Playing

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

sbearIt started with an ant. To be more precise, it started with an Aunt.

Several months ago, I sent my sister (Auntie Shayna) an aquarium for her birthday because she was thinking of getting a goldfish for my niece. Once she received it, she had some difficulties managing the aquarium because she did not follow my explicit instructions on aquarium maintenance. Apparently, my sister was talked out of getting the goldfish (I told her to get) and she ended up with a Beta Fish – thanks to the pimply-faced, know-nothing clerk who worked at the pet store.

After a few weeks of torture and the eventual homicide of the Beta, it was determined that somehow I was to blame. The punishment was a Hanukah gift in the form of an Ant Farm from my sister to my sons. Nothing says “I love you” like a package of 25 ants that comes with a warning: “DO NOT TOUCH. ANTS WILL BITE.”

The gauntlet of war had been thrown. I could not let this act of hostility go unanswered. And, thanks to a fortunately timed visit to Costco, I knew I had found my revenge: Hugfun!

Hugfun is a 93″ teddy bear. Here is a video demonstrating the sheer size of Hugfun:

10 days before my niece’s second birthday, I placed the order. The only two people who knew what was about to happen were GWE and my mother. It was supposed to arrive without warning – that was the intended surprise. What actually happened was FAR funnier!

One morning, my sister called me in a panic. “Did you send me something?” (She had called our mother first, but mom denied sending anything….although she did elude to knowing what was coming.)

“Maybe, why?” I replied casually.

“A freight delivery service just called and notified me that I have to be home to sign for a delivery!! What did you send???” She demanded to know what was going on. There was a pause. “They said it’s 44 lbs. WHAT DID YOU SEND ME??” I erupted into laughter.

Shayna’s 10 day torture/meltdown had begun.

“Is it alive??? Did you send something that’s alive???” She was convinced that I was sending her a baby pig. For days, I kept texting her pictures of animals that could potentially be 44 lbs. Pigs, lambs, lobsters, etc.

Four days before delivery, Shayna called the freight company and asked what was being delivered. The man she spoke with gave answers that were better than I could have ever dreamed of. He responded, “Ma’am. If you don’t know what’s coming, I can’t tell you.” Shayna continued, “Do I need to have food ready for it?” He replied, “It couldn’t hurt.” Shayna’s tailspin of anxiety was now off the charts. (I don’t know who this man was, but I owe him a bottle of wine!)

And then, the delivery date arrived. What added to the anticipation of Hugfun’s arrival was that he did not arrive at the time specified. He was running late. But, when he did finally arrived, it was well-worth it!

Shayna called me from the garage while Hugfun was still in the box. “I’m going to kill you,” she said calmly.

“Well, you’ve got to get it in the house first? C’mon! He’s only 44lbs. Put your back into it!!” I said in between my hysterical fits of laughter. With FaceTime on, I stared at her ceiling all the while listening to the sounds of my sister’s grunting as she battled to get the bear into the house.

Once it was in the house, she propped it against the wall. It towered over her. As she struggled to put the bear into a manageable position, she kept telling me about all the ways she was going to kill me and then get revenge. As she swore like a sailor, the bear looked down at her sweetly.

I know she wanted to hate it, but she was playing with it after just a few minutes.

shayna

And then, our parents arrived. They also played with Hugfun!

mom

dad

And then, my Brother-In-Law (Sadie’s daddy) arrived home. He, too, played with it!

jesse

jesse-and-shayna

And finally, the birthday girl got a change to see it the following morning – after all the adults had played with it!!

I think the lesson here is – don’t mess with GenXDaddy! You may end up with a 93-inch, 44 lbs, cuddly, soft Teddy Bear as revenge!!

 

BoogieSeveral weeks ago, we took the kids to the Alisal Ranch for a few days of vacation before the school year started. It provided us with the opportunity to disconnect from technology, play with some farm animals, and just enjoy each other’s company for a little while without distraction. For three days, Justin found refuge in one of the barns where he fed and played with guinea pigs and bunnies. Garrett became the unofficial tour guide of the entire petting area. He would greet each guest at the gate, explain the rules of how to pet the animals, and then oversee that the rules weren’t broken. GWE and I spent our time observing, decompressing, and wondering why we didn’t do this more often. bunnyOn that Saturday night, the ranch had a giant bar-b-que for all the guests with live music and a dance floor in an open field near the pool. Garrett had seen the band setting up earlier in the day and made sure to tell them that he expected them to play some rock and roll music. They acknowledged his request and told Garrett that they would see him at the party.

