Tantrums, Not Sleeping, Migraines & New Shoes

27 Mar

Yesterday was the third day in a row Max (3) did not earn a good behavior sticker.  We’ve stopped trying to punish all the bad behavior since he’d be in permanent timeout due to the fact that he’s 3 and in full throws of the terrible tantrums and whatnot.  When Max has good behavior days he gets a sticker.  After 3 stickers I take him out for soft serve ice cream or the candy store or wherever he requests.  We are on par today for a sticker…TBD…still 2 hours left in his day…anything can happen.

Keep it together man.

Last night was the (I’ve lost track) night that Dodge (1) barely slept.  One night this week Kate gave up and brought him into bed with us and we all passed out.  He turned all the way around so his feet were in my face and then began stomping my nose as if it were a bass drum pedal.  Last night he just felt like screaming.  He is louder than my earplugs and sound machine.  The kid’s got some pipes I tell you what.  Its not his fault…he’s a baby, he has multiple teeth coming in, and he’s at that age where they go through serious separation anxiety.  Still…knowing all that doesn’t make it any easier at 3 AM when he’s screaming as loud as he can and you want to punch a hole in the wall.

Today is the second day of the migraine which began yesterday with visual auras and blank spots in my vision.  Always a good time.  When I get migraines it throws off the way I feel my body interacts with the world around me.  Sure…the splitting headache sucks and my stomach is all screwed up…but I have this overwhelming feeling like the air is too hot, things are closer than they appear, my appendages and brain are not communicating correctly, everything sounds funny, and I could swear there’s some dude in my peripheral just hunching over my shoulder.  Nope.  Just my peripheral is all off.  Claustrophobic.

So what’s the solution?  I bought shoes.  Boom.  Yes.  Vapid awesomeness.  Cost of shoes?  $21 including shipping.  Are they awesome?  I have no idea…I bought them online from JackThreads and they are blue.  All I know is I have a kid who hates everything, a kid who won’t sleep, a wife who hates me (we need sleep), I’m sleeptyping I’m so tired, I have a migraine, everything feels weird…and so I bought shoes online.

I don’t know if there is a moral to this story…wait…okay, let’s go with this:

“Eat more chocolate, buy cheap shoes, submerge yourself in water whenever you can, and somewhere…always…its happy hour.”


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Understanding Figurative & Literal Language For Kids

25 Mar

FrogAndToadAllYearEvery night I tuck my son Max (3-years old) into bed and ask him what two books or stories he wants to read.  There are many to choose from but one popular favorite is Frog and Toad All Year, in which Frog and Toad have adventures related to the different seasons of the year.  Max’s favorite story from this book is “The Corner” in which Frog’s father tells him “Spring is just around the corner.”  Frog then goes looking around corners to find Spring.  As Frog searches around corners in the woods and by the river he finds clues that winter is in fact ending until at last…he finds Spring when he comes around the corner of his house to see his mother and father working in the garden while the birds are chirping in the trees.  Max is fascinated by this story and struggles with the literal and figurative connotation of Spring being “around the corner.”  If you ever want to understand how many sayings we use in every day vernacular…hang out with a kid and listen to their questions.

Max:  “Why is Spring around the corner?

Me:  “It’s a saying, it means Spring is almost here.”

Max:  “Is it around the corner of Frog’s house?

Me:  “Spring is a season, so it is a time…not a place.”

Max:  “What’s time?

Me:  “Uhhhh…well…its what makes the clock work.”

Max:  “Like batteries?

Me:  “No, time is like…

Max:  “Like when Dusty Crophopper wins the race?

Me:  “Sure…like that.”

Max:  “So is Spring around the corner of our house?

Me:  “No, it’s an idiom.”

Max:  “Who an idiot?

Me:  “Let’s look for Spring around the corner of our house tomorrow.

Max:  “Okay Dada.  Dada?”

Me:  “Yeah Max?”

Max:  “It’s just a saying…okay…its just a saying.”

Me:  “Okay, thanks buddy.”

Max:  “You’re welcome Dada.

Max is good at clearing things like that up for me.  “What is time?”  I had no idea how to answer that one!  My instinct was to say “Time is relative Max,” but that opens up the discussion of Relativity, Einstein, and Worm Holes…and not the kind of holes worms dig in the dirt of our backyard.  A few months ago my wife Kate told him she was going to go “jump in the shower.”  Much to Max’s disappointment he walked into the bathroom and found Kate was just showering.  He asked, “Why aren’t you jumping?”  We explained that “jumping in the shower” meant “getting in the shower.”  Since then, that has been the gold standard in our house for explaining expressions, sayings, and idioms.

