Saturday, December 27, 2008

As Exciting As Christmas Morning

"What's that? A candy cane on my bed? There's presents under my tree? I know what that means. Mom, Santa was here! Santa was here!"

That's what we heard Christmas morning. At 4:50 am. She was pretty excited by it all. Her sister on the other hand had to be woken up at 6 because we couldn't hold back the older one any longer. Guess which one was my favourite child that morning. Actually, I slept in like the little one did. My wife was up with the older kid because she was just as excited as the kids were. That's the way it's always been and I don't see it changing anytime soon.

So we got downstairs and they were both super excited to see what Santa had left them. We let them get into the stockings and start organizing presents according to the names on them. Good thing Nanny, Bampy and Uncle Ry Ry showed up quickly because we couldn't have delayed the present opening much longer. If we'd known how long opening everything would take I think we might have started a lot earlier. It was a process of unwrapping the gift, getting excited about it, and then asking "can you open this so I can play with it?"

"Not right now. Finish opening your presents and then we'll worry about getting stuff out of the box."

Which brings me to a pet peeve, actually a huge piss off, of mine. Toy manufacturers suck. They use tape, twist ties, bolts, screws, and anything else they can find to securely attach the toys to the boxes. The toys are held in place more securely than my kids are when we're in the car. You need to be some sort of freakin' safe cracker to get a toy out of its box nowadays. Ok, maybe it's not that bad but it certainly takes more finesse than just yelling "get out of the box you stupid piece of crap!" at it. Believe me, I have personally verified that fact. Repeatedly.

My other big problem with toy makers is stickers. How hard would it be for those lazy bastard to just paint a picture of a light switch or a stereo speaker on the wall of the dollhouse? The dollhouse that "requires some assembly". It's not bad enough I have to get all Extreme Home Makeover and put a house together from scratch but then I'm supposed to decorate it. I don't watch that show but I'm pretty sure they've got a separate team for that job. Good thing their uncle was there to help out or I would have just thrown stickers wherever I deemed fit.

"Daddy, why are there twelve light switches in the kitchen and stereo speakers in the bathroom?"

"Because I got very little sleep last night, there's twelve more toys over there requiring assembly, and Mattel hates parents. Merry Christmas sweetie."

It's all worth it though when you get to watch them enjoy playing with it for a whole fifteen minutes before moving on to another toy. If only they'd be excited about getting a stick for Christmas. All the joy of their reaction with none of the work sounds like a win win to me.

That's why I give the award for best reaction to a present to their Bampy (grandfather for those of you who don't speak infant). He got a real nice looking hdtv that he was pretty happy to get. He was so happy that he cried a little bit. Can't blame him though. A big cool present like that which requires minimal assembly, provides hours of fun, and doesn't require a single sticker at all sounds like the perfect present to me. Makes me a little misty myself just thinking about it.

Friday, December 19, 2008


When it comes to gift giving, and guerrilla warfare, the element of surprise is crucial. You can't expect to crush the oppressive ruling class or get a real good reaction without it. Not quite sure which one of those applies to gifts and which to warfare. Christmas shopping is a lot like war too in that you're thrust into a sea of humanity going every which way in a hectic mass of noise and chaos and in the end you're left wondering if it was all worth it. It's enough to drive a person insane enough to start punching out carollers. I'd advise against that though because I believe that results in a fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-lawsuit. I don't know that for certain but to quote Jay-Z, as I often do, I ain't passed the bar but I know a little bit.

Anyways, I was talking about the element of surprise. In particular, how I lost that advantage yesterday. I went shopping with the girls and we picked up a couple things for their mom. On the way out to the van we had a conversation about not telling mom what we bought today. A Disney princess chocolate to seel the deal and all was well. We got home and they showed off their chocolates, talked about the stuff we'd seen, and held up their end of the deal. For a couple minutes at least.

"Mom, are you going to put your pictures into that thing we got?"

Damn it.

"Sweetie, remember how we talked aobut not telling mom what we bought? Well how about shutting up then?"

I guess I'll just have to return that real nice camera we got her then. Too bad because it was awesome.

It doesn't end there though. After we got home my wife went out to do some shopping. She picked up something called a V-Motion for the kids. It seems like a toddler version of a Wii. Not nearly as high tech and educational but it still seems cool. Plus since I guess it's a game system I assume we can look forward to them releasing a Grand Theft Auto game for it at some point. Grand Theft Auto: Dora Edition. "Swiper, no swiping. Swiper, no swi...holy shit he's got a gun. Run Boots, run!" It should be awesome.

So before my wife and the girls could go out in the van to pick up her brother from work (thanks a lot OC Transpo strike) I needed to sneek it into the house. I threw my coat overtop of it and got it inside without incident. Then went on their way and all was well. Or so it seemed. They got home a few hours later (again, kudos to you OC Transpo union). As my wife was going through the process of de-winterizing the kids she told the older one to go upstairs so they could get ready for bedtime.

"I can't."

"What do you mean you can't?"

"I can't, I'm looking at this really cool thing on the stairs."

That's about the time my cellphone rang and I got the greeting "What kind of moron leaves a present out on the stairs?"

Damn it. I put it there when I brought it in and made a note to myself to hide it away before I left for work. Well, needless to say I forgot. That left us scrambling to explain why it was there and, more importantly, who it was for. I said to tell her it was for Toy Mountain so kids who don't have toys could have it. When she got that news she was fine with it. Pretty proud of her for that since we know she'd like to have one and it is a "really cool thing". First thing this morning though that's what we did, went down to the mall and she put it in the tent so some other kid could have it.

So my own forgetfulness, some might say moronitude (spellcheck wouldn't say it but it can shove it up it's dictionary), worked in our favour. It helped the kids learn that Christmas is a time for giving. Just wish it didn't cost me $50 to teach that lesson. I stopped at the store on the way home and picked up a second one for them. After she was so willing to give away a toy she wanted without even a question what choice did I have? Good thing I returned the wife's super nice camera or I'd really be upset about the cost.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Just One Of Those Days

You ever have one of those days where you understand why it's a good thing you don't own a gun and live within walking distance of a clock tower? I don't think either of those were conscious decisions but after yesterday I'd have to say they were wise ones. That sort of thing never turns out well for anyone. I'm getting ahead of myself though.

The day started out fine. I got up with our youngest and we went to the basement so the others could sleep. We had about a little over an hour to play and watch some tv with inappropriate language. There's not as much of a risk of her repeating things as there is with her big sister so I can get away with it. There's no way I could watch something like this or that with the big one around. She'd be singing at the top of her lungs as soon as we got anywhere crowded. "Happy holidays everyone." So after everyone got up it was soon time to get ready to go to a Christmas party.

That's where the day turned on me. I went outside to warm up the van: no big deal. It wasn't that cold though so I decided it didn't need to be warmed up that much and I turned my attention to shovelling the snow we'd gotten the night before. I cleared away a nice pathway and then went to open the van. And that's when I noticed I didn't have the keys anymore. Yep, I had dropped them into the snow. I dropped them into the snow and then tossed the snow/key combination into a snow bank. That meant I got to spend the next forty five minutes sifting through the snow. At least a needle in a haystack isn't freezing cold. As the minutes ticked away I got colder, more pissed, and more stressed as we had the party to get to. I'm sure you're thinking why not use your spare keys? Well, those were the spare keys. The other ones have been missing for about a week now. Certain people seem to think I'm responsible for those ones too but I'm not convinced. In light of this latest keytastrophe though I don't really have a leg to stand on. My only real hope is to find them and then frame someone else.

Anyways, the keys turned up and we went to the party. It was a kids party at the car dealership where the girls' grandmother works. It was pretty fun. They had a big inflatable obstacle course which the girls actually enjoyed for once. They don't usually like the sound of the air pumps. Worked out for me though because if you accompany a child people don't get upset about a grown man climbing around in there. The other big draw for me was the food. I had some of the best sandwiches. Actually, does a chocolate brownie stuck between two kinds of bread, gingerbread and shortbread, count as a sandwich? If you answered yes than you may want to contact a doctor, a dietitian, or Jarrod from Subway. I don't care though because they were friggin' tasty.

The party went well. Some entertainment the kids didn't watch because it was too loud and then Santa showed up to hand out presents. They both like their toys but it didn't make the ride home fun. The guy who thought it was a good idea to make Barbies with removable shoes is a friggin' tool. Every two minutes I got to hear about how a shoe fell off. Needless to say, I was more excited than usual to go to work when that time rolled around. That changed when I got there to find out one guy had called in sick and the other wouldn't be in because he was getting evicted. Don't get me started on that one. Throw a busy night and all sorts of piddly little piss-offs on top of that and the result is me not getting home until 3 am. All in all the day sucked.

