Author: mike

A League Of Their Own

Small kids need to be kept active and engaged. This is especially true when they enter toddlerhood. So, as soon as we were able to, we signed B up for as many sports and sport classes as we could. We’ll do the same for J. Gotta get their participaction on, yo!

That's B, playing catcher at a t-Ball game.

That’s B, playing catcher at a T-Ball game.

The first team sport that we signed B up for was soccer. I honestly didn’t know what to expect.  I asked around before he started, and the general consensus that I got was to expect a lot of dandelion picking. I thought that sounded dumb….until about halfway into his first practice, I saw B sitting on the ground, plucking dandelions. This trend has continued throughout the years. Not just at soccer, but into other sports, too. I swear, in the middle of basketball one time, in the middle of winter, he somehow found a flower. Luckily, everyone was right, and other kids do have the same gardening interests. I can’t hate on that. However, I’ve also been around enough games and practices with B to make some other observations.  See, when it comes to sports, I’ve noticed that children tend to fall into one of the following categories:

THE FLIRT

Now, most kids fall into this group. They dutifully show up, and, despite your constant encouragement, spend more time goofing off than actually playing the sport. Then, just when you feel the same way that you felt at the end of the series finale of Dexter (annoyed, frustrated, regretful etc. Or maybe that was just me?), they’ll do something competent out of the blue, like score a goal or hit a nice shot. As a parent, this gets your hopes up, that perhaps your child ‘gets it’ now, and the rest of the season will be more productive…..but then they go right back to goofing off.  Aww, kids. They’re such teases.

THE PRODIGY

This is that naturally gifted, athletically advanced phenom who is waaay better than everyone else, and loves it. The 5 year old who easily goes end to end, and scores 25 goals a game at will. The 4 year old with the killer crossover and picture perfect jump shot. When you watch them, you picture a mini Gretzky/Ronaldo/Lebron…until you hear their parents screaming at them to stop picking their nose and eating it. Regardless, if you happen to have a PRODIGY on your child’s team, force your kid to befriend him or her. Teach them that being in an entourage is a lucrative profession. What? The PRODIGY is clearly going places in their life. One of their childhood buddies needs to drive them there, right?

MR/MS. CONGENIALITY

This kid has the same positive attitude as a prodigy, but lacks any of the required skill. They are the ones you see constantly tripping on their feet, or running head-first into other CONGENIALITIES. Despite their suckiness, they still happily follow instructions, and try real hard. If you have a FLIRT, you might as well point out a CONGENIALITY to them, because they could learn a thing or two about being a good sport.  Actually, that back-fired on us with B, at soccer. He would see the other go-getters raising their hands at whatever the coach asked, so he started doing it, too. Sometimes even before the coach finished his thought. It was like buzzing in for Jeopardy, before Alex Trebek had said the answer.  Anyway, B became that kid who was always the first only one to volunteer to sit off.  Good times, spending my Saturday mornings watching B gleefully sitting on his butt.

THE CRYER

CRYERS are like little walking time bombs. They show up, clinging to their parents. Eventually, they build up some courage to venture out onto their own. But then, something sets them off (ie. the grass is too green, the ice is too cold, the PRODIGY won’t pass to them), and the waterworks start flowing. They then spend the remaining time on the sidelines, quivering messes, clutching mommy or daddy. Until treat time, of course. Then the tears suddenly stop and they’re good to go again.

THE (WRONG) GAMER

This is the child who would much rather be playing anything else. They are probably there against their will, so they act accordingly. The soccer player who hates soccer. The T-ball player who likes to play video games only. You get the idea. They’re the only kid who knows what ‘non-refundable’ means, since their parents are trying to get their money’s worth for the all of the league and equipment costs. A (WRONG) GAMER will exert as little effort as possible and play with a constant scowl on their face, like their mean muggin’.

Yeah, that's the look right there.

Yeah, that’s the look right there.

Unlike the FLIRT, where there is a ray of sunlight behind the screwing around, with a (WRONG) GAMER, sorry mom and dad,  there’s no hope here.  They are also known as a ONE AND DONE, since they won’t be back next season.

THE DANNY ALMONTE

Uh oh! Somebody check the birth certificate!  Whereas a PRODIGY is head and shoulders, skill-wise, above the other kids on the team, a DANNY ALMONTE is literally head and shoulders above them.  Named after the dude who killed it in the Little League World Series one year, but was actually 14 years old, and not 12 like his parents said, they are not necessarily PRODIGIES per se.  They just appear to be bigger and older, which is used to their advantage. This causes you and the other parents mutter to each other about why this kid who is supposed to be six years old is wearing a training bra. Or has a mustache. Or something like that. Nonetheless, until discredited, they are there for the same reason as your child, so you have to be nice to them. It’s not their fault they hit puberty while in pre-school. Unless,  of course, you’re their parent and you did lie about their age. In that case….really? C’mon man.

I think that covers it.

Which category does your child belong in? For me, in my own totally non-biased opinion, B and J are definitely PRODIGIES, no doubt!

What?

They are!

Probably.

I’m accepting resumes for their future entourage members, by the way.  There’s only one job requirement, too – must like dandelions.

7 Tips For Getting Your Children To Go To Sleep

MPD

 

Mr Perfect Dad (MPD): Hey there, dear reader!  Mr Perfect Dad, here. I am a parenting expert.

Mike (M):  Sup, y’all. I am Mike……and I am not a parenting expert. If you’ve read my older posts, you know that, though.  That is why I invited Mr Perfect Dad over, to give me some advice.

MPD: Honored to be here! I’m going to share with you 7 tips for putting your children to bed. Follow these, and even the most difficult dilly dallyer will become a sleeping beauty in no time!

M: You had me at difficult.  J’s passed out, but B is up. Yo  B, come here! Mr Perfect Dad is going to put you to bed tonight!

TIP 1

MPD: Routine, routine, routine! Kids thrive on repetition and familiarity. Get into habits, and stick with them every night.

M: This is true. B and J routinely find new and creative ways to stay awake.

