Tuesday, January 27, 2015

14 Crazy things said while up in the night with a baby



 

Follow on Facebook and Twitter.


I have an 8-month-old who used to be an amazing sleeper until she got a cold last month. I’m not sure what happened, but suddenly her sleep cycle is all messed up and now I can’t remember when one day begins and another ends. Being sleep deprived has caused me to say some crazy things to my baby. I hope she will forgive me.

Here are a few examples.

1.     Don’t touch my face. I’ve been up with you for over an hour. We’re not friends.

2.     I’m changing your poopy butt. I should be crying.

3.     Stop flapping your arms you crazy-ass bird baby.

4.     This is why daddy wants to drive into the ocean.

5.     Ugh… don’t forget about this when you’re a teenager.

6.     Do you see anyone else laughing? It’s like you’re on drugs. I want some drugs…

7.     Normal people don’t rub boogers on their face. You’re the worst roommate ever.

8.     You were asleep!! You were asleep!! You! Were! Asleep!!

9.     You’re diaper smells like apricots. What the hell is going on?

10. This is why you don’t have any friends.

11. I cuddle with you, and you push me away. I set you down, and you cry. You’re as confusing as your mother.

12. Just tell me what you want! Not everything is a secret.

13. Stop being cute. No one is cute right now. Go the f*%k to sleep.

14. Why are you smiling? Now I’m smiling. I hate that we are smiling.


What are some of the crazy things you’ve said to your baby when up in the night?

Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress, and an angry baby girl. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His work has been featured in Good Morning America, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, Fast Company, and elsewhere. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.  


Monday, January 26, 2015

Kids can turn the most horrible situation into a warm heart




Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

I was at my 7-year-old’s soccer game when Tristan ran off the field, the ball still in play, his right arm hooked around his back, hand pinching his butt cheeks.

We were at a park on the southern side of Small Town Oregon. I followed him as he scurried to a row of port-a-potties that were on the opposite end of the soccer field. Tristan ran, his little legs moving quickly for a moment or two, then he seemed to lose something inside, so he stopped, pinch his butt harder, and walked until he’d regained what ground he’d lost. Then he ran again.

His rigid shoulders, tight-legged stride, and pale face all seemed to say, “I’m not going to make it.”

I felt horrible for him.

Tristan was old enough to handle going potty by himself, but for some reason he insisted that I follow him in. And once there, I understood why. Tristan was a little guy, the smallest on his team. The soccer league that he played for issued uniforms, but they always seemed to have a difficult time finding shorts small enough to fit. This caused him, apparently, to tie about fifty million knots in the strings of his soccer shorts, and now the damn string was so tight he couldn’t slide the shorts over his hips.

I crouched down in the port-a-potty, my face inches from the bowl, the smell of others wafting into my face, and attempted to unravel Tristan’s many knots. It was fall, but it was still warm out. The cramped space was stuffy and smelly, and I thought about how the company of these portable restrooms called themselves Honey Bucket. Let me be the first to say, there was nothing close to honey in the bucket. My face had never been so close to something so foul.

In front of me Tristan danced a jig, and I cannot recall ever being quite so miserable as a parent. I couldn’t think of anyone in the world that I would do this for outside of my children. Or perhaps my wife, and when I thought about her, struggling to get her pants off because she had to poop, and me crouching down to help her, I wondered if a situation like that could be a deal breaker in marriage.

What I’m trying to say here is that this is what the unconditional love of parenting really looks like. It isn’t always rosy and sweet. Sometimes love takes the form of crouching down in a hot sweaty port-a-potty, your head inches from a stranger’s turd in a pool of filth, your 7-year-old dancing a jig as you untie all the stupid knots in his soccer shorts, waiting, anxiously, for shit to come rolling down his leg and send the bile that’s been resting just below your jaw over the edge.

In what I assume was the nick of time, I managed to work through enough of Tristan’s knots to wrangle his shorts off. The boy wiggled onto the toilet, and then I had the pleasure of watching him release one of the most amazing pooping spectacles ever produced by one of my children. It was a bubbly wonder of smells and sounds, and once it was all done, and my shirt was covering my nose, Tristan smiled up at me, blue eyes a little watery, and said, “Thanks, Dad.”

