Friday, December 31, 2010

A Trio of Builders

Late Friday post today. Took the day off to hang out with family and was too tired to write last night.

This "review" is just one guy's opinion, and has no affiliation with Fisher-Price.

So Gramm-E and Grampap got Big Brother and Little Brother each a set of Fisher-Price's Trio building system for Christmas.

I'll admit that the first time I'd ever heard of this "system" was when the boys opened their present.

But having done some building with Trio playing with the boys, let me just say that I'm now a big fan.

Having grown up on Legos, and having had more fun than an adult should more fun than my kids a great time at Lego Land California, I consider that quite a compliment.

I love, and always will love, Legos, but I think the Trio system is superior for three main reasons:

1. It's easier for slightly younger children to use. Little Brother, who's 3, can put them together almost as well as his (almost) 6 year-old Big Brother.

2. You can build bigger things more easily (but the blocks/sticks/platforms aren't big in a more "juvenile" way) than with Legos.

3. (Perhaps the most important) When you're done building, you can play with your creations without them falling apart. My experience has been that Legos tend to be much more fragile.

Trio also gets the Bab-E Brother seal of approval. He loves to crawl through the giant pile of them, and play with all of the small choking hazzards, rather than his "age-appropriate" toys.

I only have one "complaint" so far. Big Brother got the Bat Cave set, which comes with a special piece that's a rope. That creates a problem because:
1. Big Brother considers the rope HIS because, after all, it was his present.
2. Little Brother is absolutely obsessed with ROPES (or anything that could be loosely construed as a rope).

In this case, 1 + 2 does not equal 3, but equals to constant frequent fighting between brothers and yells of "I want the rope. It's mine. I'm NOT sharing."

So, in summary, if you have young builders, I highly recommend the Fisher-Price Trio building system.

But if you have more than one young builder, I also highly recommend that you buy 2 rope pieces.

Wishing you a happy and safe 2011,


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Your Butt's Too Big

So on Christmas Eve Eve, we were doing some last-minute shopping as a family, and decided to go out to eat because the boys had asked about 99,999 times for a "Happy Meal" because I had used up all of my blood sugar chasing the boys around the shoe store while Mom-E perused.

We went to a restaurant with an indoor playground.

The boys did pretty well during dinner (more the waiting to go to the playground part than the eating part) because we bribed them with dessert. I took Big Brother and Little Brother to play, while Mom-E finished feeding Bab-E Brother.

So we get to the playground, and Little Brother is apprehensive about the slide. He had no problem with the maze of steps that wound around, leading up to the slide, but the slide itself was a thing of terror.

He begged for me to climb the steps to the slide with him, but I explained that adults weren't allowed on the playground equipment and I was afraid that I'd break it, and come tumbling down, breaking my crown.

A few minutes later, Mom-E came to the playground with Bab-E Brother, and of course, Little Brother asked her the same question.

"Mom-E, can you climb up here to the slide with me?"

"No," she replied. "I'm not allowed."

"Is that because you're butt's too big?"

**SHOCK, AWE, MORTIFICATION** (Apparently he'd told Mom-E this the day before).

But wait, there's more.

Little Brother proceeds to turn around, MOON half the restaurant, and explain,

"Your butt needs to get smaller, like this?"


(Admittedly, Little Brother is, well, a little on the little side. His butt isn't much wider than my thigh. So anyone, even Mom-E--who is petite--would be larger by comparison.)

And for some reason, he'll take his pants off at the drop of a hat (or one drop of urine), underwear and all.

(BRIEF PARENTAL DILEMMA DIGRESSION: I'm glad he has a good body image, but we need to work on some basics, like public decency.)

"Put some pants on, dude. There's enough BUNS in the restaurant already."

At which point we proceeded to make sure everyone was fully clothed, and then we made a bee-line for the exit.

(The door did NOT hit anyone on the backside on our way out.)

No doubt our pictures are now hanging prominently on the wall in the restaurant.

