survivingmyboyz

tales from a stay-at-home mom of four boys

Archive for the tag “fatherhood”

My Dad’s Legacy

While sick with cancer, my father once expressed concern about how his kids would remember him when he was gone. I think he thought that some of the things we give him a hard time about were the things we were going to remember the most about him after he died. In our family the rule tends to be, if we love you, we give you a hard time. Well my dad has live 69 years and I have known him for almost 40 now which means I’ve had plenty of time to give him a hard time, but those jokes and razzings aren’t the things I’m going to remember most about my dad when he’s gone because there is so much more to him.

I’ll remember my dad traveling for work a lot when I was little and always anxiously waiting for him to get home. He’d bring me treasures like giant pencils or cheap plastic wallets purchased at airport gift shops in exotic locations like Dallas and Denver.

I’ll remember my dad for the times he’d sit on the couch watching Saturday morning cartoons with us. He’d laugh louder at Bugs Bunny’s shenanigans than any of us.

I’ll remember his obsession with cleaning his car. Sometimes he’d let us help him wash it in the driveway on the weekends. Other times he’d let us ride through the local car wash with him, always waiting until we were at the sprayers and then cracking our windows just enough to get us wet. He never failed to get us, even when we knew it as coming. He’d always keep paper towels and Windex in his trunk and before any long car ride he would be sure to pull them out and clean his windows.

I’ll remember him as a fire buff. He was a member of the Boston Sparks Association and was even president at one time. He had a fire scanner blasting in almost every room of the house (it drove my mom nuts). He’d turn the volume way up to listen if there was a fire. If the fire was big enough, he’d race out the door to go to it. Sometimes he’d go with the BSA and bring their canteen truck to serve food and beverages to the fire fighters on the job (if I was lucky, I got to go with him). Other times he’d just go to watch and talk with the people there. It often seemed like my dad would talk to just about anybody. He was like a little kid when it came to the fire department. He even owned an antique fire truck with a couple of friends for several years. I loved it because we got to ride on it in parades. Plus not many kids could say their dad owned a fire truck! I’m sure it was his love for all things fire department that led to my brother becoming a fire fighter and my dad couldn’t be prouder.

I’ll remember my dad’s love for all things Boston, the city in which he grew up in. My dad would take us for special days into the city and teach us about the city’s history. He took us to places like the Boston Tea Party ship, the top of the John Hancock Building, Bunker Hill, Copps Hill, to see Old Iron Side, to walk around Castle Island, and Faneuil Hall. He made me love the city and sparked a keen interest in the revolutionary war. He also took me to my first Red Sox Game at Fenway Park when I was about 3 or 4 years old. Most of my life he had season tickets just behind third base. I spent many summer evenings there with him. We’d always park kind of far away and walk in past the Fens, grab some peanuts from the old singing peanuts and pistachio guy, enjoy some Fenway Franks and a large pretzel inside the park, and he’d tell me about all the players. He taught me that, up until the past decade or so, the one thing you could count on the Red Sox for (and all Boston area sports teams) was to get your hopes up and then let you down hard. He’d get mad when they were losing, changing to channel temporally if we were watching the game on TV at home, but he’d always come back to them.  He took me to Celtics Games too as a kid, back when Bird and Parrish played and their shorts were short. We’d sit a few rows back from the Celtic’s bench and my siblings and I would get all the players’ autographs. Despite my begging, he wouldn’t take me to a Patriot’s game (he said the crowd was too rowdy), but he taught me to love them too. Every Sunday in the fall was dedicated to football. I still remember watching most of the Patriots-Bears Super Bowl in ’86 with my dad. I knew they had lost by my dad’s disappointed shouts echoing up the stairs as I lay in bed trying to sleep.

I’ll remember my dad as the man who was known by everybody. Like I said before, he loved to talk and would talk to just about anybody. He was a member of several social groups including the BSA and the local Rotary Club. Almost every place we went my dad saw someone he knew. At the baseball games he’d always run into several people he knew, having a lobster roll up in Maine he’d run into someone he hadn’t seen in years, even all the way down in Florida at Disney World he’d run into people he knew. I will never forget the time we were parking our car in a parking garage several stories up on our way to a Celtics game, he got out of the car, looked out at the building across the way from us and there, hanging out a window trying to talk on a phone while the smoke alarm was going off in his apartment was a guy my dad knew waving at him. He knew people everywhere!

I’ll remember my dad as the man who worked hard to take care of his family. He worked hard to give us a beautiful house in which we each had our own room and a large beautiful backyard which he spent days every summer mulching. He provided us with family trips to amusement parks, Lake George, Disney World, and even a winter break at a hotel with a pool just so we could swim even though he didn’t know how to. He worked multiple jobs while I was in college to help keep me from having enormous debt in the form of student loans when I finished. He also took on the traditional role of father of the bride, despite it being an outdated custom, and paid for my amazing wedding.

