Kids, No Chaser

The New Normal

Sunday, August 29, 2010 posted by Henri


Something funny happens with parenting. About year 5 or so…you finally let go of your life before kids. It’s like some hazy distant memory bathed in golden dappled sunlight from that summer in Mexico in 1986.

Early parenting is like sporting fresh heartbreak, you go from day to day in your new situation unable to shake or accept the fact that you’re no longer dating Angelina Jolie. And to make matters worse, you keep bumping into her and she’s with that new dude and you can’t even really strike up a conversation because you’ll inevitably have to make fun of his performance in Meet Joe Black.

But you can’t keep your eyes off of her.

You sigh every so often.

And time, marches on. One day followed by another long-ass day.

But the years, like little ninjas, sneak past your guard. And you realize one day that she’s become a funny story in your life, just cocktail conversation really. You have trouble believing it yourself.

“Hey I used to date that chick Angelina Jolie forealzyo”

It’s so foreign now.

I don’t know what I did before kids. It’s profane, the amount of time I had.

“I think I’ll practice my beer pong today.”

“I wonder if I could learn to do a cartwheel.”

“A sesame seed is like how many poppy seeds big?”

“Should I compare all the Pupusas in the area and like make like a list of which ones are best?”

“What should be my next hairstyle?”

“Can I rap?”

“No not this bar, lets go to an even better bar!!!!!”

Yeah…stupid shit. Hours and hours of time used as building material for a giant effigy of King Meh and his golden burro, SirDanceALot. It’s like some dude collecting arrowheads to make a pretty necklace for Burning Man while I’m trying to sharpen a stick to stab a rodent to eat before I die. Pre-kids vs. post-kids mang.

By the third kid, you kinda have your systems in place. The days although still long, are not necessarily fraught with new challenges.

I can touch poo.
I have an internal atomic clock time-out timer in my brain.
I can carry three carseats while texting
I can tell which kid is out of bed by their acoustic footprint.
I can titrate children’s Tylenol
I can walk with screaming kids unaware of the general public staring at me
I can spend every night of my life, after the kids are finally in bed, putting the house back together as if I’m closing a restaurant with shitty hours and no pay.
I can do all this with a dumb smile on my face, because it is my new normal.

Has been. For a while now.

It’s kinda weird finding myself in this place. Settled comfortably, steering this slow boat into the middle years of my life. I’ve navigated past the party boats, the yachts, the grand sailboats and sleek racers jockeying to get under the bridge. I’m finally hitting open water.

The middle years seem vast. It’s a bit calmer, a bit sharkier, and city lights have been replaced by an equally beautiful starlight. And as my oldest kid starts kindergarten this week, I’ve realized how quickly and quietly the years can slip by. Before you know it,
you look back and can barely see the shore.
Maybe Angelina’s on it. Waving goodbye. To somebody.

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Oh Yeah, Did I Mention Our New Kid?

Thursday, February 25, 2010 posted by Henri


Yeah we’ve gone zone defense. Tres kids. I had this great idea to blog more with the birth of my third child, to document the first year of his life with great detail in order to preciously encapsulate his entry into this mad crazy world.

What the hell was I smoking.

You know, going from zero to one child is definitely the hardest. It reshapes your entire identity. I don’t give a damn who the hell you were before that, you’re now a parent. Blahblahblah. Now you’d think going from one to two would be about twice the work of one…


Going from one kid to two kids is definitely 2.378 times the work of one (that‘s a period not a comma). I can show you the calculations.

Now going from two to three….definitely not as bad as I had feared…..but still bad. You get into this strange antediluvian property of the oldest child being able to actually assist you in the day-to-day tasks necessary during parenthood.

“Son, hold this.”
“Son, grab the fire extinguisher”
“Son, hold the steering wheel for a second”
“Son, hit the raccoon for real this time”
“Son, is my head bleeding a lot or just a little, my vision is temporarily suspended”
“Son, dial 911 on the real phone not the Wall-E phone”
“Son, I’m not going to tell you again…yes that was a real alligator, now get me Mr. BooBoo”
“Son, what did I just eat?”

Four-year-olds can do all kinds of shit. Unless they’re sleepy. When they’re sleepy they’re like little Tony Montanas at the end of Scarface reeling around the room looking for more effective weapons. Fortunately I am immune to nerf.

What was I saying?

Oh yeah, three. We had our third baby. Our last planned kid. And in one way it’s a relief. We can finally see the end of the tunnel for this stage of parenting. The diapers, the bottles, the sleep training, the childcare issues for newborns, the herniated belly buttons, the gallons of spit-up, the nuclear bomb shelter stockpile of industrially pumped breast milk. But in another way, it’s so so sad. Have you ever tried to shove a four year old into a Bjorn? It’s embarrassing on many levels and functionally almost impossible.

