Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Basic Instincts

Hello there,

I'm sorry if I've caused any undue anxiety because of the delay in getting today's post up. (Though it's nice to know that you checked in anyway.)

Unfortunately, my tardiness is NOT due to the arrival of Bab-E Brother, who remains securely in the womb, ignoring the eviction notice and Dad-E's plea for a tax deduction (which evaporates in less than 48 hours).

No, it's been a hard week at work and an even harder week at night. Last night it was a battle between sleep and the blog, and sleep won (thankfully). As we continue to battle Little Brother over staying all night in his toddler bed, those 3 am awakenings/rockings got the best of me.

Apparently, Little Brother is giving us a foreshadowing of days ahead.

After all it's a basic instinct/mantra of new parents to "sleep when you can."

I've said this before, but I find it interesting how (at least) some aspects of our childrens' personalities seem to be hard-wired. They really do "come out of the box that way". A child's actions and interactions in the early moments of life can tell you a lot about that personality. Basic instincts, of sorts.

Big Brother was very quiet immediately after he was born. He just looked around and seemed to take everything in. At age 1 or 2 weeks, he liked us to carry him around the house, pausing to look at picutres and various other objects in the room.

Today, he's still on the quiet and calculating side. He's extremely curious and asks detailed questions. In new situations, he starts out acting very shyly, but as he becomes confortable, his vibrant personality shines through, which leads him to be surrounded by friends. He is a technophile: puzzles, trains, cars, legos, computers, and playing with his Mom-E's iTouch. When we go outside, he has to play with his bike, Little Brother's bike, and their foor-powered car. He has some interest in soccer, baseball, and running, but he's definitely more passionate about the technology.

Little Brother, on the other hand, screamed a lot when he was born. He was very "vocal." When we first brought him home, Mom-E and I joked that he fed for 30 minutes every half-hour. I have amnesia for the first week of his life; probably because we were horribly sleep deprived.

Today, he continues to be very vocal, repeating EVERYTHING EVERYBODY in the family says, though with good understanding. He doesn't like to sleep much, especially in his toddler bed. :( However, he's such a sweet, happy guy, it's hard to get frustrated with him for long. Whenever I'm home, he pretty much throws a tantrum if I don't carry him around. In contrast to Big Brother, who goes straight for the bikes, Little Brother is a budding ball player--golf, basket, foot, whatever.

(Although lately he does sleep with a plastic screwdriver under his pillow. Don't ask.)

It'll be exciting to see what Bab-E Brother is like in those first moments of life, and if that is reflected in his personality.

Of course, he's got to come out of the box first. Hint hint. C'mon dude, we're waiting.

See you in 2010!
Busy-Dad-E

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Unwrapped

Ugh, it's Monday, and that means I'm back to work after 9 days of vacation. It would be nice to stay on vacation and just receive a complementary paycheck, but no such luck.

I sincerely hope that you had a wonderful Christmas.

Here at Busy-Dad-E, we had a very nice holiday in the comforts of home, with visits from friends and family alike, thanks to Mom-E's travel restrictions.

As I reflect on the past 9 days, I've compiled the following list (in no particular order) of remembrances and observations about this Christmas-time.

1. It's never too early (or too late) for HOT CHOCOLATE.

2. Diego = CRACK for 2 year-olds.

3. My favorite new way to ask for dessert, thanks to Little Brother, "I want CHOCK-IT in my mouth!"

4. Almost-5 year-olds have enough experience with Santa to know they'll probably get the item atop their Christmas list. Each time he opened a present, Big Brother asked, "Is this my Batmobile?" And every hour, on the hour, over the entire weekend, he asked, "What did Santa get me this Batmobile for?" Hmm, I wonder...

5. A TENT is absolutely the best gift for creative, imaginative play for boys under age 5, except when they want to park it in the middle of the kitchen while Mom-E and Dad-E are cooking.

6. Children who are obsessive about their jammies will eventually figure out that when Mom-E and Dad-E are tired enought, they can successfully demand to wear "regular clothes" OVER their jammies.

7. For children under 3, obey the 3-foot rule when it comes to Christmas trees: Only put those ornaments which you wouldn't mind being pulled off (and broken) 3 feet off the ground and below.

8. Boys will wear sweater vests to church in exchange for Scooby-Doo fruit snacks.

9. Coming home from church on Christmas Eve with one child with a bloodied lip and forehead bruise, and another child who dropped 2 Legos in the potty constitutes a "success." And Legos are magnetically attracted to toilet bowls.

10. Everything in moderation sometimes includes children. I must admit that the hour of peace and quiet I earned by going to the grocery store on DAY 8 of my vacation was a nice present.

11. On Christmas morning, it never fails that 1 child will want to play with new toys outside, while the other insists on staying inside to play. (See #6 above to make the "inside-child" willing to play outside.)

12. A Dustbuster is an acceptable gift for a full-term pregnant lady, so long as she's lying on the couch eating chocolate while you're using it.

13. If your children watched it for the first time over the vacation, forever and ever "The Wizard of Oz" will be a Christmas movie.

14. The best way to make a child lose interest in a toy they already have is to buy the same thing for their sibling.

15. Remote-controlled Thomas the Trains should be required by law to state on the package in BIG, BOLD, CAPITAL LETTERS that they require 6 SIX! AAA batteries to operate.

16. Be sure to ask Pa-pa just how big the toy garbage truck is before giving the "ok" to order/ship, only to find out that it's 12"x14"x24".

17. Children are very attuned to other kids making a "mess" in their rooms, but oblivious when they themselves are the perpetrators.

18. Some children will attempt to strip in church if they think that they'll get to wear their Pupp-E Jammies.

19. Even a 2 year-old knows that you need to dip your "scotti" in milk (Thanks to Kid-neE for the gift of home-made biscotti!)

20. If Bab-E's only knew that their Mom-E's would give them ANYTHING they want FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES if they would only allow themselves to be born about 2 weeks early, everyone would deliver at 38 weeks without an eviction notice.

And lastly, the best part of being a Dad-E at Christmas is the expression on your children's faces when they wake up to see that Santa has arrived (and taking Little Brother to his first movie at a theater.) I didn't need any other presents.

Have a good week as we close out 2009,
Cheers,
Busy-Dad-E

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone, from the Busy-Dad-E family to yours!



Happy Fatherhood Friday, too!



If you need something to read today, we're still waiting for Bab-E Brother's response to his eviction notice. Otherwise, go enjoy the day!

Have a great weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Eviction Notice

Dear Bab-E Brother,

This letter serves as your official notice of eviction from your residence at:

3 Birth Canal Court
Mom-E's Uterus, Her Body 00001

You are currently in violation of the Human Conception Residence Act, which you signed (okay we signed by proxy for you) at creation.

For approximately the past 9 months, you have resided at the above address without rendering so much as a single penny of payment, nor have you even made so much as an attempt to secure employment in order to pay rent.

You have therefore forfeitted your non-refundable deposit, according to the terms of the above act.

Meanwhile, your "partying" has cost your lanlord $1000's in medical expenses.

Your landlord has provided us with photographic evidence of the following violations of your lease agreement:
1. Exhibitionism.
2. Construction of an indoor swimming pool without proper permit.
3. Public intoxication (why else would anyone drink their own pee?)

Additionally, your landlord has provided documentation of the following collateral damages
1. Her pants keep falling down.
2. Her shirts keep riding up.
3. Simple battery (multiple, multiple counts).
4. A general lack of appropriately fitting clothes.
5. Alternating ear congestion and acid reflux with sitting/standing and lying down, respectively, such that no position is comfortable.
6. Fatigue within 30 minutes of awakening.
7. Chronic eczema.

If you do not comply with this notice and evacuate your current residence by December 31st of this year (so that your landlord may recoup at least some of their losses via tax deduction), your landlord reserves the right to attempt to remove you through spicy food, bumpy car rides, draining your swimming pool with a crochet hook or any other means necessary.

If you do not cease and desist despite these attempts by your landlord, they reserve the right to have the neighborhood physician smoke you out involuntarily.

Sincerely,
The Management (Mom-E and Dad-E)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mr. Sensitivity

I hope that everyone got through the weekend without needing to use any raisins as a nasal decongestant.

Over here, we're enjoying the whole family being on Christmas vacation (except that Mom-E has to work one half-day this week).

Uh, Mom-E, I think it's time for you to come down with one of those *ahem, ahem* 24-viruses. I'm sure you're boss wouldn't want you to *aheam, ahem* work while you're sick.

(Or you can pull Rachel's "Did you just offer to buy my baby" bit in exchange for some early vacation).

