Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy Birthday to Blog!

Beta Dad, the blog, is one year old today!  

It's just starting to lurch around on its ungainly legs, but will require grownups to hold its hand and clean up its poop for a long time yet.

I'm going to make everyone uncomfortable for a minute by being as earnest as I can bear to be.  

I'm pretty stoked about how much cool stuff has happened with this blog in just a year.  I started out not knowing anything about the blogging game.  I felt like I could write something that people would enjoy, but I had no idea how to build an audience.  So I started flailing around, looking for kindred spirits that might click on my avatar if I commented on their blog, occasionally reading an article about how to develop readership, and sometimes straight up asking other bloggers for advice.

And little by little, I managed to weasel my way into a number of different blogging communities.  

I know..."communities."  Cheesy, right?  I was thinking about that word today.  It doesn't take very long to realize that blogging, like high school and everything that comes after it, involves cliques, rivalries, feuds, and petty squabbles.  But what community doesn't include all that stuff?  Just because it's not perfect doesn't make it NOT a community.

But the drama isn't what was remarkable for me (although I have to acknowledge that the little bit of drama I was involved in back in October probably accounts for a large cohort of my readers).  I have been blown away by how much support I've gotten from a bunch of the bigshot bloggers I started following around like an annoying kid brother when I got started on this project.  I'm not going to embarrass anyone by calling them out--it's not like I won an Oscar or anything--but you know who you are, and I'm incredibly grateful and a little bemused.

As much as the established bloggers have helped me get a foothold in the daddyblog niche, and encouraged me with feedback, it's really the comments I get from those of you who tune in faithfully, apparently just for your own amusement, that make me want to keep writing even when it starts to feel like I'm spinning my wheels.  I'm really tired right now, and probably shouldn't write about how I feel about my readers, since I will certainly make an ass of myself.  So, like, you guys are super-cool and stuff.  For those of you who are bloggers, I wish I had more time to read all your blogs faithfully and give you the support you've given me.  I'll try to be better about that.  

Now that I'm thanking people, I don't know where to stop.  Also, this is getting speechy.  I'm cringing.

My wife is the best.  Even when I spend way too much time pecking away at the laptop, laughing at other people's posts, and mumbling as I write my own, she either never gets annoyed, or never lets on that she is.  Either way, I can't believe how lucky I am (not just because she tolerates my blogging either).  Sometimes I act all holier than thou about guys who play golf or go fishing instead of spending time with their families; but honestly my blogging habit is pretty serious.  I don't let it interfere with spending time with my kids (much), but it's kind of all I do when it's just the wife and me who are conscious.  Plus I always have to fill her in with what all my imaginary friends are up to, and she never tells me to shut up.  I just hope I would be as supportive if she developed some weird obsession.  You know, if it were productive and creative and enriching.  

Also, my real life friends (the ones who read my blog--the rest of them are dead to me [psyche]) and family are the best.  I'm not even going to tell you the nice thing my mom said on the phone the other day.  I might incorporate it into my masthead though.  It's just about the weirdest thing in the world to have IRL friends tell you how much they enjoy your writing.  It's a lot easier to deal with hearing that from imaginary friends.  But ultimately, it's a good awkward.

Okay, I'm done.  I have to get up in a couple hours and drive up to the mountains and take the kids sledding.  So if I don't respond to your comments right away, it's because I can't get a good signal on my iPhone as I'm hurtling down the mountainside with the kids in my lap.

***

And then of course there's the link.  I've got a post up at DadCentric this morning.  It's about how kids must have a really distorted vision of how animals live outside the world of books, movies, stuffed toys, and zoos.  Please to be reading.      
  

       

Friday, February 25, 2011

What my kids are thinking about

I've said it before and I hope I will say it again: my kids are pretty easy.  They've been healthy as horses, great sleepers and eaters, and haven't been inordinately fussy.  For the most part.

But a lot of exciting stuff is happening to them these days, and that can make kids a little stressed out.  They've transitioned from two naps to one, which changes the rhythm of their entire day (and mine).  And they're getting over two weeks of a nasty cold, followed by a little aftershock of sniffles, which is not so much "exciting" as it is "stressful" to them and everyone around them.  Other ways to describe the sickness include "suck-ass" and "shit sandwich."

