Barney vs Mickey vs Elmo

The most popular people in my house right now are Barney, Mickey Mouse, and Elmo. We watch the videos, sing the songs, play with the toys, and did I mention we watch the videos? It’s amazing how kids never tire of watching the same thing over and over. Taken in small doses, these are all good programs, and I enjoy the (short) peace and quiet while we watch them. But, after you’ve seen the same episodes a hundred times, these characters begin to gnaw at your brain. I cannot get the tunes out of my head. They are with me at work, in the shower, in the car. Please make it stop!

In the spirit of Superman vs Batman, Claven vs Newman, I give you Barney vs Mickey vs Elmo.

Barney Mickey Elmo
Age unknown, thought to be extinct senior citizen 65+ 3 1/2
Like To Say I Love You See You Real Soon Tickle Me
Lives Near an imaginary playground Florida Sesame Street
Annoying Factor Off the charts A little too upbeat That voice
Hangs out With Young kids, baby dinosaurs Minnie the hottie, Goofy the enforcer Mr Noodle and Big Bird
Merchandise Videos, games, toys Legendary TMX

Great Place To Shop

One Step Ahead, for 0-3 years, and Leaps and Bounds, years 3+, have a great selection of products. Everything from bath, travel, toys, to child-proofing devices. Prices are reasonable and some items are exclusively theirs. No, I don’t work for them or get commissions. They just have some really well thought out and tested products that you don’t see in everyday stores. Here are some examples:

Tinkle Target Tinkle Target – to help boys improve their aim

snowball.gif Sno-Baller – makes snow balls without getting hands wet

Foot Flush Foot Flusher – how lazy can you get?

How Kids Make You Older

Whoever said kids keep you young was either a) lying, or b) didn’t have any kids. Kids speed the aging process. The more kids, the faster the process. It is unavoidable.

There are the obvious signs of aging, like gray hair. Just like every U.S. president goes gray while in office, so does every dad go gray soon after having kids. I found an interesting explanation of why hair turns gray on, of all places, a kids health website. What this site fails to mention to kids is that they are the biggest reason hair turns gray. The endless why questions of a preschooler. The public temper tantrums on an airplane. The 5am wakeup calls consisting of jumping on daddy.

Then there are the times kids make you feel you’ve become that old guy you used to joke about. The guy that drives a minivan, can’t stay awake past 10pm, and falls asleep during football games.

I recently experienced the ultimate in feeling old: driving the babysitter home. On the drive home, she said she can’t wait to get her license soon, making her fifteen. It occured to me that during my college years, which until then seemed like recent memory, was when she was born. How did that happen?

Best Toys For Kids

Have you ever noticed how kids love the toys at other people’s houses, more than their own, no matter how many they have? We have enough toys in our house to open a toy store, and my kids always seem to be bored and uninterested in them. But, when we go to someone else’s house, all the toys are suddenly so interesting and they’ll play quietly for hours.

I used to think, if we just got the toys their friends have, they’ll play just as quietly at home. But what I’ve learned is that it isn’t the toys that are interesting, it is the novelty. Even the best toys‘ novelty wears off in a matter of days. So which toys should you get? The short answer is, it doesn’t matter. What matters is how many you have available at any one time. I call it the Tip Of The Iceberg system. Only let your kids see some of the toys. When they get bored, replace some of the “old” toys with “new” ones.

If you really want to get your kids excited about a toy they haven’t seen in a while, put it in a wrapped box. Tell them Santa dropped it when he was hurrying back to the North Pole. Run out of actual toys? Find some objects around the house – crayons, tupperware, stuffed animals – and wrap them up.? Your kids will think it’s their birthday again, well, at least for a few hours until they are bored again.

Why do minivans get such a bad rap?

I will be getting a minivan soon, to replace my 1998 Honda Civic. I have my sights set on the top rated Honda Odyssey. Why wouldn’t I want to drive this car? What is the stigma with buys driving minivans? Today’s minivans are comfortable, powerful, stylish, with every bell and whistle imagineable. The sheer number of cupholders alone should make any guy want one.

Why is it that women are allowed to drive minivans, but men would just as soon admit they shave their legs than drive one? Is it because they are afraid it will remove what’s left of their macho image? Let me tell you a little secret. When you have two kids, you’ve already lost any trace of machismo. There is nothing macho about having formula stains on all your shirts, or cheerios all over your car. Nobody will mistake you for the Marlboro Man as you push a double stroller in the mall, diaper bag over your arm, Elmo stickers stuck to the bottom of your shoes. Or, as you pull a used tissue from your pocket to wipe the snot from your kids’ nose, then put it right back in your pocket to use later.

I say, bring on the minivan. Personally, I can’t wait to get one. At least I’ll be a comfortable, if not macho, guy.

There’s no fruit in a fruit rollup

Getting my preschooler to eat fruits or vegetables is near impossible. His diet mainly consists of chicken nuggets, waffles, pizza, pasta, chicken nuggets, and crackers. Did I mention chicken nuggets? What is it with those that is so damn appealing to kids?

There are a few almost fruit and vegetable items that he’ll eat. One is ketchup, which can be used on anything listed above, or eaten straight from a spoon. Not kidding. Ketchup has tomatoes, so it’s a vegetable, right? The others look like they might contain some fruit, but they are really fruit themed candy.

Fruit rollups hardly count as fruit. They are basically sugar, and food coloring which comes off on hands, faces, and the white tee shirt that Daddy is wearing. Want to know what is in a Blastin Berry fruit rollup? Pears from concentrate, corn syrup (aka sugar), dried corn syrup (more sugar), sugar, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, citric acid, sodium citrate, pectin, distilled monoglycerides, malic acid, vitamin C (yay!), acetylated mono and diglycerides, natural flavor, color. Now I’m certainly no health nut, but that doesn’t sound very good.

Yogos, Kellogg’s yogurty covered fruit flavored snacks. These things come with a neat little dispenser that kids want to use over and over. Think Pez. Again, the main ingredients are sugar, but at least they add 100% daily recommended vitamin C, so I can rationalize him eating them. It’s like drinking a glass of orange juice every day.

Joys of Potty Training

For the most part, my three year old is potty trained, though he still asks for help when he goes. At night, he wears pull-ups because he can’t make it through the night yet. I’ve been trying to teach him to get up in the middle of the night when he needs to go. I told him to come get Mommy or Daddy (preferably Mommy), and we’ll help him go, then put him back to bed.

Last night, for the first time, he actually woke up to go potty, around 4am. My son is very independent, and instead of waking us up to help, tried to go on his own. I’m not sure if he actually peed or not, but I found him without pants in the morning in his bed. His pants were on the bathroom floor. And, an entire roll of toilet paper was in the toilet. Not the thin, transparent kind in public restrooms, that doesn’t clog drains. Oh no, this was Charmin Ultra, the softest, most absorbant TP money can buy. And not your ordinary single roll, this was the double duty with twice as many sheets. Did I mention the roll was full?

So this morning I found myself fishing the paper out with my hands, trying to unclog the toilet. All the while, telling my son I was proud of him for at least trying to go by himself. Ahh, the joys of potty training.

Fun Bus

I’ve written here about how I’ve been searching for an indoor gym/playground to take my kids in the winter. Well, here is a great concept. A school bus, with all the seats removed, and padded walls. Just park in the driveway and turn the kids loose. The house doesn’t get destroyed, and we don’t need to go anywhere. Seems like the perfect solution.? Do they rent by the month?
funbus.jpg inside_bus2.jpg inside_bus1.jpg