December 18, 2008

Parenting Without A Net

Look, I hate to be gratuitous as a parent, and to talk about my kids like they're the most perfect creatures ever to grace this planet. But I'm biased and they are. Whenever Owen does something funny or Mia says something that's unintentionally hilarious, I write it down. Here are the most recent examples.

Butterfly Scratching. When I was a little kid - before I could read - I used to prop a book on my lap and pretend that I was reading. I'd read to myself or out loud to anyone who'd listen. The most famous incident came when I was "reading" to my mom and grandmother. I have no idea what the story was about but it closed with the line you should never scratch a butterfly. It became a famous line in my house. And true, too, if you think about it. I told Mia about this and her response? But you should always tickle butterflies. Hard to argue with that.

Look, We're French. Owen likes for me to stick my tongue out. Then he clamps down on my tongue with his mouth. He thinks this is hilarious. I think it's cute. Everyone else thinks its gross.

Wake Up Call. Mia will, occasionally, wake up, leave her room and come into tell us she's awake. She always comes to my side of the bed and wakes me up by wrapping her arms around me and whispering in my ear. On Tuesday this went down at 5:00 AM. I told her that it was not time to get up but she wouldn't take no for an answer. Despite the hour, it was still pretty much the best way to be awakened ever.

You'll Go Blind. Owen loves being naked more than about anything except crackers. And he is obsessed with his balls. I mean, if Owen's fascination is any indication of their popularity, they should sell scrotums at Toys R Us. It would be weird but I bet they couldn't keep them on the shelves. I keep telling him that if he treats them nicely, they'll treat him well but most of the time he abuses them like a miniature punching bag. He seems happy, though, so who am I to argue?

Stream of Consciousness. Mia is into discovering what she wants to be when she grows up though we constantly reinforce the fact that she has time. She will, when inspired, go on long rambling explanations about her future career paths. As she did just recently:

When I grow up I am going to be a paleontologist. I'll dig and I'll dig and I'll dig in my sandbox and I'll find a great big dinosaur then I'll call help help help mister museum guy help me get this dinosaur out of my sandbox and to the museum so we can put it together. Then we'll put it together and it will be so tall and people will come and look at the dinosaur and they'll be scared but I'll tell them, "don't be scared of the dinosaur because it's just bones and it dived a long time ago" and they'll say, "thank you Mia for finding the dinosaur" and I will also be an astronaut and go find bones on Mars with the Mars lady who lives there. Princesses live on Mars don't they and they have glass slippers? I will be a princess fairy paleontologist on Mars and I will dance the ballet and kiss my baby brother on the head then bake a cake because I will be a princess fairy paleontologist dancer baker on Mars with a baby brother named Owen. Hey daddy, let's dance like fairies.

And I will.

The Assist. If you're a parent, you understand that there's no such thing as privacy in the bathroom. I've resigned myself to operating under the assumption that I will be interrupted while I'm taking a leak. Mia seems to have tinkle radar (peedar). Within 20 seconds, she's there. Usually she makes herself known. But the other day, she sneaked up on me. I didn't know she was anywhere close until - how do I put this? - I felt a little hand giving the Little General an assist.

Me: Hi.
Mia: Hi.
Me: What are you doing?
Mia: I'm helping.
Me: Thanks. But I've got it.
Mia: You don't need help?
Me: No, I think this is definitely part of the process I can handle.

And she turned around and left, unfazed. And this, my friends, is one of those parenting moments no book can prepare you for.

You guys have to be sick of hearing my parenting stories, right?

Posted by Chris at December 18, 2008 7:19 AM

I think this was my favorite line "She sneaked up on me" lol

Posted by: Deirdre at December 18, 2008 7:51 AM

Are you kidding? I could never get tired of those stories. :-) They remind me of my parenting stories and always bring a smile to my lips.

Sharing time.

I used to live above Craig's apartment. When I met Craig, we were both stay at home dads taking care of kids and started doing more and more things together. I would say things like:

I'm going to the grocery store with Craig!
I'm going to the movies with Craig!
I'm going to shovel the driveway with Craig!

So one day, I said

I'm going to take a shower!

And ZoƩ asked:`

With Craig?

Posted by: LeSombre at December 18, 2008 8:17 AM

Who cares if your audience is sick of parenting stories? Aren't you telling them for your own pleasure (and your childrens', someday?)

So allow me to share my own since I have no blog and the entire world should be able to revel in the adorableness of my children:

Anna, my almost 3-year old, asked for a Tic Tac. I made her an offer--if she eats 5 spoonfuls of lentil soup, she may have a Tic Tac. Challenge accepted. She shovels in 5 monster bites (because she has not yet realized that 2 grams of food on a spoon would technically equal one bite) and earned herself a Tic Tac.

Not 3 seconds later, "Mommy! I lost it."
"Did you swallow it?"
[apparently shocked at such a vulgar accusation] "No!"
[searching the ground around her so little sister doesn't eat it] "Well, where did you lose it?"
"I lost it in my throat!"

I let her have another one.

By the way, I think it's worth saying that there is nothing wrong with worshipping your kids. You know, babies were evolutionarily designed to be super duper cute because why else would parents be bothered with feeding them, getting very little sleep for a few years, keeping them from being eaten by a lion, and so on? If you don't worship them now, how will you ever find the love or patience to deal with them when they're 14 and telling you what an effing retard you are?

Posted by: Sabrina at December 18, 2008 8:20 AM

I'm not sick of them at all. I don't have kids but I enjoy my friends kids and now that my much younger brothers are turning into teenagers it's nice to be reminded how amazing kids can be, and what they say.

Posted by: Katherine at December 18, 2008 8:35 AM

She gave you a hand? Now that is the kind of love you rarely find. I mean, I bet even Beth doesn't come in to help you take care of business. Too funny!

Posted by: Shelly at December 18, 2008 8:36 AM

Totally NOT sick of hearing these. Especially when they make my entire day full of smiles!

Posted by: Maribeth at December 18, 2008 8:51 AM

I'm definitely not sick of hearing your parenting stories. I don't have children and am too old to have any in the future, so I enjoy these stories.

Posted by: Maria at December 18, 2008 8:59 AM

Mia SLAYS me. I never get tired of hearing cute kid stories as long as the kids are actually, you know, cute. Which yours are, so don't sweat it.

Posted by: Fraulein N at December 18, 2008 9:03 AM

I don't get tired of them; it reminds me that parenting is always weird and full of unexpected stuff.

Posted by: Claire at December 18, 2008 9:21 AM

like anyone could get tired of your parenting stories. they are right up there with your bathroom stories. haha ;)

Posted by: ali at December 18, 2008 9:26 AM

The stories of your kiddos never get old. Actually the "let's dance like fairies" totally explains Beth's dance fairy boy video clip. Hilarious!

Posted by: GeeGee at December 18, 2008 9:33 AM

I too agree with GeeGee - loved the video clip, "Fairy Boy"! My daughter is 21 months old and I'm just awaiting the day that she too lends a hand to my husband~

Posted by: Becky at December 18, 2008 9:44 AM

So, I see you slipped in an explanation for the video ;-)

Posted by: Tera at December 18, 2008 9:49 AM

kid stories are the best!
my son got off the school bus one day and told me he was going to be a paleontologist too. he was 4 at the time... what is it with kids and dinosaurs? I should just show him Jurassic Park (he's 7) and end this now. Heh.

Posted by: holly at December 18, 2008 9:53 AM

I think the peedar story is hilarious and I am definitely going to be sharing that with my husband.

Posted by: Jen R. ( at December 18, 2008 9:56 AM

LOL, it's so funny to hear these stories from you because most guys won't talk about how weird our kids are at home. Much like yours, my girl was very interested in my hosery for a while, and my boy takes off running whenever we strip him down. THAT, I understand, because don't we all want to run around the house naked and squeal?

Posted by: Brad at December 18, 2008 9:59 AM

To be honest, most of what you've written about is pretty interesting. But the kid stories are great. :) It's always nice to see the world from their perspective, makes me realize that I have nothing to be stressing about. :)

Posted by: Hannah at December 18, 2008 10:11 AM

I love thr stories! Love them!

Posted by: caleal at December 18, 2008 10:30 AM

Love the kid stories! And I'll share one of my own. When Lilli was three, she and I were in the kitchen and Jeff was down the hall in the bathroom. She decided to show her knowledge of human anatomy by yelling down the hall: Mommy and I have baginas and Daddy has a penis. I told her she was right but we needed to keep that information to ourselves from now on.

Posted by: Kelley at December 18, 2008 10:48 AM

I think it's wonderful that you write these things down and remember them. And of course people will always love to hear these stories, plus it's your blog. LOL

Posted by: La Petite Belle at December 18, 2008 11:05 AM

The tongue thing? All my kids have done that, too. My 3 year old STILL does it. My husband thinks it is the single most disgusting thing ever; I find it completely hilarious.

Posted by: Mr Lady at December 18, 2008 11:24 AM

I will NEVER tire of the parenting stories. Keep 'em coming. They let me know what is about to transpire in my house, in approx. 6 months.

Posted by: Carmen at December 18, 2008 11:25 AM

Oh my god, no, keep them coming! That is one of the funniest (and sweetest) posts I have ever read. I love Mia's "what I want to be when I grow up" story...and the fact that you danced like a fairy with her :)

Posted by: La Petite Chic at December 18, 2008 12:11 PM

Ah, "The Assist" brings me back a few years:

Posted by: Karen at December 18, 2008 12:50 PM

Nope. I find them rather cute actually.

Posted by: Issa at December 18, 2008 12:52 PM

I'm very impressed that Mia even knows the word "paleontologist" much less so much detail about what they do. Have you guys been to the Natural History museum lately?

