Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why I'm going to cry at my brother's wedding

I'm a 6'7", 240 lb bald guy. I can be a little intimidating. That is, until you actually get to know me. I'm sensitive and I'm a crier. Some commercials really have it in for me. Anything that involves a kid with his dad? Forget it! Ty Pennington gets me every time. That song Cinderella by Stephen Curtis Champman...where's the box of tissues? What can I say? On my side of the Bernholdt family we were taught to take care of one another that family was important above all else yet, we were not that keen on sharing emotions. I came from the time growing up where you toughened things out. You got hurt and you rubbed some dirt on it. There weren't time outs and do overs and not everyone won a trophy. I know this because while playing 3rd base in little league I went after a line drive that hit the bag and then hit me in the face shattering my Harry Caray glasses into a million pieces. I am pretty sure after I shook it off that my coach, my brothers, or maybe even one of the parents in the stands said "That's using your head!" and we played on.

I don't know if all of this lack of emotion became bottled up inside me over time but I can tell you that it has been slowly leaking out, literally. I have a tendency to well up in particular when I am talking about someone that I care about. My kids by far are the worst. I have barely made it through Adam's first grade conference without explaining that I must have had some dirt in my eye or that my contacts were bothering me. When I was a teacher, this was really hard for me to give an awesome conference. Sometimes I looked forward to the kids who were failing to come in and show me that they cared because that meant I didn't have to get choked up talking about how amazing they were. I could be a hardass. That didn't happen often. It is this deep sense of pride that I have in people that will unleash the waterworks. Dammit Chris, there is no crying in blogging! If it was a student that really impressed me or showed me how great they were it was really difficult not to lose all credibility as this kid's teacher. I would be an awesome actor for crying scenes because I can think of lots of times students have impressed me or something that my kids have done that make me think. Wow! These people are incredible!

Before teaching I was terrible at public speaking. I still don't like it all that much. Speeches are hard but it's going to be even harder for me to talk about my little brother getting married. Don't get me wrong I couldn't be happier for him. He has found someone that he loves and she loves him back and they are going to spend the rest of their lives together. That's a beautiful thing but this is the same kid that I used to do everything with. When the kids at the Darien Swim and Racquet Club were picking on him I stood up for him. We played Star Wars, He-Man and G.I. Joe together endlessly. We rode our bikes to baseball card shops and to Showbiz Pizza to play video games. If you have seen this kid's Universal Studios movie you know that he is just funny. I have laughed more times with him than anyone. He just knows how to make people laugh. We lived together in Lyons and we lived together in Bolingbrook. Nothing brings two guys closer than dry-walling your own basement. We even worked together ; where Brett slept on a giant pile of rocks and our stories about that summer job are legendary.

He's the best about including people, myself included. He always let me tag along with his friends from high school which hasn't changed. I spent four awesome days in Welaka. Heck, I was in a mosh pit with his friend's dad seeing NIN when the dad broke some punks nose! The reality is I have been through a lot with Brett and he is undoubtedly my best friend. So, if thinking about him being happy makes me cry then let the waterworks begin. Love you Brett.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Sarlacc

Kids stomachs are weird. They are severely limited in their acceptable food pallet. My daughter, Sarah is a snacker. She could eat snacks all day long if I would let her. When I announce that it is dinner time or lunch time she whines and requests a snack instead. She rarely eats at dinner, probably because I am placating her with snacks most of the day. I know that most of it is mental because once we stop doing an activity the first thing out of her mouth is what she wants to put into it. I have a stay at home dad friend that has a daughter that only eats bread and drinks water like she is on a prison diet. So, I must initiate a snack schedule among others for summer activities because the noodles are killing me with their endless questions. Toddler's stomachs can be tricky mostly because you don't know which stomach is going to show up to meals. Is she going to eat two hot dogs, a cheese stick, carrots and some lemonade or will she just lick her carrots and ask me 30 minutes later when snack time is? Sarah can turn into the Sarlacc at times and her appetite can be like the plant in Little Shop of Horrors if I find something that she actually likes. Hot dogs. This kid could eat hot dogs everyday if they didn't repulse me after awhile. Don't get me wrong. I'm from Chicago and I thoroughly enjoy a dog Chicago style but my daughter puts ketchup on hers. KETCHUP! I don't know if Kobayashi regularly eats hot dogs to prepare for an event or if he genuinely likes them but after alternating day in and day out between salami and hot dogs, I look forward to dinner time for a change of pace. My son, who is 7 isn't any better. He only likes PB. He doesn't like lunchmeat or cheese...a clear violation of a Bernholdt staple. So, everyday for his lunch at school I would make him a PB & something with alternatives to jelly being banana, apple, Spicy Doritos, potato chips and anything else I could convince him to eat. See, he eats at 11am at school so I can't send anything hot unless he buys his lunch there which I am not sure he would do anyway given a limited choice. I do have to say that my kids love brussel sprouts. Honestly, they do. At least the way I make them. Message me for recipe. It's not exactly healthy but they eat plenty of stuff that most kids don't like. Adam LOVES broccoli. Steamed broccoli or raw they eat it like candy. It's his favorite food next to pizza so I am not complaining that much. Well maybe a little but it is funny to see how the kids have grown into their own tastes. How about your kids?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Potty Talk

Eminem is right. We're thankful for every fan that we get but we can't take a... without someone opening the door and asking what we are doing. I have tried to institute privacy for bathroom time. It's been a struggle mostly because when I do take the kids out somewhere and we have to do a potty break it means I am dragging everyone into the men's room with me. Bathrooms are not designed around little people so on the rare occasions I have let Sarah go by herself it usually ended up with some stranger helping her out or me barging into the ladies room to help her reach the soap or paper towels. I expect that one of these days Adam won't want to do everything with Sarah and they will be fighting over bathroom time. I don't want to lock the door because if they knew they could I would be removing the hinges from the doors trying to get in. My son accidentally locked himself in the bathroom once and I didn't have that little tool they install in these new bathroom door handles that unlocks it from the outside. It was a small bathroom and he was freaking out saying he was never going to get out and that I would have to call school and let them know he wasn't coming in. Eventually I had to unscrew the handle right off the door and all was well. Now, I usually get someone knocking on the door asking me "What are you doing?" or "Will you play with me?" I have to fight back the sarcastic remarks. Sarcasm is wasted on little kids. They think everything you are saying is for serious. Dear Kids, can I just get a few moments to make a deposit and enjoy my Sports Illustrated? Thanks. Daddy