Month: December 2014

Rare Frogs by Jane

Learning to be creative and writing stories are things that our oldest daughter Jane has expressed interest in for some time. We are encouraging her to make up her own stories and books to help her with reading, spelling, and handwriting. So far so good, we are setting aside time each day that will be for Daily Journal entries but she can write a story as an alternative. Today she asked if she could write stories like Daddy does and let people read them. Seeing this as yet another way to let my kids mis-represent my parenting, I said sure.

Protective parents of the world can relax because my approval came with some conditions. First, I will be reviewing posts and interacting with the interwebs. She will write the stories the old fashion way and I will post them through my site. Any creepo’s can move along.

She immediately went to work writing her first story which must have been at the forefront of her mind. What deep and insightful thoughts could she be having that were burning her mind and begging to be shared with the world? After about fifteen minutes of writing she came back with a rough draft. I gave her a little feedback and she went back to work with the second half of the post. I have included below her complete works below with only edits for proper spelling. Enjoy.

One day we were going to sleep and Daddy made up the Mexican Farting Frog and that is what he called my sister and I was laughing all night. In the morning I was still laughing. It was so funny! The next day I was still laughing. Then I quit. It was all good.

The End

A Mexican Farting Frog makes a sound like a pooting noise. It is funny. It smells good too. It is very big. It is big as a Dad.

The End

I didn’t want to color any opinions of the story before you read it but I think it may be award winning one day. Sure it needs a little structure but wow, powerful. Better than where I started for sure. She had someone laughing with her very first work. I enjoyed “It was all good” but I am worried that “It smells good too.”

The actual source of this story (I feel I need to defend myself somewhat) is once again at the magical twilight of bedtime where everyone is tired and careless with words. Now occasionally I will accidentally on purpose let out something like a toot or a fluff. Some might say a fart.

I may accidentally do it a little too often because the eighteen month old knows to giggle. In fact sometimes when she bends over to pick up a toy I provide sound effect with my mouth and she giggles so hard she falls over. Supermom is totally opposed to this, though she has to try not to smile. Who can help it? Farts are hilarious.

So one night while putting the girls to bed I rip one and they all laugh.

Don Threeto: “Daddy was that you?”

Underdaddy: “No.”

Prima: Who was it then?

Underdaddy: Must have been the rare Mexican Farting Frog. They are sneaky.

All: Hahahahaha, Daddy is so funny!

Once again I thought that would be the last I heard of that moment and somehow it takes precedence over useful memories like where they last saw their coats/shoes/juice cup/sister.

So if you teach your kids that farts are funny and to blame them on animals, this post is for you. And for the start of Jane’s story telling career. It is the one thing I would do if I were wealthy and I hope to support that dream if my girls ever have it. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Heres to a Happy New Year

Seriously though, glow-stick kids. Right? A little break here and there makes them brighter and ready for use in the world. Well, I think the fourth one just came to life.


Tonight ranks up near the top on my most terrifying nights ever. I had the helpless feeling of watching and trying to help but not actually knowing what was wrong. One of those points in time where the seconds seem like hours and every detail becomes seared into your memory.


I don’t even know what we were talking about but the kids were playing around the living room. Supermom was starting dinner and I was talking with the Grandparents who had just brought the children home from Night at the Museum 3. They say it was a good movie by the way.


At some point we realize that the smallest child Lady Bug is acting strangely. She has been crawling around the floor on all fours and now is beside the couch with the top of her head against the side of the couch. It looks like she was crawling forward and ran into the couch and has just frozen there. Maybe she is looking at something on the ground or maybe she put it in her mouth. I try to get her attention.


“Lady Bug… Look at Daddy. What do you have?”

Nothing. She isn’t moving.


“Lady Bug.”

Still frozen.


I walk over and pick her up so I can see what she is doing or what she is trying to secretly put in her mouth. The first thing I notice is that her arm is rigid and is drawing itself into her chest. Her eyes are wide and her mouth is half open but she is frozen. That look is haunting even now.


There is no clawing at her mouth or throat, no choking sounds, just a blank and wide-eyed expression on the face of a little eighteen month old girl. Everyone is immediately concerned and gathers around while my mind races with what to do. Her lips are turning blue and her expression isn’t changing. She has to be choking is all I could think.


