Date Night

This is going to be sweet, I have no idea why I didn't think of this before.  Genius I tell you, genius!!  Sometimes I deserve some sort of marriage/father medal.  Do they make those?  They should make those and if there was one I would get it because this idea is awesome.

Preparation is easy enough.  And cheap, with Christmas around the corner every dollar counts or we will be slightly underfed come Christmas morning.  When I am putting together the 12th toy or cutting something out of a box I demand a hearty breakfast.  Santa needs more than cookies, sausage and eggs and English muffins, that's what's required on Christmas morning.

Like every parent, my wife and I do not get enough alone time together.  And I'm not talking about good old sexy time, little hanky panky followed by blissful sleep.  I'm talking about just alone time where two adults can sit around and just talk about what's going on.  How was your day, what was destroyed, can you fix it?  You know, normal parent talk.  However, whenever we try to have these talks there is always interruptions.  A bumped knee, someone isn't sharing, please look at my drawing.  I love looking at drawings and I love mending bumped knees but I also like to check in on the mental status of my wife to make sure she isn't thinking about trading up to someone with hair.   She probably wouldn't given that I'm pretty awesome and I can cook but it's never good to take chances with this kind of thing.

So first off, go get a movie for the kids.  Something long with a lot of previews.  Something that isn't too scary but isn't boring.  And while I'm doing that, get a video game too.  Rent if need be, buy if you have to.  Something that they can both play together at the same time.  Grab 1000 lbs of popcorn, teach kids how to use the microwave and juice boxes measured in gallons.  That's the first part of this awesome plan.  Look, I would like to spend some time with my wife without shelling out the penalty 50 dollar fee that is known as the babysitter.

Once that was done, fix a nice big meal.  Something that they will like and eat up.  Get some full bellies and some happy smiles.  Feed them corn dogs and chicken nuggets to make them happy.  So far so good.

Now the hard part, the part that if it goes wrong the whole night will go wrong.  Calmly explain to the children that their mother and I are going to go put the toddler to sleep.  And that once he's asleep that we are not to be bothered for any reason.  I used to tell them "unless there is blood" but have had to modify that to "unless someone is missing a limb".  It's amazing how a red mark on a toe can equal blood.

Put the movie in, give them popcorn, video games, and some juice and then go upstairs.  The toddler didn't want to go to sleep but after a short while and a promise of ice cream ponies in the morning.  He finally did.

And that's it, that is how you do date night in your own home.  It was awesome, how didn't I think of this before?  The kids stayed up until around 11 and then went to bed.  My wife and I played the part of the moody teenager and just shut the door to our room.  We read, we talked, we laughed and that was it.  We went to sleep drunk on the quiet alone time that we were able to carve out for a couple of hours.  Look, of course, I would want to go out with my wife.  Maybe see a movie or hit a bar.  But life can make that tough and sometimes you gotta find the solutions in a tough spot.  The kids loved their "special" night and I got to insure that my wife isn't going to find Raul, the young in shape love stud to take my place.

I am totally doing this again.


Toddler Chess

Bacon Hoss plays the first move, a bold move that is rarely seen in any chess course ever taught.  King to D5, the center square.  I've actually looked in a lot of chess databases and it turns out that I'm right.  I cannot find one single game where the King is played in the center on the first move.

Mostly because it's a massive illegal move as a king can't just jump over pawns but we are playing toddler chess and the rules are different.  Besides, I like his moxie.  Staking his claim on the most important square in the game sends a message.  Come at me bro.  I like it.

I move out my pawn to challenge his pawn.  He sees through my ploy and his next move catches me off guard.  He takes my pawn and puts it in his mouth.  Brilliant.  Spassky should have played in this style.  I think I may have a prodigy on my hands here.

I play knight to f3, a move that is seen as routine and almost always a given.  In 75% of games you will see this move, the knight moving slightly up and to the right of the king.  Our courageous piece will offer protection there while threatening the center.  It's a solid move.

