Tuesday, January 31, 2012

View From A Mentalist: Jan 31, 2012

I literally had to walk around the house with my daughter a few times over the last few days to get her to take photos. And I'm sad to say 99% of them were utter junk. She has totally lost the desire to do this now that she's just clumsily pointing the camera near things and clicking while still moving. Annoying. But if she doesn't want to I guess I'll not push her into it. But these are all the ones that are decent for the last week.

My daughter took this today. She didn't want to take photos or play anything with me because she was busy playing PBS Kids. I'm beginning to dislike that. So I told her she could photo Clifford as a parade float and got 10 minutes of time out of her.

This is a cardboard crocodile thing that came with a Dora toy. Now my kids use it as the Pond Of Death when they build train tracks. Inevitably one of the trains will crash into the water and everyone will be mauled to death by the crocodile. But in a nice way obviously.

I like this photo. My daughter stuck the camera against the mesh window of the fire-engine toy and got a shot of Owen in his cage.

My daughter's current favorite story is called But No Billy. This is her favorite bit where the kids mother calls him her little bear.

My son has worn this hat religiously every day around lunchtime. I don't know what ceremonial thing he's up to but it makes me nervous how he runs out to put it on and then a little while later goes and puts it back. All I know is that while he has it on he chases me and tries to take my wallet.

Last one - my daughter wanteda photo of her brother's hands. Apparently so that if he does anything she will have a copy of his fingerprints. Welcome to the totalitarian state that is inside this house the last few days.

The Civet-Raisin Boy

Drip, drip, drip.

My daughter displayed two pieces of logic yesterday that make no sense to me, but apparently make perfect sense to her. The first one is that I am somehow the biggest person she knows. So I'm bigger than her. But I'm also bigger than other people she knows who are very definitely physically bigger than I am. This was revealed to me when my daughter - trying to be kind to me - told me that I'm bigger than her teacher. Which I am not. I'm taller than her I think. But two of me would still be smaller than her teacher. So I started asking her if I was bigger than other people and it turns out I am massive inc comparison to these peons. It was difficult seeing as most of the people I actually know are small women, but when I remembered a bigger man that we both know she still says I'm biggest. But then I asked if I was bigger than her Grandpa and she said I wasn't because Grandpa's are the biggest. Interesting logic.

My daughter also explained that she summarizes her behavior for the day by the number of times she went into Timeout. First off - if you don't have kids then the very concept of Timeout sounds ridiculous. I still think it's ridiculous. I hate saying it out loud because it sounds completely absurd. but it works well and all kids know what it is. I still it should have a much cooler name like Kiddie Jail. Secondly yesterday she was an arsehole at times. But not in the way that would cause her to go to Timeout. She moaned and whinged about her brother being near her all day long. But she made absolutely no attempt to do anything by herself and insisted on playing whatever game she was playing right where he currently was at that given moment. In other words she was looking for a complaint. I obviously knew before having kids that the weapon of victim-hood is a powerful one to wield. But now I see it on a daily basis. She complains that her brother is purposefully crushing her with malice right after lying down directly underneath him on the couch. She did go in Timeout once very early on in the day (and didn't care) but mostly a good day with these little annoying episodes. This sort of small grievance-wielding happened all day long until her mother got home. At which point she randomly decided that I was an annoying prick and she wanted nothing to do with me. So I would ask a question and she'd blank me. I got her pajamas ready by laying out three to choose from - and she opted for a totally different pair. So come bed-time when her mother asked her to explain her attitude she pointed out that she could not have been mean at all because she hadn't been in Timeout. Oh she will feel the wrath of my iron fist today if she wishes to measure behavior that way. Mwahahahahaha.

Lastly I've declared a ban on raisins in my home. I had been pushing much healthier snacks for my kids and my son thought that raisins were the greatest thing on earth. Which on the one hand was annoying because I've been giving him raisins and he's been fobbing them off for ages. On the other hand him rediscovering that they are exactly what he wanted was handy seeing as we had a ridiculous surplus of them. But after a week of him inhaling huge quantities of them and rocketing them out the other end somehow un-chewed I'm vetoing it. He's been phenomenal about going to the bathroom for months now - and raisins tried to sabotage that. If you'd like to recreate the experience all you need to do is mix a cup of raisins, some Elmers clear school glue and a tablespoon of cumin. It's not the nicest. Especially when my son points at the sorry mess and announces to me that he's just found some raisins. And not just any old raisins - but some sort of human-civet raisin demon-drop blob. I - like a crude racist - assume that some Philippine tribe somewhere would eat them as a rite of passage. Or more humorously - sells them to naive Westerners who have been duped into believing they are a rite of passage or virility medicine. Free range and organic - mmmmm. I'm tempted to send some to Prince Charles on his next birthday with a note declaring that he likely doesn't own them, nor want to.

Okay - time to shovel more snow.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Crash, Bang, Wallop

I realized I haven't put up any videos in a little while. So here you go.

First up - here's the dog asking for a drink.

And then there was this at lunchtime today. Madness. 

Shredded Wheat and Jellyfish

First off - my daughter made me this for dinner the other night.

How fantastic is that!? I was moaning about Scotch Eggs, and my wife was looking to get my daughter to help with dinner so they came up with this out of a kids cookbook we have.

Secondly all my kids have wanted to do lately is play a game called Ants. It pretty much involves unfolding a play fire-engine thing ( a toy unusued for well over a year) and putting a blanket over it. Then we all get in it and pretend to be ants who go out to find food, avoid wolves (my son's wolf licking-aid) and then hide back in the fire engine. They can play this game multiple times a day for a good 45 minutes each time. My son practically lives in it during the day at the moment.

More importantly though, my daughter has started writing the alphabet out over and over again on sheets of paper. She'll then write her name - maybe draw a picture of something - and then give it to someone as a "certificate to my party." It's pretty cute. At least it isn't like those creepy kids in movies who write thousands of pages of binary code on various sheets of paper and then lay them out on the floor - then the parent carries the kid off to bed and glances behind them to see a picture of Satan revealed in the numbers at a distance.