My fight or flight response is abnormally organized and methodical thought. It is my secret to test taking. I just get an idea in my head and I go with it. I turn her face down and hold her at a downward angle while doing some baby Heimlich, my wife rushes over and is repeating her name, “Lady Bug, Lady Bug!”. Maybe it was me saying her name. Who can tell?


Supermom smacks her on the back trying to dislodge whatever is stuck. It isn’t working and she is starting to turn really blue. Her face has the same stuck expression. For the first time I started the silent countdown in my head, three minutes until organs start to become damaged. Who know where three minutes came from but that is what I thought about. It is the first time I can remember honestly thinking I might be losing one of them. Sitting in my arms and slipping through my fingers.


This was not our first rodeo with choking, I had one stick a tortilla chip in their throat and I had to fish it out by hand. They were blue and gasping but this episode was different.


Grandma had 9-1-1 on the cell phone and was hysterically trying to get the address and info across. All I could think was that they would get here too late. They will take this limp child into a blinking box on wheels and I won’t see her alive again. At the same time I am thinking about not breaking ribs and keeping Lady Bug downward facing and how when I squeeze her lower abdomen that there isn’t the slightest rush of air out of her mouth or nose. I reach a finger into her mouth along the inside edge and to the back to make sure she hasn’t swallowed her tongue or something blocking the whole throat.


That moment she let out a little bit of air and after a few pats she started to cry. Nothing came up and her cry was strong and clear but she was disoriented. Lady Bug was not herself. I started to become aware of the other things going on around me. Supermom clutched Lady Bug and the other girls had run to their room and were hugging each other and crying. The panic of the adults had scared them pretty bad too. Lady Bug was getting more and more energy back but with nothing obviously wrong we were worried.


It was hard not to let that feeling wash me away. I don’t know what I just watched but it looked a lot like loss and death. The tears streaked down my face as I put together what we needed to do next. The older three went back to the Grandparents and the baby and Supermom loaded up with me in the car. Once again, we turned the flashers on and went to the Emergency Room. We should have a parking spot at that place.


So in the middle of flu and stomach virus season we enter a hotbed only three days after Christmas when most of the sick people who put off the doctor during Christmas are now sick enough to need emergency care. We get called to triage and get a confusing look because the chart says that the patient is 101 years old. (The receptionist put in the birth year as 1913 instead of 2013.) Back in line while they fix this.


Lady Bug is fidgety and quickly becoming full of energy. Talking. Laughing. Screaming at people. Playing with a plastic horse and the inside of a shoe she pulled off. Normal stuff.


We get a room and the doctor finds an infection in the left ear. Lady Bug had a runny nose for a few days but never a fever or any other hint that something was wrong. The doctor tells us that most likely it was a febrile seizure caused by the infection although since there was no actual fever we have to get a full workup and then go see a specialist. Workup means needles.


So after holding what I thought was my dying child, I got to hold a child that thought they were dying. Bloodwork via IV in the arm. Rectal temperature, super. CAT scan, I had the pleasure of holding her head in place while she was scanned. Flu test via nose swabs. Strep test via throat swabs (flashback of choking incident was a nice touch to this test) Chest X-Ray. Urine sample via catheter – second attempt was successful in getting the line into the tiny, tiny urethra. The secret turns out to be waiting until they stop screaming to take a quick breath and then shoving quickly into the bladder. Sounds awesome to me but they weren’t taking requests. Finally, an antibiotic shot that I’m pretty sure hurt her the most. I had to help hold her through all of it and Supermom was there too holding her arms and trying to calm her down.


Six hours later we are home with antibiotics and a referral to a neurologist, just to be on the safe side. Oh yeah, we got a package of rectal suppositories for seizures lasting longer than three minutes. I guess it beats sitting there with your thumb up your own ass.


If that shit goes on for three minutes I’m going to need some nitro-pills, some tranquilizers, or the general legalization of marijuana. I am a softie at heart and this one was almost too much. We had the broken arm last week. I’m good on drama for a week or two, let’s call it done.


Back at home and it is 1:30 am and I can’t sleep. In the other room is this kid who feels like a pin cushion but is sleeping soundly. They pull at the heart strings so hard. My oldest used her new iPad (hand-me-down) to text us at the hospital. She wanted to know how her sister was doing and if everything was going to be all right. She told us she loved us. She is seven. We have a strong family bond and it ties me in knots to see that my panic and trauma is our panic as a family. I dropped the ball tonight in assuring the other three that things were alright. I’m not one for lying to my kids even though they do it to me all the time.


