Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Full Plastic Potty

This past Monday was No D- Day. No Diaper Day for Max. We started the full-on potty training for Max who will be three in March. It has been fun and interesting. Lauren is the drill sergeant for this training exercise. I have to say I am so impressed with her resolve and her tactics in making sure Maxfield knows how to go on the potty. We have dabbled in the training in the past. Read here and here for exercises and methods.

We are using a small plastic training potty for the initial first week of basic training for a couple of reasons. It is portable. It fits Max’s hiney. And it is also the same color as Thomas the train. Although one would think Max peeing on Thomas might not be a good thing, it is actually working because Thomas is a steam engine and he needs water for his boiler to work. I think Max understands this concept.

The other day I came home from work, for lunch, to see Max sitting on the plastic potty, in front of the television. He was wearing only his t-shirt and he had his juice cup firmly grasped in his hands. His hands were covered in Cheetos orange cheese (he receives one Cheetos cheese curl for every half hour or so he stays dry) as he watched Jack’s Big Music Show on the Noggin Channel.

Usually when I walk in the front door Max jumps up from whatever he is doing and greets me with a flurry of conversation and antics. This time he simply waved at me with orange powdered hands from his blue throne and said, “Hi Bill.”

I thought to myself, “Man, what a life. I wish I could watch the Super Bowl this way.”

(Super…. Bowl….No pun intended. Okay totally intended.)

As I left to go back to work a thought hit me. The boy is almost three. For the first 2 and 11/12 of his life he has worn a diaper. Here we are trying to get him to stop wearing a diaper. A diaper is all he knows. Think about it, for 99 percent of his life he has worn a diaper and now, we the parents are telling him he can’t wear one anymore. That has got to be difficult.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dog House

Before you read the rest of this post you need to think for a second. Do you know the name of your mom's high school?

Do you know the answer? Be honest, and answer in the comments with a simple Yes or No. YES you do know the name of the high school your mom attended or NO you do not know the name.
This is for scientific purposes so be honest.

The other night Lauren and I were talking about our parents and the fact that they each grew up (for the most part) in different parts of Philly. Lauren asked me where my mom grew up and I drew a blank. She then asked me what high school my mom attended and I did not know. It was no big deal. Since I have a great relationship with my parents I decided to call them and ask. Their machine picked up and I started to leave a message asking where my mom grew up and what high school she attended when my dad picked up the phone.

I chatted with him for a minute and then told him the purpose of my call. He told me my mom grew up in the Olney section of Philadelphia and that she attended Cardinal Dougherty H.S. We talked for a few more minutes and said good-bye. The conversation was pleasant and direct and very matter of fact. There was no hint of any possible disbelief on my dad's part about the fact that I did not know where my mom was from.

That was Saturday night.

Monday evening I received a phone call from my brother the LawnWhisperer. He was not very happy with me. This is the conversation.

Bill: Yo.
LW: Yo.
Bill: What's up?
LW: How could you NOT know where mom went to high school?
Bill: I don't know. I just didn't know. Why?
LW: Well you got me in trouble with mom. Thanks.
Bill: How did I get you in trouble?
LW: I am in the doghouse. Do you remember how mom used to have those pictures of the doghouse with the little wooden dogs with all of our names on it and if we were bad she would hang our name inside the doghouse so everyone would know we were in trouble.
Bill: Yeah.
LW: I think she is breaking that out again and putting both of us in it.

LawnWhisperer then went on to explain how my Dad found it funny that I did not know where my mom was from. When my mom got home Saturday evening my dad told her about my call. He then played the partial message I left on their machine. He thought it was funny that I did not know where she grew up. My mom was not too pleased. She claimed that every one of her children would know the answer to that question; that every one of her kids SHOULD know the answer. My dad decided to test all of their children. My dad called each of his kids and asked. Every one knew where my mom grew up and where she went to high school.

Everyone but me.

And LawnWhisperer.

Of course my dad had to tell my mom the results of his survey.

Now my mom is upset with the LawnWhisperer as well. LW is now upset with me. Because if I never called my Dad and asked the question he would never have called all my siblings and it would never have come out that LW did not know the answer.

