Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My Brat Used My Words Against me.

The summer is almost over and the school year is about to begin, and I am fretting about it big time.  It is super hard to acknowledge that my baby boy is growing up and starting big kid school this year.  I am equally, anxious, sad, excited, and proud of my little tyke.

Well, truthfully, I am more proud than anything else.  The Pizzmeister is such a good, kind hearted kid. I can't help but overflow with pride, and, sometimes, the overflow comes out in the form of tears, like it almost did at the store this morning. 

Our county sponsors a yearly event that they call "Stuff a Bus," right before school starts for the year. They park school buses at local retail stores, hoping to fill them with school supplies for children that otherwise will not have all they need for the following school year.

This event was going on this morning while I took the boys shopping for school supplies. I figured I would buy a few extra notebooks and some paper to donate to the cause, but that was not enough for the Pizzmeister and Two-zy.  They were furiously filling a basket with a variety of supplies laughing and smiling.  

When I stopped them and told them it was getting a bit expensive, and we should put some of the items back, Two-zy did his normal thing and acted like he couldn't hear me, but the Pizzmeister stopped and stared at me oddly.

Then he admonished me saying, "Daddy, would you want me to have this, if I couldn't have it for school? Yes, you would. Now, let's just get it for some other little boy or girl who needs it." 

Then he proceeded to finish filling the basket with more school supplies as I looked on perturbed that my brat talked back to me like that. I again told him that it was getting expensive, then he did the unthinkable.  

He parroted my words back to me and used them against me! 

The little brat actually told back to me my whole spiel about it being important to share and make sure everybody has enough, and if you don't need something and someone else does, you should give it to them because it's the right thing to do.  

Then, to put the nail in the coffin, he took the toy I was going to buy for him out of the cart and put it back on the shelf, so we could buy what was in his little basket to donate.

Honestly, I was flabbergasted.  I didn't know what to say or think or do.  I was touched that he actually listened to me enough on occasion to repeat back to me verbatim my own words to him. 

I was proud of him for being so giving and kind. 

I was amused at hearing my words being spoken from such a tiny mouth back to me.  

I was ashamed of having to be reminded by a 5 year old how to be a good person.

And, I was saddened by the fact that my baby boy understood that he was lucky for having what he does, and he recognized that not everybody is so lucky.

When did he get so old?

How did he get so big?

All these feelings and emotions came to the brink of overwhelming me, and I almost cried right there in the aisle as I smiled at my little brats proudly.

I retrieved the toy the Pizzmeister wanted from the shelf, handed it to him, told him I was proud of him for being such a generous and kind person, and then went to the check out line pushing a cart with a three year old giggling at me while being followed by a super smiley 5 year old toting an overfull basket.

Monday, July 20, 2015


For those of you who use Facebook, you know that they do this thing called "time hop" where they put a picture you posted on your news feed from that day a few years ago.  

Well, they posted this picture I posted in 2011 after a trip we took to Gettysburg to visit some awesome friends, and it made me start to really feel nostalgic and think about how much I love being a daddy.

I came to the conclusion that one of the best things about being a parent is watching your children grow and learn and become independent little people. That is also one of the worst things.  

I vacillate from day to day thinking while looking at my babies either "If you were just a bit older" or "If only you were littler again" or "I wish you could stay like this forever," and the whole pre-k graduation thing was terribly tough on me in this respect, and I suspect there will be even tougher days yet to look forward to.

The little dobbers came out with their little caps on their heads that they made from construction paper, and right away my heart started skipping beats and my throat started aching and sure enough a few tears carrying a hundred different emotions arrived soon after.  I tried my best to hide them, but I am not sure how successful I was, and I don't know if it qualifies as a success even if I did hide them well.

At least, I wasn't the only emotional one there.  A few of the moms were proudly sporting their beautiful tears too, and I was jealous of their strength. They showed no fear or shame like me. They managed to make it look dignified.  I, however, could never pull that off, so I was stuck trying to hide until I was in the safety of solitude.

Then, I could safely show my emotions where no one could see but me.

