Thursday, October 28, 2010
Elijah has been sleeping in lately. What used to be 6am has drifted gleefully into the 7:30 range. But Luca has been reading “Murphy’s Law: A Baby’s Guide.” So he offsets the new Elijah wake up time by getting up for good at 5:30am.
After changing him and letting him point at my nose a few times, I descend the stairs with Luca and turn on the TV. Inevitably, it will be an infomercial for one of those extremely intense work out systems featuring very fat people who, over the course of one editorial wipe, turn into very thin people who yell a lot. I typically think about working out for 15 whole seconds before opting to lay on the couch.
Sooner or later, I have to shower. Despite being a very advanced baby, I don’t feel comfortable leaving Luca alone while I bathe. I think the Department of Child and Family Services would agree. So I have no other choice but to take him into the bathroom with me.
Here is where I run into problems. Luca doesn’t understand the word “no,” yet. It means as much to him as yelling “platypus” when he does something wrong. And oh, there are lots of things to yell “platypus” at in the bathroom.
Take this morning. After rinsing the shampoo out of my hair, I peeked out of the curtain just in time to see Luca finish unrolling and entire toilet paper roll onto the floor. Platypus!
At which point he moved on to dipping a hand into the toilet. Double Platypus!
Luca then crawled over to the shower curtain and played peek-a-boo with me as I shaved my legs. I mean beard. That is definitely not a “platypus” activity. What’s the opposite of “platypus?” “Pinot Noir?”
But then Luca got really interested in the stuff happening inside the shower. So he tried to join me by climbing into the tub (platypus!). That’s all well and good unless you are wearing a flannel pajama set.
I grabbed him, getting him even more wet (platypus daddy!) and plopped him back down in the center of the bathroom floor. Which made the bathroom floor very, very wet. I made a mental note of blaming the wet floor on Elijah when Diana discovered it.
Luckily, he got the point and moved away from the tub and began using our toilet bowl cleaner as a baton.
Monday, October 25, 2010
To tell you the honest truth, I was getting a little nervous about Elijah’s imagination. He just wasn’t using it. And to me, an imagination is more valuable than a million dollar pitching arm (unless he gets into the pros, then I say bring it on). Whenever I suggested pretending, he’d say, “Can we watch TV?”
Thankfully, he’s been starting to pretend things. Okay, mostly things that involve being a cast member from a certain movie that involves stars. And wars. But I’ll take it. Even if it means getting bashed repeatedly by a plastic lightsaber. Or getting bashed repeatedly with a stick substituting for a lightsaber.
The other day, Eli, Luca and I were playing in their room. Which means I lay on my back and listen to sports talk radio and let both of them jump on my stomach. It’s a great ab workout. Suddenly, Eli picked up a drumstick and stared waving it around. I was thinking, “Great. Time to get lightsabered.”
But then he started yelling, “Abracadabra! I turn daddy into a frog!” I thought, “Oooh. Time to show the boys my awesome acting skills.” And I leapt around the room eating bugs and ribbit-ing enthusiastically.
It turned into a hilarious game where Eli would think of an animal, abracadabra me, and watch me make a complete fool out of myself.
After he exhausted his knowledge of animals, things got a little weird. He tried so hard to think of things to turn me into, but could only find inspiration in his room.
“Abracadabra! I turn daddy into a…book! Abracadabra! I turn daddy into a…crayon. Abracadabra! I turn daddy into a…ceiling fan.”
I was tough to find use my method acting stills for inanimate objects. I found myself saying, “Hey everybody! I’m a book. You can…uh, read me and stuff.”
For some reason, Elijah thought that was just as hilarious as watching me on all fours, chewing my cud. So I had to pretend I was a photograph and a rocking chair and a Diaper Genie.
I got tired of the game way before he did, so I yanked the drum stick/magic wand out of his hands and said, “Abracadabra! I turn Eli into a monkey!” Watching your son run around the room screaming, “I’m a monkey,” is the greatest. Almost as great as watching him run around the exact same way and scream, “I’m a donkey!” Or “I’m a bookshelf (turns out my list of animals is just as short as Eli’s).
We then turned our dark arts on Luca. He did a fantastic job of pretending he was a baby.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
This morning, I was putting on my special orange socks in our room. They’re special because they’re orange.
