Month: October 2015

Make a Period

Words are so important. Oh so important.

The arrangement of words can mean the difference between a funny story and a criminal investigation. Prima the Ballerina is graceful with her words and she is exact in her selection of what she wants to say. Prima is always sure to use exact language to make her point and her lack of common expressions or complex vocabulary is sometimes a problem.

Last weekend we were going to a party and several friends of ours were going to be in attendance. I was trying to talk with Prima about who would be at the party and I was very glad the NSA wasn’t listening in on my conversation.

“We are going to a party with some friends.” I told her in an excited tone. She got excited and asked, “Oooh which ones? Do I know them?” So I made it a game and asked, “Do you remember some friends from this summer that we go to their house sometimes?” Imagine my surprise when she thought for a second and replied, “Oh I know those friends. We got naked with them.”

I laughed because I knew what she was talking about. We let the children all play in a sprinkler together and the babies ran around naked because their diapers would have exploded anyway. We did not have a skinny dipping party but her limited response could have been a problem. (See also Knock Knock and My Daddy Drinks)

Then later this same child informed me that she had a project due at school and she wanted to get together with a friend to work on it. Part of my awesome parenting points for the week are due to the fact that I knew about this project a while ago but totally forgot. I’m not a total bad parent so I did ask her about the project.

Prima: Oh, we are going to build something from Ancient Egypt.

Underdaddy: Awesome. What are you going to build.

Prima: She is going to help me make a Period.

Underdaddy  :….. what?

Just a side note – I don’t advocate anyone working on making a Period in groups. I don’t want to be notified of anything Period related. I buy tampons when I need to but six is a bit early I think.

Underdaddy: Do you mean Pyramid?

Prima: Sure that will be fine too.

I let the subject drop. No need to figure out what she meant, I will assume Pyramid and move on. I didn’t even bat an eye when she asked, “To look at pictures of Periods”. I simply found some pyramids on Google.

The Periods at Giza, built by Menses the Second.

The Periods at Giza, built by Menses the Second.

There is no way in hell I am Googling anything about Periods. I don’t even really want to continue researching Ancient Egypt because I’m sure she will ask about the Great Sphincter. I can only imagine her presentation on Periods and Sphincters along the Nile Delta.

The Great Sphincter. To be fair he probably was an asshole.

The Great Sphincter. To be fair he probably was an asshole.

If you have children with unintentional hilarious phrases. This post is for you. You’re welcome. Tell me about some things they said to make me feel better.

By the way. I totally Googled the word period and sweet baby Jesus…

I'm deleting the entire internet.

I’m deleting the entire internet.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Drugs Are Bad Mkay

Some concepts are easy for kids to handle when we think they shouldn’t be. Death for instance. Parents struggle with death and talking about death because we know people who died. We know what death means long-term and we think about what that means for us. It is disturbing.

Children seem to handle death with much more grace and resilience because they have no bias against the idea of death. When a frog stops moving because a car squished it, that is death and death happens. The kid accepts it and moves on with their life. Any confusion beyond that is probably something we create when we try to comfort them beforehand and reassure them that the news we are about to deliver isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds. The funny part is that our actions are telling them the exact opposite. Our actions are screaming, “Fluffy died and is never coming back and you will no-doubt be emotionally destroyed so go ahead and have a melt-down, daddy will catch you.”

I only make this point to share another interesting topic.

Recently guidance class (per State requirements) held a talk with first graders about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. This is a good talk to have and I have mentioned these talks before but I’m not sold on the idea that children in first grade are ready to have a belief system thrust upon them. They need to process everything in yes/no and good/bad terms with no room for in-between.

What do they define as drugs? Drugs are any chemical that alters your physical state. Caffeine, green tea, crack cocaine… All drugs. Aspirin, St. John’s Wort, Meth… Also drugs. Then there is the alcohol part of the talk. Alcohol is alcohol and is also a drug so I don’t see why it gets a special spot in the title of “Drugs and Alcohol”. It is like saying, “Drugs and Another-Really-Popular-Kinda-Sorta-Drug-That-We-Like”.

So anyway they sit all the children down and hand out worksheets and talk about Drugs and Alcohol. These kids come home armed to the teeth with knowledge.

Prima: Did you know drugs are bad for your body?

UD: I do, in fact.

Prima: Do you do drugs?

UD: Well, yes I suppose I do. I enjoy a coffee in the morning and sometimes a beer when I relax at the river.

Prima: Well, kids aren’t supposed to do drugs.

UD: That is exactly correct. Unless it is a medicine from your doctor that mommy and daddy give you to make you better.

Prima: Right. And grown-ups shouldn’t do drugs but some is okay.

UD: What do you mean?

Prima: Well, adults can have alcohol and do a little bit of drugs.

UD: *laughing* Awesome.

