One Million Cheerios

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January 6, 2017

For the most part, Charles and Arthur have drained my creative energy.  Occasionally a burst of imagination still pops into my mind.  I picture one day in my head vividly.

It’s just after meal time with the boys and I look at the carnage on the floor below their highchairs.

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This photo in no way represents the amount of food on the floor after one of their meals.  If I ate what they casually toss to the ground it would qualify as the “cheat day” on my diet.  Nonetheless, I imagine a day like any other where I get them out of their seats and begin the mundane process of picking all the uneaten food up.  As I search the corners of the room I find a several discarded Cheerios.  They’re the remnants of the first course of every meal they’ve ever had.  As I bend over to pick up the last Cheerio hundreds of balloons begin to cascade down upon me.  A confetti cannon bursts just as a marching band comes blaring through the front door with a cheer squad right behind.  Several smiling corporate looking people, one holding an oversize check. come over and start hugging me, shaking my hand and shout congratulatory.

I’VE JUST PICKED UP MY ONE MILLIONTH CHEERIO!!

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(It would look something like this.  And I imagine the Clintons being there now that they have some idle time.)

After the initial celebration a few corporate lackeys come in and place a dais in the middle of the dining room for the big wig to make his speech.  A grand chair of red velvet is set out for me to sit on amidst the throng of fans I’ve unwittingly made as I’m honored for my unbelievable achievement.  The big wig starts by pointing out the improbability of what I’ve accomplished.  Unlike any sane person I’ve chosen not to use the hand vacuum to make my job easier. It’s a nod to the kind of dogged stupidity needed to do what I’ve done.  He/She (no reason a woman can’t be the big wig) also thanks me for not bowing to purchasing cheaper trendy Cheerio knock off brands at Trader Joe’s.

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(Shame on you as usual Trader Joe’s)

Fun facts about what I’ve achieved are thrown out for the crowd to be amazed by.

  • 847, 456 – The number of Cheerios on the floor I’ve encouraged my dog to eat.
  • 368, 221 – The number of foul words I’ve used while picking up the healthy circled treats
  • 106, 834 – The number of Cheerios I’ve stepped on creating a fine coating of Cheerio dust on my floor at all times
  • 5,859 – The number of Cheerios that still remain hidden somewhere in the corners and cushions of my home

Then come the testimonials.  A large heavy set mouse from my previous home speaks in admiration of my determination to pick up every last Cheerio, yet always fail to see several that formed 50% of his diet in 2016.  He jokes that when we moved he tried in vain to jump into one of the packing boxes to ensure his food supply.  He then excuses himself to burrow into one of the walls of the new home.fatmouse

(This mouse will be featured on next season’s Biggest Loser, when he breaks down and cries after his first workout, and admits to a trainer that he’s never had the same self esteem as his thousand brothers and sisters.)

Next up is Juana, who comes every two weeks to clean our house.  After she speaks, corporate officials let us now she was only 300 Cheerios away from stealing this honor from me.

Along with the Clinton family, some of my favorite celebrities are there as well to wish me well including the entire cast of the short lived Firefly, a show I’ve never watched but have heard wonderful things about.

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(I promise them I’ll watch the lone season of their cult it on Netflix as soon as possible.)

At the ceremonies close, I’m given the key to Valley Village, California and the day is declared in my honor.  All of this goes out on a live feed to every network and overshadows whatever Donald Trump has tweeted that day.

What do you think about when you pick up a Cheerio?

Least Favorite Child Results

There’s a month to cover here as work and the holidays took me away from my blog.  It didn’t prevent me from calculating who was the favorite each day.

December 11-16

Arthur was the Least Favorite five out of six days.  He’s going through a real douchey phase.  Crying for no reason, throwing fits when he’s not happy with the food presented to him, tantrums any time he gets a diaper change.  Do 19 month old boys experience menopause?

December 18-23

Arthur edges out Charles this week as least favorite four to two.  Arthur likes to hit milestones only after my wife and I start to become concerned.  He sit up on his own only after we spent weeks wondering if he had some spinal deformity.  He walked only after my wife shed tears that he might have some serious physical issues.  This week we wondered why he didn’t engage us much and Googles, “signs of autism.”  Moments later he smiled and began engaging us.

December 26 -31

Charles edges out Arthur for the honors four days to two.  Charles is very vocal.  He likes to march around saying ‘happy” over and over again.  It’s very cute.  Less cute is that he likes to march around and say, “die, die, die” more than “happy.”  We Googled, “signs your toddler may become a murderer.”

This week

January 1 – Least Favorite is Charles. How did you start off the New Year?  I started it off in the grocery store with a child happily screaming, “Die, die, die” to people who tried to say hello.

January 2 – Least Favorite is Arthur. Arthur introduced himself to his new daycare provider with tears and a loud dump.  Way to put your best foot forward.

January 3 – Least Favorite is Charles.  He likes to put food in his ears.  My next Google search will be “How to remove snow peas from the deeps wells of a child’s ear.”

January 4 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  He’s a passionate music critic.  There’s a song about a dinosaur on a loop of music that causes him to cry and wail as if he’s standing in the middle of war torn Aleppo.

January 5 – Least Favorite is Charles.  His new hobby is attempting to strangle himself with iPhone charger chords.  I’m beginning to understand what “Die, die, die” might mean.  Of course he later chanted “happy” over and over again so he’s pretty conflicted.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Arthur – 105

Charles – 92

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 502

 

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Charles Chips Away At My Self Esteem

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December 9, 2016

I had been feeling good about myself in regard to my appearance.  Since I visited my parents about a year ago and they remarked about how fat I was it became my mission to shed the excess poundage. And I knew that pleasing my parents was a long shot, so when they looked at me and told me I should put on some weight back on, I took it in stride.

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(I’d love my parents to weigh in at the Biggest Loser finale to bring everyone down.)