Tonight was a hold your kids a little tighter kind of night. Thirty seconds and our life was ready to change. I’m drained of my mental energy and if I was honest I would say that I wanted someone to hold me a little closer tonight too. Guess that will have to be the cat who tries to sleep on my chest at three in the morning.


If you have endured this type of torture, this post is for you. Hopefully, the result was better than the experience. I can’t imagine that level of loss.


Some people hope to live forever but times like this make me hope I’m the first to go.


-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Giddy Up Santa

The holidays can be such a drudge for parents. Years of tradition make us nostalgic but somehow we want to avoid the festivities too. There is work and responsibility and in my case, a foreboding feeling that I won’t meet expectations. What this holiday needs is something uplifting. I don’t mean the type of uplifting where a stranger pays for a child to get his mother Christmas shoes or the solider comes home but the kid doesn’t know and then surprises them. I can’t watch that stuff or read it, much less type it. I’ve become too soft from all this estrogen. There is no need to explain to my children why I’m crying and typing at the same time. We need shallow, on the surface, smile through the tears uplifting.

The entertainment we need this holiday is some good old-fashioned gladiator style fun. Nothing is more useful for that than animals you live with or children who don’t know any better.

This is where the Giddyup Santa came through for us this year.

Petsmart Riding Picture

Not three days ago I was walking through Pet Smart while the oldest child sobbed about a kitten (that there was no way in hell was coming home with us). Jane is softhearted towards animals anyway and this potential rescue cat was working overtime on trying to get a new owner. Most of the orphaned cats were busy sleeping in their litter boxes which I can only assume is because the boxes are covered and the shrieking sounds of children are more muffled. This particular cat was making solid eye contact with everyone who came by his cage. He saw Jane and smelled a sucker. He rubbed against the cage near her and purred. She asked him if he wanted to go home with us and I kid you not, he put his paw through the cage and lifted the padlock. As if he was calling her bluff and asking it to be opened. She instantly got all doe eyed and teary. “He wants a home daddy….”

Not going to happen.

So anyway, Jane was crying about the cat and we were trying to walk our way through the store. Then he caught my eye. An ambitious and daring Santa who had the poise of a rodeo cowboy and the bravado of a Navy Seal. The mere fact that there was no picture on the packaging told me that this Santa didn’t give two shits what you strapped him to, he was going to ride it into the ground. At a respectable fifty percent discount and noticing that all of the product was virtually untouched, I knew that this was the item for me. It was a Miracle on 34th street but the movie will be titled Clearance on Aisle 9. I mean he had adjustable Velcro straps. What wouldn’t this Santa ride? I intended to find out.

First opponent was our diapered dynamo, the family dog. For a solid five minutes Santa endured the nervous shivers, heavy shedding, and incessant whining of a half blind Boxer. I was impressed. This jolly old elf had nerves of steel and a back made of felt. When it was clear that he had crushed her will I looked for Santa’s next challenge.

Just look at her abandoned sense of self-worth.

Just look at her abandoned sense of self-worth.

Santa needed something more dangerous and more headstrong. Nothing competes with a panther. Unfortunately our cat isn’t a panther but she is partially black and mentally unstable. Good enough.

Psychologists say that people look down and to the left when they lie, I wonder if that's what cats do when they don't want to accept the truth?

Psychologists say that people look down and to the left when they lie, I wonder if that’s what cats do when they don’t want to accept the truth?

You should have seen Santa shine. I have been trying to get the best of that cat for nearly a decade and he crushed her in fifteen seconds. I had cheers and before I knew it I was on my feet cheering him on. I might as well have been watching the end of The Jungle Book, the mighty tiger was defeated. Poor Cat was so confused that she just sat there waiting for life to end. But Santa is merciful and let her live.

Then Santa met his match. My children returned home from a trip to the grandparents and they heard of the amazing bravery and strength. They all wanted a shot at the title so we arranged what may become the most time honored tradition since Elf on the Shelf, Santa Rodeo Challenge.

WordPress is really unreliable with videos so I YouTubed them.

Calamity Jane gave it a good try.

Don Threeto put him in a death spin.

