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.


See you on Fatherhood Friday,

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,

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.


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?)



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.



Have a good (non-dramatic) weekend,


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,

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,

"Traitor. :)"

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Words for YouTube

Happy Fatherhood Friday Everyone!

For a little while now, Big Brother has been asking to make his own YouTube video.

Most of the time, he wants to make a video where he explains how to transform some of his Transformers.

(He saw a video or two to this effect.)

But we've been restrictive with him looking at YouTube, because even some videos of transforming Transformers have inappropriate language.

As we explained, "Sometimes the videos use bad words."

So the other day, Big Brother and I were building Bey Blades out of legos. (I get frequent requests to make all kinds of toys out of legos, which should earn me an honorary Master's degree in Legos).

After some finagling, we were actually able to make some Bey Blades that spin for awhile.

I blurted out to Big Brother, "That's so cool. We should make a YouTube video with our lego Bey Blades."

"ARE WE GONNA SAY BAD WORDS?" he asked, with a genuine look of concern.


I'll admit that my initial thought was "@#$% no!", but I opted for the G-rated "Of course not, silly!", lest I defeat my own purpose.

It's always good to know that sometimes he's actually listening to me.

Have a good weekend,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bab-E Potter

Apparently Bab-E Brother was so distraught we didn't take him to Harry Potter 7 Part 2, that he opted to give himself a lightening bolt scar by doing battle with a door frame (and losing).

DISCLAIMER: No spells were cast in the making of this injury. Trust me, if we could cast spells, the first one we'd use would be "Accio House Elf!"

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Quotent Quotables

Hi There,

Just a few quotes for you from this past weekend. Two apiece from Bab-E Brother and Little Brother.

Bab-E Brother
1. "No." We have a budding 2 year-old. He's been saying "No", but it's clear that this weekend he fell in love with the word, saying it no less than 97,000 times.

2. "Buy." We were out shopping, and Bab-E Brother grabbed a huge thing of Play-Doh, brought it over to me and said, "Buy." "Buy that." Oh my, already a consumer. It's my punishment for repeating telling his older brothers "No, we're not going to BUY THAT."

Little Brother
1. He was going potty when he randomly asks me, "Dad-E, what would happen if my pee-pee went flying out the window?" (Gosh, would I love - and be scared - to know the other thoughts that must run through his head.) My first thought was "Criminal charges against Dad-E", but opted for, "That'd be a big, yucky mess."

2. Little Brother is getting ready to start a couple days a week of pre-K. Mom-E recently took him to an open house. Big Brother informed him, "You know, when you go back to school, Mom-E won't be with you."

Without hesitation he replied, "I'm so happy about that." To which Mom-E wonders "Does he hate me" versus "We have a child with good self-confidence."

Have a good week,
What are your kids saying?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Parenthood In a Nutshell

1. 3 year-old wears Robin costume day and night for weeks.

2. 3 year-old gets very upset about difficulties taking off Robin costume to go potty in the middle of the night.

3. Mom-E burns the midnight (and sometimes even the 1am) oil for several nights, hand-making Robin jammies--complete with cape and pants that pull down separate from the rest of the "costume" for said 3 year-old.

4. 3 year-old decides to sleep in regular jammies and Robin jammies are relegated to sleeping by themselves on the couch.

Happy Fatherhood Friday!
Little Brother, this one may cost you a bit,

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Midday Popcorn

Sometimes in the midst of being incredibly bus-e (I feel like I could pretty much work 24/7 for the next month and still have stuff to do) the most important thing is to give yourself a break during the day to reenergize and rejuvenate.

Such a planned opportunity came yesterday.

While Mom-E was at an appointment, I was able to leave work for a lunch hour and hang out with Bab-E Brother and Little Brother.

I needed to run an errand at the bank, and so they came with me.

It may sound strange, but going to the bank with them was the highlight of my day.

One Bab-E on my shoulder and one Little holding my hand, their eyes were instantly drawn to the free popcorn.

So after a brief (5-minute) meeting which is pretty much an eternity in kid-dom during which Bab-E Brother patted my head and poked my eyes and ears, while Little Brother did gymnastics in the chair, they politely asked if they could have some popcorn.

And with some help from the banker - who bonded with Little Brother over being middle children - we picked up two popcorns in tow and headed back to the mini-van.

We enjoyed a few quiet moments munching together the air-conditioned van...

