Sunday, November 30, 2008

Peter's Advent-ure

Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning 'arrival'. For us, the 'arrival' was Barbara bringing Advent's calendars like this one so that the boys could have something to fight over - thanks, Barb! After the boy's festive quarreling this morning, I was thinking more of the Latin phrase bibamus, moriendum est (let us drink, for we must die).

It started out with a distant buzz, comparable perhaps to that of a swarm of killer bees quickly approaching. These bees arrived at the Johnson hive completely furious that the Queen bee had not yet prepared their morning feast.

I was a little surprised that after four years, our little Peter-bee has yet to figure out that Mama does not make breakfast; she eats it. Before I could say anything that would certainly be true, but result in my own personal 'sofa talk', I disappeared into the kitchen.

From there, I could hear screaming, shouting, yelling, howling, spitting, fighting, shrieking, crying, laughing, more crying followed by more one point, I cranked up the radio and enjoyed the curtain of silence. Angie came storming in shortly after to make an obvious observation followed by a statement that essentially sums up why I love the kitchen.

The radio is too loud! You can't hear the kids at all if you blast the music like that!

After brunch, we noticed a tiny black streak on Tom's tongue. Angie freaked. She called her friend Karin, who is also a midwife. 'It could be a fungus, or maybe Mouth Rot - does it smell funny?' Angie then freaked a little more and began sniffing Tom's mouth like a bloodhound chasing a fugitive. Nothing. Next, we took Tom into the bathroom for an emergency OP involving a Q-Tip and a lot of screaming. At least his mouth was wide open.

After Tommy's little tongue scrub, we had some minor hearing loss and a cotton swab full of strange black fuzz. At that point, I asked Angie what she had been wearing that morning.

'What the hell does that have to do with anything?! His mouth could fall out any minute now and you want to know what I had on?'

I ignored Mommy Panick and searched the bedroom. I found a rather fuzzy black sweater on the floor. I asked Angie if that was what she had been wearing. 'Yes'. There is no way to write the tone of words, so I have to instead explain that this 'Yes' carried with it the tone of an angry Judge demanding that the prosecuter quickly get to the point.

To make a potentially tragic story funny, Angie had burped Fuzz Mouth earlier that morning. Apparently Tom was still in the throes of breastfeeding and tried to suck on Angie's shoulder. The black fuzz was just that. Black fuzz.

Right before dinner, Peter came racing up the hallway and almost tackled me.

'Papa! Come, you have GOT to see THIS'

From experience, the phrase 'you have got to see this' will either disgust me or result in me yelling at someone. In this case, I did not yell at anyone.

Peter held my hand and dragged me to the toilet. He lifted the lid, then made a special point of showing that he also lifted the toilet seat. Then, the THIS became apparent. Today, November 30th, 2008, Peter learned how to pee standing up. One small step for boykind, one giant mess for Papa to clean up. I hope he gets the shaking part down soon.

After putting the boys down for the night, Angie and I checked on Tom's hairy tongue and were pleasantly relieved that the black fuzz had not grown back. Soon after, Tom fell asleep for the night, leaving an eerily silent apartment that left an odd ringing in my ears. Favete linguis is another Latin phrase that nicely sums up today. It translates to 'favor me with your tongues'. The meaning, however, is 'be silent'.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When Barbara came and she brought something sweet.
David: When Barbara come, okay?

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When Barbara didn't give me some of the sweets that you said 'cause they are for tomorrow.
David: When I have an owa.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play with you and Mama and Tom and David to Dalia's and play football.
David: When I go in kindergarten.

see related cartoon

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Peter Pan and the Lost Boys

This morning, I wanted to show Peter that French toast involved more than just drinking wine and acting superior. Peter soon found out that it was hard work, but at least he was able to enjoy the sweets of his labor. C'est la vie!

After breakfast, I kissed the boys and headed off to war. They were sad. I was sad. Angie laughed her ass off. So much for the farewell french kiss.

The battleground was Brian and Clarice's old apartment and the mission was to displace their weary furniture to the war zone, also known as their new house. As we entered operation renovation, there was an eerie dust hanging in the air. Through the woody mist, I could see half-destroyed walls, low-hanging pipes, and strange wires hanging out of odd places that screamed 'boobytrap'.

Halfway through our first offensive, I suffered a self-induced flesh wound on the fleshy part of my thigh. Luckily for my leg, my jeans took the brunt of the attack, leaving only minor tissue damage.

Halfway through the attack, a kind Brazilian nurse fed us Sigrid-beans and bread. It tasted great, but I fear that Angie may need her gas mask in the morning. The bean power gave the troops the strength to march on, but like most military maneuvers, I sensed that we left the place more devastated than when we began.

