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Is it considered inappropriate to tell a sixteen month old toddler that he is acting like a dick, and I would be extremely grateful if he would cease in being a dick? I had a less than fantastic day at work today. I spent hours on the phone speaking with customers, quality engineers, and other people that had no desire in making this a great day. This is after having a miserable day yesterday where my wife got mad at me for asking questions about homemade fingerpaint, and I got mad at her for being mad at me for not being able to read minds. Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m diagnosed bi-polar, don’t take meds, and have been dealing with gloomy, cold, rainy, and just generally shitty weather for the last couple days.

When I come home to a delicious dinner that Tyler refuses to eat, yet still says “More more more more more more more dada more more mama more more more,” I just want to scream out YES TYLER! I KNOW YOU WANT MORE EVEN THOUGH THERE IS MORE ALL OVER YOUR *#*@&$ PLATE!

We make excuses for him. He’s teething. He had a short nap. He had a really busy day. He’s teething. He didn’t sleep well last night. He’s teething. The fact is, he’s a toddler that can’t communicate with his parents as much as we both wish he could. He wants what he wants when he wants it, but Tyler just doesn’t have the means to tell us what exactly IT is. Last week, Tyler would say “no” to a question if the answer was no. “No” had one meaning. Today, “no” has multiple meanings. If he’s holding his cup and says “no,” it means Tyler doesn’t want his water anymore. Unfortunately, we didn’t know that’s what he was saying, so he threw a fit about it. God forbid he just set his water down and push it away.

Full disclosure though, it doesn’t really help that Sarah and I are pickers. We pick on each other all the time, and sometimes don’t know when is the WRONG time to pick on Tyler. Tonight, for example, Tyler desperately wanted to wear Sarah’s slippers. Sarah decided to put the slipper on her own foot. Meltdown. In her defense, we have been working with Tyler about sharing, and this seemed like a good time to continue those lessons even though we were already dealing with a tired toddler with maybe less patience than I had. Then he wanted to wear his cowboy boots. Bedtime was approaching shortly, so I told Tyler that he couldn’t wear his boots tonight, and that he’d have to wait until tomorrow. Meltdown. We told Tyler it was time to put away his toys. Meltdown. I looked at Tyler. Meltdown. I inhaled a lungful of oxygen. Meltdown. A butterfly in Oklahoma fluttered its wings. Meltdown.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I said, aloud, that, while I loved being a father, this was not one of those days.

There was a moment that made Sarah and I bust a gut though. We built a tower of mega-bloks (think big Lego blocks). Tyler was in mid-meltdown, so Sarah and I were doing our best to just ignore him. His cries and whines were drilling into my already critically low patience level, sucking any reserves dry. I took some spare mega-blocks and built an airplane. With the power of my imagination, and with guidance from my hand, the plane took flight. It circled the tower and soared the skies. In a moment of desperation, I crashed the plane into the tower, sending blocks scattering across the carpeted floor. I closed my eyes, ashamed that I couldn’t keep my cool just a bit longer. Weren’t we just about at the end of this particular nuclear reaction anyway? Why couldn’t I just hold my breath for a couple more seconds? As I lay on the floor, eyes still closed, Tyler fell silent.

“Mess. Booooom.”

The absolute innocence in his sweet little voice melts my soul. I could never imagine not being Tyler’s father. When he hugs me, kisses me, tells me he loves me, when he runs to me when I get home from work and wraps his arms around my legs saying “daddeee”; when he does these things, I feel so full of love and awe that my eyes swim for a moment. Sometimes I’m so caught off guard by these pure moments that I feel my breath catch and hitch in my chest.

I hope you didn’t come here expecting to laugh your ass off today. I’m a little apprehensive about actually putting this post up for the masses to read, but I guess parenting isn’t all sunshine and lollipops. While I really do enjoy talking about the lighter side of parenting, I also just really needed to get this off my chest.

I’m just not in a good place lately

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What do you do when you have three pumpkins that are beginning to show signs of rot? It depends on the person, or family. Some people will just throw the pumpkins into their trash bin, to be picked up on your designated “trash day” and hauled off to finish rotting in a landfill. Others, like us, will go the “green” route and add them to their compost pile. I don’t know much about composting, as this is our first year of doing so, but I’m pretty sure that you can’t just chuck large pumpkin shells into the pile and expect them to rot compost efficiently. My solution, give your child a hammer, and let them go nuts!

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First, he attacks the Elmo pumpkin. Then, he makes sure Sarah’s “Bertha” pumpkin had no brains before smashing.
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First, you wind back…
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then SMASH!
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When smashing wasn’t working, he also tried pulling and clawing.
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He’s possessed by the Ghost of Pumpkin Smashing!
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What a great afternoon. I didn’t take pictures of loading the pieces into the wheelbarrow and taking them to the compost pile because then I would have gotten pumpkin slime on my camera, and that just cannot happen.

