Category: Uncategorized

Games For Grown Ups

We’ve talked about the little games that kids play with their parents. If you haven’t read my previous post, feel free to bring yourself up to speed. The rest of us who actually DID the assigned reading will wait. Slacker.

Anyways, now it’s time to discuss the games parents get to play. We don’t do it out of spite and we don’t do it to be mean. We do it because it’s our stork-given right as mediocre parents to balance the scales of sweet justice every now and then.

  • Hide and Seek for Grown-Ups

    • This one’s pretty easy. Tell your kids you want to play hide and seek. Then, to their delight, volunteer to be “it” first. Put your hands over your face and start counting. You won’t see the flashes of light that are your kids leaving the room to go hide. But you will hear the distinct mixture of sonic booms and giggles. Once the coast is clear, sit on the couch and read a book or watch some TV. I’ve personally made it through an entire episode of my favorite show before the first contestant returned to “base” and asked me why I didn’t find them. To which I replied, “because you’re that good, sweetie. You’re just that good.” Bonus points if, after what seems like too long, you actually do search for your kids and find at least one of them has fallen asleep in their hiding spot.

  • 21 Questions

    • This is a team event. When your kids ask you for something, send them to the other parent to ask. Then the other parent sends them back. Simple enough, right? Well when you get to gold-medal status, you’ll be able to make your kid completely forget what they were originally asking for by subtly introducing small words and phrases in the form of a message you want them to deliver to the other parental figure. Gradually build on the foundation you’ve started until your kid is doing nothing more than acting as an intermediary between you and your spouse. They will eventually be passing messages and returning replies before they realize what’s going on. It’s how my wife and I usually decide dinner.

  • Scavenger Hunt

    • This one’s risky in that, if you get caught, it’s probably going to cost you some actual money. I’ll preface this by saying that when I was a kid, Easter and Halloween were still in the minor-league stages. The oddities my siblings and I would get in our Easter and Halloween baskets were often not edible according to the discerning palate of candy-eating children. So it was a surprise when, upon returning home from my daughter’s first outing in her Princess Elsa Halloween costume, I discovered at least one full-size candy bar and enough snack size name-brand candy to make Wilford Brimley cock a judgmental eyebrow, rest his soul. Everybody knows you should limit the sugar intake of a child, especially in the early stages of their development. What everybody ALSO knows but nobody ever talks about is that the most effective way to limit your kid’s candy consumption is to remove the source of sugar entirely. Throwing it in the trash is too risky. They might see it and flip out. And, to be honest, that’s just rude to the people who bought it. So, after you put your kids to bed, you should do what any responsible, sensible parent would do– stuff your gullet with as much of that kid-corrupting sweetness as you can. It’s for their safety, really. Now, don’t get out of control. If you eat all of it, your kid WILL suspect you. And as I mentioned earlier, if you’re discovered, there will be some buying of expensive toys and replacing of candy to build back that trust.  So when your kid requests a piece of candy from the previous night’s haul bring them their basket and present it to them so that they may choose a piece of candy. You should probably hold onto the basket while they pick out the candy because they are inexplicably good at memorizing the weight of Halloween and Easter baskets at such a young age. If the kid starts to eyeball their basket a little too hard, or if they’re searching for a particular piece of candy that they remember from the night before, the jig may be up. If they ask what happened to their Family-Size Tropical Skittles, feign bewilderment and suggest that you both search the area together. If they don’t buy it and you get cornered, you might have to fight your way out. Remember– they can smell fear.

Obviously I’m joking about…most of this. There is no place that I yearn to go to as bad as I want to be at home with my family. What I love about my house and the creatures that occupy it is that every day is new. The daily interactions and accompanying emotions are the kinds of things that define what it means to truly be alive. Yes, parenthood means worrying about all of the dark and negative facets of the world that your child may interact with. But, more than that, it’s about living a rich, complex life with the ones that mean the most to you. It’s showing them the joys of human interaction and self-discovery. Who says parenthood has to be boring?

Girls and Boys

I live in a house populated entirely by females. I co-habitate with a wife, four daughters, a female dog, a female rabbit, and six fish that I’m pretty certain are females (because they always look angry to see me). It’s not the worst thing in the world, though. I’m sure having a house full of girls is exponentially better than having a house full of boys. With girls, there is a major reduction in the chances of them peeing on the bathroom floor, tracking mud and/or reptiles into the house, and actual hand-to-hand combat between siblings. The only reason I know all of this about boys is– brace yourselves– I was one. And I had a brother. So, believe me. I am keenly aware of the trouble I’m avoiding by having only girls. 

