Top Five Reasons You Suck at Sleeping

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and principally it’s because the chaos that is life with three kids has gotten in the way.  Not that my time constraints have changed that much since I started writing the blog, but I guess in a way, the baby has altered things as he’s developed his own personality and is now a full fledged member of the Roseman clan.  But, I had a breakthrough the other night.  Not a parenting one, but a moment where my mind clicked once again and my next top 5 materialized.  Sure it was because I was rocking the little one for 40 minutes trying to get him to go the fuck to sleep, but still. Writing is an outlet for me, but over the  past 3 months, it seems Arrow has been the only thing to keep me sane.

If you’re reading this looking for advice on how to get your kids to be good sleepers, you’ve come to the wrong blog.  We make every mistake in the book, but fuck it, we’ve tried all the methods and for us at least, they don’t work, so we just look to survive and advance. My baby isn’t alone in his struggle to go to sleep (and stay asleep for that matter), but as I’m rocking him back and forth (terrible for his ability to self soothe), I wonder what’s behind his inability to just shut it down.  And then it hits me, there’s five principal reasons why he sucks at it:

You don’t want any more siblings:

Me fucking either buddy, but I took care of that.  Now I wear protection.

Goggles 2 (2)

Because you think you’re at a rave:

Between the ambient white noise sounds, the karate match that’s taking place next door, the beats being laid down from my playlist, and the bright lights pulsating from my phone, there’s nothing relaxing about your sleep experience.  Well buddy, there’s nothing relaxing about my life experience so tough shit.

Because your brothers are assholes:

Asking the boys to be considerate is like asking them to clean up or not fight or listen, it just doesn’t happen.  And now that we have this indoor play gym installed in one of the rooms, they go all American Ninja Warrior style each night . . . until one of them cries . . . or takes a swing . . . or tantrums . . . or a combo deal.  At least I’m in the other room with a baby who’s ready to party instead of managing that nightmare.

Because sleep confusion doesn’t build sleep hygiene the way muscle confusion builds muscles:

One night you’re being rocked to sleep, the next night how about you cry it out.

In the middle of the night, I won’t pick you up when you wake up, well ok fine, but only until you fall back asleep and then it’s back in your crib.

There’s absolutely no way you’re coming into our bed and passing out.  Fine, fuck it, just come in our bed and watch Paw Patrol and drink milky.

Because you suck at it:

Let’s call a spade a spade. Everyone has their deficits.  Your oldest brother is Mr Bump, #2 is Mr. Angry, and you’re Mr. I suck at sleeping. As the third boy, I know it’s tough competing for our affection and attention, but at least you’ve got this title on lock down.

Top 5 Things I’m thankful for

So this post is over a week late, but this was officially when I realized how overwhelmed I’ll be for another 16 years 5 months and 14 days until the youngest boy is emancipated.  Every day, it was an activity, or a conference, or an activity and a conference simultaneously, and we don’t even have three fully in the game yet.  Anyway, that context was just to explain the tardiness of this post.  So at my family Thanksgiving we went around, and of course said what we were thankful for.  The toasts were beautiful and included the usuals of health, family, etc.  And I am quite thankful for those as well, but who wants to read or write about that. Plus, I’ve been getting shit from a few friends (yes, I’m calling you out Brett, Jordan, and Pat) that these blogs serve to deify my wife, and so there will be none of that in this post.  And while these things may seem trivial to you, they bring me comfort, happiness, and in one case, help me retain an ounce of dignity. So here they are!

Trash and recycling night:

I know, sounds strange doesn’t it.  And for me, it’s not like I’m Jermaine from Flight of the Conchords where recycling night = business time.  It’s that this 10-15 minute experience is my solace.  I milk our flag lot house for all its worth, conveniently timing the trip to coincide with bathtub time and the final brutal minutes of the witching hour.  Yup, that’s 3 days a week (trash is twice), that me, a podcast, and our refuse walk in slo-mo, to take the 100 yard plunge down the driveway.  Then I repeat, over, and over.  Yes, this is what I’m thankful for.

Fantasy Football:

Man, during football season, I’m like in another zone on Sunday, and forget it, if I have guys playing on Thursday and/or Monday, that gives me three days of football to look forward to.  And then you have the excitement of the waiver wire on Tuesday night and early morning pickups on Wednesday.  That’s a full week of articles, number crunching, and dorking out.  It’s blissful.  For a guy who grew up collecting baseball cards and studying batting averages, I’m like a pig in shit.

White noise:

There’s no shame, I’m addicted to it.  In fact, right now, I’m listening to white noise via a baby monitor and those soothing sounds have my fingers popping.  On those days when it’s my turn to sleep in, as soon as the door closes and Emily is in charge, white noise is on, and I pass the fuck out. Stationed near an elevator at a hotel?  No problem.  I’ve got rain on car. Trouble sleeping on vacation in a tropical location?  How about a little ocean waves action.

YouTube:

Whether it’s The Pentatonix, Sesame Street collaborations, or even videos of people opening up Pokemon cards, YouTube has something for everyone.  And I leverage that shit every day.  Have you seen Hallelujah or the Daft Punk Medley by the Pentatonix or the One Direction song about the letter u?  See, that’s 3 YouTube clips in one sentence.  Or what about the #mmm guy or whoever the f he is that says holy flipamoli while he shows off another rare EX card that he scored from the 1000th pack he’s opened . . . in that hour long video.  Shoot me.  But you know what.  When you’re a parent and you have a needy baby and two other kids who haven’t evolved out of that, as I’ve said before, it’s like March Madness, you just survive and advance.

