1st Party Invite



I don’t remember how old I was when I attended my first birthday party, but I’m fairly confident it was older than three.  Alaina’s last two birthdays have featured bouncehouses and “friends”,  but those friends were her multiple cousins and the children of mommy and daddy’s friends. I figured we had several more years before we would be dealing with a whole yard full of rugrats to entertain.

One of Alaina’s powderpuff posse members recently turned five, and as befits a young lady of that age, she was allowed to invite a few of her school friends to the party. Alaina was ecstatic about the invitation. When told it meant she would be attending a party, doubly so.

Drop off for her school is between 12:15-12:30, with pickup in the afternoon between 3:00-3:15. She goes three days a week, with two of these falling on “daddy days”. This turns out to be an incredibly short window to try and accomplish those things I am unable to do with a “helper.” There are roofs to shovel, toilets to clean, videogames to play. There is no time for socialization between parents.  The goal is to drop and run as quickly as possible, later to grab and go.

This contributed to me being far less enthusiastic about the party. I had no idea which of these little princesses we would be feting or which parents I would now be forced to engage in conversation with. I assumed the expectation would be for me to stay, but wasn’t completely sure. What was the protocol in a situation like this? I had absolutely no idea.

It turned out to be about as awkward as expected.  Family and friends of the birthday girl gathered in one room, while myself and several other school moms followed our kids into another. The hosts were very gracious but still basically strangers. Standing in a corner with my punch and cold pizza I tried to avoid eye contact with the women across the room, occasionally being bumped out of the way by those having much more fun than I was. I couldn’t help but be reminded of sixth grade dinner dances.

Fortunately my time in this purgatory was short. I had to work that afternoon, so after a few hours we collected our goody bag, said our goodbyes, and headed out. The promise of an afternoon with grammy made this exit far less painful than I had feared.

Not unexpectedly, this has led to increased anticipation and planning for her own birthday party. I’m not sure where I am going to find a talking unicorn between now and May, but I’m pretty sure we are going to need a bigger cake.





Even in pre-school, women travel in packs.There are 14 kids in Alaina’s class, but there are three other girls in particular that she calls her “best friends.” Her teachers go so far as to call them a “clique”. Somewhat to my relief, the other girl’s moms say their kids talk about Alaina as much as she does about them. At least one of these girls will be moving on to kindergarten next year, but I hope it works out that the others get to stay together.

I grew up in a very small town where I spent nursery school  to eighth grade with the same few dozen classmates. It made the transition to a larger, out of town high school harder, but created very strong bonds between us “Salem Kids.”  I’ve had many people come and go from my life over the years, but my closest friends remain those I made in those small classrooms years ago. Even in the pre-Facebook years we all made efforts to keep in touch. When someone moved away, we visited. We were best-men and groomsmen in each others weddings, sometimes multiple times.




I understand this is a “small town” phenomenon, impossible to duplicate where we live now. Salem is no longer the small town it was in those days either, boasting its own rotary now in addition to several traffic lights.

I find this unfortunate. Kayla seems to have no trouble making friends, but I’m not sure she’s found anybody yet that will have that kind of longevity.

This is important to me, because as fantastic as my parents were, my friends and their parents deserve almost equal credit ( or blame ) for the person I ultimately became.

My boys and I raised a fair amount of hell in our day, but as much as we pushed each other to further levels of stupidity, we were also always there to reign each other in if somebody was heading towards “really stupid” territory.  (thanks again btw.) My friends were good people and their parents were good people. We grew up to be good people.

So we try to keep an eye on Kayla’s friends, cringing inside as we hear stories of drug use and pregnancy.  We try to subtly nudge her towards those friends we feel might be better influences, conscious of the fact that we have no idea whatsoever. We stubbornly think that we can make a difference, knowing that in the end we can do nothing but cross our fingers and trust her judgement.

Mind your manners and stay out of trouble, Alaina’s pre-k posse.  I’m watching you..



The Death of Profanity

One thing I have picked up about today’s teenagers is a surprising lack of profanity in their limited actual conversations.They still swear for extra emphasis, and when very angered Kayla can curse with ease, but even if out of my earshot they swear twice as much as I think, this is still a quarter of the vulgarity we used at that age.  I’m ruling out gender as part of the equation because although the words might be slightly different, I’ve never found women to be any less profane than men. When properly riled, my wife can peel paint off walls and make a sailor blush.

I remember being eight or nine years old, preparing to leave for a friend’s birthday party. As she was sealing the card, my mother noticed that in a back corner, in as small a printing as I could manage, I had written every curseword that I knew. I was unable to explain why to her satisfaction. Didn’t she understand how cool I was being?

