Monday, January 31, 2011
While I was at work the other day, Diana took the boys to a hipster part of town to do some exploring. After their fill of skinny jeans (not exclusive to Chicago hipsters, apparently), they stopped at an outdoor ice cream parlor.
Immediately after eating two bites of his ice cream, Elijah declared himself full. Luca, who is still in his “I’ll eat your shoe if you put it on my high chair tray” stage, enthusiastically attacked Eli’s portion. That left Eli some time to kill.
How did he spend it? By dancing, of course.
I love him so much. Why? This kid, according to Diana, pulled a Fred Astaire from one end of the ice cream parlor to the other. Now, this was not an empty ice cream parlor. This was a full ice cream parlor. Including a table of construction workers, who sat slack jawed while Eli shimmied and shook two feet away. And the best part? Diana swears he wasn’t dancing as a performance. He honestly didn’t care if anyone saw him. He just had to dance.
When I expressed my extreme pleasure at this story, Diana responded, “As long as you’re ok with the fact that he can’t catch a ball.”
Oh, yeah. That.
While Eli is great at athletic activities like dancing and playing on the computer, his traditional baseball/football skills have something to be desired.
It became painfully clear when my friend Jimmy’s sons came over to play. Jimmy’s two year old’s curve ball broke at two feet while Eli’s version of catch was stopping the ball with his face.
And I blame myself.
Oh, I’ve tried to work on his eye-hand coordination, by tossing him a giant purple ball in the living room. But after the tenth time it bashed him in the face I said, “Who wants to play Star Wars?”
I mean, I don’t really care if he’s good at sports. Ask billionaire Justin Beiber’s dad if he cares that his son is a dancer. But I do feel like I’m not doing my dad job if the boy gets to age 4 without knowing the difference between a baseball and a lawn chair.
And I meant to get him outside yesterday to play ball. Honestly. But we went to the zoo instead. And what’s more manly than being three feet from a lion?
p.s. I know that’s me and Luca in this photo, but I don’t have any photos of Eli and me next to the lion. He was dancing.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Elijah knows how to hit you where it hurts. When I’m yelling at him, or hollering at him, or sternly reprimanding him he simply needs to utter four words to reduce me into a puddle.
“I want my mommy.”
No, I have nothing against Diana being number 1 in his book. She should be. She is the sole reason the boy has made it three and a half years on this earth not clad in a newspaper diaper. But he doesn’t have to remind me of it. Twenty times a day.
Well, over the last couple weeks, I’ve been able to carve out my #1 status in one, single area: book reading.
Now that I’ve reduced my commute home by a thousand percent, I’m able to participate in the nighttime ritual more often, including bedtime stories. And apparently, my bedtime story voices are more hilarious than a certain Greatest Mom In the World. Elijah has gone as far as to request my performances when Diana reads to him.
Ha! Take that, parent who is # 1 in literally every other single parenting category! It does burn Diana a little, considering she was a professional actor in such roles as “Elbow” in the movie “Rudy” and “Hot Businesswoman Who Really Likes Cheese” in an Irish Cheese commercial. She has to lose out to a guy whose most famous role was “Audience Member On The Jerry Springer Show.”
But here is what Diana (and Elijah) don’t know. None, I repeat, none of my voices are invented by me. They are all complete rip offs from “The Simpsons.” Here’s an example of what I mean.
Two nights ago, I read a “Peanuts” book to Eli. And here is how I approached each character:
Charlie Brown: Bart Simpson
Lucy: Marge Simpson
Sally: Lisa Simpson
Linus: Comic Book Guy
Snoopy: Santa’s Little Helper
I don’t think I used Homer for any Peanuts Character. But he plays a huge role in “The Cat In The Hat.”
Monday, January 24, 2011
Did I mention the fact that I have to learn how to ski/snowboard as part of my job? I know, a lot of your are thinking, “He clearly has no job and is making all this crap up. Look for him at your nearest underpass.”
Where a lot of people would view this job requirement as an awesome and enjoyable perk, I view it as something to stress out about. So I approach my Sunday morning trips to the mountains as someone studying for the SATs. It really takes a special kind of mope to stress about essentially free weekly ski trips. But that’s me!
Anyway, by the time I come home I’m mentally and physically exhausted. Yesterday, Diana took pity on me and allowed me to plop down in front of the TV to watch the Bears embarrass themselves in the NFC championship. She even joined me for that brief moment in the game when it looked like Chicago would cover the spread.
Elijah spent the whole time on the computer, which we believe is essential in his development as a fat person.
