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Reflections on Easter as a Parent OR Something Hoppity This Way Comes

Contrary to my toddlers’ insistence, Easter is not about candy.

It is not about any one particular season either.

Or a religious holiday.

It is about home defense.

My parents introduced me to this special holiday by explaining how the Easter bunny would come to our house with a basket of candy that he’d prepared just for me.

To make it interesting, he hid the basket.

Some years they’d also throw in a comment about the effort of searching helping me burn through all the extra calories I’d be getting.

Those years, the basket was usually very hard to find and/or get to once found.

This all began when I was three. Here’s how my under-developed yet surprisingly sharp little brain processed this explanation:

Every year at Easter time, a giant magical rabbit will, while I am sleeping, break into my house – undetected by my parents – to leave me a special container of candy that It knew will appeal to me.

  • Magic superpowers.
  • Stalking, to determine at a minimum, my candy preferences.
  • A veritable Raffles of the family Leporidae, able to break into any and every home inhabited by Christians. All in one night.
  • Undetectable to those charged with keeping me safe.

And thus began the long chain of recurring nightmares wherein, every March or April, just as I’m getting over the whole Saint Nick trauma, a new terror that moves among us arises.

I was a stupid child. I understood that I was dealing with a very dark and powerful force, but I also didn’t fully grasp my own mortality.

In a misguided attempt to protect my younger sister from this Lagomorphic fiend, I took on a new mission in life:

To find and stop the Easter bunny.

And so the annual Spring tradition began:

  • Act excited about Easter so my sister wouldn’t be afraid.
  • Surreptitiously unpack the Xmas rubber sheets and install them on my bed to minimize the clean-up every morning in the week leading up to the horrific event.
  • On Easter Eve, go to bed early, try to nap a little to build a reserve for the coming ordeal.
  • Instead of napping, lie awake in bed, listening to every sound of that accursed house. Wait to hear my sister skip off to bed, and then, later, my parents knocking off. Mistake every groan of the house, every click and sputter of the refrigerator, as the sound of whiskered Death approaching.
  • Creep out of bed with my talisman of protection, a stuffed animal we’ll refer to here as ‘Roosevelt’.
  • Strain to stay awake despite my pounding heart burning through three days’ worth of calories in less than an hour.
  • Fail to stay awake.
  • Come to the next morning, somehow back in my bed, under the covers, still, amazingly, alive. Do a quick external inventory, making sure I’m still intact while checking for giveaway surgical scars suggesting organ removal.

This went on for some years. The night terrors became impossible to hide, and I was sent to a string of child psychologists. But the first one made a mistake that tipped me off to whose side they were all on – he had stuffed bunny rabbits in his waiting room.

Oh yes, the Bunny has his lucky paws in everything.

I tried to warn my peers in grade school, but they didn’t believe me.

The fools! They laughed at me! Laughed!

That’s when I started staying up with Roosevelt and my Spiderman camera. If I could obtain photographic evidence, then they’d have to listen.

They’d have to believe.

That came to an end when one Easter night, my mommy came downstairs after we’d all gone to bed. I had stationed myself on the sofa to await our midnight interloper, and only heard her in time to cram Mr. Spiderman under the sofa.

I survived that discovery by claiming to be sleepwalking.

Mr. Spiderman, however, and my faith and trust in my parents, were not so lucky.

For you see, two things were clear to me now. One, my Spiderman camera was not built with the act of cramming it under a sofa in mind. And two, Mr. Bunny, in stalking me to learn my candy predilections, had discovered my awareness of the threat It presented, and my efforts to stay up in order to confront It. And to stop me, It turned to Its well-placed, above-suspicion allies, a.k.a. my mommy and daddy.

I imagine the conversation went something like this:

(phone ringing)

MOM
(answering phone)
Hello?

BUNNY
It’s me.

MOM
Oh, yes, Sir.

BUNNY
We gots a problem, see? It’s that twerp kid of yours, see?

MOM
Ian? Oh yes, he is a very annoying twerp. Should I kill him, Sir?

BUNNY
No, no! That would draw too much suspicion, see? And he’s not ripe yet, see? I can’t eat human flesh that isn’t ripe yet, or fattened up properly with candy. Gives ’em a bitter taste, see?

