Friday, February 25, 2011


Allow me to let you peek underneath the covers of Diana and my marital bed. 5…4…3…2…1. There. Are you done with the sex jokes? Great. I’m talking about sleeping.

There are few things Diana thinks are funnier than the way I sleep. My sleep position, according to her, is a combination of an olympic luger and a vampire. I lay on my back, with my arms crossed over my chest. But what really gets her giggling is I also turn my feet towards each other and lay one foot on top of the other.

At least I don’t wear clown pants and socks to bed like a certain wife I know.

Anyway, the reason I sleep in that position is I’m pigeon toed. My feet have always turned inward. A quick internet search reveals that both Babe Ruth and Keanu Reeves were/are pigeon toed. Which means being pigeon toed is awesome.

We can add another celebrity to the list: Luca Hamann.

Diana and I were watching him stumble around the basement, trying to avoid being body checked by either Grover or Elijah when Diana said, “I think Luca is pigeon toed.”

I detected more than a little disappointment in her voice. I said, pointing at my own delightfully birdy feet, “Um. I think what you are trying to say is, ‘Isn’t it great that Luca is pigeon toed?’.”

Wait. Hold on. After finding my Ruth and Reeves internet references, I went a couple more entries down the list and found this disturbing piece of information:

“This problem usually gets better as the baby starts pulling up to stand and walk. It may take another 6 to 12 months to completely go away.”

Problem? Go away?

Luca don’t go to the other side. Stay with me. Being a pigeon is awesome. You get to eat cigarette butts off the ground underneath subway platforms. You get to carry rabies. You get to be Bert from Sesame Street’s favorite animal. You get to poop wherever you want.

And it’s awesome for sleeping.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tables Turned

One of the benefits to writing a dad blog is editing. While it may seem like you’re getting no holds barred, honest look into our lives, you’re really only seeing what I want you to see. I keep the funniest bits. But I also liberally trim off all the parts where I scream, “shut up shut up shut up!” Or the bits where I really, truly put my sons in harm’s way (I’m pantomiming drinking a beer while driving).

I enjoy the control of my scripted for television parenting. So it makes me very angry when non-scripted information gets out into the public. Particularly when the audience for this non scripted into are Elijah’s teachers.

Let’s take a step back for a second.

Yesterday morning, we were engaged in our thrice a week struggle to get Elijah to school. We could all wake at 4am and we’d still be 15 minutes late in getting that boy out the door. After rushing through my own morning routine, I slapped on my coat, grabbed my keys and announced we were getting in the car for school.

Diana was chasing Luca, trying to wrestle him into his coat, so all I had to do was find Elijah. He was in our office, playing on the computer still clad in his pjs and a nighttime diaper so laden with urine it looked like he was growing another butt.

I loudly announced that Eli had better run out of the office and into his school clothes before violence happened. Elijah stared deeply into the computer screen and mumbled something meant to stall me.

In a boil of anger, I slammed the laptop closed. Eli began punching the air (a much healthier alternative to punching people), bug eyed and furious.

“I’m so so mad at you, daddy!”

I ignored him and pulled his pajama top over his head a little too roughly.

So last night I get home and I see a note on the fridge. It was one the usual notes from school Eli brings home. It’s an activity list (“Karate Carl came by for a demonstration”). But they also throw something in that’s specific to Eli (“Eli told the class about Grover’s poop today…”).

Well at the bottom of this note was the following:

“Eli told the class how angry he is at his dad for not letting him play on the computer.” And they added a little smiley face

What? How dare he narc on me to his teachers? I ignore my sons’ privacy. Not the other way around.

I stomped downstairs and found everyone in the boys’ room. All nude except Diana.

“Eli, why did you tell your teachers that bunk about being mad at me?”

“Because you wouldn’t let me play on the computer.”

“Yeah, well now I look like a jerky dad.”

“I’m making a clothes salad for the Queen.”

I looked down and he was, in fact, making a nice salad out of laundry and I thought, "I gotta remember that for the blog.”

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


A warning. This blog entry has been rated “BMS.” For Bowel Movement Story.