So it was a crap day but there were still things to be happy about. The invention of the GBS, gingerbread brownie shortbread sandwich, would be one. Grocery stores that are open 24 hours with fully stocked bakeries and a freezer with Ben and Jerry's Half Baked ice cream is another good thing. Next on the list would be the comedy of Ricky Gervais. I watched his HBO special yesterday and it's hilarious. Between that, the Office and Extras I'd say he's helped me avoid more than a few freak outs. Dexter helps in that department too. It's awfully cathartic to watch a likable serial killer murdering evil doers. Thank goodness all those can be found on Sundays because I really needed it yesterday.

Oh, family and loved ones are good too.

Friday, December 12, 2008

9 Year Old Gets A Movie Deal

I was reading the story of that 9 year old kid who wrote a book about how to talk to girls. Seemed awfully silly to me but I could live with it. Then I got to the part where Fox studios bought the movie rights to it. The deal was apparently in the "low six figures". WTF? This little bugger gets a truckload of cash for his homework? I don't know anything about this kid but I know I don't like him.

This whole thing is just a bad idea for several reasons. First, achieving that level of success at such an early age sets him up for a big case of Orson Welles syndrome later on. If not being able to measure up to Citizen Kane drove Welles to eat himself to death then I can only imagine the effect this will have when this kid grows up. You know, when he's 12 or 13 and hasn't published a book or written a movie in a few years. Imagine the pressure of peaking at 9. Second, no 9 year old needs that kind of money. Honestly, how many transformers, or whatever the kids are playing with nowadays, does one kid need? Sure, his parents will probably do the right thing and set the money aside for his college education or something but it still feels wrong to me. Finally, this puts an awful lot of pressure on his teachers from here on out. Suppose the next story he writes for a class totally sucks (fingers crossed). How does a teacher slap an F on the kid who sold his homework for more than they'd make in a year? Teaching is tough enough without having your student's work being evaluated by critics across the country.

I'm sure by now you're saying that I'm just jealous. Well, you're god damn right I'm jealous. Can you blame me though? He sold his homework and now he's got enough money to pay off most of my mortgage. So yeah, I'm indulging in the deadly sin of jealousy. Actually, it makes me want to do nothing but sit on the couch and eat cookies so I might have sloth and gluttony covered too. Three out of seven just because of one stupid book.

It does inspire me though. I want nothing more now than to have some dumbass movie studio buy the rights to the stupid crap I write. I've got the perfect name for it already. It'll be call "Look, I Got Some Jagoff Studio To Make A Movie Out Of Some Stupid Crap I Wrote Too You Little Bastard". Directed by Jon Favreau and starring Neil Patrick Harris.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Seeing Is Believing

I noticed I haven't posted anything in over a week so I guess the addition of all the getting ready for the holidays activities aren't very conducive to blogging. That and I'm lazy. Anyways, today's big philosophical question is would you rather have kids you behaved in public and saved their dickishness for home or vice versa? Obviously, the best case scenario would be kids who behave both at home and out in the world but that's about as likely as me being named prime minister. After all the crap that's gone on in the last few days I think if I just show up down at parliament hill at the right time of day I may get the job. Of course, I'm pretty sure I flunked political science so I might be wrong about that one.

Back to the point, the question of where's the better place for the kids to play the a-hole card occurred to me last week. We were out shopping and a lady complimented my wife on how well behaved the kids were and how nicely she spoke to them. Kind of a weird thing to come from a total stranger in my opinion but nice nonetheless. My first reaction though was to think "how about you drop by the house at bedtime before you start tossing out statements like those". Sure enough less than four hours later one is jumping on our bed and wiggling her butt in the window while I'm chasing the other one, who happens to be completely bare assed, down the hall. I don't recall exactly what I was saying as I tackled our little nude sprinter but I can guarantee it wouldn't be considered "nice" by too many people. Needless to say, I think that woman is an idiot.

As I type this I can hear my wife pleading with our youngest to lie down and go to sleep. She's not cooperating with either request. Apparently those would interfere with her plans of not listening and being a huge pain in the ass. Seriously, you'd normally need some sort of pharmaceutical ointment to deal with rectal discomfort of that degree. I wish I could say at least he big sister listens but there's been more freakouts, flipouts, and timeouts that I can count to disproof that theory. Then she comes home from nursery school where we hear about how well she behaved and how the other kids were "climbing on the climbers when they weren't supposed to but I didn't".

"That's super. Are you going to listen to rules like that around the house? Yeah, I didn't think so either."

And so we're left in a parental state equivalent to Big Bird. Their unruly behaviour is our Snuffleupagus. Nobody else really sees it, so nobody else really believes it. In the meantime I'm getting pretty good at chasing down and catching naked youngsters. Not exactly the sort of thing you want to brag about to too many people but what can you do.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

He Sees You When You're Sleeping

The last weekend of November and it appears the holiday season is upon us. Christmas lights are twinkling on rooftops all over the neighbourhood. Holiday music echoes throughout the over crowded malls. I'm not a big fan of Christmas music, malls, or crowds so guess how happy I am about that one. And of course the store Santas have emerged from their yearly eleven month hibernations. That's a fact; look it up. Anyways, all that means it's time again to try and get the kids to cooperate for a picture with the jolly fat man.

Past history made me believe this was a futile endeavor. Hell, you'd be hard pressed to get a smile out of me if you took my picture with some stranger. Let alone if I was supposed to sit on his lap. With that in mind we went to a Christmas party at a museum on Friday. It was the museum of science and technology which the kids like on a normal day. Add some holiday decorations and activities and you've got a party. They made reindeer out of clothespins and candy canes out of pipe cleaners and beads. By they I mean we wound up making them. If I had a nickel for every time I got together with some friends on a Friday night to do crafts. The reindeers turned out nicely but I just didn't have the patience for the candy cane. Mine looked partially eaten, not to mention no real colour pattern. Guess I'll have to work on it for our next craft party.

So in addition to the crafts and snacks (one of my favourite things about Christmas time is the food) they had a Santa for the kids to sit and take a picture with. From the standpoint of roominess for the lineup the train exhibit was a good choice. Not the best location to ease people's fears though. A big dark room full of great big trains; who wouldn't be totally at ease? Needless to say the girls didn't want to wait around for Santa. Worked for me, the line was crazy. Apparently not as bad as the one at the mall though.

They waited for 75 minutes for their chance to see Santa. Thank goodness I was working. I wouldn't wait in a line for 75 minutes to get a life saving organ transplant, let alone to get a picture taken. We all figured they'd freak out when it was their turn to go up and see him but they just had to prove us wrong. They smiled for a lovely picture and even told him what they want. The older one wants a Gotta Go Doll and her sister wants a car and a doll. Considering how much they exceeded our expectations I think it's a pretty safe bet they'll get what they want.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Who Doesn't Love A Parade?

We went to the Santa Claus parade this morning. Usual sort of stuff; lots of happy kids, cold weather, lots of candy canes being handed out, and holiday cheer aplenty. Of course, as we all know, the first rule of the Santa Claus parade is don't talk about the Santa Claus parade. Oh wait, that's the first rule of fight club. Considering how things went though it's oddly appropriate.

So we got our things together and headed downtown to watch, like we do every year. Not having to pay for parking always thrills me so that was nice. Thrilled a lot of people judging by how full the parking lot was. After finding a spot, we bundled up the kids in their sweaters, winter jackets and snow pants. All that going on top of a couple foundation layers applied at home. It all came in handy when we reached the street. I'm not a meteorologist but I'm pretty sure the thermometer was somewhere around friggin' cold. Lord knows I love to stand in the cold and watch things pass by me really slowly. My ideal parade would be one where everything stays in one spot and then I can run alongside so the parade could be at any pace I feel appropriate.

Anyways, we staked out a spot and waited for our friends and their kids to get there. The gave me plenty of quality time with our oldest to try and coax her out of the stroller which was covered with a blanket "tent of security". She does not like loud noises which made the horns and sirens awesome. Apparently, she still remembers how Canada Day went down so she kept asking to make the noises stop. "Uh sweetie, that's a police siren. He's trying to clear the parade route and I'm pretty sure he won't like if I tell him to knock it off." After a while she agreed to come out from under her canopy of safety. The agreed to terms being that she have on earmuffs and a toque to black out the noise, I hold her the entire time, and we go into a building to get away from the loud noises. That last one was the clincher for her and a lie on my part. It worked though so I'm ok with it.

