nice swimsuit

so, there we were…

at the local swimming pool on the opening day of the summer…

the place was packed…with parents and kids, babysitters and kids…and about 1000 children from the local ymca…

summer had just begun and school had just let out…so, everyone was in good spirits…

my wife and i were sitting in the water and playing with our kids at the wading pool…and i was taking it all in…

the sun, the fun, the sounds of summer…

then, i turned to look behind me…and there was a little girl (not more than two years-old) walking towards the wading pool…

she had an adorable swimsuit on, one that was as cute as our kids used to wear when they were that age…

so, i turned towards the child’s mom, who was standing right by us, and said…

that’s a nice swimsuit.

the mom looked at me and said nothing…a look of disgust covered her face…

i sat there, frozen, thinking…

what’s happening?!

i think i remember hearing my wife mutter from beside me…

she thinks you’re talking about her suit… 

[the mom was in a bikini]

the mom turned towards her child, picked her up, and walked off…

feebly…i called after them…

i meant your daughter’s!

 

what’s going on?!

that is a question many of us have had over the summer…maybe, even longer than that–maybe, for years now…

what is going on in our society?  what is going on in our criminal justice system? is what we’re seeing, what we’re being shown…the whole truth?

it seems like, when we consider the violence and death that has been at the forefront of american life this summer, there’s nothing short of 1000 teachable moments, important things–that we could impart to our children in these times–for them, for us, and for the future of our society in the united states…

personally, while all of the stories of the summer were unfolding (and continue to develop), i had a lot of different feelings and thoughts about what i was seeing…and i wanted to write about it (criminal justice)–especially, since it is the subject that i teach (at high school and college)–but, to be completely honest, the herding cats space didn’t seem quite right for that kind of thing, you know…

so, with that, i have started a new blog…one that goes a bit deeper than what we might see in the mainstream media…

importantly, if you’re like me and have an interest in these matters and want to take a closer look at what’s going on — then, please join me in this new endeavor (though, i think it will be a bit more intense and hard-hitting than what you see here)…

the new site is called…

detteronomy – a private investigation…into law, crime, and justice in america

and you can follow it at…

https://detteronomy.com/

now, don’t fret- this blog – herding cats – will go on…so, all you loyal followers out there–stay with me!!!  and, “thanks in advance” for continuing the journey!!!

thank you!

cheers!

dave dettmann.

our last day with our day care provider…

yesterday, we said goodbye to one of the most important people in our lives…our day care provider…

given the impact this woman had on our lives, i am re-posting (below) a post i shared more than 3 years ago…

everything in this post is still true today…or, more true…meaning, you just need to “times” all of the good shtuff i said below by ten thousand (x 10,000) and then you’ll be close to just how much my wife and i love and appreciate her, our day care provider…

note: in the first version of this post, i didn’t give out her actual name–for privacy reasons–but i’m gonna do that now…because if you’re out there (in the twin cities)–looking for a place for your kids–look no further, sign up today!!!

thank you, stefanie berge/sharon (owner/operator of tender heart childcare) you’re the best around!

to see what i’m talking about, please keep reading…

before i was a teacher, i worked with kids in many different settings…coming through a gauntlet of years in youth work & (now) teaching, it takes a lot to impress and inspire me in this field…

but, i have been truly impressed and inspired over the past 3+ years…

with our in-home day care provider…

and yes, i said in-home daycare provider!  …in-home daycare programs are often regarded as marginal, “fly-by-night” operations that may be alright in an emergency….but not as a “serious long-term consideration”…because people think that “they’re just not as good as centers” or a mom/dad staying home with their children…nor are they viewed as “safe places”–you get the feeling that this is one of the most horrific decisions you can make for your children–tantamount to sending a kid cross-country on an orphan train (esp. from my parent’s generation) …like your kids will end up abducted, abused, neglected, abandoned, in the emergency room, dead in the street and on the nightly news if you leave them there!!!  i heard the world saying, please report to the shame corner and turn in your parent card, now!

