Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Boy and His Frog

Liam has a pretty serious toy collection.  Things like an electric Thomas & Friends railroad track, a water and sand table, a homosexual singing hippo, and enough blocks to build a room that would rent for $1800 a month in S.F.  But for some reason he has only two toys that he can't live without.  And by 'can't live without' I mean I think he literally might stop breathing if they were ever lost or stolen.  He must be carrying one at all times but usually prefers to be carrying both.  And by 'at all times' I mean when I change his shirt he'll switch which hand is holding the toy so I can do each sleeve in turn.  He's a little compulsive.

The good news is I don't ever have to worry about them being lost or stolen.  The former because he seems to be aware of their exact location at all times even when that location is not one of his hands, and the latter because no one would steal these toys.  They kind of suck.

The first is 'boy'.  Boy is a decidedly creepy androgynous little German doll thing that was modeled after the Bavarian version of the Italian 'Castrato'.  He has that feature where if you lay him down he closes his eyes which is kind of sweet in baby dolls because it's like they're sleeping, but with his little 18th century Lederhosen it's likely this feature was added to simulate his need to feign unconsciousness while getting beat up by the Hitler Youth. Boy's interests include, sticking his foot in cats' butts, cereal bowl caddying, and taking baths.  Baths in the bathtub sure, but also in unattended glasses of wine and cups of coffee.  Boy is easily Liam's most prized of the two which sadly is making it very difficult to stage his untimely fall into the garbage disposal.

The other toy is a multi-colored bean bag frog named 'fuck'.  No joke.  We've worked with Liam on this, "hey are you playing with frrrooooogg?".  "Fuck!" he confirms.  Fuck is from the Caribbean and enjoys being saturated in no fewer than four kinds of beverages, condiments, or sandwich spreads at all times.  His bright mottled exterior makes it possible to conceal ketchup, peanut butter, mud, jam, mayo, juice, and even melted cheese, all of which can then be enjoyed at a much later date.  Fuck plays second fiddle to boy except around meal times.

Now there is something very special about these toys that makes his obsession interesting.  The one thing they share in common is that they both belonged to Liam's great-grandmother who passed away just last Christmas.  He doesn't know this.  We've never bothered to mention it, simply because we didn't really think he would understand, and we don't think he associates the toys with his great-grandmother because they weren't in any way a focus for him on the few occasions that he visited her.  We brought them home after she died just as a small token of remembrance and he was smitten right away.  I don't know what this could suggest and I'm not making any claims with regard to spirituality or the afterlife, it could be just that they're odd, or maybe they carry a scent, who knows.  I just think it's interesting.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Brother Series: David

My second-oldest brother David was just kind of strange growing up. Always. I don't remember really ever hanging out with him. I mean, I'm not sure we ever even had a conversation, even in that awkward, half-mumbled sibling way. Once my brothers convinced me to drink some baking vanilla based on the smell, and then laughed uproariously at my gagging reaction, and I'm pretty sure he was behind that scheme. That's my clearest memory of him.

Because another brother was already using me as his whipping post, I needed someone to take my anger out on, and somehow David fit the bill. I used to mock him for repeating funny punchlines of commercials. It drove me crazy as he laughed, mouth full of popcorn or saltine crackers, shaking his head, slapping his knee, saying "oh man..." followed by whatever he'd found so hilarious.

I'd snap "Um, we just HEARD that, you don't have to REPEAT it!" then roll my eyes, kick out my hip and huff as if he'd just dumped a can of tomato paste down my favorite peach-colored pastel sweater.

Since moving to California over 14 years ago, I've taken the time to dust off the bones that my family kept stored in closets during my childhood. When preparing for a particularly strained visit home, I had to call David to arrange a family barbeque. Gone were the days when I'd visit each family individually, and David had offered to host a cookout in honor of my visit. We got to talking. We talked for over an hour. I felt like I was getting to know a stranger for the first time, yet we had a shared history, and he offered to tell me everything he knew about anything I wanted answers to. "You can ask me once," he said. "And I'll tell you once. After that, no more."

I had a great time at his home. My son got to play with goats and dogs, I got to see my growing nieces and nephews, and I was distracted enough to avoid the people I didn't feel like making more than minimal small talk with.

After everyone else had left, David and I sat in his wood-paneled dining room, and I knew the time had come to ask my questions. But I didn't. Instead we talked about education, ours (very poor) and those of our children (much better, but still what you make of it). We talked about California versus Michigan ("you couldn't pay me to visit California! You get mugged just walking down the street, no thank you!"). Before I knew it my husband and David's wife were coming back into the house after having given us some time alone, and I was just as in the dark about the past as I'd been when I arrived. I'd missed my chance. But I realized I was afraid of whatever it was he'd have told me. I'd harbored enough loss and disappointment in my family already, and something told me only more would come if I'd ventured further down that path. I chose to be thankful for this unexpected rediscovery of a brother, and to leave it at that.

I've talked to David more in the past 5 years than any other time in our lives, and that's only been for about a total of 6 hours. I like him well enough. He's a nice guy, he means well. Something tells me he won't be visiting me in California any time soon, though. And that's probably for the best - I'd feel terribly guilty when he got mugged...walking down the streets of Wine Country.

Monday, February 27, 2012


It's Monday, which means I'm all by myself with the boys.  It's everybody's favorite day of the week here at the Bairdsmith household but today, just to spice things up, I'm going to see if I can look after a toddler and a newborn without turning my head or raising my left arm past my waist.

I should probably back up.

So last night was our weekly trip to Trader Joe's which is always a blast.  We did our usual divide and conquer thing where we each get a cart and a boy.  Erin got the easy one and I got the fun one.  Erin had quite the list last night but when I asked her to tear it in two and give me half I was told "no, it doesn't work that way".  I didn't ask her what she meant by that because I was happy to oblige.  For Liam and I it meant that we got told what four items to get and then we tore around the place with lots of vroooming and screeeching until we got back to Erin for another four items.  Awesome.

After about an hour of this we had two full carts and two boys that stood zero chance of waiting quietly in a grocery store line and therefore had to be set loose.  Now Liam is a boy of many gifts, not least of which is his knack for seeking out and messing with that which he should not.  I kept pace with him, holding Finn in one arm while gently coaxing Liam away from precarious candy displays and infused olive oils, but it wasn't long before he got a hold of the bell.  The exact purpose of the bell is a mystery but from what I can tell when you ring it a grumpy manager shows up and asks all the cashiers the enigmatic question "one bell?", then she gets annoyed at me for having a child who rang a bell that looks exactly like it was put there for him to ring, and then makes a dramatic exit back behind her partition which was awkward because I'm tall and could still see her over it which ruined the effect.  Liam thought this was a great trick but I apologized to the cashiers and promised to herd my kid away from it when really I was thinking, "Who the fuck mounts an awesome bell right at toddler level?  Let me guess, the same person who thought it was a great idea to dress up the wine display in the entry way by tying big shiny balloons to the necks of bottles, also at toddler level?  How about I just give you four bucks so he can break another one?"

It was time to get out of there.  Unfortunately my wife wasn't quite finished so I took the boys out of the frying pan and into the fire by heading out into the busy poorly-lit parking lot.  It was immediately clear I was going to have to scoop both boys up and head straight for safety.  Rather than just grab them both in a fireman's carry though I thought it would be a really good idea to try and perform some sort of impromptu circus act with the boys as I made my way to the car.  Mainly I did this so that all the moms that were looking our way would see me and think to themselves "Oh my, that daddy is literally juggling his two boys!  He must be a really great father and so strong (swoon)".  This is how my brain works.  Luckily we made it to the car before I heard a noise coming from my spine that sounded like flesh tearing while at the same moment someone slashed a flaming sword across my back from my head to my knees.  The only mom that was watching me then was Erin who fortunately has cat-like reflexes and anticipated where my shenanigans were heading.

I spent the rest of last night lying on the couch with an ice pack while the boys played hop on pop.  I didn't sleep much and made a point of moaning every time I moved so Erin would know I wasn't sleeping.  Luckily this morning Liam had his 'Roots and Shoots' preschool program so I could drop him off and head on over to my man Dr. Jake.  Dr. Jake is a total bad ass chiropractor.  He welcomes walk-ins, has an office that's pretty close to a High Tech Burrito which is great, and when it comes to paying he's very "don't worry about it, if your insurance doesn't cover it we'll let you know".  When he asked me what happened I told him "I was in the Trader Joe's parking lot holding Finn in my left arm like a football down low around my waist while at the same time, with my other hand up over my head, holding Liam upside down by his leg while kind of swinging him in the air and giving him raspberries on his back".  I don't know why I was including so much detail.  I guess I was hoping he'd say "oh sure the Trader Joe's baby football/upside down toddler raspberry maneuver.  You're our third one today!  Lie down, I know exactly what to do".  He ended up just doing his usual thing where he makes me hug myself and then he sits on top of me.  Now I feel better.  If you want to check him out here's the link but I should warn you he has an identical twin brother in town.  I learned this one night when I saw the brother out at a bar and extended to him the kind of candid familiarity one does with a person who makes you hug yourself while he sits on top of you.  It was kind of awkward but the guy could have been a little more merciful and recognized that he has a celebrity doctor twin brother in town and acknowledged that he had been mistaken for that brother rather than let me go on as long as I did.  I guess it's not easy having a celebrity doctor twin brother.

We're back home now and while I do feel quite a bit better, I know there's no chance I can deliver on the kind of Monday these boys are used to.  But so far it's not so bad.  Liam has spent an hour on the bathroom counter drinking from a sand shovel.  It's the kind of thing I'd normally prevent him from doing when I'm physically able but I guess it's good to indulge sometimes.  I think that, since it's my night to cook, later I'll teach them the fine art of  self-medicating and "calling out for pizza".

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Fixer Upper

 Lately my kid-free evenings after work have been spent wielding nail guns and getting my converse stuck in tile glue and then tracking it around my boyfriend's new house. By 'new' I mean the house he will be renting as opposed to the house he is renting.

I'm quickly learning that Paulie is one of those handy people that fixes things and makes them prettier, even in rentals. Not just little stuff like laying down shelf paper and putting a potted plant on the front porch, but impressive things like painting the insides of the cupboards and drawers, and laying down new linoleum. I've always been a "meh, it's just a rental...why bother putting money into it?" kind of a person, so watching and participating in all of the work going into this place was a bit befuddling to me. But also really fun, because I loves me some power tools.

When he first took me over to the new place, I looked and smelled from a simple observer's viewpoint and thought 'Oof, yikes, I'd never move in here,' because I can't walk into a place and immediately have a vision of how great it could be - I just see what it is. As neutral as I tried to keep my face, Paulie could tell that I was hesitant to love his new space, so he explained to me everything he had planned for it: rip up the carpets to expose the hardwood floors below; lay down new flooring in the kitchen; paint the whole place; put in a garden, etc. I told him that he didn't have to convince me, since I wasn't the one that would be living there, and I'm sure it would be lovely when all was said and done.

I kept my mouth shut about everything except for the Jack and Jill bathroom, and even then I only said "oh...hmm...." Okay, maybe I said something more like "oh my god, I hate these kinds of bathrooms!" As if I don't have enough bathroom issues, having a bedroom on either side of me while I'm trying to get past these issues is almost too much. Two doors for someone to walk in on me through? Aaaaaaaaaah!! Also there was no fan, and yes, I like a fan. White noise in a bathroom is my best friend.

Having anticipated my concern, Paulie immediately explained his solution to me. "I have this clock radio that plays different soothing sounds, so I'm going to wire it to the light and rest it on this high shelf up here, so when you walk in and turn on the light switch, rainforest sounds will come on! Waterfalls, tropical bird calls, all that stuff!" I appreciated his troubleshooting on my behalf and found his enthusiasm adorable. I tried but failed to stifle my laughter at the thought of being serenaded by a squawking parrot every time I had to pee. I can't wait for that to happen every time a new guest comes over.

He was right though - his place is looking fantastic. Gone is the smelly carpet, the ugly linoleum, the rat droppings in the drawers. I'm actually really looking forward to spending time there and seeing it come together even more. As long as I get to use more power tools throughout the process.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


So I just spent several hours this morning on the blog writing a post about Liam and his top five favorite films.  It was pretty funny.  I'd just gotten the pictures I'd wanted downloaded and arranged nicely so I saved it (even though it saves automatically every few seconds) and clicked 'publish', but then something funny happened.  It only published the title and nothing else.  "Hmm" I thought, "well that's silly".  After several minutes of research I learned that all my work had been deleted apart from the title which, as you can see, I've left for your enjoyment.

After a long night involving my wife waking me up because she heard someone in our driveway (not her fault, totally scary), plus the usual issues with the kids, and finally a mysterious early morning call from an unfamiliar number (that I've retained so that I can call them back at the 4am feeding tonight to ask what it was regarding) I'm having one of those moments where you just need to hold really still to keep from going Incredible Hulk on the laptop.

I sent my 'feedback' to Google regarding this issue but the click from the mouse when I hit send even sounded feeble.  After that I tried the 'Help Forum' where I was given the advice to try and just convince myself that what I'd written wasn't really that good anyway.  That's actually pretty good advice so that's what I'm doing.

Anymess, the only reason I'm writing this is A) I can't afford to go smashing computers today and this is making me feel better and B) I'm partaking in the 40 Days of Writing project and don't want to quit just yet :)

Why don't you just give me the hammer daddy?
Well Liam is up so I'm off for coffee with him and a run to the store for amazing-Saturday-morning-breakfast stuff, so have a great weekend everyone, and here's a picture of Liam I just took.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Brother Series: Introduction

Lately I've been thinking about my brothers more than usual. I have four older brothers and two younger brothers; the oldest two were adopted, the middle two are twins, and the latter two were the result of my dad's remarriage. These two didn't grow up in the same house that I did. Maybe that's why I like them so much.

Dan, David, Jarrod, Jason...and Me. In Misery, All.
All of these guys are so incredibly unique - but none of us are so different in personality from each other than I am, from all of them. Maybe it's because I have different junk than they do. Maybe it's just because I was born weird and black-sheepish and we were destined to never understand each other. Despite our extreme differences and their bitterness and anger toward me for moving across the country and never coming back, I love them and owe them for turning me into...well, me.

Over the next several weeks, I'll be sharing stories about my brothers with you. It's A Series! Don't worry, I'll space it out so it doesn't get too boring. But yeah, maybe I'm using you, dear reader, to hash out and then fill in the sketches of these guys that I've never taken the time to flesh out. Plus, as this is part of the 40 Days of Writing challenge, I need some easy material to keep my writing brain firing.
Chris and Ben

Overall, the best part about being raised with boys is being able to say that I was raised with boys. People are impressed. I had no control over this but I absolutely take props for it. These are my first and forever homies, and if you fuck with me - you fuck with them.

Okay, actually, they won't do anything if you fuck with me. They're pretty indifferent. Ben might steal your wine or screw your girlfriend, but other than that, I'm kind of on my own.

Good thing they made me tough.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


My mother-in-law landed herself in the hospital last night which was kind of scary.  This morning the hospital called my cell and I answered all "oh crap! I mean...hello?" but it wasn't bad news concerning her and her condition, it was for me.  It was the hospital's lab letting me know that the 'sample' I had dropped off on Monday, in front of room full of moms with sick kids (so embarrassing), had come back POSITIVE!!  As in "positive for those little swimmers that in any normal man would have been eradicated by modern medicine, particularly over TWO MONTHS after the procedure!!", but not in my case.  Consequently I have to go back in for another cup and a high-five.  But back to Grandma, she's okay.  Her issue is with a part of her body she wasn't really using much anyway...her gall bladder (another high-five for skipping the joke there).  The good news is she's just fine but the bad news is she watches our boys two days a week and we have no back-up daycare. DURP?!!.

So I took a 'personal day' to watch the kids and find someone to take care of them should situations like this arise in the future.  Someone worthy of their company.  This sounds easy enough but it is not.  In the Healdsburg area there's an ever expanding baby army in need of regular daycare so the competition to find a spot for our boys is tough.  I got some good leads though including one today that took me to an enormous and beautiful home in the Windsor countryside.  I took Liam and Finn with me of course to go check the place out but I think that might have been a mistake.  Liam walked up the the front door, knocked, was welcomed in, and never ever wanted to go home again.  This house was immaculate, luxurious, and had a playroom that made me feel very guilty for being such a shitty dad.  Liam was in heaven.  The woman running the thing is able to take the boys at short notice (and only for 85% of my daily wage! Yay!) which means that tomorrow Liam and Finn get to spend a full nine hours in paradise.  I'm glad I don't have to pick them up.

Our house is lame and my mission this weekend is to fix it.  Since Finn joined the family, Liam has been in his own room.  I think it's time he moved back to the nursery so that I can transform his current room into a play land for the boys that will SHAME the Windsor Castle.  So far, all of my ideas require about $50K and a stud finder, neither of which I have access to, so I'm open to any creative ideas from YOU dear reader on how to build the dream playroom.  Seriously, if you can help me out at all please leave a comment below.  You'll be saving a child from a boring-as-hell home life while at the same time giving him somewhere fun to play which will alleviate the burden on my mother-in-law and her failing organs.  Thanks!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Apocalypse Wii

I don't want to go on a rant about some parents and their "who shit in my pants?!" philosophy of child rearing, but the next one to complain that they "can't do anything" about their type II diabetic kid that plays World of Warcraft 16 hours a day is gonna get a big fat earful of uncomfortable silence from me.  Oh yeah.  I don't pull punches.

That being said, I generally LOVE modern technology and the stuff that's out there for kids.  Sure they're supposed to run around outside, ride bikes, throw balls, climb trees, I KNOW!  I did all those things as a kid and my kids will too.  But on those rainy Sundays I'm glad that they can throw bananas and turtle shells at go-karts with a kid in China instead of being stuck in a basement playing Dungeons & Dragons.

Growing up I had a friend with an Atari 2600 who was allowed one hour of scheduled video game time daily with friends.  Obviously by today's standards it was a sad little device but back then it was amazing.  Now there are SO many cool things these days for kids!  Clearly there are a lot of smart people out there who care about children and want them to have fun. 

Alien - 1982

Alien - 2012
But there are some things the smart people are doing today that make me want to slap them in their stupid smart faces.  The cool technology for the kids is great but some of the "future" technology they're developing for my kids is fucked.  For example I read in the news that Nevada has given the go ahead to allow self-driving cars on the road.  Brilliant.  Really?  What happens when they don't work the way they're supposed to?  I had an 89' Honda Civic that I used to drive during college and the wheel fell off.  Not the just the rubber tire, the whole fucking thing. KERCHUNK!!!  I was just pulling into a gas-station "hey, I think I'll get some gas...oh, I guess I won't."  How did this happen?  Simple, it happened because I'm a MORON with cars.  But the problem is there are millions of morons-with-cars driving around out there.  Is someone going to go "oops, I left the car's windows open when it rained last night and now when I hit 70 mph it makes a hard left.  My bad."  Also, in the news, scientist are fucking around with bird flu.  Yeah, the flu.  How many zombie movies came out last year?  Only a hundred?  Do these guys not have Netflix?  Maybe fiction isn't their thing.  Okay, well why not go out a pick up this little gem of non-fiction, The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History.  Killed more people in 24 months than AIDS killed in 24 years?  Well, YA-HOO!!!

I believe the children are our future (too soon?)  Sure, get them outside running, jumping, climbing trees, but let them play their cool shoot em' up games moderation.  They're going to need both the cardio and the weapon handling skills what with all the zombies in robot cars.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Elephant in the Room

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, which means today everyone is nursing their 'Sweet Love Hangover' and aching from their under-served naughty parts.  I too had a magical evening at home caring for my two sick boys while Erin went out with her mother, leaving me this morning with the smug satisfaction of having had a good night's sleep coupled with the bitter resentment of having missed out on 'the party'.  That stupid Hallmark Holiday got me thinking about love and it's many forms.  Eventually this got me thinking about the one BIG QUESTION everyone's been asking, "What's up with the obvious sexual tension between Mike and Amanda?" (no one is asking that)  I figured it's about time I addressed this issue.  Yes, I love Amanda.  Very dearly.  If she died I'd be super-bummed, and not just because I'd have to rename the blog.  She is a wonderful friend, a great mom, and a fantastic drunk.  However, we have not been, nor will we ever be, more than just platonic pals.*

*Obviously this excludes any consensual group-sex scenario

What makes me so certain our relationship will likely earn a 'G' rating for all eternity?  Well there are a few key contributors to my certainty.  One is that I'm married and Amanda is not a home-wrecker.  Another is that I've gotten this far in life without 'the herp' and I'd like to keep it that way.  But the main reason is that we talk frankly about how we feel toward one another so there are no mixed messages or surprises.  Why just yesterday, on Valentine's Day, we were discussing that very thing:

So it's not as innocent as "brother/sister" love but it's pretty close.  Call it "frumpy first-cousins" love.  As you can see Amanda's dried-beef heart belongs to someone else these days and mine has been devoted, for many years, to a sexy, brilliant wife who's crazy about me, particularly when I write nice things about her on this blog.

Besides if we went there it would mean disaster for our fan(s?).  In the history of entertainment the collapse of sexual tension leads to certain ruination.  Remember how great 'Moonlighting' was before David and Maddie hooked up?  I know, it's painful for me to go there too, but those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.  What about Sam and Diane, Jim and Pam, Ross and Rachel, and don't get me started on Mulder and Scully.  Just don't.  We're doing you a favor by not....doing favors to each other.  You're welcome & we love you.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thank You Anonymous Savior!

Boy oh boy is Healdsburg just the greatest place in the world or what?!  There are selfless soul-saving citizens just milling about on any given day.  Earlier this week I was getting coffee and found this on my windshield in the parking lot...

I had NO IDEA about ANY of the stuff contained in this little pamphlet.  What a treasure!!  Did you know AIDS is caused by depravity?  I thought it was a virus, how embarrassing!  It's a good thing this citizen is on the job.  I got this gem early on a Monday morning and I'm not surprised.  This guy must be out and about 24/7 what with all the work he has to do just in Sonoma County alone.  I know dozens of people around here living the "homosexual deathstyle" (His words! Selfless and clever with the word play.  He's like some kind of angel)

I really wish I'd had the chance to meet the guy.  I scanned the parking lot looking for someone who was daydreaming of the day when God personally greats him in heaven with a "Hey, you!  You in the back.  Come on up here pal.  Why don't you follow me down to the lake of fire and brimstone.  We've got some people there that could use a good 'I told ya so'."  I'd have thanked him of course, but I also have some questions.  Like what about Jake Gyllenhaal?  Is there a 'free pass' scenario?

I mean come ON!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday!

What a great holiday!  Sure I'm rallying around an event that has absolutely no relevance to me whatsoever, but how is that different from Christmas?  For our household it's all about the food.  Well, that's not entirely true, there's also the booze but not until AFTER NOON (that's just good parenting).  We started off this morning with Huevos Rancheros and chocolate chip cookies.  All dietary concerns are out the window today.  The cookies were Erin's idea and had Liam running around the kitchen going nutburgers with delight.  After eating only the bacon out of his breakfast we gave him his one cookie which he savored with the kind of glazed look on his face that you might see in an opium den.  After he was finished he looked at me with a dark brown smile and outstretched chocolate hands and said, "Daddy! Hug!!"  I usually melt in the face of such cute affection but today I wasn't really planning on showering so I told him, "how about a little later pal?"


"Can I get a towel or something first?"


The extra syllable meant business and Erin reasoned that I was wearing a brown t-shirt so I went for it.  With two hand prints on my back and a smear from my eye to my ear I told him "I love you pal".  Usually my "I love you"s are met with a look that says "oh that's nice, wanna read me a book or something?", but this time I heard Liam say something I've never heard him say before.  He gave me a very sweet "I yove you".  Sure it was no doubt cookie-induced but I welled up anyway.

Now we're on stage two.  I'm having a beer, all the ingredients for guacamole are prepped, and the 'Texas-style' beef chili with ancho, mole, and cumin is simmering.  I even made up the bed in the guest room since I'll probably be extradited tonight.  I can't wait to see how the game goes!  Is Madge gonna stick with the classics or try and pawn off some new shit that nobody knows the words to?  My money is on the latter.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pinky Promise

I was just driving in the car with my daughter Evie, talking about...something. It's safe to say that I have a lot on my mind these days, and that I don't always catch everything she says. She talks - a lot - and so from time to time I space out and begin a completely different dialogue with a completely other person, in my head.

Today I zoned out for a few minutes. I can always tell when it's time to come back, because I hear the Question Tone come into her voice. She was asking me to promise.

"I promise sweetie."
"Pinky Promise?"
"Pinky Promise."
"Forever and Ever?"
"Yes of course!"
"Do we have a deal?"
"We do."
"Say Deal."
(joyous giggling)
"Okay, fank you mommy!" And then an excited squeal "I can't wait!!"

Uh oh. I am so fucked. What was she asking for? Hopefully it was something easy like some new headbands or a fifth of Jack Daniels as opposed to, say, a baby brother. Oh my god. What if she asked for a baby brother again? How am I going to pull that off?! I mean, I just PINKY PROMISED this girl I would deliver on...whatever it was she was going on and on about just moments earlier.

I don't feel too bad about checking out when she talks. During a visit a few years ago, my childless friend Nayt spent some time listening to a young Jonah talk for an hour about whatever his current obsession was. Afterward, Nayt told me that as a kid, he hated it when adults would give him the "uh huh...uh huh...hmmm! Wow, uh huh" schpeel when he was talking about something that excited him. He could tell they were just humoring him, and it pissed him off. Now however, he could completely see why it happened - one simply could not hang in there in a mostly one-sided conversation about the things kids are passionate about and adults could pretty much care less about for more than three minutes, tops.

I spent some time trying to piece together the amount of damage I was about to get myself in to. I only recently got my pre-kids body back, and the idea of growing a human inside me again makes me vomit in my mouth a little bit.  Plus, I don't think my man would be all that into the idea. I can just see that conversation now...between him and Evie.

"Mama promised me a baby brother!"
"Oh did she?"
"Yes! I'm so EXCITED!"
"Well. I don't know. Wouldn't you rather have a new doll or something?"
"No! I get a baby brother!"
"I don't know kiddo. That's kind of a big deal, don't you think?"
"She pinky promised me!"
"Oh. Well, shit."

I hope I kept my old fat pants, just in case.