Home Alone

So, the lovely, talented and smokin’ mother (not just my opinion) at our little blog (let’s call her, um… Lynn) and I are off to our annual Academy Awards party. I’ll be posting about that later, if you can keep your eyes open. (You know, the usual: Hollywood elite, Beverly Hills, the rich and famous, beautiful people, 48-time nominee John Williams, free champagne. Oooo… Leonard Maltin. Blah blah blah.) I won’t bore you now. Details to follow.

No. Today’s installment here at the Fun Time centers on the sheer Joy of the daughters preparing to head out for a sleep over! The excitement in the house in palpable. Isabella (she’s 6) began packing 4 days ago. Julianna (8) can’t decide what to wear.

J: I can’t decide! My yellow dress with the pink flowers? Or, my pink dress with the yellow flowers?

Me: It doesn’t matter!

J: I can’t decide!

A week of indecision.

Going back a couple of days, Lynn was talking with her very dear friend (actually, hot “big sister”) Gretchen about our little party. Long story short, Gretchen offered to keep the girls overnight. It’s a decision I suspect Gretchen is probably regretting as I type these words. (Yeah, to you, they’re cute and funny. Real life paints a much different, darker, yelling-er picture. Just sayin.’)

But, as we are getting everything ready to drop the kids off at Gretchen’s, Isabella has a devilish look in her eye (not her normal I-Am-the-Devil look, but something… much more sinister.)

Iz (with an odd, grimacing smile): You and Mommy will be all alone tonight.

Me: Yes. Should I be concerned?

Iz: There won’t be any kids around.

Me: You’re sounding a little creepy.

Iz: So… (the pauses kill me)… Tonight… You and Mommy… In bed (she nods, demonically)…

Me: Crap! What have you seen?! Who have you told?! How much is this going to cost me?! Are there drones?! Tell me, little girl!! Tell me now!!

Iz (regaining her deceptive “happy, pleasant” face): No, Daddy. There won’t be any kids sticking their feet in your faces tonight. Hahaha! We’re having a Sleep Over! It’s Sleep Over Time! Yay!!! Where’s my Pillow Pet? Oh, there it is! Hahaha!!

Please visit Gretchen’s blog. Really good stuff:


Battle Royale

So, yesterday’s battle royale continues in the car ride to school this morning. Crap.

(See my previous post…)

Isabella (she’s 6): Nooo! That’s my little pony!

Julianna (she’s 8): No! It’s my little pony!

Hitting and slapping and smacking occur at 65 miles an hour.

Remember, I’m still driving this Crazy Train. Through Burbank on the 134. 65 MPH. In traffic.

Me: GIRLS!!!! Please!!!!

Changing the tone…

Me: Oooo. Look at the snow on top of the mountains!

The Girls (like the Aliens from Toy Story): Oooooooo! Snow…

Thankfully, last night delivered an epic rain storm, which means snow for the nearby mountains. By LA standards, a “major rain event…” equals half an inch of rain. (Don’t laugh, east coasters… Big news here.)

Julianna, offers detente to her sister (Wow, a Soviet Cold War-era French term.): Isabella, Can’t we just be Sisters again?

How sweet!

Isabella (turning to Julianna) says:… Nyet.

My Russian is a little stale, but considering the ruckus blistering in the back seat, I’m guessing the Cold War is still on.

Me: Christ! Girls!!! Look for the deer.

We have finally gotten to the peaceful, Griffith Park golf course/deer-finding area.)

J: Oooo. Daddy! There’s a coyote!

Iz: Where? Where?

Sure enough, there’s a coyote sniffing around the 8th hole. The deer are long gone.

J: I saw it first!

Iz: No! I did!

Jesus Christ! We are 3 minutes from school, and we’re fighting over this?

J: We haven’t see a coyote in, like… a year!

Iz: We saw one at Thanksgiving! A month ago!

Me: Please! Here’s our exit!

Finally at school.

Me: Get out of the car! Get out! Get the Hell out!

Not really. (But you know what I’m sayin’)

Their next school will be in walking distance.

Oh… Blue Fish

The girls are off to the their room. One is watching some gawd-awful TV show on the iPad, the other is trying to read a book.

Mommy and Daddy are relaxing on the sofa.

Then, the screams….

Child 1: Aaaaah! I hate you!

Child 2: You hit me! I hate you!

Me: Crap….

Walking to their room, I discover the girls are in some sort of mortal combat. Naturally, my first response is:

Me: Don’t break the iPad! Are you Crazy?!

Child 1: But, She…

Child 2: But, She…

Me: I don’t care. Just… Stop. Fighting! Can’t you help each other?

Child 2: The word is “blue.” Not “Boo.”

Child 1: Oh… I see. I missed the “L.”

Peace at last.

Minutes later.

Child 2: Ow! You hit me!

Child 1: It was an accident!

