Monday, December 21, 2009

Being led by Mr. Soft Pants.




I no longer have to pay attention when I’m driving. Boy tells me to stop when the light is red. My mind is then free to wander and ponder the cloud formations until the Boy shrieks with impatience at the first glimpse of green. I turn when he says’ “turn Daddy” or go this way when he says’ “this way Daddy”. I never actually get where I’m going anymore but I don’t have to think either and that’s a better reward. It’s also nice to see how much he is becoming like his Mommy (my Beautiful Bride) with all his backseat driving.

The boy won’t wear any pants but sweat pants. He calls them soft pants. We used to only have two pairs and one of them was too short. It was WAR on the days that they were in the wash. The jeans, khakis and cargos (aka hard pants) simply will not do. The good news is he is much more independent with the potty when he wears the soft pants. I went to Old Navy and got him eight pairs with pockets. He is Mr. Softpotty Casual now.

It’s all O.K.

I picked Boy up the other day and his hard pants were wet. I said, “Did you wet your pants?” He said, “YEAH! It’s OK Daddy!”

Boy knows that the remote control is verboten. One morning I found the remote in twenty pieces all over the living room floor. I gave the Boy a hard stare, “Did you break Daddy’s remote?” I queried. “YEAH! It’s OK Daddy!” he tossed off.

I am wing man.

We go to the Airport and watch the planes take off and land. We applaud each successful take off and guide each landing with a chant of “steady, steady, steady” until it touches the ground.

The other day there was a little girl that was the same age as the Boy. She had a toy airplane and was waving it around to mimic the movements of the real ones. She was hanging her arms over the fence that I never let the Boy hang on. When he noticed her it was like an electric shock over took him. He instantly grabbed my hand and dragged me to within five feet of her. He planted me off to the side, pulled his soft pants up (no kidding) and sauntered over to her. When he got close to her he made sure he got a little too close so that she couldn’t help but notice him. He stuck his neck out in her space, smiled and said “I a big boy!” The poor little girl was overwhelmed and ran to her Daddy. Boy looked back at me and shrugged his shoulders “It’s OK Daddy!”

And me too.

When we decorated our Christmas tree, BB and I pointed out all the ornaments that meant something to us. “This is from the first Christmas Mommy and Daddy were Married” BB glowed. “And me too.” Boy glowed back. “This was before you, when it was just Daddy and I.” “And me too.” “Just Daddy and Mommy!” “Daddy, Mommy and me too.”

I drove with Boy past our old apartment and stopped to take in all the old memories as they came flooding back. “This is where Mommy and Daddy lived before you were born. We used to swim in that pool and laugh at the crazy lady who lived across from us. I climbed up that tree when I was locked out once and Mommy almost killed me with a baseball bat.” I explained. “And me too.” He explained further. “This was before you were born”, I taught him. “Yeah. Before Mommy, Daddy and me were born”, he lectured me.

I’ve since inserted the Boy into all my memories. Now there truly never was a time without him. He was around when I was in kindergarten and was crushing on Rose. He told me to kick Sr Phyllis on her heiny. He held my hand when Grandma died and said "it's o.k. Daddy." He gave me the courage to leave my job as a bartender in New York City and take a chance and move to Los Angeles. He showed me my dreams were possible. He stood with me on my Wedding Day and we smiled as the most beautiful girl in the world said "I Do." He winked at me when he was born. Things I'll never forget

Friday, December 18, 2009

potty talk

un film de spodaddy

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

photobooth II

Un film de SPODADDY


video

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

carplay

Un film de Spodaddy... video

Monday, December 7, 2009

SPARK

What is that spark? Where does it come from?


I have days and weeks where my flesh and bones hang heavy. I am a ball of desperate, stressed and awkward energy. I second-guess myself on everything because I need things too badly. I can see myself coming from a mile away. So can the Cops. I get parking tickets. I get summonses in the mail with pictures of me driving through red lights. I have been known to get jaywalking tickets. I have even been known to get jaywalking tickets in front of the courthouse on my way to argue a summons. I don’t do well at my auditions. Money is scarce. I even say the wrong thing in social situations. Like “Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl?” to an unpregnant woman or “I look as bad as Mr. Tuttle in that photo!” not realizing Mrs. Tuttle is right behind me.


Then suddenly the spark sparks.



The road opens up and I start making lights on my commute to and from auditions. A luminescent quality starts to burn away the shadows in me. Kraft American cheese slices go on sale. My slippers stay together and within reach. The Boy starts to tell everyone in Two-onics that I am his Daddy. My Beautiful Bride starts to eyeball me like I’m a hunk of Teenage Vampire. When I take my shirt off, her eyes widen, like I’m more a buff Teenage Werewolf than a pigeon chested Teenage Vampire. At my auditions I stop acting and start being. I book jobs. I get thick envelopes in the mail from my Talent Agent filled with residual glee. I have to keep looking down to make sure my feet are grounded and not floating off. Even I turn my head whenever I walk in to a room. I become fluent in pop culture and can talk Lady Goo Goo or I Am Sam with the best of them. I am charming and sincere. It’s awesome!

Oh spark I love you. I am enjoying the ride. I wish I knew what brought you on. I wish I could bottle you and drink from you whenever things get too real.

