Monday, October 27, 2008

Facebook Friend or Foe

I’d like to say to everyone who is reading, that I have truly missed you. I kind of bailed on the blog last week for a bunch of different reasons. One reason was that I was freaking exhausted. I always save my writing for Out-Numbered for Sunday evening when the kids are asleep. It’s a great way to wind down and put my thoughts together. It’s also fairly therapeutic most of the time. Last week I had a ton of shit on my mind and found that I was way to preoccupied to dedicate my pea brain to anything one track. Another reason was that I had arrived home late from a weekend excursion with my family and three other families at a resort in Pennsylvania. When I say families, I mean kids and all. That would be six kids and eight adults in one house. I probably shouldn’t get into the minute details of the trip. My wife and I have been friends with these people for longer than we’d all care to admit and I respect their privacy. There are really only two things from this trip that still resonate with me one week later. The first one is the bruise I sustained to my windpipe or larynx or trachea or whatever that thing in the middle of your neck is. Us guys decided to play a little football before dinner and forgot that we were kind of out of shape and soft. It wasn’t long before I was on my back, bleeding and unable to breathe. I’d like to think that my buddy purposely threw a wicked forearm but I think he just fell about a half second before I fell and bam! I pretty much ruined a good pair of jeans too. Who the hell plays football in jeans anyway? That should have been the first sign of unpreparedness but certainly not the last. I’m definitely getting old. I think I’m about at that age when any type of fall usually results in a broken hipbone. I always wondered why old ladies were always being rushed to the emergency room with broken hipbones. Now I know…

The second thing that sticks out in my mind about the trip from last weekend is Facebook. Yes, Facebook. Don’t pretend you didn’t get excited there for a second. I would be willing to bet that half of the people reading this blog still have their browser open with Facebook waiting and the other half stopped reading when I wrote the word Facebook and haven’t come back yet.

So we’re all sitting in the living room of this gorgeous country house. The kids were finally asleep. The fireplace was raging. The 80’s music was playing. Everybody was sipping on either a cold beer or a glass of wine. Five years ago we would have been playing some ridiculous board game, like Jenga or Pictionary. I’m really not a huge fan of the board game to be honest with you so I’m not completely disappointed. What struck me as very odd was that I realized that no one was talking to one another. Not a word. Not out loud that is. You see I picked up my phone by force of habit, I guess, and I opened up my browser to check Facebook. Just writing that down makes me feel like a complete loser. But when I checked the recent status messages of my friends, I noticed that at least five out of the eight of us sitting in the same room together had changed their status within the last ten minutes. What’s even more insane is that all of the status messages had to do with what we were doing right at that very moment. For instance, “ so and so is watching so and so on Facebook.” Or “I’m so hot sitting next to this fireplace.” Or “So and so is happy the kids are finally asleep so I can hang out with all my friends.” If I wasn’t in so much pain from my broken windpipe, I think I would have gone around the room and given everyone a good shake. It seemed absolutely ludicrous to me that the eight of us had traveled 150 miles away from home, paid a ton of money to stay in this gorgeous house, the kids were finally asleep and we couldn’t even muster up a game of fucking Charades? Come on now. Can we be that lazy? Do we hate each other that much? Or is Facebook that addicting? I know it’s extremely tough to stay out of the photo albums of your high school crush. It’s also pretty damn fun to read that guy from college’s status messages. After all, he was the funniest guy in Sigma Alpha Mu and you think you made out with him. Wait! Give me a second; I just need to send out one last Little Green Patch request. Holy Mackerel! This is too much. I was just doing some math and this is how it shakes out…

Let’s assume the average Facebook user / addict (that includes me and probably most of you.) spends about 30 minutes a day on the application. I think that’s a pretty conservative assumption for most of us, considering how easy it is to get lost for hours at a time on this thing. That would mean that most of us spend about 210 minutes a week, 840 minutes a month or 10,080 minutes a year talking to people that most likely haven’t even met our kids, seen our homes or shook our hands in… well, ever. Now don’t get me wrong. I just spoke at a conference the other day and I was asked, “What is the single most exciting thing about the future of your business? My answer was Facebook. I know that sounds stupid but it’s really pretty awesome. As far as the whole social networking phenomenon goes, it’s truly a miraculous tool for business. After all, business thrives on people and relationships. Facebook allows you to connect with people from all over the world with the click of a mouse. It’s a personal database management system like we’ve never seen before. It’s enabled us to reconnect with friends and acquaintances that for all intents and purposes could have be hit by a thousand Mack trucks and we would have never known if not for the “Friend Finder” or “People you may know” link.

But you know what? There are also a lot of things that suck about it. For one, I’ve probably spent a good 50 hours on the computer over the past year looking at useless garbage when I could have been reading a book or a newspaper or even talking to my wife. Go figure. I’m absolutely horrified to admit it but I have definitely called out to my daughters at bed time that I’d be right there to tuck them into bed and by the time I had finished checking my inbox, they had already fallen asleep. What a dick!

Sitting with my friends in that living room last week made me realize that not all of the latest technology is good technology. There has got to be a time and a place for everything. We need to keep the human element well within our reach before we lose it all together. Our kids aren’t like us. They were practically born with a playstation in their hands. They will grow up with the world at their fingertips. It’s going to be hard for us to understand just how much information technology will be in their collective consciousness’. But we CAN be the link to that part of the analog world that is still so important. I’m referring to the part of human nature that used to make us laugh and sing and run and play. I’m talking about touch, conversation, books, music and games that don’t have sound effects and “might” cause seizures. Jeez, didn’t any of us see Wall-E?

The real reason I didn’t write my blog last week was because I was so angry with myself for spending so much time in front of the computer lately that I took a vow of internet abstinence that night so I could tuck in my kids and talk to my wife without being distracted by which profile picture I would start the week with.

So my friends, I’m going to leave you with one very important piece of information for the next time you find yourselves sitting in a room with anyone you love and you have a choice between analog or digital… See Below:

***The rules of the acted charades used vary widely and informally, but these rules, in some form, are common to most players:

The players divide into two teams.

Each player writes a phrase on a slip of paper to create the phrases to be guessed by the other team provided with a randomly selected word or phrase in secret (usually on a slip of paper drawn from a container), and then has a limited period of time in which to convey this to his teammates.

No sounds or lip movements are allowed. In some circles, even clapping is prohibited, while in others, the player may make any sound other than speaking or whistling a recognizable tune.

The actor cannot point out at any of the objects present in the scene, if by doing so he is helping his teammates.

Usually, any gesture is allowed other than blatantly spelling out the word, but some play that indicating anything about the form of the phrase is prohibited, even the number of words, so that only the meaning may be acted out.

The teams alternate until each team member has had an opportunity to pantomime.

Hopefully when it comes to choosing Facebook over Family, we’ll never be Out-Numbered…

***The rules for charades were taken from Wikipedia.

Monday, October 13, 2008

All you need is love… and sleep.

I am very proud to boast to all of you that it is my wedding anniversary today. My wife and I have been married eleven glorious, blissful, harmonious years (for the most part). That’s right. You heard me. I’m not even just saying that to score points. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty certain she’s asleep by now. I’m sure you’re thinking that she’s probably exhausted from a full weekend; jam packed with romance and adventure. Well, not so much… We did get to go out for dinner last night. We actually got to use a gift certificate to a local restaurant that we received on our anniversary last year. Or was it from the year before?

There was a time when our anniversary meant long weekends out in the country or fancy dinners by candlelight. My wife could pretty much count on a few dozen roses arriving on her doorstep, usually followed by a lavish piece of jewelry to boot. I’m pretty sure my wife sold most of that jewelry last week for a nice amount of coin. Gold is at an all time high you know… You know what? It’s fine by me. Even though this year was an uneventful anniversary, it was very special all the same. I’m not sure there are any real secrets to a successful marriage. I certainly am not the one to write the book on it. But I do feel like each year I get closer and closer to understanding why a good marriage is so difficult to maintain. I don’t mean that in a negative way at all. For that matter I think that very statement is what helps me pull my weight day in and day out.

Marriage is something two people need to work at. Some days it’s easier than others. When my wife and I were newlyweds, (which I now believe is any time before there were kids in the picture) it was all pretty simple. We both had jobs that were slowly turning into careers. We both had hobbies that kept us busy and slightly independent. We went out to breakfast, lunch and dinner, most of the time on a whim. We’d see movies, sometimes two or three a week. We’d go away on spontaneous weekend getaways. We’d stay up until all hours of the night, only to sleep the day away without even bothering to change out of our PJ’s. These were the good old days. I’m sure some of you reading this are smiling and thinking about how easy it used to be. Marriage was a cakewalk back then. We hardly ever fought. Pretty much didn’t even argue. We could hardly keep our hands off each other. Why is that? Um, let me see… NO KIDS!!!

I’m not saying that kids ruin everything but they kind of mess things up a bit. Instead of going to the movies with my sweetheart, I watch the Doodlebops until I want to puke. Instead of spontaneous weekend getaways, I change dirty diapers in an alley behind the pizza parlor (seriously, this happened to me today and I’ll write about that some other time.). Instead of staying up until all hours of the night, I usually fall asleep at around 10pm with a fair amount of drool on my pillow. Not even sure if it’s my drool half the time. It’s funny, today we had some friends over for a BBQ and I walked in the house and my wife and my buddy were laughing over something that was just said. Before I could ask what was so funny, she asked me… “What’s the one thing in our marriage that we argue about most?” That’s a great question to have to answer on your anniversary. The funny thing is, I knew exactly what she was referring to. I turned to her and answered without hesitation. “Who gets to sleep late on the weekend?” My buddy was pretty impressed that we were so in sync with our answer and my wife rewarded me with a hearty high five. That’s what we fight about now. Eleven years of marriage and that’s what pulls us apart? It’s sad but true. My wife and I have had this conversation many times. It’s actually a pretty sore subject. We’re both equally as passionate about the topic. When we fight about it, we go at it pretty good. In the end we just wind up talking about how stupid it is to fight about such a petty thing. But it’s the one thing that makes both of us happy. Sleep. Precious, undisturbed, unadulterated, sleep. It has become our respective hobby. It’s the one connection we have to the old days. I sometimes pretend that there are no kids outside my bedroom door. If only for a few hours. Having kid is hard work. It’s hard. Did I just have a George W. Bush moment right there? I think I did. That’s what happens when you deliver some straight talk my friends. Wait, I think I’m going insane.

I guess the point I’m trying to make with all of this is that there doesn’t have to be a romantic dinner or a weekend getaway for me to realize how very lucky I am to have found my wife of eleven years. I’m reminded of it every day. She’s the one who keeps me honest. The one who still makes me laugh at myself when I get too serious. She completes me and she had me at hello. She’s my Renee Zellweger. Anyone can claim to have a great marriage but throw some kids into the mix and the going get tough. There’s no “I” in team. It takes two to make a thing go right. It takes two to make it outta site. All the cliches are right. That’s why today when I was wiping my 2 year olds ass in the alley behind the pizza parlor, I had to stop for a second and wish myself a very happy anniversary. I did this because I knew that somewhere at that very moment, my lovely wife was probably wiping our other kid’s ass thinking the same thing. That my comrades is true love. On this day, our eleventh anniversary, we were both Out-Numbered…

Sunday, October 5, 2008

This is the end of the innocence.

Who knew that when Don Henley released this classic back in 1989 that his lyrics would play such a HUGE part in inspiring this week’s edition of Out-Numbered? No one. The question even more paramount than the prior, is probably, who cares? Is it possible to have an amount of people less than no one?

Fast-forward almost 20 years to a beautiful fall afternoon at a local farm festival. The family was having a fantastic time soaking up one last bit of sunshine on this Indian summer day. There were tons of activities to keep the kids busy. Hay rides, pumpkin picking, smelly game farm animals that have no place on a farm, like camels and zebras and of course my favorite fall festival activity… Kid Karaoke. WTF is this? Don’t you need to be drunk to enjoy this? The most agonizing part about kids attempting Karaoke is watching them stare at the screen trying desperately to read the words fast enough to sing them in time with the music. This is extra heartbreaking because for most kids there is so much at stake. First of all, most of the little kids that do Karaoke can’t read. Those of them that are able to read are beginners at best. What kind of cruel torture is this? I think it makes sense to measure a kid’s height before they go on a ride or a bouncy thing-a-majig at these things. It’s a safety precaution. Why the heck wouldn’t you make a kid take a short reading test before allowing them to sing Karaoke? I think if the proper precautions aren’t taken, the repercussions could be more damaging to a kid than the rides. There’s nothing that says fun like a kid messing up twinkle twinkle little star because they can’t read.

Unfortunately for me, my kid CAN read. Even worse than her exquisite reading ability is her knack for picking inappropriate songs for a 6 year old to sing. Here is the little ditty she belted out in front of a packed farm festival house. I’m so proud. Oh, by the way, insert kiddie bootie shaking whenever you feel compelled because that was running rampant throughout the performance.

Lyrics to G.N.O. (Girl's Night Out):

Don't call me
Leave me alone
Not gonna answer my phone
Cuz I don't
No I won't see you

I'm out to have a good time
To get you off of my mind
Cuz I don't
And I won't need you

Send out a 911
We're gonna have some fun
Hey boy, you know
You better run

Cuz it's a girl's night
It's alright without you
I'm gonna stay out
And play out without you
You better hold tight
This girl's night is without you
Let's go
Let's go
It's a girl's night

I'll dance with somebody new
Won't have to think about you
And who knows
What let go will lead to

You'll hear from everyone
You'll get the 411
Hey boy
You knew this day would come


Hey boy
Don't you wish you could have been a good boy
Try to find another girl like me, boy
Feel me when I tell ya
I am fine
And it's time for me to draw the line

END of Lyrics…

Uh, awkward. Aside from being completely impressed with my daughter’s ability to tap into her inner Madonna, I was pretty mortified. Heck, I didn’t even know she was dating. Is this ok? Should my 6 year old be belting out musical rants about late night raves and bootie calls? Am I just a dad that doesn’t want to hear the noun that starts with a B and ends with a Y anywhere in my daughter’s vocabulary? When did we jump from sippy cups to sexy butts? I just find it to be a bitter pill to swallow.

I’m sure some of the more “liberal” parents out there are saying, “Dude, it’s just a song.” Well, it might be just a song but it’s a song that teaches my kid stuff that she doesn’t need to know just yet. For goodness sake, she’s only 6. She’s at least a year away from a cell phone. That was a joke by the way. She also has a 2-year-old sister that repeats everything she says. All I need is my 2 year old walking around the house in a thong diaper asking me if I have the 411 on her milky.

It’s not easy to keep our kids at a safe distance from all the contaminated info out there. I’m not a “Patriot Act” kind of Dad. But there are too many outlets for which the info can be distributed. Television, movies, video games, magazines, radio, internet, ipods and of course, the dreaded school. Come to think of it, when I was a kid, I did quite the rendition of Grease Lightning, right down to the white T and greased back hair. Wait a second; let’s take a closer look at that one. After all, I turned out just fine.

Lyrics to Grease Lightning:

Why this car is automatic
It's systematic
It's hydromatic
Why it's grease lightning (Grease lightning)

We'll get some overhead lifters and some four barrel quads
oh yeah
(Keep talking whoa keep talking)
A fuel injection cutoff and chrome plated rods oh yeah
(I'll get the money I'll kill to get the money)
With a four speed on the floor they'll be waiting at the door
You know that ain't no shit we'll be getting lots of tit
In Grease Lightning
Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go

Go grease lightning you're burning up the quarter mile
(Grease lightning go grease lightning)
Go grease lightning you're coasting through the heat lap trial
You are supreme the chicks'll cream for grease lightning
Go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go

Purple french tail lights and thirty inch fins
oh yeah
A Palomino dashboard and duel muffler twins
oh yeah
With new pistons, plugs, and shocks I can get off my rocks
You know that I ain't bragging she's a real pussy wagon
Grease lightning

Go grease lightning you're burning up the quarter mile
(Grease lightning go grease lightning)
Go grease lighting you're coasting through the heat lap trial
You are supreme the chicks'll cream for grease lightning
Go grease lightning you're burning up the quarter mile
(Grease lightning go grease lightning)
Go grease lighting you're coasting through the hit lap trial
You are supreme the chicks'll cream for grease lightning
Lightning, lightning, lightning
Lightning, lightning, lightning

END of lyrics.


END of Blog.

You know what they say… The more things change, the more they stay Out-Numbered.

Just put me to sleep.

Ok. I’m on another family trip. This time, with another couple and their offspring. We are traveling up the northeast coast. We’re stopping in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. Awesome, right? Not so much. I’d rather keep it simple, BBQ in the backyard, a walk to the pizza place or a day in a Turkish Prison. I like to attack parenting in fifteen-minute segments. It’s kind of like taking a short shift in hockey. Get out there, skate hard, throw a check or two, give it all you’ve got, then sit for a few. I think a long road trip with the kids is like degenerative arthritis. It’s starts out with a few aches and pains. You take an Advil here and there and then BAM!!! You’re in one of those mechanical wheel chairs all messed up and hurting full time.

This trip has been exhausting so far. I know I’m not as young as I used to be and I don’t want to be one of those lame, lazy Dad’s that just say, “ok sweetie, that’s nice”, every time their kid wants to show them something, but man, I’m freaking’ exhausted. I have to be honest with all of you (Mom and Dad, I know you’re reading). I’m on my third drink. Two beers at dinner and a Vodka / Coke in hand as I write this. I’m not an alcoholic or anything, even though my wife jumps on me when I say I need a drink but man, it takes the edge off, doesn’t it? So it’s a race. I need to finish this vacation-condensed edition of my blog before I not so gracefully stumble off into la-la land.

Because I’m pressed for time, I’ll skip the full details of our day. Here’s the short version… My wife and I were awoken at 7am by kid #1. One of those typical wake up’s by a six year old. They just kind of stand over you like the menacing shadow of an alien, right before they abduct you and perform their hideous and humiliating tests.

I’m skipping ahead five or six hours. Partly because I’m starting to buzz but mostly because it’s just too painful to relive the memories. Excuse me for a second. I need to use the restroom. I’m not sure it’s necessary to tell you this but I’m so used to announcing this to everyone in my house, looking for permission of course, that I just don’t feel right stepping away unless you know where I am. Ok, I’m back…

I definitely wanted to point out that I stood in line at the bumper boats for 45 minutes with both kid #1 and kid #2. It was pretty horrendous. Lot’s of people, hot day, useless ride and kids. All of the essential ingredients to a colossal let down were there. Honestly though, we were all pretty psyched. “I want boats”. I think is what kid #2 said. That pretty much summed it up at the time. Then came the downward spiral. “Daddy, I don’t want to go on the boat by myself.” Said kid #1 “But sugar plumb, it’s more fun when you can go by yourself.” I claimed. “I don’t care. I want you to go with me.” She replied. “No boats!!!” says kid #2.

Fast forward four (seemed like forty four) minutes. My wife is videotaping kid #2 and I in the bumper boat. She’s yelling at me to have the boat face the camera so she can get her money shot. I’m spinning in endless circles, unable to control the boat. Kid #2 is absolutely hysterical, her hands covering her face, shielding herself from the oncoming barrage of squirting water from the other boats. This ride didn’t last very long… I think what bothered me the most was that I was actually excited to hit the bumper boats. That would have been some old school fun right there.

