Monday, April 30, 2012

Follow Me For Poop



Yay!  Just last week, I was lamenting the eventual demise of that favorite of HamannEggs posts:  The Poop Post.  But Luca gave us this gem just yesterday.

Our most effective form of potty training is to allow our children to go pants-less.  There must be something about having nothing to catch your leavings that makes you want something to catch your leavings.

Last night, before bedtime, Luca was wearing just a pajama top and nothing else.  Suddenly, he stood up from his fire trucks.

“Mommy!  I have a poop in my butt.”

Diana calmly discussed his options.  He could either a) Go sit on the potty.  Or b) put on a diaper.  Either one was fine by her.

“No.  I don’t want to!”

Luca is in that lovely stage where he needs to disagree with everything we say.  Want to get up from your crib?  No.  Want to stay in your crib?  No.  It’s like an Abott and Costello routine where one of them ends up strangled to death.

Luca walked out of the room in a very pinchy way.  Diana was fast on his heels.  She explained that his options did not include pooping in our closet. 

Why don’t you go sit on the potty?  No.  Why don’t you put on a diaper?  No.  Why don’t you go sit on the potty?  No.  Why don’t you put on a diaper?  No.

Diana followed Luca downstairs and into the living room.  Luca’s search for became more and more desperate.

Finally, when he couldn’t take it anymore, he squatted over our big orange rug and let go, according to Diana, “A man sized poop.” 

Luckily, Diana’s diligence paid off.  She caught the poop in a diaper held under his butt.  Unluckily, Luca peed all over her pajama pants. 

Diana told me this story several hours later as we watched TV.  She ended her story by pointing down.  “These pajama pants right here.”




Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hannah



Yesterday, I had a bunch of stuff to get done and rent a car for a business trip and ended up racing home because Diana was at work.  I ran through the front door and said, “Hey you guyyyyyyysssssss!”  And I expected them to leap into my arms.

Instead, both Elijah and Luca immediately burst into tears.

“No!  No!  Daddy!  Don’t be here!  Go back to work!”  Elijah shouted.  Luca actually tried to physically push me out the door.

Both boys crawled into their babysitter’s lap and clung to her like she was a life preserver. 

Her name is Hannah.

It’s as if a scientist constructed a perfect babysitter for the boys in a test tube.  She’s 22 and cute.  She works at, get this, the Lego store and has an employee discount.  She graduated from college with a degree in comic cooks.  A DEGREE IN COMIC BOOKS!

She’s really nice to the boys and creates art projects for them and shows them weird cartoons from other countries.  She also has no apparent drug problem and doesn’t seem to know how to open a bottle of wine.

I sulked into the kitchen and wrote a couple emails while Hannah finished a game with the boys.  I lowered myself on my mental ranking of who Eli loves.  But I prefer it to the option of them crying when Hannah arrives.

On a brighter note, when I left for my business trip this morning, Elijah held onto me and begged me not to leave.  He just happened to be sitting on the toilet at the time.



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Poop Hiding


Yesterday, I got to celebrate my grandma’s life with a good chunk of the Hamann clan.  The event was purely Hamann.  Low key.  Filled with bone dry humor.  And everyone was there 15 minutes early.

While we were eating post funeral lunch at the Elks Club and I was wondering how I could navigate the politics of ordering a beer, I got the chance to chat with my uncle Dick.  After chastising me for not being man enough to live in Denver, he mentioned that he’s a regular blog reader. 

He said he loved my poopy kids and their poop stories.

I realized, more than a little disappointed, that the poop content of the blog has really fallen off since 50% of the main characters are now potty trained.  And with Luca rounding the corner to no diapers, I fear the poop story may become a thing of the past. 

So it is with a heavy heart I present the following:

Luca’s pees are for public consumption.  When he pees on the potty, he announces it with gusto and holds his little pee bucket in the air and we shout and scream and give him stickers.  It’s a big deal, meant to encourage more peeing on the potty and eventually spending less than a million dollars on diapers every month.

But Luca’s poops?  Those are private matters.  Best done in hiding.  Luca prefers to fill his diapers with #2 in closets and under tables and in TV cabinets.

I’ll be minding my own business, watching “Fireman Sam” or talking about “Fireman Sam” or pretending to be “Fireman Sam” when I’ll notice, hey, Luca’s missing.  After a quick scan of the surrounding area, I’ll call out, “Luca?  Luca!  Where aarrree you?”

Then from somewhere off stage, I’ll hear a tiny little voice say, “I’m pooping.”

A few minutes later, he’ll come strolling back with an awful, awful diaper and he’ll ask to be changed.

Neither Diana nor I make a big deal out of this because it’s not like he’s wiping it on the walls like a certain big brother of his used to.  And because if we make a big deal out of it we think he’ll get weird.

And there is something so adorable about hearing a tiny little “I’m pooping” from under Diana’s office desk.

I hope you enjoyed that, Uncle Dick. 

p.s.  My Dad would like to clarify something from my last post. It is Grandma Connie, and not he, who spoils my children with jelly beans.  That's true.  But I was taking a little poetic license in that last post.  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Grandma Carol

My grandma passed away a couple days ago. She didn’t struggle. She didn’t suffer from a long, painful illness. She simply decided to go. 

When Dad called with the news, I felt sad for myself. And sad for my dad. But I also felt sad for Elijah and Luca. Because they’ll really never know their great grandma. Grandma Carol’s mind gave up the fight years ago.

 But over the last 24 hours or so I realized this isn’t true at all. They'll know Grandma Carol through my dad.  Because their Grandpa Ed inherited everything that made my Grandma Carol the Queen of Grandparents.

 Her endless supply of chocolate chip cookies. Her ability to trick you into thinking you didn’t just bash your head into a coffee table by shouting “Bingo!” My dad seems to have been taking careful notes over the last 20 years. He just swapped jellybeans for cookies.

 I used to think Grandma Carol liked me best. I’m sure Dave and Steve thought so as well. And I genuinely think Eli and Luca feel bad for each other because Grandpa Ed so clearly likes him more. 

So thank you, Grandma Carol. For being an awesome lady. And for making my dad the King of Grandparents.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bike



Last Friday, I spent the afternoon at the White Sox game for work. Where I was required, BY MY JOB, to drink a bunch of beers in plastic cups and eat a fist full of hot dogs. I would have been fired if I didn’t.

When I arrived home, I was not in the condition to put together Elijah’s birthday present: A brand new bike. But you know what? I’m a dad. Putting together your son’s first bike is a duty one does not stumble away from.

So I hoisted up my mustard stained jeans and got to work. And when I finished my project (it took roughly three times longer than a sober person to put together) I marveled at my creation.

It was a bright yellow “Jeep” brand bike, complete with graphics of mud splashes and tire tracks and other cool, Jeepy stuff. When Tom saw it, he wondered aloud why a company would put out a product meant to ride along side automobile traffic with tire tracks already on it.

Surprisingly for a child who shuns sunshine, Eli loved it. And actually requested we go out and ride. So I plopped Luca on his tricycle, and placed Eli on his bike in front of our house and went on an adventure.

He seemed to understand the concept of riding a bike, if not the actual physical mechanics. His legs were so weak from sitting in front of the TV for the first five years of his life that he was unable to ride over the cracks in our sidewalk.

“Dada! I’m stuck!” He’s shout. I’d gently kick him in his lower back to nudge him over to the next cement square. Where he’d peddle furiously to the next crack and shout, “Dada I’m stuck!”

Meanwhile, Luca would sit in his tricycle and wait patiently not peddling for me to push him up a square. His manner of chess-riding got us to the end of the block in 72 days.

At the end of the block, we saw Lincoln, the cute 4 year old boy who lives in a white house. Lincoln was peddling his tricycle back and forth.

Elijah shouted out to him, “Hey Lincoln, why are you riding a baby bike? I got a big boy bike.”

