Category: real talk

Elf On The Shelf Ideas for the Busy Parent

I don’t know about you, but I struggle with the Elf On the Shelf fad.  It’s hard, yo. After a long day, when the kids are finally asleep, the last thing that I want to do is come up with a zany new place to put the elf.  However, my kids love looking for him everyday.  As a result, for almost everyday in December, I gotta man up and do it, for B and J’s sake.

If you’re like me, you’re busy with other stuff , and don’t have much time to spend on thinking of cool spots for your elf. However, don’t fret, my pet.  I got your back on this.

Here are some quick and easy ideas for ya!

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Haha! Look at that lil’ bugger, all passed out after gettin’ his drank on!

Huh?

It’s inappropriate for children to find him in an inebriated condition? #NSFW?

And you’ve seen this done to elves a million times already on Facebook and Pinterest?

Aight, aight. Scratch this one then….

 

 

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Just leave him in the middle of the FLOOR,  with no alcohol! Your kids won’t expect that!

Wait.

Scratch this one, too.

B told me that one of his classmates cut the arms off of his elf. He told me in this weird way, though, that was equal parts shock/curiosity. I don’t know how effective the threat of making the elf lose his magic is, to a mischievous four year old boy. Maybe leaving an elf so easily within arm’s reach is a bad move.

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Ahhh, much better. A bird’s eye view, out of harm’s way.

Continuing on, as an option…….you could also put your elf…….um…….

Uh oh.

I’m out of ideas.

Errr……

Hey, this was fun, everybody, but this is the end of the post.  I hope that I’ve been of some help. Happy elfing!

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What?

I got nothing.  This is too much pressure. Why can’t I throw him out now? I’ll just tell B and J that he’s in a super secret hiding place. They’re young. They’ll understand.

No?

It’s a waste of an elf?

Fine………

 

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Better?

I’ll just take him to a corner, with his sign, and leave him there. Maybe I’ll make him a little stick with a bag tied on the end of it.  Get him a mini shopping cart to push around. Wipe some dirt on his face, to make him really sorry looking, so someone will take pity and scoop him up ASAP.

Still no?

C’mon, man!

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Peace out!

We’re going for a nice, long drive to the forest. Don’t worry, there’s nothing shady going on. See? The elf is even buckled in.

Sort of.  Safety first!

What do you mean, you don’t believe me? Yes, if I leave with the elf, we’re both coming back home!

Hopefully.

OK, OK. I’ll remove him from my car. He’s not coming in my house again, though!

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What’s up now?

No, I don’t think that he looks cold. The way that that he’s sitting there, smiling, I think that he looks like a Peeping Tom.  How’d he get up on the window, anyway? I left him on the ground.  Ah, the magic of Christmas.  And yes, it is snowing, so he’s probably a bit wet.

Oh, fine. I’ll bring him inside, and dry him off. Bah humbug!

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My first choice was the microwave, but apparently, I shouldn’t use that. So, let’s go with this, instead.

Well, how else am I supposed to dry him?

He’s not real! The dryer won’t kill him!

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Now, the blender on the other hand, that will kill him.

Kidding!

Don’t worry, no elves were harmed in the making of this post.

It still kind of sucks, though. Elfing ain’t easy. And by the way, I’m not that creative. Guess I should have led off with that.  Better creep some other sites, if you’re looking for some fun and wacky sources of inspiration.

Worst case, if you’re stuck, there’s always the middle of the FLOOR!

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You’re welcome.

Lost Ones

Recently, there has a been a lot of controversy about a game which children love:  hide and seek.

What?

There hasn’t?

Well, there should be. I’ve never liked that game. And now that I have kids, I dislike it even more.

You see TV and movie characters playing it, and you think that it looks so fun (they have the best hiding spots, in fictional universes!).  In actuality, however, it’s always so disappointing.  Real life hiding spots really aren’t that cool.

Back in the day, I’d play with my little sister.  Our house wasn’t that big, so finding decent places to hide was difficult. I’d count to 10, yell ‘Come out, come out, wherever you are!’ and  I’d then find her sitting clear as day under the kitchen table, for example.  Just brutal.

To combat this, especially when you can hear the other person counting down and you have like three seconds to hide somewhere, you find yourself considering the most illogical locations.  You have no idea how many times I panicked, and almost hid in the oven.  Granted, I wasn’t the most sensible kid. But that’s not the point. Hide and seek is potentially dangerous…….uh, if your children aren’t sensible.

