Tuesday, September 30, 2008

We All Scream For Dada!

Take your favorite song, mix it with your favorite line from your favorite movie, add in the voice of your grandmother, plus Frank Sinatra. No, make that 5 Frank Sinatras. No, make that 100 Sinatras. Multiply it by 1,000. And you still wouldn’t compare to the sound of Elijah shouting, “Dada!” when I enter the house.

Last night I got home right before Eli went to bed. Diana was winding him down and he was all wet haired and freshly ruby faced from a good scrubbing. As soon as I entered the house, he shouted, “Dada!” And I shouted, “Dudes!” And Grover started jumping on me. At which point I decided all bedlam should break loose. I started running around the house shouting and Eli followed me shrieking and shouting, “Dada!” and Grover was completely agitated.

Diana, on the other hand, was watching from the couch calmly saying, “Rick. Rick. Elijah needs to sleep in a few minutes. Let’s calm down…”

But who the heck wants to do that? I kept screaming and Eli kept screaming and laughing and we jumped on the couch and kissed Diana and rolled on the floor and got so whipped up I thought Eli was going to have some kind of fit. He actually started panting like Grover.

I also began to notice my own heart pounding in my chest and wondered if this was good for my weak Hamann heart. But I figured it this was the big one, it was worth it.

I still don’t have any new pictures. So enjoy this old shot of Eli eating Grover’s dogfood.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

May The Force Be With You

There is something all men do, regardless of race, country of origin, language or socioeconomic status. And that’s quote movies. Diana thinks it’s genetic. That somewhere along the lines of evolving from the apes, all the Y Chromosomes decided to launch into Bill Murray’s “Cinderella Story” monologue whenever we’re within 100 yards of a golf course.

I, on the other hand, think it’s merely out of stupidity. That when we’re standing on a rug, we generally have nothing better in our brains to say other than, “It really tied the room together, Dude.” That’s from the “Big Lebowski,” Mom.

Well, thankfully Elijah has fallen into that very male habit of quoting movies. The quote is obscure, but it’s from his one and only movie, “Finding Nemo.” There is a scene when a bunch of fish induct Nemo into a club. And the fish chant, “Ah ooo ah ee ah oh oh oh…” over and over. Not much by way of famous lines, but it struck Eli somehow.

Now Eli says, “Ah ooo ah ee ah oh oh oh” over and over. You can hear him chant it in his crib. He’ll chant it in the stroller on his way to the park, much to the dismay of the other parents who think we’re raising an Aborigine.

I have to say I’m pretty proud of him. I used to be able to quote every line of “Star Wars” from start to finish. Hmm. That was probably the nerdiest thing ever written in this blog.

But know we have a way of answering people on the street who ask if Eli is a boy or a girl without yanking his pants down.

p.s. Our home computer is still broken and we don’t have access to our photos. So show this picture to any man and watch the quotes fly!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Apparently He’s A PC

Our home computer was on the fritz yesterday. And has been on the fritz off and on for the last year or two. Most of Diana’s work flows through the thing, as well as most of my pornography viewing, so it was important that we get it fixed asap.

The people at the Apple Store could only see Di at 4:30, which is Elijah’s witching hour. This coupled with the fact that he didn’t have a good nap stack the odds heavily in favor of a bad day for Diana and an interesting blog entry.

By the time the two of them entered the white walls of the place where money goes to die, Eli was redlined with energy. He began shrieking, wanting to get out of his stroller. So Di let him loose rather than watch the smirky Mac Guys make snarky comments about her parenting. Most likely in front of an all white wall.

The moment she put him down he raced across the Apple Store and found the one Sesame Street game among the thousands of boxes that lined the shelves. When he was unable to extract the contents of the box, he began yanking down box after box.

The childrenless Mac employees weren’t sure what to do, so they asked Elijah if they could demonstrate the latest ipod. Eli threw a box at one of the Mac people, in a protest of Apple’s habit of introducing a completely awesome version of a product the minute I buy the old version.

Diana scooped Eli up and strapped him into his stroller. Which made him cry. The Mac nerd she was talking to tried to explain our computer needed a bunch of new parts and wouldn’t be fixed for several days. But she couldn’t hear him over Eli’s howls.

Diana finally got home and called me, frustrated with life. I was at an agency golf and beer drinking outing. I could not make her believe I was having less fun than she was.

