Saturday, March 31, 2012

Funderpants Friday

So lets finish the excitement that is decorating paper underpants.

We spent a brief (pun of the day, that - no question about it) time goofing about with this yesterday. Mostly my daughter was more excited with hiding plastic Easter eggs around the house, then rabidly announcing to me that the Easter Bunny had been and that it was time for an egg hunt. Of course my daughter would forget - each time - where she'd hidden an egg and become frustrated that her collection was getting smaller. Then she'd expect me to actually find them. Which sounds easy enough - but when you consider that she'd hidden one inside a toilet-paper tube in the bathroom cupboard then you start to get some idea of how tricky this was. My son, bless his little dirty face, was also Gung-ho for this game. But instead of hiding the eggs cleverly around the house he tended to bury his entire pile of eggs under a blanket a foot away from where he started. Then he would come and get me and then yell, "SURPRISE!!!" once he'd immediately uncovered them.

But in the afternoon we did decorate underpants. My daughter was less enthusiastic about doing it herself, but more enthusiastic about me making them for her. Which I will only do for one more day. It's probably true that this wanders into weirdo territory when my daughter isn't even involved in it and I charge into the living-room hoping for approval for my latest pair of sparkly paper underpants. Anyhoo - here goes.

This would be the original template that she brought home from school. So those of you who asked why I picked old-fashioned briefs - I didn't - the teacher at school had spent hours printing out pages of little children's underpants at home late one night. See - nothing weird at all. 

And before we get going - here's my son's contribution. These are his Jackson Pollock pants. The briefs really are underneath all that spasmodic scribbling. I now hope to visit an art gallery and loudly declare with disdain that whichever Pollock they have displayed looks no better than my son's underpants.

These are my daughter's main solo-contributions to yesterday.I like how she stuck a gold star in the middle of the snowflake on the left pair. Also my daughter really liked the idea that if you were hungry and realized that you were not wearing your gravy underpants, that you could reach down to your crotch, press a button and tow candy canes would fall out of the leg holes. Delicious.

Success and failure here. They look tame and okay from a distance. So let's also take a close-up.

I've labeled this as Children Of The Groin on my computer. It seemed appropriate as a description at the time, but I best change that I think. Perhaps to World Of War Pants. I can't help but hear Peter Gabriel singing, "Suki plays with Leo, Sacha plays with Britt. Adolf builds a bonfire, Enrico plays with it." when I look at these though. You might think that is a clever depiction on my part of the childish nature of war and the lamentation of Enrico Fermi's development of nuclear weaponry. It is a bit - but it's probably just because he says the word, "willy' in that song.

Speaking of which - these underpants are next to the World of War Underpants. It's supposed to be a picture of a pterodactyl that my daughter asked me to drawer. Instead it looks like a horrifying disfigured zombie penis. With eyes. Actually I imagine this is what the willy of that thing that lives in someone's chest in Total Recall looks like. I don't imagine it too often though.

Quickly moving on - these are my most and least favorite I think.On the left you may recognize a classic - a depiction of me from an old drawing my daughter made of me as she sees me (complete with some sort of radiating confusion waves) from about 9 months ago. Classic stuff. Yes I drew that per my daughter's request. On the right is some hodge-podge of American sports ephemera on a pair of underpants. Which only serves to remind me that some people are so weird about their chosen teams that they do actually buy special underpants for five times the normal price just so they can have say Mark Sanchez's face twitching awkwardly on their groin all day long. I'm not too impressed with these underpants save for the fact that all the stickers are sports related except one on the backside of the helmet which is of a squirt of water. It's possibly motivational - I simply don't know.

Anyhoo - here's my portrait close up. I do have this uncomfortable fear that someone will make these now, and randomly use the flap on male underpants to have a pee. Ergo leading to me seemingly having one of the worms from Tremors eruting out of one of my ears.

Okay last pair. I'm responsible for the one's on the left, and my daughter for the other pair. We are going to need to see these closer so...

My daughter's Achievement Underpants. She liked my suggestion that each labeled sticker could be pressed and a hidden device in the lining would say the words out loud. I sort of did too - until I realized the implications meant that if my daughter were wearing them and felt pleased with herself she would likely stand up in front of everyone, whip her pants off and then start prodding buttons on her underpants to express her pride.She probably does that now if I'm honest.

And lastly, the most esoteric pair from yesterday. These have everything. And by that I mean everything that a pair of underpants should not have. As in insects, food and a massive hand in them. My daughter wanted me to glue a blue hand to a pair so I did. I thought it'd be fun to have them reaching out from inside, but that sounded like it needed thought and skill to look good. So instead I just glued it right on the front. Then she picked out the stickers. Which, if you can't tell, are a devil-horns metal hand, a white smiley face, a small ant and (my favorite) a hot dog. They'll be selling these in Marks and Spencer's soon I'll bet.

It's a knockout.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Underpants Challenge

I'm not done here obviously.

