Archives for category: Play

The awful passport pictures from the last blog post were so unforgettable that Unka Wey, rising rap music mogul, decided to grab the Worm and see if he could turn him into the next Lil Bow Wow, P-Nut, or MattyBRaps!

Meet Lil’ Wormie. Here are the lyrics to his debut single, Junkfoo’! (Please use Notorious B.I.G. Juicy instrumentals as background beat.)

It’s all good baby, baby!

With cookies and cream,

I used to drink cold milk wit’ my team.

Gummi bears and sharks up in the limousine.

Hanging pictures on my wall

Every Saturday, Froot Loops and Frankenberry Cereal!

Bubble tape got rocked, til my tape stopped.

Smokin’ gum cigarettes, sippin’ on soda pop!

Way back, when I stole the red and black treats from Brach!

With Spice Drops to match!

Remember Candy Blox? Duh-ha, duh-ha

I never thought that junkfoo’ would take it this far!

Now I’m eatin’ Star Brite cuz I rhyme tight.

Time to get paid, blow up like Fun Dip Lik-m-aid.

Born sinner, the opposite of a winner

Remember when I used to eat veggies for dinner.

Peace to Starburst, Pixy stix, chewy spree,

Double Bubble, Crunch, Oh Henry!

I’m blowing bubbles, you thought I would.

Call the crib, same number same hood,

It’s all good!

And if you don’t know, now you know…

The next Vanilla Ice Cream Or M&M! Yo Yo! All About the Chedda Goldfish!

The next Vanilla Ice Cream Or Caramel M&M! Yo Yo! All About the Chedda Goldfish!

We went the route of letting our children potty train themselves. There are other methods, but this one required the least amount of effort on our part. (With two small children, we’ve got plenty of other things to worry about…) Did it work? YES!

The goal was to get them both out of diapers before high school, so I pat myself on the back for a job well done! Though, I thought that once kids were potty trained, the diapers disappeared. That’s not the case. Strangely enough, little bladders are still fully functional at nap and bedtime. We’re almost there, though!

Now that Mushie isn’t wearing diapers anymore, leaving the house is stressful. We could be walking out the front door to the car and she will have to go pee. Or we’re at the park and the homeless people bathroom is the only one available and she has to take a dump…in the dirty stall with no toilet paper. She’s not the type that “wants” to see every bathroom facility in the southwestern part of the U.S. She’s the type with impeccably inconvenient timing for potty breaks. My bathroom monologue when we’re brave enough to be out-and-about goes something like this:

“Don’t touch anything! No, get away from there. Don’t touch that either. No the toilet won’t flush you down it. Why are you wearing two dresses? No, you can’t take off your shoes. Sorry, it’s too loud in here. There isn’t any other bathroom for us to go to. Why would you pick that up? Stop touching stuff in here! Yes, the person next to us farted. Mushie, stop talking to them. Let them potty in peace. Ok, now sit. No, it won’t flush by itself. Just go potty, Mushie. It’s just a toilet! Sit! Don’t touch anything. Stop bouncing. Don’t try to jump off the toilet! Just stop moving! Yes, you need the paper between your butt and the toilet seat! Don’t take it off! Are you done? Now, don’t do anything. Stand right here. Don’t sit on the floor. Ok, now let’s go wash our hands…”

Even if Mushie has to go twice in a 10 minute span, I’m singing that same song while internally writhing over all the strep, staph, hep, and leeches preparing to launch themselves simultaneously onto her bare bum bum. (In case you were wondering, the toilet seat typically isn’t as germ-laden as the sink, the faucet, or any handle in the bathroom that gets touched often. Thank heavens that not everybody washes their hands, otherwise the sink would be riddled with even more germs!)

Yep, it’s great to have both kids potty trained….sure…yep, great. At least I’m not carrying a diaper bag around these days! (I’m sweating sarcasm here…)  

I'll wipe their butts until they're 20 as long as we don't have to use the public potty ever again!

I’ll wipe their butts until they’re 20 as long as we don’t have to use the public potty ever again!

The Mushmonster is 3 years old. Well, technically she’s 3 years and a few months old. I’d like to say that those extra months have been insignificant, but they’ve given Mushie a lot of time to develop. A lot. Also, I’ve pretty much forgotten what happened at her 3rd birthday party…some fuss about pizza, cake, beer, etc. The first few kid birthdays are a blur. Kids screaming. Dogs barking. Parents hovering. Noise. Candles. Wishes. Crying. Bedtime. And hopefully we got the good parts on tape video.

My blog posts have been sparse, mainly because the kids are active…not like walk in the park active, but more like do one triathlon after breakfast and a marathon before bed. And if I’m not watching or participating, there’s hell to pay! So I apologize about the late post…but as with all things having to do with the second child, I just don’t care as much…just kidding. I have to get this post out before the Worm turns 5!

