Long ago, in a galaxy far away

They were young, and they decided to have one more date night before the baby was born.  Since poor goes with young, they got some pizza and went to the movies to see The Empire Strikes Back.  The husband was amused with Yoda, learning his mannerisms and speech to entertain his nephews at a later time.

The next morning the wife woke up feeling queasy and a bit in pain.  She assumed it was indigestion from the pizza and went on her way.  Until a few hours later, she was sure she was in labor, three days early.  The husband luckily had the day off from work.  They went to the hospital where they took the wife’s vitals and measured her.  It wasn’t time.  She wasn’t dilated enough.  They sent her home.

The wife fretted as her parents would arrive home from vacation the next day, believing they wouldn’t miss the event.  The husband called his father in an immediate panic. 

Husband: Hi, is Dad there?  Wife is in labor.

Stepmom: He’s unavailable right now.

Husband: Oh.

Stepmom: Wait!  You haven’t picked out a boy’s name yet!!

Husband: Wife thinks it’ll be a girl.

Stepmom: There has never been an oldest girl in your family.  Your family has boys.  It’ll be a boy.  And HE needs a name.

Husband: Fine.  Ebenezer.

He hung up.

Hours passed slowly.  The pain increased.  In the evening, the couple went back to the hospital.  But not before the husband decided they were NOT going to have a baby. 

Husband: Suck it up.  We don’t need a baby.  We can have one done the road. 

Wife: Husband, I think it’s a little late for that kind of talk.  Perhaps nine months too late.

The husband admitted defeat and drove the wife to the hospital.  They admitted the wife but believed the baby would deliver in the wee hours of the morning, on the husband’s brother’s birthday.

As the evening darkened into night, the doctor agreed to give the wife an epidural.  At the same time, he felt they should break the water to move things along faster.  The fluid was green.  A fetal monitor was brought out.  The baby’s heart rate was dropping.  The baby was in distress. 

There would be no pushing, no panting, no vaginal birth.  Everything became chaotic.  They rushed the woman into surgery, giving the husband another chance to call his father.

Stepmom: He’s not available.

Husband: What?!  Where is he?!

Stepmom: He went to the family cabin to think about this new turn in his life.

The husband slammed down the phone and ran to get suited up to see his child born.

The doctor increased the epidural up the spine, since the wife was already numbed.  She was not put under as was usual back then.  They lifted a sheet, so that she could not witness them removing the organs to get to the child.  The husband held her hand.  He glanced at his watch.  9:00pm.

He glanced at his watch again when he heard the angry cry of the child who was now cold.  9:20pm.

The doctor: It’s a girl!

Wife: I told them so.

They whisked the baby away to test her, but the tests were positive.  She showed no signs of distressed.  They handed the baby to the wife, now mother.  She smiled at the wrinkly, skinny thing.

Husband: She looks like Yoda with her big head and big ears.

Wife: So she does.

Later the husband, now father, decided to impress his young wife by changing the first diaper.  He was the eldest of six, so this should be child’s play.  Instead he got every diaper, every wipe, every blanket covered in the tar-like first bowel movement.  Dirty and cold, the baby screamed.  The wife laughed, helpless from the stitches and the laughter.  She could barely tell the nurse on the intercom why they needed her.  The nurse came in, took in the mess, picked up the baby.  As she left, she turned and tsked in disgust at the young father.

The next morning the paternal grandpa called from a pay phone to hear the good news, deciding that maybe being a grandfather wasn’t so bad.  Upon hearing, it was indeed a girl, the first eldest girl born on his side in living memory, he smiled.  Before he left to see his new granddaughter, he planted a cherry tree at the cabin, so that she could have pink blossoms and sweet cherries.

When the maternal grandparents arrived home, they called around for news as soon as they walked in the door.  On hearing that they missed the event, they drove straight to the hospital without unpacking the car.  The grandma was beside herself over the thought of having a little girl to dress.  She hugged the new mother and took the baby.