Prima the Ballerina crushed his holiday spirit.

Who will be Santa’s next challenge? Do you think he could survive your pets or kids? I’m not saying that Santa is the toughest man alive but if Chuck Norris wears a Santa hat…

He may be the bravest man alive.

He may be the bravest man alive.

So if you have weird traditions or spontaneous Santa Rodeos, this post is for you. You’re welcome.

Underdaddy to the rescue.

ps –

Santa is actually Chuck Norris.

Santa is actually Chuck Norris.

Prima the Second

I like timely posts and keeping the reading relevant for people trying to read along with our story. Everyone in our family has something to contribute to the crazy and the spotlight changes from week to week. This week I feel like I need to tell you about Prima the Ballerina. Her name is a lingering irony because while she loves music and dance, she has some real work to do before she is graceful.

Prima is the second child and she is a quiet and loving child. She has one of those glowing spirits that really enjoys happiness and other people being happy. She is a big kid so she doesn’t get much guff from the others. She is tall for her age and solid. When she is excited her entire face lights up and when she is hurt it pulls at my heart.

When she was a toddler we worried because she was very quiet. She watched, listened, and interacted but very rarely spoke. We wondered if she could. Then one day she decided to speak and out came a nice detailed sentence. Subject, verb, and good clear words. She has an awesome memory and saves her words to build a vocabulary. I remember one day in particular. We drove past a U-haul van with the picture and fun facts on the side and this van had a sea turtle. Prima looks at her older sister Jane and says, “I see a tortoise.”

Jane replies, “What is a tortoise?”

Prima rolls her eyes and says, “Duh it’s a turtle Jane.”

She hadn’t spoken for most of the morning and for a four year old she was awfully proud of showing off to her six year old sister. That for me sums it up personality wise. She listens and waits and then when the time is right she unleashes her collected thoughts which are pretty well on target.

So what has Prima done in the past few days?

We can start with her nonchalantly grabbing someone’s boobs. I blame her inherited A.D.D. and curiosity. The interesting part of this story is that Supermom and I were at a Christmas party during this event and learned about it by text. A couple had just asked me, “So is your life really that interesting or are you good at making it sound interesting?”

I promised that the stories were facts and not five minutes later we get a text from my brother’s girlfriend.


“So your daughter just grabbed my boobs.”


“She was talking to me and just grabbed them and asked why I had them. She said they are for babies and asked if I had a baby.”


“She told me that mommy had these but she was done with babies so they were getting smaller.”


“Just thought you would want to know. Lol”

“I…just…Eh… Sorry.”


So the kids are unpredictable and timely. That would not be the last time this past week that they served up irony.

In a previous post I shared how we are outnumbered and rely on a Zone Defense approach. We can’t follow the kids around and watch them all the time and so we try to anticipate what they may do. If you have kids you know this is impossible.

My karma in this situation started at dance class. This week we were allowed to go back and watch the children in class. Ever parent hopes they have a prodigy in something amazing but honestly I am beginning to hope mine are average at extra-curricular activities. Prima was completely unfocused and that is compared to a line-up of five year olds. She was lost in her own thoughts staring around the room and puffing her cheeks out like a blowfish. They would watch the teacher and practices tap steps and she was always a step behind because she wasn’t paying attention and tried to catch up. We were constantly making stern faces and motioning her to look at the teacher while she was smiling to her sisters and acting like she was on the Jumbo-tron at a football game. She would shove her hands in the back of her leotard and stretch it out showing her underwear to the unlucky grandmothers behind her.

Maybe I’m the broken parent because all I could think was “Oh good lord this child is going to wreck the recital.” The other parents are going to be angry because there are some really dedicated five year olds and mine is not. She has good talent but doesn’t care to apply it. She likes dance but she also likes ketchup.

In the midst of her aloof dancing she claims she hurt her wrist. I didn’t see it but, maybe. Later at home she is watching TV and manages to fall off the couch from a stationary upright position. There were no earthquakes or high winds and yet somehow she fell unexpectedly off the couch. She lands on the same wrist and is in tears. I tend to the wrist with some ice and do some dad checks to make sure we had good motion, no swelling, and does the pain go away? It seemed like a sprain and I told her to be easy with it.

