Tag Archives: toddlers

Our Toy Story on Ice Experience

Pixar images and characters ©Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

I’m not a fan of figure skating or most musicals. As big of a sports fan as I am, I don’t even like hockey since I can’t skate a lick. Basically if it has anything to do with ice I’m probably tuning out.

But on Saturday, the Boston Bruins’ home ice was transformed into a living, breathing, triple-toe-looping rendition of Toy Story 3.  And Will LOVED it.

I had no idea what to expect because I can’t remember attending anything like this as a kid, and certainly not as a parent. First of all I wondered if Will would even sit through a two-hour performance. He’s not even 3 yet and I feared a meltdown halfway through. I also wondered if all the lights and hoopla would scare him. And finally, I wondered if I’d be able to get through such a performance without copious amounts of Sam Adams.

Turns out my worries were moot.

First of all, we took the train into Boston and that was almost as exciting as the show for Will. The kid loves trains and all he kept saying was “Subway train take us to Boston Garden!” As an added bonus, we got to go with our good friends Alicia and Vic, and our godson Vic III. They were absolutely enthralled by the subway and could barely contain themselves.

When we got to the Garden it was a madhouse! There were kids everywhere and the noise dwarfed even the most rowdy Celtics and Bruins crowds. Although the amount of vomit and errant urine on the floor remained the same.

Our seats revealed a spectacular view of the ice, but we still hadn’t told Will exactly what was going on. That’s why what happened next was so cool.

As much as he loves Toy Story, Will’s first love is Mickey Mouse. So when Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy made a surprise appearance on the ice before the show, he was floored. He didn’t like it very much when Mickey went away, and he wasn’t too impressed with Andy figure skating around the ice to open the show. But then the lights dimmed, the music started to crescendo and suddenly the main cast burst out onto the ice with a roar.

But I wasn’t watching that. I wanted to see Will’s reaction. I was hoping for that picture-perfect moment when he sees Ham, Rex, Woody, Buzz, Jessie and Bullseye and flips out with happiness. That didn’t happen though. Instead, he was stunned. Happily stunned, but absolutely overcome with sensory overload. Basically his expression looked like mine would have if the Swedish Bikini Team walked into my house naked while telling me I won the lottery and presenting me with a check for $20 million.

For the next hour he didn’t move. He just stared. The kid who gets distracted by shiny (and even not-so-shiny) objects was GLUED to the action on the ice. The costumes were part of it (did they have midgets skating in the two-man Bullseye and Slinky Dog outfits??) but the other part was the skating. It was like a mini Olympics out there, with some truly skilled performers gliding, leaping and even flying around the ice. I was impressed.

The Woody’s Round-Up segment was a big crowd-pleaser, and I really liked the collection of Green Army Men who displayed some impressive synchronicity. I thought the Barbie and Ken part lasted too long (and was more than a little suggestive), but it probably went over the kids’ heads.

But as great as the show itself was, the second half was ruined by two of the rudest people on the face of the Earth sitting behind us.

Two women and a young boy, about 4, sat behind us after the intermission. I heard them coming a mile away, thanks to their loud and obnoxious entrance. And as the performers came out for the second act, one woman screamed a loud “WOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!” that caused Will to cover his ears and gave us all a whiff of the Bloody Marys she was consuming prior to the show. The next 10 minutes consisted of her and the other woman giving an ignorant running commentary of every single that happened.

“Yeah Barbie, you go girl!”

“Oooh Oooh Oooh, I love this song: I’m walkin’ on sunshine…WOAH OH!”

“Ohmygodohmygod, Potato Head lost his eye. YOUR EYE FELL OFF POTATO HEAD!”

Alicia and Vic were sitting farther down the row and eying them with just as much contempt. But when Alicia turned to give them a stern look, she was floored. Apparently these two women were a couple, which is fine. But what wasn’t fine was the fact that they were inappropriately groping each other’s lady parts during the frickin’ show!

My wife, who hadn’t seen the public display of affection, finally turned around and asked them to quiet down. But because they were quite obviously white trash morons, they started jawing back at us. At which point I turned around and joined in the argument. That’s when they dropped this doozy on us:

“What’s your problem? You have issues with lesbians sitting here and enjoying themselves?”

First of all I hadn’t even realized they were gay. Second, I didn’t give a shit. Which is why I said “I don’t care if you’re gay, straight or have sex with farm animals. Take a cue from your well-behaved kid and shut up and watch the show. Because right now you sound ridiculously dumb.

But they didn’t quiet down. Instead they got a little louder and wouldn’t stop making comments about me and MJ. And then, I heard one of them not-so-quietly whisper “I bet their kid’s a real brat.”

Oh no no no you didn’t.

