Disciple of Discipline
Lately it seems that our sweet little angelic daughter is starting to look to the dark side for inspiration. Rare are the days of snuggling on the sofa while we enjoy the timeless stylings of Dora The Explorer. These sweet moments have only come to be replaced by endless battles over what we think M should wear to school versus what she thinks she needs to wear. Pour thing obviously got her fashion sense from her dad.
We still battle at the dinner table each night trying to get Mrs. Thang to eat something besides tater tots. Although, we have experienced a little progress with her palate as she has expanded into the realm of beef in the form of hamburgers and most recently, tacos. Of course, the hamburger must be dry and may ONLY have one slice of american cheese. The taco must be just ground beef with no taco seasoning and ONLY one slice of american cheese. I realize that we did this to M somehow, but we sure as hell cannot figure out how to un-do the damage. Hopefully, by the time M is dating (Age 30 if I have a say) her palate will have blossomed so that she might be able to enjoy mac-n-cheese, or a nice hotdog, or slice of pizza. At least she will be a cheap date, right?
To go along with the wardrobe and diet battles, Mrs. Thang has taken a liking to talking back to us and she has the uncanny ability to tune us out when we are telling her to do something that she obviously does not think she needs to do. Of course, this has resulted in M becoming very familiar with the timeout area in our dining room. I recently walked by the timeout area and caught a glimpse of some markings on the wall. Awww, my baby’s first graffiti. This timeout area is starting to look like a well-used prison cell. There are hash marks that track the minutes spent in timeout prison, there are crude drawings of the things from the outside that M does not get to experience while on the inside, such as the park and TV. I almost lulled myself into thinking that maybe we have been to hard on our little princess…until the last couple of weeks at school.
Mrs. Thang has now taken her undisciplined show on the road. Apparently she has been sent to timeout at school on at least three occasions that we know about. (in the past week and a half!) I am fairly certain that there are more times that were conveniently left out of the daily “what did you do at school today” report. As a result of Mrs. Thang’s willingness to take her bad behavior out into public, we are quickly coming to the realization that timeouts are just not cutting it. We need to step up the consequences for crossing over to the dark side. How do you do this, you ask. I imagine each child is different, but what works for M, is to take away things most dear to her, such as Barbie. (On a sad side note, some of you may recall Stripper Barbie (https://genericdad.com/2010/02/07/is-barbie-a-stripper/). Well, she recently met her untimely demise due to a severe hip problem which prevented her from being able to close her legs…ironic, to say the least…a moment of silence please.)
With Stripper Barbie out of the picture, M now has a new favorite Barbie that has similar hooker boots and skanky skirt, PLUS she lights up when you depress her necklace. This is M’s crack right now, and this is what I took from her when she got in trouble (again) at school yesterday. For a brief couple of hours I had my princess back. She snuggled with me while we watched Glee (her favorite show next to Idol) and she was on her best behavior! We have also taken TV and bedtime story privileges and these seem to work, but only for the short-term. Before we know it, she’s in trouble again at school and I am running out of things to take and I can’t bring myself to spank her. Where does this leave us for discipline options? Perhaps this should have been a Dear Abby letter…
We’re No Donner Party
In my last post (https://genericdad.com/2010/09/01/cant-we-all-just-get-well/ ) I teased a review of our first family trip to the mountains of New Mexico. 2 kids, 2 frazzled parents and a wagon full of belongings…
My family recently acquired a cabin in the Sierra Bonita mountains of New Mexico. Upon hearing this news we decided that we must get up there and check the place out immediately. The long Labor Day weekend provided just such an opportunity to embark on a most memorable journey.