I’ve lost almost fifty pounds in order to avoid being the “fat” dad and had been feeling great.  Charles, however, is keeping me in check. When I come home at the end of the day, Charles is always the happiest to see me and greets me with an enthusiastic, “Dadu!!”  Isn’t that adorable?  I certainly used to think it was.  But I was due to be knocked down a peg.  Charles seemed to think one peg wasn’t enough.

During our trip to see my family over Thanksgiving, Charles let out another boisterous “Dadu!!” on morning number one.  He let it out when he saw my father.  My 85 year old, poor postured father.  Really, Charles?  I have some resemblance to my father, but did Charles really think I aged 36 years after a 3,000 mile plane flight and a bad night’s sleep in a poorly ventilated room?  I dealt with this by grabbing a few donuts in the kitchen.

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(This is how I looked after we made the 3,000 mile trip back to Los Angeles)

After about a week I came to grips with the fact that Charles thinks “Dadu” looks like an 85 year old man.  I figured he’s just one and a half.  Kids that age are morons.  He drinks out of the dog’s water bowl why should I worry what he thinks.

Besides, I had little time to worry about my looks.  We were in the middle of moving to a bigger house with a nice yard for the boys, where they could frolic and play while their 85 year old Dad ran after them.  We had five days to clear out all our stuff and move to the new home.  We had an electrician doing some work while we moved in.  His name was the same as mine, Steve.  Here’s what Steve looked like.

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Of course Steve wore a shirt and pants but when he bent down to work on an outlet he may as well have been dressed in the manner in the above photo.  Like I often do, I’ve telegraphed where this is going.  Who did Charles call “Dadu” next?  Yes, Steve the electrician.  My Dad might be 85 years old but at least he’s svelte.  Charles was totally going for the throat with this passive aggressive “Dadu” remark.  Here’s how he’s telling me he sees me.

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(For the record I have that same chair, but not the guitar.)

My wife thinks it’s funny but assures me that Chalres has no agenda and that I look great.  I’m not sure I believe her. In a few years he’ll be at the age where he’ll be bring home a picture he drew of the family and I’m dreading how I’m rendered.

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Will I be proud to hang this up on the fridge with the title, “Dadu”?

I’m not above payback though.  I plan on calling all sorts of things Charles from now on.

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Charles!!!

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Charles!!!!

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Charles!!!!

Two can play this game.

Least Favorite Child Results

Traveling and moving has taken me away from the blog over the past few weeks but I haven’t stopped keeping count.

November 21 – 26

Arthur was Least Favorite four days to two.  The worst was the flight back from Boston.  We had a seat for Charles but Arthur had to be strapped to me in my seat.  Have you ever flown six hours with an 18 month old strapped to your chest?  It’s gotta beat water boarding in terms of torture.  It was like being in a MMA fight where you aren’t allowed to hit back.

November 28- December 3

This is a well deserved 3-3 tie for Least Favorite honors.  I’ve never moved with two year and half old kids and don’t suggest it to anyone.  They are drawn to all sorts of sharp moving materials.  Even though the first things we did when we arrived was unpack every last toy for their entertainment, none of them could compete with anything resembling a box cutter.

December 5 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  I understand while Charles cries.  You take something away he’s holding.  The dog eats his breakfast bar.  I can see the cause and I understand the effect.  Arthur?  He might be looking out a window and start crying hysterically?  Is he contemplating the unjust aspects of the world?  Does he have depth?  Please, don’t let him have that type of depth.

December 6 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  As part of his new sensitive phase he refused to lie on his back for a diaper change.  Putting a diaper on a kid who rolls over on his stomach takes ten times longer.  He may have freed up his calendar for the day but I haven’t.

December 7 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Another part of his sensitive phase is thrashing his head around and banging it on the floor.  He’s going to need a cat scan before he’s two. Charles just looks at me with a “What’s going on with this one” look.

December 8 – Least Favorite is Charles. The good old sneak poop right before bed is always a nice end to my day.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Arthur – 92

Charles – 82

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 471

I Blame You, Arthur. I Blame You!

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November 18, 2016

If Arthur inherited one thing from me it’s his hair. I’ve been riddled with insecurities about my appearance for as long as I can remember.  I was the kid in gym who was saying a novena if is the class involved a team sport that would require a shirts versus skins scenario.  Probably because I always had that farmer’s tan and if I was chosen as a skin I would wind up looking like a kid wearing a white t-shirt with nipples.

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But one thing I’ve never had to worry about is my hair.  I have great hair and a pretty impressive hairline.  I always knew I’d never have to worry about balding.  My only recent worry is that I kind of have a hair style similar to Steve Bannon’s.  And while he may be an evil guy, you can’t deny he’s got pretty good hair.

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(If Robert Redford starts hating minorities and completely lets himself go, this is probably what he’d look like.)

Arthur will never have to worry about losing his hair either.  If his hair is trimmed at 9am, it’s grown over his eyes by 5pm.  It’s an extreme 5 O’clock shadow.  He puts Fabio to shame. He may even have a future as a Harlequin Romance Book  cover model.

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He’ll just have to feather his mane out a little.

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(This style is a little Hitlery.)

My wife is always paranoid about using scissors on Arthur.  He jerks around a lot.  To solve this problem she bought something called a razor comb.

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What a razor comb does is allow you to trim hair without risking jabbing or cutting someone.  What a great idea!  The only problem is that I didn’t know what a razor comb was and my wife didn’t inform me that she bought one.  She keeps me in the dark a lot.  Can you see where this is going?  You probably can.  The direction of this runaway train was headed straight to my one security and the brakes weren’t working.

Wednesday, November 16 – 7:37am

Like every morning, I get out of the shower and begin my search for a brush or comb.  My wife likes to brush her hair and immediately place the brush somewhere it will never be found.  We have five or six brushes and you might find them in spots ranging from the kitchen freezer to the outside mailbox.  That’s the type of system we run in our home. Looking for any implement to comb my hair, I spot what LOOKS like a comb.  I take a single swipe through my hair in the spot I always begin, in the front.  Here’s the result.

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This is just a sampling of the hair I lost.  The first swipe of a comb or brush is always the most aggressive.  Here’s what my hairline looks like now.