I’ll remember my dad as the doting grandpa we call “Papi.” He might not have the energy to play for very long with the kids, but he loves to watch them play. He will swoop in, grab them, flip them upside-down, and tickle them, and they love it. Whenever he visits he brings them fire shirts to pass along his love for the profession. He’s also notorious for buying his grandkids donuts, even though they don’t need the extra sugar. He just loves to spoil them.

I’ll remember my dad for a lot of things after he is gone; for all the things he taught me, all the things he instilled in me, for all the traits I get from him, for all the things he did with and for me, and for all the love he gave me. So Dad, you don’t have to worry about the legacy you are leaving behind or how we will remember you when you are gone, because you have given us a lifetime of memories and hopefully we will have many more years to make new ones too.

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Boys and their poop

Boys seem to have a strange affinity for poop that girls don’t tend to have. I’m not saying that boys like poop or something weird like that, I’m just saying that they deal with it in a different manner than girls. Personally, I want nothing to do with it and can’t wait for all three of my boys to be potty trained and wiping their own butts.

Unfortunately, potty training my two and a half year old has not progressed much, not that I’m really pushing it yet, but my son has picked up on an equally important skill, one which my four and a half year old has yet to completely master; the skill of wiping ones butt. Now he hasn’t mastered this skill and the butt he wants to wipe isn’t always his, but it’s a start. It started the other day after I discovered that he’d pooped in his diaper. I asked him why he hadn’t gone in the potty so he could get jelly beans and then told him to get me a new diaper. He returned and proceeded to strip off his clothes and then lay down like he was ready for me to change him, but then he began to take off his diaper and reach for the wipes. I stopped him here for fear of a pooptastraphy. He freaked out a little and insisted I give him some wipes to hold and then attempted to wipe his own butt as I changed his diaper. The next day he insisted on wiping the babies bum when he saw that he’d pooped. Maybe once he’s finally potty trained he’ll have this whole wiping thing down and I won’t constantly hear a shout for me to wipe his butt at the most inopportune times, like I do now with my oldest child

My oldest son, on the other hand, might not have completely mastered the art of butt wiping, but he does seem to be discovering something else about poop; poop is hysterical. My son has learned the age old wisdom of males that poop is always humorous and has begun to broad his poop humor forte. He has moved beyond fart jokes and pooping sounds. The other day I heard my oldest giggling hysterically down the hall and found him in the bathroom, standing over the open toilet, my camera in hand. When I looked at the pictures he’d been taking, sure enough, there was a picture of his tiny turd floating in the toilet. Today, he alternately screamed for me to come wipe his butt and for his two and a half year old brother to come to him. When I came in, I asked him what he wanted his brother for. He told me with a giggle that he wanted to show his poop to his brother.

I’m not sure what it is with boys and poop, but I’m glad I’m a girl. On the other hand, I do have three boys. I think their dad should be the one to deal with this, of course, he might just encourage it.

Band aids can’t fix beanbags

I think I spoke too soon when I told people that my two and a half year old didn’t seem to be going through the terrible twos. I was more likely correct in saying that his terrible twos are, for the most part, being over shadowed by my oldest son’s fighting fours (dubbed so because everything is a fight with him). My husband would probably say that my middle son’s twos have been pretty terrible for him or more specifically his two (if you catch my drift).

You see, aside from the ear piercing screeching that my two year old has been doing lately, he’s become rather fond of throwing things and punching things. Usually these things aren’t done in malice, especially the punching. He just lives in a two year old’s world where superheroes rule and he is one of them. In order to protect this world, he must shoot things from his palms with a “pew-pew” sound and punch things. Every once in a while a person just happens to get in the way of his punching, but he’s two, so there isn’t much force behind it and it is all okay.

About a week ago, my husband happened to be on the receiving end of a punching incident, but it wasn’t one of his normal, malice-free punches. My husband was standing in the kitchen, minding his own business, when suddenly, out of no where, my two year old came running at him and punched him in the balls full force. I was in the adjoining living room when I heard the yell and quickly ran to see what happened only to find my husband crumpled on the ground howling in pain. This isn’t the first time a kid has injured my husband in this fashion, intentional or not, but I’ve never heard him howl so much from it, so I knew it was particularly bad. My two year old was so scared from the yelling and howling that he hid under the table. I still wasn’t sure how my husband had become injured in this fashion and looked around for my four year old, who had been in the kitchen moments before, to ask him what happened, but he had quickly scurried out of the room. Next thing I knew, my four year old comes running back into the room with a bandaid for his dad. It was so cute, I couldn’t help but laugh and neither could my husband, despite his pain.

It took a while to coax my two year old out from beneath the table. I told my husband that he needed to explain why you were yelling and that what he did was bad, but in a calm manner so he wouldn’t do it again. So my husband tells my two year old, ” you hit me right in the beanbags, you can’t do that.” Of course this was hysterical to my four year old who then went around for the next hour smacking himself in the crotch and saying “Oh, right in the beanbags!” Awesome.

Well we must be doing something right with our oldest son since he had such compassion for his dad. The two year old, on the other hand, is a work in progress. I guess the lesson here is, four year olds can have moments of sweetness on occasion. That and always wear a cup around a two year old.

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