Month: March 2015

Under Stand

One of the great injustices of life has to be the never ending cycle of thinking you know something only to find out later that your well thought opinions are woefully wrong. (Or at least not right in every situation.) Just as the new opinion is formed out of the broken pieces of the old ones, something will swoop out of the sky and smash that one too. Going through these cycles could be thought of as developing an understanding of life. Your definition of understanding changes too.

The cycle starts the moment you can imagine the future. You watch what someone is doing and say “Wow, I will never do that.” You are a kid and Mom or Dad makes a rule that feels unfair and your only explanation is “Because I said so!”. The nerve. The audacity. The unmitigated gall. If only they understood how much I wanted that toy or car or that modestly small island in the Caribbean. I will never be that parent.

My kid will never wear a Corona cap while still using a paci at age four.

My kid will never wear a Corona cap while still using a paci at age four.

Then you grow up and decide to have kids and everything is going to be done right. Why shouldn’t it be better? Think of all the technology and science since you were a kid. Everything must be much more improved and understood since twenty something years ago. Parents barely had discovered fire or the wheel way back then. You have the modern world on your side and you will never be that parent.

You are now a first time parent and the world will be perfect. Schedules. Floor time. Nap time. Matching furniture in themed bedrooms. Protective gear for every situation. It is hard to imagine a world where children are out of control and allowed to pursue moderately risk activities. Let alone, unruly behavior in public with screaming fits and somewhere nearby is a parent who doesn’t even seem to notice the sweet sound of their own child screaming like an excited smoke detector. Gasp. First time parents pass by and avoid eye contact while thinking to themselves, “I will never be that parent.”

Then the next child comes and things are a little more lax and you start to filter critical concerns from the non-critical. You start to realize that small children are basically terrorists and there can be no negotiation. More children are added and your positivity towards raising a string of child prodigies slowly dies. Between the brief flashes of potential brilliance, your children are doing things like wiping their butt and realizing they need to blow their nose. You watch from a distance. A distance too great to even try and prevent the inevitable poo face. You yell down the hall and into the bathroom.

“Put the toilet paper down!”


“Because I said so!”

Too late. You resign yourself to merely keeping the kids alive and commit to sporadic life coaching when the opportunities are very clear. Things like, “Please don’t drink hand soap or feed your sisters the Raid Ant-Bait packets, I don’t have time for the ER and that stuff is expensive.” Then one day you are at the grocery store with two kids running circles around the cart and two others crammed in the cart screaming because they want to run circles too. One of the kids running is also crying. Maybe she is being chased by the other with a weapon of some sort.

Who knows?

Sure kid... Lick the top of a Full Throttle. Everyone relax it isn't opened yet. She gets a straw for that.

Sure kid… Lick the top of a Full Throttle. Everyone relax it isn’t opened yet. She gets a straw for that.

Suddenly for some reason you notice a new family passing you in the aisle. They have a custom hand-sewn cart liner so baby doesn’t come in contact with the poisonous grocery buggy, a ribbon tied to the pacifier and Velcro-ed to the outfit so it doesn’t fly away, a diaper bag that could carry hockey gear for an NFL goalie, and a complete Arctic expedition outfit for baby because a brisk 45 degree day is no joking matter. You are unconsciously checking off the things you have given up on when you notice they are giving you “the look”. They will never be that parent. You are that parent but now you understand.

The most bitter part to swallow is realizing what the word understanding really means. It is made of two words; Under and Standing. Does this mean knowing what it feels like to be crushed? Probably. If you are having a hard time and pray for understanding don’t be surprised to find yourself crushed by something heavy. Kids are very heavy. I applaud all parents who manage to do everything for their kids the right way but I find myself unable.

So if you have kids and often feel “understood” this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

101 Rules Kids Need

Kids are funny and at the same time so extremely frustrating. I don’t know where the behavior of not thinking ahead actually starts to improve but from 0-8 years old I haven’t seen much of it yet. A friend of mine posted a list of ten rules that she has given her children as a guide. I thought they were pretty funny and it made me think about my own common sense guidelines that would help my kids.

101 Rules

1. Knock Before Entering – This doesn’t mean knock and then enter anyway. It means knock and wait for permission. I can’t be responsible for you seeing things that can never be unseen. Walking into a room blindly is a good way for that to happen.

2. Don’t Light Others On Fire – We don’t even pretend to light others on fire. It is not funny.

3. Don’t Bother Someone In the Bathroom – This is a safe place and a private place. Laying on the floor outside and sticking fingers or little strips of paper under the door while giggling does not help me go faster.

