Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Day Of Traitorous Shirts

The other day we got take-out Chinese food for dinner. It was a special occasion after all - the wife and I had our wedding anniversary. Nine years so far. Anyhoo - we tried to show my daughter how to use chopsticks. She tried it on her chicken - no success. So she tried it on my egg drop soup - fail. Maybe rice? Nope. Miffed by the whole experience she decided she was done with dinner and tried the chopsticks on the cat. Success! You can insert your own cuisine-based racist joke here.

This morning my new band recorded it's first song with backing drums. No - I'm not a fifteen year old in a garage band. What we do for a laugh is record ourselves on Audacity (a free sound recoding software) and mix it together to make songs. Normally it's just me - maybe playing guitar - and my daughter singing. Then I'll record whatever it is that my kids are doing - grunting, whooping, arseing around the room - and splice it in. It often sounds like some artsy post-rock. Or torture by sound. It's a close run thing. But this morning I threw together a drum kit for my son and he had a ball.

If you've read this blog before you might have noted the silly tale about putting my daughter to bed. Didn't it sound so easy and smooth? Yes well that is all bollocks now. Last night we had the other kind of night. My daughter was being mental - and I really mean it. She was amazingly nice yesterday, even going as far to just randomly tell me that she loved me a few times. Fifteen minutes after my wife got home from work and she went berserk. Spitting venom and flailing around like Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Not that I'm comparing my daughter to a demon-possessed vagina or anything.

The primary reason for the breakdown was that my daughter had made a frog heart (too long a story) for her brother and wanted to show her mother as soon as she got home. What she had really done was empty half a pot of red and orange paint onto a heart-shaped piece of card some time yesterday morning. When she checked it in the mid afternoon it still wasn't dry. And why would it be - the paint was so think there was no way that would happen by 5.30pm. She was getting upset by this so I carefully explained that because the paint layer was so thick that it would probably take until the following lunchtime (I was playing it safe here) to fully dry. My daughter applied the logic of a nearly-four year old and poured on another layer of paint - but this one was a thinner layer. In some way that is absolute genius. At least it was supposed to be but as far as I can tell it was just slightly thinner than the original layer. My wife got home, said hello to everyone, and then my daughter went to get the frog heart. Which was still wet. So she collapsed on the floor like a Spanish soccer player and starting screaming about how science had failed to dry her frog heart.

Anyone else who has/has had kids this age will know that to them the World operates using a series of undeniable Rules. Certain things must happen or nothing can make sense. You go to bed when it is dark, you always brush your teeth before bed and things that have been painted for Mommy in the morning are definitely dry by the time she gets home. Rules and Patterns are Very Important. If anything is out of line then that can only mean one thing - the entire deck of cards that you have placed all understanding of life on has crumbled and nothing is as it seemed. After the first fit she threw another one during dinner. We calmed that one down too but she mentioned the frog heart again. It was like she suddenly realized she was in The Matrix and that both her parents were actually Agent Smith. I managed to persuade her into thinking about something else by pushing the idea of a shower/bath. So not just a silly shower, or a boring bath - no a shower AND THEN a bath. Truly amazing in other words. The revelatory concept of putting the plug in the bath while the shower is on would have terrified me years ago. Not now - now it means we can pretend we are in a terrible rainstorm, but are also in a bath on the ocean.

That worked quite well. My wife - being a true Super-Mom had actually managed to put my son to bed while we were in the bath. We convinced my little girl to go into her room, put her PJs on and start reading a book. My daughter asked my wife to put her to bed too so I went and prepared her toothbrush. Normally she would run into the bathroom, get the tip wet, put on the tooth paste and brush her teeth all by herself. But my son was asleep next door to it so I did it. At which point my daughter went frothing mental again. My wife stood her ground. This was one fit too far. She sent me downstairs and turned out the light. Unacceptable behavior - it's time for bed. Forty-five minutes later there was a sudden gap in the screaming ("you are making the germs poop in my mouth!!!") and my daughter appeared in the living room. I ended up going upstairs and lying down with the both of them. My daughter - exhausted from yelling actually fell asleep quite quickly. She was asleep about ten minutes later, but I didn't get up. Wanted to make sure she didn't wake up. I woke up just after midnight. My wife had probably just woken up too because when I went downstairs the lights were still on and the dinner was still on the stove. We missed the entire night. I hate that.

But luckily it's a long weekend now! Four days with Mommy home is a real treat for the kids. There are some days I wish I was still at work and she was at home. But then I wouldn't be doing her job and therefore not earning her salary. I'd be at the last place I was at - which is a horrifying thought. Mind you - my wife is responsible for all sorts of important things that I wouldn't want to be liable/culpable for. Add she has to interview people from an employment pool that is often so dire that you know you are deliberately hiring the best of a bad bunch. I'm not going to ever talk about her job here - but let's just say that one time her company interviewed someone who pissed themselves during the interview. Which actually is a bit like my last job.

Alright - time to go back outside into the not-quite-warm-enough day. It's just warm enough for this -:

Someone actually did ask me what kind of whale was on his shirt. As if he was wearing one of those uber-ironic shirts college kids wear. Also, it is not really warm enough for this (but whatever - it means that we stay out for a good few hours) but we did it anyway -:

Out we go!

Daily Dump June 30 2011

Daily Dump - Pig Boy And Captain Fish Foot

 It was Captain Poo Foot but we convinced our daughter that isn't nice.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pig Boy and The Truffle Shuffle

I've been mistakenly thinking my son smells look foot-cheese for days. Turns out it was my watch. I took it off, gave a vinegar bath and gave my son a sniff. He smells like he should. My daughter smells more often of coconut soap, strawberry shampoo or peanut butter. But my son just smells like him. Not smelling like an old foot/good cheese is a good thing. To my knowledge he has only had one smell that lasted a while and that was that smell of decayed stumpy umbilical cord that falls of a new born baby after three weeks. No one really prepares you for that. But it is fleeting and then you can concentrate on other smells. Like spat-up breast milk or diaper droppings. None of those matter though - it's all very welcome and surprisingly easy to get used to.

If someone told me that I had to take care of someone and they will pee and poo on themselves, and that a bit of them will die and fall off I would probably argue quite strongly to get out of it. But with your own kids it doesn't even register. Unless they smell like a foot and then you are allowed to give them away. They tell you that at the hospital. I have a very strong stomach as it turns out. Need a dead critter moving? No problem. Need someone to finger-out the black-blue hairy moldy thing at the back of the fridge? Doesn't bother me. Some smells bother me. Like microwaved popcorn in a public place (like at work) is disgusting. That smell honestly drives me up the wall. And there's a type of paper that smells like vomit. What is that? But all smells bother my daughter. She will yell across the room that something smells. Sometimes she's right. But hilariously she still hasn't figured out that sometimes it's her. But the smell of things that came out of children (edit: MY children) doesn't phase me at all.

My son is asleep now actually. My daughter is sitting on the couch looking at a craft book. She just spent a good hour decorating lollipop sticks (the big flat ones) with stickers and then painting them. Since about 7am this morning though I've felt lousy. That started to dissipate around 11am and now I almost feel normal. In the middle of feeling terrible my daughter took advantage and asked me if she could have ice cream if she was good. Apparently I said she could so Im hoping there is some left. She also expects sprinkles, chocolate sauce and a cherry. Blame that expectation on Grandpa - he simply must have desert after every meal and it's quite often a sundae with his granddaughter now. Thankfully it's a decent ice cream too (Byrne Dairy if you're interested) so I might see if I can squeeze a bit out for me. It's hard to not like ice cream, but this stuff is very good. Much better than some of the guff at the grocery store anyway. First off, keep that Turkey Hill and Edys crap away from me. That's disgusting. Perry's will do, and I'll take the Panda Paws if you're buying. But the masturbatory adulation for Turkey Hill needs to stop. And someone needs to tell me what the big deal is about Klondike bars. It's just a choc-ice.

Its a cold grey day too. 61 degrees! So no pool, no water balloons and per my daughter - no staying outside because it is, "freezing ice-cold." We hit the playground earlier to get them out of the house though. If I didn't do that they will never go to sleep tonight. I might persuade them to go "hunt pigs" out in the back garden. My daughter made that game up after confusing a story I'd read once about using pigs to find morels.

Which reminds me, my wife dropped a massive hint this morning. She said, " you should be more like her" and pointed at a book written by Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa). Then she read out loud this clearly nonsensical blather about how My New Idol (I don't get to make these decisions - I will be judged to this standard now) spends the entire day on a Friday preparing an elaborate feast to show her husband just how much she loves and adores him. He will have been away somewhere else around the globe, and she will go to extreme lengths to have him now the instant he walks through the door that he is Home. In fact, based on her own description, her every waking moment is based around devising amazing meals filled with such a grandiose intense level of hot sex-love in them that her husband may actually get pregnant just from eating them. So my wife said I should be like that. My wife seems to have missed the fact that Ina Garten is a 62 year old multi-millionaire with no kids, three houses (one of those in Paris) and a solid 24 hours a day to cook meals with ingredients that no normal person could even remotely afford.

