Posted by mike On January 22, 2014
I need to come clean about something.
Not too long ago, our family was homeless. We were homeless for quite a few months, actually.
I need to come clean about that.
See, an opportunity came up which we thought was too good to pass up, to purchase a brand new house, built from scratch. The catch was that we needed to sell the home that we already had first, to go towards the funding of it. When we completed the sale, construction of the new house started, but the closing date on it was like six months later. So, after we moved out, we were technically homeless until we could move into the new place; we didn’t have a fixed address.
For a couple of months during this period, we stayed at my father in-law’s house. He was cool with it, and I’m sure he liked the company. Nonetheless, that was still the definition of super-imposing. Taking one person in is a big commitment, let alone four. If you look up super-imposing in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of my father in-law standing at a window frowning, as K, J, B and I walked up to his house carrying our suitcases. To be honest, the situation felt like the premise for a bad sitcom. Just watch the hilarity when a grownup daughter moves into her neat-freak dad’s place, with her wild n crazy kids and her smooth, funky fresh, fine, wise-cracking husband who has a heart of gold!
Obviously, we couldn’t stay there for the whole six months. And this put us in a bind. We didn’t have any other family to turn to, so where do you live when you’re only looking for something for a few months? We looked at apartments, but everything required a one year lease. We looked at home rentals, but the only places that we could find were crazy expensive, or crazy sketchy (I checked out one house, and then as I was leaving and going to my car, I walked past a prostitute. Pimpin’ ain’t easy, but that’s not a lesson I want to teach my kids yet). We looked at the YMCA (I heard it’s fun to stay there). We looked at hotels. We looked at running away and joining the circus or becoming carnies. No go to them all.
Finally, K found out that the local college rented out its dorm rooms in the summer, and that they had a long-term resident program. Each room had two bedrooms, a kitchenette and two TVs. Housekeeping, as well. It was near the important shopping areas, and parks, too, for the kiddos. No long term contract, either, just pay by the month. So, yeah, man, that’s right, to avoid living on the streets, the four of us stayed in a dorm room for the summer!
And honestly, it wasn’t so bad. The kids had a blast. They got a kick out of living in a ‘hotel’. They especially loved going to the ‘movie theater’ on our floor and hanging out there. Plus, it wasn’t like the place was crawling with partying, beer ponging, keg-standing students, either. It really was quiet most of the time. Met a ton of nice people, too.
It wasn’t all fun and reliving my younger scholastic days, though. On the real, kids are creatures of their environment. B basically acted like he was on vacation the whole time. Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn, say what! The summer was spent with him seeing how far he could push us, which was way more than usual. I needed to adapt my parenting methods accordingly.
Awww, who am I kidding.
The only adapting I did was, instead of pushing the buttons on the elevator myself, I let the kids do it. Regardless, in such a confined, unusual setting, you do what you can as a parent, in terms of discipline and control, but you can only do so much.
One of the main ongoing problems was (SHOCKER) the bedtime routine. J would need to be put down for bed early, yet she shared a room with B. If we sent B to his room to play, he would inevitably get too loud and wake J. Or he would inevitably get bored of playing and find new ways to amuse himself, which typically involved getting into things, or trying to hang with K and me.
One time, he came running in all excited, just to hold his arm out and tell me how long it was. I mean, it’s not that I don’t care but………wow, I don’t know how to finish that sentence. Oh come on, don’t hate. When your kid does something not very interesting, you nod and mumble ‘good job’, too. Never, ever bash them to their face, but deep down, you wish that they’d stop jumping up and down, or spinning in circles, or clapping their hands, or whatever regular thing they’re doing that they’re making you watch them do. I know I’m not alone on this. Now, if they were spinning circles while jumping and clapping hands, that’s different. Congratulations, too. If you’re looking for a circus for your little acrobat to join, message me, and I’ll refer you to some contacts that I found.
For all I know, one day in the future, B will be holding out his arm to show me his new tattoo, and I’ll miss the days when he was just excited about showing me how long his arm was, and I’ll start singing ‘Cats in The Cradle’ because the full meaning of that song will hit me at that moment, and B will walk away from me shaking his head in confusion and hop on his Harley hovercraft or whatever people will be riding in the future, and float off into the sunset, and…….
Whoa, sorry, back on topic.
B realized early on that we were screwed at how we could control him, while living in rez (yeah, the hip kids call residence rez. Gimme my hip card! ). He had some moments there that were real doozies (no one says doozies anymore? Hey, where are you going with my hip card?).
Take one eventful evening, for example.
Ladies and gentlemen, that night’s Bedtime WTF Awards:
1) Lying in bed flipping through channels, I passed Criminal Minds on a French channel (in Canada, we have some French channels on our TVs):
B – ‘Hey, I like that show! I like that police car!’