My Patagonia Atom Sling:

Let’s call a spade a spade.  It’s my diaper bag.  But honestly, it’s kind of a little emasculating to rock my wife’s flower patterned diaper bag (Ellen, it’s beautifully sown, sensationally constructed, fantastic, [insert synonym here] . . . just not on me).  Cool mother fucker is never uttered when I roll into the room, but I’m sure as shit not feeling that vibe if I’m toting a handbag over my shoulder.  But with this bag,

Image result for patagonia man bag

shit, you have no idea what kind of trouble I’m getting into.  Except then you see 3 kids, and then a bottle come out, and diapers, and wipes, and snacks, and waters.  Yup, all that can fit in this bag that shoulder straps and apparently is made of 100% recycled polyester.  See, I’m saving the environment too.  Score!

And this is my life.

Top five reasons she still “steels” my heart after 11(0) years

Recently, my wife and I celebrated 11 years of marriage, which as you no doubt know is the illustrious steel anniversary.  And we partied like all parents of 3 young kids do . . . by having dinner together . . . after bedtime. . . drinking in moderation.  We sat there, reflecting on the length of time that we’ve known each other.  Married 11 years, dated 4.5 years before that, and friend zone for 6 months prior for a sum total of 16 years. Yup, you read that correctly, I escaped the dreaded friend zone, but it took a duplicitous scheme involving Crowded House, Valentine’s Day, the Vagina Monologues, a hot tub, and another girl to do so.  Wow, that previous sentence sounds juicy.  Perhaps a future post will tell the wooing of Emily Conover story in its entirety.  Anyway, the point of us talking about our longevity as a couple, was the realization that we’re now old, have been together a long ass time, and that our lives are so intertwined that even childhood memories have now been distorted to include one another.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I also played horse in her parents’ basement, and I don’t mean the basketball game, but actually pretended to be one . . . something they still did in high school. And so, in honor of this most holy of anniversaries, I’ve decided to go rogue and instead, present the top 5 reasons why she still “steels” my heart after so many, many, many, years.

Her command of the English language:

Having studied a couple of foreign languages, I totally get how difficult it is to communicate in your non-native tongue.  And English, with our crazy spelling and homonyms, breaks all the rules.  Except, in this case, she’s exclusively an English speaker.  But I think it’s adorable now that Miles can spell that we can hold family spelling bee competitions between the two of them.  My favorite though is how she handles idioms which instead of avoiding, she utters with such confidence that you just want to give her a hug.  Consider these common idiomatic expressions and then Emily’s version:

The actual idiom Emily’s version
Hit the nail on the head Kill two birds with one nail
Pot calling the kettle black This suit is not black
Twofer:

·         Barking up the wrong tree

·         Beat around the bush

Barking up the wrong bush

I don’t even know what to say on that last one.

Her disdain for watching sports:

I don’t think I’ve ever known someone with such a visceral loathing to sports.  To be fair, Emily likes playing them and can tolerate a live sporting event, but when it comes to passive viewing, like DARE, her policy is just say no.  And I mean active avoidance and shutdown like she would if I tried to discuss plans or her cell phone rang.  I think I even asked her to read Fever Pitch at one point so she could understand fandom at any level, but to her it’s just plain dumb and doesn’t matter.  And wow, fantasy football, I think that takes it to a new level for her on the who gives a shit meter.  And I totally get it, I really do.  Because obsessing over Jane the Virgin is the meaning of life.

She can interpret IKEA directions:

I understand that on a plane, there’s limited options when it comes to an evacuation route and thus why the directions are all in pictures.  But when it comes to anything IKEA, would it hurt to provide more than just images for the spatially impaired?  At this point in our relationship, when we’re dealing with constructing, hammering, hanging, leveling, and anything outside of just moving shit, I call in our resident Bob Villa.  I do not however correct the boys when they refer to the drill as dada’s tool.

How foods can become dead to her:

Ah, good old Kale, I remember when that wonder food was laced into all of our dishes.  Now, you are gone but will never be forgotten. Kashi, the memories will last a lifetime even if your time with us was very brief. Blueberries, I’m pouring one out for you homeys.  And poor raspberries, I can already tell that you’re on borrowed time. And mind you, these aren’t for fad diets or cleanses.  She just literally gets obsessed with foods. . . until she’s not.

What an excellent sharer she is:

It’s quite tricky when you’re trying to teach the concept of sharing to kids when routinely this isn’t being modeled on the home front.  Admittedly, Emily has shared more than I have by playing host to 3 parasites, then nursing, cuddling, and just the general clinginess that comes with the mom territory.  And maybe it’s that she’s just done with that shit now. But it never ceases to amaze me that given how we’re trained from birth to share our toys on the playground and that this sharing culture literally hits its apex at childbirth, how asking for a sip of water is a non-starter.  And milk or dairy products, forget it.  Just don’t even go there.

Obviously, it would be boring to talk about how I feel lucky every day that she’s in my life, and how fabulous a mom she is (which was the #1 reason the boys gave for why she’s the bomb), and how hot she still looks, so I’ll end with the following:

Happy anniversary, and here’s to spending the rest of our lives together picking up the slack in areas that the other sucks at.  I love you!

Top 5 pieces of advice for new dads

I’m by no means an expert on being a father, but I do feel like I a solid veteran on the subject from my 6+ years in the league of not extraordinary fathering which means I have some perspective I can share with rookie dads.  This post is dedicated to my homeboy, Jake Feldman, who will soon embark on his fatherhood journey with his lovely wife Ena. And while Ena is the real hero since she’s a mom and what mom’s all have to do is just beyond anything I can fathom, I felt compelled to drop some knowledge for Jake and anyone else in the young and clueless fraternity of men.  Jake, consider this your belated wedding gift because I suck (just kidding, but really, that present is in the mail along with the baby shower one) or maybe the post script to my wedding toast for you guys.  And what actually gave me the kick in the ass to finally write this was reading a Facebook post from an Edmentum colleague, Allison Ireland, who after reading a Scary Mommy post asked whether there was a new dad version.  Well Allison, here comes my take.

Forgive me though for not getting gushy in this post because that’s not what I do.  See I love my kids and felt protective of them from day 1, but let’s face it, as a dad, you have to earn and work for a connection with your newborns.  Plus, who really wants to read about how I held my newborn and looked straight into his eyes and the world stopped.  Please.  Makes me want to vomit.  So here goes, my top 5 pieces of advice for new dads.  Listen up fellas, because this is the truth.

