Why ‘Firsts’ Matter

poo cupcakes

A week for 1sts

poo cupcakes
Never, ever look up a picture of poo on the internet.

The best part of being a parent is experiencing the firsts with your kids. First steps. First words. First poo in the toilet.

Sadly, I missed those so the firsts that come my way I eat up like a starving puppy thrown into a pit of pupperoni. But this week had a ton. A cluster of firsts. Even one that was a first for me.

The-Youngest had his first dance. Much of it I have been banned from talking about, but I was so proud of him for going. Alone. No wingman. No backup.

I remember my first dance. It was 70s line dancing. Disco, god help me. And it was such a terrible experience, that (to this day), I am still super conscious of how badly I dance. But The-Youngest stayed an hour, did his best to mingle (gosh, that’s hard to do) and finally left, vowing to have a friend go with him next time.

Soon to come, his first dance with a girl, then first date (NOT a date, Joe, we’re just getting a slice of pizza!), then first kiss, then the next thing you know, we’ll be at a wedding.

Learning to drive in the Toyota Rav4
The training car of choice, Rav4, Toyota. Not the mustang. No.

Next first was first time driving for The-Oldest. As he can’t actually go on the road, yet, we drove in the driveway, going in and out of gear, moving forward, backward, and figuring out what everything did in the car. I was super excited to be a part of that.

I remember my mom trying to teach me and it ended with me getting professional lessons (either that or mom would have ended up in the mental ward).

I honestly don’t think I could teach either of the boys to actually drive, not only because I’d freak out when they came close to clipping another car or running over a baby, but because I’d teach him all my bad habits. “Oh, hit the gas, you can rip through that yellow light.” “A double line passing restriction doesn’t apply to mustangs.” “Let’s see if I can actually do double the speed limit.”

So soon he’ll be taking lessons. I think it’ll go well. He did amazingly well n the driveway. More than I can say about myself these days.

First hockey tournament win
Hockey win!
His first!

Third first was The-Youngest’s, again.

He won a hockey tournament! Or rather his team did. They fought like lions (if lions could, you know, skate) and beat several pretty damn fine teams.

The last game for the gold aged me about 10 years, so if you haven’t seen me in a few months, I look like Stan Lee (may he rest in peace) after a bad night of drinking.

I was so proud of him and so happy to be a part of something he’d remember for the rest of his life. That kick out save at the start of the first game. The other team hitting the post not once, but twice in the final 2 minutes of the gold game. He’ll remember skating around, holding the trophy high. He’ll remember how the team mobbed him after an outstanding last game. He’ll remember the feeling of that win, that success, that payoff for a lot of hard work forever.

Or at least until that first kiss drives everything else out of his mind.

Lastly, something new for me. A first. My first baby shower.

Now, normally guys aren’t allowed to these things, though, why, I’m not quite sure. But we hosted the event, and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World and her parents worked very hard at making sure it was a success, cooking up a storm, setting up the rooms for nearly 60 people (YIKES!) and then making sure everyone felt welcome when they came over.

My quick observations of the event are as follows. I don’t think the mom touched her baby in 3 hours. I think both are going to be incredible parents. I think grand-babies are the best anti-aging method out there (and no, I don’t mean eating them or something, but holding them, snuggling them, feeding them) – it takes years off the grandparent’s faces.

baby shower
Cutest baby ever at her first Baby Shower. My first baby shower, too

Apart from all the cool presents, though, I think the best thing about a shower is that the mom realizes that she’s not alone, that what she feels, what she fears, what she hates or loves are all things other moms have experienced. There is help out there. Empathy. Support.

And also a year supply of diapers.

Other firsts zipped by almost unnoticed. The-Oldest’s first sr. concert (he was, as always, outstanding) and The-Youngest’s first time in the front seat (a little ahead of schedule),

But there are many more coming and I mean to be a part of as many as I can, because their firsts are mine, too.

So, if you like the blog, please share on FB or hit that subscribe button (nothing will ever be shared with anyone, ever) or simply tell your friends. 

Thanks for reading.



Top 10 Things Learned From the Tournament

happinessThere’s always something to be learned from every situation and I’m a life-long learner, which means I usually screw up constantly.

