At no other point in your life do you get a chance to let control go over yourself that completely to anyone or anything else. And the greatest part of it all is that you give that very control up to the person you trust the most: you.
Alright, maybe the crazy you is the one that gets the control. The you that is convinced, although not talked about, that you are still eligible for the draft because you never gave up your amateur status. Sure, you are closer to 40 than you are to 30, way closer. But yet, in the eyes of the MLB, still having that amateur status. Crazy you never gives up on your dreams. Nope because he's actually the guy in charge of them.
In real life, you would you never put on a viking horned helmet, jump on to some monstrous enlarged my little pony and charge off to fight the evil dark underlords of the underpants? Of course you would not. The underlords are some scary mother fuckers you want no part of their underpants kingdom. But in sleep, crazy you cannot wait to saddle up Rainbow Dash and start giving out wedgies of justice. Crazy you, the one in charge of your dreams, is the Samuel L Jackson from pulp fiction. Your wallet says bad mother fucker on it in your dreams. And in those dreams you would use that wallet to keep your black Amex card that you will surely need as you buy your very own island. Why an island? Because you are never going to recreate Jurassic Park in the middle of freaking Manhattan. I think we all know how that turned out, thank you very much bad sequels. But don't worry, on your island, crazy you will do it right. You will start by not cloning any valociraptors or T-rexes. That was mistake number 1. Perhaps crazy you is also sensible. How nice.
However, sex. Sex is awesome.
Sex is the primal driving force of our entire evolutionary chain. It is the very basic instinct that must be met. It is the dynamic that very much preserves the species. It is how you leave your legacy, it's how you build something greater than yourself. And it feels really, really, really super nice.
That's just one of the great benefits of sex. But there are many more. You can have drunk sex where you get a freebie in the regrets department, an automatic pass on a bad decision. You can have angry sex, where you get to work out your deep emotional scars of your unfulfilled self. Thus you are saving thousands of dollars in therapy bills just by releasing what nature wants you to release anyway. You can have break up sex, you can have make up sex, you can have sex for any occasion. Sex is basically a pinata of pent up emotion. And boom, you're resolved in 5 to 15 minutes and in an emotionally blank space. At least for a good 30 seconds anyway.
Sex counts as exercise. It gets your heart rate up. You work muscles, it flattens tummys. It's a cardio vascular workout for both your physical and emotional self. It builds intimacy, creates a bond and if you are doing it right, a couple of funny stories to tell the buddies over beers. Sex is indeed awesome.
Which is why, as parents, choosing between the two (sex vs. sleep), can be soul crushing. You're busy, the kids and the house and the wife and the responsibilities. You don't get enough time for either. Each day you have to make one a priority. Sleep is awesome, we've covered that. Sex is also awesome, been over that as well. But the nature of our lives as parents don't leave enough room really for both on a Saturday night. Have some wild sex, you are giving up precious minutes of sleep. Have some wild dreams and nope, sex isn't on the table. Sure, you can have sex dreams but crazy you (he's in charge!) always fucks that up. Right at the good parts and bam, crazy you decides that it's time to throw a picture of cute kitty cat in the mix getting it's head lopped off by a chainsaw. Crazy you has some serious issues he needs to work out.
So what do you choose?
Well as parents, luckily, that decision actually isn't ours. Nope, we all gave that up. I gave up that decision 8 years ago. Yup, I no longer get to choose whether it's sex of sleep. I don't get to choose because as I'm laying there, making the pros and cons checklist of both, a sick 6 year old boy walks into the room. He wants snuggles because he has a temperature. And that means of course that he wants good old dad to put his hand on his back and tell him stories. And right when you get that done and you think ok, I'll take sleep tonight. The baby wakes up. He has decided he can't sleep without making sure dad hasn't been abducted by the Knight of the Underpants so he screams. Dad gets up and heads into his room to assure him that no Knight of the Underpants can contain him. Go to sleep while you still have the choice. Then you go to the bathroom and your oldest daughter wants to know why everyone is up at 3 am. It's a good question that you don't have an answer to.
And that's the beauty of parenthood that no one realizes until it's already done. You don't make the choice between sex and sleep anymore once you have kids. The choice is made for you! You are free of all responsibility! The burden is no longer yours to bare, you've given it off! Others now choose for you.
And what's the choice that is made, the one that you no longer have any input into anymore? The choice that you gave up without realizing it? Whats the final decision! Sex or sleep!
It's secret answer number 3. It's neither. You get no sex. You get no sleep. You instead get a cat that pukes in your slippers and a dog that farts in her sleep so loud that the other dog barks.
Or perhaps this is all just another dream and crazy you is actually just a dick.
These are the words that I told Hossmom on a Thursday during our beach vacation. I never expected her to come with us. This was supposed to be my gift to her. I was going to give her the entire day at the beach by herself. She could drink pina coladas in her brand new beach chair. All day. She could catch some rays without any baby vomit on her. She could swim in the waves without worrying if anyone is about to play shark on the back of her head. She was going to get the chance to relax. No one was going to throw sand at her, cry if they didn't get the last poptart or attempt to pull her bathing suit top off because they wanted to climb to the top of mount Hossmom.
"No, I want to go."
She said these words and I knew that this was a mistake but I didn't say anything. How could I?
I took me time and this Thursday was supposed to be Hossmom's time but it appears that she didn't want it. She wanted to adventure with us. Sometimes, I don't think she understands what that means, or had at least forgotten about how the kids and I adventure. You have to go hard with the kids, you have to be all in. You have to keep your energy level up, to match their excitement. And when the excitement is missing, you have to provide it for them. You have to motivate them. Otherwise they would want to stay inside watching TV all day and we just can't have that. No! We are out in the world, we are in a part of the country we have never been to before! There are things to be seen, quests to pursue! Thursday is adventure day! I asked her if she was sure if she wanted to go.
"Yes, I'm sure!"
It's like watching someone taking the wrong exit into the bad part of town. You think: yup, this isn't going to end well. We should watch the news tonight to see if they were car jacked.
When the kids and I go adventuring, it can be an endurance race. If I do it right, at the end of the adventure, we are usually exhausted and that's what I had planned for this day. There is no relaxing. It is constant motion, never ending wonder and conquering. When there is a problem we deal with it and make it part of the story. We build the memory whether or not the memory wants to cooperate with us or not. Did she understand this?
I asked her one more time. Just to be sure she knew what she was getting into. You are going adventuring with dad. Are you sure? I do this everyday. I have molded my entire experience of being an at home dad on this type of stuff. I have trained for 6 years for this kind of thing. This is not an office job. There is no lunch break where you talk about adult things. There is no afternoon meeting in an air conditioned conference room where you discuss marketing strategy's. Ten to one there will a Porta Potty involved somewhere along the way. Are you sure you want to go? Her answer was yes. There is only so much one can do but dammit if I wasn't proud of my little office trooper.
Later that day, after our third stop. I asked her if she wanted to go inside the air museum with us. I thought she was about to cut me.
Pina Coladas on the beach. I'm just saying that was a possibility on this wonderful Thursday.
That is what was going through my head as I entered the studios for our local NPR station to do an interview about at home dads and the book Dads Behaving Dadly. I was also plugging our local dads group, KCDADS because why the hell not. If I'm going to be a shill, I'm going to shill for them all.
However, according to my wife, my friends, my family and people that I've never met except for one time at a funereal, I say fuck alot. I tend to cuss at inappropriate times and around inappropriate people. Like kids. Apparently I cuss around children. I'm fucking horrible.
This was going to be fun though. I am riding the initial high of the book. I am soaking up the experience, gathering the most of the memories that I could so that one day in the nursing home I could tell Jim, my roommate that inappropriately grabs the nurses, that once I published a story and someone not related to me thought I was funny. But I can't say fuck on the radio. That would be bad.
I like NPR. I hope they do well. I like the idea of NPR, the people's radio. I do not wish to cause them to have a scandal, much on the scale of the Janet Jackson superbowl, and thus shut down their station, fire staff and basically make it impossible to do a Pete's Schweddy Balls sketch ever again. So I can't cuss and that could be a problem. I, apparently, cuss alot. My wife reminded me before I left for the interview. This could be a problem as they asked me to also read one of my stories on the air.
