Manha Manha

Whenever our family goes on trips, Dude and I inevitably have to share a bed. This would be fine except for a few facts:

  1. We are both grown adults and hotel beds aren’t particularly large.
  2. Dude wakes up during the night at least once and either falls back asleep immediately or stays awake for multiple hours.
  3. I am a light-ish sleeper.
  4. Especially when I’m in any place that isn’t my own bedroom.
  5. I become a tall two-year-old when I am sleep deprived.

When we last left off on our Maryland adventure, we were on our way to that great state and Dude was jumping out of his skin excited.

As I mentioned in my last post, we hate noon games. The reason we hate noon games is because the band begins rehearsal four hours prior to kickoff. And Dude needs to see rehearsal in its entirety. Which means we need to be on campus by 8am at the very latest. Which means we need to wake up at 5:30am so 3/4 of the family can shower. (Yours truly is the only smart one who showers at night.)

On Friday night, everyone got in bed around 10:30-11pm with the 5:30am wake up time in mind. Dude passed out immediately. Our parents fell asleep quickly. I proceeded to lay there with my eyes wide open. I was finally starting to get sleepy at 12:30am when Dude popped out of bed and rushed over to where his Maryland jersey was hanging to examine it.

Dude has never attempted to leave a hotel room before, but my brain subconsciously decided it wasn’t taking any chances. It took about 10 minutes to convince him to get back in bed, and then he laid there humming until about 4-4:30am. Or at least that’s when I finally fell asleep.

Fell asleep at 4:30am. Alarm set for 5:30am. Tall two-year-old when sleep deprived.

Luckily, I was so excited to see friends that adrenaline carried me through Saturday. The day was beautiful, the Terps won, and Dude was the happiest camper you ever did see. (He had a few freak outs, but they were of the IHAVESOMANYHAPPYEMOTIONSANDIDONTKNOWHOWTOHANDLETHEM variety rather than the THISISTHEWORSTGETMEOUTOFHERE variety.)

At the end of the game, my friends were all, “Let’s go out in DC tonight!” And I was all, “HAHA no.”

I’m exhausted. Dude’s exhausted. Everyone is going to sleep well. It’s going to be great.

At 3:28am I was awoken by Dude shooting out of bed and running across the room to the closet area, presumably looking for his jersey.

Oh heeeeeeccckkk no, I thought. (Ok, let’s be real. “Heck” wasn’t the word I thought.)

“Get back in bed,” I hissed.

Dude wandered back over to the bed and stood on his side wringing his hands.

“Get back in bed,” I repeated.

He finally did. At 4:00am.

And this is where my life gets hilarious.

Dude has a habit of humming to himself when he’s in bed and not quite asleep. It’s his comfort thing.

When he laid down, he hummed nothing notes for a few seconds. Then he began singing,

“Doo doooo doo doo doo. Phenomenon. Doo doo doo doo. Phenomenon.

Doo dooooo doo doo doo. Phenomenon. Doo doo doo doo. Phenomenon.

Doo doooo doo doo doo. Phenomenon. Doo doo doo doo. Phenomenon.

Doo doooo doo doo doo. Phenomenon. Doo doo doo doo. Phenomenon.

Doo doooo doo doo doo. Phenomenon. Doo doo doo doo. Phenomenon.

Doo doooo doo doo doo. Phenomenon. Doo doo doo doo. Phenomenon.

Doo doooo doo doo doo. Phenomenon. Doo doo doo doo. Phenomenon.

Doo doooo doo doo doo. Phenomenon. Doo doo doo doo. Phenomenon.

Doo doooo doo doo doo. Phenomenon. Doo doo doo doo. Phenomenon.

Doo doooo doo doo doo. Phenomenon. Doo doo doo doo. Phenomenon.

Doo doooo doo doo doo. Phenomenon. Doo doo doo doo. Phenomenon.

Doo doooo doo doo doo. Phenomenon. Doo doo doo doo. Phenomenon.

Doo doooo doo doo doo. Phenomenon. Doo doo doo doo. Phenomenon.

Doo doooo doo doo doo. Phenomenon. Doo doo doo doo. Phenomenon.

Doo doooo doo doo doo. Phenomenon. Doo doo doo doo. Phenomenon.

Doo doooo doo doo doo. Phenomenon. Doo doo doo doo. Phenomenon.

Doo doooo doo doo doo. Phenomenon. Doo doo doo doo. Phenomenon.”

That went on for 30 minutes.

It’s moments like these, when you’re in a hotel room in Maryland and it’s 4am and you’re so tired and your brother is singing a song from The Muppets Show that you’re like, “HOW IS THIS MY LIFE RIGHT NOW?!?”

Editor’s note: It’s the song “Manha Manha” from The Muppets Show. But for some reason, Dude almost always says “phenomenon” instead of “Manha manha.”


