Monday, June 29, 2009

Sleep a Mile in His Shoes

They say that you don’t know a man child until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.

Well, if that’s the case, Little Brother is making his best effort to know his Big Brother, both while awake and asleep.

As I’ve mentioned several times before, such as here and here, Little Brother is going through a phase where he REALLY looks up to Big Brother, and he tries to emulate him in EVERY WAY. If Big Brother refuses to eat something, Little Brother pushes it away, too. If Big Brother laughs, Little Brother chuckles right along side him, regardless of whether he gets the joke. You get the idea. It’s pretty cute.

And it helps that Big Brother (usually) likes Little Brother. They have a growing ability to communicate with each other nonverbally, if not telepathically. This usually occurs in the form of an evil grin that screams, “Let’s do something mischievious.” When they think Mom-E and Dad-E aren’t looking too closely, they appear to be having fun together.

Little Brother is also going through a phase where he also loves to wear SHOES that are not his own. Sometimes, these are mine, but usually they belong Big Brother. And lately, he exclusively prefers a worn-out pair of Lightning McQueen sandals from Target. They’re too small for Big Brother, but still a little clunky for Little Brother. Check out his kicks:

(The best part is that he ALWAYS puts them on backwards. Except for this picture, of course--spiteful child :)

He doesn’t care one bit. He wears them all over the house. He gets upset when we try to put on HIS shoes. He doesn’t even want to take them off at bedtime.

Below is a picture of the SECOND time we’ve checked on Little Brother at night and found him ASLEEP and STILL WEARING Big Brother’s sandals. Too funny.

Like I said, apparently to really know someone, it’s not good enough to walk a mile in their shoes. I guess you have to sleep a night (or two) in them, too.

Here’s to Little Brother and his best friend, Big Brother. (As you can see from the picture above, if anyone tries to take off his shoes, Little Brother will go all Bam-Bam with his red bat on them. Not really. And if he did, he’d take a trip to Time Out. (In his Lightning McQueen sandals, of course).

Have a good week,

Friday, June 26, 2009

Waiting Room Extra(OB)aganza

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone!

Thanks to for hosting this cornucopia of everything that's good (and sometimes bad and downright ugly) about fatherhood!

And now, a word from our sponsor:
Your friendly neighborhood obstetrician's office, aka "Disneyland For Toddlers!"

I doubt anyone's done a study on this, but at least in our family, taking children to the obstetrician's office brings out all the excitement (and long wait times) of Disney, at a fraction of the price.

It makes sense on some level: taking a child to the OB's office is like bringing them back to the mother ship. They're reunited with the person who yanked (gently) them out of "Hotel Mom-E", and they must have an unconscious awareness that this person is somehow important.

Mom-E had a routine prenatal visit this week, and we brought both of the boys with us because Dad-E was running low on blog ideas and had a strong hunch that this would provide inspiration we love them and take them most everywhere.


Loyal readers hoping for another tale about how Big Brother had to pee incessantly during the (READ: almost 2-hour) wait will be disappointed.

In fact, Big Brother was pretty tame. Between pretending that he was a Super-Reader, playing with my cell phone, and playing with a car Transformer (excuse me, Big Brother), he was content in Fantasyland.

Little Brother, on the other hand, put on an all-around SHOW!

It was like free advertising for the OB. "Look at me. This wonderful little ball of smiles, cuteness, and energy could happen to you if you visit this doctor."

While Mom-E got her vital signs done, he pretty much did a dance on the floor for the nurse.

Tired of Big Brother's #1 antics, Little Brother then decided to go #2 TWICE (see, I told you, it's all about two these days) while we were in the waiting room, exclaiming "Poo-poo!" both times (just in case the rest of the waiting room couldn't tell from the grunting).

Then, he decided to repeatedly stand up on the couch in the waiting room and exclaim, "Hi Everybody!" (Each time Mom-E and I turned about 3 shades of purple.)

Next, a girl toddled in and went across the room, and Little Brother followed her Every. Step. Of. The. Way. What made it even funnier was that, at the time, he was lying on the couch. In order to keep her in his signts, he had to stick his neck around the corner of the couch, and he almost rolled off completely (good catch Mom-E).

Later, he caught sight of a baby in the waiting room. He absolutely ADORES babies right now (hope that trend continues). He started to exclaim "Baby!" and pretty much walked off to go say "Hello", like we were yesterday's garbage.

