Monday, November 29, 2010
Man, I am the worst second son blogger on the face of the Earth. There wasn’t a single ounce of fluid that dripped from Elijah that I didn’t obsessively document. And now I let giant evolutionary leaps just fly right by. On the bright side, Luca can simply print out this entry when he heads to the psychiatrist to explain why he hates his father.
So I’m going to let Grover the dog take over the blog today. He’s much better at reporting, apparently. Take it away Grover!
Heyyyyyy everybody! It’s me! Your loveable pal Grover. I know, it’s been a while since I’ve written. You see, I’ve been a little depressed for the last year or so. The Man and the Woman went and had another hairless puppy. Almost immediately I lost another rank in the pack. Just as I was getting used to being number 4. And I didn’t even get to fight him for it. He would’ve been no match for my dog kung fu skills.
But enough about me. I have some exciting news to report about puppy number 2. He says things now! He has four official words.
His first word is “Car.” He points to that giant metal dinosaur that occasionally consumes the family in the front of the house and says, “Caarrrrr.” The Man and the Woman get very excited when he says this. Something about him being a real boy. But that’s not why I’m excited. I’ll get to that in a minute.
His second word is “Bottle.” Although he pronounces it, “Baba.” For those of you who don’t know, a “bottle” is a detached teat that puppy number 2 drinks from. It’s usually filled with delicious fluid that tastes a bit like milk. Oh, but heaven forbid I drink from it. The Man and the Woman get that deep voice when they catch me and, bam, my tail goes right between my legs.
Third word? “Up.” He says, “Uppie uppie uppie,” all day long. And then the Woman picks him up. At which point she tries to eat his face. If he really wants someone to eat him, talk to old Grover, silly. I’ll never understand humans.
Why am I excited? Because he says “Grover!” Granted, he mispronounces it. He says, “Go! Go!” It’s so adorable I want to vomit and eat it. It makes my heart swell every time he points at me and says, “Go!”
Does he say “Mommy?” Nope. “Daddy?” Not yet. “Puppy Number 1?” Not on your life, mister. Yeah, eat it, puppy number 1.
Friday, November 26, 2010
I was running Grover at the church yesterday morning when our cigar chomping neighbor approached. We had that “how quickly can we end this conversation” conversation when, for lack of really anything else to day, I blurted, “It’s Luca’s birthday today.”
He looked at me like I was nuts. “It hasn’t been a year yet,” he matter of factly said and then blew smoke in my face. How on earth did this beautiful child get to be a year old? It’s as if he didn’t want to bother us with the difficulties of a newborn and just leapt to being one.
Luca woke up yesterday, like all Hamanns on their birthday, grouchy and pissy. I felt a tiny pang of joy because he was actually being kind of a jerk. I feel like he needs to jerk it up more.
I proudly exclaimed this to Diana. She said, “Have you fed him?” Oh yeah. Food. After he ate he went back to his usual good natured self. Pushing cars and saying, “Ca.”
Eventually, the obligations of Thanksgiving took over and I busied myself with making my world famous stuffing. Or rather, my co-opted from my great friend Patrick’s world famous stuffing-stuffing. Diana tried to keep us on point by making birthday cupcakes and shouting, “It’s your birthday!” every five minutes.
We carted the family to the in-laws for dinner and presents.
Here’s what I love about Luca. He’s a boy. Through and through. Which means buying him presents is incredibly easy. Cars. Cars cars cars. If it has wheels, he’ll play with it.
So we gave him a fire truck (and a ball toy which he ignored) and then we didn’t see him again for 2 hours. Why would he want to disturb our Thanksgiving meal? We tried to give him some mushed up turkey and potatoes, but he wanted to get back to his truck.
Luca made it through the ceremonial First birthday cake in typical Luca style. He carefully pushed a finger into the icing and then said, “Ca.” No matter how we tried to get him to smear the contents on himself, he refused. That would be too much trouble.
So happy birthday, Luca. I love you. I love your big, blue eyes. I love your crooked smile. I love your monkey chatter. I love your daredevil streak. I love your hatred of fuzzy clothes. I love your chuck roast feet. I love your insistence on playing in Grover’s food. I love your complete lack of need of attention. I love your ticklish belly. I love your vaguely Russian gangster appearance.
