Bad Words and Vomit Talk

 Adventures in Parenting  Comments Off on Bad Words and Vomit Talk
Aug 012014

Bad Words Mysteriously Appear, and a Conversation About Puke

My 20-month-old son, a.k.a. Heavy D, has a little wooden alphabet train on top of the dresser in his room that normally looks like this:

Bad Words and Vomit Talk

Today, when I walked into his room, I found this:

Bad Words and Vomit Talk 2

Now, this is a mystery for several reasons:

One, when we put Heavy D to bed last night, I’m fairly certain the letters hadn’t been altered.

Two, Heavy D can’t reach the top of his dresser, which is probably 5 feet tall. Even if he could, he hasn’t figured out how to climb out of his crib yet as far as we know. 

Three, Heavy D can’t spell.

Four, if Heavy D could spell, is he likely to call himself out as being “bad”? What sort of commentary on his self-esteem is this?

Five, Heavy D’s windows were locked, and there were no signs of forced entry by “bad” spellers or mischievous raccoons or both.

Six, the house is not haunted, as far as we know. And if it was, would the ghost haunt us by making a wooden alphabet commentary on my son’s behavior? If so, piss off, ghost! No one calls my son “bad” except me!


And now, a conversation with Godzilla about vomit

Yesterday, I was driving with my three-year-old daughter, Godzilla, and Heavy D, and this happened.

GODZILLA: I feel like I’m going vomit.

THE DAD: What?

GODZILLA: I feel like I’m going to vomit.

THE DAD: It sounded like you said you were going to vomit.


THE DAD: Okay, I’ll turn the car around and go back home.

GODZILLA: No, don’t turn around. I like riding in the car.

THE DAD: Well, I don’t really want you to puke in my car.

GODZILLA: I won’t.


GODZILLA: Daddy, I’m not going to vomit. That’s just something people say.

THE DAD: It is?

GODZILLA: Oh yes. People say that all the time.

THE DAD: They do?

GODZILLA: [Exasperated sigh] YES!

THE DAD: So you’re not going to puke in the car?

GODZILLA: [Exasperated sigh with eye roll] No, I just said that because that’s what people do.

THE DAD: Okay, well as long as we’re on the same page.

Tonsillectomy: The lies they tell you at a children’s hospital

 Adventures in Parenting  Comments Off on Tonsillectomy: The lies they tell you at a children’s hospital
Jul 212014

Leading up to a tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy for my three-year-old, some well-intentioned folks pumped us full of lies

My three-year-old daughter, a.k.a. Godzilla, a.k.a. Destroyer of Cities, had her tonsils and adenoids removed last week. It was a routine procedure conducted by a highly regarded surgeon at one of the best children’s hospitals in the United States. Still, as a parent, it’s a nerve-racking experience to watch your baby girl get hopped up on anesthesia and liquid narcotics and then have a stranger with a bro-tastic goatee cleverly hidden behind his surgical mask start slicing around in her throat. The people at the hospital understand this, which is why they’ve come up with a series of lies to tell parents to ease their nerves. As a public service, I’m going to share and debunk some of those lies right here, right now.

adenoid diagram

If you’re like me, you’re probably like, “Where the fuck are the adenoids?” Well, here’s a diagram. I still have no clue.

1. Your child will self-regulate her activity level to help herself recover. The doctor actually told us this, with a straight face, while looking me in the eye. “We find that kids will regulate their own activity to allow themselves to rest more and recover. She’ll probably want to lie around a lot for the next few days.”

Um, no. Clearly this guy has never met Godzilla in the wild, nor many high-energy three year olds. After spending the night in the hospital, we brought Godzilla home the next morning, and she promptly began chasing her brothers around the house in between doing a series of pirouettes to screams of “Look at me, Daddy!” To get her to calm down and actually rest after her surgery, we had to bring her car seat inside, strap her in extra tight and point her at a TV playing Frozen on repeat.