The quiet, tall grandpa walked in the room.  A man of his generation, he said nothing.  He confiscated the baby from his wife, sat down in a chair, staring into the little face.  Beneath the silent, strong exterior beat the soft heart of a man who loved his family dearly.

He whispered to the baby, “No matter what.  You’ll always be my Netty.”

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The end of a vacation deserves a vacation

The Husband and I wanted to visit Boston.  We only had one day without any obligations to the wedding.  One day to squeeze in a week of vacation.  Boston was our first choice.

Then a friend of The Husband, who was born and raised in Boston, told him that the boys would be completely bored with any of the historic stuff in Boston and we would spend the time trying to keep the boys occupied.  He suggested Salem.  Remembering the weeks of studying Salem’s history when I was a teen, I agreed.  My parents and baby brother were staying longer in Boston and decided to join us.

I tried to pump up the boys telling them about the pirate museum.  Tornado S ran around the hotel room, yelling “Yo-ho!”  Tornado E wasn’t convinced.  I mentioned the witch museum, grasping at straws.  I had forgotten that Tornado E was a witch last Halloween, and he jumped around, talking about witches and wizards.

We ended going to a pirate museum and two witch museums that were run by the same company.  The Husband had looked at the reviews the night before, worried about the negative reviews.  The negative reviews were right; I wouldn’t call these museums.  They were more like walking through a wax museum as each museum had rooms filled with manikins positioned to act out scenes.  We were walked through the tour by different guides who were knowledgeable and entertaining.  In the end, we were entertained and learned something.  Though I decided after watching a scene form “a trail” (which looked and sounded a whole lot like a scene from “The Crucible” to the point I swear it was from the play word for word) and hearing what the scenes were in the museum, I decided the boys did not need to have a look through the witch dungeon.  At the end, we spent a couple more hours there than we had planned, since we were hoping to catch a glimpse of Boston history that day.

We ended up not getting to Boston, staying at a hotel just outside the city.  After dinner, where Tornado S learned to say “Appabee’s,” charming the wait-staff, we found a park on the map.  We took the boys, letting them run off their energy.  My mom spied an ice cream shop just passed the park, and we went to satisfy our curiosity and sweet tooth.  The Husband, being a generous father, let Tornado E pick his own ice cream out, which was bubblegum.  In his defense, The Husband had no idea that there was real bubblegum in the ice cream.

When we got to the hotel room, The Husband fell asleep immediately; while, I tried to get the boys to sleep without much fuss, fighting, or giggling.  Nothing like sharing a double bed.  In desperation, I rolled a towel up, length wise, and placed it between them, commanding not to stray over the towel with dire consequences.

About two-thirty in the morning, I was awoken by a strange sound that I couldn’t place.  The Husband sprung from the bed, yelling for me to grab something because Tornado S was vomiting.  Apparently Tornado S doesn’t cry when he throws up but makes a gentle heaving sound that barely pierces my deep sleep.  I ran to the bathroom, grabbing a towel because we didn’t have anything else.  We held Tornado S over the towel until he was finished.  Then I cleaned him up, putting on a new shirt, and he fell asleep.  I washed out the towel as best I could and returned to bed.

Fifteen minutes later, I heard the heaving noise.  I sprang across the bed, grabbing the towel that laid in between the boys.  I held Tornado S over it, noticing that Tornado S was still sleeping as he emptied more of his stomach.  When Tornado S was finished, I went back to bed, leaving the towel folded up near Tornado S, ready for more.

The Husband: What do you think is wrong with Tornado S?

Me: Dessert to close to bedtime.  Two nights before we left, Tornado S threw up because my dad fed him three cookies, a piece of pie, and some Papi candy.  Tornado S will be fine.  He doesn’t even have a fever.

The Husband was content and was snoring to wake the dead within seconds.  The Husband is notorious for his snoring.  His friends believe I’m a saint.  His snoring usually doesn’t bother me because I’m a heavy sleeper.  Not this night.  I lay awake for twenty minutes wondering if I put a pillow over him if it would quiet him enough for me to get some sleep or would that be murder and if he did accidentally die could I claim lack of sleep and frustration over vacation as an insanity plea or would this be manslaughter.

I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I remember was waking up to a thump and crying.  It was four-thirty, and Tornado E had rolled out of bed, hitting his head on the night stand.  The Husband swore and picked Tornado E up, depositing him into our bed so I could soothe him.  Unlike the last hotel, this one didn’t have cheap chairs I could have moved around to make a gate to keep Tornado E from rolling out.  I had hoped my son had grown out of thrashing so much.  I was wrong.

A half an hour later, I was woken up by the screaming of the alarm as well as The Husband trying to fight it.  I hate beeping of alarms.  The Husband hates alarms.  I got up, went around the other side, removed the alarm from the monster paw, trying to bat it to death.  I shut off the alarm.

Me: Leaving Boston at 9am.  Brilliant.

The Husband muttered something incoherent that I chose to ignore than speculate on the negative reaction to my sarcasm.  He tried to roll over and sleep again.

Tornado E vomited all over my side of the bed.  The Husband thought it was a good time to get up.  We calmed down Tornado E and cleaned him up.  He stopped crying and looked at us.

Tornado E: Daddy’s funny.  Why’d he do that to the alarm?

Me: Because Daddy’s not a morning person.  How do you feel?

I took a quick shower to come out dressed to find that Tornado E was crying because he had pooped his diaper.  (He still wears pull-ups at night.)  The Husband shrugged, still trying to comfort Tornado E.  I checked.  It was a little diarrhea.  I calmed him down and changed him into underwear.  As I turned to finish packing, Tornado E vomited again.  I grabbed the last towel.  This did not bode well for our flight.  I packed the last pull-up into the diaper bag next to the last underwear of Tornado E’s.

The Husband: What are we going to do?

Me: We’re going to buy crackers when we fill up on gas.  I’m going to give him Mylocon drops in hopes that it can help settle his stomach.

We finished getting ready and began our trek to the Boston airport, stopping to get gas and crackers.  Tornado S refused food.  I should have guessed.  As we drove down the last freeway heading towards the airport, GPS being unreasonable helpful, Tornado S throw up, and there was nothing to catch it.  Luckily there wasn’t anything left in his stomach.

When we got to the rental place, I took Tornado S into the bathroom to strip him and dress him.  I also found out that he too had diarrhea.  Awesome.  We came to the unanimous decision to check Tornado S’s car seat and use Tornado E’s as we had learned coming in that air regulations does not allow for a car seat on the aisle.  Siblings should not be trusted next to each other on a long, cranky airplane ride.  We had already decided I would sit in the middle this time and have Tornado E out of his car seat.

I won’t go into the other gory details of the diarrhea.  I’ll just say that poor Tornado E was horrified that he leaked.  In the end, I had to put him into a Tornado S diaper in Dallas.  In the hour we waited during our lay over and boarded the next plane, I had to change Tornado S three times.  He did not leak.  By that time, I dreamt of getting home, filling the baby pool, stripping the boys, and letting them live outside in the back yard for the rest of the day.  Never mind the 109 degrees with no shade.  Never mind this was our thunderstorm season.  I was done.

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What came first the chicken or the nuggets?

When Tornado E was just shy of two, my bff insisted we bring him to her vacation “Bible” school.  (It’s in quotes because that’s not what they call it although it’s what it was.)  She had booked a petting zoo, and she figured we could leave Tornado E with her while we took the infant Tornado S out to dinner with us.  (Because she knew I wouldn’t part with Tornado S at that age.  Why fight a lost battle?)

We made the hour-in-traffic trek to her church, where the festivities were in full swing.  The Husband decided to take Tornado E into the petting zoo to get Tornado E acquainted with the animals and all the kids.

The Husband: Look, Tornado E, a chicken!

Tornado E bent down to eye-level with the chicken to examine it.  Then he blew on it.

It turns out we never explained that chicken nuggets, chicken strips, chicken legs all came from an animal called a chicken.  And that the cooked chicken is hot to touch, not live ones.

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Teammates

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Ok.  They’re not actually enemies, more like competitors, fighting for the same trophy of moral superiority.

But after a day of don’t-hit, make-your-bed, no-hitting, throw-your-fit-in-your-room, pick-up-your-toys, because-I-said-so, no-kicking, get-down-off-of-there, because-we’re-going-now, share, play-nice, let’s-go-now, no, I think I’m also fighting for my sanity and well-being.  When the boys have a glint in their eyes, I know they’re about to team up against me, if only to wrestle out their issue with each other.  Then I have to use The Voice because no one listened to me the first time or the third.  I don’t like using The Voice; things should be done when first Asked.

But then they found an unlikely ally.  Unlikely because he had to deal with the don’t-hit, don’t-wrestle, don’t-knock-your-brother’s-head-into-drywall, I-don’t-care-if-he’s-touching-you, stop-touching-your-sister, share, you-can-only-have-ONE-scoop-of-ice-cream, no-you-can’t-eat-his-tater-tots, knock-it-off, too.  But maybe not as unlikely because I was one third of the team slowly trying to steal his insanity as I yelled, “His leg is touching mine!”  (“For the love of God, you’re twenty, Fae!” “Well, her hair is on my shoulder” “T, your nineteen, get over it.”  “DAD!”  “We are always taking separate cars from now on.”)

But I changed teams!  I’m on his side now!  No harm, no fall.  He still has his sanity . . . well, most of it.  Some of it left with the hair, but still, we’re on the same team now.

Nope. As evident from yesterday’s post, my dad is decided to switch sides and help my boys shove me towards insanity.  I don’t know if it’s pay back or if what Bill Cosby said was true (which I changed a little because he was talking about his mom). “That’s not the same person I grew up with.  He’s an old person now.  He’s trying to get into heaven now.”

Take when Tornado E has refused point blank to eat dinner, even if he liked the same meal two days before.  Fine.  If he doesn’t want to eat it, then he doesn’t have to, but it will be there when he’s hungry later.  Of course, Papi sneaks in a cracker or a cookie or “Papi candy,” aka mint Lifsavers to the prisoner.  Papi also sneaks in “appetizers” like crackers, cheese, or chips.  No wonder the kid didn’t eat.  Not to mention Papi is a huge supporter of “Let the kid eat what the kid wants” theory.

I have no idea where this came from because I didn’t grow up with that.  I was forced to clean my plate.  If I didn’t like something, then too bad, eat it any ways.  I’m glad I don’t have to fight my dad on my food theories, but don’t act like that candy Tornado E has in his mouth wasn’t from you.  Besides your grandson ratted you out the minute I asked what was in his mouth.

But the latest evidence is the inflatable pirate ship kiddie pool that my father decided to “sail” on the pool after I explained that it wasn’t safe.  So there it was a kiddie pool sailing in the big pool.  Awesome.  Thanks for making me look like a unfun, hard-ass.  When the ship got to be too much, Papi beached it and helped Tornado E remove the squirting canon from the bow.  With Papi manning the hose, Tornado E was able to hit his mom anywhere in the pool.  No matter where I swam, when I came up for air, I was hit by a spray of water that Papi, ever so sweetly, made sure was on full blast.

So basically my dad still enjoys torturing me.  He just has some new teammates.  Teammates who would throw a fit if they were to go a day without their beloved Papi.

Just you wait, old man.  I’ll get you some day.

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A Few Choice Tornado E Stories

Tornado E is no longer concerned with the day I lost my keys down the toilet. Here are his NEW favorite stories.

Tornado E: Remember when we were swimming with Papi. And Papi yelled “Bee on you! Bee on you! Bee on you!” And Grandma jumped in the water. Why did she do that?

Me: Because she didn’t want to get stung. She didn’t know where the bee was.

Tornado E: Oh.

Tornado E: Remember when we were at the McDonald’s without the slide. And Papi took me to go potty. And I went pee. And Papi said, “Boy, you pee a lot.” Why did he say that?

