Dad Brog (#090): 27 Months

Let the record show that it is month 27 in the life of #1, my eldest child, and we have embarked on a journey where the roles have reversed with my kids.  #2 is now the low-maintenance chill kid, easy-going, amicable and easy to please throughout the day.  Which means #1 has transformed into an emotionally volatile goblin, incapable of knowing what it is they want with life from second to second, resulting in more often than not, nuclear meltdowns.

Not just whining, but full-on tears and dribbling snot, shrieking, sometimes going down to the ground to throw tantrums kind of meltdowns.  Things that placate on Monday are ineffective on Tuesday, and things they liked at 11 am are declarations of war by 4 pm.  Almost every suggestion of activity, food or book is responded with a shrill NO [noun] and then ensuing whining.

Despite the fact that mythical wife doesn’t want to believe in them, I think these are what we might have to classify as an introduction into, the terrible twos.

We’re trying our best to keep our cool, and I think we genuinely are doing well at not caving into her outbursts, but it is most definitely tiring and more exhausting than younger times dealing with a perpetually irate toddler.  Admittedly, I meet a lot of her tantrums with laughter, because it really is kind of hilarious to see how she’s evolved, and mixing all of her accumulated learned intelligence with the vocabulary she’s amassed. 

Like we’ve read to her several books about dealing with emotions and how when one gets mad, they should take a deep breath.  Sometimes we the parents get agitated from so much of her bullshit, and if she sniffs out our frustration, she’ll immediately tell us to take a deep breath, like really??

Obviously we know that this is a phase and it shall eventually pass, but whooowee, is it testing of our patience.  Suddenly gone is the sweet and agreeable daughter of mine whom I could read pretty much any book I wanted to before bed time without any argument, but in her place now is a psychotic little goblin the demands the same two Sesame Street stories, except she goes ballistic when I start them and insists on being the one who turns the pages but then loses her shit when I can’t keep up with how fast she’s turning them.

And of course, the possibility of by the time she works through this phase, #2 could very well be on her heels and embarking on the emotional path of destrucity herself, leading to mythical wife and I to ponder just how much time is left before they’re old enough to be independent.

Dad Brog (#089): Father’s Day, for the rest of my life

#1 of until the end of my time

A while ago, mythical wife asked what I wanted for Father’s Day.  Usually whenever anyone asks me what I want for my birthday, Christmas, or now that I’m eligible, Father’s Day, I have no idea.  I don’t have a want for things except wrestling blets, and understandably nobody(ies) want to drop $300+ on effectively useless straps of fake leather and metal plates.

However, this year, I had an answer pretty quickly, because I have been thinking of it for a while.  And the best part is that it doesn’t cost a thing, but will still have unlimited value and meaning for me for the rest of my life.

What I wanted for Father’s Day this year, and every single year for the rest of my life, is a photo with my daughters, holding their tag team championship blets.  That’s it.  There’s nothing else I’ll ever need or want more than this every Father’s Day, than this request.

I figure there would be no better opportunity for me to pull this card than Father’s Day, as the my girls grow and get older and intelligent, and inevitably think my blet collection is lame and stupid.  But being Father’s Day, they’ll have to acquiesce to this small and simple request, and I’ll have them right where I want them, next to dad for a yearly photo.

I love time-lapse photography, and what I’m hoping is to one day have an impressively long photo album, built a year at a time, of myself with my daughters as they grow, blossom into the beauties their mom’s genes have set them on the course for, and watch the changing of expressions as they may be excited and exuberant as kids, begrudging and embarrassed as teenagers, but then come around and be happy and accepting of tradition as young adults and maybe one day mature women and maybe mothers in their own right.

Either way, this photo makes me happy, and I’m hoping that this will be the first of many, many years of similar photos, of forcing my children to participate in their lame dad’s hobby.

Dad Brog (#088): The house of cards that is parenting

A long time ago, when I was an active member of a baseball community, among the numerous swipes and passive-aggression shown between nerds on the internet, one of the phrases that often times would set people off, was when person X would make a hypothetical transaction, and then person Y would respond with something along the lines of “[Name of baseball team general manager] would laugh and hang up the phone.”

Person X would usually become incensed and defensive at the hyperbolic idea that an actual general manager would find their proposal to be so ludicrous and stupid, that it would result in their laughter before hanging up on them, and I would imagine the Michael Jackson eating popcorn gif in my head before letting them bicker, before I would inevitably have to call timeout on them because I was also a moderator.

The point is, I often times loved how much the phrase, laugh and hang up the phone on you, rose to such a prominent slight within the community, for something so fairly silly and innocuous.

Two weeks ago, we shipped #1 to South Carolina for the weekend, so that all of her grandparents could get some quality time with their eldest granddaughter, and mythical wife and I could have a weekend where we only had to take care of one tiny human instead of two.  It was one of the easiest weekends we’ve had in quite some time, as caring for one infant/toddler is tremendously easier than caring for two.

