Apr 182014
 

Why should the kids have all the fun on Easter?

It’s almost Easter. For parents, that means it’s time to start stuffing plastic eggs with sweet treats, jamming Easter baskets with more sugar and small toys, and then coming up with an action plan for bringing our kids down from a fructose-induced mania before they either ride the family dog onto a busy highway or collapse in a diabetic coma. Oh, and let’s not forget trying to come up with clever ways to explain the relationship between the supernatural resurrection of a guy who lived 2,000 years ago, who just happened to be the son of god, and an oversized bunny that magically circumnavigates the globe on Easter morning, delivering chocolate and colorful eggs to the world’s entire population of children. You know, because when I think of crucifixion and resurrection, the next logical step is a giant rodent pushing sweets. Hey, as long as it makes sense to the kids and they don’t ask too many questions.

To make Easter even more exciting, I like to have a little fun with those plastic Easter eggs that we all hide for our kids. You know, the ones normal people stuff with candy or tiny toys? Yeah, instead of doing that sort of thing, because it’s soooo expected, I prefer to fill my kids’ eggs with more original treats. Here’s my list of things I put in my kids’ Easter eggs to throw them for a loop:

Easter Eggs

Think I’m filed with candy? Ha-HA! Think again.

IOUs for college. Let’s be honest, with the cost of higher education spiraling out control, the only way I’m going to afford to send three kids to college at the same time is if they all get scholarships, or if I’m allowed to pay it off over the course of the rest of my life, assuming that I never retire and die at 104. Also, because I believe in helping people help themselves, I will include some coupons for basketball lessons so they can start practicing for those scholarships now.

Vegetables wrapped up as Cadbury Creme Eggs and Hershey’s Kisses. It’s all about the packaging, right? How about replacing a Cadbury Egg, with it’s gooey center and 472 grams of sugar, with a couple of Brussels sprouts? Just wrap them up in the same foil wrapper and give them to the kids with a straight face. Or swap the mass-processed chocolate goodness of a Hershey’s Kiss with a little broccoli floret? “Look, it’s a broccoli kiss! Oh, how lucky you are! The Easter Bunny must really love you! Now, stop complaining and eat your greens while daddy finishes up this pile of chocolate that mysteriously appeared out of nowhere.”

Totally unrealistic expectations. I like to give my kids something to strive for, like being 100 percent perfect 100 percent of the time. The neighbors are watching, after all, and they all claim that their children are perfect. To get my children in the My Kid Can Do No Wrong Club, I like to fill their plastic Easter eggs with little statements to set the bar impossibly high. For example:

“You can do no wrong. No, seriously, you will do no wrong.

“You will be president of the world one day.”

“You are perfect. Now, don’t let me down.”

“Remember, it’s about how you play the game, as long as you play it better than everyone else.”

Nonsensical inspirational statements. You can tell I’m big on the motivational messages, which is somewhat ironic because my kids (ages 4, 3 and 1) can’t read. But that’s no excuse for not being properly motivated, so I like to write out little nonsensical inspirational message on tiny strips of paper, like the notes inside a fortune cookie. And then I stuff them inside a cookie, also like a fortune cookie. However, since I don’t bake or use the oven for anything other than heating up a frozen pizza, these treats wind up looking like little strips of paper sticking out of raw cookie dough. Well, let’s be honest, they are little strips of paper sticking out of raw cookie dough, which I think makes them quite the delightful Easter treat. They’re like a little sliver of wisdom encased in gooey goodness. Anyway, here are some of my favorite statements, in case you want to try this at home:

“Reach for the moon … if you miss at least you’ll be among the stars.”

“When your mind is full of indecision, try thinking with your heart.”

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”

“Always remember that you are unique. Just like everybody else.”

And my all-time favorite, which children of the ’80s might remember from Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 broadcasts: “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.”

W-T-F? Who comes up with these sayings? 

Anyway, Happy Easter, everyone!

Mar 272014
 

The Dad explains March Madness while the kids predict game results from the Sweet 16

Today at breakfast I was chatting with my four-year-old son, a.k.a “Super O,” and almost-three-year-old daughter, a.k.a. “Godzilla,” and I to get the gang’s thoughts on March Madness.

“Hey, kiddos, aren’t you excited that it’s March Madness?”

“Yes!” they shouted in unison.

Then the girl went back to eating her cereal, while the boy got a quizzical look on his face.

“Wait, daddy, what’s March Madness?” he asked.

“Well, buddy, I’m glad you asked. March Madness is a magical time of year when all the best college basketball teams get together for a big tournament, and they play a bunch of games to see who is the greatest. If you win, you get to play another game. If you lose, you have to go home and do your homework. And if you keep winning, you get to go all the way to the Final Four, which is a super magical event, even though it often takes place in a location that you’d otherwise never want to visit, like Indianapolis or Detroit or Texas. But it’s amazing, like getting an all-access pass to Jake the Never Land Pirate’s secret hideout, only instead of puny pirates, there are thousands of wild basketball fans and lots of TV cameras. And they show all of this action on TV, which is why daddy spends so much time watching TV this time of year, instead of working or helping around the house or doing things with the family.”

