Posts tagged Oliver
Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr Day. My office was closed, as was day care. Monica was not as lucky as she still had to work. This meant I was on my own with both kids. All I really want to do on a day like that is hang out and watch TV, but that’s frowned upon when raising kids apparently so I had to find something to do throughout the day to occupy them. It’s cold so any outdoor activities were ruled out. I ended up taking them to the mall for a bit to run a few errands. That’s usually good for killing some time and wearing them out because they run around a bunch. I kept them in line with the promise of McDonald’s. Since the local restaurant has an indoor playground, it’s a good form of cheap entertainment. This is where I found myself at around 12:30.
The playground is simple in its setup. It’s a few tubes that lead up to a slide. My deal with the kids is that they have to eat a bite of their cheeseburger and then they can run through the playground once, then repeat. This way they still get to go play and they’re eating. It’s worked over and over again. After this time, I have some second thoughts about my approach.
Things started out well. The kids were behaving and actually eating their food. Oliver finished his cheeseburger and Parker was almost done. In hindsight, I recognize that Parker had a couple of odd sounding burps. These should have been warning signs. I told the kids that if they finished their food, I would get them some ice cream. Oliver was impatiently waiting for Parker to finish. I picked up Parker and put him on my lap, holding the small piece of cheeseburger he had left in my other hand. I had already finished my food. I told Parker again that if he ate one more bite, he’d get ice cream. He took a bit of the burger…then began to throw up.
Now, I don’t know how to fully explain what happened next or why. I can only point to the strange set of instincts that come from being a parent. You think differently and react in a moment’s notice when it involves your kid. The moment I saw what was happening, instincts kicked in and, left with no real options in the immediate vicinity, put my hand under Parker’s mouth. My two-and-a-half-year old son proceeded to throw up most of the cheeseburger he had just ate into the open palm of my right hand. After the initial outpouring was finished, I threw the vomit onto the tray which was thankfully empty. Then, before even cleaning up my hand, I grabbed the empty Happy Meal box that was on the floor near my feet. I placed this in front of Parker and he proceeded to vomit quietly into the box. Oliver was somewhat oblivious to this whole thing and while thinking about it now, it probably lasted maybe thirty seconds.
I want to take a second here to explain the setting. The playground area of this McDonald’s houses about six or seven small tables. They’re built for children so they’re low to the ground. Each has two to four stools around them. Since it was lunchtime on a holiday, the place was packed. There were at least a dozen kids running around and probably seven to nine adults. Our table was located in the corner. Since everything happened so quickly and quietly, I don’t think anyone really noticed, especially since I had Parker throw up into the Happy Meal box. I’ve been to this place when a kid blows chunks all over the floor. It has a tendency to clear the room out pretty fast. If anyone saw this go down, they did not let on.
At this point, my right hand is covered in vomit which I’m cleaning up with the last of the napkins we had. There’s a little bit on my pants and on Parker’s shirt. I wipe that up with whatever we have left and quietly tell Oliver to get his shoes. Proving once again that he’s my son, his response is “What about ice cream?” I tell him that I’ll give him ice cream at home. I explain that Parker threw up and we have to go now. Oliver is now at an age where he has little to no control over the volume of his voice. He responds to this by practically shouting “Parker threw up!?!” to which I shush him and tell him again to get his shoes. He was a trooper and complied. I grabbed our coats, got everyone dressed, and threw out the evidence in the nearby garbage can, hoping and praying that Parker didn’t throw up again. I was all out of Happy Meal boxes.
As I was walking my children out of the playground area, I saw a woman swoop in on the now empty table, claiming it as her own. She was completely unaware that moments before, my kid threw up into my outstretched hand. Fortunately, there was nothing on the floor or table that I could see. We managed to get home without further incident. Parker didn’t throw up again. Oliver got his ice cream.
