The Band-Aid that Almost Killed Naptime

Things aren’t funny anymore.

At least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself. That’s my justification for not working on the blog lately. Things used to be funny, so I wrote a funny blog about them. Now things are not funny anymore, so no funny blog. But I do love writing, so I had this idea to try to craft a humorous post about the non-humorous nature of our current family life. “My life is so not funny! Isn’t that hilarious?!” Yeah, that’s got failure written all over it.

Of course it’s all nonsense anyway. Things are still as funny as ever. Probably funnier. But maybe having a little baby around has taken my mind out of funny mode. Or more likely, maybe having a little baby around has taken up EVERY SINGLE MOMENT OF MY FREE TIME. Whatever the case, I’m going to try to be funny again. Bear with me.

I don’t believe I’ve properly introduced Bunny, but she’s daughter number three. She’s nine months old now and painfully adorable. One thing I really like about Bunny is that she has brought the concept of napping back to the house. Of course Bear (five years old) and Bean (nearly four) are so mature and so wise, and have fully evolved beyond the infantile notion of sleeping during the daytime, and as such, they will never again engage in such meaningless triviality. But someone is napping. Napping good and hard, I might add, which I totally dig.

As you may or may not know, the ritual of naptime is an exact science that must be executed with extreme precision. Any deviation from the usual routine could result in a ruined nap, which almost certainly will result in a cranky baby, which will without a doubt result in a Dad questioning his will to live. This morning I was putting Bunny down for her morning snooze, when the most unexpected culprit just about sabotaged the whole stinking effort. A band-aid.

While opening the mail yesterday, I managed to slice open my finger pretty good on an envelope. It was a credit card offer, so yeah, totally worth getting a paper cut over, or even opening in the first place. I do wonder what’s wrong with me sometimes. Anyway, I patched myself up, and that was that.

Or so I thought.

As I sat with Bunny this morning, gently rocking her and bottle-feeding her, everything seemed to be going just swimmingly. Her eyelids began sinking to half-mast, and she began to mindlessly play with my fingers, as is her habit just as she starts to enter the realms of sleep. All was well until her tiny fingers brushed the surface of my band-aid. At this detection of a slightly different texture, her eyes shot open, and her rhythmic sucking of the bottle came to an abrupt stop. She pried her lips from the nipple (I’m very comfortable with bottle terminology) and began a full-on inspection of the band-aid. One moment she was a gulp of reheated breast milk away from sleep sweet sleep, and the next moment she appears to be using the scientific method to determine what foreign substance is on Dad’s hand. So goes my life.

I tried in vain to tuck my wounded pinky into my fist, as I struck a silent deal with Bunny. “Bunny, I need thumb and pointer to hold the bottle, but you can totally play with tall man and ring man. All day long. They’re all yours. Let’s just give pinky a little break, eh?” Out of sight out of mind, right? If only. Bunny has apparently mastered the concept of object permanence, because she went digging for pinky like nobody’s business.

I soon realized the futility of trying to hide the object of her desire, so pinky came out, and little Bunny grew more and more awake as she labored away on the band-aid, with a troubled look on her face that seemed to say, “Seriously, what the f^@k is that $#!t on Dad’s finger?!”

She never did figure it out, and I think the weight of that failure is what ultimately caused her to cry a little bit more than usual in her crib before falling asleep. I hear her awakening now, and being the awesome dad that I am, I’m going to go let her inspect the band-aid to her little heart’s content.

Posted in Indoors | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Man in the Tan Van

Lefty, original driver of the tan van

I’m just gonna come out and say it: We bought a mini-van. Yep. It’s done. There’s no going back. I now drive around in a giant room on wheels.

Getting the van was pretty much a necessity for us. With Number 3 just a few short weeks away from joining us, we had to find some mobile space for the little bugger. This was not going to happen in our compact Toyota Matrix. And so… the van. It’s growing on me, I guess, but it’s a tough transition.

The van’s color is listed as Ivory, but my first thought was tan. The tan van. Where had I heard that rhyme before? The tan van. It seemed to be calling to me from somewhere deep in my past. The tan van. Finally, I Googled the phrase, and came upon this Sesame Street skit from days gone by. Yes! That’s it! If you were watching Sesame Street back in the 80s like I was, perhaps you’ll remember it as well. Hilarious!

After indulging myself in the nostalgia of this clip a few times, I decided to create my own rhyme based on our new tan van. It’s funnier if you imagine me as Lefty from Sesame Street.

OK, so here’s the plan.