The other part that sucks is that it never ends clearly or decisively. It usually just stops when one person gets bored. They go to have a snack or whatever, leaving the other person/people cowering behind a couch for an indefinite period of time (unrelated, this is also how my games of Monopoly usually end up. Weird). What’s the point of a game if there’s never a winner or loser? Children need to taste defeat, to get ready for real life. Oh yeah. Heaping, heavy spoonfuls of bitter defeat.

I said bitter defeat! Not delicious cereal!

Quit it! Defeat does not taste like delicious cereal!

What drives me crazy with my own kids is that they’ll play, and then I’ll have to play, too, whether I want to or not.

In theory, it’s simple. See, here is when it is acceptable to partake in a game of hide and seek:

– When the parties involved come to a mutual agreement about the time for commencement, as well as explicitly defining the rules. Ie.:

 “Hey, Marshall, wanna play hide and seek?”

“Sure, Ted! As soon as I’m done my chores!”

“Terrific, Marshy! No hiding in the basement, ya heard?”

Conversely, here is when it is not acceptable to partake in a game of hide and seek:

– Any other f$%%#@*g time!

My kids don’t get this, unfortunately. They constantly take off and hide at inopportune moments. I tell them to hurry up, because we need to leave, and the next thing I know, I’m storming around the house looking for them, while they sit silently behind the curtains. I tell them that it’s bedtime, and they take off, causing me to angrily search for them and scream their names while they quietly huddle in a closet.

Now that’s mad annoying, yo. The stupid lack of response when calling their names. I remember one time, we were all in the living room, kickin’ it. Then, we looked over, and J was gone. Just disappeared. We went tearing through the house, yelling her name in vain, trying to find her. Fear set in real quick. I briefly figured it might have been spontaneous combustion.  Eventually, we did find her, smiling, hiding out in the basement. Golly, did you get us, J! Haha, hoho, what a knee slapper.

Once kids have mastered the art of hiding at home, the next logical step is to take their act on the road. You know what I’m talking about. This means that you’re that parent frantically looking for your child in Target, while they’re laughing at you from the middle of a rack of blouses. This means that you’re that mom or dad in McDonald’s, desperately squeezing through the Play Place trying to find your kid, because they thought it would be funny to hide out near the slide at the top, and not respond to their name being called. Nobody deserves that, man.

AND THEN, once the thrill of clowning you out in public wears off, they’ll still be jonesing for a fix of some sort. So clearly that means that they’re on the path to one thing – robbing banks and hiding from the police afterwards. According to Dr. Phil,  research shows that 98% of bank robbers on the lam played hide and seek when they were younger.

 

I never said that!!!

I never said that!!!

Oh. Sorry Dr. Phil. I made that up.

But that’s not the point. Hide and seek is a gateway game to more illicit behaviour later on in life………..maybe.

Speaking of illicit behaviour, what really ticks me off is when kids don’t feel like hiding themselves, so they hide stuff instead. No rhyme or reason. They just get a kick out of jamming something important somewhere, and watching you try to find it. One time, B hid his ‘important bag’ from school, and then played dumb when we couldn’t find it. Twenty minutes of all of us (including him) searching for it later, we found it in the cabinet under the kitchen sink, behind a bucket. He just grinned and shrugged when we asked him WTF.

The worst is when they get their hands on some pocket change. It’s funny how money change a situation (shout out to Lauryn Hill!). I try to keep money in high places, but occasionally, I forget. It’s like I’ll check my coat, to see if I have enough coins to buy a coffee in the morning, think it’s odd that I don’t, come home that evening, and find quarters in toys in the playroom.

Once, J took a dollar from my pocket and did this thing where she closed her hands, to make me guess which one the dollar was in. I guessed wrong, and she refused to give it back. I haven’t seen it since.  I dread to think what would happen if they got their hands on some paper currency. Think about that. What about the bills?

What about the bills!?!?

As such, it is plainly obvious that hide and seek isn’t  free. It’s an expensive game that makes you poorer……….possibly, and only if you leave money lying around haphazardly.

When weighing the pros and cons, the game of hide and seek has no real benefits, and only has negative consequences. I think that we should all seriously consider making it illegal, for the sake of our children.

