Friday, January 12, 2007

Ah, Can You Hear The Silence!

The Mommy just left with the MIL and the Helper. She's dropping them off 28 miles away at MIL's house. My mother-in-law was here this morning because she needed to visit our auto mechanic, her's is not that good. Her car will be with him for a a few days so on the Mommy's way to work she needed to bring her home. When preparing to leave our house my wonderful MIL asked if it would be okay if the Helper came with her... TO STAY OVERNIGHT! They'll be back Sunday for the Helper's birthday celebration.

Those people left, the baby's napping, the dogs are napping... I should be napping.

Or, do I frolic around my big empty house like Tom Cruise in Risky Business?

No, I think my big comfy chair and some Discovery Channel will do just fine, really too tired to read.

It's the sounds of silence that are killing me. Simon and Garfunkel were right! I'm so ungrateful!

Update: It's just not in me to do my rendition of Bob Seger... he'll be so grateful! I have decided to "prep" the ranch for this weekend's festivities, and yes, that includes vacuuming all the ceiling fan blades. I know I'm weak, but it has to get done... BABY CRYIN' -- VACUUM WHIRRING -- DOGS GOIN" NUTS -- NOW THAT'S MORE LIKE IT!!!

What Do You Do When….

What do you do when your child makes a friend with whom you don’t approve?

I said in Some Clarification that all children aren’t created equal. What happens when your child develops a friendship with someone who brings out the worst in them? Children, whose parents, don’t share the same outlook, values, and discipline techniques as you. Tough question… I know… that’s why I’m throwing it out there, folks.

As parents, we run a fine line of protecting our children and letting them have experiences that shape and mold their personalities, and test their decision making abilities. We can’t shelter them from all experiences and “friends” that might not be positive influences. But there must be a line… somewhere. And, when they/us reach that line what’s our role?

Remember, we don’t pay for comment space so go nuts! I’ll re-sort and edit comments in a follow-up post to provide us all with some advice and tools on this subject.

Thanks for stopping by.

Some Clarification…

In a follow-up to An Update…and Restaurant Manners, I think I need to clear up some “issues.” I wrote “reward GOOD service,” not “bad service.” Trust me, in no way am I advocating a reward for poor performance or quality. Dining out with someone who runs a multi-million dollar establishment has actually made me more critical when spending our hard earned dollars. My statement was based on people who receive, a high quality meal prepared to their specifications, in a timely fashion, served by an attentive and friendly staff… and leave their pocket change. It happens more often than you might think.

Additionally, I absolutely believe children should partake in the dining out experience, and I fully understand all children are not created equal. Thank God for this. Because of our situation my children eat out more than most, often at Mommy’s restaurant… Hey, it’s fun for them, I don’t have to cook (I usually don’t cook anyway, unless you count microwaving raviolis?), and it’s free (Mommy pays for us). I was talking about the parent’s who are not attentive to their children’s behavior… you know the ones… self absorbed, engaged in their conversations, on their cell phones, oblivious to their surroundings, while their children “run a muck,” disturbing every other diners meal. Babies cry, kids have high energy levels, that’s to be expected. As long as, I’m doing everything I can so my children don’t ruin someone else’s time, I’m doing my job.

Thanks for letting me clear that up… thanks for visiting and come again soon... the next post should create some excitement!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I Don't Yell Often But...

I don't yell often. It's one of those items I save in the "parenting arsenal" and only break out when absolutely necessary. Without going into the gory details, suffice it to say -- crayons and a kitchen table (one I built and finished myself).

"Daddy, slow down, take a deeeeeep breath and stop yelling. I hear you!"

I did, I did and I did!

A Quick Tip

As a quick follow-up to "Restaurant Manners" I want to pass along our tip for managing public behavior. We set up a "Restaurant Bag" with coloring/activity pages, learning activities and washable writing implements. This bag is also useful for Dr.'s visits and the like. Rotate the content of the bag so it's always a surprise for your child. Keep the bag in the car at all times... you never know when the urge for dinner out will hit.
Remember it is not the establishment's job to provide entertainment for our children. That's our job, we're the parents. While many do provide crayons and coloring sheets, these can just supplement your "bag." Temper tantrums, by adults or children, should not be thrown because a restaurant ran out of crayons, I've witnessed this way too often. Another benefit to setting up this activity bag is that you get to participate with your child while you're waiting. Flash cards are fun, some compact travel games are also fun and pass the time quickly.
Finally, Long Island Dad does not support the use of portable DVD players to entertain children in public. There's a time and a place for everything. I have no problem with them in my minivan, as I use it often. But, while dining with the family, a child should be fully engaged in the conversation and activity at hand. This is how they learn proper behavior. I've seen, all too often, when the DVD ends, a child screaming for more... while the "adult" conversation continues. Just my opinion. Thanks. Any thoughts, folks?