Somehow our current PC society has made swearing un-cool. The fact that this generation no longer uses homophobic or bigoted phrases to describe each other is a fantastic societal accomplishment that happened in a relatively short time frame, but MFer? I wouldn’t have guessed that MFer would ever go out of style.

My grandfather learned English as a second language. He was always especially fond of the curses. My father was a construction worker.  Those that know me can attest that my vocabulary is very F-centric.

I’ve always tried to censor myself around Kayla. For many years it was simply an attempt to set a good example. Now? It’s also to avoid the the look of contempt it brings when I slip up. I’ll never take too seriously the judgement of a teenage girl, but if you’ve seen one of their looks of contempt, you know that it can be highly effective.

The three year old, however, unfortunately thinks swearing is very cool. She wasn’t much over two when she sweetly asked her mother if “it would be OK if she wore her “f@#% ing  shoes today?” Apparently daddy had a hard time locating her sneakers the day before.  She’s also been know to use” GDit”when things aren’t going her way, and “for f@#%’s sake” when exasperated. There was a time when she would often sweetly ask to “whisper a secret in your ear.” This secret often turned out to be a naughty word.

Superhuman effort is taken to not swear in front of her. My head may actually explode one day.

She has been scolded, threats of punishment made, time-outs given.  As her vocabulary rapidly expands and she finds new and improved ways to make us crazy, the novelty of cursing seems to be wearing off.

We’ll see how long that lasts.






A long time ago, 1992, I had just come home from my high school graduation ceremony. It was a nice night, and after the family settled into the living room, a group of friends and I sat out on the deck to BS for a while. Years have erased some details, but I’d guess there were 8-9 of us, with a pretty even boy-girl ratio.

What we didn’t realize is that all the windows were open. It was a relatively small house, and our voices travelled well. My parents were mortified. My grandmother may actually have been physically ill.

I bring this up because both my kids have at least one thing in common. When they get home from school, their day is described as “good.” Efforts to gather more information are usually met with requests for food.  Kayla, the teenager, will occasionally open up when bribed with buffalo wings and a lunch date away from her sister, but I’d like that uncensored peek into her life that my parents received 23 years ago.

So I attempt to eavesdrop. My wife and I respect Kayla’s privacy enough to not secretly read her text and Facebook messages, but if a friend is over and I happen to be outside an open window or in the basement next to an open vent, anything overheard would be through no fault of my own.

This turns out to be a very ineffective way to gather information about a teenager’s life. Its been lamented for years, but the truth is that kids really do no longer talk to each other in person. They communicate by punching buttons , even when sitting in close proximity to each other. Occasionally one will ask “did you see this”, or “look at this”. This is often followed by laughter or what I assume to be insults that I’m not familar with, directed at persons unknown.  Talking is done in a hyper fast, abbreviated language that I have a hard time following.  Nothing is learned.

I have no more success at pick up time for preschool. Listening to three year olds talk is like watching the old men on one of those Sunday morning political roundtables on obscure cable channels.  There are as many different converations as there are participants, everyone seems to think they are saying something really important, and they all leave friends, completely oblivious to the fact that they were talking to themselves the whole time.

I’m going to need a new plan.



The story so far



romantic honeymoon


Greetings curious reader, and thank you for taking a few minutes to stop by my little corner of the internet.

My name is Jeremy

. In 8th grade I was voted “most conceited” and “most sophisticated”. It later came to my attention that most of my classmates weren’t sure what “sophisticated” meant, but were pretty sure it was something like “asshole”.

After another decade and a half of also being described as “narcissistic”, “arrogant” and other variations of the same theme, I meant an obnoxious 23 yr old and fell in love.  She came with a 5 year old daughter, and just like that, my world was changed. Flash forward ten years and that now 15 yr old, Kayla, is joined by a 3 year old baby sister, Alaina.

My belief in karma has been confirmed, as well as my belief that God is a woman, has been watching me, and has a wicked sense of humor.

The following posts will deal with my adventures in dealing with the tantrums, drama, and overall messiness that comes with toddler and teenage girls. At times it will be humorous, other times poignant. Hopefully it will never be boring.

The title “Chronicles of a Thirsty Daddy”, comes from that moment at the end of the night, 14 hours or so after the day starts, when the toys are picked up, the tears dried, the lights lowered, and my wife and I let out that long sigh, pour our drinks, sit back, and try to stay awake long enough to try and clear an hour or so of non-cartoon content from the DVR. This moment typically occures anywhere from 60-90 minutes after I really needed it to.

Adventures with girls, from preschool to proms