Monday, June 30, 2008

To Er or not to Er?

After we got back from the street fair yesterday, Elijah was completely out of sorts. Wouldn’t eat. Wouldn’t nap. Wouldn’t watch Sesame Street. I thought, and announced loudly, that Eli was being a jerk and just wanted to ruin my Sunday. Diana thought that something else was wrong. She was, as usual, right.

‘Round about 11pm, Eli woke up screaming bloody murder. It was no nightmare. Di couldn’t get him to settle down. So she called me in to his room to administer the…ugh…rectal thermometer.

Hold on a second. Can I have a word with any inventors out there reading the blog? Do you think its possible to invent a baby thermometer that doesn’t involve intense embarrassment and emotional trauma for all involved? Consider me your first customer.

OK, back to the story. The thermometer beeped. It read 109. Diana shouted, “It’s 109!” and her eyes got a very fight or flight look in them. Now, unless my baby boy had suddenly acquired super powers, it was physically impossible for him to have a 109 temp. I was with him all day and he was never exposed to Gama rays or bitten by a radioactive spider.

But try telling that to a very sick baby and a very worried mother.

We checked his bottom again and the temp was a more human 103. But still way too hot for our tastes. Di called the emergency pediatrician, who confirmed that the only way he could have a 109 temp was if he were a member of The Fantastic Four. But then she gave us a choice. Come in to the office first thing in the morning or go immediately to the ER.

My bed and pillow were calling from the other room, “Go tomorrow! It’s comfy in here. And your stuffed animals miss you…”

But we opted for the ER, figuring no one was getting sleep anyway. Grover held the door open with a look that said, “Don’t bring that human puppy back unless it stops screaming.”

We arrived at the Evanston ER a few minutes later. The Sunday night ER team was a pretty far cry from the A-Team. At no point did anyone actually check to see why there was a burning hot baby in the waiting room. The debate of whose turn it was for a cigarette break consumed them.

Coincidentally, the dose of baby Motrin kicked in on Eli and he cooled off significantly and transformed from zombie to squirrel. We left the ER, thanking them for their attention and went home.

Eli never actually went to sleep, but he seemed out of the woods. Today, his doctor said it was a virus and probably not a precursor to the ability to fly or control the weather.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Second Fiddle

I gotta admit I am a sucker for street fairs. I simply adore the vaguely criminal element, the shanty town-like atmosphere, the tattoos and tank tops. Oh, the tank tops. And lest we forget, the tepid, overpriced beer.

I think it reminds me of my youth, when I used to step round the broken beer bottles and broken carneys of the McClain County Fair.

Thankfully, living in Super Liberal Town gives us plenty of opportunities to stroll among the masses of stained glass, funnel cones and those little metal things with the colored ball on the end that you are supposed to stick in your garden.

The last two weekends have given us back to back street fairs. And on my one day off, Diana has indulged my almost religious enthusiasm. I’d stand by the front door, bouncing and shouting, “Come on! We’re going to miss the dried out $9 bratwurst! And if I miss the ‘Battle of the Terrible Bands’ there’s gonna be Hell to pay!”

Luckily, street fairs allow dogs, so we can have the entire clan attend. Street fair time is Grover’s favorite time of the year too because it is a veritable smorgasbord of dropped nachos, dropped gyro meat and corn dogs. Although I spend way more time yanking chicken bones out of Grover’s throat than I care to admit.

And Grover is the bell of the ball. We can’t walk five feet without someone stopping us to talk about the dog. There is just something about genetically engineered superdogs that bring out the people.

The weird thing? No one gives a boo about Elijah. I think we’ve established that he is among the cutest children on the face of the earth. He gets mobbed at Target. Diana can’t buy a banana without some jerk telling her how cute Eli is. But at the street fairs? Nothing. I guess dog trumps baby.

When someone bends down to pet Grover, Eli gets a look that says, “Um, hello? Cutest baby in the world sitting here.”

It may be that we cover him in a thick layer of hat and 800 SPF. But that hardly diminishes his cuteness. It also may be that Grover is roughly 3 times his size and therefore easier to spot, cute-wise.

But today, after being ignored by the 1200th dog-lover, Eli blew a gasket and we had to head home. But I was covered in gyro juice and Bud Light, so I didn't mind a bit.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Where Does He Get This Stuff?

Diana and I have very different styles of teaching Elijah. I’ll describe each and see if you can guess who does which.

Teacher #1 engages the baby throughout the day with little life lessons. “Eli, these are your shoes. The Velcro attaches them to your feet. See?”

Teach #2 lays on the floor, points at things and shouts. “Shoe! Shoe! Shoe blue! Filled with, uh, goo!”