Based on previous expeditions, we knew that Lil B was not a good passenger and so we decided to hitch up our wagon and ride to Amarillo late Thursday night. The theory behind riding at night is simple. The kids are used to sleeping during this time and they tend to sleep much the same during travel. The first leg of the journey starts flawlessly. We hit our schedule to be on the trail by 7:00pm. The only significant event from this leg of the journey was the awesome Pink Floyd-like lightning show that we were treated to for two hours. The subsequent huge thunderstorm with high winds and torrential rains was not quite as entertaining. Regardless, we pressed on and made it to Amarillo in near record time.
After a brief overnight stay in Amarillo, we hit the trail for leg two of our expedition. This leg of the journey was one of the more difficult to endure for several reasons. The first reason being that we had joined into and official wagon train with my family and being from a small town, they do not like to ride on major trails. This forces the wagon train off the beaten path so-to-speak. In fact, there was a portion of the this leg where the trail degraded from paving-to dirt-to-boulders. Yes, I said boulders…Imagine yourself trying to navigate an unfamiliar trail littered with boulders while the wagon that you are following kicks up so much dust that you cannot see the trail to avoid the larger boulders, so you inevitably hit all of them. Couple that with a one year-old screaming at the top of his lungs because he is being tossed around like my skid-stained undies in the dryer. Regardless, we pressed on and were eventually rewarded with the site of a beautiful log cabin…where our right rear tire immediately deflated due to the boulder gash it received on the way in.
The next 48 hours are almost blissful enough to make one forget about the arduous journey that had just transpired, nor dwell on the one that lie ahead…almost. There is just something about being in the mountains that washes away all of my stress and my problems fade to the back of my mind. I don’t know if it’s a lack of oxygen due to the altitude, or maybe I am just at home in the mountains. I truly hope that I end up living in a mountainous location some day, but I digress. I got to take M fishing for the first time and it was a beating to say the least (could be an entire post of its own). However, she had fun with her cousin of similar age throwing rocks and catching crawfish. She also got to take her first (of many) ride on a 4-wheeler with her Grampy, which she loved. Lil B was happy just to have someone hold him and he even got to taste test many of the indigenous rocks. Grammy saved the day by bringing the girls their own new backpacks crammed with activities. They had a blast.
Of course we knew that the trip had to end, but as we were loading up the wagons I could not help but feel as though we had just gotten there. The third leg of our expedition got off to a rough start. We stopped no less than three times to let Cousin A tinkle, then we made the mistake of stopping for lunch in one of the desolate towns down the mountain. A long hour later we are back in the wagons and headed east to Amarillo. Just as we reach what has to be the absolute middle of nowhere, we see a sign “DWI Checkpoint Ahead”. WTF? That can’t be right, can it? As we top the next hill we are greeted to six NM state troopers at the intersection of state highway X and nowhere road Y. I am sure I was missing something, but there just didn’t seem to be enough traffic on the back roads of eastern NM to warrant a six-vehicle DWI checkpoint…thank God I only do heroin. After the mystery checkpoint we arrive in Amarillo for a brief overnight stay.
The fourth and final leg of the journey was a blur because I had to find a happy place within. Somewhere between Vernon and Wichita Falls I am contemplating those skiddy drawers again. Only this time I am thinking of using them to gag my screaming son. Poor little guy is just not built for the road. On the bright side I think he may have a future in opera. At one point of the final leg my 3 year-old had to intervene and put a stop to bickering going on in the front seat. It is at this point that I check out for the rest of the way home. The wagon and horses were on cruise control…and so was I.
We Shall Return
We will be going back to NM for sure. However, our wagon training days are officially over. I love you, Southwest Airlines…and I love your free drink tickets.
Can’t We All Just Get…Well?
