Spare the rod, spoil the child…hell no!

July 8, 2011

Recently my 85 year old mother visited me and my gang. You see I’m a do-it-again dad. We now have a 9 year old son, and twin daughters aged 7. The difference between her generation and mine with regard to child discipline is apparent.

In our house spanking is a definite no no. Children are treated with respect. Sure there is some yelling and fighting but with five individuals including three young ones, there are bound to be conflicts.

Mother gets taut like a spring just watching my active boy have fun. You can sense the urge to step in and bring him to heel. You can cut the tension. Heck he is just being a kid.

Proudly relates this little story to me whenever she visits,

Seems one time when I was a 6 year old kid back in the 1950’s there was I time when I didn’t come when I was called, too busy playing I guess. She came to get me with a flyswatter. She tells how she flicked my ass with it all the way home and boy did that ever make me listen. The point being the next time I was called I came.

Frankly I find this tale a disgusting example of the child discipline of the 1950’s. Talk about lack of respect for a child.
Much as I love my mother I am beginning to realize why I have so much deep seeded anger within my psyche.

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The Twins are Five Today

February 20, 2009
Girls with big brother.

l to r. Olivia, Damian, Claire

Claire and Olivia are five years old today. I just can’t believe it. The time has gone by so quickly.

(Left: One of my favorite pics of them. This was a while back. They’re much bigger now.)

Seems like only yesterday the precious girls came into the world to join our family.

Big brother Damian pesters them like all brothers, but he sure likes playing with them.

Claire is a bit of a tomboy, and Olivia is the girly girl. Claire was baby A and Olivia baby B on the ultrasounds and that’s how they were born. Baby A first, then Baby B a minute later.

The first 3 months were the hardest, no sleep and constant attention. You would think maybe with two they would wake and feed at different times. No way! These girls had to do everything together at the same time. They were feeding every two hours for the first several weeks. Mom and Dad both would try to sleep for two hours, then get up change and feed them, this usually took an hour or more. Thank goodness Damian, big brother, is a good sleeper.

I used my lunch hour at work to catch some zzzz. Good thing too otherwise I’d have been a complete wreck.

Now at five, they play together and are very independent. Sure they squabble, but isn’t that what brothers and sisters do. They’re in kindergarten, in different classes, and are really maturing. Other activites both take part in include Sparks (scouting for girls), and ballet.


Travels With The Gang: Christmas in Maui

March 25, 2008

damiangirls.jpgI know it’s a little late, but I finally put my notes together and here is another adventure we had with the kids. Over Christmas our family vacationed in Maui.

Here I was planning on confining myself for nine hours on an airplane with the gang. Was I crazy? Damian, my dynamic six year old, and three year old twins, Claire and Livia. Would this be a vacation? Sure I thought hopefully. The time in Hawaii maybe, the flight, well that might be another story.

My wife and I loaded their carry-ons with games, coloring books, markers, books and of course goodies and snacks. Will there be enough to last nine hours? That was the million dollar question.

The trek starts with waking them out of a sound sleep at 2:30 in the morning. As usual when you want them to wake up, they want to sleep. You can bet that if we wanted them to sleep, they would be up and ready to go.

Finally we get up. Next we are waiting for the cab to take us to the airport. The cab shows up at 3:30. We load up and then the cat escapes into the cold darkness. Damian and I are chasing it around the yard and it is managing to make us look like fools. At last we pounce on her and toss her back into the warmth of the house, With the cat rescued from death by deep freeze we are on our way to the airport.

At the airport we get lucky and are near the first of the line. Check in, customs pre-clearance and security goes well. Damian is convinced to remove the wheels from his Heelies. Claire refuses to let security x-ray her “little Barney”. This is one of her favorite stuffed toys, she is a Barney freak, and she is not about to part with it. Finally we manage to get it in the x-ray and returned to her. God knows it might have contained a bomb.

The first leg of the flight, Calgary to Denver, goes well. Kids are on their best behavior. The food holds out and the batteries are still working.

Damian sits with me and says, “Dad when we get to Maui I am going to run into the room, get my swim suit on, and jump into the pool.” I decide then and there I better catch some zzzz so I can keep up with him. So I make that my goal. We’ll see how that works out.

Next we board the plane to Hawaii. After sitting on the tarmack for over one hour waiting for “connecting” passengers and their bags, we finally start moving. Halfway through the flight, “the boy” decides it is time to pester the sisters. Hell, it’s been way too quiet and uneventful, at least in his opinion. A melee ensures and separation is the order of the day. When we finally get his “engine” at an idle peace settles over the passenger compartment of the jetliner.

Food has run out and we still have 4 hours to go! My kingdom for some M&Ms. Are we there yet? No that is not the kids braying that, it’s me desparately hoping the pilot has made a mistake and the islands will suddenly appear and we will be on solid ground where I can actually give them a timeout.