"Then, after you've poured the Yeti's breast-milk into the gold-leaf decorated pan have one of your servants make a swan come in it" she might say.

I, on the other hand, am a 35 year old man with two strangely mental children - one of whom who is a four year old ninja - and seemingly nowhere near enough time to do all the things they want to do each day. I also gleefully left my last job to stay in this unfinished rebuilt soul-crushing home (I love it now, but it nearly killed me) that doesn't even have a single carpet in it. And I like to use a crock-pot quite often so that I don't even have to think about dinner. I can cook - I've actually surprised myself there - and we do have a ton of fresh ingredients growing right outside. I have genuinely cooked many bloody good things that even the kids wanted to eat. And truthfully I cook with effort 90% of the time. But I'm not going to be spending five hours today selecting just the right kind of truffles (presumably utilizing a free-range French pure-breed pig - or at a pinch dress my son in a pig costume) just so my wife can awkwardly weep at the dinner table because she can't believe I love her that much. During which time my daughter would be rubbing her truffle in ranch dressing and my son would sneakily give his to the dog under the table. Not because I don't want too either - but because I'm not a retired childless millionaire with their own truffle-pig.

Still, tonight I'm making a big pot of potato and kale soup and chucking in a ton of cannelloni beans and some Adirondack cheese. I have too many potatoes, maybe ten heads of kale outside that are ready to eat and I really don't need an excuse to eat beans. We eat tons of them. Not only do they taste really really good but it satisfies my wife and my own proclivity to be cheap. Stuff making a fancy truffle-feast - if my wife sees that I've been cheap and made beans she'll know without question that I love her.

Once pig-boy wakes up we're going to go drop off a whole bunch of boxes of baby clothes at the clothing donation bin outside the local Catholic church. It's quite a step for parents to make because it really does mean you know you aren't going to have more kids. No need to hang on to those three month old onesies any more. Even though they were only worn once by each kid before they rapidly out-grew them. We are officially not making sure we keep the good baby stuff just in case. We very much planned our two kids, and we are very much planning to not have any more of them. So unless something very odd happens we wont have any more babies. We're done. So the clothes can go. Weird.

Daily Dump - Nearest Playground


Not feeling good. Maybe later.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Journey Of Poo (Played In This Story By A Carrot)

Yesterday afternoon right before my wife came home I was taking a breather. I was supposed to be making a tasty dinner - that did not happen. I made a lousy dinner because some part of brain actually agreed with my eyes (the idiots!) who saw the words, "honey-beef taco" and thought that sounded nice. It was awful - but it did only take 10 minutes. So as the kitchen was already clean I sat on the couch with a handful of honey-roasted peanuts. A few minutes later and my daughter and I had this conversation -:

Daughter: Quick Daddy! I've hidden a peanut on Owen and you have to find it!

Me: I am definitely not playing this game.

I didn't find the peanut. And as things seem to have been going in and coming out of him without anything seemingly preventing that from happening I'm going to assume he ate it.

I'm guessing the swimming tired my daughter out. She's irritable and clumsy - and there's no way I'll believe she's just hungry. No one eats that much cheese in one go and can still be hungry. She just learned that there's such a thing as cheese-spray in a can and wants to try it. Not a chance. Not in my house. As a European it offends me enough that most of the cheese I tend to pick up is that bland, rancid, rubber crap. So spray-able cheese is out. I told her she should nap. She's refused but is lying on the living-room carpet wrapped up snugly in the Warmest Blanket In The World (courtesy of friends of my wife who picked it up in South America on their honeymoon) and will no doubt be driven to dementia due to heat stroke within the hour. Why can't she just take a fifteen minute nap? She'd honestly like that.

But then getting into a sleep routine with her took a lot of effort and patience. That's the downside of co-sleeping and raising your baby like a chimp. All the studies show that at older ages these kids tend to develop more confidence and autonomy. But the earlier period of separation anxiety is a living Hell. When she was younger than my son is we were living with our in-laws after moving back to the US. We would spend a good ninety minutes trying to calm down a rabid-screaming banshee of a child. And don't give me the, 'oh just leave the room, shut the door and they'll fall asleep eventually." She did not. Hours later she did not. And worse - she would get so worked up she would actually throw up and nearly choke. My sister swears she spent almost six hours listening to the screaming and then gave in to her daughter. So we would have to lie in the room and listen to the angry screams as she tried to stay awake. Luckily when it got so muggy and humid we had this gigantic box-fan on that sounded like there was a helicopter in the room. That created a kind of trance-like noise and helped speed things up. It also allowed my wife (mostly) or I to creep out of the room when we thought she'd fallen asleep.

Fast forward a few months and we had some sort of pattern. We were renting a ranch house (awful, terrible things they are) and my daughter had her own room. Which she didn't want to sleep in obviously. For a brief and very odd period our daughter told us to just leave her go to sleep in her room. And she did! That did not last long at all and it went back to lying down with her for 20-30 minutes and then trying to creep out. Forward a little further until we lived in the house we do now and we have the bedtime plan nailed. And the best thing of all was that I got to put her to bed, so my wife got a break. Until my son needed a bedtime that is.

Unfortunately for my wife the bed-time plan was designed by me. It consists of heading upstairs around 7 to 7.15 and getting cleaned/brushed/dressed in pajamas. Then my daughter will pick either one of us to put her to bed, and the other one gets to put my son to sleep. Whoever my daughter plumps for (let's say it's me) will read one or two books - one usually being the dire Geronimo Stilton books, if we have one loaned from the library. Then we turn the lights out and my daughter gets to hear two stories that are made up but must follow a certain pattern. The first starts off with her saying, "Tell me a story about when you were a little boy." Then I have to tell her a story I made up about racing my sister home from school so we could eat the last of the cake. I would take a short cut through a farm and have to dodge various animals. This story must include me excitedly stating that I slid under a cow and it squirted milk in my ear, and that I hopped over a chicken but squashed it a little bit, so it laid an egg. Then I race down the back garden and get to the cake first - complete with excited tense "will-I-win-the-race!!!" commentary.

The second story also has a firm pattern to it. My daughter will ask, "Tell me a story about when you were a little...." and then make up a random thing. It's usually a vegetable growing in the garden. Outside of that it's usually a farm animal.If it is a farm animal I have to recount the tale of being in the farm one day doing farmey stuff and then this weird little boy came belting over the fence- seemingly racing for cake by the look on his face - before getting milk in his ear and squashing an egg out of a chicken. Then he disappeared over the fence never to be seen or heard from again.

But mostly I'm a vegetable. And the story - after framing the scene and tellign her the name of all the carrot friends - proceeds in a formulaic, and increasingly odd way. It started off sweet. And then with my wife "helping" and me indulging it has become borderline mental. Let's say she makes me a carrot. It goes like this -:

Once upon a time a long long long long long time ago, there was a little carrot named...(she yells, "Daddy!"). Anyway, he was just hanging around in the garden, just being all orange and stuff like that. He had big green hair sticking out of the ground, but the rest of him was just plopped there right in the soil. He looked to his left and there was a worm. So the carrot said,..(she says, "Hey worm."). He looked to his right and there was a bee. So the carrot said....(she says, "Hey bee."). Anyway, not much of anything was happening, and the carrot was just fine with that. (Then she will ask me what the names of friends of the carrot, and I have to name three, including one who is the best-friend) 

Then one day, when the carrot was just being all carroty a little girl named....(she yells, "Evelyn!!!") came running out of the house and walked over to the carrot. Then, without any word of warning, she grabbed the carrot by his hair and pulled him right out of the ground! Before he knew what was happening she had taken him in the house, washed him, cut his hair off and put him on a plate. Before the carrot knew what was going on she dipped him in ranch dressing, and ate him!!!

Originally the story ended there. But then my daughter added on two new parts - all of which she learned from my wife as explanations to questions she had - that I now must tell her or the story won't be over and she will not go to sleep.