P.S. This concept works for us church goers too. Just replace the activities with those of a religious nature, based on your faith. It's not sacrilegious if a two year old doesn't listen to everything during a service, God knows they don't have a long attention span... He made them. I am an advocate for taking your child to service, rather them dropping them in the nursery, as long as your church supports this. Usually, it will, when they see how respectful and well behaved your child is. One of our biggest compliments is when people turn around and say, "I didn't even know you had the children with you."

An Update…and Restaurant Manners?

As my loyal viewers know, the Mommy has been working a long stretch. We are now in our sixth consecutive day… only two more to go! The Mommy manages a restaurant ¼ of a mile away from the sixth largest mall in America, which means it’s incredibly busy, all the time. It also means she makes a good enough living to have me home with the little people.

But, this doesn’t come without a price… a hefty one at that. Between Tuesday and Wednesday, the Mommy was home for a total of 6 ½ hours. She left at 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday, got home at 2:30 a.m. Wednesday morning and went back to work at 9:00 a.m. until 7 p.m. last night. We don’t complain, this is the nature of her business, although extremely hard on her, and us, as well, this is our life. It’ll be worth it this weekend when we celebrate the Helper’s birthday… we’ll all be exhausted but we’ll definitely have fun!

One thing I’d like to talk about is “Restaurant Manners,” specifically pertaining to children… but we adults aren’t exempt from this either.

From the time my children could sit up on their own they have been instructed on how to behave in public. The Helper can sit at a table, eat his meal, drink his beverage, and carry on a conversation, all without screaming, carrying on, or running around disturbing other diners. His mother would actually kill him if he did such things, so it’s more of a self preservation thing than good behavior. Manners matter, especially in public. It’s a reflection of the parent’s effort and skill. When a child is rude and disruptive everyone suffers, and it’s not their fault, they’re children. Dining out is discretionary spending and, as such, should be an enjoyable experience for all. If a child can’t behave properly, in a public situation, then he/she shouldn’t be placed in that situation. Don’t set them up for failure.

One last note about concerning us adults; reward good service! The Mommy has been in this industry since she was 13 years old, that’s right 13. She has risen through the ranks from busser/server to manager/chef. It still amazes me how people can treat workers in the service industry so poorly. If they only knew what went into providing that meal in front of them… like a mother only getting to spend 15 minutes in a 60 hour period with her 3 month old baby. Thanks folks and remember to tip your servers on the way out!

Have a great day, as always, thanks for reading, come again soon.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

You Asked For It... You Got It!

As per your requests, here’s another chapter in The Daddy & His Helper…

After I fed the baby and put him down for his morning nap I slipped in a quick shower. As most of you can relate to, one must take advantage of these “breaks in the action.”

As a man with a #3 buzz cut, my showers don’t last very long and I always keep the door open to listen for breaking glass or the smell of smoke.

As he usually does, the Helper came to visit me during my morning ritual.

He updates me on his last 3 minutes of activity:

“Daddy, I need my crayons and paper, please!”

“One minute buddy, Daddy will be right out.”


[He disappears and returns a couple minutes later.]

“Daddy, I’m sitting at the kitchen table fixing your WATCH!”


“I’m fixing your WATCH, it’s broken.”

“Okay, honey let Daddy finish, I’ll be right there!”


(Important Tidbit: My watch is great; a beautiful Timex Expedition with a digital compass. No… I don’t go hiking in the wilderness -- I don’t camp either. I have no need for the compass except it makes me happy and lets me know what direction I’m going… a man and his toys.)

After finishing up the task at hand, I proceeded to the kitchen to survey the damage. The watch’s display was showing characters resembling the Cyrillic alphabet. I don’t speak Russian so this is going to take a while.... Now where did I put that little tiny owner's manual.

“See Daddy, didn’t I do a great job? I fixed it for you?”

“You sure did buddy!”

Suffice it to say I will be running in circles for the rest of the day… “North! North! Where the Hell is North!”