Me – ‘You’ve never seen that show. It’s in French, too. You don’t speak French.’
B – ‘Yeah I do (he stands up, starts yelling) BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH!’
Pretty sure that wasn’t French…
2) Nothing on TV, plus B was hanging out in our bedroom. I figured I’d watch a totally kid friendly film….Semi Pro. Wait, it’s not appropriate at all! So that didn’t last long. Before I turned it off, though, B did find his microphone and sang along to ‘Love Me Sexy’ by Will Ferrell. Later, he also jumped on my back and sat on me like a horse a bunch of times:
Me – ‘Why do you keep doing that?’
B – ‘Because I like this movie.’
Next time you’re sitting and enjoying a video with a friend or significant other, randomly start to ride them like they’re Seabiscuit. Why? Because you like the movie.
3) And no he didn’t like it. B got bored, and watched Curious George on the Playbook instead. At some point, he noticed that George had a TV tray, like his, and he went off to find it. He was giving me the play by play while’s looking for it (‘I’m going to look for it!’ ‘I found it!’ ‘I’m going to carry it!’ etc). I kinda tuned him out, because he’s no Al Michaels when it comes to giving the play by play. At some point, I thought he said that he was going to set it up by my feet, at the end of the bed. Anyway, I should have paid more attention. I go to stand up later, and yup, I stepped on the tray, and hurt my foot. Ouch.
4) J woke up screaming, so I went to the kid’s room to calm her down. She was wide awake, not going to sleep anytime soon, so I chilled with her in the bed in their room. B sauntered in eventually:
B – ‘Now, if you need help calming J down, just let me know and say my name! And I will come and help you.’
Huh? Who’s the parent here?! Literally 10 seconds later, J started whining, so I called the dad in training over:
Me – ‘OK, B, can you come help me calm her?’
B (in a serious voice) – ‘No.’
He left and closed the door behind him.
5) It’s flippin’ midnight, and J was still up but fading. B strolled in again:
B – ‘OK, Dad, I’m turning the TV off. It’s past your bedtime.’
Me – ‘Go to bed! It’s past YOUR bedtime!!!’
B ended up sleeping in my bed, with K. I end up in B’s bed, in his room. The joys of parenthood, for real.
6) Instead of waking up to my usual obnoxious alarm (that week: WWE wrestler Fandango’s theme), I woke up to a loud thump and crying at like 5:30 AM. B fell out of our bed. Didn’t hurt himself, don’t worry!
That night’s winner? Esprits Criminels? That show has a new fan, apparently.
That night’s loser? Me.
Anyway, we did move out of rez life before the school year started, and eventually into the house that we currently live in, which ended our homelessness. And B and J have adapted just fine. No more nonsense, for real.
OK, OK, I need to come clean about that, too……another time, though.
Posted by mike On January 11, 2014
For real, I’ve never really been afraid of a lot things. Horses and heights come to mind, but I got over those fears. More recently, though, one thing scared me more than anything else:
Extended time on my own with both kids.
I mean, my kids are my world, I love spending time with them. Don’t get it twisted. Thing is, before having kids, I honestly wouldn’t even hold other people’s babies, because I was worried that I would drop them.
So yeah, the first few months of Brax’s life, with a fresh child and everything being new, I was petrified at being alone with him. What was I supposed to do to entertain him? How do you stop his crying? The little guy was helpless and was totally dependent on me to take care of him. Holy nerve-wracking! It took a while, but it did eventually get to the point where K could go out comfortably and not to worry that she would come home to any serious damage/ injuries. B would be fine, too.
Then, when J was born, those old fear feelings came back. You gotta be on point 100% of the time with kids. You turn your head for one moment, and things could get real ugly, real fast, for real. Kids like to explore and do the most illogical, nonsensical stuff, so you need to watch them like a hawk constantly. While I’m helping one with their jacket, the other one will sprint off towards an open door. I leave the table to get them drinks, I come back, and they’re standing on their chairs leaning far forward, like they’re re-enacting Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal video.
That’s the basis for my fear, I think. They’re little maniacs. I don’t want them to get hurt on my watch, and I worry a lot about the consequences and ramifications if they do.
When it’s just me with the kids nowadays for a few hours, my gameplan involves staying home. Ahhh, home. A nice, safe confined setting. But, occasionally, K is gonzo for an extended period of time. When this happens, more often than not, the kids go stir crazy hanging out in the house all day, and I need to get them out. That involves leaving my comfort zone to go with them…on an outing.
