Dear Dragon and Pegasus – Your Mum

Dear Dragon and Pegasus,

As of this writing, it’s been exactly 4,950 days since I met your mother. On Wednesday, it’ll be our 13.5 year dating anniversary and our 10th wedding anniversary.

By the time you read this, you’ll probably think we’ve been together forever. Sometimes I feel that way too. It’s hard to imagine my life without her.

The two of us have been through a lot together. She’s helped me through some of the toughest parts of my life. To you, she’s just your Mum, but I don’t think you’ll ever understand how much she loves you. (I’m not sure she does either.)

If there’s one thing you have to know about your Mum, it’s that she’s always thinking of your best interests. (Well maybe not always, but in all the big things.) She wants you to be happy.

She’s not perfect; she’ll get completely sucked into a game or story. She can get overwhelmed and get grumpy. She’s WAY too hard on herself about almost anything. But no matter what, she will drop anything for family, friends, and especially you; to listen and support.

She throws herself body, heart, soul, into her relationships. Because of that, she leaves herself open to being hurt, but so often she makes amazing friends. She sees the best in everyone and loves everyone.

If you reach out to her, she will always be ready with a hug, an attentive ear, and a kind word.

There’s a lot in this world that’s scary, a lot that is bad, and even more that’s sad. Count yourself lucky that you have a Mum that will hug you and be there for you when you need her. The world can’t be all that bad when it has someone so open and willing to love.

She’s my favourite person, my best friend, and by far the best part of me. Remember to take care of her the way she will always take care of you.

Your loved Papa

P.S. She gives great hugs.

Top 5 Silly Things all Parents Do

Every child is different and every parent is also just as different, but there are some things we share.

5. Attempt Escape

Everyone has days that they just want a few seconds of quiet where no one is asking to climb you. Kids are awesome, but they’re draining and sometimes you just need to hide. I’ve been known to take my phone into the washroom and maybe spend a little extra time.

4. Hear a Boom and Freeze

You’ve been there. The child just falls, hits something, knocks something over, or goodness knows what. You freeze and wait for the scream, cry, shout, or other loud reaction.

It’s a “do I need to intervene” or “should I wait for them” kind of moment.

3. Not Sleep

Yes, kids like to stay up and wake you at all times. Some are worse than others, but that’s not always why we’re tired as parents. Sometimes you wake up early to get some work done or go to bed late to watch something without having to name each jelly bean’s colour and flavour.

2. Cringe

This is doubly dangerous. Everyone knows kids love to repeat things. One “What the Heck” and they’ll be chanting it for weeks. We went to a party where one of the adults peppered their speech with the F word in the way that I like to spread peanut butter. Keladry walked around for three days chanting “Fok fok fok”.

What people rarely tell you is that it works both ways. They’ll use a turn of phrase or tone and you’ll suddenly be saying, “Oh, yes!” to the waiter. I’ve been told it only gets worse.

1. Secret Snack

There you are with a warm ball of energy on your lap and you’ll want a cookie. You can share your favourite cookie or you can sneak one the next time they leave the room. It’s not just that you don’t want to share, it’s probably not good for them, it’s messy, and gosh darn it they’ve had enough sweets.

My cookie!…


Did I miss anything?

Éric

Top 5 Differences between a baby during pregnancy and after being born.

Hello Baby loving folks,

The way we treat babies inside is slightly different than outside. Here’s a list of the top five differences according to my observations.

5. Input and Output

Oh the joy of not caring when or how a baby eats or poops. While pregnant no one really thinks about it much except for how cool/weird a process it is. But once the baby’s out EVERYONE tells you how to do it and how you’re doing it wrong.

4. Kicking

Sometime soon after birth kicking goes from a joyful, “OMG” moment to an annoyance and eventually a real pain. Tiny toes and fists hurt.

3. Control to Judgement

When the birthing parent is pregnant there are laws, rules, and pressures to make them do specific things. In most cases, it’s to protect the baby. Unfortunately, sometimes they prioritize the baby over the birthing parent instead of protecting both.

However, once the baby is out, the health and mental health of all parents is often ignored or considered secondary to the baby. Resources that would be available before disappear and the laws change completely.

2. Abstract to Concrete

The ultrasound, the kicking, the heartbeat, and even (for some) the growing of the baby is all sort of unreal and abstract. You’re afraid to believe and it all seems like a big prank.

Then the baby arrives and you have a baby… Like it’s there and it needs you to do stuff. Where are this kids parents? Wait, that’s us… And you now that you believe, you’re afraid. It eventually settles back to real from surreal, but it’s always a little bit of a shock.

1. Love

The thing that’s growing has your affection, a deep feeling of attachment, and terror. It’s completely impossibly there. But you don’t Love it yet.

