Lexicon of my three-year-old

Forget the ‘terrible twos,” for those of us in this household, the threes are far more unbearable. Not sure what it’s like everywhere else for everyone else, but I’m fairly certain at some point before a kid turns four, they act like a complete jerk for any number of reasons.

With said actions, the words and tones of his responses are often similar.

Here’s a smattering of some of the words and phrases Unit has used over the past several months, some rather irksome and others genuinely kindhearted and funny.

  1. NO!” — Sometimes he’ll say it as it supposed to be pronounced while other times, it’s more of a “NYO!” Either way, we’re pretty damn sick of hearing this whenever we ask him to do something and he’s in one of his moods.
  2. Nothin’!” — Here’s how this exchange went just this afternoon when I picked him up from school: Me: “What’d you paint at school today bud?” Unit: “NOTHIN’!” Oh, cool, sounds like it must have been a thrilling time for your teacher.
  3. I’m apologizin’” — Whenever Wifester or myself as him to apologize to the other one, he’ll slowly/sulkily mope over to us and proclaim, “I’m apologizin’.” Oh yeah, for what? “I don’t know, because I didn’t listen.” (FYI: that was not the reason we asked him to apologize)
  4. Good _____, daddy/mommy!” — Insert anything you like into the blank. One week, it was always “Good driving daddy/mommy!” or “Good turn, daddy/mommy!” The best part of this is I really think he means it.
  5. Is it lunch, yet?” — More often than not, it’s not lunch time, in fact, there was a time when he asked this just before dinner.
  6. Undaloonies/Shortaloonies/Shirtaloonie” — This one we kind of brought upon ourselves and it’s just funny to hear him ask if I like his shortaloonies.
  7. Oooh, you look pretty, mommy.” — Self explanatory.
  8. (with clenched teeth) “Guacamole!” —  He’s not angry, but almost excited he has to go guacamole. For those of you new to the blog, guacamole (and I apologize for ruining this fine Mexican cuisine) is his term for #2.

Speaking of #2, he’s finished eating for the night and is just crying in his room as Wifester is rocking him to sleep. I’m headed in to relieve her then it’s time for yet another installment of…daddy gets fat by sampling every pumpkin beer on the market. Tonight it’s Southern Tier‘s Imperial Pumking.

Stay-At-Home Dad Hashtag Search: #DadRules

The boys are once again napping at the same time so I figured I’d get a quick post up at the end of what seemed like the longest week in quite some time. If you recall, the last time I covered this hashtag topic, the content was #ThanksDad.

Today’s contains the same keyword but a different suffix: #DadRules. It isn’t a particularly popular hashtag so some of these tweets go back several months.

Let’s see what the people of the Twittersphere think of their dads and why they rule or it could just be dad’s rules.

1. When the cat’s away, the kid’s will eat…Skittles? I’m on board with that.

2. Dad harvesting goodness from the ground!

3. Can’t say I’ve seen Adult Swim often but if it’s cause for #dadrules with a #thumbsup, it must be good.

4. He’s a science teacher, I’m sure he’s done the research that backs up why this is a good decision.

5. Dad just went for it on date night with mom, who didn’t appreciate the Crocs.

6. Show no mercy and take all their Monopoly money! (you’re missing Baltic Ave.)

7. This dad certainly rules, especially since the prices are Panera have gone up a bit.

Alright, time to get the chili going. Was supposed to have a few people over tomorrow and cook some chili and cornbread for them, but everyone “had plans.” Or maybe my lame attempts at humor scared them away. Either way, chili is bumped up a day!

Dear Parents Magazine: Dads may want to ‘look good’ too!

No dads I know care about leopard print shoes or flowy pants.

No dads I know care about leopard print or flowy pants.

Dear Parents Magazine,

Let me preface this by saying that I, a stay-at-home dad, love Parents Magazine, but you’re are a little short-sighted when it comes to one particular aspect of your magazine: ‘Looking Good.’ The following is just my opinion and nothing more so take from it what you will.

