Spring Bug Has Hit The House

I’m only going to quickly check in early this week. Usually, my first post of the week is up and getting reaction (or ignored) by this time, but after a long weekend it appears some kind of bug has hit the household.

I feel lousy and Cookie Bear has a fever, meaning it’s only a matter of time before Mama Bear, Junior Bear and Peanut Bear come down with the illness. Lucky us! Got to love how a bug travels through a house with such disregard for everyone, taking down anything and everything in its path.

Anyway, I wanted to fill you in on the first T-ball practice for Peanut Bear and Junior Bear. It went really.

Of course, like many parents, we had to deal with the kids’ anxiety. Junior Bear’s nerves hit him prior to the start as he was nervous to go, while Peanut’s hit her during the practice as she wanted to leave in the middle of an at-bat. So, there was a lot for me to overcome since Mama Bear wasn’t there. Nana managed to come for assistance, but she was busy with Cookie Bear.

The highlight, or lowlight depending on who you are, was when Peanut Bear stepped to the plate and tried to “grip it and rip it.” Only problem was she failed to “grip it” and nearly took off the third baseman’s head when she let the bat fly.

Everyone got a laugh from it, except Peanut Bear, who does not like to be the center of attention. I had to talk her off the cliff after that as she was very embarrassed by the incident. She managed to get over it much later in the day (when Mama Bear actually talked her off the cliff) and is ready for her next practice.

Anyway, off to overdose on cough medicine and hit the sack.


Dad, Beware of Children

Warning: This material might not be suitable for all readers. If you’re thinking of having kids, trying to have kids or one day want to have kids; please stop reading here. The material in this post may deter you from wanting offspring. If you are already a parent of young children, I’m sorry…

When I think of what Hell would be like, I think of the time period of my life from August 2005 until about December 2007. Those two-plus years seem like a lifetime away to me now, yet at the time they felt like an eternity to live though.

Now, before I go any further I’m going to tell you that I love my children to death. BUT when they become teenagers and they argue with me about why I’m not allowing them to do a certain something, I’m telling them it’s payback for what they put me through during this time period.

Let’s set the stage for you: In August 2003 Cookie Bear was born and Junior Bear and Peanut Bear were just turning 2 years old (they are twins). I was playing Daytime Daddy, working mostly nights (usually until about 1 am) and then getting up at the crack of dawn to take care of the trio (so that’s about five hours of sleep per night). The twins were napping just once a day by this point and I was trying to find any moment I could to catch cat naps.

I’m sure you could imagine what it is like to watch after two very active 2-year-olds. Then, throw a newborn into the mix and it had this dad begging for mercy (or for at least multiple shots of whatever whiskey was in the house, unfortunately there wasn’t any).

Needless to say, this time period was by far the toughest of my life.

Anyway, it wasn’t too long after Mama Bear went back to work, I decided to try and take the three kids out to run some errands. However, I quickly learned that stores like Target, Wal-Mart, CVS and the local supermarket weren’t meant for people to shop at when outnumbered 3-to-1 by the younger species.

At first, I tried. I really did. But on my first trip I learned that the stroller wasn’t going to work, because I couldn’t push a stroller and a shopping cart at the same time. And the stroller could fit only so much into it. So, that idea failed (not the first time one of my great fatherly ideas failed, and it certainly wouldn’t be the last either).

So, my next option was trying to find a shopping cart with the two seats at the top to put the twins side-by-side and Cookie Bear in the basket in the baby carrier. However, half way through my first trip like that, I realized there were only so many canned goods you could put on a newborn before someone would call the cops.

I joke, nobody called the cops. I’m a little smarter than that.

Then, I tried keeping Cookie Bear in the carrier and putting her at the top of the cart and allowing Junior Bear and Peanut Bear to “help” me shop. Before I even get into how quickly I realized that didn’t work, let me tell you it’s not easy chasing two 2-year-olds through a busy parking lot.

So, after all of this I came to the realization that I was going to be held up in the house for a good long time.
I did find some creative ways for a juvenile father to entertain himself with three kids, but that’s a blog for another day. Right now I’m sharing with you the “creative fun” three kids had with a juvenile father.

Don’t get me wrong, there were times when I would get out of the house during the day, but that was just three times per week when I would drop Junior and Peanut Bear off at a local daycare school.

See, Mama Bear thought it would be good for them to interact with other young kids their age for a couple hours. Easy for Mama Bear to say, it might have been a good time for the kids, but not so much for Papa Bear.

When I went to pick the kids up it was total chaos. I mean total and complete chaos. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. It was the blind leading the blind.

I would walk in carrying Cookie Bear in the baby carrier, and once I got into the classroom door I would get bombarded by a bunch of runny-nosed 2-year-olds. And when I say a bunch, I mean 10-15 easy. Every kid in the classroom came at me. I felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop.

