Sunday, July 29, 2012

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Truffaut and Goat Boy

Finn is ten-months-old and quickly becoming a little person.  It takes awhile to move out of the doughy turd-monster phase but it's happening.  His greatest interest these days is checking everything to see if it's food.  Shoes, toys, remote controls, my face, and even at times actual food, all get the chew test.  If he's not gnawing on something he's usually scooting full steam across the floor searching for something to put in his mouth so he can check it for edibility.  Sometimes it takes him some convincing when it's not.  Two days ago he spent a good fifteen minutes on a plastic hammer.  He took it out of his mouth at one point, regarded it smartly with crossed-eyes, then stuck it back in his mouth having convinced himself that it was definitely getting smaller.

Liam's newest interest is cinematography.  He's currently filming 'Toy Story 4' with my iPhone.  I've only seen the rough cuts so far but it's looking much more avant-garde than its predecessors.  There are a lot of long tracking shots, very little dialogue, and a bold deviation from the classic deterministic aesthetic of plot to a more improvised manipulation of the mise-en-scene which underscores both the naivety of the audience and the absurdity of human existence.  Here's the teaser-trailer:

See what I mean?  I'm all for supporting his interest in the arts but I'm kind of worried about his playing with my phone.  Partly because he's going to break it and partly because it's like letting him play with a mini microwave oven (bad parent!) but mainly because he's so savvy with the thing that he's probably only three clicks away from taking a shot of me on the toilet and posting it on Instagram.

It's SO going to happen too, especially since we've been sharing so much potty time together now that our cycles are synced up (just as they do when any men share a house).  Oh well, at least when he has my phone I can take comfort knowing it's not in Finn's mouth.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Sorry, but...

Last night I got a text from a friend commenting (read: nagging) that I hadn't posted in a while. "No blog posts in almost a week. What's that about?" Actually it had been a mere five days, to be precise. Jeez! Sorry!

This was actually halfway through

It's just that I currently have nothing of value to contribute. My kids are on vacation at their Grammy & Grandad's place right now. So, nothing there. Unless you want to hear about the hours I spent cleaning their room - and by 'cleaning' I mean crying over all the stupid shit they have in there, then finally just going in with a bulldozer and throwing it all in the trash. Seriously -  the next person who gives my kid a gift that involves a million pieces, dies. I'm not kidding. Consider this my confession, right now.

Hey girls,
what should I do with my future?
So usually when my kids are on vacation I get to write about being slutty, but lo and be-fucking-hold, my boyfriend is out of town too! The timing of this was really well-planned. Especially because we just had the whole "Where is this going/Probably nowhere" discussion, and now we get to have all this free time, alone, to ponder that. It's super. I get to go to his house every day, let the chickens out, then return in the evening and let the chickens back in again. While waiting for them to roost I get to sit in silence, staring at the sky thinking 'he's totally going to dump me when he gets home. After the 'I just got home from a trip' sex. Dammit. Ho hum, I guess I'll go wash the dishes'. It is a special and beautiful time that every relationship should experience. I am especially enjoying it because I'm incredibly evolved and can look at it all very maturely. Nutshell: I miss him.

Or maybe you want to hear about how my Touring Sedan (that's German for station wagon) didn't pass the dreaded smog test, so I spent all of yesterday racing around trying to get it all spruced up, and spent a whole bunch of money that I really can't afford to be spending right now. Which led me to asking for an application at some odd little bar in downtown Santa Rosa where I'd literally never hung out before. But they're hiring, so hey. I wonder how many times this past year I've muttered 'beggars can't be choosers!' through clenched teeth to myself? A lot of times, I can tell you.

If you want me to expand on any of the above experiences, let me know and I'll try to blog about them. Otherwise stay tuned for other, more exciting topics. Probably from Mike.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Liam is kind of killing me with the underpants.  They're TOO CUTE!  Seriously, I don't know what it is but since he's been wearing them I've had to smother him with extra kisses and cuddles.  I think it's because I'm used to seeing him with a big bulky diapered groin and not his precious little tiny cartoon wrapped butt.

We started him on the cho-nays just last weekend.  The idea is to make him uncomfortable when he goes to the bathroom in them and man does it work.  He's only had two accidents so far, number one and number two respectively.  In each case the look he gave me was one of shock and indignation as though I was somehow the culprit.

I was against the idea initially.  Potty training is a delicate matter and I never wanted to do anything too aggressive.  I'm all for letting him ease into it at his own pace.  I worried that taking away the comfort of a diaper was just a small step down from the electrocuting dog collar.  But Erin recently invested in the potty training package complete with reward stickers, books, and an incredibly irritating video.  Liam loves everything about it.

Generally it's been one of the more exciting milestones but it's also a little stressful.  I've definitely got an elevated sense of awareness now knowing that my day could be interrupted at any moment by a rogue mud monkey.  I've taken to studying Liam's expressions more closely but he's been hard to read.  He's got a great poker face right up until it's too late.  Also it's hard to fight the natural reaction one would have when suddenly finding themselves sharing a couch with a preschooler and his new pet fudge dragon.  But calm and casual is the key.  If I belt out a sudden "GOOD GOD ALMIGHTY!!" and dive headlong across the room like the thing is going to bite me, I risk messing him up for life.  

Monday, July 16, 2012


Hey, how old is too old to shower with your daddy?  Obviously three is still fine but I was just wondering when it's going to get awkward.  I guess I shouldn't give it too much thought since it will probably work itself out naturally.  It's not like sixteen-year-old Liam is going to get a text from his buddies on his retinal display saying "Yo Liam you zarkin frood!  We're gonna hover downtown and look at the tree.  Wanna kazizzle?" (that's how they'll talk)  "Sure!" he'll answer, "I'll be there in a nano, just gonna hop in the shower with my dad."

Probably well before I'm ready he'll have perfected the "yeeeeaaaahhhh.....I'm good" look and it'll just be me and Finn from there on out.  For now it's a bi-nightly ritual for me and Liam.  He joins me for my evening shower and it makes for some valuable bonding time.

Along with my 'how long can/should this go on concerns' I recently read something that gave me additional pause.  He's three years old now which is around the age when kids start developing long-term memory.  Cruelly it's also the age when he's exactly eye level with my junk...front and back.  That just doesn't seem fair.  Particularly with some of the shower time yoga I find myself performing in an effort to be thorough.  It makes me wonder if it would be better for him to start showering with his mom, whose nether-bits are much easier on the eyes, but that would probably just confuse him.  He already wastes a ton of water doing his mommy shaving her legs impression.

Plus mommy doesn't do Duck Vader right.  Duck Vader is when we put his ducky towel on like a cape after drying him and quack the 'Imperial March'.  She tries (I love you honey) but it just isn't the same.  There are certain things daddies do better so I think, for now anyway, shower time is going to stay my gig.  At least until he outgrows the ducky towel.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Growing Up

When I was a kid, I always wanted to be older. That might have been because I had older brothers and ended up doing all the things they were doing anyway - like leaving the house to go explore the woods unsupervised for hours at a time, or watching fantastically inappropriate movies like Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. At holiday dinners I always felt awkward with my similarly aged step-cousins, so I without fail ended up sitting with the adults. I was more at ease there. Yet if an elder was ever talking about something I didn't understand, when I asked what it meant I was always told "I'll explain it when you're older."

As I did get older, into my early teens, I was desperate to then get into my twenties. I was always told that I acted older, and looked older. Most of my friends were in college already. After high school I bought six-packs of Woodchuck Cider from Munchie Mart without ever having to even consider that most teenagers have to procure a fake ID for such antics. The bartenders at Club Soda knew my drink and had it ready for me when they saw  me coming through door - the guys checking ID's always just waved me past. I was 18 years old.