I started my vacation by organizing an impromptu "dress-rehearsal" of Christmas Day. You know, where Little Brother gets up at 5:45 and has interest in going back to bed.

Fortunately, Big Brother was sensitive enough to "sleep-in" until 6:45 before deciding that he was up for the day.

But that's just Big Brother's nature.

Seriously, when he's not giving Little Brother a royal smackdown, Big Brother is a really sensitive guy.

In particular, Mom-E and I have been struck by his curiosity and empathy towards people with developmental disabilities.

A few weeks ago, we were watching a news clip about a teenager with a very rare chromosomal disorder that caused remarkably accelerated growth. The boy had a tremendous amount of physical problems due to his extreme growth, but was able to play football despite his limitations.

Man, did we have to watch that clip a few (hundred) times.

Recently, there was a story in the local news about a boy with severe impairments since birth.

I hadn't even said anything about the story in the paper. Big Brother just saw the picture and said, "what's the matter with him?" It's interesting that he was able to tell from just the picture that there was something "different."

And his questions, oh the detailed questions. "Why can't he walk? Why can't he talk? Does he go to school? Does he have friends? Is he a nice guy? What does he like to do? What happened to him? I can walk and talk."

And none of our discussion is filled with anything negative or judgmental. Rather, it's filled with genuine concern and compassion, that someone else can't do some of the things he can.

I've said it before, but children are definitely inherently without prejudice, which is "taught."

Thank you, Big Brother, for your genuine sensitivity towards others. May you continue to cultivate this quality throughout your life.

Have a Merry Christmas week,
Busy-Dad-E

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I Call Myself Busy-Dad-E



Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone!

As we approach Christmas, I advise you to:
1. DO enjoy time with family.
2. DO check out the great bloggers over at dad-blogs.com.
3. DON'T shove raisins up your nose!

But first:

You may wonder why I use the blogger name Busy-Dad-E (though in almost a year, no one's been so bold to ask.)

If you've read enough of the blog, the "Busy" part is pretty obvious--life with (soon to be) 3 boys is a 3-ring circus of joyful chaos and drama (and the occasional head CT).

In fact, any parent, mom or dad, deserves the title of "Busy" in front of their name.

Big Brother deserves the credit for the Dad-E part. When he was about as old as Little Brother is now, when he called me "Daddy" to get my attention or request help with something, it never came out as a one syllable word.

Instead, it always came out as 2 very distinct syllables with a brief pause between them: DAD...EEE!

Kimono. Robe. There you go. (Sorry if you were expecting something more exciting, but I always thought it was pretty cute.)

*****
And so, we resume the never-ending drama that is our lives.

Yesterday, Mom-E came home from taking Big Brother to school and running errands to find a realtor's business card on the counter.

Before you start clapping for joy about our FIRST SHOWING in 2.5 months, let me just say that, "THEY DIDN'T HAVE AN APPOINTMENT."

That's right, no appointment (our house is shown by appointment only, as are most these days), but they came in anyway.

"Holy breaking and entering Batman."

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me show you what's behind Door #3.

After coming in to our house without an appointment, you'll be greeted by a small but pesky Pupp-E who will bark and jump, breakfast dishes in the sink, blinds closed, and toys out & about.

Hmm, maybe there's a reason why our house is shown by appointment only these days. Could it have been that it was the middle of the morning with a woman who is pretty much full-term in her pregnancy had been running throughout the house chasing 2 kids under age 5, and a dog?

Of course, the realtor will be reprimanded for her actions.

Mom-E and I figured that the dog+clutter would be lethal. I wish I could say that in the end they made an offer, but as with our previous repeat visitor they (somehow) loved the house but didn't like the lot. :(

*****
Of course, in the midst of all this, I found out that my boss, who is abroad, hadn't completed an important "technical" recommendation letter for me that's due at the end of the day today. And yours truly was "blessed" with the opportunity to write this letter (with Boss-E's approval.)

And of course, Murphy's law would dictate that if we didn't clean the house last night, yesterday's guests or someone new would want to see it today.

So after the boys went down last night, we cleaned until almost 1am.

I set out at work this morning to write the letter, and got a little done despite about 3 distractions. I was just getting ready to really hammer the letter out when...

Mom-E called from the OB's office (no NOT in labor).

Little Brother had in all likelihood managed to shove a raisin up his nose. He was irritable but doing okay.

As 2 year olds are pretty unreliable informants, he oscillated between saying "yes" and "no" to a plethora of questions about what did and didn't go in his nose. And unfortunately, he really hasn't figured out how to blow his nose.

So I rushed over to the OB's office. Amazingly, Mom-E's OB had a scope to look at his nose (like the ones pediatricians use to look at ears)--for what I'm not sure.

Two people held Little Brother down in man-made 4 point restraints, and the doctor looked into his nose with the scope.

Apparently you couldn't see whether or not there was a sun-dried grape up there or just boogers.

Fortunately, Little Brother screamed so violently that he finally snorted, and A RAISIN CAME FLYING OUT. (Okay, it didn't fly, it just came out on his cheek. But all of his snot had plumped it up.)

With Mom-E's visit done and a a trip to the pediatrician's/ER avoided, I saw them off and headed back to work.

In 90 minutes I binged out the letter, got it sent to the right person, and still had time to write this blog entry prior to the next appointment on my calendar.
All we need now is for me to fly off into the sunset with Mom-E and the boys and we've got a regular Hollywood feature.

Shame on me for EVER thinking that I might run out of blog material.

Have a good weekend,
And now you know why they call me Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wheel of Jammies

Welcome to the continuation of "Jammy Week" here at Busy-Dad-E.

We started a week ago detailing my boys' genetic infatuation with jammies.

Next, on Fatherhood Friday, we reviewed Big Brother's school play, and wished that we were home in jammies instead (okay, but only throughout the entire play for a fleeting moment.)

This week, we celebrated Little Brother's transition to a big boy bed, which, of course, requires you to wear jammies.

As an aside, this is going REALLY well. 3 nights in a row of successful sleep in toddler bed, and the last 2 we've gotten the boys to fall asleep in under an 30 minutes (take THAT Dominoes!)

And now today we attempt to "tickle the dragon's tail", by describing Little Brother's new favorite game:

WHEEL...OF...JAMMIES

Little Brother's obsession with jammies is on steroids has reached new heights.

I've never seen a child so fickle about which jammies he wears...

Well, maybe I have...

No, I haven't...

But there was that one time...

Anyway, speaking of genetic influences, I wouldn't know anyone who used to wear like 3 different outfits a day *cough, cough*.

The objective of "Wheel of Jammies" is straightforward: wear as many different pairs of jammies as you can in one night without requiring that any of the pairs be laundered.

Tonight we literally went through 5 pairs of jammies before finally settling on Elmo, despite Mom-E and Dad-E's attempts at "damage control".

The moment he got home, Little Brother ran into his room, stripped down to his diaper, and raided his drawer. He started with a nice pair of flannel Lightning McQueen jammies.

That pair lasted until we sat down to eat dinner, when suddenly we wanted Thomas jammies. (We let him throw his tantrum and sit on the floor through dinner wearing only his diaper--the best way to make the tantrums go away is to ignore them.)

Bath time followed with a ploy to change to cotton Lightning McQueen jammies.

Somewhere in the midst of playing with blocks, Little Brother reappeared wearing fire truck jammies.

And finally we settled on Elmo jammies for the night.

But not before laying complete waste to the nursery dragging out pretty much EVERY pair of jammies in his drawer.


(It only looks like we have sextuplets.)

Well, its time for the bonus round on Wheel of Jammies: sleep.

See you on Fatherhood Friday!
Busy-Dad-E

P.S. The "Wheel" reminds me of www.condron.us

Monday, December 14, 2009

Roomies

Well, it's official...

Mom-E and I are nesting.

As a part of that behavior, we are trying to have evicted Little Brother from his room, so that Bab-E can have his crib (and room). CAN YOU TELL THAT SOMEBODY'S ALREADY A MIDDLE CHILD, AND DOESN'T EVEN KNOW IT? (AT LEAST HE'S A HAPPY GUY.)

(No, don't worry, we didn't move him to Big Brother's "old residence".)

Big Brother was almost 3 when Little Brother was born. We were able to get Big Brother out of the crib and into a new room (converted guest room) with a toddler bed pretty easily, based on the lure of a "new, big boy room with a big boy bed." (Keeping him IN the toddler bed was another story altogether.)

Fortunately, even though Little Brother is recently-turned 2, he has been pretty receptive to the idea of boarding with Big Brother (temporarily, for about 3 months, until they get their own rooms in the new house.)

