Dual Standards

This isn’t your typical dual standard I’m talking about. It’s the “I’ll act this way for daddy, but watch out when mommy enters the scene” dual standard.

For some reason, my son acts wonderfully (nigh perfectly I might venture) when it’s just me and him. When the mom walks in though, he gets all whiny and clingy and crap. Does anyone else have this going on?  I know it’s not pleasant for her but it drives me batty. A kind of “I wonder if the wiffle bat leaves marks?” batty. Sometimes he just gets to the point where he won’t listen at all. This of course leads to the ‘time out’ which doesn’t work since he’s so fucking stubborn wonderfully headstrong. Then that leads to the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I know, it’s ‘Momma’s Boy’ syndrome isn’t it? Tell me it ain’t so. It’s okay, I can take it. Now how do I break him the behavior? I’m pretty sure the “I’d like the angelic behavior all the time” speech won’t work. Actually, it will provided a) The Mom isn’t in the room and b) she never, ever comes back into the room.

Sigh, I guess that’s a bit much to ask, so I had better come up with another game plan. Any pointers readers?

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The time is rapidly approaching when my son will head off to kindergarten. He’s excited for it and his mom is a little sad that he’s growing up. Not terribly so, but enough to make a mom’s eyes get all misty. Dad is fine with it. Mainly because I knew it was coming and I’ve tried to prepare him in little ways.

I’ve helped by removing little bits of his innocence. ‘Ouch,’ you say, but it had to be done. It’s just little pieces I assure you. I’ll give you a short list:

  1. He’s had to come to face the fact that his head doesn’t really make a ‘POP’ sound when he pulls a shirt on.
  2. He’s learned that he really can’t run faster than daddy and he can’t win all the games all the time.
  3. Whining will not get you anywhere except into a timeout. Sure, it used to get you a toy just to shut you up but now it gets you a quick walk to the car.

There are other things, but you get the point. Plus I can’t remember them right now due to lack of sleep…and as you all know; lack of sleep = lack of motivation.

On the bright side, there are pleasures that come as he grows too. He now want to be a paleontologist when he grows up. It’s neat to see him get into new things and learn about it. It’s like all kids are born like a big sponge O’ knowledge and it’s only age and corrective measures that beat ignorance into kids. I’ve vowed never to do that and rail against forces (school, church, dogma, etc.) that threaten to.

The one liners are also a lot better when they get older too. You can’t get this from a year old:

Neighbor: Do want this sticky bun? You’ll have to ask your parents first.
The Boy: I can have it.
Neighbor: Go ahead and ask.
The Boy: Daddy! Can I have this sticky bun?
Me: Sure, you ate lunch.
The Boy: (to neighbor): See? I told you I could have it. The only things I’m not allowed to have are cigarettes and beer.

All stages have their perks and fun attached but even I’ll admit it’s sad to see them pass them too.

The youngest Marx brother

(Disclaimer: If you have never seen a Marx Brothers movie, shame on you. Go watch one and then read this post…cretin.)

Yes, that would be my son. A conversation this morning:

The Boy: “I’m not going to school today.”
Me: “Okay.”
The Boy: “I’m wearing sandals.”
Me: “To the place you’re not going to today?”
The Boy: “Yeah.”

That’s one of the great things about kids. Logic no longer applies and you can occasionally live life just like it’s “Duck Soup” all over again. Like when he comes trotting down the steps and yells, “Let’s play with poisonous snakes.” You just take up the mantle with aplomb and head off to play with poisonous snakes. Sure they’re not real poisonous snakes and I had better not bring any home because he will, most likely, play with them, but he sure acts like the fake ones are real.

Parental training should probably include a few Marx Brother movies, with an introductory voice-over saying, “This is what your life will be like at times.”  Sure, you will have lucid moments but many times you’ll either be cleaning up messes or (hopefully) get entertaining wordplay . I try to enjoy it all.

So remember, if the rug rats are ever getting you down, it’s all just another skit. Pick your role and play along.

The Perils of Security

My son has a baa-baa. It’s an old, ratty (at least after three years it is) nightgown that he pilfered from my wife to use as a security blanket. On it was his ‘spot’; a special place that felt just right. I still curse the day that his grandmother (her mom) suggested that he have some sort of security item. It is NOT a good idea and is NOT cute…especially when your child is still lugging it about at five years old.

The ‘spot’ became detached at some point when his grandfather (her dad) cut it off so he didn’t have to carry the whole thing around with him. Of course, it was a Bad Idea and my wife ended up sewing it back on to the main mass of the baa-baa.

Flash forward to my wife’s birthday. The piece (his ‘spot’ if you recall) had come loose at daycare and needed to be restitched. No prob, we’ll do that at home later. Later comes and so do my in-laws (the virtual wellsprings of great ideas) for dinner. In tow is their puppy, Buddy. At some point during the festivities (I was cooking some nice chops with an awesome dry rub at the time so I bear no responsibility for what comes) the ‘spot’ detaches much to Buddy’s delight. He grabs it and summarily eats it. Jake gets bent. Wife comforts. Dad (me) thinks, “Glory be, maybe we can get rid of the rest of the dammed thing.”

For consolation, Grandma says, “I’ll get it back for you,” to my son. Knowing there’s only one way to get it out (barring a carving knife) I cast her a dirty look for good measure. She winked and shook her head so I allowed myself a mental, “whew.”

My wife however, said, “Let me know when you get it back.”


Aghast, I waited until the boy was out of earshot and let my wife know that if the ‘spot’ show up in the house, it’s going nowhere near the boy. Ever. I don’t care if it gets boiled in bleach and dipped into the photosphere of the sun for sanitary purposes. I know where it’s been.

“But he’s really upset.”

“I know, but life happens sometimes.”

“That’s just callous.”

Blink. “I’m going to light the candles on your cake now.”

Changing the topic is one of the top domestic survival skills I’ve developed over the years. That and smiling and nodding.

Take heed parents. The psychs might say it’s not harmful to have a security blanket, but there is pain involved. I’d say avoid it at all costs.

My son now carries his original baa-baa plus a T-shirt that’s “soft and smells just like mommy.” I just can’t win.

So it goes…


I just passed this guy first in the library and again outside while walking to my office. You should also understand that I do love my adopted small town in central PA before I continue. Back to the guy…

He was wearing grungy shorts and a matching (that is to say also grungy) mustard T-shirt. I suspect it was actually dyed that way, but from the size of his gut, it could have quite possibly been actual mustard. He had also donned the requisite ball cap (I may be breaking laws around here by not wearing one, but I’m a rebel like that.) Affixed to the back of the ball cap was his fishing license. Ask me how far away from a stream we are. Pretty far. This is a college campus, the fishing hole is that-a-way. It’s only a short drive, but still…

This is why people get stereotyped. Sure he could just be a fashion victim, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if you’re in a library on a college campus, you should try to look like you’ve at least heard of a book if not actually read one. I know that I may sound elitist, but I see this stuff every day. I don’t want to have to see it. It doesn’t take that much effort to clean yourself up. Take the extra 10 minutes out of your life and stop being a small town stereotype.

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Walking with Dinosaurs

We went to see Walking with Dinosaurs yesterday and it was fantastic. The light and sound show by itself was great but the dinosaurs were unbelievable.

They were all life-size animatronic  and the movements were incredibly realistic. At least as far as they can guess of course. My son enjoyed it immensely and is still running around the house quoting the few lines he memorized from the show.

If you get the chance, I highly recommend going to see it. How often do you get a chance to see a life sized T-Rex and have it roar at you? I’ll post up some of the pics that turned out on flickr in a bit.

DSL part Deux

Well, here’s how it all ended up. They never did figure out how to fix it. I spent 8 hours on the phone with tech support some of whom insist (at least the ones in India) that the problem is with my computer. The US side of tech support seems to acknowledge that the problem is in the line or network. They are mostly unwilling to do anything about it though since I only accounted for a teeny, tiny portion of their customer base.

I spent another 4 hours trying to get in touch with a manager willing to waive my disconnect fee. I got one who wanted to send another tech out to my house — no thanks, I took time off from work already. I waited the weekend and called back on Monday. I was on hold waiting for a manager for two and a half hours. It was lunch by then so I hung up and ate. I called again at 2:45 (EST) and got to a manager within 20 minutes. After a thinly veiled threat to discontinue my local, long-distance, and wireless service as well, I finally had the early termination fee waived.

The moral: don’t get Verizon DSL. They outsource their tech support overseas, have insanely long hold times (I bet you could sign up for services in less than 5 minutes though,) and seem to think that a week without Internet connectivity is okay as long as you aren’t willing to disconnect any other Verizon services that you are using.

Sigh, aren’t megacorporations grand? Anyway, my cable modem is on the way, so hopefully I’ll have home access soonish. Also,if you need to call Verizon, the best time to call is around 3PM est. I have roughly seven days worth of experience and it’s the only time I’ve gotten to a human and off hold in under 15 minutes.