Insane in the Membrane

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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.

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The Basement Tapes

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After several weeks of traveling the family is home and trying to get back into a routine. For the kids, that means “playing” with the cat by setting elaborate traps using catnip, a ball of yarn and a basket. There’s also mandatory band practice. The travel sabbatical was inspirational and I believe Toots and the McGoots is entering a prolific period of creativity. My sister-in-law gave the kids kazoos, which adds another dimension to the “sound wall” that Toots is known for (some of our recent basement sessions are reminiscent of The Beach Boys Pet Sounds era). And Addie is stepping into the role of lead vocals and really owning it. Last night, we worked on one of her original songs called “No Squirrels Allowed,” which is about a tiny squirrel overcoming his fear of ziplining. On the surface, it’s a cute song about a squirrel, but dig deeper and you’ll find it’s really about rampant age discrimination at amusement parks.

Sure, we have our creative differences, but what band doesn’t? I often wonder if The Stones also had epic battles over who would get to play the xylophone. Did Mick Jagger also stomp away from band practice, crying and screaming he didn’t want to play with Keith Richards anymore? Did he also get lured back to band practice with M&M’s?