The Jasper Chronicles

The Journal of a Cynical Dad

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I Never Thought I'd Say This

I'm sick of hearing The Ramones.

They're one of The Boy's favourite bands at the moment. As soon as he hears Dee Dee yell "1-2-3-4" he starts jumping up and down. This transitions into a brief period of air drumming before running around the living room in circles, arms up in full mosh-pit glory. He's even taken to singing little bits of the songs:

"Sha La La La, Sha La La La La" (Howling at the Moon)

"Hey, Ho, Let's Go" (Blitzkrieg Bop)

"Bam Bam Ba-Bam, Bam Bam Ba-Bam" (I Wanna be Sedated)

Of course P and I find this super adorable, and I'm thrilled that, so far, we've haven't had to resort to buying a Wiggles or Barney CD.

But as happy as we are that The Boy is enjoying one of our favourite bands, he wants to hear them over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. To the point where I've actually caught myself thinking about downloading a few Raffi songs to change things up. It's only after weighing the prospect of Bananaphone vs. Rockaway Beach 100 times a day do I manage to stop myself.

Thankfully though, there's Jonathan Richman.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I Caved

Enough people asked me I decided to just go ahead and do it; I set-up a Facebook account.

My account has been active for four days now and I have to admit Facebook is kind of neat. Whether it's neat enough to hold my interest remains to be seen, but I'm in for a couple months at least.

A few things I haven't quite figured out yet.

1) Isn't it more fun to see your friends in person?

2) Why would I want to send someone a virtual beer? You're lucky if I bother to buy you a real one.

3) Aside from the alpha-popular, can anyone honestly say that have 600+ friends? I come close, with 559 friends, but I think that's only because I give away bars of gold to everyone I meet.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Living in the Suburbs Means #4...


I live among the gifted, and every morning at my bus stop I bear witness to this gift. My bus stop is at the end of a long curve in the road, so you can't actually see the bus coming until it's pretty much there. But despite this limited sightline, a few of my fellow commuters are able to predict when the bus will arrive and step up to the curb 5-10 seconds before anyone else.

I've racked my brain trying to figure out how they do it. Is there a reflection off a car window? A specific noise? I have stood in the exact same spot as them, focusing my eyes as far down the road as I can, but nothing, I can't figure it out. After a year of watching this, I've concluded this is nothing short of paranormal.

As clairvoyants go, I'd say these people are pretty far down the ESP hierarchy; it's not like they're solving crimes or predicting lotto numbers. And aside from getting onto the bus a bit sooner, there's really not much else their special gift is good for, except maybe if you're out with one of them and try to cross the street without looking both ways:

"Wait... don't move... not safe... getting a vision... bus coming."

Still, I'm jealous.

Monday, July 09, 2007

It Seemed Funny At The Time

There's an essay written several years back called "Ticket to the Fair", by one of our favourite authors David Foster Wallace. In the essay, originally published in Harper's Magazine, Wallace chronicles his week at the Illinois State Fair. It's a funny, funny look at the excess of the fairs in general, and the people it attracts. One of our favourite parts of the essay is when Wallace wanders through the fair's Expo building, packed with booths selling handy choppers and everything else "As Seen on TV." As he makes his way around he spots a baby is wearing a t-shirt that reads, "I Go From Zero to Horny in 2.5 Beers".

P and I burst out laughing every time we read that line.

So naturally when P had a chance to design a t-shirt for The Boy at one of her baby-showers, she came home with zero to horny t-shirt just for him. I laughed when I saw it, and we both giggled as she put it away. You have to admit, the absurdity of a shirt like that on a baby The Boy's age is pretty funny; that is until you take him to the park wearing it.

My smug "Aren't I cool because my son is wearing an ironic t-shirt?" demeanour quickly vanished as I realized that, out of context, nobody else gets the joke. Instead of laughs from other parents, I got sideways glances and furrowed brows. Attempts to explain the shirt, or qualify it with "Of course he doesn't drink beer, and yes I know he's not horny." just made it worse. The rest of the time while The Boy ran and jumped, I sat under the darkest tree I could find.

So a lesson here. In this age of Alterna-Parenting, it's not unusual to see kids wearing ironic slogans, but just make sure it isn't too much of an in-joke. I guess I should get rid of the "I Pimp My Teddy Bear to Support My Crack Addiction" t-shirt I bought for his second birthday - now that was a waste of money.

Friday, July 06, 2007

I'm Pleased to Accept Your Waste


That's the most accurate description of The Boy's potty training adventures to date. He'll start off by announcing the occasion with a crotch grab and a "Poo Poo" or "Pee Pee", which from everything I've read is outstanding. The fact he senses the need to go is a major potty training milestone. From there the results have been mixed.

Excitedly we'll take off his pants and lead him to the potty. There he'll happily sit singing, talking, reading; doing everything except what he's actually there to do. Eventually he hops off, leaving the potty as clean as the day we bought it. Subsequent attempts to lead him back to the promised land range from a simple "No" to near tantrum, so instead he'll spend the next couple of hours running around bare-assed while we watch for the signs of imminent waste disposal.

What is a parent to do in this situation? Buy a singing/dancing potty, that's what you do! Okay it doesn't actually dance - that would be messy - but it sings, P and I do the dancing.

The whole idea is it is supposed to make using the potty fun. Fun to Fischer Price means zany noises, smiley-faced toilet paper and songs of encouragement. Fun to Fischer Price also mean no volume control. Cries of "Hurray! You used the Potty!" can be heard all the way out in our yard. I'd put up with the noise if The Boy was actually using the potty, but it also cheers when you put your foot inside, which The Boy likes to do repeatedly.

So now we have a standard potty and one that practically begs you to soil it, but we're still making no headway in getting The Boy to use either one consistently. He started off strong, but has been regressing the past three weeks. He knows when he has to go, he just doesn't want to go in a potty.

This is easily the biggest challenge I had to date as a parent, but it has only steeled my resolve. He will be out of diapers before high school. This I can guarantee.