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;

Stop.

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.

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Happy New Year!?!

In my previous post I said I did not know how many installments I would write for the D-3 “Christmas Survival Guide”. Yeah, it came out to that one post – definitely an opportunity for improvement in 2016. Honestly, if I knew that was my last post for 2015 I would have wished you, my dear readership, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. But that’s why I’m writing this post!

Would you believe that the delay was part of my plan? That I didn’t want to share holiday internet space with everyone else, but instead wanted to wait until mid-January to share pictures of the girls? That way, there’s no competition and you can focus solely on them. No, I’m not buying it either, and I’m writing it. Anyway, here they are:

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To tell the truth, we had a strangely busy holiday season. Most of Wife’s family were travelling and out of town, and everyone local on my side got together on the same day. But our foursome stayed busy throughout. And what a great problem to have! We spent a bunch of time together as a family. Movie nights, lots of playtime, some Christmas adventures. It was great.

And now we’re in the new year. I don’t know about you guys, but mine is starting off at full-pace – I can’t believe we are already 3 weeks in. I was just able to read over the year-end numbers from WordPress to see how this blog did last year. I was a bit disappointed to see that I posted 5 fewer entries than in 2014 – that’s on me. I was very excited to see that the site hits had gone way up though. And that is because of all of you, my dear readership!

So let me put a great big “THANK YOU” to all of you out there who take the time to read, comment, like, follow, re-post and all of that other stuff that shows support for the detour. That’s big thanks to my family and friends for their continued support; to the new followers who came on board; to the people using the comments section, particularly BDB; to my girls for the continuous, sometimes overwhelming, font of material; and to Wife, my top supporter, most constructive challenger, thorough editor, available sounding board and the best partner ever. All of you help to get me in front of the computer to write these entries and share these stories and I appreciate your support of this blog and this family.

And so we’re off and running. I think it is customary to feel nostalgic during this time of year. I get that feeling around November and it usually lasts until February. So I am going to use it to re-visit some notes and stories from earlier in the year. You know, make up for stuff I didn’t do in 2015 (even though I don’t believe you really can). With Sweetie’s PreK-3 rolling into it’s second half, and Cricket’s everyday adventures continuing to ramp-up, there is a lot of new stuff to write about also. So again, thanks for taking the detour with us, and please continue to enjoy the trip.

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Saturday Night Nap Time

I don’t remember the last time I took a nap at 8:00 on a Saturday evening. And it has been a while since I have wanted to call it a day that early as well. But we brought Daughter #2 home from the hospital on Tuesday and the last five days have just worn me out.

“Cricket” came into this world with an intense, but medically boring, birth. The next five days made up for it and where an unexpected whirlwind of “new”. I learned how to spell “hyperbilirubinemia” and learned all about the jaundice it causes. I learned that “bili-lamps” are slow working devices. I learned that five days in the NICU is nothing when you speak with a father who has been making daily visits, with his toddler in tow, for three weeks (and the docs just told him his daughter may be cleared to leave in two more). Oh boy, what an adventure.

So yeah, we came home Tuesday afternoon. And that was after a morning appointment to get Cricket checked out. Thankfully, the visit counted as a NICU follow-up and her 1 week wellness check – score! The doc who diagnosed her jaundice was on duty so it was a solid follow-up. The rest of the week was spent realizing our “new normal” and introducing Sweetie to the concept. Simply put, three words: work in progress.

So tired, yes. With late night feedings and changes and a 2AM pee-call for Sweetie, we have very busy night lives. I feel like I have a ton to write about though, so time to flex the ole’ time management skills. Pictures are forthcoming, I was just a bit too tired tonight. If you can’t wait, check out the few I snapped at the hospital and posted to the Dad’s Diaper Detour Facebook Page (and “like” us while you’re there!). The detour continues…

Dealership Adventure

Yeah, so today’s adventure was nowhere near as cool as the zoo. But sometimes, it is all in how you sell it…and how many crackers you bring along for morning snack. See today we took Wife’s car in for service (I have been the Family Fleet Manager since before Sweetie’s time). Off to the dealership we went.

Historically I schedule the work as early as possible to try to beat the crowds. Plus, I know how technicians can lag as the day draws on. Our last visit was way early and disrupted the morning routine, so I tried a mid-morning appointment so my girl would not be thrown off. Great planning – too bad she got car sick on the way there! And that’s real weird  ’cause she’s not a child that gets sick..infrequent like count-on-one-hand in the last 17 months! So we were off to a great start.

Thankfully, the dealership has nice bathrooms and good, clean changing tables. I always try to pack a change of clothes (duh!) and days like today remind me it is always worth it. So after a wardrobe change we were off to the waiting area. On one side, the 46″ television. On the other, the 46″ window to the shop. Today the shop won out (at least for the majority of our visit). And since she was running on an empty stomach, Sweetie was content to watch the mechanics and eat snack crackers.

Is that our car?

Is that our car?

