I’ve been a Ghostbusters fan for as long as I can remember. The film is in my top four favorite movies of all time (joined by Snatch, Shaun of the Dead, and The Big Lebowski, in no particular order). My favorite Ghostbuster has always been Egon. In hindsight, this was an odd choice because Peter had all the best lines in the flick. Then again, Egon was the smart one and he gets the girl (sort of). This is why I was so saddened to hear that Harold Ramis passed away. Ramis of course portrayed Dr. Egon Spengler on the big screen in both Ghostbusters films. (I don’t care what anyone says, I still like the second one even though it’s inferior to the original.) While Ramis also did a ton of great stuff in show business including writing films like Animal House and Meatballs, directing others like Caddyshack and Groundhog Day, and starring in even more in bit parts like Knocked Up, it was his work in Ghostbusters that stood out.
I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t kept up on the goings-on in Ramis’ life so I was unaware that he was suffering from a disease called vasculitis for the past four years. I didn’t even know what vasculitis is. I still don’t really. I just know that it took Egon away. OK, that was a really lame line. I’m trying to put into words how this has affected me. I said on Twitter that this must be what it must have felt like for Beatles’ fans when John Lennon was shot. Granted, Ramis wasn’t shot by a lunatic, but to have him seemingly die out of the blue for the casual observer came as a surprise. With his passing, so goes a piece of my childhood. I probably won’t feel this way when any of the other Ghostbusters die. I’ll be sad, but outside of maybe Bill Murray, it won’t get much more than the basic reaction of “Man, that sucks.” that I’d give for most celebrity deaths. Sorry Ernie Hudson.
Monica and I re-watched Ghostbusters last night. It had been a few years since I had last seen it, but within moments everything came rushing back to me. I remembered sitting in the living room of my parents’ house watching the film on a VHS tape that we had recorded from a rental from ShopRite. I remembered having a handful of tapes next to the TV in similar fashion including a blank one I had saved to one day record Ghostbusters III. I still have the Proton Pack toy from that era. When my basement is finished it will be hanging proudly on the wall next to my framed Ghostbusters poster.
The film really holds up. Watching it now, I looked for all the little things that are scattered throughout the movie. Monica and I talked briefly about when we would show this to Oliver (formerly known as Egon Raphael). I don’t know when I first saw Ghostbusters as I was born the year it came out. I must have been young. Movies like that were still given a PG rating even though it had things like supernatural violence, language, and references to sexual situations. There are plenty of things that today’s society would frown upon showing a child but I have a feeling a lot of it would go over a kid’s head like it did for me all those years ago. I loved this movie growing up and with each subsequent viewing, I found new things to love and appreciate. That’s a testament to Ramis’ work (and Dan Aykroyd too as he co-wrote the flick with Ramis).
So, thank you, Harold Ramis. You represented a part of my childhood and as a result, a part of the man I’ve become today. You will be missed.
It seems that any time a woman walks by baby shoes in a department store, she’ll have to look at them and say “Awww!” Yes, baby shoes are adorable because they’re miniaturized versions of adult shoes. They also usually have cool characters on them like Batman. Unfortunately, they’re pretty much useless. Here’s a tip for all new or expecting parents: Don’t buy your baby shoes. You know why you wear shoes? To protect your feet while you walk. What’s something that babies don’t do? WALK! So why would you waste money on adorable little sneakers that will go on the kid’s feet for no reason outside of an aww-factor? It’s stupid.
Oliver has gotten to the age where he almost needs shoes. He’s not quite walking yet, but he is cruising. This means he can pull himself up by holding onto the side of a couch or an end table and then use that as support to walk along side it. In an effort to get him used to shoes, we got him a pair. He hates them. It’s a struggle to get them on his feet and once they’re there, he tries to push them off by rubbing his feet together and tugging at them.
He does this thing when you try to put his foot into the shoe. He curls his toes in. This turns his foot into this block that makes it near impossible to succeed in your task. It’s like I’m at the end of Cinderella and I’m trying to put the glass slipper on the evil step-sisters. (Not that my kid has ugly feet or something. He’s cute as hell.) Usually I get close enough so the majority of his foot is in there but if you push down on the heel, it caves in because his foot is like an inch from the bottom. I just figure it’ll fall into place if and when he stands up or finally uncurls his toes. The one time I got his shoe on without issue it turned out that it was on the wrong foot.
