Tag Archives: Parenting

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,

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.

Regarding Germs…

The following exchange happened at the park this morning while the girls were spinning on a tire swing..

Big Pink: What about our butts and the germs of other people’s butts?
Me: You mean your butt touching things that other people’s butts have  touched when sitting down?
BP: Yeah…
Me: That’s really not something you have to worry about.  The main thing is your hands touching things other people’s hands have touched.  That is the way germs are spread.
BP: Hands have germs and not butts?
Me: Well, people touch a lot more stuff with their hands, so yeah, kind of.  That’s why they have hand sanitizer.  You haven’t heard anything about butt sanitizer have you?
Big Pink and Little Pink (in unison): Butt Sanitizer! (Followed by thirty minutes of continuous, uproarious laughter).

And this is why you should let me teach your children science.

Fatherness Flashback: What Goes Thump…All the Time.

Last bit o’ filler whilst I “kick-it” on the beach. Fear not, I will make up for this upon my return with many pictures of me sunbathing.  To put this old post in perspective, the 19-month-old is now a 3-year-old.

In the past week, my youngest daughter has fallen down the stairs and fallen in the yard. The stairs left her with some bruises but no damage. The fall in the yard was a bit bloodier, and resulted in a panicked call from my wife who was worried about a broken finger. Though it wasn’t broken, it was cut up pretty badly. That injury taught me that putting a band aid on the little finger of a 19 month old is probably akin to fitting a chipmunk for a tuxedo. Even the prospect of a princess adorned band aid did not persuade her.

I suppose I am writing this more for my benefit. Just in case anyone sees my daughter in public and is tempted to call children’s services. Trust me, she is that accident prone. You should see the danger we actually manage to keep her from.

Although she did eat poison berries from our shrub, twice actually, we are generally pretty good at showing up in the nick of time. She is just overly curious. Our oldest, Big Pink, did not have that interest in the least. You could have placed her in a room with a ball, a box of thumbtacks, a box of matches and some exposed electrical wiring and she would have rolled the ball back and forth for half an hour. Little Pink would have managed to roll the ball, covered with tacks, into the wiring, causing electricity to arc and ignite the box of matches. At that point, she would look around with a look of mild concern on her face and announce “Uh-oh!”  At least she recognizes danger once it actually happens, even though she is completely oblivious to it beforehand.

Fatherness Flashback: Tubthumping

Still on vacation.  Still more old stuff.  Still about home repair.

I admit, with no small amount of surrender in my voice, that I have been repairing our bathroom shower wall for the last three months.  I am not proud of that fact.  In a better sense, the shower and I have been locked in mortal struggle.  It was just yesterday that we both managed to capitulate, with truly neither of us being the victor.

There is no longer a gaping hole in the wall, nor is there a large sheet of plastic covering that hole.  This is my boon.  However, no one will assume that Norm Abram stopped by with his bountiful knowledge of homes and repaired our wall.  They may assume that we hired a contractor stricken with Parkinson’s.  Probably because we like to support worthwhile causes; like the local chapter of Kitchen and Bath Contractors with Parkinson’s Local 254.  This is what I am going to tell people.

But in all honesty, it was me.  I did it.  Fifteen trips to various home centers and hardware stores, stupid amounts of money spent on stupid tools that didn’t stupid work, a person without the proper skill or knowledge to merge 1930’s building materials with modern day materials, all things which did not come together to create the symphony of success that you might expect.  At the end of it all, covered in mortar and grout and ceramic dust, I had pretty much given up.  Frankly, as long as the kids didn’t have to go to their Aunt’s house to take a bath, I would be happy.  Ok, maybe not happy, but sated.

This morning, lying in bed, I hear our 3-year-old go into the bathroom.  I waited for her inevitable leap into our bed to rouse my wife and me with demands for food, or stickers or whatever it was we bribed her with to get her to sleep last night.

Just before the flush, I hear her call out “The tub looks good, Daddy”

This is my daughter, a three year old who has seen enough defeated looks on her father’s face over the past few months to know that it will please me more than anything for her to say something about my work.  It does, very much.