MOM
What would you have me do, oh Dark Lord and Master?

BUNNY
(sound of chomping on cigar)
He’s gonna try and stay up tonight, see? So youse is gonna come down from your room about 11:45, see, and ‘accidentally’ stumble across him. Get him back to bed, see? Slip him a mickey if ya have to, got it?

My parents’ ‘inability’ to detect the Easter Bunny’s intrusions made so much more sense after this realization.

So I had to up my game. In high school, I took up cricket just for the bat. I feigned obsession with the world’s most boring, confusing sport so no one would question why I kept the bat always at my side, why I slept with it under my pillow, why I walked in my sleep every other night with that bat in hand.

All to convince them I really was sleepwalking, and not just preparing for the coming Easter.

It took a lot out of me. My few friendships withered. My grades suffered. My health declined. Precipitously.

I learned more than it is safe for any one person to know about the game of cricket.

But it was necessary. Necessary to keep my sister safe.

And then, my first year back from college for Spring Break, something incredible happened.

The Easter Bunny lost interest in my family.

It didn’t come that Easter.

Or any Easter after that.

I asked my sister if the Easter Bunny had left her anything. She just snorted derisively and told me she hadn’t gotten a visit from the Easter Bunny since 8th grade.

I see it now. I see that It was playing the long game. But I admit, at the time, I was fooled.

I lowered my guard.

I desperately wanted to believe.

The AR-15 I’d planned to buy as soon as I turned 21? Unbought. By me, anyway. Given the current gun control climate, I’m sure someone bought it and has it safely tucked away in their rabbit-proof arsenal.

The cricket bat that had been my constant companion since freshman year in high school? Retired to the top shelf in the closet.

The windows that were nailed shut in my room? Pulled out with the back of a hammer.

The soul-consuming nightmares of whiskered, non-Euclidean horror that burned out most of my youth? I still have those, but only every other night or so now. I find getting blind drunk right before bed has a pleasant ‘black-out’ effect that diminishes the intensity of the nightmares significantly.

And then, out of the blue, the Missus turned to me last month after I’d tucked my toddlers into bed and said, “You know, the kids are old enough to appreciate it now. What should the Easter Bunny bring them this year?”

Her question came with just enough time for me to dust off the old cricket bat and fill out the paperwork to start the mandatory waiting period for a gun.

So if you’re wondering why this blog post is a little late, it’s because that paperwork is really complicated to fill out.

Oh, and I was up all night Easter Eve watching over my kiddos.

I love them too much to let that furry bastard harm a hair on their head.

 
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Posted by on 2 April 2013 in Angst, Life

 

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Why I hate Blake Shelton

I’m depressed.

It could be because of the crippling lack of sleep I’ve been suffering due to that most perfect form of birth control, toddlers.

I didn’t mention this in my previous post on the evil of toddlers, but they also tend to scream a lot at random intervals between the hours 8pm and 8am.

And once awake, I am restless and can take as long as an hour to fall back asleep.

Or it could be my rapidly fading faith that Humanity has a future.

I’ve been mini van shopping, and how can you have hope for a species when you have a comparison site lauding the 15 cup holders in Brand X’s 8-seat vehicle over shameful Brand Y’s mere 10 cup holders in their 7-seat vehicle?

How many freakin’ drinks do 7 or 8 people need to lug around with them on trips?

“Oh, I can’t drink the beverage in this cup holder – it’s for holding my northbound cup, and we’re currently traveling north by northwest. Hand me the Tab in my NW holder, please. Ah, thank you.”

Yeah, the conclusion we are completely and utterly screwed (but most likely fully slaked when it comes to thirst) is inescapable.

It could be my complete and total inability to put on a believable fake Scottish accent.

You’d be surprised how desirable, if not downright important, that skill is in certain situations.

Look at that smug, evil, fully dressed bastard!

Look at this smug, evil, fully dressed bastard!

But I’ve narrowed it down to Blake Shelton. Which is why I hate him.

Oh, it’s not poor Blake Shelton’s fault. Don’t know him, his music (or his TV shows, or his art, or whatever it is he’s famous for).

It’s his fans.

In particular, the ones hell-bent on seeing him naked.

