Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pass Me The Rock

Diana had some important hotness maintenance to do at the salon yesterday, so Elijah and I had some father and son time. It was too cold to take Grover outside and we didn’t have access to the car, so we spent most of the day in Eli’s room.


We actually resorted to reading stories. Bleh. Fearing I’d turn on the genetic code for nerdness he inherited from me, I called my brother Steve. He arrived several hours later with the object of my affection: The baby basketball hoop.

Alright alright, I’ll admit it. Elijah’s freakish height may have attributed to my desire to get him into basketball. So twenty years from now when he turns pro he can buy me a Humvee. Or whatever post oil dependence status symbol is in vogue in 2028. I’m pretty sure it will be a Humvee.

Thankfully, he loved it from the first moment I put the ball, or “rock” as the kids call it, into his meaty fists. He began dunking the ball immediately.

I began praising him in a manner that will most likely scar him years from now. But then I taught him a time-honored lesson. Your dad will be able to beat you in basketball as long as he is two feet taller than you.

Oh man I schooled him. Yes, he can dunk. But his defense sucks and he has no outside shot. I, on the other hand, am automatic from the three-point arc, or the shag rug as it is better known.

Eli got bored pretty quickly and moved on to throwing his other toys across the room. I shouted, “Who got next, jerks?” Grover posed a mighty opponent. Mostly because his defense consists of biting me in the collarbone. And his propensity for eating the basketball.

When I woke this morning I found Eli practicing his dunks. “Good luck, sucker,” I said as I chomped into a croissant and flipped through the Humvee catalogue.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving 2: Exploratorium Edition

This Thanksgiving went off without a hitch. Well, there was the small hitch of the meal sending my mother to our couch for the majority of the afternoon with stomach cramps. Who knew she wouldn’t like my famous Strychnine dressing?

Elijah was an angel. He sat through lots of hair tussling and unwanted hugs. And he napped through the actual meal. So as far as he knows, the Pilgrims and Indians shared cheese hot dogs at the first Thanksgiving.

But his angel like behavior won him a treat on Friday. A visit to the Skokie Community Center Exploratorium. Diana swears by the place. From her description, it sounded like a cross between Disney World and Disney Land. I imagined costumed performers and merry-go-rounds and experiments where you get to blow your eyebrows off. And for some reason I imaged belly dancers. I decided to take him myself so Diana could catch up on work. And I wanted to see the belly dancers.

We arrived and I paid a grand total of $4 for the two of us. The overly cheery woman behind the desk directed us to the Community Center’s basement where lots of hand made signs alerted us to the fact we were entering the Exploratorium.

The $4 entrance fee should have tipped me off. The Exploratorium was essentially the basement of your richest friend. There was a broken train set, several plastic riding things, a leaky tub filled with moldy plastic things and a stage with a costume closet that looked like it had been hit by a mortar attack.

But based on Elijah’s enthusiastic wriggling out of my arms and his shouts of, “Doon doon,” I decided to give it the old college try.

The thing is, The Exploratorium’s awesomeness comes from the fact that it is essentially the basement of your richest friend. Can’t afford to buy a train set? Go visit Mr. And Mrs. Exporatorium. House not big enough to crash a plastic airplane in? The Exploratoriums are happy to have you over. Building code won’t allow you to build a waterfall in your basement? You have a standing invitation at the Exploratoriums. Afraid wearing a dress will turn your boy into a ballet dancer? Mr. and Mrs. Exploratorium won’t tell. So I donned a plastic fireman hat and followed Eli as he howled with delight.

The coolest slash scariest slash coolest part of the Exploratorium was the massive climbing structure. It was basically a McDonald’s Playland without the thick coating of McRib sauce. There were huge tubes running across the ceiling and children were scrambling over it like spider monkeys. Occasionally a child would scream, “Mom! Help!” And the poor kid’s mother, unwilling or unable to climb the structure, would eventually have to leave the child to live among the tube people.

Of course Eli wanted to climb it. But it was just a bit beyond his ability. To access the Tubes, you have to climb a series of big padded levels around 3 feet high. Eli would take a running start and hurl himself into the padded step, scramble like a crab and then fall back to the ground. Meanwhile, hundreds of children would scramble up the steps over, around and through him.