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Let’s just ignore my oily forehead and drink the tremendous amount of scalp that’s now exposed.  I even see a couple of those brown spots you get from age.  There’s no real solve for this issue.  I don’t work in an office where I can wear a baseball hat. I could attempt to change my style and wear a knit hipster hat but everyone’s going to think I’m going through a mid-life crisis.

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(I don’t see these people taking me in as one of their own.)

Of course when something this tragic happens blame needs to be assigned.  Do I blame my wife?  Not a chance.  In the beginning of every relationship you establish who gets to win arguments.  In the first month dating my wife it became clear that she was going to be the argument winner.  I was glad to lose every fight to someone willing to date me.  Since we’ve been together my record in arguments is 0-10,000.  No sense in going 0-10,001.

That leaves the kid with all the hair.

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Thanks, Arthur.  I know you’re too young to get sarcasm, but I’m laying it on thick.

Least Favorite Child Results

There’s a lot of catching up to do as I was buried in work.  I’ll try to give a briefer synopsis.

October 31-November 5

Arthur gets Least Favorite Honors four days to Charles two.  Arthur’s low light comes on Halloween when he tried to swallow the sleeve on his scarecrow outfit.

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(I’m the witch.  I may wear that hate for a while.)

November 7 – 12

The boys split honors 3-3 this week.  I’ll be honest.  Neither were standouts nor did they provide any memorable shenanigans.  A tie for the week seems right.

November 13 – Charles is Least Favorite.  Mostly because I took both boys out for a stroll and people kept saying Arthur was a pretty girl and two people assumed they were my grand kids.  I choose Charles as LF as a show of solidarity to Arthur.

November 14 – Arthur is Least Favorite.  Getting him into the car on this particular morning was a battle.  A battle that people passing by knew I was losing.  He used the “stiff body” method to avoid getting into his car seat.  He’d be an awesome protester.  Good luck getting this guy into a police car.

November 15 – Charles is Least Favorite.  No one likes a morning person, and Charles is a morning person.  If he could walk it down to a 7, I could deal with it, but he jumps out of bed at a full 10.  I’m nice enough to give him a polite smile.

November 16 – Charles is Least Favorite.  He doesn’t seem to be phased in the least that Donald Trump is the President Elect.  That type of self absorbed personality is off putting.

November 17 – Arthur is Least Favorite.  Doesn’t matter how late I wait to change his diaper before bed time.  He’ll still poop moments before I put him in the crib.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Arthur – 82

Charles – 76

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 464

 

 

 

 

 

Potty Poker Face

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October 28, 2016

The boys are only a year and a half but my wife insists it’s time to start potty training them.  She’s a “doer.”  I’m not a “doer.”  Left up to me, my sons wouldn’t become toilet “goers” until their sophomore year in college.  So my wife’s drive will certainly make life a little easier for everyone when Arthur and Charles hit high school.

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(At least the diapered guy in this picture has abs. Kind of a trade off if you ask me.)

I had no idea how to begin the potty training process.  My wife, the “doer” did.  She advised me that we have to figure out when they are actually taking a dump.  Much like poker, we’d have to look for their tells in order to determine when they where holding a royal flush. (Sorry for the pun)

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That’s right.  My wife and I now spend our evenings together in the family room drinking cocktails and trying to spot signs that are children are taking a dump.  And I can tell you now, from firsthand experience, that it’s tough to follow the thread of a TV show like Designated Survivor when your attention is diverted by a a child locked in a half squat position.

It’s a high stakes poker game not unlike Casino Royale.  Lives may not hang in the balance, but there are a lot of smelly chips on the table, and one of the players is adept at bluffing.

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Luckily, Arthur is a poor poker player.  He doesn’t have a tell as much as he just walks up to you and shows you his cards.  He squats as if he’s about to jump off a diving board and hold that spot for about a minute before moving on.  I assume that’s a pretty standard position.  What’s less standard is that occasionally he does this facing me and looks me straight in the eye.  I have to believe that’s disrespectful on a lot of levels.  If I walked up to a coworker, glared at them straight in the eye and took a massive crap without saying a word, I’m pretty sure that would be interpreted as a huge “fuck you!!”  It might also be the single biggest power move in the history of office politics. I don’t think I have the nerve to pull ever pull this off, but it’s now in my mind.

Charles is a much different player that Arthur, and quite frankly he’s holding all the cards.  He never stops moving.  How can you tell when someone has shit themselves if they’re always in motion?  And why would you ever WANT to poop on the move?  Personally, I’ve reached an age where the mood and setting has to be perfect for a good dump to happen and a huge part of that… is sitting still.

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(I don’t know what you have earmarked to buy with your change jar but this is kind of what I have in mind.)

Not only is Charles winning every hand in this card game of craps, but I’m becoming increasing concerned that he’ll never sit still on anything long enough to poop in it.  Will I have to strap the plastic potty to his ass?  The book Everybody Poops leaves a valuable message but it doesn’t really hit home how much joy you can get from 15-20 minutes with a good book in the can.  I blame his mother.  She’s the “doer.”  Doers don’t like to sit still.  They always have to be into something.  And Charles is beating us because he’s multi-tasking.  He’s pooping while he hits the toy piano or playing with his fire truck.

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(Hearing a child squeeze one out as they murder their rendition of chopsticks is a tall order)

These kids have flash cards that show them parts of the body, dogs, cats, and all sorts of stuff that wouldn’t come in as handy as a single card with a pile of poop on it.  That’s why I’m finishing this post as I drink a strong cup of coffee and my iPhone camera at the ready when it’s time to run to the mens room.  Sometimes you have to make your own flash cards to get things done.

Least Favorite Child Results

October 22 – Least Favorite is Charles.  We went to a pumpkin patch over the weekend and threw the boys in a bouncy house with a bunch of older kids.  It went about as well as the soldiers getting off their pontoon boats at Omaha Beach.  This set the tone for Charles to not enjoy a single thing at this event. Toughen up.

