April 29, 2011

The Vomit Fairy

When you're a parent you look forward to visits from all the friendly holiday heroes who bring your kids goodies, like Santa, the Easter Bunny and the one with the red bow-and-arrow who is a little too forgetful for your wife's liking—and is a little too naked for yours. These guys are so popular that Hollywood has made thousands of movies in their honor. Heck, we own 75% of them.

But you know who Hollywood doesn't tell you about? The Vomit Fairy.

The evil, evil Vomit Fairy.

The Vomit Fairy isn't your friend. He doesn't leave money or bow-wrapped presents. He barges into your house unannounced in the middle of the night and ruins your kids' pillowcases, sheets, clothes, carpets and Joey Votto Bobblehead doll (who was supposed to ward off such a villain but instead just bobbled his head in disbelief). He turns a perfectly good night of sleep into an after-hours rave, highlighted by the bands Washing Out The Stains and Gonna Be Tired In The Morning. He's so scary that even the Closet Monster, who usually peeks out and (somehow) removes my daughters' socks from their feet while they sleep, hides in my closet for dear life.

I had never experienced the full wrath of the Vomit Fairy until last week, when my youngest daughter was attacked around 10 p.m. I was downstairs doing work (and by "doing work" I mean "clicking 'like' on Facebook status updates") when I heard the Vomit Fairy lurking. He's quiet as can be until the moment he strikes—but when he strikes he's loud.

I came running up the steps only to find my wife already in the kids' bedroom, with this panicked look on her face.

"Is everything OK?"


Vomit Fairy 1, Team Klems 0.

I began the clean-up process, which starts with bathing my half-asleep 2-year-old in the bathroom sink. My wife, doing her best not to let the Vomit Fairy's stench strike her too, removed all the sheets and piled them up for me to wash in the basement. We scrubbed and we scrubbed until our scrubbers were sore, and dressed Anna's bed in a new set of sheets. We laid her back down and kissed her goodnight. And she thanked us for all our hard work by vomiting all over everything again.

Vomit Fairy 2, Team Klems 0.

Over the next two days, the Vomit Fairy struck every member of my family. He got my wife. He got my oldest daughter. He even infected Steven, my HDTV, and Sylvia, our Cabbage Patch Kid, who, for whatever reason, had been standing in Timeout for days (I think my girls forgot about her). I cared for every one of them, making sure they had all the blankets and hugs and puke-pots they needed. I read books. I snuggled. I let them scare me with the Jack-in-the-Box just so they'd crack a smile and forget about how awful they felt, if even for a moment.

I did all this because that's what Dads do when the Vomit Fairy strikes (especially when our tag-team partner, Mom, is out of commission). We get stronger and braver. We make sacrifices (like no sleep and letting Facebook status updates go unliked). We care for our families and do our best to make them well again. We knock that Vomit Fairy down for attacking our family and tell it to never bring its ugly face around our house again.1 Then we pound our chests.

Of course, that last part never works and the Vomit Fairy strikes one final blow. The next day, after everyone healed up, I got sick. It was awful and terrible. But thankfully I didn't have to battle alone anymore. And, if you're as lucky as I am, that family you loved and cared for will turn around and care for you.2

Maybe Hollywood should make a movie about that.

1 While I've never actually seen the Vomit Fairy, I'm pretty confident he looks something like this
2 Though if any of them pulls a fork out of their doctor bag and you ask, "Hey what's that for?" and they respond "Don't you worry about it, now bend over," then trust me: The last thing you are going to feel is better.

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April 22, 2011

Dyeing Easter Eggs is Tough on Dads

Dyeing Easter eggs is the worst. There, I said it. Carving pumpkins is fun. Decorating the Christmas tree is a jolly good time. Watching 4th of July fireworks light up the sky is something I could do every night, especially when two go off next to each other and look like giant boobs.

But dyeing Easter eggs is beyond awful. It was invented by grandparents who looked at their own kids and said, "Now that you are parents, how can we really stick it to you? I know! We'll make you sit through an incredibly boring activity that will likely stain your carpet and, to top it off, will leave you with about 47 dozen hard-boiled eggs to stink up your fridge! Oh, and in the coming week we'll load your kids up with massive amounts of candy! Enjoy!"

Of course, a simple "Thank you for giving me the gift of grandkids" would have sufficed.

Anyway, dyeing Easter eggs isn't even the worst part of dying Easter eggs. The worst part is that it's a terrible reminder that my wife is superior to me. (I can't believe I actually put that in writing.) Sure, I'm better at a lot of fun things like scrabble, balancing 401ks and peeing standing up. But she dominates me in the Egg Dyeing Department. Turns out, coloring eggs requires a certain skill-set that I don't have and, no matter how hard I try, will never be able to gain—much like dunking a basketball or asking for directions when lost. These skills include:

1. Patience
Dyeing Easter eggs is a slow, painful process where you put an egg in a cup and just let it sit there. And you wait. And wait. And wait some more. You take it out to check it and it's turned a slight shade pink. Only 2 more hours and it'll be red. You know how there's the saying "A watched pot never boils"? We'll there's a similar saying for this occasion: "A watched egg kills your will to live."

2. Nose Control
One of the key ingredients in the dye is vinegar, which smells about as pleasant as a dirty diaper.  Even better, that smell lingers for hours after you dye the eggs. It's the one time of the year I'm actually rooting for a sinus infection.

3. Spill Control
Your kids have elbows, right? So do mine. And their elbows suffer from Spontaneous Wild Elbow Syndrome. It's a condition recognized by the American Medical Association where a kid's usually restful elbows detect something spillable nearby and immediately start to swing uncontrollably. Common elements that trigger Spontaneous Wild Elbow Syndrome include uncovered 2-liters, bowls of spaghetti, yogurt containers, laptops sitting anywhere other than out-of-reach and (especially) cups with colored dye in them. To combat this while egg dying, you must be swift with a paper towel. I don't even know what a paper towel is. Epic fail.

4. Egg Control.
You'd think hard-boiled eggs wouldn't crack. You'd also think that you look good in jorts. On both fronts, you couldn't be more wrong. (I know—I was shocked too!) Egg-dying kits come with tiny, microscopic metal-wire holders designed by professional engineers to drop your eggs over and over again. No matter how hard you try, you will crack 74% of the eggs in the process, causing you to buy—and hard boil—a lot more eggs. I'm convinced there's a conspiracy going on and the United Egg Producers of America are behind it. Either way, my hands aren't soft and I'm clumsy.

5. More patience.
I've never been one to have patience of any kind. I get angry when my Internet takes more than 0.2 sections to load. I get upset when my wife takes 35 minutes to decide what we are going to make for dinner. I can't even text people because if they don't respond immediately I start to freak out (of course, my sister will point out it takes me nearly 5 hours to respond to a text, but she fails to recognize that I'm not concerned with her patience).  The point is, as a Dad you must force yourself to develop patience for your kids and for the activities that they love—including the 1% of activities that are practically unbearable.

I may not like dyeing Easter eggs, but I love the smiles and memories it creates for my kids. I love that they look forward to it every year. I also love that my wife is good at it (thanks to her possessing all five skills mentioned above). But mostly I love that even dull activities like this one become amazing memories that I'll cherish for the rest of my life.

Much like I cherish boob fireworks.

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April 12, 2011

Why Dads Don't Like Hide and Seek

Dads are agreeable people. We want to have fun, so we agree to most games the kids want to play. But when it comes to "Hide and Seek," most Dads would rather eat boogers than participate. Why? I've decided to explain this through pictures to better illustrate my point.

First we decide who counts and who hides.

Then the girls start counting to 10.

Dad looks for a solid place to hide.

Dad hides and, we must say, it is quite a clever hiding spot.

Girls come out and look for Dad, but they can't find him. "Where is he?" they say.

So they give up and watch Dora.
And that is why Dads don't like hide and seek.

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