MPD: No, good routines only! For example, you could start the evening off by telling a story as a family. I’m fond of improv, where one person says a line to begin,  then someone else says the next line, and so on. Whose line is it, anyway? Haha.  Hoho.

M: Fun! Like, there once was a man from Nantucket….

MPD: No.

M: There once was a small piano, and tiny pianist…

MPD: No!

B: Weiner! Weiner!

MPD: No! No! Let’s move on.

TIP 2

MPD: A common stall tactic that wee ones like to employ is going potty. They hold their tinkles or doodoos in, and use having to go to potty later on as a way to get a second wind.  A second wind means more precious seconds spent goofing off, which should be spent in dreamland. Thus, to get around that,  force your children to empty their bladders and bowels before being put down for the night!

Me: It’s just that easy, huh? Alright, let’s try it on B.

(Minutes later)

MPD: See? He went, and now he has a fresh pull-up on. There’s no reason for…..wait, what’s that smell? Are you pooping? Why aren’t you using the potty?

B: Because it’s Thursday and I can’t see and I need a light to see.

MPD: What does that mean?!

M:  Eww. Hold your breath, you don’t want to get a whiff of that second wind. What else do you got?

TIP 3

MPD:  Kids are experts at entertaining themselves. To minimize stimulation at night, remove all toys from the bedroom! When left to their own devices, they are more prone to pass out from boredom, than if they have fun objects around to amuse them.

M: One night, B played hide and seek in his room with some socks. The socks couldn’t find him in his closet, so I guess he won. Do I need to take out all items, or just toys?

MPD: Is that a serious question?

(Later)

MPD: Whoo! Do you hear that? That silence is the sound of a toddler running out of steam. Soon he’ll be asleep…. aww, what are you doing? You’re supposed to be in your room!

B: I need to find my cousin.

MPD: What?

M: Haha, he’s going to the playroom to get a car! Yeah, guess his cousin is a Hot Wheels. Uh oh,  now he’s going back for a bucket of cars. Must be a family reunion! Yo, it’s getting late. So far, your tips aren’t working, El Perfecto.  You don’t look so happy, either. Got any other tricks?

TIP 4

MPD:  Yell!!!! Yelling is an effective form of communication! Sometimes,  fear needs to be instilled! Do you have a Freddy Krueger mask?

M: Whoa. Chill out, dude. You’re not scaring my kids.

MPD: Err…my apologies for losing my cool. What I meant to say is that children are intelligent, so appealing to their sense of reason in a stern voice can go a long way in getting them to settle down for the night.

M: Whenever I try to reason with B, and even J, I get outsmarted.

MPD: I…..I…don’t know how to respond to that.  But let me show you. Is he drumming now? This is ridiculous! Hey, YOU!  You are being too LOUD, be QUIET!

B: I’m not loud, I’m clicking! See? Click click click! This is loud! (Marches around drumming)

MPD (covers ears): He is right….that is loud.

Me: Well, you sure told him. Oh, great,  he woke up J. What advice do you have for putting down two kids at the same time?

TIP 5

MPD: This works on two kids simultaneously. For small toddlers, soothing, soft sounds are a parent’s secret weapon. Sit beside their bed, stroke their little heads, and whisper sweet nothings over and over.

M: You mean, like saying Beetlejuice?

MPD: No. I don’t mean that at all.

M: Yeah, because if you say Beetlejuice too many times, he might appear. And that guy is noisy! No one can sleep around him. Speaking of which, J is still crying.  It’s keeping B up.

B: She is crying! She is too loud!

MPD: Thanks, Captain Obvious. I just need some more time.

(Much Later)

M: Your secret weapon isn’t working. Maybe try some ocean noises or something.

B: She is too loud! It is making me angry!

MPD: Thank you, Captain Ironic! And silence, all of you! I’m the expert! Any other household, and my advice is foolproof!

M:  You’ve been trying your tips  for hours,  and haven’t done any better than I normally do.  So who is the fool, exactly? Anyway, more advice, please!

TIP 6

MPD: Bribery! When all else fails, bribe them! What do your kids like? Toys? Movies? Candy? Hey children, I will buy you a chocolate factory if you go the F*** to sleep right now!

M: Easy there, Willy Wonka.  I don’t know about that.  Rewarding them to combat defiance doesn’t seem like good parenting.

MPD (sobbing):  J won’t stop crying.  B just turned the dishwasher on. Why did he do that?  BLARGH!!!

TIP 7

MPD: A long car ride can do wonders!

M: That worked when they were babies. It will work on bigger kids, too?

MPD: I meant for me. I’m out of here. I need a drink or two or a six pack. Nights like this are why I decided to never have kids.  Bye.

M: See ya.  Thanks for the tips! Maybe they’ll help someone out there. Or not.  Doesn’t matter.  C’mon B and J, let’s go lie in my bed and wait for Mommy to come home.  Mr Perfect Dad was a real downer, eh? Sheesh.

 

 

 

MPD2

(NOTE: While mainly a fictitious post, the actions of B and J that evening were 100% real.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Say Whaaat?

Ever notice that, sometimes, kids say stuff that make you do a double-take, like you can’t believe what you just heard?

Shoot, I talk to B and J for long enough, and I’m saying “What!?” more often than Lil Jon.

What! OK! YEAHHHHH!

What! OK! YEAHHHHH! Whoa, sorry. Whenever I see that guy, I feel like yelling his catchphrases.

No rhyme or reason, either. Doesn’t matter what their little moods are.  The randomness out of their mouths is always unpredictable.

See, they could be happy, like this example…

B opens the fridge, then gets excited:

‘Blackberry yogurt! Is this new? I’ve never seen this before! They don’t make pennies anymore but they make blackberry yogurt!’

(Note: I think that we mentioned to B once, months ago, that Canada discontinued the penny. Somehow, this fact stuck. Meanwhile, I tell him to tidy his room, and he tells me that he forgets how to do it.)

confusedq-e

 

 

Or they could be mad, like this example….