So the carrot slid down her throat, and wiggled around into the little girls' stomach! (she says, "did he then take a rest!?" and I have to say, "Yes.") Then, a little while later, when the carrot was almost asleep, he heard the little girl yell, "I need to go to the bathroom!!" The carrot had no idea what the meant, so he tried to go to sleep. A minute later, the carrot heard a noise (at which point my cute little innocent girl will make a giant farting noise) and the carrot landed in the toilet. (she will yell, "Splash!!" and then ask, "did he get pooped out Daddy!!" and I have to say, "Yes.") Then, a little while later the carrot heard the little girl yell, "I need help wiping!" and a minute later he heard the toilet flush. The carrot then went down the toilet pipe, into the basement, along a bigger pipe into the street, and then it is carried off to the water treatment plant by sewage pipes owned by the town's municipal sewage and water authority. After being desalinated, cleaned and hydrological date has been collected at a gaging station the water then flows out to the ocean. Eventually the carrot ends up way out in the ocean with all his friends. (she says, "did he then take a rest Daddy!?" and I have to say, "Yes.")

The End.

Psychologically that is horrifying. My innocent little story about a carrot that she ate was nice. It was short too. Somehow that had morphed into her cannibalizing her carrot/father. That was bad enough. Then, due to my wife having explained both internal digestion and waste-water and sewage flow capacity processes for some bizarre reason it's become that mental story. That's not normal. But it works like a charm. Because now, after telling that story (and playing a quick game called Monday, Thursday, Sunday where I have to make up ludicrous stuff that happened on those three days - "Mommy had to go to work, but instead of going in the car she swam there in a canal filled with gravy") she falls asleep. Within five minutes. Sometimes my wife or I will as well (tales about where your poo goes is very relaxing) but we are usually both downstairs and free by 8pm.

At which point, if the night is right,  I'm ready for a nice cup of tea, a back scratch and sixty minutes of Wipeout.

Bicycle Repair Girl

Today's swimming lesson went very well. One thing she is not is afraid of the water. And thankfully she let them know that she needed to go to the bathroom too. Good work munchkin.

So after a quick stop off to get juice and a new paddling pool we came home and she munched on potato chips before we went outside. Today will either go very well or very poorly from this point on. Why? Well....

Before that she's playing YMCA Bicycle. Which basically means her bike is stuck on a rock and she's peddling but going nowhere. She took that as a sign to also pretend that she is Bicycle Repair Girl. Who apparently needed a Tootsie Roll for the photo.

Okay - I better figure what to do will all the kale we have grown.

Swimming Lesson

We're off to the YMCA this morning. My daughter has her first swimming lesson, so me and the Inch Worm will watch her splash around for thirty minutes. Quite frankly I was terrified when my wife told me I was taking her swimming. I can't swim, and I did not want to be responsible for making sure she didn't drown to death. Mostly because I would be focused on making sure I didn't drown to death. But thankfully they have kids swimming instructors at these things.

Alright, swimming bag packed - goggles and all - so we're off to get breakfast. I've been commanded to sift through the Honey Bunches Of Oats for the "good bits." That's quite silly because we already have a box of Just Bunches, but my daughter is concerned that we are naively missing some real whoppers from the other box.

Oh - and son did not die of Inch Worm ingestion. Which I think will just spur him on. I'm sure I'll find him today licking a snapping turtle or some such silliness. And don't think that's out of the ordinary. About this time last year we found this out back -:

It ended up getting arrested and forked by the neighbor. No really...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Quick Dip

If anyone is curious whether eating a fistful of inch worms is toxic I'll let you know in the morning. The boy needs a muzzle sometimes.

Daily Dump - Ranch

Helmet Lollipop

"Princess Father can I please have some juice?"

I forgot to buy juice this morning. Oh well. At least it's reminded me that the kids should drink more water and less juice. My daughter was not pleased when I told her we didn't have any. But instead of going mental she's tried being as ridiculously polite as she could be. She went from Madam to calling me Princess Father pretty quickly. After I kept saying I still couldn't get her any juice even though she'd been nice she actually told me I had to play games with her to make her happy. Fair enough - I was going to anyway.

Unfortunately the game she wanted to play was Tea Party. The only kids tea set she has stays up at Grandma's house. So, exhibiting the kind of class I secretly have deep down inside me, she made me get some jam jars and she spooned some dirty water into them from a five-gallon bucket that had been left out in the rain. Before we'd left for the in-laws my wife had half-filled it with weeds so it now it stank like bog water. I hinted at emptying the bucket and starting over fresh but my daughter wanted none of it. So after the loss of her big pool, the let down about juice and the fact that I did not want to let her ride her bicycle down Woodchip Mountain (a giant pile of wood chips out back that sits on top of a culvert covered in three-quarter-buried jagged bricks and broken glass) I knew I had to just go with playing Tea Party with jam jars filled with crud. The thing is though that my daughter has developed a dialogue for this game. She likes to sit in the garden chairs and say things like, "Lovely day madam - care for some tea?" because I'd said it once or twice in jest. That had then developed into her expecting me to praise whatever drink she'd given me with a ridiculous statement, and then she'd offer another one back that she'd remembered me saying. It basically went like this -:

[My daughter spoons rank bog-water into a jar - and I pretend to sip it]

Me: Mmmm. Ah yes marvelous. This tastes like chocolate angels.

Daughter: Yes madam. Delicious. This one tastes like dolphin kisses.

Thankfully my daughter couldn't bear the smell for very long so she asked me to change-out the water. Which I did but then my son sat in it. So we went off to find black walnuts so I could whack them into the woods with a plastic baseball bat. I've actually discovered an amazing skill - I can tennis-serve a walnut with this bat with amazing accuracy. I used to be pretty good at tennis so maybe I could get back into that when I get some time.

After her demanding a lollipop and insisting she wear a helmet to eat it (I have no idea at all) we plopped about the yard for awhile and picked some peas to nibble on. The garden is looking good and the peas are amazing.

Here are some of the peas.

My daughter saw me poncing around with my new camera (a Fathers Day gift from the kids and my wife - primarily the idea being I use it for videos and leave my wife's Very Expensive Camera in the house) and insisted on taking a photo of me. Her framing and positioning is impeccable.

At lunch-time we came inside because my son was barely able to stay awake at that point. He was furiously rubbing his head and was completely uninterested in eating anything. My daughter stopped napping around thirteen months old even though she still clearly needed more sleep. But she'd just hold out until later in the day and then find reserve energy to fight going to bed. It makes absolutely no sense to not sleep when you're tired. My son hasn't done that and will pretty much beg me to pick him up so he can instantly fall asleep. It's crazy - I'll pick him up and walk inside and he's already asleep on my shoulder. On occasion he will even sit himself down on the couch and conk out. He slept for about forty-five minutes while my daughter re-arranged her room. I have no idea what she's done and I'm not mentally prepared to find out what it is yet. So I haven't looked.

After my son woke up he stole my apple and we've been waiting to go back outside, but my daughter isn't interested. I've called up the stairs but she told me not to come up and that's she's busy playing with Play Doh in her room. So my son has been bumming around with toys for a good twenty minutes now by himself - which he doesn't normally get to do. He's been playing with a toy telephone for a good ten minutes of that. Which has actually led me to ask a simple question - how does my son now how to use a toy rotary phone? He's never even seen a real one. And yet with his toy one he picks up the receiver, dials a number (I swear he even dialed the correct amount of numbers) and then starts blabbing down it. And not in a mimicy, "Hey guys it's me! I've got Welch's 100% Juice Popsicles and I'll meet you at the playground in ten minutes!" No, instead it sounds more like, "You listen to me Commissioner, you get me that airplane or all these bitches are gonna pay."

Alright that's it - we aren't wasting a nice day like this. I'll tell my daughter I want to mow around her pumpkin patch and she can collect slugs. If I tell her that she can collect them in a bucket to make soup out of she'll love that.

Let the mayhem commence.

Turtles And Tents

There's a really weird yellow thing in the sky. I wonder what it is? It seems to be making things "warm." I looked that up in a encyclopedia about something called "Summer." So we are definitely going outside all day. On the downside I just tried filling up the cheap little play pool and it has a hole in it. There were many tears until I filled up the old turtle sandbox with water. It's a bit small but it assuaged my daughter somewhat. Then I put a tent up for her to "hide in" if she wants to secretly eat Popsicles and play with her toy bugs. At which point she took all her clothes off and is playing, "I'm Totally Naked In The Yard!!" in it. Sigh.

More later. Too nice outside right now.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Princess Bounce and The Dougnut Of Doom

There are two types of people who pick up children by their waist, raise them up until the child's arse is directly in front of their face, and then sniff. They are either a) parents, or b) from Ilion, NY. Parents do it because they think they can smell poo and it's the easiest quickest way to figure it out. The key here is that it is your own child. Because judging by the local news a frightening number of people from Ilion, NY have been arrested and charged for doing this to other peoples kids against their will. Anyway, I realized today that in the presence of someone else I had done this to my boy. I narrated the fact that I needed to check his diaper - like I was on an episode of CSI or something and oddly explaining what is going on to the world at large. Luckily the someone else is from Nice in France, so he didn't automatically think, "that's very weird - he must be from Ilion, NY."

