Friday, April 30, 2010

Ice Skate Date

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone! Thanks to for "keeping the rink open" for this weekly event.

So last weekend, Big Brother was invited to a birthday party at the local ice skating rink.

Since we were potty training Little Brother (HYPERLINK), the other boys weren't invited, and there wouldn't be much for them to do, we decided that this would be a "date" for just Big Brother and I.

As we're walking in to the ice rink, Big Brother announces that he doesn't want to ice skate.

My stomach starts to drop into my toenail at this point, because I know--even if I don't want to believe it--that all logic and gentle persuasion and threats to leave are futile.

Within 5 minutes, Big Brother is throwing a small fit on the floor about not wanting to even put on his skates.

Both the mother of the birthday boys and the skating instructor (the party includes a lesson) try to "help". Their efforts were very well-intended, but when Big Brother has "made-up his mind" about this kind of thing, this pretty much only make him scream more.

So we're making just a GREAT impression on everyone at this point.

Even Big Brother's school friend, Dann-E, cannot interrupt the pouty fit.

Now I'll admit that I could've handled the situation much better. I know that Big Brother is a little "slow-to-warm" in new situations, and that all of the yelling was his way of telling me that he was scared of skating.

But sometimes amidst the yelling, the searing pain of "all eyes on you" makes it hard for icier heads to prevail.

I asked if I could skate, but it didn't help when the mother of the party told me that the skating was only for the kids.

So we spend the next 20 minutes--meanwhile missing the lesson--yelling, arguing, and talking to Mom-E about not putting our skates.

Finally, right when I'm about ready to bag-it and take him home, he reluctantly puts on the skates.

Surprisingly, he's more than willing to step on the ice. All of the kids are crawling along the wall, holding on for dear life.

Of course, by the time Big Brother steps on to the ice and starts to move, it's now time for birthday cake.

As we're finishing cake, they announce that we are free to skate afterwards.

Assuming that we're homeward-bound, I ask Big Brother if he wants to skate more.

"Yes," he replies to my amazement.

"Do you want me to skate with you?"


$7 and 5 minutes later, we're "racing" to put our skates on.

"Why are your skates so big, Dad-E?"

"Well, Big Brother, someday if you eat something other than granola bars and yogurt, you too might have these gigantic size 8 1/2's." I thought.

But now we have some enthusiasm about skating.

We hold hands. Big Brother holds the wall a lot, but at times is willing to let go.

We're chatting it up and having fun.

We get half-way around the rink!

And then he speaks the dreaded words, "Dad-E, I have to pee...BAD!"

Murphy's Law, I loathe thee. We would have to be at the point in the ice rink, PHYSICALLY FARTHEST AWAY FROM THE BATHROOM, with a 5 year-old who's skated a grand total of 100 ft in his career and has the bladder capacity of a toe pick.

Let me just say that there's nothing like the fear of making yellow ice to inspire you to learn how to ice skate VERY QUICKLY.

Amazingly, we made it to the bathroom IN TIME.

I mean, Big Brother is funny in street shoes when he's hustling (and dancing) his way to the potty.

But add ice skates to the mix, and he's pretty much like Lightning McQueen with 2 blown tires hopping his way to the finish line.

We skate another couple of laps after the potty break before deciding to head home.

As we're leaving, Big Brother starts a sentence with, "Dad-E, that was fun. The next time we go ice-skating..."

Big Brother, I love you. I promise to be more patient with you in new situations, if you promise to just try some new foods, because in 20 years you're going to decide you like them. Save yourself the time.

Have a good weekend,

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Still Mentally Sexy

Check out details of my Mentally Sexy entry HERE.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I Peed on My Waffle

Having "mastered" juggling 3 kids and recently moved, Mom-E and I decided that we should take on a new challenge (because we haven't had anything to keep us busy in the last 10 minutes).

So this past weekend, we officially started potty training Little Brother.

You may remember that he showed some early interest, and more recently the phone company gave us some help.

We have an "overall strategy" when it comes to potty training, but parenthood has beat into us the idea that each of our children are different and we may have to exercise creativity and flexibility.

What we did is first make a big production over the fact that, "You're a big boy now. Big boys don't wear diapers."

