Friday, November 2, 2012

Kid's Got Swag

My 5 year old has some serious swag. At least I think it's called swag. That's what the kids these days are calling it. Now that I'm older, sometimes I'm not as "down with that" and I don't "pick up what they are putting down" like I used to. For this post, though, I'm going to be "with it".

I have never had swag. And by "swag", I mean "the confidence to go up and talk to a woman, buy her a drink, etc." 

I also didn't pick up signals very well, either. On the REMOTE chance that a woman would flirt with me, she would've been better off holding up a sign that said "I'm interested in you. Please ask me out on a date!" It would probably have to blink, too. 

I'm sure it amazed friends and family when I landed a wife. I'm pretty confident wagers were lost. 

My son, on the other hand, has more game than he knows what to do with. Girls flock to him. Flock. To. Him.
Ladies Man

Exhibit A: We were at a church picnic and my son was playing in the makeshift misters in the parking lot and, the next thing I know, some girl (about his age) is reciting her address to him.
That's right: my man got digits. Not a phone address.

Exhibit B:

When we were leaving the pool this summer, the little girl he was playing with jumped out of the pool and ran all the way to the exit just to say goodbye. Yep, lifeguard warnings be damned...she was going to say goodbye.

Like I said: Swag
Maybe it's the red hair. Maybe it's the ol' Raz charm. Maybe the girls dig it when he puts his hands down his pants when he sleeps or when he randomly starts yelling like some sort of Kung Fu master.

The way I see it, here's what he has going for him:
  • He's a redhead. He stands out above all of the non-gingers.
  • He has personality in spades. 
  • He has to get a laugh. Has to. 
  • He's kind.
  • He's polite.
  • He's respectful.
Here's the thing: I have those traits! What the heck? Oh, wait...he isn't sarcastic. Maybe that has something to do with it.

Regardless, parents pride themselves on their kids' accomplishments be it sports, academics, etc.

Me? I'm gonna pride myself on my kid's swag.

Yep, that's how this "sick" dad is going to roll. Yo.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chairman of the Pitch

For every one of the kids’ soccer matches, we load up our purple and gray camp chairs and head to the pitch to watch the majesty of youth soccer unfold before our very eyes once again.  And again.  And again.  Seemingly, it never stops unfolding.  Every weekend, more origami.

Like all parents, we are passionate about our kids’ performance.   They don’t have to be the best…just don’t be the idiot spinning around in circles making airplane noises.  Leave that for the family with the socks pulled up to their knees bringing the kid wearing jean shorts* and a belt and the Optimus Prime t-shirt or Nebraska Cornhusker abomination.  Fortunately, my kids are older now, on club teams, and the jean short crowd has melted away.  But I remember those days…

There are three quintessential items to have as a soccer parent:  (1) a good camp chair, (2) a pair of sunglasses where no one can see your eyes, and  (3) a healthy dose of self control.

The chair is for sitting, obviously.  The sunglasses are so no one sees your eye rolls when their kid can’t command the ball to save their life.  The self control is so the ref is not assaulted.  It’s also to maintain a fake veneer of pleasant aloofness that’s masking the jubilance or seething rage swirling within.

I watch my kids play soccer like I’m watching an ice sculpting competition:  Emotionless detached interest.  At least, it appears that way on the outside for anyone eyeballing the guy in the purple camp chair and sunglasses.  I chat amiably with the other parents while, inside, my gut convulses with every near-miss goal.  I find folding the arms across the chest hides the near hyper-ventilation of my heaving chest.  My temporal vein throbs when Chatty Chuck's son –AGAIN! – misplays a fairly routine cross.  I ignore it, publicly.  Only the diligent observer notices the way my jaw tenses up and my fists form.  So how did your garage sale go, Chuck?  Implied:  No time to spend a few minutes teaching your kid a bit of aerial control, Chuck?

And then the refs.  The hallmark of youth sports is the terrible refing.  Unfortunately, these people are also typically your neighbors or teachers or folks you see sitting in the next booth at the local Chili’s.   You are supposed to appreciate their volunteering efforts while simultaneously ignoring their complete ignorance of the rules.   Tweet!  Red’s ball. (not in the game I’m watching.)  Tweet!  Offsides (sweet Jesus, it wasn’t if you knew the rule).  Tweet!  Holding.  (Wrong sport). 

The most you’ll get out of me is a tilt of the head like a dog quizzically wondering if he heard the word “walk” in that stream of babble you just barfed up.  I might raise my eyebrows in astonishment so that even Chatty Chuck can see them poking over the top of the sunglasses.  “Curious call.”  I’ll say. 

Meanwhile, I’m thinking about Braveheart and what they did to William Wallace.  Why don’t we eviscerate people anymore?  Admittedly, it sure would make that next trip to Chili’s a bit awkward.  I mean, I’d be fine with it but that's because I know what ‘offsides’ is and how to properly call it.  For the ref’s family, I can only imagine their look of horror as I nonchalantly gulped down my Chicken Crispers.  People are so sensitive about evisceration these days but, me, I can wash it away with a zesty honey mustard dip.

Let’s face it, goals – by YOUR kid (re: my kid) – are the best.  My daughter has been on a roll lately averaging 2-3 goals a game.  You wouldn’t know it by looking at the guy in the purple chair and sunglasses.  He claps amiably for each one and congratulates the PASSER – not his own daughter – while inside there’s a Basque dance taking place.

After the game, I gather my camp chairs and congratulate the other players and pleasantly wish a good afternoon to their parents.  Then, I yawn, stretch and head to the car with the purple chair slung over my shoulders.  My armpits are drenched in sweat.  My pulse is only just returning to normal.  I no longer wonder what the ref’s head would look like mounted on top of the corner flag, wobbling comically back and forth from the weight.

When I feel I can feign nonchalance again, I smile to the kid and say, “Good game.” 

It’s important to set a good example. 

* Or cargo pants, as Ian once did during a race.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Chutes and Ladders: The Devil's Game

I alluded to this in my last post here but I’m going to delve into it deeper today:  Chutes and Ladders is an evil game.  It was forged in the fires of hell and brought forth on Earth through the Devil’s burp.  It’s an elementary school kid’s Ouija board as far as I’m concerned.  Play it at risk of damnation.  Play it at risk of your sanity.

First, some background.  Chutes and Ladders was created in India and looked a bit different than the fun and frolicking children we see in the Americanized version.  It had snakes.  Lots of snakes.  And serious looking dudes on horses and flowing robes that probably came from the Temple of Doom.  Their version was intended as a morality lesson involving a journey through life complete with virtues (ladders) and vices (snakes).  See:

In England, it is called Snakes and Ladders.  What child doesn’t want to play a game which, if they do something wrong, involves them being eaten by a snake and sliding through its long and winding body – slowly digested, one assumes – and deposited on a lower square?  Fun!  Or nightmare fuel?

I like the American version better where our unfriendly snakes were turned into a “chute”.  I’m not sure how that is punishment exactly.  With snakes, it’s pretty clear that you don’t want to land on a snakes mouth and face the punishment.  But a chute or slide?  I’m pretty sure the only reason a child climbs a ladder is to go down the slide.  How is this punishment?  Shouldn’t there be pointed bamboo shoots at the end of that chute?  Otherwise, the kid just had a fun time and play continues.  WTF?  The ladder was the real punishment.  That’s a lot of work especially if you are making that tough square 28 to 84 climb.

Not only have the snakes been removed but gone are the robed Indiana Jones adversaries and the heavy moral overtones.  It’s all about fun loving kids with bowl cuts and look who rode his bike with no hands (square 64) tee hee.  Oh, fiddlesticks, he hurt his arm.

It seems like a fun, quick game to spend a few minutes playing with your child.  You would think that but you’d be wrong.  Anyone that has played the game knows that it is designed to never have a winner.  Or, at least, push you to the brink of insanity before showing mercy.  Instead of Chutes and Ladders, it should be called Inclined Planes and Sisyphus.  You spin that spinner – you push that boulder – and just as you reach near the top with the end in sight, the sad trombone plays and you’ve landed on square 84!  Weeeee, dooowwwn you go – down the boulder rolls – to square 24.  Your child gleefully laughs at you; you stare back with dead eyes.  And head to the fridge for a beer. Sisyphus needs a stiff one.

Play continues until someone gets to 100 on the nose.  But there are four chutes between 87 and 99 that make it almost impossible to get through.  It's a steeplechase from hell.  You continually slide back down.  Your child’s gleeful laugh morphs into a slow, dark, haunting cackle as his face gets blurry...and was that horns on his head?

Spin again.  Spin again.  Slide again.  And again.  Tick tock.  Tick tock.  Push the boulder, push the boulder.  It rolls back down.  Tick tock, spin again.

There’s no end.  Parliament.  Big Ben.  Your hair’s on end.  You feel like murdering something.  Why is your kid wearing the Scream mask and where is that persistent shrieking coming from????  Spin again, slide, spin again, you are almost to the top, slide, spin again.  At what point do you reach for the bath salts?  Is it okay to cannibalize your own child to end a game?

There’s a life lesson in the game somewhere. It could be about the benefit of virtue and the bane of vice.  It could be about sticking to a task until the job is complete.  It could be quality time with your child and his mocking laugh. 

But its probably about the portal from Hell that was opened on your kitchen table through square 87 and the swirling evil spirits that are jabbing you in the back of the eyeballs with a thousand amputated unicorn horns and merrily laughing as the Game.  Never.  Ends.

Until you slam your fist on the table, yell “F*CK THIS!”, and flip the board over jettisoning the spinner to the floor and spraying the happy blond haired kid with his fun, jubilant arms in the arm into a skid across the table.  The look of pure horror on your child's face is regrettable but, in time, he'll only remember the F word and very little of the violent outburst.  Totally worth it.

That’s the only way to close the square 87 gateway to hell and reclaim your very sanity.  

Play Chutes and Ladders at your risk.  Better yet, next time your kid wants to spend quality time with you over a board game why don’t you suggest he go play Grand Theft Auto on the Playstation instead.

Sisyphus out.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Think of the Kids


Uh, yeah, thanks Captain Obvious. I hated it when parents would tell me that when we were expecting our first kid. I knew it was going to change my life. Parenting is supposed to change your life. It changes everything.

Want to quit your job? Think about the kids.

Bad driver? Think about the kids.

Want to take a quick trip to Jamaica, Vegas, the grocery store? Think about the kids.

Want to go "all in" on a pair of aces? Well, hell...don't think about the kids. Go all in.

What's my point? I can't remember. I digress.

I will say this, though: I love my kids (5 and 8, since you asked). There's no better feeling than having one of them holding my hand to cross the street or the look of pure joy when they score their first goal.

But, my GOD they can piss me off.

They fight. They whine. They are the most dramatic creatures ever put on the face of this earth.

And this is coming from a person who teaches high schoolers.

So what am I going to do about it? I'm going to write. I'm going to snark. I'm going to commiserate with my fellow bloggers and readers.

And if I don't, I may just lose it. Next thing you know I was the "quiet neighbor who kept to himself." I'm thinking that, with my delicate features, prison wouldn't work for me. Well, maybe not that extreme, but you get my point.

Besides, I have to think of the kids.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Time Flies...