I say "God Damnit" in the story. Going to have to censor that one. Look at that, only one story published for 10 dollars and I'm already a sell out. I have thrown artistic integrity to the wind for a grand total of 10 bucks. Awesome. I have reached the big time.
The whole experience was surreal though, could it be anything else? Who reads what I write and why would they? My daughter breaks stuff, my son is a pot head waiting to find his weed and my last son may grow up to knee cap people that owe him money. That's what I write about. But apparently it was good enough to get into a book and for a radio personality to want to include it as part of their show.
So when we went into the sound room, I am guessing that is what they called it, the top thing on my mind was not to say fuck. Because that would be bad and my wife would leave me for someone that has had 2 stories published. Then I could say fuck.
On a side note, when I met the "talent", Gina, she looks exactly like my sister in law. No kidding. Glasses, reddish hair, sweater and a big cup of coffee, slight of frame. It freaked me out for a sec, does my sister in law live a secret life of an NPR personality in the Midwest? Interesting, I've never trusted her. She is going to do some gotcha journalism.
But that didn't happen. It was a great interview, thoughtful questions and a good command of the room. I was pleased. I was even more pleased that I didn't cuss, not once. I didn't even say hell. Although I did almost slip up. She asked me how I deal with other's expectations as a stay at home dad. What I said was that my wife's expectations and my children's expectations are what matters. What I wanted to say "Oh, they can fuck off and suck it." But I didn't, I was diplomatic and was able to say basically the same thing without causing the FCC to come down like gang busters.
The interview went well and the hour flew by without me even noticing. I thought I did pretty good and didn't embarrass my group or at home dads nationwide. The producer came in after the show to take us back to the room where my children were waiting. They were waiting with some other KCDADS who came with me to watch them and then do a radio station tour.
They were in there for an hour.
My kids. For an hour. Without me.
The young chap, classy beard and an NPR aura around him told me "That was great. Let's go back. The room is kind of destroyed, you may have to clean up a bit."
And because I'll get asked, here is the link to the interview.
And Dads Behaving Dadly is now for sale on Amazon!
Click here to be taken directly to the link.
Get it for that special guy in your life. Or you mom, yes, get it for your mom because your mom loves me. Then someone should leave a review of the book on Amazon because it's got no reviews and that's very sad. But it's out, it's official, I'm published! I'm also going to turn comments back on on my own blog.
That's it. That's all I've got today.
Wait, I do got more. I've got the best joke ever told, ever ever.
This joke was told to me by one of the kids I coach for baseball. During practice I was handling first base during batting practice. For 6 year old ball, first base is really close to right field. So I always ask my right fielder to tell me a joke. It keeps them from running after a butterfly. I asked one of my boys for a joke. It turned out to be the best joke ever spoken.
Knock knock. (6 year olds only tell knock knock jokes)
Pigs on yo face.
Then he walks off like he just dropped a hot mic and strolled away.
Maybe it was the delivery of the joke that made it so funny. Maybe it was his utter confidence when he told the joke. Maybe it was his strut as he walked away as if he knew he just rocked my world. Maybe it was because I was totally unprepared for the punch line. I'm not really sure but I can't stop laughing. It probably has some deep 6 year old meaning, some double pun insult joke. I'm don't know. All I know is that when you tell it, and you will, you must walk away like you just owned that motherfucker.
The handle of my pot will get to hot because almost the entire length of it is over the burner. I have accepted this, it is a causality of war. I've already got a pound of butter out to sooth my skin. I know that you are not supposed to use butter on burns either but I am planning to. I have to. At this point, there is no choice.
Let me explain marriage to some of you. Now, I don't hold out myself as any kind of expert on many subjects. I have been with my wife for about 20 years, married for almost 15 now I suppose. I have had kids for 8. I feel that I have no real expertise to pass on to you. But that hasn't stopped lesser men than me so come closer to the screen and I'll pass on my knowledge.
Many people will say that marriage is an equal partnership. Some may say that it is unconditional love. It's support in tough times and it enhances the good times. Those people have never been married. Go away you single people.
No, marriage is about not doing things that your wife will remember 10 years from now. Marriage is about limiting that ammo for when she needs it. Say you get into an argument with your wife. It happens, even to funny people like me. Side note: Hossmom does not like my jokes when we argue and it just makes her more mad. I know this and yet I continue to do it. You'll understand why later.
Marriage is about not giving her and her elephant memory a chance to store up so much about past personal screw ups that she will use them against you when you are discussing American foreign policy. You'll make the point that perhaps she is wrong, so wrong in fact that Teddy Roosevelt just dug himself out of his grave and is at the front door to chastise her. And then boom, from left field, she brings up the time you told jokes during an argument when you guys were dating and it made her cry because she didn't think you cared enough about her. Then all of a sudden you are no longer talking about American foreign policy and the excellent points you made. You are apologizing for something you did when you were 24. Argument over because you'll feel so bad that you just can't continue because she's getting the sniffles even thinking about it. She's right by virtue of past guilt and your idiot 24 year old self.
This is why I don't argue much with my wife. I have no desire to be reminded of the mistakes that I have made over the last 20 years. And yet, she knows this and does not change the tactic. It remains.
Feminism, it can be to extreme. What, I used a small pot 5 years ago and burnt my hand and you thought I was going to drop the pot and boil the baby with it. Yes, you are right, feminism extremo is fantasitco.
Should the kids go to your old summer camp somewhere up in the northeast. That's dumb, why would we pay all that for a place you barely remember. But yes, I did once leave the oven on and therefore I was intentionally trying to burn down the house and I must hate my family. That means the kids will go to summer camp.
You shouldn't buy 12 shoes to see how they look at home and then just keep one pair. Wait a minute, I forgot the fact, and thank you for reminding me, that for a short period in high school I wore shoes that were made out of plastic. You should buy 20 shoes.
This is known to all long time married men. This is relationship fact. The result is though that your carefree days are over. Every thing you do you second guess yourself on. Normal every day tasks beg the question: is this going to haunt me when I'm 62 and talking about retirement? What, I once spent 20 dollars on a beer in Mexico because the guy just walked off and I thought he was getting me change but didn't? Why of course we should invest in the high risk start up at our age, what have we got to lose!
So what happens though is that all this gets pent up inside you, that ain't good. The only pain you should be carrying around inside is when your team didn't make the playoffs because of a missed field goal that they have hit 500 freaking times inside the 10. Stupid Philly. That's the kind of pain that a man carries around with him forever.
You have to find a way to do the stupid, to let it out without her knowing so that one day you can actually win an argument with her.
So when she's not home you put the very small pot on the very large burner and get the butter out. You know exactly what you are doing, you have it all planned out. You'll explain the bandage on your hand as a soldering accident. She won't know the difference because she doesn't know that a soldering iron can't grill your entire palm and that the scar will be in an odd handle shape. This is also why you keep her out of the garage. Take notes fellas, I'm laying down gold.
You have to take the small pains so that one day she will say "Hossman, that's an excellent point. I have never thought of it that way. I am very turned on by the size of your brain power. Make love to me."
Would honesty work better? Probably but you'll never get that far before she reminds you that one time in college you paid a guy to electrocute you using a car battery.
Bubba Hoss is going to a professional soccer game. I wasn't invited. That's fine by me. Any game that is called futbal but is not football bothers me. I know, very American. I can't help it. I hope the world enjoys the game, I can appreciate the fandom of it. I just can't get into it and I have no desire to go and watch a game. This is weird for me because usually I'm up for anything. I once drove 4 hours to see a big ball of twine. I can't watch soccer. I don't trust it. It's sending communist signals, I know it. I watch it and I keep wanting it to turn into Rugby. Just pick it up, stop kicking the ball, it isn't natural.
But my kids play soccer and I actually do a spot of coaching. My coaching consists of trying to tell the kids not to look at the airplane and to focus on the ball. They ask me "what ball?" I then remind them that we are playing soccer. I am teaching very important life lessons.
So when the opportunity came up for my son to go to a pro game with his friends, without me, I was more than happy to make that happen.