I turned around and asked them if that was their kid. They said yes. Then I got heated:

“Well I was just wondering, because he seems extraordinarily well-behaved. Certainly better than his ignorant, loud-mouthed parents who are making fools of themselves at a kids’ show. My kid has been covering his ears and turning around to ‘shoosh’ you because even he’s got better manners than you do. So why don’t you do the rest of us a favor and crawl back to the uneducated hole you came from.”

As you can imagine, the rest of the show wasn’t so pleasant. I know I could’ve called security, but their kid was really sweet and he was enjoying himself. Kids shouldn’t be punished because of how stupid their parents are.

Anyways, the show was fantastic despite the distractions. And anyone who lives in New England should make it a point to visit Disney on Ice and check out showtimes. It’s running all this week (school vacation) through Feb. 27. For $25 per ticket you get Lower Loge seats, which are great, but if you want to upgrade you can pay $55 for VIP floor seats or $90 for front row.

Also, I recommend doing what MJ did beforehand. The amount of ridiculously overpriced toys that light up and spin around are endless. And your kid WILL want one. But MJ went out and bought some inexpensive Toy Story toys at the store before the show, so Will already had a new toy to play with. Granted he still wanted the “cool” toys, but we avoided a full-blown meltdown because he already had something to play with.

But it’s definitely worth the money and your kids will flippin’ love it!

DISCLAIMER: Our tickets were provided free of charge by Feld Entertainment. However, as always, my opinions are my own.

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“So Grandpa Was Eaten By a T-Rex?”

The Death Talk.

As parents most of us dread it. I know I feel that way. The difficult part is you never know how it’s going to rear its ugly head or under what circumstances. Will you have to do it when the family pet dies? Or worse, a relative or friend? And at what age are you supposed to bring this up for the first time? How old do they have to be before they even get what the hell you’re talking about?

I still don’t know the answers to these questions, but Will put me to the test recently.

If you’re new to my little corner of the Internet, my grandfather died a month ago after a period of declining health and a move to a nursing home. We lovingly referred to him as “Grandpa Choo-Choo” because of his love for trains. My grandmother died during the summer of 2009, but it was actually easier for us because Will was far too young to have any clue about death. But now that he’s almost 3, it’s a different story.

So when he asked about Grandpa Choo-Choo’s death I felt like I was at a real crossroads. Do I give him a fairytale version of events or do I gently level with him as best you can with a toddler? Being a rather direct person, I chose the latter. But not being a believer in God, heaven, hell, etc it makes it even tougher because I refuse to say “He’s up with the angels in heaven.” So here’s how that conversation went. Will, obviously, is in bold.

“Dada, what happen to Grandpa Choo-Choo?”

“Well buddy, Grandpa Choo-Choo died.”

“We visit him in hospital?”

“No kiddo, I’m sorry. We can’t visit Choo-Choo. He died so that means he’s not here anymore.”

“Where he go?”

“He went to…a better place.”

“Oh. Right. Better place. Like McDonalds?”

“Not quite. You see bud he was really old and he got sick. And unfortunately he died and that means we can’t see him anymore. But we can always remember him and love him.”

“Grandpa Choo-Choo die like Mufasa? (Simba’s dad who dies in the Lion King, one of Will’s favorite movies)

(I’m pumped because I view this as a great way to explain it in simple terms)

“Yeah. Like when Mufasa died. Exactly buddy, you’ve got it.”

“Oh. So Grandpa Choo-Choo run over by wildebeests?”

“No no no pal, Choo-Choo wasn’t run over by wildebeests. I just mean that he…ummm…well buddy, do you remember the Dinosaur movie you like? Do you remember when Kron died and everyone was sad but they just had to remember him and go on with their lives?”

“So…Grandpa Choo-Choo eaten by T-Rex?”

“Dammit. No. Wow. Uh, ok…how do I explain this?”

“Dada, who killed Grandpa Choo-Choo?”

“Oh no buddy, no one killed Grandpa Choo-Choo. He was just really old and really sick.”

“But Dada, Mom say you is sick. You die like Grandpa Choo-Choo?”

“Oh sweetie, no no no no no. I’m not gonna die right now. You don’t die every time you get sick. I’m much younger than Grandpa Choo-Choo. I know this is confusing and I’m not explaining it well. But when Grandpa Choo-Choo died he had lots of boo-boos and no medicine could fix it. So one day he just went to sleep and he didn’t wake up again.”

“I NO WANNA GO SLEEP AGAIN! I NO WANNA GO SLEEP AGAIN!”

“Oh shit. I didn’t mean for it to sound like that.”

“Shit Dada.”

“Oh wow. Worst dad ever. Uhhhh….ummmm….I’ve got it! Screw it. Wanna get some chicken nuggets at McDonalds buddy?”

“YAY!!!”

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My Magic Plate

I don’t want to alarm any of you, but I think I may have some kind of mystical powers.

I’m not sure how this came about, but it’s definitely true. I first noticed it about a week ago during dinner. Everyone at the table had the same meal on their plates, but mine was different. I began to notice the food on my plate — although spooned from the same batch of dinner as both MJ and Will — tasted magically better. You might be doubting me, but it’s true.

I know this because Will refuses to eat food off his own plate.

Everything he eats has to be off my plate. Everything. Seemingly it’s the same food, but apparently my plate is laced with scrumptious flavorings that soak into the food and increase the overall tastiness of the food tenfold. You know those houses that have radiant heating in the floors so when you’re walking around barefoot you’re nice and toasty? Well this is the same thing, only my magic plate infuses food with such deliciousness that it is irresistible to my son.

I feel like Harry Potter when Dumbledore told him he was a wizard. Only I don’t do things like talk to snakes,  play Quidditch or have uncomfortable homosexual exchanges with Ron Weasley. Nope, my magical powers involve me losing my dinner. Go figure.

I tried bestowing my magic plate upon Will so he wouldn’t keep stealing my food. But alas, it is a very specific type of magic and the spell is null and void if I attempt to pass my plate off to another. Will proved this by crying hysterically when I tried to give him my magic plate. Yup, the only way the magic plate works is if I continuously transfer my food onto his plate. Which gets messy when we’re talking about pasta.

Oh well. With great magical power comes great responsibility right? If I get to hang out with Hermione Granger it’ll all be worth it.

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The Repeater

My wife loves the Food Network. Whether it’s Diners, Drive-ins & Dives or that show with the old Double Dare host from Nickelodeon in the 80s, she just can’t get enough of it. Me? I like one show. Everyday Italian, hosted by the one, the only, the BEAUTIFUL Giada De Laurentiis.

As you can gather from the picture, it ain’t exactly the cooking I’m into.

MJ nicknames Giada “The Skinny Guinea.” I have a simpler and baser nickname for her. One that gets straight to the heart of the matter. I call her “Chef Titties.” It may not rhyme, but it accurately and succinctly portrays what it is I admire about her. In addition to her cooking, of course.

So when MJ was flipping through the channels and suddenly landed on Giada, I was ecstatic. She was blessing my glowing box that day with a tight, v-neck sweater that was showing plenty of cleavage. MJ said they were bigger and more robust than normal because she had just given birth not too long ago. Hallelujah for swollen post-baby boobs. But I digress.

As you all know by now, I don’t do a lot of thinking or filtering before my thoughts make their way down from my neanderthal brain to my cretin lips. That’s why instead of saying “Oh look, it’s Giada making another wholesome family meal that perhaps we can get the recipe for and enjoy later tonight,” I said something entirely different.

“Hot damn, it’s Chef Titties!” I exclaimed to no one in particular. I’m a regular poet right?

What I wasn’t expecting was for my 19-month-old son, who was playing with his toys in the living room, to all of a sudden join in the conversation. But at that moment he stopped playing, looked at me, looked at the TV, and then opened his preciously innocent little mouth to say:

“Titties!”

I’m not sure my paltry words can adequately describe the glare of death I received from my wife at that exact moment in time. But I’m pretty sure it was something similar to this:


People — my wife included — have been telling me I need to watch what I say around Will at this age because he’s going to start repeating things. Well, looks like I ignored all the warnings and found out the hard way. But seeing as how I’m a damn fine parent I did the most reasonable thing I could think of at the moment.

I started laughing hysterically.

Seriously, I cracked the fuck up. Here’s this cute little toddler with the face of an angel, and he’s merrily chirping the word “TITTIES!” over and over again. If I was getting the look of death before, MJ became downright homicidal at this point. And I know laughing was not the best thing to do because it encourages him, but c’mon…how can you not laugh? After all, he doesn’t know what the hell titties are. I don’t think he does at least. Although he sure likes to grab at them whenever he gets the opportunity. But I digress.

The lesson I took away from it (other than kids swearing and saying other inappropriate words is hilarious) is that I really do need to watch what I say, because he is repeating everything. The kid knows what an iPod is and he walks around pointing to it saying “Ipaw, Ipaw!” And when you ask him to say something, there’s a better than 50% chance he can do it.

That worries me. Because if he really is going to repeat the things he hears most often from his parents, this is a partial list of what his next words and phrases might be:

“Fuck.”

“Shit.”

“Balls.”

“You suck.”

“Asshole.”

“Damn dog.”

“What the hell?”

“Son of a Bitch.”

and

“Are the Patriots ever gonna play some fucking defense this year?!?”

