Monday, September 27, 2010

I Love You

            Celia’s almost two now, and not only is she excited about her birthday party, she’s gaining more and more language skills to talk about it. I love being a part of her language development, because it’s not just the fact that she’s learning how to say things, it’s the things she decides to say that amaze me.
            I had a long talk with her about the word “hate,” which she must have picked up in daycare. One day she suddenly was saying things like, “Rain! I hate the rain!” or, “I hate soup!” or the worst, “I hate you!”
            After two days of gently trying to convince her that she didn’t actually hate these things, I sat her down before bedtime and explained the word “hate” to her.
            I said, “Celia, you need to know that the word ‘hate’ is a very strong word, and Mommy and Daddy don’t use it very much at all. It means you really don’t like something a lot.”
            Celia was quiet, so I went on, “There are only a few things in this whole world that I would say that I hate. I hate it when people do bad things, or when I do things that I wish I hadn’t. I hate that. And I hate being stuck in traffic.”
            Michelle said, “I hate looking for parking.”
            Celia tried her hand at it, “Mommy hate sheets!”
            “No,” I laughed, “Mommy doesn’t hate sheets. Mommy loves clean sheets. That’s one of her favorite things!”
            “Mommy love sheets!” Celia said.
            “That’s right,” I said, and gave her a hug.
            That was a couple of weeks ago, and the last time we heard her use that powerful emotional word. I think of these things now, because yesterday she declared another surprisingly powerful statement. As I was putting her down for a nap, I gave her a kiss and said, “I love you Sweetheart. Sleep well, and have good dreams.”
            As I was just about to close her bedroom door she said, “Daddy?”
            “Yes, Sweetie?” I peered through the door and saw her sitting up in her crib.
            “I love you, Daddy.”
            I grinned from ear to ear. My heart bubbled up and overflowed with emotional gravy. All sorts of good feelings oozed out of me, and I paused to look her in the eye. “I love you too, Sweetie. Now get some rest.”
            With a spring in my step, I left her room and took on the rest of my day with a spirit of generosity and goodness. It’s amazing, the power of words. And I am so appreciative that Celia is receptive to saying some darn good ones.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Colic and Sex

            I think the thing I find most frustrating with having a colicky child is the damper it puts on the sex life. I know Michelle tries her best, but when the baby is either screaming or being walked from morning till bedtime, there isn’t much left in the woman’s energy levels for good old Dad.
            To give my wife credit, she’s the one hearing the constant wailing, waking up in the middle of the night to feed the baby’s unending belly, and going through major hormonal and physical changes. But she also gets to breastfeed, which seems like the ultimate in physical connection. It was brutal trying to get her to wean Celia. It wasn’t Celia who didn’t want to give it up, it was Michelle. That bond is so unique and powerful, it’s the most intimate time she has with her children.
            And it sucks the sex-drive right out of her.
            The father, meanwhile, works a solid hard day and comes home to a wife who hands him the child with black rings under her eyes and says, “Here. You take him.” The man not only doesn’t get to rest, but he loses all but a fraction of the attention from his wife. Talk about a major relationship killer – these kids are anchors, dragging a father down into despondency and isolation.
            As I sit here writing this, it strikes me that this is probably the most difficult stage of most people’s marriages. It’s the “make it or break it” time. In the midst of baby chaos all the energy becomes focused on the kids rather than each other. Even as the kids get past the wailing stage, they still need attention. Kids are a lifelong endeavor, and they’ll always need to be loved. I can see how parents could easily place their entire focus on raising kids, until the kids finally grow up, move out, and they realize they have nothing left for each other. 
            I know that there’s another side to it – that these kids are wonderful little lights, brightening our lives. But right now, I’m definitely not feeling that warm fuzzy feeling. I just want my son to grow up quickly, get this colic over with, and give us a chance to take a breath.
            What a pity. When Celia was his age, she was so delightful she received a ton of attention and people clamoring to babysit her. Joshua, the poor little lad, cries so much that nobody, not even his grandmother, wants to watch him for very long. And nobody coos at a wailing baby and says, “What a cutie.”
            I wonder if Joshua will be shaped by that for the rest of his life? I’d imagine that he will be. These are the formative years. I’m sure the crying will end, but perhaps Joshua will be more reserved and isolated than his sister as an adult. I suppose only time will tell.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Party Hats and a Break From Wailing