Thankfully, Eli gets most of his learnin’ from Teacher #1. And, as you’ve most likely read, he’s smart as a whip. He’s got lots of words (five), including a new one. But for the life of me I can’t remember his new word. I think it’s “Braunschweiger.” He also can open things, figure out things and manipulate his parents at a 5th Grade Level.

But every once in a while, he picks something up that I know neither I nor Di taught him. Like, for instance, he can blow kisses now. Yeah. That’s right. We have a miniature Chuck Woolery on our hands.

Di took him to the grocery store the other day and the little monkey started blowing kisses to everyone within a cute-radius of 15 yards. Shoppers, baggers and old people escaping the heat starting dropping like flies from cute overload.

Luckily, he got bored and started screaming. Which, as we all know, is the ultimate cute antidote.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

How Long Must We Sing This Song?

Upon hearing how lame I think children’s music is (aside from the one Sesame Street album I play for my benefit), a friend of mine gave me a CD of children’s-style instrumentals of U2 songs. While not a big U2 fan, I did think it would be a nice upgrade from repeatedly listening to “Banana Phone” which I’m sure is erasing Elijah’s IQ.

Given the fact that I haven’t been a real dad this week, this morning was my first chance to hear it. Get this. The CD starts out with “Sunday Bloody Sunday.” Yeah yeah, the CD is instrumental. But our house is pro-singing. So while it was playing in Eli’s room, Diana was belting the lyrics in our room while she was folding laundry:

Broken bottles under children's feet
And bodies strewn across the dead end street
But I won't heed the battle call
It puts my back up
Puts my back up against the wall

Sunday, bloody Sunday
Sunday, bloody Sunday
Sunday, bloody Sunday
Sunday, bloody Sunday

As I stomped over to throw the CD and CD player out the window, it dawned on me that over the last 14 months, Diana and I have made up several equally damaging songs of our own. Here is just a sample of our new album: “Diana and Rick: Songs To Cause Your Son To Go To A Psychiatrist When He’s 22.”

Track 1: “You got some poopies in your pants pants pants.”
Track 2: “You smell like a pee pee factory.”
Track 3: “You are a poopy guy, you are a poopy guy, you are a poopy poopy guy.”
Track 4: “Eli has a poopy butt, doo da, doo da.”

So what’s a little “Sunday Bloody Sunday” on a Sunday when you have some poopies in your pants pants pants?

Saturday, June 21, 2008


As you can tell from today’s picture, I’m extremely tired from another character builder of a week. And you can tell from today’s picture I store my stress in my double chin.

Every night this week I’ve crept into the house well after everyone is asleep. Grover greeted me with his usual fanfare. “You came back! My odor didn’t drive you away for good,” his leaping and clawing at my flesh seemed to say.

But other than a giant black fur ball, I had no contact with the team. But after closer inspection, I found evidence that my special lady and special guy still knew I was alive.

On top of the TV, Diana would leave me a carefully rationed glass of wine and a plate of cookies. As I sat on the floor to quietly watch a tapped episode of “The Daily Show,” I’d remark on the fact that Cabernet Sauvignon really brings out the flavor of chocolate chips. Santa Claus should get in on that action on Christmas Eve. But I guess by the fourth house he’d be clipping chimneys with his sleigh.

And even with Diana’s OCD, I’d also notice late night evidence of Elijah: Stereo askew. TV covered with fingerprints. Milk soaked into our carpet. Hole punched in the drywall.

But I’d also find what I think were messages from him. Like my copy of the Steve Martin film, “The Jerk” stuffed under the couch. Everyone’s a critic. Or my bike lock shoved under the TV. Which I assume is an editorial about my recent weight gain. The shredded toilet paper on the roll was clearly an expression of rage against my late hours. Or an expression of rage against toilet paper.

Luckily I got to spend 4 minutes with him this morning before heading to work for the Saturday shift. I did catch a glimpse of him looking at my stomach and then looking under the TV.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father’s Day #2

I think we’ve established that the greatest Father’s Day gift in the world is sleep. So I soaked up my present like that one Disney character who slept a long time in a glass case or something. And had to be kissed to wake up. I think it was Goofy.

But, to my surprise I had additional presents. Elijah gave me Tim Russert’s books. Not to get off track, but Di and I shed tears over the loss of the Meet The Press host this week. He was among other things a wonderful father.

Ok, back to me. Grover gave me a t-shirt. I have no idea how he managed to get out of the house, walk all the way downtown, conduct a business transaction with no money and yet still know I’m a size medium. Good boy.

Di bought me a boom box. Are they still called “boom boxes?” I feel like the term was retired along with Bill Cosby’s sweaters. She also cleaned up a fossilized Grover poop in the basement from roughly 1914, which is technically my job.

We then took the family to the dog beach and frolicked in the pollution. I tried to cram an ice cream bar into Elijah’s mouth. His hatred of sugary treats will save us hundreds in baby liposuction.

The day will conclude in a few hours with my favorite dinner: overpriced sushi.

ATTENTION. This next section will be unfunny and emotional. Cynics stop reading.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. I find Father’s Day the perfect time to reflect on everyone else who isn’t the father in this tribe.

Diana is the wonderful, beautiful glue that holds my life in orbit. I love her more today than I did yesterday. And yesterday was the most a person has loved another person ever. And the boy? I don’t think there is a word in the English language that can describe my love for him. I’ll have to make one up. How ‘bout “Glorpostallish?” And the dog is pretty damn glorpostallish too.

p.s. Happy Father's Day to my dad, Ed Hamann.

p.s.s. Peter Kintz, the dad of one of HamannEgg’s favorite friends, Jenn Goodrich, had a stroke last Sunday. Let’s gather up all the good vibes and send them Peter’s way. Ok? Ok.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mama Dada Bye Bye Hi

Elijah hasn’t exactly leapt into the whole walking thing. I can’t blame him. If I could get Diana to carry me around all the time I would. But I could never get my adult-sized baby bjorn invention to work. It kept breaking Diana’s spine. So for the short term, he’ll get around on his hands and knees, thank you very much.

On the flip side, the boy does love to talk. Aside from his constant baby babble, he loves to spew actual words. His four favorites are Mama, Dada, Bye Bye and Hi. I’m sure he knows other words, but these are the ones Diana and I are constantly quizzing him on.

“Can you say, Mama? Can you say, Dada?” and so on and so forth. I know it goes against my anti forcing-children-to-do-tricks-for-entertainment stance, but it’s just so dern cute we can’t resist. When we quiz him, he gets an embarrassed look on his face, concentrates like a spelling bee champ and then utters the now famous words.

However, he’s on to us now. As soon as one of his dopy parent’s starts in on the “Can you say…” he’ll just rattle them off. “Mamadadabyebyehi.” And then he’ll go back to banging things with his toy rake.

So Diana is trying to get him to say, “Grover.” She’ll say, “Can you say Grover? Grover. Grover. G-r-o-v-e-r.” At which point Grover will walk into the room with an expression of, “You rang?” Once he realizes he wasn’t summoned for treats, he’ll exit to resume his systematic destruction of my yard with his acidic urine.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Another Poop Story

I think we’ve all come to the conclusion that I don’t edit much out from our Elijah lives in the old bloggeroo. Mostly because I think it’s hilarious. But also because I think it’s dumb to project only the good without the bad. Who wants to read about a saccharine perfect, Beaver Cleaver house? Besides June Cleaver, of course.

But I will admit that I’ve held a couple things back. In some cases, because I didn’t want to jinx (when we were considering putting Eli in that helmet). In other cases, extreme incompetence (the time I sleepily smashed Eli’s face on my shoulder in the middle of the night).

There’s also a third category: stomach churningly gross.

Well, today you’re getting one! Eli tasted his own poop. Oh yeah, you read that right. Eli put poop into his own mouth.

Thankfully, I wasn’t there for the incident. Or else I’d be typing this from the comforting confines of an insane asylum. Diana describes it this way:

Eli was doing the old family bath with Di. And, as he’s want to do, he defecated into the tub (Mental note: Never bathe with the boy again). As Diana was leaping to safety to distance herself from all cooties and cootie-related sub-cooties, Eli thought, “Hmm. This seems like something that could be delicious.”

Thankfully, he did not find it delicious. He found it, as you can imagine, horribly disgusting. I guess it’s one of life’s early lessons. Do not eat you own poop.

I think I am going to sew that into a pillow.

I apologize to everyone with a delicate stomach. Like me.

I also apologize to Elijah when he’s reading this in the future. And his future prom date. I do not make the news. I only report it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Post Script

Diana wanted me to add an additional story to last weekend’s “Dudes Weekend” post. According to her, I let Elijah’s fingernails grow to disgusting lengths over the weekend and when she got home he looked like a cross between Noseferatu and that guy from Guinness Book of World Records with those crazy curly fingernails. Except dirtier.

Now, I consider fingernail duty to be “expert level” baby care. As you’ll recall, I was plenty occupied keeping Elijah from drowning, electrocuting himself and leaping from our roof. The last thing on my mind was a manicure and pedicure. Had she seen him on Sunday, she’d realize that he didn’t technically have a full bath for the three days she was gone. He looked like a cast member from Grease.

Sorry this is so short. I’m trying to save the world for millionaires with disposable income and a desire for really nice German sports cars.

Think of this post as an appetizer for a really hysterical post to come. Most likely in August.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Dudes Weekend

For years, pre-Elijah, I felt the media’s portrayal of dads was unfair and inaccurate. Sitcoms, movies and commercials (natch) make us out to be buffoons who are one step away from drying our baby’s bottoms using bathroom hand dryers.

Well, I am here to declare once and for all that these characterizations are pretty much right on the button.

Diana flew to California to attend her good friend’s wedding with her hippie crew. Originally, I thought I’d be either in Germany or stuck in my office veal fattening pen, but as it turned out this was the last weekend before my summer of insane hours. So rather than spend $10,000 booking a last second ticket, I opted to have a Dude’s Weekend with the child.

Now, I didn’t put the kid in danger or burn the house down. But from the moment Di got on the plane, I was out of my league.

The house was so filthy by Sunday that we gave up the kitchen to the raccoons and fought them off in the living room using old diapers and pizza boxes.

I realized about midday yesterday that Eli hadn’t had much water and got scared about dehydration. I bought a case of Gatorade and gave him the contents in his sippie cup, not reading the label, which states that Gatorade is about 90% sugar. I had to pry Eli off the ceiling with a broom handle.

It was only after the third consecutive hot dog meal in a row that it dawned on me hotdogs weren’t exactly well rounded. So I carted him off to my friend Chris’s BBQ, where he ate loose taco meat, extra spicy ribs and bean dip. Today, I buried his Diaper Genie in the backyard.

I decided to let Eli set his own nap hours, which was none. So by tonight’s bedtime, he was shifting back and forth between screaming with rage and swaying back and forth, zombie style.

I filled his baby pool with water yesterday, but then gave him exactly four centimeters of room while I rubbed my fat belly and listened to the ballgame. I tried for three straight hours to train Grover to fetch me a beer out of the fridge.

Eli and I made it almost all the way though the grocery store before I realized he wasn't wearing shoes. Or pants.

It’s no lie that Eli spent the whole weekend saying, “Mama? Mama? Mama?”

p.s. I’ll try my best to keep up, but blogging is gonna be rare during the summer of late hours.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Eli: 1 Floor: 0

Sorry this has been another light blog week. It’s not for lack of hilarious scatological stories. Let me dial the way back machine to last Sunday (cue harp music).

Di had some work to do, so I took the boy during the night time shift. After his bath I took him upstairs for some naked crazies. And believe me, it was crazy.

Lemmie back up a second. Elijah has a harsh case of diaper rash. We think it’s because he eats so much fruit, which makes him poop and makes his poop acidic. Regardless, his butt looks like a baboon.

I read somewhere that a good way to deal with diaper rash is to let air get on it. In other words, let him have naked crazies. I think I read it in “A Lazy Dad’s Guide To Parenting.”

So I let him go nuts upstairs, sans clothes. He was free and easy and I was relaxing in the rocking chair catching up on his stack of baby books. Did you know bananas were yellow?

Eli scooted by with a hilarious grin on his face. And when I caught sight of him southbound, I noticed some, uh, evidence on his butt. Poo evidence. I leaned over and said, “What did you do?” He screeched like a monkey and attempted to swing on the baby gate.

I extracted him from the gate and walked into our room. Yep, you guessed it. A perfectly formed poo on our floor. Thankfully, it was on Di’s side of the bed. I called for Di, who came running upstairs and stopped short at ground zero. She took one look at me and said, “No more naked crazies.”

Then she went downstairs to finish her work and left me for cleanup duty.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Crazy Hair

Hey gang, I’m back from Germany, where I got to see lots of cool cars that won’t be available until Eli turns three. I’m not at liberty to say if any of the future cars were flying cars. Damn confidentiality agreements.

I arrived home in a cab yesterday to find my lovely wife and human boy and dog boy waiting for me on the front porch. My intense jetlag reminded me of those first couple sleepless Eli months, but I shook it off and took the entire troupe to the beach.

Thankfully, not much had changed while I was forcing down Deutschland cuisine and litres of Weiss beer. Eli hasn’t learned how to walk yet, Diana hasn’t replaced me with the gardener and Grover still hasn’t figured out how to open the back gate to freedom.

One thing I did notice is Eli is getting’ pretty shaggy up top. He’s really only had two official haircuts in his 13 months of life, and one was just his bangs. I don’t really mind. I’ll allow the hippie-ness until he starts getting mistaken for a girl. Then it’s off to the barber for the old “High And Tight.”

Now that he spends most of his time in our backyard, we have to cover his lily-white Irish flesh with SPF 400. Since he refuses to wear a hat, we’ve resorted to spraying sunscreen on his head, which gives him crazy crazy hair.

After a full day of playing he starts to resemble Nick Nolte’s mug shot. I’ve included it as reference.