In order for you all to experience what it has been like at my house for the past couple of weeks, I need to take you on a cinematic trip down memory lane. Picture little Gordie LaChance sitting around the campfire regaling his pals with the “Barf-o-rama” story in the classic film, Stand By Me. “Lardass! Lardass, Lardass”, the crowd chants as David “Lardass” Hogan eats his way to victory in a pie-eating contest. Then it hits…the castor oil and raw egg make their comeback . “Slowly a sound started to build in Lardass’ stomach. A strange and scary sound like a log-truck coming at you at a hundred miles an hour. Suddenly, Lardass opened his mouth. And before Bill Travis knew it, he was covered with five pies worth of used blueberries. The women in the audience screamed. Bossman Bob Cormier took one look at Bill Travis and barfed on Principal Wiggins. Principal Wiggins barfed on the lumberjack that was sitting next to him. Mayor Grundy barfed on his wife’s tits. But when the smell hit the crowd, that’s when Lardass’ plan really started to work. Girlfriends barfed on boyfriends. Kids barfed on their parents. A fat lady barfed in her purse. The Donnelly-twins barfed on each other. And the women’s auxiliary barfed all over the Benevolent Order of Antelopes. And Lardass just sat back and enjoyed what he created. A complete and total Barf-A-Rama.”
Of course, this is a slight embellishment with regard to what has recently transpired in my house. We may not have had the Benevolent Order of Antelopes, but we had two toddlers and a mommy doing there best impressions of this classic movie scene. Part of me wishes that we had all concrete floors so that I could bring the hose in like they do at the zoo in the elephant cage. As it stands right now, I feel like I am constantly wading in vomit and feces remnants and it’s quite disgusting. I see little food items on the floor and I don’t know if they came from my toddlers dropping them, or projectile spewing them. I do know this: small trash cans make good barf buckets and baby diapers cannot hold back the full fury of an infant’s diarrhea bomb.
On a lighter note, I think that everyone is feeling much better. We rung in Lil B’s 1st birthday last weekend, and we are taking our first trip as a family unit this coming holiday weekend. We are headed to the mountains of New Mexico for some family time, fishing, and relaxation. I will post a mountain trip review upon our return…if we actually make it back. I encourage any of you to stop by our house and disinfect the dump while we are gone. I will understand if you have to chalk up a total loss and just set the place on fire. Until our return, I bid you all a happy Labor Day.
Are My Babies Already Grown Up???
I fear that my baby girl may be growing up too fast. I first began to notice this a few months ago and the evidence continues to accumulate. I can trace this all back to the beginning of summer when we pulled M out of her regular daycare facility and enrolled her in private “insert religion here” school. Lower your eyebrows and wipe that sarcastic “Ooh La La” look off of your face and let me explain.
M changed schools for a couple of reasons really. We were becoming more and more irritated that her original daycare kept putting her with the younger kids each afternoon in an effort to combine children. They do this so that they can release teachers as the parents trickle in throughout the day to pick up their spawn. M is also now in her Pre K years and we feel that she should be getting a head start on her education. These things considered, it was also less costly to send M to the private school with an actual educational curriculum than it was to keep her at the daycare where she played with two-year-olds and hand-me-down toys. So, you could say that we were motivated by finances as much as the desire for our daughter to get edumacated. If she’s not educated, how is she going to support me in my golden years?
Back to my theory on M’s recent maturity spurt. Since she started the private school, I have noticed my three-year-old daughter having in-depth conversations with her new friends about fashion, of all things. We sat at her recent open house and witnessed our toddler daughter having a conversation with her 4-year-old friend. Their conversation ranged from shoes; to what accessories each had on; to sharing a delicious snack. This is nuts…I have seen high school girls have this same conversation! Gone are the days of Dora and Wonder Pets. She is almost exclusive to DVD’s such as Toy Story and her crazy-ass Barbie movies. (Have you seen any of these? They are creepy)At this rate she will be animation free by Christmas! Her choice in bedtime stories had transitioned out of Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Fancy Nancy into all the Judy Blume she can get her grubby little paws on. I think I even caught her looking at the stock tickers in the Wall Street Journal the other day. To say the least, my baby is growing up, and way too fast…and I don’t like it one bit.
