Down But Not Out

I was planning on starting a series on sleep deprivation this week, but I am going to wait a week as I need to get something off my chest. It’s a fairly serious matter and if I wait any longer to tell anyone, it might just get worse.

See, I’m in an abusive relationship. That’s right people, Papa Bear is being abused. I just don’t know how to tear myself away from this horrible nightmare. Every time I think things are going to change, it just reverts back to the way it was. I stick around each and every time, thinking things will get better, but it doesn’t and actually gets worse and worse each time.

Now, before you start thinking that Mama Bear is beating me, or that the kids are unleashing on the Old Man, let me just say that’s not the case. See, Papa Bear continues to get abused by one of his first loves – the New York Mets.

I know, I know, you’re thinking, “This guy is nuts. What the heck does he mean? It’s just baseball.” Well, for me it’s not just baseball. It’s more than that. It’s my original passion, one of my longest loves.

I understand that this isn’t your usual PBM Experience, but this is one of those topics that has molded me into what I am today and therefore fair game for The Memoirs. So deal with the rant.

First, let me tell you that as I write this the Mets are just 9-12, coming off a 3-3 homestand and heading into Philadelphia for a series with the Phillies. As you may remember, I am a long-suffering Mets fan living in the Philadelphia region, making this upcoming series even more painful for me.

Anyway, I’m not going to go into detail about everything that is bothering me about the Mets, but I am going to touch on some of it. So without hesitation, here we go:

This team is made up of a bunch of choke artists. The core of this team has choked away comfortable leads late in the season to miss the playoffs the last two years and the season prior to that choked in the playoffs. After the choke job two years ago, I felt this team should’ve been rebuilt, and when it wasn’t even after last season, I became irritated. Now, this year, this team can’t muster any late-inning magic or any kind of magic for that matter. Once this team falls behind they are done. It doesn’t matter if it’s late in the game or early in the game, once this team falls behind you can turn the TV off. This group has no guts, no heart. I’m sorry to say it, but this is how I feel at this time. I’m so freaking frustrated! Do you have any idea how hard it is to watch a game when you know your team is going to lose?!

Next…I really dislike Oliver Perez (I’m not going to say hate). The lefthander is a head case. One thing goes wrong in an outing, and he implodes. I didn’t think they should’ve re-signed him in the offseason, and instead signed a less expensive option like Randy Wolf. At least with Wolf you know what you’re going to get. Even in his bad starts he’ll gut out some innings. Perez folds like a lawn chair when things don’t go his way and the result is he taxes the bullpen and his teammates. I can’t stand him right now.
I want to believe in this team. I want to root for them. But when they show me absolutely nothing, it’s hard. Honestly, I feel like crying right now.

I could go on forever on this, but I have to move on and admit that I have issues. I’m trying to deal with them, but I fear I’m creating a monster and here’s why.

This past football season, after the Giants (my football team and by default Junior Bear’s team) fell behind to the Eagles in their playoff game; Junior Bear started screaming “Damn it.” I was so mad at the team I didn’t say anything to him.

Mama Bear, a bandwagon Eagles fan (the worst kind), told him to stop it. He didn’t and kept going. “Damn it. Damn it. Damn it,” he said over and over, daring her to do something with some real anger in his voice.

Mama Bear asked me, “Are you going to say anything to him? Tell him to stop maybe?”
I said, “Why? He’s right. They stink right now. He should be mad.”

Well, Junior Bear got sent to the naughty step and the Giants still lost.

I don’t know. I’m try to not let my teams’ results affect my moods, but it’s hard. To be honest, though, a little passion never hurts. I tell myself that it could be worse, because even though the lows are hard to deal with (see this year’s Mets as example), the highs are great (see Giants Super Bowl win versus Patriots two years ago as example).

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When NeighBears Attack...

It was a harmless weekend in the Papa Bear household. Kids had a t-ball game on Saturday, Gamma and Pop Church came down to visit from north Jersey and Pop Doo Wop and I worked on the basement bathroom on Sunday.

The weather was wonderful all weekend and on Sunday before I resumed the bathroom project (Mama Bear thinks this is going to be done before Memorial Day, I beg to differ) I did some yard work. I’m trying desperately to grow grass in the yard, so I was planting some seed and then watering.

