Posts Tagged ‘ birthday party ’

The Five Most Embarrassing Moments of My Fatherhood

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Joe DeProspero has two sons, a wife, and serves as  complimentary birth control for anyone who sits near him in a restaurant. His writing has been described as “outrageous,” “painfully real,” and “downright humiliating.” He talks about the highs and unsettling lows of parenthood while always being entertaining and engaging in the process. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and two sons and can be emailed at jdeprospero@gmail.com or followed on Twitter @JoeDeProspero.

I’m not cut out to be a parent. I say that every morning. Rather, I think it as I’m limping out the front door with two reluctant children, a sippy cup, two lunches intricately planned by my wife, and a thermos of coffee, leaking steadily onto the tile floor. Only a few short years ago, I was enjoying the autonomy of a stack of pancakes, not a single parental concern as I mindlessly watched SportsCenter and sipped orange juice without interruption. Of course, life changes drastically when you suddenly have children to raise. I expected that. But what I didn’t expect were the ways in which its intricacies could blindside me without any notice at all.

My two sons, Antonio, 4, and Nate, 2, have taught me more about myself than I actually care to know. For one, they’ve taught me that I’m able to shout much louder than I ever believed I could. They’ve taught me that getting hit in the groin is still intensely painful no matter how underdeveloped the hitter’s muscles are. Mostly they’ve taught me to expect embarrassment. It’s all part of the gig, really.

To fully introduce myself to you, the reader, here are a few of the most memorable embarrassments I’ve faced as a parent.

1.       Can you turn that down a little?

On my way to the grocery store, my shuffled iPod playlist yielded the ferociously aggressive Metallica song, “Master of Puppets.” Stressed out, I cranked the volume and serenaded fellow drivers with the deliberately intense chorus. As I peered into my rear view mirror, I noticed I wasn’t alone; both my sons were in the backseat. And yes, they were absolutely horrified. I’m sure it didn’t help that the lyrics included “Obey your master!”  They’ve been on a healthy diet of yoga music ever since.

2.       The mystery buckle

It was my first time taking care of both my kids solo while my wife, Sonia was out of town. I decided it’d be in my best interest to take them out so they didn’t get bored with me or realize I’d run out of ways to entertain them. Five minutes on the road and I noticed my younger son standing in the back seat. As in, just wandering around on foot. I pulled over into a gas station and was completely perplexed. Was my son that dexterous at 15 months that he could manipulate a car seat buckle? No, he wasn’t. I was just a fool who forgot to buckle him in. I begged my older son not to rat me out to his mother. Naturally, it was the first thing out of his mouth when he saw her.

3.        Spell it out for me

Since neither of our sons have the ability to hear an assortment of letters and make a word out of them, my wife and I occasionally spell things out that we want to keep the boys from understanding. So while having his diaper changed, my son Nate was hiding a little bit more than just a bowel movement in his Huggies. I turned to my wife and asked, “Did you see his B-O-N-E-R?” So, of course, our older son began marching around the house, loudly chanting those letters to the tune and tempo of B-I-N-G-O. So, we added a new word to his vocabulary that day…

4.       Don’t cry for me in public

The first daycare drop-off is a rite of passage for most parents. And it’s excruciating. It means so many things. It means you’re giving up control, that your newborn is no longer a newborn, and that you’re going to cry like Sally Field in Steel Magnolias . It’s simply going to happen. Even for guys. It certainly did for me the first time I had to drop my then 4-month-old son, Antonio off to be cared for by women whose names I’ve already forgotten. Surely, he was too young to know or care that I was leaving him there for the day, but that made little difference to me as I bolted for the exit, probably pushing a toddler out of the way in the process. By the time I got into my car with the door closed, I was a blubbering mess, a true wreck of a man. Tears started to drip from my face onto my khakis as I glanced to the left, noticing a young boy standing outside my window, with a look on his face like he’d just witnessed an alien abduction. His mother yanked him by the arm and muttered, “Don’t stare!” The lesson to be learned here is to remember when you don’t have tinted windows.

5.       Gorilla warfare

This past April, my wife and I hosted my older son’s 4th birthday party. Every minute detail was Jake and the Neverland Pirates-themed, right down to a climactic treasure hunt where the kids would smash a treasure chest piñata and collect candy. But my cousin Brian had an idea to take this idea to another level. For reasons that would likely frighten me to know, he had a gorilla suit stashed in his car. So the two of us hatched what we thought was a brilliant scheme of having him wear it and surprise everyone near the end of the hunt. So, as planned, Brian emerged in the gorilla suit, interrupting my niece mid-swing, stealing the piñata away and raising his arms to wordlessly indicate victory. And the children were absolutely terrified. They screamed, they ran away, it was an epic party foul and failure. Parents had to console their traumatized children while my one aunt pleaded with Brian to abort mission. Ultimately, my wife was much less upset about the scaring of the children, though, than she was with the gorilla suit clashing with the pirate theme.

