Dear Dragon – Consequences Suck

Dear Sweet Dragon,

You are a fantastic kid but you’ve inherited every stubborn molecule from all sides of the family.

Our biggest struggle with you right now is how much you love your brother. That doesn’t sound too bad, except for the fact that you never stop touching, pulling, holding, squishing, hugging, or loudly singing/roaring/screaming at him.

You still don’t know your strength and he can not tell you to stop. He will occasionally make noises of annoyance but he’s not consistent enough for you to listen… even if you were inclined to listen.

So our current largest battle is getting you to respect his bodily autonomy and ask before touching him. You need to ask us, since he’s too young to reply for himself. Unfortunately, you refuse to listen or forget to remember… not sure which.

Note: Compared to hitting him or any other kind of mischief you could get into, this isn’t terrible, but it is very frustrating.

So last night you harassed him to the point of him being upset and us having had enough. We told you to not touch him or you were going to bed. Less than a minute later you saw him drooling and whipped around, grabbed his burp-cloth and wiped his face. I thought you’d hit him when I saw his head fall back but mum says he must have been surprised because you’re always gentle.

Either way, your face registered an, “Oh shit” moment and then you pretended not to notice.

We sent you to bed. You were not pleased. You cried yourself to sleep once at 9:30, then at 11:30, then at 2:30, then at 9, and finally you woke up at 10 and cried yourself into puking. Your tummy hurt so much that food was hard to handle.

This is hard on you and I hope you’ve learned to listen and respect others’ bodily autonomy, but I’m not so sure. Time will tell.

Something you might not realize right now, or even when you read this;hers’ really hard on us too. We love you and you’re a wonderful human being. Punishing you is hard.

I love you so much,

Your tired Papa

*Addendum added 2019-10-13* Okay Dragon. I didn’t go into details because I didn’t think it was relevant.

Here’s what happened when you were sent to bed.

  1. You got changed into PJs.
  2. We took you to pee and have water.
  3. We tucked you in and explained why you were going to bed early.
  4. We told you we love you.
  5. We let you try to sleep once you stopped crying.
  6. When you called for us we went up and did 3, 4, and 5 again.

We never leave you alone to cry and we refuse to force you to stop. We’ll comfort you and snuggle you but it’s okay to cry. (even if your crying almost always leads to gagging or puking.)

The 5 Steps in Toddler Dragon’s Bedtime Routine

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Having children gives you a serious appreciation for the absurd. The Toddler Dragon’s bedtime routine has constantly evolved. This past week it’s hit peak silly.

Here are The 5 Steps in Toddler Dragon’s Bedtime Routine:

Step 1: The Cleanup

This is the step where we help her clean up her toys. Jen starts while I pour milk and cut cheese and then I take over while she drinks and eats.

There are only two ways this step goes. Shockingly easy or maddeningly difficult.

The Dragon will either be eager to please and go to bed or mischievously stubborn. On the difficult modes, she’ll bury herself in pillows, run around, and giggle at our frustration. Sometimes I give up and pick her up while making helicopter noises. She can’t run away and picks up the toys.

Sometimes this has all the excitement of an Easter egg hunt.

Step 2: The Chase

She insists on turning on the light on the stairs and the monitor. Even when she tells me to “DO IT!” like a bad 90’s sitcom, she gets annoyed if she didn’t do it herself. Then she runs away to our bedroom, either the master bath or closet. She stands in the dark until we come get her.

Once he have her, we get her onto the toilet for her first GOPEE! This is usually followed by an angry no and nomore.

After the toilet, her hands get washed and she runs back to our room staring into the depth of our unlit closet or shower.

Step 3: The Wrestling

Next comes the pyjamas. Her current ones have Stitch on them (you are what you wear?) and getting her into them is sort of like wrestling a small giggling bear. Some days it is affectionate, some days it’s squirmy, and some days you get bitten.

Once all this is done, I pick her up and throw her onto the pillow on mum’s lap for tooth brushing.

That’s when I go to the washroom and the Dragon gets read a story and nursed a little.

This normally ends with her second GOPEE!

Step 4: The Random

Before she GOESPEE, she kisses her Mum goodnight. Then we GOPEE, this usually involves counting toes. I will count and she’ll cut me off with, “One, One, Two, One, Two, Three, Quatre, Six, Huit, Dix!”

