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

 

Just A Ranking…You’re Welcome!

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August 26, 2016

If looking at the photo of the Von Trapp kids lured you into reading this post, I’m sorry.  I just know that telegenic singing families are easy click bait.

Some weeks you just don’t have any inspiration to write 800 plus words describing you’re skewed look at everyday life as a parent of twin toddlers.  And as always, looking myself in the mirror and honestly assessing my ability to write entertaining content never seems as appealing as just blaming the kids for not giving me enough to work with.   So, you have them to thank for my just going straight to the rankings in a week where my biggest daily accomplishment was successfully getting shoes on a 15 month old child.

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(For months I’ve been wondering what Arthur and Charles would look like if they went to a Jimmy Buffet concert and now the mystery has been solved)

Least Favorite Child Results

August 20 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  I usually draw the duty of changing the boys right before bed time and I’ve realized that Arthur regularly clocks in his last poop of the day around 8:15pm.  This means I end every day by dealing with a smelly turd.  Way to put a pretty ribbon on the gift of every day we’re given, Art!

August 21 – Least Favorite is Charles.  I’m just being honest.  Charles can be a little bitchy.  He doesn’t have resting bitch face, either.  He has a very active bitch face that lets you know, you’ve displeased him and fallen well below his expectations.  Get used to it, Charles.  I’ve disappointed many people in my day and if taking away the computer mouse you’re smashing over the dog’s head doesn’t meet with your favor, you’re just another feather in my cap of people I’ve let down.

August 22 – Least Favorite is Charles. One of the staples of the morning routine is giving the boys a gummy vitamin.  Charles promptly puts it in his mouth and less promptly spits it out quietly in random areas around the house.  I’m sad to inform you that there’s no way to gracefully receive the news from a co-worker that you have a gummy vitamin stuck to your ass.

August 23 – Least Favorite is Charles. Here’s some advice for you Charles…if you’d rather not eat what’s being offered simply utter, “No thanks.”  I know for a fact you know both those words so you don’t have to resort to punching the spoon and its contents back at me.  Again, he’s the bitchy one.

August 24 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  I have a dog who sheds a lot.  There’s a lot of hair in my house and Arthur must think it’s light brown cotton candy.  I spend far too much time vigilantly watching what Arthur’s putting in his mouth when I could just vacuum once every day.

August 25 – Least Favorite is Charles. My wife has taken away our morning TV because Charles is too hooked on it.  It’s like the When A Man Loves A Woman with Meg Ryan and Andy Garcia.  His addiction is now devastating ALL of us!! Quite frankly my wife should be Least Favorite for her wielding her cruel power, but she reads this blog occasionally and she scares me.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Arthur – 46

Charles – 41

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 382

The Casual Art Of Puking

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August 19, 2016

My boys don’t barf that much.  I’d put them right smack in the middle of the pack when it comes to their puking frequency.  But when they do throw up…they do it with such nonchalant style that I can’t help but be impressed.

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Over the weekend both Arthur and Charles impressively tossed their cookies in a 24 hour span.  Arthur was first.  We were driving to have dinner at a fancy restaurant.  Arthur was song styling a tune he’s been playing with for over a month.  He hasn’t told me the title of the song but I call it “La La La.”  As he was happily singing “la la la” in his carefree way he regurgitated roughly one fourth of his body weight all over himself just as I pulled up to the valet parking.  After he finished vomiting, he continued singing “la la la.”  Maybe he was trying to turn “La La La” into more of an interpretive performance piece.  If so, I give him high marks for creative effort, but it didn’t move me like Manilow’s “Weekend In New England.”

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(A beautiful song about New England without one reference to Dunkin Donuts.  Amazing!)

His ability to continue his song while covered in puke demonstrates steely nerves he must get from my wife’s side.  The following day is was Charles turn.  He was turning the pages of his favorite Elmo audio book.  Somewhere around page three or four he started blowing chunks, but at no point during that process did he stop looking through the book.  The sound of his throwing up merged with Big Bird exclaiming, “Elmo likes to play pretend!”  He quite casually and effortlessly pushed a little of the puke that was obscuring his view of Elmo playing pretend.  As I rushed over to hose him off he looked at me and gave me a wry smile.  It wouldn’t have shocked me if he had pointed and winked in my direction as I ran with the roll of paper towels in my hand.