The kids, along with our NeighBear’s kids (we’ll call them Ry-Ry NeighBear and Bruiser NeighBear for now, I’ll have to get the official names from the parents), helped out. Ry-Ry is the age of Peanut and Junior, while Bruiser Bear is 2, is the height of a 5-year-old and has the strength of a 16-year-old. He is also my little buddy. Like everyone else, he loves The Papa Bear!!!

Anyway, they all helped me spread the seeds and then I let them water the lawn. First, I soaked them all and then let them go wild on each other.

That was until Ry-Ry Bear decided to get me. He gave me this look and I said, “He’s knows better then to get Papa Bear.”

He then smiled and skwirted away!

As he soaked me head to toe, I ran towards him, snatched the hose from him and got him back. Just as I was getting him, Mrs. NeighBear came home from the store and was laughing that he got me. I’m a good sport -- it was funny -- but I think I scared Ry-Ry Bear when I got him back. I think he thought I was mad at him, or he was just mad at me for getting him.

Either way, it reminded me of a time when I was finishing the basement. It was a late summer day and I was lugging drywall into the house all by myself.

Now, keep in mind this drywall trip was frustrating. I was at Home Depot for like an hour trying to get everything, as the people there are not very helpful. I had 10 sheets of drywall and at least three employees walked right past me and never offered to help, leaving me to pull it off the shelf, put into the cart, get off the cart and into my minivan all by myself.

It’s really amazing to me, because I’m trying to lug around all this heavy material, and Mama Bear goes there for light bulbs and gets offers for help at least four or five times.

Anyway, it was a hot humid day and I was sweating like a beast. I was carrying two sheets of drywall at a time over my head, into the house and then down the basement. Junior Bear, who was three at the time, for whatever reason had the hose. As I made my way with the last set of drywall, he saw my vulnerability (hands over my head, carrying something heavy and not able to move quickly) and he absolutely soaked me with the water, forcing me to move quickly and as a result, the drywall broke in two pieces over my head.

Mama Bear, who was standing on the porch watching, thought it was the funniest thing she ever saw, and while I stood there completely defeated, Junior Bear continued to soak me.

All those years home with him and his sister and this is the thanks I get. I hope he doesn’t think this is something I’m going to forget very easily.

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T-Ball is Consuming My Time...

T-Ball took up a lot more of time this week than I thought it would and as a result the PBM takes a minor hit with no late-week content other than this. Kids had practice Wednesday night and game Thursday night and there is another game scheduled for Saturday.

So figured I'd take this chance to pass along a useful educational website that Mama Bear turned the kids onto called Fun Brain. It can be found at http://www.funbrain.com/. Junior Bear and Peanut Bear love the math baseball game and it's great that they are into it. Only problem is they want to play it every chance they get and that means fights -- rather disagreements -- in the morning when we are late to get to the bus stop.

Guess I can't have everything. At least the kids are into learning and if that means missing the bis once in a while and driving them to school, so be it.
Finally, if you're truly jonesing a PBM story, check out the archives and read away.


Parenting Can Be a Pain in the…

This past Thursday was set to be a big day in the Papa Bear household. Peanut Bear and Junior Bear (or Tank Bear as he is asking to be called now) were set to have their first t-ball game that night. In anticipation of the long night, Mama Bear and I made sure the kids got to sleep early the night before.

Thursday morning was a relatively easy one for me, at least at the start. The kids got up without much of a problem and we had a few minutes to spare before we had to leave for the bus. The kids enjoy it if they get ready early enough because they have a little time to play.

Anyway, on the way to the bus stop, Cookie Bear, who attends pre-school but walks with us to the bus stop every morning, caught her toe on the curb when running across the street and scrapped up her leg pretty good.

So, being the good dad that I am, I picked her up to comfort her. But as I lifted her I felt my back getting ready to pop. I told Cookie Bear I was going to have to put her down, hoping I could avoid in the inevitable, but as I bent to put her down – pop – there went my back.

Now anyone who has had any kind of back problem can attest that the ensuing moments after the pop are not very pleasant. As your back starts to spasm, the muscles put pressure on your lungs and it makes it very difficult to breathe.