By now our friends had gotten there and we were all getting situated. That's when some lady next to us asked us to move our stroller so she could sit down. I use the term ask loosely as her phrasing was more along the lines of "well, I'd like to be able to sit next to my kids." Not an unreasonable expectation but we'd gotten there early to ensure room for all of us and quite frankly her request came across as very over seasoned with a little spice I like to call bitch. When the dad of our friend couple pointed out to her that we'd gotten there first so had every right to the space she got confrontational. I remember the words "are you being rude at a Christmas parade?" leaving her mouth. Things started to get a bit heated and our mom friend tried to get in between them. In doing so her arm came in contact with the crazy lady (or as she put it "she grabbed me first"). Of course her perfectly logical response was to turn and throw a punch into our friend's chest. Let me repeat that; our friend got punched in the chest at a Santa Claus parade. (Funny how ordinary words can be grouped together sometimes and not simply defy logic.)

After the punch was thrown my wife went to relay the incident to a passing police officer who didn't seem too interested in it. The crazy lady saw this and went to tell her side. Her side involving crying and leaning into the officer who had no choice but to console her. "Just go back and try to enjoy yourself" is what I believe he said to her. Can't say I blame him in either instance. If my job was to keep a parade route clear I wouldn't want to have to referee a battle between onlookers. His advice seemed to help as she sat down and everyone pretty much left well enough alone. Of course we all had to take turns standing to obstruct her view of the parade but that goes without saying. The parade itself didn't go too bad. We had to leave before the end because the little one's mittens did a piss poor job of keeping the cold out but the just meant we got to avoid the insane line up strollers waiting to use the parking garage elevator that always follows the parade. A win win in my books.

So it was a weird parade this year but a definite learning experience. First, if you don't mind missing the end of the parade you can avoid spending twenty minutes waiting for the elevator. Second, if you invite someone to a holiday parade they wind up getting punched, you're going to feel a little guilty. Third, and most important, if you go to a Santa parade and in telling people about it afterwards you use the phrase "and then I punched her", then maybe parades aren't for you. Some sort of anger therapy or conflict resolution strategies might be a better use of your time. Either way, it'll be interesting to see if next year's parade live up to this one.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

An Open Letter To The Producers Of Criminal Minds

Dear Criminal Minds Producers,

First thing's first, I like your show. It's one of the only crime shows I can be bothered to watch beside CSI. That combined with my schedule means I sit down with my wife most Wednesdays to watch your show. That being said, I have one complaint. QUIT DOING EPISODES WITH KIDS. Seriously, it seems like every other week at least one kid is abducted or murdered. As a parent I have to say KNOCK IT OFF! It's a cheap way to try and get viewers emotionally involved that is quickly becoming a crutch for the show. You're better than that or at least you should strive to be.

Ok, my motivation is a selfish one. Those episodes hit a little too close to home for me since, as I said, I have kids. Of course that means I'm instinctively paranoid and suspicious of everyone else when it comes to the safety of my kids. If you look close at their photos with Santa you'll see me standing in the background keeping a close eye on that jolly bastard. So the last thing I need is you guys feeding my own paranoia, especially with a weird looking Jason Alexander. Am I the only one that thought he was a bowtie away from looking like a long-haired Colonel Sanders? He did a good job but I kept waiting for him to blurt out his blend of eleven herbs and spices that makes his chicken finger licking good. Either way the stuff with the kids still struck a nerve with me. Hell, I'd be less creeped out if you did an episode where someone was only killing guys in their 30's named Dave. Even if it was just Daves in their 30's who loved sports and wrote blogs it still wouldn't hit as close to home as the kid stuff does. So one more time I ask you to please QUIT IT ALREADY.

Thank You

P.S. How much of a dick must Patinkin have been to get booted off the show?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

At The Movies

So if you go to a matinee of Madagascar 2 on a Tuesday afternoon, how much of a dick do you have to be to be bothered by kids making noise? That's the question we were asking ourselves this week. We went to see it and the little one was really into it. Lots of dancing, laughing, gasping, and yelling at the screen. The childless couple ahead of us didn't seem to appreciate it as they turned around a couple times to cast a disapproving look or two. They didn't say anything though but I would have loved to see them try and justify their stance. "I just want to spend a relaxing afternoon at a children's movie and I'm being disturbed by youngsters."

"Uh, yeah. That's the biggest joy we get as parents is having our kids ruin things for those of you that don't have kids. Now turn around and keep watching the movie in your non syrup stained clothes or I'll get out the McDonald's tie in toys that don't have an off switch and let the kids play with them until the credits finish and the lights come back on." Oh, what could have been.

Anyways, the movie was excellent. I definitely recommend it, whether you have kids or not. The little blurb on the commercial that says it's "better than the first" is right on the money. Even in cartoon form Chris Rock, Andy Richter, and Sacha Baron Cohen are hilarious. Especially the last two in this movie. Of course I think we enjoyed watching our little one getting so involved in the movie. Quite the contrast to her sister who was curled up on my knee because it was "too loud". She was brave and watched the movie but she didn't quite get into it the way her little sister did. A good time for everyone though.

So yes, go see Madagascar 2. And if someone in the seat ahead of you is annoyed by your kids just follow the example set by one of our youngsters parents, not naming any names but it wasn't me, and kick their seat a couple times when they turn back around. Yeah, the kids are pretty much set in the role model department.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Pregnancy Update

Bed rest is really very misleading. It sounds nice but there's nothing very restful to it. My wife got to learn this when the doctor she saw at the hospital on Friday recommended bed rest for the weekend to ease the contractions she was experiencing. I'm trying to figure out how to get a doctor to prescribe a video game playing/sports watching treatment for me but so far WebMD has been no help coming up with symptoms that would require that. The search continues though.

Back to my wife's story, she went into triage on Friday evening after dealing with contractions on and off for a few days. Once the frequency and severity got alarming it was time to get checked out. That resulted in the aforementioned bed rest. I can only assume the logic is that sheer boredom will result in her body cooperating again. After reading whatever was lying around and watching the movies we rented for her, that new Indiana Jones and Baby Mama, she had to resort to the TV. She got so desperate that she watched I Am Legend. She loves Will Smith but has always been reluctant to watch this one because she's not real big on, as she described them to me after she watched the movie, hordes of creepy bastards that looked like Ted Danson. I still haven't seen all of the movie so I'll have to take her word for it on the Ted Danson thing until I see the end. I've only watched about the first half hour or so, just Will and his dog in an empty Manhattan. I assume there's some action once the creepy bastards get into the picture. I also assume it ends with Will surrounded by the mob of creepies until DJ Jazzy Jeff and Alfonso Ribiero show up to save the day. I imagine they whip the crowd into a frenzy and then lead them in a well choreographed dance routine similar to the zombie in Michael Jackson's Thriller video. This would give the Fresh Prince time to somehow save the day which would somehow involve getting jiggy with it. Then again, I do have kids and we all know parents just don't understand. Got really sidetracked there but at least I enjoyed it.

Anyways, she saw her doctor this morning and she's off bed rest. She's supposed to take it easy though which means she's done working. She's now on sick leave from work which will then turn into maternity leave once the baby comes. Not exactly the way we'd planned it but it seems like the best case scenario, all things considered. At least she'll have plenty of time to read and watch movies which is nice because I'm kind of interested to see how that I Am Legend plays out. From what I've heard, I mean written, about the ending, it sounds pretty awesome.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's A Girl....Again

According to the ultrasound today we're having another girl. I take her word for it since I've never been very good at picking stuff out in those pictures. Even if I could figure out what's going on down there I wouldn't know what to look for anyways since I have no idea what a dangle looks like on one of those pictures. I never had any doubt about the sex of this one though. I don't have a problem with having three daughters either but I reserve the right to amend that statement at a later date because, as someone so kindly pointed out, I'm going to have three teenage daughters running around my house in about 13 years or so.

Let's put that into perspective. In thirteen years, I'm going to be a Tutti away from being Mrs. Garrett. That's right, you take the good, you take the bad, you take the rest, and there you'll have my life. Actually, it'll probably be more like towards the end of the show when it wasn't funny so that would make me like Clooney then. Ok, the show was never funny; I just wanted to cast myself as Clooney. In reality, if I had to perform some emergency room tasks to save lives there'd be more than a few casualties. And if I had to rob a casino vault, a museum, or another casino the best I could do is probably come up with like 7, maybe 8 guys tops. Certainly nowhere near the double digits I've been led to believe is required. Anyways, the point is I really enjoy the entire Ocean's trilogy. Wait, I think I got off topic there.