Without a sign of getting tired (he'd had a 90 minute nap), he then made a bee line for the curtain and potted plant. The curtain was a fun toy to pull on, and he wanted to eat the plant (he kept calling it a fuh-fry, his word for french fry, which he uses to describe any food of that general shape).

Finally, Mom-E was called back to the exam room. It took almost 2 hours (apparently the doctor was delayed by some emergencies). I came from work to meet them, was able to stay for the first hour (which I thought would be plenty of time for the whole visit), and then had to go back to work.

Apparently, Little Brother and Big Brother enjoyed an extended game of using the curtain as a tent to play peek-a-boo after I left.

When the doctor came in, she asked Big Brother if he knew the Bab-E's name?

"SURGERY!" he retorted?!? We have no idea where this came from.

After our trip to Disney the OB, I vote that families with multiple children get a special red-tag that puts them at the front of the line at the doctor's office.

Still, if you're looking for a fun new place to take your kids to play, try the OB's office. It doesn't matter whether or not you have an appointment. Just stay and play for a while, and then leave when they get tired.

We hope to have some news from another ultrasound in about 6 weeks!

Until then, have a good weekend,

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Power of Two

Is it Friday yet? *sigh*

Little Brother, who will turn two sooner than later (AHH! BRIEF FREAK OUT MOMENT), has been obsessed lately with having two of EVERYTHING.

Apparently, both of his hands must be occupied at all times. (I can't think of anyone else in the family who likes to keep busy. *smirk*)

He is also not ashamed to let you know when he has a free hand.

Just this morning, I was carrying him in the kitchen, getting his milk. I opened the cabinet, got a cup out, and started to turn towards the fridge when he shrieked, "I want two!"

"Double-fisting at an early age are we?" I thought. "Only if you plan on washing the cups yourself, my little man. :)"

No matter whether it's food (chips, crackers, or so called "fuh-fries" (anything cyllindrical)), or toys (cars, bouncy balls, etc.), or blankets and stuffed animals for bedtime, he's got to have one for each hand.

The other day, the Brothers' Big and Little were outside playing with Mom-E. Two trucks drove by back-to-back, and Little Brother pointed and exclaimed "Two trucks!"

Then a few minutes later, another vehicle hauling (only one) lawn tractor came by :(. Little Brother immediately blurted out in frustration, "I want TWO tractors!"

Even though he can't officially vote, his fixation with "two" suggests he thinks that we're having twins. We'll just have to tell him he will have two siblings after Bab-E is born.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

P.S. Thanks to, a neat blogging website that has been sending some traffic my way.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dear Mom-E

Dear Mom-E,

It was a wonderful weekend celebrating both Father's Day and our 6th wedding anniversary. A lot has changed for us in the last 10 years (that's putting it gently).

After Big Brother's (tired) screaming fit in the car over a pb cracker that he neither wanted to hold, eat, nor put back in the bag (hey, let's just throw it at Mom-E), we were definitely ready for their "date" with Gramm-E and Grampap.

We had a nice date of our own (I think it was our first true date since our last anniversary). We had some good italian food and cheesecake. We enjoyed a meal without having to coax someone back to the table to eat, and pick up anything someone threw on the floor. We also enjoyed that nobody yelled at the table, the dog didn't pester us to go pee, and no loads of laundry finished as we sat down to eat.

Then we saw Angels & Demons, which both of us read during our honeymoon (can someone beam us back there?). Bab-E was kind enough to ease up on the tiredness to allow you to stay awake through the entire movie (I guess that obstinate child finally listened to our pleas to give you productive energy in the evening). That was the first non-Dinsey/Pixar film I've seen in the theater in a awhile. In fact, I'd almost forgot they still make movies that are not fully animated.

After the movie, we enjoyed a realxing evening at a historic home turned b&b. You actually got to play a little with your "laptop puter" that I got Big Brother you for Mother's Day.

We enjoyed a quiet breakfast together. Again, I'd almost forgot what it was like to sit through an entire meal uninterruped. We both got to read the comics instead of putting them aside on the counter for "later", where later means recycle them a few days later because we didn't have time to read them.

After getting ready for church, we still had 20 minutes to spare. What does one do with such extra time? We sat in chairs under a fan, stunned and in disbelief. We enjoyed going back to the church where we were married. Except that they just started rennovating the sanctuary, and we met instead in the gym. (I love the pictures of you in your wedding dress doing that reverse, 360 dunk. Man, do you got game, woman.)