 

Understand that your relationship with your baby is immaterial:

I can’t take credit for this one but man it’s spot on.  I was hanging out with my friend Alicia the other day describing this proposed post and she blurted this out.  That’s right, without prompting, she volunteered it like she’d been harboring this sentiment for years.  I might’ve gone a little softer on the approach had I penned it myself, maybe suggest that over time you’ll develop a relationship with your baby and not to get discouraged.  Turns out I was wrong on the matter.  Think about it, we don’t house the parasite for 9 months, don’t deliver the baby, don’t nurse, and we’re terrible comforters.  Honestly, she’s got a point, and man, it’s a pretty good gig to be a dad.  You get to relive the Freshman 15 to show solidarity during pregnancy, can still sleep during that nine months, and then once the baby is born don’t have to feed the child every 2 hours, which is really every 60 minutes because they can’t latch or take forever to eat.  On the downside, apparently the kid has zero connection to you, but fuck it, at least you slept well.

 

Find a show to binge watch

Trust me, this is a must.  I got lucky with Oliver because he was born in October 2011 which featured the greatest post season drama in baseball history.  And that kills me to say as a Red Sox fan because the 2004 ALCS starting with game 4 was insane.  But in 2011, from game 162 where we got eliminated from contention by the Rays, to the epic World Series, that October was some of the best baseball I’ve ever seen.  And I watched every pitch.  Jake, if you’ve never seen Game of Thrones, use my HBOGO code, and by mine I really mean Big Papi’s.   Trust me, you, little Feldman, and that vibrating chair will develop a good cadence as you listen to the soothing sounds of the hymns of Westeros.  Now that I think about it, March would’ve been ideal for a baby. Imagine all that March Madness I could’ve watched under the pretense of helping out.  Well played, Frank Mazzola, well played.

 

Don’t make judgments on other parenting styles:

Until you’ve been to Target with a screaming kid or tried to have a family dinner out, don’t judge when you see other parents use screen time, or feed their kids junk, or barter to get them to shut the f up.  Like March Madness, parenting is about surviving and advancing.  You see I too had illusions before baby #1 of not (ab)using TV, or having a house sans swords, or not doping them on sugar before bed.  But then I had kid(s).  Shit, Bennett’s 1 and he has his own light saber that he makes a whooshing sound with . . . while eating chocolate . . . in front of the TV (kidding, or am I).

So please, make me this promise that you’ll reserve judgment when you see what amounts to “poor parenting” because you haven’t walked a mile in their shoes. Take the other day.  I wasn’t there, but my middle son, who is incredibly agile, was being “dangerous” at the local playground.  Parents were aghast judging my wife for how horrible of a mom she was for allowing these feats of dexterity.  It got super uncomfortable with one dad literally shadowing my son as he was climbing.  Meanwhile, my question is why the f are you even there anyway, with your 2 and 3 years olds.  If I recall, the placard states something like “equipment for mobile kids only.  If your kid is wobbly or sheltered, or you’re a giant pussy, please use the mini playground where we provide pads and helmets and sing kumbaya”.  There are plenty of times my son can be challenging, but he’s in his element when he’s being a monkey. Props to the one dad though who turned to his 4 year old and asked “can you do that”, to which she replied “fuck no”, and so he fist bumped O for his climbing skills.  That dad is invited any time.

 

Strollers are like draft picks, you can never have too many:

We describe NBA draft picks (assets), by their defining trait.  Rim protector or 3 and D player.  Well, the stroller game functions in much the same way. You’ll learn a new vernacular like I did; jogging stroller, umbrella stroller, car-seat stroller.  Do a little research and fuck, you could host a fantasy stroller draft.  Shit, my garage looks like a goddamned consignment store and that’s par for the course as a parent.  And forget it, have a second kid and the process starts all over again with double strollers that even feature a stand up cruising option for big boys.  It’s a toss up in my house whether we have more car seats, strollers, or Legos.  Sometimes I come home and think Emily has suddenly become a stroller strides instructor and then I realize we just have acquired too many strollers . . . and kids.  PS, stroller talk is by far the easiest conversation starter for moms to have.  It’s hilarious to watch and reminds me of any number of 007 clips like this.

 

 

Don’t make any resolutions for they will forsake you:

I remember after baby #2, I proclaimed that I was going to start drinking half caff.  That lasted one night.  After baby #3, when I finally got fitted for a sleep apnea mouth guard (the words hot and sexy come to your mind when picturing it), I proclaimed that I would cut down to one cup a day.  Well that ship sailed when 4:45-5:15 became our morning reality.  Or then there’s my favorite one.  I don’t plan to drink anymore, which of course was followed swiftly by the refrain, I don’t plan to drink any less either.  Here’s a partial list of some of the resolutions I’ve made over the years besides the great coffee consumption cut-down:

-To eat healthier (in fairness to me, this is more my wife’s idea)

-run a half marathon

-play the drums every day

-stop raising my voice

-Become handy around the house . . . Wait, I specifically pledged not to do this

-Write my book, “After she falls asleep”.  Still on page 1 with no plot, only a title.

So just don’t do it.  You’ll end up being disappointed or disillusioned.  I much prefer being pleasantly surprised on those days when I rock a salad in the airport (like the other night and it was wholly unsatisfying), jam out to Equinox by John Coltrane, or maybe change a light bulb.