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(I think we’d all like to be able to vomit and maintain the unmatched style of David Niven)

How is it possible that Charles and Arthur, two kids who used to cry when they farted, can be so suave when the contents of their last meal leave their bodies with great force? I don’t want to ask other parents if their toddlers are the same because I don’t want to be disappointed when I inevitably find out that all one to two year old kids are like this.

I’m rethinking my sons’ potential.  Anyone would can keep their cool during the most upsetting and involuntary bodily action can be a force to be reckoned with.

Should they be poker players?

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I don’t play poker but if I did I’d find it pretty unnerving to be sitting across the table from a person hurling yet not batting an eye.  I’m pretty sure that would cause me to fold and leave all the chips on the table.  If the boys go this route they’ll just have to stop putting everything in their mouths.  I’m pretty sure after a few hands I’d remember that the Queen of Diamonds had a big tooth mark in it.

Should they become Super Spies?

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I doubt even 007 could toss his cookies and still manage to be cool enough to land Pussy Galore.  My boys on the other hand might be able to pull it off by simply giving a knowing smile and asking for a “wet wipe.”  And if the bad guys catch them they’d be stymied.  How are you going to torture a guy to get information when he’s insane enough to not clean off or even care that re-purposed milk and sweet potato fries are all over the front of his shirt.

Maybe they should go for the highest office of all!!

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We always ask ourselves who we would want to be in control of “the button.”  Now, I grant you that giving Arthur or Charles anything with a button might ensure Armageddon. However, if we could teach them to control that urge, their vomiting platform could easily win one of them the job of Commander in Chief.  We want someone in the War Room who can keep their wits while everyone is nervously throwing up at the thought of all out war with another country.  I can easily see their campaign commercials.  “Have you ever seen Donald Trump throw up?  Have you ever seen Hillary barf?  NO!!  That’s because they need privacy when they toss their cookies.  They’re ashamed!!  Is that the type of person you want in charge of our country?  Arthur and Charles puke like the greatest leaders in America’s rich history of vomit.  Vote Hurley!  Hurl is even in their name!!”

In these Olympic weeks I’ve watched proud parents on TV witnessing the achievements of their children and I can totally relate.  I’m proud to say the Arthur and Charles are both gold medalists in the sport of Casual Barfing.  Of course when they receive their medals and the Anthem plays it’s going to be a very messy podium.

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Least Favorite Child Results

August 13 – Least Favorite is Charles.  My wife and I took the kids down to the beach for the weekend but used the hotel pool the entire time.  Charles kept diving in head first while on my watch causing my wife to get quite upset with me.  If she winds up divorcing me I’m totally telling Charles it was his fault even though you’re never supposed to that.

August 14 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  This was the night that we were taking the kids to the nice restaurant and Arthur puked just as we pulled up to the valet.  Of course we failed to bring a spare outfit.  If Arthur was trying to tell us we need to be better prepared then the message was received but not appreciated.

August 15 – Least Favorite is Arthur. Although I thoroughly rinsed the puke out of his clothes before putting them in a ziplock bag and packing them in the suitcase, everything had a horrible stench when I opened it up when I got home.  That one puke gave him LFC honors for two straight days.

August 16 – Least Favorite is Charles.  Putting his shoes on in the morning is often a 20 minute ordeal.  Even if it’s regularly my biggest achievement of the day, no one wants to peak at 8am.

August 17 – Least Favorite is Charles.  He’s going through phase where he chews food for a while and then takes it out of his mouth leaving the disgusting wads everywhere.  That’s fine when the dog find them, but he’s getting older and misses stuff.  This causes me to have to pick them up and figure out exactly what I’m holding for a good minute before I realize the horror of what it is.

August 18 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  You know what I DON’T have to do after every meal?  Take a bath because I rub my meal all over myself.  That’s an option for you too, Arthur.  Just saying.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Arthur – 44

Charles – 37

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 375

What Twin Movie Fits My Twins Best?

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August 12, 2016

You know I’m reaching for anything to write about when it comes to this.  Although, in fairness to me, before our twins were even three months old I asked my wife which child each of us would take in a “Parent Trap” scenario.  You know, like in the movie, where if we got divorced and each one of us took a child and moved 3,000 miles away from each other.  Like any pair of loving parents would do.