After church, we went back to join Big Brother, Little Brother, Gramm-E, Pap-Pap, Aunt-E, Uncl-E, and Little Cousin at their neighborhood's pool. Although the relative peace and silence of our date was enjoyable for awhile, I think we both felt a palpable void (even if that void consists of two very active hurricanes). Our lives are not our own anymore, nor would we want them to be. An occasional date is nice, but I think we both prefer the joyful chaos of those two boys. We had tremendous fun playing in the pool and overindulging on good food. We remembered to avoid using spray-on sunscreen and no one got sun-burned.

Thank you for taking a chance on me/us some 10 years ago (even though Pap-Pap originally said it wasn't going to work). You came into my life like a shooting star, and I've never been the same (nor have you). You're my love and truly my best friend. I'm thankful that we approach marriage like a equal partnership. We work together on everything--cooking, cleaning, laundry, yardwork, child-raising--and not just because we "have to" in order to survive. You are constant and unwavering in your beliefs, which is inspiring. You have and still do make me want to be a better person. You are your own harshest critic, which is both a strength and a weakness. You can do ANYTHING you put your mind to because of your work ethic. You're a wonderful mother, wife, and career woman, setting a positive example for the kids (especially because they're boys). In short, you've still got it going on, girl.

There isn't anyone else I'd rather have sitting by my side in this roller coaster of life. (Let's just put the kids in the seats in FRONT of us, in case they throw-up).

I love you,

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Victoria's Wireless

I rather detest shopping for new cell phones.

Mom-E feels the same about Victoria's Secret.

(But we both love Fatherhood Friday over at Check it out!)

At first glance, these first two places have nothing in common. Give them a closer look and they're strikingly similar. Let's compare.

1. Both have very pushy sales people, who bombard you the moment you walk in the store and want you to sell you something expensive, regardless of what you, the customer, actually want.

1a. You walk into Victoria's Secret, and instantly a saleswoman mobs you saying, "Omygosh, you just have to try on this new Double-Back Racer-Back Super Silicone Bra. It goes SOOO well with all the new summer fashions."

"But I'm a guy, and I'm here to redeem my wife's card for a free pair of underwear. She doesn't own any of those kinds of tops."

"Yeah, I think the Double-Back Racer-Back will work great for her."

"Help! My IQ is plummeting as we speak."

1b. You walk into Verizon Wireless to upgrade your phone. The sales clerk says, "I think you need this new Boisenberry Hurricane phone, and today only you can get a special plan with 1,000,000 anytime minutes and unlimited media for only $19,999 per month."

"But I just want a cheap phone. Give me the fewest anytime minutes and let me pay per text. That's all. It's going to break 2 months before I'm eligible for a new phone anyway."

"So do you want one Boisenberry or two?"

"I don't know. It depends on whether the first one breaks when I hit you with it."

2. They make all of their money with the "extras."

2a. At Verizon, you can pretty much get 2 new phones for free with upgrades and rebates. But, by the time you get a new car charger, case, headset, etc., you still end up dropping $100. Because, of course, they keep changing the USB cables so that NONE of your old stuff is compatible. I'd almost give them $100 just to let me out of the store more quickly. Almost.

2b. At Victoria's Secret, the card for the free underwear is just to get you in the door. When you walk in, you pass through some special ionizing radiation that causes your lady's bra to break, right there in the store. Suddenly, a trip for free underwear turns into $100 for one of those "Double-Back Racer-Back" things, which will break the next time you get another free underwear coupon.

(As a guy, I have a hard time understanding this phenomenon. I buy my underwear in a package at Target. For what it costs for a bra for Mom-E, I can buy like 20 pairs of underwear. I'm glad I'm a guy.)

You're thinking, what exactly does this have to do with fatherhood and children?

Truthfully, not much, except that we took the boys to Verizon the other night shopping for new phones. Fortunately, my two technophiles LOVED it.

Earlier in the day, my phone died. Check that, my replacement phone died. My original phone died, you guessed it, 2 months before we were elegible for an upgrade. Fortunately, Aunt-E's husband let me borrow his old phone, which lasted until just after we were eligible for upgrades. Check that, I had to borrow a battery from my father-in-law, because the battery in the replacement phone lasted about 5 minutes (so long as you didn't use the phone).

Are you beginning to see why I despise cell phone shopping?

(Now you're thinking, so that's why Dad-E took Mom-E's cell phone for a little ride.)

While we were waiting, some highlights of the boys' activities:
1. Big Brother activated a VERY LOUD alarm while trying to free a phone from its display, requiring an employee to turn it off.

