Monday, June 4, 2012

Dear Berkley: Sometimes You Just Have To Put Your Head Down. No son, not on the ground eating the Cheerios you've dropped on the floor. Pick that up and eat it with your hands, blissfully ignoring the fork and spoon beside you. We're not taking about that, we're talking about those times when you're in the middle of something and thinking to yourself "this may never end." Sometimes it's a long work day, sometimes it's recovering from something painful, and sometimes it's a fun thing that has somehow turned into endless labor. This last example is what happened this past weekend. I signed up for a charity road bike ride that would take us around 75 miles of the NC foothills with a few mountain climbs thrown in for joy. So I got a ride with a co-worker, and off we went to Mt. Airy NC to start the ride with 600 other pain lovers. We did not see Andy on the way into town, which should have been clue #1 that this whole thing was a bad trick. We geared up, and off we went at 8am. And from there, here's what happened. Miles 1-20 8am-9am You see that? 20 miles an hour! I was rolling along, chatting it up with the folks around me having a big time. There were some climbs, but honestly I barely even remember this part of the ride. I spent most of it trying to figure out this drafting phenomenon. It works, best I can tell. I also spent a decent amount of time trying to figure out why I kept passing folks going downhill. It's because I have an extra 8 year old (50 lb) on me. Miles 20-23 9-9:30am Time to go up Sauratown Mountain. Sweet, let's get after it. I pedaled smoothly trying to keep from pushing too hard and only had to stand to climb a couple of times. I reached the top and happily turned downhill for a few minutes of rest, at 45mph, on a bicycle, wearing tights. REST STOP! - Every so often they put these nice little rest stops in along the way to let you get more water, grab a bite to eat, etc. I had to pee, so I went in the local church and took a pee rest. Miles 23-28 9:30-10am A little more up and down over the rolling hills, and I could feel some inextricable force keeping me below 20 mph average. I am pretty sure it was the wind... yeah. Or maybe it was tired legs. That makes more sense. Miles 28-31 10am-10:30am Oh so soon? Another mountain climb, this time Hanging Rock. Halfway up I was done sitting. Standing, grinding away on the pedals. I stood for 10 minutes, willing one foot in front of the other, trying to keep the bike moving. Finally, no idea how, I reached the top. There was an aid station! REST STOP! - I saw a few people I knew from work, etc. We chatted, carefully ignoring what was ahead of us (45 more miles, and a much more difficult climb). Someone mentioned a compact crankset. I do not know these words. Miles 30-60 10:30am-12:15pm - Crank, crank, crank. Chat with people as they come by me. A nice guy explained the whole crankset thingy to me. They make the front gears on bicycles for climbing. WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE TO KNOW EARLIER! Mine was set up for level, float ground. In this 30 miles I started getting tired, and I started finding out about myself in ways I really hadn't before. I believe there is a concept called lactate threshold, which is the effort one can put out without going over and completely burning up due to lactic acid production in the thighs. I am now intimately aware where my threshold exists. It's 4 pedal strokes before a headache starts. It's just below a slight ringing in the ears. It's just before sweat starts running down into the eyes because it can't evaporate that fast. It's before you lose the ability to do simple math. REST STOP! - Last one, better get plenty of water for the bottles and eat a PB&J for what's coming up. I realized I hadn't peed in 3 hours, but had drank 5 huge water bottles of water and Gatorade. Miles 60-70 12:15 to 1:15 pm - Time to climb Pilot Mountain. Surry county's big nipple. The climb starts off peacefully enough, it even has a little downhill. WTF was everyone talking about? I'm 2 miles in and this is cake. Then there is a turn. Shortly after, real hills appear. And up I go. About a half mile in I'm passing people and asking how much further. They all say "a lot." One guy in a slightly comatose state looks up enough to say "easy, it gets much steeper." WHAT? Holy shit. I was about to pass out already, it gets WORSE? I think: I'm out if it gets worse. It gets worse. And not a little worse, a hell of a lot worse. I can barely keep the bike moving forward. My legs have gone past aching, past screaming, past daggers embedded in them, and now they're all the way to numb. Which would be a good thing, but I need them. I consider quitting at least 50 times. Each time I come around a bend and a volunteer stopping traffic cheers for me I almost vomit on them. The switchbacks never end. One, over a distance that was easily under 200 yards, rose 50 feet, which felt like 500. I begged passing cars to let me grab on and tug a little, but only in my head because I could not figure out how to speak. At one point, sweat ran off of my nose continually, in a stream. Then, all of a sudden I was at the top. 10 minutes had easily passed without a single coherent thought in my head. So what next? A blistering ride down those same switchbacks, which I was in no way prepared mentally to handle, so I stayed on the braked and played it safe. Miles 70-75 - An easy ride back through town to the civic center, and a little boy hands me a towel, freezing cold, to towel off. Thank you Jesus. I almost offered to pay his way through college. To call this an epic ride (for me) would be an understatement. Most miles, most climbing, most pain and suffering, and most certainly the most self discovery ever. Let's do it again!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dear Berkley: You're Such A Fungus

No, seriously, he's got fungus on his head.

I chopped off all of Berkley's hair when Courtney went out of town. Why?
Because it's summer, and that's how we roll.

Quick aside, I'd just like to point out that sometimes Courtney cuts her hair short, which I think is ridiculous for a girl with pretty blonde hair, so if you don't like the boy losing his curls, take it up with her.

Then, since Berkley was so great through the whole thing (he really just liked playing with his hair on the kitchen counter) we went to Target to pick out a new toy. If you think about it, Berkley only has a few toys, so that's a sensible gift. With the addition of a Lightning McQueen toy car that changes faces, we're now up to roughly 6 million toys. So as you can see, he needed that car.

Anyhoo, we went to Target, and I just let him run. While inspecting a Thomas the Train that talked (NO chance we bought that little gem, talking toys can all die) I kept noticing one section of his head looked darker, almost wet. So I rubbed his head a little and noticed it was a scab.

POOR KID. Obviously this means his mother was non-parenting him let him hit his head on something. And THEN left town on me. We only wash the boy every few days (he's free to go bathe himself at any time) and so I just assumed he needed a bath.

But, since it was a scab, and all scabs must be picked immediately, I dug at it a bit. And it came right off. Sweet! With all of the attached hair. Bitter.

He didn't care or even seem to notice, so I figured it wasn't terminal cancer and sent Courtney a picture. The pic was to remind her that her place is in the home dealing with scalp issues, not off gallivanting around the globe doing the Lord's work.

The next day we went to the doctor, terrorized the fish in lobby's aquarium for a few minutes, then got called back by the nurse. She was real nice to the Berkman he was having fun. He was super still while being weighed (finally hitting 30 lb) and so good for her while she poked around in his ears and nose a little. I've noticed he's usually good for blonde haired young women. What's what all about Berk?!

The doctor presented herself a few minutes later and within 19 seconds we were gone. She walks in and says "Hi, Berkley has ringworm, where is the closest pharmacy to you?" I told her. And we were done.

$75 later I had some medicine for him and we are good to go.

Lastly, why the heck is it called ringworm? There are no worms.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dear Berkley: Dude. That's a Lot of Words

Now that Berkley can carry on a conversation with us, silence is no longer a luxury our home provides. The kid seriously starts talking when he wakes up, chattering away with the books, a few stuffed animals, the dresser drawers, the closet, whatever. He sings all the songs he's ever heard (he really likes Sugarland and Toby Keith's Red Solo Cup, but throws some Jesus songs to keep his mama happy), he practices whistling with his fingers, he yells stuff to whoever may be on the other side of the door.

He stops talking roughly 3 minutes after he is sound asleep at night.

I think it's all great, until we're 30 minutes down the road headed someplace and he has asked for the thirteen-thousandth time "Mama, is it funny?" after naming pretty much everything that he sees. His other favorite thing to ask is "What you doing?" You could have told him 19 times in a row, still, same question.

Over. And. Over. Again.

Anyhow, I'm glad Berk has lots of words, he's far more agreeable now that he can say what he means to say. Life is much easier for Mama and Daddy too. for instance, he now asks permission before doing anything new or anything he knows is risky. But damn. Once he's a little earlier we're implementing a cone of silence in some section of the house. No questions or comments to someone if they're in the cone.

So here's a quick snippet from earlier.

B- "Mama, can I go outside?"
Mama- "No Berkley, it's time for bed."
B- "Is it funny?"
Daddy- "I'll laugh if you go to sleep rather than play in your room for 2 hours throwing every book on the bookshelf all over the floor, then fall asleep by the door 3 minutes before we need to go someplace. That's close enough to funny for daddy."
B- "Say the Lord's Prayer?"

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dear Berkley: You Don't Have to Wear That

When Berkley was about 6 months Courtney bought him some leg warmers. And no, by leg warmers I do not mean pants. While 99.99954% of the free world just puts on pants when wanting to keep their legs warm, Courtney figured what Berkley really needed were literal leg warmers, as in tights, in ridiculously bright yellow and black stripes.

They were sort of cute, for a ballerina impersonating a bumblebee.

