Tag Archives: Toddlers

Girls Poop Stinks Too

7 May

In fairness I was warned this would happen. I was fully aware a bias could form. I suppose I simply ignored all the warning signs. I just had no idea what I was in for…

It started nearly a full year ago, around the same time that we found out that Baby Dill #3 would be a sweet, innocent little girl. Nearly all of our friends have at least one girl and all of the dads gave me a simple piece of advice: “Watch out. She’s gonna wrap you around her finger.”. Surrrreeeeee… I’ll believe it when I see it I thought to myself.
But then a few quick months later, there she was. My babes. And it happened; nearly instantly I was took – hook, line, and sinker. If she as much as whimpered I was there to console her in a flash. She was the perfect baby. She was the sun in the universe.  She did no wrong.

I was blind to my own illness for several months. In my boys I only saw ornery slobs, inconsiderate monsters. In my girl I saw a proper princess. Her smile lit up the room. I would cringe when she wasn’t handled like the fragile, masterpiece she is. If the boys would be playing with 15 feet I would be playing defense tighter than Bruce Bowen. Elise Ann Dill ruled the house, or at the very least she ruled my heart.

One evening it finally caught up to me. I was having a fairly normal conversation with the Mrs where we were discussing how difficult Tad had been that day (take your pick on what he was doing) and I said the most absurd thing a Dad could say:

“But babe… at least we won’t have to deal with these things with E, ya know?”

We both froze. She gave me this, “You heard what you just said, right?” look. Yeah… I heard it. What was I thinking? We won’t have to deal with these things? Really? Did I think I had created the daughter of Jesus? I mean, come on man! The only thing we might avoid dealing with by having a girl would be the constant grabbing of their wiener. She’ll still be a toddler; she’ll still misbehave, she’ll break things, she’ll be obnoxious and aggravating. Even worse – she’s going to be a teenager.

So what happened? I was buried under the spell. The Dad of a Daughter spell. I couldn’t even smell that her poop still stinks! I was fooled. There is no way around it. I know now what to look out for; I know what to avoid. It’s those eyes, isn’t it? Yes it has to be those eyes. Or is it the smile? Shoot I don’t know. I am going to just stop making any eye contact with her though, just to make sure.

I wonder if I would have any different perspective had I not started with boys. I wonder if the whole situation was exacerbated by the fact that I had been exposed to the wildness of boys before the sweet, perfect innocence of a daughter. See – there I go again.

Girls poop stinks too. That’s what I have to remember. Girls poop stinks too. They might fool you for a little while with their cute outfits and adorable bows in their hair, but just wait. They can make your heart melt with a sweet smile, or bring a tear to your eye with a delightful giggle. Watch yourself, they are going to catch you snoozing and make you pay. I think. Maybe? I haven’t really experienced that yet with my perfect daughter, but I imagine someone else has…

Argh! Are you kidding me?! I can’t get past it. I might as well give up. She’s just the cutest little thing I have ever seen. I swear to you her poop doesn’t even stink.


My Babes (photo cred to the wonderful Tessa F.)


Hanging from the Chandelier

16 Apr

We have a middle child… I know that is shocking to hear but it is what happens when your family offspring is an odd number. There is a middle. Our middle is a smug, shy, adventurous little boy whom we named Trevor and lovingly call Monkey, Tad, or a random mild profanity. Raising this boy over the past two years has me contemplating whether or not I have Tourette’s, schizophrenia, or both. I think it is passed time for us to talk about him.

Trevor was destined to be a middle child. In fact, had we not had Elise, he would be the oddest baby of a family I’d ever seen. See most kids that are the youngest of their clan are, well… spoiled. Take my wife for instance – er – never mind, bad example. But I think you know what I mean. Close your eyes, think about families you know and the youngest child is usually the prince or princess who gets away with FAR more than the older children got away with. C’est la vie. So Trevor’s spirit just never fit being the baby of the family. He wasn’t ever about being spoiled; he was all about being ornery! Trev is just… Trev.

If we didn’t have his spirit in our family we would actually appear publicly quite sadnessnormal. But he is the catalyst that propels us toward circus status. Whether we are out to eat and he randomly sends his entire plate to the floor or we are in the store and he knocks an entire product off the shelf a la Sadness from Inside Out, he always keeps us on our toes.

I know many of you reading this can’t believe that such an adorable child could possibly be that difficult. Let me just be blunt. Most days his cuteness is the only thing between him and Military Kindergarten. Wait – do they have Military Kindergarten? I just made that up. Now I have to look into it. Huh – his cuteness might not have saved him after all.
Here is a sampling of the adventures of Tad:

Sword fights – with wine glasses: Once the Mrs. was sorting some laundry and in walks Trevor, hands bloodied. Running back downstairs – which she had left a mere 1 minute earlier – she found two wine glasses shattered on the living room floor. Two things came out of this: 1) a lock on the dishwasher & 2) more wine glasses in the dishwasher.

Hanging from the chandelier: Trevor is literally a monkey. Or maybe he is more mountain goat. He climbs everything with shocking ease. His favorite obstacle is the counter height dining table we have. We’ve done just about everything to keep him off it. We’ve laid the chairs down, he uses them as a step stool. We’ve placed them on the table, he pulls them off. We’ve locked them in the closet, he picked the lock with his pacifier and next thing you know he’s back dancing on top of the table. His go-to entertainment once he gets up there is to hang from the light above the table. Much to the chagrin of our friends who also have kids and prefer to keep theirs off the table, we have just given up on that fight. Sorry ’bout it.

Scissors: If you haven’t caught on yet, the kid loves danger. He recently has developed an affinity to pushing a chair over to the cabinet where we have the scissors stored and getting them out. Once I had them in my back pocket, had my back turned to him, and the next thing I know he was crying. He had pick-pocketed me and poked himself near the eye.

Button-Pushing: On one morning the house was quiet. A little too quiet. And then the microwave turned on. Trevor had pushed a chair over to the oven, climbed up on top of the stove, and turned on the microwave. I can’t make this up…nor do I have to continue and clarify just how bad that one could have been.

Dog Food: Lacking proper nutrition from his parents, he supplements by visiting the dog dish frequently. He will often come up to you with chipmunk cheeks full of Authority Natural Chicken & Rice dog food, both insanely proud of himself and bewildered as to why you could possibly be upset enough to take his tasty treat away. Speaking of tasty treats, we have also learned to be extra alert when he is in the back yard and we haven’t picked up after the dogs that day…

I could go on and on … and on… about all of the things Trevor does to earn his middle child stripes, but I am making myself sick remembering and a little worried someone is going to call DFS on us. I promise you we are attentive, caring, responsible parents. By the way, I am not writing this for parenting advice on how to care for the little turd. If you believe you have ways to cure him, I will send him to you FREE – including shipping and handling. You can send him back once you get him straightened out or realize you’re just as inept as I am. I won’t hold my breath.

I love that boy with all of my heart, despite all of the frustrating moments we have had in two short years. I will often tell the Mrs that in a few years he is going to be so much fun because he is always up for doing anything. My kind of kid! But until then I am leaning toward taking a “can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach. Don’t be surprised if you find me hanging from the chandelier!




RSV – Really Sucky Virus

9 Feb

Look, I realize I still haven’t finished the birth story of Elise. I totally understand that you have been hanging on the edge of your seat for an entire MONTH (!) waiting to hear part deux. The truth is this: that part of the story is extremely hard on my heart and is going to take much more effort to write than I had originally imagined. 

In other news, we have achieved a milestone only 40 days into 2017: another year – another high deductible met. We are getting really good at this… a little too good if you ask me. For the third year straight you can likely blame my family for the increase in your premium if you are insured by Cigna. Please accept our apologies. 

It started out innocently enough, a “common cold” showed up in the house. We employed the usual defense: keep all surfaces wiped down with Clorox, insert humidifiers into kids’ rooms, get as much rest as possible, wait it out. As every parent can attest: having a sick kid is brutal. As some parents can retort: having three sick kids at the same time is asinine. Both of our boys worked through it in normal course, leaving behind a simple cough and really no worse for the wear. We actually were cocky enough to think it had missed the Babes completely. Boy were we wrong.

So here I sit, in the PICU of Children’s Hospital next to a baby that did nothing of her own accord to catch the most contagious virus of the season. When she first showed signs of the cold we didn’t ever expect it to get to this point. But as it developed her appetite waned and her breathing deepened to the point where a visit to the doctor was warranted. They passed us to a satellite hospital, who treated her for a day before reaching the ceiling of their care and transferring us to Children’s. And here is where we confirmed that she indeed was dealing with RSV that had complicated to Bronchiolitis. RSV. Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Really Sucky Virus. Most parents know the basis of this virus, a respiratory bug that usually bears out as a a simple cold but can be serious for kids under 2 yr old. For some reason the 2017 version is amped up a little bit. Statistics would tell you that 48% of ALL COLORADOANS have recently had or currently have RSV whether you have been formally diagnosed or not. I believe you call that epidemic. 

