Thursday, June 26, 2008


I was going to use the following as a title, but it seemed too long, and you can't put hyperlinks in a title:

Young Thumper's Blossoming Verbal Skills, As Evidenced by the Deepening of His Understanding of Sandra Boynton's But Not the Hippopotamus

Too long, right?

It was nearing naptime this morning, and I suddenly realized it was very quiet. I found the boy in our bedroom. He had pulled from the dresser to the floor the clothes that his mama had laid out to exercise in later. He was laying on top of a bra, cuddling a sock against his face, and sucking his thumb. So I scooped him up, read him the tale of the self-ostracizing hippo, and put him to bed.

I love this book. When buying other books of hers, I told one Borders employee (I had a coupon!) and one Goodwill employee that we were fleshing out our Sandra Boynton collection because the boy's mama loved But Not the Hippopotamus. And while that's true, I'll admit that I kinda dig it too. And while What's Wrong, Little Pookie? is pretty damn cute, The Going to Bed Book, Horns to Tails, The Belly Button Book, and Doggies really cooled my ardor and slowed my acquisition of the entire Boynton catalog. But Not the Hippopotamus really does it for me, though.

I think it's because I am the hippopotamus, and I love that she overcomes her own social anxiety in the end, albeit with a great deal of help from her friends. Thumper loves it, too. As many times as we've read it, he always breaks out in a huge grin at her climactic moment of rebirth into the circle of friends. He spares barely a glance for that poor armadillo, though. Last week, while babysittin' at the cousins house, I had no book to read him before his nap, so I recited But Not the Hippopotamus in its entirety from memory, which was surprisingly easy after reading it two or three times a week for six months or more. As I recited, he stared off into the middle distance, picturing, I believe, the pages that correspond to the words. And he lit up with joy again at the hippo's triumph.

Since Thumper loves a good balloon, whenever we read it, I always point out the balloons that the bear and the hare, who've been to a fair, are carrying. He always repeats it, boo or bo or bo-bo or ball. Today, though, he pointed them out to me, without prompting. And though I've never emphasized the moose and the goose and the juice they're enjoying together, he reiterated the importance of the juice to me today. Since his throat ailment, and the doctor's suggestion that we give him plenty of fluids, he's had constant access to a sippy cup full of watered down Pedialyte that we call juice, so he has a new context for what we read, and demonstrates his understanding of what that moose and goose are doing: "Juuuuuuuuuuice!" He doesn't yet have a contextual understanding of what it means to cavort in a bog, but juice? That he gets. His "juice" and his "cheese" may sound remarkably alike, but still, I am quite sure that he understood that the moose and the goose were not sitting down to a lovely cheese board, with perhaps some artisan breads and fresh fruit.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Short Play

WINDOWS: Uh oh, you don't have all the updates you should.

RODIUS: I thought that's why I told you to do your endless updates automatically, so we wouldn't have to have this conversation several times a week.

WINDOWS: Click here!

RODIUS: Whatever. [Clicking] Is there any chance we can skip all the steps and just go to the big OK button at the end?

WINDOWS: Oh, wait. You don't have this other thing you need. You'll have to install it first. Click here!

RODIUS: [Clicking]

WINDOWS: OK, great! Now we're ready to go. Click here!

RODIUS: [Clicking]

WINDOWS: Hey, you know what you need? Service Pack 3. It's great. It's got security updates! Click here!

RODIUS: You do see how this might be a little annoying, right?

WINDOWS: It's good for you! You need it, I promise! Click here! You might want to backup your system first, though.

RODIUS: Uh, why? You're going to do it to me again, aren't you?

WINDOWS: No, no. It's just good policy. Click here!

RODIUS: [Clicking]

WINDOWS: Oh geez. Sorry. Can't restart. You really should have backed up. But you've got to admit: you're much safer this way.


WINDOWS: Probably something wrong with your hardware or network settings. Click here to try the last known working configuration.

RODIUS: [Clicking]

WINDOWS: Uh, nope! Probably something wrong with your hardware or network settings. Safe mode'll lick it! You'll see!

RODIUS: [Clicking]

WINDOWS: See, told ya!

RODIUS: [Uninstalling Service Pack 3]

WINDOWS: I wouldn't do that. It's got security updates!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Coxsackievirus. Not Herpes.

