Friday, July 31, 2009

On The Move


Happy Fatherhood Friday Everyone!

Big Brother is on the move, but dad-blogs.com is here to stay. Check it out!

You may remember that Big Brother recently moved out of his room and into the cabinet next to the kitchen sink.

We all thought his kitchen bachelor pad was pretty sweet, but apparently it didn’t have quite enough mystique for Big Brother.

He recently moved out of the cabinet and has now upgraded to the toy box in his room.

Technically, this does not count as Big Brother moving back into his room.

Inspired by a new-found obsession with Batman, Big Brother refers to his new digs as “The Batcave.” (Except when he calls it the 3rd Little Piggy’s house from the 3 Little Pigs, but that’s a post in and of itself).

Apparently, Batman is actually part vampire (at least it looks like a vampire sleeping in a coffin). I’ll let you be the judge.


And, in order to ensure that Little Brother won’t try to move into the Batcave, too, he asked Mom-E to empty tidy up the cabinet next to the kitchen sink so that Little Brother could move in there.

The toys in the toybox are a little upset about being evicted.

Well, maybe it’s Mom-E and Dad-E who are more upset than the toys.

Fortunately, we were reassured by Big Brother. When asked about his toys, he replied, “It’s okay, Dad-E, I’ll just keep the them right there.”

“Oh, you mean in front of your closet blocking your door. Yeah, that’s a great place for them. We’ll only trip over them a few times a day that way.”


I can’t wait to see where he sets up shop next.

Until his next move, have a good weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Assigned Shoes

SORRY EVERYONE. PUT UP THIS POST EARLIER TODAY, BUT IT GOT BURIED AMIDST OTHER POSTS BASED ON WHEN I STARTED WRITING IT. HERE IT IS.

*****

You may remember that Little Brother has been OBSESSED with shoes lately, particularly wearing Big Brother’s old Lightning McQueen sandals.

Well, his interest in shoes has expanded.

The focus of his attention is now a pair of Mom-E’s sandals.

It’s not quite what you may think. No, it has nothing to do with a little boy wearing his Mom-E’s shoes.

Nope, it’s about ensuring that Mom-E is wearing HER sandals.

For unknown reasons, Little Brother is currently obsessed with ensuring that Mom-E is NOT going barefoot.

What’s funny is that Mom-E doesn’t even wear that particular pair of sandals very much.

Well, at least not until now.

“SHOES! Mom-E, SHOES!” he exclaims, should she dare even slip her foot out of them for a moment.

Apparently, Little Brother has taken it upon himself to prevent her from being “barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen” in our house.

Or, worse, if he discovers she’s not wearing the assigned sandals, he will go and find them and bring it them to her, demanding that she put them on, regardless of whether or not she is wearing socks or a DIFFERENT pair of shoes.

And it has to be THAT pair of shoes. "White shoes, Mom-E! White shoes!"

Trying to be fair and balanced, Mom-E is not the only target of this type of obsession.

Little Brother has the same reaction if I try to take off my glasses.

That’s about it from here for now. The boys are asleep, so I think I’m going to go rest my eyeballs, while Mom-E enjoys a little barefoot time.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

Monday, July 27, 2009

Play That Tune

I’m glad you’ve tuned in today.

These days, it’s always fun when we’re riding in the car together as a family.

Big Brother and Little Brother can be like Statler and Waldorf (the two old, bickering codgers from the Muppets) when it comes to their music selections.

Big Brother prefers to listen to either a CD of Christian music, or an audio story CD of the book “A Bad Case of Stripes” by David Shannon.

(As an aside, we highly recommend any books by David Shannon, writer and illustrator. The main character in many of his books, David (himself as a boy), is quite mischevious and we can very much relate to his antics.)

Little Brother counters with his request for “all Raffi all the time.”

And so they argue back and forth.

“I want Jesus.” Or “I want Camilla.” (the main character in the Stripes book.)

“No, I want Raffi.”

We’re still working on taking turns. This is where Mom-E and I usually have to regulate (i.e., keep track of who got to pick the last time.)

When Camilla is playing, Big Brother pretty much refuses to get out of the car. Even if we get home and it’s a bazillion degrees in the garage, he will stay buckled into his car seat until it’s finished.

When Raffi is playing, Little Brother has a small conniption between songs. Afraid that the CD is over (or worse, that we’re going to switch to Camilla), he exclaims “I want more Raffi!” between EVERY song (there’s only about 19 on the CD, so we hear this 18 times).

While the CD’s are enjoyable in small doses, when you get to athe point where you have the lyrics memorized, they get a little tedious.