What is my point? I don’t know. I’m tired, but not as wiped out as my daughter who has had her lungs sucked out 9 times in the last 36 hours, been poked, prodded, jostled, and constantly monitored. I’m hungry, but not as hungry as she is after only eating minimal volumes for 4 days. I’m frustrated, but not as pissed as she gets when they put a suction tube down her inflamed and swollen nose. 

Most of all I am aware. I have never been one to expect to keep my kids healthy 100% of the time – or at least not after I got out of the crazy first-time parent mentality. We can’t live in a perfect little eco-bubble. But at 4:00 AM as I listen to my Babes choke on mucus too thick for her to cough up, my mind definitely wanders toward “what could I have done to prevent this?”. Maybe there wasn’t a thing… or maybe there was the thing and I missed it. Maybe I’ll never know. 

One thing I do know: I’d rather not deal with this again and I will definitely step up my home defense against bugs of the future. I’m reinvigorated to be more diligent in defending against other sickness. I’d rather not watch my kid suffer to take a breath, choking on saliva and snot. I’d rather not sit in an ICU room listening to the hum of machines and monitors working on my precious child. 

Elise is progressing well and she will heal up just fine. She’s already made leaps and bounds in the last 16 hours. She’s a fighter and she won’t even remember this episode. But her parents will never forget it.

Really Sucky Virus – you win this time. But you better watch your back. You pissed off the wrong high-deductible paying-stretched-too-thin-at-the-end-of-our-rope crazy parents. I might just do something drastic. Something like carry a holster full of Lysol spray with me at all times. Or wear a fanny pack full of Clorox wipes. Sorry Josie, but let’s be real here – the fanny pack would only add to my sex appeal. It’s why you married me. 

Breakfast In Bed

30 Jan

Over the course of a normal working day I get several updates from Josie. I would be lying if I said I didn’t look forward to these updates immensely! Sometimes they come as snapchats, sometimes as text, sometimes as video. Some days I get a phone call, and sometimes it is a FaceTime call. At any rate I can count on 2-3 times every day that Nolan and/or Mommy keep in touch. Thank God for modern technology!

But some of the best updates aren’t captured by video or picture. Take for instance a month ago when all of the sudden I was receiving an unexpected FaceTime call in the middle of my morning. Once I answered I was surprised to see Nolan’s face — covered in Sharpie marker. While the Mrs had turned her back for 10 ridiculously quick seconds, that little turd had figured out the cap to the marker and had colored one side of his cheek black. He was so proud! Seriously he just kept smiling at me and giggling like, “Look at me Dad, look what I did!”. It was hysterical and dumb-founding all at once. Luckily that marker, that was supposed to be permanent, came right off. Still not sure how we lucked out with that. I am also not sure how we didn’t snap a picture of his attempt at either shoddy blackface or excellent clown makeup..

Then there was an update I received a couple weeks back where all I got was this picture:
IMG_3824followed by a text message that said, “Yeah I’m not going to go anywhere with this kid today.” Can’t say I blame ya babe!

How about that time while I was away on a business trip, when I received another unexpected FaceTime call. As I answered I saw that it was just Nolan standing there jabbering away. That was not completely unusual — Josie usually will let Nolan start talking until he gets board and drops the phone — so I started talking to him. But after a few minutes I kind of got the feeling that the Mrs wasn’t around. “Where’s Mommy, Nolan?” He giggled with delight. He suddenly dropped out of the picture and I could tell by the bumpy video feed and his chubby legs that he was running over toward our kitchen to his mother who had been cooking supper and had no idea we had been chatting away. I still cannot come up with a sufficient explanation as to how he used FaceTime, successfully. There was another memorable FaceTime instance where the Mrs and I were cooking dinner and Nolan was playing upstairs with some of his toys. (That may sound like negligence but I encourage even the best child worker to follow him around for even just an hour and try to keep tabs on him. It’s futile.) Josie’s phone started ringing and as I handed it to her I saw it was my Dad — which was only odd because we had finished talking to him 15 minutes earlier with Nolan. He was just calling to let us know that Nolan had been video chatting with him for the past 5 minutes or so, sometimes hopping into the computer chair to talk to “Papa” and sometimes getting down to play with him toy. Guys… he isn’t even 2 years old yet!!

Another personal favorite was this picture I received while at work along with the caption, “Well this is new”:

What I am trying to say is that Nolan constantly is keeping us on our toes. He is always getting into something, climbing something, throwing something, doing something… and it usually isn’t parent approved. Also let me be clear, these instances don’t just happen to Josie, even if she does catch the brunt of them because she is busy working the busiest job in the world. Over the Christmas Holiday while I was home on vacation there was a brief period of time where Nolan was being too quiet — a dead give away that he is up to no good. We found him in the pantry stacking up boxes of crackers, instant potatoes, and pancake mix. Open pancake mix. The picture really doesn’t do the mess justice.

