Pessimistic Optimism

Life as I see it… sort of.

Football You Bet

There are moments in your lifetime that you’ll never forget.  I was lucky enough to experience one the other day.  My boy made me proud.  With a little help from a punter’s picture and repeated attempts of “watching” the game together he finally gave me his approval.  He’s a football fan.  At least that’s what I’m deducting from recent and past events that took place.

When he was an infant (6 or 7 months old) he cried whenever we changed the channel during a football game… like father, like son.  This was the first promising sign.

This season he wasn’t exposed to the game much early on because of outside factors, such as: me working; the Bills sucked; the October Surprise storm; and the Wiggles’ concert.  In November the TV was on more because the team played better and he liked hearing his sister say “Go Bills” almost as much as I did.

The final push the boy needed came from the signed picture of Moorman, Brian the Bills’ punter that his Papa (my father-in-law) gave him.  The framed picture hanging on his bedroom wall brings out a war cry of “Football” every time he looks at it.  I guess it sounds more like footbaw, but that’s close enough.  This grunted expression sends chills down my spine.  Good chills, that is.

Hopefully this passion for the gridiron sticks so I can live vicariously through him, er, I mean because we’ll bond while watching together.  I know that a child should choose his or her own likings, but it doesn’t hurt to steer them in a certain direction to see if it peaks their interests.  I mean if the kid becomes a soccer fan instead I won’t love him any less… I think.  

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December 31, 2006 Posted by | All about me, football, kids, parenthood, parenting, Ranting | Leave a comment

Morning Dance Party; X-Mas Style

The Children and I decided to turn it up a notch the other morning and get our Christmas rock on.  Okay, Okay, I turned on the stereo and started singing and dancing during breakfast with the hope that the kids would join in.  My little girl, whom happens to enjoy the spotlight, responded differently then I expected she would.  The conversation went something like this.

“C’mon little girl, let’s dance and sing,” I said.

“The baby car can’t dance well,” she replied.

“Baby cars are very good dancers.”

“No, Daddy, they can’t dance well.”

Without ever being a baby car, as my daughter obviously was one at the moment, how could I dispute her adamant claim?

The boy had no problem joining in, but it was at a cost.  He had oatmeal on his hands and decided to rub it in his hair while dancing.  The oddest thing about that was that we hadn’t had oatmeal in weeks.  The boy’s almost as good of a dancer as me, if that tells you something.  I think my brother in Florida might have taught him some of his moves. 

After a little while the baby car moved on and my daughter joined in on the fun, smiling the whole time.  This justified my forfeiture of grace and dignity.  As long as I made one child happy… blah, blah, blah.

Once I had both children with me I encouraged some singing.  Hopefully my kids have poor hearing because I sound worse than William Hung on his best day.  Jingle Bell Rock went okay because I actually, um, er, know most of the words and Rocking Around the Christmas Tree was fun because my daughter seemed to really like it.  I didn’t know the next song, which was sung by Barbara StreisandCeline Dion, or Kenny Rogers, it’s hard to tell the difference.  Because of this buzz kill of a tune, we cleaned ourselves up and got on with more important things, like playing with toys and taking naps and eating chocolate and candy canes.
 

December 22, 2006 Posted by | Humor, kids, parenthood | 2 Comments

She and Her Shadow

The eldest child has the distinct role of trailblazer whether they want it or not.  Hopefully for the sake of the younger sibling(s) the first-born is worthy of a following and not another Charles Manson or the guy that played Screech and luckily for this world I’m the youngest of many so there are no carbon copies of me running around. 

It seemed like an ordinary night of chaos and frivolity until I eventually noticed a pattern taking place tonight as I sat down while my offspring ran around the kitchen/living room loop for what seemed like hours.  My daughter stopped by the coffee table and pretended to sleep, while remaining standing.  My son copied her exactly, right down to the tilted head and closed eyes.  She took off again to do the same thing against my legs and her protégé followed.  The leader relished in her role by adding little nuances to the routine each time she moved on to a new spot.  Rich Little would’ve been proud of the boy or maybe even jealous of his uncanny mimicking ability.  If he could say more than one word at a time we’d be rich… er, I mean he’d be rich.  We’d put his money away in a trust fund.  Yeah, that’s what we’d do.