Like I said, I do enjoy doing things with the family. But man, even with two parents, the process of getting ready, packing diaper bags, and even putting on their shoes is an ordeal. Then while we are out and about, it’s always an ordeal, never relaxing. I know, I know, as long as the kids have fun, that’s all that matters!! But eliminate one parent from the equation so the remaining one is outnumbered by the kids? You better batten down the hatches, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Here’s an example. Our daycare provider went on vacation for a week, so K and I and some other family members took turns taking time off from work or whatever to watch B and J. How’d my day go? Well…. First, in the morning, while trying to get ready to leave, B was watching Youtube videos on the Playbook:
B – ‘Go away. I’m busy.’
Me – ‘Busy doing what?’
B – ‘I’m doing my job.’
Me – ‘What’s your job??’
B – ‘Watching this!’
Huh? He’s too young to be smarmy and indignant! I blame that jerk Max, from Max and Ruby for the attitude, by the way. Jeez, my disdain for that show is a post for another day.
Anyway, he did finish his job, and we could go…. But before we left, I went to our room to get my keys, and I heard a high pitched blood curdling scream. Yeah, remember what I said about my fear of them getting hurt? I thought J was injured, so I rushed to see what happened.
Instant worst case scenarios flashed through my head. It was just B, fortunately, who screamed, not J. He saw an ant. Anyway, we did head out after that terrifying incident.
Our trip took us to an indoor play gym (or as my one friend calls them – playgerms). In theory, great idea. Just put the kids down, let them run amok, and I would join the other parents on parent’s row. You know, that area in every play gym where the dads sit around in tweed jackets, smoking pipes and reading the Wall Street Journal with their monocles. Or not. I don’t know what goes on in parent’s row, because I’ve never been there. In actuality, I always end up chasing the kids around, and playing with toys, and trying to make sure that they don’t hurt themselves by falling the wrong way down the climby things. It really is a good workout. Anyway, besides all that, while we were there, J, who had been sorta been walking previously, but just in baby steps (taking a few steps on her own before desperately seeking something to grab onto for balance, that type of deal) saw the other babies there walking by themselves. She succumbed to peer pressure, and spent the rest of the day walking on her own too. Peer pressure, that’s what I’m talking about!
Also these conversations happened:
B – ‘Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news.’
Me – ‘What’s the good news?’
B (takes my hat) – ‘I found your hat!’
Me – ‘Thanks? What’s the bad news?’
B – ‘Woody’s not coming back.’
B – ‘Dad, you’re bad.’
Me – ‘What did I do??’
B – ‘You hit me!’
Me – ‘No I didn’t!’
B – ‘Yeah you did, last week!’
Me – ‘No I didn’t!!’
B – ‘Yeah, you pretend hit me last week!’
Argh! I never touch him, and I don’t know what pretend hitting is. You might have noticed that B has a pretty vivid imagination. Luckily, no one heard this exchange either. What’s up with that? It’s like my kids enjoy making me uncomfortable. I remember one time, B walked out to the porch while we were trying to get ready to leave, and started screaming ‘HELP!’ for no good reason. Whatever. We left the play gym, and it was onto the next one, as Jay-z says.
While driving, we passed a husky looking boy with long hair and man bosoms:
B – ‘Why does that girl have a big tummy?’
Me – ‘Uhh….that’s a boy. Maybe he has a slow metabolism?’
B – ‘I have a big tummy too! I eat a lot!’
We ended up going to an Early Years Centre. These places are sweet. Government run centres where parents/caregivers can go take their kids, and there’s a bunch of activities and programs to take part in. And they’re free. AND it’s crawling with professional, trained, child care people. Even a clueless dummy like can have a sense of calm that the kids will be OK. As a way to get out and kill some time, it’s a nice option. We went there, and the kids were doing their thing. Playing with toys, messing around in the sand station, and so on. It was getting close to closing time, and of course B didn’t want to leave, and was being stubborn about it. Remember what I was saying about them making me uncomfortable? Yeah openly and loudly disobeying me in public definitely qualifies. Don’t you just love when you have to put on a show in front of other people, so you don’t look like a bad parent? And then, when it doesn’t work, you just do whatever you can to curtail the situation instead? No? Maybe that’s just me then?
Actually, knock on wood, I haven’t yet been that person storming out of Walmart holding their screaming kid on their shoulder like a 2×4 piece of lumber (K on the other hand, that’s a different story).
Anyway, to get him to leave, I bribed him with the incentive that we’d go for treats if we left right then. He insisted on ice cream. Insisted. So we went and got some. He of course dozed off in the car after we got it, because that is totally what you do when you’re excited for something, so I had to frantically monitor the melting ice cream situation while driving. I wasn’t very unsuccessful. The steering wheel ended up pretty sticky. We got back to the house, and ate in the backyard, because it was such a nice day. B got it all over his face and hands, and started complaining that he was cold. His teeth started chattering, he started shaking like he’s a Polaroid picture.