It reminded me of the scene in “Full Metal Jacket” when Private Pile got stuck on the basic training wall while the other recruits lapped him again and again.

Eventually, with me pushing him from diaper level, Eli ascended to the first level. He rolled over onto his back and gasped, “Bye bye.” I scooped him up and took him home for a well-deserved nap.

I am truly thankful for that little guy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Through G

Saturday morning I did my early morning routine with Elijah, which is lay in bed with a pillow over my head until the cries of “Mommmmyyyyyyyy” are too much and I get him out of his crib.

I blearily plopped him on his changing table and once I got his soggy diaper off, Eli looked up at me and said, “A-B-C-D-E-F-G.” In order. 27% of the alphabet without a mistake. I did a cartoon double take and said, “Whazza? Say that again.”

He looked at me and said, “C-C-G-B-Z-Z-B.”

“Much better,” I said. “No learning.”

Later that morning Diana’s folks came over and we were all upstairs in Eli’s room messing with these huge foam blocks with letters on them. Diana was holding letters up and asking Eli which were which.

I’m not kidding here people when I say he got 75% right. G, C, U, A. He couldn't quite get Z. But who uses Z besides Zebras. Stupid fakes horses...

Why? Why does he continue learning? If he continues learning that means he’s continuing to grow. Which means one day he will get to the stage where he is smart enough to leave and go to college. Maybe in another state. I’m not sure I can handle that.

Is it true what smoking cigarettes stunts your growth?

Dear Department of Child and Family Services,

This cigarette comment is meant to be taken as a joke. Please do not take my son away from me. Also, I am not actively trying to prevent my son from learning. It's just easier to joke about it than reveal my true feelings. I love this silly little letter learner.

Emotionally unavailably yours,


Friday, November 21, 2008

A Cow Says

When I arrived home last night, the first thing I noticed was our front windows were thrown wide open. Mind you, it was 27 degrees outside. So I rolled my eyes and prepared for whatever shenanigans our Romanian sitter Marianna had going on.

As I entered the house, Elijah came running at me full speed and hilariously amped up. But he didn’t look injured so I went over to close the window. Marianna entered from the kitchen waving a towel.

“Oh, Elijah make a terrible poopie! Terrible poopie.”

Not smelling anything, I began to search around for Romanian liquor. After an unsuccessful search, I asked Marianna how Elijah was today.

“Oh, he now knows what a cow says…”

What? Eli finally learned that awesome baby trick, “What does the (fill in the blank) say?” I picked him up and asked, “Eli, what does a cow say?”

I expected him to give me the Romanian word for “moo.” Like,“Meeshlosh” or something. But sure as the day you were born the little guy said, “Mooooooooo!”

I almost threw up from cuteness. I asked him, “What does a doggy say?”

“Huff Huff.” Close enough.

Then I asked him what a kitty says. His response was, “Eeehhhh. Eehhhh.” Two out of three ain’t bad. And besides, he’s never seen a cat in his life.

It goes against the non-aggression treaty we have with Grover.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Detective Elijah

Elijah has entered a new and hilarious stage. It is the “I need to know where everyone is at all times” stage. It basically involves shrugging your shoulders and inquiring where people who aren’t in the room are. If I’m not in the room, he shrugs his shoulders and says, “Ah Dada?” Or if Grover is outside peeing he’ll shrug his shoulders and say, “Ah Gro? Ah Gro?”

If Diana is out of the room, instead of saying, “Ah Mommy?” Eli will shout, “Mom!” at the top of his lungs. But he does it in a teenager obnoxious way. Maaaaaawwwwm! Maaaaaawwwwm! He will continue shouting, “Maaaaaawwwwm!”until Diana answers, “Yes Baby?” from the other room. Then they start a cheerleader call and response:

“Yes, Baby?”
“Yes, Baby?”
“Yes, Baby?”

This goes on until Diana enters the room or I throw myself out the window, whichever comes first.

The other morning I was in the shower and Elijah, who was watching Elmo with Diana asked, “Ah Dada?” She said, “He’s in the bathroom.” Eli then toddled over to the bathroom and began pounding on the closed door like a SWAT team captain.

