Monday, 26 September 2016

Diving Board

As promised, if you haven't seen it, my post about how proud I am that my little boy took a big leap:

Today is the City of Edmonton's Free Admission Day. While the girls went shopping, Parker and I decided to go to the Meadows to swim.
After a while, Parker expressed interest in going on the diving board, but in order to do so, he had to pass a swim test.
I was skeptical that he would be able to pass it, as you have to swim the length of the pool on your stomach without stopping. Parker is comfortable in water, but he's never attempted something to this effect before. After grabbing a life jacket, and talking to the lifeguard, Parker hopped in the pool and began his trek to the other end.
He passed, no problem! In fact, halfway through the test, I think he got bored and decided that waving to people, pretending he was a shark, and blowing bubbles in the water was more interesting. Next came the diving board.
Parker nervously stepped to the edge of the board as I waited in the water below. I promised that I would catch him as he leapt, but maybe it was too much at once. I mean, at four, that height must have seemed stories high to him. He backed off the board, and came to see me at the side of the pool.
"Daddy, maybe I'll jump in from here," he said.
"Sure, buddy!" I said. "Baby steps, right?"
A big splash later, Parker wanted to try the diving board again. I promised that I would go with him and go first so he can see what to do. Off I went, part cannonball, part bellyflop, no style whatsoever, I emerged from the water and waited for Parker's second attempt.
Edging to the board, the fear creeped onto Parker's face.
"Catch me, please!" he shouted.
"I'll be right here," I assured him.
More indecision, more trepidation, more worry. Parker started to back away from the edge again, but realized that all the people in the pool were cheering him on. Bolstered, Parker again stepped to the edge and nervously stared into the water.
"OK, Daddy, 1-2-3!" he shouted, and flew out as far as he could.
The smile on his face as he popped out of the water was from ear to ear. He did the diving board 3 more times after that, and every time he stepped to the edge, he would whisper to himself, "1-2-3 jump" and every time he would jump.
I sometimes worry that Parker needs to work on his confidence. He complains that he doesn't know how to do things, that he's scared, that he doesn't want to get hurt, or try. Well, today, I think that occasionally taking a flying leap into the unknown will work out, and might even be a little bit fun.
Proud daddy here.

Scroll of Resurrection

This past weekend, as per usual, I wrote about my kid. (Now kids, because as of my last post almost a year ago, we added another mouth to the guild.) I had every good intention of maintaining a blog about leveling up in fatherhood with my kids, but sheer laziness overcame motivation, and I dropped off the face of the earth in terms of writing.

After spending twenty minutes or so penning about how proud I was that my son had stepped out of his comfort zone, which I will repost at the bottom of this entry, I realized that writing was something I enjoyed outside of all the other things I enjoy. As such, I am again endeavoring to restart this bad boy.

So, where to begin to updating my limited readership? Those who aren't my facebook friends already, here's the rundown:

- DECEMBER 30th: We welcomed a little girl to the family. Having two kids is definitely an adventure, and is really helping me appreciate families with more kids than we have.

- APRIL 25th: My son turned 4. Already. The passage of time is just too obvious these days. From a small baby to a full fledged hilarious little being. Right now, we're all about Angry Birds, Going to the Park (Still), Preschool, Hot Wheels, and just teaching him about the world. I forget that there are things that He has NEVER seen before, so I get to see these things again through his eyes. It's amazing. Also, he pretends to force-choke me when he's mad, so that's hilarious.

JUNE 17th: I'm now a 36 year old 12 year old. I got my first two tattoos, I am trying to read through as many comics and fantasy novels as I can, trying to raise two kids right, and maintaining my steady job and sanity. All of those are not mutually exclusive.

AUGUST 28th: My wife and I celebrated out 6th anniversary this year. She is definitely the Mario to me being Luigi in our marriage. Without her, I would be a lonely plumber stuck vacuuming ghosts in the haunted mansion of life.

Which kind of brings us to now. I will be taking a two month parental leave in November, which I am really looking forward to. I know the way it's going to go in my head is probably not the way it will go in reality, but we will see.

Finally, I can't promise an update as often as once a week, but I do need a repository for my parenting thoughts. Plus, maybe a dialogue with other parents. A guild, if you will...

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Baseball Memories

That happened, and it opened the floodgates of reminiscing about my baseball past.

Once the cold winds of April blew themselves out, and that last gasp of snowfall melted, all thoughts turned to baseball. 

Where I grew up, we didn't have a soccer league to play in during summer and from May to late July, we ruled the baseball diamonds. It was a gathering place, a social event. Parents would meet and visit whilst us kids played ball starting with Mosquito all the way up to PeeWee.