Today’s Lessons:

1. Don’t touch things that don’t belong to you!
2. Safeguard all personal property before leaving a room!
3. Order “Learn to speak Russian in 500 easy steps” from

For those of you who just can’t get enough Helper, check out this post “Laugh or Cry: A Top Ten List” – an oldie but a goody!

Hello, Is Anybody Out There?

Through my friends at Daddy Diary Tales and Wiping Up Snot, I have discovered that it’s National De-lurking Week. Not to bore you with the details but, LID has had 65 different readers this week (I know, pathetic, this is no Oh, The Joys) and 32 comments. But, those comments were left by only 7 readers.

Please comment, they don’t have to be long winded diatribes, just a short, “Hey, How ya doin’, Great Post?” or “I hate you, I’ll never read this crap again!” will be just fine. Let me know what you’d like to see more of; perhaps my cute funny stories about the Helper, or maybe, my witty sarcastic takes on life, perhaps you would like more serious introspective commentary -- whatever it is please denote your preference in the comment sections. I promise to give them the attention they deserve… my door is always open. For those of you who won’t comment… move over and let someone else read there’s a line behind you! As always, thanks for reading, come again soon, your business is appreciated!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

A Rose By Any Other Name...

Important Background Information: The Helper and I share the same first name, though he’s not a junior. A gift from my wife; because if he was the only son we would ever have I wanted him to share my name… and she was heavily sedated at the time.


“I’m not Chris, I’m Daddy, you’re Chris.”

“No I’m NOT, I’m Christopher!” *Hands on Hips* [Stamps one foot]

“You’re Chris, too.”

“No I’m NOT, I’m Christopher, you are Chris!” *Finger Point in Face* [Stamps both feet]

“Okay, you know I’m Christopher too, we have the same name.”

“No we don’t… you’re Daddy!”

Never saw it comin’ folks.

You know your old and feeble when you verbally spar with your 4 year old and he kicks your butt!

On The Lighter Side... They're Never Too Young

Okay, it took a little longer than 3 or 4 minutes, but it happened as I predicted. Let me first start by saying, this was ALL his idea. I know what you’re thinking, but he really did want to do the dishes…vacuum… clean the bathroom… feed the dogs… and get Daddy a cold beverage…

The Helper (and now you know why he’s called this) decided he wanted to do the dishes, here are the details:

I had been standing at the sink starting this task, one I perform numerous times throughout the day. Yes, we do have a dishwasher (pictured just to the right of the Helper), and, as a matter of fact, I just installed a brand new one, but I digress.

The Helper comes up to me and says he wants some milk and some water. The only two beverages he drinks – no juice for him, he’s never liked it.

I say, “Sure, go get me your cups and I’ll wash them out and give you more.” He leaves, on his quest to find where he left his beverage containers.

He returns with cups in hand and tells, not asks, me that he will wash them out.

WOW! I thought, what an opportunity. I get a step stool and set him up with a sponge. I provide some instruction on proper technique and stand back.

To my delight, my Helper really did wash his cups out, and, Mommy's new Starbucks travel mug (pictured to the right of my little buddy). *Smile* [Proud Parent]

“Daddy, out of my way please, I’m cleaning up!” *Chuckle* [Very Proud Parent]

Not only does he get his own yogurt from the fridge, he opens it, retrieves a spoon from the drawer, throws out his garbage, but now, can wash his own dishes.

No child labor laws being broken here! These are chores people! Remember, chores build character. Chores teach discipline. Chores help with Daddy’s sanity.

Now, if I could only get him to put all his Thomas the Tank trains away, on the shelves, in the proper order, we’d be all set… Hmmm…[wood burning]…but then I might be out of a job and I’d have to go back to “work” in the “real” world…

“I’ll be right there buddy, don’t touch those trains, Daddy will do it!”

On A Serious Note... Please Read

The “virtual” friends we meet by blogging are, as good, if not, better than some of our flesh and blood ones. Recently, I have read two posts that couldn’t be more powerful, more real, or more honest. My friend at, Dancing Through, has put up two pieces that definitely trigger all sorts of emotional responses. My post today is a tribute to her pure sharing, and to my wife, and to all those who have been, are, and will be affected by Breast Cancer.

