Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It ain't always rosy

Lest you fear I'm shortchanging you on the reality of life with kids, here's a recent email exchange between me and my priest following Mass on Sunday.

    
    Were your two little dears having problems yesterday? I saw that
you had to take them outside.
    Fr. Greg


Fr. -

I'm not sure I'd classify them as 'dears' yesterday. The oldest began a
quiet chant of 'go home', the 4 year old claimed she had to go the
bathroom multiple times, and they both argued over who was going to hand
in the weekly check - all during Mass.

Most of the time they are very good and in fact the 4 year old will
often sing along; sometimes they're not so good. But they both object to
the 'indignity' of sitting in the crying room so I guess I'll have to
take the good with the bad.

Talk to you later,

Dan

Dan - When I saw you come in, I thought "I wonder if Dan knows that there is
open space right in front, on the west side"; but then there's that
parental worry of getting to the front pews so the little ones can see,
only to have to get up and left because "I have to go potty.....NOW!".
My heart goes out to parents! I wish I could find a solution for the
kids being in front where they could see and a bathroom nearby. Also,
how do I get people who should not be in the "crying room" out of
there...............

 

And a letter from Lisa this past Tuesday:

 saw you called at 4:30 or so...I was still gone...I'm back now...what an ordeal

wanted to take the kids out because I just didn't want to cook . . anyway, they fought about where to go, then I decided on Boston Market, because it's where I wanted to go...figure its at the beginning of a pay period and I would feel the crunch later...
anyway, got there and it was promissing, the two girls ordered their food respectfully, and smartly, one had green beans, chicken, and mac n cheese, the other chicken, broccoli and mashed potatoes....parker i got meatloaf, mac and cheese and broccoli...
 
things were going ok....then LuLu noticed gravy on her potatoes, and did her usual LuLu FREAK, then parker started getting up to roam everywhere....enter screaming infant and gawking onlookers, then ask YaYa to get napkins, find her opening up drawers everywhere....
 
time to pack up, done or not....oh well, i got most of my meal down...take theirs to go....get everything packed up in the bag, all the while holding a lauren bottle (forgot a prop blankie)....then parker offers to carry the bag, aw what a good boy....then he has a fit, dont have any clue why (although I think it was something YaYa did but she denies it), he shakes the bag, and THROWS IT across the restaurant, food spills out everywhere in the bag.....YaYa and LuLu still opening up the drawers under the soda area....
 
ugh...I made it home...what a pain!

Parker is at the 'seek and destroy' age . . LuLu is at the 'nothing makes me happy, woe is me!' era, and YaYa is subject to periodic meltdowns along with a day in/ day out tendency to assume she has the power and rights of a grown up.

And Lauren's just a pill, 'least at night :)

Case in point: last week we had Lisa's Dad and step-mom over for dinner to celebrate both Lisa's and YaYa's birthday's . . midway through the night, when told a single wrapped gift wasn't hers, YaYa MELTED DOWN. .

she locked herself in her room, went completely limp as dead weight when taken downstairs, screamed and squeeled . . she hasn't had a fit like that in at least a year, so NATURALLY she choices to do it in front of two people who see her only 4 or 5 times a year.

No way they don't think less of her and of our parenting, their protests to the contrary notwithstanding.

Anyhow, it's no picnic, but I wouldn't trade 'em in.

'Course, I don't have to spend all day with them either :)

Halloween 2007

Last year I did a Super-Size post on Halloween; not so this year, as I took my wife's advice and 'lived in the moment' sans camera.

I did however take a few shots at home.

For the first time in 20 or more years I got fully gussied up for Halloween, tearing apart an old suit and going as The Zombie, for which I earned rave reviews (even from strangers).

Note Parker hanging on the Zombie . . it was the first year Little Man and I attended the girls' school Halloween party.

LuLu went as Dorothy, a long-time favorite among the kids.

While Park went, as you saw, as SpiderMan, albeit a Spiderman who growled and moaned like a Zombie most of the night.

YaYa went as Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, complete with authentic Arabian belt from ArabFest.

Lis went as a witch.

and Lauren would later (the next day) go as a Pumpkin.