At first I wanted to “man-up” and keep going. The moms from the neighborhood were about to ascend on us on their way to the bus stop and I didn’t want to look like something was wrong with me. But I could barely breathe, Cookie Bear was crying, and Peanut and Junior Bear, knowing daddy was not 100 percent, were like sharks and took full advantage of the situation, running full steam ahead. They actually ran, having a ball and not stopping once to help poor old dad (You can bet I’m going to remember that when their 16 and want to go to the movies).

I couldn’t yell for them to stop since I could barely breathe and the first mom was about to come out the door of her house right across the street. So, knowing I was going to have to fall to a knee to catch my breath anyway (see, this has happened numerous times before), I went to a knee, pulled Cookie Bear close and acted like I was tending to her scrapes even though all I could see were stars.

It was the only thing I could think of at the time. See, I’m the only father who regularly drops the kids off at the bus stop and I didn’t want to be the first one to fall to injury. That can be very embarrassing for a guy.

So, after a minute or so, I was able to catch my breath and get up. I was in extreme pain, but “manned up” long enough to make it to the bus stop, let Peanut and Junior Bear know I was upset with them and get back to the house.

The crappy part of everything is that you can’t let things like this interrupt your life when you have kids. I can remember when before we had kids and I first injured my back, I stayed in bed all day. Now, I can’t stay in bed no matter how much I want to because I have three other lives I have to look after.


…that’s giving me problems. Remember reading about Papa Bear’s dirty little secret? Well, my fantasy baseball team is failing big time.

Through two full weeks in three different leagues, my teams are a combined 21-41. I get a chance to put together a team of the best players in Major League Baseball and I pick a group of guys that put me 20 games under .500 through two weeks!!! I don’t know if you know how bad that is?! It’s horrible, horrendous, embarrassing, disgraceful.

I dedicate hours of my life per weeks to this and this is the best I can do?! I mean, by the time I kick the bucket, I might have actually spent more time on fantasy teams than sleeping. It’s absolutely frustrating!

In my big money league, the league I spend most of time on, my team is 7-13. 7-13! I think I’m going to have to rethink my hobby and maybe get into something I’m actually good at.


Peanut Bear and Junior Bear were awesome at their t-ball game. They tied 24-24 as every kid gets to hit and as a result score since there is never an out made. Peanut Bear was very serious, asking to play pitcher to get into the action, while Junior Bear was practicing his “ninja” moves in the outfield. Can you tell who the competitive one is right now?

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What Was I Thinking

You remember last week I talked about my trip to the Jersey Shore in the summer of 2008 with the three kids and no Mama Bear. Remember, the non-stop chatter about superheroes? Well, here’s the rest of that story.

It was Day 2 of our trip. Mama Bear wasn’t expected to join us for another day and Gamma and Pop Church had house cleaning to do. I just came off what felt like 24 hours of answering the same question over and over, but the weather was nice and it felt like a new day.

See, I’ve learned as a parent of three younglings you have to have some sort of short term memory loss to get by each day sane. If I let what drove me completely nuts the day before to continue to bother me the next day, you quickly lose your senses. I associate this to a closer in baseball; he can’t loom on what went wrong the day before when he blew the save. He needs to concentrate on the task at hand to try and succeed. The key is to learn from what went wrong and improve.

It’s that last part I’m not good at. I’m a little slow at learning.

Like a glutton for punishment, I took all three kids to the beach on my own. No parents, no friends – nobody. Just me, two 5-year-olds and a 3-year-old on an endless beach. A beach with lots of water. Lots of water and sand. Lots and lots of sand.

As soon as we got there, Peanut Bear wanted to run in the water, Junior Bear wanted to stay at the shoreline and play, and Cookie Bear…well she didn’t want to do anything but stay at the towels.

So here’s the scene: A beautiful late summer morning, Papa Bear who burns a shade of red never seen before even by a lobster and sweats like there’s no tomorrow, a girl (Peanut Bear) pulling on his left arm towards the shoreline, a boy (Junior Bear) with a hand full of sand that he’s trying to put down the back of Papa Bear’s swimsuit and a third child (Cookie Bear) 20 yards away at the towels screaming that she doesn’t want to go towards the water.

What was I thinking!?

I had to quickly turn the tables.

But how?

I had a flashback of an event that happened earlier in the summer with the twins and Pop Church (my dad), who I think intentionally sent me to the beach by myself as payback.