I, the stay-at-home man,

picked myself up a tan mini-van.

Pulled into the dealership. Perhaps I shoulda ran.

Instead I pulled out in an ’07 van.

Gonna haul all my kids around in it, if I can.

Gonna go get groceries to cook in a pan.

On such things as coolness, there will be a ban

As the man drives around in the tan mini-van.

So here I stand,

Diaper bag in hand,

Trying to make peace with this tan mini-van.

I’m not a fan

Of the tan (’cause it’s bland).

I’m not a fan

Of the van (’cause it’s a van).

I AM a fan

Of a car that can stand

To handle the size of our ever-growing clan.

So this man’s gonna embrace the tan van.

That, my friend, is the plan.


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Even the Applesauce Won’t Accept Me

The other day, Bear, Bean and I were gathered ’round the dining room table to enjoy our midday repast. The lunch conversation, as guided by Bear and Bean, was riddled with scores of “poopies” and “butts” and “poopie butts” and the like, so I decided to turn my attention to the container of Mott’s applesauce in front of me. After perusing the nutritional facts for a while, and realizing that the kids were continuing to pontificate on and on about the hilarity of soiled pants, I spun the container and read some more. One line of text in particular jumped out at me:

“Since 1842, we’ve been dedicated to giving moms easy ways to help their families be their very best.”

I see how it is, Mott’s. You’re giving moms easy ways, are you? You’re all about helping the moms of this world, right? How noble you are. How totally noble and family-oriented. But what if… no, it couldn’t be. But just what if… there are some dads out there who buy groceries and serve them to their families? Some dads who are looking for easy ways to help their families be their very best? How do you deal with that possibility, Mott’s?

(Fade in to an imagined scene at the local grocery store. Dad, Bear and Bean are at the checkout counter when they are approached by an UnderCover Mott’s Man or UCMM)

UCMM: Excuse me sir. Are those your kids?

Dad: Yes indeed.

UCMM (confused): So… that would make you not their mom but… their dad, right?

Dad: Uh, yeah, that’s pretty much it.

UCMM: I see. I also see that you’re purchasing some quality Mott’s applesauce today. I assume you’ll be passing that off to your wife in order for her to serve it to the kids, right?

Dad: Um, nope, I’ll go ahead and dish it up for them myself. Why do you care?

UCMM (becoming agitated): OK, well surely you fully read through the label on the product prior to purchasing it, and so surely you are aware that Mott’s wants moms to help their families be their very best. There is no mention of any sort of dedication to dads anywhere on the label.

Dad: Dude, I’m just trying to buy some applesauce here…

UCMM: No! I will not have this! Return the Mott’s to aisle 6 immediately!

Dad: Are you serious right now?

UCMM: I’m afraid so! Now if you’ll just step this way with me.

Dad: Wha?

UCMM: That’s right. You will now be accompanying me to Mott’s corporate headquarters in Plano, Texas. You clearly are not part of the demographic group we’ve been marketing to since 1842, and so we’ll need to bring you in for further study.

I guess I just have to wonder why, in this day and age, a company like Mott’s is still feeling the need to not only assume that moms are the sole purchasers of their product, but also that this is something they should spell out in large print on their containers. This assumption may have been fine and dandy back in 1842, but we’ve all circled the sun a few times since then, and things have happened. Times have changed. Hey, maybe 85% of the people that buy applesauce are still moms. Maybe 90%. But do you have to go and alienate the other 10-15 percent?

This concludes my anti-Mott’s applesauce rant.

I really need to get out more.

Posted in General Observations | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

SAHD 3.0: The Pregnancy Post

As one year draws to a close and another waits to take its place, the impulse is always to reflect and resolve. Was 2011 OK? Was it all I hoped it would be? What will be different in 2012?

One aspect of my life that definitely appears not to be changing in 2012 is my SAHD (Stay At Home Dad) status. A lot of folks like to pronounce the acronym SAHD like sad, but being the upbeat fellow I am, I prefer something more like sod. What, the H is supposed to be silent? What, the thought of a man at home with his kids all day is somehow depressing? These are the concerns I have.

So the title of this post pretty much gives it away. Child number three is on its way. In six months, I’ll be SAHD of not two, but three. Ages four, three and newborn. Wow, the panic in me is really starting to rise as I sit here typing out the cold hard facts. Obviously I’m ecstatic about the impending arrival of our newest family member-to-be. But man! This is going to be a lot of little lives to look out for.

In honor of this momentous change occurring in my family, I’ve updated the blog’s header image. Mom has obviously been around all along, but apparently, for some reason, it’s only now that she has another human being ensconced within her that I’ve deemed her worthy of being on the header. That’s not very cool of me. Sorry Mama. And sorry we couldn’t fit you on our side of the jagged yellow dadbloggit cloud. It’s not that we didn’t want you over there with us. It’s just that compositionally, you and fetus seemed to fit better on the other side. Seriously though, you’re doing an awesome job growing that baby.

OK 2012, let’s see what you’ve got!

Posted in General Observations | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Mac ‘n’ Cheese Graphic

Being a lover of photography and the great outdoors, I very much look forward to finding the latest issue of National Geographic magazine in my mailbox every month. Perusing the contents of this well-known yellow-bordered publication inspires me and helps keep me connected to something bigger than myself and my brood of young’uns. However, it came as quite a shocker to me that my 2- and 3-year-old daughters dig the magazine as much, if not more, than I do.

Recently, Bear approached me and initiated this conversation:

Bear: Dad, can you read me (slurred jumble of nonsensical syllables) graphic?

Dad: What?!

Bear: (with a silly smile indicating her knowledge that she is totally botching a pronunciation) I wanna read (something resembling “mac ‘n’ cheese”) graphic.

Dad: (taken aback because Bear usually speaks quite clearly) What? What in the world are you saying?! Are you saying “Mac ‘n’ Cheese Graphic”?

Bear: Yeah! Mac ‘n’ Cheese Graphic!

Of course, I realized then that she was referring to National Geographic. It makes perfect sense that a 3-year-old would take the syllables “nash nal jee”, which mean absolutely nothing to her, and substitute “mac ‘n’ cheese”, a phrase that literally translates to “delicious dinner” in toddler-ese. It must be a bit confusing to her that there is not a single photo of mac ‘n’ cheese to be found anywhere within the magazine, but I suppose she keeps holding out hope that next month’s issue will address this little disconnect.

But yeah, Bear and Bean LOVE this magazine. The latest issue has been particularly spellbinding for them. Bean will come up to me and say “I wanna see spiders”. As I take the magazine and start flipping through to find the spider pages, Bean slowly starts to back away, all the while keeping her eyes trained on the pages. Because, you see, while she does have an insatiable curiosity about the spider photographs, she is also quite terrified of them. The spider is pretty creepy actually. Though we’re told that the creature is so small it could perch on our fingernail, the extreme close-up photos make it look as though it could devour Manhattan if it wanted to.

Then there are the big cats. This issue features lions, tigers, jaguars and the like. The kids love to look at the photos and say “That’s Pedro’s cousin!”, Pedro being our abnormally enormous house cat. “Pedro, come see your cousin!” they yell as they chase poor Pedro all over the house. Pedro hates this, and to be fair, I would not want someone waking me up from my nap by shoving photos of my distant relatives in my face. Not cool.

The big cats story does contain one particularly troubling photo. The picture shows a shirtless man laying down with his eyes wide open, and several other men standing above him and pouring water on his body. The caption says something like “villagers prepare this man’s body for cremation after a large tiger fell him with one swipe of its paw”. The inevitable conversation commences:

Bear: What are they doing to that guy?

Dad: (struggling) Who, that guy? Let’s see… they are… actually… giving that guy a bath, as it turns out.

Bear: Why does he need help taking a bath?

Dad: You know, let’s go ahead and see what’s on the next page…

I suppose we should just get them a subscription to the kids’ version of the magazine to avoid subject matter like this. Then again, is it ever too early to warn your children about the dangers of being felled by big cats?

Posted in Indoors | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Taking the Kids to the Bar

The Cardinal Bar - booze, buses and blacktop, yet somehow also a child's dream come true. Source: Google Maps

As a one-car family we make certain sacrifices. Now, wait. I take that back. That’s the ‘glass half-empty’ way of putting it. Let’s try this one on: As a one-car family we get to have some totally off-the-hook public transportation adventures that less fortunate multi-car families will never have. Yes. Much better.

So there’s four of us, and only one automobile. It usually works out fine. But then there are days when we all have to pile in the car bright and early, drive to Mom’s office to drop her off, go to an appointment of some sort, drive the car back to Mom’s office to drop it off for her use, and then find our own way home. Finding our own way home goes like this:

walking…waiting…TRAIN…waiting… still waiting…. I can’t believe we’re still waiting… BUS… walking home.

Now let’s face it. Bear, Bean and I really have nowhere to go. A little waiting and walking is not going to kill us. But it could very well bring on some good old-fashioned hypothermia on wintry days like the day of our recent adventure. So what is my crew to do when it finds itself quickly morphing from flesh to ice at 38th Street Station in South Minneapolis in the ‘I can’t believe we’re still waiting’ leg of the trip home? Why, head to the bar, of course!

What are the three of us going to do at a bar, you might ask? Yeah, I hear you. It’s 10:00 am on a Tuesday. Our average age is 13. Our median age is 3. Doesn’t exactly feel like a bar situation, I agree. But it’s right there. It’s open. It’s the Cardinal Bar and Restaurant.

The Cardinal is a pretty gritty place. It sits directly at the intersection of two loud and busy thoroughfares and the light rail line. Towering concrete grain elevators loom overhead. Dark and windowless, its dungeon-like vibe emits from every corner. Everything about the experience of walking through its front doors with my kids felt wrong to me. But let me tell you, the Cardinal came through.

As soon as we sat down in the nearly empty dining area, a waitress appeared. Without being asked, she changed the channel on the overhead TV from The Price is Right (which actually was quite mesmerizing for the kids) to Nickelodeon. She brought over a stack of kids books, activities, and crayons. Within minutes, there were french fries and glasses of milk… with straws! Moments later, another waitress appeared and presented some leftover Halloween candy to my kids. What?! Crayons, fries, straws, candy, and an episode of something apparently called Umizoomi… Bear and Bean were absolutely paralyzed by the multitude of amazing options at their disposal. To take part in even just one of these activities on a typical day would be beyond fantastic. And now, it had all materialized before them at once, just moments after frostbite had begun to set in while waiting for the 23. Sweet glorious day!

Not surprisingly, the kids mostly just stuck with the TV show, diverting their attention at brief occasional moments to nibble some candy. The Umizoomi effect was quite strong. Nothing could break the spell. At one point, a loud out-of-town drunk fellow began cursing at the barmaids about how awful they were for not giving him any money and how much better Milwaukee is than Minneapolis (which, BTW, really?!). Bear and Bean didn’t give that S.O.B. so much as a sideways glance.

However, as Umizoomi transitioned to Sponge Bob, I realized it was time to make our way out to catch the 11:08. Thankfully, the promise of a bus ride was enough to entice the children out of their newfound wonderland. Well done, Cardinal Bar. Well done.

Posted in Out and About | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sing a Song of Six Pants

Six pairs of Bear's pants. I have to assume that this is what she is picturing when she listens to the nursery rhyme.

Here’s a recent conversation in our house in reference to a popular nursery rhyme:

Bear: Dad, why do they sing a song about six pants?

Dad: Well, actually sweetie, they’re saying sixpence. Pence is a name for money that was used back in the old days.

Bear: (indignantly) No Dad! They’re saying six PANTS!

Dad: OK, well, yeah…

Rather than launch into a heated debate about the alleged appearance of archaic foreign currency in a children’s rhyme, I figured I could probably just let this one slide for now. Especially considering the subsequent content of this rhyme. I mean, if she starts asking me why or how four and 20 blackbirds get baked into a pie, I’m in real trouble. But then I started wondering just what the deal is with this rhyme. Surely, it’s all just fantasy, right?

Wrong. My curiosity got the best of me, and after consulting Wikipedia I uncovered a bit of disturbing information. “It is known that a 16th century amusement was to place live birds in a pie” in such a way that the birds might “flie out when it is cut up.” Apparently cookbooks from this time period even described the procedures for making this happen. It’s reading stuff like this that makes me extra happy to be living in the 21st century. This is the scene I’m picturing:

16th Century Man #1: ‘Twas a jolly good fox hunt, eh, my good man?

16th Century Man #2: ‘Twas indeed! However, upon completing this spot of tea, I haven’t the slightest notion of what we shall do to occupy our time henceforth.

16CM#1: Ah yes. A conundrum indeed. Perhaps we could, and hear me out on this, procure some fowl and then insert them into a baked good of sorts.

16CM#2: Aha… interesting. And it is your estimation that the birds would then fly out of the baked good at the moment it is sliced into pieces for serving?

16CM#1: Precisely!

16CM#2: Why, I think it’s a splendid idea! We could utilize a pie of sorts. I’ll wager we could fit four and possibly 20 more blackbirds into such a dessert!

16CM#1: Marvelous! To the shed for the bird traps, my good fellow!

I suppose I shouldn’t be so quick to make fun. Just you wait. Somebody living in the 26th century will be ridiculing me for blogging in my spare time.

Posted in General Observations, Indoors | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments