Sunday, June 19, 2011

(Father) The Fear of Fire

My second born son is a fire that rages through our house and burns up any energy my wife and I might have.  The most simple request can turn into World War III.  Tonight it was washing his hands after going to the bathroom.

"Did you wash your hands?"


"Why don't you go do that and then you can eat your apple."

"AAWWWWW!!!!!" as he falls onto the floor like I just stabbed him the gut with a kitchen knife.

"When you wash your hands you can have your apple."

"I'm not going to DO IT!" as he folds his arms and gives me the low brow and fuzzy eyeball. 

"That's fine"  He runs into the bathroom and tries to shove Beast off the toilet as Beast is trying to go poop.

Beast yells.  "Daaadddd!!!"

"Fire!  What are you doing?" I grab him and put him in his room.  "Stay there and I will come get you in 5 minutes."  He comes out.  "OK.  I'll give you a choice. You can apologize to your brother, wash your hands, stay in your room, or go to the time-out chair."  He lays on the ground.  "I'll give you 5 seconds to decide and if you don't I will decide for you.  Five........Four..............Threeeeee...............................TWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOO.....................
..................................................OOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNEEEEEEEEEEEE.  OK that's it.  You are going to the Time-out chair."

"AAAAAWWWWW"  Falls down. I pick him up and take him to the chair.  He gets up and I put him back.  This can sometimes go on for a couple of minutes.  Daisy comes in and sees what is happening. 

She states, "If you can't stay you won't get an apple"

"I already threatened him with that" I say.

"Oh." Fire gets up again.

"OK. No apple" She states.

"AAAAAWWWWW"  Falls down.

"I'm taking you to your room." Daisy replies.

"Daisy wait."  I say.

Daisy firmly orders, "You stay there until I come get you."  Fire stays for 10 seconds.  Door opens.

A little voice asks, "Can I wash my hands?"

"Yes you can wash your hands."  Daisy says.  He runs into the next room.  Faucet on.  Faucet off.

"Now can I have my apple?"

"No" I say.

"AAAAWWWW" Falls on the floor.

"We are going to have pizza for dinner."

"I want pizza!!"  I hear Beast from the bathroom.

"Finish pooping"  I yell back.

Fire pops up from the ground and runs to the dinner table where a slice is waiting.  "I want water mom."

"I'll get it for you"  I say.


"Well now you are talking to me!"  I say with raised voice.


Daisy sighs, "I'll get it for him."

"NO!  We can't give in."  I snap.

"Fine." She pours the water and hands it to me.

"You just poured it for him." I say with contempt.

"But you are going to be the one who gives it to him." she says exasperated.  We stare at each other.  "Do you want me to throw it out?" as she stands with the cup over the sink.

"Fine."  I turn to Fire.  "Can you ask daddy in a nice voice?"

"Please dad?"  I take the water from Daisy and hand it to him.  I turned to Daisy.

"I'm glad supernanny wasn't here to see that because we just royally f'd up that discipline process."

"Fire just stuck pepperoni up his nose." She whispers. 

"Let's pretend we didn't see it." I say.


"I'm really tired.  I don't think I have any more energy."  I hang my head in shame.

"I don't either."  with chin quivering.  Beast walks in.

"Did you wash your hands?"  I ask.

"Ooops.  I forgot"  He runs to the kitchen sink.

"Can you use the bathroom sink instead?"  Daisy asks.

"OK." as he turns the other direction.

"Did you see that?"  I ask Daisy.

"What?" She replies.

"You could see the golden ring sparkle above his head as he turned the corner."

"Yes.  I have seen it before.  Fire just spit out some cheese on the table."  as she frowns in disgust.

"The sunset is really pretty tonight." I reply.  Ignoring the comment.

"Yes.  Yes Goose.  It sure is pretty."

"I love you Daisy." 

"I love you too.  Fire just threw crust at your head."

"I know."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

(Father) Bull Sh*t

If there was ever a time when I was trying to get the better of my dad he would speak to me by telling other people in the room what he was observing.  And if there wasn't anybody in the room he would look at me and speak to the invisible man beside us.  He would say, "The young calf is trying to overtake the old Bull."  Translation: "I find your speech and behavior to be very interesting.  In fact, I see it as a challenge.  You think you are big and tough and that I am feeble and weak.  You think this is a good time to exert your independence while I do not.  You will soon learn your timing in this matter was horribly misjudged."  Then he would chuckle.  Translation:  "This is very cute."  

