Friday, November 30, 2012


When I was in New Zealand, the editor we worked with was this completely awesome British man who lived through the original Punk explosion and had seen The Sex Pistols and The Clash in person.  Needless to say, I demanded he give me child raising advice. 

One of his gems was making your children cook dinner for the family.  It gives them a sense of accomplishment and the feeling of creating something.  He suggested bangers and mash with a nice glass of Guinness. 

This coincided with Diana’s purchase of a children’s cookbook.  It’s this awesome flip book thing with cool recipes like “Spaghetti Pie” and, um, I’m sure there are others but we just made Spaghetti Pie.

Diana was working at the wine store (Get your pre-orders in soon, the doors open in December), so I was in charge of the activity.

Luca requested a chef’s apron and I almost died of cuteness.  I managed to get their hands washed and things quickly went downhill from there.

I realized almost immediately that my celebrity chef doppelganger is the abusive, foul mouthed Gordon Ramsay.  From the show where he yells at people and tells them their food is crap.

Oh man did I yell.  My main beef was don’t eat the cheese.  Don’t eat the cheese.  Don’t eat the cheese.  I’d grade a little pile and four little hands would snatch it.  At one point, Elijah cut out the middleman and gnawed at a block of Parmesan.  Diana found the tooth riddled chunk a few days later and threw it immediately into the garbage.

The Spaghetti Pie was a little more involved that a 5 year old and 3 year old could manage.  A lot of chopping and boiling water and a considerable amount of flambĂ©.  But the boys did manage to toss a few handfuls of uneaten cheese into the dish.  I essentially banished them to the TV halfway through prep.

Once out of the oven, I announced it was time to eat their creation!  Luca dove right in and ate two heaping helpings of Spaghetti Pie.  Elijah, on the other hand, immediately pushed his plate away.

Because he did not like the cheese.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Luca turned three yesterday.  How in the world does this keep happening?  Didn’t we have an agreement?  Weren’t we all going to stay one and a half until I died? 

I just love this kid so much.  He was genuinely surprised that we got him presents.  He kept saying, “What the heck?  Presents?  What the heck?”

Of course, he received a very loud, very bright fire truck that did not leave his side.  He also received a plastic castle with knights, and swords and a little catapult.  This was part of my ten year plan to get him into Dungeons and Dragons by age 13.  Surprisingly, he liked it.  Elijah LOVED it.  He actually eschewed messing around on the computer so he could fight me over the little plastic drawbridge.  And yes, I loved the castle most of all.

We decided as part of a new family tradition, we would eat spaghetti and meatballs and a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake by candlelight. 

We held hands and each said what we love about Luca.  Eli, in a surprising show of brotherly love said, “I love Luca because he is crazy and funny.”  Diana said she loved him because he is trying hard not to hit and he is her special little guy.

I’ll write what I said last night.

Luca, I love you because you are pure.  You are the purest expression of joy and laughter and insanity.  The purest expression of imagination, passion and play.  I love you, pal.  I’m so lucky to be your dad.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Fire Drill

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Ours was filled with fun and great food and beauty and well behaved kids.  Which, as you know, makes for terrible blog entries. 

So instead, let’s talk about fire.

Luca is still deeply obsessed with fire engines.  He can’t stop talking about all things red, loud and mustached.  I keep meaning to get him one of those calendars with the shirtless firemen. 

He insists on reading fire truck books every night.  At the end of them, there’s occasionally a “tips for fire prevention” section.  The usual junk is there.  Don’t play with matches.  Don’t use the stove to light your cigarette.  But they almost all suggest creating a family plan in case of fire.

This made a lot of sense to me.  Because out house was constructed in the “Tinderbox Style” that was so popular in the 1890’s. 

I brought both boys into their room and announced we would be conducing an official Hamann Family Fire Drill.

I said, “Okay guys.  What do you do if you hear the fire alarm?”

Luca said enthusiastically, “We call Iron Man and he’ll come and he’ll fly in and use his powers to blow out the fire.”

I said, “Yeah, I think Dr. Doom is going to be keeping him busy for a while, so what do we do if Iron Man is not available?”

After a dumbfounded pause I continued, “We feel the door.  What do we do if the door is hot?”

Luca said, “We call Iron Man…”

I cut him off and explained again that Iron Man will not be helping.  If the door is hot they are not to open it.  And they should put a towel of blanket under the crack, open the window and wait for us to rescue them.  

This is where Diana and I disagree.  She says that she and I most likely be instantly consumed in any fire in our house, so it should be the boy’s number one job to escape.  She suggested that they smash the window using the chair of their art table and then scale down the two floors using some kind of stuffed animal pulley system or leap onto our threadbare bushes, and meet at the fire hydrant across the street.

Well, that was the worst case scenario regardless.

I asked them what they should do if they feel the door and it is not, in fact, hot.

“We call Spider Man and he’ll come in with his webs and save us like this, whoop!  Bam!”

I looked at Elijah and said, “You do realize he is your responsibility in a fire, right?”

Eli said, “What about Grover?”

“Look at his face.  He won’t hesitate to abandon us. It’s up to you.”

He agreed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Parent’s Day Off

I was taking a shower yesterday morning when Diana entered the bathroom.  I heard her voice from the other side of the curtain say, “I’m really sick.”

“Oh, that sucks,” I said.

She continued, “I have to be the room parent at Luca’s PDO class today.  But I think I’m too sick to do it.”

“Oh, that sucks,” I said.

“I can’t find a replacement.  Can you do it today?”

“OH, THAT SUCKS!”  I said.

PDO stand for “Parent’s Day Off.”  It’s a day care thing at Luca’s pre-school that, by law, has to have 2 adults in attendance.  Diana meant for me to be one of the adults.

“What do I have to do?”  I whined.

“You have to just play with the kids and help out the teacher and maybe pour some milks for snack time and possibly change a poopy diaper.”

“No no no no no no no no no no no no no no.  There is no way I am changing another kid’s poopy diaper. What if that poopy diaper belongs to a girl?  No.  Too bad.  They can cancel PDO today.  Ain’t doing it.  No way.  No how.”

I thought that. 

I said, “Okay.”

My anxiety was at its zenith when we entered the building.  I asked Luca to lead me to his classroom.  He looked at me like I was an idiot and said, “I don’t know where PDO is.”  I wept openly.

Eventually, we found the room and met his teacher.  A lovely woman who had boundless energy and enthusiasm.  I realized my role was simply to maintain the legal two adult status. 

She introduced me to the students.  Their names immediately exited my head, so I simply called them Booger Nose, Crybaby, Kid Who Won’t Share, Mean Girl, Sporto, Sporto 2, Thumbsucker and Luca.

The kids were incredibly well behaved.  Mostly because Luca’s teacher ruled with a surprising mixture of love and not taking any crap. 

My heart simply melted at the sight of Luca playing with everyone. He is such a generous, bright and happy little kid.  And he was a lot less boogery than Booger Nose. 

I helped clean tables, zip coats and managed to be on the other side of the room whenever a kid had a poopy diaper. 

By the end, I was exhausted and vowed never to let Diana get sick again.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Red Lobster

My week back from vacation/work has been surprisingly busy.  And I spent most of the day yesterday doing manual labor in the wine store. 

Oh yeah.  Did you know Diana is opening a wine store?  It’s called Winegoddess and it’s in Evanston and you really should go Decebver  1.  Seriously. 

Where was I?  Oh yeah, not being with my family.  When I got home from building wine racks, Diana made a surprising and awesome suggestion.

“Let’s get dressed up and go to Red Lobster as a family!”

Now, did she suggest Red Lobster out of some ironic hipsterness?  Or because she has fond memories from her childhood?  Or because Red Lobster was about as nice as a restaurant we could comfortably bring two kids who have yet to leave the throwing food stage?

Probably all three.

Before we left, Elijah announced he would be wearing a tie.  “To make the night more special.”

I asked him if I should go put on a tie.  He sensed I wasn’t going to take it seriously and declined my offer.

On the way there, we reminded the boys about the basics of fine dining:

It is impolite to stand on the book seats and peer into your neighbor’s table.  It is impolite to throw your popcorn shrimp into your neighbor’s table.  Under no circumstances are you allowed to stick your hand into the live lobster tank.  Why add insult to injury?

Red Lobster was surprisingly busy at 5pm.  And no one in attendance shared our hipster irony. 

Elijah immediately ordered a Pina Colada.  The night pretty much went downhill from there.  In the totally HamannEggs awesome way you’ve come to expect.  The boys ordered $45 worth of food and combined to eat 3 butterfly shrimp.  More for me.  Luca became fascinated by our neighbor’s table and essentially joined them for the second half of their meal.

We way overtipped because, well, we turned our table into a nuclear waste site.  I imagine some poor busboy is still cleaning out the cheesy bread crumbs from the booth crack.  I’ve never been one to take photos of food and post them to social media.  But seriously.  Look at that table.

We made it home just in time for bed and Luca spent most of the entire night howling in terror.  I think 1.5 butterfly shrimp did not agree with him.  Or it could have been the Pina Coladas.