There were a few times I managed to keep Cookie Bear snot free, but there was always, and I mean ALWAYS, another obstacle to overcome. It was never an easy time getting them to and from school.

When I went to pick them up, as soon as I opened the door to let them out, all heck broke loose. Peanut Bear would run down one hallway and Junior Bear would shoot the other way. I would then have to, quickly put Cookie Bear back inside the classroom and chase after the other two.

After I caught up with them and got Cookie Bear back (now full of boogies I should add), it would take some creative thinking to get each jacket on without another track meet breaking out.

Honest to God, I don’t know how I did it. Whatever trick worked one day, wouldn’t work the next. I felt like some magician playing to the same audience every day, having to always find a different way to pull the same rabbit out of a hat everyday just to keep their attention.

Trust me when I say, that if you asked me when I was 25 what I’s be doing when I was 30, it would not be playing “playing peek-a-boo in a public place with three kids.”

Anyway, IF I got the jackets on the kids (sometimes I would have to pick and choose my battles and give up on the jackets), they would both want to be picked up and carried to the car. Of course just five minutes earlier they wanted to run; now they want to be picked up.


I have no idea. It’s just the way it was.

But I couldn’t carry both; I was already carrying Cookie Bear in the baby carrier. So I’d have to pick one (usually the one making the biggest fuss) and the other would then either decide to sit down in protest, leaving me there, sweating (literally sweating bullets like some idiot) while I struggled to carry a 2-year-old in one hand and a baby carrier in the other. Or -- get this -- the other one would run, and I mean shot-out-of-the-cannon run, straight for the front door, again making me sweat to catch up.

Let me tell you that this can wear on a grown man. I can’t count how many times I just wanted to start cursing at the top of my lungs.

This was my routine every other day of my life for about six months (that’s when we realized the twins weren’t getting anything special out of the daycare and it was just driving us – I should say me -- nuts).

It only got better when the Peanut Bear and Junior Bear hit preschool the next school year.

Picture this: Cookie Bear’s a year old and too big for the baby carrier; Junior Bear is a tank and Peanut Bear is the boss. (Did I mention I have multiple bosses in my life?)

Anyway, I go to pick up the twins from preschool and Junior Bear takes off down the hall screaming Daddy, yet running away from me (go figure), Cookie Bear is struggling to get out of my arms to play with the same toy Junior Bear just left behind, and Peanut Bear is crying at the top of her lungs that she has to leave.

That, my friends, was my life four days a week for nearly a year. An entire school year!

I bring up this absolute chaos because the other day after I dropped Cookie Bear off at preschool, I saw a mom going through the same thing. Her arms full with a newborn, an older child sprinting ahead of her, and a middle child begging her to pick him up. Not more than 3 ½ years separating the three children.

As she was sweating and holding back what I’m sure were the same curse words I was holding back, I, who am like a pro with one kid, said to her, “Boy, I don’t miss those days!” She shot me a smile, but I knew she was crying inside.

I left that place skipping, knowing those days are over for me!

Look, I understand that there will be plenty of other challenges that lay ahead of me in parenting, but as long as I don’t have to chase after anymore toddlers, I’ll be a happy camper!

Twitter, Facebook or email Papa Bear.


What A Weekend

It was a busy weekend for the Papa Bear clan as we attended my brother’s engagement party on Saturday night at Gamma and Pop Church’s house in north Jersey and then had to travel back to suburban Philadelphia Sunday to get ready for the week.

Saturday night went really well with the kids. I was talking to Mama Bear on the drive home Sunday about how proud I was of them. See, in the past gatherings like this were very difficult for us. Junior Bear and Peanut Bear, who are twins, would usually be acting up and Cookie Bear would be very clingy.

However, on Saturday night the twins were very well behaved and Cookie Bear was excellent. As many of you parents may know, it can be extremely difficult to enjoy yourself and a gathering like this, because you are constantly chasing the kids around or they are literally hanging on you (I mean pulling on both my arms at the same time) the entire time.

But on this night there was a complete transformation by the kids. They were social with the other side of the family, they were able to entertain themselves and they were very well behaved. It's amazing to see when kids hit certain maturity levels. Obvioiusly, I know their not adults yet, but this was a breath of fresh air.

There was a brief moment when Junior Bear decided to become the focus of the party, as he started to tell his dirty diaper jokes and was forcing himself to burp, but it was short lived and honestly (for me) very entertaining.

Now let me explain to you that Junior Bear is in kindergarten and currently, for whatever reason, dirty diapers are very funny to him. In case you are wondering what his dirty diaper jokes are like, here’s an example:

Junior Bear: Knock-knock

Papa Bear: Who’s there?