You can only try to overthrow the old Bull so many times before discouragement sets in.  It's like the tethered young elephant who can't get away.  Even when the elephant becomes an adult he can't escape from the same rope that is now, compared to the elephant, very small.  Maybe you think this is sad but fear not my friends.  My dad was right.  Timing is everything.  And my plan is coming together perfectly.

My plan is so wonderfully perfect that I will even go as far as to tell you what it is.  And why would that be so risky?  Because he reads this blog.  You heard me correctly.  He will soon be reading these very same words as you are doing right now. 

You see, my father is almost 63 years old.  In 30 years he will be 93 years old.  Do you see where I am going with this.  That's right.  Even though I will be almost 66 years old I will still be much stronger than him.  That is when I will strike!!!  Pillow over face for 5 minutes and I'm done!  I'm completely kidding.  Or am I?  No, of course I'm kidding.

Why am I telling you this the day before father's day?  Because operation "Bull out to pasture" will be fully operational on father's day 2041.  Let me set the scene.  He is sitting in his armchair watching television.  I come in with a bowl of chips.  He will ask for one.  I will say, with fear and trepidation, "no".  He will stare me down which will make my legs go numb.  With my numb legs I will get up and stumble over to the remote control.  He will lunge and grab it before I can.  I will try to take it and be surprised his arthritic hands are so strong.  He will try to bite me with his false teeth but it will be no match for the gardening gloves I will be wearing in expectation this may occur.  I will change the channel to a romantic comedy I have already set up in the DVD player.  Better yet, a science fiction movie.  He doesn't like science fiction.  Oh, and it will probably not be a DVD player but some sort of 3-D interactive machine.

Again, I imagine I will be shocked at his grit and determination when he proceeds to grab my hair in order to pull it with force.  But I will have again prevailed since I will have disguised my hair loss with a toupee for all of these years.  With him now on the floor I will, yes indeed I will, sit in his armchair.  I will then set the chips far enough out of his reach he will be able to smell them but not touch them.  And if he digs his fingernails into the carpet in order to gain ground?  I will pour an already prepared glass of ice water onto them.  With all his energy spent, and in an effort to avoid watching the movie, he will fall asleep.  It may be around 4 pm so it could be past his bedtime anyway.  I will then put the remote in his right hand (without batteries and the movie on a loop), leave my wig in his left, dip his teeth in lemon juice, and push the soggy chip bowl within reach (in case he is there for a while and gets desperate). 

I imagine I will take the doorknob in my hand and turn it to the right, think for a moment, and turn to look at my father.  I will feel bad.  After all, the only thing he had was his dignity and now it is gone.  But then I will regroup, stick out my chest, and pronounce, "The young calf has won!"  And even though the next day he won't remember what happened.  I will.  

Sunday, June 12, 2011

(Husband) BFF

Daisy and I went to visit my closest friend this past weekend.  We met in the 2nd grade and, at least from what I can remember, his first words to me were, "Why are your fingernails so long?"  I love Dot for many reasons.  One of which is he introduced me to Daisy.  It was Valentines day of 1997 and I was one of the eligible bachelors behind the curtain in a mock dating game.  I won and the rest is history.

What qualifies someone as a best friend anyway?  Is it your oldest friend?  The one that was the best man or maid of honor?  The one you talk most to now?  It would be appropriate to say my best friend is my wife.  She is the person I would choose to be with me if I were to be banished to a desert island.  But perhaps you can nominate one for best friend same sex and best friend opposite sex.  Do you have to talk to them a lot?  You just haven't found someone you like better so they are available until the next best thing comes along?  Or can you only have a best friend if you are a middle school girl who shares one half of a broken heart that says, "Be....Fri"?

I think one of the qualifications is that the affection has to be mutual.  You can't say someone is your best friend if they don't feel the same about you.  I also think the term, "One of my best friends" can't be used.  There can only be one best right?  Even if it changes week to week.  I'm also a big believer in ritual.  The pact must be made.  That is why, in the 6th grade, I asked Dot to be my blood brother.  The conversation went something like this. 

"Dot, I saw the most awesome movie last night!"


"No listen, it was awesome because there was this scene that had these two guys.  And these two guys thought the other one was really awesome."


"So they were so into having each others back that they decided they needed to become brothers."

"How did they do that?"

"They cut their own palms, clasped their hands together, and tied a cloth around their hands to seal the deal."