Or nekkid, nekked, and nude.

Which would seemingly lead right back to the whole “no faith in Humanity” jag, but that’s not where I’m going.

It leads right back to me.

Someone I follow on twitter mentioned adding a “Blake Shelton naked” tag to her blog. As a joke. And getting a huge spike in search hits.

So as a joke, I added this tag to a blog post that had nothing to do with Blakes, Sheltons, nakeds, nudes, nekkids, or nekkeds.

I thought it would be funny. All these Blake Shelton fans, hot and bothered about the nudie pics they were about to see, landing on my blog instead and becoming crushingly disappointed.

<insert evil laugh here>

And then, not long after that, I discovered the Site Stats feature on WordPress.

Now I don’t get a huge number of hits every day. Or a lot. Or even very many. Or, possibly, by some people’s standards, not even a few. And that’s pretty depressing in and of itself.

The hits I do get? Steadily, day after day, more than half who reach my site are using some combination of the following search terms:

Blake/Blak/Bake + Sheldon/Shelton + naked/nude/nekkid/nekked/huge throbbing/well-oiled/priest collar/vintage

And that’s depressing.

And now, a word from our sponsor: me!
 
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Posted by on 28 March 2012 in Life

 

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It’s Clobbering Time! …OR… Toddlers As Birth Control

I write this entry from the much-needed comfort of a cushioned chair. Recent events have demonstrated to me the urgency with which I must spread the word about a diabolical new form of birth control.

Toddlers.

No, I’m not talking about the antics of children in the throes of the terrible twos putting you off having kids (though that certainly can make a more than moderate contribution to the desire to have no further children).

I’m talking about the height of the average two to three-year old.

The Danger Zone: Not just a song on the Top Gun soundtrack

2 to 3 Years Old: That not-so-magical region of indescribable pain for unwary daddies

Crotch-busting height.

I know, I know, this is a topic no one is comfortable talking about. Believe me, you’ll find yourself a lot more uncomfortable if we don’t get this issue out in the open.

Right now.

In a good mood, they run up to you, arms extended, ready to hug, and plow into your nether regions with their bony, unyielding heads.

In a bad mood, they latch onto you and vent their frustration with head-butting. And I swear, after accidentally stumbling onto this maneuver, they immediately recognize its efficacy and file it away for future use.

Little bastards.

Regardless of their motivation, this is a fiendishly effective way of sterilizing daddy. If not via physical damage to the wedding tackle, or making the act of procreation too painful to contemplate, then through the psychological impact of daddy realizing sex can lead to babies which can lead to more unpleasant bruising in that most cherished of regions.

Like child-rearing in general, it’s a vicious cycle. Only instead of spanning generations, it prevents further expansion of the latest generation.

And Richard Connell thought hunting other men was the most dangerous game. Clearly not a man who spent a great deal of time dodging toddlers.

 
And now, a word from our sponsor: me!
 
My book, Marlowe and the Spacewoman, is out!
 

Marlowe and the SpacewomanClick here to learn more or order a copy!

 
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Posted by on 8 February 2012 in Life

 

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And Now An Important Message About Acute Toddler Syndrome

I want to take this opportunity to apologize to anyone I’ve offended recently with strange outbursts, unusual behavior, and / or anti-social kick-boxing moves.

It’s not my fault, but I’m sorry anyway.

Like millions of other Americans, I am suffering from ATS.

I was only recently (self) diagnosed with this horrible, horrible ailment.

What is ATS, you ask? How long do I have, you worry? Is it contagious, you demand to know?

ATS is Acute Toddler Syndrome.

No, it is not a disorder suffered by people with a cute toddler. If anything, ATS is ugly. Very ugly.

It is only communicable between sexual partners, sperm bank customers and sperm bank products, and unethical fertility doctors and desperate, unaware patients. So unless you’re engaging in activities with me that could result in pregnancy, you aren’t gonna catch it (from me, anyway).

Did I just hear all my male readers sigh with relief? Fine. But all the female readers too? That kinda hurts, ladies.

ATS is rarely fatal, though it can destroy lives, friendships, and tank careers. ATS only lasts about two or three years once symptoms manifest, unless you go on to have more children, which starts the cycle all over again.