It rained a lot this weekend. I shouldn't even be remotely concerned about being outside in the rain and yet I found myself griping that my kids wanted to go play around on their grandparent's driveway. I realized after about two minutes of standing in pretty strong rain that neither of my kids cared at all. And why would they? There were no bugs, lots of puddles and things filled with water that they could knock over. Great fun. It did give me the opportunity to put on my awesome hat though. It looks somewhat like this -:

I call it my Indiana Jones hat. Sadly when I wear it I look like a twat. It's perfect to wear in the rain and to keep bugs out of my hair. When my wife casually chucks it on she looks fantastic. As fi she had it specifically made for her by a local artisan hat maker. Even my daughter likes putting it on and it looks better than I do in it. As it was raining I put it on and instantly felt much cooler than I clearly actually am.

I grew up mostly in the UK, and a good chunk of that was in South Wales. People there are just damp all the time. When it rains it barely affects any prepared plans - they just go outside and get on with it. Because it will unquestioningly rain tomorrow as well. The first few months that I lived in the US it was Summer and there was no such thing as a rainy day. It was so different I actually remember the very first time it rained after I had emigrated here. We lived in Western NY state and we were driving up the Robert Moses Parkway towards Lewiston. Then it started raining like this was the end of it all. I mean seriously hammering it down. I genuinely could not see out the car windows. Maybe even the windows might break. I may have screamed - I honestly can't remember. But even if I had no-one would have heard me because the rain was so loud. My wife casually slowed down to about 53mph and carried on with life. A few minutes later it stopped raining as quickly as it had begun. I became used to this after awhile. When it would rain like it does in the UK I would go wander around outside. Neighbors and passers-by thought I was mental. And yet here on the driveway for two minutes I was grumbling because we might get wet. I've been here too long obviously. Thankfully it was only fleeting and I saw sense to the point of refusing to go inside when it started to really chuck it down.

Anyway, today my wife took a bunch of people canoeing in the rain down the Moose River in the Adirondacks. I stayed home and looked after the kids. Pretty much we spent our time out on the driveway riding bikes and stamping in puddles. We played our daily game of Dr. Bonk and Princess Bounce. My daughter set it all up as The Adventure Of Dr. Bonk, Princess Bounce and The Doughnut of Doom. Which meant I was the doughnut. However in the middle of fake-chasing her she stopped, refused to play any more and asked me why all our adventures had to have mean people in them. Why no good monsters? Why not have nice things happening? So she renamed it Dr. Bonk Had A Bath because my son was sat in a pretty decent puddle. She circled him on her bike until she fell off. At which point she yelled, "Daddy I hurt my cucumber!" and we went back inside.

So yeah - even though it was a Sunday and that means a family day I offered to stay home (well - at the in-laws) while my wife took some of her employees canoeing. The reason I offered to do this was because it meant I could earn a vacation. As of 4pm today I left my in-laws house and will be all by my lonesome until 8am tomorrow morning when I go pick the kids up. I've been the full-time stay-at-home parent for three months solidly so it is very nice to have a night off. Right now I'm sat on the couch with the laptop DURING THE DAYTIME!!! without the fear that two children will attempt to smack the keyboard or demand to play PBS Kids games. I'm also have a cup of tea RIGHT NEXT TO THE COUCH!!! without the threat of a tiny child chucking it all over themselves and getting burned. I'm taking some real gambles. But that's me - I live life on the edge.

But what will I do later? Will I go gambling at the casino? Bar hopping? Spend a night at the local speedway watching people drive around in a circle for 120 minutes? No - I'm going to continue to sit on the couch, finish writing this, read a book, watch local PBS and eat Corn Chex for dinner. That's right - I'm not going to make any kind of effort to make dinner tasty or even nutritious in any way. Later on I will have a bath. There will be no bubbles, no toy plastic animals or slippery splashing children insisting that they get in it. Then I'll arse around online for an hour or so whilst listening to something silly. Like a Radio 4 sketch show. Or John Zorn. Something stupid anyway. I might lie on the living room carpet and eat a bowl of ice cream. Then I'll lie in my gargantuan bed and go to sleep (eventually) with my headphones on. I cannot sleep when I'm alone without the radio on so it will at least be a good time to listen to some music I've been meaning to get around to checking out.

In other words - I'm not going to do much of anything. I might even wear my stupid hat all night. I'll close the curtains though in case neighbors think a twat has broken into my house and is watching TV in his underpants and eating ice cream.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


For breakfast this morning I witnessed my wife eating Shredded Wheat. First thing she did was soak each one in water before putting milk on them. Obviously divorce proceedings will begin immediately. A decade has past in our relationship without that coming up. Which I think means she had deliberately been hiding it. Like a dirty secret. Frankly I would have been more at ease this morning if she confessed to having several illegitimate kids.

Apparently Teddy is sick. Teddy belonged to my wife when she was a kid. And if i'm not mistaken to her grandfather well before that. He's old and held up very well. So when my daughter said he was sick I figured he might have a hole in him or something. After all we are at the in-laws and their dog would view Teddy as a fantastic treat. But no - Teddy is physically fine. He is, however, under a tiny blanket on the bed along with some binoculars and a duck whistle. My daughter tells me he is sick because the germs pooped on his head. That'll do it most times I guess.

My daughter has also spent a large part of the day biking around the driveway in the rain telling us that her first parents died from smoking cigarettes. So to make up for it, "someone" gave her us. Which was a pretty good deal up till now, but I can't imagine how cheated she's going to feel when I explain to her what her mother did with her Shredded Wheat this morning. She's going to be devastated.


My daughter loves her Grandparents very much. I'm very glad about this. Their lifestyle is very different to ours, what with being retired and living up in the mountains. They have their own views, prejudices and interests. I don't agree with many of those views and prejudices. As they don't agree with many of mine. As for interests - let's just say that some of their more fervent interests have their own pay-per-view channel and monthly magazines. In fact, if I wrote their interests down they'd be about a foot long (see what I did there? You can't learn that). They are helpful, loving and want to impart as much wisdom to her as they can. Of course, some of this they want to exclusively teach her through Fox News and Judge Judy. Outside of these two fonts of wisdom they will off-hand tell her things to arm her for life. They aren't things that I would have even considered. Luckily they don't spout from aforementioned prejudices and interests either - so no need to remind my daughter that foreigners are actually okay, and that feet mostly are to be only put in socks and shoes no matter what you've learned from Grandpa's computer screensaver. Instead what they tend to revolve around are situations where they have realized they are being tricked.

So far this weekend my little girl has learned -:

1 - There is absolutely no difference between 1% and 2% milk. None. It's all in your head.
2 - Deodorant is a rip off. No smell is a bad smell in real life. In fact, deodorant is designed to start smelling badly after a brief period to con you into putting more on.
3 - Jamie Lee Curtis is a man.

I did address these secretly with my daughter afterwards. I pointed out that there is definitely a difference in milk. Otherwise why would stores spend all that time putting different colored lids on the bottles? It would be a cruel and thankless job for whomever had to do that if it didn't actually matter. Add there's UHT milk, which is patently evil. I did not point out that there are whole swathes of fetishism websites where people recount their experiences sniffing different types of milk - expressing passionate opinions (thankfully that's all they were expressing) on what types of milk they enjoy and why. I didn't think it appropriate to show her. Although it would have very clearly nailed my point for me. I did fluff it a little by saying that some cows are just have better milk than others. Meaning 1% cows and 2% cows. She understood this to mean that some cows just have "nicer boo-boos." I'll have to correct that.

I also pointed out that there are plenty of bad smells - many of which my daughter points out to me every day. I reminded my little girl that while she does not wear deodorant she does wash with strawberry and coconut scented soap, which is pretty much the same thing. Add Grandma and Grandpa live in the mountains where there is actually a season jokingly referred to as Black Fly Season. During which nobody with half a brain would wear deodorant because the bugs are driven wild by it. This collided very strongly with an older lesson though - that mosquitoes don't bite. Her Grandparents told her this because they believe that if she (and anybody else) knows that the bugs bite then they may form a negative view of the place that they live in. Where they live is wonderful. But every few years the Spring is unbearable. You really cannot go outside due to the black blanket of ravenous bugs. All I did here was point to the collection of welts and swollen bumps on my body to show that they do bite. Oddly Grandpa does not actually get bitten though. Grandma does - and loudly complains about it much to his consternation (it's akin to her saying she very much believes in anthropomorphic global warming to him). But Grandpa stands out on the driveway playing with his Jeep and they seem to give him a wide birth. Maybe this is where the mosquito and deodorant issue collides?

