Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Eve 2012

It’s that time of year again.  When I write a letter to my boys and wife to signify the end of another kick ass year of being a dad.

Dear Elijah,

I know who you are now.  It seems like all the pieces of what makes Eli Eli fell into place this year.  And let me tell you, I hope you stay this person for the rest of your life.  Because this person is completely awesome. 

You are kind.  Generous.  Funny as all get out.  You are beautiful to your brother and treat your mother like the queen she is.  You have a huge heart and you have never met a person you didn’t love, and who didn’t love you. 

I hope you’ll remember being five as a time you sang, played, laughed and screamed in outright joy.  I’ll remember it as another in a long line of best years of my life.

Don’t tell Luca, but you are my favorite son.

Dear Luca,

How can I be so lucky as to have someone like you in my life?  There’s a light that surrounds you wherever you go.  Total strangers stop and stare at you on the street because of the sheer pleasure that you live every second of every day.

I would give anything just to see the world through your eyes.  To feel your intense love of everything.  Well, fire trucks, mostly. 

You eat passionately.  You play passionately.  You hug and kiss passionately.  Cynicism has no place in your life.  And I promise to keep it from you for as long as humanly possible.  Because the world doesn’t need another cynic.  It needs Lucas.

Don’t tell Elijah, but you are my favorite son.

Dear Diana,

You taught your sons how to take risks.  You taught your sons how to act without compromise.  You taught your sons to follow their passions.  You taught them how to truly live.

I can never thank you enough for these lessons.  I am so, so proud of you and I am honored to be your husband.  All of your sacrifices will pay off a thousand fold.  Please put aside an extra bottle of Champagne at the store for just you and me.

You are my favorite person in the world.
I love you.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Black Flakes

Looking onto the toy invasion that is our basement, I have to admit, I’m pretty proud of myself.  Our children are spoiled rotten and I wouldn’t have it any other way.   Money may not be able to buy love, but I’m fairly sure fire trucks can.

However, there is one place that remains unchanged after 5 plus years of baby having:  the bathtub.  Our bathtub is a museum dedicated to the go go 2008’s.  There are a couple squishy plastic fishes.  A couple squishy plastic sharks and a couple squishy plastic fire trucks (natch). 

Oh yeah sure.  Occasionally a Star Wars guy will show up in the tub for a visit, but he is usually ousted in favor of stuff that still cared what was happening in “Lost” or “Friday Night Lights.”

Last night, I threw the boys in the tub for their nightly soak.  Luca asked for me to dump the toys into the bath, which I obliged to give me time to look at Facebook posts for 5 minutes until they began fighting.

I heard a commotion a little earlier than usual.

“Dad!  Dad!  Gross! 

I looked at the calendar and thought it had been a while since one of them crapped in the tub, so strolled into the bathroom, slotted spoon in hand.

But it wasn’t poop, it was something far worse. 

Apparently, 5 years of dampness had taken their toll on the bath toys.  The insides of each had become caked with mold.  Black, disgusting mold.  Which was now flaking off into our tub. 

I tried scooping the mold out of the tub, but the little black flakes were elusive.  Instead, I scooped up the offending tub toys and immediately threw them into the garbage.

Instead of thanking me profusely for saving their lives, the boys began crying.  “Don’t throw away our sharks, dada!  We love them!”

“But they are killing you.  Literally.  Look at these black flakes.  No, don’t eat them!”

To calm the boys, I told them I was merely going to wash the tub toys and they’d be fine tomorrow.  While I was burying them in the garbage can. 

I hoped against hope they’d forget about the toys by their next bath time.  Which, by my watch, will happen in 30 minutes.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2013

Elijah and Luca are at the perfect ages for Santa.  In other words, threats to be good.  The mere mention that Santa was going to skip over our house was enough to make their blood run cold. 

I sometimes get carried away.

“Eat your carrots or Santa is going to throw all your presents into Lake Michigan.  Go to bed or Santa will collect all your presents in our yard and set fire to them right in front of you.”

I had to take those to back as jokes. 

Christmas Eve came with the idea of going to afternoon Mass.  Diana was 100% into going for 5 whole minutes.  Elijah and Luca were up for it, if only to see who this Jesus fellow was everyone keeps talking about.  I was up for it until fifteen minutes before, when I saw the boys had no intention of being anything up naked.  I asked forgiveness like a true part time Christian and opened a bottle of wine.

Cousins and Grandpa arrived.  We ate pigs in blankets and ate Rits crackers and cheese and had a generally great time.

The boys went to bed with the supreme threat of do not leave your room or Santa will only deliver the heads of your action figures.

It was silent for 25 minutes when I heard Eli on the steps.

“You are on thin ice, mister.”

“Luca pooped, Dad!”

Touché, boys.  I got Luca cleaned and into bed again and Diana, her dad and I did the waiting game.  The boys finally stopped thrashing at around 10pm and we set out the Santa gifts.  We went to bed early, knowing there was no force on earth that could keep them in bed past 6am.

