Why Babies Need Fight Clubs

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July 1, 2016

This could be my “aha” moment.  The moment I figured it all out and everything fell into perfect harmony around me.  It was the 13th or 14th consecutive day that Arthur had spent some period of the day angrily banging his head against the wall or floor along with throwing himself against large toys and wailing.  He was Ed Norton in Fight Club.  He was fighting himself.

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(Arthur just went 12 rounds with this play area.  But who was he really battling?)

Arthur has inner demons that he’s wrestling with.  So does his brother Charles.  Charles prefers to handle it by letting out bloodcurdling screams as he literally marches back and forth raising clenched fists.  His rage is more intimidating.

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(Honestly, would you want to run into this shirtless badass in a dark alley)

I think they’re like most babies and that should concern all of us.  In a world full of angry people, babies might be the angriest.  And if one, or a couple of them, figure out how to organize, they might revolt and force us into a post apocalypse scenario.  Think I’m reaching?  Watch Planet of the Apes this weekend if you get a chance.

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(Of course this scene would be slightly more appealing with a bunch of giggling babies)

What I’m saying is that we don’t act, these cute little bundles of repressed rage will lead us to Armageddon. We need to get them a fight club now.  It’s simple.  Babies have a lot to be angry about. Just off the top of my head, these are some of the things that I’m sure boils their blood.

The TV Remote

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Just put the shoe on the other foot.  You’re enjoying an episode of Big Brother.  It’s a live eviction vote episode.  Suddenly and without warning the channel changes to the Color Crew on Baby’s First TV.  You begin to sob hoping that the human who made this poor program selection will reverse course but to no avail.  No wonder my kids always want to hold the TV remote.  They’re tired of having to watch black and white History Channel documentaries and The Real Housewives of New York and there’s nothing they can do about it.  They’re helpless and their mad.

Wardrobe Selection

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When I woke up this morning, I looked through my closet and found a shirt to wear that I felt the least fat in.  I had a few choices.  That’s the key word…choices.  If I had no choice in the matter and was forced to wear a white t-shirt with red suspenders and a blue bow tie I’d likely be very pissed…and people at work would think I was having an emotional crisis.  I know when we put these outfits on them, Charles was thinking, “I’d really rather wear that cool yellow Shark Shirt.”  Sorry, Charles.  We’re going to dress you in this unpractical outfit and to make matters worse, we’ll put your brother in the same exact thing.  Can’t you just feel him seethe?

Food

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If you want to see a storm of bad feelings in its full fury come on over to my house at meal time.  If the eggs are not at just the right temperature or the vanilla yogurt not at the right consistency there’s hell to pay.  You can’t blame them.  We’re feeding them eggs and yogurt.  Doesn’t seem like those things should be part of the same meal.  It’s not like we don’t give them a lot of different foods to find something they’d enjoy but you know what these kids want to do it swing on the fridge door like we do and say, “What do I feel like eating”?  Once again, we’ve taken the decision making away from them and they’re less than  pleased with out choices.  Sounds like the basic cause of every revolution is history.

They don’t choose their bed times.  They have no say on weekend plans.  We take extremely entertaining items out of their hands for unreasonably thinking that an electric drill, fork or power strip might harm them. No wonder Arthur is beating the snot out of himself.

What I’m suggesting is one night a week we let them knock the piss out of each other to release all the mounting animosity.  It’s also a way to keep them fighting with each other instead of turning against their parents.  It’s how we’ve kept people down for centuries.

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What’s the first rule of Baby Fight Club.  I’m not sure yet.  Talking about it is fine by me.  For now, I’ll set the first rule, that it needs to start after their 1pm nap because that’s when I like to get my nap too.  We start these fight clubs all over the world and we’re going to have happy babies not angry ones.  Remember how happy Meat Loaf was in Fight Club?

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This is the baby I want!!

Least Favorite Child Results

June 25 – Least Favorite is Charles.  He’s so stubborn when he doesn’t want to eat something that when I came home and my wife was feeding him, she looked relieved.  I think the source of her relief was that now that a witness was present she wouldn’t harm the little bastard.

June 26 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  He’s the baby who always has the cough and sounds like the Depression Era consumptive baby.  The pediatrician always says he’s fine, but Arthur’s costing me at least 20 bucks a month in gas for extra visits to the doctor.

June 27 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  I have two snooze alarms.  The one on my iPhone that goes off every nine minutes and Arthur every 17 minutes from 4:30am to 7am.  Between those two and three hours it’s nothing but the sounds of alarms and tears.

June 28 – Least Favorite is Charles.  He prefers to have a bottle all by himself as he walks around these days.  If he goes missing I merely need to look on the ground and follow the trail of milk over the floor, carpet and dog.

June 29 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  At what point is holding a one year old upside down detrimental to his development?  It’s what Arthur demands at all time.  A study is going to come out and some point and say that this either leads someone to become a genius or a serial killer.  I’m on pins and needles.

June 30 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  We’re traveling to Cape Cod and North Carolina for 9 days and I’m already anticipating Arthur being more of a problem.  He’s going to be the fussy baby on every flight, while Charles sleeps without a care in the world.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Arthur – 20

Charles – 18

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 327

 

 

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The Boys Search For Their Blue Steel

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June 27, 2016

Like a lot of parents I think my children are the cutest things that exist on Earth.  And like a lot of parents, when I see the results of their photos taken from a professional portrait taker, I think to myself, “What the fuck”?  It’s not just that the camera doesn’t love Charles and Arthur.  The camera seems to have a serious grudge against them.  I don’t know what my children did to piss off the camera but if I’m honest, they’re a big part of the problem too.  They’re not bringing their A game to the shoot.

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When my wife and I went to the portrait place I saw the above photo and got excited.  But I didn’t get a photo like this.  I got photos like this.

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I won’t even place the pictures side by side for comparison.  It hurts too much.  Of course they might not have understood what the photographer was going for when she placed them in a piece of luggage from the 1920s. I’ll admit that the theme confused me as well.  I’ve traveled with them and I know I’d never get away with this method as convenient as it might seem.  What my sincere hope is, is that the boys are looking for their signature look and just haven’t found it yet.  They’re hoping to stand out in a way that surpasses the cute baby pictured in the Sears photo frame.  If that’s the case I’m going to help them define some of the looks they were trying out at this shoot.