            Could it be? I think Joshua is getting through the colic. He’s been a mostly-normal kid the last few days. Sure, he cries, but all babies cry. The difference is, he hasn’t been suddenly stiffening, writhing and wailing for a few days now. I’m crossing my fingers that he stays this way. There’s only so much a family can take before it really wears everyone down.
            With a little sanity on my hands, I’ve started planning for our big move. Ten days from now a lot will be happening – we’ll finally move into our new home, and Celia will have her two-year birthday party the day after. She’s really looking forward to the party, which I think is really cool.
            A month ago Michelle told me, “Let’s not make a big deal about her birthday, or we’ll have to do that every year.”
            “Are you crazy?” I responded. “I’ve already been making a big deal about it! Which book did you read that in?! It’s ridiculous! I want to make a big deal out of her birthday every year!”
            Michelle laughed, “I suppose you’re right.”
            So, I’ve been talking with Celia about her birthday plans for weeks now. Last night when we were putting Celia to bed Michelle asked her, “Celia, do you know how old you’ll be on your birthday?”
            “Two!” Celia said happily.
            “That’s right,” Michelle said. “And what do you want at your birthday party?”
            “Balloons!” Celia said with a glow in her eye.
            “How many balloons would you like?” I asked, hoping for a number under twenty.
            “Two!” she shouted excitedly.
            “Okay!” Michelle and I looked at each other with grins. “Two it is!”
            Celia laughed happily and clapped her hands.
            Two balloons is what she wants. Two balloons is what she’ll get. And a party hat for everyone. And a pineapple-carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and two candles. And we’ll invite all her new friends from daycare. Which will be a great way to meet all those other parents.
            Is it me, or is my daughter’s life making my life a whole lot more interesting?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Two Modes of Colic

            Having a colicky child is an all-encompassing job that doesn’t end. There are days where Joshua has two modes – asleep and crying. He’s just now starting to ease up again. I hope this one lasts.
            It seems like everybody has their opinion of what to do with a colicky kid. Change Michelle’s diet. Feed him solids. Fix his back and neck (the chiropractor said his neck is really twisted). Put him on his stomach. Probiotics. All sorts of different colic medicine. Or the one I hear the most - just bear with it, they turn out mostly normal anyway.
            We’ve tried a dozen things, and I wonder if he’s starting to get through it – who knows? At this point, Michelle just had a breakdown and left him with me. He’s starting to sputter. I don’t think I’ll have more time to write anymore. I’ll take him for a long walk or something, to help him sleep.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Dozen Bibs

            I’m amazed that my son Joshua is still growing. Not because three-month-old kids don’t grow, but because he pukes so darn much. I’m not watching him all day, but it seems like every time I look at him he’s either asleep or throwing up.
            I came home for lunch today and held little Joshua. He happily gazed up into my eyes and smiled.
            “Hello, my little jelly bean!” I said to him with a grin.
            “Aa-aaaah!” Joshua cooed back at me.
            “He sure is a cutie,” I thought, and then he puked. Thankfully, he was wearing a bib, so I used it to wipe up his face, then coo at him again.
            Michelle was watching me and offered some experienced advice. “Stick out your tongue,” she said.
            I glanced up at her, then tried popping out my tongue. Instant big grins. I darted my tongue in and out, and Joshua squealed happily. Ah, how silly we adults all become with a child in front of us. I had the privilege last week of watching an old family friend in her late sixties dancing around with big eyes and popping her hands in and out in front of her. Why? Because I was holding Joshua, of course.
            Their simple little smiles can melt any attentive person’s heart. But their puke – well, it’s pretty gross, and it seems like it just keeps coming.
            Back to lunch today, Joshua ended up puking so much he went through two bibs in our little half-hour together. I tried cleaning up the mess quickly, but one of the dogs kept beating me to the floor bits. When I was putting the third bib on him I asked Michelle, “How many bibs does he go through in a day?”
            “At least ten,” she said.
            “At least?” I lifted my little offspring and looked him in the eye.
            Michelle nodded.
            “We should give him a new nickname. How about, ‘The Pukenator!’ Although I’ve always like ‘Jelly Bean,’ a lot.”
            Michelle quietly kept chewing her food.
            “The Pukenator. Puking through a dozen bibs with no effort whatsoever! Able to throw up yet continue to grow up! He’s a super-boy!”
            Michelle shook her head at me and stood up to clean the dishes.
            “Well, he is a pretty super boy. I don’t care how colicky he is, he’s definitely becoming cuter every day.”
            Michelle held out her arms to take Joshua. “You clean up.”
            “Okay,” I said. “You’re going to put him down for a nap?”
            She nodded.
            “Have a great day. I’ll see you later.” I gave her a kiss, then kissed Joshua. He looked uncomfortable. I said a mental prayer for him. However much I might make light of it, it is kind of scary to watch your son not be able to hold down his food. The biggest comfort I have is he certainly isn’t small, so he must be eating enough. I’m looking forward to when he gets through this stage, eats some solid foods, and holds down his food. But for now, I think I’ll call him The Pukenator.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Drainage Systems