For some reason Hossmom wanted him to wear his sandals rather than his tennis shoes. I'm not really sure why or what difference it makes. Is it to hot for tennis shoes? I don't know. Is she fostering the hope that he'll be called in to play in the big leagues and go like a Brazilian kid and play with just bare feet? Then he will buy her a house and a maid while introducing her to Beckham? To complicated for Hossmom. She keeps her plans simple and shrouded in mystery. By mystery I mean she never tells me the reasons for the fashion choices for the kids.
I have made it my business to no longer question it. It's not worth the argument. She'll roll her eyes while trying to explain the fashion mistakes I am currently making that will result in the opening of a portal to hell and the destruction of Earth because the boy needs to wear sandals. I will be better off understanding the rules of soccer rather than to get into this with her. So I don't ask anymore, I just nod and agree. Yup, it's the middle of May and that means that it's time for sandals because the fashion magazines have made it very clear that sandals are only to be worn for the next 2 hours in this month. Anything else and you are an affront to the lord, so sayeth Kate Moss.
I have tried to tell my daughter how to handle this. She is 8 now and she is starting to assert her own fashion sense even more. I would say twice a week my wife and daughter argue about what to wear and not to wear. Little Hoss wants to wear a shirt. Hossmom says it has to be long sleeve. Little Hoss says she doesn't want to wear a long sleeve shirt. Somehow this will go to each article of clothing. It continues until I step in and tell them to stop arguing and for Little Hoss to wear what her mother says. I figure I can do this for another 3 or 4 years before it's full on world war 3 with those two. Pre-teen/teen is not going to be pretty. I just want family harmony. That happens when every one shuts up. That's my motto. Be quiet. I like it. As long as she isn't wearing a thong and a tube top, I'm pretty good to go. Apparently, I'm the devil.
Bubba Hoss now has to wear his sandals. He gets up to go find them. He brings them back to the living room. He does a little twirl and sits down.
Then he puts his tennis shoes right back on, leaving his sandals right on the floor. I watch this whole thing happen. I'm speechless. I don't know what to say. He went and got his sandals like his mother asked him. He sat down with them. He put them on the floor next to his feet. Then somewhere in his little brain he forgot about them. I don't know why.
It is possible that he was working some mathematical problem in his head, some unproven theorem. He must have stumbled upon the answer but it was so mind blowing that he forgot what he was doing. All he knew was that he needed something on his feet. If I put a loaf of bread next to him, 10 bucks says he would be wearing toast to the soccer game.
I see Hossmom about to lose it. She can't explain this and I know that her eye doesn't twitch because she's in a good mood. But at the same time, how can this not be funny? How can this not be exactly my boy? He's been doing stuff like this his whole life. I no longer want to explain it, I just want to be a part of it. You realize that he will be the death of us all, right?
He'll be near a red button one day and someone will say "never push this red button." 10 seconds later he will push it and all of a sudden we will be living in the book "The Road." If you haven't read that book yet, you should. It's very good and very depressing and about a man and his son. His mom's not around because she couldn't take the fact that her son didn't put sandals on. But dad is still there. But he dies, very sad.
I tell everyone that there is no more time, we are going to be late. I tell Bubba Hoss to get in the van, time to go. He has no idea that I just saved his ass. Hossmom still can't speak because she's not sure what happened. I can see her trying to put the chain of events into some sort of frame work that will make sense. That won't happen with my son. I find that he doesn't have to make sense, much like the fashion choices that I don't understand.
It's better for me to just keep the family harmony, to whisk away the small troubles and just get things done. Hossmom will try to understand what just happened but won't be able to because there is a secret to it. You can't understand it, there is nothing to understand. What you can only do is accept it and hope that one day, when he's sitting next to your hospital bed and you ask him for the remote, he doesn't think you mean to turn off your ventilator. It has a red button.
Let's try that again.
There is a god damn corn dog stick on the sink the bathroom.
I have no idea why. I have no idea where it came from. I have no idea how long it has been there. I have no idea why someone would even bring it in to the bathroom. I have no idea who would bring a corn dog stick into the bathroom.
Wait, yes I do. One of my three blessings. That's what you call them as a parent when you are trying to figure them out when they screw up. What you want to say is "One of my three jackholes that somehow sprang forth from my loins and who apparently can't figure out that a corn dog stick does not go in the guest bathroom sink." My blessings. That spend my money. Blessings that leave corn dog sticks in the bathroom.
As I'm picking it up I am running through the scenario's that may have occurred to make this happen.
Let's start with myself. I love corn dogs. America's meat wrapped in America's blanket. Who wouldn't like this healthy dose of capitalism and free market. It's the parts of a pig,cow, leprechaun that couldn't be sold as is. It's the left overs. It's smashed and grinded until it comes out looking like a cylinder of meat. Of all the meats, cylinders are the best. And because of it's pleasing shape, who wouldn't automatically forget that it comes from horse ass? That is some grade A level marketing right there. I also like to visit the bathroom. It's almost a hobby with me. So it is entirely in the realm of possibility that without my knowledge, I visited the bathroom while eating a corn dog that I made specifically for the bathroom visit. Multi-tasking. That certainly sounds like me, I'm a multi kind of guy. I'm typing this at the same time that I am looking at it, versatile I am. However, it couldn't be me because when I go to the bathroom now Bacon Hoss loves to follow me in. He also loves corn dogs and would want a bite. I of course wouldn't give him a bite because this is my corn dog, not his corn dog. He would then grab the corn dog and throw it in the toilet because that is just the kind of guy he is. He would also throw the stick in there as well ensuring that at some point in time I would have to fish it out. So by the process of logic, I can assume that it was neither myself or Bacon Hoss that left the corn dog stick in the guest bathroom. Mainly because I am a fucking adult and he is a fucking revengeful prick.
Little Hoss could certainly be the culprit in this case. Without a doubt this is something she would do. With her last pair of shoes, she left one outside. In the snow. I couldn't find it. I have no idea where it is. She came in and she had one shoe. I asked her where the other shoe was. "Ummmmmm" She's 8. What do you mean ummmmm. You had two shoes. Went outside. Now you have one shoe. Why did you take it off. Why is your foot wet. Aren't you cold? Ummmmm. So it is possible that she was eating a corn dog and decided to go look at in the mirror. Then she wanted to see what it looked like when she was eating the corn dog. She became very fascinated with this and continued to eat the corn dog while she watched herself in the mirror. However, at the end of eating the corn dog she remember that she might have left her shoe outside and went to go get it while leaving the corn dog stick on the sink. Although this story is fictional it has the ring of truth to it.
Let's get to my first born son. I don't even have to try very hard on this one. I love my boy but Jesus, kid is forgetful and easily distracted. He would be eating a corn dog at the table. He would then get up because he would have thought he saw the magical King Jeep the Fairy flying through the living room. Still carrying his corn dog, Bubba Hoss would have gone looking for King Jeep the Fairy. He wouldn't find him because King Jeep is a fast bastard. Did he go into the bathroom? Probably. And there my son would follow while still eating his corn dog. He would have looked around alot. He would have checked behind the toilet and he would have looked under the hand towels. Then he would have looked into the mirror. He would see his reflection and noticed that he was King Jeep the whole time! Crazy! He would have then put his corn dog stick on the sink as he has now decided King Jeep needs a sword. The swords are in the playroom, the corn dog stick is not. This is a very, very real possibility of what may have occurred. I wish I were kidding.
Three scenario's, three possibilities. I left out Hossmom but that was on propose. She hates corn dogs. I don't know why. She hates corn dogs and America, it's very sad. She doesn't like them because I don't buy the all beef ones. I tell her that she gets enough of that in the bedroom, wink wink. She hasn't stopped laughing yet. True love.
Look, I don't know who left the corn dog stick in the bathroom and I wish I could say that this is a rare occurrence. It is not. I find stuff like this all day every day. It's weird when you are walking through the house and notice on the floor is a bowl of cereal. You have no idea how it came there or where you were at when this happened. You eat every meal with the kids and they all put there dishes in sink, as required. But somehow, when you're not looking, shit like this happens. Somehow "put this in the sink" gets translated into kids speak a "put this bowl of cereal in the middle of the hallway."