Then we proceeded to gather up all of Little Brother's diapers, and together WE THREW THEM AWAY. (We put them in a trash can in the garage that was otherwise empty. When the time is right we'll "rescue" them for use with Bab-E Brother.) But to him they were gone, and no longer an option.

Little Brother got about 18 gazillion of his favorite character underwear.

And then, most importantly, he got a weekend of (almost) unlimited access to fluids.

He is in heaven and, of course, oblivious to the fact that the fluids "force the issue."

We told him, "Your job is to keep your pants dry. You tell us when you have to go pee-pee."

Big Brother quickly figured out that wet underwear were no fun.

Little Brother, so far, has also been quick to figure this out.

But where Big Brother was motivated to pee in the potty for stickers on a chart, Little Brother could care less about that.

But, in one of those moments of creative flexibility, I figured out that Little Brother likes to pee ON stuff.

I threw a few Cheerios into the potty, and he was more than willing to "let it fly" to target them.

You should've seen the smile on his face when we told Mom-E about this. I thought he was going to rip his face it was so big.

And so, we went to church on Sunday, and in the middle of the service he told me he had to go pee-pee.

We went to the bathroom. Unfortunately, we were out of Cheerios. But fortunately, I was holding an Eggo waffle. (Please don't ask me why I'm holding an Eggo in the bathroom in church. Just go with the flow. :)

And in the name of potty training, I tore off a small piece of waffle and threw it in.

With great pride, Little Brother ensured that the waffle would not dry out.

Still proud from his accomplishment, as we're tip-toeing back into our seats, Little Brother blurts out, rather loudly, over and over, "Mom-E, I peed on my waffe!"

I'd prefer to not know what everyone else in earshot thought about that one.

We'll keep you posted on his progress.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bab-E Drool

So Bab-E Brother has entered "The Drooling Phase" of the first year of life. You know, the phase where babies drool like a leaky faucet turned on full blast 24/7.

I remember having this same thought with both Big Brother and Little Brother, but people: we need to figure out SOMETHING AMAZING TO DO WITH ALL OF THE BABY DROOL.

I'm thinking something like using it as an alternative fuel source.

Think about it. Baby drool could help us eliminate our dependence on forein oil.

Baby drool is the perfect alternative fuel source. It's clear, mostly odorous, and won't make the hole in the ozone layer bigger. And the best part is that there's virtually an endless supply.

Sure, it might require babies to spend a brief period of time in little drool-harvesting pods, kinda like in the Matrix, but hey it's for a good cause.

So, I need help from you, dear readers, about how we can turn baby drool into an alternative fuel. Let me show you what I've come up with so far (I borrowed my model from the South Park "Underpants Gnomes" episode):

Step 1. Obtain baby drool.

Step 2. ...

Step 3. Profit (aka Fuel)

Who's on board? We can put the logos below on the bottles.

Have a good week,

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Magician Shows But Doesn't Tell

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone! Thanks to for sponsoring this magical weekly event.

So Big Brother had "Show and Tell" at school this week, which meant that Mom-E and Dad-E he had to figure out something to bring in.

What does a 5 year-old bring in for show and tell?

Our first 3 ideas were toys, toys,

"Do they really want him to bring toys to school?"

Other ideas were similarly unfruitful.

1. "This is Little Brother's toy. I took it from him. He cried. I had to go to time out."

2. "This is a picture of my brother's ouch-ie from when I pinched him. He cried then, too. I had to go to time out again."

3. "This is my tv. I must watch an episode of 'Wow Wow Wubbzy' every morning or I'm irritable. Mom-E says it's very necessary--like morning coffee."

Finally, I came up with a magical idea--he could do a MAGIC TRICK!

Big Brother LOVES to do magic. It's really cute to watch his excitement regardless of whether the tricks "work".

His Pa-pa bought him a magic set, complete with an instructional DVD, for his last birthday. It's been a great introduction to basic magic tricks, and gives him an opportunity to perform for others. He's very proud of himself.

So, Big Brother brought in his "magic box", and made a Lightning McQueen disappear and then reappear in the magic drawer.

