Thursday, December 29, 2011

Homemade Speed Racer

Big Brother is obsessed with Speed Racer, in part thanks to:
1) Cheerios, who inspired him with a prize of Speed Racer cars and a mail-in offer for a bowl a while back.



2) Netflix, who carries the complete episodes of Speed Racer: Next Generation (aka Big Brother's morning crack coffee).

Since he inherited two copies of the "crafty" gene from Mom-E, Big Brother has grown a bit weary of drawing and making cutouts of the Mach 5, Mach 6, Mach 60, Racer X, Virtual Track, and crafting the Mach 6 and Racer X cars out of Legos and Trio blocks, and opted for a more complicated project.

Give a 6 year old an empty Amazon.com box, construction paper, and crayons, and voila: you have your own personal Mach 5 and Speed Racer helmet.


(And thanks to Mom-E for installing a seat-belt, because even with Fred Flintstone-style foot power, Big Brother can zoom around pretty fast.)

Big Brother, in a word, you're awesome. You have a vivid imagination, are very crafty, and have a real skill for building stuff.

You can be whatever you want when you grow up, but methinks you might make a fine engineer.

Have a good weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Santa Slips Up

Well, almost.

We had some Christmas "near misses" for Little Brother.

It became apparent this year that he was extremely sensitive about presents. Our dear friends got each of the boys a present. Little Brother's present was a cool Melissa and Doug firetruck floor puzzle.

The only problem was that Little Brother believed it to be a "firetruck costume". (Don't ask, just know that we have one costume-obsessed 4 year-old.)

Fortunately, the ensuing tantrum and crying fit lasted only about 2 minutes until Big Brother opened the box for him and Little Brother decided that the puzzle was quite cool. (They've been assembling it over and over ever since.)

This primed our sensitivities for the following 2 incidents:
1. Every year, Santa leaves the boys a small gift while we're at church. This is usually some jammies or slippers and a new book to read.

This year, Big Brother got a pair of thick Batman Socks, Bab-E Brother some Lightning McQueen slippers, and Little Brother Spiderman slippers.

Despite them being the same length as his regular shoes, the slippers didn't quite fit.

Oops.

Based on the "firetruck present incident" described above, you can imagine Little Brother's response.

After some tears, Mom-E craftily explained that we would leave a note for Santa informing him the slippers didn't fit, and could he please have the elves make a new pair in the next size up. And importantly, Mom-E also explained that Santa wouldn't be able to come back the next night, but that he would be able to "fix it."

Whew! (Thank you, Target.com. No doubt Little Brother will be very pleased to have a package delivered to him with the new slippers.)

2. Since Halloween, our superhero-obsessed 4 year-old had yet another costume on his wish-list: The Flash.

However, it wasn't until about a week before Christmas that Little Brother asked Santa at the mall for this costume as his "#1 present."

And while said Flash costume had already been obtained, it was already in Gramm-E and Grampap's hands for delivery.

With a "Flash" of quick thinking, we gave the grandparents the 4-1-1 on this situation, and in Santa's "thank you letter" informed Little Brother that a. he would get him a new pair of slippers, and b. that his Flash costume had fallen out of his bag at Gramm-E and Grampap's house, and they would bring it to him later in the day.

Fortunately, all tears were averted and Little Brother was content with the arrangements, excepting that he asked "Are Gramm-E and Grampap here?" or "Can we call them (after just calling them to verify that they had the Flash costume)?" every 2 minutes for about 5 hours.

My ears are still tired.

When the costume arrived, he was thrilled, and insisted on trying it on immediately.

In contrast to the slippers, the Flash costume was a bit long, despite being the smallest size available (Little Brother doesn't set the world on fire, height-wise.)

Cue crocodile tears and please to Mom-E to "fix i"t (aka alter it with her sewing machine) immediately.

Of course, even after Mom-E did shorten the legs, he still complained that they were too long (they weren't).

Fortunately, by the next day, Little Brother "gave in" and is now wearing and enjoying the costume.

Here's to the Christmas exploits of 4 year-olds!

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

Monday, December 26, 2011

Big Brother's Favorite Present


"Dark Helmet, you ain't got nothin on Iron Man so long as my head doesn't make me tip over!"


Thanks, Aunt E!

Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas (Eve Eve)

Thank you, dear readers, for visiting my site.

Oh how life with 3 boys is hectic all day and night.

Right now we're having lots of fun (and material for future postings).

Enjoying time off, I must make the most(ings).

The boys decked this gingerbread house with red, orange, yellow, green, and blue.


Merry Christmas, from our family to YOU!

Merry Christmas,
Busy-Dad-E, Busy-Mom-E, Big Brother, Little Brother, and Bab-E Brother

“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my servant shall be healed."
Matthew 8:8

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Vegetables in Heaven

Recently, Little Brother informed us that he planned on staying 4 years old (in an attempt to stave off death).

As such, he made it clear that he was no longer going to eat vegetables (he does really well eating raw carrots, cucumber, and green pepper), because "vegetables make you grow, and then I'll get older."

(Only if the secret to the fountain of youth was so simple [or involved eating pizza and drinking Coke]).

But then, out of the green blue, in the van the other day, Little Brother asked me, "Dad-E, are there vegetables in heaven?"

(I just assumed the answer to that question is NOT in the "Parenting Instruction Manual" and opted not to look.)

"That's a good question, buddy. I don't think anyone on Earth knows the answer to that one."

"There are (vegetables) Dad-E. I'm very serious about this."

"Okay."

"Dad-E. I'm really very right."

"Okay, my man."

"Dad-E, some day you will REALIZE that there are vegetables in heaven," he uttered with prophet-like authority.

"I hope so dude."

And I have certainly REALIZED that the questions are only going to get harder from here.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Eat your veggies,
Busy-Dad-E

Monday, December 19, 2011

Outdoor Piano Recital

Yes, outside in December.

***
So Big Brother had his holiday piano recital this past weekend.

There were 2 recitals: 1pm and 4pm.

We opted for the 4pm, to allow Bab-E Brother sufficient time to nap.

Little Brother didn't nap beforehand, but at least had some quiet time.

We also made sure that the boys were tanked up with snacks beforehand, so that they could survive the hour-long recital until refreshments (aka cookies) were served.

We found our way to seats along the side, directly facing the performers.

In short, it didn't work.

Although Bab-E Brother quietly finished off his goldfish and raisins, Little Brother was quite contrary.

As soon as Big Brother's teacher started introductions, Little Brother put his hands over his ears.

(That's not good, especially since no one had started playing yet.)

And then he rearranged himself in his chair such that his chest was where his bottom should've been, and his hind end was pointing directly at the rest of the audience.

As discreetly as possible (aka not very), I hoisted Little Brother onto my lap.

He then started mumbling "hungry" ad nauseum, interspersed with making raspberry sounds with his lips.

In case you're wondering, this was not a good prognostic indicator for his ability to get through the recital, given that at this point ZERO of about 15 children had performed.

Big Brother was fourth on the program.

I had the opportunity to accompany him, which meant Little Brother threw a small hissy fit when I helped him off of my lap.

Mom-E then had to escort Little Brother amongst the other students while carrying Bab-E Brother, obstructing her view of the piano.

Big Brother played quite nicely, and then we were all able to return to our seats.

Briefly.

Within 2 minutes of finishing, Big Brother had to go potty (and BAD/NOW, as evidenced by the fact that, despite his appearance, this was not a DANCE recital, if you get my jift).

All small children started to fuss and we again had to escort ourselves amongst the students again.

But at this point, we were making enough commotion/noise that the recital was paused for about 30 seconds while Big Brother was assisted to the bathroom and Mom-E and I escorted Little Brother and Bab-E Brother outside.

This was not an ACTING recital, despite our uncanny ability to make a SCENE.

If you're not laughing yet there's something wrong with you then certainly you'll laugh when I tell you that Big Brother's piano teacher is MY BOSS'S WIFE and the recital was AT THEIR HOUSE.

Bazinga!

So Mom-E and I are now outside in the cold with the Brothers' Little and Bab-E, while Gramm-E and Grampap remain inside for moral support for Big Brother (and in case he has to pee again, which is totally in the realm of possibility) - God bless them for being there and providing 4 extra hands.

We enjoy the most of the rest of the recital outside in their driveway while I prepare for a pink slip on Monday, j/k. Little Brother finally calms down enough that he is able to go in with Mom-E and sit in the back.