Traffic Trouble

This past weekend was the annual family trip down to the University of Maryland to attend a football game. Otherwise known to Dude as The-Best-Weekend-Of-The-Entire-Year. (And just to be clear, I’m the one who attended Maryland. Not him.)

The reason the annual trip is Dude’s favorite is because of his deep and abiding love for the Mighty Sound of Maryland. (If you type “Mighty Sound…” or “marching band” into the search bar on this blog, you will find countless entries that attest to this fact.)

We headed down to Maryland on Friday afternoon since we had to get an early start on the festivities on Saturday. (Noon games are the bane of our existence.)

Our plan was to get on the highway by 3:30pm at the latest, so naturally we didn’t get underway till 4:30pm. I-95 during Friday rush hour. Lovely.

The second I got in the car, Dude began his litany of Maryland-isms in his sing-songy voice. “All gone for the marching band. All gone for the marching band. All gone! Soon we go to Maryland. Maryland football game. Maryland marching band. All gone for the practice field. All gone. Soon we go to the practice field.. to see the Mighty Sound of Maryland! All gone for the practice field!” (This went on for three hours. No exaggeration.)

Excitement was radiating off of his skin. He wanted to get to Maryland to see the marching band. Now.

He must have been frustrated with our slow pace because at some point during our crawl along 95, Dude suddenly sang,

“Noooobody knows the trouble I’ve seeeeen. Nooobody knows my sorrow.”

Dad almost ran off the road from laughing so hard.

Dude’s Holy Grail

When the family takes our annual trip to the University of Maryland, we close out the weekend with breakfast at our favorite diner and a trip to the university bookstore. We go to the bookstore with a plan. In the week leading up to the trip, we have brainstormed what new Maryland clothing or Maryland swag Dude might need. When we arrive, we fan out in search of a gold, long-sleeved t-shirt or a new pair of sweatpants or a new baseball hat.

Mom is the most thorough of our group. Soon enough, she has Dad’s arms laden with clothing for Dude. She moves on to the baseball hat section and appears to be putting every single hat on Dude’s non-accommodatingly large head. 90% of them are too small.

Dude is a champ. He doesn’t resist at all as hats are plopped on his head and shirts and pants are held up to his body for size comparison. The bookstore is hot. I tend to run the coldest in the group, and even I’m sweating. Dude must be dying, I think. But he’s pleasant as ever.

By this point, I’ve been sent over to the cashier at least twice to ask questions about return policies and whether such and such product comes in such and such size. He’s eying us somewhat warily, apparently amused that we seem to have touched every product in the store. We’ve been here for 45 minutes.

Dad and I are fading.

“We’ve looked at everything,” I whine (I’m more of a get in, get out shopper). “Can we just pay already?”

“I want to look over there at the pennants!” Mom announces. She marches off with Dude in tow.

We give her a few minutes before we follow.

We find her standing in the pennants section, but she isn’t looking at them. She’s looking at Dude with an “uh oh” look on her face.

photo 3 (2)That’s when we turn our attention to Dude. He is rooted to the spot, staring at, what he considers, the holy grail of Maryland swag.

It’s a banner with the words of the Maryland Victory Song. Dude’s favorite song.

He extends his arm towards it and looks at Mom and Dad with an expression that says, “Can I? Can I PLEASE have it? Please? Pretty please? I want it! I need it! IT’S THE MARYLAND VICTORY SONG. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.”

Mom hesitates and lowers her voice to talk to me and Dad, “That would make a really good Christmas present. Maybe you can get this for him when you come down again in December?”

“Are you joking?” I ask. “It’s the only thing he has sought out himself in the store today! Just let him get it now.”

Mom and Dad relent. Dude is victorious. He gets his banner and clutches it in his hand. He only separates with it so the cashier can ring it up.

8 Photos of Dude in His Happy Place That Will Make You Happy

Many online forums (Buzzfeed, HuffPo, Thought Catalog) have been using countdowns to title their posts, so I thought I’d hop on that bandwagon to snag your attention.

Recently, Dude got to go to his happy place.

Otherwise known as the University of Maryland.

First, he got “in the zone” while watching the marching band run its practice several hours before kickoff.

photo (7)

photo 1

Then, we got to the stadium about 40 minutes before kickoff because you HAVE to see the teams running their drills and you CAN’T miss the band trucking in or performing their pregame show. (God forbid the Maryland football announcer ever quits or dies. I don’t know what Dude would do if someone else announced “The Miiiiightyyy Souuuuuuuuund of Marrrrrrylaaannnnndddddd!”)

