Thursday, October 30, 2008

Favorite Son

I was my dad's favorite son.

No really I was. Well, not all the time, but there was the fall of 1986 and the fall of 1987 when I was his favorite son. He would admit it and my seven brothers knew it too.

When I turned 16 and I got my driver's license there were 4 kids of legal driving age that lived at home. Plus my parents, there were a total of 6 drivers with only two cars. The kids were always asking to use the car. My dad always wanted to have one of the cars at home so that left 1 car for 4 kids. The old policy was whoever asked first got first dibs on the car.

We, of course, would argue over who got to use it and when. We were all different and hung out in different crowds so there was rarely any sharing of the car. Besides, having the car meant that you could actually go out on a date. It would be awkward to try and go to "inspiration point" while your brother was in the back seat waiting to get driven home from a party.

That was when my dad came up with the Favorite Son Policy.

His policy was quite simple. Whoever was involved in an extracurricular activity that would entertain my dad (sports) would have first pick of using the car. If two of us were involved in the same sport, first pick would go to the person that was either on the Varsity squad or who actually started in the game.

That was why I was the favorite son in the fall of 86 and 87. At that time there were really only two of us fighting over the car, my brother LawnWhisperer and myself. I played football and LW played basketball. The early part of the fall of 86, my junior year, I was not on the varsity team, so LW and I would argue every weekend over the car. But then, Tim A, the starting wide receiver became academically ineligible (he was failing Spanish I think) to play football and I got to start on the varsity team. I did not care that I was now the starting wide receiver for the football team as a junior, I was more excited that I was officially the favorite son.

I got the car whenever I wanted it. LW would ask to use the car on a Friday night, I could invoke the Favorite Son Rule and get the car instead of him. I can still remember the chilly nights after the games, with the stadium lights glowing down on us, my dad would throw me the keys to the car and occasionally slip me a 10 dollar bill and tell me to have a good time. My social status amongst my friends shot up because now I could drive to get Slurpees after the game. I was the favorite. LawnWhisperer would have to ride a bike to see his girlfriend or bum a ride from someone else. It was good to be the favorite.

Of course right after Thanksgiving, football would end and basketball would start. I was no longer the favorite. The title went to LW. My social status in school plummeted. I was now the one riding my bike to see my girlfriend or friends. Basketball being the winter sport and all it was quite cold on my bike. I think LW got the better season to be the favorite.

The fall of 87, with LW away at college and my younger brothers not old enough to drive, there was less competition for the car. Occasionally my mom would want the car for something but I would trump her request and invoke Favorite Son Rule and I usually won.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sound it out

"Wua...Wua...Wua. Wa...wa...wa. One." Maxfield said as he stared at his alphabet and number place mat sounding out various letters and words. "The number one starts with W."

He was very proud of himself.

"Actually Max, when you spell the number one, it starts with an O." I corrected him. "It makes the W sound but it is an O."

Max stared at me with a confused look as his lips pursed making a W sound. Grasping the English language is challenging to a four year old.

"Actually Max," Lauren chimed in from across the room. "The word won, as in, I won the game, starts with the letter W. So you are kinda right."

Max beamed as his mother confirmed his spelling and word sounding skills. Lauren walked over and rustled his hair. Max looked up at her and smiled.

"Mommy," he said. "You are more smarter than Daddy."

Wait until he finds out that the Knuckle Sandwich I give him starts with the letter K.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Candy Corn

"Bill, you are not allowed to buy candy corn ever again."

"Okay. Why?"

"I can't stop eating them."

The next day.

"Bill, where are the candy corn?"

"I ate them all."

"You ate the whole bag?"

"Yes. You said you didn't want them in the house."

"No. I said you shouldn't buy any more. Not that you should eat an entire bag by yourself. "

"I was just trying to help out."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Best Team Ever Phillies

The Fighting Phils.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Morning conversation

Every morning, around 5:30, as I am waiting for the coffee to brew, Wyatt and I have this exact conversation. Every morning.

I have written about the show Yo Gabba Gabba before and I am amazed that he is still addicted to it. It is the first thing Wyatt asks for when he gets up.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dewey Decimal Dilemma

A few weeks ago I started taking Maxfield to the library on Saturdays while Wyatt naps. We read a couple of books while we are there and then we pick out a few books to take home with us. Sometimes we even take out a few movies.

Every week we ask the librarian for suggestions based on our previous weeks likes. For instance we read Ted by Tony DiTerlizzi and the next week the librarian suggested Jimmy Zangwow's Moon Pie Adventure also by DiTelrizzi (we also discovered that Diterlizzi wrote something called the Spiderwick Chronicles which I am sure Max will like in a few years and we learned that one of DiTerlizzi's influences is Maxfield Parrish which is very cool with us).

