MATTHEW and THE QUEEN are sitting on a couch in their living room, 20 minutes into the Season 2.5 finale of BATTLESTAR GALACTIC. They both appear to be ON EDGE, as if ANTICIPATING something.


The ratting continues for a few seconds and then STOPS ABRUPTLY. A moment passes.



THE QUEEN: You little —

MATTHEW: God damn it!

MATTHEW pauses the DVD for the FORTY-HUNDREDTH TIME. He stands, grabs THE SQUIRRELLY, tucks the grinning toddler under has arm, and walks out of the frame.

MATTHEW: Come on, you.

Cut to:


MATTHEW enters, carrying The SQUIRRELLY. He puts him in his BED for the FORTY-HUNDREDTH TIME.

MATTHEW: Now, look: it’s time to go to bed. Do you understand? I want you to stay in your bed. From now on. Do you understand?


MATTHEW: No, I’m totally for-serious this time. Stay in your bed. It’s time for sleeping. Stay in your bed. Good night. Stay in your bed.

MATTHEW leaves the room, closing the DOOR behind him. The scene goes BLACK. Cut to:


Enter MATTHEW, left. He walks to the SOFA.

MATTHEW: He looked pretty tired. I think he’s going to stay in his room this time.

THE QUEEN: [Ominously] He’d better …

MATTHEW picks up the REMOTE CONTROL from the TABLE and sits on the SOFA next to THE QUEEN. He presses PLAY.




THE SQUIRRELLY ambles up to his parents, smiling. THE QUEEN stands.

THE QUEEN: That’s it.

THE QUEEN takes THE SQUIRRELLY by the hand and leads him BRISKLY out of the frame. She is gone for a few minutes. When she reenters she is carrying a can of COOKING SPRAY.

THE QUEEN: He won’t bother us again.

MATTHEW: Why was the Pam in his bedroom?

THE QUEEN: It wasn’t. I brought it with me, and sprayed it on his inside doorknob.

THE QUEEN places the COOKING SPRAY back on a shelf, while MATTHEW looks on with PRIDE and ADORATION. She joins him on the SOFA and the two watch the conclusion of BATTLESTAR GALACTIC uninterrupted.


Holiday Post-Mortem

Hi! Sorry about that. The fam’bly and I took a bit of a holiday vacation there, and I’ve been largely off the grid since mid December. Wait, what does “off the grid” mean, exactly? Does it mean “without access to the Internet?” Or does it mean “completely without electricity?” In retrospect, the latter sounds more likely. But, whatever: we bloggers are totally rewriting the rules for media, you know (it said so in Time!), so if I say “off the grid” means “without access to the Internet” then, by Jiminey Popsicles, that’s what it means. OFF THE GRID! WEB 2.0! BUILD TO SPILL uh I mean FLIP OR WHATEVER!!!!!

Anyway, here’s a photo of my son sitting in the lap of an old man who wears a furry costume and hangs out at the mall.


Awww yeah — two years old and he’s already mastered the White Man’s Overbite. The kid’s a prodigy, I tell ya.

Fortunately, The Squirrelly is still too young to entirely “get” Christmas, so we didn’t have to decide whether to let him believe in The Big Guy yet. Personally, I’m torn. On the one hand, he is the central figure in Christmas, and I guess there’s no harm in letting him think he’s real for a few years. On the other, I just can’t help but imagine how crestfallen he’ll be when he discovers that he’s just a make-believe character. Some kids at school will spill the beans, he’ll come home crying and ask us if it’s true, and we’ll have to say, yes, we’ve been lying to you all these years: there is no Jesus.

For now, all The Squirrelly knows is that December 25 = a whole buncha swag. He made out pretty good this year, too. His Grandma bought him a tricycle. His great-uncle bought him a remote control car. His aunt went berserk and bought him a crapload of stuff, the least of which was a book called Hot Rod Harry which he inexplicably loves. (And what did Papa get? Papa got to read Hot Rod Harry a hundred and thirty times over a two week period. What fun. It’s a helluva lot easier to get through than Moby Dick, though — I’ll give it that much.)

He also got a Memory / matching game, with people’s faces as the pictures. But I didn’t realize that at first. When he ripped off the wrapping paper and exposed the box’s bottom, I thought it was, like, a Whitman’s Sampler for cannibals.