If you’d like to donate to the “Earplugs for Mom-E and Dad-E fund”, just let me know.

Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mid-Summer Meltdown


Happy Fatherhood Friday Everyone!

It's summertime, which means swimming, grilling out, and chilling at dad-blogs.com .

This week I'm reminded why I subtitled my blog "Fatherhood Uncensored", because I talk about the good, the bad, and utter meltdown tantrums.

An advantage of talking about the not-so-glorious side of fatherhood is empathy from those of you who have been/are there, as well as the obligatory snicker from Weasel Momma and others that, "This is funny because it didn't happen to me."

If you're able to laugh while reading my moments of anguish (which I, too, will later laugh at), then I've done my job. In the meantime, let me know where I can send your therapy bill.

Tuesday was one of those utter meltdown tantrum kind of days.

We'd finished dinner, cleaned up the mess (or at least the worst of it) while the boys chilled with an episode of WB's "The Batman", and then it was time to play.

The boys wanted to go outside, and so did I.

Mom-E had a busy day at work and needed a few moments of peace before joining us, so I gathered up the boys and the dog and we headed to the front yard.

Since we haven't walked the dog in months a little while, my ultimate plan was to go for a little stroll when Mom-E joined us. Little Brother (for some reason) loves to ride in his umbrella stroller, and Big Brother likes to ride his bike.

In the meantime, I'm walking around yard with the dog on his leash, playing with the boys.

Because they're typical young boys, we go through a variety of activities in a matter of minutes
before finally "settling" in to two completely different things that require me to be on opposite
sides of the yard simultaneously.

Activities that didn't make the cut included:
1. Soccer - We kicked the ball back and forth a grand total of about four times before "we" became bored with that.

2. Coloring the driveway with sidewalk chalk - This went by the way side when Little Brother dumped out the contents of the entire container.

3. Golf - We got out the plastic clubs, dumped a whole box of old plastic golf balls, and even set up a hole. Both boys had a club. I started to hit the ball when Big Brother screamed "No!", at which point I quickly realized we were no longer playing golf.

And so, the boys settled on:
1. Big Brother has a "Fred Flintsone-style" foot powered red car in which he loves to cruise around the driveway. He decided that his car was now the Batmobile, and it was time to fight some zombies.

2. Little Brother was intent on filling up a watering cannister, which involved wading into the flower beds.

3. Pupp-E was still desperate to go for a walk, and was feeling largely ignored.

After about 15 minutes, Big Brother Batman decided to go back into the house to see when Mom-E would be joining us.

He returned to announce that Mom-E was in "Mom-E and Dad-E's" room and needed "a few more minutes."

This is Mom-E's codespeak for "Mom-E is pregnant, tired after a long day at work, and either needs a nap or needs to go to bed early."

Big Brother had already shifted from his Batmobile to wanting to ride his bike. So, I decided to suggest that we go ahead and take Pupp-E for a walk ourselves.

AND THEN THE FUN BEGAN.

As I get Big Brother’s bike out from the garage, he instantly starts protesting screaming that “I’m not going to wear my helmet.”

“Oh yes you are, buddy, or we’re not going to be able to ride bikes.”

Unfortunately, Big Brother had already made up his mind that he wasn’t going to wear his helmet, and you’ll have better luck arguing with a brick wall than trying to change the mind of a tired, hungry 4 year-old.

Little Brother took the opportunity to take over driving the Batmobile. It was his only defense.

And then the full meltdown tantrum ensued. Somwhere in the midst of things I remember screams of “Dad-E, you’re not listening.” (his new code phrase for “Dad-E won’t do what I want him to do.”, “You bad Dad-E”, and “I’m not talking to you again.”

Next thing I know, Big Brother is running into the house screaming, “Mom-E’s, Dad-E’s being a BAD GUY!”, but not before he puts the garage door down.

And the next thing after that is the locking of the door into the house.

So here I am, left standing in the garage, holding Little Brother in one arm, and Pupp-E’s leash in the other, locked out of my own house, tired, pregnant Mom-E passed out in bed. And, of course, it’s only about a bazillion degrees in the garage.

Big Brother refuses to open the door. I’m left to decide whether I’m going to wake up Mom-E by doorbell or by phone.

Once I’m inside the house, there’s only one course of action. I rip out of his hand take Big Brother’s Transformer, which is placed in time-out on top of the microwave for the rest of the evening. (This is his very most favorite toy right now. Taking it away was pretty much akin to stabbing him in the heart with a dagger.)

Initially, this, of course, resulted in a worsening of our no-holds-barred screaming fit.

However, a few hours minutes of screaming in the tub later, sheer fatigue Calgon has taken away the tantrum.

