Monday, February 27, 2012

Non Disaster

Typically, when I am out of town, my calls to Diana go through a fairly set cycle. On the first couple calls, everything is hunky dory. Kids awesome. House awesome. Dog Awesome.

By about call 5, cracks start to show. Kids aren’t sleeping. House not clean. Dog poop in the basement.

And towards the end, I cross my fingers hoping not to get THAT call. The curt, exhausted, “The house is on fire. A hobo lives in our basement. Grover is currently chewing my leg and Luca is chewing my arm and Elijah is chewing my face. Come home now or do not come home at all.”

But for some reason, THAT call never happened on this last trip. There was an eerie sense of happiness that I imagined was a result of well behaved kids or a sudden switch in Diana’s stance on illegal substances.

I’d call and hold the phone away from my ear and wince and she’d talk in an all too cheery voice, “Things are great. Luca slept until 7:30, Eli hasn’t punched anyone and Grover is finishing up the dishes.”

I’m honest enough to admit, this disappointed me. There’s a part of me that liked it when the house went to crap. It made me feel unimportant that I wasn’t, like I keep telling myself, the only thing keeping the family together.

When I arrived home Saturday, I hoped Diana’s positive would prove to be an elaborate lie and at the very least, they’d all be crying.

But the moment I opened the door, I saw the house was immaculate. There were beautiful hand drawn “Welcome Home Dada” signs everywhere. The children were dressed in non-destroyed clothing and greeted me like completely un-feral beasts.

“Hello father. Welcome home. We missed you ever so much. May we take your top coat?”

Okay, that’s a lie. They did freak out and screamed with glee and Grover body slammed Luca. But to my disappointment, there was not one single hobo living in our basement.

p.s. Today’s photo is of their newest evening activity, “Window Naked Crazies.” Our neighbors love us.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Immediately after experimenting with video chats, we completely threw that idea out the window and went back to good old fashioned telephone calls.

A few days ago, I spent a few minutes whining to Diana about how difficult it is to stay in luxury hotels and eat expensive meals and generally be treated like a big shot. “…and I told my producer, ‘I won’t eat medium rare Wagyu Beef. I won’t. And then I threw it in her face…”

At this point she desperately tried change the subject and snatched the nearest child.

“Elijah! Do you want to talk to your dada?”

In the background, I distinctly heard him say “No.” Followed by the muffled sound of wrestling and a phone being shoved into a 4 year old face.

“Hello dada.”

“Hi buddy! I miss you so much. How are you? What are you doing? Have you played with Finn today? How is school? Are you being nice to your mommy? What did you eat today? I love you I love you.”

“Bye bye dada.”

This was followed by more wrestling and indistinct angry whispering.

“I love you dada and I miss you.” His tone was that of a hostage victim forced to renounce his country at gunpoint.

From here we went to Luca, who was eager to get on the phone.


Diana then forced him to say he loved me at gunpoint.

We then went to my favorite part, Grover. She held the phone up to his floppy ear and I spewed out my love for my special little guy. She then described his reactions.

“He is wagging his tail. He is sniffing the phone. He is sitting. He is walking out of the room.”

I did not get the bonus of an “I love you” from the dog. But I got one from my wife, not at gunpoint.

Monday, February 20, 2012


We recently opened our refinished basement for business. But not before I bought a ridiculous TV. It was a reward for being a giant baby about how much money we were over budget on the project only 88% of the time.

But the TV is huge, flat, and according to the box, filled to the brim with plasma. After I unpacked it and hooked it up, Elijah was on his best behavior. He was almost…too nice.

“I love you daddy!” he’d shout at completely random moments. “Cute shirt, daddy!” he’d proclaim as I picked cheese off the sleeve. But then I realized his purpose: my pal Tom had left his X-Box at our place.

I had a brief, but passionate addiction to X-Box in my late 20’s and I was worried that Elijah would inherit it. But after a negotiation that involved zero tolerance for bother hitting and whining, he was allowed a session of “Star Wars Lego.”

We actually had a great time playing. Too great.

Elijah’s sole purpose in life quickly became “Play X-Box.” Anything positive that happened to him was quickly followed by, “Can I play X-Box?” He managed to insert X-Box into the most casual conversation.

