Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Socialism

Yesterday, I took the boys to Schaumburg Boomers Stadium.  The Boomers are a pretty kick ass minor league baseball team west of us.  My brother in law Mike runs the box office and gave us the inside scoop they were doing an egg hunt.

We arrived at 11am sharp and, despite the fact they refused to sell beer at 11am, it was super great.  The boys got to run around the stadium with their cousins and watch Schaumburg dads yell at their sons.

The main event was a couple hundred Boomer orange plastic eggs dumped on the infield. Arranged by age, kids lined the first and third base lines and then scrambled for candy.  Completely ruining the efforts of the groundskeepers.

Luca lucked out and was placed in the 4 and under age group.  As the kids and parents waited for the go, I bent down to Luca level and unveiled our political beliefs. 

“Hey.  Some of these kids aren’t going to get an egg.  And they’ll be sad.  If we get some, we should give one of our eggs to a kid who didn’t get an egg.  It’s what we believe.  We’re liberals.”

Luca moaned, “I don’t want to do this.”

Just then, a jerky kid in a blue hoodie began kicking dirt onto Luca’s shoes like Tommy Lasorda.  Luca stared uncomprehendingly at this future a-hole.  His mother dragged him away.

The P.A. announcer counted down from three and Luca got caught up in the madness and raced onto the field.  Being at the top of the age range worked in his favor and Luca ended up with 6, count ‘em 6 eggs.

The pandemonium ended and we strolled back to the stands, where Elijah prepared for the 6-7 year old heat.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a kid bawling.  No eggs.  And you know what?  It was the blue hoodie dirt kicking kid.  I’m not making this stuff up for effect.  It was the future a-hole.  With.  No.  Eggs.

I said, “Luca.  Give that kid one of your eggs.  Remember?  Because we’re nice.  And we voted for Obama.”

Luca held out an orange egg to the kid.  His mother stared at us, angrily.  I think she thought we were going to yank it away.  She grabbed it and huffed, “Thanks.”

I hugged Luca and told him I thought he was a great, great kid.  Luca burst into tears.  I think he was overwhelmed by the whole thing.  Or he was frustrated by Obama’s drone program or his support of Monsanto.   

A few minutes later, Eli joined us back in the stands.  He had only snagged two eggs and peered into Luca’s basket.

“Can I have one of Luca’s eggs since he got 5 eggs and I only got 2?”

Luca refused.  Charity has its limits.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Florida Mysteries

Last night, after a rather painful trip back from Los Angeles, I was reunited with Elijah after his big trip to Florida with Grandma Connie and Grandpa Ed.  I’ll admit, the kid looked a little shell shocked, which I assume was the by product of two straight days of trying to drive his two cousins nuts in the backseat of a minivan.

I tried to pry some details out of him.  He responded, “What happens in Florida stays in Florida.”  A line clearly planted by his grandmother. 

I peppered him with more and more questions.  What was the best part?  Everything.  Who was your favorite person to hang out with?  Everyone.  Who cried the most?  Everyone.   Who did you miss most?  Mommy.

The only real detail he’d offer up was a blatant lie that a jellyfish bit him.  Probably another plant from his grandmother.

Luca and I poured through his souvenirs and tchotchkes.  There were the usual shells, plastic fish and a filthy feather from a clearly rabid bird.

I checked over my father’s text messages from the week.  Also fairly vague.

“Just got back from after dinner beach walk.  Boys in shorts, sweatshirts, barefooted.  They ran.  Finn examining driftwood, Fox and Eli picking up a hundred shells.  Time for ice cream.”

I began to wonder if my parents were using the boys as a front to move some contraband south of the Mason Dixon line.  But they don’t seem the type.

Another text read, “Grandma Connie has the boys playing slap jacks and war.  Soon she will have them playing rummy for their allowances.”

“They did have some conversations including butt, pee and poop from time to time along with much laughter.  I’m not taking responsibility.  Just warning you.”

I figured this was the first of many mysteries with this kid.  So I better get used to it.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Luca Sleep

Grandpa Ed and Grandma Connie have done the unthinkable.  They took the eldest kids from each of the families to Florida.  Only someone bucking for Grandparent of the Year status would undergo such craziness.

So that leaves Diana and me with an only child.  His name is Luca.  And he’s awesome in every single way except one:  He no longer requires sleep.

It used to be after an hour or two of horsing around and me yelling at them, the boys would settle down and be zonked out until the first number says seven.  But now, Luca will appear out of thin are at all hours of the night.  He’s like a little ghost, silently appearing at the top of our stairs.  At the edge of our bed.  And, occasionally, sticking his finger in Diana’s nose at 3am to wake her up.

It doesn’t seem to affect him.  He isn’t any more angry or jerky than usual. 

It, however, affects me in the following ways:  it makes me much more angry and jerky than usual.  Why?  Because I can’t get my wife to make out with me anymore. 

Diana’s afraid that a little ghost will appear at our bedside while we are, ahem, otherwise engaged and he’ll see things he can’t unsee.  The other night, I was doing my best Don Juan impersonation and Diana kept jerking her head towards our door.

“Did you hear that?  Is that Luca?”

“No, baby.  That’s just Grover and we already ruined him.”

I almost had her convinced when I saw the little ghost standing at the foot of our bed.  He said something about being scared or being alone or something. 

I was too busy punching myself in the face through my pillow to hear him.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wine Glass

Sunday night, we finished up another successful family dinner.  By “successful” I mean “Elijah and Luca both coated the back of their spoon with the dinner I made and licked it.”

Subsequently, we needed to supplement their calorie intake.  Diana suggested she make some fruit smoothies.  She gave both boys a green plastic cup full of purple goo and, because she is classy, gave herself a wine glass full. 

Eli wanted a wineglass for himself.  But we told him no.  No wineglasses for you.

This information entered into the space between his ears and got lost in the clutter of Mighty Morphin Power Ranger episodes and catalogue of poop jokes.  Eli climbed onto the countertop and reached into a cabinet for a glass.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him fall.  Wham.  Right onto our radiator.  The wineglass followed closely behind, shattering everywhere and showering him with glass.

Eli immediately ran to the top of our stairs shrieking.  I followed closely behind.  He was hidden in the shadows, heaving uncontrollably.  Now, instead of grabbing him and cradling him in my arms, I shouted at him.  Are you cut?  Eli?  Are you cut?  Eli!  GET DOWN HERE AND TELL ME IF YOU ARE CUT!          

Diana, on the other hand, passed behind me and scooped up Eli.  He was fine except for a nice scrape and bruise from the radiator.  Diana: 1.  Rick: 0.

Last night, I came home from work and found both boys in the bathtub.  They greeted me with shrieks of delight and I said, “Oh good.  You’re both together.  I have to talk to you.”

They cocked their heads like the little puppies they are.

“Remember last night when you fell, Eli?  Now instead of grabbing you and holding you and making everything okay, I yelled at you.  That was not cool.  I should not have yelled.  But, in my meager defense, I thought you may be in shock and really hurt and I, quite frankly, was scared.  That doesn’t make it okay.  But that’s the reason.  So, I apologize.  Do you understand, Eli?  Do you understand?”

Eli said, “I’m the water garbage man and this is my garbage (holds up a washcloth).  And I eat water garbage.” 

He then jammed the washcloth into his mouth.  I’m going to take that as apology accepted.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fancy Poop

On Sunday, we took the family to the suburbs to watch my nephew in law completely own the part of that serious dad in “Sound Of Music.”  The entire experience, even when Diana pressured Elijah to become a child actor, was lovely.

The day ended with a celebratory dinner at Diana’s brother’s house.  Now, his house is nice.  Really nice.  Really really nice.  It’s monument to working hard and saving your money.  Our house, on the other hand, is a monument to burying faux magic beans in your backyard.

I was sitting at their kitchen table, trying to casually shove fistfuls of cheese and crackers into my face, when Diana caught my eye.  She bulged her eyes out and mouthed the words “Take him to poop.”

She cocked her head towards Luca, who was doing his old man shuffle in the corner of the room.

I knelt down to his eye level and said, “Let’s go find a bathroom.  Your body is telling you to poop.”

Luca winced through clenched teeth and said, “My…body…says…it…doesn’t…have…to…poop.”

Rather than argue this in front of in-laws I’d never met, I scooped him up and headed to the serious dad from “Sound of Music’s” bathroom.  It was stellar.  And larger than our bedroom.

“Look at this place,” I said.  “Now, this is where a man can poop, right?  Is this marble?  Yeah, I think this is marble.”

Luca, still trying desperately to reverse the urgent gears in his body said, “I can’t poop on a blue toilet.”

I looked inside the toilet and there was, in fact, blue water.  Because my in-laws don’t live like animals.

“No, this means the toilet is clean.  Better than clean.  This is Toilet Duck clean.”

Luca bolted for the door, but I grabbed him before he could escape.  Worrying that I was missing out on more cheese and crackers, I yanked down his pants and thrust him on the toilet.

Instinct took over and Luca’s body made magic.  But not before he completely nailed me in the face with pee pee.  That will teach me to squat in front of a loaded gun.