Big Brother

Today, Garrett is six! He hopped out of bed this morning, ran into the kitchen where I was making breakfast, and excitedly proclaimed that not only was he now six…but he was also taller as well. He added that since he was six, he was ready to do chores around the house and, “what would you like me to do first, daddy?” I smiled and told him that today his only chore was to eat breakfast and go to school. What he doesn’t know is that I’ll be making a surprise visit to his classroom today to read books to him and his friends in honor of his birthday.

Years ago, I started this blog on a whim. I wanted to see how blogging was done. Slowly, it evolved into telling funny stories about me (and GWE) with the boys. Lately, I’ve been thinking of it more as a time-capsule. At some point in the future, Justin and Garrett will be reading these notes and stories from me. So, here is a note to Future-Garrett:

Dear Garrett –

Happy Birthday!! Today, you are 6! You have grown up so much. In many ways, you are very similar to your brother. You’re both funny, smart, and very caring towards your friends and family. You both love listening to music for hours and hours. And, in some ways you are different. You love to play so hard that sweat drips out of every pore! You run towards danger! (“Show me the house the blew up again, daddy!!”) And, you also love to ask 1000’s of questions about everything. I’ve never seen someone so fascinated about the world around them. Your laughter is contagious, your farts are ungodly, and you know more about cars (especially Teslas) than most experts.

You have an amazing ability to ingratiate yourself into any situation. No matter where you are or who you’re speaking with, it only seems natural that it wouldn’t be happening without your presence. At five, you “work” at a Tesla store…and the other employees treat you as such!

Just the other night, we went out to dinner. Not only did you want to pay the bill, but you demanded that the waiter take you back to the register behind the counter, show you how it worked, allowed you to input the information (and slide my credit card,) and then bring it back to me as if you worked there. Your warm, inquisitive personality has led you on many adventures this year!

Mommy and I love you very much. We are very excited for you to experience the year ahead. You’re going to make great friends at school, have amazing experiences, and even find time to play a little golf with me.

Happy Birthday, Garrett!

I love you  

Daddy

wmnThe first year we attended Justin’s school fundraiser, GWE noticed that one of the items up for bid was the opportunity for Justin to host the school’s morning news broadcast. Typically, this was a honor reserved for the 4th and 5th graders. However, thanks to GWE’s ability to outbid and (quite frankly) intimidate anyone who came within 5 feet of the bid sheet, Justin got an early start in the morning news business – Kindergarten! Each and every year since he began attending this school, Justin has appeared on the Woodcrest Morning News.

You may also notice that Garrett makes an appearance as well. He started out as a background prop and worked his way up to co-host of the show with his big brother. And now, thanks to the editing skills of GWE, you can fully enjoy “The Justin-Reads-The-News Montage Show!”

Sesame Street  Season 43 Big Bird
This is not the bird you’re looking for.

While having dinner at home one night, we decided to open the back doors and windows to allow a cool evening breeze into the house. GWE, the boys, and I sat around the table eating, laughing, and getting caught up on how everyone’s day went. It was a pleasant evening and nothing was out of the ordinary, until….all of a sudden…

… a bird flew into the house!

What was once a calm and relaxed dinner turned into a (slightly) chaotic moment. Justin, the child who doesn’t like to go outside or have nature come inside, froze in a panic. Garrett, the child who loves being outside…but probably loves chaos even more, was thrilled to see the bird! Garrett greeted the interruption with a mixture of dance, excitement, and screaming with glee. GWE and I took the tactical position of turning off all the lights in house, turning on the porch lights, and shooing the bird outside again.

Once the bird left, we closed the doors and windows and resumed our meal. However, the excitement in Garrett’s body could not be contained. 

“I DID IT!! I DID IT!!! I DID IT!!!” Garrett squealed. “What? What did you do?” I asked. 

“I HID!!!!!” He announced triumphantly, as if he had conquered Mother Nature by himself.

In case of emergency, I’m still not sure which kid will be the most useful!

Angry Bird
I am an angry bird!

 

Golf-1

It was a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon and Justin, Garrett, and I had nothing to do. GWE was on a flight to Toronto for a business trip and it was the first day of “Guy’s Week” aka “Home Alone: The Dad Edition.” As I looked at both boys lounging lazily on the sofa, I saw their pale skin and round bellies and thought they needed to be playing outside. Fresh air, physical activity, and sunshine would do them some good! However, I couldn’t get them to go to the back yard. No amount of passively saying “go outside” seemed to work.

And then, I had an idea! I walked over to the television, turned it off (to the sounds of bitter complaining and crying,) and told the boys to get in the car….or else. (“Or else” works a lot more than you might think!)

As we pulled up to the putt-putt place, both Garrett and Justin ‘excitedly’ screamed, “NO!!! WE DON’T WANT TO GO HERE!!” I turned around and informed them both that whenever they decide to get their driver’s license and buy their own car, they can go wherever they want! (Right…..that’s not going to come back and bite me in the ass in 6 years, 11 months, and 4 days from now.)

With anger in their eyes and hatred in their hearts (probably towards me,) they walked into the Sherman Oaks Castle Park. They were so angry at me, that I thought it would be hilarious to make them smile and look like they were having a good time. This is the picture:

Golf-2

I swear, they were not having a good time. They were angry!

Here is the problem with taking a 9 year old and a 4 year old to putt-putt. The 9 year old has spent months taking real golf lessons and is now competitive when it comes to the game of golf. He wants to play by the rules and WIN by the rules. The 4 year old DOES NOT WANT TO LOSE to his brother, but he also doesn’t want to follow the rules of the game either. So, this is what would happen: Justin would line up his shot, take his stroke, and usually be in the cup after 1 or 2 putts. Garrett would hit his first ball, run after it, pick it up, and then run over to the cup and drop it in.

Needless to say, Justin was having a meltdown every time Garrett did this and would get very upset because he felt as though Garrett was cheating. On the other hand, Garrett would see Justin get the ball into the cup first and then have an even bigger meltdown because he refused to lose to his brother. No matter how much I tried to explain to them that they were not playing against one another…..they saw it as all-out war against one another.

We only made it to the 6th hole before I gave up. Once Garrett tried to attack his brother with the golf club while screaming unintelligible words all the while having streams of tears coming down from his eyes and lines of snot pouring out of this nose, I thought….ok, we’re done.

Once we were in the car and everyone had calmed down, I heard Garrett ask, “Daddy? Can we come back tomorrow?”

Not kidding. He really said it.

 

Play-NiceAs a parent, you want to keep your kids safe. You’d throw yourself in front of a bus if it meant that your children would remain unharmed and secure. But sometimes, you find yourself choosing to be – The Bad Parent. Yes, you could intervene at the moment of conflict. However, you purposely don’t because (maybe, in the back of your mind you’re thinking) your child deserved what was coming

It doesn’t happen often and I’m not proud of this, but one such incident needs to be shared

Justin has a habit of bugging Garrett at the moment when Garrett’s tolerance for bullshit has been depleted. Garrett loves physical play, but doesn’t like being touched by his brother. I’ve warned Justin on multiple occasions to get his hands off of his brother before Garrett loses his composure and starts punching him.

Several nights ago, my warnings fell on deaf ears. I told Justin that if he touched his brother one more time, he would probably get punched by Garrett. Sure enough, Garrett not only punched him….but leapt on top of him and began to pummel him like a prize fighter.

I was 5 feet away. I could have said something. I could have pulled Garrett off of Justin. I could have yelled at them both to cut it out.

I didn’t.

I just stood there and took another sip of my water as the ruckus continued.

And then, I heard the strangest/funniest/weirdest comment come out of Garrett’s mouth. As he continued to punch Justin over and over with Justin pleading for me to help him, I heard Garrett scream at Justin, “I’m hitting you and I’m hitting you HARD because I’m your BEST FRIEND!!!”

It’s something that has stayed with me ever since he said it. What did he mean by that? Was it like when a parent tells a child that they’re very angry with them, but still love them? Was he trying to tell Justin that he had no friends and managed to piss off the last one? Was he so angry that he couldn’t find the words he really wanted to use? I don’t know.

But, I now have a name for it: “Bro-Frenemies.” Sometimes they are friends. Sometimes they are enemies. But, they will always be brothers.

CarThe most interesting fight broke out between Garrett and Justin the other day. The fascinating thing was – neither were wrong. The argument was about this one simple question: “What is my name?”

It began while riding in the car (as always) with Justin leaning over and whispering into Garrett’s ear, “Garrett, did you know that daddy’s name is Jason?” Garrett turned to him and gave him a look of absurdity and responded, “No, it’s not.”

“Yes! Daddy’s name is Jason.” Justin announced again, feeling slightly intellectually superior to his younger brother.

“NO…IT’S….NOT!!” yelled Garrett. “IT’S DADDY!”

“Yes, but his REAL name is Jason,” clarified Justin.

“NO….NO….NO….IT’S NOT!!! Daddy’s name is daddy! YOU SHUT UP!” screamed Garrett as he tried to defend my honor.

Justin did not like being told to shut up. Especially, from his younger brother. In an attempt to ‘one-up’ Garrett and deliver more shocking news, Justin continued with, “And, mommy’s name is Audra.”

Garrett, being of limited vocabulary and having had enough of his brother’s bullshit, made the following declaration: “MOMMY IS MOMMY. DADDY IS DADDY. AND NOW I’M GOING TO PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE.”

Justin thought it was funny…until Garrett followed through with his threat. A fist was thrown, contact was made….and “Down goes Frazier!! Down goes Frazier!! Down goes Frazier!!”

There’s nothing quite like dropping off two screaming, crying children at camp carpool as they continue to yell at each about the important issues in life….like, my name.