Friday, November 30, 2012

Quite Busy

 I have quite a busy morning planned doing other things. So I won't be writing anything on this until this afternoon (my time) at least. I asked my daughter what we could give as a gift to you all instead while you wait eagerly for some meaning to fill your day (ha!).

This was her idea. IO wish she'd agreed to have him lick her instead.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Actually Scary


Apparently the Man With Pants On Head video wasn't scary enough for some of you. Well these are the two photos my daughter took right after that one on the camera. First of all here's my son not at all impressed that his sister is taking photos of him. Feel his contempt....

And this is truly frightening. I'd just taken the garbage out and my daughter started taking photos of me singing and dancing (majestically - as I'm sure you'll agree) in the mud room. For the record I was singing the theme tune to Danger Mouse.

This is how my daughter spent her morning. I find this quite disturbing.

Still not frightening enough? How about this appalling piece of history. University does this to you. This is 1998 (or was it 97?). I hadn't gone to university after school but went when I was 22. So I'd been looking like a complete weirdo for years at this point. And I'd toned it down an awful lot in this photo. I was wearing that girl's blouse (she was tiny so how I got it on I'll never know) and another girls fake-fur coat. I have a lot of hair-ties in and much makeup on. And I still had an annoying plethora of body piercings about my person - of which the lip one is the only one you can see here. That was the most normal color my hair was for about six months as well. Thankfully I was sat in a lecture shortly after and noticed the swathe of lip-pierced weirdos about the lecture hall. I then realized that there were an awful lot of very similar looking so-called individuals that looked ridiculous - not for what they were wearing (patently a lie...) but because of the obvious strain to hide a genuine identity underneath all that crap. It actually amuses me that I secretly tried both a local and the campus church on and off around this time. 

Now that is scary.

The New Terror

My daughter told me that it hadn't been scary enough since Halloween.

I imagine she's been lamenting the fact that I put that scary mask away that I insisted on wearing at all times. Anyhoo - in an attempt to scare the wits out of her I sent her a scary email. Actually I sent myself an email with "EVELYN'S SCARY EMAIL" as the subject title. In which was just this video.

Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

No Haircuts

My son says no. 

I am contemplating no shaving or hair cutting for myself until my wife comes back from her January conference. I'll look delightful (Disclaimer: The fact that I might look like a small, deformed Thundercat is neither here nor there). I feel like actually having a good go at a winter beard. I often imagine I'll look like a handsome Viking. At the very least I'd like to have a somewhat enchanting-but-scary Roy Keane look. My son agrees. Mostly because his mother has been repeating, "....your hair is getting interesting..." at him. Which it is. It's more stylish and awesome than any young twenty-something could hope for. He makes no effort to do it either. I wish I had his hair. But what his mother is forgetting is that every single time she cuts his hair she regrets having done it. He's a cute little boy - but with a haircut he does have a bit of a potato look about him. And nobody thinks a potato is attractive. I'm sure none of you have ever read a gushing magazine article about how gorgeous human-potato Wayne Rooney is. Which reminds me of something I was thinking about a month or so ago. Do you remember years ago when they had those clocks powered by a potato? Whatever happened to that design concept? Just imagine it - an enormous Wayne Rooney powered clock.)

My daughter loves getting her hair cut. And now that every trace of red hair and all remnants of any of her ludicrous curls are gone a shortish haircut is the best bet for her. It certainly is easier at breakfast to not have to remind her that he hair is in her oatmeal. Or that she's dipped it in her paint/glue/filth. And having just put a balaclava thing on her to play in the snow I can't articulate enough how annoying it was when her long hair kept sticking out and getting caked in snowballs and snot. Shorter hair wins for her.

As for me - I always look better with short hair. And I always threaten to leave it grow out just because it sounds comfortable to have a fat head. We shall see. But I thought I'd propose the options to my son. And then enrage him (not caught on film, thankfully) when I let him know that I'm not cutting my hair or shaving.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Curiously Wrong

There's something deeply unpleasant about your child calling you into the bathroom because they've had a poo and then noticing that their face is covered in Nutella.

This morning my son is whiny. Which is not a great combination with my grouchiness. How grouchy? So much so that when Curious George came on television I had to leave the room lest I scream angrily at The Man In The Yellow Hat, "it's a not a bloody monkey you moron - it's a chimp!" Honestly - when one of the main pillars of a story is that wrong you'd think it would have been phased out by now. But no - on it goes repeating over and over again that the suspiciously wealthy man with a fetish for looking like a banana has no idea that his monkey is actually a chimp. I had to go pace around upstairs for five minutes whilst disparaging his character. I knew it was personal because I avoided attacking his clearly negligent arseholery in forcing his monkey onto the general public (who puts a chimp on a train to go Christmas shopping and doesn't expect utter mayhem?) and actually felt annoyance about his clothes. The only people who wear clothes like him in real life are Snoop Dogg, flamboyantly gay fashion designers and the sort of people you see on those Channel Five shows who insist their weird relationship with a fence/blow up doll/horse should be recognized as real love by general society.

It's just not right. I'll have to be careful not to burst the bubble of my in-laws who love the George stories (I was just told this past week that they are much more innocent than the weird cartoons of today) by pointing out that not only are the first 8 stories riddled with smoking, but that The Man buys George his own smoking pipe. There is no bigger enemy to humankind than smoking in their eyes. I always like to recount a story whilst watching the absolute naff-fest that is the Nicholas Cage movie Ghostrider at their house. Cage - who's head is on fire - murders a few people before chasing someone down and then decapitating them with the front wheel of his motorcycle. He then lights a cigarette off the burning corpse of his most recent victim. It was at this point that it was exasperatingly mentioned that it's such a shame movies have to glorify smoking. Anyhoo - old books are weird in a of-their-time sense like Curious George. Smoking and all that is just socially normal.

So yeah - stuff like smoking is of it's time in it's innocence. As was plucking animals from Africa and whisking them off for people's entertainment elsewhere. I remember getting out an early Babar story for my kids only to have to struggle though a harrowing part about Babar's mother is butchered by poachers as he cries whilst watching her die. Normal backstory for a kids book back then. These days things just aren't that disturbing. Mind you - if you read the original Rev. Awdry Thomas books and change the name of Sir Topham Hat to Jimmy Savile it's bloody awful.