Anyway, she likes to do the alphabet thing at school too. In fact lately her teacher told me that she's been very impressed with her for this sort of thing. And also that my daughter is able to see things like the letter F on the next month of the year and say, "oh that's February." So comprehension, recall and application basically. When I asked if this was common in the class the teacher said not really, and the point is the focusing and taking information available and figuring out an answer. I saw some of this myself when I picked her up Friday. The teacher had given the kids Oreo's again and asked them to draw one and then eat it. Some of the kids scribbled a bit and then ate it. Some just ate it. The one kid that my daughter likes to play with started saying that he couldn't control his crayon and started scribbling on other people's paper. Then he pretended to eat the crayon, By chewing it. My daughter drew an Oreo - a brown one - and then wrote the word Oreo. So what her teacher says is lots of the kids can draw an Oreo - they can even pick the right color. And a few might be able to write the name. But only one or two of them can concentrate long enough to do it when there are snacks and other kids going on at the same time. So yes she's doing well. Of course this morning she's been repeating the phrases, "ooooh powder!!" and, "you go zoom on my womb" over and over again, so I'm not sure what to make of this.

Obviously all of this has led me to start joking about her going off to university. I was joking with a friend online about it and they joked that I should send her back to the UK for school because then she'd get a real education around smart kids. And avoid sororities, frat boys, beer pong, hardcore Ultimate Frisbee nuts (seriously) and crippling amounts of debt. Which burst the bubble somewhat. Also this weekend an old coworker of mine mentioned her husband would be at a pub playing beer pong and would likely bring home mononucleosis from sharing spit and dribble around all the beer pong cups (And definitely not from all the kissing they may allegedly get up to - it's like the defense was already nailed on). 

Suddenly this reminded me that university isn't really about smart people and learning. At least not for most people. It also reminded me that worrying about swapping spit via beer pong was a million miles away from the degraded filth, debauchery and flagrant abuse of one's own body that my friends and I witnessed during college in the UK. When I did my MA in the US it was as an adult. I was married and everyone else in my classes were adult History and English teachers fulfilling their requirement to have an MA to qualify as a teacher in NY state. And never before or since have I met such a large group of people who couldn't write to a 5th grade level before. Shocking stuff. But everybody took it seriously and was unashamed in wanting to enjoy learning the stuff as much as possible. It was fantastic in that regard.

But when I went to university in the UK it was a fine line between the glorious altruistic beauty of imbibing knowledge, and sheer and utter madness. Leaving aside the fact that it was like a cross between Wipeout, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas and Caligula (the dodgy 1979 Italian velvet-porn movie Gore Vidal wrote presumably just to have Helen Mirren shake her spaniels about in) - it was also where perfectly nice reasonable people turned into into dribbling nutters. When that many young people get together around that many mind-altering fluids/substances and with no adult supervision chaos tends to descend like a black cloud of arseholery. Add that college in the UK (and presumably the US as ewll) is filled with people who have no business being there. As in they clearly have no intention on getting a degree - or are flatly unable to actually do so. So my daughter showing smarts at an early age of four and a half is fine. But the thing that will get her through college and all the sorts of stuff my wife and I hurdled is more about having a good smart head on her shoulders and the ability to hold back a little.

What do I mean? Well - two weeks after getting to university my mates and I brought a dead jellyfish home to our student house and put it in the bathtub. Oh how hilarious we are. We found it in a haze on the beach at Caswell Bay on the Gower in South Wales. Beautiful beach by the way. All you people wondering why anyone would want to endure 8 solid months of skin-removing piling rain should know that the four months of not-rain that the Swansea area (political geography there) provides are freaking glorious. Anyhoo - as idiots tend to do we thought it would be amusing if other students in a cosmopolitan city came across (not literally - we weren't that nuts) a jellyfish in a place it shouldn't be. so we managed to get it into a garbage bag and get it home (on a bus too, no less). At which point I relinquished all responsibility for it and my housemates took it upstairs and dumped it in the bath. Where it rotted for three weeks. I seriously doubt that you can imagine the smell. Especially when, in those heady first few days of having it, "live with us" that my strange housemates did things like pour milk in there as well. I didn't live on the floor that this was on but I can assure you it was not a mystery down on my floor either. After three weeks it had mostly dissolved and one of the girls on the floor tried to wash it down the plughole. Without touching it obviously - it is still a jellyfish. Evidently that didn't work and it just made a deeper pool of dead-jellyfish-amnd-milk soup. I don't even recall how it was removed now - but I do remember how quickly the, "aren't we AWESOME!" vibe turned to sheer horror at the whole thing.

The other story that came to mind instantly was about a guy named Ben that my friends and I lived with. He may be the simplest and most socially dangerous weirdo I've ever met in my life. And all dressed up in that familiar visage of a 6 foot 4 lanky long-haired NWOBHM computer nerd who claims to love Star Trek and String Theory - but actually knew loads about the first and understood absolutely nothing about the second. Ben was also a sociopath, and a violent horrible misogynist. At the beginning I liked Ben quite a lot. But once Ben was filled with alcohol and whatever else he could sniff, lick or inhale into his body his intellect and sense of morality got much smaller whilst his flagrant ability to be a colossal prick got much bigger. Quite how he was at university in the first place I'll never know. Frankly I was astonished that he managed to find his way downstairs every day. He did and said things that defied any explanation. I didn't see Ben for six months at the beginning of my BA and when I met him again it was when I moved into the house he lived in. And he was a completely different person. Still capable of being nice at times. But also rude, angry and shockingly simple. I mean, we've all done and said stupid things, but have you ever realized that you'd forgotten to take out the wire coat-hanger from your trousers before you put them on? No - because that's nuts.

But I am absolutely certain that none of you have met anyone who has done anything as moronic as the following. I am not embellishing at all with this story - I promise that this is 100% true. About a week after I moved in to that house he said he had laundry that needed doing, but he didn't have any detergent. He asked me if he could borrow some and I said sure - just go into my cupboard and you'd find some laundry tablets in a box on the bottom shelf. About thirty minutes later I went to get something to eat. The washing machine was on but I noticed that my box of detergent tablets hadn't even been opened. I asked Ben if he'd borrowed them from someone else and he said no, he'd taken them out of my cupboard just like I said he could. So I asked him to show me. What followed was one of those moments where your brain simply cannot compute the information being provided so attempts to shut down because the new knowledge gained may damage it. Ben opened up my cupboard and pointed. Even he became slightly confused when his brain also realized something was amiss. Why? Because for some reason Ben had gone into my cupboard, opened up a box on the bottom shelf, and proceeded to put two Shredded Wheat into the washing machine with his clothes.