He practiced several times the night before and morning of, including his "magic words": bippity boppity boo.

Apparently his magic trick went over quite well.

I asked him, "What did your class say when you made Lightning disappear?"

"They said, uh, how did you do that?" he replied.

I was proud that he answered them with "Magic."

And even when they pressed him about it, he said, "I can't tell you. It's magic."

So I guess technically he just participated in "Show" as opposed to "Show and Tell", but I think he was appropriately excused from the "Tell" part.

And now it's my turn for some magic. For my only final trick, I will make my blog disappear and take you to the land of other great dad (and mom) bloggers.

If you would be my assistant, please click here.

Have a magical weekend,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Busy-Dad-E Turns 200!

Celebrating my 200th post today! (Didn't I just celebrate 100?!?)

Although, yeah, sometimes I wish that it was Busy-Dad-E turns 20 years old, and the post title was just a typo.

That's okay, because despite my age I can still PUNCH, and KICK, and STRETCH! 'Cause I'm "30-something"! 30-something years old!

But I digress.

Truth be told, with Mom-E and the boys Big, Little, and Bab-E my life is much richer, happier and healthier than it was 10 years ago anyway.

I've had a lot of fun blogging. I'd be content with it as an online journal for just me, but all of your comments, lurking, laughs, and support make it a much richer experience. Thank you!

If I've made you think, laugh, or just feel better about your own life/day at that moment, then I've done some good for others.

So, to take things "to the next level", I'm in the process of organizing a REAL CONTEST!

That's right, Busy-Dad-E is trying to launch a creative partnership with an ACUTAL SPONSOR, and the discussion is going well!

Let this serve as a "teaser" for you to keep coming back. Look for an official contest announcement in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, happy reading/lurking! I'd love to here from you.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pay Day

Subtitle: 5 year olds have little understanding of the concept of time.

Those of you tuning into Fatherhood Friday last week know that Big Brother is now earning an allowance.

He received his first allowance money, $2, on Friday.

No surprise, then, that we made a trip to Target.

Big Brother was allowed to "pool" this money with $2 from his piggy bank, giving him $4 to spend.

And it was interesting for me to watch his decision-making process regarding his "prize". In particular, because he faced the "Buy something now versus buy what I really want later" dilemma.

He found an Iron Man nite light for $1 and a Hot Wheels color changing car for $3.

However, the color changing Lightning McQueen was $6.

Now the world of a 5 year-old is one of instant gratification. That is, I knew that Big Brother was going to go for the nite light and Hot Wheels car, but I made sure he understood his options (particularly to minimize risk of meltdown tantrum later).

"You can buy the nite light and Hot Wheels this week, or wait 1 more week and buy Lightning McQueen. But if you buy the nite light and Hot Wheels, you'll have to wait 3 more weeks to buy Lightning McQueen."

I knew he would have a hard time understanding having to wait 3 weeks--as I said, a 5 year old's understanding of time is about as good as my ability to multitask.

However, Big Brother insisted that he understood. And, in fact, he was very happy with his items.

(Little Brother got a Hot Wheels car, too. Hard to buy for one and not the other. We may have to start taking Big Brother on special trips when he cashes in his allowance money.)

I'll admit that I got a little worried when Big Brother told Mom-E, "I know I have to wait 3 HOURS before I can get the Lightning McQueen."

Try 3 weeks, buddy. (This from the same kid who, when presented with an old toy he hasn't played with in a while, says 'I haven't seen this in 100 years.')

But tonight at dinner Big Brother seemed to get that he has to wait 19 days to earn enough allowance money to buy Lightning.

In addition to teaching him important lessons about saving and taking care of your 'things', we just might even exercise our patience muscle, too.

Way to go, Big Guy. Keep up the good work.

Have a good week,

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Allowance Money

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone! Don't forget to check out, which is like "cash money" when it comes to dads (and moms) who blog.

So Big Brother now has an allowance, and today is his first payday.

Okay, so maybe his payday looks a tad more like this.

I think this is an interesting and important topic, and I'll be interested to hear your thoughts.

To put things in perspective: Big Brother is currently 5 (closer to 5 than 6) and in preschool.

His allowance will be $2 per week.

In order to "earn" his allowance, he is expected to make his bed daily (which he's getting pretty good at), put all of his dirty laundry in his hamper, and be otherwise generally helpful and polite. Failure to adhere to the requirements of the contract is grounds for reduced or no allowance that week.

Several things prompted our decision to give him an allowance:

1. Big Brother started asking for periodic "treats." Specifically, he would say things like "Let's go to Target so we can buy toy 'x'."

2. Because of #1 above, we decided it was time to start to teach him the value of money, and the importance of saving.

3. He really likes to count.

We thought that $2 per week was about right because he won't be able to buy a toy every week (until he realizes he can load up on Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars), but can save enough money to buy things he'd like in a reasonable time frame (i.e., 1-2 months).

The first thing he told me he wanted was a "Tokyo Mater" RC car. These, of course, run $35-40, and we had a small fit over the fact that such a gift might have to wait for the Jolly Old Elf.

However, we were quickly placated with the thought of a color-changing Matchbox car.

Of course, the next day we had a little larger fit over the fact that we were not going to Target to buy the color-changing Matchbox car.

(Despite singing the "Days of the Week" song daily, 5 year-olds don't have the best understanding of time. Apparently, he thought if he made his bed once and put his clothes in the hamper that he could have the toy. When I said "No", I was yelled at asked to pull over the van and leave, presumably so he could drive his brothers to Target.)

But he's working on it. And, "if you keep doing that, we'll have to take away your allowance" has helped tip the balance of power a little more in Mom-E and Dad-E's favor.

Ultimately, I think the allowance will teach Big Brother many important life lessons about money:

1. You have to work and save for the things you want. Delayed gratification is important.

2. You take better care of your stuff when you worked hard to buy it, precisely because you know how long and hard you had to work to get it.

3. You can't spend more than you can afford. When the money is gone, you have to keep working if you want something else. An allowance is not a credit card.

Have a good weekend,
Spend it wisely,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bab-E Hickies

Okay, so it would defy the laws of physics for me to be completely wordless. I'm over it, hope you can do the same. :)

Those of you with baby-related experience know that:

1. Babies have a compulsive need to suck.

2. When babies are hungry, they're going to let you know about it, and they don't understand, "I'm going to feed you in just one minute when my hands are free after I finish going to the bathroom when I wake-up enough to realize you're screaming etc., etc., etc., (literally)."

3. When babies are hungry and not fed instantly, they'll suck on whatever is in front of them.

Countless times I've figured out that Bab-E Brother (or Big or Little Brother when they were babies) is hungry because I'm holding him and suddenly I notice my shirt getting very moist, only to look down and see him sucking away on my sleeve.

The other day, Bab-E Brother was hungry, and Mom-E was putting a couple of items away while holding him before sitting down to feed him.

Apparently, those few moments took too long because he started sucking on her shoulder.

Only problem was that she was wearing a sleeveless top, and he went to town for just a minute.

Later that evening, we were outside on the porch with the boys, I couldn't help that Mom-E had a very conspicuous little hickie on her shoulder.

We both instantly realized what had happened, and had a nice laugh about her 3 month-old "boyfriend." I hope her employer doesn't find out.

Here's a picture of the little hickie-giver vampire guy's sucki-work "handiwork".

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Saturday, April 10, 2010

How'd HE get THERE?

My regular readers will know that we recently moved, Bab-E Brother having provided an impetus for more living space.

All in all, the boys are doing well in their new environment (having a neighborhood playground a block away helps. So does a screened-in back porch and a bigger yard for countless playtime adventures.)

However, when you're 5 and 2 (and 3 months for that matter), it'd probably be abnormal if there weren't some adjustment issues.

The issue we most anticipated was bedrooms/sleeping, particularly for Little Brother, who hears Big Brother talk about monsters, but has more trouble accepting that they're not real.

You may remember that we successfully transitioned Little Brother from crib to toddler bed several months ago, before Bab-E Brother took it over was born, but this was only accomplished with tremendous help from Big Brother, his roomie (and part-time psychotherapist).