Suddenly, I heard a crash and a shriek from the bottom of the stairs. I ran, naked except for a single orange sock, to the shrieking. I found Luca trapped under a fallen baby gate. He had pulled down the one protecting the bottom of our stairs. He wasn’t hurt, but angry because he couldn’t crawl out from under it. I paused for a moment, marveling at just how much he looked like a bug caught under a fly swatter.
I was not surprised at his accident. Because for the last week or so Luca has been obsessed with our stairs. Or as I like to call them, “Mt. Stairmore.”
No amount of blockade can keep this kid from climbing the stairs. He simply MUST climb them. Why? Because they’re there.
So last Saturday, after unsuccessfully attempting to block his path to the stairs with sandbags, barbed wire and an electric fence, I gave up.
“You want to climb the stairs so badly? Go ahead. See if I care.” Reverse Psychology 101.
He got a steely look in his eye. And he mounted Mt. Stairmore. I acted as Sherpa. Which meant placing my hand two inches away from his bottom in case he decided to fall backwards (Hence my motto, “not on my watch”).
After a while, a long while, he made it to our landing. “You did it!” I said, “Now we can all go on with our lives. I think Angelina Ballerina is on TV.”
But no. He wasn’t done. He was going full staircase.
The second set of stairs was far more difficult. Yes, because it is roughly twice the distance as the ones leading to the landing. But now, there were interested parties.
I’m sure climbing your first set of stairs is tough enough. But imagine doing it with your three year old brother screaming in your face, “LUCA! YOU’RE CLIMBING THE STAIRS!” Add to that a massive black dog whose tail just happens to be at perfect face-whacking height.
He stopped halfway up the second set and caught his breath. “It’s ok, buddy. You’ll get him next time.” I patted him oh so patronizingly on the head.
But then in a spurt that would’ve made Jon Krakauer proud, he scaled the last few feet to the summit. I proudly opened the baby gate and we all cheered.
I then scolded us all for waking up mommy so early on a Saturday.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Remember that episode of “Family Ties” where Alex P. Keaton takes two girls to the prom and has to run back and forth to keep both his dates happy? No? Well, do you remember that episode of “Brady Bunch” where Peter takes two girls to the prom and has to run back and forth to keep both his dates happy? No? Well, they were funny.
I felt very much like Alex/Peter last Saturday night. Once again Diana had to attend wine class all day and then had to teach wine class all night. Sometimes I think she just makes these things up so she can get out of the house and I get angry that I didn’t think of it first.
Towards the end of the night, I got myself into a little pickle. Luca was exhausted from trying to climb Mt. Stairmore all day. So I took him upstairs and tried to get him ready for bed.
Now, where the cucumber turned to a pickle is the Elijah situation. He runs about a ½ hour behind Luca in the going to bed timeline. So while I was trying to get Luca to stop yelling at me, Elijah was left to his own devices downstairs in the tub.
While Luca was pointing at my nose, I’d got the distinct feeling that Elijah was pouring gallons of water onto our bathroom floor. So I told him, “Hold a sec,” and raced down the stairs. I’d found Eli debating the finer points of tub peeing with his rubber ducky and I breathlessly said, “You ok?”
He responded, “I ok.”
Then I got a vivid mental image of Luca doing a handstand on the top of the baby gate at the top of our stairs. I ran, three steps at a time, back up to Luca. He, of course, was busy banging a wooden block onto a plastic block. I then stuffed him into his PJs.
Did I just hear Eli open the front door and run naked into the street?
Thankfully, after sliding to a stop in the bathroom while clutching my heart, I found Eli still in the tub sucking the filthy bath water out of a wash cloth. Gross, but at least he was inside.
I did this run back and forth at least 5 more times, all the while concocting bigger and more destructive fantasies of what my well behaved sons were up to. By the time I had the mental image of Eli shaving Grover with our butter knife, I was exhausted.
I eventually fell to a heap on our bed after getting both boys in bed. I don’t know how Diana does it.
p.s. Today’s photo is from my new expensive feature on my iphone camera that makes your photos look purposely crappy. Ain’t technology great?