She’s lovely. I can’t say that she’s always been this way because she’s very, um, fickle. In fact, I didn’t really like her much early on. And I think she felt the same. Our timing was off from the beginning. I wanted her to sleep. She wanted to play. She wanted to sleep. I wanted to do some chores. When I didn’t time her meals or naps right, she let me know in buckets of tears. When I would forget to leave the house with extra diapers, she’d let me know by squirting chocolate pudding from her baby carrier…and conveniently up her backside.

Worm and I had a groove going before Mushie…you know, a connection. Me and him. Him and me. Then, Mushie basically shot down the proverbial slide hollering “Whee! Look at me!” and proceeded to literally crash every boy’s party we held. And she’s been trying to steal center stage, since.

The Mushmonster is not really quite like her brother. I feel that when she was born, she broke the mold, ate some of it, and then tried to stick a piece or two into the nearest electrical socket. If I were to use three words to describe my daughter it would be: messy, loud, and unpredictable. There’s always a trail of food crumbs when she eats. I can hear her from a mile away (unless she’s up to something mischievous). And when you need someone to think outside of the box, she never disappoints.

All of these characteristics make Mushie, well, my Mushie. My life would be pretty boring if I had two well-behaved children that listened to me and did as I instructed. I know that. Besides, who doesn’t want to be a hero by rescuing their child twice a day for the rest of eternity the unlimited reward of ‘mooches, hugs and kisses!

I didn’t think I’d like a little girl much, but this one’s neat.

She’s rough and tumble, spicy and sweet.

I don’t understand everything she does.

But, man, can she eat!

The girl has heaps of strong character traits that don’t work well for someone uncoordinated, less than four feet tall, and still forming neural connections. “I DO IT!” she’d say. And I’d reply “You can’t reach the gas pedal yet.” “NO, I DO IT!!” And then I’d strap her down in the back seat and explain to her that she doesn’t have a driver’s license.

She’s as willful as they come. What does one do with a toddler that has no sense of fear, pain, or self-preservation? The only option I see is a professional fighting career. We each have suffered a busted lip at the expense of her little hands (well, it was her head, but you get my point).

“Though she be but little, she is fierce.” – Shakespeare

Mushie, If You're Going to be a Fighter, You're Going to Need to Learn How to Cook!

Mushie, If You’re Going to be a Fighter, You’re Going to Need to Learn How to Cook!

Me: “What’s wrong, lovie? Why the sad face?”

Mushie: “My belly hurtin’, Hondaddy.”

Me: “Aww baby…I’m sorry.”

Mushie: “Hold me!”

Me: “Come here sweets…uhh, oh, hey…mmph!”

Greaaaaat, a piece went in my mouth.

If there’s anything more gross than noticing baby poop under your fingernail while taking a bite out of your own handcrafted sandwich, it would be tasting someone else’s vomit.

There’s an old saying that goes “Holding a young child is like being forced to juggle balloons filled separately with pee, poo, and puke…while holding a razor blade between your fingers.”

Kids are a molotov cocktail of bodily fluids. Bad things can happen when they throw themselves at you.

I’m starting to believe that this whole parenting thing is one big joke and we’re being recorded and broadcast in an alternate universe for shits and giggles.

I’ve basically seen it all…or at least 98% of it all. (I’m ok with leaving the last 2% to imagination!) And thus far, one carpet steam cleaning, a bath, and a good night’s sleep has all but erased every disaster from the day before. So far…

The warm, fuzzy feeling of hugging my venom-spewing adorable children has been lost. I may be experiencing some mild form of post traumatic stress disorder, because I get flashbacks of  upon hearing them hiccup in my arms. But that’s ok, they’re getting too old for hugs anyways…

This is my reward for getting stomach acid in my face and mouth...hooray, parenting.

This is my reward for getting stomach acid in my face and mouth…hooray, parenting.

 

 

The reason is not what you think it is.

I don’t need to shed pounds. With their antics, the kids make sure I burn enough calories every day.

Sure, some of their meals look tasty after I prepare them and I’ve been standing for 30 minutes serving and spoon feeding both kids while my own stomach is eating itself and the thoughts line up in my head of “It would be nice if I got to eat my own dinner before 8pm…Mushie’s arm kinda looks like a chicken wing from this angle. What smells like a burrito? Eww! Did you just fart Worm? Geez, I’m so hungry I can’t smell the difference…When are you guys going to start cooking for yourself?”

Sometimes the kids eat the meals I prepare for them. Sometimes they rub pieces of it over their bodies while chanting in tongues. Occasionally, I can leave their plates in front of them and return much later to see their food looking absolutely untouched.

Still, I won’t touch it. I could be on the verge of starvation and I wouldn’t take food from their plate.

I hate to waste food, but my kids are disgusting. The main reason I’d rather toss the mac & cheese than make my belly happy?