October 23 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  He’s going to be that kid in school that puts everything in his mouth.  The day before at the pumpkin patch he was grabbing hay and putting it in his mouth and at home it’s the same, we just have more dog hair and less hay.

October 24 – Least Favorite is Charles.  Speaking of putting things in their mouths.  Charles spent the morning chewing on something forcing my wife and I to take 10-15 minutes trying to open up his mouth and find out what it was.  It was nothing.  This kid is just toying with us.  I respect him but resent him as well.

October 25 – Least Favorite is Arthur. But only because Charles caught some bug and looked adorably pitiful.  It’s tough to be least favorite when you play the pity card so well.

October 26 – Least Favorite is Charles.  He’s feeling better now.  He displayed his health by trying to take down the wall mounted TV with all his might.  Don’t ever mess with the TV.  That’s what gets this family through our days and our nights.

October 27 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Arthur speaks like an Ewok from the Star Wars films.  I’d prefer a few human words at this point in his development as opposed to the dialect of a small creature waving a wooden spear.

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Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Arthur – 73

Charles – 68

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 443

It’s Good Enough, Damn It!

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October 21, 2016

I vividly recall one particular morning when I was five years old.  My seven year old brother and myself where getting ready for school when he discovered he didn’t have a clean pair of underwear.  He bellowed to my Mother, who I’m sure was desperately drinking coffee in the kitchen praying for the next 15 minutes to pass when her four kids would be out of the house and she would have peace until roughly 3pm, when the Mike Douglas talk show began.

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(This fun and breezy talk show signaled the end of my Mother’s daily tranquility)

I could hear my Mother’s footsteps as she approached our room and she tossed my brother a clean pair of skivvies to wear.  She was quick and efficient in her delivery.  The only issue for my brother was that the clean underwear he was given didn’t belong to… his collection.  They belonged to one of our sister’s.  That’s right, my Mother heard my brother’s problem, discovered another problem along the way, and dealt with it as best she could.  My brother was speechless for a few moments until the devastated cries ensued.  While he loudly protested I saw his possible future instantly.

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My Mom’s reply to my brother was calm and succinct.  “They’re good enough, damn it.”  And with her simple answer he resigned himself to a day he’d spend in fear and confusion. It didn’t help that as a five year old armed with juicy gossip that we shared the same bus to school.  I held my secret for almost two full bus stops before the entire bus knew that my brother was wearing girls’ underpants.  I’m pretty sure my mother didn’t count on my lack of discretion as part of her, “They’re good enough, damn it!” reasoning.  The good news is that my brother had regained a reputation of good standing by third grade.  Of course he became quite a worrier at a young age and developed ulcerative colitis a few years down the road.  Is this my fault or my Mom’s?  We’ll never know for sure but I KNOW the roots of his issues started with “They’re good enough, damn it!”

I thought of that story last week when my wife traveled for business for several days and left me alone with the boys.  Of course, she didn’t arm me with a lot of important information that a sole caregiver needs.  Most notably that Charles likes to use the second half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as hair gel.  But I realized that I’ve already reached the “It’s good enough, damn it!” stage of parenting.  I’m lazy so this was inevitable.  The first entry into this thinking was their day one outfit.

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I knew that the camo shorts weren’t going to be a hit with my wife, but when you’re trying to find any outfit that matches for twins, the “It’s good enough, damn it!” thinking sinks in rapidly.  At least their fashion DON’T was a match.  Good enough, right?

On day two, Arthur wore two different shoes.  There was one left foot, and one right, so that always gets things done.  Good enough, damn it!  For dinner that night I forgot to pick up yogurt for their dessert.  Yogurt that night became a few cookies.  Good enough, damn it!

Bath night?  I’ve seen the work that goes into that.  You know what makes an 18 month old child look like they’ve had a bath?  Applying 15-20 wet wipes to various parts of their body.  As far as I’m concerned we live in a world of perception which means looking clean if far more important that actually being clean. Good enough, damn it.

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Sure, it looks like an adorable process but the aftermath of bathing two small children is devastating.

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(We have an animated bathroom in our home)

And here’s a little secret that I haven’t told my wife.  While she’s going to great lengths engaging them and keeping them entertained, I’ve discovered how to do this AND watch my shows.  It’s a little item known as an empty 7-11 coffee cup.

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As long as you don’t mind putting the lid back on this thing periodically to keep your kid happy, you’re good for 2-3 hours.  That’s MORE than good enough, damn it!

I’ve embraced the “good enough, damn it” phase of parenting and because of my mother I’ve even learned where to draw the line.

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Of course one of them could grow up to identify as a person who wants to wear this style of underpants.  And then I’ll have to be supportive.  At least I’ll get a blog post out of it and that’s good enough damn it.

Least Favorite Child Results

October 15  – Least Favorite is Charles.  People always talk about the terrible twos.  Unfortunately we weren’t prepared for Charles to hit the terrible twos at 18 months.  Let’s just say you don’t want to be in the room when you take away his 7-11 cup.  I’m the same way if you take away my coffee cup but that’s because there’s actually coffee in it.

October 16 – Least Favorite is Charles.  He wouldn’t go to sleep until I walked down the street and got an empty 7-11 coffee cup to give him.  I’ve given him his first unhealthy addiction.

October 17 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  The down side of having a baby monitor in your bedroom is listening to one of your kids in their bedroom whining from 5:30am to 7am.  He wasn’t crying.  Just whining.  In other words, not enough to get up and see what’s wrong, but just enough to keep you awake during the best sleeping time.

October 18 – Least Favorite is Charles.  Some nights you work hard to make a dinner your sons will love.  Some times those are the same nights one of them decides they give that dinner to the dog.

October 19 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Some night you work hard to make a dinner your sons will love.  Some times those are the same nights that you realize that one of your sons will keep putting food in his mouth before fully chewing the previous piece.  This leads to holding regurgitated dinner in the palm of your hand.