However nothing beats the update that I received just last week. Let me set the stage for you quickly: Nolan has begun to thoroughly enjoy movies, but he really insists on watching them in our room upstairs. He just kicks back among the mountain of pillows and lays there watching either Panes, Panda, Elmo, or Anna. Translated into adult language these four movies are Planes, Kung Fu Panda, Finding Nemo, and Frozen. He has no qualms as long as his juice is full and he has some snack with him. Annnnnnnd that is where dear ol’ Dad starts to have a problem. You see…. I am not particularly fond of sleeping with crumbs. And Nolan has not yet learned the art of eating neatly — in bed or at the table for that matter. So when the Nolanator has crackers, or popcorn, or muffins in bed… there is usually a mess.
Which brings us to last week. I received a snapchat that had a cute caption of “breakfast in bed!”. I quickly looked passed the cuteness that is our son and text the Mrs back — “no eating in our bed!”. She quipped back something to the effect of “Fun-hater!!!” and that was that. Or so I thought. About 15 minutes later I receive this video below from my lovely wife and son:

Doggone kid dropped those muffins! I would like to think that this would be the last episode of Nolan’s Breakfast in Bed…. but it is unlikely. The joys of a toddler!


25 Jan

Alright everybody, buckle up. Here is a groundbreaking statement that I have never, ever said before: As parents we often have zero clue what we are doing.
Wait — I say that all the time don’t I? But it is so true. We constantly dance a fine line between over-bearing or lax and between too detrimental or too nurturing.  At the end of the day you just want to look back and feel comfortable that for that day you made more “correct” decisions than questionable ones.

This past weekend we had the opportunity to act on one decision that we feel will have ever-lasting benefits for our child. We had the privilege to dedicate Nolan at our church! With many of our closest family members standing beside us, we promised to do our part to instill biblical values and morals in our son and push him to know and love both God and others. It was a fantastic event and something that will be a great memory for both the Mrs and I for many years. The charge to raise your child in a Godly manner is not an easy task. It is hard enough to keep ourselves in line, let alone be the Christ-like role model and advisor for Nolan. But we’re up for it and with our family’s help I know we can succeed.

Here’s the simple truth though — it doesn’t require a formal event to dedicate your child to be raised in a Godly home. And just because we went through such an event doesn’t mean it will be smooth sailing for the next 18+ years. No, no, no. We’re in for the biggest fight our of lives and many of you are sailing the same seas beside us. Raising children is not an easy task (duh), but to try and instill values in them that aren’t always the easiest to understand or most accepted by peers just ratchets up the challenge. Dedication is simply defined as a commitment to a task. By going through this dedication all we have done so far is said “We’re making a commitment to this incredibly difficult task”. There is nothing magical here, just simple devotion to achieving a result. We made a plan, we set goals, and now we will work our hardest to reach them!

One of most helpful notes I took from the short message our pastor gave yesterday — while we were all trying to keep the children from mutilating the cupcakes — was the reminder that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. I couldn’t agree more. I have never looked back at my parenting skills and said ‘Joel. You da man! You are God’s gift to parenting!”. No… far more often I look back in border-line remorse as I wish I could have taken advantage of more opportunities to spend time with Nolan, to teach him something, or just handled a situation differently. But that is ok because I know I am not perfect. The greatest part about what Josie and I have promised to do for Nolan is that we don’t have to be perfect. Perfection comes only from God and his never-ending, unexplainable, all-encompassing love that He has for us and for Nolan.

I’ll leave you with one quick passage, another takeaway from yesterday’s ceremony, and a favorite of mine from Deuteronomy where Moses is transferring on to God’s people some commandments specifically about raising children. It has been inspiring to me as we have started on this journey and something I took to heart:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:5-9)

Normally I try not to get too deep into my personal beliefs because that is not what this blog is about. But today.. it kind of is. This is all about being a parent and doing what you feel is the very best for your child and that is exactly what we were able to do this weekend. My intention with writing about this is not to push you or shame you into doing things the same way we did. My intention actually is to get you thinking about what you are dedicated to in raising your child. What are your hopes, goals, and dreams for your child? I’ve laid ours out pretty simply and now I feel there is some accountability to see it through. It’s not that we weren’t before but after this weekend there is no doubt: We’re dedicated!


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