Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Teaching sharing is a very difficult proposition. One of David's first words was "mine". How do you teach a child who holds "mine" in such an esteemed position to share?

Merry is much better at it, but she still gets nervous when she sees David coming. If an activity or object is holding Merry's attention and David catches on, he wants it. Merry has been conditioned to respond defensively.

Every day there are battles, and with the third child, Thomas, now able to get into the action there is no end to the war in sight.

The concept of sharing is one of the hardest parts of parenting, it is frustrating mitigating these battles. It happens everyday and often leads to crying, yelling and time outs.

In a twelve hour day there are hundreds of opportunities for sharing and Merry and David do pretty well 90% of the time. They understand the concept, they have a very difficult time implementing it.

To be honest, I still have a hard time sharing. If I am invovled with either an activity or object which is holding my attention and someone out of the blue tries to grab it, I get angry. Maybe if we can get control of David's grabbing, it will help the children's sharing.

I read this post to Heidi and she said" "Duh" it is not about them sharing, it is all about David grabbing. I must remind him fifty times a day not to grab Merry's things".

Friday, May 26, 2006


I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. With the nice weather comes the opportunity to spend time outdoors. My home is looking very good on the inside but the exterior is an entirely different story.

The yard, I can not refer to it as lawn, is made up of a combination of dirt, grass and dandelion's. Merry and David love the dandelion's, they make me cringe. We have a terrific patio that is growing all types of vegetation between the bricks and the area outside the new addition resembles a construction site.

By the way, did I mention that I spend all weekend every weekend painting. There is no end in sight, squeezing in a moment to mow the dandelions is proving difficult. The grass and dandelions are growing at an unbelievable rate. The 15 inches of rain we received last week has provided the vegetation in the yard with a shot akin to steroids. They are growing out of control!

All I need are some appliances out front and the scene will be complete. I know that I need to take one step at a time and in the end it will be very nice. I just wish I had some money to throw at the problem. Have some one paint and landscape the place, that would be nice.

Two days a week is not enough time to accomplish all of the tasks that need to be accomplished. The forecast for this weekend is rain on Saturday, which leaves Sunday and Monday. Monday is a holiday and there is fun to be had, which leaves Sunday, which means I will be painting until August. By the time I get around to killing the dandelions and planting some grass it will December.

That is just how I am feeling, Overwhelmed.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Hating and Killing

David spent all day on Monday telling everyone he came into contact with that they had a choice, he could kill them or hate them. Heidi and I were a bit surprised by his new vocabulary and the joy he took in pointing his finger at his target and declaring it "killed".

Monday was the first time David told me that he hated me. I was giving him a time out and on our way to the time out stair he let me know that he hated me. I can't say I blamed him, but I am not sure he even knew what he was talking about. I think I was administering the time out because he had just "killed" his little brother. Heidi had been working all day at stopping the "killing" and I believe that our trip to the time out stair was not David's first of the day.

The episodes of hating and killing subsided dramatically the next day, and I have not heard any of it since Monday night. These concepts spilling out of a two and a half year old are a little disconcerting, however it has to happen sometime. We live in a great big world full of hating and killing and as much as I wish my kids could be insulated from it forever I also want them to be in it understanding and taking it on.

Exposure that I couldn't control was the biggest fear I had about sending Merry to pre-school. All of these children grow up with different influences, what is OK in my house may not be OK in Sally's, or more importantly vice versa.

What I have learned is that Merry comes home with a new vocabulary word every once and awhile and if we do not find it appropriate she stops using it. I hope and pray that the boundaries we set inside our home stay with the children while they go about their business outside. I know the boundaries my parents set for me stayed with me, even if I didn't pay as close attention to them as I should have during my teen's and twenties.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

How You Live Your Life

How You Life Your Life

You have a good sense of self control and hate to show weakness.
You're laid back and chill, but sometimes you care too much about what others think.
Your friends tend to be a as quirky as you are - which is saying a lot!
You tend to dream big, but you worry that your dreams aren't attainable.


My son Thomas smiles. He smiles and smiles and then smiles some more. Thomas smiles when he sees me, he smiles when he sees his Mom, he smiles when he sees his sister, he smiles when he sees his brother, he smiles when he sees his dogs.

Sometimes, sitting at the dinner table Thomas will begin to crack up, he can't keep the smiles in and they spill out as laughter. A ten month old cracking himself up even makes an ornery two year old smile. Thomas makes all of us happy and can take the edge off of the most difficult day.

Thomas is a gift.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

We Tried?

If you want to attract some traffic to your blog put the word pee in your title. Anyway, I took my idea about no more pull-ups home with me last night and everyone, including Merry, thought it was a great idea.

It was a good idea until it was time to go to bed. Then Merry changed her mind, she asked me, very seriously, if it would be OK to borrow one of David's pull-ups. Me seeing the crack barged through and said "absolutely!" So much for sticking to my guns and doing the hard thing.

The conversation and prospect of spending the night without her pull-up did get Meredith's attention. She woke up around three am with a wet pull-up, she woke us up, took off the pull-up, used the potty and went back to sleep without protection. There were no accidents after that.

Before we tackle going to bed without the pull-up I think we need to take a trip to Baby's R Us and get the pad Julie described in my comments. Julie helped me to realize that I was getting a little ahead of myself, that I should slow down and let nature and Merry determine when she no longer needs a pull-up at night.

I like the fact the Meredith recognized she had peed and woke up. I am going to work this angle for a while and see if she tunes into the signals herself, maybe with a bit more conversation and explanation she will get it before I get to Baby's R Us.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Pee-Pee Catcher

Merry and I had an interesting conversation last night. Merry was upset, she had been lying in her bed thinking about the fact that she was wearing a diaper and the more she thought about it the angrier she got. Merry wears pull-ups to bed, just in case there is an accident and "diapers are for babies" and "I am not a Baby!"

Heidi was working on the computer so it was up to me to respond to yelling for Mommy that was coming from Merry's room. When I arrived at the scene Merry was sitting on her bed sobbing. I picked her up and hugged her, when she got done insisting that she wanted Mommy she confided in me that she was not a baby.

I asked her what she meant and she informed me that babies wear diapers, little girls wear pull-ups and the fact that she was wearing a diaper made her a baby. She also expressed some disappointment in her parents for allowing her supply of pull-ups to run out.

Armed with this information I plodded forward asking Merry why she needed a pull-up. She told me that she needed the pull-up when she has pee pee accidents at night. I said the pull-up is really just a pee pee catcher. I told her that the diaper was a pee pee catcher with tabs. Together we worked out that diapers and pull-ups are essentially the same piece of equipment, a pee pee catcher. Merry liked pee pee trap better, so we went with that.

Meredith is four years old, she has been potty trained for over a year now, except at night. Is it time for Heidi and I to suck it up and let her wet the bed at night? The only reason I believe she still wears the pull-ups to bed is because I don't want to deal with the mess. I put the onus on Merry, which is not fair, she is four. I tell her when she wakes up with a dry pull-up two nights in a row we will let her sleep in her underpants. She doesn't mind peeing in the pull-up, when she wakes up she takes it off and puts it in the trash. It's easy.

Here we have an instance where a person learns from blogging. Writing it down and reading it a few times gives me the opportunity to step back and see what is really happening and work to make the change that needs to be made. I do not think we are going to buy Merry any more pull-ups. I am not sure how to proceed or the steps that should be taken, but I don't think Meredith needs to wear a pee-pee trap to bed every night.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

David Has Got It.

David has figured it out. The end of last week I reported that David was potty training, this week I am reporting that he has it figured out. The young man is way ahead of schedule and I must tell you it is nice. Poops in the toilet are awesome compared to poops in the pants.

Meredith did not consider using the potty until she was three or so. David will not be three until October. Is David smarter than Merry? Absolutely not! I don't think potty training has anything to do with brains, comfort level and in David's case, peer pressure is where it is at. He was jealous that Merry used the potty and he didn't, simple as that.

I think Heidi puts more work into the potty training than I am aware of. It seems to me that we simply keep the children aware of the toilet and what it is used for. When they get curious we sit them on it.