As much as I didn’t want to smile, as much as I wanted to gag, or pass out, or run from that place and never return, I couldn’t help but look at my son, his face one of relief from embarrassment and body pressure, and feel like I’d done some great deed. I’d been there for someone I love dearly when he needed me most. I don’t know what it is about kids that can turn the most horrible situation into a warm heart, but they can. And in that moment, with Tristan’s gratitude, I felt satisfied as a father.

“It’s cool, buddy. You feeling better?” I asked. Then I rubbed the back of his buzzed head.

“Yeah,” he said.

“You going to be able to get back into the game?”

Tristan was pulling his shorts up by then. He thought for a moment, and said, “Yup.”

We each used hand sanitizer, and as we did, I wanted to wash my body in it. Then Tristan ran back to his game.

When I was cursing and struggling with those knots, I wanted to lay into Tristan about what he’d done. I wanted to let him know that tying a bunch of knots in his shorts was asinine and led to a situation that I really didn’t appreciate. But once everything was said and done, and Tristan said thanks, I didn’t say a word about it.

In so many ways I wanted the moment to be over, and perhaps that’s why I just let it go. But when I thought about how that situation was probably as difficult for Tristan as it was for me, I realized that I probably didn’t need to say anything. The lesson had been learned. Parenting seems to be full of moments that are horrible and frustrating. Moments where life lessons are learned, unconditional love is tested, and nothing more needs to be said.


You would also enjoy, 

Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress, and an angry baby girl. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His work has been featured in Good Morning America, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, Fast Company, and elsewhere. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter

Friday, January 23, 2015

Horsey rides



 
Photo by Timothy Vollmer

 

Follow on Facebook and Twitter.


I was on fours, next to the front door, waiting for my rider. It was about 8 p.m. and Mel, my wife, was sitting in a glider feeding our baby. The lights were out. Tristan, our 7-year-old, was already in bed.

Down the hallway came Norah, our 5-year-old. She was in a blue Elsa Princess nightgown, her hair wet and neatly combed. In her arms were a six-foot long fuzzy green body pillow and a long beaded necklace. These were to be my saddle and harness.

Every night before bed I gave Norah a horsey ride to her room. I’m not sure where she came up with the idea of riding me like a horse. Perhaps she’d seen it on TV, My Little Pony perhaps, or at a friend’s house, but what I do know is that I never suggested it to her. She never rode a real horse, just seen them tugging at grass on the side of the road. In fact, until she came up with the idea I never even thought of giving one of our children a ride on my back. The first time Norah suggested that she ride me like a horse, I grumbled.

It sounded degrading.

Norah was standing next to me now. My head was down so she could place the necklace over my head. All I could see were her little feet. The nails were painted in conflicting bright colors. She placed the body pillow across my shoulder blades and said, “Give me a lift.”

It’s funny to think that even with me on all fours, I am too big for Norah to climb onto. She is a petite little thing, less than three feet. She has her mother’s brown hair and blue green eyes. It’s hard not to look at her without my heart melting.

I turned my left hand into a cup shape, and held it about 6 inches off the ground. She stepped into it, tugged on my shirt, and pulled herself onto my back. I could feel her wiggling around on me. She grunted into position, placing her feet next to my shoulders. She grabbed the necklace, and pulled it snug against my neck. Then she clicked me with her heels and said, “Giddy up.”

I plodded forward, slowly, feeling her slide side to side along with my movements. She nudged me again with her heels and said, “Faster, horsey.”

“This is a one speed horse,” I said.

I could hear Mel laughing behind me.

Before having children, if someone were to approach me and ask to ride me like a horse, saddle, harness, and all, I’d have told them to kiss my ass. I can think of few things more degrading. But with my children, my daughter, I look forward to giving her a horsey ride to bed. I don’t know what it is about children, but they can get you to do some really crazy things and then feel really good about it.

As I crawled down the hall, Norah on my back, I felt a warming chill in my heart. I felt a deep love for my daughter, a feeling that what we were doing was a memory that would last a lifetime. I could feel how happy this made my daughter, and even though crawling down the hall hurt my knees and wrists and pride, I felt wonderful about it. As long as I was able, and as long as Norah was willing, I knew I would plod down the hall with her on my back each night.