After 'Saving Private Brian' I headed home to find the Lost Boys, Zack and Owen. It had been years since I had last seen the 'boys' so I was surprised to find a tall young man with a moustache and his bass-playing sidekick.

'Angie! Who are these strange men and why are they playing with our cat?'

'That is not our cat, she is my cat and...hey - what the hell happened to your jeans?'

Dana and Daniel had come over for dinner and either forgot that we were making the food or thought that somehow Angie was cooking. They brought enough food to feed themselves, our entire family, the neighbors and our cat which Angie thinks she owns ever since that time when she tried to steal our neighbor's cat. Let me flash back to that memorable moment...

We were in our old apartment. Angie went to the store and came walking back with an arm full of groceries. I was, what a shocker, in the kitchen cooking and saw her approaching. I waved to her and she started waving her free arm like a madwoman. This by itself is not so unusual, but then she started pointing to a cat on the neighbor's window sill that slightly resembled our cat. I watched as Angie put down the groceries and picked up the strange cat and began petting it. Since we have a cat door, it is not that unusual that Gizma would be out roaming the neighborhood. What was strange was the tiny furball rubbing my leg as I watched Angie catnapping the neighbor's pet. I scooped up our cat and held it up to the window for Angie to see. Even from the distance, I could see her face turn red as she slowly put the unknown cat back on the neighbor's window sill and raced back home to 'her' cat.

For our late Mexican thanksgiving dinner, we stuffed ourselves on burritos, just in case my body had not yet received enough bean input for the day. Afterwards, we played Poker Yahtze. I love poker, so the game itself was awesome. Not so awesome was that Owen was kicking everyone's ass all night. That kid can bluff and hustle like a true gambler. Watch out, Kenny Rogers!

Despite several lessons from my father, poker may have been a few years ahead of Peter. He was more interested in Owen's 'Sleeping Queens' game. After an hour too many, Peter finally got tired of the game and gave up. Perhaps this morning's breakfast lesson inadvertently taught him how to easily surrender. C'est la vie!
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When Zack and Owen came.
David: When Dalia come.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I couldn't stay and play still.
David: When I cry and Dalia too cry 'cause Dalia make that close and I get bonk book my head and I cry.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play with Zack and Owen that game with the queens and the dragons.
David: To see Zack and Owen and play.

Friday, November 28, 2008

En garde!

Striking things with blunt objects would normally be more David's forte, but today Sir Peter challenged Papa to a duel. I, of course, laughed and took this picture. Then I told him to go find a really big pencil sharpener.

I had the day off, so the morning started out with me frantically searching for something to keep the kids from beating the shit out of one another. Let me just say that lightning cannot compete with my brain after a couple hot cups of the good stuff.

I split the boys up into two teams with one person per group. That, for the stupid people out there, is another way of saying that I separated them. Next I gave them each a mission.

David was supposed to collect cars and group them according to color. Poof!

Peter was supposed to find animals and line them up alphabetically according to the first letter in their name. Poof!

Papa was supposed to return to his caffeine frenzy and congratulate his brain on a thought well done. Just as I was ready to declare operation 'Peaceful Moment' a success, the sounds of battle filled the house.

I ran into the boys' room to find David sitting on top of Peter trying to shove a red BMW down his throat. Before I could break them up, Peter whacked David in the head with an elephant. To get to the boys, I first stepped over an antelope, a bear, a camel and a dolphin. Hey, that's pretty good - Peter made it to the letter 'e'.

My next attempt was to organize a treasure hunt throughout the house. This was more successful, but still ended up with them spitting and fighting over the two identical candy bars that were the 'loot'. Since pirates have been known to squabble over the treasure, I overlooked this one. Mama did not and sent David to his room.

Why, you might ask, did I take the day off and then decide to keep the boys home from kindergarten? 'Because I am a moron' and 'I love stress' pop into mind, but actually, I have Angie to thank. She thought it would be a great idea to organize a visit to the eye doctor on my day off so I could help. How thoughtful. For my next day off, maybe we can have a fun-filled family outing to the dentist.

The boys passed their eye exams with no problems. In a way, I think they were a little disappointed. After this morning's treasure hunt, I think they were secretly wishing for some need to wear an eye patch permanently. If they keep going at each other like they did today, they may need something to cover up their black eyes.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I had a treasure hunt.
David: When Tom make that he little in my bed.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When David did all those things to me like spit and he bite so much that didn't could say David was out.
David: When I cried 'cause I cried from Mama in my room 'cause Mama make me in my room.
3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: When I play with you that with the lion.
David: When Elias in my kindergarten.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pickin' the turkey

Turkeys to the left of me!
Jokers to the right!
Here I am stuck in the middle with my glass of nice warm brandy.
-Bob Dylan (Opa´s remix)

Thanksgiving was a great excuse for me to leave work early. Yeah, sorry everyone. I gotta go stuff my face and drink mass quantities of alcohol. You guys have fun with the whole 'work' thing, Yes, I know I can be a real ass sometimes. If you don't believe me, first re-read any blog where Angie is mentioned. If that does not work, just ask her.

