Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Crazy 4-Year-Old Thinks She Owns The Place, But The Parents Are Cool

I’m not one to complain about other people’s kids much…. well, to be honest that’s a lie – maybe once in awhile.

The neighbors on my cul-de-sac are really nice people; the wife and I seriously couldn’t have been luckier (except for that one house, with the teenager and his guitar problem...)

We do stuff with them on occasion like wine paired potlucks, block parties with grilled oysters and martini’s, tapas and sangria, pho and some type of asian moonshine (ain’t no hot dogs and Bud light around these parts! Except maybe for the kids…)
Living in L.A. where you can live in a house for 30 years and not even once speak to the people next door, we struck gold.

Then there’s the 4-year-old next door. Now there’s a reason to close the garage immediately after pulling in with the car running, and a reason to lock the front door.

Just today when I got home and got out I hear a soft, but bold voice:

“Where’s Gillian?”
(Me looking up to the sky "God, Jesus,... Oprah...?" Then looking down - the little girl from next door with a very serious look on her face...)

Me: Hi Paige, she’s inside eating dinner and then she has to go to bed….
(She just walks inside the house from the garage…)

Great. How am I going to get rid of her this time?
Now my daughter just turned 2 last month -- is that even old enough to have kids knocking on the door asking “can (blah-blah) come out to play?” Or did I miss that chapter in my parenting manual?

For about 5-10 minutes I hear laughing and feet stomping upstairs from my daughters room (well, it can’t be all that bad, today…)
And then crying,...from mine. Everything was pulled out of every imaginable drawer, closet, new toys (for kids over 3 we never opened that were once hidden and boxed..)

“What’s the matter?”

Daughter: Paige won’t SHARE!....BAD PAIGE!!!

Me: Play nice you two, OK?

Paige: She’s not doing what I’m telling her to do….

Me: That’s because she’s 2 years-old, she doesn’t understand.

Paige: Well that’s why she needs to listen to me!


Me: I think I hear your Dad calling you…

(please take the bait..."use the force...")

I walked her back to her house. And then 30 minutes later my daughter starts telling me she wants to play with Paige again.

O.k. fellow parents, help…!
How do you deal with pushy kids like this? The parents are cool, but they always just casually mention after their kid walks into my house “just walk her back over when the kids are done playing.”
I just can’t respond with “No, your daughter opens every imaginable drawer and closet in my house, makes my daughter cry, and I think she’s tracking dog poop under her feet into my house”
“Oh and by the way, are we still making sangria for the Labor day party...?”

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Are We REALLY Teaching Our Kids To Be Afraid Of Men?!

Did anybody but me come across a very disturbing article in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ Online 8-23-07) last Thursday that was talking about how the media, child advocates, government agencies, businesses like airlines, etc. are all scarring parents and kids into thinking any man is a potential sexual abuser? Now I'm not one to get shocked easily but I nearly spit out my pomegranate smoothie when I read it.

Some of these "professionals" are even telling parents that men should never be allowed to baby-sit! (I babysat a friend's 8 year-old daughter not long ago... I taught her how to play poker while we watched Terminator 2 -- very important life skills!!)

Now me, being an EXTREMELY protective father of a daughter (remember Tony Danza in "She's Out Of Control" ..) I would never subscribe to that kind of stupid thinking that all men are child predators. And I don't want to raise a daughter who's afraid of half the population - that's pretty stupid! Instead I’m training her on how to use her instinct. And I'm also teaching her that pedophiles and sickos come in male OR female and of any race, age, sexual preference, whatever and what she should be really looking out for is CREEPY people. And that if anybody (male OR female) does anything to her to run, scream, hit whatever and tell ANY adult immediately (period.)

If I were to write a book, this would be chapter 7 entitled “Can you spot a CREEPY person?”

What about all of you; have you given this any thought? What do you think and how do you teach your kids about predators...?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I’m Friends With Santa Claus’s Daughter – Maybe I Can FINALLY Get That Porsche

Well, he’s not the real one but a professional one. So I was talking to this girl (I can’t say ‘woman’ because she’s younger than me like, 26 or 27... [by the way --is that sexist of me?]…) so this ‘young lady-girl’ I work with was telling me about her Dad whose been going to Santa school for 4 years has finally earned his Santa Bachelor’s degree.

“Whatchoutalkin’bout willis?!”

