Posts Tagged ‘Elmo’

Examples of Dad’s geekiness

January 27, 2011

Andrew Hicks


  • Likes to refer to Sarah’s rainbow bib as “Roy G. Bib.”
  • When burping Silas, will frequently pat his back to drum beat of “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie while singing, “Let’s burp!”
  • Got a good laugh out of a little kid on “Barney” saying, “She’s like a brother to me.”
  • When Silas peed on Dad’s leg while flashing a huge grin, wrote a Facebook status about it on phone before cleaning up.
  • While half-awake, could have sworn Elmo was singing “Skeet skeet skeet skeet” on “Sesame Street.”
  • After breaking ankle on neighbor’s stairs last fall, wanted to purchase said stairs and comically reenact Stephen King‘s practice of buying and destroying the car that hit him in 1999, when he broke every bone in his body. Later found out King didn’t actually do this; he just bought the car and had it junked.
  • When Silas smiles, sometimes calls him “Smiley Silas” because it rhymes with the name of Billy Ray Cyrus‘s uber-famous teenage daughter.
  • Occasionally uses the prefix uber-.
  • Upon learning Sarah would automatically laugh when hearing the word “sassy,” Dad tracked down every Phil Hartman quote he could find from 1991 Sassy’s Sassiest Gentlemen” SNL sketch.
  • Now can draw Elmo’s head in seconds with five pen strokes.
  • Built most of this blog posting around months-old material written on a yellow legal pad. (Sorry, this actually belongs in the companion piece “Examples of Dad’s Laziness.”)


My 3 favorite ladies -- Tiffany, Sarah and my mom. Christmas 2008.

14 hours, 23 minutes late

January 9, 2011

EDITOR’S NOTE: The author of this blog, Andrew Hicks, is participating in’s 2011 Post a Day challenge. He has committed to produce 365 consecutive blog posts in a timely and entertaining manner. So far, he has missed the midnight cutoff twice.

The first time, his 6-month-old got him up at 4 a.m. afterward and he wrote the blog during the morning news and backdated it. The second time, which occurred on Sunday, January 9, Andrew optimistically decided to go to bed at 10 p.m. and was reconsciousified at 11 p.m. He had no creative inspiration at the time, although he did have a pretty solid if vague idea he could’ve killed a few hundred words on.

Instead, Andrew sat up with Silas until the little guy got appropriately tired and fell asleep around 1:45, then Andrew stayed up hisdamnself in selfish nonproductivity* until 2:30. Then 2-year-old Sarah woke up crying at 6:30 a.m., and Silas quickly followed suit, and Andrew got up with both and ate a killer breakfast sandwich** and watched old Disney shorts on YouTube with her***. Then Silas fell asleep, and Sarah and Dad were starting to feel like they were out of bed too early.

So everyone went back to bed and lounged around for a number of daytime hours, until finally Andrew pulled out his laptop to write yesterday’s blog post while Silas flopped around his activity mat and Sarah got to drink her very own large water with lid and straw. Sarah has been good about using cups with lids and straws, even if Dad has to remind her a few times to hold the cup down so it doesn’t spill.

Sarah eventually finished her water and went to drop the plastic Quik Trip cup in the recycle bin. Dad stopped her, saying, “Sarah, get that back out, we’re gonna wash it and use it again.” Sarah realized there was unfinished business with the plastic cup, so she pulled it out of the recyclables and ceremoniously crushed the cup in the center, like her mom and dad do with aluminum soda cans as they’re dropped in. It was cute toddler stuff, and Andrew couldn’t be mad.

Anyway, Andrew hopes you’re not mad this post is going up 14 hours and 23 minutes late. He assumes it’ll get slept on anyway.

*a.k.a. hanging out, a.k.a. unwinding

**A couple months ago, while looking through a ShopKo Holiday catalogue sent via junk mail, Andrew’s wife Tiffany decided she wanted a $30 egg poacher/2-slice toaster for the family. Andrew thought it might be an unnecessary purchase but agreed his wife deserved to have something new and functional around the house. Well, Andrew was immediately proven wrong when he realized that a poached egg was the best and easiest companion for sliced bread since Extra Heavy Duty Mayonnaise. A poached egg is Andrew’s new favorite condiment. It’s the new mustard.