Now in defense of LW and myself, we are the middle children. Out of the nine kids, my brother Dan, LW and myself are the middle three. Yes Dan did know the answer but I am sure that is due to the fact that my Mom probably stopped paying attention to the kids after Dan and started paying attention, again, after me. She probably told all kind of wonderful bedtimes stories about the glory days at Cardinal Dougherty. The problem is that as she gathered all the kids around to hear the stories of her and Kathy G, her best friend, my mom most likely forgot to invite LW and myself.

As far as the reason why I forgot my mom was from Olney it is quite simple. My mom is beautiful. Absolutely stunning and she has a radiant smile. Now the saying goes, you know someone from Olney invented Toothpaste, other wise they would have called it Teethpaste. (Give it a minute it will sink in). I only thought ugly people came from Olney. So there is no way my Mom could have been from that part of Philly.

So what’s the point of this whole post? I will break it down.

1. Do you know where your mom went to high school?

2. One of my dad’s favorite sayings is “I am perfectly capable of starting my own fights with your mother. I don’t need your help.” I would like to say to him: Dad I am perfectly capable of getting mom mad at me on my own. I don’t need your help.

3. Mom, I may not know where you grew up or where you went to high school, but I do know that your favorite movie is Witness with Harrison Ford, Your favorite color is green, your favorite TV show of all time is Magnum P.I. and your favorite son is Jimmy. I bet LW did not know any of those tidbits of info. (Except the Jimmy thing).

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Friday, January 26, 2007

Back to School

Guest Post by the LawnWhisperer.

It is absolutely necessary. There is no way around it. I have avoided it for years. I never thought it was all it was cracked up to be, but I am definitely wrong. I was 20 when I decided I could do it alone, and be successful, and I stopped then, but now I must go back. I have to go back to school.

I don’t have to go back for my career. I don’t have to go back for my own self- satisfaction. No, I don’t need the education to better my current life. It is not going to make me any more money or anything. I need to go back and get a degree in Engineering or something. Today is January 26th. Christmas was a month ago. I still have not finished putting together the 840-piece Lego Star Wars ship thing.

I’m telling you right now that this thing is ridiculous. I may have to send this down to Bill, so that his NASA neighbor can get a look at it for me. The saying goes, “Come on man, it isn’t Rocket Science.” I say Bullshit. This thing is worse. Maybe I need to get a degree in Architecture. Those people know how to read and write plans. Maybe the degree I am in need of is Civil Engineering. They have something to do with bridge building and stuff, right? I mean if they know how to build a suspension bridge, they should be able to get this Boba Fett ship together in a snap.

Since when did Lego’s become the size of a pencil tip anyway? Lego’s are building blocks that come in red, blue, green and yellow. Then you are supposed to build your own version of the ship you want. It’s called imagination, right? You build something that looks like a stick, and tell me that it is the Bat Mobile, and I go along with you. I don’t need to actually build the freaking Bat Mobile. Well, I did build that already. That only took up one full day. That was only 180 pieces. The best part is, the box says for 8 years and up. F*** you Lego’s. I’m 37 and I can’t figure this shit out. Anyway, Philosophy, maybe that can be my major. Will that help?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Inconvenient Truth

I have been, somewhat, against potty training Maxfield. Not that I don’t want him to be able to go on the toilet, but more so as a convenience to us, his parents. As of right now, if we want to go and do something it is simple; we slap a fresh diaper on him and we go.

Once he is trained in the fine art of using the toilet, however, there is no going back. Whenever we want to leave the house there will be a 15 to 20 minute ritual of convincing him that he has to go to the bathroom, even if he doesn’t have to go. This could be inconvenient. There will be the quick trips to the supermarket, that, will turn into long trips, because once we are in the canned goods aisle he will decide he has to go potty and I will have to actually take him to the restroom so he doesn’t backtrack in the whole training regimen. Again inconvenient.

But since he approaching the age of three we need to train him. I am kind of looking at this, as I am the Master Jedi training my young protégé. I am Opee One Canpoopey.

The other aspect of potty training that I do not like is admitting to the fact that my son is getting older. That he is no longer a baby. He is a boy. Part of me, the more "sensitive, I am such a wuss" part of me, does not like admitting this. He is growing up. I have to come to terms with that fact and I guess I have to teach him the proper ways to use his "light saber".