See, earlier that summer Mama Bear, he and my mom (Gamma) took the kids to an event at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia. I was working the event, so couldn’t be there to help. At one point, Junior Bear and Peanut Bear got hungry and he agreed to take them to the concession stand.

Well, no sooner did he agree, Peanut Bear bolted out of the chair and ran up to the concourse. Junior Bear was close behind, and my dad was sweating to keep up. Needless to say the twins beat him to the top. Peanut Bear didn’t hesitate and made a left hand turn, disappearing out of sight. Junior Bear had a moment of hesitation and paused at the top. He looked left, then looked down at his Pop, probably thinking “I shouldn’t do what I’m about to do,” and then made a sprint to the right.

Flustered, my father threw it into a gear he hadn’t seen in decades. He ran after Junior Bear first since he was closer and then tracked down Peanut Bear. When he got them together he yelled like he hadn’t in years.

Pop Church: “That was bad! You never run away from me!”

I’m sure he added some other choice words to get the point across. He had every right too. That’s a scary thing. And only because everyone turned out okay, I can laugh at the next thing that happened.
Junior Bear, not happy he was being yelled at, immediately got mad at his Pop and said, “You’re not very nice.”

Well that sent my dad at a whole new level, a level that was later explained to me by Mama Bear as Phase Purple, because my dad turned purple yelling.

Anyway, back to the story (focus Papa Bear, focus).

I couldn’t go in the water. That was the absolute wrong answer -- that much I knew. So I let Junior Bear get me with the sand. He wasn’t going to stop until he got me. I then chased the twins up to Cookie Bear and buried them. I buried them all up to their heads and that’s how they all stayed until Gamma and Pop got there a few hours later. If they can’t move, they can’t cause problems, right?
No. I’m joking. I didn’t bury them up to their neck -- just to their waste. They got out and we had fun.
I am quickly learning that vacations aren’t relaxing anymore and I need a vacation from vacation.

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If you liked this story, try the archives (located along the right-hand column) and find some other stories of a grown-up child trying to navigate through fatherhood.


I Must’ve Been Trippin’

It was late in the summer of 2008 and I was taking a two week vacation. Mama Bear had to report to school for a few days to prepare for the upcoming school year so I made plans to take the three kids down the Jersey Shore and meet my parents at their shore house.

The weekend prior, we had been to Ocean City, NJ for a 40th birthday party for my boss at the time. Well, in classic Papa Bear fashion, I had left a bag (or two) of our stuff at his house. I’m not totally convinced I am the one to blame for leaving the bags there, but Mama Bear insisted that she asked me to get the bags and I didn’t hear her. This has happened before so I can’t deny that that didn’t happen. Regardless, the kids and I had to make a stop.

Now the trip down the shore was my idea. I thought it would be great to give Mama Bear some time off before she had to go back to work and I thought it would be nice to enjoy the sunshine and water with the kids.

My son, Junior Bear, was at the beginning stages of his superhero phase at this point. And like I’ve probably said before, when Junior Bear gets into something, he jumps in with both feet and it becomes an obsession. By default, his sisters also get into whatever phase he’s in.

It took about two hours to get to Ocean City, and it was probably the longest two hours of that summer for me. I had to explain the story of Superman, Spiderman, and the Star Wars Jedi multiple times. Let me tell you that there are only so many times a grown man can explain these stories in one trip.

Junior Bear: “Where did Superman come from?”

Papa Bear: “Krypton.”

Junior Bear: “How does he get his powers?”

Papa Bear: “The yellow sun of earth.”

Peanut Bear: “Where did Superman come from?”

Papa Bear: “Krypton! I just said that.”

Junior Bear: “How did Spider-man get his powers?”

Papa Bear: “The yellow sun!”

Junior Bear: “No dad, Spider-man not Superman.”

Papa Bear: “Oh, he was bit by a spider.”

Peanut Bear: “Dad, how does Superman get his powers?”

Papa Bear: “The sun!”

Cookie Bear: “Are we there yet?”

Papa Bear: “No.”

Peanut Bear: “How much longer?”…

I think you get the point. It was rapid fire on Papa Bear. I mean, I had to tell the stories at least 100 times (at least it felt that way) and it got to the point where I was just trying to end the conversations by pleading ignorance.