I, for one, am going to tell my kids to stop playing it………..

Err, as soon as I can find them.

 

 

Versus

 

Ya know what never crossed my mind? The idea of my kids not getting along.  Shoot, I have sisters, and when we were younger, we never fought. Things were always amicable.

I think.

I don’t really remember. It was long time ago.

Anyway, when J was a baby, B would constantly say how much he loved her. He would treat her so well. I pictured them growing up together the bestest of friends (“I want to clean the bathrooms!” “No, J, let me do it this time!”). Maybe they’d be singers, and become the next famous brother/sister music group, like Donny & Marie, or Len ( Steal My Sunshine was da joint back in the day! I don’t know what else they’ve done, but at least they have that!)

Turns out, like pretty much everything else parenting-related, I was wrong.

Please don’t get it twisted. For the most part, B and J get along just swimmingly. Or as well as a four and two year old can get along, I guess. Sometimes, though, they just want to bring each other down.  Things could be going great, and then all of the sudden, one of them will try to one-up the other, and it will dissolve into bickering, fighting and whining. Oh yeah. Lots and lots of whining.

I’m not a child psychologist, or Marvin Gaye, but I do have my own theories as to what’s going on. See, before J, B was the only kid, so he ran the house. The King of Kings, ruling his kingdom.

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Did you see my episode of MTV Cribs, where I showed off my throne room?

 

Then, when J was born, there was suddenly competition to his throne, in the form of a little princess. It wasn’t an issue when she was a baby. However, now that she’s a toddler with a mind of her own, she’s a threat that must be stopped at all costs!

……Or something like that.

Now, from J’s perspective, she’s still a blank slate. Learning, developing and taking everything in. She sees B running around, doing his thing, so she wants a piece of the action, too. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Sometimes, however, just a piece isn’t enough. She wants it all, dang it, and she will stop at nothing to get it!

…..Or something like that.

I mean, I guess it is inevitable that children will butt heads on occasion. It’s just that, with mine, their games of one-upsmanship can be so…...petty, that I feel like I gotta get my Judge Joe Brown on, and make a verdict, to get them to knock it off. Lemme give you some examples. For added effect, have this playing while you read them:

 The scene: While getting ready to leave Grandma’s house, Grandma gave B and J cookies. B couldn’t help himself, and kept acting like a jerk. Habitual douchebaggery, as I’ve mentioned before. By the time we got to the car,  we got fed up, and took his cookie away. This made him cry. While in the car, J couldn’t help herself, and ate her cookie while saying ‘Mmmm!’ and ‘Yummy!’,  like it was the most savoury thing ever. This made B cry even more.

The verdict: J’s actions were probably unintentional, so she gets a free pass. B gets a court ordered lesson on what different expressions mean, starting with “don’t pour salt on an open wound.”

The scene: Bedtime. B was playing with a couple of Hot Wheels cars, on his bed. J heard this from her room, and wanted some cars too.  I got her three from the playroom, and then I left to go downstairs. B somehow found out that J had one more car than him, so he went to the playroom and got more. J, not to be outdone, went to get more, too. This caused B again to go and get more. J then grabbed a bucket and filled it up with cars (from downstairs, I could hear the plunk plunk sound of her dropping them in the bucket). Finally, I went upstairs to see what was up. B now had about 18 cars on his bed.

I had this convo with J:

Me: How many cars did I say you could have?

J (holds up three fingers): Three!

Me: How many cars do you have?

J (looks at bucket, thinks for a few seconds, holds up all ten fingers): Ummmm…..three?

The verdict: Easy. To paraphrase Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi, no cars for you…and you!

The scene: Lunch time. Eating fries. B found a small fry, and got excited about it. J then found a small fry. B said his was smaller. They then scrounged around their plates, and argued about who had the smallest fry.

The verdict: Whatever. Not guilty for both.  This wasn’t nearly as annoying as  the time when they were eating berries and got into a fight about which one of theirs was the ‘mommy’ berry.

The scene: Family movie night, our couch. Both kids wanted to cuddle with K, and bickered about it. When K suggested cuddling with me, they refused and freaked out, like I was the Boogeyman or a monster.

The verdict: That’s cold, yo. I don’t care. I don’t need their love and affection, anyway. Hey, how about I take away all of their toys? And clothes. And beds. Have fun cuddling the floor naked, suckers!

