Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Doorman

The Kavanaugh family has created a trend this holiday season. It's not one to be proud of, nor will it roll into a Christmas tradition to look forward to in coming years. Rather, its embarrassing and inappropriate.

This morning my son, (2nd time this month) answered the front door buck naked. To a complete stranger. Technically, and important to Miller, he was wearing a t-shirt. Obviously, and much more important to the Amazon Fresh guy, Miller was NAKED.

Before CPS is alerted I must paint the back story to this development. As UPS claims, it's all about logistics. You see, we live in a townhouse. It's four stories but small. Think of it more as a little human Habitrail  than a sprawling urban retreat that its many stories implies. As city folk and transplants from Manhattan back to the Pacific Northwest, we can not only make due with layout challenges, but spin it in our favor. We're proud owners of two children that are beyond their years in staircase navigation. Score one for early dexterity development. The not so spin-able downside it that these kids are fast.

One additional point to our house that I'd like to mention is the 37 steps it takes to get to our front door from street level. Thats right- 37. I've counted them numerous times, usually when the carry load of groceries, babies, strollers or garbage, etc in my arms starts to exceed the 30 lbs. weight limit my back has.

What I'm basically saying is it's rare we get strangers willing to make the climb to appreciate the three- ring circus caused by ringing our front door. Our extended family and neighbors know to just walk in or at least call while embarking on the expedition that is to reach the summit of our domicile.

So when the doorbell rings (you guessed it- twice this month so far) all hell breaks loose. Including the unruly 95 pound dog, the 5 of us are occupying all four floors of the house at this point. My wife has found refuge in the master bathroom on the top level (and farthest from the front door) during this fire drill. In her defense, these incidents have happened early in the morning so she's getting ready- lucky her. Quinn and I are in the kitchen eating breakfast. Sasha (the Bernese Mountain Dog), having twice the number of legs that my speedy children do, loudly makes the journey from the basement to the front door before the bell stops ringing. As I grab Quinn off the stool and run down the stairs I remember that I sent Miller to his room minutes before to grab some jeans.

And there you have it.

The Amazon Fresh guy was standing in the doorway never happier in his life to be holding bags and bags of groceries in his not molesting hands, afraid to move and certainly not stepping into the house until Dad grabbed the naked kid.

Unfortunately I think a delivery fee will be applied from now on.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Big Heads

At a young age I began to ask my parents about the history of our family. I was curious where we were from, what my grandparents did and what countries of origin and ethnic makeup we had that made me who I was. In my family this type of inquisition was quickly nailed down to a conversational Post-It that gave me the words i knew to respond to questions about lineage in a sentence. "I'm Irish, Catholic and a little Welsh".

Much later in life I would field questions about the smidge of Portuguese running through my blood. I say later in life because I first found out about this 'smidge' when I was in my 30's, which leads me to growing up Irish Catholic.

I wasn't regaled with stories about past family members fighting in the Crusades, or dominating empires. I can't claim to be related to any plunderers of the rich or kings from past eras. I'd like to think i had a distant great great great cousin who was the kind of guy who stopped on the side of the road to help a lady change a wheel on her wagon while he fought off those plunderers. I heard my grandfather ran for Congress in the 40's but thats pretty new school in the scheme of family lineage. I did know that we were a scourge on the Irish Catholic tradition because my family is TINY.

What's not tiny however, is our ability to create extremely large headed people. I have a big head. There, I said it. Thankfully i'm also really tall so I like to think i've grown into it nicely, the kind of head that people don't use as a first descriptor about me when I'm not present. My wife also has a big head. She is much more attractive than I am and i know for a fact she is typically described by her general beauty, smile, eyes or gregarious personality among many other non- big headed traits. When two worlds as ours collided, marriage and babies created a vortex of head sizes not seen very often.

Onto babies, our babies- most parents go to the pediatrician hoping to hear that their children are healthy, normal and on par with his or her peers- simple enough. I admit that being a fairly tall person i would get excited to hear about the percentile height and weight ranking of my children to compare against the other kids. I know i'm not alone in this narcissism because the doctor was always excited to give us the good news of big, tall and healthy babies.

After the weight and height measurements were taken (and applauded by all in the room) came the head measurement. I can tell you that all but 4% of the parents in the U.S. barely remember this part of the exam- its inconsequential- who actually cares, right? Well, I do. My kids are in the 96% percentile. Both of them. The pediatrician would glance up as she shared the news with us- taking in the new, previously unseen view of our huge parent heads.

As we left the appointment I imagined the staff peeking out of doorways to glimpse at the Jack in the Box Family bobbling down the hallway.

I wondered what kind of car they thought we drove....

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Name of this Blog

Hello there-

I thought my first post should fill readers in on the odd title I chose for this little writing endeavor. 

It came to me a while back as I was trying to change my then 18 month old son Miller. Overnight the ritual of changing his diaper, putting his clothes back on and keeping the dog from charging out the front door as I threw the diaper onto the porch became infinitely harder. The diaper on the porch was just a quick fix until I took the dog on a walk. At least thats what I told the neighbors.

So, just when I thought I had a system in place, someone who still crapped in their pants decided to make executive changes. Immediately. This escalated into a thrice daily rugby scrum, David vs. Goliath, a cage fight in the Octagon, or as i liked to call it 'Wits vs. Shits'.

The mention of cage fighting is not a careless reference. This 'mindless violence' I wasted my time viewing (Sarah's paraphrase) actually became a relevant life experience application. Miller's signature move was a common wrestling technique aimed to evade getting pinned by the opponent (me in this case). It involved a tremendous amount of torque on the head and neck, and using those body parts as an anchor to buck the opponent off to avoid losing the match. While the anchor is by definition designed to be still, there were a hell of a lot of moving parts at the other end of Miller's body. An amateur would quickly focus on the wildly flailing right leg- the ruse in the attempted roll over. However the Versus channel and G4 had taught me wisely. I focused on the left leg. this was point 2 of the dreaded triangle that would signal the ship of parental supremacy to doom if i did not take immediate action.

My move was the ankle grab. I would sweep Miller's leg towards my abdomen (fight location is on a 30" X 14" changing table, terry cloth and about waist high for an adult grappler). I HAD to keep a strong grip on the ankle. This typically escalated to holding on for dear life with my hand and Miller's ankle 2 feet off the table, his head and neck writhing to complete the turnover, sweaty, purple from exertion and pissed off. I would finally wear him down and strap a diaper on him, get him changed and get out of there.

10 minutes later upstairs, Miller would be happily eating a waffle and drinking milk out of a sippy cup, not a care in the world. I was exhausted and thought..why was that so hard?

Then it dawned on me. It had to be like trying to put pants on a raccoon...