Monday, December 31, 2007

The Good, The Bad, And The Weird – 2007 Year in Review

I can’t believe how fast 2007 flew by. This time last year my daughter was barely 18 months. Now she seems like an entirely different kid.
I can’t even imagine what she’s going to be like next year when she’s 3 (God, I hope she’s potty trained by then!)

Here’s a look at 2007:

The softer side of CTD:

Parental predicaments and rants:

What happens when Dad (me) didn’t read the “What to expect” books:

Colonel Sanders, I like my chicken spicy:

Weird stuff. And I don’t eve have a mustache!

If lost, please return here:

Have a safe and happy new year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Is So Much Better With Kids. And Princesses Can Ice Skate?

I do think Christmas is much better when a kid is around; at least it is for me. And even better now that my daughter, now nearing 2 and a half is really beginning to understand the concept of Santa.

She made cookies with the wife - chocolate chip as requested by Santa and colored him a picture. In return I… I mean ‘Santa’ left her a big sketch of Santa eating the cookies and feeding some to the reindeer with a big note that said “Thank you! Make more chocolate chips cookies next year and maybe I’ll leave a bigger gift!”

It also included a small “P.S” on the bottom that said, “Poop on the Potty and you can have Rudolf.”
Gifts! Gifts! What did everybody get from Santa?

The wife got an iPhone from Santa since she’s been envious of his since he got it. My daughter got a “Fisher-Price Kid Tough Digital Camera” primarily because she always wants to use his expensive Canon camera and is always nervous when she just looks at it.

She absolutely LOVES her new camera and hasn’t put it down all day. The wife and I are quite entertained by her pictures (hmm... I’ve never considering taking 12 pictures of the ceiling fan or 30 of my feet…)
I’m thinking of setting up her own Photo Blog and maybe calling it “The Unknown World of Those Under 37 Inches” or “What Happens When You Give a 2-Year Old a Camera Project.”

Princesses Can Sing, Dance, Control Animals Actions, and Now Ice Skate...

We took my daughter to the Disney Princesses on Ice show Friday night – she loved it.
The last “On Ice” show I’ve been to was “Sesame Street on Ice” back in the late 70’s. All I remember was a huge Grover on skates, a disco ball, and an uncomfortably large Cookie Monster.

This show was a much better experience, except for the $6 crackcorn… or ‘Popcorn’, $10 cotton candy, or the $20 spinning light toys.
The only unsettling part of the show was when prince Eric and Ariel were doing a skate duet -- he picked her up by the legs and spun her with her head disturbingly close to the ice.
All of the parents covered their kids’ eyes as if they were about to have sex.

Christmas Picture Gallery

"Off-White Ceiling Fan: circa 2003""Lonely Unwatered Poinsettia"
"Paul Frank Socks on Little Feet"
"Self Portrait"

Merry Christmas: I hope you and your family had a great Holiday!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Back from Disney World…I Need a Vacation!

When I finally rested my head on my own pillow at 2 am last night, I reflected on the last 7 days:

Things I didn’t enjoy:
-Spending about $50 on popcorn because my daughter became addicted to the stuff like it was crack.
-Dodging and getting hit by “extremely overweight people” on those little rascal motor scooters!
-Florida weather turning on us: 55 daytime high, 39 nighttime low in the middle of our vacation!! (what gives?!)

A few things I’m going to remember forever:
-My daughter asking for popcorn at every popcorn cart -“I want popcorn” in a low-voice, over and over again. I counted 48 one time.
-Eating lunch in “the castle” with the Princesses at Cinderella’s Royal Table. My daughter loved this.
-Flying 800,000 miles to Disney World from L.A. and what’s my daughter’s favorite ride? The playground.
-Daughter falling asleep at the Epcot Candlelight Procession during the trumpet blowing part, and then waking up suddenly afterwards when somebody dropped their drink.
-My daughter bumping her head at the Epcot’s Canada pavilion, then saying in tears “Daddy! I bump my head on Canada!!”

And for those who are thinking of going, some recommendations (of course they all have to do with food…):
Teppan Edo (Japanese Restaurant) at Epcot. I’ve been to Japan and I never saw any cooktop show this fancy.
Le Cellier (Canadian Restaurant) at Epcot. Oh. My. God. This was the BEST steak I’ve ever had. You Canadians sure know how to make meat! If you all eat like this, I’m moving.
Boma (Animal Kingdom Lodge) Oddly enough, this was a buffet. I usually HATE buffets, but the food was awesome – Exotic African foods from, I think, 6 or 50 countries...
Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show (Polynesian Resort) Nothing against Kauai, but this show was better than the crap we saw out there. And the fire guy must have been on drugs because I swear he practically lit himself on fire. And the food was pretty good too - especially the BBQ pork ribs.
California Grill (Contemporary Resort) On the fence with this one -- the view is amazing and the service was great. And they were especially accommodating for a toddler -- when our bread came out, they brought her Goldfish crackers on a fancy dish. And her 4-cheese pizza was tasty. The big downside are the prices.