October 20 – Least Favorite is Charles.  If Arthur was holding a vile of the Zika virus in his hand, Charles would likely knock him down and take it from him, because it doesn’t matter what it is.  By all rights it belong to him.  What a dick.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Arthur – 70

Charles – 65

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 436

 

How To Talk To Your Kids About Donald Trump

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October 14, 2016

I could write about other things today, but is anyone interested in anything that isn’t related to Donald Trump?  I know I’m not.  And as I look through all the justified outrage I see a lot of parents wringing their hands over how to explain Trump’s words and actions to their kids.  I’m not sure why this is such a big problem.  It’s an easy thing to explain to anyone, even young impressionable minds.  He’s a douchebag.

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The contributions that the douchebag made to women’s health pales in comparison to the gift it gave mankind in its name alone.  No word encapsulates the entirety of an asshole as well…even the word asshole.

So if your child comes up to you confused and asks you to explain what Donald Trump’s words mean it’s a quick and easy conversation. “He’s a douchebag.  Turn off CNN and watch some cartoons. And stop asking me stupid questions.  Love you!”

If you put more than a little thought into it, as parents we should thank Donald Trump.  He has become a clear example for us to show our children how not to behave.  Our kids no longer have the benefit of heavy exposure to Goofus and Gallant in Highlights Magazine.

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I miss these guys.  Granted, I always identified more with Goofus, but in today’s environment I’m sure people would jump to Goofus’ defense and say we were bullying him for being ADHD or somewhere on the Asperger’s spectrum.  But thanks to Donald Trump we have our modern day Goofus to look to and say, “OK, he did THAT so we probably shouldn’t do THAT.

My boys can’t speak but years from now when they ask me about something that Donald Trump did, because let’s face it, he might not become President but he’s still not going anywhere, I’ll tell them, “He’s a douchebag.  Remember, you don’t want to be one of those.”

And if they ask me how they’ll know if they’re being a douchebag, I’ll say, “Is it something you could see Trump doing?  If so, you’re probably being a douchebag.”

Just as an aside when did it become the common practice to have this question and answer forum with our kids about issues of the day?  Can’t we go back to the time when kids figured stuff out for themselves and if they got it wrong then parents would explain that they were idiots or being…douchebags?

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(“That’s a very interesting question, Timmy, and I want you to think about what the answer to that might be while Mommy watches the View.”)

It’s not like we ever leave our kids alone for a single second. If they have things figured out incorrectly and it looks like their about to be a douchebag, we can swoop in pretty quickly and explain to them that their being Donald Trump.  All role models aren’t positive ones.  But if you have a clear blueprint for what doesn’t work that’s almost as valuable, right?

My boys are only 18 months.  So it’s unclear if their douchebags at this time.  They say a few words but mostly just babble.  I’m pretty sure Charles did say “pussy” once, but I think that’s what he was calling me when I winced opening up the diaper pale.  That doesn’t make him Trump.  But it does put him in the “Goofus” category.

Least Favorite Child Results

October 9th – Least Favorite is Arthur.  During dinner he threw up.  With no paper towels nearby and seeing it coming ahead of time, I cupped my hands in front of his mouth.  When your holding two handfuls of puke in your hands it’s easy to choose your least favorite.

October 10 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  If you puke at dinner it’s important to get right back up on the horse the next night and shovel as much of a hot dog into your mouth as humanly possible.  This time I had paper towels.

October 11 – Least Favorite is Charles.  When I’m walking the boys in the stroller, Charles likes to stick one leg out and kick at things.  His favorite place to this is at the supermarket where he can knock a lot of things over.  Total Goofus.

October 12 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Arthur likely thinks he’s being helpful when I change his crap filled diaper and before I can get to a wipe he starts to aide the cleanup process with his hands.

October 13 – Least Favorite is Charles.  Charles is into using hair products.  Specifically whatever he’s having for dinner which he run through his hair.  Chicken doesn’t work so well, but peanut butter definitely gives his hair the hold he’s looking for.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Arthur – 68

Charles – 61

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 429

Hello, My Name Is _______?

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October 8, 2016

Some words have many meanings.  Aloha is a great example.  It can mean hello or goodbye.  It can also mean love and affection.  Aloha can be added onto other words to express good morning, good afternoon and dozens of other expressions.  Aloha means so many different things that I could stand in downtown Honolulu, scream it at the top of my lungs, and either be hugged or arrested depending on how someone chose to interpret my tone.

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(Sure, Hawaii is the Aloha State but with so many meanings can we be sure they’re not telling us to pound sand up our ass?)

My sons, Arthur and Charles, are about 17 months old and have no idea what their names are.  I say their names hundreds of times a day to no response.  They’re not deaf.  If they hear Elmo’s voice their heads snap in that direction quicker than their bodies can even adjust giving them a Linda Blair in The Exorcist vibe.

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(“Aloha!”)

It’s possible that they’re aware that their names are Arthur and Charles but aren’t crazy about them.  They might just be ignoring me until I call them by names they prefer but I think that would be giving them way to much credit.  I don’t think they’ll start being passive aggressive until they’re two.

At any rate they hear the words Arthur and Charles constantly so I have to conclude that they think these words mean something.  And I believe they think that “Arthur” and “Charles,” like “Aloha,” has many different meaning.  I’ll attempt to get in their minds and translate.

  • Using their names with a question mark attached

Arthur? – Translation – “Hey there, Sport.  Do you think you could pull the Apple TV cords out of the TV and start chewing on them”?  (ALT) “If I turn my back for a minute can you try to drink the liquor I hide in my ‘There’s A Chance This Is Tequila’ coffee thermos”?

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(Another fantastic gift from my friend Kirsten.)

Charles? – Translation – Buddy, your brother is holding something he’s enjoying very much so can you take that away from him right now”?

If I say their names with an exclamation, they never interpret it as a warning.  They think of my tone as pure support and enthusiasm.

Arthur! – Translation – “Great job taking all that dog hair and putting it in your mouth and swallowing it!  Let’s find out if they have competitive eating competitions for that like they have for hot dogs in Coney Island.  You could be the Joey Chestnut of Golden Retriever fur.”