Moving on though - look what my daughter made for me. It's a drawing of some sprouts. She wasn't sure how to spell the words "Sprouts Made By Evelyn" so she tried to sound it out. She also ran out of room to put the last letter of her name. It's still ace though. It reminds me of a the internet meme from a few years back that just had gargled phonetic spelling over pictures of things.

I also jost got this for my son for Christmas. It's James the Red Engine colored to look like a bee. That way he won't get stung. Genius. Anyway - he's made me look at this picture about 20 times a day for the last week or he'll scream and skweem and squeem. So I got it for him and then maybe he'll go look at it by himself.

Over the weekend my daughter and I watched a show about creepy animals. I asked my daughter what she thought the creepiest animal was and she said "your bum cheek." Actually she's been saying "bum cheek" obsessively for about a fortnight and I'm trying to stamp that out. I knew there was a real problem when she just started yelling "Daddy has bum cheek juice!" after I made a cup of coffee the other morning. At least it's soft and relatively innocent though. The stuff she tells me that the boys in her class say is juvenile but nasty. There's the usual "a boy at school kept calling everyone a poop-head." But she has also recounted a boy who angrily threatened to pee on people on the playground. The words "bum cheek" are very mild compared to that. I have suddenly realized though that my daughter is the  one who tells teacher when another child is doing something wrong. Which is what the teacher has asked them to do and there are a few other kids that are as diligent at "dobbing" on their friends. But I've been present when she's pompously informed on another class mat for violating rules. That's fine at this age but give it 18 months and you get punched in the muffin for that sort of thing.

Anyway - I managed to get my daughter to not say bum cheeks are the creepiest animal and agree that it's definitely penguins. But then the television show muddied the waters by showing a guy with a tarantula. Oddly my daughter then invented a story where out house was occupied by big hairy spiders who then went online to email all their spider friends to tell them they should move in as well.
She even said, "Imagine if there was a huge spider typing a message. "Come to the house. There are lots of chips!"" Actually her imagination is getting the best of her too. I offhandedly mentioned that the hardwood floor in my bedroom has sagged so much that the nails are sticking out. Add that it has buckled in one spot. I referenced how we would likely end up ripping the entire thing out and reframing it like every floor downstairs too. That night she then had a nightmare that the floor collapsed and the house ripped in half.

Minus ten Dad points.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Return Of The Human Snowball

Me (after going upstairs to check on the kids): Erm honey - what are you doing?
Daughter: Oh - I'm just drawing.
Me: And pray tell why have you taken all your clothes off?
Daughter: Oh you know - sometimes you just want to draw in your underpants. 

This might be tautological - but my two and a half year old son is emotionally unstable. It doesn't follow any sense of logic or reason. He's just a tumult of swirling emotions that he has no idea how to funnel or stop. As of yet, anyway. For example, he'll ask for breakfast. He'll tell you specifically what he wants. As in he'll say "oatmeal!" then (annoyingly) he'll say he wants the raspberry flavor. Then he will giddily sing a song about how great it is going to taste. You'll give him a bowl - which he sings a song about. Then a spoon - which also gets it's own song. Then you'll allow him to pour the oatmeal in the bowl to cook and he'll still be all excited about it. Then you present the hot bowl of oatmeal to him while he's still giggling and he breaks down into a weird sobbing depression. Or - worse - a all-will-be-destroyed rage.

The rage is less likely, thankfully. But the sadness comes on like a geyser lately. It's not manipulative like an older child. It's pure, erupting two-year-oldness. This morning he bounded across the living room to me at just-gone-5am and joyfully asked to scroll through the various wooden Thomas the Tank Engine guff on Amazon for sale. I was in the middle of reading a bible study thing so told him no. And he just collapsed on the ground remonstrating. In that way that is mostly silent but still manages to express an enormous amount of crying is going on. Think a cross between an elderly woman in eastern Europe somewhere who's entire world has been lost to an earthquake and an Italian footballer who's just been told he was offside. Mouth clamped open, eyes wide, and a cry emanating from him in a weird stuttered manner which makes it sound like only about an 8th of the actual noise is somehow being amplified.

Thankfully it does come with the upside also. So it's a bit like having a bi-polar, drunken recent-divorcee in the house. Especially as he also mixes in a small dose of "NO - YOU DON'T EXIST" in with it as well. Which - as you've probably figured out - is a very persuasive mood he gets into where you'll go find what he's up to and he'll shut you down. At first he'll bellow at you to go away. Then that fast changes to him stating that "you aren't there."Then he just shuns you. And again - it's so effective you do wonder if you are actually really there. But then you notice his smug, cloak of invisibility face (his eyes are closed - ergo you don't exist) and you realize he's fooling no-one.

Right now though he very much wants to go play in the snow. I do not. It's not 9am yet and I'd like to get to 10am before thrashing 90 minutes of hill climbing and sledding out of him. Add we're likely to go out two or three times if it snows again. My son is at least prepared to pull his own sled around because he likes achieving jobs. But he's also been told by someone (his sister) that the two best things about snowing are to a) lie on the ground face-down and eat all the snow like a goat, and b) that Daddy is the best human snowball in the universe. That was something I introduced to her (and you) last year. It's having the kids run at you - catch them in your arms and then roll theatrically for about ten feet in the direction they were running whilst yelling, "THE HUMAN SNOWBALL!!!" He's quite enamored with that but I need more cups of tea and sitting down before I have enough fuel for that. I managed to dissuade him from kitting up when I packed his sister off to school on the bus. Although I nearly changed my mind when thwacking snowballs into her and the dog became quite pleasing (that dull, thump when a dense snowball hits your own ignorant child in the back is a wonderful noise). It has at least stopped snowing so I don't have to worry about shoveling the driveway off two to three times. I have called every local snowplow guy I know of without response so far. It hasn't been deep enough this past weekend or this morning for one to have come - but the forecast has wall-to-wall lake-effect for the week.

Which likely means 75 degrees and sunny for the next month given the track record they have.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Slippers For Hands

Their mother got home too late from work to make hte gym today. So she did her weights in the living room. My son seems to have the best deal of it.

Snow Snow Snow Your Goat

Been out all morning. Probably be out until I can simply no longer pull the buggers back up the hill.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Nostril Fetish and Ten Bears

Let's tidy away a few quick things.