Next thing I know, we’re reading bedtime stories and giggling uncontrollably. Oh, and there was that little heart-to-heart about never lock anybody in the garage again, EVER.

My mom told me I was going to get the child I “so richly deserved.” Here’s to wishing the same to Big Brother.

Have a good weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

1-2-3 Chocolate

So last Friday we’re sitting at the dinner table, and Mom-E and I were both craving chocolate.

(If left completely unchecked, Mom-E admits that her diet right now would consist exclusively of
chocolate, with the occasional pizza (or at least some cheese) thrown in. Anyone want to wager
if that’s a diet of a mom pregnant with a girl or a boy?)

And, of course, there’s not a single chip of chocolate in the house.

So, as a joke, I attempted to pull an “I Dream of Genie”, and WILL some chocolate to the dinner
table. (If only we were in the land of Harry Potter.)

I counted aloud, “1…2…3…” sand then squeezed my eyes shut, bobbed my head, and…

No chocolate appeared on the table (much to our chagrin). Rats.

But the boys thought it was really funny.

They immediately started to imitate me, although it was hard for them to control their giggling.

Big Brother particularly enjoyed the eye squeezing and the head-bobbing.

Little Brother decided that the secret to making the chocolate appear was to BITE the table
when you bob your head, although he didn’t fare any better than I.

****

Fast forward to Sunday. Mom-E had picked up a brownie mix, as a peace offering to Bab-E.

Finally, a chance for Mom-E to get that chocolate fix.

Little Brother enjoyed his chocolate. Still stuck in head-bobbing mode, he proceeded to eat his
brownie without using his hands. (Apparently he’s training for apples at Halloween.)

Big Brother, on the other hand, said he was TOO FULL to eat his brownie (I guess it was the
pound of strawberries plus blueberries he’d polished off before becoming aware that we
had chocolate, too. “I’ll eat it later,” he said.

Gotta run. Time to stop Mom-E from eating Big Brother’s chocolate now that he’s asleep.

Tonight's dinner menu: Triple Chocolate Stew

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

Monday, July 20, 2009

Where's Your Butt?

Little Brother has learned to name and point to a new body part.

And NO, it's not what the title of the post suggests (get you mind out of the gutter!)

Nope, he's discovered his belly button.

And what's funny is that he calls it his "BUTT."

And what's even funnier is that he now makes us show our midriffs so that he can touch and point out "Dad-E's butt" or "Mom-E's butt" or "Big Brother's butt."

And what's funniest is that he's very interested in our pupp-E's butt, too.

Apparently, our dog does have a belly button, but it's VERY tiny and neither Mom-E nor I can remember or figure out exactly where it is.

I then made the mistake of telling Little Brother that "Pupp-E doesn't have a butt."

He proceeded to cry scream wail his head off.

I mean we're talking he thought the world was going to end because he flooded it with crocodile tears.

Until I told him, "No, wait, there's his butt" (pointing to his xiphoid--the cartilage below his rib cage--where pupp-E loves to be petted and will lie on his back for hours."

Good recovery, Dad-E.

And then all was right with the world again.

We could hardly contain our laughter.

Gotta love the mind of a toddler. Tis a precious thing.

Here's to my butt, and to yours.

Have a good week, I gotta go pick the lint out of my butt now,
Busy-Dad-E

Friday, July 17, 2009

Serendipity


Happy Fatherhood Friday Everyone!

Thanks to dad-blogs.com for giving me that new-dad smell sponsoring this weekly extravaganza of dad blogging.

I was honored last week to be bestowed with the Keepsake Blog award from Super Mega Dad. Be sure to check out the adventures of Super Michael and Princess K! You’ll enjoy it, as I do.


Okay, now you’ve done it. I’m getting a little vah-klempt.

I’ll give you a topic: A Picky Eater neither Picks nor Eats.

Discuss.

*****

Ah, there, much better.

The rules of this award state that I have to tell a sweet or funny keepsake that tells something about myself, and to share the love with 10 of my fellow bloggers.

I.
Coming up with 10 bloggers was easy hard because I neither read 10 different blogs, nor do I know 10 people for that matter, or everyone I know was already nominated and I was the only one left. So, I randomly drew names from a hat picked from amongst my top commenters and/or favorite blogs.

If you “won”, congrats!

If you didn’t, you may never read my blog again, I hope someone else nominates you.

Here they are (in reverse alphabetical order by name, because those people went through years of school at the end of the line.) Enjoy!

Weasel Momma
Surprised Mom
Shank Rabbit
Mocha Dad
Melisa with One S
JonnyTam13
Jason
Isabella
Fezzic
Bella Daddy

II.
And now for the keepsake.

If I could sum up my life in one word, it would be serendipity.

In science, serendipity means that chance occurrences favor the prepared mind. That is, discoveries are made with something “goes awry” and the right person is there to correctly interpret the result.

A more concrete example is that Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin because mold spores from a cantaloupe flew in an open window while he was away on vacation and landed in a petri dish. Rather than throwing away the contaminated dish when he returned to the lab, he was astute enough to recognize that a substance from the mold (i.e., penicillin) had killed the surrounding bacteria. Genius.

Okay, enough of a history lesson.

Probably by divine intervention, many important “steps” in my life have resulted from seredipitious meetings/events.

Meeting Mom-E was one such event.

It was summertime, and I had just come home from my junior year of college. My maternal grandmother, who lived with my parents, had been battling a terminal cancer of the bile ducts of her liver for about two years.

Completely exhausted with “caregiver burnout”, my parents very much leaned on me to help my grandmother eat, toilet, take medications, and to change the dressings of the two tubes extruding from her side, which went into her liver to keep the bile ducts “propped open.”

One late night I was doing something to help her (can’t remember what), and in one of her more lucid moments she told me (paraphrasing here) “You’re going to be rewarded for helping me.”

I wasn’t doing it for a reward. When it’s family, you do it because you couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

I was home about a month when she died (on Aunt-E’s birthday) at the ripe old age of 91.

And it was about a month later that I attended a month-long summer research program for college students.

I think they had about 50 applicants for this particular program. I was fortunate to be one of the 6 people chosen.

One of the other 5 people was, you guessed, it Mom-E.

Serendipity (or coincidence or fate or divine intervention or whateveryoucallit) had also led Mom-E to this program. She had applied to a DIFFERENT summer program that was much closer to home, and was NOT selected. They very well may have lost her application. And so, she ended up getting selected for this program a few hundred miles from home.

Let me just say that very quickly my research interests at this program shifted very quickly from the topics at-hand to “Human Relations.”

In short, I knew a (darn) good thing when I met one, and even though the program was only a month, I wasn’t going to let Mom-E get away easily. Fortunately, she felt the same way. We did the “long-distance-thing” for a year (where we really learned to communicate with each other—I have the phone bills to prove it), before making big decisions to end up living in the same city.

Ten years, a marriage, and 2+1 kids later, we got a little more than we bargained for at that month-long research program.

You must understand that I was my maternal grandmother’s ONLY grandchild. And she was a bit possessive of me, especially when it came to girls. I remember coming home from a date one night, and she slammed the door in my face (presumably because I’d “ignored” her in favor of a girl she didn’t like (for some obscure reason)).

I’d like to think that my grandmother would’ve liked and “approved” of Mom-E.
My grandmother LOVED to crochet. She’d spend her evenings watching tv and crocheting, making about ump-teen blankets.

It turns out that (among her many talents,) Mom-E has a “BLACK BELT IN GRANDMA ARTS.” She can crochet like the wind. I’d like to think that the two of them would’ve instantly bonded over their crafts.

And so, as we sat together holding hands on the beach (at the summer research program, mind you—sounds like a plot for a movie called “Romance of the Nerds”), watching the sunset, I knew in my heart that meeting Mom-E was the “reward” my grandmother had predicted the month before.

Have a good weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Scooby-Doo

“Scooby-Dooby-Doo, Where Are You? We got some work to do now. Scooby-Dooby-Doo, Where Are You?.....”

If you’re like me, the lyrics will now be stuck in your head all day. Consider it Big Brother’s gift to you. :)

Both of my boys have recently discovered the magic of Scooby-Doo. For me, this brings back a host of childhood memories.

We stumbled upon re-runs of Scooby-Doo while surfing the “tv on demand” feature of our cable. There are currently two episodes playing: 1) the one with the dark knight, and 2) the one with the guy in the phosphorescent diving suit.

Have you seen them?

I have.

The (relative) timelessness of Scooby-Doo impresses me. I saw that both of the above episodes were copyrighted 1969. I can remember seeing re-runs of the SAME episodes when I was Big Brother’s age.

Big Brother sums it up well. “Dad-E. I LOVE Scooby-Doo. He’s funny.”

I don’t know whether this is foreshadowing about the sex of our Bab-E, as I’ve said that if Bab-E’s a boy, he’ll have to come out like Scrappy Doo in order to keep up with Big Brother and Little Brother. We’ll see. Stay tuned.

And now, I leave you with my favorite childhood Scooby-Doo memory:

*****
I was about Big Brother’s age (between 4 and 5). My parents had taken me for a weekend matinee performance of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.” (No, they didn’t aspire for me to become a ballet dancer, they just wanted to expose me to some “culture.”)

I made it to intermission sans incident or pee break. Apparently I behaved pretty well.

Then, I turned to my parents and asked, “What time is it?”

They told me.

With a serious, terrified look, I blurted out (quite loudly), in the middle of the theater, “BUT WE’RE GOING TO MISS SCOOBY-DOO!”
Priorities, Busy-Dad-E. Priorities.

So much for exposing the kid to some “culture.”
*****

Do you have a Scooby-Doo memory? I know Mom-E does. Please share with the group.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

P.S. Please pass the Scooby Snacks.

P.P.S. Wouldn’t you love a treat to be named after you, that in turn is used to bribe you to do things? I can hear Mom-E. “Dad-E, will you change that poopy-diaper for a Busy-Dad-E Cake?”

“No.”

“Will you do it for TWO Busy-Dad-E Cakes?”

“Huh-uh.”

“Too bad. Do it anyway. And no Busy-Dad-E Cakes for you.” :)

Okay, apparently I forgot to take my medicine.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Prunerrhea

Little Brother is feeling much better!

Those of you tuning in last week learned that Little Brother had a rough 4th of July weekend, managing to puke/spew/hurl/mung/throw-up/blow chunks on Mom-E at both the fireworks celebration and at the airport the next day. Thanks to those of you who expressed wishes for a speedy recovery.

You may also recall that I diagnosed him with IPD (Intermittent Puking Disorder), because between episodes, he was pretty much himself.

He went to the pediatrician (okay we took him, it's not like we made him hitch a ride or drive himself) last week. The opinion there was that he either 1) had a mild virus, or 2) sometimes kids at that age just puke a little here and there, and as long as it wasn't frequent/getting worse/lingering/dehydration, not to worry.

I vote that #2 is really IPD, and that's what he had. See, I could've been a pediatrician!

By the beginning of last week, Little Brother was back in full swing.

And any doubts that he wasn't well were erased by his GINORMOUS appetite.

You'd think we never fed the kid. He couldn't get enough milk, waffles, muffins, etc., etc., etc.

It was like in the Goonies when they said, "more amazing than the time you (Chunk) ate your weight in Godfather's Pizza."

Except that Little Brother didn't go for pizza.

Nope, he went straight for the prunes. That's right, PRUNES!

If you drew a graph, with "age" on the x-axis and "love of prunes" on the y-axis, it'd look like this, because both kids and the elderly REALLY LOVE prunes:




Mom-E and I kinda got distracted, and when we came-to, it became apparent that Little Brother had consumed about 12 prunes in one sitting.

All was well with the world, until that one fateful diaper change a few hours later.

"Little Brother has diarrhea!" Big Brother exclaimed, barging in on my privacy in the bathroom.

"Oh no," I thought to myself, "first it was vomiting, now diarrhea. Maybe there's more to this illness than just IPD."

Suddenly, the light bulb went off, and I realized it was just the prunes giving him the scoots.

"He doesn't have diarrhea, Big Brother," I explained. "It's just prunerrhea. It's kinda like the time you ate so many blueberries that your poop turned, well, BLUE (NO JOKE, TRY IT YOURSELF AT HOME, IT WORKS). Little Brother ate so many prunes that it made him poop."

It was like the scene in Mr. Mom when they fed the baby chili.

After about 2 episodes of prunerrhea over a few hours, Little Brother was again back in the swing, feeling cleansed by his prune enema.

Okay, that's enough about toddler body fluids for now.

Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

Friday, July 10, 2009

Backpack



Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone! Thanks to those of you who came over here from dad-blogs.com.

If you didn't come from dad-blogs.com, I hope this post makes you want to put on your backpack and hike on over there. Check it out!

*****

Big Brother upgraded to a new backpack over the July 4th weekend.

Big thanks to Great Aunt K, who donned him with the gift (and she is SOOOO smart because she got the EXACT SAME THING for Little Brother. We are indebted to her for her generosity and her foresight, which prevented sibling bickering.)

Big Brother's "old" backpack was a smaller, more toddlery looking Thomas the Train backpack.

As his interest in action figures is growing, Big Brother was VERY EXCITED to upgrade to a bigger, SPIDER MAN backpack (with matching hat and SpongeBob coloring book inside--thanks again, Great Aunt K).

He told us immediately after he got it that, "I have a new backpack because my Thomas backpack was getting kind of old."

"Old" is defined here as about a year and still in good shape.
(Ah, makes me reminisce about getting a new Trapper-Keeper each year for school).

Basically, except for sleep, he's pretty much been wearing it NON-STOP.

This includes:
1. Around the house.
2. At the dinner table.
3. To the bathroom at home.
4. To the bathroom at the grocery store.

And my absolute favorite:
5. While hitting the piñata at the family reunion.



I can honestly say I've never seen a kid hit a piñata while wearing a backpack.

I wasn't sure if he was going to shoot some spider webs out of it to break open the piñata.

You see, he's also decided that the backpack doubles as a special gun to "shoot the bad guys." When he does this it kinda looks like he's trying to toot spider webs out of his back.

And he's very particular about what goes IN the backpack, too.

INCLUSION CRITERIA:
1. Toys
2. Games
3. Coloring stuff
4. Snacks

EXCLUSION CRITERIA:
1. Any and all clothes
2. Little Brother's shoes.
3. Anything belonging to Little Brother for that matter.

He's quite a sight, especially because the backpack is almost as tall as he is. I'm sure he'll grow into it (if he'd ever eat some protein). Enjoy!

Have a good weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fairy Tale

You might be aware that our family was a little tired after our July 4th weekend whirlwind trip.

We got home about 9pm Sunday, and still had to give the boys their baths.

Little Brother was exhausted from Pukestock 2009, and went to bed pretty easily.

Big Brother, on the other hand, was not content to settle down until we had read no less than 85 stories.

After reading about 43, I kissed him goodnight and headed off to unpack while Mom-E finished up the last 42.

Except that after finishing story #85, he wanted one more.

Tired Exhausted on top of pregnant and rencently puked-on, Mom-E had virtually nothing left in the tank.

She opted to tell Big Brother a story, which can be done with eyes closed. He was agreeable to this arrangement.

She told him the story of the Three Little Pigs.

*****

Now, fast forward to Monday evening.

(Remember, I wasn't there when Mom-E told the story.)

We were on the way to the grocery store, and Big Brother asked me to tell the story of the Three Little Pigs.

"Once upon a time,..." da da da... "And the first pig made his house out of STRAW," I said.

"NO!" exclaimed Big Brother. "He made it out of CARDBOARD! Tell it right, Dad-E!"

?????

"Uh, I think it was straw, buddy," I replied.

"No, cardboard. Mom-E is right and you are wrong," he declared.

My hampster wheel started to turn.

Apparently in her extreme fatigue, Mom-E was unsure what the first house was made of, went with her gut, and said "cardboard."

Good guess, Mom-E, but survey says, "X". Sorry, try again.

The words of my father floated into my head, "However you first explain something to a child, that's how it is. Forever."

Big Brother would not budge. Cardboard it was. And is. And ever shall be.

I tried to tell the rest of the story, except that I was unaware of the version where the wolf eats the first two pigs. Mom-E and I reached a consensus that in her version growing up, the wolf had a little ham/bacon appetizer.

We proceeded to have a long, hearty, much needed laugh over "cardboard".

Visions flashed through my head of Big Brother aruguing with his pre-K teacher over this story when he starts school next month.

Oh well, when we get older, we often think back fondly on the way Mom used to make it (or tell it, in this case). Even if she did add a little creativit-e to the fair-e tale.

For now, I think that Mom-E needs some extra sleep.

And the first pig needs to go on Extreme Home Makeover.

More fun from the family reunion to come on Fatherhood Friday. Stay tuned!

See you on then,
Busy-Dad-E

Monday, July 6, 2009

Shoes and Spews

I hope everyone had a nice 4th of July weekend. I enjoyed some time with the family.

However, our weekend was a bit of a whirlwind, and you know what can happen when you get too dizzy (details to follow below).

I got home from my conference at about 10:45 pm on Thursday (missed a connection due to weather), helped Mom-E finish packing, went to bed at about 12:30 am, got up at 3:45 am, and we left for the airport again at 4:30 am. Ouch.

We had a nice time at the family reunion on Saturday.

The only problem was that Mom-E and I weren't very nice to Little Brother.

Of course, I no sooner write a post about how much Little Brother loves shoes, then Mom-E and I manage to FORGET LITTLE BROTHER'S SHOES (AND SOCKS) FOR THE REUNION AT THE HOTEL. I mean, talk about pretty much stabbing the little guy in the heart.

(If I appear to be a professional actor playing a tired, forgetful father, it's because I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Seriously.)

"How could such a travesty happen?" you might think.

In short, it was Big Brother's fault. Okay, not entirely.

We've gotten into the habit lately of waiting to put on Little Brother's socks and shoes until we arrive at our destination. This is because if we try to put them on beforehand, he automatically takes them off in the car, so why bother?

Big Brother became quite upset about having extra clothes, including Little Brother's socks and shoes, in his backpack, and before we left the hotel, pretty much emptied the contents therein on the floor. In the mad rush to leave, apparently Little Brother's socks and shoes were left behind.

Unfortunately, it was about a 45 minute drive from the hotel to the reunion site, so going back really wasn't an option.

Fortunately, Little Brother didn't seem to mind very much. The rain resulted in cancellation of outdoor activities. The large numbers of people indoors made Little Brother quite clingy, and he wanted to be carried around the entire time, thereby negating the need for socks and shoes.

Unfortunately, it turned out that feeling a bit under the weather also contributed to Little Brother's clingyness.

For about a week now, he's had a small number of episodes of spitting up, and seems to be pretty much himself in between.

Well, just before the fireworks started that night, Little Brother put on his own "display." This time he went beyond spitting up all the way to a full-fledged episode of puke your guts out. All over himself and all over Mom-E. I mean hair, face, shirt, pants, and SHOES. Apparently someone Biggie-Sized his puke. Poor Little Brother. Poor Mom-E.

Being pregnant, many smells are intensified for her, and apparently puke is one of those smells.

I raced to their aide, grabbed my puking child (resulting in a mild transfer of puke to my clothes), and helped him to finish while Mom-E was escorted to the shower by other family. I then took Big Brother for a decontamination bath of his own.

Fortunately, everyone was in warm, dry clothes by the time the real fireworks started. Amazingly, Little Brother felt much better after his puke-fest, and was jabbering away like his usual self.

So, this morning, Mom-E and I held back on the milk products, figuring that they might not help Little Brother's stomach.

It didn't make a difference.

Again, out of the blue, we had another (but fortunately much more mild) puke while waiting at the gate for our first flight. It happened while I was taking Big Brother potty (are you surprised?). Apparently, everyone else in the terminal just sat there and looked at Mom-E, I guess waiting for Little Brother's head to start spinning around?

Thanks, guys. Thanks for helping out the pregnant lady with the puking toddler. Go America. Happy 4th to you, too.

Fortunately, we had no more spews the rest of the trip.

I've diagnosed him with IPD = Intermittent Puking Disorder. We'll see what the pediatrician says tomorrow.

Have a good week with NO PUKING (especially in your shoes),
Busy-Dad-E

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Koyaanisqatsi



Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone!

No, I did not sneeze while titling this post, (but I did visit dad-blogs.com, who put on Fatherhood Friday.) Check it out!

Koyaanisqatsi (pronounced Koy-Yawn-Ih-Skot-See) is a Native American word that translates to “Life out of balance.”

In college, I had to watch a movie by the same title that was all about the frenetic pace of life today. No actors, no dialogue. Just music and serial still images shown at high speed (e.g. they took an overhead picture of an intersection every minute for 24 hours and then played them back “rapid –fire” like one of those cartoon flip books.)

This past week, my life has been “out of balance.”

I left for a conference Saturday evening, and as I’m typing it’s Thursday morning, and I’m headed to the airport soon.

Several other colleagues came to the conference. We had an outing one day, which basically got rained out. We went out to dinner once, which was fun, and mingled together at a reception another evening.

Outside of that, I’ve pretty much either been at the conference or holed-up in my room, except to eat or work-out, the continuous rain putting a damper on many potential activities.

At first, the repose from the chaos at home was nice. Being able to just sit and think in silence is a novelty these days. No yelling, no crying, no tv, no music, but no giggling, and no one to talk to or play with, either.

And so, I resorted to my modus operandi for such circumstances: I’ll just delve into work and get some things done so that I can enjoy more free time at home.

Of course, I’ve just made the official transition to a new leadership position at work (though I’ve been working in that role unofficially for the past 3 months). This means many things, which include responding to about 50 emails a day, and making a number of phone calls to ensure things are running smoothly, even while I’m away.

And I got a fair amount of work done on some of my own projects, too.

So much so that I got lost in the work for a few days. I mean I slept, ate, talked to Mom-E and the boys, and exercised, but other than that I was pretty much fixated on work for a few days. This is not inherently a “bad” thing; I like what I do.

However, I usually talk to my dad on the phone most every day. He called last night (he usually waits for me to call), and I realized I hadn’t talked to him in 4 days. It hadn’t even crossed my mind to call.

For almost a week now, I haven’t played with legos, Thomas the Train, sidewalk chalk, or cars. I haven’t watched any children’s tv (or any tv for that matter). I haven’t changed a diaper, or given a bath, or read a bedtime story, or ran through the sprinkler, or chased a naked child around the living room (it’s like catching a fish with your bare hands to get them into the tub sometimes).

And I haven’t carried around one child or the other pretty much all the time (though my back is thankful).

And I haven’t talked to Bab-E. Yes, I routinely put my head close to Mom-E’s baby bump and talk.

I’ve been flexing my work and physical muscles, but my dad muscles have atrophied a bit.

My life has been out of balance. Koyannisqaatsi.

I’ve realized this before, but it seemed to hit me harder this week: There’s always another email or phone call that could be made, another project to work on when the last one is finished. It doesn’t end. “The reward for hard work is more hard work.”

At some point you just have to say, “I’ve done enough work for today, and in the absence of anything life-threatening, everything else can wait until tomorrow.”

And that’s easy to say, and harder to implement, especially with email, texting, etc. We’re always “on.” And there’s no one to tell you how much is “enough” and when to relax.

I need that time with Mom-E, Big Brother, Little Brother, and Bab-E. They energize me and make me happy. The thought of coming home to them gets me through many days. I enjoy my work, but when they’re not around, my life is, well, rather boring.

And so, I’m more than ready to return to the chaos and giggles.

Big Brother, whose alter ego is Iron Man, has continued to be promoted in the ranks of super hero-dom. At first, he just told people he was Iron Man. Then, he started putting stickers on his hand so that “Iron Man can shoot the bad guys.” Apparently this week he has resurrected a plastic figurine from an old toy. That figurine is now Iron Man, too.

You probably guessed (correctly) that Little Brother wants to have an Iron Man, too. (I’m quite excited about this transition in toys. We’re getting promoted to ACTION FIGURES!)

I’m guessing that I’ll be hunting for some action figures to bring home while I’m waiting in the airport today.

In what will amount to a crazy attempt to put things back into balance, I’ll be home for about 10 hours, and then everyone is flying out early tomorrow morning for a July 4th family reunion on Mom-E’s side. I won’t be bringing the laptop, or the jump drive, or the pager. Just family time, and that’s what I need right now.

At this point, even an airplane trip with the boys is welcome, and you know how that sometimes goes.

Have a good weekend (I know I will),
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What Name Do I Like?

Do we reveal Bab-E's name? Read on to find out!

Thanks to Gramm-E and Aunt-E for today’s guest post! Enjoy how Big Brother’s mind “operates”!

Cheers,
Busy-Dad-E

*****

Mom-E and Dad-E were off to a nice bed and breakfast to celebrate their sixth anniversary, while Gramm-E and Pap-Pap had the pleasure of watching Big and Little Brothers for the evening.

Aunt-E and Uncl-E typically go to church with Gramm-E and Pap-Pap on Saturday evenings, so we sat in the pew with all three boys (Little Cousin included).

Uncl-E and Aunt-E looked over and saw Big Brother crying just a little, while Little Brother anxiously reached for little cousin saying, “Baby! Baby! Little Cousin!”

Apparently, Big Brother had been told of our trip to the pool following church and he was worried about getting water in his eye. He was equally worried about the possibility of Little Brother getting water in his eye, or worse yet…wandering into the deep end of the pool.

After much reassurance from Gramm-E, Big Brother could not be swayed, but as soon as the car pulled up to the pool, he wanted to know where his swimming trunks were. You would never know that he’d been worried about getting in the pool once we got there. He was so excited about playing in the water.

While we were playing in the pool, Aunt-E began asking Big Brother, “So are you going to have a baby sister or baby brother?” Without hesitation, he said, ”A baby sister!”

So, Aunt-E asked, “what will her name be?” Big Brother wasn’t sure. Aunt-E began asking him, “What about so-and-so?” To every name he would say, “I like so-and-so.” Gramm-E joined in with asking him about names and his reply was always the same.

Finally, Aunt-E asked, “What about Gertrude?” Big Brother said, “GERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRTRUDE? HAHAHAHAHAHA” He apparently thought this was the funniest name he had ever heard. He laughed uncontrollably, which of course got Gramm-E and Aunt-E started laughing along with him.

For the rest of the night every time we would ask about a name, he would say “GERRRRRRRRRTRUDE! HAHAHAHA” and laugh hysterically.

In fact, if we stopped asking him which names he liked, he would say,
“Ask me what name do I like?” After a while, the name Gertrude started to morph into some what of an unrecognizable name. It is kind of like when you say a word over and over and it starts to sound weird.

The next day, when Busy Dad-E heard Big Brother repeat the most hilarious name in the world, he thought it sounded like “SURGERY.”

Then it really did start sounding more and more like “SURGERY.” Who knew Big Brother could be so entertained with the “What name do I like?” game.

Here's an audio recording for you to enjoy.

video



See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Gramm-E and Aunt¬-E