Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Are You Ready to Rock?!!?

I'm very excited about what's shaping up as my summer concert series. No, I won't be going to see Bruce. I was really hoping to see him, but I was denied by ticketmaster. And no, I won't be seeing U2, even though I've been a fan for 25 years and think they put on an incredible show. The ticketmaster gods were just not with me on that one either. But I did manage to score some very hard to get tickets - to the Jonas Brothers.

Saturday morning I told the girls I had to stay home from taking them to their Y classes so I could try and get U2 tickets, when really I was trying to get Jonas Brothers tickets. I used the complete concert buying playbook - two phones, two computers, calling every ticketmaster number I could find. And then, when all hope seemed lost, good 'ol Nick, Kevin and Joe decided to add more dates to their tri-state area tour stop, and I managed to get tickets for the girls and I.

I kept it quiet for the weekend, but honestly, how long could I stare at the puppy dog eyes of Stef and Jessica while I sat on the biggest news of the year - no - the decade - no wait - EVER!

Jessica immediately asked if we were sitting in the front row, which would technically be true if the Jonas Brothers were playing from the roof of the IZOD Center. I warned the girls that the seats were really not that great, but that I'd get them binoculars and part of the fun is just being in the arena. And besides, they would be in the same arena AS THE JONAS BROTHERS!!!!

This will be my second Jonas Brothers concert, which equals the number of times I've seen Bruce, who has played 700 concerts in NJ and is nearly twice the combined age of the Joni (I'm assuming that's the plural of Jonas). When Stef and I went last summer to the "Burning Up" tour, she was convinced that we could get their autographs after the show because she saw the Globetrotters and they let her down on the court for autographs. Needless to say, I spent the summer gently reminding her that we would not be getting autographs. But she did get to sign their tour bus as we walked out of MSG. The girls and I have already talked about how many t-shirts we'll buy (lots), what time we'll leave for the concert (WAY early), and if we really are sitting in the front row (I'm going to have to work with Jess on this).

As a dad, if I had to choose between getting Bruce, U2 or Jonas Brothers tickets, I'd choose the latter because the girls will have so much fun together, and they will both scream their heads off for an hour and a half straight and talk about the concert the rest of the summer. But if you happen to be going to see Bruce, please don't tell me he played Backstreets and The River during a 3 1/2 hour set, or that U2 put on a better show than Zoo TV. The only thing I could top that with is another special appearance by Big Rob, and as a rock fan, you and I both know that your Bruce bests my Joni.

Editors Note: Since this posting, I was able to scour 2 tickets to U2 in the mezzanine section of Giants Stadium. I chalk it up to Nick Jonas, who has taught me to always keep the faith no matter the odds. Rock on!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

That's great

A few months back Stef was on her scooter when a car drove by us. "That's great," she said dejectedly. "That boy is in my class and he just saw me on a scooter." Sunday she found a branch on the ground, picked it up and started to use it as a walking stick. We were having a whole discussion on why a walking stick is even necessary when a car drove by. "That's great," she said. "That boy is in my class and he just saw me holding a walking stick."

So far I haven't said anything to her about these comments. I'm hoping her self esteem can't simply be broken with a stick. But I intend to talk to her before I hear, "That's great, that boy is in my class and he just saw me standing next to my dad."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I'm Spent

This blog is generally all "kumbaya" about the stuff I do with my kids, but there's something I've got to mention, and it's about them indirectly anyway.

If one more person tells me that President Obama is hurting our children's future with his spending, I may spontaneously combust. It's not that I'm for trillion dollar deficits, it's that most of our nation's 220 year debt can be attributed to two men. And I can explain it all in two short paragraphs.

From the time George Washington became President in 1789 until Jimmy Carter's Presidency ended in 1980, 39 Presidents rang up $900 billion in debt. What was it spent on? Well, to breeze through it - the Civil War, World War I and World War II, the New Deal, the Marshall Plan, the Korean War, the Great Society, Vietnam, and putting a man on the moon. In eight short years, Ronald Reagan managed to increase the nation’s debt from $900 billion to $2.6 trillion. It took him only 8 years to nearly triple a debt that it took 39 Presidents 191 years to accumulate. Quite a nifty feat, until you consider that George W. Bush managed to double a $5 trillion debt to $10 trillion in 8 short years himself. How?