From there, I wrestle her into her diaper, she squeezes her squeaky Totoro and says, “Toto-oh”.

Then I ask if she’d like me to sing, tell her a story, or just hang out. (I miss singing and telling stories.) She says NO Sleep! So I awkwardly position myself on her toddler bed and toy box. (I’m a big guy and I really don’t want to break the mattress and earn a visit to the mattress store.) And pretend to snore.

She then climbs on to me and makes me get off the bed. She jumps on my back like a horse rider and I get three steps before she make me lie down on my stomach.

And the highlight (for her) of the night is that she gets to play with the mole on my back… 😐

The past few nights she’s found it hilarious to try and lick said mole. Every time I say, “Don’t lick me.” she bursts into giggles. We then argue about licking until Mum comes back from brushing her teeth and doing her back exercises.

Step 5: The Stall

Mum nurses the Dragon and sings her wonderful songs. (I’m jealous of both of them.)

After the first song we get GOPEE! number three. This one usually gets pee if I bribe her with playing with the mole on my neck.

“Mole!” she says.

“Only if you pee,” I reply, wondering how this conversation became common place.

Next we have more nursing and when it’s all over Jen puts her to bed and tells her to stay in bed. This is followed within a minute by GOPEE! number four. This one is normally just a stalling tactic.

When that’s done, she runs to the master bedroom (diaper less) and gives mom a kiss and hug. (Sometimes an accidental kick or punch.)

I then put her to bed and tell her to stay in bed. That she isn’t a baby anymore and that big kids stay in bed.

This is followed within 5 minutes with GOPEE! number five. I only bring her to the washroom for this one if she’s peed for 3 and 4.

I then put her to bed and tell her to stay in bed. That she isn’t a baby anymore and that big kids stay in bed.

From this point she either goes to sleep or I have to sit with her until she falls asleep.

The whole thing takes maybe 30 minutes and is completely surreal.

We’re completely lucky that she’s this easy but sometimes I really wish I had access to the Dungeons & Dragons spell Sleep.

Later Days,

Éric

Dear Dragon – I Miss You!

Dragon-11-07-2017

Dear Little Dragon,

You still hate sleeping but you’re getting better at falling asleep… sometimes.

You are growing so fast in every way possible. Last week I watched you learn how to climb off the couch safely and Sunday you took your first shuffling steps. Just two little steps but they were steps. You’ll be running around soon enough.

I’ve been at work for over a month and I miss you a lot. It’s hard not being with you and watching you grow every day. I know I see you when I get home but it’s not the same.

I miss you and someday I hope I’ll be able to work from home permanently and see you every day. (You’ll probably be going to school by then.)

I miss seeing your smile when you wake up in the morning. I hope you never lose that easy smile, even if it’s just with family and close friends. Your joy is infectious and even when you’re being mischievous it makes us so happy.

I Love you little Dragon!

Your tired, sappy, and a little sad,
Papa

Dear Dragon – Conventions and Sleep

Dear Baby Dragon,

You’re almost nine months old. I’ve gone back to work and I’m missing you terribly.

Over the past nine months, you’ve been to a lot of activities and conventions. Throughout those events you’ve been absolutely wonderful. During the events, you make all the other parents jealous with how cute, easy going, and friendly you are.

The only downside to bringing you to conventions and other events is how it seems to really drain you. So many people and so many things to look at has you completely overstimulated for a few days after. You get ridiculously clingy and a little grumpy. It’s like having people around you all the time for a few days and then not having anyone, makes you worry that you’re alone.

It makes me really happy that we can share all these things with you. I’m excited and envious of you growing up in the Ottawa geek and writer’s communities. I hope you continue to enjoy them as you grow older.

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On a different subject, GO TO SLEEP! Sigh. You used to hate going to sleep but once you were asleep you were good. Now, you seem to have issues with staying asleep. I’m hoping its only because of your teeth. You’re teething pretty hard right now and I know it hurts.

Please go back to sleeping easily soon.