Potty Training Update: Don’t Do It At Disney World…
God knows I tried...
1st attempt -- We were waiting in line to see Goofy and he had to leave for 5 minutes (we were told to get Hot Cocoa, in reality to switch people.) I told my daughter Goofy had to go poopy on the potty.
She told me Santa was bringing him presents.

2nd attempt -- During the Princess lunch, the wife took her to use the Royal Restroom (yes, they have them in the castle.) I told my daughter that’s were all the Princesses go poopy on the potty.
She came back and said she didn't see any in there. Apparently, she went looking under the stalls.

3rd attempt -- We were waiting in line to see Pluto and he had to leave for a 5 minute break. I told my daughter Pluto had to go poopy on the potty.
She told me “NO, doggies go poopy on the floor!!!”

"Watch your step, Pluto poops around here..."

Sunday, December 09, 2007

What To Do When A Child Stops Believing In Santa?! And Kids Birthday Parties Marathon

Yes I know I haven’t posted in awhile but between getting ready for Christmas, prepping for our Disney World vacation in two days, and the 5 birthday parties (3 in one day!) we’ve been to in the last week alone -- their isn’t much time for anything else.

The most interesting birthday party of the bunch was a Scooby Doo themed one in "the hills" with a Scooby and Shaggy impersonator.

During their whole comedy routine about 99% of the parents (entertainment-types) were standing in a nearby tennis court networking while this one mom and I were sitting near our scared kids. They were pretty frightened of the Scooby Doo -- I think maybe because his costume looked like it had a rough night in Tijuana, or maybe because he was holding his tail like a baton and would start hitting kids on the head with it.
When he came close to my daughter she jumped up, screamed and ran away into the crowd of schmoozing parents.

The best part was hearing these two sugared-out kids talk to Scooby:

Boy#1: (around 5 or 6) Hey Scoob! Do you smell your own butt?!
Scooby: (in his breathy Scooby voice) Whaaaat?
Boy#2: (around 5 or 6) Hey Scooby! You’re not going to smell my butt, are you?!”

(all the nearby children start laughing like the Charlie Brown/Peanuts kids…)

Scooby: (in a Brooklyn accent) Leave me alone kid.

Potty Training Update: The Santa Method

My patent-pending Santa Motivation Method (code named: S.M.M.) is starting to lose steam. I’m not sure where I went wrong, but my daughter doesn’t seem to care anymore about Santa bringing her presents on Christmas by going poop on the potty (Darn! A kid stopped believing – what do I do!? What do I do…!?)

In desperation, I made it a point to pass by Santa Claus in the mall today. Standing near the flimsy cardboard fence I knelt down to her level, and in a calm voice gave my recurring line “Remember, Santa only gives presents if you do poopy on the potty…all the time”

She looked at me, and then him. I could tell the wheels were turning (Come on, come one…take the bait...)
She looked me straight in the eyes and excitedly said, “That’s O.K., Santa bringing YOU lots of PRESENTS!!

Friday, November 30, 2007

What? Santa Claus Makes Toddlers Behave And Use The Toilet…

Now that my daughter is nearing 2 1/2, Christmas in her eyes is proving to be very entertaining. The lights, the decorations, the songs, Santa Claus...
At first she was pretty freaked out about the idea of a big guy breaking into the house through the chimney, but now she’s fine with it because he brings presents. When wife sings, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” she quickly interrupts with “no mommy, he coming to my house…to bring me PRESENTS!!!” (hooray!)

Upon seeing this supernatural influence, I saw a great opportunity to help with the potty training cause. I’ve told her Santa only brings presents on Christmas to big kids that use the potty…and guess what? Every time she sees any Santa, or any mention of him, she wants to use the potty. So far his magical powers seem to be working (hooray!)

Now I’m pushing Santa even more – like when she doesn’t want to sit down at dinner, or when she’s on the verge of a breakdown. I bend down to her level, get in real close, and say in a low serious voice, “Remember (slowly look around.) Santa ‘knows’ if you’re being bad…”
She stops and then her eyes get big (wheels turning), then looks around the area as if he’s hiding behind the sofa or in a parked car outside with binoculars.

I've created this coloring page every time I want her to use the toilet or behave:
"Santa Claus is watching" (coloring page)

I know this influence isn’t going to last forever so I’m taking full advantage... and then I’ll worry about the therapy bills later.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Just Throw Away That Leftover Turkey Already! And How I Met The Wife

I’m definitely not eating turkey for a while after eating leftovers for the last three days (I’m not sure, but is that even safe?)

Thanksgiving was enjoyable and pretty relaxed this year (no Ohio Football!) We had two Thanksgiving dinners - one with good friends (their house for lunch) and one later with my Grandfather and his lady-friend (can’t say girlfriend since she’s not even close to being a girl.) She is a very nice lady though.
We let her say a little Thanksgiving prayer since her son is a pastor up in Oregon (I’m not sure what religion it is, but while praying she spoke in a deep echoing voice…. in Latin, I think...)
Both meals were superb and my daughter was thrilled at the idea of the holiday. She was especially excited to have helped my wife make grandma's famous cranberry relish. She kept telling everybody during dinner “mommy helped me cook ” and then she would ask me for money.