Irish Boys to Irish music plus a cupcake

video

Monday, November 30, 2009

Lights Out


I had an Audition. It was for an Ace Hardware Commercial. The premise was a man painting his Deck and talking about how he wants to get the job done quickly and spend time with his family. The Boy was with me and wanted in on the action so I held him while I “acted”. As the words “spend time with my family” were flying out of my mouth the boy rested his head on my shoulder. The guy running the camera laughed his head off. When did The Boy learn to act? Who’s fooling whom here?

I told this story to another actor. He told me acting was the family business. It’s only natural that after almost two years of going to Daddy’s Auditions that he would pick up on the craft himself. If I were a plumber, The Boy would, of course, learn how to plumb. It doesn’t mean he will grow up to be a plumber. I love that idea.

Later that night at the dinner table Beautiful Bride told The Boy that she was going to make chocolate chip cookies. I took that as a cue to play out a big miming routine. I put pretend cookie dough on an imaginary baking sheet. The Boy seemed puzzled by this. I opened up the fake oven door and placed the imaginary baking sheet carefully into the preheated fake oven. This put a troubled expression on The Boy. I set my fictitious timer for ten minutes and it immediately sounded a make believe buzzer. The Boy tried not to giggle at my concocted alarm and remained stern. I then scraped the pretend cookies off of the imaginary baking sheet onto a make believe plate. I blew on the mythically hot pretend cookies and cautioned The Boy to wait until they mythically cooled. He waited about five seconds with a real blank expression. He then picked up the make believe plate of pretend cookies and threw it across the actual room.

At bath time we played motorboat. I submerged my lips in the water and blew to create the sound and wake of an actual motorboat. The Boy laughed and filled up a cup with bath water and poured it over my head. I made sinking noises as if it were a direct hit and the motorboat would be lost. I filled my mouth up with the bath water and sprayed it along the tiled wall as I let my head sink further down. Mercifully, the giggling Boy grabbed my head from the abyss and saved the motorboat from pending doom. We played this out about ten times before I gave him to his Mother BB to prepare for bed. As BB was about to put on his pajama bottoms she asked The Boy to go pee pee. “I already did go pee pee in the bathtub, Mommy.” He said.

At the callback for Ace Hardware, some days later, The Boy did not want to have any of it. The Director asked me to bring Boy with me so I did. As I tried to say my lines this time, the Boy screamed “No Talking Daddy!” over and over again. I flubbed my lines and started to feel a panic come over me. I picked him up for the next take and he proceeded to flail his arms and legs pleading, “No touch my body!” Another blown take. Finally I occupied him with one of his racecars. He drove the car along the wall in the back of the room while I at last started to get through a good performance. Suddenly all the lights went out in the room. The Boy shut the lights off. Everyone laughed. On the long walk home I felt shell-shocked. How could something go so wrong? The Boy was oblivious to all my internal drama and we played the rest of the day away. I quietly mourned the lost opportunity and income.

The next day I booked the Ace Hardware Commercial. The day after that my agent called and asked if I’d be willing to allow The Boy to be in the Commercial with me, because they want to book him too. I said, “YES!” We will be filming it this week.

I’m speechless!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Confessions of a Phone Head


Just because the phone is ringing doesn’t mean I’m home.


If I call you and leave a message, I’m very upset if you don’t call me right back.


If you call me and leave a message and I don’t call you right back. I will probably forget so don’t be upset.


Landline rings, I ignore it. Cell phone rings two seconds later, I ignore it and feel resentment towards whoever is “tracking me down”.


What can the word “ring” mean to the Boy? The phone doesn’t ring. It plays popular tunes associated with the caller.


Here are some of my “ring” tones.

“Amazed” by Lonestar-Beautiful Bride (our Wedding song)

“Maniac”-Mom

“Rehab”- all my friends back east

“Unforgettable”- Whatsisname

“Sexy Back”- for when I call myself

“Like a Virgin”-Grandma

“Glory Glory Hallelujah” – My Agent


The other day the boy and I were in the car and “Amazed” by Lonestar came on the radio. He went nuts because I didn’t pick up the phone. “Mommy Ring, Daddy!” he yelled.


I remember Rotary phones and that’s beginning to date me.


I remember not having to dial the darn area code every time I make a call.


I remember my family’s number was HIckory4-4789. What the heck does HIckory mean?


I have no tolerance for people who drive and talk on their cell phone.


Imagine Rotary Dial Texting. It’s easy if you try.


Why do people still say “Are you there? Pick up!” when they are leaving a message? Don’t they know that those answering machines don’t exist anymore?


I constantly drive and talk on my cell phone.


I don’t like when I’ve waited in line and the employee answers the phone. They look at me like I should understand that the customer that stayed home and dialed their phone is more important than the one who showered and dressed and drove all the way to the store. I stay in line and call them with my cell.


I used to worry about keeping the cell phone between my legs as I drive. Now, that I see that the Boy is ten times smarter than I am, I make all my cell phone calls while sitting on the microwave with all the Wi-Fi antennas pointing at me.


My choice in careers has exacerbated my phone issues.

I hear the first ring and I’m thrilled by the possibilities. I see on the caller ID that it is an old dear friend or loved one or wife, my heart sinks. When I see that it’s my agent, my heart leaps out of my chest.

When I am on hold for a job it gets worse. Every five minutes I’m checking the phone. If I’m home alone I stare at it intensely and try to conjure up magical powers to make it ring.


I wish there was a phone dependency hotline. I would call it constantly.


I apologize to all my friends and family who have fallen victim to my terrible phone etiquette over the years.