So despite my attempt to not disrupt her schedule, this chore still did. While she slept on the way home, she was up once I tried to get her in to bed. Add after some (more) bodily functions she was wide awake. Needless to say, we spent the afternoon catching up on food and play time…sans nap. Overall a good day, but again, nothing like the zoo! (She slept for almost an hour during our zoo visit!)

I think a part of me wants Sweetie to be comfortable in shop settings. I don’t want her getting all wrapped up in the shop mystique, even if she is just dropping off a car for an oil change. Now granted, I would love for her to try some maintenance herself, but that is a bridge to cross at a later time. For now I guess it is about teaching her to behave no matter where we go, and thankfully, she’s a trooper! That reminds me, I have another post brewing about gratitude. Hmmm…

What's our car doin' way up there?

What’s our car doin’ way up there?

The “Life Energy” Economy

Here we are, back in Chicago Fall. If I haven’t mentioned it before, this is my favorite season in Chicago. Despite how short Autumn is here, I enjoy the fresh, cooler weather and the shift in the surroundings. And I think Lake Michigan looks coolest in the September sun with Fall clouds above.

Now is also the best time to look back at our summer. Honestly, it was a fast one and I did not keep up the blog with all of our adventures. That has been a great problem in itself. At a glance, the summer provided two great lessons though: one on gratitude (again!) and another on the economy of our life energy. And that’s what I feel like writing on.

We experienced a social calendar summer peak that was amplified by Sweetie’s presence. Her birthday in the spring began a whirlwind of family visits and friend parties that we had never experienced. Add to that the increased activity calendar to meet her increased activity level and you have a bunch going on. So what happens to Dad’s to-do list among this storm? Well, it teaches Dad that there is only so much energy in the box.

This is nothing new – everyone knows that there is not time for everything. Having Sweetie around makes this an everyday reality though and takes the “choose your battles” cliché to a new level. It has seemed like the weeks that I get her involved in a bunch of things is the same week that I can’t even log in to this blog. And the weeks where I work out some posts on the computer, I don’t get anything done on the house. And so on. There is a profound lesson here about where we put our energy and the realization that it can’t go to two places at once. Deep, esoteric lessons. But again, most of us have experienced this and live

Wife and I were recently talking about this because she is reading a book that discussed women’s roles in the business world. She was relating to me how the book states that women can’t have everything, meaning both a career and a family. I stated how no one, honestly, can have everything. Men have just made it okay for their “family” criteria to only encompass a couple of hours after work and the weekends. But for anyone to truly be present in their family time, they need to have boundaries and address the given compromises. The standard for reaching greatness with a given task is considered to be 10,000 hours of practice. When you throw an infant/toddler/child into that equation, reaching that number takes a long time. Not saying it can’t be done, just pointing out the challenge. The more things you put in your life, the harder it is to log hours towards any one area of mastery.

But I digress – I wasn’t trying to get all “heady” here! I just wanted to share my summer lesson about getting some things done and learning not to get super frustrated when I don’t get them all done! I have read about plenty of other parents who seem to accomplish a lot during their time with their children. Honestly, I scour the blog posts for clues about what I need to do differently. I know there are some lessons here about time management and planning and such, but I am not too worried about how much I accomplish compared to other parents. I figure I’ll just keep trying and keep running “to-do” lists. So look for summer flashbacks and pictures again and we are off!

The best part is that Sweetie is doing well and she has enjoyed her summer. Wife is pleasantly challenged at work. Heck, I even helped out Big Daddy B with a side project, and there are house projects getting completed! Overall, our family is in a great place. So the rest of it falls to time. And as far as the rest of the house projects go (and the future ones for that matter), I’ll follow the words of Mechanic Brother Man: “I only need to live long enough to get it all taken care of.”

18 August 2012 – Time Warp

Sweetie’s days are on a fairly set schedule: diaper change; eat; play; nap; repeat.  This is roughly a two-hour cycle.  For some reason the eat time and the play time seem to drag.  These periods, roughly 20 minutes long, can seem endless.  On the contrary, nap time passes in the blink of an eye.  At times I feel like I have 20 minutes to get something, anything, done.  And if I don’t focus – BAM – nap time is over.

Whenever this happens “Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show plays in my head.  It’s like Sweetie’s wake-up cries automatically cue the song.  Unfortunately, the scenes that follow are nowhere near as fun as those in Rocky Horror.  Anyway, we’ll add that song to the D-3 playlist.

As Sweetie is developing it is becoming more challenging to fill “her time”.  I am close to memorizing La Oruga Muy Hambrienta, the Spanish version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar (we read it every morning).  And I am looking for more nursery rhymes to learn (as with all songs, singing only the first verse does not get you too far).  She is getting more active in the circus, so we can play games with the hanging animals and such.  So I am getting used to using more of “my time” to make “her time” more enjoyable.  I still can’t get over how quickly nap time can pass though.  I guess it’s like a cross-dressing mad scientist – this time warp takes some getting used to.