Friday, July 30, 2010

Weekly update

Well, it may have come down to this. Between working, writing and running (well maybe not so much with the running) I haven't had time to blog. I want to at least let you know what Ben's been up to this week.
  • Ben had his first fever. It was a low-grade fever. Only 99.6, but still a fever. It broke overnight and he was fine.
  • Ben might be teething. He is drooling like never before. I'm surprised he hasn't dehydrated from it.
  • Ben is starting to stand on his own. He will crawl up to one of us (or the couch) stand up while holding on...then let go. He stands for 10-15 seconds then grabs hold again or sits down. We clap and he goes crazy smiling and screeching. It's awesome. I wish I could post a video, but every time my iphone comes out, he attacks it.
  • Ben called China. Well maybe it wasn't China, but he made a phone call from Grammy's house.
  • Ben LOVES fish sticks. Our friend Ashley gave us a kids meals cook book. One of the recipes was Cod Fish Sticks. He could not get enough. He also love cheese. Dislikes...bubbles from a bubble bath.
  • Ben had ice cream again. This time it went down without incident.
  • We picked up the Honda Pilot after the leather seats were installed. It looks great.
  • I tried to explain how much I love Ben to a buddy who's trying to make a baby. I think that's impossible to explain unless you are a parent.
I think that's all for now. I know I have forgotten a ton of stuff, but at least it's something. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Circle of Trust

You guys have seen Meet the Parents right? If you haven't you really need to watch it. It's really funny. Ben Stiller is a real funny Focker. At one point in the movie Robert DeNiro talks about the Circle of Trust.

I always thought that when I had kids, it would be me, Allison and the kid inside the circle. It would be us 3 against the world. It's like that most of the time, but I have had moments where I kicked Allison out of the circle. Has this happened to any of you?

Allison is a fantastic mother and she takes much better care of Ben than I do, but there are times where I have to kick her out of the Circle of Trust. As you read earlier on the blog, my job is to protect my son from danger. If I sense a threat it's my job to neutralize the threat. But what happens when the threat is Allison?

It might make more sense if I give you an example. We took Ben to Twistee Treat for his first taste of ice cream (which he loved by the way) Anyway, I always get a small swirl. Vanilla ice cream w/ Reese's pieces. Allison said that Ben could not have any of my ice cream because there is peanut butter in it and kids are often allergic to peanut butter and they also are not supposed to have it before 1 year because their body can't digest it.

We went with Uncle Mark and Aunt Kristin. We forgot to get Ben his own spoon so he could have some of Allison's vanilla cone. I asked Mark if he could get me a spoon for Ben. He did, but he put it in his ice cream...which also had peanut butter.

Allison took the spoon, ate what was on it and began to try to feed Ben with it. DANGER DANGER DANGER. That triggered an alarm and in a split-second we went from a happy family to The Terminator and Sara Connor (Terminator 1, when he tries to kill her, not T2 when he tries to protect her) I flipped out. I made her stop what she was doing. Do Not feed Ben that scoop of ice cream. It has peanut butter on it, you said Ben can't have peanut butter. She said it was fine because she cleaned the spoon. I disagreed.

My sister is allergic to peanut butter. She used to break out just from the smell of it. And you couldn't use the same knife when making a PB&J sandwich because that would contaminate the jelly and it would bother her. So with this background, I didn't think that just licking off the spoon was good enough.

However, when I get mad or defensive, I have a hard time expressing myself. So I really could not get this point across to Allison. I just kept saying "he can't have peanut butter" and she kept on saying "but, there's no peanut butter." Every time we did this I just got madder and madder. Eventually I said something that made her cry and made other tables look at us, but she stopped trying to feed Ben. (Sorry honey)

I wanted to rip the spoon out of her hand and throw it across the parking lot, but I thought that would not end well for me. I also thought about taking the spoon and flicking her in the forehead with it. Mostly because it would be funny, but also to get her attention. Knowing that would end worse for me than Spoon Javelin, I just kept arguing about peanut butter. I think we eventually got a new spoon or we just cleaned it a few more times. Either way, Ben lived and he LOVES ice cream.

Allison's current status: In the Circle

MMMMMMM Ice Cream!!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dad vs Parent??

So I'm really good at being a dad, but I'm horrible at being a parent. What am I talking about? Well I'm glad you asked.

Being a dad.
I think being a dad includes taking care of Ben. Feeding him, changing his diaper, playing with him. Basically keeping him alive and safe. Keeping him clean and also making him happy while teaching him things. Direct interaction with Ben. I'm awesome at that.

Being a parent.
I think being a parent is how I interact with other children/parents when I'm with Ben. Basically interactions with others that have an effect on Ben. I'm finding out that I am really really bad at this.

Here are two examples, my defense of my actions and my realization of what I should have done in the situation. If you have any advice, I'm all ears. Seriously. I need to get better at this parenting stuff.

Example 1:
Location: Disney World - Waiting in line for the monorail.
Time: Very late after 11:PM
Ben: Sleeping in his stroller.

A little girl 5-8 years old was fighting with her brother 10-12 years old over a Nintendo DS. The little girl was standing directly next to Ben's stroller. I saw the two kids fighting over the Nintendo DS. They were pulling it back and forth, one of them was going to get that DS.

I played out the scenarios in my head. 1) The little girl will win the DS, but she'll have to pull so hard that she wont be able to control the DS. It will go flying and hit Ben in the head. 2) The little girl will lose the DS. She'll go flying and crash into Ben's stroller. Maybe hitting Ben in the head, definitely waking him up.

I was not OK with either of these scenarios. So I politely tapped the little girl on the shoulder. When I say tapped, I mean I used 2 fingers and gently tapped, like you would pet a baby bunny or stroke a baby human's head. I wasn't hitting a buzzer on Family Feud!! The little girl and her brother stopped fighting over the DS. Disaster averted.

Allison yelled at me. She said "Just say excuse me" My defense 1) They didn't speak English. 2) "Excuse me" would not have worked while the kids were in the middle of a DS battle.

Allison told me that I got a lot of dirty looks. My reply, pardon my French, "Who gives a shit about dirty looks? I'm protecting Ben. They can give me dirty looks all night, but they should be controlling their kids" I said it loud enough for the family to hear, but like I said, I don't think they spoke English. After the fact, after I calmed down, I realized I should not have touched the little girl at all. I should have somehow moved the stroller.

Allison response: "How would you react if someone touched Ben?" I can't tell you how I would really react. That would take my PG-13 blog post and make it R rated. But it wouldn't be pretty.

Example 2:
Location: Beach - 4th of July
Time: Around 8:15PM
Ben: Playing on a blanket on the beach.

We were on the beach waiting for fireworks to start. There were lots of families on the beach lighting off fireworks, but they were 1) small fountains and 2) far away from us.

A family of 5 or 6 people came onto the beach followed by 5 kids 10-13 years old. They all had huge rockets and lighters. The adults kept walking down the beach, but the kids stopped directly even with us (but 10-15 feet back) and started trying to light the rocket.

I was OK with the fountains, but I was not OK with 5 kids, trying to light one rocket 10 feet away from my family. Call me crazy, but it left me feeling very uneasy. I went up to them and very nicely asked if they would move a little further down the beach.

They moved down the beach then one of the adults walked up to the kids and I read his lips. He asked the kids "what did that guy say to you?" They kids said "asked us to move down" The guy made a face like WTF, what's the big deal and looked over at me. I looked right at him and nodded my head as if to say "what's up?" Nothing happened, but I was waiting for that guy to do something stupid. Needless to say, I didn't enjoy the fireworks on the beach and I had to have a few beers to calm down when we got back to the room.

I felt like I was playing Missile Command in real life. I had my head on a swivel looking for stray fireworks and also seeing if the dude in the Adidas sweat suite was gonna start something. It was a rough evening.

Allison said that I probably should have gone over to the adults and asked them to have their kids move down. My defense 1) By the time that happened, the kids would have gotten the rocket lit. 2) He's a douchebag in an Adidas sweat suite, is he really gonna do anything?

Allison's response: How would you react if someone went up to Ben and said something? You would get very defensive wouldn't you? My reply, I can actually share with you this time. I would go up to the guy and say "what's up? you have something to say?" I would be very defensive of Ben.

Then Allison said I need to calm down. That I'm being too protective and it's gonna get me into trouble one day. She's probably right.

She said when I'm out with Ben, I'm not a happy guy. I put on a mean face and if anyone comes close to us, they get the look of death. She also said I do not speak nicely to people when Ben is around, that I'm kind of a dick. (more French, I'm very international today)

Well, I don't know how to change that. My job as a dad is to protect my son. If I have to piss off a few people to do it, no sweat off my back. As long as my boy is safe. I'd rather have a family give me nasty looks then Ben get a DS to the head and I'd rather have a DB stare me down all night then Ben get burned by a stray rocket.

Seriously, if you have gone through this, I'll take tips. I'm a quick study.

Monday, July 19, 2010

My face hurts

That title reminds me of an old joke.
Person 1: Does your face hurt?
Person 2: No, why?
Person 1: Cause it's killing me.
And....rim shot...and scene.

Anyway, the past few weeks I noticed that when I feed Ben, my face starts to hurt. I couldn't figure it out. Am I grinding my teeth on the ride home from work? Damn traffic! What's up with my face hurting? Well I finally figured it out.

I noticed today that with every spoonful of food I give Ben, as he opens him mouth, I open my mouth. I open it wide for every bite. THAT'S why my mouth hurts. Did that happen to anyone else? I wonder when it till stop. I realized I was doing it and I made a conscious effort to stop it tonight, but to no avail. I'll keep you posted.

Anyway, enjoy a picture of Ben enjoying mixed vegetables and chicken.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

It's a New Car!!!

Well, it's not exactly new, but thanks to NBCs clever slogan "If you haven't seen it, it's new to you" I can say, that I have a new 2008 Honda Pilot.

Allison and I knew we wanted to start a family sooner than later, so right after our wedding we started looking at SUVs. I mean right after our wedding. I think we got the Honda CR-V the weekend after we returned from our Honeymoon.

It was a good car. It treated us well. It was big enough for Allison, Molly and I. And probably big enough for Allison, Ben, Molly and I, but not our stuff. Shopping was an adventure with the stroller in the trunk. Packing the trunk after a trip to BJ's or Costco was like a game of Tetris. Rotate and move each item to make if fit perfectly into place.

Road Trips since we added Ben were rough. We probably could have packed lighter, but just the essentials filled us up pretty quickly. A stroller, pack-n-play, 2 suitcases. The trunk is full. It's now time to get creative.

It's funny, we bought the CR-V because we thought it would give us plenty of room when we eventually had kids. We even thought, it would be plenty big for one kid and it would maybe be big enough to handle a second kid. LOL Sadly that was not the case.

Anyway, on to bigger and better. The Honda Pilot is bigger than the CR-V. It has 3rd row seating and tons of trunk space. The stroller fits longways in the back leaving the whole other side for storage. We went grocery shopping today and 12 bags of groceries fit with no problems. There was almost too much room and the bags were jostling around. Oh and yeah, 12 bags of groceries? I swear I have no idea where all that food goes. I feel like I never eat and there is never anything to eat in the house, but that's a post for another day. The thing that is different about the Pilot is that it's the first used car either of us has purchased since 2000. So Hopefully it's onto bigger and better.

We went to Headquarter Honda and we had a good experience. Keith and Chris helped us. They were both good guys. Jeff was the sales manager that helped us. He has a foreign accent, but he was a good guy too. They are the Greenest (environment friendly) dealer around. Is that why we went there? No. W went there because it's about 30 miles closer than the next Honda dealership, but it's pretty cool that they are green. Wish us luck with the "new" Pilot.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention. The upholstery had a few stains. We complained and said unless they got the stains out, we couldn't but they car. They did one better than remove the stains. They are installing leather for us. And, we currently have free XM Radio. It will remain free until the previous owner cancels their subscription. Remember that episode of Friends where Chandler and Joey got free porn? It's a lot like that. Until it dies, XM Radio is staying on.

Now lets have a history lesson. Here are all the cars we've had and a little story.
This is the first time we've bought used since our first cars. My first car was an 1984 Mercury
Capri. I got it in 1993. I think we paid $1200 for it. It lasted a few years, but not before I put 3 or 4 times what I paid for it initially in upgrades and repairs into it. (Mostly repairs)

My next used car was a 1994 Chevy Cavalier. I think I got it in 96 or 97. It was a very good car, but I got a new job, making more money and I decided I wanted to get a new car. I got a brand new 2000 Oldsmobile Alero. I loved that car. It was a dream on wheels. ;)

After that I was introduced to Honda. I had to pay off some debt, so by trading in the Alero for a Civic, I was able to save about $110 a month. I got a 2003 Honda Civic 4 door. That struggled to make the drive down to FL and when it got here, it could not handle having the AC running 24x7 so I had to turn that in.

I got a 2006 Honda Accord. Coming out of the Honda Civic, this thing was a beast! I pressed the gas, it moved. It was not an Alero, but it got me from point A to point B quickly and with air conditioning.

That was a lease and it was going to run out in October, Ben was due in September, so we didn't want to be looking at cars with a newborn or a 9 month pregnant woman. In February I got a 2009 Honda Civic. This one was redone and I really like it a lot. I plan to drive this into the ground and make it last 10 years. wish me luck.

I can't go too much into details on Allison's cars, but here they are. Allison's first car was a 1991 Ford Probe. She got it in 1998 (I think) Her first new car came in 2000. It was a 1999 Chevy Tracker. It was purple with a white soft top, but she liked to call it eggplant.

For one reason or another, she got rid of Suzy and got a 2001, 2 door Fire Engine Red Honda Civic. After that she got a 2005 Infinity G35. It was the 4 door, but it was still a beast. It had some balls on it. It was hard to drive under 60 and you can easily drive 86MPH on Disney property and get pulled over on the way to your Disney Wedding Consultation appointment. I'm not saying this happened, but I'm saying it could very easily happen.