He dropped the ice cream, freaked out, cried hysterically. Awesome. Had to go inside, change him, and wrap him in a blanket.
B – ‘Now can I have my ice cream back?’
Sigh. You know, after writing this, maybe I take it back.
Sometimes spending lots of quality time together on my own with my maniacs can be pretty cool. I think what I fear the most now, though….is for my sanity as B and J grow up.
Posted by mike On January 4, 2014
B – ‘Can I wear underwear to bed?’
Me – ‘No. Sometimes you poop in your sleep. You need to wear a pullup.’
B – ‘No! I only poop in my sleep on Mondays, Fridays and Tuesdays!’
Me – ‘What about Saturdays and Sundays?’
B – ‘Yeah!’
Me – ‘And Wednesdays and Thursdays?’
B – ‘Yeah!’
Me – ‘So everyday?’
B – ‘No, I only poop on Mondays, birthday party days and Wednesdays!’
I had that exchange a couple of weeks ago with B. It was kind of cute. But every other time……poop ain’t cute, for real.
It’s a part of life, a normal function of the body, blah, blah blah. It’s still disgusting, yo.
Back in the day, pre-children, whenever I’d hang with people who had babies, they were always considerate enough to change their kids’ diapers away from me. To be honest, if they hadn’t, I probably would have gotten all diva on them. All yelling and shaking my neck and taking off my fake nails if I was wearing fake nails for some weird reason, until they went into another room. Get that filthiness outta here!
And yup, I was one of those people who never changed a diaper in his life. Why would I? They weren’t my kids, and I’m not touching their excrement. I vaguely recall dry heaving at the sight of one diaper bomb years ago. Pretty sure I closed my eyes during pre-natal class when they showed pictures of the meconium bowel movement. We got a Diaper Genie at a baby shower. I had no clue what it was. I do know that if you rub it, a genie doesn’t come out. Stupid misleading product name.
Didn’t take any of the jokes seriously that people kept telling me about changing diapers all the time. Just assumed it wasn’t so bad, and everyone was exaggerating. Since when is everyone in agreement about anything? Basically, before B was born, I was clueless and prissy.
And then B was born.
No joke, I remember the first time that I tried to change B. It was when he was a couple of days old. Still in pure prissymode, a buddy of mine had come to the hospital to visit, so I got him to help me/do all the work. We undressed B, and from his back……..he started to pee. It shot straight through the air like a fountain and landed all over us. And from that golden shower, a realization rained down on me that everyone wasn’t kidding. Diaper changing ain’t no joke with your kids; it’s a fact of life.
Over time, my prissyness waned. Don’t get it twisted. I’m still not going to look back on all the feces years from now in wonder.
I’m not one of those people who brags about their diaper changing skills (I still put them on backwards sometimes. Shut up.) , or tells everyone how much they enjoy changing their kid for whatever reason (I heard bonding time once, as a reason. Can’t I bond in a less smelly way?). It isn’t an enjoyable experience. There’s no way around it. But until the kids are fully potty trained, I’ve been sentenced to diaper duty (duty in diapers?), so what am I going to do? Appeal the sentence? Appeal to who? All I can do is roll up my sleeves and grin and bear it. The alternative is not doing it, and that’s not fair to the kids. Rashes and diseases etc.
And that’s the other thing. Not only are bowel movements important to the kids, they become important to us, the parents too. When they were babies, and on breast milk, their poops were like clockwork, and you’re touching feces 100 times a day. Or it felt like 100 times a day. I don’t know, I wasn’t keeping track. Eventually, the kids got off the boob and got onto actual food. So then it’s not so much about the frequency, but everything else about the poop. The size, the shape, the colour, the texture (rough and nutty? Rich and creamy? Soft and spreadable like Nutella?). I remember changing B one time, and then taking him to K. K asked me what his poop was like. Man, I didn’t know, it was like poop. Yeah, not knowing didn’t go over so well. Remember, it’s important! So the next time I changed him, you best believe that I was in Grissom on CSI-mode, the way I analyzed it. Microscopes, powders, infrared lights, chalk outlines, a fully detailed report. OK, I didn’t go that far, but you get the idea. I had to step my game up after that. I went from not caring about poo, to hardcore caring about it. Because if something was off, it was panic mode time.
The other messed up part is that not only do we spend an inordinate amount of time talking bowel movements, but when we’re with other parents, it’s a topic that typically comes up in conversation, too. Our kids’ bowel movements. What the? Back in the day, I didn’t go out to dinner with my buddies and compare dumps that we took. As a parent, though, anything goes, no topic is too messy. It’s like we’re swapping notes. Notes on toilet paper.