Next day and the kids are playing in the yard and she trips over air and lands on all fours. She jumps up crying and holding her wrist and I take her in the house. I am almost sure it is broken but no swelling or bruising. It only hurt to bend one way so I got a wrist brace and a cold pack and she sat on the couch for a while. I told her not to move and if it still felt like it hurt in fifteen minutes we would check it out at the doctor’s office. I almost went just for the peace of mind but a sprain is persistent too. Once again, I come back and it is fine. She jumps up and rejoins her sisters outside.

A few hours later there is another fall and she is once again in tears and now is holding a limp hand to her side. This time there is continued pain and swelling so after a makeshift sling from a scarf, it is off to the doctor for an x-ray. Long story short, buckle fracture near the right wrist area. She has to be in a removable brace for three weeks. Good job dad.

My ballerina in training has a broken wrist because she can’t get along with gravity. I didn’t forsee this or random boob grabbing this week so I apologize. And for the parents in the same dance class, I also apologize.

For the parents who regularly feel like they fail at this kids thing. Me too. This one is for us. You’re welcome.

Underdaddy to the rescue.


Zone Defense

New parents are filled with a sense of duty. There is a love and adoration for our children that brings out characters that most of us don’t know we have inside; Provider, Nurturer, Educator.

We feel like we can be these things for our children. That may be true at some point but your main job, from baby learning to roll over until they leaving for college, is Zone Defense. Kids are born with a need to harm themselves in the most creative and imaginative of ways. They are drawn to danger like blonde chicks in horror movies or suicidal Lemmings looking for a good cliff. Nothing good is in the works and you need to be constantly on watch. Curiosity is the culprit and curiosity killed the cat.

One of the scariest things for me as a parent has to be choking. I have the baby Heimlich maneuver constantly on my mind. Of course no one thinks about that in the moment and I violated procedure once by digging a tortilla chip out by hand. It was a game-time decision and I could see around the side of it so I made the call and it worked out. I need structure and order in my life so I started a list of the things my kids seem to choke on the most so I can be on the lookout and more proactive. I am also into helping others so I would like to share that list below.

  1. Air – Most of the time it is nothing at all and they are gagging over snot or watching Dora too intently and forgetting essential things like breathing or going to the bathroom.
  2. Snot – Does this ever stop? I have moderate success asking them to blow their nose but most of the time they sniff it in the wrong way and it must cascade down their throat into a full-on turkey bone of a clog. They cough and do this disgusting swallowing face instead of just spitting out whatever they coughed up. It’s a miracle that humanity has made it this far.
  3. Juice – A liquid for God’s sake. A liquid. A fluid that takes the shape of its container. You shouldn’t even be breathing while drinking juice and unless you are actively trying to not drink this item it should drain right down the back of your throat. Like the other hazards this one is a product of not paying attention and switching over too soon from one essential function to the other.
  4. Fingers – I shouldn’t have to write this one but I do. It is a direct cause and effect. Finger down throat equals gagging and choking. Normal people think, “Huh, maybe I don’t want to do that again.” My kids end up looking like an Olympic diver drowning in a kiddie pool, total experts failing at the most basic functions. I am so confused that I almost forget to help. I watch and think surely to God you are going to get this concept. Just stop already.
  5. Food – I am so scared of food that I almost mince everything at this point. But then it is easier to shovel in by the handful until they don’t have room to close the mouth and swallow properly. Guess what? Yup, choking. That’s it, screw it! Smoothies for everyone. Forever. Until Armageddon breaks out and the power grid goes down and blenders are no longer an option. Wait a minute… liquids are number three on the list. Dammit.
  6. Hair – This one isn’t as common as the rest but as a man with no hair it happens more than I expected. With five girls in the house who shed more than the dog it is not hard to believe that hair is everywhere. It gets wrapped on pacifiers, makes its way into cereal bowls etc. I have watched a child pull hair out of their food that was an easy two feet long.

I am at a loss for advice. I guess just be at the ready to hold them face down parallel to the floor and work them like a black smith’s air bellow until whatever foreign object is stuck pops free. Most of my kids have experienced a moment or two of blue face and panic. Time slows to a crawl and while half of my brain is outlining what I should do step-by-step the other half is recording a TV drama with sad music that has me so panicked I have trouble moving. Kids are our weakest link.

If you obsess about uncontrollable things like choking on air, this is for you. You’re welcome.

Underdaddy to the rescue.