So This is Fatherhood


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The Age of Innocence

There are times during this entire fatherhood journey where I can simply take a breath, reflect and experience the world through the lens of my three year old’s eyes.

The moments are sometimes few as we all inevitably fall into the regular rat race of life – trying to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves to try and ensure the livelihood of our families, our homes and, especially the futures of our children. I am as guilty of this as anyone, if not more so.

And even though I spent the majority of my Sunday working around the house – general homeowner things that tend to need attention – it’s small moments that my daughter experienced this week when I just want to hug her, kiss the top of her head and be still in the world during with her and let everything else pass by.

236c3e9e97890d266b108013f108be27Every morning that I drive her to daycare, we usually cover three topics. It’s easy since the drive is no more than five minutes.

1) What are you going to do at school today?

I’m going to listen to my teachers.

Note: listening is not one of my daughter’s best attributes.

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There’s a big difference between sleepovers in tents at the library and sleeping in tents that you call “home” in urban areas.

2) How are you going to play with your friends?

Nice and gentle, she says as she softly rubs her own face.

Note: sometimes my child channels her inner Ronda Rousey.

3) How are you going to act?

Like a leader.

3a) And what does that mean?

To do the right thing.

Note: This one is still a work in progress. We’re trying to get her to think this way although the overall concept probably escapes her grasp. She’s getting there, but it’s something I want to institute now.

It was during our morning drive routine when she didn’t immediately answer one of these typical queries. She saw a man walking on the sidewalk.

He was homeless. A stereotypical vagrant of a homeless person you may expect to be cast in a movie if they needed what we all think a homeless person should look like. Terribly unkempt hair, ratty beard, holes in his filthy clothes. Someone who had taken several wrong turns in life, but in one way or another was still gutting it out.

My daughter saw him, and his yellow backpack with a foam roller on it and her focus on our questions went askew.

Daddy, that man is going to the library for a sleepover.

I did a double take and then lobbed back a simple Oh, yeah? at her, struck by the fact that my three-year-old has yet to tell the difference of a homeless person and a person going to a sleepover. She saw the backpack, had just finished watching her morning PBS shows and somehow concluded that this person was sleeping over at the library.

How we view the world is obviously jaded and probably more negative than it should be based on our own experiences and the influences we have: stories, news reports, experiences of others and so on.

Yet, my daughter just saw a human being. A man walking with a backpack and assumed the best. He was simply going to the library, to learn and read, and meet his friends, and then sleep there.

For a moment I wished she was right. And in that moment I wanted to crawl into that space with her and believe it too.

 


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Life With a Threenager

Until I saw some pictures tonight, there’s certainly a few things about the first year of my child’s life that I had forgotten.

Like the fact that she had no hair until well after her first birthday. Or the types of pacifiers she had. Or a set of clothes. Or how small she was.

And that was less than three years ago.

Screen-Shot-2015-09-15-at-20.41.24So it only stands to reason that when she hits her high school years I am going to forget how she is already hormonal at three years old.

Yes. It’s true. I am dealing with a threenager.

It’s not so much the attitude. I can mostly handle that. Mainly because I know I could totally take her in a feat of strength, or throw down in an arm wrestling competition and take her out. So, if she wants attitude, I’ll defeat her with strength. Or some of my own attitude. I can out-attitude with the best of them. Problem solved.

And it’s not so much the lying. Kids are going to lie to their parents. It’s just how it goes. Quick confession: Mom, I forged your signature once to get out of detention. Pretty sure the teacher knew, but it worked.

It’s the wild mood swings and the selective listening.

That’s some ish I cannot handle.

The mood swings kill me. How can someone be so excited and pleased to feed ducks old, stale bread and then cry 30 seconds later because they want to go home? In what world is that normal?

How can we be riding bikes and cracking jokes about what’s for dinner (Daddy, do you want to eat rice and cars for dinner? How about rice and grass?) and then turn on the water works because the idea of trees and beans is not as appealing?

I was building up my preparation for uncontrollable mood swings … but 12 years from now! Why do you think I’ve been watching so many John Hughes films?!