So between constantly talking about, and constantly being elbows deep in it, poop is always on my mind. The S in A.D.I.D.A.S now stands for something else, for real. My prissyness is gone and I’m now basically numb. I’ve had to wipe off and touch poop too many times not to be. So many gross diaper leaks. So many gross diaper leaks.
J’s like a year and half years old and she can sorta say a few words. Guess what words she knows how to say? Poo and pee. She even goes on the potty sometimes. Not all of the time. The other day, she told me that she had to go pee. I took her to the potty, and took her diaper off. I left to get a new diaper, came back, she was gone. Found her in the playroom. There was a massive turd on the floor. Old Mike would have worsened the situation by throwing up all over it. New Mike just picked it up, flushed it down the toilet and wondered if they made pooper scoopers for humans.
Ah shhh….oot. That reminds me. J dropped another turd in a different room today. B did worsen the situation by trying to pick it up, to get rid off it, but he pressed too hard down and smeared it in the carpet. Bless his helpful heart. Need to clean that, so I gotta go. Poop ain’t cute.
Posted by mike On December 27, 2013
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.
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??
– 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.
Meals used to be just about the food. Now, though?
Gotta serve ’em up with a lot of time and a side of patience…
Posted by mike On December 12, 2013
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not an expert on parenting by any means. And as you’ve probably noticed, this isn’t one of those blogs where the writer gives you all kinds of tips, suggestions and examples of how to be a great parent with perfect kids.
With that being said, I do consider myself to be very fortunate. Started from the bottom…..and now we are slightly above the bottom. Hey, I’m not Drake, but life could be a lot worse, for real. Within our modest means, B and J are taken care of. Things like extracurricular activities, going to birthday parties and buying a gift, or even being able to take part in pizza days at school, everything has a price. We don’t take for granted that we are able to afford these things. First world problems, yo. Shoot, I was pretty ghetto as a child; you don’t have to tell me what it’s like to be without! So yeah, K and I do try to instill a sense of gratefulness in the kiddos. All you can do is hope that what you’re putting down sticks, and that they don’t become a couple of spoiled, entitled brats.
Since it is the holiday season, we asked B to pick five toys that he didn’t play with anymore, which he could donate to a local charity (along with some stuff that we were giving away). You know, for some kids who didn’t have many things. Not in a patronizing way or anything like that. It’s just that you’re never too young to learn about lending a helpful hand, right? So we told him to think about it. But you know how children are. Think?! Ain’t nobody got time for that! Better to do it with no thought, while it’s fresh on the brain. He immediately went to work in the playroom, and randomly picked these, no joke:
Uhh….a marker lid?! Don’t want to give up the marker that went with it, eh? It’s kind of a package deal, you can’t have one without the other. But OK. At least you won’t have to worry about the kid’s parents scrubbing blue doodles off the wall, because you kept the marker. Hmm…that actually was kind of considerate, when I look at it that way. However, it’s not really a toy, B. I mean, it might work as a pint glass if the kid is playing Pub Crawl with their action figures. Or maybe as a telescope if their Ken doll wants to stargaze or spy on Barbie or something. But that’s about it. What else do you got?
A…a piece of paper?! What? Are you sure that you don’t want think about these? And not just grab the first thing that you see? Well, I guess this makes sense. Whoever gets the paper can pretend to write on it with the marker that you didn’t give them. This isn’t even a fresh sheet. You drew on the back of it, eh. OK, fair enough, it’s artwork, and it might have some value one day if you’re the next Picasso, baby. However, for the time being, you’re supposed to be hooking up toys, remember? I’m sure that there is probably someone who wants a used piece of paper. The people who we have in mind probably aren’t paper airplane connoisseurs, though, so let’s try something else, alright?
Aww, now this is more like it! An actual…..hey wait a minute. This belongs to your sister! And she still plays with it! You can’t volunteer her toys! Try again!
A plastic tomato slice? Really? Why did they make a toy of this, anyway? I think it came with a BBQ playset, but who wants to pretend to eat a tomato? We should have used this as punishment:
“That’s it! Timeout, B! Get the tomato slice, and play ‘Subway Sandwich Artist tries to make BLTs without the B or L’ now! I know that game sucks huge, but it’s the only way that you’ll learn your lesson!”