I'll give the lecture again because it's the only thing I know to do. I'll save the corn dog stick, hold it up like I found the Holy Grail and ask who the prepatator is. Everyone will point at Bacon Hoss because he can't talk yet. Bacon Hoss will look at me then throw a banana my way. The banana will ricochet off my head and somehow land up in my bed. Tomorrow I will find it and wonder how and why a banana slice is in my bed.
Seriously though, I was asked to contribute some of my writings to a book called "Dads Behaving Dadly." So I did. And then the editors of the book liked what I wrote and decided to put it in the book. Seriously. I know, I'm not believing much of this myself and Eduardo certainly isn't believing much of it.
But it's true, I have seen my name in the table of contents. It's there, right there. My story "Rocking the Mornings" and then my name. I'm about to have something published that isn't on the back roads of the Internet next to the abandoned hotel website that you know has some sort of mega porn virus on it.
Again, the name of the book is "Dads Behaving Dadly" and it's due to come out over Father's day.
I'm terrible at self promotion, absolutely suck at it much to my wife's chagrin. I don't know why, it's just the way I am. I like what I write, I think I'm funny but I think I'm funny mainly in my own head. It always surprises me that anyone else likes what I write, seriously what is wrong with you guys? Baby Jesus judges you. But not Eduardo, he loves you, he lives for you.
I asked my wife how I should make the announcement that I have a story coming out. She said that I have to mention the name of the book many times. Dads Behaving Dadly. Then I have to link the site. Then I have to tell people when it's going to be available (Father's Day, 2014) Then she said that I should create an alter ego with a Latin name and completely derail any and all previous information by making awkward jokes that no one is getting but me. Dads Behaving Dadly.
She didn't say that last part. Hossmom is funny in 140 characters or less. She doesn't tell a good story. She doesn't get the set up, the build up to the punch line, the roller coaster of a narrative. She's to blunt. She's straight to the point and doesn't understand the dance a good story has to go through to make it memorable and somewhat decent that someone would ask you to write it and then put it in their book that is coming out on Father's Day. Dads Behaving Dadly. But she is a much better speller than me but at this point, my 8 year old daughter is a much better speller than me. Eduardo and I do not like the spelling, it distracts from the process.
Which means it is good that another person edited the story that I wrote for Dads Behaving Dadly, due out Father's day. Here's their website. Not spell checking took some pressure off me as I wrote it, sipping on whiskey and juggling chain saws.
Actually, I wrote the story after I got out of the shower and I was naked. Yeah, let that visual sink in. Drink it up boys and girls. That's not Eduardo's harry back your picturing, that's all Hoss.
I wrote it then because that's when the idea hit me. It was at night, no child was screaming at me or attempting to a throw hammers at my junk. I was drying off and boom, an idea came so I sat down and wrote it and sent it off. The editors had a heart attack with all the bad spelling and awesome grammar but after they were released from the hospital they decided what I did write was good enough for a book. Yea I'm published, due out Father's Day 2014.
Hossmom is in advertising though so her advice has been good in helping me make this announcement. She says that I have to be informative. I tried arguing with her and told her that I needed to be funny as well, Eduardo agreed. I said that just being informative is not very fun to write and not very memorable. I told her that sex sells so that as I was mentioning the story that I wrote for the book called Dads Behaving Dadly I would tell people that I wrote the story naked. Sex sells baby. She went to bed.
Now she's not helping anymore and I'm pretty sure that I have crashed this informative announcement about my new book, Dads Behaving Dadly (Father's Day 2014), right into the fucking ground. See what I did there? I continued the roller coaster of a story by cussing and now I am edgy. Eduardo said I should do that, he's edgy. And Dangerous. And all man. Yup, this is going well. There is no reason I should stop typing.
I signed a contract to. It was awesome. I agreed to write a story for almost no money at all. But I do get some money for the book, Dads Behaving Dadly (Father's Day 2014). How much really depends on you people. The book sells, I get more money. And with that money, if enough copies sell and the editors get there cut, the other authors get theres, I might be able to go to Sonic and get a Milkshake. The sweetest milkshake ever because it will be the result of my "publishing deal." That's what I'm calling it now. It's official, I'm an author. I got paid to write. When I do have to go back to work, many years after Dads Behaving Dadly has come out on Father's Day 2014, I'm going to put this on my resume. You guys can say that you were there at the beginning, 6 or 7 years ago when I wrote about a flat tire at work in an email and sent it to my wife. She said I should do this more often and thus the blog was born.
And now one story, an unpublished brand new story, is appearing in a new book called Dads Behaving Dadly that will be out Father's Day 2014. Buy a copy and I'll sign it for you because that's what you do when you have a publishing deal, you sign books. I'll make it funny, something witty like "To Jim: may your travels never involve a broken toilet in a Mexican Slum."
Or if you really want, Eduardo could sign it. He signs in cursive.
Dads Behaving Dadly. 67 Truths, Tears and Triumphs of Modern Fatherhood. Due out Father's Day, 2014.
My wife doesn't understand this, I tried to explain it to her. But I couldn't find anything of equal emotional value to my baseball glove. Her wedding ring symbolizes our love, but would she really miss it? Would she miss it like one does there baseball glove that they have had for 20 years? It's history with me, my youth and the deep down hidden (very hidden) belief that one day they will need an older man to play 3rd base in the majors and I'll get that call, I'll finally get that call. She's only had the ring for 10 years.
I had to ask guys I knew to borrow a glove. One guy offered me his wife's glove. It's pink. A bit of me died inside. It's locked away slowly rotting. I want my glove back. I can't find it. I don't know where it has gone to. It's made it through moves, through children, through dogs. It's finally gone and now I feel a bit lost.
20 years of togetherness has bonded us. It didn't so much as fit my hand but molded itself to it. I always knew where the glove was in relation to my arm, I could always tell if I could reach a ball hit my way or not. If I could get a glove on the ball, I had a pretty damn good chance of making the play. It was an unspoken partnership. My glove promised to protect my face, to make catches just outside of my range. I promised to secretly love it, to oil it when necessary and to use as a pillow when needed. Now it's gone and I don't know where it is.
I turned down the wife's glove and was lucky enough to find a buddy that let me use his. I am disappointed. It's a rag tag thing that has received no care. It appears to have been purchased at a garage sale that featured some sort of riding tractor attachments. It's not broken in right, it sits weirdly like a kid with a bad under bite. There is no padding to speak of, almost as this particular glove has given up and wishes only to be locked in a garage somewhere and forgotten about.
It doesn't fit my hand well. The inside is cracked and scratchy. I have big sausage fingers and I have to almost pry open the finger holes which makes me feel like I am somehow violating this poor mutant thing. The thumb is caked with dirt from years past and it gets in under my fingernails. I keep tightening the straps on the thumb but they don't tighten enough. I feel like I need to go down to the river and just drown this poor thing in a mercy killing. Guys who love their gloves would understand.
My old glove fit perfectly. It caressed my fingers, snuggled my thumb. It had just enough padding to protect my palm while still allowing me to feel the ball. It made that satisfying "pop" when I caught it just right. I really miss my glove.
I played tonight with my borrowed glove, the second time I have done so. I could blame my many missed grounders on a lack of range and a sedentary life style, but deep down I believe I would have had everyone if I had my glove. A ball was hit just to my right tonight. I put the glove down fully expecting the ball to hit the webbing. It didn't. It went right under it. This wouldn't have happened with my old glove. I also dropped an easy foul ball. I barely had to move. The thing is, it hit on the outside of my glove, on the top. I didn't drop it so much as just knocked it out of the air. I can't feel where this glove is, how much range it gives me. I should be playing with my hat.
Look, I know that I am older now and that 40 is about to become my new best friend. I don't have the foot speed that I once did, my range is now measured in inches and my arm is comparable to a rusty metal grate that makes weird sounds when I wave. But I could have made those plays if I only had my glove, my sweet sweet glove.