I love you, son.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Yesterday, I came to the office and started feeling a little…meh. I chalked it up to the post quitting letdown. Or possibly the intense amount of crap that has to happen before we move to Colorado was weighing on my brain.
Then I started feeling ill. Really ill. I thought, “Panic attack!” Having experienced a million panic attacks in my life, I knew the only way to get past it was to completely freak out and let it dominate my life.
But then it started to feel like an actual physical illness. Not my usual mental illness. I tried drinking water. I tried keeping my mind off it. I ate soup for lunch. Then I barfed in my office trashcan.
After hiding the vomity trash can in my neighbor’s office, I took a cab home. I found Diana splayed out on our bathroom floor. She had the same flu I did. But worse.
For the next 8 hours we took turns destroying our bathroom and generally neglecting our sons. Right around bath time I suggested we split up, so we could neglect our sons one on one. Diana took pity on me and let me have Luca duty.
I plopped him down in the boy’s room right next to my barf bucket. I moaned, “Do whatever you want…just don’t jostle daddy. Or his barf bucket.”
Luca responded, “Ca,” and began his new circus routine.
We have this bright red little art table in the center of the boy’s room. Its purpose is to mock Diana and I with its oversized white paper while Elijah covers the walls with crayon.
It has this little red chair with a big star cut out of the back that’s perfect for sitting. Luca will simply not leave it alone. For some reason, he loves to climb on the chair, stand on it and practice his balancing. Now, keep in mind Luca cannot keep his balance when he is standing on planet Earth. He can stand on his own for about .25 seconds before crashing to the ground. Why does he insist on adding the eight degrees of difficulty by standing, unaided, on a bright red chair? He even holds his arms outstretched in a “tada” pantomime. He then falls from the chair, cries, and climbs back up on top.
Last night, as he ascended the chair, I begged him, “Please don’t do your circus routine. I’m too weak to catch you.”
But no, he insisted on climbing, standing, tada-ing and falling. Over. And over.
After his fifth or sixth tada-topple, I rolled over and positioned myself under the chair. That way when he fell off, he simply landed on me, laughed at my groans and climbed back up on the chair.
Why not remove the chair? Why not throw the chair out the window? Why not burn the chair? I have no idea. Becoming a human trampoline was the only solution my fever addled brain could think of.
This weekend I’m going to rig the chair on top of a flagpole so Luca can really wow us.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Every Sunday night, I like to make a semi-fancy dinner for Diana. When she’s suggested getting take out, I’ve actually whined, “Sunday dinner is the only chance I have all week to be creeeeaaative!” I wish I could take back that whine. And my manhood.
Well, last night I was stirring and stirring and stirring my delicious risotto and I could hear Diana putting the boys to sleep upstairs via the baby monitor. Among the screaming the tickling I heard Elijah announce that he had to go downstairs to go to the bathroom.
“Ahh,” I thought, “This is my chance to scare the crap out of him.” I positioned myself behind the fridge and listened to him bound down the stairs. I pictured him, floppy blond hair, noodle arms flailing, wiener also flailing.
I heard him round the corner in our living room and pad into the kitchen. I leapt out from behind the fridge and yelled, “Booo!”
Elijah did the following. In order.
1. He shrieked.
2. He jumped a foot in the air.
3. He pooped.
Now, aside from the mind-boggling grossness of what happened, we both thought it was the funniest thing in the world. I couldn’t help but say, “Eli! I just scared the crap out of you!”
He responded, “You scared me and I pooped!” Thankfully, he didn’t not commit the swear to memory.
After we got him cleaned up, I tried to send him back upstairs. But he wouldn’t let it go.
“Daddy. Scare me again! Scare me again!”
I told him that scaring the poop out of him was not cool of me to do and I was sorry. But he asked again to scare him.
I pushed his little butt up our stairs and promised I’d scare the crap out of him the next night.
I look forward to it.
