Nov 03

Fearing Death on All Souls Day

IMG_6242-002

Lily and her Pop-Pop

I was already feeling pretty emotional at the All Souls Day mass. Our parish mourned the deaths of parishioners in the past year by reading their names and having loved ones come up to the front of the altar to light prayer candles.

Watching anguished faces approach the candles was hard.

Recalling lost loved ones of years gone by was hard.

Contemplating my own mortality is always hard.

Contemplating my mortality with respect to how it will affect my children was very hard.

Trying to explain what the mass was all about to my precocious and curious older kids (6, 5, and 3.5) was awkwardly hard.

Talking to my kids about the deceased best friend from whom Alex got his middle name was really hard.

The hardest part of the ceremony, though, was when I accidentally made my 3.5 yo daughter think her grandfather was dead.

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Nov 02

Discipline in Antiphonal Iambic Tetrameter

XKCD: Iambic Pentameter

“Of course, you don’t wanna limit yourself to the strict forms of the meter. That could get pretty difficult.”

The selfish and disrespectful behavior of my kids (especially Thing 1) – such as taking toys that other people were using, doing something mean because they think it’s funny, or breaking rules because they’re inconvenient – has thus far been resistant to correction. We needed to try something different. Necessity, as the saying goes, is the mother of invention. The solution currently undergoing field testing is an idea that Shakespeare or the ancient Greeks might be proud of.

I’ve introduced a new mantra to be spoken antiphonally when an offense has occurred. I think it’s in iambic tetrameter with trochaic substitutions. Either that, or it’s in trochaic with iambic substitutions. Maybe. I don’t know. I’m not an expert in poetic metre.



I cannot do what I want to do (child ...

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Oct 30

A Real Mensch

Sheriff Joel

Sheriff Joel

Joel made me really proud two weeks ago, but he was just doing the kind of thing he usually does.

Joel’s very confident in pre-K (as all my kids have been), and he has never had any separation anxiety, but plenty of kids have. One of the girls in his class has had a particularly hard time adjusting. She cries just about every day, missing her mommy terribly. As a result, she has had some trouble socializing with her classmates.

Two weeks ago, this girl was having another rough day, and nobody seemed to want to play with her. Everyone except Joel, that is.

He invited her over to a table to draw and write. She was hesitant at first, but soon they were both writing, smiling, and laughing together.

As a reward for his warm gesture of friendship, Joel’s teachers gave him the plastic sheriff star badge in the ...

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Oct 17

Of Love and Co-Sleeping

How can I say no to this face?!

How can I say no to this face?!

No, I haven’t dropped off the face of the Earth. I’ve just been busy adjusting to and enjoying life with our new baby. Oh yeah, the pretty girl in the photo to the left is Eleanor Bernadette. We call her “Ella” for short. She was born on September 26. :)

Just as with all three siblings who preceded her in infancy, she ostensibly spends her nights in a “sidecar” co-sleeper bassinet. I say “ostensibly”, because more often that not she ends up sleeping on my chest or next to me in my bed. We try to put her “back to sleep” in the sidecar, but she wriggles and cries – louder and louder – instead of falling asleep. We’ve tried swaddling, shushing, singing, and basically any other trick we’ve heard of in our 6 years of parenting – to no avail. She ...

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Aug 30

How Weird Al Helped Me Propose to My Wife

What do mean you haven't seen this masterpiece yet?!

What do mean you haven’t seen this masterpiece yet?!

With a horde of YouTube fans and a #1 album on Billboard, Weird Al Yankovic is enjoying a bit of a second or third wind in his 4-decade career. So, I guess now is as good a time as any to tell the story of how Weird Al helped me propose to my wife.

OK, he didn’t personally help me propose. However, my whole scheme for being unique was based on his cult classic 1989 movie UHF.

It was December 29, 2002. Amanda was staying at my parents house to visit for Christmas and the new year. I’d arranged for my parents to conveniently decide to go see a movie and leave us alone at the house. Once they’d left, I told Amanda I was really in the mood to watch UHF.

She wasn’t. Uh oh.

My whole plan almost ...

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