Sunday, August 31, 2008

How to Dismantle An Atomic Baby

Unless there are sharp bones trying to work their way through Elijah’s face, he is an absolute joy. He loves to give hugs and kisses. Most notably to a hippie coffee shop employee yesterday, which did not get me a free coffee. But, quite frankly, happy baby does not equal funny blog post.

So allow me to introduce you to the Tantrum.

Let’s say Eli wants to touch something you’d rather he didn’t. Like the stereo or my flamethrower collection. When you lift him away he’ll typically wheel his legs in a jerky motion and grunt. But occasionally, he will launch a tantrum. Which involves screaming at a pitch that makes Grover throw himself against the window. He’ll also kick his legs and, if he’s really wound up, smash his head on the ground.

Every kid does it. But I think Eli does it cuter than average. The little stinker will actually peer out of the corner of his eye to see if he’s getting a reaction. Unfortunately, that’s where the difficulty lays.

All the parenting books say you cannot react to a tantrum. If you soothe him or give him what he wants or lock him in the toy box, he knows the tantrum works. Which results in the Terrible Twos, or the Terrible Eighteens or the classic Terrible Freak Out in a Grocery Store. Which is Dante’s third circle of Hell.

But ignoring a tantrum is much easier said than done. Because they are hysterical. I don’t know what it is, but Diana and I laugh like lunatics whenever Eli goes off the deep end.

So we’ve taken to leaving the room when he erupts. He gets it out of his system without the knowing how hilariously awesome he is being. And Diana and I get to jump up and down and hug each other and laughingly trace each other’s family tree to find the genetic blame for his cuckoo bird behavior.

p.s. Today’s photo is a demonstration of what Eli will look like when he goes through that inevitable soul patch phase in his mid twenties.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Grosser Than Gross

So, based the title of today’s entry, do I really need to warn you about the content? Really?

Anyhoo, as you recall, Elijah has been out of sorts this week with his face bones coming in. He didn’t sleep at all Monday night, which meant Diana didn’t sleep at all Monday night.

At the midway point Tuesday while I was nodding off in a Porsche meeting Diana called. Her message said, “Sooooooo tired. So very very tired…” And then the phone hit the floor.

So I made a point out of getting home at a decent hour and taking the angry baby off her hands. But by the time public transportation deposited me, it was almost nigh nigh time. Regardless, Di happily shoved the child into my arms.

He was in much better spirits than I expected. He was into his monkey chatter and ball playing. But I could tell his face bones still hurt. I tried to apply some gum-numbing cream, but ended up almost losing a finger.

I then took him downstairs and asked for Di to administer the baby Tylenol. The reason I’ll tell the judge is so he’d feel more comfortable. But my secret reason was that it might ensure a full night’s sleep.

He happily slurped up a dose of purple flavored pain relief and I began carrying him back up to nigh nigh land.

But he then got a really strange look on his face. And our eyes locked. At which point he started gagging. I was then overwhelmed by an extreme sense of powerlessness. As he began his pre-barf, I wondered if this was how deer feel right before a Pontiac hits them. I was frozen in fear. My muscles didn’t work. My brain was a broken record of, “No no no no.”

I was holding him in font of me, which made a “V” between our two bodies. In about 15 seconds, the V was completely filled with chewed up chicken nuggets, mixed vegetables, milk and a nice desert of tangerine. Quite a nice round meal. All over me. And him.

Diana rushed into the living room and cried, “Oh no! The rug!”

The rug?

Eli began to scream and snapped Diana out of it. She grabbed him out of my arms and stripped him down and washed him off.

I stood in the living room the rest of the evening, in shock, saying, “Aack. Aack.” Over and over.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Two nights ago before I went to bed, I did my regular nightly habit: Poking Elijah while he's asleep. I like to poke him to the point of almost waking up. No, not because I’m a sadist. Well, kind of. But mostly because I’m checking to make sure he’s alive. I need him to be alive when I go to sleep so I can continue existing. Also he groans really cutely when you almost poke him almost awake.

Well, two nights ago when I poked him he felt hot. I whispered to Diana to give him the mom test. She confirmed he was hot, but not 109 boiling from the old hoof and mouth disease days.

In the recesses of my brain I remembered babies can get low-grade fevers when they cut teeth. And Elijah has some monster molars coming in. It almost looks like pointy white bones are pushing their way through his gums. Wait. It looks exactly like pointy white bones are pushing their way through his gums.

So rather than administer the old butt thermometer, Diana and I went to bed and dreamt about having a tickle fight with Michelle Obama. Or at least one of us did.

At midnight, he began to wail. Bad. He was super mad and nothing we (Diana) could do would make him calm down. At 3:30, Diana suggested I go downstairs to sleep on the couch since I had big meetings all day. I laid down and realized our stairs actually act as an amplifier for baby screams.

I debated using this opportunity to rob our neighbors’ homes while they slept, but then decided to go back upstairs and join in on the non-fun. At 5:30, Eli was officially awake and Di took him down for some Sesame Street, milk and general exhaustion.

I got home last night and found Eli to be in much better spirits, but also had one of the grossest moments of my life, which I will write about in the next post.

How’s that for a cliffhanger?

p.s. Who is this dog and why isn’t he Grover?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Best Voicemail Ever

I have a little tick when it comes to my office persona. For some reason, I can’t stand voicemail messages. When I arrive to my desk and the little red light is blinking on my phone, I fall into a deep funk. “What do they want? Why can’t they leave me alone?” I’ll call to the ceiling, while shaking my fist. Then I’ll crawl under my desk and hide for a few minutes. After I’ve collected myself, I’ll peek my head out from under the desk and see if the red light is still there. It usually is. Which sends me under my desk again.

Well today when I got back from a soul-crushing, but not as soul-crushing as usual meeting, I got the red light. After wiping away my tears, when I pressed play, this was the message:

“(Tiny Baby’s Voice) Ahhhh. Beehhh. Ahhhm. Ooooooaaaahhhh”

“(Woman’s voice) Talk to your dada. Say hi."

“(Tiny Baby’s Voice) Aaammmm. Ahhhhhh. Ahhhhhh.”

“(Woman’s voice) Say hello to dada. Say hi. Say hi to dada.”

-several second break-

“(Tiny Baby’s Voice) Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!”

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Let’s Dance

Diana and I, in our past lives, used to be pretty darn hip. I, of the heavily drinking, ironic t-shirt wearing advertising set. And Diana, of the stinky VW, Phish following set. Occasionally, the whole un-hipness of being an Evanston-living, Subaru-driving, Golden-Doodle owning parent comes crashing down on us and we need to get back in touch with the cool kids.

Today, we decided to venture into the city of Chicago to attend a local street fair. I don’t think I need to remind everyone of my stance on street fairs. After putting on Elijah’s baby flack jacket and encasing him in 3 inches of protective plastic, we drove 12 minutes to Roger’s Park.

It was like every other suburban street fair we’ve attended this summer with a few differences. Instead of tepid Budweiser on tap, they offer tepid, so-bad-it’s-considered-hip Old Style. And instead of everyone being dressed in identical cargo shorts and flip flops, everyone was wearing skinny jeans and flip flops. But there was the same old artsy crap that I love.

They did have an excellent band playing at the end of the block with some tables and chairs. So I found some non-ironic beers and we sat down to let Grover get some shade.

The band was a great salsa-y kind of group and a couple extra hip people were dancing. Eli became entranced by this huge dude who had great rhythm. And sure enough, Eli wandered over to him and began to dance his hilarious dance. Which is basically walking and shaking his arms.

Every time the band stopped, the crowd would clap and Eli would think it was for him. Well, at least two people were clapping for him. By the third song Eli got bored and walked to the foot of the stage and began pounding it like the world’s most adorable Danzig fan (thanks Fussy Ninja blog).

He was fine until he realized you could crawl under the stage. Rather than lose him forever among the wires and cables, we snatched him up and returned home to the comfort of our suburban safety net.*

The last two posts have been very cool-centric. It won’t happen again.

*The last three murders in Evanston have been within a three block radius of our house. Take that, Chicago!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Nerds vs. Jocks

For the umpteenth Saturday in a row, Diana had a Wine Goddess thing during the day today, so in an attempt to entertain Elijah, I invited my brother Steve and his son Finn over to play and watch the pundits pour over Joe Biden’s speech syllable by syllable.

Finn has recently gotten heavily into Star Wars, which is irrefutable proof that he is Steve’s child. Finn brought over a bag full of our old Star Wars toys and we set to playing. Which essentially meant running around the living room at top speed, shouting, “I am Obiwan!” And agitating the heck out of Grover.

The whole event culminated in Steve, Finn and I playing Eli’s musical instruments and singing a song we made up called “Clone Troopers are awesome.” The lyrics had something to do with Clone Troopers. And how awesome they are.

