January 30, 2013

Lost Baby

Me (changing Princess Teacup's diaper): "Who's my baby?"

Princess Teacup (smiling): "Me!"

Me (kissing her all over the face): "That's right!"

Princess Teacup (suddenly hiding behind her hands)

Me (worried): "Oh no!  Where did my baby go?  Where is she?"

Sippy Cup (walking into the bedroom): "What's up Dad?"

Me (turning to him): "I can't find my baby!  She's gone!"

Sippy Cup (looking first at his sister and then at me): "Uhm, she's right there."

Princess Teacup (giggling)

Me: "Oh no! I can't find her! Where's my beautiful baby?  Where did she disappear to?"

Sippy Cup (looking at his sister and then at me): "Dad.  Seriously.  She's right there.  You're touching her."

Princess Teacup (popping out from behind her hands): "Boo!"

Me (thoroughly surprised): "Ah! There she is!  There's my baby!"

Princess Teacup (giggling): "Daeee! I want chabee!"

Sippy Cup (shaking his head): "You guys are crazy.  I'm going to go eat breakfast."

January 29, 2013

Pediatric Linguistics

Pediatrician: "So she's looking happy and healthy."

M.O.M. (carrying Princess Teacup): "That's great."

Pediatrician: "And her diet?"

Me: "Uhm, to be honest, she eats whatever we eat.  A lot of vegetables, chicken, fresh fruits.  Nothing processed.  We try to be healthy. But I'm afraid that we're over-feeding her.  She's huge."

Pediatrician: "Well, looking at her growth and development chart...oh wow.  She's actually underweight for her height.  She's in the 97th percentile for height and the 90th percentile for weight."

Me (whispering to the M.O.M.): "I told you she's a monster!"

Princess Teacup (whispering back): "Raaaaawrrr!"

Pediatrician: "How about her vocabulary? At 18 months, we generally like to see them repeating words and putting together 1-2 words-"

Princess Teacup (handing the M.O.M. the iPhone she had been playing with): "Oh no Mama! I can't do it! I can't do it Mama! Oh no!"

Pediatrician: "...so....yeah...she's doing great!"

January 28, 2013

Princess Teacup: Lost In Translation (6-10)

In the event that you should find yourself alone with my daughter, I have already provided you with some basic words and phrases to keep you safe as well as the specific instructions on how to prepare a banana snack for the dictator-in-training (pants).

As an added safety measure, here are 5 more words to help you survive your time alone with Princess Teacup.  I have included examples of usage for further reference.

"Babu" - Pacifier ; the etymology of this word is unknown but it is believed to be based on the word "Bobo" of Spanish origin. I.E. "Babu! Babu? Where is Babu? Hey! Come back here Babu!"

"Leshé" - Milk ; similar to "Babu", it is believed this word is based on the Spanish word "Leche"; demands for "Leshé" serve as a precursor to demands for "Babu" which are both indicators that demands for lullabies and nap time are imminent. I.E. "I want leshé. Babu! Babu? Where is Babu? Hey! Come back here Babu!"

"Chabee" - Strawberries ; requests for "Chabee" will be made at the most inopportune times, most often when you open the refrigerator door to get her bottle of milk and she happens to notice the container of fresh strawberries on the second shelf. I.E. "Chabee! Chabee! Chabee! No leshé!"

"Chi" - String Cheese ; pronounced in the same fashion as "chi", the Chinese principle of the energy in all forms of life, in this context the word actually means "String Cheese" and will be requested at the worst possible moment, most often when you have denied her request for "chabee". I.E. "Chi! I want chi! No chabee! No leshé! Babu! Chi!"

"JJ" - Sippy Cup ; yet another word with unknown etymology since Sippy Cup's name has absolutely no "J"s in it.  Most often used when she is sleepy and cranky and her snack-time requests have not been met. I.E. "JJ! JJ! Come! Come! Daee no do it!  What Daee doing? Babu?"

January 24, 2013

DIY - Nanas

Considering the trouble I got myself into the other day when I tried to give Princess Teacup a banana, I thought it would be best if I asked the M.O.M. to provide detailed, step-by-meticulous-step instructions as to the proper procedure to meet the little goblin's snack-time demands.

