Monday, March 31, 2008


We are NOT upping the ante on the Great Noodle Solo Sleep Experiment.

One tricky problem with having a sooper geenius four-year-old child is that they run rings 'round you logically. Or illogically.
"No, Daddy, I only go to sleep by myself on Wednesdays."

"But you did it last night and that was Saturday."

"I've got a deal for you..."

Where did THIS come from? Here she is pitching me, even though she has never met any of the suits from my job. I went back to logic:

"I don't want any deals, darling. You had your brand-new big-girl car seat put in the car today, and big girls go to sleep all by themselves, so --"


Ah, jeez.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


So we've hit on a strategy to get Noodle to fall asleep at night, minus freakout:


If she gets to sleep by herself ten times - and it doesn't have to be ten in a row or anything fancy - she gets an extra special gift from the Nana.

Tonight, Noodle bought into the deal after a few days of kvetching and what looked like it was going to be a hairy Saturday night. Out of the blue, she tells me "I'm going to try it myself tonight, Daddy."


Friday, March 28, 2008


I haven't had a look-see as to whether this is happening in their local stores yet - so watch this space for updates, and if you're in the area of their Kingston, Middletown, Poughkeepsie or Albany stores, drop a line - but one Toys R Us in Sacramento is selling lower-back tattoos a/k/a tramp stamps a/k/a hag tags ... in their Stickers R Us vending machines.

One more reason to stick to my small local toy shops when it comes to Noodle and Beast. I am so hoping this fad is a leisure-suit level object of ridicule by the time Noodle's a teenager.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Happy 58th birthday to the world's greatest keyboard player, Tony Banks of Genesis. Bonus points if you can find any depiction of Tony showing any kind of facial expression while playing. He's the Mariano Rivera of keyboard players. Here's "It's Gonna Get Better":

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I stepped in for Memere to take Noodle to dance class recently, which was a treat because my afternoon news work and Noodle's class usually coincide - but this time I was able to make the juggle work, and let me tell you that there are few things that will overload your cute circuits more than a dozen four-year-olds taking dance lessons. And few things that overload my I'm-hot-stuff circuts more than one of the other parents recognizing me from the radio, but not recognizing the world-renowned performer who was standing next to me doing their own daughter-watching.



Just what we need to hear from Beast's crib at 2:18 in the morning. The little guy is so brave...until he sees a spider, or even a bit of cat's fur on the floor, or the shadow of a piece of lint, and he stone cold wigs. Pure existential terror.


And as I scoop the little guy up to comfort him, all I can think is that payback's going to come a couple decades down the road when I tell his girlfriends what a big scaredy-cat he was when he was 2.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Girl Scout cookie scalping on Ebay. Noodle is totally going to be into this when she gets to be that age...

Sunday, March 23, 2008


"Okay, there's a lot of chocolate on the floor and a lot of poo on the floor, so it's really important that nobody eat anything off the floor today."

"Jesus came back on the third day, and Herman came back on the second day, but Jesus is still smarter than Herman. And smells better."

"No, there wasn't any Home Depot when Jesus was nailed to the cross. They had to make their own nails."


Um...I'm nobody's idea of pious, but is this over the line?

I would've snapped a picture of the originals that Noodle and Beast got from one of their grandmothers, but they've long since been gobbled up and the kids were so hopped up on chocoloate I have long since been through with being weirded out by a chocolate crucifix.

Nana let slip over the weekend that the Easter Bunny used to hide eggs with candy in them in my slippers when I was a lad. DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT NO. We were hoping to minimize that aspect of Easter, just because the kids have had candy shoved at them at every turn for the better part of a week and it's all a bit much, especially since St. Patrick's Day has also been converted into a sweets-hoovering opportunity for kids. At least an early Easter means the next sugar-bombing doesn't happen until the Memorial Day parade. Here, kid - have a Tootsie Roll in memory of my Uncle Pete who died at Guadalcanal.

Or maybe Her Awesomeness and I should simply be glad that there's no Martin Luther King Day candy yet (ooh - a big rock candy mountaintop! And I have a Dreamsicle!).

This much is clear: next year, the Bunny is showing up during Easter Mass and not the night before, so that Mommy and Daddy can have their pancakes in relative peace.