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My wife seemed less than bothered by my throwing out a hypothetical scenario involving our being divorced. She thought for a moment and I cut her off and said, “I think I should take Arthur and you should take Charles.”  She knew that would be my answer.  Arthur’s always been low maintenance and far less work to look after.  Sometimes I finish a bottle of water, put that cap back on it, and hand it to Arthur knowing that for the next several hours he can sit and entertain himself with it.

But the “Parent Trap” scenario, as madcap and fun as it sounds, isn’t plausible for Arthur and Charles.  That’s because they don’t look remotely like each other.

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This African American gentleman looks more closely related to Matt Damon than Arthur and Charles appear to be related to each other.

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So if, like in the “Parent Trap,” the boys go to some summer camp they’re not going to bump into one another and be amazed at their resemblance. They don’t even have similar habits or tendencies.  I doubt they’d even hang around the same groups.  And in the event they do figure out they’re twin brothers and make it their mission to bring their divorced parents back together, I imagine that they’d be destined to fail.  I fooled my wife into marrying me once.  I don’t think she’d fall for it again unless I miraculously transform into Brian Keith.

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Because they don’t look like each other at all, the twin movie I always think of is a no brainer.

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I think there’s a better than fair chance that I’m the parent of two children living a real life Big Business scenario.  When babies are born there too pink and wrinkled to clearly identify them.  That’s why the first thing they do in the hospital is put an ID bracelet on them.  I can’t account for their whereabouts at all times after the first fifteen minutes they were born and getting hosed off.  I left the hospital several times for a smoke and my wife was out of it from having delivered roughly 16 pounds of human being.  It’s totally plausible that someone put the wrong baby in the wrong room.

And if this is true, I honestly believe it was God’s plan to make sure that no set of parents wound up with two Charles babies. Charles is only awake for about 10 hours a day but he packs a lot of life into that limited time.  It’s occupied primary with climbing on unstable structures, running after the dog, running and hiding in hard to find spots, finding things to pick up that pose a threat to his well being and trying to find out what Mommy’s face cream tastes like.  I save his life no less than 15 times a day.  Not once has he thanked me.  He’s an exhausting roller coaster ride and…roller coaster rides scare the shot out of me.

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I’m pretty sure having two Charles’ would cut a set of parents life expectancy by a couple of decades until they were begging to be smothered to death with a pillow.

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There’s always the possibility that they’re DeVito and Schwarzenegger in Twins.

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If you recall the plot of this film, these two were the result of a lab experiment.  Men were hand selected for their intellect and strong physical attributes in order to produce Arnold. They did not expect DeVito.

My wife and I did the IVF thing so their is a lab tie in, but neither of my sons are the result of a sperm cocktail of handpicked super human beings.  Then again, maybe I’m being too hard on myself.  I’ll let you be the judge.

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Does the guy this baby is strapped to look like an Olympic Athlete?

I’m going to wait for the Big Business scenario to play out for Arthur and Charles.  Although I’m concerned that the other Arthur and Charles got super wealthy, more active and smarter parents.  There’s a chance that when the fates collide, they meet the other Arthur and Charles and realize they got jipped.  There will be a day of reckoning when they come to me and say that the other dad is a NASA Astronaut or a Northern California Vineyard owner like Brian Keith in the Parent Trap.

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And there’s also a strong possibility that my wife’s going to feel like she got jipped too.

Least Favorite Child Results

August 6 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Arthur has started to take his first independent steps but in his own lazy fashion he’ll take two or three and then collapse trusting that you’ll catch him.  I could never work in Rehab.

August 7 – Least Favorite is Charles.  You know how I know when Charles is done eating?  He throws whatever food is in front of him on the ground.  I hope he can kick this habit.  I hate to think of him doing this in his adult years on a Tinder date when things are going well for him until he throws a plate of lasagna on the ground in disgust.

August 8 – Least Favorite is Charles. Years ago, I went away for a few months for work and my wife got into the habit of having the living room couch all to herself.  I have been resigned to the chair next to the couch ever since.  Now, Charles has made a habit of climbing on to my chair and sitting in it.  Listen, kid.  I only have one place left and there’s no way I’m going to wind up sitting on the ottoman and watch my stories.

August 9 – Least Favorite is Arthur. Arthur can take the glasses off my head and put them in his mouth with a sleight of hand I thought only David Copperfield possessed. Baby drool on lenses become permanent after a while.

