Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Family Portrait

So Big Brother definitely enjoys exercising his creative muscle.

The boy LOVES to draw. In particular, he loves to draw Batman. Over and over and over and over. He loves to watch YouTube videos of other people drawing Batman. Over and over and over and over. And then he proceeds to get extremely frustrated with himself that at the age of 6 he can't draw as well as professional cartoonists. Go figure.

In a momentary lapse from drawing Batman, Big Brother managed to draw a portrait of Mom-E and I.

I thoroughly enjoyed them, and I hope you do as well.


Now and forever, you'll think of me as the pasty bald guy who can pick his car-shaped nose with his left eyelashes (but not his right). I'm just glad I'm smiling, which makes me look (infinitessimally) less scary. And you'll always think of Mom-E as the sun-burned lady from the red planet who has one neck vertebrae made of jell-o. We're a match made in cartoon heaven.

Before you think I'm picking on Big Brother, let me just state my biased opinion that I think he's a very talented artist. The human face is arguably the most difficult thing to draw. Period.

And as you can see below, his Batman drawing skills have come a long way in the past 9 months.


Keep drawing, dude. You're awesome.

And while you're drawing, I think I'll go try to find my Baman mask.

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Little Brother For President

Maybe they'll overlook the age requirement, and go with 3 instead of 35?

*****

Why should you vote for Little Brother in 2012? Two words.

Toddler logic.

Last Saturday morning, Little Brother wanted to watch cartoons.

"Can I watch a show?" he asked no less than 29 times in a span of 5 minutes.

"After Bab-E Brother goes down for his nap." we replied.

"Put him to bed now!" he countered.

You gotta love toddler logic: "I want X." "You can have X when Y happens." "Then do Y now!"

Duh!

He's the ideal politician:
-Persistent (asked for what his constituency [he and Big Brother] wanted until he couldn't be ignored)
-Decisive (no bull)
-Results-driven

I say let him work on the solutions to all of our problems. He'll have them licked in a week.

Oh yeah, and his campaign will be full of chocky juice, balloons, blankies, and his slightly awkward fashion sense.

Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

Friday, March 25, 2011

Undivided Attention

Parenthood is not for the weak-hearted.

Sometimes I feel like even if I had 4 arms, 30 hours in a day, and my own personal clone, I'd still have trouble keeping my head above water.

Lately has been one of those times.

One of the associated challenges is trying to give my children as much individual attention as possible on a daily basis, which I think is very important, no matter how brief or simple those interactions may be.

I do this in a variety of ways: rocking Bab-E Brother to sleep, reading Little Brother a bedtime story in his room, or having breakfast with Big Brother before the younger boys wake up.

Of my boys, all of whom value the 1:1 time, it is perhaps the most important and most frequently needed for Big Brother. For him, this individual time is a major "currency" of love.

Of course, when everyone in the family is together, it's probably the hardest to give Big Brother that undivided attention, by virtue of the fact that he's bigger, less likely to need carried, and capable of more independent play.

But still, he's only 6, and without 4 arms and 30 hours, this is a source of frustration (for him as well as for Mom-E and I), that sometimes leads to verbal outbursts in an otherwise well-behaved child.

We had such an outburst the other evening. Tired and hangry (hungry + angry), Big Brother was, shall we say, very "vocal" at dinner. Things reached the level of time-out, which helped only briefly.

But there needed to be consequences for this behavior, to affirm that it wasn't acceptable. Big Brother had been informed that if his behavior didn't improve,he would not be able to go to a movie with me on an "early relase" day from school (which for both of us is a very highly valued date.)

It didn't improve, and the movie plans were cancelled.

This, of course, led to another verbal outburst.

And while Mom-E and I "stuck to our guns' (i.e., no matter how many times you profess you're sorry and promise not to yell, you've lost the privilege of going to the movie). I still felt bad "taking away" a special activity (although an alternative activity was planned), since of course he's always an angel during our dates due, in large part, to the undivided attention.

But still, it's an important less for him to learn, that behavior has consequences, and while "I'm sorry" is a good start, it's just that: only a start.

Like I said, parenthood is not for the weak-hearted.

Have you had a similar experience? How do you "capture" that individual time with multiple small children?

Have a good weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Magnetic Shoes

Not long ago, we celebrated Bab-E Brother's ambulatory status!

And with that new-found mobility, it was time to upgrade Bab-E Brother's footwear from bare feet to shoes.

The results have been, well...funny....to say the least. He's quite the sight.

He doesn't mind at all when we put the shoes on him, and he doesn't try to kick them off when you carry him around.

But if you put him down while he's wearing shoes he stands there immobile...frozen...paralyzed.

"Hey, whaddya tryin' to weigh me down with these darn things? It's hard enough for me to walk without them."

It's like his feet are stuck to the ground by powerful magnets.

It's amusing what we take for granted--like walking in shoes--because it's so novel to him and, relatively speaking, such a big difference. I mean, sure, the shoes add some weight to his feet, which he's not used to, but it's not like he weighs 20 pounds and is wearing 2-pound shoes.