She emailed me the following:

1.  Break the small, hard nub at the top of the banana (just a little bit) so that it begins to separate the pieces of peel from the banana itself.

2.  You should aim for 3 pieces of peel to remain to be torn off in strips.  Three.  Not two.  Not four.  Three.

3.  Show her the first strip and pull on it slightly so that it is easier for her to pull.  However do not, under any circumstances, let her know that you pulled on the peel because then she will think that you teared it off instead of her.  This will render the banana useless.

4.  Repeat Step #3 with the remaining 2 pieces.

5.  Make sure the banana is clear of the "stringy things" (according to the Internet, these things are called phloem). You have to take them off but, once again, do not let her see that you took them off for her. However, she will not want to take them off herself either (if they get stuck to her hand, the banana will be rendered useless and any hope of peace you had will evaporate). They have to sort of magically disappear.  If she sees a single piece of phloem, the banana will be rendered useless.

6.  Make sure there is no hard nub on either end of the now fully-peeled, phloem-free banana. If there happens to be a nub left after you have removed the peel, take off the smallest piece you can while, simultaneously, making sure no evidence of its initial existence remains. Do not let her see you do this though or else she will think it is a broken banana and the banana will be rendered useless.

7.  Hand her the banana.

8.  Pat yourself on the back for feeding your daughter a healthy and delicious snack.

** Editor's Note **

While extremely thorough and precise, I feel the M.O.M. forgot two key steps:

9.  Write a three word memo to Princess Teacup's future spouse to be handed over on their wedding day; it will read "I am sorry."

10.  Stop buying bananas.

January 23, 2013


So what happens when you host an amazing Mattel Batman Power Attack toy review party and invite your cousin (who is a phenomenal cartoonist and a rabid Batman fanboy) but he can't make it to the party?

He expresses his pain the best way he knows how:

January 22, 2013

Hardware Gardening

Me (placing my tool bag on the table): "Hey little dude.  Come here for a second."

Sippy Cup (wide-eyed): "Whoa!  Look at all of that stuff!"

Me (emptying out the bag in order to reorganize it): "Yeah.  These are Daddy's tools.  After our last trip to the hardware store, I figure this is an easier way for you to learn about tools."

Sippy Cup (whispering): "Awesome."

Me (pointing to the various tools): "These are all different kinds of wrenches, screwdrivers, hammers and other tools that I use to fix things around the house."

Sippy Cup: "Like the guest bathroom!  The toilet doesn't leak anymore.  You did a good job!"

Me: "Thanks.  I want to make sure that when you grow up you can fix things in your house also."

- We spend 15 minutes carefully reviewing each and every piece of hardware -

Me (grabbing the stud finder): "Ok.  Take this to Mommy and tell her what it is and what you use it for."

Sippy Cup (running to the bedroom): "Mommy!  Mommy!  Look!  This is a spud finder!  You use it to find the spuds inside the wall!"

M.O.M.: "Oh really?  Did your Daddy teach you all about this spud finder?"

Sippy Cup: "Yep!"

Me (shaking my head): "Damn it."

January 21, 2013

Super Dr. King

Me (sitting at the computer): "Hey little dude, do you know what today is?"

Sippy Cup (working on his homework): "Yeah.  It's Dr. Martin Luther King Day."

Me: "That's right.  Did you learn about him in school?"

Sippy Cup: "Yeah." 

Me: "Good.  So what did you learn about?  Why was he important?"

Sippy Cup: "Well, he was important because he said that white kids and black kids should go to school together.  
Which was a great idea."

Me: "That's right."

Sippy Cup: "Dad, is there a video game about Dr. Martin Luther King?"

Me: "What?  No!  Why would there be a video game about Dr. King?  What would that game even be about?"

Sippy Cup (looking up at me): "Peace."

M.O.M.: "Ha!"

January 18, 2013

Last Night

M.O.M. (sitting at the dining room table): "I had such a rough week at work.  I'm exhausted."

