Monday, August 31, 2009

The Great Outdoors

My mom used to tell a story about how she was taking a bath one afternoon when she heard an urgent knock at the door. She opened the door to find the Mailman with my twin and I under each arm. Apparently, we figured out how to unlatch the front door and were running around the neighborhood clad only in our diapers. Steve and I used to mime pot smoking when she told the story, thinking the only way a kid could escape the house is if his mom were stoned to the bajeezus.

Consider this my formal apology.

Friday was a real character builder for Diana. If you are a child psychiatrist, you’d say Elijah was pushing boundaries. If you are anyone but a child psychiatrist, you’d say Elijah was being a jerk-face. Despite being so tired he could only communicate in screams, no amount of pleading and begging would keep Eli in his room for naptime. Finally, Diana resorted to locking his bedroom door so he could at least sit calmly for a while.

Eventually, Diana opened his door to check on him. It look like he had pulled the pin on a toddler grenade. Or that the CIA had conducted a thorough search for something incredibly small in his room. The place was destroyed.

Diana was overcome by the thought, “I’m about to have another son,” and went into our room to lay down and wonder if gypsies made house calls.

After about 5 seconds of temple massaging, Diana was ready to face our son again. She saw that he had slipped out of his room, undetected. Di went downstairs and looked for him. Nope. Basement? Nope.

She looked out our front door. He was standing on our front lawn, waiting for Diana with a poo eating grin on his face. It was raining and he was naked except for diapers.

It’s a phase, right? Right?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Brookfield Zoo

I feel like we need to get some Elijah spoiling in before E2 shows up. So he can remember how much we loved him before the cuter, more helpless version of him shows up in a couple months. Hence, the 100+ Elijah Town.

Last Saturday, Diana suggested we all go to the Brookfield Zoo. I immediately congratulated her on her spoiling technique and we piled into our dented Subaru and drove across suburbia.

I had no idea how large and awesome Brookfield Zoo is. You know, if each of my readers convinced 100 people to read this blog, companies would give me money for endorsements like this. And then I could quit my job and blog about being a dad full time. But then that would mean Diana would have to be in a constant state of churning out children to keep me in material.

Anyhoo, The Brookfield Zoo’s largeness and awesomeness did not exactly work to our advantage. Elijah’s smallness of step, combined with his easily distracted-ness, multiplied by my lack of planning resulted in us missing all of the cool, big stinky animals because Eli became exhausted after 3 hours of covering 10 feet of zoo. But we got to see 10 different kinds of meerkats before Eli got too tired to continue.

The best part of the day, aside for the $9 “dino” chicken nuggets Eli refused to eat, was the giant carousel. Ask anyone over the age of 6 and they’ll tell you carousels are lame because they just go in a circle and feature weird plastic animals impaled on golden poles. Ask anyone under the age of 6 and they’ll tell you carousels are totally awesome because they go in a circle and feature cool plastic animals impaled on golden poles. Thankfully we were with the later group.

Elijah was so enthralled with the carousel that he pitched a massive fit when the ride was over and he had to get off his plastic turtle. Which, in my book is a stamp of approval.

For days afterwards, Eli delighted in recounting the stories of seeing penguins at the zoo. We did not visit the penguin exhibit. He must be thinking of meerkats.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I’m not a nice person. Oh, sure, I put on a fa├žade of nice-itude. I’ll compliment your tie at work. I’ll pick up the broken beer bottles thrown into Grover’s church yard. Heck, I’ll even smile at the scowling, angry commuters who try to kill me when I’m on my bike. But all of that is simply to hide a dark, evil secret:

I love watching Elijah fall down.

I think it’s because Eli runs with such…gusto. He doesn’t walk anywhere. He runs. Full bore. So when he biffs, he biffs full bore. Arms flail. Sippie cups rocket across the room. Legs splay.

It just kills me every time.

And no, I don’t laugh out loud. For one reason, it would probably cause him emotional distress that would manifest itself at some later date. Possibly at a wedding. Or when I need to be put in an old folks home. And also because if I laugh at him he may start to be more careful and not fall down as much. But there have been many a time when he’s bounced off the couch that I’ve had to cover my mouth to keep from bleating like a drunk sheep.

Well, all my secret pleasure at his falling came to a head last Saturday.