Merry really didn't show any interest, until she realized that the deal had to be done before she got to school. When she heard this she started paying attention and making an effort. We gave her a marble each time she successfully did her business in the potty. I think it was a nice gesture but had nothing to do with her finally getting it. She realized it was easier to use the toilet than it was to walk around with waste in her pants.

David's motivation was to be like his big sister, he caught on quick and Heidi and I are happy for it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Poor Old Dog

Jackson is in trouble, the anti-depressants were effective for awhile but seem to be losing the battle. His mental capacity is circling the drain at a very rapid rate. His right eye started to weep about two weeks ago and I do not want to do what I should do.

Until Jackson was two years old he lived on a dog run outside of a home. The family fed him and taught him to sit but that was about it. When he came to live with Heidi and I he had knots under his ears, he was not neutered and would head for the hills every time we opened the kitchen door.

Jackson has always been, shall we say shy. My friend Jackson is the omega animal, all the other dogs have their way with him. I have never seen Jackson fight or even stand up for himself, at any sign of trouble or conflict his first response has always been to tuck his tail between his legs and beg for mercy.

Jackson was the first being Heidi and I had to take care of. We walked him, fed him, he slept in our bed for crying out loud. Jackson came to work with me everyday for a year, he could smell a rat from a mile away. I used to talk to him, he would listen, probably thinking I was crazy for talking to a dog. Jackson went everywhere with us, to the beach, for walks in the woods, swimming at Grampy's pool, on ski vacation, everywhere.

Jackson has looked after and loved my children, never once showing them any form of annoyance, and trust me they tried to annoy him. I find myself constantly reminding Merry and David to be nice to my friend Jackson.

Jackson spends his days now rolled up in a ball, in the front yard, waiting for me to get home from work. He has lost probably fifteen pounds in the last month because he won't eat unless I stand over him and insist. When he is inside with the family he paces and will not lie down, he seems always to be under Heidi's feet. My friend Jackson is a shell of his former self, the only joy he has is the five minutes everyday when I get home from work and pat him. I know what I should do, I am just having a lot of trouble. If the roles were reversed I know what I would want Jackson to do, he wouldn't do it, he is too shy.

It is time to go back to the vets and make our case. The last time we were there the dog perked right up and was much better for a few weeks. I hope they have some answers, I would love for it not to be my decision. In the end it will be my decision.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Carnival of Family Life

I got to work this morning, opened my email, and was pleasantly surprised. We sold some tutus, which is always nice and happens regularly and I was approached to submit some entries to The Carnival of Family Life. It was serendipitous, last week was the first I had ever heard of blog carnivals and this week I am invited to participate.

The problem I am having is that this particular carnival uses some type of pop up ad. When you want to leave a random web page comes up asking if you want to be a millionaire or entrepreneur or something. I got annoyed and emailed the woman putting the carnival together that I thought she had a good idea but I was not interested in exposing people to pop ups.

When I first heard of carnivals I went to a site and they had a long list of the different topics, none on parenting or family life. I think this woman has a good idea and I would like to be a part of it, the only thing holding me back is the pop up ads. Here are her sites, check them out and let me know what you think. The Carnival of Family Life and The Pink Diary

I like the idea of advertising on blogs, any type of "if you want it click here and get it" is good with me. It allows the person to make a decision. Please, take a minute and click on mine. I think my account is up to $15.00 or so, only eight hundred more clicks and I might get a check.

I emailed the woman expressing my feelings and look forward to hearing back from her. I don't think I will be returning to her blog or carnival until, unless the pop ups go away. What do you think? Anybody out there have any feelings on this subject? Am I over reacting?

P.S. The Pop-Ups have been cleared up and I have submitted.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Rain, Rain, Mother's Day

Holy Buckets of Rain. My little corner of the world has not seen the sun since last Tuesday. Six days of clouds, and 13 inches of rain. If it were 31 degrees that would equal 13 feet of snow, unbelievable. Heidi's Dad's basement was finished, carpets, clothes, furniture, now it is a flood zone. My parents basement is full of water, not much to ruin down there. I guess Mom and Dad worked like dogs until we, the cavalry, arrived around three o'clock on Sunday. My brother-in-law went and got a pump and the flood was brought under control.