So my daughter being quite smart now doesn't translate into a smart eighteen year old. And a smart eighteen year old can make shockingly poor choices. The person I was in my early years at university (and I was already 22 when I went) is not who I am now almost a decade and a half later at all. So I should cut out this whole over-thinking thing immediately. Especially as some of the smartest, sharpest nicest people I know didn't go anywhere near college.

And because my daughter is still yelling, "EVERYONE! GO ZOOM ON MY WOMB!!!" whilst pretending to be an ice skater.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I Remember When: Jan 28, 2012

Continuing on from last week - here are some photos from the last few years on and around this date. It's actually annoying me now that there are so many gaps in the years.

Here's my son today in 2011 watching the birds outside. Or contacting aliens. One of the two.

And here's his sister pretending to be a hippy. Although I suspect she had a bath that week so maybe not.

My living room January 29, 2010. Ugh. Not the most comfortable looking room.

And my daughter this weekend 2010 at an indoor play place near us.I keep meaning to take the kids back there but so far have not.

And her drinking out of a fancy china cup too. Note the raised pinky-finger. That's innate that is.

One more from this weekend 2010. My daughter fell asleep playing with her cousin. Who also fell asleep. Sleeping kids look kind of gross. They have a weird punched-in-the-mouth-fatlip look. Actually that sounds ominous. Ignore that.

2009.Get your Kong, get in your cage, lock the door and don't bark. Only kidding - we didn't lock it.

And this is two days from now in Bristol, 2008. Note no snow and the weird angle of the sunlight. I'm going through a phase right now of pining for Not This.

And this weekend 2008. Easiest way to clean a baby, I promise you. He reaches the places that a cloth simply cannot.

Another one. You can it's in England because she's suffering from Foot-n-Mouth disease (snare, snare, cymbal crash...). 

Here's my wife happy as can be 2001 on the beach in Swansea, South Wales.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Pay Off

They managed to hang on.

My kids waited until 6.45pm for their mother to get home. And by waited I mean at 6.50 this happened.

So everybody won.

W.O.O. (With Out Oxygen)

Both my kids got up today at 4.25am.

Not me though. I got up at 3.55am. With my son. My daughter also got up at 4.25am. She asked if I could go back to bed because she was tired. So I picked her up, lay her in her grunting mother's arms and buggered off knowing that wouldn't work. It didn't and she came back down five minutes later. Needless to say by the time my wife went to the three of us were not the best company for one another. My son fell asleep within minutes of his mother leaving. In a shockingly pathetic way as well. As in he had toast in his hand and fell down and didn't wake up. My daughter - now over her desperation to not be alone - demanded we don't go in the room she was in. She was hiding in a kitchen cupboard (on the ground - it's okay we gave them one so they'd leave the other one's alone) with a tiny green strobe light and her MP3 player. Which was playing the really trippy part of a Black Moth Super Rainbow song when I cracked the cupboard door open, only to have her howl like a feral coyote and for me to leave her get on with it. Either she's having a breakdown or is on pretty interesting heroin bender.

Obviously I've been delightful. I absolutely did not yell at everyone about banal tiny pointless things that definitely need to be discussed right fucking now for some reason. I definitely did not kick anything or wait excitedly to use the phrase, "oh - it threw itself on the floor all by itself did it?" (at which point I reached Middle Aged Parent: Level 6 way ahead of schedule). After my wife left I caught myself in mid-sentence sharply rebuking my daughter with, "HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU NOT TO LEAVE YOUR OWL IN THE SINK," and that seemed to burst any bubble of annoyance I had. Because that's too absurd a thing to yell at kids without being an avid owl fancier with unruly children desperate to drown it in the house.

After which we've all actually been in a suspiciously happy mood. Now I'm beginning to wonder if there isn't a gas leak in the house. Or if we're unknowingly involved in a CIA test of airborne viruses that make you homicidally insane before making everything seem quite nice actually. I actually just needed something to eat apparently. I've eaten pretty much nothing but dinner, apples and pots of coffee for three days. Or what I'm now dubbing Arsehole Fuel. Apparently all that coffee and nothing but apples to soak it up with can make people with certifiable mood disorders quite temperamental. Who would have known?

Anyhoo - my daughter got to go to school in the morning today. She was quite excited by that assuming that meant she got to play with the all the morning class kids. I assured her that wasn't the case only to be proven wrong when I got there and a whole bunch of parents had dropped their kids off when they should not have. I'm actually really excited to hear what cack the kids get as a snack today. I thought they'd exhausted all possible options for the letter O before yesterday but then the teacher brought a steaming communal bowl of Spaghetti-O's. It's probably been some time since you've eaten anything like them so let me shake your guts to the core.

Blaargh. My daughter - thankfully - told me she didn't like them at all so left them One kid had three bowls. That kid is probably in hospital right now. Actually he's probably related to this lady who actually posted a recipe to a forum that consists of mashing 2 cans of the orange puke together with a pound of "hamburger." Mmmmm. I bet she just plows gin-dipped Vienna sausages into that and sets them on fire for birthday parties.

Actually this reminded me of when my wife first visited the UK in 2000. She and a bunch of American university students who were studying overseas arrived in Swansea, South Wales at 4am on a Sunday morning. Not exactly a good time to get there. The university didn't want them checking in until 9ish so my wife went off looking for something to eat. She wandered up and down the Kingsway - reeking of milk, piss and stale Fosters no doubt - looking for something that was open. She found a greasy spoon place that taxi-drivers were all hanging around in and went in. At which point she ordered the spaghetti off the menu. Sure it's Stupid O'Clock, but some pasta, sauce and maybe a meatball or two would hit the spot after travelling 3000 miles over a 24 hour period. At which point some bloke plonked a big white plate of spaghetti on toast down in front of her. Which she heroically ate anyway. Welcome to culture shock, dear.

Now - I have to actually eat something or me and Mr. Flibble might end up in a gingham dress chasing the kids around the house (+1 Internets for whoever knows what that's all about).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Me Too

I might be one of them. Uh oh.