2. Little Brother turned on a phone's MP3 player, again VERY LOUD, that took
Mom-E and I a full 2 minutes to turn off.

3. Both boys tested the tensile strength of the security cord attaching the phone to its display. Repeat for every phone in the store. And pushed all of the buttons.

4. Big Brother had to go potty. Twice. You guessed it. Of course, this
required an employee escort. The clerk actually asked me, "Are you going to go with him?" "No, I'm going to let a 4 year-old wander alone in the back room of a store and try to find the potty himself when he has to pee RIGHT NOW. Do you have any extra Boisenberry Hurricanes back there?"

5. Little Brother spilled Crispix crumbs all over the carpet (as a "thank you" for the high quality service, I presume.) To paraphrase Phoebe Buffet, "I wish I felt bad about the mess, but I didn't want to."


I think the two stores should merge. Call it either Verizon's Secret or Victoria's Wireless (I kinda like the latter).

They can continue to sell both phones and underwear, but they can also develop a line of (expensive) integrated products, like underwear with built in phone/blue-tooth.

If we're lucky, the two stores will annihilate each other in the merger.

Have a good weekend (we'll be shopping for "Double-Back Racer-Backs"),

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Big Brother Explains Wedding Receptions

Today brings the next installment in our “Big Brother Explains” series, where my precocious 4 year-old gives his “how-to” through his own eyes (usually literally through his pictures).

If there's one thing Big Brother knows how to do, it's have fun at a wedding reception.

Every time we've taken him to a wedding reception, my generally quiet, reserved, introverted guy (in public, anyway) flips a magic switch somewhere and turns into Mr. Personality. It's amazing. When the lights are flashing and the music is pumping, Big Brother and his booty are out on the dance floor getting their groove thing on (except for occasional trips back to the table for french fries or cake.)

(The wedding itself, on the other hand, usually gets little attention beyond the "what's that girl wearing a white dress for?" question.)

Last weekend was no different. We were at a wedding reception from about 6:30 to 10pm, and we literally had to drag Big Brother off the dance floor (Little Brother could barely keep his eyes open) to get him to leave.

The highlight was a guest appearance by the college mascot of the bride and groom's alma mater. This mascot held a dance-off with any willing guests. Big Brother has patented a "dance move", where he puts three limbs on the ground and kicks one leg up in the air. Unfortunately, he was just a little too scared of the mascot to go on the dance floor and do it, otherwise he might've won (you could see in his body language that he just couldn't quite bring himself to go out there.)

Okay, without further ado, here's how to have fun at a wedding reception according to Big Brother

Step 1. Make sure you get to sit next to the flower girl, the cutest girl who is likely to dance with you (apart from Mom-E).

Step 2. Surround yourself with close friends.

Step 3. Wait until everyone is served before eating.

Step 4. Make sure the lighting is adequate.

Step 5. Dress for success.

Step 6. Do not drink too much prior to going out on to the dance floor (it makes the room spin).

Step 7. If no one will dance with you, drag someone out there (preferably a Little Brother, who is smaller than you, for now).

Step 8. After you've danced 'til you can't dance no more, have Dad-E carry you and make him dance for you.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

P.S. Update on our new neighbor, who continues to occupy the cabinet next to the sink. Big Brother has decorated his new phat pad for a 4 year-old abode. Take a look at his handiwork.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Food Battle Royale

It's time for "Plan B" on the eating front.

I've written several times about the eating exploits of Big Brother (and, to a lesser extent, Little Brother): 1, 2, and 3.

While I appreciate your positive spin on Big Brother as a "discriminating eater," calling a spade a spade: he's picky.

This weekend, Mom-E and I opted for a major change in our approach, because what we were doing isn't working. If anything, Big Brother has been even a little more restrictive in his eating lately.

Not to mention Little Brother tends to follow the lead of Big Brother*, so it's not helpful to him either.

(*Except at daycare, where Little Brother will eat fish sticks, chicken nuggets, pancakes, scallopped potatoes, chicken pot pie, etc?!? Go figure.)

My mom would often fix separate meals for me as a kid if I didn't like what we were having. We're not going to repeat that for Big Brother.

So we went to the pediatrician last week to talk about this. In short, Big Brother is healthy and growing just fine (how I'm not sure?) (about 50th percentile for weight, so he's not starving).

