My Sommelier

I’ve never been much of a wine drinker. My preferences lean more towards harder liquors like scotch, bourbon, and whiskey. Occasionally I’ll order a Dirty Vodka Martini or Moscow Mule (because I like that Pimm’s Cup.) But, I have had a difficult time appreciating wine. Maybe there are too many varietals or maybe I can’t wrap my head around tastes described as “leathery” or “dirt.” The appreciation has been lost on me. Until now….

Now, I’ve begun to appreciate it a little more. I’ve discovered that it’s not about the tannins, body, or alcohol content. It’s about the Sommelier. And, I have the best!

Occasionally, GWE will have a glass of wine with dinner. Garrett and Justin aren’t very interested in tasting it, but they do insist on smelling what we’re drinking. One evening, Garrett decided to take it one step further by serving us.

Once my glass was empty, Garrett vanished into the kitchen only to re-emerge minutes later with a towel over his arm and the wine bottle tilted as to “present” the wine label to me. I thanked him as he poured me a healthy glass. He returned my bottle to the kitchen, but promptly returned with GWE’s bottle. We had both been served.

Garrett has served us over and over again during family meals over the past few months. At first, I was concerned that we were enabling him in some way…or that he was enabling us. I decided to Google whether on not I was a good parent for allowing this to happen or if I was adding to his already long list of issues that he’d have to discuss during his “Mommy and Daddy Messed Me Up” therapy sessions as an adult.

According to the World Health Organization, if children see adults appreciating wine – smelling, tasting, discussing, and consuming it with meals – it may bode well for their drinking habits in college. And, those who learn to appreciate wine, become “pricklier” about the alcohol they consume, which reduces their consumption at parties.

So, while you might see an underage child Sommelier serving his parents alcoholic beverages, I see this as a great moment in parenting! (And, yes – I wrote this sober!)

The Week of Men

"Yay!! Daddy's lost control!!!"

If you follow the “real” me on Facebook, you know that I’ve spent the past week balancing the needs of my clients with the demands of running my company all while providing the sole care for my boys because GWE was out of town. Periodically, I would chronicle what was happening – like “Robinson Crusoe” being trapped on a deserted island observing the mutineers, captives, and cannibals. Here is my “Captain’s Log” for the past six days:

Week of Men, Day 1: GWE has been gone for 10 minutes. There are already whispers of mutiny among the ranks. Or, baby farts. Not sure which….

Week of Men, Day 2: I was woken up by the sounds of “whale-mating” on the baby monitor. I rushed into Garrett’s room to find him “sucking face” with his own image in the baby mirror. Kid’s got skills!

Week of Men, Day 3: Up at 5:35am. Not cool. Garrett was singing LOUDLY and Justin decided to pee LOUDLY. It is going to be a very long day.

Week of Men, Day 3.5: For the love of God, how can it only be noon?!?!? I’ve fed the kids six times and one of them is on nap #3. The bigger one refuses to wear clothes and the smaller one has been crying because he is teething again. I’m going to my inner “happy place” now.

Week of Men, Day 4: I was woken up at 5:51am to Garrett saying “da-da” through the monitor. I was so excited that I raced into his room. He looked at me, smiled, and (again) said “da-da.” I was thrilled!! Then, he looked at the green monkey on the wall, “da-da!” And then he looked at his taggie, “da-da.” Okay – one out of three ain’t bad!!

Week of Men, Day 4.5: I just looked over and both Justin and Garrett are watching TV on the sofa while scratching their privates like Spider Monkeys. My house has become “Planet of the (Nut-Scratching) Apes!”

“It’s 4:45 in the morning….Let’s play!”

Week of Men, Day 5: Up at 4:45am thanks to Garrett screaming like a maniac because his foot was stuck in between the crib bars. At 5:10, Justin walked in and went into great detail about the water squirting aliens in his dreams. Can’t take much more. I may “safe drop” myself at the local fire station today.

Week of Men, Day 6: Let’s see – went to sleep at 2am after finishing a tracking grid for a client, Garrett woke up at 5am and called me Da-Da (got it on tape), Justin yelled at me for turning off his radio and lights in the middle of the night, did the dishes, bathed the baby, made breakfast for everyone, fed the baby, made lunch for everyone, left the house, got to the gas station, Justin yelled at me for forgetting his “Angry Bird” and then I realized that I also left my wallet at home in the diaper bag, went back home, got the wallet (and Angry Bird), handled a client crisis via cell while going back to the gas station, went to school, dropped off kids. Handled a second client request via email while driving – (sorry to everyone on the 405). Got back in the car, made my way past a huge accident, and was in the office for my 10 am conference call. My life has turned into a crazy Japanese game show!

As I am finishing this blog post, GWE just texted me that she has landed and is on her way home. I hope she is well rested because tonight – I’m taking 2 Tylenol PMs with a Sparkling Rabbi and I don’t plan on waking up until the bed sheets need changing!

All I Want for Passover is My Two Front Teeth

It is said that we celebrate Passover to commemorate the story of the Exodus from Egypt. During the Seder, there is a lot of praying, a lot of Manischewitz, and the occasional plague. This year’s Seder was unlike any other for two reasons: 1) We discovered that “teething” should be added to the list of deadly plagues. And, 2) I almost considered reenacting Plague #10 myself by killing our first born due to his uncharacteristically obnoxious behavior. What started as such a promising and exciting celebration ended in frustration, tears, and delicious left-overs.