I leaned over to Eli and whispered, “First of all, what we are doing isn’t exactly riding a bike. Second, you’ve peed your pants, so I wouldn’t go throwing that “baby” label around too much.”

We spent the next several hours and most of Sunday riding back and forth on our little street. I will admit, I got a little chocked up by Eli’s leap into this world of bike riding. But it could have been a hangover.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

FIVE







Yesterday, Elijah turned five. We decided to have a party with his friends. Not just one or two or 10 friends. Every single friend Eli could think of. We pulled kids off the street.

“Hey, you look like you’re five. Want to come over and destroy a house?”

In the hours before the kids were set to arrive, I paced around my house, eying that open bottle of wine from the night before. It’s not considered alcoholism if your 9am drinking is to prepare for an onslaught, right?

I opted to keep my senses sharp.

Dad and Connie showed up right before the kids. We put dad in charge of the silly string. Connie was crowd control. We put Luca in a sniper position on the roof of the neighboring church.

Then they arrived.

And it freaking great. 5 year olds are awesome. They stood perfectly in line at the Darth Vader piƱata. Shout out to their teacher, Miss Rachel for that. They ate with their mouths closed. They did not steal my TV.

And they danced with glee. Oh how they danced. We turned our basement into a miniature rave for a good hour. Is there anything more awesome than a 5 year old dancing? Or fifteen 5 year olds dancing?

They jumped and jived and did the robot and had no concept of if they were cool or uncool or if their moves were Beyonce approved. It was joyous.

Eli was showered in Legos and books and guns and all the other stuff a five year old dreams of.

By 1pm, it was all over. And Diana went immediately to bed.

Okay, here goes.

Dear Elijah,

Every time you walk into the room, a powerful glow radiates from my heart. If we could harness it, we could light Tokyo for the next 100 years. And I realized why about five seconds ago. It's because you don’t have a cynical bone in your body. You only believe in love.

Oh, how I wish you’ll never lose this. Maybe 20 years from now when life makes you feel like being a cynic, you’ll stumble across this blog and remember what it was like to be five and have a father who loves you more than anything in the world.

I love you pal.

Love,

Your Dad.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter 2012



We opted out of taking the boys to church this Easter. The thought of dealing with Luca’s constant screaming imitation of a fire alarm (“BELL BELL BELL BELL BELL!”) was just too stressful to think about. So we reached back into our excuse bag and came up with this gem: we didn’t want to take seats away from regular churchgoers. We’re terrific.

We did, however, buy enough candy to kill a large rabbit. Thankfully, Elijah and Luca are still at the age where getting candy of any kind, even candy 3/4 consumed by their father the Saturday night before, is completely awesome.

We also went through the time-honored process of dying Easter eggs. Paas pellets. Water. Vinegar. The smell alone transported me back to my dad’s house in the 80’s. I could almost hear Fleetwood Mac on the turntable.

Like all children, Eli was mesmerized by the wire egg getter outer thing. That little octagon hasn’t changed a bit. Still won’t actually get the eggs out of the cotton picking cup.

I’m not sure at what point both boys remembered they loved to eat hard-boiled eggs. But within minutes our entire floor was covered with pastel eggshells. And yolk. The boys do not eat yolk. Thankfully Grover does.

The day itself was filled with me staining part of our back porch. A very, very small part of our back porch.

We had a lovely Easter dinner at Kitty’s, where Luca consumed 3 pounds of chocolate and decided not to sleep for the next three days.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Karate Deal



As you know, Elijah’s first trip to Karate didn’t involve any actual punching through brick walls or Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique. He spent the whole time hiding behind Diana’s sexy legs.

Last week, I made it my goal to actually get him to stand with the other kids. If not explode a few of their hearts.

And I had a popsicle up my sleeve. At the ice skating rink that serves as the karate dojo, there is an ample snack bar. And on the front of said snack bar is a massive poster featuring all the $2 sugar and ice treats you can get.

So while we walked to the ice rink, I made a deal with him. If he participated, he could get any treat he wanted.