***This is one of the things Andrew is bound to address in this blog, so let’s get it out of the way right now. 2-year-old Sarah, in the past few days, has fallen hard for old Disney cartoons. Her favorite characters, in descending order, are Pluto, Mickey and Donald. Mischevious chipmunks Chip and Dale are starting to gain in popularity. Andrew likes this because — unlike his toddler’s previous forays into the worlds of the Teletubbies, Barney and Elmo — Daddy can watch, enjoy and comment on this on a non-mind-numbing level. Watching old Disney shorts, mostly from 1936-1952, on YouTube has the added bonus of frequently being dubbed into Spanish, French, you name it. Or it’ll have foreign subtitles superimposed on the bottom. I don’t kid myself that my toddler will grow up with true mastery of any language other than English, but it’s great to acclimate her while very young to the idea that there are all types of people and ways to communicate.

From loyal reader and spambot John: “ The good blog very much was pleasant I will watch your news”

Enter Kipper, exit Elmo

December 12, 2010

Andrew Hicks

Every now and then, when cynicism strikes me, I ponder the possibility that love by nature is fleeting. Two of the couples who were married at the last three weddings I attended have already gotten divorced. They didn’t even hang in there long enough to celebrate the exchange of fine leather in traditional observance of the third wedding anniversary.

I guess not everyone’s priorities and life goals match up, but I know I’m digging in my heels and holding on tight at least until I get the traditional fruits and flowers that are the spoils of celebrating a whopping four years of marriage. I never thought I’d outlast some of my peers just by staying married for a fifth of a fifth of a century, but actually, when I put it that way, it kinda seems like a long time.

Within the last few weeks, I’ve witnessed a love I thought was pure and eternal disintegrate right in front of my eyes. This is a love I could’ve sworn would last forever. I’m speaking of my 2-year-old daughter Sarah’s torrid, abiding passion for Elmo. Once, he was all she would talk about. She would awake in breathless anticipation of his headwide smile and way-too-frequent, self-conscious giggle. Now, it’s like Elmo never existed, and I’m wondering if he pissed her off. I saw her rip the crap out of his picture in a book last week.

Elmo is sooooooo May 2009 through November 2010. The reign of Kipper is now upon us. We’ve taken the nine-dollar monthly plunge into the world of Netflix Instant streaming through the Wii. I think it’s incredible, and I’m wondering where it’s been all my TV- and movie-overwatching life.

My Netflix strategy is to search for the obscure, diverse stuff that’s eluded me on video store shelves all these years. Sarah, on the other hand, has taken a vow of complete Netflix monogamy to this dude Kipper, who I’d never heard of until late last month. Kipper slipped in under my radar, and he sure hasn’t come around to introduce himself as, “like, you know, the guy who’s seeing your daughter.”

Kipper, Pig and Popsicle

But he’s alright. Kipper is a super-low key British cartoon dog from the late ’90s who talks in dry, ambivalent stoner speech while doing mundane things like fishing and asking his cartoon pig friend named Pig to bring him a Popsicle. Kipper is the king of Sarah’s television universe right now, and Barney has become the goofy deputy king that makes you wish the real king didn’t have the day off. I should add, before my wife makes me add it, that Sarah still finds Barney indispensable for the songs alone. She likes to dance, jump and spin. Kipper does none of those things. Kipper is too baked to move.

Here you’ll have to imagine an ending that brings everything full circle by cleverly mentioning Kipper, Elmo, love, marriage, divorce, fine leather, fruits and flowers.


Sarah, when she was a baby, loved hanging out in her swing.

Baby pee, poop and puke

October 15, 2010

Andrew Hicks

NOTE: Today’s post, while baby-related, is all about bodily functions, a subject with which every parent is very familiar. If this disgusts you, go watch a PG13-rated Mike Myers movie.

ParentingĀ is known to toss an array of bodily fluids at the nostrils, hands and clothing of moms and dads. There’s the expected and the unexpected. Poor Silas threw up all over himself a couple hours ago. That’s unusual for him, as he generally throws up all over whatever clean shirt I just put on.

Baby accidents happen, but I’ve gotten pretty lucky. Only once with each child have I had the diaper off for that crucial, “I’m still not done peeing,” burst of yellow liquid. Sarah’s was a kind of slow, pooling eruption, while Silas had the loose, haphazard spray of a spastic, one-armed-clown lawn sprinkler. Each equally messy in different ways.

Then there’s the poop. Sarah’s getting close to the potty-training stage, which will be completely foreign to me. I’m going to have to take notes from the Elmo Goes to the Potty* DVD my mom bought my toddler. “What’s that, Elmo? You sit on the toilet and then you go potty? Slow down, dude. You’re going too fast! Rewind!”