Dude, did you ever having fun with this thing? Hey, remember when we told you that we were going to put the Christmas tree up, but we got home late and we couldn’t do it, and you were super disappointed? If you give away this tomato, whoever gets it will have that same disappointed feeling. Now you don’t want to do that to someone, right? Didn’t think so. Keep on picking. Again, you might want to put more thought into what –
Oh, you’re still not thinking hard about these, eh, bud? Still just grabbing at will? Well, at least you’re on the right track now. You’ve played with this garage toy a lot. It’s pretty beat up and broken, though, plus a bunch of parts are missing. The cars are supposed to gradually roll down the ramps, and now they just plunge and crash. It’s a little sadistic, but I guess it will do. Hey I got an idea, since it is a car garage, and you have a lot cars, what if –
Whoa, didn’t see that coming. Aaand we’re back at square one. We’re picking toys, man. This is a bin that you put toys in. If you give this, lil homey/homegirl that receives it is gonna be like ‘where the toys at?’ This is worse than giving someone coal. It’s like you’re on the naughty list, so here’s your empty bin which would have been full of cool stuff if you hadn’t been such a nitwit all year. For maximum effect, you should put a single plastic tomato slice in it. OK, OK, I’ll stop hating. This does have some minor potential as an object of play. James Naismith would have put this on a pole and invented basketball with it. If the kid that gets this bin is into using household objects to invent sports, they’ll be tickled pink. For the nautical fan, I guess this might work as a boat. You should really think about giving up some cars, though. I’m sure someone would love –
Oh, you found a real boat instead. Wait, what happened to this thing? It was pretty dope before. It had flagpoles, and lights, and oars. Now it’s just a raft. Where’d all the cool parts go? Scratch that. I don’t know where they are, but I know where they’ll end up – embedded/impaled in my foot when I step on them somehow. Why does stuff always go missing, anyway? Before you and J, I could keep track of everything. These days, I’m lucky if we all leave the house with matching socks. But back to this boat. It used to be cool, but then it got stripped down, so now it’s not so great. It’s like reverse Pimp My Ride. Xzibit would not be impressed. Whatever. It gets a thumb’s up. I think we’re done for the day.
Good job buddy, and don’t mind me. Always remember – it really is the thought that counts!
Posted by mike On December 6, 2013
One of the funniest things that I’ve seen on Saturday Night Live was the digital short “Lazy Sunday”, by the Lonely Island. Two guys rapping about the boring, kinda wack stuff that they do? Somehow, it’s hilarious, for real! Along those lines, I realize now that kids can also turn the most mundane activities into memorable experiences. It’s cool, though, because that means that things are always interesting, for better or worse.
I remember one Sunday afternoon maybe a year ago. Me and B were chillin’ like villians. Some quality dude time minus the girls. B wanted to play downstairs (his exact words: ‘I want to play cars downstairs. I want you to play cars with me downstairs. C’mon man, I love you!’), so off we went.
After playing for a while, I noticed B was hogging all the fun stuff. I guess that is one way to always be entertained, to horde all the cool toys. That did nothing for my interest level, however. So, I did what any bored parent would do in this situation – I started being a jerk and taking things from him while he was playing with them. B, being an unusually aware toddler, immediately caught on and smelled what I was cookin’:
B(reaches into pile, pulls out a balloon) – ‘You swipe it?’
Me – ‘Yeah!’ (I take the balloon and laugh.)
B – (pulls out a toy guitar) – ‘You swipe it?’
Me – ‘Yeah!’ (I take it and laugh again)
B (pulls out a zoo play thing) – ‘You swipe it?’
More swiping and laughing by me.
B (pulls out a toy baseball bat) – ‘You swipe it?’
Me – ‘Yeah!’
B- ‘No!! I swipe you first!’
He then wound up like Mark McGwire and cracked me in the head with the bat. If it was a ballgame, he would have had a homer, easy. Serves me right, though, for being a jerk.
Stupid Poetic Justice!
Anyway, later, after my head stopped hurting, B suggested that we play hide and seek….except he didn’t actually know how to play it.
Me – ‘OK, turn around, count to ten. I’ll hide and you come find me!’
B (turns around, starts walking over to the couch) – ‘1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10!’ (He stands beside the couch, in the wide open) ‘Come find me!’
I try to explain how it works, then we try again:
Me – ‘OK, I’ll turn around, close my eyes and count to ten. Go hide and I’ll find you!’
I turn around and count. I turn back around, B hasn’t moved, but is smiling huge. He then walks over to the same spot beside the couch that he was at before:
B – ‘Come find me!’
Yeah, this wasn’t going well. So we did some walkthroughs and B sort of gets the hang of it. And then:
Me – ‘OK, I’ll go upstairs, count to ten, and come back down and find you!’
I leave, come back, I hear B giggling behind a curtain. Minus the giggling, not a bad spot, right? I pull the curtain back:
Me – ‘Found you…….wait, where are your pants!?’
B – ‘Hide and Seek!’
He took his pants off and hid them……beside the same spot by the couch that he was at before.
Like I said, it is always….interesting, for better or worse.
