Archive for July, 2018

A Perpetual State of Mental Exhaustion

July 26, 2018

I’m not sure why people find kids the most exhausting when they are babies. Looking after my 3 yr old when she was a baby was far easier than now. Yeah, she was more dependent on me for pretty much everything, but it was mostly just physical stuff. I had to clean her, feed her, dress her, etc. But it was a veritable vacation mentally.

As she’s gotten older, the mental load has intensified. As she gets more mobile, she finds more things to get bend to her trouble making. As she gets more talkative, I get to hear about it all.

Which just wears me down. I pop on a podcast or something just to have some counter noise, but what I really want is just some quiet in the middle of the day.

My wife then doesn’t know why I’m not looking forward to her starting preK again this fall. But I only get this once. When my little girl grows up, she’s grown up. There’s no going back and we’re not planning on having another. While the daily grind of it is exhausting, I’m not ready for this to be over. I’m not ready for her to grow up.

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Mikey Likes It

July 18, 2018

My kids are picky eaters. One is three, the other 14. And they have opposite tastes. What one likes, the other doesn’t. It extends even to pizza, where the boy wants me to make the pizza myself and the girl will only eat it if it comes out of a box – either frozen or from Dominos. She’s three, so I just sort of roll with it. The boy, though, has been a work in progress for awhile and is the one who puts the most stress on meal planning.

Which made supper last night surprising. He actually liked it. He likes tuna melts and tuna casserole. I’m tired of tuna melts, but had everything for a casserole but the noodles, which is normally a problem. But what I did have was millet.

So, I made a tuna millet casserole. I didn’t soak/boil the millet long enough. It’s a been a problem for a few grains lately. I follow the cooking instructions and they just don’t turn out right.

But the casserole still turned out well.  That, in itself, surprised me. The kid not hating it out of principle surprised me more. So, it looks like millet is a winner.

Tuna Millet Casserole Recipe

  • 1.5 C Millet
  • 1 can mushroom soup
  • 2 cans tuna fish
  • frozen carrots&peas to taste
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 3 T milk
  • shredded cheese (optional)

Prepare the millet according to instructions. The recipe I had was roughly 2-to-1 water to millet, prepared similar to rice on the stove top but it didn’t turn out right. So, toy with it a bit to get the texture you want.

Combine mushroom soup, tuna, veggies, soy sauce, and milk to millet.

At this point you can either warm it on the stove or transfer to a baking dish and pop into the oven for approximately 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve to bowls, and add shredded cheese if you prefer it (I don’t, but the rest of the family does).

How To Dress A Teen

July 17, 2018

So, we finally got to a point with our teen son where we no longer are getting enough hand-me-downs to clothe him and over the summer he seems to have shot up several inches – though, somehow lost circumference. Which means…clothes shopping.

The Wife and I tried to do some of it last weekend, finding some pants on sale and a Ghibli shirt at Hot Topic, among other things. Which is how we found out that his waist has apparently shrunk by an inch or two, and I’m not sure we’ll be able to find pants that fit.

The Ghibli shirt was Ponyo, with a big bowl of Ramen and “Ponyo Loves Ham!” on it. Ponyo has been the kid’s favorite Ghibli movie since…ever. It’s the only Ghibli movie he quotes from – though, this is pretty much limited to “Ponyo Loves Ham!” – hence why we thought he’d like the shirt.

Nope. He wants the Howl’s Moving Castle shirt instead. WTF. We figure he thinks the Ponyo shirt is too girlish, maybe? Though, I don’t think it’s girlish at all, it’s just a Ponyo tshirt.

So, we have to return 3 pairs of pants and try to find some that are like 28×32, and see if we can exchange that Ponyo shirt for the Howl shirt.  The shirt shouldn’t be a big deal, but that size pants scream full price and damn near impossible to find. I’ve told him to start eating more, but I don’t think he’s going to listen. Or eat enough.

But the eating thing is for another blog post.

I Need a Vacation

July 6, 2018

Last week my family took a vacation with a bunch of other family and holed up in a house in Tennessee for a week. I’m not sure how anyone else felt about it, but very little of these vacations we take actually feel like vacations for me. We pack, which my wife does a lot of, we cram ourselves into the car, we drive for an ungodly amount of time, we run around like crazy for a week or so, and then we head home where we have to unpack everything, fit our lives back together and go on.

The problem is that what I do on vacation is pretty damn similar to what I do at home except without the convenience of my own bed, shower, space beyond a bedroom and a shower.

What has made this week worse is the weather we came back to. Just heat, heat, and more heat. The lows at night never got below 70 – and I might be a bit generous with that. Humidity was high. The house could never cool down, which meant neither could we.

During the vacation the kids were always 5 feet away. Since we’ve been home that’s expanded to 7.5 and that extra two and a half feet has been a godsend. They’re still always right there, though. Always there. It just wears you down, as you try to get something done and someone wants milk, someone else wants a ride to the pool, then your mom calls because some flighty co-worker up and quit without notice and now she might not get her vacation time. And you’re trying to clean the house, to do the dishes, to put together a swing set.

so, I’m waiting for a vacation. Like most parents, probably.  In the meantime, I’ll try to get that swing set done.

They Take Everything

July 3, 2018

At the risk of just sounding like another old person complaining about change and the world leaving them by, I was very angry earlier today when I drove by the empty Toys R Us one town over. As it was going out of business I refused to shop the clearances, knowing how Bain Capital (remember them?) had bought the store and promptly killed it. At the time it just disgusted me in some vague way I couldn’t totally articulate. Now, I think it’s just a raw hate for how those with money and power just gobble up everything and discard it without a thought, as if putting 30,000 people across the country out of work is just one of those things you do any given day.

It’s also stealing something from kids. Toys R Us had some faults, but it was still a fixture of my childhood. Going to Toys R Us was something that would fill me with wonder in a way that going to KMart or Aames or Meijer or any of a dozen other stores simply couldn’t match. Walking into a massive store and being engulfed by towering racks of toys was akin to walking into the Gardens of Babylon. For a child, it was just weirdly beautiful and enthralling.

My oldest got to enjoy Toys R Us in this way. A store dedicated entirely to the one thing he actually enjoyed shopping for as a child. But my youngest will likely never know what this was like, at least not in the same way as she is just too young to likely remember any visit to Toys R Us. Now, she has WalMart. She has Amazon. She has the remaining KMarts, I guess.