Friday, December 28, 2012


VV dressed little Link in all black this morning and I was thinking he kind of looked like a tiny ninja. Later I realized it was not so off base as I was reminded Link is proficient in an ancient technique which is silent yet powerful enough to peel paint from the walls or render one father blind from squinting. The little ninja had been mellow all morning and I was stoked that while cleaning up after his latest environmental disaster he was not attempting his usual solo double-speed Riverdance performance on the changing station for the first time in months. I picked him up, "All clean, look at this smiley little guy!" Of course, he promptly spit up all down the front of my shirt and the floor. Ninja I tell you. Kept his cheesy grin on the whole time too.

From behind me, J Bean (aka Captain Obvious) shouts, "Hey Dad, Link just spit up!"


Monday, December 24, 2012

Stuff My Mom Says

Received in a voicemail: I don't know what I did, but I lost your number. Call me.

Stuff My Mom Says...

Mom: Someone told me about that earlier today, I can't remember who.
Me: Did you talk to Mary today? Was she the one who told you?
Mom: I'm not sure.
Me: Well, who else did you talk to today?
Mom: No one.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pepper Protein

Thanks to VV, J Bean is an informed foodie always questioning the vitamin, mineral, protein and sugar content of her snacks. With that said, she lacks the impulse control to use that information wisely (she gets this from me I'm pretty sure). In other words, she will gladly inform you of the dangers of too much sugar before devouring an entire bag of Halloween candy.

While preparing lunch for J Bean today, she inquired as to whether or not the small sweet peppers on her plate have protein. "I'm not sure, let me look it up", I replied. I spoke into my smart phone, "Do peppers have protein question mark?" As I looked at the results on the screen J Bean said, "Daddy, why won't Question Mark answer you?" Trying to explain this concept to my daughter who knows little of sentence structure or technology was an exercise in patience and communication. I think she is still convinced Question Mark is some jerk you call on the phone for answers who might give you an answer if he feels like it.

Oh, and by the way, sweet peppers do have some protein as J Bean suspected.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Momma Said Knock You Out

Just lost a fight with Mike Tyson. By a fight I mean a trip to Target and by Mike Tyson I mean a toddler and a preschooler. No one bit my ear off, but I wanted to eat my children and be done with it by the time it was over. The youngest was spitting up like old faithful at regular intervals and the elder was picking at my tattered spirit with constant whining and peppering me with questions that can either not be answered by anyone or that she already knows the answers to. To top it off, I got a call with some results from recent blood work and the Doc says I have a vitamin D deficiency. WTF? So now I'm going to get Rickets or something, perfect. I hope vodka has plenty of vitamin D. If not, I'll just drink some and pass out in the sun for a while as the UV rays are supposed to help. Oh wait, there won't be any sun in Chicago for the next 4 months or so.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Butt Paste Post-Haste.

My little guy is 9 months old now and has been suffering from a stomach virus which led to a diaper rash. Somehow we ended up with only one tube of Butt Paste for the house, so we've been trying to remember to bring it with us when we move from one part of the house to another. This morning as I was gathering the accoutrements and baby to head upstairs, I remembered the Butt Paste so I tucked the tube into my back pocket. Twenty minutes later after feeding the little man and waking J Bean I felt an uncomfortable lump between me and the couch. I reached back to find the offending toy but instead pulled back a glob of Butt Paste from the exploded tube in my back pocket. For those unaware of the makeup of Boudreaux's Butt Paste "Maximum Strength" it says on the bottle it contains 40% zinc oxide (yeah, that's the same stuff lifeguards put on their noses to keep them protected from sunburn after repeated dips in the ocean... in other words, it is designed not to come off). I headed to the bathroom and tried warm water and soap which resulted in a white mixture on my hands up to my elbows with the same properties as acrylic glossy white paint. The kids saw their opportunity and proceeded to exploit the weakness by crying and whining about various issues. Finally got most of the gunk off with a towel and a lot more hand-washing though I think I will smell like this stuff for a few days. Oh, and the couch... ruined. Good times.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Beard Heaven

Shared this on Facebook the other day, meant to include it here as well. Seems like something Andrew Sullivan won't want to miss as it includes so many of his favorite things. Beards, Bibles, and History.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Guys with Kids

Decided to watch the pilot episode of Guys with Kids hoping for the best but preparing for disappointment. I would not have been surprised to see a story line of three fathers pigeonholed into caring for their own kids due to having lost their wives in freak accidents involving a defective coffee grinder or because she is on a top secret spy mission in North Korea and other fantastical reasons to rationalize why and how a man could get "stuck" caring for his own children. I was pleased to learn one of the characters seems to be an at home Dad by choice and another is a divorced Dad sharing custody, the third guy is a working Dad with a stay home wife but takes an active role in caring for the kids as well.