...before meeting up with Mom-E at her appointment, where they ran and giggled and made strange noises and ground in bits of food crumbs into the carpet in the waiting area, coming within a few hairs of a permanent ban.

But those moments of peacefully munching popcorn together were ones of salty bliss.

What fun boys! I love you!

See you on Fatherhood Friday,

Monday, August 8, 2011

Yes, No, or Cry

Lately, we’ve been enjoying Bab-E Brother’s ever-expanding verbalizations.

Not long ago, he said his name for the first time, and we were excited to catch it on video about the third time he said it.

We’re also working on naming body parts. He is not the least interested in ‘nose’.

Let’s not forget repeating things uttered by his older brothers.

This includes things like “Bumble” (short for the Transformer Bumblebee) and “Battle”.

And, of course, like any good toddler, his other favorite word, “No.”

And when it comes to Bab-E Brother, the word “No” can have any one of several meanings.

This includes “No”, of course.

But also “Yes.” Despite the fact that he sometimes says “Yes.”

And occasionally, “No” can mean a screaming fit of crocodile tears (as was the case when I recently returned from a work trip. I brought the boys each small (non-edible) souvenir. And when Bab-E Brother started to try to eat his, I blurted out an anxious “No”, which triggered the above-mentioned river of tears. Hopefully no permanent damage.

So Mom-E and I are left to interpret the various meanings of “No.”

Easy task, no?

Have a good week,

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Doodie Pie

Happy Fatherhood Friday everyone!

Don’t let the title fool you. This post has nothing whatsoever to do with cow chips, I promise. Trust me, we’ve been reading a children’s book lately that stars, in the cast of characters, a talking cow patty. No joke. And no need to go there.

Nope, today we’re going to talk about song lyrics.

At least what we think the lyrics are.

You know what I’m talking about.

You swear up and down you know the lyrics, only to be crushed to find out that “Sweet Dreams are NOT made of THE YEARS”, but rather just “THIS”.

(As an aside, can anyone explain to me how Annie Lennox can make “this” into a four syllable word?)

What can I say? “Love lift us up WHEN WE WERE WRONG.”

Big Brother has found his botched lyrics song, and it’s Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”.

The other evening, he asked me, “Dad-E, what’s a ‘doodie pie’?”

Oh no, here we go. Another request for the talking cow patty book.

Not wanting to go there, I stalled with my answer.

“You know, the song where the girl sings ‘doodie pie, doodie pie’?”

Oh, nowIknowwhatyou’retalkingabout.

Uh, Dad-E, how’d you get Poker Face out of “doodie pie”, you’re thinking.

Only because I’ll admit to once thinking that she’s singing “cutie, pie, cutie pie…” instead of CAN’T READ MY (poker face).

And indeed, I play the song, and “that’s the one” and now nobody is confused.

My job here is done.

Have a good weekend,
Don’t step in a “doodie pie”,
We’ll be playing “War” (without Poker Faces),

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Even Superheroes Go Potty

On some level it's always bothered me that superheroes never seem to have to go to the bathroom.

I mean, I'm sure they do go potty, but wouldn't it be more realistic if the Bat Symbol went off while the Dark Knight was in the throne room.

Or if Superman was about to fight a bad guy, when suddenly he says "Hold that thought for a minute. I gotta go pee."

Well, here at Busy-Dad-E, we've gained some interesting insights into the potty habits of Superheroes.

After all, you may remember that the Boy Wonder himself, Robin, lives at our house.

And Robin prefers to sleep IN his costume, just in case there's an emergency.

In most cases, the emergency is waking up in the middle of the night, and having to pee.

The main problem is that Big Brother Mr. Freeze pulled Robin's cape off so many times, that Mom-E Alfred resorted to pinning it in place with a safety pin.

This works great for keeping the cape on, but not so well when you need to take a costume off to pee urgently, which requires extensive un-pinning and de-velcro-ing.

Doors popping open and the tearful screams and dance of "I gotta go potty" are common heard from Robin's hallway.

When help arrives, there is usually another tearful request for, "Can I put my costume back on when I'm done?"

"Yes, if it helps you fall back asleep. Absolutely."

But whatever you do, don't forget the "max" (aka mask).

Robin HAS to put his max back on (not even beside him) before falling back asleep, lest he wake up the other superheroes in the household.

You know, as I'm writing this, I think I've figured out why superheroes don't go potty. With all of their costumes and gear, it's really quite a bit of work.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,