It’s a bit disconcerting. But I prefer it to his last stage. The “I don’t give a rat’s patootie where you’re at unless I’m hungry” stage.

I don’t have a new photo. Diana is in her busy time for Wine Goddessing. And given the current collapse of society, we need all the extra money we can get. To buy shotgun shells and canned goods. And Star Wars toys.

So here is a picture of my beard.

Friday, November 14, 2008

How To Dance Like Elijah

First, play your favorite song. Elijah recommends the ABC song played through toy toolbox speakers. It would also help if you could use batteries that are 3/4 dead, so the ABC song sounds as if it were sung by a Quaalude abuser.

Next, bob your head like a chicken. You may be asking yourself, “Should I be bobbing my head like a chicken to the beat of the song?” Lord no. Your head bobs should have nothing to do with the actual song. The more random the better. You may also want to assume the vacant stare of a stuffed animal.

Then, jab your fingers into the air randomly. Or, if the mood strikes, hold your arms straight out like a B52 bomber. You can also twist your body to make your arms swing wildly in all directions. Again, you need not do this to the time of the music.

The most challenging part of the Elijah Dance is the legs. There are two distinct moves. 1) The squat. 2) The straight-legged walk. Use these in combination to mimic a drunken Olympic weight lifter.

Lastly, and this is the most important, if your father tries to join in on the dancing by painfully yanking Grover into a standing position and jumping up and down, run away angrily.

Man, that kid cracks me up.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Giddy Yap!

I believe it is the duty of every father to introduce his son to the concept of the horsey ride. It’s what’s linked fathers and sons since the time when they rode actual horseys. Before horseys became extinct.

Allow me to explain my version of the horsey ride. I lie on my back and let Elijah sit on my stomach. Then I try to buck him off by thrusting my hips wildly while yelling, “Boing! Boing!”

Now, many of you are picturing this in your mind’s eye and thinking, “That seems weird and creepy and vaguely inappropriate.” Well, you should see it in person. It is most definitely weird and creepy vaguely inappropriate.

But whatever. Eli loves it. Nothing makes him laugh harder than getting launched off my fat belly. And it’s a lot easier than the horsey ride on the back or horsey ride on the shoulders. Remember, I am a lazy lazy man.

But I can no longer lie on my back watching TV without the little monkey toddling over and jumping on my stomach. And when he is in the zone of bouncing on my fat stomach he has the concentration of a professional bull rider.

Can I digress for a moment? Why do professional bull riders wear helmets now? Isn’t the whole point that there’s a chance you’ll bash your skull in?

Now where was I? Oh, bashing Eli’s skull in. The other night he was boinging on my stomach and Diana came over and asked for a smooch. Eli was concentrating on staying on my stomach for more than 8 seconds, so he refused. But Diana was insistent.

“Gimmie a smoochy. Gimmie a smoochy. GIMMIE A SMOOCHY!”

Finally Eli cocked his head and “air kissed” her in the most hilariously dismissive way ever. He looked like Joan Rivers on the red carpet. But without the hideous plastic surgery.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Toys R Us

Elijah was flat out bored yesterday. It was the first really cold day of the season, Diana was still under the weather, and my version of entertainment was playing “Watch Daddy listen to sports radio.”

After the 505th temper tantrum, Diana suggested we update the boy’s toy chest. His current collection, with the obvious exception of Elmo Up Up, is geared towards infants who prefer to watch blinking lights while they sit in their own poop.

So we loaded up the family and headed to the toy store. Now, many of you out there are wondering why we’d head to the toy store in November when Eli is very likely to be avalanched in toys come December. My answer is two fold. 1: We’re idiots. 2: We spoil him.

It dawned on me as we traveled up and down the aisles that Diana and I have very different views about toys. We each wanted toys that projected the kind of child we want Elijah to be.

“Hey an easel. He can express himself artistically.”

“Hey Star Wars. He can express himself Star Warsily.”

Diana filled the basket with things that would expand our son’s mind. I filled it with things I remembered from my Cold War youth.

Meanwhile, Elijah just wanted to get out of the cart and make out with stuffed animals.