Since then, I have spent my days trying to fill the summer with one fun activity after another trying to make the most of summer because soon enough it will be fall again and the Pizzmeister will be spending his full days in big boy school, which I am totally not ready for.

I adore my boys, and I am so lucky to be able to spend my days with both of them playing and learning and exploring together. The thought of that changing is a bit overwhelming and significant because all too soon both of my little buddies will be in school and I will be forced to play a more passive supporting role as they take steps further and further away from me and towards becoming the amazing people I know they are and will be.   

I wouldn't have it any other way.

But, that doesn't mean I have to like it.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Parent is a Parent, Apparently

Hi, I am a Dad.  I love my kids more than anything else in the entire world, and this shouldn't be a revelation to you.

In fact, it is really common place.  

Every parent feels the same way. Well, every good parent anyway, and it doesn't matter if you are the parent with the male parts or the parent with the female parts.  

A parent is a parent, apparently.

We all have feelings, and, believe it or not, I bet they are really similar.

We all laugh at the idea of "me" time because it is more or less a myth. Besides, our "me" time, if we ever have any, just isn't any good with out our brats running around us screaming and laughing anyway.  The happiest and most relaxed times in my life revolve around my chaotic children.  

Sure, I have gone out fishing or something with out them a few times, but I just didn't really enjoy it, and I found it odd.  I took up fishing years ago as a way to hide from people for a few  hours here and there.  I continue to fish for the opposite reason.  Now, it's a way to spend time with the loves of my life, my boys and Mama Bear.  

We all secretly relish the moments when our little ones are just a little scared and need extra big hugs and cuddles to feel more secure because comforting our children and making them feel better makes us feel awesome. There are even times when I feel like I could use a few extra big hugs, so I read them a scary story just so they will snuggle up to me.  I know. I am a terrible parent.

We all constantly worry about our children non-stop. Is he making friends?  Is he homesick? Does he need me? Should I call the school and just check to make sure he is ok?  I am probably the worst about this.  The first week of pre-k I was a nervous wreck, and the only thing that kept me from deciding to home school the Pizzmeister was the fact that I knew it was incredibly selfish to think like that, and I was ashamed.  

We all have our insecurities.  I always worry that my disease will make life harder for my boys, and I always feel a bit guilty like they are missing out on something because I am sick.  Then, on top of that, I also feel guilty because I wanted my boys so much that I was willing to risk the 50% chance of my disease passing on to them just so I could be a daddy.  

We all compare ourselves to other parents.  Maybe it is just me, but I am always watching other parents with their children and I frequently think to myself, "I would never do that" or  "That so wouldn't fly if I was that kid's dad" or "that mom/dad is wicked cool" or "I wish I had thought of that idea, and I am so stealing it."  

In many ways, being a parent is like being in junior high or high school again to me.  I am constantly watching other parents and smugly laughing at what I think of as "their mistakes" while I am busy screwing up just as bad or worse in the other parent's eyes. Us parents are some of the judgiest people ever! 

We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and we are all going to make some mistakes along the way.  Our different strengths and weaknesses allow us to have different comfort levels in various situations, and it doesn't matter if you are a mother or a father because, at some point, you are going to be blind sided by something, and how you parent versus how other people parent has less to do with gender than it does personal preferences.  

Parenting isn't a man vs woman thing or even a parent vs parent thing.  Parenting is all about doing your best for your children, and, in that respect, we are all the same.

Monday, June 8, 2015

"Sometimes You Just Have to Save Yourself Before Anybody Can Help You"

Holy smokes!  It has been a really really really long time since I have bothered to write anything.  I would like to say I have been too busy, but that would be a lie.  

The truth is I have been lazy. 

The weather has been nicer, and I just haven't had the gumption to do anything but play with the boys and fix up boat number two.

Oh yeah,  I forgot to tell you all that the "Memory Maker" has been decommissioned.  Poor boat decided that it was time to call it quits after 51 years of service.  

Well, I can't say it is calling it quits.  The reality is, I can't fix the holes in the keel properly and I can't see paying somebody else to do it because that would be wicked expensive, so up for sale it is.  

