know how much trouble we've had getting the boys to sleep at night. That's not entirely true. They sleep well; it's just a matter of getting them to sleep in a place that's convenient for all concerned parties. While the boys would PREFER to sleep on top of Daddy (The Boy) or in a silent, dark room with no possible disturbances (Younger Bro), that is not necessarily possible.

Anyway, with The Boy, we've narrowed down a few bedtime things. For one, an hour before bed, we're stopping as much running around as we can. We're not stopping television, although we probably should; it's working right now, for the most part. Most nights - weeknights, for sure - we give goodnight kisses to everyone around, then tramp over to our room. ("Would you like to walk, or would you like Daddy to carry you?" "Daddy carry you!") There, The Boy is given the choice between two stories or three stories; he usually, but not always, chooses three. We read his stories, then we talk about his day. If Mommy's doing bedtime, then she might sing a song or two of his choice. He does not like me singing to him at night. (Tough critic, I guess.) He's given the choice of Mommy or Daddy to take him inside, then the same choice as before - to walk or to be carried. Usually, he's carried. Tonight, for instance, he walked.

We usually get, from him: "Shhhh! Younger Bro is sleeping," said at the same rough decibel level as a jet engine. YB doesn't generally like to put up with The Boy's crap and usually wakes up when I'm getting The Boy settled. Tonight, he didn't.

The Boy is offered the choice of having Daddy sit with him or leave. Here's where things might break down a little bit, because when he wakes up and finds me gone, he's pissed. A better choice might be, do you want Daddy to stay for five minutes or to leave? I don't know. I sit for a bit, until he's asleep or close enough, and then leave. If I get frustrated, then I do the "Daddy will be back in a minute," take a five minute break, and return. I never promise to return and then not return, because I want him to trust me.

The rest of the night is usually spent playing whack-a-mole. Younger Bro wakes up at 11, 1 or 2, and 5 or 6, but returns to sleep after getting milk. The Boy will wake up at random sleep cycle times, usually about thirty seconds after I fall asleep.

The crux of the matter is how to adjust their schedules to make life easier for us. For instance, on Friday, we had visitors. The Wife and Grandma kept the boys up far too late; YB went to bed closer to 9:00 than his usual 7:30, and The Boy didn't get to bed until almost 11. That played hell with their sleeping, and we had a restless night Friday night and a difficult night last night.

Tonight, also, we did something a little different. I gave The Boy the choice between reading his stories or watching an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold. I'm not entirely sure why I made that decision, but it was the right call. He was attentive but relaxed all the way through (he even picked the episode - the Justice Society of America episode), and he was extremely cooperative. That was shown by walking into his room, climbing up into the bed by himself, and pulling the covers up.

I'm sure that I don't want to do that regularly. But, it worked for tonight. How do you guys manipulate your bedtime rituals? What's the negotiable stuff for you?

(There's a blog entry there about the reading thing. The Boy doesn't willingly sit still for reading, although his little brother tends to ONLY sit still when someone's reading to him. Weird, no?)

How I'm Spending my Sunday




Sitting in a somewhat rainy ballpark, watching the Pirates play the first place Padres.... scorecard on my lap, poncho over my head.

Very few things make me happier than sitting at the ballpark.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Number Two

We've been besieged by a couple of naked little boys lately. It seems that both of my sons tend to enjoy being nude as much as possible. It's really quite funny, walking into a room to see two tiny little tussles running around like crazy folks. The Boy, being potty trained at this current time, is supposed to be made uncomfortable by pee or poop running down his leg. He isn't, but that's the theory.



(Yes, that's Younger Bro. Still cute.)

That has lead to the classic exchange, "The Boy, where does pee-pee go?" "The floor!" Sigh. In all seriousness, he has been doing better with that. He's not particularly poop trained, but he's doing pretty well with the pee thing. He has even taken himself to Grandma's potty! Pretty cool.



Our understanding is that many of the kids who have had the surgeries and the radiation that he's had tend to have issues with their pooping. That is, they tend to suffer from unpredictable and loose poop. Which, of course, makes the whole process of poop training more challenging for all sides.



