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April 18, 2008

Request for Help (Updated With Answers to Comments) « Kidblogging »

The more I hear about what the judge actually said, and the more I reflect on the way things went, the more I'm sure that the judge had a pre-determined outcome (or at least a threshold in her favor that was impossibly high) and merely gave excuses for his decision.

- It is undisputed that the Custody Evaluator testified the kids want to live with us.
- It is undisputed that the Custody Evaluator testified that it is a risk to the kids well-being to send them to my ex-wife. (risk meaning not certain, not risk meaning danger).
- It is undisputed that she let the Custody Evaluator believe she had been married just four months, when she actually had been married two years.
- It is undisputed that she lied to me and her own kids about the marriage.
- It is undisputed that she refused all attempts to seek mediation for our differences
- It is undisputed that she refused to let the kids stay with her for a while in 2006 (to give me a short break from parenting responsibilities).
- It is undisputed that she did not pay the court-order child support for more than 2 years.
- It is undisputed that when the court demanded she pay child support, she did so only at the unemployed level, despite being employed for more than 2 years.
- It is undisputed that she did not notify the Child Protection Agency that she had found employment (as required by law and the original parenting agreement)

Further, the judge ordered that we not "go negative", that he didn't want to hear all the things the other parent did wrong. We went positive, and just talked about our successes as parents.

She went negative, and the judge even had to counsel her to restrict herself to answering the question, rather than going off on complaints about my failures as a parent.

But he still rewarded her with custody of the kids. We still lost. We followed instructions, we proved there was no reason to change custody, and, in fact, there was the potential for harm to the kids if he did change custody.

He still changed custody.

And apparently gave her more rights than we ever had in the first place. (She refused to let the kids come back even 5 days before school started last summer, now she demands ---and gets!--- 3 weeks!!!)

His reasons:
1) If I was staying in Hawaii, he would have given us custody. But since I was moving to Texas (not my choice, only due to military orders), this "is a good time to let them get to know their mother better".
2) San Angelo, TX is in the news in relation to the polygamy cult. Since my wife has never lived on the US mainland, the social upheaval regarding the cult trial isn't a good situation to expect my wife to continue being a good stepmother.
...but I still get to have the kids come stay with me for 2+ months this coming summer, 5-6 weeks away.

Here's what I need:
Can someone put me in touch with a Men's Advocacy group? I need legal advice, and/or legal funding assistance. I think this could be a very good case to highlight the ridiculousness of Mother Bias in our courts.

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posted by Nathan on 11:15 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

April 15, 2008

Custody Lawsuit « Kidblogging »

We lost.
The kids leave Friday.
We do get summer vacation visitation.

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posted by Nathan on 03:55 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

July 18, 2005

Three-Year-Old Language « Kidblogging »

When I take kids to the bathroom, they've gotten in the habit of standing back from the wastebasket and throwing their towel in, like a basketball.

If they make it in, they excitedly claim a "score".

The other day, we finished and came out from the bathroom, then went to eat. And my daughter told me: "I scored in the bathroom!"

Man, you cannot react to stuff like that.

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posted by Nathan on 01:08 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

March 15, 2005

Cuteness « Kidblogging »

On the way home from work yesterday, my daughter started asking me something about her Little Mermaid doll...I think her question regarding Ariel's bikini top, but I wasn't sure because my focus was on driving.

But then my son tried to help, asking me:

"Daddy? What do you call the clothes that hold the...the... Mommy's things that...that we drunk from... when we were babies? What's that called?"

It was hard to answer him, I was chuckling so hard.

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posted by Nathan on 05:46 AM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2005

Potty-Training Final Update « Kidblogging »

I think I forgot to announce:

My daughter is well and fully potty-trained.

When we took the 9-day vacation two weeks ago, she did awesome. In the car, she always told me she had to pee, and was able to hold it for 15-20 minutes until we got to a gas station or rest area. After arriving, the very next day, when I asked her if she needed to go pee-pee, she said, "I already did!" The next time I asked her, she said the same thing, and said, "I went poopy, too!" And that's the way it was the rest of the time. When she needed to go, she went and took care of it without prompting or help.

She did have one small poopy accident the night we got home. I think she just wasn't expecting it, and she stopped it before it got messy, told me immediately, and finished up after I changed her.

Absolutely no accidents since, and I don't need to remind her at all. She's transitioning to pre-school now at daycare.

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posted by Nathan on 07:24 AM | Comments (4)

January 12, 2005

I'll Take "Things That Break Your Heart" for $500, Alex « Kidblogging »

Last night my son wanted to play a game that we had recently purchased for him. Playing games during the week is sometimes work hours, the weather, construction at the main gate, all combine to mean that we usually have less than three hours after arriving home before bedtime. And he eats slowly... I explained to him that we would play after we finished eating (as a spur to encourage him to eat in a more timely fashion...I swear that boy can stretch one bowl of rice to nearly 90 minutes on a bad day!).