B (to me, angry) – ‘Do it! Or else I’m not going to let you take me to my birthday party!’

(Note: It’s May. His birthday isn’t until December. Based on how he talks about it, though,  you’d think it was right around the corner. He also keeps inviting people, mainly strangers or kids that he just met, to come. At this rate, with his growing guest list, I’m going to have to rent out the Rogers Centre.)

Or they could be having some sibling rivalry, like this example…..

B and J are putting on their pyjamas. B picked his out.

B – ‘I’m the winner! My shorts are shorter!’

(Note: Didn’t realize that they were in a hot pants contest.  With his tight shorts that were halfway up his thigh, he looked like an NBA player in the 80s.)

 

 

B's shorts showed way more leg. Sorry, Dr. J!

B’s shorts showed way more leg. Sorry, Dr. J!

 

Or even when they’re feeling silly…..

Right now, B is all about the penis, and its various synonyms (the PG rated ones).  Cracks him up, he thinks they are hilarious. Thanks, B’s kindergarten class, for the anatomy lesson.

K and I told him one day that weiner was also another word for a hot dog. So of course a few days later:

B – ‘Dad, you lied. I told everyone that a hot dog was a weiner and everyone said that I was wrong.’

(Note: Who’s he talking to? How many people is everybody? The image of B telling anyone who will listen at his school about hot dogs and weiners is ridiculous, and reeks of say whatness, for real.)

Not now, famous composer Leo Weiner!

Not now, famous composer Leo Weiner!

 

Anyway, at least that comment was in the privacy of our own home.

Unlike this time at the grocery store…..

B  was in a shopping cart.  I’m grabbing some corn husks out of  a bin amongst a crowd of people. So this naturally led to:

B (loudly) – ‘My dad is brown! My dad is the brown one! My dad is the brown one!’

(Note: This was said to no one in particular. Hey, at least the little old ladies who were also at the corn bin weren’t confused about who his father was.)

You get the idea. Me saying ‘What?!’ comes at any given time. It could even occur during serious conversations, like this example….

Once a couple of weeks ago, while he was quietly playing with his cars:

B – ‘I’ve had beer before, right?’

Me -‘No.’

B – ‘Yeah I did. I like beer!’

Me – ‘No you haven’t! Don’t say that out loud!’

Me – ‘Yeah I did! I went to a birthday party and I tried beer. I liked it!’

Me – ‘That was pop!’

B – ‘Oh, yeah. I liked pop. Right.’

(Note: And then it was back to playing quietly, as if claiming to be an ultra underaged alcoholic was no biggie.)

3892771349_0b8c6f5cc7_z

 

Yep.  Every now and then, talking to B can make you feel like your mind is playing tricks on you, no doubt.

It’s not just B, however. J has her moments.

Like this time, a couple of weekends ago….

Me – ‘Lunch time! What do you want?’

J – ‘Chicken and fries!’

Me – ‘No. Something else!’

J – ‘Chicken!’

Me – ‘We don’t have any chicken.’

J – ‘Fries!’

Me – ‘We don’t have fries, either. Do you want a sandwich? What kind of sandwich do you want?’

J – ‘Chicken!’

Me – ”No chicken!’

She sat down at the table, so I made her a sandwich. Peanut Butter. As I brought it over to her:

J – ‘Yay! Chicken!’

(Note: Holy one track mind, Batman! Anyway, she happily ate it. Maybe she was pretending that it was chicken.)

Afterwards, I gave her a coconut cookie. As she was eating it, B, never to be out done, walked over:

B – ‘Hey, where did she get that chicken?’

Sigh. One more time, please:

 

SAY WHAAAT?!!

SAY WHAAAT?!!

 

 

 

Deuces

 

deuces pic

 

I thought that things would be different.

Getting B to go to bed occasionally borders on ridiculous. Some of his exploits have been legend – wait for it- dary (word to Barney Stinson!). He’s a non-stop maniac.

Conversely. J has such a chill personality. I figured that once she hit the terrible twos, by comparison,  getting her to hit the sack every night would would be Easy Street.

As usual, I was wrong.

Take the the other night, for example. K had gone out, so it was just me with the kiddos. My routine evening was then, of course, interrupted by the Bedtime WTF Awards! The nominees are:

 

1) To encourage the kids to use the toilet before bed, we’ve been giving them little treats if they go potty. What a foolproof system, right? No possible room for loopholes.  So, with the promise of chocolate, B dutifully took a duty in one bathroom, and J took a tinkle in the other bathroom. After I gave them their chocolate, B said that he had to go again. He clearly just wanted another chocolate, and held in some poop, so he took off to the bathroom J was in previously.  Yeah, Maybe my system isn’t so foolproof, I know. J, upon realizing that there was a chance for more chocolate,  ripped off her diaper and took off to the bathroom that B was in before. I helped her onto to the toilet and had this conversation:

Me – ‘Do you have to pee?’

J (smiling, in a sing songy voice) – ‘Nooo.’

Me – ‘Do you have to poop?’

J (same goofy grinning singy voice) ‘Noo.’

Me – ‘So why are you here?’

Silence. Blank stare. Then she hopped down and walked away.

Huh.

Logic: 1, chocolate loving toddler: 0.

2) After the kids’ bowels were empty, it was story time! I asked B to pick a story. He looted his book shelf…and selected the one book that wasn’t a story. It was some educational phonics workbook. I told him to try again. He did some more looting…and, with a smirk, handed me the same workbook, but upside down.:

3) I figured that I’d stay upstairs and get some important work done. And by important work, I mean stretch out in my bed and watch Lebron James work his magic. The kids were in B’s room. Suddenly, J walked into my room. She had her nightie lifted up and was wearing a pull up diaper in such a way that it somehow looked like she had crotchless panties on. I walked her back to B’s room, and saw that B was trying on different pyjamas and pull ups. I don’t know, maybe he was walking the red carpet later and wanted to pick the right outfit.

Unfortunately for B, we were out of gold body paint, for his red carpet premiere.

Unfortunately for B, we were out of gold body paint, for his red carpet premiere.