I realized something while watching this hilarious display tonight; my son’s not a baby anymore.  I don’t know if he’s quite a toddler yet, but he’s moving up the munchkin food chain.  Before I know it, he’s going to be borrowing the car or getting married.  We’ll hope that he’s at least out of diapers by then.

Speaking of diapers, after tonight’s presentation, I suspect that my wife’s doing the right thing by putting the boy on the potty like his sister… even if it teaches him to pee like a girl.  

December 19, 2006 Posted by | Humor, kids, parenthood | 3 Comments

Don’t Judge a Book by its Dust Jacket

Yesterday, while waiting on a friend, I sat on a barstool with a pen and paper and let the people there lead me along.  I knew whom to write about as soon as the aroma of stale cigarettes and cheap perfume enveloped me as she sauntered by and shouted merrily at the bartender.

“Give me a Coors Light bottle.  I don’t drink out of no glass.” 

Her gravelly voice sent chills down my spine.  At first glance she appeared to be a slightly attractive woman in her late forties, but upon further inspection her looks declined and I realized that she was probably about thirty and has taken a hard path in life, picture Charles Bronson’s blonde-haired identical twin sister without the mustache.

Hers was the only voice I could hear from the trio of lunchtime revelers.  I couldn’t make it out but I could only imagine what she said, so I did.  She bragged to the not as crusty redhead and the smarmy-looking nerd about her latest conquest in the dart league at the corner bar in her neighborhood all the while wishing that New York State hadn’t made smoking in bars and restaurants illegal.  They hung on every word either because she was a fascinating conversationalist or they feared a beating for not paying attention. 

I thought that she was running late for a smoke break, but she didn’t budge from her spot.  My guess was that her need for alcohol outweighed her desire for nicotine at the moment.  Whether or not this was true didn’t matter because on my paper she can be whomever I want.  For all I know in real life she might be a pillar of the community, a fantastic mother and wife, and a brain surgeon that just happens to like wearing tight sweaters with deer on them.  Who am I kidding, but my assumptions might be way off.   That’s the magic of writing; the writer makes all the rules.

This writing exercise squashed any fear I had about “writer’s block” because if it happens I’ll just need to venture out into the world around me and get some ideas from its inhabitants.  It also convinced me to make sure I always have a pen and paper on me in case I’m ever “inspired”.

December 15, 2006 Posted by | All about me, Blogging, Ranting, write, Writing | 3 Comments

I Touched My Daddy’s Underwear

Kids say the darnedest things!  Isn’t that the truth?  My wife and I heard our daughter utter a strange statement while we listened to her monitor tonight.

“I touched my daddy’s underpants,” she said in between her giggles.

After the shock wears off and hopefully before you call the police, let me at the least try to explain what happened.

We tend to get a little silly when we put the kids to bed at night and tonight was no different.  The boy still grinned from ear to ear as we walked out of his room because of the bouncing and swinging he did right before we laid him down. 

Our daughter ran from his room ahead of us so we could “get” her in the big-girl bed.  This is where she came up with her incriminating phrase.  My wife tried unsuccessfully to give me a wedgie as I bent down to kiss our beautiful little girl.  For some reason this made our daughter and my wife crack up.  I wanted to give my daughter a hug so I bent over again and my immature wife tried again despite the straight-arm attempt.  I shot back up without the hug and advised her not to touch my underwear.  Our daughter loved that one so much that she couldn’t stop giggling.  I reasoned with my wife and insisted that she let me give the girl a hug.  She didn’t answer me, partly because she was laughing so hard, but I took that as a green light to finalize my good night to the mature female in the family.  I was wrong, because she did it again and luckily she was just as unsuccessful as the other two attempts. 

The next thing I remember was walking out of the room emasculated, but laughing so much that it hurt.  I walked down the stairs with my wife and heard our little girl say that line.

“I touched my daddy’s underpants.”

My only problem with the statement was that my daughter didn’t actually participate in the wedgie attempt.  There’s going to be hell to pay for my wife if I find my son hanging on the doorknob from his diaper tomorrow. 

December 12, 2006 Posted by | Humor, kids, parenthood | 1 Comment

No! Don’t Touch!

It’s that time of the year again and we’re facing the same problems as two years ago, but it’s a lot worse.  Our son wants to “play” with all the Christmas decorations around the house… all the time.  What 20 month-old kid doesn’t want to examine all the shiny new things in his world?  Hell, I want to examine all the shiny new things in my world.  A good slap was the way I learned not to touch the things that I shouldn’t but that just doesn’t fly anymore so we’ll have to think of something else.    

We hoped that he would get over it quickly, but it seems to get worse by the day.  I’m sick of saying “no” and “don’t touch” all day long, but let’s leave my wife out of this.  The boy is ten times worse than his sister was around his age.  At least that’s the way I remember it.

It’s gotten to the point that by noon half of the decorations are on the kitchen table because I didn’t want him to get a complex from hearing “no” so often before he’s a teenage boy.  All that did was send him to the DVD and CD racks.  His favorite ones to pluck out are my wife’s Sex and the City DVD’s.  There might be more to this than I thought but he’ll have to discuss that with his shrink because the last thing I want is my kids telling me their problems.

I think life would be easier this time of year if someone didn’t puke Christmas all over our house, but then it wouldn’t have that festive feeling.  It’s probably good for my son to explore his territory because it’ll keep me on my toes.  It also keeps me from writing more obnoxious stories about him and his sister.  Maybe that’s his master plan to prevent me from embarrassing him later in life.  Good luck!   

December 11, 2006 Posted by | Humor, kids, parenthood | Leave a comment

Santa Fears … (part two)

The clown advised me that the kids needed to be four to receive balloons so she had to hand the “poodle” and “Snoopy” to me instead of my little girl’s outstretched arms in case the balloon animal police were watching.  Her look of disappointment returned while we fought our way through the growing mob of children, but it disappeared immediately after I presented the “poodle” to her.  I thought that it looked more like a disfigured duck with a strange appendage pointing out its backside (it was supposed to be the tail).

My son loved “Snoopy”, except that he thought it would float like most balloons he ever played with.  He either doesn’t catch on quickly or he was messing with me because he continuously let go of it and expected it to go up instead of down.

Santa arrived in a fire truck instead of his sleigh and he was without his usual supporting cast, not even an elf.  The lack of elves was a good thing because I don’t trust the little bastards.  They’re too happy for sweat shop employees so they must be up to something.

Santa called the kids up to receive their presents by age; the youngest to the oldest.  This meant that our boy was in the beginning.  I wanted him to look good for the photo so I licked my hand and matted down his hair and got the boogars out of his nose.  He looked great when his name was called… until I deposited him on Santa’s lap.  His eyes welled up and he screamed out baby profanities.  He looked to me for reassurance and I told him to smile.  He reached for me and I told him to smile.  I wasn’t taking him back until the photographer took the damn picture.  He took the shot and looked at me as if to say, one per customer, pal, so I reluctantly took the little screamer back and carried him and his present back to his Mommy.

He opened his gift and became happy again.  Ecstatic might be a better word.  Santa knew what this boy likes, cars.  He received eight metal cars.  The nice thing about them is that they can easily become weapons if he gets bored with pushing them around.

His big sister was called a little while later and decided to walk onto the stage by herself because she’s a big girl, just ask her.  She sat on the man in the red velvet’s lap without hesitation and sort of smiled for the camera.  It was a rather uneventful follow up to her brother’s act.

My daughter wore this beautiful red Christmas dress and looked as dainty and feminine as can be until she opened her gift; a Go Diego Go Talking Rescue Gadget Belt.  Of course she insisted on wearing it over her dress.  She looked like a cross between Shirley Temple without the curls and Schneider (Pat Harrington, Jr.) from One Day at a Time.

Exhaustion had finally taken over so we had to corral our over-sugared munchkins and head home.  We hoped they would sleep because we needed to rest.  As we pulled out of the parking lot I noticed two sleeping kids in the rearview mirror.  They were probably dreaming about Santa Claus and their new toys or that freaking scary clown. 