Oh - hello by the way. Yes I disappeared for awhile. Had some things to do. I'm sure you did as well. In the time I've been away my wife and son had birthdays, we had some bizarre heat-wave, everyone in my family had the flu (the real one where you can't move and the thermometer threatens to wander into 105 degree territory), I lost quite a bit of weight in a shockingly short amount of time, and some other stuff happened too. I did what I had to do (mostly - still doing some of it) and am using this forum to reach out to the wide world of strange people that seem fascinated with my family. I've missed you all. Well - except the bunch of people who Google sent here after searching for "actual ringworm" and "naked manly leprechaun." You people are odd. The rest of you though - I love you all in a very very inappropriate way.

More importantly than all that nonsense though is that my daughter and I have recently begun our wonderful Underpants Collections. This was prompted by her letter of the week at school being a U, and her bringing home a drawing of underpants that each child was asked to drawer. So instead of being ravished with fake-outrage and threatening the school with a civil lawsuit for getting the kids to make paper underpants my daughter and I decided to start our own artwork collections that we may or may not turn into wallpaper. It basically involves drawing lots and lots of templates of underpants (briefs to be precise) and then decorating them in whichever manner tickles our fancy.

First up are a pair I came up with. Those being the Chock Full O' Nuts Underpants on the left, and the "I wish they existed" Gravy Underpants. Both are products ready made for the somewhat fading Scratch and Sniff market, I feel.

My daughter's first contributions are these beauties. On the left we have the rather delightful Well Done At School Underpants. I'd be somewhat disturbed if my daughter got those for a reading prize or some such business. On the right though we have the Ice Skating Underpants. Very fetching.

Next we have my daughter's Snacktime Underpants on the left, and on the right some Angry Birds Underpants. I bet they actually make these already.

The Snacktime Underpants are superb and warrant a close-up. I made some snarky remark about some, "meat and two veg" underpants. Truly high-brow stuff there. My daughter told me she wanted some fruit and vegetable underpants but needed help drawing them. She then thought it would be really great if they were edible ones. But not in a shitty Ann Summers nature - more like a Willy Wonka three-course meal majestic pair of knickers. The dab of ranch dressing (I swear that's what it is...) is a touch of genius if you ask me.

These are not my favorite ones, but good enough. On the left we have the Looks A Bit Like Victor Meldrew Underpants. And on the right we have the Patriot-Pants selection. The small details are the mark of quality here. That being the slight change in star color on the Patriot Pants in the, "something might be dribbling" area on the bottom right. Classy.

And these are all my work. I'm capitulating to the absurd Everything Must Be In 3D!! craze that has gripped Hollywood over the last year or so. On the left we have a nice friendly face - complete with eyes that follow you about the room like a pair of haunted underpants. And on the right is the real surprise. They look like a simple but fethcing pair of snowflake/ice underpants. But don your pair of 3D glasses and voila! - a massive icicle appears to be thrusting forth out of the center of the sweet spot. Cracking stuff.

We are planning to add to our delightful collection throughout the day today. My daughter already has ideas for Easter Egg Underpants. Stay tuned obviously.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The End


Thought it best to point out earlier rather than later that I won't be updating this anymore. It's run it's natural course. Been fun while it lasted though. Thanks for reading.


March 29 2012

Of course it isn't the end because I started writing again. Sorry for appearing melodramatic. But there were reasons. Hope you have something to read here from now on too!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

View From A Mentalist: March 7, 2012

Well it's been ages since one of these. But early this morning and yesterday morning my daughter has wandered about the place taking the odd photo. I told her she was a reporter like Geronimo Stilton to promote interest. She didn't seem to put the two together - but if I can make the link we can also make our own newspapers too for fun. At least that will be my excuse if I'm ever caught taking photos through the neighbors windows. Apparently if you are a member of the gutter press you can violate all kinds of privacy and decency laws in the name of Knowledge.

First up - here's Shayla Love Love Decency Rocket Boosters. Nope - it wasn't a fleeting thing at all. Early this morning and after we came back in my daughter carried around a basket with a baby in it singing the Shayla Love Love part of that name. For some odd reason this prompted me to tell her the story about Moses in a basket. Blank expression and statement of, "well I'm not going to throw my baby in the river." Probably the best option there.

Yep - nuts and money. Which sounds like the equivalent name for Forbes Magazine for squirrels. Or the name of a very dodgy male strip club.

The Fish. My son likes to shove this about the house like it's a train or car. I have asked him if it has a name - but it just sounded like he answered, "Cheese." Which actually is what he seems to say quite a bit when he doesn't know the name of something.I thought about askign my daughter, but given her proclivity for LSD-fueled hippy names for things I was frankly terrified she'd come back with Lucy Wing-Wang Fudge Sniffer, or some such madness.

The angle of this is intentional. It's a head-band thing my daughter made at school that has Humpty Dumpty on it. She made it for the letter E. She says that the picture has to be like this so he'll definitely fall off the wall. Makes sense.

I made her take this (I think this is the fourth attempt). I did that because we were reading her book about identifying various animal feces you may have come across in Acadia National Park (Google is going to crucify me for that choice of words) and we saw this otter. I thought he looked suitably irritated. So I asked her what it was and she knew it was an otter (because I'd just said) but offered up, "otter scat?" Perfect.