4) Anyway, I got them dressed proper after that, and left.  All was quiet for a few minutes. J then walked in my room again, but with B following her. She closed my bathroom door,  closet door, and then my bedroom door behind her as she left. I got up, went to follow them, and saw that every door was closed upstairs.

Me – ‘What is J doing?’

B aka Captain Obvious – ‘She closed all the doors, dad.’

Me – ‘Why?’

More silence. More blank stares.

5) After getting them tucked in, I left to go back to my game. I could hear the kids talking. Not long after, B ran into the playroom. Said that he wanted a couple of toys. OK whatever. Not long after that, J walked by pulling this:

IMG_20140513_210101_535

 

I saw her loading it up with a bunch of random things. Cars, stuffed animals, a box. She then walked back with it to B’s room. Weird. At the next commercial, I went to see what the deal was. To say that it was a disaster would be an understatement. They had took apart a shoe rack from B’s closet. B had put blankets and pillows on a couple of rack pieces. He actually stacked two pieces so that one end was elevated up a bit. I have no idea what J had in mind. She had the pull toy on top of her rack, on top of her pillow. I stood there in shock, like my name was Jay-Z and my wife’s sister suddenly started pummelling me in an elevator. B climbed over the mess, wrapped himself in a blanket, and lied down on a rack:

B – ‘We made fancy beds!’

Me – ‘No more playing! No fancy beds!’

B – ‘But where can I sleep?’

Me – ‘In your bed!’

 

We tidied up a bit. Shockingly enough, they were fast asleep a few minutes later.

That night’s winner: Lebron. Doesn’t matter what the competition is, Lebron always wins.

That night’s loser: Me.

The Great Unknown

You can’t watch your kids 24-7.

It’s impossible. You, and them, need to sleep.

As B becomes more resourceful and J becomes more mobile, I’ve learned the hard way that there is one real shady part of the day.

It’s that time between when the kids wake up…. and when I wake up.

See, they could both wake up and entertain each other on their own, before K and I emerge from our slumber. Or, they could wander into our bedroom first and ask when we’re getting up, resulting in me mumbling some random answer to buy me a few more minutes of sleep, before they take off again. Whatever the reason, this period where they are left unattended usually results in the most ridiculous, illogical things. It’s like an abyss of WTF moments.  Like, I don’t understand what they’re thinking as they’re making a mess in the playroom with shampoo, or covering their faces with chapstick, or emptying bins of cars in our in bedroom so that our floor looks like a Hot Wheels factory.

Maybe they  were playing Home Alone, and were setting a booby trap for the Wet Bandits.

Maybe they were playing Home Alone, and were setting a booby trap for the Wet Bandits.

 

Take the other morning, for example. B and J were up early (like, before roosters early).  I awoke with B between my legs, rowing them and rocking back and forth as if I was a stupid kayak or something, while J laughed. I told him stop and go watch TV in the playroom, so off they went. Cool. All was quiet for a bit, but then they wanted breakfast . Fine, whatever. I grabbed some food for them, told them to eat in the playroom,  took a quick look around to make sure they hadn’t gotten into anything, and then went back to bed.

After what I said about this great unknown timeframe, you’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now, right?

Of course, not, yo.

I dozed off, and not long after (maybe  20-25 minutes), I vaguely think that there was yelling from K about someone eating candy. Anyway, I got out of bed and saw disposable baby wipes everywhere. On our floor, in the playroom, in the hallway.  The kids had gotten into a bag of them. I groggily went into B’s room and saw B by the bag, holding a wipe. He proudly told me to look at how clean his room was, because he polished the walls.  Man, getting him to pick up his toys is a struggle. Of course he chose this time, with the wrong object, to become Mr Clean.

After politely telling B to stop, I went to work in gathering up the wipes. Started in B’s room and worked my way out. I noticed that some of them were red. Not blood red but a goopy red. My immediate half awake thought was that episode of Breaking Bad where Walt and Jesse tried to dispose of a body by putting it in some hydroflouric acid.  This was followed by my next completely logical thought of  ‘Oh, shoot, where’s J?!’

OMG, Mr. White, what did you do??

OMG, Mr. White, what did you do??

 

Have no fear, she was just halfway down the stairs, no diaper on, holding a goopy wipe, polishing the hall walls. She saw me, came up the stairs, walked into our room, wrapped the wipe around a dresser handle, smiled at me and went into B’s room. Normal chain of events.

Wait, pause, no it wasn’t!

I followed J and found B had gotten into the bag AGAIN. He had wipes all over his bed. Polishing his sheets, I’m sure.

Anyway, I took the bag with me this time, and went downstairs to find the source of the goop. All of the lights were off except for the one in the pantry so I went over to it. I walked past some candy wrappers, opened the door…..and stepped in a big puddle of pee. We don’t have pets, by the way. Even old Sherlock Homeboy here cracked this case. J took her diaper off, went to help herself to some treats and took a leak on the floor. Once again, perfectly reasonable behavior. After cleaning up that mess, I was more than a little peed off (and on….my foot) so it was back upstairs to talk to J. I stormed into B’s room, and found them like this:

IMG_20140426_082036_208

 

 

B said that he didn’t like his bed, so he made up a new one out of a chair. J has a toothbrush because…..I don’t know. Hey, dental hygiene is important after sneakily gobbling up candy. My anger turned to confusion, so I just had to laugh at them.

The goop was (and still is) a mystery, however.

Welcome to the great unknown.

 

 

Little D-Bags

I was out for drinks recently with some buddies. We were shooting the breeze, when the conversation turned to my kids and how they were doing. I told them some stories. As I was telling them, a realization occurred to me, and I blurted out “B can be such a douchebag!” My buddies gave me the ‘I can’t believe that you just said that’ laugh but I was dead serious.

See, your kids are the apple of your eye, but when they’re small, they do a lot of irrational stuff. It really tests your patience but it’s OK, because they’re learning and developing.  Sometimes, however, they do stuff that they shouldn’t, and they clearly know better. Prick moves, for real.