Monica and I seem to be the only ones that even attempt to get his shoes on. The folks at day care have given up. Most of the time I send him in there only to pick him up later shoeless. Yesterday he only had one on. It came off and they just couldn’t get it back on. I don’t really blame them. If only there was some sort of baby shoe horn.
Oliver has teeth now. Six or seven of them to be exact. As a result, we have to brush them. He has a love / hate relationship with brushing his teeth. On the one hand, he loves the idea of this new toy and the taste of the toothpaste (Fruity!), however he hates the actual activity of brushing his teeth. He’d much rather prefer to just stick the brush in his mouth and suck the toothpaste off. Don’t worry, it’s fluoride free for just that reason.
Anyway, Monica started singing when we first started brushing his teeth. I had no idea what this tune was at first. She had to tell me. It’s this little bit from Grease. I’ve seen the movie once and only remember a pre-Scientology John Travolta. Not this part.
This song is sung pretty much every time we brush Oliver’s teeth now. I’m even doing it when it’s just me and him. It got to the point where I was cleaning the bathroom and scrubbing the toilet while singing “Brusha! Brusha! Brusha!” It should also be noted that I have no idea what the rest of the words are of the song. “Try the new bytano”? No clue.
The routine during the week now includes Oliver and I brushing our teeth together. I get him settled on the counter in the bathroom, facing the mirror because he loves to look at himself. (He’s his mother’s son.) Then I get his toothbrush together and try to coax him into letting me brush his teeth a bit. This involves me opening my mouth really wide and hoping that he mimics me. This works at first but the moment I stick the brush in there and try to scrub away, he pushes at it with his tongue and gets upset. Ultimately, I have to kind of hold his head steady and get in there which makes him cry. Once I get enough scrubs in, I hand him the brush to finish off the rest of the toothpaste. As mentioned previously, this really just means that he sucks on the brush. He also drools a lot.
This morning was a little different in that he was watching me like a hawk. The initial process was followed like normal and then I brushed my teeth while he played with his brush. I finish up and rinse and spit. Oliver watched me do this right next to him. Then he turned, looked at himself in the mirror…and spit all over it.
I guess I should be happy that he’s paying that much attention to understand what I’m doing, but now I have to clean this up. Thanks kiddo.
The next subject in my series of posts about things that no one really talks about when raising kids is fingernails. Also, how insanely quickly babies heal. Infant fingernails grow at a ridiculous rate. I have a feeling that if left untended, they would grow to be like one of those guys from the Guinness Book of World Records in a matter of days, all curly and stuff. Gross.
Anyway, their fingernails require constant attention because if they’re even a little bit over the finger, they’ll cut their faces open. I’m not saying that infants are like emo cutters looking for attention. It’s just that they rub their faces when tired and they have a tendency to do it in such a way as to scrape a stray thumbnail across their face. This happens ALL THE TIME. It’s insane. There was one week where I picked up Oliver from daycare and every other day I had to sign an incident report because he had a new gash on his face. I tried to explain to him that he doesn’t have to prove anything to the other kids. They already think he’s tough. It didn’t matter.
It’s not just himself that he cuts up either. I fell asleep holding him once and he got me right below the eye. It looked like I was in a knife fight but the real reason was far less cool. He also does this thing when I feed him too where he plays a thumb war with my fingers, but mine don’t fight back. Instead it’s like a carpet bomb against my cuticles as he gouges at them over and over again.
To combat these self-inflicted facial lacerations and parental abuse, you have to constantly check out the kid’s fingernails. There are these flimsy nail scissors you can use to cut them but there are also these sturdy tiny nail clippers that work a lot better. The trick to trimming the nails is to do it when the child is sleeping. Trying to do it when they’re awake or even pre-occupied with a bottle or a toy is nearly impossible. You have to forcibly hold the kid’s finger with one hand and try to get a line with the nail clipper with the other all while he’s flailing about, trying to get free.
