Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Over the weekend, Diana and I had a rare moment out of the house with the kids. Our great babysitter Molly was in charge. As we were pretending we were young and childless and about to embark on a stat- wide crime spree, Diana’s cell phone rang. It was Molly. In between moans, Molly was barely able to communicate that she had come down with a massive flu bug over the last couple hours and was puking uncontrollably.
I told Diana to tell her how disappointed I was she couldn’t watch two young children and vomit at the same time, but she rightfully ignored me. We then looked at each other with the same look. The look that says, “A hundred bucks says our sons will cover us with barf in the next 24 hours.”
Yesterday morning I walked out of the shower and found Elijah happily sitting in his usual spot in front of the TV. But he was covered in barf. Covered. I asked, “Are you ok?” and he happily said, “I puked!” And then proceeded to jump into my freshly showered arms.
Later in the day, Diana called and said, “I’m on my sixth outfit of the day.” Apparently, both boys were using her as barf target practice.
I mentioned the fact that Eli was so good natured about his barfing earlier in the day and she said both he and Luca were in terrific moods. They’d laugh and giggle and play, pause to cover Diana in barf, and then go back to giggling and playing.
So I guess it could be worse.
p.s. Here’s a quick, non barf story. Diana was driving Eli and Luca around today when they passed a cyclist. Eli announced, “I do not want a kitchen set anymore mommy. I want a big boy bike!”
I was happy to hear he wanted a bike. But confused that it was replacing a kitchen set.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Those of you with infants know their heads are like Silly Putty. They’re a source of endless fun for kids of all ages, especially when they smile. They can also pick up newsprint. But that’s a form of abuse.
But unfortunately, having a Silly Putty head has its disadvantages as well. If you let a baby stay in one position too long, their heads can flatten. We fought hard against this with Elijah and narrowly missed the ultimate in baby humiliation: The helmet.
If a baby’s head gets too misshapen, they have to wear a helmet for 23 hours a day. I really don’t think babies mind because they have no sense of humiliation. Anyone who spends that much time sitting in his or her own feces can't really be too sensitive to what people think. But parents like Diana and I have heightened senses of humiliation.
But it’s starting to look like Luca is going to have to acquire his own flight gear. He has a really flat spot in his skull. We’ve tried be diligent about avoiding this inevitability. We place him in different positions in bed. We bought a thing that looks like a toilet seat to place his head in. We face him away from the TV so he has to move his head to the non-flat side to watch Curious George (he isn’t a fan). But it doesn’t work.
Why? He likes his flat spot.
It’s like that groove in your mattress that’s sooo comfortable after years molding to your butt. Or your favorite spot on the couch that’s sooo comfortable after years of molding to your butt.
Whenever we place him on his bed, he thrashes around until his head finds his flat spot. And then he lets out a sigh that says, “Yeahhh. There it is. My flat spot.” And then he falls instantly asleep.
When we look on the internet, the source for everything true and accurate, Luca’s head is the text book shape for a helmet. When we take him to the doctor, she says, “Yep, he’s getting a helmet.”
I’m bummed out. Diana’s bummed out. Luca could care less. If it indeed happens, he’ll only have to do it for a month or two, which means he will have no memory of his humiliation. Unless someone documents it. In a blog.
I’m thinking about painting it in the classic Star Wars Rebel alliance style. But I have a feeling Diana will veto.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I rushed home yesterday from work just in time to see both boys into slumber land. Luca was in his ½ hour a day fit before he falls asleep, so I “volunteered” to get Eli into bed. Elijah asked me to crawl into his closet with him. After limbering up, I was happy to oblige.
As we sat talking about Curious George, I noticed his nightlight was casting a sheet of light across the top of his closet. I decided at that moment to introduce him to the concept of shadow puppets.
“Hey Elijah, look up there. What do you see?”
I flattened my hand out and wiggled my pinkie in the classic dog shadow. To help him along, I barked several times.
“It’s a duck!”
Well, it did look like a duck. But I said, “Try again. Woof woof woof. What is it?”
Alright. That didn’t work. I linked my thumbs and spread my fingers, making a bird shadow.
“It’s a bear!”
“How can you think that’s a bear? It’s a bird.”
“It’s a bear.”
Either I was a terrible shadow puppeteer or Eli wasn’t getting the concept. I tried one last one. I made a “V” with my fingers and hopped along the ceiling.
