Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Commandments 11-15 For Boys

I've always been a fan of Mel Brooks films such as Space Balls and, of course, History of the World Part 1.

One of my favorite scenes in HOTWP1 is when Moses brings down three stone tablets and says something to the effect of "The Lord thy God has brought thee these 15 (drops one), I mean 10 commandments."

I've often pondered about that third tablet and its contents.

Okay, so I haven't pondered it THAT much.

But I can't help but think that those extra 5 commandments would've been very helpful for our boys and their bathroom behavior.

I'd guess they'd read something like this:

11. Thou shalt always lift BOTH lids before going potty.

12. Thou shalt WIPE thyself (BEFORE asking for help wiping) and FLUSH after going potty.

13. Thou shalt close BOTH lids after finishing going potty.

14. Thou shalt WASH THY HANDS after wiping and flushing.

15. Thou shalt clean up any dribbles on or around the potty with a disinfectant wipe.

And in case there's room to squeeze in one more:

16. Thou shalt leave the bathroom door closed when thy mother is going potty.

But until that tablet is restored, with 3 boys ages 6, 3, and 1, let's just say "We all live in a YELLOW submarine."

And Mom-E and Dad-E do a lot of nagging.

Have a good week,
See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Thursday, May 26, 2011


So the other day, Mom-E was out of town.

I picked the boys up after work, and we headed to grab a bite to eat before going home.

Earlier in the day, we'd talked about going to a sandwich place that the boys like (for reasons other than sandwiches).

Unfortunately, we passed by "N-Donalds" (complete with outdoor playground), and within an instant I knew I was toast.

Somewhat begrudgingly, we pulled in to N-Donalds.

Actually, dinner went well. The boys ate food, and then enjoyed some time on the playground.

They didn't even complain when I gave them the 5 minute/2 more slides warning.

Then, all of a sudden, it happened.

Big Brother blurted out, "Dad-E, I have to go poop! Bad!"

Okay. Remain calm. Remain calm. Please proceed to the nearest exit.

I told Big Brother to put his shoes on. I got our stuff together, and started to gather up small children.

By contrast, Big Brother just stood there in a daze, apparently very focused on not pooping.

Eventually, we made it to the potty. Just the 4 of us, cozily crammed into the only stall in the bathroom.

Big Brother sat down to do his business, and I tried to run interference with the other boys.

This is no small task, because when Big Brother goes potty, it takes about as long as Mom-E spent in labor with him (13 hours).

2 minutes into his "labor", Little Brother was trying to climb the toilet paper roll, while Bab-E Brother was trying to swim under the door. Meanwhile, Big Brother has taken his sandals off to get more comfortable.


5 minutes into this "project", Little Brother blurts out, "I've got to go poop, too! Bad!"

Dilemma: The slow pooper is on the can. The fast pooper's gotta go, too. And I'm holding a squirmy toddler who's now smacking me in the face and laughing about it (as my prize for holding him to keep him from commando crawling on the McDonald's bathroom floor).

Feeling like a general in battle, I "relieve Big Brother of doody duty", and give Little Brother a chance to play through.

I have to put Bab-E Brother down to help lift Little Brother up onto the potty.

Little Brother proceeds to take off his sandals.

Bab-E Brother proceeds to try to throw them IN the potty.

While I'm trying to help Big Brother put his sandals, Bab-E Brother is now trying to dunk his hand into the potty.

And then share with the group.

(When we get home, I'm burning everyone's clothes. Twice.)

Little Brother finishes his business, a grand total of about 3 pebbles.

I ask Big Brother to finish going potty, to which he replies "I don't have to go anymore."


We've just spent 15 minutes in a crammed McDonald's bathroom stall, with Dad-E getting slapped around, literally and figuratively. Covered our clothes and hands with all kinds of unknown drug-resistant bacteria, all for a grand total of 3 pebbles of poop.

Bloody lovely. Just bloody lovely.

We wash hands (even though it's somewhat futile) and leave.

I've decided that I need to boycott this particular N-Donalds.

After all, this is the very same one where Bab-E Brother spewed all over me.

Apparently I have some bad karma there.

Have a good weekend,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Bab-E Brother's development seems to have made one of those quantum jumps that kids do periodically.

You know, one day they're still crawling, and the next day they've suddenly figured out how to swing from ceiling fans while shooting Nerf darts at you.

Okay, that's more of a quantum leap than jump.