It’s a loving, caring and compassionate household in which we’re raising him. Can’t you tell?

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Sometimes Being a Parent Sucks

Will started eating solids at just a few months old. He’s off the charts for height. He began walking at just 9 months old and talking wasn’t far behind. In fact, Will has been ahead of the curve when it comes to just about everything.

So why I am surprised by the fact that he has apparently hit his Terrible Two’s at 18 months old?

I have to be honest with you guys, I can’t stand him right now. My son is awful and at various points over the last few weeks, I have openly hated him. Call Child & Family Services if you must, but it’s the truth.

My angelic child has gone from sleeping completely through the night to waking up 2-4 times a night. The entire reason he started sleeping through the night in the first place was because we let him cry it out. It was tough, but it worked. So naturally we tried letting him cry it out again when this rough patch began, but to no avail.

He’s not just crying when he wakes up, he’s SCREAMING! He’s doing the out of breath, wailing, body racked with sobs kind of screaming for more than an hour. MJ can sleep through that, but I can’t. So I’m left with two options: 1) Let him cry it out and listen to him cry it out without sleeping, and 2) Go get him and bring him into bed with us until he calms down. Because I need sleep, I’ve been opting for the latter. Except when I put him back in his crib he wakes up again an hour later and the whole process starts all over.

But it’s more than the sleep issue. Will is an evil little child right now. His entire existence at this point is to test his parents and see what he can get away with. He knows right from wrong. He knows what he is and isn’t allowed to touch. But he starts doing exactly what he shouldn’t be doing in order to test us and see what we’ll let him get away with. It’s maddening and exhausting.

Not to mention the sheer emotion at this age is out of control. Everything is life or death to Will right now, and he reacts like his life is ending when we tell him no. For instance, he constantly wants his little stuffed monkey. However, we don’t want him to rely too much on it so we’ve cut back his monkey time to naps and bedtime. But during the day when he makes the monkey noise to let us know he wants his toy, we tell him no, that monkey is sleeping. Well as soon as he hears “no” he goes ballistic. He literally splays himself on the floor and starts sobbing uncontrollably. He screams so hard his eyes look like they’re going to bulge out of his head. It’s as if he will not survive another second if he doesn’t get what he wants.

And this is how it is for every single solitary thing in his life right now. It’s beyond tiresome.

I know most moms get postpartum depression in the immediate days and weeks following birth. And I grant you, that’s a tough time. But I wasn’t affected by it. I think it’s because in my mind, it was a baby who had no knowledge of right and wrong or how things worked. Yeah it was tough and I was sleep deprived, but newborns are so helpless. But now? Now that kid knows some of the difference between right and wrong. He’s no longer a helpless little baby. So when I tell him no and he proceeds to slap me in the face and then giggle, it makes me crazy.

One of my favorite authors, Bill Simmons, has two young children. In one of his most recent columns, he wrote:

“Being a parent of young kids sucks. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. About six months ago, I wanted to start a Twitter account of quotes my wife screamed in the heat of those my-kids-are-driving-me-crazy-moments such as these: “If you don’t stop crying, I am going to stick you in the microwave!!!!” and “Fine, climb up the stairs again; I hope you fall down, I really do!” She wouldn’t let me because she thought child services would arrest us. The truth is, every parent snaps from time to time. We can’t help it. Our kids’ job is to suck all forms of life from us, frighten us, embarrass us in public and prevent us from sleeping until they turn 4. We pretend it’s not so bad when, really, it’s mostly horrible and even somewhat indefensible. But — and this is a big but — they parcel out just enough, “Wow, I’m so glad I had kids” moments to make it all worth it.

Bingo. Couldn’t have said it any better.

Having young kids does suck. I don’t feel like a bad parent for saying that, because it’s true. You’ve just given up all your independence and free time. You get no sleep. You rearrange your life in ways you don’t even like. You get less sex. You don’t go on vacations or have romantic weekend getaways. And you don’t have a moment off or to yourself for years.

In short, raising young kids is like playing golf. First of all, it’s an expensive undertaking. Second, unless you’re a scratch golfer, that is one frustrating sport. If you’re an average joe on the golf course, you spend most of your day cursing your terrible shots. But then, you hit one that is beautiful, straight and ends up on the green. And that shot — that one perfect moment — is enough to keep you coming back to the course in the future.

So even though I spent some of this weekend in a total meltdown cursing my son and screaming “I hate you” into my pillow while trying to get some sleep, the little guy will ultimately shoot me a smile, give me a kiss or do something so incredibly cute I can’t help but forget the past two weeks of sleepless nights and temper tantrums.

But in the meantime, don’t let anyone tell you you’re an awful parent for having moments of pure hatred toward your kids. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be human.

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