“What’s this one? He has long ears, hops, and is the non-religious symbol for Easter.”
“It’s a penguin!”
I kissed him on forehead and went downstairs, worried that I had somehow screwed up my son again.
Monday, March 22, 2010
For the first two years of Elijah’s life, he essentially lived in a loft at the top of our stairs. It had its disadvantages. First off, his super hearing made it hard for us to pop a wine cork downstairs without an angry wake up. Second, it’s hard to send someone to his room when he technically doesn’t have one.
So at great expense, we walled off his room to give us all some peace and quiet. Somewhere along the lines, we decided to put a window in his wall facing the stairwell. It keeps our stairwell from looking like a dungeon. But it has an unexpected, but hilarious benefit: Spying on Eli.
While Eli isn’t quite convinced to actually take a nap during the day, he knows if he stays quiet in his room for an hour the likelihood his mother will break down in tears is greatly reduced. His new window in the wall gives us a private way of peeking in on him without letting him know he’s being watched. It’s like our very own Toddler Exhibit at the zoo.
There is something so pure and lovely about spying on your son. For starters, it answers the question, “Does he act like a nutcase only when he’s on stage in front of his parents?” The answer is definitively no. Here are just a few scenes from the Toddler Exhibit:
Elijah dancing around his room holding a tissue in each hand.
Elijah reading a Cookie Monster book on his rocking chair and pretending to eat it, “Nom nom nom…”
Elijah fully asleep with his head and torso on the floor and his legs on his mattress.
Elijah crouched like a cat atop his changing table. Not doing anything except crouching.
Man, I love that goofball.
Friday, March 19, 2010
I’ve been sitting in an editorial suite all week and haven’t had a lot of contact with the HamannEggs crew. So I thought I’d turn it over to the dog. Take it away, Grover.
Hey everybody! It’s me. Your loveable pal Grover. I know I haven’t written in a while and I know what you’re thinking. “That terrific dog is angry because The Man and The Woman up and had another stinky, hairless puppy.” You know what? I’m not that angry. This one isn’t as loud as the first. And it just sits there. Come talk to me when it starts grabbing my tail and we’ll discuss my recipe for Baby Butt Tartare.
I’ve mostly been keeping to myself. You see, I’ve really been getting into my art. Hmm? What’s that you ask? You want me to tell you about it? Well, I really don’t want to spend these pages talking about my dabblings in the finer things. But if you insist…
I’m very excited about my latest project. It’s called “Yard Of Poop.” Over the winter, I’ve methodically covered the back yard in my leavings. It’s a lot harder than it seems. You just can’t toss it around willy nilly. It’s like decorating a Christmas tree. It should look random, but not too random. The viewer should feel as though they are looking at a model of the Milky Way galaxy.
Well, the other day the temperature shot up to 455 degrees (65 human degrees). The humans got really excited, like they couldn’t smell the barometric pressure dropping.
Coincidentally, The Man’s brother’s puppies were over. So The Woman announced that we were all going outside. I instantly got excited. My masterpiece would finally be recognized. I bounded outside ahead of the pack to talk about my motivation, my inspiration, etc. The Woman and the puppies came out and…then things went badly.
The puppies who could walk started stepping in my masterpiece! I shouted, “Hey you puppies! Stop tramping all over my Milky Way!” But it just came out in barks. Stupid Golden Retriever tongue.
A couple puppies started crying. I thought, “You’re crying? I’m the one who should be crying. That’s three months of work you’re scraping off your shoe.”
The Woman angrily collected my whole artwork in a bucket. And then threw the bucket in the trashcan.
Well, I guess this gives me the chance to get back to my novella. It’s about a dog, a Man, and lots of romantic misunderstandings.
Monday, March 15, 2010
I took over kid duty Saturday so Diana could take two steps away from insanity. Elijah was surprisingly well behaved. If I could’ve written down the mental gymnastics it took to get him to actually take a nap, I’d be well on my way to a best selling book.
So I had a couple hours of just me and Luca hanging out. Thinking he was asleep, I went to the office to re-read the most hilarious HamannEggs entries. All two of them. From the kitchen, I heard, “Aaaaah! Aaaaah!!”
Thinking he was crying, I ran in to comfort him. But he wasn’t upset in the least. Sometime over the course of the last few hours, Luca had found his voice. “Aaaaah! Aaaaah!” He was simply trying out the new instrument. Aaaaah! Aaaaah!
So I started talking back, “Aaaaah! Aaaaah!” And we began to have, in Luca’s mind at least, a hilarious conversation. He’d say, “Aaaaah!” Then I’d say, “Aaaaah!” And then Luca would smile a big smile and laugh. And then I’d summon all my strength not to burst into tears.
I could literally have done that for the next twenty years of my life. But then I saw it. The booger. Luca had what my old creative director called “A bear in the cave.”
While Luca was engaged in his call and response, he was breathing rapidly through his nose. And his little booger friend kept poking in and out of his nostril.
It didn’t bother him. But I began to want, no need, to get it. So in the midst of our “Aaaaah! Aaaaah!” I sat perched with my fingers in a tweeze shape, ready to strike. But despite the fact that Luca was breathing regularly, his little friend poked his head out irregularly.
So our conversation went thus:
Luca would say, “Aaaaah!” I’d say, “Aaaaah!” Followed by, “Damn it!”
Eventually, a sleepy-headed Eli padded in. So our conversation took on a third element.
Luca would say, “Aaaaah!” I’d say, “Aaaaah!” Eli would say, “Aaaaah!” I’d say, “Damn it!” Luca and Eli would laugh.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Diana has tried every conceivable way under the sun to get Elijah to take a nap. Yelling. Yelling. Hollering. But no go. At best, he’d spend an hour in his room, destroying it. At worst, he’d coordinate Diana’s shoe collection with a full container of Luca’s powdered formula.
The other day, Diana tried a new tactic. Reverse guilt. Diana explained in a much too excited for a human way, that if he took a nap, Eli would make her the happiest mom. He didn’t have to take a nap, but only if he wanted her to be happy.
Wouldn’t you know, it worked. For a good three days last week Eli quietly and undestructively took a nap. Diana then was forced to spend the rest of the afternoon exaggeratedly shouting, “I’m sooo happy! I love you!”
I tried to ape this technique over the weekend. “Oooh, Eli. Daddy will be so happy if you took a nap. You’d make me so very, very happy…” But when I did it, Eli looked at me like I was patronizing him. Which I was.
Well, that technique wore off faster than a taxi driver’s deodorant. Two days ago, Diana climbed the stairs during naptime to find Eli standing on his changing table, smearing antibacterial gel all over his walls.
Anyone who has a baby, or is OCD, or has watched the news in the last year is sure to have antibacterial gel stockpiled in their house. We have little clear bottles everywhere. That largely go unused, but at least we know if we wanted to kill the poo germs that cover our hands every time we change a diaper, they’re there.
Here’s the thing with that stuff. It’s 99.9% alcohol. She instantly feared Eli had consumed some out of curiosity.
“Eli, did you drink any of this stuff?” She asked.
“Yes! Two weeks worth!” Ugh.
So Diana spent the rest of the afternoon watching for signs that Eli had turned into a miniature Ernest Hemingway. But it was hard to tell whether his falling off the bed, crashing into walls and general lunacy was booze induced or just Eli being Eli.
Right before dinner, Diana asked what he wanted. His reply was, “Ketchup, onions and garlic. It's my favorite.”
He clearly was hammered.
We try to keep Luca away from other babies. Mostly because babies are little germ factories who won’t be happy until every other baby on the planet has the sniffles. But also because other babies put thoughts in his head.
Somewhere over the last couple weeks, some nosey baby heard that Luca was sleeping through the night. He or she straightened him out double quick. “Um, Luca. Listen. You’re making the rest of us babies look bad. You need to be waking up at MINIMUM, two times a night. You want to get us fired from our baby jobs? Keep it up. Or maybe you want to play ball and make your parents suffer a little. I’m just sayin’…”
Over the last week, Luca has been a regular, non Greatest Baby In The World baby. He’s been howling 2-3 times a night. Much to our chagrin. Diana is starting to get that 1,000 yard stare. Calls to home are rather one sided. The home side being a series of grunts and moans.
So it was this mindset that Diana had to take Luca to the pediatrician yesterday. Aside from our doc remarking at how flat his head is (and recommending a $4,000 head-rounding treatment), she dropped the bomb that Luca needed a barrage of shots.
The doc shot him up with disease prevention and he immediately began screaming bloody murder. Can you blame him. But then he retaliated in the most awesome way ever. He gave Diana the silent treatment.