We reached her bed, and I walked alongside it. She pulled on the reins, and said, “Whooooa, horsey.”

Norah choked me a little, and even with that, I couldn’t help but laugh. She stood up on my back, and then stepped casually onto her bed. The she reached out and took the saddle off my back, and the reins from around my head, and said, “Horsey, you can be a daddy now,” while patting the back of my head.

My knees were a little stiff by this point, so it took me a bit to stand. And when I looked down at Norah, she was smiling. It wasn’t a smile of control, or anything. It was a look that seemed to say, “You love me.”

I sat down on the edge of her bed, put my left arm around her, and said, “What story are we going to read?”

She didn’t answer my question. Rather she wrapped her arms around me and, “You’re a good daddy.”

I laughed and said, “I love you, too.”

Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress, and an angry baby girl. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His work has been featured in Good Morning America, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, Fast Company, and elsewhere. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.  


Thursday, January 22, 2015

23 The Foulest things YOU have done as parents


 
Photo by Gordon

 

Follow on Facebook and Twitter.



Parents do some nasty things while raising kids. But I didn’t realize just how nasty until I posted this question on my Facebook fan page, “What is the foulest thing you've had to do as a parent?” I read through all the responses, and let’s just say you are all solders. Below are a few of the really nasty ones.

1.     Clean poop out from the bottom of my fingernails. Didn't realize I missed a spot and thought there was a piece of food underneath it and used my teeth to get it out....

2.     The dog pooped on the floor and the crawling baby found it - and ate some of it - before I found out.

3.     Play day at the park. Held my (at the time) 6-month-old above me playing airplane and singing to him. He puked in my mouth. I then proceeded to throw up on the grass, the smell upset my oldest stomach and he puked all over the front of him and me. He had to walk two blocks home like that...

4.     I have been nit picking all day. Lice!!!! In all 3 of my girls hair! Not how I wanted to spend my five days off.

5.     Chop up my daughters poop in a friend’s toilet because it was sooo huge it wouldn't go down. We did it discreetly w/ a pencil.

6.     Clean poop out of the knobs of my brand new surround sound receiver.

7.     I took my one year olds diaper off right before bath, he took off naked to my living room pooped on my floor, got it on his hands and touched the knobs on the receiver. I used q-tips to clean it out. It was a Bose too! Smh!

8.     My son came by my bed in the middle of the night. He said his stomach hurt. Before I could get up he started throwing up. I pulled him into bed to let him throw up all over me. I figured the bed and I were easier to clean than the carpet.

9.     Rectal stimulation.. Aka Helping baby poop.

10. Pull a hard poop out of babies butt. It got stuck half way out.

11. Fishing tub toys and a kid out of a tub full of floating poop.

12. Getting puked on in the middle of a restaurant. It keeps coming so I try to run to the bathroom, but end up leaving a trail of vomit along the way. Get my son all cleaned up and changed. I take my shirt and bra off and zip up my jacket, since they are covered in barf. Go back to the table and our food has finally arrived, and the waitress had put our dinner right next to a puddle of vomit.

13. My daughter decided to rip off her diaper and her poop went on the floor ...it was that rabbit poop type....my son was crawling and found it. Yep. He put it in his mouth...had to fish it out. Gag.

14. After my son woke up from his nap (or so I thought he had slept) he proceeds to inform me that he "swallowed money's from his new coin jar". I ran to check his coin jar and sure enough $1.70 was missing. Called the pediatrician who told us to catch every bowel movement and pick out all the coins until every last one was accounted for. That evening after work my husband was watching the kids while I went to a meeting. The look on his face was priceless when I gave him the instructions from the Pediatrician. His response, "do I have to do that too?"

15. Watching my son pee on his face & in his mouth while I used a diaper to catch the projectile blowout coming out the other end!! Super Gross!!!

16. I had to hold my daughter down while an ER Doctor cleared an impacted bowel.

17. Hold a puke bucket for my 5 year old while breastfeeding a newborn baby. Multitasking.

18. Plucking poopy baby wipes out of the clogged toilet filled with poo! Thanks son. LOL!

19. I was always anti play place areas. They seem so gross to me. So my son up to age 4 had never been in one Then at a family event my husband gave him the go. And the first and only time he went into one, he came out covered in someone else's puke.