Matching Game

Another thing we had fun doing over the holidays was making up words to those Christmas songs to which we did not know the correct lyrics, i.e., pretty much all of them, insofar as we are Godless Heathens (see above: yukking it up over nonexistence of Savior). But, having never heard these songs before in his two years of life, The Squirrelly accepted whatever we coughed up as the Authoritative Version. Which is why, two weeks after the yuletide, he is still ambling around the house singing this:

(To the tune of O Christmas Tree)

O Octagon, O Octagon,
You have eight sides u-pon you

O Octagon, O Octagon,
You also have eight angles too

One and two
And three and four,
Five, six, seven,
eight -- NO MORE!

O Octagon, O Octagon,
O Octagon, we love you

Oh yeah, I almost forgot: I also bought out good-for-nothing cats a Kitty Castle for Christmas.

Kitty Castle

I mention this as a warning to others who might consider doing something so stupid. I brought into the house, put it in the corner, and prepared to watch the cats cavort with glee. Instead, Louie sauntered up to it and, as if he had scaled the thing a thousand times, nonchalantly climbed up to the top; moments later Eddie moseyed into the scene and, without so much as a sniff of curiosity, leapt onto the middle platform. Then they both settled down and watched birds out the window for half an hour. Subtext: we are too dumb to ever remember this not being here. YOU EFFING INGRATES I COULDA BOUGHT A WII FOR THAT! If anyone reading this has a kid who might like some pets for Christmas 2007, drop me a line in November and we’ll work something out.



Picture Day

I was surfing Flickr and stumbled upon this photo.

Naturally, I immediately emailed it to everyone I knew.

It seemed to elicit two distinct responses. Some immediately boarded the lollercoaster; others said they could hardly look at the photo, it made them so sad. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that parents were largely of the first opinion, and folks without kids of the second.

Here’s the funny thing about parenthood. On the one hand, having a child makes you inexplicably start loving all children. The Queen and I were pretty indifferent to the pants-pooping demographic before The Squirrelly was born, wanting to have one of our own only out of a desire for a minion. But now that we’ve up and made a kid, we’re suddenly flirting with infants on the bus and calling redheaded six year-olds “Sport” at the supermarket. When we’re eating in a restaurant and a couple with a baby sits at the next table, we cheerfully wave and make faces at the squirt, instead of bolting our food and fleeing for the exit, vowing never to return, as we would have five years ago.

On the other hand, parenthood tends to make you revel in the small injuries and indignities to which children are subjected (or inadvertently subject themselves). Before, upon observing an inattentive child walk headlong into a fence post, I would gasp in alarm and rush to his aid; now I’ll roar with laughter and take a mental snapshot of the scene, something to chuckle over for months to come. It’s a little bit of rebellion against our masters.

So if there are any childless women reading, bookmark this entry. The next time your period is a few weeks later, you may want to come back and take a gander at the photo above; if you snicker, it’s time to start shopping for bassinets.

Tips On Parenting My Toddler, Supplied By Dylan, A 13 Year-old Relative, During A Recent Visit

Has he seen the Lord Of the Rings movies? He should see them because they will make him want to read books like the Harry Potter books.

If you keep kissing him so much you’re going to make him gay.

If you keep throwing him in the air like that he’s going to get like a brain injury.

He’s probably too young to play [the name of some absurdly complicated trading card game that I didn’t quite catch] but there are easier games like Pokemon and he could learn to play that. I could loan you some of my Pokemon cards since I don’t play it any more, but I would just be loaning them to you, not giving them to you, because some of those cards are worth a lot of money, like a hundred dollars for one card.

You know what would be really cool? If instead this baby music you played Eminem.

When he falls down and cries you should just tell him to be tough because then he’ll learn not to fall.

If you keep hugging him so much he’s going to be gay.

If you bought him an Xbox then he could play it while you did stuff around the house. Also then when we come here I won’t be so freaking bored.

Kitten Love

In my recent post about The Squirrelly’s criminal tendencies, I included a photo of the kid wrasslin’ with (and losing to) his stuffed kitty. This prompted one reader to comment:

why does the cat look like it god blood all over it and wasnt cleaned to well?

Good question. I couldn’t have typed it better myself. As the many sticklers for spelling, punctuation, and grammar who read this site are fond of pointing out.

Perhaps you haven’t been properly introduced to Kitty:

Squirrelly and Kitty

As you have so astutely observed, Kitty appears to god blood all over it, as though it wasnt cleaned to well. We have no idea why this is the case, because Kitty was something of a stray and we know little of its history.

