Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bedknobs and Boomsticks

I often wonder what my wife feels like. I’m not talking about how she feels about going back to work while I stay home, or how she feels about our daily adventures. I literally mean, what she feel like to touch.

Bring up the topic of sleeping arrangements to any parent and whether you ask for it or not, you will get a lot of advice: let them cry it out, have a crib in your room, don’t have children. You have to make up your own mind about what will work for you. For both children we chose the option of being slapped in the face and kicked in the groin for eight hours a night. It works for us. I have no need for an alarm clock anymore. Either I am stunned into waking mode by a a tiny fist, or roll onto a bruised testicle. Goodbye snooze button.

The proper name for this sadomasochist activity is “co-sleeping”. One part of that word doesn’t fit at all. It should be called “co-fustrating” or “co-stop-hitting-me-dammit”. There are some benefits to this, such as never having to stumble down the hall to the baby’s room for a feeding, with the guarantee of stepping on a small sharp LEGO piece in the dark. LEGO: making parents curse for over 60 years. (LEGO has not sponsored this post in anyway).

However, there is now a little sucking animal separating you and that woman you once knew by a name other than “Mommy”. On a good night I get to feel the gentle caress of her pinky finger brushing my own. Oh, the overwhelming passion that floods my eyelids making them heavy and close!

We co-slept with the 4 year-old as well, and for about six months before the baby was born she would actually sleep in her own room all night upwards of once a week! That doesn’t sound like much, but once a week sleeping without a child in parent years is like three weeks straight.

Once the baby was born though even that one time a week disappeared. In the middle of the night she sleepily wanders into our room and climbs in bed, somehow taps into a group mind of her baby sister and starts flailing about. Suddenly my wife is trying to sleep in a car wash where the water has been turned off, while I am slowly but steadily squeezed out of the bed altogether. I wander into the four year old’s room and deposit myself in a nest of stuffed animals and fossilized cheerios for a rest.

We have recently started looking at bunk beds as a sleep solution. I really think it’s going to work. I can sleep on the top, on the bottom, pretend it’s a spaceship, hang myself...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


It’s amazing how much of my day revolves around pee and poop. There are the standard old comedy bits about trying to determine if I smell poop in a diaper. The answer is yes, it’s always yes. Beyond that ol’ chestnut there is the constant worry if there are enough diapers. We use cloth diapers, not because we care about the environment, but because we want our baby to shit in style. What says upper class more than not caring if you defecate in what is essentially a t-shirt?

The downside of this is the direct contact with the feces. It used to be, toss it in the washing machine and forget about it. Then the baby started eating solids. Here’s an interesting fact, 12 month old babies do not digest seeds, nor does the washing machine. After each wash there is a little cup of trail mix in the washing machine trap. Each seed as pristine as the day it was picked out of the fruit. That is when I’m lucky. When I am unlucky the seeds jam up the discharge hose and I find myself snaking out rubber pipes from the washing machine in the bathtub. That best part of that it you don’t don’t know it’s happened until after the washing machine has filled and ran for a bit, meaning you get to bail out poop water with a yogurt container. In our case we have a front loading machine which means you have to precariously prop it up on an angle so it doesn’t flow out onto the carpet when you open the front door, like a shit tsunami.

Whirling vortex of yuck

After that happening a few times we got the hint and started dipping the diapers or scraping them into the toilet. They say that kids who use cloth diapers potty train earlier. I don’t believe it has anything to do with the diaper and everything to do with the parent wanting to rid themselves of this horrible job.

As for the 4 year old I am constantly reminding her to wipe her bum and wash her hands. It became such a mantra of mine that she created a song:

You wipe your bum,
you wash your hands,
and don’t forget to pull up your pants.

The first two lines of that are the most troubling. In one it’s gross to think about and the other is a gross surprise to be found at bedtime.

I think the hardest thing about being a stay-at-home dad is that I never get to use the bathroom alone anymore. There are always spectators now. Like a weird cheering team, except one is always rushing the playing field only to be pushed back by a foot on her chest.

A visit from the Princess while sitting on the throne. This picture was only partially staged.