But by this point, Bab-E Brother is quite loud, running around the driveway, falling into the mud, and exclaiming every time he hears a puppy bark, sees a tree, or a "big ruck" (big truck) drives by.

We escort ourselves back in at the conclusion so the boys can get sugared up on refreshments.

Admittedly, we did have a nice dinner with Gramm-E and Grampap afterwards.

Big Brother, Mom-E and I were very proud of you. You gave an excellent performance at the recital. It means a lot and is very special for me to have the chance to play with you in this early phase of your musical career.

But if you wonder about the lack (or maybe even absence) of photo/video footage of the recital, this post will serve as our explanation.

Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cub Scuts

The spelling is intentional...

and my sucker tattoo from my coaching days is making my forehead burn like Harry Potter.

***
Earlier this school year, Big Brother decided he no longer wanted to do gymnastics.

Mom-E and I were cool with this, because it meant no longer having to be a in a hot place that smells like feet right when small children start to melt down with hunger.

Instead, Big brother decided to do Cub Scouts (which we both thought was probably up his alley moreso than gymnastics).

And there was a Pack at his school, which is close to home, and does not smell like feet.

Score!

It only took one pack meeting, during which they showed the foam rocket gun that was yours if you sold $1,000,000 in Trail's End popcorn, for Big Brother to get hooked.

And at the parents' meeting, the Cub Master for the Pack said that he likes to be the leader for the Tiger Cubs (first year cub scouts).

It took a little while for things to get started. They had 2 informational meetings at the school in September, because of a relatively small number of first-graders signed up.

So about the time we started wondering "are the Tiger Cubs going to have any meetings?" the Cub Master announced their first meeting.

***
And then the wheels fell off (or at least tried to).

They did have the first meeting, with a grand total of 4 boys, but suddenly the story changed.

Umm ... well ... *cough, cough* ... umm ... we're going to need one of you to be the den leader.

(Vacant stares. Shuffling of feet. My forehead starts burning.)

All parents mumble excuses about why they can't do it.

So, we decide to take turns leading the meetings at first, to share the responsibility. The Cub Master's Assistant says he'll come to our next meeting to help.

Of course, everyone turns green when it comes to decide who will lead the next meeting.

"I'll do it." (just get me some salve to make this pain on my forehead go away.)

***
So we have the next meeting (we have to find our own meeting place), and 4 boys show up, but not Assistant Cub Master, and everything goes okay (aka we "wing it" according to the Tiger Cub Den Meeting guide they gave me.)

The third meeting is called a "Go and See". Where you take the boys to a Fire Station, or a historical site, etc. The parents brainstorm an idea, and another parent agrees to make contact.

(But somehow, I'm left holding the master instruction manual for "How to be a Tiger Cub Den Leader.)

So another month goes by, and at the Thanksgiving Pack meeting, I talk to one of the other parents.

"Umm, that place we talked about is closed for the winter."

I'm thinking to myself, "Okay, were you going to tell anyone? Are we going to figure something out?"

At this point, it's become abundantly clear that if I don't grab the reigns, nobody else will (and my forehead is never going to stop throbbing).

And while I'd prefer to have Big Brother join the Cub Scout pack at our church, the year is almost half over, and it sounds like the other boys don't really have any other options, and it's not really fair to anyone.

So I make some arrangements for the boys to get a 20 minute guided tour of a local historical site. I speak directly to the person who will show us around, and confirm the arrangements with a follow-up call. I email everyone in the den to announce the meeting.

***
Last night we had the "Go and See". We get there, and I tell them who we are and why we're there. They go behind closed doors to tell my contact (let's call him Ted) we've arrived.

The nice lady comes out and says, "Ted's computer just crashed and he's on the phone with Tech Support. He'll be with you in a few minutes."

Not only is my forehead searing, but I'm hoping my insurance is good enough to cover the potential damages of a troop of impatient 6 year-old Cub Scouts at a "historical site".

We wait 45 minutes, passing the time by going potty en masse and attempting to play checkers.

I also tell the parents of the other 2 boys there that I'm willing to be the point person for the Tiger Cub den, because everyone feels so "out of the loop", in part because they're EXTREMELY disorganized.

You can imagine their relief. One parent was nice enough to say, "Yeah, I'm booked for work a month in advance. And Billy starts basketball in January and I'm coaching his team."

Thanks. Great to know you don't have time for the things you don't want to do.

Losing patience, I go talk to the lady again to request an update.

She comes back. "Can you wait 15 more minutes?"

"No, It's 7:30. These kids need to go home and get ready for bed."

So they give us a pamphelet and we wander aimlessly for about 10 minutes (the kids loved it because they got to ride an elevator), and then leave.

Wow, that was fun. Can we do that every night, please?

***
And so on the drive home we have to stop at the store for a few things, particularly because we're out of milk.

Little Brother falls asleep on the way there (yes, he came to Cub Scouts, too. Both he and Bab-E Brother screamed their heads off at the dinner table for about 30 minutes before we left, so Mom-E and I each took one cranky child), so I carried him throughout the store.

As we're shopping, Big Brother suddenly notices a 1/2 inch scrape on his hand that's barely bleeding. The world starts to come to an end.

Of course, the store doesn't carry the one kind of battery we need (for Pupp-E, who earned a reinstatement of his training collar after chewing a hole in Little Brother's comforter.)

So we get to make another stop at CVS to pick this up, all the while Big Brother screaming about his horrible pain from his miniature wound and how his hand is going to fall off.

(We'll at least we're in a pharmacy. Maybe the pharmacy can throw in a sedative or two for Mom-E and I, in addition to a narcotic painkiller for Big Brother?)

At least we got the batteries.

****
Man, Cub Scouts is sure neat, neat, neat. Good times.

At least we have the Pinewood Derby to look forward to.

Boys, when you're older an read this, know that the reason I do this stuff is because I love you and want the best for you, and I wouldn't do it for anyone else.

Have a good weekend, from your friendly neighborhood Den Leader,
Busy-Dad-E

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Assigned Color

Big Brother and Little Brother each have a favorite color. Big Brother's is blue, and Little Brother, green.

And I'm willing to admit that sometimes we (including myself) get carried away with their color fixations.

For example, Little Brother usually drinks from a green cup (with a green lid) and Big Brother a blue cup and lid. And if we have a color coordinating bendy straw, they like that, too.

We did go through a brief period where the boys refused to drink if the color of the cup or straw was "wrong", but we worked on "flexibility", and fortunately it worked, so that either boy would be willing to drink from a red cup with a yellow straw instead of dying of dehydration.

Their color preference has extended to things like toys, clothes, scarves, and balloons.

So much so that the other day, Bab-E Brother was playing at his musical table in his room.

The toy has a mini-piano with four colored keys.

Without hesitation, he points to the blue key and says "Big Brother", followed by the green key and "Little Brother".

(Okay, he can't say brother yet. I'm just substituting for what he actually calls them.)

Oh my, maybe we have taken this favorite color thing a bit to far if an almost 2 year-old spontaneously picks that out.

Sorry, Bab-E Brother, your choices are down to red, orange, or or yellow?

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Meaning of Christmas

The other day, Mom-E and Little Brother were chatting.

Little Brother told her that God talks to him and tells him to do "good stuff." He said he can hear God talking to him in his heart. Later, he told me that God makes him happy.

Blown away, upon further questioning, it sounds like this is something they've been discussing in his pre-K class at our church.

But the boy is "spot-on."

Being a parent is an awesome responsibility. And yet, it is amazing how we can be inspired and humbled from the faith of a 4 year-old boy.

I assure you, however, that this is not meant as a "holier-than-thou" comment.

One moment, I'm learning about faith from my 4 year old, and shortly thereafter Bab-E Brother is screaming about playing "Dice" (Yahtzee, Jr.), the dog has eaten a package of Swiss Miss and is now sporting a chocolatey marshmallow beard, and the two older boys need assistance in the bathroom, all while I'm spotting Mom-E on the ladder as she attempts to put the bow atop the Christmas tree.

Parenthood truly is a series of priceless moments, with a whole lotta chaos in between.

Have a good week and a Merry Christmas,
Busy-Dad-E

Friday, December 9, 2011

Use Your Senses

Hi There!

Big Brother has certainly been using his senses lately.

No doubt his taste has been affected with the departure of his front tooth's next door neighbor.


"All I want for Christmas is..." well, you know.

And apparently he has been doing a lot of looking. His weekly homework includes writing 5 sentences with his spelling words. This week there were a number of number words. He wrote the sentences below completely on his own.