I never heard of such a thing. Apparently there’s a real Santa school somewhere back east (Charles W Howard) that’s been around for over 7,418 years! Well not really, more like 70 and the founder was on “Miracle on 34th Street” and is known in the Santa impersonator movement as “the Santa God.” (insert angelic choir)

Apparently this is serious stuff -- They take classes in:
  • History and Folklore
  • Child Psychology
  • Naughty Kids
  • Why do mommy and daddy always fight?
  • Beard Grooming
  • Are you friends with Jesus?
  • Reindeer CPR
  • Fire and Liability Insurance
So now I’m thinking - when I take my daughter in 3 months (yikes! Where’d the time go!) to the mall for pictures this year, I definitely want some type of accreditation (...for the fire insurance alone.)
I’m looking for that framed diploma on the wall, you know like what doctor’s have in those cheap oak frames. Because seriously I wouldn’t want a doctor without a diploma, why should Santa be the same, right?

(I have no idea how I get into these random topics with people…)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What To REALLY Expect When You're Expecting: My Advice To A New Dad

A good friend (the one that gets “man”-icures) is going to be a first-time father soon and well, ... I couldn’t be happier for him and his wife. I’m sure they’ll be great parents and the baby will have well manicured hands.

He was asking questions about my personal experience with the birth of my daughter – Did I have any advice to pass on? Did I get queasy or sick? What was is really like? What should he really expect?
I had to think about it for a while, because seriously after my daughter was born I kind of forgot all the stuff leading up to the actual birth.

And I’m not a real big fan of doctors and I can’t stand the sight of needles, blood, guts, innards, or whatever.
Of course there are lots of exceptions to this rule – Ninja movies, James Bond movies, cartoons, ultimate fighting championships, reality shows, the outdoor channel, alien autopsy specials, X-Files, etc. Those don’t bother me because everybody knows they're not “real” (except maybe that alien autopsy...)

“Tell me the truth! I need to be prepared and warned!"…as he gripped onto his seat like he was about to pass a kidney stone.

I had to think about it, and then I finally remembered:

1. Don’t look “down there” when the baby is coming out – Contrary to popular belief, there’s nothing beautiful about a human head coming out down there (especially there...) It didn’t seem so weird in the videos, but on your woman - it's just wrong.

2. TV/Movies LIE. The baby doesn’t come out looking like if just bathed in a waterfall of pure spring water with smells of a summer garden (that happens later) Initially, it looks like an alien that just finished dry walling a garage (white stuff all over it.) The baby has been in fluid for what? Nearly 10, 78 months.

3. Don’t look at the 'birthing bag'! Or whatever its scientific name is (alien pouch?) I took one accidental 2-second glance and I still have NIGHTMARES about it (I swear it had EYES and sharp teeth…)

4. Do look at the umbilical cord while cutting. And try (real hard) not to focus that it's attached to your baby and wife...with pulsating veins and see-through grayish, skin stuff....(shivers). Sidenote: I had visions of it squirting like a broken air hose once cut --- that didn't help my nerves.

5. You will shed a tear (or a lot more) It'll be either because you’re in amazement and meeting the little thing finally for the first time....or because it’ll look like you’re in the middle of a Quentin Tarantino movie and your missing your wallet.

6. Try to remember everything. And as many details as possible because your lady will be too occupied you know, giving birth and all that. You’ll be the one only constant eyewitness in the days and years ahead. So when your kid gets older you can tell him/her how it was as a witness. And if you happen to add angry attacking Ninja’s or a nurse with a curly mustache to the story nobody can prove you wrong.

I think that covers my key points, does anybody have any other advice to add?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Are You There God? It’s Me Tony…What’s Happening To Me!?

I’m not fond of that one sappy country song about butterfly kisses or even that one about that kid getting the hi-heel shoes for his mom on Christmas (or something like that.)
Some parents like those emotional things, but me – I’ve never really considered myself an emotional parent. But oddly enough I’ve been coming across those two songs a lot more than usual the last few weeks while flipping through the radio late at night during those “love song” dedications on the local adult contemporary station (you know the ones where love struck stalkers usually call to tell their neighbor that they’ve been going through their trash and they’ve kidnapped the cat…)

Now imagine me getting a little sentimental when the wife was gone (at her MBA orientation) and my daughter was cooking for me in her play kitchen. On the menu: strawberry tea, “crackcorn” (her word for popcorn) sushi, ice cream, and “bloop” (her word for soup) edamame. I was enjoying my exotic dishes all while watching her spout out all kinds of funny things moving around like she was on Iron Chef. I can’t even begin to explain how much I enjoy playing with her and listening to her version of the adult world; she completely fascinates me.

Then it happened -- that song popped jumped into my head:

… She was sent here from heaven and she's daddy's little girl… …She's looking like her mama a little more everyday One part woman, the other part girl… She'll change her name today. She'll make a promise and I'll give her away….