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This was one of the first looks that Charles busted out and I call it “The Browntown.”  It’s the classic look that says he’s just taken a dump and creates a tense yet relieved vibe.  Very few of the top models in the world are brave enough to try “The Browntown” and I can see why.  It’s a vulnerable look.

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Arthur is showcasing a look called “Sandman.”  It’s a sultry blase look that says, “I want a nap.”  Charles is hitting us hard with a look he calls “Jade.”  “Jade” is a look that is meant to convey the jaded feeling a child gets even though he’s just one year of age.  He’s seen a lot of living in twelve months and seen a lot of things that can’t be unseen…like episodes of Harry The Bunny that go nowhere.

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Arthur spent most of the shoot using his “Hard To Get” look.  It’s a method he employs to avoid looking at the camera at all costs.  He’s clearly got some American Indian influence and feels that looking directly into a camera to have his pictures taken will steal his soul. Charles on the other hand is giving us the “There’s No Santa”?  This technique is suppose to convey the beginnings of lost youth.  This look combined with “Jade” convince me he’s really ahead of his time.  Maybe too far ahead of his time.

It was time for a wardrobe change.  With a new set of duds we got…pretty much the same results.

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At this point Arthur had taken a newer approach.  He wasn’t avoiding the camera.  He was taking it head on.  Not with a smile but with his threatening “I’ll Cut A Bitch” look in full effect.  This is the look he gives me in the morning when I change the shirt I’m wearing because he’s looking at me like I can’t carry it off.

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Charles rocks his “Superhero” pose while Arthur meets it with complete disinterest. It’s a look that I like to call “Navy Man.”  Arthur patterns this look after watching Daddy utter, “You never tell a Navy Man when he’s had too much to drink,” while he walks around drinking tequila out of a Denny’s Mug.  Daddy’s never been in the Navy.

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This was their last pose of the day and I call it “The Outback.”  This look begs the question, “Is there an Outback Steakhouse in this mall”?  Because at this point what you really wants is a large pitcher of Margaritas and a baked potato the size of a baby’s head.

What was the takeaway from this experience?  We know that we won’t have to sink a lot of money into modeling school and expensive head shots.  The next time we need to have a portrait of the boys we’ll go down to the pier and find a guy who does silly drawings.  At least we can say they look this way on purpose.

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Least Favorite Child Results

June 18 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Arthur has developed a habit of finding a remote corner of the house and butting his head against the wall until it hurts enough for him to cry.  I remember when my wife and I thought our kids would be geniuses.

June 19 – Least Favorite is Charles.  Because of Charles I have a nightly ritual of placing anything I don’t want him to grab high enough so that he can get to it first thing in the morning.  I don’t like to add rituals before I go to bed.  I just like to go to bed.

June 20 – Least Favorite is Charles.  I caught him making out with the dog.  I don’t even know what to make of that but it’s going to cost me some sleep.

June 21 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  At one point he was using his hands to put food in his mouth and realized that if he stopped, we’d do it for him.  He has laziness down to a science.  He burns about ten calories a day.

June 22 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  In fact he’s so lazy that he’ll cry in the middle of the night because the pacifier is just out of arm’s reach.  He needs someone to come in and put it in his mouth.  Maybe he only burns five calories a day.

June 23 – Least Favorite is Charles.  I appreciate that he’ll sleep so deeply that taking a big dump won’t wake him up.  But waking up to this carnage is unsettling.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Charles – 15

Arthur – 16

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 320

 

I Think I’m Gonna Need A Moment

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June 17, 2016

“There’s a strong chance that my sons’ first real memories will be the sight of me laughing at them when they cry.” – Me, 2016

Makes me seem like a big feeling shit to quote myself.  It also makes me seem lazy to start off a post with something I wrote on Facebook.  It’s another day where I’m looking to cut corners.

I haven’t learned a lot in  thirteen months as a parent.  But I have figured out one very important thing I can pass on to anyone who’s about to have a child.  Don’t bother buying toys for the first year or two of their lives.  That’s not what they’re into.  What they want you can’t buy at a Toys R Us.  Babies want YOUR stuff.  They want to play with things you depend on to make it through your day to day life, that they can fuck up, break or lose.  And when you take it away from them they lose their shit.

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A couple of years ago my wife bought me the sturdiest Otterbox iPhone cover that exists when I accepted a job to work on a show following people searching for Big Foot.  I was going to be chasing a dozen nutbags in the Pacific Northwest in rugged terrain that would include swamps, torrential downpours, wild animals and other unthinkable elements.  I might die, but my phone, I was told, would be intact.  Fate intervened and I got a better job offer a few weeks before the Big Foot show started shooting so I was thankfully never able Otter Box iPhone cover to the test.  My one year old son Charles, however, was able to do to my phone what I was guaranteed a Yeti couldn’t.  He rendered it useless in about 15 minutes. How he did it I have no idea but when I took it from his grubby hands, it was dead.

The only bright side was the amusement I found at watching the slow build of his enormous cry.  He made the cry face and opened his mouth, but no audible sound came out for at least 30 seconds.  It was like he was summoning a cry from so deep down within his tiny body that it took half a minute to reach his vocal cords.  He does the silent cry a lot, and every time it happens, I call my wife if she’s not in the room to “Come quick!  He’s doing the hilarious silent cry!”

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Watching Charles silent cry, has become almost as funny to us as an episode of Veep.  That’s right, we’re monsters.  But it’s probably because it’s our emotional defense due to all our stuff getting ruined.

Charles is the main culprit because he can walk around and is taller than Arthur.  The other day, in the blink of an eye he had taken the “Q” key off my wife’s laptop keyboard.  I was impressed.  It’s a hard key to reach.  Its not like he took the “control” button.  I would have only been more impressed if he had taken the “C” key, which would have led to my wife and I inevitably convincing ourselves that he was trying to spell his name and that he was clearly a genius.  Parents are always looking for any sign in our desperate hopes that our kids aren’t morons.