Since Monica’s morning commute is longer than mine, the task of dropping off and picking up the children from day care falls to me. I’ve got the routine down to a science aided in no small part by the television and the gate that locks the kids into the family room. The second to last step in the process of getting them out the door in the morning is brushing their teeth. By this point, I’ve already gotten them dressed, fed the cats, cleaned the litter box, gotten their bags together, packed my lunch, and brushed my own teeth. It is at this time that I turn the TV off and usher them upstairs. On Monday, we ran into a bit of an issue.
It started out normal, with Parker running upstairs and disappearing into the kitchen. Oliver’s response to my request to go brush his teeth was to collapse on the floor. I picked him up while he made angry faces at me. He was playing and quickly broke and laughed as he made each subsequent face. Once I got him to the living room, I put him down because he’s almost four and he can walk. He collapsed once again.
I took this opportunity to nab Parker and bring him upstairs. On the way, I made sure to point out to Oliver that I would just brush Parker’s teeth first. That got him moving, although not all that fast. By the time he made it up to the bathroom, I had positioned Parker on the counter next to the sink. Oliver insisted on opening the door to the bathroom and turning on the light even though those things were already done, so he shut the light off and closed the door. Being that I’m petty and I sometimes do things to mess with my children, I turned the light back on before he could open the door. Oliver saw this and turned it off again just so he can turn it on. These are the kinds of things you get to deal with when you have children.
I was now getting Parker’s toothbrush ready. Oliver was annoyed because Parker was sitting in his spot. He climbed on his step stool positioned between the counter and the toilet, then the toilet, then tried to squeeze his way onto the counter next to Parker. I told him that there was not enough room for both of them and that he should wait his turn. This fell on deaf ears.
I then started to brush Parker’s teeth by grabbing the kid in a sort of headlock so he’ll stay still enough for me to do the job. While I’m doing this, Parker looks straight ahead into the mirror and in one fluid motion, pushes his brother clean off the counter. It happened so fast. One second Oliver was sitting there and the next he simply wasn’t.
It’s times like these that I’m faced with an internal struggle. On the one hand, my son just fell and hurt himself. He’s crying. As his father, I should comfort him. On the other hand, that was hilarious. So now I have to make him feel better while holding back my laughter which is no easy task. I did make sure to point out that if he just listened to me in the first place and waited his turn, he would not be in this predicament.
As 2016 came to a much needed close, I had every intention of writing a blog post a day in 2017, akin to what I did in 2008, however this time they would be about my kids. Each post would feature something they did or said that amused or annoyed me as a way to chronicle their lives. Here I am writing this on January 4th, having already failed at this task. Instead, maybe I’ll try to do this every week to have a bit more of a flexible goal. I’d like to write more here because I greatly enjoy doing so and people seem to like it when I write about the weird and funny things my kids do, so I will continue to exploit them for my own personal gain. Speaking of which, be sure to check out our Loot Crate unboxing videos over at HorrorTalk.
So what have my kids been up to? Mainly it’s been playing with the variety of toys they got for Christmas. Oliver’s favorites include his blue lightsaber (although he’s also partial to his brother’s red one), which he’s been whipping open repeatedly. It’s only a matter of time before that flies out of his hands and breaks something. Who knows? Maybe it’ll go out a window after all. He’s also partial to the toy microphone that Monica’s parents got him. It records and plays back your voice, so he’s been saying “Poop” into it over and over again so he can hear himself say it. That’s my boy.
Parker has been somewhat indifferent to the toys, picking up things here or there to play with them when he feels like it. He takes cues from his brother, often following him around or grabbing a toy that Oliver has put down. This become problematic when Oliver realizes Parker has taken something he was recently playing with and demands it back. They’ll figure out how to share sooner or later, I guess. Or not at all and they’ll just continue fighting. He’s been obsessed with the book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? lately. Our copy has these little windows that slide out to reveal the next animal. He’s been all over that book.
As mentioned on a recent episode of Raging Nerdon, Christmas is now all about my children. I don’t really need or want anything aside from maybe an Amazon gift card. Instead, I’m focused on my kids and what they want for the holiday. While Parker is still too young to ask for anything, Oliver is now at the age where he can create something resembling a wishlist. This is fortunate as we struggled for a bit as to what to get him this year. At one point I had him go through the Toys R Us book to pick out things that he wanted. This backfired because he went page by page, circling at least one thing on each one. After circling an Xbox One controller, I asked him what that was and he had no idea. He was just circling things that looked interesting.
