Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Will Pee for Soup.

Quinn is weeks shy of turning 2. In the last month she has loudly proclaimed 'POTTY' no less than 100 times and actually gone the the bathroom and successfully peed in the toilet 3 times so far. (Pretty far below the Mendoza line for you baseball fans)

I'm not one of those parents who thinks this borders on precocious behavior.

In fact, I'm amazed that her potty training started before she was, say, 14. Miller started the potty training process a few months before his 3rd birthday and now abuses it like Jay Z does to a Black AMEX card. And while I'm happy to not have to put diapers on him anymore his use of it has become a tool of psychological warfare that makes me understand the increasing number of frown wrinkles on my forehead.

No matter where we are, He will proclaim 'I HAVE TO GO POTTY!!" Usually the declaration happens in the car once everyone is strapped in and we're about to pull out of the driveway. Or when its guaranteed there isn't a bathroom within a few miles- I swear he has some sort of bizarro reverse GPS navigation system built into his bladder.

We were fairly diligent about his potty training as he was the first child. Now that he's so recently out of diapers, I haven't had a chance to recover quickly enough to jump back in and do the same work for Quinn.

I think she started the process earlier because she learns by example from mimicking everything Miller does. For potty training this has been beneficial I guess. For temper tantrums, hitting family members and general pissy behavior, not so much. I've learned to take the good with the bad.

She could give a crap about my armchair quarterback method during her latest conquest. 'YEAHHH QUINNY!!' I ridiculously squealed like a high school cheerleader yelled the first time her pee landed in the toilet bowl. (I thought those life moments should be met with a ridiculous level of parental positive reinforcement.)

It was not needed I soon found out. Instead, she gave me a look of icy indifference as if she had been doing this forever. I thought about reminding her about the dump she took during bath time the week before but thought better of it. I'll be the bigger person. I'm so pathetic, but back to pissing stories.

We were all now on heightened watch. Anytime 'POTTY' was screamed, My wife and I would drop everything and run with her to the bathroom, yank her pants and diaper off and plop her on the toilet. And wait. And stare. And bribe.

Usually the way to get to Quinn's heart is thru my lovely wife's purse. Mascara, lip gloss, lip balm, you name it- if it goes on your face and makes a mess, count Quinny in.

This was met with little success. Quinn knew she could sneak over anytime we weren't looking and get the prize without performing. In hindsight, we should have thought of more obvious alternative forms of bribery, but keep reading.

On the third successful attempt I was greeted with one of those ' AH-ha!' life moments that are so simple yet never cross the mind until it actually happens and you realize what an idiot you are.

After peeing in the potty Quinn looked up and proudly said, "Soup now, Daddy?'

If only I had known.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

'Eff the Easter Bunny.

It's been 3 days since the worst best day a toddler can have- Easter. I'm still recovering and don't expect to be able to carry on intelligent conversations until the wine cellar runs dry.

This Easter holiday took me by surprise. I didn't fully invest in the same amount of pre- holiday paranoia as I did before Christmas. I had so many nightmare expectations in December that thankfully never materialized. You see, at the time, I over thought every present I purchased (Is this Hello Kitty going to cause someone to lose an eye? Can Quinn swallow this 4' fire truck? Who's going to burn the tree down??...and so on and so on, ad nauseum).

Ultimately my stress level was raised to a comfortable enough point that Murphy's Law took it as a generous sacrifice and ironically afforded our family a magical time to share presents, eat great food and enjoy all around harmony. In other words- A Perfect Holiday.

The Easter bunny just delivers candy. How hard can this day be?

Well, with minimal presents and a ridiculous focus on sweets, it's fucking VERY hard. And lets face it- Saturday's sit-down to color eggs was a nice tradition to pass along to the kids but no toddler is going eat the shit out of 3 dozen colored hard boiled eggs when there are Jelly Belly's in the house. Protein- 0, high fructose corn syrup- 1.

What they will do is try to inhale their body weight in sugar over a 2 hour period like they've never see a Peep before. Wait- they hadn't and that was part of the problem. (I do occasionally have standards)

Parental instincts are an interesting thing. For example, any owner of a 3 year old knows something's fishy when their child goes silent for say, 8 seconds. There were several times on Sunday where I lost (mental) sight of Miller for several MINUTES.

The first time I could hear myself think I bolted upright from the couch to find the source of suspicious peace and quiet. I immediately saw a shut bathroom door and my lovely wife was in sight so I knew we were in trouble. This happened way after Easter baskets had been collected and stored on top of the fridge for a sugar moratorium.

I went to the bathroom and opened the door.

Miller was sitting on the floor leaning against the wall with the lights out. Shoving his sister's jelly beans in his mouth like a smack addict.

The funny thing about jelly beans is that they stick to the back of your teeth (I forgot this until I caught him) Another thing about jelly beans (when you're 3) is that they make you drool- upon turning the lights and seeing this depravity I focused on the purple hued spit string extending from his lower lip down to the puddle resting on his half prone belly.

