Category Archives: Fatherness

Open the Door. Get on the Floor.

180-mancare pe jos

What is the difference between cotton candy and a cotton ball?

To a toddler…not a damn thing.

Some folks may think that a small thing that has been dropped on the floor is no big deal. Those people do not have small children. You see, for a kid who moves about primarily on all fours and scans the earth with their eyes and fingers for the tiniest little scrap or bit (think a human Roomba), the floor is all they know. That is what makes up 80% of the entire world. Therefore, anything that happens to be lying about must be inspected thoroughly by first rolling it about in the fingers for a couple of seconds and then popping it into the mouth for a good chew.

This is truly the only way to learn about the world. I mean, that’s why college was such a struggle for me…too many things to put in my mouth. It’s true. When a strangely herbal smelling dude with dreads hands you a tiny piece a paper, the only way to learn about it is to put it in your mouth. You will soon taste the knowledge. You will also soon hear the colors and smell the music.

Later you will wake up in the bushes, likely with much fewer clothes than when you started.

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah. My son wanted to eat a cotton ball. I didn’t let him.

I rock at this parenting thing.


All Hail King Richard!

For some reason, during a recent conversation between my wife and I, we stumbled upon the topic of what we would like our grand-kids to call us, should we ever be blessed with any many, many years down the road. As far as I am concerned, you cannot begin planning stuff like this too far in advance. If you aren’t careful, all of the other grandparents will have the cool grandparent names like “Papaw” or “Gramps” and you will be stuck with something that happened to fall out of the kid’s mouth one day like “Nonka” or “Dooter”. No thank you.

Therefore, I would like to decree that, when the time comes, I intend to be referred to by my official grandparent nickname, “King Richard”.

What the hell, you might ask?

What’s not to like? It is regal. It doesn’t sound silly, assuming the kid doesn’t have some sort of speech impediment causing the whole thing to crash down in a big fiery “King Witchard” mess. Plus, it allows me a level of anonymity when dealing with the grand-kids, thus keeping my hip James H. persona filled with street-cred, or whatever it happens to be filled with at the moment.

Assuming my wife chooses something more traditional, such as the ubiquitous “Nana”, my name will blend nicely. “Here comes Nana and King Richard!” they will announce.

Yes, young one.

Here doth come King Richard.

And he is pretty freakin’ awesome.

I Need To Borrow a “Jaws Of Life”…

In the movies or in spy novels, you see people manage to gain access to the most secure places and things in the world using both simple methods, such as a lock pick or a simple wiggle and swipe of a credit card, or by extreme high tech hacking technology. Apparently, with a cell phone and a couple of transistors from Radio Shack, you can break into the U.S. Mint…or at least the Franklin Mint.

I, however, have been sitting in my living room, trying to open a Moxie Girl Magic Hair doll styling head for the past eight and one-half hours.

Have toys always been this difficult to open? I know that they have always been that difficult to assemble, but now it takes the patience of a Zen monk to just figure out how the box is sealed. The other day, the girls received a pair of remote control cars for their birthday. Each car was fastened to the box with FOUR SCREWS! Screws! I guess they didn’t want to take the time to just weld the damn thing to a four foot block of iron. Seriously, it isn’t a gas station bathroom key. It does not require that much security!

Back to the Moxie Girl head, I find (once I manage to just get the box open) that it is held in place by string, plastic fasteners, larger plastic tabs, rubber bands, wire ties and, last but not least, thick plastic zip ties. And these aren’t your flimsy little plastic zip ties! These are the caliber of quality that law enforcement must use to subdue raving speed freaks. Once that was removed, I find that her hair is SEWN to the plastic tabs in back. This is a toy that exists solely for the purpose of styling hair and the hair has been made nearly inaccessible. This is akin to hanging up balloons by just nailing them to the wall. I would like to write a letter to the Sadistic Toy Packaging Company (Walla Walla, Washington) and request that they just fill the boxes with concrete, that way I know that I will only need two things, a hammer and a chisel, to remove the encased playthings from the box. So far, I have used two different pair of scissors, a steak knife (for sawing!), and a pocket knife. I have also needed a pair of tweezers to extract the sewing thread from the doll hair. Because, in the vast hatred of humanity harbored by the Sadistic Toy Packaging Company (Walla Walla, Washington), they have chosen a thread color that is nearly exact to the color of the doll’s hair.

I have finally removed the last traces of ridiculous packaging. The doll head and its multitude of tiny and easy lost accessories are scattered about, ready to play. Unfortunately, Big Pink is in the bedroom, watching Justin Bieber videos on YouTube. Where, barring something catastrophic such as an internet outage, she will remain until her next birthday,

The Fear Begins Earlier Each Year

It is about this time of year that I begin to have “the fear”. As we approach the holiday, and thusly the gift-buying/excessive consumerism season, I battle with the skin crawling horror that I will, sometime around December 26th, be buried under an avalanche of tiny little plastic things; tiny little plastic things which are “sold separately” but will be purchased for my children en-masse. Please, help me.

I know that it is difficult to tell children that they cannot have something that, at that particular millisecond in time, they truly and terribly want. Trust me; I do it at least three to four times per hour, fifteen hours a day, every day of the week. I have found, though, that if you wait it out, like a craving for a second slice of pie or a second bag of Doritos, it will pass. Do not buy them those little globules of plastic.

