Pessimistic Optimism

Life as I see it… sort of.

Potty Time and a Bigger Big-Girl Bed

In this past week or so we’ve entered a new frontier at the place that we call home. 

The boy, who’ll be two soon, took his first whiz on the potty.   I’d like to take the credit for this but it was my wife’s idea so it was all her and our son.  Like usual, the jovial little lad clapped afterwards (see A Round of Applause).  If I were there I would have joined in because it was a momentous occasion, because there’s only one first pee on the potty.  The only downside to this was that he sat down on the job, but we’ll work on the stand, aim and shoot method in the near future.  I hear that Cheerios work really well, but I’m not sure because I tried that with our first child and it didn’t help her a bit.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the happy clapper makes this potty thing as regular as jelly and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch.

The girl, who is much more mature than her three and a half years outside of her Mommy’s body, reached another milestone; she graduated to a full size bed from her little big-girl bed.  It was time because her feet were practically touching the footboard.  I wanted her to just bend her knees and get over it, but I lost that argument before it was even brought to the table.  She’s adjusted perfectly to the new behemoth in her room so much so that I don’t think she’s missed a wink of sleep from the very first nap.  I remember how afraid I was sleeping alone in my first big bed, I think I was about twenty-eight at the time.  It was a big bed.

The events of this past week make me proud to call those two little humans my kids.  Hopefully someday they’ll be proud to call me their Dad.  I’ll just have to make sure they never get a peek at this blog.  Maybe a name change will work or I’ll just have to ban them from ever using the Internet.  Besides, it’s probably just a passing fad anyway. 


January 31, 2007 Posted by | Humor, kids, parenthood, parenting | Leave a comment

What’s Your Mission?

Repetition seems to be an ongoing trend with our daughter and occasionally, it’s actually amusing.  I’m not talking about the non-stop MOMMY, MOMMY, MOMMY at the top of her lungs because that’s a little annoying, especially if you’re not mommy.  Another aggravating repetitious act is when she repeats what she said until someone answers her.  I like to encourage this when I want to drive a houseguest a little nuts, but it usually gets under my skin first. 

The other day she was stuck on a particular saying that I liked.

“What’s your mission?”

I don’t know where she learned it, but she asked this of her little brother and me throughout the day.  Even though she repeated herself she did it in an intelligent manner, because she waited until I completed the current mission until she asked again.  We had numerous missions that day: change their clothes; go to the store; go to the bank; tickle them senseless; sing the ABC’s; read Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris to them; and feed them lunch.  I think she asked between every one of them and it made me feel interesting because of all the attention.

The good and the bad repetition will most likely double soon because the boy’s saying more and more words everyday and he’ll be able to form a sentence into question before we know it.  I can’t wait.  I need to develop that ability that lets a parent tune out his or her child when he or she is driving everyone else insane.  Maybe my wife can teach me how because she already had that skill before we had kids from dealing with me.

January 30, 2007 Posted by | kids, parenthood, parenting | Leave a comment

Impressive Introduction

My daughter’s about as shy as former President Bill Clinton at a Jenny Craig meeting so I wasn’t surprised that she introduced herself to a woman working at the supermarket as I battened down her hatches before we braved the cold outside.  The shocker was the way she did it.

“What’s your name?” my daughter asked.

“I’m Rose, what’s yours?” worker asked.

“I’m (name), and this is my friend, Daddy.”

Rose and I laughed and my daughter continued telling her about the rest of our family.

This incident impressed me in a couple of ways.  One was that she gave a proper and eloquent introduction like she’s been doing it for years and another was that she considers me a friend.  This pleased me the most because too often we’re more like adversaries, but she must know that’s just part of the job of being a parent.  That or she just enjoys the vocal sparring that sometimes brings me to tears.  I mean, brings her to tears.  Yeah, that’s it, because she never gets the best of me… that she knows of… I hope.


January 29, 2007 Posted by | Humor, kids, parenthood, parenting | Leave a comment


It’s freaking cold outside.  This is the type of cold that not only freezes your nose hairs, but also tunnels under your layers of clothing and sends a chill up your ass… I need to stop wearing those low-rise jeans.  The little temperature reading on the morning news reads 5 degrees, and that’s not Centigrade for you metric freaks.

In most winters a January freeze is no big deal in Western New York, but this year Mother Nature let us off easy after kicking our ass in the October Surprise storm, until now, so I wasn’t mentally prepared for it.  Not that I’m mentally prepared for most things in life, but that’s a different story.

Some regular routines have to be altered to survive in this weather.  One of them is how you take care of your pets.  Hopefully the kids or Al Roker don’t distract me enough this morning after I let my dog out in the yard.  I’d hate to go to the back door an hour later and find him frozen to the deck, it’s a bitch to clean this time of year.  Yes, even dogs shouldn’t be exposed to this weather very long, with a few exceptions, like Huskies and poodles.  Did I mention my dislike for poodles?  As for cats, I think owners are encouraged to let them out in this weather, even if they’re primarily house cats.  Those shut-ins need to see the outside world and there’s no better time than now.  Little frozen whiskers are good character builders and it let’s them know who’s the boss… at least until they thaw out. 

My kids aren’t in school yet so they don’t have to be exposed to this cold, unless I’m out of Budweiser or cheese.  But I’d hope they could drink something else until this chill blows over.  I probably won’t take them outside today because of the hypothermia and frostbite dangers, but if they don’t behave I might shut the heat off for a little while and keep them in the den, where the average temperature on a 45 degrees day is 48 degrees.  I’m kidding, I wouldn’t do that to the little bastards, but I can’t speak for my wife.

I guess the most important thing to keep in mind while we’re freezing our behinds off in Buffalo, Paris Hilton and friends are suffering, too.  The high in Beverly Hills is only going to hit 66 degrees today.    

January 26, 2007 Posted by | Buffalo, Dogs, Humor, kids, parenthood, Ranting | 2 Comments

A Round of Applause

Why should applause be reserved for athletes and performers?  That’s what my boy thinks.  He didn’t actually verbalize this, but showed it by clapping when my wife handed him a sippy cup full of milk last night.  The gratitude shown by him was the equivalent of giving him a shiny new Lightning McQueen toy instead of a tastey calcium-enriched beverage.  

Come to think of it, this might not be his original idea because he watched the NFL championship games with me on Sunday and as I wrote about a while back, More is Caught than Taught.  They must have shown the Peyton Manning commercial about a dozen times.  You know, the one that has him applauding people performing tasks at their mundane jobs.

Whether or not he came up with this appreciative gesture on his own is insignificant, the most important thing is that he knows how to generate good will toward his fellow man (or woman)… or at the least that he knows how to wrap us around his pudgy booger-covered finger.

January 24, 2007 Posted by | football, Humor, kids, parenthood, Television | 1 Comment

Good Question, I Guess

“Does he have a bum and peanuts?”

This is what my little girl asked when she observed me change her little brother’s diaper.  It caught me off guard because she bathed with him quite often and never showed the least bit of curiosity regarding their obvious differences.  She must have asked my wife this question and remembered penis as peanuts.  Unless, of course, my wife called the goods, peanuts, but I doubt that because she would of told me about it and she’s never referred to mine with that metaphor… raisins, maybe, but definitely not peanuts.

We decided when we had children that we’d be pretty open about body parts with the kids, but I still had that knot in the pit of my stomach when my three-year-old asked the question.  I know that I’m an adult and I should be able to deal with these situations maturely, but I’m kind of intimidated by the subject matter with my kids.  I’ll blame it on my Catholic upbringing because they taught us to loathe our bodies and feel shame about anything to do with sexual organs except for the priest’s, of course. 

For the sake of my kids I’ll just have to overcome my fears and be straight with them and tell them to go ask their mother.

January 18, 2007 Posted by | Humor, kids, parenthood, parenting | 2 Comments


Dogs are fickle people sometimes.

I mentioned in my last post that we ventured to New Jersey recently to visit our relatives.  What I didn’t mention was that our beloved pup went, too.  He scouted the place out the night before we hit the road.  Even though he’s proficient in many things, driving isn’t one of them so he rode down there with Uncle Scientist and the Restaurateur.

I left for work before he was picked up and carelessly forgot to say good-bye to my friend otherwise known as Dog.  I realized this while speaking to my wife a few hours later.  He didn’t want that kind of too-da-loo so he didn’t come to the phone.  It was no big deal to me because I knew that I would see him when we got to New Jersey.  Little did I know that it would be a big deal when I got there… to him.