Nonetheless, in his 3+ walking months, Bab-E Brother has become quite nimble.

Don't let his short, fat little baby legs fool 'ya; the boy can motor (and make messes) like grease lightning.

And one of his most favorite things to do when he motors is stand on the hearth right at the very edge is to play ball.

If there's a ball to be found, he'll find it.

And even if it's not a ball, he still calls it a ball.

(Hey, when your two favorite words are ball and ma-ma, lots of things are referred to as a ball, except for Dad-E, who is also called ma-ma.)

The other day, Bab-E Brother made "the face".

You know, the "if you lose at rock-paper-scissors, you might be diving into a toxic waste dump" face.

But the cool part was that when he was done, he pointed to his diaper and said "ball". (Actually, he was correct, it was a ball.)

Mom-E and I--in a strange way--were excited, mostly because he recognized the need for a diaper change and communicated this to us.

And it hasn't been a one-hit wonder. Several times in a row now, he's communicated this to us.

Way to go, Bab-E Brother! We won't complain if you want to start potty training before you're 2.

Unless you point to your diaper and say "water".

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pre-Nup or Puppy Love?

The other day Big Brother and I were talking about Iron Man (you know, the real important stuff).

Out of the blue, I posed the following question:
“If you had an Iron Man suit, where’s the first place you’d fly?”

Expecting him to say something like “the beach” or “Egypt”, I was dumbfounded when
he said, sans hesitation, “To KidNee’s Oldest Daughter’s House.”

Oh dear.

You may remember that our family is good friends with Kid-Nee and his wonderful family.

They have 3 daughters, roughly comparable in ages to our boys, and the kids all LOVE to play together.

Well apparently, that same night as our Iron Man discussion, KidNee’s Oldest Daughter said, at dinner, “Big Brother is very handsome, and when I get older he can marry me.”

How sweet!

Her father didn’t think so.

In an email exchange, his response to the “pending nuptial” was “Shoot me!”

“Bang.” I replied.

But hey, if they wanted, all 6 of our kids could get married in a giant family wedding, and save everyone some $$$$.

I’ll admit that if I were a betting man, I’d put my money on the two of them having at least 1 date before they graduate from high school, but rest assured, there will be no pressure from Mom-E or I to do so.

But if they do, Big Brother should probably wear the Iron Man suit, in case Kid-Nee is armed when he comes to the door.

Have a good week,

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Hail, hail, summer is here!

Big Brother is no longer a kindergartener!

As such, he recently brought home a boat-load of school items.

One of these was his journal.

Intrigued, I thumbed through the pages, admiring the progression of his writing skills over the course of the past year.

And then I came to this entry from 4/26/11.

I laughed so hard I almost soiled myself.

I assure you, Big Brother has not heard this word at home.

Which leaves us with 3 possibilities:
A. He’s really proud of his excretions.
B. He’s a budding fecophiliac.
C. He actually admires his SHIRT (Phineas & Ferb SHIRT).

I vote for C. Multiple times. Every day. Twice on Sunday.

Polls are still open. He needs your help. Text “C” to 1-800-BIG-BRO-C.

Have a good weekend,
Watch whatcha write,

Monday, May 16, 2011


Hello there!

April was a hectic month of travel for us. May, by contrast, has brought us a hectic month at home.

Apparently, April showers did not bring May flowers, but instead brought "May-Nia."

This past Saturday was a good example. (And also the fact that I've been trying to write this post since Sunday.)

The morning started off with a fun Mother-Son event at Big Brother's school. They enjoyed games, hula-hoops (with which Big Brother apparently has mad skills), and a parting gift of a boomerang. Yes, a boomerang.


(At least it wasn't a slingshot. But you know the school officials must sit around and plot means of subtle torture for parents. "Hmm...let's give an entire group of elementary school boys boomerangs.")

Does that boomerang come with an extra $25,000 of homeowner's insurance?

Anyway, the mother son event overlapped with the FIRST, yes first, birthday party of the day.

So while Big Brother was perfecting his wrist-flick with his boomerang, Little Brother, Bab-E Brother, and I headed to the birthday party at the indoor jumping facility.

Bab-E Brother was overwhelmed by all the wild, screaming shenanigans, and was content to have me carry him around. Little Brother, on the other hand, was content to do "back flips off the high dive" on the inflatable jumps and slides.

Big Brother and Mom-E arrived in time for cake and presents, a perfect lunch to recharge after a morning workout of hula hoops and boomerangs.

By 1pm, everyone was sugared-up, tired, and hungry for actual lunch, so we did the only logical thing as parents.

Mom-E and I "switched". She took Little Brother and Bab-E Brother home, while Big Brother and I drove to the SECOND birthday party of the day.

Big Brother had a blast with his classmates, playing on an inflatable water slide and shooting water at anyone who dared draw near them.

To my amazement, the party was still raging at 4pm, with the children showing absolutely no signs of fatigue.

(Perhaps the second round of cake provided the necessary energy burst.)

With Mom-E texting me with inquiries about "we're hanging in there, but when are you coming home?", I knew it was time to go on a reconnaissance mission to the water slide.

Fortunately I keep a spare horse tranquilizer and blowgun in the truck Big Brother was pretty willing to get dressed and wrap things up, either because he was freezing cold, or his blood sugar was crashing from the cake.

And, of course, pretty much no naps for any of the boys that day. Because apparently the more you tire out your children, the less likely they are to sleep.

We actually had an opportunity to attend ANOTHER birthday party on Sunday, but instead opted to stay home.

Still, I'm impressed with Big Brother's social calendar: a school event an two birthday parties in one day. I don't think I've been invited to that many parties all year.

Oh well, we had a great time. And I enjoy--and think it's important--watching him interact with his peers outside of school.

If you're in the market for a gift for Mom-E and I, you could get us personalized chauffeur's hats.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Friday, May 13, 2011

Piano Recital

Dear Big Brother,

On Mother's Day, we celebrated not only the many wonderful things about Mom-E, but also your first piano recital.

And this was truly a celebration, given the rather tepid start to your piano-playing career.

You were both a little excited and nervous about this performance, although it helped that you had an opportunity for a "dry run" at your teacher's house the day before.

Apparently, at least one of the students had come down sick on Saturday, and would not be performing.

You considered feigning illness as an option, but 15 minutes after a small infusion of Tylenol, you were up & running around the house.

We were thankful that Gramm-E, Grampap-E, and CY Aunt-E were able to attend the recital.

We were also thankful that only 12 students were performing short pieces, and the recital lasted only 30 minutes--owing to the short attention spans and potential for noise from Little Brother and Bab-E Brother.

But the most exciting thing for me was that at the encouragement of your teacher, I got to play the accompaniment part of your pieces. (I minored in piano in college.)

The performance went very well (after I noticed your hands were on the wrong keys--thankfully before we started--and got you to readjust your position).

You displayed a lot of poise, and captured many smiles from the audience, being the youngest performer in the recital.

Granted I'm biased, but I thought you sounded great.

Wonderful job, big guy. I'm so proud of you.

I'm looking forward to many more performances (and hopefully some as your partner), and sharing the joy of piano and music with you for years to come.

But hold that thought, because Mom-E has to take Bab-E Brother outside so that his screams don't drown out the other performers in the recital, and Little Brother has to pee.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Fun" Run

So this past weekend, the boys participated in a kids "fun run" at a local road race.

Mom-E would've argued that after all of the screaming, whining, chaos, poor directions from the organizer, and getting lost, they could've dropped the "fun" part and perhaps added "away as fast as you can if you're a parent" after the word "run".

But she made it to the race with 3 live children (I left early to torture myself with miles and miles of hills run the 'adult' race.)

Big Brother was totally siked about the race. He had his Iron Man shoes velcro'd up tight, his race bib pinned to his shirt, and a hand decked out in temporary tattoos.

Little Brother on the other hand, was a little "slower" to come around. And by "slower", I mean he refused to stand on his own two feet, wanted Mom-E to carry him, didn't want to wear socks, and definitely didn't want anything pinned to his shirt.

Meanwhile, Bab-E Brother was content to explore the wonderful world of curbs, and to walk and spin in circles.

A few minutes later, the announcer called the kids to the start line. Fortunately, Little Brother by this time had let his guard down enough that he was fully dressed, though still insisting on being carried.

Mom-E's attempts to encourage Little Brother to ambulate on his own accord were an exercise in futility.

And so, being the wonderful Mom-E that she is, Mom-E did a foolish noble thing:

She carried Little Brother...

The whole way...

While carrying her purse. (Only because I was off trying to make sure Bab-E Brother didn't wander out into the road.)

