Wednesday, October 28, 2009


The most endearing quality of all children is innocence. In fact, it is the precise reason that they are at all tolerable. We don't mind when they vomit on us, or draw on the walls, or poop on the carpet because they just don't know any better. But innocence is fleeting. Soon they grow up, and when they learn to understand the rules, they figure out how to bend, break, or otherwise manipulate them.

Yesterday, Ella was sick and could not go to day school. She was absolutely pitiful, until I allowed her to play "Elmo Alphabet" on the computer. I couldn't help but marvel at how well this not quite three year old could use a mouse. Her computer skills are quite sharp at such an early age. It was really fun to watch.

After a couple of hours, however, I decided she had spent enough time in front of the monitor. So I offered to read to her. "Ella?" I called out. "What baby?" she replied. "Let's read a book." Then it happened. She lied. "No. I don't like it," she said flatly. This is patently untrue. It's as if the Pope claimed to be Methodist. Nobody would believe him. Anyway, I let her stay on the computer, mostly because her will is much stronger than mine.

Another hour passed and I declared it lunchtime. I asked Ella if she would like a grilled cheese sandwich. "No. I don't like it." I offered chips. "I don't like it." Then strawberries. "I don't like it." These are perhaps some of the biggest whoppers ever told, and I had a hard time swallowing them. I forcefully removed her from the computer and we ate lunch. Funny, but she ate all of the things that she didn't like. And then we read books which she didn't seem to mind, either. Perhaps its time to introduce the little fibber to the story of Pinocchio.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Welcome to the Dollhouse

So the wife and kids had a playdate a couple of weeks ago. They went over to some friend's house for a few hours to run around and get into trouble while the grown ups discussed grown up things and did their best to ignore the little ones. Apparently these people had every toy known to man and a few others to boot. At home, the twins can make a whole afternoon out of jumping into a pile of laundry, so you can imagine their excitement.

Anyway, Ella found a dollhouse and spent most of her time playing with that. She did strap on a guitar and put on a show for a little bit, but mostly, it was the dollhouse for her. Jack never spent more than three full minutes with any one toy, kind of like a man with a remote control can't stop switching channels.

Although Jack is still in pull-ups, Ella has graduated to big girl underwear. And just when we thought she'd really gotten the hang of it all, she started to have several accidents, especially if she was doing something particularly fun and didn't want to tear herself away to go potty. So, she's playing with the dollhouse and the wife asks, "Ella? Do you need to use the potty?" Of course, Ella shakes her head no and continues playing with the dollhouse. Just a few moments later the wife sees Ella out of the corner of her eye, pants down and squatting in the middle of the living room floor. "Ella, noooooooooooo...." screams the wife as she lunges toward the child, afraid and embarrassed that Ella would just pee in the middle of the room. But then she realizes that there is something in the floor; something small that Ella seems to be hovering over. And there between her legs, she sees that Ella has placed the tiny little dollhouse potty. This was no accident. She was just challenging her aim.

45 Days

Wow. It's been forty-five days since my last blog post. It's been so long, in fact, that my Mother called me today to see why I'd been so busy. The truth is... I haven't been that busy at all. The wife has been pretty busy lately, and I've had to spend more time tending to the twin terrors, but that's not why I haven't been posting. No, the truth is, I've been obsessed. With Barbecue.

You see, I come from Memphis, Tennessee, the epicenter of the barbecue universe. There are more famous BBQ joints in Memphis than there are carjackings, or gang violence. Well, maybe that's not so true anymore, and a big reason that I would never want to raise my family there, but, anyway, Memphians know their BBQ.

Sure, others will tell you that there is good BBQ to be found in Kansas City, or Texas, or the Carolinas, and maybe they're right. Some people have compared the regional differences of BBQ to the likes of French wine. Drive a hundred miles and the taste changes. But I tell you this... there is no good BBQ within a hundred miles of where I live. And believe me, I've looked.

Funny thing about Atlanta is that nobody seems to have been born here. They come from all over the globe, usually transferred for work or to retire at a lower cost of living. And every time I meet somebody and the conversation turns to BBQ, they all agree that what we really need is a good BBQ restaurant. Sometimes people will recommend a BBQ joint, and when I ask them how the BBQ is, they always say, "The Brunswick Stew is really good". Even if it were, that's not BBQ. Brunswick Stew is what happens when small woodland creatures fall into pots of boiling water while carrying corn and tomatoes and other vegetables. BBQ is tough, fatty cuts of meat cooked for hours over low heat and blue smoke until it surrenders itself and becomes moist, juicy, and fall apart tender and makes you wonder why you would ever eat anything else.

So I've been in my back yard, tending fire and marrying spices for the last couple of months. The wife hasn't had to do as much cooking, and there's always plenty of leftovers in the fridge, so she's happy with me. And if I cook too much, I just take it to work and let the employees fight over it. I might be neglecting some of my other projects... the yard needs mowing and I need to start on my Christmas light display and my blog might die of loneliness... but who cares when you're eating this good?