The scene: After movie night. I’m upstairs with the kids. B said to me ‘I love you!’ J then hugged me and said ‘My daddy.’ B, never to be overshadowed, said ‘No, my daddy!’ They then argued about who loved me more.

The verdict: Whaaaa? Aww, those guys are the best! Forget what I said before. Fighting for my love? No, please, don’t stop, keep on going. I sentence them to eating bowls of ice cream while taking turns telling me why I’m such a wicked dad.

Maybe a little bit of sibling rivalry isn’t so bad after all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like A Puzzle

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Yep, September’s here, so that means one thing –  back to school time for kids.

That picture above is from last year, on B’s first day of kindergarten. Now, I’m a cool dude, but I can’t front. That day was pretty emotional. My lil man was now a little man, gettin’ his edumucation on!

From then on, I honestly thought that things would be like how they were on those TGIF television shows from the 1990s.  You know, we’d come home,  sit around the dinner table, and talk about our day. B would regale us with tales of his scholastic adventures.  Maybe there would be canned laughter from a studio audience.

Turns out TV mislead me again. Tanner family, we are not.

Tonight, on a very special episode of Full House....

Tonight, on a very special episode of Full House….

See, it was a two fold problem. Both of which were mad frustrating.

First off, B wouldn’t tell us anything. Almost every question about school got met with him not wanting to talk.  The best example of this was when I asked him what he did that day, so he did the Run-DMC pose (feet wide, arms crossed, chin out) and told me “No more voices!”

 

B-Boy stance, that's it right there.

B-Boy stance, that’s it right there.

 

 

Occasionally, I did have relatively productive talks with him. I had to be a French guy named Jesse, though. Jesse (me) would ask him questions in French.  I, as myself, would translate them into English for B, and he would answer, which I, as me, would then translate into French for Jesse (me) to understand.

Confusing, right? And I don’t even speak French. But at least he was telling me stuff.

That leads to the other problem.  Some of the stuff that he would tell us, just flat out wasn’t true.  Children have the craziest imaginations, I get that. Kindergarten-aged ones are still learning how to interact with people, sure.  Regardless, the stuff that came out of his mouth would vary from slight exaggerations, to full out lies. I had no idea that in addition to the 3 R’s, he was also learning how to do the big F (Fib. Get your mind out of the gutter).
One time during the first month, I asked him what he did that day. He said the class went on a bear hunt. One of the bears scared him.

Another time, he told me girls liked to touch his hair. When they did, he would pat them on the back.

He told us that no one liked him and all he wanted was a friend. Now, of course, you don’t want your kids thinking school is a popularity contest.  This was still a little troubling to hear, however. I figured that I’d ask his teachers about it on ‘Parent Teacher Night’, which was like a week later. So,  when that night came around, B and I headed over to his school. We got to his classroom….and he immediately ran off and started playing with some other kids. While he was playing, some other boy called him over, to play. I heard that boy’s mom say that B was someone who she ‘heard a lot about.”

When I did tell his teacher what he said to us, she stared at me with the most confused look, as if she had no idea what I was saying (you know, like that look you get when you try to explain the plot of the movie Inception to someone who’s never seen it. ‘Wait, so they go into people’s dreams? And plant ideas? Do they use soil and dirt, to plant them?  Do they shrink and go through the sleeping person’s ear?’).

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I…I can’t deal with this right now. Just watch the movie, OK?

B’s teacher told me that B got along with everyone!

After that, we left his room and did a tour of his school. As we were walking around, kids and adults kept saying hi to him, like he was Zack Morris or something. On our way out of the school, we bumped into another one of his friends. This kid’s parents also said that they had heard so much about B. B and his buddy were ‘partners in crime’, they said.  WTF. When we got home, I asked him what the dilly-yo was, and why did he say that no one liked him, when that wasn’t true at all. He stared at me with the most confused look, as if he had no idea what I was saying (you know, like that look you get when you try to explain to someone who doesn’t know who Kim Kardashian is, why she’s famous. ‘Wait, so she doesn’t sing or act or dance? What’s her talent then? What do you mean she doesn’t have one?’).