August 10 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  You know how I know when Arthur is done eating.  He screams loudly and wildly.  If he doesn’t break this habit his Tinder date is going to end just as badly as Charles’.

August 11 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  I know it’s not his fault, but Arthur’s poop has a paralyzing odor that stays with you for awhile.  If he has a dump in his diaper when he’s changed before bed, I can’t even bring myself to eat dinner until midnight sometimes.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Arthur – 41

Charles – 34

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 368

Neil and I hit our one year anniversary!  I think that’s paper, right?

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My Sophie’s Choice Moment

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August 5, 2016

Every Saturday and Sunday I take the boys for a walk in the neighborhood.  My neighborhood is comprised mostly of Hispanic families, hipsters and sketchy people.  And there’s one sketchy person in particular that I pass EVERY time.  He looks like this.

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The random lunatic I pass on all my walks looks just like this guy except my guy wears a ship captain’s hat.  That’s how you know he’s crazy from a distance.  There are only a few reasons you wear a ship captain’s hat.  One is that you’re an actual ship captain. The other reasons boil down to going to a Love Boat themed party or throwing on your favorite Captain and Tennille record in the privacy of your own home.

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(If you don’t understand the nuances and complexity of the song Muskrat Love then we can never have more than a surface relationship)

My crazy person is a nice guy.  He always has a friendly smile and means absolutely no harm.  He gets plenty of points for attitude.  Where he loses points is originality.  Every single time I pass him with my twin boys in the stroller he happily shouts the same thing.  “ONE FOR YOU AND ONE FOR ME!!”  This is followed by him doubling over in laughter.  Listen, it wasn’t that great a line the first time, but at least he was putting in some effort and a fair bit of crazy charm.  But he’s passed the 100 mark of “ONE FOR YOU AND ONE FOR ME!!” a while ago and I can’t help but wish he’d introduce something new into the exchange, even it it’s wetting himself while he sings “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.”

That’s right, I try to hold the same high standard for all people regardless of whether they’re loones or not.  Some people don’t see color.  I don’t see sanity.

I finally hit my limit last Sunday.  As I approached the intersection of Sunset and Alvarado where he perches himself between the Burrito King and the liquor store, I saw him. He was weaving back and forth like an unhinged drunken sentry guarding his post.

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(There’s no shortage of breathtaking views in Echo Park, California)

I knew what was coming and I was prepared to throw him a curve ball.  Sure enough, just as I got to within a couple of feet of him, he saw me and came up with the perfect hysterical line to capture the image of me strolling with two 13 month old boys.  “ONE FOR YOU AND ONE FOR ME!!”  This time however I waited for his laughter to die down and smiled warmly at him responding.  “OK, which one do you want”?  I could tell he was thrown because he looked confused and just repeated the same line but in a more questioning tone.  “One for you and one for me”?  For a moment I felt bad and thought it might be possible that “One for you and one for me,” were the only words he ever to learned, like Groot in Guardian of The Galaxy.  I told him that one of them was a little more independent but kind of a fussy eater, so any choice he made would be a crap shoot, but if he was game, then so was I.  Of course I don’t think making choices was a wheelhouse of strength for this guy based on his station in life. He just laughed and snorted uncomfortably, looking next to him for help from the drug addled teen runaway sitting on the stool of the Taco Stand.

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The situation resolved itself when I explain I was joking and he wandered toward the liquor store.  I won’t know if I succeeded in making my point until this weekend’s walks.

For the rest of my stroll with the boys I wondered how things would have turned out had I followed through with my ruse.  Ultimately, to be fair, I would have had to decide which one to give to the guy.  Only I am armed with the sufficient information to determine which child I should give to an erratic street person who only knows one sentence.

I’m not a cold or heartless person.  I would never give up one of my children to anyone for the rest of their lives.  I’d let him take one for a few months or a year at most.  New experiences build character a lot of times, and some time on the mean streets of Echo Park might be just what one of my boys needs.  But which one?

How would Charles do?

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He’s loud, he’s fast, he takes what he wants and he can say the words, “key,” “eat,” and “uh oh.”  This kid has what it takes to make it.  The problem with handing over Charles isn’t my concern with his surviving.  I’m sure he’d have no problem.  My real worry is that he’d become a complete thug.  The last thing I want is to be strolling with Arthur one evening and get mugged by the 13 month old child I gave to an insane person, who now goes by the street name, Bloody Batman.