The incubation time for ATS is about three years. It starts with pregnancy and grows, slowly and undetected, in a parent’s psyche until said parent’s kid (or kids) become toddlers.

At this point, ATS strikes, and it is devastating.

What are the symptoms of this fearful illness?

Imagine you are a father of toddlers. They are at that stage where they’re imitating everything they see and hear. Loudly and with gusto and over and over and over again in front of teachers, grandparents, pediatricians, and randomly encountered law enforcement officers. This, naturally, forces you to watch your language, constrain your HBO viewing to late night, and moderate your behavior.

Normally not a big deal.

Imagine now that you work in a professional environment, where for a large portion of your day, you are not around toddlers, but due to strict HR policies, you also have to watch your language, constrain your HBO pirate stream viewing, and moderate your behavior in order to avoid unpleasant…consequences.

Hey, you say, people do that all the time. Still not a big deal.

Well screw you, clearly-not-a-parent-of-a-toddler. Because toddlers also wear you out when you get home from work, and don’t like to sleep through the night, so you find yourself sleep-deprived, exhausted when you aren’t trying to sleep, and dreaming you’re exhausted in the brief moments you do sleep.

Even worse, you can’t loosen the belt a few notches, as it were, when you do get home from work so you can just be yourself. Do you have any idea how uncomfortable a belt notched appropriately for work is? Do you??

It’s really uncomfortable. Leg-numbing, waist-bruising uncomfortable. People should be able to loosen their belt when they get home. It’s common decency.

How is this a severe disorder, you ask?

Hold your horses, I haven’t gotten to the damn symptoms yet.

Unable to stand the rigid constraints on language and behavior any more, the ATS sufferer starts to act out in inappropriate ways when not around the toddlers, ways he or she absolutely cannot act when the toddlers are present.

What happens is, suddenly finding oneself in the presence of adults, with no children around to ‘cramp your style’, the ATS sufferer realizes that they can say and do anything without the consequence of their kids seeing or repeating it. This outweighs all other factors, including non-child related consequences.

It’s a lot like some freshman at college, who, suddenly overwhelmed by the onset of total freedom and distant parents, go a little crazy, drink too much, and end up on academic probation (or expelled).

Yes, ATS is freshman-year-at-college ugly.

Frighteningly loud and excessive use of profanity is common when in the throes of ATS. For example, at church, daddy might let a few coarse ones loose while mommy is outside trying to hush the wailing kid. Almost always during the pauses in the homily.

Or in the Starbucks coming home from work, when daddy learns they’re out of his favorite all natural sugar substitute.They charge six bucks for an effin’ coffee, they can damn well keep the effin’ Truvia in stock!

Or when daddy is in the laxative aisle of the drug store and can’t find my his favorite brand of suppositories. You know the brand I’m he’s talking about, the small ones that slip in more easily. Not those horse-sized Preparation H monsters.

I’m not saying these have happened to me, just that they are examples of things that can happen.

So the next time someone says, “Hey, whore, how’s it hanging?” or tries to lick your neck after bumping into you in the laxative aisle at Walmart, or starts dancing the macarena at a country line dancing event in a biker bar as a prelude to a strip tease, before you get offended, ask yourself, “Is this person a daddy of toddlers?” If he is, be nice, put the broken beer bottle down, and cut him some slack.

And just to reiterate, I’m not saying these are things I’ve done, they’re just examples of things that could happen. To anyone.

One last note. Please don’t confuse Acute Toddler Syndrome with Chronic Toddler Syndrome. While having the same symptoms as ATS, CTS is a long-term form of the disorder, only occurring in people who prolong their exposure to toddlers (e.g., employees at orphanages with high turnover, the Duggars, and pre-school teachers), and therefore, since they chose to suffer from this disease, they don’t deserve your sympathy.

In fact, those people need to learn not to get drunk and proposition their mother-in-law at her 50th anniversary party. That’s crossing a line, dammit!

(Again, hypothetical!)

And now, a word from our sponsor: me!

Marlowe and the SpacewomanClick here to check out my forthcoming book, Marlowe and the Spacewoman, coming out January 9th, 2012 (Balloon Ascension Day)!

 

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