Today’s photo is another in the “Don’t talk to me during Finding Nemo” series.

Monday, September 22, 2008

At Least We Missed Him

Diana and I celebrated our 4-year anniversary this weekend. We made it through the entire second Bush term intact. I can hardly believe it was just four years ago we were in Washington DC protesting arm in arm. And now I’m voting Palin/McCain.*

We decided to celebrate the collapse of the American economy by spending the night in Chicago and spending a very Republican amount of money on a hoity toity dinner with twelve courses and as many forks.

Dad and Connie volunteered to stay with Elijah for the night. I was irrationally nervous about handing him over to my parents. Not because I thought they wouldn’t know how to handle a baby (can they crack to code that grunting and pointing to a bowl of grapes means he wants grapes?). No, I was worried that Eli would be confused by non parents and freak out and cry hysterically and, if I’m being honest, make us come home from our non-refundable reservations.

The moment Dad and Connie arrived, Eli ran over and gave them both hugs and laughed his happy laugh. As Diana and I packed up our overnight bags, Eli continued his laughter with his grandparents. I thought, “It would be ok if he showed a little concern we were leaving.” Diana and I said goodbye and I thought, “OK. He can cry now. Mama and dada are leaving. Cry. Come on. Give me one cry. Cry!”

But Eli barely noticed we were leaving. He simply said, “Bye bye,” and went back to explaining how to play Finding Nemo on the DVD player in baby talk.

Grover, on the other hand, was mortified we were leaving. Good boy.

Right before we arrived at the super expensive restaurant, I called my brother, who was over visiting. I asked how Eli was doing and he could be honest if Eli was inconsolable with us not there. By way of answer, Steve pointed the phone at Eli, who was shrieking with glee and chasing his cousins. The little stinker.

I know it reveals some major flaw in my character that I was wishing my son couldn’t survive mentally without us.

In retaliation, we spent his college tuition on drinks at the top of a fancy downtown hotel.

When we arrived home the next morning Eli and his grandparents were playing out front. He was very happy to see us (thankfully for him).

*If you think I'm voting Republican, I invite you to re-read everything I've written on the subject.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I Guess It’s Finding Nemo

It was never a matter of if Elijah would become obsessed with a Pixar movie, it was a matter of when.

It could be the fact that I ever so gently nudged him into watching them. By making them the only movies I ever play. Because I like Pixar movies. And I’ll be damned if Elijah becomes obsessed with the repeated viewings of some piece of schlock like, “Mr. Fluffy Bunny’s Rhyming Adventures in Torturing Rick Hamann” or “Tween Nubile Disney Actors Who Make Rick Hamann Uncomfortable.”

So Di and I introduced him to “Cars” and Eli’s review was, “’Cars stalls after opening credits.” “Monster’s Inc’s” Eli review was, “’Monsters Inc can’t scare up any attention after five minutes.” And so on and pun-filled so forth.

But from the moment we threw in “Finding Nemo” the boy was transfixed. He freaking loved it. He laughed, he clapped, he demanded to see it again. And again. And again. One of his new words is “Nemo.”

Diana and I will be making dinner or petting Grover and Eli will pad over with the DVD case. How is it that it takes me 45 minutes to find “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” among our 10,000 jumble of DVDs and he can find Nemo in three seconds. Even when I try to hide it?

It’s been used so often that there are great scratches all over the surface of the DVD. Mostly from scratchy little baby fingers pawing it like an idol. So we can barely get through twenty minutes before the film gets pixilated and jumpy. At which point Eli becomes enraged, shouts at the ceiling and shakes his fists. I get a little bit of a sick thrill watching him turn into the Incredible Hulk. Don’t tell anyone.

I’m waiting for someone to create disposable movies so I can buy a 20 pack. Wait a minute. Someone call the patent office and tell them to scrap my plans for the robotic diaper changer and put this at the top of the list!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Last weekend, the effects of Hurricane Ike were felt all the way up in Evanston. In the form of a weekend-long deluge. I read somewhere, most likely in a blog, it was the most rain Chicago ever saw in a 48-hour period. Thankfully, we didn’t spend the weekend bailing out our basement. Here’s to building in the 1800’s! But again by Sunday we were in desperate need of entertaining Elijah.

