Archive | February, 2012

Three’s company

29 Feb

We’re all kinds of tired, and it’s hard to think straight, but we did it. Looking at this picture I think you’ll agree: I must have done something right.

More blogging after the dust settles.

-Dork Dad

20120229-142920.jpg

It’s a BIRTHDAY!!!

26 Feb

e’ve been waiting for months, and I’m happy to report that finally the day has come!

The whole family has been on pins and needles, just waiting. I’m thrilled that my parents were able to drive all the way down (in record time I might add) and be here when it happened. Sadly though, Un-DorkMommy’s mother had the stomach flu, and couldn’t take part for fear of passing something nasty on to delicate immune systems.

We’re all a little tired (as you might expect there was very little sleeping last night), but after months and months of anticipation the payoff is obviously well worth it. Things are changing fast over here, and it seems like my kids have grown older almost overnight. “Thank You” to everyone who expressed their love and support over these past few weeks in anticipation of the big day. Your cards and gifts are most appreciated. I’m sure you all would like to join me in wishing a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY…

…to my beautiful sweet daughter, who turns 6 today.

"Happy Birthday" to Superkid #1!

What?

You thought I meant…?

Oh, no. Sorry.

No baby yet. But I’ll keep you posted.

-Dork Dad

Test Pattern

24 Feb

 

his has been a test of the emergency baby-having system. If this had been an actual baby-having you would have received a message saying “baby’s here” followed by an adorable picture. This concludes this test of the emergency baby-having system. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program already in progress.

 

 

 

No baby yet. Please stand by.

 

-Dork Dad

The boys of Summer… in February

24 Feb

‘ve mad a lot about the dorkier side of being a dad, but obviously it isn’t about *what* you do with your kids. It’s about doing *something* with your kids, and sharing the energy and love of your enthusiasm. That’s the real value in being a Dork Dad. Sure, I like to geek around with my kids… wearing matching shirts, going to the comic book shop, swinging lightsabers, learning science on nature walks. But I’m all about the normal dadding stuff too. That said, I have to tell you there is nothing quite like the look on your 3-year-old boy’s face when he hits that underhand pitch you threw him and smashes the ball clear to the other side of the backyard; especially when it’s just you and him in the house, and it’s 70 degrees outside, in February.

I love spending time with my kids, no matter what we’re doing.

But beware, no matter the activity, there’s always the possibility for personal injury when you’re a dad.

-Dork Dad

(still no baby by the way)

Almost there.

22 Feb

ear not true-believers. I haven’t gone away. Superbaby #3 is supposed to be here any time [[now]], and his impending arrival has taken up all the bandwidth around here. Unfortunately all unnecessary activities have been put on hold: personal hygiene, putting gas in the car, taking out the garbage, feeding the pets… and unfortunately, blogging.

As I’ve said before, blogging takes a certain amount of energy and free time… both of which are incredibly scarce around here. Instead we are setting up pack-and-play’s, finding all the old boy baby clothes in the attic, washing them, folding them, getting registered at the hospital, and setting up a squishy, newborn-baby photo shoot with an absolutely ROCKIN’ photographer (happy to provide referrals).

Safe to say Un-DorkMommy won't ever be taking a picture like this.

 

Even now my daughter is dragging me away to go play “cash register”.

In all seriousness, Superbaby #3 is due any second. We’re all on pins and needles around here. I’ll check back in after the dust settles. Stay tuned.

 

-Dork Dad

PJ’s and Bon Jovi

15 Feb

here’s no dignity in our family.

-Dork Dad

DorkDaddy Gets Crafty

13 Feb

his one goes out to fellow DorkDad Ande Davis. He recently put out an impassioned plea for help preparing for the imminent arrival of his first child, and as a fellow Giants fan I felt obligated to come to the rescue. I too had a similar problem and had to get crafty in order to solve it. Here’s DorkDaddy’s how-to guide for those times when the internet lets you down and you aren’t able to pass on the “dork” to your kids like they deserve.

***

My very good friend Ken recently had his first child. Although his inclination isn’t towards superheroes and the like, Ken is a top-tier DorkDad in his own right. He has his own irrational obsessions and has every intention of indoctrinating his son. Ken and I were childhood friends, and so I felt an obligation to give a gift that would mean something both to Ken the father, and Ken my friend. I had a picture in my head of a specific design of onesie. I searched far and wide across cyberspace, but to my surprise nobody had anything like the simple design I wanted. Eventually it came down to the fact that I was going to have to make the onesie myself. I was going to have to get crafty. If you’ve got an idea for a onesie that you just can’t find, this is what you’ve got to do:

Step 1: American Apparel

This place specializes in selling the most generic clothing you can imagine. They stock T-shirts in every conceivable color… and onesies too. We just happen to have a store nearby, but they sell stuff online too. I got the onesie(s) I needed in the color(s) I needed with no hassle.

This mild-mannered onesie is about to turn into something super.

Step 2: Office Depot

Iron-on fabric transfers. They’re in the stationary section. Who knew? You actually design the graphic you want, put one of these sheets in your inkjet printer, and print the thing. So easy my mother could do it.

The hidden, crafty gem in your office supply store's stationary aisle.

Step 3: Pirate… er, um… make your image

Use your mad graphics skills to create the image you want and then print it out. The only tricky part is that once your graphic is finished, you have to flip it horizontally because the iron-on process transfers the graphic as a mirror image. Cut out the image to remove as much excess as possible. If you made it through kindergarten you’re probably qualified for this step.

Don't hurt yourself there DorkDad.

Step 4: Iron-On

This is the single most difficult step, not because ironing is difficult, but because so many of us haven’t actually used an iron in the better part of a decade. Dorkspouses may choose to step in and take over this step, not because the ironing is their responsibility, but in the interest of the safety of everyone involved.

You see honey? I can do it all by myself. I'm a big boy.

Step 5: Blog about it

This has become a new, interesting dynamic in our home. Whenever anything noteworthy happens my wife has taken to saying, “And I suppose you’re going to blog about his one too, right?” You’d think a simple image like this would be easy to find. Not so. Apparently the boys in Stutgard guard their intillectual property very jealously.

Too much too soon? No way. Not when you're indoctrinating your kids. This is "arctic silver". I also made one in "midnight blue" and "classic red".

 

***

So there you go Ande, and there you go readers. You all thought iron-on transfers died in the early 80’s, didn’t you?

Happy crafting.

-Dork Dad

Running Sucks

12 Feb

he art of T-shirt selection is a delicate science.  Just putting Batman or Star Wars on the front does *NOT* make it cool. The right T-shirt needs to say something about its wearer, while at the same time conforming to certain aesthetic sensibilities. If you’re ever standing in the aisle at Target contemplating buying a T-shirt for the dork in your life, you would do well to remember that.

 

Neutral color. Says something about who I am and *when* I come from. THIS is a good T-shirt

For my part I like to wear superhero shirts (provided the tacky-factor is relatively minimal). The potential is there to be mocked by the “cool kids”, but I’ve learned that what makes “cool” cool is confidence. Your attitude has to say “This is what’s cool because this is what I’m wearing”. It takes a certain amount of swagger to pull off a Green Lantern symbol T-shirt as an adult.

This is Comic Book Guy... but the caption could just as easily be "Dork Daddy"

It’s easy to have that swagger when you’re a 20-something with a 32” waist at the peak of your game. It’s quite a bit more difficult when the reality is you look more like Comic Book Guy than anything else.

I recently joked with my very pregnant wife that it took her 8 months to grow her belly bigger than mine. Just for fun we whipped out the measuring tape to see the actual numbers. Guess what. She was 8 months pregnant and I was *STILL* thicker around the middle. /epicfail

Two years ago I ran the L.A. Marathon (and haven’t run a single step since). 20 years ago I was the most feared ½ miler (800m, 2 laps around the track) and mile relay anchor (400m, 1 lap around the track) in the Monterey Bay League, consistently running the 800 in less than 2 minutes, and the 400 in less than 50 seconds. You’d never know it to look at me today. We’ve all seen that picture going around Facebook: “This is what I feel like when I run. This is what I’m pretty sure I look like”. In my case, this is what I *KNOW* I looked like.

 

 It’s no mystery why. It isn’t my diet – I eat pretty well. With 2.9 kids and 11-hour work days the reality is simple: I don’t sleep and I don’t exercise. Simple. As far as work goes let’s get real, dentistry is a sport of sitting on your butt all day.

This is what a 36 year old man looks like after he finishes his first marathon... just before he has his first heart attack.

 

Looking on my calendar I’ve got a few things coming up. Next week I have my first real grown-up appointment with a physician. My family is scheduled to take portraits in about a month once the dust from the new baby has settled. On top of that, in 6 months or so I’ve got my 20th high-school reunion.  These three events alone are enough to make me look in the mirror and loath myself. Then the other night my wife tells me she couldn’t sleep the entire night, not because she’s 40 months pregnant, but because my snoring was so bad. That, combined with the fact that I can’t physiologically take a photograph anymore without showing two or three chins presents an inescapable reality. I’ve got to get this house in order.

Duffman

So today I did it. For the first time in 2 years I went out running – a piddly little 2.2 miles. I hated every step of it. But I did it. Today begins my transformation from Comic Book Guy to Duffman (minus Duffman’s nebulous sexual orientation).

-Dork Dad

PS: To my boy Andrew who was the Ring Bearer at my wedding and is now an 18-year-old stud at the peak of his game – Enjoy it while you’ve got it, ‘cause it doesn’t last.

 

 

This kid's abs have no idea what's in store for them.

Who stocks the batfridge?

11 Feb

ho stocks the batfridge when Alfred is on vacation?

 

 

 

 

 

After a long night of crime fighting, Batman stocks up on a few supplies for the batcave.

 

-Dork Dad

The Velveteen Bobo

6 Feb

aah, the teddy bear dance. There’s nothing quite like that sinking feeling you get when you’ve spent a long day at the cousins’ house, you finally get the kids packed up into the car, finally finish the 30 mile drive home arriving an hour after bed time, the baby is melting down, your nerves are shot, you dash through the house and throw pajamas on the kid, whip a toothbrush across their teeth, skip the bath, skip stories, tuck them under the covers only to realize… “Wait a minute. Where’s Bobo?”

BoBo is the ragged stuffed teddy bear that your daughter has slept with every night of her life – the one that she sucks on all night so it smells like the high school boys’ locker room – the one she drags around everywhere and refuses to sleep without. Now the baby’s crying because she’s overtired and she thinks you’re trying to get her to go to sleep without Bobo. Mad-dash around the house! Where did she leave it? What drawer did she tuck it into? What tree did she leave it in? What cushion did she stuff it under? Now you and your wife are screaming at each other. “Did you look in the bathroom?!”

“Yes, I looked in the bathroom! I looked there when we first got home, and I looked there the last time you told me to look in the bathroom!”

“Don’t get mad at me, I didn’t put it there!”

“Nobody put it there! It isn’t in the freakin’ bathroom! Go look in the backyard!”

“Where in the backyard?!”

“Are you serious?!”

“It’s dark out there!”

“Get a freakin’ flashlight!”

“I would if you would put it away in the right place after you use it!”

Where’s Bobo? Where’s Bobo? You wrack your brain, trying to remember the last place you saw him. Then it hits you, and suddenly you realize the evening is about to descend from the 6th level of hell to the 7th. The last place you saw Bobo… was at the cousins’ house.

Most of us in our day had a “Bobo”, so we afford a little more tolerance to Bobo-related calamities. Everyone has a different “Bobo”, but our stories are all vaguely similar. Eventually they lose their grip on us, but our relationship with them is always very real. Some of us dragged them everywhere we went, some of us were happy just to keep them on the nightstand. Some of us finish with them early, some of us keep them around as long as we can. (For my part, I brought my “Daddy Bear” with me to college – not because I needed him for security. I thought that if a hot chick happened to walk by my dorm room when the door was open, she might notice Daddy Bear sitting there and think I was a sensitive guy.)

When my daughter was born, among the mountains of gifts she accumulated were two identical pink, stuffed bears, one of which became her Bobo. To this day she sleeps every night with him smashed up against her face, sucking his little bow tie. You can imagine how yucky Bobo gets over time, so every once in a while we have to throw him in the washer/drier. The first time we did this and presented her with the warm, dry, fresh-smelling Bobo she burst into tears saying “But I want him yucky!”  When the potential for thermo-nuclear Armageddon became clear should Bobo ever be lost, we made a point of setting aside the identical twin he arrived with just in case a replacement was ever needed.

Which one would you stuff in your mouth?

Like twins separated at birth and reunited decades later, looking at them it is clear that they have led very different lives. One is bright, pink and robust, as if it was always well-nourished, was legacied into an Ivy League school, spent a year abroad in Europe after college, interned for a congressman for a few years, and is now an upwardly-mobile, young executive in a Wall Street investment firm. The other is dim, gray and emaciated, as if it bounced from foster home to foster home, dropped out of high school, hitchhiked up and down California coast for years, and is teetering on the edge of falling back into a full-fledged methamphetamine habit. If you looked at them now it would never even cross your mind that they were actually identical twins. If Bobo was ever lost, there’s no way “backup-Bobo” could fill the role. If that day comes, we’re all done for.

My son’s “Bobo” turned out a little different. He’s got “Jellycat”, which is actually the name of the company that made the thing. They make all sorts of animals, from aardvarks to zebras, each with a “Jellycat” tag, much like the Beanie Babies of yester-year. Where my daughter only really needs Bobo to sleep, my son drags Jellycat around with him everywhere. We have a strict rule that Jellycat never goes outside the car if he leaves the house, but otherwise wherever my son goes Jellycat goes too. In fact, looking at my little tussled, blonde haired, rough and tumble, highly imaginative moppet of a son dragging around a mangy, well-loved, striped, stuffed cat around wherever he goes, it conjures up images of another well known character from American literature. Additionally, instead of sucking on the stuffed animal itself, my son sucks on his finger while holding the animal. After countless hours of finger sucking amassed over crucial developmental years, my son’s upper dental arch is pretty jacked-up. Thankfully I refer enough business to our local orthodontist that I don’t think we’ll have a problem getting him treated.

The comparrison will only get better as he gets older.

On the subject of transitional objects, if you’re ever looking for bedtime storybooks for the young person in your life, I strongly suggest the Knuffle Bunny series by Mo Willems. Based in large part on the author’s daughter, they tell the story of Trixie and her Knuffle Bunny (Kuh-nuffle? Nuffle?) as Trixie grows up. There are three books in the series, and in them we see Trixie (and Knuffle Bunny) grow from toddler, to school girl, to big girl. They’re hilarious in a way that most parents totally understand, they’re masterfully illustrated, and if it was possible for a picture book to have comedic timing, these would be the gold standard. If you’ve got your own “Trixie” at home, who seems to be growing up faster than you’re comfortable, the third book in particular will be particularly poignant. I defy you to read it without getting choked-up.

Links:

Knuffle Bunny

Knuffle Bunny, Too

Knuffle Bunny, Free

Now that we’re mere weeks away from the third installment of our own little story, I have to wonder what transitional object will work its way into his life. As much fun as it is getting to know a new child, it isn’t just the child that you have to get to know. As every parent who has children with transitional objects knows, the Bobo’s and Jellycats are every bit as much a part of the family as the children are themselves.

-Dork Dad

P.S. In the comment section below please feel free to share your own Bobo/Jellycat/Knuffle Bunny stories. We’ve all got them, and each one is as ridiculous as the last.

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