I was able to pry the “Q” away from him before he swallowed it which led to this reaction.

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I can measure his value on things by the level of his crying.  For instance if I take a steak knife out of his hands it’s this.

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If he’s holding some expensive face cream of my wife’s and I take it, it’s this.

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These things don’t matter as much to him so he’s a little restrained.  But there are items that if taken away, guarantee a hysterical and hilarious breakdown.

Take away an iPad

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Or do the unthinkable and take away the TV remote

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I have no idea where I’m going with this post or what the point it.  It’s only recently occurred to me that I spend more time laughing and charting the levels of my children’s crying than consoling them.  Maybe I shouldn’t expect a great Father’s Day gift.  If it’s something really cool, Charles would just want to ruin it anyway.  I’d have to take it away and then laugh as his silent cry evolves into an ocean or tears.  Wait…that sounds exactly like what I want.

Least favorite Child Results

June 11 – Least Favorite is Charles.  Pretty soon, Arthur will be able to walk.  For all I know he’s been practicing in private.  I just know that Arthur is looking for payback from all the things his brother has yanked from his hands and walked away with.

June 12 – Least Favorite is Charles.  Babies can lose a lot of points at dinner time.  I know Charles does.  There’s nothing fun about playing tug of war with a one year old over a spoon.  If you could get the yogurt into your mouth on your own I’d be delighted.

June 13 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  He’s picked up his brother’s old habit of rolling over in the middle of a diaper change ensuring that I need no less than 15 wipes to properly clean him.

June 14 – Least Favorite is Charles.  I see more fights in our future when it comes to TV selection.  He ranks Harry The Bunny much higher than the NBA Playoffs

June 15 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  I no longer need an alarm clock because I have a baby monitor by my bed.  My new wake up call is Arthur talking to himself loudly beginning around 5:30am.

June 16 – Least Favorite is Charles. If I get home after a long work day I’m usually looking forward to the smiling faces of my children seeing me.  If Harry The Bunny is on, Charles is locked on that and he wouldn’t look at me if I was on fire.  And I’ll be honest.  Harry The Bunny isn’t nearly as funny as he thinks he is.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Charles – 12

Arthur – 13

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 313

You Only Get One Shot At Your First Word

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June 10, 2016

I emailed my Mother a video a few days ago that signified a milestone moment.  It was a video showing Charles saying his first word, “EAT.”  Her email reply took the wind out of my sails of excitement.  Basically she wrote, “Isn’t that cute.”  She didn’t say he was a genius nor did she comment that he was advanced past the typical baby.  Just that his first was “cute.”

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And I have to admit it.  She was right.  As far as first words go, it was kind of an unimpressive debut.  It’s not like he uttered “photosynthesis.” Out of interest I asked her what my first word was and she had absolutely no recollection, so obviously I didn’t blow the barn doors off. I also made a note to myself that on my next visit I might have to take my Mom’s “World’s Greatest Mother” mug away from her.

She did remember that my older sister’s first word was “shit.”  This early evidence of a potty mouth was credited to my father’s salty language.  But it serves as proof that if you want your first word to be remembered, or anything in life for that matter, it needs to be LOUD and it needs to be impressive.

It’s too late to fix Charles’ unremarkable first, but there’s still a chance with my other babbling idiot, Arthur!

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It’s not like both of these kids haven’t mistakenly said words amidst their endless gibberish.  I know for a fact that I’ve heard Charles say the word, “ennui.”  But the odds that he was trying to explain the feeling of utter weariness while he was bashing plastic blocks against a toy truck are pretty low.  Of course, I did watch the French Connection a few weeks ago while he was in the room so maybe he’s a bit of a francophile.

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Not long ago while driving I heard Arthur utter a word that sound extremely close to bucolic. Is it possible that he was enjoying the view of a lovely rural setting?  Doubtful, we were driving through a car wash.

But I want Arthur’s first word to be memorable and for him to know what he’s saying.  So I’ve looked at lists of the most beautiful words in the English language and am going to try to drill them mercilessly into his tiny skull.

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Dalliance would be a fantastic first word.  I’m sure I can teach him this although the situation that would prompt him to say it is a little ambiguous.  I’ve seen him play with his toys and he has a dalliance with all of them.  I guess I’d need to teach him to say this word the second he drops one of them.  I like the image of him throwing his stuffed giraffe down and saying “dalliance” before moving on to an empty yogurt container.

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Embrocation is another good choice.  It’s a whale of a word but let’s face it, as raw as his ass gets there’s plenty of occasion to use a word that indicates that act of moistening and rubbing a diseased part.  Four syllables is a lot to take on though.  He’s said each of these syllables separately though so there’s hope.

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Forbearance is one of my favorite words that I never use because who wants to be the type of asshole who uses it in conversation.  But if a baby said it that would be awesome.  Of course teaching a word that means patience and lenience to a child who cries hysterically if I don’t hold him upside down repeatedly is going to be way off the mark.

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Nope.  I think if this was his first word he’d come off as a douchebag.

Maybe I’m concentrating too much on impressive words and not loud words like my sister did when she exclaimed “shit” as her first.

A phrase like Ass Badger, Jizz Monkey or Fuck Stick is going to not only get you remembered but well liked by the type of crowd I tend to associate with.  Clearly there’s a lot for me to figure out and I need to do it quickly.

As far as my Mother having no recollection of my first word, I kind of think it entitles me to make up my own first word.  I don’t know what it’s going to be yet but at the moment I’m leaning toward “thundercunt.”

Least Favorite Child Results

June 4 – Least Favorite is Charles.  He has an ability to lose his shit whenever I take something from him that he shouldn’t be holding.  My wife says he’ll grab whatever we usually hold because he sees it as valuable.  I’ve now been reduced to sitting in my living room holding a toy trucks while I watch TV.

June 5 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  I love him but there’s no avoiding the fact that he’s a pussy when it comes to having a cold.  He passes every cold he has onto me yet I never throw myself on the ground and wail uncontrollably.  OK, maybe one.

June 6 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  I’m giving this pick to the dog.  When I pick these kids up from their high chairs after a meal, half of what Charles has been served falls on the floor for Winston.  Arthur leaves very little on the floor for Winston.

