Monday, March 30, 2009

Help! I Need Excuses – Fast

My daughter has asked for something that I’ve detested nearly my entire life. Something that I’ve always loathed because, in my view, it serves absolutely no purpose in this world but to aggravate, annoy, and destroy good tax-paying citizens like myself.
No it’s not Kevin Costner, the Beatles, or Mosquito’s - it’s a cat.

She wants one really bad. She’s been drawing pictures of herself and this non-existent kitty cat (called “princess pinkalicious”) frequently. In addition to the begging and pleading that she’ll feed it, tuck it into bed every night, clean up after it, and play with it every 5 minutes she’s offered to pay for it with her allowance/birthday/Christmas and 529 (now referred as ‘gambling fund’) money.
I woke up this morning to a huge smiling face staring at me saying, “I love you daddy!! Can I have a kitty cat PLEASE?!”
When I said ‘no’, she marched out upset and mumbled something about ‘Robbie at school will buy one for her’ (note to self: have a man-to-man with 4-year old Robbie tomorrow. Don’t shave or brush teeth.)

There’s no doubt in my mind that the wife is in on this too as she’s not doing or saying anything to prevent this behavior. She grew up with cats. Her mom had about 678 cats. Well not really, but some number really close to that.

My dislike for cats started back in 1979 when my babysitters’ cat tried to kill me. You heard me right - that chubby ugly cat walked right up to me, when Barbara was occupied on the phone, and told me “I will kill you when you least expect it.” Well, not those exact words, but it inferred it with those freaky looking spooky cat eyes. I never went back to that house again.

My dislike for them continued in 1996 when my roommate’s cat use to sit in front of the TV, when my roommate was gone, and say things like “I will kill you when you least expect it – Mr. Cuddles would have wanted that.” This time he did say it with a Russian accent. I would sleep with the door locked, only to hear him slowly scratching at it late at night like Freddy Krueger. That’s when I learned how to sleep with one eye open.

To this day I can walk into any pet shop and playful kittens will stop frolicking and in an instant stare at me as if saying, “I’ll cut you up, foo!”

Pure wicked evil sent from hell; that’s what those kittens/cats/demons are.

Excuses telling a child why they can’t have a pet (or in this case cat.)
  1. Cats are reincarnated criminals and whole life insurance salesmen.
  2. Cats have killed more people than all wars combined, plus a 100 million more.
  3. If a cat bites you, you’ll turn into an ugly vampire and you’ll never be a princess.
  4. Cats are friends with monsters and invite them over for drinks often.
  5. Once a cat tastes human blood, it will keep feeding.
  6. You can’t have a cat until you’re at least 65.
  7. Big Bird use to have a little brother, but cats ate him.
  8. Cats eat Fairies.
  9. Cats are prone to alcoholism.
  10. If you get a cat, you can’t have a unicorn.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Teaching Good Habits - with Coloring Pages

I’m convinced there’s no difference between Preschools, 3rd world countries, and Chinese restaurants in the San Fernando Valley.
In the last 3 weeks we’ve been through 3 lice epidemics, a chicken pox plague, and then to top it all off -- a kid with “hand, foot, and mouth” disease.

We’ve always heard stories from other parents through the years about this stuff, but never imagined it would happen to us. Essentially because the place she’s at is no ordinary preschool; it’s one of those fancy ones that took us nearly 4 years to get her in there (she's 3.) The teacher ratio is 1:7, they all have Ph.D's and BVD's, write books for Oprah, yoga 12 times a day to work, don't eat anything that casts a shadow, and speak something like 38 languages – fluently.
Everybody knows diseases are afraid of the over-educated and Oprah. Apparently not anymore.

What drives me crazy is that all of this is totally preventable if every kid just did 1 simple thing – washed his or her hands especially after using the bathroom. And practicing other good hygiene habits too like taking baths and listening to the adults when they tell them not to pick their nose/butt, throw sand in their hair, share lollipops, gum, things on the floor, chewed food, etc.

The problem is that preschoolers are just plain disgusting in packs and something needs to be done.
That’s where I come in.

I solve problems.

That’s my job.

Because that’s how I roll.

It’s obvious from my potty training color pages (the most popular post on my blog - still) that kids learn best when they color and are fearful.
I present to you... my latest creations: (Click each to download)

"Every time you pick your nose, a Fairy dies. Don't kill any more Fairies!" -coloring page

"Don't give mommy and daddy a reason to sell you to a factory in China. Be a good listener."
-coloring page

"Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease hurts! Wash your hands after using the potty." -coloring page

"Aliens eat smelly kids. Take a bath." -coloring page

Monday, March 02, 2009

I’m Going to Live!

It was pretty surreal when my doctor told me with urgency “go to the nearest ER right away or call an ambulance” when referring to the results of some tests during a checkup.

A checkup that I would have completely avoided if it had not been for my wife pushing me to go because of some odd pains I was having for some time that were getting much to evident to ignore.

Then came the inevitable thought – am I going to die?

My wife, daughter, family, friends; all of the things I’ve wanted to accomplish in life or visit all came into mind. That feeling of total loss knowing that the circumstances were completely out of my control just overwhelmed me.
Later my wife and I had a serious conversation about all the “what if’s.” That by far had to be the most difficult and emotional conversation I’ve (we’ve) ever had.
What surpassed it was seeing my daughter shortly thereafter; all chipper, smiling, without a slightest clue of what in the world was going on. The first thing she said, with enthusiasm, was something like “a squirrel ran into my classroom and the police came… and took him to jail!”

Life is weird.
I never thought that I would be seeing a cardiologist, hooked up to an EKG machine and all sorts of strange equipment, having ultrasounds done of my heart -- all in my 30’s, and just a few weeks before my birthday (the irony!)
But then again, I never thought that I would have such a great wife, an amazing little girl, and a life filled with good friends and family that I can’t really complain about. That’s what made the circumstances even more difficult.
The feeling that all of it may really be gone in a limited amount of time is truly unexplainable.

I really thought stuff like this only happened to people who didn’t do all of the things I did - workout 4 days a week (nearly 8 years now like clockwork), watched their weight, didn’t smoke, drink (well only a few times a month), and ate pretty healthy (OK, except maybe the occasional trip to the Colonel’s house of pure fried chicken delight – my only one true vice!)
But none of that is a guarantee, especially when heart disease runs rampant in all the men on my Dad’s side of the family.

When all was said and done, I emerged. A bit traumatized, a different stance, and a fresh appreciation for the people around me. This time adding some new lifestyle changes that are going to be even more restrictive – the biggest being eating red meat only twice a week and fried food –- you know all the stuff that tastes good like fries, bacon, chicken to once every 6 weeks.

Let me repeat that again: I can only eat KFC “once” every “six” weeks (the irony!!!)

But how?! Just looking at the picture makes me want is even more…
Now my wife’s favorite line - “If you want to live... stay away from the bucket”