            Colicky kids are draining.
            Little three-month-old Joshua has been wailing for three days straight now. He takes short breaks during the day to nap and eat, then goes right back into the cries. When I came home from the office yesterday Michelle looked wiped out. She said to me, “I feel like I’ve aged ten years in the last two days.”
            I looked her in the eyes and said, “Don’t worry. You’ll get it back.”
            But it doesn’t change the fact that it’s hard to hear a crying child all day long, thinking, wondering, pondering whether there’s any possible solution that will help. We’ve now tried over a dozen recommendations and hypotheses. Maybe one or two of them will kick in by today. I hope so.
            The odd thing is that, although the crying drains Michelle during the day, we’re both getting our sleep at night. Celia has slept more the last two nights than I’ve ever known her to – twelve hours last night and eleven-and-a-half the night before. I wonder if she’s growing an extra inch or something.
            Joshua’s doing well with sleep too. I’m amazed to say that he sleeps for eight or nine hours before his first feeding, sometime between 3am and 4am. What a blessing! I wonder if it’s because he’s so worn out from all the crying.
            When Celia was his age she woke up every two to four hours for her feedings. But even getting our rest isn’t going to help Michelle with the colicky situation. Not only is she listening to the cries all day long, she’s a woman.
            No offense to women, but I think a part of their heart breaks every time they hear their child cry in pain. For us guys, sure it bothers us, but we can sort of compartmentalize it into the “issues” box, and not let it bother us deep down. If Michelle weren’t around I could see myself just popping in the earplugs and letting him get the cries out of his system. Not her. Every cry is like a hammer chiseling away at her heart.
            When I look at Michelle’s energy drainage system, I don’t think she’s got a lot left. She’s running on empty already. What’s below that? I suppose that’s when people break down. We’d better make sure that doesn’t happen. I’ll try to give her a break from both kids tomorrow, if I can. And maybe, if things get too bad, I’ll dig out some earplugs.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Potties and Printed Panties

            One of my dreams is slowly coming true. Celia has been potty training herself. We haven’t pressured her at all, only read to her books on the topic and given her access to The Potty Movie. She loves watching The Potty Movie. It has become her new favorite, which I think is an absolutely wonderful turn of events.
            It’s a twenty-minute cartoon featuring a girl who’s growing up in certain areas, including brushing her teeth, putting toys away, and using the potty. Perfect for an almost-two-year-old, and Celia loves it.
            However, it did backfire on us recently. Celia was watching the movie with deep intent, so I left the room and started washing dishes in the kitchen. A few minutes later Celia came walking into the kitchen holding out her finger.
            “What’s that, Sweetie?” I asked her.
            Celia didn’t respond, but walked closer to show me her finger. Something was on it. I looked closely. I couldn’t tell. It was dark and greenish. I looked at Celia in the eyes and said, “What is it Sweetie?”
            “Potty,” Celia said.
            My eyes widened. I smelled the finger.
            Yep. It was poop.
            She’d not only pooped her diaper while watching The Potty Movie, she’d stuck her finger down there. Talk about the opposite effect of what we were hoping for!
            Obviously, it’s hit-or-miss with the toilet training right now, but I’m just thankful that she’s on the right track. When she used her little potty three times one day we got excited and took her to the store to pick out “big girl underwear.” We told her that if she can use the potty every time in one day, she could wear the panties of her choosing.
            Celia got excited. She picked out the underwear with her favorite cartoon character on them – Dora the Explorer, just like the toothbrush I let her pick out last month.
            Michelle tried to convince her to choose another pair. “Look, Celia. This underwear has bunnies on it.” I looked at Michelle knowingly. How many things in our house do we really want with Dora printed on them?
            Celia looked at the bunnies, then held the Dora underwear to her chest. “Mine!” she said. She’s learning about possession these days, and everything is “mine” including all sorts of things that obviously aren’t.
            We bought her the Dora underwear, only to let them sit on top of her dresser for over a week now. In fact, she went from using her potty three times a day to now using it once or sometimes not at all.
            I wonder if the underwear thing backfired. Or perhaps she’s slowed down because she’s been in daycare all last week. I suppose one big change at a time is plenty for a kid.
            Maybe one big change at a time is enough for us adults too. What’s the adult equivalent to learning to use the toilet? Learning a language? Changing jobs? Learning a new person in a relationship?
            I can get pretty overwhelmed with change myself. Look how long it took me to set up an office and get Celia into daycare. And we’re still living in my parents’ house! We haven’t even moved into our final home. I think I’ll give Celia a rest and figure things out at her own pace. Why not? We’ve waited almost two years, what’s another month or two?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Thunderstorms, Mosquitoes and Grizzly Bears