Apparently we were in the minority this weekend as we managed to stay away from any malls or “Black Friday” shopping riots. The wife was tempted, but refrained.
Most of our Christmas shopping is going to be gift cards...or KFC chicken checks!
(Great, now I've made myself hungry...)

Overall it was a good weekend of sleeping, spending time with my family, and watching movies. Oh, I did get to play this game for about 24 hours straight, and Rock Band (which is freakin’ HARD - even on easy mode - that should be illegal!!!) I sure won’t be buying that game. I foresee lots of disappointed kids (and Dads) playing that on Christmas morning.

10 Years Ago...
A special thing about this weekend that I should mention – it was 10 years ago that I walked into a little shop in Paris, France and saw this stunning girl working behind the counter with a smile and laugh that lit up the room. I stood there like an idiot trying to figure out what jumbled up words in French I was going to use to talk with her. Until she started speaking English -- like a regular person!
My opening line (excitedly) “You speak normal!”
I guess it worked – because 1 ½ years later we were married, and then we had a beautiful little girl (with a smile and laugh that lights up the room…)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I’m Thankful I’m Not In Ohio

Yes, it’s almost Thanksgiving and for me there’s a lot to be thankful for: my wife, daughter, family, friends, health, job, iPhone. But the thing I’m most thankful for is not having to spend Thankgiving with the in-laws, in Ohio, this year because the wife has MBA finals coming up.

Thank you Jesus! (Oprah, Ron L, Mel B, or whatever you believe in…)

“What’s wrong with Ohio? That’s where Wendy’s was created!!” you might ask?

Well friend, let me school you: I’m not a sports guy. Never have been, unless you count watching Baywatch or Golden Girls a sport. Unfortunately my in-laws don’t since my first introduction to them way back in ’98 when I was told to join “the men” in the TV room:

Future In-Law #1: (quick glance at me, then eyes on TV) Who’s your team?

Me: My ‘team’? (pause) That would definitely have to be the “A” Team… (big smile, ‘thumbs up’)

(TV mysteriously silenced, all eyes on me like I’m Richard Simmons holding a raw hotdog and gripping a sparkler from my butt cheeks)

(TV resumes life, all eyes on TV)

Future In-Law #2: You a “Buck”, ”Eyes” fan?

Me: Buck-eyes? What’s that?

(*gasps* even from the young children in the room -- Really, really uncomfortable LONG silence….)

Future In-Law #1 to #2: (loud whisper to the dude next to him) What’s wrong with this guy?

Every year the men watch football for around 182 hours straight. They don’t even break for the bathroom (I think they pee in their beer cans and then throw them out the window…) and the women are banished to the kitchen or the local Wal-Mart.
So I usually hang out with the kids playing video games, drawing, or having them ask their parents for money and then teaching them how to play poker.
I guess the downside is that I won’t have any extra spending cash this year.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! And remember Canadians have one too (who knew??)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Potty Training Idea #87: Coloring Pages That Use "The Power Of The Mind."

The way things have been going there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll have the first Jr. high kid EVER that hasn't been potty trained.

Recently some friends gave me a dvd called “Potty Power” that did wonders for their 2.5 year-old. She watched it a few times and like magic was “instantly” using the toilet like a 67 year-old running into the house after a visit to Hometown Buffet.
The video is actually quite good. The songs are so catchy that I often find myself singing them in boring meetings at work (“no more diapers for me…yeah, yeah…”)
Unlike other potty videos, kids actually use the toilet in it - imagine that! All while singing, dancing around, yelling “Potty Power” with their arms in the air like Che Guevara revolutionaries.... it's all very exciting.
So exciting that my daughter pooped in her diaper while watching the DVD (hmmm... maybe I should move the TV into the bathroom...?)

While changing her diaper she threw her arms up in the air and yelled “POTTY POWER!!”

Do you think they would arrest me if I duct taped a potty chair to my toddler’s butt?

So now I’ve come up with another creative method – coloring pages. Because really, what toddler doesn’t like coloring pages? Only toddlers whose parents deprive them of basic necessities like clothes, a place to sleep, fried chicken and maybe air.

Here are a few coloring pages that I’ve made to reinforce the use of the potty. Feel free to use these for "the cause":

"Poop in the potty and a magical unicorn will visit" - coloring page
"Every time you poop in your pants, Elmo cries. Don't make Elmo Cry!" - coloring pageWith some duct tape and these -- this potty training business could be pretty easy. How's that for "Potty Power!"...?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Crazy People Searches And "I Pity Da' Fool Who Don't Eat Ma Fried Chicken!"

A big congratulations to the Kentucky Fried Chicken Contest winners!
It was a tough call, but just like the Highlander "in the end. there can only be one." Or in this case two.

Winner #1 was Beta Mom for her fancy writin' poem:

There once was a man from Kentucky Whose chickens were very un-lucky He made them all fatter Then fried them in batter Yessiree’ that Colonel was plucky.