Posted by mike On November 28, 2013
Those two words can bring a tear to your eye, for numerous reasons. Maybe it’s a tear of joy, because your team kills it for the week, or because that dude you took a flyer on off of the waiver wire has a career game and amasses a ton of points. Maybe it’s a tear of anguish, because your entire team has an off week and loses, or because that dude you took a flyer on off of the waiver wire gets hurt in the first quarter and costs you a ton of points. Maybe it’s a tear of disgust, because your significant other has no problem describing where they were, with vivid details, when Michael Vick’s 6 total touchdowns in a 2010 Week 10 game carried their fantasy team to victory…..but they forgot your anniversary. Maybe it’s a tear of indifference…well I made that one up, but let’s be real, a lot of people couldn’t give a flying Tampa Bay Buc about fantasy sports.
Nonetheless, a lot of people do care. Borderline religiously in some cases. Now, whether you’re a fantasy junkie, or involved with a fantasy junkie, you know that draft night is THE most important night. Who you draft shapes the entire season. All those hours of research and studying up, probably at the expense of quality family time, finally pay off. Hey you gotta get it right if you want to have a chance at winning! More importantly, if your draft is online, there’s no time for messing around. It’s non stop, so your undivided attention is critical. No distractions, straight up.
However, do you know who doesn’t know these important facts? Kids.
Take my draft night last year, for example. K went out, and left me alone with B and J.
My plan – put the kids down, get some beer and salty non-nutricious snacks, and draft away on the old computer.
B’s plan – to win another Bedtime WTF Award.
The nominees were:
1) Round 1 of the draft. B is crying, so I go up and check on him. He’s whimpering and grunting, holding his booty. Says he pooped and needs a diaper change. OK, whatever. I go to change him:
Me – ‘There’s nothing in your diaper. You….faked it???’
I rushed back to the computer, and notice that it’s my turn to pick, and I have like 1o seconds left to make it. I quickly pick the guy I had ranked the highest (Cam Newton) and didn’t notice that Drew Brees was still on the board. Off to a great start….
2) Round two of the draft, right before my pick, hysterical screaming from B’s room. I run to check on him:
B – ‘There’s a monster over there! He’s riding a boat!!’
I fake toss the monster out of his room. I leave, and get back just in time to again make another sucktacular selection. Regardless, B is cool until….
3) More hysterical screaming one round later. I open his door…no faking it this time. He took a dump. Almost my pick, so I tell him to wait and I’ll be back in a minute to change him. I make my pick, come back, but B isn’t in his room. B is in our room, though, with white flakes around his mouth.
Me – ‘What are you eating?’
B – ‘ I ate the blinds!!’
Me – ‘Why??’
B – ‘Because I’m funny.’ He then starts laughing like Dr. Evil. No really, like Dr. Evil.
4) After changing him, and putting him back down, silence for 3 rounds of the draft….and then crying. His Sleep Sheep music stopped, so I turned it back on. I kiss him, leave, then instant screeching.
Me – ‘What’s wrong now?’
B – ‘I don’t want a kiss!’
Me – ‘Uhhh….too late?’
B – ‘Kiss my back!’
What can I say to that? I kiss his back and leave.
5) Draft has ended. Yup, it was an overall mediocre effort selected by me. Not long after it ends, B is screaming for me to help him, of course. I check on him, and find out that his music stopped yet again. I turn it back on.
B – ‘This is my last chance!’
Me – ‘Last chance for what?’
B- ‘Last chance for music!’
I, as usual, have no clue what that means. ‘Last Chance For Music’ would make a great title for Britney Spears’ next album, though. What? It would, don’t hate.
That night’s winner – Definitely the other guys in my fantasy league. Playing my team that season was usually an easy win.
That night’s loser – me
Posted by mike On November 20, 2013
One skill that I get to work on a lot at home is negotiation. Nothing is easy with the kids, that goes without saying. However, B is in this phase where he’s always looking to cut deals, on basically everything. Eating meals, bedtime, getting ready, cleaning up etc… all this stuff is done once a mutually beneficial agreement has been arranged. Do you know hard that is to live with? To constantly be negotiating? Next time that there’s a hostage that needs to be taken down, gimme a call, I’ll send B over to take care of the situation.
Want an example? Alrighty yo. This conversation happened a few months ago:
Me – ‘OK, you can take three cars to bed tonight.’
B – ‘But I want to take lots of cars!’
Me – ‘No, just three tonight.’
B – ‘I want a few cars!’
Me – ‘How many is a few?’
B – ‘It’s lots.’
Me – ‘No, just three!’
B (picks up a car) – ‘I want this one, (picks up another) , this one (this goes on like twelve more times until he’s pulled out all of his Hot Wheels)
Me – ‘You’re not taking all of those, just three!’
B grabs as many cars as he can hold, and cradles them against his chest. And then:
B (picks up a car, adds it to his armful of cars) – ‘One. (picks up another, adds it). Two (and another). Three.’
Me – ‘Nice try! Just three. Here, I’ll pick them for you.’
I grab three cars.
B grabs two more – ‘And this one and this one?’
Me -‘That’s more than three.’
B – ‘But I want Stitch!’
B saw Lilo and Stitch a while ago, and he called one his cars Stitch. Why? I don’t know. I take a car away, and add Stitch.
B – ‘And Lilo!’
Me – ‘Who’s Lilo?’ I really didn’t know, I only know Stitch.
B (picks up an orange Chevy, adds it to the other three) – ‘This one.”
Me – ‘Is that Lilo?’
B – ‘No (picks up another car, adds it to the four). This is.’
Me – ‘That’s more than three! You can only take three!’
Anyway, eventually B did settle on three cars to take to bed. And that’s that, right? Wrong.
Half hour later, K went to check on him. I stupidly left the rest of the cars in the hall, and B sneakily went and got them. So, of course, K caught him playing with all his cars in his room. Naked, for no apparent reason too. I got him dressed, and had to lay the heavy on him:
Me – ‘So now we’re going to have to take all your cars away. Instead of three cars, you were sneaky, and now you don’t get any.’
And that’s that, right? Wrong.
B – ‘Can I play with my firetruck?’
Because, there’s always room for negotiation!
Posted by mike On November 14, 2013
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:
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,
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.
Now 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.
Posted by mike On November 9, 2013
One night, I was listening to Samuel L Jackson reading Go The F**k to Sleep, with K. Great story, highly recommended. B must have been listening secretly and taking notes. That night’s Bedtime WTF Award nominees:
1) I put J on the floor in B’s room, and attempt to change B into his PJs. When I have him down to his diaper, he jumps up and starts doing laps around J.
Me – ‘Chill out! You need to calm down, it’s bedtime!’
B – ‘It’s not bedtime. It’s wake up and play cars time!’
I get him changed and settled. But then he gets on the floor and starts playing with a school bus:
Me – ‘OK, time to get into bed.’
B – ‘But the bus is just going to Ontario.’
Huh? While I’m looking at him confused, he gets up, pats J on the head, calls her a ‘handsome girl’, and gets into bed…..
2) but before I can leave, he hops out and starts screeching. Like loud, obnoxious, high pitched screeching:
Me – ‘Stop that!!’
B – ‘Does it hurt your ears?’
Me – ‘Yes!!’ He picks up a toy ladder and starts banging his bed with it.
B – ‘Does that hurt your ears?’
Me – ‘No.’
B – ‘So I can keep doing it?’
Me – ‘What? No! It’s time to go to bed!’
3) J is crying now, so we leave and close his door. B starts screaming frantically that he has to go potty. He never wants to use the potty, but what am I going to say? I let him out, and off he goes. I go back to J. B is quiet for a few minutes. I start to change her into her PJs, then all of the sudden:
B – ‘Daddy! I’m pooping!’
I turn around, and B is walking towards me, bow legged, like he just got off a horse, with his diaper in his hand! I run to him:
Me – ‘No, you have to go in the potty!’
I get to him, and look down his pants expecting the worst……but nothing. Phew! Glad I avoided that mess.
B – ‘I pooped in the potty! I get a treat!’
Well this just keeps getting better, right? No mess, and he went in toilet? Sweet! So I go to his potty to check…..and nothing. Well, nothing but a roll of toilet paper which he unrolled and jammed in it!
4) B refuses to go to bed, and STILL says that he needs to use the potty. OK, whatever. J is still screaming, and half in her PJs, so I leave him again. And again, more silence for a few minutes. I get J changed and settled, and go check on him. B is sitting on his potty, grinning, with his pants and the potty toilet seat on his head. It looked like a ghetto tophat. Or like something a princess would wear to a wedding.
5) I get B dressed, and he goes back to his room. He starts whining for his toy police car that he likes to takes to bed, and tells me that it’s downstairs. I go downstairs, he follows. I look around, no luck. Then B tells me it’s in our bed. Upstairs we go. I look around our room, nothing. B starts crying. I walk by the bathroom, and notice the shower curtain is pulled back. The police car is in the tub.
B -‘Why’s my police car taking a bath?’
He goes back to his room. I leave, he’s cool for a while. Then he starts screaming for me, so I check on him again:
Me – ‘What’s wrong?’
B (looks at my feet) – ‘Where are your socks?’
Me – ‘I took them off, my feet were hot.’
B – ‘I need socks. My feet are hot.’
Me – ‘No you don’t, and no they aren’t.’
B – ‘Is a spider wearing my socks?’
And I, as usual, have no idea what that means.
Tonight’s winner – we’re going to need more toilet paper, so maybe Shopper’s Drug Mart?
Tonight’s loser – Me