A Quickie

Each morning, Helen arises to the sound of my shower turning on. She makes her way downstairs to our room, and brightly greets a still-sleeping Brian with the phrase, "I wanna watch ponbob, Daddy."

We have a handful of Spongebob Squarepants episodes on Tivo. Brian can push the following buttons in his sleep: TV Power, List, Select, Select. This makes the chipper morning version of Helen stop speaking for 11 minutes, which is Brian's main goal.

Meanwhile, I'm showering away. Sometimes Helen comes in to say good morning on the way to her Daddy's bedside, but for the most part, she's into a ponbob episode when I get out of the shower.

Yesterday I was back in the bedroom getting some clothes out of the dresser, and I see Spongebob on the screen, holding up a bank. From having heard bits and pieces of the same 5 episodes over the past several months, Spongebob is trying to get arrested so he can be thrown in jail, and thus help break a friend out of jail. For those of you not familiar with Spongebob Squarepants, he's a square sponge who lives in the ocean. He's also a major doofus. That sort of helps create the plotline in 99% of the episodes. Smurfs, it ain't.

Anyhoo, as I'm pulling clothes out of the dresser, I hear the following dialogue:

Spongebob Squarepants: "All right, gimme the money!!"

Bank Teller (snarkily): "Will that be from your savings or checking account, sir?"


Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

This past weekend, I took Helen to a birthday party for one of her classmates at daycare. Her parents meant well, but honestly, a 3-year old's birthday party is one of the most excruciating forms of torture known to man. It's a good thing the Taliban hasn't seen one of these celebrations. We wouldn't make it out alive, folks.

It was a Disney Princess Theme Party, and her older sister (15 years old) dressed up as Belle from Beauty & the Beast and put makeup on all the girls. "Belle" even sang a beautiful song from her soundtrack when the cake came out. It was a bit surreal. She did a great job, but it felt really awkward. Whatever happened to "Happy Birthday"?

By the way, good thing Brian didn't come to the party. I think he might not have approved of the makeup.

Aside from the parents who invited me and the birthday girl, I didn't know a soul there. They had invited a bunch of their friends and family and neighbors, so there were a bunch of adults and plenty of their kids running around.

The only truly awesome part of the party was the giant bouncy castle, appropriately decorated with the Disney princesses. At first, Helen seemed interested and dutifully climbed inside. With 2 other girls already jumping, however, it was a little too much for her and she panicked. She really wanted out. Since I had the camera ready to go, I got a picture before helping her out.

Later that afternoon, she realized how many kids were squealing with joy rather than in fear or pain, and she screwed up her courage to get inside. And then, I couldn't get her out of it. The sun had started to go down, and the air had turned a little chilly, and still she wanted to jump.

These days, it's rough on parents at these parties. We're expected to stay and enjoy ourselves, but there's not a single thing for us to do. At this age, we have to watch our kids, because other parents aren't allowed to. There was a giant bouncy castle outside, and an NFL game on in the house. I couldn't go inside to watch the game without leaving Helen with a yard full of strangers. Yet, I couldn't bring her inside because all the fun for her was in the yard. So I kept wandering around, making sure she wasn't getting into trouble, and standing on the fringes of the party, hoping I could join a conversation nearby. But since everyone was either related or knew each other, I was the odd one out. The hosts were nice, but they were busy making sure the party was running smoothly. So, while I watched Helen have a ball, the whole time all I wanted to do was go home.

Finally, after an eternity, they brought out cake and then opened presents. Two and a half hours after it started, the nerve-wracking torture was over. Oh, the things we endure for our kids. MATERNAL SACRIFICE, YO.


It's still way more than I could manage.

Last week Brian was feeling the need to combine a little activity with our coach-potato evening of watching TV. He's just started to work out in preparation for another Bataan Death March next year, so I can understand why he wanted to squeeze in a little exercise.

So he asked me how many push-ups I thought he could do. I ended up betting him that he couldn't do 200 push-ups in 15 minutes. He got down on the floor and proceeded to do push-ups.

(Ladies, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that the words "double dog dare" got him down the aisle.)

Brian did several sets in the allotted time, and kept track on a piece of paper as he finished each set. After he finished, he showed me his notes:

Set One: 50 (not too bad)
Set Two: 30 (little tougher)
Set Three: 20 (glad it wasn't 50)
Set Four: 20 (starting to burn)
Set Five: 20 (ma, ma!)
Set Six: 30 (why God, why?)
Set Seven: 20 (let me go change my undies)
Set Eight: 20 (ooooooo!)
Set Nine: 10 (no words)
Set Ten: 10 (just so you couldn't say I was cheating)

Total: 230 pushups

PS - Happy Birthday, Brian. You're still the man.



What a Treat

Halloween night was a lot of fun this year, mainly because I'm able to explain things to Helen ahead of time and she'll remember it later. I had taken some time last weekend to mention how Halloween worked, so Helen had been expecting to go trick or treating for a few days. She woke up that morning, very sleepy as I got her dressed, and mumbled, "wanna go twicker tweat."

That night I raced home from work and we got ready to have a little bit of company - the Amazing Babysitter and her Still-Smells-Like-New-Car-Husband were coming over to check out the festivities. They brought their two giant German shepherds, who were both wearing skunk costumes. ADORABLE.

I put Helen in her outfit - previously mentioned here as the Hello Kitty Butterfly costume - and then proceeded to get into my costume for the annual photo shoot.

Some of you may have caught the brief Wonder Woman rant last month. So it shouldn't come as too much of a shock to see me in the costume. What might be a little shocking is learning that costume is homemade. Everything except the boots and the lasso were put together with the assistance of my mother, a sewing machine, needle, thread, and serious ironing skills. Even my little sister got in a few stitches on the skirt. I found a lot of tips online from people who had made their own Wonder Woman costume, and was inspired to do it myself. Fortunately I was able to set aside some time on a couple of weekends to get supplies and had a very willing mother help to put it all together.

I am so proud of how the outfit turned out. I have pictures of the process, and I'll compose a post about later this month. But in the meantime, let's think about this: how many people my age can honestly say, "My mom helped me make my Halloween costume this year"? Raise your hands. Higher, folks. I need to get a good count here. Anyone?

Helen had a ball with the tour of the neighborhood this year. But it took 4 houses for her to actually speak up and say "Trick or Treat." Usually when I prompted her with, "Helen, what do you say?" she would respond with "Thank you!" And really, when an adult hands you a giant bowl of candy and lets you pick whatever you want, sometimes as many as FOUR pieces, you can't go wrong with a "Thank you."

Now, if she could just remember to grab the chocolate instead of the Root Beer Dum-Dums, her parents would be thrilled. Girlfriend LOADED UP on the lollipops this year. I don't know what it is about her and lollipops, but it's a little disturbing. Given a choice of anything on a stick and everything else with sugar in it, she goes for the stick every time. Here we have the post-Halloween wrap-up picture, where Helen has one lollipop in her mouth, and is trying to unwrap a second one. Life is tough.

She finally passed out around 9 pm, about an hour later than usual, after bouncing off every single wall in the house from all the sugar. Hope everyone had a great holiday, and that each of you got all the Dum-Dums you wanted, too.

Halloween Preview

I picked a famous person to imitate for Halloween. I think you can tell which one is me.