Love you lots,

Your tired Papa

All Work and no Sleep Makes Éric something something…

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Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Have you ever gotten to the point where you’re so busy, or your to-do list is so long, that you feel like you’re drowning? Well I’m almost there. The ocean of stuff is turbulent and I’m barely dog paddling. All of it is made worse by lack of sleep and this stupid, unending cold.

I’m starting to realize I might have taken on too much too quickly this year and certain things have been suffering because of it. Mostly my writing, or lack thereof, and other creative endeavours like FADDS.

What am I going to do about it? I’m going to get as much done of what I have already promised and try to stop taking on more projects. Both publishers I work with are going to settle down into a slower routine and after Ottawa Comic Con, conventions will slow down too.

All that said, I’m going to try and take a week off to relax after OCC. Maybe play Skyrim with the little Dragon.

I have a lot of coffee to roast and not much time so I’ll see you later.

Éric

Let’s get Cynical

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

By reading this blog, I’m sure you noticed I’m a rather optimistic kind of person. I tend to assume the best of people and believe hope is important.

That being said I have my cynical moments. Last night as we were getting the little Dragon to sleep, I came to the realization that there are two kinds of cynical. When things don’t go your way or go badly, you can fall on two extremes of cynicism; Conspiracy or Stupidity.

Borrowed from https://www.instagram.com/_12drawings_/
Borrowed from Kenzie AKA _12drawings_ on Instagram

Conspiracy

Let’s say, for examples sake only, that your baby doesn’t seem to be going to sleep (just an example, I swear…). If your cynicism leans towards conspiracy, you’ll assume that the baby is trying to stop you from sleeping. Possibly for some sort of nefarious plan where she steals all your energy.

This is the extreme that you see a lot of with big businesses or with government. They’re all out to get us/me/you! It makes us feel special, because someone wants to get us, and makes us feel like there is purpose in the world.

Stupidity

This is absolute opposite side of cynicism. Instead of assuming the baby is trying to stop you from sleeping, you assume the baby has no idea what it’s doing and has no sinister motives. It’s just a baby that hasn’t developed enough to realize that it’s time to sleep and that you haven’t abandoned her in a crib for ever.

This is the harder form of cynicism. It assumes chaos and it assumes you have nothing to do with what happened. Humans tend to assume everything that happens around us is about us; we are a self-absorbed race. It is freeing to realize that everyone is just blundering about trying to get to their goals.

 

I’m trying my best to be hopeful and grotesquely optimistic, but the times I am cynical I lean towards the second option. I’ve worked in government, retail, big business, tourism, etc (seriously, I’ve done a lot) and one thing I’ve noticed is how, as a society, we are extremely hard to organize. It’s always more likely to be incompetence or stupidity rather then maliciousness. (That’s Hanlon’s Razor)

Where do you fall on the cynicism spectrum?

Éric

Sticky Brain

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

We went to Geek Market this weekend and it was a lot of fun. It’s an incredibly well run event with some of the nicest staff and volunteers. Sales were ok for us, but nowhere near what I’d expected. We still made our table and got to hang out with Renaissance Press and all the other awesome people who were there.

Two highlights of the weekend are the Blush Kickstarter making its first stretch goal and my awesome wife winning the Fantasy Short Story Scholarship contest. She worked really hard on both Blush and the story, and I couldn’t be more proud.

Between Geek Market and all the other things I’ve been working on, I was completely and utterly exhausted last night. I should have easily fallen asleep… My brain had other ideas.

How Well I Sleep by Fowl Language Comics
How Well I Sleep by Fowl Language Comics

As I lay awake until 1 or 2 in the morning (I stopped checking at 12:30), my brain kept running an idea for a Webcomic through my head. Over and over, I kept thinking of what it could be and the story and the tone. Sigh.

Suffice it to say, I was even more exhausted this morning. I still couldn’t get the idea out of my head. So I spent this morning writing it out. I’ll pitch it to a friend who’s interested in drawing more and we’ll see what happens. I mean I really don’t have enough to do.

I don’t want to spoil anything and the comic would be a collaboration so things will change, but I can give you the working title: “Joust a Windmill”.

 

What sort of things does your brain keep you up with?

Later Days!

Éric

Being Tired and Mattresses

Did you know that not getting enough sleep can decrease your ability to think and reason? It can worsen depression, increase the chance of heart disease or diabetes, and it can even cause you to gain weight.