I don't think we'll be going back there ever anytime soon.

But I do think Little Brother and I have a few things and manners to talk about, namely manners.

See You On Fatherhood Friday,
Keep your pants on,

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Wrap-Up

Just a few SOUNDS and SIGHTS from our holiday weekend. (Many thanks to Mom-E for tech support.)

"I think Santa got it right!" (Audio only, no picture)

"And who says the best things in life don't come in boxes?"

Have a good week,

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Blessings

The richest blessings in this life are the love and laughter of our children.

Merry Christmas,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

In Communicado

On Monday I was working on my naughty list, so today, just before Christmas, I'll give you something nice.

I've said before, that books would lead you to think that child development is linear. "By age X, a child should be able to make a tower of 3 cubes, and by age Y a tower of 5 cubes, or some such nonsense."

It doesn't work that least not for us.

Instead, with all 3 of our boys, we see these "quantum leaps" in their developmental abilities over a realtively short period of time:

Yesterday, they were eating only Puffs. Today, they're able to bake a lasagna.

(My stomach is waiting patiently...)

Over the past week, Bab-E Brother has made one of those quantum leaps in terms of communication.

He's been eye-balling and taking notes on everything his brothers, Mom-E, and I say and do for months now, and apparently he decided it was his turn to chime in.

Several things to highlight:
1. He's started waiving pretty consistently. The other day at the See-Eye-Aye, he spontaneously waved at another child and said "Hi-ya".

If you say to him, "Where's Mom-E/Big Brother/Little Brother?" he'll zoom his eyes in on them and often wave

2. He's also started signing more regularly. He made the "milk sign" a few months ago, but this has been somewhat inconsistent. (Which is a little surprising, as "milk" is usually the first sign a baby makes consistently. But apparently for him, repeated grunting and lunging towards Mom-E when he's hungry works good enough.)

Nope, instead Bab-E Brother's favorite sign is "tree". He's absolutely obsessed with our Christmas tree. He can't walk by it without making the tree sign. He definitely has the holiday spirit.

3. The boy has a belly laugh to rival Santa's. I mean it's the Guinness of baby laughs. And not just when you tickle him. The boy just loves to laugh. Little Brother may be the "party animal" who likes to roam the house without pants (more often than not), but Bab-E Brother appears to be the jokester who likes to make everyone laugh.

As soon as he can stand unassisted, he'll no doubt be a "stand-up". (Bah, dat, dah...ching!)

And to combine his love of trees and laughter with the Christmas spirit, we took the boys last weekend to a local Christmas light extravaganza (a hayride through a forest of Christmas lights, roasting marshmallows on an open fire, etc.) All the boys had a good time, but perhaps Bab-E Brother had the best time. Despite the cold and late night, he pretty much sat on Mom-E's lap and chuckled in amazement for an hour as we rode through the lights display.

4. Lots more babble and different sounds. We hope to find a translator soon.

And so, exciting times here at the Busy-Dad-E household. We're looking forward to a wonderful Christmas, and wish the best for you and yours!

Merry Christmas!

See you next week (I'll be incommunicado until then),

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dear Kroger

Dear Kroger,

We've shopped at your store for years now, having spent $1000s there.

The other night, after the boys went to bed, I went to your store to do the weekly shopping. (What takes me about an hour would otherwise take about 3 hours in total if small men came along).

I got to the store about 10:20 pm.

I had one item to return, some Kroger-brand trash bags (apparently, according to Mom-E, they fall apart if you look at them).

I went to the Customer Service counter, where I was greeted by an employee standing at the register picking her lip.

She promptly informed me that there are "No returns after 10pm."


"Then what are you doing standing at the Customer Service counter?" I thought to myself.

Nevermind the 5 employees standing around by the registers doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

(Oh, wait. Apparently they were celebrating the end of returns for the day.)

"Please, m'am. Can you save me another trip to the store and just exchange these $1 bags for me?"