Ok, a third girl, that's right. The big upside on this one is I've already got experience raising girls. With the older one being three and a half and her little sister almost two, that gives me five and a half years of experience parenting girls. Throw a third into the mix and by the time the firs one reaches her teen years I'll have like 30 years under my belt. Keep your criticisms of my math to yourself; it comforts me to think this way. Another big upside of having three girls close in age is that I should only have to do hugely embarrassing things once when they're teens. If not all of their friends witness it for themselves, they'll certainly hear about it from someone. That means I'll only have to show up to one math class in my pyjama pants and rattiest t-shirt to deliver the anti-fungal ointment my little darling forgot to bring with her. I figure if I do that for the middle child then the kids a couple years ahead and a couple behind will both hear about it, thus spreading out the damage to their social status. Of course, that should only be a concern if any of them have met my rules for qualifying for dating eligibility. Namely, they have to be able to kick someone's ass before they're allowed to date. I don't care if it's some sort of martial arts, self defence, kickboxing, wrestling or some really cool ultimate fighting type combination thereof. If they want to date then they'll have to learn something in that ballpark.

Of course, the downside is that while I'll be learning from one kid and using that on the others, they'll also be learning how to manipulate me or get around the rules and pass that on to each other. Considering they'll have the advantage number wise it's kind of intimidating. Luckily, I'll have backup in this little adventure so I can always play my trump card. Go ask your mother.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Injustice Anywhere Is A Threat To Justice Everywhere

Since Halloween I've been eating more candy than I really should. Probably more than anyone should. It does lead me to two observations though. First, we need to do a better job next year of counting the number of kids in the neighbourhood. Hopefully, a more accurate headcount will curb our candy purchasing and leave us with little to none left over. Second, and most important, why don't the mint chocolate people take part in Halloween?

I've been enjoying Halloween candy for more than a couple decades and I don't once recall eating anything minty. Pep, andes, junior mints and the rest all abstain from Halloween. Even the mint aero bars are part of this boycott. You can't knock on three doors without getting a "fun sized" aero bar so would it kill them to shrink down a couple of mint ones? Would the technology involved completely throw off their profit margin? Of course not. All signs point to a conspiracy in the candy industry. Somehow mint candies have been blocked out of participating in one of the major candy holidays, either by choice or intimidation. My investigating, by which I mean, crazy unconfirmed theory, leads me to believe the major confectionery companies have joined forces to systematically exclude mint from the cavalcade of candies handed out every October 31. In exchange, mint gets to take centre stage at Christmas. Personally, I think that's crap.

There's no reason why chocolate mints can't be enjoyed all year long. (Don't even get me started on the Cadbury creme eggs) I say enough with holiday specific candy discrimination. Let us as the consumer decide what is and is not appropriate for the time of year. Isn't choice one of the cornerstones of a truly free and democratic society?

Don't get me wrong, I'm a firm supporter of all the chocolate combos. I'm a big fan of the marriage between chocolate and peanut butter. I fully support the gay marriage between chocolate and coconut. I don't even have a problem with the freaky threeway between chocolate, peanuts, and nougat. Heck, throw some caramel and cookie into that big orgy and I wouldn't even bat an eye. I just believe that combining chocolate and mint, specifically in junior mint form, is the pinnacle of what's possible when it comes to candy. To exclude them from Halloween, or any holiday, is an injustice I can no longer ignore.

Basically, I've had my fill of peanut butter cups and would love a junior mint right about now.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

As I sit here in my spider-man outfit, complete with mask, a thought occurs to me, Hey it's Halloween. I guess I'll have to put away my everyday spider-man suit and break out the special occasion one. Even if that was true, I'm sure I wouldn't be the first person ever to post something on the Internet while dressed as spider-man. For some reason I imagine director Kevin Smith dressed that way as he posts on his website. To make up for that quasi insult here's a free plug. Zach and Miri Make a Porno, opening in theatres today. There, now at least 6 people know about his movie.

Anyways, getting back to the topic of Halloween, I've never been a big fan. I like the idea of going out and getting candy for very little effort but I'm not so much into the scary aspect. I don't generally watch scary movies and I've never been one for scary costumes. As a kid, I generally dressed up as super heroes for Halloween. One year I got brave and decided to be a vampire. The idea of wearing a cape was the big selling point for me. The big drawback was the fake blood. When it came time to put it on, I had a meltdown. Mom is standing there with a tube of fake blood as I'm crying in the corner trying to keep her away (let me take this opportunity to point out I was 8) while my little sister is laughing her ass off. It didn't take too long to realise the makeup was a lost cause so I went trick or treating as the world's first hemophobic vampire. More of a concept costume than anything else. Needless to say, that little childhood trauma has soured me on Halloween. I'm doing my best not to pass that on to the kids though.

They're both excited about dressing up in costumes. They enjoy candy too. It's having all sorts of ghosts and ghouls roaming the street that I think may present a challenge. I'll try not to be scared though. Both girls like their costumes so much that it'd be a shame for it to go poorly. The little one is a butterfly, or buttaby as she says, and her big sister is a witch. She picked it out herself. That came as a bit of a relief. We got a flyer in the mailbox from some costume place a couple weeks ago. She was looking at all the costumes that were shown on the cover and telling me what they were. "She's a ballerina. That one's a cowgirl. She's a princess. She's a fairy." The problem is they were grown up costumes and all I could think was that's great but they all look like hookers to me. If that's the direction Halloween is heading then I'm not looking forward to her selecting costumes when she's older.

What's wrong with the costumes they had when I was a kid anyway? You throw on a plastic pullover Batman, Superman, or Lone Ranger costume, put that flimsy plastic mask with eye, mouth, and nostril holes on (careful not to snap the elastic string that held it in place) and you're good to go. Head out to collect a garbage bag sized sack full of sugarbetes batter. Ah, the good old days. The 80's were a simpler time. Oh well, the costumes may have changed but at least I can count on my kids going out and feeding my sweet tooth tonight. "Yeah, that candy isn't the kind you like. And that one you're allergic too. Oh, that one made you sick the last time you had it. Here, you love trail mix. Make sure to share with your sister."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

First Snowfall

So we had our first snow of the season. Exciting times for the kids; not so much for the rest of us. It was so exciting that our oldest ran downstairs and threw open the backdoor. The big problem there is that we have an alarm system. As soon as that door opened the alarm went off. That meant I got to tearass down the stairs to shut it off and then into the kitchen to comfort her. She slammed that door shut right away and was quite distraught by the time I got there. So thanks to her fear of sudden unexpected loud noises she now has a fear of doors, snow, and the outside world. At least we don't have to worry about that one running away.

Actually, she was fine after we explained how the alarm works. Left out the part about deterring burglars; no reason to cause a bigger problem while solving a little one. Once she calmed down she had only one thing on her mind, let's go play in the snow. Like all kids I loved playing in the snow. As a parent, that enthusiasm has weakened a bit. It's been replace by my hatred of snowsuits, snowpants, winter boots, and my new arch enemy, mittens. I understand now why kids mittens only have a slot for the thumb and the rest of the fingers all get jammed together. I would lose my friggin' mind if I had to put each individual ringer into a different hole. That's why my big winter clothing rule is no actual gloves until you can put them on by yourself. Mitts suck enough as it is. It doesn't help that they're the last thing to go on. I'm already nice and frustrated from putting sweaters, socks, snowpants, winter jackets, and hats. All of that with minimal help from the kid I'm dressing. Ever try putting boots onto a kid that's providing no resistance? I get to see how flexible she is as I push her leg up over her head or I get to slide her across the floor like some weird broom while fighting to squeeze her foot in.

The best part is they find it funny when I struggle so they help even less. As we all know, laughter makes frustration so much better. Reminds me of the story Dad likes to tell about when Mom was pregnant with me. She couldn't squeeze around the car to get in while it was in the garage. That meant Dad had to back it out. They were late for whatever they had going on. In his haste he failed to close her door before backing out. Actually, he forgot to close his door too so when he backed out they both got caught on the garage door's frame and bent backwards. So he's fuming and Mom is in the driveway with a friend beside themselves with laughter. As Dad likes to put it, if he'd been able to get either door off the car I might not be here today.

With that in mind as I struggle to winterproof the children I'm left to wonder, how bad is hypothermia anyway? If they lose a thumb then my mitten problem would be solved anyway. Yeah, I know that's not the best solution. I guess I'll just have to suck it up and keep bundling the youngsters before tossing them out into the snow.

