Friday, December 28, 2012

What has happened to kids shows?

I grew up watching a Sesame Street, Looney Tunes, The Muppet Show, and Mr. Rogers.  As I got older I enjoyed Doug, Rugrats, Wild Thornberrys (or whatever the big nose Steve Irwin wannabe was), and a LOT of shows on the Discovery and History channel.  In fact I was the only kid in grade school that was excited about Shark Week, and saddened when we were on family vacation in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin during that same week.  I watched the first episode of American Chopper, and signed up to be on Monster Garage.  I watched what I consider "normal" TV and normal movies.  Now I am totally confused by what kids watch today.

I am the oldest of 5 kids and currently 28 (my birthday is about a month away and I'd like a nice Canon 60D or T4i) and my youngest sibling, my brother, is currently 16.  A few months ago I stopped by since they live 10 minutes away and my brother was watching some cartoon with a kid in a bunny hat and a talking dog, except it wasn't about his love for his dog like some cartoon adventures of  Old Yeller but some tree witch was sitting on the dog and her butt was eating the dog.  The kid had to find some hair or else her butt would consume his pup.  Apparently someone didn't heed the Turtle's PSA on weed, or sit long enough to get through the "This is you brain.." frying pan commercial.

Another nauseating show we have a sensation that is sweeping the nation is with a honest-to-goodness hick, Honey Boo Boo.  First off the only white trash I watched on TV was from COPS when they filmed in cities in the south and they were episodes from the early 90's (something nostalgic about a criminal running from the cops in a pair of BK high tops and funky patterned Zubaz with no shirt on and a mullet).  Who wants to watch a show with an arrogant hillbilly child and her mother?  When I saw her I thought of this (which was splendidly put together by someone else):

Really, I have no words....

What lesson can be learned from Ms. Boo boo?  At least the TMNT had their PSA's at the end of their shows.  They only PSA from Honey Boo Boo would be not to breed with family.

It's probably a good thing that we do not have cable or satellite in our home, because I can control the dog-butt-eating-tree witches from coming in and devouring what small amount of intelligence my kids have learned and stored that day...or week....or year....or life up to that point.

I feel the downfall came from the Brit's invasion via Teletubbies and their disarming cuteness, we messed with the bull and got the horns to the dome.  Ever since then I can't recall a show that had any substance to it, and most kids today would never put on a channel that taught them something.  I loved educational and historical shows, classic movies (especially war movies) and things that made me think.

Things may change, my wife and I may grow weary from having to entertain our child constantly but when the time is right I will pop in something they can learn from and we can watch together without me having a "What the crap" moment in regards to what is being strewn across the TV screen.

But until that point I will be my son's entire entertainment.  At least I don't feel I am warping his brain with nonsensical noises, belly tickles, and funny faces I make when changing his diaper or smelling his farts.  But when he is old enough and wants to know about the shows I watched, I'll have to dust of the VHS tapes and player, dig out a length of coax cable, and fire up an old tube TV.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Baby Kung Fu: The Deadliest Martial Art

In the craziness of today's world we have to arm ourselves and instruct our children in ways to protect themselves.  However very few know that a new born can possess the ability to end life shortly after they have started their own.  A recent YouTube documentary filmmaker risked his life to bring you....BABY KUNG FU!

The YouTuber PatrickBoivin made this sensational video that has gone all over the world, at least I am guessing so by the views.  But what many think is cute is actually a real thing.

My son Jojo has the ability to look you straight in the eyes, unblinking, and unleash a fury of kicks, chops, punches and war cries.  Just yesterday we were locked in a deadly battle where he just giggled to his little heart's content as he brandished his baby brass-knuckles and battle ax creating a deadly whirlwind of doom.  He thought it was funny; I was fighting for my life.  After mom came and saved me I realized that we just need a legion, nay a horde, of babies trained up in the mortiferous martial art of Baby Kung Fu.

Just like the Ewok assassins of Endor, a small group of crawling 8-month-olds could infiltrate an enemy's position and make hasty work of the enemy combatant.  Why?  Simply because a small child crawling on the floor will cry until picked up by an unsuspecting soldier who thinks the cries are a need for comfort, when in reality it is the war shrieks of a regiment of ruthless life reapers.

And reap they will.

If the enemy were to choose to fortify their position, we can take a page from the old war weapons and catapult dirty diapers into their compound till they surrender or enter the world of deceased by diaper.  Even our small garbage can that holds MAYBE a few days worth of dirty diapers could be used as a biological weapon in large scale modern warfare.

Or none of the above, because war isn't a place for babies.  They belong in a parents arms; being gazed upon lovingly, staring into their bright eyes and soaking up the moment you have as a parent and child.

Just like your face will soak up the impact of a Baby Kung Fu's flying fist of fury!
No chance for a stuntman stand-in here.
All punishment no remorse.

My baby looks like a....

We have all been there before, our kid makes a cute face and we blurt out, "Awww, they look like a ___-___!  So cute!"

In the case of my son it is cute, he makes this face when he is laying on my chest that makes him look like an Ewok.  But not an ugly Ewok, specifically the bad-to-the-bone Wicket Wystri Warrick.  A Ewok so legendary he appeared in several made for TV movies basically by himself.

Assassins Creed: Teddy Bears of Endor

Why is this such a cool revelation to me?  Well for a few reasons, Ewoks make some bodacious assassins.  I mean no one would suspect a real life Teddy Ruxpin to shoot an arrow through your heart 2 minutes into the Black Sabath tape you put in him (we all pulled that one before).

What you thought of.  
What I though of, only cooler.

But the really cool part is, and any kid that grew up in the 80's and 90's knows about this, but we as a family bootlegged on VHS by recording off the TV The Ewok Adventure; old car and Folger's commercials and all.  You know your parents did that too so stop judging.   But my brother and I watched that movie so many times that after a few years the tape itself wore out and literally broke in half.  I haven't seen the movie since but just found out that there is a copy on YouTube it seems....guy night soon.  I have many a fond memory of Wicket.

Why do I bring up that movie?  Because for some reason in Star Wars George Lucas felt that the Ewoks were nothing more than mini Wookies without the ability to do squat.  Literally, it was like watching the movie The Ringer where Chewie is thrown into the Special Olympics and everyone, Ewoks that is, envy him for his ability to do menial tasks.  At one point the Ewoks are beating an AT-ST with rock hammers, really Lucas?  These natural assassins on THEIR home territory that just captured the greatest frickin' Jedi Knight since Anakin can't take down a steel box on stilts?  Hopefully Disney won't butcher the Ewok name.

So as my son make his face I am reminded of the Gorax slaying Ewoks not the drunken Ruxpins of the Star Wars movie.  And that scares me.  I know behind those slate blue eyes, chubby cheeks, no eye brow large forehead and smirk lies a Death Star superlaser that is ready to destroy the next diaper that threatens to get in his way.  

So take some time when your child is making the cute faces and reminding you of something from your childhood, and when they are older show them what they reminded you of.  They will either laugh along and your bond as father and son/daughter will grow stronger or they will look at ways of putting you away as a loony because you thought they looked like Ludo, or even worse Jareth, from Labyrinth.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The floating baby

As a dad, and many can attest to this, you become non-existent.  Not worthless or useless, but not there.  Very ghost like, which can be useful in instances like where the flatulence cometh upth from the rectal region of the papa.  Because if you're not there, its the baby's fault.  And we all will agree, baby farts are extremely cute which means they offset the stench that lingers in their path.

Notice the gas streak

But what we really become as fathers is a coat rack for babies.  Come on in and hang up your baby!  Or in a father's case, I go somewhere carrying Jojo and become the stand on which the baby is viewed.  Like a base for babies.  Some people may not know what I mean, but a dad with a cute or handsome baby knows what I mean.  Somehow people treat our child as if there are an embodied spirit hovering randomly in the air; completely oblivious to the figure holding the baby.  Like we have been real time green-screened out of the picture and here is this cute baby.

Ugly baby parents can stop reading now.  You know who you are; if you get comments on how strong your baby is, how well tempered they are, or how nice the stroller is, you have an ugly baby, bless his or her heart. (Always finish off a sentence about an ugly baby with that phrase, just makes things right)

The illegitimate love child of Mr. Bean and Borat

I often get folks at church or out and about come up to Jojo and start talking to him when I am holding him and somewhere near the time they will be leaving they then notice me.  So I have a little fun with them but doing some or all of the following:

  1. Shift positions.  A LOT.
  2. Constantly turn in sharp 90* angles.  Like you are in a military formation.  Right FACE!
  3. Raise the baby up and slowly lower them like they are too heavy to hold.
  4. Do weirdo things like sniff the baby's head or neck and make a comment like, "Oooo...ripe!"
  5. Make a burp noise but move the baby's mouth and make a wise crack about boob juice.
  6. Yell out in dismay that the diaper is now reaching capacity.
  7. Offer to pass the baby to them after 1-6 has been completed.
Sure, that might be, as some call it, RUDE, but listen the kid gets 50% of their looks, charm, demeanor, and ability to make bodily noises from the paternal gene.  So while we dads will silently continue to be the shelf on which to display the babies, we will no longer struggle in silence but be silent in our defiance.  Because eventually someone will have to change that diaper and we know the easel only holds the art, it doesn't paint it or clean the brushes afterwards.

And chunky paint doesn't clean well when you only have one hand to clean with.

Got off easy....this time.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

This baby doesn't run on a bottle, he's only blown

As a car nut I have noticed the parallels that run between being a parent and a gear head.  Within the racing community you have different groups; the N/A (naturally aspirated) guys, turbo guys, nitrous guys, and the blown guys (the ones who run blowers).  There are some who run a combination of any of the above, but the majority are stalwarts to their genre.  On top of all that cars that are fast enough...get this....need to run diapers so they don't oil down (make a mess) on the track when they blow out the bottom!  Had I known I was being prepared to be a dad when I was racing, I would have never sold the race car.

So having a boy brings a certain joy to a father; your name gets a chance to be passed on to grandkids, farts and burps are acceptable, you can roughhouse and fight each other, and to compare your baby son to a car would be OK (in my book).  Kind of like mixing the Pixar movie Cars with my son, except I would be Tater instead of Mater.

Jojo, my son, is breastfed.  He is just over 3 months old as I write this, and parents know that it usually take about 3 months for their digestive tract to "work out the kinks" as it was.  That and being breastfed, from what I am told, creates a certain type of "oil down" that a bottle fed kid doesn't get.  My son isn't bottle fed, this guy is only blown!

(Not an actual picture of my son)

And by blown I mean when he has a blow's ALL out as you can see depicted by the dramatic reenactment seen below.

(That bottom end let loose...and the diaper may not hold it in)

(This is not looking good)

He was stopped up for a few days and while nursing there was a launching grunt, the tires squealed then bit, and we were headed down track!  That is until the bottom end blew out about mid track.  The diaper did all it could do to maintain the mess but we didn't know how bad it was till we got back to the pits and pulled the body off....

(Nope, definitely didn't hold it in)

That is a live action photo in the pits with crew chief Mama and assistant crew chief G-ma.  Dad was the reporter that day so I was behind the camera (cowering in such grandiose fear).  As they peeled off the damaged body they found the damage was to the back of the neck extensive.  All this was a few seconds from mama's lap to the table for changing.  The carnage was too great to show the complete aftermath pictures, but rest assured the driver, Jojo, was right as rain after a change and run through the bath.

But for those of us who witnessed the madness of a blown baby at full capacity lose the bottom end mid track, those memories will forever be burned into our minds.  Like the tear-gassy smell of a top fuel dragster...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dissension amongst the herd

In the human world there are parents and there are non-parents, just as there are the single people and married people.  I vividly remember after getting married my single friends would exclude me from certain things simply because I would be a burden.  "Oh, Tater won't do that, he's married!"  "We can't go there, Tater's married."

So eventually I was excluded from the herd.  And that's fair, no need in being the sick and elderly animal that gets picked off by predators and vultures.

But after having a kid within my married friends' circle I again found my wife and I not being invited out.  "Oh, they have a baby, they can't be out late."  Or one of us would be invited and the other had to stay home, or not at all.  It is like we have this cute, chubby bundle that everyone loves to be around...when the diaper is clean and clear...but we as his parents have fallen ill with leprosy and must be banished to the outer village.  We still go out, sometimes with Jojo in tow and sleeping, yet we aren't diseased; we just have a lot of baggage to carry and the potential for some stinky carry-ons.

But after narrowing down our herd to just parents, there are those like us who are shunned within that niche.  I know you are asking, "But how can your kinfolk just abandon you?"

Simple.  Our child is easy peasy.

Some of you have a child like that, others just stopped reading 12 words ago and let a fist fly through the computer screen like a 5 year old with greasy popcorn fingers that just released a Wii control mid swing in a bowling game and impaled it through the TV.  Except there wasn't grease, it was your hidden lack-of-sleep rage monster.  If you don't understand that, Google "tired parents".

For sure we had some sleepless nights, midnight feedings, crying episodes, fully loaded diapers, and our random passing out at weirdo hours as new parents.  However by 8 weeks our son was a champ at sleeping 8-10 hours a night, and never awakening before 7 AM.  Except during daylight savings...that was 6:45 AM.

I know what you are saying....and for shame that language has no place in a family friendly blog like this.

Overall we had what other parents have called a "Miracle baby", which is very true in a lot of cases, but I don't relate his sleeping to a miracle.  More like he has a full belly and has gained a lot of weight quickly, so he sleeps.  A lot it seems.  Sometimes we have to wake him up in the morning.

But it is when we meet other parents that this awkward conversation starts, it usually goes something like:

"Aww!  Your baby is so cute, how old is he/she?"
"Thanks, Jojo is 3 months old this week."
"Wow, he is big for 3 months, he must like eat all the time.  Does he wake up several times at night to feed?  Our baby/older child did that until he/she was almost a year.  We never slept!"
"Oh....umm..well Jojo, he uhh.....he uhh sleeps through the night."
"What?!  He just start doing that RIGHT?"
"Um, no.  Actually he has been doing it since he was 8 weeks old."
::insert dirty and jealous stare::
"You guys must be grateful, you are blessed with a miracle baby!  I wish one of my kids did that, I might have more than 2."
"Oh well, we are just happy he is happy."

And that is where the conversation ends, the couple goes off more than likely issuing ill will towards us and future kids so we can "know what it's like" and we go on our way.  With restful eyes and a happy baby.

I don't mean this to taunt parents who don't have babies that sleep through the night, but I will say there is a fear among those of us who do.  Like that fear you get when you are lost while driving and know the exit you just took isn't where you should be.  Like hearing banjos when you roll down the windows.  That fear.

When we meet couples with a baby that is like ours, who has slept through the night at a young age, we begin to whisper.  Not because we have to, but because we fear the reprisal of those parents who don't know this joy.  The ones that in their sleep deprived rage might lash out violently.  We fear those in the herd that would leave us out on the edges to be picked off by hunters.

So my wife and I keep the conversation from our baby other than that he is cute....and chubby.  But when it turns to sleep patterns, we remain vigilant of the feelings of others.  Because no one likes a cranky rage monster...with a loaded diaper.