Thursday, March 31, 2011

Escape From Swaddle Island

This just in.  We are receiving reports of an escaped convict from the hellish Swaddle Island.  These shocking images below were captured from the baby jail security system, and document the brazen, Houdini-esque escape.   

The suspect is described as a pale white male, approximately 24 inches tall, big beady blue eyes and a tenuous amount of reddish hair.  Last seen in a deeply-stained onesie and red socks fashioned to look like cowboy boots.  

We’ve just received some additional information.  Suspect apparently goes by the alias ‘Bub.’  Suspect should be considered unarmed but highly annoying.  Should you encounter him, remain calm.  Find a medium-sized stick or similar instrument, and use it to carefully roll suspect onto his back.  He will flail about helplessly like a cockroach and provide you ample time to phone the authorities.  Should suspect be obscenely belligerent, you are well within your citizen rights to subdue him with a fikey.  End of transmission.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Baby Mad Libs

The Daily Grind

Every day I usually ___(verb)___ at about 6 a.m. because I am ___(adjective)___ and I’ve ___(verb)___  myself and I don’t know where I am.  After a while, Mommy picks me up and puts me on the ___(foreign object)___ where she ___(phrasal verb)___my ___(article of clothing)___ and puts a cold ___(noun)___ right on my ___(private part)___.  You might think this would make me ___(verb)___, but I must admit it actually makes me a little ___(adjective)___.  She then proceeds to ___(verb)___ my ___(noun)___, and then it’s off to the ___(place)___ we go!

Now maybe it’s me, but I don’t like to just wake up and have a ___(noun 1)___ shoved in my ___(orifice)___ first thing in the morning.  I mean, you could at least ___(verb)___ my ___(body part)___ first, right?  But I can’t deny that I do so love the ___(noun 1)___.  Even though it always makes me ___(bodily function)___ and sometimes it’s not always properly ___(-ed adjective)___, it does warm my ___(body part)___ and makes me feel almost ___(adjective)___.  Then after my healthy dose of ___(noun 1)___, she picks me up and ___(verb)___ me.  This invariably makes me ___(verb)___ all over the ___(noun adjective)___ rag.  If I really try, I can get some on the couch; one time I even got it on the ___(inanimate object)___!

Then Daddy takes over and it’s all downhill from there.  Most days I would rather ___(verb)___ with my own ___(object)___ than hang out with Daddy.  He mostly just sits around ___(progressive verb)___ with his ___(noun)___ all day, but when he actually talks to me, it’s pure ___(noun)___.  And then every time I ___(verb)___, he just asks me ‘What’s wrong?’ like a real ___(slang for donkey)___.  But he never gives me a chance to answer, he just shoves a ___(object)___ in my mouth and hands me the ‘keys to the palace’.  (Frankly, I have my doubts to the veracity of this alleged palace, and am starting to think Daddy is completely full of ___(shit)___.)   

But he does make up for it occasionally, in the bath.  He ___(verb)___ my ___(body parts)___ like no one I’ve ever met.  The water is so ___(adjective)___, that I usually ___(bodily function)___.  But Daddy says this is okay, because he ‘got me first,’ whatever that means.  And we are friends again.  But between you and me, I still think he's a lousy ___(hurtful insult)___.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Un Equi

 He can aspirate two nostrils in under ten seconds.

He’s been known to liberally extend the 5-second rule on floor-bound fikeys.

He once changed 13 diapers in one day.

He is The Most Boring Man in the World.  

I just came up with a great idea for a film.  We’ve all seen that handsome bearded fellow in the Dos Equis commercials, and know him by his probably-trademarked moniker.  He's so damn convincing in that role that I think it’s high time to give him a run at the cinema.  Okay, this idea is not entirely “original” or even maybe “good,” but I think it has potential.  Listen:  Through a chain of highly-coincidental events, I end up switching places with this guy, and that’s pretty much the story.  It’s a feel-gooder, the seasoned bachelor a la Jack Nicholson drowning in spit-up while I’m off cha-cha-cha-ing the night away with a harem of swimsuit models. Hilarity inevitably ensues.

Each struggles at first (I can’t dance, for example), then grows into his respective role.  Then I find the cure to our condition and must decide if I should return to the family life or continue living the dream.  Moment of Crisis.  Fast forward to the climax:  I’m standing in Christmas-time snow peering into my living room window, watching the impostor beaming as he coddles my now-bigger child in his mangy beard, my wife smiling a smile that betrays a subtle sense of loss behind him.  Anyway, we both return to our former lives, wiser, happier, more grateful, etc.  Character growth, lessons learned, happy happy joy joy.

