Monday, February 26, 2007

Toddler Rules, Gymboree, And The Oscars - All Collide Into A Fiery Ball Of Chaos!

I finally paid a visit with the wife to our daughter’s Gymboree class for the first time (I regularly teach on Saturday mornings and miss it.) I’ve been coaching the daughter to say random things like “Hi Baby!” when she sees another baby; when the wife was on the other side of the play room, my daughter said it to a crawling mom’s butt – the mom turned around, stared at me disgusted, with a look that said “why I never…!” then got up and walked away.
I can just imagine the Gymboree gossip circle now; I’m probably “that dad” now.
I did see something amusing on the wall that went something like this (paraphrasing):

Toddler Rules:
*If I once held it, it’s MINE
*If you’re holding it and it looks like it’s mine, it’s MINE
*If it makes noise, it’s MINE
*If I put it down, it’s still MINE
*Everything is MINE
We're in the beginning of the "mine" stage, which is this other realm of mystery.

Did anybody watch the Oscars last night? I thought it dragged on for about an hour and a half too long. I did like the shadow dance people, which was weird and funny... in a David Lynch kind of way (minus the midgets on tricycles, although I would have liked the addition.)
The best part was the Jack Black, Will Ferrell song and dance number (that Ricky Bobby movie was totally overlooked…!)
What I hate most about the Oscars is how some winners are completely predictable, while others I practically wanted to throw a rock at the T.V. out of shock (what’s with “Happy Feet” getting best animated over "Cars"!?)
I did like the Jennifer Hudson Speech. Yes. I know she was an American Idol and whatnot, but she was the most appreciative and authentic of the crowd. I did think Ellen should have made more of an effort to wear something more “dressy” (minus the dress-part.) red velvet should only stay on Prince and pimps. Other than that she was all right. I still think David Hasselhoff would have done a better job.

My daughter was running around most of the time playing before going to bed. Every time she saw a woman in a fancy dress she yelled “Prince-ESS!” When everybody clapped, she clapped and yelled “YEA!” When somebody we didn’t like won or they showed some cheesy celeb (DiCaprio, Marky Mark, etc.) she would put her finger on her nose and say “STINK-EEE!!!”.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Future is NOW! Choosing the Gender Of Your Baby In Minutes

I was speaking with a fellow co-worker/parent today about kids. Actually, I should rephrase that - she was pretty much doing the majority of the talking about how great it must be to have a girl.

She wants a girl really bad. Little girls haunt her all the time, in her dreams, on the TV, movies, magazines, on the streets - with their “cute clothes” and “cute hairstyles”…she went on and on (like a love struck teenybopper talking about NKOB.) She and her husband have two boys, one 5 and the other 3. After talking for about 10 minutes straight, she saw the look on my face and said “What? I love my boys… I just wish they were girls!”

I told her if she wanted all that - why not just buy a doll? Or trade in one of her boys in for a girl on Craigslist (the initial look on her face was, “Really? You can do that!!!”…)

She’s trying to convince her husband that they should have another. And to be sure she gets her girl she has done some research and found some place over in Pasadena that claims it has a 77% chance of getting your chicken right. First of all, I'm no doctor and I don’t know much about “science”, “sitcom ratings” and “what makes an airplane stay up in the air”, but aren’t these things a scam? I didn’t think you could do that. Isn’t it all a 50/50 chance, and maybe the “position” at “sexy time”?
I also think by giving a 77% claim, they’re protecting themselves. Because if you want X and get Y, well then you must be in the 23% - too bad (Pick up your consolation prize - Huggies samples and a discount coupon for another try on the way out the door.)

What does it cost you might be wondering? (I had to ask, is that rude...?) Only a mere $3,000, 10 minutes of her husbands time watching dirty videos, and 2 hours of her time. In fact, she can go back to work that same morning (I might consider changing jobs for that kind of money…)

Her husband doesn’t want another kid, but she has told him that if she gets pregnant – he can buy that Porsche he’s always wanted. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be taking the bait, along with some dirty movies thrown in to sweeten the deal.

Seriously, would you want to choose your baby’s gender? As for me, I don’t know. We have a girl, and I would like to have a boy for balance. But choosing seems so "commi-china" or “Madonna-Britney Hilton-Hasselhoff-ish”…

Monday, February 19, 2007

Kid Birthday Parties at Chuck E Cheese's: Sit Down! Shut Up! Eat and Leave!