This is something that carried over into adulthood. I've always had older friends, though they almost never realized the age difference. On girls' night out the other women would invariably say "wait, how old are you?" and when I told them, they'd shriek, "oh my god! You're just a baby!" They never would have guessed it if I hadn't given myself away, dammit!

I never really felt comfortable in my own skin.  I only began to feel like I was settling into my own age when I was around 28 or so. Once I turned 32 I finally felt at ease, and ready to move forward in life at a normal pace. But now, instead of hearing that I look older, I am often told that I look much younger than my 35 years. In fact, people tend to take a good 10 - 16 years off of me. Perhaps this is because I dress like an awkward teenage boy, and obviously have not yet mastered the art of hair and makeup artistry. Either way, I find the full-circle amusing.

The bad news is, I've often found myself  transferring this desire for a fast-forward momentum onto my children. I used to joke with people, back in my "psh, I'm never having kids!" stage, that I didn't want kids because of the whole 'baby' thing. "If they just popped out and were, say, eight years old, then I might consider it," I'd say. Then, you know, I got pregnant.

I was surprised to love my son's babyhood. He was so beautiful and happy, everything about him was sunny and delightful. Each new milestone he achieved made me weep from having witnessed it's passage. By the time my daughter came around, however, I was pretty tired. For a little while, I'd still get misty-eyed at her important occasions as well, for the fact that this was the last time I'd be witnessing such things. Then I realized, "holy shit, this is the last time I have to witness these things!"

As soon as that sunk into my cabeza, I started getting antsy. Once a new juncture happened, I'd take a moment to acknowledge it with praise and pride, and then I'd think, 'okay, next!'  I wanted all of these little kid things over and done with! Hurry up and crawl! Walk already! Speak! Okay, okay, just try to use the potty...maybe it's early, but I know you can do it! Learn to swim. Get those training wheels off. Addition, Multiplication, Division, Algebra! First crush. First fight. First sex. Go to College. Travel Somewhere. Come visit for Holidays, bring the grandkids...

Why am I so eager for them to grow up? Why was I so eager to grow up myself? I don't wish my dis-ease with the slow movement of time on them - it was, and is, a setup for frustration and constant dissatisfaction. Luckily they don't seem to be taking on my urgency. In fact, if anything they seem to move slower than the pace of a normal small human being, often tripping me in my rush to move things along. I'm thankful for this, because once I've fallen over them and am down there, still for a minute, I realize that taking that time to look around and appreciate the moment is kind of...awesome.

I'm so lucky that I'm learning from them instead of the other way around. And man, so are they.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Liam turns three today.  The reaction I get from people hearing this news is pretty universal "I can't believe he's THREE!  Can you?"  Frankly yes.  Three sounds about right.  It would seem as though exactly 36 months has passed since his birth.  I've never really felt that quick passage of time I'm supposed to feel.  If anything it seems longer.  This may be due to the fact that since his birth I've been drinking less and sleeping less so now I'm more conscious of time's passage....or more to the point, more conscious.  But it might also be due to the fact that I feel as though my life before my kids is ancient history.  B.C. = Before Children.  It feels like an eternity has passed since then.  Good riddance to those days.

Our celebration amounted to two take n' bake pizzas and a three-kid play date on Saturday.  This turned out to be the perfect sized party for a three-year-old.  We had his life-long friend Andrew over who is three months older than Liam and invaluable in so many ways (including for translation since he speaks adult level English as fluently as he speaks toddler).  We also had over his much older buddy Arlo, whose enthusiasm for playing in a pool is enviable and something to which we all should strive. Way to keep it real Arlo.

As for the loot he scored this birthday, the generosity of our friends and family is just ridiculous, with the exception of Liam's parents who just got him a balloon.  That's right, one single balloon for his third birthday.  We love you that much son.  The apparent winner was his Auntie Kat and Uncle Neil who gave him the Woody doll from Toy Story which frankly still has me star struck.

Fun fact: in that picture Liam is peeing in his potty.  You can totally tell.  It was the only time he held still long enough to be captured on film.  He's also still holding his precious balloon from Erin and I.  We love you son.

