Tuesday, November 27, 2007
My dad was a notoriously picky eater when he was a child. There goes a Hamann folk story about the time he drove my kindly grandfather to near physical abuse by refusing to eat on an entire road trip out west.
Well, thankfully Elijah did not inherit that particular gene. Simply putting him in his high chair makes him wiggle his legs and open his mouth like a baby bird. And he eats everything. Peas, spinach, squash, mud (Can you pick out the joke food? Send your answer on a 3X5 card to “Easiest Contest Ever.”).
But he does have his limits. He can’t stand baby food pasta. I can understand. Who wants to eat room temperature, mushy starch? If you try to shove a spoonful into his mouth, he makes the most hilarious “What the *%%&^ is that?” face. Which, of course, is why I make him eat baby food pasta. Yeah, it’s cruel. But the faces are priceless. I’ll even do the applesauce sneak attack. He’ll be Da da da-ing with glee, enjoying mushed apples, and then I’ll sneak in a spoonful of gross pasta. Just to see the face.
But the rub is he will not swallow said pasta. He’ll just pack it in until his face reaches maximum capacity. At which point he’ll let it drop until his shirt, or if he really thinks you’re messing with him, he’ll spit it in your face.
Which is exactly what I deserve.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Aside from the head expanding purpose of marveling at my own baby-related witticisms every few days, I started Hamann Eggs so that Elijah will be able to look back years from now and see what he was like growing up. And to marvel at his father’s witticisms.
But, quite frankly, I’m not convinced the internet will survive for the next 18 or so years. I have a feeling some nerd is currently devising a way to erase everything on the worldwide web with a few greasy keystrokes. Or there will be some new thing that’s even more advanced than the internet that will render the current internet obsolete. I assume it will involve robots. Or as they will call them in 2024, “Droids.”
So, my plan all along was to convert Hamann Eggs into actual book form. Because nothing lasts longer than paper. There is this awesome website called Blurb.com that will make your hilarious to you and three other people blog into a real live hardback (Blurb, if you are reading this, that counts as an endorsement. Keep that in mind when you send me my bill).
The plan was to make a hardback version of the blog on every Elijah birthday. However, I started to do the math (actually, Diana did the math and explained it to me very slowly). A book every Elijah birthday means that I’ll have to do a separate blog for every child we have, and keep them up to date every couple of days and release a blog book for them on their birthdays and so on and so forth. Diana wants to have 15 children, so my blogging and book making will be a fulltime job. And given the fact that blogging pays nothing, that makes about as much sense as this paragraph.
Long story short, I will be making one big family blog book every Jan 1. The kids can fight over them when I die.
What does that mean for you? Well, nothing. Unless you are a superfan of Hamann Eggs. Which would make you one of Di or my parents. Then you can buy your own copy of the book through Blurb.com. I’ll send you details when the book is actually made.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Dada. My son says, “Dada.” Or better yet, “Dadadadadadadadaaaaaa.” So that counts as a first word, right? Right.
Well, if you want to get technical, most quote unquote experts will tell you it doesn’t count as a first word until they are referring to something specific. And it doesn’t usually happen for several months from now.
But, we’ve already established Elijah is a genius. He’s crying at a fifth-grade level. And when he says, “Dada,” I look around and see only one person with a badly out of date hairstyle, sweatpants and a permanent confused look on his face: Me. And I’m his dad. So case closed.
Hmm? What’s that you ask? Well, yes he does refer to Grover as “Dada.” And his mom. And his poo. And his uncle Steve. And the mailman. Wait a minute.
I gotta go get a DNA test.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
It’s particularly nice when you can knock out two, count ‘em, two firsts in one day.
On our way out the door for Elijah’s first Thanksgiving, he encountered his first snowfall. It’s moments like these that I try to imagine what it must be like for him. Here he was, in the nice, warm house where there are lots of blocks and that stick with the gradually smaller plastic rings and then he gets thrust into an environment that’s 40 degrees colder. AND ICE IS FALLING FROM THE SKY. I just got a panic attack. Well, in typical Eli fashion, he took note of the situation and then tried to eat his mom’s face.
He also performed admirably in his first Thanksgiving. Considering none of Thanksgiving is geared towards someone who has no teeth, can’t gossip about absent family members and didn’t have $50 on the Packer game. He got delightfully passed around to Grandma and Grandpa, which meant I could attempt to reach 5,000 calories. He took a power nap right when the turkey was served (I was born under a good sign today). Not to mention the friends of the family had all kinds of shiny expensive things he could look at, but not touch.
Eli got home, got stuffed into his pj’s and racked out hard.
So I hope everyone out there in HamannEgg land had an equally nice day.
p.s. My older brother Dave just started a blog for his awesomely named son, Fox Hamann. Anyone who wants to read well written entries that are kind of like mine, but much taller and better looking should check out his site:
p.s.s. And while I’m at it, if you want to see the hilarious blog that inspired me to start HamannEggs (i.e. the guy whose idea I ripped off), check out Max The Baby:
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
When I was a lad, I dragged around a filthy, soggy, beaten up Grover doll wherever I went. It had a string, that when pulled, would make Grover say something hilarious. After the first couple months of overuse it broke and the only sound that would come out was a frightening shriek. The Grover doll got puked on, peed on, Scarlet Fever-ed on. But I loved that filthy rag. Hold on a minute. Our dog is named Grover. Coincidence?
If you dug through our boxes in the basement, you’d find him waiting to be reunited with his true owner. The truth is Diana won’t allow his bacteria laden body within a country mile of our living space.
You know what? Grover shouldn’t be stuck in a box, waiting to get moldy. I’m gonna go dig him out and hide him in my bedside table. Let’s just hope Diana doesn’t read this blog.
Wow, this entry is taking a long time to get to Eli.
Well, it seems like Elijah has bonded with this little stuffed lamb we put in his crib. I don’t know if it has a name. Let’s say it’s “Carlos.” Well, Elijah loves Carlos. Most mornings before Eli shrieks to be changed and fed, he’ll lie in his crib, talking to Carlos. It’s terribly cute. And when he’s asleep, Eli will put a vice grip on Carlos so hard I can’t pry him loose. I can’t wait until the day Carlos is a filthy, Scarlet Fever-ed rag.
Grover (the dog, not my secret friend), who loves nothing better than tearing up stuffed things and eating their innards, constantly looks at Carlos and licks his lips. Which reminds me, I have to find a lock for my bedside table.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Elijah is currently trying to push a tooth out through his gums. Which isn’t as fun as you’d think. In fact, it makes him really pissed off. So we’re tying to find him some relief. If you’re thinking, “Rub some Whisky on his gums,” you were born in 1890. Maybe we should throw some leeches on him while we're at it.
We did buy some all natural hippie gum-reliever at the overpriced hippie grocery store. And, much like hippie toothpaste, it did nothing except make the recipient smell worse than before application.
Truth be told, the only thing that really works is having him shove things into his mouth. Teething rings, stuffed animals, big black dogs. When inserted, they make Eli feel better, or at least muffle his screams.
Elijah’s favorite teething technique? Biting his mom’s head. Diana will be holding him, cooing, and he’ll grab her by two fistfuls of hair and bite her head. Usually resulting in her head being completely covered in slime.
Which will instantly become un-cute when he does get a tooth.
Friday, November 16, 2007
The last time Diana took Elijah to the doctor, she said he might start getting scared of strangers. But like everything associated with kids, there’s a special rhyme for it, “Stranger Danger.”
Diana and I scoffed at the prediction. Stranger Danger? Our son? You mean the kid who’s been passed around more times than a joint at an Allman Brothers concert?
Hmm. Comparing my son to an illegal drug. I’m gonna say wildly inappropriate. My alternate was “passed around more times than my mom’s meat loaf.” Let’s go with that one.
Anyhoo, wouldn’t you know? Diana’s dad came by to baby-sit this week and Eli freaked out on him. Really? Di’s Dad? The first person on the planet to get Eli to laugh? Sheesh.
Last night I got trapped on an airplane in LA, so my brother Steve saved my bacon by babysitting when Diana had a wine thing. But Eli got scared of my own twin brother.
So Steve decided he’d try impersonating me. Which involved taking off his glasses, and repeating, “Duh…me like Porsches,” over and over.
It didn’t work. Thankfully, Steve’s general goofiness won Eli over and they had a grand old time. I managed to get home in time to put Eli to bed and put a six-pack in Steve’s hands.
Monday, November 12, 2007
My ideal weekend activity involves the awesome combination of wearing sweatpants and scratching myself through sweatpants.
In an attempt to prevent Eli from turning into a sweatpant scratcher, Diana suggested we actually get out of the house last weekend. Namely, the Chicago Shed Aquarium. I was instantly into it. No, not because I didn’t have a choice. But because Elijah had never seen a fish before and this would be a big first. Up until this point, Eli must have thought the only animals on the planet are big, clumsy dogs.
We brilliantly scheduled this family activity in the exact three hours between his naps, to prevent angry ear pulling. After driving in from Evanston (cue Beverly Hillbillies theme), we arrived at the Shed entrance and realized we shared our get out of the house idea with roughly 100,000 other families. The crush of humanity made me get a serious facial tick. But the Shed got us in super fast (they have a special line for strollers, but that meant we had to hang out with a billion pushy moms and two billion kids asking where Nemo was).
I gotta say, I thought Eli would poo poo the aquarium, but he was into it. He loved the fish and, um, other fish. But he mostly loved Diana and I saying, “Ohhh…fish” over and over. Truth be told, after a half hour he got bored and became very interested in my jacket zipper. But we definitely got our $32 worth.
Friday, November 9, 2007
There’s a story in the Hamann folklore that goes as follows:
When my twin and I were babies, my father was holding us in each arm while walking down the stairs. According to my dad, Steve and I decided simultaneously to grab giant fist fulls of his awesome 1970's chest hair and yank them out. Dad was paralyzed with pain and unable to do anything about it without dropping a baby.
That story is called “Foreshadowing.”
Anyhoo, I took the early shift with Elijah this morning. I scooped him up and sat on the couch for a game of “You’re Standing!” Which involves standing him on my knees and shouting, “You’re standing!”
Suddenly, Eli reaches down and grabs a huge handful of my chest hair and yanks. Hard (No, I wasn’t nude. I was wearing my old man robe. Get your head out of the gutters.). I squealed like a little girl. Which delighted my son to no end. He’d yank, I’d cry, he’d yank, I’d cry. Apparently it was a much better game than “You’re Standing.”
Eli also grabbed a fist full of Grover’s beard and yanked that too. Grover took it like a man. He just looked at me as if to say, “Don’t put this in your blog.”
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Even with Elijah putting in huge hours of nonstop crib time, sleep is the most valuable commodity at the Hamann house. We view REM like freebase cocaine addicts. Some early mornings while Eli is howling, I’ll grab Diana by the shoulders and look at her with crazed, blood red eyes. “I need just a minute of sleep…Gimmie a minute of the big S…I’ll do anything…anything…”
Sleep is also the great motivator in our house. If I’m watching “Daily Show” reruns, Diana will come in and say, “If you rake the leaves, paint the house, shoot a live grizzly bear and build a ladder to the moon, I’ll wake up with Eli tomorrow and let you sleep.” I’ll be out the door with my rake/shotgun/paintbrush in an instant.
Well, last Saturday was Daylight Savings Time. We danced around the house all day, knowing that fall back meant an extra hour of sleep. We were giddier than Children on Christmas Eve. “What are you going to dream about with your extra hour?” I’d say. “A talking Grover, of course, “ Diana would reply.
Um, you know who doesn’t understand the concept of Daylight Savings Time? Babies.
Eli woke up at what he thought was 6am, but with Daylight Savings Time, it was 5 in the am. What a gyp. And to add insult to injury, he hasn’t caught onto Daylight Savings Time all week, so our family starts at 5am. Which means the value of sleep just skyrocketed.
I have a feeling I’ll be building an addition on the house to get a nap this weekend.
Monday, November 5, 2007
There’s good news in the Hamanneggs universe. Pam Hamann, Steve’s wife, is preggers. Great news. I can hear every Hamann wife across the country chanting, “Please be a girl, please be a girl, please be a girl…”
The only bummer is now that Pam is going to be lugging around her new little person, she won’t be able to be Elijah’s full time babysitter anymore. So that left us with the task of replacing someone who was bound by law to put up with our neurotic Elijah-isms. “Uh, we prefer that Elijah receive one spoonful of fruit for every three point five spoonfuls of vegetables. Oh, and he may listen to Wilco for ten minutes only after he’s listened to eight Beatles songs…”
After a short Craigslist search, we set up an interview with a Romanian woman named “Marianna.” I like to think of myself as a semi-enlightened person who rejects stereotypes. But all morning Saturday I had visions of a grey shawl wearing hunched woman, clutching a hunk of bread in one hand and a bag full of stolen babies in the other. She’d shuffle into our house and cry, “I sell baby for kerosene, yes?”
Well, surprise surprise, Marianna ended up being a lovely woman who speaks perfect English and was very sweet with Elijah. She knows CPR, has raised countless children, hers and other people’s. Her husband is a wealthy contractor (as evidenced by our googling her house) and she loves dogs. Especially big black spazzy ones named “Grover.”
The only hiccup was when she told us a story of how her last babysitee used to refer to her as “Mommy #1” and his real mother as “Mommy #2.” She saw Diana’s lip quiver and said that would never happen with Elijah.
So after trying every background check known to man (Homeland Security will no longer accept my calls), we decided to hire Marianna as Eli’s official nanny! So expect lots of Marianna stories involving spoonfuls of sugar making medicine do something.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
One of the greatest days of my life was when Elijah decided to laugh. The kid could poop gold and I’d still prefer to hear his goofy, squeaky chirps.
But here’s the rub. He thinks I’m mildly amusing, but he finds Diana freaking hilarious.
Now, I don’t want to split hairs but when Diana and I got married we decided that she was going to be the pretty one, the smart one and the charming one. But I got to be the funny one. And now in our son’s eyes she’s Red Buttons.
Last night, due to all the Halloween excitement and non-sleeping, Elijah got so worked up he puked in his crib. So Di had to change his sheets while I rocked the boy. Watching Di stretch cloth over a mattress caused Eli to double over in laughter. No, she wasn’t changing sheets in a clown nose, or in an “I’m with Stupid” t-shirt. But Eli was howling.
And this morning, while Diana tried to feed him, Eli was laughing so hard that food would not stay in his mouth.
I gotta step up my game. If I’m not the funny one, where does that leave me? The stinky one? No, that’s Grover.
In a cosmic event rarer than a solar eclipse, I was able to launch my escape pod from work and be home in time to see Elijah’s first Halloween. You can see from the blindingly cute photos that it was worth my while. We took no less than 100 photos last night. All in the hopes Eli would smile in his Tigger costume. I think we got 1.5. The fact that it was 1,000 degrees in the thing didn’t help.
Eli semi enjoyed the 14 Spiderman costumes that came to our door. By which I mean he didn’t freak out. And he was particularly interested in Skittles packaging. Little did he know the awesome artificial flavors hidden inside.
But in true Elijah fashion, as soon as the little hand hit six he came to the conclusion that Halloween was dumb and demanded bed.
And thus, revealed the flaw in our Halloween plans.
Uh, Eli’s bedroom is right over our front door. And in order for the next 14 children in Spiderman costumes to get at our bowl of candy, they had to ring our doorbell. Which caused Grover to bark his halfhearted attempt at protecting us. Which caused Elijah to wake up and scream his head off.
Thankfully, the chaos ended at 8pm, per order from Evanston’s mayor. And Di and I sat down to a blood red glass of Pino Noir. Boooo!