Shortly after The Squirrelly’s second birthday, my cousin K. brought over a box of her old stuffed animals, which had sat in her parent’s garage for years. “Thanks,” we said, “but don’t feel bad if he doesn’t take to any of them. He’s never shown an interest in stuffed animals.” Still, after she opened the box, The Squirrelly obligingly sauntered over to it, folded himself in half, and mooned us as he buried his head and torso in the toys. Duckies and bunnies went flying over his shoulders as he rummaged around.

Then, suddenly, he straightened, holding an toy I’d describe as “looking like something the cat dragged in” if cats made a habit of dragging in cats. Scraggly, lacking a nose, and with inexplicably red-tinged fur, it was the stuffed animal you’d expect to find forlornly standing against the wall after all the others were picked for kick-ball.

“Kitty!!” The Squirrelly announced.

We asked K. how Kitty had come to be in such a sorry state, but she confessed ignorance, admitting that she had never been very fond of the toy and barely remembered it at all. But Kitty and The Squirrelly have been thick as thieves ever since.

How on earth could anyone get attached to such an unattractive specimen, you may wonder. As is usual in these case, it can be summed up in two words: rebound romance.

Kitty fills the void left by The Squirrelly’s One True Love, Mia. Mia was a curly red-headed toddler that attended The Squirrelly’s music class, around the time he was 20 months. While all the other children sat quietly in a circle, listening to the teachers play guitar or sing “Shoo Fly,” Squirrelly and Mia would wile away the hour galumphing around the room like a pack of hyenas, exploring every nook and cranny and upending plastic bins of tambourines.

I distinctly remember the moment The Squirrelly fell in love. Each child and each parent had been given a resonator bell — you know, a wooden block with a single xylophone key on top of it? — and a mallet.

The Squirrelly went to town on his bell, walloping it with as much gusto as he could muster, determined to be the loudest in the classroom. Mia, meanwhile, sat across from us, looking serenely from her bell to her mother’s, clearly cooking up a plan. After a few moments she decided upon a course of action. She picked up her bell in one little hand, seized her mother’s bell in the other, held them such that the keys faced each other, and clapped them together like blackboard erasers. The result was cacophony; The Squirrelly immediately stopped what he was doing to watch the spectacle, as pink and red hearts floated out of the top of his head.

Alas, the class ended a few months later, at that was the last we saw of Mia. It was shortly thereafter that The Squirrelly hooked up with Kitty.

We all know that Kitty is just a place holder, until The Squirrelly again meets a woman more adept at making a godawful racket than he. Until that day, though, they are all but inseparable.

Squirrelly Kitty Kiss


Project Management

Here’s an easy way to determine which couples are the parents of toddlers: listen for the people who describe five-minute tasks in terms of “a project.”

You: What are you guys up to this evening?

Couple That May Be The Parents Of A Toddler: The batteries in our remote control died, so we’ll be replacing those tonight. Not that we ever get to watch DVDs anymore, hah hah! Hah hah hah hah! Hah hah! Sob!

And You Shall Know Him By The Trail Of Stuffed

And We Shall Know Him By The Trail Of Dead

No parent wants to think that the choices they are making will result in their child someday going on a seven state killing spree. But a couple of our recent decisions have left The Queen and I wondering.

First, we got him toy at a garage sale which allows him to mix-and-match a variety of head, torso, and foot pieces to create custom teddy bears.

It seemed innocuous, and The Squirrelly really liked it. Indeed, it was all fun and games — until one morning when I woke up and, half conscious, staggered out into the living room to discover:

I used to think that cat vomit was the worst thing to encounter on my morning shuffle from bed to coffee maker, but now I’m going to have to put “pile of dismembered bears” on the top of the list. It appears that we inadvertently purchased the Fisher-Price Lil’ Psycho Training Kit. I guess I should have been suspicious when I noticed the label on the bottom of the box reading “STORE UNUSED BODY PARTS IN FREEZER!”

Also, we figured out an innovative way to hornswoggle The Squirrelly into learning manners. He was reluctant to use his spoon and fork for a long time, knowing that the quickest way to deliver applesauce to his gaping maw was to simply scoop it up by hand and shovel it in there. So once, about a year ago, I decided to make a game of it. I stood behind him as he sat in his chair, put a fork in his mitt, wrapped my hand around his so he couldn’t drop it, and guided the utensil to the bowl; when we skewered the target foodstuff I cried “stab!”

Oh man, did that go over well. He spent the rest of the meal enthusiastically forking his dinner, merrily shouting “Stab!” with each mouthful.

Unfortunately, he seems to have really taken to the phrase. Even now, while running wild around the house, he’ll occasionally shout “Stab! Stab stab!” at random.

So if you pick up the Seattle Times some morning and see:


Bodies found pierced by dozens of brightly-colored, blunted, child-sized sporks.

Yeah, that’ll be us. In lieu of flowers, please send Bob The Builder DVDs.

Oh well, you needn’t be too worried. Even if he does take to a life of crime, odds are he’ll be inept at it. For instance, his recent attempt to put his stuffed kitty into a sleeperhold backfired:

Sleeper Hold on Kitty Backfires

Jump!  Jump!  Castle! | Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man | Camping Means Never Having To Brush Your Hair

Myth Buster!

We’re trying to toilet train The Squirrelly, but it’s tough going. He knows how to pee (does he ever) and he knows how to sit on the potty, but the idea of doing both simultaneously hasn’t quite clicked. On the rare occasions that it happens accidentally we praise him to the heavens and generally act as though his pissing in a pot is as momentous as the fall of the Berlin Wall, but our positive reinforcements have yet to forge the link in his mind. Usually he just sits on his little throne, happy as a unmicturating clam and blissfully unmoved by our exhortations. “PEE! ” we cry. “VOID THAT BLADDER FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY!!” Honestly, I think the phrase “getting urine from a toddler” ought to supercede “getting blood from a stone” as the clich

Prodigal Son

It took Michelangelo eleven months to cover the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with a series of dizzyingly elaborate patters and illustrations, and he required a team of five painters to do it. The Squirrelly must be some kind of prodigy, because he managed to do essentially the same thing to the hard wood floor in our kitchen in about three minutes, and we only needed a single purloined ball-point pen.

I guess we should be mad, but we prefer to focus on the positive. Like, how much money this genius kid is going to rake in for us. The Queen and I agree that a career in bio-engineering would be best suited for the kid, as it’s the most likely to result in him having copious amounts of cash to lavish upon us. So, to steer him in that direction, we have decided to only teach him the letters A, C, G, and T.

Awwww, isn’t that adorable?! He’s making a chinchilla!

Or perhaps he could go into IT, as he seems to have an intuitive grasp of how wireless networks work. He often likes to play Elmo’s Keyboard-A-Rama on the laptop out in the (newly redecorated) kitchen. When he wants to play he doesn’t go to the computer, though: he sort of wanders around the house, staring at a point about three feet above his head and saying “want play Elmo?” as if he can sense the pixilated muppet being sent over the wireless link. Or maybe he thinks that, when Elmo isn’t on the screen jovially screeching about the letter “J,” he is trapped in some nether dimension between the router in the back of the house to the laptop in the front. You know, like those guys in Superman II:

President: [on T.V] This is your President. On behalf of my country and in the name of the other leaders of the world with whom I have today consulted, I hereby abdicate all authority and control over this planet to Elmo. Only by following all his directives will the lives of millions be spared — Mr. Hooper! Can you hear me? Mr. Hooper! Where are you?!

Elmo: Elmo doesn’t know Mr. Hooper!

President: You will, and when you do —

General Elmo: Come to me, Mr Hooper! Elmo defies you! Come and kneel before Elmo! HahahHOOHOOHOOHOOhaha!

Nor Do I Pee Maple Syrup

I’ve never considered myself to be good at improv, and an incident this morning did nothing to change that opinion.

I was preparing The Squirrelly’s breakfast this morning, and I decided to give him a choice of entree. “Do you want oatmeal or a waffle with jam?” I asked.

“Waffle with jam!” he said enthusiastically.

“Coming right up,” I replied. I retrieved a frozen waffle from the freezer and popped it into the toaster.

Three seconds passed before The Squirrelly got impatient. “Waaaafle!” he whined insistently.

“I’m cooking your waffle!” I said. “Just hold your horses. Waffles don’t –”

I was going to say “waffles don’t grow on trees,” but that seemed inappropriate. After all, my point weren’t that waffles were hard to come by, but that they require a minute or two of preparation. So I abruptly switched metaphors in midstream. “Waffles don’t, um, come out of my butt, you know.”

Sigmund Freud wrote on the subject extensively in the early 20th century and the same holds true today: it is a sobering moment in every boy’s life when he learns that waffles do not come from his father’s butt.