Dad Brog (#097): A brog-worthy bad morning

My current routine is to wake up at 7:10 am, every single day of the week, regardless of if I have to work or not, with the objective of having the kids’ breakfast ready to serve by the time I get them at anywhere from 7:30–7:45.  Preferably with me waking them, because if they wake up on their own, it usually means something is wrong, and by something is wrong I mean that one of them has probably shit themselves.

Believe me, there have been mornings where it has been both, and those are wonderful times.

However the thing is, every single morning is kind of a race against a clock that I can’t see and know how much time is left until zero, where, usually #2, wakes up on their own.  Which is never peaceful, or cute babbling on the baby monitor, resulting me in wistfully looking at my youngest with love and admiration.  No, it’s always with crying, and mornings like today, instantly going all the way to 100 on the rage scale within seconds of waking up.

I try not to compare my kids, but it’s unmistakable that on #2’s character sheet, emotional sensitivity is at a 100 out of 99 and that she is without any question, a massive crybaby.  Everything is worth going nuclear over, everything results in screaming, snot and tears, and the only things that can quell them is if one of her parents drops everything they’re doing and probably need to be doing, and picking her up for some snuggle therapy.

Usually at this time, #1 either gets jealous and starts blowing up herself, or she’s capitalizing on my inability to do anything else and runs off and gets into some mischief that I’m put into a Sophie’s choice of stopping my eldest from some form of damage versus allowing the crying machine to explode again, with ten times out of ten usually resulting in putting #2 down to where she blows back up again to stop #1 from hurting herself or hurting something important.

By the time I get the two of them in their high chairs with food placed in front of them, I’m already burned out because my daily allotment of patience has been reduced to a stump over 30~ straight months of waking up to deal with the first shift of parenting, and I’m typically on the verge of a breakdown and chanting to myself that I don’t have enough help and I don’t know what can be done about it and that for just one fucking day, want to not have to do, this.

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Dad Brog (#096): Raising children without help is impossible

Now I’m sure any long-time parent who reads such a statement is probably like, duh no shit, and I’m not going to refute it reads as one of the more obvious statements that can probably be said, and most definitely nothing I haven’t already said in my life a hundred-fold by now.

But in my latest moment of despair, where I was trying to wrangle my two kids, where #1 is sick and screaming for attention, while #2 was getting into shit she shouldn’t be getting, all while I was logged into a virtual meeting at work because I’m still on the clock, but completely incapable of paying any attention to it, and the sitter had already gone home for the day because all paid help watches the clock, I just stood there for a few seconds, and the words formulated in my head, at just how shitty things can be sometimes and that I’m living at a very unsustainable pace, way longer than I probably should have, seeing as how my resolve crumbles so frequently sometimes.

All I could really think about was just how impossible it truly is to raise children without help, not just from a metaphorical standpoint, but how it truly is from all other ways, especially in this current state of the world where inflation is murder, greed and white people are endlessly fucking the country and America is still ‘Murica.

Like you hear about couples where one person quits their job to be a full-time parent; yeah, that shit is impossible now, and probably wasn’t really that ideal in any previous points in time, because unless one half of a couple makes a ridiculous, white man amount of money, let’s just say $175-200K plus annually, most American parents probably can’t afford to raise a child on top of surviving in a middle-class or better setting.

Everything is far too expensive for the average parents to reduce to a single income without some tremendous pain, and expect to live life remotely comfortably.  Therefore, they must both work.  At least that’s the case between my wife and I, our combined income isn’t that bad, but it’s completely dependent on both of us working full-time in order to make ends meet, however that results in us requiring child care, which quite literally half of my paycheck goes towards every single month, because child care is fucking expensive and not at all that great, but still a very necessary evil to have to endure.

And let’s not even really bother to analyze single parents, they most certainly need all the help they can get, be it childcare or free care from family.

The point is, as obvious as it is, more so put out in writing, is that it is truly impossible for any family unit to raise a child without any help.  It’s often popularly said that it takes a village to raise a kid, to which truer words can’t really be said, but it just isn’t possible for those to do so without said village.  Logistically, mathematically, financially, there just isn’t a way to do it without some third party hands getting involved somewhere along the way.

