The Family Pet

Something funny/disturbing has recently come to my attention; my two oldest sons, my wife and I seem to have a baby as a pet.

For the longest time our youngest, know around these parts as “the little baby”, was just that, a little baby. He spent all of his time sleeping, eating, pooping… You know, baby stuff. Then he started to crawl and eat food. Somehow these two abilities slowly morphed him from our precious little bundle of joy and the pride of our family to the family pet.

He has all the tell-tale signs of a pet. Much like a dog he spends most of his time on the floor looking for scraps of food that were dropped. Like a cat he almost never comes when you call him. We always have to watch to make sure  he doesn’t get into the trash. He crawls around our feet at dinner time (after he starts screaming to get out of  his highchair, we do try to do these things in the proper manner) begging for food from our plate. He bites, scratches and makes incredibly annoying noises in the middle of the night, once again, like a cat. And like some the more exotic pets out there he has the ability to grasp objects which makes his destructive force disproportionate to his size. Oh, and he likes to chew on shoes.

These pet-like quality’s have caused some confusion. I’ve told my wife to” just crate him” , when I meant to say put him in his play-pen, on numerous occasions. I’ve  found the two older boys calling for the baby by going “here baby, baby, baby” while gently patting the floor in front of them. Also I have to constantly keep watch to make sure my three year old isn’t putting food down on the floor to feed the baby. We seem to be just short of the point where we’re scratching the baby behind the ear and telling him what a good boy he is.

It’s not all bad though. So far he seems very loyal and really likes a pat on the head from the older boys. He likes to play fetch. And he is very cuddly and loves to curl up in a warm lap to take a  nap.

 

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Three Years Old and In Great Condition

My wife and I had an interesting conversation last night… I guess that’s not exactly right; my wife said some interesting things at me while I sat, head in hands, trying to internally list all the reasons why I shouldn’t try to sell my three year-old on the black market. Yeah, that definitely describes the situation better.

Anyway, yesterday, I had not only found the end of my proverbial rope but I was trying to find a way I could hang myself with it, just so I could get some peace and quiet. In other words, it wasn’t the best of days. And this was before my wife got home and we had to go shopping. (Shopping with my children, especially the three year-old demon spawn, is a whole new layer of frustration. Something about a store, particularly Target or Wal-mart takes my usually “high-spirited” children to a level where even the most crunchy, peaceful hippy type parents turn to each other and talk about how our kids just need a good ass woopin’. I think it’s the fluorescent lights.)

So we went shopping, and by time that ordeal was over I was so angry and frustrated with demon spawn that I was sputtering incoherently and yelling in everyone’s general direction, which of course lead to the kids to react in their usual way when I get to this point, laughter, because I’m obviously the least intimidating man on the planet.

“Daddy’s overflowing with frothing rage. It’s funny. I dare you to go punch him in the balls!”

“No, you punch his balls. Tehe! BALLS! BALLS! BALLS! Punch daddy in the BALLS! Hahaha!”

My wife, who was sweet enough keep her own laughter to small hidden chuckles, sent the boy’s out of the room and had me sit down so we(she) could talk.

“Remember when you worked and I was home all day with a three year-old and a baby. It was awful, just awful. What helped was taking them out everyday. I mean, I was always nauseous because I never knew what kind of terrible things would happen or when he would have a complete break down. And we could never stay through an entire class or activity. And all the other parents would stare, judge and whisper to each other but, you know we were out of the house and he eventually grew out of it when he was around five…”

“Well that’s only a year and half or so…” I said slowly and quietly from behind clenched teeth.

“Exactly!”

My sarcasm can be very subtle at times, even to the people that know me best.

So, if anyone is interested in a three year-old child, I’ve got one for sale. He’s quiet, polite, never screams for no apparent reason and always does what’s asked of him. He is also an incredibly reasonable child who acts in the most logical of manners at all points in time and I’m getting rid of him for cheap!

The Dream

There’s a camp fire, always a campfire, and the smell of smoke has already permeated everything. A venison/wild pork ham that’s been wrapped with multiple layers of aluminum foil and placed on the side of fire in a bed of coals has been cooking for hours. I’m sitting in a comfortable camp chair sipping on a mid-priced bourbon that’s been cut with a little stream water while I listen to the two oldest boys talk about the fish they’ll catch tomorrow, what flies they think they’ll need, who’s the better caster and so on. The youngest of the three keeps asking about when we can roast marshmallows. I ask him how can he have any marshmallows without eating his meat. He stares at me blankly being too young to catch the Pink Floyd reference. I tussle his hair, tell him the food will be done soon and after that we can roast marshmallows. I send him off to attack his brothers…

Yep, that or some variation of it, is the dream.

Then I met my children. Like their mother they hate the outdoors. It’s where nature is, video games aren’t and all that is icky resides.

Please God let them grow out of it.

Poop

Warning: You may want to avoid this post if you are the squeamish type

My youngest, who I usually just refer to as “the little baby” (who weighs-in at 25+ lbs., only fits in clothes sized for children 18 months and up, can and has hidden food within his fat rolls and is only 8 months old) seems to have some sort of stomach bug.

Don’t worry; he seems to feel fine, I’ve been keeping him hydrated and he’s been active. I’ve just had to change more diapers in the last couple of days than I usually do in a week, but oh GOD those diapers. Every single one has been a poopsplosion of poopiness.

That’s not exactly what I’m here to talk about though. This is my third child and poop, lots and lots of poop, is something you just learn to live with. I don’t like it but it’s not really a big deal anymore.

What I’m still not used to and probably never will be is finding, lets call them… surprises, in the diaper. Those are the times you open up a diaper and find things that have no business being there.

Such as this very morning when I changed the little baby’s third diaper (at the time of this writing it is 8:15 am and I’ve only been up since 6) and there was set of eyes staring up at me.

Yep.

A pair of googly doll eyes.

Side by side.

It was like muppet poop. Or I guess maybe a poop muppet. Either way it was disturbing.

And this isn’t the first time I’ve seen eyes in poop.

My middle child, demon spawn, went through a stage when he was a baby where his favorite food was Legos. One day while changing his diaper, there from within the fetid mess it held, I spotted the cold dead eyes of a bodiless Lego head that had obviously seen horrors that no Lego man should ever have to see. I still wake-up in cold chills thinking about it.

Then there’s the random poops I’ve seen: a poop with change (pennies and dimes change, not Obama change), a poop where a postcard got eaten and the poop looked like it was trying to spell out a message to me, and the most terrible of all, the poops that seems like maybe a fifty year-old man snuck in and defecated in your little tiny baby’s diaper when you weren’t looking.

And yet I have to keep on changing diapers, day after day, week after week, just praying that the next one doesn’t hold some new and grotesque surprise from within the dark depths of my baby’s bowels that will haunt my dreams forever…

Lying to Children

This morning, before school started, a first occurred; my oldest, at the ripe old age of seven, lost his first tooth. Now, he knows all about the Tooth Fairy but due to the all-encompassing excitement of this once-in-a-lifetime event he insisted that we tell him the ins and outs of Tooth Fairy mythology all over again.

So while I listened to him retell me the process of trading teeth for money with the “fae wee folk”, as if I wasn’t one of the people who just told him how it happened ten minutes ago, I realized how often I have to lie to my children.

It’s not just about the little stuff like the Tooth Fairy/Easter bunny/Santa but some pretty serious things that make me feel a little guilty. Like when he of the missing tooth asked where the Tooth Fairy gets her money. I told him she’s magic and has access to all the money she wants. The truth is that he lost a tooth during a rice, beans and ramen noodle kind of week and the “Tooth Fairy’s money” is coming directly out of his piggy bank due to our lack of cash.

Yeah, that’s right.

And then there’s the lies that are told to protect the self-esteem. One of my hobbies is tying fishing flies. So of course the oldest watches and wants to tie too. I don’t want to stifle his creativity so I sometimes let him tie up what ever creations he can come-up with without any sort of instruction or interference on my part. They are all awful. I mean just terrible; balls of fluff and feathers and sparkly bits looped on to a hook at angles that are reminiscent of something you would to read about in a Lovecraft story.

“So Daddy, what do you think?”

“Oh… Wow! That’s… something all right!”

“Do you think it’ll catch a fish?”

“… Yep.”

“Will you take it on your next fishing trip and fish with it?”

“… Yep.”

“I’ll put it in your fly box for you!”

“Great!”

And so I go fishing, come back and the first question is if I caught fish on his fly. I can’t tell him the truth, which is if the thing even managed to stay together long enough to make it in the water the best we could hope for is that it would scare a fish to death. No, I tell him that not only his fly caught a fish but show him a picture of the fish it caught.

Yeah buddy, this is totally the fish I caught on your fly.

And so it goes, lie after lie, all the while trying to teach him how important telling the truth is…

Being a parent can be fucked-up sometimes.

Endless Summer

If you’re saddled blessed with children like I am you know that the concept behind the title above is in no way as romantic as it sounds. When you have school-age kids it’s all about a summer of constant screaming, fighting and crying mixed with a lack of sleep and massive increase in the mild squalor you’re already used to living in. So yeah, it pretty much seems endless.

It didn’t help that the cord to my computer had gotten severed leaving me without contact to the outside world. My wife claims it was an accident but I’m not sure; she also claimed that she just kept forgetting to order a new cord for me while she was at work, but I think it may have had something to do with how much more I managed to get done around the house.

But school is now back in session, I have my access to the outside world back, the chores have once again been pushed to the wayside and my life is back to the low level chaos that I know and love instead of what felt like living directly in the lap of Eris, the goddess of discord, herself.

Man did I miss my rut.