Friday, August 30, 2013

Luca Day

I took the week off to burn a little vacation time and to see Elijah off to school.  But I also wanted to spend a little quality time with Luca, since he doesn’t start school for  another week.

By way of birth order, Luca has always been paired up with Eli.  Eli and Luca.  Luca and Eli.  Like Sunny and Cher.  Bert and Ernie.  George Bush and Satan.  Pow!  Historical burn!

Where was I?  Oh yes.  My son.  This was an unprecedented time with just the two of us for one whole week.

And Wednesday, we had one of the greatest days of my life.  I apologize in advance.  There are no jokes here.  Nothing funny or awful or disastrous happened.  It makes for a terrible blog post.  But I wouldn’t change a thing.

We decided to pack a lunch and just head off on our bikes.  With no goal.  No plan.  Just two dudes on bikes.  We headed east until we reached Lake Michigan.  We sat on the beach and made a sand castle. 

The tide came in and we decided to eat our turkey sandwiches.  They were delicious.

Next, we rode north until we found a little building selling ice cream.  We ate some.

Then we continued north until we got to the Northwestern Campus.  We decided to try to find the music department so Luca could watch a music class.  We never found the right building and it started raining so we headed home.

We stopped by the comic books store and then made it home before we got too wet.

Reading those last few sentences, they look so dull.  So boring.  So un-blog worthy.  But I loved every single minute of it.  Watching him scoot along in his oversized helmet, chattering away.  Stopping to say hello to people on the street or ducks in a nearby pond.

I loved his little feet and hands.  I loved his blue eyes and bushy hair.  I loved the dirt under his fingernails.

Yeah, sorry guys.  This post was more for me than you. 

I promise the next post will be great.  And will involve the destruction of our yard.

Monday, August 26, 2013

First Grade

Anyone who has read this blog for more than a year knows the school year brings on a lot of mixed feeling for me.  Terror, horror and panic round out the top three.  I regress to my plaid panted bowl cut youth faster than you can say, “Plaid panted bowl cut.”

This morning was no different.   It was Elijah’s first day of First Grade.

The evening before was not conducive to a great first day of school.  Diana had come down with a serious sinus infection and he hacking and coughing resulted in a Keystone Cops-esc shuffling of children and adults and beds.  At one point I think I slept in our craw space next to the human-sized hole someone dug into the ground (the human sized hole is true).

As the boys spilled their cereal onto our couch and watched “Spy Kids” on Netfix, Diana announced that she was too sick to take Eli to school.  No one was happy about it.    But I compensated for the lack of mommy by completely stressing out.

I demanded Eli get in the car 25 minutes before school, even though it takes 3 minutes to drive.  On the way, I asked him if he was scared.  Was he scared?  Was he scared?  Was he scared? Because it was okay if he was freaking out and wanted to throw up because Dad gets freaked out a lot, especially at work.  They’re called panic attacks and they run in the family.  Sometimes just the mere mention of panic attacks can bring on a panic attack.

Eli said, “I don’t think I am scared.  Maybe I’m half scared, half not scared.”  I think he overplayed the percentages to make me feel better.

We arrived at school 22 minutes early and I turned the car off.  I leaned over the seat and said, “I love you, Eli.  I am proud of you and I think you are a great kid.  Have a great day.” 

He said, “The school is that way,” and pointed east.

We walked up to his old Kindergarten entrance.  I asked Eli if this is where he needed to be dropped off.  He didn’t know.  HE DIDN’T KNOW.

I told him to remain calm and not to panic.  Eli looked around for a real adult and found a nice woman with a clipboard.  She directed us around the corner to the First Grader’s door. 

There I found a few other moms.  I chatted with them, confident they could not see my crazy eyes underneath my sunglasses.

The school bell rang and Eli lined up with the rest of his class.   I shouted, “I love you!”

And in a supreme act of kindness, he yelled back, “I love you too.”

Thursday, August 22, 2013


If one of my sons turns out gay, they could not have a better role model than Queen front man Freddie Mercury.  A mustachioed, shirtless stud who has a four octave range?  I would be proud.  Oh, and don’t get me started on the mullet.

So it gives me pleasure to no end that Elijah and Luca love Queen and beg for it constantly when we’re in the car.  “Play the ‘Momma Mia’ song, dada!  Play it loud.” 

And I do.  We just leased a giant new car with seven, count ‘em, seven seats.  Why we need seven seats can only be answered by Diana and the car salesman.  I assume we are going to start breeding Grover, Immaculately. 

But I do love the car.  It’s got all these cool buttons and touchpads and we even hooked up Bluetooth so I can shout, “Car!  Play ‘We Will Rock You!’” 

At which point the car says, “Calling Diana.” 

And then I say, “No!  Play the song ‘We Will Rock You’ by the band Queen.”

And then it turns on the air conditioner and I drive into a brick wall, frustrated.  But it’s still pretty great to sing my 0.5 octave range at the top of my lungs along with the boys. 

They prefer to roll their windows down so our neighbor, Democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, knows that we are the champions, my friend.

I do worry a little that turning the volume up to “Max” might be hurting their little ears.  And the constant Freddie Mercury might actually be turning them gay.  Which, as we know, is perfectly fine as long as they wear spandex and occasionally play Wembley stadium.

But then Luca will ask for “Hop On Teacher,” which is his completely kick ass way of asking for “Hot For Teacher” by Van Halen.  An almost illegally heterosexual song. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


Poor Elijah and Luca.  Born with the Hamann bladder.  Once, my father forced a busload of tourists to pull over on a major highway with the threat of, “Either I pee out there or in here.”

It’s made potty training tougher than usual.  About once a weekend, Luca will come strolling up to me completely soaked in his front privates.  When probed (verbally), seems just as surprised as I am.

It’s worse for Eli, who really should not be wearing a diaper to bed every night.  But don’t blame him.  Blame my DNA.  It’s not like he wants to wet the bed, it’s just how he was made.

When we first moved into our grand purple house, Eli announced that he would be waking up to go pee in the middle of the night from now on.  Great.  Cool.  But unfortunately, his flesh was weak. 

Nightly, after dreams of that giant red bucket at the Skokie Water Park, Elijah would soak his bed thoroughly.  Most nights not noticing until his sheets and blankets had fermented into a Chardonnay. 

This, combined with the recent summer like conditions, have caused the boys’ room to take on a distinctive swamp-like air.

That’s fine and dandy for them.  They’re used to it.  But as you recall, Luca is in a phase where he needs me to lie down with him precisely at 3am.  

I half expect to see a frog playing banjo singing “Rainbow Connection” every time I enter.

So tonight, I applied another nighttime diaper to Elijah. It ripped, being around three sizes too small him, but we both shrugged it off and he said, “Can I have a glass of water?”

Of course you can.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Last night, I came home to both boys crying.  It seems one of the neighbor girls had recently punched Elijah in the throat.  I assumed he had it coming and announced I would be reading exactly one book for each child and then it was bedtime.  No if ands or throat punches.

Thus began the nightly argument over who gets to have their book read first.  I suggested we flip a coin.  They eagerly agreed, fascinated by this new form of gambling. 

I reminded them we all had to abide by the coin’s ruling and there would be no crying, fighting or arguing once the coin flipped.

Eli picked heads and Luca went with tails.  I flipped and it came up tails.

Elijah began weeping hysterically.  Rather than go with my first impulse, which was to yell, I gently asked him why the water works. 

“Luca always wins!  Every time.  I never win.  Never ever!  The coin hates me!”

I held the coin out and explained, “Look.  This coin isn’t alive.  It doesn’t breathe or think or hate.  It’s just a piece of metal.  You had a 50/50 chance of heads.  Luca just lucked out.  The next time, Luca will probably lose.  Here.  Look.”

I flipped.  Tails.  Damn you, coin.  I flipped again.  And again.  And again. 7 times in a row.  All tails.

I looked over at Luca, who was casually strumming his ukulele.  I considered taking him to the river boat casino right then and there and posing him as a 30 year old little person.   We'd wear matching suits, of course.

Well into the double digits, I flipped again and, rather than reveal the true outcome (tails), I covered the coin and said, “Heads!  There.  Heads.  See?  Luca doesn’t always win.  Now let’s read some books.”

I caught Luca’s eye and he knew.  He knew his power.