First up I forgot to mention that I had a close call on Wednesday.I was cutting down quite a sizable walnut tree in the backyard and somehow (logistically it makes NO sense at all) managed to nick my knuckle with the chainsaw. But I'm as tough as ten bears so carried on regardless. Actually as you can see I really did just about nick it and pulled my hand away instantly.As it's a chainsaw I think it's safe to say a brief moment more and I'd have lost my favorite finger for picking my nose with.

Today my daughter made me a gift. It's a dung beetle. I confess to being terrified when she told me that. She told me she had to go get it and then went around the corner. The important thing to note here is that - for reasons that still aren't clear - she changed pants between telling me she'd made me a gift and then telling me it was a dung beetle.

Annoyingly the next photo is of a delicious stove-top no-bake cookie (peanut butter oatmeal with a nice blob of Nutella) that looks a bit like the main food of a dung beetle. We call it Splodge. My daughter - the clever little bugger - remembered that you own a piece of food once you've licked it. So she licked it.

It started snowing this morning. Not a lot but a dusting at least that allowed me to see how small the old snow clothes are. The kids have two sets - a good set that all fit and a mix and match set that pretty much don't. My son is modelling a coat that only works because his gloves come up to his elbows. But - and if you live in a snowy place you will understand this entirely - the last thing I wanted to do was "go play in the snow" when it was that wet dusting at 33 degrees that just soaks right through everything. Guaranteed they'd get wet and muddy very fast - which would be a total annoyance to do to their decent snow stuff. Anyhoo - here's my son trying to catch snow on his tongue.

Lastly my daughter wanted to video the snow when it started. So I gave her the camera. It ended up being a sort of nostril-fetish/spelunking video.


Questioner: What's the very first thing you feed your child?
My wife: Umm...
Questioner: That's right - baby rice. And it turns out all this time it will kill your baby. 

I remember when I first became aware of the idea that "it has gone viral" and it not being a health warning was way back in the late 90s when Joe Cartoon allowed you to kill a gerbil with a microwave. Much to my surprise I was reminded of that this past Thanksgiving when someone placed a glowing-pink bowl of what looked like Mr. Blobby's love-butter on the table (aside: I can no longer hear or read the name Mr. Blobby without hearing Bob Mortimer saying this). It was Ambrosia salad and everyone knew what it was. Except me. I thought something terrible had happened. What was particularly ironic about that was that the table at large had just been warned about the inherent danger of organic food (all of it) and how it will likely kill you. There was a quick interjection to notify people of the alleged massive quantities of arsenic that "the government" put in baby rice (the reason for which wasn't clarified - and seemed to suggest some nefarious winnowing-out-the-weak project put in place). And then in earth shattering irony a thing consisting almost entirely of Cool Whip, maraschino cherries and marshmallows was plunked on the table.

I'm not one of those people at all that thinks that "American food" is a single, identifiable thing - let alone is wholly awful. And I'm perfectly well aware that there are enormous quantities of stuff that is unappealing, nutritionally devoid of anything redeeming or just downright vomit-inducing from my own culture. For example, I can imagine why nobody in their right mind would want to eat a cold sausage roll from Greggs unless they'd been groomed to believe that sort of thing is okay to allow in your mouth. Particularly when they might roll one of those solid, gristly lumps around on their tongue and wonder if it's a pig knuckle or knotted porcine foreskin that somehow made it's way into their fifty pence lunch. But that's not really what I mean. I mean the kind of pish that is arguably not even a food. It's usually stuff that you find in the candy/sweets aisle in my mind. A good example would be those weird Trolli things that look like a burger. Actually anything that you can buy in an old fashioned pick-and-mix fashion gives me the creeps. Especially anything that is banana flavored (don't know why I'm picking on this one - they're all revolting and I wouldn't touch any of it with yours). It's not even the right color yellow, so the notion it would be close in flavor is tenuous at best.

But I don't want to give the wrong impression. I eat plenty of utter crap. I genuinely think Velveeta cheese has a reason to be eaten. But again - that's not what I mean. Thanksgiving is so wonderful because it's not based around buying shit for people in the guise of expressing love and showing happiness. Of course I haven't noticed the irony of Black Friday being the day afterwards in which people trample each other near to death to buy more cack the day after giving thanks for having they need. But Thanksgiving is wonderful because it's about eating decent food. I was reminded it's about family and all that as well - but it's not. It's a holiday about and for gravy in my mind. You can't really go wrong with a roasted thing and gravy. And even though I think it's a crime to take a potato and whip it down to a slurry so smooth that you could almost drink it, it does generally get covered in gravy so I can let that pass. And with those things you get a grand variety of things from very tastily prepared root vegetables, creamed spinach, gratins and all finished off with all different kinds of pie. Deviled eggs and those weird accompaniments that US holiday meals (pickles, olives and green onions) seem to have are always present as well. Add someone makes a big bowl of punch with ice cream floating on it - which even though I wouldn't drink it (too much going on) my daughter thinks that is exciting and special. And before you even get into that there are a ton of appetizers and nibbles to plow through.

But then - somehow - someone thought it acceptable to do this -:

That is a sweet potato with marshmallows on it. The idea of which makes my stomach twitch. I can fool my daughter into eating a marshmallow at any given opportunity (my goodness that sounds suspicious) but even she wouldn't touch that. But also wobbling about on the table is this thing - which frankly looks like a can-molded cranberry dildo.

It fills me with shame that my daughter could (and would if you didn't stop her) eat that. And I mean pick it up and bite chunks out of it until it was gone. Still - neither of those things comes even remotely this monstrosity.

After being warned to protect yourselves and your children from the fatal perils of organic food it seems somewhat brazenly contrarian to then stick a bowl of entirely fake foodstuffs on a table. And again - we had just literally been warned about the almost Russian-roulette dance we'd all had by giving our children baby rice when "it turns out" that it's riddled with arsenic. Actually before I go on I should mention that I'm incredibly proud of my wife for not exploding when it was said (to nodding agreement) that the first thing that all babies eat are jars of flavored baby rice. The very notion of "baby food" hurts her brain even more so than it does mine. "It's like rice - but for babies!" To my wife this is a sales technique so bewildering that she can't fathom what internal processing goes on that leads people to ignore all the actual food in their house and the grocery store to plump for a jar of something ten times more expensive that is essentially just rice. So when she wasn't even given time to respond with just, "" in response to what was the first thing your child ate - and was met with "baby rice" as the obvious I did actually expect her to point out how deranged that answer is.

