Dad Brog (#101): I am not above shitting on other toddlers

Over the last week, my daughter has been written up twice for biting.  She went to school twice last week, which means both days she went, she bit another kid.

Color me pleased to be a parent.

The thing is that it is it’s the same kid that she bit both times, and if I’m a betting dad, this is the kid that she learned the behavior from in the first place.  Seriously, prior to pre-K she wasn’t a biter at all.  Now she’s biting other kids, my wife and I, and worse, her little sister who can’t defend herself.  

The first incident, we were told that the other kid first took a toy away from my daughter, and she retaliated with her teeth.  Not any less acceptable, but she was provoked.

The second time, I was told that there was no provocation and that my kid bit the other kid without any good reason.  This was more disappointing under this context, I don’t want to be raising any bullies or troublemakers.

Whenever these incidents occur, there’s literally a bite report, specific to biting incidents that parents have to sign.  I imagine that these infractions are recorded and that if too frequent and too problematic, children will be subject to whatever phrasing they want to call expulsion these days. 

Either way, I don’t want my child(ren) to ever be on any sort of hot seat, especially for shit behavior they learned from someone else.

Anyway, as I’m driving my kid home after incident number 2, she’s complaining of a bug bite she has.  Bug bite?  The kids haven’t been playing outside because it’s starting to cool down, and we’re past the time of year in which mosquitos are still out.

I ask if she has a bug bite or a people bite.  People bite.  I then ask if she has a people bite or a bug bite, since she sometimes automatically responds to the second option of every question. People bite.  I ask both questions again just to make sure.  People bite.  People bite.

Yeah, I know all our own kids are angels and never at fault and all that bullshit, but I’m actually beginning to believe that perhaps my child didn’t bite completely unprovoked, contrary to what I was told.

When we get home, I put my kid on the counter and tell me where she was bitten. She points to her leg. I raise her pant leg, and sure enough, there’s something there.  Most definitely not a bug bite.  A flat line of a mark that looks more like a toddler-sized incisor.

I ask one more time.  People bite.  I ask who bit you?  She spits out a name.  The name of the kid I figured it was going to be.

I am not above shitting on another toddler.  Especially one that isn’t just teaching my child undesirable behavior, but is griefing my child in school. 

From the first time I saw this kid on the classroom’s Facebook page, and my daughter pointed him out by name, I knew this was either her favorite friend or a kid that has given her grief.  Frankly I said to mythical wife that he looked like he was probably an asshole, judging a book by his cover.  Seems like the cover seemed to match the story.

I didn’t want this to go ignored, so I snapped the above pic and sent it to my kid’s teachers.  I explained that her behavior is not something we condoned, but based on the evidence of some biting on mine, I wanted to document that my daughter may not have acted completely unprovoked.

I get teaching, especially toddlers is excruciatingly difficult and I’m never going to discount how hard their jobs are.  But I think they might have missed some of the context in this situation, and I don’t think my kid is the only one who needed to be written up. 

Either way, this is where we are.  I now have to deal with a biter of a child now, to which most other parents explain to me is fairly common and developmentally appropriate.  It just annoys me that she probably learned it by it happening to her, and now she’s exerting the behavior onto others.

Lord only knows what undesirable behavior she’s going to learn in the future, but as far as I’m concerned, any kid that teaches it is a little shitbag, and I’m not above calling out such, regardless if they’re a toddler, teenager or a senior citizen.  Kids are sponges and don’t need to be taught shit things. 

Dad Brog (#100): One Hundred Dad Brogs

Because I’m a neurotic baseball nerd who has a hard-on for nice round numbers, I was always keenly aware of the fact that I was creeping closer to a nice round milestone number of 100 dad brogs, most of which are bitchy, ragey, or coming from a place of frustration.  In my head, I’ve written this post several different times now, but as is the norm for the life of a parent of kids as young as mine, there was never the opportunity to write this until a lot of the feelings in which I’m mentally writing, have already long passed.

This isn’t to say that I don’t love my children, quite the contrary, I love my children and my famiry and would do anything in the world for them, but it’s more of the unyielding truth of just how difficult raising kids is, especially in the circumstances I’ve been under, with two born during a pandemic and being on a path that has never really been explored except by those in similar boats currently charting them as we go.