We finally agreed on some stacking blocks, which Diana thought would encourage his creativity and I thought would make nice missiles. We also got him a little train, which I convinced myself could be violent if Eli and I really put our minds to it.

On a side note, Elijah spent a large part of the weekend dancing to Diana music. I’d object if it wasn’t so darned cute. For all of you Phish fans out there, he is currently dancing to “Tweezer Reprise.” Which I’m sure brings back lots of memories of corrupting my wife.

Today’s photos was taken earlier in the week when it was over 30 degrees.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tupid Tupid Tupid

The other night I was enjoying re-watching the Obama acceptance speech and pretending I had something in my eye when Diana burst through our front door.

“Sick. Very very sick. Need soup. Sleep.”

After heading to Dominicks for a case of vegetable soup, I poured Diana into bed and crawled in beside her. As I stared up at the ceiling I thought, “This isn’t good. What happens if Elijah…”

On cue, Eli started wailing. I sprang out of bed to calm the boy so Diana could sleep. He was fiercely pissed. I concluded that he caught the same bug as Diana. I kept him in his sleep sack and held him in the rocking chair and soothed him.

After he calmed down I put him back into his crib. I got so far as our bed when he started howling again. Diana started moaning beside me. She needed sleep to survive.

This time, I ran downstairs and got him a glass of water. He eagerly slurped the sippie cup. I stroked his head and slipped back into bed.

5…4…3…2…1. Eli started yelling again. Diana kicked off her sheets and started to get out of bed. I pushed her back down and said, “I’ll handle this. Go to sleep.” Diana mumbled something incoherent.

I hoisted Elijah out of his crib and took him downstairs. I laid on the couch and put him on my chest. I made sure he was warm enough in his sleep sack. He seemed to calm down a bit and I thought he was on the verge of sleep.

I closed my eyes and thought to myself, “You got this father/husband thing all figured out, Hamann.”

Eli’s eyes sprang open and he started wailing again. Poor little guy. I rocked him and rocked him, but with no success.

By this time it was 3am and I was exhausted and out of options. I made the decision that Elijah was gonna have to man up and cry himself to sleep. I put him in his crib and crawled back into bed.

He was super pissed and howled louder and louder. Diana crawled out of bed and I said, “He’s fine. He just needs to sleep. Come back to bed.”

Diana ignored me and went into Eli’s room. A few seconds of silence went by and she came back into bed.

“He peed through his diaper and his pajamas were soaked.”

Eli immediately went to sleep. As did Diana. I, on the other hand, stared at the ceiling until morning.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Water Evidence

On Friday, May 23rd, 2008 I wrote one of the worst blog entries in HamannEggs history. I can’t link to the post because I blog at barely a third grade level. Anyway, it was a lame attempt to prove why Elijah likes water more than other babies. My evidence? Eli likes baths. And sticking his hands in the dog’s dish. And messing with the toilet. Wow. I should’ve gone into advertising with convincin’ skills like that.

Well, yesterday Elijah gave me some more evidence that he loves water. In the form of trying to drown himself.

Diana and Eli and Grover headed down to the Evanston lakefront to take in the glorious day that changed America forever. Yay Obama!

Apparently they stood at the water’s edge watching Grover splash in the lake when all of a sudden Grover decided he was a world class swimmer. He took off towards Michigan doing whatever stroke dogs do. The backstroke? So Diana waded out to call Grover back to the shore. At which point Eli decided he wanted to visit Michigan as well. He toddled out into the surf and promptly got knocked face first into the murk by a rogue wave.

Diana grabbed him by his hood and hoisted him to safety. But he was covered in cold cold water. According to Diana, as soon as she set his soaking butt down in the sand, he ran back towards the lake again and went face first into the drink.

Hypothermia is not high on Diana’s list of things to cure Elijah of, so she stripped him down to his diaper and stuffed him back into his car seat.

So there. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Elijah loves water more than your kid does.

You know what? This post is kind of lame too. I’m not going to write anymore about water. It’s my writer’s kryptonite.

p.s. I don’t have any photographic evidence of the event. So pretend the bowl of candy is the lake, and the Elmo costume is filthy water mixed with crack vials and syringes.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I don't care who you vote for today so long as you vote. So stop reading blogs and go stand in line.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Elmo Up Up

Steve and I headed down to Washington Illinois last weekend to help my mom with some housekeeping. Not literal. Emotional. So we figured, what the hey, let’s bring Finn and Elijah down. They have been getting along like champs.