There was one item that he asked for non-stop. Every time we asked Oliver what he wanted for Christmas, the one and only answer was a blue lightsaber. For months he’d roll up a piece of paper or pick up a stick and call it a lightsaber. I have no earthly idea how he became so obsessed with the Jedi weapon as the boy has never seen Star Wars or any of the spinoff TV shows. His knowledge probably comes from other kids at day care talking about it…or the Force is strong in this one.
I actually tried to show him Episode IV a few weeks back. He made it about forty minutes in before throwing in the towel. The entire time he was asking where Darth Vader was. He did pick up a working knowledge of most of the main characters, including Princess Leia, whom he brought to day care for show-and-tell for the letter L.
With the lightsaber a safe bet for a Christmas gift, I ordered him one from Amazon, along with a red one for Parker. I realize that I’m almost to the point where I’ll have to buy two of everything. That will probably come next year. The lightsabers arrived and we hid them away safely where the kids wouldn’t stumble upon them. Oliver even went to see Santa and told the big man himself that he wanted a blue lightsaber. Everything looked good.
Then, out of the blue, the color changed. After playing with one at Target, Oliver proclaimed that he now wanted a green lightsaber. This panicked me because I didn’t want a blow up or something on Christmas morning after I had already secured a blue one. I asked Oliver what he would do if he got a blue lightsaber, given that he told Santa that’s what he wanted. His reply? “I’ll throw it out a window.” That’s right. My kid does not mince words. He wanted a green one and that was that.
Fortunately, this green phase passed a week or two before Christmas. He frantically opened all his presents that morning except for the lightsaber. I had hid that one to save it for last. I wanted him and Parker to open them at the same time, but Parker was lagging behind in the present opening and Oliver was starting to mope a bit thinking he had opened everything and didn’t get a lightsaber. I took out the gift and he’s been swinging the thing around ever since. He’s basically popping the lightsaber open, collapsing it again, and then repeating the process over and over again. What’s the over / under of him losing his grip on it and sending it through the window after all?
Oliver has officially entered pre-school and with it comes new challenges and obstacles. He’s fully potty trained (THANK GOD) and learning to write his name. Once a week, he gets to bring something into class for show and tell. There’s a catch though. Every week is a specific letter so he has to bring in something that starts with that letter. Being that he’s my son, I’ve encouraged him to bring in nerdy stuff instead of your average items. For B, he brought in a bat Halloween decoration that flapped its wings. For C, he went in with a C is for Cthulhu plush and book, much to the dismay of his teachers who struggled to pronounce anything in it.
Each week, Monica and I frantically search for options for Oliver to bring in. Show and Tell is on Tuesdays so we really have one night to really think about it. Sure, we could plan this farther in advance, but who does that? (The answer to that question is Monica. She does that and we’ll get to that in a bit.) This week’s letter was I. We struggled with this one. Ice cream? Iceman? I got nothing. In desperation, I went downstairs to look through a box of my old action figures the kids have taken over. I take one quick glance down and realize how stupid we’ve been. I shout up to Monica “We’re idiots.” She replies “That starts with I!” Grimacing, I point out that we had forgotten the most popular super hero that starts with the letter I. Iron Man. How could we forget this? Oliver dressed up as Iron Man for Halloween a couple weeks ago. I’m disappointed in myself.
Anyway, I pulled out a few Iron Man toys and Oliver picked one out to bring with him, specifically the Hulk Buster Iron Man. I have about six different versions from the incredibly cheesy 1994 cartoon. We also told Oliver that if he was good, he could wear his Iron Man costume to school. So, the next morning, I drop Oliver off and the other kids stood there, mouths agape. How come he got to wear his costume? Why couldn’t I wear my costume? It was then I realized that I’m the cool parent. I let my kid wear his Halloween costume to school, albeit with a tie-in to show and tell. Oliver wore the thing the entire day. He was still wearing it when I picked him up later that day too.
