Bakers Dozen Jane

I often wish that I could take a new understanding that I get from watching my kids and bottle it up and then pour it into their head. To show them what I see.

This weekend we welcomed Jane into the realm of the teenager. I haven’t been ready for the past thirteen years and I’m still not. The things I have taught her over these years could fit in a small pamphlet but the things she has taught me have helped fill me out as a person, on the inside. Doughnuts have helped me fill out as a person on the outside. I’ve had to wrestle with myself on what I believe and how I want to be seen in the eyes of others. I’ve softened how I interact with the world. We have learned to support the underdogs and enjoy the weird things in life. I’m definitely a better person because of her.

Several years ago she wanted to draw something. If I remember correctly it was horses. We had discussions on art and her frustrations with not being able to draw the thing that she had in her mind. I told her the secret that I wish someone had told me, “No one is naturally good at anything but peeing and pooping and everything else is learned.”

Everything. Else. Is. Learned.

When you drop out of the womb you learn to breath air. You learn to nurse to get food. You learn to cry with the new air in your lungs and you learn to enjoy human contact. Babies aren’t born with the ability to talk or sing or dance or draw. Somewhere along the way we try these things and mostly suck at it. Babies are terrible at almost anything but undeterred by anything. That is the magic of babies. They will try to the point of injury to do the thing that cannot yet be done.

I told Jane to keep drawing. To take one thing and draw it really well. Learn why it looks like this or that. Practice shading. Practice shapes. Draw the same damn horse five million times. Use every sheet of paper and all of your markers to make a pile of terrible drawings. Then take the things you like and put them together in a new drawing. Throw the rest away. Keeping doing it. Practice with anything that you might ever want to draw. Then one day, you will look up from the scribbled bodies strewn around your floor and you will realize not only can you draw but you are an artist.


She has been into drawing Anime characters in the latest drawing phase. She is an excellent artist. She has found several apps that help develop the drawing process and shading and even time-lapse her work.  She has even started teacher her sisters some art basics.


I fancied myself an artist back in the day but I wasn’t nearly as talented.


Jane has always made me proud. She has always known what she liked and been brave enough to be herself. From an unprompted Lord of the Rings fandom to making more money that I expected from competitive goat showing, Jane is always chasing a new passion.


She always looks to me to smile or give a thumbs up of approval. She brings her drawings to me when she finishes and I always take a picture on my phone. I have a running record.

The truth in a bottle that I would love to pour into her head is that we are both seeking each other’s approval. I want to be sure that I am a good father and she wants to be sure that she meets my approval as a daughter. The funny part is that as long as we are both trying our best, the other will never be disappointed.

I hope that the next thirteen years are just as fun and interesting and amazing as the last round.

Happy Birthday Jane!

If you have kids growing up way too fast, this post is for you. You’re welcome. All of my kids are awesome but they weren’t all born on the same day so this one is for Jane.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Jane Was Attacked

It is the sound that every parent hates to hear; the actual real-life scream. A genuine wail of terror from your child.

A few weeks ago we were at Mamaw’s house and Jane was excited to show off her new sheep. The sheep, a lamb at the moment, was in the pen with the goats near the back of the farm. There is a gate at the edge of the backyard that leads to the goat pasture and the goats were hanging out in the woods beyond the chicken house. Jane asked if she could go and catch her lamb to show it off to us. Supermom and I agreed.

Toby had made the visit to Mamaw’s house and he was hopping around the back bedroom. Doing something stupid like chewing old wires or trying to jump in a toilet. I walked to the back of the house and just as I was picking him up I heard the screaming. A panicked scream from Jane. No words, just a shrill scream that didn’t stop. I could hear Supermom yelling, “What is it?!? What is wrong!”

The only response was more screaming. Everyone in the house rushed to the back door in a frantic curiosity. My heart was in my chest and I played out dire scenarios in my mind.

A Grizzly Bear was chasing her through the field. An anaconda was swallowing her whole. She was caught in a flash brush fire. A masked assailant had jumped out of the bushes and was stabbing her with an ice pick in slow motion.

Supermom shouted directions at her, “Slow down! Calm down! You are going to hurt yourself!”

These small clues helped my panic. She obviously wasn’t in a fatal scenario. Supermom is asking her to calm down. I heard metal clanging and a thump of something hitting the ground. Jane continued to scream. I made it to the backdoor and surveyed the scene.

Jane was laying on her side in the backyard about ten feet from the four foot tall gate to the goat pen. She was missing one boot and tears were streaked down her face. I couldn’t see a bear or a puma so I assumed predators were not the problem. I raced out the door and down the hill. Jane could barely talk through the heaving sobs. When she finally got enough composure to speak it was only a few words, “Mean… Guinea’s…”


Apparently a small grey flightless bird was the cause of all this commotion. It had recently hatched about fifteen eggs and was protecting the young by flapping wings at squawking at Jane. She thought it was trying to murder her and she ran faster than most Olympic sprinters. She is only eight years old and a good two inches shorter than the gate to the goat pen. That didn’t matter because she ran vertically up the gate and once she was at the top she did a swan dive towards the house, like the grass was an ocean and she was swimming to safety.

I thought I would wet myself from laughing. The fact that a three pound bird had scared a fifty pound kid out of her mind was hilarious. I know the terror had to be real but it was just SO DAMN FUNNY.

My father tells me that I reacted in a similar way to a German Shephard when I was about six. I run slower than most people walk so hearing I outran any dog seems like a tall tale. I wish I had been awesome enough to run out of my shoes and achieve short term flight. Jane is my hero.