I’ll admit, I don’t spend a whole hell of a lot of time looking in the mirror before I step out the door but I also don’t go out in public with sweatpants and a ripped up old t-shirt on. Being at home with two kids — one three years-old, the other 4 months-old — I do dress like that inside the walls of our home, but when I go outside, 96% of the time, my teeth are brushed, I’m showered, look presentable, and smell pretty OK.

And just because I don’t spend my time keeping abreast of the latest trends or reading the most recent issue of GQ doesn’t mean I don’t like to be informed. In fact, I am totally uniformed as to what the hell style is nowadays, my focus is on my wife and kids.

When I flip through the pages of Parents, I always get to the ‘Looking Good‘ section and see in-style patterns, accessories, and shoes, among other things. What I don’t see — or at least don’t remember seeing — is a time when this section was aimed to men, more specifically, dads. Who’s to say we don’t want to look good and current when we travel with our brood in public? (This coming from a dad who’s sitting here at 8:33PM on a Wednesday in shorts, a ripped t-shirt, and crew socks writing about wanting to see a one-page piece directed towards dads about fashion.)

I get that moms are the ones who give birth to children and that if it weren’t for them, Parents Magazine might cease to exist, but dads have just as much to do with said children as moms. And I also get that moms like to look nice and pretty and avoid (de)evolving into moms who are cruising around rocking mom jeans with a scrunchie in their hair. Dads — and I’m speaking from a stay-at-home dad’s perspective — need help too! (I wouldn’t be surprised if mom jeans are in style again.)

I mean after all, Parents Magazine is one of the three magazines I actually read so I’d love to get my fashion advice from you. My wife’s Us Weekly (for the gossip) and Self (for the recipes) are the others.

Maybe I missed the time you did direct ‘Looking Good‘ towards men but if you don’t mind, maybe try it again?

In this month’s issue, there are five things listed in this section and exactly zero have anything to do with dads. Here’s the list as seen above:

  1. Leopard Print: the only leopard print I’d consider for myself is a pair of these leopard print Vans.
  2. Flowy Pants: are sweatpants considered “flowy?”
  3. Stripes: plenty of waffle t’s and polos with stripes, so I guess I’m good here.
  4. Metallic Flats: I suppose I can pull off metallic Oxford but it’d look kinda odd with jeans on, no?
  5. Bold Accessories: you mean my camo Diaper Dude doesn’t qualify as a bold accessory?

In other words, none of this helps me as a stay-at-home dad.

All I am trying to convey here is that I’d like, just once, to see this section of your magazine dedicated to dads’ fashion. Like I said, maybe I missed it or maybe you ran it in your June issue, seeing how Father’s Day is in June. But if not, maybe soon, maybe in 2014? Dads may enjoy knowing what’s cool too!

Besides that, the rest of your publication is great and I’m looking forward to the November issue!

Thanks,

Ryan Darcy

Teeth 1, Graham 0

No, he doesn’t have teeth…yet…but there is no denying that when a baby begins teething (and he has), it’s going to be a rough few days/weeks/months(?).

Unit, he wasn’t bad, he toughed it out and just stayed on the straight and narrow when his teeth came in. There were no few sleepless nights, no interrupted afternoon naps, no incessant crying. And for this I am thankful, however, I wasn’t home with him full-time when he first cut his first teeth.

This time around, with G-Unit, I think the teeth are in the 10-day forecast of popping through, and he is letting out an all-out verbal assault on my eardrums. The tops of his lower gum aren’t showing the whitish coloring but the front of his gums are — God I hope the teeth don’t come outta there!

He has Sophie the ($25 ripoff) Giraffe – he’ll fumble with it for a few minutes, entertain himself with it by placing a foot or ear in his mouth, then discard and cry.

He has a frozen rattle ring thing – I have to hold it in the general vicinity of his mouth, occasionally pressing it every-so-lightly onto his lower gums, but after 12 seconds, he’s over it. Commence crying.

He has two fists – they always seem to find their way into his mouth which often times prompts a gag and sometimes even a puke. Drool soaks everything but the crying eventually starts.

Am I complaining about him crying, no, don’t misconstrue it as that. I feel bad for the kid and I wish, for him (and a little bit for me) that he had it as easy as Unit did, but he doesn’t.

In the meantime, on Mondays and Tuesdays after Unit goes to school, I will continue to go for walks with my headphones on; a walk because fresh air soothes him to an extent and headphones to drown out the crying when he gets all worked up.

Here’s to you teeth, popping the hell through. I know it’ll be a small victory since it’s likely only one or two teeth and this will surely happen another handful+ of times.

My baby product buying conundrum is OVER

If you read my blog, you know I’m a stay-at-home dad to two boys and I write with a lot little bit of snark and choice words (at times). I write mostly about everyday happenings in my life, all of which is real and some of which is humorous. Occasionally, I review a product. This is such an occasion.

I’ll tell you what’s not so funny: making a decision on what the heck hygiene product to buy your kids when you’re at the store. Whether you’re looking for kids’ body lotion, bath wash, shampoo, butt cream, or baby powder, the decision to pull the trigger may (or may not) take a while. If you’re like me, when you first got home from the hospital with your brand new tiny human, his/her best interests immediately went ahead of yours. I wanted them using products with all-natural ingredients (where we could afford it) that was good for them even though I didn’t use such things. I also did an inordinate amount of online product review reading. Fortunately, my decision on what to use for our newest addition, G, was made when I was put in touch with the people at Just Hatched on the almighty Twittersphere. (I don’t think they were around when Unit was born back in 2011.)

If I recall correctly, they were looking for opinions from stay-at-home dads and I fit the bill, so I reached out. A few weeks later, after exchanging some tweets and emails, I get a package at my doorstep filled with swag from JH. Naturally, I opened it and BAM!!, there it was, in all it’s glory — full-sized samples for me to try at home for the kids (and me) and some to bring on-the-go as well. I’m an honest guy and I tell it like it is, and this stuff is legit. The number of SAHDs is growing and if you’re a dad with a 9-to-5 and want to impress your wife with some knowledge of a product that is good for your kids, keep reading.)

full-size swag (with some travel-size to boot)

full-size swag (with some travel-size to boot)

Who is Just Hatched? They go by the mantra (and hashtag) #NoYuckyStuff, so go check that out when you get a minute. Their products are sulfate/paraben/phthalate-free so it’s good for baby’s soft skin (and probably your older, less soft skin) and they’ve got prices that’ll beat any “major” brand you use now.

Literally 20 minutes after I opened the package, I heard an explosion in G’s diaper. It was quite daunting to think about since it was 90° outside with 100% humidity and it was his first deposit of the day. I mentally prepared for what was in store and went in for the clean. The sound was deceiving, it wasn’t as bad as I thought (too much information?) but I did notice a bit of a rash, whether it was from the diaper or heat I’m not sure, but I reached to try some of the “Butter My Bottom Tushy Cream,” sounds manly to say, right? I typically have used Boudreaux’s Butt Paste and had a tube ready to go but gave the newbie’s stuff a chance. It spreads rather nicely and smelled pretty good too and when all was said and done, a few hours later, the rash had almost entirely gone away. I nabbed the elusive smiling photo of a rather serious 3-month-old, right after applying the cream. (I was happy too, the stuff was free and even when it’s not, it’s still $4 cheaper than Boudreaux’s.)

that is a smile, right?

that is a smile, right?

For the record, Unit hates getting his hair wet, like screams-so-loud-stuff-falls-off-the-wall hnviate. He agreed — begrudgingly — to try some of the “Sleepy Baby Wash” we got in the mail. Now, in the picture, he may seem unimpressed but I assure you he actually said to Wifester, “Mommy, I smell gooood!” And he was right, his hair was wet, and he smelled good. I’m not sure if we can convince him two nights in a row to get his hair wet but I’m not really sure he needs his hair washed today. (I didn’t use the shampoo, big deal).

he is actually happy. and he smells good.

he is actually happy. and he smells good.

Is this some biased review because they sent me some free product? Hardly. If it wasn’t good stuff, I’d tell you straight up, “It isn’t good stuff.” But it is. Will I keep using it? You better believe it. Will I use it after I blow through all of my free samples? Yes.

Again, I only used the baby wash and the tushy cream but I am pleased with the results — it smells good, the kids seemed to like it, and it’s good for them to use. I linked up their website so you can check it out but if you don’t believe me, Google it, I’m sure the results will back up my endorsement.

Stay-At-Home Dad Hashtag Search: #ThanksDad

The boys are both napping, so in an attempt to post regular columns about stay-at-home dadding, I thought about checking out a new hashtag (# for those of you under a rock) every week and then compiling what I feel are some of the best tweets containing said hashtag. They’ll be tweets relating to being a dad.

(Part of the reason I’m attempting to take this on now is because there are no day baseball games on right now.)

Before delving into a Twitter wormhole, I’ll guess that most are legit thanking their dads while a smattering are being sarcastic trying to get a laugh.

This week’s hashtag: #ThanksDad.

1. A baseball themed tweet about the Atlanta Braves and bobbleheads:

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2. This guy will never forget that one night at SummerSlam:

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3. This dad can rock out thanks to his dad:

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4. Letting dad borrow her car turned out pretty well for Sally here:

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5. Somehow, I think Kayla’s life is full of drama:

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6. Who Dat Nation!

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7. I hope they lose to my A’s but that’s nice of dad:

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8. Sounds like a good meal to me, well worthy of the hashtag:

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9. You’re a direct representation of your parents, act accordingly. Dad must be a ho:

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10. Tin Can scores with an assist from dad:

G is beginning to awake from his nap so I’ve gotta get going, but have a great weekend everyone, and be safe. I, for one, am looking forward to spending a three-day weekend with my family. Remember, safety has no holiday!

20 questions from the backseat

Kids will be kids and three-year-olds — ours, anyway — incessantly barks out orders or ask questions from the back seat. Today’s trip home from Target featured a barrage of questions from the always-inquisitive Unit. Here’s a sampling of questions (by him) and answers (by me).

  • Unit: “Daddy, do motorcyles have homes, too?”
  • Me: “Yes th…”
  • Unit: “Daddy, is they, daddy, is they going to their home now?”
  • Me: “Yeah I think he’s headed home.”
  • Unit: “Daddy, is he nice?”
  • Me: “He looks like a nice enough guy, yeah.”
  • Unit: “Daddy, are all motorcycle guys nice?”
  • Me: “Most of them are but just like all people, some aren’t so nice.”
  • Unit: “Daddy, are we going to hit every red light?”
  • Me: “It sure seems like we are, huh? Maybe the next…”
  • Unit: “It’s green, daddy, it turned green!”
  • Me: “It’s about time.”
  • Unit: “Is this the longest light ever, daddy?”
  • Me: “No, that’s not the longest light ever, we avoided that one today.”
  • Unit: “Daddy, why, daddy why did we aboid it?”
  • Me: “Because we went a different way home.”
  • Unit: “Why did we go a different way?”
  • Me: “To change it  up a bit, variety is the spice of life.”
  • Unit: “Is life spicy, daddy? Is it too spicy?”
  • Me: “No, it’s not too spicy, life doesn’t really taste spicy.”
  • Unit: “How many turns do we have to get home?”
  • Me: “We make a left, a right, a right, then a left into our driveway.”
  • Unit: “Daddy, is our driveway long?”
  • Me: “Not really.”
  • Me: “Look, we’re home.”
  • Unit: “Look daddy, we’re home.”

And cut. All the while, G slept in his carseat until we came to a stop in the driveway, which for the record, is about 45′ long. They’re both asleep as I type and I have just downed my second 24 oz. iced coffee of the day. Any minute they’ll wake up and the house will once again turn into a Wipeout course, with me being the main obstacle.

Bedtime routine anything but, especially when I’m home alone

 

Bed time routines differ from house to house, parent to parent, and most importantly, child to child but make no mistake — parents will do whatever it takes to get their little monsters angels to sleep.

Last night, Wifester had to work late due to some meetings and I was riding solo. Here’s a breakdown of how it goes — or doesn’t go — when I am in charge of putting them both to bed. Times used are typical bedtime routing times. Last night, G went to sleep on-time while Unit’s routine was pushed back about an hour.

G’s bedtime routine:

  • 6:30pm — bath time in an attempt to quell his screaming fit that began at 6:15pm
  • 6:45pm — transition to bedtime (diaper, dress, wrap him in sleep sack, turn on Sleep Sheep)
  • 7:00pm — commence 5 oz. of bottle feeding
  • 7:03pm — crying due to me having to readjust nipple of bottle due to rapid, vigorous consumption
  • 7:07pm — crying due to me having to readjust nipple of bottle due to rapid, vigorous consumption
  • 7:11pm — crying due to me having to readjust nipple of bottle due to rapid, vigorous consumption
  • 7:16pm — remove empty bottle
  • 7:16:15pm — crying once he realized bottle was gone, even though he was asleep
  • 7:17pm — giant burp
  • 7:18pm — rock, rock, rock into a deep sleep
  • 7:26pm — lay G$$ in crib, reset Sleep Sheep
  • 7:27pm — tip-toe out the door

Unit’s bedtime routine:

  • 7:15pm — Disney Junior, reading, and/or train tracks while I am put G to bed
  • 7:45pm — Unit brushes his teeth, then I properly brush them
  • 7:47pm — put diaper and pajama bottoms on (he sleeps topless)
  • 7:48pm — gets in bed, picks out books (Tap Tap Bang Bang, Hooray for Fish!)
  • 7:49pm — read TTBB
  • 7:50pm — read HFF!
  • 7:52pm — commence singing songs (Wheels on the Bus, Pop Goes the Weasel, Train Gate song, Sucker Punch song, etc.)
  • 7:59pm — “Why is the light outside on?,” “What are you gonna do out there?,” “Is Graham sleeping?,” “What is Nate doing?,” as well as a myriad of other questions in an attempt to delay going to sleep
  • 8:04pm — I ask him what time he’s going to wake up, to which his response is always “6:22:51.” (for the record, he usually wakes up at 6:02am)
  • 8:05pm — quietly walk out the door, tell him “I love you,” and pray the floor doesn’t creak or risk waking up…

…G.

An outburst ensues as I tiptoe down the hall to the “safety” of the living room to watch some baseball or Discovery Channel (on mute) as I allow the monsters angels settle into sleep. G has a few more outbursts but nothing that requires me to go in and soothe him. I crack open a Thomas Hooker Watermelon Ale and settle in.

Until last night at about 9:45pm, when he decides he wants to eat again as an exhausted Wifester reluctantly goes in and feeds him for 15 minutes. Around 10:05pm, he once again decides he wants to cry, so we resort to hiding out in the kitchen until the storm passes, last night it took around 15 minutes of him crying though it sounded like he couldn’t even muster up the energy to actually cry, he was just doing it out of spite.

He sleeps through the night but ultimately, as is typically the case when he eats after 7:00pm, he pees through his outfit.

Besides being a prisoner in my own home for a bit, it went pretty smooth. How’d your night go?

Boundless Playgrounds are NO JOKE!