Diana was in the bath and Eli was bugging her, so I called him into the living room. As usual, he ran at me a full steam. Yes. Deep in my head I was thinking, “Come on. You can biff. You can do it. Biff! Biff!”

But then he biffed. Hard. So fast he couldn’t get his hands up to break his fall. So his face broke his fall. Blood. Fat lip. Screaming. Oh, the screaming.

He was so hurt he didn’t stop screaming for a good half hour. And no amount of popsicle could stop his hurting. I felt terrible for making him fall with my apparent mind powers.

So now I can’t love watching him fall down anymore. The pain outweighs the pleasure. Maybe I can derive pleasure from him getting his fingers stuck in Chinese finger traps. I’ll have to ride my bike to Chinatown.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Elijah Town, The World’s Most Dangerous Place.

You have to hand it to the inhabitants of Elijah Town. They’re a hearty bunch. They’ve stuck it out in a community that has, on average, 30 major railway disasters a day. I credit their mayor, Painted Wooden Guy, for funding a pretty crack wooden emergency response team.

Lemmie explain a typical night for the residents of Elijah Town. Last night, the 7:45 train out of Groverville was making the turn out of Mount Mommy when a cry came out of the heavens, “I did it!” Suddenly, the train, all its cargo and at least a quarter mile of track were literally thrown across the town, like toys. Several wooden bystanders were caught in the wreckage, but unbelievably unharmed.

The Elijah Town emergency response team sprung into action. The wooden helicopter, wooden fire truck, wooden police car and several wooden townspeople arrived on the scene. Wooden chief of police kept the wooden gawkers at a safe distance. Within minutes the train, the cargo and tracks were replaced. The crew started back for base when suddenly…

“I did it!”

The entire structure that used to be Googy Bear Bridge collapsed into Grover Lake.

Aaand scene. This morning I was rushing out of the house and Di stopped me. She asked me to put the train set back together because at some point overnight Eli destroyed the entire town.

And by the time I got to the office I had a message waiting for me from Diana asking me how to put the train back together.

I see a tub of wood glue in my near future.

p.s. I don’t have any good photos of Eli destroying Elijah Town, so enjoy this photo of Eli destroying a bowl of ravioli.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Elijah Town

One of the 320,982 things that amazes me about Diana is how she made the transition from being a non-mom to a mom so easily. I’m sure it was partly because she had to. They made us take Elijah with us after he was born.

But it’s also because she has that mom sixth sense. That weird Spidey sense that seems to know exactly what Eli wants two seconds before he yells for it. She seems to hand him a warm milk just as he shouts, “Mama…I want miiiiilk!” She also is able to cup her hands just as the yogurt-covered pretzels are expelled from our son’s belly.

Well, earlier this week Diana’s sixth sense decided Elijah needed a 100 piece wooden toy set. Don’t ask me why this couldn’t wait until Christmas. Ask the sixth sense. I got home the other night to a massive box in the middle of the living room.

Let me make a subtle distinction for you. I loath putting together almost everything. Ikea furniture makes me want to rip off my shirt, Hulk-style. Dining room mantling and dismantling dining room tables makes me want to run headlong into a door jam. But for some reason I love putting together toys. I’m sure most of it has to do with the fact I want to play with them more than he wants to.

So I was decidedly not grouchy when building the train set, which I have since dubbed “Elijah Town.” The set came with everything. Tracks, buildings, a big wooden table (the only part of the toy that I didn’t like putting together) and tons of little wooden people and cars and trucks. The only things I had to supply were a philips head screwdriver and 3/4 of a bottle of wine.

But I have to say, I made quite a lovely town. It was clean, there was no crime (I threw the investment banker wooden people into the trash), the trains ran on time and the little firemen outnumbered the other townspeople two to one. I had to fight the sacrilegious urge to make the little wooden townspeople build a church in my honor.

Of course I was at work when Elijah Town was revealed to our son the next morning. But he apparently shouted, “Oh…my…gosh!”

When I arrived home last night, I found that Elijah isn’t the benevolent deity I am. Elijah Town was destroyed. Bridges were toppled into the blue-painted Lake Grover. Mount Mommy was knocked over. All the tiny wooden construction workers were on break way longer than union rules.

