Lady Bug


Lady Bug was playing in the front yard and came running around to find us with a worried look on her face.


Lady Bug: Mom. Mom! There is a cop in the driveway! (very concerned)

Supermom: What?

Prima: The cops are here! Go in the house!

Supermom: Cops?! (looks in the driveway) Hang on guys. Why are you freaking out? And let’s say officer.


Upon further inspection, there was an officer who was making the rounds to distribute lollipops to neighborhood kids and do some outreach into the community. We assured the kids that they could have the treats and to be sure and thank the officer. It seems our talks about the horrible stories in the news made our kids nervous about authority.

So… we had a talk to put some context around all of our adult discussions around race, riots, and abuse of authority. We explained that there are thousands of officers across the US that have big hearts, strong morals, and good intentions. That officers aren’t some separate group from everyone else. They are citizens like everyone else. They put themselves on the line to defend citizens, to check for intruders, to look out for drunk drivers, and to help generally keep the public safe. In fact, we have lots of people who dedicate their lives to make others safe. There are fire fighters that are ready to respond and help in life threatening situations beyond fire like rescues and searches. Both professions have men and women who are totally committed to the public welfare and to honorable service.

The anger and fear around policing are relevant but the spotlight cases are a magnification of the giant web of public safety that is happening all around at any one time. We have family in law enforcement and we worry for their safety every day. I want them to stay safe and to make it home to their families each night. I want them also to always be sure that they respect the people that they come across in the line of duty. I hope they hold respect as a high standard among their coworkers. Set the bar high and keep it. We can support our officers and demand the law is applied fairly when lines are crossed.


So after we had this talk with the girls, Lady Bug looked thoughtful for a moment and said, “I want to give my cupcakes to some cops.”

“What cupcakes?”

“My birthday cupcakes. They gave me a lollipop and I want to say thank you with cupcakes.”

“Okay, Sure. Who said you have birthday cupcakes?”


Fast forward. Supermom made fifty something cupcakes of all different variety and they were delicious since she is a semi-pro baker. We loaded the cupcakes up the next day and drove down to the police station. We went into the front doors and met two officers who were initially skeptical of six people storming the lobby but were quickly calmed with the site of the bakery boxes. The officers introduced themselves and talked with the girls for a few minutes and gave them sticker badges, coloring books, and crayons. They were very happy for a kind gesture and doubly impressed that Lady Bug had decided to share her birthday cupcakes with them.


The other box was full. I had to test the flavors. Don’t judge me. 

We had also talked about fire men and women who provide a critical community service so we took our last box of cupcakes and headed over to the local fire station that serves our neighborhood. It was a quiet Friday at the fire house so the three men on duty we excited to see us. Our gift of cupcakes was accepted and we were invited to take a full tour of the station. We saw the kitchen, lounge, garage, trucks, pumps, lights, and a fully suited up fireman. We got the extended tour and I had more questions than the kids. It was awesome.


Willaims and Hanson giving us the 411 on 911. 

I think it did the girls well to put some faces and names with the ideas of these services. They shared some stories of how they have served and we talked about things outside of anyone’s job. Meeting people always goes a long way to show that we are really all the same. We wake up and have a job to do that may have hard days or may not always carry the respect of those we serve but the job is still important.

We need to have discussions about what we can improve. We need to be aware and honest about the flaws of our system and the bias that we all carry towards something or someone. We need to call out evil quickly and with a loud voice. But we cannot afford to paint with a brush that is so broad that our strokes blur the picture. There are good officers and righteous protesters. There are those who seek to cause problems and paint their opponents with a single wide brush; Thugs. Cops. Murders. Looters. Paid Organizers. Fascist. Anti-fascists. Kneelers. Birthers. Truthers. Republicans. Democrats. Conservatives. Liberals. Christians. Muslims. Pastafarians. Blonde. Bald. Tall. Short. These are all just simple labels that are stereotypes. They allow the user to make assumptions about someone and save them from the torture of having to think about people on a case by case basis. Your ears should perk up whenever you hear these qualifiers in a headline.

Don’t get drawn into the all or nothing debates. Don’t use labels. People are people. Your complaints are most likely directed at toxic culture or flaws in the system. Or maybe they are directed at the terrible people who seem to bubble up daily. Judging them is fine by me as long as they have done the deeds to deserve it. Setting up straw-villains just widens the gap of misunderstanding and prevents the reasonable discussions that need to take place.