We were a little worried that, having grown accustomed to having a "roomate", Little Brother would be fearful of sleeping in a room by himself, even if we tried to prophylax this for weeks with "in the new house, you get to have your own big boy room."

It also helps that:
-The boys share a "Jack & Jill" bathroom, complete with lights on and open doors.
-Mom-E and Dad-E's room is about 10 feet from Little Brother's door.
-We take turns (alternating most nights) reading stories in each of their rooms before bed.

But all of the above does not guarantee that he'll stay in his room all night.

On at least one occasion, we've awoke to find him usurping the foot end of Big Brother's bed, which is really quite cute.

Other times, he'll come into our room screaming at 3 am (which is a little less cute).

We try our best to get him back into his own bed, but if you were up until 1am, sometimes you're too exhausted to get up it's easier just to let him sleep with us (preferably facing away from us at the other end of the bed, since it's not the safest idea).

The other morning I woke up at about 6am to find Little Brother wedged in between Mom-E and I.

I suppose that I could've picked him up and put him into bed with us in a moment of transient global amnesia, but I have absolutely no recollection of doing so.

When Mom-E got up, she asked me "when did Little Brother come into our room?" (my side of the bed is closer to the door, and he usually calls for me.)

"I was going to ask you the same question," I replied, realizing she, too, had no idea how/when he'd come to join us.

So apparently, he's "adjusting" just fine to the new sleeping arrangement. He no longer needs to come into our room screaming. He just climbs on in and helps himself to our bed, and calmly falls back asleep.

No wonder he's such an animal lover, because that seems pretty dog-like to me.
It's pretty hard to keep a toddler out of your bed when you're exhausted and he sneaks in so quietly.

Ah, yet something else to be on the lookout wake-up for.

Have a good week,

Thursday, April 8, 2010

TV SchmeeVee

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone! After you've finished reading this post, be sure to "tune in" to for the latest from the great bloggers over there.

So we did something somewhat unusal in this day and age: we gave up a tv.

(Note that I said "a tv", and not "tv" (in general).)

No, we made a strategic decision. And it's working out really well so far.

We bought some furniture for the new house; a package deal that included a "free" 32 in LCD tv. However, we decided to return one of the pieces, which meant money back, but also having to forgo the tv.

Originally, we had planned to put the big tv in the great room.

But in the delirium lucidity of sitting in the great room at about 1am the other morning after finishing some housework, Mom-E and I decided we didn't even want a tv in the great room.

The main tv in the house is in our bonus/play room on the second floor.

What we've found is that after their "morning coffee", aka about 2 cartoons--Wow Wow Wubbzy lately, for those of you who need to get the theme song stuck in your head--that the boys sorta "forget" about tv the rest of the day.

In part that's because they love to play in the screened back porch, and in their "new" back yard.

We realized that if we had a tv in the great room downstairs, they'd be way more tempted to want to watch it.

So rather than making a trip back upstairs to watch tv, their more content to just play...

...and run laps around the ottoman in the great room.

But it's wonderful because they're playing and running.

And it's nice to just sit on the porch and play with them, or watch them play outside, or kill stinging insects that sneak into the porch, or just listen to the cacophony of laughter, without the tv blaring in the background.

Don't get me wrong, I like to watch an occasional show (both times in my life that I've had a hour to just sit down :) and I love movies. Movies can be a wonderful way to spend time together as a family.

But in the era of tv, dvd, blu-ray, iPod, iPhone, iPad, email, etc., technology can be a "black hole" that sucks kids away from just running and playing and frolicking and using their imaginations.

And I don't even need to get into all of the reports about how too much tv promotes a sedentary lifestyle with all kinds of bad health-related consequences.

It's nice to be free of this distraction, and it's funny how not once since we've moved have the boys asked why there isn't a tv downstairs.

I guess they're too busy playing.

Well, I gotta go for now. Looks like there is a two car pile-up on the "track" around our ottoman, and the "pit crew" is needed.

Have a good week,

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Color Schemes

And unfortunately, no, I'm not talking about coordinating wall paint with draperies and furniture.

Big Brother has always been a budding artist. He loves to draw, color, and paint. I particularly enjoy his "people figures", which I've used as radio buttons/avatars for my blog. Lately, he's been drawing Batman a lot, and I must say that I'm really impressed.