Germs.

I tell the kids to wash their hands before they sit down to eat. They run towards the bathroom like it’s a theme park ride. Sometimes they use soap. Sometimes they think the toothpaste spittle from the night before serves the same purpose. I’ve witnessed spit bubble boats being happily pushed back and forth in a sink full of water. Yep, even green ones.

And even the washing hands thing wouldn’t be that bad if the kids used their utensils to eat. But cleanliness is boring. Fingers are fun, even if they were just inside a nostril, mouth, or scraping something crusty out of the corner of a bedroom. We’re at the age when picking noses happens as frequently as breathing. Both spelunkers have taken to digging in secret to avoid my disdain.

Now for the best part. I’m always interested in my kids tasting food before they say they don’t like it. That means they have to put it in their mouth. The etiquette for a normal human would be to gently spit the food out into a napkin or discretely slip it under the table for the dog. Instead, mine like to bury pre-digested food back into the plate. Why would a licked cucumber not want to be reunited with its friends? And so it goes.

It’s cold and flu season and even with everyone coughing and dripping with fluids, I’m still not sick. Thus far, I’ve avoided a phlegmy cold and pink eye. I’m hoping my immune system can get me through the holidays unscathed. Now, if I could only get the kids to stop coughing into my face! Ho! Ho! *COUGH* Ho!

Germ Exhibit A and Germ Exhibit B

Germ Exhibit A and Germ Exhibit B

Gavin – 40; Honeydaddy – 25 (Worm, I’m becoming impervious to your bacterial cloud!)

I began reading at a very young age. My mom says that by 3, I had grasped quite a few words. My wife on the other hand, didn’t start reading until later. We both ended formal schooling with roughly the same level of education, and the only difference between us is that sometimes I have to speak slowly so Steph understands me. And in rare instances, I am forced to spell out words such as “N – O!” (That may have less to do with comprehension and more to do with stubbornness, but I don’t care…I’m just stating the facts!)

Naturally, I thought that Worm should have been reading at 3 just like his youthful, debonaire dad. I mean, if he’s MY son, he shouldn’t veer away from my clear path towards awesomeness. Over a year ago, night-time reading turned into a spelling exercise. That evolved into a word finding exercise. Then, we started moving into recognizing vowel and consonant sounds. I was eager. Worm started off in the same boat, but quickly jumped ship for the safer shore of “Ughs” and “Grunts”. (I jest, I jest…)

We both became increasingly frustrated. The bedtime story had turned into a nightmare. So, I dropped the opportunity to make a learning experience out of that part of the day and begrudgingly let it go.

Visions of Worm and I hashing out Dostoyevsky and Hemingway disappeared. My son was going to be illiterate for the rest of his life. His elementary schoolmates would render him a laughing-stock after his 1st grade teacher who’d asked him to write a certain sentence on the board, turned to find this instead:

“THE FART BOYS POTTIED WITH THE GIRLS FORM THE SORRY HOUSE ON CAMP US LAST FRYDAY.”

He would be doomed.

I haven’t since pushed for Worm to focus on reading. These days, I don’t really think about it. Though, he is starting to be curious about various letter combinations found around town. If he asks me what certain words are, sometimes I just make stuff up.

“Honeydaddy, what’s that blue sign on that door? What’s M-A-N say?”

“It says ‘Monsters inside’. You want to go in?”

I’ve finally taken the steering wheel back from my ego and accepted that even though Worm may not be reading right now, he is still learning. That is my key takeaway from all the prior frustration. I must say that I was reassured when I came across an article about illiterate Finnish children and how at an early age, the teachers and kindergartener don’t focus on reading, but on playing and exploring. Yet, by the age of 15, these children are testing on the same level or higher when compared to other children around the world, many of whom have forced reading curriculums during early education. (Ahem…United States.)

Children are sponges. They are wired for learning. But that learning, especially early on, must come from play activities where they get to engage and interact with objects, people, and TVs. (just checking to see if anyone was still reading…) Having a child try to drill and memorize stuff when they’re not interested is difficult at best. Hell, it’s difficult for adults to do!

Worm is almost 5 years old. Can he read? Hell no. But, am I afraid? Not anymore. We’ll try the Finnish approach and see what happens. There will be plenty of time for academia later in life. Right now, I’m not going to force him to unwillingly spell and recite words. If he’s interested, then I’ll engage him. But otherwise, I will save the effort for a few years later. For now, I’m going to enjoy the Worm’s playful curiosity…in whatever he wants to indulge in!

There’s a lot of interesting perspective in the article I read here: The Joyful, Illiterate Kindergartners of Finland. I encourage any parent of youngsters to read it. It was eye-opening for me and helped me to reevaluate my expectations for my child!

 

Even though he can't read, he knows how to work the system!

