Archives for category: Random Thoughts

[So, it’s been a loooong time since I’ve written here. I’ve got two lively children that can’t seem to sit still very long. A lot’s happened since! I’m trying to revive this blog and get some of the memories out of my head so that I can free up some space for learning a second language. Here goes…]

This is from approximately May of 2016…no joke!

I guess if both of my kids were similar, I’d get almost twice as much benefit from figuring out what just one of them was thinking. The reality is that the Worm and Mushie can come up with the oddest responses to my questions. They can even react differently to the same delivery of voice and facial expression on my part.

The Worm is a do-gooder. He wants to do the right thing. One of my goals as a parent, is to corrupt his little mind so that his future will be financially secure as a politician. But sometimes, the, um, “force”, overpowers Worm and he is paralyzed by the fear of making the wrong decision in a certain situation. It’s understandable. He’s only 5 and has not figured everything out yet. I get it. He’s got 10 more years before he becomes omniscient and refuses to listen to either of his parents. I digress.

Let’s take a simple situation. It’s the afternoon. I want Worm to take a nap. I send him back to his room and I tell him that I don’t want him coming out of there until after he’s gotten some sleep. The rules are clear. Stay in your bedroom until you’ve taken a nap.

He goes back to his bedroom, lays down, and eventually falls asleep. 45 minutes later, he awakens, unsure of whether or not he was just laying there or if Mr. Sandman sprinkled him with dream dust. He’s groggy and the only body functions he can manage are blinking and breathing.

Unlike he (or is it him?), I know the answer! Thanks to the magic of wireless baby monitoring (which, incidentally, I plan on using until they go off to college BECAUSE THEY WILL ALWAYS BE MY BABIES), I viewed him snoring heavily. And I did all this from a comfortable and fairly quiet corner of the living room. (Parenting must have been exhausting before baby monitors came along…)

The Worm will shake off some of the cobwebs, rise out of bed, and instead of coming out to the living room to ask me if he complied with my wishes, will head towards the hallway bathroom. He doesn’t signal for me or anything. He just criss-crosses his applesauce legs in the space between the sink and tub. Odd.

I used to wait a few minutes before rescuing the poor kid from himself. But I walked in once and found him softly sobbing…probably in anticipation of this judge finding him guilty and sending him back to bed for 3 consecutive naps with no chance of parole.

This whole scenario doesn’t happen all the time, but a couple times a week is more than enough. And that’s when I wonder where I have failed as a parent…

Is he afraid of me? How did that happen? More importantly, though, is how do I get him out of this mode and empower him?

Solution #1 – Yell at him like a drill sergeant and call him names to toughen him up. “The world is gonna swallow you up, spit you out, and pee all over your feet. Either get used to it, or wear a wetsuit and go swimming.” That phrase didn’t make any sense, but he’d be so terrified that chances are slim that he’d actually be listening.

Solution #2 – Bring chocolate and set in place the idea that sad children should eat sweets for comfort when they’re upset…because, well, food is a great substitute for love…and I’ll stop talking and just leave that right here.

Solution #3 – Relate. Make up some story about the time I was 5 years old and living in a house with a dirt floor and a straw bed. “Son, I had to be strong and face my fears! The dingoes tried to eat us at nap time.

My job as a dad isn’t to instill fear in my kids. I think that parents have a responsibility to form boundaries, encourage independent thought and action, and allow wiggle room for mistakes to be made. I feel like ruling my kids through fear is a great way for me to discourage independence and to get them to see me as a threat to their ability to thrive. Ideally, I want them to see me as a wise, handsome ally, like Obi-Wan Kenobi, the 37th greatest movie hero of all time, but minus the beard.

I decided to conjure up a solution #4 and do nothing. I can overthink lots of things. Luckily, I tire my feeble little brain out quickly and end up with the easy answer.

