Go Ask Daddy About Bus Gas, Lost Lobes and Political Ammunition

photo credit: Miss Mita via photopin cc
photo credit: Miss Mita via photopin cc

How much do you remember from your first birthday?

I’ll venture it’s about as much as I retained from the commencement speech at my high school graduation. That first birthday is for the parents, but it’s important. Especially for your first kid. Milestone, reached. That’s not so vain.

Ashley from The Confessions of a Working Mum brought me back  with her post about the plan for her daughter’s first birthday.

So the bugger can sit up and her head is finally of equal weight to the rest of her body. She’s still a baby – and one that won’t remember this day.

She’ll see the pictures, though. And get a sense for how lucky she is to grow up around so much love.

Here are my suggestions for that first birthday:

  • Keep it simple. Celebrate the little life. And a year of survival without sleep.
  • Let her eat cake. Her own baby-sized cake. She’ll wear most of it.
  • Get the photos. Crucial. Moms will remember. Dads aren’t forgetful; they’re just, in the moment.
  • Show the photos. Not just to prospective boyfriends. To the kid. Let them see how big their noggin was. The look like Miis on the Wii, but sweeter.
Marie and me. Birthday No. 1.
Marie and me. Birthday No. 1.

They’ll also see how thrilled their parents were that day. It’s just the first milestone in a journey loaded with miles, and that contains a few stones.

Let’s cut the cake. And by cut the cake, I mean answer some questions. (Unless someone brought cake. In that case, I call dibs on a corner slab).

Oh yeah: The Huffington Post asked me to pick my ideal Father’s Day gift. Hint: It had nothing to do with pizza or Jules Day. Check it out.

Oh yeah, part II: I’m on What The Flicka today, too. Read about the three movie dads I’d like to share a pizza with. Check this out, too.

1. Where do school buses get their gas?

photo credit: Lab2112 via photopin cc
photo credit: Lab2112 via photopin cc

From school lunches. Oh. That’s where the kids get it.

Most school systems have their own diesel gas pumps for buses.

Lately, some have switched to propane. It’s cleaner and greener. And it’s what we grill with.

Diesel is … you know what?

This is the most boring answer I’ve ever found in the history of Coach Daddy.

So here’s a video of a kid crashing a school bus into a gas station instead.

You’re welcome.

2. Doesn’t that animal on Star Wars take like six years to poop you out?

No, that’s you – after school lunch.

But it’s not six years – it’s a thousand years. Which is what it feels like between World Cups. (And that’s only four). The sarlaac, a plant-like pit creature, lived on several planets in Star Wars. It’s 100 meters long and has tentacles and a beak.

As C-3PO announced just before Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca had to walk the plank into the sarlaac: “In its belly, you will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly digested over a … thousand years.”

3. Is Matt Schaub still missing his ear?

photo credit: The Brit_2 via photopin cc
photo credit: The Brit_2 via photopin cc

Schaub, the former Houston Texans quarterback, left it all out on the field.

Well, his earlobe, at least.

Denver Broncos linebacker Joe Mays laid a hit so vicious in 2012 that it dislodged Schaub’s helmet and took with it a chunk of his ear.

It was impossible to locate the lobe, unlike the time Mike Tyson took a bite out of Evander Holyfield’s ear during a boxing match.

It gets worse for Schaub – this offseason, he signed with the oakland raiders.

4. Have any brothers ever played against each other in the NFL playoffs?

Jim Harbaugh photo credit: Monica's Dad via photopin cc
Jim Harbaugh photo credit: Monica’s Dad via photopin cc

I … HEAR they haven’t.

Not Eli and Peyton Manning. Not Eddie and Walter Payton. Not even Rocket and Missile Ismail. Jim and John Harbaugh, though, coached against each other in Super Bowl XLVII. We called it the Harbaugh Bowl.

John’s Baltimore Ravens beat Jim’s San Francisco 49ers 34-31. Baltimore shouldn’t have even been in that game. Denver allowed a last-minute BS touchdown in the AFC title game by a BS quarterback that sent the game to BS overtime for the BS Ravens to win on a field goal.