Last week was a tough one for the whole gang. Diana, Elijah and Luca were super sick. I managed to avoid the germs because I was in my hermetically sealed office working around the clock. What’s the point of living in a beautiful state when all you see is your computer screen?

The point? Kitty‘s cabin.

Our Evanston friend Kitty’s family has a cabin in the mountains. And Kitty, who is beautiful, funny, smart, nice and possibly the greatest person in the world, lets people she likes stay there. Did I mention she was awesome? And great? And totally great?

Where was I? Oh, brown nosing Kitty. Anyhoo, in an effort to re-introduce ourselves, we drove the three hours to Salida, Co. The road to Salida is beautiful, but one of those winding roads that features a testicle shriveling drop off on one side. Since I am more accustomed to the ½ mile trip to Eli’s school three times a week, I was a little white knuckled. And then it started.

“I have to go to the potty!”

I looked around the miles and miles of non bathroom and cringed. “Well, buddy. We’ll stop when we get to a town.”

“I have to go NOW.”

I swept my hand across the vista. “We’re in the middle of nowhere. We can’t just pull over.”

“I have to poop!”

Diana said, “Let’s just pull over and let him go.” Now, this was the same woman who had just finished reading to me from a guide book in great detail about how the whole state of Colorado was considered mountain lion country. And that Colorado mountain lions have a particular taste for little pooping boys. Little pooping boys named “Eli.”

I tried to ignore her and strained my eyes to see any form of civilization.

“Poop is coming out of my butt, daddy!”

I swerved the car over and onto a dusty dirt road. I think it was called “Mountain Line Snack Lane.” Diana hopped out with Eli got him into a squat. I, safely inside the car, turned to Luca and said, “If we see a mountain lion, I promise to honk the horn to scare it. Before you and I drive away.”

He replied, “Car.”

Elijah finished his business (copious, as usual) and we eventually got back on the road and to Kitty’s cabin. Which was gorgeous. Just like Kitty.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Colorado Germs

Aside from missing my brother Steve real hard, I love Colorado. We gots a great house, I gots a great job. We gots great friends. I’ve been able to shed my fear of the word “gots.” We’re 99.8% happy.

Oh, what’s the .2% unhappy part? The super smart Colorado germs. These little bastards knew I was going to be busy this week. And this is the week they chose to mount their offensive on the Hamann family.

So while I’ve been toiling late nights pouring over for synonyms of “mountain,” Diana and the boys have been sick as dogs. Chest coughs. Runny noses. Projectile vomiting.

The worst part? Elijah inherited my tendency to be an absolute a-hole when I’m sick. He’s been a complete jerk this whole week. I don’t know actually know the details of his offenses because whenever Diana tried to explain them to me in her sick voice, I’d say, “You sound exactly like my Grandma June!”

I came home the other night to see a simple note on our fridge. It read, “Elijah cannot watch TV for 2 nights. I love you.” My heart sunk. The entire basis of my babysitting in the 6am hour is turning on TV.

The next morning, I woke up to Luca squalling. When I finished giving him his bottle and changed his diaper (or as he says, “Piper-Piper.”), Eli was sitting up in bed. He was pale and red eyed.

He rubbed his face and said, “I can’t watch TV, daddy. I lost my privledges.”

I said, “And we’re all being punished this morning.” We three trudged upstairs and, without TV, had to sink to playing with each other, laughing and learning life lessons.

No, I am not happy about it.

p.s. Since I haven’t been home in the last week to take kid pics, this is my Chicago friend Jimmy Olson and me in our Denver offices. Yes, they required that we grow beards.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Stop, Go, Eye

Being surprised by Luca ain’t hard. Every day, he seems to have a new word. The other night, I was reading him a book about body parts and he said, “Eye.”

I said, “Eye? As in the thing you see with? Or Aye, as in what you say to a pirate captain?”

In response, he poked me in the eyeball. He’s got way too many other words to waste time with here, but my favorite thing he says is, “Aaargh Spider!”

Truth be told, it’s from a book Diana reads to him titled “Aaargh Spider!” But I just love it when he pads around, stops and shouts, “Aaaa ‘Pider,” for no reason what so ever (Denver outlawed spiders in 1962).

