Posts Tagged ‘Children’

Third Grade, Day One

Last night was “Back to School” night.

A couple of friends and I decided to hit a local pub just before the festivities began, which was not to my advantage, since in my foggy stupor, I ended up volunteering for events that I had planned on attending for pleasure. Yay me.

In the mean time, toward the end of the presentation given by my son’s very cool-awesome-fantastical 3rd grade teacher, we were given an assignment — write our child a note that he/she will be given on the 1st day of school.

And all of the sudden I wished I’d had at least one more shot of Patron, since the whole activity got me all verclempt and watery eyed and had me pretending that I needed to sneeze for TWELVE MINUTES STRAIGHT. Here is what I wrote (or something close to it):

Dear Jacob,

Welcome to the 3rd grade! Your dad and I are so very proud of you!

Please remember to be a good boy, follow Mrs. Teacher’s rules, and try not to talk too much. You know better than that!

Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you get confused. Remember – YOU ARE NOT “STUPID.” You’re an awesome boy and don’t let anybody tell you any different. Just do your best, always give 100 percent, and never EVER give up.

We love you, and we know you will do great things this year!

Love, Mom & Dad

I know . . . Cue the tears . . . But in retrospect, I wish I’d at least told him to have fun. I’m such a downer sometimes.

Good luck, sweet boy. Third grade is NO JOKE.


08 2011

Conversations With Ben: Continuing the Tradition of Embarrassing the Hell Out of Me In Public

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to my very first installment of “Conversations with Ben.”

If you’re familiar with my blog, you know that I used to (and will still, from time to time) maintain a segment called “Conversations With Jake.” Most of the posts were dedicated to how my oldest son, now eight years old, could take an embarrassing situation and make it worse by screaming something out loud in public about it.

Not to be outdone by his older brother, Benny (now almost four) has begun to rise to the occasion when I have been faced with these unfortunate circumstances.

Which, lately, usually has something to do with his total lack of desire to fully potty train.

Yes, I know. Benny is four. He’s taking his sweet time getting his shit together (no pun intended) because he’d rather crap in his brand new Spiderman underwear than actually STOP PLAYING AND USE A TOILET. But he’s coming along . . . albeit at a pace that will have him toilet trained just prior to his wedding rehearsal dinner.

The other day, we were at a very busy Costco. (I know. I know. These things always happen to me when I’m at Costco. You think I’d learn . . .)

It was Fourth of July weekend, and on top of it, we were having a late birthday party for Jacob, so we needed to pick up his birthday cake.

With Benny in tow, I proceeded toward the entrance and asked, “Do you have to pee or poop?” and he replied, “No.”

I checked his pants to be sure he didn’t decide to take matter into his own hands on the way over. When I saw that things were clear, we made our way in.

And about every ten minutes or so, I would ask him, “Do you have to pee or poop?” And he would always answer, “No.” And then I would repeat the looking-into-the-underwear thing, because I have no sense of smell and I certainly didn’t want anyone thinking it was ME who’d stunk up the joint. Not that I’ve never let one fly myself and then totally blamed him and said out loud, “Oh my GOD Benny! What did Daddy feed you?!” Kids are good for that kind of stuff but don’t go having kids solely for the purpose of BEING ABLE TO BLAME THEM FOR YOUR FARTS.

Anyway, just when we had found an awesomely short line for checkout, Benny decided that he needed to go.



07 2011

Conversations With Jake: The “Nay Kit” Flash (Or, Why You Should REALLY Make Sure Your Kid is Asleep Before Listening to Podcasts in Your Car)

Earlier this year, I wrote about a photographer named James Beltz (who I now refer to as “Professor Jimmy” around the house, because, as it turns out, he really DID feel uncomfortable with my calling him “The Jimmy Lama”).

To know him (through his podcasts) is to love him. He’s southern and charming and hilariously funny in his A.D.D./silly ranting kind of way and frankly, the LOML is starting to get jealous of my constant bringing up of his name. But the fact of the matter is that Jimmy is the only photography instructor that I know that totally gets “it.” He doesn’t take himself too seriously, gets his audience/students to relax, and teaches in a way that is both fun and challenging. And I honestly have NO IDEA where I’d be without his classes or podcasts.

ANYWAY, most of you know that I do quite a bit of my podcast listening while driving. And sometimes even while the kids are in the car. (Usually while they are sleeping, or else I get pelted with Cheerios or Cheetos until I tune the dial to Radio Disney. ACK.)

A few weeks ago, I had picked up Jake from day camp and didn’t even get out of the parking lot when noticed that his eyes were getting heavy and he had leaned the seat back a little bit in order to settle in for a nap on the way home. So I decided that as soon as he was “out,” I would plug in my iTouch and listen to one of Professor Jimmy’s podcasts.

And wouldn’t you know, it would be one where Jimmy uses the phrase “Nekkid” flash about 678 times. (“Nekkid” is southern for “Naked.” And a “Nekkid Flash” is what you would call one of those big long flashes you see on professional cameras WITHOUT what you would call “a white thingy” on the end. A “white thingy” is a flash diffuser, which helps soften and spread light evenly.).

And I remember thinking, Holy CRAP it’s a good thing that Jake is asleep or he’d be asking me what the word “nekkid” meant. BECAUSE YOU KNOW HOW INQUISITIVE THIS KID CAN BE.

Fast forward a few days.

I had hopped on to the computer before going to work to check out some recipes I was thinking about trying for dinner. And without remembering to bookmark the page that I’d found, I shut the browser down and turned the computer off.

When I returned home later that evening, I fired up the browser and decided to go to my internet history in order to find the site I’d been on earlier that morning. And this is what I found:



Yes, you read that right.