Herpangina. The doctor said, "Wow, he must be pretty stoic about pain." Maybe she said it to make me feel better about the fact that I hadn't noticed the blisters at the back of the boy's throat. The ones that bled when she took a culture.

I mean, if you had painful, bleeding blisters in your throat, when you ate, wouldn't you give some indication of pain greater than some mild fussing? I just thought he was telling me he was full. He ate almost all of his breakfast this morning while we chatted about balls and bananas and made goofy faces at each other. Never once did he say, "Damn, Daddy, my throat hurts like hell." Not once. I almost didn't even take him to the doctor today, since his fever was gone when he woke up (but back again at the doctor's office). I thought, "Guess we might as well go and make sure he doesn't have an ear infection since he keeps shoving his finger in there deeper than one might think was even possible. Besides, I can ask her why this kid poops so much." And surprise! Herpangina!

Ah well, yet another point of stupid, macho pride: the boy can suck it up when it hurts. Yeah!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Flickin' Cliche

"Although women routinely operate extremely sophisticated pieces of domestic technology (such as microwave ovens, washing and sewing machines), British researcher Ann Gray has discovered that many women feel alienated from operating the family's VCR."

This golden nugget comes from a fairly old analysis of gender roles in the age of the remote control.

We're on "universal" remote number-I-can't-remember-what. Oh, The Man had such high hopes for this came with software and you use the computer to program it special!! I told him I'd believe it when I saw it. We've been through numerous universal remotes over the years and there ain't been a one that was truly universal. This one just might be, but The Man ain't got it quite right yet. The bigger problem? It takes me MONTHS to figure out how to operate the damned things!

The Man is working until midnight. Thumper, still struck by a fever of unknown origin and exhausted from bitching at his Mama all night long, is finally asleep. I thought I might watch some dumb television and unwind. The television is on, but the surround sound is echoing to a degree that turns my stomach. The television, normally synched with the DVD player, is acting of its own accord. I have to keep switching between the two devices every time I change the channel or I am otherwise watching one channel and listening to another. It works when The Man is home. WTF????

I like to consider myself fairly savvy when it comes to technology. Shoot - I am the Designated Division Geek at my job. My "performance development plan" actually states that 20% of my job is based on my role as the "subject matter expert" on the company's computer systems, and I am tasked with advancing our data mining efforts and assisting the technologically challenged members of my division. I know enough SQL to be dangerous and yet I can't figure out how to set the damned DVD player to record a show. WTF????

It must be a penis thing. It has to be a penis thing. Or maybe The Man is just @#$%ing with me? Surely he's @#$%ed with the remote before leaving for work to ensure I don't become completely independent.

Sweetheart - I'll always keep you around. How else am I gonna reach the stuff on the top shelf of the cabinet??

Friday, June 20, 2008

Summer Summer Toots, It Wouldn't Be Summer Without Them

This was the first week of our regular summer "Babysittin' the Cousins" schedule. Because each day started with picking the kids up after school, we had been doing all of our babysittin' at their house. Now that they're out of school, though, we're doing two days at their house and one at ours. I gotta say, I like the day at our house. Freckles told me that she had been looking forward to seeing Thumper "in his natural environment." I don't know if she's making a documentary or what she may have learned about him from her observations, but it certainly is easier for me to take care of him in his natural environment, mostly because I don't have to haul two or three bags of baby shtuff and a portable crib around. I also want to tell you that Freckles, after walking through our front door, exclaimed, "You’ve even got a baby, and your house is still WAY cleaner than ours!" But I think it would be rude to mention that, and I don't want anyone to think that I'm being prideful or unpleasantly critical of someone else. So I won't. Mention it, that is.

I think this summer needs a name. I've been thinking about "The Summer of Cousins," because not only are we babysittin' two cousins, a third has been joining us on several of our excursions. The Dallas elements of the family will also be coming to Austin to enjoy a day at the lake with us, so we have a pretty good chance of shoving a few more of 'em into our "Summer of Cousins." Freckles asked me what my other nephew was to them on the way to pick him up. I told them I didn't know. Second cousins? Removed cousins? Those are phrases I hear all the time, but I have know idea what they actually mean. I told them I'd have to look it up. I probably won't. I'm lazy like that.

What was I talking about again? Oh yeah, the summer needs a name. It's "The Summer of Cousins," but it also is shaping up to look a lot like "The Summer of the Pools." On Wednesday, when we were talking about going to the pool in our subdivision, Freckles and Robert McGee told me that they'd been to a pool every day since Sunday. I said, "Oh, well, if you're sick of swimming we can find something else to do." No no! They were going for a record! It was their ambition to dip their bodies into one pool or another every single day for a week. For at least a week. We wish them well in their ambition, but since it's just Thumper and I today, we're going to stay as far away from the pool as possible. Maybe we'll see what he thinks of RadiJazz. Although, if I raise the stakes like that, he may never be satisfied with the mall playground again.

So, yeah. Cousins steeping in pools. Baking in the sun. The Summer of:

Cousin Soup?
Cousin Tea?
Cousin Suntea?

Or maybe "Rootin' Tootin' Summer." As I may have mentioned, Thumper's been regularly testing the containment capacity of his diapers. We've suddenly found ourselves on constant overflow watch here. And it's not just the cloth diapers; we tried a couple different brands of disposables, including the extra-absorbent overnight variety, and still, each morning a sense of expectant dread drifts through the house as we approach his bedroom door: will it be a toxic Superfund site today?

So naturally, we watch him closely for the Sign of the Poop, any sign, no matter how subtle. Yesterday, at Little Stacy, a thoughtful, faraway look came into his eyes, and I felt his abdomen tighten up. We were out of the pool quicker than if the lifeguard had shouted, "Lightning!" Luckily, we didn't contaminate the water. I'm pretty sure that would be embarrassing.

We're constantly sniffing him, too. I don't know how many times I've said recently, "Nope, no poop. He must just be gassy." It must be annoying when you do your best to quietly, discretely let one slip, and bam! you find yourself face-down with someone peering into your underwear.

And speaking of discrete, Robert McGee was, uh, bakin' some brownies yesterday. Knowing him, as I do, to be a seven-year-old boy, I was pleasantly surprised that he did not make loud and vulgar mirth from the situation. He and I both quietly pretended that we did not hear anything. Twice. I even refrained from instructing him to excuse himself for fear of drawing attention to the undeniable humor inherent to that noise. I figure that if I don't want to be called out on mine, I best not call anyone else out on theirs. Except for Thumper. If he rips one, you can bet he'll be shooting straight up off that white carpet like a rocket, tout de suite!

Monday, June 16, 2008

How To Watch Your Father Sleep

Guest blog entry from Mrs. Rodius...

You really don't want to read this. I've been thinking about my father a lot lately. Fitting, since it was recently Father's Day. But, this started several weeks ago.

As I mentioned in my last guest blog, Thumper's been vocalizing more these days and he often talks about "Bob." He bob, bob, bob, bob, bobs so often that The Man and I have decided Bob must be Thumper's imaginary friend, and he often blames Bob for the things that crash! And, Bob is the reason why Thumper does some of the things that he should not...Bob told him to. My dad was Bob, and I lost him a long time ago now. Some say that imaginary friends aren't imaginary at all...that they are some other force or form or spirit. I don't know...the thought has struck me, though.

It makes me sad that Thumper will never know him and that my father will never have the chance to meet the little guy I'm so proud of. He was far from perfect, but he was that dad running like mad away from the sewer he'd just dropped an M-80 down (on the 4th of July) as all of us neighborhood kids cheered on. Boom! Ha ha ha ha ha!

The Man recently resurrected some old writing we'd stored on floppy disk. Floppy disks...yep! I came across this. One of my writing professors used to have us do free writing exercises to start class. She'd give us a topic and we'd just start writing. It was an exercise in free-flow writing. I believe this day must have been "What if..." Excuse how rough it is. I never went back to flesh it out, though that was the idea behind the free-flow writing.

How To Watch Your Father Sleep

What if when you were nine years old your dog died? She'd have been german shepherd and husky and her name would have been Kelly, and she'd have been the first thing in your life to go and die on you. What would you do? You might cry a bit and think about the time when you were out riding your bicycle (and Kelly was outside too because there wasn't a leash law then) and Mikey Powell came up and stood in front of you and wouldn't let you by. You would remember that you had been too scared to do anything when he pushed you off your bike, but Kelly had rescued you. She'd charged at him barking and barking, and you knew she didn't bite, but Mikey had run away, the piss scared out of him.