June 7 – Least Favorite is Charles.  Explosive poos.  If it were a sports league, recruiters would be at the door asking to speak with Charles.

June 8 – Least Favorite is Charles.  His sneezes are just as explosive as his poos…and are usually done on the TV remote.  Should anyone reading this ever meet me DON’T ever shake my hand when I extend it.

June 9 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  He has a lot of hair and in the morning one of the jobs I’ve been given is to comb it, which I’ve never done to my wife’s satisfaction.  So I blame Arthur for the first disappointment I deal my wife every day.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Charles – 8

Arthur – 11

 

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 306

 

 

Welcome To Thunderdome

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June 3, 2016

Did you know that if you pass by a playground and close your eyes that the sound of 20 children playing sounds exactly the same as 20 children being mercilessly tortured?  I know, it’s odd…maybe even a little creepy that this occurred to me but it’s become more relevant now that I have kids.  That’s because every weekend my wife makes us take our kids to Giggles and Hugs.

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This is a promotional photo that makes Giggles and Hugs seem like an idyllic play area for toddlers and parents to enjoy memorable moments of bonding through healthy and energetic play.  But if you’ve ever been there, or any play area like it, especially on a weekend you’re probably aware what this place really is. It’s much more like the first 25 minutes of Saving Private Ryan when American soldiers, in gory and chaotic fashion, attempt to take the beach of Normandy from embedded Nazi forces cutting them down cruelly with machine gun fire.  The only thing missing from this place a blaring horn indicating an air raid, but with the pandemonium of these kids yelling at if their limbs are being torn off, I may just not be hearing it.

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(Welcome to Giggles and Hugs!)

The name of this place might be catchy but it’s far from accurate.  Screaming and Scolding matches the atmosphere more closely.  There’s not a child in this real world Thunderdome who is subtle enough to giggle in the midst of this bedlam.  And the only hugs come from parents consoling the children upset that the “bubble party” didn’t last long enough or the other kid that cut in front of them for a turn on the ill advised zip line.  I see a lot more scolding from parents with kids that have no concept of sharing or that standing on another kid’s head is going to erupt into a surprisingly volatile situation.

Of course from a parent’s perspective, this place should be called Fractures and Sprains.  I’m an older parent, but very few adults are made to withstand the rigors of chasing their children over a treacherous obstacle course of curving slides, cargo nets and plastic jungle gyms like they’re Indiana Jones.

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(“Arthur, please don’t go near the ball pit!  Wait for Daddy!”)

I’ve been to Giggles and Hugs about nine or ten times so far and I have never left without a little limp, and I realize I’m lucky.  It’s only a matter of time before I wind up like so many of the other Dads who’ve been blindsided by a four year old running at full speed into the back of their knees.

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(Thanks, Getty Images!  You’ve captured what I was going for perfectly!)

But injury isn’t the only concern at Giggles and Hugs.  If you’re there you are not going to JUST be around thirty to forty kids aged 5 and under.  You’re going to be in direct contact with them along with their coughs and runny noses.  You might as well walk into the bio-hazard room from the movie Outbreak without a safety suit on and wind up like Kevin Spacey.

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(“That was a lot of fun, Honey.  I can’t wait until next weekend!)

If you want to take a legitimate sick day from work, just hang out by the ball pit for 15 minutes on Saturday and on Monday you’ll be calling in with a convincing sick voice.  Want to take the whole week off?  Say a quick payer to the Lord and jump into the vat of diseased blue balls head first.

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(It’s fitting that if you look at a germ cell under a microscope it looks a lot like the ball pit itself)

Of course Giggles and Hugs does provide an environment where kids can learn to socialize with other kids which has value.  Even more valuable is that it helps me learn how to socialize with other parents.  I’ve found the best way to bond with other parents is to single out the worst kids, the ones pushing the other kids and screaming the most, and talk about the horrible job their parents are doing raising them.  Nothing bonds like judging other people.  I learned that as a child.  I can also usually single out one kid who’s a little too old to be there, for myself and the other parents to critique.  “That kid is too big to be here!”  “At his age he shouldn’t be at Giggle and Hugs.  He should be facing serious decisions about recreational drugs.”

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(This kid should not be coming down the slide right after my kid)

The smartest thing they do at Giggles and Hugs is serve liquor.  Nothing soothes the soul in the midst of this anarchy like a few beers.  And nothing nurses an injury as well either.

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(“One more shot of Jamesons and then we’ll hit the zip line!”)

I guess I have learned lessons at Giggles and Hugs, but like most things, they come at a cost.  Unlike Thunderdome, it’s not two men enter, one man leaves.  But 35 kids do enter along with my sanity.  Only the kids leave.

Least Favorite Child Results

May 28 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Talk about a kid resting on his laurels.  After coming out as the favorite in year one, he’s convinced he can do no wrong.  He can.  Regular intervals of annoying whining gets old quick.  He’s not quite crying.  He likes to take it right to the edge of crying and moan for a while.

May 29 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  He can feed himself, but he’d prefer it if you brought the food directly to his mouth.  His life goal is to be incapacitated. He’s going to identify with the male lead in the film ‘Me Before You.’

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(Sure, I want to make out.  You need to come to me, though)

May 30 – Least Favorite is Charles.  Someday Charles’ brother will walk around as well as he does, and his reign of taking whatever toy or object he’s holding away from him will end.

May 31 – Least Favorite is Charles.  You know how when you take away something a kid is holding, like a TV remote or a steak knife, they get upset.  Charles starts out with a silent cry for 15-20 seconds that ramps up to hysterics.

June 1 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Arthur can’t speak but I believe his first sentence is likely to be, “Oh, are we leaving right this second?  Let me crap in this brand new diaper while while you open the front door holding me, a stroller and a diaper bag.”  And if that happens I’ll be annoyed AND impressed.

June 2 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Why reach for a pacifier in the middle of the night when you can scream and have a parent wake up, come into your room and move it one inch from where it is and into your cake hole.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Charles – 5

Arthur – 8

 

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 299

Worst Workout Ever!

