Category Archives: Munchkin

Taking One On The Chin



Another first
just another day of dragon hunting


Our day started well enough.  After an hour of running around the woods there was still plenty of time before the end of the teenager’s soccer practice for us to go to the adjacent playground for a while.  I settled in at a shaded picnic table to “watch this” as she walked across a steel balance beam approximately three feet off the ground somewhere between twenty and thirty times in a row.

It’s an act I had seen quite a bit of on our last visit.  A demonstration of agility she was thrilled that no longer required holding my hand to accomplish.  The latest challenge faced and overcome.

One that we may have been a bit premature in celebrating.


One to the chin
An unexpected detour


A lapse in concentration, a missed step and more blood than I would have expected later and we instead had our first visit to the Emergency Room, seven stitches being required to close the laceration on her chin.

As always, I was amazed by the toughness and resiliency of this kid. There were tears, there was some shock at the amount of blood, and there was fear when she was lay down for the sutures, but she handled it all without complaint.  After a numbing compress took some of the sting away her biggest concerns were over the chips in her freshly painted nails and whether or not she was still going to look pretty when her family came over for Easter dinner.

I’ll be curious to see what happens when we go back.  She has a stubbornness to her that has never really been tested in this manner before.  Will this be considered a failure that needs to be rectified, or a reason to stay away from the beam from now on?

I’m guessing that it’s going to be somewhere in the middle.  I won’t push, but if she needs some encouragement to get back on I’ll provide it.  Both of us will need her to be holding my hand the first few attempts.

There’s an old boxing cliche that a fighter can never be considered a true champion until the first time he takes one on the chin, hits the mat, and gets back up.  Today my daughter took her first real shot to the chin. I’m willing to bet she’ll be ready to go when the next round begins.




Two Tiny Hands
Post Comment Love

Pain in the Nards


As we watched our five year olds madly chase each other across the length of the playground, deftly avoiding collisions with the dozens of much smaller children that made up the day’s majority, the mother of the girl that Alaina was currently running from commented that all of the toddlers were “making her ovaries ache.”

Sometimes uterus is substituted for ovaries, but it’s a common phrase, meant to symbolize a woman’s yearning to have a child. What I realized is that there is no male equivalent saying.  Had I acknowledged her sentiment by replying that watching these small children play gave me a similar feeling in my gonads or seminal vesicles, I fear that the statement would not be taken in the spirit in which it was intended.

There really should be one, a way for a man to express these feelings without worrying about getting those gonads kicked in or being escorted from the premises.

There should be, because we feel it too.  We feel that desire to return to days we’ve since over sentimentalized.  We see these littles, with their smooth skin and their bald heads, eyes wide as every new discovery fascinates and delights them and we think about returning to those days, think about starting over.



It’s why I would recommend anyone contemplating a vasectomy to make absolutely sure that you ready.  Despite my wistful tone, I’m perfectly content with my choice, the occasional stray thought aside. A few that I’ve talked to recently aren’t, and I can understand that. If you’ve never read my snip story, you can find it here on, but the short version is that it’s a very easy procedure.  I went on a Saturday morning and drove myself home with no discomfort.  There was a pinch and a burn on the side that the Urologist numbed up, a weird pulling sensation on the side that he neglected to.

The worst part is the finality of it.  It’s what kept me in the parking lot for twenty minutes before going in for the procedure and what sometimes will contribute to a melancholy moment or two while watching my daughter play.

The moments are often short lived.  The mother with the “aching ovaries” carried her little girl out of the park slung over her shoulder, screaming all the way.  Left to amuse herself, mine promptly proceeded to get herself stuck in a tree.


stuck in a tree


Sometimes it’s just a figure of speech, rhetorical musings. Others the result of a trip to the doctor and sometimes it comes from a well placed kick from a panicking wanna be monkey.  Whatever the origin, kids can be a real pain in the nards.



Life Love and Dirty Dishes

Attack of the Joker


I’m usually not opposed to a good prank.  I like the guys from the Impractical Jokers television show, have owned at least one whoopie cushion over the years, and used to spend a great deal of time and energy trying to scare the crap out of my wife whenever the opportunity presented itself.  I usually prefer it when I’m not the target of this mischief, but think that I do a pretty good job of laughing at my own misfortunes when the situation dictates.

I’ve never been a fan of April Fool’s Day, however.  A day devoted to tomfoolery and hoaxes should have a good origin story – a pagan ritual to fool evil spirits or a medieval fable about a jester tricking a king into letting him run off with the royal daughter.  Instead there’s a Flemish poem about a foolish noblemen from 1539, something about the Gregorian calendar that doesn’t seem to make sense, and a theory that when Noah mistakenly sent out the dove before the water had completely abated, the date was April First.

It’s an annoyance, a day of deception without any real purpose.  Not long ago I heard a very legitimate sounding radio advertisement promoting the grand opening of a clothing optional Chinese Restaurant called Wang’s Palace and I have no idea if it’s a real place or not.  I can’t wait until tomorrow when I can go back to believing everything that I see on the news and the internet.

My daughter did not share my feelings. A day that not only tolerated obnoxious behavior but actively encouraged it being one that she had been excited for all week. Upon awaking this morning, the first thing I found was a note on my nightstand.  Her handwriting still resembles something a drunk chicken would scratch in the barnyard dirt, but after some decoding and a bit of imagination it was revealed to say : “Happy April Pranks Day. Watch out for all my traps.”