I don't know what this is. It's probably a CD trying to look like a vinyl record. But I don't know. My daughter said it looks like an eye. But then that means she may have cornered some scary demon in our house and then photographed it.

Lovely.This might just look like a photo of a toilet roll to you. But it isn't. Because she went into the bathroom and then five minutes later yelled, "Daddy I need help wiping!!" And then right after she told me she was done taking pictures. I didn't look at that photo for over a day terrified at what she may have taken a picture of. Thankfully it was this. But it's likely that she took it mid-link.


Mud Stinkers

"Daddy you're making me smell."

It's getting up to 60 degrees today. It barely crossed 32 yesterday. Welcome to Mud Season. Most people avoid the slop  my in-laws deliberately drive 2000 miles away to avoid it. But not us - we embrace it like farmyard pigs. So at 9am this morning I got the kids dressed for outside, grabbed some tools and we went over to Woodchip Mountain to get our slop on. Partly to avoid my daughter asking to play Angry Birds, and partly to try and chase this current cold out of our bodies with a little Puritan work-ethic. Last year I cleared a chunk of the woods out back and turned it into grass. I'm doing the same again this Spring with another little bit of yard. So I cut down a tree, hacked through some brush, raked up the ground and generally farted about thinking that I could totally do the farmer thing. As long as it only required me to do this for two and a half hours or so, anyway. My kids rolled down Woodchip Mountain, stomped and dug in the mud, rolled in last years leaves, and generally went a-wanderin' all over the back yard.

I figured I'd take pictures earlier rather than later. That way when I was covered in crap and needed to keep them where I could hose them down I could. Here's Oboe showing that his dainty, "Oh Noes!! The Jelly Is On My Finger!!" daintiness means squat when it comes to mud. 

And my daughter is half girl/half hog.

This is delightful too. I like how The Doodle is alert and aware that something somewhere is wrong - but still hasn't realized that it is all over my daughter's arse. I should keep this one for her when she starts dating. Which would appear to be looming sooner rather than later seeing as she was marching about the house this morning yelling, "GET YOUR FREE BABIES HERE!!" She's going to be quite popular around these parts with that attitude.

Oh - and as a point of reference - yesterday I got a snap of the daffodils and snow drops coming up through the snow.

At one point after a few hours we bumped into a new neighbor. He bought a chunk of land that touches mine, and right before we were due to go back in the house I noticed he and some other blokes were stood right off my property stake. So I deliberately walked over to say hi. I had mentioned on the way over to my daughter that we'd be quick because I didn't want her going to school all dirty and smelly. Oddly the neighbor didn't give much of a toss that I'd come over to say hello. Initially he was kind of rude, but then I played the chirpy English, "life is fantastic!" buffoon that Hugh Laurie used to do so well years ago, and the guy mellowed out. Randomly when I was about to say our goodbyes - with my son hiding in my shoulder and my daughter climbing my leg like a monkey (and repeatedly grousing that she was tired/hungry/bored) - my daughter loudly stated, "Daddy, you are making me smelly." Time to go then. I made a joke about spraying her off with a hose and dousing her with tick powder like at the start of old prison movies - but now my over-exuberant Englishness made it sound like it was probably likely that was how us foreign-types wash.

Lastly - I capitulated on something I had been taking a stand on. And I'll happily admit I was completely wrong. I have mostly avoided giving my kids peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches. Sounds disgusting to me. I've made salami or ham and cheese sandwiches instead mostly. But then they started leaving the bread. Which is not only a waste of bread and money but is bloody annoying when they say their hungry btu won't eat the bread. Today I asked my daughter what she wanted and she said PB&J. Her and her brother ate two of them - every inch of it.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Littlewoods Bellybutton Rock Climber

Shayla Love Love Decent Rocket Boosters.

That right there is the name my daughter has given to her future baby. Late yesterday she was explaining to her mother that she is never going to move out and is going to grow her baby at home with us (and presumably the father). I should point out here that she was immediately talking about a friend at school who is a boy (a boy-friend, if you will) prior to launching into a mission statement about babies. She came up with the name Shayla instantly too - as if she already has that tattooed on her person somewhere. Shayla is a female equivalent of aforementioned boy's name. My wife then pushed for a potential middle name and after a quick scan through her memory my daughter offered Love Love. Evidently she's planning on having an LSD baby. Somehow over the muffled laughing my wife managed to ask her if she was serious and she came back with the extended Shayla Love Love Decent. I quickly asked at which local establishment exactly would this girl grow up to dance at. That name has high-heels and Velcro-fastened glittery-shirts written all over it.

I'm thinking that my daughter realized that Shayla Love Love didn't sound as classy out loud as it did in her head, so threw in the word Decent to point out that this is no low-class stripper name. This is the future name of the first female President of English (or whatever the name of this silly country is we currently live in). My wife ran off the full name out loud a few times - but along with our surname too. My daughter angrily rejected that she would have our last names and that she'd choose something else. My wife explained that she's likely to take on the name of her future husband - a concept my daughter thought was ridiculous. As in absolutely insanely stupid. At which point she said she'd chosen the last name of Rocket Boosters for herself and her future children. Who would all live in the dilapidated, collapsing aircraft hanger that is decaying on the back of my property. Evidently she's planning on starting some sort of commune.