"That's gross"

"Dot!  It's the coolest thing ever!  Y'know how I've always thought it would be sweet if our parents divorced and one of our parents liked the other one and they got married and we both decided to live with the parents that were married and share the same room?"


"Well this is the next best thing! Blood brothers are so much cooler than step or half brothers because they don't decide that stuff.  But we do."

"I think it's gross"

"Dot!  Are you listening to me?!?  Cutting ourselves shows that we really really care.  I wouldn't even cut myself for my dad dude.  Y'know?  Like, I think we should even let the other person cut our palm.  Like, y'know, like we trust each other and stuff."


"Are you gonna eat those chips?"

"Dude, lets just walk around the track."

"Recess is almost over.  Are we gonna do this or not?"


"I found this sharp rock in the bushes.  Don't look at me like that!  I'm serious man.  Dude, your just scared.  ok, y'know how I've liked Karrie ever since first grade?"


"Well, if you do this I'll let you like her.  I won't even be mad.  You guys can kiss and I won't even care." 

"Karrie has a big nose.  What if you have some sort of disease?"

"That's even better!  Because then you share the same disease.  Your even more, like, bonded.  Your so stupid dude.  Ok fine.  Let's just spit in our hands and shake."

Dot continued to deny my requests until I finally came up with the idea of splitting a 2 dollar bill and for each of us carry it in our wallets.  I saw it on an episode in the mini series "North and South" where each friend was fighting for the other army.  Even though I didn't get the scar I wanted, after 25 yrs we still have half the bill in our back pocket.  Weird. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

(Father) Darth Dad

I watched all six Star Wars movies with my boys over the course of a month.   During the course of our movie watching experience, Beast asked me several questions.  The primary one being "why?".  And why was asked about........ohhhh.........maybe 10,000 times. 
Being asked why about several details of a story challenged me to think deeper about the relationships, characters depth, and storyline more than I would otherwise.  I couldn't take anything for granted by making shortcuts in my mind and needed to make the connections more evident to my consciousness.  A simple matter of teaching a subject takes more time but effectively promotes the learning process for oneself.  It also made me aware of how much I didn't know.

So when Beast would ask, "Why are Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker fighting?"

I would answer, "Because Luke needs to kill Vader to save his friends from dying."

"Why does he?"

"Because Darth Vader is bad."

"Why is he?"

"Because the emperor lied to him and said it was a good idea."

"Why did he?"

"Because he knew that.....well.....Darth Vader used to be Anakin Skywalker.  Anakin Skywalker was good but was also very strong so the emperor wanted him on the bad team instead."

"But Luke is called Skywalker."

"Well, they both have the same last name."

"Why do they?"

"Because Darth Vader is Luke's dad."

"Why is he?"

"Because Anakin loved Luke's mom and when two adults love each other very much old are you?"

"I'm five."

"Ok.  So Anakin and Padme had Luke and Leah just like your mom and I had you and Fire."

"Why did Leah......"

"Let's put that one on the shelf for a minute and watch the show."

"Why is Luke hitting his dad with the Lightsaber?"

"He is mad at him."

"Why did he stop?"

"Because he doesn't want to kill him."

"Why doesn't he?"

"Well......he thinks he can become good again."

"Why does he?"

"Because he loves his dad."  A tear starts to form.

"Why is the emperor hurting Luke?"

"Because he won't become bad."

"Why is Luke asking his dad to help him?"

"Because.........because........" chin quivering  "He wants his daddy to help him.  Look Beast!!  Look at what his daddy is doing!! He is killing the emperor!  He is killing the emperor because he loves Luke and wants to be good again!  Oh God.  No.  No no no no.  Dad.  Dad get up.  Get up dammit.  You guys have so much to talk about.  You can't die right now.  Just hold on for a few more minutes."

"Why is Luke taking his Dad's mask off?"

Crying now.  "Because he wants to see his son through different eyes.  Through loving eyes.  It's his dying wish."  I turn to Beast.  "I love you Beast."

 "I love you too."

"Don't ever put me in a home"."

"But we are already home."

"Don't ever pull the plug on me."


"All I'm saying is that anything I may say or do, from here on out, is not worth hitting me with a lightsaber over and over and over again."


"Do Ewoks poop?"

"Um.........I guess so."

"Why do they?"

"Well, they eat berries and stuff."

"Why do they?"

"I'm going to call grandpa."