There’s no sugar-coating it: parenting is hard.  Parenting two that are just 16 months apart is even harder.  I’ve completely lost the ability to feel any shred of empathy for anyone who proclaims their lives are difficult and they have no kids, because I frankly can’t imagine anyone’s life being as hard without kids as someone with them.  In fact, I’ve even turned my nose up at those with just one child, because at this point, I think one kid is a walk in the park, and that I could raise a single child with my eyes closed with the experience I’ve accumulated.

At no point during my journey as a dad, have things ever been easy.  When it was just #1, we had several months of having to deal with an apnea monitor, on top of not knowing what we were doing as new parents.  But once we began to feel that we were getting into a groove and that her sleep schedule was affording us time to begin feeling like human beings again, our world was rocked by the discovery that mythical wife was pregnant and #2 was on the way.

And then #2 arrived, and in spite of all the preparation and thinking we got this, based on all the experience we accumulated from our first go-around, #2 was all sorts of different than her sister, in terms of temperament, sleeping habits, and the presence of colic.  And with their being two kids now, the inevitability of double duty came into play, and let me tell you that there have been fewer points in my life that I have felt so helplessly inadequate as a father, parent, human being, than when I’m constantly falling on my face as a single person watching two kids.

Since then, my daughters have been living up to the tag team dynamic that I’ve given them championship blets for, because since the staffing up of my famiry, they’ve been systematically taking turns, tagging in and out, at which one of them is the difficult kid at any given time; naturally not ignoring any opportunities to get some double-team, tandem offense of both of them being difficult at the same time.  #2’s colic was a devastating time where nothing I did felt like it was right.  #1’s increasing curiosity and the development of defiance and the ability to say the word NO bubbled up as #2’s newborn vices began cooling down.  They’d take turn at being picky eaters, and seldom would eat well at the same time.  #1 started getting sick every single month since the start of 2022 due to our shitty nannies or sending her to daycare, and without missing a beat, when she gets sick, #2 gets sick 3-4 days later and it’s even worse on her because she’s younger and has a lesser developed immune system.  Everyone loves to say that it’s just them growing their immune systems, but I’d rather other parents just stop being selfish fucks and sending sick kids to school all the god damn time.

Continue reading “Dad Brog (#100): One Hundred Dad Brogs”

David Chang has apparently gone full Gusteau

Over the last week or so, I’ve been getting inundated with ads for David Chang’s (endorsed) air-dried noodles, which effectively has taken David Chang from being a well-known restauranteur and into the arena of an actual home cooking brand. 

I have this love-hate opinion of David Chang, because when I first heard of him, I thought he was this weeb that sold out his Korean heritage by opening a restaurant called Momofuku.  But then I learned that not only did he grow up in the same area I did in Virginia, one of my cousins has classes with him in high school, adding to the parallels I felt I had with him in this self-loathing manner.  But then I really did enjoy his first Netflix series, Ugly Delicious, because it was a well-produced series that had a lot of heart and soul in it.  But then anything he did afterward turned into this cringey star-fucking humblebrag, because of his increasing celebrity, so I’m mostly at this 60/40 scale of thinking he’s uncool, because anonymous people on the internet’s opinions totally matter.

Never mind that the product is about the whitest alternative to instant ramen there possibly could be, and their marketing pitch strategy that seems to think people are choosing to eat these 17¢ pucks of freeze dried noodles in pure salt water because they have a financial choice, and that “at ~$4 a meal” buying Momofuckyou air-dried noodles are a superior alternative.  Or that we’re supposed to believe that Chang himself was actually involved in “ten years of flavor research” when the guy is a few years older than I am, which would imply that he actually had any time at all in his early 30s to give a fuck about how to make a more white people friendly version of instant ramen.

It’s that by entering the world of producing DIY home cooking products, David Chang has basically turned into Gusteau from Ratatouille, spring-boarding his restaurant brand and celebrity status into a cheesy food brand.  Sure, it will in all likelihood make him richer beyond my capable dreams, but on the less-significant and internet coolness side of things, make him kind of a lame sell-out. 