Someone just asked me - after that earlier post about food foibles - if we land on the pretentious side or the lard-and-Wonderbread side of things. Then they remembered we eat a lot of beans. But that we also have Fruitloop Friday. I reminded them why I have Fruitloop Friday (to contain evil in one space). Then I confessed we eat at both ends of the specteum - a nice dose of pretentiousness drizzled in couldn't-give-a-shit. So they asked what I ate for breakfast this morning. Normally it's a lot of coffee and an apple. That's it. But today? This -:

So I ate a tiny bowl of lemon-quinoa, chick pea and feta salad and my son ate crayons. Yeah I made the salad. Actually I ate one spoonful of mine and then he ate the rest. And while we ate we listened to a Senegalese freedom song. On top of that I'm currently dressed liked a landed-farmer and have spent the morning listening to Rev. N.T. Wright talk about Ephesus.

Yeah I might be one of them actually. Best eat some Walmart-brand pork rinds immediately.

Apple Of My Eye

"We ate an octopus at school Daddy!"

The letter of the week at school for my daughter this week is the letter O. So on Monday - after the kids got orange fruit roll-ups - my daughter and I sat around trying to think up snacks that begin with the letter O that they might get this week. Other than orange slices and Oreo's I couldn't think of anything. My daughter did think of an octopus and her brother (which actually she got slightly worried about initially - as if she'd have to go through with eating him due to peer pressure even though she didn't want to)  but that still only made up half the week. Less if you got rid of the octopus and her brother. It's Thursday today so I can confirm that so far they had the fruit roll-ups and Oreo's (which my daughter said had apple filling) and Oscar Meyer hot dogs. Which is bending the rules somewhat by including the brand name. Better though is that when the teacher pulled out the hot dogs and asked why they were a food beginning with O my daughter told her the big long story about when she went camping in Maine and her Daddy made her Octo-dogs over the camp fire. And for anyone (which is pretty much non-Americans) who don't know what that is - it's when you peel a hot dog to look like this -:

They're usually called spider-dogs, but we were in Maine so I made it more relative to the ocean and the locality. And as Maine is mostly only famous for lobster, blueberry ice-cream, weird-voiced Senators, Whoopie pies and aggregiously claiming the New England Patriots as their football team even though they reside three states away - it was the best I could do. I'd move there in a heartbeat too by the way.

Anyhoo - with all that in mind - and the current story about Jamie Oliver's healthy lunch program being chucked in the garbage in the Los Angeles Unified School District (which feeds over half a million kids a day by the way) my wife and I were wondering what food the school here gives their kids for lunch. We were hoping that the stuff given to 4 year old pre-K kids wasn't indicative. But I also recalled my wife's tales about how her high school raised money by signing contracts with fast food and big soda companies. Yeah - soda machines in the school to help get extra money to piss up the wall on football.

So, we got the menu. I hope you like fried mozzarella sticks!

That's not as terrible as I thought it was going to be. But it's still very very bad. Fried cheese? Followed by pizza? And there are an awful lot of not-healthy-thing-on-breaded-thing meals in there.

Fortunately for me this week the wonderful people at NPR ran this story in which they state, "the first major nutritional overhaul of school meals in more than 15 years means most offerings — including the always popular pizza — will come with less sodium, more whole grains and a wider selection of fruits and vegetables on the side. Sounds good.

Of course everywhere is a cultural battleground these days. And nowhere are people more prepared to point out why they are ace and other people suck than online. Especially via a media entity like NPR that many conservatives see as a tool for elitist liberalism, and liberals view as a bastion of elitist liberalism. I jest of course. I love NPR. But Patton Oswalt is beyond correct when he points out that it doesn't do itself any favors by playing 4 hours of weak imitation white-man jazz before interjecting with stories about trust fund students research scream singing in Tibet.

Anyway the point is that I first came across this story on Facebook. The very first comment underneath it was, "We only eat organic and antibiotic and hormone free foods." Presumably they all breast feed from a wet nurse. The second comment was, "Why is the federal government involved in local schools in the first place. Our republic disappears more every day." I thought that perhaps I should give the actual NPR page a quick glance to see if that was filled with similar stuff and lo and behold it starts off with the comment, "I heard this story on the radio twice this morning. It jumped out at me that multiple time you said fruits and vegetables. Now that I find the written story, it is written that way too. I believe the proper English way is to say fruit and vegetables, since plural for fruit is fruit." I knew this was going to be fantastic.

Go find it on Facebook. You'll spend an hour reading the most absurd, pretentious, deliberately-argumentative, pissing contest you will have read in a long time. And I say this as someone who reads a blog called Food Renegade - written by a home-schooling nutritional coach who - in response to brand name food companies declares, "I want us to shout a collective and resounding “NO!” to the killers overrunning our society." But the NPR Facebook page has more comedy gold in it than you could ever hope for. Nowhere on earth is there a more concentrated congruence of vegetarians. Or - ironically - other people who hate vegetarians. I joked to a friend about how the comment are all very, "Tarquin suckles from a unicorn. Pardon? Yes Tarquin is my husband. I spit-feed my children pages from Gloria Steinem's seminal work on Transsexualism like a bird feeding it's young." But they are. I'm going to liberally cut a paste a bunch right here for comic effect. I swear these are real.

- After reading these vomit inducing comments, one would get the impression that mcDonald's and Kraft Mac N' Cheese should have gone out of business years ago. I've never read so much bullshit in one thread in a long time. "My 5 year old chose to eat vegan.." "I only feed my child organic sushi for school lunch.." "My kid gets organic snow pea pods and free range chicken breast every day and he loves it.." "we would never shop anywhere but Whole Foods.."...Upper Middle class do-gooder white limousine liberal moms and dads who think that by spending 5 times more for a tomato than they need to somehow makes them the good Obama supporters they so wish everyone would believe they are. Go back to your Chevy Suburbans and your whites only schools, and whites only tennis and swim clubs tomorrow. Now I remember what I hate most about NPR, THE FUCKING LISTENERS!

- We lived in France for a few years and that was the best education in dining my kids could ever have asked for. Four courses, salad with chicken gizzards, rabbit stew and boiled tongue.

- ugh stop the wheat madness.. wheat is terrible for you. stop feeding your kids wheat and low fat shit.

- Smoked turkey & provolone on soft wheat cut into a Tie Fighter or Millennium Falcon.

- Fuck ur soy products that cost 3 to 4 $ for a little less than a quart. If the gov. Wants to have people healthy make organic food accessible to the 99% fuckin yuppies.