Oh crap, now one of them has to use the potty. All that fun in reverse with the added fun of a ticking timebomb. I gotta go.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happy Wiggle Day!!

"It's Wiggle day, it's Wiggle day!"

That's the sound that rang down the hall to wake us this morning. That of course means she'll finally stop asking every morning if it's Wiggle day. That's been going on for at least a month. That was when I made the mistake of mentioning we had tickets to their show. Every day since has been one big countdown. In my opinion, it was worth the wait.

We've been to quite a few of these kid show things, some free, most not. The free ones of course being just appearances. There was the time we got to meet and have pictures taken with three of the Backyardigans. That didn't go too bad. The big one freaked out of course because they were basically just big mascots. Her little sister was less hesitant. The beauty of it was that when we took a picture there was some little girl in the shot who passed for our oldest from behind. To this day she talks about how fun it was to see them and how Tyrone patted her on the head. I just wish we'd gotten the little girl's contact info so we could use her as a stand in for things like that. Then again, with Photoshop we can pretty much fake any pictures we want. "Remember the time I fought Godzilla and saved everyone Daddy?"

"Sure do sweetie, it was awesome."

Back to the show though. When it comes to these live show/capade type things there's a few area the Wiggles beat the others on. First, when we go to one of these and have no choice but to get some little light wand or stuffed doll for the kids, I like to know it's not going to fall apart before we leave the building. Looking at you Diego. If you're going to overcharge people for some little twirly piece of crap then the least you can do is make sure everything is glued on tight. Forget animal rescuer, I want to go see the Go Diego Go, competent manufacturer show. Anyways, the second are where the Wiggles win out is authenticity. It's actually them performing, not some dude who looks like the character or someone in a costume. Sure, they have a built in advantage because they're not animated characters like every other kids show personality but that's beside the point. Now stop distracting me with the physical limitations of the world we live in. All I'm saying is it feels more meaningful when it's actually the Wiggles up there on stage driving the Big Red Car. Who knows how many Diegos or Thomas the Trains are touring the globe at any one time. We can be certain when we're seeing the Wiggles that we're the only ones seeing them at that point in time.

That brings me to my third area or praise, they put on a hell of a show. All sorts of costume changes, tons of interaction with the kids in the audience, and all sorts of jumping and flipping. The pirate guy's entrance was jumping out of a castle window and sliding down some curtains. The blue wiggle kept trying handstands and even did some acrobatics on the rings at one point. (I know all their names; I just didn't want to look like a big lose by saying Captain Feathersword and Anthony) All that effort pays off too because the kids went nuts for them. Our two were laughing and dancing the whole time. Just like every other kid in the place. That's why they can charge so much at these things. Watching your kids having the time of their lives makes you forget all about the $4 you just paid for a bottle of water. ("How about I give you $1 and you just give me an empty bottle and directions to a faucet?") Ok, almost forget.

Overall, Wiggle day was great. The show was entertaining, the girls' Dorothy dolls haven't fallen apart, and they loved the whole thing. I didn't get peed on, thrown up on, or have a youngster crying for an hour and half so I enjoyed it too. I would definitely recommend it.

P.S. For the sake of full disclosure, we went to their show the last time they were here a couple years ago and this one was a lot different. Both good shows but it's nice to know they're not just doing the exact same show over and over again. Not sure what it says about me that I can say the two shows are a lot different but whatever.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sharing Is Caring

We do our best to try and teach the girls to share. It seems to work more often than not, with the older on at least. The little one is more into trying to assert her dominance by not backing down. I'm pretty confident we can put an end to that before she decides to take that show to the playground. I don't have any interest in being the parent of the playground bully who knocks out the kid who's playing with the shovel she wants.

Anyways, sharing took a surprising turn yesterday. Whenever one of us is laying down with a blanket on, our oldest asks us to make a leg crib for her. That just means we make room between our legs so she can lie down. That's what happened yesterday, my wife had a blanket on as the had quiet time before bed and she had to make a leg crib. The big one settled into place. Her little sister eventually noticed what was going on and headed over. Expecting a fight to ensue, my wife asked big sister to share with little sister. Surprisingly, she did without any argument, rare indeed. She didn't just share the leg crib; she got up and let her sister have it.

"That's very good sharing. What a nice big sister you are."

That's when the truth came out. "That's ok, she can have it. I farted in there."

A sweet act of sisterly kindness turns out to be an odour-filled booby trap. Can't get mad at her though. I'm kind of proud that's she's pulling off something like that when she's only three. Besides, who among us has never farted on a sibling's blanket or pillow? Think about that the next time you go to bed and see if you get a good night's sleep, Katie.

All Aboard

So the pregnancy seems to be progressing well. Of course, in pregnancy that means nobody has killed anyone yet. It's a roller coaster ride of mood swings combined with extreme exhaustion and, in our case, a constant threat of vomit. My wife has had some of those symptoms too. The cool part is that the kids seem to understand that there's a baby in Mommy's tummy. Actually, they understand more than we think.

Yesterday, my wife was talking with our oldest. They were talking about the baby. She said to our little girl "One day when you're a lot older you'll have a baby in your tummy too." That seemed to elicit some strange looks so she tried to clarify what she was saying but got cut off.

"I don't want to have a baby in my tummy."

"Why not?"

"Because I want to have energy."

Apparently, she'd rather be able to run around and play than have kids. Another instance where she was more aware of what's going on than we gave her credit for. Personally, I'm all for anything that gets her on board the abstinence train. Little bugger's not even born yet and it's already paying dividends.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Palin On SNL

I just have to talk about Sarah Palin's appearance on SNL. Quite simple, I loved it. If you haven't seen it you can check it out here. I can't say that her actually being there added anything to it. The stuff with Wahlberg giving Andy Samberg crap for the impression of him was a lot better than anything Palin actually did. That being said, I give her credit for being there.

Tina Fey's Palin sketches have been the highlight of the show all season long. They've gotten huge buzz online and plenty of mainstream discussion on the 24 hour news channels. Every comedian out there is making jokes about her but none have gotten as much attention as these things. A couple more and I think she'll be entitled to a writing credit for the show. So with SNL hanging its hat on her this year she still showed the guts to walk right into it. Something the current President Bush or Dick Cheney has not ever done. Granted, they've been actively harmful, to put it extremely mildly, while she's just been amusingly oblivious, so far. I suspect that if Bush or Cheney ever did appear on something like The Daily Show, Jon Stewart wouldn't be able to just make jokes. Honestly, if he couldn't resist calling Tucker Carlson a dick on live TV (skip ahead to about 6:10 if you don't want to sit through the whole thing) then what chance would either of them have at some good natured joking around.

Back to Palin though. She went into a hostile environment knowing she was going to be made fun of. Hostile may be a harsh word for it but just look at the total lack of interaction between her and Tina Fey. They crossed paths with little more than a nod. Compare that to when Hillary Clinton was on sharing a scene with Amy Poehler's Hillary Clinton. Poehler seemed genuinely excited about the situation. Not hard to tell which way everyone's voting there. So yes, she gets credit for showing up. That's about where it ends for me though.

When it comes to actually doing anything, she was less than impressive. She made fun of Alec Baldwin: how hard is that? Alec is the most talented Baldwin brother. That's looks as impressive on a resume as a gold medal won at a track meet for the obese, an accomplishment he may also be in the running for. There, I zinged him twice and I wasn't even trying. The best thing I can say is that she didn't look awkward or robotic while hip hopping along to that rap on Weekend Update. I friggin' loved that rap. I'd put it right up there with dick in a box or Natalie Portman rapping as one of my favourites from the show. She wasn't able to get through it without cringing at the criticism though. She was biting her lip, which cracked me up, after the line about how she built a bridge, it ain't going nowhere.

So yes, she did seem to have a sense of humour about herself, to a degree. And she went on a show that does not support her and makes a living making fun of her which took some courage. It was also a heck of a way to get people to talk about something other than a report about your abuse of power I guess. I think the more telling fact about it all though is that they had so much to make fun of her about considering she's been in the picture less than two months, and doesn't answer any questions from the media. If she ever does start talking to reporters they'll have to expand the show to two hours.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Lose Lips Sink Ships

My oldest totally ratted me out the other day. Tuesday was election day and personally I was not real eager to take part. Both at a national and local level I was not inspired to throw my support behind anyone. The Conservatives are jackasses and the fella running in our area, running for re-election, is a little twit. The Liberals have a "leader" who's about as inspiring as a chess team pep rally and their local candidate is a jackass. He tried to run as a Conservative a few years ago but our current Conservative MP got the nomination instead. Add to that the fact he did minimal campaigning and didn't take part in any of the all candidates meetings and I can't imagine why he should have gotten a vote. My own personal conspiracy theory is that he was only running as a Liberal to help ensure a victory for the Conservatives. I don't have any proof of it; I just wanted to throw it out there. That left NDP and Green party as possible votes. Based on the demographics of this area I'd might as well cast a vote for a contender on So You Think You Can Dance. I've never watched that show but I assume they have the audience vote, like every other show in that genre.