The effects of this stress have manifested in heightened whininess, clinginess, and sleep disruption.  And instead of rallying during this trying time, I have tended to allow my fatalist leanings to get the better of me.  "This is my new reality," I think as I try to prepare meals with one kid in my arm and the other pulling at my pant leg, screaming, "Uppy Uppy Uppy Uppy."  Because of course it's all about me.

At least I don't blame anyone but myself:  "This is all on account of your hubris," I admonish myself.  "Bragging about how good your kids are.  Implying that you're some kind of great parent because your kids take a lot of naps.  Pssht.  Jerk."

I'm happy to report, though, that the ill-effects of their being sick are dissipating, and they're both slowly adjusting to their new nap schedules.  And I'm starting to have a brighter outlook for my tenure as a full-time parent.

They're also at the beginning of the nearly vertical segment of the language learning curve.  This both creates its own stress, and provides a window into their consciousness that was previously accessed entirely by speculation.  So now, instead of relying entirely on guesswork as to what they want and need, we have some clues about why they are freaking out.

We've always been advocates of the "cry it out" school of sleep training.  We won't let them cry indefinitely, of course; but we've found through a bit of trial and error that they actually go to sleep more quickly if we leave them alone than if we comfort them every time they cry.  I've got nothing against "attachment parents" who co-sleep with their kids, or parents who hang out next to the crib until their babies go to sleep.  Whatever works for you is fine.  But we just couldn't handle that with twins.

Surprisingly, it was fairly easy to let them cry it out when they were infants.  First off, once they were about four months old, they went to sleep pretty easily and consistently.  Secondly, at that age, if all their physical needs had been attended to, we could attribute their distress to some kind of nebulous baby-angst that we couldn't really do much about.

But as they grew more sentient, and as we got to know them better, it became more difficult for me to hear them cry and not rush to comfort them.  They were becoming little people, and had real fears and anxieties about the world they were becoming integrated into.  As newborns, their neurons were firing randomly; but by the time they were six or eight months old, they were figuring out reality, and every time they learned something, it had to inspire a whole litany of questions and theories about something else.  Their little brains where whirring with the most fundamental problems of existence and identity.  And they were becoming more emotionally complex as well.

And then they started to speak.

So now, when they inexplicably wake up screaming in the middle of the night (as one or the other of them have been doing almost nightly for the last three weeks), they are often able to express the root of their anguish.  And this is sometimes serious anguish.  Like death-of-a-loved-one anguish.

But--and this may not be as shocking to you as it was to me, especially if you are a veteran parent--the source of their angst is usually not as existential as I had assumed.  In fact, it's usually quite petty.  At four in the morning, I tend to think of it as "idiotic."

For instance, a common conversation I would have with Cobra in the wee hours, after I can no longer listen to her wailing, might go like this:

Cobra: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!!

Me: Sugar, sugar, sugar...settle down, settle down...

Cobra: WAAAAAAAAH...AHAAA...AHAA...AHAAA...AHAA...

Me:  What's wrong, honey?

Cobra:  Pup-pup-pup-puppy....WAAAAAAAHAAAAHAAAH...

Me:  You want Puppy?

Cobra: Puppy Puppy Puppy


Puppy is her favorite stuffed toy, which she now drags around with her everywhere.  Except she doesn't take it to bed.  We have to tuck Puppy into his own bed, and tell him "Stay, Puppy," then say goodnight to him, before we do our nightly yoga (long story) and put the kids to sleep.

But apparently, Cobra wakes up with the night terrors, and simply must check on Puppy's status before she can go back to sleep.  Sometimes she just needs to see him, and sometimes nuzzle him a bit, before she can lie back down.  Then, if we're lucky, she can sleep through until at least 5:30 a.m. without worrying about her pet.  Or having frightening visions of garbage trucks.

I almost liked it better when I assumed they were grappling with questions about their place in the universe.

***

Check it out: I have a post up at MamaPop, wherein I make fun of Thom Yorke's dancing in the new Radiohead video.  I know everybody's been piling on him already, but the piece I wrote includes a lot of funny videos that will help you get through your boring Friday at work.

Happy weekend!   

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hairmiliation: My 7th Grade Perm

I've got a post up at Aiming Low today, about how I, like so many others (mostly women) have a shameful history of early eighties home perms.  Here's the beginning:

Twin B, aka "Butterbean," is already long overdue for her sixth haircut.  Her older (by a minute), but less hairy sister has only had one trim during these first 19 months, and won't need another for quite a while.

All the haircuts so far have been performed deftly by Dr. Mom, whose keen eye and a steady hand have been able to prevent any medical or aesthetic disasters.  I mean, she's done brain surgery before, so this is really no big deal.

But still, whenever we set the kids down in the kitchen and start snipping, I can't help but think of all the humiliation I and countless other children have suffered at the hands of parents who think they are stylists.

read more...

***

And here's your bonus video of cuteness.  Remember, you're not allowed to watch this until after you've read the whole post at Aiming Low.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dog problems: I might have to do something really dicky

 I've got a new post up at DadCentric!  It's about my dog dilemma.  Here's how it starts:  






It was almost exactly a year ago that I wrote this frustrated post about my dog (warning: disgusting photo) on my personal blog.  Since then we've been dealing with the problems I enumerated in the post (and in the email to the dog's breeder included therein); and not much has changed.
In case you don't feel like clicking around, here's a summary of that post:
  • Our dog is beautiful and large (120 lbs), and can pull a wagon full of kids, adults, or non-humanoid cargo like a goddam mule
  • She has some gastro-intestinal issues
  • She has some anxiety issues
  • She has some urinary incontinence issues (not unusual in females of her breed, although unusually severe in her case)
  • We once had some seemingly valid reasons for paying for a boutique breed instead of adopting a mutt, all of which make us seem like idiots now
I've written a few times about our Stella since then, but I have avoided doing so lately, because most of what I have to say about her is kind of sad and makes me seem like an ogre.

The truth is that I don't have a great relationship with my dog.  If we were married to one another, I suspect a couselor would suggest we seriously consider a trial separation.

When I talk about Stella, I like to use what an administrator at the high school where I once taught called an "asset model," and what my wife refers to as a "shit-filled twinkie."  That's when you start off lauding the positive characteristics about something or someone, and then move on to the areas that could use improvement.

So here goes.

read more...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Panic at the Aquarium: The Time I Lost one of the Kids

We hadn't been inside the grounds of the aquarium for more than ten minutes when I looked down and realized that Cobra (Twin A) had disappeared.

We were looking at the outdoor tidepool exhibits located on a concrete patio atop a cliff overlooking some of the most beautiful beaches and expensive real estate in the country.  It was a perfect SoCal day and the beach break was dotted with surfers paddling out near the pier.

I had hoped that the aquarium wouldn't be too busy on a Thursday morning, but when we arrived, the parking lot was lined with buses full of school children and tourists.

Once in, I let the kids out of the stroller so we could explore the man-made tidepools.  We jostled our way through the crowd of elementary schoolers, and the docent helped the girls touch some sea stars (formerly known as "starfish") and sea cucumbers.  Cobra was into it, Butterbean didn't want any contact with the slimy critters.

I held Butterbean up so she could stick her hands in the water, and when I looked back down, Cobra was gone.

I looked looked left, right, and behind me.  Usually when I don't see one of the girls, it means they're lurking in a blind spot one inch from my legs.

I did a 360-degree scan.  A sea of children and a dozen adults.  No Cobra.
fuck.  wherewherewherewhere...
"Okay, kiddo.  Let's go find Sissy..."

 I picked up Butterbean and started first in one direction and then another.
fuck fuck fuck fuck fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck.  wherewherewherewhere?  don't panic.  what to do for a missing kid?  don't panic.  panic bad.  look look look look.  check immediate area first.  look behind possible concealing objects.
what are you doing? are you a recon expert now? you don't have any idea what the fuck you're doing. it's about time to panic. start yelling for someone to lockdown the facility.
shut up shut up shut up.
you don't have a plan! why don't you have a contingency plan for this? you should have read a book about child abductions! but you haven't even taken the child CPR class.  idot. terrible parent.
shut up shut up shut up.  calm down. i've got this. just...look around some more.  but everything is all woozy.  am i reeling? is this what reeling is like? she probably went back to the stroller. maybe if I called out for her...
"Sweetie?  Where are you?"
idiot. do you think she's gonna run to you like a dog? this is not the time to be cool and collected. this is the time to FREAK THE FUCK OUT AND START YELLING
shut up shut up shut up. okay.  maybe i could ask the nice lady with the badge.
START YELLING, ASSHOLE!  the kidnappers are loading her into the van RIGHT NOW. repeat after me, "MISSING CHILD! MISSING CHILD! AMBER ALERT! LOCK DOWN THE FACILITY!"
shut up shut up SHUT UP. okay. just wait until the lady with the badge is done talking about spotted Garibaldis and then ask her.  come on, lady. she's talking too long. c'monc'monc'mon.  shut up lady! shut up and look at me!
"Um...excuse me...did you see the other little girl that goes with this one?  She was petting the starfish...the sea stars...a minute ago?  They're twins, but, um, they don't really look like each other?"

