Category Archives: Good Baby

First Friends…

Two years ago, probably around this time of year even, I met a dude who really helped me get out of a very dark place. Greta was just entering the terrible twos, Mrs. Yeti was desperately trying to get the hang of the delicate work/kid balancing act that has since become her life and I was literally drowning in my newfound role of primary care giver. And though I never did anything really crazy to myself or Greta (thank God!) there were days when I felt like Luke Skywalker facing the darkness of his soul in a hollowed out tree on Degobah. All kidding aside, it got pretty hairy.

I loved Greta with all my heart (and still do, of course) but, there were days when I’d sit and stare at the calendar and think: this is it. What you are doing today is the same thing you’re going to be doing tomorrow and every other day after that until you kid goes to school. Dishes. Diapers. Bottles. Repeat. I felt like I was on a punishing loop with no end in sight.

I tried talking to people about how I felt (family and friends mostly) and I think a few of them actually understood what I was trying to say. But, even with them I held things back for fear of sounding too whiny or ungrateful. I mean, we had tried for five years to have Greta, how could I even think of complaining about anything now that she was here? Plus, at that stage all most people really want are current pictures and cute little anecdotes about which milestones Greta had reached that week. Which is totally understandable. I mean, I love sharing that stuff too. But, deep down, all I really wanted to talk about was how totally crazy and isolated I felt for like, 90% of my day.

I tried talking about it with Mrs. Yeti many times, but, as I’ve said before, she was on the same sinking ship that I was. Except she got much less sleep and had to work a full time job on top of everything else. Probably the best thing Mrs. Yeti ever did for me was to tell me, point blank that she did not have time for my problems. And while it stung at first, I totally got it. I didn’t have time for hers either. It’s like that thing they always say in airline safety videos, put on your own oxygen mask first, then help the person next to you. I know now that she was way too busy fumbling with her mask back then to even think about helping me with mine.

That said, Mrs. Yeti did say something else that ended up really helping me out a lot. “If its really that bad, start a blog. Write about it.” She said. “Or better yet, join a Daddy Meetup group or something.” I ended up doing all three but the thing that really saved me from my crazy-ass self was joining that Daddy Meetup group. As I’ve mentioned before, I had a hard time finding the right fit (yes, I’m talking to you, Burbank/Hollywood Dads!) but once I did, it was awesome.

I joined a group called the West L.A. Stay-At-Home-Dads and even though the Meetups were clear on the other side of town, the guys in the group were the most real, down-to-earth dudes I’ve ever met. There was no bullshit, no egos or Hollywood posturing, these guys were regular working dudes (animators, musicians, stuntmen, graphic artists, even fellow writers) who’d been banging around the industry for a while and were now tackling the hardest job of their careers, being a full time stay-at-home-dad. And even though we rarely talked about anything other than movies or Star Wars — or, more recently, the intricacies and hidden messages embedded in My Little Pony cartoons — the fact that we could all find some time every couple of weeks to hang out with people who truly understood what we were going through was invaluable. Hell, two years later, it still is.

Actually, the meetups today are even better because our kids grew up together, they’ve been friends for almost their entire lives. And the friendships the dads have formed over the past two years are stronger too. We might not have known each other for our whole lives, but, definitely our whole lives as parents, which, often times feels like a lifetime in itself. And though none of us ever really verbalized it, deep down we were all eternally grateful to our “founding father” Corey for starting the group. Most of us were way too busy treading water to even think about stating a Meetup group, but Corey wanted to start “the kind of group he’d want to join” so he built it, and, as the saying goes, we came. In droves!

So it was with a heavy heart that the group said goodbye to Corey and his beautiful daughter Katana on Monday. Corey and his family are moving to the Philippines in a couple of weeks, and though we’re all hoping they come back to L.A. real soon, I’m thinking it might be a while before we share a lazy afternoon chasing after our daughters in our favorite park in Westwood again.

So, thank you, dude. You really did save my life and I will always cherish the many hours and days we spent hanging out in parks all across the Southland with our sweet baby girls (who now insist on calling themselves “big girls”). Katana was and always will be Greta’s first best friend and, despite the miles and timezones between us, you, amigo, will always be mine. Keep on adventuring, brother!

West L.A. Stay-At-Home-Dads (March 25, 2013)

And in case anybody reading this is looking for a stay-at-home-dad group to hang with in the L.A. Metro area, Corey asked me to be in charge of the group now that he’s leaving (here’s hoping I don’t destroy all the good that he’s done!) and you can reach us at our new Facebook Group page here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WestLAstayathomedads/

So, if you’re interested in joining or know someone who might be, check it out! And thanks again to Corey for starting all this awesomeness…you will be missed, dude.

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Filed under Daddy stuff, Good Baby, Good Girl, Good Toddler, Terrible Twos

Going strapless…

Ever get the feeling that things are changing too fast for your taste? Urgh, try raising a toddler. I swear, by the time I’m used to one stage or routine, we’re already well onto another. It’s kind of insane, but, I guess the best thing that can be said about dealing with such rapid-fire change is that it makes me a little more flexible. A little. I mean, I still hate change, but, I’ve come to realize I am helpless in its wake…so, now I just kinda go with it.

So, it was with a very heavy heart that Mrs. Yeti and I removed the snap-tight safety straps from Greta’s Stokke highchair. The truth is, she hasn’t even worn them that often in the past few months, but, to me, those straps were a reminder of the tiny little baby we used to have to be so careful with.

It’s not that we’re not careful with her anymore, it’s just that she’s so fiercely-independent these days that the straps were simply not working for her. She actually threatened to remove them by herself if we didn’t get on it soon. So, last night, Mrs. Yeti and I pulled out the toolbox and removed the seat back and straps from her highchair and then put it back together.

I know it sounds crazy, but, just the act of disassembling that little chair brought back a flood of memories — baby Greta “test driving” the chair at the store before we bought it, the little blanket we used to have to wrap around her waist so she wouldn’t slide out of the seat, eating her first rice cereal, all those cute-ass bibs we used to have and the way she’d sit in her chair and laugh and smile at me while I danced around the kitchen making her food — man, it was intense.

And even today as I watched her push her newly, “big girl-ized” chair to the table and climb up in it to eat, I realized that someday, this too would be a sweet memory of simpler times. I know that “the only constant is change” and all that, but, jeez, does it all need to happen so quickly?

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Sick Day

Urgh…I dunno if it was all the dance recital craziness last week or the fact that it’s been hotter than hell outside, but I woke up in the middle of the night on Monday in a cold sweat. By morning, I was sweaty and achy all over with a headache that just would not die. Thankfully, no fluids were being expelled from anywhere, but, man, I have never felt more tired, thirsty, and just plain old worn out.

And as I lay there in bed with Greta kicking me to get up, all I could think of was that now I knew what movie stars and musicians talk about when they are hospitalized for “exhaustion” or “dehydration”. I was like: “Wow, that’s a real thing. And all this time I thought Lindsey Lohan was making that shit up!” Nope. It’s real. I’ve been there and, man, does it suck. Especially with a toddler.

Actually, Greta was very supportive. When I told her I was sick, the first thing she did was look at me all concerned-like and say: “You need medicine, Daddy?” I nodded, and then she got really excited and ran out of the room to get some of “Greta’s medicine!” I followed her to the kitchen where she was standing on her stool trying her best to reach the Disney Princess Gummy Vitamins on top of the fridge. It was terribly sweet, but, somehow I knew that chomping on a purple gummy Jasmine was not going to be enough to cure me.

So, I made Greta something to eat, somehow sold her on the idea of having a “picnic day” in daddy and mommy’s bed and popped a movie into her portable DVD player. And, as terrible as that sounds, that was how we got through most of the day. Me drifting in and out of feverish dreams and her sitting on a pillow beside me watching The Princess and the Frog for the sixteenth time. I know, nice parenting. But, seriously, what is a sick SAHD to do?

Luckily, for both of us, there is a Mrs. Yeti, and she came home early from work. And then she took Greta to IKEA for dinner and some play area fun upstairs while daddy slept off his movie star sickness amidst the crumbs and sweat in the picnic bed.

I’m feeling loads better now, but, I did learn three very valuable lessons during my brief stint in fevertown. The first is that two-parent households have it way easier. Honestly, I don’t know how single parents do this job alone. I just don’t. It’s way too hard. So, single parents of the world, consider yourselves saluted! God bless each and every one of you.

The second thing I learned is that kids eat free at IKEA on Tuesdays. Wow, who knew? And finally, the third and possibly most important lesson I learned this week is that picnic day in daddy and mommy’s bed is a horrible idea. Seriously, our bed look like a crime scene and we just did laundry. So, until we venture to the laundomat again, all I can do is close my eyes, plug my nose, and pray that those hideous brown streaks on my pillow are from Nutella.

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Greta’s Dance Recital: VIDEO

Actually, this super-cool video premiered a few days ago on Facebook, but, since I am not yet FB friends with everyone reading this right now, I figured I’d best post it here as well. Unlike previous clips I’ve posted, this one is still “unlisted” on YouTube, so, the only way to watch it right now is by clicking the link below. Enjoy!

And thanks again to my brother and his lovely assistant, my sister-in-law/Greta’s Aunt Laura, for their fine videography work. You guys rock!

watch?feature=player_embedded&v=suCPUWTwtp8

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Greta’s Dance Recital: The Pics

As I think I mentioned already, we took loads of pictures of Greta before, during, and after her recital yesterday, but, as usual, the best pictures were taken by my brother, Greta’s Uncle Guy-Guy. So, here, for your viewing pleasure are the best of the best of his pictures.

And, yes, until the edited video footage arrives sometime down the road and I post it here with big, sappy tears in my eyes, I promise to stop blogging about Greta’s dance recital. Sorry, but, it was kind of a big deal in these parts. Anyway, enjoy the pics!

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Greta’s Dance Recital: The Event

OK, first off, let me tell you that dance recitals are worse than children’s birthday parties on the exhaustion scale. Seriously, Mrs. Yeti and myself felt like we went to war this weekend. Thankfully, Mrs. Yeti is off today (Monday), so she can relax while she, you know, catches up on last week’s laundry and shit. I’ve got a ton of stuff to do too. But, if I could, I would totally sleep all day, not just sleep in, mind you, but, all day long. That’s how tired I am.

That said, the dance recital was incredible. All the dancers were great, everyone showed up on time (even us!) and the show went off without a hitch…until the intermission, when, the announcer said in a very calm voice: “There is no emergency, but, could Cindy Kim’s mother please come to the stage.” I’m not kidding, man, you could actually hear people’s hearts sinking as poor Cindy Kim’s mother hurried backstage. Thank God it wasn’t my kid, I thought.

So, I headed to the bathroom and took my time coming back only to find Mrs. Yeti hurrying down to the backstage entrance in a panic. WTF? Did I miss the non-emergency announcement for Greta Yeti’s parents? Yikes! Stopping at our seats just long enough to grab my backpack full of Greta-sentials, I took off running down the aisle after Mrs. Yeti and found her on the other side of the backstage curtain in a flood of tears.

Mrs. Yeti was holding a sobbing, hysterical Greta while her teacher, Miss Sommer (more about her later) tried in vain to calm her down. Now, I should stop here to say that Greta rarely, if ever, cries that hard. This was like, maybe the third time in her life that she’s been that far gone and with the intermission clock ticking down (her performance wasn’t slated to begin until after the intermission) my heart filled with dread, and as terrible as it is to admit, all I saw were dollar signs. A $150.00 dress she’d never wear onstage, the $25 admission price everyone in our group shelled out to be there, photos, videos…oy, my head was swimming with wasted cash at the thought that she might not take the stage at her first recital. And then there was my second thought (which, most people would say should have been my first) which was, what the hell happened? Why is she so upset?