Anyways, so I had no intention of doing my civic duty by taking part in the democratic process. The big issue for me though was keeping my political apathy a secret from my wife to avoid any kind of lecture. So I told her I voted in the morning and she should just go vote on her way home from work. The problem with that was she decided to park at home and walk to the polling station, along with our little blabber-mouth. They were on the way in when Chatty Cathy asks "Why are we going in here?"

"We're going in here to vote, like you did with Daddy today."

"I didn't come here with Daddy."

Damn it. I'm sure there's a lesson in there about always telling the truth but that's not my major concern. Now I'm going to have make the transition from liar to conspirator. I can't just be less than truthful. I have to come up with a cover story for my co-conspirator to tell if asked. Friggin' kids make everything so much tougher. Maybe next time I'll just go ahead and do what I should have without being forced to. Thanks a lot kids. So glad you learned to pay attention and talk. I'm pretty sure the next one has a good shot at being my favourite. At least until he or she learns to talk.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thanksgiving Dinner...Yum

Why do kids and cars never cooperate when you take them in for service? They'll make all sorts of weird painful sounding noises all day long but as soon as you get inside a waiting room they're purring like kittens. I'm left with some dude in his special work outfit looking at me like I'm some sort of idiot. "I swear the little bugger was sputtering and spewing out all sorts of awful stuff earlier. I put some oil in so I guess that must have fixed it. Oh, you're a pediatrician not a mechanic? Are you sure?"

So we sat down to have a nice thanksgiving dinner yesterday. We worked all day on the turkey, stuffing, potatoes, carrots, and pies. I can say "we" because I peeled the potatoes. In front of the tv while watching football. Which reminds me, can someone please explain to me why the Dolphins' "wildcat" formation seems to be so friggin' hard to defend? They've got two castoffs and a pothead in the backfield but if they line them up oddly the defense suddenly looks like the defenders falling all over themselves on the Cosby Show as they try to tackle Rudy. (Couldn't find a clip of that on Youtube but you know what I'm talking about)

Anyways, the food was all set out on the table so nicely. We were all settling in to our seats. My brother in law was about to pass the turkey when it happened. Out little one, who'd been pretty cranky for most of the day, threw up on me. Actually, threw up doesn't quite paint an accurate picture. Basically, she took everything that was in her stomach and in four good heaves put it all over me. I probably had time to get out of the way of her last three digestive show and tells but I'm at a point where it's now just instinct to step in front of the vomit. Like I've said before it's easier to clean my clothes and take a shower than it is to scrub the carpet or mop the floor. To those in the room it may have seemed like concerned parenting but essentially it was my own cleaning laziness that overshadowed any common sense or self preservation. The motivation isn't really important as the result was still me covered in my 20 month old's stomach contents. Needless to say, I didn't get to eat. Not sure how much anyone else ate but I take it as quite a compliment that anyone ate at all after witnessing that little display at the dinner table. I can take it as a compliment because I did peel the potatoes which means I get a cooking credit.

After stripping off my new vomit suit and getting her dirty clothes off of her I was able to get her to settle and nap a bit. That gave me time to call work and tell them I'd be a little late. Little tip, if you call work and tell them you'll be late because you've just been thrown up on you will be laughed at. Also, they won't ask any questions at all. "You got thrown up on? Just take a shower and show up whenever you want." So I did. Got there about fifteen minutes late and stayed for a whole hour. That's when I got the call.

My wife called to let me know that the little one was inconsolable and needed to see a doctor. Since it was Sunday on a long weekend that meant the ER of the Children's Hospital. ER's in a regular hospital are generally an interesting and often entertaining place to hang out. The ER of a children's hospital is just sad. All sorts of sick and injured youngsters; not even a jerkass like me finds it funny to hear what's wrong with everyone. Actually, that's not entirely true. A children's hospital is one of the few places you'll hear questioning like"Do you know what you put in your ear? Do you really not know or you just don't want to tell me?" It's a good thing I was preoccupied with my own kid or I'd have had to interject.

"Maybe if you speak into his other ear you'll get an answer."

Anyways, to make a long story (I mean a five hour wait) short, she perked up while we were waiting to be seen. Her fever lessened, she wasn't crying, and she didn't throw up after eating so we took her home. Being a long weekend meant that lots of sick kids were streaming in from all over (from what I saw, it was a bad day for arms). Both my wife and I didn't feel like waiting around to have our youngster make us look like liars to the doctor so we all went home. Turned out to be the right decision because she went right to sleep and has seemed fine since. Fingers crossed she doesn't start making any more weird noises. Ditto for the car.

Friday, October 10, 2008

You Deserve A Break Today

MacDonald's now has a triple chocolate muffin that includes Oreo cookie crumbles on the top. I applaud them for embracing the fact their food isn't good for us. Honestly, if you're going to MacDonald's for a muffin, why are you kidding yourself? Just take the stance that it's 7 am and I'm in the MacDonald's drive thru (they embraced poor spelling long ago) for breakfast so I may as well just go all out. I'd like to see them take it a step further. "Try our new triple chocolate muffin. Guaranteed to give you sugarbetes." In case anyone's curious, they're pretty tasty.

So we took the kids to MacDonald's the other day. Not just MacDonald's but the one with a playland. I have no idea how combining fast food and running around a play area could possible go wrong. I'm still shocked that I haven't witnessed any youngsters throwing up there. That's not to say it hasn't happened; I don't want to know what goes on inside those giant tubes. Our oldest is at the point where she can maneuver around the tubes with no problem. She's no longer scared by them and has a blast any time she gets the chance. The younger one hasn't quite gotten there yet. She's agile enough to get around but is still kind of hesitant. Lucky for us she wants to do everything her sister does so she dives right in. They disappear into that maze of PVC and we're left trying to figure out where they are by catching glimpses through the strategically placed portholes.

We were doing a good job of keeping track and big sister was doing a fine job of acting as Sherpa. For a while at least. Then suddenly "Tenzing Norgay" makes a break for the summit and little "Edmund Hillary" is left in the middle wishing she'd just brought a GPS. A short time later Tenzing pops out of the slide and we're left to ask where she left her sister. You'd think a Sherpa would know that pointing doesn't really help answer our question but that's about all we get. Thankfully, the tube system's acoustics allow us to hear our little one and let us call to her in an attempt to guide her through. With my wife calling to her from the bottom of the slide and me acting as spotter, we locate her just short of the peak. My motioning for her to climb up and go down the slide don't seem to work. We sent her sister up to retrieve her but that doesn't work. Clued into that when the big one cam "weeee"ing down the slide.

A couple more failed rescue attempts and I'm beginning to wonder what the protocol is in this situation. Do they have a crack team of trained staff that comprise an emergency rescue crew? If so, am I supposed to press some kind of alarm or do I just go up to the counter? "Hi, can I get a double cheeseburger with fries and the MacDonald's elite search and rescue team to get my kid out of those tubes? Oh, and that triple chocolate muffin looks good, I'll take one of those."

As much as I'm enjoying the imagery of Grimace and the Fry Guys springing into action, I'm pretty sure that's not the case. If anyone is going to have to squeeze into those tubes it's probably going to be me. My wife chose to play the pregnancy card on that one. My hope is restored when little Sir Edmund starts to turn around and head back down the way she came. We send her Sherpa sister up to help her but that backfires. Big sister realises we're leaving once little sister is safely out so she helps her go back up. Stupid Sherpa. Just reinforces what I always say "never trust anyone from Tibet." (I've never said that before. I just threw it in there in a desperate attempt to have the Dalai Lama leave feedback.)

Luckily, the big one only got a couple more slides out of it before her little sister finally gave in and attempted the big slide. We grabbed them both, threw on their shoes, and made a mad dash for the parking lot. Of course we got a couple triple chocolate muffins on the way but other than that we got out of there as fast as we could.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Clean Bill Of Health

Is it wrong that I was a little disappointed the kids weren't sick when they woke up yesterday? Jeez, don't be so quick to say yes like I'm some sort of idiot. Like any parent, I want my kids to be healthy and would never wish them to be ill. Certainly not anything with a lot of throwing up and discomfort. It's just convenient sometimes to have them slowed down a bit by a cold. It's like performance enhancing drugs in reverse. With them in a lethargic state, suddenly I'm superman instead of being overwhelmed. I don't know why Barry Bonds didn't try that as a defense against the steroid allegations. "I didn't take any drugs. I contend the opposing pitchers had an adverse allergic reaction to whatever virus has caused my head to swell and that made it easier for me to hit homeruns." I'd send that one to him but I've always thought he was a big time a-hole so he's on his own.