For my own part I've actually come up with a realization that either marks me as a genius or dangerously insane. I was sorting through the kids toys yesterday and remarking (to the dog really - he's the only mildly supportive one here) that it seems weird that so much money is spent on marketing and child-development research - and yet the focus seems to be branding as the big thing. My daughter get's intensely obsessed with different themes, ideas and kid's things and can entertain herself for day's by inventing magical games based around that. I presume all kids are like that. But toy companies abuse that whole idea by branding shite and then making it some weird pissing contest where kids need to have the same vile, generic tat as the other kids they know. Girls get pink, princess/slapper-related white-rich-girl crap, and boys get marines, guns, cars and superhero crap. It's articulated sort of well by this (and yes - it's obvious she's mimicking her parents constant rantings) video that I'm sure a lot of you have seen already.

Go to a store and you will see that an awful lot of boys toys involve gunning down others whilst wearing some sort of desert-camouflage motif - suggesting that there was some statistical chance that six yer old boys may be called into battle. Girl-specific toys are putrid. It's just a sea of babies, some weird princess-ideal based around shopping, and oceans of pink. Girl's in books (especially) are often hyper-gendered vacuous princesses in silk/lace dresses sitting around drinking tea hoping someone will show up to lift something heavy and do manly things. So jarheads and airheads. In other words - both sets of idealized genders are total arseholes. Luckily my family have come this far by being cheap and avoiding this mostly. My daughter did have a brief dalliance with some frou-frou princess thing at Christmas that someone got for her - but mostly the kids play with whatever they can make a game out of. Hence my son playing with a toy baby yesterday.

And here's where I reveal myself to be mental. I was upstairs the other getting ready for a bath. My son had brought up his favorite train. Before a bath we all play Hide and Seek (our version) in my bed while the bath fills up. Usually we are all primed for bath time - so are just in underwear and screaming about The Egg-Sniffing Elephant trying to get us, therefore we best hide under the covers. My son - still holding his train - kept stabbing me in the bellybutton and one of my nipples. It was driving me mental. Anytime my son sees belly buttons or nipples he simply has to prod them. I've mentioned this to other parents and it's a universal truth apparently. Belly buttons especially have some sort of hypnotizing ability to put children in a trance. It saddens me greatly to know that my children won't spend countless hours - as we did - rifling through their parent's Littlewoods catalog and giggling innocently that you can see the ladies' bellybuttons in the underwear section.

Anyhoo - the nipple-shoving became annoying so I got up to get in the bath. My son - spotting an opportunity - then tried to pull my willy like a monk yanking on a church bell rope (I realize here that I'm creating a visual that suggests my nether-regions are not only 30 feet long, but also are so publicly musical that when "activated" the entire neighborhood can hear it). I then began the strange epileptic-peacock dance I've perfected to confuse him in order to prevent him from poking this, yanking that or (heaven forbid) trying to poke my bottom.

The point here is that my son was holding his favorite toy in the entire world - and yet it is infinitely less exciting than jabbing his finger into belly buttons, nipples or even, "the Dutch Region" as I've oddly taken to calling everything below the waist but above the thighs. And it isn't because it's me at all. I'm not hysterically funny to look at so simply must be poked to see if it's all real. If his mother or sister had a bellybutton exposed he's be over to jam his finger into it like a shot. Frankly I'm frightened to take him to a beach this Summer for fear of him violating random strangers. I'm not even kidding here. I still recall the heavy sense of dread I felt last time we were in the changing rooms at our local YMCA swimming pool and I saw him thinking about poking a strange old man's bottom who was getting dressed three feet away from us.

What I'm trying to say here is I think we are missing a huge opportunity to not only promote child development, but also to embrace the truth that the human body is an innocent, natural thing that we shouldn't automatically equate with dirty, naughty, dirty, wonderful sex. Which is why I am going to write to the large toy and children's book manufacturers around the country with my idea for products literally covered in bellybuttons and nipples. I don't mean touch-and-feel stuff either - that makes absolutely no sense and are the kinds of books I don't want anything to do with. I mean instead of radio-dials, buttons and knobs they should put on a nipple or a belly button. A child will see it instantly and poke it. The possibilities are endless. No longer will a parent be frustrated at having to constantly interrupt whatever activity they are doing to press the On/Off button of something because a child can't find it. Imagine it - little battery operated toys fixed with a useful bellybutton. Teaching your child piano? Welcome to the Nipple Piano. And best of all - trying to get your young three year old to climb that rock wall? A wall covered in nipples and the appropriately placed wanger will see your little one climbing like a chimpanzee in a week.

Of course that will never sell in a country so frightened of the human body as the US. You can show Jack Bauer torturing people with a pen, or people being gruesomely murdered on network TV - as long as there are awesome explosions and rich people at least. You can glorify the worst behavior - celebrating greed, excess, arrogance and violence - but any hint of a nipple and the whole country is in uproar. Bizarre how 60% of the human body has been declared a vile, sexual, pit of addictive lust by people who espouse treating each other without any hint  of perverse lust and see the human body as a perfectly natural innocent thing.

Now if you will excuse me - Shayla Love Love Decent Rocket Boosters mother is demanding oatmeal.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Woast Weef and Wegetables

""Don;t be rude Daddy - winkles are Daddies' naughty bits."

This week at school my daughter is focusing on the letter W. So presumably they'll make a whale mask, spray whipped-cream from a can directly into their mouths (actually they'll probably just mainline directly into their femoral arteries), play some whack-a-mole and then sing celebratory songs about how George W. Bush's presidency was an idealistic golden age. I ran through a list of possibilities with my daughter about snacks that begin with W. Waffles are too cumbersome. Walnuts are too expensive. Watermelon is horrifying. Woast Weef and Wegetables is patently a ridiculous suggestion (though one my daughter really hopes is true - as long as they are actually Trolli Candies that look like food). The chance of the teacher showing up with a freaking huge order of BK Whoppers is unlikely too. Whipped cream on a cake was my daughter's suggestion - which I'm thinking it most likely. Winkles or whelks are never going to appear. My wife chipped in with Waldorf salad and a Western omelet. She's not very good at this clearly. In the end I'm betting on Wheat Thins. $3 a box and loads of the min there. Probably make a sandwich out of a Twinkie with two Wheat Thins jabbed into it like a harpooned seal.

Actually I also suggested a wooly mammoth. Then was astonished when my daughter didn't know what that was. It then dawned on me that all these dinosaur shows, books and whatnot are on and they barely ever show a wooly mammoth. Missed opportunity there.

Last night at dinner my son was kept whooping at us like he thought either I or my wife was Ricki Lake. Which I think was a very subtle hint from him that I had the same rotundness and look of discomfort she had in her "look at me all naked and having a baby!!" video after I'd eaten about a pound of root vegetables. Mostly though I'm hoping we just ecstatic due to the Sunday dinner that we'd all prepared. That would be nice. I for one was happy that my daughter was willing not only to try custard but also that she claimed to like it. She agreed to try it as my wife told her it was English. She gave the, "well it has to be awesome then" face. My wife then told her it was Birds Custard. I would have gone with the, "it's made by birds" situation there. Instead my daughter refused to believe that that main ingredient in it was the generic, "birds." She still at it all though.

I haven't mentioned this in awhile for good reason - but my son simply doesn't have any bathroom accidents any more. If he needs to go he let's me know. He's trained his bladder and sphincter like a Russian gymnastic coach trains a 12 year old girl. There is no better not-even-two-years-old toilet-control than him. However, last Sunday and yesterday he was sat on his mother and wet himself. As in he did it on purpose. He didn't notify her. He didn't give her any indication. He was just so relaxed and happy to have her home that he wasn't prepared to change the situation in any way. It's particularly odd that he had only done this on a Sunday. It's likely just circumstance that it's the Lord's special day. But I've decided that my son is actually trying his own arm at walking on water. Actually he'd have to be standing for that claim to have any merit - as opposed to usually lying down on his mother before letting his mighty waterfall gush out of him. 

This morning I'm trying to change our routine and do more active things. My daughter has tried to lay claim to my computer at all times of the day now. At first she was playing Poisson Rouge or PBS Kids, but now she is all about Angry Birds (no - I'm not linking it) via my wife's Facebook. I'd let her have a half hour in the morning and  if I needed atime to cook or clean - half an hour in the afternoon. Now she just wants to camp out on it like those people on forums you know that are always on. I'm opposed to her life becoming about sitting down and trying to twat a green pig with a small bird. For now that is my wife's downtime activity. Years ago she had a quick go at a Super Mario game on N64 and she didn't speak, move or eat for a week. Now she's working 60 hours a week (at least) then coming home and directing her red-hot focus onto Angry Birds. As in she must achieve the absolute best she can achieve on each go. I'll pretend at this point that I hold no truck with the entire thing.

So this morning the kids and I wrestled, danced (I won, obviously), took a break to make a fish collage and then we ran around in the fluffy snow outside. I think this may be the end of my son's only remaining pair of lined-jeans that he has. One more wash or ninja-demonstration from him and they'll probably let go. And I'm not letting him go the full early-90s ripped denim look. Although he does own some flannel shirts and a denim jacket. But frankly I don't have the time or energy to be looking for heroin for him and then listening to him endlessly whining on and on about his poetry.

Anyhoo - the snow was that ultra-fluffy stuff that is no good for sledding or snowballs. For reasons only known to my daughter she insisted on referring to her brother as, "the VIP" during the entire time outside. The wind made it too cold to be out there though so we only lasted about half an hour. After that my daughter went upstairs to, "be alone" (probably smoking and on the phone with boys) while my son played with a toy baby. He's seen it before but it was like a brand new thing to him. He just kept picking it up and saying, "baby!" He'd poke it in the eye, take it for a cart ride, show it his trains and even tried to get it to wear his slippers.

After a bit his sister came down and helped him to introduce it to other things. She then decided that she wanted to play with it so swapped it for a train. Did that deter my son? Not even slightly. He then went through the entire process again of anthropomorphizing the train. He feed it some fruit, made it play with a balloon and then he brushed it's hair (actually it's funnel - but that sounds kind of groin-y) with a hairbrush. My daughter narrated the whole thing. Mostly she said out loud the list of silly things that he ate that aren't actually food. So a balloon, the hair brush, a blanket and one of the other trains (that would be a cracking new evil twist in the Thomas stories by the way). "Thomas loves to eat binoculars Daddy!" she'd say. My son would then seek out something else and feed him that. I was half-listening after awhile until my daughter said, "Thomas loves to eat Jews Daddy!!" Turns out she actually said shoes.  Two very different story-lines there. For a split second I must confess I tried to remember if we did actually have any Jews, and where where I might be keeping them. If I really had to name a place that I'd keep them it would probably be the basement. You'd probably have gone for the dining room, but the cat spends a lot of time in there and they might have allergies.

Right - the boy wants to show me how his train can wear snow boots.

Slip N Slide

We're all feeling a little under the weather this morning. So I tried the age-old method of chasing off a cold by wearing wool, dragging my kids around in a blanket and getting oddly sweaty at 7.30am in the morning.And please - don't be too terrified at my bottom repeatedly advancing toward you at great speed. Although if you have 3D glasses I would advise not putting them on.

I apparently have to take part in a Dancing/Crushing/Bean Bag Daddy Stack competition now. I might take the wool off for that.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Green With Anger

"Where Leprechauns come from they don't want to do any work at all."

As you all know yesterday was March 17th. Well - it wasn't obviously. That's fifteen days away. But for reasons that are entirely alien to me my daughter's Pre-K school class had a wall-to-wall day of St. Patrick's Day madness. According to her school calendar she was supposed to be learning about the letter E and eating Hormel snack products - because Hormel has an E in it. However when I arrived to pick her up from school what I found were a lot of very irritated kids stood at the end of a massive rainbow that they'd made.

If you don't live in the US - or in a part of it that genuinely doesn't give a toss - St. Patrick's Day is as cheap, fake and boorish as Valentines Day. As in everyone dresses in green, says that they are Irish for the day, eats corned beef (hilariously assuming it's the Irish national dish) has some involvement in a parade (in which swathes of people who patently aren't Irish at all claim tenuous links to Irish ancestry march in), buy very-vaguely related crap that's allegedly related to the over-arching theme, and then gets drunk to celebrate the whole thing. It's very unseemly. Not because it's Irish at all but because it's just brazenly commercial and false in every way. People rant and rave about how Hallmark invented and raped the notion of Valentines Day for grotesque profit - but it has nothing on St. Patrick's Day. And if you have no desire to become involved - as I tend not to - then you have to answer a series of questions from people who have absolutely no idea about the nuances of Irish/British national identity about why you have a problem.

I love Ireland. It's a wonderful place with a fantastic history. If I could live anywhere in the entire world it would either be Quebec City, New Zealand or Galway. Seems like a fantastic place to go to avoid the rush of the modern world and just get on. And nobody makes me laugh like Dylan Moran and Tommy Tiernan - especially when they're ribbing the English. Which is sort of why I can't bring myself to celebrate a day that has absolutely nothing to do with Ireland involving people who can't name a single city in the entire country. Inevitably someone will mention that, "everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day!" I tend to respond in two ways. Firstly by pointing out that I'm not Irish on any given day. Secondly by pointing out that you're unlikely to find an Irishman (a real one) who will ever claim that, "everyone is English on St. George's Day." It's nothing to do with animosity or latent bigotry at all. It's just a silly notion. It's like having a day in February for Black History Month where everyone who isn't pretends to be African American - but does so by using clumsy stereotypes and just buying cheap shit to celebrate it. In fact  if you were a nation of people who didn't like Ireland at all and wanted to mock it publicly - it would look an awful lot like the way St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in the North East of the US. It's just such a strange paean to Ireland in my view.

Anyhoo - I arrived at school to find a bunch of kids stood at the end of a rainbow. What then transpired troubled me greatly. The kids had been told to go put their coats and snow-boots on. During which time one of them angrily told me that while they were at the school library today a leprechaun broke into the classroom and poured all their blocks all over the floor. Smiling I met eye with another child who grimaced with rage about, fists clenched, as if it to say, "those absolute bastards ruined our day...." I asked the teacher's aide if it was St. Patrick's Day (knowing it wasn't) whilst remarking that the very day before had been St. David's Day in Wales and struggled to remember which day at the end of April was St. George's Day. Obviously I was met with the reaction everyone gives you who isn't Welsh at that point - which would be that absolutely nobody gives a shit about St. David. At all. Added in was that because I'm English and had said something that an American didn't really understand they giggled like a school girl and just mumbled and nodded hoping I wouldn't keep talking. Recovering quickly the aide then replied to my original question by saying about whether it was actually St. Patrick's Day by saying, "not at all!" and smiling some more. Which I think meant that doing a St. Patrick's Day thing on a random non-St. Patrick's Day day made it ten times the fun.

Whilst consciously deciding to let the randomness wash over me another kid angrily told me about the leprechaun vandalism in the classroom. This was followed closely by another of the mob that chimed in with, "yeah...." as they fomented with borderline rage. Another child angrily remarked that, "all leprechauns do is make a mess." I openly said - smiling myself but not really joking - that, "wow! you all seem unnaturally angry about this." At which point I was then met with a barrage of what one might allege were lazy stereotypes about a nation of people that another different nation of people really didn't like. Hence the, "where leprechauns come from they don't want to work at all." This was backed up instantly by my own daughter yelling that, "leprechauns don't even want to work." Which reminded me of a Tommy Tiernan monologue about how he remembered living in Dublin not so long ago before the Irish Boom and, "people couldn't get a job even if they wanted one." Another kid chimed in with, "leprechauns really like kids." Which I found vaguely unsettling as something they'd been informed as one of the major facts about leprechauns. This was quickly followed up with the two simultaneously yelled stronger facts that, "leprechauns break into your houses at night to play with children," and, "they really like boys." What. The Fuck.

In my mind at this point I was fighting the urge to not join in with my own suggestions. I wanted to remark that they likes their drink, have an unnatural proclivity to watch horse racing, enjoys the craic and that you simply cannot understand any of the ones that come from Cork. But being a man of the world I obviously didn't. Especially as my daughter took this time to reveal - in front of everyone else - that leprechauns are the same size as The World's Tiniest Man - and now have also chosen to live with us due to their own parent's untimely death. Sensing some discomfort on my part she then tried to tenuously link it (thankfully unsuccessfully) to her habit this past Summer of insisting that she lived alone in our house because her own parent's had died due to ethnic cleansing (this might help if you're new to this whole thing - penultimate paragraph has the meat of it all).

With that all swimming around in my head she started blaming the mess in her own room on leprechauns. In fact all messes are the fault of a leprechaun. Other kids angrily sneered and agreed. The teacher and the aide smiled at how fun this all was. They were totally unaware that they had energized the mob against a common enemy and were now sending them home to rage about it. And the kids really were actually angry about it. It was a somewhat playful anger - but anyone with a four or five year old knows that they often have difficulty remembering if they are pretending to be angry or are actually angry. While my daughter got her coat zipped up and school folder put away I tried to identify which kid in the class was likely to take it too far. Amusingly I stumped for the red-headed one - I can imagine him 15 years from now proudly yelling into a microphone at a rally whilst waving what he calls The Protocols Of The Elders Of Blarney.

On the way home my daughter also claimed to have caught a rainbow. I asked if she did it with her hands and she said no. I didn't ask how she really did preferring to picture her capturing it with her teeth like a dog catching a frisbee. She told me that no-one else at school had caught a rainbow so no-one else has caught a pot of gold. Ah - still on leprechauns. She then quickly stated that she could catch one because she's English. Just what the Irish really like on St. Patrick's Day - English triumphalism. When we got home she ran all over the house looking for leprechauns. She did a dance to get rid of the leprechauns. We made a Jib Jab cartoon involving leprechauns to send to people. Mostly because after I asked her if she knew what a leprechaun actually looked like - and she said no - we Googled it (admittedly I typed in "dirty little leprechaun") and on page one this came up.

I'm sure you can imagine what that man is referring to when he says, "anyone of you ladies want to kiss the Blarney stone?" When her mother got home she angrily talked about leprechauns (after asking me to remind her what the name of the little fuckers was again who had messed up the mud room and got dirt on her pants) over and over. My wife remarked - hopefully not thinking it was an original idea - that this was going to get irritating very quickly. So today I'm placing a moratorium on leprechauns. And drunk, naked men with pots of cash on their willies ejaculating rainbows.

I should probably have done that one years back mind.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Mr. Clean (Unless I Don't Actually Clean)

I haven't had the time to write. I've been thinking about cleaning (failed to do anything special as of yet though). The house is a sticky, grotesque blob of a mess. On top of that, Angry Birds has found it's way into my home. That coupled with having several Dance Parties and one Balloon Poking Festival I simply haven't finished writing another thing about gender specific clothes. I'll get to that at some point presumably.

So - in place of that have some of yesterday and today's photographs.

This would be the dog under the duvet in bed this morning. He was in a cuddling in mood and wasn't best pleased that my kids were very much in a body-slamming mood.

My son has a hobby of late of shoving a fish around the living room. Fair enough.

Yesterday afternoon I'm sure you also had your own New Years Party as well. No - just us then?

It's a first. She didn't want her photo taken at all today. This is some world class-level crap hiding too.

My wife has been slightly put out by me not shaving since Monday. But I just can't be arsed. I'll probably hack it off in the morning.

It's 40 degrees out. After the burst of four-to-five inches of snow yesterday it means that today is a vile, disgusting, sloppy mess outside. My daughter did find her snowman hat though, which cheered her up immensely.

Doesn't matter how drab or bleurgh it is out when you have a coat like this. It's like the modern technicolor dream coat.