Me: Because you do pee a lot.

Tornado E: No, I think he was teasing.

Tornado E: Remember when I threw up on Daddy the other day. It was a lot of throw up. It got all over us. And Daddy was yelling, “Mommy! Mommy!” (Pause, reflecting on the name Daddy actually used.) “Faemom! Faemom! Faemom!” He was funny. Why’d he say that?

Me: Because that’s my name and Daddy needed help.

Tornado E: No. You’re Mommy.

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The 4 year old kidnapper

The guests were starting to leave the party. My aunt stood at the door, hand on the knob, ready to pounce out, waiting for her husband to finish talking to my mom. We were all gathered in the foyer. Then two pirates came twisting through the crowd. The bigger, the eldest by three months, held the wrist of the smaller one, firmly.

Brock: Grandma, can you please move? We have to go outside.

My aunt: You have to wait for your mommy, sweetie.

Brock: I’m taking Evan home with me. He’s coming to my sleep over.

My aunt: (laughing) You’ll have to ask your parents.

Brock: Ok!

Brock turned around and maneuvered around all the adults, towing Evan behind him.

Brock: Mommy! Can Evan come to my sleepover?

T: Not tonight, Brocky.

Brock: Ok. Daddy, can Evan come to my sleepover?

C: (laughing) What did your mom just say? Not tonight.

By this time, the door was open. People began to file out.

Brock: Come on, Evan. You can come to my house for a sleep over.

Evan: No, I want to go to my house.

Brock: But, Evan. There are LOTS of toys at my house.

Evan: I want to go to my house.

Brock: Don’t you want to play with all my toys?

Evan: I’ve got lots of toys at my house.

Brock was now visibly upset, and Evan shook off Brock’s hand.

Me: It’s ok, Brock. We’ll do it another time.

Brock: Ok!

Of course, Evan did try to sneak away in their van.

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“Bonding” with a Model

Yesterday I saw a piece on the news on how they are starting to make exact models of unborn fetuses.  Using a 3D computer model and a layering printer, they can hand the expectant mother a model of her unborn child.  They went on and on about the benefits of this new product for expectant parents.  I have a few problems with this.

First, I think these models are ugly.  But then I think those pictures of people imaged into crystal and glass are ugly too, so I might not be the best judge on this.  If a parent wants to have an image of their unborn child, who am I to judge.  It’s the way that they are already peddling this product as “helpful” that makes me upset.

A psychologist, that was interviewed, talked about how a mother can hold a model therefore getting practice for the real baby.  While that maybe an interesting experience, a mother can practice on a doll, which I’m assuming will be much cheaper.  Not to mention, that holding a doll helps practice your hold as a real baby is much more flexible and squirmy than a doll.  Again, this model is really more like a souvenir of the pregnancy like the ultrasound pictures or a belly cast.

The issue I take offense to is how this is touted to help parents bond with their unborn child.  A psychologist talked about how important it was for post natal bonding and how it would be easier if the parents bonded to the fetus during pregnancy.  Now I did not have a problem bonding with my child, but I knew mothers who did, who felt like bad mothers, who felt like monsters when they didn’t bond right away with their children.  While they did learn to bond and love their children, I don’t think a 3d model would have helped since the ultrasound pictures didn’t.  Not bonding is the fear for many pregnant women, and to feed off this fear to buy some product in the name of bonding, really just ticks me off.

Pregnant women are so easy to persuade with their worry of being a good mom, being filled with all kinds of hormones, making them do and think crazy things.  I’m kind of surprise they aren’t talking about how this would help fathers bond because in my experience men actually have to hold the baby to get it all to click.  Pregnant moms might buy into that.  But what if a couple buys a model and still doesn’t feel the bond?  What kind of pressure does that put on the parents to spend the next several weeks or months worrying that they won’t love this stranger that is their child?

These people assume that one can bond with someone through an image.  It’s like falling in love with someone by looking at his/her picture.  That’s not love; that’s infatuation.  I’m not saying that this product won’t make the impending birth more a reality because it will, just like the ultrasound pictures.  If the ultrasound picture can do that just as well as then why try to convince parents to plunk down hard-earned money for one of these models.