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May 27, 2016

One of my favorite photos of me when I was still an infant is a picture of me in our family yard.  I’m sitting in a bouncy seat, calmly smiling with a Gram Cracker in one hand.  Behind me you can see my three year old brother.  He’s tied to a tree with a rope.

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He didn’t have it as bad as this kid.  My Mom gave him enough slack to get around reasonably, but this photographic evidence of her parenting skills was a running joke in our family for years.  She never apologized for her old school parenting methods and I know why.  My brother exhausted her.  He was always into something that would unintentionally hurt himself or even put others in the way of great harm or incredible annoyance.  Like the time when he was four, grabbed a garden hose and sprayed my Mother’s friend who were over for lunch, one by one as they left the house. It was like a firing squad with a four year old holding the trigger.

Only now can I sympathize with my Mother because one of my twins is just like my brother.  His name is Charles.

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We had to take this picture quickly because it was one of the few moments when he wasn’t moving.  If he’s awake he’s always moving.  He’s always looking for a door to potentially slam on his hand…or his brother’s hand if the opportunity is available.  He’s constantly looking for something large, like a bookcase, that he can try to shake onto himself.  He’s never seen a child proofed outlet he didn’t try to unproof, a power strip that couldn’t be swung like a lasso, or a dog’s tail he couldn’t wrap his arms around and play a fun game of tug of war.  The kid is a menace.  He’s my brother.  He’s why my Mom was EXHAUSTED.

When he started walking 6 or 7 weeks ago, it was clear he was going to be a problem.  On day one, he was pacing back and forth looking for trouble.  Now, we have a fenced in play area that I like to put he and his brother in.  Some might see it as a jail, but even so, it’s a fun jail with lots of cool toys.  I think of it more as a spa.

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My wife insists on letting them out of the spa so they can explore and develop.  That’s a big part of the problem.  I tried to make lemonade from lemons with this dilemma.  I figured, if I was going to have to chase this kid all over the house, at least I’d lose some weight in the process.  How could I not?  I’m constantly squatting to pick him up, run over to him moments before he puts an electrical chord in his mouth, and holding iPhones and TV remotes skillfully out of his reach.  It’s a non stop cardio experience and it would seem inevitable that the pounds would start falling off of me.  But for some reason, unknown to man, you don’t lose weight endlessly keeping up with an infant/toddler.  It’s a secret that no one tells you.

I don’t understand it.  Did having children change my molecular structure so that it’s impossible for me to burn a calorie?  Are the calories I take in the biological equivalent of Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones?  They just can’t be burned?

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(When it comes to losing weight I’ve become the Mother of Dragons)

Is there anyone who knows anything about science who can explain this to me?  Because keeping up with Charles is pretty much the equivalent of running endlessly on a treadmill while eating really shitty tasteless pizza at the same time.

It’s why no one has incorporated babies into a video workout series.

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Clearly we’ve gone as far as we can go with workout videos and babies never got their shot for a reason.  You just can’t lose weight in their presence.  This being the case, if I had my choice of exercise class, I would prefer to take part a low impact class by exclusively watching Arthur.

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He doesn’t walk yet.  The most he does it stand up for a moment, look around and realize there’s nothing that captures his interest, and sits back down to play with whatever is within reach. He won’t even strain for a toy.  He’ll just let it come to him at some point. I can keep up with him AND catch up on House of Cards.  I’m not going to lose weight anyway, so why do I need to have beads of sweat running down the crack of my ass?

Of course I learned in science class years ago that matter cannot be destroyed, it can only be displaced.  That means that in order to lose weight I need someone to gain weight.  That could be what the problem is.  So do me a favor if you’re reading this.  Have a bunch of cheeseburgers this weekend and we’ll see what the scale says on Monday.  If there’s no change, Charles is going back to the spa.

Least Favorite Child Results

May 20 – Least Favorite Child is Charles.  It’s a new year and Charles is clearly looking to start off strong in year two by giving us concerns that he may be lactose intolerant.  Although his puking is really more of the concern.

May 21 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  He’s become extremely whiny for no reason.  He might just be trying out new sounds.  If that’s the case he should scrap this one and move on.  It’s not working for anyone.

May 22 – Least Favorite is Charles.  The classic poop all the way up his back first thing in the morning.  Sometimes it’s nice to use the old standards to win the day.

May 23 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  He’s still whining.

May 24 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Still whining.  We think he might have new teeth coming in.  It’s interesting that our first reaction is annoyance as opposed to concern.

May 25 – Least Favorite is Charles.  It’s impossible for him to see his brother holding something and not take it from him.  He’s kind of a dick that way.  His actions trigger more whining from Arthur, but that’s on Charles.

May 26 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Any time I can’t find him all I need to do is go to a room with a full length mirror.  That’s where he’ll be.  Looking at himself and saying, you’re the twin I’ve always wanted and deserved.  I don’t reward narcissism.

Least Favorite Child Year One – Charles

Total Days As Least Favorite Child – Year Two

Charles – 3

Arthur – 4

 

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 292

Babies’ One Year Performance Review

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May 19, 2016

As it just so happens the boys’ annual performance review is in sync with my own.  Not as a father but at work.  My performance review as a father is given to me daily from my wife and I don’t expect a raise any time soon.

It’s a stressful time for all of us.  The boys are masking their stress by playing with toys and trying to take their fingers off in door jams and we’re all shitting out pants.  I’m sure the same things are going through all of our minds.  There’s the best case scenario.  You get called into the boss’s office and are told you’re doing such a great job that not only are they going to extend you for another year but they are going to pay you even more than the contractually agreed upon price.

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(“Congratulations, Declan.  We asked you to start looking like a hipster in a suit at last year’s review and you knocked it out of the park!”)

Of course you can’t help but think of the worst case scenario.  Your boss looks at you and asks what you actually do every day and your left to explain that you encourage a friendly atmosphere by bringing half and half into the employee kitchen and don’t gripe when others use it for their own coffee.

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(“We need you to be a lot more like Declan, Ted.”)

Because my review is coming up and, unlike the Hindus I believe that karma can be transferred within one’s lifetime, I’m going to take it really easy on the boys.  What goes around comes around.  Here it goes.