And Big Brother, that sweet and patient guy when he's not being an utter terror, was actually pretty excited about the idea of having a roomie. (They really do play together pretty well.)

Of course, we sweetened the deal by upgrading Big Brother to a twin bed (with new Transformer bedding for Christmas from Gramm-E and Grampap-E). Thanks to CY-Aunt-E (aka "Beast") for hauling the bed back to us.

And Little Brother is excited, albeit in an approach-avoidance kinda way, about his "new" toddler big boy bed. (He too, will score new Thomas bedding for Christmas, again courtesy of Gramm-E and Grampap-E.)

The first night, the boys were so excited about their new bed arrangements that they claimed they wanted to turn-in around 6pm.

That idea didn't last long. About 30 seconds later, Little Brother stood up in his bed to announce, "I still awake!"

Big Brother did exclaim, "I have a great, great, big, big bed! Can I have it forever?"

(I opted not to have the discussion that unless he marries Donna Reed, at some point he may be asked to upgrade to a little larger bed.)

Still, we knew this was going to be a hard transition for Little Brother. There's a strange security for a 2 year-old in a caged cell crib.

So far, we're batting .500. Little Brother took a nap in his new bed on Saturday (and it only took 2 hours, and rocking him to sleep in my arms, to get him to "fall asleep" in the new bed). We also had major success on Sunday night (this time only about 90 minutes, but he fell asleep on his own and I got a short nap out of the deal while hanging out in their room.)

Of course, Big Brother fell asleep long before Little Brother, who perked his head up to ask, "What's Big Brother doing?"

"He's sleeping buddy. You know, what YOU should be doing right about now."

And so, here's to a new era in our household. Those two boys already are are going to be thick as thieves, and this opportunity will no doubt contribute to that bond.

Lord, please help us.

Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

Friday, December 11, 2009

Blue Christmas Play



Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone!

Don't forget to check out the great bloggers over at dad-blogs.com, (and then come back :)

Well, last night was Big Brother's school Christmas play.

In the first 5 minutes after we arrived (5 minutes late), Little Brother had to pee, and I managed to bonk my forehead on the metal part of the urinal (while trying to suspend him, half-naked, in mid-air, such that if he did pee, he would not completely douse his pantalones.)

I seriously thought my forehead was bleeding, but alas it was just a foreshadowing of the rest of the event.

Meanwhile, a very pregnant Mom-E attempted to get Big Brother to join his peers in the staging/dressing area, of which he wanted NO part.

And at this point in the pregnancy, Mom-E chasing after Big Brother is about as fruitful as digging for rhinestones in a dung heap.

So, I tagged in, and Mom-E tagged out with Little Brother.

I dragged escorted Big Brother to the dressing room. He was to be a shepherd, and wanted nothing to do with his costume (a brown tunic and long hat).

With the help of a straight jacket persistence, I managed to get the tunic on (which was twice his height), but the hat remained a big “no.”

(Still, we managed to avoid winning the Oscar for “Refused to Wear Costume”, which was snagged by another kid who refused to transform into a lion.)

The poor kid looked like a tootsie roll, so I guess I can’t blame him too much for being dissatisfied with his get-up. To top it off, his sheperd's pole was missing. The teachers couldn't seem to locate it.

And so, when it came time to line up to enter the “stage”, Big Brother yelled refused.

He did walk in with me behind everybody else, but proceeded to plunk down in the row with Little Brother, Mom-E, Gramm-E, and GramPap-E (who traveled especially to witness this debaucle) in the “peanut gallery.”

Little Brother immediately started in with “Why is Big Brother wearing jammies?” (he was already mad that he didn’t get to wear jammies to the event.)

And so we sat there through the whole play (except for the time I had to take Little Brother potty again, and the other time that he got fussy and started to blurt out, “I wanna go home now” and I got up to walk around.)

(Me, too, little buddy. Me, too. )

After the play I was a bad parent, and we skipped out on cake & refreshments afterwards because I picked up both boys and made a bee-line for the minivan I didn’t particularly want to “reward” his behavior.

And while it might’ve been good for Big Brother to socialize with his peers, I really wasn’t in the mood to schmooze with the other parents (I’m a wallflower at parties/in large gatherings). I can picture the conversation with a total stranger:

“My child was one of the wise men, how ‘bout yours?” they’d say.

“Well, mine was supposed to be a shepherd, but he opted to play the role of the undercover, plain clothes policeman who hung out in the audience for crowd control purposes.”

I think that was in the version of the Christmas story from the Book of Lies.

Of course, not long after we got home, Big Brother was his usual, giggly self.

And of course he managed to stab me in the heart with a silver dagger by asking me, “Dad-E, are you still mad at me?” (At least he reads emotions well in others.)

“I was never mad at you.” I replied. “I love you. I was just frustrated that you didn’t want to participate in the play. Why did you get so upset?”

“Oh I didn’t like that my costume was brown. I wanted it to be blue. Blue is my favorite color.”

This is true. Meal time is much smoother these days if we have a blue cup and plate.

And perhaps the next time we go to a play, we’ll opt for Blue Man Group.

Have a good weekend.
Let me know if you find Big Brother’s shepherd’s pole. Otherwise, I want my 5 bucks back.
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jammy Time

One of Little Brother's favorite books right now is "Pajama Time" by Sandra Boynton, which we more affectionately refer to as "Jammy Time."


It's a cute, quick little read, great for toddlers.

Due to a growth spurt, Big Brother recently picked up some Scooby-Doo, Horton, and Superhero jammies.

Due to hand-me-downs, Little Brother recently picked up some Elmo and Thomas jammies.

Lately, both boys have been all about their jammies.

In fact, if left to their own devices, both would probably wear jammies all day, without so much as a thought about wearing "regular" clothes.

In reality, once it starts to get dark, they put on jammies with jackrabbit-like quickness.

"Hey, it's almost goodnight time," says Big Brother (at 5pm).

It doesn't matter if Mom-E just served up a heaping plate of granola bars and chocolate milk for dinner, Big Brother rushes of to his room and emerges in jammies. Little Brother invariably follows suit.

While this is all really cute, it reminds me of a funny story.

*****
Sure, kids like jammies, but I'd have to say that there is a genetic component to this infatuation.

When I was growing up, putting on jammies was the last thing you did before you went to bed. Prior to that, you pretty much just hung out in your "regular" clothes all day. Especially if there was company at the house.

Mom-E's family was quite different in that regard. At their house, it was pretty much a national pastime to put your jammies on and gather by the fireplace/tv after dinner. (And this was tastefully done, with most everyone wearing robes).

I, on the other hand, wear boxers and a t-shirt to bed. I don't think I've ever owned a robe.

And so you can imagine the slight shock to my system the VERY FIRST time I met/visited Gramm-E and Grampap-E.

We had no sooner finished dinner/clean-up, than Grampap-E said, "Hey Dad-E, why don't you go put your jammies on and we'll all gather round the fire."

"Uh, I just met you. And while I like you and am confident in my manhood, I'm not sure I'm ready to take our relationship to the 'next level' of hanging out together in jammies just yet," I thought to myself.

I don't remember exactly what happened next, but I'm pretty sure that I didn't wear jammies that time.

Eventually, however, I grew in my comfort (when in Rome...), and wanting to make a favorable impression and "fit-in" with the rest of the family, I started wearing jammies (invested in a pair of jammy pants) after dinner with them.

Oh, the things we do for love.

And today, I don't mind hanging out in jammies, but I know with certainty that Mom-E has passed that "gene" along to the boys.

So today, we honor Mom-E's family with the dance from "Pajama Time":

"Jammy to the left. Jammy to the right. Jamma, Jamma, Jamma, Jamma, P!J!"

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Harp

"Happiness is the fruit of the desire and ability to sacrifice what we want know for what we want eventually."

I've always really liked this quote. I don't consider it a "personal motto", but it summarizes a belief that's important to me.

These days over at Busy-Dad-E, we have many exciting upcoming changes, for which we are very thankful and blessed. Bab-E Brother is coming soon, we just got a minivan, we're building a new house (and hopefully selling our house), and I'm starting a new job in a few months.

(Can you tell we're like Sam's Club over here, and just like to package big life changes in bulk?)

However, all of this comes with a "price tag" associated with being extra bus-E.
The days she's not working outside the home, Mom-E spends her time going to all kinds of appointments related to the new house and errands, in between taking Big Brother to-and-from school. She feels like Little Brother is pretty much constantly kept "in-tow" in the van.

When I'm not at work these days, I'm "in-tow" with Mom-E and the boys to these appointments as well. Additionally, I'm picking up some extra work hours 3 times a month, in order to help with the (upcoming) down payment on the house.

This fits into the "Happiness..." quote at the top. While I'm trying to instill in my children the importance of work ethic, that message is just hard in the instant gratification world of an (almost) 5 year-old, and a 2 year-old who just clings to Dad-E when he's home.

I mean, when he's hungry, Big Brother has trouble waiting 10 minutes without pitching a fit, so it follows that the concept of--"Dad-E's working extra so that our family can have a house with more space, and your own room (he'll be bunking with Little Brother when Bab-E Brother arrives), and a bigger yard to play in--is infinitely harder to grasp, even though he's been at the construction site for the house, including standing in his new room.

The other price tag is that I'm definitely more irritable than I'd like to be.

Frustrations get under my skin easier when "there's always one more thing to do": the house needs cleaned, the light fixture needs fixed, the paint needs touched up, the meeting needs scheduled etc., etc. etc.

(These days I feel like I have to schedule my trips to the bathroom.)

And I tend to harp at the boys. In fact I feel like these days a big chunk of my interaction with them is harping (that's an exaggeration). Still, it definitely tells me I'm frustrated.

Granted, it's not cool when they run out of our sight in a store, or come within inches of toppling over a display, but I definitely could be cooler in how I handle it.

"Come over here. Don't touch that. Get your finger out of there. Don't stomp the Cheeze-its into the carpet with your feet. Pull up your pants when you're not in the bathroom. Stop swinging by a rope from the ceiling fan." (Okay I made up the last one, but all of the others are genuine.)

While I don't think anyone has been permanently "damaged", we all definitely need to shoot each other once with my to-be-invented VALIUM DART GUN, to just chillax a bit. Or at least I should just "smile and have a Coke." (Thank you Richard Pryor.)

Boys, when you read this down the road, just know that all of the "sacrifices" Mom-E and I are making are because we love you and want the best for you.

And right now, all I'd really like to do is sit on the floor and play trains and cars and Legos and Play Doh and puzzles with you...

...but if I don't make this scheduled trip to the bathroom right now, I'm going to be really uncomfortable all week.

Have a stress-free week,
Busy-Dad-E

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Don't Touch My Butt



Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone!

Just want to clarify that at no point before, during, or after the writing of this post was there any actual hand-backside contact. Nor is this a post about cigarettes. You'll see.

And while you're looking around, don't forget to visit dad-blogs.com, and all of the great bloggers over there!

So Wednesday Mom-E had her latest OB appointment, and the whole gang came along, due to the occasion of the 3rd trimester ultrasound.

Everyone, the boys included, was excited about seeing "pictures" of Bab-E.

The boys were fired up in usual form, sans nap and having only picked at lunch, except to drink their chocolate milk, resulting in the following equation:

Tired + No Nap = Hyperactive + Chocolate milk = Urinary urgency

Big Brother had to go, which meant Little Brother wanted to come, too.

Since going potty is a "boy thing" for us, I took them. Big Brother went first to avoid any flood damage in the OB's office.

Then it was Little Brother's turn. Despite just turning 2, he's shown a lot of interest--and some moderate success--in going #1 in the big boy potty.

We bought him a portable, plastic, Elmo potty seat, lest his BUTT fall into the potty.

Today he did not want to use the Elmo potty seat, but preferred to "stand".

And by "stand", I mean I hold him up to improve his general aim, since the potty comes up to his mid-chest.

PICTURE IT: I'm (gently) harping at Big Brother to stop parading around naked in the bathroom and pull up his pants, while holding up Little Brother in mid-air so that he can pee like his Big Brother. (Both of my hands are under his armpits).

As you can imagine, Little Brother takes several moments to "think" before going potty. (Read: he's taking his sweet-BUTT time).

Eventually, my shoulders get a little fatigued from holding 25 lbs fully extended in front of me. I opt to "prop him up" by resting his BUTT on my knee.

Instantly, Little Brother blurts out LOUDLY, "DON'T TOUCH MY BUTT!"

Mortified, I can only imagine that the entire OB office is eavesdropping at the bathroom door, and that Child Services is poised to take them away the moment we step outside.

Fortunately, Little Brother successfully goes potty, and we successfully exit the bathroom, apparently not having drawn attention to ourselves.

We proceed to make it back to ultrasound.

We were most thankful that Bab-E is growing (almost too) well, and that all parts appear to be intact and functional. And he is still clearly a boy.

A major reason for our thanks is that they spotted some excess fluid around one of his kidneys on the 2nd trimester ultrasound. While this is a common finding, especially in males and usually of no significance, Little Brother had the same issue, and for him it did not go away.

This meant a referral to Pediatric Urology, fears of the need for surgery in the first year of life, a bunch of tests, and ultimately the relief that it's just an anatomical variant of no significance. Had they not done a 3rd trimester ultrasound, you'd never know there was an abnormality.

And so, we're very relieved that Bab-E will not have to endure what Little Brother has gone through.

I'd love to show you ultrasound pictures, only Bab-E is of sufficient size and was hiding his face such that we really couldn't see anything.

The one picture they gave us looks like a hand trying to touch a BUTT. No joke.

Have a good "hands-off" weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ban Restaurant Balloons!

(Don't worry, I'm still pro-balloon animals.)

We had lunch with friends this past weekend at an establishment that provided kids with free helium balloons as they walked out the door.

While I'm all for making myself sound like a chipmunk, as I thought about lived with the aftermath of the balloons, I came to the following conclusion:

BAN RESTAURANT BALLOONS NOW!

I've decided that this seemingly gracious gesture is actually one more passive-aggressive attempt by the restaurant to "stick it to the parents."

Like Jack Black in "School of Rock", the balloons infected me with stickittothemaniosis.

I know, I know. Kids love balloons.

For about 5 minutes.

I mean a balloon is great fun at first, but much like eating pancakes, pretty soon you grow tired of holding it or bouncing it up in the air, until eventually you're sick of it(thank you, Mitch Hedberg, for the analogy).

Let's be realistic here and talk about the Top 10 "WONDERFUL" things that can WILL happen with balloons.

1. Your child will let go of the balloon immediately once you get outside, followed closely by a crying fit until you go back inside and get them another one.

2. If your balloon survives the trip from the restaurant to your vehicle, the child will let go of the balloon once you open the door at your next destination, resulting in an even more problemmatic crying fit.

3. Your child will be like Little Brother, and cry when they let go of the balloon in the minivan and can't reach it, and then cry again when you give it back to them. @#$%^&*!

4. Like our boys, your child will try to eat the balloon, risking actual serious injury. Threatening or actually taking it away results in a crying fit with intensity somewhere between that in #1 and #2.

5. Once you get home, the balloon becomes a weapon with which the older sibling can bludgeon pets and smaller siblings (read: more crying here).

6. Once pets and small children have secured shelter, your children will start letting go of the balloon and watching it rise to the ceiling. The string on the ballon will, of course, be about 6 inches higher than the child's vertical leap, resulting in repeated requests for Mom-E or Dad-e to, "Get my balloon! Get my balloon!"

7. Your children, like ours, will ingore pleas to "Don't sit on the balloon or it'll pop" until it actually does pop. A major crying fit ensues when you deny having the superpower of being able to reinflate a busted helium balloon.

8. You throw away the broken balloon in the trash, only to have your smallest child repeatedly try to fetch it out of the trash and plead for you to repair it.

9. For days after the original "incident", your child incessantly asks you, "Where's my balloon? What happened to my balloon?"

10. You have more than 1 child, but are eventually left with only 1 surviving balloon, which results in a "No Holds Barred/Royal Rumble" Screaming Fit-Pushing-Hitting-Spitting Contest. The winner gets to play with the balloon until it, too, is busted as a result of attacks by smaller siblings to take it away.

So, until they're banned, the next time we're at an establishment that tries to give the boys balloons, perhaps I'll just take a hit off the helium tank, and hopefully my silly voice will distract them long enough to get us out of the restaurant sans balloons.

And you wonder why people like to pop bubble wrap. I vote we start popping the restaurant balloons until they take the hint.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

P.S. Is it just me, or is resteraunt restraunt resterant restaurant one of the hardest words to spell in the English language? Discuss.

Monday, November 30, 2009

These Are Days

(Except for the members of 10,000 Maniacs other than Natalie Merchant, all of whom are kicking themselves for the band's break-up).

I hope that you and yours had a nice Thanksgiving weekend.

For all of us here at Busy-Dad-E, it was a pleasant 4 days.

It's been a wild 3 months, between having our house on the market (PLEASE SEND SOMEONE TO BUY IT), the arrival of Bab-E drawing ever closer, work, school for Big Brother, some travel, and all the other routine daily activities.