My canine son made himself at home in Uncle and Aunt NJ’s house right away happily shedding hair everywhere and slapping ornaments off the tree with his tail with glee.  When we arrived he couldn’t have been more excited to see everyone… except me.  He seemed to go out of his way to not let me even pet him. 

Whoever says dogs don’t hold a grudge, doesn’t know our dog.  He avoided me for at least an hour until he realized his water bowl was empty.  That’s when he extended the olive branch to me.  If I had known that’s what it would take to break the ice I would have emptied it even earlier. 


January 17, 2007 Posted by | Dogs, Humor, Ranting | Leave a comment

NJ Transit Train Ride Attack

Traveling with kids is usually much easier with extra hands around, unless the other adults decide to use their hands for evil instead of good.  I’m not talking about EVIL evil, just evil.

We took the train from Jersey to NYC and back last week while visiting Uncle and Aunt NJ.  The visit to the Big Apple was a lot of fun, but I’ll blabber about that in another post… if I get around to it, short-term memory loss is a bitch.  I must have had too many PopTarts in college.

Accidentally, or on purpose, we were separated mostly by girls and boys.  There were three other guys and my son in my “booth” and my wife was with two chicks, a guy, and our daughter.  The two chicks were Aunt Weather and Aunt NJ and they were the ones that decided to disfigure our little angel.  Maturity obviously doesn’t get in the way of a good time in these women’s lives, at least not when a defenseless child is involved.

Somehow my wife didn’t see what was going on during the train ride.  She must have been trying to rest while some trusting “adults” were around to take care of our three-year-old wonder child.  I don’t blame her because I tried to do the same with the boy, but he insisted on climbing all over me during the trip.

The Aunt duo decided to “take” our daughter’s features away as the ride went on.  I’m not sure of the order of the removals, but from what it sounds like they took away her face piece by piece.  You know the old game, “I’ve got your nose”, well they took it to the next level.  Her eyes, mouth, ears, and various other parts were taken without putting anything in their places.

I don’t know how long the torture went on, but it really drained our formerly beautiful princess.

“Mommy, I don’t feel so well,” she said to my now attentive wife.

My wife thought she was going to be covered in little girl-puke from motion sickness until she said that her face was gone.  Somehow our daughter felt the imaginary theft of her facial features.  Did I mention before that she has a huge imagination?

My wife comforted her and forced the giddy aunts to give the little face back.  They reluctantly obliged and our daughter was made whole again.  She smiled and was back to her question-asking self within seconds.

After hearing this story from my S’s-I-L I just hope that my wife pays attention to me when I’m in their presence.


January 17, 2007 Posted by | Humor, kids, parenthood | 3 Comments

That’s Some Sweet Flour

As I’ve mentioned, we have some houseguests at the moment.  Yes, they are still here.  Aunt Weather and Uncle Gadget thoughtfully decided to cook us dinner yesterday.  I thought that it was a great idea because she cooks a mean breakfast on occasion and I figured she’d be good at a dinner, too.

The chefs in question are independent thinkers that decided not to wait on an answer to where the flour is located in the kitchen so they found “it” themselves.  They were at the stove for quite a while before it came about that we were almost out of flour.  After a few follow-up questions my wife figured out that they never opened the container of flour, so there was plenty of flour left.

Confusion spread across their faces and ours.  They insisted that they used flour and a lot of it.  We knew they couldn’t have because we only keep it in one place on the counter top and they insisted that wasn’t where they found it.

I guess confectionary sugar resembles flour enough that they mistakenly used that instead.  I’ve only heard of this happening once before and that person says it wasn’t her fault… and I’m not talking about my wife, but the woman in question is related to her.

Surprisingly, the orange chicken delight was good, but I wouldn’t put it on my French toast. 

January 10, 2007 Posted by | house guests, Humor, Odd Cooking, Ranting | 1 Comment

A House Full of People

It’s ironic that I have the most time to myself right now while we have numerous house guests in our humble abode.  There are literally hundreds of souls wandering around the kitchen as I type.  Okay, there are really about four extra people here and most of them are in the living room.  Because of this I don’t have to change all the diapers, prepare all the daytime meals and entertain all (both) of the kids like a typical weekday.  Picture me in Mary Poppins mode dressed like a French maid running around the house.  I’m sorry for that, forget the Mary Poppins mode, I’m not that good.

