Tanks n’…Barbies?

tanks barbiesThis past week, an infrequent friend of ours, whose daughter is also in MLIs daycare class and who is a single mother, was moving. Having lived through this particular brand of hell with our own kids, we offered to watch her daughter during the process; something which she took us up on with hardly a moment’s thought.

CareerMom picked them up from Daycare and within five minutes of being in the house, they both came running downstairs wearing nothing but their skivvies! This has become a common enough thing for MLI lately, it being what he calls his “Tarzan” look; but I was unprepared to have a near-naked four-year-old little girl running around the house.

I mean, we have boys and I’m used to naked fellers running around here, but even though she’s only 4, it seemed like there was something wrong with it! I know, it’s stupid; it’s what society has done to us by crucifying anyone found having “inappropriate” pictures of kids on their computer.

It’s made us hyper-aware and while I’ll admit that overall, it’s probably a good thing, at the same time a person shouldn’t feel weird when their (very young) kids, and an opposite-gender friend, want to play Tarzan together…or take a bath together…or sleep in the same bed together…

(As you can see, the evening just got “weirder” and “weirder” for my personal tastes.)

I realize there are millions of family’s with two kids of the opposite gender, who live with this every day, and that they probably give it zero thought, but I suppose when you don’t live with it, and it’s someone else’s child, you can’t help but feel a little bit, well…creepy!

I was also surprised to find that little boys and little girls at that age (esp. when the girl is a tomboy) pretty much like the same things. I learned a bit about little girls this past week and maybe a bit about myself too…odd how that keeps happening at my age.

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No really…I was working late last night Dad!

say noWarning: Herein lies TMI. Tread cautiously.

I have a coupon in my personal e-mail box for 15% off condoms.

Now, you may ask yourself, “What did he sign up for to get on a condom e-mail list?” I don’t subscribe to Playboy magazine if that’s what you’re wondering. No, I actually DID purchase condoms and so, now I’m on every condom and intimacy Web site mailing list, plus a few others that I hadn’t counted on.

But I think it’s funny how easy it is to get condoms now–and anonymously too. I remember buying condoms when I was in high school (see…TMI) and I remember the difficulty in doing so. There were all kinds of unwritten rules to it, such as:

You couldn’t buy them at the local drug store, because there was only one local drug store and inevitably someone you knew was working there and if they were a school acquaintance, you were immediately tagged as either having sex with your girlfriend or cheating on her. Neither rumor being something you necessarily wanted to get out.

Random, out of the way gas stations were good, but the prices were usually so high that you were forced to decide at what price you wanted to be “safe.”

I think there was a school program for condoms, but again, Really? You want to be going into the guidance counselor’s office for condoms, knowingly submitting yourself to the disapproving gaze of someone who considers herself morally superior to every other human being, even though she chain-smoked like a choochoo on her breaks. Not that I’m saying smoking is a “moral” decision, but when you put it together with the empty cardboard boxes of “Absolut” she had beside her desk, you had to figure!

And I happen to know that purchasing condoms today online is way simpler than anything we were forced to do as kids. I mean, I don’t think they even ask your birthday when you purchase them online, so any kid could order them as long as he/she beats mom and dad home and gets to the mail first.

Which makes me wonder which side of this “free condom in schools” issue I stand on. Georgia doesn’t currently have a program like this, but I figure it’s only a matter of time. But regardless, on the one hand, I want to be the one who teaches my boys about sex; and it’s my morality (my ADULT morality, I should clarify)–not the state’s–that I want to instill in them.

On the other hand, I know from personal experience that my lessons and personal attempts at instilling morality in them only go so far. In the end, those teenage hormones will be the ultimate decision-maker in their deciding to have sex at a young age. And since getting condoms isn’t really any kind of barrier like it used to be, I have to wonder which is the lesser of two evils: sex without a condom, or sex with a condom provided by either me (eek!) or through some state institutional program.

Luckily, I have at least 9 years, if you believe the stats about 13-year olds having sex today, before I have to start worrying about it.

Meanwhile, I have this 15% off coupon in my inbox. What the heck? CareerMom doesn’t appear in any hurry to get back on “the pill” and I’m sure as heck in no hurry to have another baby, so…bottom’s up!

(BTW: I’ll be happy to share my coupon with anyone who “needs” them)

Ebert and Roeper would give me a "Thumbs Down"

boredThis weekend, even CareerMom, from whom patience springs forth like the water in Niagara Falls after the winter thaw, had seemingly “gotten over” the constant entertainment requirements of our children. Thanks in no small part, I feel, to Daycare and the constant entertainment provided there, as soon as the kids get home at night, and from the moment they wake up on the weekends, it’s, “What are going to do now?” “Can we go swimming?” “Well, when CAN we go swimming?” “Can I have a snack?” “Well, when CAN I have a snack?”

I tell ya, it’s enough to drive you nuts! Especially when you consider what our kids do today compared to what we did as children. I told MLI on Sunday that he’d done more by 11 a.m. than I did an entire weekend growing up!

When I was a child, the weekends were for “catching up.” Saturday mornings, assuming I beat everyone out of bed, consisted of my watching cartoons for about an hour and then once everyone was up, doing chores until the house was spotless. After that, if I wasn’t helping my dad with one of his many, never-ending projects around the house, I was left to go happily cruising around the neighborhood with my transistor radio hanging from my bicycle handlebars, looking for other kids in a similar plight. What ensued from there was anyone’s guess.

As a comparison, here’s our weekend with the boys:


  • Took both boys with us to the gym at 8 a.m. where they played in the huge gym play area consisting of a McDonald’s-like tunnel system, a kid’s basketball court, computers and all sorts of other things.
  • Played with the boys outside for a while. Rode bikes, threw balls, the usual.
  • I ran to Home Depot while CareerMom did something with the kids at home…dunno what…something to do with blocks and cars.
  • That afternoon, I took MLI to a Braves game, via the Atlanta MARTA system. MLI thought riding the train was pretty cool, except that we caught it at its northern most point, and it took nearly 30 minutes to get to the transfer station and by then we were both hot and bored.
  • At the game, we sat down and by the time I got dinner for the both of us, it was already 8 p.m. By the top of the 3rd inning, MLI says, “Daddy, I’m already tired of looking at this!” Determined to stay for a while, we stuck it out till the 5th inning and then made the trip home.


  • We’re still in “church transition” so went to the gym again.
  • Played with the boys outside for a while.
  • While I killed all the plant life in the backyard (herbicide), CareerMom took the boys to the neighborhood park for a while.
  • After lunch and naps, took the kids to this new indoor play area with a gy-normous foam filled pool thingy. Was pretty darned cool!

The whole daggum weekend revolves around the kids! By Sunday night, even CareerMom’s nerves were getting frazzled and though we both felt bad talking sternly to the boys, even parents need a few quiet moments.

Oh, and on top of all of this, MLI had been asking for the mailman to bring the DVD “Aladdin” and so I ordered it from my Netflix account. It came on Saturday and I stuck it in the DVD on Sunday.

AladdinDo you see anything wrong here? Did you know that there is more than one “Aladdin” movie on DVD? I didn’t. Why would anyone even bother stocking anything other than the Disney version?

Trust me, this is NOT the Disney version.

Despite the colorful packaging, I’m pretty sure this cartoon was created sometime back in the 80s, before cartoonists began attempting to synchronize voices and mouth movements. It was bad…really bad.

So, in total, my entertainment ideas fizzled miserably this weekend, and truth be told, I think we’re all a little relieved that the boys get to go to Daycare today and we adults “have” to go to work. People always tell me to “treasure this wonderful time when the kids are young,” but it’s funny how the people who tell you this, never seem to have children that young at the time of the telling. I think that by the time you’re ready to say this to someone else, you’ve long forgotten how much work it actually is.

Right now, I treasure the few moments the boys are off playing by themselves…right up until one of them steals the other’s toy, or when one of them pushes the other down and a cry-fest ensues. Those moments are GOLDEN!

Chef Ramsey…psshh…You Don’t Scare Me!

Gingerbread houseI love watching “Hell’s Kitchen.” Having worked in numerous kitchens growing up, and myself having a love of cooking, I get my kicks watching Ramsey bring tears to grown men’s eyes. Granted, most of these contestants were handpicked by studio directors, no doubt under the watchful gaze of a psychiatrist, for maximum hysterics value, but it’s still fun to watch regardless.

Plus, after having lived under the tyranny of multiple drill instructors for six weeks, Chef Ramsey’s tirades pale in comparison to that of “Master Sargent Aleman” (oh ye of the state trooper hat and the gritted teeth) whose very gaze was enough to loosen the sphincters of many an 18-year-old recruit.

But it’s almost a shame really what Hell’s Kitchen has done to the art and joy of cooking. Admittedly, cooking in a high-pressure restaurant is far different from cooking for the enjoyment of it at home, but the show does little to depict the beauty of the ingredients, the smell of seared steak and onions, and the joy one gets from perfectly plating up an entire meal at the same time and delivering it to the table hot and delicious.

Which, come to think of it, is kind of like what having kids does to one’s joy of cooking.

I used to LOVE to cook, and on the rare occasion that I get to do it without a 15-month-old clinging to my leg and crying as I’m trying to one-handedly flip something in the frypan, I still enjoy the heck out of it.

But like Hell’s Kitchen, having kids means doing away with dinners that simmer patiently for an hour on the stove; instead, cooking has become this frenzied, “What can I cook that we’ll ALL enjoy” event that leaves me frustrated and dejected. In that respect, I’d take a restaurant full of parents who cook for their family, over a bunch of well-trained culinary students, to staff my kitchen any day! With these seasoned family chefs, I know that what I’m going to get may not have the freshest herbs, or the most mouth-watering Ahi Tuna available at the market that day, but you can bet that whatever we cook, it’s not gonna be raw, at the very least palatable, and by golly, if it’s rice, we’ll call it rice, NOT Risotto!

Course…there’s not much difference between Ramsey’s ranting and my kids hollering after they’ve left the table, but at least on Hell’s Kitchen, the diners are generally shielded from the noise. And on more than one occasion, as I’m trying to finish that last bite of some unusually tasty treat that I was able to prepare, as the kids come running up to me asking me something completely banal like, “Do you know why Superman wears red boots?” I’ve been very tempted to quote Chef Ramsey and say, “Pi** off!”

I’m pretty sure CareerMom would hang me up by my testicles if I said that, so I just play along nicely. Ramsey should have to cook with kids running around in the kitchen. I think it would mellow him out a bit.