There were searches for “NEY KIT FLASH,” “NAY KIT FLASH,” and “Professor Jimmy,” among other things.

Now, if you are slow to get this, bear with me. BECAUSE THIS IS A DAMN FUNNY STORY. (The LOML had me add, “Damn funny to photographers, maybe . . .”)

After discovering the search queries I laughed. HARD. For, like, TWENTY MINUTES.

Then I picked up the phone and called the LOML.



“Uh, can I ask you a question?”

“Oh . . . ‘kay. What’s the matter?”

“Nothing. Nothing. Just wondering if you happened to be on the computer at lunch, looking for something to buy me for my birthday.”


And then I was all, REALLY? Have you NOT ever heard of the INTERNET HISTORY BUTTON?

“You’re joking, right? I KNOW EVERYTHING.”

“[Loud silence, and then a long sigh.] Fine. YES, I was looking up stuff I wanted to buy you for your birthday. But I couldn’t find what I was looking for.”

“And what exactly, dear, were you looking for?”

“Well, this morning on the way to drop Jake off at summer camp, I asked him what he thought we should buy you for your birthday next month, and he said, ‘The man on mama’s radio says that you can do just about anything with a nay kit flash, so maybe we should get her one of those.’”

Aged Two Years in About Four Weeks

So I was processing images taken from Jake’s football picture day, and I realized that with the stroke of some clippers and the addition of a football uniform, he looks as if he’s gotten two years older.

This was Jake at the California State Fair in July:



Here's Jacob, looking all little and innocent and like he'd never hurt a fly.


Now, the photo below is Jake over the weekend. He knows nothing of the man named “Mean Joe Green,” but he sure resembles him in miniature stature:



"Hey kid . . . what the hell you're parents feeding ya, anyway?"


He had no idea I was photographing him, and I have no idea what he was thinking about. All I know is that Jake, in the picture below, reminded me of Bobby Boucher thinking about something that was pissing him off so he could tackle the hell out of someone.



"Captain Insano shows no mercy!"


There’s a story out there about how, when I was little, I would wear a football helmet EVERYWHERE. Once I get the facts together, I’ll write about it. In the mean time, Benzilla now wants a football helmet of his own. Anyone got an extra one lying around?



Well, if he puts it on backwards, he won't see the hit coming.



08 2010

And on the 2,613th Day, Daddy Got His Wish

I’ve got a backlog of stories about festivals and crazy kids and how I apparently won artwork for an auction that I don’t remember bidding at, but all of that has to wait.

Because more pressing issues have surfaced in the Lancaster household that bear revealing. But first, I need to provide a bit of background.

During the winter that Jake was three, he measured 3′ 4″ tall. And weighed around 50lbs. That December, we had to prove his age at a Chinese buffet, because the woman behind the counter thought he was at least six. Luckily, I was carrying his shot record book, which has his birth date stamped inside it. All that to save $7.

Now, before Jake was even BORN, the LOML and I had conversations about what we hoped our child would accomplish and grow up to be — just like any other new parents. And after he was born, and as we began to realize how big he was going to be, the conversations always turned to sports. “He’ll DEFINITELY be tall enough to play basketball!” or “Holy CRAP this kid will make an awesome middle linebacker some day.” And then the LOML’s eyes would glaze over as he dreamed of his first-born son scoring a game winning touchdown in overtime for Notre Dame.

Anyway, later that week (after the Chinese restaurant visit, just before Christmas, 2006), Jake & I were standing in line at a video store. In front of us was a rather large black man in a track suit, who happened to be holding a baby carrier with a blanket over it to keep out the cold.

I leaned down to Jake and said, “Sweetie, look . . . there’s a baby under that blanket.”

And before I could stop him, he lunged for the carrier and pulled the blanket up.

The guy instinctively pulled the carrier toward him and turned around. Embarrassed, I said, “I am SO SORRY! I told him there was a baby under there and he took it as permission to look under the blanket. He’s only three . . .”

His response was to throw his head back, and say “THREE?!”

And before I could reply, he began to pat around at his chest in an attempt to find a pocket. When he didn’t find what he was looking for, he put the carrier down, reached for his wallet, pulled out a card and said, “Ma’am, I’m a youth football coach . . . could you please do me the biggest favor EVER and call me when this boy turns six?”

And I said, “Oh-KAY Jerry Macguire! Just because he’s a big kid doesn’t mean he’ll want to play.”

And he said, “Oh, I can get him to play . . .”

And I smiled and nodded and took the card.

When the guy was done checking out his DVDs, he turned to me and said, “I’m serious. You call me.”

We never called him.

But the LOML sure did get a thrill when I returned home and told him what happened. And he LOVES to tell that story. Because he always dreamed that Jake would play football, and it was validation that a football coach would look at his boy and deem him worthy enough to play AT AGE THREE.

Fast forward to last week, when the LOML gave in to years pressure he’d been receiving from a co-worker (who happens to be a Jr. Pee Wee Football Coach) and took Jake to watch a practice session.

He called me from the field and said, “Hon, you should see him! He looks GOOOOD.”

And I said, “What? I thought he was just going to watch!”

And he said, “I know, but he wanted to get out there and the O-Line coach was all, ‘Dude, your kid needs to PLAY,’ so, I let him run some drills.”

That was seven days, 729 conversations, and several hundred dollars ago.

Tonight, when the boys came home from the field, the LOML was carrying one of those big gear bags that football players use to hold their uniform and pads.

So it was official.

I’ve given birth to a Jr. Knight.


Jake, growling and ready to attack

Please God, let me not turn into a maniacal football mother.



08 2010