Sarah reached a personal landmark achievement a few months back. She had her first poop that was so big, it clogged the toilet. I swear, I see more and more of myself in that little princess every day.

Yeah, her poop is usually a nice, healthy turd-ball. Sometimes, Sarah grunts and makes the poop face while she’s wrestling it out of her body. Other times, she just walks up to me, my nose wrinkles, and I check her back-pocket area for that telltale lump. We’ve been doing this since her lump was the size of a chicken nugget. Now, more often, it’s that one mutant chicken finger that looks more like a chicken fist**.

We’re brand-loyal to Pampers for both babies. Diabolically enough, when Sarah’s in the store, the Pampers draw her attention because there’s a little cartoon Elmo on the bottom corner of each side of the box. It’s about a half-inch tall, like a quarter the size of the UPC, and I never would’ve noticed it on my own.

They are super-absorbent, though. Many mornings, when I’m changing Sarah out of the overnight diaper, that thing’s sagging at a bowed-down angle like a tightrope with three fat dudes in the middle. I’ve tossed some five-pound pee diapers in the trash.

A collander

I saw a five-minute report on “Nightline” about which generic equivalents of name-brand items are just as good and which are inferior. If you’ve ever had generic Ruffles***, you know what I mean. The TV report didn’t mention diapers, but I’m here to tell you, spring for the name brand. Generic diapers are like collanders. They leak from every possible angle. You’d swear you wrapped a thin layer of cheesecloth around your baby’s privates.

Now Silas, he’s on a strict diet of formula. He’s still a few weeks away from the varietal switch-up of rice cereal and, if he’s a really good little boy, oatmeal cereal. So his poop has that look of soupy guacamole that’s been exposed to a little too much air. Tiffany breastfed the first month or so, and Silas’s poop almost smelled like roses. (Well, you know, plastic roses.) Switch to formula, and that poop smell goes way downhill. Today’s batch of stale, tableside diaper guac was twice as rank as usual. Either he had an upset stomach, or it’s time to start feeding him name-brand formula. Which was also not mentioned in the “Nightline” report.

This post isn’t going to win me any Pulitzer prizes, so I might as well close with a poop story of my own. Last month, when I was in the hospital and the nurses were tossing stool softeners**** in my paper pill cups, I asked them how much warning I’d have when the SSs did their trick. Because, you know, I was bed-bound with no crutches and no bedpan. They laughed.

An upside-down Douglas fir

“Oh no, you won’t poop for days. This is just to make it softer when you actually do.” They were right. I was checked into the hospital late Saturday night. Nature didn’t finally answer the call of the stool softener until Friday. Now, normally when pass a tough bowel movement, I compare it to pooping out a pine cone. This was like pooping out an upside-down Douglas fir.

Okay, thanks for reading. You are hereby dismissed. Hope you get your appetite back before Thanksgiving.

*I don’t think that’s the actual name of the DVD. That name sounds like it could be misinterpreted by the less than pure among us. Such as, say, me for suggesting it.

**If a chicken could make a fist. It’s Friday night, my evocative, poetic imagery is spent for the week. Besides, I’m writing about crap here.

***Ruffies, right? Or are those trash bags?

****I accidentally typed “stool samples” first. Which, gross.


Sarah's hesitant look means it's time for Daddy to stop talking about yucky things.

Stay out of the sewer

October 13, 2010

Andrew Hicks

The weather has been beautiful for almost a week straight. Sarah and I play outside, and I’m mobile enough on crutches that I can “walk” (though it is comical enough to watch that it deserves the quote marks and these parentheses and some italics) the perimeter and go up and down the hill with her.


I get worn out easily and retreat to the deck chairs, and that’s when Sarah turns to her props. She’s fond of a giant blue exercise ball that’s almost as big as she is. She also likes to wheel the four-wheel pink horse thing up the hill, then ride it down while laughing. Taking Sarah sledding will be fun when the time comes. Let’s just be sure to fully heal from the last mishap before inviting a new one.

Sarah occasionally likes to venture past her allowed boundaries. She loves to bang on other people’s sliding glass doors. And she loves to play on the concrete storm sewer platform. I’ve seen the TV movie of Stephen King’s It. I know you keep your kids away from those yawning, rectangular sewer openings where the evil clowns live.

As a rookie parent with very little history of authority in the real world, I’m still working out how to make Sarah listen and obey. I won’t be one of those “screaming and hitting,” abusive, low-rent parents you see at Dollar Tree when you’re just trying to reach for the Kraft Thousand Island With Bacon dressing. Which tastes like crap, by the way. I want my dollar back, and I’ll scream and hit to get it.

On crutches, I’ve lost my #1 Dad on Autopilot trick, which is to scoop Sarah up and remove her from the scene rather than achieving the desired behavior from her. Probably a good thing, because now we have to talk it out. I’m trying to weed out my #2 Dad on Autopilot trick, which is to bribe the crap out of the little munchkin. If, “You’re not supposed to play on the evil clown sewer, let’s go play with your ball,” doesn’t work, I’m tempted to ask if she wants to watch Elmo or see pictures on my phone or eat a mound of Doritos instead of being abducted by a sewer-dwelling Tim Curry in white greasepaint.

My toddler diva all of a sudden can’t get enough of the video clips on my phone she’s the star of. “Watch movie?” doesn’t mean “Let’s check out Citizen Kane, I hear it has some of the most inventive mise-en-scenes in cinematic history.” It means, “Let’s watch me splash in puddles at the park on a one-minute permaloop.”

“Look pictures,” means, “Let’s look at all 90 pictures in dad’s phone for the eighth time today.” That I don’t mind so much, because Sarah continues to surprise me with her one-word descriptions of each picture. She’ll usually start by saying who’s in the picture, then the next time through it’s more about what’s in the picture. “Bike, park, bathtub, akeem, car, sleeping…” I’m just softhearted enough to be touched and amazed by it.

This girl is absorbing words left and right, which I found out the hard way when I said “shit” under my breath then so did Sarah, from across the room. I told Tiffany about the transgression after the fact, and she said, “Oops,” followed immediately by, “Was it cute?” It was cute, shit, I can’t lie. But no more accidental cussing around the toddler. Easily said, I know.

Sarah and I keep having to come inside early due to swarms of mosquitoes. It’s the downside of our week-long Indian summer. They’re probably humping like bunnies down in that storm sewer (i.e. the mosquitoes, not the Indians), and if Sting’s tantric ass has taught us anything, it’s that marathon sex creates an insatiable thirst for human blood. And tepid adult-contemporary hits. I have bites all over me, and so does Sarah. She’s got a big bite on her cheek, and even that looks cute, like she has an adorable case of acne-onset.

Poor Silas, my 3 month old, has had newborn acne almost since Day One. Does they make ProActiv in his age group? Silas’s little face bumps are making him self-conscious around the girl babies.

My social life at the moment, outside of immediate family, consists of maybe one friend visit per week, the dully addictive world of Facebook, and the occasional chain-smoking retiree sitting on her outside patio. I ran into one such yellow-haired, yellow-fingered nicotine repository yesterday afternoon. She intoned through gravelly throat phlegm that my daughter was beautiful and that I should enjoy my kids while I can.

“When they’re 18 and 20,” she wheezed, “they won’t come around much anymore.” I wanted to offer some kind of consolatory protest, then I thought of myself at the late-teen age. I had awesome parents and grandparents and lots of less-than-awesome excuses not to see them on a more regular basis.

Liggett Lady was right. I have to cherish the everydayness of parenting. It seems like ages since Sarah was Silas’s size, taking naps on my chest and sucking down 4-ounce bottles. Now she’s describing photos to me, in mostly clean language. Soon Silas will be her age and she’ll be in preschool. I’ll be in my mid-thirties. And Liggett Lady will have smoked another hundred or so cartons. Time marches on.


Silas celebrates St. Patrick's Day--er, goes for a walk.

I move to the couch!

October 5, 2010

Andrew Hicks

Week 3 of my ankle-break recovery exile is offering a change of pace. Instead of sitting in bed at my mom’s house all day into the wee hours of the night, I’m sitting on my in-laws’ basement couch all day into the wee hours of the night. It’s 2:23 am right now. Silas is asleep beside me. Ten minutes ago, he was awake. An hour ago, he was asleep. Two hours ago, he was awake. And so on. Awake, asleep, awake, asleep. He’s an indiscriminate, narcoleptic infant.

Really, the only time Silas concretely decides he wants to be awake is when I turn out the light to go to sleep. I can’t decide whether he’s afraid of the dark or is just a jerk. I’m kidding, of course. I’m the jerk, I think. I feel inconvenienced when Silas decides he wants to eat just as I’m getting ready to enjoy my own piping hot food. I mean, can’t the kid wait? He eats all the time. He gets like eight bottles a day. I only get four to five giant meals a day. If I’m lucky.