When we had our first son 9 years ago everyone told us that we should cherish every moment because the time would go by so fast and before we knew it he’d be off to college. After 2 years of cherishing every moment we had another baby boy and people told us the same LIES all over again. I wouldn’t exactly describe the last 7 years as fast. However, here is a heartily abridged list of adjectives that I might use; messy, tiring, fraught, long, poopy, expensive, and hectic.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of good times in there to be cherished but in my experience there’s also plenty of time to cherish them. I can’t wait until they leave for college and I can get some free time back. To be honest, I really hoped they’d have already left for college by now, though I’m not sure the younger one is going to college because I still can’t get him to remember to flush the toilet with any kind of regularity.

For those of you who don’t know me I’m Ian and I rely heavily on sarcasm because someone once told me it’s the crutch of a poor writer and I know my limitations. I’ll be striving for posts that leave you reeling on the floor with laughter and settling for a mild chortle and an ‘lol’ in the comments. My posts will be completely, 100% factual except when they contain things that you think require a call to CPS or an angry e-mail to me, those posts are just made up for the sake of humor. One day mental health professionals will no doubt comb through these posts to determine how I lost my sanity or what went wrong with my kids. It could go either way.

My wife and I spend our time driving our kids everywhere and in return they drive us to drink. Buckle up, it’s going to be a fun ride.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The FAQs of my life

As Ian so eloquently pointed out, I'm Niki and I have twins. Apparently, that's all you need to know about me. (They're both boys, by the way.) Twins seem to garner a lot of questions from strangers, so I'll just save you the trouble of approaching us in the grocery store/park/library/Target/restaurant.
Q: Oh, are they twins?
A: Yep.
Q: How old are they?
A: They turned two this summer.
Q: Were they natural?
A: Well, they aren't robots.
Q: I mean, did you take a bunch of fertility drugs? Like Octomom?
A: Oh, I'm sorry, it's MY turn to ask you a question about YOUR sexual history.
Q: Well, it looks like you have your hands full. I can't imagine twins. I'd die. Bye!
A: Nice talking to you!
Do you want to know a secret? Promise not to tell? Two year old twins are actually much easier than a single kid. I know! Shocking, right? But having a built in playmate means I can throw them in the back yard and cruise facebook with my feet up while they happily run around together. I've created a genetically compatible, 24/7 source of entertainment. Sure a fight over something inevitably breaks out, but my kids go to daycare. They understand vigilante justice. One kid is bigger; one kid fights dirty. They can sort things out without me.
My boys are also at that lovely age where they're smart enough to negotiate but not smart enough to know when they're being manipulated. They actually fight over being the better behaved child. "LOOK! I'M BEING A GOOD LISTENER, MOMMY!" They race to see who can pick up their toys the fastest or any other competition I can create to get the outcome I desire.
My parenting philosophy is simple: The path of least resistance. I'm nutty about two things. Healthy food and adhering to a sleep schedule. (Suggest to a twin/triplet mom that they skip naptime some day. They will laugh in your face.) But everything else is fair game. So long as it doesn't result in an ER or CPS visit, you can do whatever keeps you from screaming. Insist on wearing too small snow boots to bed in August? Fine. Want to pour sand over your head like it's raining? Enjoy the pants full of rocks on the walk home, kid.
As the shortest tenured parent around here, I'm clearly in the haze of smugness and naivety. I'm aware of this. But have no fear. Every day my kids are getting smarter, pickier, needier, whinier, more defiant, more destructive, and sweet heavens there are two of them! Can you even imagine?! (See how I keep up the ruse that toddler twins are so hard?) I've got plenty of material, trust me. We start potty training this fall, and that alone may break me.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Father of the Year (and the mug to prove it!)

Anybody that knows me from my other blog is probably not surprised to see me pontificating about child-rearing on this new blog here.  I don’t know how many times a week I get a personal email asking me about my views on how to handle a tricky family situation or advice on raising the perfect child (based on my first hand experience).*   If you’ve read Feet Meet Street, the overriding takeaway most people get is What a Wonderful Family Man and How Can I Be a Perfect Dad Just Like Him (though with decidedly less use of the word “anus”).