Friday, October 15, 2010
Luca, my son. You may notice that there hasn’t been a ton of coverage of you since you were born. The weight of the blog always seems to be about your brother Elijah. This is not, I repeat, not because we don’t love you. It’s because you are so good. Mark Twain said, “Humor is tragedy plus time.” Now, I assume you’ll be soon into the stage where your antics are immensely blog worthy. But at your current stage of goodness, all I can blog about is your adorable pointing and even more adorable nose-grabbing. Which, unfortunately doesn’t make for funny posts. But the fact that you don’t do horribly hilariously tragic things is why I love you.
Which leads me to today’s post.
I received an email from Diana yesterday. The contents were simply a video. Now, I don’t post video to HamannEggs. Mostly because I eventually turn these posts into book form and video doesn’t work in paper. But it’s also because I don’t really know how to post video to the site.
So, I will now attempt to describe the contents of the video.
We open on the point of view of a mom. She is walking through our kitchen. We see our cabinets. We see a high chair.
Suddenly, the camera pans to our bathroom entrance. Through the doorway, we reveal Elijah Steven Hamann. He is sitting in our bathroom sink. He is fully clothed and covered in dirt. The sink is halfway full of muddy water.
The light flicks on (Diana loves proper lighting) and Elijah looks into camera with a “Oops” expression. Diana says, “Um. Turn that light on,” and Eli complies by flicking the switch next to the mirror.
Diana says, “Can you tell the folks at home what you’re doing?”
Elijah, trying not to laugh, says, “Sitting in the sink.”
“Why are you sitting in the sink?”
“Because I want to wash myself off. Because look (he lifts a soggy shoe out of the water) I got dirty.”
“How did you get all dirty?”
“Because I was making some cakes…in the dirt.”
“You were making some dirt cakes?”
Elijah cracks a crooked smile. “Yeah.”
“Did they taste good?”
Elijah mumbles something while dipping his hands into the filthy water.
“And can you also tell the folks at home why you are in our sink rather than our tub?”
Elijah responds by turning on the water in the sink. The sink continues to fill with water. “Because I’m filling it up. (Garbled) My shoes!”
The camera focuses on the filthy water, Eli’s filthy shoes. And the mud and dirt caked on the sink.
Diana says, “Mhmm. Mhmm.” Elijah attempts to stand up, revealing his soaked bottom. She moans, “Elijah…”
The camera pans back out, again revealing the filthy mess.
Diana says, “Not good.”
“Because you are making a big mess.”
Elijah says, “Huh?” And then looks around in genuine surprise that he was responsible for the destruction of our bathroom.
Eli then looks down from the sink, realizing that he has no real way down from the sink. The camera shows the distance from the sink to the floor. Diana says, “And it’s a long way down.”
Fade to black.
Here is the actual link if you want to see it in non-book form: http://www.flickr.com/photos/54798788@N06/5078486836/
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Last Saturday, it was gorgeous. Sunny. 80 degrees. Not a cloud in the sky. So naturally Elijah, Finn, Rory and Luca wanted to sit in our darkened living room in front of television all day.
But after much dragging, yanking and pulling, we went out back to play in the yard.
Eli and Finn played Star Wars. Steve and I drank beer and talked about Star Wars. Luca and Rory discussed their plans to escape their nerd relatives.
Suddenly, I heard, “Rick? Rick?” from over the fence. It was our 5-year-old neighbor Molly, who wanted to come over and play. I said, “Sure. Knock yourself out,” and opened the side gate.
Molly gathered the kids and suggested they all play a game. Her first thought was baseball. Both Elijah and Finn looked at her like she was speaking a foreign language.
“You guys don’t know how to play baseball?” Finn and Eli continued to stare blankly at her.
While Molly taught my son and nephew how to play our nation’s pastime, I began to imagine where I’d put my “Worst Father Ever” statuette. It never dawned on me that part of my duty as a father was to, in fact, teach my son how to play sports and other icky stuff.
Feeling an intense desire to overcompensate for my lack of father-ness, I leapt off the deck and volunteered to pitch. It was not long before Eli and Finn decided it was a lot more fun to use the Wiffle bat as a lightsaber.