I can hold my baby in my arms, like a football. I can run really fast with him like this. I can hurdle immense objects like stray juice box straws with the greatest of ease. I can wear him while playing my PS3 and still rain pwnge on yoooob like failgravy from the gods of mt. pwnlympus.


I’m going to miss this baby. His balding head like mine. Oh crap yeah that’s another thing I’m freaking going bald. Wait I have to save this for another post.

His puny yet unnamed fists (mine are named Thelma and Louise but that’s neither here nor there).

His little baby faces of indignation when confronted with the injustices of this world. Like zomg what’s this feeling before I shart? Or the ever present, am I being stabbed or am I hungry?

You kind of wish you could revisit all of the ages of your children at your leisure. When they’re on a two week Vegas bender in your stolen car at the age of 13, it would be nice to make them infants again. When you’re trying to get a Phil&Ted’s onto the BART and Mr. No-I’m-Not-Going-To-Move-For-You-Because-As-You-Can-Tell-By-My-Briefcase-I-Am-Kinda-A-Big-Deal isn’t getting out of your way, it would be nice to switch them into something a little more mobile….like 27ish maybe.

Mostly I’d probably keep switching from 4 months to 4 years unless I needed to really get something off the top shelf. Damn kids I hope you grow bigger than me. Parental Hint: Don’t start smoking at 13.

And to be honest, I’m going to miss myself at this stage.

A young father is like a drunk bear. Indomitable spirit and full of fight. Possibly lacking his bearings a bit, but fierce like a 40 year old gay man in a Twilight t-shirt. You cannot domitable me because I am indomitable. You see I am way too young at this stage of my life to know how things will end up…so I am going to assume they end up swimmingly. And you can’t change my mind on this. I know that through hard work and sacrifice, I will absolutely succeed in every single damn thing I ever casually attempt in this world and I will shine like a damn supernova.

See all that crap I just typed. Only a young father could believe that shit. And I do. And this is the charming smarmy bastard I am going to miss the most. Me at 37, raising a family.

Before I lose the last of my hair.
Before that vacation home in Healdsburg never materializes.
Before I fail to retire at 47.
Before my kids think I was an OK Dad but a little too into the blogging thing.
Before my wife one day says she made the “smartest” choice in marrying me
Before my Ferrari never gets here.
Before I realize that my kids friends think I’m that Dad that tries too hard to be cool.
Before I’m the oldest guy at the club.
Before my kids don’t go to UCLA
Before I stop laughing at how ridiculous these sentences are.

Before I grow up maybe.

I’m strong.

Being a Father makes it so. And at this moment
I know, in my relative youth, that I will miss the man that I am today.
A father who believed for a moment that
with his family in tow,
he could never fail.

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Viva Los Tentacles

Tuesday, December 01, 2009 posted by Henri

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“In my defense, these prison walls…they couldn’t hold anything in at all.”- Mariachi El Bronx

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 posted by Henri

You take an LA punk band named after a NYC borough and have them release a Mariachi album. You know what you get? The beautiful soundtrack to my current life. With the house we bought and all that comes with it ( you see what I did there Dan?) 2009 has been a series of dervishes and small fires. But with 60% of our boxes unpacked after living here for 4 months, I’m starting feel enough of a semblance of my former self to suddenly realize…what the hell just happened?

You see the problem lies in the tiny fact that somehow I am still not in Los Angeles.

In fact, strategically, I don’t see how buying a new house get’s me closer to this goal. Add to this the fact that my wife is constantly accompanied by this man and I'm lead to believe that something might be amiss here.

I may have been outmaneuvered. I think she swept the leg.

Maybe it’s for the best. She’s only known the Henri with that chunk missing, the LA piece. She might not like the complete me that she would meet back home. I’m like Voltron minus one tiger arm. I mean let’s say we get down there and she’s like… “Wassup with that flaming sword?”

Oh I’m sorry, you didn’t know I’m Voltron?


Our new house calls to me with endless projects. So many little bits and big bits to repair and restore. By the time we got her she was incontinent and had been through one too many abusive relationships. I’m sorry anyone let you get like this. Built in 1915 this fine girl has seen it all. She saw the country go dry during the roaring twenties, she lived through the great depression, she watched the neighborhood boys leave to fight in World War II, she welcomed as many back as she could. She watched the Fords and Chevy’s rumble through her streets in the fifties, and listened to the college kids find their voices during the sixties. She listened to disco and newro. She’s watched many families grow and move on. I want to make sure she sees some better days.

So far I’ve given her new pipes wherever I could. I’ve put in a basement drainage system to keep her dry. New electric panel and systems to put some new spark in her. We’ve taken up three generations of flooring from the kitchen and removed the old furnace chimney. The giant asbestos monster octopus in the basement is long gone…freeing up a bit of breathing room for a truly bad-ass 98% efficient, full filtration, tiny monster of a modern furnace.