Fast-forward two hours. We pull into the restaurant (victim) de-jour. There’s an aura of optimism in the air. Of course there always is at the onset. I was thinking, all-you-can-eat salad bar and prime rib. A Blue Moon Ale perhaps? My kids were thinking about the next “melt down”. It always happens so quickly in restaurants. Maybe it’s because my wife and I are so self-conscious about being, “those parents”. Maybe it’s because we are, “those parents”. Who knows? All I know is that I always feel cheated when we go out to dinner. As a man and a dad, I don’t ask for much. But dinner is important. A man needs to eat his grub. He needs to have that Warren Beatty moment in Bugsy. You know, when he’s eating ferociously at the table and his eyebrow is bleeding and Annette Benning is kissing him. Now that’s badass. Well… my moment was scarfing down a spoonful of baco-bits, chasing it with some tap water and scooping up kid #2 before she lost it completely for the third time in front of the local townies. I can only imagine the side conversations. To add insult to injury, there was a family of five sitting next to us the entire time. There were the parents and their three boys. If they weren’t coming from the Summer Stock, Sound of Music auditions, I don’t know what… Jeez, these kids were golden. They didn’t make a peep. They just sat there staring straight ahead, eating bread. It was kind of creepy actually. I don’t buy it. I have two words for you. BABY BENEDRYL.

Oh well. At least I have my forth drink. “Coming right up honey.” Says my wife. Just kidding. She’s sleeping next to me on the couch. I’ll get it myself. I always do… Today I was definitely Out-Numbered…

We’re Definitely NOT Amish.

The Amish are best known for their simple living, plain dress and their distain for modern conveniences. I have come to the definitive conclusion that my wife and daughters are not Amish. I also now know for absolute certain that I am not Amish. Not only are we not Amish, we are most certainly the exact opposite of the Amish. I’m also pretty sure that the Amish would hate my family and me if they were to meet us. Although that would be a pretty awesome experiment. Set up a control room somewhere with my kids and a couple of Amish kids and have them hang out for a few hours. Even though the long term effects are not easily foreseen, I’m pretty sure my daughter would have them singing Hannah Montana songs and kicking ass at Wii Tennis before they were able to say Jakob Ammann.

Why am I babbling this semi-incoherent Amish nonsense? Because I can’t freaking believe how much shit my kids have. For that matter, I can’t believe how much shit most kids have these days in general. What happened to the days of bowl haircuts and tube sox? Does anyone play outside anymore? I mean honest to goodness playing outside. I’m not talking about $2,000 redwood swing sets or gigantic inflatable jumpers. I’m talking about a baseball catch or tossing the Frisbee around. I’m talking about a good old-fashioned bike ride. Maybe even one of those Ross bikes with the banana seat and the flag in the back. When did we switch from the Green Machine to the $500 electric Barbie Hummer? Jeez, we can’t be serious with this stuff.

Let’s take for instance birthday parties. I know there’s something special about a kid’s birthday party. It’s a great time to shower them with all the love and affection they deserve. But when I look back in the family albums (or even more conveniently find a tagged photo of myself on someone’s Facebook page) to my 6th birthday party, I see pictures of all my friends and me at my HOUSE. That’s right, my HOUSE. Some of the pictures show us sitting around the dining room table eating Fudgie the Whale. Some of the pictures capture some pretty intense rounds of Pin the Tale on the Donkey. We had party hats and party horns. We gobbled up frozen Charleston Chews. It was fantastic I tell you. No one complained. None of the parents tried to out do each other. Every once in a while you’d get a bowling party or god forbid, a pizza party. But that was the deal and the deal was good I tell you. Now days you travel to far away lands where children dress up like princesses and kings. They go to get their hair primped and styled with make up and painted nails like it’s a mini prom. There are towering slides and machine powered inflatable castles. It’s a magical transformation to another dimension filled with gumball wishes... actually I think it's bullshit. I can't stand it.

I feel like we’ve set the bar too high. It’s just another reason why are kids are so spoiled and unappreciative these days. Don’t get me wrong. They are sweet and innocent and all that good stuff but they expect too much. My wife and I were shopping for a new car recently and my 6-year-old daughter insisted that our new car must have television in the back seat so she can watch her shows. The other day I heard my 2 year old arguing her little heart out with her sister over who gets to use the ipod. When I open my garage, it takes my kids ten minutes to choose which mode of transportation to use to transport them around the block. Razor Scooter, Big wheel, Bicycle, Electric Barbie car or this new high tech hybrid of a big wheel / bike that uses the inertia of your swinging arms to push you forward at an excruciatingly slow pace. It makes me want to turn myself in to child services.

It makes me sad to think that my kids will never have vinyl record albums or the turntable to spin them on. They’ll never have an Atari 5200 or Intellivision. To my knowledge, they don’t even know what Ring-o-levio means. But we can do our best to teach them. The truth is, we don’t have to worry about our kids and their play habits all that much. The imagination of a child doesn’t just disappear into thin air and I don’t think it’s something that has been happening over time like the slow melt of the polar ice caps. The world we live in has changed. Just like our parents thought it changed when we were kids. I swear I can still hear my father waxing poetic about the good old days, when stoopball was the ultimate form of entertainment. It still makes me want to turn up my KISS records in defiance.

Every generation it just gets a little more outlandish. The kids get a little more ADD and the parents become a bit more indifferent to the core of what’s missing most in our society these days. Family values are becoming just a bit blurry. I don’t want to sound like the RNC or anything but the next time your kid yells at you because you wouldn’t take her American Girl doll to the beauty parlor, don’t get yourself in a tizzy. Instead, try to give her some old fashioned family fun to chew on. Maybe a board game, some bowling perhaps. Even a trip to the local roller skating rink would be a nice alternative. Heck, go on EBay and bid on some shrinky dinks. Let’s put the F back in Family. We owe it to ourselves and our kids to slow it down a bit. Try to make the time we spend together more important than the toys they play with. If we don’t teach them, who will?

That being said, I’m going to go downstairs and hit the Xbox 360 for a bit and blow the snot out of some aliens on my flat screen, plasma TV, before I go to bed. Sorry, it’s the least I can do. I’ve had a hard day and before I know it, I’ll once again be… Out-Numbered.

Working for the weekend...

It’s Sunday night and as usual, I’m taking some time to jot down my thoughts and insights relating to parenting and all else that seems relevant to the aforementioned topic. Usually I like to write about stuff that makes me laugh or perhaps make some sort of social commentary. But tonight I’m not in the greatest mood.

Most who know me might assume that the reason for my melancholy state of mind would be due to the Mets season ending debacle that now seems to be an annual event. Could it be the anticipation / anxiety of the soon to be approved Federal Bailout of Wall Street and Main Street? Or is it the usual nail-biter of a game by the San Diego Chargers that has become a source of weekly stress for yours truly?

Nope… It’s none of the above.

On this Sunday night I’m not exactly sad or angry. The emotion that I’m wrestling with happens to be Guilt. Good old-fashioned Guilt. I’m not even talking about Mom or Grandma guilt. This runs even deeper than that. You see I work a lot. I put a shit load of time and energy into my career. Even when I get out of the office at a decent hour, I’m still not home early enough to hang with my kids a whole lot. At best, I get to catch the end of the bath and tuck them in to bed. Not a bad thing but hardly enough as far as I’m concerned. Sometimes I’m out so early in the morning and home so late, that I don’t even get to see them at all. It’s always been a tough pill to swallow. My wife has taken time off from her career for each of our two children’s infant and toddler years. This allowed her to spend quality time with each of our daughters and not rush them into daycare or have to hire a Nanny. I know there are plenty of parents out there that have very successful situations with each of those methods but we feel blessed to have had the option. Not to mention, she’s done a wonderful job raising them both.

What all this means, is that in a nutshell, I’m a “Weekend Dad”. No doubt about it. When Friday rolls around, I’m out as soon as humanly possible and running for the train. We usually do the family dinner thing (almost always Sushi. The delivery guy knows us on a first name basis) on Friday and it really is something that I genuinely look forward to. It means a lot to me to be able to have some time with my wife and daughters. It feels great to just relax with them and not have to rush out the door. As far as I’m concerned, the simpler the better. Saturday usually starts with one or both kids waking up before dawn and climbing into bed with us to snuggle and watch TV. Unfortunately these days it’s Cailou that is forever occupying our TV screen. I have nothing against the Canadians. As a matter of fact I’m a Hockey fanatic and love the movie Strange Brew. But they definitely didn’t score points in my book with this incredibly agitating piece of children’s television. The rest of the weekend always seems to fly by. Whether we are lounging around the house, schlepping to the mall or visiting the children’s museum, it’s never enough time to feel fulfilled. As soon as Sunday rolls around, I know I’m back to the grind on Monday and it’s a long haul before I can be that normal Dad once again.

Mah nishtanah ha-lahylah ha-zeh mi-kol ha-layloht? Or in other words, why is this night different from all other nights? (It must be the whole Jewish New Year thing… Just gets me in the mood.) Tonight, I feel guilty because my wife and I went away for the weekend with some friends. We left the kids with the in-laws and now it’s Sunday night. This basically means that I had to try and cram in an entire weekend of Daddy time in just a few hours and it never feels the same. Add to it the Mets game and Chargers game and you have a Dad that was spread way too thin for his own good. On top of that, we had a wedding last weekend and did the same thing. I know in the big picture it all evens out for the most part. It’s also extremely important for the old lady and myself to get some quality alone time to regroup and repair. But I just can’t take it when I don’t see my kids. These weekends have become so important. I already feel terrible that I miss Brownies, hip-hop class, little chefs, gymnastics, music class, the morning walk to school and any of the other things that happen all week long. Wait a second. Maybe that’s too much stuff going on. I’ll have to look into that later. I often get jealous of my friends that come home early or that work close to home. You only live once and rarely get a second chance at this life. Is it worth the sacrifice? Is building a successful business worth the price that I pay in lost days and years of my daughter’s lives?

I’m not sure my kids appreciate how hard I work to provide them with all the things they come to take for granted. I’m not even sure I want them to be concerned with that at all. I don’t suspect they resent me for only being around on the weekends. To them it probably seems pretty normal. The hugs and kisses are still doled out in waves. But I can’t help feeling terrible about this weekend being cut short. It’s time I can’t ever make up. I wonder if it’s normal to feel this way. I always thought that I hated Mondays because it’s the first day back to work after the weekend. But now I realize it has nothing to do with work and everything to do with life. When Sunday night rolls around and I crawl into bed, I can’t help but think about all the things I’ll be missing until Sushi dinner rolls around again on Friday night with the wife and kids. It’s nights like this that have me wishing that I was always Out-Numbered…

The more things change, the more they change some more.

It’s Sunday evening at about 8:39pm and I’ve had it. It’s been a long weekend. I feel old today. My knee has been killing me the past couple of weeks and I can barely walk. I have pain in my hand from what the Orthopedist suspects is Tendonitis. I’m on weight watchers to help maintain my weight. So for the past two days, I’ve been wearing a knee brace and a splint to immobilize my thumb. I eat rice cakes and egg whites to avoid blowing up like a balloon. I look and feel like an AARP commercial. I’ve actually forgotten the point of this story a couple of times in the last three minutes and I’m not even two paragraphs into the blog. As a matter of fact, I was seriously debating whether or not to skip writing this week altogether and pick up next week with Out-Numbered #6. If I didn’t think my Mom would be crushed I would have succumb to the lethargy. But there is one really important thing that I felt compelled to write about and if I don’t do it this week, I’ll miss my window. Believe me it’s a very short window.

On Friday I attended my Twenty-year high school Reunion. Twenty freaking years. No wonder I feel old. Maybe it’s mostly mental, maybe I’m just a mess but either way it’s pretty daunting. How can so many years have gone by and I have so few memories of any of it. I’m serious. I remember more about my kid’s first six years than I do of my entire life. Why is that? Was I not paying attention to the world and people around me all that time? I don’t even really have that many pictures. I know my Mom has a bunch of pictures of me in her house but they are all from like the ages 6 months to 8 years old and then it pretty much stops. I probably have five thousand pictures of my two kids and one hundred DVD’s of everything ranging from birthday parties to toilet training. I feel like Annie Liebovitz and Martin Scorsese rolled into one. My past is such a blur. I don’t really remember too much before I met my wife. Weird.

Ya know what though? It kind of makes sense. When you’re growing up, there’s really not much to think about but yourself. I think I spent most of my adolescent life thinking about which girl wasn’t going to go out with me next or who would win in a fight, Freddy Kruger or Jason Voorhees (of course they made a damn movie about it eventually which I guess means that there was some kind of relevance to my idiotic thought process on some level). My point being, (please, please let there be a point somewhere in here.) people tend to spend a good portion of their childhood and adolescent lives in a mostly self-absorbed state. You go to school to fill your head with info to make yourself smarter, you play sports and participate in extra curricular activities to make yourself well rounded, you find a job so you can make yourself some more money to buy more stuff… for YOU. You really don’t have much time for anyone else but numero uno. When was the last time that happened?

