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August 26, 2003

1-2-3 Timeout

Tonight was almost comical.

Noah was being a bit of a pain and decided to start knocking over chairs in the dining room. Not accidentally. He was throwing them over. That got him a timeout.

He and I spent the next 15 minutes working on his timeouts. Not that he had a 15 minute timeout. He was only going to be in there 2 minutes, but every time that he got out of timeout, the clock started over and he went right back in. After a while, I had to laugh because every time I walked out of the room, he would get out of the chair and I would turn around and and put him back in. After he got the hang of it, and he stayed in there his two minutes, I went in to get him and told him that the only thing he had to do was to go out and tell Mommy he was sorry.

To make a really long story short, three more timeouts and 15 minutes later, Misty finally got her apology.

This boy is as stubborn as his father...

August 20, 2003

But I Got To!

Around bedtime, Noah usually tries to extend the amount of time he can stay up by being cute and loveable. Not that he isn't normally cute and loveable, but more so. First, he tells us that he wants to sit a minute. This means that he wants to sit on one of our laps and snuggle. That is usually enough to extend his bedtime a little bit.

Then, when his minute is up, he draws out the decision of who is going to take him upstairs. First going back and forth between Mommy and Daddy and kissing us. Usually telling us that it is the other person's turn to take him upstairs. This, too, usually allows him to add a few more minutes.

Tonight, though, he added a new interesting thing. He started asking to take different toys upstairs with him, including a large stuffed bunny that is bigger than he is. When I told him that he couldn't take the bunny upstairs, be came over, looked me in the eye and said, "But I got to!"

It made me laugh and extended his bedtime a little longer, which is what he wanted.

August 17, 2003


Noah had a complete and total meltdown today in the middle of the grocery store. We were looking for Wiggles Fruit Snacks and they didn't have any. They did have some Dragon Tales fruit snacks, but we decided that since he had others at home we really didn't need to get any of them. Noah really didn't like this and started crying and carrying on like it was the end of the world.

Admittedly, this is a pretty boring set up for a story, but it isn't the fruit snacks that are important. What I found to be interesting was the number of looks that we got from people. Those pushing carts with children usually glanced our direction with a kind of "I've been there. Be strong" look. We also got quite a few looks that could be interpreted as, "Please shut that child up," from couples without children and single people as well.

Now, I have a pretty thick skin and this type of thing didn't bother me much. If Noah's crying bothered them, then it was their problem. Yes, the sound of a crying child is not the most soothing sound on the planet, but pissed off looks and snide comments do nothing to help the problem. Of course, though, this led to a round of self reflection that led to a realization...

I used to be one of them. I can remember looking at people who had children that were crying and carrying on in restaurants and stores thinking that they really needed to do something to quiet them down. At that point, I didn't understand what it was like. It isn't like children have a schedule that lets you know that they are going to have a major crying jag from 11:45 to noon and that we need to be in a place away from everyone so that no one is offended. It just happens when it happens.

The one thing that I can say is that, when Noah gets to going too loudly, either Misty or I will remove him from the situation until he calms down enough to join the civilized world. Even today, if a parent has a child that is acting poorly in a restaurant, I can get frustrated. But I do understand what the parents are going through and can relate to the frustration and embarrassment.

I guess what they say is true... children really do change your outlook on life.

August 16, 2003

The Littlest Picker

Today, we went to pick grapes at the Davenport Winery in Eudora, Kansas. It is about a half-an-hour from our house. Misty and I really like the wine from there so we decided it would be a good idea to help them out and get the harvest done. Plus, they were going to feed us and invite us to the unveiling party for a new wine they have coming out this fall.

We got there at about 8:00 or so and it was already 83 degrees outside. There were about 8 other people already in the field out picking. After a short class on what to cut and how not to cut your fingers off, they sent us into the field to get started. We were going to be cutting Marechal Foch grapes, which are very tight, small clusters. The grapes themselves are dark purple and very sweet.