Dad Brog (#095): An unsustainable pace

I write because I can’t really talk to anyone anymore.  My wife doesn’t need to hear any of these diatribes, and frankly I really don’t think anyone can relate, as ludicrous as it sounds to single myself out as a special little snowflake in a world of several billion.  And if anyone can, I don’t know them so it might as well not be anyone. 

My family that are all parents and have multiple kids, the age gap between us all is practically an entire generation.  Of all my parenting friends, almost none of them have more than one kid.  The ones that do, their kids are spaced out in age way greater than mine.  And there’s nobody else I know with two kids born during coronavirus-era as close apart as mine.  I’m not trying to say that my problems are greater than anyone else’s like some sadistic internet pissing contest, but COVID really is this difficulty multiplier that stands at the end of every factoid, ready to make everything worse than it might have been for anyone else who didn’t have to deal with things during a pandemic.

But I have been living my life at a fairly unsustainable pace for a while now, as far as keeping my shit together goes.  I try really, really hard on a daily basis to do such, and I have good days, but I definitely am the first to admit that I have some bad ones too, where it just feels like a lot of shit just piles up all at once, and I’m left standing there while my kids are screaming, clocks are ticking, I’m late for school drop off which makes me later for work, and there’s no end in sight.

I’m 99% sure my eldest is sick again.  There’s a small chance that she just never recovered from the cold she had a week ago, but the frequency in which she’s sneezing and her nose is runny again leads me to believe that she’s just plain fucking sick again, which means some more fuckface parents of the kids in my daughter’s school are continually sending their kids to school with plagues.

The problem with that, aside from their selfish and inconsiderate behavior that I can only hope for some divine retribution for, is that when #1 gets sick, it’s basically a death sentence for #2 that she is going to get sick 2-3 days later.  And then my sitter will nope out because they don’t want to get sick which means I’ll have to call in sick because mythical wife’s career is rigid and can’t call in at the drop of a hat, which makes me look even flakier and unreliable, and I have to deal with days of dad double duty, and working after hours.  And then it’s back into the toilet bowl of despair of how much life can suck because of the actions of other people.

Days like today, I’m just burnt out.  I’ve been on baby duty for what feels like an endless length of time, due to the fact that we had two kids in such rapid succession.  #2 is always wanting to be near big sis, and moving them apart is like trying to keep magnets apart, based on how she will rubber band back to wherever #1 is, accelerating the inevitability of transmission.  #1 is frustrated and fussy because she’s sneezing like crazy and her nose is running like a faucet and doesn’t understand why I have to try and isolate her on the other side of the room but can’t trust her with markers or Play-Doh, and I just want to jump off a bridge.

I haven’t had a break in a long time.  A day in which I can wake up on my own without any alarms or dog or kids, no long-ass car rides to retrieve kids, or anything that’s remotely time sensitive.  A single day where I can wake up as not a dad, have a day where I can leisurely do the shit I want to do without any clocks looming over my head, and have the ability to sit and stare at a wall if I wanted to.  There have been some mini-breaks, some afternoons or evenings without the kids, but I’m still having to do one of the above tasks on them regardless.

I just can’t recharge or unwind, and haven’t been able to for well over a year now, and I don’t know if that’s really unhealthy or uncommon, or if I’m just being a melodramatic parent who needs to be made aware that there are millions of dads in similar boats that I just don’t know personally.  But today is definitely one of those days where just enough bullshit has been added to my bags to drag me under and leave me feeling drowning again.

Dad Brog (#094): It was bound to happen eventually

This photo here is of the remains of a snow globe that I’ve had for the last 14 years.  It was one of the few mementos I had from my time working for Cartoon Network, which to this day is still one of the feathers in my cap of my career, because I enjoyed my time there greatly, and I got to do a lot of noteworthy projects while working there.

As a freelancer, it was always hit or miss on whether or not I got to take part in any of the company perks.  Sometimes I was allowed to attend company functions, other times I was the guy that was needed to be in the office while the actual Turner employees got to.  Sometimes I was privy to swag, other times there was an air of exclusive gate keeping from the lowly hired guns.

