Month: December 2013

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…

 

 

It’s The Thought That Counts

 

boxgift

 

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:

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 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?

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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?

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 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!

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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 –

IMG_20131207_174447_400

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 –

 

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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 –

 

IMG_20131207_174504_398

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Lazy Sunday

 

SNL_Digital_Shorts-title

 

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.

Usually 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.

Mark_mcgwire

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Usually worse.

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