Tag: little man

Home with a sick boy

I’m home from work today with a sick little boy. The Little Man showed no signs of being sick when he woke up this morning. I was downstairs getting some things ready and heard him calling. I went upstairs and he was sitting there with a slightly confused look on his face. He was shivering slightly.

“What’s wrong, buddy?” I asked.

He didn’t answer, just shivered some more. About a second later I realized what was about to happen, but it was too late. All the milk the Little Man had consumed was transferred from his stomach to the bed. He took that one in stride, though it meant virtually burning the sheets. The next time upset him. And the time after that got him really worked up. I think it was because there was nothing left in his tiny little stomach.

He is calm now, sitting on the couch, watching Chuggington. Meanwhile, I’ll be home with him all day today. Hopefully he’ll be feeling better soon. He looks just so pathetic looming over a little bucket.

The funny thing is that I keep having these flashbacks to when I was a kid getting sick like that. I hated getting sick. (Today, it’s not the getting sick part I mind so much as the nausea, which I can’t stand.) I can clearly remember occasions when I was green around the gills, couldn’t keep anything down and would have to stay home from school. My parents were like ministering angels. Now I’m in the parent role and realize just how difficult it can be to maintain the air of ministering angel under the circumstances.

The Little Man gets the lyrics wrong

One of those pointless things that drives me to distraction is when people get song lyrics wrong. It’s not something I complain about aloud, of course. And indeed, I often sing songs and purposely change the lyrics, but this requires the skill of rhyme, meter, scansion, and knowing the right lyrics in the first place. Kelly, for instance, is a master of getting song lyrics wrong–well, not really knowing them in the first place. When it’s someone’s birthday and she’s compelled to sing, she’ll burst out with, “Happy smmm-smmmm to you!” (Indeed, I think the only song she knows that complete set of lyrics to is Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky.”)

Fortunately, the Little Man has picked up singing from his Old Man. And, as I’ve written before, not just kids songs. He’ll sing any number of Bing Crosby songs, for instance, and has even started altering his voice slightly when he sings the Louis Armstrong parts on the duets. Now, he’s a little over 2-1/2 years of age and I can forgive him mistakes in lyrics that might annoy me if sung by one of my friends because he is still learning. But there is at least one song that he sings incorrectly that is quickly driving my into the grave. Out of nowhere, in a rising soprano, he sings:

and Bingo was his name-o
Bee-Why-EnGeeOh, Bee-Why-EnGeeOh, Bee-Why-EnGeeOh
and Bingo was his name-o

No matter how many times I try to correct him and tell him that it’s B-I-N-G-O, the next time he sings the line, he has transposed the letter from vowel to consonant. This has the net effect of long nails on a chalkboard. My god, how many kids will hear him sing those lyrics and sing them wrong themselves? By the time the Little Man is a Big Man, kids might never have heard of a song called “B-I-N-G-O.” It will have been replaced by a completely different song, and a completely different dog, much to the farmer’s dismay.

We have a parent-teacher conference coming up this Friday, and I’m bracing myself for the worst:

“He really is a sweet, generous, intelligent and handsome boy,” they’ll tell us. “But.” (Was it a character in George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire that said nothing matters except what comes after the “but”?) “But, he can’t seem to sing the proper lyrics to BINGO and it is having rather deleterious affect on the other children.”

To which I will respond, before I can stop myself, “Well, stop singing stupid songs about dogs named after geriatric gambling games and sing songs about fish instead. He’ll have no problem with either of the two parts in “Gone Fishin’.”


Conversations with the Little Man

The Little Man has a routine before bed. After he’s gotten into his pajamas and brushed his teeth and is all cleaned up, we find Kelly and the Little Miss. I remind to him say goodnight.

“Goodnight, Mommy,” he says.

“Goodnight, Little Miss,” he says.

Then I usually have to nudge him before he says, “I love you!” (Which comes out sounding like “Ah lahv yoo!”)

Last night the Little Man had been playing with a new toy on our bed–a little train set from Chugginton. (His reward for doing a very good job using the potty.) I collected him for bed and got him all ready. I think reminded him to say goodnight.

“Goodnight, Mommy,” he said.

“Goodnight, Little Miss,” he said.