Despite being the party of fiscal responsibility, sound budgets and smaller government, the modern Reagan Republicans have no intention of cutting the size of the government. They've never shrunk the size of government, despite 28 years of telling us government is the problem. When you add tax cuts to massive increases in government spending, you get...massive debt.

Whew, 220 years in two paragraphs. I wonder if I could cut it down and Twitter this.

But, you may say, Presidents don’t make the laws, Congress does. Right. In that case, no one should be criticizing Obama. However, Presidents do set the tone, provide the vision, and have veto power to send back a bill with massive debt attached to it. Reagan and Bush set the tone for increasing federal spending while also cutting revenues (taxes) coming into the government.

So please spare me the “Obama is hurting our children’s future with all his spending” line. If I need to look at my kid’s future, I need look no further than my own past, when I was a kid, when Reagan decided that deficits don’t matter.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The World's Strongest Man

One of the things I love about being a dad is the questions I get. Sunday I'm walking towards the garage to open it for the kids and Jess asks, "Daddy, did the world's strongest man fix my bike?" Before this question even registered in my brain, Stef came up to me and whispered, "Just say yes Daddy." It was one of those situations where I wish I'd heard the previous five minutes of discussion.

Anyway, I rolled with the punches. I said "Yes, the world's strongest man did fix the bike. Me!" (they're young enough to believe that Dad could be the strongest man in the world).

Jess asked because about a year ago one of her training wheels fell off while she was at the top of the hill on our street. She didn't fall, but she's been afraid of riding her bike ever since, even though she'll ride her two wheel scooter faster than most kids can ride a bike.

So, Jess, Stef and the World's Strongest Man got on their bikes for the first ride of the spring. We went about ten feet when Jess said she felt her wheel was wobbly. That's when the World's Most Rationale Man piped in and said, "It's fine Jess, the wheels are supposed to have a little give in them." She went another couple feet and the training wheel fell off. She cried, ran inside, all the time yelling, "I told you it was loose!" The World's Most Remorseful Man grabbed her scooter and everyone proceeded on the bike/scooter ride.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Art of the Misdirect

One of the techniques I've tried to use to overcome escalating disagreements with my kids is "the misdirect." Anyone with children knows that once your child focuses on wanting something or wanting to do something, they will repeatedly ask for it until you either cave or boil over in rage or frustration (sometimes you have to laugh and think - how did I just waste so much time and energy fighting over a blowpop?)

The misdirect is simply an attempt to turn your child's attention away from the subject matter - staying up an extra hour, watching another TV show, having "just one treat" - to something else entirely, with the hope that they will magically forget what they were asking for, or, more likely, to de-escalate what could turn into a never ending verbal tug of war. Even though my kids are way past the "terrible twos" these situations still occasionally pop up.

But last night the tables were turned - Jessica used the technique on me. The last 45 minutes or so before bed she got into a case of "the askies" - she needed water (no problem), she wanted a treat (popsicle after much hesitation), she was "hungry" (grapes when she really wanted something else). As I was taking her upstairs, she asked for a cookie. I gave her my best stern Dad look and told her that she couldn't have a cookie, which was quickly followed by a whiny counter argument. I joked that maybe she could dream about them, which was followed by what I swear was a cricket noise. Finally, as this minor disagreement began to escalate, Jess pointed to her recent artwork and said, "Daddy, didn't you see all the artwork I did?" We spent the next several minutes talking about her artwork, but I was just as impressed with her first time use of the art of the misdirect. Not bad for a five year old.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hootin' and Hollerin'

Last night Jess wanted to show me some of the hats she has in her dress up box. One of them was a cowboy hat. For roughly the next 45 minutes, she walked around the house saying "Howdy partner" and making up stories about milking cows, something about cats on the farm, and how people out west do things differently. Amazingly she kept this accent going the whole time.

I'm not sure where she figured out the accent; the only time I've mentioned cowboys is in reference to George Dubya not being a cowboy because he was never seen near a horse (that and he didn't buy the Crawford ranch until he decided to run for President).

I just thought it was funny that a five year old would put together a 45 minute skit.