Posts Tagged With: daughter

Not the Usual

HALLOWEEN

I have never been a big Halloween person. I don’t think its evil, or bad nor do I think that people who celebrate it are crazy. It just has never really spoken to me.

My wife is really excited about this being our daughters first trick-or-treating Halloween. Claire is old enough to enjoy the dressing up and going out. We were given a ladybug costume a while back and I figured that’s what my wife was going to have Claire wear. To my surprise Claire’s costumer was not the usual cute-toddler-costume one thinks of. Claire is going to be St. Clare of Assisi for Halloween.

“Who?”

That was my mothers’ response. When I told her that it was a nun she thought it was weird and that I should have picked something “cuter”. I understand that sentiment. It is definitely not the usual Halloween character. However I am glad my wife decided to chose a saint for Claire’s Halloween costume. There will be plenty of toddlers dress as goblins, ghouls, and other frightening characters. I am sure that there will be plenty of cute ladybug, and butterfly costumes to go around as well. I believe there will be very few children if any dressed as Saints this Halloween.

There is something very depressing about that last sentence.

Saint’s are heroes. Men and women, who struggled, sinned, changed and lived courageous lives of virtue under devastating, sometimes life-ending circumstances. If you have never read about St. Augustine, St. Claire of Assisi, St. John Paul II, and St. Maria Goretti—you are missing out on some of the greatest stories ever told.

When my daughter shows up at someone’s doorstep on October 31st, she will be dressed in an unusual costume. This costume will probably intrigue those who open their doors. It will be an opportunity to share a little bit about a great Saint. My first real blog post on this journey of discovering fatherhood consisted of sharing about my desire for my daughter to become a saint. I guess it is only fitting that my wife dresses her up like one for Halloween.

Claire is a normal kid and so were all those we call saints. It is the not so usual way that they lived their lives that lead these ordinary people to become extraordinary. So my daughter will show up at someone’s doorstep sharing about our spiritual family’s ancestors. Maybe you find this weird, or pushy, and I’m okay with that. It is this father’s humble opinion that we don’t need more goblins, ghouls, butterflies or ladybugs in the world, but we do need more saints. Ordinary men and women who chose to live in extraordinary ways.

Saints change the world, and I believe that we need to discover more about these men and women so that our children as well as ourselves, can be inspired to follow in their not-so-usual ways and be transformed.

 

Categories: costumes, daughters, fatherhood, halloween, holiness, saints | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Lock Out Rant

629px-Deal-With-Being-Locked-Out-of-Your-House-(Teenagers)-Step-1

The day began chaotic. I woke up later than I should have. Claire woke up exactly at the same time I did which meant that I would have to put breakfast and my quiet time aside until she was taken care of. After changing her and getting her breakfast I remembered that the animals needed to eat and that the dog had been holding his bladder since 10pm the night before.

Animals were fed. Dog used the bathroom. Success.

Daughter spills Chiobani yogurt on her tray and proceeds to smear it all over the tray and then push 75% of its contents onto the floor.

Sigh…

Luckily the dog isn’t lactose intolerant and enjoys strawberries.

I find something else for my daughter to eat. In typical fashion she licks it, puts it down and a half hour later comes back and eats it as if it were the greatest thing ever. What’s wrong with her taste buds?!

I look at the oven clock: 8:45am. Crap. I need to get Claire to the babysitter and I still haven’t packed her lunch or mine. *Note to self—do this the night before!!!

Food is packed and ready to go. It may not be the greatest sandwich I ever made but its food and it will keep me alive. I grab Claire and her diaper bag with one hand, lunch bag in the other, and my left hand pinky has a hold of the keys and iPad mini.

Pinky is feeling a bit overwhelmed.

I begin to walk towards the door and the dog greets me as if I were taking him on a walk. I put everything down. The dog needs to go out one last time before I go to work and then I have to put him in his crate. Sigh…

Dog uses bathroom. Success.

I turn the knob to the French door that is to lead me back into my house to regretfully be greeted with my shoulder hitting said door. “Umm…this door seems to not be opening.” I turn the knob and push again. Still not opening. My daughter stands on the other side of the glass with a look that I have not quite experienced before.

The hamster slowly begins to give momentum to the wheel.

Daughter + door not opening + new look on face = locked out of the house.

Sigh…

“Claire, sweetie. Can you unlock the deadbolt?” “No, it isn’t funny so stop laughing.” Claire begins her attempt to reverse the deadbolts locking mechanism, but apparently she can only lock it. Of course!

I think to myself, “How do I get into the house?” I could wake my wife up, but she worked the night shift and went to bed 2 hours ago. She will not be happy. Naturally, I go back to the door and begin coaching Claire on how to open the door. Claire tries but fails. I laugh a little. If I weren’t going to be late to work it would be a lot funnier.