Lastly I pointed out to my girl that Jamie Lee Curtis is 99% likely to be a woman. And that I had seen visual proof over the years that had led me to believe that she was a very fine woman. And that many years ago I had repeatedly checked this visual proof just to make sure. I used the milk analogy from earlier here and stated that in the world of milk Jamie Lee Curtis is definitely leaning more toward 2% boo-boos than 1%. Again I wanted to just whip out the Internet here. Instead I just told her that Grandpa was pretending - like how she pretends that I'm a horse or a hummingbird sometimes. At which point I had to pretend to be a hummingbird trying to eat from her ear (the feeder) for about five minutes.

Mission Accomplished.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Yep - he's definitely sick.

We're off to Grandma and Grandpa's house for the weekend. My wife will be arriving later on tonight with a Frenchman. And I didn't even know she had a new hobby.


My son is sick. This will be his first time. Which isn't bad. He's had a cold and stuff like that, but he hadn't thrown up involuntarily until this morning. It made him sad. And it made my wife sad too that she couldn't stay home to look after him. But right now he's wombling around the living room with a tea pot filled with Cheerios trying to grab the cat's tail. I'm impressed he's taking it all so well.

My kids tend not to get sick. We know lots of people with kids that are genuinely always sick. Stomach bugs, ear infections, eye problems, horrible acid reflux - you name it. When I was a kid I was one of those problem kids - pick a body part and I can assure you it didn't work very well when I was little. But not my kids - they just don't get sick often. That coupled with the fact that we aren't the over-medicating type has stood them in good stead. And I know some who take their kids to the doctor once a week - they need the reassurance that their kid won't die and they aren't a bad parent. But my kids get colds and deal with it. I think we've had one family flu since my son was born, and I was the biggest whiner about that. Mostly because I had to go to work with it and it felt like my head was actually going to explode.

My daughter has had one real stomach bug in four years. Coming out of both ends it was. Actually my wife contracted some horrifying puking and shitting disease at a kids pool party. For a few days she spent most of her time emptying. She learned that everyone at that party spent the next week doing the same. Then I got sick. In the spirit of family we went to her parents house to get some help looking after the kids. One by one we all fell ill. The day we both felt better we strapped our little girl in the car, amazed that once again she just didn't get sick, and headed off for home. About two miles into the trip - even though asleep - she started projectile-vomiting watermelon all over the car.

That's pretty much it for sickness. A touch of diarrhea here and there. But nothing that needed bothering a doctor. I do know a few people who jump at the chance to squirt Calpol and Benadryl into their kids. The only time my daughter threw up was the one time we gave her Calpol - it came right back out. So we just skipped it. And it's made her as strong as an ox. But this morning at around four o'clock my son woke up vomiting. Not much but obviously enough. He kept heaving and retching until about 5.30. My daughter thought this would be a fantastic opportunity to get up early and see what it is that Daddy does downstairs at such a stupid time of day. So I had to lie in bed with her until she fell asleep again. She dropped off about 5.30 too. I got up the second she was out. I love my kids and will do anything for them. But lying in bed even though I'm awake? They owe me today now. My wife nearly blew it too. As I tip-toed out of the room she whispered to me to turn off the alarm clock. And by "whispered" I of course mean she yelled in a whispering voice. She's been alive for over three decades and has yet to learn that whispering is supposed to make what you say harder for people to hear, and not to sound like you've turned a hairdryer on.

Once my wife left for work at about 6.30 my son got up. He's clearly tired, has had a few half coughs/half-heaving moments but seems okay. He seems to know it's Friday and is demanding Fruitloops. Not a chance that's going to happen. Right now he's got the teapot spout in his mouth and is honking into it. Which sounds funnier because earlier this week he started to lose his voice - probably the start of whatever he has now. He sounds like a teenage boy who's voice was breaking. Actually scrub that - he sounds exactly like a cross between Bobby Hill and a goose. Whatever he's got he'll get over though. No drugs needed. Just lots to drink, cuddles and a visit to Grandma later today. He is developing just as fast as his sister. I know it's a polite thing for people to say, "oh they've gotten so big!" when they see your children, but my kids really are big. Not fat or anything - just very tall for their ages. Physically their development is way ahead of schedule. They appear to have figured out whatever it was Clifford The Big Red Dog did to get all massive and are following in his footsteps.

My daughter is still asleep. At 9.32am. Why can't she does this every day? She clearly gets too tired and is too old to nap (meaning she's too old to calm down) and at least once a week it catches up with her and manifests as unbridled rage. Today is Thrift Store day too and she might not even be awake when it opens! The shame!!

And if she does wake up soon she's not going anywhere until I hide whatever the smell is that she's exhibiting today. We all have our own smell. Some of us smell like daffodils. Some people smell like fox urine and milk. And some people, God help them, smell like a mixture of genitals and feet (a fine monthly magazine by the way). My daughter's natural smell is actually pretty nice, but she suffers from the same problem I do. When I fly on long journeys I start to smell like I've been dipped in iodine. It's not the nicest. But no matter how warm the air is overnight my daughter demands to be clothed in thick pajamas and wrapped under the duvet. Last night apparently was too much and when I lay in bed cuddling her I noticed the distinct tinge of iodine. I'll scrub her with coconut-smelling things - she likes those.

Lastly you may have read elsewhere on here that my daughter's overuse of the words Winkie and Whoopsie had become so chronic that I had actually contemplated just telling her to use the correct terminology from now on. At least that way when she starts blurting out random gibberish about her vagina other people will tell her it's inappropriate. I think one of our friends calls them, "bathroom words." Anyway, someone I know read that and told me their own experience with their child. A short while ago their three year old son asked them the challenging question, "Mummy, how do babies get in mummies' bellies?" At which point she told him, in simple clear terms. She had found a book in a Christian book store made for just such an occasion. It helpfully explained the whole thing - using all the proper grownup names for body parts - in really easy-to-understand language. Add that the book threw God in there as well, so surely it would be nice and pleasing for a child to understand. Apparently the boy liked the book because he requested it as one of his daily reads for a couple of weeks. Then out of the blue one day her son lovingly glanced up at her and said, "Mummy, I want to slide my penis into your vagina."

After more explaining and horrifying awkwardness (I'm sure) he apparently forgot the whole thing. Needless to say she did not. He was trying to express how much he loved his mother. And got it spectacularly off. Luckily I seem to have missed the oedipal stage with my own daughter. She skipped over the, "I want to marry Daddy" thing and chose one of my wife's friends kids. That was over a year ago and she's still determined. As soon as she learns to write I'm betting she drafts up a contract.

Okay - time to pick the Cheerios off the floor.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rain Rain Go Away

It is pouring it down outside. So we've been stuck inside all day. I'd run out of ways to entertain the kids and needed a break. We'd done painting, balloon animals, car chases, Dr. Bonk and The Man With A Sock On His Foot (not my best effort) and even tried TV. My daughter buggered off upstairs to have a tea party. My son was milling about with a giant battery powered back-hoe. So I started goofing around with some music with one headphone in my ear, and the other ear free to hear screams/incantations/whale song. Ten minutes later I heard my daughter telling me that, "he's eating them Daddy!!"

My daughter had taken all the dead flies out of the window sills, collected them in a toy teapot and was giving them to her brother to "drink" in her party. Ten minutes was all it took for both my kids to forget all of the rules about what not to eat. To be fair she isn't eating them, but she is taking a lot of delight in the fact that he did. I sense this avenue of exploration isnt over for her.

I'm still all out of playing ideas so I've persuaded them to not share each others company and give each other diseases. Right now I've convinced my little girl to go into a different room and stick dragonfly stickers onto some paper. I'm typing this with one hand and with the other (no - get that dirty thought out of your head) I'm trying to jiggle my son to sleep to the soothing sounds of Richard Herring doing stand-up comedy. Once he drops off I'm going to have a bash at a braised lettuce recipe. Which means I have to run outside in the rain (cue thunder and lightning) and grab a few heads of it out of the garden. Should grab some peas too.

Alright - he's conked out.

Go Go Go!!!

Ten In A Bed And The Little One Said....

My bed is full. So I got up.

Okay so there aren't actually ten people in it. But there were four. And a dog. And one of the cats was chancing it's arm in the depraved, sick way that it does when it thinks I'm half asleep. Meaning it stands on the bed right in front of my face purring with perverted intent and waving it's bottom around. As I had been awake for more than a few minutes I decided it was time to get up. At 2.45 am. Now I can have some "Me" time until someone else insists on getting up.

Sleeping is actually something that I take quite seriously. I don't like sleeping. It's unpleasant and a massive waste of time. I don't like it and think we should all stop. Since I can remember I've tried to do the absolute minimum amount needed to get through the next day. On a more serious note I don't recall a night without having solid nightmares since I was a young kid. I don't actually remember not having nightmares. It's awful and perfectly understandable in my mind that I want to experience as little of it as I can.