We went to Grams & Opa's for the big bird devouring. They recently got a new kitchen which passed the 'cooking a big-ass turkey' test with flying colors. At some point in her life, Grams must have had a nasty encounter with some uncooked food. I personally don't mind the 'one degree shy of burnt' approach, though.

After several hours, Grams asked me to come look at our winged supper. I peeked in and took one look at the dark, golden turkey and could tell it was ripe.

'Yep, stick a fork in her - she's done'

'Ok, I'll leave it in for another 30 minutes'

As it turns out, Grams' mental meat thermometer was dead-on. The turkey was juicy and absolutely perfect. I resisted all urges to ask questions like 'is dark meat always red?' and 'can I have another one of the pink pieces?'.

Eisi showed up late with some lame excuse about missing the train. At least he made up for it by bringing tongue tattoos. Yes, tongue tattoos.

I thought a turkey would have been more appropriate, but Angie picked the horse. I only added this picture to prove my point about being an ass.

The boys picked a fish, which is the next yummiest thing next to Mr. Ed to have tattooed on your tongue.

Next in Eisi's bag of bribes was a piece of candy that can whistle. Peter immediately snatched it up and started bragging about how he could now whistle. Nice try, Opie.

Eisi tried to console Peter's crying by breaking out some toy cars with balloons attached to them. You blow the balloons up and then they race across the room. This is great except for the fact that the boys do not have enough lung capacity and cheek power to actually blow up the balloons. Oh, I'm sorry. I just thought that, you know, since you can whistle now that you would be able to blow up that balloon all by yourself.

After the crying stopped, it was time to jump on someone. Silly Opa had settled into his comfortable arm chair wishfully hoping for a few minutes of silent digesting. The animals saw this enticing red flag and charged.

In less than ten seconds, Peter had moved the footstool to the back and David had made his first jump. I was pretty impressed on how well they coordinated their attack; I just wish they could work together like that at home.

After 25 jumps too many, the boys were finally getting tired. We packed up the animals and headed back to the zoo.

I am still enjoying the last sweet months of Mama's breastfeeding designated driver phase, so Angie was behind the wheel. Somehow she managed to stay off the sidewalks and by the time we made it home, both boys were sound asleep.

Because of my incredible überhuman strength, I was able to carry Peter in one arm and David in the other. As I climbed the steps, Bob Dylan came knock, knock, knocking on my brain's door again.

Turkeys to the left of me!
Jokers to the right!
Here I am stuck in the middle with my lovely horse-tongued sweetie.
-Bob Dylan (Papa´s remix)
Ladder Talk:
[Turkey, tattoos, balloons, and Opa-saulting tuckered the boys out too much for ladder talk]

1) What was the best part of your day?
2) What was the worst part of your day?
3) What would you like to do tomorrow?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What's a blonde's favorite wine?

See Barb. See Barb drink. See Barb brink and dabysit.

I am pretty sure after this blog, I will be seeing a close-up of Barbara's foot, but I could not resist. Sorry, I blame Oscar Wilde.

Peter somehow found out at school that he only needs to write a list to Santa and he can get whatever he wants. I thought I was safe for a few more years because, like whistling, Peter cannot write. Some little brat at his kindergarten also informed him that Mama and Papa can do the writing, though.

I spent the first half of the morning writing an ever-growing list of what Santa would thoroughly enjoy bringing our kids for CHRISTmas. That is not a typo. CHRIST is exactly what I was thinking as I calculated in my head the number of banks Santa would have to rob this year to afford the first fifty lines. I then spent the rest of the morning encouraging our kids to be bad until I looked up the price of coal. CHRIST!

Next, the boys picked up 'the sword'. This inevitably results in them beating the absolute shit of of one another and normally ends up with me taking away 'the sword'. 'The sword' has a history of being taken away. Allow me, since you have no other choice, to explain.

This sword was mine, when I was still a young sword-swinging punk. I loved this sword. I also loved whacking my older sister on the head with this sword. My Dad, for some strange reason, did not like this little hobby of mine. My own personal belief is that he enjoyed it, but was annoyed by the screaming and whining that normally pursued my sibling head-bashing.
Back in '82, there was no writing on the sword. It was a pure Luke Skywalker laser, baby. I stupidly ignored my father's repeated warnings and it was taken from me, with the cruel statement that it would be returned to me when I had kids of my own. Since at that time, I thought girls were disgusting, it meant my sword was lost forever.