Then he paused and I nudged him as a reminder. “What else, buddy?”

And without missing a beat, the Little Man said, “Goodnight, train tracks!”

That clever Little Man!

So I have finally started down the road of getting the Little Man to sleep in his own bed at night. His first night back in his bed was Saturday and it went remarkably smoothly. I sat with him, reading, until he fell asleep. He woke up once in the middle of the night, calling for “Daddy!” I went in there for a few minutes until he fell back asleep. And he then remained asleep until about 7am.

Last night was a little rougher. He fell asleep at 9pm, but I was back in his room three times before midnight, and then another five or six times between midnight at 5:30am when I finally got up for work. I think I managed an hour or two of solid sleep last night.

Last night, the Little Man demonstrated an example of his cleverness and perhaps foreshadowed some of the difficulty he’ll give us as he gets older. Kelly had taken him upstairs and he decided to stay there. He had some milk (which he usually has before bed) and I’d put a second sippy-cup of milk in the small refrigerator in our bedroom for the morning. He took the pillow from his bed and brought it into our room as if he was going to sleep there. When I finally came upstairs, I saw him and told him that we were going to sleep on his room, on his bed.

“Daddy come too?”

“I’ll come in a read you a book,” I said.

“Okay, I have a book.” He pulled out the book he’d taken off the shelf. “And my milk!” he said. He showed me his milk. I thought that a little odd, but didn’t linger on it. We got his pillow and book and went back to his room. I read to him and eventually he fell asleep.

When I went back into our room, Kelly was there with the Little Miss. As I came in she said, “I think the Little Man pulled one over on us.”

“What do you mean?”

“He drank both his milks while he was up here by himself.”

“What?” I went to the refrigerator to check it out. Sure enough, the morning milk I’d put there was gone.

Clever, sneaky Little Man!

When you’re sliding into third…

Let me set the scene for you. We’ve had gorgeous weather all week down here in southwestern Florida. I mean absolutely gorgeous. Even at this minute, as I write, I’m sitting out the lanai, the thermometer reads 79 degrees, there is a pleasant breeze, ahhh.

Yesterday, however, there was a brief break in the sunshine. The wind picked up and before we knew it, the rain was pouring. Very Hawaii-like. We were sitting in the house and when I saw how hard the rain was coming down, I said to the Little Man, “Hey buddy, go out onto the lanai and look at the rain.”

Trusting that his old man wouldn’t disturb his playing for no good reason, the Little Man diligently took off running out onto the lanai. That was when I noticed that the tiled floor of the lanai was slick with water.

The moment I noticed it I knew what was going to happen, but I was frozen while time slowed down. I watched the Little Man take about two barefoot steps on the tile before his legs went out from under him. We went down on his butt and elbows, which foratunely broke most of the fall because he smacked the back of his head on the tile, too.

As soon as he was down I sprang into action. I knew he’d be crying and wanted to calm him down and make sure he was okay. I dashed out to get him and–you’re ahead of me–I got two steps out onto the tile before I felt my bare feet go out from under me. Not only did I land on my butt and elbows but I slid into the Little Man, smashing his already crying person into the railing.

A few minutes later, he was fine. A small bump, probably a headache but no other injuries. Indeed, when he woke up this morning, it was as if the whole event never happened. Not so me. I woke up this morning and my left arm is stiff and sore–exactly the same kind of stiffness and soreness one expects after spending an afternoon chopping wood. Ah, too be young again.

Days and nights with the Little Man

Lately–perhaps because I am rapidly approaching my 40th trip around the sun and have been ruminating on this–I’ve been trying to spend more time with the Little Man. I find myself thinking about him quite a bit when I am at work. There is usually some quiet time in the house when I get home from the office, an hour or two before I have to pick the Little Man up from school. But lately I’ve wanted to pick him up as early as I can just to hang out with him. Having kids really puts into perspective how fast time flies.

We spend part of Sunday on the floor, making up games to keep up busy. We were supposed to go and see an ice show, but the Little Man has been running a low-grade fever and we didn’t want him to overdo it and be sick during our vacation. So we stayed home and had to find ways to entertain ourselves. He and I made up several games. Some involved tossing around a ball. In another case, we pushed toy cars into a “tunnel” moving farther away from the tunnel with each success to make it harder. That graduating into knocking down plastic cups with cars from a distance. The Little Man clearly had a blast, and I had fun, too.  I think his fun was in playing new games. Mine was in just getting to hang out with him.