Junior Bear: Diaper

Papa Bear: Diaper who?

Junior Bear: Diaper dirty diaper (followed by hysterical laughter)

Of course there was the moment Saturday night when gifts were being opened and for whatever reason there was a collective silence and he rips off the loudest burp he has ever released. I was actually surprised that his dinner didn’t follow it up.

Right now he is also his biggest fan. Every time he says something he thinks is funny, he follows it up with hysterical laughter. Honestly, though, I think he gets that from me.

Oh yeah, one other thing. Junior Bear cleaned up at Wii tennis Saturday night as well. He put the smack down on Mama Bear a number of times (Mama Bear is really bad) and also beat his cousin, uncle and Peanut Bear.

It really was Junior Bear’s weekend.

Papa Bear’s Tourney Pool…
As you know, I am addicted to everything sports, so it’s no surprise I’m in a few college basketball pools. I got off to a great start on Thursday, the first day of the tournament, going 15-of-16, but everything fell apart after that. I lost an Elite Eight team on Friday in West Virginia and once you lose an Elite Eight team in the first round you can basically mail it in.

The weekend didn’t get any better for me and I am now looking forward to my first fantasy baseball draft, which will be on Wednesday night.


A Cut Below

It can be very tiring with newborns. I don’t think I’m breaking any news when I tell you that. But imagine being in my shoes when Mama Bear pushes out a set of twins for our first children. Double freakin’ exhausting is putting it kindly.

It was shortly after my wife went back to work following her maternity leave. Junior Bear and Peanut Bear were probably only a few months old. I was playing stay-at-home Dad at that point (remember I was laid off just a few weeks after Mama Bear gave birth) and would also get up in the middle of the night for one of their two feedings (I usually took the 3 or 4 am feeding since Mama Bear was going to get up in a few hours to start her day).

This lack of sleep can really wreak havoc on a person, and I was no exception. We were feeding every three hours, the kids weren’t really sleeping through the night and there didn’t seem to be an end in sight. I barely got out of the house and when I did I was hauling two baby carriers with me all over the place. It was really a trying time.

One day I was able to shake the kids and I went to the Hair Cuttery for a trim. If memory serves me right, it was a Saturday and Mama Bear stayed back with the kids.
I’m not going to lie when I say it’s nice to get out of the house by yourself every once in a while when you’re the primary daytime caregiver. It kind of gives you a chance to catch your breath.

Anyway, you know how this type of hair cut place works; you give your name and then wait for a stylist to come call your name. It’s kind of like the lottery in that you know who gives the good hair cuts at the place and who doesn’t just by looking at them and you are hoping and praying you don’t get called by someone who is going to butcher you.

So, I give my name and wait, hoping I don’t get the person who is going to screw up my hair. As I am sitting there, I am starting to fall asleep as I was exhausted. I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. I was trying everything I could to stay awake, going as far as looking through the only magazine left, Oprah (or some magazine that is not supposed to be read by any self-respecting male).

Anyway, I finally get called up and the woman who was cutting my hair was someone I had gotten before. She did a good job the prior times, so I was glad to get her.

I slowly get up from my seat in the waiting area and work my way back to the chair. I plop down and she asks me if I would you like a wash first. I say sure and she takes me back to wash my hair.
Now, as you know this can be completely relaxing. I think at one point my leg jerked as I began to fall asleep. I quickly woke up and pretended like it never happened.

After she was finished I went back to the chair and immediately fell into a trance. See, I’m not -- let me repeat NOT -- the kind of guy who likes to chit-chat when getting my hair cut. I want the person who is cutting my hair to concentrate on the task at hand. There is no need to distract him or her. One slip up and all of a sudden I’m looking like Telly Savalas. So, once I sat down I almost immediately shut myself off.

As I’m sitting there I hear her say to me, “You remind me of Gary.”

So thinking I missed part of the conversation, I give a little giggle to play it off like I knew what she was talking about I reply, “Okay.”

She gives me somewhat of a dirty look, but I’m too tired to even care what she’s thinking.

Fast forward a few minutes and I’m at the register paying. She hands me the receipt and at the bottom it reads her name and it’s at this point I realized what she said to me earlier. She didn’t say, “You remind me of Gary.” She said, “My name is Mary.”

I was so tired I responded to someone introducing themselves to me with “Okay.”

I said Okay! I might as well have said to her, I don’t care who you are.

I couldn’t believe it. I was too embarrassed to say anything to her at this point. So I just paid, left her a tip, bolted out of there and never went back.

I began going to a different Hair Cuttery after that, but I do remember seeing her at the super market a week or so later and I again got a dirty look.