We will all be kind of sad to see the quirky old boat go, but the replacement boat is a decent little boat that we enjoy almost as much and doesn't need any further fixing besides the propeller I banged up trying to tug a dead in the water pontoon boat back to the docks.

That whole situation was a cluster-bomb, and it really helped drive home to me the importance of having all the safety equipment and why I take all the precautions I do while on the boat.

Here's the situation.  4 people with no boating experience decided they were going to buy a boat and take it out on the water on a heavy wind day with 1'-3' waves, which was mistake number one.  I personally like the waves and wind because it is more fun, but it makes it a chore to control my little boat around the docks.

Their second mistake, was they had no safety equipment, but they had beer, and, by their scent, I wouldn't have been surprised if they had been consuming it for quite awhile prior to deciding to hit the water with their new boat.  

Unfortunately, beer is not helpful when you are in distress, unless you can use the cans as a signalling device or something.  Other than that, it just isn't helpful.  You really should have an anchor, lights, flares, distress flag, horn, whistle, etc... because it is a lot easier to be helped if you aren't free floating and if others know you need it.

Speaking of others needing to know you need help, these poor people were passed by a number of other boats because they didn't appear to be in distress.  They all appeared to be sitting and chatting and having a good time.  If it wasn't for Mama Bear's eagle eyes I would have passed by too because they never shouted and only one person on the boat bothered to wave the universal distress wave, and he was doing it half heartedly at that.  To me it looked like he was talking with his pals, but, thankfully, Mama Bear wanted to investigate.

Then, once we were close enough to determine that they did in fact need help, they were unprepared to receive it, which irritated Mama Bear to the point that she jumped in the water and took matters into her own hands.

Unfortunately, we still waited too long to get under way, and our poor little boat was pulled up onto the rocks and really banged up our propeller, but we eventually got into deeper water and towed the pontoon boat back to the docks safe and sound.

I was glad we could help them, but, more importantly, I was happy that my brats were with us to witness it and learn from the situation.

Their take home message is adequately stated using the Pizzmeister's words from this morning, "You know, Dad, sometimes you just have to save yourself before anybody can help you, you know?"

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A New Way to Make Memories

We have all heard the old saying, "when it rains it pours."  Well, that has never been more true than yesterday for us here at Just a Dizzy Dad land! 

What am I talking about you ask?


I will tell you.

Yesterday, we came into possession of two items with infinite memory making possibilities!

Meet the H.M.S. Handicapable our new 15 and a half foot canoe that will be outfitted with rowing oars and outriggers so I can safely ride in it with out tipping the whole family into the drink!

Yes, my balance is that terrible! 

We plan on voyaging through through the seemingly countless waterways near us with this.  I like to think of it as an alternative to hiking since I can't really do that to well a lot of the times I want to. 

And, I would also like you to meet....

The Memory Maker  (The name will probably be changed)

This oddly adorable boat is a 1964 Evinrude Sport 16.

Yes, it is an old boat, but there is just something about it that I couldn't resist, so in a classic "YOLO" moment I bought it, and I can't wait to shine it up and get it running and on the water!

Now, I may have bitten off more than I can safely chew with The Memory Maker, but that is pretty much exactly why I bought it.  It is something that Mama Bear, the boys, and I can all work on together and be proud of.  

Even if we only take it out on the water a few times it will be worth the stories and memories I will have of restoring it with them.  

I also wanted the boats for therapy.

I know it sounds odd, but I learned last year that boating makes me feel better.


You may or may not know this, but I have a genetic disease that is called Cerebellar Ataxia that makes me feel constantly nauseous and off balance and makes it hard for me to do various things sometimes because of the clumsiness and weakness that never goes away.

Anyway, last year, while visiting friends who have a boat, I had a bit of a revelation.  Their boat made me feel good, as in I didn't once feel like I was going to fall down or vomit (sorry for the over share), and I felt relatively normal! 

I could even walk up and down their long windy staircase to get down to the boat a few times afterwards with little to no problems!

That was a huge freaking deal that may not have seemed like it because I tried to play it cool, but it was, and it started thoughts rolling around in my head  instantly.