When the Little Miss was born she slept in our room. The Little Man, not wanting to be left out, refused to sleep in his bed, and with a newborn around, we had no energy to fight him. So for the last four months, the Little Man has slept with me on a mattress on the floor in our bedroom, while the Little Miss has slept with Kelly in our bed. We are going to be transitioning both of them into their own beds/cribs when we get back from our vacation. I had grown tired of sleeping on the floor but recently, it is comforting to have the Little Man there. A time will come, of course, when the Little Man will rather hang out with his friends than his mom or dad so I’m learning to try to take advantage of these moments when he still wants to do things with me.

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Parental guilt, redux

I’ve felt terrible all morning and I can’t shake it.

It’s been getting more and more difficult to get the Little Man to go to sleep at night. He is already sleeping with me for now–until we can get the Little Miss out of our bed and into her crib, the Little Man sleeps with me and the Little Miss sleeps with Kelly. Now, when he comes to bed I have to lay they with him until he falls asleep. Which takes FOREVER! He wants to play. He doesn’t want to sleep. And now, it’s not like I can just lay there myself. Now he isn’t happy unless he’s got his head in the crook of my shoulder. Or unless I’m holding his hand. It’s at times like these that I really wish we’d fought the battle with him when he first wouldn’t stay in his own bed, but you can’t go back in time.

I was tired last night and frustrated and not in the best of moods. The Little Man finally fell asleep and so did I, but every time he’d wake up in the middle of the night, he’d want something. “Chocolate milk, Daddy!” “Hold my hand, Daddy.” “Sleep here, Daddy.” And the problem is, in the middle of the night, you don’t have the sensitivity that you do in the light of day. You’ve been sleeping restlessly. Your filters are down. The Little Man would whine and I’d snap at him, “There’s no need to cry! Go back to sleep!” Of course, this only made things worse because now he thought I was made at him, or disappointed. Or both. I wasn’t. I was tired and frustrated and half-asleep. But how do you explain that to a twenty-nine-month old.

A few days ago, the Little Man had a toy car in his hand and he was playing and got excited and smashed the toy car into my knee. And it hurt. I didn’t say anything, just sucking in air and bit my tongue, but he could tell it hurt. His expression changed to one of concern and he touched my knee very carefully and said, “Sorry Daddy. You okay, Daddy?”

How can I snap at a kid who is so polite and sensitive to others? He’s two. He’s doing what any other two-year old does. The last think I want to do is give him the impression that I’m disappointed in him or angry with him for something that he almost certainly can’t control.

And so this morning I feel terrible, bitterly terrible. I feel down-right rotten for snapping at him in the middle of the night. That’s not the kind of parent I want to be. How long will it be before I’m looking back on the days when the Little Man was just a toddler, sleeping in my bed and wanting to hold my hand just because I’m his daddy and it makes him feel safe? How long will be it be before I’m sitting around wondering where the time went? I should be embracing those moments. I wish I could control my mood better when I wake up in the middle of the night. I wish I could better try to put myself in his place.

Right now, though, all I want to do is go home, dash over to his school, pick him up and say, “I’m sorry, buddy. You okay?”

Disappointing Daddy

My routine at night goes something like this: around 7:15 I start to get things ready for the Little Man to go to bed. This is a process. I get his chocolate milk and bring it the small fridge we keep upstairs in our bedroom. I lay out his pajamas, stuff like that. Then I collect the Little Man himself. He says goodnight to Mommy and the Little Miss and we head upstairs together. I get him into his pajamas give him his chocolate milk, and let him pick a show on Disney’s ON DEMAND to watch. When the show is over, he lays down on the mattress on the floor in our bedroom right next to me. Why on the floor in our bedroom? Why with me? Long story1.

I usually spend the time reading while the Little Man will toss and turn anywhere from 30-60 minutes before finally succumbing to sleep. Sometimes he is playful, sometimes mischievous, sometimes just curious. I recall being told as a child to “go to sleep.” This always frustrated me because if I knew how to simply fall asleep at will, I’d do it. So as the Little Man tosses and turns and tries to engage in conversation, I repeatedly tell him: “Buddy, it’s bedtime. You don’t have to sleep if you don’t want to but you need to lay still and try to relax.”