 "No...I didn't see...is she..."
don't say "missing"...
"She just wandered off.  I'm sure she's right around here."
idiot.  you think she knows something because of her ten cent badge? at least make an announcement. stand on that stone wall over there and yell at every one to look for a toddler.  tell them what she was wearing. you remember what she was wearing, don't you? oh my god.  you don't even know, do you? and you dressed her! idiot.
 shut up. everything is just...kind of swirly right now.  shut up. i've got this. shit--everyone is looking at us with that concerned "oh my god he's a terrible parent" face.
really? you're worried about what other people are thinking about you right now? holy shit. you're thinking about how to spin this into a blog post, aren't you? ASSHOLE. YOU. ARE. AN. ASSHOLE.  well, at least you're going to get a shitload of pagehits, because your kid is  HALFWAY TO TIJUANA IN THE BACK OF AN '87 WINDSTAR.  ASSHOLE.
shut up.  lavender shirt with a butterfly.  pink pants with a little embroidered flowers on the pocket.  also, you are racist.
As calmly as I could, I asked the other couple of adults in the area to look out for her, and described her outfit.  No one sprang into action though.  They just looked at me, a little sadly.
what is that look? is that "aw, how sad. this imbecile is losing his shit"? or, "aw, how sad. this guy will never see his child again"?
it's both, asshole.
With Butterbean under my arm, I jogged to the other side of the exhibit, where the stroller was parked.

No Cobra at the stroller.

I scanned the lobster pools.  Nothing.  The carp pond.  No toddlers with butterfly shirts.

Then I looked down about four feet ahead of me, and there was Cobra, serenely playing with a plastic octopus, oblivious to everything around her, especially her jittery father.

oh, thank you god!
you believe in god now, dipshit?
shut up. i found her.  no harm done.
you got lucky.
I knelt down and deposited Butterbean next to some plastic lobsters.  I gave Cobra a hug and asked her sweetly why she wanted to give me a heart attack, explaining that I'm a frail old man and didn't she want Daddy to make it to her high school graduation?

A mom with two kids looked at me with the same sad look as the others had earlier.

"She's yours?"

 "Yeah."

"Oh wow.  She's been here for a while."

"She just got away from me.  I looked down and she was gone."

The lady gave me a wan smile.

"Usually they stick right by me," I said.  "Like, too much so.  Hanging on my pant legs."

"Well, those days are over," she said.

"I guess so."

***

  Here's some video from after I got my pulse rate back down:






***

 I also have a post up at Aiming Low, where I ask people to tell me that it will someday be fun to travel with children.  Please read it and leave me some advice.  Thanks!



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Daddyjuice

Although my little angels are almost completely irrational, especially now that they're suffering from a new cold right on the heels of their recovery from the last two weeks' miserable plague, they are exceedingly clever.  Well, probably not any more exceedingly than any other parents' little angels.  But still, they're pretty damn smart.

They're doing all kinds of amazing things with language now, like using verbs and adjectives, and even stringing multiple words together.  I haven't caught them pairing a noun with a verb yet, so I can't claim that they are speaking in sentences--even "telegraphic" ones--but they've got developed a real knack for compound words.

Both of the girls get into moods where they'll look around and name every object within their field of vision that they know words for.  Sometimes they go beyond names and say other words that they associate with the objects as well.


Cobra was interfering helping me with the dishes about a week ago, and as I unloaded the dishwasher, she would point at whatever I grabbed, announcing what each utensil or piece of flatware was for.  I pulled out a fork and she said, "rice." I pulled out a sippy cup and she said "sữa" (Vietnamese for "milk").  She said "juice" when I grabbed a glass.  When she saw her mom's tea cup, she said, "Mommy."  When I pulled out my massive coffee mug, she said, "Daddyjuice."