And what would you do if you found out years later that all day long your mother thought she heard the dog whining on the back porch where your parents had hidden her the morning they found her cold as stone on the kitchen floor? They would have done this so you wouldn't know until after you had come home from school that day. Parents do that kind of thing. If Kelly had been your goldfish, they would have bought you another and secretly switched it with Kelly thinking you wouldn't know the difference, trying to spare you this pain. But a dog would have been much more difficult to switch, so it was the back porch until they could get rid of her.

"I kept thinking I heard her crying on the porch," your mother will tell you one day when you are older as you sit in the kitchen drinking coffee with her and some of her friends. "I kept going out there to check and I'd say 'Kelly?', but it was just my imagination."

You won't be mad or sad when she says this, having long since gotten over it. You will think it's eerie and let the words pass away with the rest of the small talk. It will come back to you though, this thought.

Because when you were twelve, just a few years after Kelly, you would stumble groggily into the kitchen to find your father as gray as modeling clay sitting at the breakfast table. He'd be sweaty and cold and you'd watch, unable to move, as he turned to your mother and said "I think I better go to the hospital."

What would you do if you heard this from a man who refused to take so much as an aspirin when he had a headache? You won't be able to remember a single day when you shivered more, even though it was June. Your mother would come home from the hospital, alone and crying. She would continue to cry as she called all of your relatives to say that Bob had had a heart attack and they don't know if it means surgery or not but that she needed everyone's support and couldn't some of them take one or two of the kids for a while if she needed them to?

You wouldn't know what to do that night or when two months, one more heart attack and by-pass surgery later, he finally came home from the hospital. Your mother might tell you what you have to do. You musn't upset him and you kids musn't fight in front of him and your father won't be allowed to do heavy lifting anymore, so if you're a boy, you must do it for him. You might do it for him anyway, even if you are a girl.

You would have only gone to visit your father once while he was in the hospital because you had gotten so upset that one time that your mother didn't think it was a good idea for you to go again. You wouldn't have been able to say much or even look at your father with all those wires and tubes attached to him and that machine that beeped in time with his heart. Your father would have noticed you staring out the window and would have called you over to him to explain to you what each tube and wire was for and to tell you that he was going to be okay. And you'd have choked trying not to cry because you were ashamed. Ashamed because you're not supposed to upset someone in I.C.U. and because he was the one in need, not you.

Once your father was home from the hospital, you'd begin to notice that you watched him a lot more than you ever used to. He'd be lying on the couch taking a nap after work and you'd stop suddenly, your face tingling and fear cementing all of your joints and you'd stare. You'd stare, but then you would relax and tell yourself yes, he was breathing. You'd get really good at scaring yourself this way. You'd practice different methods of ignoring other sounds, the television, a car passing on the street. It would be a game almost, a kind of art, shutting out all other noises just to hear his breathing. This is how you watch your father sleep.

And years would pass and your father's health would continue to deteriorate and all new complications would develop, too many sicknesses for one man. You would wonder why he refused to quit smoking and why he couldn't seem to stick to the doctor's diet. You wonder how long a death can be carried out. You would think it's strange as you stood outside his bedroom door listening, that he goes to bed earlier than you now. Yes, he was breathing and it was just your imagination. But no matter how many times you tell yourself this, you can never make it stop. You always find yourself straining, holding your own breath to listen for his.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

All the World's a Bidet

Guest Blog Entry from Mrs. Rodius...

Thumper is trying so hard these days to communicate. He says Mama and Dada and Ba (which means ball, balloon, bottle and sometimes more, eat or please). He says Chuh, which is cheese, and very close to juice as well. For a while, both cats, the light and ceiling fan chain switches in his room and practically everything that wasn't Mama, Dada or Ba was Puh. Tonight, he pointed here, there and everywhere, exclaiming Buh-day!

Maybe that doesn't qualify as a juggling or balancing metaphor, but Thumper's working on his verbal skills and has to use his repertoire selectively.

I don't think I would have done well as a female in the 1930s. I am a much better 1930s husband than wife. Husband:


As a 1930s husband, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!



As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!

