Friday, January 28, 2011

Geetars and Play-Doh Madness

1.  X + Y = Z
Let X = No Time, Y = No Game, and Z = Multiple Videos.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Novemdecember Photo Layup

Just to get this on the record, Jack FELL ASLEEP in church Sunday night.  After we picked our jaws up off the floor, I whispered to Majesty to check the dude's pulse.  We poured him in his bed when we got home, and come next morning, he didn't get up on his own.  Then he took a full-bore nap, to boot.  For the Kid Who Never Sleeps, this is truly amazing stuff.  No idea what's going on.  None.

Be sure to catch the HUNDREDS of brand new... okay, sort of brand new pics on the sidebar on your right.

Again, some of these are repeats, some really should go with other posts (I'm fixing that, sorry) or be wholly owned subsidiary posts to themselves (which ain't happening), but in no particular order, behold the Supreme Sprog of Sprogs:

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mom of Steel

This will look suspiciously like a post from another blog.  Sorry about that, but it belongs here, as you'll see.

I really don't have enough time to do this one justice.  One of the real conundrums you face as a parent is figuring out exactly how you'll approach, for lack of a better term, "pushing" your kids.  In school.  In sports.  In life.  You know the parents that push to extremity, seemingly having lost their grip on reality all sense of balance.  The ones that seem bent on living vicariously through their kid.  Or on world domination.  There's that.

Oh, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

In this little gem of an article, East meets West, and brother, IT IS ON!  The anecdotes are cringe-inducing.  And note the (immense and acrimonious) comments section.  Bon appetit!

I'll say that I very much like how Ms. Chua just viciously crushes modern American squishy parenting norms.  Even before becoming a parent myself, I always had a deep and abiding respect for just how resilient kids (and people in general) are.  We truly have no idea just how tough, capable and resourceful we all are.  Now that I actually have a sprog to watch, I'm absolutely convinced of it.

But Chua's parenting philosophy (and her methods) are tough as nails.  Nails.  Three inch, hot-dipped, galvanized nails.

UPDATE:  The West Is On Line 2... And It's Maaaaaad!

WSJ:  In Defense of the Guilty, Ambivalent, Preoccupied Western Mom

WSJ:  Mother Inferior 

WSJ Scene Asia:  Chinese Mothers React

WSJ:  The Tiger Mother Talks Back

In related news, Ms. Chua's publisher had to be sedated after being sighted running half naked towards a local Ferrari dealership with open bottles of Dom Perignon under each arm.

UPDATE 2:  National Review?  Oh My!

NRO: The Tiger Mother and Us 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jack, What's Your Twenty, Over?

Getting even is wonderful fun.

Jack's got what we think are DTs from a full week at Bebe's house with the usual crew of colorful relatives giving him round the clock attention.  And now that we're back in Texas, he's letting us have it nightly.  Because we're boring, I guess.  Never one to just float off to sleep, the routine is pretty brutal lately.  With the sobbing.  And the demanding of the other parent (I hear, "I WANT MOMMY!" and  Majesty hears, "I WANT DAAADDY!").  At least he's got the real-deal little person guitar to fend off our brand of boredom with.  And then there's the sandbox.

Oh the sandbox.  The sandbox is the greatest thing in the world.  It's not huge, but it's comfy for one (see pics).  I went and got 250 lbs of "play grade" sand at the local Hardware R' Us - which is sand that's (mostly) sans rusty nails and depleted uranium rods.  I stack it in the garage and will get to setting it up later.  But when I come home, Super Grover Majesty has already filled all 250 lbs into the box by her lonesome.  That chick is awesome.

Anyway, I think I've forgotten more about my life than I actually know about it currently.  Let me back up.  We're playing in the thing, Jack and I.  You know, as boys are wont to do.  Jack demands that I fill his plastic cup up with my yellow bucket full of sand.  Over and over and over and over to infinity plus one.  I'm having a blast, and pretty sure it's mutual on his part.  It's this gorgeous but chilly day.  And I smell it.  The smell of cold air, and dry leaves, and fine dust from (play grade) sand and just a bit of sweat.  It was, ladies and gentlemen, the smell of being very young.  It was the smell of not just a playground, or a sandbox, but of playing in them.  Which is categorically different.

I blurted this out to H.M.  I think she thought I was nuts.  You know, like the other 10,000 times.

Anyway, this is your encouragement for reclaiming what simple memories you still can.  The ones that are back there, way back somewhere, lost in the Dewey Decimal System gray matter, overcome by the online banking passwords and TV show themes and multiplication tables we crowded on top of the really elemental stuff.

One of the most entertaining things about being a parent is simply remembering what it was all like to be small.  The problem with that is when you're really savoring the experience, immense responsibility cracks you on the head again.

I was working out in the back of the house this weekend, just minding my own, when Jack strolls out, barefoot, to inspect what I was doing.  "Did mommy let you out here?  Let's go ask her where your shoes are, okay?"  I then realize, there are no shoes.  There is no mommy.  There is, however, panic.

That little sucker opened the door by himself.

Ah.  Perhaps I left the door ajar.  I stuff him back in the house, blinking at me, and firmly shut the door.  He just looks at me coolly, puts his right hand up on the knob, and leans back, using his whole weight to turn his grip and jimmy the door in the same motion.