If you like cupcakes, this post is for you. You’re welcome. We could all use a more cupcakes between friends these days. I’m just pissed the girls gave them all away before I could levee my dad-tax of one cupcake as a taste test, which I think is somewhere in the Constitution.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Ps section:

  1. I know there is an unspoken (or spoken) competition for who is actually cooler between the folks in red and the folks in blue. As it sits right now, the fire boys got y’all beat. I’m going to need to see some spike strips or something to even things up. Thank you to Officer Ferguson and J. Williams on Pump Truck and C. Hanson on Ladder Truck. You guys made a little girls day!


Lady Bug dropped her forked. It hit the edge of the couch and clattered onto the floor. Her frustration rolled out of her four-year-old mouth in a crystal clear “DAMMIT”.

I looked out of the kitchen where I was preparing a beverage, eyebrow raised, “Excuse me young lady?”

She looked around like she was confused by my question. Like I was obviously deaf for not hearing her the first time. “I said dammit.”

Wow. I tried to play the stern parent who doesn’t deal with nonsense. “I know I did not hear you say that.”

“Yes.” She looked directly at me and reiterated,  “I. Said. D-a-m-m-i-t.”

She had doubled down. I shifted to negotiation phase. “You don’t need to use that word.”

She cocked an eyebrow. “Why not?” What else should be used in a moment of frustration?

She was wielding the logic of a child. It was simple but effective. A real world litmus test for a concept without a previous experience to taint judgement. I thought to myself, dammit, and then I rolled out the catch-all fallback position, “It is an adult word and you don’t need to use it.”

She fired back immediately. “That is stupid.”

Double dammit. She was right. It was stupid. We spend our lives pretending we are better than we really are. An endless cycle where we try to convince each successive generation to be better than we know ourselves to be. I was impressed by her wisdom, her resolve. She might be the first person in our family to be free of society and our expectations. How could I respond? “It is stupid but that is life so don’t say it, okay?” I replied with a slight squint. Bracing for the rebuttal.

I played my last card. This was it. The bluff. The precipice. If she smelled blood in the water I might lose all the imaginary leverage that I held over her. I braced for her answer and walked into the living room to meet my fate. My terror of a teenager could emerge from her cocoon a full nine years before nature intended.

The world hung in the balance and she answered, “okay…”.

I breathed a sigh of relief and noticed she was staring at the cup of juice in my hand. Saved by a technicality. She is unable to pour juice from the massive Hawaiian Punch jug that I buy in bulk. She is at least smart enough to know that she needs my brute strength to survive.

I am the parenting version of a useful idiot. They let me believe I have some sort of power in exchange for my services. We both know that once they can drive a car or pour their own juice, I’m done for.

I was almost done for after a separate scenario.

Earlier tonight the girls were playing Mario Cart and talking about rhyming words. One said the word “Tickle.” Seamlessly, another said, “Pickle.” A giggling God tied their thoughts together and they erupted into a chant of “Tickle my Pickle. Tickle my pickle.” I told them to stop with the rhyme. They asked “why?”

“Because I said so”, I said as seriously as I could while rushing into the next room to wipe the smile off my face. It took me a full five minutes to gather myself and be able to face them again. It was hilarious.

If you struggle with censorship, this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.


Today I was reminded that it is possible to love someone with an endless love and at the exact same moment, desire permission to punch them in the face. Just one good solid pop followed by a nice long snuggle. I think it would be therapeutic for both of us.

Children are walking contradictions. They are full of wonder and love but they are capable of cold blooded violence. One time my oldest actually said, “Look Daddy, awwww, it’s a frog….. Let’s kill it.” They are fearless in the face of real danger but scared of imaginary monsters. The second child will run into the street without a care in the world but let a moth into the house and she is convinced she will die. They won’t eat anything you cook for them but have zero discretion when it comes to eating everything off your plate so you can’t have it. Don Threeto said yesterday, “I hate meat! I’d rather eat bacon!” Lady Bug tries to be helpful and clean but ended up ruining our entire day.

Once again we ended up in the Emergency Room. The general story is that she watched her older sister clean the bathroom and wanted to play along. After Jane was finished Lady Bug found a towel and decided to clean the floor. She needed water for those stubborn toothpaste stains so she put her towel in the toilet. As Cinderella finished her inverse mopping she decided to run into the living room but wet tile isn’t the best for traction. She slipped backwards and hit her head on the tile.