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Daily occurrence. 

But, Lord. The listening. Or lack thereof. Egads. It kills me.

Half the time I wonder if my child’s ears are painted on.

I remember selectively listening my mom, or my teachers. I distinctly remember this. But I was 16 and it was a phase of “Leave me alone” which I presume all teenagers go through – or else pop culture and my own experiences just lied to me.

To have it happen at three years old is mind bending.

The worst part of it is actively looking your child in the eye, telling her something, and then having her completely ignore you.

And so many people say this is “the fun age.” It gets worse?

Imagine, in your adult life, your boss asks you to do something. You nod, agree and go your separate ways to handle business. When your boss returns you have one shoe off, there are crayons all over the floor and part of your shirt is above your head.

Sounds like Friday night to me.

But this is how it is … in a blink of an eye you go from Please put your shoes away to complete anarchy.

Holy moly.

I keep thinking that this blog space is going to be a nice reminder and some sort of gift to my daughter one day. See all the funny things you did to make daddy prematurely gray?

But I think that this one is more for me. A time capsule, so I can remember when we actually hit the teenage years that I already dealt with this once.

 


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Sticks and Stones and Bro’s

There was an evening recently where, for a moment, my daughter was upset.

She has bypassed the Terrible Two’s and is smack dab in the middle of the Terrible Three’s, crying when she doesn’t get her way, talking back, ignoring some of our words – in general acting like a miniature teenager. Therefore her being upset didn’t really cause a ruffle in either of her parents’ lives.

Plus, she’s stopped taking naps at daycare, so she has been overly cranky and tired in the afternoon and evenings. Which fits perfectly in our family dynamic because now all three of us have the same general feeling.

This minor meltdown and teary-eyed response, though, was different.

She was telling my wife that some girls at her school were calling her names. She’s three years old. This shouldn’t happen.

My heart immediately went into my stomach. How could toddlers insult each other? This sort of crap wasn’t supposed to be something that we dealt with as parents until she was seven or eight – at the earliest. I thought we were still in the coloring, playground, puzzle stages.

What in the world could kids be calling each other these days?

They called me “a bro” she spit out.

As ridiculous as name-calling can be, especially something as innocuous as that, I wanted to cry.

No parent wants their kid to be upset. And you feel helpless on something like this, even though it doesn’t even compare to the names she will probably be called by other girls as she gets older. In the grand scheme of things “a bro” is eons better than B or C or W or whatever other insults girls hurl at each other.

My wife handled this first foray into insults very adeptly, telling our daughter to just ask these girls very nicely not to call her that anymore. For now, that approach will work. We’ll definitely have to call an audible on that in about 10 years.

51Y-Q1Gg4BL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_When I checked in with the kiddo a few days later, apparently these girls have moved on from “a bro” to calling my kid “too serious.”

How can a three-year-old be serious? I wondered, thinking of this child who begs for me to “act silly” with her.

This episode came as I was finishing my good friend Josh Suchon’s book, “Murder in Pleasanton,” which details a 14-year-old girl’s murder in 1984. On the day she died, Tina Faelz was harassed and called names. One of the girls who harassed her was quoted in the book, 30 years after the death feeling tremendous amounts of guilt every day and making this girl’s final day of her life miserable. It was something that haunted her.

We never think of these things in the moment. I was no saint as a child and upon reflection, probably owe some kids an apology. Not to the extend Adam Sandler does with Steve Buschemi in Billy Madison, but I definitely ruffled some feathers. (Note: except you, Ashley Levine. You deserved everything that came your way. I maintain that forever.)

As I’ve gotten older and smarter and more accepting, I hope to instill this ideal in my kid – that it’s actually not that hard to be nice to people.

The way we pay our rent for taking up space on this earth is by serving others.

So whether my kid ends up being a too serious bro or develops into a goofy girly I hope that the lessons I’ve learned will find their way into her ethos and she’ll incorporate them in her life’s path.