It was at this point where I realized that I would be extremely critical and judgmental towards parents of one out there that think their lives are at all difficult, because one child is a fucking cakewalk in comparison to dealing with the two that I’ve got.  I would, metaphorically, laugh and hang up the phone on any parents who thinks their singular child is difficult, because they are one or more additional kids away from knowing what true parenting hell is.

However, no good deed goes unpunished in the world of parenting, so as welcome and pleasant as it was to have a more relaxed weekend less one child, when #1 came back, she brought a nasty virus back with her.  Within a day of returning she had a fever, sneezing and runny nose, and I experienced the joy of having to administer my first COVID test to a toddler, who naturally was not a fan.

Fortunately the test was negative, but of course there’s all the doubt in the world that I did it right, or got enough brain juice on the swab to get an accurate test, but because we don’t have unlimited tests, we just had to have faith that it was negative.

Naturally, within the span of a day, mythical wife is sick, the nanny’s kid who is with us daily is sick, and I thought that #2 managed to escape the plague, but much like her sister, there was about a day of gestation before the shit started to hit the fan.  And unlike #1’s two-day bounce back, #2 has been feverish for five days now, been to urgent care once, only to confirm that it’s not coronavirus, it’s not the flu, but it doesn’t change the fact that she’s routinely spiking up to 103F, and on the way back to the doctor first thing in the morning.

And just like that, this is where the house of cards that is our general life comes crumbling down, once again.  My kids are sick just about every single month, it spreads like wildfire, including to the nanny, and her very needed attendance or punctuality takes a hit, which means I have to take a hit with my job, and then I fall behind and feel shitty about my job security. 

Usually, by the time I catch back up to things, the cycle repeats itself with one of my kids getting sick again, passing it onto the other as well as anyone adjacent to my household, and I’m exasperated and repeatedly getting called out by mythical wife for “always being upset.” 

Life is hard.  Parenting is hard.  I love my wife and kids, but everything is hard.  We’re trying our best.  I’m trying my best, and I am not perfect.  I lose my cool and I get upset more than I’d like to admit, but I’m trying.  But damn if it doesn’t feel like there’s occasionally no end to hard mode, and I have to tell myself to not think so hard about circumstances, because there are just a bunch of rabbit holes to fall into, where the outcomes of them aren’t always the best for one’s mental states.

Dad Brog (#085): Let the scapegoating begin

The bubbling in the tub didn’t even finish before #1 boisterously proclaimed that #2 farted.  The thing is though, #2 was not the one who had farted in the tub, it was most definitely #1. 

Mythical wife and I cracked up because farts are fucking hilarious.

However, it wasn’t just because of that, but also because this was not the first time that this had happened, where #1 had flagrantly thrown her little sister under the bus.  The first time was a funny anomaly, but it happening again appears to be the start of a pattern: the classic tactic of blaming your sibling.

For now, it’s just farting, but who knows what #2 will get blamed for in coming days, weeks, months and years.  The most fascinating thing about it is how organic and how completely unprovoked and untrained in which this happened.  We’re still at the stage of parenting where just about everything is okay and is teachable, and isn’t necessarily a bad behavior in which #1 should feel embarrassed or feel the need to pawn off on her little sister, but she’s decided to do it anyway.

Otherwise, my kids are the joy of my life, and absolutely nothing in the world brings me more happiness than seeing how much my daughters love each other.  Even if #1 has decided to use her little sister as a scapegoat now, and I’ll probably have sisters declare Mortal Kombat on each other at some points in their lives, for the time being, seeing the pure, tender and wholesome love between the sisters are the best parts of any given day. 

But how fast those tables turn once #1 rips a fart and decides that #2 is the guilty party.

Mark this as one of the brog posts that I hope one day my children will read and then cringe and bemoan the fact that this is an embarrassing story about them.

Why I’m the only guy in the office still wearing a mask

Both my kids are sick now.  Still possible that I caused it, but also some reason to believe it might not have been me.  Either way, strep was brought to them somehow, and obviously through basic transmission of germs.

But this is why I still mask up, even if in doing so, it’s still not foolproof at protecting my famiry.  I went all of 2020 with not even a common cold and it was glorious.  But as time progressed, people selfishly got sick of masks and arrogantly believed a vaccine made them invincible, sure as the sun rises, the common sicknesses that nobody got in 2020 were waiting around and it’s been a fucking war zone since.

Literally, a night nurse at the hospital #2 was born at got my wife and newborn baby sick, who immediately passed it onto #1 as soon as we got home.  That was real fun, dealing with a house full of sick people, among them a literal newborn.

2022 literally started with coronavirus infiltrating my house, where mythical wife got it, and although untested, myself and #1 probably had it too.  Amazingly, #2 seemed to escape unscathed.

And since then, I think it’s accurate to say that one or both of my kids have been sick every single month of this year.  Coincidentally, mask mandates are relaxing all over the country, and Georgia was full of yeah cmon hicks who already began ditching them, and shocker, fucking sicknesses are goddamn everywhere.

And when my kids get sick, I’m the one who has to eat the load and work from home and compromise my work responsibilities and often times run double duty on the girls.  I’m the only one who’s work suffers and the backlog usually ends up with me working into the evenings and/or having to rush and be at higher risk of shoddy work.