As I put Elijah Town back together, Eli came up behind me and repeated, “Awesome,” over and over.

p.s. Today’s photo is Elijah town, right before Grover does his “Mothra” impersonation.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kids Say The Darndest Things Pt. 1

With Elijah’s recent mastery of the English language, it’s tempting to turn this blog into a miniature version of Bill Cobsy’s “Kids Say The Darndest Things.” But, based on the blank-faced reactions of my co-workers, Eli’s cute little utterances are really only cute to Diana and me. So I’ll only blog about the really great ones.

This KSTDT is a bit old, but I had more important puke-blogging to do last week. It goes like this. Diana was at the computer during Elijah’s nap when she heard some rustling upstairs. Knowing she had put him in his crib (this was pre-coffin), she wondered if Grover was pitched in a heated battle versus rabid squirrels in our bedroom.

Once Di got to the base of our stairs, she discovered Eli had finally beaten the crib. He was standing at the top of the stairs, completely naked, in a pose that reminded me of Superman upon hearing about it.

So Diana called me and said I needed to strike the crib that night.

Unfortunately, I had to work late. So I rushed home, well after Eli was supposed to be in bed, grabbed a bunch of tools and set to dismantling. Now, many of your are wondering, “Why not wait until the next night or the weekend or some other time when Eli wasn’t trying to bed down?” I can’t remember. Not important to this story.

Some of you may also be wondering, “Doesn’t Rick become irate whenever he has to do manual labor? Particularly manual labor dealing with cribs?” Add to that it was way past Eli’s bedtime and you’ll get a good idea of my mood. Sour.

After taking out the mattress, I was trying in vain not to go buy a shotgun with which to shoot the crib (Wal-Mart was closed). Eli insisted on standing in the middle of the crib shell. I kept shooing him out, for fear one false move should bring the four crib walls down on top of him. But he insisted on crawling back in.

Eventually, I got the walls to the crib down. Eli took one look around and shouted, “I’m free! I’m free!”

Back to you, Mr. Cosby.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Second “Caddy Shack” Moment

Those of you who are regular readers of HamannEggs (Carla Gaiser) know Elijah’s first official “Caddy Shack” moment was when he dropped a duce into the tub with me in it and I screamed, “Doody! Doody!” But now I present to you an even better “Caddy Shack” moment.

A few days ago, Diana took Eli back to the Lisle water park with her folks. It was already momentous because her father attended. His opinion of water is like my opinion of emptying the Diaper Genie.

Di and her folks were at kiddie pool’s edge watching Elijah have a conniption of joy. Apparently, he was so overjoyed with, um, joy, that he was flopping around in the pool and essentially dunking himself it the 1/2 feet of water.

At this point in Diana’s telling of the story I interrupted her. “So you’re saying you sat at pool’s edge watching our son drown himself?” I cried with indignation. “Were you drinking?”

Diana sighed audibly and continued her story.

After his tenth or eleventh self dunk, Diana waded into the kiddie pool. She hoisted Eli up to a standing position.

“Hey, watch out. You keep this up and you’ll puke.”

Eli must have thought this was a suggestion rather than a warning. He launched an entire stomach’s worth of pool water and macaroni and cheese into the pool.

The crowded pool immediately turned into the infamous Baby Ruth scene in “Caddy Shack.” Which was an homage to “Jaws,” but “Jaws” had much less impact on me in college. Mothers snatched up their kids and ran, screaming. Children ran into each other, knocking themselves out. Trash fires began in earnest.

Diana thanked her lucky stars she had brought a truck load of pool toys. She grabbed the nearest plastic bucket and scooped up the macaroni.

The sullen lifeguard leapt down from his or her perch and ran over. Diana thought she was about to be banned from the Lisle water park, but he/she was cool about it and simply asked if Eli was ok.

Diana said he was fine and walked over to the nearest bush to deposit the macaroni soup.

Suddenly, the loudspeaker blared.


Diana and her parents grabbed Eli and hightailed it out of there to avoid getting lynched.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Things are going pretty well with Elijah and his sleep coffin. After we bed him down, he rarely attempts to escape. On occasion, we’ll hear his door creak open and then immediately slam shut as if he is too spooked to head downstairs. It could be because I told him our living room floor turns into hot lava after 8pm.