I tell my daughter every day to be a leader. It’s a hard thing to do, to put your arm around a kid who’s being made fun of and show solidarity with the outcast, but that’s what leaders do. And I hope that if someone in my daughter’s life is being teased she will throw an arm around that child and protect them the same way I do to her.


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Stage Fright

I don’t know if I’m weird or in a regular percentage that nobody talks about, but it’s never been easy for me to pee around other people.

Maybe dads teach their sons how to pee next to other people and it just becomes a normalcy for most – like a camping experience and all you do is pee everywhere like a dog marking your territory. Growing up in a house with a mom and sister, it wasn’t like they were going to take me outside to pee all over lampposts and on car tires.  

Why is this considered normal? Am I weird?

Normally this whole pee-inadequacy isn’t a problem, but at sporting events or large gatherings I usually wait to seek out a bathroom stall. Which is awesome if you’re into overflowed, wet, stinky, shit-infested areas with unflushed toilets.

Despite being married for eight years now, my wife and I respect the whole bathroom etiquette of each other and really don’t do our duty (doodie?) in front of the other. I am definitely no prude, but it’s kind of gross if you watch another adult take a growler – no matter if you have seen them push an eight pound baby out of their vagina.

All of this started to shift though as my daughter moved from infant to toddler.

The few times I have been alone with her – rising early on weekends, or the Mrs. is away at the gym or getting her hair did – I’ve had to keep an open door policy mainly because I don’t want my kid sticking her finger into an electrical socket when I’m liking photos on Instagram. (Yes, if I’ve liked your photo there is a very high chance it came while taking a deuce. Deal with it.)

Well, this has only encouraged my child to come find me. And there is nothing more touching than unleashing a steady pee stream while looking your toddler in the eyes. It’s really a bonding moment. Why didn’t any of those damn baby books cover crap like this?

See? Girls do it too!

 The thing is, I think my daughter kind of enjoys being in there. Maybe she has separation issues. I’ve got to be honest here: it is somewhat rewarding to have my kid say things like Wow Daddy, that’s A LOT of pee pee! or Whoa that’s a BIG poop Daddy!

As she’s been potty training, she’s become even more interested in my bathroom habits. She’ll stick her head into the bowl like a drunk chick puking or sit on the toilet singing songs and wasting time. Kind of like me checking out Instagram.

Once, while I was peeing, she stuck her hand into the stream and sprayed it everywhere. That was fun.

The thing is, this whole stage fright thing has started to dissipate. At least around her. There hasn’t been a single moment where I’ve frozen up while she’s been in the bathroom with me.

I have yet to test this newfound freedom out in public but I guess the next time I’m at a urinal trough next to other guys who think it’s normal to talk while standing next to you with their dong out, I’ll think of my kid’s smiling face and her words of recognition.

Wow that’s a good one Daddy!


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Barter Patrol

You ever been to a flea market? Bazaar? Ensenada?

It’s like the opposite of eBay. The more you feign interest, the lower the price gets.

You can still get the pair of sandals, or the watch, or the fake Luis Vuitton purse at a price the seller finds reasonable, but you think you’re getting a bargain because you were about to walk away. (Even though, deep in the back of your head, you were never really going to walk away from such a deal!)

easily-distracted

And then you’re convinced you are a great bargainer. The same way I think I’d make a good sports general manager because I can wheel and deal in fantasy sports.

Problem is, it’s all a charade. You’re not a good bargainer, you just bought a fake purse for $30 when it cost the seller about $5 to create. But, in your head, you think you snookered that crazy person who sells things off a blanket.

That’s how it’s become with my daughter. Or, at least it’s how I think it is.

She’s as stubborn as her parents (good to know the apple doesn’t fall far) so to get her to do something without simply overpowering her always turns into a game of bartering.

(Really, though, if I absolutely need her to do something I will use the overpowering tactic. I would have been the worst if I had Andre the Giant’s physical attributes … I would have just threatened to crush people’s heads.)

I don’t think she’s quite at the age where she thinks she is getting the better of me, but the whole bartering technique is alive and well in our household.