While Misty and I cut the grapes from the vines, it was Noah's job to pick up any grapes that we dropped and throw them in the tub. He thought that was a lot of fun and that managed to keep him busy for a couple of hours.

By around 10:30 or so, it had already heated up to over 90 degrees at which point Noah started to get a little antsy. After all, picking up all those grapes was pretty tiring work. We knew that he probably was getting a little bored and wouldn't want to stick around too much longer. He sat down under some of the vines and had a drink, which kept him happy for a little while longer.

After a little while longer, Greg, the owner of the vineyard, came over and asked how the littlest picker was doing. Noah looked up and told him that he was hot. Greg agreed and said that as soon as we were done with this last couple of vines, we would have lunch. He also invited Misty and Noah to head up to the wine tasting building so they could get into the air conditioning.

Once we had finished picking we went back and ate lunch. A couple of the people commented on how well behaved Noah was and that they thought it was neat to have someone his size come out and help pick.

I am pretty sure that we are going to go back again. I wasn't sure that Noah enjoyed it until we went to leave and he sat down and told us that he was going to stay.

Hopefully next time we head out, it won't be so hot or we may be picking raisins.

August 14, 2003

Its All Fun and Games...

Until you try to break daddy's nose. And then it becomes really funny. After the fact at least.

Noah and I were horsing around this morning before I took him to daycare. I was behind him and he whipped his head backwards and caught me right on the nose with the back of his head. This wasn't a light hit. This was an eye-watering, star-seeing, oh-my-god-i'm-going-to-puke hit on my hose. The hit knocked me on my back and completed stunned me. It also scared Noah quite a bit.

As I sat there waiting for my eyes to stop watering, Noah just sat there. I am pretty sure that he thought he was in trouble or going to get in trouble. I didn't really say anything to him and pretty soon he figured out that he wasn't in trouble. He came over and put his arm around me and asked me if I was OK. I said that OK but that my nose hurt.

Then Noah offered me the two things that always fixes his hurts. First, he kissed my nose. Then he asked, "Need a bandaid?"

I had to laugh at that... And that made it feel better.

August 12, 2003

Three Hours

Three hours can be an extremely long time.

Waiting for three hours in a doctors waiting room is torture. Sitting through Kevin Costner's movie The Postman is hell. Sitting on the tarmac in an airplane waiting because of airport delays is enough to make you pull your hair out.

Three hours can also be an intolerably short time.

For me, there are three hours every day that pass by in a total blur. During the week right now, I only get to see Noah for three hours a day, and I really think that sucks.

My work schedule is keeping me out of the house more than I want. I am working with a lot of people that don't have children and they don't understand that I need to be home. Its not just that I want to be home. I really need to be home. I need to see Noah. I need to hear the funny things that he says and watch the funny things that he does. I want those things, too. But there is a certain level of need that you develop when you are a daddy.

I didn't gain a lot of brownie points this week when one of the people that I work with suggested that I stay late to finish up some things. I told her that I couldn't and that was the end of it. She wasn't really happy, but that was her problem, not mine. She doesn't understand and she probably never will.

Three hours can be torture or it can be a gift, depending on your perspective in life.

August 10, 2003

Silence is Golden

We are back from a four day vacation. We spent the weekend and then some in St. Louis. It was a very busy weekend and we had a good time.

I'll relate some of the stories from the trip later, but until then...

Silence is Golden!

August 04, 2003

Commercial Time

Noah is really starting to be affected by television commercials. Not that he has gotten to the point that he is asking us to buy things that he sees, but I am sure that will come soon enough. Instead he has commercials that are his favorites and he gets mad when the aren't on.

He has two current favorites. The first one is for Augustine Exterminators, a local extermination company. They have a jingle that he really gets a kick out of. You can hear the jingle on their website. It is usually on in the morning around 6:30 or so and if it doesn't, he starts asking me to put it on.

His other favorite took me a while to figure out. He started walking around the house a couple of days ago saying, "Cayahemenah? Good!"

I was in the next room when it started and didn't put two and two together until I walked in to the room he was in. He was holding a toy cell phone and every two or three steps yelling that in to the phone. I put it all together and we both laughed. Then today, when the commercial came on TV, he ran over and grabbed his phone and started it all over again.