My fear was triggered a couple of days ago by the arrival of the Toys R Us Big Book of Tiny Little Things That Will Become Lost in Your Couch and Will Someday, When You Least Expect It, Puncture Your Buttocks Through The Couch Cushion With a Tiny Crown or Little Plastic Foot… or something like that, anyway. I browsed through the hallowed pages, after prying it from my sleeping child’s hand, and was amazed at the new assortment of little animals, people, animal-people and robots that number in the thousands, each of them with their own playsets, vehicles, swimming pools and primary care physicians. When did these things get so TINY? I remember having an assortment of action-figures and cars as a child and they just were not so microscopically SMALL! My G.I. Joe figures would look at some of these things and be all “Damn, that thing is small!” and then they would jump into some slightly futuristic jet and go fight COBRA, because that is what they did when I was a kid. That is all they would do. I’m not kidding. They would comment upon the size of things and then go fight a battle. Seriously, it was kinda weird.

The other issue is that I’m not sure that each faction of little toy people can play together. Can you combine Littlest Pet Shoppers (which are no longer the littlest, by the way) with the Zoobles with some Squinkies and some Widdle Biddle Poopikins? (Okay, I made that last one up. But if they come out with one hundred little Poopikins and the Poopikin Play Castle, I want my monies, yo.) I’m sure their accessories and playsets aren’t compatible, because that’s how toy companies roll, but maybe just a couple of google-eyed puppies could come over to play with the robot penguin and miniature giraffe? It could happen, right? Right?

You know what? The next raving lunatic you see on the street going on about Batman and how Rainbow Brite is breaking up the unions is not crazy; he just finished looking at the Toys R Us catalog with his kid. Now, the person pestering you to sign some petition… Yeah, they are crazy. That crap never changed anything.

Dollhouse Tales…Of Horror!!!

It’s time again for another installment of Omaha, Nebraska’s favorite family. Consider, if you will, that this seemingly benign dollhouse may also be a portal to another dimension. Tonight is Halloween and the portal will open wide, creating a pathway for the unknown, the unexpected, the things that are kinda expected but when it happens you are still like “Whoa! I thought I was expecting that but it was still sort of shocking when it happened!”

The Fooferturds have entered…The Seriously Messed Up Zone!

Our story begins on All Hallows Eve.

Spooooky! Spooky Spooky Spooky!

Continue reading Dollhouse Tales…Of Horror!!!

Dollhouse Tales: Volume One

Every other day or so, Little Pink demands that I play “dollhouse” with her.  It’s cool and all, but I last about five minutes before I run out of dialogue for my character, which is always the grandmother.  I mean, I am ALWAYS the grandmother.  For the life of me I cannot understand why.

Anyway, this time I decided that I would spice things up a bit by enlisting LP’s help in designing a dollhouse photo shoot.  I grabbed my phone and we put together some scenes. I may have added a couple of scenes of my own to keep things interesting for me, because I have the attention span of person with ADD who does not take his medication.

The house at dawn.
Dawn breaks at Dollhouse Manor

Continue reading Dollhouse Tales: Volume One

Baby Pigs, Doggie TV and Ukuleles

My youngest, Little Pink, has introduced a game of make-believe that can only be named, and described, as “Baby Pig”. Essentially, she takes to all fours and crawls around the apartment emitting little whimpers and whines which are, I assume, meant to resemble what an actual baby pig would vocalize. During this time, she will only answer when addressed as “Baby Pig” and she will only perform in such a manner befitting a baby pig.

I have no idea where this game came from or why it is so entertaining to her. This is not an occasional foray into Baby Pig-land, but an oftentimes lengthy sojourn that lasts for hours. This may lead to a young children’s book I am kicking around called “Spending a Day with Baby Pig”. It will be 87 pages of onomatopoetic pig noises.

My to-do list for the day involves: writing a little (and…done), bathing the children and dog (not at the same time, thanks.), and cleaning and preparing for the family camping trip this weekend. The dog needs scrubbed because, for one thing, she stinks and also because she will be taking her first visit to a “doggie hotel” during our trip. I call it a “doggie hotel” instead of a boarding facility or kennel when I mention it to her in hopes that she will be excited and happy about her little vacation. Ignoring the fact that she is a Pomeranian and that she has a brain the size of a walnut, I could probably call it “the doggie torture chamber” and she would respond with the same mouth-agape wide eyed face she always displays. Regardless, the dog hates camping. It is the complete opposite of what she finds entertaining and comfortable. Instead, we are giving her two nights in a deluxe suite complete with a comfortable cot and lambskin bedding, ample personal attention and an in-suite television tuned to “pet-related programming with all happy endings”. This is the description given to me by the all-too personable lady on the telephone. All the while I’m thinking, “I don’t think I have ever seen the dog watch television. I’m pretty sure she has never acknowledged the television’s existence”. But nothing is too good for our little Princess Walnut Brain.

Also on my plan for the day is waiting impatiently for UPS to deliver my new toy, a tenor ukulele. I am beyond excited and, like a doofus, have been clicking on the UPS package tracking site three times a day for updates on its progress. When it comes I will share my thoughts and maybe even offer up some samples of my virtuosic playing. Yes, you are that lucky.