Look, I can't explain it. Just talk to Kanye about Kim, alright? photo: http://flickr.com/photos/tyliner/

Look, I can’t explain it. Just talk to Kanye about Kim, alright?
photo source:  http://flickr.com/photos/tyliner/

 

As the year went on, his communication got better. The fibbing did, as well. He said the most ridiculous things with a straight face. And not just when it came to school!

A  few months ago, our neighbour came over and asked how many children we had.  It was a weird question, because, while we were still fairly new to the ‘hood,  we had chatted with her frequently, and B and J had played with her kids several times.  I told her that we had two and asked why. Apparently, B, in all seriousness, told her that he had another brother who we kept locked up and never let out. Our neighbour was shocked, but when she asked what his name was, B hesitated, so she thought that he might not be telling the truth. #lolkidssaythedarndestthings.

 

DISCLAIMER:

WE DO NOT HAVE A SECRET CHILD THAT WE KEEP LOCKED AWAY.  OUR OLDEST CHILD MADE UP THAT STORY. 

We’re still working on the ‘honesty is the best policy’ thing. It’s a work a progress, no doubt.

Anyway, for real, imagine trying to do a puzzle with 1000 pieces. You got your pile set aside, and you’re trying to work it out. Now, imagine someone dumping another 1000 piece puzzle into the pile that you were working on. I don’t know what your conversations are like with your kids but, sometimes, that’s what it’s like trying to talk to mine. You’re just trying to put the pieces together to get the full picture, while removing the pieces that clearly don’t belong.

Happy school year, y’all.

Good luck with your puzzles.

John Cena And The WWE Are Ruining My Life

 

We always try to expose our kids to new and different things. Sports, hobbies, activities, whatever. Sometimes they’re feeling it, sometimes they’re not. Sometimes they feel it for a while,  get bored and move on to the next one (word to Jay-Z!).  Regardless, we just keep throwing stuff at them, because we never know what will stick.

For me, one of the things that stuck was pro wrestling, especially the WWF/WWE.  What can I say, since I was four or five years old, I’ve been a wrestling fan.

Until recently, B and J were only familiar with wrestling, and didn’t really care for it. To them,  it was just another thing that daddy watched, like basketball or football.  One day, though, I gave B my old  Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior dolls (err I mean action figures!). He’s at that age (almost five) that I was, when I got my first wrestling toys.  From then on, his curiosity was piqued.

But now?

It’s a borderline obsession!

See, he’s not just into wrestling; he’s really into it and wants to know everything about as many wrestlers as possible. As a parent, I’ve been trying to ease him in, and be cautious. I’ve been only showing him stuff that isn’t super crude/profane/risqué.  I also give him warnings to never try what he sees, because he isn’t a trained wrestler (Yet. Lil dude keeps talking about going to wrestling school when he’s older).  He gets that it is a show, too, and not ‘real’.

It is such a niche form of entertainment which a lot people aren’t into, though, that I am  B’s almost exclusive source for information.  As a result, he’s been asking me lots of questions. Not just the easy ones, like who’s the best wrestler or who wins the most. He wants to know everything, so his questions are randomly bananas. I try to give him real, honest answers, but sometimes, it’s impossible!

No joke, here is what he has asked me, in  just this past week:

Who’s the cutest wrestler?
Who had short hair when they were a kid?
Who has the coolest boat?
Who has the coolest car?
*Pulls out all of his action figures* Which of my guys has the coolest car? (I say John Cena). Which guy has the next coolest?
This goes on until we’ve ranked all of their cars.
Side note: I have no clue what they  all drive. Chris Jericho finished last, though.
Who has the longest hair?
Who is the tallest?
Who is the smallest?
Who got angry when someone broke something that they liked that was hard, when they were in school?
Who’s the oldest and youngest?
Who was the first wrestler from a long long long long long long loooooong time ago?
Who was the second from a long long loooooong time ago?
Who was the tenth?
Side note: yes he skipped third, fourth etc. and went straight to tenth.
Who has the coolest car but they’re dead?
Which wrestler is the tallest out of the medium?
Who has the curliest hair?
Which wrestler played video games with their dad?
Which wrestler watched another wrestler when they were a kid? Who did they watch?
Which wrestler is from Toronto?
Who’s the darkest?
Who has the most boring music ever, when they come out?
Could Andre the Giant touch my ceiling?
Who are Andre the Giant’s family? Are they giants?
Who has the best necklace?
Who has the best swimming pool, from when they were a kid?
Who can jump the highest? Can they jump over a car? Over Andre the Giant?
Who has the nicest boots?
Who can lift up a house?
Who’s the fastest?
Who had the coolest room when they were a kid?
Who cries the most?
Side note: I told him that I didn’t know, but he was adamant that I told him a name before. After arguing for a bit, I just said The Miz. No clue if he cries.
Really? REALLY?