And wiener #2 was Bennie from Ben & Bennie because his grandfather shot a hippie, in Kentucky, for taking his chicken wing while singing Kentucky's national anthem at The Colonel's original restaurant... in 1830 (or something like that...)

Thanks to those that particiapated and a big thanks to KFC for sending me the gift checks. As soon as I got them I ran over and tried the Popcorn chicken again (I actually have a new product suggestion/idea: Spicy Popcorn Chicken! mouth waters just thinking about that one. KFC could get the Spice Girl's to sing in the commercials "People of the world --Spice up your life.." all while dancing with a sunglass sportin' Colonel Sanders!)

Random And Bizarre Searches
That mighty powerful (and rich) Google sends some weird people my way. I occasionally like to share these searches with the public.

I crapped a pineapple - ouch!
see womans boobs at a football game - they're called "Cheerleaders"
ways to get daddy from stealing my candy - sorry kid, you'll get no sympathy from me
daddy eat as much candy as he wants - so what's the problem?
jo and blair were in love - I think Jo was in love with Blair. And Blair was in love with Mrs. Garrett
picture of gummy bear in a peaceful area - gummy bear heaven?
when did dad's start cutting the cord - when doctor's felt a need to be entertained
why do we have butt cracks - apparently to crap pineapples
how to acquire all magical powers and superhuman strength - get bitten by a spider or alien that has somehow escaped a government research laboratory. Or be a rich orphan with nothing else to do.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Colonel Sanders and Santa Claus Must Be Brothers. Or Just Angels Sent From Heaven

Today began like any other: woke up, showered, ate cold chicken out of a bucket for breakfast, got my daughter ready, sang ELO’s “Evil Woman” on the way to work -- pretty much how billions of other people’s day begins.
Except today day was different. Today I got a note from KFC (yes, “them”) complimenting me about my Colonel Sanders pumpkin and THEN sending “ME” KFC gift checks.

It may be November, but it sure feels a lot like Christmas morning.

(The remainder of this post will be in a southern accent to pay homage to Colonel Sanders, aka: the great originator of fried chicken in a bucket.)

Those who’ve been readin’ this here blog for a while know I’ve been the biggest fan of this here “Kentucky Fried Chicken” (later renamed “KFC” for the hearin’, and maybe readin’, impaired…) ever since I was a wee youngin’.
Maybe it’s because there’s somethin’ comfortin’ about fried chickin’, mashed potatoes, slaw, bisk-ets, after coming home from school, work, prison (ha, just pulling ya’ britches!)
Or maybe because I find it funny that a southern gent in a white suit, calls himself “the Colonel” and then sells fried chickin’ in a bucket. Hoot and hollerin’, side-splittin’ funny!
And the chicken ain’t bad either. Seriously, who doesn’t like deep-fried chicken? Only Satan himself. And maybe hippies. I just love the spicy kind they make -- which ironically isn’t available at all locations...(the Colonel makes me drive to Pasadena to get that special stuff. Making me risk ma’ life dodging ol’ people in their Lincoln intercontinental's and such…)

Around six moonshines ago, I wrote an open letter to the colonel (when they changed their chicken oil to non-trans fat) vowin’ I would never eat that there chickin’ again. That following week I was back again like a whiny drug-addict (sorry Waya and MetroDad…I just couldn’t get on that Popeye’s bandwagon… maybe if it came in a bucket and Mr. Popeye wore a white suit things would be different…)

CONTEST! WIN CHICKEN! (Come on, who doesn't like FREE chicken?)
And guess what the prize is? KFC chicken checks! (thanks to them colonels’ folks.) All you have to do is leave a comment with your email (so I know how to contact you if you win) and tell me a fact about Kentucky (or hippies!)

The fine print: Winners based on originality. Contest only open to US residents and maybe Canadians.
O.k., Canadians can play too (this time!!!) Sorry to my peeps in NZ, Australia, UK, and Ohio. Oh, and some weird people in Malaysia who are always searching my blog for “husbands drinking wife’s breastmilk” – those people aren't eligible for any contest (ever!)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween Night Randomness! Pet Parents, Pimps, and Christmas, Oh My…

What’s that you say? Christmas is next month… How did that happen!?

Halloween turned out to be very fun this year. I ended up carving a Chewbacca pumpkin. My daughter was practicing her “Trick or Treat” line ALL DAY and was thrilled not only because she got to dress-up like Sleeping Booty (her name for Sleeping Beauty) but those magic words MADE the neighbors give candy.
Now she thinks she can put on her costume any day and go ask them for candy.

Watching the kid growing up sappy parent moment…
There’s something to be said about once enjoying the ‘trick or treating’ ritual as a kid and now as a parent watching my own child doing it. Watching my daughter twirling in her costume, getting candy, wearing a huge glowing smile… it all just sent happy chills down my spine. And the best part: now I don’t have to do all the work getting candy! (yee-ha!)
I just read a survey that said 90% of parents steal their kids’ loot. I think the other 10% were lying about it. Come on! We all do it, right?