2. Staying overnight in the hospital allows everyone to rest. And by “rest” we mean “wake up every 90 minutes for a check of vital signs, administering of medications and idle 4:00 a.m. chit chat.” Seriously, what is it about night-shift nurses that makes them so chatty in the middle of the night?

I’ve been through this drill before, when Godzilla had to spend the night in the hospital last year for a highly contagious respiratory infection. Every hour or so, a nurse came in wearing full HAZMAT gear, scared the shit out of both of us, poked and prodded Godzilla until she erupted in a fire-breathing fit, and then left us with an admonishing directive: “Do try to get some rest.” Oh, you mean like I was doing before this little episode? Yes, exactly.

Needless to say, when the wife volunteered to stay with Godzilla during this post-tonsillectomy slumber party, I did not argue.

3. She won’t want to talk much for a few days. You know, because she just had surgery on her throat, which tends to make it sore. The no-talking statement was probably made without considering the effects of anesthesia, hospital-grade painkillers and abundant sugar intake from a diet consisting entirely of popsicles and ice cream. Not sure about your kid, but when you drug mine with narcotics and give her a month’s worth of sugar in one day, you’ve got a chatty preschooler on your hand. Also a wild preschooler who wants to ride the hospital wheelchairs like a surf board the second you turn your back (see lie #1).

4. We have everything you need here at the hospital to make your stay comfortable. Except for an adult-sized bed for a parent to sleep on. “Comfort” at the children’s hospital comes in small packages.

5. This is probably harder on the parents than it is on the child. I’m counting this as a lie because no matter how stressful this situation is for the parents, we’re not the ones having surgery and getting pumped full of drugs that make us loopy like it’s night two of Bonaroo. As parents, we suffer for our kids, but we can’t go through these life experiences for them, as much as we might want to. So you put on a brave face, tell them it will all be over soon and march them into whatever life has waiting for them. About 99% of the time, it turns out just fine. Kids are resilient. And they have short memories. My three-year-old little girl is tougher and braver and more determined than I ever will be. She’s a kid, but she’s not completely naïve. She knew she was walking into a difficult situation that wasn’t going to be all dancing unicorns and rainbow sherbet. And she didn’t blink. She stepped up, took her medicine (literally) and owned it. That’s the matter-of-fact bravery of childhood that so many of us grown-ups have forgotten. Did she cry and get scared and cringe from the pain afterwards? Yes, because that’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re faced with a traumatic situation. Sure, this experience was harder on the kid going through the procedure than her parents watching from the sidelines, but she’s got the tools to deal with it, and she’ll be just fine.

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering: If you remove Godzilla’s tonsils, does she still breathe fire? The answer is yes. Hells yes. Look out, world, this kid’s going to be back destroying cities before you know it.


Tonsils or not, Godzilla is ready to wreck some shit.

Good Night, Godzilla: Sweet Words at Bedtime

 Kids Say the Darndest Things  Comments Off on Good Night, Godzilla: Sweet Words at Bedtime
Jun 092014

A short bedtime story

Last night, my three-year-old daughter, a.k.a. Godzilla to those familiar with her antics, was having trouble settling down and going to bed. Instead of using my usual barrage of tough love and threats to burn all of her stuffed animals in a giant, fur-filled pyre, I opted for a different approach. I sat down on the bed next to her, tucked her in gently and then leaned in close.

“Godzilla, I’m sorry if I don’t say this enough, but I think you are amazing.”

She stopped fidgeting and looked up into my eyes.

“You are so smart. And you work so hard at learning new things. I’m impressed everyday watching you learn and grow.”

She blinked once, slowly, and a calm look washed over her face.

“You are sweet to your brothers, especially your baby brother, who looks up to you so much. You are kind and strong and beautiful, and I could not be more proud of you. Do you hear me? I am so proud of you. So proud.”

She closed her eyes, and her lips curled into a contented little smile as if those words were exactly what she needed to hear at that moment. Then she reached up with her tiny hands and tenderly grasped each of my ears, pulling me even closer to her her. When I was inches from her face, she craned her neck upward and kissed my cheek. Then she turned her head, ever so slightly, and whispered in my ear, “Daddy …”


“Your breath stinks. You should brush your teeth.”