While my wife may not be happy with this “tribute,” as she’s a very private person, I need to tell you how one person makes a difference. Hopefully, it will inspire you. I recently put up a post where I talked about teaching charity and compassion to our children; I said children learn from our actions and follow our lead; my children couldn’t have a better role model than their mother…

Here’s why:

For the past three years my wife has been participating in the Long Island 2 Day Walk for Breast Cancer. 100% of the proceeds from this Walk stay right here on the Island. All the administrative costs for the Walk are picked up by the corporate sponsors. Long Island has the highest incident rate of breast cancer, compared to anywhere in the country… an ugly price to pay for living in paradise.

The Walk is a 2 day, grueling, 35 mile trek through eastern Long Island. In the three years since its inception the Walk has raised over a million dollars.

My wife walked this past summer, as she has done for the previous two years. Only this year she was almost 6 months pregnant with our second son, she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and a predisposition for Preeclampsia. A condition she had with our first son, a.k.a. the Helper. That pregnancy ended in an emergency c-section, and our little baby boy spending over a week in the NICU, (feeding tubes and IVs). On top of that, we were told our beautiful baby was deaf and retarded, (my faithful readers know he’s neither, thanks to God’s answer to all our friends prayers). Editor's Note: She had been fully cleared by her doctors to participate.

Despite all this she walked. She fights this disease. She fights for her mother; a two time survivor. She fights for her mother’s sister; a beautiful woman who lost her battle. She fights for herself; someone highly predisposed. She fights for YOU, for me, for her children, and for all those who can no longer fight.

She does this for personal reasons, not for any glory or accolades. She never talks about it; it’s not in her nature. And, like I said, she won’t be happy with me for this post. My beautiful, strong, courageous wife is of Irish decent, 100%, and a Taurus (Yeah, I know… but I knew it going in). Her determination, commitment, and dare I say, stubbornness is what makes her a successful warrior in this battle for a cure. She has raised thousands of dollars with her steps.

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
-Sir Winston Chuchill

Thanks for indulging me today. Thanks for reading. Thanks for caring. Thanks Dancing Through for your inspiration and your story. And, thanks to all of you who fight breast cancer everyday, you are indeed warriors with a noble cause. Finally, thanks to my wife, just for being who you are and doing what you do, I Love You!

Note: If you’re inspired to make a donation to Mary’s effort please CLICK HERE and mark the donation WALK. She will once again be walking this summer, June 9th and 10th, 2007… another 35 miles closer to a cure.

I promise a return to my anecdotal tales, musings, and rants as soon as something funny or annoying happens… should be in 3 or 4 minutes… stayed tuned.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Age Is Just A Number...

Next Tuesday is the Helper’s birthday; he’ll be four. This coming weekend we’re having the perfunctory adult party to celebrate his years. Mommy took off the entire weekend – that’s why we’re in an eight day work jag. In preparation for the party, we’re making sure he knows the answer to the question, “How old are you?” Recently, the Mommy has been quizzing him on some basic facts. We seem to be having a problem distinguishing major holidays. We’ve never been the type of parents that make the children perform “monkey tricks” for the pleasure of adults. Of course he knows his name – that’s a safety thing, but we’ve never been really good with the age thing. Here’s a little excerpt of Mommy’s recent practice session:

Mommy: “Christopher, did you know your birthday’s coming up?”
Helper: “I saw Santa, twice!”

Mommy: “How old are you going to be?”
Helper: “Tigger!” (his Halloween persona)

Mommy: “Honey, when’s your birthday?”
Helper: “Breakdown Trains!” (Thomas the Tank toy he wants)

After some tutoring and extra help…

Mommy: How old are you going to be?”
[Holding up the appropriate fingers] “Three, Two, I don’t know… you tell me, what’s the first word?”

Note: The child can count to twenty, forwards and backwards, and knows his entire alphabet, but seems to be hung up on this birthday / age thing. We’ll keep on it, he’ll be ready to go by Sunday -- “I’m Christopher and I’m four years old… now can I please have my present?”

Signs of a Loving Marriage

I stumbled into the kitchen this morning all prepared to clean and fill our new coffee pot, as part of my regular morning routine. “If Daddy ain’t happy then nobody’s happy!” I’ve mentioned before that we received this wonderful java maker from my in-laws for Christmas. It’s only draw back is that it takes a long time to clean and set up… quite a few parts to wash and dry. But, I need would like my coffee so over to the machine I went. Low and behold, not only was the machine cleaned, it was refilled and had been programmed to go off before I got up. A full pot of the sweet nectar had already been brewed; fresh and piping hot.