Lauren called me the other day to tell me that she went out and bought some items to entice him to use the toilet. The items are:

“Big Boy Underwear”- to make him think he can actually use the toilet and diapers are for babies.
“Cheetos” as a reward for when he stays dry.
And “Reeces Pieces” as a reward for when actually uses the potty.

My response was. “Cheetos? AND Reece’s Pieces as rewards? I don’t even get that and I stay dry all the time and I hit the toilet 95% of the time.”

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Guy's Night

Lauren’s mother was in town visiting with us this past week. On Friday night, Lauren and her mom decided they were going to go out together, just the two of them, and leave me home with the boys.

As the ladies were getting ready I was mentally prepping Max and Wyatt for an evening without their mother as well as a night without their Mom Mom, who they both adore. I was talking a big game about how it would be a “guy's night”, just the three men, with no one to tell us what to do. I was telling the boys that we could sit around in our underwear and watch cartoons all night. That we could fart, burp and be rude at will, that we could be men.

I was selling them on the fact that Daddy would be in charge and I joked out loud, “Heck, we might even go to Hooters. Who is gonna stop us?” Like I said, I was talking a big game.
Maxfield looked up at me and gave me a puzzling look.

“Do you want to go to Hooters?” I asked Max. He did not say anything.

Lauren and her mom were all ready to go and they stopped in the kitchen to say goodbye to the men of the house. They kissed Wyatt and then Max and as Lauren was about to kiss me goodbye she asked what were we planning for the evening.

I turned to Max and asked him. His response was a two-year-old’s attempt to pronounce Hooters. Except he failed to pronounce one of the “O’s and the “T”.

It sounded like he said Whores.

Lauren looked at me with wide eyes and a look that said I can’t believe you taught him that word and I am going to kill you when I get home.

I tried to explain that "whore" was not the word I taught him and that it was actually the word "Hooter" that I wanted him to say but then I realized I was in a lose lose situation and I let it go.

Monday, January 22, 2007

At the Market.

Did you ever get stuck in a situation where you witnessed something or heard something and wish you said something, but you didn’t, because you did not want to make a scene or maybe you thought it was none of your business?

I am not like that.

We were at a very crowded farmers market the other day when I witnessed something that irritated the hell out of me; people with their dogs. I have a dog. I love my dog. I think dogs are great, but not at a farmers market. I don’t care how well behaved or great your dog may be, it is still a dog. It is an animal.

At the farmers market there was a little boy, maybe 4 years old, sitting in a stroller. The boy was facing right, toward the table that his father was scanning, when a golden retriever on a leash walked up to the kid’s left. When the kid turned his head he was startled by the dog, at his level, on his left and he began to cry. The dog started to growl. The kid’s father heard the growl and knelt down between the dog and the kid.

The woman walking the dog turned towards the father and said in snippy tone, “Oh the farmer’s market is no place to bring a child who is afraid of dogs.”

I watched as the father said nothing and tried to calm his frightened child.

I then had that internal argument with myself. “Should I say something? No. It is none of your business. Don’t bother. Well that woman just acted like a total bitch to that little boy. She should apologize. This is a place for people. Not for dogs. The last time I checked people paid for produce. Not animals. I have never seen a dog with a wallet. No. Nevermind, don’t say anything. Wait a minute, what if that was Max or Wyatt and the lady said something like that?” Then my internal monologue stopped and I yelled at the lady.

“This is a place for people, and not for your god damned dog. And you should apologize to that boy for scaring him.”

I stood there, chest out, eyes fixed on the bitch with the dog. I was ready for her rebuttal. I was ready for her argument. The entire area around me became quiet as people turned their heads to see what was causing the raucous. I started to glance around and realized that there were about 15 people around me, all with dogs. I think they all thought I was talking to them. I realized I was out numbered; I lowered my head and moved on.

Stupid internal monologue.

I take it as a compliment...