Somewhere, sometime, maybe long ago, or just recently, Charles E Cheese became very angry at the world. I’m convinced of it based on our experience over the weekend.

We were invited to a birthday party at the local Chuck E Cheese's for our neighbors’ 4-year-old daughter. We haven’t been to “Chucks” in awhile and the place is definitely much different since I was a kid. It wasn’t the sticky carpet, cardboard pizza, or odd smells coming from the play area that bothered me - that's all expected. Nope, it was the assigned, angry, 18-year old Jo Polniaczek type hostess who was obviously forced by her parole officer to work there in the kids birthday party department. Why did I sense this? Because everything she did was with resentment, like she wanted to get back at the world for canceling G.L.O.W. in the eighties (I know that feeling all too well.)
Just after eating our half frozen pizza she had the kids line up near the front of the stage (where those scary looking animatronics are) and paced back and forth while yelling like Sergeant Slaughter:

Chucks Bodyguard: Chuck will be visiting! Please follow these rules or Chuck will remove himself from your party! Do I make myself clear?! (kneels down a little, staring at all the kids one by one..)

Kids: (scared) …yes…

Chucks Bodyguard: (pacing again) Rule #1 – Do NOT touch Chuck, unless he touches YOU first. Rule #2 – Do NOT approach Chuck, unless he approaches YOU first. Rule #3 Do NOT make any sudden moves around Chuck. Rule #4 Do NOT yell at Chuck…
...Am I making myself clear!?! ?! (kneels down again, staring at all the kids one by one..)

Kids: (scared) …yes…

Chucks Bodyguard: (turns around and yells at the pizza ordering counter) PRESS PLAY!!

The creepy animatronics started singing “Happy Birthday” totally off sync, twitching and jerking like a bunch of crack addicts, and then Chuck comes walking out inadvertently hitting the stage and walls along the way as if it was the dudes first day working the costume.
After the birthday song was over, the kids were standing there looking around in silence, next to Chuck, a little confused and frightened of him - trying not to make eye contact, possibly out of fear of getting beaten or deported. Chuck’s Bodyguard then ordered them to stand around him with their hands ‘firmly’ at their sides. She then pulled out a bag of tickets (the kind you win from those cheesy games) and started pelting them at the ground like chicken feed, or rocks, while yelling, “Pick them up! Pick them up!!!” All of the kids were on the ground trying to peel them off the sticky floor, some almost in tears. It was sad.
Afterwards, our daughter walks over and hands us a little handful of tickets (which were strangely soggy, wet, and smelled like cigarette smoke…) while the older kids followed, hoping she would drop them.

When the cheerful festivities were done, Chuck’s Bodyguard then yelled over at the birthday girl’s mom, “Do you want the bill now?!”.
I guess that’s her way of saying, “Chuck wants you all to leave.”

Friday, February 16, 2007

"First rule of Toddler Fight Club: There is no Toddler Fight Club!"

Sometimes I read something and it is so ridiculous that it seems fabricated. Sadly, this is not. I just read about how some idiot parents were sitting around making their toddlers fight each other- taunting them, trying to 'toughen them up'.
Reading this story literally made me sick. And what really shocked me is that these parents were all women. How stupid of a parent do you have to be making your kid do this!? Isn’t our job as parents to protect them – keeping them out of conditions like this? Thankfully these unintelligent people were caught because they filmed it.

What I find even more disturbing is reading about how people are looking around the internet (like YouTube) trying to view the video. These are probably the same people who were hoping and pushing for that Steve Irwin video to be released.
What's wrong with people these days? It seems as if humanity is getting lower on the food chain every time I read something like this; or when another reality show about people getting hurt or humiliated ("Live!") is created, or even times when people look up to celebrities as leaders (trust me, actors are not leaders. They are some of the most screwed-up, selfish people in this world. Only a tiny number of ‘the famous’ are great.) - I can go on and on.

A few weeks ago, I saw that movie “Idiocracy” (written and directed by Mike Judge of 'Office Space' and 'King of the Hill' fame) the movie was O.K. and could have been better executed, but the idea was interesting. The basic premise is about how the stupid people are breeding more than the smart people and in 500 years, a hooker and an average guy would be considered the smartest people on earth.
If there are more parents like this, then I think it might end up happening...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

What Guys Want On Valentines Day And Parental Valentine Preschool Pressure

What do the women want today? $80 Flowers (that normally go for $12 any other day, like tomorrow, but we buy anyway), romantic poems (thank God for the internet), expensive jewelry (that doesn't have ‘cubic’ in the name), flat-screen plasma TV in the bathroom (well, not really, that’s just a really cool idea...)
Men are easy. We just want the women to show up naked with food – preferably a bucket of KFC (the 'spicy' kind.)
I actually created something sentimental for my wife today, which took some time to make and I can't reveal just in case she reads this.