I’m sending a message by moving my base of operations from the bed to the couch. The message is, I’m not helpless anymore. Okay, I still have food brought to me, and I’m still not doing my own dishes or laundry, and it’ll be a little while before I’m back to work, but I cleaned my room today. And, let me assure you, that’s an accomplishment even when I’m not injured.

After the washcloth bath I gave myself* early afternoon, I brought my dirty clothes back to the bedroom by gripping them in my crutches and tossing them forward a few feet at a time. Takes a little while, isn’t pretty, but achieves results. I liken this process to a dimwit simpleton with a chopstick in each hand, tossing lo mein toward his mouth and occasionally hitting his target. I also managed to make the bed in fifteen minutes flat while hopping on one foot.

I’m even watching both my kids simultaneously again for up to two hours at a time. My best bet with Sarah, almost 2, is to keep her close to me and engaged. We read the same two books four or five times each, and we watch a little Barney** on the DVR. Then I get bored and crack the lid on the laptop, at which point Sarah makes a beeline for the laptop and asks optimistically, “Elmo? Elmo?”

I cruise to and show her an Elmo video, it ends a couple minutes later, and Sarah asks, “More Elmo?” She just learned the word “more” in the last week or so, but she’s 100 percent on top of it. This girl can’t be happy with one of anything. She needs to watch more Elmo while she’s eating more cookies–uh, I mean carrots. More carrots. Lots and lots of carrots. I’m not one of those dads.

If I keep her close by and occupied, there’s no trouble. Couch-bound with a broken ankle, I can still grab my daughter’s legs and lift her upside down above my head, twisting her back and forth and exclaiming, “She’s upside down! Sarah’s upside down!” while she laughs and squeals her head off. Then I deposit her safely on my chest, and she says, “More! More!” And I oblige her. Being a dad has its simple, sweet moments.

It’s the idle hands that truly cause problems. If Sarah gets distracted by the stuff in the room, she’s simultaneously meticulous, thorough and unbelievably sloppy about moving every object to somewhere it doesn’t belong. Tonight, she wandered over to the CD tower, grabbed a CD from the rack, walked back over, handed it to me, said “Here you go,” and repeated the process a couple dozen times.

This was the most exhaustive look I’ve had through the music collection of my wife’s parents. Checked out some Glen Campbell, Tony Bennett, the Benedictine Monks Chant album (triple platinum!), the second of Amy Grant’s fifteen Christmas albums*** and lots of Bach. Towards the bottom of the stack are the CDs you can tell my in-laws bought on a foldout merch table at the back of the church directly from the artist. Nice of them. These are the CDs with no bar codes on the back, released by people you’ve never heard of. I wonder when those CDs last made it off the rack for a courtesy listen before Sarah haphazardly yanked them off earlier today.

Time to sign off. Silas is awake again, and he smells poopy. This could be a five-wipe affair.

* = You don’t want to smell me until I can walk again. Chances are, by that point, you will still not want to smell me. But I normally give off a pleasant aroma. I’m still rotating Perry Ellis For Men and Hugo colognes I bought duty-free on my cruise vacations in 2004 and 2005. I don’t see an expiration date anywhere on the bottles, so I’m gonna spray those things until they run out.^

** = It seems like every “Barney” episode lately has one of the little kid dinosaur puppet characters getting mad, then Barney reacts by singing the same cute song about mad LKDPCs. Which, by the end, makes the LKDPC into a happy LKDPC. Sarah loves it. I scratch my head.

*** = She went overboard with the holiday releases, but I love ’80s Amy Grant. I grew up in the church and spent eleven years in Christian school. I’ll still take some “Where Do You Hide Your Heart,” “Find a Way,” “Stay For Awhile,” “Lead Me On,” “Sing Your Praise to the Lord,” “Angels” and “In a Little While” on the Bose headphones any day of the week.

^ = A black lady I worked with once asked me, “Is that you wearing all that cologne?” I eagerly responded back, “Uh huh, it sure is,” thinking she was going to compliment me. She continued, “And I mean, ALL that cologne,” and tossed off an unpleasant nose wrinkle. My wife loves that story. I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two about cologne moderation in the eight years since the incident in question.


Sarah and Silas, both looking at a non-existent camera to their left.