Me:  “Max, do you remember when Mommy said she was going to ‘jump in the shower?‘”

Max:  “Yeah…but that means she’s gonna take a shower.”

Me:  “Right.  It’s a saying.  Just like, ‘Spring is just around the corner.’”

Max:  “Yeah.  It’s just a saying.  Saying ‘Spring is just around the corner’ means Spring is almost here…just like how ‘jump in the shower’ means get in the shower.  You don’t jump in the shower…that would be silly

Me:  “Right.”

MaxShadesOfGreyI give Max a kiss goodnight, a few tickles, lots of hugs, a few more kisses, and then tip-toe to the door where I say the same thing every night:  “Night-night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite, I’ll see you in my dreams tonight.”  Max rolls over and cuddles in for sleep.  He hasn’t asked me yet what a bedbug is.  “I love you Max,” I say.  Max replies, “I love you Dada.”  Then I slowly close the door behind me and say, “I’ll see you for breakfast.”  Instead of repeating this back to me like he normally does…he pursues the conversation a little further with one more question:

Max:  “Dada?”

Me:  “Yes Max?”

Max:  “Where did you take your dump?

This is a conversation for another time.  ‘Til then…it is time to go outside and start searching – Spring is just around the corner!

Dodge (1-year old) looks longingly outside as the days turn warmer.

Dodge (1-year old) looks longingly outside as the days turn warmer.

The 1st daffodils of the year bloom in the backyard.

Daffodils bloom in the backyard – Spring is just around the corner!

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From Label Whore to Polo Bore

19 Mar

YoungRyanThere was a time in my life when narcissistic sentences would erupt from my mouth like, “I don’t wait in lines.”  Or, “I don’t believe in black licorice.”  Or, “I only shop at Villains-Vault.”  While my hatred of waiting in lines during my 20′s and the taste of black licorice lead to many nights forcing my way into NYC nightclubs and not ordering Flaming Sambucas…I had to eventually stop shopping at Villains-Vault when I moved away from San Francisco.  Some of my favorite articles of clothing and accessories are from there like my handmade hoodie by Paul Frank himself, limited edition Vans, and of course my 1 of 500 white ceramic Nixon watch most people still identify me with.  I was a label whore.  I owned a black Armani suit that fit me perfectly and from that day forward I was convinced that Armani was the only label I would wear for suits…because…duh…it fits me perfectly.  Sunglasses?  Armani.  Jeans?  Armani.  Ties?  Yves Saint Laurent.  Shoes?  Vans.  Tee-Shirts?  RVCA.  Hats?  New Era fitted.  Dress shirts?  I picked out fabric and had them hand-tailored because my arms were so long and my neck and torso so skinny.  I was a 6’4″ 180 pound runway model turned actor, turned filmmaker, turned commercial producer, turned…

…turned into a 30-something father of 2 living in the Midwest with a closet full of stuff that doesn’t fit anymore and a spare tire around the waist.  Polos.  That’s whats in my closet.  Polos.  Lots of polos with logos of golf courses I’ve played like Bandon Dunes, Flint Hills National, and Royal County Down.  So many polos.  I must have over 100 polos in my closet right now.  On Friday my wife and I decided to go out on a date and I realized I barely had anything anymore that didn’t advertise a place I worked for or a place I’d been.  Friggin polos!  I’m wearing a polo right now with a logo on it!  Polos!

Young RyanI can remember sitting on the beach in Hermosa with a buddy about 10 years ago commenting on the odd things our older generation wore.  Powder blue shorts with knee-high socks!  Tie-dye.  Above-the-waist slacks.  I came to the realization that everyone hits a point in their fashion where they say, “This is it…I’m comfortable!”  From that point on they no longer buy new things, keep up with fashion trends, or evolve.  They just replace things in their closet’s inventory as needed.  It made me laugh to think that one day I’d be an old man wearing New Era hats, hoodies, Vans, chain wallets, and dark sunglasses.  Who would be the Wilford Brimley of our generation?  “Hi, this is Ryan Seacrest and I’ve got diabetes!”  Doesn’t sound right without that Wilford Brimley accent.  “Die-a-beet-iss.”

Sherpa DadThe truth is that as we get older we seek clothing that is more comfortable and stop caring so much about what we look like.  I’m married…who am I out to impress?  Seriously…nothing impressive going on here anymore.  Just a bunch of southern facing man breasts, a receding hairline, and a propensity to throw my back out if I stand up too fast.  I like to wear boot-cut jeans these days from Seven For All Mankind along with a pair of Eccos and an untucked polo.  That’s my jam.  After work I like to slide into a pair of basketball shorts and the loosest fitting tee shirt I can find that covers my crumpled paper looking stomach ripples of fat that appear when I lounge on the couch.  Kate and I call this look “fat pants.”  I rock it on the daily.

