Monday, October 31, 2016


Words are important in our family. For instance, the other night Luca informed Diana that the name of his new rock band is “Luca and the Hot Farts.” Upon hearing this, I gave him $100.

But sometimes words hold valuable lessons. Horrible, valuable lessons.

It was a brisk Friday and I indulged the boys in a trip to Chipotle. I like taking them to Chipotle because I get to take them to the neighboring frozen custard shop for dessert. I also get to talk to them about E. Coli.

After mushing up his famous burrito bowl recipe (white rice, beans, lettuce, sour cream), Elijah asked, “Dad, what’s a Retard?”

I immediately went into Evanston Dad Mode. “Buddy. That…WORD…is not cool. It’s not a word we ever use. Some people use it to talk about people who are disabled. I mean, differently abled. We never, ever say it. It’s almost as bad as the N-word.”

Uh oh. What did I do?

“Wait. What is the N-word?”

“Nothing. Nothing at all. Forget I said anything. Say, do I detect a little E. Coli in this sour cream?”

Then Luca said, “Is it (a guess that was wayyyy too close to the actual word)?”

“Stop talking,” I said very loudly. This got the attention of a nice group of young men at a nearby table. A group of young men who would be particularly offended by the use of the N-Word.

Luca then made another guess at the word, he almost hit the bullseye.

I leaned over to him and did my best angry dad whisper. “If you continue guessing, I will take away your screens for a month. And…and…and…no frozen custard!”

That quieted him.

Eli didn’t even look up. “So we can’t say Retard either?”

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Tooth Fairy Game

Luca lost his first tooth! There is nothing that can drag you out of thinking the world is going to hell in a hand basket like a six year old showing you a tiny, off white little tusk and telling you the tale.

"I thought I threw up some pretzel with no goopy part so I decided to just eat it but when I bit into the pretzel it was hard. It was my tooth!"

And then we began the game. Luca knows there is no Tooth Fairy. We know he knows there is no Tooth Fairy. But if you want to receive, you have to believe. And when Luca wants to convince us he believes in something to get money, he adopts a little baby voice.

“Can I wite a wedder to da Toof Fairy to see if she’ll wet me haf my toof?”

I swallowed a tiny bit of irritation and said of course. Luca also suggested that since this was his first lost tooth, he should get $10. Before I could stop myself, I loudly informed everyone that we got twenty five cents for teeth when I was a kid. My old man dadness hung in the air like humidity.

Eli laid it on thick, telling Luca that he had to go to bed early so the tooth fairy wouldn’t pass our house by. He then theatrically winked at me to let me know that he knew I knew he knew and Luca knew.

We sent Luca to take a bath and then went about the process of trying to find paper money in 2016. Miraculously, I found a crumpled $10 bill in my backpack. Luca called from the other room, “Did you say you had five dollars or ten dollars?”

The next morning, I was taking a shower and Luca burst in. He held a tiny little white piece of paper that was folded into tiny little envelope. Inside was a $10 bill and a little note written in tiny letters that looked a lot like my handwriting.

“What does it say, da-da?” Luca said in his little baby voice.

Dear Luca,

Magic is real.


The Tooth Fairy

Monday, October 10, 2016

Pokemon Adventures

I know I’ve mentioned Pokemon Go in the past. But I think it deserves another go. Above all else, this blog is meant to be a little time capsule of Elijah and Luca’s lives. And I want them to truly understand just how important this little mobile game is to our lives in 2016.

Our house currently runs on a Pokemon Go based economy. Do your piano practice? Play Pokemon Go. Leave a wet towel on your bedroom floor? I taketh Pokemon Go away. I cannot believe I am writing these words, but the boys don’t even really play Xbox in favor of the game. I don’t even know who they are anymore.

I’ve stopped feeling conflicted about it. Yes, it involves a screen. But the boys have had more fresh air this summer than their entire lives up to this point. We’ve discovered more of our hometown on foot or on bikes than the original white, middle class explorers of Evanston in 1830.

And we’ve had close to honest to goodness adventures on our hunts.

A few Sundays ago, Luca and I trekked out on our bikes to find some Dickerdos or Flubbywubs. He had heard rumor that Pokemon spawned like rabbits over by his grade school. 

Despite having 3 different apps on my phone that tell me the weather, it began to pour rain ten minutes into our ride. This was the first time Luca had ever gotten caught in the rain and it was glorious.  I buried my guilt at having this moment happen almost 6 full years into his life and concentrated on the joy in his eyes as he realized there was simply nothing we could do but get soaked on the street. He also learned that one’s underpants are the best place to put your phone during a downpour.

The other night, we were walking a giant loop in our neighborhood and were flush with excitement over catching that one Pokemon with a big tongue and we came across a bunch of pre-teens doing pre-teen stuff (succumbing to the horrors of hormones).

Luca was highly intimidated by the big kids. As was I. I encouraged him to talk Pokemon with them. “Tell them about the Flobbyjoe you caught.” Luca inched towards them and in a small voice mentioned his get. The boys reacted like real middle schoolers and not like movie middle schoolers. They simply said, “Oh. Cool.” And then ignored us. But we both felt the victory.

As we strolled home, one of the boys warned us that there were scary murder clowns in the area. We did not want to catch them.

Monday, October 3, 2016


A couple weeks ago, we rented a little cabin in Wisconsin near one of those towns that have equal amounts art galleries and dingy taverns. The place itself was lovely. Elijah and Luca got to see what life would be like if they discovered they were gay and fell into a lot of disposable income. Luca was particularly interested in their collection of antique top hats. I’m not sure if he was feeling any sexual preference or if he simply liked ridiculous things.

On our first night, we drove down their winding driveway past the cabin’s farm neighbors and we found ourselves surrounded by 20 or so cows, curious about who would pay the outrageous rent Air BNB was suggesting. Luca became obsessed with the animals and their sad lowing. It’s all he would talk about at dinner and throughout the next day.

It was refreshing to see a child who seemed to only exist to catch digital Pokemon actually take an interest in flesh and blood animals. Especially animals who provide us flesh and blood as food.

We asked the landlords if it was ok if we petted the cows. They gave us just enough permission not to be liable for damages if a bovine stepped on our throats. Satified, we strolled down the lane and leaned over the white picket fence overlooking a beautiful meadow.

Luca and Eli began shouting at the cows, aggressively. I explained that no cow would want to come visit two screaming children. Suddenly, we were surrounded by cows that were curious about two screaming children.

The first thing I noticed is cows are dis… They were covered in flies and boils and warts. Luca loved this and desperately wanted to pet them. The cows ducked from his hands because they think humans are dis…gust…ing.

But after a few minutes, they warmed up to us. They particularly liked it when Diana spoke to them like they were puppies. I channeled my farm bred youth and remembered cows like to lick humans. So I gave up my forearm for some sandpaper cow tongue. Luca immediately gave them names, against all rules of animal husbandry. The names included Brownie, Black and Whitey, Crazy Pants and Pikachu. The names also seemed to change from one minute to the next, which I’m sure confused them and will make for difficult trips to the DMV.

Eli, who was not interested in touching, smelling, or looking at cows, asked to go home. So Diana obliged, leaving Luca and I to hang for a few minutes more with the animals.

Suddenly, the cows put on a glorious show for us. Their bowels and bladders opened up and rained down some of the most horrifying things I have ever witnessed.

Luca was in near hysterics. “THEY! ARE! POOPING!”

Later at dinner, Luca described in great detail how a cow’s body works. I explained that this was pretty much how his body works, but in the end we agreed to disagree.