Pimp Chaperone? I don’t think so. And Grad School doesn’t care about kids
The wife was in class Halloween night (thank you MBA program for thinking of “the children”…) I guess I can’t complain too much about that since about 98% of grad students in her classes don’t have kids. That’s just sad.
My daughter wanted to go trick or treating with the crazy 4-year old next door and her dad (Yup, only 2 already trying to ditch dad...) But I wouldn’t let her because the dad next door was dressed as a pimp. To me it’s just wrong having 3 little girls dressed as princesses walking with a pimp chaperone.
Later he admitted that it was from the “good old days” of being a single guy and should have probably worn a different costume (really, you think?) Sometimes I feel like Dr Phil – except without the Ferrari.

A note to parents who leave an unattended bowl of candy on their porch
Are you crazy? Some neighbors down the street left an unattended candy bowl out and I saw 3 (around 9 or 10-years old) boys dump the ENTIRE bowl into their pillowcases. I ran over telling them they’re not suppose to do that –- there’s something called the “honor system” where you take one and leave the rest for others to enjoy.

They all looked at me like I was Abraham Lincoln smoking a crackpipe.

One of the boys started putting some candy back, but he was cherry-picking through his bag leaving behind BRACH’s, Tootise Rolls and other random hard candy (or “old people candy”) that kids these days hate. The others thought it was a good idea and followed.

I guess that’ll keep other kids from dumping the bowl in their bags.

Later, I had visions in my head of some old people trick or treating and dumping the entire bowl in their bags and then running home to watch Jeopardy.

“Tick’ Or Treat?” - Whatchoutalkin’ bout Willis!
I think “Pet Parents” (the term I use for adults with no kids that treat dogs and cats like human children) need to be stopped before the world explodes from their stupidity.
I get a knock at the door and there’s this couple (mid-thirties-ish?) holding their little ugly rat-dog in a hot dog costume.
They said “Tick or Treat” and then held up a bag with HUGE smiles.

Are you kidding me?

I gave them a BRACH’s, shut the door, and then continued watching Jeopardy.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Creative Pumpkin Carving Ideas and FREE Stencils That Will Impress The Neighbors

Pumpkin carving is one of my favorite things to do for Halloween ever since I was old enough to use a knife.

Last year my “pumpkin art” was an homage to a brilliant American entrepreneur, in a white suit, who brought the world the gift of fried chicken (with 11 herbs and spices) and dumped in a bucket (the common man’s way of eating food) to life once again.
This pumpkin brought joy and happiness to all who came to my house begging for candy.

I don’t know if I could ever top that again.

I haven’t decided what I’m going to carve this year, but I thought I would post some original stencils I’ve created for ALL TO USE (and one I’ve found online) while trying to figure it out.

The Pumpkin Stencil List (click and then download):
Colonel Sanders (cause' he does Chicken and Halloween right)
Chewbacca (he likes chewie candy)
Mud Flap Truck Girl (keep on trucking... for candy)
Fairy (that looks like exactly like Tinker Bell – but isn’t! It’s her sister Popcorn Chicken-Bell)
Ninja (the ninja will keep teenagers with no costumes away! I wish.)

For my daughters’ pumpkin:
Doodlebop -Dee-Dee (the less creepy of the three. Or not.)
Cinderella (this is a link)

In case you don’t know how to use a stencil instructions are here. I completely recommend using a Pumpkin Masters carving kit; you don’t need buy a fancy one just pick up the basic set. Most of the new tools are cheesy gimmicks and break easily anyway (big hint: you can find them at dollar stores now…)

Am I the only one who likes the tradition of carving pumpkins? Or are you like most people that buys a pumpkin and then forgets to carve it?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hello From L.A. Where Everything Is On Fire Except Chuck E Cheese’s

Today had promise. We were meeting two other 1-child couples (just like us) at this really great pumpkin patch that’s been family owned for, like, over 300 years.

This place has to be the ultimate pumpkin patch (Lombardi Ranch) this side of the Mississippi. They have tractor rides, pony rides, live music on 2 stages, ‘real’ farm animals, corn mazes, stagecoach rides, homemade organic-corn, and I think bands like “Huey Lewis and the News” kick off their world tour concerts from this place. Yes, it’s that big.
We’ve been talking about it for days and my daughter was looking forward to it like a Doodlebop was moving into the den. She woke up this morning singing “Pumpkin Patch! Pumpkin patch – hooray!”

Then came the winds. And then the fires – everywhere (this is my one big complaint about living in L.A. – whenever we get winds, everything catches fire!) Our drive over was immediately stopped because the police were evacuating the pumpkin patch. You could see this huge black ash cloud looming over the horizon.

Me: “Sorry, the Pumpkin Patch is on fire…”
Daughter: ((?!?!?))

Note to self – Never tell a toddler that anything is on fire. I guess it could have been worse; I was about to say the animals were on fire.

We met up with the other parents in a nearby parking lot and tried to figure out what to do with a bunch of disappointed kids.

Me: “I guess we can go to that Chuck E Cheese over there?”

Note to self – Never suggest Chuck E Cheese after the first crazy experience we had (read about that here.)