I’m just sick of my kids getting sick.  It’s by no fault of their own, they’re just kids.  I blame the fucking world around us full of arrogant and selfish assholes who can’t be bothered to wear masks in public, happily content with spreading two years worth of backlogged colds and other niggling ailments that everyone is spreading and getting all the fucking time.

I refuse to feel like the outcast in public because I choose to wear a mask still.  It may not be fool proof at preventing sicknesses but I’m doing the best I can to try to protect all my girls, even if it makes me seem like the outlier that was just barely months ago, the norm.

How I spent my 40th Birthday

Mythical wife, my brother and several close friends and I actually celebrated my birthday this past weekend.  Because my birthday fell on a Tuesday which is probably the worst day for a birthday to ever fall on, it made sense to do stuff on the weekend before.  It was a pleasant time to hang with people I love and eat and drink while my in-laws watched the girls.

It was probably for the best because as far as my actual birthday has gone, there wouldn’t have been any time for well, anything.

#2 is sick with strep where I’m probably prime suspect to have been patient zero that got her sick.  Subsequently, the new nanny got sick and didn’t come in, so as is the case when someone is sick, I had to eat the day and work from home and take care of both girls all day, and get no work done and miss the gym when I’m trying to stay on something of a routine.

However, being my birthday I refused to let myself get upset or fall into disappointment because nobody wants to feel either on a birthday.  I made the best of my day, and thankfully my workload could permit it, and I actually had a pretty pleasant day with my kids before the sickness started to really overtake #2.

Regardless of the circumstances and minutiae, I did get to spend my birthday with my daughters.  At the end of the day that is what matters and it’s always time well spent.

And this is how I bring in my 40’s.  I knew I would probably end up writing some sort of drivel for the occasion, and all I knew was that I was going to compare it to how I ushered in 30, where I was discovering a donut burger in Midtown in comparison.

Aside from the fact that I moved out of my old house and into a new one, met a girl that would have me, marry her and have not just one, but two kids, not much else really feels like it’s changed between 30 and 40.  I still brog, I still watch wrestling, collect blets, casually follow baseball, it’s just now I have my own family interspersed among it all, and my days are packed every day.

I don’t make big deals about birthdays, even supposed milestones like 40, because i don’t want to get my hopes up in the event things go tits up.  Frankly if I were a more selfish person a day like today might’ve constituted tits up but perhaps I’ve grown or my priorities have changed to where I recognize a day with my girls as good in every way shape or form.

Otherwise the only real things I feel like I need to concern myself with other than the litany of old jokes I can make about myself is to better take care and be cognizant of my own health and well-being.  But a day like today, even if it is the only 40th birthday I’ll ever have, just feels like any other day.  Same overload of chores, childcare, feeling overworked and having no time for myself.  Except I made a very conscious effort to not give into the usual feeling of despair.

Except if I’m lucky, I’ll get some cake to eat and some gifts to open up.  But bring on 40; I’ve got not intention of slowing down at the gym and I’m determined to get my running speed back to where it was pre-pandemic.

Dad Brog (#084): My health isn’t just my health anymore

For the last two weeks, I’ve had a dreadful cough. It started with sneezing, and then my chest filled with gunk, and since then it’s been a tremendous amount of coughing, scratchy throat, and then more coughing.  At certain times and conditions worse than others, but a noticeable amount of coughing going on.

I chalked it up to a seasonal allergy, since I am susceptible to pollen, and this year’s jizzing by Mother Nature has been particularly bad.  Mythical wife has been tired of hearing me coughing, and suggested I go to a doctor, just to get an antibiotic or something to help rush this shit along.  But being of the typical male who generally avoids going to see doctors, I didn’t, chalking it up to being on the mend and that the phlegm just needs to work itself through my system.

Today, #2 was diagnosed with strep throat.  She hasn’t shown any coughing, sneezing or any of the other typical strep symptoms, but she’s been incredibly fussy and was already headed to the doc for her 9-month checkup.  There, it was noticed her throat was a little red and after a quick test, yep it’s strep.

Now the obvious culprit is that her lousy dad might have had strep and didn’t know it was strep because he didn’t have anything other than a nagging cough, and I still don’t know if it’s strep or not.  But the point remains that the very likely source of my daughter’s sickness is the person I see in the mirror and having a coming to Jesus moment that I really should be taking care of myself better if not just for myself, but for the sake of others, namely my own family and kids.

You’d think after two-plus years of being in a pandemic I would have figured that out already, but 40 years of life haven’t really made it sink in until I really jeopardized the wellbeing of one of the most important lives in my world.  Regardless of if I am the reason is irrelevant, just the possibility that it could’ve been me is enough of a wake up call to where I need to get my head out of my ass and just fucking do better.

It’s things like these that are the most obvious but most invaluable lessons to be learned about parenting, as well as life in general if you have other people in your life. It’s just a shame that I have to feel like a fucking failure in order for it to sink in, but I guess in a Fight Club fashion, it isn’t until you hit bottom that you’re free to do anything, like learn something important.