This past Saturday, I was flipping through the movies and I watched Max a few aisles away pick out his books from the picture book section. He took his time making sure he would like his selections and then he came over to me to choose his movies.

This was his selection this week.

Max is fascinated with Lauren's pregnancy and when he saw this he had to have it. I have no idea what it was doing in the kid's section. I think the Dewey Decimal system is messed up.

Friday, October 17, 2008


For the most part, I handle giving the kids their baths. Some nights I treat them like pots and pans that have crusted burnt cheese stuck to them and I just let them soak. Other nights I give them a good cleaning making sure I scrub all their nooks and crannies.

Maxfield has been testing his independence lately and has been asking to wash himself. I started a little game with the kids to make sure that Max washes every part of his body as I wash Wyatt. I ask both Max and Wyatt where certain parts of their bodies are and then he uses the soap and wash cloth to clean that part.

"Where are your shoulders?" I ask.

I clean Wyatt's shoulder and then Max scrubs his shoulders.

"Where is your collar bone?"

He will then scrub his neck and upper chest.

"Where is your arm pit? Good job. Where is your bicep? Okay now wash your elbow pit. Now wash your forearm and your wrist?"

Elbow Pit? Yes. That is what I call the area between the bicep and forearm? Is there a name for it?

The other night we were playing this game and I was introducing new words to them. Instead of saying leg I told them to wash their shins and then their calves.

"Wash your thighs. Good Job. Now your knees. Okay, wash your shins. That is the front part of your lower leg."

"Shins?" Max asked.

"Yes. Shins and the back part is called your calf. Now wash your ankles. This part on your ankle is called the Achilles." I said and I pointed to it. "Now wash your knee pit."

We were finishing up when I told Max to wash his groin.

"Gwoin" He said. "What's that?"

"That's the area between your legs around your penis. And the area under your penis, that is your grundle."

"Gwundle? That's a silly word. I will call it my penis pit."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Its not the question but the facial expression that goes with it

"Bill, when you got the boys dressed this morning, did you pick out their outfits or did you let them pick them out?"

"I picked them out. Why?

"I was just......(sigh)...checking."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mean spirited

If you were at pumkin patch this past weekend and you just happened to be standing next to one of the parking lot guys as he said into his walkie talkie to another parking lot guy (he was speaking about the orange flags they were waving), "Stick it up in the air and wave it so people can see it." what would you say?

That's what she said.

If you were at the same pumpkin patch and the blue grass band that was playing said "If you have any requests just yell them out." What would you yell?


We went on a hayride and there were about 15 people on the ride, 8 of which were kids. The guy driving the tractor stopped to tell us about certain aspects of the farm. At one point he went on for a very long time about how many pounds of feed could and would be stored in one of the silos. He went on for a 10 minutes. The kids, not just mine, were getting antsy. I said to Lauren, maybe a bit too loud, "If I knew this was going to educational I would not have brought the kids." Which got me looks from a few of the other folks on the ride. Was what the guy was saying interesting? Yes. But not to children under 5. I was bascially saying "let's speed this up" without trying to be rude.

Sometimes I just say the stuff that comes to my mind which causes an eyeroll from Lauren. Most times I am trying to be funny but other times I am merely speaking what is on my mind and it can be interpreted as mean or mean spirited.

On the drive home Lauren and I discussed the fine line between funny, mean spirited and honesty.

"Do you know how many times I wanted to kill you, when we were dating, for things that came out of your mouth?" She asked.

"Really?" I asked back.

"Yes. There were many times you have said something to somone and I was mortified."

We laughed at the various circumstances Lauren could remember.

Later that day I was looking for my sunglasses.

"Lauren do you know where my other pair of sunglasses are?"

"What's wrong with the glasses you have in your hand."

"I like the other ones better."

"What's the difference. They are both ugly."

Was she being funny, mean spirited or honest?

That is not a pumkin under there.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


I live 6 miles from my mom's house. I am the closest child who lives outside of the "compound". The "compound" is my mom's neighborhood. Somebody started to call it the "compound" when my brother Jim (AKA The Favorite) bought a house 5 blocks from my parent's house. In an effort to try and out-do Jim and become the favorite, my brother Mike bought a house 4 blocks from my parent's house. My parent's neighborhood is now called the "compound" by the rest of us.

Since Mike and Jim live so close to my mom they are the first ones to be called when something needs to be done. A foot and half of snow in the driveway, they get called to shovel. Water in the basement from a heavy rain, they go and shop-vac. Mom needs help moving furniture, they are the first to be called. When I lived with my parents, last year, I was part of the "compound". I felt kinda of special. I mean, I was never really accepted as one of them because the living arrangment was temporary but it was cool to fit in for a bit. I knew that my mom loved me a little bit more than those that did not live in the compound.

And then, even after I bought a house in the same town as my folks, It was deemed too far away to be part of the compound. I no longer felt special. I felt like I was demoted. I was not as loved as Mike and Jim.

Last Saturday the "Compound Kids" were away and I got the call. It was about 9PM and I had just put on my pajamas and was eating a bowl of ice cream when the phone rang. I answered.

"Bill." The other voice on the phone said, "I need you to do me a favor. Well it is not me who needs the favor, it is Mom that needs the favor. You see I am at work and Jimmy is out of town and Mom needs a favor."

The way that he asked it almost seemed like he was using a code. Almost like he was ashamed to ask me, a non compound person, to step in.

"What do you need Mike?" I asked.

"Mom is watching Jim's kids overnight tonight. She went outside to check on something and saw that there was a dead rabbit on the driveway. She does not want the kids to see the rabbit if they go out to play in the morning. She needs someone to go and clean it up."

"A dead rabbit? Really?"

"Yeah. I would do it when I get done work but that would be at 2 in the morning."

"Okay. I will go over there now." I said and I hung up the phone.

I put together my "dead rabbit clean up kit" which consisted of a shovel, two trash bags and a pair of garden gloves and headed over to my Moms. I made quick work of the clean up and put the rabbit's body in two plastic bags, tied them securely, and put the bag in my mom's trash can. I went inside her house to wash my hands and to also bask in the glow of her love knowing that I was for a few minutes her favorite son and the most loved.

"Where did you put it?" she asked in a hushed tone so the kids would not overhear.

"It is in your trash can."

"What? No it can't go there. You have to get rid of it. I don't want the bugs and trash day is next Friday. You have to take it with you."

"Where am I going to take it?"

"I don't know. Just not here."

"Fine. I will take it to the Sunoco Station and throw it in their trash can."

"Yes. That would be better."

"I can't believe I am going to be driving around with a dead rabbit in my car. You know I am going to blog about this right?"

"Yes. That's fine. Just get rid of the rabbit."

Monday, October 06, 2008

Wailing Sirens

One of the local volunteer fire departments held an open house to celebrate Fire Prevention Month. The event included tours of the trucks, the station and the equipment as well as the educational materials and lots of snacks and candy for the kids.

What we learned:
-Max screaming at the top of his lungs, because Wyatt stole his lollipop, is louder than the sirens on the fire trucks.

-I can say "Don't touch that." 37 times in the span of two minutes as the kids were inside the truck. I hope fire department does a check of all switches and valves and buttons before they start up the trucks.

-Teaching a four year old Stop, Drop and Roll is very difficult if they can't get past the fact that they may be on fire. The thought of that was very scary.

-Fire stations DO have bathrooms. Before we left for the event Lauren and I tried to convince Max to go the potty. Max refused. Lauren said something like, "Max you should go now, before you leave, in case they don't have a potty there." Max's response. "Where do the fire fighters go?" Good Point. The first question Max asked the fire fighter. "Where is your potty?"

The kids did enjoy themselves.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Knowing where I stand

Wyatt has some type of ear infection. Trying to put him to bed was a disaster. He only wanted his mother. Lauren eventually brought him into our bed and he settled down and quickly fell asleep snuggled up to her.

In the middle of the night I tried to move him to his bed. At first he seemed happy with having his own space but after a minute or so he started fussing. Since Lauren is sleeping for two, and I was already awake, I figured I would do my best to soothe him. I carried him downstairs, gave him some medicine and tried my best to snuggle with him and rock him to sleep until the meds kicked in.

He was miserable. He tried to cuddle with me as we were laying on the couch but he kept waking up every 15 minutes and he would start to cry. I thought maybe I was crowding Wyatt and so I nudged Luna, the dog, out of the way and I laid on the floor and I reached up to the couch and I rubbed his back and held his hand. He would calm down for a few minutes but then he would start to cry again. This went one between 12:30 and 3 AM. I was at a loss. Bewtween the dog's snoring and Wyatt's sobs I barely got a wink of sleep. I was exhausted and I felt so bad for Wyatt. I just wanted him to feel better and get some rest.

At some point I must have drifted off. I woke up to Wyatt climbing off the couch and trying to nudge me. I thought he was still feeling bad and wanted some comfort. I tried to hug him but he wanted none of it. He was nudging me away from where I was laying. He cleary did not want me to be where I was. I stood up and Wyatt quickly laid down on the floor in my space.

Wyatt then took a deep breath, rolled over, put his arm around the dog and quickly fell asleep for the rest of the night.

Wyatt would rather cuddle with the dog than with me.