Simply put, I hope my Boy doesn’t inherit any of my bad habits. I need to teach my child better than myself!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

SILLY FACES FINALE

video

A film of fun with Boy and Spodaddy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Auditions

“What does Daddy do at Auditions?” I asked Ryan last night.

Without skipping a beat he said “Hello!” I recognized myself immediately in the way he said it. He didn’t make me sound phony but there was an elevated tone of sincerity that I know is my “on” voice. I was amazed at his insight. I was amazed at how much he is absorbing and learning when we are together. How strange it must be for him to watch his Daddy anxiously get ready to go into these rooms and play pretend with strangers. He obviously sees how much I love what I do and at the same time registers my anxiety over wanting to get hired and make money.

How strange it is for me as well.

I had a Voice Over Audition the other day to be the voice of Bud Light. Ryan was restless that day and, where he is usually content to sit in his chair and watch The Wiggles on our portable DVD player, this day he needed to go in to the recording booth with me. There must have been something in the way I said “Bud Light” as I read the script because it triggered a turrets like response in Ryan. So as I would say the words “Bud Light” he started to say it too. He screamed it, actually, over and over again. I had one of those “I can’t believe this is my life” moments as I looked down at him tearing through a box of tissues that were placed neatly there for other actors singing “Bud Light, Bud Light Bud Light Bud Light”. I tried to coax and cajole him to be quiet but to no avail. I then would stop and repeat a sentence if he screamed over it. By the end it was up to the person recording me to try to edit the toddler that sounded like he was drunk from Bud Light out of the Bud Light Audition.

Then there was the callback for “Walgreens”. Ryan sat quietly out of camera shot, smiled and charmed the room full of Producers, Director and Product People. When I was finished he said goodbye to the room and they all fell in love with him. I booked that one so look for me in a “Walgreens” commercial on a TV screen near you.

There was also the Home Depot Audition. On that one he sat with me and rested his head on my shoulder just as I was supposed to say “family”. “Who’s fooling who?” I thought. He did better acting than I did. I’ll find out later today if I got that one or not.

Of course there was the time he peed on me too! (See “Ryan peed on Daddy” blog 10/ 07/09)

It’s certainly not an ideal situation to bring your two year old with you to auditions. I imagine Ryan could tell you it’s not ideal to have to follow Daddy around to these odd places and watch him nervously play with other adults. The truth of the matter is that I am really lucky to be spending this kind of time with my son. He is learning things that I can’t even begin to scratch the surface of. He keeps me present. I’ve worked more since bringing him than before him. Plus, I have someone at my level of maturity to hang out with at these things.


Check out the video and see first hand what it's like.

video

Monday, November 16, 2009

SILLY FACES 2

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In a world of jail faces........
Here comes .............
SILLY FACES 2

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Yeah, Daddy......Bike ride!".

Ryan carries his helmet to the bicycle now. I used to carry him and helmets.

“Up, up and away.” We say when I lift him and place him in the co-pilot seat of my Gary Fisher Mountain Bike. The straps that go over his head and fasten between his legs now have to be loosened to fit around his melon head and tightened again once fastened. I used to be concerned that the strap wasn’t snug enough and now I worry it’s too tight. He was a pea in a pod on this bicycle of mine and now he is a grasshopper squeezed into the pod only heavier.

I gently lift the foot straps and he automatically slides his feet through. Another memory flashes of when his feet had to be left dangling because his chubbly legs were too stout to reach. I secure one foot in its place and he says, “I do it” about the other. I make a show of admiring how well he secured his foot while with some slight of hand I fix it. I really do admire how close he is to doing it himself. Another blur coming in to focus on this journey. What will come first, the day he will secure his own feet on the co-pilot or the day we will ride on separate bicycles? It doesn’t really matter because I know in a blink he will be with his boy and maybe they’ll ride to my house to visit the old man.

He puts the helmet on himself. I always have to take it off though because the damn straps won’t fit over his melon head with a huge helmet attached. He doesn’t like when I take it off. I can never find the right words to explain our strap melon-head helmet dilemma. So, he fights me. It’s our brief ritual of anger and frustration.

Once I place the protective bar down all the troubles cease. It’s like a magic wand that illuminates the excitement and wonder of our pending ride.

I put my helmet on and we bang our heads together. Most Dads would just slap five, I suppose. I have a flair for the dramatic. Rather, I have a flair for unnecessary flair. Like a starting pistol the head bang sets us off on our adventure.

“Shall we chase the Garbage Trucks Ryan, hit the hills and go to the beach or just ride around till we get tired?” I sing out with vacation day weightlessness.

“Two hands Daddy!” Ryan cautions back to me.

I immediately and obediently put both hands on the handlebars happy in the knowledge that I invented the word “chubbly”.

Together we ride off in to the sunrise!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Baseball, Bono and The Fonz

Yesterday I was pitching Baseballs to Ryan out front. It’s a happy by-product of the recent Baseball Playoffs. Ryan is no longer interested in whacking the ball off the tee now that he has seen that the ball gets thrown to the real guys. With every fiber of my being I try to lob that ball in to meet his bat like a meatball so that he can send it soaring to the stars. I’m amazed at how quickly and accurately he attacks the ball as it flies off in all different directions. I also admire how unfazed he is by his very low hitting percentage. One out of every twenty gets lightly fouled off after several swings and he gets right back in to position shouting, “I ready!” Even when he makes good hard contact he thrills for a second and then, “I ready!” video

All was grand until Bono stepped out of his front door. Ryan without hesitation grabbed the ball from my hands and presented it to Bono as if it were a precious gift for the King.

Bono is the boy next door that was named after some obscure singer in a band. Bono is a five-year-old Rock Star. He’s got the style and swagger and magnetism of a guy that’s used to filling Stadiums. He is of average height for his age and thin. When he struts past you he seems ten times that. Bono enthralls Ryan. Ryan drops whatever he is doing when the slightest glimpse of Bono appears. Bono is good and kind hearted to us. Although you get the feeling that we mere mortals only register as a dull muffled vibration in his Carnival existence.

Yesterday Bono was covered in Disney/Pixar’s “Cars” Band-Aids. They seemed to be evenly spaced out at about four inches apart. He was ablaze in Lightning McQueen. The orange and black paint on his toes were faded and weathered from the long active week since Halloween. He had one real cut on his knee that was covered with a Spiderman Band-Aid. The rest was all Spiderman. Shirts, shorts and headband were all splattered with Spiderman in action.

Bono had no interest in Baseball yesterday and I felt bad for Ryan. I watched him spend the time outside chasing him around with the bat and ball saying “Please, Bono. Play Baheball” Each time Bono walked away Ryan undeterred would chase after him. I stood quietly nearby for support but tried not to interfere. I wanted to somehow make Bono pay attention to Ryan. I wanted to bribe him or scream at him. I stayed quiet.

When I was a kid it was Jimmy Doyle. He was The Fonz in the way that Bono is a Rock Star. The Fonz lived across the street and whenever I would see him outside I would beg my Mother to let me cross. Once she did I would run to The Fonz and he would then, being older, cross himself to the other side just to avoid me. He would never look both ways when he crossed because he was The Fonz and nobody would ever hit him. I don’t remember my feelings being hurt when The Fonz would avoid me, just confusion. Even though I felt terrible for Ryan he only seemed confused by Bonos’ behavior and that comforted me.

Finally and beautifully Ryan grabbed my hand and ushered me back to our front door to continue our game. I love being there for him. I love that I was a sturdy back up. I love that his feelings weren’t hurt when Bono didn’t want to play with him. I love that I was once again his number one.

After about five more minutes my Beautiful Bride stepped outside to check on us. Ryan promptly grabbed the ball out of my hand and offered it to his Mommy as if it were some precious gift for the Queen. All is right in the world.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

SILLY FACES

video

Spodaddy productions ..................in association with Unk! Films....
.........is very proud to present...................SILLY FACES

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Autumn Leaves, James Bond and Benny Hill


Ryan’s face molds and changes constantly. Just when I get used to it being a certain way something vanishes or something is added. Suddenly it’s a new face. What used to be an ocean of cheeks has parted and cleared a spotlight for the eyes. The hair was yellow and now it darkens to gold. The eyes that have always twinkled with happiness now have a dash of confidence in them. They have more than a dash actually. His eyes are now like an avalanche of happy confident autumn colored leaves.

Yesterday I placed Ryan’s cranky sleepy body into his mothers’ arms. It was a move that I had done a million times when he was just a baby. Suddenly my back creaked from the weight of him. I lost my balance and had to recover with an awkward stumble. My beautiful Bride braced for impact just as I finally recovered my suave composure. On the release of his body, as I started to unbend my upper half, his spindly legs caught hold of my shoulder and decided to drag me back down. It was like wrestling a long spidery water balloon. BB almost took some elbows to the head as I started to get desperate for release. Once again I recovered my James Bond like composure and thought “WOW! He really isn’t a baby anymore.”

My mother and I have an old routine that plays out with the memories of our old routines. Memories like her driving me to High School every morning and dropping me off three long blocks from the school. When we discus these memories we try to remember the last time. I write this now and realize I don’t remember the last time I placed my baby boy in to his mothers’ arms. I don’t remember the last time Ryan needed help up the stairs or his booster seat at dinner. I don’t remember the last time I rocked him to sleep or the last time he held himself up between my legs for balance.

I wish I remembered the last night of my childhood. I'm sure Grandma was asleep in front of the TV and I was sneaking Benny Hill and praying she wouldn't wake up. Sister was either crouching on the basement stairs for privacy while talking on the phone or shaking the walls of the house with her singing. Mommy would be ironing in the dining room with her tongue sticking out. Daddy was most likely upstairs preparing a speech by speaking dramatically in to a tape recorder.


What will Ryan remember?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Television

It’s a funny thing being a Parent. It’s a constant tightrope walk. You have to bend, guide, nurture and love. You can’t be too firm or too soft. You have to be kind, patient and calm. You have to have a black belt in distraction technique. You want to encourage expression of feelings while suppressing your own darker ones. You have to let them make mistakes even though you can easily right the wrong. You have to be a living example for your child. I’m exhausted and I’ve only scratched the surface.

Television is a parents’ biggest test. Television is the greatest example of the obstacles a parent faces. Television can be an incredible tool for teaching. Television can turn your kids brain into mush.

The Wiggles were on in our house this morning. We try not to do the TV in the morning but we all love The Wiggles and in a weak moment I put them on. This meant breakfast at the dining room table was out of the question. This meant Beautiful Bride and Daddy could not talk or we would be told “No Talking PLEASE!” in a rather emphatic tone. Usually the three of us dance and sing along with The Wiggles. This morning Ryan did not want to dance or sing. This morning Ryan sat like a zombie on the couch transfixed by the colors and movement coming from our oversized boobtube. It got worse! The Wiggles are usually twenty minutes in length but the one I put on was an hour long special with Kylie Minogue. I almost became a zombie myself at the sight of Kylie but she had more clothes on than I am used to and I was busy with the whole live by example thing.

At 8am it was time for BB to go to work. Ryan did not race to kiss her before me. I had her all to myself. I didn’t know what to do. It felt lonely. I tried giving her some Class-A Smooches to make up for this unfortunate break in our routine. I even made a big show of it to arouse the boy from his wide-eyed hazy glazed slumber. Nothing! Not even a “no talking PLEASE!” was uttered. BB couldn’t leave under these circumstances. She had to be late this morning and that was all there was to it. It was a lesson learned.

At 8:15 The Wiggles mercifully ended their reign of color over our home. Ryan instantly snapped out of his hypnotized state and ran to kiss BB. First he had to tug lightly on her lips and then press the same hand against my lips. This is his way of taking away my kiss and assuring that he has first kiss. Our boy was back.

As soon as BB left, Ryan outright demanded that I put The Wiggles back on again. I said no and he threw a terrible tantrum. I tried to distract him by pretending to fall and hit my head. Tantrum continued. I tried to get him excited about going to Daycare, which is his favorite place in the world. Tantrum continued. I told him I understood that he was upset but there would be no more TV for the day. Tantrum worsened. I started to feel some major aggravation and frustration. Why would I ever put the TV on again considering the reward I get? Tantrum continued. I went upstairs. I breathed slowly and deeply in my bedroom. After about a minute I went back downstairs. I held out my arms for him and he fell in to me and wept. I whispered, “Let’s go to Daycare.” And he answered, “No Daddy. Audition.” I said, “You want to go on an Audition with Daddy?“ and he replied, “Yeah.” An Audition is his least favorite place in the World. I squeezed him as close as can be.

The best morning of my life!

Monday, October 26, 2009

From the Jaws of Defeat!

Beautiful Bride leaves for work at 8:00 am every weekday morning. Ryan and I line up for kisses. Ryan always goes first. Ryan takes an incorrigible amount of time and then informs me it is my turn. Just as I pucker, Ryan remembers he forgot to hug. I get pushed out of the way and Ryan hugs and squeezes BB. He always manages to give me at least one glance during this ritual. The glance reveals to me that this two and a half year old angel has no intention of sharing his Mother with the likes of me. By the time I am allowed to get me mine it’s too late. BB needs to get to work and can only spare a quick smooch and no hug. One morning I cracked and had to do something. I tried to tell her that this was the boys’ plan all along. “Who’s the child here?” she said with love in her eyes. She then stooped to give Ryan one more kiss and hug and off she went.

I called her on her cell immediately to explain that I am clearly not a child because I did not complain about the injustice that was done unto me. After all, I could have gotten a hug considering the extra hug and kiss the boy got. I got her voice mail and realized I am in a “Catch 22”. If I boast about keeping my mouth shut I will not be keeping my mouth shut. How will she know that I’m not a child if I don’t tell her about my mature refrain from complaint?

Then lightning struck! I kissed her voicemail and described the hug I gave the phone. I pretended that she got shortchanged and was robbed of the chance to be enveloped by my strong masculine arms. I spoke in my low sexy voice and told her that my hug will melt away the stresses she will face at work. I sang our song “Let me call you Sweetheart” and started to slow dance with the phone cradled in my arms. One last audible smooch and I hung up the phone. I was very pleased with my mature masculine ways and myself.

Ryan couldn’t quite understand what he had just witnessed. A look of sad confusion washed over him. I realized he had been watching his father dance, kiss and sing to his phone. He held his hand out and said, ”It’s ok Daddy”.

Every morning since Ryan has made sure that Daddy gets a hug and kiss from BB before she goes. So, I win!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

An Open Letter to my Brain

Dear Brain,

You have got to get bigger! I know that’s a rude way to start but you are just too small lately and it’s beginning to bug me. Please don’t take me literally. My head is big enough as it is. I already have to buy all my hats at Fatheads or Wal-Mart as it is named in the rest of the country. I need you to quickly acquire the knowledge I need to function in my life. I don’t need to perform brain surgery. I just need to not wet my pants.

Quite simply, I need to be able to rely on you to tell me when I should go to the bathroom. That sounds pretty simple to me. Yet there I am leaving my auditions and gathering up Ryan and his stroller and his toys and his video player. All the while I have that very strong tickle in my bladder. For some unknown reason you have relegated this very important bodily function to my subconscious. It would be almost easy to go before I leave my audition. I could just grab Ryan and the key. I am now skilled at dragging the oversized bucket attached to the key behind us. (See “Ryan Peed on Daddy”) I could use the facilities and then be on our merry way to the park. Somehow my bladder is just one thing too many for you to handle.

I know it’s a little overwhelming when Ryan doesn’t let me turn the video player off anymore without a tantrum. I know you get preoccupied when I start to feel like the worst Dad in the World because I’m pushing my kids' stroller down the street and he has his head buried in the videos. You are right, I should just relax because I know that he gets less than a half hour of the boob tube a day. I shouldn’t worry about that lady who sneered and said “Starting him off early are you?”. I submit to you that if my bladder weren’t screaming at me I would not have called her a “PUMKINHEADED BLABBERMOUTH!”. I also submit to you that I know I called her much worse than that, but, this is a family blog.

At this stage of my life I don’t think I should emulate my son when he squeezes himself rather then go to the bathroom. I also don’t think people should look at him squeezing himself and say “AWW, Like Father, Like Son.” I would rather not well up with tears when I watch him finally go in his portable potty in the parking lot. I would rather not bounce around like a jumping bean during the long drive home while Ryan drifts off to sleep in the back.


I feel so dumb when I barely make it home and realize I’ve taught my son better than myself.

So, please Brain, hurry up and get bigger. I have an audition on the opposite side of town tomorrow and I’m afraid I will explode on the drive home.

Love,

SPO

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Third Sunday in October

Ryan fell asleep in my arms at 5:50 last night. We had been looking at photos of carved Pumpkins on the Google. We were picking our favorites. Up until that point it was a long tumultuous day. There were no naps. There were tantrums. Ryan threw a tantrum or three too.

My Beautiful Bride and I seemed to be playing out a Western. We stood most of the day, back to back, twenty paces apart. The only time we turned was to shoot. She was trying to run me out of town. She musta forgot I was the Sheriff. I felt like Clint Eastwood. BB was a Hot Chick baddie that my little one horse town had never seen the likes of before. There was tension between us. There was also a Spaghetti Western Soundtrack between us. There was also a two and half year old boy saying “I made a cookie (our word for flatulence) and burp. Scuse me!” between us. I can’t go into too much detail. It would be unfair to my Beautiful Bride. I couldn’t possibly give her side of the story. Let’s just say I was 100% right. I am the Sheriff after all.

Being right is a lonely place. I should know, I am always right. If your right you don’t have to listen to what the other person says because it’s all wrong anyway. Sometimes the whole premise of the other person’s argument is inadmissible in the court of me. Not only am I the Sheriff, I also sit in for the Judge when BB and I are having a particularly disagreeable day. No one wants to be around you when you are 100% right though. Being right is so lonely that you have lots of time to think and reconsider and then get struck by the lightning of how wrong you actually are. Damn.

To be fair, I was not all wrong. I made the situation worse by projecting my righteousness like the chin of a “Rock'Em Sock'Em Robot”. I was due for the knockout. We have a system where we don’t say “I’m Sorry!”. You are not giving anything up by saying ”I’m Sorry!” . When you ask for forgiveness you are giving up your power. You might not be forgiven. So, I asked for forgiveness and she gave it to me.

The warm fuzzy feeling had returned to our home. Mommy started to make dinner. Ryan and I started our Pumpkin research. Ryan yawned and snuggled and drifted off. It was a beautiful sight. His skin was shiny from that sleeping child perspiration. His breathing was heavy and peaceful and had the sound of gravity pulling him down further. The shadows of his long lashes luxuriated in the dim evening light. I carried him up to his bed. I kissed his sweaty brow.

Dinner was ready. It was only 6:00. We had the whole night ahead of us. We ate by candlelight. We carved a pumpkin. We watched “Maid of Honor”. My Bride loves the Romantic Comedies. They make her Romantic. I remain Comical. We kissed. We went to bed early. A perfect day!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Random Randomness

It is very difficult to explain to a two year old the concept of Sunday when he wants to see the Garbage Trucks NOW! Very Difficult!

It is very difficult to explain to Ryan why he can't climb on the public fountain, that has signs that say "keep off" all over it, when other parents are letting their kids climb on it. Very Difficult!

Homemade Cupcakes! Ryan licks off all the frosting. I scarf down what's left. It's a perfect system in an imperfect world!

Ryan thinks he has magical powers. Every time we approach the security gate of our home I tell him to say "Open Sesame!". He then says "Open nana nee!", I scramble to secretly press the remote and the gate opens. Early God complex?

Ryan calls the beach "Big Sandbox.". Talk about the World being your oyster.

I love when Ryan makes me slide my butt, one step at a time, down the stairs.

I love when Ryan hides his eyes in my pant leg when adult strangers try to chat him up.

I love when Ryan and I are at a public spot waiting for Mommy and I spot her when she is just a tiny spot in the distance making her way over to us and I try to point her out to Ryan but she is too small and as she gets closer and bigger Ryan starts to focus in on her and he gets beside himself with anticipation as she gets closer and closer and starts to wave and gets closer and bigger and then BOOM she's here. It may be a run-on sentence but I love that!

I love that other Moms have taught me to use tupperware for snacks and get rid of the ziploc baggies. Less crushed snacks and better for earth.

I love that the growing and learning never stops for both Ryan and me. I could just do without our "ready for the flood" pants.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Going Gray!

My second Fathers Day BB and Ryan gave me a seat for Ryan on the back of my bicycle. It took me about six hours to assemble it. Once finished, I had a bag full of screws and parts left over. I have no explanation for the extra parts. Let’s just say it’s been a year and half without a catastrophe. I think the extra parts were supposed to help create distance between the boys’ head and my heiny. Other kids, on these bike seats, have lots of viewing room. Ryan’s face bounces off my butt every time he sneezes. Flatulence is absolutely out of the question for me. Flatulence would be cruel and unusual. Flatulence is a fun word.

From the beginning Ryan was always a willing if not ecstatic participant in our bike rides together. I was extremely ecstatic! As we rode the streets you couldn’t wipe my smile off with sandpaper. People would stop in their tracks at the sight of us. I always felt that we were doing good work by bringing joy to peoples faces. Making the World a little happier in our own way. I became adept at reading lips as we passed folks by and they mouthed things like “So Cute!” “Adorable!” “The kids not bad either!” After about five miles I would stop at a park so that we could take a break and play on the swings and slides. Everything would be just peachy. That’s right I said “Peachy!”

Sometimes War is an inevitable evil. The early warning shots were fired when I would start to tell Ryan that we were getting back on the bike in five minutes. He would nonchalantly look over his shoulder at the bike and say “no”. Did I detect a pestilent sneer? 10 minutes later, (I don’t think he will ever truly understand time increments under my watch.) I would inform him that we had two more minutes before we mounted the bike for home. This time I heard the all too familiar subtext “silly Daddy.” in his more emphatic “No!” Twenty minutes later I screwed my courage to the sticking post and proclaimed that our five minutes were finally up. He would be ready for me of course.

His first attack was always retreat. He would run away from me. He would run as far as…well, not far at all really. He would run to the slide and suddenly pretend that nothing had changed. He would continue playing as if there were no unpleasant talk of leaving going on at all. Maybe, he wasn’t pretending. Maybe he would just forget that he was running from Daddy and figure he was running to the slide all along. A Daddy never knows. Whatever the case there was something in the purposeful way I was approaching him that would spur him to start running again. He would then go down the slide. Wouldn’t you? I would always give him at least one. The next move was choices. “Ryan you have two choices. You can either walk to the bike or Daddy can carry you.” Why that’s no choice at all, you say? Shh! This is my story.

The second time I was always too fast for him. I’d be waiting at the bottom as he slid into my welcoming arms. My heart was always in my mouth when he would bob his head frantically and straighten his back and clench his heiny cheeks to get away from me. I don’t know how I didn’t drop him. Then I would have to negotiate the various straps and belts, on the seat, as he straightened his body like a board. He would also scream the whole time. A scream that would split the ears. A scream that would go on and on. A scream that didn’t require a breath. It was scary. We would undo all the happiness that we had brought to the World earlier.

Worst of all, more often than I care to remember, I would accidentally pinch his chubby little skin in the clasp of the helmet. There is nothing worse than hearing those cries of pain that you had caused. Kiss kiss kiss. “I’m sorry Ryan.” Kiss kiss kiss “I’m so sorry!” I would ride us back home and feel the gray hair as it came in.

We’ve come a long way!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Daddy is funny!

I’m funny! Beautiful Bride would disagree. I think that’s why I fell in love with her. Something about the way the sun caught her hair, as she was staring stone faced at me, after one of my particularly hilarious one-liners that said to me “This is the one!” As we get older, I take pride in the fact that she never has to worry about laugh lines with me. I feel sorry for all those other silly Brides out there whose faces will turn prune like from their supposed funny husbands.

 

Ryan is my chance. Ever since this amazing child came in to our lives I’ve seen my opportunity to create a sort of Comic Genius. Tiger Woods Dad started him off on Golf very early. The Serena Sisters Dad started them on Tennis pretty early. Here is my chance to mold a phenom. I don’t need him to go in to the field of comedy mind you. I’m thinking that his comic skills will aid him in whatever field he chooses. I picture him as President of these United States bringing about World Peace with a well-placed slip on a banana peel at a big Mideast summit. I picture him as a Heart Surgeon clearing blocked arteries by giving them the giggles with a devilishly clever pun.

 

I worried. Ryan wasn’t laughing. At first I tried to stay calm. He didn’t walk for the first 16 months and that never bothered me. I knew I wouldn’t be pushing him in his stroller to his High School Graduation. Somehow this was different though. One day we saw a man in a yellow coat scratching his head looking up at his cat in the tree. Without skipping a beat I did my spot on perfect Ming Ming from the “Wonder Pets” saying “This is Serious!” Crickets! The boy did not laugh. I was so concerned that it almost cut short my own laughing.

 

Finally we had a breakthrough. I dropped a breakfast bowl on my foot one morning and danced around the house in white-hot pain. Ryan laughed a laugh that made my heart soar and he begged me to do it again. I was so starved for laughs in my house that a bruised foot was not going to stop me from doing it again. I recreated the whole event before I could figure out how to drop the bowl without actually hurting my foot. I believe that bit of realism added to the comedy because he laughed even harder the second time. By the eighth time we were both crying. Ryan cried from laughter. Daddy cried from pain.

 

Physical comedy is the key. The boy has been learning a ton. I have been banging my head and elbow and heiny and groin to Ryan’s delight ever since. As a matter of fact, yesterday, I think I broke my pinky. I am honestly heading out to the Docs to get it checked out this morning. Wish me luck!                   

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ryan pee'd on Daddy!

Ryan pee'd on Daddy. It happened at an Audition. A Callback. A BIG job. It wasn't Ryans fault. It was Daddy's fault. I forgot to bring the portable potty. I was warned. "Ryan pee pee Daddy" he said in a waiting room full of actors. Actors who were intensely working on their lines. I wished I could work on my lines, but my lines were not my number one priority at that moment. I scooped Ryan up in my arms and raced down the hall to the restroom. We raced so fast that I forgot to grab the restroom key. We raced back down the hall to grab the key.

By this time the actors, in the room full of them, had acquired a look of "This Daddy actor guy is one less thing for us to worry about!" They were silently affirming their choice to put off the whole "family thing" until their careers had taken off. At that moment I agreed with them.

I grabbed the restroom key, but the restroom key was attached to an oversized bucket. Now I had to carry Ryan and an oversized bucket back down the hall to the restroom. Listen, I get the practicality of attaching a big soupspoon or an empty coffee can to the restroom key. People tend to leave keys, to the restroom, in the restroom. I get it! However, the oversized bucket was overkill. When I am racing a two and a half year old and an oversized bucket with a key attached down the hall, it makes me angry. It makes me want to do my business in the bucket.

My bucket anger was displaced. I was slipping into a panic with visions of Ryan peeing on the Director. I tried to get the key in the lock while Ryan and the bucket negotiated for space. The door swung open and there was a split second feeling of victory over the fates. The thrill was short lived. I knew it was all-futile. Ryan was not going to go in the restroom. We already had the experience when the automatic toilet flushed as his heiny rested on it. The toilet made a giant sucking sound from hell and Ryan grabbed Daddy for dear life before it sucked him to oblivion. Big toilets were no longer an option. I quickly tried to entice Ryan to pee standing up like Daddy. "No Daddy!” "Please Ryan!" "No Daddy!" "PLEASE Ryan!" "NO Daddy!” I then told him it was OK to pee pee in his pants. "No Daddy." "Please Ryan." No Daddy!" PLEASE Ryan!" "NO Daddy!" I pushed too hard. My stress started to get to him. He cried.

It was like a slap in the face. I was immediately present with him. No longer worried about my stupid audition and myself. I hugged him. He pee'd on me.

I tried to wipe the pee pee off my shirt. We went back into the hallway and as the restroom door shut, I realized I had left the key in there. When I got back to the waiting room it was my turn to audition. One of the other actors had been explaining that I had taken my kid to the restroom. The Casting Director immediately focused in on the huge wet circle on my shirt. Ryan sat like an angel while I relied entirely on the cue cards due to not having a chance to review the lines outside. When I walked back out to the room, now half full of actors, one of them said "Who's not gonna hire the guy whose kid pee'd on him." A worried look came over all the other actors in the room. I stood a little taller.

I got the job!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Naked Strut

Poor Beautiful Bride. We have been taught the difference between outside voice and inside voice. Yet still we scream at the breakfast table. I figured since I made the oatmeal and the sausages that there would be a stay on the no screaming rule. Ryan followed my lead. In truth I followed his lead. We screamed. His was louder I'm sorry to say. His screams are like horror movie screams. Mine are like old man being squeezed grunts. BB has the silent "I'm being driven mad by these two" mental SCREAM. Hers wins.

BB went to work. Lot's of hugs and kisses before she went. Ryan and I raced to get to her. He won. I don't win much of anything at home. I do get the girl though. I get the girl at the end of the day. The sleeping, drooling, taking all the sheets and yet really sexy girl. So take that boy. Plus, baby making time is coming up on the calendar. So I'll get to do some drooling for a change.

Ryan and I then went upstairs and danced naked to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and pointed out our nakedness. "I'm Naked Daddy" Ryan would say during our "Staying Alive" strut from room to room. "I'm Naked Too, Ryan" I would say back while trying to simultaneously maintain my strut and teach adverbs to the boy. He didn't quite get the adverb thing. He started to say "Daddy Naked and Ryan Naked. One, Two."

Time was not on our side as usual. We had to get dressed. Ryan puts his undies on backwards. I can't say I blame him. The cool designs are made to go across the heiny (Batman in action in this case) and dull gate opening that no guy uses is on the front. I know I should probably insist that he puts them on correctly but I totally get his thesis and have no heart to discourage his flawless thought process. We agree and get on with our dressing. No auditions today. It's Garbage Truck chasing time!

Friday, October 2, 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qWRToOR4lw

The First

Today is the first day of this blog. Ryan is not with me today. How else would I have time to put this together? I was so desperate for a day to myself and now that it is here....I miss the little guy as usual. He fought me getting dressed, he fought me getting into the car and he fought for his music in the car. After I dropped him off at Daycare and got back into the car, the silence was deafening. I even kept his "animals,animals, animals" cd on. I love the jazzed up "ole MacDonald". All week I have had auditions and have been running like a chicken with his head cut off. Today nothing. I hate it. My Beautiful Bride (BB from here on in) and I started Ryan in Daycare so that I could have time to myself, audition without him and get the house stuff that has been piling up done. Six months later and it seems all my auditions are on the days he is with me and no matter how much I feel I am doing for the house it is only playing catch up. I have time for just enough to keep us from walking over piles of crap as you walk in to the front door. I have been able to regulate the crap piles against the walls and therefore out of the way. BB sees them though and the prey on her mind. By the time the dishwasher is empty, the toys picked up and the beds made the day is done. I sound like my mother. Of all the people I ever could've sounded like, I am shocked that I sound like my mother. I am a tough kid from Brooklyn who came out to LA to be an actor and refused to let fear stop me from having a family even given the up and down nature of my career. So inevitably, I guess, there are these days of laundry, dishes and loneliness that I realize how my Mother felt. I realize all the strength it takes to do the so-called easy things sometimes. So I sound like my Mom. How lucky am I. I love my Mom. It's her Birthday today. Happy Birthday Mom.