I'll admit that they made Mom-E and I chuckle, because, well, he was a bit "repetitively redundant." You know, where you "repeat yourself and say the same thing over again." Kind of like the "annual holiday party that's held every year." You get the idea and concept.

We were also chuckling because at the time he showed us we were trying to eat in a rush before going to church, Bab-E Brother had abdicated "Little Brother's" seat at the table, and Little Brother was throwing a hissy about said seat (while simultaneously screaming that he had to go potty). Oh yeah, and I think the dog wanted to go out, too.

So I wrote some sentences, too.
1. I see one boy screaming at the table.
2. I see two boys screaming at the table.
3. I see three boys screaming at the table.
4. I see three boys screaming and running away from the table without eating.
5. I see Mom-E screaming at the dinner table (but quietly, inside her head only).

Might as well laugh. Sometimes that's your only defense. Still, I love those little turd balls boys.

Have a good weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Un-Surprise

If there's a gene for not being able to keep presents a secret, Big Brother has it.

And it got it from me.

Last night at dinner, Big Brother proudly announced that he was making a surprise Christmas present for Mom-E and I.

His only hints:
1. It is made (in part) with ribbon.
2. It begins with the letter R.

Hardly able to contain himself, Little Brother started a "challenge MacCauley Caulkin from Uncle Buck for the greatest number of consecutive questions"-style interrogation.

Is it a toy?
Is it food?
Is it a diaper?
Is it a staple?
Is it a staple on the table?
Is it a staple on the floor?
(Did Little Brother do some speed at the dinner table unbeknownst to to us?)
And on and on and on

(Mom-E and I took full advantage of this time to actually eat a few bites of WARM food. Amazing, Big Brother did not have a conniption over the questions. Probably because he didn't have a chance to talk.)

Sorry, dude, but all of you answers are wrong based on the letter R hint.

Unable to contain himself, Big Brother had to whisper the surprise to Little Brother.

(At which point, Mom-E and I were thinking, "T-minus 10 seconds until WE find out what it is.")

Amazingly, that didn't happen.

****
Fast forward to the next morning.

I'm waiting with Big Brother before he gets on the bus for school.

Out of the blue, he asks me, "Dad-E, how can you make a wreath in 1 day?"

"Um, buddy, is that the present for Mom-E and I?"

"Oops. Yeah. Don't tell Mom-E, okay."

"Okay."

"Hey, buddy,"

"Yeah, Dad-E."

"By the way wreath actually starts with a W."

"Oh."

1st graders' spelling is AWESOME.

(Either that, or he was using some kind of counter-intelligence strategy to throw us off by telling us it started with R.)

Nah, I've seen his homework papers. Just a lot of bad, phonetic spelling. :)

C U L8R on Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tah-Tee or Hah-Tee

Mom-E and I are not a case of "opposite's attract"...

...with the exception of our choice of warm, caffeinated, morning beverage.

I'm a hot tea kinda guy.

And she's a coffee lady.

And while Mom-E also likes hot tea, the same can not be said about my sentiments for that nasty stuff coffee.

Bab-E Brother has heard both of us comment on our morning wake-up.

He calls coffee, "Tah-tee."

And hot tea, "Hah-tee."

In other words, it's pretty hard to tell one from the other.

So being a stinker, this morning I asked Bab-E Brother if what he liked better: Tah-Tee or Hah-Tee better?

His answer came out "Ah-Tee", which I interpreted as tea, and Mom-E coffee.

Of course we all know that he was trying to say "hot tea." What else would one drink in the morning?

(Sorry, Mom-E :)

Although Mom-E and I both STRONGLY AGREE that giving any of our children caffeine would be a REALLY BAD IDEA (unless we add on a padded room to the house.)

Those 3 boys have enough energy as-is.

Give them coffee and you'd have a bunch of monkeys jumping up and down on our bed at 5am saying, "I'm hungry. I'm hungry. Breakfast. Breakfast. Let's play Yahtzee. I've gotta go potty. What's your favorite color?"

You get the idea.

Wake up! It's Monday!

Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rolling in the Blankets

Happy Fatherhood Friday!



Bab-E Brother definitely has a fondness for very plush blankets.

Many times in the store Mom-E has witnessed Bab-E Brother try to pretty much dive out of the cart head-first to cuddle with a plush blanket.

Or, if he's ambulating, Bab-E Brother will grab the blanket, squeeze it tightly like a treasured stuffed animal, then throw it on the floor and jump head-first on top of it.

So Mom-E decided that for a fraction of the cost, she could just make/sew Bab-E Brother his own plush blanket.
(She's got mad skills/a black belt in grandma arts like that.)

And so she did. An amazing plush blanket, with Lightning McQueen prints on one side to boot! It is SOFT! (I want one.)

And consistent with his brothers and other hand-made items, Bab-E Brother pretty much TOTALLY IGNORED the blanket.

What what what what? Even his brothers like it.

And so, Mom-E and I were left to scratch our heads as to the reason for his diametrically opposed reactions to plush blankets at home versus the store.

Inspired by the words of Tom Petty, I figured it out the other night.

"So get to the point...let's roll another....BLANKET!"

(Okay, so the Tom Petty lyrics came afterwords, but it seemed like a good fit."

That's right, we figured out that Bab-E Brother likes his blankets only one way...ROLLED. That's how they're packaged at the store.

Fortunately, this theory was very amenable to scientific experimentation.

And so I took the plush Lightning McQueen blanket, rolled it up, and said "Hey, Bab-E Brother, LOOK HERE!"

BOOM!

Like moths to a flame, he INSTANTLY ran over to hug and jump on the blanket.

Ah, such is parenthood with the little ones. The moment you figure out what your kids are trying to communicate, BAM! pure bliss.

Have a good weekend,
Snuggle with your blankie,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

All I Want For Christmas



Well, we're half way there!

(But the other one is pretty lose and destined to come out soon!)

Here's to being able to drink through a straw without opening your mouth!

Cheers, Big Brother! You were a very brave patient, and very patient with your amateur dentist!

(Mom-E is very squeamish about loose teeth, so Dad-E is the default tooth puller.)

And LOOK! The Tooth Fairy knows how to write in cursive!


See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cursive


Big Brother's Thanksgiving Break might be summarized in the words of Johnny 5, "Need input!"

In an attempt to empty our brains of knowledge, he asked Mom-E to show him how to write in cursive.

And write cursive he did.

He wrote his name in cursive, over, and over, and over, and over again.

I think every piece of paper in our house has Big Brother's name written in cursive on it. Enough to cover every square inch of wall space in our house.

And he was SOOO proud of this, showing anyone who would (or wouldn't) look at his handiwork. Again, and again, and again.

"Look, Little Brother, it's my name in cursive," said Big Brother.

"Stop it! I'm not looking! I'm tired of you showing me your name in cursive!", he retorted.

I did manage to get Big Brother to write/copy my name in cursive for the blog. Enjoy!


Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Better World

I recently had a tremendous experience, and it made me think how much better the world would be if we could all do this for each other at least once in our lives.

Have a dinner (or lunch), formal or informal, with friends, family, and other colleagues and loved ones.

Before the meal, the “guest of honor” stand up and gives a toast (you can just say a few nice comments) to every other guest in attendance.

Then, in turn, each guest then gives their own toast to the “guest of honor.”

And then sit down and enjoy the meal and conversation.

A much needed change from the frenetic, unrelenting pace of our American way of life.

Have a good weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful

I’m thankful this holiday to be home with family.

But another thing I’m thankful for this year is technology.

(Of course, the includes the opportunity to write this blog.)

I’m really thankful this year for Skype.

Recently, I traveled internationally for.

And while it’s always hard on everyone to be halfway across the globe, Skype made it much more bearable, amidst the chaos.

It’s amazing to think that with Skype and a wi-fi connection, I was able to talk to and see my family and home from thousands of miles away in real time, for free, all on a device that fits in the palm of my hand.

Incredible.

And, of course, my boys’ favorite Skype activity is to virtually “pick my boogers.”

“Simple things for simple minds,” my mother would say.

Thank you, Skype, for bringing me closer to my booger-picking family when I wasn’t so close.

And thanks to you, dear readers.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Busy-Dad-E

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy 4th Birthday!

Dear Little Brother,

It seems so recently that, according to Big Brother, we went to the “baby store” to “pick you out” when you were born.

And now you’re 4!

Wow!