Me (sitting across from her, absent-mindedly flipping through a catalog): "Yeah. I'm pretty sleepy too."

M.O.M. (slumping a bit in her seat, closing her eyes, and rubbing her temples): "It's why I've been this way all week.  All moody and grumpy and just out of it."

Me (staring at a page of bookcases and wondering how long it would take Teacup to empty the lower shelves): 
"Hmm.  Is that your way of apologizing?"

M.O.M. (sitting up slowly and staring at me): "Apologizing for what, exactly?"

Me (suddenly aware of the taste of my own foot): "Uhm. Nothing. It just sounded like you were apologizing. Do you like these bookcases? I think we need a new one."

M.O.M. (narrowing her eyes): "Why would I need to apologize?"

Me (laughing nervously): "Ha!  For nothing!"

M.O.M. (smiling slightly): "No. Please. Let me know what I need to apologize for."

Me (terrified because I know that her smile, ironically, signifies violence): "I love you?"

M.O.M. (standing up and walking away): "You went to Regis and NYU.  Without a doubt, this makes you the dumbest smart man I know."   

January 17, 2013

Field Report (6): Patience

“Step back,” I said in my deepest, alpha-male voice to the three teenagers at the bus stop, “and let her on first.”

The middle-aged woman with the plastic bags full of colorful vegetables and cleaning products boarded the bus without acknowledging my gallant chivalry.

“I’m really sorry,” one of the teens said sincerely while lowering his eyes. “I didn’t mean it.  I wasn’t focusing,” he said, more to himself than to me. 

My wife was standing behind me.  She placed a hand on my shoulder and whispered in my ear “Baby.  Take it easy.  He may have a special need.”

My immediate reaction was adamant disbelief, to admonish her for judging this rowdy kid as having any kind of mental disability, for excusing his impoliteness as a result of a lack of awareness of social cues and norms.  However, to my deepening embarrassment, I realized that she was right.  I boarded the bus quietly and took a seat by the window.

My wife has a professional background in Early Childhood Education and has spent her career (both in the classroom as a teacher and outside of it as a member of the administrative team) working closely with special needs students of all ages.  What I had initially viewed as an incorrect snap judgment influenced by her “maternal instincts” was more a quick analysis she had sharpened through years of experience.

For the remainder of the bus ride, I watched the young teenager and his friends.  They continued their previous conversation in nervous whispers, suddenly very aware of their surroundings and of the belligerent man who had corrected their behavior.  I pictured their lives populated with others just like me: adults in positions of actual and presumed authority, people who lost their patience with them, who could not understand what the world looked like through their eyes. 

Admittedly, all of this was supposition; other than my wife’s comment, I had no evidence as to whether any type of disability even existed nor (if it did) the extent to which it affected their lives.  Perhaps they were the rowdy, disrespectful, annoying teenagers I automatically judged them to be.  Better yet, maybe they were rowdy and disrespectful teenagers who also happened to have special needs.  Based on their behavior for the remainder of the bus ride, however, I knew I was wrong.

“I wasn’t focusing.”  That phrase rolled off his tongue with the familiar ease of an apology that is repeated often.  It swam through my subconscious and came back transformed, metastasized by my deepest insecurities.  The voice was no longer his; the voice was my own.  And it was gruffly saying “You need to learn how to focus!” to my 5 year-old son as he tried to do his homework.

A light drizzle had started to streak the bus window panes and distorted my reflection.   There he was, the man who loved the sound of his own voice, who wanted to show his wife that he wasn’t afraid of some stupid teens, who was in such a hurry to be a hero he ended up being an ass instead.  Sometimes, the most important lessons to be learned about parenthood will happen when you are away from your children, when the physical distance creates the empty space required for self-reflection.  Patience was a virtue that I could have sworn I had already mastered.   That moment at the bus stop taught me otherwise.

I am a work in progress.  I am trying to leave this world a better place than what I found it.  I have learned to accept the mistakes I have made.  Its time I started extending the same courteous understanding to complete strangers.  Its time I started extending the same courteous understanding to my own son, a little boy who is so sweet, so caring, and so patient with his old man.