Obviously I’m of the belief that such is always the goal of those who achieve fame, because securing the financial freedom for your family and possibly the generation(s) beyond you is always more important than what strangers think of you.  But I really wanted to make the comparison of David Chang to Gusteau, because it’s what I think he’s on the cusp of doing. 

Sure, Gusteau is dead [spoiler-alert] and it’s his crooked sous chef selling him out, but if Chang decides to go beyond noodles, and starts trying to sell DIY Indian food or soul food or Caribbean food, then he’s basically a real-life Korean Gusteau, worthy of having a series of tasteless cardboard cutouts of him wearing stereotypical garb of various nationalities.

Either way, I’m sure the internet and their endless parade of algorithms will know that I’ve got any opinion of David Chang at all, and when he inevitably releases Momofuckyou’s DIY chicken tikka masala, I’ll be ready and waiting to photoshop his head on Dhalsim’s body for an I-told-you-motherfuckers-so brog post.

Dad Brog (#099): The Worst Parenting Product Ever

Throughout the last two-plus years, mythical wife and I have come across plenty of products that weren’t that useful, and/or drawn frustration from mostly me.  Things like wipe warmers, butt paste applicators, the 78 different types of sippy cups that mythical wife purchases despite my protests that we don’t need any more god damn cups, can fall into the category of being useless.

Our ridiculously expensive double stroller has been a tremendous source of frustration for me throughout the journey of parenthood, because it was ridiculously expensive, but it’s also absurdly cumbersome, heavy, doesn’t fit into my car at the same time as an extra human being, and taking the thing down to Disney is a sure-fire trip-ruiner based on how often I have to break it down to fold because it’s either fold it to ride a shuttle or a Skyliner or fold it to put into the car to drive somewhere with.  But at least in spite of it all, it provides massive utility as the sturdy, smooth-rolling stroller to both my kids, when we need to roll them around.

But this past weekend, I discovered the absolute worst parenting product we’ve ever had the misfortune of being duped into spending our money on: the SlumberPod.

It’s basically a supposedly portable blackout tent that you put over the sleeping peripheral of a child, so that they can sleep in simulated darkness.  It has vents and even a clear plastic compartment to tuck a camera into so that you can monitor your child still.  The sales pitch of this product is that it’s perfect for you to use in hotels or anywhere where you have to shack up with your children in the same room, and you want to be able to sleep in the dark but not have to give up the convenience of lights outside of it.

But for my kids?  Colossal failure.  The SlumberPod seems like a great way to inflict trauma or cultivate claustrophobia to my kids.  We got it for #2 originally, because she typically needs a nice dark, isolated setting to sleep optimally, and sharing a hotel room with her seemed like a daunting task.  When we finally got it set up and put over her pack and play, it lasted all of two seconds before she was screaming bloody murder, and it didn’t even make it ten minutes before we realize that this wasn’t going to work.

Alternatively, we tried it on #1, to see if it would prove useful with her, but not only did she hate it as much as #2 did, she had the capability to fuck around with the camera compartment, reach outside of her crib to monkey around with the sound machine, and was just overall physically capable enough to jostle the entire thing to where we I threw up my hands and declared this the worst parenting product we’ve ever had.

Sure, there is no one-size-fits-all parenting product that is guaranteed to work on every single kid out there.  That’s not entirely why I’m so disenchanted with the SlumberPod.  My primary point of frustration with the SlumberPod, aside from its bullshit $170+ price tag, is the fact that it’s pitched like it’s this easy-to-assemble jesus tent that will help put your kids to sleep, but the reality is that you basically need the surface area of Lambeau Field in order to have adequate space to put it together.  Works kind of counter to the idea of assembling and using these in hotel rooms with limited space.

It’s a Christmas miracle that I didn’t, or my kids didn’t get hurt by one of the bullshit tension rods that requires an unnerving amount of bend in order to assemble, and I was afraid that one wrong move would result in a violent whiplash of a metal rod whipping the shit out of either myself or one of my kids.  It would’ve probably been violent enough to slash out an eye on a human being, and probably rip a massive scar into drywall.