The morning is a different story. He’s a bit of an early bird and there is nothing to keep him from entering our room and shouting “Watch Curious George?” at dark o’clock.

So Diana devised an ingenious plan. She taught him to tell time. Each night when he goes to bed, Di positions his digital clock at the edge of his dresser and says, “Don’t leave your room until the clock says 7. Seven. Not Six.” Eli usually nods and the gears in his head mesh and rotate.

But he keeps coming into our room right around 6:50. Diana gently, but firmly reminds him our rule about 7am.

Eli responds with, “Seven. On the clock. Curious George?”

I think it’s a bit much to expect a 2 and a half year old to tell time. I distinctly remember failing the time telling chapter in Mrs. Brown’s second grade class. So I usually let him off the hook and take him downstairs.

This morning I got up early to ride my bike to work. As I enjoyed my bagel and my spandex-ed reflection in the mirror, I heard Eli shout from his room, “Yay! Seven!” and then run across the hall to a sleeping Diana.

As I heard Diana attempt yet again to remind him about our rule, I looked at the clock.


I had to admit there was a seven on the clock. So technically it was seven o'clock. In the Bizarro universe.

Monday, August 10, 2009

First Big Boy Coffin

A while back, Steve and I started painting a jungle scene in Elijah’s closet. Diana wisely kicked us off the project because Eli would be out of college, married and painting a jungle scene in his own son’s closet by the time a certain artiste finished highlighting each hair on a monkey’s back.

Diana recently announced that we would be turning Eli’s jungle closet into a sleep area so the rest of his room could look bigger for the zero people who come through to buy our house. This involved throwing a miniature mattress and a couple pillows inside.

I immediately voiced my objection to the idea. For one, it prevented me from fulfilling a lifelong dream of buying a race car bed. Secondly, I felt forcing him to sleep in a closet was a mild form of abuse. Sleeping in the closet is for kids who are one crime away from being sent to “Boys’ Town.”

But Diana ignored my pleas and we unveiled the idea to Eli last Friday night. I bet Diana a million billion quadrillion dollars that we would spend the night fighting Eli to stay in his bed/closet since he had recently mastered the art of door opening.

But sure enough, he went right to sleep and we didn’t hear from him until 6:30 the next morning when he forgot he was in a closet instead of a crib and smashed his head on the low ceiling.

I ran into his room and crawled into the closet with him. I attempted to soothe him and convince him to go back to bed. As I stroked his hair, it dawned on me that his little closet bed seemed an awful lot like a coffin. The walls suddenly closed in on me and I distinctly heard the sound of dirt being shoveled on top of us.

I screamed, “Get me out of here!” and Eli said, “Watch Curious George?” Anything was better than experiencing a real life version of a Quentin Tarantino scene. I carried him downstairs where we enjoyed milk and early morning cartoons in the non-coffin confines of our living room.

p.s. I can’t take back the last blog post about Eli’s interest in his man-parts. Journalistic integrity. But Diana would like me to let all HamannEggs readers know our son is not a pervert and maybe I exaggerated a little. But not much.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Give It A Rest

A warning for some of the more sensitive HamannEggs readers. This post is about wee wees. Specifically, Elijah’s wee wee.

Um, he won’t leave his alone.

Yes, we allow him to run around naked 99.9% of the time. And yes, having a wee wee myself, I know wee wees are awesome. But I’m beginning to wonder if this is why he hasn’t gotten into Matchbox cars or army men or plastic dinosaurs. He has the ultimate Matchbox car within arm’s reach at all time.

When we came home from our trip to Colorado, the first thing Diana’s mom said when we saw her was, “Eli sure does like his penis.”

There have been times when he’s watching Curious George and goofing around with his Curious George and I reach my limit and pull his hand away. No, no. I don’t scold him or yell at him. I don’t want him to get a complex over it and eventually turn into an adult with a trench coat collection. It’s more of an experiment to see what will happen.

It’s as if his hand and is wiener are magnetically charged. His little mitt flies right back to where it belongs, no matter how many times I pull his hand away, boing, right back.

No I do realize that this particular post will most likely be the straw that breaks the camel’s back when future Elijah reads this and he will officially hate me for the rest of my life. Son, I love you. Don’t hate me. I don’t make the wee wee news. I just report it.

If it’s any consolation, I was engaged in an in depth conversation with a co worker today about penis-shaped bicycle grips. So the wee wee thing never really goes away.

I also included an unflattering photo of myself with a farmer’s tan. So we’re even.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I’ve been pouring over the old HamannEggs posts from when Elijah was a newborn to prepare myself mentally for Elijah 2, Revenge of Elijah. One thing I noticed was how many references to puking there were. It seemed like Eli behaved more like a fraternity pledge than an actual human being. He gets it from me. I have a world famous gag reflex. The act of writing “gag reflex” made me gag.

But over the last year, Elijah seems to have adopted his mother’s strong stomach. Aside from a few swine/asian/monkey flu bouts, the little guy tends to keep his insides where they belong.

So imagine Diana’s surprise when he barfed in Jewel yesterday.

Eli apparently was getting antsy at being stuck in the sharp metal cage that doubles as a Jewel grocery cart. So Diana picked up a box of yogurt covered pretzels and let him shove the contents into his mouth.

Sorry to digress, but I highly disapprove of letting kids eat food in a grocery store. For one, it’s kind of gross. And two, I think it’s a version of stealing. What happens if you realize you forgot your wallet? Or someone mugs you? How will you pay for that half eaten box of Cookie Crisp? How?

Anyhoo, right when Diana and Eli rounded the corner into the diaper aisle, Eli began pantomiming the international sign for “I’m about to boot.”

Diana looked around frantically. Her closest option was her purse. An idea she discarded because the cleaning implications were just too much for her OCD. She then looked at the rows and rows of diapers and wondered if she could crack open a box and let him eject his pretzels into it.

But Elijah very politely said, “Hands? Hands?” So Di knew what she had to do. She formed a barf receptacle with her mitts and let him have at it.

At which point Diana was left with another dilemma. What to do with her newfound gift of goo? She desperately turned to the crazy looking woman sharing the aisle with them. The crazy lady’s look said, “Hey, I’m crazy. One of the benefits of being crazy is I do no have to interact with humanity. Especially humanity with barf in its hands…”

Diana immediately ran out of the aisle and deposited Elijah’s digested pretzels into a nearby garbage can. She returned to him, where he proudly proclaimed, “I pukeded! I pukeded!”

Sunday, August 2, 2009

You Heard It Here First

Elijah is going to The University Of Illinois. There, I said it. I’ll explain why in a minute.

Eli, Steve and I drove down to central Illinois this weekend to help our mom move. We dropped him off at Dad and Connie’s place and went through the somewhat painful process of consolidating decades worth of stuff. No, we didn’t find any secret boxes full of money. Nor did we find any old bongs. I did find my old copy of “Rock and Roll Over” by K.I.S.S. on vinyl, which I brought home. Diana suggested I bring it to work.

When we finally got back to Dad’s, we discovered that Eli had spent the majority of the day chasing his cousin Fox and setting the bar for cute very high. Unfortunately, his romping did not include taking a nap. Eli instead decided naptime was the perfect hour to practice his singing of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”

So by bedtime, I was a little worried about how Eli would fare. Overtired plus no nap, multiplied by cousins divided by no mommy multiplied by the square root of being in a different place equals me pacing with a squirming, screaming boy all night.

I decided to ease him into the idea of sleeping by hanging out in our designated room, my brother, and future dental surgeon, Luke’s room. Among his dental-related knickknacks (which used to include an oversized plastic toothbrush), Eli discovered an oversized University of Illinois snow globe. As I tried to convince him to read the book I brought from home explaining what it means to have a baby brother, he was fixated on the globe that featured the school I got busted for underage drinking in.

After wrestling it out of his hands a hundred times and then immediately returning it to his hands when he screamed, I let him take the snow globe into bed. I turned the light off and he curled his body around the globe. He was lulled to sleep to the U of I fight song that played when you wound it up. I helped him sleep by making up words to the fight song. I can’t remember the exact words, but they went something like, “These aren’t my beers, officer…some dude asked me to hold them…”

Long story short, Eli made it through the night with only one wake up and when the sun came up he said, “Snow globe?” I looked up the estimated U of I cost of tuition and fees for 2025. $1,500,000.