But there are definitely some things that are unique to most boys that our girls can’t deal with. Being the manly man that I am, I once went fishing for dinner. Because I consider myself the “provider” of the house, I set out with the goal of giving my family a feast of fresh catfish. After a full day of battling the sun, the mosquitoes, and other fishermen trying to encroach on “my spot”, I had caught enough for a small appetizer. Or a nice fish stick lunch. So, after I brought home McDonald’s for everybody, I still had 2 mediocre-sized catfish to clean. I set to the task in the kitchen sink, which my wife expressed her enthusiasm for with a hearty “are you f*cking kidding me?” My oldest, ever the supporter of her dear old dad, came into the kitchen to find out what I was in trouble for this time. She wasn’t yet tall enough to see over the counter top, so she asked what I was doing. I told her I was cleaning the fish I had caught. She then asked me why I was giving the fish a bath, and I realized that she had no idea what the hell I was talking about. Because she was 3. So I explained to her that I was removing the meat that we were going to eat from the rest of the fish. So she asked me if she could watch me. I explained to her that it was “yucky” and she probably didn’t want to see it. Then, she put her arms up in the air signaling that I was required, by law, to pick her up and show her what I was doing. So I did. 

Have you ever tried to give a cat a bath? That moment they sense their impending doom and turn into a motorized death machine whose only objective is to get the hell away from you? That’s kind of how my 3-year-old reacted to seeing a gutted fish. I can’t help but imagine that a boy of the same age would have been ’bout it ’bout it when it came to getting a handful of fish guts. I know I was at that age. Now, I’m not implicitly saying this is a girl/boy issue. It may very well be a 3-year-old seeing a gutted fish for the first time issue. It was likely a traumatic experience, and understandably so. Not that it affected her appetite for catfish. On meal-catching expeditions where I am more successful, I can definitely say the #1 importer of the fish I catch is the mouth of our oldest. The child eats fish like she’s a bear getting ready for winter. 

Then again, there’s definitely some traits specific to girls that I wouldn’t trade for all the mini-fishing buddies in the world. For example, our third child, Lucy, is one of the sweetest kids I’ve ever met. In the time it has taken me to write this article, she has busted into the room approximately six times demanding hugs and kisses. She kicks the door in, runs up to the desk, and says, “Daddy, I want to hold you!” I imagine if it were a boy he would kick the door open, run up to the desk, and show me the booger he just got out of his nose or the large, angry frog he just found outside. Some of you that are parents of boys can probably confirm my assumptions with tales of your own experiences. 

Nevertheless, like I said earlier, this may not be a specific boy vs. girl thing. I’m operating with a major bias, in that I only have girls to base my theories on. Oh, and my own experience and fond memories of torturing my mom when my brother and I were younger. 

Bath Time

Listen, I love my kids. But they’re gross. My kids could get dirty in a sterile operating room. I don’t understand it. At any given point they’re either sticky, dirty, smelly, or a combination of all three. So, like most good parents, we try to bathe them at least semi-regularly. Here’s a breakdown of the process.

The first thing you want to do is announce in a calm but firm voice that it’s bath time. You should try to do this in a room with the least amount of exits possible. The fewer ways these stinky crumb gremlins can escape, the better. You should also “prep” the room by removing any sharp objects and covering any reflective surfaces as your dirt-covered noisemakers may startle easily. Having your spouse stand just outside the room with a butterfly net and/or candy is effective as a secondary means of containment if and when your crumb snatchers panic. I have four kids. Rounding them up can be a challenge sometimes. Luckily our middle two haven’t quite developed their hand-eye coordination and frequently faceplant during their attempted flight from deodorization. Our youngest is still in the squishy paperweight phase, so she gets bathed in the kitchen sink. Our oldest has a mean head-fake and often gets past her less-than-agile dad but is usually scooped up in secondary containment by her mother.

Once you have them all in the bathroom, it’s time to draw the bathwater. I’ve had people suggest doing this beforehand. The problem with that is A) when the dirt goblins hear the tub filling up they run and B) if they do escape, by the time they’re caught the bath water is usually too cold and has to be re-drawn. No, it’s better to wait until you have them cornered in the bathroom. When they hear the tub filling up, they usually accept their fate and prepare for the inevitable.

Unless they don’t. Open rebellion is also a possibility. My 2-year-old is usually the leader of the resistance. Her most-employed tactic is to crap in the bathtub. Once this happens, I have to get them all out of the tub, empty the water, disinfect everything, refill the tub, and drain it again to remove cleaning agent residue. All the while my wife is hosing the girls down in our stand-up shower with the handheld shower head.