Not that I’m bitter or anything.

5. Walmart sells guns, right?

photo credit: tsweden via photopin cc
photo credit: tsweden via photopin cc

They do, and to some people, it’s a much more serious topic than severed ears and school-bus gas.

CNN Money says 1,800 of Walmart’s 4,000 stores sell guns.

Of those, 1,200 sell semi-automatic weapons, as the killer in the Sandy Hook shootings used.

As recently as 2006, Walmart phased guns out of most of its stores. In 2011, Walmart added guns back after slumping sales for two consecutive quarters.

After the Sandy Hook incident, semiautomatic weapons sold out in five states for Walmart. Maybe people were afraid gun laws were about to get tougher.

I vote Republican, but I’m not that far right. I won’t dig in my heels for gun rights.

I will take a stand on things like Easter baskets with toy guns in them. That’s a place I can stand firm. Whether you believe in Jesus or not, a gun in an Easter basket just … ain’t right. It’s worse than vegetables in lasagna.

And that’s wrong anywhere. Even in your school lunch.




  1. laurie27wsmith says:

    Don’t have a picture of any birthday parties at all Eli, sad really. then again we only had pictures taken when relatives with a camera visited. I can remember back to 18 months old though. I was extremely ill and my mother sat with me by the fire, through several long days and nights. She had a circular jigsaw puzzle and I can remember it to this day, two scuba divers swimming under a reef. She held me up to have a look at it, amazing really. A thousand years in a critters guts getting digested uh? I’d probably give it colic.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I remember a time that not everyone had a camera in their pocket. And if they did, you had to take the film in to develop. Now, you take a ton and they’re online before your birthday cake is digested.

      Wow, 18 months? Those are the things a mom does for her son, aren’t they?

      I just found out Boba Fett blasted his way out of the sarlaac’s digestive tract. No word on which way he came out.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        True, we finally bought a second hand Brownie Box camera before we came to Oz. It was a long time between taking the pic and developing.
        Sadly the love didn’t last too long. It became controlling and overbearing. At least she nurtured me for awhile.
        Blasting out, hmm. It could have been theatrical and he flew out in a large bubble of methane.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Now look at you, with the stellar photography. You’ve come a long way, mate.

      3. laurie27wsmith says:

        Why thank you but to tell you the truth Eli, I wish the DSLR cameras were around years ago. I always went with the cheapest cameras and never quite got the good pics. Now it’s damn the expense and of course I’m studying the whole process so it makes a difference.

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        You’re invested in it, mate, and the results are excellent.

      5. laurie27wsmith says:

        Thanks Mate, I appreciate that.

  2. Aaawww, first birthdays are definitely for the parents! C was just asking about it just the other day, and we were looking at his raspberry sheet cake:

    I won’t even go there to comment on weapons in America.
    Just tell me this: who would put veggies in their lasagna?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      And the family – that’s who it’s for. And it looks like C eats his cake the way I still do.

      The gun stuff isn’t our proudest moment here … we have a few like that. Veggies in lasagna is just communist, if you ask me. It’s like forcing you to buy tickets to see a crappy team if you want some for the good teams.

      that seems communist to me, too. Or fascist, at least.

  3. crimsonowl63 says:

    Birthday parties for one year olds wasn’t a thing 30 years ago so none of my children had one. Birthdays were spent with mom and dad, siblings (for the younger two) and grandma and grandpa. These giant kids parties every year for children these days seem a bit much to me, but then I am old. hahahaha

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’m 38, and I’ve seen pictures of my first birthday. It was like it should be – just family, a modest cake, a small bounty of presents, but the thing I remember most is my mom’s smile and the happiness in the picture.

      I’m with you on the giant parties for kids.

      Party theme? Good. Cotton-candy maker and petting zoo and bounce house for a 1 year old? Maybe a bit much.

      1. mangocage says:

        I’ve just been looking through photos of my first birthday party- I’m 38 too- and it was HUGE, but the photos are all of my parents holding me and looking delighted. We settled for picnic in the park for my daughter’s 1st birthday, and there are photos of us holding her looking just as delighted.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        That’s what it’s all about – so that that 1-year-old can always know what joy they brought into the world.