As for today, his actual birthday, who knows what kind of a day he's having.  I stole a quick kiss from his sweaty little forehead at 5 this morning as I left and I won't see him until 6 tonight.  Part of me would have loved to have taken the day off from work and stayed home with him but then again it's Tuesday, which means he's with my parents.  They're much better at spoiling him than I am.  He'll probably spend the day playing at the park and not eating fruit.  Oh well, he deserves it.

Happy birthday my little man!  I love you more than I ever thought was humanly possible.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Disabled Citizen

The other evening I was putzing around, reading stuff online, when I stumbled upon an interesting and unexpected fact: I am disabled.

A woman I know from back in the day, Melanie, shared a link on facebook that looked like it involved brains and numbers. Naturally I chose to quickly move on, until I saw the words "It explains so much about my life. My K-12 schooling would have been more pleasurable had I known."  Being someone who also had a less-than-delightful K-12 experience, as well as a frustrating Higher Education experience, I decided to click the link and read on. 

What?! What is this thing, you ask. I'll tell you!

It's a totally real and legitimate mental disability called Dyscalculia, and I absolutely have it. I'm so relieved! All of my math-related life has been one stressful, cold-sweating game of avoidance. I honestly  have no idea how I managed to get through high school.

Well, that's not true. There were two main reasons: First, my 9th grade Algebra teacher sucked, hard. Rather than try to actually teach his students, he chose to work all of the problems out on the board, have us copy them down, and then give us extra credit for turning in our work on time. I think I passed that class with 140%. Unfortunately for all the grades following mine, he got busted and had to learn to legitimately teach kids.

The other reason I graduated on time is because my good friend Nayt told me just before I entered high school that the trick was to always laugh at the teacher's jokes. This advice was golden for me, and got me through some really tough classes. To this day I am excellent at laughing at stupid jokes. Especially my own. Especially when no one else is around.

But enough about me - let's talk more about my dysfunction.

So in a nutshell, math is really difficult for me. When people start talking numbers to me, I become like Eddie and Martin Crane listening to Frasier and Niles talk. "Argle Gargle Google Goo" is all I hear. I've always had this problem, but I'm really good at looking smart, which is why I'll never get rid of my glasses or my 'disheveled librarian' look.

Here are a few examples of why I know this is a problem I can relate to, as stolen from the Wikipedia page:

  • Frequent difficulties with arithmetic - um, goes without saying, but I'm saying it here, just to reiterate the issue

  • Inability to comprehend financial planning or budgeting, sometimes even at a basic level; for example, estimating the cost of the items in a shopping basket or balancing a checkbook - I honestly couldn't even read beyond the word 'financial'

  • Difficulty with multiplication-tables, and subtraction-tables, addition tables, division tables, mental arithmetic, etc. - Hey! Don't be a jerk - I can definitely add.

  • Inability to visualize mentally - Does this mean I have a hard time walking into a shithole and imagining it looking completely different? Then yes, that's true. 

  • Might do exceptionally well in a writing-related field — authors and journalists are more likely than average to have the disorder - Hello, meet your incredibly talented author, Me

  • Difficulty navigating or mentally "turning" the map to face the current direction rather than the common North=Top usage - Those things TURN?! Ha ha, just kidding...I don't even use maps. I need step-by-step written directions, listed neatly, preferrably with pictures or descriptions of landmarks included, i.e. "Turn RIGHT at the big green pole barn. Drive past the pond. Turn LEFT at the tree that looks like a scarecrow"

  • Having particular difficulty mentally estimating the measurement of an object or distance (e.g., whether something is 10 or 20 feet (3 or 6 meters) away). - I'm famous for having no concept of distance. What the heck is a 'meter' anyway?

  • Often unable to grasp and remember mathematical concepts, rules, formulae, and sequences - I have no idea what any of that means 

  • Mistaken recollection of names. Poor name/face retrieval. May substitute names beginning with same letter - I've had customers coming in to my store for almost 5 years, and I still don't remember their names. Oops! But I'll remember the random grandma who came in once 3 years ago. Weird. 
So, there you go. I'm going to do more research, but for now I have to say, I'm really pleased about this. I can't tell you how many times I've felt like the stupid-head in the room because of my complete lack of confidence in the subject. I finally have a valid excuse! Woo hoo!!

Now if I could just learn about Science and Politics, I'll be all set.

Friday, July 6, 2012


At the risk of sounding melodramatic, having insomnia when you have a preschooler and a baby is like getting lost in the desert for a week and finding a jar of water with a lid you can't get off.  It's the ultimate "you've got to be fucking kidding me" moment as far as I'm concerned.  Particularly since it's 3:30 in the morning and I'm about ready to start smashing things.

It wasn't too bad a few hours ago.  I still had hope back then that sleep was inevitable.  But for those of you who know, as the clock ticks the rage grows, and that just exacerbates the situation.  My usual tricks aren't working because for some reason my brain is playing The Top 20 Hit Stresses in Your Life on repeat and it's too late for drugs.  I'm trying to harness the pent up frustration and channel it into slowing the planet's rotation with my mind, but I have a feeling the sun is going to rise on schedule.

I dare a bird to start chirping.  Seriously.  Bring it on you little fuckers.  I've got thirteen jars of homemade apricot jam in the cupboard and I'm a pretty good shot.

Obviously someone or something is going to have to pay for this and I don't want it to be my boys.  In between work, feeding, baths, and all the other things that go along with 'home economics', there are these precious moments I get with my sons where I get the opportunity to be the awesome dad they deserve.  I'll be damned if I'm going to spend those moments glassy-eyed and pissed off at the world.  I guess my co-workers are doomed today.  Oh well, TGIF right?

I guess at this point the best thing I can do is make a killer breakfast and rely on the aggressive use of coffee.  A word to the wise though - if we cross paths today, please handle with kid gloves.  You're reading my blog so obviously you're brilliant, beautiful, and I love you so I'd truly regret it if anything bad happened to you.  


Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Compulsory Seaside Shot of Hot Wife
This weekend Erin and I spent two nights in Mendocino.  It was our 8th wedding anniversary and an extra paycheck month so romance was a GO.  I won't give any details about the weekend because this isn't that kind of blog if you know what I mean (aaaaand cue Erin's eye roll).  I will tell you that leaving your kids with their grandparents is apparently a great way for them to reach a couple of milestones.

Liam used the potty four times and Finn now sleeps all night.  Yeah, I get it.  I'm doing it wrong.

Well, it's not really that I'm doing it wrong, I'm just not doing it, period.  By "it" I mean I'm probably not really trying to get these kids to progress in ways that are easily measurable.  

I'll admit the sleeping one kicks ass.  Since he was just a wee little eighty pound newborn we've been swaddling Finn.  The idea with swaddling as I understand it is it makes newborns more at ease because they're used to being crammed super tight in utero so wrapping them up makes them sleep better.  However, the past few months Finn pulls this little Houdini act every three to four hours and celebrates his liberation by screaming until we wrap him back up again.  While we were gone this weekend though Erin's mother tossed the swaddle, flipped the little nugget over on his face, and said nighty-night for 10 straight hours.  Cool.

The potty one kind of pisses me off though (pun intended).  Who does Liam think he is getting all potty trained just like that?  I figured it was hyperbole on the part of my in-laws so I tested him the first morning I got back.  I plopped him down and started putting my contacts in when I heard that little tinkle.  He had this look on his face that said, "oh THIS, yup, this is what I do now".  The bastard.

Compulsory Mocking of Bad Public Art
I guess I've gotten a little complacent with the milestones.  Or maybe I just don't want them growing up.  Anyway, it was a great weekend away.  If you're a parent and you can't remember the last time you woke up and realized with smug satisfaction that your kids were someone else's problem for a full day, I highly recommend making plans.