January 15, 2013

Spanish App

Sippy Cup (sitting on the couch, lazily perusing the App store on the iPhone): 
"Hey Mom!  Can I download something on your phone?"

M.O.M. (walking over to sit down next to him): "Sure.  But it has to be something educational."

Sippy Cup: "Ok.  How about something about dinosaurs?"

M.O.M. (taking the phone in her hands): "Dude, all you ever download are dinosaur games!  Let me see if I can find something better.  Oh!  Look!  They have one that teaches you Spanish!  That sounds like fun!"

Sippy Cup (sitting up and looking over at the phone): "But I want to learn more about dinosaurs."

Me (walking over to stand behind the couch): "Little man.  Listen to your mom.  Speaking another language is an important skill.  Trust me.  You'll appreciate it when you're older and looking for a job."

M.O.M. (nodding in approval): "Yeah.  Daddy knows how to speak Spanish fluently.  
And, trust me, I wish I knew how to speak Spanish."

Sippy Cup (looking up at us with a big smile): "Then why don't you play that game?  
And let me play my dinosaur game instead? Ha!"

Princess Teacup (from underneath the couch): "RAAAAAWRRRR!"

January 14, 2013

Passing of the Torch

M.O.M. (loading the washing machine): 
"Whatever.  Nothing you're saying right now makes any sense."

Me (sitting at the dining room table, flipping through a magazine):  
"Hey little dude, why don't you tell Mommy what else doesn't make any sense?"

Sippy Cup (sitting on the couch, watching cartoons): 
"Ha!  Your face doesn't make any sense Mom!"

Princess Teacup (sitting on the couch and pointing at the sky): 
"You face!"

M.O.M.: "Wonderful.  Are you proud of yourself?"

Me: "Yes.  Yes I am."

January 10, 2013

A Letter to Future Sippy Cup (20)

Hey kid,

This is what this past week has looked like:
  • Your baby sister is teething and has needed a lot of love and affection from 1am until 7am since Wednesday of last week.  
  • Your mom has asthmatic bronchitis.  "Asthmatic bronchitis" is just as fun as it sounds.
  • The elevator in our apartment building is being repaired.  Since we live on the 5th floor, we have had to carry your sister (and her stroller) up and down the stairs since Tuesday.  Today is Thursday.
  • You have an after-school dance recital today at 3:45pm.  To make sure I was able to be there, I have had to work late every single day at work.
This past week doesn't make us special.  We are no better than the other moms and dads who go through similar struggles raising their kids.

But I know there will come a day when you will give me an attitude because I don't let you do something ridiculous that you really want to do with your gang of hooligan friends.  

I know this because I gave Nina and Nino an attitude whenever they didn't let me do something ridiculous that I really wanted to do with my gang of hooligan friends.

On the day that you do give me the anticipated attitude, you may wonder why I laugh in your face.

This past week can serve as your answer.

Your mother and I are your parents.  The only ones you have.  There will be times when we make you angry.  And that is perfectly ok with me.

It is our responsibility to do the best that we possibly can for you and your sister.  To sacrifice anything and everything. 

Why?  Because that's what real parents do. 


January 9, 2013


Me (sitting on the couch, carefully tying my shoes): "So my friend Becca read Mindy Kaling's new book and there's an essay about why men put on their shoes so slowly."

M.O.M. (sitting next to me and flipping through the cable channels): "Uh-huh."

Me: "It made me realize that I do put on my shoes slowly.  Like, I have to sit down first and everything."

M.O.M.: "Hmm. That is true."

Me: "Well, it's not really fair.  Men's shoes are heavier.  It's not like we can just grab a pair of sling back pumps and
step right into them while still standing up."

M.O.M.: "I guess.  Do you remember how hard it was for me to put on my shoes when I was pregnant with the kids?
Even ballerina flats were a pain."

Me (sitting up and smiling): "A-ha!  See!  I do know what it's like to be pregnant!"

M.O.M.: "Please.  Please just stop.  Just stop yourself before this goes any further."

Me (slouching lower on the couch, pretending to be pregnant): "Oh look at me and my belly!  Look at my fat belly!
It has a baby inside it!  I can't put on my shoes becau-"

M.O.M. (inches away from my face): "One more word.  Just one.  And I will punch you in the face."

January 8, 2013


Me (standing in front of the bathroom vanity, shaving)
"I think I hear a baby sneaking into the bathroom."

Princess Teacup (giggling) :"Heh."

Me (looking down at her): "Hey love."

Princess Teacup (lifting up the toilet seat carefully)

Me: "What are you doing?"

Princess Teacup (standing in front of the toilet bowl and lifting up her shirt)

Me: "Uhm.  Seriously.  What are you doing?"

Princess Teacup (poking at her belly button and then at her diaper)

Me: "Wait a second."

Princess Teacup (standing very still and smiling)

Me: "Oh no..."

Princess Teacup (flushing the toilet): "Dada.  P."

Me (shouting out to the bedroom): "Hey little dude!  Did you use the bathroom in front of your sister?"

Sippy Cup (shouting back): "I didn't mean to!  She walked in on me!  But I showed her what to do!"

Princess Teacup (dancing): "P! P! P!"

Me (whispering to myself): "Why don't you two do this stuff to your mom?"

January 4, 2013

Growing Up Means (2)

Hey little dude,

Growing up means you can have whatever you want for breakfast.  

Whether that means a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter or a bag of Haribo Gold-Bears, your breakfast choices are entirely up to you.

However, please note that growing up also means you will have to rub your own belly whenever it hurts because you decided to eat candy for breakfast.


January 3, 2013


Princess Teacup (from the kitchen): "Daadee!"

Me (walking into the kitchen): "Yes baby?"

Princess Teacup (pointing to the refrigerator door): "I want water."

Me: "Of course baby.  Thank you for asking so nicely.  I actually understood you this time."

Princess Teacup: "Water."

Me (taking out a small bottle of water): "Here you go baby."

Princess Teacup (shaking her head): "No.  Water."

Me (confused): "But, my love, this is water."

Princess Teacup: "No!"

Me (apprehensive): "Ok.  Do you want some juice?"

Princess Teacup: "No!"

Me (holding out both a small bottle of water and a juice box): "Which one do you want love?"

Princess Teacup (points to the juice box): "Water."

Me (taking out the juice box and closing the fridge): "No problem baby girl.  I got you."

Princess Teacup (sees the juice box and starts to cry): "Maaaamaaa!"

M.O.M. (turns from the stove): "What is it baby?"

Princess Teacup (sniffling and whispering quietly): "I want water."

M.O.M. (goes into the fridge and takes out the same small bottle of water previously offered)
"Here you go my love."

Princess Teacup (dancing in place): "Mama!  Thank!"

Me: "This isn't even fair.  First the bananas and now this?"

M.O.M. (kneeling down and kissing her on the cheek)
"It's ok baby.  I already told you.  Daddy doesn't understand anything."

Princess Teacup (sticks her tongue out at me and then laughs)

M.O.M. (turning to me and smiling): "Isn't she adorable?"

January 2, 2013

Holiday Smörgåsbords

M.O.M.: “How was your holiday party at school?”

Sippy Cup: “It was awesome!  We had popcorn and chips and cookies and candy!”

M.O.M.: “Whoa!  You had a whole shmortgageboard!”

Me: “That’s definitely not how you say that.”

M.O.M.: “Shutup.  How do you say it then?”

Me: “Uhm, Smörgåsbord.

M.O.M.: “Definitely not.  I don’t believe you.  Look it up.  Let me hear the Internet pronounce it.”

Mr. Cufflinks dutifully looks up the proper pronunciation.

Me: “Told you so.”

M.O.M.: “Whatever.  That’s not how you say it in Jewish.”

Me: “Strike two and three.  Jewish isn’t a language.  And, since you’re half-Jewish, 
the fact that you don’t know this is something we should probably discuss.

M.O.M.: “Fine. Yiddish. Or Hebrew.  Jerk.”

Me: “Also, the word is Swedish.”

Sippy Cup: “It doesn’t matter anyway.  Jewish is an island.”