Chuck’s was packed! Obviously everybody else there was on the same boat. Later I wondered if maybe Chuck went out and started the fires himself to boost business (I wouldn’t put that past the rat!)
Overall the kids had fun running around, winning tickets, and jumping (dancing?) to an off-key animatronic rendition of Gloria Estefan's “Rhythm’s Gonna' Get You!” It played twice within 30 minutes (maybe that’s how they clear people out after eating…?)
The only unusual experience I had was running into this 3 or 4 year old girl wearing a t-shirt that said “Full Of Sh*T” on it. At first I thought my mind was playing tricks on me again. But no, it really said that. And from the look of her Mom (ganster? couldn’t have been older than 19 or 20) she was probably proud of her toddler wearing it.
I know these so-called kid attitude shirts are big (I find some entertaining myself) but come on – who buys a shirt like that for their toddler?

That's the kind of stuff that should catch fire (without the kid in it... or any animals.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

An Open Letter To A Parent That Buys A Hooker Halloween Costume For Their Daughter

Cry-Out Loud’s Mike wrote about this over at Babble and I had something to add.

To the parent that thinks it's "cute" to buy those slutty costumes for your girl,

You have failed as a parent. What are you thinking? It is NOT cute to dress your little girl in fishnet stockings, platform boots, exposed midriffs, vinyl whatever or anything resembling a Bratz doll. What are you raising your daughter to be anyways? Pregnant at 14.
It's beyond comprehension why you (a parent) would purchase this stuff. Maybe some of you do it because you want to live vicariously through your daughter? I find that utterly sick. And I wonder why any father would allow his daughter to dress like that? I find that even more disturbing (it’s our JOB to guard our daughters.)

And for those that allow their pre-teen, teenage daughter’s to buy the stuff that’s even worse – you must literally be smoking crack in some cave in Riverside. You are obviously oblivious as to how a teenage boys’ mind works. Let me remind you - the brain is 99.999% controlled by the penis; you’ve just tipped the scale to 340. I know some people are still in denial about this, but it is true. In fact, some grown men still haven't grown out of this. Yes, I know this information bothers people, but it is a reality - deal with it.
What message are you trying to convey to your daughter?

I’m not some freak or prude, I'm a normal parent who is actually pretty liberal. In fact if a grown woman wanted to walk around showing her boobs, God bless her, she's grown and that's her choice - BUT I draw that line at sexualizing little girls. Be a parent! They don't deserve to be thrown into the adult world. They'll have the rest of their lives to deal with that.

And to those companies that markets this stuff. What are you thinking? I hope this stuff sits in a landfill or ends up on some adult store's clearance rack in Tijuana where it could make some midget strippers day (or year.)

(Not by any means a perfect Dad, but trying to be...)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

5 Freeway Truck Tunnel Fire And The Loss Of A Child

Ever since becoming a parent any mention of any child getting hurt, seriously ill, or (gasp) dying just terrifies me. I can’t help but to feel completely concerned and distressed. Personally, there is nothing worse.

Saturday morning we were on our way to a baby shower and got caught on the 5 freeway (I-5) because of the truck tunnel fire. Completely stopped in traffic listening to AM news radio for any mention, checking the iPhone traffic map (which by the way has some major delayed info) and reading news while watching the wife and daughter getting uneasy and just falling asleep.
I’ve been in some pretty bad traffic jams but this was the worse and menacing ever, not because we were stopped but largely because of the people in the cars around us. People yelling, swearing, walking around yelling at people in their cars, trying to practically run over others. One thing is sure - we don’t have the friendliest people out here, in fact, I think the term “Road Rage” originated out here.
Eventually, once cars cleared, I popped the car in reverse and drove up an entrance ramp and sat yet again in more traffic. At least it was moving.

About an hour later on an alternate route (“the 14”) we passed the tunnel just north of us, which was still smoking. That was truly a frightening sight. All we could think about was how many people had been caught in there. Fortunately not many as originally thought, but today we had heard there was a cantaloupe truck driver that had his infant in the cab and they both died.

I can’t even comprehend…

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Questions 2-Year Olds Ask And How NOT To Answer

My daughter has been very inquisitive these days - she's always asking me questions such as “What are you doing Dad-DEE?”, “What’s that Dad-DEE?” It’s almost like having my own Cousin Balki. A few of my recent favorites:

Daughter: (pointing to the evening sky) What’s that, Dad-DEE?
Me: That’s a star. And it’s not in rehab
Daughter: A TAR!?! (excited)

Daughter: (pointing to a person) What’s that, Dad-DEE?
Me: That’s a man wearing a dress, you can tell because he has an Adams apple and mustache.
Daughter: A MUSTACHE!? (excited)

Daughter: (pointing to Christmas decorations at the mall - in October!!) What’s that, Dad-DEE?
Me: That’s Santa Claus. He brings presents on Christmas for everybody that goes pee-pee and poopy on the potty
Daughter: PRESS-ANTS!? (excited)

Daughter: What are you doing Dad-DEE? (playing this new Pirates game on the computer)
Me: If mommy asks, I’m paying bills
Daughter: BILLS!? (excited)

Daughter: What are you doing Dad-DEE? (honking the horn at some car that almost hit me)
Me: I’m honking the horn at that lady because she’s on crack!
Daughter: CRACK?