Today a co-worker came into work a few hours late looking like her car exploded with her in it. She’s a fellow parent with 2 kids, one about the same age as my daughter and a son who is 3 or 4.
When she took her son to preschool this morning one of the teachers had asked, “Where are his Valentines? All of the kids NEED to bring Valentines for everybody…”
Nobody said anything, no warning note, nothing (she skipped that chapter in the handbook, the one on "Valentines for preschoolers".) She then grabbed her son, got into the car and headed to the local Walgreens where the only Valentines left were Care-Bears and Dora (her son wanted Spider-Man and cried because they were out or they don't exist.) She then spent some time writing all the kids names on the cards (all 40-something) in the parking lot of the preschool. When she showed up with her crying son there were other parents walking in with fancy little hand-tied bags of candies and cookies with little homemade cards, along with fancy gifts (flowers, baskets, Versace bags, etc.) for the teachers and assistants.

When she was finished I said:
“When your kid is in prison at 17, it’s because of this.”
And then handed her a handmade goodie bag of truffles and filet mignon (...I wish.) I am not looking forward to 'the school' years.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Play Dates And Other Couples With Kids: What Do You Do When You’re Stood Up At The Disco?

We were stood up, literally, at a Disco. Now we know what Donna Summer was complaining about all those years (maybe still is?)

We were invited to an event called Baby Loves Disco Saturday afternoon. A few months ago we had gone to this engagements’ premiere with a few other friends and their small kids, which turned out to be a total bust. The concept is pretty cool - mixing once clubbing parents with Gymboree and fruity drinks with Belvedere Vodka. The first L.A. event was held at a stinky place on east Melrose near the 101 – a neighborhood you don’t want to be at even in bright daylight. That old location lacked simple things like air conditioning, soap, and running water (kind of like Tijuana.) The new location is much better – and right near the Chinese Theater and Roosevelt hotel.

A couple had invited us there for a play date; they have one girl around the same age as ours. They’re really nice people we met awhile back shortly after our daughter was born; they recently moved to L.A. from San Francisco. The dad works in the fashion industry and the mom in media sales. We’d like to think that they’re our kind of ‘peeps’ - pretty hip, joke-cracking, and creative people - the only exception being that they dress better – Fred Segal types, while we’re Target ones (not really, but you know what I mean.)
While leaving the Disco it was hard not wondering if something was wrong with the relationship if they decided to skip out on us. I don’t know, did we not call enough? Did I go too far with the La Leche League joke? Did they meet another couple along the way that’s ‘cooler’ or (gulp) watches football!?
The mom had called us after shortly after leaving the Disco; apparently the dad went on a bike ride earlier that lasted longer than he had anticipated – and she was really upset about it. No harm done, we weren’t troubled at all and it didn’t prevent us from having fun (we did, and got some pretty cool freebies.)

One thing I noticed, after we had our daughter, is that becoming a new parent makes you unconsciously seek other couples in the same situation as your own (in our case new parents with one kid.) In some weird way, it's like dating all over again.
It’s not that we’re unhappy with our current friends (all 95% of them with no kids) we still very much enjoy seeing them just as we did before our daughter was born. They’re just like us, except we have a kid. Its just sometimes it’s nice to talk freely about ‘kid stuff’ , like poop shapes resembling celebrities and odd-colored fluids without feeling a little strange.