The only blip on the way down was after passing the 100th consecutive McCain/Palin yard sign, Finn had enough and barfed a gallon of vanilla shake all over Steve’s car. Elijah was understandably freaked out so we spent 10 minutes holding our puke covered sons in a church parking lot saying, “It’s ok, it’s ok. Sarah Palin can’t get you. She’s not real. She’s just a character made up to scare liberals into voting.”

After our sons tag teamed to cover every inch of mom’s house with every single dust covered toy from our youth (Finn was delighted to see all the old busted Star Wars crap), we decided to head to the Happiest Place in Rural Illinois: WALMART.

We loaded up my mom with enough Lean Cuisines and ketchup to last her a month and then set our sights on the real reason we went to the home of the decline of western civilization. The Toys.

After selecting a nice Star Wars thing for Finn, I began to search the aisles for a proper Eli reward for being a good traveler. Truth be told, he could have burned Steve’s car to the ground and I still would’ve gotten him something. I’m a sucker. After cruising up and down the plastic haven, I spotted what I was there for: The Elmo talking things.

There was a “Tickle Me Elmo”, A “Scare the Crap Out of Rick Elmo” (with a moving mouth) and a “No Way In Hell Elmo” that cost $80. I handed Eli each one and he’d violently toss them to the ground. But then I handed him an “Elmo Up Up.” Which says, “Elmo up up!” Elijah gently kissed it on the mouth.

“We have a winner!” I proclaimed to the zit faced Walmart employee who was cleaning up the discarded Elmos.

Wouldn’t you know it? As soon as we got back to mom’s Eli promptly forgot the Elmo Up Up and went back to chasing Finn and knocking over valuable Star Wars antiques. I tried in vain to get Eli interested in the thing, including singing the Elmo Up Up song so often that even Finn asked me to knock it off.

When I arrived home yesterday I presented the Elmo Up Up to Diana, who said, “It’s creepy.” And on the kitchen floor it stayed. I couldn’t even get Grover to disembowel it.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween 2

If you’ll recall from last year, Elijah was so freaked out about the holiday that we almost eliminated it from our lives altogether. I was fully prepared to spend this year’s October 31st hiding from Trick Or Treaters in our basement. But as we all know, basements are where the zombies, Jasons, Freddies and Michael Myers hang out. Not to mention the hidden Grover poops.

This year was much more enjoyable. Eli went so far as to actually wear the Elmo corpse costume. But he refused to wear the Elmo head for more than 3.5 seconds. So he spent the majority of the evening looking like our living room shag rug. I was a wee bit disturbed by the Elmo head dangling on Eli’s back, however. It looked so sad.

Eli was still too young to really understand the concept of Halloween. The doorbell would ring, Grover would bark his head off, Elijah would race to the front door and bang on the screen door. I’d let him go out on our porch to investigate the costumed youth, but he’d take one look at the various Pocahontas or Michael Phelpses and he shout, “Dada! Up! Up!”

Unlike last year’s Spidermen, there was no central theme to this year’s costumes. The only really scary one was an obese child who came to our door dressed as a remarkably accurate “Chucky.” I dumped the majority of our candy into his bag, screaming, “Just take it! Take it all you vile obese doll from hades!”

The party didn’t really get rocking until Finn arrived dressed as a Star Wars clone trooper. Eli and he spent the rest of the night chasing each other, screaming and occasionally chewing the outside wrapper of a candy bar before dumping it back into the candy bowl. I imagine kids all over the neighborhood handing their parents slimy, tooth marked Snickers that were immediately sent to Evanston police headquarters.

The rest of our local friends also arrived and seemed to delight in quietly drinking wine after Eli went to bed. Thankfully, Finn chased him into a good night’s sleep.

I guess we’ll do Halloween next year.

p.s. I’ve included a lot more pics than usual. Including an adorable Rory dressed as a bear or a badger or a hamster. Awwwww.