Charles! – Translation – “I couldn’t be prouder or more impressed that you’re standing precariously on top of the tall bureau.  So many people would be frightened they’d fall to their death but not you, you brave little idiot!!” (ALT) “You go run away now and don’t look back for either of your parents at any point!  No one steals kids these days!”

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(Charles, always on the search for new parents)

Of course they hear their names most often in a defeated tone.

Arthur – Translation – “Please pull my arm hair.”  (ALT) ” “Thanks for taking a dump in the diaper I put on you ten seconds ago.” (ALT) “Thanks for putting my iPhone in your mouth.  You’re right.  I DO need to unplug.”  (ALT) “I don’t know if that will fit in your nose but you should give it a shot.”

Charles – Translation – “You’re right. Dressing people while they sit still IS boring.” (ALT) “Good call.  It’s more fun for everyone if you to try to escape while I put you in your car seat.” (ALT) “Yes, putting children’s Tylenol in a moving target is much more rewarding.” (ALT) “Sure, I think someday you’ll achieve your goal of smashing Arthur’s hand in a door jam.”

**Charles is more active than Arthur.

I feel I’ve become fluent when it comes to the language of Charles 101 and Beginning Arthur.  They’ve taken the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” and turned it on its head.  For these guys one word is worth a thousand meanings to fit whatever it is they feel like doing at that particular time. I thought I had lazy mastered, but these kids teach me that I’m a novice every day.

Least Favorite Child Results

Yes, I was on a blog sabbatical as I went on vacation in Catalina and had a busy week of catch up at work, so I can go into the detail of every single day.  I’ll break it down for everyone’s (mostly mine) convenience.

  • 8 days of vacation. Charles was least favorite 3 of those days and Arthur won the honors 5 times. Highlights for each included Charles taking a dump in the hot tub and Arthur drinking an unknown amount of tequila when I wasn’t looking.   I handled the tequila the same way I would handle it if I drank one tenth my body weight in booze.  I gave him some pizza and water before he went to bed.

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(Kudos to Arthur who had his first shot without a lime or a chaser.  I expect his first chest hair next week.)

  • September 26 through October 2.  The boys had a 3-3 split last week.  Arthur ran out to a quick lead, but Charles caught up if for no other reason than putting his shoes on every morning is an effort that makes beads of sweat fall down the crack of my ass. (Sorry for the visual)

October 3 – Least Favorite is Charles. The one bright spot about having kids is that you know a day earlier when you used to that you were going to be sick.  Charles is always the first one to catch a cold and when I spot his runny nose I know I have 24 hours to get to the CVS and get my meds.  Of colds always start with Charles.  I may change his name to Patient Zero.  He may answer to that.  **99% of all cold come from blue ball pits.

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October 4 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Arthur caught Charles’ cold but of course my wife and I have it now as well.  Don’t whine to me Arthur.  Look at your brother is you’re in to assigning blame.

October 5 – Least Favorite is Arthur. Arthur likes a late night snack.  So do I, but I can manage to take care of my snack needs myself while Arthur needs me to bring him a bottle of milk.  Can’t he just quietly get a Snickers bar and turn ESPN on low like Daddy?

October 6 – Least Favorite is Charles. Wiping the nose of a reluctant and fast toddler requires more athletic ability than I ever displayed in high school.

October 7 – Least Favorite is Charles.  Charles is feeling much showing off his obnoxious dance moves while we are all still dealing with coughs and raw noses from generic kleenex.  Glad you’re feeling better Patient Zero!

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Arthur – 65

Charles – 59

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 422

 

 

 

My Kid Shared A Bed With Us And It Sucked

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September 16, 2016

I never had the urge to climb into my parents’ bed with them when it was young.  I remember the reason why distinctly.  They used to leave the door to their bedroom open and it was clear that they weren’t having a good time.  It was very common to hear my mother yelling at my father, “Joe, stop digging your arm into my side!”  “Joe, you’re toenail just scratched my leg!”

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(My Dad was always proud of the work he put into his feet)

Whatever frightening image might have been running through my child’s mind was much easier to deal with than the thought of the Thunderdome match going on in the master bedroom of the Hurley House.  Knowing how conservative my Irish Catholic parents are and leaving their door open are the things that calm my spirit and convince me that they weren’t engaging in rough sex.

The other morning my wife got up from bed and brought back a particularly snotty child.  I didn’t notice right away.  I turned and noticed that Arthur was lying in between us and said to my wife, “There’s a baby in the bed.”  It seemed like such an odd occurrence that I didn’t even refer to him by name.  He could have been anyone’s baby.  It only took me a few seconds to look at him lying there to think, “Wow, who would have thought that one day I’d be in bed with my wife with OUR child in between us”?  I was gearing up for my first poignant moment as a father.  The type I hear from other parents about the touching and momentous feelings people get as parents.  Of course, over the next twenty eight minutes Arthur proceeded to blow his nose all over on the pristine Norman Rockwell portrait in my mind.

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(Here you go, Arthur!  Take a giant wiz on this while you’re at it.)

Here’s a diary of how things went from 6am to 6:28am when I woke up a half hour earlier than I needed to.  I didn’t look at the clock so all these times are just approximate fabrications.

6:01am – Arthur starts things off by by picking my nose.  He may have been checking to make sure that I wasn’t suffering from sleep apnea.  He wasn’t just satisfied with putting one finger in my nose.  He got at least three of those stubby little things up my right nostril.

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(I think Arthur has a bucket list of celebrities whose noses he’s like to pick)

6:04am – He becomes bored with picking my nose and places a pillow over my head.  You know what’s even more effective than a snooze alarm?  Having a child try to euthanize you in your sleep every few minutes.  It really keeps you on your toes.

6:10am – After spending a few minutes torturing my wife in an unspeakable manner, Arthur turned back to me.  This time he attempts to strangle me with my wife’s ear buds.  He’s unable to get the cord fully around my neck and gives up after a couple of minutes.  It’s his second assassination attempt in less than ten minutes.  I’m hoping that he’s not packing heat.

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(Kids!  Am I right!?)

