I had just started working days full-time again in January of 2008 after spending over four years of playing Daytime Daddy. However, I wasn’t completely free of weekday child duty as I had to still get the three kids up in the morning, dressed, fed, and cleaned up and to pre-school by 9 am. The kids would get up at about 8 am each morning, giving me an hour to get all of this done.
Mama Bear, who is a teacher and leaves early in the morning to get work done so she can be back early to relieve the sitter, makes life a little easier on this fashion-challenged father by picking out the clothes for the kids the night before. However, one of the toughest parts for me every morning is doing the girls’ hair, something Mama Bear obviously can't do since she leaves before the kids get up.
There is so much that goes into getting the girls' hair ready it’s ridiculous. Take a deep breath and read.
I have to: wet the hair, brush out the knots, put in some kind of lotion, brush it again so that lotion spreads out, put in some other kind of hair product (but only if the hair in not cooperating), put it in a bow or barrette or whatever mom leaves out for me (but I have to grab just the right amount of hair -- too much and hair clip doesn’t shut, too little and I don’t get enough of her bangs and then her hair gets in her eyes), then use a little bit of hair spray (but not too much hairspray b/c that makes her smell) to make sure it stays in place. Oh yeah, did I mention that I have to fight her to stay still during all of this. Have you ever asked an active 4-year-old or 2-year-old to stay still for more than one minute? It doesn’t work! Who knew that you had to have a special degree to do girls’ hair?
In comparison, for my son all I have to do is wet it and brush it and it stays the entire day.
Needless to say, this is very stressful for me. I mean, I want to make sure my girls look pretty and “feel” girly. And to make matters worse, Mama Bear quizzes the girls every night on what Papa Bear did with their hair that day. More times than not, I screw something up.
Anyway, it was picture day at preschool – a very stressful day for me as you can imagine. If I screw up their hair on picture day, I’m sleeping on the couch for a week!
So, Mama Bear picked out these great outfits for the girls - matching pokka-dot tops that are kind of like dresses with solid stretch pants things. Junior Bear had a simple shirt-pant outfit. So I got the girls dressed, kept them clean through breakfast (which was a first) and did their hair nearly perfect. I mean I was in the zone that morning. Their hair looked awesome (for my standards). I was so proud of myself.
Fast forward a few weeks.
I go to work and for some reason (I'm not sure why) Mama Bear was home from school that day and she picks up the proofs from school.
Well, 12:30 rolls around and I get a call from Mama Bear telling me she just picked up the kids and... Well I'll let you hear the conversation.
Mama Bear (near laughter): “Hey Genius!”
Mama Bear (laughing): “What?! I’m looking at the pictures…”
Me (bragging): “They came out great, right? I know the girls' hair was perfect when I dropped them off. If the hair is messed up it's not on me.”
Mama Bear: “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Their hair was great and the kids are smiling. Only problem is the girls’ shirts are on backwards. You put their dresses on backwards!”
Me (laughing): “What? No.”
Mama Bear (laughing): “Yeah! The buttons are supposed to be in the back, not the front!”
Me: (still laughing): “Huh. How about that? Who would’ve thought it?”
Peanut Bear, as you will learn, is very independent. God bless her for that. Anyway, here is one of her favorite songs. I had to spend hours one Saturday recently on You Tube showing her Pink videos. I don't know if I should be happy about this or worried.
So I finally started my basement bathroom project this weekend.
About two years ago I finished my basement, making a play area for the kids, TV area and an area for the big kids (pool table, pinball machine, etc). Well, I also framed out a bathroom when I did this, but never got to it and lost the motivation to begin the project. For the past couple of years it’s been used as a closet. I’ve had to hear Mama Bear complain that the one bathroom in the house was not enough, despite my counter argument that the extra closet space was needed (Oh well, I tried).
In the recent months Mama Bear got quotes from area contractors and plumbers. The prices hovered around $10K. After seeing these prices we quickly got motivated to do this ourselves, but I was still not ready to start the project. However, my father-in-law came over with a concrete saw Saturday and I took the hint that it was time to start the project.
I also figured it would be best to capitalize on my father-in-law’s motivation. I’m not going to lie; he is the brains behind most of these projects. He is very handy and he gives me the confidence that I need that we can do it. We actually make a good team. Usually he hems and haws and is tentative to get going on something, and it takes me to start the project to kick start things.