..when we are at the playground or mall or someplace and I see other men checking Lauren out.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Our dog does not get too much press here on P & B. Last night I watched Wyatt grab a wad of her hair and yank on it for a few minutes and Luna did not flinch. She actually looked like she enjoyed it. She loves any attention anyone gives her because..well.. since we had kids she has become somewhat ignored by Lauren and myself. She is a good dog. And, NO, she is not fat. She is just big boned.

Friday, January 19, 2007


Discuss amongst yourselves.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wanted: Fix-it Man

Needed for miscellaneous repairs to a bottom step area. The step is worn and has a sag in the middle in the shape of a two-year-old’s heinie. The wall next to the step could use some touch-up paint to cover the various fingerprints and smudges (The wall should probably be scraped first though, due to greenish/brownish globs that were deposited there). The wood floor just below the last step is slightly worn as well from little feet shuffling and kicking it. The carpet on the step would need to be cleaned due to many salty teardrops that are left there over multiple two-minute periods of time.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The truth is out there.

Over the weekend we bumped into our neighbors, Mr. And Mrs. B and their two kids, at the playground. Mr. B works for NASA and is bona fide rocket scientist. He is one of the guys, that when I see him, I am always asking questions about NASA. Usually I just come right out and ask silly questions but this time I tried to trick him into giving me some answers.

We were having a normal neighborly conversation about home renovations, kids and the weather. It was the normal give and take conversation when he mentioned he had to travel a bit with work. And so as part of the casual conversation, I very casually asked “Oh, to Area 51?”

He paused and then said, “I can’t tell you.” And he continued with his conversation.

A few minutes later he was talking about the Shuttle having 5 launches for the year 2007 and that they were working a new style orbiter for 2010. And so, as part of the casual conversation, I very casually asked, as if I were asking about whether his mini-van was a 6 or an 8 cylinder, “How much of the new orbiter will be designed using alien technology?”

He paused and said, “I can’t tell you.” He then continued with the conversation.

The truth is out there. Mr. B just won’t tell me.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Baby Safe Feeder

I try not to give out parenting advice. I find that similar to a comic book collector/Star Trek fanatic dishing dating advice. But, with that being said, I have to recommend, what I find to be one of the greatest inventions ever, the Baby Safe Feeder.

I did not have this blog when Maxfield was using the Baby Safe Feeder, but now that Wyatt is teething and he is eating more solid foods I feel the need to promote this device. (I am not getting paid by the Baby Safe Feeder people ((but if they wanted to they could)). But this cool little thing is awesome. It is a screwtop mesh net that fits onto a "ring". You put fruits or vegetables into the net and screw the net onto the ring thing. The kid can enjoy the food without the fear of him choking. Here is a picture of Wyatt enjoying grapes. I know Max used to love watermelon and strawberries in the thing. Very Cool.

Sorry Janet.

We pulled into the Barnes and Noble parking lot on Friday night and we were quite surprised to see how packed the place was. You see I had a gift card burning a hole in my wallet and I was going to browse around while Lauren and the kids played in the kid's section. We lucked out and found a decent parking space and we walked towards the door. The place was mobbed.

We entered to find the store decorated in purple balloons and streamers and the entire staff was dressed in purple t-shirts. There was a loud party music coming from a DJ booth somewhere.

"Must be a book signing." Lauren said.

"I wonder who." I yelled back trying to be overheard over the music. I read one of the employees shirts to Lauren. "Janet Evanovich. Plum Lovin."

I have seen the name Janet Evanovich in different magazines and book reviews but I was not sure of the type of genre she wrote. At first, due to all the purple and balloons and music, I thought maybe she was a children's author, but the 200 or so women that formed a line that snaked throught the store, as well as the title Plum Lovin made me think she was a romance novelist.

We "excuse me-pardon me-excuse me-sorry about the stroller hitting your foot-excuse me-ed" our way back to the kids section. Lauren stayed with Max and he played with the trains and I pushed Wyatt through the store trying to see if there was any books I may want to buy. After a few minutes of trying to navigate the stroller through the hordes of people who were there for the signing I gave up. I went back to the trains and told Max he had five more minutes to play.

After the five minutes I told Max it was time to go and I could tell he was not going to go nicely.

"Max," I said "your five minutes are up."

"Ten minutes!" He yelled back.

"No Max. It is time to go now."

