“Just take this in there and scoop the poop out of the diaper with the spoon provided.”

“Excuse me?” I said utterly bewildered with newness to daddy-hood.

Maybe I should back up a little bit. I know that I’m still very new to this being a parent thing, hell, our daughter is three months old but what this day held in store for me I didn’t sign up for when I agreed to impregnate my wife.

Earlier this morning my wife and I took our daughter to the doctors. I’ve never been a fan of doctors (what man really is?) but I like our daughter’s pediatrician.

“Hey guys, what’s going on today?” Dr. Sloan asked. As doctors do.

“Well,” my wife took control of the situation. As wives do. “Her poops have been smelling like ammonia for the past two days and we’re concerned.”

When she says “we’re concerned” she really means “she’s concerned”. I’m more old school and kept saying, “Whatever she’s got she’ll shit it out.”

“Does she have a fever?” Dr. Sloan asked.

“No.” My wife answered.

“How about a loss of appetite?”


“Has she been fussy?”


This is where I wanted to say, “See, for once, I’m right.” But as always, I wasn’t.

“Well, I’m going to write you a prescription.”

“For what?” I thought to myself. Didn’t my wife just say that our kids fine other than her poop smelling like ammonia? Well, it turns out that you need a prescription to have specialist examine your child’s stool sample. Only in America.

Scribbling on her note pad she said, “When she has her next stool sample, keep the diaper and take it to this address.” She tore the paper from her doctor notepad and handed it to us.

So I did as I was instructed. The next time baby pooped, I put the evidence into a gallon sized zip lock bag and took it to the laboratory. While signing in they place a large sandwich size zip lock bag in front of me. On it, in huge black bold capital letters read the word “BIOHAZARD”.

“Here you go.” I said, while attempting to hand them my zip lock bag full of soiled diaper.

“Ha, ha, ha…no Mr. Lassen. You have to transfer the sample from the diaper into a plastic cup. Just take this in there and scoop the poop out of the diaper with the spoon provided.”

“Excuse me?” I said utterly bewildered with newness to daddy-hood.

“Here are some plastic gloves for you. Bathrooms right there to your left.”

I felt dirty.

I thought to myself, “Let me get this straight. You want me to go and scrape the poop out of my daughter’s hour’s old dirty diaper with a spoon and put it in a plastic cup?” I know times are tough in this current economy but who knew that the first to be let go from laboratories were the “dirty diaper shit scrapers.”

“Make sure to get as much as you can. I find that it’s sometimes better to use the cup itself to scoop up the sample rather then use the spoon.”

I rolled up my sleeves, looked them all in the eyes, “That sounded like a challenge. And I accept you challenge.” I grabbed my bags and made my way to the bathroom. I strategically placed all the items in front of me in order of their use from left to right. First up, the green plastic gloves, so that the shit sample doesn’t get contaminated. It’s odd when the priority is to not get shit on your hands for the shits sake. “Shit getting contaminated.” It just made me laugh. All of us men are really 12 year old boys at heart and I’m no exception. Juvenile moment over, back to work.

I struggled slipping the tiny green glove over my big paw that I call a left hand.



I popped my head out of the bathroom door. “Excuse me. Can I get another glove?”

They all laughed and I was handed another green glove.

Maybe it’ll go on easier if I place it on my hand as far as it go, blow into it and it’ll inflate it?



Before I could open the bathroom door to ask for yet, another green glove, there was a knock at the door.

“Occupied.” I said prying the broken glove off my hand.

“Mr. Lassen, it sounded to us out here like you are in need of another glove.”

I opened the door and the nice man laughing handed me another green glove.

After some careful struggling, I got the gloves on.

The smell that wafted out of the zip lock bag with the grubby diaper when I un-zipped it was… well, it was not pleasant. And I grew up on a farm, so I know “unpleasant” smells. It didn’t help any that it had a few hours to ferment. I placed the plastic cup down, unscrew the cap and place it on a paper towel. I was not about to get shit all over the place except for in the cup or on my nifty green gloves. I unwrapped the spoon from its wrapper.

“What the fuck is this?”

It was a tongue depressor not a spoon.

“Great. Just great.”

While I was standing there in my tight green gloves, scraping shit out of my daughter’s soiled diaper with a tongue depressor I thought to myself, “Now, I know and have known many people with kids, and I have NEVER heard of anyone else EVER having to do this. This is the type of things parents don’t tell people thinking about having kids because if they did, those people would get a hamster instead.”

I came out of the bathroom, mission accomplished.

“Thank you Mr. Lassen.”

“Oh no, thank you for this experience.”

“Ummm, Mr. Lassen?”

“Yes.” I said proudly, expecting him to complement me on my immaculate shit scraping skills. I was wrong.