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One year ago, today, Sarah and I had to say goodbye to a family member. If you aren’t an “animal-person” then you don’t understand the pain and emotional turmoil in making the decision to do what we did. It was one of the most difficult, if not THE most difficult of, decisions that we have made. Looking back over the last year, how much Tyler has changed, how he interacts with Delilah, and how much energy he has, we know we made the right decision. There was no other decision. I’m reposting the post I made exactly one year ago, because it feels right to me. Thanks for reading.

-Joe


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I’ve had to close the book on 4 years of memories today. We had one of our dogs “put down” this morning.

We adopted Logan from the Indiana ASPCA in 2004. Sarah and I had moved in together in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We moved down there for her job. This was in 2003. We talked back and forth about getting a dog and really wanted to rescue one from a shelter. We finally did so on March 10, 2004, when we met Logan.

When they brought him out, Logan was skittish around me, but warmed to Sarah pretty quickly. We both fell in love with him immediately, so we adopted him. Over the course of the next few days, he warmed to me as well. All told, he was a perfect companion for Sarah and myself. We put him through training classes, which he excelled at, taught him lots of tricks, took him for lots of walks, and just generally pampered him.

We noticed rather quickly that Logan was absolutely petrified of basements. I can’t remember when it was, but we found out that Logan had been abused pretty harshly by his previous owners. This information solidified our resolve to give him the best life we could provide. Our love for Logan ran very deep; he was our first pet, and the first addition to our family.
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Logan loved stuffed toys that “squeak” when you squeeze them. I swear, Sarah was buying him a new “baby” every week. He had a wicker basket that was overflowing with green monkeys, purple elephants, and red giraffes. Logan would just sprawl himself across the floor and squeak his toys over and over again.

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Logan also loved to “hug”. Everyday, when I’d come home from work, one of the first things I had to do was go into the living room and drop to my knees. Logan would sit, tail wagging back and forth, and wait.

“Logan, can I have a hug?”, I’d say.

As soon as I said “hug”, Logan would hop up onto his back legs, and throw his front legs on either side of my neck. It was absolutely adorable, and it’s probably one of my favorite things about him.

Logan has always been able to “sense” when something was wrong with Sarah. Anytime she felt sad or lonely, Logan would always cuddle up next to her and keep her company. She loved petting and rubbing his soft, floppy ears. It always made Sarah feel better.
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Unfortunately, owning a dog that had been abused has created a behavioral issue that Sarah and I have been unable to correct. Logan bites. He’s bitten a few members of Sarah’s family. I’m not going to rehash those memories, or the circumstances involved, because I just don’t think it’s necessary. About a year and a half ago, we decided that we either had to never allow him around other people, or put him down. We opted for the former.

We knew we’d have to revisit the subject when Sarah got pregnant, but we made excuse after excuse to put off the inevitable. We got so desperate for help that I posted an ad on craigslist, and Sarah wrote to Cesar Millan. We thought we had hope when someone answered my post, saying she ran a no-kill shelter and would “love to take Logan”. After a couple weeks of trading emails and voicemails, she backed out, and quit all communication. We were devastated. We still are.

After making more excuses and putting it off, I finally called the vet yesterday.

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Sarah took Logan for a walk this morning. Actually, she let Logan take her for a walk. She let him go whatever direction he wanted to go, let him pee on all the trees and leaf piles he wanted to, and let him stop and sniff everything. He loved it. When they got home, we let him and Delilah wrestle for a while. Then, Sarah and I cuddled with Logan and cried over him.

Doc assured us and reassured us that we were doing the right thing. We knew we were; we’d never be able to forgive ourselves if Tyler grabbed Logan’s tail and something happened. But that didn’t make anything easier for us. It didn’t lessen any of the pain we were feeling.

Sarah and I held Logan in our arms as Doc gave him a shot in his front leg. Just a couple seconds later, Logan collapsed. It was, by far, one of the most heartbreaking experiences of my entire life. I immediately wanted to take it all back and start over again. I quickly removed his muzzle and started kissing his snout, telling him I was sorry, and that I loved him.

Logan, I’m going to miss your hugs. Your rare kisses. Your companionship. Your loyalty. Most of all, I’ll miss you. We already do. Goodbye, Logan. You were a great friend, a cherished protector, and a loved family member. You will always be in my heart and Sarah’s heart.
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Rest in Peace, my friend
Logan Bouse Gearhart
May 10, 2003 – November 14, 2008

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