The Foot Lickers


When you bring your baby home from the hospital after he’s born, your mind is reeling with the possibilities of parenthood. Mostly, you see rainbows, imagining afternoons at the park playing baseball and making macaroni necklaces for Christmas presents. What you can’t imagine is that at some point during your tenure as a parent, you’re going to have to say the phrase, “son, don’t lick your sister’s feet.”

You’re not an idiot. You know there will be ups and downs. There will be tantrums in the Fun Depot. Smoothies spilled in the car. Maybe some light biting. But having to tell one child not to lick the other child’s feet never even crosses your mind.

But it’s going to happen. The first foot-licking incident will be accidental. They’ll be wrestling barefoot and an errant foot will cross in front of someone’s face and that kid will seize the opportunity and stick his/her tongue out and take a lick. It’s an act of curiosity mainly. The other child will giggle and then it’ll be an all out foot lick fest, at which time you’ll have to say, “son, don’t lick your sister’s feet.”

It’s such a weird thing to say, you’ll actually pause and think, “I can’t believe I just had to say that.”

Soon you’ll be saying it so often, you’ll have to write it on the dry erase “rule board” next to other gems like, “don’t put mom’s pearls on the kitty,” and “don’t tell strangers their hair looks funny,” or “glow sticks are not food” or any number of bizarre societal norms that most of us take for granted.

But the foot-licking thing will be the weirdest. At least for a while. Then the kids will come up with something even weirder that makes you long for the simplicity of the foot-licking days. I don’t know what that thing will be yet. I’m just warning you, it’s going to get weird. Then it’s going to get weirder.


Insane in the Membrane


Ever since I became a dad, I’ve spent countless hours wondering what the fuck is going on inside my children’s heads. Okay, maybe not hours. Minutes. Lots of minutes. Because kids are weird. They do weird shit. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think my kids are any weirder than your kids. They talk to squirrels and pretend to be watermelons and will only eat food that’s orange—but from what I understand, that’s standard operating procedure for an American four year old. I’m proud to say my kids are normal weird.

Still, I want to know what they’re thinking. Call it simple curiosity, call it an attempt to better understand my offspring.

Now that the kids are starting to learn how to draw, I’m finally getting a window into their complex minds. So far, it’s fucking scary in there.

Take my daughter. Cute as hell. Likes to wear dresses and put pink ribbons in her hair. If you asked her what her favorite activity is, she’d probably say petting the kitty. Typical girl shit. She’s made of sugar and spice and everything nice, right?

Apparently not. Now that she has the motor skills to draw, does she draw rainbows? Stick figures holding hands in a meadow? No. She keeps drawing these really disturbing monsters with exaggerated fangs. The picture above, on the chalkboard, is a family of potato monsters. She also draws pumpkin monsters. Kitty monsters. Flower monsters. They all have the same happy but crazed look to them. The kind of monsters that are singing a song about butterflies one minute, then trying to give the neighbor’s dog a juice box enema (which pretty much describes my daughter, too).

The kids do a lot of art projects at school, so I know it’s only a matter of time before the teacher pulls me aside with one of my little Picasso’s creations and asks why on earth, would she draw a picture of a potato monster drinking moonshine and puking butterflies?

For the record, I don’t even serve potatoes in my house.

Meanwhile, all my son will draw is rainbows, which makes sense, because I’m pretty sure it’s just a bunch of bright colors bouncing around the inside of his brain. Just like his dad.

Here’s Something the Other Tour Guides Won’t Tell You


When you have kids, people tell you a lot of things. Everyone tells you that you’re not going to sleep for at least a year. They tell you that kids are expensive, start saving for braces. They tell you that kids are finicky eaters. They tell you that tuition will cost $100,000 a year by the time your kid will be going to State. They tell you that you can kiss your hobbies goodbye. No more model trains or triathlons or furry porn…whatever you’re into, you won’t have time for it anymore. When you have kids, people tell you all kinds of things about how to get a baby to sleep, or how to transition from training wheels to a big boy bike.

But when you have kids, nobody bothers to tell you that one day, for no reason whatsoever, your kids will decide that they don’t want to look at doors anymore and will cover their eyes when approaching a door of any kind. The front door, the car door, the bathroom door at the mall… It will happen when you’re late for ballet. Or trying to get to church, or the bank before it closes. Maybe it’ll be a Tuesday or a Saturday, I don’t know, but it will happen and it will completely shut you down for 24 hours.

It’s tough enough to get my kids out the door on a good day, throw in “door-a-phobia” and suddenly, I’m operating way above my pay grade. My kids have a 70 percent success rate of walking through a door without suffering head trauma when they’re using all five senses. Take away sight and the success rate drops drastically. I can’t wait to try to explain this to DSS.

And forget trying to reason with your child. They’re three. There’s no reasoning with a three year old. You can bribe, but you can’t reason. And forget trying to ask your child why they suddenly can’t stand to look at a door anymore, because they’ll give an answer that goes something like this: “well, if I don’t want to look at doors anymore, then I don’t want to look at doors anymore.”

When you have kids, nobody tells you that those kids will do strange things, like try to lick you, or only eat orange food, or refuse to flush the toilet because they can’t bare to say goodbye to their poop, or suddenly decide that they don’t want to look at doors anymore.

When you have kids, nobody tells you that those kids will be weird.