- Maybe Obama can come over and pack it for me too. Perhaps he can do the grocery shopping and laundry while he's at it. I'm so grateful for him running my life.

- Please stop the madness! (that's the whole comment.)

- Our two-year-old generally eats more healthily than we do. He loves tofu. We can only hope he stays that way...

- I pack my little one potent, fresh marijuana brownies. He's all tuckered out by the time he comes home from kindergarten. Marijuana: The modern day pacifier.

- A meat sandwich. (this is my favorite comment - not even a description of what the meat was)

- Homemade Miso soup with tofu and seaweed in a thermos every day.

- My child's school has 2 organic gardens and chickens. Every day groups of kids cook lunch for the entire school.

- My three year old is a vegan so he often has to inform his friends that Lunchables are not real food.

- Obama and administration can just get the fuck out of my lunch box.

- I only provide my children organic whole grain foods from Trader Joes.

- We are raising our 7 year old as a vegetarian - although she's more of a fruitetarian. (Future school-punching bag there.)

- Bread, and sometimes water. (Evidently a prison school of some sort.)

- I don't have kids but if I did they'd eat the same as I do. Lentil pancakes and vegetable cornbread.

- Oh no Obama!! You are doing yet another awesome thing for America. I'm sure republicans will find something to complain about with this too!!!

- I usually pack a big tupperware (12x8 inches) of "who really gives a shit", topped with "fuck that". For a tasty beverage, I fancy a brand named thermos filled to the brim with a luke warm fluid that is white in color, has the consistency of semen, and goes down smooth. After I let my milkshake chill out in the fridge, I remove it from the cooling unit and allow minimal loss of temperature. After my classmates experience the unique taste of my milkshake, I retort with a "My milkshake, it's better than yours", which is of course followed by their response of "you're damn right, its better than ours". Due to the superiority of my milkshake, it brings all the boys to the yard.

And lastly, my contribution - There's only one rule in my house - don't eat anything that smells like it has a yeast infection.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

View From A Mentalist: Jan 25, 2012

I haven't been able to convince my daughter to pick her camera up in a few days so I thought if I did this and showed her she might get back in the mood. So here goes.

Her brother two days ago doing his Gangsta thing. Actually not Gangsta at all - he likes trying on hats and clothes and prancing about. Make of that what you will.

I was using popcorn as a reward yesterday but neither of the kids ate it. Either it's a junk brand (new box) or their current state of mind of not eating anything even if it's in the Treat category is stronger than I thought. My daughter told me that a boy at school cried once when they all had popcorn because his parents had told him they were small rocks and he couldn't eat them until he was much bigger or they'd hurt his teeth. Madness.

My daughter's "difficult 7th album" - a death-reggae jazz-fusion remix album of Miles Davis numbers called Blue Spain. Possibly.

When my daughter makes her bed (I'd say that's about 50% of the time) she always puts this duck in there. She doesn't sleep with it. And she has lots of other stuffed animals in a toybox that she snubs regularly. But apparently this is part of the process.

I've been meaning to put this card back in the box for over a year. Which is shameful.I think her Blue Spain album should just feature her yelling/crooning  answers from Trivial Pursuit cards like a Mike Patton word-salad spazmotic thing.

Why? Why did she take this photo? Anyway this reminded me of the fact that seemingly everyone I know has told me at some point that they have dropped their phone into the toilet. Which I think means they were trying to take a photo. Which is unsavory. On the plus side I now know I don't have to clean this right now.

Me and the Oboe. He's miserable because he's not wearing my hat. Lately unless he's wearing some kind of accessory he behaves like he's completely under dressed.

Last one - my daughter took this and started going the Princess Bounce adventure time route. But after brainstorming and airing Princess Bounce and Daddies Bleeding Beans as a story title I suddenly became afraid for my safety.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The School Of Death

Apparently I'm giving my kids diseases via the institution of schools. 

Someone I know online elsewhere (who definitely won't be reading this) asked me if I think my kids are sicker because of my daughter being at school. I said yes and they gave me the, "so you see - there is literally nothing that home schooling wouldn't improve." Granted it is often annoying to have a perpetual cold. But the notion that germs = bad is flat out weird. It's not as if' I'm trying to give my kids unnecessary diseases by sending them to school. But this sort of suggests that just by sending my daughter to school and her picking up illnesses that I am being mildly abusive. Or at least neglectful. Which sounds like a thought process that Joseph Fritzl had at some point. I realized I was in a pointless conversation when I mentioned my wife brought this cold home. Then my friend hinted that I would have been the reason her children were harmed. Bizarre view of life that. 

What was more amusing about though is that lately I've been fighting with my daughter about her ignoring me and the massive amount of talking-back that she does. Yep - both ends of the spectrum there. I get either nothing or an explosive reaction. I'll do something very normal and without the slightest hint of meanness like ask her to help pick up the toys and she'll angrily respond, "NO! - I don't want to." Which is rude. Obviously this is just a testing phase and somewhat related to her own character and my parenting. And yet still as soon as she responds I still get the thought in my head that she's learned this off some snotty little shit at school. Probably while they were explaining you don't have to listen to your parents and sneezing all over her and giving her a stomach bug.

Moving on from getting my kids sick, I taught them a game this morning that I was very much the champion of. Basically it involved getting my dog all excited by giving him the signal that there's going to be something very exciting to lick. Once he was ridiculously jazzed up I then gave him free reign to lick the inside of my ear. The point of the game then is to see how long I could last before I couldn't take it any more. I got 28 seconds. My son couldn't get him to lick his ear at all and often ended up presenting his open mouth - which my dog was all for licking inside of. Leading me to draping my body over him like a human shield. My daughter managed about a second before rolling away. I realized that maybe this whole thing wasn't appropriate after my fourth go at a record time and the kids had buggered off to play another game without me noticing. Possibly around my second go.

Later on when I sent my daughter off to school my son - hitting some kind of record now - stepped in dog poo and then tried to wipe it off with his hands. Absolutely everywhere. Smudged in between his fingers like he was squashing plasticine. Last time we went outside when he could wear sneakers he stepped in it as well. So while I've enjoyed the temperate odd winter we're having I'm annoyed that my brain hasn't adjusted to compute in mud and dog shit.Now I hope it freezes so that cannot happen. Which it will by about 4pm.

All of which proves that we'd all pretty much be riddled with diseases, home school or not.