Charles

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Take a breath, Charles.  We’re going to keep you around.  You’re a natural.  It’s like you’ve been a baby your entire life, that’s how easy you make it look.  You’ve started to walk around like someone who just drank a full bottle of Jager, and who doesn’t love a funny drunk.  Technically, you beat your brother to speaking, by saying my name.  Of course, I made the leap and have accepted my name as Dadadadadadadada as opposed to just the traditional “Dada.”  Nicknames are usually shorter, but even longer ones are still fun.  I appreciate that you keep to a pretty specific poop schedule where your damage is done during the day while I’m at work.  That type of thoughtfulness will always be rewarded.

There’s always room for improvement.  I don’t want you to become a perfect baby because we all know that no one likes somebody who’s perfect.  Still here a few things to work on.  I know you can read my mind and that’s impressive but don’t feel the need to do the opposite of what I want you to do.  It’s impressive that you know exactly what I don’t want you to pick up and walk around with, but I get it.  You don’t have to take my iPhone, TV remote or attempt to yank the cable box out of the wall to prove your clairvoyance.  And sure, you’ve tapped into my brain to know that I also don’t want you to put any of these things in your mouth but you still don’t have to prove your skills by doing just that.  And I know that I’ve put your pacifier in my mouth before but that doesn’t count.  My hands were full and I didn’t have an available pocket at those moments.

Arthur

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Arthur, you’re going to very happy with this meeting as well which should come as no surprise.  After all, your brother got a great review and HE was my Least Favorite Child this year, making you number one!

You’ve figured out early on that every baby need to have their “thing” and quickly decided that hanging upside down would be yours.  Knowing that simply turning you in the wrong direction will send you into a fit of laughter is a quick way to show people that I’m the type of fun dad who can always get a quick giggle out of my kids. Appearances are everything. What are the long term effects of constantly letting all the blood in your 23 pound body rush to your head?  No one really knows, and I certainly won’t be taking the time to research it, but for now I think we can both enjoy your calling card.  Nothing ever seems to bring you down and your very content to play by yourself for hours on end talking jibberish to yourself.  It’s always possible that you are an emotional ticking time bomb, but we’re focusing on this past year, not the years to come when you become a moody, goth style loner who keeps reminding me that I don’t understand you and I never will.

There are very few areas you need to improve on.  Maybe you could cut down on the quick random screams at night like you’re remembering a horrific battle you fought in Viet Nam.  Then again, maybe I shouldn’t watch Platoon while I feed you and your brother.  I’d also love it if the smell of your poops and your fart has a slight variation.  Daddy hates taking off a diaper for a fart.  Just something to keep in mind.  Last thing, try to do a little better when it comes to taking a picture.  I don’t need you to become a runway model but cracking a smile like your brother seems to manage every time we take a photo, would put you in Hall of Fame status as a baby.

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(Lighten up a little Arthur.  You’re playing!)

Overall, well done on both your parts.  And if you get a chance guys, put in a good word for me with by boss.

Least Favorite Child Results

Although Charles wrapped up the title, we may as well see how the last few days of the year turned out for them.

May 14 – Least Favorite was Charles.  It’s probably the big pimple on his cheek that’s turning me off.  Or maybe that he seems so secure about himself with such a large blemish.

May 15 – Least Favorite was Arthur AND Charles.  Although Sunday was my birthday, the entire day revolved around them.  My pleas of “It’s my day” when asked to help with the boys from my wife were met with laughter that changed rapidly to anger.

May 16 – Least Favorite was Arthur.  He crawls off and disappears quite a bit but I always know where to find him.  Right in front of his bedroom mirror looking like Marsha Brady combing her hair in the Romeo and Juliet episode of the Brady Bunch.  A lot of ego at a young age.

May 17 – Least Favorite was Charles.  The zit is even bigger.

May 18 – Least Favorite was Arthur.  Sometimes he’s happy with the diaper he’s got on regardless of its condition.  He’ll let you know this by letting out an armor piercing yell while you change him.

Total Days As Least Favorite Child

Charles – 142

Arthur – 136

Days Tied – 2

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 285

It’s been a wild ride Neil.  And you’ve been kind of a disappointment.

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My Least Favorite Child This Year!

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May 13, 2016

With their birthday coming up in just five days the outcome is already decided.  Charles was My Least Favorite Child this year.  Don’t get me wrong.  Charles is a fantastic guy.  The reason he won the dubious honor this year is the same reason that his brother Arthur is more than likely to win the honors next year.  Charles does stuff.  He was just ahead of his brother in all the milestone from teeth to walking.  In other words, he was much more of a pain in the ass.  If you’re looking for a baby to help you burn calories, Charles is your guy.  If you’re looking for a baby you can plop down quietly while you make a grilled cheese sandwich without having to keep your eye on what he’s getting into, go with Arthur.

Here’s a photo that says it all.

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These are their natural states.  Charles, constantly moving and into all sorts of things.  Arthur, sitting back, observing and wondering when the next meal is coming.  Honestly, choosing a favorite wasn’t hard.

Although, mathematically, it’s impossible for Arthur to catch Charles in terms of days ranked as Least Favorite, I was wondering this morning if there was anyway he could still win the title with only five days left.  I think there are only two ways it could happen and both are long shots.

The first way to beat his brother and win the honor is that he’d have to murder someone. I don’t have a lot of rules, but if one of my kids takes another human life then they are awarded Least Favorite Child honors for at least a year.  Maybe more depending on the trial process.

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I’m not saying there’s no way Arthur couldn’t murder a person, but things would really have to fall into his lap for him to pull it off.  Babies are poor murderers.  Arthur can’t even walk yet, so the element of surprise is not in his favor.  He also babbles non stop so sneaking up on his victim is problematic.  If you give him a gun that weighs the same size as either my iPhone or TV remote then he would have the ability to hold a murder weapon, but odds are he’d just put the murder weapon in his mouth like he does with everything.  Babies also get distracted easily, and Arthur is no exception.  If he’s going up to someone with the intention of doing them in, and they happen to be wearing a shirt with buttons, then the intended victim in going to have plenty of time to get away.

