Monday, September 27, 2010


The missus and I just sit around sometimes, watching, stupefied by Yakubu's antics.

It's like appreciating opera.  You fight through the language barrier, and in onion-layers, the meaning gradually dawns on you.  I kid you not, we saw this played out in our kitchen yesterday: 
JMW:  (At our bathroom door)  PEETUW!  PEETUW! 
Audience:  Peter.  Who do you know named Peter?  (We shrug at each other.)
JMW:  (Runs to Laundry Room door, stage left)  NAH NAHK NAH NAHK! 
Audience:  Knock knock.  Okay, Peter knocks.  Got it. 
JMW:  (Runs to Bathroom door, stage right) DOOWH! 
Audience:  Door.  Yeah, that's a door, Jack. 
JMW:  (Runs frantically back to laundry door) PEETUW AT DOOWH!  OUTSHIDE!  OUTSHIDE!  PEETUW OUTSHIDE!  (Runs back to bathroom, peering under the door)
Audience:  Peter's at the door?  Peter's outside?  Peter's at the door outside?
JMW:  (At laundry again)  PEETUW!
Audience:   Waitaminute.  Oh that Peter!  I think he means the Peter.  Ah.  Didn't they do the story about Rhoda and Peter in Bible class?
JMW: (Runs into other room)  EEHYODAH!  PEETUW AT DOOWH!  OUTSHIDE!
Audience: Was that "Rhoda?"  I think he just said Rhoda.  Wow.
So with zero prompting from us, we get a Toddlerpiece Theater vignette from Acts 12.  Not bad.  It's amazing what happens when The Dude actually happily goes (and more importantly, stays) in Sunday School without clinging to HM's leg like a strawberry Fruit Roll-Up.  That's personal growth, people.

  • Majesty points to a pumpkin on this month's mag from a certain lovable and cuddly inside trader, expecting Jack to name the gourd.  His response?  "MATAH STEWAT."
  • After Jack bashes my leg with a pint-sized chair I get all over him, barking, "Oww!  Don't do THAT!"  He stands, head down, eyes up, and softly says, "SOWWY."  I felt about thiiiiiiis big.
  • Jack notices that "MOMMY HAHR ESS WET."  Feeling his own (dry) hair, says, "DAHK HAHR ESS HOT."  Hot.  Right.
  •  When Alabama runs, regardless of ball carrier, we hear:  ENDAHM!  [Mark Ingram].  When it's a pass play, regardless of receiver, we hear:   HOOEEYO!  [Julio Jones].

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Toy Kitchen Manifesto

You Tawkin'na Me?
So we got Jack a kitchen.  You know, like a toy kitchen.  With a fridge, a grill, coffeemaker, everything.  I've mentioned it before.  It's awesome and he loves it.  So does every little kid that has set foot in the house, boy or girl.

The kitchen's a hit.  But once in a while, if we happen to mention it, we'll get a little flak.  It's almost imperceptible, but it's flak.  "A kitchen, huh?"  As if a toy kitchen is an inappropriate toy for a little boy to have.

To some, I guess a kitchen isn't "manly" enough for a 2 year old.  I mean, Jack's entire world is full of manly, grown up things, to be sure.  Things like diapers, teddy bears, pre-cut meat, and sippy cups.  Heaven forbid that Jack do something (gasp!) infantile or non-manly, maybe even (double gasp!) involving cooking*.  Er, sorry, pretend cooking.  'Cause you know, that sort of thing might make him a big sissy.  Uh huh.  Like this mammoth, lumbering toddler that relentlessly tractorbeams everything in a skirt is in legitimate danger of that.

Well, phooey on all of it.  Phooey.  It's like I've been transported back in time a hundred years, here.  Take off that smoking jacket, put down your calabash and listen to me.

A two year old is a baby.  (A resourceful, calculating, manipulative, cunning baby, but a baby nonetheless.)  But that fact aside, I'd rather spend my time teaching my little boy to be a man, rather than teaching him how not to be effeminate.  There's a big, big difference, hombres.

Will I buy Jack the next Miss America Barbie?  Probably not, you're right.  But that's a far cry from rushing into the church nursery or preschool and intervening before he (triple gasp!) picks up a dolly.  There are bigger BEESH [fish] to fry.

What I'm really wondering is, what exactly are we worried about, here, boys?

Even women participate in accommodating male paranoia.  I can't number the times when a woman has called Jack "pretty" or some equivalently frilly word.  No problem.  Doesn't bother me one whit.  Catching herself, she'll then blurt in my direction, "Oh I'm sorry, I mean handsome."  Like I need to be patronized.  Like my fears need to be assuaged.  What in the Wide World of Sports have I got to worry about?