Top Five Things I hate at 5:00 am

The phrase sleeping through the night is a relative term.  As a parent, that line of when it’s acceptable to be woken up is dependent on the sleep pattern that your child has trained you in.  For us, until a few weeks ago, we got up at like 6:30ish.  Totally fine in isolation, but when put into context that this followed  1-3  wakings, varying in length  from 10 to 45 minutes, it was truly maddening.  So it should be a huge victory that our youngest now sleeps straight through.  It’s not. Because the world at 5 am looks vastly different to me than 6:30 does.  It’s dark, quiet, and soul sucking.  The only sound I hear is my sprinkler system rhythmically watering the various zones in our yard.  And when is the best time to water the lawn? That’s right, when it’s fucking dark out and no one is awake.  And so I wake up at 5:00 now when it’s my turn in the rotation, give or take 15 minutes on either side of that number.  I’ll admit it though, the other day he woke at 5:30, which netted a fist bump, extra milky, and cut my coffee consumption in half for the day.  How sad is it though that I’m celebrating sleeping till right at dawn.  But on normal days, when I do get up, there’s rage, and grogginess, but mostly hate.  And it’s not directed  at little B.  No, my scorn is channeled to other mortal enemies which make up my list of top 5 things I hate at 5 am.

The Sun:

As my friend Deepak said, spelling is important on this one, so I’m underlining the u above to eliminate any confusion.  If it were up to me in B’s room, forget darkening shades alone, I’d eliminate his tiny nightlight, the small beam emanating from the baby monitor, and any light that could dare pass through into his room from the hallway. But, we live in a republic and our supreme chancellor favors no blinds and so we compromise with lovely handmade curtains that are translucent and pretty much invite the sun in to have a fucking party.  So each morning I go in there hoping to shush and pat him on the back because obviously he doesn’t want to get up, but creeping in like a stealth ninja in the background is the aforementioned sun telling him it’s time to f with dada.  Yes, the sun is a tricky foe that I’ve yet to defeat, but I will not give up.

Exercising:

It’s more the concept on this one.  There’s a fleeting thought that runs through my head at night and then again each morning at 5 where I’m already in my workout gear, I grab the baby, gently place (chuck) him in the Bob, and just start running to see if he’ll go back to sleep.  There are several problems with this idea, starting with the fact that it’s still dark so I’d need reflectors, so there goes that seamless transfer.  More importantly, the last thing I want to do at 5 am, besides getting up, is run.  My mom by contrast is a machine.  For the first 18 years of my life she was up at 4:00 am and walked the boulevard in Providence with her friend Barbara.  Every freaking day, up at 4:00, with 3 kids at home.  The kicker is that my dad was somehow never woken up during that extended period she was gone.  Damn, I’d never even considered that until just now.  I’m sure it feels good to get the workout of the way blah blah blah.  You know what will feel better? My couch, where I’ll lay semi motionless from 5 to 6 while B watches Blues Clues and I fade in and out of consciousness.

Everyone in my house who’s sleeping:

There are times I hear a sound from upstairs at this hour, invariably the dog, and I start forming the outline of a smile/smirk thinking the suffering will be shared.  The boys roll down at like 6:30-7:00 and at that point, they’re off my shit list, but that means 90 minutes of hating prior to their descent.  And sorry to say honey, but I detest that you’re sleeping in (full disclosure, Emily and I have a great rotation in place so she goes through the same pain I do on her 5 am days).  And what’s worse is that I feel like you don’t even do it right.  I get angry with you that there’s no white noise shutting out the sounds coming from our first floor.  I know it’s irrational but truly, this is your only zen sleep time because moms are trained in the art of active listening, even while sleeping. Well guess what, they’re up and one of them has been awake long enough to have watched Blues Clues and two full cycles of Sportscenter and yet you refuse to shut it out.

That I went out last night:

On the rare occasion where we both go out together, such as for the killer 40th birthday party we attended last week, one of us invariably gets shafted the next day.  It’s all well and good that someone is watching the kids at night, but where’s the babysitting service that watches kids at 5 am.  Shit, I’d give time and a half for that action.  You know why there’s no Uber dark for early morning babysitting, it’s because the only people up at 5 am are parents who have kids with bad sleep hygiene or college kids who still haven’t gone to sleep yet.  But honestly, just throwing it out there, if someone is interested in a weekly 5 am gig, I’m open.  I’m looking at you Jyoti.  You said you wanted to be in the blog.  Tell Eric of 6 Oak Aged Arrogant Bastards fame that he has to be up with the girls because you have to be at the Roseman house for Blues Clues with Bennett.

Opening my right eye:

I don’t wear a patch or anything or have astigmatism, I just can’t fully commit to the day this early.  From the time I stumble into Bennett’s room at this time of night, let’s be real, it’s dark therefore still night, to the moment I finally relent at some point and brew that pot of coffee, I walk around or lie down or stand, with one eye closed, like an idiot.  The other day, after the aforementioned party we went to (shout out to Kevin and Danielle), my right eye remained shut from 5:10-8:25 at which point Emily mercifully came down.  Typically, that’s not how this scene plays out, but you know what, miracles do happen.  And on that Sunday, head hit pillow, white noise was blasting, and the next thing I knew it was 10:45.  Glorious.  But if that eye had been open, I would’ve been two coffees deep by the time 8:30 rolled around with no hope for a nap.  Emily, you were my hero that morning.

Top 5 Things I suck at as a dad

I’m not sure the timing of writing this post will give my wife comfort, as she’s away for 3 days at her friend’s wedding, which is the longest stretch, by like 60 hours, that she’s been solo since Bennett was born.  You see until 5:45 am on Friday morning, Emily was still nursing B a little, so prior to that there were clear time limitations placed on their separation and therefore my watching of the trio.  Obviously, I’ve got 3 kids, so I’m experienced as a parent, but, I’m still a dude, and so there are things that I kind of suck at, and that Emily really runs point on in our family.  You know, like life, and everything related to kids.  Anyway, day 2 is now in the books of this trip (not the night, which is kind of like a day in and of itself), and it got me reflecting on those differences between when I’m in charge and when Emily is.  So, here we go.

Losing to my kids:

At some point, they probably will overtake me in sports, games, whatever, but that time isn’t now, and it’s important for me to remind them who’s boss.  Now that Miles plays soccer, he’s got this little bit of swagger that I kind of like, but a reality check is in order when we’re playing in the backyard.  Dude, you’re 6 and I could crush you every time, but I won’t, I’ll let you score a couple goals, and maybe tie.  Never win, but sometimes tie. Apparently though, not everyone got the memo that you’re supposed to give them a chance.  Yup, I’m looking at you Laurie Burke.  Miles won’t even look at the Connect Four set since you thrashed him a few months back.  But, I understand where you’re coming from, see, just today we decided to play a game of Sequence (excellent game), which they both like to cheat at (Oliver especially).  Watch what happens in this round though (note how empty the board is meaning we just started).

Good Judgment:

I should preface this one by saying that my son now walks around the house singing the first two lines of the following song, which he learned courtesy of my wife.  Truly, she’s now corrected his inflection to boot because he hasn’t quite mastered the “I cannot lie” part.

Oh, and also of note is that he’s been spelling decently for about 8 months now, and you can guess who he learned the word “dick” from.  Those might be her only 2 judgment mistakes she’s made, whereas I average an f up at least once a day.  Frankly, I think I’ve fared quite well this weekend, because maybe it’s been my only time as the Default Parent.

I’m racking my brain for specific examples, but I think the material is just too vast to wade through.  Oh, here’s one, and damn did I get a lecture for this.  Three days ago, Miles was playing soccer and wanted mama to play and I decided it would be a good idea to shout out that he told me she sucked at soccer.  He denies he said that, and he may be right, but probably not good to teach him to be a dick like that.  In my head I would’ve taken it as motivation to show up this 6 year old, but Emily quit on the spot.  And I tried at various points this weekend to capture some poor judgment on film, like the boys catapulting over the chaise while one was lying on it or crazy speed racing down our hill on their scooters, but they were wholly intact.  So, the worst offense was that we rented Power Rangers from the library . . . which apparently is on our do not watch list (yeah, missed that memo). Kinda weak, but I’ll endeavor do to do better next time I’m flying solo.

Packing:

Like ever.  Snacks, proper clothes, diapers/wipes, change of clothes, pack and play, you know, the usual.  It’s like my computer science teacher said in my report card, “Mike cannot be depended on to do the right thing in any situation”. Ouch.  Look, I was really proud this weekend when I remembered sunscreen, face and body to boot for a jaunt at the park.  Well, I may have forgotten to apply it to Bennett, so we just stayed in the shade . . . on a 95 degree day . . . in a field with no trees.  Fuck, even Miles was like, dude, Bennett must’ve been running hard because his cheeks are red.  Yeah, that’s what it is buddy. D’oh!  So, again, here is another area I just leave to my wife and function as the mule on trips.  “I need you to carry this, place this behind this seat, this one needs to stay upfront with us, that one needs to be accessible, and don’t forget that it’s winter out so he needs a fucking coat”.  Yes, dear.

Dealing with tantrums/injuries:

So far, and tomorrow is a new day, we’re unscathed on this Lord of the Flies weekend.  But tantrums, well, those are a daily occurrence in the Roseman household and the way I handle it consists of the following methods:

  1. Threaten: Because let’s talk about what else you’re about to lose besides your shit right now.
  2. Try and rationalize: Again, we’re talking here and I’m trying to dissect the tantrum and create a teachable moment . . . at the worst possible time.
  3. Just stare: This is my favorite because at a certain point it means that Emily takes over and the tantrum will subside in a few minutes.

And don’t get me started on injuries.  Most of the time I’m convinced 10% is pain, 50% is wounded pride, and 40% is so they can cuddle mama.  We still make fun of Miles for the fact that when a leg would get hurt from a minor fall, he’d start limping and then forget which leg he was supposed to be limping on.  Dude, we’re on to you.

Making plans:

Oh, I dominate at making plans.  Shit, at breakfast, lunch and dinner are already spec’d out.  Vacations, plane connections, train times, that shit’s in my wheelhouse.  But plans that include kids, hi . . . no.  That’s not my domain.  And I know I’m not alone because when I ran this post by my buddies the other night, they all nodded in agreement.  It’s like our weekend comes and I’m of a vacuous mind.  I can plan post 7:30 pm if I’m going out or we’re going on a date, but in between the 7’s, I got nothin. And on those rare occasions where I do step it up in the plan department, it’s usually  because it involves something I want to do.  Like you know, kayak, which is awesome and includes kids, well, at least 2 of them, and poor mama and baby are at home again.  So, RSVP for a kids birthday party?  I think not.  Orchestrate a west meadow beach journey?  Not gonna happen.  But I’ll tag along . . . just don’t expect me to pack.  You know how I feel about that too.

Top 5 things I loathe doing with my kids

I’m sure at some point l’ll write a gushy post about the top 5 things I like to do with my kids and if/when I do, shopping at Costco will make the list.  But that day isn’t today.  I’m en route to Baltimore with a 4 flight day that started at 5 am with B awake after another sleepless night and the day won’t conclude until 11 pm tonight, and then the same vicious nighttime cycle begins again.  And you’d think that holding him, patting his back, or just hearing him writhe in agony trying to get back to sleep would crack my top 5, but it doesn’t.  He’s a baby, so damn cute, and it’s our last go round so I know someday I’ll look back fondly at this time.  Of course, that time isn’t now.  So what can possibly top this experience to eek into my top 5? Read on.

Shopping at Michaels

Listen, full disclosure, I’m pretty much the worst artist of all time.  They’re on par with my building skills but I can’t blame the former on my heritage. Seriously, have you met a handy Berg, Stein, or Bergstein.  But I digress, Michaels, yeah, so I hate this store independently, but add kids into the mix and this experience ranks up there for me with changing a dirty diaper/outfit in an airplane bathroom.  First off, what are we in Vegas? It’s so bright in there and I’m pretty sure oxygen is being pumped in to motivate the ranks to shop till you drop.  Then, you have thousands of little items perfect for my little one to choke on and then aisles and aisles of various crafts that I hope to god we don’t pick out to do at home.  Admittedly, I’ve only been there like 3 times, and the last venture I flew solo but it still sucked and I ended up buying the wrong size scrapbook.  And if I ever had any doubt that Miles was my kid, aside from the fact that he’s the spitting image of our Big Papi, it was when I saw the level of excitement he had after finishing said scrapbooking book. I think he would’ve opted for eating meat over this project if given a choice (he’s a vegetarian).

