Category Archives: The Kids

News From the Frontiers of Science

Okay, so in this case it’s a little bit old news, but seeing as Annoying Little Brother has been engaging in amateur reverse peristalsis for distance this evening, a promising finding in the gross-as-heck field of norovirus research:

Up until now, we have had to use other methods to study norovirus, such as molecular techniques like RT-qPCR, electron microscopy, human volunteer studies, and…

Hold up right there. I want to know how much somebody gets paid to fill up their innards with norovirus on purpose. Annoying Little Brother wants to know if he can volunteer for the study retroactively.

Always the capitalist, my son.


Dad Expects The Spanish Inquisition

The thing about having an inquisitive 10-year-old like Annoying Little Brother is that the inquisitive 10-year-old has no boundaries as to the timing of whatever has piqued his curiosity; furthermore, his cross-examination technique is relentless, and the usual parental bobs, weaves, laying-down-of-the-law and attempts to change the subject – they do nothing. Which leads to sotto voce exchanges like this one from earlier today in the front pew:

A.L.B.: “Is it really the actual Body of Christ?”
Me: “I’ll tell you later.”
“I’m eating it so I want to know.”
“It hasn’t hurt you yet, has it?”
“No, but I want to know.”
“But Communion is in five minutes and I’m going first. I’m nervous.”
“You chose the pew, kid.”
“So tell me.”
“Well, um, did they cover this part yet in CCD?”
“Is it His skin?”
“The Church really isn’t specific about…”
“So it’s, like, his blood and guts?”
(sigh) “It’s way more complicated than that.”
“Communion doesn’t taste like anything.”
“It’s not supposed to. What did you want, nacho-flavored?”

That actually got him thinking – but if you thought the process of going up for Communion would move him along to something else, perhaps saying prayers for his grandparents and mom and dad and the cats and his friend with the broken wrist and maybe even Annoying Big Sister…no.

(looks up at the Cross) “No wonder He’s so skinny.”

Can we get some help down here, Joseph?

How To Reclaim Your Garage

If you’re square-footage-impaired like we are, and insufficiently ruthless about finding new homes for old toys, the next thing you know ten years have got behind you and the kids commandeer your garage.

On top of your carefully curated disorganization, now there’s greasy kid stuff everywhere. And it will stay that way all summer and into the fall unless drastic dramatic deterrent steps are taken to reclaim your last redoubt of man space. You need to find one of these.

wolf spiders

No, not necessarily the actual spider, although if you do manage to snap a shot of one that’s great – but if not, do an image search for “garage” and “spider” and you should find a shot of some immense Shelob-looking thing scuttling across what looks an awful lot like your garage floor, walls or ceiling. Maybe this one matches your garage floor.


Here, some theatrics are called for. Get the picture uploaded to your phone, and then when the kids return from school or soccer practice or whatever, hit them with your best “There’s a HUGE spider in the garage, and I think it lives there now.”

Then you spring the picture on them. You may have to keep driving home the point that you’re pretty sure that the enormo-arachnid has made its home in some inaccessible corner of the garage, and that it’ll pounce if the kids linger too long in the garage.

If it works on them you’ve got your garage back – and if it doesn’t, it’s a decent April Fool’s prank. Let me know how it goes.

Riddle Me This

Dad is not supposed to empty the dishwasher before the kids get up, because it might make noise that will wake up the kids – the same kids who sleep through thunderstorms, passing garbage trucks and low-flying helicopter squadrons, and who fight like Rikki-Tikki-Tavi to avoid waking up every single day of the year not named Easter or Christmas.

When the revolution comes and I am el gran jefe, I will send an ice cream truck through town 15 minutes before the school buses arrive. No child has been known to sleep through an ice-cream-truck jingle, no matter how distant.

Hooray For Cat Barf

Over there is Lilly. She’s 17, or just about 84 in human years.

And she’s doing well as such things go for cats of her age, but there are a number of age-related issues – one of them being that she loses track of her surroundings.IMG_0908

Which means that from time to time she loses track of where the litter boxes are (we have 3 cats, thus the plural) and does her business on anything that feels somewhat litter-like underfoot.

And she has a thyroid condition, common in older cats, that means that from time to time what she eats makes a return appearance.

The adults in the house are okay with this.


Here’s why: for years we’ve been trying every tactic under the sun to get Noodle and Beast to hang up their jackets and stash their shoes away when they’re done with them, to no avail.

It turns out that waking up in the morning to discover their jacket on the floor has been decorated with reverse-peristalsis product, or the deposit from the southern end of a northbound Lilly-cat, is a far more effective organizational reminder than any parenting experts’ strategy or nagging.

And on the now-rare occasions when an item of clothing is left on the floor, the children are told, in our best cat impersonations, “Oh, thank you ever so much, children – that is a wonderful jacket for me to puke on. Let me hork something up for you right now.”

A blur of tidying-up activity follows. Works every time

In Which The GOP Reaches Out To Future Voters

Full disclosure: I try to keep my political-junkie activity quarantined elsewhere on the internet but once a newsguy always a newsguy. But still…dayum, guys – what in Sam Hill was that middle school locker room mess last night?

This morning I awoke to a discussion between Noodle and Beast that was vastly more substantive:

Noodle: Well, at least when I was 2 and ran outside naked, I didn’t pee in the storm drain!

Beast: Oh, yeah? At least I don’t pick my nose and eat the boogers!

Dad: Already this is a more mature discussion than the Republican debate last night.

Noodle: Wait…who’s running?

Did she just…ask a serious question about…a grown-ups’ topic?

The school bus was due to arrive in 20 minutes, so I put off the secret silent parental fist-pump hooray that she and her brother were taking an interest in how we’re governed, but they did get the ten-cent walkthrough on how the presidential nomination process goes. This led to a mostly non-indoctrinatory discussion of who represents us in Washington, although She and I did say we thought our current congressman and possible future governor was one of the few good-guy standouts, and that Dad got to interview him several times and came away mightily impressed, and She added that pretty much the only other time Dad was more of a shameless fanboy on the job was that one time in 2007 at the Genesis reunion-tour press conference.

Now comes the difficult part: demonstrating to our offspring that while the two parties have presented us with thoroughly disappointing choices at the national level, it’s not like they’re the ones in charge of plowing the streets, making sure the village park is tidy, and ensuring a proper level of gnarliness at the village skate ramp.

Dad is going to have to raise his civic-duty game.

The Braces Come Off, Part 2

It is so wonderful to see Noodle’s full smile, now that her braces are off – and especially since the follow-up to the braces, the dreaded retainer, is now rarely the Shelly-Marsh-style headgear I had the pleasure of wearing throughout my middle school years as one of many indications to fellow students that I was somebody who could be bullied about with ease because never in recorded history has a 12-year-old nerd with social anxiety, glasses and orthodontic headgear ever fought back, no matter how grievously tormented.

Yes, this was already the subject of my newest “why, in MY day, missy” speech to which she dutifully rolled her eyes.