As the years went on, I continued to demand my toy back from my namesake. 'You don't have kids' was the typical response. Damn him.

Angie does not know it yet, but the only reason I married her and had kids was to get my damn toy back. That sword is freakin' awesome, though, so I am sure you can understand. You can probably also understand my disappointment when we had given birth to Peter and my Darth Vader flew over to visit.

'Hey Dad, nice to see you, I have a kid now, where's my sword?'

'Read the fine print, son. It says 'kids' not kid.'

'Damn you.'

I did not give up so easily. Somehow, I tricked Angie into pluralizing our kid. The next time my dad flew over, I confronted him again. By now, it was such an ongoing joke that I did not really expect my dad to have my sword after 20+ years, but my dad has always been one to surprise. He whipped out the sword and said 'you're going to need to find room for your own engravings, because your boys will drive you nuts with this thing'.

I laughed at the time. Now, I just hate admitting that my dad was right. It wouldn't be the first time that I laughed at my dad only to find out he was not wrong. I can still remember the time he told me that Angie was the right girl to settle me down. I giggled my ass off and next thing you know...CHRIST!
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I played with David swords.
David: When Barbara and Eisi come.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When David hit me with a sword.
David: When Gizma scratch me.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play with you and David football.
David: When we go in Grams and Opa.

see related cartoon

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Walk (not so) softly and carry a big stick

David spent the morning giving Peter what he would probably call 'love tackles'. Peter would probably would have called them 'physical assaults' but it was a little hard to understand him through the all the tears and sobbing. At one point, Peter turned to us and screamed 'for Christmas, on that list for Santa, I want that David disappears'. The big stick here may be Peter's fallback plan in case Santa doesn't deliver.

I ran out of socks today. I should add that I have quite a few pairs. Some of them don't even have holes. Now, don't get me wrong - I think it is kind of cute that Angie is afraid of the bottom of the hamper. My only fear is that buying a bigger hamper would only result in the need for a bigger sock drawer.

David would definitely love a bigger hamper. He has now taken to hiding in it and scaring the shit out of anyone, including Gizma, that happens to walk by. Just when you think he could not possibly find a new of stinkafying himself... My wishful theory is that he just loves baths.

After breakfast, David ran up and grabbed Peter's red crayon. The obvious retaliation for such an aggressive attack was naturally for Peter to wrap both hands around David's neck and to start squeezing with all his might.

It was about this time that my huge brain blinked on and told me if we didn't take the boys out for a little energy burn they would just continue their mutual crap beating all afternoon. As entertaining as this would have been for me to watch, Angie babbled something about bloody noses and staining the carpets, so off we went to the Königstuhl.

On top of the mountain, the boys saw their first snow of the season. Despite gloves, scarves, hats, and winter jackets, the little ones were not ready for the shock of anything cooler than Papa. Oddly enough, the smaller you are, the quicker you get cold. Not so odd was that they hardly fight at all when they are half-frozen.

After approximately ten minutes of hiking through the snow, I decided that blue lips that shiver do not suit the animals. We lugged them back to the cafe at the base of the mountain, where we met up with Eisi and Barbara for what turned out to be a rather short nature hike for them.

We poured hot chocolate into the boys until they eventually thawed. Almost immediately they began fighting again. This time the argument was over which one of them thought Papa was the coolest. At least I think that was what was meant by David head-butting my stomach and Peter's little neck rub.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When Barbara and Eisi come.
David: When I jumped Peter in the wall.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I cried 'cause all these bad things happened like you say I could have no dessert that was not so nice and when David pushed me and when I bonked my head everywhere in the bathroom.
David: When Peter eat not and you say no.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play with Dalia.
David: When we and Peter and me and Papa - we go in swimming.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

High on a hill a lonely goat heard...

David has no fear. This is great when it comes to punk-slapping mafia thugs. It's not so great when it comes to diving off of cliffs without my consent. See the full story.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Beware of this grin

A picture is worth a thousand words. Or in this case, only one. Trouble.

Today Peter had invited Lucy over to play. Rather than having the boys kick the crap out of each other over a girl, wise old Papa thought it would be cool to take David up to the Königstuhl again. Last time, he fell asleep and missed out on most of the fun so I thought he would like going up there. You will notice the frequent use of the word thought, as in the past tense of to think, which was obviously not something I did before embarking on this fun litte adventure.

It started out with David refusing to walk after twenty seconds. If lazy people ruled the world, David would be king. I was not giving up that easily, though. I ran back to the house and got the stroller, at which David giggled with the sheer delight of getting one's way. I reminded David that laughing used up energy and La-Z-Boy quickly stopped.