Goodnight, Godzilla. 

2014: The Family Comedrama Continues – Dad on Arrival New Year Udpate

 Domestic Escapades  Comments Off on 2014: The Family Comedrama Continues – Dad on Arrival New Year Udpate
Jan 072014

New Year. Same Insanity. It’s the Dad on Arrival Comedrama, 2014 Edition.

Happy New Year! It’s 2014, the dawn of another year of misadventures at Casa de DOA. To set the scene for this year’s comedrama, I thought I’d update you on your favorite characters.

The Boy: The Boy has taken on a new alter ego, “Super O.” Super O is a pint-sized, masked, caped crusader who spends his time “saving the day” from an assortment of villains, including Darth Vader, Captain Hook and the New Orleans Saints. His costume includes a mask and a cape, lovingly sewn by Super Mom and worn everywhere we go. Everywhere. We’re glad to have him protecting us, except during snack time, when he’s been very clear that he’s off duty.

Yes, he wears the cape and mask everywhere. Everywhere.
Yes, he wears the cape and mask everywhere. Everywhere.

The Girl: After narrowly avoiding death-by-squashing when she climbed up her 300-pound dresser and pulled the entire thing down on top of her, Godzilla has bounced back to her normal, terrorizing ways. So far this new year, she has set the world record for the longest scream without taking a breath. She also tried to start a food fight at Cleveland’s famous West Side Market while visiting her grandparents, and she was narrowly foiled in a series of life-threatening acrobatic maneuvers that all began with the call, “Look at me!” On the plus side, she nighttime potty trained herself by simply taking off her diaper one evening and announcing, “I’m done with these.” And she was.

The Baby: Heavy D continues to live up to his name by eating his way through life, much like The Very Hungry Caterpillar on day six of his eating bonanza. His interests include food, eating food, playing with food, throwing food on the floor and crying that food thrown on the floor is no longer within reach. He also enjoys milk, drinking milk, looking at milk inside a sippy cup and crying over spilt milk. Oh, and at almost 14 months he has taken to two-footed locomotion like a baby kangaroo running from a dingo, which is to say he is all over the place and he’s quicker than your life.

The Mom: The Mom continues to amaze, juggling full-time work, mommy duties, sewing super hero costumes and reprimanding The Dad for not doing enough—of anything. Her crowning achievement over the holidays was staying up past midnight for three straight nights. She also drank two full glasses of wine one night after the kids were asleep. It was off the chain, y’all. I don’t know, this could be The Year of the Mom.

The Dad: Yours truly began the new year on a high note, after daring to do what no sane man had done before: purchase his wife jeans for Christmas. I bought her three pairs and—wait for it—she kept all three! They fit. They look great. I rock.

That high note came crashing down into a horrific cacophony of bathroom sounds when I was afflicted with a wicked stomach bug. The bug hit about mid-morning on New Year’s Day, and no one—no one—believed wasn’t a hangover. I  wish it had been a hangover—one, because that would have been much easier than what I went through, and two, a hangover would have indicated that I had a better time on Near Year’s Eve than I did. As it was, I spent most of New Year’s Day destroying my in-laws’ guest bathroom, while the family outside audibly wondered about what a dead beat I was, nursing my maladies instead of helping with the myriad household tasks, my children, snow removal from the Polar Vortex, and various other chores. So my stock didn’t really go up with that side of the family. On the plus side, I inadvertently accomplished a total digestive tract cleanse. A lot of people do that as a New Year’s Resolution, spending lots of time and money over several weeks to accomplish what I did for free with a few hours of spare time, a weird virus and someone else’s toilet. So I’m going to consider myself ahead of the  game.

The Dog: Olive Petunia, Squirrel Slayer, says, “Stop bothering me. Sleeping.”

So there you have it. The DOA family update. This should set the scene for many misadventures to come. Happy New Year, everyone. Here’s to a better, brighter 2014 with less vomiting and familial disappointment, and more nights when your sassy spouse downs two full adult beverages.