Back to the whole sick kids thing, sunday they were feeling a bit under the weather. We thought it was the downward slope of an illness but apparently that was the low point. Some coughing and complaining as well as napping. That was friggin' sweet. Getting both kids to nap at the same time is like an eclipse for me. It rarely happens, doesn't last long, and will burn your retina if you stare at it too long. I'm not positive about the last one. If both kids are napping at the same time, I'm not going to waste it by staring at them for an extended period. Instead I took advantage of that little gift and watched the end of the Colts game. A big thank you to the players on both teams for waiting until the last five minutes to put on one of the greatest turnarounds ever. I know they didn't do it for me but telling myself that little lie makes me feel important so what's the harm?

Anyways, I was fully expecting to have a couple sick, tired kids to hang out with yesterday. That wasn't the case. It was disappointing because they get cuddly when they're sick. I went to bed with visions of napping on the couch with the kids as I watched what I wanted on TV. I woke up to two recharged maniacs ready to run, play, and jump on me anytime I wasn't looking. You know how to ruin a pleasant afternoon nap? Have a 35 pound youngster jump off a table onto your stomach. If I'm lucky she lands on my stomach. Worst case scenario she jumps further than that and I get two feet planted squarely in "dadland". I'm rolling in pain as she laughs and asks why it hurts so much.

"It hurts because you hit me right in the... the jewels."

"You don't have any jewels."

"Not anymore."

The worst part is I remember being a kid and how funny it was when my Dad got hit down there. Heck, half the videos on youtube prove that point. (If you click on the link and see that first video, I just have to ask what the hell is with japanese gameshows? At the very least it's an innovation that would make Wheel of Fortune watchable.) And that only makes it worse. Pain coupled with guilt. At least it takes away some of the guilt I felt about wishing the kids were a little sick. It would be nice to have a couple cuddly kids to nap with instead of having to wear a cup all the time.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Helping Out Or Passing Judgement?

When did my oldest decide to take on the role of backup parent? I'm not sure if I should be happy or offended. It's nice that she wants to help her little sister but it does kind of give the impression that she thought to herself "oh jeez, this idiot needs someone to step in." Funny how it's not diaper changing time when she steps up. I guess she has been paying attention to me. I'll have to be more discreet from now on when I smell a stinky bottom and check the clock to see if it's almost time for Mom to be home from work. A kid comes running to give you a hug with a smelly diaper, you have to change it. I don't make the rules, I just exploit them.

Back to the big one parenting the little one though. Yesterday we went to their Thursday play class. The plan had been to go from there to another play group. I learned last week that if you take them to two different play groups and then spend a couple hours at a playground bedtime is super easy. Comes in handy when, as an example, you want some peace and quiet so you can the season premiere of The Office, for example. So we're in the van leaving play class number one and the little one is freaking out. All sorts of crying and yelling that doesn't seem to have any conceivable cause or solution. That's when the older one stepped up and started asking her sister where she'd like to go. She's listing all sort of places like the museum, the mall, the park, and even somewhere to go see animals. Each one is met with a negative response. Finally, she asks "do you just want to go home?"


"Ok, we'll just go home then."

Thanks for letting me be apart of the decision making process guys. I thought being in the driver's seat meant I was in control but apparently I'm nothing more than a glorified chauffeur. The ride home it continued.

"Just calm down, we're almost home. We just have to stop at those lights and then turn and we'll be home. When you feel the bumps you'll know we're home."

Is she reassuring her sister or giving me directions? She thinks I'm an incompetent parent with no sense of direction? She might be right on the first one but my sense of direction is at least good enough to find my way home. It's not like I'm the sort of person who gets lost in a Christmas tree display at Canadian Tire. That would be my Mom. She was leaving Canadian Tire with Dad one holiday season. He turned right and she turned left, right into a bunch of fake Christmas trees. He turned around when he heard her calling from the middle of the trees "Darryl, how do I get out of these things?" Needless to say we no longer let her go into a garden centre without a compass and a fully charged cell phone.

I wish I could say our van ride was the only example of being second parented by a toddler but I can't. The little one has somehow gotten the idea lately that she's the only one who should be allowed to watch tv. She'll stand right against the screen so no one else gets to see. That of course angers her sister and fighting ensues. Generally, they like to do that when I leave them alone so I can get stuff done. I'll be in the laundry room or kitchen and hear the two of them yelling, screaming, and eventually crying. I come running as quick as I can to break it up. I'm usually tempted to Terry Tate one of them to separate them but I've resisted that urge, so far. Once I've got them separated I have to try and explain to the little one why she can't stand right in front of the TV. Since 20 month olds are all about logic an reason that usually goes smashing. I'm doing my best with no luck when her big sister, seated calmly on the couch, says "tell her to look at my face", as she makes the saddest face you've ever seen.

"See, it makes your sister sad when you don't share the TV with her." That seemed to make a bit of an impact and eventually led to the end of the whole TV hostage situation. Just glad I had backup to help talk her down so I didn't have to let the snipers take their shot.

So that's where I am. Stuck with a 21 month old who feels it's her responsibility to decide who gets access to entertainment and her older sister who seems to believe I need her help when it comes to parenting. Not sure that's the kind of path I want to be on but my oldest tells me it's a good idea so it must be. Her guidance and cues have been pretty good so far.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ask And You Shall Receive

So does Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt read my blog? After the beating his team took last Sunday (oops sorry, that hit on Boldin was a cheapshot), I can only assume the answer is yes. After a frustrating single point loss in fantasy football last week I asked in one of my posts for his team lot let Coles score four touchdowns on Sunday. He scored three, for the first time in his career. The only conclusion I can reach is that he read my post and did what he could to help me. Thank you very much, three was more than enough to help me win. I guess it just goes to show that sometimes you just have to ask nicely.

That's a lesson that came up this morning. My oldest woke me up this morning by asking if she could have a brownie. We made brownies yesterday so that was fresh in her mind. Of course I said that she had to have breakfast before we could have brownies. That led to some whining so I got ready for yet another screaming, crying, whining battle against sanity and logic. As I reached into my holster for my nice shiny, fully loaded "because I said so" gun, she surprised me. She calmly started listing off her reasons for having a brownie.

"I should have a brownie because I really like the chocolate. I like that crunchy part. And I could have a little one while you cook breakfast and then I can eat breakfast."


I know brownies first thing in the morning are never a good idea. I've never actually consulted a nutritionist on the topic but I'm pretty sure that question would elicit a blank stare of disbelief or an "are you seriously that stupid?" However, faced with such a well thought out and calmly presented argument I had no choice. I had to positively reinforce that kind of behavior and let her have a little brownie before breakfast. So it wasn't a great job from the standpoint of good eating habits but it was definitely a good learning experience. She learned that is she calmly and rationally come up with reasons why she should get her way then her chances improve. Asking works a lot better than crying or demanding. And I learned that the next time we make brownies I have to make sure I eat them all before the kids wake up the next morning. It won't be easy but we all know that as parents we have to make sacrifices.

P.S. Since last week worked out so well I'll try again. So this week if the coaches of Baltimore, New Orleans, and Houston could give up two or three touchdowns each to White, Peterson, and Wayne, respectively, I'd really appreciate it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me

It's funny how birthdays change as you get older. When you're a kid it's a magical day filled with presents, cake, and parties. As you get a bit older people use it as an excuse to do a lot of drinking or, in my case, go out to see a movie or something. Once you have kids though there's not as much of that other stuff. Our big birthday outing yesterday was a trip to an orchard to go apple picking. Not exactly the sort of birthday celebration you read about in People but definitely fun.

We met up with some friends and their kids there. I had a lot more fun watching them laugh and play than I would have at any movie that's out now. The idea of watching the kid from Holes running for his life for a couple hours doesn't really peak my interest. Throw in some robot cars and it's a different story but until then I'll take apple picking with the kids. Like I said, they had a blast. The oldest actually went on the tractor ride, thanks for peer pressure. Once she saw her friend jump on she was willing to try it. By the end, we had to go on it again just for her. I think peer pressure gets the short end of the stick. Sure it leads some kids to drink or do drinks but if it means I don't have to worry about getting peed on during a hayride then it's worth the risk in my opinion.