My Eye Looks Like a Philly Cheesesteak


I didn't escape. Apparently during the night someone tried to melt cheese in my right eye. At least that's what it looked like when I got up. Oddly it doesn't itch at all. No pain really either. It just looks like mozzarella. It's not making more though - I've been up a fair while and I'm not oozing cheese tears - which is a good thing.

My daughter is having a sensitive morning. So this will be brief. She doesn't want to be awake. Or out of bed. She won't stay in bed or try to sleep though. It's quite frustrating because she clearly just needs to sleep some more. Hopefully it won't quickly descend to that thing she did yesterday where she was trying to tell me something - got confused and forgot what it was - but definitely remembered that she was unhappy with me - therefore kept crying she was unhappy with me but had absolutely no idea why. That was not fun at all.

So now she just wants to lie on me. So I'm off to let her do that once she comes back from getting pillows. And keep her brother off her. He's in the OBOTRON SMASH!!! mood this morning too. When I got up early with him this morning he ran right through the living room into the kitchen and asking for crap to eat. That's never happened so who knows what he had in mind.

Alright - it's cuddling time.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Captain Cheesestick and The World's Stickiest Birth Cake

In spite of being sick we have still tried to play.

Most of the morning I admit to having the TV on too much. I tried in vain to feed my daughter things. She kept saying she was hungry but didn't want Oyster crackers - which was what I was giving her after puking this morning whilst asking for breakfast. It was quite odd actually - she took a sip of her drink and then just started emptying her stomach all over the floor. She didn't regurgitate or cough-puke - it was just all happening at the same time. I was standing holding her hair and she was still trying to ask what was for breakfast. After that she still kept asking for food. She wanted an English Muffin. Didn't eat it though. Same with some toast. Then she asked for dessert. Erm - no. We tried an apple and a banana but she gave it a courtesy nibble and then left them to rot before I salvaged the apple (for me) and the banana (for her brother). I cut the bit off her gob had touched on each first. So she asked for a hug and a Salami sandwich. It was only 9am by this point but she needed to eat something else. Especially as she'd completely gone in for being told to drink water and had 5 or 6 glasses.

She at the salami and didn't eat the bread at all. Her brother didn't eat his bread either. Although he did make a total mess of munching his salami and bit his own finger. To be fair I wouldn't eat that bread. I haven't been to our regular grocery store for a bit so haven't picked up the decent bread they sell. It actually feels like bread and - my wife assures me - taste like it as well. Instead I bought one loaf of Nature's Pride and one loaf of Arnold. Utter garbage they are. The US can claim it's way of life is superior over any other nation that it feels like - but I can assure you that bread here is terrible. There's no point having an entire aisle of choice when every single thing in it is absolute junk. When we lived in western NY there was a bakery that sold decent bread. A store 40 minutes from here also sells half-decent bread. And the stuff at my local place is decent. But the brand name stuff is complete shite. Think of the cheapest nastiest stuff that you can buy in Britain. That is still far far better than this stuff. Worse than that when it isn't on sale it's at least $4 as well. So you end up forking out $5.50 for crud. I bought these two loaves on sale granted, but I'm tempted to chuck the lot in the garbage and make a loaf of my own. Except with all of us possibly harboring a shitting disease I'm not too keen on that idea.

So after chucking some peanut butter on the old toast I'd made my daughter ate a third of it and said she wanted to wash windows. So my son and I sat around watching television and playing trains. In the middle of that my daughter asked with a little hope if we were going outside to play in the rain. Her attitude and whatnot is as perky as it can get. Which is weird. With that in mind I figured I should stop being sluggish myself - turned the TV off and we went upstairs to play Hide and Seek in my bed. My daughter - clearly driven mad by lack-of-sleep and having a completely empty intestine started screaming out storylines about Princess Bounce and Dr. Bonk. Dr. Bonk - normally her sidekick - had been turned mean when he got The Tickle Touch (probably a Catholic thing) and was now after me and her. Sadly I - Captain Cheesestick had been turned into a dog - now named Captain Woofstick. Which was thought of when my kids pulled the duvet back to find a very annoyed but stubborn dog who refused to get off the bed no matter what chaos occurred around him. Due to me being a dog Princess Bounce became my sidekick to fight off the evil Dr. Bonk and his Tickle Touch. All of which pretty much involved me hiding under the duvet and my kids wriggling around all over the place until I tickled them and then they ran away into a different room. Disturbingly my daughter kept yelling, "he's trying to get your birth cake!!" whilst fighting her brother off. I tried to get some more detail about what kind of monstrosity a birth cake may be and all she could muster was that it was, "very sticky." Well it would be wouldn't it? I'm declaring it as The Second Worst Cake Ever after urinal cakes.

My daughter had run off with her brother at one point into his room. Not feeling 100% I just lay in my bed under the duvet promising myself I wouldn't fall asleep. A few minutes later the kids came back in and my daughter started saying how she and Dr. Bonk had been making plans to get Captain Woofstick and steal his Birth Cake. and we played a little more and spent ten minutes just lying around looking out the window at the slush. After a little while my daughter asked if she could go downstairs and watch Thomas with her brother. Sure - he'll likely fall asleep and I can sit doing sod all at the same time.

Before we went down she took me into her brother's room to show me "the plan." I assumed she was just talking nonsense to be honest. But no she was dead on. In my son's room is the chalkboard easel my daughter got as a present. It's on rotation at the moment and will go to her room next month before probably coming downstairs in March to make it seem like a new thing to play with. My daughter showed me what she'd drawn/written on it and explained the plan. On it was a poorly drawn circle with an X through it. She told me, "the blob is a blueberry" - which apparently represented me. To top it off she explained the X was how she and her brother, 'plan to get rid of you today." Okay then. I'm a little annoyed that my vanity is stronger than my wish to remain alive, in that I'm more upset I'm depicted as a giant blueberry blob than them planning to eliminate me.

So I'll have to stay on my guard all day now. Right now my son is desperately rolling around on my lap trying to nod off. He could just stay still and do it but that apparently is too easy. My daughter is coloring in the kitchen. Hopefully she hasn't unknowingly vomited all over the place. Although if she did it would probably win this year's Tate Modern prize.

Captain Woofstick needs coffee.