6:13am – I was wrong.  Arthur is packing heat.  He gambled and lost on a fart.  How do I know it’s not just a fart?  His gas usually dissipates in 10-15 seconds.  This stench isn’t going anywhere.  My nostrils are burning for about five minutes until all the olfactory cells in my nose have died.  I guess he’s finally succeeded in killing something.

6:19am – Poopy pants starts barking at the dog lying on the floor.  The dog has had enough and walks out of the room and I realize he will go an occupy the couch in the living room.  The dog is officially brighter than me.

6:23am – Arthur starts humping a pillow, followed by sneezing on it.  He’s treating that pillow worse than my Dad treated my Mom in bed.

6:26am – He spends some time pulling the hair on my leg.

6:28am – He sneezes on my leg.  I think 1/3 of his body weight in mucus is on my right calf.  I shoot him a look and see that my wife is lying on her side with her eyes wide open like a stunned zombie.  I decide it’s time to get a head start on my 7am shower.  A shower that will be much more extensive on this particular morning.

This is how it went.  I wasn’t serene or idyllic.  Sharing a bed with my wife and son involved several murder attempts, a lot horrific bodily fluids, hair plucking and human barking.  And this was the laid back kid!!  If Charles was lying in between us he would never have given up so easy on trying to kill us and you wouldn’t be reading this meandering post right now.

Chances are, Charles is YOUR favorite today.

Least Favorite Child Results

September 10 – Least Favorite is Charles.  Every now and then I choose dinner for the boys.  And almost every time Charles lets me know his opinion of my choice by batting the spoon out of my hand and it’s contents flying behind me.  We have permanent pasta stains on the kitchen wall at this point.

September 11 – Least Favorite is Arthur. Some kids tend to be droolers, but Arthur is setting the bar of achievement in this arena pretty high.  He can turn his shirt into a damp rag in minutes.

September 12 – Least Favorite is Charles.  Charles likes to rely on some of the standard annoying toddler methods.  He’s read the playbook and follows it precisely. His annoying baby 101 move this evening was taking every single Kleenex out of the box and onto the floor while I turned away for no more than five seconds.  he would have been a great contestant on Minute To Win It.

September 13 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Arthur clearly wants his privacy because he keeps taking the baby monitor and hiding it.  He’s unaware that watching him sleep is NOT appointment TV.

September 14 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  **See above post.

September 15 – Least Favorite is Charles.  He likes to wake up a half hour before I need to and babbles to himself in his crib loudly.  He may be broadcasting a morning drive time radio show for babies.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Arthur – 55

Charles – 50

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 403

 

They’ll Never Have To Shovel And That Makes Me Bitter

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September 9, 2016

Part of being a parent is harboring some feelings of resentment toward your children, right?  I remember back when I was about 10 or 11, hearing my father recall one of his first jobs when he was my age.  After school he would go to a nearby poultry slaughter house and sweep the floor that was full of decapitated chicken heads.  He didn’t talk about it resentfully.  In fact he seemed almost wistful as he spoke, transporting himself to a simpler time when he had less responsibility, while implanting a terrifying and lasting image that remains with me to this very day.

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(I’m putting the image of this puppy here in an attempt to cleanse the chicken head trauma from anyone’s mind.)

But my father must have had some deep resentment toward me, when he heard me complain about my one day a week paper route for the town local paper, compared to working with the carnage of dead animal body parts.  As fall approaches, I’ve finally figured out my resentment toward my kids.  They’re FROM Los Angeles.  I live in LA, but I’m not from LA.  I’m from the Boston area and that means I had to deal with fall and winter.  Two seasons I associate with horrible chores that my sons will never be subjected to.

Sure, they’ll never know the joy of jumping into a big pile of colorful leaves.

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Roughly 80% of the time this is fun.  The other 20% of the time you find there’s a dog poop somewhere in this joyous pile.  If it happens when you’re with friends, you need to lay low for a few months until the nickname of “shit stain” dies away at school. I always found the 20% kind of ruined the enjoyment of the 80%.

Of course most parents feel the need to get rid of leaves in their yard and who do they have take care of this thankless job?  Their young kids.

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I spent countless fall hours raking these things, developing blisters on my hands and wondering what the difference was between me and a group of minor criminal offenders dressed in orange cleaning up debris on the side of the highway.  I felt as if I had been sentenced without committing the crime.  I often lobbied my parents that leaving the leaves in the yard would give our property a rustic and natural look.  This didn’t register with them as they just handed me a box of Hefty Bags and pointed me toward the rake while at the same time killing any hope I had of becoming an exterior designer.  That’s a thing, right?

I might add that they often gave me regular kitchen trash bags for the leaves as opposed to the Hefty re-enforced bags, causing sticks and other objects to tear through the bag. And the rakes my parents bought were always substandard.

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This rake represents every rake my parents had in my lifetime.  Would it have killed my father to have blown the dust off his wallet and pay more than three bucks for a quality rake?  (Maybe his resentment for me was passive aggressive.)

With the tools they were giving me they may as well have asked me to hold back the ocean with a broom.  My sons will never have to deal with the pain of Autumn chores.  If they see a leave on the ground, they look at it in amazement and remark, “Look at that leave in the driveway.  You just don’t see that everyday, do you”?  Then they’ll proceed to spray tanning lotion on their bodies before heading to the beach or the pool.

The fall season, however, is a cake walk compared to surviving the chores that an East Coast winter mandate.

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New England winters not only suck out the soul of the strongest individuals they take a toll on your looks.  Here’s what I believe I would look like today if I didn’t have to face harsh winters.

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You know why Tom Brady looks so good?  Because he grew up in California and never had to scrape the the ice off of his parents’ cars with a kitchen spatula because they never bothered to buy a proper ice scraper.

For every hour spent building a snowman…

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Eight hours are spent doing this…

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while your parents stay in the warm house drinking coffee and watching the local morning show.  My kids will never deal with hands frozen through wet gloves, feet frozen through wet boots and chronic back and knee pain from shoveling twenty pounds of weight repeatedly, hour after hour, so their father can safely get his car out of the driveway to buy a pack of smokes.  This is what a a typical ten year old looks like in suburban Boston in February after 10-12 snowstorms.