I let the Worm just be. If he wants to go sit by the toilet after nap and search for inspiration and contentment, so be it. If he wants to cry tears of sorrow into the porcelain god, ok. He can figure what to do. Sit. Think. Execute a plan that doesn’t require a YouTube instructional. It won’t hurt him. Until then, I’ll be on the couch waiting. Not saving him. And it’s all going to be just fine.



I can’t even type it. Sure, I can say it. But, the word floats from my lips and up into the clouds. It’s not real. For another 3 weeks.

I can’t promise I won’t cry on his first day of school. In fact, I’m crying right now. I need to slap myself in the face and snap out of it. Hello? Hondaddy? Worm is growing up. In another 3 weeks, I may just be Dad.

I’m not going to say that the past 5+ years have been fast and furious. Some days were fast. Some days were furious. Some days…well, the trauma to my psyche has thankfully caused my mind to forget.

But I’ve been lucky enough to be the stay-at-home parent. Lucky enough to be there to witness him changing (sometimes more quickly than his underwear, but never more quickly than his socks) every day. For that, I’m grateful. (Thank you for the chance to raise our children, Steph.)

Our house doesn’t fit him anymore. He’s bigger than that now…mentally and emotionally. When he’s home, I can feel the pressure against the walls that more needs to been seen, felt, heard, experienced. He knows it. And if he’s anything like me, more means everything from here to the moon. Who the hell am I kidding? He is like me.

So, this is it. Because pretty soon, there’ll be friends and play dates  hanging out with buddies, sleepovers, study sessions, homework, alarm clocks, schedules, calendars, plans, lists, organized routineness. College.

The luxury of 3 naps a day. Puree prunes. 10000 diapers. 8000 bottles. Staring at the baby monitor wondering if he was asleep or dead. The warm blanket of Wormie hugs on my skin just after a nap. Hide and seek in the house. Holding his own bottle. Standing up in the crib. Pulling all the couch cushions down. The 6am wake up call of “Could you play with me?” before I’ve reached for my morning tea. The mid-morning cuddles on the couch. Playing cars on the playground slides. Tiny bite-sized pieces of apples, grapes, and sandwiches. Philosophical discussions about Lego cars, planets, and Play-doh. Thursday hamburger day. It would take days to write down each experience, but I’m going to miss all of it (except maybe the couch cushions part).

I’ve gone through the range of emotions with stay-at-home parenting. It’s changed me. The initial idea of it was fluffy and had the smell of freshly laundered sheets. The reality, though, contained much more grit and the sour stench of sweat. I’m different now. As much as I’d like to be who I was 5 years ago, I can’t. A big part of me longs to wake up one day and be him again. That guy was awesome. But if we go back there, I would no longer be Hondaddy. And he’s sort of awesome, too…when he’s not wiping butts.

I don’t think I was very good at being a SAHD. If I was to rate myself from 1-10, I’d probably be a 7. I probably could have put more effort into it, I don’t know. (You could always use the excuse that you could have done more, right? If you didn’t die from the effort, you probably could have done more.) Either way, I hope I was good enough. I hope that one day Worm will think that I was good enough. I kept him alive and well long enough to get upgraded to care for a second one, didn’t I? (I didn’t get a pay raise to go with the extra responsibility, though…poor negotiating on my part, I guess!)

I didn’t love every minute of it, either. I didn’t cherish every. single. second. (If anyone tells you that they did, they’re kidding you as well as themselves.) Nor, did I plan a whole lot. I never wanted to inundate the kids with too many outings. We set up playdates here and there, but commitments were few and far between. Sometimes, all we did was kick a ball around the house, or paint watercolors. Yes, there were also days when we did nothing but eat, sleep, and poop. (Ok, maybe watched some TV too.) The important thing is that we were together. And that is what I loved.

The playfulness and free flowing whimsy of youth that I presently drink in will soon be portioned…and after Mushie follows suit, will completely stop.

I’m flooded with fear. Happiness. Sadness. Anxiousness. Nervousness. Uneasiness. Confusion. Sentimentality. Nostalgia. Hope. Excitement. Ready. Yes, I think I’m ready.

