Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Brotherly (and Sisterly) Love


“The family you come from isn’t as important as the family you’re going to have.” - Ring Lardner


Over the years, I’ve realized my sister and I aren’t as close as most brothers and sisters. Even though we live in the same town, less than 5 miles away, we see each other only a couple times a month. We hardly talk on the phone. We will both lend a hand if asked, but I just don’t think we have the close relationship that brothers and sisters are supposed to have.

I’ve thought about it more than once. “Why do I not have that connection that we are supposed to have?” I’ve come to a few possible conclusions. We grew up in a house where our parents didn’t show much affection to each other or to us. There were never any kisses hello or goodbye and a hug was few and far between. Also, communication was difficult. Simple family conversations over dinner never happened. My dad was often not home. With my mom, the TV was more important. My parents rarely explained any life lessons to us so we were on our own, usually going outside the house to learn. You can imagine the results there.

With this in mind, probably to a fault, I am focused on my son’s relationship with his sister. I want them both to have a relationship that I do not have with my sister. I can’t count the number of times tried to get The Champ to be the “big brother” to his little sister.

"Champ, give your sister a kiss goodnight."

"Champ, take Peanut’s hand", as we walk across a parking lot.

"Champ, watch your sister for a minute" as I run outside for a second.

Or trying to explain to him, when he yells at his sister after she separates Annie from Clarabel, "She doesn’t understand. You have to be patient."

Although they are both young, there are glimpses of it sinking in. This morning, as we all left the house, Peanut & The Champ exchanged a hug and kiss goodbye without being told. It was beautiful. Yes, they will be teenagers soon enough and they will despise one another during that time, I’m sure. But I hope setting a foundation now will ensure they realize they both have something special.

Something I wish I had with my sister.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bring On The Terrible Twos


Peanut had been saying a few words here and there for some time now. Lately, she’s putting some together to get her point across. One of those phrases is “I DID IT!!” Anytime she does something on her own, she throws her arms up and shouts it to the mountains. It is priceless.

It seems that she’s absorbed so much over the past year. I know all of your kids have done the same thing, but I figured I brag share with you some of my daughter’s adoring accomplishments:

• Eating with a fork & spoon
• Putting on her own sandals
• Learning to say “Momma” & “Daddy”
• Climbing the stairs (with Mrs. Joe or I standing next to her).

Unfortunately, some of her less adoring accomplishments include:

• Deciding she wants to strip naked, dirty diaper included, and run around the house
• Breaking the lock on the fridge yelling “I WANT JUICE!!”
• Climbing the stairs (without Mrs. Joe or I standing next to her)
• Learning how to unlock the tray to her hi-chair, sending entire bowls of pasta, cereal or whatever crashing to the floor

This weekend, we will be celebrating Peanut’s second birthday. We have a small party planned with relatives and friends. So here’s to many more years of accomplishments worthy of celebration.
Happy Birthday, Peanut

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Good Cop, Bad Cop, Hot Cop

The Champ is a thumb sucker. Not too bad but enough, now that he is almost 6, that it is beginning to bug us. We have tried in vain to have him kick the habit.

At first, Mrs. Joe played the Good Cop,

"Champ, please take your thumb out of your mouth."

When that stopped working, I played the Bad Cop. I would flick his hand with my index finger followed by...

"Champ, take that thumb out of your mouth or I'll flick it again."

That had worked for a while. But eventually that failed too.

We then tried this with no success. We even tried this. No, we didn't pay for it. We borrowed it from a friend. All attempts failed. Eventually, all hope was lost.

Until now.

Enter Hot Cop.


Usually, once Good Cop & Bad Cop have been proven ineffective, we give him Texas Pete, or "Petey" as we like to call him. We tell him that holding onto Petey is a reminder to not stick his thumb in his mouth. But once in awhile, the thumb gets the better of him and The Champ gets to taste the wrath of Petey. Not too much, just a drop, but enough that it gets the point across.

So far, Petey, has kept The Champ's thumb sucking to a minimum. If anybody has any other ideas, please share.

Because I'm afraid he will get used to Petey and start asking for burritos for breakfast.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

No Alarm Clock Needed

Day: Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Time: 5:45 am

Place: Mrs. Joe & I's bedroom

The Champ, "Dad"

Joe, "Yes"

" The Red Sox lost 7 to 2 last night"

"Thank you"

"To the Tigers"

"Yes, that's who they played"

"Dad"

"Yes"

"Big Papi didn't hit any home runs"

"Thank you"

The Champ, like all kids older than two, has the ability to turn on the TV so he can watch Noggin while Mrs. Joe & I get a few winks more. I must have turned the TV off last night with NESN on. Seems he watched Sportsdesk instead of Noggin.

That's my boy!

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Happy Feet

During the week, Peanut cut the tip of her toe somehow. It wasn't a big deal other than it was bleeding pretty good. Mrs. Joe put the standard Dora The Explorer band-aid on it and all was well for awhile. Unfortunately, the band-aid didn't want to stay put. Three band-aids later, the toe was exposed again and Peanut wailed to the point that you would think the toe needed to be removed.

I said to Mrs. Joe, "Just put a regular band-aid on it. They stick better than those tiny Dora ones."

Mrs. Joe replied, "She doesn't like the regular band-aids. She wants a Dora band-aid."

To this reply, I sprang into action. If Peanut doesn't want a regular band-aid, fine. I'll give her a one of a kind. With that may I present:



"Mr. Big Toe"


I'd like to thank Band-Aids, Sharpie & Neosporin for the tools needed for this creation. Mr. Big Toe was a great success. Peanut walked around for the next two days with Mr. Big Toe protecting her cut. She showed it to everybody. The cut has healed and Mr. Big Toe has been put away waiting to help another little toe.

And if there is a little foot in your house in the need of a special kind of band-aid, feel free to call on Mr. Big Toe.

Footnote (ha-ha): Mrs. Joe is responsible for the painted toenails.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Swinging For The Fences




The Champ made this for me yesterday. I now have it hanging in my cubicle here at work.

“That’s me hitting the ball over our house.”

Apparently, he’s still thinking he’s Big Papi.

Doesn’t he remember he is supposed to be swinging away from the house?

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Helping Put My Mechanic's Kids Through College

We have had some more car troubles here this past week. No, not Mrs. Joe's Escape, again. For a change it was my car. My "check engine" light came on this time.

Let me pause by again saying if you find a mechanic you trust, don't question him. Ever. I trust my mechanic and have trusted him for 10 years. Again, refer to Mrs. Joe's Escape. But this time I had to bite my tongue. When I went to pick it up, we played "good news, bad news".

The "good news" he said, was the diagnosis:




No, I didn't leave the gas cap off. The gasket on the gas cap was cracked and fumes were getting out of the tank.

The "bad news" he said, was the cost:



It seems you can't just replace the gasket, you have to replace the whole cap. Apparently, the going rate for a simple gas cap these days is over $20.

More "bad news" he added, you now have to include labor:




It took him two hours to figure out that it was the gas cap that was causing the "check engine" light to come on. Shouldn't today's cars, with all their computers tell you exactly what it is? Again, I didn't question him. I thanked him for not telling me I needed a major repair, paid the bill and came home...

wondering if his kids are attending classes at Harvard or Yale.