Kelly came up earlier than usual last night with the Little Miss and the Little Miss had fallen asleep. The Little Man was his usual playful self and I’d reminded him a few times to lay still and relax. He has trouble with volume sometimes and was a little loud at one point, so I said to him, “Buddy, come on now, you need to lay down and keep quiet because the Little Miss is sleeping.”

He was on his knees at the time, and I watched his face collapse, his lip turn out, tears start flowing down his cheeks. “My Daddy!” he said. Kelly has observed that he says this when he thinks I’m mad at him. Of course, I wasn’t mad. My voice was the same as I usually use at night. But in that instant, I could see in his eyes that he felt I was disappointed with him in some way.

I grabbed him pulled him next to me and said, “I’m not mad at you, pal. It’s just nighttime and I want to make sure we don’t wake up the Little Miss. Okay? I’m not mad.”

“Okay, Daddy,” he said. He rested his head in the crook of my arm, and I held him there as I read. Every few minutes I’d say, “Are you okay, pal?”

“Yeah, Daddy,” he’d reply.

Eventually he fell asleep. But the idea that he felt he had somehow disappointed me–and the fact that it made him cry–haunted me for the remainder of the night.

  1. I’ll write a post on this soon, I promise.

“That’s gross, Daddy” and more wit from the Little Man

Sometime in the last few weeks, the Little Man crossed a threshold from rough sentences to compete sentences, including some clear abstractions. It’s fascinating to watch his development. Sometimes, when he is laying next to me at night1 I look at him amazed, not so much that he is a person, but that he is my son. It’s an odd feeling, a good one, but an odd one that I cannot adequately express.

He speaks in full sentences now, although we sometimes have to slow him down to understand exactly what he is saying. He uses hand gestures to compliment his words. “Where it went, Daddy?” he’ll say (okay, so he’s still working on tenses). And in speaking, he’ll shrug his shoulders and turn his hands palms up.

“Are you ready to head upstairs, pal?” I’ll ask.

“Almost, Daddy,” he’ll respond. “Almost” is a new word for him. I’ve only heard him use it in the last week. Clearly an abstraction, but he also knows that by saying it, he can delay the inevitable for a period of time. To be honest, it sounds remarkably grown up, perhaps because I find myself saying this to Kelly quite often. (“Are you ready to go?” she asks. “Almost,” I respond, “I’m just finishing up this last email…”)

We were a little worried that he wasn’t picking up colors, but that too has changed. He still defaults to “blue” but it is clear that he knows what orange and red are as well. (At this point, he will call something that is yellow orange, but I’m not going to quibble with him.)

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  1. A long story, worthy of its own post.

The Little Man learns some little words

Kelly had made a delightfully refreshing dinner: salad with salmon, and we were sitting in the TV room, eating our meals. The Little Man had a small dish of his own and was picking around his salmon, mostly eating the veggie, as he is wont to do. I can’t recall what we were talking about, but there we were, talking, when all at once, something that the Little Man was saying began to permeate my consciousness.

He was standing in the middle of the floor, with a smirk on his face and was saying, in perfect imitation of a frustrated adult, “Oh shit!”

It took another second and before that second was through, he’d said it again: “Oh shit!”

I looked at Kelly and could feel the instant loss of control. Barely able to contain my laughter, I said, “I have to use the restroom!” and I jumped up and proceeded into the powder room, shut the door and began cackling like a hyena. I took a few deep breaths and then returned to my meal.

“Oh shit!” the Little Man purred.

Kelly tried to distract him, “What did you do at school today?” she asked.

“Play toys!” he said. “Oh shit!”

At this point lettuce was coming out of my nose and I once again had to excuse myself. Kelly was smirking at this point, but at least she maintained her composure. She once again was able to distract him, and we successfully ignored his outbursts. And it must have worked because we haven’t heard him say those words since.