About halfway to the base of the mountain I peeked over and found David close to snoring. I screamed at him to wake up and ignored the disapproving look from nearby tourists. I will probably end up in a few Japanese photo albums with the title Jerko-san but at least in my photo albums, David will be awake. Kinda.

We made it to the base and boarded the mountain railway car. As it turns out, this funicular vehicle makes little Davey sleepy. I looked away for two seconds to admire the view as we climbed the mountain and turned back to find David drooling away. Great.

Not to disappoint the other tourists in the railcar, I yanked David up and forced him awake. You will stay awake. You will have a good time. You will thank me for this later. You will not say that I sound like my father even though I probably do. Now, wake up and eat your damn green beans or there is NO DESSERT!

A very annoyed, very groggy David emerged from the car at the top of the mountain with absolutely no appreciation of the panoramic view. The picture featured here is around the time when he spied something that woke him up a little. If you could follow his gaze, you would see a tiny opening in a gate that prevented abnormal humans from launching themselves down a rather steep hill that ended in many rocks and very little shrubery.

I, as you can probably deduce, did not follow his gaze. I thought it was great that he was coming out of his zombie trance and thrilled when he started running. I took this as a sign that his 'second wind' was returning. The only wind came from me chasing him after I finally understood his intentions.

Screaming at him made him go faster and laugh harder until he slipped through the tiny opening in the fence. The laughing stopped and his screaming started shortly after he had catapulted himself down this steep decline.

Luckily, he landed on shrubs instead of the tiny boulders but he was still 'shaken but not deterred'. He stood up, dusted himself off and announced to me that he wanted to go again. If there had been a picture of my face at that point in time, my thousand words would have boiled down to just two. Hell no.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When Dalia come and when Lucy came.
David: When Dalia and Brian and Clarice come.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When David cried just now.
David: When I cry from Peter and Dalia cause I cry.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play with Katherina and Sami and Dalia.
David: I watch Dora and Ernie.

see related cartoon

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sweet bread, fire and horses

St. Martin is a nice little tradition where the kids walk around with open fires next to nervous horses and scream songs. Something about the whole 'my kid might go up in flames' or 'boy I hope that horse doesn't trample my baby' makes me think this celebration would never fly in America. I am sure that the hot chocolate guzzling and sweet bread at the end would be ok, though. It certainly was for Peter and David.

In a nutshell, the festival honors St. Martin, some Roman soldier who ripped his coat in half for a beggar and then hid in a stable of geese to avoid becoming a bishop because he did not feel worthy. The geese couldn't shut up, though, and he was quickly discovered and bishoped. Payback must have been a bitch even back then, for another tradition on this day is to cook a goose. I guess we can be glad that bashful old St. Martin did not choose a children's playground for his failed hiding spot.

In true Johnson form, we showed up ten minutes late for the fifteen minute ordeal and spent at least five minutes catching up with everyone. That was ok, because the kids were running with open flames, not scissors.

The entire kindergarten was there and let me just say that organized chaos does not begin to describe the noise levels. We had met up by the castle, though, so at least the view was pretty. In the end, I was just pleasantly surprised that Mr. Ed did not stomp on Peter and that David did not light himself, or any of the other kids, on fire. Let's all sacrifice a goose to honor that freaky half-coated Roman - Happy St. Martin's Day!
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I go to lantern by the castle with you and David and Mama and me.
David: I have a blue lantern.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When my sore is there.
David: You said I was bad, ok?

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To go to Dalia's.
David: When you and me and Peter go in swimming pool.

see related cartoon

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Toilet Roll

It all started with me trying to come up with a new way of annoying my family. That, and the calls of nature resulted in The Toilet Roll, the new 'sister' blog to the Zoo. Hope you like it. If you don't, you can at least wipe yourself with our family cartoons.

Just for fun

Yes, I thought it would be fun to take the boys to the pool.

No, I did not check that the pool would be open on Sundays.

Sue me.

David kwon do

Today, David was definitely in a 'family' mood. He felt like sharing the pain with everyone in the family. See the full story.

Spider dude

Don't ask me to explain this one - this is Peter's freaky imagination. As I tucked him into bed, he told me about a fairy that could turn him into spiderbug. This, of course, just begged me to make fun of him.

Mommy cruelest

In this scene, Angie was the cruel Mama who forgot to pack Peter's favorite drink. In this case - Actimel. Peter - this is a healthy drink and you are a child; you should not like these.

Shoo fly shoo

No real story here. Angie and I had lunch and a fly landed in her soup. The funny part for me was when she freaked out like a little girl and refused to eat for the rest of the day.

The brown smudge

So then I started drawing a series of cartoons which I would 'sneak' into Peter's lunches for kindergarten. In this first one, the brown smudge is chocolate, but you will simply have to trust me on that one.