My daughter built a nest for the woodpecker she heard up a tree somewhere. It might look like a random pile of opine cones, sticks and walnuts to you, but that is a palace fit for a king in her mind. And one which the dog greatly enjoys urinating on.

Here - this is the level of grossness I'm talking about. A lot of people call the period between now and after April, "Mud Season." It can be pretty awful if you don't just embrace it and get filthy on purpose.

Evidently I've hit an age now where if I have my photo taken in natural sunlight I look grey haired. I'm quite happy about that. But that's mostly because in my mind I think I look like Jose Mourinho. Whereas in the mirror I really look like Bob Carolgees and Spit the Dog's secret homeless lovechild (it's safe to say we've all thought about that).

Morning Is Broken


I wanted to share our usual morning wake-up with you all. So I tried to make a quick video of my kids doing the usual. Which they then didn't do. Add me lying down with a camera near my son is pretty much asking for him to attack me. One video was almost entirely dark as the flash doesn't go off for video. Inexplicably the sound shut off in the middle as well - making it seem like the Nixon Tapes where my kids and I are discussing matters of national security and swearing like sailors. Another video I got was of my son making rude noises with his mouth - but it's dark so you can't tell that's what it is. Add my daughter keeps burying her head in the covers right where my crotch is. Not the best video at all.

So what I did end up with was this.

You're welcome.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Covert Snow Sleep Sheep

"Be careful you don't fall asleep Daddy."

I have avoided local news and weather religiously for a few months now. I had succumbed for a short while. At first I thought it was somewhat an ironic mockery on my part - watching these very parochial people who don't look or sound anything like national news people at all talking about car accidents and how our area is sooooo amazing for weather. Then I realized that these people (especially those off camera) do have educational training in news-making - which these days is focused on trying to scare the utter shit out of peopel to such degree that you need to keep watching as much as possible in case a car accident, house fire or snow event occurs near me. I had also told myself that I needed to check it in case schools closed and my daughter couldn't go. Of course I could just look outside - then if it was absolutely cacking it down warn my daughter school might be closed. Then if her bus didn't show check to see if it was. Much better for the soul.

The dour alarmist nature of it all made me drop it quickly though. Then yesterday about an hour before bus-time it started snowing quite heavily. Without thinking I flicked the news on at noon to see if there were any mentioned snow delays or closings. In the ninety seconds the TV was the strangely unprofessional looking fifteen year old giddily started going on about a potential apocalyptic event. Actually he's probably in his thirties - but you'd definitely ask for his ID if he wanted to buy beer of fireworks. And he has a sort of creepiness about him too that you don't see on the bigger network channel two cities over. If I was being unkind I'd say he has the look of someone who was attempting to, "put the sensual back" in the phrase "non-consensual sex act." Still he seems to like the weather a lot - so that helps. There was no scrolling ticker on the screen about schools closing though so I turned it off. Consequently the bus showed up and off my daughter went to school.

During the first five seconds of the forecast my daughter had overheard the anchor say there, "could be snow, sleet and a wintery mix." Actually the report was completely asinine. The use of "could be" was absurd seeing as it had been snowing over the entire geographical area for over an hour. Add, "wintery mix" doesn't really mean anything. Especially if you use the word, "sleet" as well. There was also a silly percentages thing too stating there was an 80% chance of snow on Wednesday. As it had been snowing handily for an hour surely that 80% is woefully off? Anyhoo - my daughter also noted something silly. My daughter warned me not to fall asleep - because that's what the weatherman said might happen. I had a quick question-and-answer session with her about the concept of sleet. The rest of the day she continued to warn me that the Whipped Cream Wombat had hidden sheep in the snow that makes you fall asleep.

Actually I think our (that would be me and my daughter) surrealism is rubbing off on my son. During dinner I couldn't get him to answer me with any seriousness at all. I'd ask him what he wanted to drink and he would either just flat out laugh hysterically or say the word, "donkey!" and then laugh. This came about fifteen minutes after he attacked me whilst I was cleaning up lego pieces from the living room carpet with my daughter. One minute it was all peaceful and serene and the next he had feebly thrown a blanket over my head and was trying to ram a piece of cheese into my ear. In case I had been unable to identify his weapon of choice he'd also decided to grunt, "cheese say please" at the same time. I may have to check his room for marijuana later. 

Whilst waiting for my wife to get home from work last night I sat and tried to read a book to my daughter. It was some loosely based Buddhist thing (it's this book) about a panda bear that tries to make kids see that a grumpy mean old lady is just lonely. Mixed into this are weird little panda bear that talks in haiku. Really enthralling for kids then. My daughter struggled to see the point of it whilst I added more interesting parts to it. It's a beautifully illustrated thing - but the storyline is rather dull for a 4 and a half year old. My son started off so bored by the whole thing that he spent quite a bit of time flicking my ear and repeating something I couldn't quite figure out. After a few more pages I actually realized that he was yelling, "I can fly!!" in a comedy voice. Thanks for that. 

This morning though my kids have played Balloon Bash. It allows them to twat one another with maximum force without any real consequence. It may seem like my son is being thrashed soundly here - but you can tell half way through that he's enjoying this much more than his sister is.