I should be relaxing, but I have a tendency to micromanage most of the mundane chores around the house.  I find myself rearranging the dishwasher, insisting on cleaning up and supervising my kids’ meals.  I just told Uncle NJ where to put a puzzle together with my daughter.  What the *^%# is wrong with me? 

No matter how crowded the house is you can shoot a cannon through it when the little guy’s wandering around with a foul odor eminating from his Pamper’s Cruiser.  Too bad we can’t enforce the old adage whoever smelt it dealt it and just replace dealt it with changes it.  It’s not as catchy, but could be effective. 

I enjoy having people around so much that it makes me think we should have more than two children.  I think my wife just fell out of her chair.  Two will do is the motto that I’m going to stick to unless I slip one past the goalie, of course.  That’s not too much of a worry because the goalie’s wearing very large pads and I’m a pretty bad shot.

Having my in-laws around 24/7 gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like growing up in my wife’s house.  All the siblings regress back to their childhood personalities when some sort of adversity rears its ugly head.  You know, if one of them moved the other’s glass of juice or tampon.  Just kidding, they don’t drink juice.  They don’t really argue much, it’s more like a drive-by put down; a couple of quick shots are fired and they let someone else deal with the carnage.

I kid them because I’m probably the hardest person to deal with during their stay.  No matter how much I try to change, my inner anal-retentive personality pops out every once in a while or quite often depending on who you’re talking to. 

All that said, I do enjoy having them around and my kids are ecstatic about it.  I can’t wait until next weekend because we’ll all be staying at Uncle and Aunt NJ’s house where I can just fade into the background and laugh my ass off.   

January 6, 2007 Posted by | All about me, house guests, Humor, parenthood | 3 Comments

Would Anyone Like to Borrow Some Water Flutes?

Whew! I finally found the laptop. It was lost amongst the thousand or so gifts my children received this year.  I wish there was one or two people to blame for this gluttonous presentation of playthings but many people were involved including my wife and me.  The worst part is that my kids think whenever they see someone they’re going to receive more presents because every couple of days different friends and family give them gifts.

The necessary cycling in and out of toys has begun, again.  The old ones are in the basement waiting patiently to seem new again or to be given to a younger kid to drool all over them.  Last year’s gifts look brand new, mostly, but are passé to the kiddies compared to the dinosaurs and cars, cars, cars that showed up this year.

I’ll have to admit that the children do play with all their new toys just about everyday, but they couldn’t get to every one in a twenty-five hour day.  Unfortunately, they even play with their water flutes kindly given to my daughter by her Uncle Scientist.  Some of you are allotted a break to laugh out loud at me about this one.  If you’d like to know what water flutes being played by a three-year-old sound like just have someone blow a whistle, any whistle, in your ear continuously.  Don’t get me wrong, I want my kids to be happy so I let them play with the “toy”, but my ears are still ringing.  I want my children to fight through their paternally inherited tone deafness so I’ll let them “toot” their flutes as much as they want… to a point designated by me of course.

I mentioned that my son received some cars this year, only about one hundred and fifty or so.  Did you ever step on a matchbox car barefoot?  I have, many times since Christmas.  All our rooms downstairs have cars “hidden” in the middle of the floor.  The worst part is seeing it and shifting my weight to the other foot, which happens to step on a bigger or sharper one.  But, like I said, it’s for the good of the kids.  My son is happiest while holding a toy car, especially if it’s the one that his sister wants.

Don’t take this rant as a complaint about people’s generosity to my kids.  Consider this more of a cautionary tale to future parents to break all ties with friends and family around the holidays to avoid having your house taken over by Lightning McQueen, The King, Mater, Doc, Sally, a Radiator Springs tent, a Diego boardgame, various dinosaurs, a truck full of Matchbox cars, two View-Masters, a Little People circus, Little People race track, an easel, a strawberry doll, water flutes, monster trucks, a road rug, screaming Cookie Monster, a play tool set, puzzles, books, DVDs and a bunch more of their friends unless, of course, you need a baby-sitter. 

January 5, 2007 Posted by | Christmas, Humor, kids, parenthood, Ranting | Leave a comment