Monthly Archives: February 2016

The Opposite of a Bedtime Story

Time for Noodle and Beast to hit the hay.

I did not show this to them before they nodded off.

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Våra ord måste komma ut på svenska

Our words must be coming out in Swedish.

It’s the only explanation She and I can think of for the following phenomenon:

“Kids, come to the table – it’s dinnertime!”
(crickets for 30 seconds)
“Noodle, Beast…” (these are the internet names we use for the kids) “…c’mon, Mom made chicken nuggets from scratch!”
(more crickets)

Yours truly does not want to escalate the situation as he has been warned simultaneously by parenting experts to assert himself without being overbearing while at the same time using a firm (but not too firm) tone, taking pains to recognize that his children may either be peripherally unaware of parental requests or knowingly testing limits, while maintaining full awareness that one false move and Dad’s an irredeemable failure. Thanks, experts!

But since giving up and curling into a fetal position is not advisable (at least until bedtime) he a) blocks their view of the TV by b) beginning a dance routine designed to mortify any and all offspring in the 9-17 demographic, were it to be done in public. Yours truly is not and never has been a dancing man.

“I’ll dance like this next time I pick you up at school if you don’t get to the table!”
“Just a minute!”

Hey, a reaction. We’re getting somewhere.

Meanwhile, the neighbors’ kids who were playing with our kids in the yard just now can hear and promptly comply with their parents’ requests to come home for dinner, despite 200 feet, three other yelling kids, the noise of the northwesterly wind, a house and three barking dogs the size of Winnebagos being between said children and parents.

Beast finally appears at the table after being told there are revolting squirmy vermin on his plate that can only be subdued by eating them. (Try and find that move in a parenting magazine.) Noodle appears about five minutes later and wonders aloud why everything’s cold.

I’d answer that question for her, and without using Seething Parent voice even, but every time I try to explain to her the laws of dinner-table thermodynamics I get daggers stared at me by mother and daughter alike.

I had no idea that Lieb and Yngvason’s findings on the thermal interconnectedness of two bodies in contact equilibrium wasn’t appropriate for the dinner table.

And then I vacuumed the garage ceiling

Once you’ve done all the job-applyin’ you can usefully do for one day, what’s an unwillingly-housetethered housedad to do in an empty house on a rainy day…but clean?

First, the laundry – because I’ll be doggoned if anybody pigeonholes me as Another Dad Who’s Useless At Housework. Three loads: properly separated, washed, dried, folded the way She folds them, and put away.

Then, the dishes – all clean, right down to the hand-washing of the mugs with fade-prone graphics. Then, the floors – vacuum/scrub the major crud and swiffer the rest.

Scrub the countertops, polish the stovetop, change the range hood air filter, pull out the oven and vacuum up the crud that found its way down there, wipe down the fridge shelves, the BATHROOM. Release the kraken of cleanliness! Inside the toilet, outside it, behind it…heck, pop the lid off and scrub away the accumulated nasties there as well. And on to the tub and the sink and the fixtures therein. See Brian scrub. Scrub, scrub, scrub. Over under sideways down, backwards forwards square and round.

Cat has emerged from her vantage point atop the kitchen cabinets, and she has dust bunnies clinging to her, and therefore…where’s that step-stool?…and would you look at all this crud up here on top of the cabinets? Gotta clean that. And in the spring they’ll need staining.

Feel free to stop me if this is starting to sound cabin feverish, because this is the part where I figured that as long as I had the step-stool out, it was time to have a go at some of the rarely-scrutinized and even-more-rarely cleaned parts of the house.

Which is what led me out to the garage, the ceiling mentioned in the title, and the question I meant to ask  you at the start of all this…

Is this customary behavior for a recently-unemployed parent? Is it welcome behavior? useful? Or did I do too much work in the bathroom without proper ventilation?

Your comments are most welcome.

HWWT: the sequel to CTFD

By now you may have heard of the famously-effective all-purpose CTFD (Calm The F&#K Down) parenting method that took the observable universe by storm a coupla years back.

CTFD has a distant cousin that goes by a different four-letter acronym: HWWT, which I’ve decreed is to be pronounced like “hoot” in Welsh.

Like CTFD, HWWT is an ideal(ish) parenting philosophy that’s perfect for slow-witted parents like yours truly who can’t juggle more than four thoughts at once, especially since one of the four thoughts tends to be a super practical one along the lines of “boy, the Reds are going to stink it out this year” or “how staggeringly hot Rachel Ward was back in the 80’s”.

He let the kid go to school with mismatched socks? His way works, too. The socks will reunite in good time.

You load the dishwasher -this- way, and she loads it -that- way? Her way works, too.

He likes to back his car into the driveway at day’s end, but you like to pull straight in? His way works, too.

You like to cook the bacon in a frying pan, she cooks it in the oven? Her way works, too.

He made the kid’s bed, but you wanted to wash the sheets today? His way works, too – and besides, it’s an opportunity to show you appreciate he put the work in while at the same time nudging him to maybe wash the sheets tomorrow. Two wins for you!

(Three if you have cats, because they were going to barf on the freshly-washed sheets anyway.)

 

Let’s start in the middle

Mainly because the beginning is too far in the past and the end is (far as I can tell) nowhere in sight.

So: these are the tales of me, a recently-laid-off father of a tweenage daughter and slightly-younger son, but thankfully also the husband to a wonderful woman of far greater substance than I, who has not the time for blogging and twaddle.

Not that this’ll be twaddle – but when it is, it’ll be top-shelf artisanal twaddle.

If you are expecting ineffable wisdom of the sort posted by your Facebook friends, usually involving background graphics featuring the silhouette of an impossibly-fit hottie doing dramatic cliffside yoga poses at sunset…you are going to be horribly disappointed.

If you were expecting The Parenting Gospel According To Hipper People Than You…again, no.

Now that you know what this site with the unwieldy Star-Wars-pun name WON’T be, how’s about an idea about what it WILL be, sport?

Far as I can tell for now it’ll be one part What Works, one part What Doesn’t Work, another part What Really Doesn’t Work, and at least one part unknown frontiers.

We good with that?

Did you hear that?

‘We’ll be destroyed for sure. This is madness.’ – C3PO, “A New Hope”, opening line

And so here it is – seven or eight years after parenting blogs joined the zeitgeist, along comes yours truly, laboring under the delusion that something new can be brought to the table at this late date.

We shall see.