I have to say, I was reserved about this curriculum but it is sounding like it is pretty generously applied to the adult demographic so maybe I won’t challenge it too much. After all, I can drink alcohol and “do a little bit of drugs”. She is showing more latitude in her thinking than I would have assumed.

So if you have ever been enabled by a first grader. This post is for you. Apparently, a little bit of crack is okay as long as you are an adult. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Frisky Business

We have a teenager living in the house and he is learning about hormones and physical urges. I don’t know how to talk with him. I mean that quite literally, I have zero idea how to actually talk with him in a way that he will understand. It is getting a little uncomfortable because he is being inappropriate with family and I have even caught him with a couple of “friends”.

Take this afternoon for instance. I woke up from a really awesome nap and as I was leaving my room I see him standing up really fast from something he was doing in the floor. The young lady next to him was looking a little disheveled and her skirt was entirely too short. I’m not saying she was asking for it but she wasn’t helping the situation. Hello Kitty indeed.

I never considered this kind of behavior out of Ms Kitty.

I never considered this kind of behavior out of Ms Kitty.

We talked about what is appropriate and the fact that his mother “is in the next room” and that she would be disappointing in his behavior. He scratched his stomach and hopped right past me into the hallway. He was ignoring me but I played it cool. I remember my teenage years and chasing something in a short pink skirt is not a glass house that I could throw rocks at.

Fast forward to this evening and I couldn’t believe that he pulled the same stunt again. This time the young lady was a little brasher. Her skirt was just window dressing and her bare backside was out in broad daylight. There was also no denying the activity that they were involved in; he was laid out in a full horizontal mambo.  He was stuffing Poly-Fill like nobody’s business. I know what needs to be done.

Look at that hussy. Flying around seducing marsupials.

Look at that hussy. Flying around seducing innocent marsupials.

I talked with a doctor on Friday and she agreed to help me cut off his balls. I feel bad because I know what he is in for but we have all the animals, stuffed and real, that we ever need. God help us if either start to breed.

I guess I will just have to deal with the excess bravado for the next week or so until we can complete the snip. I was surprised at the amount of trepidation that most veterinarians had when I asked them to try the procedure. I was to the point where I was going to feed him whiskey and use the garden shears. No need to worry though, I found someone to help and she even suggested that we remove the scrotum. I told her that as long as he wasn’t banging Hello Kitty in front of three slack jawed girls then I would be happy. I don’t care if she makes a coin purse to sell at a craft fair. Snip. Snip. Clock is ticking lady.

We did consider buying a stuffed T-Rex for some "stress relief".

We did consider buying a stuffed T-Rex for some “stress relief”.

If you are dealing with strange hormones then this post is for you. I’m not ready for the real struggle of actual children with teenage hormones in a few years. I can barely discuss the scrotum of a pet with a straight face. Oh well. No turning back now.


Kids Are Creepy People

Halloween is getting close again and the decorations and television shows are just awesome for helping my kids sleep at night. This is about the time of year we have the deep discussions about if ghosts are real, skeletons can walk, and are zombies really going to eat my brains. I am cool with dressing weird and candy. Demonic possession on Nickelodeon… ehh. I would rather avoid that topic.

My children are creepy enough anyway. For instance, I got a phone call from my wife when I was out of town overnight. Our oldest, Jane, woke in the middle of the night with a nightmare. I got a secondhand account of the story so I can only imagine how it went down in person.

“MOMMY!” A shrill voice rang out in the night.
“What is it?”
“It bit me!” Jane shrieked through her tears.
Supermom asked, “What? What bit you?”
“There was a black mist and it was eating my legs and then it bit my back and now my back really hurts.”

So that happened. I later linked it to an episode of Harry Potter and a Dementor attack. I suppose I should cancel that Catholic priest who I had lined up to sling holy water all over the house.

Then yesterday. Don Threeto drew me a picture and her coldblooded mafia persona held true.


“I drew you a picture Daddy.”
“Oh very nice. Looks like two pumpkins.”
“I see the words there. What are they saying?”
“This one is saying ‘Do you know why your mom is never coming back?’”
“Ummm. What is that one saying?”
“I love my Mommy.”
“That is a tragic pumpkin story.”
“Yeah, can we hang this up somewhere?”

Maybe I reacted too quickly but seriously, that was creepy. Then you can add in the voodoo cursed foot swelling that we had to deal with on Monday. Something that looked like a fire ant bite quickly ballooned into a red lump of mini-sausages. Off to the doctor. Steroids and two days later it was better.


You better believe she got that sucker-sticker reward though!

If you are dealing with strange happenings as we approach All Hallows Eve, this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

I Love You Daddy

“I Love You Daddy!”

Sometimes I get this simple little sentence without even asking. It is enough to stop time for a second while I let it soak. Tingles run up my neck and, from time to time, I get a little teary. For just a moment I wonder if that feeling is love, unfiltered and running up my back? I want to think so.

My ADD kicks in and my mind fast forwards to explaining the concept to my girls. What are they being taught about love by the world?