Bring it.

If there’s one thing I can accept, it’s change. It’s tough for me to adapt sometimes, but resistance is different than reluctance. Change is inevitable. (Where have I heard that before?) It allows us to grow as human and become what we were meant to be. It challenges us to do more, achieve more, be more in our lifetime. It’s a gateway to opportunity. And this is ours.

Just like Worm will be taking another step in his life, so will I. We will learn and adapt to our new future together, and our new future alone. Plenty of tears, hugs and kisses will be exchanged and as we let each other’s hand go and wave goodbye one last time before the teacher finally kicks us out, I’ll watch as he floats up into the clouds and grabs that K (and the rest of the word) with both hands.


I’m proud of you, Worm.



I’m not the best photographer in the world.  (If you’ve seen my blog photos, you’d never mistake me for a professional.) I’d say that I’m in the lower tier of picture takers, about two steps above “How do I turn this thing on?”

So when I had to take the kids somewhere to get official passport photos done, I put great faith in their abilities to take an excellent picture. I mean, if you have a big freaking sign on your window saying ‘PASSPORT PHOTOS HERE’, I have no choice but to imagine that there’s some degree of competency in this field.  As I would find out later, my imagination needed to stretch a whole lot more….

Store 1 (A fairly popular franchise postal store) –

“Hi, I’d like to get some passport photos done.”

“Ok, come with me.”

“Well, it’s for my kids.”

“Oh, we don’t do children passport photos.”

“Um, why?”

“They’re features are smaller and harder to get on film.”

“Ah, ok.” (Translation: I think they’ve been adequately capturing children on film for over 100 years, but maybe those were baby gorillas. I don’t know.)


Store 2 (An even more popular postal, printing, and shipping store)

“Hi, I’d like to get some passport photos done for my kids.”

“Sure, we do that. Hold on while I get the camera.”

She pulls out a big gray box the size of a bowling ball and leads us to the white screen. It takes her a minute to set up and I focus on trying to get my kids to smile for the shot. They smile beautifully and I’m excited to be done with this before lunch time.

The box prints out the photos 2-3 minutes later. (It was a knockoff Polaroid.) I think about how amazing it is to have the technology of that big camera packed into a cell phone…and then I see the pictures that came out.

“Sir, the images are too light.”

“Well, can you set it up so that it adjusts the white balance automatically?”

“I really don’t know how to use this camera.”

“So, what do I do? I thought you guys did passport photos?”

“Well, you can go to XYZ and have them do your photos. We won’t charge you for these.”

“Ok, thanks.” (Translation: Really? You’re not charging me for photographically removing my son’s nose and daughter’s shoulders. That’s kind of you!)


Store 2 and the mysteriously disappearing body parts…


Store XYZ (The holy f’ing grail of passport photography)

“Hi, I’d like to get some photos of my kids for passports”

“Ok, follow me.”

He pulls out a standard point and shoot digital camera, you know, the kind people would carry in their purse or pocket before the phone cams’ drastically improved. I think to myself “Well, it’s better than the last camera we saw. At least this one uses transistors instead of vacuum tubes.” and we walk over to the familiar white screen.

“Now you sit right there. Great.” Click!

“Now you can come over and sit down here where your brother was. Great.” Click!

Um, WTF? No direction. No smile. No prep. No anything. If I didn’t prompt my kids to smile, it could have been much worse…no, actually it couldn’t get any worse. They both look like they’ve eaten a handful of rotten brussel sprouts.


They’re cringing from so much happiness.

I was pretty damn angry at this point. The dude didn’t even look at the photos he snapped. Nonchalantly, he rang up the total. I paid the $26 bucks for the photos and left, knowing that I shouldn’t have paid a cent for them. But had I stayed in XYZ one more minute, I likely would have grabbed a toilet brush from the shelf and crammed it into this fella’s ass ear. My head was going to explode. It was now lunch time and I had just spent 2 hours trying to get some pro passport photos of my kids realizing that my dog could do better…and he’s got no thumbs.