My son nodded in appreciation, but I could tell I was losing my daughter with this description, so I added this in: “Another name for March Madness is The Big Dance.

She immediately put down her spoon and placed both hands underneath her chin. “I’m listening.”

“And if a little team that no one expected to do well starts winning a bunch of games, they call it a ‘Cinderella,’” I added.

Her eyes immediately got wide. “Do they wear glass slippers?” she asked.

“Well, no, glass slippers don’t have enough traction for a basketball court. Plus they’re not great for the ankles. But the Cinderellas do lots of crazy celebration dances if they win. And if they win the whole thing, they get showered with confetti and glitter. Lots and lots of glitter.”

The girl let out a giggle, and I could tell I had her attention. So I took it up another notch. “Today starts the second weekend of the tournament,” I said. “It’s called—get this—the ‘Sweet 16.’”

Both kids gasped.

“Uh, huh. And to make things extra sweet for the Sweet 16, I’m going to give each of you a piece of candy for each game you predict correctly in the Sweet 16.”

“Yes!” shouted the boy.

“Candy! I want mine now!” yelled the girl.

“No, not yet,” I replied. “You need to guess who’s going to win each game, and then I’ll give you the candy after the games are done. Okay, ready?”

So here you go, readers, my kids predict the Sweet 16. Let’s see if these preschoolers can prognosticate better than the so-called experts. For each game, I asked them to

The 2014 Men’s NCAA Basketball Championship Sweet 16 Predictions – By Super O (age 4, boy) and Godzilla (age almost 3, girl)

The Sweet 16

The Sweet 16, a candy-laden adventure full of dancing Cinderellas and glitter – lots and lots of glitter.

Florida Gators vs. UCLA Bruins

Super O’s prediction: “Is a gator like Tick Tock Croc in Jake the Never Land Pirate? OK then, how about the Bruins? Is that the team we don’t like? No? Okay, Bruins then.”

Godzilla’s prediction: “Do gators eat us?”

 

Baylor Bears vs. Wisconsin Badgers

Super O’s prediction: “Bears definitely eat people.”

Godzilla’s prediction: “What’s a badger?”

 

Arizona Wildcats vs. San Diego State Aztecs

Super O’s prediction: “San Diego, because we went there before.”

Godzilla’s prediction: “Baylor Bears!”

 

Dayton Flyers vs. Stanford Cardinal

Super O’s prediction: “The Daytons. I like their pilot flying guy.”

Godzilla’s prediction: “The one that O said. Because.”

 

Virginia Cavalier vs. Michigan State Spartans

Super O’s prediction: “The other one, not the Spartans. I don’t know why.”

Godzilla’s prediction: “The Part-spans. Yes, Put-spins will win. Because.”

 

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Louisville Cardinals

Super O’s prediction: “The Wildcats, because they are brave and fast”

Godzilla’s prediction: “Wildcats, because they are good winners.”

 

Iowa State Cyclones vs. Connecticut Huskies

Super O’s prediction: “Huskies! They look like they have big teeth and are fast.”

Godzilla’s prediction: “Have I been to Iowa?”

 

Tennessee Volunteers vs. Michigan Wolverines

Super O’s prediction: “Wolverines [then noticing the grimace from his nanny, who is from Ohio]. Okay, no. The Volunteers. [Looking at nanny again] Um, just because.”

Godzilla’s prediction: “No, O, not Volunteers. I don’t like that word. I pick Tennessee.”

 

Mar 142014
 

The screams started late in the evening. The kids had been asleep, and I was just settling down for some well-deserved couch time.

“Daddy. Daddy! DADDY!”

The panic in my son’s voice was escalating quickly as I ran upstairs to his bedroom.

“DADDY!”

“What?” I asked breathlessly as I burst into his room. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” answered my four year old.

“Then what is it? Why are you screaming?”

“So, in the ‘Toy Story’ movie, is there a Tyrannosaurus?” he asked, suddenly very calm. “I can’t remember.”

“What? That’s what … Are you serious?”

“Yeah. Is there a Tyrannosaurus?” he asked again.

“You mean, like a dinosaur?” I said.

“Yeah. A Tyrannosaurus dinosaur. Is there one?”

“Were you having a nightmare about dinosaurs?” I asked.

“No, I just couldn’t remember if there was a Tyrannosaurus in ‘Toy Story.’ I thought there was. But I couldn’t remember.”

images

“So that’s why you were screaming?”

“Yeah.”

I thought for a second while catching my breath from the sprint up the stairs. “Yes, there is a Tyrannosaurus. A toy one. A toy dinosaur. Yes.”

“Is he friendly, or does he eat people?”

“Are you worried about getting eaten by a dinosaur?” I was still trying to get at a root cause for the screaming.

“No, just curious,” he responded, matter of factly.