I looked up and saw Elijah standing just outside our drum circle holding a soccer ball with a horrified look on his face.

At which point it hit me that my son might very well be a jock. Despite being half me, he might have inherited the jock genes of his mother.

I just hope he’s a cool jock. One of the kind who fraternizes with the nerds from time to time. Like when we’re finishing our half time marching band maneuvers and he’d say, “Nice playing,” as he puts on his helmet to quarterback a come from behind victory and win the heart of the head cheerleader.

p.s. Today’s photo is a new trick Eli learned called “Where’s the Ball?” If he can’t reach a ball he shrugs his shoulders and the nearest adult has to grab said ball or overdose on cuteness.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I think it will come as no surprise to anyone reading ye olde Hamann Eggs that we go through a fair amount of beer and wine here. On top of Di and my dinnertime consumption of the grape, every Wednesday and Friday while Diana is at Wine Goddess stuff, our house is the focal point of baseball game watching and beer drinking for every nerd in a ten-mile radius. So our recycling bin is usually filled to the brim.

Cut to today. Diana had her playgroup over for some baby on baby action in the backyard. Di was busy gossiping with the other moms when her Spidey Sense went off. Where was Elijah? Luckily, our backyard is 100% locked in, so he couldn’t have gotten far.

She did a quick search and found him on the side of our house rummaging through our recycling bin and pretending to be dada. By drinking out of beer bottles. He’d tip an empty bottle and say, “Ahhhh.” Just like dada.

Now this was bad enough. But apparently the other babies in playgroup, who obviously view Eli as their ringleader, were bellying up to the recycling bin for some beer suds of their own. Eli was playing bartender.

Needless to say, I got a stern talking to about rinsing out beer bottles before putting them in the recycling bin.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Family Dinner

Yesterday as we were watching Elijah crash into things with abandon, we started our plan for the evening. Who makes Eli dinner, who makes Adult dinner, who feeds the dog, etc. Suddenly, Diana said, “Why don’t we all eat together for once?”

I was taken aback. In the 16 months Eli has been on the Earth we’ve never eaten as a family unit. Since I never get home before he goes to bed, he always stuffs his face with frozen baby food at 6 sharp and Di and I eat in front of the TV like a couple of stoned frat boys hours later.

I instantly got excited. I love anything that reminds me of romantic fatherly things like family dinners and beating children with a belt.

So Diana prepared a Fregola (tiny pasta pieces) salad and I grilled some red snapper. We dragged the high chair onto the back deck and set up for a fabulous dinner al fresco. It was like a Norman Rockwell painting. Without all the saddle shoes. We portioned out a little spoon full of Fregola for Eli and gave him some chopped up snapper.

Which he proceeded to launch to the far corners of the deck.

Great fist fulls of fish and tiny pasta pieces covered the gleeful Grover like dandruff. Diana shouted, “You put that Fregola down, Elijah Steven Hamann!” I wondered if that sentence was ever uttered before in the history of the world as I topped off our wine glasses.

Afterwards, we washed the boy off in a Normal Rockwell-esc bubble bath.

p.s. I don’t have photographic evidence of this, so enjoy today’s picture of Steve with a belly dancer. Please note the dollar in his hand and his inability to look at the woman.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Just Sit Anywhere

Diana had a baby shower and a Wine Goddess thing today, so she was pretty well out of commission. The thought of lying around all day letting Elijah learn how to be a lazy sack from his father didn’t interest me. So I said, screw it, let’s go to the Air and Water Show.

The Chicago Air and Water show is famous for two reasons. #1, it is one of the largest demonstrations of military might this side of Iraq. #2, millions and millions and millions of people descend on Lake Michigan in one of the largest invasions this side of Iraq. I figured we could knock out Baby’s First War Machine and Baby’s First Crush Of Humanity.

We had agreed to meet my friend Chris and his wife, Sheri, who staked out a perfect lakeside stretch right in the heart of everything. And they could be counted on to have many cold beers. What I didn’t realize was ever single parking space in Chicago was taken. Every. Single. One. So the boy and I parked a mile and a half away. By the time we arrived, Eli was on the verge of a meltdown.

Until he saw the ladies.

This child has powers over the fairer sex that are clearly not inherited from his father. The moment I set him down he ping ponged to every woman in Chris and Sheri’s party. He’d bat his eyes and hug them and coo like a snake. That’s right. Coo like a snake. And the ladies would swoon. I realized I had the perfect baby sitter, or sitters, and treated myself to a deliciously tepid Old Style.