The other big crowd pleaser was the hay jump. Basically, it was just a little barn full of hay for the kids to jump around in. It's what a ball pit would be if Chuck E. Cheese had opened it's first location out in the country. Sounds like the beginning of one of those "you know you're a redneck if" jokes to me. Of course, that advantage ball pits have is I don't recall having to work so hard to get the plastic balls out of my kids' hair when they were done. For that matter, I don't remember finding balls in a diaper when I changed them later on. Wish I could say the same about the hay. Thanks to my two little hay magnets I now have my own haystack at home from the pieces we pulled off them later. All I need to do is toss in a needle and let the fun times roll. That's probably not a good idea judging by how much my kids seemed to enjoy throwing hat at each other, as well as at just about anyone else. Wouldn't it be great if you could do that as an adult? Just out of nowhere dump an arm load of hay on someone. Everyone laughs and suddenly you have a new best friend. Too bad because I've got lots of hay now.

Our other big adventure yesterday was going out for supper. It went pretty well, for a while. The problem with taking kids to eat out is they have a cut off point after which they are only capable of crying and whining. They don't tell you where that point is though so it 's a bit of a gamble. It's like eating with a ticking timebomb, or the game perfection, at the table. You just know at some point there's going to be an explosion. We were pretty much able to finish eating before the clock struck zero. I waited to pay and get the rest wrapped up to go while my wife took the kids to the van. As I was paying the waitress was nice enough to point out on the menu that was stapled to our doggy bag that "you could always call ahead to order and then pick it up." She was just trying to be helpful but it still sounded like a subtle please don't come back. I just about wet myself laughing at it, as did my wife when I told her about it in the van. We chuckled all the way home. Once we got there, the kids gave me the Homer Simpson pajama pants they'd gotten me. According to my wife they went out shopping for them when the questions started.

"Why are we getting daddy these?"

"Daddy likes pants with cartoon pictures on them."

"How about we get him some pants with my picture on them?"

"Well, they don't have pants with your picture on them."

"Why not?"

"Because not everyone knows you."

"Mom, everyone knows me."

Neither one of us is about to tell her she's not as famous as she thinks. Especially since they're both stars to us. Guess it was the sort of birthday you might read about in People, what with the celebrities and all. "Yes sweetie, everyone knows you."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Kitchen Floor Is Clean

For some reason I was feeling kind of ambitious yesterday so I scrubbed the kitchen floor. Maybe it wasn't ambition. I think I was just pissed at losing in fantasy football by one point, again. Two fumbles go my way and I'm 3-0 instead of 1-2. I'm going to start emailing the coaches to let them know what I need each player to do. "Ok, no pressure but I need Coles to score 4 touchdowns tomorrow. I know he's on the other team but would it kill you to just do me a little favour?"

Like I was saying, I scrubbed the floor yesterday. I think I scrubbed too hard and took all the colour off the linoleum. I'd have to check some photos from when we first moved in but I don't remember the floor ever being that strange white colour. I guess everyday traffic and a couple fires really pile up the dirt. I'm just happy the cleaning actually worked for me this time because it doesn't always. Turns out using the vacuum on the curtains is not good for the curtains, or the vacuum for that matter. Another helpful hint, which I can't stress enough, you can't use regular dish soap in a dishwasher. No matter how much you'd rather avoid going to the store to get the right kind of soap, it really just causes more problems than it solves. I found that out when I walked into a kitchen filled with soapy bubbles and a water covered floor. I thought that sort of thing only happened in silly movies but it turns out those movies are surprisingly accurate. It reminded me of the time a bubble bath got out of hand as a kid.

When I was like seven of eight we had a jacuzzi type tub with jets. It made bath time lots of fun especially when my parents would add some bubbles. So this one time I was playing in the tub along with my sister who's a couple years younger than me. The bubbles were going and it was great fun. The switch for the jets was on the wall by the door and my parents made sure to set it for a couple minutes. Just enough to make a descent pile of bubbles. Anyways, I got out of the tub and turned the dial to like twenty minutes. Now that I think about it, I'm wondering why were unsupervised at the time but that's a question for another time. As I'm sure you can imagine bubble bath plus twenty minutes of being stirred by jets equals a lot of bubbles. Actually, five or six minutes does the trick. That's about how long it took for my parents to realise the jets should have stopped already. They came in and had to wade through a giant wall of bubbles to try and find us. I don't remember them ever making that mistake again.

I can't talk about that tub though without mentioning when they installed it. It was a bit bigger than the tub that was originally in that bathroom. That meant my parents needed to take out the closet in the bathroom to accommodate their dream tub. They were also smart enough to know how to get that done for them. One day a friend of mine came over to play. My parents set us up with safety goggles, gloves, and some hammers. They told us to go ahead and knock that wall down. Do you have any idea how much fun that is for a seven year old? Hell, even at 31 I'd be downright giddy if I got to do something like that today. As I'm writing this, I'm looking around our house to figure out if we really need all these walls. I imagine when my wife reads this she's going to quickly hide anything in the house that could used for demolition purposes. Oh well, at least I've got the memories. The best part of it was when my friend's mom came to pick him up. We're both covered in dust with pieces of gyprock in our hair. Her face went white when he told her we'd knocked down a wall. Her panic turned to relief and I'm guessing a little bit of confusion when she found out we'd had permission to tear down the wall.

I find it kind of comforting to look back and realise my parents didn't always make the best decisions. Hopefully, I'll be able to remember some mistakes before I make the same ones myself. Not to say the wall thing was a mistake. I'd actually classify it as figgin' awesome. If the same situation does arise though I think I'll make sure to let the parents of the other kids involved aware of what's going on before they show up and think their child has just demolished a significant part of someone's house. Although freaking someone out like that does sound awfully tempting too. Guess we'll have to wait and see which path I choose on that one.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Just One Of Those Days

As we're all aware the big downside with kids is they're always there. It doesn't matter if you didn't get enough sleep the night before or if you have a headache. Those two things may lead you to certain conclusions so I'll just deal with that right now. No, I was not up late drinking. Judging how today is going I can't guarantee I'll be able to say the same thing tomorrow morning but that's not important. Last night's lack of sleep was a combination of working until one and coming home to a youngster who threw up and then seemed to believe last night that "sleep is overrated". I kind of agree with that as I'm not a big fan of sleep, or maybe that's just the lie I've convinced myself of since the kids came along. It's hard to say anymore. Sleep does make it easier to deal with things though.

Like I said, the little one wasn't feeling well and decided to stay up nice and late last night. Not a problem because if she stays up late she'll just sleep in a bit later. Too bad her big sister didn't get the memo. She got up at 7:30 and then was nice enough to come wake us up. Thank goodness because I'd hate to miss making breakfast, I mean a snack, for them by sleeping. I'll give them credit, they weren't behaving extraordinarily dickish today. They were right around their normal levels. Some fighting, some complaints, some outrageously impossible demands. If anyone out there has a machine that makes tiny baby shoes increase in size so they fit a three year old please let me know because I'd be very interested. My tired, cranky state just amplified it all.

It was the sort of mood where you just need some sort of outlet to let all the frustration out on. Personally, I've been wishing for a burglar to break into the house so I could beat the crap out him. Not anyone dangerous, just someone with poor coordination, asthma, and very poor vision who loses his glasses early on in the encounter. A person to show up and create a situation where force is seen as a totally reasonable response but who can't really do any harm to me or the kids. The emotional release of pounding on a punching bag and the ego boost of having protected your family. Is that too much to ask? To date nobody has fallen for the Lenscrafters/Asthma Clinic sign I put out on the front lawn. Maybe if I used a different font.

I find the next best thing to that probably unrealistic scenario is telemarketers. Telling off a complete stranger over the phone can be very cathartic. I'm actually pretty torn on the idea of signing up for that new "no call list" that's being instituted. On the one hand, it's a pain getting all those pointless calls. On the other hand, letting them go through their whole monologue before asking them "hey, is my dial tone working?" and then hanging up on them always brightens up my day. That's why I think there should be a number you can call. You call, the person answers and then goes on about how great their long distance service/credit card/home meat delivery/direct purchasing wholesale group is. Then they sit and listen as you take out all your frustrations by cursing at them. It'd be like a parental helpline. Until then I'll just have to dream and get excited every time the phone rings on a frustrating day.

"Sure, I've got a couple minutes to talk to you about lawn care but first do you have a couple minutes for me to curse at you like Richard Pryor with tourrettes?"