Molly, ever the sports optimist, then suggested they all play soccer. Eli and Finn stopped in their tracks. Again, struck dumb by their father’s complete lack of instruction on, well, anything.
“You guys don’t know how to play soccer?” Molly asked. With silence as her answer, she audibly sighed and began to cement her role as the boys’ true father figure.
I announced the fact that, like all true Americans, I knew nothing about soccer and rejoined Steve in our discussion “Chewbacca versus Darth Vader: who would win in arm wrestling?”
p.s. I cannot take all the credit for Eli’s lack of sports knowledge. This is how his mother allows him to leave the house.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Thank you everyone who responded so nicely to my last post. I got reactions ranging from laughter to concern to a request to use the story as a way of illustrating Schizophrenia to grad students. I hope I can horribly disappoint you with today’s post.
In one of the more cute things that’s happened in recent memory, Luca dances now. If you put music on, he bounces on his tiny butt and waves his arms like wings. He looks like an adorable little chicken. Which means he looks like the exact opposite of an actual chicken.
Luca has just gotta dance. I mean physically. He needs to dance in the same way he needs to breathe in Oxygen and breathe out Carbon Dioxide. I don’t even think he likes to dance. It’s completely involuntary. Play your ipod? Flap flap flap. A terrible jingle blares out the TV? Flap flap flap. If you hum a jaunty tune? Flap flap flap.
That’s actually the way I figured out Luca dances out of Pavlovian compulsion. I was in the bathroom the other morning and I heard the “screench screench screench” of Luca crawling in to join me (another one of his compulsions is the need to touch our toilet. But that’s another blog entry). I looked down with a mouth filled with mouthwash and Luca looked up at me, pointed and smiled.
I tried to communicate with him, which was hard to do with a mouth full of Scope. My end of the conversation ended up being humming through my clamped lips. But to Luca’s ears, it must have been music because he started flapping. I immediately laughed, spitting Scope all over the mirror.
I hummed, he flapped. I hummed, he flapped. This went on until he reared his head back to laugh and smashed his skull in the porcelain germ center.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Making it through a Saturday without the help of Diana is hard. Very hard. By midday, I’m usually in full yell mode and the house is typically on fire.
But last Saturday, I decided to take the degree of difficulty up several hundred notches. By taking both boys to a friends’ Oktoberfest party across town. Via the bus. This is the juggling equivalent of going from one rubber ball to ten flaming axes while riding a unicycle on a high wire. And the high wire is on fire. And the unicycle is on fire.
Almost immediately after strapping Luca to my chest and shoving Elijah out the door I realized I was making a huge mistake. It took us 10 minutes to make it past our neighbor’s front door (see my post on Lollygaggers).
After completing my transition from brown to grey hair, we arrived at the bus stop. The only person in line was a massive, bearded homeless guy. He was as big as a house and in full catatonic mode. Elijah attempted to strike up conversation. “Hi. I Eli!” But the man just stared straight ahead, listening to the secret telepathic messages being beamed into his brain by the local squirrel population.
I looked down the street. No sign of the bus for miles and miles. Eli could sense that there would be a wait because he started acting like a goof ball. He started running around this big green transformer thing and playing “Hide From Daddy.”
And with 100 pounds of Luca strapped to my chest, I couldn’t keep up. He’d zig, I’d zag. I began to panic because we were at the intersection of two of the busiest streets in Evanston.
Suddenly, Eli bolted for the street.
I shouted, “Freeze!” But Eli kept running with a full head of steam. He had a good three steps on me.
Just as he reached the curb, a massive paw stopped him in his tracks. The catatonic homeless guy had snapped out of it and physically prevented Eli from living out my worst nightmare.
I snatched Eli, turned to the homeless guy and gushed, “Thank you thank you thank you, homeless guy. I reaaaaaally appreciate it.”
But the homeless guy had already snapped back into catatonic mode. He wouldn’t acknowledge me or Eli, despite Eli’s mimicking of my gratitude, “Tank you man. Tank you.”
We eventually got on the bus and the homeless guy started raving to the bus driver. I kind of wanted to tell the driver that the homeless guy had just saved my son’s life. But like all people who fear conflict, I quietly pretended to adjust Luca’s collar while he was tossed from the bus.