We're just going to give him what everyone else is eating (which, of course, includes some things he likes. We don't eat a weird diet of seaweed and kelp or anything.) He can eat what he wants and refuse the rest. We won't make a big deal about it. Eventually, he'll grow tired of being hungry and will start to try some new stuff.

To give you an idea, for lunch yesterday we had pb sandwich (no crusts, cut into shape of dinosaurs), goldfish crackers, carrot sticks, watermellon, and chocolate milk). He ate the watermellon and milk (and a bit later the crackers).

If he gets hungry later, we'll offer to heat up his "left-overs." However, the rest of the crackers, chips, granola bars, etc., are all now on the very top shelf of the pantry where he can't reach them.

Being a precocious and logical future engineer, Big Brother's first strategy was to build a "tower" with step-stool and chair in order to reach the coveted items in the pantry. This attempt failed He sucessfully found one way that did not work.

So far, things have gone a hair better than expected. We've had some yelling and frustration, but a few signs of positive change:

1. He's not screaming continuously in protest of "yucky things" on his plate. He just pushes them aside.

2. We went to a wedding this weekend (more details in a future post), and he got the children's meal (chicken tenders and fries). He actually ate some of the fries. This is progress because he pretty much only eats fries from Chik-Fil-A, so, to eat "foreign" straight-cut fries is progress.

3. He ate 2 homemade waffles last night (albeit it was about 3 hours after dinner, before he went to bed). Again, he's had these before, but usually prefers the Eggo variety.

I'll keep you posted.

Have a good week!


P.S. Don't forget to vote in the "What Are We Having?" Poll on the upper right of the blog. Many of you have already voiced your opinion that it's a girl, but let everyone be heard. Mom-E and I will keep silent about this--we just want a healthy Bab-E.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dear Bab-E

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone! This letter brought to you by Dad Blogs, the number 3, and the letter E.

Dear Bab-E,

Your Mom-E and I are so excited that you'll be joining our family (ex utero) in the not too distant future! I can't wait to meet you, and neither can your Mom-E and brothers!

In the meantime, I hope you're enjoying your time in the dark, pee-filled sac inside hotel Mom-E (hey, look it up, amniotic fluid is basically baby pee). I trust you're finding the environment cozy and conducive to your needs (i.e., growth and development). The feedback from your brothers was positive.

You've already distinguished yourself from your siblings in several ways:
1. You're the first child that I was not at home the moment we found out we were expecting you. That said, Mom-E and your brothers rushed over to my work right away so that we could all share in the good news. Everyone was very happy.

2. Many highlights of your life, including times before you are born, will be chronicled on this blog, whereas I started it when your brothers were about 4 and 1. I hope you'll enjoy reading it in the future.

3. You are presently making Mom-E more tired than she's pretty much ever been in her life. At least you've eased up on the nausea part, but it's no small feat to make her that tired.

It is my first hope is that you'll be a happy, healthy Bab-E. We loved seeing your heartbeat on the first ultrasound. You're about the size of a cashew right now, and at the right angle you kinda resemble one.

If you're a boy, I predict that you'll come "out of the box" with a personality like Scrappy Doo. You'll have to be a bit feisty in order to keep up with 2 older brothers.

If you're a girl, all I can say is that you'll be well-protected by your older brothers (and Dad-E). Please note that protected is not a substitute for being a strong person. You will be both strong and protected.

For now, just know that Mom-E and I love you for who you are. We'll always be there for you.

Mom-E will take good care of you in her hotel.

I will continue to talk to you nightly through the wall to your room (aka belly button), even though your ears haven't fully developed yet. Mom-E thinks it's funny (but very cute). I'm convinced that you know it's me.

I love you,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Won't You Be My Neighbor

We have a new neighbor.

Nope, I'm not talking about next door or across the street.

Nor am I talking about the boys having a new found obsession with Mister Rogers.

I'm talking about the cabinet next to the sink in our kitchen.

Big Brother has apparently decided that this is his new "home".

It's quite cozy, about 18 x 24 x 24 inches. Even has room for a (rather small) guest. Completely unfurnished without lighting.

We've always designated this cabinet, which is filled with Rubbermaid containers of assorted shapes and sizes, as the one cabinet that the boys can play in. It's the only one without a child lock.

The boys have always enjoyed rummaging around in there, but this weekend Big Brother took it to a new level.

This time, he took out literally EVERYTHING in the cabinet, including the shelf.

It's a great hiding place.

When it was bathtime, he huddled in there naked, save his blanket.