If by some miracle our 2-year-old doesn’t crap in the tub, it’s time for the actual cleaning portion of the process. Now, some people will take the hands-on approach of getting a washcloth or one of those poofy things and scrubbing their kids down. Ha! Amateurs. I’ve found a much more effective method– a bubble bath. I’m not talking about Mr. Bubble and his bubblegum-scented bullshit. That stuff is nowhere near strong enough to handle the funk film that my kids carry around. You need something much stronger. Cue the Dawn dish detergent. They use this stuff to clean animals affected by industrial disasters and catastrophic oil spills. Sounds like the right stuff.

The most effective method is to take a about a tablespoon of Dawn and add it to the bathwater. Then, grab a bath toy and offer it to one of your kids. The other kids will ask you to let them have it instead. Then, drop the toy in the middle of them and watch the child-powered agitating action that comes from three kids fighting over a toy. You should have some extra towels on hand for the inevitable splashing of the walls, ceiling, and floor that will occur. Rain gear is also recommended but not required.

After a brief but messy struggle, a victor should emerge. Your kids should now be squeaky clean with no hand-scrubbing required. It’s best to get them out of the tub one at a time, as they will try to get past you and run through the house naked, trailing as much water as possible along their route. Much like when you were trying to round them up for the bath, you should have a secondary means of containment with a towel ready to capture and dry off any now-slippery scream demons.

The goal is to get them in and out of the bathtub before they realize what has happened. Upon donning clean pajamas, their first instinct will be to run outside and play in the first dirt pile they can find. They can’t help it. It’s just in their nature to get dirty again as soon as possible. This behavior is especially prevalent after you’ve gotten them dressed for a formal function. This can be avoided by distracting them with dessert or popcorn and a Disney movie.

Finally, enjoy the next approximately twenty minutes that they remain clean and odor-free. Because, let’s face it, they’re probably going to find a way to get dirty again before bed.

P.S.- We don’t actually use Dawn dish detergent on our kids. That would be cruel. We’ve found that GOJO works better and leaves them with a refreshing citrus smell. 

Fight Me, You Winged Bitch

**This is a repost of a story from by personal Facebook page before I began this blog. If this is your first time reading it, enjoy. If you’ve read it before…enjoy again?? Thanks. 

It’s important to be humbled once in a while. For example, I am a firefighter. I have walked into burning buildings, cut people from mangled cars, been burned, stabbed, limbs broken, etcetera, etcetera. Earlier tonight, I was lucky enough to display my manly awesomeness to the Three Fair Maidens of All Things Pink while I hunted for that most elusive of foes- the common housefly. This winged trickster had incurred the wrath of King Dadness of Estrogenville when he decided to fly mere inches from my face while I was serving up the culinary masterpiece of Sir Papa the John to the Three Glittery Duchesses. So I leapt into action, quickly retrieving my “As Seen on TV” Bug Zapping Tennis Racket from its resting place above the refrigerator. I crept through the kitchen, deftly darting from sink to oven to coffee maker, the Three Crowned Damsels of Eternal Stickiness looking on in stunned silence as I played a game of cat and mouse…..but with a fly….and a human…Kaylee is actually allergic to cats so that’s a terrible analogy.

Anyways, my oldest offspring suddenly spoke up and asked “Daddy what are you going to do if you see a spider?” To which I replied (and I’m just paraphrasing here) “Fear not, mylady, for I shall be stealthy enough to vanquish any eight-legged demons I encounter while I hunt for this winged saboteur.” Or something to that effect. My middle minion then spoke up and said “Daddy how are you going to sneak up on the spiders? Whenever you see one you scream like I do.”

It’s hard to continue hunting flies when your pride takes a left-hook to the face. Stay humble, friends

Plans

Today is one of those rarest of days. The kind of day that doesn’t come often but, when it does, it’s celebrated. The kind of day that is often talked about but rarely seen….

A day off.

And I’m not just talking about a day off from work. Because even when I’m off work there’s plenty of stuff that needs to be done at the house. No, this is a day off work, with nothing to do, and nobody to see. Okay I take that back. My mom stopped by to drop off some authentic Coon-ass gumbo. Mmmmmmmmmm……..gumbo……..

Where was I? Oh, right. Day off. Yes this is a day where we have nowhere to be and nothing to do. So the wife and I start to discuss options for the day’s fun activities. No cleaning to be done. No house repairs that urgently needed to be completed. Nothing that involved manual labor. We are going to take advantage of the day and treat the girls (who have been working their butts off trying to help with the new baby) to something fun. And we’re going to do it as a family. The first family outing with our newest recruit– the baby.

And then the eruption of Mount Saint Lucy happens.