Connor's Place on Somers, CT

Connor’s Place on Somers, CT

I found myself explaining to a lady at the park the other day what a ‘boundless playground’ is and realized something: I really have a playground problem. I find myself on the website for said type of playgrounds multiple times a day, as if more are going to pop up in my area.

“Hey, weirdo, what the hell are you talking about, idiot, aren’t all playgrounds the same?”

No, they’re not.

Basically, they’re considered boundless because they are accessible for everyone – disabled or not, 3-year-olds thinking they’re a daredevil or not, adults who need to get said 3-year-old off a horizontal ladder because their kid is freaking out or not. It’s an unstructured playscape that, in a nutshell, offers inclusive play for all kids. Some have one playscape for all kids while others have multiple for different age groups (ages 2-4 or ages 5-12) but no kid really abides by those restrictions.

He made it all the way up this one.

He made it all the way up this one.

Honestly, they’re pretty boss! There is rubberized flooring, which sure beats the hell out of the wood chips that most standard playgrounds have.

We’ve been to three playgrounds in three days — two boundless, one not — and Unit has a great time at all of them, but the boundless ones he seems to enjoy more. They are immense, offer so many dare-devilish options, rock walls, swings, slides, turny-things that Unit can’t get enough of, maze boards. You get the idea.

Unit traced this maze for a good 3 minutes

Unit traced this maze for a good 3 minutes

We’re lucky here in Connecticut since there are so damn many it’s hard to decide which one to go to, but with a 3 month-old and a sometimes impatient 3 year-old, it’s usually ones within a 15-20 minute drive. And I tend to get it done in the morning, before the weather gets too hot and the slides really start baking in the sun, because Unit refuses to go down a hot slide!

There are some drawbacks to some. One of the playgrounds relatively local to us (which we haven’t frequented this week) is awesome, but there just isn’t any shade, which is a damn shame. The one we were at today didn’t have any changing tables in the bathrooms, like where the hell are you supposed to change a diaper?

By and large, boundless playgrounds will kick the ass of your run-of-the-mill town playground. Click the link above or this one to find a boundless playground close to you. They really are all over the place and until we had Unit’s first birthday at one, I had no idea what the hell they were either, so there’s still hope you’ll be an expert in no time.

If you’re too damn lazy to check, I’ll give you some locations of boundless playgrounds near you (there may be this type of playground near you called something else, but I’m not really sure what they’re called, maybe ‘limitless’?). Long Island people, there are two – one in East Northport at the Harley Avenue Primary School and another in Cedarhurst at 200 Cedarhurst Avenue. If you live in Maryland (TJ and Jessica), you can head to one at Fairland Regional Park in West Laurel.

And seriously, this is as honest an endorsement as you’re gonna get. I wish I could – and maybe I’ll try – to build one for Unit and G$ in our backyard one day.

Progression: CT At-Home Dads Group; Digression: Sleep

On a positive note, the Facebook CT At-Home Dads group I’ve been trying to assemble has shown some signs of life and we’re actually planning — well, three of us plus kids — a trip to a duckpin bowling alley sometime this week. Kind of neat.

I have been lucky enough to get some positive feedback and have begun posting with Twitter (@CTDads) and am literally in the process of getting on Instagram with it as well (@CTDads).

On the flip side, sleep has been optional of late. New Guy has decided he wants to turn over and does so in the middle of the night (though last night was relatively quiet). He flips himself over and sometimes erupts into a fit of rage, but I guess you take the good with the bad, right?

Unit sleeps through it all, somehow, but he’s almost always been a great sleeper.

Just got a little kettlebell workout in downstairs while the kids were napping and got back upstairs just in time for G$$$ to wake up from his nap. I fed him a little bottle and off he went, back to sleep. For now.

I’ve been putting off getting my fat ass in shape for a while now but the time is finally here to do something about it. I’m not obese or super-fat but for me, 6-foot 1-inch tall and 208-ish pounds is about as heavy as I want to get. Operation: Fit Dad is underway!