Naturally I was excited that she had put two words together.  It seemed like a cognitive milestone.  I was also a little relieved that she had chosen to call the coffee cup, and not the beer bottle, "Daddyjuice."  Not that she didn't associate beer bottles with Daddy.  Both of the girls have been pointing at beer and wine bottles for months and saying "Daddy."  I just thought I would seem more responsible to other grownups if the thing she designated as "Daddyjuice" went in a coffee mug instead of a shot glass.

Alas, it was not to be.  It turns out that anything I drink regularly is called "Daddyjuice."  Except for milk and water, for which she has generic names.  So that pretty much leaves coffee and booze in the "Daddyjuice" category.

Not only are the girls clever, but they can be surprisingly wise as well. Yesterday for instance, I was feeling utterly beleaguered by the time Dr. Mom got home from work.  I had thought that we were out of the woods as far as the evil viruses we've been swapping, but after two days of good health and great spirits, they had returned to the snotty, needy, clingy, non-napping little urchins they had been in the previous weeks.

I'm still not feeling great, and my cough-related (?) hip injury/sciatica/whatever the hell it is makes it a real bitch to pick up two kids at once, which is what I had been doing all day, since the alternative was listening to them scream "uppy" and follow me around like little snot-zombies.  Also, we had been cooped up in the house all day due to rain and laziness.

But when Mom came home, the kids cheered up and piled onto her, giving me an opportunity to make a break for the icebox and open a cold one.

When I returned to the playroom, the girls were having a grand old time, clambering on their mom and giggling away.  I sat on the other side of the room, still grumpy and glad to have a little breathing room for the first time that day.

But Cobra would have none of my isolating myself.  Smiling broadly, she tottered across the room to me, pointing at my beer bottle and saying, "Daddyjuice!"  I thought for sure that she would try to wrest the bottle from my hand and then have a screaming fit when I kept it from her.  

But instead, she pushed the bottle up to my mouth, and tipped the bottom up as I partook of the frothy elixir.

I smiled weakly, but that wasn't enough to satisfy Cobra.  She pushed the bottle back toward me again and again until I had drained half its contents.  

Finally the medicine began to work, and I was able to laugh once again.  The kid might not know how to use the potty or wipe her nose, but she's a pretty solid life coach.

***
You know, as long as you're here, you might as well click on this link and check out the piece I wrote on MamaPop about the bromance between Eminem and Dr. Dre.   (The piece will be posted at 12 noon EST).

Monday, February 14, 2011

I don't heart Valentine's Day

Here's an excerpt from my special DadCentric post for lovers on Valentine's Day...

 ***

On the long list of holidays I don't give a rat's ass about, Valentine's Day is up near the top.

It's hard to imagine anything more preposterous than designating one particular day on which we're all supposed to get smoochy and romantical with our current life-partners.  I mean, does anyone really feel special when they're treated to chocolates and erotic foot massages just because the calendar told their hapless boyfriend/girlfriend that today was the day they had to join the rest of the Western World in spontaneous gestures of romantic love?

clicky clicky to read more...


 ***

Here are a couple of photos from the Lunar New Year fair we went to over the weekend.  It was pretty low key as far as those things go, but fun, with lion dancers and the whole everything.  We met up with my Asian Mommies group for breakfast at a Hong Kong style cafe first, and then headed to the fair.  It was a big day for the kids, who are just barely recovering from a 2-week illness.  


 

Friday, February 11, 2011

You think *your* parents screwed you over?

What?  Did your parents smack you around?  Tell you you'd never amount to anything? Blame you for their divorce?

Please.

Unless they used sorcery, as my parents have, to make you feel the agony of accelerated decrepitude, they haven't messed with your head at all.

My mom is 74 and my dad is 75.  Those are their chronological ages anyway.  But if you met them, you would never believe that.

"Your parents are so...limber."

That's something my youngest sister-in-law actually said about them.  I passed this compliment on to my parents, and their somewhat huffy responses were along the lines of: "Well, Jeez!  What...are we supposed to be shuffling around with canes or something?"
 

But the thing is that they are remarkably...limber.  Both of them gracefully squat down to play with the grandkids, then pop back up with no discernible crunching noises from their joints, or grunting, or grasping for support, or massaging of their lower backs.

Would that I could say the same for myself.

The "limber" thing was a new one for them, as far as I know.  But a word that they have taken umbrage with for almost two decades now is "still."

As in, "Oh, wow. You guys still ski?"