December 8, 2006 Posted by | Humor, kids, parenthood, Ranting | Leave a comment

Santa Fears and a Little Lady With a Tool Belt (part one)

Nothing says the holidays like a child screaming and crying on Santa’s lap.  It could only have been better if he had a load in his pants, my son, not Santa.

Breakfast With Santa is meant to be an entertaining day for parents and children during the holiday season and it didn’t let us down.  I knew that we were in for a treat when my daughter asked if we were at the North Pole when we pulled into the parking lot.  My first thought was are you stupid or something, does this look like the North Pole, then I remembered that she’s only three and cute as a button.  We then reluctantly told her no because we didn’t want her to get the impression that they have Guinness on tap in Santa’s workshop.  We explained that Santa takes his act on the road before Christmas.  I think she bought it.

The party was full of different baked goods, juices and most importantly, coffee.  While the kids stuffed their faces, my wife, mother and I chugged down some caffeinated liquid gold.  I figured that I’d need as much help in the energy department to keep up with the wee ones and the ladies just like to be buzzed.

The magic show peaked my daughter’s interest so she wedged herself between two boys on the floor by the stage.  She’s new to sitting in a group without her parents so we didn’t know what to expect.  In the beginning she let other kid’s responses dictate hers.  The more she sat “watching” the magician the more confident she became.  I looked away for a moment and she was out of my sight.  I didn’t panic on the outside right away because it was a private party and my wife didn’t seem concerned and I care what people think about me.  Relief washed over me when I noticed that my sweet little girl had wiggled her way to the front row.  She must have known that the magician would ask for a volunteer and the easiest place to be seen is up front.  He asked and she was the first to raise her hand and the rest of her body, but he unfortunately blew her off and went with an older kid.  Our daughter was disappointed and just stood at the edge of the stage and stared at the magician with poor judgment.  In a sign of solidarity my son joined her at the edge of the stage and proceeded to pull the Velcro dressing (?) off of it.  It’s good to see them take a stand together even though he had no idea what in the Hell was going on around him.  This was a proud parental moment because they were the only children on their feet at this point of the show with the exception of the little prima donna whom was “chosen” by The Great Nitwittini.  I crept up to the stage and scooped up the boy with one hand, revelcroed the material in its place and got out of the way without anyone noticing… except maybe the couple of hundred people.  I also quietly advised my daughter to please sit down.  My son calmed down after a minute and my daughter eventually sat down and watched the magician.  The look of disappointment remained on my little girl’s face as she gave the obligatory clap along with the rest of the onlookers.  All the children wandered away when the show ended except her so I helped her to her feet and we walked hand-in-hand back toward our table.

All was well again because a line formed in front of the balloon animal clown and we were only about six kids out.  Fortunately my daughter wasn’t afraid of the disturbing appearance of the clown.  She looked as though she’d be more comfortable in a corner bar with a shot and a cigarette in her hands, the clown that is.

This is not finished.  Check back tomorrow for the conclusion of this fascinating day in history.

December 6, 2006 Posted by | Humor, kids, parenthood, Ranting | Leave a comment

No!

The number one thing on my daughter’s “To Do” list today must have been screw with daddy.  She seemed to refuse most of my requests throughout the day.

“Pick up your toys.”

“No.”

“Sit on the potty.”

“No.”

“Eat some lunch.”

“No.”

“Do the dishes.”

“No.”

She eventually did all of the above with the exception of the dishes, but not after some kicking and screaming… mostly mine.

I must have it too easy on most days because it really bothered me that she defied my orders.  Doesn’t she understand the parent/child rule whatever the parent says goes?  Maybe she just feels like questioning authority (me).  I hope it’s only a phase because I’m not used to having to work at this parenting thing.

The only nice thing about these altercations is that they don’t last too long.  This is when the questions pop in my head about how I should act.  Should I discuss the frequency of her insolence or should I just go on with the day.  I’d decided to use my old philosophy what would Britney Spears do and went on with the day like nothing happened.

December 1, 2006 Posted by | kids, parenthood, parenting, Ranting | 1 Comment