You know, when she wants to *assist* you in the bathroom, it's a good opportunity to explain to her that private parts are only to be touched by their owner & perhaps a doctor. Just sayin. I found that when opportunities present themselves like that you can teach kids something that might otherwise frighten them in a non-threatening way.


Posted by: Kalisa at December 18, 2008 12:53 PM

I'm gonna quit my job and become a princess fairy paleontologist dancer baker.

Posted by: Karla at December 18, 2008 1:23 PM

I have to say. I have always lived in a house with a lock on the master bathroom door. And I have always used it. My oldest is 10, youngest 6, and I never had assists in the bathroom. they may stand outside the door and talk to me (but I ignore them) and they may have sat outside the door and cried hysterically when they were younger. For 3 minutes, they will be just fine. I pee in private, thanks.

Posted by: Mindy at December 18, 2008 1:41 PM

A couple weeks ago when I was taking a pee on the toilet (since I am a grown up like that) my son walked in and told me that my vagina looked BIG! (nice kid)

I thanked him and told him it was HUGE because I had just pushed his sister out of it 36 hours ago. What the hell else do ya do?

Posted by: Sleepynita at December 18, 2008 2:01 PM

sick, no way! Want more!!

Posted by: Michelle at December 18, 2008 3:08 PM

Will NEVER be sick of your parenting stories!!! Keep em coming!

Posted by: Kris H at December 18, 2008 3:31 PM

Abby is currently obsessed with becoming a paleontologist astronaut. Because, you know, if they do find signs of life on other planets, they will need a paleontologist to dig it up, put it together, and tell everyone what it is.

She is six. She also wants to be a firefighter, because, as you all know, a fire might happen on the space shuttle and a firefighter could put it out and keep on going to another planet.

Posted by: Jen at December 18, 2008 4:27 PM

Hey, if you two give one another a big 'ol Frenchie at his high school graduation...Well, then we'll ALL worry.
But I think it will have stopped long before ;-)

I will never know how freaky it might feel to be 'helped' to pee as you were,
but my fiance's puppies like to watch us get funky
and it is a bit startling when a puppy-dog, mid-act, sticks a nose where doggie noses go or licks your nipple.

My apologies if this comment is too off-color. It is meant only in good humor.

Posted by: Karen at December 18, 2008 5:11 PM

NO! Oh, my gosh - this just made my day, Chris. Honestly. Today was one of those no-good, super stressful days that leaves you saying, "Damn, I wish I'd been born rich." I'm sure it's building my character or whatever, but THIS was a hilarious end to my day. Owen and his balls and Mia with her peedar assists. HILARIOUS!

Posted by: Emily at December 18, 2008 9:15 PM

Good luck helping her with her resume.


Posted by: samantha jo campen at December 18, 2008 9:32 PM

Best Stories Ever! The Assist - you are a very good daddy :-)

Posted by: diane at December 19, 2008 9:31 AM

Well, it's actually nice to hear funny parenting stories like this from you - I get to enjoy them without actually having the kids!

Posted by: Heather at December 19, 2008 11:15 AM

Nope, not sick of them! But, the Owen tongue thing, I'm sorry but that is a bit gross. How in the world does she know what a paleontologist is?! And hey, I think I'm learning more from you and Beth than any parenting book could ever prepare me for if the time comes many years from now!

Posted by: Dianna at December 19, 2008 12:58 PM

Hahaha! I'm still laughing over "Little General"

Roo likes to hug the toilet when I'm sitting on it.

Posted by: Nadine at December 19, 2008 2:32 PM

Hilarity ensues yet again at Casa de Cactus! She gave the Little General an assist?

*tears of laughter stream*

And I hate to tell Owen this but I really don't see the thrill in

Posted by: Kris at December 19, 2008 3:59 PM

Hahaha, peedar! I swear my boys wait till I'm in the bathroom to ask me questions. And as the lone female in the house, the amount of "quiet time" I'm allowed in the bathroom is like 30 seconds, they it's a free for all. The best was when the 3 year old asked me why I didn't stand up to pee like he and his daddy do! I spluttered, then tried to explain that girls can't pee standing up like boys, but I'm still not sure if he got that either! Ah, it's just the beginning I think!

Posted by: Katie at December 19, 2008 4:32 PM

I don't have any kids, but I like hearing about other peoples kids. The tongue thing is kind of gross. Hearing about mia and the paleontologist thing was cute.

Posted by: Zandor at December 20, 2008 12:13 PM

When my son was about 2, I was changing his diaper. He said, "Dad, what did you just do?"

I said, "I just wiped your balls off."

He said, "well put them back!"

Posted by: Thumb at December 22, 2008 9:48 PM

When my son was about 2, I was changing his diaper. He said, "Dad, what did you just do?"

I said, "I just wiped your balls off."

He said, "well put them back!"

Posted by: Thumb at December 22, 2008 9:49 PM