I've had a real hard time with the potty training thing. I don't know why; it's just been very difficult to get a handle on. I'm having a hard time reading The Boys' physical signs and having a hard time figuring out the timing involved. That's a weird place for me, because up through potty training, I've found it quite easy to read him. I know his happy, sad, mad, excited, bored, interested, can-be-convinced.... I've been able to keep track of it all. Potty? Not so much.



The Wife, on the other hand, seems to have a really good handle on the whole thing. She reads the signs well and judges the timing fairly accurately. That doesn't mean that they're accident-free; we are talking about a tiny little bladder attached to a stubborn, focused little imp.

But, I'm sure I'll figure it out. And, if she gets a job before me, I'm going to have to figure it out. I'm not really looking forward to that. I mean, I would enjoy spending the time at home with the boys. It's the potty stuff that worries me.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Molars

Younger Bro seems to be getting his molars right now. At least, I hope so; he's been jamming his fingers down his throat far enough to induce vomiting lately. It's frustrating and annoying, but we think that he's got the molars coming in because he doesn't usually jam his fingers that far into his mouth. Can't wait until those teeth come in, because it is frustrating to clean puke out of bibs.

(Of course, we're not used to cleaning up puke. It's not like we had chemo-boy throwing up every thirty seconds for 20 months or anything.)

YB has been rip-tearing around the house with his walking-toy lately. He does a really nice job manipulating this toy around obstacles, although the lip from the kitchen into the den still messes him up a bit. It does amaze me how he maneuvers it, though. Here's a video:


He is starting to talk a little bit. Younger Bro matches the "SOOOO much!" interval.He also is seriously enjoying pestering his brother, particularly in the car. He reaches over and starts to poke The Boy, until he freaks out and starts screaming. The Wife holds The Boy's hand, and I redirect YB's hand back into his car seat. I'm fairly sure that he's just pestering him for the sake of pestering him. He says, "Da-dee," a little bit, and has said something approximating The Boy's name several times. He does the random "disappearing words" thing, where he'll say something once and forget that he said it. Good thing, because Mommy curses occasionally and the boys sometimes pick it up.

The Boy is loving outside this summer. His favorite thing, right now, is chalk; he'll ask people to draw letters, and he'll ask Mommy and me to draw "Sulley" or "Mikey Bikey" from Monsters, Inc, and Lighting McQueen, The King, and Chick from Cars. It's fun, but somewhat frustrating. His singing is not great yet; he approximates some intervals at times, but he does enjoy to sing. Right now, he's singing the "Clean up" song from Barney. Usually, he'll run and get the broom, although Grandpa is trying to break him of that habit. He's recently starting re-watching the "Classical Baby" movies.

"That's for The Boy!" is one of his favorite sayings still. His sentences are getting to be more complex, getting up to four and five and six words depending on the circumstance. He's also telling us when he's sad or mad, like saying "I can't watch Mikey Bikey with Daddy!" or "I can't go upstairs with Grandma!"

It's nice. The boys are developing interestingly.

Breakfast

I think Younger Bro just ate a bug.


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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Save me...

Last night was hell.

Younger Bro is normally a great sleeper. But, he does have the issue of being completely un-soothe-able. Like, if he's angry or hurt or sick, there is no way to comfort him and help him get back to sleep. He can only do it on his own.

So, he went to bed around 7:30, like usual. And, he woke at 11:30 for his normal midnight feeding.

And, he didn't get back to sleep until 3:30AM. This, on the eve of The Wife's job interview at a nice elementary school here in town.

Nothing better to cause tension, fights, and other stuff in a relationship then depriving both people of sleep, particularly the one who does NOT have a caffeine addiction and has a 9:30AM interview.

Thankfully, Grandma helped come to the rescue this morning by grabbing YB and feeding him breakfast, allowing the rest of us a few extra minutes of sleep. I can't tell you how important it was that she did that! Lifesaver, that Grandma - every day.

Oh, boy. What a day today's going to be.

(facepalm)

So, how is it that child #1 doesn't easily fall asleep unless he us being held, and child #2 can't fall asleep near another person?

Weird.



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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

When I Wish Upon a Star

Somedays, I hate being as right as I usually am. When I picked up Younger Bro this afternoon, I felt a very, very warm boy. When I picked up The Boy a short time later, I felt the same thing. Sigh. Matching 101 degree temperatures, axillary of course. So, they've been slow and lethargic all day. We knew that YB was sick when he'd actually sit still on our laps for a few minutes.