There’s a fine line between kids just being kids and flat out douchebaggery. B is a habitual line stepper (word to Charlie Murphy!). OK, OK,  I can’t front. More often than not, he’s the type of four year old boy who’s polite, funny, charming, smart, considerate etc. Occasionally, however he is also the type of four year old boy who:

– Will start to tell you a story about his day, stop, rip the soother out of J’s mouth, toss it across the room, and then continue the story as if nothing is wrong, while J cries.

– Will come running into our room in the morning, asking for breakfast. When told that he needs to get dressed first, he’ll drop to ground like he’s been shot, tell me that his legs are tired so he can’t walk, and beg that I carry him.

–  Climbs onto a chair that J is sitting in, force her out of it, and insists that he was sitting there first.

– Refuses to get out of said chair until I say ‘please’.

– Takes J’s toy purse, claims that it is his, and refuses to give it back until she says ‘please’.

– Gets told to not go out in the muddy area, smirks, then goes in the muddy area.

– Likes to talk about being older or bigger than everyone he meets. One day we told him to knock it off, and that he needs to stop worrying about being bigger and better all the time. His reply? “I’m not bigger and better….I’m taller and gooder!”

– Climbs a shelf, gets candy, opens it, gives it to J, runs upstairs, tells me that J has candy and asks if I’m mad at her now.

– Told us that J is sassy and that he doesn’t like sassy people. When told by K that he needed to love his sister regardless and that blood is thicker than water, he burst out laughing hysterically, like that was the most ridiculous concept that he’s ever heard.

– Will be given a big cookie and told to share it with J. He’ll eat all of cookie except for a tiny crumb. He’ll give the tiny crumb proudly to J.

– At a drive-thru, when I pull up to place my order, he will also roll his window down, interrupt me, and try to place his own order.

You get the idea.  Can you imagine if a grown man did that stuff? You’d want to slap him upside his frosted-tipped, spiky haired head! And these are just examples from the last couple of weeks.  Whatever.  I’m not complaining, though, don’t get it twisted. I’m just giving you the realness.  Tantrums and crying I expected from toddlers; acting like a douche I didn’t expect. Regardless, douchebag tendencies and all, I wouldn’t change my kiddos for anything. Plus they grow out of it.

Right?

Right?!

Movie Review – The Little Mermaid

The-Little-Mermaid-Movie-Poster-the-little-mermaid-18617517-1172-1790

 

For real,  there’s a lot of things that, pre-kids, you know of,  but then post-kids, you end up knowing very well.

Take TV shows and movies, for example.  Sure, I was aware that there were channels dedicated to small children, but it’s not like I ever saw them, or had any idea what the shows were. Unless, of course, it was after coming home drunkenly from the bar at 2:00 AM, and I needed something to watch while I ate the Chinese takeout that I bought near the bar, so I’d end up watching Dora the Explorer and wondering why this Spanish girl and her monkey were yelling at me to do things.

I’d see commercials for kid’s movies, but it’s not like I kept tabs on them.  Even if they did look sort of interesting, it’s not like I could convince anyone to go see them with me. And I especially couldn’t go by myself. A grown man watching Monsters Inc alone in a theatre full of families probably would raise some eyebrows, somewhere.

Post-kids, I’ve been forced to be more down with  toddler pop culture. I don’t say that with pride, obviously. It’s just a matter of necessity. And in terms of toddler pop culture, Disney has that small kid market on lock!  As such, I recently sat down with B and J, and watched The Little Mermaid. It was my first time seeing it!

Shut up.

Yes, I realize it came out in 1989, so this isn’t the most timely review. No, I don’t still own a Game Boy, or acid-washed jeans, or a Milli Vanilli record. Hater.

 

Note: Spoilers ahead!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

Gotta admit, I didn’t see the first 10 minutes, because I was on snack duty.  I’m sure I missed some key plot points. I also assumed that Ariel’s parents would die a horrible death at some point early on,  so I had prepared an explanation, for that occurrence. I learned to do this when, while happily enjoying The Lion King with B, the little lion’s dad got killed out of nowhere, shocking B, and leading me to do some verbal tap-dancing about the situation. Thanks, Disney! Luckily, there weren’t any moms or dads violently murdered in The Little Mermaid, so kudos for that. There was only a delightful musical number about how much fun it is to chop and maim fish.

I can tell when the kids are digging something based on how much they fidget. If they start squirming, they’ve lost interest and will move on, soon enough, to doing something else. There was a lot of fidgeting during The Little Mermaid.  Check that. There was a lot of flying leaps onto daddy, like they were trying to perfect their Superfly splashes.

No, that's not J soaring through the air......yet....

No, that’s not J soaring through the air……yet….

 

Anyway, a bunch more scenes were missed, as I was preoccupied watching B and J instead. The part where the Jamaican crab sang ‘Under the Sea’ did lead to an impromptu, Step-Up style, battle dance-off between them. J got served, yo!

B’s at that age (four) where he’s super inquisitive. When he doesn’t understand something, he asks. So there were a lot of questions he threw at me during the movie, that I  honestly couldn’t answer. Ariel’s merman King dad freaked out at some point. Started shooting lightning bolts and wrecking thangs up. B asked if me they were underwater (yes)  and how could there be fire if they were underwater (uhhhh).

Later, Ariel got feet in exchange for her voice, so she could try to hook up with a prince she saw once and was immediately smitten with (re-reading that sentence, that sounds messed up,  but that’s what happened).

B – ‘Are they going to get married?’

Me – ‘ I dunno. Maybe.’

B (shocked) – ‘But you can’t marry someone you just met!’

Later, while the prince was getting ready to marry some other girl that he just met,  which caused  Ariel to run off crying, B told me that he wanted to marry Ariel.  It’s all about the rebound girls, buddy!  Strike while she’s most vulnerable. Nice.

 

Well...no, I guess not.

No. No I am not.