It feels like we blinked and it went from September to (almost) December.

And so, I was thrilled to have the past 4 days off without work that had to be done and anywhere (far) to travel.

We spent a nice Thanksgiving Day at Aunt-E's. The evening ended with screenings of Shrek The Halls, and Home Alone. This was the first time Big Brother has seen this movie, and almost every phrase out of his mouth since has started with, "Why did Kevin..."

On Friday we had a family portrait taken. We did the same thing before Little Brother was born. The boys both did well. Okay, Little Brother did well except for the last 5 minutes, when he threw an utter melt-down tantrum and refused any pose that did not involve me carrying him.

On Saturday we enjoyed a casual lunch with good friends and their children. We followed this up in the aftenoon with (Big Brother and I) jumping a sliding into a ginormous pile of leaves in the backyard.

Yesterday we put up our external Christmas decorations. I hung the lights while the boys "helped." And by helped, I mean I put up the lights while they played ball and rode bikes in the driveway. Although to his credit, Big Brother did put the star on top of the rope Christmas tree.

And, of course, in between these highlights, there was a LOT of story reading, Scooby-Doo watching, in-house hide-and-go-seeking, tickling & giggling, bed jumping, kitchen dancing, and naptime rocking.

Man, I can't wait for paternity leave (cashing in all available vacation and sick leave for 5 weeks off).

Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

Friday, November 27, 2009

Holiday Artwork



Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had quite the nice time with Mom-E's family yesterday. They're still celebrating over at dad-blogs.com, where a bunch of great bloggers are still fighting over the wishbone. Check it out!

Now that Thanksgiving is officially over, the Christmas season is upon us in full swing.

To get things kicked off around here, Big Brother has presented us with some new holiday artwork.

"Present"



"Tree"



and, of course, the jolly old elf himself
"Santa"



And lastly, a special treat. Big Brother has updated his self-portrait.




As you can see on the upper right of the blog, this updated picture has replaced his previous one as my blog's "logo." It's amazing to compare this figure to the one he made almost a year ago, and to see all of the new details in his drawing.

I must admit that the transparent clothing is my favorite. Apparently it'll be all the fashion rage in 2010. :)

Have a great weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

P.S. Thanks to Busy-Mom-E for your masterful assistance in getting these pictures uploaded. Love ya!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Johnny Ate A Booger

...And It Tastes Like Sugar
He Put It In A Pot...
And It Tastes Like Snot.

So sayeth Big Brother.

Quite loudly, in fact, and right in the middle of the checkout lane at the grocery store.

Apparently he learned this little ditty (which is probably stuck in your head now as it is mine), from the (school-aged) daughter of the lady who watches the boys twice weekly.

It reminded me of the scene in the movie Parenthood when the boy sings "When you're sliding into first and you're feeling something burst..." to Steve Martin. "Where'd you learn that, honey" his mother asks. "Last summer at camp, mom," he replies. "That was money well spent," punctuates Steve Martin.

Oh my, Big Brother is growing up.

And sometimes it's small things, like the appropriate time to sing about boogers.

And other times, it's more serious stuff, like death.

*****
I knew it would only be a matter of time before Big Brother started asking more about my mom, whom he never met.

He sees everyone else in the family in pairs: Mom-E and Dad-E, Gramm-E and Pap-Pap, etc.

And so, on our recent trip to my hometown, he (finally) asked, "Why does Pa-Pa live alone?"

"Because my Mom-E died."

"What happened?"

"She was really sick."

"With a bad cold?"

"Well, it was more than that. She had an illness for a long time."

*****
This discussion continued for a while longer with more questions.

Ultimately, we ended up going to the cemetary to visit her grave.

I was surprised that this didn't result in another train of questions. I guess Big Brother was more interested in dancing on the shiny footstones, but I'm sure the questions will follow at some point.

He's had a few brief, vague questions about my mom before, but this time there was definitely a spike in his curiosity.

I just tried to meet him where he is on the subject. I answered his questions directly, but without too much detail.

That's been my general approach to talking to Big Brother about death (or any sensitive issue, for that matter).

He has a rudimentary understanding of the subject (through a squirrel who met an untimely end on the way to the park), though I know he doesn't quite fully understand.

That said, through pictures and stories, I'm sure he'll come to know more about her in his own way, on his own time. And, this Thanksgiving, I'm thankful that Big Brother wants to know more about her.

I look to those occasions with a mix of both dread and a fond reminiscence, it's a feeling that's hard to describe.

Still, it's something important that must be done. He needs to know about his family.

After all, parenting is not for the faint of heart.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Happy Thanksgiving,
Don't eat any boogers I wouldn't eat,
Busy-Dad-E

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Best Tattles of All Time

Hello all,

This one was too funny to wait.

So we're driving home yesterday, and Little Brother is pestering the heck out of his next-seat neighbor, Big Brother.

He starts with a raspberry, which prompts Big Brother to point out, "Mom-E, Little Brother is spitting at me."

"Little Brother, we don't spit. Spitting is yucky," we chant in unison.

So, Little Brother, the creative little bugger he is, resorts to just blowing (air) at Big Brother.

"Mom-E, Little Brother is BLOWING HARD AIR at me!"

Classic.

We laughed so hard we peed a little.

Don't worry. No one was blown over.

Catch ya later,
Busy-Dad-E

Monday, November 23, 2009

Something to Chew On

We're bus-E travelling today, so in lieu of a full post, I'll give you a topic:

The speedometer on our Minivan goes up to 160 mph.

Can you think of a scenario in which you'd need to drive 160 mph in a MINIVAN?

(No, being REALLY late to soccer doesn't count.)

Discuss.

See you on Wednesday,
Busy-Dad-E

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Minivan-Man



Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone! It's time to drive yourself over to dad-blogs.com, where a bunch of great bloggers are "parked."

So, this week, we took THE PLUNGE!

As you may know, Bab-E (#3) is coming soon, and it was finally time to break down and get A MINIVAN!

(Or, as my friend, Kid-Nee, describes--and he's allowed to since he owns one--the "Barket Lounger on Wheels")

That's right, in a 3-person deal, Honda got my Mustang, Mom-E got the Minivan, and I got Mom-E's Toyota. That said, I will still get to do a fair amount of Minivan driving.

I should clarify something: A Mustang is a horribly unfriendly car when it comes to child seats. Impossible to fit a rear-facing one, and even a forward facing seat is like putting your child INTO a sardine can. The only reason we kept the Mustang around as long as we did is that it was paid for.

We've been talking about getting the minivan for awhile now. I find it amazing that almost every time I brought it up with another guy, I got comments about how getting a minivan was akin to abandoning my manhood (in a variety of ways).

Hmm...methinks some folks are a little insecure about their masculinity, perchance?

Personally, I think it's cool.

I draw the analogy that getting a minivan is like the episode of Friends where Joey delights in the pleasures of his "man-bag."

Just like Joey said, "There's all kinds of places to put your stuff."

Not to mention, if you're going to travel by car with multiple kids and a pregnant wife, would you prefer to be cramped in a compact car or actually have some breathing room in a minivan.

Would these same guys tell me I'm abandoning my manhood if I fly first-class instead of coach? (Never flown first-class, but walked by it enough to make the analogy).

Anyway, we've really enjoyed the boys' reaction to the minivan, which Big Brother has now dubbed "The Mystery Machine." Nice.

Little Brother (our potential future veterinarian who prefers to play ball over anything too "technical" right now) saw the minivan the next morning upon awakening. When asked if he like it, he said, "No. I want cereal", but has since come to perseverate on the fact that "There's a new car in there (garage)."

Big Brother, on the other hand, (our future engineer/architect), got to see the minivan right after we brought it home.

He proceeded to do a high-kicking dance in the driveway (wearing only PJ's), screaming, "I love this car. I love this car." (What a missed video opportunity).
Anyway, he wasted no time blowing off sleep to crawl through EVERY INCH of the minivan and press every button his little fingers could find.

The next morning, while Little Brother was busy cereal-hunting, Big Brother asked (while making a bee-line) if he could go "play in the minivan" before going to school. Again, more button pushing.

Of course, given the ultra-strong magnetic power of having to imitate your older sibling, Little Brother is starting to warm up to the minivan, too.

For now, we're just enjoying the fact that it's never been easier to get the kids into the car.

And so, here's to the start of our life with a minivan. May we soon find it hard to imagine how we got by without you.

Thank you for having enough "gadgets" to keep us men-folk occupied, and the functionality and space that will make Mom-E very happy.