Luca, on the other hand, spent the whole time practicing for his future profession: Talk Show Guest.
The way the room is set up, you have to walk directly in front of the TV from the doorway. So Luca would toddle into the room from the hall right into our line of sight.
Diana and I would then shout, “Luca!” And Luca would shout, “Hi!” He’d ram into our couch and then immediately turn around and leave the room.
Two seconds later, he’d toddle in again. We’d shout, “Luca!” Luca would shout, “Hi!” And then we’d be back to the beginning. As a lowball estimate, I’d say this went on 30-40 times.
Occasionally, he’d stumble in like Dean Martin fresh off a bender. Other times he’d bite the couch like Buddy Hackett. Once, he came in smelling of a dirty diaper like Joan Rivers (Luca and Eli and everyone born after 1972, those people I mentioned were famous guests on “The Tonight Show” starring Jonny Carson. A show that was on TV back when TV didn’t rot your brain. Look it up).
P.s. This is Luca doing his Joan Embery (Luca and Eli and everyone born after 1972, don’t worry about looking it up. It’s not that funny of a reference).
Friday, January 21, 2011
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but about 3 hours after Luca was born, Diana announced that we were not having any more children. It didn’t matter who got snipped but someone was getting sterilized.
So with each milestone, I lament the “we’ll never see this again-ness.”
Lately, I’ve been lamenting Luca’s exponential command of the language. With every new word, with every new communication, I miss that time where we had no idea what the heck he wanted.
It was less than three months ago that he’d grunt and cry and I’d think, “WHAT? WHAT COULD YOU POSSIBLY WANT?” But now, he can ask for stuff by name. I guess that’s ok if you want your child to, you know, develop as a human being. But what about those of us who want our sons to remain frozen in time as 1 year olds forever?
The only solace is the intense cuteness of everything that little person says. As an illustration, allow me to recount every single morning for the last two weeks.
It usually begins with Elijah stomping into our room at 6:30am. “Luca is making too much noiiiiiise!” At which point he unceremoniously kicks me out of bed so he can sleep with his mother (Oedipus would approve).
After I warm up some milk, I walk into the boys’ room and our exact conversation goes as follows:
(Luca) “Uppie uppie?”
(Me) “Uppie Uppie!”
(Luca) “Ba ba?”
(Me) “Ba ba!”
Then we sit in the dark and enjoy a bottle. Until I cannot bear the smell of his diaper anymore.
Usually by now Grover has padded into the room.
(Luca) “Go go!”
(Me) “Go go!”
(Luca) “Go go!”
(Me) “Go go!”
(Luca) “Go go!”
This goes on until Grover gets disgusted with and leaves. And this is usually the most intelligent conversation of my day.
p.s. What kind of mother does this to a child?
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Alright, I’ll admit it. I held the belief that our move to Denver would involve me adopting a more “bro” attitude towards work. I envisioned myself hanging a little note on my computer on Tuesdays that read, “Powder Day.”
But you can take the Chicago out of the boy, but you can’t take the boy out of Chicago. Wait. Switch that.
So last weekend I found myself with the, ahem, opportunity to come into the office. In an attempt to make up for the fact that I spent 12 hours skiing the previous weekend, I offered to bring Elijah with me. I was only there to approve some stuff that more talented people were doing, so I figured I could handle the boy.
Now, usually in a HamannEggs post, this was where the story goes very south and I end up getting covered in something…ick.
I honestly believe Elijah thinks my office was built using his dreams as a blueprint. Our lobby features a vintage go-cart built by our sports car client.
Sidebar. Even though three people officially read my blog, it’s not a good idea to call out client names. If I offend a major client by connecting their name with poop and pee stories, I’ll lose my job and then I’ll have to go back to stacking boxes at Jewel/Osco. BTW, I do not care about offending Jewel/Osco.
Where was I? Oh, Eli’s dream world. Our place has the vintage car to break. It also has row after row of huge computer monitors. Imagine a recreation of an Apple Store (Apparently I don’t care about offending Apple either). So Eli was able to play PBS Kids online on a screen that rivals our TV at home. Oh, and our place has free juice. Oh, and our place has free candy.
I believe Elijah was the first person in the history of the world to throw a fit and had to be dragged kicking and screaming from work. But he did. The only way I could convince him to leave was by offering to carry him on my shoulders.
Halfway home I felt like my heart was going to explode.
Friday, January 14, 2011
I don’t know if I’ve really addressed the fact that Luca walks now. Not kind of walks or sometimes walks. He’s a full time walker now.