Then it comes out and your heart melts at this tiny, wrinkled, screeching, proof that you don’t know what you’re doing. And sometime between holding them and going home you realize you’d die or kill for them. But you don’t Love them yet.

I’m not sure the exact moment it happens, but sometime after the birth and before the first year, they smile, or wiggle, or something else and you suddenly feel like squishing them or howling in joy, and just like that you love them.


Did I miss anything? What do you think?

Éric

Movies with the Toddler Dragon

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

One of the great joys of parenting is seeing things through your child’s eyes (Not literally; put down the ice-cream scoop).

Toddler Dragon watching the end credits of Hotel Transylvania 3

Dragon has been watching movies with us for a while now. Most movies she can sit and watch the entire thing making the most adorable noises and expressions.

More and more, I find myself watching her watch a movie. It’s like experiencing it all over again and it’s wonderful. Even a mediocre movie is infinitely more fun with her. The older she gets, the more she’s seeing and understanding what’s going on.

I had a lot of fun watching Creature From the Black Lagoon and pausing when she would scream, “Scary!” only to have her look up at me and say, “Again!” each time. (Nearly everything she says has an exclamation mark on the end.)

She’s helping my jaded, grumpy self see the little fun parts of movies. Even if it’s just a pretty picture of the, “MOON!”

Later Days,

Éric

Dear Dragon – Nightmare

Dear Dragon,

I had my first nightmare with you in it and it surprised me. I don’t remember most of my dreams; those that I do don’t last long and unlike your mom’s they’re not complex.

Your Gramma told me that in her nightmares I was always a small child. Even when I was in university, her dream version of me was no older than five. I always assumed that you’d be a newborn in my dreams. I was wrong.

In my dream you were trying to get to me and making that pterodactyl screech you make when you’re annoyed. You were toddling towards me, screeching, and darkness swallowed you. Your screeching turned into your panicked scream and I couldn’t get to you.

You were hurting and terrified and try as hard as I could I couldn’t get to you. (There are tears in my eyes just remembering the dream.)

When I woke up from the dream, I thought you really were screaming but after a few seconds of panic, I could tell you were just snoring. You were getting over a cold and your nose was doing this weird whistling noise.

Most likely the dream was caused by stress and feeling like I’m not spending enough time with you. I wish I could work from home every day. You change so much and so quickly that I don’t want to miss anything.

My greatest fear is that I won’t be there for you when you need me. I can’t promise that I will, but I’ll try as hard as possible.

I love you Dragon,

Your Papa

10 Lessons in parenting using Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy quotes

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10. Listen to your parents

“You know,” said Arthur, “it’s at times like this, when I’m trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I’d listened to what my mother told me when I was young.”
“Why, what did she tell you?”
“I don’t know, I didn’t listen.”

Things change, every day new studies and new recommendations come out. That being said, your parents, or in-laws, have years of experience dealing with exactly what you’re going through.

They are an extremely useful source of information.

I dearly wish I had listened to my Mom when she told me about what I was like as a baby.

9. Nursing blankets and hand towels are essential

“A towel, [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.”

This sounds silly but always carry your towel.

Babies will spit-up, puke, drool, snot, and all kinds of other things. Having something to wipe it off is extremely useful.

You can also use the nursing blanket as a fort, to swaddle, and many other things.

8. Everything takes longer with a baby

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.”

A forty five minute TV show can take an hour and a half to watch. Getting ready to leave is an exercise in planning and strategy that is far beyond what you expect.

Always give yourself a lot of extra time.

7. Babies have no survival instinct but they bounce

“There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

The combination of no survival instinct, curiosity, and lack of motor control means children are always trying to fly. They wriggle a lot… A LOT!

Inevitably the baby will try and fly but still hit the ground. In those cases if you are worried, go to the hospital. However if you’re not too worried, watch for weirder behaviour and make sure their pupils are both the same size. If they cry, it’s a good thing. A lack of crying from a fall is not a good thing.

6. No matter how often you tell them something it will feel like they are ignoring you

“For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.”

Everyone will tell you that raising kids goes quickly and that you need to cherish it. They’re right, but as you’re experiencing it, it can seem tediously slow.

Certain activities seem impossibly slow. Teaching what the word No means, teaching survival, and teaching them to sleep are all activities can that take FOREVER.

5. That shell shocked parental look

“He was staring at the instruments with the air of one who is trying to convert Fahrenheit to Centigrade in his head while his house is burning down.”

Babies are weird weird creatures. They will do the strangest things and every parent will recognize the look of bafflement and confusion that comes with parenting.

My daughter will always try and hide behind someone and eventually pull their hair.