This weekend was Mother's Weekend Off, not Mother's Day. Heidi slept in Saturday morning, woke up and headed into Boston with a few other Mom's early in the afternoon. Mom got home early Sunday morning and slept late. I got a real good taste of single parenting. WOW, wrangling the three children does not leave anything in the tank, no wonder Heidi looks forward to the weekends and a little help.

All of the talk about putting a salary on Motherhood is absurd. The compensation due to raise three kids, everything you got. That's the price we pay, it takes every ounce of energy, uses every resource. There is no equitable amount of money that can compensate for it. The only compensation that counts is love. It is the only reason a person can suffer through it, the arguments, whining and misbehaving. Parenting, Mothering is done for love, the love you have for your children. This love is not immediate but grows with time and testing. Each of the children are different and provide their own challenges and rewards, and believe me after four or five days of rain the challenges are great.

Clouds and rain make me crazy, one rainy day here or there I can live with. We are going on a week without seeing the sun. It is not good for my constitution, all this rain. Here in the North East we spend all winter inside, we got a nice little taste of good weather the end of last week and then this. I need to get outside and get some sun, soon.

Heidi told me that it doesn't matter what the weather is, she is taking the kids out today. They won't melt and the thought of another day trapped inside is too much to bear. Maybe if they jump in puddles for an hour or two there will be a little less energy inside the walls of our Old Blue House.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Potty Training

David has decided he wants to use the potty and wear Big Boy underpants. This has been building slowly, it started a few weeks back at bed time he would copy his sister. Some nights he would pee other nights he would just sit there looking goofy. Yesterday I got a call at work, Heidi put David on the phone and he exclaims "Daddy I am wearing underpants! Here's Mommy". He sounded so proud.

When will he be big enough to stand up? Now, when he has to go, he has Heidi take off all of his clothes from the waist down. Then he climbs the toilet and lowers himself down on the seat. He accepts no help "I do it myself!" he proclaims. There is no arguing with him. This poses a problem at public restrooms, when I say he climbs the toilet I mean he scales up the back bowl and before lowering himself down on the seat he crouches there poised, hands on the front, feet on the back, like a cat ready to pounce. I am not germphobic but the thought of his naked little body climbing up and down public toilets sceaves me out.

He is ahead of Merry by about half a year I think. Having a role model has accelerated the process. Heidi and I have never pushed the potty thing, we simply clap and hurray like crazy people when they succeed, and hug and console when there is an accident. Action needs to be taken to curb the naked ascents, a step in front of the bowl and a lesson may be the answer.

Congratulations David, you are growing up right on schedule.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Every Night

Every night before I go to sleep I check on the children. There are two reasons for this, one I want to make sure they are under their covers, if they are not covered up they get cold and cry. The most important reason I have for checking in on them before I go to sleep is because it makes me smile.

No matter what is going on in my head seeing my children sleeping peacefully gives me an immense amount of satisfaction. It makes me smile knowing they are secure and comfortable, dreaming of butterflies, sand castles, trucks and princesses. Merry and Thomas sleep on their stomachs, I can not see the expressions on their faces, David sleeps on his back with his hands up over his head and a devious smirk on his face. I wonder what he is thinking, I know he feels secure.

Writing on sleeping brings back thoughts concerning Thomas' mid night feedings. I am happy and a bit astounded to report that we have not heard from Thomas after 9 pm for almost a month. Knock on wood. Tap tap. Heidi and I have been sleeping through the night with out childish interruption for a month. We have not had a reprieve this long in four years.

Last night I went to bed with a smile on my face. Children can even wash away the disappointment of a 7-3 loss to those damn Yankees.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Nieces Baptism

Sunday we attended the newest baby to our clans Baptism, my sister and her husbands third child a beautiful little girl. The service was short and sweet, the babies soul was washed clean of Adams sins and now has a chance, in the Catholic Churches eyes, of getting to Heaven.