PBM on Twitter

Papa Bear has joined Twitter, another social networking platform. The PBM Experience is spreading like wild fire -- or as a buddy said, "spreading like a virus." I'll take that as a compliment. Anyway, the Twitter name is http://twitter.com/PapaBearMemoirs. I think I made more friends in one hour on Twitter than I have made in my previous 30-plus years (not sure if that's good or bad, I'll let you know later).

Remember you can still friend me on Facebook at PapaBear Memoirs or if you're still stuck in the stone ages you can email me at papabearmemoirs@aol.com.

More Spider-man

We stumbled across this Weird Al Spider-man/Piano Man song. The kids won't stop singing it. So I figured if it's stuck in my head, it might as well be stuck in yours.

Actually I've found that YouTube comes in handy when you need to keep the kids occupied for just a few minutes while you unload the diswasher or make a bed.


Listen up…

I don’t want to share every moment of our lives, and I'll usually stick to the stories I’m directly associated with, but this story might give you a better idea of my situation.

I was talking to Mama Bear on Friday and she was relaying a funny conversation she had with a few colleagues at work earlier that day.

One of Mama Bear’s friends at work was saying that her younger child is pushing the limits. He or she (I don’t remember what sex the kid is) won’t listen the first few times she says something. Another one of her friends, someone who often comes over to our house and is a good friend of our family, says she has the same problems.

Mama Bear’s one friend then asked her if she had the same problems. Mama Bear said, “No. Our kids are really good. They listen to me every time I ask them something.”

Mama Bear’s close friend agreed, remembering a story of when she was over the last time. “They do listen to you,” she said. “Last time I was over, you only had to ask them once to put the coloring books away. But (Papa Bear) had asked them 10 times before that and they kept telling him to hold on.”

Why is it that I have such a problem getting them to listen to me the first time? That’s rhetorical.

Now I am exaggerating a little bit. The kids do listen to me (sometimes) and they are really good kids. I love them to death. They all know how to have fun and I love that. If I didn’t love them so much and love being a dad as much as I do, I wouldn’t be sharing these stories with you.

Mama Bear has an amazing way to get the kids to listen. She focuses on the positives and the kids really respond to that. She’s smart, fun and witty. I am a better parent because of her.

She does go to bed too early, but if she didn’t I wouldn’t have time to write these (so let’s thank her for that).

Now you’re catching me at a serious moment (listen carefully because these moments don’t and won’t happen too often). These stories are often just meant to be entertaining for you, focusing on my faults and making fun of that.

I only think it’s fair that I seriously tell you that I wouldn’t be able to laugh at myself so much if it wasn’t for Mama Bear. She is the rock and keeps the order and that if it wasn’t for her, I’d probably be crying more than laughing.

My father-in-law and I worked on the bathroom again on Saturday. This time we were filling in the holes we made with dirt and cement. If you forgot the problems I had a few weekends with the kids, laugh about it again here: http://papabearmemoirs.blogspot.com/2009/02/world-needs-ditch-diggers-too.html

For a brief recap on this weeked, exchange “please get out of the hole,” with “please get out of the cement,” and you get the idea. Actually, the kids were out most of the time with mom and nana. They came back with a Wii.

We hooked up the Wii on Sunday. I was initially concerned that I was going to have to put a time limit on them, which I’ll have to do anyway, but I think Mama Bear is going to also have to put a time limit on me.

We played baseball, bowling, golf and tennis. In baseball, I took Junior Bear deep, twice. Peanut Bear was talking mad smack during bowling and golf. Junior Bear was beating the competitive Peanut Bear with regularity in tennis and she was getting so mad that he started to let her win and was being so encouraging to her. At one point he was telling her, “That was a really good shot.” That would’ve been true if the ball wasn’t going into the stands. Cookie Bear, well, she was busy with her blocks and babies and wasn’t too interested. Good for her.


Papa Bear is a Parenting.com Fave!

The PBM Experience is catching on! Parenting.com has caught the fever. Check it out here.


Hell Hath No Fury...

This is from the files of When a Good Dad Goes Bad.
It was November 2007 and I was still playing Daytime Daddy. I had just dropped Junior Bear and Peanut Bear off at preschool and came back to the house with Cookie Bear, who was 2-years-old at the time and too young for school, and was taking care of some personal financing.

Mama Bear and I own a pair of rental properties with her parents and I pretty much oversee the daily operations of the investments. It was towards the beginning of the month and I had just deposited the rent checks a few days earlier. So I got online to make sure the checks cleared in time for the automatic withdrawals when I noticed that a large amount of money was missing.

Yes, missing! I immediately went into a panic.

Knowing I am forgetful, I ripped apart the house looking for one of the rent checks. After I couldn’t find the check, I realized I forgot to check the account history when I was online to see if the checks were deposited. (It’s amazing I can make it through a day without any major injuries).