That leaves Arthur.

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He still isn’t walking without holding onto to something.  He barely utters a word.  He lets his brother take anything he’s holding, away from him.  I doesn’t seem like Arthur could cut it on the streets.  But that’s EXACTLY what he needs.  My wife and I working with him and encouraging him with support and love isn’t getting the job done.  This demented guy by the Burrito King might be able to scare him straight.  It would be the classic tale of the runt of the litter overcoming the odds to become a tower of strength and the greatest example of tough love in parenting history.

Don’t I owe it to my son to hand him over to this maniac for 6-12 months to give him a shot at reaching his potential?

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Arthur could become the Artful Dodger of Echo Park, leading other urchins in festive songs like “Consider Yourself,” and “I’d Do Anything For You.”

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(Welcome to Echo Park!!)

So my Sophie’s Choice is really easy.  I give Arthur away to this delirious psycho, he become a better kid from his hard knock life experience and the neighborhood becomes a beautiful tapestry of music and splendor!!

If I get “ONE FOR YOU AND ONE FOR ME!” this weekend I owe to everyone to follow through.  Luckily for Arthur, following through is something I seldom do.

Least Favorite Child Results

July 30 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  I spend my evening trying to get him to walk on his own without holding onto something.  This requires bending over and straining my back.  If you’re going to be lazy about this walking thing Arthur can you at least be a little taller?

July 31 – Least Favorite is Charles.  Charles has moved into a climbing phase and I’ve moved into a phase that makes me look like a hostage negotiator when I try to talk him down from bookshelves and counters.

August 1 – Least Favorite is Charles.  When he points at his mouth and says “eat,” it’s so cute you just have to give him something to eat.  Of course when he’s weeping on TV as a Biggest Loser contestant I’m sure he’ll blame me.

August 2 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Arthur likes to put his finger in things.  The dogs ear, down his pants and in my mouth.  Usually he does it in that exact order.

August 3 – Least Favorite is Charles.  His dickhead moves have extended to the dog.  He now likes to take his food, offer it to Winston and then pull it away from him when he goes for it.  If he only knew what taking a bit of a Hebrew National Frank away does to Winston’s soul.

August 4 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  My wife bought a training potty.  When I got home and saw it I looked into the future and anticipated how reluctant Arthur is going to be when it comes to potty time.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Arthur – 37

Charles – 32

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 361

 

It’s Time For The “Talk”

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July 29, 2016

I’m not going to wait until their ten or eleven years old to sit them down and have the “talk.”  I’m not going to ignore the situation entirely and hope that they figure it out on their own either.  They might only be 14 months old but they need to know the truth.  Sesame Street’s Elmo is a douchebag.

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I know I’m not the first to realize this nor am I even the first to write about it.  It’s just finally sunk in with me after a watching a steady barrage of his work and my sons need to know that Elmo is not someone to emulate.

In 2012 Michelle Obama said that becoming President doesn’t change who you are, it reveals who you are.  I think she was talking about Elmo. Elmo has probably always been horrible and becoming a huge celebrity has just revealed the incredible inhumane monster he truly is.

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(Notice how they had to separate the First Lady and Elmo in this photo?)

Three hundred hours into Elmo videos at this point in my sons’ young lives and I’ve already flagged troubling things that make him an asshole.  The first and most annoying thing that stands out is that Elmo always talks about himself in the third person.  Even the world’s biggest egomaniacs don’t do that anymore YET Elmo doesn’t really give a shit.  He’s so enamored with himself he has to say his name out loud thousands of times a day.  Big Bird doesn’t do that.  Grover doesn’t do it.  Even Kermit doesn’t talk about himself in the third person.  But Elmo loves himself so much that I fear my kids will start coming up to me saying, “Charles needs a nap.”  Or “Arthur’s kind of hungry.”

I understand if you think I’m overreacting but his level of narcissism knows no bounds.

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How many people are so self absorbed that they think people will purchase videos of them going to the bathroom? This also happens to be creepy in a kind of “Two Elmo’s One Cup” way.

Elmo’s ego knows no limit.  He makes Kanye West seem humble and soft spoken.

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Elmo has several albums and dozens of songs.  Do you know what the central theme to all of them is?  Elmo.  Take a look at the lyrics for his popular tune, “Elmo’s Song.”