            I finally took my family on a canoe trip.
            This has been one of my big goals, ever since we first decided to move to Montana. Canoeing was one of the top things on my mental To-Do list of important things to do when we finally would make our home in Montana. Get a mini-van. Get a roof rack. Get some life jackets. Get a canoe. Take the family canoeing.
            It took me well over a month, but yesterday I’m happy to say I finally made the dream a reality.
            The preparations were lengthy. I checked the weather. I psyched up my daughter and wife. I reserved a canoe at the rental place. And yesterday morning bright and early I drove the family to the canoe location to pick up the beautiful seventeen-footer so we could strap it to the as-yet unused roof rack of our new mini-van.
            Getting out of the house took us most of the morning. The kids were itching to do more than wait for us to get ready, and crying seemed to erupt randomly, which of course slowed the whole process down. Finally, we made it out the door, and as we were driving down the highway toward Seeley Lake I said to Michelle, “Something about this feels so right.”
            She nodded her head. But an hour later, when we arrived at the lake, the sky was full of dark, rich rain clouds, and Celia was restless. We stopped at a beach for lunch, put on a few extra layers to protect against the sporadic chilly winds, and wondered if we should turn back. North of us, where we were headed, it looked like a raging storm was in progress. We saw some lightning flash.
            I looked at the canoe on the roof of my mini-van and thought, “Turn back? No way! We came all this way, we’re going to use this thing.”
            “Look,” I said to Michelle, pointing South. “There are clear skies down there. Maybe we can find somewhere to put in down that way.”
            Michelle nodded happily. We piled into the van and headed back the way we’d come. “Let’s find a visitor’s center so we can ask where good spots are.”
            At the visitor’s center the nice woman there said to me, “Go back North. The weather changes here every fifteen minutes. Look.” She pointed out the window to sunny skies. “It’s already sunny again.”
            I shook my head in disbelief. “Alright, let’s go back!”
            “Don’t forget mosquito repellant and a rain shell for the kids,” she called out as we left.
            “Thanks!” I said, and made sure to stop by a small store on the way to pick up her recommended items.
            We found the turn-off easily, and drove down the dirt road toward the canoe put-in location with more and more anticipation growing. The sun was out, and I was determined.
            When we arrived there were a few other vehicles parked, included a ranger’s vehicle with two rangers. One came up to me.
            “You’d better stay off that path,” she pointed at the very path I was going to take to get back to our van after we’d gone down a ways. “There are seven grizzly bears on it right now. Three adults and four cubs.”
            I looked at her with open mouth, “What?”
            “Yep. Grizzlies. You’ll be safe on the river, but don’t come back on the path. Do you have another way to get back?”
            I scratched my head. “Well, I suppose we could just paddle back upstream.”
            “Sure, it’s pretty calm today.” The ranger nodded her head.
            I looked at Michelle. She gave me a look that said, “We can turn back if you want.”
            I shook my head and said, “Let’s get this canoe off the roof.”
            We had barely put the canoe on the ground when the mosquitoes discovered us all. Michelle covered our kids in repellant as I scratched my back. How did they get through my shirt, I wondered.
            When we’d finally wrestled both our kids into the canoe and onto Clear Water River, the sounds of our busyness were eaten up by marshy silence. We drifted lazily in silence, then Michelle said, “This is the best day we’ve had in Montana so far.”
            I smiled. “It’s nice out here, isn’t it.”
            Michelle craned her head back to see me, “It’s wonderful.”
            We didn’t end up staying out very long, just long enough to get tired from paddling upstream, but it was a splendid outing. We never did see any bears, and Celia was surprisingly safe the entire time. The only disturbance was Joshua crying from determined mosquitoes finding his infant flesh through his pants.
            “We need to do this again. And soon,” Michelle told me as we lifted the canoe back onto the roof of the van.
            “That’s for sure.”
            It did seem like an awful lot of work for just over an hour of boat time, but even so, something in my spirit tells me it was utterly and profoundly worth it. It took over nine hours of travel and planning time for that short excursion but it most certainly connected us all in a way that isn’t possible in the comfort of our home.
            And even with the thunderstorms, mosquitoes, and grizzly bears, I’d have to say it was well worth the trip.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cheering Up