Fortunately for babies, they have a crazy fast recovery time. Oliver would scratch his face and the next day you couldn’t even tell it was there. This seems to be the case with other bumps and bruises. He had his first real tumble a few weeks ago and ended up with this big bump on his forehead. This was completely gone the next morning. It’s for this reason that I think my kid is a baby version of Wolverine from the X-Men. He’s got sharp claws and a fast healing factor. Plus, I think I saw him with a cigar the other day, but I could have been imagining it.
Monica and I have two cats, Darwin and Nolan. We adopted them about three years ago from Guardian Angel Cat Rescue in Hyde Park, NY. They’re pretty great. Although they’re from the same litter, they have very different personalities. Darwin is very social and fears nothing while Nolan is afraid of everything, hiding under the bed the moment the doorbell rings. Based on this information, can you guess which one of them has been a real asshole lately?
Here’s some more info:
Since we moved into the house two years ago, the litter box was located in the second bedroom upstairs which was being used as an office. In preparation for Oliver’s arrival, we moved the litter box downstairs into the basement in the laundry room. This seemed fine for a bit, even after we brought the baby home. Then maybe about two months ago, Nolan started shitting on the floor. I knew it was him because Nolan’s crap is the size of a small human’s. The cat is huge and so is the excrement. He would drop a deuce right in front of the litter box, as if he was doing a small protest.
I asked around and did some searching and found that this is common with cats if they’re upset about something. The odd thing was that there was nothing for Nolan to be upset about. Oliver was home for a few months and the litter box was down there for even longer so it wasn’t like these were sudden changes that he didn’t like. In an effort to satisfy Nolan, I put out a second litter box near the first one. That didn’t work. This went on for a couple more weeks before I took out both boxes and cleaned them thoroughly. Then I put them both back and lo and behold, he pooped in the box. For a time, everything was good. Then he shit on the floor again.
Now, let me update the situation a bit. There are now two litter boxes, both located in the laundry room in the basement. They are maybe two feet apart with a small garbage can and the spare litter between them. Darwin does all his business in box #1. Nolan will pee in box #1 but poop in box #2. That’s all that happens in box #2 now. This is actually a little disappointing as that’s a larger box with a lid. Anyway, I’ve found that when box #1 has some excrement in it, Nolan will shit on the floor. Let’s go over that again. He regularly craps in box #2 but for some reason when box #1 is full, he doesn’t even bother trying. It’s like he’s upset that the area is messy. I feel like that’s akin to going to someone’s house and seeing that the sink is dirty so you just shit on the floor instead of using the toilet. What the fuck, Nolan?
Basically, I just have to be extra mindful of cleaning the litter box at least twice a day. Otherwise my uptight cat will pinch a loaf on the floor right in front of the litter box like some sort of statement.
Monica and I have been homeowners for a little over two years now. Last summer, we found that our backyard was also the home of a groundhog. This wasn’t like the cartoons where the creature is digging a million holes in the yard and I’m forced to use dynamite in an effort to get rid of it. Instead it burrowed under the small shed attached to the back of the house where we keep the lawn mower. We didn’t notice it at first because a bush had grown in front of it. After trimming the bush back, the hole was exposed. My father-in-law lent me a rodent trap to catch the groundhog, but I never had to use it as he seemed to disappear after his home was out in the open. It’s fortunate for him because as my father-in-law explained, since the groundhog is a rodent, I couldn’t just let him free somewhere. I’d have to kill it, most likely by drowning it in the stream in the backyard. I shoveled some dirt in front of the hole and forgot about it.
Fast forward to this summer where the groundhog had returned. The hole was dug up again and we’d see him hanging out in the backyard. I put more dirt in front of the hole and he dug it out. I put a large piece of cement that was once under a gutter on the side of the house there and he dug under it. Then a couple weeks ago, Monica and I saw him in the backyard. I had no shoes on, so I threw on some flip flops, grabbed a shovel, and ran out the side door. In hindsight, I have no idea what I was planning to do when I got out there. Was I going to challenge the groundhog to battle or a digging contest? I don’t know.