While eating, he asked why we couldn't play before dinner. I told him that when we get home, he's usually hungry to eat, and I have to make dinner. If we play a game, then that means I make dinner even later, and then he might end up eating all the way to bedtime, and wouldn't have any time to play with toys.

He responded, "I wonder why Mommy doesn't play a game with me." Which is a good question. I've tried to get her to, but, well, long-time readers of the blog know what's going on: I've mentioned on the blog before her reluctance to engage with the children over the last few months (I'm convinced: years rather than months...but can only guess based on the changes in mood/behavior of the kids before and after I got them into daycare, where they apparently get more attention than from their mom when they were at home all day). She was sitting nearby, on the internet but not eating with us (as usual), but didn't answer (as usual), so, as usual, I covered for her as best I could (admittedly not well) by saying, "She's busy."

He continued (without rancor or signs of negative judgment, mind you), "That's right. You are busy with work, making dinner, taking care of us, and sometimes busy with your things, and Mommy is busy with...(at this point he is visibly trying to think of something)...her things."

All I could say to that was, "Yep, Mommy has things she's gotta do."

To tell the truth, I don't know if she even heard the conversation. She's pretty intent on her conversations when online... We meet with the lawyer again Friday morning. 90 days after that I will be single and in Hawaii with the kids.

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posted by Nathan on 08:00 AM | Comments (7)
» Yippee-Ki-Yay! links with: Heartbreaker

January 03, 2005

Proof « Kidblogging »

Since I recently claimed my daughter gets her adorable-ness from her father (i.e.: Me), I thought maybe I'd better actually be honest for once and provide the real story:
She gets it from her Mom, of course. This picture is the spitting image of her mother:


...eyes, eybrows, mouth, nose, chewing method: all nearly identical.

The picture is from about a year ago. She's starting to look a little less like Mom now...

Prominent Democrat politicians said this means President Bush should reach out across the aisle and not push his agenda in order to help unite the country.

Read More "Proof" »

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posted by Nathan on 10:52 AM | Comments (4)

January 01, 2005

Pigtails « Kidblogging »



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posted by Nathan on 05:00 PM | Comments (2)
Skills « Kidblogging »

I'm planning on buying my son a digital camera this year. Not an expensive one, necessarily, but one with a number of options for manual adjustment. My plan is to let him start exploring how to take pictures, including artistc composition, focus, picking shots, and general use of computer for manipulation, including computer adjustment afterwards, arranging, storing, emailing, CD burning.

I think I'll give it to him for his 6th birthday, and then I can buy one for Noel on her 6th birthday, to give her something to look forward to.

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posted by Nathan on 10:48 AM | Comments (6)
Barrettes, Pigtails, and Such « Kidblogging »

One of the more interesting things of being a virtual* single parent is trying to be a Mommy to my daughter.

Her hair was getting in her face/eyes, so at daycare they started putting her hair up. Well, I don't want anyone to have to do something for me, so I started using clips as much as I could. I wasn't very good at it. After about a week I went ahead and gave her a haircut. Of course, it wasn't very good...but it wasn't horrible, either.

But it left her hair a little too short to use clips/barrettes now.

Just for fun, I guess, the lady at daycare used the bands to make pigtails. I told her she looked like "Boo" from "Monsters, Inc.", so she started asking me to do it. So I tried. I've gotten better in the last three days, but it is really difficult to do it smoothly and evenly. Any suggestions?

I'm going to let her hair continue to grow, I think, to make some of these "pretty" things easier.

I almost dread trying to do braids... [grin]

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posted by Nathan on 10:42 AM | Comments (8)

December 31, 2004

Quoting Movies « Kidblogging »

I found a Power Rangers movie for $5.50 at Wal-Mart and got it for my son. I didn't want to spend more than that for what I anticipated would be a lousy movie.

Well, the kids have watched it at least once a day since Christmas Day. Three times in one day! I think I would have gotten my money's worth even if I had spent more, so we'll probably end up buying more of 'em. It may be lame, but at least it is a lame movie with decent martial arts, unlike Clifford, Caillou, or Jay Jay the Jet Plane.

But despite all the children's movies we own, this is the first one the kids have started quoting. Brady can quote a dozen lines verbatim (including his favorite, "Talk about a splitting headache!" including the accompanying arm gesture), and Noel remembers two of the Pink Power Ranger's lines ("You make me sick! sick! sick!" and "Gotta love it!").

Of course, I consider it really cute.