So then David was sketched and the whole thing started.


This was what started it all...

It began with a simple cartoon left on the toilet roll for Peter to enjoy. He liked it so much, he begged me to draw David...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

You can leave now

David likes bugs. I can only assume this comes from Mama's side of the family, since I find bugs to be rather disgusting and I have, on occasion, caught Angie picking up a few creepy crawlies. Today, his love for the slimy ones led him to curl up with them for a little nap.

This morning started out with a good Saturday morning argument with the wife. I was right, of course, unless you ask Angie, but who the hell would do that?

I walked in to find Angie changing David's diaper. We have been fighting a losing battle to get him potty trained and today Angie decided to try yet again. She put on big boy pants with no diaper and turned to me to provide encouragement. Judging by her reaction, I can deduce that 'that's a dumb idea, he's just gonna pee all over the sofa' is not her idea of encouragement.

After ten minutes of yelling at each other over the finer details of potty training techniques, I went into the living room to find David sitting on a very wet sofa. I don't like science or rockets, but I was fairly certain that David had just pissed all over the sofa. To this, Angie said nothing. I handed her the sponge and paper towels and refrained from smirking and screaming out 'told you so' even though I had.

We took the boys up to the Königstuhl (King's Chair) today. This is the highest point in the area, with an awesome view of Heidelberg and the river. There is also a fantastic nature trail that takes you through some really impressive wooden sculptures, carvings, and playthings for kids. The best, of course, is the wide open space where children can run as fast as they want, scream as loudly as their lungs can muster, and climb trees until the point of exhaustion.

The point of near collapse came shortly before the end of the trail for Peter. We were approaching a teepee, which I though would be awesome for the boys. I told Peter and David to run up and check it out and they took off running. Angie, Tom and I arrived at the teepee two minutes later to find a devastated little boy named Peter crying outside of the beautiful Indian dwelling.

'You said to come here and see the T.V. and then we come and we look and look and look, but - Papa! There is no T.V.!'

Ok, it took a second to realize that teepee sounds like T.V. to a four-year old. Maybe we need to force the kids to excercise a bit more and watch a little less T.V. Some native American history lessons probably wouldn't hurt, either.

Peter was not the only one getting tired. As he reluctantly accepted that watching episodes of Spongebob in the forest would not be possible, David decided to do his little bug snuggle featured in this picture. I thought it was a good thing that there were no sofas in the T.V. for David to soil, but somehow Angie did not find this comment so amusing.
Ladder Talk:
[All the peeing on sofas and bug spooning exhausted David, who fell asleep before making it to the ladder]
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When we go to the Königstuhl.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When Dalia didn't come.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To go there again, but in the castle.

The Snot Shot

Tom is already trying to prove himself. By catapulting boogers onto Mama's arm, he already wins me over. Check out the story.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hey man, nice shot!

You can shoot the sheriff. You can shoot the deputy. You can even shoot the happy little reggae prisoners smoking funny cigars, just stop pointing that damn twig at me!

This morning, Peter discovered how to hit the air freshener button. This is good, especially considering the big smells that can come from small packages. This is not good, however, when you are Papa and you wake up completely robbed of oxygen that has been replaced by the gagging smells of 'Ocean Breeze'.

I came home from work to find a devastated Angie almost in tears. Let me just make a general statement to the jackhole on Crackbook who wrote that Angie 'got fat'. Go impregnate yourself. Then you will know the difference between being pregnant and being fat. Angie is neither and I am quiet certain that no more pregographs will end up on her page.

In the evening we got the boys settled in bed and Angie and I sat down for our normal two and a half minutes of 'us' time. At this point, Tom got extremely jealous of our excessive time hogging and started hyperventilating. There is no way to describe what happened next other than 'awesome'.

I looked over to see why Tom was breathing so excitedly. He waited until Mama came closer to check on him, and then he launched the most incredible booger out of his nose. It catapulted across the room in a perfect arc and landed smack on Mama's arm. Hey man, nice shot!

Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When Barbara come.
David: When I go'ed Peter kindergarten.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I can't do the bath, but tomorrow before we do anything, we're going to do a long bath all the way to the night.
David: When I want the other net but Peter take it.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To go in the sea.
David: When me and Peter and you and Rob go swim with Pop-pop.

see related cartoon

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Or would you rather be a fish?

Babies can't stink. At least, this was my naive assumption before having three boys. I can now confirm that not only do they reek, but they also like to pee in the tub. Last week, the midwife recommended waiting several more weeks before giving a bath and suggested using moist cloth towels to keep Pig-Pen clean. She also suggested using diapers made out of bio-degradable hemp, but she was probably just high. I am sure if we just let our kids go and hug those nice smelling trees, they would never need a bath, but selfish little me does not like to gag.