…this is not the case with our person, sharon–yes, her name has been changed to protect the innocent–or in the many cases of parents who use amazing in-home daycare providers each and every day…anyways, my wife did the first drop-n-go routine, through a river of tears (mind you, this is a person who cries over  the voice🙂 and i did the job three days later…and this is what happened…

i entered the house, took off my shoes, and proceeded downstairs to find my children…i was excited to see them…arriving downstairs, i made eye-contact with my son and daughter…they recognized me and smiled…but, they weren’t that excited to see me…they stayed where they were–by the side (son) and in the arms (daughter) of sharon…i thought, what the hell is this?!  i’ve been your father for nine months–you think that was a piece of cake–i was there when you were colicky, when you wouldn’t sleep, when you had that “projectile shit”–the rapid fire, .50 caliber shtuff that ‘took out’ the nursery room door–and this is how you repay me…how dare you?!  i mean, i had envisioned my children running from sharon, bounding towards me–their father–with outstretched arms (press play on can’t hold back by survivor)…but, it didn’t happen…so, i made funny faces, talked to them, waved for them to come to me…but still, they stayed with sharon…so, i hiked back upstairs, put my shoes on, went out to the van and grabbed the wonder bar…so-to-pry my children off of their in-home daycare provider!

…since those early days, we’ve seen and heard all about the amazing things they’ve learned from sharon…sign language, “how to wear a helmet with style”, music, how to pronounce their “t’s”, please and thank-you’s, “how to help”, potty training–you name it…she is unbelievable …so, let me just take this moment to say…thank you, thank you, thank you, sharon…for teaching our kids, for loving our kids like that…i am impressed and inspired…you’re the “+1” to my wife and i, you’re the best around…

i swear

i have a language problem, and anyone who knows me knows it’s true–it’s no secret…it’s been something i’ve been trying to work on since we’ve had children–and there was one day, in the not too distance past, when i knew–things had to change…here’s that story…

it was a day after many long weeks–we had sold our house and just moved into a new house–and at the same time that we were dealing with that major life transition, my wife and i were trying to keep up with our kids and our jobs…anyways, one day after work, i picked up our kids from daycare and headed home–they were tired from all of it, too…and it showed in their behaviors, as they were crabby with each other and with me for the whole ride home…

[author’s note: when we got home my kids were demanding snacks and juice and having to go to the bathroom and 100 other things…meanwhile, i was running through a mental checklist in my brain of what we had in the liquor cabinet, because daddy was going to need some “juice”, too!  🙂 ]

so, here’s what went down on that fateful day in october…

jack: daddy, i have to go poopy.

me: go ahead and head into the bathroom, i’ll be in there in a minute.

he goes into the bathroom and gets to work and i get grace some juice and a snack…

jack (after a few minutes): daddy, i’m done!

daddy (walking towards the bathroom): o.k., i’m coming. 

jack: can you wipe me?

daddy: yep.

i say this as i turn towards the toilet paper holder…unfortunately, i don’t see any toilet paper on the holder…i look to the basket where “backup paper” is kept and it’s empty, too…then, i hear my son’s voice again…

jack: can you wipe me, daddy?

me: yes, jack.

then, i hear my daughter crying for more snack from the other room…and i shout to her…

me: in a minute, gracie.

feverishly, i start going through the cabinets, looking for the almighty tp…it’s not looking good, i can’t find any…and i hear jack again…

jack (impatiently): daddy, i need to be wiped.

daddy (more impatiently): i know.

frustration is mounting on all sides when i go to the last cabinet…no dice…no toilet paper in there either…and that’s when i say it, that’s when i swear…

me: fuck!

i realize i’ve said it “out loud”, but it’s too late…because jack speaks up again, to my chagrin…and this is how it goes…

jack: fuck!

[then again]

jack: fuck! fuck! fuck! fuck! fuck!

[then]

me: no! no! no! no! no!

eventually, i locate some tp in our bathroom and use it on him and get them their snacks and juice…and eventually, everything settles down…

but, deep down, i know that parent fail #76 just happened…

in the months that followed, i tried, really hard, to regulate my language…that experience was enough to startle me into some efforts for better behavior…i mean, having my son mimic me like that, like a little mockingjay–what the fuck?! 🙂

then, recently…i was startled again, when i heard my daughter say…

oh my God!

when i heard her say that, i stopped right in my tracks (again, i was making them their after day care snack) because she said it like an expletive–not in a praise to the Almighty kind of way…

here’s our exchange…

me: hey, now…we don’t say that.

gracie: oh, o.k.

me: we say, “gosh” or “golly”, right?!

gracie: o.k.

me (not really wanting to ask): where did you hear that?

jack and gracie are silent and then look at each other…then, gracie sings…

oh my God, i’m coming home.

at first, i don’t get it and am a bit confused…

me: what? wait?! from the song we play?! 