For example, this weekend, even with my procrastination, he came over with the saw. He stood there and stared at the floor for a while, broke out the plumbing book and sat down. I just grabbed the saw and started cutting.
In case you were wondering, we are going with an up-flush system so we don’t have to cut the floor all the way across the house to the main septic line and get into that mess. The pump in the tank is often referred to as a “sausage grinder,” which totally grosses out Mama Bear so I try to say it as often as possible.
Mama Bear: “When are you going to start the bathroom?
Me: “You mean the one with the sausage grinder? Soon.”
Mama Bear: “Jackass.”
Mama Bear: “We need another bathroom.”
Me: “I know. One with a sausage grinder.”
Mama Bear: “Jackass.”
Getting back on track (you’ll find I’m easily distracted), to start the project we cut a two-to-three foot square outside the bathroom in the unfinished part of the basement, creating a ton of dust and horrible fumes from the gas-run cutter. We then had to dig three feet down. As we got half way into it, we were wishing we had a few other people here to help. It gets tiring digging into the dirt below your house (it’s very hard by the way, harder than you think) and lugging up the dirt one 5-gallon bucket at a time up the stairs to dump outside, but it wasn’t the digging and hauling that was the worst.
Junior Bear and Cookie Bear were here (Mama Bear and Peanut Bear were having a special day at the spa). So we had the "help" of a 5-year-old and 3-year-old. You can imagine how that went.
“No you can’t dig.”
“Please get out of the hole!”
“Pleease stop dumping that dirt back in the hole!!!”
“Pleeease get out of the hole!!!”
“Pleeeease let go of the shovel!!!!”
“Pleeeeease get out of the hole!!!!!!”
“Pleeeeeease stop trying to jump on my back!!!!!”
“Pleeeeeeease get out of the hole!!!!!!!!”
Sunday got a little easier, but not much. Junior Bear got into watching Batman with Uncle, but Peanut Bear wanted to catch up on what she missed out on Saturday.
“Dad, can I get in the hole?"
“Dad, can I dig?”
“Dad, can I get in the hole?”
“Dad, can I use the shovel?”
“Dad, can I…”
(Thinking I can distract her) “Where’s your mother?”
“I think I hear her calling you.”
(Fast forward 30 seconds).
“Mom wasn’t calling me. Can I get in the hole?”
I think you get the idea.
Anyway, I’ll be sure to keep you updated on the bathroom project.
PS - In case any Upper Moreland officials are reading this, we have a permit so no need to stop by and check. Thanks.
Last spring my then 4-year-old son started developing a problem dealing with death. It was a dilemma that my wife and I were not expecting. I mean, who thinks you’re going to have to explain death to a 4-year-old?
Well, that’s the situation we found ourselves in and it was a difficult thing to deal with. But it was, nevertheless, a very comical situation.
My kids attended a non-denominational pre-school at the local church and every Thursday they had a period where the teacher would introduce them to religion. For this particular story, it was around Easter time and the teacher was talking to the students about how one day Jesus would come and take them (die).
So my son began to question her.
“Will he come get me?” he asked.
“Yes,” she replied.
“Will he come get Mommy?”
This did not sit well with him and he immediately told her, “Well, you tell him when he comes I’m not going!”
“I can’t tell him that,” she said. "It's a good thing when he comes."
“No! I don’t care! When he comes I’m telling him I don’t want to go.”
Apparently, this also set off the kids in the rest of the class as well. As the teacher told me that all the kids, one by one each said for her to tell Jesus that they weren’t going either.
A protest had broken out. “We’re not going!” was the chant by about 12 4-year-olds.
Not expecting this outburst the teacher changed the topic and moved on, but she said it was one of the funniest things she had witnessed and she did realize that she shouldn’t have engaged the kids in the topic. Although, she admitted that in her many years of teaching preschool, she never had a child react the way my son did.
Too funny, right? But it gets better.
Fast forward a few days. I was working during the days again, so my kids were being watched by one of the assistant teachers at our house after preschool until my wife got home from work. We really lucked out with such a great woman to watch our kids, but I digress.