Those lasted one wearing and I had to make an executive decision. Now mind you, Steverino making a "this is how is has to go" statement is not normal in our household. We both embrace the "You're Probably Brighter Than I Am" concept the vast majority of the time and work it out together. In truth, she's a big brighter. But I can work a computer and unclog the toilet, so I stretch the mileage on those talents.

But not on my boy in ballerina tights. This is non-negotiable.

So I said they have to go. And bless Courtney's soul, she just gave a pouty look and we were done with it. No more tights for Mikhail until he can do a triple lutz, or chooses to put them on himself to woo the boy or girl next door, or show up at a Halloween party dressed as his mother's dream.

All that said, Courtney still dresses him pretty cute at times.

Cute = Girly.

Every day around Easter week he wears a shirt with a giant Easter Bunny and his name on it. In fact, now that I type this, I realize he has apparel with his name on it for each holiday. All super...cute. He's routinely in outfits I would wear if we belonged to a ritzy country club and I was going out for a round of golf of a tennis match. He's got multiple pairs of Toms and Crocs.

So son, my message to you is simple: you don't have to wear that. Come see Daddy and we'll dress you in your favorite outfit of all time, rain boots, striped whitey tighties, and a sweet orange pajama top with a picture of a tiger on it. That's not girly at all!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dear Berkley: You Are a Tricker

Berkley can crush some sleep, always has been able to. This makes mama and daddy so very happy. Each night he goes to bed between 7:30 and 8:30, each morning up 12 hours later.

This was so for 2 years, until now. Now he's more along these lines:

Berk: You said bed? Sweet, let's play.
Any Adult: For real Berkley, let's sbrush teeth, take a bath (pee in there, will you?), drink some milk, read 43678 stories, go pee again, beg for a few minutes to play, read another story, sing some songs, say some prayers, ask for the Lord's prayer to be said 14 times, get very sleepy and nod off.
Berk: Okay, can I play for a few minutes.
Above scenario plays out, with little variation, he's basically asleep, and we leave his room, locking the door on the way out...

WHAT? We lock the baby in the room?

Hell yes.


Really? He routinely runs into the exact same table with his head. You think he can navigate around a blaze? The door being locked is the best place for him if the house is on fire.

Back to the story.

Berk: Go pee pee?
Any Adult: For real?
Berk: Goooooo peeeeee peeeeeee!
Any Adult: Hunh, let's do it.
Any Adult: ok, back to bed.
Berk: Say the Lord's Prayer?


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Dear Berkley: Sleep Well

We're about 5 days into teaching Berkley to lay down in a big boy bed (no more crib), stay there, and then sleep there all nightttttttttttttttttttttttt. Sorry, I just fell asleep for 30 minutes from being awake for 4.92 days.

Berk moved into a real bed about 3 weeks ago. He was crawling out of his own bed, so it made sense. 3 seconds later I got a concussion mountain biking. So, for a good week I was useless, and Courtney wasn't up to the whole sleep training while as the same time I wasn't up to not sleeping. On the contrary, I slept about 20 hours a day. Thanks Courtney.

After that Courtney picked up a rough cold/cough. I think she's got tuberculosis. She sounds like Doc Holliday on Tombstone. Finally Sunday that started to let up.

So Sunday night, off we go. A typical evening can go like this:
7pm to 8pm: Go through normal relaxing bedtime routine
8pm: go up and put Berkley to bed
8:01pm: sing some songs, read a book, say some prayers
8:05pm: kiss obviously sleepy child, go to leave room
8:05pm + 1 millisecond: crying begins, followed by tantrum
8:15pm: Berkley comes out of room, Courtney puts him back in bed

Oh yeah, she's right there, sitting in a chair outside the room. Want to know what's super fun? Sitting on the other side of a door from your screaming child. Yay.

8:16pm: repeat crying, open door, back to bed routine 13 times.
8:40pm: Berkley goes back to sleep
11:56pm: Berkley wakes up. Nap over mama! Repeat back to bed, scream, door, bed scream, want to commit suicide routine 9 times.

So you get it. Admittedly, it's gotten easier the last couple of nights.

Nap time? Yeah, that's pretty much gone.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dear Berkley: Nobody Likes a Copycat

Whenever I start to do something now, and I do mean anything. Berkley wants to do it too. Or, just do it instead of me.

Today, I was going to mop the bedroom floor and get rid of the dust bunnies. But oh no, Berkley decided he wanted to "sweep." Awesome, go sweep then. Except Berkley's sweeping is not so effective. I think it's roughly 4% coverage, or lasts until his attention span rolls onto something else. That's about 19 seconds of sweeping.

Berkley, let Daddy sweep when he gets started, it doesn't happen often.