We finally had to make an appointment with a “government subsidized” postal company and even after the lady’s exacting methods of chin tucking and head tilting, the official shots still look better when viewed in complete darkness.

The bar is now set really low for the kids’ next passport pics. On the bright side, we’re ready for a real family trip out of the country!




Every now and then I find that my kids are absorbing the things I am telling them. There are germs on that doorknob you’re licking. Sharing with your sister lets both of you enjoy the same moment. Don’t run with scissors. Be kind to others. Mostly, I feel like I’m talking to a couple of quacking ducks waiting for me to throw bread at them. There’s no “I understand, Hondaddy.” or “That really makes sense to me.” or even “Wow, you’re the smartest person in the world, Honeydaddy!” I don’t get feedback to reassure me that my sentences aren’t falling out of their ears once they lay down for bed.

Occasionally, the kids astound me and in some way, shape, or form, they show me that I’m not just their personal butler and chauffeur.

We’re in the car and singing radio songs the other day. (Yes, they asked for it. No, I didn’t bribe them!) The kids enjoy hearing me sing. I suck, but they’re young, so their limited experiences set the bar very low. My performances have all gotten applause, even when I string random words together that make no sense. I digress.

Adele queues up with her new song “Hello” which up until last month was owned by Lionel Richie in my memory banks. I start singing as if I’d heard the song thrice daily on every local station from the minute her CD released. I belt out the line “At least I can say that I’ve tried to tell you I’m sorry for breaking your heart…” All of a sudden, Wormie says “You know, Mushie. It’s not nice to break someone’s heart.” and I lost it.

My eyes welled up with tears as I choked myself on his words. How could Worm interrupt me in yet another spine-tingling vocal rendition? And how does a four and a half year old see the heart as anything other than a blood pump in the body? Somehow, he’s pieced together a metaphorical concept that even grownups have a hard time with.

Worm asked me for confirmation. “Isn’t that right, Honeydaddy?” I quickly wiped away the tears and swallowed my pride for him. “You’re right, lovie.” was all I could assemble with my eyes dripping as we continued the drive to the post office.

The way he spoke to Mushie was so matter-of-fact, it was as if he was giving a college lecture on the subject.

It shook me up.

Worm and I have never discussed heartbreak. I think it could be a somewhat complicated topic, so it hasn’t been on the table. We talk about planetary orbit, instead. Really though, we have conversed many times about simple things like friendship, love, kindness, and generosity. He pieced together this idea himself, kind of like he’d do with one of his lego cars.

Worm is wise beyond his years. Sure, he cries over a toy that he can’t have and fights with his sister over gummy bunnies. But, he is seeing human interaction at a deeper, more emotional level than other kids his age. He’s compassionate. Maybe it’s because his mind hasn’t yet been clouded by ego and negativity. Maybe, it’s due to pure curiosity. Either way, that day made me feel more substantial as a parent, more influential. I’m not just a pizza slicer, grape dispenser, butt wiper, dish washer, lego builder guy to him. I matter. Worm’s not just listening to me when I’m singing, but also when I’m yelling, consoling, and whispering in his rubbery ears. Maybe this “being a dad” thing is becoming a pretty important job. Or maybe it has always been. Now, I wonder if I’m getting through to the Mushmonster…

Teaching boys to become men.

I’m in California dreaming…

Gavin – 40; Honeydaddy – 26 (Worm, I’m starting to get the hang of this whole dad thing…)


Rest in Peace - Unknown - 9/21/2015

Rest in Peace Frodo (Rescued 9/14/2002 – 9/21/2015)

First, there were three.  (4)

Another soon came,  (5)

For us to adore.  (5)

Long walks. Dog parks.

Weekends were idle,

For two legs and four.

Love was unbound,

Yet home, incomplete.

One child. Then, one more.


Our hearts were full.

This clan was intact.

Together, we’d band.

Year after year

Blurred. Struggles, pleasures,

Both, slipped through time’s hand.