And, I know my profession is a “writer,” (those quotation marks should be way bigger) but words cannot describe how cute it is to see him toddle around. But here goes.
Imagine, if you will, the cutest thing you can think of. Like a rainbow. Now, add to that the next cutest thing you can think of. Like a unicorn eating a pink ice cream cone. Better add in that Youtube video of the sneezing panda. And thirty or so Care bear dolls from the 1980’s. And a Smurf.
Now, cram all of those cute images together and mould them, Play Dough-style, into the shape of a one-year-old baby. Then, have your rainbow/unicorn/panda/Care Bear/Smurf walk across the room saying, “Mom-mie…Mom-mie” in a voice so beautiful, only angels can hear it.
Then have your cute creation smash into you and bite your legs.
That’s about 1/1,000th how cute Luca is when he walks.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Here’s the thing about living in Colorado. You really aren’t supposed to be indoors. When you come into work on Monday, the first thing they ask you is, “Whatda do?” They aren’t looking for, “We smeared pizza grease all over our TV,” as an answer.
Consequently, I do feel a little anxiety when we reach hour four of Spongebob Squarepants on Saturday mornings. After lunch we decided it was high time our sons experienced a mountain. Seeing that we live less than an hour’s drive from, like, all of them.
So we packed up the boys and drive to Lookout Mountain. Now, those of you who live in Colorado will probably poo poo Lookout Mountain because it is technically more of a hill. It takes zero skill to get to the top (unless you call driving while Elijah asks 1,000 extremely loud questions a skill). Know what I say to that? Shut up, jerks.
We arrived at the trailhead and let Grover out of the back of the car. A Ranger immediately ran out of the building and yelled, “No Dogs!”
Grover looked at us like, “Welp. That’s that. Let’s head back to Denver.” And then we stuffed him back in the car.
As we hiked along the snowy trail (here’s a hint for you hikers. Don’t wear mesh running shoes when hiking on a snowy trail), Elijah kept asking me if we were going to see any animals like at the zoo.
Just as I was explaining that his yelling of “Are we going to see any animals” guaranteed we would only see animal poop on this hike, we stumbled across a group of elk. At least I think they were elk. They were huge, looked like deer but with a lot more antlers, and they were wearing “Kiss me I’m an elk” t-shirts.
I have to say, I was a lot more scared than I thought I’d be. These were wild animals. With huge swords sticking out of their heads. What do we do if they charge? What do we do if they try to eat us? What do we do if they ask us for money?
Diana and Elijah were far less scared. Elijah wanted to pet them (“No!” I yelled a lot louder than necessary) and Diana simply wanted to marvel at their majesty. Luca just yelled, “Go Go (Grover)!”
In the end, the trail lead 100 or so yards around them and they had absolutely no interest in asking us for money. They simply stared at us and contemplated life before yuppies started tromping all over their home and talking way to loudly.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
I woke up last Saturday and declared, “We are doing snow sports today! Who’s with me?” I turned to Diana, whose Strep Throat had turned her a delightful shade of gray. She was out.
Luca was covered in whatever breakfast used to be. By the look of it, a freshly killed turtle. He was probably in but it would’ve taken all day to clean him off.
That left Elijah. I found him sitting where he always is, at the computer. “Eli, let’s go outside and do snow sports!” He grabbed the computer with a death grip and moaned, “Nooooooo!”
Too bad. I was stronger than him. After wrestling him into his coat and snow pants, we drove over to my Denver friend Tom’s house with the explicit desire to do some hardcore sledding. I wanted to grab air and do 360s or whatever they do on the X-Games. And if you are going to do anything that involves potentially breaking a collarbone, Tom is your man. The man attacks walking to the restroom with more intensity than most religious cultists.
As Tom loaded sleds into his car, his son and my son made snow angles. “Stop that,” I said, “You need to get mentally prepared to shred and stuff!” They ignored me and swooped their arms and legs in little angle wing shapes.
Tom showed me a spray can of grease he intended to use on the sleds for maximum speed. Now we were cooking. I imagined us having to fetch our sons from tree limbs after particularly great sledding jumps.
We piled into the car and drove three point five minutes to the hill. Well, technically it wasn’t a hill. It was more of a gentle slope. Well, technically it wasn’t a gentle slope. It was an area where one side was slightly higher elevation than the other. By about 2 degrees.
Tom understood something that I clearly didn’t. We were sledding with 3 and 4 year olds. Not dudes from a Mountain Dew commercial. In fact, it was the perfect hill for them. They were able to get down the hill with some modicum of speed. And if they fell (which they did frequently), there were no tears. The only potential issue was if they got going really fast they ran the risk of nudging the fence that encircled the baseball diamond we were technically sledding on.