And, you know what? I’ve totally become one of those parents I swore I wouldn’t be. Growing up and seeing exhausted parents in the store just giving in to certain things – Fine you can have some candy, just stop hitting your brother for 10 seconds and you can get the jumbo size.

OK, it’s not that bad – but I probably need to keep it in check. Hence this little slice of online parenting therapy you have stumbled upon.

The thing is, my daughter is very active. Without stories of me bouncing off the walls, I might suspect she could have ADHD or some other type of thing where I would want to medicate her. But that is clearly the easy way out. She’s not a harm in what she does, she just gets easily distr …. SQUIRREL!!!

Two of his heads for one of yours. Seriously, the Jungle Cruise jokes never get old.

Two of his heads for one of yours. Seriously, the Jungle Cruise jokes never get old.

Where was I? Oh. Right.

To reinforce potty training, we offer M&M’s for every successful venture. It’s worked because she knows she gets a treat if done correctly. Or to give us some peace and quiet for 20 minutes, we’ll give in and let her watch TV on our phone or iPad. Or if she is throwing a fit for something, we’ll set a simple hurdle for her to achieve and then she gets what she wants.

It’s not like she’s begging for drugs and we’re like You’ve got to eat three bites of your vegetables first then you can take one big hit off this crackpipe. She is a good kid with a lot of energy so to help curtail it, we just try to put a checks and balance system in place.

But, oftentimes, I do feel like I’m at the end of the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland and Trader Sam is offering two of his heads for one of mine.

 


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Eat Your Heart Out

I weighed myself at the gym today. I was within my acceptable range, but maybe a pound or two above where I normally hover.

Holidays, I thought. No problem, I can drop a pound or two with a giant cup of coffee … if you get my drift.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that perhaps I will constantly put on ounces of weight until my child is a teenager. Now I kind of understand why most every parent of someone 10 and under seems a little doughy and the ones who aren’t celebrate their physique with constant “Look at me!” posts on Facebook.

It’s because no parent can figure out the perfect amount of food to give their child.

That leads to leftovers, which leads to parents eating the leftovers.

Where’s the issue? I hear you thinking, just make healthy meals for your kid.

That thought is something someone without a toddler thinks. You ever try giving a kid vegetables? It’s like you’re trying to pour hot wax into their eyeballs. I couldn’t coax my child into eating one damned bite of peas and carrots for one tortilla chip tonight. She cried for 20 minutes. I wish I was kidding.

She could have an entire tortilla chip – like a quarter of a corn tortilla – for about four peas and two slices of carrot. And she wouldn’t make that deal. Shit, the Dodgers once traded Pedro Martinez and my child can’t even fathom this trade.

Lil Entrees. Lil taste.

Lil Entrees. Lil taste.

It’s like trying to sway a rational human being into thinking that pizza is disgusting and dirt is delicious. There is simply no changing a toddler’s mind. I could have offered her a billion dollars for the one bite of peas and carrots and she still would have thrown a fit.

Tangent aside, there is always little scraps of food around our house. As a third generation Great Depression descendant, I have not been wired to just throw food away. I blame my mother for this, who can link it back to her mother – and her mother – for standing in bread lines in the 1930s. So when my child doesn’t finish her last bite of Gerber mac and cheese dinner, I scoop it up and eat it.

(By the way, it’s like eating a waxed cardboard box. Which always surprises me. Always. It’s mac and cheese for crying out loud! How can it not be ooey and gooey and delicious? I love mac and cheese. I have an entire cookbook devoted to mac and cheese. I could eat it every day for the rest of my life and be fully content. The problem with the Gerber shit is that it contains no salt. My kid doesn’t know the difference. She hasn’t experienced any form of culinary excellence, so to her, this is like dining at Spago. But it’s not. It’s awful. Pretty much everything she eats is bland. Except peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. But even the Smuckers family gets sick of eating those, so she can’t have it all the time.)