They get that a lot, because they do still ski.  Like maybe sixty to a hundred times a year.  And when it's not ski season, my dad goes mountain biking three or four times a week while my mom hits the gym or works in the yard.  That's when they're not hauling concrete and rocks down the side of the mountain to make improvements on our family cabin in Montana, which is what they do every year for their summer vacation.

The reason I'm resenting my parents so hard right now is that they are currently ripping through epic powder in Telluride, Colorado, while I'm nursing an aching hip that I injured by coughing (yeah...coughing) during this cruddy cold I've had for the last two weeks, and which prevented me from even considering taking a few runs at the rinky-dink Southern California ski resort where we just spent three days.  (Of course, we were there to let the twins have some fun in the snow, not to let me attend to my winter sports jones.)

So, you may wonder, how does it happen that a dude reaches the age of 43 and finds that his parents are actually younger than he is?

I have thought long and hard about this, and determined that there are a couple things going on here: 1) Taking care of children wears you down to the point that a simple cold can turn into a crippling condition; and, 2) My parents have a portrait of themselves tucked away in their attic that depicts them as if they had aged in accordance with passage of time, while their actual bodies have not changed since 1985.

It's irksome to me that my parents have not introduced me to this artist who can suspend my aging process as he did theirs, and instead have let me watch myself fall into disrepair.  If I press them on the issue, they'll surely claim that I'm being ridiculous, and that it just takes a while to recover from the early years of childrearing; and that when I'm their age, I will have forgotten about this brief episode of infirmity.

I ask you, could there be anything crueler for parents to do to their children than to deny them the secret to everlasting youth, that they have attained through their dabblings in the occult?

That's what I thought.  So stop complaining about your mom's guilt trips and your dad's emotional distance.  At least they aren't practicing  black magic to suspend the aging process, and throwing it in your face.


This is what my youthful parents are doing right now:




And this is the most extreme winter sporting that I have done in a couple years:



Yeee--Haw!

***
I posted my first piece at MamaPop yesterday!  It's a record review of new albums by Deerhoof and Cake, and determined that listening to them will make you cool without damaging your children's psyches.  Please read it if you have time, and leave some comments so my boss lets me keep reviewing albums and doesn't make me start watching TV.  Warning: you may end up spending half your day reading funny stuff on MamaPop once you get there.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How 'bout that awesome sports team?

 I'm posting at Aiming Low today, so please go check it out and tell me what a pansy I am for not loving football.




***

Man!  Was that a great game, or what?  Those [name of team]s really [phrase describing result of the contest]ed the [other team]'s ass!  I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.  And the commercials?  Hilarious! Those cheerleaders weren't too hard on the eyes either, right? *wink, wink*

And, oh, how the light beer and warm nacho cheesefoodproduct did flow, as my homies and I enjoyed the spectacle that was the Superbowl of American Football MXLIIIXXX! [confirm Roman numerals before publishing]

Yup...it was just me and my boys, hangin' out in the mancave: Dave-O, Jim-Jim, Lugnut, Hank, and Frankie "Dostoyevsky" Rizzo.  Dave-O showed up with a wheelbarrow full of hot dogs, and  Lugnut brought a pony keg on a real pony! This is gonna be the best time ever, I...I...
I'm sorry.  I...I just can't do this.

read more...



Here's a special exclusive video for Beta Dad readers only.  Screw those Aiming Low readers.

I'm training the kids so that next time they can build their own bikes.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Beta Dad passes judgment on Baby Einstein and parents who let their babies watch TV

I have a new post up on DadCentric, in which I get all self-righteous about keeping my kids away from the idiot box.  Mostly.  Come on over and add your two cents to the comments.

Here's how it starts: 




I'm afraid I'm about to get self-righteous and snobby and maybe a little preachy.


I didn't set out to do that.  I was going to write a snarky little post about how babies have terrible taste and the books they enjoy often have little literary or artistic merit.  Something like:
WTF is up with Goodnight Moon, anyway?  "Goodnight, nobody/Goodnight, mush"?  It's like somebody transcribed their peyote trip.  And the artwork, arbitrarily alternatint from vertiginously lurid color blocks to black and white line drawings, is as discomfiting as a David Lynch movie, but far less visually interesting.
And don't get me started on Baby Einstein...
But I did get started on Baby Einstein, and became a little horrified in the process.

read more...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Plague Update, Bloggy News, Tadpoles

I haven't written anything here all week, partly because I haven't had time, but mostly because I didn't want to write about what was mostly on my mind, which was this: boohoohoohoo, I'm sick and my babies are sick and I'm not having any fun.