It’s definitely not easy to assemble, and once it is, it’s this giant fucking blob of useless that you don’t want to break down on a daily basis and have to wrestle with it all over again the following day, so you leave it assembled and let it take up a giant chunk of space in your limited hotel room’s real estate.

And when it doesn’t work on top of the aggravation of having to assemble it, it’s a really easy call to make that this is basically the most useless and regrettable parenting product ever purchased.  Basically, my prevailing thought after having to put up with this failure, is that if you don’t want to have to deal with the stress and struggle of having to share space with a child that requires adequate darkness in order to sleep, don’t fucking travel with them.  At least it wouldn’t cost $175 and an entire weekend of sleepless nights because the kids are struggling to sleep in a shared space far from home.  But fuck the SlumberPod, I hope I’ll be able to recoup anything for it, because I sure as shit don’t want to keep this in my house full of kids stuff any longer.

Damn it, I have to side with the conservative chick

It’s obvious that my brog has kind of devolved into this cesspool of parenting, wrestling and occasional sports posts, and that I don’t really write so much about the variety of topics that I tried to spread out throughout my ability to write.  Parenting has really shrunken my general world into a very small space that I obviously need to focus on more than anything else these days, but every now and then a slice of the world outside my own manages to sneak in through social media, grasp my attention, and trigger an avalanche of thoughts, and ultimately words that I can put down onto a word doc and call it a brog post.

Normally, when I hear that an alleged victim is of a conservative variety, I expect to get ready to roll my eyes and imagine at what nonsense a white person is going to be bitching about next.  But in this particular story that someone found its way to me, about a girl who is enraged with American Airlines, because she was on a flight where she was the unfortunate middle seat in between two, morbidly obese siblings, for a three hour flight, I kind of get it.

I think it’s a safe bet to say that I’ve flown more than the average traveler.  And in my travels, I have sat in more than my fair share of middle seats, especially considering all the standby traveling I did where middle seats were really my only option versus not making it out at all.  And let me tell you, in the age of seats getting smaller and smaller so that more seats can be crammed onto aircrafts, I have definitely been this girl more times than I can count, where I’ve been victimized by people whose girth far exceeds the confines of a standard airline seat.

Of course, I am no small individual by any means.  I’m probably like 20-30 lbs. away from an ideal mass ratio, but for the most part, I fit adequately into the boundaries of an airline seat.  Sometimes my shoulders exceed the boundaries, not necessarily because I’m swole or anything, but because everyone’s shoulders usually exceed the boundaries of a seat, and most of the time it’s a domino effect of everyone in a row gradually leaning to one side in order to try and get some physical reprieve.

Except in the case of this poor girl, there was no reprieve, because she was literally sandwiched in between two mammoth masses of humanity.  The fact that they were spread out with a gap seat in the middle indicates that they knew they were both blobs and needed the space of a seat in between them, but the fact that they didn’t just outright purchase that seat meant that there was always the chance of some poor unfortunate soul getting booked in it, which is exactly what happened in this case.

And normally I tend to not feel much empathy for those who proudly identify as conservatives, but as a fellow human being who has traveled on his share of airplanes, I completely feel for this girl.  It is absolutely the worst feeling in the world being stuck next to a blob of a person who is oozing into your personal space, and you’re stuck touching these usually less than hygienic My 600 Lb. Life patients for more than two hours otherwise you might’ve driven in the first place.

I have loathed every time this has happened to me, and in my case it’s usually been from one side, but it has happened where I’ve been the schmuck stuck between the Natural Disasters and it is the absolute worst.

The ironically funniest thing about this story is that after the initial, fairly nonchalant response from American Airlines to this girl, is the secondary follow-up response where AA basically sided with her, low-key admit our bad, and gave her a voucher for the horrendous atrocity of having to endure a flight being a literal Jill sandwich.  It’s like after the initial shot was fired, some case worker actually analyzed the scenario and realized how miserable she was and had the empathy to reach back out and offer a peace offering.

It reminded me of my own experience, where the above photo was a picture that I took on an AirTran flight coming back from Las Vegas.  We were surrounded by a family or three where everyone was massive, and fortunately they weren’t in my row, but they definitely were all around me, and because of their girth, they were obviously uncomfortable in their seats, resulting in them constantly getting up and meandering all around me, to where at one point, they just gathered in the back, right next to me, just so that they wouldn’t have to be seated in tight quarters on account of their blobbiness.

I contacted AirTran about the incident, and they actually sided with me with no resistance, and gave me a credit.  It’s like they too know how much of a pain in the ass huge motherfuckers are to the airline travel experience as much as everyone else does, but because so many Americans are so fucking fat, it’s just something that happens on the regular, and they just hope people don’t reach out to complain about it.

Anyway, this chick obviously got blasted by the internet for being so callous as to fat shame, but the funny thing is that there was also a notable amount of sympathy for her situation, because at the root of it, just about everyone who’s ever had to deal with it themselves knows just how much it sucks flying next to a bunch of fat fucks who ooze all over the place.

Nothing says celebration like destruction of property

Sauce: University of Tennessee solicits for donations to repair their football field’s goalposts after they were ripped out of the ground and dumped into the Tennessee River in celebration of upsetting Alabama

I think I already know the answer to this, but I have to wonder if anywhere outside of ‘Murica, people celebrate sports victories by destroying property?  Sure, if I had to wager, places like parts of the United Kingdom probably get rowdy after a win, but by and large I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard of like Japan, Korea, Germany, France or Brazil ever go biblical on their own property, after winning a World Cup or a gold medal or some other monumental victory.

Obviously this is very commonplace in ‘Murica where Philadelphia had been set on fire no less than three times in celebration, and most of Auburn and Tuscaloosa in Alabama have been torched and had trees poisoned as a result of college football games, which come to mind the quickest, with many other examples out there for inquiring minds.

Back to Tennessee, I get it, the celebration part; beating Alabama is a big deal, because it has not happened a lot over the last 13 years.  Any school that can steal a win over Alabama is truly a massive deal, and worth a good field storming afterward.

But then the uprooting of the goal posts and then throwing them into the river?  That’s just dumb, but honestly I wouldn’t expect anything less from a hick school like Tennessee which is barely relevant in anything outside of women’s hoops.  It’s the epitome of no one of us is as dumb as all of us, and you know that the vast majority of the people who ended up doing it probably don’t even care about football so much as it’s part of the scene out in Volunteer country.

The best (read: fucking insane) part of this is that not only is the school claiming that replacing  two sets of some metal bars is roughly $150,000, is that they’re soliciting people for donations to help pay for it.

Like, both schools are probably getting upwards of at least $1 million dollars each for the television rights to the game, not to mention all sorts of sponsorship monies from all the commercials.  And they have the audacity to cry poor and ask people to pay for the installation of new goalposts?  That’s fucking insanity.

Yeah sure it’s not right for people to celebrate the win by destroying property, and there should be some accountability from the violating parties. But it’s also the greatest moment in the program’s history since Peyton Manning, and some insanity should have been expected.  Not to mention the school is already loaded as fuck and in the grand spectrum of what the UT athletic department generates, $150k is a drop in the bucket.

The irony is also the fact that $150k is probably obviously some grossly inflated estimate so that a bunch of it can be pocketed, but there’s no doubt that at least $150k will be successfully raised.  And that’s the type of money that even the most tenured of educators in the faculty probably wouldn’t see, for trying to teach and develop young minds, while some yellow pieces of metal will have it raised for their sake in the span of a week.

And people wonder why college sports are resented so much, sometimes.  Sure I’m aware of the reality of the chicken and egg dynamic where the education doesn’t grow without the athletics, but when fucking goalposts raises the money that could probably pay two people’s salaries, it does sound pretty fucking ridiculous.

And that’s the kind of shit can of worms opened after a win.  Sociologically, and economically, it probably would’ve been better had Tennessee lost.

But that’s why we play the games, right??