Here are the top 10 things I learned from the hockey tournament…

  • There is a sliding scale of when good behavior becomes bad. Mathematicians will like this and one day properly quantify it, but for now, let’s take a look. Joe-style. One kid will behave about 90% of the time. 2 kids, probably 60%. 3 kids, perhaps 40%, but it’ll depend on the kids. 4 kids…you’re now against the odds. Maybe 10% chance they’ll behave. 5 kids? The odds are akin to me winning the lottery. 6 kids. The odds are equal to the me winning the lottery and being hit by lightning at the same time. Any more and the odds are so astronomical that Karl Sagan, Einstein and Sheldon Cooper would fail to calculate them, the chance is so small.  There is a greater chance that somewhere in the universe there is a monkey typing out this exact blog at this exact moment. Plus, the damage that can be done is exponentially worse.
  • When in a group, all table manners go out the window. Again, this can be a sliding scale, just not as bad as the chance one of them will do something dumb. Have you ever seen a pack of starving wild dogs savage a wildebeest? It’s that disturbing. I point, as evidence to the pizza box with four bites out of it.
  • There are gods of hockey. Like a long-lost Norse god out to prove he can still influence the world of men. Sometimes the puck bounces your way and sometimes it doesn’t, but in some games, sometimes it’s everything or nothing. I kid you not. It’s like 4 pings off the goal posts, 2 off the crossbar, one puck hits the tip of the goalie’s skate and deflects wide, another shot has so little strength that it actually stops in the crease after being completely mis-saved. Or, your team mate will shoot it through the goalie’s skates, the puck will hit the crossbar and bounce off his back and into the net… you get the idea. And yes, The-Youngest had both those games.
  • liesYour child will lie to you. Oh, you think he’s going to be the most truthful boy on the planet, but tell him not to run on the ferry, and he’ll come back all red-faced from running and actually try to claim he wasn’t running. With sweat dripping down his face. While panting.
  • Great friendships can be made from great suffering. Or great triumph. Mostly our team is usually all about the suffering, but they bonded so well at this tournament that I’m sure some of them will be friends for life. (And it’s not just about the hockey bonding, oh no, it’s about trying to drown your coach or shooting a mini-hockey ball at someone’s crotch or trying to sneak into the boiler room on a ferry.) Me? I had some great moments with some of the parents and bonded with a few well. I mean, who could not? We all shared the same experiences, good and bad.
  • I could almost do a whole weekend of being marginally extrovertie. Oh, you extroverts may not realize how hard it is for an introvert to be all chatty, and be all chatty for 3 whole days, while not getting much sleep and not being able to drink a lot. But I did it. And, to be truthful, so did the-Youngest. It can be done, but mostly because I was lucky enough to go with a great group pf parents, some of whom I suspect were introverts as well.
  • If you have a 5:45 ferry and a game is supposed to start at 3:15, it will not. I suspect the same naughty Norse gods, but whatever, it should be like some sort of universal rule. If you don’t have a lot of time for buggering around, the universe will send people to bugger things around.
  • You can fit a goalie bag, two player bags, 5 suitcases, 2 backpacks, 3 9 year olds and 2 adults in a Rav 4. Certainly you would have bet against it, but with the proper application of pressure and swearing, you can get everything in. Plus 3 sticks. And 3 bags of tournament goodies. I should contact Toyota and get them to do a commercial like that. With me and my Hollywood good looks.
  • You get out of the tournament, whatever you expect. By that I mean if you think you’re going to have a crappy time, there is a ton of stuff that will prove you right. Bad refs. Bad coffee. No heat in the arena. Or you can think this is going to be one hell of an experience and there is tons of stuff to prove you right. Bad refs. Bad coffee. No heat in the arena. It’s like a quick reminder of what life’s about. There’s always good and bad, but it’s what you focus on. Or to quote The-prettiest-girl-in-the-world, “it’s whatever wolf you feed.”
  • Every game needs more cowbell.

Tournament Trials – The Loss – Part 7

They did their best to keep their heads held high
So, after 5 games, the boys had won four and lost one. The last one. And we were in serious danger of missing the ferry. Worse, we still had a ceremony to get through.