If you have trouble showing concern because you laugh until you cant breathe, this post is for you. We probably won’t win parent of the year. Oh well. You’re welcome.

Underdaddy to the rescue.

Edge of the Cliff Notes

Fun Conversations

Jane: Can we have a balloon?
Underdaddy: No. You will pop it in two seconds and then you will leave the plastic in the floor. Toby will eat the plastic and die. Then I will have to bury him in the backyard and I don’t feel like digging a hole right now.
Jane: You could bury him tomorrow.
Underdaddy: I think you missed my point.

Still looking like a smug asshole. Fetch me a soda water peasant.

Still looking like a Caesar of the household. Fetch me a soda water peasant.

Underdaddy: Supermom… What do you know about this little plastic pony?
Supermom: (from the bedroom) What pony?
Underdaddy: The one with the turd on it. In the cat’s water bowl.
Supermom: That isn’t the cat’s water bowl.
Underdaddy: So you know about the pony?
Supermom: No. I just know the cat uses Biscuit’s bowl for water.
Underdaddy: Nevermind.


Underdaddy: Threeto! Stop licking everything. Jesus.
Threeto: What can I lick?
Underdaddy: Nothing! Maybe a lollipop but even that is sort of frivolous… (Looks at Prima digging at her wedgie) Prima! Get your hand out of your pants.
Supermom: *giggles and posts to Facebook*

Prima: Daddy can we paint?

Underdaddy: No you never clean up the mess.
Prima: We will this time.
Underdaddy: You never do. You can’t go backwards, you have to do good first.
Prima: Not if you let us…

Fun Discoveries

There are worse things to step on than Legos. We have a battery powered Tea Light that could double as a road spike for law enforcement. I could run a rope through my foot and audition as Pinocchio on broadway. “OOOOOHHHH, I got no strings to hold me down, to lift me up, to make me frown, I had strings but you can see, I got no strings on me.” Nice right?

Tea Light

Kids are total suckers for magician-style misdirection. They are still confused how I can make balloons change colors. Basically I hold one balloon way up in the air while doing whatever I want with my other hand. I could thumb wrestle, play piano, or grab another color of balloon and stick it in my back pocket.

My oldest child can fly. More on that later…

Oh yeah. Cat vomit is super slippery. I wonder if NASA knows about the lubricant properties of cat vomit. It might be useful in zero gravity space tools.

While I do plan to write the story of how Jane learned to fly, I haven’t exactly had time to write much lately. If life bogs you down and you only have time to put together the Cliff Notes, this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Fun Control Advocate

We have an Xbox that we rarely play.Mostly because I am lazy and watching them play video games hurts me on a deep level. I love Guitar Hero but my kids have the coordination of a stoner playing dodge ball. Notes are coming off the screen towards them and all they can say is, “Daddy this is going too fast. What do I do? It’s going to hit me!”

“You just did the tutorial. You know what to do.”

“This music is confusing me.”

“The point of the game is that you are playing the music.” I am worried for their grasp on reality.

“Is there another game?” She is just hitting buttons and looking at the ceiling at this point.


So we find more batteries and I dug out Big Game Hunter II which should be titled Panic Massacre because they give you two guns with unlimited bullets and you just shoot everything that moves. This should be good.

The oldest child (who loves animals and wants to be a vet) is cheering for blasting the life out of everything. “You got that one in the face dad!”

“This is a game. Like that water gun game at the fair.” I don’t want her to get a blood lust for shooting things.

“I know it isn’t real.”

“Okay good.”

Prima is covering her face and peeking through her fingers because the wolves are aggressive and trying to eat the main character the whole time. It is a first person game so they jump at the screen.

Don Threeto, who I thought would be the most gangsta about this, was standing beside me watching the geese explode and saying, “They are just babies daddy! You are shooting babies!” I felt guilty about that until I was done and she asked to try her hand at mass murder. I did what any good father would do and I gave the four year old the gun shaped controller.

The gangster came out to play. She grabbed that shotgun like a pro and her eyes had a twinkle that rivals Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. She cocked it once and was ready for action. Tomb Raider style. Turok the Mountain Goat Hunter. I punched the green button and it was game on. She holds the gun up above her head and turns it sideways and starts pulling the trigger and reloading in rapid fire. Tony Montana would be impressed at her gusto and rage. I think she got her shooting skills from her Mamaw but that is another story about squirrel hunting. Another day. Today is about Threeto. There are explosions and war cries. Five minutes later there are beads of sweat on her brow. There are more dead animals than the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone. She drops the weapon on the floor like an exhausted rapper drops the mic after an encore. She has enough breath left to utter, “Juice daddy. I need juice.”

Who wouldn’t need hydration after a sociopath rampage. I know I do.

Visibly shaken, I turn off the Xbox and we read Ferdinand, a book about a peaceful bull. I can’t be sure but I think Threeto was pointing her finger like a gun and making “pew pew pew” sounds each time I turned the page. I may have created a monster. Maybe she will score high on the ASVAB and get recruited for a high level position in the military like Katherine Heigl in that terrorist show.

So if you tried to play video games and gave your child an unquenchable blood lust, this post is for you. If you will examine the cover photo you will notice my other fails of the day; a) she slept in her outfit from yesterday because we got home late and she was already out, b) She is four going on five and still insists on a pacifier. We hide them and take them but she has secret stashes around the house.

You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.