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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Superpower pirates: Bonding over games of one-upmanship

“Arghhhh, ye’ve grazed me hair with yer fire sword!” I bellow in my best swarthy pirate voice.
Never mess with a boy holding a flaming sword. Especially if it can also
shoot lightning, "volcano lava," super-hard metal walls, and more.
“No, it hit you right in the face!” my 6-year-old boy fires back.

“That were afore what I conjured me an ice shield with me trusty rapier!”

This game goes on and on, shifting between remarkably versatile weapons – i.e. sticks – sheared off the same tree in the park near our home. His stick spews “volcano lava” and mine strikes back with a wall of icy water to cool the ground into smooth pāhoehoe lava that leaves me a perfect path to the boy. His stick shoots lightning toward me and I absorb it in mine, which has just become heavily grounded rubber.

I get aggressive and shoot a sheet of ice toward him. He dodges and scurries underneath the play-set to severe the supports of the ship we’re fighting on.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ice cream dump

Kids don't always know the words for things, and I sometimes love the results of them trying to figure things out. Tonight, we were dishing up home-made ice cream that had hardened into something more similar to a strawberry-pineapple iceberg.

But oh was it good…

A non-artist's (bad) rendition of homemade pineapple-strawberry ice cream.
 Come on, you know you'd love to eat this!
Anyway, I usually just use our spoons to scoop the ice cream since the two years I spent post marriage shopping for the right silverware were well spent. My wife frequently tells people how we agreed to disagree on silverware for those two years. But the good news is we came out better for it. Too many of the sets we found were just sissy looking and feeling. I want beefy silverware - a fork I can cut meat with if needs be. A knife that's consequently only used for sawing through butter or spreading peanut butter. A spoon that can scoop ice cream like nobody's business. 

So in that shopping period, I subjected every rare set of silverware we agreed to aesthetically to the “ice-cream test.” This is Guantanamo Bay for spoons.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fatherhood tips: Trust falls

My oldest son doesn't always trust me. In fact, he's often downright scared of things I ask him to do and will flatly turn me down. Lately there's been two of these trust issues, as I see them.

Oh he'll jump off inanimate objects to the cold, hard ground, but
you put his loving father at the base to catch him and suddenly it's too scary.
Trust issues? I'd say so.
1. We have a bunk bed the kids line up on top of and jump to me. The two girls, ages 5 and 2, will sky toward me without a second thought, but our 6-year-old boy will stand there for 10, 20, 30 seconds as the girls and I coax him to jump. Sometimes Ms. Mischief will even try to push him off, which really freaks him (and me) out. Finally my arms get tired and I let the girls have another turn. He gets upset that I move on, even though he obviously doesn't trust me and/or himself enough to jump. Mostly me. 

2. My wife has been teaching the kids biology lately and we got talking about knee-jerk reactions. I set up a tall food-storage bucket in the living room and started whacking the girls' knees with a wooden sword to show them how it worked.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How not to play an April Fools’ Day joke on your kids

With a Mommy-made quilt this awesome, you wouldn't want
to share either, especially at 4 a.m.
April Fools’ Day is a fun tradition for a lot of families as parents trick their kids, play funny jokes and get a few laughs. But if it’s not done right, it has the propensity to make a fool out of the foolers. We learned that the hard way this April Fools’ Day, bright and early. Strike that, it was too early to be bright.

So you don’t make our same mistake, I’m passing on our valuable experience along with an easy-to-follow list of steps not to take  when coming up with an April Fools’ Day joke.

1. Don’t come up with a joke while about to fall asleep
Things seem funnier when you’re tired. Also, when laying in bed, you tend to only be able to think of sleep. So as my wife and I were discussing what kind of jokes we could pull on the children, they all seemed to involve beds.

Friday, March 28, 2014

When do my kids need speech therapy? AKA I'm going to give my kids speech disorders

I know, I know. I've read the literature that says you should be diligent in correcting children's mispronunciations. If you don't, researchers say that it can develop into a lifelong problem. Sometimes I don't like researchers.

Why? Because I sometimes like my children's speech to rub off on me and not the other way around. Take my two-year-old daughter for example. For some reason she can't pronounce the pairing "OL." Instead it comes out more like the pairing "ER." This leads to some adorable mispronunciations.

Who wouldn't want to "herd" this little girl,
especially when she asks so sweetly?
For instance, with her arms outstretched and a hopeful look in her eye, she'll say, "Will you herd me?" This is almost always at the top of the stairs when she doesn't feel like navigating the stairs with her own short little legs. Heaven knows she's fallen down them often enough. So I’ll indulgently pick her up, usually answering, “I’d love to herd you!”

It's even endearing enough to get me to lug bulky inanimate objects around for her.

BEEP BEEP BEEP Apparent Parent is busy parenting and can't come to the Web right now

Sometimes you just get too busy parenting to write about parenting.

The cute gummy smile of our two-month old.
He's our fourth child and helps make sure
Mommy and Daddy don't get any alone time.
Totally worth it.

This pretty well explains my life for the last - let me check - seven months without posting a single thing to the blog. Since I've written we've added a fourth child to our family, and I'll be darned if that little kid's not a handful. Not to mention cute little No. 3. She continues to be our mischief maker. She'll even admit it sometimes: "What are you doing?" we'll call out to her.

"I making mischief. It's OK, I put it back." She's two years old with the mind of a convict. In fact, that's one of her nicknames, among many others.