 

I think that the other girl did something to the prince as well. She either hypnotized him, drugged him or got him drunk, I’m not sure.  See? As long as one person is in an altered mind state, you can marry someone that you just met. Isn’t that what happens in Vegas all the time?

The prince eventually came to his senses and ended up leaving his new wifey at the altar when…….I’m not sure about the rest.  Ariel had a three day limit to hook up with the prince, right? Failing that, she had to go back to being a mermaid, but also a prisoner or something like that. On the second day, she got shown up by a new wifey, though, which was  the evil Ursula in disguise? Ursula lost her shell that had Ariel’s voice in it, so Ariel got that back. I think the prince’s beer goggles/drug haze wore off, too, because he realized his bride wasn’t a smoking hottie, but a purple sea creature with a fake voice. Ariel’s dad showed up, cut a deal with Ursula and got shrunk somehow. If I was paying more attention, it probably would have made more sense. But between being bombarded with flying kids and flying questions, it was a lost cause. The movie did have a happy ending, though. Ursula was gored to death in the gut, Ariel’s dad went back to  being King-sized, and Ariel got to stay being a human and ended up marrying the prince.  The main lesson learned, I think? Mermaid life sucks, humans rule.

IN CONCLUSION:

Based on the few scenes that I saw, The Little Mermaid is a movie aimed for kids, and seems to lack the jokes for grown ups that a lot of newer animated films have. You know, those double entrendres and pop culture references that my four year old and two year old don’t understand, but I nod approvingly of.  Nonetheless, it’s not a bad way to kill an hour and a half.  B and J seemed to enjoy it, for the most part, which really, is all that matters.  So, for my review,  (yeah, yeah, I know, it leaves a lot to be desired. But, man, if Roger Ebert reviewed kid’s movies while trying to watch them with actual kids, his reviews would have been mediocre, too), I give it three Jamaican crabs out of four.

 

Red_crabs (2)Red_crabs (2)

Red_crabs (2)Red_crabs (3)

The Good Ol’ Hockey Game

 

Smiley_Olympics

Oh Canada! The Olympic men’s hockey finals this week  was kind of a big deal.  The night before, I set my alarm to go off just before the game started, 6:45 AM. The next morning, I woke up, went downstairs, and saw the fam already there. Were they up to watch, too, chock full of national pride?

Nah.

K was sleeping on the couch, while B and J were watching Disney Junior. Me changing the channel was met with snoring/mumbling from K, loud complaining from B, and J whining while angrily stripping down to her diaper. Pretty much a lost cause, so I  made some coffee, and went back to my room to watch the game there.

K gravitated upstairs not long afterwards, which left the kids downstairs…. alone! Cue the studio audience saying “Ooooooh”.   They were quiet, and I didn’t hear them doing anything (which is always a good sign, amiright, parents?).  I went to check on them at the first intermission. I found them in their coats and boots (J was still in her diaper, so this was all that she had on), just about to go out the front door.
Me – ‘What are you doing??’
B – ‘Nothing.’
Me – ‘Where are you going???’
B – ‘We are going to the car, to get my B.EA.R. book.’
The book was in clear view beside him, sticking out his backpack, so I showed it to him.
Me – ‘You mean this book?’
B – ‘Oh. Yeah.’
He grabbed it, took off his boots and jacket, and went to read it. Pretty sure he was lying about going to get the book. Maybe they were going to a bar to watch the rest of the game? Good thing he forgot to get the car keys. #heis4yearsoldhecantdrive
I stayed downstairs for the rest of the game, however, to make sure that they didn’t try to go on any joyrides.

When the game ended (Canada, what!? Knock knock? Who’s there? Gold medal to the face, that’s who’s there!) I tried to get the kids to watch the medal ceremony. After the first Swede got his silver, they got bored, wanted snacks instead. Kids, nowadays, they have no appreciation for historical moments, sheesh.  They gobbled some fruit up, then went back upstairs. A few minutes later, while I was humming Oh Canada, B told me that J had dumped the ‘metal things again.’

WTF?

Turns out, she had poured a big box of staples all over the floor. Maybe she thought that they were shiny confetti, and she was celebrating the victory? If picking hundreds of staples out of a carpet was an Olympic event, I would have a won the gold that morning (Knock knock? Who’s there? Silver staples in your feet, sucker, that’s who’s there).
‪#‎GoCanadaGo‬

Ill Communication

At what point is a situation considered an emergency?

Seems simple enough, right? You get the sniffles, you probably don’t need to seek medical assistance. Your buddy shoots you in the groin with a potato gun from a close distance, you probably want to go get your groin checked out after.

As adults, we know enough about ourselves that when something is seriously wrong, we can take the appropriate course of action. Kids, however, until they reach a certain age, they ain’t like that. They are totally dependent on you. So when something is wrong with them, like an illness, they can’t communicate to you what needs to be done. It’s up to you, as a parent, to figure that out.

I’ve come to realize, that unless you’re a trained medical professional,  trying to take care of your unwell child is a lot of guesswork.  You analyze the symptoms, maybe talk to someone, Google some information, and attempt to take care of the situation.  At the end of the day, though, all you can really do is trust your parental instincts.  You’ve probably noticed by now that I’m learning this parenting stuff on the fly. My instincts are pretty sorry, no doubt, but luckily enough for me, K has enough for  both of us. So when something is wrong with B or J, we’ve guessed right more often than not. There’s really only been one instance where our instincts were wrong, and we should have went to the doctor sooner than we did (that’s a story for another day. Don’t worry, everybody was just fine).

But back to my original question – when is a situation an emergency then? Now that is always a tough call.  One time, with B, when he was less than a year old, he had a fever that kept skyrocketing.  K and I remembered some advice for fevers from our prenatal class, so we followed that. When his fever reached a certain level, like 104 degrees, we decided that we needed to go to the emergency room.  Turns out that the advice we got was apparently wrong, and we got a ‘WTF? Why did you do that?’ reaction from the nurses. That’s the besides the point, though (Do you mask a fever, or let it ride? No really, I have no clue. I’ve gotten conflicting answers).  That situation reached a level where it was an emergency.