“Lala-lala, lala-lala Elmo’s song.”

“Lala-lala, lala-lala, Elmo’s song.”

“Me write the music, me write the words.”

“That’s Elmo’s song!”

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That’s Elmo’s song all right.  Every single line is crafted to include the words “Elmo” or “me.”  A team of psychotherapists couldn’t break his imposing wall of self admiration.  Other song samplings are “Elmo’s Got The Moves,” “If Elmo Had A Dinosaur” his collaboration with Adam Sandler called “Song About Elmo,” and of course, “Elmo Kills Those Who Displease Him.”  The last one isn’t actually one of his songs…yet.

Elmo also endorses more products than Donald Trump.

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USA, Indiana, Indianapolis food, shrimp and steaks at St. Elmo Steak House.

I still need to verify that this last one is legit, but Elmo is definitely not above calling himself St. Elmo.

And don’t fool yourself and think that’s he’s just a benign children’s character.  He’ll stop at nothing to feed his enormous ego.

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As we can see here, he’s ingesting a cute little latino boy.  That’s his dark secret.  He doesn’t love kids.  He loves himself and he loves devouring children.

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Look at this poor little girl who was trying to run away from Elmo as he consumed her.  It’s horrifying.

All I’m saying is that I’d like my kids to become invested in a fun loving character who’s a little more self deprecating.  This means all I need to do is start dressing up in a fuzzy costume and become…fun loving.  I’ve got the low self esteem down pat.

Least Favorite Child Results

July 23 – Least Favorite is Charles.  We’re at a point we’re rewarding Charles when he says something by giving him what he wants.  That means when he screams, “Keys” I have to give him my keys.  That means I search for my keys every morning for a half an hour.

July 24 – Least Favorite is Charles.  He’s picked up another of my traits.  Smelly feet.  Talking off his shoes at the end of the day is just another reminder of one of my many flaws.

July 25 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  I can always figure out why Charles is crying.  It’s almost always linked to something he wants or something I’ve taken away from him.  With Arthur it’s a guessing game.  He might be crying because of the lack of solid platform delivered at the RNC Convention for all I know.

July 26 – Least Favorite is Charles.  I guess I know why Arthur cries some times.  It’s because Charles runs over him with his stroller as if he’s a piece of rug lint.

July 27 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Can you please give us a few words Arthur so we can cling to some hope that you won’t be the kid in elementary school that “goes at his own pace.”

July 28 – Least Favorite is Charles.  What was I forced to watch while Hillary Clinton made her historic speech?  Elmo.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Arthur – 34

Charles – 29

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 354

 

Will Either Of My Kids Have Moxie?

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July 22, 2016

I’m a typical Dad.  I want my kids to be safe, happy and healthy.  I want them to be smart and well adjusted.  I want them to be thoughtful and kind.  But more than all that standard crap I want them to have Moxie!

My desire is to have entertaining kids with pluck.  I want them to be fascinating scamps who will do precocious things you never expect that catch you a little off guard and leave people amazed. The type of kids who always turn up in viral videos that get millions of hits because they’re full of spunk and spirit. The problem is they’re not giving me that.  They’re giving me this.

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Sure, they’re cute but they’re not Mayim Bialik in Beaches.

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(OK, maybe I don’t need them to have this much moxie.)

Is being precocious hereditary?  If so, they’re got a 50/50 shot.  I don’t rate very well on the moxie scale. Doctor’s don’t test for moxie but if they did, I’m sure they’d have to put me on some type of supplements for it.  My wife however, if full of this quality.  After all, you don’t become an Animal Planet Reality Show winner without a lot of pluck!

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(This show was so poorly rated this was the only photo I could find)

Just like kids with moxie she says entertaining and inappropriate things without thinking and stares at people for extended periods of time without realizing she’s doing it.  So, the kids have some of her DNA and that gives me hope.

But let’s face it there’s no way I’ll have TWO precocious children.  I should focus on the one that has the best chance. To do this I need to analyze them and figure out their potential moxie score.

Charles

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He never stops moving which is a great sign.  He’s also very interested in things that could harm him, like electrical outlets, large swinging doors that will take off his fingers and the liquor in my Denny’s mug.  I think living on the edge of danger is part of having moxie.