But as I painfully learned that doesn’t work. See, Peanut Bear thinks she can get to the answer by just emphasizing a different word in the question.

Junior Bear: “Dad, how do Jedi get their powers?”

Papa Bear: “I don’t know.”

Peanut Bear: “No, dad; How do Jedi get their powers?”

Papa Bear: “I don’t know!”

Peanut Bear: “No, no, Dad; How do Jedi get their powers?”

Papa Bear: “I heard the question. I just don’t know.”

Peanut Bear: “Dad, dad, dad, listen to me. How do Jedi get their powers?”

Thinking back it would’ve been easier to just answer the question the first time.

I think I had a boss like this once. Although at least he had the creativity to ask the same question three different ways.

By the time we got to my boss’ place (by the way, he wasn’t the boss who asked the same question a ton of times), I was ready to stick a fork in my eye. I’m sure many of you parents feel my pain. See, Mama Bear rarely has this trouble with the kids. She has an unbelievable way with them. She can get them to do anything she wants, similar to what a Jedi could do. Me, on the other hand, I’m more like Han Solo, no special powers and I usually resort to banging things to try and fix them (some might even call me Jar-Jar Binks). As a matter a fact, the kids have a way of getting me to do whatever they want. I’m like their little puppet.

But fortunately for me, when we arrived my boss was game for the superhero talk. He had Junior Bear engaged for quite awhile. He even introduced a few new superheroes to him, which was great until the ride from his place to our place when I had to answer those questions.

“Who’s the Hulk again?...How did he get his powers?...Where does the Hulk live?...”


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If you liked this story, try the archives (located along the right-hand column) and find some other stories of a grown-up child trying to navigate through fatherhood.

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Baseball’s Back; PBM Making a Donation

It’s Sunday night and I’m excited that the baseball season has finally started again. I absolutely love watching baseball. I know I’m probably in the minority here, as many don’t like the slow pace of the game, but I really enjoy the sport.

There are a number of reasons why I like watching baseball, but it wasn’t until last year that I came to find the biggest reason why – Junior Bear likes watching games with me.

He sneaks out of bed, comes down and watches a few innings with me. It is fun for me because he asks me a ton of questions (mostly baseball, but some other questions as well) and it turns into a real bonding experience for us. I’m not kidding myself here, I understand why he comes down – he’s not ready to go to bed and knows that if he acts interested I’ll let him stay up longer. But that’s okay with me.

This also means the start of fantasy baseball season as well. I had my draft last Sunday and think I came out with an average team. But here are some of the players I’ll be pulling for (or cursing out) for at least the start of the season. Chase Utley, Mark Teixeira, Dan Haren, Carlos Lee, Mike Pelfrey, Lastings Milledge, Denard Span, Stephen Drew, Chone Figgins and a bunch of others.

I have two other teams, but won’t bore you with all 50-plus players I will be rooting for as the season begins.

I think it will only be a matter of time before I have Junior Bear making roster moves for me. He actually asked if he could have his own team after seeing the Alyssa Milano fantasy baseball commercial on ESPN.

Finally, Titi Bear (my sister) is taking part in Revlon Run/Walk for Women, a charity event to raise money and awareness for women’s cancer. If you are so inclined, you can make a donation to her personal page by clicking here.

The Papa Bear Memoirs will also be donating any and all money raised through the site’s advertising from March and through April to her for the event. Since I’m just learning all this blog advertising, I’m not really sure how much money will be raised this way, but every little bit helps.

So, if you’re on the site right now, make sure you click on the Google Adsense ads that are at the bottom of each of the first three entries to see if you’re interested in purchasing something. I do think that the site makes money for just clicking on the ad as well. Also, if you’re planning a vacation, need life insurance, have been procrastinating on your taxes or need an auto part, please check out the other ads on this page.


Hey Papa Bear Memoirs fans, check out my guest blog at Gina Chen's Family Life blog at the Syracuse Post-Standard. Gina is excellent at following, informing and educating her readers on family/parenting news and much more. She also touches on a number of other aspects and you should check her out at http://blog.syracuse.com/family/ . The guest blog can be found by clicking the picture above. ~Enjoy.