Diana said he angrily ignored her for the rest of the day. He sulked. It just kills me that he figured out how to sulk. Diana would get in his face to kiss him or goo goo gaa gaa at him and he wouldn’t make eye contact. He just stared into space, pissed. I can just hear her saying, “Is something wrong, Luca? Are you mad?” And he silently responds, “No. I’m not mad. I’m just TIRED.”
He also retaliated by waking up 4 times last night to cry. Diana is only able to say two words today. “I’m” and “tired.”
p.s. The HamannEggs family just got a little bit more awesome. Tom and Judy Warchol had a baby girl. Iris Payton Warchol. Rory Hamann, the only other girl born to our clan, was ecstatic all day yesterday but didn’t know why.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Time was, I loved to be out of town on big time commercial shoots. You get to stay in fancy hotels and act just south of insufferable with the staff. “I’ll have my three cheese, ham and bacon omelet with egg whites please. I’m watching my figure.”
But now that I’m married and have the Duke and Elijah, I spend most of my time trying to get home early. An actor will completely destroy his or her lines and I’ll shout, “We nailed it. Moving on!”
The worst part is the added pressure on Diana. It’s tough enough dealing with two babies on your own without having to ask your husband when he calls, “Is that an incredibly expensive meal I hear in the background? And do I hear Daryl Hanna two tables away?”
Both boys were fairly well behaved while I was gone. Except for one disastrous day.
Eli was so exhausted at school when she picked him up that he was heaving with sobs. Diana attempted to get him to nap, but he flat out refused. Constantly crying at nothing seemed to be a better way to spend his afternoon.
Finally, Diana banished him to his room. If he wouldn’t nap, he at least had to have some quiet time.
Diana came downstairs to the office to check to see if I had updated the blog (I hadn’t). She heard rustling upstairs and went in search of Eli. She found him in our room. He had taken an entire box bull of powdered formula, the stuff that costs more per serving than the really good beer I was drinking in LA, and poured the contents out. All over her shoes in our closet.
There were fine, white particles everywhere. In nooks and crannies that will never, ever come out. In nooks and crannies where feet go. Oh, did I mention it was our last container of formula?
Diana called me in tears. I walked away from the hotel pool so as not to add insult to injury. She asked if buying a dog crate was considered abuse. I broke it to her that it was.
Luckily, Eli knew he crossed the line. He has been dutiful about naps every since. Unfortunately, I have to fly back to LA this week. Pray for her to survive. And pray for me to get reservations at the good sushi place.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
My good pal Patrick came over last Friday night. It was a big deal because Patrick’s son James has more than a little of the early Elijah days in him. Which means he is extremely cute, but extremely fussy. Refer to the early days of HamannEggs for what that was like. Ahh, the early days of HamannEggs. So many misspellings. So many many misspellings.
To add insult to his fussy injury, Patrick had to witness Luca’s silent bouncy chair contemplation. If I were Patrick I’d secretly pinch Luca so that smug Rick and Diana could deal with a fussy baby for once. If I were Patrick I’d also refer to myself as “P-Dog.” So it’s probably best that I not be Patrick.
Where was I? Oh yeah. Stretching this story since I’m out of town and have no new material. After P-Dog left, we put Luca down for bed. And the weirdest thing happened. He started crying. And he wouldn’t stop. Luca. Baby Luca. Crying. Diana and I just stared at him, fascinated.
I began to wonder if fussiness was contagious. Patrick had fussy all over his hands and he was breathing fussy all over Luca the whole night.
Well, I was half right. Luca caught a bug, but it wasn’t from Patrick. He started hacking a deep, wet cough that lasted the whole night. Cough, cough, waaah. Cough, cough, waaah.
At around 4am, Luca woke himself with another coughing fit and began crying again. Diana suggested I take him downstairs, run a hot shower and let Luca sit in the steamy bathroom for a while. I have no idea which gypsy medical book she got that from, but I was awake and it was better than just listening to him cry.
On my way out of our room, Diana said, “Be sure not to put him UNDER the hot water.”
Once downstairs, I held Luca and listened to that delightful mixture of shower, baby cough and crying.
Suddenly, Luca stopped crying. I thought, “Son of a gun. She was right.” But then I looked at Luca. He had caught his reflection in the mirror and was smiling at himself. He’s a Hamann alright. Never met a mirror we didn’t like.
I’m not sure how much more I’ll write this week, since I’m out of town. But word from Diana is Eli is being a holy terror while I’m gone. So I’ll have new stuff soon. If Diana lets him live.