Posts Tagged Childhood

Violence in Movies and Sex on TV…


Like any other day, son was his usual self. He went to school, played outside, and watched TV. When he explained to me that he wanted to stick something sharp into a fish to kill it, he alarmed me. I asked, “Why would you want to kill a fish?:

“So we can eat it…”

“Have you seen this?”

“When [daughter] caught a catfish Poppa hit something sharp in its head and it bleed”

Now, wife and I have been worried that perhaps the superhero TV shows and stories, even action figures, are giving son the wrong idea and creating an unhealthy, violent environment. How soon we forget that life is violent. If we lived on a farm, perhaps he would have a more intimate knowledge of death.

Is it a good idea? Well, it doesn’t matter. That’s life. Molly died..he dealt with it. I think perhaps we compare children and see that son is more “vigorous” than daughter and worry that he is headed toward psychological damage. Truth is, I think men are from Jupiter and women are from Saturn. As if I would repeat that stupid cliche…

As long as son still finds joy watching The Octonauts, I will rest assured he is still our little boy. Now, if he would just go to bed…

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Bounce house bounties and the big oh-four

Thanks, TM!

The wails resonated through the empty garage from the front yard. It’s been 3minutes since Jumptastic! inflated the “All-Around Sports” Bounce House. Both excited, son and daughter raced inside and started laughing, giggling, bouncing…then, crying. Son was sobbing while covering his left eye and daughter groaned holding her hip. We had two hours until the party started and neither kid was happy.

I remember a Simpsons episode where Homer bought Bart a trampoline. As the day progressed more and more bodies lined the perimeter of the circle of death. Kids were bandaged, bleeding and other wise broken. As I stared at the bounce house, I was concerned with its safety but everything appeared to be okay. The main flaw was at the point of egress. Kids would bounce down the step in an attempt to quit and then bounce one final time head-first onto the concrete driveway. Luckily, no insurance companies have contacted us to introduce litigation.

Several months ago, wife suggested we host a party for son’s upcoming fourth birthday (after all, what’s more important than the big Oh-Four? Don’t ask wife about this…she’s working on speeding headlong into the big Four-Oh).  We had to work it into the schedule and finally had the opportunity for the past Sunday. We invited all of his friends and their parents; we turned football on the TV; we set up a “beverage center” and even had a popcorn machine.

While enjoying the newly constructed patio under the deck next to the play area, a friend from church and from the neighborhood were conversing with me when all three of us heard a shocking utterance. Is it possible for three grown men to mistake profanity (two of whom are teachers)? To this day, I swear one of the girls dropped the F-bomb. We all snapped our heads around towards the craft table. We looked at each other and quizzically asked, “Was that …?” Out of the mouth of babes…

The rest of the day went well, the Transformers cake featured both Optimus Prime and Megatron with a black and silver frosting adorned with mechanical gearing and red piping. Little did I realize that I would have the opportunity to see that color again when my son yelled, “I WENT, daddy, I WENT,” the next day in the throne room, or more specifically, circling the bowl.

The weekend was full of fun. The day before, Chuck E. Cheese hosted a birthday party for two boys from the neighborhood. Wife went and took son. After a 10mile run, she raced with him to the play center and rode rides and watched chromatic lights blink on and off, whirling her in a daze to the couch at home, nauseous to the point of danger.

Finally, Son’s birthday arrived and the grandparents came to visit, bring gifts of trains and trucks. Son’s favorite gift was a large green waste truck with lift arms in front and a dumpster. This is the one toy he wanted to take in the shower, sleep with, and spend every waking moment the next day speaking of it. This reinforces the idea that he wants to be a waste-management consultant when he grows up. Either way, he’ll be a real American Hero!

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Setting goals on poop or something like that

                This weekend, the family got the scoop on poop. Seriously, there was an exhibit at Fernbank Museum where son and daughter could learn how long it takes an elephant to poop their weight (6hours). The Labor Day weekend was filled with frivolity as wife and I decided to splurge on everything from clothes at the mall to dinners out. Wife ran her first 10km road race on Monday. I woke the kids after she left and we made a sign that said “Go Mommy!” As runners ran by, they pointed and smiled at son in his monkey pajamas eating a Krispy Kreme doughnut waiting for wife to run by.

Later that day, after the museum, son fell asleep in car. Allowing him to OMG finally take a nap; wife prepared a pallet for him to sleep on in the family room. See, we tried the couch, once. Once. Wife took a trash bag and placed it on the floor then covered it with a blanket and a pillow lest he leaks and we have to get out the green machine to clean up. He slept for a blissful hour. I am sure he enjoyed the rest; we enjoyed it more. Daughter kept saying she wasn’t tired until she succumbed in the car and her face fell forward into sleep. Overall, it was a nice drive home.