Anyway, both checks were deposited and the account history showed that a withdrawal was made on the same day I was in a wedding party for a good friend of mine.

So I called my bank’s 800 number to get them to look into it. The lady I spoke to on the phone said that the withdrawal was made from a South Jersey bank and was signed for by a guy with my same last name, just a different first name – making it a clerical error and not fraud (remember that fact). However, she told me I had to call that local branch for them to fix it.

I then called that branch and, at first, I was sane. I explained my situation to the assistant manager, who then transferred me to the branch manager. That is when the problems started.

This dude (I’ll call him Sunshine) kept insisting that this was fraud and not a clerical error. Sunshine refused to give in and told me I had to file a police report and go to my local branch to file another report.

Oh yeah, and he said I was out of luck when I asked who was going to spot me the money for the two mortgage payments that were due in 48 hours. He told that when it has to do with identity fraud, which he was claiming, I would have to wait a few weeks, if not months, for my money.

BS, right? That’s what I told him in so many words.

By the time we stopped yelling at each other, I had about 15 minutes before I had to pick up the kids from preschool. On my way to pick them up, a very evil thought came to my mind – I was going to take all three kids to the bank right from school, meaning they were going to be hungry and tired.

So that’s what I did.

First, we stopped by the police station and filed the report. That took just a few minutes and the officer couldn’t believe that we had to go through these steps.

Then, we went to the bank. Of course, we had to wait for the assistant manager, as the branch manager was off that day. That was fine by me though, I was letting the kids have their way with that bank from the start, as they immediately began climbing all over the chairs.

Seeing the kids acting up, one of the tellers thought it would be a good idea to give the kids lollipops. I agreed -- the more sugar the better I thought.

About 20 minutes went by and we were finally called to the assistant manager’s desk. You could see this guy was having a bad day before I even got there. Sunshine had called him to warn him of my arrival and if memory serves me right, he was trying to fix another problem from another client just before we got there.

Anyway, the lollipops were almost finished when we got to the desk, meaning -- you guessed it – sticky fingers.

I explained my situation to him and he could barely keep his attention on me, as Junior Bear and Cookie Bear were playing musical chairs without the music and Peanut Bear began to creep behind him. The kids were behaving just perfect (insert sinister laugh here).

He then called the other branch and as he was doing that the lady who gave the kids the lollipops came over with some coloring books and crayons. Good idea by her, but what she failed to realize was there was plenty of other things on this guy’s desk for them to color.

As he was talking to the other branch manager, Cookie Bear went through about 50 percent of his business cards with the crayons. The rest were taken care of by Junior Bear’s sticky fingers from the sugar-filled lollipop he just devoured.

After the assistant manager hung up, he had a few more questions for me and you could tell he was stuck in the whirlwinds, not knowing what end was up.

He had me fill out some paper work and while I was doing this his phone rang. Now I couldn’t hear the other end of the conversation so this it was it sounded like to me.


“Hi Ella.” (She’s the district manager I came to find out).

“I know. I know. I asked him to stay but he had to go. I am in the middle of dealing with a client.”

(Peanut Bear screams that she has to go potty, diverting the guy’s attention for a moment. I tell her to hold it.)


“Oh, right. I know I can’t miss the pick-up, but what am I supposed to do? I asked if he could wait five more minutes and he didn’t.”

“Okay, it won’t happen again.”

(He then slams down the phone and violently throws his pad and paper across his desk into the window.)

By this point I was done filling out the paper work and I realized my plan had played out perfectly. The guy was frazzled. The kids tore apart his desk and took the attention from other bank personnel. He had missed the armored car pick-up and he got yelled at by his boss.

(In my mind, this was when I was saying, in my best Hannibal Smith impersonation, “I love it when a plan comes together.” And stick the cigar in my mouth smiling. Remember, he was the leader in the 80’s hit show the A-Team).

I wasn’t ready to leave yet as I didn’t have my money, but the guy told me that he believed this was a clerical error and he would take care of it and call me within the next few hours with an update.

So I took the kids out of the bank, with a quick pit stop at the potty for Peanut Bear, and treated them to Burger King to “reward” them for their behavior.

This is when Karma kicked in, as I quickly realized that two 4-year-olds and a 2-year-old can’t change their behavior so quickly. And I paid the price as the kids had me running around BK like crazy as they were jumping on the chairs, spilling drinks and throwing food.

I looked like the worst father and that day I probably was, but my point was made and the issue was taken care of, because when I got home there was a message on out machine saying, “I apologize for the error, your money has been refunded to your account.”


Papa Bear's T-Ball Fears

Mama Bear and I recently signed up Junior Bear and Peanut Bear for an instructional t-ball league with the local little league. At first I was very hesitant to do this because all you are hearing about nowadays are horror stories about how parents are going psycho at their kid's sporting events.