“Mommy, Daddy, it’s snowing canIplayX-box outside!” “Mommy! I’m wearing my Curious canIplayX-Box George underwear!” “Luca! Stop canIplayX-Box pinching me!”

A few days ago, Diana made the executive decision to send the X-Box home with Steve and Finn. I was happy about this decision because it occurred while I was out of the country. Finn and Steve were happy about this decision because they got the X-Box. Diana was happy about this decision because the X-Box did not match our paint downstairs.

Elijah was not happy about this decision.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


I know it’s been almost a decade since I’ve been to London, but I was under the impression that there were no children within the city limits. But I’m finding the streets covered with little 4 year old and 2 year old boys. All named Elijah and Luca. And all hell bent on making me miss my sons terribly. And, in some cases, stealing my wallet for the Artful Dodger.

I kid you not, part of my job here is to find 2 little kids and a Mom to be in a commercial. After the 100th cute little blond boy and brunette mom walked though, I began to weep openly. I also began shouting from the casting couch, “Hey! Who wants to play T-Rex CafĂ©? Do you like fire trucks? No? Get out of my sight!”

I found myself sitting in a pub drowning my sorrows in a delicious Guinness (it’s true, they taste better here) when the bartender came over and we had this completely fictional exchange:

BARTENDER: ‘Ello guvna. Why so glum in your lift and loo?

ME: I miss my wife and my kids. Bad.

BARTENDER: Take the tube ‘ome and chat ‘em up on ye olde video chat on ye olde computer! Chim chim cheree!

ME: Yeah! I can do a video chat! Thanks, fictional London bartender!

I ran home and got on a video chat with Eli and Luca and Di. Within minutes, both boys were fighting so vigorously over the camera that we had to disconnect.

But it alleviated my pain for the rest of the day. I can now make it back to the pub.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Hey guys, sorry I’ve been busy for the last 20 years or so. Which means I haven’t been up to date on the blog. To make matters worse for my loyal readers, I’m heading to London for a week.

Hey Diana. Um, why don’t you look at Facebook for a few minutes?

Is she gone? Good. I gotta be honest. I’m kind of glad to be going away for a week. Because Luca is in full on terrible twos right now. Acul, his evil doppelganger, has taken over his body and the three amateur exorcisms we’ve performed haven’t worked. Using a “Wine Spectator” magazine instead of a bible probably wasn’t a good idea.

He’s just so…angry. There is no making him happy. His baba is both too hot and too cold. His pajamas are the wrong kind of fire truck. Every night when we put him to bed we shut his door and hide under our covers until he rages himself to exhaustion.

Elijah, on the other hand, sees the opportunity in this and is acting like the best child to walk the earth. When Luca, I mean Acul, is particularly feisty, Eli will take the time to compliment your shirt. Or give you a random hug and a kiss.

Which is followed immediately by the five most common words in his language:

Can. I. Play. Video. Games.

More on that later.

I’ll try to post a few times while I’m gone, but you’ll have to translate them from Cockney into English. But if you’re looking for a Luca fix, simply poke the nearest bear.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Front Row

Saturday morning, Diana suggested we pack up the kids and head to IKEA.

I snorted, “Yeah, right!” and resumed picking at the lice scabs on my head.

No. Seriously. She wanted us to all go to IKEA together. Now, I love everything about IKEA with the exception of traveling to, visiting and traveling home from their fine establishment. Rather than explain this to Diana, I decided to simply be petulant.

We made it to IKEA with just one mini fight between Di and me. To make things easier, we dropped Elijah off at their kid jail. He could happily color while we dealt with the Sweedes. We made roughly 3.5 feet away when my name was called over the intercom.

“Rick Hamann. Please report to the IKEA kid jail.”

Eli had peed himself and the IKEA jailers weren’t licensed for urine. So I instantly became in charge of both boys so Di could find the perfect particle board for our almost finished basement playroom. This executive decision coincided with Luca’s decision not to spend another second in the cart.

I only lost each of them twice. But eventually we found ourselves standing in the parking lot with our giant pile of boxes. It suddenly dawned on us. We couldn’t fit our giant pile of boxes into the car with the four of us.