Hossmom says I should just go get a new one from a garage sale. I told her that she could buy her bras like that from now on as well. She is currently not speaking to me about the glove anymore. I'm glad. It's better to keep your inner pain buried deep inside so that your soul rot doesn't bother the neighbors. I don't want a glove that hasn't been cared for, that hasn't been oiled, tied with a ball in the middle and slept on under the mattress for a week. The one's at garage sales have obviously never been loved and I just can't use a glove like that.
I'll get a new one and we'll start a new relationship. We'll learn together. I'll find out what it can and can't do, I'll let it meld to my palm and I'll learn if the webbing can give that ever so gentle hug that a baseball needs right when it's coming at your face. In return, I'll keep it oiled and cared for, I'll make sure the bindings don't fray or that the dirt is cleaned out of the finger holes.
We'll grow together towards old age and maybe, one day, I'll be able to catch that foul ball. My grand kids will come to me many years from now and say "grandpa! I can't find my baseball glove! Can I borrow yours?"
I'll look at them, proud of where they are headed. I'll be lost in my emotions as I see them travel through my same path when I was young. I'll touch the top of his head and say "No. This is my glove. Go get me some whiskey."
She can suck it.
I'll tell you why.
My wife told my son to bring the trash can downstairs. Apparently she meant her little bitty trashcan by her bed. It's a small trashcan, just really a bucket. No problems. But my wife made the mistake of not realizing that she was talking to a child who pays about as much attention to what you really say as does a cat.
He didn't grab the little trashcan. He grabbed the big trashcan in the laundry room. He grabbed the one that sucks up all the gross from upstairs that they don't want to bring downstairs. I'm pretty sure it's a gateway to hell. It's almost as tall as him and certainly weighs more than his little stick self.
He did his best to bring it downstairs and I guess technically he did. He did by dragging it to the top of the stairs and then watching it heavily fall all the way down. Boom, boom, boom, trash is everywhere.
That's what Hossmom wants me to write about. But I won't.
I won't because after this avalanche of trash came descending down, what did she do? She began laughing. She began laughing hard. And that's all she did.
And that's what I'm writing about.
Why is it me that has to clean up this mountain of grossness? Why do have gloves on and a broom in one hand? I was doing yard work all day. I was cleaning the garage. I was about to build a chair! I just came in for some water and a bit of rest as it started raining. I trimmed all the bushes, I pulled all the weeds. It was my break time. I'm going to inform the union. Oh, I have a union. I'm the president and the only voting member. It can get a bit crazy at times.
But no, now I'm here picking up trash before the baby can play in it. And believe me, the baby would play in it. He is drawn to destruction like moth to a flame. If something is going down that involves injury or contagious disease, he knows exactly where he wants to be. Right now he is in Hossmom's arms. Yup, she's playing the mother card on me. Oh, I have to look after the baby, my baby, I have to hold my baby. We can't let the baby play in the trash, what kind of parents would we be. Oh, let me hold the baby, it's truly the harder job. Here, you'll need this new trash bag.
If Hossmom would have said "Bubba Hoss, grab the small trashcan from beside mommy's bed" every thing would have been fine. But no, she made a rookie mistake and gave vague instructions to a boy that thinks every instruction involves twirling in a circle. Tell the boy to get in the car and he'll do it in maybe under an hour, twirling and hopping all over the house until he gets there.
I'm left doing the trash. Now she'll say that she has been upstairs doing spring cleaning all day. She'll say that she's had the kids for the whole weekend while I'm playing outside. She'll say that she gave birth and that trumps everything. She was on drugs when she gave birth, did you know that. Yup, she was on the epidural train, high as a kite. She didn't even yell at me and she originally wanted to name our son Yustus. True story. High as high gets. Thank god I was there or we would have baby Theodore Yustus Penmenship running towards the trash. Now she is mother of the year.
It's the laughing that gets me as I pick this vile crap up. Why is she laughing? Why does she think it's funny? Is it funny because it's exactly something that one of my spawn would do? Is it just in our nature to wreck everything, to repeatedly destroy every possession? Our family motto is "NO WICKER IN THIS HOUSE!" Laugh, laugh, laugh.
And seriously, what kind of kid just throws a full trash can down the stairs? Did he honestly think the top would stay on? Probably. Let's be honest, that's what was going through his monkey brain. He claims it was an accident and he has his mother to back him up. But I know better. He couldn't resist. It's in our genes. I would also bet that his sister was right behind him telling him to do it. I love my kids but I sure as hell don't trust them. Perhaps that's what being a real parent is all about.
So no one can get into trouble here. I don't make my son clean up with me because honestly he would just dance in it and make it worse. My daughter is suddenly incognito and my wife is sitting on the couch laughing like a hyena.
I pick up what looks to be a cross between dryer lint and cat puke. That's what I do. That's how I am providing for my family. It stinks, it smells like, well cat puke wrapped in dryer lint. Let that sink into your brain for a minute.
I'll plot my revenge and it won't be pretty. This summer I'm going to the pool every day, every god damn day. And I'm going to send her pictures of me at the pool every day with little Yustus. And at the pool, I'm going to have a frilly drink with an umbrella in it, non alcoholic of course. Then we'll see who's laughing.
And no more trash cans upstairs. That's the new rule. Pool every day with an umbrella drink, no trash cans upstairs, and no wicker in the house. That's our new family motto.
She was like a drug addict when she gave birth. Just want to throw that out there one more time.
First off, Bacon Hoss is 1. Not old enough to move out on his own but well on his way. I think that he is offended by clean things, that it somehow hits his sense of decency. A clean room is a room that has no life in it, no joy in it. Joy is the mess, joy is the destruction. Perhaps my youngest son is a evil villain and if he is, I am sure he will be very successful at it.
Washing clothes in this house never gets done. I have no idea why. There is no day that I don't do laundry. There is no day that I don't load at least 2 full baskets. And yet, there is always more. Always more stuffed under beds, behind couches, on top of bookshelves because why the fuck not?
I was doing laundry today, as I do every day. I was attempting to put away Hossmom's clothes. Normally I do not do this. It offends my sense of decency. Not really but I like the excuse better than the real one. I fold them the best I can and put them in her own basket, to be put away by here.
I can't figure out Hossmom's clothes. They make no freaking sense. They are all delicate, lacy and sheer. I feel like my meaty hands are soiling them after I wash them. Jeans and a T-shirt, that I know how to do. A womans work shirt is a puzzle that only a man meditating for 50 years can understand.
They do not fit on any hangers, I do not know why. Who would design a shirt this way? Why??? You get one shoulder on and the other falls off so that eventually you are performing some weirdo balancing trick with a freaking shirt. Multiply this by 20 and that is how I was spending my day. Pants don't fold right, it's like trying to fold a fitted sheet. Eventually you just get frustrated and wad it up into a ball and through it onto some random shelf.
You can imagine that this does not make Hossmom happy when she sees her clothes like this. But I submit that putting away her laundry is like trying to organize friends according to height.
My clothes are easy. I just did them. Jeans fold nicely and go in a drawer. Socks, all white and all match go in a drawer. Her socks are like where weird socks go on vacation and end up staying after giving up on life. Shirts get hung up, they fit on hanger, and hang neatly. Work shirts fold nicely and fit in the drawer nicely. This took me only about 15 minutes for about every article of clothing that I own.
It's taken me a good 30 minutes to hang up 3 shirts in Hossmoms closet. I was trying to get everything finished. A clean house gets me a happy wife. A happy wife gets me other things, things that happen when the kids are asleep. Like foot rubs.
After a while, I realized that I hadn't heard from my youngest in a while. Never a good sign. I assumed that this meant that he was probably in the toilet playing in poo water. He does that. When it's bed time he's loud as hell. When he's doing something he shouldn't, quiet as a mouse. At 1, he understands this.
I go to check on him and go past my chest of drawers. Two of the drawers are open which I find odd because this is one of my pet peeves. In fact, I'm so annoyed that they are open that I don't really register the fact that there is nothing in them. It escapes me. Perhaps I wasn't on my A game today.
I walk into the hallway just in time to see Bacon Hoss toss my last pair of underwear right over the railing, sailing like a kite down the stairs, hitting the last stair like a fluffy cloud, quite beautiful in any other circumstances. They were my pirate boxers to. Just want to throw that out there, that I have pirate boxers. I love being me.