We arrived at the home of MOGWE and FOGWE at the time they had requested. GWE and I unloaded the car and brought in bags of clothes for the kids, toys, playmates for the baby, food for the baby, etc. Anything and everything we could have needed, we brought – just in case. It looked like we were moving in. Justin was happy to see his Uncle Ethan and everyone proceeded to move into the den for appetizers and drinks.

FOGWE surprised Justin with a remote controlled car. I immediately told Justin that he could play with it, but to be careful and not drive it over his baby brother who was lying on the play mat in the middle of the room. Justin handed me the car and asked me to put batteries into it. I proceeded to quickly load the car with batteries, placed it on the ground, flicked on the remote….and then I drove it directly over Garrett!!  (Yes – I am a wonderful role model.)

What you should know is that Garrett has been teething recently. There is saliva (“slime”) everywhere. It’s on his clothes, his chin, and his fingers. He swallows it so it’s in his belly and comes out with his poop, ie diarrhea. GWE and I decided to pick him up and place him on my lap so that he could see the Passover Appetizer action! He smiled, saw the chopped liver and gefilte fish, and then blasted 4 oz of a baby formula/saliva mix all over my pants and GWE’s pants. We were “slimed” for the evening. There is nothing like having hot-and-then-ice-cold puke on your clothes for the rest of the night!

Then, we passed him off to MOGWE, who gave him a few more ounces of formula. Garrett proceeded to thank her by spitting up a few more ounces all over her blouse, pants, and shoes. She passed him back to us and left to get changed again. In the meantime, we were struggling to soothe Garrett out of discomfort due to his teething.

We all then proceeded to the dinner table. GWE had Garrett to her right and I sat diagonally across from Justin. As FOGWE attempted to lead the table in ceremony and prayer, he simply could not be heard over the sounds of my five month old babbling out of pain and my five year old being silly at the table. Justin knows when he has a captive audience and that dinner table became his playground. He would not be quiet, he would not sit still, and he would not follow directions…, he was being a five year old.

After a VERY abbreviated ceremony, GWE decided to try and put Garrett to sleep in the crib. At this point, we were both starting to get worn down due to Garrett’s discomfort and Justin’s behavior. After a few minutes, we decided to check on him. He was as awake and as pissed as ever.

As the traditional Matzo Ball soup was being served, GWE and I made the executive decision to bring Garrett back to the table to give him his solids. I sat in GWE’s seat to feed Garrett, GWE took my seat, and then Garrett began to devour whatever I put into his mouth. It only took about 10 minutes for Garrett to finish his food and for our food to be served. However, this was 10 long minutes and Justin was nowhere to be found.

I decided to pass the baby back to GWE and I went searching for Justin. Unfortunately, I found him. As I opened the bathroom door, I discovered Justin with his hands in his hair and his hair soaking wet. There was water EVERYWHERE! He had wet down his head and used the liquid hand soap as shampoo. “JUSTIN!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!” I demanded to know. “I’m cleaning my hair, daddy,” he replied. I grabbed the towel behind him, tried to dry his soapy hair, gave up, and then marched him back to the table. He knew I was very upset, but I was exhausted and tired of him not listening. As we got closer and closer to the table, he begged to not be seen. My patience had ended and I tried to drag him to the table – kicking and screaming. MOGWE stepped in and decided to take Justin back to the bathroom to clean him up. I sat down and began to quietly eat my chicken.

Honestly, the rest of the evening was kind of a blur. I remember dessert and Justin finding the Afikoman. But, that’s about it.

As we drove home in silence, I thought about the evening and how it actually was reminiscent of a real Exodus. We had come to the grandparents’ house in hopes of good food and shelter, but my two little plagues practically destroy everything. And then, we were free to leave.

The Sparkling Rabbi

It was the middle of the night and GWE and I were staring at each other silently during yet another early AM feeding of Garrett. It had been a very long week since the arrival of our new son and neither of us had slept much. As we drowsily looked at each other (and Garrett), it became obvious to me that this week had taken it’s toll in many ways. But, we were both doing everything we could think of to get through.

As the dutiful husband, I lifted by weary head and asked my wife if she wanted anything from the kitchen. She simply asked for more ice water. Since this was the least taxing thing asked of me in the past 100 hours, I was happy to oblige. As I stood in the kitchen, it dawned on me that I too was thirsty. But, how do you quench the thirst of a new (again) Jewish father who knows he will be up most of the night with a screaming/hungry child while watching QVC and rocking this very cute “poop machine” to sleep? I now have the answer!!

I surveyed the kitchen which was packed with new items that were specifically brought in for the Bris 48 hours earlier. I noticed a bunch of sodas and wines that were off to the side. I quickly channeled my inner frat guy and mixed a few things together. Proudly, I marched back into the baby’s room with my purple designer cocktail. I raised my glass and proclaimed that I had created – “The Sparkling Rabbi!”

GWE looked at me skeptically and asked what I had done. I told her that I mixed three parts Sprite Zero (gotta watch the calories) with two parts Manischewitz Kosher Wine. She laughed and then asked to take a sip. After the first swallow, she looked at me in all seriousness and said, “Oh god, that shit is good!!!”

So now you know – when it’s 4am, the kids are crying, and you want something to take the edge off, plus the added bonus of feeling like it’s Passover – make yourself “The Sparkling Rabbi!”