But, the Make-a-Wish people were still coming at 11:30 this morning. They came, they saw, they conquered... and brought presents! They brought t-shirts for everyone, they brought blocks and markers (thanks, folks... ) and cool make-a-wish Hot Wheels cars! The Boy was enchanted.



It turns out that the trip is even better than we expected! It's a 6-night trip, with 3 days at Disney, 2 at Universal Studios and 1 at Seaworld. We'd be staying in a villa at the "Children of the World" resort, which has a few bedrooms, laundry facilities, and a kitchen. They'll provide breakfast and dinner every day, and give lunch money for us at the park! In addition, they have 24-hour ice cream availability and characters that come to the resort. And, Wednesday night is Adult Night, where they kick the adults out and leave the babies with a great sitter!


We haven't set a date yet, because we're not employed. I think that we're leaning towards one of February break, April break, or Thanksgiving in 2011. It's going to be a magnificent trip!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pictures!

We found the roving art cart on our Friday travels. The Boy got a starfish painted on his arm and was quite enthusiastic about it. He also made a little paper yo-yo.


Friday was a great potty day. One little accident, but everything else in the potty. There is hope!

The rest of the weekend, not so much. Still, it was a nice, boring time. We played at the playground again on Saturday. Saturday night, we had a delicious dinner at my friend's house.


Breakfast this morning consisted of YB smearing yogurt all over the place. Cute, but annoying. After that, Grandpa and I went to the baseball game, and we watch Paul Maholm throw a 3-hit shutout. First shutout I've seen live since 1997, I think - an amazing Dwight Gooden - Greg Maddux gem that last an hour forty-five. Great game.

Got home to find the wife getting the worst end of the kids, which is tough. We all have bad days; Saturday was mine, Sunday hers. No worries.

Meeting with the Make-A-Wish people on Tuesday. We're training The Boy to say, "Wanna meet Mickey and Donald and Goofy!"



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Friday, July 16, 2010

Life and Death

Over the past few days, we've lost two people who have influence over my favorite hobby: Bob Sheppard and George Steinbrenner. Bob Sheppard was the Yankees (and New York Giants, among others) public address announcer, and he has been known over time as "The Voice of God." As in, if there ever was a living embodiment of what the Lord Almighty sounded like, it was Mr. Sheppard. I've never had the pleasure of meeting him, or even knowing somebody who met him, but his voice has created an indelible impression on the "right" way to be at a stadium. He didn't try to call attention to himself or to drum up artificial excitement by the fans; instead, he allowed the game to flow and to breathe on its own, to create its own natural excitement. That always meant a lot to me, although it took more than 30 years to really understand that. He didn't need to shout or to scream into the microphone. Now, I appreciate that and will miss him whenever - if ever - I'm lucky enough to go to The Stadium again.

George Steinbrenner, on the other hand, was a real human being. Over the course of his life, he did some amazingly generous things and some amazingly cruel things. He made brilliant moves and he made idiotic moves. He made great long-term plans and sabotaged long-term plans; he made great short-term plans, then turned around and reneged. If there ever was an example of a perfectly flawed human being, it was him.

Ultimately, I think - or like to think - that he falls on the good-guy side of the ledger. Yes, he had amazing public spats and was legendary for firing his employees and treating them shabbily. But, he was equally legendary at hiring them back moments later for more money. He took care of people and players that needed help, and he gave many, many second and third chances to people that might not have deserved them. When tragedy struck, Mr. Steinbrenner was one of the first people there, and his generousity towards charity will not soon be forgotten. Perfect example: Major League Baseball, representing all 30 teams and all the players, donated $500,000 to help relief efforts for the Haiti earthquake. The Yankees, two weeks earlier than that, donated a cool million dollars. This was not a strange occurrence; when you look at donations made by Major League Baseball, the Yankees were there first and with more money. Particularly after the 2001 terrorist attacks...

This reminds me of a conversation that I had with a mentor of mine, soon after Joe DiMaggio passed away. Joe D. was a hero of mine, even though I never saw him play or met him. There's a certain class of people, to me, who represent something more than their humanity offers. They represent something wonderful, something compelling, something passionate, something for which to strive. I've said, frequently, that the long baseball season is like life: everyone is going to win 60 and lose 60. Everyone. It's what you do with the 42 games in the middle that makes the difference between a champion and last place. Everyone is going to go into a slump; everyone's going to have a hot streak. Some months, the best players in the world are below average. Some months, the worst players in the game play like world-beaters. And, over time, everyone shows their true colors and their true ability levels, and everybody reverts to the mean.