He only says a few things.  “Eat,” “Keys,” “Yes,” and “One, two, three,” are pretty much his staples right now, so I’ll have to wait to see how he starts stringing words together and what horribly embarrassing things he’s likely to say in public because I’m positive this kid will have no filter.  He’s definitely has the potential to scream loudly in the Supermarket, “Daddy, that woman is fat just like you!”  Here’s hoping he at least takes me down along with whatever fat lady he insults.

He does cry quite a bit when he doesn’t get his way which he needs to work on.  People with moxie are seldom weepy.

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He also likes to give me a stylish announcement when I return home from work by extending one arm outward and yelling, “Dada!”  I almost feel like I’m being called upon to perform.  I think to enhance his moxie we’ll start putting him on a stead diet of Home Alone films.

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By the way, Kevin McCallister is the shining example of moxie being limited within a family.  He had about a dozen brothers and sisters and he was the only one with genuine hutspa.  **I’m setting a record for words commonly used in the 1930s and 40s.

Potential Moxie Score – 8.5

Arthur

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Not a chance in the world that this kid has moxie.  While Charles appears to have inherited my wife’s energy and spirit, Arthur has been saddled with mine.

His sense of adventure is zero.  He’s yet to utter his first words in my presence.  The girl who runs his daycare assures us that he’s said, “hi” and “yes” but I’m pretty sure some kid there was using him as a ventriloquist dummy.

I think as far as Arthur’s concerned he figures, “Why speak?  Everything’s going along just fine.”  When jibberish and an occasional scream gets the job done why put in the effort to enunciate an actual word.  I get it.  By the time 10pm rolls around I usually use grunts as my main form of communication. My wife has become fluent in understanding my grunts and even knows when a word like “ughhh” means “Scrub back a little on House of Cards.  I’m lost.”

Unlike his brother, Arthur’s not much of a walker either.  He’s entered his cruising phase and seems extremely content with holding on to a stroller to walk around.  The only thing missing from making my house feel like Arthur’s personal senior home is tennis balls on his walker, a bowl of ribbon candy and a little Dixie Cup set aside with medication.

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(Here’s recent photo of Arthur whose first words are likely to be, “Is today, pudding day”? or “How come the kids never come to visit”?)

Like his old man, Arthur will likely grow up to be the type of guy who wonders why people travel all the way to Europe when they could just go to Epcot Center in Orlando and see all the countries in one weekend.  Arthur’s a “stay-cation” kind of guy.  People with moxie don’t do “stay-cations.”

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(What’s on the itinerary today?  I think I’ll visit the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower, have some lunch and go for a gondola ride in Venice.)

Don’t worry about being like your old man, Arthur.  Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage.”  And if this is true the world needs an audeince.  Let’s grab some comfy seats and watch the others put in all the effort for our amusement.

Potential Moxie Score – Negative 2

OK, Charles, it’s all up to you.  Start working on becoming this kid.

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Arthur and I are kind of tired.  We’re going to have a snack and watch.

Least Favorite Child Results

July 16 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Unlike mothers, fathers actually can sleep when the baby sleeps.  Charles sees the value in a three hour nap on a Saturday afternoon as does his father.  Arthur feels 15 minutes is fine and wakes up looking for someone to keep him company.

July 17 – Least Favorite is Charles.  While feeding him yogurt he went to grab the spoon and delivered a huge dollop of vanilla straight into my eyes.

July 18 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  It’s really his mother’s fault.  While watching Trump deliver a speech on TV, my wife changed the channel and said that Arthur would rather watch Tec The Tractor.  Arthur should use his mother to do his dirty work.

July 19 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Hey Arthur, if you’re going to explore what’s under the couch have an escape plan so I don’t have to respond to your cries for help like you’re a baby who fell down a well.

July 20 – Least Favorite is Charles.  He’s done it a thousand times and it pisses me off every time.  Carrying him to the car, he delivered a head butt to my eye.  These kids know where you’re most vulnerable and go for it.

July 21 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  You know what I never do when I’m sleeping?  I never carelessly wedge an arm or a leg into two wooden slats and get them stuck.  And because of that I never have to shriek to have them unstuck so I can continue sleeping.  You might want to emulate your father on that trait, Arthur.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Arthur – 32

Charles – 25

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 347

The Family That Lies Together!