(Freakin’ A -- How much of this song do I know anyway…?!)

“What’s?…What’s happening to me? (staring at my hands like I was turning into the Hulk,... or Sally Field.)

Then I looked at her, got a little shaky in the knees, thinking about how one day my little girl will be all grown up and I wondered if she’ll remember times like this (maybe there was estrogen in that tea? Or maybe I’ve watched one too many Lifetime movies...)

“Look! Daddy! Colonel’s Chicken!” – YUMMY!”

My daughter pulled out her toy KFC bucket from the toy fridge. I snapped out of it.

((big smile))

It’s times like this I’m going to remember forever (And I’m changing the radio station presets.)

Snails and ice creamChicken SushiEdemame BloopThe Colonel's Finest

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

More Weird Searches And I'm Updating The Blogroll

There are some really demented people out there in the Internet world searching for the most bizarre things -- and somehow those searches end up here. Some are depressing, some interesting, and then there are those that make me think to myself "wow, my own searches aren't nearly as cool"

Here are a couple of recent searches--
  • midget porn football – This came from Germany, that explains a lot
  • andy gibb pictures nude – why? No Bee-Gee should ever be naked
  • when did joey lawrence become a dad – When Scary Spice got pregnant
  • i just found out i have a lot of cavities – dude, that sucks. Go drink some more soda
  • who did orville redenbacher grow up with – Colonel Sanders. They went to High School together (I want to start that rumor.) And I think they were snipers in Vietnam
  • paula abdul abducted by aliens – They don’t have enough alcohol to lure her
  • knight rider sketches – This one is my favorite
  • spanking in romance novels – Don’t they all have spanking by the farm boy or some ‘governor of the house’?
  • convince my husband that we should have another baby – If you have to convince him, then you shouldn’t have another baby
  • high metabolism makes me poop – I’m told the Wiggles has the same effect
  • how to console the wife who wanted a girl and is having a boy – I don’t know what to say, how about being thankful about having a baby regardless of its sex
  • free angry pigeons drawings – For some odd reason, I love the idea of angry pigeons
  • toilets for animals – They have strollers for dogs, I’m sure this is next along with Baby Bjorns for pets
  • will breast milk hurt my husband? – Yes, it'll hurt his dignity. And he’ll cry too.
  • elvis impersonator in underwear & pony – Is the pony dressed as Elvis too?
Who wants to be on my new blogroll?
I’ve been really bad about my blogroll over the last year. There are about 1,000 of you I’ve wanted to add, but haven’t yet (I have no excuse.) So my plan is to rotate about 20 on the left on occasion and then have a link to a permanent full-list.
If you want to be on it - leave a comment with your URL. If you’ve been one of those lurkers that read and never says anything, well then come out of the shadows and say something.
Some requirements -- for the time around I’d like to keep this to parents (I'll do another later.) Also linking to me would be plus.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Potty Training: There’s A Party In The Bathroom. Bring Margaritas.

There was a party in my bathroom this morning along with singing, cheering, clapping, candy, even The Wiggles showed up (well, not really only their songs playing in the background.) all because my daughter FINALLY went poop in the toilet – and it only took 2 years and 21 days.
The look on her face will be ingrained in my memory forever – staring at us, and then in the toilet - she looked as if she won the lottery, or maybe had pooped out a Doodlebop (that sang while tooting a horn and eating a Taco.) Once she got her candy prize she danced all along the house showing every stuffed animal and the dog her candy and repeated her poop story (over and over...)
The wife and I are pleased since we’ve been trying this potty training business off and on for about 3 months, and got more stringent after her 2nd birthday. Our first attempt was at 18-months which was pretty much a failed week long attempt (yeah-yeah, I know there are some of you that claim to have potty-trained your 4-month year old – good for you. Your kid will probably perform surgeries in 1st grade – mine won’t – I fully accept your magical powers...send me your poster, I'll put in on the wall)

Now the big question is – is she going to continue the toilet use or is this some kind of “1-time deal” until she’s 8? I honestly don’t know. I guess I’ll have to see as the week goes on.

I’m asking all fellow parents who have successfully potty-trained their kids - any helpful hints, secrets, ideas, stories? I’m open to any and all suggestions, except any that require sacrificing animals to Dora. Or listening to Kenny G.
And for those of you who are in the process of unsuccessful potty training - please don’t rain on my parade telling me that kids can’t use the bathroom until they’re 12. This isn’t a jab at your efforts or parenting – I know all toddlers are different (just like A Doodlebop’s or a Wiggle’s talent.)