And it’s this concept of finishing off my child’s food that I think causes any form of incremental weight gain. Last week she said she was hungry and we were waiting for-ev-er for a table for dinner, so to calm her down, I went to a food stand nearby to order her something. Of course everything was fried except for the chicken skewers. So I ordered that.

She likes chicken. I like chicken. This might actually work out.

That was my thinking. The skewers came covered in teriyaki sauce, so adding that realm of flavor to my child’s mouth automatically disqualified her from liking them. So, you know what? I had a snack of tasty chicken skewers in teriyaki sauce.

While they were good, it was just extra calories I would have never put into my body. But I’m not about to let four chicken skewers just rot on the table.

And that’s the point. Trying to appease your child’s appetite just doesn’t work. She’ll eat like a parakeet one day and a hippo the next. You can never nail it. It’s impossible.

On the parakeet days you are stuck with all kinds of leftover niblets. On the hippo days, you overfeed her because she keeps asking for more, like a guy trying to win a T-shirt at one of those Man vs. Food restaurants. Then when she finally taps out, there is bland mac and cheese, or a vegetable squeeze pouch, or hunks of string cheese, or whatever laying around.

And then I eat it.

 


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I’m a #HealthyDad

As I sat down to write this, my legs creaked. Hamstrings, quads, calves. All spent.

I started working out with a personal trainer a few weeks ago and it’s been different than anything I’ve ever experienced. But it’s been fun, even if he’s 21 and all he wants to ask me about is whether to party with 18 year olds or 19 year olds. What a pickle this guy is in!

I don’t know if it was growing up in California with a multitude of options to get outside, or just having an interest in sports, but I’ve always been moving. I think I passed this on to my child because, honestly, she exhausts me. Which is good.

I’ve been blessed to be able to do everything, and do everything reasonably well. Baseball, basketball, football, water polo, swimming, running, surfing, paddleboarding, water skiing, snow skiing, and on and on. Everything but golf. But golf is boring, so I’m OK with that.

Being athletic and willing to try new sports and activities has opened up so many options and ways to stay healthy and it’s something I share with my wife. It’s absolutely something I hope to pass on to my daughter.

It’s remarkable, to me at least, that I am probably in better shape now than I have been since I was swimming twice a day during high school. Aww, six pack stomach, I miss you. But it’s because I have this desire to be healthy and wanting to not only feel good when I wake up (provided that extra glass of wine somehow didn’t make it into my belly the night before) but to be able to set a good example for my kid.

It’s also about setting new goals for me to accomplish. Last year I ran my first half-marathon. In the next three years I plan on running a full one. (Quick tangent: just for fun, I checked my two running apps on my phone … since 2012, I’ve run over 250 miles. And I don’t use those all the time, so I’m going to ballpark around 325, which is like running from LA to San Francisco.)

Just a few weeks ago, I knocked another goal off my accomplishment list. I climbed to the top of the tallest mountain in the continental United States – Mount Whitney. Fourteen hours and 22 miles later, I had achieved something that only a very small percentage of people in the world had done. And for a few short minutes of my life, I was the tallest person in the lower 48. Kinda cool. (For those that be doubting, video evidence exists above.)

As I try to push myself to be healthy, it allows me to continue to set examples for myself and my kid. To be able to tell her that being active and trying new activities is fun. To illustrate some of the cool things being active has allowed me to do. That’s part of the reason I signed up for a personal trainer – well, that, and to help my body fight gravity. No one wants to see any form of sag.

But it’s not just being active. It’s also about being smart. And part of that is taking preventative measures and knowing when to get check ups and have a good doctor. I’m almost 35 and soon enough I’m going to have to start paying someone to put their finger up my butt (as opposed to how it happens now), so this is important.

As part of this #healthydad campaign I am a part of, it’s important to talk about this. Whether it’s being as active as I am, or just knowing more about your medical plan – or even joining one – we all have a responsibility to ourselves. You only get one body in your life – unless you’re RoboCop – so make sure to treat it right.

This #healthydad campaign is a great opportunity for a group of us to write about this stuff – to try and educate as many people as possible.