The party cost me nearly $25 between admission and some minor snacks. In return there were game and coloring tables, a Haunted Hallway (toned down whenever my kids went through:  Parker didn't even blink on his two trips, LuLu was a little put off, and YaYa went in and out of itso many times by the end they gave her the full scare treatment). Beginning at 7:30 there was a DJ and I joined the family for the Chicken Dance and Hokey Pokey.

A very nice time.

The next night we departed the house to attend the annual paid nightime trick-or-treat (see the 2006 entry). It is a much beloved tradition, and something we look forward to . . BUT  . . .

As we walked out the door we noticed dozens and dozens of trick-or-treaters on my block.

Turns out my new neighborhood hosts a nightime trick or treat - a rarity in Milwaukee - and so we skipped the planned event and went trick-or-treating around our immediate area. Late in the game I returned home to get the camera, soley because it was Lauren's first trick-or-treat.

Lots of decorated houses, lots of participating homeowners, lots of friendly faces. A few folks recognized us as the 'new people' in the neighborhood and introduced themselves.

YaYa had decided to wear her new Bratz Wheelies (a gift from her Godfather Tre) out on the trick-or-treat. By and large it was fine, if a little nerve-racking on stairs, but near the end she fell at one house (ironically on the first stair going up) and landed in a thorn bush, giving her a nasty bloody scratch on her left forearm. Combined with already being out past their standard 7 pm bedtime, it did not make her endearing company to be around.

After the scratch, and at the insistence of the kids, we went to Walgreens and overpaid for some candy to pass out on our own. The girls' then took turns passing out candy on our front porch (I had to object and stop LuLu from giving away all of her candy too).

Let me tell you: a very polite, courteous, and costumed group of kids of all ages and race. Everyone had a costume, everyone said 'trick or treat' and quickly thanked the girls, and many complimented their costumes. A vastly different crowd from SOME (by no means all) of our old neighborhood.

In fact, only one guy came by without a costume or candy bag. He pulled up on a bike and LuLu looked at him like "wtf are you doing?" before complying with Lisa's request to give the biker a piece of candy.

Even with a bedtime fit by YaYa it was a great night; so great in fact that no one objected to skipping the customary Sunday/daytime trick or treat the next day.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Strep throat and news about Parker

We had a great Trick-or-Treat weekend and I hope to have a post about it up before the end of the month. Meanwhile we wrapped up the weekend by briefly attending my Godmother's 60th birthday party before hauling all the kids into an Urgent Care visit. Lots of kids in YaYa's class were down with strep throat and LuLu especially was showing symptoms.

Yup, they all have it. Well, at least the oldest two. Parker was diagnosed with another ear infection, his third. He remains the only child of ours to ever have an ear infection, knock on wood.

That just may be good news though. The doctor put two and two together and theorized that Paker's delayed speech may be the effect of chronic infections and fluid on the ear. Seems kids affected by this often stress vowels (as he does) while being unable to speak consanants (also a Parker trait).

We have an appointment on the 1st to see an Ear/Nose/Throat specialist. I'll keep you all posted.

BTW, for posterity here are the weights of the kids:

YaYa 47#

LuLu 38#

Parker 33#

Lauren 12#

"My Poem" by YaYa

bat  manbatsbatsbatsbats batsandbats i love batsoliviaand parker    and mom and dadand  gracie cat man  cats  cats cats  are gracieandoliviaandparkerand momand  dad dog man dogsdogsbear man bears bears

Friday, October 26, 2007

Slapinions.net

For the record, while the dot com version of the site is still MIA, the dot net version is open for business. For ease of bookmarking (and spreading the word), this site can be accessed via www.slapinions.net.

Also, in answer to the comments in the last post  - thank you for it - Parker is 2 years and ~ 8 months old.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A post for my (wedding) anniversary

My desktop is now back up and running at full steam, so I figured a quick post was in order.

[Today, btw, is my 11th wedding anniversary!]

[Mandatory posts missed due to comp problems:

Baptism

praying mantis

YaYa's 6th Birthday]

Last Monday (the 15th) YaYa auditioned for a role in Oliver! at a local children's theater we've frequented since she was a toddler. She went for a pre-audition practice then went for it all in a pageboy hat with a big #51 on her chest.

She sang, danced, and did a scene in front of 4 judges but unfortunately never got a call back and didn't get the part.

A dissapointment, and I'd kick the judge's ass if I could, but she was auditioning to play 9 year old boy. She handled the rejection well. She hung her head for but a moment butthen proclaimed that she would keep auditioning at future productions until she got a part. I was VERY proud of her.

Imagine - a child of Dan Slap having not only the gumption but the desire to go an audtion at age six. Wow!

Additionally, just like her Daddy the reading/writing bug kicked in hard now in 1st grade - she is breezing through her reading assignments and often writes a story before bed! Kudos to her Mom for reading all those Junie B Jones books to her over the summer!

*  * * *

Parker still isn't talking, or rather is speaking only the odd word here and there. So far his vocabulary is:

ew wow!    

socks

broke

no

yea

ok

bye

hi

mama

more

bob (as in bob the builder)

ball

He seems to comprehend fully (and in fact, I know he does) but just can't (or won't) talk. Legend has it his Mom didn't speak until 3 herself. I think I've caught him talking to himself in more complete phrases, but ixnay on speaking for public consumption.

Or maybe I heard wrong.

Anyhow, he remains the happiest kid EVER, with a cheese grin permanently chiseled on that face of his. I hope he stays that happy forever because it would just be too ironic to see a depressed version of my boy, knock on wood.

He's so iconically happy that my Mom has nicknamed him'Smiley', and the name just might stick.

My own choice for a nickname: 'Quake' - because by 18 I think he'll stand 6'4" and top out at 250#, give or take. Men will quake when they see him, and women will swoon.

One hopes :)

My misguided post about his cross-dressing was poorly timed, as he has quickly and drastically abandoned all things girly in favor of Spiderman, Cars, and general destruction.

Maker of Trouble and Mayhem indeed.

* * *

LuLu is enjoying the heck out of K4 and has already had friends over to play. She is getting on her Mom's nerves just like YaYa did at this age. Every morning she stomps her feet and tells us how much she hates her shoes, shirt, pants - fill in the blank - largely becuase she's 'worn dem already'.

Note: this violates our longstanding rule 'don't say hate' - it's a bad word here.

OFW I say. Oh Bleep Well.

It'll pass, just like it did with YaYa.

And personally, I've grown much more fond of her lately. She is the most loving of all the kids, classically the cutest (in an apple dumpling kind of a way), and is at that age where she just adores me.

How can I fault her for that?

She takes dance class every Monday (YaYa decided against it this year, preferring gymnastics on Wednesday's) and is looking forward to appearing in the show again next year.

It's hard to find 10 1/2 wide tap shoes tho'.:)

She's also a Daisy scout, having had her first meeting this afternoon.

* * * *

Lauren has now finally surpassed my birthweight, clocking in at 11# 6oz at her checkup this week. She has a sensitive stomach and has been switched to Soy formula to curtail her vomitting (with limited results) and we've been instructed to add rice cereal to her bottles. Point in fact, she just unleashed a torrent of spitup into my lap. Niiccce.

Otherwise . . she sleeps most of the night, waking promptly each night at 3:15 and 5 am.

That SUCKS

She smiled for the first time on the day of her baptism, but does it rarely for me; much more so for her Mommy.

* * * *

My Mom has spent the last month and a half in a nursing home, recupping from some issues that were largely weight related. She seems on the road to recovery and I think of her a lot (certainly more than I call her. Man I SUCK at calling people. I've been meaning to call both Lauren and YaYa's godfathers and often fall short.

LuLu in particular misses my Mom, more so than I would have imagined, and talks about her often. She also colors pictures for her and asks me to mail them to her. "I want gramma home so we can color toget-er" she says.

* * * *

At work: actively involved in a campaign with the local business association and had a quote and a photo in a recent issue of Business Journal.

I'm now on the Development Committe for the girls' school (Lis is a Room Mom, volunteers each Wed morning, and is 3rd in line as Daisy leader.

* * * * *

Baseball update: I hate the Red Sox and watched (correction: briefly checked in on each telecast) as they rallied against Cleveland. The Rockies were fun to watch in the LCS but c'mon - an 8 day layover before the Series? MLB needs to redo their ragtag October scheduling.

To my chagrin: Red Sox in 5, followed by severe depression and morose thoughts on my part.


 

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Baseball Update

Ok, so my predictions were wrong.

NY went down, and with them (perhaps) the era of Joe Torre. It's been a hell of a run. At least ARod seemed to partially vindicate himself, hitting .285 in the ALDS with a home run.

In the end the Yanks just didn't have the pitching to go all the way.

LCS predictions:

Cleveland in 6, Rockies in 7

 

Friday, October 5, 2007

Baseball Predictions

The only series I've managed to see so far is AZ-Cubs, due to the late start on the west coast.

I think AZ will take the series. They have better fundamentals and a wealth of young talent. I don't predict a sweep, but I don't buy the 'Wrigley Field will save us!" mentality of Cubs fans either.

* * *

Looks like the Rockies will take their series vs. the Phillies. If it comes down to Arizona and Colorodo I side with the Rockies, just because they haven't been to the series before. A lame reason, but there ya go.

In the AL, I think the Yanks will pull it out, and I don't have much of an opinion on the LA - Boston matchup.

Part of me wants Boston to win because the Angels give NY fits, but morally I'm compelled to root for the Red Sox's destruction .

I'm torn.

 

The Final Season

Yesterday, at the invitation of a work contact, I took YaYa and two of my nieces to see an advanced screening of the new movie The Final Season.

It's the story of the Norway, Iowa high school baseball team. State champions 19 times, the school is about to be closed as it merges with another district. In the literal final season for the team they attempt to overcome personal adversity and an unsympathetic school board in the search for a 20th title.

I thought it was a fine movie, definitely family friendly and enjoyable. In my opinion it was a tad heavy on the John Mellencamp 'small town as paradise' angle (keep in mind I'm a big city guy) and had an awful lot of scenes devoted to on-field action. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it will narrow its potential audience.

I think the girls were bored, although they claimed to have a good time. With half an hour left YaYa asked to climb on my lap and I spent the rest of the movie rocking her - which made the whole thing worthwhile, even if it had just been a blank screen we were watching.

[keep in mind the movie started at her bedtime and ended a full two hours later. She didn't get into bed until 3 hours later than normal]

The best part: prior to the movie the sponsoring radio station held a baseball trivia contest. YaYa eagerly raised her hand and to our surprise was called upon.

'What Brewer led the team in RBI's this year?"

The answer, whispered to her by her Daddy and spoken softly, was Prince Fielder with 119.

Like I said she spoke the answer softly but they heard her and she won a baseball and tshirt with the movie logo and got a poster on the way out.

I'll try to post a pic of the goodies here later.

A good time, a really nice time. And earlier in the day the whole family had gone out to dinner at Denny's, where the kids behaved like angels. All in all a very lucky, family-friendly day.

 

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

On Baseball and Kiddies and Comps

Nah, I still don't have my laptop back. Fact is, I haven't even sent it in yet because I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around the idea of going comp-less for two weeks.

Soon, soon.

I've had a good week, post-Baptism, despite a bad cold. One night I took the girls to pick up a pizza and when we were told it'd be a few minutes, treated them to kiddie cocktails as we sat at the bar and talked about school.

A great, great memory.

We've also recently put up our first Halloween decorations around the house . . YaYa's learned to skip rope and is reading like a champ . . Lu loves school . . Parker is all boy, mischeivious and happy and destructive all at the same time, and starting to vocalize (but not talk) far more than before . .Lauren is smiling (tho' she has a cold now too) and seems to have a weak stomach; we are considering switching her to a soy based formula.

Anyhow, last night I watched the fantastic 163rd game of the baseball season - the one game winner take all playoff for the NL wildcard spot.

It was a sloppy, offense minded game to be sure, but the drama!

I thought for sure the game was over when the Padres took a two run lead in the top of the 13th and put Hoffmann on the mound to close it out. Then the hits kept coming . .

Holliday made up for his earlier gaffe in the field with his tying hit, but as thrilled as I was to see him score the winning run a batter later, my inner baseball puriest balked.

Slide feet first man, and do it late, just like Ripken said afterwards. And if you are dumb enough to go head first, be a man and shake it off instead of laying there on the ground watching Barrett retrieve the ball to tag you out.

Of course it didn't matter, he was safe (or at least ruled as such).

I was overjoyed. Nothing against the Padres, mind you, but now at least the Brewers played a role in the post-season, having bumped the Friars into the playoff in the first place.

And what Brewer did it? None other than the son of Padres legend Tony Gwynn.

Sweet irony.

Oh, and Hoffmann?

Best Closer Ever. . . .

My A**