And I am serious about the actual physical aspect of sleep. Once I decide it's time to go to sleep I will do it as quickly as is humanly possible. Once my head is down you will not be able to count to ten before I start snoring. I will lie down, close my eyes, and go to sleep. I will not move until I wake up. At all. Then I will wake up and be stood up, fresh as a daisy within a second of being awake. My wife seems totally oblivious to this after a decade with me, and usually attempts to launch into some sort of conversation once I lay my head down. She will then become irate when I don't answer - you know - because I'm asleep. At which point she will often try and wake me up to ask me something extremely important. Like, "are you asleep?"

My wife used to love to sleep in. She even took naps on weekends. I doubt she's had a ninety minute stretch of uninterrupted sleep in four and a half years now. She has been very clear that the childhood developmental stage that she is most looking forward to is when both our kids have no intention of getting up in the morning. She fantasizes about going to bed at 9pm and just not getting up one day until noon, and it not being any kind of issue. As my son is sicteen months old the earliest that could ever start happening would be in about another four years. That's almost a decade without a proper nights sleep. No wonder she's annoyed.

Anyway, the reason I'm downstairs right now, and they are all in giant wriggling pile upstairs is because we are very much a family of co-sleepers. I realize that this is a very much maligned method of parenting but we don't care. And from what we've discovered through other parents testimony and learned through research is that a much larger proportion of parents do it this way than are prepared to admit in public. It began for us for two reasons.

Firstly, when my daughter was born our midwife was concerned about her weight. So she insisted that we feed her every 30-45 minutes until her weight gain was acceptable. My wife strongly believed in breastfeeding and had some trouble with latching very early on, but after a week or so had it under control. Our daughter had even more trouble keeping it down. Two or three minutes after each feed and she would chuck up 3/4 of what just went in. It took half an hour to feed her for the first two weeks. I would get up with my wife throughout the night to support her. And to not look like a selfish lazy bastard. So mostly we spent all of our supposed-to-sleeping time in bed awake. It was just circumstance that we all ended up in one room in one bed. Traipsing about the house from room to room simply made no pragmatic sense.

After seeing the midwife near the end of the second week my wife was almost emotionally crushed. In the part of England we were living in at the time midwives from your local hospital district would come out to your home to check up on your babies' progress - make measurements and whatnot - and answer any questions you may have. The team of midwives we had were extremely nice mostly. There were three - one had been at the birth of our daughter and had a trainee with her - and the other two did most of the home-visiting. (If midwives in the area had a physically defining characteristic that I could crassly sum them up with, it would be boobs. They all had gigantic boobs. Even the trainee. Even during the birth this was an issue for me. My wife was lying naked in a birthing-pool in our own home, focused and trying to manage her way through each powerful contraction. I leaned over the edge of the pool holding and supporting her, not bothered in the slightest about getting wet. The midwife and trainee were also at the other end of the pool - leaning over and vocalizing their support. At some point they both stood up together. Both were bone dry except for their gargantuan breasts that had dipped into the water.)

The two midwives who visited us at home were very happy with our daughter's progress, and were somewhat puzzled by the remaining midwife's alarmist tone regards feeding our child. My wife - an exceptionally diligent and thorough researcher in her professional life - applied her skills to learn about what was happening with our child. At which point she learned that our daughter was not in any manner underweight, and was not close to the low end of weight gain. In the UK each mother receives a very detailed account of their labor, the birth and early child's fledgling development in book form. It's a little red book that is surprisingly detailed with measurements, notes, and even progression graphs in it. At no point in this record was there any trend showing problems. Our child was smack in the middle of percentiles for everything. There were no notes even indicating a problem. So it was a real kidney-punch to my wife when the alarmist midwife told her near the end of the second week that unless our daughter made an arbitrary weight gain that we should move to syringe-feeding her breast milk every twenty minutes over a twenty-four hour period, or face the prospect of taking her back into the hospital.

Its worth noting that we had originally aimed at having a home birth. Birth in the UK is still very much focused on it being a natural choice-laden experience. Not like in the US where doctor's rule over your body making all decisions because you aren't fit to, and quite frankly the baby belongs to the hospital until you or your insurance company have paid for it. Socialized medicine is much-maligned in this country, but statistically it is very clear that compared to much of the Western world the United States does birth wrong. It's not a tick. It's not a parasite. It is not just a potential insurance liability. And it is not just a medical procedure. But that would appear to the method of birth-delivery that we had learned about in the US. The UK equivalent seemed light years ahead.

However, half way through the actual labor our midwife told us she wanted us to go to the hospital. So we did. She would know better after all. We weren't in any distress and neither was the baby as far as we could tell. Everything had been going well and pretty much all of my wife;s request on the birth-plan were being met. But after a very brief chat with the midwife we relented and went to the hospital. My wife proceeded to give birth in almost the complete opposite way that she had planned to. Nobody asked her a damn thing and the midwife behaved as if she were simply a container that had a baby in it that needed to come out. My daughter was born quickly and naturally at the hospital. My wife did suffer a tear, so after the birth my wife didn't even see her own new born child for ninety minutes simply due to the fact that the procedure to fix this was carried out in a different room. My wife felt completely violated and removed from the birth. Physically the birth was relatively normal. Emotionally my wife still had trouble coping with the whole thing for years after the fact. It left genuine trauma.

And it confused her. If everything was fine why did someone rob my wife of a happy birth? Of physical skin-to-skin contact with her own child? Or at least of actually feeling as if she was taking part in her own labor, and not just being subjected to it? My wife is not a professional OBGYN, nor a midwife. This is not an arrogant, "I know best" situation. But what she is is someone who makes their living gathering very complex research data and reporting that information in concrete terms to others. She is not a mug. So my wife started to ask what happened. She asked the hospital  for her birth records, which she got. No indications of problems. Numbers were all good. No elevated anything. No recordings of heartbeat problems for our daughter. The hospital staff who took over from the midwife recorded nothing untoward. The only note referring to the change from home-birth to hospital was from our midwife who asserted that, without prompting, we had insisted that we wanted to go to the hospital where we would feel more comfortable. Which isn't even close to being accurate. The only insight we've ever had that explained the move was the midwife trainee who stated that our home-birth was their third overnight home-birth in a row, and frankly they were exhausted. They were relieved to send us off to the hospital. So relieved in fact, that once the hospital staff took over the main midwife took off home and left the trainee to do all the follow up - the measuring, the heel-prick and all that. I wouldn't like to think that something as important and personal to a mother as a birth could be ripped out from under her simply because a midwife was tired, but it certainly appears that way.

Needless to say, after two weeks of overnight feeding, learning nothing was up, feeling abused and reaching out to other mothers my wife was sensitive. She confided the whole thing to a friend of hers and received the single-greatest piece of advice about being a mother that she will ever receive. It's your child. If you are certain you are doing the right thing, and are certain that that any actions you take are not in any way detrimental to the well-being of your child, then you don't have to do them. That's a clumsy, crass summary of what my wife was told, but the impact of it was enormous. When the midwife came the next morning my wife politely but firmly informed her that our daughter was progressing perfectly fine in her own view - and according to the two other midwives - and did not need to go anywhere. The midwife abandoned any suggestion of hospitals and overnight feeding immediately from that point on. Our daughter not only developed in a perfectly healthy manner, but hit every target early and every percentile bang in the middle.

Oh - and for the record my wife gave birth to my son in the US and it was a wonderful, empowered, easy and exceptionally smooth experience. She had an absolutely excellent team of people - particularly the OBGYN - who saw absolutely no problem at all with letting her do what she needed to do to have a wonderful birth.

Secondly (good Lord that was a massive first point) we chose co-sleeping because my wife wanted to raise our kids like a chimpanzee. That's not the actual nice and scientific term that this parental-method actually has (I forget what it is right now actually) but that's pretty much what it seemed to mean. Lots of physical contact, lots of breast-feeding, co-sleeping, and all that went with it. Basically the child was tied to either one of us in a sling at all times of the day, and co-slept with us at night. It isn't as mental or odd as it sounds either. If you haven't ever used a sling then you don't know what an advantage it is. We had wraps, slings, all sorts. It kept us with our kid - something it very much wanted - and allowed is to get stuff done. It was wonderful. Co-sleeping was a large portion of this. And if done correctly is perfectly safe. I know people who think it is tantamount to child abuse. It isn't at all. And it isn't just lazy either. We don't drink. We don't smoke. We don't even over-eat. We also own the biggest possible bed that you actually imagine owning. It is massive. I can genuinely lie perpendicular to my wife and still not actually be touching her. With the three of us there is so much freaking room it's ridiculous.