Am I the only one here?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Lionel Richie and A Midget (Little Person) Walk Into KFC, To Get A Facial And Tattoo - And Other Searches

I get some pretty odd searches to this site. Other parent blogs get real stuff related to kids, I get some of those too but not many for some odd reason. Here are a few, with my commentary attached:

midget massages - I know of a place where you can get one by angry Thai midgets

Stop nose picking toddler - They all do it. Get over it

lionel richie christmas sweater - If it existed, I'm sure the wife would have one

what type of people don't like football - People like me!

colonel sanders impersonator - If he's real, I want him deliver KFC to my job - everyday

mens painted toenails - Only men who wear Crocs do this

man perm - I haven’t seen a man-perm I never liked

manly feeling - Get a man perm, some chest hair, and a gold chain

substitute teacher whipped cream game - I don’t even know how to respond to this...

i have a midget and i am not afraid to use him!! - Me too! Let’s have them battle

tattoos of women saying daddy - Are they eating chicken too?

filipino doodlebop - Milli Vanilli (maybe just Vanilli)

midget women touching another women's boobs - Try Las Vegas. Or Art School.

toddler smears poop on walls - I hope they all don’t do that

Monday, February 05, 2007

Waking Up At 4:30 A.M. Is Wrong! Just Like Grown Men Wearing Crocs Is Wrong!

Help! Game over man, game over! (me with my pillow over my head this morning.)
My 'been sleeping through the night since 5 months old' daughter has decided to shake things up a little.
For the past 3 nights, she’s been waking us up and asking for popcorn (“EAT! EAT! pe’corn! Pe’corn!”) at around 4:30 A.M. It’s as if the ghost of Orville Redenbacher appears to her every morning and tells her to wake the parents up for some real buttery (artificially flavored) popcorn – at that very moment. It’s driving us a little crazy and we’re hoping this doesn’t become a habit.

We’ve been really good about keeping her on a schedule for some time; she goes to sleep every night at 8 and wakes up around 7, like clockwork. Sure, we’ve heard stories about other people’s kids waking up at random times- but thats other people, not us! We’re special like that, right(?) we recycle!

Some other parents have resorted to the “let them cry” method. Which has worked for us a little in the past, to a certain extent - like when we know nothing else is wrong and she’s just tired and grouchy. We don’t resort to that often but that Orville (Colonel Sander’s wimpy geeky evil younger brother) is one crafty fella.
I'm looking for some parental hints and tips- does anybody have any suggestions or experience with kids waking up and not wanting to go back to sleep?

So you want to know what I thought of the Super Bowl? (Woo! Woo! Wooo!!)

To tell you the truth - I don’t even know who played. Yes, really. I have gone to ‘super bowl commercial parties’ in the past. The kind where they mingle, turn down the sound when the “game” is on, and then turn it up when the commercials are on.

I didn’t know who played then either.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The “War On Terror” Should Be Expanded To Include Stores That Require Gifts Receipts

Before becoming a parent I never had any need to make very many store returns. But now, the daughter is always getting gifts we don't really need and a majority of them don’t include those gifts receipts you get these days even when you buy toothpaste and toilet paper at Target. I can see why people don't include them with gifts, it does send a weird message like “yeah, return this because I don’t know you at all and I guessed.”

Some family just gave my daughter a late Christmas gift - a Christmas dress (with a tree and Santa on it) that we probably won’t use. The thing still has a Toys-R-Us tag on it (you know with like the price area ripped off.) So I paid visit to the returns counter:

Toys R Us Woman: (blank stare…breathing heavily…staring at my hair as I walk up)

Me: Uh, Hi, I’d like to return this.

Toys R Us Woman: You gotta receipt?

Me: No, it was a gift

Toys R Us Woman: You gotta ‘gift’ receipt?

Me: No, we didn’t get one…

Toys R Us Woman: It’s our policy not to take that. There’s a chance it’s not from “R’ Us”

Me: There's an ‘R Us tag on it

Toys R Us Woman: Sorry, that’s our policy (looks around me) Next!

Me: What? I've never heard of this policy written somewhere so I can read it…?

Toys R Us Woman: Nope, it's our policy not to show our policy

I asked for the manager and 5 minutes later some kid, maybe around 20, chewing gum and strutting like John Travolta out of Saturday Night Fever comes over to me:

Toys R Us Manager: Hey bro', (nod's head) what’s up?

Me: Uh, yeah, I’d like to return this

Toys R Us Manager: Sorry bro', it’s our policy not to take stuff like that back

As you can imagine, I’m never shopping at Toys R Us, Babies R Us, or any “R' Us” ever again (and I was a good customer too with my video games habit --you hearing me R’ Us!? No more!)
I guess this could be one reason why so many people re-gift these days. Because it’s probably something they got without a gift receipt and the store wouldn't take it back. There’s probably this endless cycle of unused merchandise out there that’s being recycled between people.

What does everybody else do? (Besides break out the torches, axes and picks and go Giraffe hunting…)