Monthly Archives: May 2008

Wanted: Sense of Humor for My Wife!

This post also appeared on in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

Look, I readily admit I’m a practical joker.

In fact, I try to make a joke out of almost anything. I’m a firm believer that laughter is the best medicine…next to Jameson whiskey that is. It’s also my defense mechanism when I get nervous or uncomfortable. Plus I love to be the center of attention and therefore making people laugh has always been a top priority for me. MJ knew this when she started dating me and especially when she married me. In fact, if she hadn’t gotten wind of it, the bottom of my shoes would’ve had “HELP” and “ME” written on them, displayed to everyone in the audience during our wedding ceremony while kneeling. It’s just how I am.

And yes, we have a child now. I’m a father and as such, I have taken on multiple responsibilities. And I take them all seriously because there is nothing — NOTHING — I won’t do to protect and care for my family. But one thing I have learned is that motherhood — despite the many positives it brings — also takes something away: her sense of humor!

Yesterday I skipped the gym because I really missed MJ and Will and I wanted to hang out with them. It was such a nice day I suggested we take the dogs and go for a walk along the Cape Cod Canal. We were having a great time, walking and talking and watching the dogs eat shells, bird poop and rocks, when MJ’s shoelace came untied. So she put the wheel lock on the stroller, turned away from it and bent down to tie her shoe. I really don’t know why I felt compelled to do it, but I made the decision to mess with her a little bit. It was very windy out, so while MJ was bending down I said:

“Your baby is rolling away.”

Folks, I’ve never seen a human being move so fast. First she whipped her whole body around, arms already outstretched in an attempt to grab the runaway stroller. And when she realized it hadn’t gone anywhere and I was just screwing with her, she hit me in the head! I’m serious, she belted me RIGHT ON THE HEAD!! She was like some kind of mommy ninja because I swear she reached for the stroller AND hit me in one fluid motion that took approximately .58 seconds.

I was pissed. I couldn’t believe she whacked me. I mean seriously, did she think that I’d just stand there and watch my child roll away into the ocean?? Although she was doing this half laugh, half glaring at me in anger thing, I asked her where her sense of humor had gone. She replied that it must’ve come out during delivery. Touche. But seriously, just because you’re a parent doesn’t mean you have to lose your sense of humor. A good joke is a good joke, regardless of content.

But just wait until I fake dropping the baby when she’s in the kitchen and I’m in the living room. Now that’ll make for an interesting blog entry. That’s if I’m able to type after she tries to break all of my fingers.

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Wielding Power

This post also appeared on in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

I’m learning that with parenthood comes significant power.

Sure parents have the power to raise a child, teach right from wrong and basically determine whether or not the kid is going to grow up to be a functioning, well-adjusted member of society. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. When you become a parent, you have newfound power over your own parents! All of a sudden the people who raised you and made you follow the rules aren’t making them anymore…you are! Most notably, you pretty much determine what their nicknames will be for the rest of their lives. Grandma, grandpa, papa, grampy, granny, grams, grandpop…the choices are endless. But in my parents’ case, it’s a little more complicated.

For instance, when I asked my mom what she wanted Will to call her when he was old enough to talk, her response was priceless. “Auntie Cyn,” she said with a perfectly straight face. You see my mom had a little trouble adjusting to the fact that she was actually old enough to be a grandmother. She still cringes when I call her grandma too, which just makes me do it more. She tells people she’s not a grandmother, she’s simply a mother whose son had a child. As if that’s fooling anyone. And while she doesn’t know what she wants to be called yet, she’s pretty much ruled out everything else. Grandma, Granny, Gram, Nana…all of those make her sound “too old.” But she has to be called something. And MJ’s mom wants to be called “grandma,” so what do I call my mom to avoid confusion?

My parents faced the same dilemma when I was born and grew old enough to talk. Both of my grandmothers wanted to be called “grandma” and neither was willing to accept anything less. So my father put his foot down and made an executive decision. One would be “Grandma Goo-Goo” and the other “Grandma Ga-Ga.” One of my grandfathers had to be “Grandpa Choo-Choo” because he was a train fanatic. And it stuck. Even into our teenage years, my brother and I referred to them this way. They both hated it with the white hot passion of 1,000 burning suns, and my father was so proud of himself. He still brags about it to this day.