"Thanks so much for defeating the point of going to the store at night. I'm so glad your heart is full of joy this holiday season. @#$%^&!"

(I don't think I said that (or anything). I'm pretty sure I threw the bags back in my cart in disgust and stompted off.)

I thought about playing the "do you know how long it will take my wife to come exchange these in the morning with 3 small boys?" card, but I'd pretty much already played my hand with the little temper tantrum.

So I proceeded to do the shopping all the while skulking at employees who were still just standing around.

"C'mon, I'll restock the bags FOR YOU. In the time you wasted explaining to me why you couldn't return the bags, you could've returned them."

And so, when I checked out, I played one final card: I asked the cashier if she could return the bags for me.

She was kind enough to go ASK the managers (yes, managers PLURAL), who were summoned from their Bat Cave.

After a pow-wow (long enough that we could've just returned the bags), they of course said "no."

Thanks. You did an excellent job making your customers feel valued.

I hope Santa brings you a lump of coal.


P.S. Because sometimes things seem like they can never be easy, it's fitting that one of the eggs I brought home was broken. So, we have to go back to Kroger anyway.



Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lights Out

Happy Fatherhood Friday!

Getting 3 boys under the age of 6 awake, dressed, fed, teeth brushed, and "out the door" by 7-8 AM is often quite the chore.

In fact, when if Mom-E and I are up to 12 or 1 AM, we sometimes joke, "well, we better start the morning routine NOW (without going to bed first) or we'll be late leaving the house in the morning."

And if Mom-E and I wake up late, the whole morning routine is a big train wreck (i.e., we're lucky to leave before noon.)

The other day was one such morning. It was ~6:45 AM and Mom-E and I were showered and dressed, but all 3 boys were still asleep.

(Brief digression: I can remember the days when 6:45 AM was unbelievably early, not late.)

All of a sudden, the whole house went dark.

I peaked outside and the whole neighborhood was dark.

Lovely. Just bloody lovely.

(Sure, the sun was thinking about waking up soon, but when you're late, that isn't much help.)

And so, we grabbed our (one working) flashlight, and started the "modified morning routine."

Imagine trying to get children dresed and fed while hopping on 1 leg; it pretty much felt like that.

The boys, however, had a ball fighting over the flashlight using the flashlight like a light-saber. And they asked lots of fun questions about "Why doesn't the toaster work?" and "Can I watch Scooby Doo?"

Despite the headaches, it was kinda fun to eat Cheerios by flashlight, and it brought the whole family together at the breakfast table.

And we did make it out the door, eventually, albeit ~1 hour late.

Still, we love you, electricity. We're glad you came back. You're always welcome in our home. We'd keep a light on for you, but know.

Have a good weekend,
Stay warm,

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Your Holiday e-Card

The Busy-Dad-E family wishes you and yours a Merry Christmas!
(in 3-D this year, an improvement from last years' 2-D Pac-Man tree).

So sit back, put your feet up, have a cup of hot chocolate, and relax by the fire with loved ones. And maybe even play a game of 'Packer-man' (as Big Brother calls it.)

We'd join you, but we're busy chasing small men around the house and have forgotten what the word 'relax' means.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fear Detector

So out of the blue, the other night, as we're tucking Little Brother in bed, he points up to the ceiling and asked, "What's that?"

"That's a smoke detector."

"Oh. What's that for?"

"If there's a fire, it makes a loud noise and tells us to get out of the house."

"It makes fire? When is the fire coming?"

"Uh oh."

All logic was off at that point. I might has well have been trying to convince him that chocolate is not a vegetable. He was pretty much sold on the idea that the smoke detector was a living, breathing, fire-making fear detector...that turns your skin green (because of the green light).

Apparently, he did not notice the smoke detector in his room for the first 9 months we lived in this house.

And apparently, it makes no difference that there's one in every room in the house.

So, in a full-blown regression, suddenly there have been nightly requests for "Will you sleep in my room?"

And even after escaping his room, there have been the middle of the night screamings awakenings, complete with a crying 3 year-old pleading to crawl into our bed.

Even lifting him up so that he can touch the smoke detector initially wasn't particularly helpful.

However, after about a week now, I'm pleased to report that things are a little less scary.

There are still the requests to stay in his room, but we're quickly able to leave with "Can I go put on my jammies?", or "I need to help Mom-E with laundry for a minute."

And we haven't had any nocturnal visitors for a few nights now.

I just hope there's no occasion any time soon for a smoke detector to go off for real, even if only for a low battery. Otherwise, we may have an extra resident in our bed indefinitely.

Have a good week,

Friday, December 10, 2010

Underage Jokester

Happy Fatherhood Friday!

Apparently this is Bab-E Brother week here at Busy-Dad-E, between his love for Puffs on Monday, and his deep-sea diving expedition Christmas tree adventure on Wednesday, and now today.

I promise that I'm not being partial; trust me, with 3 boys, spreading the time and love is a constant challenge.

I've always been a fan of the changing pad. Don't think me a fool (or someone with a congenital inability to smell) for saying that. I've loved interacting with each of my boys in that venue. It makes for great eye contact, and opportunities to be just plain silly.

This includes a lot of zerberts, smiles, giggles, faces, and other antics.

A favorite of Mom-E and I is to put "little man pants" on our head and then shake from side-to-side, while we're diapering.

An important function of this effort, is that it's distracting and helps keep bab-e feet out of poopy diapers.

And besides, there's no other good place to store the pants while you're diapering, so why not use yourself as a coat rack and make your child laugh in the process?

Bab-E Brother finds the "pants-on-the-head" bit hysterical, and it always causes him to unleash belly laughs that rival Santa's.

What's funny is that now, if you hand Bab-E Brother his pants, he puts them on HIS head and starts chuckling.

Apparently we have a funny man in the family.

Either he's mirroring us, or auditioning for the role of "family clown" (or both).

Um, excuse me son, I need to see your license, or I might just have to charge you with underage jokestering.

Lord help us when you can walk. And that day is coming soon.

Have a good weekend,

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Christmas Tree Story

"It was like preparing for extended deep-sea diving."

Happy Wordless Wednesday,

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Puffs Dad-E

Okay, so Puffs Bab-E Brother is a more appropriate title for this post, but Puffs Dad-E is catchier.


At least in our house, these things are like crack for babies.

And I mean no disrespect to the fine folks at Gerber; we love this product.

They're like "melt-in-your-mouth" cereal, which is great for babies learning how to feed themselves. (However, when they melt, apparently they cross the blood-brain barrier, and stimulate the "pleasure center" in the brain, thereby reinforcing the need for (continuous) Puffs.

To paraphrase the Corn Pops jingle:
Bab-E Brother's 'gotta have his Puffs'.

To paraphrase the New Kids on the Block:
"You got the right Puffs, Bab-E. Oh, oh, oh-oh-oh. Oh, oh, oh-oh. Oh, oh, oh-oh-oh. The right Puffs."

To paraphrase the movie Rain Man:
I've had to leave a restaurant before to go to a grocery store (fortunately it was next door) to make an emergency Puffs run after leaving them at home. (5 minutes to Puffs. 5 minutes to Puffs.)

If he is sitting in his high chair with no Puffs in sight, Bab-E Brother uses a loud shrieking sound as a gentle reminder to us to "please give me my Puffs appetizer".

Strike that, sometimes just to get him to sit in the high chair, you have to bribe him with Puffs.

And Cheerios are NOT a suitable substitute for Puffs. If you put a mixture of Puffs and Cheerios on his tray, that little booger will (like lightning) pick out only the Puffs to eat.

(Maybe we could put him in charge of sorting all the socks in the laundry.)

Fortunately, we are finally starting to branch out a little from Puffs to bananas and other table food.

Anyone know a good Puffs detox programs?

Have a good week,

Friday, December 3, 2010

Happy Meal Mania

It was only a matter of time.