Supermom called me at work and told me that Lady Bug seemed hazy and sleepy and wasn’t herself. I am immediately worried. Internally panicked while externally I try to stay collected. Then I was pissed. We should have stock in our healthcare system locally because we have to use the emergency services entirely too much. I think that our last name is a flag in triage because the wait is longer each time. I knew before we even went that there were only two options; 1) Lady Bug did some damage and would need something serious, or 2) As soon as we got checked in to the ER she would get her bracelet and be magically healed by the Triage Fairies.

We experienced option number two.

About one hour after receiving the call I pulled into the parking lot on two wheels and rushed inside. Across the waiting room Lady Bug smiled and was very excited to see me. Tears welled up and I just wanted to hold her. That old familiar feeling of panic and relief. It never gets better. Then I wanted to punch everyone involved. Why was she mopping the bathroom with a towel full of toilet water? Why can’t they stop running? Why don’t children listen? Where were her older sisters when they should be looking out for the baby? Why isn’t our entire house carpeted? Why do we even have water in the house? Why are they walking around anyway? That isn’t safe! They need to crawl around on all fours and slowly to avoid these situations. They need helmets and jackets and padded things. I have failed as a father.

But all is well. Lady Bug is smiling and walking in circles in the waiting area while eating some Cheezit Crackers. She is standing beside the chair next to me and drops a cracker in the seat of the chair. Before I even get the chance to pick it up, she puts her face in the chair and licks the cracker up. She licked across a good four inches of Emergency Room waiting area chair.

Do you know how many Ebola tainted farts that chair has seen?

I don’t either.

And now my child has licked it.

Never mind the toilet water mopping or the head injury. She just licked a chair in the ER. There is a man across the room with a vomit bag. There is an old man with a catheter and a chest that sounds like hail hitting a tin roof. There are people holding compression on active wounds. Parasitic pathogens at every turned and she licked the f’n chair.

In text language…Wtf, smh, fml. 

When the doctor came to check her I wanted to plead for a complete blood transfusion. I wanted to petition the nurse to change the chart. He looked her over and declared her a healthy child. Hardly. She just licked an active bio-hazard. If only he knew that in a few hours she will likely start moaning and trying to eat people’s brains. I don’t know why we even try to protect them. The kids are worse than the wallaby.

If you feel like the kids are just trying to hurt themselves. Me too. I think we’ve been here before. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

ps. special shout-out to Geej and Mamaw for their emergency response time.

I Am A Time Traveler

I may be a time traveler.

Correction. I must be a time traveler.

Not the kind of time traveler that you are accustomed to reading about in an HG Wells novel. There are no Eloi living above ground in silky dresses. My character will never be played by Michael J. Fox riding a skateboard to the tune of Huey Lewis and the News. My shiny Delorian is actually a Honda Odyssey with four kid’s seats, 23 cup holders, and a headrest that is well suited for hanging a diaper bag that a wallaby named Tobias calls ‘Home’. My theme song is the intro to Sponge Bob Squarepants. The only thing that would have made the drive worse would be no AC like the picture above of my ancestry in their stylish Ford.

Today, my fully loaded grocery getter, confirmed Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Alien abductions are associated with “lost time” events. Road trips with my group result in “found time” events. The faster I drove the more time I found had passed between each stop. The trip was one we have completed many, many times in the past. All records indicated that this trip should take approximately 5.0 hours from driveway to driveway. We shattered records with an impressive 7.5 hours.

I know this claim is so outrageous that you might not believe me so I have included a play-by-play as evidence.

11:30 am – We departed from a city in the east and were headed west. Since the hour was near lunch the loving grandparents sent us away with Lunchables and snacks for the kids. We even had a box of juices. Supermom and I thought we had better grab some lunch at a drive thru before hitting the interstate. Zaxby’s seemed as good as anything so we zipped around and ordered two snacks to-go. While we waited, Supermom started to distribute Lunchables and noticed that two of them were pizzas and needed to be heated. The minivan is a top-shelf swagger wagon but we did not get the microwave option. She went inside to get a few (4) kids meals because everyone has to have the same meals or a blackhole will form in the universe.

11:50 am – Supermom returns with the meals and Don Threeto pulls off a perfect delay tactic of “I have to pee.” I take her inside to pee and after that ordeal of her explaining to me that she isn’t a boy we loaded up and were on the way again.

12:05 pm – It starts to rain just enough to make me question if automatic wipers are needed. There was not quite enough rain to lube the wipers but enough that I couldn’t see well. We got in a small fight about me hitting the wiper arm manually. This rain continued for the next fifty miles.