My day as a 2008 wife today:

5:30am - dragged self out of bed, did not work out like yesterday, another in a series of poor sleep nights

get ready for work, leave for work, work speeds by in a blur

4:08pm - leave work early to let the hubby have a night with other SAHDs

play with Thumper, feed Thumper, play with Thumper some more (we had a great time!), get Thumper to bed, call pregnant sister who wasn't feeling well today, fire up computer and work on work stuff

9:30pm - eat a Weight Watchers "Just 2 Points" chocolate bar, keep working

10:something - brain shuts down and hubby just got home, check hubby's blog and decide to reply to post

Almost 11:30pm - what the @#!$%!! am I still doing up?? I am still behind on some deadlines and should be in bed!

Love the Man and Thumper, but wish I could teleport a few months into the future where I dream that life will go back to some kind of regular routine.

Insert Juggling or Balancing Metaphor Here

Saw this on One Good Thing.

I'm an excellent husband!


As a 1930s husband, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

But I really need to work on my wifin' skills...


As a 1930s wife, I am

Take the test!

Mostly what we've been thinking about over here at our house lately is what anniemcq called "the joke of trying to balance everything well." Somewhere along the way, Mrs. Rodius picked up one hell of a work ethic. She'll work herself right into the ground if she feels it's necessary. It's not for nothing that I like to call her the World's Most Capable Woman.

Right now she's working through a difficult and stressful transition at work, a transition into more work and more responsibility. Consequently, she's at work more, for which she feels horribly guilty. So the time that she is home, she spends it working to make up for the fact that she's away more. She cooks, she cleans. She does laundry. She bathes the baby, and feeds him, and puts him to bed. Sometimes I feel like we're in competition, each trying to get to the chores before the other.

If I was a better husband, I'd be working as hard at home as she does at work just so there would be nothing left for her to do when she got home but put her feet up and decompress while the baby attempts to scale her. But I'm not really built that way. I mean, I keep up with the basics. I unload and load the dishwasher. I do laundry. I wash and fold diapers every couple of days. I vacuum every couple of weeks. I clean the bathrooms. I cook for leftovers. Oh yeah, and I take care of a baby.

But dusting? Not so much. Cleaning windows and baseboards? Uh, no. And paying the bills, that's hers. We tried it a few years ago where I was in charge of the money, and uh, I bounced a few checks. I'm sure I could be better at it now, having learned from my mistakes, but I don't think I'll ever get the chance again. She kind of has a thing about finances and security. And aside from changing the cat litter, I've sort of opted out of feline maintenance, though I will clean up a pile of puke here and there. Maybe a third of the total cat puke volume. Maybe less. But I do maintain the cars, so at least there's that. But I like a little fun with my work. I enjoy having downtime after the baby's gone to bed.

So that's where we are. That's our balancing joke: I'm trying to do more without losing my mind, and she's already losing her mind, so she's trying to do less. Doesn't seem very fair, does it?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

First Steps!

Two of them. In the kitchen. And Mama was home to see it. Yay!

Too Long for Twitter

Somehow I thought SPF50 sunblock (UVA AND UVB!) would keep the boy as lily-white as his Mama. Turns out two or three hours a week at the pool or the water playscape is cooking him into a lovely nut-brown color. He's got Coppertone white-butt tan lines! For some reason that tickles me.

What Life's Like in Mrs. Rodius' World (or Yet Another Reason Why I'm Glad I'm not a Woman): shampoos must be rotated. Apparently, every shampoo leaves behind a residue that slowly builds up. No, a shampoo cannot wash out its own residue, or it wouldn't be leaving one in the first place. Duh! But oddly enough, each shampoo can wash out other shampoos' residues. So you gotta rotate the stock, baby! Man, it's complicated being a woman.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Please, No. I Beg You.

Apparently, I'm an Obamacan.

Since I'm all high school, and whatnot, I figger I better start gettin' all political like the cool kids do. Try an' up my intellectual quotient by using words like "quotient." So here's my plea to Obama to choose someone, anyone, other than Hillary Clinton for a running mate.

I voted for Bill Clinton in 1992. I saw him speak at Quincy Market in Boston, and I was seduced by the charm and charisma. I believed in the "change" mantra. I was deeply immersed in college campus life and had wholeheartedly accepted the notion that justice of every type can and must be legislated by a strong Federal government. I later came to believe that all that a strong Federal government can do effectively is grow, but I won't blame that on a Clinton.

I spent 1998 repeating the following sentence over and over again: "He is the chief law enforcement officer in the nation, and he perjured himself and suborned perjury of others in order to avoid personal liability in a civil lawsuit brought against him by a private citizen." To which the reply was always given: "Sex! Witch hunt! Witch hunt! Sex! Sex! Sex!"

1998 was the culmination of a period of years during which I began to believe that there was no real Bill Clinton. There was no substance beneath the style. He would do anything and say anything to gain and maintain power. He would change his position at the slightest indication that it had not been well-received by some portion of what he deemed to be an important constituency. His core beliefs were always poll-driven and sound-bite crafted. He was a hollow man.

When Hillary Clinton stood by her man while he hemmed and hawed about what the definition of "is" was, I began to believe that she was much as he was. Then she decided to run for the Senate seat vacated by New York Democrat Moynihan. New York, I thought? Isn't she from Arkansas? Huh? Could it be that this is more about the opportunity for her? Could it be that she was more than willing to answer the Democratic Party's plea for her to keep the seat from falling into Republican hands? Isn't something like a Senate seat a necessary step for her on her inevitable quest for the Presidency? She had "shared" the Presidency with Bill, and I didn't think it was too great a leap of imagination to think that she saw it as her destiny to be the first female President.

I saw her speak at the Ann Richards Memorial, and I almost came away with a positive perception of her for once. She was eloquent. She was funny. She was likeable and self-deprecating. But she was also speaking to a room full of people who were there to pay homage to a grande dame of the Democratic Party. They were her people, and they were full of love and nostalgia and all manner of good feelings. And it wasn't televised. Hillary needn't have worried about spin or image or impact or polls. It was the most natural I've ever seen her.

That's why I beg Obama to choose someone else. I watched his Philadelphia speech after the first time that Reverend Wright was splashed across our TV's, and I was moved. I was amazed. I accepted the notion that he was a different kind of politician, one who spoke what he believed to be the truth regardless of the political implications that were no doubt calculated down to five or six decimal places by his advisors. He calmly explored difficult and dangerous and complicated issues, and he trusted us to come along with him on the journey. He spoke like a man sitting in a room and talking with a peer. He appeared to have faith in himself and faith in us. And I was hooked.

Excepting that they are both members of the same party, Hillary Clinton is the antithesis of Barack Obama. She may have faith in herself, but it's a faith in her destiny, her right to a place in the history books. There is no self for her to have faith in. When the news said that she was too soft, she got tough. When they said she was too tough, she lightened up. She is a chameleon trying desperately to match the ever-changing background of public perception. Neither can she have faith in us. We are here to be manipulated by those with the nerve and the skill to do so, so how can we be trusted?

I don't know why Obama wants to President; I don't want to think about it too long or I will begin to remember how I felt about Bill Clinton in 1992. But if he is what he seems to be, then he cannot seriously consider Hillary Clinton for his running mate. Choosing her could only be the result of a political calculation, an inherent refutation of the core themes of his campaign. So please, Mr. Obama, please: don't break my heart. Don't crush my fragile seedling of hope as it pokes its tiny green shoot up from the barren landscape of hopelessness, scorched into a nearly lifeless moonscape through the last sixteen years of Presidential politics. Please, Mr. Obama? Please?

I Am So High School

blog readability test

Movie Reviews

That must be why I like to laugh like Butthead. Heh. Heh heh. She said "blog."

Character Flaw

I'm in the middle of Dutch's essay in Dooce's book Things I Learned About My Dad (in therapy), and he talks about the "deeply ingrained cultural imperative" for men to work and to provide. He says that "[m]en have ambition. They seek power." But I have ever ignored that imperative. I have never wanted to work. I have no ambition. I crave no power. My greatest workplace skills are a high threshold for monotony and an ability to tolerate crazy people. They're not skills that showcase well on a résumé. Oddly enough, though, they're excellent qualifications for a SAHD.