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(This is Timmy.  A 5th Grader from Needham, Massachusetts, who has decided to skip today’s scheduled snowball fight.)

Being from the Golden State, Charles and Arthur will be able to avoid winter thus realizing their maximum attractiveness and keeping their extremities and major organs intact for a long life.  And they’ll never even bother to thank me.  When January rolls around and it dips into the sixties they’ll just be disappointed that they might have to wear long pants for a week or two.

The only downer for them, is that these bleak seasons, build an angry and sarcastic edge to people who deal with them.  My angry sarcastic side is the only thing that gives me the limited depth I possess.  Then again, we live in LA.  What would my sons do with depth?

Least Favorite Child Results

September 3 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  When I grow old and incontinent I will insist that Arthur change my diapers.  And when he does I will turn over onto my stomach mid-diaper so he knows how frustrating that it.

September 4 – Least Favorite is Charles.  My wife and I drove an hour and a half to take the boys to a place called Pretend City.  Unfortunately, we cannot pretend that Charles didn’t get sick sticking his hand in the “pretend fishing water” and drinking large amount of it.

September 5 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Arthur moves in a very slow deliberate manner.  That is until is comes to taking the glasses off of my face, putting them in his drooly mouth and throwing them behind himself.  When it comes to that he moves with magical lightning quickness.

September 6 – Least Favorite is Charles.  Still thinking of Pretend City.  The one thing Charles threw himself into was the little stage there.  I think he’s going to pursue an artistic career.  He’s so disgustingly LA.

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September 7 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Still thinking of Pretend City.  Arthur wants to be a fireman which will give his mother many sleepless nights thinking of the film Backdraft.

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September 8 – Least Favorite is Charles.  Charles sat on the couch this morning and my wife notices he was chewing on something.  She opened his mouth and grabbed my wedding ring out of it.  Did Charles bother to say, “Hey!  Thanks for saving my life!” Of course not.  He just threw shade at my wife.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Arthur – 52

Charles – 47

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 396

 

Is Lacking Substance Genetic?

September 2, 2016

A few nights ago my wife and I were watching Bachelor In Paradise as one of the boys casually played with toys in front of us.  We were pretty engrossed in Ashley’s story line.  You see Ashley, whose a virgin, was on the last season of the show and became obsessed with Jared.  The two of them struck up a relationship comprised mostly of making out followed up by talking about how they feel “comfortable” around each other.

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(Here’s a shot of Ashley and Jared feeling super comfortable with each other)

Ultimately, Jared didn’t feel that making out and being comfortable was enough and broke things off.  They came back again this season.  Jared came back to find love and Ashley to get back Jared.  Ashley spends most of her time crying and insisting she’s still a virgin while watching Jared get intimate with another girl in paradise.  In the midst of another one of Ashley’s crying jags, my wife looked at me and said, “I wish Ashley would write a tell all book revealing if she actually slept with Jared.”  I looked at her wide eyed and responded, “I’d read the SHIT out of that book.”

This isn’t a compelling story, but it should give you a good idea of the intellectual level that my sons are exposed to.  There’s not a lot of deep thought going on in my head.

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(“I wish you could buy Devil Dogs in California.”)

Yesterday I spent most of my time at work day dreaming about having the power to make people feel like they were being annoyingly pinched on the back of their arm.  I smiled imagining using this power against my enemies.  It came in just ahead of having the ability to give people 48 hour UTI’s because that’s mostly a lady thing and who wants a power you can’t use against men as well as women.

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(When I watched Stranger Things and saw this girl make a boy pee his pants with her mind, it occurred to me that if I had that power I’d never get anything done.)

Can Arthur and Charles break the cycle and contemplate the world around them in more depth than me?  Do I even want them to?  I’ve spoken to people who have spent time seriously thinking and forming opinions on important matters and if I’m honest, they bore me most of the time.

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There’s a strong possibility that this bike riding artisan coffee shop hipster can lay out a well thought out argument to me about the carbon foot print I’m creating, but odds are while he spoke I’d be thinking, “I bet they don’t have French Vanilla creamers here.”

Even though I lack substance I know enough that the boys have a chance to become deeper than me or my wife.  That’s because I’ve seen The Secret Of My Success starring Michael J.Fox.

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You see, Fox’s character, Brantley Foster, is a financial wiz trying to make his mark in the corporate world.  While living a double life we see that he has plenty of formed opinions on the world, people, life and love.  However, Brantley reveals in a tender scene with a very hot Helen Slater that he escaped his rural roots in Indiana and indicates that his parents were complete rubes.  See!  It can happen.  They don’t have to be as limited as I am!! Brantley Foster can break the cycle and so can Arthur and Charles.

And I’m pretty proud that I used a movie that lacks any real substance to prove my point.

Least Favorite Child Results

August 27 – Least Favorite is Charles.  No one enjoys a good nap as much as I do…except Charles.  When Charles misses his nap he reacts rudely and becomes mean.  He’s like a little Donald Trump tweeting in anger.  “Dad’s a total loser.  Doesn’t get that babies need naps.  Sad!!” @RealCharles

August 28 – Least Favorite is Charles.  Charles is excited that Arthur is starting to walk.  He needed something new to knock over.

August 29 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Arthur’s walking now but isn’t as adept at it as quickly as Charles was.  I’m I looking at a future of having to console him over the trauma of gym class?

August 30 – Least Favorite is Charles. Charles has begun to mimic the dog by barking at him.  Charles’ favorite game is fetch.  Both the dog and I are a little worried.

August 31 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Arthur sucks at petting the dog.  His idea of a pet is really more of a hard hair pull.  Unrelated; the dog may be starting his own blog.

September 1 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Sometimes Arthur just lies on his bean bag chair in front of the TV sucking on an empty bottle of milk.  He’s kind of like that guy who’s always on the couch in your college apartment but doesn’t actually live there.  He’s no Tony Robbins.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Arthur – 49

Charles – 44

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 389