Add, as anyone who has had kids knows, you aren't actually sleeping at night anyway. Chance would be a fine thing. Co-sleeping also removed that silly thing where you get up and go into a totally different room to change/feed/see-if-it-isn't-dead/plead-with-it-to-stop-screaming your child every thirty minutes. And the emotional bond it creates between a mother and a child is massive. My wife and my daughter are so close, so connected, so in love and it is mostly down to co-sleeping.

Not me though - I was asleep the whole time. Barely noticed anything. Like I said - sleep time is for sleeping. Get a good four, maybe five on a lazy night, hours sleep and then get up. Without fail. It worked out well for my wife too - I'd go to bed and get up four hours later like clockwork. I'd take my daughter without any complaint downstairs at 3:30 in the morning giving my wife some good quality alone time. ot much mind you but some. She'd be tired and exhausted every minute of the day for years. Not getting eight hours sleep for her was like not eating for three days, and then getting just about enough before starving again. Not for me - I run on low-power. Lack of sleep doesn't mean anything in my world. If I only get three hours sleep - much of it interrupted - it's not really all that big a deal.

Fast forward to today. Now we have two kids. My daughter has her own room. Which, after many years of struggling (story for another time) she now goes to sleep in quite happily. If and when she wakes up in the night (usually early morning around four-ish) she will come over into our bed. Where my wife and son are sleeping (and he does sleep mostly) along with me and the dog. With the cat with it's perverted waggling arse grunting away next to me. My daughter - committed to her own special method of sleeping - tends to climb into our bed and then lie in a gigantic star-shape, à la the Vitruvian Man painting by Leonardo da Vinci, 
between me and my wife. And, just to really rub it in, she does this perpendicularly. The dog, irritated the his spot is now taken, will then keep getting out of bed and then wake me up to ask permission to get back on.

At which point I will get up. And blather on about sleeping. At least the Sun is up now.

Daily Dump - Frog

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Frog Fondler

This past weekend was the Old Forge Fathers Day Frog Jumping Competition. Dads from far and wide bring their kids to the tennis courts near Old Forge pond to fondle frogs and stand suspiciously close to what is a probably a pedophile in a giant frog costume. This would be our third year - and Owens first - and once again I expected to storm to victory. I carried the dead-weight of my daughter to victory - or Third Fastest Frog. The rest of my family take this all rather seriously. I enjoy my daughter having fun, and I love seeing my family - so found the courage to battle through the oddly competitive nature of some and the plethora of bug bites received trying to catch frogs.

And by competitive I mean like this - last year my family took a boat by 4x4 to a far-away pond looking for the best frogs.

Which is mental. This year I changed it up. Unlike last year we didn't go as gung-ho looking for the finest frogs that could be found. This year, seeing as I am a stay-at-home Dad now (or, as my best mate calls me, a "middle-aged woman") we went in this Victory Chariot-:

A couple of us went out to get frogs the day before the competition. My brother-in-law landed a nine pound bullfrog he named Stump Ugly. Honestly, this thing was a Behemoth. His future brother-in-law (through his soon-to-be wife - we'll call him T-Bone) landed a four and a half pound frog for his 9 year old boy. I landed these two -:

And by "I landed" I of course mean that my wife did. I ponced around in the water for a good 45 minutes and landed a few tadpoles and a Pepsi bottle cap. The one on the left is my son's frog "Hop Head." The other one, which still has a tail (or "winkie") my daughter named "Bouncer."

I should disclose at this point that those are not the original frogs that we chose. On Saturday lunch time we all went and caught some quality frogs. The monster frogs were caught along with a few smaller athletic agile frogs. We also chucked a handful of the mutant half frog/half tadpole things as well for the kids to gawk at. But by the time we'd got home they all "disappeared" and only the two big buggers were left. Quite the mystery. So we tipped the big ones into a giant barrel and my wife and I went out to get some more. They were the two above, a third small frog and a mutant. And yet once we fished them all out on the morning of the competition we found once again some had "disappeared."

At noon we headed out. My aunt in Texas had rather embarrassingly made outfits this year for my daughter and her cousin. Basically a t-shirt, horrifying pants and a knitted hat. She's very talented and my daughter and her cousin loved them.

Also at the event -:

I certainly didn't expect the giant cuddly frog-pedo thing to start flicking the Vs at all the kids. I'll assume that as I was the Englishman there (other than my daughter) that he thought he could get away with that. Well doesn't he look the fool now.....

Anyway, after the weigh-in (yes, I did just say that) we got straight into the action. First was the long jump - the "stewards" calculated the total distance a frog jumped from the starting line to after three hops. As I was running the race with my daughter, my son was helped by his grandfather. We lined up....

They blew the whistle!! And Evelyn plopped Bouncer down on his back....

Needless to say we didn't win that round. We didn't even place in the top three. Bouncer managed to flip over and then limply skip along just 10 inches. The winner hopped a mighty 78 inches. I went that frog urine-tested and any relationship with Barry Bonds to be disclosed. My son's frog didn't place either. So we scooped them up and headed over to the Fastest Frog competition. Basically six frogs are dropped through a hole in the top of a garbage can lid and released. First out of a drawn circle wins. Here's some ridiculously exciting action.

And here's where it got ugly.

Neither of my kids frogs placed in this competition. My brother-in-laws monster frog got through to the final round of three thereby automatically picking up the 3rd Place trophy. Which was good because in the final it didn't budge - probably weighed down by all the other frogs we suspect it had eaten. T-Bone didn't make it to the final either. T-Bone and his son are going through something awful right now. T-Bone's wife had breast cancer and after a year of fighting what they knew was a no-hope battle she passed away last month.

So this frog jump was a way to cheer up a 9 year old boy who is not dealing with the death of his mom very well at all. Earlier on during the Long Jump he'd already had a giant meltdown and stormed off pronouncing this whole thing to be stupid and pointless. His father had managed to calm him down and bring him back. As he realized his frog wasn't going to win anything here either he'd got a little sulky again. In the final it was clear that Stump Ugly was last. The winning frog zoomed out of the circle and it's owners gleefully grabbed him and hoisted it high like an Olympic champion. Somehow - and I don't really know how - T-Bone and my brother in law managed to conspire and convince the judges that the 2nd place frog actually belonged to them and not the little girl that was probably looking for it. T-Bone's son - well aware that he didn't even have a frog in the race - spent a good portion of the day being a truly sore winner by telling other kids - including my own - that they lost and that he was ace. Neither T-Bone nor my brother-in-law could give the slightest toss that a little girl spent a good fifteen minutes wandering around upset that not only did she not win a trophy, but that her frog had disappeared.

Anyway - back to the happy. We figured we were going home without a trophy. My daughter - oddly comfortable with this sort of thing - was genuinely happy that her cousin had won two trophies for 3rd Fastest and Heaviest Frog. Then they called my daughter's name for what is clearly the best trophy to have won all day - the 3rd Lightest Frog. She received her trophy with dignity and grace. From what probably was a pedophile dressed as a frog. I could tell that an example had been set that day.

 My son, well he didn't care at all. Frog fondling is an exhausting business.

I shall spend the rest of the day figuring out how to craft a trophy cabinet that can hold the massive weight of all the amphibian-based victory trophies that my daughter is inevitably going to win during her lifetime.

It's Raining


Frowny face.

Daily Dump - Cuppa Joe


JUNE 21, 2011

I'm trying to think of something nice and romantic that will get my wife in the mood. It can not involve -:

1 - Alcohol
2 - Porn
3 - Horses

My wife and I pretty much don't drink. And if she had a drink she's more inclined to want a poo and then take a nap than get frisky. As for porn - not only is it naughty, but the only time I ever did buy some was a total disaster. I did some research and found one that was supposedly aimed at women. So no horrifying graphic close ups that make you think you're looking at a dissected bat. It was supposed to have a storyline and be "arousing" rather than just something to wank to before it grossed you out. But no, it involved a one armed woman trying to turn on a half-dead alien in an iron lung. I'm not even kidding. Who the fuck is supposed to get off on that? Which either means that was the worst advertised movie ever, or you women are mental.

Of course, if we did get frisky we'd probably get pregnant. We are frighteningly fertile people. And then we'd have to go through all the uncomfortable, annoying, painful stuff again. I'm not talking about birth or labor or any of the other presumably very easy stuff. I mean picking out names. We picked out decent names for our kids but it was a real chore whittling names down. I eventually gave in and invited random strangers (people on an online forum I don't really know, and frankly I suspect to all be the same person) to give me suggestions. I invited all and sundry to come up with decent name options for my unborn son and every retarded non-parent seemed to come up with Brody. No offense to anyone with that name, or an unfortunately named child with that name either (especially the people I actually really like who chose that name - it's just a coincidence that I hate that name - sorry), but I hate that name. A lot. It's right up there with every pillock who suggested calling my kid Dakota as if he was a dog or a pony.