But now the shoe is on the other foot. Now MJ and I get to decide how our child will address them from here on out. I’m thinking maybe we call my father “pappy.” I’m sure he’s not fond of that. Or we could have Will call him “Grandpa Baldy.” I like the sound of that. And when it comes to my mom, I’m just not sure I can resist having Will call her “Granny.” That was the name of her grandmother and I’m pretty sure that would drive her nuts in two seconds flat. Or maybe something like “Grandmumsy.” That’s pretty annoying.

It may seem mean but fair’s fair. They tortured their parents with absurd names and now I feel I should carry on the family tradition. My father has already threatened with me an endless supply of drumsets on every one of Will’s gift-giving occasions, but that’s a chance I’m willing to take.

So what does your little one call his grandparents?

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An Ode to My Wife

This post also appeared on in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

In looking back at some of my posts, I realized to the untrained eye it might look like I don’t appreciate my wife. Nothing could be farther from the truth, so here’s a little something I wrote for the greatest woman in my life…

Strong and independent, yet soft and cuddly
You are by far the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me
From bringing home the bacon to how you cook and clean
Then add “mommy” to your resume and everything in between
And I don’t make it easy, people tell you you’re a saint
Putting up with my antics would make most women faint
But deep down past the joking and all my kidding around
I treasure every part of you, a truer love could never be found
I love when your eyes change color and your impish little grin
I love the way your hair smells and the smoothness of your skin
I love that you don’t expect me to notice your new haircut
I love when you pretend to be mad when I pinch your butt
And when it comes to our new son, you truly are the best
Taking care of little Will without hardly a minute’s rest
You constantly amaze me with all you say and do
I consider it an honor that I’ll grow old with you
I don’t know why you picked me, but I’d damn sure glad you did
Because between the two of us, we made a beautiful kid
So thank you and I love you, you mean the world to me
My wife, my friend but most of all, the planet’s best mommy

Guys, let your girlfriend/wife know how much you care about them. I’m learning that a little effort and a tiny compliment can be a huge deal!

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Bad Habits

This post also appeared on in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

“If Will turns out to be a foul-mouthed deviant it’ll be your fault.”

Those were the words directed at me from my lovely wife this past weekend. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but we were discussing how great a parent’s influence is on his/her kids and how children mimic their parents and try to be just like them. And from there it turned into a laundry list of my bad habits and all the things I need to change for Will’s sake. So without further ado, here are all the terrible things about me that I need to correct in order to become a suitable dad…

My swearing. I can’t really argue with MJ about this one because it’s true. I swear like a drunken sailor on liberty. In particular, I love the F-word. I use it whenever possible and I utilize it in all its forms. I just can’t help it, I love to curse. Ever since George Carlin and his “Seven Words You Can’t Say on TV” routine, I’ve tried to swear at every turn. It makes jokes funnier and it accentuates my points when I’m angry. This topic came up because I was getting frustrated while dealing with all the damn tourists who flooded the Cape this Memorial Day weekend, and who have no idea how to navigate a rotary. I immediately went off on an expletive-laden tirade that would make Andrew Dice Clay blush, until MJ whacked me and pointed to Will in the backseat. You see, I’m still operating under the assumption that he can’t understand what the hell I’m saying, so what’s the difference if I drop a few F-bombs here and there? She asked if I really wanted my young son saying “sh*t” and “@sshole” and honestly, I think that’d be pretty funny. But she sees it differently. And she warned me that if Will’s first word is “f*ck” then she’s going to divorce me.