Elijah, on the other hand, is harder to be surprised by. He has a fairly strong command of the English language. Sometimes he’ll get you by walking into the kitchen and saying, “Something smells DELISH in here.”

But the other night, he got me good.

We were reading the book, “Go Dog Go,” which involves dogs, um, going and stuff. But we got to a part where a line of dogs were driving sports cars. Why? For the same reason a group of dogs were playing on top of a blimp two pages earlier. Because author P.D. Eastman was a known heroin stiffer (dear Eastman family legal team, I am joking).

Suddenly, Elijah says, “Go. G. O. Stop. S.T.O.P.”

I closed the book and stared at him. “Did you just read, young man?”

“I don’t know.”

I pointed at “go.” I said, “What’s that word?”

“Gu-Oh. Go.”

I pointed at the S word.

“Sss-tuh-oh-puh. Stop.”

“Are you kidding me, man? Who taught you how to do that? That school we spend too much on?”

“They’re just letters, daddy. Did you know “daddy has three d’s?”

I did not know that.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Close The Door

Over the last fourish years, we’ve accumulated a fair number of children’s’ books. We got books about green eggs. We got books about ham. We got books about the combination of green eggs and hams.

I like reading 99.9% of them. But there is a small collection of books that drive me up the wall. Books that I take great efforts to hide behind the bookshelf. Books that are too long or too dumb or feature that “Go Diego Go” kid who yells all the time.

But there is one book that I hate more than all the others. It’s called “Open the Door, Little Dinosaur.” It’s a crappily drawn book that involves a dinosaur who, well, opens doors while looking for his mommy. Each page has a little cardboard flap that opens (“Is mommy in the basement? No, it’s Daddy!”). It ends with the dinosaur’s birthday or something. Everyone knows dinosaurs don’t open doors. They don’t have opposable thumbs. I know my description makes it seem like a harmless book. But that book was the work of the devil.

I was pretty sure I burned the book in a trash can. And melted the trashcan. And buried the trashcan in our yard in Evanston. And poured concrete over the trash can and then built a swing set over the concrete. And burned the swing set. And then burned down our Evanston house.

Imagine my surprise when Luca shoved the book in my face the other night.

I gasped. “No, Luca. That book is eviiiiil,” I pinched the book in my finger and thumb and dropped it to the floor.

I picked up the nearest baby book. “Ooh, look. ‘Baby’s First Words!’ Car…girl…boy.”

Luca slapped the book out of my hands and wriggled out of my lap. He shoved the crappy dinosaur book in my face again.

Rather than deal with a crying Luca, I read the book. But in the least enthusiastic way ever. I sounded like Ben Stein on his worst day. After the book was over, I dropped it to the floor.

“See? Bad book. Bad book. Boring. Now let’s get back to the exciting tales of the car, boy and girl.”

Luca scrambled to the floor and retrieved it. He demanded another reading. And another. And another. And another.

As I read the evil book the twentieth time, I could have sworn the little dinosaur winked at me.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Cleaner

Yesterday, I volunteered to clean our bathroom floor to ceiling. Now, before you start going, “Awww,” and thinking I’m a great guy, check the calendar. Yesterday was the Superbowl. My sudden desire to clean was a calculated effort to gain permission to watch the game with as few interruptions as possible with a one year old and a 3 year old.

After gathering my supplies (Beer? Check. Other beer? Check) and heading downstairs, I noticed I had acquired an assistant. Namely, Elijah. A-ha! Cleaning the bathroom plus keeping Eli out of Diana’s hair? I was just racking up points.

Eli turned out to be a fairly effective helper monkey. I put him on “Fantastik Heavy Duty Antibacterial” spray gun patrol. After spending a few minutes in “Time Out” for putting his lips on the nozzle, we got our system down. I’d point in the general direction of the tub/sink/toilet and he’d unleash a torrent of SC Johnson’s finest. Then I’d get down to business scrubbing. Elijah also felt it was his duty to point out all the places I missed.