Today, I signed up for the Eric Shanteau Swim For Your Life race in two weeks. It has a 1km and a 5km swim. I would suggest that for most people, 3.1miles in the water would constitute the equivalent effort of a half-marathon. I never swam that far before, but have tackled 1.5miles in open water at the beach this summer. I swam 2.5miles half a dozen times in the pool, and regularly swim 6-8miles per week. In the pool…big difference. Once you leave the confines of the safety net of a pool, nothing is the same. This should be a piece of cake for the Ironmen and women who have to swim 2.4miles often in ocean water that at times can be rough. WARNING: solicitation coming…If you’d like to donate money to the LiveSTRONG Foundation or just want to check out Eric’s amazing story, go to .

There are amazing people in this world to whom we are introduced everyday; I think the most amazing people are the ones that take a step forward towards a goal, whether they can achieve it or not. Daughter dreams of dancing in the great theatres of the world; son wants to haul garbage; wife wants to run a half-marathon; I want to go farther and faster than the time before. What’s your goal?

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Molly Morningstar and the Peanut M&M

  Has your dog ever eaten a 2lb bag of M&M’s (peanut)? Mine did. During the winter of 1999, Wife and I lived in Wisconsin. Wife had put out a huge bowl of pink and white candies in a bowl on the living room table. On a crisp Saturday morning, we come downstairs and found the bowl empty. You probably know chocolate can be dangerous for a dog, but two pounds for a 19lb dog would cause a heart attack. Deftly, we call the vet and he says to mix a solution of salt water and hydrogen peroxide and pour it down her throat to induce vomiting. We head outside; I am holding Molly and wife has the “solution”. After a few minutes, we have a steaming pile of freshly regurgitated candy on the frozen tundra we called our backyard. Well, it stayed there, frozen, until the Spring thaw as a constant reminder of what NOT to do.

All dogs go to heaven; for a while, though, I thought Molly was possessed. I am not a bible-thumping Baptist who runs at the first sight of devilish behavior, but I have a healthy respect for religion. See, the dog kept eating our bibles. Seriously, why would a normal dog eat a bible? This was piggy-backed by rugs, shoes and anything left without supervision. The dog could eat. Anything. Anytime. One time more recently after moving to the ’05, she ate an entire loaf of Nature’s Own whole wheat bread. I thought to myself…”At least she went with the wheat and not the white…” To say the least, wife and I felt Molly had an eating disorder.

Since daughter was born, Molly never snipped or snapped at her, always licking her and well, just being sweet. Son, of course, used to chase her around with any blunt object. Molly underwent a campaign of shock and awe while she tried to duck and cover. Son still hasn’t noticed she’s gone. Last night, he helped my by closing the door so Molly would not get out. See, he’s like that M&M, tough shell on the outside, and sweet on the inside. Maybe; only time will tell. Parents, warn your daughters.

We’ll miss you, Molly Morningstar; February, 1998 – August, 2012.

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Summertime is not all rainbows and popsicles

rainbow in the '05

Still searching for that pot of gold…

Summertime is not a vacation for me. Yes, I am away from my professional job, but I work harder for my family. See, Son is a nutjob. He giggles and laughs and runs up to you when you see him; but boy can he scream. “I waaant something to EAT!”, “NO!”, “I doooon’t have to go POTTY” are three of my favorites. Daughter is a drama queen. She has an artistic, albeit moody, sensibility that wife and I can never figure out. Wife wants to constantly schedule me; she suggested putting a weekly calendar up on the refrigerator so that we (she) can write down all of the activities we are to accomplish. I have said before, structure is key to my happiness and the well-being of those around me (I get cranky).

To prepare for my restful vacation, I need at least a week of nothing to do but relax. This, of course, means we are going camping, participating in Vacation Bible School, and working on my dissertation in a mad attempt to get it mostly done by mid-June. Daughter has camp, son has camp. Heck, daughter has dance twice a week. The family is extremely lucky and I am very glad to help raise son and daughter; I even try to help wife to lessen her stress. Except for laundry. She does not want me to wash, fold or even get near HER clothes. The kids’, yes- hers, no way. I really didn’t mess them up that bad, she just likes them done a certain way.

