In case you haven't been keeping up lately with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions, I just wanted to let you know that the punk rockers from Oakland known as Green Day were inducted in April. I'll go ahead and say what we're all thinking: Yes, they are the greatest band of all time. I mean, for those of us between the ages of say 30 and 45, listening to the "Dookie" and "American Idiot" albums from front to back for the first time were life-changing experiences. That's an incontrovertible fact. That's two life-changing experiences produced by a single band. Top that, The Beatles!
I've been racking my brain for months trying to come up with a way to pay homage to Billie Joe and the gang. I finally came up with something that is pretty stupid, but probably not the most stupid thing you've ever read on the Internet. Hope I'm not overselling it.
"Welcome to Paradise"
We are driving home from the park, I've just picked up a hot coffee from the drive-thru, all the kids fall asleep at the same time in the back seat, "Welcome to Paradise" comes on the radio, and I turn up the car stereo loud, but not so loud that it might wake the kids up (maybe 4 volume bars on the stereo display... nah, let's live a little... roll the dice and turn it up to 5).
There is a list of about 127 character traits I need to get through each day as a parent. Pride is definitely not on that list.
"Boulevard of Broken Dreams"
The street on which my 3-year-old permanently resides, because I'm always doing unforgivable stuff like throwing away his hardened PB & J sandwich crust seven hours after he started eating it, but two minutes before he was planning to finish it.
"Road to Acceptance"
The street on which my 3-year-old never resides. Ever.
Umm, stay-at-home dads, of course: The forgotten minority. Holla! It's very difficult for white men these days to paint themselves as minorities, but I've managed to do it, perhaps with the help of some creative definitions.
This one's too easy: My head-banging, stunt-climbing, non-sleeping 1-year-old.
"I Want to Be Alone"
"No One Knows"
Why, out of all the rules we've attempted to ingrain in our 3-year-old, does he consistently, vehemently and without prompting follow only one: No shoes on the couch? No one knows.
The cornerstone of my parenting philosophy -- as in, taking the long view. For example, some days at around 5 p.m., my 1-year-old is beyond cranky. I'm talking about crying while walking around, banging-his-head-against-the-cabinets-on-purpose cranky. The easy way out would be to do nap time. Well, not easy, but easy comparatively speaking. Usually, though, I try to work through it by entering fully-engaged dad mode to distract him in hopes of getting him to bed for good (LOL) at 7:30. What's that you say: Two-and-a-half hours isn't that long? Sure, feel free to come on over and test out that theory.
This is my 3-year-old, about four mornings per week on days that coincidentally (but always) fall on daddy's turn to get him out of bed.
The number of times I say, "It's just about bed time," every night between the hours of 7 and 9.
"All By Myself"
How is it possible that all I think I want most of the time is to have alone time, but when I do, this is how I ultimately feel?
"One of My Lies"
"Sorry, dude, Starbucks is out of cookies again!" That's one of my lies, there are about a thousand others.
This one's too easy: Me. See this entire post as a reference.
Walking: It seems like such a straightforward and healthy activity free of contradiction... except when you attempt to do it with a 1- and 3-year-old. First of all, can you really call it walking when you sometimes traverse about 50 feet in 15 minutes? And once you do get going, is it really worth the effort when genius dad always (and I do mean always), for reasons that cannot be understood, plans a circular route around the neighborhood even though the 3-year-old invariably (and I do mean invariably) decides you're going the wrong way and must turn back four-fifths of the way around the loop? It's such a walking contradiction and one that underscores a larger point: No matter how much it might seem like leaving the house with your kids to expose them to some horizon-expanding activity is a good idea, staying home and watching "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" is always the wiser choice.
The relationship between the pieces of every jigsaw puzzle we own (and several I'm not even sure we own, but seem to have taken up permanent residence in our house) and the floor.
Describes me and my level of attention to the aforementioned puzzle pieces.
"King for a Day"
Describes how my kids view my level of authority on no day ever.
"See the Light"
My 3-year-old's go-to explanation for why it's not time to go to bed yet or why it's time to get out of bed in the morning.
"Words I Might Have Ate"
Any words by which I communicate to my 3-year-old anything (positive or negative) that is going to happen in the future (be it five minutes or five days).
Hold on a second, I'll be right back. Have to look for something real quick.
You know that moment when your baby is crying at 2:42 a.m.? At first, you think it's a dream, and you're like, "Why doesn't someone get that baby?!?", then you rouse yourself enough to notice you're sleeping in an upright position on the couch with a chihuahua draped around your neck and an infomercial for The Pocket Hose blaring on the TV and finally, when you get up to get the baby you have conceded is actually yours, it takes you a couple minutes to remember where he is. Brain Stew is that moment.
"Wow! That's Loud"
Every children's toy ever created, particularly when stepped on in the middle of the night.
"Are We The Waiting?"
If a child is sleeping, the answer is always yes we are.
Holiday: The British word for vacation. In my household, a holiday is the time when both kids are asleep simultaneously, which is more or less 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. every night (give or take 38 minutes on each end: for when the 3-year-old extends his booty-shaking couch dance party on the front end and the 1-year-old gets thirsty early on the back end). Bliss.
If you ever sing "Let It Go" in the presence of my 3-year-old, do not, under any circumstances, change the words to "Let It Snow" in an attempt to be hilarious. Consider yourself warned.
This, for me, will be the moment I stop changing dirty diapers in public, particularly on uneven surfaces like the back seat of the car, where someone or something always rolls off. I can get nostalgic about pretty much anything, but when I am no longer required to perform this task, I think I will make an exception (but we'll see).
The love of a parent for his child: the most heart-breaking, rewarding, sometimes frustrating, all-encompassing, frighteningly visceral -- in a word, brutal -- love of all.
OK, I know you guys might have been skeptical at first, but you're into it now. How could you not be? Let me know if I missed any good ones.