We did a pretty darned good job on the tub and the sink, but we really went to town of the toilet. Elijah just murdered that porcelain. Once I thought we were good, he’d blast it again with another barrage. I finally had to wrestle the gun away from him because I was sick of having my face so close to toilet water.

I stood back and admired our handiwork. The chemicals probably altered both Eli and my DNA for the worse, but man that toilet sparkled.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of butt cheek. And before I could say anything, Elijah was sitting on our newly scrubbed toilet, undoing everything we had just worked so hard to accomplish.

“What are you doing? We just cleaned that!”

“I’m just going pee pee, daddy.”

“No you aren’t! I have a nose!”

Realizing that screaming at a 3 year old about going to the bathroom was how weird fetishes start, I swallowed by rage. In the end, I had to hand it to him. That kid has timing.

My bid to watch the Superbowl was in vain. Both Elijah and Luca spent the game trading off between crawling all over me and standing directly in front of the TV. I’m not exactly sure who one. Budweiser?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Good One

I’ve been guilty of “Beatle-fying” my boys. Trying to reduce them down to their most Beatle-esc descriptors. You know, The Cute One, The Funny One, The One With The Raging Heroin Addiction, etc.

I’ve reduced Elijah and Luca to The Dramatic One and The Good One. Aside from the almost biblical laziness this represents in my parenting, it’s also not really accurate. Well, half not accurate. Eli is currently staging his latest one act play, “I want to only sit in front of TV or computer screens,” on the kitchen floor.

But Luca? He is going to great lengths to shed his “The Good One” stereotype.

He takes great pleasure in slapping me in the face. Hard. I’ll be holding him and, BAM, right in the kisser. Oh, does he laugh at this. Right after he marvels at the red replica of his hand on my cheek.

Luca has also loves to chuck his food. When he is finished with his bottle, he snatches it from my hands and tosses across his bedroom. I can’t blame him, there’s something cathartic about giving a bottle a good toss (see my post from week 1 of Elijah’s life). There is also no end to the amount of food he will chuck from his high chair.

Grover loves this. He is currently trying to extract a piece of banana lodged in the fur between his shoulder blades. This will be a delightful way he’ll spend his afternoon.

And for some reason, having his diaper changed is cause for some epic, epic tantrums. I’m not sure what his deal is. He gets a clean diaper. He gets to viciously grab his genitals, he gets to say the word “diaper,” which he pronounces “pieder.” But for some reason he shrieks and writhes like someone is viciously grabbing his genitals.

So I was beginning to question my Good One stereotype.

But then he started with the smooching. Luca smooches now. Not exactly with his lips. But if you ask him for a smooch, he will gently incline his head towards your face.

Never mind. He’s The Good One.

Friday, February 4, 2011

No Go and Tell

About five minutes after I got home last night, Diana and I were sitting on our couch watching a half naked Luca and a fully naked Elijah and Grover run around like lunatics.

Eli crawled cross Diana and my laps, thrusting his butt in our faces. Diana felt like this was an appropriate time to discuss the rules of touching.

“Eli. Who are the three people who can touch your private parts?”

“I don’t know,” he said. I wondered if Grover was included in the three.

“Me, daddy and your doctor. No one else can touch you.” She emphasized her point by spanking his butt.


As he shoved his butt closer to my face, I suddenly remembered a public service announcement Emmanuel Lewis did in the 1980’s.

“If someone touches you, you have to say NO, then GO, and TELL someone you trust.” Elijah continued pointing his rear in my face. I began to wonder if we were broaching the subject a little too early for him. But I was already in.

“Eli, now listen. You have to say NO! Then GO! And TELL. Just like Emmanuel Lewis.”

Diana said, “Just like who?”

I ignored her and kept after Eli. “Eli, I want you to repeat after me. NO! GO! TELL.”

Elijah responded by breaking wind in my face.

This morning, I walked out of the bathroom to find Grover sprawled out on our daybed. Elijah was sitting next to the dog, staring at the TV, absentmindedly scratching Grover’s crotch. Or what used to be Grover’s genitals.

I said, “Grover, are you going to say NO, then GO and TELL someone you trust?” I led Eli into the bathroom to wash his hands.

Grover looked like he was going to bit me.