Ruht roh, Raggy!

All sorts of new schemes are now being cooked up around Central Command.  We're currently concocting a regime of deadbolt keys, walkie talkies, secret handshakes and CB handles.  I staked out mine before it got taken:
"Uh breaker, breaker, this is Big Pink Fuzzy Wuzzy Bear.  Jack o' Hearts, whacher twenny, over?  We gotta smokey in the grass with his disco lights on hangin' paper all over I-45, come on..." 
On a random note, the usual insanity around the house is now punctuated by, no kidding, Jack singing I've Got the Joy, Joy, Joy.  Where, you ask?  Down in his heart, right.  We still get the occasional Silent Night (his best, in our view) or a really nice Itsy Bitsy Spider.  It's a little flat, but really, who are we to complain?

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Hard Day's Night

I was going to kick off 2011 with a post about how great Jack is doing, his Christmas, and heck, maybe some New Year's Resolutions talk.  But I think I'll just opt for his trip on New Year's Eve afternoon for his first ever Krispy Kreme doughnut in Mobile, AL.  Behold the fuzzy iSnapshots, ye dogs!

Step 1:  Sizing Up Your Victim (Note Proper Attire)

Step 2:  Taking the Plunge

Step 3:  Evaluating the Situation

Step 4:  The Verdict

But that's about all I'm good for today on that front.  Sugar highs for everyone, and we all lived happily ever after in 2010.  But my 2011 brain is addled with lack of sleep and a respectable headache.

Because everything goes down at 3 in the morning.  You parents all know that already.  It's a dad gum axiom.    And I'm convinced that people get committed to the looney bin based on things they did with completely lucid intentions in the wee hours.

This beep wakes me up this morning at just before three o'clock.  Like a loud one.  Like a piercing, smoke-detectory kind of one.  I drifted on back to sleep indifferently.  40 seconds later, it returns.  BEEP.  No way in tarnation am I going to - in the middle of the night, mind you - mess with that trickiest of electronic noisemakers, the aging smoke detector.  No sirree.  Nope.  BEEP.  Not me.

An hour BEEP later, I've drifted to sleep approximately BEEP 90 times (thanks, math!) only to be stymied BEEP each time by Old Smokey.  Nearing 4 o'clock, I grab BEEP the robe and hoof BEEP it down to the kitchen to BEEP grab a chair, and bump loudly back BEEP up the stairs.

I fiddle and BEEP tug and twist on the ancient device, crud and dust and unspeakable other cooties and detritus falling out in BEEP my eyes, but the chair's really too short and I can't get any leverage.  I'm also too far away for it to hear me breathing frighteningly elaborate threats.  I start fantasizing about a certain famous fax machine's violent end.  The big guns are coming out. I BEEP tramp down to the garage, and yes...  up comes the ladder.

Yes, the ladder, a real ladder.  I did it.  I've got my robe pockets stuffed with screwdrivers, 9-volt batteries of undetermined age and BEEP a whole lot of hate for a small electronic device.  I climb up there and grab hold.  It.  Will.  BEEP.  Not. Budge.  I hear Jack stirring through the door.  Did I mention Old Smokey is directly outside Jack's room?  And that I'm approximately 4 feet from the location of The Sheetrock Incident? I get down from the ladder and just sit in my office chair, staring pure, melting hatred right up at the red light.  My eyes are also a glowing, incandescent red.  And BEEP then I notice something.  There's another smoke detector about two feet from the one I'm picking a fight with.  I BEEP listen closely.  Old Smokey, Sr. is BEEP innocent.

Junior gets a jab about BEEP his questionable parentage (I'm assuming smoke detection devices are male) as I try to figure out how to liberate him from the ceiling.  Looks like a simple twisty job.  No problem.  I twist firmly, and it comes BEEP right off...  Now, I'm being completely honest here, and I'm not exaggerating one bit.  I kid you not BEEP, at the precise moment I twist the battery powered smoke detector off the ceiling, the alarm system goes off downstairs.


It is 4 in the morning BEEP.  I am standing on a ladder holding a (mostly) dead fire detection device.  150 feet away, all hades has broken loose in my kitchen because BEEP I've apparently ripped the space-time continuum.  I glance BEEP at the batteries in the detector.  They're the most arcane camera batteries I can remember, having only seen them once in my entire life, years ago.  No chance of replacing those.  The Phoebe Bouffay Solution is also out (no garbage chute nearby).

If that baby wakes up, it is game over.  If Majesty wakes up AND SEES TOOLS AND A LADDER, it is supremely game over, dude.  Because there's no 'splaining at 4 in the morning.  None.  Things make sense intuitively, or they do not.

And this sooooo fails that test.

I hit Mach-7 as I go Jesse Owens Scramjet to the kitchen and batter the 'Chime' button into submission, while ripping out the two weirdo batts from Junior.  Sweating, breathing hard, still loads of withering hate in my eyes for that (now completely dead) hunk of junk - I threw it in the garage and slammed the door - I wait for the crying.  The doors opening.  The search for... well, for me.

And I hear nothing.  Nothing.  Nothing at all.

How nobody in the house woke up through the clatter is one of the great mysteries of my life.