However, this snow globe was one of the few things that I was allowed to have, and it was something that I did treasure to some capacity, long after my time at CN came to a close.  It was something fairly tasteful, branded so I would always know where it came from, and most importantly, it was exclusive.  These were only given out internally, and were not available to the public.  Those who have them, are Cartoon Network people, and it was something that I took pride in having of my own, because for the two years I was there, I was all in, wanting to be a part of the team.

Honestly, I probably should’ve moved it at the very first evidence that #1 was capable of reaching it.  Naturally, as my children grow, stand upright and become increasingly mobile and mischievous, the need to childproof things rises and rises, commensurate to their level of physical access.  And prior to this incident, I knew she was capable of reaching it, as she had done so numerous times already, but in the past, usually I’ve been readily present to be able to prevent her from harming any of the things on this particular piece of furniture, but as is often times the case with toddlers, it only takes a second and a foot apart for destruction to occur.

In some regard, I suppose I’ve been fortunate to have gone as long as this, for my kids to have destroyed something meaningful to me.  29 months since the arrival of the first one before any of them managed to find the moment of weakness in which they could inflict some damage to some personal property that’s relatively extremely difficult and costly to replace, seems like it’s been a fairly decent run.  But as the subject of this post says, it was bound to happen, eventually, probably.  Kids are kids, and sooner or later, they become destructive, whether it’s a phase or just an accident.

More importantly though, nobody was hurt or incurred any physical harm from broken glass and glittery water.  A meaningful trinket breaking is nothing compared to if my kids or mythical wife suffered any slips or cuts from the damage. 

All the same, I am pretty bummed out by this.  I really did love this silly snow globe, and as I stated, replacing it would be costly, from those former Turner folks who are hocking them on eBay for well over $130 as exclusive goods, and I don’t think I’d want a replacement anyway.  The one that broke was mine, my symbol of belonging on a team, and my personal memento of a brief but fun and memorable point in my career, and replacing it with someone else’s for the sake of having an intact variant, doesn’t seem like a justifiable idea.

Dad Brog (#093): Year One of Forever, part 2

As is often the case with life with two kids as young as my own, things seldom go according to plan. And as much as I loathe tardiness and inability to be on time, things happening behind their intended time has become more and more of a routine occurrence that I hope one day rectifies itself as/if life ever calms down to a less frantic pace.

That being said, with no disrespect for my second child, #2’s birthday has come and gone now, for a few weeks now, but finally I’m taking the time to really reflect on the monumental  occasion.

To be fair, some of this delay had to do with the fact that unlike with #1, #2 got to have a traditional big Korean first birthday party, as the travels I described in prior posts was so that my side of the family could celebrate the first birthday, as is a big tradition in Korean culture.  And that particular weekend was the best chance at getting as much of my family members present, even if it meant celebrating a little bit past the actual date.

But my little #2 is officially one year old, and it most certainly has been an eventful twelve months since her arrival into the world.  I’d be full of shit if I didn’t talk about just how difficult it had been at times, especially considering her challenges she’s had with sleep in general, that still rears up every now and then even to this day.  And when she gives us hell about going to sleep, I fantasize about when she’ll one day be a groggy teenage girl who wants nothing more than to sleep, and I’ll be the obnoxiously awake dad who will gleefully remind her of her infant days when she fought like war to not sleep on a daily basis.

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The Clock King is most definitely the worst villain ever

A long time ago, I posed the question if The Clock King really was a villain, in the grand spectrum of things.  That he really was just a punctual and time-considerate individual in a world full of shitheads that don’t have such qualities, and he’s the one that gets painted to look like the bad guy, and eventually a member of Batman’s rogues gallery.  Back then, it didn’t really seem fair to me that he was considered a villain and I wanted to open that discussion to my then-six readers.