 

At the end of the day, though, despite my (generally) isolated failures as a father, I know that simply being present in my kids’ lives is a mark of success. My blog entries will cover everything from annoying baby-naming conventions to the awkwardness of being criticized on your parenting by a complete stranger. I thank Jill Cordes and Sherry Huang for the opportunity to share my stories with you all.

What are your most embarrassing moments as a parent? Feel free to leave them, and any other feedback, in the comments section–which is on facebook!

 

* Photo of man with bag on head courtesy of Shutterstock.com

 

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Have You Ever Forgotten Your Child?

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Dear lord, what is happening to my brain?? I’ve been insanely busy and barely keeping my stress level to a pre-freak out level.

The day after I posted the pics of Emmett being buried in a box, I almost did something even more neglectful.

Phil took my car to run a quick errand. I was taking Fia to a birthday party. I needed to leave and he still wasn’t back. Emmett was upstairs sleeping.

I look outside and see his car. Duh, I think.

“Fia, we can go. We can take Daddy’s car!”

She was coloring and kept doing so.

“Come on Fia, wheels up! Let’s go!”

She stops coloring, looks up at me, and says,

“But Mom, what about Emmett? We can’t leave him by himself.”

Silence. More silence. Then me: “Oh yes, silly mama, of course we can’t leave him! Hahahee (fake laughter).”

To myself I think: You are FIRED from motherhood. Then…Thank God My 3-Year-Old has her sh-t together.

I mean, benign neglect (that I wrote about) is one thing. BUT ALMOST-LEAVING-YOUR-KID is quite another. Phil came home shortly after. I didn’t mention my asinine train of thought. He doesn’t regularly read my blog, so I think I’m safe. I certainly don’t want him firing me, too…

But seriously, what the f–k is up with my mom brain lately? I have heard of moms leaving their kids before by accident. I can actually see how that could happen, as crazy as it sounds. I have got to get it together. I refuse to be that mom.


Pic of frazzled mom via Shutterstock

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Toy Overload — How Much Is Too Much?

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

I am sitting here holding back tears. My intention this morning was to write a blog asking you guys for the best toy recommendations. I found myself bored while playing with Emmett yesterday. I got to thinking, maybe like me, he’s sick of all his toys too.

But no, that’s not why my heart aches…

I’m tired of the hippo that has the pieces you put in to match colors and shapes. I’m sick of the music table that cranks out tunes in Spanish and English. I’m sick of the 500 building blocks–and in particular the whining that ensues–when Fia builds and Emmett knocks down.

Poor me. Poor us…

“Emmett, stop!” she screams, then shoves him. He starts crying. I threaten a time out for her. I hold him. This scenario is repeated throughout my day.

Oh, how very sad right? But fear not. My heart isn’t aching because of my difficult life… 

I’m even sick of the 103 books we have. Because as great as books are for kids, come on. Let’s face it. Every few months they get into a few favorites. But at the rate we are getting books (me included–I love to buy them), they will never get through even a fraction of them.

And don’t even get me started on all the stuffed animals. Especially because you can’t donate them due to sanitary reasons. We probably have at least 150.

So back to my boredom yesterday. My thought was, hmmm…maybe I’ll ask my readers what their favorite toys are/were for their babies at 14 months old. Particularly boys. Then I can go get more crap. Yes crap. To help entertain me and my kid.

Nope, this still isn’t why my heart aches…even though I can understand all of your sympathy…

How quickly I forgot about my utter annoyance at Christmas by all the toys people sent us. On Christmas Eve, I counted 27 presents under our tree. Only 4 of those were for Phil and me. Instead of feeling blessed, I felt gross. Family members love to send our babies gifts. I get it. But honestly, we don’t need them. They clutter up our space and instead of our kids learning to enjoy a few precious toys, they get bored and inundated with too many. It’s the classic consumerism of America. It begins at birth. And seems to never end…I ended up giving a bunch of stuff to a toy drive.

As a side note: I also found myself resentful. Since they bought so much, we had very little to get for Fia or Emmett ourselves. We got them each one thing. As parents, we know how much fun it is to watch them open gifts. But it would be more fun if the majority of gifts were from us. Plus, then there would probably be six toys. In total. I felt a bit robbed by everyone else who took the liberty of buying them so many toys.

But back to my heart ache…

So there I sat yesterday, the indulgent, gross American, bored, as I pulled out toys from one of our 8 brimming baskets. And by the way, the toys at the bottom of those baskets never see the light of day. Again, I use the word gross.

I sat down at my computer to crank out this blog when I got an email from my brother. It was a link to a site. It was crushing. I can’t pull the pictures from the site because of copyright. So I just ask all of you to take a moment and click on this link. It hurt my soul. It slapped me in the face. Hard. Pull it up now, then come back to finish reading my blog. I will wait………

(more…)

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Milestone Monday: Birthday Cake Disaster

Monday, December 10th, 2012

I failed Home-Ec in junior high. Well, didn’t fail, but I did get a D on a lot of my projects.

My first week on the air as the morning anchor in Omaha, Nebraska, we had a cooking segment. My scripts caught on fire. On live TV. I didn’t realize the stove top was that hot.

So it’s no surprise that I have never been very good at most domestic things, especially sewing or baking. Give me a vacuum and some rags though, and I’ll blow you away. I actually enjoy sweeping my floors. My obsessive behavior of picking up crumbs–that made me so loony I had to seek professional help–still gives me great pleasure. (But not obsessive. There’s a difference. Sometimes I challenge myself to look at the same crumb for days in a row. I smile when I walk past it knowing I’m the boss of it and not vice versa. Yes, I anthropomorphize crumbs.)

So why oh why did I think it was a good idea to bake a cake for Fia’s birthday? Honestly, I wanted to do it with her. I thought we’d have fun writing things on it and placing the candles just so. I wasn’t thinking about how it would taste or what it would look like. That’s part of not being domestic. Those things don’t cross your mind.

It did, though, when we were 30 minutes out from people arriving, and Phil walks in the kitchen. The whole place, along with Fi  and me, are covered in cake crumbs (chant chant…they’re not the boss of you, they’re not the boss of you…) and chocolate frosting. None of the snacks were prepared. I hadn’t showered and even if I had, I’d need another one.

“The cake looks like it’s brain-damaged,” Phil says, aghast. His mom is known for making these super-elaborate birthday cakes. Trucks, buildings with pillars…anything her kids were obsessed with at the time of their birthday, she’d make into a cake. I see pictures of them every time I’m at their house. I am always in awe. And curious of how hard it can really be. You know they say men marry their mothers…um, except my husband.

“How did I marry the anti-Martha Stewart?” he asks, looking around at the disaster. “And remind me again, why didn’t we just buy a cake?”

He thinks I was being cheap, but honestly, I really wanted to do this with Fia. And we had fun, though I’m not sure it was worth it. We could have had just as much fun watering the lawn…and not ruining it.

Here’s where everything went awry. I didn’t realize when you have two round cakes, you put them together by first cutting off the tops to make them flat. Or put the rounded side on the bottom of the plate.

I popped them out of their pans, and iced both tops, which were the rounded ones. Like two little hills. When I went to “glue” them together, there were these huge gaps. It was like two weeble wobbles trying to hump each other, but not being able to reach because their stomachs got in the way. Does that make sense?

Phil told me right then and there that he would go to the grocery store and buy a cake. But I refused.

“No, I just need two more containers of frosting and I can fill it all in.”

“Jill, there is no way you can fill all that in with frosting without sugar poisoning everyone. You could fill it in with Reddi-Whip though.”

“I’m not using Reddi-Whip,” I said indignantly. “That stuff is so fake tasting.”

“And a cake out of the box is what??? Gourmet????”

He had a point.

“Fine, get the Reddi-Whip, but also get me frosting.”

When he left, I decided that if I could somehow get the flat bottoms to go together, then I could pull this off. So I started flipping the cakes onto plates to try and get the flat side face up. If you can envision at all what I’m saying, you know it didn’t work. Because then both flat tops were facing up on plates and I couldn’t plop one on top of the other from a plate. So I slid it. Yes, I grabbed a cookie tray and used two spatulas and slid it on top. Fia was at the counter watching me wide-eyed as the cake began to break apart.

“Fia, mama can do this. I know I can,” I said, sweat dripping from my brow.

Silence. Even she had her doubts.

Somehow I managed to get the flat sides together and only lost about 1/3 of the top. When Phil came home, I grabbed the frosting and used it as glue to piece it together. Then I coated an entire other layer on and handed Fia the gel icing things.

“Go to town, honey. This is your cake. Happy Birthday!”

She looked at Phil, who was standing there armed with Reddi-Whip. “I’m not putting that on the cake,” I said. He sighed. “Okay, I have to get out of here. I can’t watch anymore.”

Fia took the reigns and began to squirt. About 30 seconds later she was done. Our project was complete. 30 seconds of semi-fun, a deeply defective cake, and a giant mess.

We had a few of her friends and parents over. I poured the champagne nice and full. I told them the story so they had zero expectations. But I will admit, I was honestly embarrassed when the cake came out. I didn’t even eat it. Fia only licked the frosting. And most people just took a bite or two.

Oh well, I tried. Next year I’ll buy a cake and just stick to cleaning.

 

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Fia Friday: Best Photo Yet

Friday, December 30th, 2011

Author’s Note: Join me every Friday for a dose of cuteness as I share snapshots of Fia.  Adorable photos are guaranteed on Fia Friday!

We took Fia to a birthday party. They had a huge ball pit that created loads of static electricity. Every time I look at this pic, I crack up.

Static Electric Hair-Do

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