In the middle of discussing the day’s activities, we are interrupted by the sight and sound of our 2-year-old, Lucy, projectile vomiting everywhere.

I guess I know what we’re doing today.

Amanda levitates from the recliner where she’s sitting to standing in front of the couch where Lucy is vomiting. It was pretty impressive, actually. I’ve never seen anybody move that fast. Especially with a baby in their hands. Oh, wait. It appears she put the baby down in the bouncer. Not sure when that happened, but okay.

As I make it over to Lucy to….offer support I guess…..the first thing that hits me is the smell. How in the pea-soup puking glittery shits does someone that small make a smell that bad? I dry heave mid-sentence. I start to say to my wife, “How can I help?” but all that comes out is “How can I Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.” Hey, at least I offered.

We play a little game that most, if not all, parents have played at least once with their kids. It’s called “Try To Get The Shirt Off The Angry, Puke-Covered Toddler Without Puking Yourself.” After four kids, my wife and I are gold-medal finalists. We point our toddler in a safe direction (away from the pets and family members) and bring her to the walk-in shower in our bathroom for a thorough decon and cleaning. We get her cleaned up and into some new pajamas. With the full expectation that we’ll have to repeat this whole process over again at some point today.

These are the things that we parents do for our kids. It would have been great to take the family out and do something fun. But every now and then a little bit of life happens. Plans are great. But you’ve got to learn to accept change. Because– especially when you have kids– your plans are going to change often.

I guess it’s a day of Disney movies and popcorn. Wish us luck.

Baby Buggy Bumpers

I know, I know. It’s been a few days since I’ve posted an article. But like our slogan says, a little bit of life happened. If you’ve been following along thus far, we recently had a new baby. It’s weird just how many baby-specific things you forget between the birth of each child– even after four of them. And it’s not just the obvious stuff like having to wake up a milk-drinking noise critter every three hours to eat. I’m talking about the little stuff. Like making sure there’s a new diaper under the baby before you try to take the poopy one off. Because I promise you– no matter how fast you think you can change a diaper or how many times you’ve done it, you will not be able to beat the poop clock in time to avoid green baby dookey all over your bed. And what’s more, that rude little poop-monster won’t even clean up after themselves.

Or, what about the fact that babies need to be burped after they eat and there is a 147% chance they will throw up on you at least a little bit. This is something our 7 year old recently found out when she offered to “help” by burping the baby. My wife had just finished breastfeeding and needed to go to the bathroom. Seconds after she sat on the toilet she hears from the living room, “oh no oh no oh God OH MY GOD EWWWW EWWWW OH MYYYYYYY GOOOOOOOOOOOOODDDDDDDDDDD”. My wife exited the bathroom to the sight of a content three-week old being held by a not-so-content 7 year old covered in baby puke. I don’t think she’s going to offer to help again for a while.

And since we’re talking about breastfeeding, here’s another fun fact. Did you know breastfeeding sometimes requires accessories and equipment? What in the disco-dancing jiggly balls? Is it not just boob to face? Not always, apparently. Even something as simple as breastfeeding can require what I’m pretty sure is just surplus oil pipeline equipment– flanges and hoses and regulators. For what’s supposed to just be boob to mouth, this stuff gets complicated.

You think that’s bad? Let’s talk about pumping. You see, after your newborn drinker-of-boob-juice is finished eating, your wife probably still has some milk left in those sweater kittens. So what are you supposed to do with all that milk? You pump it out and store it in the freezer. Holy sugar-covered panda farts. Have you seen this crap? My wife sits on the couch, all nonchalant-like, and unbuckles the hard case on The Boobie Suck-o-tron 3000. She hooks up the hoses, c-clamps, boob grabbers, flanges, and photon phasers. Then she puts these trumpet-looking jug suckers up to her nipples and flips the switch. Actually, I use to have to flip the switch because she has the same amount of hands as boobs. Then, she went to Boobs R’ Us and bought an over-the-shoulder-udder-holder so that she could go hands-free with her jiggly juice extraction. So now she has the Jugsucker 3000 running AND she’s able to accomplish other tasks like throw things at me or point at things she wants me to do.

How about bathing a newborn? Did you know there’s a specific process to remember when you’re washing a baby. You start with the face. Wipe inside to outside away from the eyes, nose, mouth. Then clean under the nine fat rolls under her chin. Assuming you don’t yet have to change the water due to her pooping in it, now comes the fun part– picking up a wet, slippery, screaming infant and attempting to wash their back. Imagine a pressed ham covered in soap has come to life and is now screaming and flailing around. And you’re expected not to drop it. They frown on that.

But, despite all of this, it feels awesome to have a baby in the house again. It’s great to see my wife and girls caring for and welcoming the new addition to our house. If things keep going the way they are, we might even keep her. 