Anyway, I crept along the side of the house and came between the hole and the groundhog. Meanwhile, Monica opened up the porch door and startled the rodent. He turned and saw me standing in the path to his safe haven. He started running; taking a wide berth around a small tree near the patio in an effort to come around me. Instinctively, I took a wild swing with the shovel and managed to hit the groundhog in the side with it, but it didn’t stop and continued on, presumably into the hole. I grabbed a large rock and wedged it into the hole it had dug under the cement piece, then kicked a bunch of dirt on top of the hole thing. Again, this seems crazy in hindsight because it’s a groundhog. It could dig around this stuff, no?
Then I started to hear a noise in the bush next to the shed. Could it be? Did he miss the hole? After poking the shovel at both ends of the bush, I found that the groundhog did indeed overshoot his hole, most likely due to the fact that I hit him with a shovel. This went on for two or more turns before I saw the groundhog jet out from the bush, run under the porch, and keep going down the stream. I heard him running for awhile. I scared him away from his home.
It’s now been several weeks since my duel with the groundhog. The rocks and dirt I put in front of the hole have remained undisturbed. I don’t know what happened to the groundhog after he ran off, but at least I didn’t have to drown him in the stream.
I grew up in Monroe, NY, a town about 50 miles north of NYC. When someone asks me where I’m from, I say “Monroe” and then quickly follow it up with “Woodbury Commons” because everyone seems to know the huge shopping center nearby. One of the pieces of my childhood that I remember fondly is Airplane Park. It was a basic playground with swings and those weird metal animals you’d sit on and rock back and forth. The big attraction though was the F-86L Sabre plane that sat in the middle of the park and had a slide built onto it. This made the playground a landmark and everyone in the area knew it.
Now, after 50 years of sitting there, the mayor of Monroe has decided to get rid of the plane. It’s not because he has a fear of flying or anything. The plane has actually been sitting towards the back of the park for the past 8 years behind a shaky fence. It is falling apart. It has been vandalized. It’s a safety hazard. All of these things and more make it not at all surprising that the mayor is having it removed. According to the article linked above, it would cost between $36,000 and $46,000 to restore the plane and that’s money that Monroe doesn’t have. All of this makes sense, right?
Wrong. People are freaking the fuck out. I’ve seen at least three people share this link on Facebook talking about how sad it is that this is happening. I highly doubt that any of them have been in or near the park in ages. Yes, it’s a part of our childhoods, but so were wearing diapers and thinking girls were icky, but I’m ok without those things. Additionally, check out the comments on that article. It’s like the mayor of Monroe admitted to being a member of Al Qaeda. It’s being seen as a personal attack on America, veterans, the town, and more. They all seem to be up in arms about this despite not caring that the plane has been a decrepit piece of garbage for the past 8 years.
What makes this even more crazy to me are the thinly veiled anti-semitic comments that people are making in response to this. There’s a town nearby that has a large Hasidic Jewish community. I have never been clear as to the connection between it and Monroe, but anyone from the area is very familiar with their presence. They’re also very opinionated about them. They’ve honestly never really bothered me. Anyway, I’ve seen a bunch of comments talking about how the Hasidic Jews should pony up the cash to fix up the plane. Why should they do it and not everyone else? What makes them more responsible?
If this was really important to people, they’d put together some fundraisers or at least a Kickstarter campaign to save the plane. That’s not going to happen though. Everyone is going to go back to not thinking about Airplane Park tomorrow, myself included. Let that piece of your childhood go. Hold on to your memories and be glad that you or your kids aren’t going to need a tetanus shot after cutting your leg open on a piece of rusty metal sticking out of an old, beat up airplane.
I realized after I completed my previous post that I left out the main reason that I wrote it. Despite being almost 5 months old, my son still wakes up in the middle of the night a few times a week. Sometimes all he needs is a pacifier and he’s out cold. Others require a diaper change. When this happens, he wakes up a bit more and just starts smiling at me. It’s difficult to get annoyed at him for waking me up at 3 AM when he’s looking up at me like that. It’s like he’s saying “Hey Dad, let’s hang out.” I’ve read a couple parenting books and both of them say something about cherishing this time with your child. I can almost understand that but it’s still crazy. There’s no part of waking up at some weird hour that I enjoy. I guess the idea is that you’re never going to have time like this with your kid again. Everything is still and quiet. It’s just the two of you. Awww…
Anyway, with all that being said, I’ve come to the decision that one night over the course of time that Oliver is living under my roof, I’m going to wake him up one night. It won’t be for a little while and probably not until he’s at least a teenager, but one night, I’m just going to go into his room, wake him up, and hang out with him. If he asks why, I’ll point out that he always seemed to want to do this as a child and I wasn’t able to do so at the time. This sounds like cruel parenting in a way and I’m not saying I’m going to torture my child by preventing sleep. I’m planning on doing this just once.