When in doubt, to the library! Diana used it as a chance to catch up on her wine reading (yawn) and I took on the duty of chasing Eli. It seemed as though every child in the North Shore under the age of 3 was there, so there was a constant din of shrieking. The poor librarians looked like they were minutes away from leaping onto their desks shouting, “SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP!”

As soon as I set Eli down he b-lined to the giant stuffed bear. However, there was a two year old already perched atop. I can’t remember his name, but it was of those awesome trendy names. Let’s just call him JacobDylanAidan. Anyway, Eli squeezed his way onto the bear and JacobDylanAidan looked at him with as much hatred as I’ve ever seen a two-year-old muster.

JacobDylanAidan shoved Eli off the bear. Eli’s reaction was, “Hmm. Once I was on the bear…now I’m not on the bear.” And he climbed back aboard. JacobDylanAidan began to shake with rage and shoved Eli off again. JacobDylanAidan’s mom ran over and apologized profusely. She tried to force JacobDylanAidan to apologize as well.

JacobDylanAidan frowned and said, “Off Bear. Off Bear.” The mom began trying to use logic, “JacobDylanAidan, That is no way for a two year old to behave…”

As I chased Eli across the floor, I thought, “Isn’t that exactly how a two year old is supposed to behave?”

Eli goofed around for a few minutes and made his way over to JacobDylanAidan, who was building something with blocks. JacobDylanAidan began to shout, “No! No! No!” Eli barely touched one of the blocks and JacobDylanAidan freaked out. His mom came over and admonished him. “JacobDylanAidan, you have to learn how to share. Now let the little boy have the blocks…”

But Eli was already on the other side of the floor making out with a plastic giraffe. He then walked over to a kid who was playing with a plastic train. Eli touched the train and the kid flipped out. At which point JacobDylanAidan’s mom came over and said, “TylerLoganAustin! You have to learn how to share…”

I grabbed Eli and said, “We’re outta here.” We went to the other side of the floor where Eli started flirting with a young mom. She was much more receptive to my son.

p.s. I have no idea what this photo is about. And clearly Diana and I have to talk about what goes on at our house when I'm not there.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Chateaux de bath

I hopped in the bath with Elijah last night. I know I know, that’s like looking down the barrel of a loaded butt. But Eli and I were having a grand old time and I didn’t want to waste a minute of fun out of poo fear. And I hadn’t bathed in 3 days and was beginning to smell like an El car.

So we were splashing and laughing and I was administering my own homemade waterboarding. What’s the big deal? Eli loves it. But then Eli started in on my least favorite bath activity besides pooping: Bath drinking.

The kid loves the taste of bath water. He fills up buckets full of the stuff and chugs it like Gatorade. I try to stop him because it’s dis…cus…ting. But when I do, he hollers bloody murder. The kid has half full sippie cups full of filtered water everywhere and he still prefers tepid man soup.

Just then Grover tromped in and began lapping up bath water from the edge of the tub. “You too, Ding Dong?” I said. Grover then began to lick bath water off my arm. I banished him from the bathroom to prevent him getting a taste for me and later eating my arm in my sleep.

I began to think. I have never actually tasted bath water. It might just taste like cotton candy. So I filled up one of Eli’s bath buckets and took a sip.

And you know what? It tastes terrible. Like soap, sweat and underarm goo. We were both lucky the bath didn’t suddenly taste like dada vomit.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dad Magic

I am a firm believer in Dad Magic. Until you realize your dad is fallible around the age of 14, he should be the source of coins behind the ears, Webber grill explosions, dead on impersonations of German sports car clients and juggling kittens.

Last Sunday, I had a full on Dad Magic moment.

Steve and Pam and Rory had to attend Christening classes, so rather than force Finn to sit in a quiet church, which is only fun for a few hours, they dropped him off at our house armed with a back pack full of Star Wars toys.

Diana was busily cleaning our house, so I took Finn and Elijah down to my Man Room in the basement. If you haven’t visited my Man Room, consider yourself free of mold, spores and fungus. I turned on Pixar’s “Cars” really loud hoping it would distract the two of them since I am woefully unequipped to handle two children under the age of 4.

Before the opening credits started, both Eli and Finn were bored out of their minds and were on the verge of mischief. I say “on the verge” because I have never witnessed Finn do so much as forget to say “please.” Eli, on the other hand is well versed in the mischief arts.