Don't misunderstand.  I don't deny the serial emasculation of the modern male.  For men of any age, it's rampant, destructive, and a real problem.  There's much to be said in defense of boys truly being boys, and not in a pejorative sense.  But all this shallow macho posturing doesn't solve that problem.  And it's lousy PR for our gender.

If anybody needs us, Jack and I will be in the kitchen.

*a.k.a. "women's work" to folks born when McKinley was in office.

And Now For Something Completely Different
Found this interesting article today.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The (Kitchen) Oil Spill

Identitii Theftus Interruptus
We had ourselves a very tolerable weekend.  About everybody we know in the universe (which come to think of it, isn't really saying a whole lot) ended up at our house one night or the other.

We've had a rash of pregnancies in our old church group (everyone's switched to bottled water now) and we all got together to honor our good friends Jason and Valerie and very-soon-to-be-calling-the-shots-at-their-house little Norah.  So that was a lot of fun.  So was figuring out who's portable hard disk Jack pinched.

Late in the evening, Jack was walking around with a "phone" at his ear, something he does incessantly.  Looks like a stockbroker, I'm telling you.  But the BAH [phone] he was glued to looked different somehow.  Somebody thought it looked like a hard disk.  There's only one in the house: it's upstairs and (I thought) well out of Jack's reach.  So Jack's casually playing with, and dropping frequently, the family's entire accumulated storehouse of data and pictures.  Nice.

But nope, after I wrestled it from the feisty dude, it's not mine after all.  It's not anybody's.  I then call around to people that have already left to get some answers.  The victims of the theft hang a yooey and reclaim their property after 20 minutes.  I apologize.  I then explain to the kid that it's generally frowned upon to pilfer from your guests.  Unless you're running for office, then it's fine to charge 1,000 clams a plate and shamelessly beg for cash.

I just hope his victims changed all their passwords and checked their bank accounts today.

I'll Just Rub My Bread On My Face, Thanks
The next night, dinner with an old college friend of mine goes great, and towards the end Jack kind of, you know, vanishes.  Regular readers of CJMP will be familiar with The Silence.

I find Our Hero in the kitchen.  He's got most of our stock of olive oil poured on the floor.  And poured on him.  (The joint smelled like an olive press.)  He was incredibly slippery to carry upstairs and bathe, but his skin looks fantastic.

As for the kitchen, we've put out the oil booms and are hoping for the best.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Latest In Bulletproof Toys

A lot to report from the weekend now that I've (mostly) regained my senses from last week's neurological fiasco.

A Tropical Expedition
Saturday was a great day outside as we mobilized for the 25 foot long journey out to el patio de los gringos.  Preparations were extensive, sunblock was applied, reapplied, and re-reapplied, along with that ever present, necessary Houston evil, bug spray.  Everybody marched out there in their BEEP BOPS [flip flops] and made the best of it.

By the time we were done, we had burned several hours (but no pasty skin, thankfully), swam a bit, somebody got fidgety and replaced parts of two exterior light fixtures, and Jack had made at least 15 small donations to the hummingbird-sized mosquitoes that infest the Back Forty.  He's really very popular in the mosquito community nowadays.  Gets invited to all the parties, fundraisers, everything.

We did slather him with OFF! repeatedly to little effect.  On a completely unrelated note, I'm currently in the market for a smallish canister of DDT, so let me know if anyone sees anything on Craigslist.  (Would be for "scientific and/or research purposes" if the federales are asking.)

We also came back indoors with a neat little item.  Cobbled from my very first graphite hockey stick, an Easton Comp 7, I give you... the Comp 1/7th.  Apologies for the poor picture quality, but Tropical Storm Hermine didn't help improve photo conditions this morning.  It's hard to see scale, but it's a bit better than knee-high carbon with a Kevlar wrapped blade.  That's for durability and lightness while whacking anything and everything, well, whackable.  And for stray gunfire.  There's that.

And it's Jack's first hockey stick.

This Is Not A Pillow
Ultraweird naptime behavior continues.  Get this.  Majesty tells me that when she gets Jack up from his nap a few days back, he's (1) four kinds of buck rogers nekkid, has removed his (2a) shorts and (2b) diaper, (3) peed on the shorts from 2a, and is (4) using the, ah, somewhat less than fresh rolled up diaper as a pillow.  Unbelievably, he is totally clean.  Pictures (i.e. photographic proof of this) to come.

Personally, I'd Be Anxious About Who My Dad Is
Church and school have been getting tougher and tougher for Jack, and frankly neither is going well.  So in hopes to alleviate some building separation anxiety, I was instructed to take the sprog out to the mall playground.  The goal was exposing Jack to, simultaneously, both the maximum number of dangerous microbes, and the minimum amount of mommy possible.

I get the logistics hammered out on when to arrive, where to park, when to leave, where the ever-popular pet store is, all of that stuff.  No sweat.  And I'm executing the plan pretty well to be perilously unsupervised, just me and Jack.  I get him into the rinkydink umbrella stroller (looks NOTHING like an umbrella in any form whatsoever, by the way).  But the thing doesn't look quite right.  Ah.  It's not locked out.  I fix that with my foot.  And then Jack starts to shake.  Like he's in pain.  I check hands:  clear.  I check footsies:  clear.  Hmmm.

I figured out quickly that in closing the darned umbrella-on-wheels-deathtrap, I had pinched the daylights out of a small triangle of flesh under Jack's arm.  And I mean, I got it goooooooooood, too.  Looks like I branded him for the Double Rocking-Ouch Ranch.  He's crying.  I'm comforting.  And apologizing profusely.  So I grab him up and we sit in the front of the Tahoe to work things out and kiss and be Soul Brothers again.  And I bonk his head soundly on the doorframe.  On the upside, it did really take his mind off the whole death-by-pinching thing, though.

Yikes.  Sometimes I just stop myself and wonder if it's possible to get fired from Fatherhood. 
Non Sequitur of the Week:
HM:  "Jack, do you want fish or chicken nuggets for lunch?  Jack?  Fish or chicken nuggets?"
JMW, Capt.:  "Corndogs."*

*I officially object to Majesty's official objection to my use of the official term "cornydog."  Which is precisely how you say it.  Millions of heart disease-riddled fried food connoisseurs can't be wrong.  Amiright?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dispatches From The Bathroom Floor

Completely unfit to write + wicked migraine hangover = fasten your seatbelts, meine Damen und Herren.  But I'll at least spare you the Faulkner.  My head still feels like a half-peeled orange.

There are a few fine traits that I think I've passed along to my son:  Near-atomic energy levels.  A brow of absolute granite.  Insatiable curiosity.  Broad shoulders.

But so help me, I hope he dodged this ancestral mark:  The Migraine Headache.

For the record, I hate the very subject.  It makes me feel ill, because one of two things usually happens:  the discussion either begins (1) King of the Mountain or (2) Amateur Night.  By that I mean, either folks quibble over who has the more debilitating case, or someone will wonder aloud if they're afflicted at all.  Like y'know, it's a papercut they hadn't noticed yet.

I'd rather just ignore the things, letting them come and go in their shadowy, inexplicable way.  But they're difficult to blow off when extremities go numb, you get sick, or you can't see out of one eye.  It's great fun.  I've gone a stretch of two years without one.  Or like the two this weekend, 12 hours.  They're caused by food.  Or skipping meals.  Or stress.  Too much exercise.  Not enough.  Chocolate.  Caffeine.  Light.  Sound.  Weather.  BoozeSandwich meat.  Barometric pressure.  Concussions.  Allergies.  Or, more probably, some admixture of all, some, or none of these.

And also for the record, I can't walk and chew gum for about 3 days after a good one.  The big conference call yesterday planning how what was to be done where?  Didn't go so well.  I ended up holding my head in my hands over my speakerphone and getting the smartypantses to submit all non-yes-or-no questions via email.  Not quite my shining moment of ironfisted leadership.

The preponderance of genetics seems very much against Jack.  I have migraines.  His Grammy has them.  His uncles both have them.  His Poppa has them.  No doubt there have been many, many more.  And so, maybe one day when Jack's about twelve, he might come in from playing outside, and be unable to speak.  Or write.  (My parents thought I had had a stroke.)  That'll be great.

I thought as I lay slumped on my bathroom floor at 3 a.m., vomiting:
 "Oh, boy, I hope he missed THIS gene!"
'Cause boys and girls, it's a doozy.  And by the way, that's just a fine place for clarity of thought, your loo floor.  It is.  So forgive me, my son, if I unwittingly gave you something I wouldn't wish upon my worst foe.

But hey, last weekend started off well enough, and at some point through the fog I distinctly remember being utterly amazed while watching Majesty lead Jack through a recitation of the books of the Bible.  He got most of them, he really did.  Even Obadiah.  It was awesome, even if his crazy mom was teaching him to say "HAGG-EE-EYE" for "HAGG-EYE."  Potayto, potahto.

With that, he'll probably be well equipped for starting preschool this week (or appearing on Jeopardy).  We set him up in a little school this fall with our Disciples of Christ cousins.  Close enough, right?  A little inside baseball, here, but I'm sure everyone will get along just fine until they near the end of the 19th century.

We even got to go to a really good husband reeducation camp marriage seminar this weekend, and catch up with the friends we deserted some friends.  The speaker was Hal Runkel, who oddly enough is a dead ringer for the first fund manager I ever worked for.

Heck, this week?  For all I know it probably was him.