4. No one knows what they’re doing

“This must be Thursday,” said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer. “I never could get the hang of Thursdays.”

As mentioned, children are weird, they have no survival instinct, and they spew multiple different bodily fluids.

Even with help and lots of information, raising children is as baffling as it is entertaining. Don’t worry though, no one really knows what they’re doing.

3. The moment you learn the rules, they’ll change

“There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”

You’ve found out how to get your child to stop biting the furniture. Congratulations! Get ready, for everything will change. It will.

Babies are growing and developing so fast that by the time that your ancient brain has caught up, the baby has already moved on.

2. Do your thing

“I’d far rather be happy than right any day.”

Spend ten minutes searching online or asking strangers about anything to do with babies and you’ll realize that there’s opposing opinions on absolutely everything.

Not only are there lots of opinions, but people will angrily defend their position and judge you.

Do what you think is best and what your child’s doctor recommends. Otherwise, you will spend all your time and energy panicking.

Once you accept that whatever you do is wrong, you’ll be much happier.

1. It’ll be okay. I promise!

“Mostly Harmless” / “Don’t Panic”

There are two things that you should always remember about parenting:

First, babies are not being mean on purpose. They have no idea what they are doing. Be patient, it’s your job to teach them.

Finally, try not to panic. Parenting is stressful, hard, wonderful, and highly entertaining, but try not to burn yourself out with worry.

 

Goodbye and thanks for all the fish (or comments),

Éric

Don’t Shit on Other People’s Hobbies

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

There’s a trend that has been pissing me off practically my entire life. The self-righteous arrogance of judging what others do with their time.

It’s a hundred times worse when it comes to parenting. (Pro-tip for parenting: No matter what you do, you’re doing it wrong according to someone.) Here’s the meme that set me off most recently:
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It’s cute isn’t it? Daddy teaching his little girl how to fix cars.

There is so much wrong with this meme but let me stick to two major points:

  1. Men are not immature idiots and we shouldn’t treat them like they are.
  2. Just because you don’t understand my hobbies doesn’t mean they’re stupid.

1. Men are not immature idiots and we shouldn’t treat them like they are.

It’s a common trope that men are irresponsible or unable to take care of themselves or children. It’s a common and pervasive stereotype. I mean boys will be boys… right?

You know what happens when people are always expecting, and allowing, you to be a certain way? You start thinking you should be that way or that you’re wrong/broken for not being that way.

I don’t fix cars – am well aware of the place for junk car in Fort Lauderdale, I don’d build things, I hate yardwork, and couldn’t care less about the latest sports thingy. I do love to watch sappy movies, read, cook, and be responsible.

No matter what your gender identity is, it’s possible to be an inconsiderate deadbeat stupidface.

2. Just because you don’t understand my hobbies doesn’t mean they’re stupid.

I will never understand wanting to get on a motorcycle and cruise around. It sounds uncomfortable and bothersome to me. That doesn’t mean I think it’s worthless. It offers people a safe (when done properly) thrill that they enjoy. Yay to enjoying yourself.

So why is driving a dilapidated boat into the middle of nowhere to throw string into the water to maybe catch fish considered a wonderful bonding experience, but playing a video game as a family is an immature waste of time?

Seriously, why is one hobby considered more valuable then the other?

Video games are educational, emotionally compelling, and even the worst of them help develop problem solving skills.

Anything can be valuable

When I was a kid I didn’t have the greatest relationship with my father. I don’t think he knew what to do with a nerdy bookworm. He tried to get me into helping with the car and I was totally not interested. I tried, but it usually devolved into him calling his buddies and them drinking while they did car stuff. To me, it was smelly, greasy, and generally uncomfortable.

On the opposite side of the coin, my mother and older brother loved video games. I grew up watching and playing with them. I remember being the navigator for old role playing games. We played as a team, each of us having input in what we did and where we went. I learned so much from those games and those times we did things as a family.

I understand that this meme is trying to say that doing something with your child is more valuable then ignoring them. But a person can ignore their child while working on a car just as easily as playing video games.

How about we as people, and especially as parents, show tolerance for things we don’t understand and back off on the gender stereotypes?

 

Later Days,

Éric

Recommendation Thursday – Fowl Language

Hello Imaginary Friends,

With Dragon coming in just over 3 months. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! … Sorry about that. As I was saying, with Dragon coming in just under four months (that’s better) I’ve been really enjoying Fowl Language.

It’s a comic about life and parenting. It’s colourful and really funny.

Even if you’re not a parent, you’ll love it.

tornados-vs-tantrums

Don’t forget to read the bonus panels that go with every comic.
tornados-vs-tantrums-bonus

 

Go Read and Enjoy!

Éric