Child 2: No, it wasn’t. I said Boy! Not BOO!

Crap. Damn. Here we go again… I’m still on duty, so… Again… Girls!!

Being Brave

The girls and I are watching Pixar’s “Brave.” It’s an absolutely wonderful movie (a little bit scary. But, it is a “Disney-friendly” scary.) Mommy is out of the house for the evening.

What could go wrong?

Sometimes, the girls read more into something than I suspect:


Julianna (she’s 8): Merida has GREAT hair. Long and curly and reddish. Like Mommy.

Me: Yes. And, she’s Brave. Like Mommy, she is very Brave.

Isabella (she’s 6): And, she has a Fa-China. Just like Mommy. A Fa-China.

Me: Oh. Wow… Really?

Iz: A Fa-China. Right? (Matter-of-factly). She has one. Right?

Me: (Off balance.) Well, yes. I suppose. Though, it wasn’t made in China, I’m guessing. But…

At least, I correct her pronunciation.

Julianna: And, Daddy has a pennies!

Iz: Hahaha! Pennies! A penny is only one cent.

Me: Oh God. Not really the word. Value to be determined… (Damn the exchange rate!)

More pronunciation correction.

(Birds and Bees discussion is imminent.)

At the end of “Brave…”

Both girls: Hahaha! The three naked brothers are coming back. They’re naked!

We have some ‘splaining to do… But, I won’t be adding my two cents. I need to keep all the pennies I can.

Valentine’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day. There’s dinner. And wine. And putting the kids to sleep. And soft music. Some more wine. There’s sexy lingerie. (Not mine. Wipe that image from your brain.) And, yet, more wine.

But, the “putting the kids to sleep” part has always been the most difficult part. The others come later.

I know, most people see in their minds: images of mothers and their kids.

As a Dad, I object. Please, don’t leave us out.

For the last eight (plus) years, I have cuddled and snuggled and tickled my girls to sleep. Stories. And laughs. And humiliations. They love it. I love it. Hell… I’ve made a cottage industry out of it.

Did I mention my blog…?

Tonight is Valentine’s Day.

Isabella (she’s 6): Daddy, You snuggle with me. Julianna (she’s 8) gets Mommy.

The rules are set.

There are no favorites at sleepy-time in our household. Usually, the warmest, snuggliest, least-yellingest parent is the first one to be summoned. The other has to deal…

Tonight. Daddy is up first (i.e. yelled the least.) Me. I’m totally surprised. Totally surprised.

Climbing into bed with Isabella, she plays peek-a-boo until my right hand starts lightly scratching her back. Things begin to quiet down. My left arm has totally fallen asleep.

In the adjoining bed, Mommy has wrangled, cornered, and harnessed the older one to bed. I salute her.

Juianna: Mommy, sing “Baby Mine!”

It’s from Dumbo, the baby elephant. A beautiful lullaby.

Mommy (singing): “Baby mine, don’t you cry….”

By the time Mommy finishes, both girls are asleep. Isabella is snoring like a bear after three months of hibernation.

Meanwhile, I’m wiping tears off of the pillow case.

You know… Daddies also like to cuddle up with their children. We aren’t barbarians (mostly.)


Snuggling up in the morning with Isabella (she’s 6), I always tell her that THIS is my favorite time of day. Seriously, it’s my favorite time of day. Unless Julianna (she’s 8) gets to me first. Then THAT’s my favorite time of day.

This morning…

… it is Isabella’s turn. I pull the covers back, climb up and cuddle. I start gently singing and caressing her back and legs. I realize she is unzipping her onesie pajamas. She pushes my hand away.

Me: Uh oh. This can’t be good.

She presents her back and legs. I start to caress.

Iz: No, Daddy. This is very good.

Swear to God, she falls back asleep. I’m doing more harm than good.

Let me do breakfast.

Julianna awakens: Can you snuggle?

Me: Sorry. Gotta do Honey Smacks. What do you want?

J: A snuggle.

Crap! Not oatmeal?

But, Seriously, this is my favorite time of the day.

Me: What do you want for breakfast?

J: A snuggle. Zzzz.

Yeah… They’ll be tardy.

Flat Butt

The Sunday morning conversation started thusly:

Isabella (she’s all of 6): Daddy, you have a flat butt.

It’s 8:30. On a Sunday. We’re off to a great start!

Me: I’m sorry. Did you say “flat” or “fat?” Why are we talking about this?

Iz: I said, a “flat” one. Very flat.

Me: Well, Honey. I don’t have a flat butt. Or a fat butt. I’m kind of in between. Trust me. I know. I study butts every single day. Just… Don’t tell Mommy.

Iz: Well, but…

Me: Haha! You said “Butt.”

Iz: No, Daddy. But… You looked horrible when you were 13.

Things take a turn for the worse.

Me: Thanks for reinforcing my childhood insecurities. Appreciate that.

Iz: And, 14 and 15 and 16. But, you look good now.

Me: Thank you for that. And, I will try to not foster your own negative body image issues when you’re 13 or 14 or 15 or 16. You’ll always be beautiful.

Iz: I don’t understand.

Me: I know.

Iz: You know who has a good butt?

Me: Who?

Iz: Mommy.

Me: Well, like I said, I study them every day. So, I should know. And, yes she does. Just… Don’t tell Mommy…. Let me do that.


This may get ugly. There may be language. Apologies in advance. Sorry.

I am writing as things transpire. Basically… in real time. It’s happening NOW. (Pardon the paragraph breaks.)

Yelling now:

Isabella (she’s 6): I’m huuuuungry!!

Mommy: Ok. What do you want?

Iz: Waaaaaaaa. I’m hungryyyyyyyy.

Mommy: I know! What do you want?! Chicken? Pizza? Ham sandwich? Soup?

Julianna (the eight-year-old): Can I have the iPad?

Mommy: The iPad? Seriously? I’m dealing with dinner.

Iz: Waaaaaaah! Oatmeal.

I stick my fingers in my ears. (Literally. Quite literally. Fingers. Ears.)

Iz: No one cares that I hurt myself! On the oatmeal!

Me: Really? Oatmeal?… Boo-Hoo

Iz: My tongue. Too hot,

Me: After five minutes?

Iz: Ummmmm…..

Eventually, things calm down…

We’ve reached the end of the parade.

Iz: Oooo. Is that Sponge Bob?

J: Yay! Sponge Bob!

Both: Daddy, can we watch Sponge Bob?!

Only if I can go to bed…

Them: Ok.

Blazing Saddles

The family is cuddled up on the sofa, flipping past the usual Food Network, Science Channel, 700 Club… Also, QVC. Oprah’s OWN. Fox News. Chick Flick Central. Worst of ’80s TV. Telemundo. (No, not really the Science Channel. Just kidding. Also kidding about a couple of the others.)

We land on “Blazing Saddles,” edited for TV and pan-and-scanned instead of letter-boxed. But, we get sucked in. It is quite possibly the funniest, most referenced movie of all time. The only problem: The kids.

Isabella (she’s 6) is mostly asleep, so she won’t be scarred too much. Some of it will seep in, but in a good way. Or so I hope.

Julianna (8), though, is wide-awake, but she’s distracted by her on-going Mindcraft iPad game. Hopefully, she won’t notice the adult humor.

J: Why do they all hate the man whose skin is black?

Crap! She paying attention.

Me: Well, Honey. There was a time when some people didn’t like other people because their skin…

J: What are they afraid of when he says, “Excuse me, while I whip this out?”

Oh, God. This is going to be difficult. But, it is such a great movie that I will not be denied watching it. Lynn (the Mommy at the Fun Time) can barely contain her giggles.

It seems that every wildly inappropriate line from the movie is met with an inquisitive question by the eight-year-old.

J: Why do they keep saying “Ni…” (Censored by the network, not me.)

J: Why are they farting? Hahahaha!

J: Why is that lady mostly naked?

J: Why don’t the Mexican people need badges?

J: Why are the German people raising their hands?

The showstopper question comes after Madeline Kahn sings: “They’re always coming and going, and going and coming.. And, always too soon.” What does she mean?

Me: Well, that a double entendre… You see.. Shit. No. I don’t know, Sweetie. Not Ready.

I want my kids exposed to great cinema. And, “Blazing Saddles” easily qualifies. But…

Frankly, I’m torn. “Blazing Saddles” is one of the funniest and most important movies ever made. But, I don’t really want to tell my 8-year-old what “Lillie Von Shtupp” actually means.

This Sucks

It’s Super Bowl Sunday.

Lynn (the Fun Time’s resident Mommy) and I are trying to clean up the house before hosting a minor Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl semi-party.

Just a few people. Mostly LA-based Baltimorons. Wait, that didn’t come out right.

Cleaning and straightening up before kick-off, my task is to mop the floors and vacuum the rugs. I grab the handle of the vacuum cleaner and read the directions:

“Empty Every Two Months.”

Hoover, Dude… I haven’t vacuumed in four months. Explain the math to me.

Ok. I’ll empty the cannister. Stop nagging.

It gets more complicated…

The filter says: “Rinse with Water and Dry for at least 24 hours.”

I’ve got four hours.

You’re kidding me, right? Dude, I’ve got two dozen people sitting on the sofa and eating buffalo wings in 45 minutes. You want twenty-four hours? Seriously? Not gonna happen.

The Family Room is ready for a party. A party will happen. A Super Bowl Party!

And, I’m not gloating, or anything. But… Baltimore wins. Boo Ya!

(By the way, no one questioned our rug-grooming.)