This, then, is the flaw in my character that made me want to be a stay-at-home dad. Since cleaning the fryer at Burger King when I was sixteen, I have thought that work pretty much sucks. No, even worse, the dining room at the end of the night. Why do you people insist on squirting ketchup packets everywhere? Why? Oh, worst of all: the restrooms. Cleaning the restrooms while that horrible soundtrack looped over and over. I still get an involuntary shudder whenever I hear "Crocodile Rock." And even during those years before Burger King, while pushing a mower across my parents' dusty Texas-summer lawn, with bits of rock and sticks clanking off the blade and slamming into my shins, I've thought that work pretty much sucks. So staying home and playing all day? I was made for it!

But when the baby's diapers have leaked horrible, toxic goo for the fourth time in two days because it seemed like a good idea to let him eat all the grapes and blueberries he wanted? Cleaning up the crib, and the carseat, and the clothes, and that Tom Selleck mustache he was suddenly sporting when he got up from his nap? It really, really starts to look a lot like work, too. I've changed clothes, I've showered. I still smell it. It's in my nose. It's in my nose!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Oh, You Know, This and That

This morning I finally hit ten pounds lost since the boy was born. A pound a month isn't a great rate, but it's better than nothing. And better than gaining. I didn't, as I hoped, get to the point before summer arrived where I'm not self-conscious about taking off my shirt at the pool. Thumper loves the pools, as do Freckles and Robert McGee, so we'll be spending a lot of time at them this summer. I guess I have to keep trying, and also try to get to the point where I don't worry about what other people think. It's not like everybody else out there is a swimsuit model.

I gave Thumper his first haircut last night. It was hanging over his ears. The Mrs. and I periodically mentioned that we should do something about it, but it seemed like it would be hard to accomplish on a squirming infant, so we never followed through. I told her I could just buzz it all off like I do with my own, but she wasn't keen on that idea. So last night, I had a few drinks, took the sharp, steely, slicing implement in shaking fingers, and let fly. Just kidding; I only had one drink. I trimmed over his ears and straightened out his bangs where his widow's peak made them uneven. Actually, they're still uneven. It's hard to cut a squirming infant's hair. I kind of regret doing it now; I think I Delilahed his Samsony cuteness. He looks like he's moved a bit down the scale from babyish to boyish.

I haven't been blogging or twittering much. I've just kinda been laying low. I've been thinking a lot about the portions of What the Fuck Do We Know? that deal with shaping one's own reality and about how people repeat the same behaviors because they've established neural net patterns and they're addicted to the brain chemicals that result from those behaviors. I've also been playing a lot of Scarface. These two things don't exactly go together very well, but when I found out that the latest in my beloved Grand Theft Auto series, GTA IV will not be available on Playstation 2, and simultaneously realized that I have no interest in purchasing a PS3 or XBox, or Wii, or whatever else, I used the last trade-in credits that I was saving for GTA IV on the closest thing I could find: Scarface. Last night I folded some diapers, then killed the Diaz brothers with a chainsaw. After that, I folded some more diapers, then took over the coke warehouse. It's cathartic, but not very New Agey.

I thought I was going to blog about What the Fuck Do We Know?, but by now I think it's gone the way of the review I was going to write for The Time Traveler's Wife: by the time I got around to it, the moment had passed.

I also thought I was going to blog about what Now Me thinks of 1995 Me and the paper he wrote, but it turns out I don't have that much to say. It was a paper written five months before I was married and twelve years before I actually became a househusband. The part about the fear of being perceived as gay is a little stupid, but I guess the movement from "househusband" = "less manly," to "less manly" = "gay" makes sense in a way. I do feel awkward being the only dad sometimes, but I don't feel a loss of respect, but it is twelve years later, and I doubt that it could still be said that "[s]tatistically, few men enter into the role of househusband completely voluntarily." I get Tracey's thoughts on gender socialization and how I omitted any consideration of same-sex couples, but I think it was outside the scope of the paper since it focused on reversing gender roles in heterosexual couples that had previously embraced more traditional gender roles. I also think it's part of her template to be ever-vigilant for racism/sexism/homophobism. And in my opinion, her illustrative boy being raised by lesbians mothers is still likely be socialized toward traditional male gender roles by one or the other of those mothers anyway. At least, that's what my experience with lesbian couples leads me to believe. But perhaps that's homophobic to say. Still, I'm glad she read it and had something to say about it. Thanks, Tracey!

We'll be at the Brushy Creek Lake Park water playscape around 12:30 today. Stop by and say hello. It's a good time.
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