In a desperate attempt to occupy the two boys, I grabbed my guitar off the wall, which has served as decoration since Eli’s birth. I painfully fingered a C chord and strummed the horribly out of tune Guild.

It was as if I discovered fire. Both boys were stunned. I played them possibly the worst rendition of Jeff Tweedy’s “Pecan Pie” in the world, followed by a hideous version of Wilco’s “I’m the Man Who Loves You.” Dogs in Wisconsin were howling in terror.

But the boys looked at me as if I was Jimi Hendrix mixed with Jimmy Page mixed with Allen Collins (I am free as a bird now…).

It was only when my hand cramped at the start of song number 3 that I realized I had not long to go before I was found out as the guitar fraud I am. But for a moment I almost heard Finn request “Stairway to Heaven.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Part of why I write this blog, aside from the fame and fortune, is so I’ll remember impossibly cute Elijah things. Years from now when I’m in the space old folks home I can sit down with my collection of HamannEggs books and say, “I remember books. We used to read books on pieces of paper instead of having them beamed directly into our brains. Stupid Democrats…”

Where was I? Oh, yeah memories. A couple things have fallen through the cracks over the last 16 months and I want to get them down on paper for posterity. So consider this your cute potpourri.

When Eli was very little he had this jungle mat that he laid on that played this little song. At some point in my lack of sleep I made up words to the song that went a little something like this: “Grover is a dog. A very special dog. He likes to jog, he smells like a frog, his poop comes out in a log.” That story has nothing to do with Elijah, but I know when I’m an old man I’ll want to remember those classic lyrics.

When Eli is doing his naked crazies with Diana at the end of the night (when I’m home), I’ll climb to near the top of the stairs and stick my face through the banister slots and shout, “Smoochies!” Eli will come padding over and give me a kiss through the banister. When I’m not home, Eli will stick his face through the banister and shout, “Dada? Dada?” That’s cute but also sad. It’s cad.

The other day the family was at the park and Eli and I were playing on one of those big structures with the slides and steering wheels that look like something our of Kevin Costner’s “Water World.” Eli walked over to the slide and dove towards it. I grabbed him and he cried, “Up up!” Which we all know means “down.” I called for Diana to get to the bottom of the slide before I lost my grip and he went tumbling down the baby equivalent of a two-story drop. He squirmed out of my grasp and slid down on his own shouting, “Up!” He does not get his daredevil streak from me.

Whew. I hope you enjoyed this story smorgasbord. I don’t have any new photos yet, so this is a vaguely inappropriate, but very cute photo of Eli’s butt.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


In his stroller somewhere between my house and Steve’s house, Elijah figured out that if he shouts “Hi” loud enough, people on the street will respond. It became a cultural experiment for both of us. How people react if a baby shouts, “Hi!”

The drunken woman stumbling outside the liquor store shouted, “HI!” back so loudly, I thought Eli was going to cry.

The cute 20 something practically dragged her boyfriend across the street to say “hi” back. Her boyfriend looked as if Eli was pointing a rifle at him.

The woman with the Obama sticker on her SUV rolled down her window and shouted, “Hey baby!” I like to think she was hitting on me. But she most definitely was not.

The dude moving stuff out of a U-Haul said “hi” to me and ignored Eli. I said, “It wasn’t me who said ‘hi,’ it was my son.” The guy couldn’t look at Eli for fear that contact with a baby would suddenly force him to be a father.

Finn, Steve’s son, said “hi” right back to Eli, who said “hi” back to him, who said “hi” back to Eli. And so on and so forth until Steve and I wished neither one of our sons learned the word in the first place.

We don’t have a lot of new photos, so please enjoy another one from our baby’s first soul patch series.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Gene Kelly?

Yesterday it rained like cats and Grovers all day. So Diana and Elijah were cooped up in the house all day. Which is fun for an hour. At which point every item extracted from every drawer in our kitchen fails to hold interest. Diana couldn’t even coax Grover outside to do his special business it was so miserable. So she left the doggy door open in case Grover couldn’t find a place in the basement to go doo doo for me to find in three months.

Luckily, Elijah still loves Sesame Street, Elmo in particular, who he refers to as, “Dada.” Nice. So when Diana exhausted all her tricks she plopped him down in front of the TV and knew she’d have 40 minutes to check email while the Muppets solved the mysteries of the letter P.

About three minutes later, Di’s Spidey Sense went off. She looked out the window of her office and saw that Eli had crawled through the doggy door and was dancing on our back porch in the downpour. Clad only in a diaper.

That’s right. Dancing. He was doing his fast walk/arm waving boogaloo. And laughing his head off as his diaper grew three sizes in the rain.

This story isn't that funny. But it proves not everything Elijah related has to do with poop or pee.

p.s. Today’s photo is a dry weather reenactment.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Beach Baby

We took Elijah to the north Evanston beach yesterday. So he could see how rich people frolic. When Diana pitched me the idea, I made a big stink. Not because I dislike rich people, but because it costs $7 per person to go see sand and washed up syringes. And as we know from our Mexican vacation, Eli hates being in the sun for more than 3 minutes. Which by my calculations is roughly $12,4029 per minute.

So Diana put it to me to find a new Labor Day activity. After I suggested walking around the mall and walking around the sidewalk outside the mall we decided to go to the beach.

And in typical Elijah fashion, he loved it. Just to prove me wrong. He’d toddle out into the surf until it got scary or knocked him down. Then he’d chatter, “Up up up!” After hoisting him back to safety he’d say, “Up up up!” Which means “down.” And so on and so forth. The rich people didn’t seem to mind. They were too busy buying and selling the likes of me.

After the 50th “Up up up,” I noticed that something went terribly wrong in his swimming diaper. I took a look and got a nice chemistry lesson on what happens when poo mixes with sand. Not surprisingly, it becomes disgusting.

Diana and I went back to our blanket for the old changeroo. When we dug through our beach bag, we found sunscreen, water, handcuffs, a live monkey, juggling balls, a spare tire, two shotguns and a seven-course meal. The only thing we failed to pack was poo wipes.

So I engaged in my own form of class warfare. I washed Elijah’s poopy butt off in the richie rich north Evanston section of Lake Michigan. I’m sure this flies in the face of my fist shaking environmentalism. Remind me to send Obama $50 as penance.

After a couple second of poo washing, Eli began to shout, “Up up up!” I think it was out of embarrassment.

p.s. I know the last couple of posts have been extra scatological. But it’s not like we have spelling bee minutiae to dive into yet.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Proud Moment

I should’ve called this post “Ears Like Hawk Pt 3.”

Our home becomes like The Red October submarine when Elijah goes down for a nap. We run silent. All TV’s and stereos landline phones are unplugged. All cell phones are destroyed. The dog is banished to the back room so he cannot protect our house from burglars. I’d rather lose everything than have Grover bark and wake up the little man.

Then, only then, can we hope he’ll sleep more than one hour. Thus, making everyone’s lives easier for the rest of the day. Big nap = happy baby. Bad nap = wanting to “go out for cigarettes” for 3-5 years.

Today, Diana and I put Eli to bed at 11a.m. and decided to go sneak into our room to read Steven King books. Which is great because Steven King is even scary in the late morning. It’s also terrible because, as I’ve said before, our bedroom door opens into Eli’s room. So we’re trapped.

For the most part, Di and I had a grand old time. Our skin crawled with the Master’s eerie gross tales. Eli didn’t stir for the first 1 ½ hours. But then, the two cups of coffee and two glasses of Gatorade I drank earlier made their presence known. In my bladder.

I started to squirm and look at our clock. I could expect Eli to sleep another ½ at the least. Wiggling my legs only worked to make Diana wonder what the heck I was doing.

“I gotta make pee pee,” I said like a second grader.

“That sucks,” Diana said, “Because you aren’t opening our door under penalty of death.”

“What am I going to do? Wet the bed?”

Diana said, without a hint of joking, “Pee in one of your hundred water glasses.” I drink water at night out of big mason jars. I also refuse to take them to the dishwasher. Diana calls it my glass menagerie. I looked at three within pee distance. But, I just couldn’t. It’s gross and seemed to cross some line of what separates us from the animals.

I decided to wait it out. Which made me have to pee worse. Every word of my book swam with liquid words like “blood, gush, trickle, flow, squirt.” I kept thinking of my poor kidneys, who were already angry at me from the beers I had with Steve the night before.

I won’t reveal if I peed in the mason jars. But in the future you should think twice about beating me in Guitar Hero and then asking for a glass of water.