How does “I can do it myself!” at three years old transmute into “Can you do it for me?” at thirteen?

At three I got reproached and pushed away for trying to help them perform a task. At thirteen I am implored to do it for them!

When they were little I thought I could surely cultivate this “do it myself” attitude into the formation of self-sufficient, self-actualized young adults.

But, now at thirteen and fourteen they’ve become helpless and dependent. And, they want me to do everything for them.

And, regretably, I do!

What has happened to them in that decade between three and thirteen?

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Parenting From the End

What will your children remember about you when you’re gone?

While most parents may not spend much time thinking about that, I actually think about that a lot!

I probably think about that too much! Maybe I even obsess about it. Because sometimes it seems that I am growing older faster than they are growing up!

In my previous post, Lucky and Blessed, I expressed the blessing of raising children the second time around. This post is a follow-up and, perhaps, illustrates the dark side of being an older parent.

Most parents are young adults when they have children. They expect to live long enough to watch their children grow up, graduate, start a career, get married, and have families of their own. And, they certainly don’t recognize their mortality as much as an older adult does.

But, my second-time-around parenthood is being performed nearer the end of my life than the beginning or middle. You might say, I’m parenting from the end!

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Night Terrors

I was sound asleep in bed one night recently when my somnolent self suddenly sensed something standing by my bed.

My eyes jolted open and standing there right in front of my face was a dark figure–admittedly, a small dark figure or was it a small figure in the dark.

Nevertheless, it scared me awake so much so that I shot up in bed and let out a muffled yelp, “WHO’S THERE???”

Then, I heard Kenzie whisper, “Dad, I just threw up!”

My frightened yell suddenly turned into an agitated grumble. “Why did you sneak up on me like that?” I demanded.

“I didn’t want to scare you,” she explained.

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Pictures Worth a Thousand Words

Poppy&KalebArmsCrossed-Fav Baby-IntrepidEffect

You’ve heard the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words!” This picture, though not very high quality, is one of my favorite baby pictures of Kaleb because it’s one of those pictures that tells a story without words.

In fact, the picture makes its own point better than I can ever explain in words. Undoubtedly, I should just keep my “thousand words” to myself, and let the picture tell its own story.

Since ‘”words” are what I do, I’m going to offer an explanation, but in much less than a thousand words…

This picture is one of those pictures that just happened in the moment. It wasn’t planned. Twenty-one-month old Kaleb liked to imitate his Poppy. Five-year-old Kaleb still does.

But, this particular picture is burned into my brain, etched on my memory. And every time I hear or see the children doing something bad that looks or sounds a lot like me, it flashes to the forefront of my mind and sears my conscience.

It’s like a sign pasted across my rather large forehead, “He Learned It From You!”

Since I’m the only adult role model in the home, I guess I have to accept responsibility, though grudgingly, for much of their bad behavior, especially if it looks or sounds a lot like me. But, do I really act like that awful behavior they are doing or say those ugly words they are saying? Surely not!

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The Poop Perplexity

When I started this blog I promised that I would not resort to bathroom or potty humor. But bathroom training is certainly an important part of parenting young children and some stories just need to be told!

Bathroom training is particularly challenging for a single parent with multiple children and/or children of the opposite sex for several reasons:

  1. You don’t have a personal understanding of how the plumbing works in the opposite sex children.
  2. You don’t exactly know the proper procedure for completing the job in opposite sex children.
  3. You have to take them into public restrooms for the opposite sex. While it’s not so bad to take a young boy into the women’s restroom, I find it objectionable to take a young girl into the men’s restroom. (No disrespect intended to my fellow males, but I just don’t want my little girl watching to see what you’ve got while you’re standing at the urinal and I’m sure you don’t want her watching you!)
  4. When you have more than one child and only one needs to go, then you have to take them both into the restroom.

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Huffing and Puffing Is What I’m Good At!


I love to read non-fiction books, particularly history and biography. And, I like to go to the movies. And I like to watch news, sports, and movies on television. But much of my current literary interests can be found in children’s books, videos, and television programs.

Trying to keep up with the toddlers, I can’t even tell you what’s going on in world events. I don’t know what the latest blockbuster movies or bestselling books are. And I don’t even know if my favorite sports teams are winning or losing.

I’m not saying this to complain. I’m saying this to explain that if there’s any personal development taking place in my life, it’s going to come from children’s books, animated videos, or kid’s television programs.

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31 Things I Forgot To Do Before Leaving the House in the Morning

I like to make preparations for the toddlers for the following day on the evening before.

Their clothes and their backpacks are prepared, packed and set out the night before.

Then, when we get up in the morning, we can eat breakfast, get dressed, and leave the house in an organized and timely manner so the toddlers can get to school and I can get to work on time.

Since everything is organized and prepared the night before, we should just go through our morning routine and leave for school and work without a hitch…

But no matter how will prepared I am, there must be thirty or more things I forgot to do or need to do as we rush out of the house and get in the car to leave for school and work.

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Daylight Savings Time? NOT!

Whoever thought up daylight savings time obviously didn’t have small children.

Because if he did, he would know not to trifle with children’s bedtime routine.

Just when it seems you’ve got the children going to bed at a regular time and you’re even starting to get a full night’s sleep, then they say daylight savings time is starting…or stopping…again!

And it wrecks the whole bedtime routine!

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Girl Watching

I like to watch young women…

No! It’s not what you think!

I like to watch young moms because I like to study the way they handle their children; I like to observe the way they are with their children.

I am often in the company of young moms: at daycare, at school, at school events, at the park, at McDonald’s, at the grocery store, at the children’s store, at karate gymnastics, and dance lessons, and at church.

Just about anything I am doing with the toddlers or for the toddlers is likely something that young moms are doing with or for their children!

I am afforded many opportunities each day to observe how young moms nurture their children.

So, I watch and try to learn.

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When Left To Their Own Devices – The Sequel

A few weeks ago I told you about an episode around our house in which I allowed the toddlers to play independently for a little while without continuously checking on them (see this post).

It led to a disastrous mess with Mentholatum spread all over the floor and walls of their bedrooms.

Well, another incident has occurred resulting from independent play. And, again it involves, you guessed it, Mentholatum!

As I said in the previous post, when left to their own devices, even a brief exercise in independence by the toddlers will often result in a household disaster.

So, I have to ask, what’s the deal with that Mentholatum?

It’s like the catnip of toddlers!

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