In fact, the only two injuries were inflicted on Tom and myself when we tried to sled standing up a la snowboards. Tom racked himself. And I dislocated my brain.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
The other night, our great Illinoisian friend Kitty came to town. Diana immediately ran screaming from the house to join her in delicious Denver sushi. Yes, there is such a thing.
That left me with Boy #1 and Boy #2 and an hour until bedtime. I still had that terrible cold/altitude sickness/Dropsy, so I decided to kill the time by dumping everyone, me included, into the tub.
We played, we splashed, we peed. We peed some more.
I eventually got tired of constantly being urinated on and hopped out. I toweled off and then decided to pee in a crazy new place: the toilet. About halfway through my business, Luca pushed the button on our fancy Jacuzzi tub. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the water level in our tub didn’t cover the Jacuzzi jets. So instead of a delightful massaging of tired baby muscles, there was a terrible hiss plus a violent spit of air and old bacteria all over the boys.
Luca freaked out. He jumped up and down and screamed, “UPPIE UPPIE UPPPE!” Elijah, clamped his hands over his ears and screamed, “Too loud, Luca!”
There was nothing I could do. I stood there attempting to finish peeing, which seemed to go on forever. I tried to calm Luca from two feet away, “It’s ok! It’s ok! The jets can’t hurt you! Okay, the bacteria probably isn’t that great for you and you could get sick down the road, but hold on!”
After what seemed like the longest pee in history, I scooped up Luca and held him. He did that hiccup crying for a quite a while.
The next night, Diana had caught my Dropsy and I was left with bath duty again. I poured a nice cup of bath and dumped Elijah in. I then stripped Luca and tried to get him into the water. An inch from the surface, he freaked out. He was like a cartoon cat. He leaped out of the water and crawled up my head.
I could not, for the life of me, get him into the bath. I then began to worry that I had really broken him. That he’d never take a bath again for as long as he lived. He’d be like the Peanuts character “Pigpen,” but smell like a taxicab.
But then I threw him in the bath like a cat.
Monday, January 3, 2011
This story has officially lasted longer than John Wayne’s original covered wagon trip to Denver. But I feel like I have to tell it, give the fact I’ve built it up so much.
As you recall from our cliffhanger, Elijah, Luca and I had made it from Peoria to Chicago with almost zero casualties. We did lose two jelly beans (rest their souls). We made it to the Chicago to Denver gate with almost to fuss as well.
But as we sat down to change diapers I heard, “We’re beginning pre boarding for our guests with small children…” I scrambled to attach pants and tossed Luca into his car seat. Unlike our first flight, our second airplane was slightly larger so I foolishly thought we could get him and his seat down the aisle to our seats.
We couldn’t. His seat was about four inches too wide. But I discovered this fact in First Class and the line behind us was way too backed for me to back out. So I hoisted Luca over my head and tried to walk down the aisle with him still strapped to his seat. He did not like this vantage point and began shrieking.
Elijah, on the other hand, decided he was much too good for Coach and plopped down in a First Class seat.
My arms were already shaking when I said, “Elijah! That’s not your seat. We have to go to the back.”
“No. I like it in this seat.”
“Get moving, mister.” Sweat was pooling in my armpits. Elijah ignored me and ordered a Momosa.
Knowing I was seconds away from dropping Luca, I decided to abandon him and hope he’d eventually wander to the rear of the plane. Or stay in First Class and start dating a model. At this point I didn’t care.
I got Luca to the rear of the place after only bashing four people in the head with Luca’s car seat. As I placed Luca in seat number 485 F, I heard it. An old, rich, overly tan couple started bitching about Luca’s crying. There were clearly into their fifth vodka a piece and loudly stated their intention to move away from the shrieking kid.
Then things got really calm for me. Instead of the panic I was feeling up until that moment, I felt an uncontrollable desire to make these peoples’ lives a living hell. I stopped comforting Luca and said, “Let it out, buddy. Use those lungs. Perhaps you’d like some crackers to toss at those terrible people…”
Just then, Elijah arrived, hand in hand with another Flight attendant he just wooed. And then Luca stopped crying and fell into a deep sleep. In fact, both boys were silent for almost the entire trip. Eli with his head in the DVD player, Luca with head in a dream where all breakable objects in the world are located two feet from the ground.
The terrible people eventually came around and started chatting up Eli. I smiled and them and mentally kicked them in the groins.
When we spotted Mommy at arrivals, the orchestra swelled and Elijah ran to her in slow motion.