            Funny how quickly things can change. The skies become sunny, the office becomes settled, and the kids become happy. Overnight, it seems like everyone is cheering up.
            Celia slept straight through the last two nights. Joshua has toned down the crying, he smiles when he sees mobiles and giggles when he gets kisses. Michelle and I both are getting our rest. And just like that, life feels good.
             Moving the desk into my new office was a bit of a monster job in the end. It did indeed fit through the narrow doorway when we took off the molding, but the paint got all chipped, and the desk got all scuffed up. Every time a piece of paint chipped, or the desk received a new ding, I grimaced and wondered if it was all worth it.
            Of course, now that it’s in the room, this beautiful cherry executive desk, I feel utterly content. Like an executive. Today I’m going to touch up the paint on the door frame, but it was definitely worth the hassle.
            My brother is the ultimate haggler. When we went to buy the desk and other office furniture from the guy on craigslist, I asked if the guy would throw in the huge plant towering over the furniture. He wasn’t sure, so I just paid him the cash and we started hauling everything out. When it was all done, my brother said, “So are you going to throw in the plant or what. My brother’s office is completely empty right now, and he could use it.”
            “Oh, okay. Take it.”
            My brother instantly picked up the huge plant and, carrying it at an angle so as not to bonk it in the doorways, we escaped with what my wife tells me is at least an eighty dollar item. Wow. And it definitely perks up my office. I smile now looking at it as I write. It’s so tall it literally has only five more inches before it needs to find another direction besides up.
            Maybe I should give it a name. Something to reflect how everything suddenly got better overnight. How about Francis? I’ve always thought of that as a great, happy name. Or better yet, Francisco. Yeah. Adds a nice Latino twist to it. I like that. Francisco the Ordinary House Plant. It cheers me up. I’ll remember that when things get tough again. Because, if my experiences over the last two years are any guide, it most certainly won’t be long.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Daycares, Nightmares, and a Monster Desk