I have many vivid memories of playing summer ball; My first game, where I earned the nickname 'Boomer.' Being part of many provincial teams and travelling the province. Our second baseman, Clay, always relaying messages to me from the coach because I couldn't hear all that well. One of our pitchers, Eric, throwing a perfect game. The last game with the only coach I had known at that point and feeling so disappointed we didn't win one for the Gipper. The odd way I would hold my bat: flat across my shoulders, hiding my face from the pitcher. The last season I played where we one the league championship.

I still smell the grass sometimes, and feel the shale under my cleats. I hear the snap of the baseball hitting my glove and the sharp ping of the aluminum bat when it struck the ball.

I mostly remember the teams we had, and the fun that we all had together. I never was one of the "cool kids" growing up, but being a part of the teams we had always gave me things in common with  everyone else.

And now, with P-Man growing older, it has occured to me that I really want him to build these kinds of memories too. I really want him to be a part of something that, no matter how well they ever did, he and his team-mates/castmates/group stood up together and faced all obstacles head one and never quit.

I want him to learn teamwork, perseverance, comraderie, and achievement.

And selfishly, I want to drive him to practises, sit in the stands and watch a part of me build the memories he will take with him for the rest of his life.

For now, GO JAYS. My butt is firmly planted on the bandwagon.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

All Of The Cake

I have a bad habit of complaining about the time I spend with my son.

Not in a bad way, mind you, just complaining that I don't feel like I spend enough time, enough QUALITY time, with him every morning before I drop him off.

Our morning unfolds like this:

630-700 am - My little guy will whisper in my ear; "Daddy, are you awake?" or "Daddy, open your eyes." or "Daddy, GET UP!" At which point, I will grumpily roll over and pretend I didn't hear him, which initiates physical contact, mostly in the form of hand pulling or face slapping.

730-900 am - Breakfast, Paw Patrol, playtime, both of us in our underwear, usually. I will then mosey upstairs to take a shower, leaving him to watch Paw Patrol, and me hoping he is not wrecking something expensive downstairs.

930 am - This is usually the time we get our butts in gear and get ourselves out of the house.

Now, I start work at 1100 am, which isn't bad, but I do have to admit, that 930 - 1015 is not the most amount of time to do fun stuff together, so usually it's to a park for a bit.

Most days, I'll get home, and the squirt is in bed or near ready for bed, so I really need to take advantage of that time I have.

I know that my situation is not unique.  So many parent, especially shift working parents probably feel like they don't spend enough time with their children. I can't imagine the sacrifice of a soldier deployed, of an oil field worker, a long haul trucker, anything that keeps people away from their childeren for extended periods of time. I shouldn't complain, but I do.

I fall into the trap of needing to make every moment we have together a golden moment.

If we aren't doing some amazing things, did I fail?

Is just going to the park good enough? Probably, but I sometimes think we could be doing more!

Ive watched some youtube videos of some parents making videos with their kids. I tried that today, and boy, did I feel like I was completely unengaged in what was going on. Maybe that's a thing to do when he's older, but for right now, not so much.

I think I just need to calm down and understand that whatever time we have with our kids, moments, hours, days, if there are mostly smiles and laughter, it makes up for the time we don't have.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Just One Of The Cool Kids

At some point, my kids are going to realize that I am so uncool.

One day, both kids are going to wake up, come down stairs, and see pops on the couch playing video games in his underpants with a half drank cup of coffee on the table. I will flash my most winning dad smile and invite them to play Mario Kart with me. They will sigh, and politely decline. One will go for a bike ride. The other will read and pretend to not hear me call Bowser a bitch for shooting a blue turtle shell at me.

They will one day find out that dear old dad played Dungeons and Dragons pretty regularly, and that despite not subbing for years, still has a healthy love for World of Warcraft.

They will groan mightily when I wake them both up early to go to Free Comic Book Day with me.

They will sigh when I talk to them about how this year, it will be the Knicks turn to win a championship, despite winning only 10 games the previous season.

They will roll their eyes when I gently correct them that the grey Hulk was much weaker, but more cunning than the first green Hulk.

They will plug their ears up to the third knuckle when I decide it's time to listen to Iron Maiden on the way to school.

They will tolerate watching Star Wars, yet again, because dammit, these are how movies were supposed to be made. Practical effects. Not your fancy green screens.

Despite all this, they will know that their daddy loves them more than anything.

They might not like the same things I do. They might hide me from their friends when they come over to hang out, but they will know that being themselves is one of the most important things in the world for them to be.

Whatever they do, whereever they go, whatever make their hearts sing and makes their blood boil, if they love it and are passionate about it, then that's what they should love and hold on to.

Just as long as they make some time for Dad and some Mario Kart every now and then.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Everything is Magic, and Minion News!

P-man had been talking about it for weeks. I had made an offhand comment about visiting one of his Grandpa's at their work and riding a forklift.