Frail. Weak. You’re spent

And steadfast in bed.

We did understand.

Ready to sleep.

Our eldest’s chest stopped,

No more to expand.

We watched you go.

And held you. And cried.

One day, we will stand

…together again.

Frodo, you reside inside each of us now, where you will forever woo and stomp. Your voice will live on as part of our own and we will carry your memories with us until we see each other again. Thank you for the time you shared with us.

We love and miss you dearly.

A couple Fridays ago, Worm was oozing with double pink eye and a cold. It was supposed to be my working day but the little rat couldn’t wait until the weekend to get sick. I had a bunch of things to catch up on, but as I now know from loads of experience, it’s impossible to be productive with a kid at home, especially without incorporating duct tape and noise cancelling headphones. So Worm and I decided to get out of the house to run some errands.

Knocking about town on what was our first impromptu father-son day, we tackled a couple of parent/progeny hotspots: the Post Office, Home Depot, Target, and my bank. (Who am I kidding…Target is THE hot spot to see and be seen for parents and young kids…)

Anyhow, we were having fun and keeping tears to a minimum, all while working up an appetite. Lunch time came around and food needed to be hunted.

Surely, I wasn’t going to cook lunch! My meal motto is: If I didn’t kill it myself, I’m not cooking it! (Just kidding, Steph.) Since the Mushmonster was at daycare, I thought it would be neat for these two dudes to sit inside a fast food restaurant and chow down! Typically, I pick up lunch in the drive-thru when I’ve got both kids with me, because trying to dine in a public establishment when Mushie’s around is kinda like bobbing for apples with no teeth…you’re making a mess, people are staring, and even with all that effort, you’ve got nothing to show for it.

We go inside Wendy’s fine dining eatery. It’s already a treat. Worm gets excited when the lady behind the counter greets him. Then he clams up with shyness. So, I order nuggets, fries, and a couple of burgers. He scouts out a table and we sit down.

Another food connoisseur (besides us) comes up to him. She’s wired a little different mentally. (I can’t say she’s handicapped or disabled, because who really knows what’s going on in her head? Maybe she just can’t get certain parts of her brain to coordinate ‘appropriately’ with her actions and vocalizations. Anyhow, I digress.) She’s different. Either way, she’s very friendly.

“Oh hey, I love kids! How are you? What’s your name?”

“I’m Gavin.”

She looks at me. “Are you his daddy or his uncle?”

“Um…I’m his dad.” I answer.

“How old are you Gavin? Oh, I love kids! You’re so cute!”

“I’m Sil-ur-ee!”

She translates the toddler talk and confirms what she heard. “Three years old!” and she looks over at me again, still puzzled. “Are you his step dad or his dad? You’re his stepdad, right?”

“No, I’m his dad.”

“His real dad?”

“Yes, I’m his real dad.”

“Oh!” and she went away to eat her lunch.

This very honest, nice young lady looked at the two of us and couldn’t see that we were Worm and Honeydaddy, apple and tree. I’m sure that a lot of other people don’t see it either. I swear he’s mine. Maybe he wasn’t cooked long enough in the oven. I don’t know. Almost four years ago, I was as baffled as this poor girl. Nowadays, I don’t even think about it. He’s just my albino son.

I’m not the only one in the world who mixed brown and white and didn’t quite get the color they expected. These other parents (as well as myself) share some anatomical features as their offspring, but the different skin colors bemuse the casual onlooker. I’ve read a few blogs where parents are slightly insulted when asked questions about their off-color, mixed race kid. Some of these blog posts make me sad. So to remedy my sadness with some humor and cover up my true feelings by laughing over them, I’ll tell you how I deal with this situation.

Personally, I’d rather someone ask me directly if it was my kid instead of dreaming up all sorts of things behind my back. That’s just the way I am. There should be no shame in honesty and curiosity. That’s how we figure this life out.