Turns out that United Airlines has a contest to see how long it takes to get halfway. I can tell them. It takes several fights and lots of crying, from the kids, and parents before reach that milestone.

They say that countries will always find a way to start a war. My kids parallel the Middle East, any excuse will do. Share is not a word in their vocabulary.

Finally we are at the condo. Very nice one bedroom with large pullout in the common area. The kids decide they all want to sleep in the king-size pullout. They are so tired that it works out well. Damian in the middle with sisters on either side. Big brother is so good to them.

Before bed they go swimming with Uncle Mac, Colin and Caleigh. Meanwhile Cindy, Karen and I hike down to the nearest store for some provisions. The road is super busy with little or no sidewalk. It is so dark it is dangerous walking. We return with basics for the morning.

We are all so tired. To bed with plans for finding a nice beach in the morning.

To Lahania today and the supposedly number one beach in Maui just to the north. It was OK but lots of rocks. Very hot today. Damian and the girls had a blast in the sand building sand castles and burying Uncle Mac. Tried to get on glass bottom boat but full up so will try again tomorrow. Lahania is an historic whaling town from the 1800s with many old buildings. The old court house and jail had a huge Banyan tree in front. This building was once the capital of Hawaii. It is the spot where the official ceremony took place lowering the Hawaiian flag and raising the American flag. This made Hawaii a territory of the United States in 1888. The tree resembled an octopus with its many convoluted branches. Kids climbed all over it before we realized that we weren’t supposed to do that, oh well the kids had fun. Tomorrow snorkling and perhaps the glass bottom boat. Sure beats the heck out of the snow and ice of Calgary.

Snorkling at a local beach today. Lots of fish and a reef/rock formation that came right into shore. Not deep and good viewing. Saw about 20 different species of marine fish.

Back to the condo and a steak barbeque this evening. Christmas Eve. Strange but true. Christmas Day will be a luau on the beach. Maui is fantastic.

Christmas morning we went to Big Beach down the coast from Kihei and relaxed in the sun. Later in the afternoon we went to Lahanai to the luau. The dances and such were excellent, but food was terrible. What a disappointment. All in all a good time though. They did have a special buffet for the kids with chicken fingers and fries.

I was dreading the flight home because sister-in-law and family wouldn’t be with us. They left a day earlier, we had to spent an extra night in a hotel near the airport. I extended the rental car which was one of the smartest things I did. We spent the day at the local mall and took the kids to two movies before heading to the airport.

Turns out we were worried for no reason. The kids were so exhausted that they slept all the way back to San Francisco and then to Calgary. Damian was awake for the last two hours, but he and I watched The Simpsons on my laptop and he drew pictures.
 


Travels with the Gang: Are We There Yet? God I Hope So.

March 21, 2008

cindykids2008.jpg

My Loving and understanding wife with the gang. 

Our family is used to traveling in our Dodge Caravan minivan. There are five of us. Two adults, a 6 year old boy, and twin girls 4 years old. We love to travel, but five persons in the van is getting unmanageable. Road-tripping is Mom and Dad’s favorite thing to do, that is, move from place to place seeing the country. The kids don’t mind staying in one place, but I want to show them various attractions in Canada and the United States. Well we bought a motorhome this year and hope to use it to explore this summer and in the future. This should give the kids more room to play games, watch TV, or read books as we travel. It’s got to be better than our typical travel day in the van.

We get up after a night at the hotel, usually in an uncomfortable bed, and rush downstairs to take advantage of the “continental breakfast” offered by most chains now. To their credit, these are now more than just danishes and toast. Cereal, fruit, waffles, muffins, and even eggs are now provided.

After breakfast I start packing the luggage down to the van, making sure to remember teddy bears and other stuffed friends. This usually takes a couple of trips.

It’s time to head out for the day. Before leaving we make sure the movie players are loaded with the selected entertainment. This is decided after a heated debate amongst the viewers. By this time Dad is ready to head back to the room and let them take off by themselves. However, with a large coffee in hand, provided by a loving wife, I am trying hard to ignore the sounds of open warfare coming from the rear of the van. Thank God for Ritalin!

The next major point of contention is the choice of cuisine for lunch. Which choke and puke should we stop at? Let’s see,McDonalds has terrible food for adults, but does have Kid’s Meals with a toy for the little ones and a play area to tire them out. It takes Mom and Dad all of ten seconds to wheel into McDonalds. We get a table, order the food, and the kids head for the play area. My wife and I actually get to talk to each other one on one for a few minutes. After some downtime we take the kid’s food with us, they don’t eat in the restaurant because they’re too busy playing. They eat in the van. Oh by the way this gourmet meal costs around $30-$40 for the five of us. But hey, the kids burned off some energy and have “food” to eat, Mom and Dad had conversation, but the downside is my stomach now feels like a garburator.