Goats are the Best Form of Government

Maybe I haven’t explained how the Kingdom of Noisetopia works. You’re going to have to follow along carefully as I’m going to attempt to explain it as thoroughly as I can. In all honesty, after 10 years even I’m not entirely sure how it works, but we’ll give it a shot. Ready? Here goes….

I am the self-appointed “King” of Noisetopia. That would make us a Monarchy, I think. But, we also have the Queen and the four Princesses so that would make us…nevermind. Google says that’s also a Monarchy. However, we regularly refer to our daughters (especially Aimee) as “Drama Queens” so I think that constitutes some kind of nobility via appointment or something. And having multiple powerful rulers would make us an Oligarchy.

I like to think of myself as the last word in the house. What I say goes, I’m right, you’re wrong, eye of the tiger, blah blah blah. So that would make this a Dictatorship. However, I have recently come to suspect my wife only let’s me think I have the last word. Ultimately I just end up doing whatever she says anyways. So I guess that would make us a Puppet State. Then again, most of our decisions are based off the good of the people (daughters) so that would make us a Republic. But, those same people we are trying to help often express that they could do a better job without us so that would make us an Anarchy But these same tiny humans that seek to overthrow us also need our money for things like food and shelter, so that would make us Anarcho-Capitalist. So then the Queen and I reiterate that it’s our house and our rules so that would make us an Autocracy.

In actuality, the Queen and I usually have no idea what we’re doing and are still suprised that there wasn’t some kind of test to become a parent. Apparently, they’ll let just about anybody do that. And considering our distinct lack of qualifications, that would make this a Kakistocracy which translates to “government by the worst.”

Then again, I also live in a house with 5 other women, a girl dog, a girl rabbit, and fish that I’m like 90 % certain are also girls. So this would definitely be a Matriarchy.

As the girls grow up, they start to earn more responsibility (read: chores). This means that with demonstrated talents and abilities (i.e. Kaylee is tall so she gets switch out the laundry) they get appointed to certain positions within the government, such as Laundry Switcher Outer. That would mean we’re a Meritocracy.

While it may look like the Kingdom of Noisetopia is all-powerful and self-sufficient, we actually operate under the debt-riddled sponsorship of other corporate-run states such as The Kingdom of Walmart, The Entergy Nation, The United Mortgage Kingdom, and The Soveriegn Auto Finance States. This definitely makes us a Corporatocracy.

When the Princesses complain about not getting a new toy or not liking what we’re having for dinner, we like to remind them that if they don’t like it they can use their own money to pay for what they want. Until then, we (the Queen and I) have the money and we make the rules. So we’re a Plutocracy.

Ultimately, we’re trying to raise our kids not to be great kids, but to be great adults. There is a plan, however convoluted and disjointed, to have our children grow up to be productive, loving, loyal, and respectful members of this great Nation. So this could be a Futarchy (based on the idea of planning an outcome, then figuring out how to achieve it.)

Maybe we should just come up with a new term for what Noisetopia is. Something that says “we’re in this together, all of us.” Something that clearly defines all of those unclear characteristics and chaotic happenings that come with raising kids. Or we could just call it what it always has been. A family.

Side note: there is another term that describes a government that is completely run by goats. Yes, goats. The kind that eat grass and climb on things. It’s called a Capracracy. And, for some reason, I feel like that describes Noisetopia the best of all.

Unique Butterflies

Personalities. Everybody has one. Some people have more than one. But that’s a conversation better left to a psychologist. Or is it psychiatrist? I always get them mixed up. The doctors. I always get the doctors mixed up. Not my personalities. I don’t have multiple personalities. Wait, why is this suddenly about me? What the hell were we talking about?

Oh, right. Personalities. I have four daughters and it amazes me how different each of their personalities is. You would think that the same people doing “sexy time” would result in at least somewhat similar offspring. But “nay” I say. Let’s go on an adventure, shall we?

The wife and I were straight-up spoiled with our first child, Kaylee. She was so easy. She hardly cried. When she was hungry she would wake up and grunt at you. That’s about it. She slept more than a teenager on summer break. Her dirty diapers weren’t overly aromatic. And her general demeanor was more of a polite roommate rather than screaming, milk-hungry anger potato. About six months into our first child’s life, I thought to myself “this childcare thing is easy. What the hell does everyone keep complaining about?” And I’m pretty sure I may have verbally expressed this sentiment to at least some of our friends who were also parents. Now, I didn’t realize it at the time, but I know now that whenever I would brag about how easy our child was or how much she slept or how her dirty diapers didn’t smell like a hobo’s unwashed ass, our friends would silently pray to the god of child personalities for swiftly-metered justice upon us.

