They’re one of the few true joys of parenthood. Lest you think it’s insensitive to laugh at the nascent vocabulary of our young charges, may I remind you that as parents you’re grasping for something, literally anything, to help us get through the day without a mandated visit from Child Protective Services. You need a little chuckle now and again to distract you from the fact that the top floor of your house smells like the men’s rest room at Citizen’s Bank Park, and most likely will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
Like most of the children born between 1995-present, my boys enjoy the cinematic stylings of Pixar Animation Studios. The first movie my oldest son saw in an actual theater was the weakest link in Pixar’s canon, Cars. If you’re not privy to the plots of recent animated fare, Cars is Pixar’s creepy talking vehicle opus to finding work/life balance. Of course, this celluloid exposure lead to countless viewings, a merchandise acquisition spree, and the unfortunate welding of Rascal Flatts’ re-imagining of Tom Cochrane’s “Life is a Highway” to one of my six available remaining neural pathways.
Cars stayed with my family for so long, that my second son began to show an interest in the movie and toys as well. He took a particular shine to the protagonist of the Cars universe, Lightning McQueen.
Only he didn’t call him that.
He insisted his correct name was Lightning the Queen.
I like to imagine a fully formed world inhabited by talking cars where Lightning the Queen leaves Radiator Springs and the warm embrace of Sally and moves to South Beach. Soon, he’s setting up house with a little Fiat voiced by Nathan Lane. Three’s Company style mis-understandings and hi-jinks ensue.
Now that’s a Cars sequel I would pay cash-money to see.
You know your 5- year- old is probably watching too much Star Wars when your 2-year-old is humming John Williams’ Imperial March at the dinner table.
It’s a good sign that you probably need to do the laundry when your daycare provider remarks that the sweatpant ensemble you hastily put together for your 2-year-old that morning favors comparably to the fashion stylings of a rejected backup dancer from Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds tour.
Sculptures To Be, originally uploaded by ranzino.
So what’s the over-under on the life expectancy of any balloon animal made for children ages 5 and under? 10 minutes? 8?
With my apologies to the brilliant site, Indexed.
Recently, I took the boys on our not-so-frequent trip to the hair removal store. I like to refer to this particular establishment as a hair removal store because I cannot bring myself to admit I bring my sons to a “hair dresser” or a “salon” to get their hair cut. I was raised by my father to get my follicles removed exclusively by:
A. A man.
B. A man, who had one point served in the armed forces (or at the very least had a debilitating hunting injury) and cut your hair accordingly.
C. A man, who had at one point served in the armed forces, and had the good sense to offer a fine selection of automobile, sports and recreational firearms (or if I was luck enough, Boys Life) magazines for your perusal while you waited for the barber chair to become available.
A small part of me is ashamed that I don’t take my sons to one of these types of places and probably ranks high on the list of the ways my father is disappointed in me wedged right in between “Looks like a 7-year-old girl when using a hammer,” and “Presence seems to actually repel sport fish when near streams, lakes and oceans.”
Nonetheless, because of the strip-mall convenience of our world, I found myself at the hair removal store once again. While I was staving off an overly curious 4-year-old (‘Why does that lady smell so bad?”) and an instinctively destructive 2-year-old (Who even knew they put hair gel in glass bottles?) while every octogenarian in the county got their bi-annual dye, set, shellac, and sealer, I noticed this sign:
Clip-In Hair Extensions
$12 per extension
Sorry, hair is non-returnable
I immediately realized how bad our economy really is. If you have to warn people that they’re not going to be able to barter with you concerning their slightly used $12 fake hair purchase, you know we’ve fallen on hard times.
F U D G E, originally uploaded by ranzino.
Beyond stories about raising a happy family, achieving a successful and rewarding professional career and a legacy of service to the communities in which I resided, it is my sincere desire that people will also speak of the utmost of my proudest achievements.
In my hope of hopes I wish someone, In hushed tones, will regale the gathered throng with the tale of the time I successfully changed my 2-year-old son’s filled-to-the-brim diaper while constrained in a 2 foot by 2 foot stall in the “courtesy station” on the Wildwood Boardwalk.
Undulate, originally uploaded by ranzino.
4. Way Too Many Kids Guy – He and his wife both look like they won this vacation on a game-show and felt obligated to take it. The last smidgen of joy in their lives was completely drained right around the arrival of offspring numero 4. Avoid putting your beach blanket next to this guy as he’ll desperately try to make eye contact and subsequently strike up a conversation so he can share his misery with someone else. Also, after the third one, he just gave up trying to raise them right, so his kids are annoying.
3. Cell Phone Guy – This guy wants you to know that he’s really too busy to be out here with you and the rest of these losers and has no problem communicating that to his business associates at unnecessary volume levels. The good news is even though you had to hear all about why his contractor is doing a crappy job on his new 800 square feet deck, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing his new Razr V3 will be totally inoperable in about two days due to sand infestation.
2. Innapropriate Bathing Suit Guy – The last time I checked this isn’t Europe, and we here in the colonies cling to our puritanical roots pretty fiercely, Paris Hilton notwithstanding. So please, fellas, if you have enough flab around your midsection that you can no longer see the waistband of your trunks even if you bend over to inspect it yourself, it’s time to pack the speedos away for good.
1. Way Too Active Dad – Listen, I think it’s great that you have enough energy to jump waves with your kids transition into playing a half hour long game of paddle ball followed by a vigorous round of beach football, but some of us would like to sit under our umbrella and do some crosswords. Stop setting the bar so damn high for the rest of us.
Discovery, originally uploaded by ranzino.
5. The inability to buy SPF “Lead Waterproof Vest.”
4. Standing too close to a lifeguard thereby enabling the wife to make a side by side comparison.
3. The murky depths of a grandparent’s wallet.
2. Unlimited access to readily available fudge.
1. The mystery salt water-tainted contents of the swimmy diaper.