'What are you doing Miller??' I asked.

'Noshing Daddy' he replied.

He looked pathetic enough at this point but now he had a jelly bean induced lisp. 30 or so of those suckers attached to your molars can have that effect, I guess. He now reminded me of a cat who had gotten a fur ball stuck in its throat and was trying to cough it up.

I 'gently' grabbed the remaining candy from his clutches and told him to go downstairs and get ready to go visit his grandparents. Round 2 was about to begin.

I had no idea what was in store for the rest of the day.

'Eff the Easter Bunny.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I'm Happily Aiming Low!

Hi reader(s)

I wanted to share a happy moment with you. I was just picked up by the site Aiming Low. It's an awesome family, fun and friends blog collective that has been nice enough to think one of my humble posts is worthy of a little more attention. I'm honestly flattered and it makes me want to write more- funny how that dangling carrot works for humans too.

Speaking of carrots, I'm mid way thru a post about Easter but haven't been able to put the PTSD to bed enough to finish- more on that shortly.

You can see my post Here

A big thanks to the Aiming Low family and staff, especially JW Moxie who has had to deal with my email inquiries and couldn't be a better supporter of writers she's never met. :-)

Aiming Low has never felt better

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I need to tip better next time...

I love to eat in restaurants. I have always appreciated the entire experience that an evening out with my beautiful wife has to offer.

We met in NYC and these liasons instantly became a part of our courtship. Partially because Sarah also enjoys my love of food but mostly because the apartment we lived in was less than 400 sq. feet and we shared it with a few mice. Who also generally helped themselves to our food.  (I still haven't gotten over watching a baguette wrapped in paper crinkle about without the help of human contact). But thats another story.

After moving to Seattle, the first few years were more of the same, minus our mouseguests. Nights out exploring our new cities abundance of bars and restaurants was a seamless transition to the evenings in New York we so loved and missed.

Post children, our dining frequency has barely skipped a beat. What has changed is the quality of the dining. Gone are the nights of saddling up to a bar at 11 PM, not a kid in sight, and ordering a bottle of wine and steak frites like the days of old.

Now our choices center around 2 very important things that have absolutely nothing to do with food. Crayons and play spaces. Yep- I just said that. Fortunately living in Seattle affords us some very nice non- franchised places to go- I've proudly never had to step foot into a ChuckE Cheese. I even had to Google the title of that place to make sure I was spelling it correctly. (I assumed it was 'Chucky' but apparently he has a middle initial- so grown up of him) I know its a matter of time before the inevitable happens but for now we happily stick to small, locally owned neighborhood hangouts.

The qualifying elements of these restaurants seem to be based on my children's needs. You might think I was putting them before me. That would be a dead wrong assumption. The crayons and play area are merely a ruse to ignore the beasties as best as possible while pounding a drink or 2 and inhaling what I would have compared to dog food a few years back.  Ironically I now find it generally enjoyable. Its no longer about the ambience of the interior (do you think those rafters are recycled Douglas Fir??) or the meal quality (this chef makes a mean roulade!) but rather increasing the odds that your dinner or beverage doesn't land in your lap and that no glass is broken. It's a far cry from the days of being blissfully married without kids but nowadays I convince myself theres a nice ring to it.

On a recent excursion to nameless 'dining spot' (possible paranoia and legal ramifications prohibit me from calling out the destination) we were meeting up with our closest friends who just returned from vacation. We were obviously happy to hear all of the news and catch up as it had been weeks since seeing them. This allowed for an unusually long period of play space time for our kids.

During dinner, our daughter Quinn kept us posted every 30-40 second on the status of what disgusting overly touched object she was putting in her mouth, which was very sweet of her. Why a public place would have fake baby bottles and plastic food replications is beyond me but I can now confirm she has essentially kissed every child under 6 in the greater Puget Sound area because of it.

Miller and our friends child had holed up in some kind of mini- dollhouse thingy but were not causing the rest of the kids in the asylum to riot- so all was good.

Dinner was mauled, conversations were had and when we all agreed we were pressing our luck we decided it was a night. Out the door we went.

Our car was directly across the street from 'dining spot' and it was still light out  As I began to put Miller in his car seat he reached into his pockets and began cackling 'HUHUHUHUHU'- it was a 'Dumb and Dumber' kind of chortle.

He proudly produces a restaurant stolen black and while plastic cow covered in enough crap to rival the underside of my car. I quickly looked over to the place expecting to see the waitstaff at the window, all calling 911 on their cellphones while pointing at us. Thankfully that was not the case.

My own peculiar style of fatherly instinct took over and instead of marching him back in the restaurant to the humiliation of being found as a thief, apologizing and learning from his mistake, I shoved him into his car seat and quickly drove off.

I'll make it up the them I promised myself.

I need to tip better next time...