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11:33 a.m. - January 26, 2006
A Night In The Life Of A Dad
Last night, there wasn’t a basketball game to cover, nor was there an IM basketball game to play (well, mostly coach), so I got to spend the entire night at home.

A nice, refreshing, change, for sure, on paper. However, it was a day of “Dad as referee, umpire, and judge.”

After getting home from work, cooling down for a bit, and changing clothes, I went downstairs to take over parenting duty for Liz while she went online, did a couple of chores (it was her day for the litterbox – whew!) and finished making dinner (yummy Chicken Parm – oh, it was fab – but more on that later).

I had Kristin in one arm, containing her as much as I you can contain a seven month old who is ‘this’ close to crawling, and Katie comes up and flounces next to me on the sofa with some Valentine cards she cut out from an activity book.

She gave one to Kristin, who of course loved holding it. She moved it from one hand to another, and started to gum it a little bit. Katie comes up and swipes it from her.

“Katie, give that back to your sister.”
“She’s not supposed to eat it.”
“I know, but give it back to her. I’ll watch her.”

The card is given back to Kristin. A minute later, Katie takes the card away.

Repeat the above conversation.

Repeat it again.

And again.

And again.

Finally, Liz is done with her online perusing and the cat box, and Katie runs off into the kitchen to help Liz make dinner. Katie’s job, and she chose to accept it, is to make the salad.

Yeah, sure it’s taking the salad mix out of the bag and tossing it around a bit and putting it into bowls, but it’s an important job.

Meanwhile, it’s a commercial break for the show I’m watching so I take Kristin and go into the kitchen.

Kristin spots Liz and:


Yes, that’s right boys and girls. It’s time for the game everyone loves, “Separation Anxiety.”

And Kristin has it bad.

Katie developed it somewhat, but she was in daycare and she was somewhat used to Liz and I not being around all the time. But since Liz is now a stay-at-home, then she’s around Kristin almost all the time.

Sunday, at church, Kristin howled in the nursery for about 45 minutes. The workers there didn’t go get Liz, but she went back anyway and got Kristin and she sat with us during the sermon. This, frankly, helped me get through the sermon without doodling or nodding off.

Liz has a MOPS meeting on Tuesdays, and the last couple of times Kristin has lasted less than five minutes in the nursery before she has to rescue her.

Of course, it makes ME sad that she’ll have that even when I’m around. Hey, I’m a parent, too. You always give me a big goofy grin, and all.


Anyway, anxiety assuaged, I take Kristin back into the family room (or is it the living room – you know, I don’t really know what is what – it’s the room with the TV) as dinner is finishing up, mainly because there are hot things coming out of the oven and that’s not a safe place for babies.

(We have a rule, that Liz’s friend Snow White suggested, that when the oven is open everyone else either has to be seated, or has to be out of the kitchen. In our house, since the kitchen is about the only room not carpeted, the call is “Feet on the carpet, everyone!” when the oven is being opened.)

When the clarion call comes for dinner, I take Kristin in there and try to put her in her high chair. Now, when she doesn’t want to sit in it, she’ll wriggle, squirm and generally make it nigh near impossible to get her in there. But last night was just a mild protest by Kristin, so after about a minute she gave in.

Now Katie, though, was in charge of the salad. And she made herself a huge bowl of salad – and Liz also had a huge bowl of salad (Liz is being good and losing weight, so her salad to chicken parm ratio is titled toward the green stuff). But that meant I had basically scraps. So I have to tell Katie to put some salad back in the bowl.

“No, I want that salad.”
“Katie, I don’t think you’ll eat it all.”
“No, I will. I want that salad.”
“Katie, put some back.”
“Stop it! You’re not the boss of me!”

Well, after explaining the family dynamic to her, I at least got a few scraps of salad (mostly romaine and radicchio, yum). And the chicken parm was scrumptious.

Kristin was getting a bit impatient, and I finished up and started to feed her dinner. It was sweet potatoes, and she likes sweet potatoes.

But she likes her fingers more. She has a habit of sucking on her left index and left middle fingers, and she clamps down tight! She is still without teeth (after 3 ˝ months of drooling and all – they’re STILL not popping through) so I had to extract them from her mouth and then give her the spoon.

It went like this.

Take the fingers out of the mouth.
Kristin cries and turns her head.
The spoon is offered.
Kristin, still crying, opens her mouth.
She stops crying when she realizes it’s yummy.
Her fingers go back into her mouth.

But she eats the sweet potatoes, and Liz and Katie finish their dinner. (Katie, of course, only ate half of her salad – but I did not bring that to her attention. She is a great eater but is pokey when it comes to trying everything, and I try not to nag but I seem to anyway).

Now it’s bathtime for everyone. Liz is in charge of this, but Katie is a big girl and generally in charge of her bath. Except that tonight, for whatever reason, she decided she was the Baby Jaguar from “Go! Diego! Go!”

And what does Baby Jaguar say??

So for 20 minutes or so, through bath time, jammie time, teeth brushing time, and book time, all Katie said was “Meow!”

Yeesh! Liz and I didn’t have our Jaguar to English translation book handy so we could just guess what Katie wanted. In fact, I was yelled at (meowed at sternly) because I didn’t understand that it was time to tuck Katie into bed after the book.

(Oh, and I made the mistake of calling them PJ’s. They’re not PJ’s, they’re jimmies. Got it!)

But Katie is in bed by 7:45, and Kristin soon follows at 8. Now there’s some Smed and Liz alone time.

Except that Liz is tired from going to yoga at 6:15 in the morning, so we watch a Soprano’s episode and she goes off to bed, leaving me with a fireplace, a glass of wine, and a bunch of magazines to read. Oh, and a cat that wanted me to turn the fireplace back on. Sorry, Butch, but I didn’t feel like a fire.

Ah, well, it was a good night, though, all in all, because even if I was the only one awake, I knew I wasn’t alone.


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