4. No Fighting Before Mom Has Her Coffee – This is like breaking the law in front of the police or walking into a bank with a full black mask and trench coat. Don’t be stupid and you won’t get in trouble.

5. You Have to Wear Pants Around Company – No exceptions. Everyone counts as company.

6. Treat Others How You Wish To Be Treated – Slight amendment may be required to “Treat others how they would like to be treated” because my kids prefer getting punched in the face and that wouldn’t please “others”.

7. No Going Outside Without a Parent or Permission (Adult Supervision) – The oldest one telling me they will watch the youngest is zero comfort. Foxes are more than willing to watch chickens but that doesn’t end well for the chickens.

8. No Slamming Doors – Especially on fingers. Don’t even attempt to tell me you didn’t see the fingers.

9. No Drawing On Walls – The Egyptians did that and look what happened. They all died and were made into mummies.

10. Do Not Pet Strange Animals – Seeing it on Discovery Channel or Turtle Man does not make it familiar.

11. Don’t Play in the Toilet – Toys don’t go in the toilet or the sink, but especially the toilet. Dora is not into scuba.

12. Flush The Toilet After Using It – Not randomly or just for a Kleenex while your sisters are napping but if it is yellow or has turds in it, flush it.

13. Please Wipe Your Butt Correctly – Wiping is not like saying Hail Mary’s or signaling planes, it isn’t symbolic. The point is to actually touch the paper to a poopy or wet surface and improve the situation. Waving the toilet paper near your butt and then throwing it into the floor does nothing for anyone.

14. Do Not Store Your Hand in Your Pants – Don’t put your hand in your pants constantly. We can all forgive an occasional itch but your ass is not a pocket. It wasn’t made to hold bits of paper or snacks.

15. Don’t Eat Your Anyone’s Boogers – Boogers are not Play Doh that noses make just for you.

16. Get That Out of Your Mouth – If it isn’t food or drink related it probably shouldn’t be in your mouth. Chapstick, Butt Cream, Figurines, and Dog Food may seem confusing but work with me and just trust that it isn’t correct.

17. Wear the Clothing I Pick Out – How it feels inside the house should not inform your decision on what to wear outside the house. If we are going to play in the snow you cannot wear a tutu and go barefoot.

18. Prepare a Plan When Changing Clothes – When I ask you to get ready for bed please find your pajamas before stripping naked and wandering around the house looking for pajamas.

19. Stay Out of the Kitchen. You spill 100% of the things you try to pour and while practice is important I have to clean the spills after you try and cover them up with a single dinner napkin. A dinner napkin cannot absorb half a gallon of milk. Someone is going to notice that mess so just tell me already. If everyone can predict that something is going to happen it is not an accident; It is a character trait. You spill things.

20. Stay Out of My Bedroom. Rainy day snuggles or when you are feeling bad is okay but as a general play area this room is banned. I have gotten up too many mornings with something foreign stuck to my back or butt. Gold fish. Glittering My Little Pony figurine. Peanut butter and Nilla wafer. Used Kleenex. Enough already just stay out.

21. Stay Out of the Bathroom – Unless you are grooming, excreting something, or bathing. Shoving the sink full of lotion soap to stop it up so the ponies have a “pool” is not acceptable. Besides the obvious problem of clogging my sink you are exposing your toys to all of the uncleaned toothpaste spit lumps that ends up everywhere and you ironically refuse to clean because it is gross. Playing near it isn’t gross but rinsing it off the sink the moment it happens is disgusting. Sidenote: Have they considered childrens toothpaste as a medical adhesive or protective coating? It is impossible to get it off the sink once dried.

22. Do Not Ask If Dinner Is Ready – If you look in the kitchen and I am stirring something with steam rising off of it don’t ask, “Is dinner done?” Until you have a plate of food dinner is not done. This is the home version of the fun travel game ‘Are We There Yet?’ We are not there yet.

23. Do Not Ask If We Are There Yet – No. The car is still moving. Obviously we have some distance between the car and the destination.

24. Stop Licking Things – Examples I have witnessed; Toilet seat, grocery cart, floor tile, the dog, each other’s face, my hand, the wall, a disposable razor (twice).

25. Use Your Brain – Don’t hand your toddler sister two sharpened wooden pencils and decide to play tag. In fact, don’t hand anyone pencils and if you are in possession of pencils, crayons, markers, paint, stickers, ink, colored clay, or (God-forbid) glitter; Throw those away immediately.

26. You Can’t Play A Board Game – I don’t even know which one you are asking about and it doesn’t matter because you have broken it and lost half the pieces. Go invent a board game with pieces of your lunch that you scattered around the house. I dream of the day you can play a board game correctly but that isn’t today.