            After weeks of searching, Celia finally started daycare yesterday. And after weeks of waiting, I finally set up a little office for myself down the street, although the desk I bought just barely doesn’t fit through the narrow doorway of my second-floor room. Right now it’s sitting on its side in the hallway and I stare at it wondering what sort of brilliant solution we’ll have to come up with to help it cross the threshold to its brighter future in my small home away from home.
            It already does feel like my second home over here. I haven’t found much more than a few moments to myself for over a month now, and suddenly I am sitting at a computer with more than a few moments to look at my email or pay a bill. Renting an office is well worth the cost.
            Daycare and an office were the two big steps I knew I needed to take to make my life sane. I was so starved for a moment that I’d plop Celia in front of a cartoon – a thing I’ve tried to do only sparingly. I knew I’d gone too far when she watched almost four hours of programs in one day. I looked down, nodded my head, and knew deep down that this was a far worse solution than daycare. I want my daughter to be engaged, playing with other kids, going out on field trips, doing craft projects, not sitting mindlessly in front of a screen for hours at a time.
            It took us a few weeks of digging to find a daycare we felt good about. We called around, and anytime we had even the tiniest flag of doubt about a place we’d move on. When we finally found one that seemed good, we did a little “digging” for information. We casually strolled by one day and chatted with the neighbors.
            “What do you think of the daycare next door?” Michelle asked sweetly.
            “They’re wonderful!” the elderly woman responded happily. “The kids seem to love being there, and play nicely and quietly together.”
            Michelle and I nodded to each other. Check.
            Then, we walked through the alley and peeked at the kids playing in the backyard. They were happy, of course. I’m not sure what else we were looking for. Check.
            We asked for a few references and called a few of the current parents, who couldn’t stop raving about the place. One woman said she’d put both her kids through and wanted to give me more names to call. “Thanks,” I said happily, “But I don’t need any more to make our decision. We’ll bring her in first thing next week.”
            Perhaps I’m a bit paranoid, or perhaps just a thoughtful and watchful parent. Anyway, three checks and I feel good about taking her there, at least for a two-week trial period.           
            Yesterday when I picked Celia up from the first day at daycare the caregiver said to me, “Celia has a surprisingly big vocabulary. And I have to be careful what I say around her because she repeats everything.”
            I nodded as I picked up Celia and proudly said, “Yes, she repeats everything.”
            Celia, as if on cue, said, “Repeats everything.”
            I laughed. “That’s my girl.” I gave Celia a big kiss. I have a good feeling daycare will go just fine for Celia. It’s Joshua now we’ve got to figure out.
            Joshua has been a handful. I somehow expected the second kid to be much easier than the first, and in some ways he certainly is, but he has his own set of challenges. Celia was definitely more energetic and exuberant where Joshua has large eyes that seem to soak in his environment. Where Celia cried when she didn’t get her way, Joshua seems to cry for no real reason that we can figure out. He’ll go through big stretches of wailing and tiring himself (and his parents) out completely before we all fall soundly asleep.
            We’ve now tried many things, including a chiropractor and cutting milk out of Michelle’s diet. He does seem to be improving, but only slowly, and Michelle and I both have been quite tired.
            Speaking of tired, Celia went through a spurt of nightmares that kept her up for four nights in a row. At the peak I literally got out of bed ten times to comfort her, two of which were over an hour long.
            I’ve found that when things get really bad, and she’s so hysterical we can’t seem to calm her in every other way, we can always rely on the Secret Weapon. Yes, we’ve discovered a solution that cuts through the most serious of hysterical episodes. No matter how badly she’s wailing and flailing, the Secret Weapon instantly silences and calms her to the point where we can put her right to bed. The Secret Weapon takes exactly seven minutes every time, and gives everyone a smile. And yes, I will share it with you.
            The most effective calming medicine we’ve found is the opening scene from “Bambi.” I think the last time I’d seen that movie was when I was about four or so. I used to make fun of Bambi. I fully enjoyed that short cartoon “Bambi Versus Godzilla,” where Bambi gets stomped. Bambi in those days was for wimps and sissies. No boy or man in his right mind would dare say anything other than mockery for that frail little deer.
            But no more. Bambi has become my greatest ally. My best friend. And when sleep and sanity are on the line even the most gruff of fathers has to agree it’s a great solution. Unwittingly, I’ve now seen the opening seven minutes of Bambi two dozen times with great thankfulness for its existence.
            Unfortunately, Celia’s nightmares were so pronounced a few days ago that when we tried the Secret Weapon she did indeed calm down and fall asleep right away, but eight minutes later she woke up screaming again. That night I broke down and slept with her the whole night. She must have woken up a dozen times, but every time I held her tight and told her she was okay, and she calmed quickly.
            We prayed for her and told her that the dreams weren’t real, and that we love her and are here for her. It’s hard to know what else to do. It’s not like a scrape or a bruise that can be treated with medicine. This is a deeper, much more scary malady.
            And however much I’d love to get the opening scene from Bambi to play into her dreams, this is one realm of her life that I simply can’t control. I can’t weed out the bad dreams like I selected a daycare. And it’s even more difficult than this monster desk I’m trying to fit in through a tiny door. With both the desk and the nightmares, I look at the objective and ponder how we’ll get through, but with the desk at least there’s a tangible solution at the end of the day.
            Figuring out the desk is where guys are at their best – we love to deal with tangible problems that have solutions. My brother said if we strip off the molding on the door frame the desk will just barely fit through, so I’m going to give that a shot tonight. These scary dreams my daughter is having, on the other hand – well, it’s hard to say. It’s a realm I can’t control, or ever truly come up with a fail-safe solution. And in some ways, although I hate to admit it, I’m probably just as scared as she is.