Kids change everything! This is why time goes so fast now days. Back when we were kids, it seemed like time stood still. Classes took forever. Summers seemed to last an eternity. Even a kiss with a girl felt like a moment caught in time. But that’s because it was all about you. There was nothing else to preoccupy our time. Just the ME channel, 24/7. Now the kids steal the show. We take them places, we buy them things, and we spend every second talking about them. Jeez from the second we find out we’re going to have a baby, until they are one year old, we count their life by weeks and months. Oh, my wife is 12 weeks pregnant. My kid just turned 16 weeks today. My daughter is 8 months old. When have we ever had to keep track of something so closely before? When you have kids, every little milestone is a charted and documented event. She rolled over for the first time; she smiled at me for the first time or look who took their first poop on the potty… Before you know it, you wake up and two or three years have gone by and you feel like you haven’t done anything. For the first time in our lives it’s not just about us. To be honest, it’s not about us at all. It’s about the kids and rightfully so. Having kids makes it easy to go to work in the morning. There is incentive. We are parents now and we’re responsible for these little lives. They depend on us. We don’t pay attention to time the way we used to. I’m so wrapped up in the first six years of my oldest daughter’s life that I failed to realize that six years went by in mine. Now my youngest daughter will be two and I swear to God that I couldn’t remember if I was 37 or 38 the other day. The strangest thing about that was that I actually didn’t care. It didn’t matter.

My high school reunion was amazing. So many faces and so many names from the past came out for one memorable night. For the first time in a long time, I suspect most of my classmates had a night without the kids and without the spouses. It was a night where we could finally treat ourselves to a little self-absorption for a change. Oddly enough all those memories that had escaped me, somehow crept back in for a night. Some memories were more specific than others and some were just feelings that I hadn’t felt in ages. On Friday I forgot about my bum knee and my sore thumb. I drank Pabst Blue Ribbon from a can and listened to 80’s metal with my buddies and talked to people I hadn’t thought about in 10 years or more. I guess it’s all par for the course. I guess it’s just the cycle of life.

I did realize one amazing thing though. I realized no matter how shitty my knee feels and how many rice cakes I eat now in my thirties, that all of my experiences and all of my memories that seem so tucked away, are a huge part of the man I am today. My wife and daughters are most definitely helping me evolve into the man that I will be tomorrow. It’s good to have a family. It’s good to have kids to teach and a wife to learn from and it’s good to be Out-Numbered…

4th and very very very long...

You can't draft a fantasy family. It's just not an option. At least for most of us anyway. I don't usually think about this. Today happened to remind me that you play the hand you're dealt...

I'm a sports fan. Always have been and I suppose I always will be. It's just something I grew up with. I played sports, watched sports on TV (12" black and white, thank you very much), collected sports cards (my mom threw all of them in the garbage), read sports magazines (when I wasn't reading Ranger Rick or Kerrang). You name it. If it involved a ball of some sort and dirt, I was sold. Now that I look back on it, it seems kind of odd. My dad wasn't a sports fan at all. I'm pretty sure he thought Jimmy Connors was the shit but i don't think that counts. My mom certainly didn't know the difference between Walter Payton and Walter Matthau. I guess it could be that I was born with the competitive gene or I could have simply been a product of my environment. Either way, it seemed like that's what boys did and it was important.

I think it's only natural for men to fantasize about someday having sons of their own. The thought of your boy learning to shout "Potvin Sucks" at his first Hockey game or tapping him on his back at the start of the national anthem as a gentle reminder to remove his cap. Or maybe it's sharing his first hot dog / knish combo up in the blue seats. It's the subtle things that you can't help but daydream about. I know I always did. As a matter of fact, I don't think I ever pictured it any other way. I even bought a tiny Rangers hockey jersey when my wife was pregnant with our first, not knowing what we were having. Some people might think that's sick but I thought it was standard.

To make a long story short, the son never came. Two daughters is what I have been blessed with. It's kind of like watching the lottery drawing on TV for that brief 30 seconds during the news. 6, nope, 32, nope, 8, nope, 14, nope... Well you get the point.

It's kinda of amazing though. As a father of two daughters, I can honestly say that I wouldn't want to change a thing. There's a certain look that a little girl gives her daddy and it's absolutely priceless. It makes me melt every time. I feel like I have a bond with my daughters that seems very unique. Perhaps it's because there were never any preconceived notions about having daughters on my part. Whether that's because it took me by surprise or because I realize now that I know nothing about the female species is irrelevant. I can't even picture having a son now. It's actually nice to not have to worry about all the stereotypical pressure that comes with raising boys. I used to dream about taking my kid to the Rangers games at the Garden but what if he turned out to be an Islanders fan? I'd be pissed. I also used to muse about tossing the old pigskin around in the yard with my boy but what if he sucked at football and couldn't catch a ball to save his life? Would I get frustrated? Did I really want to do all those things with my fictional sons? Or was I just conditioned to think that way because I didn't know any better? It's nice when life smacks you in the face and it turns out to be a pleasant surprise.

On most days, I'm perfectly happy playing Barbies or dress up. It doesn't phase me at all lifting my oldest daughter during the pretend ballet recital in the den. I even got a kick out of watching her scream frantically with 15,000 other little girls at the Jonas Brothers concert. Even with no beer.

Sometimes being a dad in a house full of girls gets a bit overwhelming though. There's always a lot of screaming and fighting about nothing. I'm often told that I don't know anything and it seems a bit weird that a little girl less than two years old has more shoes than I do. But in the end it keeps me on my toes. I'm often learning new and important things about the opposite sex. Like tonight, when my 6 year old daughter told me that it's good for a girl to sleep without panties every once in a while because it gives her vagina a chance to breathe. Hmmm, I didn't know that vaginas needed to breathe. I kind of thought that the oxygen came from the lungs. I wonder how many vaginas are out there suffocating as I write this blog...

Today was a day for me though. The first Sunday of Football season. Even though I'm sure my wife would argue that I get about fifty of those days a year. The first Tuesday of Hockey season or the first Wednesday of Baseball season. Whatever. Give me a break. I deserve it. Today was a day that I was able to stretch out on the couch, laptop all fired up and ready to report stats in real-time. PBR cold out of the can and an Italian Hero with "the works". I planted myself in the basement, in front of the flat screen. The only part of the house that is free of ponytails and pom poms. It might as well be the Bat Cave as far as they are concerned. But I know my place and my place today was alone in the basement watching football on Sunday (thanks to my awesome wife). With no sons and no daughters, even if for only a few precious hours until once again when I'll be Out-Numbered...