I played organized sports my entire life, and for the most part enjoyed every experience. Sure, there were jerk coaches and nutty parents that I not only played against, but also for. I never let those people bother me too much. I just went about my business and tried to enjoy myself. Although, I did tell my mom that if she ever acted up at a game, I would quit playing sports.

Now as a parent, it is those nutty people who scare me the most. The last thing I want is for my children to have a poor experience doing something I used to love to do and I believe helps mold you as you grow.

So to try and overcome my fear I have volunteered to be an assistant coach for my kids’ team. I didn’t feel I was ready to have the responsibility to setup practice schedules and do all the work that goes into being a head coach because of my work schedule (not that there is a lot at the t-ball level), but I felt that being an assistant I could help make the experience enjoyable not only for my kids but for everyone. I think as the kids get older, I will take more of a leadership role, if not for the only reason to try and keep crazy parents in check.

Anyway, our team had our first parents’ meeting this past week. Overall I think it went really well. Almost all of the parents, including the head coach, are going through this for the first time and I think this is going to be a good time for the kids and parents.

After the meeting I got really excited and began looking forward to the season. So this weekend, with Gamma and Pop Church (my parents) making a visit and the weather reaching the 70s, we went out and bought the kids their first gloves, baseballs, bats and a tee.

When we got back from the sporting goods store the kids couldn’t wait to get started. I had a catch with Junior and Peanut for a couple hours and we had a blast. To do anything with a pair of 5-year-olds for more than a half hour is incredible, so to have a catch for a couple hours was remarkable.

Cookie Bear also got a little glove and ball, but it’s hard to have a catch with a 3-year-old when she has a glove in one hand and a purse in the other. She’s very girly and I don’t think t-ball will be for her -- I think we’ll be signing her up for “instructional shopping” not instructional t-ball when she is their age.

Anyway, when we first started having a catch, Junior and Peanut could barely catch the ball, were getting hit in the chest regularly, were throwing off the wrong foot and had me running all over the yard for errant throws. By the end, Junior was making Rickey Henderson-like snap catches (okay, it wasn’t technically a snap catch, but he was confidently snagging the ball with one hand) and Peanut was throwing the ball with some pop.

By the way, I quickly learned it can be very dangerous to have a catch with a pair of 5-year-olds at the same time, especially when they each have a baseball and they decide to throw the ball at you at the same time. Papa Bear’s “boys” got a scare a more than a couple times.

Honestly though, I couldn’t have been happier and more proud. I know this sounds corny, but I have been looking forward to this day since I found out my wife was pregnant (not the part about getting baseballs thrown at my balls, but rather the having a “real” catch with my kids).

I can remember when we went for the ultrasound to find out what sex the kids were going to be.
The ultrasound woman said, “Twin A is a boy.”

And as she went searching for Twin B (that what the doctors refer to twins as before birth - Twin A and Twin B) I immediately had the following conversation with myself.

“Yes! Awesome, someone I can have a catch with… Now, if the other is a boy that will be great. I can have double the catches. I can teach them how to throw, catch, hit… No, wait. If the other one is a boy, they won’t need me. They will be able to have a catch with each other and I won’t be needed. (Panic sets in) I will be a father with two boys and no one to have a catch with. That is so depressing. I need to be able to have a catch with someone. I hope Twin B is a girl. Please be a girl, please be a girl, please be a girl…”

And like the ultrasound woman knew what I was thinking she said on cue, “Twin B is a girl.”

“Yes!” I shouted. “I will have someone to have a catch with!”

After the confused look from Mama Bear’s face settled, something dawned upon me, it was only one word but it quickly had me wishing I didn’t have someone to have a catch with -- WEDDING. I was going to have to pay for a wedding!

So you can imagine my reaction two years later when we were in the same room finding out the sex of our third child and the woman said, “You’re having a girl.”

Papa Bear: (sigh)

Mama Bear: “What now?”

Papa Bear: “Awesome. Not only are we going to have to pay for three kids in college at once, now we get a pair of weddings.”

Anyway, getting back on point, I’m glad the kids are looking forward to t-ball, and I hope that I don’t turn into that crazy parent I fear.

Although after reading this over, I think I already am a “crazy parent.”


PBM Hits Facebook

Papa Bear is not too tech savvy, but after a few hours of horsing around finally figured out how to open a Facebook page. Friend Papabear Memoirs to get updates sent to your Facebook page on when posts are made and also get some misc. thoughts and ramblings throughout the day.

A Slight Misunderstanding

When Junior Bear and Peanut Bear were just over 2-years-old, I was in need of finding more and more creative ways to keep them in one spot when changing their diapers or pull-ups. As many of you know, it can be extremely difficult to keep them from getting up and running away, especially when you have to make the transition from the dirty diaper to the clean one. That’s nothing new or unique to my situation.