For me it also touches two other sore spots. The first being that it follows the same logic as cat treats shaped like a fish. That being my cat doesn't know what a fish is. And fish certainly isn't it's natural source of food in the wild. And yet it's been shaped like a fish for my benefit so that I'll feel warm and fuzzy when I hand one to my cat (who then pisses off uninterested). "Baby food" follows this principle somewhat as well by suggesting the meal contained is beef wellington - even going so far as to show a tiny photo of another meal that the jarred gunk in no way resembles. Secondly the name "baby rice" is so grammatically odd that it suggests that rice had a baby - which we should now feed to our own babies in some sort of odd baby-absorption ritual.

Anyway - look at that nightmare. Imagine a Moomin being stabbed. That's what it bleeds. I can feel Mark Bittman shuddering as I look at this. It looks like a cross between the meat they make those suspiciously pink battered sausages with at chip shops (the ones that look like a deep fried dog willy), stuff they treat burn wounds with and spackling. Or as a I mentioned earlier - like someone has sat on a hamster. Someone sold the idea of it to my starving daughter who - shamefully - spooned all the not-lumps of it into her mouth. Amusingly when given a present of it to bring home she was horrified ot learn that it wasn't punch (she was in a confused daze when gifted it). But she redeemed herself when asked if she doesn't like it by scrunching up her eyebrows and saying the catch-all "it tastes wrong." My son didn't even eat turkey. He vacuumed up some olives and pickles (he will eat through the glass jar if he finds them) - had a nibble on some other stuff but then ran off to look for a train to play with. He walked the house we were at desperately in search of a Thomas the Tank Engine that he was told may live there - whilst clutching two trains he had found. Even when the pies came out he showed very little interest in it.

But I had gravy so the day was a success. All the food was delightful and the company nice. In fact I had gravy yesterday as well in an entirely different meal! And - as we ate Thanksgiving at someone else's house we have no leftovers so are smart enough to be having our own Thanksgiving meal (complete with all the sides and cookery that my wife enjoys the most) today once she gets out of work. Which will mean days of gravy. Maybe even a week of gravy. By the end of which I may even be sweating gravy.

Just like Tom Jones does.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Visual Stimuli

I figured I'd chuck up some recent photos along with the video I mentioned last time out. So without further ado...

Here's a video of my daughter's class singing. I genuinely cannot make out a single comprehensible word. My daughter sings at home and it doesn't have that slow, drawling sound to it. Is that just naturally how a group of kids singing sounds or is how all kids everywhere are taught to sing in a group? Not a clue. My daughter said she really enjoyed it though.

Another in a long line of photos of my son looking absolutely smashed.

Not a clue what's going on here. It's from 4 days ago though and my son looks demented.

In an effort to make my son look manly and tough I figured I'd put him in this fetching Christmas sweater as often as possible over the coming month. I'm sure he'll be delighted.

 Speaking of manliness every time we have a bath he dips this annoying walrus (Willy the Walrus) in the water until it fills up and then shrieks in a high-pitched girl-panic voice "Willy is peeing on you!" My biggest fear is that someone can hear him.

Infrequently my kids do something REALLY stupid. This was one of those times. They told me they wanted to paint a tunnel for their train set. Which I have no problem with. But ten minutes later I came back and they had it on the carpet - still soaking wet with paint. Which is why I'm extremely happy that you can buy washable paint these days.

And lastly - I LOVE the illustrations in a children's Bible we have in the house. The written content is too fluffy and detached from it's original meaning. But the illustrations are generally fantastic. This is a page that I can't figure out at all. Two things. The guy on the right is supposed to be Jesus. Secondly the drawing is for Gospel of John, 5 (which is this) in which Jesus heals someone and some watching question him and chide the healed man for "working" on the Sabbath. At no point in the inside the story does Jesus get in the pool. Every single choice the illustrator makes - the green in the water, the weird choices of clothes, the facial expressions - fascinates me.


Just wondering..

Why are my kids so conspiratorial? If anyone in my house can't find something my son's first remark is always "someone took it." And he says it with an, "I can taste cat food" scowl on his face. Like we're going to make the bastard pay when we catch up with them. My daughter is very much the same. Every few days her mother will be horrified by the wild, poorly-raked-haystack-hair that her daughter is exhibiting and will threaten her with brushing it. What follows is a twenty minute search for the hairbrush. At the beginning of which our daughter and son will storm about the house furious at whichever sonofabitch stole our hairbrush.

Why do both my children become so mental after 4pm every night? Yes I know and understand all about tiredness and hunger. But generally that manifests itself in a different way. So irritability, moaning or a sense of crass injustice that is wholly undeserved. But my kids are like werewolves at moonlight every day at 4pm. It's as if some innate and inexplicable primal event occurs and they are victims to it. Like when cows/goats (I forget which) can sense an earthquake and climb trees (nb -: check this information before publishing as it is possible that cows do not climb trees and in leaving this in you'll look a complete pillock). Anyway - 4pm hits and both my kids suddenly start running around demented. Either chasing, running or violently dancing around with no apparent end-destination in mind. After many years of demanding that they calm the smeg down they've taken that on board and started chasing, running and dancing at me. It's maddening and often gets on my very last nerve at the end of a long day. Take yesterday for example. I'd let the kids know that their mother would not be home until almost 7pm. I'd done that so that they'd know that - but more as a pleading to not go insane tonight. Which failed spectacularly. By 4.30pm my son was chasing me around the kitchen screaming, "Daddy has a tail!!" Ten minutes later his sister and he were angrily threatening to "break it off" if they could grab a hold of it. Absolutely mental.

Why does it seem as if every thing my wife teaches the kids always end up involving a story about genocidal death? And not in a grim, miserable manner of indoctrinating the kids to loathe anyone who lives on the other side of the Gaza Strip crossing point (regardless of which side you start from). No - it's more nefarious than that because my wife can start a cheery conversation about anything and it result in a flat, factual statement that a lot of death occurred. For example two nights ago a nice cheery reading of an illustrated bird book turned quickly to their mother naming various species of birds and then factually repeating like gun fire, "we killed them" and "we killed all of them too". Which makes it sound like our family is solely responsible for an avian massacre. Somehow my wife seemed to think that just regaling the kids with a constant stream of "we annihilated htat species" cheeriness and joshingly pointed at a certain page in the book and genuinely said, "Ah - this is different. We didn't just kill them.- We interfered with them." I categorically deny any knowledge of this.