“Okay, I just want to get this straight. You started screaming bloody murder in the middle of the night, because you couldn’t remember if there was a toy dinosaur in the movie ‘Toy Story’?”

“Yep.”

“Alright then. No, the ‘Toy Story’ dinosaur doesn’t eat people. He’s a friendly toy. Besides, dinosaurs and people didn’t coexist in the same epoch. They were separated by millions of years of—wait, why are we talking about this? If there’s no emergency, then go to sleep!”

 

Feb 212014
 

Bedtime stories take a new dimension when told by a two year old

Last night, my almost-three-year-old daughter, aka Godzilla, told me that she was going to tell me a bedtime story, not the other way around. It was clearly a stalling tactic, but I went along. It seemed easier than watching her melt down into a five-alarm tantrum, plus I was curious about her storytelling technique. Having a conversation with Godzilla is like watching a fairy vomit pixie dust and princess tiaras while pink unicorns dance in the background. So a creative story by our little Cinderella-in-training would be an interesting glimpse into her psyche. I agreed. Then the scene unfolded something like this:

Godzilla: Daddy, I’m going to tell you a bedtime story.220px-Cinderella_Special_Edition_OST

The Dad: Okay.

Godzilla: Okay.

The Dad: Okay.

Godzilla: Okay.

The Dad: Okay. Go.

Godzilla: What do you want your story to be about?

The Dad: How ‘bout you tell me a story about a beautiful little girl with golden hair who didn’t want to go to bed, but when she finally did, she had magical fairy dreams all night and woke up as a princess? That sounds like a fun one.

Godzilla: No.

The Dad: No?

Godzilla: No. I will tell you a story about Cinderella.

The Dad: Okay, tell me a story about Cinderella.

Godzilla: So, Cinderella was going to the princess ball. But she didn’t know if she wanted to go. But then she did.

The Dad: [listening expectantly]

Godzilla: [dramatic pause]

The Dad: [still listening]

Godzilla: [more dramatic pause]

The Dad: And?

Godzilla: [silence]

The Dad: Godzilla?

Godzilla: [silence]

The Dad: Are you asleep?

Godzilla: [emits subtle snore]

The Dad: Well, that worked like a charm.

Feb 052014
 

It’s colder than a witch’s … well, it’s damn cold in Denver.

Growing up in Atlanta, a place where they declare a State of Emergency when the temperature dips below 20 and people abandon their vehicles in the middle of a highway when half an inch of snow blankets the road, I will never, ever get used to a forecast that includes the phrase “warming up to a high around -4.” But here we are on a splendidly chilly day in the Mile High City. And no one seems to really care.

Speaking of very cold weather, we’ve all see those pictures on Facebook of people’s car thermometers. People love to post those pics in extreme weather. Oh my god it’s 111! Or, It’s so cold that I just shriveled into a female! 

That’s not normally my thing, but I made an exception today  so that I could point out a few things about the weather in Denver. First, here’s my car thermometer at high noon:

It's colder t

And now, a few observations:

1. This was actually the high temperature of the day by 12:00 p.m.

2. It was significantly colder before the sun came out, when I was driving my son to preschool. I attempted to photograph my dashboard temperature gauge then, but the temperature readout just flashed “Error … Error … Are you f’ing kidding me? … Error … Error … Go back to bed.”

3. There are actually some birds that fly south to here for the winter. I’m guessing that those winged nitwits are either directionally challenged or that they got into too much of the local whiskey before setting out. I’m looking at you, Canadian Geese.

4. I’m fairly certain that the frigid, snowy weather that began immediately following the Super Debacle on Sunday was the result of John Elway selling his soul to the devil to bring Peyton Manning to Denver. Only Elway cheaped out and decided to skip a couple payments. So this is payback. Lucifer is probably all, “Cold enough for you? It’s nice and warm down here. Just ask Robert Palmer. You know, ‘Some like it hot.’”

5. My wife took one look at the temperature this morning and decided to fly to California. This is no joke. She up and bolted for the Left Coast without even giving the mercury a change to climb above zero. I just got a text from her telling me that she’d landed and it was super warm and sunny. She is lucky I love her.

6. My biggest concern is not frostbite or frozen pipes, but that the beer in my man fridge, located in the unheated garage, will all freeze. Then I will be trapped here in subzero temperatures, by myself with the kids, with no beer. If that happens, I will be dialing the Robert Palmer/Eternal Furnace of Hell hotline post haste and requesting an expedited pickup.

 

That’s all for today, folks. Tune back in tomorrow, Thursday, February 6, when I’ll be redirecting you to Pile of Babies for the first installment of my bet payment to Seattle Seahawks Super Fan Meredith Bland. We made a bet on the outcome of the game—I had the Broncos and she had the Seahawks. Loser has to write the other one’s blog for a couple segments. Well, um, in case you were hiding in a refrigerator on Sunday, my team, the Broncos, did not win. So I’m taking this show 0n the road to Pile of Babies tomorrow. See ya then.