At one point he yanked down Sheri’s tank top and, well, fondled. A move like that would normally get you a black eye. Chris just said, “Go get ‘em, Eli!” I figured it was time to step in and keep things PG-13. So I grabbed Eli and went for a walk among the millions.

The little bugger walked to the blanket next to us, found a woman, and immediately sat in her lap. She of course was both stunned and instantly smitten.

This was before the war demonstration got under way.

The moment the F-15 or a B-52 or whatever agent of death streaked across the sky, shaking the trees with its sonic boom, Eli leapt into my arms and held on for dear life. I tried to cover his ears every time another thing that provides me the freedom to blog buzzed the crowd, but Eli began to cry.

He is a lover, not a fighter. So we thanked our hosts and walked against the sea of people back to the car. He fell asleep and I had to stop the stroller periodically to let women marvel at how beautiful he is.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wake Up Call

This morning I got up with Elijah to give Diana a break. But I feel a little guilty about my before 7a.m. parenting. I am not joking when I say my interaction with the child was letting him kick me in the head as I lay on the couch staring at Sesame Street. Eli didn’t seem to mind because, well, he got to kick me in the head. And Grover sat at the other end of the couch clearly thinking, “Better the man than me.”

But promptly at 7:01, we went upstairs for the greatest wake up call in the world. I plopped Eli down on the bed and he crawled over to Diana and woke her up with a humungous hug. She immediately went into cardiac arrest from cuteness. He then gave her a kiss. Her eyes rolled back into her head as Eli chattered, “Mama, mama” and hugged her some more.

I rubbed my head in jealousy, knowing I could be dancing the cha cha, on fire, while juggling chainsaws and I couldn’t break through their love moment. I said loudly, “Well, I’m off to go move in with another family who actually pays attention to me! And they’re rich!”

Diana said, “That’s nice,” and continued making out with Eli. Eli said, “Mama.” I stomped out of the room, saying to Grover, “Let’s go. Dudes rule. Babies and Moms drool.” He looked at me with the old, “Don’t let the door hit you on your way out” look and proceeded to jump on the bed for some belly scratching.

p.s. This is a photo of the two love birds. I’m pretty sure that’s Grover in the background.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Disgustingly Cute

I got home last night and Diana was on our bed with Elijah reading a book about brushing your teeth. I crawled into bed with them and Di offered to let me take over and she’d finish dinner.

Grover followed me on the bed and plopped his head in Eli’s lap, a rare maneuver from a dog who views Eli as his arch attention-grabbing enemy.

So I started to read to Eli from my favorite Elmo book, but Eli shoved the book out of my hands and vigorously shook his head. He pushed the tooth brushing book on me. I said, “Again? You only have eight teeth.” But he persisted and I started in on rhymes about floss and, um, tooth loss.

Grover began licking Eli’s foot in a most friendly manner. I said, “Give it a rest, goofball.” Grover went back to resting his head on the boy, who tried to poke him in the eye.

I tried to move back to the Elmo book. Because, well, I like Elmo, ok? But Eli refused and made me repeat the tooth brushing book again.

Just then Diana entered the room and said, “I forgot to tell you the cutest thing in the world happened today. I came upstairs a little while ago and Eli was feeding Grover milk right out of his sippie cup.”

The same sippie cup Eli was currently drinking from.

I looked at Eli and said, “How incredibly gross.” It was going to take a lot more than a tooth brushing book to help that child.

Grover sighed and looked lovingly at his new best friend.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Famous Actuary

Diana and I were sitting on the couch watching the Olympics last night and we started in on the “What will Elijah be when he grows up?” talk.

We predicted Olympic Swimmer or Olympic Gymnast or Olympic Weight Lifter. Then we started in on being an Actor or a Famous Guitarist or basically anything that would involve us not having to work again. Diana mentioned something about professional Ballet Dancer, but I couldn't hear because my homophobia was screaming, “No no no no!”

It dawned on me that I think of my baby the same way people think of their past lives. We were always Attila the Hun or Shakespeare or Steve Guttenberg. What? He’s still alive? Anyhoo, we never think of our past lives as the guy who hauled manure from the king’s castle. Or the guy who caught rickets in the Revolutionary War.

But truth be told, I’d prefer future Elijah be an Actuary. Or a Librarian. Something low stress, where he can spend time with his family and maybe have a few extra dollars to buy a nice space boat. To take his old man space fishing. I mean, it would be nice if future Elijah called a bit more, or wrote me a space letter once and a while. I know. He’s busy with the space kids. Those two are a handful, don’t you know. And I don’t get around much anymore, what with my space arthritis. But it gets lonely here in The United Republic of New Florida…

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sharing Is Dumb

If there was ever a concept invented by adults to torment children, it’s sharing. Um, you know that awesome thing you are currently enjoying playing with? Give it to that jerk who is crying next to you.

Our good friends from Colorado, the Goodriches, came over for pizza today with their cute two year old, Davis. And he and Elijah played well together. Which means they played near each other without disturbing our wine.

But occasionally Eli would be playing with a truck or a stick of dynamite and Davis would grab it out of his hands. Or Davis would be playing with a rock or a switchblade and Eli would snatch it. The result, as you can guess, was angry howls.

At which point we parents would rush over and say, “Now, now. You have to share. S-h-a-r-e.” The offending child would look at us as if to say, “Are you nuts? I barely know this knucklehead and you want me to give him MY colorful piece of plastic?”

I know I know, sharing is what separates us from the animals. And it separates the cool people from the a-holes. But it’s very hard for babies to get. It hasn’t been that long since Eli couldn’t grab a toy without uncontrollably bashing himself in the face, and now he has to start handing stuff off like Santa?

But Eli and Davis buried the hatchet, so much so that Eli gave him a kiss on the cheek when he was leaving. Davis looked at him as if to say, “Easy, Tiger. That may be how you do things in Evanston, but in Colorado we shake hands.”

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I Love You Enough To Blind You

I rode my bike to work yesterday in an attempt to stave off my impending heart attack. Luckily, I got out of work at 6:30, which meant if I rode home as hard as I could, I’d catch Elijah before he went to bed.

I made it into the house just as Di was in the last, best stages of “nigh nigh,” which consists of hugging him in the rocking chair and thinking of how much money you’d accept in exchange for said moment, which at last count is a Quadrillion Bajagillion dollars.

I ran upstairs, stinking of a Chicago cab with no air conditioner in mid July, and snatched Eli out of Di’s hands. Diana wondered how someone she sleeps with on a regular basis could make such a smell.

Eli didn’t seem to mind my stench and resumed his hugging. I convinced him to smooch me by shoving his face into my face. Then, I introduced him to the Eskimo Kiss. Isn’t “Eskimo” a non-PC term? I believe they prefer to be called Inuit. Anyhoo, Eli got a huge kick out of the Inuit Kiss and laughed the laugh that gets me up in the morning.

Eli then showed me affection in his own special way. By shoving his finger in my eyeball. I have no idea where he got this, but if he likes you, he slowly, and rather carefully, pokes you in the eye.

Maybe that is where they got the cliché “Blinded by love.”

In a completely unrelated story, every morning I leave through the back door of the house (to throw the CIA off my trail). I say bye and I love you to the team and then set up the baby gate on our back stairs to prevent Eli from doing a double gainer.

Apparently, this morning well after I left Eli padded up to the baby gate and clung to it calling, “Dada? Dada?” down the stairs. Which explains why I felt my heart shatter on the commuter train.

p.s. You know what never ceases to be funny? Wearing pajamas on your head.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Smashy Smashy

To experience life as Elijah Hamann, do the following: Drink 7-8 glasses of beer. Then run at top speed with your arms above your head, and smash into as many things as possible, aiming for the pointiest things in your house.

Now that Eli is fully walking, I have no idea how he makes it through the day without knocking himself out. He’ll take two steps, then, wham! Falls on his face on our kitchen floor. Take two steps, wham! Crashes into the bookshelf. Wham! Into the footrest. Wham! Into the dog.

But you know what? He doesn’t care. He takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’. He usually laughs it off, not acknowledging the bruises that litter his knees hands face and butt.

Last night, however, his luck ran out. I was upstairs with him doing bedtime duty. My story was I was going back to work and wouldn’t be able to see Eli as much. But my real reason was I didn’t want to cook dinner and sitting upstairs playing “Let’s kiss the stuffed animals” was a much better alternative.

He was running back and forth across the room, laughing like a lunatic and generally irritating the crap out of Grover. I watched him race towards our bed and, whoops, he tripped, falling head first into our wooden bed frame. Luckily, the blow was semi-absorbed by our quilt but it still made enough of an impact that I rushed across the room.