One quick side note - in researching this entry, I could not remember Pig-Pen's name so I googled it. Let me say two things:

1) If you ever need to conduct a similar search, you need to include more search words than just "dirty" and "snoopy"
2) There are some sick, twisted people out there.

Speaking of sick and twisted people, Peter and David went to the dentist today. The drill freak followed my modus operandi and bribed the kids into submission with the promise of a toy if they behaved well. Oddly enough, they did, and twenty minutes later, my well-behaved hooligans each got a rubber fish to play with.

Yippee, doc. Whoopee. Yee-haw. Let's go ride Fish?! Cut back on the nitrous oxide and invest in some wind-up dinosaurs or transformer bugs. Come on, rubber fish?

The kids loved them anyway. Especially David. He petted his, licked it, and carried it around for almost an hour before shoving it in a tiny tube at the local bakery. Unlike the fresh rolls, there was no way of getting the fish out of there. I tried looking at the bright side and saw it as a way for David to learn to stop shoving things where they don't belong. David looked at the dark side and saw it as a way to test out his lungs. They work, by the bye.

Peter quickly picked up on his little brother's sad predicament and seemed genuinely concerned. 'Aw, Davey lost his fish? That's too bad, because I still have mine and it is SO much FUN to play with. If I lost my fish, I would really be sad and cry'. To that, let me just say two things:

1) If your kid ever conducts a similar taunt, you need to include more disciplinary statements than just 'good one, Peter' and 'man, that was so funny'
2) There are some strict, humorless moms out there.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I was excited for the bath.
David: When Ruaidhri come, ok?

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I couldn't do a bath.
David: Christoph bite my finger, ok?

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To go to the zoo.
David: I go'ed mit Mama and you and Peter and Dalia in your house, ok?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


David was sick all last night and did not go to kindergarten, ok? In the morning, Mama was feeding Tom in the living room and everything was quiet, ok? At some point, David apparently started feeling better, ok? Mama turned to find David covered in white stuff shouting 'boo!', ok? Mama screamed and began chasing David throughout the apartment, ok?

The white stuff is actually for diaper rashes. For those lucky bastards without little kids, this stuff is like tar mixed with crazy glue. It does not come off easily so for the rest of the day, David had a certain Michael Jackson glow about him.

In addition to learning how to gain Mama's freak-out attention, David also began ending every sentence with ok? My only guess is that he must have a Canadian in his class, eh? I can only hope that this irritating quirk rubs off sooner than the butt cream he spread all over his hands, face, and most of our apartment by the time Mama caught him. I suppose it is better than 'dude', although 'Where's my car, ok?' would be just as annoying.

While David was busy dripping gooey ointment all over the place, Peter was getting in some trouble of his own. He was in art class with the general assumption that he would be making art, in some form or fashion. Art is in the eye of the beholder, but I think even the beholder would not see any creative flair in wadding up spitballs and trying to peg the nice, low-hanging chandelier in the classroom.

He is normally quite interested in art class, but today his friend Ruaidhri joined and Peter´s self-proclaimed desire to be the class clown got the better of him. At least he had the decency to make his mess outside of the house. Hey David, maybe you could learn a little something from your brother, ok?
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I played with Ruaidhri.
David: When Ruaidhri came by and when Ruaidhri mommy comes, ok?

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When David didn't go to kindergarten.
David: When I go not in kindergarten, ok?

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To go to Dalia's and play with her.
David: When I go'ed mit you and me and Peter swimming with animals, ok?

see related cartoon

Monday, November 3, 2008

Muddy Flowers

Mud, weaving, and old ladies. What else could you ask for? Check out the story.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Flower Power

My two little hippies played at the local park today. Thankfully, they did not strip naked and start banging a tambourine. They did stop to smell the roses that in this case were actually daisies. They didn't seem to mind and as soon as Peter stuck four of them in his hat, 'because I'm four years old', David had to have two in his hat. This made me think of buying a really huge hat for Mama and plucking a shitload of daisies, but I had a sneaking suspicion that this thoughtful token of affection might not be fully appreciated.

There were a few remaining puddles from a recent rainshower and since they both had on their 'splashing' boots, I allowed them to get their mud on. I did not realize at the time, though, that this would in any way equate to completely covering innocent bystanders in the brown stuff.

I was off showing Peter how to weave sticks together when I looked up and caught a glimpse of David eyeing an elderly woman walking down the steps. It was like one of those old westerns. Everything went into slow motion. David's eyes darted from the woman to a big puddle next to the path, to me. Our eyes locked and in an instant, I knew exactly what he had planned.

