April 20, 2006

Whack-Job (And The Groove)

Despite the fact that my comments are plentiful (yes, I am a comment whore and try as I might not to, I do equate the number of comments with the success of any given post), I haven't felt in the groove when it comes to blogging lately. When I feel out of the groove, I get all insecure and wonder why you guys read. I mean, over the last couple of weeks, I've read aloud to my daughter from a UNIX manual, described my white trash neighbors in depth, provided highly detailed research into Slurpee consumption (complete with diagrams and charts), called politicians and terrorists asshats, lied to you, and worn my daughter's tights on my head. If I were you, I'd be pointing and quietly mouthing whack-job under my breath.

I have a point.

I'm sleep-deprived and over-worked. I don't always have time to come up for air. You've been getting live, unedited, unfiltered blogging for the last few months. Thanks for reading and/or humoring me. Whatever time I have leftover at the end of the day has been devoted to an exhaustive examination of the passage and slippage of time. In a couple of days, Mia will be nine months old. I have no idea how that happened.

Yesterday afternoon, after work, I pointed my car in the general direction of home but found myself at Toys R Us. I wanted to find something neat for Mia. Two things hit me within minutes of entering the store.

It was late afternoon. While I have no practical understandig of this, I'm sure kids had just gotten out of school and parents, wondering what exactly to do with them, loaded them into minivans and took they toy shopping. The place was packed, a sea of screaming, running, laughing kids. I was struck by a feeling of tremendous good fortune, lucky that I was there in this crappy toy store not because I was surrounded by stuffed things and plastic but because I was a parent and I belonged in a place like that. I had, simply, a reason to be there.

I realized that my efforts were completely and utterly misguided. I was looking for something that would demonstrate to Mia that I appreciated her, that I thought she was special. She's 9 months old. She sees a toy and tries to shove it in her mouth. She doesn't translate that to look how much my father appreciates me, that he'd stop on his way home to buy me something he thinks I'd like. No, what I wanted to convey could really only be done by going home, seeing her, getting down on the floor with her, and playing. Because doing that is like swallowing spring, feeling it bloom inside me.

I guess I've been in the groove all along. Maybe I'm a whack-job, but I'm a happy whack-job.

Posted by Chris at April 20, 2006 7:06 AM

Chris, I'm elated that you had this revelation. Don't let go of it. Too many kids today are overwhelmed and overstimulated by the mounds of shit that parents and grandparents alike heap on the poor little angels. I believe it totally fucks up a kid's head and his or her sense of what is important and what is not. Materialism is not a substitute for time and love and attention. People do not get that and use crap to make themselves feel less guilty for not providing the important things. Excuse my language but I feel very strongly about this.

Posted by: JuJu's Mom Linda at April 20, 2006 7:15 AM

Sleep deprived and over worked? What's that like?

Ya whack-job!!

If you write it, we will read......

Posted by: Wicked H at April 20, 2006 7:46 AM

Dude. First of all, I really hope you get some time away from work and some much needed rest. It seems that Mia, who is precious and adorable, has spent most of her 9 months NOT SLEEPING, right? I hope for you and Beth that the no-sleeping situation changes soon.

Also - wonderful revelation. The beautiful things you've written about Mia will be the another wonderful gift, besides you being in the floor and putting her tights on her head. And I really think she LIKES the UNIX reading. She sounded delighted by it!

Posted by: samantha at April 20, 2006 7:56 AM

:) What a lucky whack-job.... :) I guess we're all in the same boat!

Posted by: Corinne at April 20, 2006 8:03 AM

Big Amen! to JuJu's Mom Linda.

And Chris, your whackjobness is just part of your charm. Who wants to read the blog of some normal guy?!?!

Posted by: fauve at April 20, 2006 8:12 AM

Well yes, you're a wack job- but you're *our* wack job. When/if the posts start looking like your head is resting directly on the keyboard then we'll worry. "Till then don't stress it- we love ya.

Posted by: Nic at April 20, 2006 8:15 AM

A positive experience coming out of a trip to Toys R Us? Really and truly, you must write their board of directors. Cuz that store is truly evil, IMO. Make sure you tell them you didn't buy anything.

And yay for me for being among the first 50 commenters! :-)

Posted by: mrsfortune at April 20, 2006 8:26 AM

trust me darling. i hear about people who should have whack-job permanently stamped on their foreheads to save the rest of us some energy and trouble. you my darling man are not one of those people. you are, in fact, far far faarrrr from ever being one of those people. but this you already know. i just felt like saying it again.

Mia is a fortunate little girl who is going to go grow up smart and strong and funny because you and Beth are smart and strong and funny. Knowing that makes me very happy. Yay for well adjusted people!

Posted by: pea at April 20, 2006 8:34 AM

yeah, but you're OUR whack-job!! :)

From one whack-job to another, thanks for doing taking time out each day to let us into your thoughts and world. It's been really nice.

Did you have fun playing with Mia yesterday? I had the same epiphany myself once, so I can totally relate.

Have a great day!