Now I know it couldn’t have been the Helper – he’s talented, but can’t reach the counter yet. So it must’ve been the Mommy. A sweet, beautiful, Goddess on her third day of an eight day work stint. And, have I mentioned, she’s been getting home between 2 and 3 a.m. each night!

I don’t know how people go through life alone… without a Ying to your Yang. Keep all your cards, gifts and terms of endearment – actions speak louder than words! Simple acts of thoughtfulness are what make a marriage work. I’m glad she’s the co-captain on our team. I would not be who I am without her and her support, love, and kindness. Thanks honey – I need to go get another cup before the little people rise.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

The Power of a Baby's Smile

Nothing affects me more than a smile on my child’s face.

My child’s smile can brighten my mood in an instant.

My child’s smile can change my world.

Taking the time to share a happy moment with them is one of my life’s most cherished pleasures.

It’s why I do what I do.

It validates my purpose and dissolves all my doubts and fears.

My little 3 month old baby boy isn’t stingy with his smiles. He throws them my way every chance he gets; it often stops me dead in my tracks. Nothing is better than that smile; that pure happy grin. If I could, I would spend all day just holding him so he could look into my eyes and warm my soul.

Thank you my sweet little boy, I love you. I’ll do my best to make sure all your days are filled with smiles.

Oh Well...

Both boys are napping... as I probably should be. Alas, I'm to worn out to move and my beloved JETS sweatshirt is soaked in tears of disappointment. Not to be a sore loser -- I congratulate all you New England fans -- revel in your success you deserve it. I will now go launder all of my, and the kids, JETS apparel and seal it away for next season. Maybe I'll just wait for Mommy to do it... I'm too depressed for housework.

Buck up my fellow NYers spring training is only 3 short months away. Our Yankees will be champions once more... see you in Tampa!

Finally, to all my GIANT friends, yes that means you Bill, may your defeat be quick and painless, may you not suffer the humiliation that is 37-16, and may your tears and sobs bring you comfort and solace.

My friend Bud Weiser has come to comfort me in my time of need.
[Crack] Sissssssss *Slurp* [Sob] *Chug* [Sob] [Sniffle] *Sip*
... Damn Patriots... Sons of Bit*hes!

At least, This Old House and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition are new episodes tonight.

Closing The Loop

Our friend at DaddyDiaryTales has reminded us bloggers to "close the loop" on previous posts, lest we run the risk of leaving our readers hanging. So here's my loop closer:
The car parts did arrive, and after a little time out in the shop I have repaired Mommy's vehicle. While I still need to compound and clear coat the paint job, the repair's lookin' good. Unfortunately, I have no before photos...too painful! But, suffice it to say, the front fender and front corner light are brand new. You may see a slight color difference. And let's remember folks, all for $200 ($300 less than our deductible) and no insurance premium increase. Handy Manny's got nothing on me! I used all OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts so I won't have a problem when trading it in.
My thanks to my suppliers (credit where credit is due):
Paint World
(Perfectly Matched Paint.)
US Auto Parts

(Perfectly Fitted Parts, OEM misaligned bolt holes here.)


When the football season first started, JETS fans would've been happy with an 8-8 season, maybe 9-7 at best. Playoffs? Not in our wildest dreams. But here we are, ready to show our stuff to those New England pansies ex-Champions. Thanks Coach Mangini, Mr. Pennington, Mr. Coles, et al. While I know there's a slight chance I might be eating these words later today, here's my prediction -- JETS by 7 1/2. Take that you fanatical Patriot lovers! (I can be this bold, as I know I don't have any New England readers...yet! Uh Oh!)

I Just Remembered This One...

With all the talk about the weather I started thinking back to the great summer we had as a family. The Helper's summer was jam packed with fun activities including, a weekend trip to Connecticut to enjoy "A Day Out With Thomas The Tank Engine," yeah, he lost his little mind. He also got to see "The Wiggles" perform live at the Nassau Coliseum; one of Greg's last performances.

We also went to the Intrepid Air and Sea Museum on Manhattan's west side. This picture was taken on the flight deck of the USS Intrepid, 2 1/2 months before it was moved to Bayonne, N.J. for a 2 year overhaul. You might have heard about that in the news; along with the problems they had moving her. We plan to return once the ship is back in its NY home.

I hear cooler weather is in store for us this week, so much for my dreams of summer... Ah, the memories.