[we have an i-home where we play all kinds of music, and what i realized–in that moment–was that she was referencing a song called, “Oh my God, I’m Coming Home” by the christian musician david crowder.]

after a short conversation about the differences between singing it like the way he does and using it in everyday life as an expletive, my kids go off to play and think/say nothing of it going forward…

but, i’m still worked up about it, i’m still ticked…mostly at david crowder…mr. pop-christian musician...in my mind, i envision confronting him and throwing down…damn you, crowder, damn you!

since the most recent incident, i have mixed up the playlist…and substituted in–“Mama I’m Coming Home” by ozzy osbourne…

rock on!

🙂

vows

so, i had this dream (about a week before the “good friday” story in the last post)…

i was wandering around some foreign land…and met up with stephen (one of the youth pastors at our church–the upper room)…he brought me back to the church, to his office…which was completely bare…no office supplies or wall hangings or much of anything…just a desk and a chair…and a Bible…

i didn’t say anything…

but stephen said…

God knows what you have promised.

then, he said…

it’s right there in Psalm 36.

then i woke up.

a couple of things:

  1. as surprising as it sounds, i don’ t usually dream about stephen;)
  2. i don’t usually have “religious dreams”…and i didn’t grow up in a faith tradition that focused on that kind of thing.

when i woke up, i was rattled…and i couldn’t resist looking up Psalm 36…and, believe it or not, there was some stuff in there for me–stuff that’s important for me as a husband, father, son, brother and teacher:)

parent fail – good friday

i think enough time has passed…

i think enough time has passed to tell you this story…without it being a complete and total sacrilege…

so, there we were…

getting ready to go to church on good friday…

and we find ourselves in a conversation with our kids, our four year-olds…about Jesus dying…actually about Jesus being killed…

my wife: so, today you’re going to hear about how Jesus died.

me: actually, that Jesus was killed.

our son: Jesus died? Jesus was killed?

me: yes.

our son: who killed him?

me: some people who were not very nice.

our son: were they bad guys? were they bad ninjas?

and that was the end of the conversation…as my wife and i looked at each other knowingly–“well, that went well”…

[and chalked up parent fail #85]

march madness

during one day in march, i took my kids to the mall to run around (because it was cold out)…and once they saw the toy store it was all over, game over…

or maybe, it was game on

once we crossed the threshold of the store, all i heard was…

i want this, i want that…

from superheroes to legos to games…it was a non-stop barrage of begging and pleading…then, after an hour there…i pulled them away, and we went to another store…there were some toys there, too…and it began again…

i kept thinking…

what happened to my sweet children?! where have they gone?!

i fought off those punches, too…and left the mall…without buying them a single thing…as we left, they were whining and unhappy–and i was smiling and happy…even though i felt a little bit like the bad guy…and even though it wasn’t an easy or fun thing to do…to repel those requests…it’s not…it’s not the peak of the mountain for a parent…but, a little rise, a hilltop, when it turns out…and i’ll take it!!!

i mean, they must have asked me for a toy at least 1000 times…and i must have said “NO” in equal measure…

but at the end of it all, the score was…

daddy 1 – 0 jack & grace

it may not seem like much, but it was a huge victory…and a bigger one for them (later in life)…

now, don’t get me wrong…i’ve been “played” before (like a fiddle in the devil went down to georgia)…manipulated by my four year-olds…lost out to their wishes and will before (it’s crazy how early they learn those skills–how early we learn those skills)…but, i keep trying…and on that day in march, i thought to myself…i won this round–we won this round…

all along, as they were working me over…i kept hearing that voice in the back of my head…it was the voice of dr. david walsh, parent and child expert…encouraging me, reminding me…

we say “no” to our kids because they can’t say “no” to themselves–in doing so, someday they will be able to!

thank you, dr. walsh!

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