Tuesday, April 29, 2014

First Baseball Game.

I love Elijah.  Despite never actually catching or hitting a baseball in his life, he decided to join the little league team.  They are sponsored by a local dentist and despite their coaches suggestion they be called “The Drillers,” I think the kids are going with “The Cavities” or “The Yuck Mouths.”

For reasons unknown to me, The Yuck Mouths only had one practice before their first game.  Which was fine by Eli, but filled me with an icy cold stomach full of panic.  I asked him if he caught any balls or got any hits in practice and he happily chirped, “Nope!”

On Saturday, game day, Eli opted not to wear the issued white uniform pants and wore black instead.  I tried to explain the importance of blending in when you aren’t the greatest player on the team, but he didn’t want to get his new white pants dirty.

As the kids warmed up, I felt all of my parenting failures on display as Eli chased missed ball after missed ball.  But then I opened my aperture a bit and realized all the kids sucked.  Sure, there were a few future prom kings who were fielding like Pee Wee Reese (thank you Google), but by and large all the kids were scrambling around like a box full of puppies.

I began to relax.  The coach shouted to me with an evil grin, “I’m going to put Eli at first base!”

I shouted back, “Go nuts!”

Eli’s experience at first wasn’t terrific.  He had a few balls chucked at him that went into right field, but the general play of the 7 year olds was so 7 year oldie that no one seemed to notice.

Then it was his turn to bat.  It dawned on me that this was no three strikes and you are out league.  This was a swing until you connected league. 

The coach gingerly tossed ball after ball to Eli.  Broad sides of barns were missed.  The air around his bat seemed to taunt him.

Sweat began to trickle from my armpits and I suddenly for very interested in my iphone.  I clenched my eyes, pretending to really need to see what my brother sitting next to be was doing on Facebook.

Then I heard a cheer.  I looked up to see Eli running to first base.  My boy got a hit!  My boy got a hit!

He eventually made it home, scoring his first goal/point/run of his life.  He ran to me in the stands and I told him I loved him.

Then I told him he should probably go back and sit with the team in the dugout. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Birthday Bowling

The day started off with a trip to Wal-Mart to buy Elijah a new bike.  I lobbied to get him a $1700 carbon fiber triathlon racing monster, but we opted for something that didn’t reflect my own penis insecurities.

I’d love to take the time to crap all over Wal-Mart, but the place was clean, didn’t smell of dead things and the people were nice.  So there, everyone on the internet.

I worried a bit that Elijah would pick out a weirdo bike.  Because he’s a weirdo.  I overplayed my hand a bit my shouting, “Ooh!  That bike looks like a motorcycle!  And doesn’t have pictures of ponies!”

He picked out a really cool blue number that had those little BMX metal pegs on the side of the wheels for tricks and for removing skin from your dad’s shins.  After the very nice Wal-Mart guy hoisted the bike down, I noticed a few of the parts were pretty loose.  I could see an empty tool box and a full swear jar in my future.

A few hours later we arrived at the Skokie Bowling Alley.  We invited Di’s family, Steve’s family and our neighbors and Kitty.  All of whom didn’t seem to care Eli’s birthday party was on Easter Sunday.

All of the other bowling attendees also didn’t seem to care it was Easter Sunday.  We were the only non Hasidic Jewish people there.  But man, they can roll.

You know who else can roll?  Diana.  She destroyed me.  Bam bam bam.  She killed those poor little pins. 

Manhood, destroyed, I focused on the kid alley.  Whoever invented bumper bowling deserves a medal.  The little guys and gals had a blast, and with the elimination of gutter balls, they racked up the scores until they got bored and went to the game area.

A quick note on the game area.  Cousin Finn, that beautiful timid boy, hit the jackpot on some game and got 1,000 prize tickets.  He did not take my suggestion to turn them in for 1,000 erasers.

As I said in the last post, the pizza gorging on top of a firm bed of jelly beans ended up being too much for Eli and he barfed all over the place when we got home.

But I believe there is no better indicator of birthday success.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter 2014

The night before Easter, I attempted to shed a small amount of light on the religious meaning behind the eggs.  Luca asked, “Who is Jesus again?”  I gotta get those guys to church. 

The boys and their cousins dyed eggs and smashed two on the floor.  In their defense, my brother smashed one as well.  I yelled at him as a surrogate for the kids. 

They wanted to know how the Easter Bunny got into the house.  I told him he used the same techniques as Santa, but also had the power of teleportation for houses without chimneys.  The debate that raged after wasn’t whether or not a giant candy toting rabbit could exist, but whether or not teleportation was real.

Elijah wrote a note to the Easter bunny requesting an outside egg hunt.  I informed him that the Easter Bunny didn’t do outside hunts because it was going to be cold that night and he didn’t want to schlep all over the yard, getting his Vans all muddy.

However, a few hours later our extremely nice neighbor Lexa came by with bag full of eggs for an outside hunt.  She had the brilliant plan to assign each of her kids and our kids an official color of egg they would be responsible for.  This eliminated the “Hunger Games” affect.  So the Easter Bunny soaked his Vans.