I broke out into a full-on sprint to catch David, who had already stopped grinning and was now racing straight for the puddle. I caught up to David just as he reached the puddle just as the old lady was walking by. She looked up and almost had a heart attack. There I was, screaming at David to stop and barreling full-force towards her. David was chuckling like a mad scientist and suddenly launched into what I must later admit was a pretty impressive jump for his age. Both feet got air over a fairly good distance to land exactly in the middle of the puddle. Smasho-splasho. Sorry, nice old lady.

It would have been equally as bad if the woman had not been wearing a nice white dress, but this did very little to stifle David's insane laughing. I tried to yell at David in front of this poor woman and found it increasingly difficult to do so without totally cracking up myself. To avoid me laughing to tears and pointing, I grabbed David, apologized profusely and left the puddle-hunting grounds rather quickly.

David has already mudded people on two other occasions, so I am really wondering if the flowers in his hat have less to do with his years of existence on planet Earth and more with his running tally of mud victims. If this is so, the next flower-power picture you see will certainly feature David with three daisies in his hat.
Ladder Talk:
[David's mud adventures must have been draining - he fell asleep before ladder talk]

1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When I could see Dalia every day abracadabra.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I couldn't play anymore and when I can't play with Dalia anymore and when she can't stay forever and when she can't play with us tomorrow.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To play with David in the Rainbow class.

see related cartoons

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Pacify me

If only things were as quiet and peaceful as they seem to be in this picture. Today was anything but quiet and peaceful and culminated with me seriously questioning if the weekend can actually be more stressful than the week?

The fun began at breakfast, when David discovered the joys of picking a really huge booger and wiping it on Mama. I sensed immediately that the joy bit was slightly more on David's side than Mama's, though. Shouting 'No!' at this point had the opposite effect in David's brain. His tiny noodle screamed 'Yes!' and off he ran, giggling.

I ignored all of this, choosing instead to stare deeply into my hot cup of coffee, hoping for some kind of transfer of energy before getting up to chase the booger-man. The only transfer that hit me was steam, which only fogged up my glasses. I actually kind of liked seeing the world all fogged up and wondered if there was an easy way to fog up your ears as well.

As I rounded the corner to tackle David, I caught a brief glimpse of David's head being smashed into a closet by Peter. After doing a double-take, I quickly forgot about my burning desire to yell at David for his booger-wipe and turned my focus to Peter the head-basher.

I made Peter sit down on the carpet in their room as a 'time out'. Before I could say anything more, David came running over and stepped on Peter's fingers. Peter screamed, David ran, Papa checked his watch to see if it was happy hour yet. It was not.

It became clear that we would need to let the kids run it out a bit today. We called and arranged to meet Dalia at the zoo. Then we tackled lunch, also known as Le Pizza Frozen.

Peter snatched up his slice of grease, took a huge bite and then...he sneezed pizza all over Mama's arm. At this point in the day, both Peter and David had managed to disgust Mama. A very, very quiet voice in my head snickered slightly and threw up a mental high-five.

As we raced around the zoo, the kids wanted to stop and feed the goats. Sure, why not? Allow me to answer that rhetorical question. Because your two-year old might find it immensely amusing that the goats are running up and bumping other goats and decide to come up and full-on head-butt you between the eyes.

After bending my glasses back into shape and checking for a nose bleed, I vowed to think twice when David wants to be picked up for a hug after leaving the petting farm. Peter saw me checking my nose and began screaming and yelling in front of everyone at the zoo for me to stop picking my nose. Thanks, buddy. Now why don't you run along and find someone to sneeze on?

We made it back home without any further bloodshed. David must have missed Mama for he began running through the house looking for her. He found her in the boys bedroom, folding clothes and putting them away in their closets. David decided to show how much he had missed her by running up and kicking the sock drawer. This was not so nice for Mama's hand, which was unfortunately still in the drawer as it was slammed shut. At least it was not a cranial love-tap.

After checking for broken bones and making an ice-pack for Mama, I checked my watch again. I justified the early start of beer consumption with some stupid-ass statement about it being happy hour somewhere in the world and began making dinner. After the lovely pizza art from lunch, I opted against anything Italian and made hot dogs instead. This meal, for some strange reason, made the boys want to sing songs. By singing, I mean shouting and by songs I mean shouting.

Despite joining the Johnson's Zoo only four weeks ago, Tom has already mastered the ability to sleep through anything, except the night of course. As Peter and David shouted musical poetry at each other, Tom slept, Mama iced her swollen affection trophy and I simply longed for the calm solitude of my office.
Ladder Talk:
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: When Dalia could play by us.
David: When Dalia come.

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When David hit me a lot. Or pushed me. Or stepped on my fingers.
David: When I cried mit Peter.

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: To go and play with Dalia. Maybe a game or a puzzle.
David: To play with Dalia and maybe Peter fall down.

see related cartoon