It’s 4 AM when I’m awoken by a familiar sound: the creak of Oliver’s door slowly opening. Yes, this is a creepy noise to hear in the middle of the night, but as it’s one I hear frequently, I’ve grown used to it. I close my eyes and hope that he’s just going to use the bathroom. No such luck on that front as I then hear the pitter-patter of his small feet as he makes his way into my bedroom. Again, I have a small hope that maybe he just wants to come into bed with us and then we can all go back to sleep. After all, I’d already been up frequently with Parker so maybe, just maybe, we could all just get a few more winks in. Again, I’m nowhere near that lucky. Instead, I’m told something that I can honestly say I’ve never heard uttered by another human being. I could be weird and say that my three year old son was speaking in tongues or something along those lines. No, the truth is strange on its own and far more humorous.
“I can’t find my pants.”
That’s right. At 4 AM, my young son woke up and came into my bedroom to tell me that he’s lost his pants. I’m immediately filled with questions. How did he lose his pants? Where could they have gone? When did he lose them? Why did he take them off in the first place? I ask him one of these questions.
“Oliver. It’s 4 o’clock in the morning. How did you lose your pants?”
“I can’t find my pants.”
With a deep sigh, I get up out of bed and walk him back to his room. He’s clad in his t-shirt and underwear. Once we’re back in his bedroom, I pick up the flashlight on his dresser and shine it around to quickly find the missing pants, wedged between his bed and the wall. I help him put them back on, tuck him in, turn the flashlight off, and then walk back to my room. Fortunately, he went right back to sleep and stayed that way for another hour or two.
Being a parent is weird and I’m sure I’ll be faced with tough questions as my two kids get older. I’ll have to explain death and the birds & the bees. For now, I can be satisfied knowing that when my son loses his pants, I can solve that mystery.
Please note: This entire post is about poop. If you don’t want to read about that, skip this one. I’m being completely serious. This is all about crap.
We’re currently trying to potty train Oliver. He’s 2.5 years old and knows what the toilet is, but he’s not a huge fan of using it. There are times where he’s clearing shitting his pants (you can tell because he has this weird strained face and he’s standing in the corner), but when asked if he can sit on the potty, he refuses. So, we’re still buying diapers in bulk which are crazy expensive, especially when you consider the fact that my son is literally going to piss and crap all over these things before I throw them in the garbage.
If you actually read the instructions for diapers, they tell you to dispose of solid waste in a toilet before throwing in the garbage. I can tell you that we never did that. Why would you want to scoop out the kid’s crap when you can toss the whole thing? The less contact with poop, the better, in my opinion. The thing though is that with Oliver potty-training, we are trying to show him what he should be doing and that includes poop going into the toilet, so we’ve had to do this a few times.
Here’s something else that no one tells you: A toddler’s poop is shaped strangely. You have an idea in your head as to what poop looks like, right? It’s like a cylinder. That’s how it comes out when it goes directly into the toilet. When a kid craps into a diaper, it doesn’t end up that way. It molds around the walls of the diaper, like a horrible version of PlayDoh, creating a big solid mass of fecal matter.
This was the case earlier this week when Oliver insisted on transferring his dump from a diaper into the toilet. Monica was handling this whole transaction while I was preparing dinner. Then I got a call. I was beckoned downstairs because there was a plumbing problem and I’m the dad, so that means it’s my problem. I entered the bathroom to find a solid piece of crap wedged in the bottom of the toilet. It was as if someone had placed the worst smelling candle in my commode. Apparently Monica and Oliver had flushed a few times and that thing just was not moving. It had taken up residency in the bottom of the toilet and it was not being evicted any time soon. Water was flowing around it fine, so it wasn’t blocking up the pipes or anything. It was just hanging out, like a decoration in a fish tank.