Second, she wants me to tone down my attitude and anger while watching sports. I can see where she’s coming from. After all, I am certifiable during games. I jump around, scream, swear, throw things and kick furniture when my teams aren’t doing well. If things are going especially poorly, I’m not above slamming my head into walls either. But I’ve been that way all my life and that’s why when I’m lost in a game, I forget that I’m holding Will or he’s sleeping nearby. And when I let out my screams and yells I’ve woken him up a few times, much to MJ’s displeasure. But in my defense, how the hell am I supposed to vent my feelings during a game if I can’t yell? That’s how I was brought up and I really don’t think I’m capable of change here. It’s an automatic reaction…it’s instinct. When Big Papi hits a walkoff homerun I can’t imagine jumping up and performing a few silent fist pumps in celebration. I have to run around the living room, shout at the top of my lungs, wrestle with the dogs and jump up and down on the couch. I don’t think I’m flexible on this one.

And finally, there’s the bad habit that tops them all. The one MJ gets furious just thinking about. The proverbial cherry on my bad habit sundae. And I’m warning you now, most of you women will find this a little gross so stop reading now if you’re easily offended…

You see, in my most natural state I’m a complete neanderthal. Namely, if I’m just relaxing at home watching TV on the couch, I have my hands down my pants. And I know I’m not alone here. I’d say 95 percent of guys, if allowed to answer honestly, would say their idea of a great Saturday afternoon would be chilling out on the couch with a remote control in one hand and their scrotum in the other. It’s just how we are, it’s written into our DNA. And believe it or not, we’re not doing it on purpose or to piss you women off. It’s just automatic. We do it without even thinking about it. Have you ever seen the TV show “Married with Children?” We’re all Al Bundy at heart and after a long day of work we think we have the right to sit on our couch, watch TV and fondle ourselves.

But whenever MJ walks into a room and I’m doing this, she hits the roof. And now that we have a child, she gets even more furious. She thinks that if Will sees me doing this, he’ll do it. And if he starts doing it, well…MJ might tear the aforementioned part of my anatomy right off. I’ve tried to tell her it doesn’t matter if Will ever sees me do this, he’ll figure it out on his own. It’s a rite of passage into manhood. It’s going to happen no matter what.

However, I admit I got myself into more trouble than necessary when she called me a caveman, and I responded by wishing that was true because then I could club her.

Anyways, I’m curious to see if we’re alone in having these arguments. So any guys reading out there, leave some comments and tell me what your wife or girlfriend gets on you about. And ladies, feel free to air your own laundry lists of stuff your man does that drives you nuts.

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Weight Loss, Smiles and More Poop

This post also appeared on in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

I won’t be posting much this weekend because it’s a 3-day weekend, the weather is supposed to be great and I’m going to be outside with my family and dogs. But first…

The Weight Loss Death Match is going so-so. I’ve been really good but I haven’t seen the results I’ve wanted. I’m eating right and MJ is still helping me count calories. I usually have a cup of cereal in the morning, a sandwich wrap at lunch with a yogurt and usually something like chicken for dinner with a 100-calorie snack pack. And I’m exercising like crazy. I go to the gym 3-4 times a week and I run two miles on the Cape Cod Canal the same amount. I also play softball and basketball once a week. Yet I’ve only lost 8 lbs in three weeks. It’s really pissing me off. Last time I went all out like this the fat was literally shedding off of me. I’m hoping I’ll get through this plateau soon. And sure my pants are loose and things fit me better, but I’m only interested in the number of lbs. lost. There’s money on the line.

On the Will front, he’s getting so expressive. I’ve been getting smiles on top of smiles lately and I love making him laugh. He gives me this goofy, ear-to-ear toothless grin and I light up each and every time. Well, almost each and every time. Let me tell you a story about yesterday…

So I’m playing with him on the floor yesterday and having a great time. I’m laying on my back and I have him sitting on top of me. I’m bouncing him around and he’s having a grand old time laughing and smiling away. He continued to smile as I had him sitting right on my stomach, when he let out (what I thought was) the biggest fart I’ve ever heard. I joked with him and told him I was proud of his manly flatulence and all was good. Until about five minutes later when I realized he hadn’t farted…

The kid crapped straight through his diaper, through his outfit and onto me. HE CRAPPED RIGHT ON ME! This sent my loving wife into hysterics as I scrambled to my feet and fought the urge to throw up because of the baby poop all over my midsection. Damn kid is already screwing with my head. But it’s impossible to be mad at him. Just look at the picture at the top of this post. So cute I want to eat his face!

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