That evening, we arrived just as the music began. Garrett could not contain himself. He raced to the dance floor where the music took over and his “booty betrayed him.” (A phrase we heard on a different trip.) Garrett became possessed by the music. It didn’t bother him that he didn’t have a dance partner. It didn’t bother him that he didn’t know the words. The music played and his little body obeyed.

Enjoy the dance stylings of Garrett Priluck:

vigonormalGarrett and Justin wanted to see “Ghostbusters.” I knew they were too young to see the new one, so I rented the original. They loved it. LOVED IT! They kept running around the house for days pretending to ‘bust’ ghosts. Whenever we got into my car (once referred to as “The Hotmobile,” now referred to as “Ecto-1”) they would request the “Ghostbusters” theme music on repeat and sing it as loud as they could over and over and over as Garrett made the siren sounds with his voice.

That all changed when the DVD of “Ghostbusters 2” arrived at the house. What started with excitement and anticipation ended in tears and a fear of going to the bathroom alone.

While the boys loved “Slimer” and “The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man” in the first movie, they were a lot less jovial after seeing “Vigo the Carpathian.” Garrett didn’t seem scared. I would describe his reaction as ‘reserved.’ Justin was clearly bothered by the character and covered his face a couple of times.

I should have been a little more observant and understanding of Justin’s fear, but I wasn’t thinking. All I saw was a way to have fun scaring the kid who’d spent all week trying to scare me.

While the boys continued to watch the movie, I went to my computer, printed out a picture of Vigo the Carpathian, taped it to the inside of Justin’s toilet seat, and then quietly closed the lid. My trap had been set. I just needed Justin’s bladder to set this prank in motion.

Potty3

When it was time for dinner, Justin asked for us to pause the movie…and he never returned to it. Hours later, it was time for bed and I asked Justin to get ready. He put on his pajamas, brushed his teeth, and then climbed into bed. Knowing that the trap had not yet been sprung, I asked Justin to go potty. He told me that he didn’t have to.

“Justin – go potty before you go to bed.” I said.

“I don’t have to,” he replied.

“Justin – you’re going to have to go in the middle of the night. You might as well go now,” I reasoned.

“I don’t have to,” he said, again.

“C’mon, Justin. Just go!” I said in my deepened dad-voice as a ‘do-it-or-else.’

Begrudgingly, he got up, walked into the bathroom, turned the light on and then turned the light off and got back into bed.

“Justin! There is no way you went potty. At least lift the lid this time!” And then I waited………

Once again, he got up, walked into the bathroom, turned on the light, flipped the lid…..and then he SCREAMED a scream I had never heard before. At first, I was very pleased with myself. I got him and I got him good! I was expecting him to come out of the bathroom smiling with an “Oh dad. You got me so good” look on his face. That was not the look I saw when he came of the bathroom.

What actually happened was that he raced out of the bathroom and into his bedroom with tears streaming down his face and he was white as a ghost. He collapsed on the floor where I was standing and he began to shake while screaming, “HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO ME????” My prank had blown up in my face and now my son was a crying blob on the floor who refused to go into the bathroom by himself for any reason.

Thankfully, Garrett was the one who saved the day!

As I got Justin into bed and tried to calm him down by telling him that everything would be ok, there was a moment of silence as we both heard Garrett walk into the same bathroom. I thought, “oh shit, it’s gonna happen again.” In silence, Justin and I stared at each other as we heard Garrett pull down his pants, then lift the lid…….and then, we heard him quietly laugh to himself……and finally, we heard the sound of him peeing. As if nothing was amiss, Garrett pulled up his pants, closed the toilet lid, flushed, and walked out.

Justin and I could not contain ourselves. We erupted in laughter. The thing that almost scared the (literal) crap out of Justin actually made Garrett laugh as he went potty!!

So, now we know, a Carpathian in the crapper isn’t for everyone!

 

GarrettGarrett is now one step closer to Graduate School, Medical School, or Law School! I’m not sure which one Garrett will choose. But, as long as it’s not Clown School, I’ll be happy.  

Garrett is now a proud graduate of pre-school. He has spent the past school year mastering his letters and his numbers, learning the fundamentals of art, practicing some Yoga, and being reminded that we play with our friends. We don’t punch them in the face.

All in all, I’d say it was a successful experience! Up next – KINDERGARTEN!

 

 

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 FingerYou know you’re a parent when a child asks you to hold their imaginary finger gun and you take the imaginary gun in its proper form and stick it in your pants pocket like it’s a real thing.

That’s the type of partner-in-crime I am to my 4 year old.