Anyway, after school one day, my son, his twin sister and little sister were playing in the backyard. He was standing on the playset with a toy sword in his hand yelling to his sisters, “Let’s get him! Let’s go get him!” The girls, standing at his feet like disciples, began cheering loudly.
Shocked at what was going on, the sitter asked them, “Get who? Who are you going to get?”
My son, not missing a beat said, “Jesus! We're going to get Jesus before he gets us!”
When I was told the story, I couldn’t stop laughing. I told him that he was about 2008 years too late.
Oh, did I mention that my dad is a Methodist minister? I guess it would be bad for business if it got out that the preacher’s grandson was after the Big Guy.
A long, long time ago in a… Nevermind that has been used already In the beginning…Nope think I heard that before somewhere as well.
Once upon a time…This ain’t a fairy tale either.
At this point, I’m not really sure how this blog is going to evolve, but I can tell you that I primarily plan to share past and present life experiences that I think are entertaining. From family to fantasy (sports that is), I plan to touch on it. There probably isn’t going to be any life lesson to learn and I don’t plan to analyze why people do things. I simply plan to allow you to share in the enjoyment (or laugh at the misery) that is my life.
I’ve been thinking of starting a blog for a few years now. When my wife gave birth for the first time (a set of boy-girl twins) back in 2003, I was laid off from work a week later. So we abruptly changed our plans and I stayed home with the kids for about six months and then began working nights for the next four years or so in order to save on child care bills. It was during this period that I seriously considered a blog as an attempt to share my experiences as a “Daytime Daddy,” but for a number of reasons -- lack of sleep probably being No. 1 -- I didn’t go through with it.
At the time, my parents were really encouraging me to do this, and other family members and friends insisted I had to write down my stories so I wouldn’t forget. I didn’t listen to them and I kind of regret it.
So, now that the kids are older and I have once again rejoined the daily rat race, I have decided to turn my attention to sharing my experiences.
Some stories you will find funny, others probably disturbing, but in the end I hope you are at least a little entertained.
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About This Blog
I primarily share my past and present experiences in fatherhood that I think you’ll find entertaining. From family to fantasy (sports that is), I plan to touch on it. There probably isn’t going to be any life lesson to learn and I don’t plan to analyze why things happen. I simply plan to allow you to share in the enjoyment (or laugh at the misery) that is my life. –Enjoy!
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Not sure exactly what I'm doing, but the PBM is now on Facebook and Twitter. Friend me at PapaBear Memoirs on Facebook and Tweet me. If you still live in the Stone Age, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and get weekly emails.
I'm a 30-something married father of three living in suburban Philadelphia and have been thinking of starting a blog on the craziness that is fatherhood for a few years now.
See, I was the stereotypical male who played sports through college, worked in the sports field most of my professional career and planned many of my outings around my favorite teams' games. I was the guy who fell asleep during birthing class -- honestly I was.
But back in 2003, exactly two weeks and one day after I became Papa Bear and my wife became Mama Bear (in case you are lost, that's when my wife gave birth to a set of boy-girl twins), I was laid off from work and a wrench was thrown in our lives.
So we abruptly changed our plans and I stayed home with the kids for the next four years, a period which saw us add one more to the family.
Mama Bear is a teacher and since we couldn’t afford to give up her awesome benefits, the first six months or so after the twins, I was a full-time stay-at-home dad. Then, I began working mostly nights in order to save on childcare bills and create an income, but remained the "Daytime Daddy," changing what felt like hundreds of diapers per day and coming up with creative ways to feed two babies simultaneously at 3 am. Of course the summers were different, as Mama Bear was home from school, but it was hectic nonetheless.
It was during this period that I seriously considered a blog to share my mostly insane stories as a clueless first-time father. But for a number of reasons -- lack of sleep probably being No. 1 -- I didn’t go through with the blog.
Now that the kids are older and I have once again rejoined the daily rat race, I have decided to turn my attention to sharing my experiences best I can remember.
Pronunciation [fah-th er-hoo d] 1. the state of being a father. 2. fathers collectively. 3. the qualities or spirit of a father.
The Bear's Den
Papa Bear Mama Bear Brother Bear (aka Junior Bear) Big Sissy Bear (aka Peanut Bear) Little Sissy Bear (aka Cookie Bear)