Every morning I make the bed to my high-quality standard. What I didn’t know is that every day wife goes behind me to neaten it up. This is not attempting to say she is doing anything wrong; Far from it; I think, though, that it could lead to me being able to avoid ALL chores simply because I am too inept to accomplish them with any quality. Men, do your least and you may be rewarded; do your best and you’[ll have to do it again. One of my goals this summer is to exercise frequently; a task I have not been able to do previous summers. Son likes the kids’ center at the club and daughter can deal with it. If only she could babysit. One day…

That being said, I look forward to summer where barbeque grills fire up and the pools open; even a seaside journey to the beach lies in our future. The only dislike I have about summer time is that it has to end. I’m still working on that independently wealthy status. I’ll let you know when I win the lotto, or maybe not…

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Wife sunk my Battleship

Can you imagine a movie about the game, “Sorry!”? The film industry has lost its freaking mind when it comes to making action movies. Battleship opens up tomorrow and I don’t think anyone is sitting in anticipation to see how the movie will “play” out. Heck, I mean it may be a good movie to watch. To see the trailer, click here: Battleship Trailer on YouTube! As one commenter wrote, “I can’t believe they got all that out of a board game.” The game company, Hasbro, Inc, has had a field day with the Transformers series from early cartoons to the latest movie, Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Barbie made her appearance in the Toy Story franchise..even Ken showed up in his nice ass-cot.

Recently, The Avengers appeared at the movie theater and earned a whopping $250M in its opening weekend. Comic books are not just for Nerds anymore. I remember riding my bike in Fenwick Island from Essex Street down Bunting Avenue to get to the gas station on Atlantic with my father after his daily run to get the paper. Inside there was a rack of various comic books, Archie, Spiderman; I remember even a Scrooge McDuck. Nothing was more thrilling than getting the 25 cents from dad to buy it. Yes, I said 25 cents. I might be dating myself. I think the modern versions of these famed comic book heroes allow us to be kids again. Unless you’re the cast of The Big Bang Theory who still collect comic books, and Sheldon, who specifically uses gloves with which to read them.

I stated yesterday that daughter was reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and she wants to see the movie. She swears she won’t be scared, but wife and I have been down that road before. Daughter has read the first three books of Harry Potter and balked at the conclusion of the Prisoner of Azkaban when Lupin becomes a werewolf. I had to turn it off as she ran into the other room. Son loves movies, watching Cars 2 for the umpteenth million time yesterday. Last night, son took his first swim lesson and did not drown, score one for us!

Surprisingly, I am the only one who watches SyFy shows and movies with glee. Prometheus looks awesome but, alas, I will have to wait for it to come to video before I get a chance to see it. Wife simply won’t take me to the movies anymore. Poor me! I used to go on “man-dates” to see movies that wife wanted to avoid, but I haven’t done that in a while. Perhaps, I ought to pick up the phone. What’s better than catching a good flick with a friend?

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So you forgot Mother’s Day

Mother's Day

So…you woke up this morning, went to work and a colleague asked you how your mom enjoyed Mother’s Day. Whoops! I guess you forgot that, but not to fear I have a painless remedy that will ensure you a healthy inheritance. See, there are those people that never get that card to you on time. The Christmas cards arrive on January 3; the birthday card always has a belated message, arriving two days late; and, there is always the cliché when a man forgets his anniversary.

Possibly, your best bet is to fake an illness; I’ve tried it at work and it seemed okay. This, however should only be used if your mom lives too far away to have brought you chicken soup. Damn the medical science suggesting it may be good for you, the fact is that somehow it tastes good even if it only stays down for two minutes. Nothing is worse than when vomit is not room temperature, i.e. something cold, something hot. A better choice really is too fake your child’s illness. No one seems to doubt the fact that a child has an illness that would include excessive bodily fluids, etc. Daughter, God bless her, only has had “the vomit” twice. Once, of course, in her bed during the middle of the night when wife and I raced to wash the sheets, pacify the girl, and then try to get her back to sleep with a bucket next to her head.

Your second choice is to send her an electronic card the next day. Call her on Monday and ask her how she enjoyed her card. If she didn’t check her email and she is not too technically savvy, she might fail to notice that the received date is today. This can definitely work better on the geriatric set who still think the abacus is ruining the math skills of today’s “young’ins”.  Brother-in-law has sent a birthday card or two in this manner. Luckily, wife is so glad he remembered at all, she can overlook its tardiness. If however, she notices the date, simply rely on the overused “my internet was down” excuse that I get from 20% of my students the day a paper is due.

If your laggardly behavior gets you into trouble, and you seem to forget the special days you are supposed to remember, set a freaking reminder on your iPhone. Coming from me, I sound like I pulled off this past Sunday without a hitch, but Saturday night out after dinner, we had to stop at a grocery store where I sent wife down another aisle as I picked out the cards quickly from my children. Prior to dinner, though, daughter reminded me to send an edible arrangement with chocolate covered strawberries. Yet again, I made it through another holiday without disappointing anyone. Whew!

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