That answer was easy. Greta was playing and coloring with the other kids backstage and got a little bored, so, she laid down and fell asleep. Yes, she can and does sleep anywhere. It’s a gift and a curse. The problem was, when she woke up in a sea of strangely-costumed-toddlers, puffy foam stickers and coloring books, she didn’t know where she was and she flipped out. Luckily for her, mommy and Miss Sommer were there to save the day.

Sure, I provided provisions from my backpack (“You need a Kleenex? Got it! Cuppy? Right here!”) and did my best to make her laugh, but, those two did the heavy-lifting in the child calming department and what do you know? Greta actually stopped crying and calmed down. Then I jumped in with a little dance parent pressure: “You know, if you don’t dance, your friend Fiona might not know how to do the routine.” Almost instantly, Greta looked up like: “Oh, wow, I can’t do that to my friend. The show must go on!”

And then, to really slam it home, I told her that her beloved Uncle Guy-Guy and Aunt Laura were videotaping the show in the balcony and wanted desperately to see her dance. A professional toddler-whisperer from way back, Miss Sommer put it a bit more eloquently: “Look to the sky when you dance, they’ll be up there watching you, Greta!” And once again, that brave “show-must-go-on” look flickered across Greta’s face as she wiped away her tears and told us she’d stay and dance. Which was great, because, the way Miss Sommer said it, I was ready to get up there and dance in Greta’s place myself.

Anyway, the lobby lights flickering on and off outside, Mrs. Yeti and hurried back to our seats and waited to see if Greta would, in fact, take the stage with her class. And four sets later, she did. And she was beautiful. I told her later on that I thought she was very brave to go up there on stage in front of all those people after she’d been crying and she just shook her head and said: “I’m not brave, Daddy. I’m Greta.”

She most certainly is…

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Greta’s Dance Recital: The Dress Rehearsal

NOTE: I actually wrote this post last night, but was so tired when I wrote it that I literally fell asleep at the keyboard. Yep…it’s been that kind of week. Anyway, let’s pretend it’s very late Saturday night and I am posting this before the dance recital that took place Sunday afternoon. Here’s goes nothing…

Today was the dress rehearsal for Greta’s first dance recital and, man, was it insane. Rushing around getting ready this morning, Mrs. Yeti and I were completely unprepared for the flood of mixed emotions that came over us when we saw Greta in her costume and make-up — she wore hot pink lip pencil and a smidge of blush on her cheeks, nothing too kinder-whorish — for the first time. Mrs. Yeti actually called out to me from the next room: “Oh my God, I am a dance mom…and I’m crying!” I could not have put it any better. I know it was only a tiny bit of stage makeup, but, man, I felt like one of those crazy pageant parents: “Now, you shine real purty for them folks out there, ya hear! I said shine, dammit! Shine!” So crazy…

Anyway, the rehearsal went really well — a couple of the girls in Greta’s class didn’t follow the hair and dress-code, but, nothing major — and we were outta there in just a little over an hour. Which is good, because Greta was wearing panties, not diapers, and, well, you can just imagine what might have happened had she had an accident in her black velvet show dress the day before the show. “No Go-Go Juice for you, Greta! Now wash that paint off your face and git to bed!”

Unfortunately, my pictures and video of the dress rehearsal were pretty lame, so, instead of posting them here, I’ll show you the footage I shot earlier in the week during class. You don’t get to see the snazzy costumes yet, but, the dance moves should be enough to tide you over for a while.

And for everyone who set aside their busy lives (and a whopping $25 admission fee!) to come to the show, thank you in advance for coming. It means the world to Greta to have you all here. And to those of you who can’t be here, here’s hoping this video gives you a little taste of the magic set to unfold Sunday afternoon at 2:00PM. Enjoy!

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