Can you hear me now? Good!

August 03, 2003

Starbucks Freak!

Misty and I are raising an official Starbucks freak.

The grocery store that we shop at has a Starbucks in it. We normally don't go to that Starbucks, but evidently Noah knows it is there. After being in the store for about 2 minutes, Noah looked at me and said, "Daddy... Need Starbucks?"

I hadn't had coffee yet, so I figured that we could head over there and I would get something. It was pretty early and there weren't a lot of people in the store yet. We were probably the first customers at the Starbucks. The first thing Noah did was start flirting with the barista. She actually flirted back with him... We are going to be in trouble when he gets older.

When the barista asked Noah what he wanted, he piped right up and said, "Coffee and biscotti!" He actually got hot chocolate, but he didn't care.

The funniest thing about the whole situation was the looks from other shoppers as we were walking around the store and he was drinking his "coffee".

Oh, well... We start them early in the Shepker family.

August 02, 2003

Chugga, Chugga. Chugga, Chugga. Choo!! Choo!!

Noah and I went to meet Thomas the Tank Engine today. I am not sure that he is a huge Thomas fan, but he is a really huge train fan.

When we walked in to the park where Thomas was, it took Noah a couple of minutes before he noticed the train, at which point he turned to me and yelled "Daddy, Choo Choo!"

We walked around for a while before it was our turn to ride the train. In all, the ride took about 30 minutes and Noah thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. We got to see a great deal of what I would consider standard Kansas scenery... soy beans, hay and tractors. Noah really did enjoy it, though.

On a side note, it is about 10:15 or so and Noah and I are the only people in the house. About 5 minutes ago, I heard someone walking around, which really got my heart rate up. It couldn't be Noah... He had been in bed for well over an hour.

After a little investigation, I found that Noah had gotten out of bed, snuck downstairs and was sitting in the hallway outside the livingroom watching TV with me.

Another day, another adventure.

In Memorandum

Jaxon is my nephew. Jaxon was supposed to have been born on December 31, 2003. He was born today. Instead of being the joyous occasion that it should have been, his birth passed with tears and sorrow. Jaxon never got to see the sun and his parents never got to hear him cry. He had already died and his birth was a formality that brought with it pain and a lot of questions. I am sure that his parents are, even now, questioning what they could have done differently and if it would have changed the outcome. I question that and there really isn't anything that I could have done. I hope that they will eventually come to the understanding that there is nothing that they could have done to change what happened. I am not sure that we will ever know why this happened, but the most important thing to remember is that it isn't anyone's fault. It just happened.

While I normally rant and rave about things in other forums, there are a couple of things that I have to say here. During the day today, I have come in to contact with several types of people that have tried to offer advice or have mimicked some words that they heard someone else say in the past. At this point, I have some advice for these people.

First of all, the next person that tells me that it was for the best or that God had a plan for Jaxon is liable to get hit. You are wrong. If it was for the best, Jaxon would have lived. And I'm sorry, but I have a really hard time that any God would have planned to put people through the type of pain that they are going through now. To me, this type of thing should be enough to make the most devout person look up at the sky and yell, "You suck!"

Secondly, I want to speak about people who are hell bent on making this situation about themselves. There are two people out there that this is specifically directed at and I'm not sure if you will ever even realize that this is about you. In circumstances like this, you have to let go of things and be there for the people that really need it. Specifically, the people that need our love and support right now are Jaxon's parents and siblings. If you want to be useful, stand by quietly and be there for them. Let them drive the conversation to things that they need to talk about. It may seem trivial, but that is what they need. What you need is secondary and somewhat unimportant right now.

Lastly, I want to say to those people who have expressed sympathy, even to me, thank you. Rest assured that all of this will be passed on the Jaxon's parents and I hope that they feel the support that they need right now.

Dana, Pat, Jeffrey and Jillian... All I can say is that I am deeply sorry for your loss and that my thoughts are with you.