I could see the vains in his neck start to pop. I knew he was going to have a meltdown. Lauren started to push the stroller through the crowds of people as I picked up Max. Max started to scream. His wail was louder than the music being played. As I made my way through the store I could see all of the heads of the ladies in line for the signing turn in my direction. Almost in unison. I was at the back of the store and I had about 50 yards between me and the door. The further away we got from the trains the louder Maxfield's scream became. I did my best to quiet him short of putting my hand over his mouth (I did not want anyone to think I was kidnapping him).

I walked past the bulk of the line of women and I could feel their leers and sneers and their "oh my kid would never behave that way" looks of disapproval making holes in my back. With about 25 feet to go to the door I did the only thing I could think of. I stopped, and waited for Max to catch his breath between screams and I said as loudly as I could,

"Max, I don't know why that Janet lady won't sign your book. But it's okay we'll find another author. I am sorry she was so mean to you."

Lauren, who was in front me looked back and smiled. The 30 or so ladies I was closest to all did a double take trying to figure out if I was serious.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Secret Agents

Friday, January 12, 2007


On the right is Max at 7 months on the left is Wyatt at 7 months.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Small Victory

I am not a picky eater. I will eat pretty much anything Lauren prepares for dinner. I like when she tries new recipes and I love her old stand-by's that she prepares in a more regular rotation. She uses all types of spices and herbs when she cooks and the food always has a wonderful flavor. However, I always add salt. I love salt.

I will bring my plate to the table and before I even sit down I grab the salt shaker and salt away. I think Lauren finds this insulting as she is the cook, as well as the fact that she is looking out for my health and usually says, "Did you even taste it yet to see if it needs salt?" After hearing this about a hundred times I now try the food first and then salt it. 99% of the time, after I tasted the meal, I salt it.

The other night, I was making my plate over by the stove and as I walked to the table I saw Lauren salting her dinner. I sat down and immediatley reached for the salt. Lauren looked at me and said "Did you even taste it to see if it needs salt?"

"I like my food saltier than you. I just saw you using the salt so I am going to use it."

"If you saw me jumping off a bridge, would you?" She replied.

I thought for a second. "Of course." I said. "So I could save you from drowning."

She was silent. I took a few bites of my food and then got up from the table.

"Where are you going?" Lauren asked.

"To get my blackberry."


"It is rare that I get one up one you when it comes to these discussions. I want to make sure I remember it to blog about it."

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Monday, January 08, 2007


I am not very picky when it comes to what I wear. I grew up on hand-me-downs, Tough Skins and Bo-Bo sneakers. When it comes to fashion, I am pretty simple. I live by the belief that if someone is judging me by my clothes then I am not making a good enough impression on them with my personality.

We went to Wal-Mart the other day to do some food shopping and to pick up some odds and ends. While Lauren was doing most of the shopping I was entertaining Max by running through the aisles. We ended up running down the sneaker aisle and I stopped to grab a new pair of kicks. I have two rules when it comes to sneakers. One, they must be my size and two, they must have some canvas/mesh material so my piggies can breathe. That’s it. Everything else really does not matter to me. I scanned the shoes that they had in neat little rows, saw a pair that met my rules, grabbed a box and I went on my way.

The next day Maxfield was helping lace up my new sneaks. I put them on and started to walk around to make sure they fit right.

“Lights Daddy. Lights.” Max said.

“What’s that Max?” I asked as I walked back and forth.

“Lights Bill. Lights.” (Yes. He calls me Bill half the time. ) He said pointing to my feet.

I looked down and saw flashing red lights coming from the toe and heel of the right sneaker. Every step I took the lights would blink. The left shoe did not work, only the right. I looked at the box and discovered I bought a certain type of safety running shoe. The shoes light up so one can be seen running on the side of the road in the dark. I, however, do not run. I do not jog. The most exercise I get is pretty much a saunter. But I thought the shoes were cool even if the left one did not work.

Lauren stopped as I was about to leave the house to go run errands. She looked me up and down. I was wearing a T-shirt and shorts and my new sneakers.

“Bill, it is bad enough that you are leaving the house with sneakers that light up, let alone, only one sneaker that lights up, but do you have to be such a big dork with your socks pulled up to your knees.”

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Big Brother

Actually Max is the older brother and Wyatt is the big brother.

Friday, January 05, 2007

10 cc's of semi-gloss paint. Stat.

Lauren is not a very sound sleeper. She never really has been. Since Wyatt was born, she has been getting up in the middle of the night for feedings and although Wyatt now pretty much sleeps though the night Lauren is still on the “feeding clock”. A few months ago, when she would wake up at 3 AM she would turn on the TV and watch medical shows on the Discovery Channel. Shows like Scenes from the ER, Extreme Surgery, or plastic surgery makeover shows. I would wake up to get a drink of water or pee and when I went back to sleep, the few minutes of these shows that I saw would cause disturbing dreams about blood and guts and liposuction. Or I would dream of saws cutting through breastbones or brain surgery.

Because of these disturbing dreams I asked Lauren to watch something else. She now watches TLC and shows like Flip this House, Trading spaces and Home Made Simple, or any other home decorating show. Although I now get a better nights sleep, now when I wake up to the start the day, Lauren has all these great ideas about painting the living room or building a patio or replacing the vanity.

I am considering asking her to go back to watching the medical shows. Because even if I do not get a good nights sleep at least I know when I wake up Lauren is not going to ask me to perform a triple by-pass on someone.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


I was at Sam’s Club the other day and I approached the check out counter, where they were in the middle of a shift change.

“Are you checking me out?” I asked the middle-aged lady who was busy inserting her cash tray into the register.

She gave me a puzzling look and then she looked over her left shoulder and her right and said, “Yes sir. I am.”

And then I said, “Look, I appreciate the compliment but I am happily married.”

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Veggie Tales

Maxfield is a good eater. Always has been. He, pretty much, for the most part, eats what we give him. He rarely eats junk food or fast food, unless it is a special occassion, and he really likes his fruits and vegetables. Sure, every now and then, he has his moments where he refuses to eat his dinner and he will whine and cry that he does not like something, but the item of his dislike is rarley a veggie.

Max's mother is the reason for his healthy and hearty eating habits. I say this for two reasons. 1) She must have passed on the good eating genes to him. I do not like vegetables. I eat them but I do not like them. Lauren, on the other hand, loves vegetables. And 2) She serves him whatever we are having and he has to try everything. If he does not like it, that is fine, as long as he tries it. If Max is in one of his moods and after several attempts to get him to eat and he refuses to eat anything, he does not get anything else for the rest of the night. No dessert. No snacks. Nothing. He goes to bed hungry.

I do what I can to support Lauren and set a good example for the kids. However, I am not a good eater. I do not like vegetables. I eat them because that is what Lauren made.

Last night Lauren made chicken, rice and broccoli. Max finished his serving of broccoli before he touched the other items.

"More." He said pointing to empty broccoli area on his plate.

"You can have more Max, but that is not how you ask for something." Lauren said.

"More Broccoli, Please." He smiled.

"That's better Maxfield." Lauren smiled back.

Since there was no more left in the pot, I cut a few pieces of the green flower clusters from the stalks. "Here Max. Have some of mine." I put a few pieces on his plate.

I finished eating the rest of my broccoli, except for a few slices of the stalk. Max wolfed his down. He ate a few spoonfuls of rice and was eyeing my plate. He reached over and grabbed one of the thick stalk slices and took a bite.

"Maxfield." Lauren said in a stern voice. "If you would like more, just ask. Do not just grab it off of someone else's plate."

I looked over to Lauren. "That's okay." I said.

"No it's not. He should not grab things without asking, Isn't that right buddy?" Lauren patted his head and rustled his hair.

Max beamed up at Lauren and nodded.

"I know." I said. "But he was grabbing broccoli. It's not like..."

Lauren cut me off. "Just because he is taking broccoli, something good for him, does not make it right."

I sat quiet for a minute. And then I had to confess. "I did not mean that it was okay that he was helping himself to a vegetable because it is good for him. I meant it was okay because he was taking MY broccoli and that I would not have to eat it."

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Important lesson

Photo Sharing - Upload Video - Video Sharing - Share Photos

For 2007 I want to teach Max how to perfect "pull my finger".