  4. Was just actually talking about how we went a bit over the top on the first birthday thing with a friend yesterday actually. Crazy and still not sure why we do this when the baby indeed is too little and truly won’t remember much at all. But will say both times the cake consumption and wearing of it by both my girls were definitely had!! 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      What did you do that was over the top? I think there’s an excuse for unbridled enthusiasm – but I think some of us want to look good on Facebook when we post about it.

      Cake belongs in a 1-year-old’s hair. And ears. And nose. And the wall. and …

  5. claywatkins says:

    first birthdays….. one of my summer projects was to backup all of our digital photos to something more permanent…and it forces me to go back in time… I remember my kid’s first birthdays well. W, our first, was when I was student teaching and it seems millions years ago, though it was only 16. we were analog and we have the photos buried somewhere. O, the second, was five years later and we had made the leap to digital and a had a good camera; so we we have 159 photos of the event. I don’t remember my first birthday, but I remember there’s.

    And as a middle school teacher, I can verify, the gas for the bus comes from the kids! LOL

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s like reliving the whole thing, isn’t it? Do you have any pictures from your first birthday? I had a bowl cut and was wearing pajamas. Maybe I should do a throwback this year.

      If only middle school gas could be harvested somehow, maybe we could tell the Middle East “thanks, but no thanks!”

  6. Dana says:

    I remember lovingly make a birthday cake for each of my kids’ first birthdays, even though they couldn’t have cared less. Once they did care, they wanted a good cake, so I started buying them. My kids are no dummies! Oh, and I’m choosing to ignore your bitterness regarding the Ravens. Let it go, Eli. And happy, happy Father’s Day to one of the most awesome dads I’ve never met in person!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Well, that’s what moms do for their babies, right? I’ll always hope for the homemade cake, but will never scoff at the boxed one.

      I got a little carried away on the bitterness. I knew the moment the game started it was going to be a bad day. I have that ability sometimes, to sniff out a bad game before it stops – but I have no answer as to how to stop it.

      If I don’t let go of a little bitterness here and there, I’m going to hate all 31 other teams. It’s a good list: the seahawks, ravens, steelers, 49ers, redskins, giants, chargers, chiefs, patriots. Wow. Your Ravens aren’t alone.

      And that’s just football.

      Thank you for the Father’s Day wishes. I hope I can shake this summer cold before Sunday. If not, it’ll be cough drops and World Cup on the couch. Which isn’t that bad now that I think about it.

  7. ksbeth says:

    i think simple is key here. mostly for the parent and their memories of the event. i agree about the real source of school bus gas.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      i think there’s something to celebrate in making it through that first year – especially for a first-time parent. so let’s eat cake.

  8. NotAPunkRocker says:

    1st Birthday for Matthew we had cupcakes. I figured it was more than enough for him to handle.

    BTW, no Jennifer Lawrence at the graduation ceremony this week. Actually, no special speakers at all…the school board members got up, said congratulations and that was all. Best ceremony ever!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Cupcakes are an excellent choice, even for my 43rd birthday this fall, in fact. That might be more than I can handle, but I’ll give it my best.

      It seems like Jennifer Lawrence would upgrade any graduation ceremony, anywhere. I like that approach though, quick and painless, like when people on TV get married. It’s over in 2 minutes.

  9. I love your perspective on first birthdays. They really are for the parents. I also have to say that poor Frances has less photographic evidence of her because it was pre-Facebook (for me) and I ‘m no good at photo storage!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Rabia. I know that when I see my pictures from my first birthday, and hear that I kicked the cake (on accident? I’ll never tell), and remember the cowboys and indians figures on the cake, I know I had a loving family looking out for me.

      For Frances, maybe she’ll find cave paintings somewhere. Now parents can live-tweet through a first birthday party. Or live-Instragram. Is that a thing?

