Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Puppy Sitting!!

   Uncle Garrett and Aunt Faith got a puppy in early January. It's the cutest thing since Lincoln, and is probably topping the "Cutest Gilchrist" charts overall these days. (Since you asked: 1) Phoebe 2) Grant 3-6) pretty much a tossup). We were asked to watch it for a night while they went to the beach, and couldn't wait. By "couldn't wait" what I really mean is "want to have leverage when we need our kids babysat."

This is what happens:

Lincoln is pretty fascinated with the inner workings of the doggie-bag-pouch of this leash. Phoebe is discovering sticks. This is the most active the gang was on any walk.
   Cara and both don't want pets, and haven't from the start. I am fond of dogs, I just want to play with yours. But having an adorable puppy for a night sounded like lots of fun. It wasn't until we drove Phoebe to our home that something dawned on me: After this night, the boys might want a puppy. They'd spend the next 11 years asking for a dog, until they move out of the house. I'd be stuck having to tell my kids the same lies my dad told me: "Dogs don't want to live in the city, they need space to run." "Dogs aren't supposed to be indoors." "Dogs are known to bite off your fingers while you sleep." Yeah right, dad!! I'm older now and I know they only eat toes!!

   But here's the good news: Phoebe is the worst. It was basically Phoebe and Cara and Me and Marley and Me Except The Dog Doesn't Die if you know what I mean. There were several times she jumped on Lincoln and started puppy-nibbling him. And me yelling "Fight back Link!" to the two-year-old seemed to make no difference. She peed and pooped in all the wrong places, needed to be walked multiple times, and she even grabbed a pen and started writing on the walls! Look at this mess she made:

Thanks, Phoebe and definitely not Lincoln.

Wow, Pheebs, did you grab a different pen?

And then did you sneak into our house like two weeks later!? That's dedication.

And look at this mess you left on our counter. Those scissors are precariously close to the edge, you dumb dog. And why did you make my kitchen so grainy? It's now dawning on me that I am speaking to you, a dog, who cannot read.

I'd love to say that this was Phoebe, but no. I'd built one of my best train tracks ever. Wyatt wanted me to play fire engines on it with him, and I didn't want to play. He said "Oh no there's a fire, who's going to put it out?!" I called his bluff and kept watching New Girl. The whole thing got torched. We've not spoken since.

   When we were driving Phoebe back home, I asked the boys if we should get a dog. Wyatt said "Nah" and Lincoln said "Feesh!" which is the sound he makes whenever he sees anything ever. It looks like we dodged the dog bullet. The best part is now I can say things like "We had a dog for a night and we all hated it." whenever my kids ask for one in the future. I can also say "Lincoln literally walked up to me and handed me a turd." without mentioning that it wasn't Phoebe's.. He pulled it out of his own diaper. This is a true story. I was sleeping on the couch and woke up with a Lincoln turd, in Lincoln's hand, right under my nose. I know what you are thinking: Grant, how can you ALWAYS manage to find a way to talk about poop in your blog? It's a gift. You're also thinking No I wasn't thinking that. I was thinking "How do you make parenting look so glamorous all the time?" It's a curse.

We love Phoebe and haven't got to play with her enough lately, but for now I am content with my own little puppies - who I still often feed by putting food on the kitchen floor and leaving it there until they are hungy. #dadoftheweek

Wyatt's mood: wants to play Mario all day
Link's mood: surprisingly content to watch Wy play Mario all day.
My mood: ready for spring
Cara's mood: Sleepy and uncomfortable.
Listening to: Mario game music.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Parenting Failure: Bedtime!!

   I know that you hold me in very high esteem. You look to me because I am a really, really, reallyreally great dad. I seem to have a knack for building train tracks, I have great fart jokes, and posses impeccable style. My kids are lucky to have me.
   Cara is also a decent mom, most of the time.
   So this blog post is hard for me to write. I hate to lower your view of me, but there is one area where we have clearly failed as parents (her more than I): bedtime routines with the toddlers.

   Lincoln rarely is asleep before 9:00. Lincoln often is up near midnight. Lincoln rarely sleeps through the night, waking up because he is hungry, bored, sleepy (seriously) or because he's in the habit of waking up. Wyatt was much the same way when he was 2. I've been a miserable dad for years now. There, I said it.

   I know it's all about routine and discipline. Good parents probably have a system like this:
   * give kid a full, healthy dinner
   * brush the kid's teeth, wash their hands and face, put on their jammies.
   * throw the kid in the crib, turn off the lights. Kid is instantly asleep for 12 hours with no fussing.
   * write blog post that has more than 44 views
   * sleep a long, uninterrupted, dream filled night, waking up refreshed.

This was one of our better family meals. 

   I'm sure that's how it must go for most of you.

   Our routine is much less organized and much more full of me looking at screens. It usually goes like this:

  •    Should be making dinner for kids, but instead am ... um ... let's pretend I am working out.
  •    Serve kids a healthy dinner of jam.
  •    After eating healthy dinner, throw sticky, messy kids in the wash and sticky, messy clothes in the bath. Play on iPad.
  •    Lay in bed with Wyatt. Sing songs, read books (him to me, me to him), pray, call it a night. This is my one act of good parenting all day.
  •    It's 8:34. I know that if I turn out the lights, play with Link a little, and meander towards the bed, he will fall asleep. Instead, I turn on Netflix and he and I settle in for roughly eleven hours of The Office.
  •    It's 9:41. Lincoln is hungry and refusing leftover jam (it's homemade! calm down!). He eats snacks like bananas, applesauce, apples, string cheese, and yogurt. He often brings me the snacks from the fridge himself. This actually happens. He opens the fridge, grabs food, brings it to me.
  •    It's 11:02. I lay down with Lincoln in the spare bed, figuring he might sleep if I am there with him. He spends 28 minutes crawling across my face, leaving and coming back with applesauce pouches, and jumping on the bed. I am tired and trying to fall asleep.
  •    It's 11:56. Lincoln is asleep. Kicking me. I wake up and move to my big-kid bed. Lincoln will wake up at least one time, needing some sort of food.

   It's hard looking over that timeline and having absolutely no idea of where I went wrong. But it's getting old. In fact, the last week or so we've done a good job of wearing the boys out with playing (heading to a high school gym to watch basketball at 5:30 is the frickin' best), stuffing them full, turning off all screens once it gets dark, and putting those kids to sleep hard. It's one of the best things about Cara cutting back her hours at work: we actually have evening time together. Note: that's also one of the worst things. Having the kids sleeping long and well has other advantages too, like funny dream stories:

My mood: frustrated that I'm not doing a better job
Wy's mood: making music on the computer
Link's mood: wants to crawl on mom while she sleeps
Cara's mood: frustrated that I'm not doing a better job
Listening to: Wyatt's take on the music from the Kirby series of video games. (actually not bad)