I’m debating whether or not to tell this to Oliver or to just spring it on him. I think I want to tell him because that way he can appreciate every morning that he wakes up after a good night’s sleep. That was not an opportunity that was extended to me when he was an infant. I guess it can also be some sort of “Scared Straight” idea about safe sex. Geez, when I put it that way it sounds like I want revenge against my kid because I didn’t get enough sleep.
I’ve already talked about the fact that when someone sees my kid, they inevitably think that he’s pooping. When they don’t physically see him and just ask me about him, there are two questions. They go as follows:
These are asked by everyone. Old people. Young people. People with kids and those without. Even if they’ve never actually seen a baby, they ask these questions. It’s a universal thing and 99.9% of people don’t really care. It’s just what you’re supposed to say, I think.
The sleeping thing struck me as unusual at first. I’ve commented previously that the one piece of “advice” I received while Monica was pregnant was that I should get in as much sleep as I can. According to what I’ve read, the magic age for an infant sleeping through the night is 3 months. That’s the magic age for lots of stuff. They’re supposed to be able to roll over, keep their head up, and basically have more control over their bodies. These things are true but it’s not a switch that is suddenly flipped. Just as you have occasions where you have a good night’s sleep or times where you’re tossing and turning, babies do too.
We’re to the point now where Oliver mostly sleeps through the night. If he does wake up at all, he’s not hungry. He just needs a diaper change and a quick swaddling and he’s out in a few minutes. It’s still annoying to have to wake up in the middle of the night, but the whole process lasts maybe 15 minutes tops. Previously I’d have to make a bottle while he was screaming his head off then get upstairs, change him, and feed him. Meanwhile, he’d wake up Monica, thus disrupting both of our slumbers.
Before you ask, yes I take the midnight shift. I take care of the kid if he gets up between midnight and 5 AM. I’m told this is rare. I can function on less sleep that Monica can and I got a system down early on for handling him. That being said, if I hear him fussing and the clock says 5:01 AM, I am not getting up. Sorry, dear.
So, long story longer and to answer your question, my infant son is sleeping as well as any normal person who can’t stand up on his own or use the toilet.
One constant that I’ve encountered whenever anyone sees, holds, and has any other interaction with my now 4 month old son is the phrase “Oh, he must be pooping.” Any time the kid makes a weird face or looks off into the distance for a moment, the first thought that comes to everyone’s mind is “That baby is totally dropping a deuce.” Here’s the thing: Babies are just miniature versions of adults. They poop just as often as big people do, which is about once a day. It’s more often if he takes a trip to Taco Bell, but who doesn’t? I don’t know why this is such a universal constant with everyone that comes into contact with Oliver.
I can tell you from experience that when a baby poops, you’ll know. His face gets all red like he’s trying really hard to think of something…or you know…pushing out excrement. It’s the same expression that anyone would have if they were struggling to pinch a loaf in their pants while laying down. That’s the other thing. We’re so used to toilets that we have no idea how hard it would be to take a crap while laying on our backs. Just think of that for a second. How would that even work? Babies do it all the time! Sometimes they do it in their sleep!
Since we’ve had Oliver in daycare, I’ve had good luck with the #2′s. I went about two weeks without having to change a poop-filled diaper because he manages to time them when he’s in the care of someone else or when Monica is on diaper duty. It’s not that bad to deal with but that stuff just gets everywhere.
Anyway, I hope that this has dispelled some myths regarding the facial expressions on the faces of infants. Sometimes they look weird because what they’re looking at is strange and different to them. That includes you. Don’t take it personally. Just be glad they’re not shitting on you.