Really? REALLY?

Sorry, Miz.
We also had this exchange:
B – ‘Which wrestler has gone to jail, when they were younger?’
Me – ‘Uhh…….Booker T.’
B- ‘Booger T? Does he pick his nose!?’
And this exchange:
B – ‘What’s your name?’
Me – ‘My name? My name is-‘
B (Cuts me off, mid sentence) – ‘It doesn’t matter what your name is!’
Side note: his timing in the cut-off was perfect. The Rock would have been proud.
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The Rock approves of B rudely interrupting me.

Another time, our neighbour dropped the news on B that the Ultimate Warrior died. He came home, and asked me when he died. I couldn’t remember, so I looked up the date on Wikipedia and told him. Much later, one of K’s friends came over, and B excitedly showed her some of his wrestlers:
B – ‘This is Rey Mysterio. This is R Truth. This is Ultimate Warrior. He’s dead. He died on April 8 2014.’
Yeah, it’s pretty crazy, man. When the school year starts, when everyone else’s kids are making pictures of Spiderman, or those princesses in Frozen, I’m sure that my kid will be drawing Kofi Kingston.
Here’s the other messed up part – you know how younger siblings emulate older ones? Guess who J’s favorite character is right now? Why, it’s who every two year old girl likes – not Dora……not Elmo…….but  John Cena!?
Who, me?

Who, me?

I mean, she doesn’t watch wrestling with any real interest. Yet, because B is so into it, she learned from him and somehow picked Cena as her go to guy. Which means:
– Whenever B is playing with his wrestlers, J will join in sometimes, but will only play with John Cena.
– When I  play one of my old WWE video games, she insists that I always be John Cena.
– She left a bunch of her toys and other play things on the stairs. When I asked her who made the mess, she said ‘John Cena! You can’t see me!’ and then ran off humming his theme song.
– I did movie night with the kids, when K went out one evening. While browsing for one to watch,  I stumbled on Scooby Doo! Wrestlemania Mystery.  Hand’s up if you knew this existed.  I put it on, and of course, it was the most riveted B has ever been for a movie. J, on the other hand, only got excited when John Cena was in it. She spent the scenes that he wasn’t in repeatedly asking where he was.
– This:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3J5vTtfQj0A

Anyway, that’s our household right now.
OK, OK, maybe the title of this post is a bit of a swerve and kind of harsh.  John Cena and the WWE  aren’t really ruining my life. They’ve only made it more……. let’s go with interesting.  It’s cool that when B is really into a subject, he has an insane thirst for knowledge. And I guess that there could be worse characters for J to like. Cena does seem like a decent  role model, in real life.
I still can’t wait for my kids to move onto the next one, though.
My answer to the tenth wrestler question was Georg Hackenschmidt.  No clue if that's right. No clue how many other kindergarten-aged kids know who he is, either.

My answer to the “who was the first wrestler question” was Georg Hackenschmidt. No clue if that’s right.  No clue, either, if any kindergarten-aged kid besides B knows who he is.

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.)

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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?!!

 

 

 

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?!

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?

 

 

 

 

 

The Hungry Games

PLANK

You know, sometimes the only thing harder than putting the kids down for bed, is getting them to sit down and eat. There’s no rhyme or reason for it, either. Stuff they like one day, they hate the next, so they won’t touch it. Stuff they hate one day, they like another and will insist on that in place of what they actually have in front of them.  There’s the endless negotiating.  Something messed up like a shiny ball goes by the window, they’re distracted by the shiny ball, and stop caring about eating.

 

 

 

 

Look! Lady Gaga!  And a shiny stick! Wait, what was I talking about again?

Look! Lady Gaga! And a shiny stick! Wait, what was I talking about again?

 

 

 

Actual hunger is never a factor, for some reason. Basically,  if they don’t want to, they’ll find ways not to.