I finally give up and knock on our bedroom window. Wife wakes up and unlocks the door. Success. Wife has a look I recognize very well. It is a mixture of “I’m-not-pleased”, with a dash of “I-would-kill-you-if-our-daughter-wasn’t-here-right-now”. I try to make light of the situation and share with her how Claire is the one that locked me out. “Isn’t that cute?” I ask. Wife continues to walk away towards the bedroom.

I finally get the dog in the crate and Claire into the car. I drop her off at the babysitter and get to work 15 minutes late. I sit down at my chair and attempt to relax. I think to myself, I made it to work only 15 minutes late. That’s better than I expected. Success.

Lunchtime comes around and my uninspiring sandwich is nowhere to be found. The hamster slowly begins to give momentum to the wheel.

Sigh…I left it at home…

Categories: child locking you out of the house, daughters, dogs, fatherhood, patience | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Her Words

Word Cloud

 

Language is pretty amazing. The fact that we can create an alphabet that connects strings of letters into words; that when spoken create sounds; that create meaning; that convey thought and emotion is pretty astounding.

My daughter has so much to say these days. The world is new and filled with exciting things and she wants to tell us all about it. I can’t help but laugh every time Claire goes off on a rant about the neighbor’s dog barking, or about the cat jumping off the couch. Claire is speaking in her own baby language and I cant help but wonder what is going through that little head of hers. It really is amazing to see how vocal she is.

I don’t know about your kids but mine says things with certain pitches, tones and slurs. Each word comes out in this unique and ridiculously cute way. When she was 4 months old she made some noises that were awesome to hear. Claire couldn’t quite blow kisses; instead she did this clicking noise with her mouth. As Claire gets older her noises, voice and words change. My wife and I were amazed to hear that Claire’s voice had changed a few months ago. She woke up and sounded like someone else’s kid. It was sad in a sense, losing the old baby voice. Yet the new toddler voice is great. I’ve recorded some of Claire’s sounds and I’m really glad I did. I watch the videos every now and then and it reminds me of the change and growth.

I know soon enough she will be speaking plainly but right now there is something so neat about her babble. We are enjoying it and at the same time excited for when it all makes sense. My friend Scott jokingly says that when kids are young we are excited for them to walk and talk, and then for the rest of their lives we’re telling them to sit down and shut up. I’m sure there is much truth in that.

The miracle of the human person unfolds before me everyday through my daughter. Today I am noticing her words. Maybe tomorrow it will be the change in her fingers and toes, or facial features and hair. Everyday I am blown away by the awesomeness (in the literal sense of the word) that God has bestowed on human beings. Who knew that discovering fatherhood would have me discover more than what being a father means. Discovering the complexities of language, sounds and words—things we never really pay attention to reveals how mysterious and amazing the world I live in is.

All this brought to my life through a 1-½ year old.

* The above image is a word cloud made up of the many words found in this blog.

Categories: baby talk, children, daughters, fatherhood, fathers, growing up, language, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Oh, Boy’s.

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Claire is 16 months old and my usual concerns with her range from whether or not she’s holding my hand while going outside, brushing her teeth, making sure mangos and French fries are not all that she eats, and making sure I have a paci with me at all times—the usual dad stuff. In my mind I know that in a far off distance boys will become a concern, but I never thought it would be this soon.

Most boys that are around Claire’s age are typically busy playing, running circles around their parents and not paying attention to girls in an aesthetically-pleasing-sort-of-way. However, on three separate occasions I have had boys that are around Claire’s age literally gazing at my daughter in that glassy-eyed-stupor that is common to boys 13 years old or older.

The first time it occurred we were at Mass and a boy of 3-4 years old sat in front of us. The entire time he was glued to Claire. I didn’t think anything of it—she is a cute baby. It wasn’t until the little boy turned to his mother at the end of Mass and said, “Mommy, she is beautiful.” that I thought, that’s interesting. The second time was a similar situation that ended with a little boy telling Claire and I that she was pretty. The third time was while shopping. A young family saw Claire and she waved to them. The mother approached us with her clan and shopping cart and waved back to Claire telling her how beautiful she was. This I expect from adults. This woman’s younger son looked at Claire, turned to his mother while pulling on her shirt and said in a very serious voice, “Mommy she is beautiful.”

Oh, boy!

I think my daughter is beautiful—she looks like my wife and Jess is beautiful! Yet, I have never thought of Claire as one of those stop you in your tracks kind of babies. I was telling Claire’s Godfather about these strange incidents (the three above are just a few) and he looked at me and said with a very serious and intense voice, “Dude. Claire is beautiful.”