Bacon plays rook to a3, capturing my dark squared bishop.  His piece flew through the air and magically transported itself there, it was breath taking.  We are not only rewriting the rules of chess but of physics here.  The nature of the universe will be changed forever after this game.  I do the only thing I can under such a serious threat to my queen.  I capture his rook and look him dead in his genius eyes.  I challenge him, how will he respond?

He moves my rook and takes my queen.  There is treachery on my own team!  I have been betrayed by a trusted piece!  My heart aches at such an act.  My trusted rook, the holder of open files and the king of the pin, a king pin if you will.  (I know, I just made a chess joke.  It's very funny and I realize that I am totally showing my nerd here but it is a chess post after all.  A pin is actually a chess tactic and if you can "pin" another piece......forget it, I'm not explaining it.  Read a book.)

With my queen gone my options become limited.  I fear though that my boy has blundered badly.  My knight still threatens his king in the center.  The game is mine.  He played with emotion which is always a bad way to play chess.  He went for the decoy of the queen but at the expense of his own safety.  I smile in the way that you do when you know the game is up and your opponent springs the trap.  I take his king with my knight.

The king is resurrected!  I removed his king from the board and leaned back in my chair.  I apparently can defeat those that subvert nature's laws and goodness is restored.  However, it seems that there was a trap laid withing a trap.  Bacon Hoss takes his king back when I was basking in my glory and uses it to push my own king off the board.  His king has come back from the dead to rule the board now.  With his secret weapon of the Jesus King the game is over.  It is over because my king does not have those special abilities.  My king can not come back mainly because at this point Bacon Hoss has taken that king and run away into the stacks of the library.  He's like the Kaiser Soze of chess.

Defeated, humiliated, in front of a crowd of on lookers I reset the board because chess decorum still rules.  I analyze the game over and over in my head and try to figure out where I went wrong.  What move did I make that opened me up to such a vicious attack.  We may never know because as I feel like I'm coming close to an answer I hear books falling off shelves.

That would be one of mine.  He has left chaos on the chess board and now he is leaving chaos in the library.  I fear that he will not stop until the world is his and honestly, I want to give it to him.

Right after I clean up the mess.


Defcon 5

We at DEFCON 5 here.  It's all hands on deck, batten down the hatches, save the women and children.  Take defensive positions at the main wall, raise the drawbridge and pray to your God.  All before 7 am, that has got to be a new record in how quickly my daughter will mysteriously meltdown.

I have no idea what happened or what prompted this meltdown.  We were having a good morning where there was breakfast on the table and soft music was playing in the background.  The house was clean and everything for school was packed and ready to go.  It was a peaceful morning filled with groggy eyes but slowly warming up to facing another day at school.  My kids love school too, the don't dread going.  There will be funny stories to be told at lunch, little secret whispers during class and games at recess.  We were all set to go.  Then the bomb went off and I'm not sure why.

To be clear here, I have no sage fatherly advice to pass on.  I have no insight into 10-year-old girl behavior.  You would think that I would, but I don't.  When this happens I have no clue what's going on or what to do about it.  I'm just the unwitting passenger screaming at the driver on this one.  The best I can do is hold on tight to the oh-shit bar and hope we don't roll into a ditch.

"God!" she said.  "I can't even get a hair tie this morning, how am I supposed to go to school!"  She pushed violently away from the table which sent the rest of dishes rattling while my other kids were trying to eat.  A cereal box fell over and wham, there you go.  Now we are in full on meltdown.

I thought about pointing out that I have a zillion hair ties laying around.  Between my wife and my daughter, I have a little collection going.  I walk around the house and say hey, here's another hair tie.  I better put this into my pocket.  By the end of the day I have a backpack full of them.  I dump them on the counter before I go to bed and then wonder how my life has gotten away from me.  I have been reduced to a hair tie recycler.  It's not the most glamorous job but it's a needed as my current morning is pointing out.