Make your health care plan work for you. Like never before, plans are tailored to meet your needs with programs, tools and services that work with you to personalize your health care experience and revolve around your schedule, no one else’s.

Anthem Blue Cross also has a Livehealth Online option, so check with your health plan to learn more about your coverage options for telehealth services like LiveHeath Online. Members of select Anthem plans can use the LiveHealth Online app for covered consultations, generally at the same out-­‐of-­‐pocket cost they would pay for a primary care visit, and claims reimbursement is automatically filed.

So, just for fun, I wanted to post one more photo from this summer showing me living this healthy lifestyle. I’m proud to be a #healthydad.

 

Little paddleboard session on the river this morning.

A post shared by Matt Hurst (@matt_hurst16) on

 

This post was sponsored by Anthem Blue Cross. I am not a medical professional and don’t claim to be one, so please check with your doctor if you have any questions about healthcare or your lifestyle.


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Not Down With the Sickness

Historically, I don’t get sick.

Look, if I'm gonna wear a mask it's gonna be a fashionable one.

Look, if I’m gonna wear a mask it’s gonna be a fashionable one.

The last time I had the flu was just after New Year’s in 2004. I had partied way too hard with some friends in Vegas for three days and then followed that with a hard weekend in Hollywood and my body shut down. It was so worth it.

That was the last time I was sick until my kid started to interact with other kids her age. Children, I’m learning, are giant walking bags of germs. They don’t wash their hands and they taste test the world.

For about nine straight months my daughter’s nose has been like a faucet. It’s just something she lives with, almost like someone with a club foot or something.

Unlike a club foot, though, all of these germs are contagious. And now that my child is a mini human being and can walk around and touch things and wants to kiss you and put her hand in your mouth, you can either A) accept that at some point you’ll get sick; or B) wear a surgical mask and look like a crazy person who thinks he’s a doctor.

This 28-pound human has undone a decade of my health twice in three months.

Around Memorial Day I had all hell breaking loose at both ends. That was a treat.

About a month ago I was coughing like I had lung cancer and blowing my nose like I was a cocaine junkie.

My wife gets some form of the sniffles – of varying degrees – about once every six weeks or two months. Having this bucket of mucus I call my daughter around isn’t much help to her.

For the past week my kid has been battling a stomach virus. And now my wife is battling a stomach virus.

You know who is not touching either of them? Me.

Normally I’d mix it up with a sick person because my immune system was like Churchill’s Iron Curtain. Now, it’s more like an ironed curtain.

Our doctor says that having my child in daycare means that she will build up a strong immunity when she starts Kindergarten and moves through elementary school because she’s getting exposed to these illnesses now. Which is great, I suppose, until there’s some super disease out there that knocks her down and then infects our whole house.

Just as long as they don’t let anyone into this country with the Ebola virus. Oh … wait …

 


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Silver Medalist in a Two-Person Race

This past week I was out of town for work and during one of our sessions, a lead speaker asked us to fill out a few questions to then share with the group. One of the questions was “Who/what is someone/something you admire?”

This is the face of a silver medalist.

This is the face of a silver medalist.

This one was the most difficult for me to answer in a matter of moments. I used to immediately write down “My mom” as the answer to questions like that because she was a single woman who raised two kids, worked a full-time job and worked hard to instill in us the values that would help us deliver something positive to society.

Yet, I hesitated in making that my answer. It seemed too hokey. This was an exercise that deserved deeper thought, so I started rattling things around in my head.

I initially wrote down “professional athletes.” However, only one portion of that is what I admire – the amount of effort and hard work that goes in to being someone who essentially does their job on a huge stage while getting yelled at by thousands of people. I know too many professional athletes. Their work is worth admiring. Their persona is not.

So I scratched it off and took my thinking one step deeper. I wrote down “silver medalists.”

The Olympics doesn’t really do much for me, but I can appreciate the enormity of the hours and energy put in to making your skill so good that only once every four years do you get to show it off to the world.