Why does my son insist that a strawberry is a raspberry? He's learned so much information. He's learned to harness and direct many of the cognitive and perceptual powers of the mind. He's learned to pretty much master the physical limits of his body. His grasp of numbers, the alphabet, rudimentary problem solving and small engine repair is exceptional. But he simply refuses to take on board that the oatmeal he eats is strawberry flavored. I've told him repeatedly that it's not raspberry. But it's the only situation where he doesn't emotionally fight me when he thinks I'm just wrong. He just ignores me completely and repeats that his raspberry oatmeal is tasty. It's such a calculated, serial killer-like waving-off of the facts that it has to be deliberate. It actually reminds me of this episode of The Twilight Zone where a scarring implant is put on people's foreheads to tell the rest of society to ignore their obvious existence entirely. Oh he knows it's strawberry - but he refuses to admit it. 

Why are my kids so stereotypically backwards? It's as if they've watched excessive amounts of naff American network television sitcoms and imbibed all the cheesy jokes about butch girls and effeminate boys and are acting them out for my benefit. For example - my son simply couldn't start his dinner the other night without his fetching blue sparkly headband. Then - after I put food on the table - my daughter started to run off. When I asked why she leaving she just grunted, "Poo Daddy." Which I think was her answer and not just a pet name she has for me. 

Why am I the only person who seemed to see the enormous irony of having school kids wear a billboard that says the below on the last day of a fortnight where they learned all about the importance of eating healthy, nutrtious food?

Why is every single show on PBS television this morning (the day before Thanksgiving by the way) the Christmas episode? Isn't that blatantly the wrong time for them? It reminds me of the laughably mistimed broadcasting of an Al Roker food show from a few years ago that was aired in the last week of October. My daughter at least thinks the timing is innapropriate. Probably due to her mother's very adamant assertion that if anyone bypasses Thanksgiving for Christmas then they should be spayed.

Why did I forget to mention yesterday that my daughter invented a meal time known as a Bronkey? Which - as you may have guessed - is when you eat breakfast with a monkey. I did suggest that you could also do it with a donkey (do your worst Google...) and was told that was ridiculous.

Lastly - why can't I stand children's singing? I watched my daughter's kindergarten class sing a few songs yesterday at a school event. Parents were smiling, taking videos and filled with the warmth of seeing their kids perform for them. I genuinely feel pain when I hear a room full of children sing in that clumsy monotone - with the one child completely out of tune and tempo with everyone else and just screaming the words. It may be this Sean Lock messing about that finally nailed it for me. But I feel actual shame for watching my own kid sing (if that's what you can call it) with 35 other kids and wince and laugh through the whole thing.I have video but it's huge. I might put it up later but honestly that means I'll have to listen to it and I don't know if I can.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Gravy Filled Brath

My daughter invented something appalling yesterday.

I was explaining the concepts of brunch and linner and how I understood that to be eaten instead of those meals. the point being that she thought a brand new mealtime (I suspected Chip Time was being raised again) should be interjected between the main meals of the day. I remarked on how some people had attempted dunch and brinner as well. But told her that we won't use those in my house because the first sounds like a euphemism for pooing, and the second conjures images of Yul Brinner dancing. Which - after mentioning pooing - is very wrong.

Anyway - she then proceeded to try and mash two words together of her own to come up with her own new meal time. Initially they were all incomprehensible noises. After a while she did manage the word Chinner - which apparently is when you eat chips for dinner. But then she regressed to just making strange Klingon-like guttaral grunts and claiming they were real words. That is until she invented what I can only describe as the kind of slobbery-genius. One that may spur on an unhealthy cultural fad that would have her good name decried by many leading nutritionists. She came up with the word Brath to describe eating breakfast in the bath. And not a nice calm bowl of Rice Krispies either. She means pancakes and syrup with a fence-pile of bacon on the side. She even added "and if you spilled the syrup in the bath you'd have to drink it." To be honest I can imagine that Burger King and McDonalds have already toyed with the idea of a bacon-based bathtub breakfast bonanza. Bizarrely when we relayed this story (and it's a Story of Victory thank you) to her mother we were met with her mothers idea of a meal time that included the words Dong Dong. Which sounds euphemistically rude or possibly like the name of a Korean panda bear.

Also today is the last day of school until next Monday. Actually November is a travesty in an educational sense because there is barely a string of three days together that aren't interrupted with half-days so that teachers can do all the important things that require all this time without children at school. Oh - and to add in all the "lost days" from last year because they didn't get as many snow days as were hoped for so are hilariously taking extra ones off this year because that was totally unfair. Anyhoo - at lunch today there's a huge family feast. My daughter is very excited about it. She became so excited that she asked if she could take her teddy along. This was premised around the fact that her teacher told the class she was afraid of snakes - so I told her to take in a wooden toy snake to scare her with. Which she did and made her feel special and happy. Thankfully that particular incident was carefully choreographed by me so that she didn't suddenly yell, "Hey teacher!! I brought a snake to school in my bag! I'll get it out! You are going to be TERRIFIED!!!!111!!" Because that went so well she wants to take in more things. Which would be obnoxious incredibly quickly. So I told her that it was a bad idea.

My daughter didn't like the boringly stale refusal of "but then all the kids will bring stuff in all the time" so came up with her own notion. That being that what if teddy escaped and rampaged around the school looking for something, anything - or ANYONE to eat. After all - he is a grumpy looking bugger. So grumpy looking that he may or may not have a penchant for eating children. It's never been proven that he doesn't at least. Which led to this.

It doesn't bear thinking about....

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Tea Cosy

This has been seen elsewhere by some social media friends of mine but still - most people who read this don't come via there so.....

I put this hat on yesterday. My wife said "You can't wear that - it's a woman's hat." She then told me EVERYONE knows this is a woman's hat. I've been wearing this on and off for 5 years. 

After posting this to my Facebook account and receiving the kind of mockery that I've become used to from "friends" it was mentioned that it looks an awful lot like a tea cosy. Which led one of my online brethren of The Big Swell fame (please do give him a spin) to monkey with the photo and produce this lovely his-head-is-a-tea-pot-with-cosy effort.

