new blog post: disappointment

i wrote his awhile ago and thought i’d put it up.

i haven’t said it yet, not sure if i will, it’s probably the most powerful phrase a parent can wield on their child, more painful than any spanking, more thought provoking than anything a raised voice could deliver, and a useful tool to get a person to actually think about their actions.

what am i talking about?

the monotoned uttering of “i’m disappointed in you.” the most effective delivery is the following: you must hold your jaw so that your teeth are only a quarter of an inch apart, speak from your mouth using your lips, almost a whisper – forcing the sound from your throat. of course a dead eyed stare upon delivery helps as well. when someone says this to you, there is nothing you can do. you can’t argue with it. walking away in quiet contemplation is about all you got. do you remember the first time you heard it? well, perhaps not the first time, but i guarantee that more than a few of you know the situation that caused a masterful delivery of that phrase by someone in your life.

disappointment. see, i think all of us seek the approval of an adult in our lives, the approval of someone we look up to, we all want to hear the opposite of disappointment, we want to make them proud. perhaps it was an adult early on, and now you seek the approval of someone else. i know that when my girls grow up i will want them to be proud of me, to see me as a person that they can count on, but i think their is something profound in letting a loved one down. not that i aim for it, it may have looked that way sometimes, but when you disappoint someone you are not the only one forced to contemplate the expectations. the person who is disappointed had better be examining their vision of you, what they want to see in you, and ultimately your relationship. we can, sometimes unknowingly, load loved ones with unrealistic and ridiculous expectations, we do it to ourselves too. i believe in high standards, i live my life expecting a lot from myself and those that i am around – i know this.

disappointing someone is not something that you purposefully do, it is something that someone thinks you have done to them. there are times we need to be more aware of those around us and understand our role in their lives, but there are times when people in our lives need to be forced to understand that we are not purposefully hurting them, but doing what we feel is right, and perhaps that shouldn’t lead to disappointment, but a further understanding of one another’s lives.


new blog post: changes. new focus same person.

i started writing this blog for a few reasons: to process a major change in my life, to hone my writing skills, to share our stories, and to begin a project that i consistently add to and stay focused on – this probably being the biggest. in the past i typically have, what I think are good, ideas, get excited about them, hit the ground running, burn out, and move on to the next whim, well, i have stuck with this blog for 78 posts now – something i am proud of, and i plan on adding even more – buuuuut.

this is building to something isn’t it? well, i have started another blog http://papasense.wordpress.com
that oddly felt strange to write – i don’t think i could put my feelings about idiosyncratic wind in honest words – too personal, and that may sound silly, but it’s true. i will continue to write here. this blog will continue with similar content, but i will need some time away to focus on my new blog. i want to thank all of you who have helped make this blog what it is – your support, comments, and reading of my words is appreciated. my confidence in style, content and message is born in me (kind of sorta maybe still working on that), but knowing people were reacting to what i wrote helped keep me writing. i hope you will check out my new blog – a more focused look at stay at home parenting, of course a. and h. will still be the stars of the show.

so, we are off to disney tomorrow. bags have been packed since sunday, excitement has been in the air since january, and we are all ready for four solid days together.

talk to you all soon.


new blog post: peering at sugar mountain through binoculars.

“oh, to live on sugar mountain
with the barkers and the colored balloons,
you can’t be twenty on sugar mountain
though you’re thinking that
you’re leaving there too soon,
you’re leaving there too soon.”

these lyrics, this song, sugar mountain by neil young (who incidentally wrote it at the age of 19), went through my head on more than one occasion today. it was seventy degrees, the sun was out, and there was a slight breeze letting us know that it’s still february. the girls and i headed up rainbow mountain to find unicorns and listen for bears. we accomplished both of our missions – the unicorns were bouncy without horns (some might call them horses) and the bear snores were either testing sounds from the arsenal or thunder that never made rain – though i kept the threat of possible rain in my back pocket in the event that the girls budged at leaving time. “come on, come on, gotta beat the rain” – gets them moving faster than “we gotta get home for lunch”.

between hornless unicorns.


a.’s confidence climbing rocks, h.’s interest in discovering what’s under every rock, and the other explorations that the girls went on today – not totally guided by me – helped me realize that they are climbing sugar mountain, they are in the foothills, they are on their way to fantastical findings that will form, frighten and fascinate them, they are still allowed on sugar mountain – and will be for quite some time.

i lived on sugar mountain, i think i dug my heels in the whole way down, but realized that we all have to move on at some point. the beautiful thing about having children is getting to sit on ‘sometimes sour, hopefully spicy, and lightly sweetened with stevia’ hill, pull out our binoculars, and catch glimpses of a pure cane time in our lives.