“What’s ‘participate’ mean?”

I explained he had to stand with the other kids and try. He didn’t have to succeed. He just had to try.

Eli made himself small against my side as we walked.

“I’m a little nervous,” he squeaked.

That’s cool, I said. Everybody gets nervous. But the only way to get a popsicle was to try.

He internalized this as I began to wonder, “What if the Karate guy asks me a question? What if Eli needed paperwork that I forgot? What if he was supposed to be wearing a Karate uniform (or “gi”)? What if the Karate guy uses me as a demonstration and I accidentally pee my pants?”

We arrived at the Karate room only to see it was dark. And locked. Oh yeah. It was the Saturday before Easter. No Karate. Karate cancelled.

Technically, Eli tried. So I bought him a popsicle. And I needed a coffee, which the snack bar served.

On our way home, as Eli slurped on his fruit flavored rocket I asked, “Hey Eli. Tell me the truth. Were you going to do Karate today or were you going to chicken out?”

He flashed a blue grin and said, “Chicken out.”

p.s. These awesome Easter photos are a preview to my Easter forthcoming Easter post. Just as soon as I think of something to write about.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

In Defense of Silliness





Elijah has the week off, so we sent him to soccer day camp. So he’ll at least, you know, know what a ball looks like. The camp is held just down the street and is run by the incredibly named “Coach Success.”

Diana spent yesterday morning watching the camp and her report back was this: Eli is a goofball.

Apparently, when the coaches want your attention, you sit on your soccer ball. Eli can’t seem to stay on his ball. He constantly slid off and flopped to the ground. This bit never got old for him. There are many, many ways to fall off a soccer ball.

Midway through a coach speech, Elijah laid down prone in front of said coach.

Elijah also veered off a dribbling drill and into the nearby field and at one point abandoned the camp altogether and laid down in Diana’s lap.

I asked Diana if Coach Success beat and/or yelled at Eli and she said no, the coaches were generally amused by his antics. And the 16 year old girl assistant coach fell madly in love with him (natch).

After hearing all this, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Eli too. I love that he’s silly. Granted, we try to run a fairly silly household (Our latest game is called “Poop or Barf,” where you pretend to eat a stuffed animal and then the other players guess whether the toy will come out your mouth or butt).

The way I look at it, he’ll have plenty of time to be serious. Too soon his life will be filled with homework and broken hearts and bullies and needing to be the best at whatever sport the cool kids play.

For now I say, fall off that ball Eli. While you still can.

p.s. He did learn a little soccer.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Shy or Not?


Saturday morning, we all walked up the block to attend Elijah’s first Karate class. Putting this child into martial arts has been a dream of mine since before he was born. Because I have a long list of people I need beaten up. Watch your back, Leonard Nimoy!

When we entered the Dojo (by “Dojo” I mean “anteroom next to the ice rink”) we discovered class was already in session. A surprisingly un-medicated blackbelt was leading a group of 4-6 year olds through a series of exercises. He beaconed Eli to join the other kids.

Elijah was overcome by a sudden, and intense shyness. He refused to leave the shelter of Diana’s legs for the entire class. I avoided my desire to hiss how much this was costing by giving Luca a tour of the ice rink (when he becomes the next Brian Boitano, I get full credit).

An hour later, Elijah and I drove to the library only to stop twice along the way so he could roll down his window and talk to people on the sidewalk.

The first woman responded to his “HI! MY NAME IS ELI!” with, “Do I know you?”

He gleefully responded, “No!”

Later, we pulled over to say hi to two hipsters smoking cigarettes. At first, they refused to acknowledge the kid who was shouting from a carseat. But I refused to move the car until one of them recognized cute little boys do exist in their dumb hipster world. Finally, one gestured hello with his cigarette. I did not give him the finger.

So which is it? Is this kid painfully shy or a huge ham? Or maybe there is a third choice. That kids are complicated and aren’t so easily placed into categories and maybe I shouldn’t devote so much time to labeling him.

I’m going to go with ham.