5-7 at night

Just no. The witching time is evil.  Thankfully, and sorry Emily, I get to travel a bit for my job, and a bit depends on your definition of the word.  I don’t mind bedtime when the beasts are contained and we’re reading, and I even enjoy the occasional time where I’m fully responsible for putting the kids to bed solo because Emily is at Pure Barre or book club or some other pursuit that stimulates either mind or body.  But dinner prep, dinner, that window between dinner and bath, it all sucks.  I’m not sure if the crying sensation is from the onions or due to how overwhelmed I feel and outnumbered I am.  And the unfortunate thing is that aside from the weekend, this is the quality time I get with the kids.  It’s enough that by like 5:05, I’m thinking what kind of beer will I have once they’re asleep.

Playing Pokemon:

Look, I feel like Pokemon Go may have leveled the playing field a bit because it’s my phone and my rules, but the card game is one where I get dominated.  They stack the deck, they cheat, they make up rules as they go along, and they know that I will acquiesce because they’re contained, not fighting, and happy.  I played Dungeons and Dragons as a kid, even dabbled in Magic the Gathering (cue the jokes about my teenage sex life), but I just can’t follow this game.  Both big boys can read the numbers and now that Miles can read the descriptions I can’t even make shit up to further my cause.  Boys, can’t we just go outside and play soccer or have you ride bikes? Well, at least the new virtual version is promoting exercise and seeing your environment . . . Through a phone.  And from the looks of this, I’m pretty sure soon we’ll have a new entrant into the fray. Bennett pokemon

Switching from ESPN to Kids Netflix:

I’m not getting up on purpose before or near 6 am, but invariably I’m up then because either Bennett is up or Oliver has decided that he can’t go downstairs by himself to watch TV.  The only solace I have in the former situation is that B doesn’t have an opinion yet and I can place him near his kitchen, sip my coffee, and catch up on Sportscenter.  But then, the rest of the herd emerges and immediately demands some Netflix action and I don’t have enough fight in me from being woken up so goddamn early that I give in and we watch their flavor of the week.  Miles likes playing soccer so I tried leveraging the UEFA finals match to no avail, and Oliver is a fan of the Celtics, Patriots, Red Sox, and Yankees (older cousins and NY = fight I can’t win), but even Big Papi and TFB can’t compel them to watch highlights with me.  

Clean up:

You know the sing.  Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share.  Yeah, I wish that was how it went down in my house.  Are your kids talented or even remotely decent at picking up after themselves?  If they are, you suck and we can’t be friends.  Mine blow.  It’s like a hurricane comes through our house all day.  Between Bennett being in the lets take shit out of every drawer stage, the Pokemon cards strewn all over, the high chair, dinner, stepping on Legos, and their “drawings”, I find most of my free time spent just picking shit up.  Oh, and then you call them on it and they get all snippy.  And maybe this is bad parenting but bribery/threats are the only way to get them to lift a finger.  It’s actually quite genius of them.  Make a mess and then get rewarded for cleaning up your own shit.  At some point we need to teach them ownership and responsibility but that day isn’t today because I’m too damn tired and need to go to bed.

Top 5 Songs I’d sing for American Idol Tryouts

I used to be obsessed with American Idol.  True story, on Valentine’s Day 2009, when my wife was pregnant with Miles, I told her that we needed to be home in time to see Adam Lambert and Kris Allen duke it out.  Yes, Miles is named for Miles Davis (at least from my standpoint), but pop holds a special place in my heart too.  There’s nothing like belting out a song and envisioning the judges reaction to your American Idol tryout.

Connected to this, my wife likes to say that I’m such a Yenta and I can’t argue with her on that account.  Drama is fascinating to me as it unfolds in my work and personal life, but when that shit manifests itself in a pop song, man I am hooked.  So, connecting the dots, pop stylings + celebrity gossip =  Top 5 Idol Tryout Songs.  And for anyone who has ever wondered who Taylor Swift was destroying in one of her songs, I’ve got you covered.  Or what about JT?  And seriously, Katy Perry:

Taylor Swift: We are Never Ever Getting Back Together

Her life is like a soap opera and every time she breaks up with someone I’m like, sweet, I can’t wait till she tears him a new a’hole in an upcoming song. I was little miffed in fact that we might have seen her maturation with her last break up.  Ooooo, she unfollowed him from Twitter.  That’s it?  Say it ain’t so! She’s pretty much made her way through the A list of Hollywood superstars. I loved when she was with Jake, the werewolf dude from Twilight, in Valentine’s Day, all helpless in the movie but in real life she put the f’ing smack down to him after their break up. And how about Jake Gylenhall, he probably cried like a bitch once he realized that the above song was about him. Oh wait, the whole album is pretty much Taylor tearing him apart.

Adele: Hello

Switching gears for a moment from celebrity feuds, we turn to Adele and her powerful pipes. F the bots who snatched up every ticket for her NY shows in like 10 minutes. I had it all planned to surprise my wife with tickets to this concert for our anniversary. I mean, I like her (Adele, I mean), but not $500 per ticket like. That shit would be reserved for if Pink Floyd reunited. And I’ll admit it, I love this song.  I’ll play it loud and proud . . . in my house . . . with the windows up. I even tried to incorporate this as another sleep lullaby for Bennett but he’s not super impressed when I belt the last minute out in full Roseman falsetto.

Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe

I know I’m not alone in my fandom of this song as 18 million Youtube hits and counting will attest to with the Harvard baseball team’s rendition of this.  Have I listened to another song by her?  No.  Do I know whether she even made an album?  Nope.  Is part of the appeal my association with that viral video?  You bet.  Still, it’s a damn catchy tune and every time I listen to it, it brings me back to college when I met my wife for the first time and a similar experience played out.  Oh wait, scratch that, she didn’t say maybe, she said she couldn’t go to my semi formal because “she had to have dinner with:

Justine Timberlake: What Goes Around 

Returning to the celebrity gossip portion of this post, I give you JT, who is on my shortlist of guys I’d like to live vicariously through.  I mean, the dude was with Cameron Diaz in her prime, is married to Jessica Biel, and used to date Olivia Wilde.  That’s a hat trick that everyone can get behind and would make Jeter proud.  Seriously, is there anyone hotter than Olivia Wilde?  Just look at his list.  And what’s amazing is that the dude started as a boy band singer, parlayed that into a successful solo career, acting gigs, and even guest SportsCenter anchor.  And while JT insists that What Goes Around isn’t about Brtittney, come on man, we all know the truth. Sure, it’s about your “buddy who lost Elisha Cuthbert to another man”. Don’t forget what REM said, “Everybody Hurts, sometimes”.

Katy Perry: Wide Awake

There was Magic and Bird, then Tupac and Biggie, and now it’s Taylor Swift and Katy Perry.  Everyone needs a mortal enemy, even Maggie Simpson:

The problem for Katy is that she’s going against the Chuck Norris of celebrity bitch slapping.  Katy, have you not seen what happens to T Swift’s enemies?  The crazy thing about their feud is that apparently it isn’t even about a dude, but about business dealings instead.  Lame.  And while this song has nothing to do with their spat, it’s damn catchy and does at least give us closure on the Katy Perry/Russel Brand marriage.  I know all of us were shocked when that one ended.

Full disclosure, all of this intel for this top 5 I learned as part of my research.  It’s not like I’m following the feuds. . . or am I.

Top 5 Father’s Day Gift Ideas

I’m writing this post as I sit comfortably on my Acela train on the way to Philadelphia listening to the Warriors vs. Cavs game (booked especially for you Deepak) getting texts from my wife about the trials and tribulations of her evening which consisted of a never ending game of whose bed is this anyway.  So, given this context, it’s quite possible and understandable that none of these top 5 will come to fruition.  Remember, these are just one man’s musings about his ideal Father’s Day experience(s).  Perhaps your man is more mature than me, or has better fashion sense, or doesn’t struggle with the same insecurities I have about his athletic prowess as a 5’8 Jewish kid who kept waiting for puberty to add the extra six inches I felt I needed to get that baseball scholarship to Stanford.  But I digress, here is my top 5!

Wardrobe labeling system:

I’m pretty sure that if I was a superhero, my moniker would be Captain Clash, capable of blinding you into submission with a lethal combination of brights and stripes.  I have a decent selection of ties, shirts of all iterations, but every single fucking time I try and figure out what to wear for a meeting, I invariably have to ask Emily, whether it matches.  You think I know that patterns on stripes can work, but when you have a pinstriped suit, your options are limited unless you’re going solid on either shirt or tie (or both).   Fuck me.  I only recently learned that black wasn’t a color but rather a shade.  Is my request too much to ask?  I need you to explicitly identify which shirts go with which ties, and with what pants because I’m flummoxed.  Truly, make a grid, label it, take pictures of various outfits with either approve or a big x through it.  I don’t care what the system is, just can I have one.  It’ll be the gift that keeps on giving for both you and me.

Tickets to an annual sporting event:

Look, I’m going top shelf on some of these.  So, Celtics vs. Knicks at MSG would be killer as would regular season Pats or Sox tickets (and if you can somehow convince the boys to come with me to a game, that’s a bonus).  But, I’m about to go to the NBA Draft next Thursday, an event which is three years in the making, ever since the Celts pulled off the coup that was the KG and Paul Pierce trade with the Nets.  Like many Celts fans I know, game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals was more important to me as Lottery Night, and my heart was a bit crushed when we only got the 3rd pick, but in Danny we Trust.  So, what’s next?  Well, I’ve never been to an All Star game in any sport.  Ditto to the Final Four. My buddy is currently at the Warriors potential close out game with his wife (update: they lost), now that’s what I’m talking about.  I never said these were all realistic ones, but hey, a man can dream can’t he?

Tickets to a music festival:

I think it was 2005 that we went to Bonnaroo for an epic music experience.  Friends from philly and from college all gathered to party for 3 days and listen to music.  Interestingly, the highlights from that weekend were hearing John Mayer shred on guitar with Herbie Hancock as part of the Headhunters and the fact that they had a batting cage set up at the festival.  Yeah, David Ellowitch, you go make your drum, I’ll be right here at the cages reliving my childhood at Fox Point, Route 44, and the Classical High baseball team.  The lineup was insane and included the likes of Government Mule, Trey, Bela Fleck, Jurassic 5, and the list goes on and on.  Now, 3 kids later the festival ship has sailed, but maybe, just for a day, we can retreat to acting like 25 year olds again.  I actually saw that the Roots have a festival in NYC but the dates don’t jive with our schedules.  I mean seriously, is there a cooler mother f’er than Questlove.  Since that can’t happen, what about me, my lady, and the Real Slim Shady?

Beer festival:

I think this was given to me for Father’s Day two years ago.  The actual festival was 1-5, but the limo ride was a clutch touch.  And if you think we came home to help with bedtime, you don’t know how I roll.  Just chalk this up to a day minus your husband because the day can’t end with milky, bathtub wars, or the previously documented songs to get your kid to go the F to sleep.  And really, this could be a brewery tour, a winery tour, or whatever you fancy?  Are you a toy bank collector, a picture of nectar?  Do you crochet or play croquet?   The list is practically endless.   The point is, this was a day where we could hang out with dudes, all other dads in the times I’ve gone, and not talk about kids.  Truly, it’s refreshing as I’m sure ladies’ nights are when you’re not talking about kids, but secretly we hope that you’re talking about how dead sexy your men are, which you’re not, but we wait up for you anyway because hey, it could happen.