So as I stand in my closet looking for something to impress and only see labeled polos looking back at me…I find myself saying much less narcissistic things in my 30′s.  Now I say, “I think I’ll swing by Target and see if they have some polos without logos on them.  Maybe I’ll grab a bag of black licorice while I’m waiting in line to check out?”  Whoa!  Take it ease Rhino…take it ease.  The truth is I moved away from NYC, LA, and SF for a life in Wichita, KS.  Why?  Start with the first post on this site and read forward from there.  This is the 400th post and it felt appropriate to reflect back and recapture what So Long Freedom was all about in the beginning:

“So long sleeping in…

So long tennis shoes…

So long freedom.

My journey into fatherhood, corporate America, and responsibility.”

Ryan GlassesFunny that 400 posts ago in 2010 “So long tennis shoes…” was part of the plan for this ongoing article and made it into the tagline.  “Hello polos.”  (The polos say, “Hi.”)  If we still lived in NYC, LA, or SF I bet I would still be wearing RVCA shirts, New Era hats, chain wallets, Vans, and so on…and I’d look pretty funny to current day me in my slacks and polos…because people don’t dress like that here, not people my age.  Actually, most people my age here wear suits or are much less casual than I am and wish they could wear polos.  (The polos are chortling)  So maybe I have to amend my Hermosa Beach hypothesis and include geographic location into the fashion equation.  You wear what is comfortable and indigenous to your area.  For me…I guess that means polos by day and tee-shirts by night.  Maybe its time I switched things up a bit?  Maybe I should rock the short-sleeve button down shirt look?  Not the plaid “hipster” look…but the “guy in his 30′s who likes the sophistication of a button down but doesn’t like to feel sweaty so he wears short sleeves” look.  Yeah.  Maybe that’s my new jam!  Pretty sure Target carries that look.  Its time to reclaim my casual look!  I have great formal wear!  I don’t care what I look like when I’m lounging!  I need a new casual look!  (The polos are giving me the stink-eye)  Don’t make any sudden movements…the polos are getting restless and I think they might be forming an alliance with the khakis to start a rebellion.

Shhhhhhh!  Don’t make the khakis angry.

So…with my 300th post I encourage you to share this site with friends, subscribe if you haven’t already, and join me for 400 more posts:

“So long classic 20′s narcissism…

So long polo shirts…

So long…hmm…<blank>…hello future.

My journey into fatherhood, corporate America, and responsibility continues!”


Wearing what I want at the launch party of Harvester Arts (Co-founder)

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Sick Kid: Day 2

18 Mar

After Sunday night’s puking extravaganza my wife Kate and I were hopeful that our 3-year-old Max had just eaten something that didn’t agree with him.  He was fine all day, played like he normally would, ate, drank, etc.  I tucked him in last night and he asked for his puke-bowl just in case.  I obliged…but I didn’t think there was any reason he’d need it.  He went to sleep and was fine…till about 5 AM when again, he woke up in the act of throwing up.  Proudly, he got it all in the bowl this time saving us from another round of laundry.  What is going on?  He has no fever, he’s not acting sick, he feels fine all day, and then he pukes at night.  Every time it sounds like he catches himself chocking or coughing and then the gag reflex kicks in.  With a family history of reflux and Crohn’s, we’re keeping a close eye on him but he is fine by day – pukes by night.

Day Two of the Mystery Illness

Day Two of the Mystery Illness

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Happy St. Puke’s Day

17 Mar

Alright…place your bets.  Someone couldn’t hold their own this St. Patrick’s Day Weekend.  Here’s the setup:


Old Town, Wichita

On Friday my wife Kate and I wanted to have a date night for the first time in who knows how long.  My folks volunteered to take Max (3 years old) and Dodge (1-year-old) for the night and we happily accepted.  We headed over to Hana Cafe for some sushi, sake, conversation, and fun.  It was delicious and I have to admit…the yellow tail was fantastic!  Afterwards we strolled the streets of Old Town, held hands, and had a nightcap at Public where I enjoyed a lovely Gulden Draak Brouwerij Steenberge.  A perfect beer to end a perfect night.