So now that I fall into the category of “Who’s that guy with that kid?”, I’ve come up with some nifty responses for use at the playground. Feel free to borrow or quote them for yourself.

Here they are, in no particular order of usage:

Random Person: Hey dude, is that your son? (In California, everyone’s a dude…)


  1. No, I’m the painter. I’ve been working on these peoples’ house for a few weeks now. Me and the kid just started hanging out.
  2. Well, I’m the brother of the babysitter’s cousin. It’s a long story. I’d share it, but you can’t really tell anyone, ok?
  3. No, I’m the stepdad. I’m not really into the wife, but I’ve always wanted a white kid of my own. So I married into her family.
  4. No, I’m the boyfriend. I take care of him when his dad’s out of town.
  5. Not really. I was hired to be part of a clinical study called “Brown Daddy, White Laddy”. We’re collecting loads of data. He’ll find out I’m not his dad when the experiment finishes after he turns 18.
  6. Yeah, I’m the dad. That kid right there is proof that too many dental x-rays changed my body’s DNA. Doctors said my pigment chromosome was messed up!
  7. No, we’re just smoking buddies. “Hey Worm! You ready for a cig, yet?”

The brownest part of Worm are his poops. I don’t expect his skin pigment to ever match mine, even with the global warming in his future. This situation, though, was a reminder that we all still see color…and that a skin color match between parent and child is one of the first (and sometimes only) things people look at for resemblance between family members.

I’m going to have to live with this little white boy for the rest of my life. Does it change anything for me? No. He’s my son. Does it change anything for him? No. I’m his Honeydaddy. Of course, I will teach Worm to recognize skin color. It shouldn’t be discounted. But it’s not a big deal, either. It should really be about as important as the question “How many monster trucks do they have?” And for us, it is.




As I laid on my deathbed contemplating where I could find the most peace in my house to recover from this recent illness, I realized that none existed. I’d be more relaxed trying to dodge traffic on my bike in New York city while wearing a blindfold.

I’ve said before that my kids don’t let up. Their intensity hardly dips below 100% during their waking hours.  Their limbs (and vocal cords) are constantly in motion.

The kids have been sick since before Thanksgiving. Has that slowed them down? Nope. They’ve caught multiple versions of cold and flu. They hack up shades of yellow and green with little regard for where it lands. (We have a daughter that thinks every tangible object in the world is a potential food source.) It’s no big deal when they’re the only ones coughing and sneezing.  Since November, it’s been a daily contest of “Who’s produced the most nasal juice today?”, “Who’s coughed a phlegm ball the farthest?”, and everyone’s favorite “How many boogers can you wipe on someone else today?”. (Yes, my usage of punctuation makes logical sense.)

As fun as those games sound, they’re surprisingly not. The kids don’t wash their hands often enough and we adults don’t wear Hazmat suits in the home. I’m constantly wondering whether the wet spot on my face, hands or clothing is water or a bacterioviral mutation of a disease destined to have me spewing liquids from every orifice of my body. (Yes, that’s gross.)

I finally succumbed. With a 103.1 degree fever and chills that three layers of winter wear couldn’t quell, I could barely hold my own head up for the past few days, let alone my body. While I couldn’t see straight or stop shivering, Worm still HAD to climb on my neck and treat me as his human horse. He didn’t care that my brain cells were frying inside my head. My punishment for not carrying him? Asphyxiation by his oddly effective chokehold and a severing of our best friendship. My punishment for carrying him? Mushie’s NEED to hitch a ride, too!

Being sick is not what it used to be. It’s misery now. The days of being able to rest and recover are over. Now I know what other parents mean when they say “We’re in survival mode.”. I get it now. I’m John Rambo in First Blood. Maybe I should go sleep in the woods…

The Midnight Plot to Keep Honeydaddy Sick Forever

The Midnight Plot to Wake Honeydaddy Up and Surprise Attack Him with Germs

Gavin – 38; Honeydaddy – 22 (I’ve survived the onslaught of your microbial attacks, Worm! Thank you garlic and oranges!)

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