The people like Joe DiMaggio, like Derek Jeter, like George Steinbrenner, all represent people that, for a time, rose to the occasion and won. They played like champions. I know that they're human beings and have good days and bad days. They have days when they are awful people and days when they behave like saints. That's not really the point, is it?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

State of the Union

Here's the time for a status report on the family...

The Boy is progressing nicely. We've discovered that Mommy and Daddy are absolutely horrible at taking him to physical therapy, and the only way that he has a productive physical therapy experience is when Grandma takes him. He's jumping pretty well, getting an inch or so off the ground. He hasn't figured out how to jump forwards or backwards yet. He climbs up some of the ladders and rope nets. He climbs up chairs well, and tonight he climbed up on the toilet and peed all by himself! He's fairly well pee-trained, but not so well poop-trained. He spends a lot of time running around the house naked, which is funny and cute.

At the pool, he likes playing with his plastic buckets, filling them with water and pouring it around. He can be convinced to blow bubbles in the water sometimes, but he doesn't like going down the slides and putting his face in the water. His younger brother, on the other hand, has a tendency to wander into water that is over his head and is much more adventurous.

Younger Bro is big - 33.5 inches and 32 pounds at his checkup last week. He says "Dad" and "Daduh," and occasionally something that approximates "David." He says, "Mum" occasionally, and he does grunt and make other monosyllabic noises. He enjoys tackling stuffed animals and playing with the brooms in the kitchen. He likes trying to bang on the computer keyboard and on the piano, and recognizes Elmo when he sees them and will occasionally sit still long enough to watch some Sesame Street. His walking toy is a big favorite as well, and he has figured out how to get it around corners and over obstacles. He can get it most of the way around the entire house, except for one area that has a between-rooms-lip that he can't get over.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Our Working Life

So, I quit my summer job today. Entirely leaving out the fact that, from the beginning, I thought I was making a mistake, things turned out to be far, far worse than I ever expected. Making a long story short, I got dumped into a classroom with 32 2nd graders and eaten alive. I've never imagined 7-year olds who would actually say to an adult, "Whatever. I don't care what you're doing." They were considerably more interested in sitting in the room and fighting with each other instead of singing songs and playing games. It's sad. One day was enough for me.

It's very funny, in an ironic sort of way, that I've been so darn correct in 99.9% of my instincts. When I don't listen to them, I get in trouble. Of course, when I >do< listen to them, I get in trouble, because many people find it threatening. But, I digress.

I had a very interesting series of conversations with my wife over the past couple of days, stemming from Friday afternoon's almost-meltdown after the extent of my mistake because known to me. What's interesting is how, at this point, I'm not upset or angry about our lack of job right now. In past years, I'd be entirely freaked out about the lack of a job and interviews right now. I'm not.

Much of it is because we're not under the gun of a mortgage, cable, internet, telephone, cellular phone, et al. We've already lost most of that.

Some of it is because I'm becoming more and more convinced that G-d is offering us the opportunity to be together as a family for a magical summer. We've been given memberships to the JCC's Family Park, the Zoo & Aquarium, and the water park Sandcastle. We've had a great time so far this summer, and having another four weeks of this without that crappy job is a rich and wonderful opportunity.

The rest is because most of my jobs have been end-of-August, beginning-of-September jobs. Someone will need a music teacher during that time, and we'll be the best players left on the board.

It's odd being the non-pessimistic one in the family right now, at least jobs-wise. It's not my usual role. I'm a very pessimistic person - well, prepare for the worst, hope for the best. The Wife is very discouraged about the job market right now. I'm not so much.

We'll see what happens.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sick? Fever? No Problem!

Yesterday's dinner was, for the most part, quite nice. Hibachi is really fun, although I was a little disappointed that we didn't have an Asian guy do the cooking. One expects an Asian man to do the Hibachi thing. The white guy chef that we had was quite entertaining and competent and did everything expecting, but the fact that he wasn't Asian was disappointing. Cie la vie.

