Posts Tagged With: dads

Bike’s Ahoy!

Dear Kids,

You got new bikes! They are magnificent – although not as cool as the bike I had as a kid with streamers on the handles and a big banana seat with a rainbow on it – they are still, in their own ways, magnificent.

Buddy, yours is a Star Wars Rebels bike. It goes super fast (so you tell me) and has little buttons near the handles that make laser gun noises and tie fighter noises. Ok, that might be cooler than my rainbow banana seat.

Kitten, yours is a Tinker Bell bike. It’s purple with streamers on the handles. I think the purple-ness of it helps you get over the fact that your feet don’t exactly touch the ground yet. However, at the rate you are growing that could change by next week.

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All of this put me in mind of my bike-riding days. I learned to ride a bike without training wheels when I was about 7 years old. My dad would take me up to the top of our block where there was a nice-sized blacktop which the church across the street used for over-flow parking on Sundays. It was our biking spot.

Dad would push me along and let go – the standard bike-riding teaching technique for generations. I would wobble for about 2 feet and fall over – the standard first ride result for generations. Push-wobble-fall, push-wobble-fall, push-wobble-fall…understandably, my father got a tad frustrated after about a 30 minutes of this. I was in tears. There was disappointment on all sides.

Meanwhile, my older sister glided in circles around us with her impressive training-wheel-less skills. Show off.

Eventually, Dad left and walked home shaking his head, leaving my sister and I on the blacktop. My sister dismounted her bike and committed right then and there to teaching me how to ride my bike without training wheels.

She told me that I would probably fall…a lot. She told me to put my foot on the ground if I felt wobbly or scared. She showed me how to bail without hurting myself. She showed me how to use the curb to get on the bike easier. She told me that she knew how frustrating it was, but that I was doing a great job.

The great wall of impossibility lifted. I suddenly knew that I could do this. And within 20 minutes…I could!

The period of elation was splendid…if short-lived. Now that the last member of our family had learned how to ride a big bike, we could go on Family Biking Trips. ::Groan::

Dad biked often. And far distances. And across great terrains. On purpose. Without anything chasing him.

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The rest of us biked to church, school or 7-Eleven (all within a mile, tops). We avoided hills. We liked to coast.

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We biked for fun. He biked for challenge. Family Biking Trips sucked were character-building.

I recall being at the back of the pack (always), struggling to keep up. My father would shout over his shoulder, “Put it in gear, Meg!” I thought this was just an expression until my mother finally answered back, “It’s a one-speed bike!”

“It is?” He responded and just like that I got my first bike with gears. To this day I have no idea what gear is for what, but they did make an impressive ‘clunk’ when you changed them.

On the very next Family Bike Trip we all mounted up and headed down our hill. I pushed back on my pedals to engage the breaks – something that had never failed me on any bike I’d ever ridden to that point in my life – and DID NOT STOP.

I screamed for help. “Hand break!” my Dad yelled at me as I zoomed past him.

“What’s a hand break??” I shouted over my shoulder.

Eventually I bailed out on a neighbor’s lawn. Immediately after I got a crash-course (somewhat literally) in how to use the little levers in front of my handle bars to break the bike. I still prefer back pedal breaks and wish adult bikes had them. An well…

Despite the Family Bike Trips and my many near-death experiences, I still enjoyed a happy bike-riding childhood. The highlight being the freedom to roam our neighborhood at large…and trips to 7-Eleven.

Most weekends during the summer, my sister and I would hop on our bikes, bargain who would carry the backpack (it made your back sweaty), and set out for 7-Eleven.

We always got the same things: Two slurpees, a bag of chips, and two boxes of candy (usually Hot Tamales). The bag of chips was key; positioned in the middle if the back pack, it kept the slurpees upright for the ride home. And let me tell you, you do not want a slurpee drpping down your back a half mile from home. Refreshingly cool? yes. Sticky? oh yea.

So, kids, enjoy the bikes and – eventually – the freedom! …so long as you bring me back a slurpee 😉

Categories: Kids | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Move Over Alex Ovechkin, or No Rest for the Toothless

Dear Kitten,
 
You lost your tooth! Hallelujah!
 

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You were standing right next to me as your Mimi and I chatted away. Then I hear a little gasp. When I turned toward you, you had a look of complete shock on your face and were holding a tiny, tiny tooth in your fingers.
 