Finally as the day draws to a close, we start looking for a hotel. It has to have a pool and continental breakfast. This way I can take the kids to the pool to tire them out and give Mom a break. Because generally we don’t know where we will end up, reservations have not been made. Luckily finding a room isn’t too hard if we stop a little early. I manage a workout session consisting of unloading the van and manhandling the luggage into the hotel and up the elevator, or sometimes the stairs. I can’t believe that some of these places don’t have an elevator. It’s clear to me that the designer never had to pack the luggage for five people up to his room at the end of a long day.

Next we find a fast food or family restaurant and take the desparados for supper. If you’ve never taken three little ones to a restaurant, you haven’t lived. First we wait for a table, then wait for our order to be taken, then wait for the food to come, and then wait for our bill. All this time the kids are amusing, and I use that term loosely, the patrons and staff with screaming, throwing things, and running wildly from table to table. I’m sure that as soon as we leave the manager calls all the other restaurants in his chain and warns them of our approach. That must be why they always ask where we are headed.

To close out the day the kids get ready for bed and watch TV in the room. Never have I appreciated the power of the boob-tube, than at this time. Finally we all go to sleep ready for another day in the jungle of fast food, paved interstates, and hotel/motel accomodation.

The motorhome just has to be better than this. Come back soon for another episode in travels with the gang.


Do-It-Again Dad – Stupid Things People Say

March 12, 2008

I am soon to be 59 years young. My first marriage failed, but not until I had two wonderful daughters. Then I was single-again for 14 years. During this time I had a blast, but there was always something missing. I had a hole in my heart.

Then I met the love of my life, my true soulmate. It didn’t matter to either of us that she was 20 years younger than me. She had been married before and also needed to find her soulmate.

She had always wanted children and although I didn’t feel that need, I loved her deeply and her happiness was the most important thing to me. We now have a six-year old son, and four-year old twin daughters. I can’t imagine my life without these new little ones. Unfortunately, many well-intentioned people like to toss out offhanded remarks. Now I’m sure these are not intended to be cruel, but they do grate on us. Here are some things that others, who have absolutely no concept of my life situation, like to say,

Comment: You just did this to stay young?
Answer: NO I did not, and what is it to you anyway.

Comment: Oh yeah you robbed the cradle with your young wife.
Answer: No I didn’t go looking for a younger woman. The point is we got married because in this life you only get so many chances at love and when you find happiness you grab it. By the way don’t ever let my wife hear you say this.

Comment: Sure glad it’s you and not me with three young kids at your age.
Answer: You know you’re right – I’m glad its me and not you too.
(My wife and I consider this to be the stupidest comment we get.)

Comment: How do you manage at your age? It will lead you to an early grave.
Answer: So what, I have more love in my life now that I’ve ever had before.

Cindy, my wife, is beautiful in every way and my true partner in this life. My children from my previous marriage and the little ones I have now bring me joy and love. The best legacy a person can leave behind is his or her children.

Cindy if you are reading this, I love you with all my heart and all my soul. Forever and always.


Adventures in Twin-Land

March 4, 2008

claire_fpower4.jpgLast week my twin daughters, Claire and Olivia, turned 4 years of age. So far I have not only survived, but become a better person. They were born and grew into amazing little people right before my eyes. Each has developed a distinct personality. Claire (Left) is the rough and tumble one, and is a total Barney freak. Olivia on the other hand, loves Dora and anything to do with princesses.

Courtesy of my sister-in-law, who was babysitting them at the time, here’s a funny story about the twins. I had been reading them the story of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf for several nights before this occurred.

Olivia was outside the front screen door trying to get back inside. Claire was holding the door shut. Olivia was shouting, “Claire Claire let me in”. Claire replied, “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin”. Talk about taking a story to heart.

olivia4.jpgOlivia (Right) is mom’s girl, except when she isn’t around. Claire on the other hand had been dad’s girl from the start. It just worked out that way.

When they arrive home in the evening off the bus from preschool, the first thing Claire has to do is change into a T-shirt and pajama bottoms, preferably ones with a Barney theme. Olivia strips off all her clothes, except for her panties and then she is comfortable. Finally, they demand to be served chocolate milk. They then hit the couch for some TV. Relaxation techiniques – they have that down pat.

damian.jpgBig brother, Damian, who is now 6 years old, is the boss of the house for now, but momentum is swinging. He’s been able to control things so far, but now the sisters are almost as tall as he, and are starting to push back. Damian will be in for a shock in another year. Two against one won’t be something he’ll enjoy. I chuckle thinking about it, because, really, he has no concept of what awaits him.

Photos: Cindy Davis (Mom)


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