The boys lined up on the ice. A carpet was laid out between the two teams. Several old men in blue jackets and berets walked out to stand with the coaches. Veterans. Medals on their chests.

An announcement was made about the winners. The winners cheered. They were the better team. They deserved their moment. Then our time came and our coach took the mic. He looked over at his team. They had their heads up but their shoulders were slumped, like all the air had gone out of them.

He told them they hadn’t lost the tournament. He told them that they had won second place. Won. Second. Place.


He told them that they had beaten 4 other teams. That they’d played well.

He gave a great speech, but then he’s a pastor in his church and, I would think, not unused to giving people inspiration when they’re down.

Then the boys got their trophies. Pretty damn nice ones, too. The organizers did good.

Ok, it wasn’t a very big carpet they rolled out.

After each trophy was handed out, the boys would shake hands with the vets. “They had soft hands,” The-Youngest said. He wanted to know what wars they’d fought in, but I couldn’t answer that. “They each had two medals, he said, so that must mean they’ve fought in two wars.”

He could be right.

By the time everyone got their trophy, we had to really make time to catch the ferry. It was 5pm. The ferry left at 5:45. I had a reservation, but not all our team did and it would be a small New Years’ miracle if we all made it. The drive was 20-25 minutes. And we had to still get our gear off.

It was decided that the only thing they’d get off was their skates. Well, sure, fair and fine for players, but to get goalie skates off means you have to untie the pads as well. But we were up to the task, and while most of the team left ahead of us, we were not far behind.

We stuffed our gear in the car. We stuffed the gear of two other boys in the car. We stuffed, 3 kids and 2 adults in. Somehow. And sped off. Now is usually the time I get epically lost, but with the aid of my iphone, I weaved my way in and out of traffic like a Nascar pro.

We made it into the line-up at 5:25. The ferry was 93% full. The attendant gave people without a reservation about 50/50 if they’d get on.

While we waited in the lot, the boys changed their gear. At first, they wanted to change outside of the car. OUTSIDE OF THE CAR. Like, in the open! Like with people in cars on either side looking at them!!!

The answer to that was, ah, no. No way. So they took turns inside the Rav 4 getting out of their sweaty, wet gear and into civilian clothes.

In the end, we all got on and assembled at the front of the ferry. The boys’ good humor had returned, and they were all so excited that they’d done so well. Mad props to the coach for finding exactly the right thing to say to them when the game ended.

The coach gave another speech about behaving, but this went largely unheard as the boys roared off to cause problems. Not The-Youngest though. He was given 20 min then a few quarters to play some video games, then kept by my side (mostly playing games on my phone.)

Yes, this is what two people decided to do on a busy, busy ferry. Lets put our hands together for their humanity
Yes, this is what two people decided to do on a busy, busy ferry. Lets put our hands together for their humanity. Thank goodness their snowboards had seats.

Most of the parents did the same thing and those who didn’t quickly gathered up their sons after supper. However, as goofy as the kids may have been, the epic award for being a complete asshat goes to a couple who occupied 6 seats in the cafeteria.

The ferry was 95% full when it left. There was a massive wait for food and for tables.

The staff even gave an announcement that anyone who’s finished eating, if they could please bugger off so that others could sit down.

Not those two entitled pricks though. They saved 4 seats for their snowboards. So, I took their picture. To quote Red Foreman, my fathering mentor, ‘Dumbasses!!!”

wft star trekAs we  sat down, I told The-Youngest to see what a sense of entitlement leads to.

How many people had they inconvenienced so they could store their coats and snowboards? How fair was that to our team that could have used those seats to eat?

He said he’d never do that, and I believed him.

All things considered, he’d been great on this trip. Not perfect, sure, but he’s 9 and he was with his hockey buddies, so he needed to have a good time as well.

The best picture of The-Youngest yet.
The best picture of The-Youngest yet.

We got home in time for him to tell everyone about the games they’d won, the saves he’d made, the MVP medal he’d won and the trophy the team got for ‘winning second place’.

I declared the weekend a success and went to bed and slept for 20 hours.