What has really helped Big Brother's art career (i.e., why he's still allowed to color :) is that he's always been very good about WHERE and WHAT he colors.

Little Brother, on the other hand, is now "driving on a suspended license" when it comes to artwork.

To his credit, he doesn't eat glue, or shove pennies up his nose (just a raisin but only once), or paint the dog (yet; except with accidental yogurt spills) or lick toads.

However, DON'T give him a crayon and turn your back...



To modify a line from the movie Gremlins:

"No matter how much he cries, no matter how much he begs, never, never, ever give Little Brother a crayon unsupervised." (Both before and after midnight.)

At least he "dreams big", because apparently there isn't a single part of our house that he can't modify into a canvas.

So far he's added his artistic touch, including but not limited to:
-The deck
-Stainless steel appliances
-The wall in our stairwell

We've learned our lesson...(buy stock in Sherwin-Williams paint that wipes easily.)

Until the next time he sneaks away with a crayon.

I can't wait to hear your stories about what your kids have colored.

This will be "art therapy" for me. :)

See you on Fatherhood Friday, I'm going to go color clean up crayon now,

Monday, April 5, 2010

Post-Easter Sugar Rush Crash

I hope everyone had a happy Easter weekend.

We had a good day yesterday, albeit chaotic in usual Busy-Dad-E family style.

Here are just some of the highlights:

-Big Brother came into our room FULLY AWAKE and raring to go at 5am because he wanted to see if the Easter Bunny came. He told me that he had "too much sleep" and needed me to turn of the alarm.

I can honestly say never a day in my life have I uttered the phrase "too much sleep" in the 5am hour.

I think we endured about an hour of his whining--mostly by mumbling incoherently at him--before he finally fell back asleep.

-We tried to get ready to go to church at 8am, but that didn't happen because we overslept after our "5am wake-up call". (Read this if you don't know what it's like to get ready for church around our house.)

-The boys dined on an Easter Bunny breakfast special of chocolate and chocolate milk. Mmm...mmm...mmm...nutritious. Please pass the Cocoa Pebbles.

-Any parent who can get a child to wear a sweater vest--without screaming or the use of duct tape--is a better person than I.

-Thank you to the nice lady at church who gave up the "saved seats" for her family so that we could sit down. We were 10 minutes early and they were at least 10 minutes late, so it only seems fair to parents of 3 small boys.

-In the middle of church, Mom-E had to go feed Bab-E Brother. When Little Brother realized they'd left, he asked "Where's Mom-E?"

When I told him that "Bab-E Brother is fussy and needed to eat.", Little Brother replied--very CALMLY:

"I'm getting fussy, too. I want to go outside. I'm hungie. I want to go to Subway!" (of course, right at a point where essentially everyone else is quiet.)

It never ceases to amaze me that taking the boys to Subway is like going on vacation to Tahiti.

-When we got back to the van after church, Little Brother refused to wear a shirt, and insisted on riding to Gramm-E and Grampap's "topless".

I'm thoroughly relieved we didn't get pulled over on the way there, lest the officer find a screaming baby, a shirtless toddler, and a 5 year-old "Captain Clip-On" in the van. What a sight.

-Little Brother followed Mom-E around while she was trying to hide eggs for the hunt. He kept picking them up as she laid them down, saying "Here, Mom-E. I found one."

-Big Brother and Little Brother each got kites from the Easter Bunny. I'm not ashamed to admit that Grampap and I played with the kites A LOT more than the boys did.

-If you want to find out how resourceful your children are, show them a bowl of chocolate M&M's, and then put it in a place that is out of reach--yet still visible.

-Easter Egg dying kits should forgo the little metal "wand" for fishing out the egg, and instead include 2 pairs of gloves to prevent children's hands from looking like the Incredible Hulk.

-In addition to the time spent with family, my highlight was that everyone in the family got at least a short nap, a real rarity. Me on the couch while the boys watched a cartoon after dinner, and the rest of the gang on the van ride home. (Don't worry, didn't pull a Clark Griswold and fall asleep at the wheel.)