It was one of those grenade cries. You know, where they silently count to three before exploding. Oh man did he explode. I held him and let him shriek into my ear, red faced. I checked him over for any real damage. He wasn’t bleeding or gashed. I think he was just mad at the universe for putting that damned bed in the way of his running.

He completely forgot he was hurt two minutes later and resumed his crashing into the baby gate.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

All Boy

We were strolling through the Evanston Farmer’s Market the other day. Why? Because if you don’t attend at least one hippie dippie thing per week they make you move back to Chicago.

Anyhoo, I was stopped by this lovely elderly couple blocking the path of our stroller. The woman peered at Elijah and said, “I just had to tell you. That is the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen.”

I said, “Duh, lady. You know what else? Water is wet.”

She looked at him for a second and asked, “Is it a boy or a girl?”

I smacked myself in the face and the older gentleman said, “Boys aren’t supposed to be that good looking. Boys are supposed to be ugly.”

What the old people didn’t know, is if they spent five minutes with him they’d know he was all boy. Why? Scatological humor.

He has the purely boy love of laughing at farts. If he happened to eat soy beans the night before, as required by Evanston Township, he can occupy himself for hours with the fart/laugh/fart/laugh combo.

He also has discovered the cornerstone of scatological humor, the word “Poo.” When Grover does his business, when dad closes the bathroom door, when there is more than three pounds in his diaper, he says the magic word. Except when he says it, it’s with reverence. It’s more like, “Peewh.”

So peewh on anyone who thinks he’s a girl.

p.s. We went to the Lincoln Park Zoo today. And in the middle of the chicken area, we found the perfect logo for HamannEggs.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Elijah loves cousins. If you happen to share blood with him and walk into a room, he goes ape. He jumps up and down. He shrieks with glee. He stumbles over and smashes into you with linebacker-like abandon.

Needless to say, Eli was whipped up the whole time we were in Wisconsin. The downside? It broke his sleeping. No, that’s inaccurate. It destroyed his sleeping. Smashed it into a thousand pieces and then ran over it with a steamroller and flushed it down the toilet.

The first night we were there, Eli stayed up wayyy past his bedtime shoving macaroni and cheese into his face at Famous Dave’s. He passed out on the way home and Diana and I cooed at how adorable he was.

Cut to 3am. Eli started screaming like I’ve never heard him before. It sounded like someone threw a rabid ferret into his crib.

Now, the cabins we were staying at were duplexes and happened to have paper thin walls. How do I know? Because I got to hear the intimate details of the family next door. “Where my cellphone at? Gimmie one of them beers. Don’t eat that off the floor you idgit.” It goes on from there.

So we were understandably worried that Eli’s howling would wake our Pabst Blue Ribbon neighbors. We turned the light on and saw that Eli had barfed a gallon of macaroni onto every surface within a ten foot radius. I rushed to the kitchenette to bring a single napkin to wipe up the gallon (idgit) and Eli proceeded to barf another gallon onto Diana.

By the time we settled him down, it was almost light. Di and I looked at each other and said, “Well, it can’t get worse than that.”

Cut to the next night. Same thing. Eli started screaming like Lulu was eating him alive at 3am. No barf this time, but we could not calm him down. Finally, Diana suggested I put him in the car and drive around downtown Wisconsin Dells.

He instantly calmed down. Probably because downtown Wisconsin Dells is awesomely spooky at 3:30am. They should charge to drive through the darkened water slides and shadowy mannequins. Aside from dodging the occasional drunk driver, we had the place to ourselves. I ended up parking in an abandoned motel, complete with smashed windows and bent vacancy sign. It suddenly dawned on me that Eli and I had parked right in the middle of a zombie movie and we high tailed it back to our cabin.

As soon as we put him back in his crib, he started screaming again. I checked his crib to make sure we didn’t accidentally throw broken glass in it. But there was no calming him down. And I started to hear our neighbors stir.

So Diana suggested we go sit in the car again. So I dragged Eli and Lulu to the cabin parking lot and put him in the seat. He fell instantly asleep. I groaned, “Of course…” So I put the seat back and stared out the window. I must have dozed off because Eli was chattering at 6am with Lulu and the sun was up, baking the car.

I brought him back inside and passed him off to Diana and went to sleep. I awoke to the sound of Eli happily shrieking in the other room and thought, “The cousins are back.”