Obviously this led to further silliness. By the way I have never looked as simple as this ever.

All of which I showed my daughter this afternoon. My daughter didn't recognize me at first. Which I actually am thankful for. Because the resolution and the holding-of-water in my mouth makes me look deformed. Not knowing what a tea cosy is - nor having seen an actual teapot in action - it made no sense to her whatsoever. She did though remark (after asking why I made a video of myself spitting) that, "you're only supposed to do that in the bath Daddy." 

See - she is English.

Shrimp Squirter and The Hairy Clementine

Lest anyone doubt my daughter is a miserable sod today she made a nice impression when I picked her up from school. She meandered down the hallway in a "I'd much rather be doing anything else than this crap" manner. As soon as she got to my son and I she feebly asked "so - did I get any prizes today?" Which sounds like a total setup so that I say "No" (because why would she have prizes?) and she can moan about the injustice of it all. So we went out to the car and I put my son in. Then I wandered around to her side and opened the door with mock annoyance. And then I theatrically called inside, "Oh! Grumpy are we!? Then I guess I'll have to poke you in the Tickle Button!" Which she completely resisted before rebutting with, "I just shot you with my shrimp squirters inside your mouth and now you'll die." I see....

Just how absurdly grumpy is she? She thinks I'm an insane evil genius. To break the tension on the way home I decided to tell her about an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine her brother and I had seen on Youtube called "Thomas and The Stinky Cheese." I explained the whole storyline. At the conclusion of each mini story-arc she expressed complete doubt that this could possibly be a real episode. And then when I told her that her brother and I played Thomas and The Stinky Cheese with his toy trains (with the useless yellow truck finally getting a focus it has completely missed) she knew absolutely I'd made it up. So when we got home I showed her. All seven and a half minutes of it. During which she repeatedly claimed that I'd made it up. When it was done she was even more indignant than before. She was absolutely incensed too that I would go to all that effort - creating models and filming the whole thing - just to make her look foolish. This goes hand in hand with the claim she made last week that I'd deliberately put a bad-tasting bubble in her milk somehow. I suspect somewhat that she's reading too many superhero versus bad-guy stories.

Then - as is often the case - she calmed down rapidly over lunch. I'd promised her the not-at-all healthy Nutella on bread option. She ate a clementine while I did that. When I was done she asked for another one. I joked, "if you eat another one you;ll turn into one" and that nearly ruined her change of mood completely. But then she had an idea for clementine flavored M&MS called Clemeneminem. Which is absolute genius. At which she absolutely proved she's been reading/watching too much superhero/evil genius stuff by asking me to make a video of her clemeneminem idea. Lately she's been thinking up something rude or allegedly funny and then asking if she can video it under the ruse of something else. Which is what this is.

Since she "completely tricked" me she's been in a pompously happy mood. I'll take that I guess.

Walmart Love Eggs

My wife has a cork.

Yesterday I asked my daughter, " do you think your mother and I should have another baby?" Obviously the answer to that is "are you mental?" The purpose of the question was to a) see if our daughter had any inclination to have more siblings, and b) to see if she has been infested with that bizarre female trait of wanting babies around in spite of the fact that babies are horrible. As is pregnancy. And labor. And most things about children who are younger than two. Anyhoo - thankfully she laughed the suggestion off. Actually she laughed, said no and then reminded her mother that after she had our son she stopped herself from having more babies. I'm imagining some sort of cork/bung system. Rather that than any Todd Akin style notion that she can know just shut down her body to invasive baby making bacteria. Oddly her mother picked up on the "your mother and I" part and repeated that to me - as if I were subtly raising the idea with our daughter that Daddy made a baby sister somewhere else. So - just to clarify - I asked if I should make a baby with someone else. I was reminded by our daughter that I'm a man and therefore can't have babies. Then her mother made the statement that actually we're married therefore Daddy can't have babies with anyone else. Ever. Thank goodness that's a concrete rule that no-one has ever broken otherwise there would be utter mayhem.

Also yesterday I caught my son doing this.

As you can see I didn't quite get the right moment. But yes - he was sucking his thumb. And you can also tell my son wasn't best pleased to be having his photo taken. I have never once seen my son put his thumb in his mouth without it being covered in something sticky. Which wasn't happening here (I hope). He's never had a dummy/pacifier near his gob either. I personally have no idea at all why anyone would stick one of those in a kid's gob but that's neither here not there (it's certainly not here). I understand the logic of it to some degree. But in my mind that's a bit like choosing to stick it in another hole you don't want things coming out of. Weirder is that the reason for having the thing changes from using it to stop a child making noises you don't like to it being the reason given for why the child is making noise in the first place. And it's not very far removed from giving a baby toffee so that it can't make noises anymore. "Oh he's upset because he's just upset because he's dropped his toffee. Oh there it is! The dog's got it! I'll just wipe it off on the curtain and yay!!!! Silence!!!" I've been told I've got this wrong and that actually it's about a child's comfort. They like it. My kids cry less when I give them lots of stuff they don't need as well. So I do get that part of it. But again - if they don't keep getting it that becomes the reason they are crying as well.

Still - my assumption was that a thumb-sucker came from a dummy-sucker. And I'm not saying this is what was happening. Once does not a pattern make. But he did look like he was doing that. He is horrifyingly obsessed with nipples though, so I should have foreseen some sort of aftershocks since he's been weaned. But he's been off the sauce for a looooong time. I promise you that if you enter my home my son will touch your nipples. We should just get that out of the way at this stage. Anyhoo - I noticed it and thought I should let the wife know we should be vigilant and stop it if it happens again. The wife then very quickly suggested squirt bottles. "They work on cats when they scratch furniture.." she said with a demonic glint in her eye. I don't think it's a stretch too far to suggest that she may already have filled and labeled bottles stored somewhere ready for the right occasion. Which seems to mean any occasion, judging by her gleeful willingness to squirt her own child.

Moving on - I really dislike exceptionalism. By this I mean the attitude that is expressed in two main ways. The first is the Rules Don't Apply To Me expression. So people who wait outside schools/grocery stores in their car right by the door in spite of the signs, or jump queues or smoke where you just aren't supposed to. And then if anyone points this out they behave as if they are being persecuted and the pointer-outer is a Nazi. Makes me seethe. I'm sad to say that I can see this Special Little Princess attitude being fostered in a few children I know. Deeply unpleasant.