Next to my pirate boxers are the entire contents of both drawers. Right there, on the floor and the steps like my chest vomited after a hard night of chest parties, it drinks to much. I wasn't happy, understandable. And after a few choice words to a toddler that has no idea what I'm saying, I grab a basket and head down stairs and retrieve them all the while still lecturing my child because I couldn't think of what else to do.
I put them on the bed, still annoyed, tired, exasperated. Damn it, damn it, damn it. I just put away most of this 30 minutes ago. Now I'm doing that same job right over again. In effect, I have made no progress what so ever. None. I am an t a 0 for productivity for the day. I am not happy.
I am not happy that I have gotten no cleaning accomplished. I am not happy that I'm doing the same job right over again. I am not happy that I do not see my son, where the hell man. He was right here a minute ago, I was lecturing him.
I hear something snap in Hossmoms closet.
God damn it.
I go inside the closet to see my son pulling Hossmom's shirts off the hangers. The three that I managed to hang up and about 20 more. While I was lecturing to apparently no one, he made his escape into the closet and picked whatever his grubby hands could reach, my wife's clothes.
"Stop!" I say.
The little bastard turns around and looks at me.
Then I swear to god he smiled, the little butt hole smiled, and pulled another shirt off.
And that is when I decided that I would no longer attempt to put Hossmoms clothes away. I put them into the basket. Plus a few more shirts that don't need to be washed.
I am in a field, a large field. I am laying in the grass, it is soft. It contains no bugs, no chiggers, no burrs and no dog poop. There is a breeze, a nice one to offset the amazing sunshine. There is not a cloud to be seen. It's 75 degrees, it's as if God set his thermostat to greatness, just for me.
My head in is my wife's lap and she is running her fingers through my hair. We are not talking, just enjoying the day. Occasionally she will make a comment on something that she has read. I'll agree with her because right now I am very freaking agreeable. To anything. My arms are spread wide as I enjoy this.
My daughter is feeding me grapes and cheese cubes while I lay on my wife's lap. I did not ask her to do this and I don't know if she ever saw this being done. She just started doing it. She asked me if I wanted a grape. Hell yea I want grapes. So now she is feeding grapes while I talk to my wife and look at our pristine sky.
My son is flying a kite. He has it well under control. He did not drop it, he did not break it. We even got it up on the first try. My other son, the baby is taking Cheese-its out of a bag and then putting them back in. He has been doing this for 15 minutes. When he gets bored, he runs around the field then comes back to the Cheese-its.
It is here, at this Kite Festival, that I realize that I have attained success. That my work as a stay at home dad has been validated. That if there were awards for awesomeness and for level of success, the president would be pinning this on me. Eating hand fed grapes on my wife's lap, there can be no other criteria for success.
This means of course that every decision that I have ever made in my life is hereby validated. With each grape dropped like manna from heaven into my mouth reassures me that my path, while unusual at times, was the correct one.
The day 6 years ago when I decided to give up my career, leave behind money and importance, is validated.
The day we moved to a different city in a different state, was the right call.
Should we have another child? Today that answer is an unequivocal yes.
Should I have gone to Mexico when I was 20 and then paid a guy five bucks to shock me with a car battery in some weirdo macho show of awesome to impress my wife? Apparently that was the right move because EVERY DECISION I have ever made has led me here, to the Mount Everest of Success.
Should I have let Little Hoss take a leak in the woods when she was 2? Good call. Should I have given my son the mallet and told him to hit something only to realize to late that it was my car? Apparently. Should I have toughed out my first kidney stone so as not to panic my wife? God damn genius.
When looked at through this lens of grapes, cheese and head rubs on a sunny day, every bad decision doesn't seem bad at all. It seems to reveal that even unknown to myself, I'm pretty fucking smart. If my bad decisions led me here, imagine where I would be if I really put some thought into what I do.
Scratch that, I know exactly where I would be. I would be right here sucking on those grapes.
So many apparently bad decisions, all suddenly all wiped out. Do I need to get that looked at? Apparently not. You shouldn't take that road, it's to muddy. Think again. One more drink young college Hoss. Yes, I believe I will. I am living the life of what is written about since the Greeks. I am eating grapes. And cheese. On my wife's lap.
Of course, there is only one direction to go from here. Its a road that is pitted with babies that won't go to sleep, with children that are learning to get a smart mouth, with cars that won't start and with pipes that burst in the middle of winter. I know this.
But I also know that the Kite Festival comes back next year, in the same place, in that same field. I have already put my grapes on lay away.
Although Bacon Hoss has the mental capacity of a chimp at the moment, I am sure he knows that his mother is gone and senses that now is the time to strike. He is trying to display his dominance over me, to break me. My other children have tried and failed but they may have put a crack in the armor. They may have softened me up so that Bacon Hoss can strike the death blows.
His behavior changes when she is gone. Or perhaps mine does. Perhaps I become less patient, more tired by day number 3 of solo parenting. I'm not sure but I know that when she is gone, that's when he's at his worst.
Dinner time. He doesn't want to eat. He wants to scream. I assumed he was screaming initially because he was hungry. I made him nuggets and gave him some slices of cheese. A little amuse bouche prior to the main course that my daughter describes as "gross." I don't think he was hungry so he entertained himself by feeding every god damn thing in front of him to the dogs. He did this while screaming.
Little Hoss is running around me in the kitchen. She's a blur as she goes from one side of me to the next. I have told her to hang back a sec, that dad needs to drain the noodles for the spaghetti. She did hang back, counted to one, and then came right back in. She has questions, she always has questions. And she wants me to see stuff. She wants me to see everything. It can be a bit distracting. Then she stands on my toes the minute I lean back to survey what else I have to do to get dinner ready.
Bubba Hoss is standing at the table. He never sits at the table, his constitution will not allow him to do so. I spend a good 1/3 of my time during dinner putting him back in his chair. Then I lecture everyone on manners and proper etiquette. They nod like they understand me. They repeat what I say back to me that makes me believe that they know what I expect of them. This of course, is bullshit. They have discovered if they just nod along eventually I'll shut up.
I sit Little Hoss down while answering her latest question: Why are there houses, why were they built and why were they built where they were. Can I build a house? Did I ever build a house with my Daddy? I answer as I pour the milk. One day she'll know that I'm just making shit up as I go along but right now she believes me. Or maybe she doesn't and just wants someone to talk to.
Bubba Hoss has discovered the very interesting fact that you can put your fork in the milk and then take the fork out. Yup, that's what he's doing.
I serve dinner. I cool some off for Bacon Hoss. He doesn't want it. He wants to throw it. He does and it leaves his little munchkin hands before I can stop him. Little bastard got quick over the last month. I see the spaghetti sail through the air and hit the back cushion of my chair then roll down into the cushion, between the back of the chair the pillow. I haven't even had a chance to sit down yet.
I get a wash cloth and head to my chair. Silently I'm impressed on the distance he got on it. I remove the cushion to clean up the thrown spaghetti. That's when I see the smashed banana clinging to the back of the chair, out of sight and out of mind. When the holy hell did he do this? How long as that banana slice been there? I have to practically pry it off and it leaves a nice dark circle that I know I'll never be able to get out. The chair isn't that old. It's my chair, it's the chair that I relax in. Now it's my banana chair.
I give up on Bacon Hoss after this. He'll eat when he'll eat. I put some colored cereal in front of him. I think the colors will distract him and at least give me a moments peace.
Bubba Hoss spilled his milk. I make him clean it up as I hear the dogs lapping up whatever hit the floor. This is how the dogs earn their keep around the house and it's a job they do well. Although apparently they don't like bananas. Bacon Hoss doesn't want the cereal I gave him. He throws them at the chair. I'm sure some get in the cushions but I'm to tired to care.
Bedtime is here, finally here. We do stories, we play a bit, I put Bacon Hoss down in his crib. He doesn't want to go to sleep and starts crying. I'll spend the next hour getting him to go down. When my wife is here, he goes down fine. Now that she's not he knows that this is the most opportune time to break me. But at the end of it I give him a bit of a shocker. He starts to cry again. I wish him the best of luck with that and shut the door. If he's crying 2 hours from now I'll go back in there but not a second before.