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July 15, 2016

Every parent looks forward to meaningful milestone moments.  First steps and first words evolve to bigger moments like first haircuts and teaching them to ride a bike.  So, I was thrilled last week during a trip back East to visit our families, when the boys and I shared one of those special “firsts.”  We experienced our first LIE together!

The fact that we executed our first group lie on one of Cape Cod’s beaches were I spent much of my youth made it even more poignant.

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(Here’s Charles.  He got the ball of deception rolling)

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(Here’s Arthur.  He really helped sell our lie)

I’ve commented before on my blog that I’m a big fan of fibbing.  Many people may choose to frown on it, but lying can enhance a bland story, get you out of having to help a friend move and even dodge a marital squabble from time to time.  It’s an important skill I’d like to pass on to my sons.

We didn’t plan on lying at the beach.  It just fell into our laps and we went with it.  That’s usually how a great lie happens. When we arrived, a father and his two teen kids were putting the finishing touches on a fantastic sand castle.  They were justifiably proud of their work and took several photos of it before they packed up their stuff and headed home where they no doubt spent the evening reveling in their granular accomplishment.

After the family was gone, Charles and then Arthur made their way over to this elaborate masterpiece.

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I didn’t realize it at that moment but the stars were aligning for our precious dishonesty.  About five minutes later an older couple strolled by and started to look at the boys.  Charles was patting the sand in the castle giving the appearance that he was firming up the sides.  In reality he was looking for a weak spot to destroy this thing of beauty.  That’s kind of his thing.  But the older couple looked at him, then looked at me, smiled and said, “Pretty impressive.”  They were joking but without missing a beat I smiled back and said, “They’ve been here since this morning and I won’t lie, they’ve shed some tears.  But I think it came out pretty well.”

The couple looked stunned.  They totally bought what I was saying and asked me how old they were and when they started displaying a knack for architecture. As I answered their question, explaining that they were always fascinated with their toy blocks they boys began to help me with my lie.  Arthur put a couple of sticks in the side of the castle and I commented, “Great, Arthur!  I totally forgot about where we were going to put up our castle banners!”

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Then Charles got into the act and started putting shells on the inside walls.  “Charles, I thought you wanted to use larger shells for the interior design.”  The couple’s astonishment continued to grow as they asked what else the boys had built to which I responded that at 13 months they we’re still trying to perfect sand castles.  My wife, looking on from a distance, instantly knew what I was up to.  She walked up to me, said hello to the nice older couple and then looked at me and said, “We should leave soon before the boys see the tide take away all their hard work.”  Is it any mystery why I love this woman?

I said goodnight to the couple as they walked on down the beach periodically looking back in amazement at my boys in their sandcastle, contemplating whether they had just witnessed the next two Stephen Hawkings or Albert Einsteins.

Once they were out of sight, Charles puked up some seawater and we knew it was time to go.  But as I walked off the beach with my wife and two sons, one of them smelling like seaweedy vomit, I looked back at the sand castle as the tide began to take it away and burned the image of the magnificent whopper we told that old couple into my brain. I knew it would be a memory I would cherish forever.

Of course, if anyone reading this post is wondering if I stretched the truth or even made the whole story up, I won’t blame them and I won’t be offended.  It’s part of the Liar’s Code to have thick skin.

Least Favorite Child Results

Going on vacation to visit family in both Boston and North Carolina was not only an grueling ordeal, it took me away from my blog from July 2 to July 14.  That’s a lot of days to cover and I won’t go through them individually but a tally was kept throughout and Arthur wound up with an 8 day to 5 day advantage when it came to being the least favorite.

Arthur’s strength on this trip was his willingness to be held by roughly 50 different people without crying.  In fact he rather enjoyed being coddled by complete strangers as if he was giving them a huge thrill and honor.  He’ll be a great high level dignitary.

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(“Nice to meet you stranger.  Why don’t you hold me while I feel you up?”)

His weakness was sleeping in new strange places resulting in keeping my wife and I up much later than we would have liked.  If one of those strangers could have fit into the crib with him we would have been in business.

Charles was into being held which disappointed a lot of people, but I realized how much more I enjoy him when they are dozens of people to watch him.  I didn’t have to chase him all over the place as he could be covered in zones by other adults.  Charles wasn’t the calorie burn he usually is and that was fine by me.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Arthur – 28

Charles – 23

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 340