I had completely thought he had forgotten about it until a couple of days ago when he piped up out of nowhere that we should go.

A phone call later, and the appoinment was set.  P-man would get up close and personal with a forklift.

Let me explain something to you guys.  P-man is obsessed, OBSESSED, like, unhealthily obsessed with machinery. Any machinery. All machinery. If it lifts, digs, pushes, pulls or flattens, it is aces in P-mans books. We will be riding around in the car going somewhere, and out of the backseat is the constant reminder that we are next to a:


When we arrived at the office where my dad works, I could tell P-man was excited, but seemed a little restless and apprehensive.

I'm not sure what it was, but when we brought him out to the warehouse where the forklift sat waiting for him, all nervousness, fear and trepidation melted away to be replaced by a look of abject wonder and awe.

P-Man spent about 5 minutes on the forklift, working the various controls to manipulate the blades, afterwhich he got really quiet.

"Hey, buddy," I said, kneeling down to his eye level. "Are you ok."

P-man placed his little hands in mine and whispered: "Daddy, I need to go to the car."

It didn't occur to me until later that perhaps his brain was having trouble processing what he just did. We have spent countless hours watching construction videos on YouTube. We have sat on the grass at playgrounds watching equipment working rather than playing in the summer mornings. He knows every piece of equipment there is to know. This is something that, to him, is something unattainable. This is like riding shotgun on Santa's sleigh. This can't be reality.

My God, I am so blessed to be witnessing these moments. Moments like these are the best part of being a parent.  Moments where our children exist in a moment where imagination and reality blend together to form an experience unparalleled by anything else.

There is magic in the world, and I am glad to see it in him.

P-Man, Grandpa and the Forklift


My wife and I are thrilled beyond belief that our new little bean is going to be a girl! I'm going to have learn all sorts of new things and play new games.  I can't wait.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Water Sports

It was a cool, albeit sunny Monday morning. P-Man and I had just finished breakfast, I was freshly showered and ready to go, and P-Man had requested that he and I go to his favourite playground, which he has named "The Wooden Park."

A short drive later, we arrived at the playground. Released from the car, P-Man gleefully kicked off his Ninja Turtle Crocs and raced into the sandy park.  First the slide (Whereupon I scrape every piece of skin off the back of my legs going down), then the swings (Not too high, daddy. TOO HIGH! TOO SLOW! DAAAAAAADDDYYYY! What, do I need a masters degree in pushing a swing?), then across the shaky bridge.

The whole time, P-Man is doing his very best Micheal Jackson impression; clutching his junk like it's going to fly away if he lets go. I mean, to paraphrase the classic film "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," Larry Bird didn't get as much ball handling in one game as P-Man does in a single playground adventure.

"Parker," I shout across the bridge. "Ya gotta go pee?"

"Nope," he replies.

"Then stop grabbing your wiener!" I say.

Thirty seconds later, P-Man grabs his package and bellows from the top of the twistie slide: "Daddy, I need to pee!

Thankfully, P-man is fully potty trained and understands the concept of peeing outside, but he hasn't peed yet this morning, and I know his bladder is probably full to bursting.

Down the slide he comes, hopefully not leaving a trail of piss behind him and off we go to find a place for him to do his business.

Luckily, there is a green shack at this particular park and behind it offers a small modicum of privacy for P-man to mark his territory.

Pants down, shirt hiked up, Daddy behind him at the ready to help, P-man grabs on and gets ready to tinkle.

"OK, dude. I want you to aim down towards the ground," I say, kneeling down to get on his level.

"Like this?" He asks, and points the end of his stuff straight up at my face.

"NO...AUGHGHTHGHHF" I bellow as a stream of hot 3-year old urine erupts from his penis and hits me square in my face. I'm talking full on, in the eyes, mouth and all over. I'm talking golden shower.

"STOP, OH JESUS, STOP!" I try to grab his shoulders to turn him away from me, but at this point his peeing is like a firehouse that's out of control. All over me, him, the wall of the green shack. I'm pretty sure that none of it actually hit the ground.

Finally the torrent of piss comes to an end.  I'm baffled at this point at how it was possible I've just been peed on by a three year old. I've been peed on by children plenty of times, but usually they've all been diaper age.  This is entirely new territory for me. I'm in shock, I'm dumbfounded. Most importantly, I'm drenched with my son's waste.

What else can I do but laugh about it? When we all chose to have kids, we signed on for everything.  Every adventure, every triumph and tragedy, every sick pukey day. Even the days where your son has clearly not mastered the art of the aim and pee, it's all in the contract.

I'm pretty sure this won't be the last time I get hit with a body fluid. I'm just glad I happened to have a change of clothes for the both of us in my car.