But the other angle of that is the kind of person who wont stop bloody moaning about how hard their life is. The important ingredient also being that their life isn't hard - it's ordinary and normal. But they'll whine loudly because they know they are special and have been hand-picked by God to see how much endurance one human being can take before suicide is the only remaining option. I've literally seen someone whine in a three year old high-pitched whinny to another person who's child had leukemia about how they just can't take having another cold. These are the kind of people that as soon as they show up at work they let everyone know that - once again - their morning has been filled with such unbearable trials that not only should they be given at least an hour to do bugger all and recover, but that any genuine issues you had this weekend can just be packed away and stored because they are pathetic in comparison. Of course I don't go to work now so I just see that online instead.

But this morning my daughter appeared to toy with the idea of having a go at this. She felt that her life was so unbearably hard that she had to remonstrate that we never give her what she wants. Basically she got up at 5.20. I'm not sure why other than the fact that everyone else was already up. The wife had come downstairs at 4.45am to check her work emails and I was obviously already awake laughing at Jamie Carragher's suggestion that Liverpool could finish in the top 4 of the Premier League this year. When the wife went back up to quickly get dressed and leave she was lovingly slowed down first by our waking son, and then by our daughter. She changed her plans and decided to slowly wake up with them because you know - kids awake to 5am is absurd. I should have suspected some sort of dark force at work today. Mostly because we decided to go to Walmart on a Saturday afternoon this weekend. During which time I swear blindly that I saw a sales sign that said "Walmart Love Eggs" but - in spite of some furious Googling - have been unable to prove it. Which might mean that my eyes are evil and made that up. But considering that I definitely did see a product being sold called Nog I'm inclined to go with the first idea. And no I don't mean Egg Nog - because this had no eggs in it. It was just called Nog. And no way in a million years would you convince me to willingly take a mouthful of your Nog no matter how much you assured me it would be nice.

Anyhoo - the very fact that I'd been to Walmart and possibly imagined something as a foul as their Love Eggs meant that my whole family must be punished somehow. Which - as it turned out - was everyone being awake at 5am. When I was called to have a quick family cuddle on the bed before my wife zoomed off both kids yawned in that way that proved that there was no reason at all for them to be battling tiredness to be awake at this time of day. After a decent laze everyone was up, most of us dressed, eating breakfast and the wife was out the door. Only to return relatively quickly with her car making very strange clanking noises. I'm sure some of you would have hoped we'd have a look underneath to see what could making all that racket. No - not in the dark when it's 19 degrees Fahrenheit I wont. So we got my son dressed, everyone loaded into my car and dropped the wife's car at the mechanics. Then we drove my wife to work and made it home just after 7. On the way home my daughter moaned that she would miss her favorite television show, moaned that she shouldn't have to speak louder for other people to hear her and moaned that we needed to stop for gas.

When we got home she demanded "Breakfast Two". Which was a clementine. Then she asked for some toast. Which she got as well. She then began reminding me of all the injustices of the morning - and added that she had not wanted to drive her mother to work on a school day because it meant we had gotten her out of bed early. Because we're bastards. I then reminded her that she got up very much against my wishes at 5.20am. She rebutted by looking at me with an expression that still said that I was still a complete bastard. Then - randomly - at 7.30 she whimpered quietly that I had forgotten something. I tried to get her to tell me what it was but she was still refusing to speak louder. Then she erupted. She began crying hysterically. I managed to get her to reveal that, "it's chip time" and I won't let her have any. Yes - potato chips. At 7.30 in the morning. I can assure you that she's never had so much as a sniff of chips anywhere near this time of day. And yet here she was genuinely wailing about the injustice of me denying her chip privileges. So I calmly told her that she'd had oatmeal, a clementine and some toast for breakfast - and that she was going to be getting on the bus for school shortly. But if she can name me one time ever that she's had chips for breakfast or before school I'd love to hear it. Then she snapped out of it and was nice enough. It's a bloody good job she has a half day today. Actually she gets out at 11 which isn't even a half day. I'd much prefer she be grouchy and an arse at home than at school and besmirch her fine reputation.

Luckily though my son is a great mood.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Shrimp Knickers

In spite of the title of this entry this isn't, amazingly about women from Leeds.

No it's actually a protracted scare-game my daughter came up with. Which was to cut out a picture of some shellfish (of which I am deathly-allergic) and then to randomly surprise me with it throughout the day - just for a laugh. Yes that's right - she hid a picture of a shrimp bowl from Aldi down the back of her pants (and - perplexingly - a head band) so she could frighten me with them.

Obviously I realize that I have pretty much given any would-be assassins amongst you a significant weakness that I suffer. But I'm not frightened at all. Frankly if one of you traveled all the way to central New York state and purchased shellfish then you've already lost. Actually I did think it would be a fantastical Columbo-style storyline to have someone bump off another character - also deathly allergic ro something like shellfish or peanuts - by wiping their lickable envelopes with traces of it. Or weirder - the corner of a book they were reading - so that every tim they licked their fingers to turn the pages they brought themselves ever closer to anaphylaxis. Mwahahahaha, etc.

Also today I dragged a box of Thanksgiving stuff out of the attic. It's mostly homemade little things and a small stuffed turket toy thing. But it also includes this beauty - as modeled by my beautiful assistant, "the wife" -:

I also had this appalling photo taken of me today by my daughter. I was getting ready to go running once her mother got home from work. It was only 38 degrees out so I had a fleece and a hat on. However for some reason I was stood like a Littlewoods underpants model.

Which is still a better photo than this bizarre photo that must be a week old (haven't worn that shirt in a week so...). Not a clue what I'd be doing (or sniffing, for that matter) but I have the expression of someone who is absolutely certain that the family pony has definitely been inseminated this year.

And lastly I mentioned not too long ago that my neighbor (nice bloke - if not somewhat eccentric) has a collection of the same three cars that he runs in specific seasons as none of them are suitable for all weather. And that this is amusing because he hides an 84 Corvette under his house that he goes for a run about in every once in a while. Well - last weekend he added this to his mud-puddled backyard. I couldn't give two stuffs about cars but I'm of the understanding that this is quite a vehicle. ood for him, I say.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Echo and The Ladybugs

My kids were playing with a wooden ladybug game and being their usual extremely loud selves in the living room. It always seems very loud in my living room. So I joined in.