That gas guzzler left to make room for the 2007 Honda CR-V and 45,000 miles later we now have a 2008 Honda Pilot, which we also plan on driving into the ground. We'd like to have a year where we have no car payments. If you think about how much money has been spent on car payments in the last 10 years it's disgusting, but we always had reliable vehicles and were never left the lurch.

Here are the pix. See if you can match them up and leave some comments on them.
My Cars
1) 1984 Mercury Capri
2) 1994 Chevy Cavalier
3) 2000 Oldsmobile Alero
4) 2003 Honda Civic
5) 2006 Honda Accord
6) 2009 Honda Civic

Allison's Cars
1) 1991 Ford Probe
2) 1999 Chevy Tracker
3) 2001 Honda Civic
4) 2005 Infinity G35
5) 2007 Honda CR-V
6) 2008 Honda Pilot

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy Father's Day to me!

Holy cow am I behind on posts. It's not because I haven't been trying. I have 5 posts in draft mode. I'll bang a few out tonight if all goes according to plan.

June 20, 2010 was my first Father's Day. Well that's not exactly true, it all depends on who you ask I guess. If you ask me, last year was my first Father's Day. While it's true Ben hadn't been born yet, I was already doing one of the my jobs as a Father. I was taking care of him by taking excellent care of Allison. But if you ask anyone else, that does not count.

Oh well, water under the bridge. Let's talk about Father's Day 2010. Aunt Donna and Uncle Doug called to wish me a happy fathers day. While we were talking we asked Doug if he remembered his first fathers day. He didn't really remember what they did, so they said to make sure I documented it. Well, good thing I have a blog, the perfect place for it.

Father's day actually started out on Saturday night. I was invited to go down the block and play poker with some of the other dads on the block. There were 8-10 of us. The girls had their own get together two houses down. They were supposed to go swimming, but it rained all night. From what I hear they still had fun though.

Poker was fun. I finished tied for 5th. Three other guys got knocked out on the same hand as me. I was bluffing that I had a straight. I didn't scare the guys that had 2 pairs or the guy that actually had the straight. I had a pair of 8s. Yeah, I'll go all in with a pair of 8s. Makes playing poker with me fun, I'm unpredictable.

Once they finished up we started another round. Only five guys played the second go around. I won! That was a nice little Father's Day gift to myself. I had a few beers and a few shots of tequila. I wasn't drunk, but I was feeling good.

I woke up on Fathers day around 8:30. I heard Ben crawling across the bed, then he finally got to me and I woke up. He is always so happy in the morning. (he's happy all the time, but especially when he first wakes up)

Allison made waffles and brown-n-serve sausage. My favorites. We gave Ben some waffle and he liked it. He's my son after all, was there ever any doubt that he would? Allison gave me four shirts and two pairs of pants that all had to be exchanged because they were too small or because I am too fat, depending on how you look at it. I choose to believe they were too small, I suggest you do the same. That was a good gift, I really needed pants and shirts. Ben gave me a really cool travel coffee mug with 10-15 pictures of me and him on it. I'm not supposed to have caffeine, so I've been filling it with water.

We went to the pool and played for about two hours. Before we left, Ben had to practice his survival swimming. If you've never seen it, it's rough to watch at first. It really looks like we're trying to drown the baby, but it's quite the contrary. We're doing this so he doesn't drown. He was a champ. He floated, flipped then floated and floated again. There were some ladies at the pool who at first thought we were crazy, then were amazed by my boys mad skillz! LOL

We went home, showered then had lunch. I don't remember what we had, but I'm sure it was good. Ben and I sat down and watched some of the Mets vs Yankees game. The Yankees won 4-0 but it was still a good day.

Try to follow me on this one. Somehow Hy and I got wrangled into cooking dinner on Father's day. Allison cooked dinner on Mother's day and she suggested the boys cook for Fathers day. Before I even knew what was going on, it was too late. I was on the hook for dinner. I said that's fine. Burgers and Mac & Cheese it is. And that's exactly what we had. I made my homemade recipe that I got from Susan many years ago. It's awesome. The last time I made it for Allison, she had just gotten over mono. It was the first time she was able to eat in over a week. She'll deny it, but I swear she ate almost half the tray. She then puked her brains out and I was no longer allowed to make it. I warned her to pace herself this time. (she's gonna be mad at me for telling that story)

Dinner was good. Allison made an awesome cake. Strawberry cake with her butter-creme icing. It doesn't get much better than that. In case you can't read it, Ben's shirt says "I get my handsome from my dad." I can't argue with that. ;)


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