So, after thinking about it, Mama Bear and I decided it was worth buying our own vessel, and I am most definitely looking forward to our first therapy session!  

Monday, March 23, 2015

We Take Lazy Seriously Around Here

So, it's yet another Monday morning, and nobody wants to be awake and out of bed, but what we want doesn't matter.  You gotta do what you gotta do!

Anyway, we are all feeling particularly lazy this morning and perhaps a little grumpy too.

So grumpy, in fact, that an all out war of comfort happened and the battle is still raging on.

You read it correctly.  We are in fact fighting about who is most comfortable and best at being lazy.

It all started because Two-zy had to go and drag the laundry basket over by the fire, hop inside it, and then lied down in it and declared, loudly, that he was "so comfortable."  

Of course, The Pizzmeister, not to be outdone, was vehement that his technique of laying on the couch with his feet up on the back was more comfortable, and I didn't want to be left out, so I said I was most comfortable as I sat and drank my coffee drowsily. 

Then things got heated.

I was told, under no uncertain terms, that I was not in the running to be deemed the most comfortable or laziest because I was drinking coffee and they were just laying there.  Then a big, ridiculous argument started about which brat was most comfy and lazy.

Unfortunately, Two-zy lost on the lazy department because he dragged his perch to where he wanted it, which is definitely not lazy, but the argument about who is most comfy is still going strong.

I doubt they will ever come to an agreement over this silly argument, but I am looking at the dog smugly laying in front of the fire, looking as if she didn't have a care in the world, and I give my vote to the mongrel.  I mentioned this to the brats, and it didn't go over well.

Friday, March 13, 2015

It's Worth The Mess it Creates

I feel kind of embarrassed to say this, but since becoming a dad I honestly believe that I have learned more from my brats than I have taught them.

For instance, it took having my boys for me to realize that the smallest things are truly some of the most worth while things, like a patch of grass after a month or two of snow or a mud puddle to drive trucks through.

The other day, The Pizzmeister shined with joy while waiting for the bus to school all because there was a tiny patch of grass that he could stand on while waiting.  To me it was nothing more than a muddy patch of ground with a little grass on it, but he recognized it as something new and exciting that needed to be celebrated.

So, we did a dance on the only patch of grass in our yard.

Then as the snow continued to melt and more and more muddy patches showed up his excitement continued to grow.

He didn't see it all as mud to be dreaded for the mess it makes, but as so many opportunities for fun. There are puddles for splashing in, puddles for jumping in, and puddles to drive his trucks through. "Dad, this is almost as good as Christmas," he exclaimed this morning.

I didn't get it right away, and I said, "Oh,come on, buddy! You're making a mess!"

"But, dad, it's worth it!  We're having so much fun!"

This made me stop and think, and you know what?  The brat was right, it was worth the mess we were creating.  We were having fun and living in the moment, and that is so worth any of the mess that might come up.  

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I could Home School the Brats, but They'd be Missing Out

This morning the Pizzmeister asked me why I couldn't teach him at home, which caught me off guard because I was under the impression that he really enjoyed going to school.  So, I asked him, "Don't you like going to school, buddy?"  His response was a luke warm, "A little bit." 

I guess it's not quite as fun as he was hoping.  I told him that school is a little bit tiresome at times, but well worth the time and effort you put in to it.  I also told him that I really could teach him at home if it came right down to it, but he was probably better off going to school because it will help prepare him better for dealing with people when he is an adult. 

As I explained it to him, the most important aspect of school is learning how to socialize and cope with others and gaining different perspectives. That's something you can only learn through experience.  

If he stayed home to be taught by Mama Bear and I, he would miss out on some vital life experience, like group learning and working in a group of people and having to follow a bunch of arbitrary rules that vary from authority figure to authority figure.  

In other words, he wouldn't have the opportunity of being forced to work with a bunch of knuckleheads he doesn't like and having to be good about it.

Anyway, sure, I could do the leg work and organize group outings and activities, and I would gladly do so if needed, but, to be honest, it would never compare to the type of interactions he could get from a public school if only for the fact that the school has so many more people than I could gather.  More people equals more personalities that you have to deal with, which is a good thing if you are going to learn to cope with the jack holes you will later work for as an adult employee. 