There was plenty wrong with the show, including the opening scene having all three father's belly up to a bar with their children in Baby Bjorn's as they watched a game and enjoyed frosty draft beers (not that I've never had a beer with baby... just saying that's not really representative of an at home Dad's day). With that said, I have to admit the show was entertaining in a Friends or Will & Grace way and I have high hopes that Jimmy Fallon can turn the show into a comedic riot.

I'm sure every group of people cringes when they see the the first prime-time sitcom meant to portray them in a 22 minute time slot between ads for cereal, dish soap and erectile dysfunction treatments so I think its important to keep the problems in perspective. Stay home Dads can handle a few stereotypes. After looking back at the treatment of African Americans or women early sitcoms, we have it easy our stereotypes are much less damaging. We're not a marginalized group in any real sense of the word and I hope we can take in stride the fact society's view of our lives and motivations are often off base. We should correct where we can while not losing sight of the fact even having male caretakers on television in more than a one-off situation is a step in the right direction, it helps to normalize the family arrangements with men as the primary caretakers. Besides, laughter trumps all and this show has the potential to be funny in a way that Up All Night never quite seemed able to and without the overly insulting stereotypes of Mr. Mom or Three Men and a Baby.

OK, so I don't recall the last time I played Wii with my friends while caring for a half dozen kids as the Dads did in the pilot episode and it is troubling to see the divorced Dad kowtowing to his ex-wife for most of the episode regarding everything baby related and unrealistic how they seem to work that out at the drop of the hat, but it is a sitcom not a documentary right? I don't mean to over analyze especially given in the same scene Kareem Abdul-Jabbar "dunked" a baby. I laughed out loud to hear the divorced Mom question her husband's choice of paint and whether or not it was lead free, he sarcastically claims he bought "all lead paint" and his fellow Dad and friend indicates she should see "the abandoned well they dug in the bathroom".

I'll watch again and give it a chance, maybe they'll tear down a few stereotypes on the way and I'm sure I'll get a laugh out of it. If that's not enough, did I mention Jamie Lynn-Sigler co-stars?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Gonna have a good day... Ain't nobody gotta cry today.

For those of you without infants and preschoolers in the house, allow me to paint the picture of what constitutes a great morning for those of us saddled blessed with the wee ones... This morning I shaved. Yes, I shaved today! I liken the experience of shaving for a stay home parent to "working folk" having a nice trip to the barbershop or salon and I try to do it just as often. After that refreshment I had time to make a cup of coffee. Now at this point I already know it is going to be one fantastic morning. Shaved and hot coffee, all within an hour of waking up?! Unheard of.

 After the shave I had to take a little break for an aerobic workout (when I say aerobic workout, I mean running around the house getting laundry started, cleaning a few things, taking out the garbage, sterilizing some bottles, changing a diaper diapers, rocking and humming going up and down the stairs a half dozen times with various objects in hand including dirty laundry and a cute lil fella I call my son). With the workout done, my son was sleeping and I turned on my secret weapon, Dora, for J Bean. Bam! Guaranteed 22 minutes of peace. I decided to pamper myself with a trip to the bathroom... Alone. That's right, me and the walls and the porcelain throne all to myself. Jealous yet? Peaked out to the living room just in time to see Swiper, the sly fox, foiled in his attempts to steal some bauble from Dora and her pesky monkey friend. That's good news, time for a shower and I took a long one. I imagine the whole experience is akin to a bachelor or bachelorette spending a day at the spa. Yes, I've been to a spa before and yes I stand by the assessment. It was paradise I tell you, I feel like a new person!

 With all that under my belt, I still had time to finish my coffee and write this post (full disclosure, I almost completed the post before lil man woke up anyway and he was in a good mood so I was able to finish it before feeding him again). It's going to be a great day and after that mini-vacation I am looking forward to it. Hope you all have a wonderful day as well, don't forget to spoil yourself with 15 minutes catching up reading, a quiet cup of coffee or a solo bathroom break today if you can swing it. It helps you stay balanced, well, as close to balanced as a parent has any right being anyway.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Daddy's Got A Gun?

I've been seeing this gem floating around with much praise from supportive parents. Personally, I'm appalled at the number of people who seem to think this is an example of good parenting:

In the video a father smokes a cigarette and gets real serious with his daughter via a monologue to his camera and then wraps things up by emptying the clip of his 45 semi-automatic into the the laptop. He lambastes the 15 year old in his video which he posts on to her account because she complained about her chores and used some curse words to describe her parents' "mistreatment" of her. He opens by saying "This is for my daughter, Hannah, and more importantly for her friends...." Really? The most important recipient of this message is your daughter's friends who thought the post was "cute"?

Basically he hacked her account or gained access to her private writings with his prowess as an IT professional. The moaning about her parents was obviously not meant for him to see... she was talking among her friends in a restricted audience list. You know, kind of like we all used to do at school or while hanging out with our friends away from the prying ears of adults. Can any of us honestly say we never said something about our parents that was disrespectful and probably a twist (at best) of the true situation? It's called teen rebellion... and it happened 20 years ago and I'm sure it happened 50 years ago, the only difference is the delivery and the way kids communicate now. I'm not saying the behavior is acceptable or shouldn't be addressed, but there is a right way and a wrong way to handle it and this guy illustrates the wrong way.

With that said, if my parents had caught me talking trash about them by hiding in the bushes to spy on my conversation they probably would have embarrassed me in front of the group I was talking to. Perhaps they would have grounded me or taken my birthday away... who knows? I do know what they wouldn't have done though, they would not have reacted like a juvenile delinquent with dreams of being the next Jesse James bad ass of the local parent clique. Parenting is not about what other kids think of you, its not about what other parents think of you, its about what kind of model for an adult you present for your children. If you think teaching your child that being vindictive, thin skinned and a "macho man" who shoots things when they make him angry is the way to go then you are not doing them any favors.

Is the daughter in the wrong with her actions? Yes, of course... as are many, many teenagers with bad attitudes and a skewed view of reality when it comes to their parents (I know I was, what about you?). I wouldn't be happy about it myself. If I stumbled across a similar nasty-gram from my daughter I would let her know I saw it and that it was hurtful and wrong. I'd discipline her in private just as I praise her in public. She might even lose that laptop under the right circumstance and depending on her reaction to the discipline, but I would set aside the computer for later or sell it to provide for my family... if we have enough then I'd consider donating it to a needy family. Maybe this guy could have used his IT superpowers to keep her from visiting the internet, or certain sites or to let her know she is being monitored on it then she could still use it as a tool for school. I have no need to show what a big bad man I am by shooting something and publicly humiliating my daughter for disliking something about the way we parent. Judging by this guy's over-reaction, demeanor and general ignorance I'm not surprised he doesn't have a kid who thinks highly of him and I see no reason why he should expect his actions here will change that for the better. Don't emulate this parenting style, be an adult and teach your child about consequences that don't involve exploding .45 rounds.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pirate Princess?

My daughter had to visit the Ophthalmologist today for a check up and we were told she has to do some patch therapy on one eye to help strengthen the other. No problem, we've done it before and she is such a strong, adaptable and resilient little person that I have no doubt this will go as well as it has before and I'm thankful the problem doesn't require anything any more invasive at this point.

With that said, I get very annoyed when the med tech (a 20 something woman) comes back with eye patches for J. Bean to choose from and the 3 options presented are pink, hot pink and pink... all with princess, ballet slippers and the like on them. Had I thought about it, I would have requested a hand in picking her choices ahead of time, but once J. Bean saw them I felt I needed to let her pick what she wanted and that is better that I don't make a bid deal about it (though I am confident she would have likely chosen a red, green or even a pirate crossbones or something if given the choice). I feel this goes against the very message I am trying to present to her when I take her to a strong, intelligent, physician who just happens to be a woman. Maybe I should have suggested we go back to the source for more options... hindsight, as they say. It's only temporary and I don't want to over think it, it's just disappointing to find this being pushed by women in a female practitioner's office.

I am not "anti-princess" in the extreme, I just like to present valid choices that are not limiting. If J. Bean wants to wear a dress and be a fairy princess on occasion... fine, I have no issue with that as long as she was also given neutral and even (gasp!) "boy" options to choose from. When she does choose a pink princess thing, I just make sure I don't over compliment her on it or make a big deal about how "cute" she is... the danger it seems to me is letting your daughter think that these things are what her father (as the model of future men in her life) finds desirable or of extra importance. I know my daughter could grow up to be, or at least pass through, a very "girly" stage and I have no problem with her being a beautiful confident person in whatever form she chooses, I just don't want her to think that any particular ideal is what I expect from her. With a son on the way, I want to challenge myself to the same philosophy for him and in some ways I think it may be harder, but it will be as important for my daughter as it is to him that I practice what I preach when it comes to allowing these little people to dress and act in ways that do not conform to patriarchal gender roles.

A message to my children: "Be who you are... that is more than enough for me."

This child has the right idea: