Tuesday, August 28, 2012


A few days ago I talked about Luca’s various bashes and smashes and facial re-arrangement.  But the thing is, it never seems to bother him for more than a few seconds.  After a couple seconds of intense screaming, he snaps back, ready to bleed again.

Elijah has a different philosophy.  If a single cell of Eli’s skin is damaged, he howls in pain.  Heaven forbid he gets a scratch, he demands a tourniquet.  Tears can accompany everything from a bruise to a leaf brushing against his shin.

As a result, he and I have been talking a lot about “manning up.”

Saturday morning, Eli was riding his bike while Luca and I were walking to Penny Park.  I said, “Hey man.  Remember when I said you don’t want to be known in school as the nose picking kid?”

“Uh huh.  I don’t want to be the booger eater.”

“Well, here’s another thing you don’t want to be.  The crybaby.  If you cry every time you get hurt, or cry at the littlest thing, the other kids may not want to play with you.”

Knowing full well he was ignoring me, we continued past his friend Charlie’s house.  As it happened, Charlie was playing in the front yard.  Eli begged him to join us.  A few minutes later, Charlie was riding along side Eli.

Charlie, while the same age as Eli, is a little more advanced physically.  He rides without training wheels.  He can catch a baseball.  And I’m pretty sure he can dunk.  Eli is pretty cool with it.  Because I’m sure he can “Angry Birds” circles around Charlie. 

At the end of the block, Charlie lost control of his bike and crashed to the cement.  Charlie popped up and said, “I crashed!  And I cut my knee!”

Sure enough, blood was gushing down his leg.  Eli ran to his side, “Do you need a Bandaid?”

Charlie said, “No!  it’s just blood.”

I jumped in and over praised, “Wow Charlie!  You sure took that like a man.  No crying for you, huh.  What a big boy you are.  Maybe you should get a giant toy or something later.”

My ploy did not go unnoticed. 

About three steps later, Eli leapt off his bike and fell to the ground.

“Look dad!  I fell!  And I think I got a scrape,” while he examined his leg.

I walked over and over praised him for being a man about it.  Oh boy.  You sure are a tough guy.  Tough as nails.

This began a demolition derby for the next five blocks.  They fell.  They crashed.  The smashed.  Their bikes went tumbling into rose bushes.

As it happens, Charlie is in Eli’s class this year.  I am going to smash them together as much as possible.  And maybe Eli will avoid the crybaby thing.  The booger thing?  We gotta work on it.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Luca’s Body

I thought I’d check in on the latest with Luca’s body.

First off, his face currently looks like a giant hamburger. 

Last week, he was walking across the Skokie pool, most likely in terror of the giant red bucket, while dragging his towel around his feet.  Step.  Trip.  Smash.  He went face first into the cement.  The same cement 500,000 Athlete’s Foot suffering Skokiates has just tromped across.  Most notably, this caused a scab under his nose that can best be described as “Hitlery.”

Then just a few days ago, Diana and Luca were playing a game where Luca hid under our covers and Diana asks, “Why is my pillow talking?”  I’m not sure the other rules of the game, but apparently one critical rule is smashing jumping off our bed and slamming your face into our bedside table.

Diana, who was naked at the time, leapt into clothes in anticipation of a trip to the hospital.  But after a minute of fierce crying, he simply said, “I’m okay.  Can we play the pillow talking game again?”

That’s the bad.  Want to know the good? 

Luca grew out of his peanut allergy!  Yep.  We no longer have to carry around that emergency Epi Pen, except for recreational use. 

Luca had a test that showed he most likely didn’t have an allergy to George Washington Carver’s little babies.  But the only way to be sure was to have him actually consume peanuts. 

This involved sitting in a sterile doctor’s office for three straight hours and giving your kid peanut butter.  But Diana knew Luca was not a fan of brown pastes.  So she came armed with Rees’s Peanut Butter cups.  Which seemed like a great idea at the time.

But after 3 hours consuming, she had to pry him off the ceiling with a tongue depressor.  He doctor proclaimed him free of peanut allergy.  But after a ½ pound of chocolate, he probably has diabetes.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


This is all my fault.  My forced 24/7 labor hasn’t just resulted in grey hair, dark circles and an unsightly paunch, it’s affected my poor, poor son Elijah.  He now officially has that vile condition called “Stone Hands.”

Eli can’t catch a ball.  Not even remotely. 

This is awful.  When I signed up for being a dad, there at the top of the dad sign up form, in big letters it said, “YOU MUST TEACH HIM HOW TO CATCH.”  I have failed in this endeavor so epically that I’m fairly sure he can sue me for emancipation.  But not in the adorable Drew Barrymore way (“Irreconcilable Differences” – 1984). 

Last Sunday, I took Elijah and his two best girl buddies, Callie and Liddy, play with Steve and his brood.

After about three minutes of playing, Liddy came over and said, “Um.  I didn’t know it was going to be this boring when I agreed to come over.”

I suggested we all play catch.  The children formed a circle around me and I tossed a Whiffle ball to each of them, keeping score of who caught the most balls.  The winner got to have me sing a song about how great they are at catching.  Having me sing a song about you is still considered a reward if you are 5.

Here’s how the scores went down:

Callie:  10
Finn: 8
Liddy: 3
Rory: 1
Elijah: 0

Zero.  Goose egg.  Not even close.  Not even an almost catch/bobble.  The ball ricocheted off his hands dramatically.  It was as if the call was trying to escape from our atmosphere.

And I was cheating.  I was giving him the easiest throws in the world.  I was taking a step towards him, laying it out there like a can of corn.  And bam, bonk, biff.  Right off his hands.  Every.  Time.

Luckily, he didn’t care a bit.  He laughed every time the plastic Whiffle hit him in the face.  He also did some nice Pratt falls into the grass.

But this enjoyment will not last.  There will come a time when he will need to be picked for baseball.  And he will be picked last.  At which point he will go all Drew Barrymore on my ass.

I must change this now.  I just texted Diana’s brother, who is babysitting the boys tonight (see paragraph 1).  Let’s hope he can get Eli to raise his catching average to 1.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Luca Likes

Once again, I spent a Elijah-less, Luca-less and Diana-less week at work.  At most, I would get fifteen minutes in the morning, which essentially means handing off some milk, turning on the TV and kissing them goodbye.

Thankfully, I got a slight reprieve Thursday night and was home well before bedtime.  Here’s the ranking of how happy everyone was to see me:

1.     Grover (by far)
2.     Diana
3.     Elijah
4.     The squirrels who taunt Grover on our fence
5.     The ants in our bathroom
6.     The girls from down the street who stole from Eli’s piggy bank.
7.     Luca

In fact, I don’t think I can really even register Luca on the list because his first words upon seeing me was, “I don’t like you.”

Come again?

“I don’t like you.  I like mommy.”

Well, I can understand that you prefer her.  She’s awesome.  But you seriously don’t like me?

“I don’t like you.”

Great.  Diana informed me that Luca had developed a nice, fat Oedipal thing over the last week or so.  And I shouldn’t take it seriously.

With that, she walked out the front door to go pick us up take out sushi.  This threw Luca into a terrible state.  He did NOT want to be with me.  He wanted his mom.

He ran out after her, naked from his bath, and chased her down the street.  He was crying so hard he started hyperventilating. 

Despite my pleading, he refused to leave the middle of the street unless Diana came back and gave him a kiss.

I managed to get him inside and into his PJs.  At which point he realized it was I, and not his mother, who was putting him to bed.

This would not do.

I laid on the floor and Eli laid in his top bunk and we watched Luca paced back and forth, muttering, “When is mommy coming home?  Where IS she?”  Occasionally, I would suggest he try putting his head down on his pillow.

“But where is mommy?  Where IS she?”

Diana eventually made it home with our take out sushi and she got Luca to sleep in about 2 minutes (Elijah, who asked me to read him what I am writing, just suggested I add “that’s awesome” to this paragraph). 

The sushi was not great.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Luca In The Morning

As you can tell by my complete abandonment of the blog, I’ve been b-u-s-y at work.  Real, real busy.  The kind of busy where I wake up at precisely three am every night to get advice from Grover.  His business knowledge can be summed up by breathing terrible dog breath into my face.  Which, when you think about it, is pretty good.

Friday night tossing turned into Saturday morning whisper shouting by the side of our bed.  It was time for Elijah and Luca to quickly drum up a reason why they should be up at 6.

“I have a bad, bad tummy ache,” Eli whined/whispered.

Diana informed him if he had a bad bad tummy ache he wouldn’t be able to go to his cousin’s house later that day.

“I’m real real scared of the dark,” he whined/whispered.

Diana took great pity on me and went downstairs with them.  I rolled around half sleeping for an hour with no luck. 

Diana came in and asked if I’d switch places with her so she could get sleep in preparation for me not being around all weekend due to work.

I gladly went downstairs.  My plan was to sleep on our couch until it was time for me to head to the office.

I found Luca sitting on our leather couch, watching cartoons.  I slipped in beside him and he said, “Hi dada.”

“Hi,” I breathed into the pillow.”


“Uh huh?”

“I think I pee peed in my pants.”

I looked over, with bleary eyes and noticed that Luca was sitting in a massive puddle.  Ducks were migrating to the lake he created. 

I laid back down, thinking, “He doesn’t seem to mind.  It’s gotta be in the warm stage for a little while longer.”

But then I thought, the only thing worse than abandoning your children for the second weekend in a row was abandoning your children and knowingly allowing one to sit in his own filth.

So I sleepily rolled into action.  Got the boy dried.  Mopped up our couch and then put him into pants.

We then went to Dunkin Donuts where we parked next to a security car whose side was completely crushed in.  Luca took one look at the sad, yellow light on the top and shrieked, “Dada!  A police car!  Is there a policeman inside Dunkin Donuts?”

“Maybe a former policeman. But by the looks of this car I imagine this guy was thrown off the force for drinking on the job.”

Luca looked at me with confusion and sadness.

“I mean, yes.  There is a police man in Dunkin Donuts.”

We went inside and Luca stared with awe at the obese man armed with a flashlight standing in line.

I nodded my sleepy nod at him and ordered a pink donut with sprinkles. The police man's special.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Word From The Dog

Hi guys.  I’m super busy at work right now and can’t devote any extra time to blogging.  So I’m going to turn the blog over to Grover, our dog.  My dad is going to be sooo excited.  He loves it when I do this.

Anyhoo, take it away, Grover!

Hello everybody!  It’s me, your loveable pal, Grover.  I’m writing to you from jail.  I’m currently being punished because I screwed up.  Big.  Time.  I’m so distraught that I could urinate on the carpet.  Which I think could make things slightly worse. 

I snapped at the boy. 

Which one?  I don’t know.  I can’t pronounce his name.  It sounds like, “Ehhhhh ehhhh.”  It was the bigger one. 

I was minding my own business, dead asleep on the couch when it came over and began shoving me.  It was saying a bunch of gibberish and pointing to that giant glowing box in the corner of the room.

Now, if it was a rabbit or a squirrel shoving me off the couch, I would have bitten its delicious head clean off.  Instead, I snapped at the boy.  Pretty close to his face.  But I did not connect.  He got really scared and cried a lot.

I know I know.  Not cool.

But I’m getting old.  I’m seven for crying out loud.  And all day long I have to deal with these little hairless monkey crawling all over me.  Pulling my tail.  Riding me like a horse.  I’ve tried to warn them.  By silently staring at them.  Apparently that didn’t get the message across. 

So I snapped. Literally.

The woman human did not take very kindly to it.  She did that thing where she stands over you with her hands on her hips and looks down at you. I shudder to think about it.  She also yelled a lot.  Yep.  Tail right between the legs.

And then she put me in their bedroom and locked the door.  I’ve been here for at least 7 dog hours.  Granted, I am currently laying on their bed with the delightfully stinky pillows and I’m chewing Diana’s favorite stuffed bear.  But it’s still pretty awful.

While I was getting banished, I did hear the woman human tell the boy human something about me in pretty stern terms.  My English is terrible, but it sounded like, “Blah blah blah Grover.  Be nice.  Blah blah blah.”

Well.  I hope I get out here soon so I can go apologize to the boy human.  By staring at him silently.


Saturday, August 4, 2012


I know. I know.  You have to be asking yourself, “What’s going on with Luca’s poop?”  I’m sorry.  I’ve been remiss at not giving regular updates about the production and disposal of his feces.

Well, it’s getting better.  Through the Poopatorium.

If you’ll recall, his whole issue is he has an irrational fear of letting go.  Letting loose the moose if you will.  So he keeps it in and walks around with a really scrunched up face.

But here’s the thing.  We’ve been giving him daily dose of enough laxative to take down the Hoover dam.  So physics and chemistry are against him. 

So to alleviate his fear, Diana devised a safe place where he can do his business. It’s called The Poopatorium.  Or otherwise known as her shoe closet. 

A week ago, Luca was in agony and Diana said, “Hey Luca, let’s just go in here for a while.  This place is called The Poopatorium.”  Luca reluctantly agreed to check it out.  Apparently the sight and smell of women’s shoes was more than enough to release the hounds and we had blissful and rancid success.  In hid diaper, thankfully.

Yes, I am keenly aware that we’re going to cause him women’s shoe related issues later in life.  But first emotionally damaging things first.

The only bummer was when Luca wasn’t near our bedroom.  Or near women’s shoes.  He’d get panicked and clench up again.

But Diana (if you haven’t figured out she’s brilliant by now, shame on you) came up this this simple plan:  She would simply say the Poopatorium moved for that day to wherever was feet from Luca.

Luca would say, “Mommy!  I have to go to the Poopatorium!” 

And she’d reply, “Oh well you’re in luck.  The Poopatorium moved to right here under the picnic table.”  Or, “Hey, the Poopatorium is in that playground slide over there.”  Or, “The Poopatorium is in Dada’s closet for a change.”

So thank you, magical Poopatorium.  You’ve saved our son from major physical, if not mental distress.

p.s.  The Hamann Eggs family just got more kick ass.  My brother Dave and his wife Jolene just welcomed their son Ryker into the world.