And though I call you Little Brother, your entire life you’ve never been little on personality and charisma.

You have a spirit that elicits the admiration of others around you.

Lately, your pastime has been superheroes and wearing costumes. You wear them ALL the time, and the word “all” includes sleeping.

And you change your costumes ALL the time, multiple times a day.

We had a wonderful time at your birthday party – a costume-themed party at a local park/playground. You and many (child) guests came dressed as a favorite superhero.

There were ~6 finalists, but ultimately you chose your Batman costume (you were wearing Captain America in the invitation photo).

Until you got a new superhero costume as a present, which you put on immediately.

And your presents from Mom-E and I were all superhero-themed: a Captain America mask and (disk-shooting) shield and a Spiderman web shooter (that really shoots webs! Sweet!)

This year has brought exciting changes for you. Most notably, you’ve started 2 days a week of pre-K.

Your teachers now say that you’re opening up at school – singing, talking, and interacting well.

This is funny o me because you’re ANYTHING but reserved at home.

But I’m excited to see you starting to draw people/figures, an increased interest in letters and numbers (you often refer to both of them as numbers), and a love of reading.

You’ve been invited to several birthday parties for classmates, which have been fun.

And so, some comments to try to capture your personality, interests, likes, and other amusing anecdotes. When you’re an adult, I hope you enjoy reading this.

As a “middle child”, you do very well relating to others. You certainly look up to an want to do the same things as Big Brother, but you also play well with Bab-E Brothers. In fact, you appear to love babies in general. You like to get down on “their level” to interact.

I can see you as a pediatrician, but of course you are/will be encouraged to pursue a career of your own choosing. (Maybe arguing against being a pediatrician is your distaste for “ouchies”. You insist on a band-aid for most every hangnail.)

You are stubborn (we know which parents that comes from) and at times illogical. If we ask you to do something, and your response begins with a slow “Well … “, Mom-E and I know to expect a 5-minute BS answer.

Sometimes you will spend 5 minutes explaining why:
-You can’t pick up the napkin you dropped that’s right to you.
-You’re too tired to walk (or suddenly claim that you CAN’T walk)
-You’re too tired to sleep (or lie down)

I’ve carried you A LOT in the past 4 years. I love carrying you, but soon you’ll have to do more walking. When I get old and need back surgery, I will be asking you for help.

And your answer will NOT begin with “Well …”

I gave you the picky eater gene and you certainly express high levels of it. I’m sorry. We REALLY need to work on this one. If left to your own devices, you would have a liquid diet of chocolate milk and yogurt smoothie drinks.

You LOVE ropes. Or anything that can be remotely construed as a rope. A lot. You tie ropes around your waist like a belt. You tie ropes around stuffed animals/toys, and suspend them from other objects. Balloon strings are among your favorite ropes.

You like to store a variety of objects in your shorts. Some of the more amusing things we’ve found recently include balloons, Halloween candy, and a pair of latex gloves that Big Brother brought home from school (?)

You like to dance with me to loud music. And by dance I mean I carry you around and twirl.

Ouch, my back again.

It takes you a while to become “human” when you wake-up from sleep or a nap. In the morning, you need your morning cartoon fix before we can think about engaging you to get dressed (or just talk in non-grunts). In the afternoon, you often fuss mostly inconsolably for 20-30 minutes after your nap, and insist on being carried during that time.

(My back hurts just writing this.)

You still NEED a nap. Some days you’re willing, and some days not. It’s very clear to Mom-E and I when you don’t nap. We’ve had to resort to veiled threats to get you to nap (or letting you clean the toilet, which strangely is a motivator.)

But when you are fully awak, you ar ea jovial and very sweet and loving boy.

I’m very proud of you.

And I wish you a very happy 4th birthday.

I love you,
Dad-E

Monday, November 14, 2011

Bab-E Brother's Reading List

The boy who couldn't sit still for more than 0.12 seconds has literally transformed into a total book worm.

If he sees any of these titles laying around, you will be asked to read it.

Multiple times.

And then read it some more.

And then read them all again before nap time.

And once more before bed.

You get the idea.

So without further ado, here's his best-seller list, with his title in ()


(Book or Doggie, depending on his mood)


(La La La, his personal favorite)


(Book or Doggie, again)


(Choo-Choo)


(DOGGIES!)


(??????? Pretty much like Eddie Murphy in Buckwheat Sings, so maybe we should tell him it's Betty Davis Eyes)

What are your kiddos reading?

Cheers,
Busy-Dad-E

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Freedom Isn't Free

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

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

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

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

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


May God Bless America,
Busy-Dad-E

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I Like #2


Sorry Big Brother, but #3 is completely OFF THE TABLE! (NO idea where that came from.)

Feel free to get started washing anytime. And two coats of wax, please.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

Monday, November 7, 2011

We Got Skills

So in true school boy fashion, Big Brother appears to be on to the next fad.

We've had so many, sometimes it's hard to keep track of all the Beyblades, Bakugan, Thundercats, Transformers, Spiderman, Batman, Wubbzy stuff.

This one is different however: Cup Stacking.

You may have seen one of the cool videos on Youtube of kids stacking and unstacking cups at Ludicrous Speed.

Apparently, Big Brother's PE class does some Cup Stacking on cold or rainy days.

But it was actually just before bedtime the other evening that he started talking about Cup Stacking.

Next thing you know I'm trekking downstairs to find 6 matching cups, so he can show off his skills.

I was impressed by his unstacking speed. Stacking the pyramid, however, was much harder because the cups kept sticking together.

But perhaps Santa can help with that.

One of the things I try to emphasize and talk to Big Brother about is how everyone has different talents, and how it's important to work hard to develop them and use them for good.

It pleases my heart to hear Big Brother to spontaneously start talking about how he's talented and cup stacking, and how he can't wait to show other family members.

And, of course, not to be outdone by his older brother, within about 5 minutes of the cup stacking exposee, Little Brother has spontaneously discovered a new talent, too: yo-yo swinging.

No, not yo-yo'ing (like up and down and walk the dog, etc.) I just mean swinging a yo-yo around and around in a big circle (such that it'd really hurt if he hit you with it.) (Fortunately, it's not a big heavy Duncan, just a cheap plastic yo-yo that he got as a birthday party favor (it broke instantly and he cried uncontrollaby until I fixed it with black electrical tape.)

You can't use it as a yo-yo anymore, but it still works great for spinning it in a big circle.

Hey, Dad-E, look at me! Look at this!

I love it! Couldn't ask for better entertainment. Keep stacking and swinging.

Just don't hit anyone.

Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Did You Ever Have One of Those Dinners?

Where, after a long, trying day, you sit down to the dinner table as a family, say the blessing, and start to take that first bite, when, in rapid-fire succession, the following happens:

The cell phone rings.

Then the house phone rings.

Then the dryer buzzes that it's done (and it's filled with a load of delicates that if not folded in the next 15 seconds will be wrinkled forever).

Then the doorbell rings with a kid in the neighborhood selling the same stuff your kid is selling.
Then Little Brother screams that he has to go potty.

Then the dog starts barking and scratching at the door (to go potty).

Then Little Brother returns from going potty, only to "tag out" with Big Brother who now also has to go potty.

Then Bab-E Brother throws his milk, which looks like he went potty on the floor.

Then you have to remind small men to flush and wash hands.

Then Big Brother decides he doesn't want to wear clothes, and runs upstairs to change into jammies.

Then Little Brother decides he should be wearing jammies too, and screams until you carry him upstairs to change.

Then the boys chug their "choky-juice" in one gulp.

Then they decide that suddenly they're cold (from the liter of fluid they just consumed) and need a blanket.

Then both boys have to go upstairs again to get blankets.

Then Big Brother brings a toy downstairs with him.

Then Little Brother is mad that he doesn't have a toy.

Then the dog whines to come back inside.

Then the dog whines to go back outside.

Then the boys are hangry to the point that they refuse to eat while simultaneously screaming that they're hungry.

And then we finally eat our cold meal.

Yeah, that's pretty much just a typical evening for us. :)

Have a good weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wheel of Costumes

Welcome to

WHEEL...

OF....

COSTUMES!

(cue theme song.)

We're your hosts Busy-Dad-E and Busy-Mom-E.

We hope you had a Happy Halloween!

Those of you who have tuned in to the show know that the entire month of October was costume month on Wheel of Costumes, what with 2 of our 3 contestants wearing at least 1 (and sometimes 2 simultaneously) costume(s) an average of 18 hours per day.

And so coming down to our final show of the month, the big question in everyone's mind was "Which costume would the boys wear for the big Trick or Treat episode?"

The list was "narrowed" down to the following possibilities:
1. Captain America - Little Brother's original first choice and new costume for this year.

2. Ryuga (the main "bad guy" on the Beyblades tv show - Big Brother's original first choice and new costume for this year, which he did wear for Trick or Treat Night at the Zoo, as well as a Halloween Picture of the 3 boys.

3. Superman - Bab-E Brother's costume - NOT picked by him, but chosen based on cuteness by your loyal hosts. In fact, if left to his own devices, Bab-E Brother would probably be content with tennis shoes and a diaper (and nothing else). The only way to successfully put a costume on his person is to be actively feeding him chocolate as a distraction while doing so.

4. Red/Original Spiderman - Birthday present from Gramm-E and Grampap-E for Little Brother's 3rd birthday.

5. Black Spiderman - In true Black Spiderman, this costume was a late entry, a personality changing "dark horse" poised to topple Captain America from the pole position. About a week before Halloween, Little Brother suddenly decided he NEEDED this costume. Discussions were initiated with Pa-Pa about a potential early birthday present. And in true 3 year-old fashion, Little Brother expected the costume to be delivered to his front doorstep a mere 12 hours after he made his wishes known. When this did not happen, much chagrin and anguished was experienced by Little Brother and his parents alike. Fortunately, the ability to track packages on the map via UPS helped to slightly diffuse the tension. When the costume did arrive, as is the way of the virus known as Black Spiderman, it became an immediate source of conflict between Big Brother and Little Brother, who fought incessantly over who got to wear it, complete with repeated attempts (some successful) by Big Brother to pull the mask off and reveal Black Spiderman's true identity. Within 3 days, the costume had more runs than your mother's pantyhose, although still wearable. I found it funny that Little Brother actually thought the costume was the character Venom (who's costume is midnight blue). When challenged on this fact, Little Brother was ADAMANT that Black Spiderman was NOT Peter Parker.

6. Batman - Last year's Halloween costume.

7. Dale Jr.

8. Wolverine

9. Buzz Lightyear

(7-9 were passed to the boys a while back as gifts from one of Gramm-E's coworkers.)

10. Wubbzy (from Nickelodeon's "Wow Wow Wubbzy" - Big Brother's "(Not so) Dark Horse". Both Big Brother and Little Brother have a Wubbzy costume that was hand-made by Mom-E, during a phase in which our house was all Wubbzy all the time. In true child fashion, after multiple late night efforts from Mom-E to make these costumes, the boys wore them a grand total of about twice. When they started asking Mom-E recently to make them Black Spiderman pj's, I reminded them about how they pretty much never wore their Wubbzy costumes. This passive guilt trip attempt worked for Big Brother, who started wearing his Wubbzy costume around the house in the days leading up to Trick or Treat.

On the day of the big show, the boys could literally not make up their minds, changing costumes at least 6(7,000) times.
But finally the clock ran out and when forced with "pick a costume or miss part of Trick or Treat", they picked.

And so, without further ado, this year's costumes were:

Big Brother - Wubbzy

Little Brother - Captain America

Bab-E Brother - Superman (following a chocolate bribe)

In contrast to all of the stress leading up to it, Trick or Treat was actually wonderful no-stress family fun. Everyone behaved (chocolate is a powerful motivator). The weather was crisp and beautiful. Little Brother and Bab-E Brother enjoyed being pushed around in a stroller. (I'd love to have someone push me from house to house, and I just hold out a bucket and rack up a bunch of candy). Their excitement was contagious (a neighbor had a large inflatable Scooby Doo, and Little Brother started busting out a song about Scooby - to the tune of Caillou). The boys loaded up their buckets, but didn't complain about being limited to two pieces of candy that evening (which was still enough to send Bab-E Brother into a sugar-induced locomotion frenzy in the bathtub, not unlike the scene in Corky Romano when Chris Kattan speaks to a group of children visiting the FBI after being engulfed in a dust storm of cocaine - "Question. Question. Yes. No. Yes. Question. Question.") Big Brother even voluntarily practiced piano afterwards, while still in costume.

What fun! Love you boys!

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

Monday, October 31, 2011

Figure Drawing

Little Brother likes to scribble on paper, usually when Big Brother is working on his 1,987,654th revision of Batman.

But most of the time, it's been just that - scribbles.

Recently, he started drawing Tornadoes, which basically consisted of making spirals on the paper.

Then, out of the blue last week, he drew his first figure! Completely with hair, eyes, nose, mouth, and legs. Drawn, of course, in his favorite color, green!


Doesn't it put you in the mind of a McDonald's Fry Guy?

Or maybe I'm just hungry.

Way to go Little Brother! Can't wait to see more of these!

Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pancake Poochie

Bab-E Brother is obsessed with dogs right now.

Just about every other word out of his mouth these days is either "doggie", "puppy", or "ruff ruff".

Even the word "waffle" almost comes out "ruff ruff".

And every animal - from dogs to cats to elephants to zebras to brothers - are all doggies.

And so is the box of Aunt Jemima mix.


Say WHAT?

Every time he sees that box in the pantry, he points at it and blurts out, "Doggie! Doggie!"

Yeah, it puzzled us, too, for awhile.

My best guess is that our vulture Pupp-E, who literally stalks Bab-E Brother for scraps (or snatches food directly from his hands, them being at the same level), has gotten waffle pieces (or whole waffles) from Bab-E Brother enough times that Bab-E Brother associates the two.

Thanks a lot, you little pancake poochie theif.

At least Bab-E Brother is happy and excited about the idea.

Happy Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mismatch Day


(Also known sometimes as "When Big Brother Chooses His Own Outfit" Day - although today really is Mismatch Day at school).

Happy Wordless Wednesday!
Busy-Dad-E

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mathnastics

As a first-grader, you'd expect that Big Brother's weekends would be all about fun and all about being a kid - toys, games, playing outstide, cartoons (although he's currently lost TV privileges for a few weeks, but that's for another post) - but lately he's willingly turned to learning for fun.

Big Brother really likes math.

So much so, that a while back, I showed him how to "carry the 1" when adding numbers.

He loved it! You'd think I'd just bought him a Nintendo DS.

So much so, that one of his favorite new pastimes is to keep adding numbers to get bigger and bigger numbers.

He starts with 2+2=4, then 4+4=8, 8+8=16, and so on, until he gets to about 4 quadrillion.

He'll sit at the table for literally an HOUR doing this.

Our kitchen table is now often covered in papers like this:


Gramm-E and Grampap-E got to see this firsthand the other weekend, and Gramm-E appropriately called it his "Mathnastics".

Well said.

Way to go Big Brother. Mom-E and I are proud and delighted at your love for learning (and math), and we're happy to help you fill your "blender" with the biggest "math smoothie" possible.

You are definitely our child. We love you.

Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Am Responsible

Happy Fatherhood Friday!

Big Brother brought home the following essay from school the other day, which Mom-E and I both enjoyed very much.


Several thoughts ran through my head while reading this:
1) Unbeknownst to us, is he attending a bilingual school that teaches English and German in the 1st grade (Vee have vays to make you responsible, zat is true).
2) He has secretly been listening to the Georgia Satellites (Keep Your Hands to Yourself).
3) He was secretly entering an essay contest where the rules were "Fewest vowels used wins."

Fortunately, I've seen that pretty much everyone in his class writes very phonetically.

Have a good weekend,
Be responsbile!
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stuffed Animal Love Triangle

Bab-E Brother has created the makings for his very own Jerry Springer episode.

You may remember the stuffed animal love of his life, B, who must never leave his side.

Well, the other weekend, Bab-E Brother cheated on B with Little Brother's Pumpkin Bear (a Build-A-Bear Bear whose only clothes are a Santa suit and a pumpkin suit.

We were driving home from a mini-vacation trip and Little Brother was passed out in the middle of the mini-van. Bab-E Brother was screaming his head off, until he snuggled up with the overstuffed bear who is almost his size.

Suddenly, B found himself relegated to the floor of the mini-van, against the droppings of dirt, tissues, and granola bars.

(Pumpkin Bear found himself stage diving into the same mess, as he's so bulky that Bab-E Brother couldn't hold onto him.)

But apparently, Pumpkin Bear was pretty much a "one mini-van ride stand", because after we got home Bab-E Brother started giving him the cold shoulder, not returning his phone calls, etc.

Instead, Bab-E Brother set his sights on Big Brother's inappropriately named triceratops, Mr. Donkey, who Bab-E Brother sometimes calls "Donkey" and sometimes "Doggy".

Of course, having both a nap time and a bed time allows him to snuggle with each of his sweathearts without the other knowing.

And it also helps that neither animal can talk, lest they find out about each other.

Because if they ever did, the stuffing might start flying.

And then we might need to call Jerry.

Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

Friday, October 14, 2011

Work Incentives

How would you respond if someone proposed you, "Hey, if I let you unclog the hair from the drain in my bathroom sink, then you have to rub my bunions for an hour."

You'd probably be all "Yeah right!", "Uh...NO!", etc. (to put it politely.)

Little Brother apparently didn't get this memo.

You see, Little Brother loves "blue potty". "Blue potty" is the Lysol stuff that we use to clean our toilets. I'm not sure why he has so much fun squirting this into the toilet and swirling it around with a brush, but he does.

(Okay, I'll at least admit that "blue potty" smells STRANGELY MINTY GOOD. Good enough that if guys ever got weird cravings to eat non-food stuff like what happens to pregnant ladies, I'd probably have me some "blue potty".)

So the other day, it was Little Brother's nap time, and he didn't want to stay in his room by himself. "I'm scared. Will you sleep with me?" (This is a recipe for a disaster with domino-like effects.)

Instead, Mom-E proposed to him, "I'll let you use blue potty, but if you do, you have to nap by yourself."

Amazingly, he agreed! And with ENTHUSIASM!

Little does he know that Mom-E suckered him into cleaning his own toilet, and taking a nap by himself, meaning that Mom-E got some precious alone time during the day while both boys slept.

Go Mom-E, FTW!!

Have a good weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Danimalism

In addition to voice immodulation, Bab-E Brother also appears to suffer from Danimalism.

What, might you ask, is Danimalism?

It's the compulsion to drink Dannon Danimals yogurt smoothie drinks.


If given unrestricted access, the boy would drink them by the keg.

It's at the point where if the refridgerator is open, he expects to get one, and fusses in protest if he doesn't get one.

If given 3 minutes alone with an open fridge and a straw, he could probably down the entire contents of the package you see pictured above.

Such is the diet of our (almost) 2 year-old, which pretty can be broken down as follows:
52% Danimals, milk, and yogurt
47% Condiments (no joke)
1% Actual food

Okay, not quite that bad, but still...

So Mom-E and I have resorted to deception to deal with Bab-E Brother's Danimalism.

We hide them in our small fridge in our closet, and ration them out accordingly.

Lord help us if he finds their new hiding place.

Perhaps he's just self-medicating for his voice immodulation, to keep his throat from getting dry?
(I know mine would get dry if I sang that loud all the time.)

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Caged Spider-Men

Below is what happens when you put 2 parents and 3 boys under the age of 7 in one room at the Holiday Inn all weekend, and the oldest two boys self-restrict their diets to pretty much Fruit Loops.



Have a good week,
I want my bed back,
Busy-Dad-E

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Voice Immodulation

One of my favorite SNL sketches is Will Ferrell's character with Voice Immodulation (VI).

"And a little bit softer now. And a little bit softner now."

Although he's not yet 2, it appears that Bab-E Brother may be showing signs of VI, and specifically the LOUD subtype.

He only has one volume: fortissimo!!

When Mom_E comes to pick him up at the gym, EVERYONE knows it from the blaring "Hi, Mom-E!"

When I get home from work, I can hear "Dad-E" before I even get out of the car, not to mention the garage.

(You can just imagine how much fun we have in church.

And of course, in the car, it's trumpets-blaring most of the time.

Here's Bab-E Brother "winding down" in his crib before bed, and by "winding down" I mean that this is a muted version of his usual.

Enjoy.



Have a quiet weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Lego Bey Blades

As you may know, we're all about Bey Blades at our house.

Even Bab-E Brother likes to play, and by play I mean sit with his brother's while holding a Bey Blade. (Just don't even think about trying to pry it from his death grip, lest you desire deafness from his screams.

"Bee-Bee" (Bey Blade) wasn't his first word, but ranks up there pretty high.

And while I love my childrens' imaginations, sometimes they ask demand you do things that require a PhD in MacGyver.

"Dad-E, make us a treehouse out of toothpicks!?"

"Okay...Sure."

If you're not familiar with Bey Blades, they're small metal tops that spin and "battle" against other tops.

Well, it took a little while, but we actually figured out how to get Legos to spin.

And, of course, my reward for making one Lego Bey Blade was to make more.

So below are the fruits of our labor the past few Saturday mornings as well as a short video of one in action.





Let 'em rip,
Busy-Dad-E

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Junior Art Critic

So the other evening we forgot to get anything out for dinner out of sheer fatigue we decided to goout to eat.

At the end of the meal, as the boys were running to the bathroom and around the restaurant, Bab-E Brother suddenly developed a very concerned look on his face and an almost vacant stare.

"Uh-Oh" he uttered. (One of his new favorite phrases.)

"Did he poop? No."

"Did he drop something? No."

"Did his mild fall over and is now soaking the table and our belongings? No."

Suddenly it became clear that he was looking at this picture on the wall.


He keeps staring intently, with a concerned look, repeating "Uh-Oh."

I asked him a bunch of questions, which mostly resulted in more "Uh-Oh's."

But eventually he said "B". (Gar-E Bear).

"Where's B?"

And he proceeded to point to what I would call the "suitcase" in the man's hand in the picture.

And he continued to say "Uh-Oh." and "B." with a nervous expression.

Mom-E and I are still a bit perplexed.

Did it look to him like the man was going to drop "B"?

Did he think the man took his "B" (even though he was holding him)?

Either way (or some other way), it was a most curious sight to behold.

I'd really like to know what was going on in his mind.

Perhaps it's time to go to an art museum.

Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wal in the Oshin


Dear Big Brother,

Yu ar our favite first grader in the wurld.

Yur writin is so cut, and the picksher is just grate.

We ar so prowd of you.

Keep up the good wurk.

Luv,
Dad-E and Mom-E

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Captain America


"Pretty much...I'm a super hero now."

Yes you are.

And for what the costume costs, Mom-E and I are glad to know that we'll get at least 40 days of wear out of it before Halloween.

(So far this wear includes 1) around the house all day, 2) playing outside on the swingset, 3) going out to eat, and 4) sleeping.)

Cheers,
Busy-Dad-E

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bikes Are Neat Neat Neat Good Times

There's no spell check with pencil.



Well, Big Brother, we're glad that you think your bike is "nete". (Yeah, that's really neat. Good times.)

But we highly suggest that you don't get "rid" of it. It's really still pretty new, and you'll have much more fun if you ride it instead.

Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

Thursday, September 22, 2011

3 Year-Old Friendships

No, not people who've been your friend for 3 years.

I'm talking about the fun ways in which 3 year-olds attempt to interact with each other.

This past weekend, we were swinging on the swings, and I was asking Little Brother about pre-K.

"Are you having fun learning?'

"Yeah."

"Do you like your teacher?"

"Yeah."

"Do you have friends at school?"

"Yeah."

"Who's your friend?"

"M" (to protect the innocent).

"Cool. What do you and M like to play?

"Well, I can't talk to him in the hallway, or I'll get in trouble."

"Well, do you talk to him outside on the playground."

"Yeah."

"What do you say?"

"Hi, M!"

"What does he say?"

"He doesn't know my name."

"Why?"

"Because he's running really fast, and I'm chasing him, pretending to be a dinosaur."

Nice.

They say you can pick your friends but you can't pick your friend's nose.

I agree, especially if your friend doesn't know he's your friend, and he's running too fast for you to have any chance of getting your finger in his nose.

Happy FF!
Cheers and have a good weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

midnight road trippER

Sometimes I think we either:
1. Own stock in the local ER
2. Are working on a "frequent flyer" punch card towards a free visit.

(I think if you have a boy, they should give you an ER coupon at birth.)

So far we've had the following ER visits
1. Vomiting after hitting head on concrete
2. Laceration all the way through the border of the lip.
3. Boy versus Corner of nightstand, requiring staples in head.
4. Two boys with croup in need of steroids on Christmas Eve Eve.

And now on our list:
5. Allergic reaction!

The other day, Little Brother got pink eye.

We were fortunate to have some antibiotic eye drops (both older boys have had them before).

(I'm convinced the manufacturer thought it'd be fun that you have to give them four times a day.)

So we dosed Little brother up.

He went to bed that evening, but was restless.

At 11:30 he woke up for the second time screaming.

His eye was matted shut.

But his eyelid was so swollen that he looked like Rocky (in any Rocky film)

At which time, I wondered if it was an allergic reaction, injury from rubbing his eye, or something else bad.

And when it comes to my child's vision, I didn't want to wait 8-10 hours to see the pediatrician to find out.

So he and I made a midnight trip to the ER to find out.

Of course, by the time we get there and wait over an hour, he's calm and largely passed out on my shoulder.

Fortunately, by the time we were seen, he could open his eye a little, which made the exam easier.

More fortunately, he diagnosis was an allergic reaction, and a dose of Benadryl, new antibiotic prescription, and a cherry popsicle later, Little Brother was ready to go home.

But not before having to pee.

And in true Little Brother form, having been very quiet for ~2 hours, he became much more animated while going potty.

"Dad-E, my pee looks like a rop.

Classic.

Even at 2am, that boy is completely hysterical. Lord knows what he might say.

We stopped at a 24-hour pharmacy to pick up the new eye drops, and I let him munch on a bag of M&M's while we waited.

He was such a chatty Cathy that I started wondering if he was going to have one of those "opposite reactions" to Benadryl. But fortunately he got drowsy again on the way home.

But not before 1more classic comment.

He hands me back the bag of M&M's.

"Dad-E, I can't eat anymore I'm full."

(I look and there's 1 (one) M&M left in the bag.)

Nice.

Although it's never fun to go to the ER and we were REALLY tired, it was a road trip that I'll certainly remember.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Breakfast of Chaos Champions

So it's been quite some time since I've written one of THESE posts.

You know, the one where I tell you about how otherwise fun or simple things become not fun or all-day ordeals.

Well, just because I haven't written about them doesn't mean they haven't happened.

The other weekend we made plans to go out for breakfast.

The restaurant was running an online special for a free breakfast entree for adults.

We thought the boys would have fun.

They thought otherwise.

The evening before,we'd had a family gathering with friends and their kids, and the boys were up WAY TOO LATE.
This made for the perfect day to get up early and go out for breakfast.

NOT.

They woke up hungry, cranky, and wanted a "pre-breakfast" of cereal and toaster waffles as an 'appetizer'.

Then there was the massive screaming fit about not wanting to get dressed and wanting to watch 5 hours of cartoons before leaving.

And so we loaded the boys up in the van (in white coats) and everyone was quite "cheerful", and by cheerful I mean ticked at the world.

We arrive at the restaurant, put Bab-E Brother's shoes back on as usual, and drag bring the boys inside.

Of course, the only thing they'll eat is chocolate milk. Attempting to offer other food risks more screaming.

We sit down.

Little Brother proceeds to drop the coin he was holding and has a very loud, frantic spell over it's whereabouts.

Big Brother invades Little Brother's personal space, which results in another "loud exchange."

Meanwhile, Mom-E and I are trying to put straws into milk.

But they don't have any kids bendy straws. COMPLETELY OUT.

This isn't an issue for the older boys, but Bab-E Brother can't handle a regular straw.

With one glance away, Bab-E Brother proceeds to tip up the milk, spilling it all over himself.

Then somebody has to pee.

Mom-E and I are beginning to get mortified by all of the commotion that we're making. We seem to be repelling other customers away from our table like Dementors with a Patronus Charm.

"Dad-E, can we..."

"No."

"go to..."

"No."

"the..."

"No."

"playground."

"NO!"

"I think we've had enough fun already this morning."

Sometimes Mom-E and I wish we could just take pills and not have to eat.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

First Grade

So Big Brother has made jump from Kindergarten to 1st grade this year.

And what a jump it's been.

It's not quite like going from addition to calculus, but it's close.

Last year's Kindergarten weekly homework schedule looked like this:
Monday Recover from the weekend
Tuesday Print your first name (once)
Wednesday Hold a crayon for 5 seconds
Thursday Eat a popsicle
Friday Play all weekend

By contrast, this year is more like:
Monday 20-page report on the History of Dirt
Tuesday Science fair grant application due
Wednesday Spelling test over Webster's dictionary tomorrow
Thursday Proof of Pythagorean Theorem due
Friday Read the complete works of Chaucer, in Middle English

Okay, so not quite that bad, but there are weekly tests on spelling and sight words, and independent reading books, math worksheets, writing sentences, and extracurricular piano practice, scouts, ...

AAAHHH!!!

Can't imagine what it'll be like when we have 3 boys doing homework.

Nor do I want to.

I'll take the multiple choice test: E. Spontaneously Combust.

Here's hoping we all have a Kindergarten Homework weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Gar-E Bear

Neither Big Brother nor Little Brother were huge stuffed animal fans.

Big Brother would much prefer to sleep with a Transformer over a teddy bear (although he does have a rhino named Mr. Donkey.)

And Little Brother would scream if you gave him a lion instead of a Ziploc bag full of pennies and a bouncy ball (although he has an otter named Skunk Otter.)

The boys have a few lonely stuffed animals, most of which I named.

Not Bab-E Brother.

Little Brother recently gave him a small bear, that has since been named (by me) Gar-E Bear, although Bab-E Brother calls him "Bee".

He’s almost as attached to that bear as he is his shoes.

Well, actually more attached.

You can’t take a nap WITHOUT him. And the first thing he does when you wake him up is to proudly show him to you.

"Bee! Look at him, $tupid!" he cheers.

And unfortunately you can't take a bath WITH him. When you put him in the tub, he screams, continuously, "Bee! Bee! Bee!" Until the sweet release of rinsing and drying off.

When you hand the bear back to Bab-E Brother, he exclaims, "Ah! My Bee!", while cuddling and snuggling.

It's too cute.

The problem is that "Bee" really needs a bath.

You see, after rubbing him all over the bathroom floor, and then smothering "Bee" with his own concoction of snot and drool, Bab-E Brother wants to have Mom-E and I give "Bee" kisses.

Pardon me while I go gargle with Listerine and dump some hydrogen peroxide on my lips.

Frequently.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

Sunday, September 11, 2011

College

Out of the blue, in a very worried voice, Little Brother asked me,

“Dad-E, am I going to go to college?”

“Yes, eventually. But not until you get older.”

“But I’ll be scared if you’re not there.”

Too sweet. (This coming from a boy who at a recent gathering of friends with small children, was running around like a helicopter wearing pj's, a vest, and a cone-shaped Batman birthday hat. College is going to LOVE you.)

“Don’t worry pal. You have plenty of time before you go to college, and when you do, you’ll be ready.”

“I’m going to be a builder.”

“Sure, buddy. That sounds great.”

“But I don’t know how to climb onto the roof of the house,” he says, fretfully.

“Don’t worry buddy. They’ll teach you in college.”

(Please don’t learn how to climb onto the roof for a long time.)

“And where am I going to buy the wood?” he retorts, with ever-increasing anxiety.

“Lowe’s.” (This seemed to reassure him.)

And next thing you know, we’re back to talking about typical boy stuff.

Oh the musings of a 3 year-old. I wonder what’s going on in his hamster wheel that we’re not hearing about.

Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Shoe-tastic

Bab-E Brother is NOT a baby when it comes to shoes. He’s a big fan.

Recently he scored a pair of new kicks. The same style of Spider-Man shoes once donned by both of his older brothers.

He’s VERY attached to them.

And by attached, I mean the past two nights he’s screamed bloody murder when you take

them off and put him in the tub. “Mine! Mine! Mine!” he exclaims, all the way from suds to rinse.

Handing him back his shoes is like pressing the mute button.

(Great. He’s learned the word ‘Mine’. Toddler-hood has arrived.)

And the first night he had them, he INSISTED on wearing them to bed, and he managed to sleep in them.

It’s like Little Brother and his costumes – they’re permanently attached.

Unless you make Bab-E Brother mad, in which case you’d better duck, because he’s going to kick off his right shoe (only).

Have a good weekend,
Kick off your shoe (singular),
Busy-Dad-E

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sing Like No One's Listening

Hi there. I’m still here. Apologies for my recent absence. I’ve been laboring a lot lately, including laboring on Labor Day, and blog posts have remained inside my head.

Little Brother recently started a 3 year-old pre-K two days a week.

He seems to be enjoying going to school, just like his Big Brother.

Mom-E and I are very excited for him.

And admittedly slightly nervous.

Little Brother is definitely the biggest talker of the boys, thus far.

Who knows what he might say to the teacher (out of context)…

…or if he might spontaneously take off his pants.

So far, though, his behavior has been pretty good.

He’s only been corrected once.

Apparently the teacher told him he can’t yell in the bathroom.

“But, Mom-E. I wasn’t yelling. I was SINGING.”

Mom-E has since independently verified that we have a “Stall Singer.”

Apparently the boy loves to belt it out when he’s on the can. But only in a bathroom stall. Never at home.

And he really doesn’t sing a song, it’s more like he’s scatting.

This is a new thing for him. This is the same child who often REFUSES to sing in the van.

So now we have the “Van Singer” and the “Stall Singer”.

Okay, Big Brother. It’s your turn.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happy Car Singer

Almost a day late, but not a $1 short.

Back by popular demand, more from the Happy Car Singer himself...Bab-E Brother!



We're treated by his "pipes" all the time now. Just put him in his car seat, start driving, and he turns into a juke box.

Splendid!

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

Sunday, August 28, 2011

10 Years

This past weekend marks the 10th anniversary of my mother's death.

It's still hard for me to fathom that she's been gone now for almost a third of my life.

I misse her sage advice over late-night nachos and Coke.

I admire how she so often put the needs of others before here own.

I love you and I miss you.

I hope you are proud,
Busy-Dad-E

Below is a re-post from March of 2009. The original post is here.
*****
I was 23 when my mother died. Not a day goes by that I don't miss her. After these many years that she's been gone, my memories of her that "stuck"--the ones I think about most often--make me chuckle. They include:
1. Staying up late eating homemade nachos and drinking Coke while "shooting the breeze."
2. Going to see the John Travolta movie "A Civil Action", just the two of us--the last movie we saw together in the theater.
3. Teaching me a "special" method for making golden-brown pancakes (it's all about the bubbles).
4. Driving to Wal-Mart after midnight to loiter and shop for absolutely nothing.

The summer after she died, my father and I took a month long coast-to-coast road trip together. By the trip's end, we'd gone about 8000 miles, covered 20 states, and put our feet in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. I was very fortunate that my life circumstances at the time allowed me to make this trip. (Certainly couldn't--and wouldn't--want to do it now with Big Brother and Little Brother. Thank you to Busy-Mom-E for being so understanding--we were engaged at the time). That said, it was some of the best times I'd ever had with my dad.

By now, you're probably wondering why I'm dusting off these skeletons, and more importantly, what the heck they have to do with outdoor playsets and digital cameras?

The answer is this:
My parents did so much for me over the years. They fostered opportunities, encouraged me to be involved in activities, sat through or helped coach all of those activities, drove my friends and I all over tarnation, paid for years of education, etc. In short, they did everything in their power to give me opportunities, some of which they didn't have.

And while I am thankful and grateful for all of the above, in the end, what I remember most is the "quality time" we spent together.

In short, it doesn't matter so much what we did, but rather that we did things together. During those late night conversations or 1000's of miles on the road with only fields to look at, we talked. We talked about dreams, goals, frustrations, fears. We laughed, we cried, we philosophized. Nothing was off limits.

I want the same thing for my relationship with my boys. When I'm playing with Legos or Thomas the Train or PlayDoh with Big Brother, for example, sure we're having fun, but I'm also laying the groundwork for that open communication with him. The same holds for Little Brother, but we're earlier in the process with him.

Right now we talk about Blues Clues, or that the PlayDoh is sick, or what kind of bridge we're going to build, or what shape track we'll make. But someday soon (that day is coming too soon), we'll talk about "big stuff."

"Dad-E, I think this girl in my class is cute." "Dad-E, some of my (soon not-to-be) friends talk about smoking and drinking." "Dad-E, I want to be an architect when I grow up." "Dad-E, it scares me when..." You get the idea. The key is that we'll talk.

If I'm so lucky as to win the contest, Big Brother (and Little Brother) and I will build the playset together, even if it takes 3 times as long as if I built it myself. Mom-E will supervise. We'll have fun spending time outside. We'll learn about tools and safety. We'll share a lemonade to cool off. We'll make about 8,000 trips to the potty while building it because of the lemonade. And when it's built, we'll play on it until it's too dark and it falls apart (though it sounds like Kid's Creations builds such high-quality products that the boys will head off to college before that happens).

More than anything, however, we'll just enjoy spending that quality time together. I'll (try) to forget about my job and yardwork and dishes and laundry and soccer practice (can I PLEASE forget soccer practice-I need an Arnold "Total Recall" memory wipe for that trauma) and all of the other hustles and bustles of daily life.

Instead, I'll concentrate on listening to my boys, and what they think and feel. And the boys, well at least Big Brother, will remember it forever, as the pictures of their facial expressions will reveal.

There's not a particularly special reason that I should win this playset above any other devoted dad. Father's want the best for their children. Even if I don't win, I'll still find ways to spend that time with my boys.

The opportunity is one that is too important to miss.

Busy-Dad-E

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Busy-Dad-E Theater

Happy Fatherhood Friday!


Welcome to the inaugural performance of "Busy-Dad-E Theater".



And without further adieu, the "play"



*****

Time: 4:00 am



Place: My room (where else would I be at 4am?)



AND SCENE

*****

Big Brother: Dad-E, my sniffer keeps sniffing and sniffing



Busy-Dad-E: zzzz....




Big Brother: Dad-E! Wake up!



[Actors both pause and remain silent for ~2 minutes.]



Busy-Dad-E: (Slowly coming to consciousness) What's up, buddy?




Big Brother: I keep sniffing.



[Busy-Dad-E stumbles like a drunk to the bathroom to retreive toilet tissue]



Busy-Dad-E: Better?




Big Brother: (Blowing nose). Yeah.



Busy-Dad-E: Let's go back to bed.



[Busy-Dad-E continues to stumble down the hall.]




Big Brother: (Sitting up in bed now with a HUGE scowl). Dad-E, I'm BORED!



Busy-Dad-E: It's 4am. God wants you to be bored.




Big Brother: I'm SOOO bored!



Busy-Dad-E: If you go back to sleep, you won't be bored anymore




Big Brother: (Pouts. Birds attempt to poop on his lip.)



Busy-Dad-E: (A single neuron in his brain starts to fire. He remembers that dinner was quite rushed to get Big Brother to an after-school activity. And Big Brother focused on going to the bathroom and playing with toys at dinner - consuming a grand total of about 3 grapes and 2 swigs of chocolate milk before we had to leave. Wake up, stupid! The boy is HUNGRY!) Do you need a snack?




Big Brother: Yes



Busy-Dad-E: (Retrieves some grapes and a granola bar.) Here you go.




Big Brother: Thanks. Dad-E...



Busy-Dad-E: Yeah?




Big Brother: You can go back to bed now.



Busy-Dad-E: Amen.




END SCENE

*****



Have a good (non-dramatic) weekend,

Busy-Dad-E

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pupp-E Guy

Every family has an unabashed car/minivan singer.

Ours is Bab-E Brother.

Not even 2, the boy is not afraid to just belt out mostly rambling nonsense sweet Bab-E speak while we're rolling down the road.

His favorite "tune" is a rendition of Bob The Builder (which he's never seen) that makes Eddie Murphy's Buckwheat Sings sound like a professional.

But the other day, Bab-E Brother started belting out a different tune.

Our best translation was "Puppy Guy". And whether or not that's what he was trying to say, it started off a volley of small children yelling "Puppy Guy", until Bab-E Brother really was singing "Pupp-E Guy!"

Enjoy the audio clip. Nothing better than uncontrollable laughter from children.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Parenthood In a Nutshell Part 2

Part 1 here

And now the follow-up:

1. Little Brother actually did start wearing his hand-made Robin costume...for about a week.

2. He's now decided he's Batman...and he's usurped Big Brother's (now) old Batman costume, to be worn EVERYWHERE, ALL DAY LONG.

3. The Batman costume poses the same bathroom-going difficulties as did the original Robin costume.

4. The other night we're rushing to the Batcave Little Brother's room to prevent a Bat flood, while he's screaming for his mask (right behind him).

5. Little Brother actually has Batman jammies, but will only agree to wearing the costume.

6. While making me re-tie the belt of his Batman costume, he's screaming at me that he's tired.

"Yep, buddy. I'm tired, too."

Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

"Traitor. :)"