Thankfully she hasn’t seen any of the Home Alone movies and most of her traps turned out to be pretty benign.  Before taking the dog out I had to empty crumpled up newspaper from my boots and everybody’s sneakers were filled with crayons.  I spent way too long looking for my keys before noticing the giggling from under a nearby table and both my wife and I had the contents of our underwear drawers emptied onto our pillows.  She spent close to an hour hiding in the dog’s crate while I pretended not to know where she was.


a merry prankster
a brilliant hiding spot


It makes me a bit nervous about the years to come.  She hasn’t developed the sophistication of an evil genius quite yet, but the inherent deviousness is there.  All it will take is a little bit of inspiration before we start finding plastic wrapped toilets, taped water nozzles and ice cube trays filled with dish soap.  I’m going to be paying a lot closer attention to my surroundings this time next year.


attack of the joker
evil genius at work




Superman Stole My Sleep


I had a surprise waiting for me last night when I went to bed.  A four foot, bed hogging miniature version of myself snoring loudly right where I was prepared to lie down.  Normally these types of late night shenanigans would be frowned upon, an admonishment about staying in her own room followed by a march back across the hall.

Instead I let her sleep.

Alaina has always been surprisingly easy at bedtime. She drags her feet a bit, makes up silly excuses to stay up, and is sometimes reminded that if I can hear her singing she obviously isn’t brushing her teeth, but there really aren’t that many nights that she gets back up after story time and lights out.

Last night was different, a full scale meltdown occurring because I refused to let her trade out one of her stuffed animals for a Superman fighter jet that she insisted on sleeping with instead.  A fighter jet with sharp wings that, like any rational parent, I was convinced that sharing a bed with would lead to her poking her eyes out.  Why parents have this completely irrational fear of our kids poking their eyes out I can’t explain.  In my forty three years on this planet, I don’t believe that I have ever encountered somebody that actually poked one of their eyes out as a child, but the certainty that our diligence is the only thing keeping it from happening is a common bond that all parents share.


Superman stole my sleep
weapon of eye destruction


I let her stay because when I left her room she was a blubbering mess, unable to deal with life’s unfairness and the terribly mean father that she had been burdened with.  The kind of mess that had a high potential of leading to an equally unpleasant morning when this little bundle of emotion needed to get up and get ready to face a full day of school.


superman stole my sleep
too much to bear


I also let her stay because I really didn’t mind, either the room intruder or the tantrum thrower.  She’ll be turning six in a few months and I’ve been increasingly cognizant of the fact that my little girl really isn’t all that little anymore, that I’m closer to the end of things like tuck-ins, bedtime stories and arguments over the appropriate number of stuffed animals than I am to monitors and waking up my wife for 2 AM feedings. It was nice to see her acting like an overtired, spoiled little five year old, as weird as that may sound.


I let her stay and today have the puffy eyes, bruised spleen, and crick in my back that comes with sharing my bed with a cover stealing, leg kicking little cuddle monkey that left me approximately six inches of room on our super king sized bed. She’ll be back to sleeping in her own bed tonight, Superman will stay in his box with the rest of the superheroes, and I’m not in the mood for any crap.


stealing my sleep
so sweet – when they are sleeping






Hard Lessons in Sportsmanship


I kicked my daughter’s ass today.  Not literally of course.  Even if I were ever to be so bold as to write a post about spanking her, I probably wouldn’t open with that line. No, today I kicked her ass at pop-a-shot basketball and just to be sure that she had learned her lesson, I kicked her ass at skee-ball.


nothing but rim


It wasn’t my first intention, not the purpose of our trip to the entertainment complex.  These games are usually a collaborative effort, our goal the accumulation of a few thousand tickets to trade in for a plastic spider ring or a super bouncy ball. Very rarely do we go head to head in games of skill, and when we do I usually let her win, or at least tie.  My goal for her has always been to make sure that she is putting in maximum effort and to encourage practice as a means of improvement.  As long as she is having fun and those two things are being done, winning  can remain a secondary objective for now.

I’m not sure that she would agree.  She’s always been hyper competitive, but it’s usually a cute thing, more of a motivation to herself to improve.  In anticipation of a birthday party held at a gymnastics center this morning, she spent the week crashing around the house practicing cartwheels.  The place we were at today was found while looking for somewhere less crowded to practice her roller skating in between parties.

Today that spirit that I love took an unexpected turn, a game of mini-golf turned ugly.  Those who have spent time with me out on the links know that I can be inclined to be generous with my mulligans and gimme putts. That sometimes my scoring can be “creative” and that the “foot wedge” is an important tool in my arsenal. They will also tell you that what I don’t do is talk a lot of trash.

Not that I can’t. When the time is right and I’m able to back up my words with performance I can sling trash talk with the best of them. There is just an unfortunate lack of  times when this is applicable.

Today my daughter talked a lot of trash. She mocked misses, danced around when her ball hit the bottom of the cup, and apparently was completely oblivious to the fact that had we a scorecard she would have been about thirty shots behind after nine holes. She was completely obnoxious and frankly, a very unpleasant playing partner.


lessons in sportsmanship
somehow believes her ball is closer


So I taught her a lesson in humility.  It’s probably not a technique that would be covered in a parenting manual, but one that seemed effective.  There was a line that any reasonable person would recognize and not long after crossing it I stopped.  The day ended with what I thought was a very productive conversation over pizza and root beer about sportsmanship, other people’s feelings, and the importance of not acting like an asshole.  I think that she got the message.

I’m not going to  gloat, but I’m calling this a parenting win.


lessons in sportsmanship
the face of a loser