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posted by Nathan on 09:42 AM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2004

Brady-isms « Kidblogging »

My son recently got on this kick of worrying about who he can marry.

I'm not sure why he's so obsessed with this idea. For a while he was saying he was going to marry his sister, because she's younger than him. I think that was borne out of realization that all the kids in the cul-de-sac are older than him. I'm not sure why age is also such non-negotiable issue.

But in daycare, Wonder of Wonders! Several girls are younger than him! But one girl he likes has a birthday a few days before his. She's off the list.

I keep telling him that he really shouldn't worry about marrying yet at the age of 5...

So yesterday he comes out with, "Can I marry _______?"

I respond, "Well, aside from the fact that you are too young to worry about marrying, I see no reason why not."

"But her skin is darker than mine."

Daddy sensed an opportunity to slip in a subtle lesson. "What difference does that make? Mommy's skin is darker than Daddy's, right?"

"But her skin is really dark."

"Brady, the color of the skin is probably the least important part of marriage. What matters most is how you treat each other and your friendship." I'll get into how the love in a marriage is a reflection of God's love for us when he's a little older.

He didn't continue the discussion from there. We were driving home from work/daycare in the dark during the conversation, so I couldn't see his face to see how he was taking it, but he thinks for himself and is a pretty stubborn kid: if he thought I was wrong or misleading him, he wouldn't have let up.

Just doing my part for racial integration.

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posted by Nathan on 10:02 AM | Comments (0)
Noel-isms « Kidblogging »

My daugher, that is.

1. When we go into a burger establishment, she often asks for a Happyburger.

2. We got those water-based tattoos for them the other day. After I gave her one, she walked around saying, "I got a too-ta! I got a too-ta!" of these days I'm going to get around to submitting these to the Carnival of the Rugrats.

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posted by Nathan on 09:35 AM | Comments (0)

November 30, 2004

Potty Training IV « Kidblogging »

I lied. De-link me if you feel you must.

She neglected to tell me that she pooped, and once I started changing her, it became obvious that she had peed beforehand.

Well, I'd been told that potty training for bowel movements is more difficult than urination, and one thing at a time, so I didn't let it bother me, and since she had done so well with peeing throughout the day, I didn't spank her.

In fact, unless she starts showing egregious lack of concern over peeing in her training pants, I don't think I'm going to use the negative again; that was just to get her attention and let her know there can be more serious consequences other than just "not getting a candy", and it seemed to work. She went again right before bed, so I'm hoping she'll wake up dry.

When she wakes up, she's too groggy and grumpy and unhappy to want to sit on her potty chair, although I try each day. So there are some times she has asylum. I'm working on expanding the range of success at this point.

Okay, this should do it for a few days. Hopefully, I'll have nothing to add until I can announce that she's fully off daipers. She has about 20 left, and I'm hoping I won't ever have to buy daipers ever again!

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posted by Nathan on 08:53 PM | Comments (2)
» Your Daily Prescott links with: Potty Training Blogging
Potty Training III « Kidblogging »

Tonight she said she needed to "go make yellow water", and did so. No soaked clothes followed by a spat first, this time.
With luck, this may be the last time I need to blog about this.

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posted by Nathan on 06:43 PM | Comments (0)
» Your Daily Prescott links with: Potty Training Blogging
Potty Training II « Kidblogging »

My daughter peed in her training pants again. That got another spat on the bottom, which led to another 20-minute crying jag, which she stopped long enough to tell me she had to go potty. She sat there for about 10 minutes.

I asked her if she had gone potty, she said no...

I asked her if she was done, she said no...

I came back after 3 minutes, and she had a big smile and told me she went potty! I checked, and sure enough!

So more exuberant praise, a big hug, excited cries of "Good Job!", and I got down the candy bowl to let her choose a candy. She seemed to have forgotten the spank, and the joy of having done something right was what she seemed to retain from the deal.

I will probably continue the spat for a few days, until she tells me she has to go potty before getting spanked. Then we'll just go with the reward and big production, and slowly trail that off over the following week.

This is rather difficult, you know? I'd held out hope that her waiting so long to learn might make the process go more quickly once started, but that does not seem to be the case.

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posted by Nathan on 08:32 AM | Comments (10)
» Your Daily Prescott links with: Potty Training Blogging

November 29, 2004

Potty Training « Kidblogging »

My 3 year 2 month-old daughter really doesn't seem to want to potty train. She doesn't seem to mind, or even notice having a wet daiper. Often I tell her

We've tried pull-ups. The ladies at daycare said training pants are so uncomfortable when wet she'd train herself. So we bought some, and I spent all weekend taking her to the potty every 30 minutes, and could never catch her having to pee. We'd sit there for 10 minutes, stand up...and 15 minutes later she'd be soaking.