Okay, so it’s not entirely unlike that fine Fred Savage vehicle whose name eludes me, or that Judge Reinhold classic, Vice Versa.  Was that the same movie?  Whatever, just consider the comedic gold when Fernando first interacts with my wife:

W:  Can you change him, please?  I think he pooped.  And I have to pump.
F:  I don’t always change poopie diapers, but when I do, I prefer Luvs Deluxe.
W:  This is a Pampers home.  So if you want Luvs, why don’t you take your happy ass to Target and buy some?
F:  I don’t always shop for diapers, but when I do, I prefer Costco.
W:  Please stop talking like that.
F:  I don’t always talk like this, but when I—
W:  Shhhhh.  Just change the fucking diaper.  Por favor. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

There is no 'I' in Daddy

Well, I suppose a kind of perverse congratulations is in order, Bub.  You have, in just under two months of battle, managed to erode my former persona one idiosyncrasy at a time and reduce me to a mundane muddled mess of a doppelganger known to the plebes simply as Daddy. 

Who was this ‘I’ anyway?  People shall speak of him one day in hushed voices around burning vigils.  Or not.  Daddy seems to remember snippets of this singular, first-person pronoun.  Fleeting images of lush disc golf fairways are quickly gnashed, gnawed and spit up in the toothless grind of Baby. 

Maybe it’s a self-defense mechanism to ease the pain.  Daddy is third person, safe, removed, anonymous—like a sitcom character you can laugh and belittle from an alternate-reality distance.  If this ‘I’ person (let’s call him Josh) were to in real life sanitize breast pump parts and wash spit-up-stained couch covers all day, he might very well go insane.  So by creating this Daddy persona, Josh is saving himself by destroying himself.  Or maybe it’s the other way around.  Either way, it’s very Fight Club, and way too cerebral for Daddy.  Daddy just wants a nap.
Radiohead has a great song “Where I End and You Begin.”  ‘The sky turns grey (hey, they’re British) where I end and you (Daddy) begin.’  The problem is Daddy got greedy.  Daddy diversified.  No longer satisfied with endless bottle maintenance and Diaper Genie disposal, Daddy started watching Sportscenter.  Daddy started brewing beer and smoking pork shoulders.  Like an efficient conqueror, Daddy firmly entrenched himself as an ally and then began the systematic decimation of the peoples formerly known as Josh.  I heard they were a peaceful, fun-loving lot. 

But in the end, memories are really all we have, aren’t they?  We spend a lot of money on memory cards and camcorders and blueberries trying not to forget.  In Lost Highway, Bill Pullman said he liked to remember things the way he remembered them, not necessarily the way they happened.  Daddy likes this philosophy, and it’s how he chooses to remember the “peaceful and willing surrender” of the Josh people.  So when you speak of them one day in hushed voices around burning vigils, please speak kindly.    

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What's IN there?

This is more of a public service announcement than anything.  The public service being providing you with some snappy go-to retorts to one of the stupidest questions I've heard since the delivery room resident extracted Baby and then asked, 'Hey, do you want to know what it is?'  No, you know what, I'm kinda hungry; let me grab a meatball hoagie and then we'll talk.  Seriously, though, that was a high-stress scenario, it could have been a question of hierarchy, etc.  She gets a free pass.

This is about who doesn't get a free pass.  I'm out with Bub the other day, him in the stroller and me pushing.  Due to our physical statures, this is the usual and preferred arrangement.  A middle-aged woman approaches us on the sidewalk with a wide smile.

"Oh, is that a BABY in there?"

Now I didn’t know this woman, she could have been crazy (survey clearly screaming YES at this point), and you never upset Crazy.  So I politely say yes, it is.  And then, interpreting my terse response as some sort of veiled invitation to BFF Land, she helps herself to pulling back Bub's wind blanket to oodle all over him.  At that point, I browned out for a while, as ancient King-penguin-blizzard-egg-sitting-instinct took over, and, long story short, I roundhouse-kicked Crazy in the solar plexus.  You can never be too careful when it comes to your kids.

But this whole ugly incident could have been avoided if I had only had a good comeback, something to detour Crazy, a red herring, something to send her home minus the roundhouse kick to her solar plexus.  So here are 10 solid responses I've started piloting ever since "the incident" that seem to have me winning the war on random acts of stupidity.

"Oh, is that a BABY in there?   A cute little nookim?"

1.  Nope, it's actually loaded up with Beefy Beefaroni.  Jewel had a helluva sale, and apparently I fit the "shopping cart thief profile" a little too well.