But after a weekend like this past one, and 2+ years of parenting, all I can really think of now is that not only is The Clock King most definitely a villain, he’s without a shadow of a doubt the greatest evil in all of comics.  Worse than Darkseid, worse than Doomsday, worse than the Joker.  Worse than Thanos, worse than Kang, worse than Onslaught.  Shit, it transcends comic books, and The Clock King is the greatest evil in the history of, history.  Worse than Hitler, worse than bin Laden, worse than Trump.

Obviously this goes into the obvious notion that there is no greater force in existence than the passage of time, and how it’s unfeeling, unbiased, impervious by nobody, and never ending.  Which means those who wields it to greatest effect, like The Clock King, are basically the worst people ever.

At this current juncture of my life, there’s seldom any time in which I am not up against a clock on a fairly regular basis, and there are times in which it becomes absolutely maddening and fills me with despair and levels of stress that I have a hard time coping with.  By individual nature, I am a punctual person who believes in punctuality and adequate lead time; I hate to rush, I like getting to my destinations early, and as a worker I believe that 15 minutes early is on time and on time is late.

But since I’ve gotten older and had kids, my agenda is always packed full of things for other people, I’m routinely stretched past capacity, and I’m way more prone to being late to things, and I concern myself that I’m developing a reputation of being flaky and unreliable.  Or just a typical parent maybe.  Regardless, it goes against everything that I’ve always put a lot of conscionable effort into maintaining, and I have a hard time dealing with the seemingly endless stress that comes with being up against the clock.

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Dad Brog (#092): Fuck parents who send sick kids to school

#1 has gone to but just three days of camp, and she’s already picked up some sort of sickness.  Croup or RSV, most likely, although it would probably be in my best interests to run a COVID test to make sure, but the point remains is that all it took was three (half) days being exposed to other kids before my kid has picked up some sickness.

And because we’re active parents who aren’t content to let our children suffer in isolation, we do what we can to care for them when they’re waking up because they can’t breathe, and I woke up this morning with a slight fever after going to bed with massive chills, and it’s evident that such a bug has afflicted me as well.  I’m mostly fine, but my digestive system is telling me that I’m most definitely not 100%.

The point is, I’m livid and frustrated because the impression I get is that some parent(s) somewhere of kids that go to my kid’s school, knowingly let their sick kid go to school, where they have exposed everyone else to their plague, and in the case of my daughter, she’s brought it into my home where now I’m also affected by it too.

Basically, the overarching feeling I feel is what the subject of this post says: fuck parents who send sick kids to school.  I wish grave misfortune onto those of you who knowingly do it, like some gnarly and violent diarrhea that ruins your day, and maybe some clothes along the way.

I get it, it’s frustrating as hell raising kids sometimes, and when they’re sick and whiny and inconsolable, I’d want to jettison them out of the house for a few hours too.  But that’s a dick move and irresponsible and reckless, and I wish terrible things onto parents who knowingly do it.  Today, we kept #1 home from school, because it’s the right thing to do, and this is how responsible people conduct themselves, and look out for others.

Ironically, my own mother sent me to school with very obvious evidence that I had chicken pox.  But this was when I was in kindergarten, and I didn’t know the severity of the situation, until my teacher took one look at me and shipped my ass off to the office where I had to wait for my mom to come get me.  I still give my mom shit about that story to this day, even more so now that I’m a parent as well.

And I understand that sometimes it’s hard to tell if a kid is sick or not.  In those instances, there’s a little more leniency from my judgment, but if your kid is showing obvious signs of hoarse coughing, snotty noses or any sort of physical addling, then fucking keep your kids home for god’s sake.

I have no idea if the parents of whatever plague rats that have spread their disease onto my kid’s school knew or not that they were harboring a patient zero.  But in my cynical view of society, I assume they did, and so fuck them.  I hope they get a case of the shits while stuck in traffic, because knowingly sending sick kids to school is exactly why coronavirus will never, ever end, and I’ll go homicidal if some shithead passes it onto my kids.  Sure, I know this whole rant sets me up for some future hypocrisy if I’m ever in a position where it’s borderline, and I send my kids to school, but we’ll cross that bridge if and when it ever happens.  But for now, crazy shits for those who do.