Tuesday, April 30, 2013

End of the Innocence

Take a look at this kid right here, building sand castles in the South Florida sun.  Adorable in his innocence, ain't he?

Well, soak it up, suckers, because that innocent little kid doesn't exist any more.  I stole his childhood from him this morning as sure as he crushed those sand castles two seconds after this picture was taken.

I didn't mean to do it, of course.  I was completely unprepared when he attacked.  You see, he's been asking lots of questions lately.  I mean LOTS of questions.  And there's nothing like a truckload of questions from a five year old to make you feel like an idiot.

"What makes wind?  How do rainbows form?  What does 'again' mean?  What does it mean to live outside the law?  Can people be laws?"

If I don't know the answers - and I usually don't - I fully enjoy making stuff up in the grand tradition of fathers dating back to the dawn of time.  But this morning, I got blindsided while driving him to the bus.  We went from a totally harmless discussion about things that are fragile into: "Daddy, is the Easter Bunny real?"

Now, I don't normally like to lie at all.  Have tried my best not to do it since the great "Chocolate Milk lie of 1978", that went undiscovered for nearly 30 years, eating me up inside the entire time.  I was only five and going to kindergarten and eating in a cafeteria for the first time.  I had been told that I could have chocolate milk every other day, as long as I alternated it with white milk.  What would you have done?  The chocolate milk was right there in the cafeteria!  My parents weren't around.  How would they know if I drank it every day...  which it turns out I did, starting on day 1.  I feel sick inside just thinking about it.

Finn and I had a major "disagreement" a couple of weeks ago when he lied to me about eating a piece of Easter candy.  It's not like that was at the front of my mind - I'm not that quick - but it was part of the reason, along with a disregard for the importance of the Easter Bunny in the pantheon of childhood imaginary figures, and a healthy dose of complete and utter cluelessness, that I casually replied, "No, buddy, the Easter Bunny isn't real."

Oh no.  What have I done?  How could I be so stupid?  No one cares about the stupid Easter Bunny, but we all know where this conversation is going next, don't we?  I'm so dead when Kitty finds out about this.

I tried to backtrack as quickly as I could, going into the different things that different people believe, the importance of faith and a whole load of other crap that even I wasn't buying.  In a cold sweat, I told him that it was only important what he believed and mock-casually asked him if he believed in the Easter Bunny.  Not being an idiot after my big, lame attempt at a cover-up, he just casually replied No.

And then, like a freight train slowly coming down the tunnel while I was tied to the tracks, he asked the question we all knew was coming next.  "Daddy, is Santa real?"

Although it pained me greatly, my conviction was strong.  I will not lie to my child.  And so it was with great sincerity that I replied:

"Oh yeah, absolutely.  Santa is totally real.  In fact, I know him.  Would you like to go see him?  I'll call him and we'll hook it up.  Don't worry, totally, 100% real."

And there goes my conviction, along with any moral high ground I ever held with my child.  I waited to see what the follow-up question would be and to see if he would call me out on this one.  Turns out he did have one more question:

"Daddy, did you know that glass is as delicate as a penis?"

Now that's more like it.


Epilogue:  Speaking of man-parts, if you really want to know the truth, his innocence probably wasn't lost this morning.  It was likely stolen a couple of weeks ago, when we saw this dude on the beach in Key West.  I tried to get a picture of him with me and Finn, but I didn't have the balls to ask.  Ha!

Friday, April 26, 2013


Finn took his first flight when he was just four months old, and he's now got enough frequent flier miles on multiple airlines to score himself a free ticket to Coachella - or wherever it is the 5-year olds are going to "experiment" these days.  With her first trip clocking in at two months, Edie is on par to double his totals.  I won't tell him that, of course.  He'd just get angry.  He needs to win.  Like his Daddy.

Flying to Key West last year, we took a red-eye out and a late night flight back.  It didn't work out so well, as we didn't get any sleep on either end.  So being geniuses, we did the exact same thing this year.  

Sleeping between/under two children on an overnight cross-country flight has got to be what it's like to survive a night in prison.  You have to keep one eye open at all times to make sure that no one is going to shiv and/or throw up on you.  It doesn't help when the family behind you waits until 3 AM to begin discussing crucial vacation planning items, loudly, in a foreign language - so I can't even offer feedback.  I think I fell asleep for a minute toward the end of the first flight, until Finn sleep-karate-chopped me in the throat.  Seriously.  That put an end to any attempt at sleep and I spent the remainder of that leg catching up on NBC's "The Face".

My God, that show looks terrible.

But that's all behind us now, and we're back at home, where we can once again peacefully relax now that Edie has fallen into a nice predictable nap pattern:  5 minutes in the morning and about 25 minutes in the afternoon, as long as someone sleeps with her and/or stands over her crib, picking her up and sticking her pacifier back in her mouth every two seconds while rocking her back to sleep.  It's just as peaceful as it sounds.

At least her skin has cleared up, so she doesn't look quite as much of a 10 week old meth addict as she did a couple of weeks ago.  Which is great.  Our lawn was starting to fill up with shady daycare tweakers.  And that's not good for property values.

But it's not all craptastic.  We had our second parent/teacher conference at Finn's school today and got his stellar report card from his teacher.  Now given, he's still in pre-school, so his grades are all presented in varying degrees of "participation" and "effort" - not unlike my grades from Penn State - but it was still all great news.  In fact, Kitty and I didn't recognize the description of this apparently helpful and courteous "Finn Parker" the teacher kept talking about, but we decided that if he had to choose in which place he'd be cool and in which place he'd be an a-hole, we'd go with public for the former and home for the latter.  At least that way we look like decent parents from the outside.

I told Finn about his report card and how proud we were of him as I was picking him up this afternoon.  Without even looking at me, he just casually replied as he was getting into the car, "That's awesome."

Whatever.  He can be as nonchalant as he wants.  He's earned it - and he keeps earning it with every blissful hour that he sleeps.  His sister, on the other hand, has some serious making up to do...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ninjas & Rookies in Paradise

There's a bar in Key West harbor called Schooner Wharf.  It's half dive bar, half tropical beach bar and all Key West.  By the end of our two weeks here, I estimate that Edie will have spent roughly 3% of her entire life in this bar.  Not a bad start.

There's a guy that plays six days a week in Schooners named Michael McCloud.  He's a big part of the draw there, particularly for the locals like my parents.  He has several songs that are getting airplay on Sirius - which he'll be happy to tell you about - but the most often requested tunes involve drinking and partying with the weirdos that inhabit the tourist paradise that is Key West, far away from the cold of the north.

That about sums up why this town is so perfect for Edie.  She doesn't sleep?  Neither does Key West.  All she does is drink and cry?  Same with everyone in Key West.  And don't get me started on the diapers that everyone here is wearing.

Finn instructs Grandpa on the finer points of Angry Birds
It all works for Finn too, but on a different level.  Duval Street is lined with hundreds of shops all selling raunchy t-shirts, aimed at the Spring Break/five-year-old level.   Even though he can't read yet, he's definitely channeling that vibe.  On the plane on the way here, he was very serious in pointing out that in addition to no smoking on the flight, there is also no farting.  Because it distracts the pilots.

The older lady in front of us was very pleased to hear that.  I can only assume it's because she was planning on farting.    Dodged a bullet there.

We're here for another five days, so using the math above, by the time we return home, Edie will have lived roughly 20% of her entire life in this town.  Boy is she going to be disappointed when we get back to Seattle.

Sorry kid.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


So tired.  Can't blog.  Can barely finish beer.  And then next beer.  And then maybe one more beer.  Forgot why I'm so tired.  Maybe need more beer to remember.

Alcohol: it's the only thing that makes you forget how you got yourself into this mess in the first place, and helps dull the newly arrived and extreme pain in previously-unidentified muscles, apparently resulting from the improper carriage of a baby while trying to convince her that sleep is not a fatal condition.  Which is done through much punching of pillows.  And crying.

The only reason that I'm relatively certain that we will all survive this period just turned five years old last week.  And I didn't even blog about it.  In my defense, I was probably crying.

Happy Belated Birthday, Finny!  I promise, your sister won't always cry and will eventually sleep.  And then she'll wake up and steal your toys.  Sorry about that.

As truly awesome as he is and as much as I miss him even now that I'm tying this and he's sleeping upstairs (must be the beer), having a five year old is tough for me.  Sure, he's become extremely polite - a fact that he pointed out to me yesterday as he was clearing his plate, immediately before asking me to find him videos of Legos on YouTube.  But he's also way smarter and getting more mature every day.  

This is a problem for me, because he now totally gets it when I'm teasing him, and he's decided that he doesn't like it.   Unfortunately, I only know how to relate to other people through making fun of them.  And pulling their hair.  For my son, I'm going to need to try to keep the hair pulling and teasing to a minimum.  I'm going to have to grow up.  Because he's growing up - faster every day, it seems.

This is going to be hard, but I can do it, because I owe it Finn and because it's time to start treating him like the big kid that he is.  The past five years have gone so fast and I want to make sure that every day from here on out counts.  Pretty soon Finn is going to be ten and Edie is going to be five, and that's kind of freaky.  It's going to happen before I know it.

Definitely going to need more beer.