The Common Cold, Ayahuasca and The Brown Beelzebub

We are all sick at the moment. Nothing particularly gruesome personally. But my wife is sick. She has the kind of cold where it actually feels like your head is decompressing and may implode. She still left for work just shy of 6am mind you.A real trooper she is. She doesn't want someone bringing plague and evil into her place of work. But she thankfully isn't one of these people that simply must see a doctor and miss work when the cold comes around. So she'll no doubt be charging around (or oozing about like a snail - complete with mucus trail) reading amusing empowerment slogans that are written on her throat lozenges and telling her employees that a missed day is a missed opportunity to kill the enemy. Well no - not the last bit. This isn't Britain circa World War II you know. This is America, where very little is going to stop the enemy - whoever they apparently are this week - from being killed.

My son is on the down-slope of his crusty eye thing. And he also Stage One of his mother's delightful cold. He didn't sleep after 1am (hence my wife didn't sleep - although she assures me she would not have anyway) and I got up with him at 3.45. He fell asleep at 6am but woke up about 20 minutes later. He's surprisingly spring-heeled this morning.

My daughter has the eye thing, but not so much. She is also embracing with open arms Stage One of the family cold. That must have been boring to her, so to make things interesting she spent part of the night and some of this morning projectile vomiting. And having violent attacks of diarrhea. The correct parlance for her would be the delightful, "coming out of both ends." Strangely though her mood is better than it's been for weeks. She's positively beaming right now. She's like those indigenous people of South America who give themselves psychedelic vomiting concoctions that cause them to hallucinate and vomit for 8 hours straight. Which frankly sounds terrifying to me. But they view it as a spiritual and physical cleansing and apparently are as joyous and jovial as my daughter is this morning. In between pooing, anyway.

I somehow don't have the eye thing. I do have the cold but am fortunate to have suffered through the most insanely evil cold of my life last year so am finding this one mild in comparison. Of any of us I'm probably prime candidate for catching a contagious vomiting illness seeing as after my daughter threw up (all over my bed) I lay down with her in her bed to comfort her back to sleep. Which she'd also thrown up in. I'm actually not certain if she threw up before and after I lay down with her. As in I lay down with her and my brain said, "you might want to check this bed too you know" and I didn't.

So mostly now I'm hoping the vomiting/pooing thing a) doesn't continue, and b) no-one else starts doing that. We've always been fortunate to have a short delay when a stomach bug works it's way through our family allowing someone to look after the rest of us. I've heard awful horrid tales from friends and acquaintances of entire families lying prostrate around their houses vomiting into towels, sheets and piles of clothing simply because there are just too many people currently vomiting and squirting The Brown Beelzebub into things that are more appropriate. I don't want that. My son though is rubbing it right in his sister's face (not literally thankfully) by calmly and causally pooping his well-formed not-sick-at-all concoctions into the toilet with a smile on his face. Let that continue please. When he gets that kind of sick it's horrendous.

Anyway it's time to explain - again - to my daughter why her logic that because she's sick she should get candy makes no sense at all.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Googly Eyed Weirdos

As some of you know Google seems to think that this humble blog is a hub of sorts for degenerate weirdos looking for all sorts of filth. People will search for something relatively simple and Google will shake it's little algorithm up and down and say, "what you want is this blog about raising kids." Which is ridiculous when you consider the number of people who have come here via the search term, "arse crack." Now I'm no detective, but I'm thinking that they were after something else. And why would Google send them to me? For the purposes of research I would like to point out there actually is website simply called arsecrack.com. That would seem a more likely candidate to throw their way surely? Weirder still is that I'll see a search that is bizarre and I'll Google it myself and I cannot find it. How deep into the searches did they go? I filter for images and blogs specifically and still nowt. It's very worrisome.

Of course people have said to me, "well maybe you should think about the types of things you're writing about and you wouldn't get weirdos." Well, yes I do hear what you're saying. But more, no - that's ridiculous. Me writing about something shouldn't lead to Google to deciding that because an entire post includes the words "cat," "finger," and "bottom" that this website should be offered as a prime candidate for curious feline botherers Googling late at night.

But that's not actually the thing that gets me. No - its that aforementioned pervs and nutters Google filth, Google gives them no doubt hundreds/thousands of matches including this site and yet they click on this instead of the ones they were clearly going for. I have only recently changed the name of this blog. It was very obviously not a shadow-front for degenerate filth before with a clever name designed to throw off The Fuzz. It was a Dad blog. I could forgive someone clicking on this title, but not before.

Anyway - some of it is genuinely odd, amusing and makes me laugh out loud. Some of it is just disgusting evil crap as well. I'm not reprinting what search terms those people tapped right into their Google search bar, but rest assured if I saw that if you lived with someone and found that they'd searched for just one of these things then you wouldn't live them for much longer.

Anyhoo - let's keep it light. Here are my favorite searches so far.

- Giraffe licking their snot
- Horrifying cat luggage
- arse worms
- where are my cheese nips (probably a Google Map search)
- "NCIS" and "puking"
- how do i get my daughter to stop telling me to stop interrupting her
- poopin site.blogspot.com (really? I'm a top search here?)
- Wife taking off pants
- snot toothpaste
- why the mother turtles cry when laying their eggs
- gypsy moth caterpillar (a real jackpot for Attenborough types apparently)
- peanut butter dog lick (a frightening number of people search for this)
- cow vulva
- boner being made
- is steve buscemi sick?
- rabies awareness magnets (actually I completely understand this one and have probably Googled that at least 20 times myself)
- between my daughter's toes (how vague a search is that?)
- Dan Savage son
- mommy has nice boobs (how old was the Googler here?)
- shitty sausage tackle freak dad lactating (yeah...)
- hot dogs with spam
- having an orgasm
- surprise show dog lick peanut butter
- bicycle going nowhere
- balls bashing/ball bashing (very different searches - same Google outcome)
- mix and match animal flip book template
- bicycle repair
- clean up on aisle number nine
- girl with collar sucking on a banana (I'm guessing a religious vegan search of some kind)
- mentalist dec (I think that's someone's actual name)
- pic of charlie brown hula hooping
- i want my russian teacher (to do what exactly?)
- thrift (really? that's one word - how does that get here?)
- things people have never done
- beef twinkies (you're picturing something right now and I know what it is)
- boob/boobs
- daddy frankenstein
- the wrong kind of eggs
- daddy makes the dog lick (I'm thinking they hit enter too early here)
- rabbit bendy toy
- my inlaws Asian fish needs a shit (okay then)
- do santas reindeer like carrots and ranch (that might be my daughter now I think about it)
- little people pooping octopus
- large pictures truffle shuffle boy
- look at that frosty goat
- "mark harmon" (what am I - TMZ?)
- bap bad
- chocolate milk and zoloft (a fine breakfast let me assure you)
- buckley balls
- grandpas nuts
- "clint dempsey" (boy were they disappointed)
- dead hand
- demon inch worm images
- santa claus degrading the school bike

and my current favorite

- Mexican chocolate stream

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Princess Bounce and The Finger Robots

"Daddy, I like when a snack doesn't taste like a finger."