Field Day . . .  but for us:

Truth be told, I didn’t attend Miles’ field day this year, but he loved it.  I kind of heard it was a little lame because the games were a bit soft, but make no mistake, a day like this for me would be legendary.  Back at Schechter we celebrated Lag BaOmer, which is a holiday that celebrates fire, bows and arrows, and the Kabbalah.  Now, let me clarify something about our version.  We didn’t build a bonfire from what I recall nor shoot a bow and arrow, and come to think of it, I’m not sure we studied the Kabbalah on that day, but we had Field Day, and that shit got real.  So, would I be looking to relive my youth at one of these?  Damn straight.  Bring the women, bring the kids, and let us get some testosterone out with various athletic pursuits, and then 5 minutes in quit because injuries have put us on the 15 day dl, so then we just grill out and chill out.  But man, that would be a glorious day.

Top five beers for chillin like a villain

I don’t always drink beer . . . shit, yes I do.  Dammit, I need to find a different way to approach this post.  How about the fact that I’m writing this post at just shy of 8 am, having been up since 5 (courtesy of kid #3).  I’m currently listening to the incessant bickering of kids #1 and #2. Fighting topics range from wanting alone time, to Lego battles that will invariably end with something smashed to pieces, to sword fights with wooden train tracks that they’ve now made into weapons (everything becomes a weapon somehow).  In about 5 minutes, there will no doubt be hitting, courtesy of middle child, then tattle tailing courtesy of the oldest one (which is now so rampant that instead of a swear jar we’ve instituted a tattle jar).  And after this battle subsides, I have to mentally prepare to coach pre-k soccer today, which is less soccer than it is red rover crossed with a rugby scrum.  But after that is over, I will partake in my weekly ritual which is to crack open a beer outside.  Then, hope that the baby has fallen asleep on the drive home so I can “monitor him” outside from a lounge chair.  And when I do get to taste the sweet victory of surviving this brutal experience, I plan to enjoy one of these 5 brews.

Rogue Dead Guy Ale

dead guy ale

Our first family vacation was when son #1 was six months old and my sister got married in Mt. Shasta, well not so much the town of Mt. Shasta as the mountain beside it which featured a 45 minute death drive with no guard rail and snowcapped summits in June . . . where we were camping . . . with a fucking baby.  Needless to say, the scenery and location were ideal . . .

After the wedding, we headed up the coast to Oregon, and my only requirement was that we visit the Rogue brewery and distillery because I needed some sweet dead guy ale and other brews straight from the source.  And when the bartender came over to ask what I wanted, I went Pulp Fiction on his ass and said “give me a mother fucking dead guy ale”. It’s almost always in stock in my beer fridge.  If not, I know I can just drive to my brother-in-law Tom’s house who always keeps some on hand for me.

Lagunitas IPA

lagunitas ipa

I believe it’s called an approachable IPA.  I mean seriously, is there a brewery that consistently churns out quality beers (that I can readily get) like Lagunitas does.  This is the beer that started my hopsploration and before there was an actual beer called All Day IPA from a different brewery, this was the one for me.  Not that I would recommend downing many of these in rapid succession, which is why breweries created session IPAs.  But on taste alone, I could devour this.  And just when I thought this beer couldn’t rank any higher, it started showing up at Costco.  Dear Lord.  Now we just need Costco to add beer tasting to the wondrous experience that is their sample heaven.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

sierra nevada

I was in a frat in college.  SigEp represent.  Each family within our frat had a beer and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was my families’ brew of choice.  At the time, when you’re drinking Natty Ice or the Beast or whatever other shit beer was on sale at Schnucks, Sierra Nevada was as craft as craft could get.  Fast forward 15 years later and I read an article about the top 10 beers (see, I like lists) that combine ABV punch with calorie sensibility and what ranks as #1, that’s right, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.  So in a sense, it’s almost like a beach body beer.

Bell’s Oberon

bells oberon

We lived in Philadelphia in an area called Manayunk- chairs marked your parking spot all winter if you dug your car out after a snowstorm, while summer was spent porch patrolling to people peep . .  . or maybe you prefer doing that via train (looking at you Liz McLearn).  On one such day, my neighbor, who hailed from Michigan, cracked open an Oberon for me and I sipped perfection in a bottle.  Maybe it’s the label which is reminiscent of the artistic stylings of my sister in law Stacy, or the decent ABV at 5.8%, or just the amazingly refreshing taste that had me hooked, but pretty much that’s all I drank during that summer.  Then we moved to Long Island where porch partying transitioned to beach boozing and Bell’s came with.  By that time Oberon was available in 16 ounce cans.  To paraphrase Snoop, I was rolling down the (beach) . . .  sipping on cans of brews.

 

Troegs

tasting-room-17

Wait, didn’t I just say top 5 beers and I’m putting a whole brewery on this?  Cop out? Sure.  But I have so many good memories of Hershey, from my annual pilgrimage there for Pete and C, to family vacations with our good friends the Melvins.  Shit, our kid’s nickname is baby Hershey so there’s that.  Moving on.  At the epicenter of the Hershey experience is Troegs. Whether it’s hosting a dinner and my team getting busted for drinking wine in the bathroom or kicking off a conference in style with my homeboys Sean and Mark doing some light recon work, Troegs has been my go to place. Then there’s my favorite memory, which is the let’s leave the women and children at the hotel after a six hour drive to ostensibly provide food for everyone, only to return an hour later multiple beers deep with no food visit to Troegs (not recommended).  Sipping on any beer from Troegs, from the Hopback Amber to the Nugget Nectar (best name ever) to my wife’s favorite, the Belgian Tripel LaGrave, is like taking a stroll down memory lane.  So head to Hershey yourself where beer + chocolate + theme park = the whole family passed out by 9 after a perfect day.