When it was bedtime, he annouced that he wanted to sleep, not in his bed, but in his house. He was pretty insistent, and would've made a bee-line for the house cabinet if we hadn't blocked him. For a while, I wondered if we were going to have to invest in some soft restraints to keep him in bed.

Fortunately, we convinced him to have a sleep-over at OUR (Mom-E and Dad-E's) house, in the "guest" bed.

The next morning, however, the first words out of his mouth were, "I want to go to my house."

No trip to the bathroom, no breakfast, just his house.

This is going to be fun. I'm sure Mom-E and I won't grow tired of taking out all of the Rubbermaid out of there several times a day (otherwise, he'd probably just fling it out all over the floor). After all, Big Brother is not the least bit strong-willed.

I can remember doing something similar as a child with all of the pots and pans in the cabinet next to our stove.

All of this reminds me of the scene in "A Christmas Story" when Randy is crying in the cupboard, waiting for his father to come home after Ralphie's fight.

We'll keep you updated on our new neighbor. Below is a picture of him (and his first house guest), probably plotting how to best take-over his new neighbors (aka Mom-E and I).

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Quick Sniff-Sniff

Dogs do this to each other when they first meet, as a way of saying "hello" I suppose.

Parents (especially those with babies) do this frequently, too, but for a different reason.

(If you see anyone else doing this, I'd start to worry.)

I'm talking about the quick sniff-sniff of the behind. You know, the "did you poop?" check, where the parent raises the baby up with both arms to get a direct whiff of the diaper area.

Sometimes, if the result of the "did you poop?" check is equivocal, then the child is passed (often across a table) to the other parent for a second opinion.

If the second "did you poop?" check is equivocal, then the gold-standard is to pull-back the pants and diaper (resulting in a wedgie somewhere) for direct visualization. (Even this technique is subject to an occasional missed dirty diaper.)

As you may know, we're expecting our third child.

This is one aspect of parenthood that always makes me chuckle.
(I'm sorry that the conversation has degraded to the topic of poop. Just ask my extended family. I think it's a function of having small children).

Fortunately, we're not the only parents who do this check, as Mom-E and I have witnessed countless other parents engaged in the same behavior, in public no less. (It's NOT quirky if other people do the same thing!)

I'm not really sure why parents (including myself) check for dirty diapers in this fashion.

Wouldn't it make more sense to just lay the baby down on the changing table (or substitute changing table--e.g., bench, floor, back of a large dog, etc.) and look?

Are we that afraid of being caught off-guard by a messy poopy diaper?

Or, are we just too tired to make another trip to the changing table or bathroom, and we somehow conserve time and energy by sniffing out false alarms?

What do we do if we have a cold and can't smell?

Maybe it's our preoccupation with strong smells (in both the good or bad direction)? I mean, if something smells horrible, the first thing we do is turn to the person next to us and say, "Hey, get a whiff of this!"

"That's terrible!"

"I know!"

"So why did you need me to confirm it?!?"

Just as we were starting to get out of that stage (although Little Brother is still inconsistent about telling us when his diaper is dirty), we'll being going right back there soon.

Oh, what fun things we have to look forward to. Time to tune-up the old sniffer.


Have a good week,

Thursday, June 4, 2009

"T" is for Tired Ball

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone! Welcome to readers new and old. Thanks to for this great forum.

On Tuesday, I got to watch Big Brother's t-ball game for the first time (I've been to several practices, but missed the first game due to travel for work).

Big Brother's excitement level for t-ball was somewhere between drowsy and lethargic.

Apparently, rushing around to get to the game used up most of his excitement. The game started at 6pm, which is a little challenging for us, as Mom-E is also at work on Tuesdays.

I left work at 4:15, picked-up the boys from their at-home daycare, drove them home, fed them "dinner"/snacks (prepared the night before) (while letting them watch Bob the Builder--the only way to get Big Brother dressed when in a rush--and they have to eat before the game or they'll morph into Crabby Bears), and then drove to t-ball.

We made it into the car by about 5:40 (albeit neither child was wearing shoes). Big Brother hadn't taken a nap, and as I might've predicted, he fell asleep in the car.

We get to the t-ball field right at 6pm. I put Big Brother's shoes on first, and then wake him up. He is not thrilled to be at t-ball (and a wee bit groggy). He proceeds to sit down beside the car and mope while I put shoes on Little Brother and get him out of the car.

We head towards the field, I'm carrying Little Brother, Little Brother's sippy cup and hat, and the diaper bag, all the while using my cattle-prod voice to encourage Big Brother to move along.

As we're walking, Little Brother finds it amusing to pull off my hat, exposing my balding head to the 90-degree blazing sun (Oh spray-on sunscreen, where are you when I need you.)

I begin to wonder where the Candid Camera people are, or at the very least the whereabouts of neon sign over my head that reads "If you think this is funny, just wait 'til he's got 3."

(I'm sorry bab-e, you have no idea what you're getting into.)


Already exhausted, we arrive midway through his team's first at-bat.

Big Brother goes through much of the game in a TOTAL FOG. Fortunately, he's out in left-center field, where absolutely NOTHING gets hit.

At one point, right in the middle of the game as someone is batting, he starts running right across the field towards me. You guessed it, he had to pee. Fortunately, Mom-E has arrived from work by this time, and is able to assist His Urinariness.

At a few other instances during the game, we spot Big Brother grabbing his crotch out in the outfield. Mom-E and I fear the worst (an impending pee-a-thon), but are relieved (pun intended) that he's just trying to keep his pants up. (He has a belt, but there is no such thing as baseball pants that fit 4 year-olds. Several small clowns could fit into those pants).

Big Brother gets to bat twice. He actually hits the ball pretty solidly up the middle (most of the kids hit just a little trickle to the pitcher's mound). However, after he hits, he stands there with NO idea what to do (or is too tired or too afraid to move).

This phenomenon generalizes to most of the kids. They hit the ball, and then stand there with a neon sign over their heads reading "What do I do now?" Only after much yelling encouragment from coaches and fans do the kids run to first base.

Big Brother manages to run the bases (most of them). He makes it to third. On the next hit, instead of heading home, he makes an excursion to the pitcher's mound (the more direct route back to the dugout).

His fatigue becomes even more evident as the game progresses. At the changover between innings, after all the other kids from his team have returned to the dugout, he's still standing out in left-center, staring aimlessly.

He has no clue that he's alone out there. Maybe it's because he's adjusted his hat so big that it's covering his eyes and most of his upper face.

To add insult to injury, there are two other kids there, one on each team, also named "Big Brother." This is another source of confusion, as he starts to run out of the dugout every time someone calls out, "Big Brother", even when it is not his turn.

At 7pm the game is over. Out of nowhere, the opposing team let's out a loud cheer, and the players run through a 10 yard-long tunnel created by the arms of the parents.

Big Brother, on the other hand, manages to be carried IN the arms of his parents, his head plunked down on my shoulder.

Now I know what they mean by "Take me out with the crowd."

We'll try it again next week, hopefully with a longer nap before the game.

Have a good weekend,

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Spray-On Sunscreen

Trying to put sunscreen on a young child is about like trying to paint a chicken with a watercolor brush:
1. First, you've got to catch 'em.
2. Then, you've got to hold 'em down long enough to get them covered.

By the time you've done the above, you're too exhausted to go outside (or you've forgotten what you were doing in the first place, or it's now raining, or it's lunch/nap time). You get the idea.

This past weekend, we made a whirlwind trip to the beach to meet up with some friends. Amazingly, Mom-E's morning all-day sickness got better at the beach. I think we'll get her OB to write a prescription for "beach therapy."

Given our past experiences with sunscreen, you can imagine how excited we were to finally own some spray-on sunscreen. (I'm sure it's been available for years, and we're just now getting around to trying it out.)

The brand we bough was called "Up&Up." It was labeled as "sweat-proof", "don't need to rub it in," etc., etc., etc.

Well, we spray-painted sunscreened the boys REALLY well with this stuff (except for their faces, for which we used regular sunscreen). I mean like two coats of "Krylon-new" on a park bench well. Then we reapplied midway through our time at the beach.

Mom-E and I also tried this stuff.

Let me just say that it did NOT work well.

Everyone got some sun burn to some extent. Not terrible, but sun burn of any kind is bad.
Big Brother got the worst of it, but even parts of Little Brother’s arms were red. We also have some interesting tan/burn lines.

Apparently, the stuff is appropriately named, because “Up&Up” refers to what it will do to you long-term skin cancer risk.

If we had it to do all over again, maybe some things on our end would’ve helped: rub in the sunscreen, spray more often, let it dry longer before going back in the water.

The bottom line is that our experience with spray-on sunscreen parallels much of my attitude about life. To do things “right”, to really do a good job, takes an investment of time and effort, whether that’s raising children, a marriage, a job, or a blog.

It reminds me of the quote, “Happiness is the fruit of the desire and ability to sacrifice what we want now for what we want eventually.”

I guess this goes for sunscreen, too. Next time at the beach, we’ll be chasing the chickens boys down to paint them load them up with good old-fashioned sunscreen. “Up&Up” is for the chickens birds.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Monday, June 1, 2009

Potty Training 2.0

This post is a bit long. You might want to read it when you're sitting on the potty (and plan to sit for a little while).


One of the enjoyable aspects of having two (soon to be three) children is the uniqueness of their development.

If you read books, you might get the impression that child development is very linear:

"At 6 months they should be able to make a tower of 3 cubes. At 9 months they should be able to make a tower of 4 cubes. Etc, etc."

The reality is that child development is discrete. All of a sudden, they can do something they weren't able to do the day before:

"Yesterday Big Brother couldn't tie his shoes. Today, he can tie his shoes and charge $500 from to Dad-E's credit card." (he didn't)

After a fair amount of initial anxiety, Mom-E and I decided that as long as the boys continue to make progress and "do new things" (and their pediatrician thinks they're doing okay), who cares whether they walk at 12 months or 12.5 months, etc.

In fact, "pushing" your child can have adverse effects. Mom-E and I probably tried to "encourage" Big Brother's walking too much. This probably contributed to him being a "closet walker" (i.e., he could walk, but didn't want others to know that he could.)


And with that background, on to potty training 1.0.

Big Brother was potty trained just after he turned 3, when Little Brother was just a few months old.

He started showing a little interest in the potty just before Little Brother was born. We figured that if we made a big effort to potty train him then, he'd just regress after Little Brother came along.

Big Brother was potty trained using the "shotgun" approach. (No, it didn't involve weapons or threats.)

One weekend, we told Big Brother, "You're 3. You're a big boy now. Big boys don't wear diapers. They wear big boy underwear."

And so, he and I gathered up all of the diapers in the house, put them in a trash bag, and threw them away in the dumpster (and I later recovered them for storage until Little Brother needed them, unbeknowst to Big Brother.)

We had bought Big Brother about 15 pairs of underwear with his favorite characters: Thomas, Bob the Builder, and Spiderman. We told him, "Your job is to keep your underwear dry."

And then we gave him unlimited access to fluids, if not "pushed" fluids on him.

Those of you who are regular readers of the blog are already laughing, as sometimes Big Brother has to pee 6 times in an hour even when he hasn't had anything to drink.

Well, Big Brother was initially afriad to "let go" of the pee-pee into the potty (he screamed so loud that we were afraid we'd inflicted permanent psychological damage.)

But he also didn't like wet pants.

And so, when he did "let go" in the potty, he liked the praise and cheers and stickers and treats A LOT. It worked.

Just like much of child development, potty training Big Brother was quite discrete (just not the part about having the whole family in the bathroom at the same time). Within the weekend, he was pretty much using the potty during the day without accident (or at least only minor dribbles.)

Nights were another story for our heavy sleeper. We decided to forgo pull-ups in favor of an extra load of laundry, as to not "confuse him." But that's for another post.


Fast forward now to the present day.

Just last weekend, Little Brother started showing an interest in potty training. And not just an "I want to stick my hand in the potty and swirl it around" kind of interest.

This is one of the nice things about having several children. The younger ones look up to the older ones, and want to copy them (at least it's a nice thing when we're talking about good behaviors.)

"My Big Brother goes potty, so I want to go potty," says Little Brother.
(Okay, not his exact words, because if they were, he'd be on tv somewhere.)

This is amazing to Mom-E and I for two main reasons:
1. He's only 18 months old, and let's face it, boys are usually a little "slower" to potty train than girls (or dogs for that matter.)

2. We're expecting child #3, and only having 1 child in diapers would be SWEET!

What's even more amazing to us is that Little Brother has not only the interest, but the ability to tell us that he's got to go potty.

Last weekend, he did just that and actually peed in the toilet 2 or 3 times. He was very proud of himself.

Thank you, Elmo potty seat!

The funniest part of when he goes potty (besides the fact that it looks like the potty could swallow him whole), is that he repeatedly asks for toilet paper while sitting. He points to the paper and exclaims, "Wash! Wash!", and proceeds to drop it into the potty (without it touching anything). Where he came up with "wash" we have no idea.

Hopefully, potty training 2.0 will be completed before Bab-E comes along.

Okay, I've been typing for a while, and now I have to pee.

Have a good week,