He likes to close doors.  That might be his best chance.  If someone pokes their  head in an oven and he’s behind them that’s when he could strike.  See, things really have to fall right for him.  For the record I won’t be using the stove for the nest five days.

The other way for Charles to avoid winning the prize this year, is if he can somehow invent a Time Machine.

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This a pretty daunting task.  In five days, Charles would have to buckle down, build the machine and do a quick test run to make sure it works.  Maybe he goes back to 1865 to prevent Abe Lincoln from being shot.  Then again, maybe he goes back just a few days to figure out where he left his favorite pacifier.

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(Charles working with his prototype)

After he completes a successful test run, hopefully not disturbing the balance of the universe so that when he returns we all have fish heads, he’ll have to go back to the day I began my blog in June and prevent it from happening.  How does he do that?  He’d have to explain to me the dire consequences my blog will have not only on his and his brother’s future but for all of civilization.

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I’m just vain enough to believe that my blog could have enough of an impact to destroy humanity.  Of course in order to do this, Charles will also have to learn how to speak in the next five days.  Another big ask.  Five days to build a time machine and learn how to speak?  Good luck with that.  He’s too busy constantly trying to pull off his own diaper to get all of these things done.  If I gave him a a couple of weeks notice, maybe, but on this timeline he’s screwed.

So barring these two events, murder and time travel, Charles has won!  Of course, I keep looking up as I write this expecting future Charles to come through my office door, while also looking behind me to see if Arthur has a tiny little shiv.

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(CONGRATULATIONS, CHARLES??)

Least Favorite Child Results

May 7 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  It’s like he knows he’s got it in the bag and is on his worst behavior.  On this day it was clear he had no respect for the sanctity of a fresh diaper.  On two occasions he chose to take big dumps just seconds after his swaddler was placed on his.

May 8 – Least Favorite was Charles.  Charles has lots of teeth and he’s proud.  Proud enough to remind me by biting me when I least expect it.

May 9 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Both the boys are fascinated with my glasses.  Arthur happened to yank them off along with a couple of stray eyebrow hairs.  And once again, my wife reminded me that I’m only allowed a small window to complain about an injury sustained by an infant.

May 10 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  His mortal enemy when he goes to sleep is the spinning mobile that hangs above his crib.  Rather than sleep he prefers to taunt it with gibberish before grabbing it with violent yanks as it play sweet lullabies.

May 11 – Least Favorite is Charles.  Some morning you just aren’t ready to run into that morning person who’s ready to seize the day and be the best baby they can be.  Charles needs to give me a little warm up time.

May 12 – Least Favorite is Charles.  He lets me know every day that the dog bring me humor to the table than I do.  I got a few chuckles from him, but clearly I need to licking the yogurt off his face to rank close to Winston.

Total Days As Least Favorite Child

Charles – 140

Arthur – 134

Days Tied – 1

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 278

My Seven Year Cold

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May 5, 2016

One of the indelible memories of my Mother is that she always had a supply of Kleenex tucked in the sleeve of her shirt or sweater.  I always found this odd.  But it certainly came in handy.  She never had to go very far if she needed to blow her nose and if you happened to sneeze in her presence she could whip out a tissue from her wrist like Spider-Man shot webs out of his, in order to travel from building to building.  She was like a Superhero for the cold and flu season.

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(God bless you!!)

I’ve finally figured out why she needed to store snot rags in her garments.  She had four kids, so of course she was always sick.  I have two, 11 month old boys.  They hang out with other babies, and all of them take turns being sick.  As a result, I never miss my turn and am constantly sick.  I have been congested and headachey for three months now and it’s finally occurred to me that for the next several years, I am going to be sick.  I’ve been blowing my nose now for ninety days and I realize that this will be my station in life until my kids are about seven years old.  I choose that number arbitrarily, because I don’t want to bother researching when kids build up a reliable immune system.

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(Hey there, Dad!  How about a big hug!!)

Unlike my Mother who had four kids ranging in age from 6 to 1 years old, I’m at least getting it out of the way in one swoop by having twins, but that’s little consolation when you realize you’re going to be congested for seven years.

I have a cure for this problem but unfortunately I don’t have the resources.  What I’d like to do is place my entire family in a bubble.

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I’m sure you’re thinking, Steve, you don’t need a bubble.  Just don’t let anyone leave the house.  Whatever!  I think the bubble makes a statement.  I also feel it will provide more security for family members who want to escape.  After a few months in the Bubble, the colds will have run their course and we’ll be living in a clean environment.  At least as sterile as possible with a dog that sheds a lot of hair and two adults who are generally slobs.

As far as work, everything I do can be done without having to physically show up to work.  And I don’t think my co-workers are going to miss my constant phlegmy cough.  Take it from me.  The looks I get from them are not looks of concern.  They’re more like the looks that guy in the movie theater scene in Outbreak got when he went to the concession stand.

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(“Hey, Steve.  We were wondering if you were going to that 1pm production meeting.”)

If anyone is worried about the socialization of my children, don’t bother.  I have twins.  They can learn from each other, cable tv and their parents.  All of that can provide them with a much more stable foundation than the Duggar children.

My wife is a dog trainer, but she can do that on skype, right?  We get our food and liquor delivered.  The only think I’m missing is a separate area where I can install a dark Irish sports bar to get away from it all and have a few drinks and watch a game.  I’d have to build and staff that.  Again, I mentioned I don’t have the resources anyway.

I figure after about twenty years, we can lose the Bubble and re-introduce the boys into the world just like Brendan Fraser in Blast From The Past.

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And if that movie taught us anything, it’s that people isolated in a contained area for a long period of time thrive once they get out.

The Bubble is just a dream though.  Something to get me through the next several years of blowing my nose on paper towels that make my nose red and sore because I’ve exhausted all the Kleenex and baby wipes.  Will I tell my sons when they’re about to have their own children that they are going to have a seven year cold?  No way!  My parents didn’t give me a heads up, so this is the societal cycle of payback.  I’ll just say “God bless you.” with a shit eating grin.

Least Favorite Child Results

So I didn’t post for a couple of weeks.  Work took my away from my regular schedule.  Rather than give you a day by day breakdown let me just score the boys from April 15 through April 30.