2.  No, I just never got to do that Flour Baby thing in middle school, and I really want to do it the right way.

3.  No, I'm actually the new mailman.  Cutbacks, you understand.

4.  No, but I've heard of those.  Don't they sell them at Ace Hardware?

5.  A baby what?

6.   No, and frankly, I don't appreciate the insinuation, missy.

7.  Yes, but have you ever seen Rosemary's Baby?  (Pointing emphatically) WAY more evil.

8.  Yes, but he's allergic to annoying strangers.

9.  I think so, but you'd better fuck off just in case.

10.  It's either that or a really ugly chihuahua.  In a onesie.

Postscript:  Shout-out to Frank Henenlotter, the man behind the excellent feature film Basket Case.  If it's unavailable in the current medium on Netflix, I have a copy on VHS available to loan.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Human Claw Machine

As you continue to grow, Bub (much like an ambitious fungus), there are so many serious obstacles to overcome and "milestones" for you to achieve.  So far, though, I've gotta say I'm not too impressed.  I mean, you can follow a brightly-colored object from side to side and respond to loud noises.  Big deal; sounds like you've got a promising future awaiting you at the local carny.  But I want you to know that I will support you down this developmental highway, riding shotgun, laughing my ass off the whole way.

You've got to try and see it from my perspective here, Bub.  I mean, you don't know you have hands--how is this possible?  This is comedic gold you're giving me, yet you get all "sensitive" when I laugh in your face.  It can't be helped, my friend.  Where do you think those hands come from?  And who controls them?  Look, manna from heaven!  Please land delicately, deliciously in my mouth.  Preposterous.  It's weird to see a creature with motor skills, yet almost zero motor control.  Like Keith Richards, the morning after.  You're very much like a simple machine.  A claw machine.  

We all remember the claw, right?  You pay your quarter, enticed by that calculator watch or the Ohio State mini-helmet or the Domino's Noid doll.  Even though your aim was sniper-honed and your touch gentle, refined even, the claw didn't care.  It had no feelings, no vested interest.  It just plopped down, closed its grip around air and then made you watch, humiliated, as it slowly moved back over the hole, mocking you with its empty release.  

Sometimes after a good week's worth of allowance, you'd fish something from the depths, only to not quite reel it in.  Catch and release.  Then it's just sitting there, your excavated treasure, exposed and radiant.  And you're out of quarters.  So you run to the token machine and your bill is all crinkly, it takes a few tries.  Then you skip back to the machine, licking your chops, only to see some freeloading half-pint with the aid of his imbecilic, cheating-ass father's hand, claiming your prize.  And though this practice (known as claw-jacking or blitzclaw in Germany) is actually illegal in some countries, the law affords you no protection here.  All you can do is watch them prance off with your piece of determination and learn that honor and hard work can never compete with well-calculated knavery.

But I digress.  Here is photographic evidence that Bub is, in fact, a human claw machine, wherein his (allegedly non-existent) hands are the claw, and his mouth functions as the winning drop-hole.

The scene is set.  The claw at rest with a cornucopia of fabulous prizes.

The claw is positioned over the coveted worthless object.

Button pressed, the claw begins its mechanical closing.

Eureka!  The claw has latched.  But will it survive the ascent?

Likely scenario = no.  Claw returns to drop-hole empty.

Let's try again.  Latch, lift...

Got it, and getting close...

A moment of trepidation, as the claw slips.

Oh, so close little fella.  Yet again, empty-handed.  Luckily, I've got more quarters.

Great success!

To the victor goes the spoils ( in this case the keys to the palace).  And never having to say you're sorry.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I Don't Even Know Who You Are Anymore

The fact that you're shunning coffee, Bub, is problematic for me on multiple levels.  First off, you're always whining about how tired you are (you know, from all that stuff you're doing).  I stand here and offer you the best legal solution money can buy, and you reject me harder than Audra Smith in 9th grade.  And that was a real crusher.  

Secondly, you're offending my sense of taste.  This is DAMN good coffee, in fact, it's my favorite blend from Sam the Magic Coffee Man.  You'd be hard-pressed to find a finer cup of java, especially given your lack of money and mobility.  I mean, even if you somehow made it to the store, then what?

     SMCM:  So do you prefer lighter blends, darker blends?  Perhaps flavored coffee?
     B:  Haaaaarrrrrr.  Herrrrr.
     SMCM:  I see.  In that case, I recommend the Brazilian Peaberry.  Or the Ethiopian      Burundi.
     B:  Waaaaawwwwa.  (Untranslatable)  Oooooooh.  Awwahhh.
     SMCM:  2 pounds of each, great.  Cash or credit?
     B:  Uhhhhhhhhhwuuuh.  
     SMCM:  No, I do not wish to trade for a used fikey.  Please leave now.

Wouldn't work at all, would it?  But what really upsets me is the passion with which you reject my offering.  That face tells me you not only hate everything about French-pressed coffee, but also everything about the man behind the pot.  They're called feelings, Bub.  And you're stepping on them like a Riverdance of mean.

Now I'm not exactly Miss Manners, but when someone offers you something to eat or drink (or shove in your mouth) you have two options:  Graciously accept or regretfully decline.  Which one does this face fall under?  I didn't think so.  More importantly, when Daddy offers you something, let's just stick to option A and cut the crap, shall we?  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bracket Bubster

Everybody knows TV is no substitute for a good book, it rots brains, yadda yadda.  And it's not a babysitter, no, of course not.  It's so much more than that, really.  It's an entertainer, a centerpiece, a window to the world.  And, as it turns out, a temporary father/son hatchet-burier come tournament time.  Since Bub has afforded me the oft-envied opportunity to watch every single game of the tournament in its entirety without little interruptions like "work," I, in turn, have graciously extended his usual 8-hour limit on daily television viewing for the duration of the tournament.  It's win-win, really.  I'm pretty sure this is what's commonly referred to as "quality father-son bonding time."

We filled out our brackets last night in a private pool.  I've got Ohio State and Pitt in the finals.  Through a combination of grunty groans and drooly fingers, Bub's riding Morehead State to the Final Four, and he's got Northern Colorado over Wofford in the final.  Hmm, not looking too good there, Bub--at least according to the sports books.  Unfortunate, seeing as how you stand to lose the vast majority of your piggy bank savings, not to mention a substantial amount of pride, big boy.

The tournament is kind of like a metaphor for our lives.  In the early rounds, we will spend soooo much time together, though the action will be fairly predictable.  As you get older, Bub, we'll spend less and less time together, until the tournament comes to end and you are off to the real world.  But along the way, it will be an exciting ride, sprinkled generously with moments of acute joy, heartbreak, nail-biting and anticipation. 

On an unrelated note, Bub is totally not getting the whole St. Patrick's Day thing.  After several protocol explanations and numerous warnings to don a green article of clothing, I've been administering regular pinchings on the hour.  But then in an ironic argument for his mental acumen, he just walked in wearing a white organic cotton Onesie.  Oh, I do so applaud your cleverity, Bub.  And I pinch you. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Quit the Baby

You’ve pushed me too far this time, Baby--I’m going on strike.  As of right now, this instant.  Finito.  Find yourself a new lapdog, my friend.  Your incessant demands  in no way correlate to the “attractive benefits package” I was enticed by, and I am hereby going Norma Rae on you.  I know your tiny brain can’t possibly process this injunction, let alone comprehend the ramifications, so let me spell it out for you in my brand new I Quit the Baby Manifesto:

1.     Feedings will henceforth be self-administered.  This will be a neat trick, my friend.  Getting the refrigerator door open should provide a veritable Everest in and of itself.  Let alone turning the faucet on and warming the bottle.  Oh, what does cold milk taste like, Daddy?  Much like retribution, my boy.  Only not as sweet.

2.    Thou shalt change thine own diaper.  You really shouldn’t just let yourself fester in your own waste material, Bub—that is a breeding ground for diaper rash.  Everybody knows that.  And as for the changing itself, well let’s just say your mere 4 months of dexterity training should prove to be comically inadequate.

3.    Recreation will now be limited.  And by limited, read:  non-existent.  No more fun-time walks in the Baby Bjorn, no more stroller jaunts in the sunshine.  The Curious George readings, the Follow-the-musical-giraffe game, the smile-offs, all gone.  Entertainment shall now be limited to variations of the How-many-fingers-can-I-shove-in-my-mouth game, aka Baby Solitaire.  I’d provide you a score pad and writing utensil, but you would just shove them in your mouth.

4.    Crying shall now be negotiated.  No more of this free-form, willy-nilly crying stuff.  Crying is a commodity, tears are now a good, subject to the laws of everyday economics.  As the supply of comfort dips sharply, so shall the demand for tears follow accordingly.  And should you choose to break off negotiations, I will remind you that my Ipod did in fact come with fully functioning headphones.  I’m not above using them.

5.    Sleeping through the day is now mandatory.  It’s really the best case scenario for both of us when you think about it.  But should you disagree, if this upsets you and gets the tears a-welling, kindly refer back to #4.

Please keep in mind that if my demands are not met, I am prepared to go to the union I just created for assistance.  I will picket and throw cans of Spaghetti-Os at any scabs attempting to cross my line.  I will make signs (‘Honk if you think Babies are Over-privileged’ for example) and get passing cars to honk in support of my cause.  Your injustices shall be known to the world, Baby, and the truth shall set me free from this baby jail I’m doing time in.  It’s Zero Hour, Bub—get ready for a battle of wills.

Editor’s Note:  Baby was given a copy of the Manifesto, which he promptly proceeded to shove in his mouth.  War is hell.