Where is my little snuggler? Where is the girl who wants Daddy to help her do everything? It used to be, “Daddy, will you snuggle me?” Now it’s more like, “Bio-Father, would you mind so much as to pass me the Grey Poupon? And while you are out running my errands, pick up my dry cleaning. I have an event with the girls from the club and I need my Minnie Mouse skort.”
Living Vicariously Through My Kids
Not long ago I decide that I am going to live vicariously through my children. I am going to have them do all of the things that I did not get to do as a child. I know that most of you already assume that I am talking about sports. Don’t get me wrong, I will probably do what most fathers who participated in sports end up doing for their kids. I will spend thousands upon thousands of dollars sending my kids to sporting camps hosted by local pro athletes (who never actually show up at the camp). I will bribe referees, coaches, and teachers in order to assure the maximum playing time for my kids. Hell, I may even sabotage my children’s opponents. Anything for mention of my child in the local gazette, right? While I will, undoubtedly, do all of these things, there are other, more important things that my children need to experience…for me.
As a child, I always wanted to be trained in martial arts. I never got the chance because I was too busy stealing hood ornaments and pulling drive-by shootings with my paintball gun. Naturally, I want my children to experience the confidence and discipline that is taught through martial arts. My son is now almost 11 months old. I have been training him to become a baby ninja since he was about 6 months old. I am happy to report that he is progressing rather nicely. He even connected on a roundhouse kick to the skull of his three-year-old sister the other day. (assisted by me of course, as he cannot yet walk) It felt as if I were actually the one landing that sweet roundhouse to her petite, blonde noggin. I must say, if dealing out round-houses to one of my kids…using my other kid were a drug, I would be Pablo Escobar. This whole vicarious living concept is going to work out for me, I think.
I never got a tattoo as a young person. Naturally, I do not want my kids to miss their window like I did, so I got M inked. I didn’t want to take her to one of those trendy tattoo shops with their fancy artists and sterilized needles like all of the punk college kids. I found a homeless man the other day that had a sign that read, “Will Tattoo You For Food”, so I hired him. Turns out that he was not looking for food, so after a fifth of $7 whiskey he was ready to get started on my three-year-old daughter’s tat. We are pretty happy with the results and after a brief hospital stay and a bout of tetanus, the tattoo is healing nicely. What a gift for both M and Me!
I think that my children are going to grow up with the sense that they have lived life to the fullest. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s experience where I…er my kids get to go skydiving!
Has Michael Jackson Risen?
I am feeling like a change of pace is needed, so yesterday I decide to pick M up from school in lieu of the baby. On the days that I get to pick her up, the conversation typically involves her ratting out all the bad things that the other kids did at school that day. However, yesterday’s commute-versation hit me with the surprise of Tyson’s roundhouse to Alan in the Hangover.
Introducing Mr. Buttons Tyroome
I don’t even know where to start…
I am about to walk out onto the back patio last Saturday evening when my three-year-old daughter screams, “Daddy! Watch out for Mr. Buttons Tyroome!”
“Huh? Who is Mr. Button?”
“Mr. Buttons Tyroome! He watches over our patio.”
My wife and I exchange looks as if we have both just realized that our daughter is a certifiable nut job. I am starting to think that M might have a little schizophrenia. I knew it skipped a generation, but I had prayed that my kids would not be afflicted. Yet here I am having a conversation with my toddler about an imaginary overseer of our patio. Of course she may just have a vivid imagination…and no, there are no “diagnosed” schizoids in my family…(I do not speak for my wife’s family)
I inquire further about Mr. Buttons Tyroome and it turns out that he is a rather small (exact size not yet determined), orange little man. He has big ears and a big nose. He has no hair, but wears a hat to avoid sunburn. Apparently he also has keys to our house because today M told me that she saw him in our front yard and, “he used his key to come into our house.” She even went so far as to claim that I was with her, and that I saw him too while she hid behind my legs! This kid is nuts…Do they prescribe Lithium for toddlers?
I kid you not, these are actual conversations that I have had with my daughter over the past couple of days. I am thinking that I need to start digging into my in-law’s family mental illness history. I pray that these are the things that go along with having a child with a vivid imagination. Her mind is simply amazing.
Another example of M’s wild imagination and creativity is that she will pre-script conversations. This will happen mainly when we are playing. She will set up the entire scene. She will Tell Mommy and Daddy where to sit or stand; tell us what each person is going to do; and even feeds us our lines. And now I present Surprise Party by M. R. De Mille
SCENE 1, ACT 1
Mommy and Daddy sit on the sofa and hide. M enters the room.
Mommy and Daddy: “SURPRISE!”
M: “Oh, a surprise party for me?”
Mommy” ” yes, a surprise party all for you!”
Daddy ” We got you presents!”
M: “Presents? For Me? YAY!!”
This is just an example of one of M’s little “plays” , as we like to call them. However, now she is starting to think that she can script real life situations. As you all know, we have issues with getting the poor kid to eat dinner. With her recent screenwriting success, she decides that she can script tonight’s dinner after finding out that we are having food that she does not want. Please enjoy Dinner by M.R. De Mille.
ACT 1 SCENE 1
M: Eats ONLY a banana for dinner. NO TACOS, and NO BEANS
M: “Can I please be excused?”
Daddy: ” Of course you may be excused and you can go watch TV!”
I just sit there scratching my rapidly greying hair in amazement. What is this kid going to be like when she’s a conniving teenager? We are so screwed…
Into The Wild: Installment 4 (Homeward Bound)
My wayward child has returned! I did not realize how little I missed her until she finally showed up. I kid you not, in less than 3 hours our house looks like a bomb loaded with shrapnel of washable markers and books went off. BOOM! It’s like a rainbow exploded over a construction paper factory.
It is easy to forget how much damage a toddler can do to a house in a short time. If I were a military man, I would be recruiting daycares for my soldiers. But I am an eater, not a fighter…
Seriously, it is awesome to have my baby girl back home. It has been a long (quiet) week with her gone. Little B is still so young that he is in bed and asleep by 7:00 PM. The rest of the evenings have been spent Skyping with M and GG. It was almost nice to come home to the sounds of a three-year-old tearing my house to shreds today…almost.
I could swear that little B was a girl, or a fire alarm device with the way that he shrieked at the site of M. He was so dang excited to see his big sis. At first, I started to evacuate the house when I heard him going off, but soon realized that he was just overjoyed to see M. It was a great moment…if I had ear plugs…
I have learned how quickly the habits and discipline that we have worked so hard to master with our daughter can be tossed to the wayside. We are going to have to put some time in to get her de-GG-ized. Apparently grandparents have no rules and young toddlers are allowed to rule the roost. Well, M got a taste of this princess life and I hate to be the harbinger of bad news, but look out cause here comes the pain train…WOO! WOO!
All in all, we are very happy that our baby girl was able to sustain a week away from her omni-parents. Had we been betting on how long she would last without us, we would be washing dishes at the Belagio. She was a champ for six days, and it is kind of scary because she is very independent, and very intelligent. Without proper guidance, this can lead to bad things…we don’t want to end up with a little politician for Christ’s sake.
Perhaps I will do a “reconstruction” blog chronicling the extents that we had to go through to get our sweet baby girl back to the way in which we had originally brainwashed her. At least she his home now. Like the great Abe Lincoln once uttered, “Let the reconstruction begin.”
Into The Wild: Installment 3 (The End is Near)
Mom and Dad are really starting to miss our little angel. We both get home from work this evening and all that we talk about is that we both have gone from enjoying the spare time that we have had to wondering if GG has fled the country with our baby. We scarf dinner down so that we can jump on Skype with M to see how her day went (and to see if she shows any sign that she recognizes her birth parents).
First things first; I must congratulate Skype, or the operators of our respective computers for a first attempt connection this evening. So, we make the connection and after a several minutes of looking at the ceiling in GG’s house, we actually see M’s adorable face. The adorable face that is burned into our memories is not exactly what we were met with this evening on the computer, but under the greasy hair and yogurt-caked face we see our little baby. Both GG & M look equally zombie-like to their appearances last night, but something else is different tonight.
Our normally untamed spirit of a daughter is looking sulky and is kind of quiet. We tell her that we miss her and she is quick to tell us that she misses us too in a whiney, tired voice. This statement is followed by a hug…yes, she actually hugged the computer. It was the sweetest thing that she has done since she has been away from us. Mom and I exchanged tear-filled glances knowing that out daughter’s time at Club GG is nearing an end.
We are regaled with the tale of today’s adventures mostly by GG as M lie quietly on the sofa. Our little zombie must have just fed on some fresh brain (which has the same effect on a zombie as turkey does on a live human) because she was beat. GG spells out that M is, “M-I-S-S-I-N-G Y-O-U” and our hearts melt. In a wierd way, we feel loved by the daughter that so quickly abandoned us and hurled potty names at us just last night. Speaking of potty name-calling, you will be happy to know that M decided not to insult her dear parents tonight. I don’t know about you, but we are thinking that the end is near.
Of course, we are taking her lapse of love to be merely tiredness for the time being because we have been burned by this bluff before. We will see how M feels in the morning when she awakens to a full schedule of swimming, shopping, or raiding third world countries for their jobs (see Installment 2 https://genericdad.com/2010/06/14/into-the-wild-installment-2/) We have the eerie suspicion that we will be having bathroom insults hurled at us by day’s end tomorrow. Stay tuned…
Into The Wild: Installment 2
We are recovering after the rough shelling that we took on D-Day. M hit us with enough emotional shrapnel to make our hearts look like Swiss Cheese. Thankfully, and this is probably the only time that you will see me type these words, but we were able to go back to work today which helped take our minds off of our bruised parent-egos. We sit though dinner this evening mostly in silence. Each of us wondering what tonight’s Skype call with our wayward daughter is going to bring. Will she want scream and cry on the webcam begging to come home? Will she hurl bathroom word-laden insults at us again? It’s time for the call. (If you would like to catch up on Installment 1: https://genericdad.com/2010/06/13/into-the-wild-installment-1/)
Our stomachs are in knots as the Skype gods decide how many attempts we have to make before getting the webcams on both ends working. The gods say 3 times tonight (it was at least 5 times last night). Immediately we can tell that GG and M have had a long day. They both look like our Skype ringtone woke them up. Half-closed, drowsy eyes stare blankly back at us. We pepper them with questions about Day 2 and quickly find out why they are a heartbeat away from being zombies. They went to M’s great grandparents, they went to the mall, they went to build-a-bear. Apparently there is a store where you go and build your own stuffed animals. (What would the Taiwanese sweatshop workers say if they knew that rich Americans were out to get their jobs?). They went to the lake beach again, and finally they went to the park. A pretty lazy day…if you are a marathoner, or triathlete…
Once again M showcased that she does not possess the ability to miss her dear parents (or primary care givers, as it probably sounds in her mind) During the 2o-minute call we saw her little face a total of 5 minutes at best. The other 15 minutes consisted of GG’s glossed over haze-eyes all the while there’s a purple blur shooting to and fro in the background. One thing did improve in the fact that ony one of us gets to be called a bathroom part. Yes, it was me and I get called “Daddy Butt”. The rest of the conversation from M revolves around her panhandling for Mom and Dad to make funny faces. I think that we may be raising a future homeless person. She does not seem to care where she lives, and apparently she is already mastering panhandling skills. I say that she is mastering begging because when we sat through that 20 minute Skype call with our tongues out and making pig noses. If she were on the street she would have just earned a cool five bucks for “gas money”. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installment which is now a quest for our daughter’s affection…