Excuse Me Sir, Is That A Purse?

I need to start carrying a purse. My kids are old enough now that we’re beyond the “daddy bag” phase in our lives (thankfully, I no longer need to carry six diapers, a packet of wipes, pacifiers, and a menagerie of plush toys with us everywhere) but I still find myself toting around random shit, like half-eaten Cliff bars and Tinkerbell figurines that my kids simply can’t leave the house without. Cargo pockets just don’t cut it.

Do they make manly purses? Something in a Desert Storm camo, perhaps? Maybe with those tacky silver silhouettes of naked ladies you see on mud flaps.

A fanny pack would actually be great, but I’m not European enough to pull off a fanny pack.

I suppose I could go with a messenger bag, but if I’m not on a bike zipping through traffic with legal documents strapped to my back, can I really call it a messenger bag? Wouldn’t it just be an oversized purse with reflective tape?

Kanye West carries a purse, why can’t I? (Please don’t answer that.)

Why do kids have to come with so many accessories in the first place? I don’t feel comfortable leaving the house without an emergency juice box, a six-pack of string cheese, and an extra pair of socks. Why is that?

Don’t answer that either. I already know the answer: Because every once in a while, preschool kids pee themselves. Or throw a tantrum because there’s no string cheese in the car. Or suddenly look down at their feet and realize they’re not wearing Princess Tiana socks and they just CAN’T FACE THE WORLD WITHOUT THEIR PRINCESS TIANA SOCKS!

Yesterday, I was determined to take the kids on a couple of errands without stuffing my pockets with an arsenal of snacks and emergency wardrobe options. I got halfway to the door before turning back for two water bottles, a pack of crackers, some beef jerky, a toy train and a small Avengers notebook/crayon set.

We were only leaving the house for an hour, but I felt the need to pack an Apocalypse Survivor Starter Kit.

It sounds ridiculous that I can’t venture out into public without an arsenal of snacks and diversionary tactics, but it’s not ridiculous. It’s better parenting through paranoia. This is what goes through my head when I’m prepping a trip into the Great Unknown (AKA Target) with the kids:

What if we’re sitting in traffic and the kids demand to doodle? Better pack some crayons and paper.

What if we’re standing in line and their blood sugar crashes? Better pack some gummy bears.

What if there’s a potty emergency but only one toilet in the store being occupied by a childless guy who doesn’t understand the urgency of the phrase, “daddy, I think I need to go potty now.” Better pack an extra change of clothes.

What if the pediatrician has missed an iron deficiency in one of my children and they become anemic and begin craving dirt (it’s a real symptom, look it up)? Better pack the beef jerky.

My paranoia knows no limits, so I need a purse. A big purse, with multiple pockets and zippers, just like my mom used to carry. She carried the biggest purse you could imagine, full of half-used tissues and tic-tacs.

Shit. Put a Diet Tab in one hand and a romance novel in the other, and I’d be the spitting image of my mother. Except for my beard. My mom never had a beard.

But I digress.

Let’s talk more about man-appropriate handbags. I think there’s a market out there waiting to be tapped. Here’s what I’m thinking for the perfect Man-Purse (Tagline: The bag so manly, it will make single dudes wish they had kids just so they could carry it.)

Color: Hunter-vest orange.

Size: Big-ass

Key Features: 1) An insulated cooler pocket, big enough to hold a 16-ounce canned beer of your choice (PBR or Budweiser, it’s up to you). 2) A 16-inch flat screen panel with built in satellite and miniature X-Box (why hasn’t someone built a backpack with a TV and game system in it already?) 3) An insulated warmer pocket, for warm BLT’s (because cold sandwiches are for animals). 4) Built in football (because at any moment, your son is going to look up at you and say, “dad, can you show me how to throw a spiral?” and you need to be prepared. Even if you’re in a library). 5) Stain resistant, particularly when it comes to feces, blood, and apple juice (the Holy Trinity of Pre-school stains). 6) Is there anyway you could get a little shopvac in there too? To suck up all the goldfish my kids leave in teh mini-van? Because that would be sweet.

That’s where I’m at right now with the Man Purse. Feel free to add your own key features to the ideal man bag. Perhaps together, we could build a prototype and get this thing into stores before Christmas.

Drink of the Week: Mother Earth Endless River

Brewed in tiny Kinston, N.C. at Mother Earth Brewing, Endless River is a super light  German kolsch style ale. It’s tasty enough to get excited about, but light enough to drink all day long. Get a small cooler, ice, and a six pack of Endless River and spend your entire Saturday in your front yard, drinking the bottles slowly while you knock out last minute Fall home projects, like painting your brand new fence cliché white. Normally, painting a fence sucks, which is why you’ve put it off so long. But today, you’ve got beer, and more importantly, the kids aren’t your responsibility. Because you’re painting the fence. Getting shit done. You can hear them screaming inside the house (something about wanting the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into circles, not triangles), but that’s not your problem today. Your spouse is on tantrum duty. Because you’re painting the fence. Monotonous tasks never felt so relaxing. It’s like a little vacation. Put the headphones in. Have another Endless River.

Hop Scotch…Or Just a Scotch, Please

You know what your local playground needs? A margarita machine. And if you’re installing a margarita machine, you may as well go ahead and put in a fully stocked bar. Obviously, there would be some added liability issues with a playground that had happy hour, but the pros completely outweigh the cons. Don’t believe me? Read my latest blog at Breathe, and be convinced.

 

 

I Learned It From Watching You, Dad!

Can you pass irrational fear onto your children genetically? Like hair color? My kids aren’t scared of monsters or witches or dogs or getting hit by a car or catching West Nile. But volcanoes? Terrified. They stay up at night worrying about the hot lava, even after my wife and I explained to them that we live about 2,000 miles from the nearest volcano. We showed them that we’d have to get on a plane and fly far, far away. Then we’d have to get in a Jeep and drive a long way. Then we’d have to hike for miles before ever having to worry about being burned by hot lava. (Sidenote: Now, every time they see an airplane, they assume the passengers are going to see a volcano). 

Still, my son is obsesses over volcanoes and is concerned with his favorite things melting. “Daddy, does Buzz Light Year melt?” I have no idea what the melting temperature of Taiwanese plastic is, so I just tell him no. God help us if he ever sees that scene in Indiana Jones where the bad guy’s face melts off. He won’t sleep for weeks.

He’s also really concerned with turning 4. “I don’t want to be 4,” he says, crying a little. Even though his birthday is months away, he agonizes over getting older. This morning, while on the way to one of the brief periods of peace in my life commonly referred to as “child care,” he was staring out the window and said, with a hint of melancholy, “I just want to be 2 again.” Sigh.

What the fuck?

I tried to tell him that being 2 wasn’t all that great. He couldn’t ride a bike. Couldn’t poop in the potty. Couldn’t get Daddy a beer from the fridge…but he wouldn’t have any of it. He’s not even in kindergarten yet, and he thinks his best years are behind him.

My wife told me his irrational fears weren’t genetic, they were learned. Which is a round about way of saying I’m passing on my own neurosis to my children just by being in constant contact with them. It’s like a communicable disease.

And she’s right. I’m scared of just about everything. Some examples: Falling over the second story railing at the mall. Being pushed in front of traffic by a stranger while waiting at a crowded crosswalk. Deportation (I was born in the U.S., but you never know). Public bathrooms.

Public bathrooms are probably at the top of my fear list. One of the things I admire most about my very naïve children is their ability to poop anywhere. Gas station bathroom with an inch of mystery liquid on the floor? “Daddy, I have to poop.”

Personally, I can only poop in two places: My own bathroom, when everyone else in the house is asleep, and Barnes and Noble, but only within 20 minutes of the store opening. Any later and I start imagining all of the people that have beat me to the throne.

I’m also scared of getting hit by a foul ball at baseball games. Strokes (do you smell burnt toast?). Werewolves. Cartoon-induced seizures. Getting charged by a rhino in Africa. Hula hoops. Mascots for professional sports teams. Having to get a real job.

I could go on. It might be easier to list the things I’m not scared of. It’s a short list. Sex. Puppies. Although puppies have unusually sharp teeth. Why is that?

And here’s a short list of things I’m not scared of that I probably should be scared of: Strippers. The bowl of communal nuts at a bar. Drinking while boating. Liquor distilled in a bathtub. Backyard fireworks shows.

But I digress.

So, in the great Nature/Nurture debate, have I passed the tendency to fear irrationally onto my children genetically, or am I simply teaching them to fear the world by putting my own neurosis on display day after day?

I guess the end result is the same either way: two kids who use an inordinate amount of hand sanitizer and who don’t trust the mailman. On the upside, it’s kind of fun to see what the kids will be scared of next. There were a couple of weeks where both kids feared all kinds of different shellfish. For a few of days, my daughter was scared of iguanas. Who knows what fears will surface in the future! Cumulus clouds? Cured meats? Republicans? Cloggers? The sky’s the limit.

Let me know what you or your kids are scared of. The weirder the better. No judgment here.