Everyone got up sick today. I got up at 4am because my son was rattling. I thought if my wife wanted a few hours of noise-less alone time in the massive bed she could have it. Instead my wife got at 4am as well to take him to the bathroom, and then went straight off to work 5 minutes later so she could sneak in a decent 7-8 hours on a Saturday and still be home around lunchtime-ish. My son got up at 4am because he was awake, and being awake is a really great time to do stuff with trains. My daughter got up at 5am because no one else was in bed. Then I lay down with her (her brother came in and out a few times) and she drifted off but in the end got up at 5.40am. At which time she complained that her throat hurt a lot, that she had a nasty cough (yep), crusty eyes and - perhaps worst of all - The Monster That Licks Armpits was hiding in the bed with her. "No he isn't - he's gone" I tried. She kept it up. "No really - he isn't under there." He was though.

Anyway - we all got up and did the usual. Which was eat oatmeal. Today the kids chose Peaches and Cream. Although my daughter insisted on calling it cow's milk all morning. Being a breastfed girl she hadt o learn to differentiate between types of milk, so not sure why she was calling it cow's milk. Anyhoo - they had two bowls each.

After that a terrible event occurred. My daughter alerted me to the fact that Wiggle and Waggle - two pet fingers that she has (bare with me here) were missing. Their bed - where they should be sleeping at this time of day was empty.

If you're having any difficulty at all picturing Wiggle/Waggle nestled up in bed - here's a recreation we made when we alerted the police.

Obviously we'd all like to thank Nigel the Nostril Fiddler for playing the part of Waggle in this recreation. Anyway - the police were hopeless. They seemed to think we were wasting their time. Presumably they had mailman to arrest or some such madness. While we searched everywhere for Wiggle and Waggle my daughter came up with some evidence. Which was this -:

I assumed it was a The World's Tinniest Man's biggest ever snowball. Apparently not. My daughter informed me it was actually the pupa that finger's lay before they turn into robots. Seriously - she came up with that. Hallmarks of a serial killer or someone who tries to start a cult in Joshua Tree right there. Or - and this is unlikely - someone who just read a book about butterflies ten minutes before we started playing this.

Anyway - moving on. We searched everywhere (on this side of the living room) for Princess Bounce and Dr. Bonk. But the only person we found was a little racing car driver named Levar who told us that he would tell us where they were if we gave him some pink milk. So we did and he told us they were at The Other Couch.

Obviously here we plowed on across the room to The Other Couch. First though my daughter had to take a break and go to the bathroom. Where she unfortunately informed me that she'd "made it your favorite color" and I had to express some sort of gratitude for it. Shrugging off questions about if there's a name other than light-brown for a that color poo (I offered beige and tan before realizing I didn't want to carry on with color-coding my daughter's feces) I managed to get her focused back on the notion that we were looking for Princess Bounce and Dr. Bonk so they could - in turn - help us find Wiggle and Waggle before the Finger Robots get them.

Before we'd even stepped a foot we met resistance. That being Derrek the Banana Giraffe (not a giraffe - as you can see) and Henry the Overtly Flamboyant Lion.

They didn't offer much of a test for us though and we simply hit them with a book about Pinocchio. At which point the lights went out (I threw a blanket on my daughter) and we realized it was a trap. When I came to my daughter was missing (giggling behind the chair near the front door) and my son hd run off to the toilet. I managed to take this photograph before passing out again though (also known as realizing my son usually runs off to the toilet alone to attempt doing the whole thing alone and - not being big enough at all - ending up commuting a Browncident that he can't cope with).

I'm still unconscious now (for the purposes of continuity of storyline). Or - more accurately - my daughter has buggered off upstairs to play with her Dora The Explorer cash register and try on dungarees.

I Remember When

I thought maybe once a week I might put up some photos that my wife and I took around about this week over the last few years. Probably most of these will be of my kids because I don't recall ever taking a photograph before I had children. Now I realize that a few people have told me, "Dude - nobody is coming to your blog to look at photographs of your kids." Oh really? You should see some of the search terms that people Google to get here. Some people can't believe their luck when this stuff comes up - trust me.

Anyway - here goes.

This would be this morning at just after 5am. I'm dressed quite a bit like a bloke (ha!) in a towel ready to wash people's feet from a book I put up here awhile back. Ridiculous to compare - he didn't have a pink sweater - but there you go.

So this is January four days ago 2011. This says everything you'd need to know about my kid's personalities.

Again this time last year - my daughter learned to ice skate in a shockingly short amount of time. Her Uncle taught her on the frozen lake out back of the in-laws house. She learned to ski as well last year.

This was January this weekend 2010. This was the first Winter my daughter really liked. There was a TON of snow that year. This is at the in-laws house again.

Same weekend. Oh yes - free icicles. My son now wears all these clothes outside and I get flashbacks. 

This weekend in 2009. My daughter had thwacked her lip on the floor so had that going for her. She was also showing that she really liked dressing up. We were living in a rental in Floyd, NY back then.I think I should put my son in this kilt and photograph him.

And same time 2009. After this we made her clean out the septic tank and shovel the driveway. 

Speaking of which - this was three days ago 2009. Look at that smiling face - it's almost as if he understands.

Knowing how much people like photos of babies dribbling on things - here's my daughter today in 2008. We were still living in Bristol in England when this was taken.

Most of the photos before 2008 that I have are in the Spring and Summer. And I have lots of oldero nes that are around Fall. But this onehas a date of Jan 2, 2006 on it so it's a real treat for you. I'm hoping to get lots of Google traffic for Sepia Englishman's Arse after this.