12:45 pm – Interstate traffic comes to a complete stop as we see a large gathering of people in the road ahead of us. We pulled out Waze (a super cool app that you really should use on trips, thanks Ben) and we found that there was an accident about 500 feet ahead of us. A truck pulling a large camper had jackknifed and flipped on the side of a mountain. The passengers seemed okay but the camper and truck were in pieces. I hope everyone is okay. Luckily we were close enough behind this accident that we made it around in only 15 minutes.

1:30 pm – I have to pee so we stop. The car could use a full tank of gas so that happens too. Then the three older girls have to pee. I send them into the restroom as a group with instructions to a) not touch anything and b) help each other with hand washing and whatnot. Fifteen minutes later three girls emerge with arms wet from the elbows down. I don’t even care why. We get in the car and start to leave. Lady Bug has a wet diaper so we pull to the side to change it before continuing. Back on the road at 1:50.

2:15 pm – The rain has finally stopped but Lady Bug has started crying. We turn on a movie on the kick-ass DVD player and traffic comes to a halt. Once again, Waze informs us of an accident and we are able to reroute on local roads to bypass. This accident was a large semi-trailer that caught on fire. The cargo burned so hotly that the remains of the truck fit neatly on a flatbed tow truck. We saw this on the exit just past the accident but I am getting ahead of myself.

2:35 pm – We are travelling down a local road in a small town that I haven’t seen before. Supermom is trying to feed Toby (the wallaby for the newcomers). Lady Bug is still crying. Just as we beg her to stop or to tell us what is wrong, she projectile vomits into the back of my seat and her own lap. It looked like her face was pouring out a cup of wet cornmeal. Awesome.

2:40 pm – The clothes have been changed. Wipes are piled with bits of chewed chicken and fries in a Walmart bag. I can smell it in the cloth of the car seat. The three other kids are giving us helpful information like, “She threw up”, “I can smell it”, and “I’m hungry.” Not kidding.

3:00 pm – We are back on the road. And travel uneventfully for an hour before the next round of events.

4:00 pm – Lady Bug starts crying without any clear reason. Supermom knows what is up and starts to climb in the back to be prepared. Sure enough, she rockets the pacifier out of her mouth using only bodily fluids. I keep my eyes on the road but I hear the sound of rocks hitting wet mud. A splat of puke spattering around. We are ten miles from an exit so Supermom gets things cleaned up the best she can. The first exit we come to is busy so we opt to keep going a few miles to one that is more user friendly.

4:30 pm – Lady Bug seems better and is watching a movie. Supermom goes into the gas station I assume looking for a large bag of marijuana but returning instead with Sour Patch Kids and a soft drink.

4:50 pm – We are back on the highway On the home stretch. Lady Bug pukes again and gets her clothes this time. We stop at the first available exit which is an abandoned hotel and a small gas station. This time we change Lady Bug into last night’s pjs and the fast food bag from lunch is over flowing with used wipes. Supermom insists that she needs to wash her hands. I suggest we go down to the next exit because this gas station looks rough. She insists we stay there and she goes inside to wash her hands. She returns to tell me about the barefoot lady who was popping pimples into the sink where she needed to wash her hands. We continued to the next exit.

5:15 pm – We decide that Lady Bug is either car sick or has allergy snot that is making her stomach unstable. She is fun and lively right up to the vomit thing. The joint committee on blind decision parenting decided to try some Benadryl to settle her allergies and maybe help her relax for the rest of the ride. The gas station didn’t have a children’s liquid. I started to crush a pill and mix with some Advil (I know the appropriate dosage) and a car pulled up beside me powdering a pill into a syringe to give to my two year old. I felt like a champ once again. She was given the dose and made a terrible face because of the taste of the Benadryl. I gave her the slightest taste of juice to help her out. How does she repay me? That’s right, by vomiting everything at approximately 5:30 pm while we are once again on the interstate. To which Threeto comments, “I didnt see that coming!” Really???

5:31 pm – We are an hour away from home base. Supermom has cleaned the best she can but the car seat is soaked. Lady bug is floating in and out of consciousness. The other three are asking for constant status updates. Supermom is fighting a migraine and Toby is preparing an impressive wallaby scented present of his own. I don’t even care.