Well, friends– your prayers were answered. The best way I can explain our second child (Aimee) is this– someone decided to make a sticky gremlin with beautiful hair, an internal music system, and a nuclear reactor. Then, when it came time to install the speed limiter and volume controls, the guy on the assembly line showed up drunk, broke off the handle, shit on the floor and went home. For the first six months of her life our second child didn’t sleep more than half an hour. Her dirty diapers were quickly confiscated and classified for weapons research. And the volume at which she cried has been described by NASA as “an effective way to drown out all that pesky rocket engine noise.” Prior to having our second child, I cried twice during my life. Once when I dropped a case of beer and every bottle shattered and again when our first child was born. Then I was introduced to our second child and developed a totally-made-up condition called “Exhaustion Crying.” It’s a combination of mental breakdown, bleeding from the ears, and singed nose hairs. I would like to say that I, King of Noisetopia, being of sound mind and squishy body, do declare that I am sorry for bragging about how easy our first child was. Our second child showed me the light. And the noise. And the funk.

The anticipation with our third child, Lucy, was immense. I remember a conversation I had with my wife just after Lucy was delivered where we discussed which of the two previous girls’ personalities she would have.We were like two superstitious baseball players. We didn’t want to hope for anything too specific, because then it wouldn’t come true. However, internally, I was definitely hoping for Lucy to have more of the calm and gentle demeanor of Kaylee, rather than the Tazmanian She-Devil personality of Aimee. After a few months Lucy decided she was going to sample a little bit of each personality and just intermingle them as needed. That, she thought, would keep shit REAL entertaining. Lucy developed into a bit of an enigma, calling forth bits and pieces of her older sisters’ dispositions depending on what her given situation required. If she was getting in trouble, I would get the sweet, loving little girl who I could no longer comfortably scold because look at those big eyes she’s so cute and look how she’s pouting oh my god I’m such a mean father let’s go get some ice cream. Other times, she called upon her inner-Aimee rage strength to open a bag of chips we said she couldn’t have or knock one of her sisters over when they talk too much smack. Her personality is kind of like eating taco bell. Yeah, it’s awesome right now, but you’re probably not gonna be too happy with it later.

It’s hard to say what the new baby’s personality will be. She’s starting off a lot like Kaylee. She doesn’t cry that much and her diapers aren’t overbearing. She’s a week old now and she’s honestly been one of the easiest—- Oh crap. I’m bragging again. Please, no. I didn’t mean it.

Gigalator

Due to the associated costs of having three crumb-snatching noise gremlins occupying the second floor of our house, I decided to seek a return of investment in the form of entertainment.

Just before bedtime, all three of our freshly bathed–yet still somehow sticky–Princesses of Noisetopia were playing in their rooms. I yelled for them to come downstairs and listened as they apparently each grew 37 individual jackhammers for legs and started down the stairs. Seriously, how do children that small make sounds that loud with their legs? I am convinced that we have two rooms on opposite ends of the second floor. These rooms are only known to our children. The sole purpose of these rooms are for the transference of the 400 head of cattle that we apparently own from one of the rooms to the other room and back again. They only use these rooms when we’re not up there and only for as long as it takes to make us start yelling.

Anyways, the Three Hairdos of Noiseville are now standing stone-faced in front of me, the look of big-haired bewilderment on each of their faces as they await the reason for my interrupting the Great Barbie Fashion Show of 2016 that was taking place in their rooms.

Let me preface what I’m about to type by stating that we love our daughters. They are seriously the best thing that has ever happened in our lives. One of the reasons we love them is for their unwavering uniqueness. Our oldest daughter, Kaylee, is the logical problem solver. She relies on supplied facts to form predictable outcomes. She likes structure and reason. Our middle, Aimee, is a freaking hippie. She is a party looking for a place to happen. That child could have a good time at the dentist’s office. Then there’s our  youngest– Lucy. Little Lucy is a squishy-faced bundle of giggles who– for reasons I still can’t comprehend– always smells like maple syrup. She seems to have personality traits of both of her older sisters and can employ them to best affect her current mood and situation.

Now, keep all of this in mind when you follow along with the rest of the story. If there’s one principle I’ve tried to instill in our girls’ heads, it’s that hard work and dedication will probably be overshadowed by procrastination and blind luck. Of course I’m just kidding. However, we do believe in the basic principle of hard work equals reward. So I propose to The Fair-Haired Maidens of the Second Floor that whoever can complete the quest for the object I seek will be handsomely rewarded for their tireless efforts.

So I send them on a mission to find….wait for it….a Gigalator. For those of you that are unfamiliar with what a Gigalator (pronounced GIG-UH-LATER) is, it is the name of the freaking object that you freaking need but can’t freaking remember the freaking name of the freaking object but it’s right on the tip of your freaking tongue. Gigalator is not a word that my girls have heard and I observe (very briefly) the confusion on each of their faces before they each begin to attempt to honor my request in their own style.

Aimee has disappeared. Or teleported. I can’t be sure. Her competitive streak is so great that before I can finish my request she has used her hippie/hair powers to move faster than any small child should be able to move in order to get upstairs to begin the search for the elusive Gigalator. Kaylee, however, remains in front of me, her head tilted at a slight angle. I can tell from the expression on her face that she’s forming follow-up questions. She starts with a question we often ask her when she can’t find her shoes– where’s the last place you saw it? As I begin to answer, Kaylee is suddenly shoulder-checked, hockey-style, by a now-returning Aimee. Aimee throws a Dr. Seuss book in my lap and proclaims herself the righteous victor, dancing and twirling in her success to a song heard only by her. Kaylee collects herself off the floor as I break the celebration-ending news to Aimee that the book is not what I’m looking for.

And, like a flash from a camera, the physical form that was Aimee is gone in an instant. I’m now certain that Aimee was almost completely back upstairs before her hair caught up with her.

Now my attention is focused back on Kaylee. She begins to scan the living room, looking for anything that could possibly be described using the word Gigalator. She still hasn’t moved from in front of my chair. It seems she’s waiting for me to take pity on her and provide her with a hint. However she does slightly angle her body in anticipation of the returning whirlwind that is her younger sister.

Speaking of younger sisters, my attention turns to Lucy. In the confusion, Lucy has abandoned the quest altogether and sits near the fireplace having an animated conversation on a Dora the Explorer cell phone. Apparently she had more important business to attend to than menial searches for fictional objects.

I can see the desperation on Kaylee’s face. I’m about to speak when I catch movement out of the corner of my eye. Aimee has returned with her next submission. She is approaching my chair at approximately three times the speed of light, and I’m almost certain she’s going to completely blow past me and her sisters, continue through the wall, into the neighbors yard, and then eventually stop somewhere in California. But then, with nothing in her way or near her, she faceplants. She tripped over air. It’s not the first time it has happened. It’s just science. When your feet are moving that fast they can actually break the space-time continuum, and your feet from the future get tangled with your feet from the present and you faceplant.

Aimee picks herself up, checks herself for any obvious injuries, and continues to my chair to submit her next candidate for Gigalator. She hands me three pennies and a plastic fish. My brain begins to attempt to comprehend the logic of the 4-year-old in front of it but then decides to sit in the corner and rock back and forth.

After I collect my thoughts, I decide to give the girls a hint. I tell them the Gigalator is the thing with the green and blue on it. I know. I’m a genius. At this point they both turn their attention to the toy box in the living room, each of them equally certain they now know what I’m talking about (I don’t….it’s a made-up object). Kaylee continues to the toy box, but Aimee abruptly makes a 90-degree turn, activates her afterburners, and returns to the second floor, the back blast from her jets knocking the phone from Lucy’s hand.

Kaylee digs through the toy box for a moment then, in a scene reminiscent of Indiana Jones, holds a toy high above her head, the light from the window behind her transforming her and the toy into an ominous silhouette. She brings the toy to me and I’ll be damned if it isn’t something that I would call a Gigalator. It’s some kind of green and blue octopus with suction-cup feet and a gaping maw for a mouth that apparently shoots out bubbles. As I am about to award Kaylee with the victory, I hear a sonic boom descend the stairway. Aimee turns the corner at the bottom of the stairs and I can see the maniacal look of satisfaction that can only be felt by someone who is certain of an undisputed victory.

Aimee presents her third and final candidate for the Gigalator. It’s a sock. I can’t be sure if it’s a right sock or left sock but that doesn’t matter at this point. It’s a white sock. And Aimee, in her hippie logic, has applied green and blue marker to it in order to satisfy the requirements of the competition.

I sit, contemplating the objects in my lap, the multi-colored sock on one side and the octopus on the other. The expression on the face of the octopus now seems to be mocking me as if to remind me that I did, indeed, bring this upon myself. Two little girls stand before me, patiently waiting for the announcement of a victor.

I declare the competition a draw, reward all parties with a bowl of ice cream, and quietly dispose of the rainbow sock….

….and the judgmental octopus.