And it gets funnier if he sees a desirable object. He leans forward as far as he can, luging desperately, trying to reach for it, without moving his feet even a millimeter, until eventually he falls foward. Timber!

Once the magnets have relased their "death grip", he then just crawls like mad for it. The relief on his face and in his body language is palpable.

They say don't judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes. I strongly suggest that you don't judge Bab-E Brother. He's not walking in shoes any time soon, and so that mile would take you an awfully long time.

See you on Friday,
Busy-Dad-E

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Little Peepers

Hi there!

We're still recovering from a Bus-E weekend, but I have a little story to (hopefully) give you a smile and a laugh on your Monday.

Tonight I was in the kitchen working on dinner.

Little Brother had to go potty. (Surprisingly early. He usually waits until the moment we sit down to eat.)

I "got him started" (aka turned the light on), and then went back to dinner.

He was in there for a little while (he had announced this beforehand), and then I finally heard a flush.

Reflexively, I blurted out, "Don't forget to wash your hands or use 'hanitizer'!"

(You have to say it 1,000,000 times before it becomes automatic. We have a few more to go for this one.)

About a minute later, Little brother still hadn't come out of the bathroom, when Big Brother casually mentioned, "Uh, dad. Little Brother is standing in the sink."

That's right. To be more exact, he was standing, stark naked (he can't go potty without completely undressing), in the basin of the sink.

The resemblance to Mr. Peepers was uncanny.


"What are you doing, dude?"

"I couldn't reach the hanitizer."

You gotta love it when climbing naked into the sink makes more sense than just asking for help.

But that's my 3 year-old.

Have a good week,
Wash your hands,
Busy-Dad-E

Friday, March 18, 2011

Gastroenteritis

So this week we've had a virus running amok through the family.


Little Brother came down with it first.


Things were a bit touchy for a while, as he managed to dirty about 5 pairs of underwear in an hour.


But after that, things subsided, and he was back to his usual self in no time, all full of witty comments.


He referred to his diarrhea as "puke from my butt."


When it resolved, he declared, "I don't have any more puke in my butt, just poop."


That's a relief. (Literally.)


He was also willing to take at face value that a virus made him sick.


However, when I came down with it, too, I tried to explain that I got the virus from him.


His reply: "I didn't give you a virus, Dad-E. I put it in the potty."


Well that's a good place to put a virus. Much better than your track record of flushing a pair of gloves down the toilet, and throwing an entire bunch of green grapes in the trash because they were the "wrong" color.


Have a good weekend,

Stay healthy,

Busy-Dad-E

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dumpy Cup

Recently, we took the circus family to the circus.

Beforehand, we promised the boys they could each have one "reasonably-priced" souvenir (which was defined as 10 bucks or less.)

All Little Brother wanted was a balloon. Seriously. The boy is OBSESSED with balloons right now. And you know how I feel about (helium) balloons.

At intermission, I took the boys to pick out our souvenirs.

Big Brother was immediately drawn to a $20 light-up for 5 minutes then dead, irreplaceable batteries sword. Since there were basically no souvenirs under $10 (except for hot dogs at $9), we settled for a $12 rev-up motorcycle (that was actually pretty cool).

Then we set out to look for a balloon for Little Brother.

To my amazement, there was NOT A SINGLE BALLOON in the entire place. Not one. But I did get at least a mile of excercise carrying him around the area (twice) to make sure we didn't miss any balloons.

(C'mon, when we went to Sesame Street Live, at intermission a guy walked right down the middle aisle with a giant plume of $25 Elmo balloons. Throw me a balloon bone here.)

Little Brother was DEVASTATED. And by devastated, I mean an uncontrollable flowing river of crocodile tears.



Knowing his penchant for liquid refreshment, I set our sights on a $12 Tri-colored Snow cone Tiger Stein.



(Yes, go ahead and laugh at me for paying $12 for a snow cone. I laughed at my buddy who shelled out $17 for a popcorn for his daughters. Merchandizing. Merchandizing. Where the real money from the Circus is made.)


(I didn't find any Circus the Flamethrowers, however. Kudos to you if you catch my movie reference.)


But the Tiger Stein was a good move. It satisfied Little Brother's craving for a souvenir and "fink". And now I have a tie-dyed pair of jeans, from all of the snow cone that he spilled on me.

For about a week after the circus, Little Brother would only drink "chocky juice" from his Tiger Stein, which he affectionately referred to as his "Dumpy Cup". (Fortunately, no contents were ever actually dumped, despite high levels of parental fears about a 3 year-old and a cup with no lid.)

He was so proud of his Dumpy Cup, that on the way out of the circus, we saw the elephant tent. Little Brother raced over there, and exclaimed, "Hey elephants! Look! I have a Dumpy Cup!"

He didn't sleep with the Dumpy Cup next to his pillow, but came close.


Of course, as Mom-E and I predicted, after about a week, the Dumpy Cup spontaneously fell out of favor, and has since been replaced with a blue Nalgene bottle.


Oh, how fickle the fancies of our children are.