Why is it that people without kids suggest names that they think are unbelievably cool, but really are just sad reflections on their empty pointless lives? One old coworker suggested calling my son Oscar, because then his nickname in school would be Scar. On what mentally deficient plain is that an acceptable nickname for you to want your child to get given by his peers? And really, are they ever ever going to opt for that nickname, when they can rhyme part of his last name with the word "Fuck" without much creative thought at all? So when little Fuck Scar gets into high skool he's really going to love that name. Here's a suggestion - if you don't have kids, and you think Liam, Oscar, Jasper or Rene (seriously - more than one person suggested this) are good names, then you aren't allowed to have kids. One person also strongly urged me to go with "Aubrey." Which sounds like a plant disease.

"I'm going to have to cut it down Frank. I'm afraid it's contracted some kind of Aubrey fungus which is poisonous to birds and small marsupials."

Someone also suggested naming my son Atlas, and then calling him GPS for short. Sounds like something my wife's side of the family would go for. I have a very good friend who has an even darker humor than mine, who has an instinctive line to anyone who tells them his baby name. Basically they say, "we like the name Sam!" and he says, "......when I was sixteen I was raped by a man named Sam.....I could never pick that name."

Add that names all have meanings too. I never wanted to look up my name in case it said something like, "the name in Latin means "yeast infection" commonly found under manky uncleaned foreskins." My parents argued for years that they named me after a character in One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest mistakenly - meaning they thought they named me because of that even though no-one in the book or film has the name that I can find. And these days with everything being online and accessible I think I would just give any potential child my online nom-de-plume of Herpes Simplex. Try Googling that and having a good day.

Another problem is that in the US things have no frame of reference to British culture. So people suggest names that you couldn't possibly use in Britain. Like those girls names they give to boys over here, but still insist they are girls names. Or worse - they come up with names of famous British pedophiles and murderers. I can hear the suggestion now - "Wait - what about Harold Shipman as a name? It's got a good ring to it - a nice professional name. The kind a doctor might have for example."

Actually now I don't want sex. Go back to whatever you were doing.

Daily Dump - Champs


JUNE 16, 2011

This is the first day since taking care of the kids that I've felt completely under the weather. Waves of nausea are breaking over me. I may have to play that game I used play where I'd lie on the living room floor under a blanket and pretend that I'm a mountain. Then the kids would just jump on me for 45 minutes. Although they are both much bigger now and their increased body mass combined and my weak pathetic level of strength may actually kill me off.

Who am I kidding - I can't be killed off that easily. I'm like a werewolf or a vampire. You'd have to stab me with a silver dildo soaked in garlic or something.

Except I can't play games like that these days because the kids conspire together to start doing stuff they shouldn't be doing. Yesterday, when perfectly healthy and filled with vitality they still managed to outwit me. I had tried to give the dog a treat - a can of Fancy Feast cat food that had been lying around forever that I finally decided to get shot of. Ten minutes later I could hear the dog bowl clattering but the dog was next to me. Which means only one thing - my daughter had opened the dining room door and my son had spied an opportunity to play around in either dog food or the cat litter. Thankfully he chose dog food. I can't say for sure whether the dog or my son ate all the Fancy Feast. Regardless it was all gone. Judging by the fight he put up apparently my son quite likes Ol' Roy Hearty Chunks for dogs. I had to bribe him with a Cadbury's Chocolate Button just to get him to spit it out. I know some people might find it weird for kids to eat pet food but let's be honest - wev'e all tried it. I seem to remember quite enjoying the Whisker's Tender Bites my parents gave to our cats when I was a kid. Not too shabby. Not great, but better than some Italian-American food I've been tortured with. And don't pretend to be repulsed. I'm sure you have some weird culinary habits and yet you sit there being all hypocritical. Oh no - you wouldn't lower yourself to try dried cat-food if someone held a gun to your head, but you're more than happy to drink milk that came from a cow's tits. Not to mention eating eggs shatted out of a chicken.

Oh - and speaking of making sure my daughter doesn't see anything inappropriate on TV or online I just saw this. I am enraged. What on earth possessed someone to combine golf and having a shit?


What if you knock the ball out of reach? Oh God I hope it's not a drop shot from waist height.

Anyway I avoided any issues there. When my daughter asked I just told her I was watching golf. Even she knows - without any exposure whatsoever to golf ever - that it wasn't worth her time. Instead she carried on watching an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine where he thinks he's being chased by ghosts. She's seen it a million times. But with her now nearly-four year old mind she decided to ask me what a ghost actually is. I fudged it totally and she got irritated because I hadn't solidly and definitively explained what a ghost is so that she could explain it to someone else. So I told her I'd look it up online for her. Thankfully she can't read because I came upon some odd stuff very quickly. Quick question - anyone here ever had sex with a ghost? Anyone? These people have....

Wait, there's more. These are people who have had sex with dead ghosts. Paranormal necrophilia? Oh yes. I like the bit that says, "Real Ghosts have been said to get under the covers and pursue a person until they get what they want. Kissing, snuggling, physical foreplay and complete sex with astral penetration." It's probably a typo. The ghost part of it is sadly correct though.

I had somewhat hoped I'd misread this as the word "goat." Even respectable people do that sort of thing these days. There's no getting away from the dead part though. And it would have to be dead goats. There's a distinct difference that apparently divides these people between active hobbyists and nutters.

Man 1: Hey, wanna have sex with a goat?

Man 2: What am I, French?

Man 1: Keep your knickers on, we'll kill it first.

Man 2: My pants are already off....

Man 1: This is like the circle-of-life. Did you know the first condoms were made from sheep intestines? And we are wearing condoms right? I don't want to get Scrapie or whatever it's called.

Man 2: As long as it's Halal I don't care. I don't want to go offending any Muslim dead goat shaggers now. I have standards.

Man 1: I hope I can get a mint flavored condom. I love a good bit of lamb and mint, me.

Man 2: You ever done this before?

Man 1: No - I have had sex with a mouse though.

Man 2: Dead first I hope?

Man 1: Not till I was done........

But yeah like I said, my daughter can't read so she missed all that. I ended up getting all the info I needed from a crap ghost story in The Daily Mail.My word that is a unintentionally amusing newspaper. Its one quarter pointless and graphic smut. Then one quarter choc-a-bloc filled with editorials lamenting the sad rise of smut in the UK and pledging to locate and sham all and any who promote it. Then one quarter nonsensical pish all aimed at describing modern Britain as teetering on the precipice of cultural destruction due to foreigners, Muslims, communists, gays, multiculturalism, political correctness, and Lady Gaga. Then one quarter inane wankery about how if Princess Diana were here everything would be all better. And just to reiterate that Diana is dead they run a story about it every bloody day. I particularly like how the Daily Mail emphasizes the involvement of Muslims and the French in her death. Very nice twist there.

Needless to say I was quite comfortable using a "story" from The Daily Mail to explain nonsensical fictional bullshit to my daughter.

Daily Dump - Cup Of Ass....

...ateague tea.

The Agony

JUNE 18, 2011

I have been besieged by mosquitoes. I was pretty sure I had drenched my entire body in liquid cancer juice (40% deet) but apparently I'd missed behind one ear, the bottom of my big toe and the crack of my own arse. I am not amused at all. Years ago I'd discovered that not only do bugs consider my body a gourmet ethnic meal, but that I appear to be somewhat allergic to some of the stuff that bites me. They'd bite me on the wrist and my entire elbow would swell up wider than my head. And the throbbing - oh the throbbing! So I'd butter myself with some 3M deet-wax that bugs simply could not bite through. Fast forward a few years and the reaction seemed to mellow - but the bugs still really liked eating me. I figured the wax stuff was much more lethal than the spray so just got the strongest stuff I could find. The kind of stuff that when it touches your lips they go numb for at least 90 minutes. I'm not even kidding.

Add that both my kids saw fit to play silly buggers last night and refused to sleep. My son, bless him, is teething and it appears to hurt like a nightmare. My daughter didn't fret about it at all so it actually took us a little while to figure it out. My daughter though - she just refused to sleep. And the clever little trickster kept asking me to lie down with her and pretended to sleep until she thought I'd conked out, and then she tried to sneak off! No doubt to smoke beer and fondle stuff. They grow up so fast these days.

Now, if I can just get my in-laws retarded dog to stop barking my day would be good. The thing just doesn't shut up. A squirrel moved. Woof. It's sunny. Woof. It heard a woof. Woof. And my in-laws are completely unaware of it. The kids in the house are physically flinching at the constant violent barking, but they just don't hear it anymore. We get to take care of him next week. That bark will be gone once we're done with him, I can assure you.

Daily Dump - Obligatory Yankee Shirt