I can't say anything however because she is already heading upstairs, each footfall landing like an earthquake.  I am amazed that someone so small and tiny can cause such a thundering boom walking up the stairs.  I should rent her out on demolition jobs.  I'll take her to the job site and then tell her that the last hair tie she had broke and that I don't have anymore.  We would make a fortune but I'm afraid she wouldn't know where to stop and entire neighborhoods would be laid to waste.

Perhaps this is one of those times where I just need to stay out of the way.  Maybe I should just grab a helmet and retreat into my pillow fort until it blows over.  Doing that though will leave my other two kids by themselves to face this squall and there is a small voice that says screw it, one of those two bastards threw wet toilet paper in my shower so they can suck it.  It's tempting but that's running away from a problem and I only do that when the children aren't looking.

So I stay and get ready to face this meltdown.  I stay at my sink washing the same dish over and over again, delaying as much as I can so that I can come up with some sort of defense.  I hear the earth quaking steps coming down the stairs and I know that my time has grown short.

"Who wants a hug!" I say when she gets to the bottom of the stairs.

My black eye should heal in a couple of days.


A Big Pile of Gross

It's not every day that you turn around during your shower and see a pile of wet toilet paper sitting over the drain.  Unless of course, you live with children so your first thought isn't "How the hell did toilet paper get in my shower" it is "Well, it could be worse."  It could be worse of course because I live with three kids and I have seen worse.  I have seen remote controls run through the dishwasher so my first response from seeing the white blob in the shower was one of relief.  I could deal with toilet paper in a shower.

This still leaves me with the mystery of why the toilet paper is in my shower which after staring at it for a few more seconds I decide that the why of it isn't really important because I already know why.  The wet mound of gross is there because I have kids and they hate me.  This is just their passive-aggressive way of letting me know.  Some kids tell their parents that they hate them to their face.  Mine have perfected a system that lets me know that they hate me while they tell me they love me.  So the why is settled, the children are trying to drive me insane so that I will give them all the candy back that I took on Halloween.  The jokes on them though because I already ate all that candy, that was job #1.

Now that the why is safely settled we must get to the who and the how.  These are actually important because as a father I cannot let these slights go unanswered.  That's just inviting a direct challenge to my authority and we can not have that.  Anarchy will prevail should I just turn my back and my house will basically become a scene from the movie The Purge.  Besides, it's times like this that I like to stretch the old brain muscle to stay on the top of my game.

It could be my 10-year-old.  She is getting moody and you never know where that is coming from or what is going to set it off.  She could have gotten mad that the breakfast I gave her wasn't blue enough or something else along those lines.  There's your motive right there.  She is certainly bright enough to pull off a guerrilla campaign which I'm pretty sure at this point that is what I am dealing with.   However, this type of thing doesn't really fit her M.O. because wet toilet paper is gross and she currently is not dealing with gross.

So let's move on to my 9-year-old boy.  Does he have this in him?  Maybe.  He doesn't like direct confrontation so this would be something he would do.  But he also doesn't have the attention span for long ops which I'm thinking probably this was.  This took some planning.  It is more plausible that he had toilet paper and forgot where it went and just threw it the first place he saw.  I can see that.  However, he is a people pleaser so I don't see him taking this type of action.  It would be more likely that he just secretly resents me and will let me know when he turns 16 and says that he loves Darla, the nice lady from the truck stop parking lot.

So by the process of elimination that leaves me with my 3-year-old boy.  Gross is definitely something that he is into.  And of all my children, he is the one that I have pegged to going evil.  It will be a subtle change over time like Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader.  Am I seeing the first steps to the dark side as I look at the giant spit wad from Steven Tyler?  I can also see his appeal to wet gross toilet paper.  It makes weird sounds when you throw it and it is all squishy.  Those are things that I think that he would like.

I have suspect, now to look for witnesses.

I step out of the shower and ask my wife how a whole roll of toilet paper ended up in my shower.  She looks at me and says:

"I found your hammer in the dryer last week."

Interesting.  I believe that I may have stumbled onto a pattern.