Have a good weekend, Drive on!
Busy-Dad-E

P.S. I need help renaming "my" Toyota. When Mom-E was the principal driver, Big Brother called it "Sally" from the Disney Cars movie. Any suggestions to complement "The Mystery Machine"?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

If I Behaved Like My Kids at Work

So Mom-E and I were sitting at the dinner table last night (the boys had long abandoned ship and were off wreaking havoc throughout the house and we didn't want to share any dessert with them), when we started talking about how funny it would be if I acted like the boys when I was at work.

I'll give you just a snapshot, pretty much re-enacting the boys' behavior this evening.

*****

I'd start by heading to lunch naked from the waist down.

"Uh, Dad-E, do you want to put some pants on?" my boss-E would ask.

"I don't want pants!" I'd exclaim, running in the opposite direction.

I'd run to the potty, where I'd pee with the door wide open, and just not forget to wash my hands.

Then I'd proceed to sit on the floor and play with toys while everybody else eats.
When lunch is over, as everyone is headed back to work, I'd go whine to the boss-E, "But I'm hungry. I want something to eat."

Within the first 15 minutes of returning to work, I'd have to go the boss-E to complain that, "So-and-so HIT me!"

(I would neglect to mention that I shoved my co-worker just before being hit.)

If the boss-E asked me to do ANY work, I would proceed to have a temper-tantrum on the floor. And then ask for goldfish.

Then I would just go ahead and take EVERY item out of my desk and throw it on the floor. I would then ask my boss-E to pick all the stuff up for me.

If asked why I wasn't helping to pick things, I'd explain that "I can't", while continuing to play with a pencil.

Then I'd ask my boss-E to carry me around in his arms while HE cleans up my office.

And, of course, I'd have to take a 3 hour nap during the middle of the day. Man, that would be SWEET!

Then after my nap, I'd watch some tv.

When the boss-E again tries to get me to do some actual work, I'd whine about, "Can I watch another Thundercats, please?"

Then I'd beg the boss to let me go play outide in the afternoon. He'd try to tell me that the work day is almost over, but I'd insist on playing outside anyway.

Finally, I'd decide that I have to poop, but I'd insist that the boss-E sit in the bathroom with me and read stories.

And I imagine at that point I'd be asked to take the rest of the day off. Now that would be REALLY SWEET!

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

Monday, November 16, 2009

Open House of Solitude

So our house has been on the market for a little while now. After a decent first month, we haven't had any traffic in about 6 weeks.

Our realtor decided "it's time for a (magic) Open House."

We picked a date in November, working around birthday parties, Thanksgiving, and a mini-vacation, but knowing that there was really no ideal time to have this thing.

First of all, Open Houses are not family-friendly. They're held in the afternoon, right in the middle of NAP TIME.

So the options are:
1. Drive around for about 2 hours in the hopes that small children will fall asleep.
2. Go do something fun, knowing that small children will be completely giddy, hyperactive and delirious due to nap-deprivation.

I had to put in beaucoup hours at work the week before the Open House.

Mom-E is beaucoup pregnant and therefore fatigue is a factor (even though she'd prefer to go full-tilt).

The boys are beaucoup good and making messes (even though they try to help clean up and put away, you can't ask them to lick the Cinnamon Toast Crunch residue off the kitchen floor).

But still, we persevered, and the house was pretty much spotless come Sunday afternoon.

And by persevered, I mean that Mom-E made a detailed schedule of what tasks would get done when, such as:

1. Dad-E stands on a ladder scrubbing dirt/mildew off the gutters with 409 at midnight on a night of his choosing, while Mom-E is scrubbing Cinnamon Toast Crunch residue off the kitchen floor.

2. We both stay up until after 1am the morning of the Open House, only to have both boys wake up before 7am to ensure timely completion of the remainder our to-do list.

3. I'm blowing leaves off the deck, while wearing church clothes and holding a 2 year-old, less than 90 minutes before it's time to leave. Mom-E uses both free arms (which when compared to carrying around small children makes you feel like you have about 6 functioning arms instead of just a pinky finger) to help complete the magical transformation of the house's interior.

And so, we make it out of the house with enough time to spare that we can go grab lunch at (where else) Subway before church. (Which is a good thing, because church is hard enough for us when the boys have full tummies.)

Church runs long, which today is a good thing. When it's over, we only have about an hour to kill.

So we drive to get some gas. Little Brother pretty much falls asleep as we're putting him into the car. Big Brother is calmly enjoying the view.

When we can't don't go home, Big Brother starts in to have a mini-tirade of frustration for about the next 30 minutes. Amazingly, Little Brother is not aroused.

We finally get Big Brother to laugh by telling him, "When you were a baby, you called the kitchen the "chicken", and granola bars "bita barn." His sour mood turns to gut-busting laughter on account of his delirium.

We pull back in to our driveway right at 3pm, greeted by the wonderful news from our realtor that...

Drum roll...

We had a grand total of 0, that's right, ZERO, visitors during the Open House.

In the words of Q-bert, "!@#$%^&*!"

The realtor called all of his realtor buddies, and apparently there was an city-wide "boycott" of open houses, because no one was getting any traffic.

As he's leaving the realtor says, "don't worry, we'll have another Open House sometime."

YAY! CAN WE, PLEASE, PLEASE!

Oh well, at least the house is clean again (for the next 5 minutes), and Little Brother was successfully transferred from car to crib without interrupting his REM cycle.

Have a good week.

Please come buy our house, or send someone to buy it,
Busy-Dad-E

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Diego



Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone! Fatherhood is, at times, a jungle, but the great bloggers over at dad-blogs.com will help you navigate your way through it.

In the game "Wheel of Favorite Cartoons", both of my boys have recently become Diego fans.

While some of you have probably been inundated with Diego for years, we are relatively new to the world of "animal rescue."

However, what we lack in experience we make up for with enthusiasm.

And so, you can imagine the excitement (amongst all of the WONDERFUL presents--not trying to slight anyone, just sticking to the post's theme) when Little Brother's birthday present was a Diego Rescue Pack from Gramm-E and Pap-Pap,


and a Diego Talking Gadget Belt from CY-Aunt-E and her Fianc-Eh (who needs an "official" blog name, btw.)


Now, Mom-E and Dad-E knew in advance about the Rescue Pack.

In fact, weeks ago we already bought the same thing for Big Brother for Christmas.

I'd be a big, fat liar fooling myself if I didn't admit to some apprehension about the jealousy factor of having only 1 Rescue Pack (for the time being).

And while we've had a few knock-down, drag-out moments of screaming, it's been interesting to watch the boys interact over these toys.

(I will NOT mention that the Rescue Pack has these "signal flares" that you can shoot up to the ceiling (literally) by pulling on a cord on the strap. I will also NOT mention that I think EVERYONE should have a (talking) backpack complete with signal flares that you can fire off when you need help or are feeling just really happy. Lastly, I will NOT admit to firing off signal flares after the boys have gone to bed. No, not me.)

In short, Big Brother has adopted the attitude of, "I know the Rescue Pack isn't mine...but it's mine." (It does help that Little Brother slightly prefers the Gadget Belt right now).

He (Big Brother) carries it with him everywhere, including to the potty.

He's also made some utterly hysterical comments, such as:
"Little Brother, don't you want to share this (Rescue Pack) with me?" (while bargaining with some (old) blocks)

"I want to show my friends at school my err, Little Brother's Rescue Pack.

"Little Brother, I'll keep your Rescue Pack in my room tonight for SAFE KEEPING."

Poor Little Brother told Mom-E, "I want to ask Santa (to whom he refers as a SHE) for a Rescue Pack."

(It probably didn't help that Big Brother told him, "You need to ask Santa for a Rescue Pack." HUH?!?)

Little Brother has been able to enact some "revenge" by refusing to let go of a telescope that's part of the Gadget Belt, of which Big Brother is particularly fond.

On at least one occasion, I've seen Little Brother dangle the telescope (still firmly in his grasp) in the vicinity Big Brother's face, only to pull it away.

He does so with a grin that so (sweetly) screams, "I know that you want this, but you can't have it and I know how to 'get your goat.'"

Still, the boys appear to be working out thier differences. Just the other day, they worked together with their Diego toys to "rescue" Little Brother's sock monkey from the counter atop a mountain.

Go "Team Diego". I can't wait to set off more signal flares myself see your adventures when we have 2 Rescue Packs.

Have a good weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Freedom Isn't Free

My mother told me once in my adolescent years that "you're happier when you're busy."

While that's true to a large extent, it's also important to take time to pause, reflect, enjoy, and pay respects.

(Those of you who know may be scratching your heads because you didn't know I actually have a "pause button", probably because it's usually broken.)