3 Kids, 1 Guy And A Doctor's Office

Earlier this week I mentioned Cookie Bear and I were feeling under the weather. Well, the next day Mama Bear and I decided it was best to take her and Junior Bear, who has a swollen toe, to the doctor. I also kept Peanut Bear home from school that day, because she was showing the same symptoms I had, so thought it was best to take her as well.

Crazy, right?

Three kids, one parent and a doctor’s office. So much could go wrong.

But little did. Why? Because Papa Bear is an old pro at this – not because I’m perfect, but because I learn from my mistakes.

See, in my four-plus years of playing Daytime Daddy, I became quite the regular at the pediatrician’s office.

I took the kids there for everything. In addition to the regular check-ups, if I heard a cough, saw a runny nose or diaper rash, anything and everything, I was there. I have been there so much the receptionist just puts our files on the top of the desk once we walk in (I don’t know if that’s because she likes us or because she figures the quicker we get signed in the quicker we get out of there).

Anyway, being home during the day, I had the pleasure (some might say misfortune) to be the one to take the kids to most of their scheduled checkups, unless of course Mama Bear was home for the summer and then I’d let her go (yeah right, I let her).

The couple of years taking the twins was not an easy task. At first, I had no idea what to expect when going to the doctor’s office with kids. I thought all I had to do was bring…well, the kids. Right? Simple, I thought. What else could I possibly need? It was a doctor’s office.

Boy was I wrong!

After I waited over an hour during my first solo visit I realized it would be a good idea to bring some “supplies” with me the next time. I learned that just because they’re a pediatrician doesn’t make them anymore on schedule than a regular family doctor. Diapers, toys, bottles, all would have been helpful – especially the bottles.

So, from then on out I packed like I was going on a week’s long vacation. I brought, bottles (with water), formula (in the canister that you already have the portions divided), snacks (like Cheerios), toys (those teething kind came in handy); three diapers each, band-aids, a change of clothes and much, much more. Mama Bear thought I was nuts.

Packing was the easy part. The travel was a completely different story. Assuming I left the house on time, I would haul two baby carriers and a full diaper bag through the parking lot (because why should the door be close to parking?), up a flight of stairs (why should the doctor’s office be on the first floor?) and then wait, and wait, and wait, until we got called back to the office to wait, and wait again.

Now this could be physically draining, but I would soon find that this was nothing compared to bringing two toddlers to the doctor’s office.

Have you ever tried to do anything with a toddler? If you have multiple that by two and then imagine you’re a dad. The result? A mess.

Here is an excerpt of my first visit to the doctor’s office with Junior Bear and Peanut Bear when they were almost two years old (Keep in mind, this is just my side. I honestly can’t remember if the kids were talking, but as you will see it doesn't really matter if they were talking):

Nurse: You’ll be in room 8.

Papa Bear: Thanks…

Hey, over here!

Junior, Peanut not that room. This one!

After chasing them down the hall, we backtrack and get in the room…

Okay, guys just sit down…No. Not there. Over here…No! Not on that chair. It rolls and spins, you’ll get hurt…Here. Sit here. No! NOT ON THAT CHAIR!!!...Fine, fine. I’ll spin you once. Okay, okay, I’ll spin you too. Then you have to sit down…Okay, that’s it. No! That’s enough!...Peanut, stop the spinning!...I hear something behind me…Junior! Get out of the trash can. That’s dirty…I get him and while I’m wiping him down…Peanut! Enough with that chair!...Fine. One more spin and then we’re done…I put him down and go to her…Junior! Pleeease get out of the trash can!!... Turning around I notice something else….Peanut! Stop climbing up the drawers!...You’d think a pediatrician’s office would be kid proofed..Quick Papa Bear, think of something…Here, you look at this hammer thing. You look at this flat stick…Watch, sit here…Stop ripping the paper! No you can’t jump, and you please let go of that! (the thing doctors look in your mouth, ears and eyes with)… Sit down PLEASE!!!...Finally get them down and tap their knees…Okay, here. Just tap your knee. No! Don’t hit him with it. Stop it!...He starts crying...Give that to me now…AAAHHHHH!!!!!

Knock, knock

Doc: Hellooo. Looks like Daddy has his hands full.

Anyway, I think you get the idea. I still have nightmares about that, but I learned something from that visit -- bring crayons and coloring books. Those two things have been packed for every visit since.

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