Penis, Penis, Penis

Penis.  Everything at my house right now is penis.  Penis this, penis that.  Look at my penis.  See my penis, here is my penis.  Penis, penis, penis.  My 3-year-old has fully discovered his penis and now wants to share it with the world.  He does not yet understand that sharing your penis with the world is a good way to get 5 to 10 with a guy that really wants share your penis.

Sure, naked time has always been a fixture around here but now we have kicked it up a notch. He came out of the bathroom yesterday singing his penis song.  Penis penis penis!  Penis penis penis!  It's like a chant at the worst protest in history.  I tell him to pull his pants up.  He responds with "Penis!"  Then he points.  I keep telling him not to point because the joy of flashing the penis is the surprise when the intended victim discovers it on their own, that's where the joy is!

I think he took this to heart because the next time he comes out of the bathroom with his pants pulled up and his shirt pee free, always a win when dealing with a toddler.  He walked right up to my daughter, lifted his shirt and yelled "Penis!"  The sneaky little bugger had draped his little coin purse and junk right over the waist band of his pants and flashed his sister.  My daughter was not impressed.  "Dad!!!!  He's doing the penis thing again!  Gross!"

I'll admit, I laughed pretty hard at that.  First off, you got to hand it to the little guy for coming up with that scheme all on his own.  That's pretty advanced pranking right there.  Secondly, I do enjoy seeing my daughter freak out a little bit.  Mainly because I consider it payback for all of my crap she has broken over the last ten years.  She threw my cell phone in the toilet once so she is not going to get much sympathy from me.  Although perhaps she should because as with all pranks, it will always come around to you one day.

We went to the downtown library a little while after.  It's a great space, 5 floors of reading and books.  The kids area is top notch so the kids can be kids there while not bothering anyone.  I really don't like bothering anyone with my devil spawn and I realize that we fall short on this most times.  I do apologize but I'm dealing with penis here and we all know how difficult that can be.   For lunch we headed up to the roof as there is a very nice veranda up there where we can picnic among the tall buildings.  A lot of patrons do this as well so it can get pretty crowded during lunch time.

We went to the bathroom with little bacon hoss because it's either pee in the bathroom or on your potted plants.  One of those two things are going to happen and they tend to ask you to leave if you inappropriately water the fern.  I go to the bathroom, he goes to the bathroom, we sing a song to help with the flow of things.  It works.  Sing your ABC's next time or some good old Clementine and you will find yourself right as rain.

We flush the toilets (his favorite part), we wash our hands, we head out of the bathroom. to the rooftop doors.  All good, no problems.  I'm an amazing father.

He turns around, pulls up his shirt and there it is in all of its glory.  My 3-year-olds penis.  He's already got that asshole smile on his face.

"Dad, Penis!" he yells and that's when people's heads start to turn around.  I try to act fast but he was ready for it.  With his junk still out he turns and runs from me, bopping along yelling his penis song:  Penis, penis, penis!  Penis, penis, penis!

I run after him and as I am getting closer I notice what I'm really saying to him, yelling in fact, and it does not sound good.

"Boy!  You bring that penis back right now!  You put that penis up!  C'mere boy!  Stop running!"

Everyone is looking now and I know what it looks like.  A bearded and tattooed man is chasing a toddler from the bathroom room screaming about penis.  Now, in the at home dad world we get a lot of weird looks.  It happens and some dads have had the police called on them when they are hanging out at the park with their kids.  Some mom may think he looks "sketchy" so there is a whole thing and one of our big at home dad fears.

This is what I'm thinking as I'm chasing the amazing penis boy.

Penis, penis, penis!

I catch him and lift him up so that I can struggle to put his pants on.  However, it may look like I'm trying to take his pants off in front of all these people.  He is kicking me and laughing but that laughing could sound like screaming.  His only volume is "loud as a donkey" so there could be some misinterpretation going on here.

