Thanks Week: Bonus Post: Movember

Thanks Week: Bonus Post: Movember

I’ve been thankful for the support I’ve received this Movember, and seeing as it’s the last day of the month/effort to raise money for and awareness of prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health issues, I thought I’d put out one more plug. I’ll post the results of my Movember moustache-growing efforts tomorrow, Dec. 1. And I’ve got some swag to give away. Any donors who want a thank-you sticker, let me know, and I’ll figure out a way to get one to you.


Thanks Week: Over the River and Through the Woods

Thanks Week: Over the River and Through the Woods

When we begin a five-hour drive to visit our families for the holidays at 5 a.m., the trip goes something like this:

Firstborn: *sleeping*
Secondborn: *sleeping*
Thirdborn: *sleeping*
Wife: I love you!
Me: I love you! And hey, Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me is on! We should always do it like this.
Wife: We’re here!

When we begin a five-hour drive to visit our families for the holidays at 5 p.m., the trip goes something like this:

Secondborn: How much longer till we get there?
Wife: Um … about four hours.
Me: Let’s listen to a CD. I got one of dragon stories.
Thirdborn: *crying*
CD: “The Last of the Dragons,” by Edith Nes—
Thirdborn: *screaming*
CD: —she wore a—
Thirdborn: *shrieking*
CD: —told him—
Secondborn: I can’t hear! Stop it!
Me: *shutting off CD*
Firstborn: Turn it back on!
Me: Let’s wait until the crying stops.
Firstborn: Turn it back on!
Thirdborn: *crying*
Thirdborn: *crying*
Thirdborn: *quiet sniffles*
Me: *reaching for the play button*
Thirdborn: *screaming*
Firstborn (whining): My back hurts!
Wife: Stretch your arms up. Way, way up! That will help!
Firstborn: No.
Wife: It will help!
Firstborn: No.
Thirdborn: *crying*
Secondborn: *whimpering*
Me: What’s wrong?
Secondborn: *crying*
Wife: Are you going to throw up?
Me: What’s wrong?!
Secondborn: *sobbing”
Firstborn: My back!
Secondborn: *weeping*
Me: Fine. Don’t tell us.
Secondborn: My tummy!
Wife: Get your bag if you’re going to throw up.
(rustling noises)
Firstborn: I want the blue bag!
Wife: It doesn’t matter which bag you have.
Secondborn: She won’t give me my bag!
Wife: Give her the bag.
Firstborn: No.
Secondborn: My tummy!
Wife: It’s a throw-up bag. I gave her the blue one. Just hand it to her.
Thirdborn: *screaming*
Wife: Give her the bag! Now!
Me: Are you going to throw up? Is she going to throw up?
Secondborn: No!
Firstborn: *angrily huffing*
(more rustling)
Secondborn: How much longer till we get there?
Wife: Um … still about four hours.
Me: *crying*

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I’m thankful for safe travel, no matter how much screaming is involved.

Thanks Week: Happy Hanukkah

Thanks Week: Happy Hanukkah

I aim to post in the Shallows every day. I generally write in the evenings and set the post to automatically go live at 6:30 a.m. the next morning.

Some nights, however, I’m really tired, or I have other work to do, or I spend more time with my children or wife or all four. Daily updates take discipline—something I’m trying to develop—but I also want to be realistic when it comes to my time. I want “dad” to be the most important word in the title “dad blogger.”

That means I’m choosing to go easier on posting during the holidays. I didn’t have this one ready by my morning deadline. It’s not particularly weighty or funny. And tomorrow might be the same.

Also, a confession: As I drew this morning’s doodle, I decided to put a menorah-ish design on my T-shirt, though I own no such article of clothing. I’ve done that a few times, most notably in my gravatar image, which features me wearing a guitar shirt that has no analog in my closet. I’m not sure why. I do have a Big Fish shirt, though.

Despite my lack of a real menorah shirt, however, allow me to wish you a genuine happy Hanukkah. And a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow, too—just in case.

Thanks Week: Animal House


This happens a lot:

I’ll be telling some anecdote or other about my kids, and no matter the subject—whether I’m talking about a funny thing they did or complaining about how they keep me awake at night—a listener will follow up with a similar story. But about a pet.

I get it. I really do. There are plenty of similarities between my kids and your pet. They both eat off of the floor. They’re both so cute. They both bite. They both have accidents that jeopardize the return of a full security deposit. They both get sick at inopportune times and in inopportune places, like the bed at 2 a.m. Or the laundry basket right before work. They both look up eagerly when you say something that isn’t their name, but do it with the same inflection as if you were saying their name. Classic.

I generally don’t mind the comparison. Why should I? Families come in all shapes and sizes, and not all those sizes and shapes are human. When listing the members of her family for a school project yesterday morning, my 6-year-old wrote her sister’s name, followed by “little brother” and then “sea monkeys.” (I cleaned up the spelling for her here.)

Pets are awesome. I wish I lived somewhere I could have a dog, at least.

Pets and kids present their own respective joys and challenges. That’s why today I’m thankful for families of all kinds. Some people’s pets are their kids. They’re expensive. They’re worrisome. They’re affectionate and amazing. And they make me a little jealous, because such families don’t panic when they realize that they haven’t started a college savings plan yet.

And even though pets and kids are different, that doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear about your animal, or that I think less of you if you have cats instead of children. Not at all. When I talk about how my fussy baby kept my wife and I up for 36 hours straight, and then I’m not super sympathetic when you tell me, “Oh, I know exactly how you feel! My cat wouldn’t stop meowing last night!”—when I, in fact, roll my eyes—it’s because I’m cranky and sleep deprived. Also because it’s not exactly the same. Cats can catch and eat bugs if you don’t feed them right away—though I guess kids can, too. Look, just give me this one.

A particular co-worker of mine and I discuss this topic at length, frequently, mostly because I talk about elementary-schooler and toddler issues and she counters with feline and canine ones.

Just a few days ago, I had shared some antic of my son’s, after which my co-worker immediately related a tale about her greyhound. Then she laughed and—perhaps anticipating a remark from me—said, “No, I’m not comparing my dog to your animal.”

Her eyes widened.

“Child,” she said. “My dog to your child. Sorry.”

Thanks Week: The Night

I’m thankful for a lot of things, but I thought I’d share some of the stuff I’m sort of back-handedly thankful for this week. Maybe there will be some genuine sentiment the closer we get to Thanksgiving. For now, however, I’m thankful that I function during the day despite having a night of sleep that looks like this:



I radiate warmth, so I think my kids are drawn to me as a sort of hairy space heater. My wife sucks heat out of living beings to compensate for her constant chill (her feet never get warm!), plus she doesn’t tolerate children in her immediate sleeping space—apart from the baby. Usually. She’ll kick them out, so they’ve learned to come straight to me.

I’ll try, half-heartedly, to keep them out of our bed. If I’m awake enough, I’ll get up to shepherd one or the other girl back into their room as soon as I hear the telltale squeak of their door handle turning. I’ve thought about WD-40’ing it, but I’ve decided I like the warning it gives.

Sometimes my interception works and I can 180 the kid back into the room with the nightlight and the other nightlight and the white noise machine set to “ocean,” but more often than not, my daughter—whichever one is awake and wanting to be with me—will start getting upset. This can lead to a startled-awake baby and tears all around, so I relent pretty easily. Plus, I’m frequently more than half asleep, stumbling around, making sure I’ve got at least boxers on, so I’m not totally sure what I’m doing or agreeing to anyway.

Still …