01 April 2010

Incessant Whining And Other Joys Of Parenting

There is no greater joy in my life than being a father. It is difficult to explain to my friends without children just how amazing it is to have these little, wonderful people run to the door and jump into your arms every time you come home to greet you with hugs and kisses—unconditional love. You are at the center of their universe. Of course, being the center of their universe, there is no escape from the the strong gravitational orbit they exhibit at all hours of the day to your person. Truth be told, there are hours, especially in my wife's day, that every one of our five kids seems to be attached to us as if we were wombats (one of my favorite marsupial.) We had five children—six and under at one time. Now, the oldest is eight. The most difficult part about parenting all of them now is that they all desire and deserve attention from mom and dad throughout their days—usually having to compete with attention from their siblings. There are times when I am talking to one of my children, and two other come and interrupt me with a question like "Daddy, do you like coconuts? I made you coconuts and strawberries."  I will then be handed a plate of plastic food that apparently is the aforementioned coconuts and strawberries. Amazingly, they also double as steak and potato's. Then there is the inexplicable Girls Never Stop Talking During Dinner Phenomenon. I am not sure why girls talk so much more than boys. All I know is that mine never seem to stop talking. The idle chatter becomes like a trance-like mantra for my wife and I at dinner. They have mouths full of food, but are talking about squirrels, or princesses, or pink lego's—sometimes we really have no idea—we just can not believe that they keep talking. And we, of course tell them not to speak with food in their mouths, but perhaps their insatiable need to talk turns off their ears, so that they can not actually hear anything we say to them. The boys are a different story. They are getting to the point were they are competitive with one another. It's funny though. They both have their particular strengths.
Luca, my oldest (8), is coordinated beyond belief. He played baseball last summer, and was switch hitting regularly during games. However, he lacks, what my wife and I refer to as any semblance of common sense whatsoever. Julian, the second oldest (6), is not particularly athletic, or coordinated—although my wife likes to remind me that he was riding a two-wheeler sans training wheels when he was three—but he has an incredible gift of memory. We are not sure how he can recall the data from when he was three, but somehow it is all stored up there in that young, formative brain of his. I mention the competitiveness only in the context of how this translates into amplitude. Competition equals volume: "Yes it does! No it doesn't! Yes it does! No it doesn't." Calgon, take me away! Even though dinner time can sometime be as chaotic as a bee hive in July, we submit—rather than embrace—the insanity with equal parts humor and angst.
With that said, wifey and I have days that we wish we could run away to a beach and drink piƱa coladas and strawberry daiquiri's all day, while basking in the warm sunlight without the incessant whining of five air raid sirens. Every once in a while we experience this strange anomaly of everyone getting along under one roof seemingly without any drama. Shortly thereafter, the cosmos somehow realizes this, and restores everything to normal disorder.

Training Update: I was really excited about my long run last weekend. I was down in Geneva, NY for a concert and was planning on running the Musselman Half-Ironman course on Saturday morning. However, Thursday, following my swim I started experiencing some post-nasal drip, and general unpleasantness in my body. I woke up Saturday morning and felt run down and tired. After a late morning breakfast and some coffee, I spent the day doing busy work in front of a computer overlooking the beautiful view of Seneca Lake. I had a big project to do and had to get it done before I could get outside for my run. When I finally got out at 3:00 p.m., I could only manage 40 minutes of running. My body was just exhausted. One of the most difficult things to do when you are training is to take a break. Psychologically, I always feel like my cardiovascular strength is going to diminish rapidly, or I am somehow going to forget how to swim.

Life Update: My new piece: Stress Test for piano concertino premieres on a concert this month—thus the less frequent postings. I have been up to my earlobes with work recently. Luckily, I have a team of unbelievably dedicated people working with me. I am especially excited that my friend Kelly—and fellow triathlon blogger over at trimommylife—is playing the flute part in my concertino. Kelly and I went to graduate school together. I owe a lot of my triathlon knowledge to her. When I first got started in the sport, she sent me a surprising email after a triathlon that I ran just to say "good job." It took me a second to figure out that she must have run it too. After that, I picked her brain about everything from gear to nutrition, blogging to training. She has been incredibly supportive along the way. Thanks Kelly!

If you are in or around my neck of the woods mid-April, come check out our concert.

Happy Training!


Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) said...

Ha ha...I had to laugh when I read about your kids. With a 4 1/2yr. old and a 2 1/2 yr. old, the plate of plastic food is a daily occurrence. :)

Sorry you're feeling a little sick. I hope you feel better soon! Good luck with the concert! If I was in your neck of the woods I would definitely be going to it.


Looks like your priorities are in order. Family first, other stuff later..

Caratunk Girl said...

I love the stories about your kids, I really enjoyed the entire post.

Hope you feel better soon - if I was any closer to NY, I would definitely be going to the concert!

Kelly said...

I guess I'll go to the concert...;) Thanks for the kind words, Mark.

On another note, I don't know how you guys do it with 5 kids!! I am barely sane managing my 2 boys, and I totally hear you on the volume thing. I can handle the volume most of the time, but if it is within 1 hour of waking up, I have no tolerance. They are starting to figure out that mommy and morning noise before coffee just is not a good combo!!

Molly said...

I only have two kids, but they never stop talking either!! One time my son stood next to me while I ran on the treadmill, and he ran his mouth for a full 30 minutes.

I just realized you must live in Rochester...I lived in the Park Ave area for five years...loved it!

Anne said...

My boys never stop talking, unless I want them to talk about something and then they have nothing to say - go figure!

They come by it honest though, I am, big surprise, a talker too!

Great post! I had no idea you and Kelly knew each other - how fun!

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

had me laughing! I can't imaging 5 kids and finding the time to train... you are doing it man keep up the great work!

Sherri said...

I love what you wrote about your family and I can relate 100%...especially with how special and rewarding it is!

TimC said...

Mark I just wanted to check and see if you have sent out the cliff bars. I could not remember if I gave you my mail address. You can email me at bears232@cox.net. Thank you very much.