But it was hysterically funny, the kind of funny after which your cheeks and side are sore. I am laughing out loud as I write this post. Neither Kelly nor I can figure out where he heard this. I don’t use profanity often, but when I do, it is a George Carlin-esque stream of words that you can’t say on television, and I don’t think “shit” is included in that list any longer. It is a mystery.

Cars and trucks and things that go to the bathroom

My oh my was last night a doozy.

The Little Man has entered a phase where he no longer wants to sleep in his own bed. I’ll put him to bed and say goodnight and he will have a full on tantrum. Last night I just went downstairs. We have a gate at the top of the staircase to prevent him from falling down the steps. (Actually, it’s to prevent the cats from bothering us at night, since the Little Man can now safely navigate the stairs.) Until last night I didn’t think he could open that gate but in his transformation into the Incredible Hulk, he got the gate open. I’ve been trying to avoiding staying in his room with him until he falls asleep, but I had little choice last night. I compromised by sitting on the floor next to his bed and watching a documentary on the making of Season 1 of Millennium while he dozed off. It took an hour.

Even then, he didn’t stay asleep. He woke up asking for me and I had to go back in there and sit on the floor until he fell back asleep. Kelly brought up the Little Miss at about the same time. The Little Miss seemed happy, and indeed she was, until a little while later when she started to cry and then scream. It woke up the Little Man who proceeded to come into our room and since we couldn’t juggle both, the Little Man ended up sleeping with me. Once he was asleep again, Kelly and I took the Little Miss downstairs. We tried everything to console her, including giving her a bath. She would calm down for minutes at a time and then start shrieking again.

Add to this the fact that the major road down from our street is being resurfaced and said resurfacing is taking place between 9pm and 5am to prevent traffic backups. The trucks are loud. At one point, the Little Man, curled up in a soft blanket and nestled in my arms, had quieted down and I could hear the trucks rumbling as if they were just outside our front door.

“I hope the Little Miss starts crying again soon,” I said Kelly. “It will help drown out the sound of those (redacted)1 trucks.

It was frustrating for everyone, not the least of which the Little Miss, who I imagined very clearly pontificating on our ineptitude as parents:

“I am telling you exactly what is bothering me, why don’t you listen for god-sake,” she was saying. “How obvious do I have to make it for you? Have you any sense at all? My goodness, if these are the parents I’ve inherited then I’m in real trouble. That can tell a complaint from a cry. How am I supposed to get across to them the urgent significance of the matter at hand? Pink Floyd comes to mind,” she continued, “‘Is there anybody out there?’ Oh, great, now they are going to put me in the bathtub. I’M FINE THANK YOU. I DON’T NEED A BATH! A NEED TO POOP, OKAY, IS THAT PLAIN ENOUGH FOR YOU? I NEED TO TAKE A (expletive removed)-ING DUMP. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?”

Meanwhile, the trucks outside seemed to do nothing but drive backwards, based on the constant BEEP BEEP BEEP we were hearing.

Eventually, somehow, everyone quieted down and maybe we slept some, too. For a little while anyway.

  1. This was a long stream of colorful profanity that stretched on for 30 seconds or more.

Division titles and inconsolable infants

When I picked up the Little Man from school yesterday, we went through the usual preliminaries (“What did you do at school today?” “Play toys! Outside!”) and then asked him a very important question: Do you want to watch the Yankee game with Daddy tonight?

So at 7pm, we headed upstairs to watch the Yanks. About the same time, the Little Miss seemed to get somewhat cranky, but Kelly was about to feed her so I figured she’d calm down once she had some milk in her belly. Of course, the Yankees game was rain-delayed and so we watched the beginning of the Orioles/Red Sox game. On our walk home from school, I’d made sure to teach the Little Man to say “Go Yankees!” and being a quick learner, he would stand on our bed during the Red Sox game shouting “Go Yankees! Go Yankees!”

Meanwhile, I could hear the Little Miss crying downstairs. Not an all out screaming cry, but a steady, idling cry.

Early in the Red Sox game, the Orioles hit a home run and I cheered, throwing both hands up in the air and shouting, “Yeah!” The Little Man replicated this perfectly. He is the Rich Little1 of his daddy’s sports celebratory outbursts. Thereafter, no matter what the play was, the Little Man would do a little celebratory dance.

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  1. I wonder how many people will get this reference?