The Dog Dabbler and Scottish Filth

Me: So what do you think bras are for?
Daughter: To stop mosquitoes from biting your nipples.

My daughter revealed last night that she think that entire point of bras is to stop mosquitoes from biting your nipples. Hence why one of her mother's has pictures of butterflies on it. First up that makes it seem like the mosquito problem in my area is completely out of control (nb -: rewrite that last line - it makes it sound like you have an infestation in a private area). Granted for a brief period the near-local area suffers a unique fifth season known as Black Fly Season where venturing outside in June is essentially choosing suicide - but that's a touch further north. And although late Summer is irritating beyond belief with the humidity bringing out the bugs, I can assure you that this hasn't led to central New Yorkers strapping on bras to cover up a mosquito's natural food source - nipples.

Anyhoo - her mother and I mentioned that not only do I not wear one ("The lady doth protest too much, methinks.") but that it does serve a more fundamental purpose than the one she'd given. But not yet - that will happen at a later date. Her mother then interjected because quite frankly I have never endured the emotional trauma of having/not having boobs (stop sniggering - I haven't). I had made some vague point about her having to worry about that sort of thing in 8-10 years and her mother quickly made the point that not every girl gets big, huge bra-stuffers so don't let the notion that it's normal and scheduled for them to grow in on your thirteenth birthday seed in your mind. Fair point. Then my daughter revealed her ignorance further by grabbing one of her nipples and yanking it out from her chest hideously far and made the point that her's are, "short" but "one day will be this long!" The mosquitoes will worship her as a goddess if that every comes true.

Moving on - I've noticed the impressionability of my daughter this past week or so. For example she was quite firm on what is and is not a healthy food last week because it was part of her school theme. So she could identify the fruits and vegetables that she was supposed to be eating as a snack - before rejecting that idea as absurd on it's face and asking for doughnuts and potato chips instead. Then earlier this week she Al Gore'd me (shudder...) by off-hand commenting that global warming is the most pressing issue of our time. She didn't use those precise words but it was pretty close. Which is fine because it is a very pressing issue. But I did find it a bit odd that in week eight (I think) of actual school instead of mathematics, chemistry, history and English literature the principal themes have been fruit, Halloween and the very complex issue of climate change.

All of which highlighted the point that while true at every stage of a child's life that they are a sponge absorbing all they encounter - now she is able to repeat it to lots of other adults who might get me in trouble. Ergo her mother and I best watch what we say and get up to. I especially think her mother's current hilarious joke of saying I have the hots for a specific teacher at the school (doesn't matter which one - she made it up) just so my daughter repeats it to them and the rumor spreads. 

Anyhoo - I was thinking of this overall point this morning as my kids watched what can only be a poor decision of a storyline on a television show called Martha Speaks (very NPR white-people style kid's show). It's about a talking dog (it eats alphabet soup that gives it the power of speech) that helps her very white, middle-class family through very minor crises (like a missing shoe), to foil the same criminal from hoodwinking the community and to help them intrude into very stereotypical non-white communities. As is quite common on kid's TV it seems one of the main characters is a minority so that the stale, dry English-language story-lines can be spiced up with funny-sounding foreign words and unusual events that can be alluded to as just crazy stuff that immigrants get up to. At least that's how it comes across. Another fine example is the show Arthur in which they adopted a Chinese baby and then inexplicably insist on dressing it in very traditional stereotypical Chinese clothes complete with a weird chopstick hair/hat thing. What was intended as diversity ends up coming across as a "these are the only things we know about Chinese people" instead. 

In the case of Martha Speaks the mother of the girl who owns the dog is Hispanic. Granted the show takes place in a pardoy of Flagstaff, Arizona - but everyone else in it reeks of New England. Anyhoo on this morning's episode the characters met with a local Hispanic man who helpfully repeated everything that he originally said in Spanish (I swear he said "ay caramba" at one point) in English. Not in a normal dialogue way either - he would stop speaking in one language - say a few words in another - and then say that it means something else in English. But it would be random statements like "that means "I want to emphasize" in Spanish...". The part that had me thinking about my child absorbing everything responsible adults say was when the Hispanic man is told that his girlfriend/wife has been turned into a dog and he made the bold statement that it didn't matter - he loved her and wanted to be with her always. A nice sentiment in one sense but a small voice inside me (and not the usual one) warned me that surely the show just advocated bestiality. And if not that far they did somewhat promote the idea of being romantically in love with a dog as perfectly fine. 

At which point I felt like Rick Santorum. Ick. He's forever banging on about how if you allow gay marriage it'll be a matter of time before society starts saying it's okay to marry three people. Or your sister. Or - heaven forbid - your dog. And here I am wondering if a kid's TV show is very mildly advocating canine romance. Best not bring this up to anyone lest I be associated with that nutty slippery-slope notion. Quick - post a video of something scary to change the subject entirely.

Ack! It's not working. Post something entirely random!

Bah. They still think I'm the type who says that the liberal media (PBS in this case) is advocating non-traditional dog marriage. This requires a stubborn palette-cleanser so that no-one will ever remember the above unpleasantness.

Lastly, my wife is the smartest person I know. I don't say that because I'm surrounded by an endless parade of muppets. Because that not true either. It's more a comment that my wife seems to be able to imbibe large, diverse amounts of complex information and recall them at will with full understanding. She's a high-level thinker who often impresses those within her field with her wide knowledge base. On top of that she is that rare breed of person who enjoys working long hours. In fact she is sometimes teased that she's likely never not working. She's probably sat at home under a blanket reading something light - like the Journal of Scanning Electron Microscopy - to unwind. Her children are aware that their mother is not just smart, but a hard worker who holds no truck with those who don't work to a very high standard. More than that she has fought hard to teach them that time-wasting on brainless, nonsense is one of the most insipid and vile things that professional people toward the top of their respective chain of command. Which makes the fact that she's currently reading the below pish more amusing. She's under no illusions that it is of any literary value but treats it like brainless, prime-time television - like a brain-flush. Although most telling is that I went to save it on my hard drive as "Scottish Filth" only to discover I've already used that file name.