The next morning, on cue, the boys awoke at 6:30am.  But the Easter Bunny got smart this year and left them both video games.  So they raced downstairs to play until the much less stupid hour of 8:30am for our official hunt.

So much candy.  So very much candy.  Each child had a mouth full of jelly beans/Peeps/M&Ms for the entire day.  What could go wrong with that?

Before the barf story begins, have you ever microwaved a Peep?  Eli heard talk of it over at the neighbor’s and demonstrated it to us with one unfortunate pink Peep test subject.  The results were Cronenberg-esc to say the least.  Guess who got to clean that up?

Anyway, the day ended with Eli’s bowling birthday party (I’ll get to that later this week) and he came home complaining of a vague stomach ache.  My accusations that he had eaten too much candy were met with a gallon of brightly colored vomit into our large green mixing bowl. 

It was if Eli wanted to create his own homemade Easter treat inside half a plastic shell.  I would have taken a picture if it weren’t the grossest thing ever.

Monday, April 14, 2014


In honor of Elijah's seventh birthday, I'll tell a story originally told by his teacher, Ms. D: 

She was having a rough day controlling the class.  The kids were bonkers and were causing that ever increasing tear in the universe that makes me go all screamy and yelly. 

Suddenly, Eli’s hand thrust up in the air.

“Eli, can this wait?”

“No, Ms. D. It can’t wait”

Exasperated, she said, “What, Eli?  What? What can’t wait?”

“Ms. D, you warm my heart.”

Who says that?  What boy in his right mind would say that in class?  In front of girls and bullies?

There is a note pinned to our fridge, written unprompted.  It goes (spelling mistakes added for cuteness):

“Dear (scribble) Mom. Thank for potting me into the world.  And for mareing the best dad. Your the best mom ever in my life!!!!!! Love your sweet son Elijah.”

This is a child who writes notes to Costa Rican housekeepers thanking them for the honor of staying in their hotel.  He helps crying children.  He asks strangers how they are feeling, and genuinely wants to know.

I know I spend a lot of time in this blog writing about his mischief and his little evil tricks and how he seems to take great delight in making me lose it.  But that’s just because those are funnier stories.  If I spent all year telling the tales of how sweet he was I’d lose all four of my readers.

I don’t know, man. He’s simply the best person I know.  That’s no joke.  Life hasn’t made him tough or sarcastic or arrogant or cynical. His soul is untarnished.

It’s my job to prevent that eventuality for as long as I can.  And it’s a job I don’t take lightly. 

Sorry this isn’t a funny post.  Sometimes I have to tell it like it is.  That Cute Little Bear post was funny, right?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Raccoon and Cute Little Bear

Luca requires a blankie to sleep.  But he also requires the attendance of two stuffed animals:  Cute Little Bear and Raccoon. 

Raccoon is a filthy stuffed creature given to him by the drunken man who built our basement (“Snata Claus” for you Hamann Eggs experts). The wretched thing holds a wilted yellow butterfly and smells vaguely of cigarettes. 

Cute Little Bear is a bit of a mystery.  Partly because there is very little cute about it.  It has matted fur and frighteningly evil eyes.  We also aren’t entirely sure how it arrived at our house.  Did the neighbor give it to him?  Did Grover dig it out of the yard?  Did a raven drop it from the sky?

Anyway, he needs them to sleep.  I cannot count how many times I’ve been awoken at 3am to conduct an emergency search through his bedding to find these things.  These searches are always accompanied by a hysterical Luca and an angry Elijah.

So imagine the panic that spread through our hotel room when we realized Cute Little Bear and Raccoon went missing.  Actually, the panic was just Diana and me.  It was naptime and Luca casually mentioned he couldn’t find CLB and R.  We did a cursory search and came up missing.  We somehow convinced Luca to sleep with only his blankie but went on a frantic search of the hotel room after he drifted off.

Diana and I mouthed the words “Where the heck is it?” and “ They were right here!”  Finally Diana mouthed the impossible “Did the cleaning lady steal them?”

This was a pretty far-fetched idea.  I mean, we had literally thousands of dollars of Apple products just begging to be plucked.  And as I said before, Cute Little Bear and Raccoon are disgusting.

But after flipping the room they were nowhere to be found.  Diana left to continue the search while I thought of what to do if they didn’t come back.  I began to concoct a plan.

In my head, I wrote a letter from Cute Little Bear and Raccoon.  It read:

Dear Luca,

We are in love and have decided to live permanently in Costa Rica.  We plan to open a surf shop catering to stuffed animals.  We know this may hurt, but please respect our love and know we will always cherish our time with you.


Cute Little Bear and Raccoon.

As I was about to put pen to paper, Diana burst in holding Cute Little Bear and Raccoon.  She had spoken with housekeeping and the two Luca bedmates had gotten tangled in the sheets and had accidentally ended up in the laundry. 

All was well, but I still liked the idea of them opening up a gay stuffed animal surf shop.