I spend the next hour of my night dealing with the other two. I do tuck ins twice, I read 30 stories and I check for monsters constantly.
I head off down stairs and sit in my chair and on cereal. I'm beat. I should go to bed but I don't because when the wife is gone I think of all the horrible things that could happen while she is away. I think that a tree will fall outside, come through my bedroom and crush me. No one will know of course because no one is checking up on me. Little Hoss will find me in the morning and ask me why the tree hit me. Hopefully she'll have enough sense to go to school because that's still important.
My wife calls and I tell her about my day. She asks me how I'm going to spend the rest of my night. I tell her that I'm going to watch Frozen and sing along. It's a lie and I think we both know it. I like though giving her little sugar plum images in her head though before she goes to bed in strange place with no kids screaming at her. I wonder how good she is at throwing banana slices.
What I'm really doing is watching some god awful horror flick that is terrible, not even one shower scene. I'm also messing around on the computer thinking that I will probably write some of this down for future generations. I pull the computer a bit closer and I see a flash of light to my right and then the lamp pops. The downstairs goes dead. In my head I'm wondering if a tree is about to fall.
Crap. House stuff like this also happens when she is gone. I think the universe is conspiring to kill me. Hossmom was gone for a bit when we had a water pipe break to. I can't even hide from the world in my own house.
I have to go into the cold, dark garage and check the breakers and discover one has been tripped. I flip it back on and we have power once again. I go back to my computer to figure out what new booby trap is waiting for me. I look at my computer cord, it's exposed and practically in half. Somewhere in this house is a very lucky cat I think, a lucky cat that perhaps chewed on a cord when it wasn't plugged in.
Or Bacon Hoss, maybe this is just the beginning.
Can I make it another two days with no breaks? Probably but what comes out the other side may not be a sane man.
That's what you have to write so there is no confusion when you plan on writing a small little story about how he is also a dick.
How can he be a complete peckerhead at 1 year old? Easy, apparently.
Again, I love Bacon Hoss very, very much.
He apparently loves computer cords, especially the ones that are plugged in. He loves them so very much. He loves them so much that he wants to chew on them. Then he wants to pull them out of the wall. Then he wants to love the wall socket. You wouldn't think that this little person could fit behind a couch that even the cat can't but you would be wrong.
As much as he loves the computer cords, he hates the actual computer. He can't stand that such a thing exists. He hates email, he hates banking websites, he hates this very blog. If I ever try to get on the computer while he is awake, anywhere in the house, he immediately makes a beeline for me. If the computer is in my lap, he grabs whatever toy is available and attempts to break the key board. The little man has quite a swing. If the computer is on the counter, away from his fists of fury, he runs and grabs my pants legs and screams. He wants to know why I am not plugging the computer in to where he can chew on it. He doesn't think I am very accommodating.
Sure, if you see him out and about, he's all smiles. He's cute, he'll melt you with his little blue eyes and blond hair. He may laugh a little bit at you. He seems like he is so well behaved. You'll see him walking in the store and not pulling on the shelves. You will not see him scream and throw a fit. You will not see him attempt to headbutt his father while he sits on my lap.
But at home, he's a dick. Away from public view he commonly tries to break my nose to the point where I wonder if I am in an abusive relationship. He laughs as his head screams forward like a little maniacal Aryan. Stupid blond hair. He's drawn blood more than once. There's never any warning just a blond flash of hair and wham, you're bleeding.
If it's not my nose he's trying to break or a computer cord he wants to chew on, it's either the toilet or the stairs. I have many other father friends with kids my son's age. None try to climb stairs. Dad says no, they look and then walk away. My son, on the other hand, is pulling a little baby screw driver from his diaper and trying to pry lose the screws that hold our baby gate in place. Yup, I've had to screw it right into the rails because he pulls himself up on it and screams like he's in a little baby Attica. Unfortunately, the world does not come with baby gates in front of stairs. If we are out and about, and no one is watching but me, he makes for the stairs. Any stairs. I'll stop him, he'll throw a fit unless someone is watching. How does he know how to do this? How can he play public opinion like a seasoned politician? I have no idea and frankly, I'm kind of impressed.
I'm less impressed when he tries to get into the toilet. I wonder if he has some sort of death wish? He loves toilets, he loves throwing things in toilets, he loves to put his hands in the toilet, he loves to watch me on the toilet. It's creeping me out. If the door is shut when I'm in the bathroom he throws a fit like you've never heard. It's louder than he's ever screamed for anyone else but me. He saves his good fits when we are just alone. Half my day is spent peeing while standing on one leg and fending him off with the other. I've tried to sneak around but he knows, good god somehow he knows. And he knows that our downstairs bathroom door doesn't latch that well so if just a little bit of pressure is applied, the door pops open, stupid house. He ninja strikes me so much that now I just naturally pee with one leg hanging in the air waiting to fight off the inevitable attack that I know is coming from someone that is about a foot tall.
I try to remember if I've seen this kind of dickishness in my other children and I'm not sure. Have I just forgotten it all? Little Hoss could be tough, she would cry unless I was constantly moving around. And she loves to break stuff, even as a baby. Bacon does that too. Bubba Hoss though was a pleasure, we would snuggle all day and all he wanted to do was play with Dad. Bacon wants to play with dad, for blood.
Which brings me to my last reason why my youngest is kind of a dick. He woke up from his nap a bit early. I was knee deep in dishes, ya know, so the family wouldn't live in filth and all that. So I didn't immediately didn't run upstairs to get him from his crib. 5 minutes go by and I head up to get him. He didn't sleep much, only an hour or so. I open the door and I am greeted with my little blond boy. My little blond boy with tons of blood running out of his mouth.
Of course, I freak out. He's screaming loud, very loud. He's crying. What the hell happened? Why is he bleeding in his crib. I rush to his side to pick him up. He stops crying but the blood and spit are now mixed together and dripping on me. I don't much care, I'm worried like hell.
He trys to headbutt me. Again. Then it clicks with what happened. I open his mouth and check all his teeth, remembering which one's he has and which ones he doesn't. I'm looking to see if he's knocked out a tooth. He threw a fit in his crib. When he throws fits he headbutts. He's tall enough now that the edge of the crib is right at the level of his mouth. He headbutted the crib edge with his mouth and I'm worried he's lost a tooth. He's got them all, I think. And then I find where the blood is coming from. He cut the inside of his upper lip. That had to hurt.
This is his punishment for me. Since I didn't come running immediately, he is trying to give me a heart attack. I was pretty close. I don't like to see my kids bleed. I can handle blood but I have a tougher time handling when my kids are in pain.
We sit on the couch, we turn on a little music which he loves. He's quiet now and is lightly bouncing his head on my chest. It's ok. I would rather him headbutt me then something else, like the oven, while it's on, disconnecting it from the gas and then lighting a match. He would do it. I can take the headbutting, I can heal and isn't that what fathers are supposed to do? Aren't we supposed to take the pain so our little ones don't have to? He's my son and I love him.
But I don't love going to the toilet anymore. I'm just going to start using his diapers.
But I'm not letting any of them go until I've said my piece. As a Dad, we have to do certain things. We have to be strong, we have to offer that sense of safety and security that they won't have as adults. We have to provide discipline and rules and the flexibility for them to challenge them as they get older. And sometimes by God we have to give lectures about important shit because one day they will appreciate this and if they don't then I've screwed up.
To them, this is just a wall with a few grafitti marks on it. One has a spray painted shark, the other has some weird looking words that they don't understand. If I wouldn't ahve made them stop in their blinding race down the exhibit hall, they wouldn't even have noticed it. Maybe that's a good thing, to not notice oppression. Maybe it's bad because how will they know it?
To me and many others, these two sections of wall are symbols of a very scary time. It's the symbol of a divided city, surely, but much more. The pieces of the Berlin Wall that I am staring at are symbols of a cold war that is hopefully gone forever. They are the symbol of nuclear destruction, of a red army that none of us really knew how big it was. It's the symbol of two superpowers playing other nations like pawns as we squared off on each other for pretty much world domination.