Hillary Clinton, you’re my only hope…

Someone once told me, “Trust me. The qualities in your kids that annoy you the most now, are the very same qualities that you want them to possess as young adults.” I say, “Easier said than done Missy.” That’s like asking me if I’d like a cold glass of water, while I’m walking in the desert and then telling me that you don’t have any. That’s like parking a new BMW in my driveway and telling me to take it for a spin and then telling me that you don’t have the keys. In other words, it doesn’t do me much good in the here and now…

But, you know what? It’s actually a really thought provoking statement. The truth is, things can be hectic when you’re getting into it with your kids. I think as parents, we get a bit caught up in the emotions of it. It’s hard to hear the word “no” one hundred trillion times a day and not want to strangle somebody.

Over the past year or so, my wife and Kid #1 have been, let’s just say, incompatible at times. I find this hilarious because they are actually more compatible than most people I know. It seems as if every time they are in the same room, one of them is sure to fly off the handle within seconds. I liken their relationship to a teakettle constantly simmering, ready to boil at any moment. This constant fighting between them really bothers my wife. I always seem to be caught in the middle in the worst way. If I side with my kid then I’m not a “good disciplinarian”. If I side with my wife, then I’m the “worstest” Daddy ever and I don’t love my kid.

I think there are many reasons for this kiddy / mommy, catfight phenomenon. In a nutshell, I think it’s pretty simple and all parties involved wind up getting a bad rap. Here’s how I break it down…

1. People argue. It’s a test of wills. Not everybody wants the same things all the time. It’s only natural to state your position and stand your ground. When you believe in something, whether it’s the right to bear arms or the right to eat ices before dinner, it’s a personal opinion and it always comes from the heart. People like Johnny Cochran made a pretty good living at it before he kicked it a few years back. Just watch any Matlock rerun and you’ll get a taste of what an eloquent art form this can be.

2. Kids don’t like to be told what to do. In fact, they hate to be told what to do. When a kid pushes back, it’s their way of feeling out their little person Cohones. It’s the beginning of kiddy confidence. Putting a kid back in their place every single time without a good confrontation can shatter their ability to stand up for themselves. How can we expect our little precious ones to stand up to the neighborhood bully in the schoolyard if they don’t get any practice at home? Trust me, I’m a big fan of the, “because I said so!” but it doesn’t hurt to go toe to toe with them every once in a while.

3. Parents don’t like to be told what to do. (Please refer to #2) Chances are most of us have already had our asses kicked in the schoolyard by the neighborhood bully more than once already This makes it worse…

4. Ego, Ego, Ego. Not to be confused with Eggo, the tasty and convenient breakfast treat. Isn’t that weird that you just thought to yourself, “leggo my Eggo.” And I didn’t even write it… Anyway, the ego thing works both ways. Kids are so used to being built up every minute of the day with, “you’re so cute.” or “you’re so smart.” or “you’re so great at the hula-hoop. But when you cut them down at the knees, lumberjack style for any reason, it’s makes them feel bad. It shocks them out of their little angel fantasyland. Little kids aren’t mature enough to shrug it off and bounce back all the time. Sometimes it stings a bit more than other times and they instinctively fight back. Parents are built a bit differently but for all intents and purposes it’s the same stuff. Parents hate when their kids talk back to them. When a kid is being “fresh” or “disobedient”, especially in front of other parents or even worse, your parents or your parents, parents, it makes us look bad. (go ahead, read that sentence again. I had to read it a few times to make sure.) It makes it look like we can’t control our little animals. Then our kids come off as spoiled rotten or problematic. No parent wants to hear, “I would never let my kid talk back to me like that.” So as parents, our natural defense is the same as a porcupine or a blowfish. We muscle up a bit, sometimes over the top just to make sure everyone knows who’s boss. When the kid and parent egos meet in that proverbial dark Alley, it tends to get real toxic, real quick.

5. Little girls are crazy and Moms are even crazier. This is actually the most important part of the equation. I know I’m going to get killed at home for saying this and probably killed in the comments as well but it’s going to be hard for anyone to deny. Little girls tend to be just like their Mom’s. You always hear how important the same sex parent is as a role model. Think about it. You hardly ever see a six-year-old girl laying on the couch, scratching herself, watching football, and eating Funyions. But how many times do you see her playing dress up, putting on make up or yelling at her doll to go to bed. Hmmmm. Sounds a lot like Mom to me. As a matter of fact, on more than one occasion, I’ve actually turned to my wife in the middle of one of their shouting matches and said, “She is EXACTLY like YOU.” As you might guess, that never scores me points on the backend. Actually, having two daughters is a lot like having three wives sometimes. I’ll never forget the time I was in the little boys room, doing my morning business and all of a sudden my oldest starts banging on the door yelling, “Get your ass off the freakin toilet and get out of the bathroom already!” I almost fell off the bowl laughing before I started to cry.

Basically, it’s a tough thing to deal with. Every parent wants to do the right thing and raise good kids. Whether they are boys or girls, we want them to be strong, smart and independent. So that bit of advice I was given is completely true. The next time you’re arguing with your stubborn, strong willed, over confident kid, try to picture them at 21 years old, possessing those very same qualities that are bugging the heck out of you at 6 years old and you’ll probably do what I’ve been doing lately… smiling and feeling like I must have done something right. I’m sure once upon-a-time, even Hillary Clinton was a stubborn kid, fighting with her mother and look where that got her. J Whatever the case may be I’m staying neutral because as always, I’m totally Out-Numbered.

One Kid At A Time.

People always ask my wife and I if we're planning on "going for" kid #3. Or my personal favorite... "now that you guys have two girls, aren't you going to try for a boy?" I say, “Bite me!” The thought of it makes my tiny little brain ache. I love my daughters even more than hockey but two is certainly more than enough for me.

I appreciate the thought. It’s actually sweet for a second, in a Brady Bunch sort of way but I just can’t get past the plain fact that my TWO kids sometimes drive me crazy.

The big realization I've been dealing with lately is the simple fact that I enjoy my kids much more when I'm with either of them one on one. I'm not totally positive why this is or what it means in the big scheme of things but I do know that for the most part it's true. I do admit that I feel badly saying this out loud or in this particular case, to the blogesphere. Dad's are supposed to cherish family time. Things like picnics, BBQ's in the backyard or a family night out at the local Applebees. Whatever the case, it's what you're supposed to live for. No? Then why is it, lately , when we're all together as a family, I want to bludgeon myself to death with a Kooky Pen? (How useless are these Kooky Pens anyway? Have you ever seen a kid play with one? Let alone write with it?) I'm not sure why when we all get together in a room it all goes to hell in a hand basket.

The other day, I spent the afternoon with my little one and it couldn't have been more delightful. We went for a walk. We dined at the local Pizza Parlor. We shared ices. We genuinely enjoyed each other's company. All I kept thinking about was how great it was to have some alone time with her. Granted, she's not even two years old, so it's not too difficult to fill the gaps in conversation with things like... a nap or The Doodlebops but at the time it seemed pretty darn special.

The very next day, I spent some good solid father / daughter time with my oldest. Our destination for the afternoon was Camp Family Fun Day. This is the day that the entire family is invited to check out the camp and participate in tons of "fun" activities. Activities like swimming in the pool with thirty screaming pre-schoolers, making dirt cups (crushed cookies, pudding and gummy worms) and climbing the Rock Wall. Exactly what I want to do with my weekend. Either way, she was pretty pumped about it, so I was too. As it turns out, we had a pretty awesome time.

When I'm with my kids one on one, I feel like there's a mutual respect between us. No one is trying to out-smart each other or blow up the house. It's just good times. Kind of like the Lowenbrau commercials.

So what's the problem? It seems pretty simple in theory. Take the great times you have alone with Kid #1 and combine it with the ultra smooth sailing experience you have with Kid #2, add one part loving wife and voila! You have the perfect family experience. As a matter of fact, it should be super easy to come out ahead two on two, right? Venus and Serena seem to do just fine.

I hate to throw more useless analogies at y'all but it's kind of like juggling. You know when your cute little kid says to you, "Hey Daddy. Look, I can juggle." Then you look at them and realize they are only using two balls. So you say, "That's great sweetie. I'm so proud of you." But what you really want to do is throw that third ball into the mix and show them that it's NOT that simple. That's kind of like what it's like when you add the second kid into the mix. It just changes the dynamic. There's got to be some scientific theory that explains why it's NOT that simple. I just don't know what it is and I doubt we're racing against the Germans to find the answer.

It just feels like when you're with more than one kid at a time, you go from being a parent to being a babysitter. You switch from bonding to surviving. Most of the time, when both of our kids are in the room with us, my wife and I can't have a conversation with each other for more than two seconds. As a matter of fact, we almost never talk directly to each other unless we utter words like, "look out!" or "can I go pee?" or "did she poop?"

I suppose it has to get easier as they get older but then again I keep hearing the opposite. "Especially with girls" or "you just wait until they are teenagers", my peers tell me. Maybe I just need to chill out or maybe we need to spend more of our time one on one... or maybe, as always, I'm just Out-Numbered.

Where the boys aren’t

Chapter 1 – Family Trip

So, It’s 5:30p in the afternoon on a Saturday and I’m still in my pajamas. Actually I’ve been up since 6am this morning, dressed, traveled from state to state and just finally slipped back into my pajamas for some much needed R&R. My wife and I are on an overnight excursion alone. Ahhh. Tonight begins the 26-hour decompression / vacation from my vacation.

Ok technically I’m not on a vacation from my vacation. In fact I was never really on “vacation”. You see, when you have kids and you take them away with you during your time off from work, it’s not really a vacation. When you’re single and you go away with your buddies to Cancun for spring break, that’s a vacation. When you and your wife stay at the Ritz Carlton in the Cayman Islands for a week sans children, that’s a vacation. But when you take a week off from work to shack-up with your in-laws in West Palm Beach, Florida, all the while totting around two blessed little angels, one who can’t talk yet and coincidentally, one who never (god bless her) shuts up, that my comrades, is a “Family Trip”!

There are a so many things that you start to realize once you have children. These things often come to you in precious and sometimes, precarious moments. I like to call them “moments of clarity”. They are the moments that simultaneously make you want to cry with the utmost love and connection to your child and also pull the hair out of your head with frustration.

For instance, my wife and I were all packed up and ready to schlep both of our daughters from the pool, back to my in-laws apartment. My wife and I were completely exhausted from the chasing and the running and the feeding and the potty runs and the dressing and the undressing and the arguing and all the good things that go along with a day at the pool. Not to mention completely covered in Goldfish crumbs. It had taken us about 20 minutes of 5 minute warnings to pry the kids out of the water. Like every other day, they were reluctant to comply. We asked my oldest daughter (who happens to be smarter than the both of us put together) to carry one of her pool toys. We were just about out of the gate when I peered back at her and saw her sneakily toss the pool toy into the pool. Now she’s no dummy. My wife immediately snapped at her because it’s completely par for the course. To most people this would seem like a simple act of disobedience. But look closer… This was not malicious or directed toward my wife and I with any disrespect what so ever. All she did was figure out a perfect way to HAVE to go back into the pool. Now the argument went like this:

Mommy: “Why did you throw that into the pool?”
Smart kid #1: “I didn’t. It fell.”
Mommy: “It fell into the middle of the pool?”
Smart kid #1: “Well… Actually, I wanted to see if it would float or sink.”
Mommy: “No way. I’m not going back in the pool!”
Smart kid #1: “Please momma?”
Mommy: “No way, we’ll leave it here then.”
Smart kid #2: “Gah.”
Smart kid #1: “No! Please. Please. Daddy, can you get it?
Daddy: “Sure pumpkin.”
Mommy: “I said no!”
Daddy: “Uh, ok. Whatever your mother says…”
Smart kid #1: Starts to fake cry but with real tears. Totally Oscar caliber.
Mommy: “If you want it so bad, then get it yourself.”
Smart kid #1: “But it’s in the deep end. Do I need my floaties?”
Smart kid#2: “Gah.”
Mommy: “Yes.”
Smart kid #1: “But I can swim without my floaties.”
Daddy: “Can she put on one floaty?”
Mommy: “Be quiet!”
Daddy: “Put on both floaties sweet pea.”
Smart kid #1: “Ok. Can I jump in?”
Daddy: “Sure go ahead…”
Mommy: “Helloooo?”
Smart kid #2: “Gah!”
Daddy: “Sorry. Just use the stairs buddy.”
Smart kid #1: “Ok, Yay!!! I love the pool!”

So you see what I’m talking about? This was one of those amazing times as parents you could literally call it quits right there on the spot because you’re so annoyed and frustrated and feel completely outmatched. You can feel your hold on the law slipping away and you’re too tired to care. These kids can be so relentless and wound up with energy and curiosity. But on the other hand… It’s so amazing how smart and calculating her shtick was. You have to respect that. She even rode out the argument patiently enough for the momentum to turn naturally in her favor. She never even asked to go in the pool. We made her go. Awesome! I love that kid. So smart. The best part is, I’ll probably be the one to get yelled at in the end… Oh well. I guess I’ll always be…