Cue the shouts of joy!
 
Talk about hoopla! We screamed, we hugged, we jumped! It was out!
 
You ran to show your Dad, then your brother, than Mimi and me again. You said, “I look like Alex Ovechkin now!”
 

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You look even better, if I may say so 😉
 
That night you put your little tooth (seriously, I’ve seen grains of rice bigger than this thing) into the tooth cup that I handed down to you from when I was a kid. You put it on your dresser and went to sleep.
 
Which is when the real work began.
 
A coin was procured. We found a Sacagawea dollar coin that had been part of a wedding gift from my Uncle Joe. It seemed appropriate that the coins should continue to mark our family’s milestones. Luckily, there are several of them, so we should be able to keep dollar coins going for at least a little while. I shined one up in some baking soda and vinegar and we were good to go. Except…
 
Your father and I couldn’t agree on how this was supposed to go down. When I was a kid we didn’t do teeth under the pillow. We were too afraid it would get lost during the night. So, my sister and I started making ‘tooth fairy shrines’ outside of our bedroom door.
 
At first it was just an upside-down laundry basket with a note for the tooth fairy. Then they started to get a little elaborate. There were table cloths, a little tooth dais, decorations, and – if you could find it amongst everything else – an actual tooth.
 
I thought the tooth cup was a pretty good ‘scale back’ from this. Your father disagreed. He’s a purist. The tooth goes under the pillow and gets swapped out for a coin. Stealth is involved. And risk. The tooth fairy of his dreams is part ninja I think.
 
In the end, we compromised. The tooth went in the cup on the dresser, but the coin would appear under the pillow.
 
In the morning, Kitten, you woke up and burst in to our room to show us your tooth fairy bounty. “Momma! The tooth fairy left me a really big nickel!” Oh, right. She’s never seen a coin like that before.
 
“Sweetie, that’s a dollar coin. How cool! You don’t see those very often.”
 

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As you were basking in the glow of your exciting moment, your father and I leaned over you menacingly and asked, “So…how’s that other tooth coming?”
 
No rest for the toothless.

Categories: Kids, Kitten | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Sanity and the Tooth: Both Hanging by a Thread

Dear Kitten,
 
This morning you woke up with two loose teeth practically falling out of your mouth. One has been loose for a few weeks and has an adult tooth coming up fast behind it. One only started wiggling a few days ago, but is already sticking out horizontally and hanging by a thread.

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Today is the day.
 
When I saw that tooth flop over in your mouth, I got giddy. I may have squealed. I loved pulling my teeth when I was your age! It was disgusting and exciting and slightly destructive – awesome, right??
 
Wrong.
 
Every time your father or I attempted to even look closely at your mouth you clamped up and squirmed away. We had to pin you down to even look at the dang teeth. Attempts to touch them resulted in a tantrum befitting a 2 year-old; complete with thrashing, weeping, and wailing. Gross.
 
It became a test of wills.
 
The more you pushed us away, the harder we pushed back. If you had expressed any desire or ability to pull the tooth yourself or even work on it, we would have left you to it. But your feeble attempts to even wiggle the tooth combined with your unacceptable behavior, made us dig in.
 
It was coming down to that tooth or our sanity – both hanging by a thread.
 
My older sister was in a similar situation when she was your age. Our father was tired of her squeamishness with her loose tooth. He decided it was coming out. He went down to the basement and found his largest, rustiest pair of pliers. He lured my sister to him with the pliers behind his back, but when he asked her to open her mouth, she got wise and bolted. Our father chased her around the house (laughing maniacally, mind you) until she locked herself in a bathroom.
 
She emerged 30 minutes later holding the tooth in her hand. She was pale and shaky. There was a little blood in the sink and definitely some vomit in the toilet. But, she had done it herself. Victory!
 
I have shared that story with you numerous times since you first got a loose tooth. I’m hoping it will inspire you. Your aunt did something very difficult for her. She was scared, just like you, but she did it anyway. She was brave.
 
It’s not working.
 
Your brother watched you attempt (in vain) to wiggle your teeth this morning and immediately ran to the mirror and started poking at his own teeth. He’s not going to be a problem in this area. My worry is him pulling out teeth too soon.
 