20. My son stuck tissues up his nostrils when he was about 18 months old. There was so much up there we couldn't get it out. As it was in the evening we had to go to the hospital. The nurse said I needed to give him mouth to mouth and a sharp blow. It worked, but when we looked up, the gooey snot ball had landed on the nurse’s hand!!! I could have died!!

21. Watch the movie my husband took of my c-section. I asked him to film the baby and he thought I meant the procedure as well. The doctor was literally pumping my stomach to get the baby out.

22. Had to politely ask company to leave after going to check in on my 1 & 2 yr old boys who were tucked neatly into bed/crib since they shared a room. Yup, they were quiet alright. The 2-year-old helped remove the 1-year-old's diaper, which was conveniently full of crap, and they proceeded to paint the bedroom.
We tore out carpet that evening. That's the night my boys learned the word "shit" because...If it's not in a toilet or a diaper, it means I have to clean it up. If I have to clean it up, I'm not using Mommy-talk...I'm calling it what it is....SHIT.

23. My then 6 no old daughter sneezed just before the diaper went up and a substance similar to thin, sticky guacamole, shot out her rear and onto my forearm!


Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress, and an angry baby girl. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His work has been featured in Good Morning America, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, Fast Company, and elsewhere. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.  


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How having a father in jail made me a better father



Follow on Facebook and Twitter.


My father left when I was nine, and died from drug addiction when I was 19. During those ten years he was in and out of jail, mostly for driving while intoxicated. When I was 16-years-old, he was given an 18 month sentence in the Utah County Jail. This was his longest sentence, and sadly, it included the most consistent communication of our relationship because he had two phone calls a week, and he often spent them on me because I was one of the few people still willing to pick up the phone when he called.

I hated having my father in jail. I hated having to explain it to friends and teachers, because I knew that they would look at me differently, so I often lied about him. Sometimes I said that he lived in another state, but mostly I said he was dead. It just seemed easier than the truth, which was that my father was not much of a father at all. In so many ways I just wanted to forget him. Pretend like he never existed because it was easier than dealing with the fact that I found him embarrassing. But most importantly, I felt a deep sorrow in knowing that he wasn’t like the fathers my friends had. The ones that were dependable. The fathers that showed up to sporting events and parent teacher conferences. The fathers that were supportive and compassionate and sober.

I’m not trying to say that my father didn’t have some valuable qualities. He wasn’t completely without worth, and over the years, and as I have gotten older, I have started to better understand who he was. He’s been dead for 13 years, and now that I’m a father of three, I think about him a lot more than I ever have.

Honestly, I wish he would have been better. More dependable. More compassionate. More dedicated. More connected and understanding of his children. When I first had my son, I thought a lot about the fact that I never really had a father, and I didn’t know how I was going to be a decent father without a good example.

It made me bitter. It made me jealous of fathers who had good examples. I hated chatting with other dads and hearing them tell me about lessons they learned as a child from their fathers that came in handy now. I hated hearing them tell me about how they had a good chat with their fathers before having children about what it would be like to be a father.

I though a lot about all this stuff for several years until one day, when my first son was five-years-old, and we were living in Minnesota, I helped my son make a stick horse. We were living in a town home and I was attending graduate school. It was fall, and there were leaves and sticks in our front yard. I asked Tristan if he’d ever rode a stick horse. He looked up at me big bashful blue eyes, and said, “No.”

I found a couple sticks on the lawn, broke off the side branches so they would be straight, put one between my legs, and hopped around the yard like I were on a horse.

“That’s it,” I said. “I used to do it with my father.”

And with that statement, I thought about when I was a boy, and one of the few happy memories I had with my father. I was around 7-years-old, just a little older than Tristan. Dad handed me a stick, just like I did with my son, and showed me how to ride it around the yard.

I remember feeling warmth in what he did. A simple tenderness that I assumed would always be there. I could see that same feeling in Tristan’s eyes as he rode his stick horse.