I was all jokey about how my household looked like Europe during the Black Plague in my DadCentric post on Monday, but it ain't that funny anymore.  I haven't been this sick in probably ten years, but of course that's not even the main problem.  The girls are just a mess.  Hacking and coughing and crying and whining and feverish and screaming pretty much 80% of their waking hours.  Seldom and few are the moments that neither of them are having some kind of fit.  It's heartbreaking.  Actually, I've moved beyond the heartbreak I think, and gotten to the stage where I'm just like, "Really?  You're gonna scream all day again?  And refuse to eat or walk?  And gush mucus?  You can't just suck it up like Dad's doing?" Also, I think I've slept more than 3 hours at a stretch exactly once since the middle of last week, because the kids have been either waking up multiple times during the middle of the night, or, like last night, sleeping through the night but waking up at 4:30 a.m.  So I'm really disoriented.  Somehow, my wife has managed to not get sick yet.  You might think I would resent her for that, but on the contrary, it's a great consolation that one of us is able to take care of business and not be a whiny baby.

I also resisted writing about this until now because it's really just what happens when kids get sick, which they are expected to do from time to time.  We've just had extraordinary luck in that our kids haven't had any real illnesses since they were born.  So here I am acting like it's the end of the world and my parenting abilities are being pushed to the breaking point, when in fact, this is all perfectly normal, and I know (and I'm sure you do too) families that have to deal with actual serious health problems every day.  It's hard to imagine.

This is what you missed by not being at my house this week (you can also see my version of the child-safety gate on the stairs--a couple of overturned chairs):



***
While my real life has been a little bit sucky lately, there's a lot of cool stuff going on in my life as a disembodied voice in the vast and cluttered emptiness of cyberspace*. 

First of all, Beta Dad was voted "Best Dad Blog" in the Studio 30 Plus Boomerang Awards.  This award means a lot to me because the people who voted are my peers--other bloggers around my age who are connected through this great community created by Jules and Jerrod.  Also, the other nominees in that category were guys I really like and respect.   I don't know how many people voted, but there are over 500 members now, and you should join if you haven't yet.  If you're a blogger.  And over 30.  So thanks, Jules, Jerrod, and everybody from Studio30+ who voted for me, and I guess everyone else too, although for what I don't know.

Also, I was very happy to lose to Becky of Steam Me Up, Kid (probably by like 497 votes) in the category of "Blog of the Year," since hers is pretty much my favorite blog ever and she's been a great support and inspiration to me, even though she is a filthmonger.  And I'm not insinuating that I came in second to her either.  There were a lot of other blogs nominated in that category that probably kicked my ass too.  Screw them. 

So the other cool thing that happened, apparently as a direct result of the Boomerang Award, is that someone from the very hip and wildly popular pop culture blog Mama Pop started reading my stuff, and asked me to join the team over there.  So I'll start writing over there next week.  Please, you guys, don't tell them I don't have a TV, because they will surely rescind their offer.

*We stopped using that word a while ago, didn't we? 

***

And finally, I have a new post on Aiming Low that comes out today, at noon EST, I believe.  It's pretty funny and doesn't reflect my current crankiness.  It includes the phrase "caper-infused snot-bath." Here's the teaser:

We had a couple free hours between the kids' naps and dinnertime last Sunday, and in discussing fun options for whiling away the afternoon, my wife brought up the idea of going to the pet store.

"Okay," I said, because that's what I always say when my wife suggests something.

But then I wondered why we needed to go to the pet store.

"Are we gonna try some new fancy dogfood?" I asked.  We're constantly tweaking our dog's diet to find a product that will minimize the farts, maximize poop firmness, and not cause skin reactions.  We have a very high-maintenance dog.

"No," she said.  "For the tadpole habitat."

"The tadpole habi...?" I said.  "Oh, shit.  The tadpoles.  You're still talking about that?"

My wife's friend from work has gotten her interested in raising tadpoles, which the friend does with her kids.  This friend was about to score like a kilo of prime polliwogs, and offered us a stake in it.

In case you're not a wildlife biologist, the thing about tadpoles is that they turn into frogs.  It's educational, the reasoning goes, for kids to witness and nurture this metamorphosis.


Have a great weekend!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails