Toto the Spy: Dealing With My Little Brother

TotoThere is a legend around my brother’s beginning that may or may not be true. But really stories like this are best with partial truths, so I would rather not know how right this may be.

I was in preschool and my friend Gabe Gaddy (Yes, that is his name; I may have misspelled it though) brought his little baby sister in for show-and-tell. The reaction from the kids in the room and the teacher hit a nerve with me. Maybe it was jealously, I’m not sure, but when I went up for my turn I announced my mom was pregnant and I was going to have a little brother.

Yeah, I did that. Made up the entire thing.

Here is where things get a little muddy, either the story got back to my grandmother (who was head of curriculum for the school district) or it was the teacher calling my mother to congratulate her (I always like to imagine the story making it to my grandmother and her reaction), whatever the case my parents heard, putting them into a little bit of a pickle. Either they break the heart of their only son and have him announce his mistake in class (something that surely would have been memorable), or…

Less than a year later I had a little brother. Continue reading

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Starting School

“Can you believe our firstborn is starting school?” My wife asked me this question a few days ago, her eyes going wide as she said it, and it ridiculously enough took me completely by surprise.

My son is about to start Begindergarten, which is a cute way of saying an “Early Fives” class. He is going to attend it in an elementary and he will be there all day just like all of the bigger kids, using their same cafeteria and their playground (not at the same time, of course). My wife and I were so focused on getting him into the right school in our area for the last eight months that I didn’t realize until recently how much this change meant for all of us in our little family and for him.

This was about to be something new…

In preparation of this first day over the weekend we drove him to his new school and allowed him to play in the playground for about an hour. While he loved playing in the playground (trying everything he could), I kept noticing things, my parental eye kicking in.

  • Who was it that left these empty beer cans here on the playset? Will these people who would drink at a kids’ playground be around the school? Heaven forbid, or will they actually be attending?
  • Why are there so many weeds?
  • And are those soccer nets going to be fixed?
  • Is that rust?

Yes, while this playground is better than anything I had growing up (and this is a great school district), I still was catching everything I possibly could. This could be a super power of mine. A lame super power, but still a power. You can call me “Protective Dad.” And I am here to shake my head and wag my finger at others! Irresponsible people of the world be warned! Protective Dad is among you now! Continue reading

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Vasectomy

This was my end of the bargain.

My wife would have our two lovely children and when she was done I would go to the guillotine, as it were. I would be Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities, with both hands tied behind my back being led to my destiny while reciting, “It is a far, far better thing I do…”

That sounds strangely noble in theory, but in actuality, I must admit, with the birth of our second child I had been avoiding this doctor trip like the plague. I had postponed the visit two different times (scheduling then rescheduling… twice), but after a year, I was running out of excuses for myself.

On the day of the appointment, I was freaking out. I tried to explain this to my wife, but, as sympathetic as she tried to be, she didn’t get it. And comparing it to what she had to experience in the birthing of our children, didn’t help. Yes, I am sure birth is a bigger life changing, panic-driven, and painful experience. But for a guy, this is something. Yes, it means something, and it’s not something that can be easily explained, it’s in the gut, it’s in the animal part of the brain. It is part of what defines us as male. Hear us roar!

I ended up making a quick excuse to run an errand, and then in a parking lot called one of my oldest friends to talk me down. I was the guy on the edge of the building preparing to jump, he was the understanding cop with the bullhorn explaining to me that I still will have a lot to live for.

I was going to be fine… I was going to be fine… I stepped away from the ledge. Continue reading

Nine Thoughts On Turning One

Today, my daughter turns one.

It may seem selfish, but my kids’ birthdays always become a moment of reflection for me. They are milestones and milestones usually have that impact on a person, no matter if they want it or not. Yet, as first years go, this one seemed to speed past, leaving a soul wondering where all of the time went and why it had to go by so fast.  Here are nine of my initial thoughts on her birthday and the last year…

1. I have heard that many say when your babies age, it makes a parent feel older. That has yet to be the case for me. Maybe I have a touch of the Peter Pan/young at heart thing going you see in the movies, but having kids has made me reclaim bits and pieces of my own youth. I wear brightly colored shoes now, I know all about superheroes, and I can read Fox in Socks incredibly fast. To be honest, I like being this guy, I like being a dad. In a way, it is a gift my kids gave to me… If that doesn’t sound too Hallmarky. Continue reading