So what I did was to start playing with their belly-button. I would press on their belly-button and say, “ding-dong.” We’ve all done it; we pretend that the belly-button is a doorbell.

I would say, “Ding-Dong! Ding-Dong!”, and press on the stomach, making them laugh.

It was simple yet brilliant for this simpleton father. I would have to do this like four or five times before starting to change their diaper as they laid on the floor and a couple other times after I took the dirty diaper off. They would have fun during this and, as a result, would stay put as I transferred to the clean diaper.

I was so impressed with myself. I came up with a solution to a problem without turning to Mama Bear. See, I usually turn to Mama Bear as she is a teacher (a very good one might I add) and she often has the answers for me when dealing with the kids. Whether it’s coming up with the punishment that fits the crime to dealing with temper tantrums to sounding out words (for me not the kids), I would be lost without her.

Anyway, again, I was pretty happy that I came up with this solution and a sense of pride came over me. I felt that I was finally learning something after two years on Daytime Daddy duty – until my parents came over one Saturday that is.

My parents came down from North Jersey for the day. I can’t really remember what we did, but I vividly remember what happened shortly after dinner that night.

We had just got up from the table and getting ready for dessert when the twins needed to get their diapers changed. I left that chore up to Gamma Bear, as there’s no need for me and Mama Bear to have all the fun all the time. So, Gamma Bear was having the same problem I was having, she couldn’t keep the kids down and before we knew it, both kids were running around naked.

Needless to say, I was enjoying this. It’s fun to watch Gamma struggle and it soon reached all new heights as it was at this point one of the funniest things that I can ever remember them saying came out.

The twins ran to the steps and Junior Bear shouted to the family, “Daddy touches my ding-dong when he changes my diaper!”

Peanut Bear quickly echoed her brother’s words and I broke into hysterical laughter knowing what they meant. However, not everyone in the room got the joke.

“What?!” yelled Gamma Bear as her jaw hit the floor.

Pop Church (my dad) nearly choked on his coffee and gave me a look I had never seen.

To prove that I shouldn’t get arrested, I asked the kids to point to their “ding-dong.”

They both pointed to their belly-button at the same time and we all shared a good laugh, but it was at that point I had to stop pressing their “ding-dong” when changing their diapers.

I’m glad it came out then and not at the preschool. I probably would have been asking the twins to point to their “ding-dong” from behind bars if that happened.


Picture Days Will Be The End of Me

Here's a follow-up to Hairy Picture Day story for you...

So I dropped Cookie Bear off at preschool today and the teacher says to me, "So you're the only one who filled out a form."

I was lost, thinking she meant a book order form. So I asked her what she was talking about.

"Today is picture day," she says with a big smile.

"Really?" I respond, thinking Mama Bear is going to kill me not only because I didn't do her hair special and I never removed the washable tattoo from her hand she asked me too. So now she will have crazy hair and a tattoo. (Boy I hope that photographer is going to hide that tattoo).

"Her hair is horrible," I tell the teacher.

"Oh don't worry about it," she says confidently. "This photographer is really good and will do her hair really nice."

Yeah, but she doesn't know my luck. I'm thinking I better just move a blanket and pillow to the couch right now.

How come I can't win with these picture days? I'm either screwing up hair, dressing the kids backwards or forgetting all together.

I have a feeling that if I end up taking the escalator down instead of up when my time on this earth is over, everyday is going to be picture day.

And this just in from the "It Just Keeps Getting Better Department": When I got to work this morning I had an email from Junior Bear's and Peanut Bear's school, tomorrow is Spring Picture Day at their school.

AWESOME! Let's see what I can mess up next.

Papa Bear's Dirty Little Secret

I have a problem.

I’m an addict.

There, I said it. You happy?

I’m addicted to fantasy sports. But guess what? I like it! I’m not looking to get reformed. I’m not looking for help. I’m here to tell you, I’m a fantasy sports junkie and no intervention is needed.

Like millions of others in this country, my vices are fantasy football and fantasy baseball. Just to clarify, I’m not an addict in the sense that I join dozens of leagues and drop thousands of dollars. Actually, in recent years I have averaged only two baseball and three football leagues per year, which is about the average amount of leagues for most fantasy gamers I know.

However, the leagues I am in, I go in 100 percent and become completely obsessed – most times to the point where I physically lose sleep at night. The picture above, I drew that about 10 years ago as the logo for my fantasy teams. I know, I know, I'm a loser. I’ve toyed with the idea of asking my family doctor for a medication to help overcome this, but I have shied away from that -- for now.

Right now I’m in full blown fantasy baseball mode. I’m in a keeper league with 11 other guys and I am itching like crazy to get started. I want to start trading keepers and acquiring picks. I just want to get going.