At 1am, Diana woke up in a cold sweat.  She realized she had forgotten two vital Santa presents in the basement of the wine store. 

I said, “Well that sucks.  No sense in ruining our Christmas Eve for plastic Light Sabers and Bat Caves.  We’re going, aren’t we.”  Diana was afraid the two toys would ruin the existence of Santa for them.  Unlike revealing Santa’s fakeness in a blog.

We raced back and forth to the store and slept like fiends for the next two hours until the boys awoke.

Christmas morning was filled with the joy of shredded paper, unopenable packaging and one of the scariest pairs of slippers known to man.

In other words, it was awesome yet again.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sexy Ladies

Luca is in an unbelievably cute stage right now.  Which bodes well for his Christmas haul.  On top of the usual steady stream of hilarious stuff coming out of his mouth, he seems to have caught a little bit of that age old disease, Girl Fever.

Two examples.

One.  The other day, Diana picked Luca up at PDO (his day care) and the teacher was in particularly high spirits.  Blushing, even. It seems that when it was milk time, Luca received his paper cup from her and said, “Thank you for the milk, sexy lady.”

To head off some kind of child/teacher harassment suit, Diana quickly explained that “Hey, sexy lady” was the chorus of his favorite song, “Gangnam Style.”  His PDO teacher was visibly disappointed.

Two.  Diana’s wine store (702 Main Street, hurry for end of the year deals) has one employee.  The lovely Kate.  If you are going to staff a store called “The Wine Goddess,” it doesn’t hurt to have a pretty lady or two on hand.  Diana ain’t no dummy.

Anyhoo, the other night, Luca stopped, mid chicken nugget bite, and asked, “Hey dad, do you know Kate, from Mommy’s work?”

“Yes.  Yes I do.”

“Well, I want to have a sleep over with Kate.  But when I’m older.”

I couldn’t resist telling Kate about Luca’s offer.  She merely said, “I’ll talk to him in 18 years.  We’ll see if his offer still stands.”

We’re getting ready for our Christmas Eve fun.  Cousins, appetizers, Legos, a vague threat to go to mass.

Have a great Christmas, Christmas celebrating friends.  Non Christmas celebrating friends, have a great evening watching movies.  I hear "The Hobbit" is awesome.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I’ve found it difficult to put virtual pen to paper this week. I’m still coming to grips with the Newtown tragedy. 

For those of you who are reading this in 2027, there was an unthinkable shooting at a Connecticut grade school a week go.  Many of the victims were children Elijah’s age. 

I cannot fathom what the parents of those kids are going through. It’s a horror so deep I can’t even begin to wrap my head around it.  It’s like trying to figure out an algebra problem where the answer is always hell.

I was working from home when I heard.  My dad broke the news to me via text.  It read, “Especially with the Ct. tragedy, sending you and your family a hug.  Let’s count our blessings.”

A quick scan of the internet confirmed that the world can be a terrible place.

It just so happened, Hannah and Luca entered the house, fresh from PDO.  I immediately gave him a most unwanted embrace.  But he could see something was up.  After he squirmed away he said, “Dada, can you be here when I wake up from my nap so I can hug you?”

I said yes.

Diana needed to pick up Eli from school at a chemical level, so she took off from work.  She also threw away every toy gun in our house.  Yes, even the Boba Fett gun.  We also had a serious need to do something for them.  Even though they had no idea what had happened.  We just needed to make them feel special and safe and loved. 

So we went to Chuck E Cheese for dinner. 

We claimed it was to celebrate Eli’s good Kindergarten grades.  On the way, we turned the radio on to the all Christmas song station.  But the normally saccharine DJ mournfully spoke about the day’s event.  We snapped the radio off before it could register.

We walked into the brightly lit sensory assault and Eli and Luca immediately ran to the nearest gun video game they could find.   

Sunday, December 16, 2012

First Report Card

May I present Elijah Steve Hamann’s first report card, word for word from his awesome Kindergarten teacher, Faye Pais…

“Eli’s investment in Room 4 is 500% (!) mindful of every routine, involved with every moment of our workings and interactions, piece of paper and conversations, each child’s foibles and successes.  He’s probably in line for the CEO job of a major corporation with an eye for every concern.  He certainly keeps track of me!! Seriously, sometimes I just need to reassure him that I have it all covered….His learning is absolutely “on fire” with constant delight and awe that he can read nearly everything he sees and he is working hard to use his letter sounds to create text for writer’s workshop.  It is difficult at times for him to complete projects because his focus is diverted with all the goings-on, but certainly not because the work is too difficult.  His numeral recognition is very strong and his “teen” writing practice will become more secure with continued experience.  He has a sensitive nature who can express empathy and care towards others and who feels emotions deeply.  He is eager to please, takes mistakes seriously, and welcomes the reassurance that we can solve pretty much any trouble. He is so in love with school that he even laments that he’ll miss it on the weekend.  That, of course, is the sweetest thing for any teacher to hear!!”

And that, my friends, is how you earn a trip to Chuck E Cheese.