5:32 pm – I vow to the Lord Jesus Christ that this van will not stop until it is in the driveway and I will chisel everyone out of whatever crusty coat of excrement they have created but not a second before. We are a solid hour from the exit.

6:20 pm – Almost there. Everyone is tense from some tense question and answer sessions. We notice a beaten up truck in front of us taunting another vehicle. The driver of the truck pulls along side the other vehicle and he reaches out to punch their side mirror. In the back of the beaten up truck I can see the silhouette of a small child bouncing around, I assume drinking Mountain Dew in their underwear.

6:30 pm – Off the exit.

6:45 pm – Into the driveway. I carry Lady Bug into the house and my shirt is soaked in stomach juices leaving a dark green pattern down my front. I disregard and carry in several loads of bags with a dead look in my eyes.

7:10 – Luggage is inside. Lady Bug springs to life and is running in circles and laughing. No fever. Fantastic. The wallaby is another story. Stress of travel has made him into a squirrel shaped salad shooter. I grab the keys and head back out the door to Walmart to get supplies for the week. I notice that I smell like a cooked ham that got left in a bay window in July.

This is why we need flying cars and the knockout medicine that Dexter uses on his victims. I just want it to travel across the state in piece without need for gloves. Snoop dog doesn’t stock the stick icky that I need to get through that again.

If you ever feel like life is against you on a road trip. This post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

My Kids Continue to Be Smarter Than Me

Prima may not have as much gracefulness or attention span as your average 5 year-old but her wisdom takes me by surprise. It shouldn’t since the premise of my blog is that I am an idiot 90% of the time but some dad part of me thinks I am teaching my children. Passing the flickering torch of knowledge. However, she did break her wrist by falling off the couch watching Dora the Explorer so I can’t have her take the MENSA test just yet.

This week my children were the surviving flame and I continued to be the wind. I didn’t freeze my tongue to a spoon again but I did get a bug in my eye and it rolled back into my head. Three hours later it moved around and came out. Here’s a picture of that.

That little green piece of junk was a crawly bug inside my head. Gross.

That little green piece of junk was a crawly bug inside my head. Gross.

I left a jar of sprinkles in reach. So here is how that turns out.

All the multi-colored sprinkles. Yay!

All the multi-colored sprinkles. Yay!

Then I saw something smeared on the doorframe to the bathroom. No its not another poo encounter. I think it is toothpaste and it is high enough on the door that the ones who could reach should know better.

Toothpaste painting. Yay!

Toothpaste painting. Yay!

So at the end of this day I was giving a bath to Threeto and she can sense when my give-a-shit meter is near the bottom. At that exact moment when I can’t take anymore I say, “Just put down the bath toys and get out right now!” She replies, “Okay take my rag.” And she squeezes a full washrag into my lap as I am looking the other direction talking to her mother. It was the perfect cherry on top and I just laughed at the apex of chaos.

A few deep breaths and we all gathered for some Lego’s before bed. I asked Prima how her first year at school had been. The short paragraph I got was a stream of consciousness but was impressive. Still waters run deep;

Prima: I have liked learning to read but I really like to draw.
UD: Oh yeah? What do you like to draw?
Prima: I want to draw. I want to draw how life IS. Like what life looks like.
UD: Wow. That is deep, can you do that?
Prima: Yes. I am courageous in my use of markers.

I got out some markers and paper because after that how do you not? She continued to talk and lay down some deep knowledge.

Prima: (Drawing intensely) Dad?
UD: Yes?
Prima: Did you know that in the future I am a teenager, right now. And if I think of a cheese sandwich and remember it, then it happened in the past. Yeah, you remember stuff in the past and you can’t see the future until right now.
UD: Did you eat mushrooms on your pizza?
Prima: …..

Then Threeto rushes into the conversation to tell me about a race they always have at the Grandparents house. “Papaw beats me every night!”
UD: He beats you?
Threeto: Yup. Every night (smiling).
UD: He wins?
Threeto: Naw, he just beats me.

But let’s not leave Lady Bug out of the rotation this week. I got this text from Supermom while I was at work. The only thing worse than finding a cap to red lipstick is this…

How do you respond? Good luck? That stinks?

How do you respond? Good luck? That stinks?

So I got bugged, heard the wisdom of Plato, saw a man be misrepresented, and was entertained by my wife’s struggles. Oh and one day while cleaning I found this and could have cried from the proudness…(It says Fosl Resrech, she likes Paleontology)


So if you had a fun rollercoaster week, this post is for you. Me too. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.