I stared at this dumbfounded. What was I expected to do here? I know what to do when the toilet is clogged. The plunger can just unclog that sucker. This wasn’t so much of a clog as an obstruction. Would it dissolve over time? What if we just flushed the toilet a lot? Should I look this up on the Internet? Is there a video on YouTube showing what to do here?
After laughing hysterically at how ridiculous this situation was, I ended up knocking the thing around with the plunger so it eventually went down the drain. Oliver is still in diapers and we have not thrown any other poop into the toilet since.
Oliver is 2 years old now. He’s not quite 2 and a half, but he’s getting there. A few months back, he developed what is perhaps the most annoying habit in the entire world. This sweet, adorable, loving little boy will occasionally and without warning, scream at the top of his tiny lungs while smiling his cute little face off. Just to clarify what I mean by this, it’s more of a shriek than a scream. It’s a high pitched, ear splitting noise that pierces your very soul. No place or time is off limits to this either. He could be in acceptable places like a large outdoor playground or a field or in a crowded supermarket or, my personal…whatever the opposite of favorite is…the car.
We had a long car ride home yesterday from Monica’s family reunion upstate. Parker was sleeping soundly and we figured that Oliver would conk out so we’d have a peaceful ride. No such luck. Oliver was up the entire way back, screaming like a madman. Despite us trying everything we could possibly think of to stop him from doing this short of stuffing a sock in his mouth, he kept gleefully doing it. It got to the point that Parker woke up and was crying. To paint this mental picture for you, we’ve got Oliver shrieking, Parker crying, Monica trying to soothe them both, and me driving with gritted teeth, hoping to get home as fast as possible so I can get the hell out of that car and perhaps jump out of a window.
We got home and I dragged Oliver upstairs, changed him into his pajamas, threw him in bed, and then went to unload the car. Meanwhile, he was clearly not tired, so he proceeded to get up and yell for me at the top of the stairs. After taking a minute to calm down, I went up there, put him back in bed, tucked him in, and then closed the door. This set him off on a fit, despite the fact that he told me to leave and to close the door. Kids can’t make up their minds. I let him cry it out for a few minutes before going in there and calmly tucking him in again. I sat with him for a little while and it was like everything was totally normal. He was my sweet little boy again and all was right in the world. All of the aggravation I had built up during the car ride washed away. Here was my son, curled up in bed, clutching his teddy bear under his Spider-Man blanket and he just wanted me to sit with him for a few minutes before he fell asleep.
That’s the thing about being a parent. It can be the most rewarding, literally awesome thing in the entire world one minute and the next, it can be a terrifying, soul-crushing beast. Despite this, I wouldn’t change a thing. The good far outweighs the bad. Just know that some day I will not only wake my son up in the middle of the night just to hang out, but I’ll also be sure to shriek at an inopportune time in his life. Maybe at his high school graduation or his wedding day. Dad doesn’t forget, buddy.
Today I reenacted a scene from Home Alone because my son needed another pair of shoes. Here’s what went down. Last weekend, Monica and I bought a few pairs of flip flops for Oliver because there was some crazy sale where they were $1 each. We got a variety of sizes and colors so he’ll be set for awhile. Today was the second day that he wore one of these new flip flops. At about 9:30 AM, I get a call from one of Oliver’s teachers at day care.
She informed me that Oliver broke his flip flops and now he doesn’t have any shoes to wear. We send in extra shirts and pants in case he messes up the clothes he’s wearing but we never thought to send in an extra pair of shoes. After I get over my initial stunned silence at the first sentence and my relief that the call wasn’t because he was hurt or had hurt another kid, I had to figure out what to do about my kid’s feet while I was at work. Fortunately, my schedule was pretty open and I was able to run home and pick up a pair of shoes for Oliver. Now that I think more about this, I’m curious as to how he broke them in the first place.