Fortunately, the "fun run" was quite short in distance.

Big Brother zoomed around the course and completed the loop in 3rd place.

And bringing up the back of the pack was "Purse-Carrying Mom-E", jockeyed by Little Brother.

Of course, after the race was over, Little Brother finally started to "warm-up", no doubt helped by the snacks and drinks served afterwards (it's very tiring to have your Mom-E carry you around everywhere).

Way to go Mom-E, you're nobler than I.

Way to go Little Brother, ye manipulator of adult behavior.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Favorite Things

Hello there!

Hope you had a happy Mother's Day!

During a brief moment today at lunch, during which Little Brother was the only child still remaining at the table, I asked him, out of the blue, "So what are your favorite things in the entire world?"

I'll give you his answers, unedited, but potentially with comments, a la Letterman.

10. Walls (huh?)

9. Stairs (double huh?)

8. (Swimming) Pool (Okay here we go. Check!)

7. Switch (the light kind, not the old-fashioned punishment kind)

6. Fan (don't wanna be hot)

5. House (shelter is a basic need)

4. Pee (is this really a favorite thing, or does he have to go potty)

3. Pants and underwear (you wouldn't know that from his rope outfit)

2. Shirts

And Little Brother's #1 favorite thing:




1. Poop! (When you have 3 boys, all conversations degrade to poop at some point.)

Notable snubs by the selection committee include food, toys, sibilings, Dad-E, and ... Mom-E

Have a good week,
Hope you made your child's Mother's Day Top 10,

Friday, May 6, 2011


When it comes to fashion, Little Brother has his own style.

Let's just say that the boy doesn't lack for self-confidence.

He could wear a long-sleeve black shirt with blue shorts and two mismatched socks, and so long as they're comfy, he's as cool as the cat's pajamas.

Or he could wear nothing at all, and project the same air of self-confidence.

Such was the case earlier this week.

After returning from some outdoor play, Little Brother was apparently "hot", because they no sooner got inside, than Mom-E turned around to find him wearing only the "rope" (aka shoelace) from the Melissa & Doug "Learn to Tie Your Shoe".

I kid you not. The boy was content to frolick around the house "wearing" only a rope.

It reminded me of Steve Martin's youngest son in Parenthood, who was wearing only a cowboy hat and holster.

(Changed to a picture of Cowboy Gil, because this blog is rated G-PG (Good-Pretty Good?))

To which Mom-E replied, "Little Brother, the guy is coming to fix the AC soon, and you need to be wearing more than a rope!"

(I think that one makes the list of "Top 10 things I never thought I'd say before I have kids").

Amazingly, Little Brother was fully clothed shortly thereafter.

But in a fitting end to the story, the boys had Gymnastics later that evening. When I went to help Little Brother out of the minivan, I couldn't help but notice the same rope/shoelace was still tied around his waist.

He'd never removed it; just put clothes on over the rope.

I hope his gymastics coach didn't see the rope, lest he wonder if we parent like Mike Myers' mom in the SNL sketch with Nicole Kidman.

"My mother says harnesses are cruel." "My mother says they're very necessary."

Oh my Little Fasionista.

Have a good weekend,

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

3-2-1 Let It Rip

Ah, in a house full of boys, the title of this post could have so many interesting potential meanings.

But in our case, I'm talking about Bey Blades.

Ever heard of Bey Blades?

Neither had I, until Big Brother presented us with an oral report on the subject some weeks ago.

Bey Blades are metal/plastic tops. You use a rip-cord to launch them into a plastic stadium (after saying 3-2-1 Let It Rip), where they proceed to battle (i.e., crash into each other repeatedly). The last top Bey Blade spinning wins the battle/1 point. Games played to 7. Winner take all. The tops can be taken apart, and the components interchanged to customize your Bey Blade, which is kinda cool.

And you can also create your own Bey Blade online, and battle with other virtual Bey Bladers across the globe, which is kinda a potential black hole of time for a computer-saavy 6 year-old.

Apparently, Big Brother has been watching some of the older kids play Bey Blades at "before school", but they wouldn't let the kindergarteners play. Meanies.

So, we suggested that he ask the Easter Bunny for some Bey Blades.

Wouldn't you know it, the Easter Bunny delivered.

And so now at our house, we play Bey Blades. At breakfast, after dinner, before going to bed. In our sleep.

Basically, if you come over to our house, you'll be challenged to a Bey Blade battle with Big Brother.

It's actually pretty fun, and while the Bey Blades are battling, I get to "pepper" Big Brother in conversation with questions about his day, thoughts on life, etc. :)

Although sometimes Big Brother is at a slight advantage. It's hard to launch a Bey Blade correctly while you're trying to eat your cereal with a chocky-juice glurping 3 year-old on one knee, and a pancake-munching 16 month-old on the other knee, but hey, that's the stuff trick shots are made of.

Of course, the Easter Bunny did pay visit to the other boys.

Little Brother has been ecstatic about his "eye bugging" Phineas and Ferb toys.

Oh to understand what it was that captured his fascination with these semi-gross figures. But the boy be happy with 'em.

And last but not least, Bab-E Brother got socks and...

Yes, he really did get cinnamon raisin toast. But hey, it's exactly what The Tamponinator likes, so he was quite happy, too.

Well, I better to. Just got challenged to another battle.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Monday, May 2, 2011


I pride myself on being an eternal optimist.

But sometimes things happen that make a darn good attempt at shaking my confidence in others.

Before I begin, just know that Little Brother is fine with no permanent damage; it’s more the ideology and how the situation was handled that has me irate.

Mom-E and I are involved in a church group for couples with families.

This past weekend, we had an end-of-year picnic at a local park.

The boys were very excited, particularly because they got to wear bathing suits and play in the “splash pad”, which has about a half-dozen ways to squirt water at your brother.

As an aside, it’s wonderful that kids love to play in the water no matter how cold.

But anyway, a school-aged child of one of the parents in the group brought a slingshot. We were all hanging out in a picnic area under an awning. Some of the kids were shooting rocks at balloons stuck in some trees outside our picnic area.

When have you ever heard the words slingshot and park together with a happy ending.

Mom-E and I were cognizant of the slingshot, and made sure to keep all 3 boys under the awning, when they weren’t splashing (which was away from the slingshot).

However, as things were beginning to wind down, Little Brother was under the awning when suddenly he screamed.

And then there was blood.

Mom-E was actually hit in the stomach by the rock. It must’ve ricocheted off of a tree, bounced off Little Brother’s head, and deflected to Mom-E (who caught it).

Instantly, I grabbed him and put pressure on his head with a towel. For sure I thought, “Here we go again. Staples. And vigilant monitoring for any vomiting or changes in his awareness.”

We were very fortunate. He ended up with a very small abrasion on his head that didn’t even require a band-aid. 2 minutes later he was shoving me away to the tune of “I want to go swing.”

And the other people in the group were appropriately attentive to Little Brother, and what help, if any, might be needed.

But after that things broke down.

Someone said, “It couldn’t have been a rock.”

“Oh yes it was, Mom-E caught it.”

And then someone asked Mom-E “How big was it?”

Who cares! My kid could’ve been blinded or killed. From that height, even a pebble could’ve caused some real damage.

But the worst part was that, to the best of our knowledge, no one—parent or child—actually apologized to Little Brother, Mom-E, or I.

The mother of the boy who brought the slingshot just made some comment about how it was some other boys who had been playing with the slingshot.

Umm, hello, when did you forget how to think rationally?

I couldn’t believe the utter “lack of parenting.” Neither could Mom-E. Especially coming from a church group in which we talk about parenting stuff for an hour a week. Apparently, some folks weren’t paying any attention, or their presence is just “for show”.

Aside from the (obvious) fact that we would never let our kids bring a slingshot to the park, if my boys—even unintentionally—hurt another child, I would immediately apologize profusely to the parent and child, they would apologize profusely to the parent and child, and we would leave IMMEDIATELY, in disgrace, while Mom-E and I discussed whether to buy tickets for reform school or Siberia.

Okay, probably neither, but there would be SERIOUS consequences.

I was so tense out of concern for Little Brother that I felt like a shaky mess for about the next hour. Even today I still feel a little scattered.

As I noted at the beginning, Little Brother is fine. I put neosporin in his hair and told him I was just wiping a booger.

But my confidence in others is visibly shaken right now. I’m abhorred at the indifference from the responsible parties—both the slingshot-bringer and –shooter.

I recognize that it’s not my place to judge, but I hope (told you I’m an eternal optimist) that I’d be hard-pressed to find someone who thought this was handled well.

Have a good week,
Be responsible, your children will grow-up to emulate you,