I guess his preoccupation with his Dumpy Cup lasted about as long as the batteries would've worked in that sword.


Perhaps we need a new rule for souvenirs. You can have it if it costs less than $10, and you sign this contract that you will play with it every day from now until you turn 18.


See you on Friday,
From our circus to yours,
Busy-Dad-E

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Butt Callouses

It's official: Bab-E Brother is ambulatory!

He took his first stops a few weeks ago, but is now really starting to "put one foot in front of another". Literally.

It seems like every day his balance and the distance he can walk grows exponentially.

(Good thing that gate at the top of the steps is already in place.)

And just like a 16 year-old, he's very proud of his new wheels mobility. Fortunately, he didn't have to parallel park to get a "walkers license".

One of his new favorite pastimes is to push a Winne-The-Pooh ride-on toy while Little Brother drives.

It also seems like Bab-E Brother's personality is emerging in parallel to his new-found mobility. And two words come to mind: sweet and stinker.

He is SOOO tickled with himself when he walks. If his smile were any wider, he might tear his face off. I think that half the time he falls down it's because he's too busy admiring himself to pay attention to where he's walking.

But he's also figured out that walking enables him to get into more stuff, and he giggles the entire time he makes mischief. (It took us 15 minutes to put away all of the tupperware he dragged out of the cupboards tonight.)

And, of course, there's a reason why we call them "toddlers"--they toddle. A lot.

And Bab-E Brother is very adept at toddling. And plopping down on his butt. Thanks to his gluteus maximus and poofy diapers, we've been able to keep him off of "injured reserve".

But even with all that padding, no doubt Bab-E Brother is toughening up his butt callouses. And at least he's smiling and giggling as he goes.

Have a good week,
Busy-Dad-E

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Could It Be

Magic...no.

The Rapture...no.

Flat Stanley come in person to our house...no.

Nope, it's just Big Brother laying out his clothes the night before school...on the floor...in the shape of a person.





Have a good weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Let The Boys Fall Where They May

The other night after his bath, Little Brother was adamant that he wanted Dad-E (and only Dad-E) to dry him off and put on his jammies.

Trouble was that I was downstairs while Big Brother was practicing the piano.

I'll admit to hearing screams from upstairs, but this happens so often at our house that I've become a bit immune to it (and it didn't sound like one of those GET THERE NOW kind of screams.)

And so about 15 minutes later, I came upstairs with Big Brother to find this at the top of the stairs.


Apparently he wasn't kidding when he said he was tired and he wasn't kidding when he said he only wanted Dad-E to get him ready for bed.

How pathetically cute.

See you on Fatherhood Friday.

Get some sleep (when & where you can),
Busy-Dad-E

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bowling Dance and Cheer

Thanks, boys, for the birthday entertainment! We had a blast!

video

Cheers,
Busy-Dad-E

Friday, March 4, 2011

Boy Toys: Part Deux

Happy Fatherhood Friday!

If you need to catch up, check out the original Boy Toys post. It's a quick read.

So earlier this week we were at gymnastics, and Bab-E Brother was again playing with his favorite car.

Nerds that we are, Mom-E and I decided to do a few "experiments" by putting various "drivers" in the car, to see his reaction.

We enlisted the help of four "contestants": a dinosaur, a miniature blonde Barbie, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, and, of course, the rainbow-haired My Little Pony.

Our "control" group was the My Little Pony, which, as per last week, was immediately flung out of the car by its mane.

Here's the results of our different "experiments":
1. Dinosaur - allowed to drive the car
2. TMNT - allowed to drive the car
3. Barbie - also allowed to drive (apparently he prefers blondes).
4. Dino + TMNT + Barbie - all allowed to share the ride
5. Dino+ TMNT + My Little Pony - ONLY My Little Pony is tossed out of the car (NO JOKE!)
6. TMNT + Barbie + MLP - AGAIN, MLP got the boot!
7. All 4 - figurines spontaneously falling out of car due to lack of space. Bab-E Brother, growing weary of our "game", dumps out all figures and returns to playing with an empty car.

Oh well, it was funny while it lasted. And we can say with great confidence that Bab-E Brother will NOT want a My Little Pony-themed 2nd birthday.

Have a good weekend,
Busy-Dad-E

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Summer Fever

You've heard of "Spring Fever", right?

Little Brother hasn't.

He skipped straight to "Summer Fever".

Mom-E told our charismatic little guy that we were hoping to take a long weekend trip to the beach this summer.

So excited, he became, that Little Brother decided that the time to pack was NOW.

He insisted--and without assistance--put his swim trunks (termed "fimming funks") in a bag, gathered up all of the beach toys, and loaded both into the mini-van.

He even managed to find a swim diaper for Bab-E Brother.

He didn't seem to be fazed when Mom-E tried to explain that it wasn't summer yet, and it was too cold to swim right now.

"But it's warm today," he replied. "Is the beach locked? Are we going to go unlock it?"

I wish. Eventually, dude. Hang in there. We'll get you some tylenol for your "fever."

See you on Fatherhood Friday,
Warm it up,
Busy-Dad-E