The absolute best is when the baby is upset and screaming her head off and there you are sitting on the toilet. That’s when it’s time to weigh the options, do you let the baby scream or do you stop mid “job” and walk with knees pressed together to comfort the baby? I came up with a new option. Throw the roll of toilet paper at the baby and hope for the best. It worked like a charm, she sat there and played happily with the roll. The real issue happened when she batted it down the hall...

This picture was totally staged. Can you guess how I got the baby to cry?

Dirty Beavers II

Okay, so it’s been a couple of days since my Dirty Beavers post, and not much has changed. The topic comes up daily during lunch. I blame myself for bringing it up again. My oldest, and her friend were at the table eating their sandwiches and started barking like dogs whenever I turned my back. When I turned around one would ask, “Did you hear those dogs?”

I responded, “I think I heard puppies, they must be under the table.”

“No,” They shouted, “That’s where the beavers are, remember?”

Then I was told in addition to the beavers just showing each other their penises and vaginas, now they were bumping their penises and vaginas together. I stupidly told them to stop right away, and like a dog smelling fear they attacked with new beavers that have “long stretchy boobies, like mommies have.”

We may stop eating lunch altogether soon...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ready... Set... Register!

The City of Toronto program registration started today. The word "started" is ridiculous as it implies that it continues for any amount of time. Any parent that has ever gone through this knows it starts, there is a flurry of activity and then it's over. Much like everyone's first sexual encounter. Except mine, of course. Mine was awesome. It had to be, I was 27.

People outside Toronto don't understand the stress and anxiety that comes with registering for programs, "Oh I make it down to the Community Centre by Friday and get her in whatever class she wants." Blow it out your ear, hillbilly. In the Big Smoke it's eat or be eaten. Either your kid gets into soccer or she becomes a social pariah, so enjoy the still making classes or whatever the hell your toothless children take as city programming there in Turnip Town!

The night before resistration you pour over the impossible to read, FUN Guide, which is a misnomer if ever I've heard of one. This document is the most confusing and irritating thing I've ever read, and I used to go to Sunday school.

And no, learning to conduct eye exams is not a city program.

If you are lucky you will find a program for your kid that is not on the other side of town during school hours. You make notes on a sheet of paper of the location, time, day, code and cost of the program. If you give yourself enough options the piece of paper starts looking something like a less lucid Ted Kaczynski manifesto entry. Then it`s off to bed for a restful night of a baby gently kicking you in the face and scrotum. 

The next morning it`s up at 6:30AM. You double check your notes, your Internet connection, and your credit card and set up the command center. A land line in one hand, Cell phone the other and your computer keyboard at your feet. At 6:50 you start refreshing the registration page, you know just in case your clocks are't set to the Atomic Clock like the City`s, or someone decided to open registration just a little early, and won`t you be the smart guy who knew to start early. In reality it's you and about ten thousand other people.

The first screen you get it this one:

 That's okay, it just means they haven't opened for business yet. Keep refreshing and redialing. Soon there is a rhythm to it. Click the mouse, hit redial, hang up, repeat. There is a beauty and a meditative effect of this process. Just as you are calming down about the the whole thing, this screen comes up:

 Fuck! It's started and people are in before you. People registering for your programs. Filling them up with their unworthy poorly raised children. They must be stopped! The rhythm becomes a mashing of keyboards and telephone buttons. If the pure energy from this could be harnessed by the City, they could power a way better website. Thoughts race through your head, "Oh shit, the kid won't get into karate and she's been talking about it for months," or "I'll be the only one in the school yard not to get my kid into anything." There is nothing more shaming then having to admit you didn't even get logged in, let alone registered. 

Just as the adrenaline is shooting through your body, your child walks in wanting breakfast, water, unconditional love or something equally superfluous. "Get out! Can`t you see I'm doing this for you? You ungrateful worm? Do you want to learn the defensive art of karate?" After this interchange the answer is yes, yes she does.

Suddenly a cloud lifts and you get to this screen:

You scramble for your scribbled sheet only to find your partner has taken it, to help on their cell phone. You scream at them to bring it back. Is this a reason to seek a divorce? Perhaps its the heat of the moment but you consider it.

You pound in the program codes. Most are now full. Karate is gone, swimming gone, ballet is gone. All the programs you spent so much time sorting out with schedules and locations are full. You blindly punch in numbers finally you find something. It's over. Your kid is booked into a program. Its only 30 minutes a week that you can relax and take a breather from parenting, but it's worth the hassle. Besides she'll likely love Osteo Fit out in Scarborough.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dirty Beavers

Children have an amazing aptitude to latch onto an inappropriate topic and never let go of it. My oldest for the past two days has been obsessed with the idea of beavers underneath the kitchen table. It began innocently enough with pretending that there were ten beavers under there, her friend then upped it to a hundred, then two hundred, then what my daughter believes is a large number, “sixteen and a hundred.” I fear for her math grades. Finally the number reached a gazillion.

That’s all fine and good except suddenly the beavers were naked. Fair enough, most animals don’t dress up like in cartoons, but then they were showing each other their penises and vaginas. This is where I stepped in and announced this was inappropriate meal conversation. The two 4 year-olds shot me a look that clearly stated that this was obviously important conversation as an adult was uncomfortable.  Before I knew it the story became a beaver smacking me in the bum with it’s penis. And the lady beavers playing pin the vagina on the beaver (redundant). I quickly ended lunch and sent them off to school.

Unrelated Beaver Doodle

Today the topic came up quickly at lunch again, “Remember yesterday with the beavers and the penises and vaginas?” (Incidentally that will be the name of my first country album.) I reminded them that this was not to be talked about at the dinner table. That’s when they started whispering it. A child’s whisper is slightly quieter than a bullhorn. I Gave up and retired to the kitchen to weep into yet another coffee that had gone cold due to child rearing.

At dinner I told my wife the story and she quickly pointed out I had better tell the other kids mother before it comes up in conversation at their dinner table and the fact that a beaver was paddling my ass with it’s penis came up. I cannot wait for drop off at the school yard tomorrow.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Now You've Done It Rainbow Bear

My oldest was playing independently this morning, and although I am new at being a Stay-At-Home Dad, I knew not to fuck with that, unless of course I wanted to spent the next hour playing Princess Candycane meets Prince Gummy Worm (spoiler alert, I devour both at the end of play). After dropping her off at school I find this:

Her beloved Rainbow Bear hanging in the stairwell.

The question is why? What did this bear do to deserve this punishment? My first thought was perhaps a lynching, a racist act. I quickly decided that couldn't be it, as Rainbow Bear encompasses all colours, and thus cannot be categorized as any one race.

Perhaps Rainbow Bear committed a heinous act that resulted in being hung by his neck until dead. My Little Pony rustling? Perhaps he murdered Raggedy Anne to steal her land to sell to the Transcontinental Railway?

This is a question I may never learn the answer to.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Too Many Firsts

It's my first day on the job. First day in a new school for my oldest. The first day my wife goes back to work. The first day it's rained this hard in a very long time. First, first, firsty first. Of course last week was the last day of my old job, last day of my wife's maternity leave and the last day of summer. I look forward to a week where there are no firsts or lasts.

Anyhow, it was a rainy dreary day. The girls and I have never shied away from a rainy day. A rainy day means two things, puddles and snails. On a rainy day there is a formula for figuring out how long it will take to walk anywhere with a small child. (amount of puddles x number of children) + time normally taken to walk anywhere = actual time. For example a two block walk by this formula equals: a hell of a long time.
That was the interesting thing, with no job to get to and nearly a full day to do any errands I didn't have the urge to constantly say, "Hurray up, hurray up, let's go!" Something that had become a bit of a mantra to me while walking with the kids. Instead we went on a good old snail hunt. Just after it stops raining is the best time to do this. Put on your raincoat, pack your bug box and melted butter and off you go!

Baby snails are like the popcorn chicken of escargot
Four snails were brought into captivity today. Don't worry animal lovers, they were given a home much the same as their natural habitat. A SpongeBob house and an ashtray full of water. They were very comfortable.  

Also a personal accomplishment, I finally attempted and succeeded with a back carry using our sling. It's better for the back, but the lack of knowledge regarding the snot stain line across my back is troubling.

Baby staining the back of plaid shirt