Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Keeping that romantic flame alit

So there you are, new parents and all, excited and nervous at the same time.  And then you go out for the evening, a sort of family "date night".  For my wife and I that means we wander stores looking at wares that we need not purchase, and usually don't.  It's fun being out; people Ooo-ing and Ahh-ing over our Jojo, making friends with other new parents, or me picking out the most random items saying, "Wouldn't this look great in the babies room?"

That is usually responded with, "Why in the world would we put that dirty, mounted deer head in his room?"  My blank stare usually gives away the lack of thought I put into it.

So one of our most recent outings found us wandering the maze of cut-rate cardboard furniture in the warehouse of wonders, Ikea.  I enjoy wandering the store and messing with the odd and unique furniture, like tables that unfold like Ironman's suit into a.....get this....larger table!  However one day I hope to dress in some Kung Fu outfit and karate chop the crap outta the table section to my heart's desire.

Guys you know what I mean, that little 4 legged Lack end table, you know that thing?  I guarantee that any one of you that has a hair in their armpit and some depth to their voice wants to Jackie Chan the fool out of these things:

Especially when they are in a stack......oh sweet, merciful ninja gods how I adore your temptations.

So we wandered the store, picked up some mirrors and kitchen cooking utensils and started on the voyage of exiting.  At this point our angelic son, who spent most of the time asleep, released the esurient rage monster.  The eyes popped wide open, pupils focused, and when food wasn't to be found we did all we could to keep him quiet lest we bring about the wrath of the non-parents around us.  You know those stares they give, the can't-you-keep-your-kid-quiet-and-out-of-my-childless-bubble stares? You know, the same ones we all gave before we had kids?  Yeah, those.  So we worked out a family evacuation plan which concluded with mama B-lining it to the elevator to exit the building and dad picking his way through the throngs of madness to the check-out lines.

So eventually we are all able to exit the building in relative peace, dad dodging the assortment of vehicles picking up their commodities in the loading area, and mom frantically roaming the parking lot with a bullhorn siren whining in front of her.  We convened at the car and setup for a romantic night of parking lot nippy-doos (breastfeeding for those who are confused).  Upon entering the car we find all 3 of us are hungry, so the hunter/gatherer instincts that are inherit to men like myself leads me out into the wild to forage for food.  And by forage I mean I walk back into Ikea for some 50¢ hot dogs and chips.

So here we are.  On our family date night.  In a packed Ikea parking lot, baby blanket in the rolled up passenger window strung across to the sun visor to provide some cover for the nursing, Jojo on the boob, mom and dad chowing down on some dogs, people coming and going all around, and Christmas music playing on the radio.

That's when my wife and I realized that this was a date night and we had better cherish the memory and enjoy.  So cherished it we did, all 3 of us......until the diaper exploded.

Babies - my Kryptonite to my ability to talk like a normal human

We all have seen it, heard it, or committed the act of talking to a a baby or in some weirdo voice.  It never fails me that I randomly start talking like a high pitched Neanderthal to Jojo.  I don't get it; it's this inhuman response I have yet to unlock the ability to control.  You know you do it so stop judging.  But we have all been there before, make a statement in normal adult voice to the parents and somewhere between standing erect to bending over to get in the face of the small child we lose the ability to talk to the child like it is a human being.  We end up sounding like these too small lads:

Granted it is cute, especially when you respond in the same manner that the child you are conversing with does.  And we are always surprised when the child responds to our goo-goo's and gaa-gaa's, but we shouldn't be because that's all they know.

So is it the added pressure of our abdomen muscles on our diaphragm that we are unable to talk at least semi-normal to a child?  Or have we reverted to some prehistoric homo sapiens' language that is instinctual to our nature?  Or possibly have we retarded our communication area of the brain by excessive pressure of being upside down?  Now don't get me wrong, I don't mean we should talk to our children like the are college doctorate graduates who have a PhD in English, grammar, and pronunciation (Lord knows if my kids ever get that word smart I am screwed) but why do we do it?  Why talk like Taz from Looney Tunes or an illegitimate love child of Elmer Fudd and Foghorn Leghorn?

But I know when I see my son later I will have forgotten everything I just wrote and launch into a audio assault of mouth farts, shrill shrieks, beeps, boops, and baas.  All the while be potentially mistaken for a lonely sheppard in the hills of New Zealand dressed like Chewbacca.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I am (NOT) a picture happy dad....

Anything new in life is exciting for a guy, especially things that we can wash, change (the oil), show off to the babes (my wife), and generally garner attention from people around us.  Well I gave up my race car years ago to woo my wife, actually she had nothing to do with it, race cars are expensive to have, but isn't it funny how similar cars and babies are?  Piece of cake......

Before my son, Jojo, was born I told myself I wasn't going to be that weirdo dad that takes pictures every few seconds he is awake.  I swore I would mentally cherish every moment that we had, taking an occasional picture when the cuteness was more than my meager mind can handle or remember.  But as every new dad knows, that doesn't happen, instead something else does.

That something else is we become a picture taking Asian tourist at an October Fest in Berlin trying to capture the essence of the German tradition of brats, beer, and lederhosen.

I wanted "THAT" perfect picture, and of course to achieve that goal that would require 20 pictures of Jojo doing the same thing.  Upon reviewing said pictures I found that maybe one of them wasn't worthy of keeping, so 19 pictures are now saved.  Granted in this day and age we all have a digital camera on us or able to use our phones, but when my photo gallery on my phone went from a little over 100 pictures from YEARS of taking pictures to almost 700 in 12 weeks......I got a fever and cowbell isn't going to fix it.

However a picture of my infant son banging on a cowbell.....You see what I mean?  I need help, professional help, especially in the areas of proper lighting and focus.

But I know that one day when his girlfriend comes over for the first time I will be able to easily pull out my computer and let her see a 2 hour long slideshow, to music I might add, of Jojo's first few months.  If she is able to make it through that without asking when is it over, she is OK to date him.

The second date will be the poopy diaper pictures......THAT, my fellow dads, will decide whether she is eligible for marriage.

So snugly, cuddly, and dead

So before my son was born my wife and I had the challenge of registering at stores for the baby showers.  And by challenge I mean, as a dad, registering for more random crap than you actually need.....and getting away with it.  The "getting away" part being the REAL challenge.  Any guy can take a handheld scanner and "BEEP" some bar codes, but it takes a real man to put you foot down when your wife asks you "Why did you register for a walker with a classic car shape to it?  He won't walk for almost a year!" and say no.  Doesn't mean it stays on there, or you won't be singing an octave higher, but the foot was put down and if it is still there, and you're not referred to as Hop-a-long Cassidy, you did good.  (Just don't take my advice)

But as we were walking through the store, myself now disarmed and disallowed from holding the scanner, I was looking at blankets.  You know the super soft ones that you, as a grown adult, could fall asleep on like Snuggle Bear himself wove a blanket from his own fur and flesh.  Those soft ones.  Well as I was perusing them, at many times (and out loud) I would comment on how a LION IS NOT SUPPOSED TO PLAY A FRIGGIN' GUITAR WITH A ZEBRA.....seriously?  Lions EAT zebras, they don't sing Kumbaya around a campfire, unless it is a pride of other lions spit roasting a zebra......but back to the story.

So as I am trying not to fall asleep touching all of these blankets, my breath is taken away and I feel like I am the guy in the first Saw that just watched the bloody guy on the floor get up, walk out and close the door at the end (sorry if I spoiled that one for you).  But I am aghast at the sight before me.  Littered all over this plush covering of cuteness and cushy fluffiness that could have been woven from the neck hairs of angels is DEAD TEDDY BEARS.......

Actual picture from the crime scene

Literally LEGIONS of teddy bears lie dead - lifeless - like there was a bucket of cowboy figurines that made their murderous pillage of some sort of Shire of Winnie the Poohs.  These helpless bears never knew what hit them, couldn't defend themselves, and weren't buddy-buddy with the Ewoks (we all know them Ewoks be crazy).  I stood there, fighting back the tears, and proceeded to "bury" the dead in a bin of throw pillows. There was a moment of silence between Kelly Clarkson and Pink as I stood at the grave site for the said victims of the senseless rampage of Bed, Bath, and Beyond's baby linen section by a marauding band of heartless killers.

The worst part was they seem to have sold some of the dead bear blankets.  I was horrified as an adult and being awake upon encountering the scene, but how bad will it be for a kid who has this lovey blanky that they take with them everywhere and one day see a cartoon character play dead with the "X" eyes?  How can any parent tell their child, who has tears in their eyes for goodness sake, that they didn't know about the crazy cowboy raid on Teddy Bear haven and it's despicable depiction on their lovey?  Poor child will be scarred for life, probably require years of therapy of how they don't know if anything their parents told them wasn't a lie, like "Well all those teddy bears are in heaven though honey!" that Santa character not being real.

Remember moms and dads, the murderous story of the Pooh family has it's place to be told but let's let the kids just enjoy the yesteryear stories of the happiness and joy that embodied our now fallen heroes before their annihilation.

The Origins of the Tater

So in order to understand my humor and blog name you need to understand a little about me.  I have a big cranium, there is no denying that.  I have to wear a 8" fitted hat, which are hard to find as it is, but try finding a XXL racing helmet or flex-fit hat.

I decided to add this for emphasis:

So you're right now sitting there asking yourself, "Why all this talk of said large noggin and its relation to Tater's salad?"  The answer is simple yet complex.  Have you ever seen an Idaho potato?  Well apparently my noggin is shaped like it, no I am not deformed like Eric Stoltz character portrayal in the 1985 movie Mask (which is a great movie by the way), but it is said to be shaped like a large Idaho potato.  So the nickname amongst my car aficionados became Mr. Potato head, which regressed into Potato, and devolved into Tater.

So after getting married, and before, there were a few occasions where my wife had a chance to meet some of my old buddies and/or hear a phone conversation of me stating, "Hey ______ it's Tater."  So after getting married, like adding another ingredient to some chopped up taters, we started creating a salad.  Fast forward a few years and VOILA, a 3rd ingredient has been added, my son who we loving call Jojo.

So there you have it.  I went from a lone Tater to a full blown salad, complete with sweet and sour garnishes, typos, incorrect grammar and word usage at times, biting humor, slightly offensive stereotypes, and a avid admiration for puns and their usage.  I have decide to take all those traits and combine them on the interwebz, which may or may not be ready for them but we can only hope.  So enjoy as I share my thoughts, views, opinions, commentary or reflections on being a new dad (with more "ingredients" to come).