As this blog-o-mine progresses, you will find that my obsession with fantasy sports is a problem. Family trips used to be arranged around when lineups needed to be set (internet phone has helped that a little) and my mood is usually directly associated with how my team is doing. It’s a problem – I know.

There are also dilemmas I run into when I have to decide between my family and my fantasy, and as weird as this may sound, it’s not an easy choice. If you’re a fantasy gamer you know where I’m coming from. If you don’t, you’re not a true gamer. Like the Sunday when you need Drew Brees to throw four TDs to give you the win and you have to go to some great aunt's house that doesn't have a TV or your kids ask you to take them to the playground, knowing your reality team has already played.

Ask any hard-core fantasy gamer out there and they will all tell you that this is not an easy choice to make. Choose the party or the playground and you're miserable for not knowing what's going on, choose the game and, well, you know. It’s truly a problem we all run into.

Currently, for my baseball league I’m on a kick where I want to try and acquire all of my man-crushes and rename my team "The Mantasies." For those of you who don’t know, “man-crushes” can be defined as a guy you (as a male) have an affinity for. Right now, my man-crushes include Chase Utley, David Wright, Joey Votto, Ryan Zimmerman, Matt Kemp and Brandon Webb. I don’t completely know why I have man-crushes on every single one of these guys. Reasons vary from they play on my favorite team (the Mets) to I drafted them on my fantasy team the year they played really well and I developed a crush on them as a result.

It is at this point I feel the need to point out to you that I am a married man and add that many fantasy gamers have had numerous man-crushes through the years. I’m not the only on. I swear. If you’re denying it, you’re lying.

Why do I want to do this? I don’t completely know. Probably has to do with my obsession for fantasy baseball and hours I need to kill thinking about it. Who knows?

Did you think I was lying when I said I have a problem?

I have even managed to get my 5-year-old son Junior Bear into it to the point he knows how many points for every 10 yards rushing and how many points for a touchdown. I rationalize this to myself that I am teaching him basic math skills.

Me: "20-yard touchdown is worth what?"

Junior Bear: "Eight points!"

Ah, Papa Bear's so proud.

I also get him in on the decision making when I feel I'm in a rut, but that's a story for a different day.

Despite my joy and bonding, some family members fear I am creating a monster. I'll let you decide.

As we move closer to my draft and then into the season I will be sure to keep you updated on how my team is doing.


Snow Days: Fun on YouTube

The kids and Mama Bear were off from school Monday because of the snow storm and I worked from home, so we wasted some time on YouTube. Junior Bear is really into super heroes right now and we took time looking up theme songs of super hero shows. All three kids were into it so it was fun. You will come to find that whatever Junior Bear is interested in, Peanut Bear and Cookie Bear will also get into. Not really sure why that is, but I was able to come across some classic cartoon intros.

We also watched the trailers of all three Spider-Man movies, Superman Returns, and we caught up on some music videos to satisfy the girls. Then we watched Spider-Man 2 and 3.


An Uneventful Weekend

This weekend was pretty lackluster. Saturday we did some work on the bathroom again and no new stories there, as the kids were as “helpful” as usual, but things picked up a bit later on Sunday.

We went to a birthday party for a boy in Cookie Bear’s preschool class and it went really well. It was at a local zoo and was really a nice event.

Part of the party was the zoo staff showing off some of the animals. We saw a chinchilla and a parrot up close and then went on a mini tour, feeding goats and sheep and seeing eagles, falcons, foxes, wolves and other animals that just sat there on the cold day.

Nothing really funny happened. But I always cringe when the staff at these kind of events asks a group of 3-5 year olds, “Any questions?”

Anything can happen at that point. I’m sure we all have our funny stories that stem from that question. Here are a coupe highlights from today.

After seeing the parrot, one of the kids asked, “Why don’t carrots fly?”

And then there was Junior Bear, who I think had his hand permanently raised throughout the party. Although, I don’t think he completely understands what a question is.

When the chinchilla was out and we were asked if there were any questions he was called on a said, “Chinchillas have excellent hearing.”

Then, when on the outdoor tour after the guide told the group that a falcon was the fastest animal, able to travel at up to 180 m.p.h., Junior Bear felt a need to tell the guide how fast every other animal could go – even though he had no idea.

We saw some deer-looking thing and he said, “They could run 100 m.p.h.” to the guide. She said, “Close, 50 m.p.h.” To which he responded, “That’s what I meant.”
Repeat this story for the wolves, ponies, and the three other sleeping creatures we saw on a 30-degree day.

Well the snow is starting to fall here in the Philadelphia area, so I’m sure I’ll have some more stories from Monday as I’m sure there won’t be school.