Have a good week,

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Potty Training Courtesy of the Phone Company

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone! After you've finished reading this post, be sure to "dial up" to hear from the great bloggers over there.

So we've been in our new house for almost two weeks now, and the only significant thing that doesn't work right is our phone.

It's weird. We can dial out, but for incoming calls the phone rings once and then goes dead without transferring to voice mail. (And with 3 boys age 5 and under it's "super easy" to get to the phone in one ring.

We have one of those "bundle packages" with cable, phone, and internet, and it's only the phone that's not working.

So after a week of trying to get ahold of the phone company (Mom-E seriously was kept on hold for 80 minutes once), we finally had a service call the other evening.

Amazingly, 3 DIFFERENT PEOPLE called from the phone company WITHIN A SPAN OF 15 MINUTES to ask, "Is your phone still not working? Do you want us to come?"

"Uh, yeah! Duh!"

(Could you imagine if 3 nurses from your doctor called 15 minutes before your appointment to ask, "Are you still sick? Do you really want to be seen by the doctor?")

There was a fourth call, but that was just asking us to participate in a survey about our phone service.

I told them it had never worked right and they were coming tonight to fix it. The pollster said, "Maybe I should call back another time?"

"You betcha."

So two techs came and in replaced or tuned up every phone related wire/cord/outlet, you name it. They even called "Mission Control" twice to have things "reset."

The net result can be summed up by one tech, who said, "I've never seen this problem before."

("Yes, I still want to see the long as he doesn't say, 'I've never seen this problem before'.")

When it comes to phone and medical problems, I don't want them to happen, but if they do, I want them to be like vanilla ice cream: plain and ordinary. (That's not a slam. I love vanilla ice cream. And chocolate ice cream. Pretty much anything that ends in "ice cream.")

But I digress.

So about an hour into this 2-hour wasn't able to fix-it festival, Mom-E and Bab-E Brother have to leave to go to Target, leaving Big Brother, Little Brother, and I to "help" the repair technicians.

Big Brother, fortunately, is engrossed in his trains and matchbox cars, and pleasantly entertaining himself.

Little Brother, on the other, is tired and clingy, due to minimal nap time.

And lately, Little Brother has this "thing" about clothes in general jammies. His current average time spent wearing the same pair of (mismatched, with shirt on backwards) jammies, without screaming that he needs a "New shirt!" is about 5 minutes. It's about 2 minutes when he's tired.

And lately, whenever he soils his diaper (either flavor, and I'm not talking ice cream here), he takes it off IMMEDIATELY.

"Dad-E, did I get poo-poo on your shirt? You need a new shirt?"

"Why yes, I do."

So while hanging out in the same room as the repair techs, Little Brother decides he no longer wants to wear his diaper, and within 30 seconds is completely in the buff.

He concedes to wearing a pair of underwear, sans diaper, but that's it.

(Oooh, that's great. Soon-to-be wet carpet will only increase the difficulty of the repair process.)

When the repair techs have to go to the garage to look at a wiring box, Little Brother bolts out into the driveway and starts running around the repair van and yard, wearing only his underwear.

"Hi. We're your new neighbors. Our children are semi-nudists. You really should come over for dinner sometime. Oh, you don't have to wear bring anything."

"Dad-E, I'm cold."

"Yes, I would be, too."

Back upstairs we go.

2 minutes later, "Dad-E, I go pee-pee."

To my surprise, his underwear are only mildly wet. We race to the bathroom--while I hold him in that awkward hands-extended position--as to not get pee-pee on my shirt as well.

With great pride (for both of us), Little Brother completes his task in the potty. Amazingly, this is the bright spot of the evening.

Unfortunately, the repair techs were unable to complete their task, and must come back next week for Round 2. That's good, in a way, because we still have more potty training to do.

"Don't bother to call about the appointment. We can't answer the phone anyway."

The tech said he could give me either a pro-rated billing statement or a free premium channel.

"Do you have an ice cream channel?"

You know, some days I would like to thing that our lives are like those of any other family with several children.

And other days, I begin to think that I'm Charlie Brown. :)

Have a good weekend,
Stay dry,
Call me, except you can't,