Sure, I think this interesting technology.  Sure, if you want a memento of this time of your life, this might be really cool.  But let’s not sell this as an important parenting tool for expecting parents because that’s wrong.

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Learning Bathroom Etiquette

Last week as I set out a breakfast of pancakes for the boys, I called for Tornado E and Tornado S to come get breakfast.

Tornado E: (from the master bedroom) In a minute, Mommy!  I need to watch Daddy pee first!

Lucky Daddy.

Then the other day we were hanging out with my baby brother.  Like the great uncle he is, my baby brother played with the boys, wrestling, sword fighting, tickling, playing cars.  Finally my brother had to excuse himself to use the restroom.  Knowing Tornado E and being modest, my brother locked the bathroom door.  Tornado E walked right in to the door, and then he started knocking to get in.  My brother only knocked back.  Tornado E gave up.

Tornado E: Mommy, why did Uncle M lock the door?

Me: Because he’s going potty and he doesn’t want you in there.

Tornado E: Uncle M doesn’t want me to see his penis.

Me: (thinking for a second) Yes.

Tornado E: Daddy doesn’t mind me seeing his penis.

Me: That’s because Daddy is teaching you to pee.

Tornado E: Why is he doing that?

Me: Because one day you’re going to pee standing up.

Tornado E: Why?

Me: Because that’s what big boys and men do.

Tornado E: Why?

Me: Because it’s easier.

Tornado E: Why? – Oh, Uncle M!  Let’s play ball!

Saved by my baby brother.

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Dad

When I decided to go away for college, I had a panic attack after I sent in my acceptance letter.  I closed the door to my room and cried, thinking about my teenage brothers and my dad.  When I left for college, who would hug and kiss my dad?  Who would kiss him goodbye before he left for work or before bedtime?  Who would randomly give him hugs?  Like every other existential crisis I had, my dad just gave me a few words and pushed me on my way.

I got a lot of things from my dad: my cheeks, my smile, the female version of his family’s nose, my sense of humor, my flair for drama, my lone wolf style, my storytelling.  His tact and way with people skipped me and went to my brothers.  Bummer.  While he teased me about having to put more years into the force since someone had to go to college, I knew he couldn’t have been prouder.

One Sunday when my mom was too sick to go to church, my dad took us across the street to the elementary school.  He carried two five gallon buckets brimming with softballs as I carried my mitt and bat and my brothers carried their mitts.  He pitched ball after ball to me, teaching me to hit.  He never lost patience or got tired of pitching.  No matter how bad of a hitter I was.

Then there was the crisis of faith I had a week before my confirmation, wondering if I was doing the right thing, choosing the right faith.  My dad sat and listened to a thirteen-year-old kid asking how did one hear the voice of God and would God be angry if I chose the wrong faith.  He nodded and then told me that if I couldn’t think of a different faith to go to then I should go right ahead with my confirmation.  He assured me that God would lead me to the faith I was meant for, and my dad wasn’t even a Catholic.

My dad can be an intimidating guy, with his cop walk and all.  One Monday during my freshman year in high school, my dad came early to pick me up from swim practice because Monday nights were Boy Scout nights.  My dad came dressed in his Boy Scout leader uniform.  As we walked to the car, we walked by three damn-we’re-tough-and-cool teenage boys smoking their cigarettes trying to look like rebels.  The minute my dad made eye contact with them, those boys snapped to attention, hiding their cigarettes behind their back.  The leader of the pack said, “Good evening, sir.  How are you?”  For years I tried to emulate that walk.

But the night that sticks in my mind was the night I got to hang out with my dad.  I arrived home around midnight after a babysitting job to find my dad waiting for me, not even pretending to go to bed as he usually did.  I popped into the family room to give him a kiss goodnight to find that he was watching Bill Cosby Himself.  “Sit down, Fae.  The first time I saw this I nearly peed my pants laughing.”  So I sat down and nearly peed my pants laughing.  From the night on, when I came home late, my dad was there, and we would talk.  I’d listen to all his amazing stories or get his opinion on politics or matters in my life. 