I knew that I wanted more of these moments with my children, but rather than getting bitter like I used to, I thought about the dad I had for just a short moment. The one who showed me how to make stick horses, and I said, “I’m going to be that dad. I’m going to be the father I never had.”

I committed to being dedicated to my children. I promised myself that I would never abandon my children. That I would love my wife and my family more than myself. I promised to never consume drugs or alcohol. To show up to my children’s parent teacher conferences and sporting events. Rather than getting more pissed off about what my father wasn’t, and using that as an excuse to feel lost, I decided to do something more.

Tristan and I rode stick horses in the yard for an hour or so. Eventually Tristan’s three-year-old sister, Norah, came out and joined us. She mostly just banged her stick horse on the driveway, but she seemed to be enjoying herself. It was a simple, but awesome moment for me as a father because for the first time I realized that I was getting back what I’d always wanted, a father-child relationship.

Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress, and an angry baby girl. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His work has been featured in Good Morning America, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, Fast Company, and elsewhere. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.  



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Foulest things I’ve done as a parent




Photo by TJ Wolfe

Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Parenting is not all hugs and peekaboo. Sometimes being a parent means doing some nasty shit. Here are a few of my personal worst.


Cleaned vomit diarrhea mixture: My son was 8 months old when he contracted a spectacular virus that turned his anus and stomach into little fountains of nastiness. I came into his room one night to find him reaching up from a bog of green and black fluid resting atop is crib liner. The smell made my tummy sad, and I will admit, I looked at him for several seconds trying to decide if it really was my obligation to pick him up. Part of me wanted to just leave him in the filth and start over with a new child. Eventually I did, however, decide to pluck him from the crib, place him in a warm bath. It took Mel and I some time to clean up the mess because we had to stop, step from the room, and gag at least 3 times.

Had a child’s booger placed in my mouth: When my first daughter was three, we had this game where I’d put something from my dinner in her mouth, and she would place something from her dinner in mine. It was a way to get her to try new things. And it worked, for the most part. I’d tell her how excited I was for her to try something, and my excitement often got her excited. Every time I’d give her something new I’d say, “Yum, Yum, Yum.” This really backfired once she decided that boogers were delicious. After a few failed attempts, one day she managed to cram one of her boogers in my mouth as I was on the sofa reading. I should probably admit that the thought of it was much worse than the actual taste. Norah’s boogers tasted a lot like mine, a rich salty flavor I can still recall from my childhood. 

Fished keys from used toilet: Last summer I found my keys in a toilet full of yellow water. To this day, I’m still not sure who placed them there, but I suspect my middle daughter. She was in the middle of a water fascination. Although, It could have easily been my older son. I try not to think that it was my wife, because then I’d have to assume that she secretly hates me, or has a fetish over me touching her own pee. None of those are rooms I’d like to enter. Long story short, I tried fishing it out with a few things: coat hanger for example. But I just couldn’t get the right angle. Finally I had to just reach in for the bastards.

Dug poo from a toddler’s butt: This was not me, actually. This is a story from my wife. But it’s just too foul to pass up. Our first daughter had some major problems with constipation. She must have been three-years-old. One day, while I was at school, Norah flat out couldn’t poo.  Mel gave her a little examination, and could see the poo stuck in her butt. My wife, the champ that she is, rolled up her sleeves and dug that poop out with her pinkie finger. Norah remembers none of this, which is both good and bad. Good because she will not be emotionally crippled from reliving the memory when she’s older. Bad because Mel will not get the life long credit and respect that she deserves for plucking a turd out of someone’s ass.

Plucked a turd from the tub: This has been a problem for parents ever since children stopped being bathed in natural bodies of water. When my oldest son first pooped in the tub, I assumed that if I pulled the plug it would simply go down with the water. I was wrong. Rather it broke into a few pieces and got wedged in the drain. I tried to force it down with water pressure, but it resisted, and eventually I had to dig it out with my hands. I learned a lot about what will and will not go down the tub drain, and have since changed the way I approach this situation.

What are some of the foulest things you’ve done as a parent?

You would also enjoy,  Fits In Public Mean Good Parenting

Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress, and an angry baby girl. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His work has been featured in Good Morning America, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, Fast Company, and elsewhere. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.