Friday, November 19, 2010
As you recall, we took the kids to that cabin a few months ago. Diana and I asked Elijah what he wanted to do while he was there. Go fishing? Hike? Brawl with some townies?
His reply was, “I want to see some stars.”
It hit me like a punch in the chest. My son had spent three years of his life on planet Earth without seeing an actual star.
I’d been so busy being a bigtime Chicago advertising jerk that I denying my sons their right to climb trees and catch wild animals and then get bitten by wild animals and then go to the hospital for twelve rabies shots in their stomachs.
So we decided to move the family to Denver!
Yep, instead of raising our kids to be gun toting Chicago gang members (I was hoping for Crips, Diana was hoping for Bloods), we’re going to raise our kids as pot addled ski bums.
I got a really great job at a small advertising firm not far from downtown Denver. There are enough good neighborhoods around that my commute will be less than 5 minutes. And, as everyone who I interviewed with said, “Brah, you’re like, 20 minutes from fresh powder. Brah. Brah.”
The move is not without its downside. We’ll be leaving our favorite people in the world, Uncle Steve, Aunt Pam, Finny and Rory. I’ll miss them with stabbing pains through my heart. But I’m hoping my time with them will move from several short spurts a week to long, luxurious vacations in the mountains.
And that goes for the rest of your guys. This is your official invitation. If you can drag your sorry butts to Colorado, you’re staying with me. And I’m taking you to…uh…that mountain where they do the skiing and stuff.
More details to follow.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Sorry for the delay in hilarious HamannEggs posts. I’ve been up to my ears in bigtime advertising writing junk and stuff. So this story is a little late. It happened last weekend. But it involves puke, so I know you’ll want to read it.
Last Saturday, one of Elijah’s chums had a birthday party at the YMCA. Which has an endless supply of hobos who could double as clowns and pizza servers. Actually, it was pretty awesome. They brought in one of those bouncy castles to the gym and had lots of cool games like tug of war. There is nothing more hilarious than a troop of four year olds with severe rope burns.
After the bouncing and tugging, we all adjourned to the community room for more pizza, cake and cookies than twenty children could ever hope to consume. Can you see where this is going?
At about midnight, Diana and I awoke to Eli-screams. I waited in bed for Diana to calm him down. But after several minutes I realized it was more than just your garden variety ants crawling all over me dream. I entered the room and saw Luca jumping up and down in his crib and Elijah splayed out on the floor. Diana was busy mopping up the biggest barf in the history of barfs. It was as if he asked an elephant to guest barf for him.
Diana then gave me a choice. Tend to Elijah in our bed or wake up early with Luca the next morning.
I had to do some split second calculations to make it appear like I wasn’t trying to figure out how to stick Diana with the worse job. Ok, Eli had barfed. Don’t want to stay up all night with a barfer. But Luca was still in his wake up at 5:30 stage. Don’t want to wake up before the sun. But perhaps Eli was just barfy because of the pizza and cake. But also perhaps Luca would sleep in because he got woken up at midnight by barfing.
I gambled and chose Eli duty. I choice wrong.
Instead of a “I got stomach full of crap” barf, he had the “I have an actual virus” barf. Like clockwork, Elijah would scream out, waking me up out of a dead sleep and then empty whatever goo had accumulated in his stomach for the next ten minutes. I’d then clean him up. Give him some water, rock him to sleep and then doze off just in time to hear him scream out.
1) I got tired of changing our puke covered bedding, so I grabbed every towel we owned and layed them in a stack on our bed. Elijah would barf and I’d simply yank of the sodden towel. I’m a genius.
2) I woke up to hear Eli heaving his guts out, but he wasn’t on the bed. I discovered him sitting on our floor, barfing into my favorite pair of blue jeans. I tried to extract them, but he wouldn’t let my Levis go and continued to fill them with barf.
Meanwhile, Luca woke up the next morning at 7:30. Happy as a clam.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
People ask me, “How do Luca and Elijah get along? Do they like each other or do they fight?”
Until recently, my standard answer was, “They love each other. They never fight.”
Now, however, I’m having to adjust my answer to, “They love each other. They always fight.”
Well, not always. They seem to only fight when Diana and I are out of the room. We’ll hear a shriek and a cry and when we run into the room, Luca will be on the ground, red-faced and screaming and Eli will have the most innocent look on his face in the history of faces.
Yeah, I get it. Brothers fight. Cain, Able, Richard III and King Edward, Michael and Fredo Corleone. Even Steve and I, who have a relationship that defines the word “creepy” used to beat each other so often that the only way we’d stop is when our older brother Dave decided beat us as a change of pace. It’s part of the job requirements for being a brother.
But what bugs me is the fights are fairly mismatched. Considering only one of the two of them know they are actually fighting.
Here is a typical scenario:
Eli will be sitting at his drawing table, working on his masterpiece, “Things I Eat For Lunch,” when Luca will come scrunching up. Luca will pull himself up to see what his older brother is doing. “Oooh, crayons.” Luca will then attempt to grab a crayon from the table. At which point Elijah knocks Luca to the ground. Cry cry cry, parent enters the room, lies commence.
So we’re trying to nip this lopsided battle in the bud until Luca either learns how to walk or learns Brazilian Jujitsu. Which means Eli has been spending an inordinate amount of time in jail on the stairs. But trying to explain this to Eli has proven difficult.
“You can’t push your brother.”
“But he took my crayon.”
“That’s no reason to push him.”
“But he took my crayon.”
“Again, that is no reason to push him. You love him.”
“No I don’t.”
“Why would you say you don’t love your brother?”
“He took my crayon.”
“Go sit on the stairs.”
I’m sure this will all be resolved in the next 18 years or so.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Luca is starting to get his own tiny personality. Yeah, right now he’s still more like a puppy than a human being. But we’re starting to see what he has in store for us. I’m happy to report that those things are hilarious and poop filled.
The other day, Diana was engaged in her always losing battle to keep the house in order. Put one toy away, watch two toys come out. Clean one dish, watch two dishes shatter on the kitchen floor.
She came upon Luca, who had managed to nab her Blackberry from what was once a baby-proof locale. She wrestled it away from him (a lot more of a struggle than you’d think with an 11-month-old). Before she placed her phone in a new baby-proof locale she looked at the display.
Luca had typed “P-O-O-P.”
I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. When she told me, I was absolutely giddy that he was sending her a perfect message in four letters. Like the room full of monkeys on typewriters who write Shakespeare.
“Oh, no. That wasn’t a message to me,” she said. “It was a reminder to himself.”
Several hours later, Diana put him down naked in his room after baths and then ran downstairs to deal with whatever crisis Elijah was having.
When she got upstairs, Luca had pooped, in her words, “Three perfect poops.”
I just love the idea that Luca sent himself an email reminding himself to defecate on his floor.
The story gets a little less cute when he ground said poops into the floor and into one of Eli’s “Curious George” books.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I think “The Shining” is the most terrifying movie ever. You can have your “Exorcists” and your “Saws.” I’m fairly convinced I’ve never seen the entire movie, unless you count watching it through the picket fence of my hand over my eyes. The thing that gets me is two, non bloody scenes. It’s when the mom, Shelley Duvall, and the boy, Danny Lloyd, in separate scenes, have the most terrified looks on their faces in the history of movie faces. It’s as if we’re watching their brains tear apart right before our eyes.
We did that to Elijah on Halloween.
Our street is lame on Halloween. We are the only house that actually encourages children to come Trick Or Treating. The rest of our neighbors board up their doors, turn off their lights and hide in their basements. As if giving out a couple pieces of candy would turn them into zombies.
So we decided to take everyone to the fun part of town. Where people actually give out pieces of candy instead of half assed excuses. I put out a bowl of candy on the front porch with a sign that read, “Please take two.” Steve and his Star Wars clad crew piled into their car and we followed them to our friends Kitty and Joe’s house.
Kitty and Joe do it up right. Their big, rambling brown house was covered in stringy cobwebs, ghosts, goblins and whatnot. They had a big fire roaring in their front lawn (probably the minorest of their infractions against Evanston laws). They had a apple bobbing bucket filled with Coors Light and, I believe, some candy somewhere in there.
Their finishing touch was a life-sized motorized zombie that crawled creepily across their sidewalk. It was bloody, grey, and as authentic as a motorized fictional character can be.
Diana and I leapt from our car, grabbed Luca and danced across the lawn, congratulating Kitty and Joe on their creepy masterpiece.
Someone was missing from our celebration. Namely, Elijah. We turned around and looked in the car. He was having a real-life conniption fit. The motorized zombie had snapped something in his psyche. He put those movie Shining faces to shame.
I thought for a moment that he was being a drama queen. But after attempting to drag him out of the car, I could tell he was freaking terrified of the zombie. He kicked his legs, bugged out his eyes and screamed the most desperate scream in the world.
Diana decided to hide the zombie by putting Elijah’s Star Wars mask over its face. “See? He’s a Star Wars zombie!” That seemed to make things worse. Elijah was close to hyperventilating.
Joe turned the zombie off and we managed to get Eli out of the car. But he was suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome. All he could do was mumble, “Caaandy. Caandy.”
We made it around Kitty and Joe’s block without any other incident, but I kept asking Elijah if he knew where he with us and not slipped into some parallel universe of terror.
Eventually, we drove back to our house for some Hamann fun, red wine and “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” on a constant loop on the TV.
When we got home, I noticed that some kids had ignored our “Please take two” candy sign and had cleaned us out. Then I made my own Shinning face.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Lots of awesome stuff to write about Halloween, gang. So much funny that I’m going to break this up into a few easily digestible, Snickers fun-sized pieces.
A few weeks ago, Elijah and I visited the formerly abandoned storefront that was converted into one of those giant costume warehouses. We b-lined right past all the gore and found the Star Wars wall. Eli picked out his Clone Trooper costume and the most annoying laser gun in the history of man. I then turned my attention to the adult Star Wars costume.
There it was. Han Solo. Captain of the Millennium Falcon. I had to have it.
Eli tried to convince me to go as Darth Vader, but I ignored him and cradled my Han outfit.
CUT to two weeks later. Eli and I drove to his school’s Halloween party. We were both giddy at year two of matching outfits. Remember last year’s Curious George and The Man in the Yellow Hat?
Hold on a second. I know there are some of you out there who are thinking, “Hey, Han Solo was never in the same movie as the Clone Troopers. You weren’t matching.” To which I say, “Shut up, nerds.”
Once again, I was basically the only parent who dressed up. Dad who dressed up in a suit? You don’t count.
I walked in, no, strutted in. I was all swagger, as if I just got done helping Luke Skywalker blow up the Death Star. The first mom who spotted me said, “Hey, nice pirate costume!”
What? No! I wasn’t a pirate. I was Han Solo. Captain of the Millennium Falcon. Ok. Yes. My Han Solo costume was basically an open white shirt, blue vest and dark trousers. And I refused to shave my beard. So there definitely was a bit of Captain Hook going on. But I was with a Clone Trooper!
But I wasn’t. The major difference between this year and last year was last year Elijah was scared and shy. So I held him the entire time. It was a lot easier to get Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat when we were both together. This year, the minute we hit the party Eli took off to be chased by constant stream of girls shouting, “Eeeeeeeli!”
I found myself alone, in the corner and sweating in my polyester outfit. I could feel the other parents’ eyes on me. “What’s up with the weird pirate?” they all seemed to think.
Occasionally, I’d try to nap Eli and force him into standing next to me. But after a few seconds, some cute girl in a “Toy Story ‘Jessie’” outfit would yank him away. My face burned. I began a paranoid spiral where I imagined all the other parents laughing and pointing. I imagined them starting a “Rick is a total dork” club and I was the only one not invited.
A full hour before the party was over, I reached my limit of completely unwarranted humiliation and I lied to my son, saying the party was over and it was time to go home. He shrieked, “Noooo!” and I physically had to remove him from his friends.
As I dragged Elijah out the front door, kicking and screaming, I passed by a mom who was eating a cupcake.
“Nice pirate costume.”