I think we do a really crappy job of describing love as a base emotion. Movies and books would have us believe that love is something that happens instantly and without warning. We develop this idea that love needs to be proven. If he doesn’t do this or buy that then he doesn’t love me. If she won’t do this or that then she doesn’t love me. Love doesn’t require advertisement.

There are two areas that I think we all confuse with love.

One is obviously lust. Love at first sight is probably a misdiagnosed double-lust that happens to work out. I don’t mean to pop any bubbles but that is probably pretty accurate. I knew in a tenth of a second that I wanted my wife but I would be lying to say that, at that point, it wasn’t purely visual. She is a sexy lady, what can I say? Then she turned me down and played hard to get, which brings me around to the second misplaced emotion…

The need to be needed. The desire for someone to prove that you are likeable or worthy. This is the area that scares me the most for my kids. This is the feeling that becomes addictive for the bad relationships. A terrible falling out and emotional low, followed by a reunion and validation that you were worth something after all. Also in this category is the idea of having the power in a relationship. For instance, have you ever been in one that both of you knew it wouldn’t work out but the one who breaks it off first has the power? Never mind that 24 hours before everyone was miserable. The inevitable result is that the dumped person feels rejected and the dumper feels a hopeful freedom. Rekindling the romance usually ends up in the roles being reversed. The longing that remains is more self-doubt and disappointment than love.

So what is love? I’m not sure how to define it but the further I go, the more I learn.

This is what I have so far:

Love is putting a diaper on the dog because she is still happy and healthy but can’t control herself all the time. She taught us how to parent and deal with something that depended on us to live. She was our first child and devoted to her new pack.

Love is also, not putting her to sleep even though she snores like a Pug with a deviated septum.

Love is that same dog diving into a pool to rescue you while she knew the entire time that she couldn’t swim. It was a very “Titanic” moment.

Love is holding your youngest baby and singing Row Row Row Your Boat long after she is asleep because you let the phase pass to quickly and she doesn’t need you to sing anymore, but you do need it…. Kiss her head. Smell her sweet baby-shampoo hair. Notice how she is limp and relaxed against your body, totally trusting and deeply asleep. Comforted by you. Love lives here.

Love is crying like a baby while you write that last little bit down.

Love is letting them sleep in your bed sometimes. Not often, but enough.

Love is watching them care for one another, sometimes on purpose.

Love is rocking your sick child and wanting to take the fever and pain and carry it for them. To snuggle them hard enough to protect them from anything bad.

Love is dropping everything to play board games or have a sudden movie night.

Love is driving a minivan when you really want a sports car that plays loud music and drives too fast. Instead you have a sweet DVD player that you can’t watch but at least minivans still have warp-speed abilities to evade law enforcement. Probably more pity than speed getting me out of tickets.

Love is telling your children that you are an engineer and they assume that you are THE ONLY engineer and thereby a hero. A superhero scientist who has reached mental enlightenment and must know the answer to every question ever. They feel this way because they love you and most likely you have their trust.

Love is standing in the kitchen eating the leftovers of the meal because everyone needed something at different times and you never got a chance to sit down so you just played the part of waiter until everyone was finished.

Love is when the children want to be around you. Maybe not engaged with you necessarily but in the same room. Playing with plastic ponies and dragging in piles of books asking to read.

Love is what leaks out as tears when I scold a child that needed a hug instead and I have to pull her out of her shell to apologize. Holding them while they cry at their disappointment is a cruel punishment that I deserve.

Love is going into a hospital room while my wife is having a panic attack with a resting heart rate near 200 bpm and when I put my arms around her, the rapid heartbeat calms and there is a peaceful easy feeling that just comes from being together. This is the love that I love the most. Companionship. Someone who my world requires to feel right. The person who occupies the right side of the bed and three fourths of the comforter. When I am not working, we are most likely together. Fighting back the onslaught of life, side by side. She is my truth that if “Someone loves you, you are never rejected, decide what to be and go be it.”

Love is donating a kidney to your husband without a flinch or question. My mom did that.

Love is watching your mom entering that moment on a hospital gurney and knowing deep down she taught you enough and loved you enough to keep her spirit alive by sharing it with others. Love is saying a just-in-case goodbye by not saying much of anything and just letting the moment be. In some ways we spend our lives saying goodbye, a grand buildup to the climax of life. Anything worth saying probably already has been said. Tell your loved ones in those last moments but use all the time before to show them.

Love is knowing that the people in your past are just a mirror to your future. You don’t lose people you love. You keep the parts of them that are special. Those become a part of who you are and you spend the rest of your time giving those good things away to someone else. The slow flame that passes over us from one generation to the next, love is the flame. We are the fuel.

“Like a small boat, on the ocean, sending big waves, into motion, like how a single word can make a heart open, I might only have one match, but I can make an explosion.”

If you think Love is a complicated topic, this post is for you. I think so too. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.