Here, let me know show you an example. A typical family dinner one night resulted in this:

Things J would rather do than eat dinner (in order of occurrence):
– Nothing. That girl loves to eat. Love that kid.

Things B would rather do than eat dinner (in order of occurrence):
– Try to watch TV,  and get mad when I tell him no.
– Leave table to hang K’s dresses up on his door handle.
– Say that he likes potatoes, then whine repeatedly that he doesn’t like potatoes.
– Say that his bread looks like a duck, then converses with the duck.
– Cut the duck up into small pieces.  Don’t eat the small pieces.
– Tell me that J is pretending to be a girl, argue vehemently with me when I say that she is a girl.
– Spreads his body out across his chair and J’s chair, and planks. Do people still plank??

 

This was part of a cool fad, for real? No one thought that this might not be such a great idea?

This was part of a cool fad, for real? No one thought that this might not be such a great idea?

 

 

 

 

 

 

– After I sit him back up, and force him to eat, take a big bite. I tell him to chew. He makes up a song about chewing and sings it. ‘You chew your dinner! You chew your lunch! You chew after your nap! You chew (in a deep baritone Barry White voice, no joke) All night long! All night long!’ Song goes on like this for a few minutes (it feels like all night long) until I tell him to stop and eat more.

– Eat more, then start drumming his chair with his fork and knife. Break it down for me, so I can understand where he’s coming from:

Me – ‘Stop making music and eat!’
B – ‘This is a xylophone (scratches at my arm and makes a screeching sound).
This is a drum (drums table with his hands).
This a guitar (does kind of an air guitar).
This is euntktigdo (said some gibberish, anyway it was a guitar motion with a whiny noise).
So I can make music!’
Picks up his knife and fork and keeps drumming. Well, with logic like that, who am I to stop him?

Wait, I’m the parent……. I am supposed to stop him!

– Eventually eats at all his dinner, but only after I bust out almost every trick in the “Bad Parents Handbook.” Oh, stop tsk tsk tsking. Desperate times call for desperate measures. If such a book existed, it would be a best seller, so I’m not alone on this.

If I was alone on this, I'd look like this lonely guy.

If I was alone on this, I’d look like this lonely guy.

 

 

 

 

 

Meals used to  be just about the food.  Now, though?

Gotta serve ’em up with a lot of time and a side of patience…

 

 

TKO

My kids, they work hard, and they play hard. Sometimes, to the point that they exhaust themselves mid-play and pass out. I call those times the TKO (Toddler Knock Out). I don’t get it. Like if I’m tired and cooking, I don’t fall asleep on the oven.  If I’m sleepy while playing baseball, I don’t collapse on third base.

Anyway, here are some TKO examples:

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Why did B decide, on a perfectly good bed, that my head would be a comfy pillow to rest on? No clue. Why are we napping at 4:22PM, too? Yeah, no clue either,

1052141_10153004013890195_1053201068_o

Now this TKO made a lot of sense. This was when the fam was living in a college dorm room (that’s a whole ‘nother post). B decided that night, that he didn’t like his bed, and refused to sleep in it. K and me knew that he was in the hall watching our TV from there, instead of staying in his room. He was whiny for a while, and then he was quiet. We checked on him and found him like this. See? Clearly, he grabbed his pillow, and hit the tiles to relax. The tiles were cold, so he grabbed a towel to keep warm. He needed some company, to watch TV with him, so he also got a couple of stuffed animals. And his shoes…..yeah, I got nothing, I’m making it up. This didn’t make sense then, doesn’t make now.

IMG_20131112_210753_462Now for this one, B again didn’t want to go to bed (shocker!) and was being difficult about it. Again, we ignored his whines. All of his toys were put away, so we figured that he’d just get bored and go back to his room to read. Not so much. When it comes to entertaining himself, lil dude is like MacGyver/MacGruber, in his resourcefulness. We heard him talking to himself for a bit, and then silence, and then we found him as he is in the picture. What’s with the random objects lined up so meticulously, you wonder? I asked him the next morning what that was all about. He told me that he was bowling. The black belt thing was the bowling lane, the softball his ball, and the other things were the pins.  The sandals on his hands were his bowling shoes. Lil Twinkletoes said that he ran out of breath while playing and had to go to sleep, whatever that means.

TKOs……I don’t get it. And I’m sure, when you see them with your kids, you don’t get them either.

 

 

 

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