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Bounce It Out

Originally posted on BabyCenter.com 12/10/06 

Why is this time of year so stressful? Is it just me or does everyone wait until the last minute to get anything and everything done. You know, completing projects at work, gift shopping, getting the kids to preschool on time, (ok, that one may just be me), cleaning, decorating, the honey-do list, fixing broken stuff around the house, figuring out what to do when thirty relatives come over for a family party, etc… It doesn’t matter how well my time has been managed, if it wasn’t for the last second then nothing would ever get done. I am reminded of this every year as that obnoxiously huge lit-up glass ball thingy drops in New York’s Times Square. Three… Two… One… That’s it times up.

Not only is this time of year stressful due to procrastination but also because the expectations for end-of-year fiscal gains are so high. It’s the last quarter, Black Friday, frenzied stock markets, sell more this year than last, where’s my raise, consume, consume, consume, etc… This is true of my family’s business too. We have been in the restaurant industry for twenty five years. I did get a few breaks from it during college and right after yet, inevitably I was roped back in by my two older brothers who have looked after me my entire life. Strolling down memory lane; spending my weekends slaving in kitchens washing dishes, my summers busting my butt bussing tables, my holiday’s sweating it out catering to peoples culinary desires and now that I’m all grown up I stress along with the rest of my family over the bottom line. Shouldn’t the Holiday season be rejuvenating and charitable? What happened to relaxation and giving?

So I’m a little stressed out; I haven’t played Hockey in weeks due to the holiday, harsh weather and child related sacrifices. Work is crazy busy, the kids have been driving me snowed-in cabin-fever ‘here’s Johnny’ (The Shining) insane and Kim’s hectic work schedule has been spilling over into our family time. I’ve been a grinch and short tempered snapping at everyone even Mimi our beloved dog. By Tuesday I had to change gears or someone was going to get hurt. My solution to an escalating temperament: Take Olivia and Hailey to BounceU, an exciting indoor play-center with massive air-filled bouncy structures for our ‘daddy day’ activity.

Olivia jumped right into action as soon as we got there, gravitating toward the twenty-plus foot inflatable slide. She quickly scaled to the top and gleefully slid down without hesitation. Her long dark hair was stretching every direction from generating static electricity. I gave her a jolt. “You shocked me daddy!” She didn’t care. She kept going. Next she ran the obstacle gauntlet, slithering, squeezing, scampering and scooching gracefully through. She circuited those two particular apparatuses several times as Hailey coyly looked on. It took Hailey a few minutes of observation and a smidge of daddy coaxing to warm up. She has been apprehensive with unfamiliar places lately. I climbed up the towering slide with her, when we got to the top she readily jumped in my lap and we zoomed down. Eyes wide, giggling the whole way down, she was intoxicated and thrilled with excitement. After our slide she went right for the gauntlet and proudly made it by all the obstacles on her own. Olivia and Hailey drew me into the fun and we had a blast. All the jumping, running and climbing ventilated just enough stress to quiet my nerves. It wasn’t Hockey but it was as close as I could get with the girls.

Playing the Santa Card

After our visit to BounceU we were having lunch back at home when Olivia hopped out of her chair and bolted toward the bathroom “I gotta make pooh-pooh!” She sat for two minutes. “I’m done daddy!” She called to me. She’s still not the best at cleaning herself so I went in thinking she had a movement and needed some help.

“Sweetie, you didn’t go?”

“I don’t want too.” She started to squirm off the toilet.

“Sweetie, try again.” I nudged her back on the seat.

“No! I don’t want too!” She hadn’t gone in two or three days, I knew she needed too.

Then I had what at the time seemed like a brilliant idea but in retrospect the idea was something I’m not so proud of. I said to her, “Sweetie, Santa only visits little girls who make pooh-pooh on the potty. If you want Santa to come and leave you presents you need to make pooh-pooh.” Within minutes she managed to have a bowel movement.

“Is Santa coming?” She immediately asked and since then every time she goes potty she asks if Santa is coming.

Until marrying Kim I didn’t celebrate Christmas. Is this outright blackmail and sacrilege?

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