Then your prayers were answered as – viola! – this blog appears and provides me with the proper forum with which to espouse my views on family, life, and kids.  I’m sure you’re all ears and eyes.  After all, there’s only ONE Father of the Year and I have the coffee mug to prove it! 

So pull up an internet connection, stuff your kids in a closet with a mouthful of duct tape**, and prepare yourself for rich tales of my family interwoven with life lessons and some homespun R rated humor that’ll form a virtual quilt to warm over your fragile parental psyche. 

Now, I’m not the only one contributing to this blog.  There are others as you can see by the list on the sidebar.  No, I’m not the ONLY, just the most IMPORTANT.  We’ll ALL attempt to put a smile in your child-addled brain and soothe your battered and tattered sense of hope.  I’ll just be the most successful though polite applause is always appreciated for the others.  After all, at every school music show, someone has to hold the cymbals for the drummers as they rock out.  And just because the cymbal holders can’t be trusted with a clearly defined sense of beat and rhythm and perform essentially the same job as a steel pole doesn’t mean they aren’t useful.

My kids are 14 and 11.  One just entered high school; one just entered middle school.  I don’t play Chutes and Ladders anymore and the only butt I wipe is my own (and the dog sometimes when she gets a ‘dangler’ and it threatens to jump off on the carpet).  I signed my first ‘pledge to have an alcohol free house when hosting students and friends from the high school’ last week.  We fast forwarded from buying the first batch of Proactiv to looking over the schedule for driver’s education classes in about two months.  Isn’t this whole parenting thing supposed to take longer?  Before long, one kid will be out of the house and then there’ll only be one left to eat all my food and stand in front of my TV to block my view.

I’ll tell you life as learned through youth soccer.  I’ll show you all the great things the Mrs. and I have taught them as well as all of the horrible things they must have learned from television or the internet.  I’ll brag a lot.  Oh, you’ll get sick of my bragging real quickly.  Did you know my daughter scores goals by the handful each game?  Did you know my son likes to eject attacking forwards in a manner that is borderline assault?  Wait two paragraphs into the next post and you’ll never want to hear about it again.

Oh, and I’ll complain a hell of a lot.  Kids are annoying and there’s just no way to sugar coat it.  Sugar and spice and everything nice?  How about bitter and sticky and everything that you want to smack the living shit out of and send to bed early?  I know, it doesn’t rhyme as smoothly but still….Can I just watch Breaking Bad without someone asking me a fairly obvious 5th grade math question?   Hellllooooo?!?! Walt is about to shoot half a drug kingpin’s face off and you want to know what ‘x’ equals??

You can learn something here.  I don’t know what exactly but…something.  At the very least, you’ll learn to hate blue asterisk footnotes.  If you aren’t a fan of adverbs, head elsewhere.  Quickly. 

And don’t threaten me with child protection services.  Been there, done that.

Grab yourself your non-Father of the Year coffee mug, fill it with some rum or drink of your choice and settle in.  I’ve got some stories to unload that’ll make your hair stand up.  I’m a veteran parent and I’ve got the thousand yard stare.  Vietnam vets have nothing on me.  I’m still in the shit going on 15 YEARS now.

I’ll end this because I have to pick one kid up from practice….and take the other to practice all while suppressing burps, plastering on a fake smile, and balancing my F-o-t-Y coffee cup on my knee.  Later they’ll need dinner and perhaps they’ll allow us to pick up their jackets and shoes for them.

Take my advice:  Run.  No one is watching.  Run.

*Waiting for the first one but certain it’s coming.
**This is called the “Kidnapper Technique” and I’ll expand on that later for those curious.

And don't forget to add Bottle Fed Parents to your reader or favorites!

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Talk

My daughter and I just had “the talk”. No, not that talk. That one is reserved for her mom and, with any luck, I’ll be out of the county when that talk happens.

This talk is about getting an iPod Touch or a phone.

I think I made it clear to her that she’s not getting a phone anytime soon. Maybe she figured that out by my uncontrollable laughter when she asked me. (I really hope they spell my last name on the Father of the Year 2012 plaque.)

The iPod Touch, though. Well…..

Let me back up by saying I’m a bit of a tech geek. How much of a tech geek, you ask? I kept checking my Twitter feed when the iPhone 5 was being announced last week. (Sorry, ladies…I’m spoken for.)

So I had to admit that the thought of a new gadget in the house appealed to me. Even though it was for someone else (gasp!). When I asked her what she wanted an iPod touch for, I thought it was because she saw her dad and wanted to be like him. She wanted a vast array of music, games and apps that simplify her going-into-third-grade life.

She said that she wanted to be able to text her friends.

Text? Her friends? SRSLY? Am I at that stage in the game?

Not only am I a tech geek, but I’m also a teacher. I am very familiar to the look that students get when they are texting or tweeting (sorry Facebook, you’re sooo two years ago). Essentially, you just see the top third of their head and, if you get their attention for 30 seconds, a lot of the times you chalk that up as a victory.

I don’t want that to be my daughter. Not yet, anyway. I want that girl that draws pictures for me and gives me a big hug when I get back from a long day at work. I want to keep the girl that has a grin from ear to ear when she scores her first (and only) goal. I don’t want her to have secret conversations with her BFFs. And I certainly don’t want her texting any boys. Hear that, guys? DO YOU HEAR THAT? I’m not ready for her to grow up. I’m really not.

But I really want a new iPod.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Let's get one thing straight: parenting sucks.

Oh sure, there are those moments where you feel brilliant for pro-creating. First recital, first touchdown, first time getting through church without having the priest ask if he'd like us to perform an exorcism, etc. 

You know...the special moments. 

More often than not, parenting is like a marathon. There are ups and there are downs and - in the end -you're tired, sore and you just want a beer. Badly.

If you were looking for a "happy, touchy feely" parenting blog where we extoll the virtues of our Precious Angels, then go somewhere else.

The 5 authors of this blog will be tackling all of the important aspects of parenting like what to do when there’s poop in the tub, how to make an entire meal from the crumbs under that car seat and what is the lime to tequila ratio for perfect margaritas. We’ll be handling these issues with class, style and honesty, or in the event that those things are unavailable to us, sarcasm and fabrication. Why do we have 5 authors for this blog? Because we couldn’t find a 6th (and Amy is a crapshoot at this point, so it's nice to have extras.)

Let us introduce ourselves:

Amy. Amy’s a Mormon which is funny in itself because of all the stereotypes that just flooded into your head. Amy fits every single one of those stereotypes, probably. Have you ever heard of a Mormon mom writing a blog that wasn’t funny? Can’t think of any can you? Exactly. Oh, and the first person to ask how many sister wives she has gets punched. Don’t be an idiot, leave that to us.

Razz. Razz is a Nebraska fan and an Apple fanboy so if you send us a funny video that requires flash then you had best not send it to Razz because his iPad/iPhone/iTouch can’t iPlay it. Razz is also a teacher, which means he’s not just responsible for his own kids, he’s also shaping the future of this country. Chilling.

Nitmos. Nitmos is so dedicated to being the uncool Dad that he still uses AOL. That’s really all you need to know about him. I think he also moonlights as a Llama jockey in his spare time.

Niki. I don’t know Niki well enough to make lots of derogatory remarks about her which is unfortunate because it’s what I do best. I can tell you that Niki has twins, which means that she has twice the ‘joy’ of being a parent.

Ian. Finally, there’s me. I’m the funny, handsome one that everyone now hates for all of the above descriptions. (Guys, please don’t edit this to say something mean!)

All complaints about this blog should be directed to Ian. Even if he didn't write it.