Dreams

I recently had a very tense standoff with an angry 4-year-old regarding what she considered to be an important life event. The wife was working that morning and I was in full Daddy Daycare mode, which meant that my main mission for the day was to make sure my kids didn’t die and, if they were lucky, to make them at least one meal. Well lucky for them I was ready to cook the shit out of some cereal and/or pop tarts to make sure my babies started their day with a meal of questionable nutritional value. 

We sat and ate our Cuisine Dé Noisetopia and talked about what to do that day since we were without adult supervision (my wife). I looked over at my middle child and noticed her thousand-yard stare. This usually indicates that she’s either trying to form a question in the sweetest way possible in order to ensure I give her the answer she seeks, or she’s plotting ways to make one of her sisters’ impending injuries look accidental. Lucky for her sisters, the look on her face quickly translated into a verbal request for the day’s activities.

Prepare yourselves. This is a direct quote from my child. She said she wanted to go to “the rainbow fun slide place with the magic frog place when we got sonic and I guess we killed it because it was a cheetah……”

Go ahead. I’ll wait for you to process that.

Welcome back. Now, my memory isn’t what it use to be, but I’m like 94 percent certain that that string of events has not yet occurred. At least not while the kids were under my semi-watchful eye. I’m guessing I took too long to answer because my middle daughter let out an impatient sigh, letting me know that she was STILL waiting for a response. So, I told her that I wasn’t quite sure what she was talking about. You would’ve thought I told her she had more boogers than usual on her face. She threw her hand face-up on the table and stared at me with an open mouth and raised eyebrow, as if to say “how can you not remember this magical event?”

So she restated her request, this time more aggressively and in a manner that, honestly, made me think that I was about to go fisticuffs with a four-year-old. And I’m not entirely confident that I could have won. When I met her repeated request with a similarly-repeated blank stare, she offered some clarifying information. She let me know that the place she was talking about was in her dream.

I must be some kind of monumental dumbass. How could I, a Certified Professional Child-Taker-Carer, not have realized that the place she was talking about was an entirely fictional product of her imagination that I had never actually heard about or seen? I should be ashamed of myself.

It’s funny how kids can so vividly intertwine their dreams into reality. I think it’s something that we lose as we grow up, which makes me hate growing up even more. Then again, it might be both a blessing and a curse to be able to rip your dreams from the confines of your own mind and bring them forth to active consciousness. And that’s something I can explain with another story about a kid having a dream.

Our friends have children that are just about the same age as ours. Their 5-year-old woke up recently to find that she had an accident during the night. Our friends were mildly concerned because this particular child had a very easy time potty training and there had been no accidents since switching from her Disney Princess Pull-Ups to her “big girl panties”. On occasion, our friends had even noted the sound of their daughter’s bedroom and bathroom doors opening consecutively in the middle of the night when she felt the urge to go. So, good mom that she is, our friend asked her daughter why she thought she had an accident. To which she replied “I had a dream that I peed in the bed and when I woke up, there was pee in my bed.” That’s it. It was that simple. Dream translated to reality.

This recent turn of events led to my own dream-versus-reality event. A few nights ago, I had a very complex dream where I was kidnapped by an upstart sideshow and forced to fight bears. Not one bear. Bears. Plural. And MAN could these bears fight. Wave after wave of these furry bitches charged me. Halfway through the battle a team of pandas tried to flank me. I squared up with both of them and did the “come here” hand gesture– you know, the one that Morpheus does when he’s fighting Keanu Reeves in The Matrix. Well, while these crafty bastards had my attention, OUT OF FREAKING NOWHERE, a big ass polar bear puts me in a headlock from behind. Completely helpless, the Panda Brothers began pummeling me relentlessly. And the whole time all I can hear is their vicious growling and snarling and snorting. Just as the walls closed in, the larger of the Panda Duo got in a solid shot to my ribs, which jolted me awake. At two-thirty in the morning my eyes opened, and I could feel my wife staring at me. I could also feel the anger rays that she was directing my way. I started to tell her about my crazy-ass dream when she interrupted me with “do you have any freaking idea how loud you were snoring?” To which I informed her that I did not, in fact, know how loud I was snoring because I was too busy fighting bears.  To which she informed me that she had yelled at me several times trying to wake me up when– her attempts unsuccessful– she elbowed me in the ribs. Upon gaining this new information, I realized that the snarling of the bears was a combination of both my snoring and my wife yelling, and the final vicious blow by Panda Brother Alpha was, in fact, a cleanly placed People’s Elbow to my rib cage by my loving wife.

I’m almost certain there’s some bullshit inspirational message in there somewhere, but it escapes me at the moment. So, for now, I’ll leave you with this– “If you want your dreams to become reality, the first thing you have to do is wake up.”

%d bloggers like this: