Dear lord has he grown …

… eventually, into a paleontologist. Or so it seems:

Hope he’s found a better naming system.

Background: Like most five-year-olds, The Boy loves dinosaurs.

Unlike most five-year-olds, he’s totally, utterly, incredibly obsessed with them in a way that makes most paleontologists look like casual amateurs.

For example: Most kids may tell you a triceratops has three horns. The Boy will tell you that “‘Triceratops’ means ‘three-horned face. And did you know they lived in late cretaceous period, along with Taurasaurus? He didn’t use his horns for defense, since they weren’t around his neck or tummy, where most predators would bite. His horns and frill were probably used for display and to fend off rivals.”

Yes, he says stuff like that.

And yes, he understands it.

He also has a habit of inventing new dinosaurs, which is where our scene begins …

Scene: The Boy is talking about Ornithomimus, “one of the fastest dinosaurs to ever have lived,” which had been featured on PBS’ “Dinosaur Train” that morning. He decides to tell The Mrs about another fast dinosaur.

“You know what other dinosaur was really fast?” he asked.

“What’s that?”

“A Penisaurus.”

**blank stare**

“It does everything really, really fast and it’s really, really big; bigger than two houses stacked on top of each other!” he exclaims. He goes on to talk about how it lived in the Jurassic period, along with Stegosaurus.

Meanwhile, The Mrs tries to contain the jokes running around her brain — most of which relate to me. “So, um, really?”

“Uh huh.”

She starts to have a conversation with him about “bathroom words” and how you shouldn’t say them in public so he doesn’t share this new discovery at school.

Fast forward to later that evening, The Boy’s getting ready for bed. I’m reading The Boy his fave book: “Dinosaur Parade,” and am on the page with the ornithomimosaurs, all of which were quite fast. The Mrs is putting his laundry in his dresser.

“You know what other dinosaur was really fast?” he asks.

“What?” I reply.

“A pe — oh, wait. I’m not supposed to say that.” He whispers, “I was going to say ‘penisaurus,’ which was really, really fast and really, really big. And it was a meat eater.”

“That’s what she –” **THWACK** “– owww … ”

“Don’t. Even.” The Mrs shoots me the look all husbands have received at one point or another, then exits.

“So,” I ask, “Anything else about this dinosaur?”

“When it gets scared, it gets really, really small.”

**bank stare**

“So small it could fit into a tiny hole.”

As much as I wanted to yell, “HE WAS IN THE POOL!” The Boy wouldn’t get it … and The Mrs wouldn’t appreciate it.

The number of other jokes running around my head were many … so, so many. Perhaps its prey is a Poontangadon. Maybe it just feasted on clams. Possibly others of its kind preferred the dark meat of a chocostarfishalesthesis.

I’ll have to pay more attention to that DVD next time.

Regardless, not sure how this bodes for the future of paleontology. Although they do handle an awful lot of bones, so …

Truly magical words

So I’m sitting here this morning, The Mrs. out of town and The Boy and I getting ready to head to the water park, when he starts getting antsy. He’s ready to go (as am I, to be honest — I’m a water park freak) and having a hard time controlling his excitement, when I continue to test a little theory I have.

You see, we parents often forget the rules ourselves, something The Boy reminded me a few weeks ago.

We were at Costco when we headed down the breakfast aisle Valley of Breakfast — that cavernous quarter-mile featuring ten pound bags of cereal and cases of cereal bars — and witnessed a mom with three boys in various states of spaz.

Her littlest one was relentlessly pleading for some Crunchberries when she said, “It’d be nice if you said ‘Please’ once in a while!” Her middle one was standing in the cart demanding some Cinnamon Toast Crunch, while the older one was doing wind sprints to the end of the aisle and back.

She caved to the youngest (as we all have at times), chucked the Crunchberries with a berry-crushing thud into her cart, and swooped him and the track star into the square foot of space left among the flats of can goods and month’s worth of boxed dinners. All the while she ordered them about with a tepid confidence born out of not enough sleep and too much Starbuck’s.

We passed with a look of understanding and pity, remembering why we only have one.

But as she continued down the aisle with the Triumvirate of Chaos, The Boy looked at me and said, “She should have said ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you.’ Those are the magic words.”

I replied, “Yes. Yes she should.”

It was then I decided that, instead of acting like some Daddy Despot, I’d use The Magic Words as much as humanly possible. It wouldn’t mean our home would suddenly become some socialist paradise where The Boy gets equal say–we let him make some decisions (what to wear, options for snacks, etc.), but I really don’t feel like eating Goldfish crackers for every meal, staying up until midnight, and skipping work every day to watch Higglytown Heroes. Instead, it would mean instead of ordering and demanding, I’d ask nice.

And I’ve got to say, folks: it works. Very, very well.

It was proven again about ten minutes ago when The Boy was on the edge of a meltdown. I just said, very calmly, “Please be patient, buddy. We’ll be goin’ soon. And that just means we’ve got more time to play around here!”

When he calmed down (5 second later, tops), I said, “Thank you for calmin’ down, buddy. And thank you for tryin’ so hard to be patient.”

He’s now being a super-duper angel and reminding how just how patient and good he’s being.

Granted, this doesn’t work all the time, but it works enough to make it well worth the effort. And it does take an effort–after spending the past year or so raising my voice and expecting him to jump every time I ask, asking nice helps me remain calm and reminds me that he will, more often than not, comply if I just wait a few more seconds.

So try it for a while and see what happens. Hell, even if you don’t have kids, try it at work, the store, with a bill collector–wherever. Some people may think you’re nuts, others won’t notice, and a few may even reciprocate.

Regardless, you may be surprised at how much of a difference it makes.

Good to know

Via Boing Boing comes some very useful information: it’s illegal to send children through the mail:

This city letter carrier posed for a humorous photograph with a young boy in his mailbag. After parcel post service was introduced in 1913, at least two children were sent by the service. With stamps attached to their clothing, the children rode with railway and city carriers to their destination. The Postmaster General quickly issued a regulation forbidding the sending of children in the mail after hearing of those examples.

That’s right, folks: at one point and time in 1913, someone thought it’d be a great idea to send their kids on a trip through the mail.

Considering most of the packages that arrive at my house appear to have been used in an attempt to slow down a herd of 2,000 stampeding water buffalo, not sure that’d be such a good idea.

Cheaper than gas? Probably. But still …

Pre-Vacation Sundries

We’re headed to Lake of the Ozarks today for a week of fishing, boating, eating, sleeping, and whatever the heck else we decide to do at the time. There’s also a plan to teach The Boy how to swim, but we’re not quite sure how to go about it. Any suggestions — other than “Toss him in the water and see what happens!” — are greatly appreciated.

In the mean time, just a few notes:

Huge, gigantic, tremendous thanks
Thanks go out to Jon DeHart of the Graco Blog for his “May Nod” to my Driver’s Ed post. If you’re like us, your home is probably chock full of Graco products — from strollers to play pens to high chairs — and their site is, IMHO, one of the best corporate blogs out there. (And no, I’m not just kissing butt here — I do this kind of stuff for a living and it really is very, very well done.)

It’s also great to know that folks I’m not related to or have compromising pictures of actually read the site. So thanks to Jon and be sure to check our the Graco Blog!

The Joy of Steampunk
I’m a big fan of the steampunk aesthetic (more info here and here) and there is a wonderful clock over at GeekDad that someone received as a wedding present. Since Father’s Day is coming up, just thought I’d toss out a rather unusual and unique gift idea for the more hand-on among us.

From the “I can relate” department
I just love Crazy Saturdays.

Pimp my book
Okay … it’s actually my employer’s book, but if you know a military spouse who needs to take control of the family finances, you can get your copy here and even read a chapter. While it’s aimed at military spouse, to be honest, there’s a ton of stuff in there for anyone, military or not. Topics include how to increase your credit score, how to prevent phishing scams, and way to prioritize debt effectively.

It’s not exactly Hemingway, but with our economy swirling down the drain, now is as good a time as any to take control of your money.

That’s about it for now — when I return I’ll throw up some of the pictures we’ll be taking over the next week or so.

Coolest. Wife. Ever.

I was going to update my previous post, but decided this merited it’s own little feature.

You see, The Mrs and I decided we were not going to get each other anything for our anniversary. Money’s been a bit tight, we’ve been super busy, and we’re headed to Lake of the Ozarks late next week for 10 days of relaxation. So we figured it was no big deal.

Of course, since The Mrs is … well, The Mrs, she went and got me something anyway.

But not just anything, as you’ll find out after the jump:

Continue Reading »

Eight years already?

Eight years ago today The Mrs said “I do.”

Of course, she didn’t know the question was: “Will you put up with his love of sports, incessant channel flipping, desire to play violent video games, constant smartassery, occasional douchebaggery, ability to burp his vowels, disturbing habit of farting under the covers and then pulling the covers over your head, willingness to mock anything and everyone at any time, medical issues, blogging, lack of cooking ability, borderline OCD cleaning habits, and just general stupidity?”

But that’s what she got. And yet she’s still here.

How the hell I landed someone as wonderful, intelligent, beautiful and patient is a mystery, but I managed to do it.

So happy anniversary to the only woman I could find who could put up with me. Here’s to many, many more.



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