We sit down and I get my kids lunches out.  I lecture my 3 year old about showing the penis in public.  He does not seem impressed.  I also get my wallet and I.D. out.  Why do I need my wallet and driver's license out and ready?

Penis.  That's why.  Penis.



"Dad!" my daughter tells me from the top of the stairs.  "Dad, I'm sorry"  She is already crying.  Man, I hate this in between puberty stage.  I never know if she is crying because she is hurt, if she is afraid of getting in trouble, or if her favorite song isn't on the radio.  Raising a 10-year-old daughter has a lot of challenges the biggest one is that most of the time I don't know what the fuck is going on.  It's an uncomfortable feeling really.  It's like grabbing someone's sandwich and taking a bite not knowing if you are going to get the creamy goodness of peanut butter and jelly or you have found the one guy outside of my father that likes sardines and bread.  The best you can do is just bite down and hope for the best.  

I look over at my wife and I see her eyes roll, the exasperated look that tells me that it's not too bad whatever it is and that my wife is just done dealing with the tween drama that is starting to become normal around this house.  My wife doesn't seem to be upset so that is good and the fact that there is no ambulance at my house is even better.  So whatever it is can't be that bad, right?

I go through a mental checklist though before my daughter and I continue this conversation.  My daughter is walking and I see no visible blood.  This is a good thing and given who we are as a family is always the first place I go when I evaluate a situation.  Does my son still have all his limbs?  Yup.  Good, everyone into the car.  

So if no one appears to be hurt then that means that someone broke something, something they don't want to tell me about.  I look at the ceiling and you are going to wonder why.  Well, naturally one of the worst things I can think of is that someone tore the bathtub out and then turned on the water.  The water collected upstairs while they got surfboards out.  The water then leaked through the floor while they surfed down the stairs and no one noticed.  So I am looking at the ceiling to test my hypothesis.  I see no streams of water so I think we are good on that.  Given who my children are, I am slightly proud.  I do the sniff test.  I smell nothing burning and hear no fire alarms going off so again I'm feeling pretty good and proud.  While I was gone no one managed to burn the house down or flood it.  I have to keep a low bar of expectations around here in order to stay positive and positive is the only thing keeping me nice and level.  So no fire and no water, I can fix anything else.  

"Dad, I broke my cello."


Little Hoss has been playing the cello for about 2 months now.  I wrote a whole post about it and how thankful I was that it was not the drums.  However, that was before I knew that the school was giving my daughter a 2000 dollar instrument.  Damn it, damn it, damn it.  I am starting to wish for a house fire.  

But let's stay positive.  It took her at least 2 months to break 2000 dollars.  That's good and probably some kind of family record.  On Christmas morning, I have three piles.  One pile are presents, one pile is for trashed wrapping paper, and the third pile is for broken toys that I have to somehow figure out how to repair.  Do you know how to reattach a shopping cart wheel to a plastic base?  Duct Tape, the answer is always duct tape.  I do not know if I can duct tape a stringed instrument but I'm willing to give it a try.  

"Dad, I was practicing and then I went to turn my sheet music and then the bottom bar slipped because I think it was broken and then it slipped and then it tipped over and then it landed and then I got scared and then I just sat there and then and then and then......."

I've got to put my parent ears on for this one, the ones that can decipher what truly happened and who was the cause of that occurrence.  Whenever my children are over emotional and try to explain these things to me I have to weed through a ton of superfluous information to get to the root cause.  It's almost like interviewing a perpetrator again.  I need to create a timeline and then go back over that timeline to figure out if her sitting in her chair after her cello fell actually has anything to do with the story.  So that's where we start.  I ask her again to tell me what happened.  

"Dad, my cello fell and it broke and it doesn't sound right."

The Dad in me wants to make the joke of "How can you tell?" It would have been a damn good joke but my little girl is beating herself up pretty hard over this so I don't make it worse.  I'll save worse for later.  Besides, after 10 years I've got some tricks up my sleeve that go beyond duct tape.  She's just learning the cello so I don't want to knock her confidence just yet.