My kids don't care. To the them, the spray painted shark is not good, not good at all. They have declared that it is something that they could do easily, Jackson Pollock was a pussy. Little Hoss wants some spray paint so she can show the artist what a really awesome shark looks like. Bubba Hoss is just turning in circles, he's not even listening.
This is when I lose my shit. I like to think that I don't often lose it but I would know that's probably a lie.
I grab some necks and knell down beside them. We look at the wall. I try to compress the history of the last 50 years that the wall represents into under a minute. Their attention spans are that of gophers. If I put some ice cream on the wall, perhaps they would pay attention. I can feel my son squirming. "This is important!" I tell them.
I tell them about the red scare, of the weapons pointed at our very country. I tell them of geopolitics and of unwitting nations used as chess pieces. I tell them of a culture of fear and from that fear, greed that came with it. I get tripped up on myself. I'm not really sure how to convey the cold war in such small terms, in a way that they will understand.
The baby is now trying to pull down my pants. He's got a thing right now for my pants, I have no idea why. Maybe they offend his tiny sensibilities in some way. Maybe he thinks denim isn't the right fashion choice for a man of my stature. I'm not sure really. He's just yanking really hard on my waist as I am kneeling talking to the other two.
Then he drops a cheerio down my butt crack. It gets lodged in there.
I think it's about time for my lecture to come to an end. I tell them to turn around more time and look at the pieces of the Berlin Wall that are displayed. I pick up Bacon and point him at the wall too. He'll have no memory of this but at least I will. I tell my kids that they won't know why until much later in life but what they are seeing is actually very important.
No, it doesn't move. No, It's never been in space. Yes, it's just a wall. An ordinary wall and that right now, that's pretty much the point. It's just an ordinary wall.
I feel that sometimes I overestemate my abilities as a parent.
When my end comes, I'm pretty sure that the words "over confident" will be mentioned in some accident report somewhere.
But we went mostly on the urging of Hossmom. She talked me into it. Although in hindsight, I think that I was manipulated into giving her a free night of wine drinking and watching sappy movies. I suppose there is only so much Spy Kids a person can take and she gladly encouraged me to take the kids to the space museum in the middle of no where Kansas.
I came to this relization as I was sitting on the floor of the hotel bathroom, the cold hard floor. It was the only moment I could get a thought to myself, a little time away from the constant questions and the 1 year old baby/toddler that has decided that sleep sucks, hotels suck, dad sucks, let's scream when I put you down and scream even louder when I pick you up.
The trip down was great. With a whole hour to plan this trip we were on the road right at Bacon's nap time. He slept almost the entire way. I through red box movies at Little Hoss and Bubba Hoss. I listened to old 60 minute shows on my phone. The trip down was freaking awesome. I am super dad, I need no planning.
But I do need diapers. Had to make a stop for those. Rookie mistake but we power on.
We get to the hotel. It looks nice on the outside, it looks awesome in fact. I got a deal on it, I prepaid. I can adventure like no one's business. In my wife's words, in convincing me to go when I brought up the idea several hours ago, "It's what you do Hoss. Take them. Go." She's wiley and played right into my ego there.
The reason I picked this particular hotel was because of the awesome pool. It was huge, it was indoors, it had a space theme. On line it looked perfect. Any seasoned Dad adventurer knows that you always pick a hotel that has a pool and I picked the one with the freaking awesome pool. Majesticically awesome is how I would describe myself.
Then we went in and discovered that the pool was closed for two more months but we were free to look at how awesome it would have been from the locked glass doors that my children are currently drooling on. The check in lady, no fault of hers I'm sure, says that she is sorry that the pool is closed and she agrees that I should have been told this when I made the reservation and paid. I ask her for suggestions for kid activities that I can do after 5pm, the current time. She has none. She should get out more.
We get our room and I ask for a luggage cart. They don't have one. Well, they have one but they can't find it. They have maintence men looking for it though so I'm sure they will find it soon. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to move all the baby gear plus our own luggage in without it, but it's ok. Super dad.
We go to our room while they look for a cart. The key card doesn't work. We try it again. And again. And again. On the tenth time and about when I'm going to give up, it finally works. This does not bode well. The room is nice enough but it does have a distinctive dead stripper smell. But hey, you get what you already paid for. 3 seconds in the room though and I know that this isn't going to work. I'm not spending the night with three car tired kids in a room watching bad cable for the next 5 hours.
I google nearby hotels. I call. The first one that has a room and a pool that is open gets our vote. I tell them we'll be there in ten minutes. The front desk at our current hotel is understanding when I tell them that we can't stay. I explain that I promised my kids a pool and that if I had known, I wouldn't have made the reservation. She understands and checks me out. She promises that my money will be refunded on my card. In a week or two. Fuck it, good enough. On our way out, the luggage cart magically appears because of course it does.
We get to our other hotel and they indeed have a pool. It's quite small, about the size of a good living room. And the water appears a little yellowish. No problem, I can work with yellow water. And they have a working luggage cart. I put all three kids on the luggage cart and our baby gear. I'm just happy we are checked in with a pool. I had to make two trips, 3 kids take up a lot of luggage space but that's ok, they thought it was part of the adventure not Dad trying to find a way to cope.
Dinner is next. I pick a buffet thinking it will have something for everyone. It does but again, my lack of planning and reasoning is where I mess up. Have you ever tried plating food from a buffet with one hand? Let me tell you, it's not simple. You get burned alot as you try to magically flip a piece of pizza on a poorly balanced plate that you have put on a non-exsistant counter. I couldn't put Bacon down, he would start screaming. I don't want to cause a scene. But what I do want to do is put on a show. So with the plate wedged against my fat roll and metal bar holding up the sneeze guard, I plate what ever is infront of me. Bacon and I are having some sort of chicken, some pasta thingy and I was able to grab the last two slices of pizza. Suck it world.
Bubba Hoss is doing well and is taking very slow steps with his food that his sister helped him get. He has a knack for dropping everything so he doesn't want to do it here, he's a good boy. It takes him 15 minutes to get to our table. I go back to get drinks and realize that I have forgotten a sippy cup. It's time to teach Bacon how to drink out of a straw. He's 1, can't stay a baby forever.
Dinner is finally done and I leave a genrous tip for whoever as I'm sure they will survey the amount of food on the floor and begin crying. Look, Bacon likes to chunk food when he's tired and right now, he's a bit tired. 5 bucks says I'm sorry, 10 says I'm really sorry and 15 bucks says please don't look at me when I quickly leave.
Back at the hotel, swimming goes well. No one gets hurt, no one pukes or craps in the pool and Dad is everyone's favorite pool toy. I think we have rebounded well to our early misfortune. Super dad.
And then at bed time, it all goes to shit. Little and Bubba are in their PJ's. They are playing and it's getting late now, around 10. Bacon however decides that he doesn't want to sleep. He doesn't want to play either. Nor does he want to lay on me, or the bed or in his pack and play that I brought. What he wants to do is to break my will. He's doing a pretty good job of it. For over an hour I fight this.
I know that he is tired, that he is in fact overtired and that is why he is being such a butthole. We hash it out with me saying "duck it" (that's parent code for Fuck it.) I put him in his pack and play and head to the bathroom to sit on the floor and finally cal Hossmom and congratualte her on a well played manipulation.
Eventually everyone does go to sleep. I come out of the bathroom and greatfully head towards the bed. In an hour, Bacon wakes up. He screams. I pick him up. I soothe him. I put him back down. This continues every hour until 4:30 and again I say duck it.
I wheel his pack and play into the bathroom and shut the door. I figure that the acustics in there will at least entertain him for a while. He immediatly falls asleep knowing that he has triumphed over me. I am not super dad, or majestic dad. I am over confident dad and he pays a price.
That price of course is paying for one hotel room that I don't use and for 3 all day passes to the space museum because it was the best deal. After I buy the tickets they inform me that the two special shows we want to see begin at 2 and 4 pm only. It's currently 9am. We need to leave by 1.
Over confident Dad, I like that guy, he gets shit done.
Duck it, let's have fun while we are here.