I get an average of 4ish hours of sleep on weeknights and maybe 8 on weekends if I’m lucky. This isn’t uninterrupted sleep. I get up for multiple reasons. If my wife didn’t swear I don’t snore much and I never wake up fighting for breath, I’d think I have sleep-apnea. For a more sound sleep some people use sleep headphones.

So why am I having so much trouble? I made a mistake a little over nine years ago. I bought a mattress that was too soft. This might not seem like a bad thing, everyone likes softness. It wasn’t bad at the beginning but over time it’s gotten much worse.

I noticed the second year we had the mattress that I had trouble sleeping more than 9 hours. (I vaguely remember when I wasn’t busy and 9 hours was a short sleep on weekends) I’d wake up with aches and pains and still feeling tired.

I assumed it was all due to allergies, being overweight, or those wonderful bodily changes you experience in your mid-twenties. I kept assuming it was these issues. When I’d go on vacation I’d assume I slept well because I was exhausted from the day and not think twice about it. It took my wife complaining about aches and pains and having trouble sleeping for me to realize it was the bed.

So why did it take me years to figure out? One reason, the platform bed is freaking comfortable. When you climb into it, it hugs you and life is amazing. It takes at least a few hours before you start to feel like you’re being contorted by maniacal fluffy-cloud demons.

My wife and I finally bit the bullet and decided to buy a new bed when one of our favourite stores had a sale. We decided on a mattress that was right in the middle between firm and soft and we bought one that was half off but higher quality than our old one. To choose mattress, I mean a good one, is very important. The old mattress is also sagging in odd and uncomfortable ways so I don’t feel bad replacing it.

It’ll be delivered in 2-3 weeks and I hope it helps me feel better rested. If not, I’ll speak with my doctor.

Thank goodness for coffee!

Éric

If Gandalf can do it so can I!

Hello,

It seems 2014 is going to be busy. Somehow I had no clue it would be.

I’m neck deep in a new novel set in a psychiatric institute for people with Parasomnia. So far it’s a lot of fun to write. I’m still working on the concept for my Vlog. Testing things out, playing with the equipment, and being a total chicken. On top of my weekly Modern RPG that I’m running.

Still no word about the book I submitted. Hopefully before March.

Something that’s been draining a lot of time and energy from me lately is being sick. I spent a few days last week, completely dead. To top that off both my wife and I are starting to feel colds. Hopefully they’ll go away, or we’re nuts, or both.

On their Facebook Page, Silver Stag Entertainment asked for suggestion for movies. In case you want to do a psychological analysis of my mind (Please don’t, that way leads to madness.) here’s what I suggested:

  • Wall-E
  • The Incredibles
  • Willow
  • Alien
  • The Last Starfigher
  • Dude Where’s my Car
  • Splice
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth(1959)
  • Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)
  • The Court Jester
  • Stargate
  • The Gamers
  • Frankenstein (1931)
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
  • Rocky Horror Picture Show.

They also asked on their Goodreads Book Club, for book suggestions. Here are mine:

  • Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
  • The Silvered by Tanya Huff
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Redshirts by John Scalzi
  • Terrier by Tamora Pierce
  • Doorways in the Sand by Roger Zelazny
  • Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm
  • The Sleeping Dragon by Joel Rosenberg
  • The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham
  • The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
  • In the Tall Grass by Stephen King and Joe Hill
  • The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
  • The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini
  • The Sleeping God by Violette Malan
  • How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper
  • Sins of the Son by Linda Poitevin
  • Destiny’s Blood by Marie Bilodeau
  • The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
  • Wyrm by Mark Fabi
  • The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • The Hunter’s Moon by O.R. Melling
  • Hollow Earth by John and Carole Barrowman
  • Defining Diana by Hayden Trenholm
  • Disappearing Nightly by Laura Resnick
  • The Fountains of Paradise by Arthur C. Clark
  • Ringworld by Larry Niven
  • Red Mars by Ben Bova
  • Don’t Bite the Sun by Tanith Lee
  • Knight Life by Peter David

That’s it for now. I’m going to see if I can nap with my eyes open.

If Gandalf can do it so can I!

Sleepin Wizard

Éric