So here we are at 16 months old and boys are checking my girl out. Sigh…

Since this boy situation seems to be creeping in a little sooner than expected it is a great opportunity for my wife and I to begin teaching Claire about her beauty. I am not speaking here primarily of her outward aesthetic beauty. I am speaking of the beauty that does not fade, is incorruptible no matter what she or someone does. This beauty is the beauty of being made in God’s image and likeness. We want Claire to recognize the gift that this beauty is and how precious she is as a person. We also want to make sure that she recognizes the power and responsibility that an aesthetically beautiful woman has. I don’t know if many fathers have these conversations with their daughters.

Outward beauty can easily be used and manipulated for all the wrong reasons, and Lord knows we don’t need more of that in this world. I want my daughter to see that her inherent, God given beauty is the most important thing and that her outward beauty should reflect the reality of that inner beauty. As a man I am well aware of the power an outwardly beautiful woman can have on me and I think that if this isn’t communicated to my daughter it could be a bad thing. With that being said, I also know the power a woman can have on a man who recognizes her inherent beauty and allows it to shine through. My wife is the perfect example. It can literally change a man.

I’m excited at the opportunity to help my daughter discover all of her beauty and to be the gift that she is called to be in this world. But boys, seriously. Can we wait till she is at least out of diapers? Or 16 years old? Better yet, let’s wait till she graduates college. Oh, boy!

Categories: boys and girls, Crush, daughters, dignity, fatherhood, growing up, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

The 45 Minute Cushion

45

So I think I am figuring out this whole timing thing with a baby.

I am told that getting anywhere on time with kids is pretty much impossible. “You just have to plan better” was my answer. That was always responded to with laughter as parents stared at each other and shook their heads at poor ignorant me. “You just wait till you have kids!” they would respond. Well…I recognize it isn’t as simple as I thought—it never is.

I can see why people say that being on time is almost impossible, but I hate being late and not honoring people’s time. When we first had Claire we were late to everything. I blamed lack of sleep, the dog, running our of coffee and the cat…its always the cats fault in our home.

Anyway, so after a few months of being late to pretty much everything I started preparing things the night before to make sure we would be set for the next day. However, Claire always has a schedule of her own: diaper change as we walk out, barfing everywhere, or the cat sneaking outside as I hold the door open with my pinky toe while at the same time holding the baby carrier, diaper bag, work bag and lunch bag.

Does anyone want a cat?

So it seemed like the night-before-idea just wasn’t cutting it. I tried prepping an hour before we needed to go anywhere but that also didn’t work—an hour was too much time. It’s amazing how many diapers and outfits (Claire’s and mine) a kid can go through in one hour. I tried 30 minutes but that was nuts! I would forget half of the things I needed to bring with me. I swear no one noticed it, but one day I wore a brown and black shoe to work…sigh.

Last week I tried 45 minutes. It works! 45 minutes before needing to be anywhere is perfect. Just enough time to change, feed, prepare everything and kick the cats sorry behind back through the door. I’m telling you a 45 minute cushion is perfect. I realize that will change when kid number two comes around (some day, but not yet). However, right now 45 is this guys new favorite number.

Seriously, does anyone want a cat?

Categories: fatherhood, fathers, living, patience, time management | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Through the eyes of the Father

Old-Man's-EyesI love gazing at my daughter. Not looking at, but gazing. When I think of gazing I think of staring with the intent to acknowledge the worthiness of the object I am gazing at.  I look at toast. I gaze at my wife and daughter. They are both exquisite and beautiful. There are moments when Claire gazes back, smiles, laughs, cries, and poops on me. Still, I love gazing at her.

A few weeks ago I was studying my notes for a class I am taking when I noticed Claire gazing at me with her hand straight out as if calling for me. I succumbed to this chubby mini-hand and laid my head next to hers. We just lay there. Eventually I lifted my head and stroked hers with my fingers. Something about this moment was different. I was noticing her little baby bumps (which I assume are pores), her eyelashes, nose—everything. She is perfect and lovely to behold.

As I often do, I started telling Claire that I love her and that she is beautiful, strong and smart. I told her how much she means to me and that I would do anything for her…even lay my life down. At one point I remember saying, “I don’t think you will ever understand how much I love you.” I believe that statement. I don’t know why but I just know this.

As those words came out of my mouth another voice spoke, not an audible voice (not crazy) but That voice that has been speaking to us since before we had being. I felt that God the Father was doing the same exact thing I was doing with Claire, except that it was with me. He had His head laying next to mine; stroking it and telling me how much He loves me, and would do anything for me…even lay His own life down.  It’s as if I could hear Him saying, “I don’t think you will ever understand how much I love you.”

Discovering fatherhood is so much more than learning about my daughter. It is discovering that God as Father is gazing at me…at you…at us. He acknowledges the worthiness of how lovely we are to behold. There are moments when we gaze back, smile, laugh, cry, and poop on Him. Still, He loves gazing at us.

Categories: fatherhood, fathers, God, Parenting | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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