So…I Lied

Hello Friends,

as we grow up we learn that there is very little in life that is actually black or white, and much more that is grey. What we tell our children on a daily basis often falls into that grey category. While I’m not advocating for lying to your children, nor justifying it, it happens and it can be utilitarian. Santa Clause, sleeping with wet hair, swallowing gum; these are all things parents fib about, for whatever reason. So here is my admission of a recent lie. It all started with this very natural occurrence:

What I saw was a perfectly natural situation. Nests, and eggs, fall out of trees all of the time. I think it’s one of those ways nature makes sure the Earth is not overrun by Robins. And I’m sure earthworms have a special appreciation for this occurrence. What the girls saw was a home destroyed, a family ripped apart and somewhere a small, helpless bird wandering aimlessly trying to make sense of its new “homeless orphan” status. And what was I to tell them when they asked what happened and where was the bird? How was I to answer all the questions this grounded nest raised?

I lied.

Well, maybe not bold-faced. But I facilitated Sweetie’s creation of a narrative that was much easier to deal with. After a few leading questions and some gentle redirections, Sweetie guessed that the bird had hatched from the egg and decided to fly. It leapt with such enthuusiasm and joi de vive that it knocked the nest right out of the tree.

Yep, that’s it. That’s the story and we’re sticking with it.

So why lie? In the moment, it was easier than dealing with explaining to the girls about the “circle of life”. And it’s not like we haven’t talked about life and death before (RIP Blueberry the beta fish). On that day I just didn’t feel like dealing with it. Thankfully the girls didn’t notice the ants swarming the egg. And that broke up and went away fast enough. So now we just have a cool bird’s nest in front of our place.

On a strange note, or more, a circle of life note: Just after we found this nest and I fabricated the story and formulated this post, Peter S from The Ad Dad dropped a post about his 10 month old puppy getting a terminal diagnosis from a very malignant tumor. And how he gets to explain that to his son. Crummy life lesson there. So, stories aside, if you’ve ever lost a pet and know how that feels, maybe you could pop on over to The Ad Dad and give them an encouraging comment. Like crowd-sourced emotional support, ya’know. You can tell from the pictures, Scout is a good dog.

More Summer, Less Teeth

Hello Friends,

big news here on the detour is that Sweetie has lost two of her baby teeth. Six months ago, while visiting our favorite dentist, Dr. Johnny, we learned that Sweetie’s two lower front teeth would come out soon. The magic of x-rays showed the adult teeth moving up. We monitored the teeth and celebrated when they started to wobble about three months ago. Then, last month, one of the two adult teeth broke through her gums, what her pediatrician called a “shark’s tooth” (so jealous I didn’t think of that). The second came through last week, just before our visit with Dr. Johnny, so we expected those baby teeth would come out.

Well, they did. After a thorough and otherwise uneventful check-up, Dr. Johnny offered to pull the little guys out. We had been hoping that they would just come out while Sweetie was eating (so we wouldn’t have to pull them). So yeah, we agreed it was best to have Dr. Johnny take care of it. Especially since he had a topical numbing gel and tools on hand.


Dr. Johnny had Sweetie “help” by shaking her head back and forth while he held each tooth. They were out in seconds and she actually laughed afterward. He presented her with a very official plastic tooth fairy box for the tiny teeth. He even showed his cultural sensitivity by suggesting the Ratón (de los dientes) might be the one to come collect Sweetie’s teeth.


Official Tooth Box

It was so easy and just like that she was chomping pizza for dinner. Big thanks to Dr. Johnny Kuttab, D.D.S (this is a link to my previous post / review of his practice),  and all of the staff at Sprout Pediatric Dentistry for their stellar pediatric dental care. Both Sweetie and the Cricket left laughing and happy. Oh, and the worried look on Sweetie’s face? That’s because I’m taking pictures while she is trying to watch the movie on the office television behind me.


I am smiling, Dad!

Best Super Bowl Commercial

Everyone forms an opinion about the Super Bowl commercials, and I am no different. In the interest of honesty and transparency I want to admit that I did not watch the Super Bowl this year, so I didn’t see this commercial during a break. I was browsing YouTube last night and the Audi “Daughter” commercial played before a video. It happened with Wife shortly after and I was all, “Oh, this one’s really good.” It wasn’t until this evening that I checked online to see if the commercial was, in fact, from the Super Bowl spots. Oh, and to be clear, this is not a paid endorsement. We don’t own an Audi, and while I appreciate their fit-and-finish, we don’t have plans to buy one. I would happily test one as a family vehicle though (hint, hint).

I like this commercial because it talks about the gender pay gap in relate-able terms. I like it because it shows a father spending time with his daughter. And I like it because it offers a change to the current business reality. Oh, and I secretly hope to build soap box race cars for my girls one day. If you didn’t see it, check it out:


Love it? Hate it? What was your favorite commercial from the big game (whether you watched it or not). Leave it in the comments below.

My Heart on a Platter

This post is a bit random, just noting something that occurred at our home. I shared how the girls and I enjoyed Wife’s amended holiday work schedule and having her home more often during the holiday weeks. We weren’t ready for her to go back to her regular schedule, the girls being particularly resistant. Even with school starting back up, Sweetie stuck close to Wife when she was home. So the other day after school I saw her walking a stack of something up to the bench near our front door. This was her something:


Technically, it’s not a heart, nor a platter. No, that’s a wood cookie tray holding a wood tomato that’s stacked on a plastic slice of bread, flanked by wood carrot halves, all resting on a bed of bean-bag egg yolks. Sweetie told me, “I want to leave this here for Mommy, for when she gets home.” Like an offering. Or a sculpture to profess her adoration.