Least Favorite Days for Arthur – 9

Least Favorite Days for Charles – 6

Let’s just say that Arthur has developed a little bit of a whine that can make him less charming than I know he’s capable of being.

Rest of the days

May 1 – Least Favorite is Charles.  I don’t mind that he takes Arthur’s pacifier even when he has his own.  It’s that he makes them disappear like a young David Copperfield.

May 2 – Least Favorite is Charles.  Does the first big puke count as a milestone?  Up until now, his throw up was pretty benign, but what came out of his mouth on this day even the dog wouldn’t touch.

May 3 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Unlike his brother, Arthur isn’t very mobile.  He has developed a system to protect himself from more active babies however.  That’s a unsettling scream that puts everyone on their heels and stops them dead in their tracks.  It’s the only thing that makes me forget I have a constant cold.  Little  consolation.

May 4 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Charles has it all over his brother in the sleep department.  Once Charles’ large noggin hits his crib you could draw a chalk outline around his cute little body.  Arthur likes to wake up four or five times because he’d rather you find the pacifier stuck up his ass then do the work himself.

The boys turn one year in a couple of weeks and the handwriting is on the wall.  Unless Arthur murders someone, which he could do with his unsettling scream, Charles is going to be this year’s Least Favorite Child.

Total Days As Least Favorite Child

Charles – 137

Arthur – 131

Days Tied – 1

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 271

Which One Of My Babies Will Be The Strip Club Guy?

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April 18, 2016

There are two types of guys.  Actually there are three types, but I’m not going to talk about the type of guy who agrees to get professional portrait photos taken when he gets engaged.

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(Soldier on you Poor Slob.  You’ve set the bar for the rest of your relationship)

I have consistently found in life that there are two distinct types of men.  Guys who love strip clubs and guys who’d rather stay away.  And for anyone who says, “What about gay men, Steve”?  I’ve found it’s pretty much the same for them.  I have plenty of gay friends and about half of them love strip clubs.  I’m guessing it’s the pageantry.

I’ve never been a big strip club guy.  It’s not that I don’t like seeing nude women.  It’s pretty great actually.  I’d just rather not see nude women as part of a large group of guys.  I think I find it unsettling to hang around a hundred men with huge boners.  Maybe I’m focusing on the wrong thing but that’s how it is.

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I feel the same way about going to a bachelor party and having to chip in to get Ted, the bachelor, a lap dance.  It’s a creepy thing to take up a fund for, and I don’t want to find myself ten dollars short for lunch one day because I helped gift an orgasm to Ted.

The drink prices are another reason I’m not a big fan.  I don’t have expensive tastes.  Over the years my pallet and taste buds have effectively been destroyed by cheap beer and Marlboro Reds.  The benefit is not having to pay top dollar for the expensive micro-brew with the shockingly cool name.

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(I’ve saved thousands of dollars NOT drinking beer given clever names by 28 year old beer aficionados)

Give me one of these any day of the week.  But don’t charge me $10 for it just because it happens to be in very close proximity to uncovered boobs!

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I don’t mean to get all Kid Rock in this post.  To me, it’s a tasty cheap beer.  If I’m guilt-tipping Tabatha, on Stage 3, isn’t that enough?

Like a typical Dad, I looked at my 11 month old boys the other day and wondered, which one of them will be Strip Club Guy?  It took me about 2 seconds to figure it out.  Charles is Strip Club Guy.

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Technically, in this photo he’s giving a lap dance, but look at him.  Passed out on formula with no inhibitions at all.  He’s also the loud one, so it’s easy to see future Charles screaming and waving a five dollar bill at a woman wearing pasties. He’s an act first, think second type of guy.  That’s who Strip Club Guy is.

Arthur on the other hand is much more like me.  He’s subdued, prefers to hang out by himself and when he looks at others it’s with a good deal of contempt and disgust.

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This photo was taken while Charles was being intimate with the large bear.  Arthur is just being aloof and biding his time until he goes home and he can leave Charles’ creepy loud behavior behind him.

This means Arthur has a minimum of three strip club visits in his life.  The first is the one where he goes and figures out, like his old man, it’s a sticky environment that features scores of men expressing their base urges.  The second will be when he has to throw Charles’ bachelor party and knows that he’ll be upset if the strip club isn’t part of the evening.  And the third is when Charles throws Arthur’s bachelor party and takes him to the strip club even though Arthur doesn’t want to go, because he’s…STRIP CLUB GUY!

Buck up, Arthur.  It’s not that bad.  It’s not like going to the dentist or having to have professional portraits taken with your wife when she’s pregnant.

Charlotte Family with a young child and a baby has their portrait made in an outdoor field by professional photographer.

(The look in this guy’s eyes says it all.  Help!)

And the nice thing about identifying who is who so early on is that I know what to get Charles for his birthdays!

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Least Favorite Child Results

April 9 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Arthur has hair.  Hair needs maintenance.  That means every morning one of my jobs is brushing his hair.  The result rarely pleases my wife.  Thanks, Arthur.  I like to wait until 10/11am before disappointing your Mother.

April 10- Least Favorite is Charles. Charles will never be the favorite on bath night.  Containing the little bastard after the adrenaline surge of playing with the rubber duck in a bath is impossible.  I just let him run around naked and tire himself out.

April 11 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  It’s nice than he doesn’t move around as much as his brother but then you have to say, “Why doesn’t he move around as much as his brother.”  Arthur, don’t you realize that as I parent I have to obsess and worry about everything?!

April 12 – Least Favorite is Charles. Charles is way ahead as far as crawling, standing and almost walking.  That mean you have to keep an eye on him at all times.  Arthur can be left in one place for an entire episode of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  When the episode is over he hasn’t gone very far.  I like that.

April 13 – Least Favorite is Arthur.  Stop making wheezing noises.  It’s concerning.

April 14 – Least Favorite is Charles. Stop stepping on your brother to get a better vantage point outside your play area.

Total Days As Least Favorite Child

Charles – 129

Arthur – 120

Days Tied – 1

Days since Neil Patrick Harris received my post and hasn’t responded – 257

Whatever, Neil.  When I hit the year mark I quit you.