Think about that for a minute: take something that you consider your best attribute and then work on that one skill for four straight years. No breaks. No vacations. No ice cream. Limited alcohol. (That is where I would cut out.) When that training is up, you have only a minute amount of time to prove that you are the absolute best at that one skill.

What if you’re not at your best that day? What if the wind is blowing differently? If you have a cold? If you didn’t sleep well or if you can only go at 99% speed rather than 100%? We’ve all been there, but on this day you just cannot make it happen.

And you have to live with that for the next four years. Or the rest of your life. After standing a step down on a podium and getting nearly no recognition, you fade off and are forgotten despite working just as hard as the person who won the gold.

That’s why I admire silver medalists. They have the grace and humility to suck it up despite coming thisclose to a gold medal.

Right now, in my kid’s life, I am the silver medalist.

Trust me, that sucks in a house of two that she judges.

Nobody remembers who this silver medalist is.

Nobody remembers who this silver medalist is.

The last few days I can barely hold her without her crying and reaching over to mom. The little girl who used to say “Daddy!” when she saw me now only wants me to set her down so she can wobble over to “Ma-ma!”

The worst part is that my wife has tended to the kid non-stop so she never can make a call to the bullpen. So we run the gamut of emotions – my wife for being just worn out playing defense on a one-year-old and me for being disappointed that my kid really doesn’t want to hang out with me for more than 30 seconds.

I was mentally preparing for that sentiment 13 years from now. But a line has been drawn in the sand and I am clearly in second place in a two-person race.

Some might think that is a blessing in disguise, but no one was ever happy with a silver medal. Everyone wants gold.


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Home Alone

I am excited for this weekend. Hang on … let’s rephrase. I was excited for this weekend.

My wife is taking a trip to New York with her mom and sister leaving me to hold down the fort with the kiddo. I was excited for her to go since it will be the first time she’s been away from our daughter without me (and plus, New York, right?). But I was also excited for me to be able to have some Daddy-Daughter time.

Tonight, though, I got a worried look into my life’s crystal ball.

When you’re playing one-on-one vs. a toddler, there is nothing else that you can really do. It would be like having to guard LeBron James non-stop, knowing that no matter what you do, he’ll still make you look extremely fallible.

I wanted to go for a run tonight but it was a little cold, so I’d have to re-dress the kid into some warmer clothes and that would eat into my workout. That’s a problem since it was nearing her dinner time and, dammit, wouldn’t you know this 25-pounder has some lungs on her. Talk about doing a miserable type of exercise and then being even more miserable during it.

I had other items on the agenda which needed attention, yet I couldn’t really turn my back on her, so I was getting agitated.

This gated area, which I call her prison, is not her favorite place to be even though it probably has 672 toys in it. So, that worked for about 0.3 seconds. Then she wanted to be picked up; then set down; back up; down. She couldn’t make up her mind.

At this point, I was getting almost as cranky as she was. Mainly because I had to poop. Yet I couldn’t because I was attending to her needs and wants.

I thought she was ready for bed, so I prepped a bottle, took her into her room and was ready to lay her down when my wife came home from the gym. Oh, praise the Lord! A relief pitcher.

She finished putting the kid down and I thought Now I can finally get some stuff done. Well, 20 minutes later my daughter was up and running around the house again because, despite our best efforts, she was not all that ready for bed.

Knowing all this, I am truly concerned about things this weekend. Physically and mentally, I know I can handle it – that’s not a problem. But, I’m worried about the extra stuff that needs to get done: Will I be able to eat a regular dinner? Will the dogs get fed? Will I be able to clean the house? Work in the yard? Go for a run?

There’s only so much I can squeeze in to a couple of mid-day naps and the hours from her bedtime to my own. Really, this sounds so selfish – and I know it kind of is – but I’d like to have a few extra hours to just do normal stuff. How many people want to do chores?

I guess the best news is that while my wife is gone, I don’t have to make the bed. She’s a bed-making perfectionist. I am not. So, on the bright side, that’s one less thing I have to worry about. That will free up a few extra moments to tick something else off an ever-growing, way-too-adult kind of list of things I actually want to get done.