If she starts telling people they’re on crack the wife is going to shoot me…(again)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I Want to Outsource Potty Training

This potty training business is MUCH harder than I thought. And it seems everybody I talk to has some advice on the issue - even those with kids who are 40 and those who don't have any. This one woman at work was telling me what I should do because she “potty trained” her dog and that made her qualified as a “pet-parent."

And then there are those parents who want convince me that their kid is Doogie Houser, like this one mom I chatted with at a birthday party on Saturday who told me that her 13-month old daughter uses the potty “all the time” followed by “and how old is yours…?”
I told her that her baby should be on “That’s Incredible!” She gave me a weird look, I think only because she’s too young to have ever seen “That’s Incredible!”

Things we've tried so far:

1. Potty Party: She pooped once and then she was over the party business
2. Bribing with Candy: Worked once, and that's about it. And I’m weary about giving her too much candy going down this path.
3. Toilet DVDs: We picked up that Elmo one where Elmo sits on the pot once and then talks and sings about it for 30 minutes. It didn't work, she’s 2 not 5. And did you know Elmo has a dad?
4. Lead by example: Going with mommy, and locking the door when it’s my turn (she walked in on me once and it totally confused her)
5. Diaper-less: She had no qualms about just going anywhere.
6. Wearing Underwear: Still goes OR holds it until she gets a diaper before going to bed.
7. Potty Books: Nothing. I finding these books to be a sham since it seems they’re geared more for 4 or 5 year-olds or even just the adults buying them. They don’t show enough doing because they get caught up in some long-winded story.

Now I’m starting to use unconventional methods:

1. Monsters, Inc (movie): She LOVES this movie, although she thinks Sully is Cookie Monster no matter how many times I tell her he’s his cousin. There’s this one part where Boo goes to the toilet then I tell my daughter “See! Boo uses the potty…” This gets her to go sit on the toilet.
2. Princesses: I’m not sure when or how it happened, but my daughter is really into princesses -I think it's because they can talk to animals and they wear “pretty” dresses. Anyhow she really wants a dress, but we keep telling her princesses use the potty. This gets her to sit, but nothing else.
3. Old School: My great-grandmother potty-trained me and about 18 cousins in one day by going “old world” on them. Feeding them salty crackers, making them drink water, even feeding them dried fruit to make them go and pretty much sitting them on the toilet all day. I’m not sure which village she was in, but apparently they did this when kids were between 18-24 months because there was no such thing as disposable diapers. I tried a version staying home all day, but it didn’t work. It was just messy and a whole lot of whining. When I did put the diaper on for the night, she pooped.
4. My own Potty Picture Book: I’m making strange little illustrations (I’m an artist remember?) of nothing but everybody and their mama sitting on the toilet. Kids, princesses, astronauts, teachers, monkeys, everything. Current books don't do enough. I know my daughter sits when she sees, not because of the story, so I’m hoping this will assist in the endeavor.
5. Peer-Pressure: Her cousins go to school and so does the crazy 4-year old next door that she idolizes. She really wants to go, but we keep telling her school means using the toilet. I’m not one for peer-pressure, but it seems to be having an influence.
6. Outsource: I’m looking…(India?)

Parents, any unconventional methods that worked? I’m having nightmares about having a 7 year old eating nothing but chili beans and still wearing diapers... and Huggies adding me to their VIP club.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Why Do Teenagers Have To Be So Weird Looking? They’re Scaring Little Kids

Blame it on global warming – maybe the melting glaciers are releasing mutant teenagers to live among us? Or it could be all that senseless booty rap and rock music on ‘the MTV’ they listen to these days.

Today I thought I would try out the kids club 'child care' program at my gym. There were 3 teenagers running the joint, 2 guys and 1 girl. I must commend the place on hiring the guys since most places discriminate against male child workers – I wrote about that here. Although, I think this place should be an exception.
After signing my daughter in, ready to leave for my workout, she starting tearing like I’ve never seen before. The look on her face was simply fear for her life. Shaking, holding onto my leg, looking up at me with completely red eyes like I was leaving her forever. Side note: my daughter is the biggest extrovert when it comes to strangers (which scares my wife and I on occasion…)

Daughter: No Daddy, don’t go. Please daddy! PLEASE (the BIGGEST puppy dog eyes I’ve ever seen -- what? Did they grow somehow?)

She wasn’t yelling either, just genuinely scared. All while a big tear slowly rolled down her cheek.

Then I looked up and took a good look at the place. This one teen guy nearby was wearing this huge 4 sizes too big beaten up Ozzy shirt, he was crawling on the ground with this dirty, crusty clown hand puppet (which was missing an eye) and had the biggest Asian fro I’ve ever seen (it was literally the size of 4 heads.) And he was calling my daughters name in this whisper “Hey, hey - come play with me…”
The other guy was wearing some kind of girl’s striped stockings up to his knees, with all black clothes and jet-black hair to match. I even think he was wearing eye mascara (who do you think you are? Robert Smith!!)
The girl had about 100 piercings - on her head alone! And her lizard tongue seem to be taking a swipe at the nearby flies. Or she was toying with her tongue hinge.