Long story short, yes I could home school the brats, but they would miss out on some serious socialization and grow up to be a weirdos or something.

Ain't nobody got time for that!

So, after that brief discussion, the Pizzmeister decided that he would give school more time before he decides if he likes it or not.  
I didn't bother telling him that the decision to go or not wasn't up to him, but I figured it was better to stave off that argument for a little longer, hopefully indefinitely. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Knowing What's Important

In just over a week my little guy is going to turn 5.  

My gosh!  

Where has the time gone?!

The Pizzmeister can't be five yet because I swear I can remember holding him for the first time like it was yesterday.  I was so proud that I was crying unabashedly.

He was just so perfect, sweet, and innocent. I couldn't fathom the idea that any part of me could have possibly contributed to the making of such a creature.

Of course, all us parent types think our little ones are just little images of perfection, and it took me having my own child to realize that we are all right.

Our children do start off as perfect as they are going to get, then we systematically screw them up with our good intentions.

Some of us do this by preparing our children for the harsh realities of life right away and try our hardest to toughen them up. Some of us hide the world from our children and let them believe the worst thing that could ever happen in their lives is a broken toy.  Some of us try to do both.  Some us don't know what we are doing, but we are doing the best we can.

We, everyone of us parents, work hard in our own way to provide for our children, hoping to give them all they could ever want or need and give them as many opportunities as possible.  

We do this because we want them to have everything.

And, sometimes, we get so caught up in this giving of stuff, that we forget to give our children what they want most, us, and there is only a short window of time when it is us they want most.  

Don't squander that time.  

If there is anything I have learned these past five years, it's that life is fast.  It goes by quickly, and if you are not careful you miss a lot and then wonder where the time went.

These moments are important reminders for us to stop, give our children all the hugs we can, and make sure that if nothing else they know how much we love them because it would be really heart breaking if they ever questioned that, even for just an instant, at any point in their lives. 

And, it's not enough to just show them you love them.  You have to tell them too and tell them often.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How We Won Christmas, Using Elf on a Shelf.

The last few days have been gloriously cold, so we have all been spending the days inside making a mess or snuggling on the couch and watching movies.

Now, before a bunch of you judgey types start giving me shiz about not forcing my kids to spend an hour or whatever outside no matter what, let me just say, "Meh...whatever! If it is below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly -18c), then my brats are staying in because frost bite, hippies, that's why!"

Image stolen from
Anyway, since it has been so cold lately, we have spent a lot of time inside watching movies, and this morning we chose to watch "Toy Story."

Yes, a family watching a movie is pretty unremarkable on most occasions, even to the family, but this morning I stopped and noticed something pretty wonderful.

It's not just a movie to my sons.

To them it's a true story!

I know this because I over heard the Pizzmeister telling two-zy all about how Elfred, our elf on a shelf, has sprinkled magic on all of their toys so they can come to life while we sleep and live wildly fulfilling lives.
His theory was very complex and imaginative and left me spellbound while I eavesdropped.

My very first thought after hearing his explanation was, "How amazingly wonderful the world must seem to them!" And, I was honestly jealous for a minute or so because I don't live there too, and, no matter how hard those little jerks try to let me in, the best I can do is play pretend!

It's just not freaking fair!

I know that sounds horrible and selfish, but it's true.  I was jealous. Their world, which is still so full of magic, must be a fantastic place to live in, and I hope it never changes for them!

But, it will, of course. 

After I got over being jealous and then a little sad, a second thought popped into my head, "OH MY GOD!!!!  MAMA BEAR AND I WON CHRISTMAS! WE'RE FREAKING AWESOME!!!"

We, somehow, with the help of Elfred, our elf on a shelf, have managed to keep the Christmas magic flowing and common place to our kiddos!

How cool is that?!

I know, it can't stay forever, and they will eventually stop believing, and when reality comes crashing down on them they may be heartbroken, but for right now, that magic exists, and they believe in it, and I want to prolong this for them for as long as possible because once the magic is gone it never comes back.