During the dinner, The Boy got somewhat anxious and off-kilter. He felt very warm to me; damn my sensitive fingers! I took both babies home a little bit early, so that the adults could have some time and The Wife could have some sibling time. I took The Boy's temperature when we got home, and it was 101 degrees axillary. Combine that and a day's worth of entirely liquid, hourly poo... OOK!

(BTW, here's an image for you: two boys, screaming their heads off and angry at me and at each other. One doesn't feel well, and the other is just ornery and cranky. Both need to be held. I'm the only adult. They are sitting on my lap, fighting over a sippy cup of grape juice. Sigh.)

I called the doctor, just to get some instructions. But, do you know what was REALLY nice? I did NOT call our oncologist. I did NOT call Children's Hospital. We did NOT go to the emergency room, and we did NOT need to suddenly plan for a week's stay at the Hotel Children's. The pediatrician did call me back, not a nurse, which was nice. Long story short, he was afraid we had picked up a bacterial infection similar (but less serious) to E Coli. We carefully observed him all night, forcefed him fluids and some salty things, and brought him in first thing in the morning.

He was much better after a good night's sleep. He still had one or two liquid poops during the day, and he was more apt to rest than play for much of the day, and he hasn't really eaten much of anything. His temperature returned to normal by the morning, and we did let him play at his brother's birthday party.

It was really nice to have the kid catch a nice, normal childhood illness. It wasn't cancer, it doesn't seem to require a hospital stay, and it will likely work its way through in its own time. While I did kind of use the cancer thing to get the answering service's attention, I liked feeling like a normal, over-anxious parent for a little while.

The Wife and I had an interesting discussion about that, a day or two ago. How long do we get to play the cancer card, in conversation with others and in regards to The Boy and his activities? For instance, last week, we used the cancer card to get him a linejump handicap pass at Kennywood. I have no issue doing that, considering that he's still in physical therapy, thank you very much vincristine. This summer, when we go to Sesame Place, we'll do the same thing, and we'll do it again when we go back to Kennywood.

I know that we're still going to play the cancer card when it comes to catch up on followup thankyou notes. There's people who were intensely generous with time or with money that are going to get notes from us. Not necessarily soon, but soon-ish. The notes will say something along the lines of, "Thanks for giving us so much, we're doing better but not out of the woods yet, we're rebuilding our lives and aren't clinically depressed anymore, and here's a picture of the boys." They aren't going out too soon, because my kid had cancer and we're behind in them.

But, how long can we play the cancer card in regards to our lives? How long are we entitled to say, "I don't want to do that because my kid has/had cancer and needs me at home"? The Wife thinks that that sort of thing is now done and over; she doesn't want to play that card any more. I'm not so sure. I'm really, really, really burned out and PTSD professionally right now; getting systematically abused by one's employers over a four month timespan will do that. I'm not recovered from that, and it's likely going to take a long time. I mean, one would expect a certain amount of compassion for people in our situation; getting written up for using sick days to spend a week in intensive care with your infant son can leave scars.

I know that I'm supposed to "be a man" and "get over it" and "walk it off" and "grow up" and "grow a pair" and "be professional" and that sort of thing. I'm working on it. If you were in my shoes, what would you be doing? I'm actually content to continue to use the cancer card, because I'm still feeling the effects of this life-and-death struggle and will likely feel them for a long time. That's not to say I that I'm unable to teach; far from it. My last concert in Westfield and my math teaching here in Pittsburgh have been exceptional. It just means that I'm overanalyzing administrative issues, searching for the potential for things to backfire on me.

Scars, you know? But, at least we're not in the hospital today.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Ahhhhhh....

A morning of yard work: mow lawn, pick up crabapples, sweep patio and driveway and walks, clean tables and chairs, all in preparation for tomorrow's birthday party for Younger Bro. It's not a huge affair, but The Wife's siblings and my father are coming, so it's important to set a good face.



Now, I'm resting with a cute boy. I'll go to the gym in an hour. Tonight we're going to dinner to celebrate The Wife's birthday, and we may go to a performance as well. All in all, a nice weekend is planned.



Did I mention that YB loves his food?

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Funny...

At lunch yesterday, The Wife and I were getting food on the table. I paused to give her a thorough kissing, because she's really cute. The Boy looked up from his lunch and said, "Hey! Cut that out!"