Where are all the kids? I hear them, but I only see like, 2.

I walked with my daughter over to the toys and play equipment – they actually have a lot of pretty cool stuff she loves - under normal circumstances. I walked with her over to this cute kid-sized Nantucket playhouse and inside we saw the eyes of about 6 kids huddled in a dark corner.
One of the kids said to me “please sir, get my mommy…”

We walked over the back room with craft tables and a normal looking woman was there with a little girl about my daughter’s age.

Me: Hello, please tell me you’re in charge here…?

Woman: Actually, I’m not. This is my daughter and she told me that if I left her alone, she would sue me when she’s 5. And by the way, that kid behind you is 'patient 0' and is infected with something I’ve never seen before…

I quickly turned around and this kids’ face was covered in booger crust (no joking!) and he was reaching for my daughters’ mouth in slow motion (I could hear his whistling nose get louder and louder with each breathe he made...) I yanked her away and told her to stay away from him.

OK, that’s it. I picked up my daughter and told the teenagers I was signing her out. The girl said “Are you sure, it’s really fun here” (as she was playing with her tongue piercing…)

Later my wife admitted that the kids working there are pretty scary but that our daughter knows how to play me to get what she wants.
I immediate shot back with “I think those kids in that playhouse would seriously disagree with you!!!”

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Help! I Think They May Take Away My Man Card

According to the great thinkers of our time (Darwin, Einstein, Hasselhoff...) the vast majority of men in this world are born with some type of innate natural abilities like fixing a stalled truck in the desert with only chewing gum and the belt around his waist, the ability to install drywall or ceiling fans perfectly without ever having been trained, or even the ability to fly.
And then there are those like me who have no such abilities in that department. But that doesn't stop me on occasion from thinking I do.

The wife went to a convention over the weekend, so after putting my daughter to bed for the night I thought I would do some household repairs I’ve been putting off for about 6 years.

My first job was fixing a running toilet (you know because that hiss can waste up to 487.4 millions of gallons of water- in just one day) I spent 2 hours replacing the entire innards of the toilet with a new “low-flow” system. After about 2 hour of swearing to the toilet gods, they finally listened and I somehow was able to put everything back together.
Feeling very proud of my work, I sat back on the bathroom floor, grunted in cave-man talk, flexed my muscles (kissed each bicep) and smashed a beer can on my forehead yelling "GWAR done GOOD!!!"

Yup, feeling pretty good until I turned the water back on and the toilet started hissing again.
“STUPID TOILET!!!” (Followed by much MUCH more than that…)

I turned the toilet off, made an “Out of Order” sign, and watched a movie.
That's my talent. And flying.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

When The Kids’ Halloween Costume Cost More Than My First Car, Something Is Seriously Wrong

When I was a kid (what seems like 80 years ago…) there were two ways to get a Halloween costume:

1. Made it the day of Halloween with “stuff” laying around the house, like boxes, old clothes; maybe modify new ones, and then had a simple idea like “a lamp” or “a ghost with a baseball bat.”

2. Went down to the local grocery market and bought one of those “fancy” $3.99 flammable lead costumes that came in a cereal-type box with a view window of a creepy flimsy plastic mask and a plastic jumpsuit (that went over your clothes) with a picture of GI Joe or a Care Bear jumping out of an airplane with a rocket launcher.

Actually there was the 3rd option: not dressing up at all.

A friend at work went out and bought her 5-year old daughter a Cinderella costume during lunch -- Total cost $128.

“What? Is she going to the Prom!?!?” I asked

The costumes these days don’t come with everything. The dress was around $50-60, but then there are the shoes, wand (she didn’t have one in the movie – I checked), gloves, purse (she didn’t have that either, maybe she left it in the coach) and tiara. She didn’t get the wig, because in her opinion “that was going too far.”
Isn't that kind of like eating an entire chocolate cake and then ordering a diet coke? I think ‘too far’ was spending $50 on a dress to get candy for 2 hours.

With my own daughter, I'm hoping on training her to think creatively (and economically) about her costumes rather than going out and buying one. So here are my kid costumes ideas with an emphasis on “cheap”-

Kids Costumes Ideas: Cheap and Simple
1. A giant box. Maybe address it to “My Real Mom and Dad”
2. Roll in the mud and go as a Pig
3. If they have long hair: Roll in the mud and go as “The Predator”
4. Global Warming Melting Glacier. Wear all white and pee in pants. Maybe borrow a toy penguin and put a sad face on it.
5. Wrap in tin foil and go as leftovers

Any more suggestions?

My wife has just informed me that my daughter wants a Sleeping Beauty ("BEEPing Booty" she calls her) dress. I think my wallet just screamed in pain...!
Things were so much easier when we just bought her a pumpkin costume on clearance. I wonder if she'll go for my suggestion of being Cinderella's pumpkin instead...?