Friday, March 21, 2008


We've been trying to explain to Noodle, and eventually to Beast, that Easter isn't all about candy and eggs and those mall bunnies who always look like they spent the previous night in an epic blunt-off with Willie and Snoop, e.g.:

Duuuuude. Whoooooa.

So getting beyond the bunny-stuff means explaining Jesus Christ as best we can, and handling questions like "what's spurged mean?" Er, that's 'scourged', my little love. Like we really wanted to go there with a four-year-old. Thank you for that charming contribution to punitive history, Roman Empire.

Then came "They put NAILS in his HANDS?!"

Yes, and this is why Daddy tells you to stay away from his tools.

This kid and her powers of observation, I swear. Next time we're in church we're not sitting anywhere near that particular Station of the Cross.

How come other Catholics with four-year-olds get way cuter Good Friday questions while we're stuck with a three-foot-nine Helen Thomas asking about hyssop? Noodle might be taller than the actual Helen Thomas at this point, but I digress. We tried to distill Easter down to the basics and gently steer away from the gruesome bits, but no.

Maybe it's best to give up while we're behind and let the lads handle the issue:

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


And once again my trusty buck-and-a-quarter quarterstaff bends my beak up into my face.

Noodle is a fiendish bedtime duellist, you see - always on the look for an angle to stay up just a few minutes longer, and now she's got me trapped by means of the "I'm scared" card. Scared of what, she will not say - if I could pry that info out of her I'd deploy the monster-spray and such - but should I get any farther away than her bedroom door the caterwauling begins.

Or she lays on the cute, real thick-like. "I want a cud-dle, Dad-dy". Chin-quiver and all.

We had a nice thing going for a while, where she got two or three stories tops, and if she wasn't tired enough at that point she could play quietly with her Leap-pad and let us know when she was tired, which usually only took a few minutes and out she went. But now she calls me in under the pretext of wanting to go to sleep, then springs the one-more-story, one-more-cuddle on me. Tricksy.

Her Awesomeness can't help, because she's putting Beast to bed...and if he's still making noise, then Noodle hears it and doesn't want to miss out on the fun.

On top of all this, Noodle has learned that if she has to go potty in the middle of the night and wants to be rid of those ghastly overnight diapers, she has to get up and actually go to the bathroom...but instead of asking quietly for help she goes right to freak-out mode, a true joy at 2 in the morning. Today, she's home with me with a bit of a cold, and has enjoyed kicking my butt at Candyland and of course has used the markers to draw all over her feet to make footprints because we don't have a stamp pad big enough for her size-12s.

Long as I got all the footprints cleaned off the walls, nobody need be the wiser.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Is a toothpaste tube fit for recycling?


"You poopied just like the Easter Bunny!"

(I'm on vacation this week...catching up on all the household stuff that didn't get done thanks to pressing matters like, um, posting here at this blog. Does that count?)

Friday, March 14, 2008


I mention it because Thursday was World Kidney Day, which sounds like a bizarre observance unless somebody you love has had something gone wrong with their kidneys - like our sweet Noodle, who contracted an obscure type of autoimmune-triggered vasculitis called Henoch Schönlein purpura a couple of years ago and had it get to her kidneys, doing who knows what in the way of damage. That's my girl, picking up the condition whose name is in German and Latin. She's still on blood-pressure medicine and probably will be for quite a while to come, and every time she gets any kind of yesterday...we wonder if it's her immune system going hinky again and the HSP coming out of remission, and we get busy collecting urine samples for the doctors. We collect sterile urine-sample cups the way other people collect beer steins.

I mention all this a day late because yesterday wound up being yet another one of those aww-crap schedule-blown-all-to-hell days as a result, and I completely spaced on posting this. I did remember the post about telling Beast not to put poo in his toy shopping cart. (Nice priorities, Dad!)

Thursday, March 13, 2008


"The poo does not go in your shopping cart."

POST 100

8:03ish, and both kids are actually asleep with no kvetching. The reaction from Her Awesomeness?
"They must be coming down with something again."


Thanks for jamming up my entire week because of your damn fool appetites. Last night at dinner Her Awesomeness and I got stuck trying to explain to Noodle who the governor was, and what his job was and so forth. It was the "why is he quitting?" question that stumped us - because even the smartest four-and-a-half-year-old girl on the planet doesn't need to know what hookers and money-laundering are. Not just yet, anyway.

We were having enough trouble with Noodle asking "daddy, what's a reptile dysfunction?" thanks to those advertising idiots. Now this.

Monday, March 10, 2008


O, how I was hoping to avoid politics and my day job intruding here, but this is too big.

(Hang on. Noodle and Beast are hugging each other. "Awwwwww" break.)

The analysis I'll leave to the chin-strokers. From me, a quick rundown of some other things that Eliot Spitzer could've done with his money instead of hiring a hooker:
  • light up every high-school football stadium in Texas for one hour ($4200)
  • an hour on a really sweet private jet ($4200) or a tank ($5000)...or Air Force One (Reagan-era) ($5200)
  • an hour's billing for a tobacco litigator ($4000)
  • a car that goes 180mph in a wind tunnel, without moving ($4000)
  • one hour of a typical cheesy wedding ($5000...more in Jersey)

It's late, and since the governor didn't up and quit yet, I'm to bed.


Not for a moment do I envy anybody with an infant this time of year. All that work to get the li'l critter on a schedule and WHOMP, you lose an hour. Here's a trick that worked well for us yesterday. Two words:

Road trip.

Since your kid's schedule is screwed anyway, might as well accept the inevitable and make something of the day, thus:

An hour or so after breakfast, pile the kids into the car and head for a destination that's about a nap's length away. They'll have their zonk-out in the mid-to-late morning, wake up in time for lunch, have a bit of fun, not nap in the afternoon, and with any luck they'll be sleepy an hour early.

It has to be better than trying to noodge the kids' schedules by 15 minutes every week for a month, twice a year.

Bonus: if you take the kids to a museum or a zoo and spring for a membership, the two trips a year generally pay for themselves and then some, plus you get a tax deduction.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Six days out of the last seven there's been somebody here whose stomach has been in open rebellion - starting with Beast, then Noodle, then yours truly. The schedule? Blown to smithereens. But the floors are looking lovely, seeing as there wasn't a spot in the house that wasn't within the blast radius of somebody's gastric eruption this week. We went through a load of paper towels and Lysol wipes, but now the mopping can be procrastinated upon for an extra week seeing as we scrubbed the bejesus out of the place this week.

The good thing about lying on the bathroom floor in a nauseous haze is that there's plenty of time to inspect the infrastructure while waiting for the inevitable call on the big white phone from Earl in his Buick. For instance, the caulking by the base of the tub needs re-doing, and I also found an essential missing part from one of Noodle's bath toys.

A toy we threw out two years ago, but still.

Me, I'm still fuzzy clammy wobbly from the bug. You can tell me by the way I walk.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


What gets the lady in your life in the mood, lads? A gaggle of researchers at the Council on Contemporary Familes say it's when you're reeking of Murphy's Oil Soap and dirty diapers:
American men still don't pull their weight when it comes to housework and child care, but collectively they're not the slackers they used to be. The average dad has gradually been getting better about picking himself up off the sofa and pitching in, according to a new report in which a psychologist suggests the payoff for doing more chores could be more sex.

I'd read the article in greater detail, but the gutters need cleaning. Nudge nudge wink wink say no more say no more...


That Airborne "miracle cold remedy" stuff the Queen was plugging? Quacksville, baby. Good news for those of us who bought into the Oprah-hype about that product: you can get your part of the $23 million class-action settlement by clicking here.

Bottom line: the stuff isn't bad for you, but any claims that it'll short-circuit the cold that's brought you to your knees are a load of hooey.

Between this and the rough time Barack Obama had on Tuesday, we have an Oprah-failed-plug trifecta in play!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


There are times when I don't feel so bad about having spent many an evening sitting glazed-over at a local zoning board of appeals meeting, waiting to get that soundbite from the board chairman on why the arch signs at the proposed McDonald's can be 24 feet high but not 28 feet high. I feel pretty good about the dues-paying days of my broadcasting career when I see pictures like these grizzled veterans, from the Hillary Clinton press office in Austin, Texas:

You must forgive me, I'm not used to seeing men's rooms in a political context without wondering if there's a senator behind stall door number three, trolling for a bit of strange.

Hat tip: Gawker.


This time it's Noodle who went for the 11:30pm visit to the temple of the porcelain god, plus the 2:30 follow-up. Except she didn't quite get to the church on time, you know?

The one good thing about this is that once the mess is cleaned up, I can be totally juvenile about it and use all the different words for vomit I haven't used since I lived in a fraternity house way back in 198neveryoumind.

Key phrase there being "once the mess is cleaned up". It's paper towel for the bulk of the bootage, followed by disinfectant wipes for the minutiae. I turn the aforementioned suddenness of the reverse peristalsis to my advantage by making sure the kids hurl in a different spot every time, and by the time I'm done pointing their gack this way and that, I get the floors nice and clean and can put off mopping for another week. Ha!

Honey? Sweetie? I was totally joking about that, you know that, right? Right?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Problem: Clowns at kids' birthday parties freak kids out.

Solution: The yoga clown.
The 39-year-old Plattekill resident incorporates creative posturing and meditation along with juggling and music into her program to teach others how to improve their lives.

I say give her a try - and then your kid will be the serene one at the next party where all the other kids are freaking out because mom cheaped out and hired the regular clown.

THE KIDS' PLAYLIST (latest entries)


I Don't Want To Be Alone - Billy Joel

A Trick of the Tail - Genesis (she calls this one the "horns and tail" song)


Iko Iko - Dr. John


Gaaah. Like those of us with daughters need another suck on our ever-shrinking disposable income:

ONE recent rainy afternoon, Eleanor LaFauci, 7, sat with her feet in open-toed foam slippers, admiring her toenails, freshly painted watermelon pink.

“Look, we’re reading an adult magazine,” Eleanor told her mother, gleefully waving a copy of People with a desultory-looking Britney Spears on its cover.

Eleanor was in the bubble-gum-colored pedicure lounge of Dashing Diva, the Upper West Side franchise of the international nail spa, with her 3 ½-year-old sister and a half-dozen or so friends. The girls were celebrating her birthday with mani’s, pedi’s and mini-makeovers with light makeup and body art — glitter-applied stars, lightning bolts and, of course, hearts. Eleanor’s mother, Anne O’Brien, stood watching and shrugged. “What can I say?” said Ms. O’Brien, whose husband suggested the party. “She’s a girly girl. I’m not quite sure how it happened. I didn’t get my first manicure until I was 25.”

The eyes, they roll. The hands, they make sure the wallet stays right in its pocket - besides, it's way cuter when Noodle and Her Awesomeness do their nails together. At home. For lots less.

Monday, March 3, 2008


Yummy, Albany Times-Union. Just deeee-lish for a Monday morning:

Still, if you notice you don't have to clean up your yard because your dog has taken matters into his own mouth, you should mention the behavior to your vet. It could be a sign of something more serious.

"Every now and then we meet a particular dog that is just hard core on this, and they will even eat it right directly from the oven, if you know what I mean," Lucas says.


"The other thing that it can be is a little bit of a behavioral issue," Lucas says. "Especially in female dogs that will clean up after their puppies, and some females that are unspayed may have a potential behavioral desire to clean up."

That's right, they're used to keeping their dens and their puppies poo-free, and some dogs just don't lose that instinct even when the puppies are grown.

I am never going to complain about cleaning the Beast's diapers ever again.


It's truly amazing how the kids' illnesses fit neatly into what you had anticipated to be free time. And thus has posting been light here, seeing as yours truly has been spending a lot of time on his knees with the paper towel and the Lysol. Beast spent much of Saturday into Sunday technicolor-yawning, see, and the fracas woke Noodle up and sent her sleep schedule all to pot as well. The belly of the Beast was in a much better frame of mind (so to speak) by this morning at 1:30, except for the small matter of 1:30 not being the time he's supposed to be up and ready for the day. Her Awesomeness and the Memere are stepping in to mind the Beast until he's cleared for action again, which should be tomorrow.