Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

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.

24

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.

“MAMA!!” He screamed, “IT’S TIME TO OPEN UP MY BUTT SO THE POOP CAN COME OUT.”

20

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:

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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.

“Sweetie?”

“Yeah.”

“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.”

“WAIT. Wha . . .? HOW’D YOU KNOW THAT?”

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.’”

And on the 1,103rd Day, He Made Her Cut the Boy’s Hair

I’ve always wanted a little boy with long hair.

Growing up and all the way into my adult years, I’ve been a “rocker chick.” I liked my dudes to have longer hair than me. (Until I met the LOML, of course.)

And during those years, I envisioned having a little boy with super cool long hair and a leather jacket and a name like “Dominic” or “Thaddeus.”

I could not have been happier after having Jake — he actually CAME OUT OF THE WOMB WITH LONG HAIR. It was like the metal gods smiled down upon me and said, “Ye shall possess a first-born son with locks that Metallica themselves would be jealous of.”

But then the LOML intervened and Jake got his first haircut at 5 months old. Because the poor kid had hair so long that we had to pin it up “samurai style” to keep it out of his eyes and mouth. It’s been short ever since. And sometimes the LOML goes so far as to shave it all off at the beginning of summer, which irritates the crap out of me because it makes Jake look like “Vern” from Stand By Me.

Then along came Benny. WHO WAS BORN BALD.

It took him three years to get his trademark hair — the hair everyone likens to that of Dolly Madison.

The LOML has been threatening to get his hair cut since Christmas. Then in April, I decided that I thought I’d be ready to go through with it by Benny’s third birthday.

Which came and went with no scissors in sight. I thought I was home free.

Until this past weekend, when the LOML called me on my bet, loaded the car with my camera gear, and said, “Let’s go.”

There were a few moments before we even went in where I thought I might cry or vomit or grab Ben and make a run for it.

But I acquiesced, grabbed my rig, and started to shoot. It was the only thing that kept me from having an out of body experience.

Below is the before picture:

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Benny Gets a Haircut

Benny, ROCKING the Dolly Madison look and waiting patiently for his turn in the chair.

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The noise from the clippers drew Benny’s attention to his older brother. Who HATES getting his hair cut.

Benny Waits to Get His Hair Cut

Benny looks on as his older brother is subjected to the clipper treatment.

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I probably should have promised him something cool, but all he got after he was done was a root beer sucker.

Jake Gets the Clipper Treatment

Seriously. Do I *REALLY* need a caption here?

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Five minutes later, Benny would get in the chair.

Benny in the chair . . .

I love this image. He sat down in that chair as if we had said, "We'll buy you some ice cream if you sit still." Oh, wait . . .

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I have a photo of the “First Cut,” but I couldn’t bring myself to post it. Here’s what became of the first cut:

Baby hairs . . .

Remnants of the "First Cut."

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And finally, the “After” pictures:

Jake's "After Picture"

This image makes Jake appear to be TWELVE YEARS OLD. Next week kids will start asking him to buy their beer.

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Benny's "After Picture"

Here's the 'Zilla with his new 'do. His shoulder action reminds me of Schroeder from "Peanuts."

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He seems to think that, now that his hair is shorter, he can run faster. If I had made that argument before going in, the LOML probably would have kept his hair long.

04

08 2010

The One With the Picture That Makes Everyone Think He’s All Sweet

Benny turned three in July.

And, poor little guy, he didn’t get a party or balloons or even a CAKE.

Because he’s the 2nd child. And second children get the shaft until they’re old enough to know better. And, not only that, but he’s ONLY THREE. All he cared about was that someone sang him the birthday song and gave him ice cream and a toy that made lots of noise.

Photo of three year old Benny, sharing ice cream with his daddy.

It looks like a tender moment, but what you don't see here is Benny flinging the spoon at his brother 10 seconds later.

03

08 2010