Even though he can’t read, he knows how to work the system!

Gavin – 40; Honeydaddy – 24 (In this parenting experience, I’m learning just as much as you, Worm!)

 

Jookiedaddy, I can't tell if you're smiling...

Jookiedaddy, I can’t tell if you’re smiling…

We’re closing in on another Halloween. I can’t wait! It’s my favorite time of year and I love it even more than National Cherry Turnover Day, which is saying quite a lot!

We will follow some of the usual rituals, such as feeding high fructose corn syrup to everything under 5 feet tall, laughing at things that resemble the undead, pretending we like our neighbors, and concerning ourselves with how many ways to cook/eat a big orange pepo.

Since we’re not usually over at the grandparents’ around All Hallows Evening, we have to entertain ourselves. One part of entertaining involves creating family traditions. (Oh, the pressure to make memories!) Steph ruled out sacrificing baby lambs, so I had to think of something else.

I want to say that this custom was one that my great, great, great, grandpappy started in the 1800’s before he sold himself into indentured servantry and hopped onto a boat headed for the New World. But, it’s not. We started it last year once the stores began shelving Halloween supplies. The Worm had an eerie affinity to dead, scary things. (I hope it’s a phase…I hope, I hope.) Any decoration resembling bloody, gory death and dismemberment made him shriek with delight.  (Maybe he wants to be a doctor…yeah, that’s it.)

So we bought some plastic skulls. And we set them up in the house, one on the dining room table and the other in the living room. They were part of the Halloween decor, so I thought nothing of them. Every other day, Worm would go and touch (more like pet) the skulls. Worm was so intrigued by them that I asked him to name one of the skulls.

Jookiedaddy was born. (It’s hard to get a straight answer from a 3-year-old, so I didn’t ask why. I just went with it…)

That turned into a great opportunity to teach my children about ‘big brother’ and how the government watches every move we make, especially the bad ones. The best way to teach any child a lesson is to make up a story about how they will perish if they don’t follow the rules. And at this age, they will believe just about anything!

Jookiedaddy observes child behavior. He watches them in the daytime from the best spot in the house. He doesn’t move when everyone is awake. So, an adult or child has to put him in a place where he can watch much of the play activity. Unlike some silly elf, anyone can touch him and he won’t lose his magical powers. Jookiedaddy is the real deal.

He takes mental notes (Since he’s a head, he still has a brain…sort of) of all the good and bad things that little ones do. Then, at night, Jookiedaddy flies through the air (using his legitimate magical powers) and kisses the children while they sleep. (So they’re more like toothy nibbles. Jookiedaddy does what he can with what he’s got, ok?) Plus, he whispers into their ears all the good things that each child did that day.

The real charm for the rugrats is that this bodyless marvel generates treats whenever the kid does something sweet or nice for their sibling(s) or parent(s). The treats magically appear in Jookiedaddy’s head, of course!  (NOTE: The parent has to put the treats into the skull when the child isn’t looking. It isn’t really magical. Not for $24.95 anyhow…)

Then, the parent tells the child to see if Jookiedaddy thought they did something good. The child can walk over to Jookiedaddy and shake his head. When they find a treat inside, the child can rejoice and revel in the moral idea that GOOD DEEDS DON’T GO UNNOTICED! (Then, parents can watch their child fight over the candy with their siblings and see how quickly they forget the moral.)

Anyhow, it’s been such a hit with our kids that Jookiedaddy lives in our living room year round! We stuff miniature chocolates into Jookiedaddy’s head at random times (but not before bedtime!) and when we think the kids have done right, we have them check the head.

Now that you’ve got your next holiday tradition, please send me $24.95 and I will mail you a plastic authentic replica of Jookiedaddy for you to train your children with build lasting memories with!

Here’s a little song that I wrote for you to sing with your precious little ones:
 
Rubber Ducky Jookiedaddy, you’re the one!
You make bathtime playtime lot’s of fun!
Jookiedaddy, I’m dreadfully fond of you!
 

Jookiedaddy, girls or boys
Will be happy when you make noise!
Jookiedaddy, you watch everything I do!
 

Jookiedaddy, you are mine!
Kiss me at night when I’ve been fine!
Jookiedaddy, you make my dreams come true!
 

Jookiedaddy, you’re divine!
You tell me when I’m out of line!
Jookiedaddy, I’m dreadfully fond of
Getting treats when I’ve been delightful and
There’s no need for you to be so frightful and
Mean! Jookiedaddy…I
Love you!
 

Chorus:

Every day
When you watch me at play
You really don’t have much to say.
But, I tell ya
You can make me sad fella,
Or give me candy today!

My favorite phrase:

My favorite phrase: “Hey, what is going on??”

Gavin – 39; Honeydaddy – 24 (Now I’ve got an extra set of eyes watching you, Worm! )

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