This became one of those balancing moments as I gently suggested she return the tray to the play kitchen, located on the opposite end of the apartment. Practically speaking, I didn’t want toys stacked all around the narrow entrance way. But I didn’t want to brush off her totem and hurt her little feelings. And this is life with a four year-old child. They are old enough to show emotional development and express it creatively, but they are limited by the narrow scope of their life experiences and the resources that they have to work with. I mean, you can only say so much with Play-Doh. Or in this case, play food. So it becomes a balance of fostering their development while guiding their actions, the whole time trying not to crush their budding aspirations. Wow, that looks like a summary of parenting in general.

Our resolution was to put the tray on Wife’s pillow. There, win-win. Sweetie put her creation in a place of honor for Wife, and I kept my walkway clear of clutter. She felt loved and supported, and I chalked up another note of parenting wisdom. Wood tomatoes for everyone.

R.I.P. Carrie Fisher

While we are big into recycling and re-purposing in our daily lives but I don’t usually re-use photos on the blog. Today is an obvious exception, as this photo of Sweetie from Halloween 2015 pays homage to Princess Leia Organa (Skywalker), as portrayed be the late Carrie Fisher.


I find Carrie Fisher’s life fascinating. From fame to relative obscurity back up to sci-fi royalty; fighting battles with fictional villains and real-life mental health ones. There is admittedly, more to her than just this one character.


We talked about this in front of the girls. And even though Sweetie chimed in on the conversation, she didn’t get what was going on. We try to talk about death as just another part of life, but it is still sad. Thankfully, fan response has been strong. In one tweet I read, the author wrote “Be Princess Leia in 2017…be a [general]”. And wife’s sentiments were, “In a world of Barbie dolls and damsels in distress, thank goodness there was Princess Leia.”


October 21, 1956 – December 27, 2016

Sayin’ a Lil’ Prayer

WGN News stopped by the church on Friday and spoke with some of the staff and student’s from Sweetie’s school. Friday was the Feast Day of St. Viator, so there was an all-school Mass. Of course, that was also the day before the Cubs played what turned out to be game that clinched the National League Championship.

The news piece was about the Cubs and the school saying a prayer for the team. Sweetie was at the Mass, but the rest of us did not attend. It was great to see the students and the staff represent the school so well. They picked out real fans too, not just the fair weather type. The Principal made a good point about, “We always want to pray for everyone to do their best, and we want for everyone to be safe…but meanwhile we want a little something extra for this city.” And that got me thinking about my response if asked about saying a little prayer for the Cubs.

My answer would of course be, “Yes, I am praying for the Cubs,” but not just for the team’s sake. I think cities tend to pull together when one of their teams* is slated to win big – that’s a good thing for a city. Chicago is in need of some good news, and something to pull us out of the slump that is 2016 so far. The economic divide in our city is growing (one of eight big cities where that’s the case); gun violence is hitting record highs; we barely avoided a Chicago Public School strike; taxes are some of the highest in the nation – you get the point. Again, some good news is welcome. And I like to think that the Cubs’ good news is pulling us together as a city.

Now for a quick reality check before I go full-“Kumbaya” in this post. I know a baseball series isn’t going to fix all the ills of our city. I know many of our problems are multi-faceted, politicized, socio-economic and however many more adjectives you want to stack on them. But the Cubs going to the World Series is something. We’ll come together to watch as groups of fans, as families, as Chicagoans. We’ll watch a bunch of players come together as a team and work toward their common goal.  We’ll see them manage the lows and embrace the highlights. And as the Dodgers demonstrated, we will probably see some poignant lessons about good sportsmanship.

So this is something. Honestly, it’s something we are not getting from the elected leaders who are preparing for the November 8th election. It’s something we don’t get from our everyday lives, either, so hopefully it will move us above our everyday issues. Some think this is something of a miracle. And if the Cubs can go to the World Series (for the first time since 1945), then maybe Chicago can put down the guns for just a few days. And that would be something good.

So, I know this is a lot to put on one baseball series, but like I said, I got to thinking this weekend. If you want to check out the story, here’s the link:

Chicago Catholic students pray for a Cubs win

Go Cubs Go!

*One note here about Chicago baseball. Since Chicago has two teams, the city is often split by which team supports. The Southside tends to root for the White Sox, the Northside tends to pull for the Cubs. This split runs deep, so not everyone in Chicago is celebrating, but I like to think the majority are pleased. And to all the Sox fans out there: it’s okay to cheer – we are all Chicago.

Today’s To-Do List

Here is part of today’s To-Do list, in paragraph form for added effect:

Edge and mow backyard and sweep up; throw out project garbage; empty house recycling; change all bed linens; change towels; do laundry (times 5); start organizing clothes for pending trip; walk rental dog (times 3); make and serve all of days’ meals; go to Post Office to mail package; pick up Sweetie at school; bath two daughters;


Because you get the point.

Some days you have to add “blow bubbles” to the list. Yes, today was one of those days. And yes, it was the most productive twenty minutes of my day.