Now this is actually just like old times

A little while ago, after I wrote about the amazing finish to the regular season, where the Braves caught the Mets on the final weekend of the season and literally stole the NL East crown right from underneath them, I had this sneaking suspicion that I was tempting fate by doing such, and that once the playoffs began, the Braves would be ripe for a good old fashioned, first round NLDS* collapse, like they had done countless times in the past.  Baby luck was no longer in play, and by acknowledging in text that the Braves were anything other than a garbage organization not worth two pennies rubbed together, I was clearly pressing the boundaries of the universe that my feelings of high on the Braves were doomed to come crashing down once the playoffs actually began.

*can’t call it first round anymore thanks to the new wild card round

The fact that the Braves did in fact, get bounced from the NLDS doesn’t bother me; after all it’s something I’ve seen happen so many times that it’s more of an aberration when it doesn’t happen.  What actually does suck is that it came at the hands of the Phillies, which is a team that I’ve never liked at any point in history, so that part does give me some sour grapes.  If it had happened against the Cardinals, I would’ve been salty but unsurprised because it seemed like the Pujols and Yadi farewell tour would’ve been very appropriate to have had run over the Braves along the way, but when they failed to close out the Phillies in the first game of the wild card series, it was pretty much all downhill from there.

More than any other sport, baseball playoffs has and will always be a game for the team that gets hot at the right time.  Because games are played so closely together, momentum can really hang and maintain in baseball, and throughout the history of the playoffs since the inception of the wild card, so often times is the World Series winner the team that just catches fire and stays on fire for a month.  Aided by the magic baby luck brought on by #2’s birth, the Braves were that team that got hot, and stayed hot, and won it all last year, no matter how unworthy of the playoffs the 88-win team really was.

The Phillies appear to be that team that’s caught fire at the right time, and amazingly they did it in the midst of a game, where they looked all but defeated against the Cardinals, but the switch flipped, they came back on the Cardinals, put them out to pasture, rolled into Atlanta, and put the Braves out of their misery too.

As much as I dislike seeing the Phillies succeed, especially at the expense of the Braves, there’s a sadistic part of me that really wants to see the Padres advance on the Dodgers, so that we have an NLCS between the #5 and #6 seeds, with hopefully the Padres going to the World Series to play against the Seattle Mariners,** in a barn burner of a World Series nobody in the world wants to see.

**at the time I’m writing this, the Mariners have just blinked first in the 18th inning of their elimination game and are on the cusp of getting eliminated  🙁

But as for the Braves, it’s back to being the Barves all over again, getting bounced in the NLDS.  Yes, it’s something that does suck, but honestly?  The good thing about a fairly fresh World Series victory, or any championship for a favored team, is that it always creates a cushion of absorbing the disappointment of future defeats.  I can still say I got to see the Braves win a World Series in my lifetime as a Braves fan and as an Atlanta resident, and because it happened pretty recently, this year’s fuckup doesn’t really irk me at all.  Being a Braves fan, it’s mostly just kind of business as usual, losing in the NLDS.

All the same though, woof, what a shitty day to have been a sports fan.  This really was kind of like a bloody Saturday as far as my casual fandoms go.  The Braves get bounced from the playoffs by the Phillies, Virginia Tech takes the L against an equally unimpressive Miami squad.  Normally Alabama getting upset is always kind of amazing, but the fact that it happened against Tennessee is irksome enough, but then realizing that their quarterback is Hendon Hooker, who used to be Virginia Tech’s QB before he transferred out and has developed into this Alabama-beating Jesus motherfucker, leaves a little bit of bitter in my mouth.

Also, I learned that Dikembe Mutombo has a brain tumor and is undergoing treatment, which hopefully is successful.  Those who know me well enough, know of my fandom of Mutombo, so this isn’t just sad because he’s kind of a meme, it’s sad because I genuinely have always been a fan of the guy.

And the cherry on top?  #25 JMU, my very literal hometown school in Harrisonburg, nationally ranked in probably like the first time ever, immediately loses to Georgia Southern, and undoubtedly that ranking.  Heavy is the team that wears a ranking, and even the Dukes couldn’t salvage this turrible day to be a sports fan.

Also, the Mariners just lost and are bounced, so there goes the hopes for a Padres/Mariners World Series. 😭