About halfway home, I realized that I had forgotten my house keys. After cursing loudly and repeatedly in the car, I decided to just keep going. I’d figure it out when I got there. How hard could this be? My neighbor has a key and I think that I hid one somewhere on the property (PLEASE DON’T ROB ME) so I can probably get in the house, right? I tried all the doors and they were all locked as always so that ruled out the easy approach. My neighbor wasn’t home and I couldn’t remember where I had hid the key. So now what? Well, we’ve got this one window that I knew wasn’t locked so I figured I’d try to jimmy it open and get in. (SERIOUSLY, PLEASE DON’T ROB ME). I’ve actually done this once before so it wasn’t a crazy thought.
If any passerby were to look over, they would have seen a grown man wiggling through a window, falling over, and then having said window slam closed on his shins. This is where the Home Alone reference comes in. I felt like Joe Pesci trying to break into a house and getting foiled by a child with a variety of fun, yet deadly traps. The only difference here is that I was playing all the parts. I was my own enemy for forgetting my keys in the first place, forcing me to squeeze through a window. I should mention that the shoes were in view the entire time I was doing this. If I was Mr. Fantastic, I wouldn’t have had to get into the house at all.
After tumbling through the house and retrieving the shoes (and a pair of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle socks), I swung over to the day care center to drop them off. Oliver’s teacher met me in the hallway because she didn’t want me to see him for fear that he’d get upset when I had to leave again. I was in and out of that building in less than a minute.
So, the moral of the story: You get what you pay for? Or always be prepared? Or maybe just remember your damn keys.
This morning, the day before Easter, I took Oliver to the Rockland Boulders stadium nearby. It’s a minor league baseball stadium that is pretty nice. There was a Halloween event last year that Oliver seemed to dig, plus it was free so it was cool to get out of the house for a bit and check things out. Monica stayed home as she wasn’t feeling well.
This thing started at 8:45. Oliver and I got there at 8:38 and there was already a line wrapped around the front of the building. We hopped on line with the cold wind blowing to the point where it nearly knocked us over. Oliver sat on my shoulders, wearing his Ninja Turtles sunglasses and clutching his Easter basket. He was ready. We’ve been talking about going to this for at least a week.
At long last, the doors open and we get on another line. Everyone was broken up into two groups: Kids 5 and under and kids 6-10. From this vantage point, we could see that the outfield was covered in colored plastic eggs. There was a small divider breaking it up into two sections. This was going to be a madhouse.
After waiting on this line for a few minutes with the wind still barreling down, we were ushered onto the field itself. Me and at least a hundred other parents crowded around the field, holding back kids that were anxiously awaiting to grab some eggs. Oliver kept pushing forward, ready to go. He didn’t understand why he had to wait. The eggs were right there! He had no idea what was inside them. He just wanted to grab them.
At this point, there was a guy with a microphone walking around, reminding everyone of where to line up and plugging the corporate sponsors. Boulder Bird, the team mascot popped up and even he was having trouble with the wind. Oh, and there was an Easter bunny. They were all trying to keep everyone entertained until the crowd could file down the stairs and get to the field. This was going to be fast and if you weren’t on the field when the whistle blew, you weren’t getting anything. Microphone guy gave the one minute warning. Things were about to get under way.
Then it happened. A lone kid ran out onto the field in the 5 and under section. His mom ran after him but it was too late. The damage was done. The flood gates were opened. A horde of screaming kids and parents came bolting onto the field. Oliver and I ran out there. We got a few feet out with me urging Oliver to pick up the eggs before he got the hint. He grabbed one or two as people passed us by, going for the eggs deeper in the field. Then Oliver became an egg-grabbing machine. He had a mission and that was to get as many eggs as possible. We had a nice little area where we weren’t really being bothered. The older kids had run by us already and the real little ones were still putzing around at the line. He nabbed five eggs and then one more that he basically took right before another kid could claim it. Just like that, it was over. I looked around and there was not a single egg left on the ground.
I picked up Oliver and had a look around. He was shivering from the cold so I held him close. He showed moderate interest in Boulder Bird for a minute but didn’t want to get close enough to actually get a picture with him. After circling the mascot for a few minutes, we head out. In the car, Oliver was eager to check out his winnings. After opening an egg, he bit into a fun size Snickers without taking the package off. It was 9:30 AM.