But on Veteran's Day, we pause to show respect and to remember all those who have fought/are fighting for our freedom, at home and abroad.

Thank you for giving me the freedom to enjoy my family.


See you on Fatherhood Friday,
May God Bless America,
Busy-Dad-E

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dear Little Brother

Dear Little Brother,

We all enjoyed the recent celebration of your 2nd birthday with friends and family. Mom-E and I can't believe that you're already 2; didn't we just bring your home from the hospital?

In that short time, you've gone from baby to little big boy.

You were quite the character at your birthday party. At first, you were a bit overwhelmed with all of the company, preferring to have Mom-E or I carry you around.

It only took a few minutes before you had stripped from the waist down in Big Brother's room transformed into Batman--suave, confident, and uninhibited--to open prsents.

Fortunately, you transformed back in time to blow out your candles and smear cake and chocolate all over your shirt, which is good as the bat suit is dry-clean only.

Although you emulate Big Brother at every opportunity, your personality is truly your own. You're sweet but confident and not afraid to stand up for youself.

Mom-E and I are amazed by your verbal skills. No doubt, the fact that you repeat everything Big Brother says has helped your language development. Just today at bathtime, when I started washing your hair (which you don't like), you informed me, "That's not cool, Dad-E."

While we'd like to move past your current trick of stipping in your crib and going potty in your bed, we're also impressed that you've already been successful using the big boy potty several times. We fully expect these potty training successes to regress once Baby-E arrives.

You're an animal lover, both stuffed and real. We'd guess at this point a career as a vet is in store for you (though you can do whatever you like as a career, so long as it's legal.)

You're always game to play ball, too, even if that means hitting a gold ball off of a sprinkler head with a plastic baseball bat.

Your favorite drink is "chocky milk," and if we don't cut you off, you'll drink it until you puke. Literally. (We're sorry, Subway, but that's what you get for offering a 48 oz chocolate milk with your kids meal. Somebody should let Jared know about that. Okay, so it's not really 48 oz, but it actually has 300 calories.)

You love and look up to your Big Brother. The two of you appear to truly enjoy playing with each other, and are becoming good friends.

You bring your own unique pronunciation to several words, including our favorites: "glass-lahs" (glasses), "pizz-lah" (pizza), and "f-ck" (truck). Trust me, on the latter we've repeatedly tried to emphasize that truck starts with a t-r.

(We're just glad that there are no trucks at church or the grocery store.)

You're attentive and sensitive to babies. No doubt you'll be a sweet big brother, even if it means giving up being the baby in the family.

Mom-E and I are very proud of you, the boy you've become, and the bigger boy you'll be.

Here's to a great 3rd year. Happy birthday, buddy. Your giggles and sweet smile bring joy to our hearts. There isn't anyone (except Big Brother) that I'd've preferred to carry around for a significant chunk of the last 2 years.

I love you, always, cuddle-bug,
Busy-Dad-E

Friday, November 6, 2009

Firemen



Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone! If you're not in a hyperglycemic coma from Halloween candy, be sure catch up on all of the great bloggers over at dad-blogs.com.

While you're at it, please pass the Milk Duds.

Okay, seriously, I hope that everyone had a safe and Happy Halloween/Trick-or-Treat.

Here at Busy-Dad-E, my boys are still in the dress-up spirit, even if Batman is a bit passe'.

The other day, in lieu of a lollipop while out running errands, someone gave Little Brother 2 plastic Fire Chief hats.

We're not entirely sure what happened, except to say that someone turned on the creative faucet "full blast."

Next thing you know, Big Brother had organized Little Brother (and the rest of the family) into a small volunteer fire department.

The first request was to rescue a dump truck chair from the attic (sorry, CY-Aunt-E, had to go up there with the house on the market) to serve as a fire truck.

This was shortly followed by a plea to get down an old Lightning McQueen step-stool from the laundry room to serve as a ladder.


Then Big Brother wanted his soccer cones for a siren for the truck.


Finally, Dad-E chipped in with the idea that his ties would make good hoses.


(Please note Little Brother did eventually figure out how to turn the hose on.)

And so this week, we've had no shortage of entertainment fire fighting right in the middle of our family room. The entertainment center was almost engulfed in flames on at least 3 separate occasions.

Fortunately, the loudest, shrillest, plastic whistle you ever heard fire alarm helped the firemen arrive on time.

Of course, afraid of being usurped in popularity, Batmen (plural) did make a guest appearance to help out our firement, kinda like when the Harlem Globetrotters appeared on Scooby-Doo.


(They were kind enough to let Big Batman drive the truck.)

Mom-E and I have really enjoyed this creative role-play, especially seeing the boys work together as a "team." Not to mention, as we're about to get bombarded with the commercialism of the holiday season, it's satisfying to know that the boys can have oodles of fun with the stuff that's already hanging around the house.

Have a good weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Security Band-Aids

Some kids have blankies.

Other kids have teddy bears or baby dolls.

Little Brother has his band-aids.

That's right, band-aids.

Little Brother is pretty much obsessed with band-aids right now.

If he gets so much as a hang-nail, he needs wants a band-aid.

And once it's on, it's ON. I mean, he wants to leave it on for DAYS at a time such that you'd have to pretty much anesthetize him to get it off or he gets a tan line from the band-aid even in winter.

At other times, he doesn't even have a so-called ouchie. That's right, he just wants a band-aid for security it's own sake.

The funny part is that when I ask him "Where does it go?", he'll look at his right hand, then pull up his right sleeve, then look at his left hand, before finally settling on his left forearm.

"I have a band-aid, Mom-E!", he proudly exclaims.

"Are you sure you don't want me to put it on your forehead, little buddy?"

Someday when he's tall enough to reach the shelf I'm going to come home and that little guy's going to be covered from head to toe in band-aids.

I wish I could "fix" everything that bothered me with a band-aid. But that's what duct tape and super-glue are for.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Gotta to run to the store and pick up some more band-aids,
Busy-Dad-E

Monday, November 2, 2009

Newsy Notes

Most of the time when I sit down to blog I've already picked out a theme and drafted the high points of the post in my mind.

If I'm feeling uber-obsessive, or have lots of good material, I sometimes find it efficient to do this for a week's worth of posts in one sitting.

However, at other times, just coming up with a theme escapes me.

Today is one of those times.

Call it fatigue, call it whatever, sometimes the focus of life is getting through the daily grind. And still plenty of joy comes from this grind, even if it doesn't provide new blog material.

This phenomenon is remniscent of child development. We're in one of those "holding pattern phases", on the cusp of big changes.

Perhaps I'm still recovering from my trip abroad.

Perhaps we're in shock about Bab-E's pending arrival in a few short months (and still trying to make deposits into the sleep bank.)

Perhaps we're tired and fretting over the constant battle to keep up with the house while it sits is on the market.

So here's a few other tidbits/updates across of variety of things:

1. We had a nice Halloween. The boys ran amok in the yard while Mom-E and I carved the pumpkin. Little Brother tried to hit a golf ball off of the top of a sprinkler head with a plastic fat bat. Big Brother stepped on goldfish crackers in the driveway. Both boys were sucessful in their Trick-or-Treat endeavors.
I'd show you pictures, but I've already posted shots of their costumes. I was particularly proud of Big Brother, who was an amazing helper when it came to passing out candy.

2. Little Brother continues to enjoy stripping in his crib when he has to go potty, and has fertilized his crib sheets at least once since the related post. We just bought him some Diego pull-ups and I wonder if he'd ever wear regular diapers again.

3. Big Brother has become a fan of reruns of the cartoon series Thundercats. Even though I can't get the theme song out of my head, I'm relishing in the nostalgia of one of the cartoons I grew up watching. Big Brother carries a Lego Sword of Omens with him wherever he goes.

4. I recently completed my half-marathon. I was pleased to turn in a respectable time of just over 2 hours. I was chunking along at sub-2 hour pace for the first 11.5 miles before my body said, "What are you doing?" The boys ran wild after the race. I wish there was a kids fun run to help them burn off some energy. The other night, the boys wanted to line up in the kitchen doorway, have Mom-E count to 3, run laps around the house, and then collect their medal (whatever toy was pulled out of the box). I'm glad they're this enthused about exercise.

That's about it for now. Just keeping bus-e enjoying the daily grind.

Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Old MacDonald Had a Poop



Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone! I've recovered such that I'm ready to catch up on all of the great bloggers over at dad-blogs.com, and you should do the same.

You probably won't might remember from a little while back that Little Brother was showing some interest in potty training at about age 18 months, which was quite exciting.

Since then, we've just been going with the flow (literally and figuratively) with him, trying to be encouraging but not pushy.

Accordingly, his interested has waxed and waned.

Lately, however, we have seen a resurgence in his interest in using the (so-called) "big boy potty." All I can say is, "Man, does Little Brother sure want to be a big boy like his Big Brother!"

(If Big Brother licked a toad, no doubt Little Brother would swoop in for seconds.)

And so, we've had some luck with Little Brother going pee-pee in the potty, albeit inconsistently.

He is very proud of himself, and has enjoyed wearing regular big boy underwear over his diaper.

The only downside is that the first time he was "successful", Big Brother was going potty in the other bathroom (leading Little Brother to say, "I want to go potty, too!"), meaning Little Brother had to use our bathroom.

And so now the Elmo potty seat is a permanent temporary addition to Mom-E and Dad-E's bathroom, and Little Brother adamantly refuses to tee-tee elsewhere and throws a full-blown hissy fit tantrum prefers to potty there.

What adds to the fun of this potty training endeavor is that Little Brother has figured out a GREAT way to get attention is to yell out that he has to go potty.

This is a particular fun way to delay naptime, bedtime, etc.

Little Brother also ups the ante by taking off his pants AND diaper while in his crib. If you don't come and take him potty (fairly) promptly, you don't know what color of stain you might find in his crib.

Despite his interest in going pee-pee in the potty, he's still quite afraid to "drop the kids off at the pool."

So far, we've found a half-naked toddler nearby poop in:
1. His crib (TWICE)
2. Mom-E and Dad-E's shower (long story)

He's starting to become like Old MacDonald, because we seem to find a "poop, poop, here, and a poop, poop there. Here a poop. There a poop. Everywhere a poop, poop."

Fortunately we've only been graced with solid (versus mushy) poops.

While we're proud of his potty training efforts, it was a bit easier in the days when he just pooped in his pants.

Gallagher said "You don't have a baby, a baby has YOU!" I think it's time to replace "baby" with "child", and to extend that analogy throughout the lifespan.

Have a good weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bat Girl-Friend

There's been no doubt this year that Halloween has been a VERY popular holiday.

The boys have had so much fun, and gotten so much wear, out of their costumes that Mom-E and I are planning an entire super-hero wardrobe for them for winter they were worth every penny.

(If only they would put on regular clothes for school, church, or just so they wouldn't parade around the house naked etc. as willingly as they throw on their Batman costumes.)

Keeping up with the spirit of celebrating Halloween for an entire month, this past weekend, we took the boys to a trick-or-treat event held at a nearby zoo.

(Yes, this means a second major sugar rush trick-or-treat on Halloween itself).

It was actually a little on the warm side when we got there, and 30 seconds after putting on his costume, Little Brother wanted no part of his fleece Batman outfit.

Fortunately, he was wearing Thomas the Train jammies, and I wanted his candy no matter what we considered that to be good enough of a costume for a 2 year-old.

Big Brother, on the other hand, morphed into Batman faster than you could say Willie Wonka.

To make things humorous, while Little Brother was throwing a tizzy about his costume, Batman started talking about how he was going to "shoot" all of the princesses and dinosaurs as they walked by. (C'mon, he has to keep the "bad guys" away from his candy, after all.)

In short, the trick or treating was successful. The boys visited all of the "stations", amassing some candy, as well as crayons, masks, and vampire teeth.
Mom-E and Dad-E were able to stave off requests for waiting an hour to ride the merry-go-round (they always get to ride it when we regularly go to the zoo) and to pay $19.99 for a light-up device that will "burn out" the moment you get back to the car.

A highlight of the event was a kids dance party as you entered the zoo.

I was fully hoping that the boys would just bust-a-move as they did during recent air time of the Ghostbusters theme song at our house.

Although they were excited, they opted for an approach-avoidance style of dancing. (Translate: Dad-E carry me, and you dance so that it looks like I'm dancing, too).

However, we returned upon the dance party on the tail end end of our sojourn, and this time thanks to the sugar rush of a blueberry icee Big Brother really wanted to go dance.

And so we danced together, including the public debut of a new "signature move" we spontaneously created not long ago.

And then he saw HER. There was Bat Girl on the dance floor, and Big Brother was drawn to her by the magnets in their imaginary tool belts.

"Dad-E, come with me so I can give her a high 5."

Nice. Way to go, Big Brother, going after a 6 year-old Bat Girl. As long as I don't have to go with you on your prom date, we're doing great.

But then, of course, he got a little nervous. Big Brother called in for back-up, and instead asked for Mom-E to "help."

(Oh we're going to have fun when he's a teenager asking if we can come with him to help him talk to girls.)

It was as awkward as it was precious. Big Brother went up to Bat Girl and held up his hand methinks without uttering a word. Bat Girl looked a little confused, not sure whether Big Brother
1. Was the Joker in disguise
2. Wanted to dance with her (oh that would've been cool, since the video camera was
rolling)
3. Was going to slap her

Fortunately, she caught on and gave him a high 5.

Again, nice job Big Brother. Well played. I was very proud. You definitely faired
much better than Little Brother's last zoo girlfriend , even if the relationship lasted only a few moments.

It was a fun-filled evening that we'll all remember, and I didn't even get into Little Brother smearing chocolate all over himself in the car

See you on Fatherhood Friday. For now, back to the Bat Cave,
Busy-Dad-E

Monday, October 26, 2009

Edith Ann Reincarnate

Hello everyone!

Mom-E and I got (a little bit) rested up this weekend following my "little" trip across the pond. That is to say that I got a (short) nap in on Sunday, which is pretty unusual. I was happy that Mom-E was able to nap on both Saturday and Sunday, which was an absolute requirement.

I'm still fighting the jet lag, but doing okay.

Of course, having two very active boys speeds along the process of recovering from the jet lag.

Do any of you remember Lily Tomlin in the Edith Ann sketch from Laugh-In?

In short, she plays an ornery girl who sits and offers commentary in a (massively oversized) rocking chair (which makes her look even more like a little girl). (See below)


Well, Little Brother has been attempting an Edith Ann impression lately.

In his neverending quest to imitate his Big Brother become a big boy, Little Brother has started to refuse being rocked to sleep at night in the rocking chair.

Instead, the precocious little bugger blurts out, "wanna rock BY MYSELF!"

This translates to "put me in the rocking chair while you still on the foot stool and rock the chair by pushing on it."

Or, occasionally, Little Brother will want you to sit beside him on a little 2 inch strip of rocking chair.

"Sorry, buddy. Ain't no one here with that tiny of a heiny except your stuffed animals."

He really is quite a sight in the rocking chair, which could pretty much swallow him whole.

Next thing you know, he'll be interviewing celebrities while he rocks.

There's such an interesting dichotomy with this latest expression of 2 year-old independence.

On the one hand, it's exciting to see him turn from a baby to a little boy, full of energy, enthusiam, preferences, a desire to imitate and learn from Big Brother, and a heaping spoonful of bull-headedness

On the other hand, it makes me a little sad--or at least sentimental--that as he becomes a "big boy" he wants us to cuddle and rock him less and less.

Fortunately, despite this desire to "rock solo", Little Brother still enjoys laying his head down on my shoulder and "dancing", which is pretty much rocking without the chair.

The end of "dancing" is probably around the corner, too, but therin lies (part of) the sweetness of having more children: the opportunity to prolong that phase of total dependence on Mom-E and Dad-E.

One of the best feelings in life is a small child cuddling in your arms, relaxing to the point of just melting in to you, filled with unconditional trust.

And That's The Truth. Plllllllllll.

Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

Friday, October 23, 2009

Home Sweet Home



It's great to be back in the land of Fatherhood Friday!

Don't forget to check out the great bloggers over at Dad-blogs.com!

I, however, am excused from that activity for today.

You see, yesterday, I was on the other side of the "big pond".

"Dad-E, how many airplanes did you ride?" asks Big Brother.


3! Yes, three.



And now Dad-E is:


HOME!



And here's how everyone felt about Dad-E's return:


HAPPY!



"Dad-E, did you bring us any dinosaurs?" ask Big and Little Brother (they think I rode all those airplanes to go buy them dinosaurs).

YES!



And here's how Mom-E is doing after my trip:


Completely EXHAUSTED! (So exhausted that she's now a teeny, tiny, Mom-E).



So the least I could do was bring her a relaxation "kit":






(N.B. MASSAGE WAS A BDAY GIFT PLANNED FOR USE AFTER MY RETURN)


And here's what we're both going to do while the boys play with their new toys:


ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!



Have a good weekend!
Shh! I'm sleeping.
Busy-Dad-E