The one thing I miss now that we moved here is that there are no more late night discussions.  There is always some one around.  Sure, we find time to talk.  But it’s different when it’s night and everyone’s sleeping.  And it’s just the two of you.  When it comes to measuring myself up against a pole, it’s my dad that I measure myself up against.  It’s my dad that I want to make proud, that I don’t want to disappoint.  I’m sure he would hate knowing that because all he ever wanted was for us kids to live the life we wanted, not the life my mom envisioned.  I never thought I was a daddy’s girl.  Until I wrote this.  As I end this I remember all the other memories that I have with my dad, and I could go on and on, telling tales just like my dad.

My dad and me

My Dad and me

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Father’s Day Crafts!

Father’s Day is coming next Sunday, and I have been wacking my brain to come up with some great craft ideas.  If I had had a muse, I would have had this out last week, like I WANTED to, but my dad is hard to shop for; my husband is hard to shop for; my father-in-law is hard to shop for.  If it wasn’t for this blog, I would have gift carded the whole affair. 

Last year, we made t-shirts that said “You’re the best Dad (Papi) (Papa) hands down.”  I then put the boys’ handprints on the shirt with their names and ages underneath. 

Another tradition I started last year due to reading a Family Fun issue was to take a picture of the boys every year in the shirt (or outfit) their dad wore on the day of their birth.  Fortunately the husband wore the same shirt for both births.  Unfortunately I found it in a pile of dirty clothes last year.  I wonder where it is now.

This year I plan on making my dad chocolate cookies for Father’s Day.  I’m sure the boys would love to help.  We also did a few crafts.

 

Picture Frames

(This is a great craft with lots of variety.  The boys and I did this one last year.  They had a blast.  The husband loved it.)

What you need:

  • Unfinished thick picture frame (the thicker the better to give room for toddler creativity)
  • black or white paint
  • finger paints
  • paint brushes
  • sealer or top coat
  • sand paper
  • smock

First sand and prep the picture frame.  Next paint the background color with white or black paint.  Once the background paint is dry, have the child paint the frame.  After the painting is dry, paint the sealer or clear top coat to protect the painting.

Variations:

For older children, a regular unfinished frame works well too.

The child can stain the frame.

The child can paint it black and the sponge paint it with gold, silver, or any other favorite color.

The child can paint it black and put stickers on it.  Glow-in-the-dark stars look really cool.

The child can paint it a solid color and glue rocks, shells or buttons on the frame.

The child can decoupage the frame with material, color paper, magazine articles.

 

Craft Foam Picture Frame

(I was trying to find a twist on the picture frame idea because grandparents and parents just love pictures.  The boys really liked decorating the frames.  Evan had a unique twist on the stickers as he used Halloween spiders.)

Things you need:

  • Craft foam
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Markers, stickers, anything you want to decorate with
  • Glue (craft or hot)
  • Picture
  • Magnets

Trace out a square for the picture on the craft foam.  Cut out the square.  (I left an inch and a half around the picture for the frame.)  Have the child decorate the craft foam.  Glue the picture in the frame.  Glue magnets on the back of the frame.  (I picked up decorative magnets for a buck at Michael’s.)

 

Magnet Artwork

(I have read several places about taking those magnet business cards and doing something with them, like gluing pictures on them.  I decided on art work for the boys to do.  As my b0ys love coloring and stickering, they enjoyed doing this.)

Things you need:

  • Business magnets
  • Craft foam or construction paper
  • Markers, stickers, anything else you want to decorate with
  • Scissors
  • Black marker
  • Glue (craft or hot)

Trace the business magnets on the craft foam or construction paper with the black marker.  Have the child decorate the shape.  Cut the shape out.  Glue to the magnet.  (I have also heard of moms who make a scan of the child’s artwork and print it in business card size.  This would work for the magnets too.)

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