The formal part of the day over we headed back to my sisters house for the celebration. It was a beautiful day, 70 degrees and sunny. Lulu(my sister)'s house has a big back yard with an awesome swing set. Great for kids and good for me. The swing set keeps the kids occupied while I sit on my arse in the sun.

There was a moment during the afternoon that got the entire parties attention. The God parents of the christened baby have two children of their own, their youngest is a two year old boy with a decent sense of adventure. The child decided to descend the ladder on the swing set as you would a flight of stairs, facing away from the stairs, rungs. This technique is not recommended for two year old boys and the odds are, it will not end well.

The parents at the party all took note of the intended descent and began moving towards the swing set. My father being the closest was moving the fastest, he arrived just in time to catch the little boy on his first bounce. The little fella landed square on his face, he folded over so that his heels were touching the back of his head. My Dad grabbed him and hugged him, his mother was close at hand and scooped him out of my fathers arms to console him. The boy was back to his self in fifteen minutes and his mom had him back on the ladder. He had it mastered by the end of the evening.

The odd thing is, an hour later his five year old sister did basically the same thing. There was much less fan fair, she did a better job catching herself. Bad luck being a God parent that day.

Me, I had a wonderful time, the sun was out, the food was delicious and there was plenty of beer. The kids had a great time playing with their cousins, it felt like summer. I can't wait for summer.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


The painting continued over the weekend and I am making good progress. Oil based primer is evil, I hate the stuff but it does look nice. On Saturday I was working solo in the morning, Heidi and Merry had some appointments and I was left in charge of David. It is hard to keep tabs on a two year old from the top of a twenty-four foot extension ladder.

Hard for you mortals, I on the other hand used the same technique I use at the beach. I gave the kid something to do that kept him occupied. When we go to the beach I spend the first fifteen minutes there digging a hole as big as a bath tub. I dig the hole near the high tide line and it fills with water the kids stick to it like glue, or oil based primer. No following them around from one blanket to another, the hole attracts kids, all kinds of them and their tag along parents end up stopping by. Some stay awhile some keep on moving, me I sit in my chair, read a book, go for a swim or play in the hole.

Looking down on David from my perch atop the ladder I realized I needed some sort of diversion to hold his attention. David wanted to paint of course, this was not an option due to the mess he would make without direct supervision. I was not in a position to supervise, so I got a cardboard box, a shovel and set him to work shoveling dirt into the box. God bless him he stayed at it for an hour or so. Then my dad showed up to help me paint and then Merry and Mom returned and I was off the hook, but still on the ladder.

I should be done with the clapboards in two more weeks, then I get to tackle the trim.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Big Dance

Saturday night was a night that I hope Merry will remember as long as I do. It was a night filled with firsts for a very special four year old little girl. Any reservation I may have entertained were swept away in the joy Merry felt on her very special day.

Merry's first appointment was scheduled for 10:30 am, hair and nails at Margaret's Salon, Nails Etc. While Mommy, Merry and Thomas were at the Salon, David dug dirt and I painted the exterior of our house. Merry's hair appointment was for 3:30pm the moment she got back I had to dash to pick up my tuxedo. I arrived home to a house full of family and friends to see us off.

Merry looked as beautiful on the outside as I know she is on the inside. I rushed upstairs, showered and got dressed, coming downstairs I had the awkward feeling I had picking up my date on Prom night almost 18 years ago. Only this time I was escorting my daughter, not the object of my affection.

We jumped in Grampy's car and were off to the ball. We were among the first to arrive and got right to the dance floor. We showed off our moves and had a special time together. The place filled up and many of Merry's friends from dance class arrived, I believe that my little girl had a magical evening.

When Merry returned from trying on the glass slipper which did not quite fit, she informed me that it was not really Cinderella and Prince Charming. She told me that Cinderella was a girl wearing a wig and that Prince Charming was wearing sneakers. The cool thing is that it did not bother her. She was just happy they were there and entertaining her.