Posted by: Shash at April 20, 2006 8:46 AM

I can't speak for the other 1000 people that read your blog every day, but I appreciate the fact that despite your lack of sleep and what you may consider to be boring posts you make the effort to post something new and different every day. You can even make those boring posts entertaining as hell which is not an easy task (and it pisses me off that I can't do the same). Everything you say is honest and from the heart, and I think that's why you have so many readers who can relate to you and why so many comment every day.

See, you ARE a total whack-job but a very entertaining one. And I think it's terrific that you appreciate your daughter enough to actually spend time with her. Keep up the good work!

Posted by: Beth in StL at April 20, 2006 9:08 AM

that is a totally and utterly beautiful sentiment.

mia is one lucky girl to have parents like you and beth.

Posted by: suze at April 20, 2006 9:23 AM

How in the hell did I miss the tights on head posting? wow you are a freak...not really, but you do make me wonder. LOL

I wasn't able to play with my kids enough because of being a single parent and working all the time, but I am trying to play with my grandchildren more now. OMG I have grandchildren! Now that is a blessing if there ever was one. yippee!

We love to read your blog. and the fishes too. the bean needs her own now to make it complete. :)

Posted by: Red at April 20, 2006 9:29 AM

The happiness is what counts, for sure.

Posted by: Jessie at April 20, 2006 9:32 AM

I just got goosebumps all over my arms.

Posted by: jen at April 20, 2006 9:37 AM

'Round here, we've come to believe that if you *can* worry about whether or not you're a whack-job, you're not. This keeps us from questioning our own sanity/easily amused-ness.

As long as you can write things like, "...swallowing spring...", you're not only not a whack-job, but a gifted writer, and a loving parent, so don't worry about it.

Plus, being a sleep-deprived parent myself, the "whack-job" posts are right about my mental level, anyway!

Posted by: Kate the Shrew at April 20, 2006 10:04 AM

I got news for you, honey: your child is NEVER going to get a toy from you and think, "Wow, look how much my dad loves and appreciates me." Mostly, they'll think, "Gimme gimme gimme."

Good that you recognize now that spending time with your child is the real gift.

Posted by: kalisah at April 20, 2006 10:18 AM

I wish there were more Dad's in America like you.

Posted by: Nik at April 20, 2006 10:21 AM

But you're such an interesting and engaging whack job!

Sleep deprived or not, you've always got something worthwhile to say. And as shown once again by your Toys R Us revelation, you know what is important.

Posted by: bad penguin at April 20, 2006 10:30 AM

Post your grocery list, we don't care. We come here for a slice of Chris. It's the only place we can get it, and we'll take what we can get.

Posted by: Sheryl at April 20, 2006 10:36 AM

if this all makes you a whack-job, i say dont change. But, if suddenly you were able to get as much sleep as you needed/wanted, i would totally say go for it!!! But your post seem honest, fresh and raw and their entertaining as hell. Your daughter is lucky to have parents like you and beth. ;)

Posted by: kristied at April 20, 2006 10:40 AM

Chris, we read you because you are funny and creative and a breath of fresh air when it comes to being a dad.

I constantly wonder why we have so many toys, I mean really, my kids seem happier with boxes, pots, tupperware containers and the grand ole outside world.

Posted by: A.K. at April 20, 2006 10:46 AM

I agree - your time and love and attention is the best gift you can ever give Mia. Wish I could convince my ex of that - but that is another story. Sigh.
And whack job? Nah - the slurpee stuff was good reading. ;)

Posted by: Traci at April 20, 2006 10:46 AM

You are right. Spend time with your little girl.... That's what counts.

Posted by: Lisa B at April 20, 2006 11:08 AM


If you're a whackjob, I want whatever your having because you're only a million times more insightful, interesting, intelligent and entertaining than most of us. Same goes for Beth. Mia is a lucky, lucky baby.

Posted by: Ms. Q at April 20, 2006 11:58 AM

My kids will toss a good toy to the side in RECORD time, I don't care how much money you spent. But my toddler wakes every morning eager and ready to play with her dad and the baby lights up if he just looks in her direction. Dude, you can't buy that level of joy. She doesn't need stuff, she just needs you and Beth. Period. All the rest will fall into place from there.

But why am I telling you this? You clearly already know!

Posted by: Elaine at April 20, 2006 12:03 PM

Oh, and as to the whackjob issue. Yes, yes you are. THAT'S WHY WE READ!

Posted by: Elaine at April 20, 2006 12:04 PM

I go through that thought process all the time with kid. I realized that I would rather BE his toy and playmate than buy him something to replace me.

Posted by: Bill at April 20, 2006 12:07 PM

Celebrate the whack! And make sure Mia reads this post someday.

Posted by: Vaguely Urban at April 20, 2006 12:28 PM

You're not a whack job, you're just seeing the things in life that really matter through the other distractions that we're forced to take on on a daily basis. (Stupid work.) Good for you for understanding what's truly important!

(And the unfiltered blogging certainly works for me!)

Posted by: Noelle at April 20, 2006 12:37 PM

Happy whack-jobs are good whack-jobs.

Posted by: Queen of Ass at April 20, 2006 12:41 PM

If you're a whack job, so are most of us who hang out here.

I agree with commenter #? who said they'd read your grocery list if you posted it.

Mia would be enthralled with the phone directory. It's the reading and the person doing it, not the material. You're all very special.

Posted by: ann adams at April 20, 2006 12:41 PM

let me comment also so i can boost your comment count and make you feel this post was a sucess :)

yes, you are a whack job but i appreciate your whackiness for our pleasure :)

Posted by: johnny steel at April 20, 2006 12:43 PM

Awww, good Dad! Next time you have the urge to buy something, grab a bottle of bubbles. You blow, she laughs and claps and looks on in wonder. Makes for some great photos too!

Posted by: Jaycie at April 20, 2006 1:03 PM

You SO don't have to take Madonna's advice...if you don't want to be In the Groove, don't be. Live a little. You deserve it. :)

Posted by: Michelle at April 20, 2006 1:56 PM

If it wasn't for us wack jobs the world would be a boring place to live!

Posted by: Jeff A at April 20, 2006 2:38 PM

You are one of the coolest whack job guys I know. Really, I mean it. ;)

It's all about the time dude, I promise. They do love the toys, but the time is more important.

Posted by: Melissa at April 20, 2006 2:39 PM

If you write it, they will come...
Seriously, I love it when you write less censored. People like authenticity, and that's what we're getting. It's pretty cool.

Posted by: Heather at April 20, 2006 2:40 PM

You make me giggle.

When you started talking about going to Toys R Us, the first thing that went through my head was, "Why would he do that? All she's going to do is shove whatever he buys into her mouth. He should just go home and play." :o)

I can't believe she's crawling. And standing! She's growing so fast.

Posted by: Emily at April 20, 2006 3:10 PM

That lesson that you just learned (and that millions of men have yet to figure out) is going to save your daughter thousands of dollars in therapy, because who needs therapy when the first man in your life demonstrates how the rest of his gender should treat you? Well done.

Posted by: wordgirl at April 20, 2006 3:32 PM

Which proves my theory that you can act as batshit crazy as you want, but if it makes YOU happy, who the hell cares?

Posted by: Stephanie at April 20, 2006 9:06 PM

Does it also make you feel cool when you go read someone's blog who posts a comment on your blog... only to find that you are on their blogroll? Cuz I bet that feeling is totally rad too. If only I knew what that felt like... ha!

Anyways... I'm glad you ditched that store and spent time with the bean. Cuz that's what I'd do... you know... right after I went somewhere and bought myself a new toy.

Posted by: Carrisa at April 20, 2006 9:32 PM

So, seriously, what'd you get her? I would have gotten something, even after a nice revelation like that, I still would have said, "But hmm, I bet she'd love one of these ____ anyway." But maybe that's just me. :)

Posted by: Cassandra at April 20, 2006 10:32 PM

Chris, if that's what a whack-job is, I WANT ONE!

I had my epiphany last week...I went back to work after 5 months of being home. The first time ever. The epiphany was that I LIKE being with my family and I'm so darn lucky to be their mom and their wife.

To see someone (YOU) realize that NOW, rather than like me in my mid-40s, after 20 years of marriage, and whose kids are nearly grown, is lovely!

No, not a whack-job. Eccentric maybe, but I like that in a person. And if you wrote when totally not distracted, you'd be wrapped up in the text and your style that we wouldn't receive the benefit of your insights those the distractions give to you! No thanks--I like it just how you are right now: appreciative, gratified, and happy!

Posted by: kristen at April 20, 2006 10:58 PM

How beautiful! I know exactly what you mean about feeling blissful just knowing that you belong someplace, just by your affiliation. In your case, you belong in toy stores because you are a father. I am not a parent, but I can definitely relate to that feeling of being in a room and just beaming with pride that your place in this world means you belong there. Great post.

Posted by: Amanda Marlaena at April 21, 2006 3:03 AM

There's nothing better than a happy whack-job.

Keep doing what you're doing Chris, and Beth the same, and I guarantee the two of you will be up there among the best parents in the entire world.


Posted by: Alice at April 21, 2006 4:36 AM

Commenting has nothing to do with how much I like a post. I often dont comment because I feel stupid saying "Exactly what you yousaid. You are totally right."

The only friends I have are whack-jobs :)

Posted by: That Girl at April 21, 2006 8:19 AM

Smart man. Don't forget it.

Posted by: Keri at April 21, 2006 10:26 AM

Such a sweet post. It is definitely a good thing to remember. Mia will thank you for the attention. Until she is inundated with toy commercials and she wonders why you never buy her the toy she wants. ;)

Posted by: erika at April 21, 2006 12:43 PM

You are such a sweet daddy. I'm sure Mia would love to read your journal when she's older and see posts like this one.

Posted by: Sabrina at April 21, 2006 2:04 PM

Just shut up and keep writing....err I mean, just keep writing so I have something to distract me every day. :-)

Posted by: Bethany at April 22, 2006 12:54 AM