Cool. I hope we continue to gross them out for years to come.


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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Bedtime




Tonight's bedtime activity, in lieu of a story, was to watch some of the Superman movie. Did a lot of fastforwarding; forgot how much non-Superman stuff was there. Some iconic scenes, which we watched; then went to the flying.


So, now I'm sitting at his bedside while he attempts to get comfortable. He pulls the sheet up, then decides he doesn't want it and kicks it back. Repeat. There he goes; I think he's out. Downstairs to watch the season premiere of Warehouse 13.


The boys and I went to Blue Slide this evening while mommy did some work. We wound up leaving, because a group of 4th or 5th grade kids were making fun of The Boy - using a thinly veiled nickname to mock him, the way he runs, his laughing, etc. It was quite disappointing; I did tell them about themselves before we left, letting them know that making fun of a baby doesn't make them cool or funny, just pathetic and sad. To their credit, one of them actually looked a little guilty. The others didn't.

Philistines and cowards.

If they had to live through a tenth of what he had to endure...


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Monday, July 5, 2010

One year ago...

Our family became more complete. Younger Bro was born right around 365 days ago, exactly, and has had one heck of a first year of life. This'll be a big part of the "Musical Daddy: The Novel."

From the blog, a year ago:

"As we were welcoming Baby Boy into the fold, The Boy was being checked into the stepdown unit with high fever and vomiting. He has the same stomach thing that I've been fighting for the last couple of days, and - considering that he's really nutrapenic - he's checking into the Hotel St. Barnabas for a few days. I don't think this is going to be one of the major long stays, but it wouldn't necessarily surprise me, either. The good comes with the bad, as G-d reminds us all the time. The scales balance themselves out over the long term."

Since then:
- Four surgeries for The Boy (port removal, port replacement, scar tissue excision, port removal) and one for Younger Bro (tongue tie)
- About four months' worth of hospital stays for the two of them
- Getting attacked, abused, and emotionally raped in the Westfield Public Schools
- Emergency move out to Pittsburgh
- Leaving my job in the middle of the school year, on yet another "this is the best concert I've ever heard"
- About 45 people showing up on our doorstep to help us remodel the house for sale, and
- the house selling by the end of February
- A clean bill of scans for The Boy
- Cessation of treatment due to kidney function reduction
- Teaching math as a substitute teacher for 3 months for an administration that didn't give a crap about what I did or didn't do
- An amazing three weeks' worth of vacation, ending this coming Thursday with a new summer job
- Meeting an amazing new set of doctors for my sons

What a year! I hope I never have one close to it again.

Happy birthday, Younger Bro. You're a beautiful, fun, energetic little guy, and you've made all of our lives better. We're glad we have you, and we can't wait to get to know you even better.

Funny Younger Bro story: today, we were at the pool at the JCC Family Park, playing in the baby area. YB was playing with a little matchbox truck; he loves running trucks along the ground while he crawls. I can't wait to get "vroom vroom" noises from him! A young boy we met had fallen in love with our big plastic truck and "hogged" it for both hours we were there, and he decided that he wanted the little truck that YB was playing with, to go with the big truck. The other child is almost exactly the age of The Boy.

So, the kid came up and tried to get the truck away from Younger Bro. YB has had quite a bit of experience with that, because his brother does the same thing on a daily basis. YB is also quite stubborn and quite independent-minded, and he was not going to give up the truck. He didn't whine or cry or anything; he just kept moving the truck around, waving it around the air, and the other kid couldn't get it. The kid got more and more and more frustrated, until he finally sat down and cried that he didn't have the truck. YB, on the other hand, continued ignoring the kid and playing with the truck.

Victory for the little guy... uses wits and dexterity to outpace the older child!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Baby Steps

Younger Bro, on several occasions today, pulled himself to standing and let go of everything. He stood by himself! It was really cool, and he was quite proud of himself. He even took a couple of steps: lunging forward and grabbing stuff. It wasn't really walking, but we're counting it as walking. How exciting!



Other than that, today was a nice, boring day. Playing outside, watching barbershop, going to the playground... The Boy played some Lego Batman but struggled with the controller. He also drew the letters H and T on the ground with chalk. It was pretty cool. An X, too, and kind of a D. Here's a picture:



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