"Ok," I tell her.  "You were playing your cello and it fell over while you were turning your music.  Now it has a crack in it?  Or did the handle come off?"  Perhaps it splintered into a million pieces and if this is the case then I shall salvage them to hunt vampires.  I find my life is easier if I recycle.  

"Yes.  It has a crack in the back and now it doesn't sound the same."

2 months.  We made it two months.  

But to her credit, a slight fall on a carpeted floor shouldn't have caused a crack.  These are school instruments and I'm sure they take more of a beating than that.  Yes, she was careless but it's not the end of the world.  Besides, I actually bought insurance on the cello before we even walked out the door. 

Hell yeah I did!  That's right if I am sure of anything in this world it is the ability of my children to break stuff.  I signed on the dotted line and asked the man two questions.  Question 1:  Do you want to touch my biceps and 2:  Does this cello come with insurance because we are going to need some of that.  

Like the Oracle of Delphi, I knew this was going to happen sooner or later so I took precautions because there is no way I was letting my beautiful yet accident prone daughter walk out of that gym with 2000 bucks of liability.  

I tell my daughter to calm down, that it's going to be ok.  I explain to her that we have insurance on the cello and that they will fix it for us.  Then I explain the next 20 minutes explaining what insurance is, why it's a good thing and why she should always love me more than anyone else, ever.  I wipe away her tears then go check all the batteries in the fire alarms because even though a major crisis has been averted and let's be honest, they are still my children so surfing down the steps in a blazing inferno is not out of the realm of possibilities.  


Screen Time

One of the current debates in the parenting world is called "Screen time".  Now if you live in Hollywood and are the parents of an 8-year-old trying out for that great part and has a cocaine addiction at a 15-year old's level, this probably means something way, way different between you and the rest of us.  Seriously, don't spend all your kid's money on hookers and 4-loco (is that still a thing?).  Open up a nice easy investment account so that they won't have to do playboy at the age of 19.  I'm looking at you Disney Channel people.

See what I did there?  I deflected judgment onto someone who is possibly way worse than me so that I can look like a god damn saint when I finish this story.  You will be so busy googling failed child actors and their shit heel parents that I will be looking like a rose.  I should be a politician but I don't like to kiss babies.  Face it, babies are gross.  They look cute from a distance but you can never tell if they just ate some chocolates or diaper candy.

Now you are thinking about bad parents and poop eating babies while I'm gong to come out looking like a saint.  This is going well.

Screen time for the rest of us means how much time we allow our children to veg out in front of anything electronic.  Is it good?  Is it bad?  Am I a bomb sheltering scared hippy?  Am I not hippy enough.  Should I get a flower power tattoo while my child watches Mutt and Stuff?  On a side note, yes another one to further the distractions here, does anyone think the main guy on Mutt and Stuff looks like the actor Justin Long?  Don't know who that is?  Well, you need more screen time and I probably need less.  Watch the movie "Tusk".  It will ruin your life and Mutt and Stuff all at the same time.  Win/win.

There is a whole war going on over this.  Just google it and you will find articles written from every conceivable angle.  Too much and your kid is going to rot his brain, get hooked on drugs and sport meth teeth in his sophomore year photo because there is no way that kid is going to graduate high school.  Too little and your kid is not going to learn as quickly and dear god when preschool starts what happens if he doesn't know how to read and there goes Harvard so fuck it go get some meth.  Parents are very passionate about this, almost nutso about it.  They either brag on how they are doing a wholesome nature raising thing complete with wheatgrass organic sippy cups or they tell how their 10-year-old is just so good using his new iPhone and learning how to speak Chinese.  Heads up to both groups here:  wheatgrass is used to kill your soul and your 10-year-old is actually looking at porn.  So basically the end result is the same.

This is getting pretty contentious in an under the surface kind of way, much like the vaccine vs. anti-vaccine groups.  Ha, I'm just kidding.  Vaccinate your kids.  If you are not doing it, you are doing it wrong.  We can all agree on that so fuck you, take care of your kids.  Jesus, how is that a thing?  Polio or no Polio.  Hmm.  Wheatgrass screen time it is.  (Yet another deflection!)

However, I think both groups are wrong.  Not on the vaccination thing you people are shit heels.  On the screen time thing.  The whole discussion is framed wrong.  It shouldn't be framed as too much or too little.  It should not be framed in a "my kid is nature loving" vs "my kid will be a genius" fight.  That's the wrong fight to have.

Here's the real issue.  My 3-year-old is going to be living in a closet with spiders if I don't get just a couple minutes a day to poop.  I need the confidence to walk into a bathroom knowing that when I do, because there is only so long that I can hold it, that my toddler won't try to plug the dog into a wall socket.  Are my wall sockets covered, hell yes they are.  Will he go into the garage, find some tools, unscrew the outlet and then stick the dog's nose in it?  Probably.   He can't figure out how to pull up his underwear but he turns into freaking Macgyver when it's time to break something.  And have you ever pooped with someone staring at you in the eye?  Every parent every where is now nodding their head.  It's awkward as hell.  Don't look at me, I can't poop when you look at me.  Sadly, prior to Ipads, I couldn't poop unless the door was wide open and someone was singing to me while looking directly at me.  So weird, so very very weird.  I do not enjoy it.

Now that we have covered pooping, lets move onto cooking.  Let's all rehash this very real and very common conversation:

"Don't stick your hand into the hot water."


"Because it will hurt."

Then he proceeds to try to stick his hand into the hot water.  Look, I'm all for letting the kids help me cook.  Great, teaching a life skill, much like pooping in solitude.  But the kitchen can be a crazy place with lots of hot things and you can't eat microwaved nuggets 3 times a day.  And also, sometimes Dad just wants to make a nice damn sauce for Mom and Dad's dinner and we would prefer to not have any boogers in my reduction.  Really, it's just common courtesy.  Now please quit waving the knife at your brother and how did you even get that drawer open, it was locked?

And finally, the one we will all relate to the most, is that sometimes I just need a break.  I get up at 7 and I run around all day.  Every part of my day is filled with questions, chores, complaints, wants, and responsibilities.  And like most parents, I enjoy most of it.  I love coaching soccer with my boy, I love taking my daughter to volleyball and watching her play.  I love finger painting and butt wiping.  I love answering every "why" and explaining every "because."  I love every story that starts with "did you know dad that cows have 4 stomachs" and ends with "it was so funny dad, it was just so funny, let me tell you again why it was funny."  I love bath time and story time and bed time.  I love it all.  My day doesn't usually end until 9 at night because there are always drinks of water and homework forgotten or one more time please tell me why it was funny.  I love it.  But sometimes, Jesus, sometimes I just need everyone to shut it.  I need a moment to think.  I need a moment to step back and plan my next step because honestly, a lot of times I'm just winging it.  It's good to have a moment where you can decide if you put the nuggets in the microwave or the dishwasher because that's going to make a pretty big difference when dinner time comes.  And yes, you are going to eat it either way.

So screen time is really more of a time out card for life.  As parents, have we forgotten how much time we took just to do these things unfettered?  Have we gotten so used to the constant interuptions that they are part of life and somehow we feel guilty for just needing a few extra moments to maintain our sanity?  I think so.

As you go about your day today, doing your jobs or driving your car, do me a favor.  Set a repeating timer for 3 minutes whenever you are doing something.  When it goes off stop what you are doing, try and answer a completely unrelated question while hopping on one foot and boom, that's what parenting is like.  All the time.

So giving our  kids an Ipad or turning on a cartoon is not to be judged or fought about.  The real question is what are the visiting hours in the mental hospital.  I'm not saying to do this every day all the time, spend time with your kids, be a good parent.  Don't let them eat diaper candy and let's all judge the real crap holes of the parenting world:  The Organic Hollywood Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.  Seriously, fuck you people