After countless trips to Subway for chips, veggies, and juice boxes, Big Brother has discovered that there’s a whole world of ‘Kids Meals’ out there.

And after years of subsisting on granola bars, crackers, yogurt, fruit, and veggies, Big Brother has acknowledged that french fries and chicken nuggets might not be so bad, after all. (In moderation, of course.)

In retrospect, it was perhaps obvious that the way to get Big Brother to emerge from his eating shell was to bring to his attention the fact that Kids Meals come with a toy.

And so, this tale starts with a random request for “I’d like to have French fries”, that left Mom-E and I with multiple arm bruises, having pinched each other so hard.

“Uh. Sure. We’ll stop right now.”

To our amazement, he willingly ate some fries.

It didn’t take long for this to balloon into, if I try some chicken nuggets, can I have a Kids Meal.

“Heck yeah. And if you eat it all, we’ll throw in a second one. It’s only a staple food of 99.9% of toddlers/small children. The other 0.1% doesn’t need you anymore.”

And so we managed to eat about 1 whole chicken nugget. Willingly.


Next stop, World Peace.

Granted, he likes fries better than chicken nuggets. And along the way discovered that honey makes a most excellent dipping sauce.

But still, we’re on to something. And sure, the prize in the Kids Meal sweetens the deal, but if it gets him to eat, hey, who cares?

And this change has the added benefit of Little Brother joining the party and eating some french fries, too. (No nuggets for him yet).

I’m so glad that his tastes are changing and expanding. It will make so many things easier for him and us. And his future prom date.

Of course, we can’t eat fast food all the time (I hear my arteries screaming, “Nooooo!), but for now, it’s a good trade-off to encourage his expanding tastes.

Beware sandwiches, you’re next (on the menu)!

Have a Happy (Meal) Weekend,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Scary Tooth Fairy

As you know from earlier this week, Big Brother recently lost his first tooth .

And despite being at Papa’s house, 600 miles away from home, we assured him that the tooth fairy would still come.

So that night, we got the boys settled down in bed. Big Brother and Little Brother cozily bunked together. Big Brother had tucked his tooth in a bag under his pillow. We told both boys that while they were sleeping, the Tooth Fairy, would take Big Brother’s tooth for her collection, and in exchange give him some money.

There were also lots and lots of questions about: How big is the tooth fairy? Does she fly? How does she know where to come? How does she take the tooth and replace it with money so quickly? How does she carry everything? What does she do with all those teeth?

We tell the boys good night, and all of a sudden, as we start to leave, Little Brother shudders and shakes with a look of utter horror.

In short, he’s terrified by the thought of the Tooth Fairy’s pending arrival, and insists on me holding him while he falls asleep in another room, despite reassurances.

(Apparently Santa and the Easter Bunny are okay, because they don’t actually come into your room.)

Not wanting to wake up Bab-E Brother, who’s in a crib in the same room, I oblige. And promptly nod off. Mom-E wakes me up about 2.5 hours later, having napped herself.

It’s almost midnight, but a trip to Walmart is still in order, as we need to stock up on a few items for the first leg of the trip home. While at the store, I find Matchbox cars on sale for $0.77. So in addition to some cash for Big Brother, I get each of the boys a car of their favorite color, a “peace offering” from the Tooth Fairy, which was also explained in a letter.

At about 3am, Little Brother woke up to find himself in bed with Big Brother. Still terrified of the Tooth Fairy, and not noticing the Matchbox car above him on the headboard, Little Brother comes screaming running into our room, and piles into bed with us.

In the morning, Big Brother was ecstatic about his “payday” and Matchbox car. We have plans to go to a participating Target store for redemption soon.

And Little Brother has also been inseparable from his car for the past 3 days.

If you ask him now “Is the Tooth Fairy a nice ‘grirl’?”, he says “Yeah.”

But somehow, when he loses his first tooth, I’m thinking he’ll sleep with one eye open that night.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,