The headache that was enjoying amateur status behind my eyeball got called up to the big leagues.

Diana suggested we move Elijah up to the front in his carseat and she’d ride atop the boxes. I resisted this idea, because it goes against every over-parenting instinct in my arsenal. But no amount of Tetris could get our junk to fit any other way.

For the next hour, Eli enjoyed the greatest ride of his life. Up front. He fiddled with every nob he could reach. He got his wish to listen exclusively to Hispanic radio. The temperature was where he liked it, 99.9 degrees.

I, on the other hand, spent the ride in a constant state of panic. I was convinced I would rear end a semi going 150MPH. I combatted this fear by going 7 MPH on the highway. I’m also sure my constant slapping of his hands away from the hazard light button didn’t add to my safety.

At one point a police officer rode up behind us. I was so scared of getting pulled over that I swerved onto a side road, which made us very, very lost. Luckily, Diana had no idea, as she was buried to the head in boxes.

We eventually made it home and I spent the rest of the day cursing those little wrenches the Sweedes include in every kit.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Boys vs Girls

When we got back from Denver, Diana and I decided to actually go out and enjoy some adult time away from the boys from time to time. But the run up to actually getting out of the house and shouting, “We’re Free!” is tough.

To make it easy on our sitter, we try to condense the entire pre-bedtime routine into ½ hour of wiping, milking and shoving before she arrives. And that’s why I found myself huddled under our barely spitting shower with Elijah and Luca last Saturday night.

Much like blame in the advertising industry, grime travels one direction in the shower: to the shortest. I could actually see gunk travel from me to Elijah to Luca. He didn’t seem to care, as he was concentrating hard on throwing buckets full of water onto our bathroom floor.

After the third time I admonished Eli not to drink water run off from my body, he looked up at me and asked, “Dad? Is Luca a boy or a girl?”

“Look at him. He’s all man.”


I paused. Did I want to get into the whole girl parts versus boy parts thing with him? Did I want to be the cause of him shouting, “Boys have penises, girls have vaginas!” in his pre-school class (Name that movie reference. Too late. “Kindergarten Cop.”)? Quite frankly, I did not. But I couldn’t think of another way to answer the question without screwing him up or giving him an attraction to leg warmers later in life.

“Well, Luca has a wenis. You have a wenis. I have a wenis. Luca has a wenis. We’re all boys because we have wenises.”

Yes, I said “Wenis.” I honestly don’t know why I didn’t simply use the “P” word. Somehow I thought that was better.

Elijah stood there looking at our wenises (Or is is “wenisi?”) for a moment. I silently prayed we would not have to discuss their similarities or differences. Or if his mother had one.

I got my wish by way of Eli going back to drinking the trickle of water that trickled from my elbow.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Diana ruined Luca’s last pacifier. I want that on the record so he’ll be able to place that vague feeling he has a hole in his life, decades from now.

As you recall from the post just below this one, Luca is down to his last pacifier. Our passive aggressive way of weaning him off his paci habit for good. Luca’s doc suggested we adjust his last pacifier to keep him from ruining his teeth and end up looking like Steve Buscemi when he turns 3.

First, she said poke a hole in the top of the…uh…nippular region. Which we did a few weeks ago. I guess it relieves some of the pressure. Luca didn’t seem to mind. But when he sucked, it gave off a weird spitty sound. Like a Redneck disposing of Skoal juice.

As a nuclear option, our doctor suggested cutting the top of the pacifier off. Diana did this last night and destroyed Luca. After a few half hearted sucks, he became furious. And hilariously petulant.

He dramatically flung the pacifier to the ground and said, “Throw my paci into the garbage! Throw my paci into the garbage!”

We tried to put his pacifier on his dresser, within easy reach in case he needed comfort in the middle of the night but he couldn’t stand the sight of what used to be the most important thing in the world, now ruined. He wouldn’t stop crying until it was out of the room, in the garbage.

And then the withdrawals started. Luca cried out several times last night needing comfort. The kind of comfort usually supplied by a plastic chew toy. I’m tempted to go to Walgreens on the way home to get him an emergency pacifier.

But that’s called enabling, isn’t it?