27. Meals Aren’t Like Allowance – You can’t decide at bedtime that you didn’t get enough breakfast and demand waffles that you should have received.

28. Don’t Keep Rubbing Your Eyes – Your eye hurts because your finger is in it. Maybe not originally but after poking it sixty three times it is going to hurt worse. That marinara sauce isn’t helping either.

29. No Playing Chicken Fights in the Deep End of the Pool – You can’t even touch in the shallow end but you are going to hold your sister on your shoulders?

30. Don’t Ask Me Questions While I Am On The Phone – I don’t hold my phone to my ear and talk to the wall for fun. I am on the phone. I am not usually on the phone much at home because I can’t hear the conversation. When I am, it is not the correct time to ask for a brownie, ponder our existence, or complain about the humidity. Those issues can wait five minutes.

31. No Running Means Find Another Activity – Do not start speed walking like the elderly people in the mall on Saturday. That still feels like running to me and you are just pissing me off.

32. Don’t Stick Your Finger In Anyone’s Butt – That’s all I really have to say on that one. This rule was covered on a personal level earlier but it should extend to others as well.

33. No You Can Not Smell It – Investigate your creepy smell obsession some other time. Stopping me in the middle of a poop diaper to ask if you can smell it is just plain disturbing. I admit that I oddly enjoy skunks and gasoline as a whiff but no one should smell diapers for fun.

34. Fart Only At the Appropriate Times – Playing in the backyard and aiming your fart at a friend is acceptable. Shitting your pants in the middle of a spelling test at school is not. Also, giving me a hug when I am sick and then releasing a silent fart as you leave the side of the bed is a jerk move.

So I stop at 34 because I want to know your rules too. Only 67 more rules to go. I know there has to be some funny ones out there. Start with #35 in the comments below and I’ll put them on the Facebook page as they come in.

For anyone who makes rules that no one follows, this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

My Mona Lisas

A picture is worth a thousand words right? Some are masterpieces. Some leave you speechless. I discovered one I took today that left me looking for words.

We had a snow day today and my usual parenting failure feelings crept in as I debated playing in the snow. I want to play in the snow. I want the kids to play in the snow. I was excited last night to watch the snow fall and thinking about going outside today to throw snowballs, make snow angels, and make snow cream. But the reality of children waking up early and trying to make sure all of them are bundled up enough to avoid frostbite, put my spirits to the test. The kids who are big enough to self-dress don’t appear to have the logic to follow through. Prima walked to the door ready to go outside and did not have anything on her feet. Anything. Coat, coveralls, hat, gloves, and bare feet. The tile floor near the door is cold and that cold on her feet triggered exactly zero thoughts. Jane gets fully dressed and is likely hyper-thermic waiting on everyone else to get ready. Don Threeto, of course, has to pee after putting her coat on.

Then we get outside and I suddenly remember winters-gone-by. I realize that all of the kids are still young enough that they don’t hold memories as well as adults. Even the ones that have enjoyed snow before probably don’t remember it that well. They test it out to see if it is slippery. What does it taste like? Can you throw it at each other?

I knew I had to take pictures and I tried to stage a few to compare to the past. There is one picture from our old house that I loved. Jane was a toddler and we had 13” of snow in one evening. The next morning we played and I tried to lay her down and make a snow angel. She sunk into the snow almost completely disappearing. She cried and was all bundled up, stuck in the snow, and for a minute I found it funny and snapped a picture.

Note the trendy pink jacket and ballet shoes.

Note the trendy pink jacket and ballet shoes.

Then one today to compare.

Still rocking a pink jacket but with more attention to appropriate footwear.

Still rocking a pink jacket but with more attention to appropriate footwear.

But that isn’t the photo that got me.

The one that got me is a rare case. Every now and again you can press a button and capture a moment, wrapped in a personality, and glowing with an emotion. I am always happy to capture it and somehow sad at the same time as if I am mourning an innocence that doesn’t even know it is doomed.

This was that picture.

Lady Bug.

Lady Bug.

A smile. A full face grin that says, “I am warm from my big coat. I am comfortable with my rosy cheeks. I feel safe because I close my eyes when I smile. I am happy because my whole face is smiling. I am smiling because you are here with me and I am here with you. Because mommy said to look at daddy…” That smile is for me.

There is no yesterday or tomorrow only right now. In the photo, Lady Bug’s “right now” is in the snow with her family.

The picture is beauty.

