A Good Start To November

halloween, Parenthood, Star Trek

November 1, 2014- An excerpt from the journal that Becca and I keep for Jane

Today we started potty training and you are crushing it. We’re half way through the day and you just went with virtually no spillage. I’m so proud of you. Obviously, it’s been a long time since I’ve written to you. We came back to the US in february and things have been very chaotic ever since. You seem to really miss being in our little apartment in Ingelheim and I do too. I miss the rabbits in the yard, our friendly neighbors, Geert, Christina, Luise, Gerhild, and Gunther, and our simple life without cars. Although things are harder now, I think we’re making more progress in life.

Just yesterday I was told that I won’t have a job after December 14th. It’s OK because I was getting way too good at a job that I wasn’t passionate about. If you must know, I am cleaning yogurt machines for Peachwave Frozen Yogurt. You seem to love your highly privileged access to frozen treats, but for me, it’s tough work. I get up early in the morning, clean for a few rigorous hours, and come home to care for and entertain you for the rest of the day. Being with you is always the highlight of my day. When I come home often your face will light up and you run to me and hug me. It’s not every time but it’s certainly enough to warm my heart and bring me up out of whatever mood I’m in.

Yesterday was Halloween. Our first here in the States. We were Star Fleet officers. You were a princess and for some reason, Becca decided to get you another princess dress just a week before halloween. Come October 31st, you wore dress #2, Princess Anna from Frozen, got it dirty at the park, and refused to wear the very fancy and more expensive dress we got you. Later in the day, you showed interest again and rocked that poofy dress with an impressive hoop skirt. I was apprehensive when we first started knocking on doors to trick-or-treat (too many years of adulthood) but after a few houses, we were all having a good time. You came home with a noble stock of candy and we are dispensing said goodies to you piece by piece as rewards for your porcelain triumphs.

You’re playing hide and seek with your mom while I clean the kitchen. you just counted, “One, Two, … Ten, Eleven, Thirteen, Fifteen, Twelverteen, ready or not, here I come!”

Keep it up, Jane,



The Pool


Other than recording music, bringing Jane to the pool is the most difficult thing I do these days. Almost everything about it is perfectly tuned for me to be not good at it. Trying to leave the house with everything is a big challenge for me. I get the swim diapers out, the water toys, towels, my bathing suit, and some juice in a bottle. Then I put Jane’s outside clothes on and put my jacket on. At this point I’ve lost my keys. I’m getting sweaty now because I still have my jacket on, Jane’s jumping up and down at the door singing about pool and I’m really feeling the pressure. I resolve to just grab the duffle bag and bring it and Jane outside while I think about where the keys are. Oh. They were in the duffle bag. I get the bike out of the garage and attach the bike trailer to it. I put the girl in the trailer and buckle her in. This hurts my back.

The ride to the Rheinwelle (local indoor swimming facility) is about 20 minutes. Tonight it was raining lightly and not bitter cold so it was relatively easy. We get to the place and it’s time to lock up the bike, get Jane and our gear out of the Croozer and enter the Schwimmbad. It’s ultra hot in the changing area so I take her jacket and shoes off in the lobby. We pay and get an RFID watch thing which we wave in front of a sensor that is connected to a vertical turnstile entryway. It’s a very thin entry and it’s difficult to get through with Jane and the bag all in one shot but that’s what we have to do because there is a bar that pushes us through the apparatus.

We enter the changing room which has a row of doors. Each door is a tiny changing closet. There is one door that has a changing table and can accommodate a small family but this room is almost always occupied. We find a stall and I rummage through our bag. I clothe us and re pack the bag with 4 times as much as what was in it because it’s winter so we have lots of clothes and our jackets and we’re not allowed to wear street shoes in the locker room so I have to carry them or put it in the bag all while making sure that Jane doesn’t run off.

We enter the locker room. This room has tons of lockers. I find one and shove our things in it. It has a locking mechanism that can be activated by my RFID watch shaped wrist band. With toys and towels in hand we are ready to go into the pool room. The Rheinwelle is a huge place. There is a large lap pool, a kids lap pool, a baby pool, and a swirly fun pool with a small climbing wall and a wave maker with a swirly pool thing. Also, there is a hot pool outside that has minerals in it or something. Wow, I’m realizing that I know almost nothing about what to call any of this stuff.

Actually being in the pool is so much fun. Jane screams with delight and gets right to work. She’s at the point where she can walk around in the kiddie pool without falling over all of the time. She even crawls around with her mouth just above the surface of the water. There is a water cannon not unlike the tennis ball cannon from American Gladiators. Jane is somewhat protective of this piece of equipment. If another kid goes to it, she sometimes shouts at them and tries to take over operation of the cannon. I usually intervene.

Without fail, Jane will need to have her diaper changed after a short while in the pool. I strongly dislike this. It takes about 10 minutes to do what needs to be done and without going into much detail I’ll just say, having so much water involved really complicates things. We get back in the pool and it’s smooth sailing for about an hour.

Showers, collecting belongings, drying and changing. Again, this is all much more difficult with water. Everything backwards and we go home. I like the rides home. We have to climb a big hill but the air seems so fresh after being at the pool. I usually talk to Jane while I’m riding. I’ll ask her questions about animals mostly to keep her awake. She has an array of great animal sounds that she can mimmic.

Here’s a picture of the bike setup.


I don’t want to come across as a complainer. It’s not that any of this is bad, it just requires a lot of effort. I hope to improve my organization skills to better optimize bag packing. Maybe I’ll even work on a pool Go bag. It’s so much easier just sitting around and watching Curious George with her at home but something inside of me compels me to take her to the pool. I want her to have experiences and I want her to think of me as a fun parent. Jane, I’ll print this out and put it in our journal for you. I hope that by the time you can read this, we’ll have had a long tradition of going swimming. With each visit you discover more and more and it’s so much fun to see you develop. I brought you to the pool to day and I’m happy about it.