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letting our kids feel, and letting them know it’s real.

i was cleaning up after lunch (a chore i enjoy – setting the stage for round two in the day, a fresh start) and a. and h. were in a.’s room playing prior to quiet time – which is mostly nice, but there are the times i come in to ‘break up the party’ and am met with a myriad of reasons why they should have quiet time together. ‘dad, we will totally play quiet and i will share my leapster i promise.’ ‘no, to your own room girls’ (when i write and say that i feel really old – especially the way i say “girrrrls”) ‘dad, how about we play in here for a little bit, and if we are doing well we can keep playing together or go to our own rooms’ she looks up with a smile, knowing she has just played me at my own game. “no, come on guys let’s go” my tone flatter, my eyes losing their ‘this is cute’ smile. then: they up the ante, i get stern, they hug and kiss a few hundred times – their love enhanced by the fight against a common enemy, h. finally goes to her own room, i sit on the sofa, ten minutes later she is coming out of her room with a ‘rooster in the oven’ (euphemism for ‘poop in the diaper’), we change her diaper (it’s the humane thing to do) and she goes back to her room. i then have anywhere between ten minutes and two hours to ‘do things around the house’ (in quotes only because there is little to no consistency with how i use that time – probably best gauged off of my bejeweled blitz score).

spinning on the moon.

so, during this ‘pre-quiettime play’ i usually don’t notice the noises they are making, unless it is ‘the cry’ – you know, the one that they aren’t faking, the one that comes from the source of the pain and out the mouth, the one we say ‘it better be’ but hope we never hear. as they play, my ears are filled with my own grunts, the garbage disposal, clanging of dishes, and thoughts that range from the talent of plumbers to whether ryan braun is innocent. but, this day the noise that came from a.’s room was different, best described as a wail, a heart-felt, stomach to throat to mouth moan and cry, the sound of her soul coming out of her mouth, a child feeling deep. i walked in, knowing she was hurting and not hurt, to find her holding a picture of her and her friend from back home. not just holding, but pressing to her chest, trying to make him appear in her heart. the sobs were broken up by “i want my l., l. i just want my l.” over and over again. i held her, i think i said it would be alright, but mostly held her and let her feel. i love that little girl. my goodness, she feels. i hope that i or the world never strips that from her. yes, she is four, i could down play the whole thing, and tell her to move on, chalk it up to the irrational crazy emotions of a four-year old – ‘nope’, as h. would say, i want our children to feel. it’s not an easy road to feel that deeply, i know, i think we all know, but being able to express, expose and delve into that type of feeling will help her better relate to the world around her – i think. yes, we must teach children to regulate their emotions, but first we must teach them that it is okay to have and show them.


i think this looks cool.

this picture was taken in the state capital building – montgomery, alabama.

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pictures from a gray day in montgomery

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the birth of a heart-o-scope.

the girls had gathered art supplies from upstairs, brought them downstairs, and made themselves busy at the kitchen table – while i cleaned up from lunch. i looked over and observed the following.

a.’s tongue was pressed tight to the corner of her tensed lips, her eyes were zoned, and a trickle of snot had crept from her nose. she gave a quick sniffle, to bring the caterpillar back in the cave, shifted her tongue, gazed up, and then quickly back to focus – a robot like motion, a motion much like resetting to the next line on a typewriter. i’m not sure if my mind or her eyes made that wonderful mechanical noise that typewriters used to make, as her pupils lifted, quickly hit the ceiling, and then fell back down on ‘her world’. “da’ zingk”. the only thing existing at that moment – for her- was in her hands. she shifted in her chair, gave a sideways glance – to be sure sister wasn’t working her way towards any of ‘her’ materials, another darting glance at sister, this time to be certain that sister wasn’t one clumsy fall away from disturbing her creation, and a final check, this time to see what sister was working on.

i was washing dishes at the kitchen sink, felt a ‘force’, looked down, and there was the three-foot-four-inch ninja, eyes blurred from concentration, hair without a part, and little hands holding a collection of objects held together by a number of adhesives, she extended her ‘art baby’ and asked that i tie a knot. the string was affixing a piece of construction paper to a roll of paper towel, and the roll of paper towel had been transformed into a valentine’s day kaleidoscope with wings. there was a panted ‘thanks’ as she shuffled back to the table. h. had now successfully plastered cray paper to each of her fingers, which left the glue stick hopelessly melted to itself. her eyes were smiling and wide, her face was painted with smudged marker, her creation, no less awesome, but, her creation was ripped to pieces, while a.’s fingers turned into tweezers as she put the finishing touches on her prized piece of work.

she was done, for now, and a. and h. took turns looking through their ‘heart-a-scope’ – for a moment. then h. wanted it longer than a., a. pulled it away and said it was hers, h. cried, a. scurried to her room – heart-a-scope in hand, h. cried a little more, and we all took a ten minute break.

the heart-a-scope.

a. would not be happy if she saw this picture.


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