He’s going to be like me in this regard and I only hope that he has a little more consideration for his sister than I did for mine. I used to sneak up on my squeamish sister and pull my teeth in front of her; pushing a tooth to one side and letting the roots audibly pop. She hated it. It was always satisfying.
 
Not wanting to pull your teeth is something I can’t identify with. It’s something I don’t know how to handle. I could just let it go, and I’m actually trying to. The tooth will come out eventually no matter what.
 
But it’s not really the tooth that bothers me so much. It’s the behavior surrounding the whole thing that needs to be addressed. The over-reaction, the tantrums, the fear, the regression. It’s disappointing to see you act this way when faced with a challenge, or something you’re afraid of, or even a little pain.
 
You are bigger than this. And, just like my sister, someday you will prove it to yourself. Just maybe not with this particular tooth…

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Categories: Kids, Kitten | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Dear Kids – Why Your Dad is Awesome

Dear Kids,

You have an awesome dad. A truly superior specimen of fatherhood and an uber cool dude. How lucky could you get?

I give you, below, empirical evidence of your father’s awesomeness.

1) He snowboards. I should just stop the list there, right?

2) He was a rock climber. Like, the big walls where you’re hanging on by a fingertip. And, he’d bring his dog up with him in a harness…a Bernese Mountain Dog. Look it up kids, they ain’t small.

3) He followed the Grateful Dead on tour for a while and made gas money by selling grilled cheese sandwiches outside of his VW bus. Does that not just reek of coolness??

4) He plays hockey. That’s right.

5) He builds stuff and fixes things. He has built: a deck, a retaining wall, a patio, an entertainment unit, and that’s just the highlights.

6) He runs and he likes it. This is something I don’t personally understand, but I admire him for it and hope you two follow in his rubber-soled foot steps.

7) He was at one time a professional photographer and videographer. He knows how to use all that fancy equipment too.

8) He bought you a house. Technically, it is for all of us, but why the big back yard, the sidewalks for riding bikes, and the cul-de-sac for playing in the street? That’s all you guys.

9) He says ‘No’ and makes you do things for yourself. You might not think this is cool, but you two have learned to do several things for yourself and I know you like the independence that brings. Your welcome.

10) He is a big jungle gym. I think this is your favorite thing about Daddy. He rolls, tackles, throws, chases, catches, tickles, and bounces. I have seen him get down on the floor and go rounds with you guys even when I know he is exhausted. Sometimes it riles you guys up when he does it at bedtime, but how upset could I get? You won’t be this age forever. He’s treasuring the moment.

11) He is patient at 3:00 am. I don’t know how he does it, but every time we’re woken up in the wee hours he uses his soft voice and makes sure that you guys are ok. He listens. I don’t even have ears at that hour.

12) He makes sure we’re all eating our vegetables. Probably especially me.

13) He takes you to the gym. You guys don’t actually use the equipment yet, but you love to go with him and play in the kids center. Eventually, though, I hope you do work out with Daddy and learn how to strengthen your body.

14) He makes time for you. Even if he is working on a big project or getting work done from home, he will stop what he is doing to listen to you tell that long story about what happened on the playground.

15) He seeks you out. Daddy gets grumpy if he doesn’t see enough of you guys. He misses you. And when he does he seeks you out and you get to bathe in the awesomeness of his undivided attention.

16) He says goodnight no matter what. Even if he was working late and you’re already asleep. Even if he’s traveling and has to call. Even if he has to go out before you go to bed. Daddy always says goodnight.

17) He is funny. He is a sarcastic S.O.B. and I hope it rubs off on you guys (I will regret this later).

18) He is great with numbers. He can talk percentages and interest rates and all of that contract-related stuff and he is so confident and energized when he does. He loves that stuff and he is so good at it. I definitely hope some of that rubs off on you guys.

19) He loves you. So much. And he tells you every day. Sometimes with words and sometimes just by giving you an extra hug, putting his hand on your head, or looking at you with a mixture of pride and sadness that you are growing up so fast.

20) He loves your Mommy. Which is a really awesome thing. It makes me feel lucky every day.

So, congratulations on scoring a great Dad! Make sure to throw him a little appreciation every once in a while. Especially today 🙂

Happy Birthday, Babe!

Happy Birthday, Babe!

Categories: Kids | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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