And then, Dude ran through all his scripts and smiled and giggled and had a grand old time.

photo 2

photo 4

Pure joy

photo 3

photo 5

photo 2 (2)

Note the blurriness of his hands. He was either clapping or flapping in his excitement.

photo 1 (2)

See? Aren’t you happy now?


Soon we go to Maryland?

Two things are important for you to know in order to appreciate this story:

  1. Dude’s love for the University of Maryland is not a casual thing. He knows the words to most of the school songs (I’m willing to bet 85% of Maryland grads don’t know the Alma Mater by heart like he does). He knows the drum cadences. He knows “The Truck” inside out and backwards. He knows the tone of the football announcer’s voice.
  2. Dude has a reading comprehension level somewhere between 3rd and 5th grade. He can also spell, especially words that relate to his special interests. It’s worth noting that Maryland’s victory song ends with spelling it’s name, “M-A-R-Y-L-A-N-D, Maryland will win!” Because expressive language isn’t one of Dude’s strengths, people often forget about his other word-related talents.

In Dude’s mind, autumn = Maryland.

Once the annual family vacation is over, Dude starts talking about the next major event due up, which is the annual family trip to a Maryland football game.

Hang out with Dude for 15 minutes between August and October/November, and this is what you’ll probably hear:

“Maryland! Soon we go to Maryland! In the fall! In the fall we go to Maryland. In November. In November we go to Maryland. Practice field! Soon we go to the practice field. No practice field. The Miiiiiighty Souuuuuuund of Marrrrrrrrryland! No saxophone! Maryland allll gone. All gone for Maryland. Maryland alllll finished. Football game. Soon we go to the football game.”

On loop. In his classic sing-songy voice.

As much as I love that he loves my university’s band and football team and that he has the language to express just HOW MUCH HE LOVES IT, it can get a teeeeeeny tiiiiiiny bit annoying.

Apparently Dude’s Maryland loop has not gone unnoticed by the staffers at his residential placement.

When we were visiting a couple weekends ago, one of the staffers asked us, “Umm are you guys going to M-a-r-y-l-a-n-d soon?” She spelled out “Maryland,” hoping to avoid a Dude Maryland-tangent.

“HAHAHAHAHA!” I laughed out loud as Dude’s head snapped around. “Spelling it isn’t going to help you! It’s one of Dude’s favorite words to spell.”

“SOON WE GO TO MARYLAND!” Dude said excitedly as he crossed the room and reached out to touch my chin to prompt me to echo him.

My brother is a traitor–Maryland vs. Penn State

Those of you who obsess over NCAA sports may have heard that Maryland decided to leave the ACC for the Big 10.

Last week, I received an email from Maryland’s Athletic Department, outlining the 2014 football schedule. Yep. Not THIS season’s schedule, but NEXT season’s schedule.

And there it was.

November 1, 2014.

Maryland vs. Penn State AT Happy Valley.

Dude’s two favorite teams. His two favorite marching bands.

Mom called me while she was visiting with Dude last night so I could talk to him as well.

Dude’s concept of time isn’t great–or at least we think it isn’t–but I decided I simply HAD to tell him about this magical event.

“Dude!” I yelled into the phone, giddy with excitement, “Guess who Maryland football is playing next year?”



“Penn State, yo!” Dude responded happily.

“Who are you going to cheer for?” I asked.

I structured the order of the options very specifically. If you give Dude two spoken word options without tangible visible cues, he tends to repeat whatever option you say last.

“Penn State or Maryland?” I asked.

“Penn State!” Dude responded instantaneously.

Sigh. I don’t think Dude quite grasps team loyalty.

Do the Harlem Shake

In honor of Mother’s Day, we headed up to Dude’s house with plans to go out for a late lunch.

Soon after we walked in, Dude spotted my new iPhone (I took the plunge and recently made the switch from Droid. All I can say is the iPhone is about 1000x more intuitive to use than my Droid ever was).

Dude made a grab for my phone and tried to swipe it open. He realized he needed a password to get into it.

“CON LOS TERRORISTAS! AH. AH. AH,” he said excitedly as he handed my phone back to me.

“Do you want to watch the Maryland Harlem Shake?” I asked.

“Yes! Yes!” Dude nodded happily.

Somehow, some way, the media team at University of Maryland got the students to follow instructions and put on this display at the annual game against Duke (Duke, in Maryland’s eye, is our arch rival.. Although Coach K and the rest of the ACC seem to think we’re delusional).

The video’s existence is kind of a miracle considering that Maryland fans are notorious for paying little mind to authority and doing whatever they darn well please. Don’t believe me? Do an internet search and you’ll find multiple articles naming us the worst college basketball fans in the country. Ironically, the struggle for worst fans almost always comes down to us and Duke. It’s a badge we wear with honor 🙂

Anyway, this video is one of Dude’s favorites to watch. So thank you, Maryland students, for making it happen!