On the other hand, there’s been a bunch of times where the kids were sick, and K and I had to debate whether a trip to the hospital was warranted, but ultimately decided against it. There’s no easy way around it. Every illness is different, and requires a different judgement call.

I can count on one hand the number of times where we’ve had to take B or J to the emergency room. The good thing is that each time, we didn’t walk out of the hospital feeling like we wasted the doctors’ and nurses’ time. That’s the other part of the equation; when you guess wrong, and your kid’s situation isn’t at the emergency level, so then you feel like a guilty, stupid burden on the healthcare system.  When we’re talking about your kid’s well-being, that obviously shouldn’t matter. It still sucks when the doctor pats you on the back and says to go home and make sure your child gets lost of rest, while they roll their eyes at you. And you definitely don’t want to get to the point where you are on a first name basis with the staff, due to your frequent visits at the slightest cough.

So between the guesswork and the totally justifiable irrational worrying about the nurses and doctors making fun of you, assessing what constitutes an emergency, isn’t easy, for real. I’ve mentioned before, that one of my fears when I’m by myself with B and J, is something bad happening to them.  It’s that fear of the unknown, just not knowing what I’d do, or how I’d react, or handle the problem.  It’s the fear of making the wrong decision, and what the consequences would be.  Situations can turn tragic quickly and easily.  Just scary thoughts, man.

Unfortunately, my parental instincts were put to the test a couple of weeks ago.

It was a routine Saturday. K had dinner plans with some friends, and I was just going to stay in with the kiddos. B and J were playing nicely together,  but then around 4:00pm, B barfed on the floor, out of nowhere. Awesome. I cleaned him up, then started to work on the floor, but then not long after, he barfed again. I figured it was something he ate, as he was acting like his normal self. Anyway, we threw him in the tub. K asked if she should cancel her plans. My decision? I told her nope. Go out, he’s probably fine, I’ll just keep an eye on him, I said. Anyway, we cleaned B up, got him dressed then told him to rest in his room. He proceeded to throw up again.  More cleaning up, but this time, I plopped him in our room. K again asked if she should stay home, and I again said nope, so she was on her way.

B drank some water and was watching TV on our bed, while I sort of entertained J.  Suddenly, he threw up again, all over our bed. I replaced the sheets, and grabbed a toy bucket, and told him to use that if he felt sick again. Within seconds, he threw up into the bucket. And then he did it again. I was super confused and worried by this point. He was whiny, but he was still talking to me coherently. He wasn’t burning up or anything like that, either, so I was still going with the idea that he must have eaten something that didn’t sit right.

J, however, was also starting to whine. Not because she was sick, but  because she was hungry. I quickly rushed to scrounge up something passable for dinner for her, and when I came back, there was more puke all over the bed.  While J happily sang and ate her food, I cleaned up B again, and replaced the bed sheets.  He threw up again into the bucket while I was doing this. I ran to get him some ice chips, which he refused to eat. Don’t blame him. From his perspective, the water I gave him didn’t go so well, so why would he trust me with anything else?

Not going to front, I had an overwhelming sense of panic come over me. This was bananas. Why was he throwing up so much? Where was it all coming from? My next (stupid) decision was that I needed to put J to bed, so I could worry only about B for the night. First, though, I figured that I’d call Telehealth (Telehealth is a service that we have in Canada, where you can call and talk to a registered nurse, and ask for health advice). While I was on the phone, I went to get PJs for J.  When I came back to our room,  B, who had been flat down on his stomach, bucket by his head, dry heaving into it, started rolling his eyes into the back of his head, like the wrestler the Undertaker. WTF! So between the eye rolling, and the Exorcist-level vomiting, I was freaked out to the extreme. B was not even making any sense. He was too sick to communicate clearly. He was just mumbling incoherently between the throwing up. His vomit also was changing colour. I cut the Telehealth nurse off and told her that I needed to get to a hospital.

But more decisions! How do I get to a hospital? I quickly estimated that by the time I called for an ambulance, and it got to our house, I could make a decent chunk of the way there myself, if I drove. So I scooped up J, put her in my car, scooped up B (who threw up all over me, and in the garage) loaded him up, and we were off.  I’ll tell you what, man,  alone with my thoughts, flying down the dark country roads, I was thinking of the most messed up things.  I was trying to figure out what was wrong with the poor kid, and all I could think of was maybe organ failure from dehydration, or maybe he was possessed, or maybe he caught some rare incurable disease. I was retracing my decisions and what I could have done differently. Just craziness. My heart was pounding like I don’t remember it ever pounding before.   I tried to converse with B, but he was barely audible. J was having the time of her life, go figure. Obliviously laughing and chatting away. And then she fell asleep randomly. I couldn’t get to the hospital soon enough…

I did call K, and filled her in on what was going on, and she met me at the children’s emergency entrance.  I took J to K’s mom, and hurried back to the hospital. Didn’t even notice my pants were covered in barf until K told me. The staff talked to us, ran some tests, gave B some medicine for the nausea and hooked him up to an IV, to get some fluids in him.  I’ve never simultaneously felt total relief but also like a failure, until seeing B with tubes sticking out of him while the IV machine beeped away.

The end result was that he caught a bad case of the flu, And was dehydrated.  We went home later that night, but had to come back the next day, as a precaution. That was it. Not the most dire situation, but still an emergency situation to me. Funny thing was, two other families with small kids were admitted and sent home within minutes, while we were at the hospital, in the rooms beside us. One with a supposed allergic reaction, one because their baby was a bit sick. Hey, better to err on the side of caution, I guess.

I can honestly tell you, though, that from that experience, and my questionable decision making, I’m a better parent because of it.  Clearly, the lesson learned is that K should never……eeeeever leave me alone with the kids again, right? Right?

Well...no, I guess not.

Well…no, I guess not.

Final note – the next day, yours truly was chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool, when,  suddenly, I  felt ill, and had to spend some quality time with the porcelain pool.  I stumbled back to our bed, where B was still on the mend, watching TV.