Bagpipers at Heroes in Old Town

Bagpipers at Heroes in Old Town


Corned Beef at Heroes

Saturday was the big St. Pat’s Day in Wichita and Kate and I were set on ditching the kids and getting back to our Irish roots.  We wanted to party!  We hired a sitter, left the kiddies behind, and headed downtown to Heroes for some corned beef & cabbage, bagpipes, beer, and dancing.  We kicked things off with a pair of Irish Car Bombs, some 16 oz Bud chasers, and delicious corned beef.  We hopped from bar to bar, tossing in a few water rounds, but beer and Jameson reigned supreme.  Eventually we ended up back at Heroes where DJ Carbon was spinning and all of Wichita convened.  Kate caught the dancing bug and cleared a space on the dance floor to party like she was in her 20′s again…I did my old man dance I’ve done for years with the last beer of the night in hand.  Then she shot me a look.  “My stomach doesn’t feel so good.”  I simply nodded okay, ditched the beer, and we headed out.  Would Kate be the one to spill the cookies?

That night Kate made a pizza and we chugged Powerade and water before going to bed.  We hadn’t stayed out late…but late enough that we had accumulated a few sets of beads, 2 Guinness top hats, 2 stamps, 2 wrist bracelets, and a nice tipsy saunter.  By the time we were on the couch eating pizza the totals for the night were:

  • 2 Irish Car Bombs
  • 2 1/2 16 oz Buds
  • 3 Pints of Draft Beer
  • 1 Jameson Shot

Guinness Hats

Kate’s tally was the same minus 1 pint.  Even score.  We both went to bed, the room spun, and we held on as awkward beer-induced sleep took us.  When Dodge woke up crying a few hours later it was clear…Sunday was going to be rough.  My head was throbbing, my stomach ached, and my nose was dry.  This was going to be a rough hangover.  I popped 2 Advil, tossed a cold wash cloth across my eyes, and went back to bed.  Then…it was morning, well…afternoon.  The boys had slept in a bit and Kate had been nice enough to let me sleep in.  I stumbled downstairs, chugged some water, got tackled by my boys, and fell asleep on the couch.  I woke up to have some lunch and play with Max, then we all went upstairs and tucked the boys in for an afternoon nap, and Kate and I settled in for a nap as well.

So far…puke-free weekend.  When’s it coming?

After the afternoon naps I was feeling much better and starving for dinner.  We dressed the boys and headed out to dinner with my folks per the usual Sunday night tradition.  Nothing sounded good…I just wanted lasagna but there was no red sauce pasta special…so I got some beef and noodles dish.  My stomach wasn’t stoked, the wine was good but I wasn’t quite ready to dive in, so I ordered a Coke…and it hit the spot!  After dinner we tucked the boys in, plunked down on the couch, cuddled up, and got ready for a quiet night full of sleep.  Then it happened.  Which one of us couldn’t hold their own on St. Pat’s Weekend?



Stuffed Animal Free Bed

About 10 PM we heard the sound followed by the helpless screams of a 3-year old, “Mommy Daddy…help!”  Poor Max.  He threw up in bed.  I asked him if his tummy hurt and he said it didn’t.  His explanation was simple, “I had to cough, I coughed, and then I threw up.”  I figured he coughed up a little dinner, gagged, and puked.  Parenthood.  Fun.  Kate and I got him cleaned up, took Muffin, his beloved stuffed bunny, downstairs with the sheets to be washed and tucked him back in with new sheets.  He conked out immediately.  We decided it was best if we did too.  Then it happened again at about 1:30 AM.  This time more violently.  Clearly not a one-off deal.  Max was sick.  I rushed him to the bathroom to try to get as much of it contained as possible.  He got freaked out by the experience and peed…on me…directly…on me…like all on me.  Not like a baby peeing.  No.  Kid pee.  Like a bucket of kid pee all over my legs which were also covered in vomit.  Pee.  Vomit.  Earlier in the day I had poop on me from a diaper change gone wrong.  This was my third bodily fluid (not from my body) to grace my skin within a 7 hour window of time.  The trifecta of parenting fluids.  Toss in some sneeze-boogers, Dodge drooling on me, and the always weird unknown substance and that is 6 different things.  They don’t make soap for your memory.  We stripped Max’s bed of all stuffed animals, gave him a bucket, and sent him back to sleep.

Between Max being sick and Dodge teething there was no sleep to be had by Kate and I.  Today I have my tipsy saunter again but not from shots and beers, but lack of sleep.  I’m wearing green but all I see is the back of my eye-lids which I’m fighting to keep open.  Max is having a sick-day which means Kate is not getting any work done.  Will Kate or I get sick next?  Did Max have food poisoning?  Will I drink beer tonight?  Find out next time on So Long Freedom and ’til then: HAPPY ST. PUKE’S DAY!!!


Max in his sick-day nest…with his bowl.

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