I have this type of picture with all my children. My wife. My siblings. Family and friends and even a few strangers. I can’t imagine living in a time when cameras didn’t existing and the only similar option was getting sentimental about a painting. Maybe that is why the Mona Lisa is so famous, she is holding a wisp of a smile and Leonardo captured something rare.

If you have photos that capture your heart, this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Baby’s First Gun Show

I have made several questionable decisions in my short history as a father. One of the more interesting was taking my small daughter to the Gun and Knife show. I established in an earlier post that we lived in a questionable neighborhood so I figured reliable switchblade or shoulder fired rocket launchers might be a good idea. What better way to get untraceable firearms than a Gun and Knife Show?

For people unfamiliar with the southern US; anyone can buy guns and knives just about everywhere and it isn’t a big deal. Everyone has guns and knives. There are outdoor flea markets with metal tables under white canvas tents and one table might have used rifles and the next vendor will have puppies or chickens for sale. Further down might be rusty hand tools beside a stand selling home-made jams. It is the country version of an open market that you might see in an Indiana Jones movie.

If it is good enough for essential oils and homemade baby accessories then a flew market is good enough for guns.

If it is good enough for essential oils and homemade baby accessories then a flew market is good enough for guns.

The Gun and Knife Show is a spectacle that is boiled down to get rid of the useless things like hand tools and focus on decorative knives, swords, bulk ammunition, and guns. One booth had collectible money but that was the only non-weapon related vendor I saw. (Is collectible money as strange to everyone else as it is to me? Old dollars and coins are worth more? I saw a two dollar bill for sale for five dollars…) Anywho… My wife and I took toddler Jane to this market of modern weaponry just to stroll around and enjoy the ambiance.

I personally like the Steven Segall Santa with a million round clip. Plus the irony of Grandson looking confused while wearing a SNAFU shirt. So powerful.

I personally like the Steven Segall Santa with a million round clip. Plus the irony of Grandson looking confused while wearing a SNAFU shirt. So powerful.

One of the more aggressive vendors barks at us as we walk by, “Hey I have something for the little one there!” I slow down and give him my attention thinking maybe it is a colorful sticker of Henry the Handgun or something along those lines. Candy bullets maybe? He pulls out a handful of small plastic pocket knives.

A respectable toddler toy set, right?

A respectable toddler toy set, right?

“Only five dollars apiece or five for thirty.”

“Sounds like a real almost-deal you got there.” I don’t know what bothered me more, a) A man selling buckets of knives and having no concept of math and sales incentive or b) He is trying to sell weaponry to a toddler.

“I don’t think she is quite ready to stab anything in self-defense.”

A true pro never takes no for an answer. “Never too early to start a collection! I have a pretty pink one here.” He smiles and my attention is again derailed but this time I am trying to decide if he is missing teeth in a regular pattern or not. If I could just pull out his left incisor then it would be every other tooth. I can’t see anything but that damn tooth messing up a perfect pattern of tooth, no tooth, tooth, no tooth…

Supermom is confused and avoiding eye contact. She is understandable uncomfortable because the level of conspiracy theory and bullets really gives off a feel of North Korean border encampment. I put my arm around her and smile at the whistle toothed gentleman and we make our way to a more normal AK-47 display where the vendor has a respectable partially grey crew cut and button up tactical clothing. Plus he has all of his teeth. I never knew how much my opinion of someone was influenced by dental representation.

After completing a half day tour of all the weapons available we managed to avoid purchasing anything. However, after being exposed to several different mindsets and collectors, we did go to an official outdoors store and purchase a new handgun for protection. From people we met at the Gun and Knife Show.

These are riding around in a trunk near you... I want one.

These are riding around in a trunk near you… I want one.

If you have ever been to one of these shows and found yourself cornered by a vendor selling deadly weapons to your toddler, this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Magic Square Trick

Have you seen the YouTube video of the magic chocolate bar trick? Someone cuts the bar in a couple of ways and is able to rearrange the bar to have the same number of squares but at the same time they remove a square of chocolate and BAM! infinite chocolate. It isn’t photo-shop or magic, I promise. I did the trick just to prove it. Check out the video link below and then scroll down for the answer.


Do you have it figured out?

This is the original piece of paper.

This is the original piece of paper.

Now for the rearranged piece.

Do you see where the extra square went?

Do you see where the extra square went?

Geometry wins again! I thought it was a cool trick and just wanted to share a little math and geometry.

You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

ps. for the folks saying that I still didn’t explain it… The diagonal line across the bottom rises at one fourth of a block for every block as you move left to right. When you rearrange the first three squares are shorter by one quarter block each and the last column is shorter by a quarter also but the line got cut out so it looks full size. Try it yourself it works.