Mercifully the evening was only an hour and a half, any longer would have been too much. Not for Merry, for me, I painted through lunch and the only food they had were cupcakes and cookies. My one gripe was the raffle, I did not know there was a raffle until the end of the evening when they asked all the girls to sit and wait to see if their name would be called for a special prize. I was not the only Dad who was unaware of the raffle, five girls out of fifty seem to have won all of the prizes, it was very uncomfortable, Merry waiting for her name to be called, me knowing that it wouldn't be. Next time I will buy a stack of chances.

It's Crazy

The sun is out in the North East and all the bugs seem to have woken up at the same time. There are some fun stories I want to pass on, but I don't have the time or mental space to put it together coherently. Things I will touch on in the near future, progress painting, The Cinderella Ball, and my nieces Baptism.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Laughing is good for you they say. I believe them, who ever they are. Sometimes Merry, David, Heidi and I laugh and laugh. This is when I am happiest, when one of us finds something to be funny, usually an inappropriate noise or gesture and we begin to laugh,

Most times it starts out slow and grows. Merry may slip a funny word into one of our favorite songs. "Marry had a little "hotdog" " and she will begin to giggle. Then I will start to giggle. Seeing me giggle will escalate Merry's laughter, which will bring me up a notch. Now the two of us are really laughing, who can resist a good laugh? Not David, he will drop what ever he is doing and come over and join us in our guffaw.

Now the entire family is belly laughing and by this point we don't even know why. I know why, it is because we love it and it is good for us.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

One Night a Month

One night a month, as a member of the Board of Directors for the New England Pest Management Association I am required to attend a meeting. These meetings encompass all sorts of things relating to the bug business and are beneficial to me as a pest management professional and to my business.

There is a problem, my wife views these meetings as a night out, my chance to get out, mingle and have a good time. These meetings are less work than work, granted, but they certainly are not a night out with the boys.

I would rather be home with my children, eating dinner, singing songs and banging on pots and pans. I rather doesn't matter, there are things we all have to do and monthly NEPMA meetings are one of mine.

Tonight the association is awarding a scholarship, there is a dinner and an association meeting. Before the festivities there is a board meeting where we will discuss licensing of pest control technicians in the state of MA., not particularly interesting but very important.

Goodnight Merry, David, and Thomas, I will not be home until late tonight and because I get up early and leave for work I probably will not see you guys until Thursday night. Sweet dreams and be good for Mom.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Some Good Fun!

At times we call ourselves the loud family. The reason is we are loud, there are times when the din is deafening. Last night was one of those nights and it was fun. After David woke up from his quick cat nap on the kitchen floor we ate supper.

After supper we drummed, the drumming started on the side of the stove, unacceptable, it moved to the kitchen table, no good either, then I had an epiphany, lets drum the hanging pots. The kids pounded the pots while I sang nonsensical songs at the top of my lungs. Thomas stared at us in amazement, Mommy just shook her head.

Merry, David and Daddy rocked our kitchen!

Heidi's Blog

Swing by the wife's blog to check out some fun pictures of our boys.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Who Needs Hired Help?

The sun has been out all day. Now that it is time to go home the clouds have rolled in. I do not want to paint if mother nature is going to wash it away, URHG I am so frusterated, Merry's term.

The dreaded Evil Empire is in town tonight to play my beloved Red Sox, Johnny Damon is coming back. I hope it does not get rained out.

Who out there thinks they have the cutest, most wonderful children? We all think our kids are the best, and after Merry's performance Saturday night I am sure Heidi and I have the best kid.

My daughter was the perfect hostest, no sooner did our guest get their coats checked did Merry offer them a plate of hors' devours. To see her weaving through the sea of adults balancing her next offering was precious.

I don't know where she picked it up, she was not prompted, she just thought it would be helpful. Our guests were amazed, no sooner would I hand them their first drink when Merry would show up with a sample of the evenings treats.

After an hour Merry approached me and told me she was tired and asked if she could go upstairs and watch Dora. I told her "No, you have to wait until the end of the party, do the dishes and pick up." To which she replied, "OK, Daddy"

In reality we went upstairs, put in her movie and she fell to sleep. A perfect little helper.