  10. When I met my family for ice cream last weekend at the local hobby/ice cream shop there was a man that had just finished painting a sarlaac the inside the bell of a sousaphone… It was kind of cool.

    Star Wars is one of my favs!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Very cool – if I was the sousaphone player, I’d glue a Boba Fett on the edge for added effect.

      Star Wars is a way of life.

  11. Katie @ Pick Any Two says:

    “Dads aren’t forgetful; they’re just, in the moment.” My husband is cheering you on right now for saying that. Except that he’s not because we’re also Ravens fans…don’t hate us!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      That sentence explains so much, doesn’t it? We dads are all zen, not just space cadet. I won’t hate you too much for the Ravens thing. The scars Seattle left are so much fresher!

  12. tamaralikecamera says:

    I can’t believe I have to disagree with you but I do. Once I ordered a lasagna at a restaurant and it had.. surprise vegetables in it. Like you’d just be eating your noodles, meat and cheese, and there’d be.. get this.. a flat, star-shaped carrot between layers.
    How can you not find love for surprise, flat, star-shaped carrots?
    Maybe it wasn’t supposed to be there, but I think it was.
    Well we did Des’ birthday today and we did it quite like a first birthday. Small. Simple. Cake. Food dyes. Photos. And a long nap, that is allowing me to be here right now.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      This is OK, T-Bow. I’d have sent it back to the kitchen. Call me old-fashioned, but I think my salad and pasta shouldn’t hop on the same fork together.

      I can love finding flat, star-shaped carrots all day – just not between lasagna noodles.

      Was it just one? That might have been a sign from God.

      That’s the kind of birthday I can get behind for my 43rd. Whenever that happens.

  13. Kim says:

    Hooray – I hope you get your Brooks running shoes!!!
    That’s crazy about the guy losing his ear lobe on the field – what a mess!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’d settle for Champion brand running shoes from Target – mine are falling apart! I felt less bad because Matt Schaub played for the team going against the Denver Broncos – does that make me a bad person?

  14. I never understood the huge first birthday thing. We never really bought toy guns for our kids, but they’d make them out of legos and sticks, and I know they did have a few that they played with (although I couldn’t tell you where they got them). Once my youngest packed a toy gun in his luggage…that was not lovely when we got stopped. Lesson learned. Always review what a 6 year old packs. The only guns we have here are paintball ones.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’ve always believed in the understated celebration against the circus party for any age, especially 1.

      We have supersoakers and Nerf guns around, and have fun with them, but the thought of a toy machine gun in an Easter basket just seems wrong.

      I remember the uncle of one of my girls’ friends rounding up the weapons from their room when my girls came to visit. Two boys, two arm loads of guns and swords.

      Truth is, they probably would have gone for a spirited sword fight. Who wouldn’t?

  15. My motto, for all of their birthdays really, was that the birthday kid should at least have fun… no crying. As they got older, I often bought several pints of their favorite ice creams, tons of toppings and dumped all the ice cream in one bowl, and put a candle on top. The kids thought that was “soooo cool!” They all just dug in; germs be damned! This is Such a sweet post. You are a very good writer; I enjoy your style and “voice.”

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      That should be the focus of any party, at any age! At 42, an ice cream cake sounds awesome to me. And the germs didn’t kill us, back in the day.

      (Of course, with peanut allergies now, things are different. It’s not the germs I fear).

      Thanks for the kind words. I’m grateful to Toby for sharing your excellent post, which allowed me to find you.

      1. Who is Toby? I think I missed something… but I’m grateful too, as I’ve enjoyed reading yours as well. 😀

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        He’s the guy behind Dumbass News … I believe he shared your post on Google Plus, and that’s where I found it.

      3. Duh. I’m so used to calling him “Fearless”, that I didn’t recognize him. Toby’s THE best. He’s been so supportive of my blog, and me, for ages! Love his sense of humor and kind heart. He’s no Dumbass! 😉

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        I prefer calling him Toby than Dumbass – on *most* occasions! He’s a great advocate.

  16. PS) not to mention our mutual love of Star Wars! 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Star Wars lovers get a warm welcome around here, Dawn.

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