Tuesday, November 25, 2014


Last night, Luca said, “I’m happy to be five tomorrow, but I think I am going to miss being the other ages. Like four.”

I could not agree more, son. My beautiful, funny, imaginative little guy is five today.

We celebrated on Sunday by having 11 five year olds over to our house. We thought it would be easier than taking them to a bouncy castle place or Chuck E Cheese or that gymnastics place where you jump into the foam pit.

The theme for the party was “Rock and Roll.” We got a karaoke machine, got some blow up guitars and a big rock and roll backdrop that made it look like you were playing Wembley Stadium. Eli made a sign that read, “Rock and Rollers only. Just kidding.” We thought of everything.

Except for the fact that 11 five year olds don’t care about Rock and Roll themed parties. The children were content just to wrestle and scream. And scream.

Remember that quote from “True Detective?” Matthew McConaughey said, “Time is a flat circle.” I didn’t understand what they meant until I experienced the sound of 11 screaming five year olds. The party was scheduled for two hours. And after failed karaoke, we still had two hours to go. After pizza, we still had two hours to go. After cake we had two hours to go. The second hand on my nonexistent watch clicked backwards.

After ten minutes of screaming, one of the two girls in attendance began to cry. Expressing what Diana and I were feeling at that time. I immediately volunteered to take her into the kitchen to have a quiet little cupcake decorating party.

Yes, I abandoned Diana to the screaming horde. I’m not proud of it. But at some point it is every man for himself.

Oh Luca. When Eli said you and I are the most alike, I agreed. I feel like you and I are so similar in our silliness, our anxieties, our love of superheroes. You are this wonderful combination of sensitive and outrageous. Bold and timid. Wonderful and wonderful.

I love you pal.

Friday, November 21, 2014


The other night, Elijah teamed up the family.

“I’m more like mommy. You are more like Luca.”

Intrigued, I asked him to explain.

“Well, you look alike and you are both…crazy and stuff.”

I’ll take it.  Luca has been on a roll lately. He’s officially out of his angry phase and is just hilarious in every way. I especially like his flat out refusal to learn anything.  Especially the alphabet.

Unlike Eli, who knew all his letters when he was three, Luca rejects any and all learning. Whenever you take a book out, he will run screaming from the room. We’ve bought alphabet books of every shape and size and the kid actively rejects them.

And it’s not because he’s dumb. The kid is super smart. I just think he wants to be different from his book-learnin’ brother. Eli is the school boy. Luca wants to be his own person. And that person will have no ability to read.

But here is the thing. Despite his desire to never know how to spell, he’s somehow managed to absorb the alphabet. And I think he is pretty pissed about it.

I sat on him the other day and forced him to review the ABCs with me. Not just whipping through the song and randomly pointing to the letters as he sang. I made him go randomly through the alphabet and tell me what was what or he wouldn’t get any xbox for the rest of the week.

I knew immediately that he, in fact, knew what every letter was. For a brief moment, he was actually excited to show me his smarts.  But then he caught himself and poo pooed the alphabet and everything it stands for.

I released him to go watch his screens, but I was very proud of my little dobbleganger.

I’m sorry I haven’t been able to blog much this week. I just got a big fat promotion at The Onion and I’ve been doing a lot of important guy stuff. I promise to be back misspelling things next week.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Terror 2

The other morning, I woke up and it was freezing cold outside and there was snow on the ground. I started immediately bitching, “Stupid cold. Dumb snow. Crappy dog who needs walked…”

From behind me I heard Elijah race up to the window and press his nose against it. “Daddy! It SNOWED! Yay!”

Why was I such a grouchy old man? Because we’ve had a return of Luca’s night terrors. A few years ago, he would wake up in the middle of the night and scream bloody murder, pacing around his room like an angry old man. You couldn’t wake him up. It was kind of spooky and I was glad when it ended.

But it didn’t end.

Luca has been at the screaming again. He cries and thrashes and screams in bed, only to not remember a thing about it after he wakes up.

The real bummer is Eli. The screaming is not conducive to 7 year old sleep patterns. Eli usually blames his bed and yells sleepily, “I hate this bed! I hate it!” and then hits his pillow. So we let Eli wait out the screaming in our bed.

But there isn’t room for two adults, one giant dog and one boiling hot child in our bed. So that leaves a parent to sleep in the Screamatorium. Tuesday night, Diana yanked Eli’s mattress off the top bunk and slept semi comfortably on the floor.

Wednesday night at the scream hour, I went in and tried ineffectively to comfort Luca. Eli punched his pillow and went to our bed.

I thought, “Ooh. I’ll do the Eli mattress trick!” Problem solved.

Unfortunately, Eli had left a lake or urine in his bed. No wonder he was so excited to go to our room.

So I was left sleeping on the tiny sliver of mattress Luca’s body wasn’t thrashing. Which is why I woke up angry at any and all majesty of winter.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


If you remember a few weeks ago, we counter struck against Elijah’s bullies by putting him into guitar lessons. We figured guitar virtuosity would eventually turn Eli into the wife stealing Eric Clapton.  We ignored the George Harrison part of the equation.

I got the opportunity to take Eli to his first lesson at School of Rock.  I sat on the lobby couch searching the cushions for joints. The teacher eventually led Eli out of the lessons space and said, “Remember to practice every day, bro!”

That was the kiss of death for Eli. If Diana were there, she would have taken it as a suggestion. But since Mr. Yesman was there, practicing immediately became the most important thing in the world. To me.

Thus eliminating all the fun from guitar from that moment on.

My tactics for forcing Eli to practice were varied and each one less effective than the last.

I tried guilt. Mommy and Daddy spent a lot of money on this. Don’t you feel bad enough to practice? It was hard for Eli to hear me as he was adding toys to our Amazon.com cart.

I then went to ego. Don’t you want to be great at guitar? Don’t you want to steal George Harrison’s wife? Elijah’s expression was complicated. But I think the look in his eyes translated to, “I didn’t ask to do this. I never even wanted to play guitar. You and mommy panicked and then bought a bunch of stuff that you can’t return.

In the end, I went with the old standby. I took away all screen time until he practiced for 10 minutes.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Halloween 2014

I made a decision to try my hardest to enjoy Halloween this year, and not dwell on the anniversary of my dad’s death. I was going to place all my focus on the joy of candy filled buckets and plastic masks.

Mother Nature had other plans.

I left work early and quickly picked up one of the creepiest monkey masks ever built and raced to Lake Shore Drive. The same Lake Shore Drive that had been closed due to massive waves crashing over the road. I cursed myself for getting my traffic news from Bears sports talk radio.

I crept home and collected cousins and wives and brothers and children and we trudged down the street. Almost immediately we were pounded by turns of sleet, snow, rain and, oddly, moments of blue sky. I chalked up the blue skies to my dad and we ran into some parents with red plastic cups.

“Sachin’s parents are giving away whisky!” They shouted.

We ran to Sachin’s house, where the line was almost to the street.  Cup in hand, Halloween got a lot more tolerable.

Elijah, still scarred from our friend Kitty’s motorized zombie (named Bubbles) from 3 years ago, found himself unable to walk up the steps of any house with more than one ghost, goblin or too much of that stringy fake spider web stuff. 

Luca, on the other hand, understood the math of fear versus candy and bounded up every creep fest. Luca would step over a man being eaten by a wolf to get a Snickers Bar.

We eventually made our way to Kitty’s for pizza. Owner of a little girl, Kitty abandoned Bubbles the zombie this year, much to Eli’s psyche’s delight. The rest of night was filled with red wine, screaming kids, an impromptu sleep over and lots and lots of candy.  Just how dad would have wanted it.