Archive for the ‘kids’ Category

The Myth of the One-eyed Child

Posted: October 1, 2013 in kids, life
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As I was having lunch at home to day, the middle child was thrashing about and wondering aloud, “Where de top of my Combatacon Brawoollll?” For those unfamiliar with this particular English dialect, he was looking for the top of a wooden toy tank. I had no idea where the tank was having just arrived home for lunch, but I was quickly informed by Mom – the knower of the placements of all missing things – that Brawoolllll’s top had been confiscated and placed on the appropriate high shelf to protect the baby from injuring himself on the 5 inch long wooden dowel cannon. Initially it all made sense, but then I wondered to I, and aloud to the rest of those gathered, “Seriously, how many one-eyed kids do you know?”
It is the job of any good responsible North American progenitor to protect their progeny from life’s visible hazards. Don’t run with scissors! You’ll trip, you’ll poke an eye out, you’ll go blind! … Don’t throw those stones! You could hit someone in the eye and they’d go blind! … No you can’t use your own knife to cut your food! You’ll slip, you’ll cut your finger off, you’ll go blind … I mean you’ll lose a finger! We’ve all heard it, and I’ve certainly said it. All that being said, where are the teeming hordes of one-eyed and fingerless children? I’ve never in my life met a kid with an eye patch that wasn’t part of an ill conceived Captain Jack Sparrow Halloween costume. So what are we worried about?
I’ll suggest to myself first, and you second that maybe we all take a breath, relax, maybe do some hot yoga and just let kids enjoy life apart from our paranoia once in a while. I’ll still put the baby proof lock on the household cleaners cabinet – I’m not a MONSTER – but maybe if I learn to relax a bit more it will rub off on my kids too. Maybe.

I’m a Good Dad

Posted: July 30, 2013 in kids, life
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I’m a good dad. There, I said it out loud (ish). I’m a good dad and I, maybe for the first time, believe it.

It may come as a surprise to some people because pastors are these perfectly balanced and self-confident specimins of Christian perfection, but I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy, self consciousness, and insecurity for most of my life. In the last number of weeks and months I’ve been working through a number of these things again and exactly how they are affecting my life and even my ministry. It is amazing how seemingly small things can make a big difference.

I have never really felt that confident as a dad. I know I love my kids and I do my best to try and show it. It has been often been the case in my life though that what I am actually feeling does not get accurately perceived by those around me. I am complicated at best and socially awkward at worst. I thank God he blessed me with the wife he did who seems to understand me and enjoy my company, not just in spite of these things, but through and because of them. I noted a David Wilcox song “Hard Part” the other day that goes, “You have a whole heart, give me the hard part, I can love that too”, and was immediately grateful for Jenn. All this being said, I have for years struggled with feelings of doubt as to whether I could actually be a good dad.

Media and society is full of so many messages and mixed messages that have fed my feelings of doubt and failure. There is no end of parenting advice telling parents how they are coming up short, messing up their kids irreparably, and are generally to blame for every failure their children experience. Whether the news, magazines, social media, or blogs, there is no end of conflicting advice that has served well to convince me of my inability to be a good dad. When I am tired, frustrated, impatient, wanting to be alone, enjoying being at work, or thankful the kids have school there is always an article to convince me I am a moral failure.

Enough.

I am a good dad. Chances are you are too. Sometimes we have victories, and sometimes moments of unmitigated flaming dumpster fire failure.

I love God and try to exemplify it in my life publicly. I love my wife and tell her and the kids regularly. I tell my boys I love them multiple times a day and give hugs, kisses, and snuggles. I coach their soccer teams. I play toys with them. I share my interests with them and take on their interests as my own. I invest an hour and a half every night in the bedtime routine. I take them for ice cream for no special reason. I ask them about their days and take the time to genuinely listen. I am a good dad dang it.

I fail them regularly. I get mad. I lose my temper. I wish I was elsewhere and bargain with God to move the sun ahead ten stairs so bedtime comes sooner. I look forward to nights out and weekends away where I will not have to invest an hour and a half in the bedtime routine. And when I have done wrong I admit it openly to them and ask for forgiveness because that is what Jesus followers do. This makes me a good dad too.

I am not perfect at anything and that admission in and of itself is a good starting point for being a good dad. I am building on it.

Given that it’s May long weekend, we – like many people – had hoped to go for some outdoor fun in the sun at the beach. However, in keeping with our Narnia like eternal winter here, sun and warmth were replaced with rain and cold. Fun though can still be had. Especially if you’re a little kid and rain and puddles and mess and the simple joys of throwing stones and then hopping like you’re riding an imaginary unicorn down the rainbow of happiness is your thing. From what I was told, this is “hopscotch”. It reminds me far more of a scene from Monty Pythons Quest for the Holy Grail.
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Lesson learned at the end of the day: Life is pretty much always what you make of it. This weekend we made rainonade.

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Long days happen. When they do, small moments of laughter can be the only thing saving you from a date for a swim with a large millstone. Today was heinous for a person who likes structure: me. Plans were made, cancelled, and changed. Issues long since thought deader than the batteries in that junk drawer you have – admit it – were resurrected to a new life no one really thinks will bring anyone’s salvation. Pants were pooped and replaced, and not for my infant son. Little moments of laughter… right… so on to the story:

Groceries were badly needed. I’ve been out of bananas for two days, denying me my customary two pieces of peanut butter and banana toast for breakfast. And I guess other people needed stuff too. So, we went to Sobeys and the boys quickly rushed to the sample tray in the cake section. They each got a 2oz. cup of white cake. When asked what it tasted like Devin said something like “good”. Good old, reliable, simple, Devin. Payton however said it tasted like mousse.

At that point I was kind of thrilled. We watch food network. I get giddy about Chopped. I kind of like to pretend in my imaginary world that Markus Samuelson is my roommate, Geoffrey Zakarian is my cool older friend and Scott Conant is my cousin with the sports car. Oh the adventures we have. All this said, Payton was eating a cake layered with Strawberry mousse and called it mousse cake without a hint or the ability to read the sign. I’m thinking, “Hey this kid’s got a future!” While Devin happily licked his cup clean and threw it away, I pushed my budding aficionado further: “What kind of mousse cake Payton?” I couldn’t wait to hear this young Morimoto’s answer!

Payton: “Blood.”

Me: “Blood?”

… yup, blood.

Payton: “It tastes the blood from a moose.”

Little moments of comedy friends. Little moments.

The night before Christmas

Posted: December 25, 2010 in kids, life
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Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Every creature is stirring and raising a fuss.
The stockings are hung by the chimney with care,
But sleep hasn’t come yet and that’s just not fair.
From Payton and Devins’ been non stop crying and chatter,
It’s an endless list of wailing matters.
Into my bed I would sure like to crash,
But the sleepless children are unreasonably rash.

I’m sure I could carry this on for a while more but my memory of the rest of the poem is getting foggy now that its 1:40am on December 25th and the boys haven’t let me get any sleep yet between coughing and nightmares. Christmas 2010 is going to be pretty interesting. I hope my parents get here soon.

P.S. – I write this lying alone in Payton’s bed, as the newest plan of attack has him sleeping with Jen in our bed. Brutal.

**This should have posted on Christmas morning, but apparently never made it through the tubes that make up the interwebs to this site.  Blame Al Gore – he invented the thing.

smile-squirrelThere are a lot of animals in the bible.  Bulls, and goats, and pigeons, oh my!  But for the first time ever a couple weeks ago we came across a squirrel during the youth bible study.  One of the kids was reading James 4:1 for us and it read as such, “What causes fights and squirrels among you?  Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  You want something but don’t get it.”  Bible study was basically over at that point.

I’ve heard a lot of things that I never expected to be in the bible, like Jason the biblical time traveller from Acts 17, but this was the first time I’d been ever encountered the biblical squirrel of James chapter 4.  I’ve always thought that squirrels were a somewhat mischevious little animal, but prior to this I had no idea that they were genetic relatives to fights, or that they were the offspring of coveting and jealousy.  I’m still working on that essay outlining the evidence supporting my theory of Jason the biblical time traveller, so my letter to National Geographic outlining our discovery of the biblical squirrel will have to wait.  Either way it made for a fun bible study.

In trying to keep in line with my “New Music Monday” title, I searched for some aliteration to work with Tuesday.  Unfortunately, there are no synonyms for alone that start with “T” so I went with solitary and figured it was close enough.  My solitude was not the plan for the evening, yet none the less it is the way the evening has played out.  This however is the outcome that results from a cranky child that needs an early bedtime and an exhausted wife with a migraine who’s in bed by 7:30pm.  Thankyou to Chris and Sheena who broke up the desolation through the instant messenger, but alas my fate is sealed.  Maybe I’ll break out the Rockband for a while before going to bed myself.  I can’t believe it’s only 9:54pm and I’m already considering bedtime . . . I’m so old.

*UPDATE*
Well I didn’t go to bed early.  In fact I stayed up late playing Rockband afterall.  I managed to finish “I’m So Sick” and “Learn to Fly” on expert and even 99%’d “Foreplay/Long Time”!  I only missed one blasted note.  Anyways, solitary tuesday turned out to be pretty refreshing.  I feel bad that it came about as a result of my family’s suffering, but I think it was exactly what I needed.

Home Alone: SC

Posted: January 14, 2008 in kids, life
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dad.jpgSo this likely won’t be anything profound, and to some of you it may not even be interesting, but for those of your still reading I will regale you with a tale of my life as it stands.  This is after all kind of a compilation of my life here so why not include stories about my life and not just reflections of it.  This isn’t a post about Macaulay Culkin, even though Home Alone was a pretty funny movie – I just watched it over Christmas again – this is actually about my first night home alone with Payton; not Walter or Manning, but my son.

Jenn had a ladies meeting tonight and so it was decided that I and all my feelings of total inadequacy, should be left to take care of seven week old Payton.  This might not seem like such an arduous task to all of you seasoned veterans of child care out there, but for me this was stress rolled in a coating of anxiety then set in the deep fryer full of inexperience.  Generally, this would be a recipe for disaster, but all things considered it turned out alright.  No one died.  No one sustained any flesh wounds.  I even managed to feed him from a bottle without having him turn blue in the face from choking.  Yup, all things considered I did a not crappy job.  And here’s to hoping I do a less and less miserable job as time goes on.  If I keep up this effort he may even live to see school age!  Thankfully, his mom has just returned and life is again as it should be.  She’s a good mom . . . check that . . . a GREAT mom, and I just hope that I can be as good a dad as she is a mom some day.

We’re Home!

Posted: December 16, 2007 in kids, life
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home_icon.jpgOkay, so truth be told, we’ve been home for a week now but I haven’t worked up the energy or motivation to post anything to this point.  It’s not that things haven’t been happening, it’s just that there’s been so much happening that I haven’t gotten around to letting you all know about it.  Here I am though, watching the Simpsons, posting on my blog, while Jenn puts Payton (remember it’s Payton not Peyton) to sleep.

We’re all home safe and sound.  After a far more adventurous child birth than any of us expected or hoped for, we are all home together.  I’m still not sure exactly how I feel about how the whole situation went down – I’m still working that through – but I’m glad that it is over.  The nurses, doctors, and hospital were all wonderful to deal with and we feel very blessed to live in a place with competent medical professionals that knew what to do to save Payton’s life.  He made his first trip to church this morning (his first social outing) and overall is doing really well.  We’re really glad to be home.

P.S. – I started this post on Saturday night before Payton started screaming.  I am now finishing it watching football on Sunday.  I guess that’s the life I’ll have to get used to now.

He’s Here!

Posted: November 29, 2007 in faith, kids, life
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I realize that the last post was a little cryptic – it was the best I could do at 5:30am with three hours sleep – so this one I hope is a little straight forward.  My baby boy, Payton Owen Benjamin Kramer, arrived to life with the rest of us humans on Friday, November 23, 2007 at 10:35pm.  Jenn and I have been living at the hospital in Moose Jaw for the past 6 days now, and will continue to live there until Tuesday, when Payton will be discharged.  There were a few complications with both Jenn and Payton’s health during the delivery so we are really thankful that both are doing well now.  Jenn had a really bad reaction to the epideral she had as pain medication, and Payton was born with a “Group B Strep” infection so he has been on antibiotics for the past 6 days and has 4 more days to go until his cycle is done.  The first few days were pretty scarry and we weren’t sure that he was going to make it, but all the doctors are confident that both he and Jenn will make a full recovery and our little family should finally be able to come home on Tuesday.  I’m only home here for a couple hours to make sure the house is ready for our baby to come home to so I’m off back to Moose Jaw now.  Keep praying for our little boys health and Jenn’s recovery and you can find pictures if you click here.