The fact of the matter is…I know we’re in this house for a bit. In this place. Away from Los Angeles for an uncertain period of time. And through tendrils of slowly sinking roots I hang on tight to the flickering hope that my first girl will continue to wait for me. It might be longer than I had believed, but every year or so I have to remind myself, and her, that one day I’ll be back.

So to make a long story short, that’s the reason why you hear Mariachi El Bronx coming from my pants every time you see me. I‘m just homesick.

People think it’s my ringtone.

Sorry bro, it’s my theme music. I’ll turn it off when I’m done.

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The Pope of Dirty Thirties

Monday, August 10, 2009 posted by Henri

That’s odd. Yeah I’m sitting here in my living room and it’s oh…10 am and I’m all alone. I don’t work Mondays and the kids are in preschool and the wife, she got called in to work today to sub out another doc. And I’m thinking to myself…when in the hell was the last time I had a day to myself?

Damn. Maybe 4 or 5 years?

I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m kinda into this parenting/husbandry thing. But I’m sitting here in my living room with the leftover bone piece of a giant cowboy steak from the night before, a 7-11 cup filled with ice and black coffee, and I’m watching the Pope of Greenwich Village.

A giant steakbone, big gulp sized superblack iced-coffee, couch, empty morning, and the Pope of Greenwich Village.

I just had to repeat it again.

And in the middle of all this grace, I have to figure out what to do with the entire rest of the day.

This is good. Really really good.

It’s the kind of DIY grubby happiness that filled all of my college years. Usually a cottonheaded Sunday morning that was hot already, the first of many camel lights, a coke a coffee, some M&M’s, and big fat smile knowing I had to figure out what to do that day other than study. The heat in Los Angeles. My weak-ass little window swamp cooler. My ghetto apartment in oh-so-not-ghetto Brentwood, down the street from OJs wife.

Grubby happiness.

You really can’t let me out of my cage. I’ll devolve pretty quickly. I need some structure and deadlines and urgent tasky things to do to weigh me down. I could easily follow this morning with video games, 7-11 runs, assorted scratching and daydreaming until my wife came home to find college Henri sitting in the living room asking for more ashtrays.

Seriously WTF happened to Mickey Rourke? The Pope of Greenwich Village is such a great film. And don’t get me started on Barfly. That would be a great double header.

Some days when I miss LA I’ll watch Wassup Rockers, Entourage, and Quinceanera all together. It’s like those jelly belly combinations. It works really well, takes the edge off for a few weeks.

There I go…devolving. Thinking of weird random stuff.

I think a lot about the day when the last kid goes off to college, and before the first kid comes back home to slum it for a few years. I think me and my wife will look at each other and say….what now? Or more like….I’m bored.

It’s odd how we get there. Baby steps. Slowly going from independent individuals, to parents who don’t really function that great without their primary objectives tearing up the house.

And it’s odd how that chain smoking slacker that used to live in the Westside, that dude that would spend those awesome lazy Sunday mornings driving along the beach in his little Celica with the top down, would end up here. Gigantic mortgage, cool little neighborhood that the fifties forgot, a job, a wife, some kids, some happiness.

Kinda like those little precursor fault-line tremors that build up to the big one. I think today is a way to look back at slacker youth and smile and reminisce before I break down in 10 years and buy a Ferrari in true “the big one” midlife crisis fashion.

I just wanted to say that I got a lazy day off with my breakfast of champions watching the Pope of Greenwich Village. I still have the Celica. It’s parked right outside. Maybe I’ll go for a drive today.

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Marriage in the Time of Geese and Aeroplanes

Sunday, August 02, 2009 posted by Henri

So I was at a kick ass brunch this morning celebrating the double baptism of my boy Fayedunnaway’s daughter and nephew when his wife, who I usually try to hit on because our boy Puffy is no longer around to hit on her, turns to me to tell me something about MetroDad.

First of all MetroDad is my boy because

a) We’re eerily similar in numerous odd ways.


b) Homie gave me a shout out on his blog way back which led to the raging success and fame of my own abandoned blog which led me to the tens and twenties of readers who adore me quarterly.

But then she said something funny…she said divorce. And I said wut?

And all I could think of was that damn conservatory of butterflies where he proposed to Bosslady. One thing I accepted long ago was the mystery and utter wackiness of life. I dated this girl in college for years and one night she came over and said it’s over. Out of the blue. The odd thing was that throughout our relationship we never had a single fight. I said wut? Then sadly moved on, sucker punched. I didn’t put up too much of a fight. I figured it’s hard enough to find the right person to be with in life…the last thing I wanted was to be with someone that needed convincing to stay with me. So good luck and go…quickly.

But marriage is a whole ‘nuther ball of wax. And add kids to the mix…and boy forget about it.

I’m absolutely shocked that I’m still married to my wife. I’m shocked that any marriage can survive kids. I’ll tell you the reason why.

It’s all dumb luck.

What people don’t get is the fact that having a kid, raising a kid, being married with kids, is an experience that cannot be prepared for or logically planned. Before you have your first kid, there is no way in hell you can possible pick the right co-parent. And that’s what marriage with kids is all about…finding your co-parent.

Ok. Say you’ve never flown a plane. All you know about piloting planes is what society and pop culture tells you. Now imaging picking your copilot. There are a few really stupid ways to pick a co-pilot.

“I want a co-pilot that’s hot”
“I want a co-pilot that makes me laugh”
“I want a co-pilot that’s rich”
“I want a co-pilot that likes the same movies that I do.”
“I want a co-pilot that is upwardly mobile”
“I want a co-pilot that drives a Porsche”
“I want a co-pilot that completes me”

Ok. Now you and the co-pilot you’ve picked get to go fight a fucking war.

“Damn I shouldn’t have picked the funny one”

I want a co-pilot that can fly a friggin plane with me.

You really, seriously, can not predict from dating how someone is going to go into war with you. It’s dumb luck. When it goes well people like to pat themselves on the back and say…damn I always knew the right person that I was looking for. When it goes bad, people always say, they didn’t try hard enough to make it work. The hell with that, I say you make the best choice you can with impossibly limited information and cross you fingers and hope for the best. Dating will never prepare you for parenting. And you will never know how a person will co-parent until you’re in a dogfight.

Then again you can have two great co-pilots that fly the plane great but one still punches out because they can’t stand the music on the plane radio that the other person insists on.

I dunno.

And then there’s “the one” argument. We have to divorce because I’m not in love with you anymore. You’re not “the one”.

Screw that.

Many people might think I’m a dick for what I’m about to say but marriage ain’t about love. It’s about commitment. It’s about being so committed that you’ll ignore the fact that you were meant to be with Megan Fox, despite the number of times she calls you, in order to follow through and raise a kid.

And despite all that, there’s this. Sometimes divorce, as nasty as it is, might be the right thing to do for the sake of your kids. If it ain’t going to work, dear god let it not work sooner rather than later. A lifetime of parents who stayed married for “your” sake really isn’t as great as it’s cracked up to be. It can hurt kids just as much, it’s just a slower more drawn out pain.

I believe in fighting like hell for a good co-parent. And fortunately I happen to love my wife like a madman, despite her silly rules like please stop dating Megan Fox. But that’s just gravy. I just need to keep this damn plane in the air. But all I really wanted to say is that this blog, for me, will never reflect the man that I am but rather the man that I had hoped to be. And with this in mind, I know that my boy MetroDad would do whatever he could for the sake of his girl. And I do believe Pierre would do the same. And I’m sorry for the struggle involved in reaching their ultimate understanding but I trust it was as right as rain.

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Son Meet Hockey

Saturday, June 13, 2009 posted by Henri

“What’s that?”
“It’s the Stanley Cup Final”
“What’s that?”
“It’s called Hockey”
“How come they---
“How come you yelled?”
“How come NONONONONO?”
[heavy breathing]
“No Yelling Daddy!”
“It’s called Hockey”
“Ok Dad”
“See the puck?”
“It’s right there”
“Now it’s there”
“It’s there now”
“See it? It went there”
“Ok there it is there”
“I See it!”
“Ok they have to hit it into the net”
“And they ride ice skates”
“It’s like futbol”

[1:32 seconds pass]

“No Yelling Daddy!”
[heavy breathing]
“Mommy says how come there’s no goalie?”
“They pull the goalie to have more offensive players”
“But DAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaad”
“Yeah Buddy?”


“Dad they’re fighting!!!!!”
“No son they’re hugging.”
“How come?”
“Because they won the Stanley Cup Finals”
“How’d they win?”
“They scored two goals and the other team only scored one”
“That’s not enough Dad”
“Dad that’s only 3”
“Yeah 3 goals total, but one team has 2 and the other team 1”
“That’s not enough that’s only 3”
“You just have to have more goals than the other team to win”
“Because they got it into the tent?”
“Yeah they got it into the tent more”
“Now the other team is sad?”
“Yeah son they’re sad”
“They crying?”
“Yeah maybe, but it’s ok”
“It’s OK to cry?”
“It’s always OK to cry when you lose the Stanley Cup Finals”


“Dad I want to play Hockey with them!”
“With those guys?”
“Do you know how to ice skate?”
“Then you can’t play”
“I have to Ice skate first?”
“Yes, and you have to have a beard”
“A beard?”
“Yes, it’s in the rules”
“Ok let’s count beards”




“Dad I think I like Hockey”
“I think I like you”
“I like you too Dad”

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