B – ‘Are you sick, daddy?’

M (moaning) – ‘Yeah, buddy, I threw up a lot just now.’

B – ‘You need a stuffy! That will make you feel better! Let me go get you one! Which one do you want?’

A stuffy is a stuffed animal. He took off to his room, and came back.

B – ‘Here daddy!’

He gave me his stuffed horse and Buzz Lightyear. And then he lied down beside me, holding his toy bear. Two sick homies,  in bed, watching Disney Junior, cuddling stuffies. Not gonna lie, as bad as I felt, I did feel a bit better then.

Yo, that answers my question. At what point is a situation an emergency? When even a stuffy can’t make it any better.

 

 

Remember The Time

 

 

I used to be sort of punctual. But now, when I need to go somewhere with the family?

We’ll get there when we get there.

I’ve noticed that small kids are blissfully oblivious,  in their own little worlds,  operating on their own clocks.  And their watches aren’t set to the same time as yours.  Like, not even close.   The thing is, sooner or later, since any other effort is futile,  their schedule becomes your schedule.

After B was born,  we were automatically programmed to be on baby time.  I was vaguely aware of this concept beforehand, but wow, the reality of it hit me like a slap in the face. No, for real. When I was on the after- midnight shift with him, when he would wake up crying and not go back down, I had to slap myself in the face to stay awake. But that was life, with little B and then with J. Baby time meant that our lives revolved around their feedings and their sleep.  When you’re used to doing what you want, when you want, changing your entire mindset is hard. You’re not living for just yourself; you’re living to keep these tiny humans living.

 

No more time for you!

No more time for you!

Once we got into a routine, we had to stick to it.  Friends would invite me to do stuff, and I’d have to turn them down.  Hey, would you rather pound back some beers with your buddies, or catch a few hours of precious sleep while your kid is zonked out,  and you haven’t slept in 20 hours?  Gimme some Z’s, yo, every time.

Nonetheless, you still gotta do you.  For our own sanity, we had to get out and do stuff, in public.  So, we learned to plan  family outings around the naps. Break the cycle, but not really. Sometimes that was effective and we had a pleasant experience out.  Sometimes, unfortunately, we were that family childless people like to glare at and give the evil eye to in restaurants,  because our baby was screaming his/her head off. Looking all aghast at us or whatever. No guff, Sherlock, I realize she’s crying, and I’m trying to calm her so you can enjoy your spinach dip in peace.  And no, complaining to the waiter about us doesn’t help the situation. What’s he going to do? Tell me to leave? Take our kid to the kitchen, until you are done your meal?  What did you expect when you came here, anyway? Fine romantic dining? The staff are dressed like they’re on safari, and there are smiling robot animals everywhere.  Now stop staring at us, and focus on whether you want regular or sweet potato fries with your veggie wrap. Hater.

Don't forget to get refill on your glass of Haterade, too.

Don’t forget to get a refill on your glass of Haterade, too.

Whoa, sorry, got sidetracked.

Even as the kids enter the toddler stage, time is still on their side, not yours. Like I said, they are just blissfully in their own worlds, oblivious to their surroundings and to the concept of time.  To them, there’s no rush to do anything.  Me saying “Hurry up so Daddy isn’t late for work!” while B goes for the Guinness World Record for longest time taken to put on a jacket, is pretty much a daily occurrence.  Funny enough, when I tell them that they can’t do something fun, like go to a birthday party, they’ll bust a move, and get cleaned up and ready to go ASAP.  Model kids, all of the sudden, like their last name is Cleaver.  Go figure.

What? I used to watch Leave it To Beaver when I was little. The Beav seemed like a swell guy.

What? I used to watch Leave It To Beaver when I was little. The Beav and his bro seemed like swell guys.

The net result of this oblivion is that I’ve basically given up trying to be on time, for anything, ever. It’s pointless.  Occasionally we get lucky and win the punctuality battle, but more often than not, it’s a lost cause. You give yourself 15 minutes to get the kids ready, it takes 30. You give yourself 30, it takes 45. Something inevitably happens that causes us to run late.  B and J put up a struggle, or they want something to eat, or they hide, or they barf or take a dump and have to be changed. I don’t know, it’s always something.

For example, a couple of weeks ago one Saturday morning, B had basketball.  Man, back in the day, if I had somewhere to be Saturday morning, I’d shower up, maybe get in a quick game on the old PS2,  eat some food, splash on some Drakkar Noir, and be on my way. And show up early!

So, my plan that day was to shower quick, get him ready,  and go. Simple right?

Wrong.

Instead, this went down:

– Before I got in the shower, I gave B his clothes, and told him to get dressed.

– When I was done showering,  I found B in the playroom still in his pyjamas, watching TV, clothes beside him.

– I got him dressed.

– He refused to leave, because he wanted to sit at the table and eat breakfast. Attempts to explain to him that we would be late fell on oblivious ears. Finally, bribed him with breakfast from Tim Horton’s to get him to leave.

– Got his coat and boots on, and told him to wait, because I forgot to get his water bottle.

– I filled his bottle, came back, and found him outside, trudging through the knee deep snow on our front grass.

– Trudging turns to running and laughing. Running and laughing turns to falling. Falling turns to crying because he’s cold and covered in snow.

– Had to go back in the house, to get him changed.

– Finally put him in the car, and we were on our way. But we had to stop at Tim Horton’s first, which had a long lineup in the drive-thru, because….well, of course there was a long line.

– Got to the basketball gym. Rushed to get him in his gear. B found it funny to mess with me by pulling my hat down over my eyes so I couldn’t see.

Ended up being 15 minutes late, total.

Anyway, so that’s my life now.  If I make plans with you, I’ll see you when I see you.  Man, I even thought that I’d have this post done a week ago.  What can I say? Free time is precious, and a good chunk of mine is taken up by my kids. Yet, even though my life revolves around their schedules, and I’ve been lamenting it,  I still wish that I could spend more time with them! These are the best years, and all that jazz.

How messed up is that?

 

 

 

 

 

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