The worst was when she pooped first, and since training pants don't absorb as much liquid, she made soup. That squirted out*. Yuck.

So Sunday, I bit the bullet and told her that I would spank her if she peed in her panties. She did, and got a swat, just enough to make it sting. She cried for 20 minutes (she's pretty sensitive), then later, either while she took a nap or as she was waking up, she soaked her pants again, so she got another swat. She cried again for 20 minutes. Then while she was sitting with me watching TV, she looked at me and said, "Daddy, I need to go potty."

I sat her on the toilet, and sure enough, she went. So I finally got to praise her excessively, and gave her some candy, and hugged her, and made a big deal out of it.

But she wouldn't sit on the toilet this morning, but then she's pretty grumpy when she's half-awake. I'll find out how she did at daycare when I pick her up. I truly hope we turned a corner on this...

So I've been considering starting a new group blog called Mr. Mom Blog, but I'm too lazy. I also worry because just like a man cannot serve two masters, bloggers can't really maintaint two blogs very easily, for the same reasons. So if someone starts a Mr. Mom Blog, I'll join....

Read More "Potty Training" »

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posted by Nathan on 02:44 PM | Comments (8)
» Your Daily Prescott links with: Potty Training Blogging

November 16, 2004

A Compliment « Kidblogging »

So while standing in line for an hour, I spent a good amount of time talking with a veteran named Steven. Establishing a friendship, he invited me to sit with his family for dinner.

I really enjoyed talking with them (Steven, his wife, and daughter). They invited me to their church this weekend, and I'm thinking seriously about going.

But his daughter paid me an extremely nice complement at the end of the evening. From some of her other comments, I gathered that she works in child development, and has a great deal of knowledge on this issue. And as I was leaving, she told me that she thought I was extremely good with the children, that she had been trying not to stare at us the whole evening (an interesting way of phrasing it, but I took it to mean she didn't want to make it obvious that she was actively observing the way I treated the kids).

I hadn't noticed her attention, actually, and had not altered my behavior/parenting with the kids at all. It helps that they are good kids who want to do the right thing. It also helps that they love learning, so I can entertain them by explaining how something works, like neon lights or napkin dispensers and stuff. And I've learned that the best way to handle kids is to fully engage them. If you put them off, they just clamor for more attention, so you excuse yourself, give them all your attention, and they are satisfied for 10-15 minutes. I also mediated a few squabbles, patiently explaining again and again to Brady that it isn't good to worry about standing in front, that it is a bad sort of competition, and I guess she was even watching those interactions.

In any case, it was a nice bit of sorely-needed affirmation.

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posted by Nathan on 09:35 AM | Comments (2)

August 31, 2004

Fun With Language Development « Kidblogging »

Okay, everyone must know by now that my kids are the cutest little critters on the planet. If not, raise your hand and I'll post more pictures.

In any case, my son, just about to turn 5, thinks he's figured out how to shorten words. The first one was when he was two, and noticed that "Daddy" shortened to "Dad", and "Mommy" shortened to "Mom", so "Baba" (Chinese for 'father') should shorten to "Bob", right?

His most recent attempt seems to have come from noticing that "poopoo" shortens to "poop", because he's always saying that he needs to go "peep".

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posted by Nathan on 09:32 PM | Comments (1)

August 09, 2004

Cute Kid Tricks (or, "My Kids Channel Abbot and Costello") « Kidblogging »

My son is somewhat of a perfectionist, with a great attention to detail. My daughter is much more relaxed and unconcerned with precision. One way this manifests itself is in their speech. My 4-year-old son has always had much more accurate pronunciation, whereas sometimes it is difficult to figure out what the heck my 2-year-old daughter was trying to say.

For some reason, my son has taken it upon himself to improve his sister's pronunciation. So when we drive around town on errands, he gives her words to try and say, and drills her until her pronunciation improves, if not achieves perfection.

A few days ago they were in the middle of one session when my son started in on the names of colors, something my daughter really hasn't learned yet. "Red", "brown", and "black" were practiced without significant difficulty. But the trouble started with "White". Noel had no idea what he was talking about so kept re-interpreting what he said into something she could understand.

Brady: "Noel, say 'white'."
Noel: "Wipes."
Brady: "No, 'white'."
Noel: "Wipes."
Brady: "No, listen: 'White'."
Noel: "Ohhhhh!" (as if it were finally clear) "Wipes."
Brady: [sigh] "WhiTe."
Noel: "WiPES."
Brady: "Whiiiiiiiiii.......te."
Noel: "Ohhhhhhh! Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii.........pes."

They kept it up for about 10 minutes, accompanied by veritable paroxysms of laughter from the adults up front...

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posted by Nathan on 12:38 PM | Comments (2)