“This may not be enough. Did you get as much as you could?”

“There wasn’t much to get.”

He reached behind the counter and handed me another plastic zip lock bag with the word, “BIOHAZARD!” written on it. Inside it was a set of green plastic gloves, a plastic cup and a “spoon”.

“We may need you to collect more samples if this isn’t enough to perform all the test. We’ll call and let you know.”

“And that’s one call I’ll be looking forward to. Thank you kind sir.”

“Have a good weekend Mr. Lassen.”

“You to.” It’ll be best if I don’t have to treasure hunting in my daughter’s diaper anymore.

Oh, the things we parents do for our kids. I’m just finding out and I have a feeling that this is only the beginning.

I AM The Hollywood Clown

“Don’t mention Easter, they’re Jewish!!!”

“So it’s just a birthday party?”

“Yes. Remember to do a good job, they’re my cousins.”

“I always do my best.”

I did very well, as usual, and not once did I mention that it was Easter. At the end of the party, the mom handed me a bag.

“Here you go, ‘Honey Bear.’ Lollypops for the kids…” she said excitedly.

Then her voice turned to a whisper as she finished her sentence.

“They’re kosher.”

“The kids or the lollypops?” I whispered back.

She didn’t find it nearly as funny as I did.

I AM The Hollywood Clown.

Category: Easter, Mom Stories

Eric, or has most people know him, Sharpo, is the reason I started doing kid’s parties. Sharpo and I go back almost 20 years, I met him soon after I first moved to Los Angeles to feed my acting addiction. We’ve performed together (and still do on occasion) doing murder mystery’s, worked together in not one, but two sketch groups, played music together and entertained at the occasional birthday party. Like all L.A. relationships, we’ve grown apart at times and went for a long time without seeing one another. We reconnected a few years ago at a yard sale. My yard sale to be exact. He was walking with his family – yes, Eric had become a family man, and I came to find out that he also lived down the street from my wife and I. We are both new fathers, twice over and are both now in our 40’s. I hear it’s the new 20’s, only with less aches and pains.

When Eric asked me if I would be interested in being interviewed for his online “Sharpo Says” blog talk radio show, how could I say no? He is the man responsible for me wondering into the world of children’s birthday parties, no “if’s”, “and’s” or “but’s”, it WAS 100% his doing. And that experience awakened a sleeping desire in me, the desire to write a book.

Thank you Eric.

You can listen to the interview here – http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sharpo/2011/02/15/sharpo-says-interview-with-actor-author-jason-lassen

I AM The Hollywood Clown

“Do you know what you’re having yet?”

It doesn’t matter if it’s a family member, close friend or the checkout lady at the grocery store; it’s the inevitable question that always follows once people hear that you are expecting a child. “No, we’re not finding out. As long as it’s healthy we don’t care either way.”

Then comes the look of, “Yah, right.”

But for us it’s true. And I’m sure if you ask any parent that has ever lost a child, they would agree. There is no worse feeling in the world than going to an ultra sound and having the Dr. say, “There’s no heartbeat.” I realize that it was natures way of saying that they embryo was unhealthy and it made the difficult decision for us of terminating the pregnancy. It still doesn’t make it any easier.

An acquaintance of mine had his twins born a few months premature and one of them unfortunately did not make it.

A friend of mine lost her child, days before her due date, because its umbilical chord had gotten tangled up and knotted in utero. She had to still go through a ten hour labor to give birth to a child that she would never get a chance to see it take it’s first steps, to fall in love, to laugh and cry.

One of my cousin’s and his wife had their baby born four months premature and everyday was a struggle for it to cling to life.

Notice, in the three stories above, I never revealed any of the child’s sexes? Does that make any of them less sad?

My wife and I already have a daughter, fortunately a very healthy one, with a very healthy temper to boot. We are expecting our second child in October and every time we hear from the Dr. that everything looks good, I breathe a silent sigh of relief to myself. Earlier during the pregnancy, we had to have some extra test done because the Dr.’s said that my wife’s blood test came back with things indicating that the baby might have downs syndrome. It’s great that today’s technology can give parents a heads up to something of this magnitude so that they can properly prepare both mentally and emotionally for any added challenges to the already difficult job of being a parent. Anyone with a child can attest, raising a child is hard, but raising a child with any sort of health issues makes it even harder. This type of information is important to me. I would take the info of my child being healthy over the info of its gender any day.

There are so few real pleasant surprises in life these days, I think waiting for the day that you’re your child arrives in your life and in your family to find out if you have a boy or a girl is one of the last true surprises. It’s always been funny to me how differently people act toward the baby, while it’s still in it’s mommy’s belly after they find out what it is. It will have a whole lifetime to live up to and to be categorized, like a book in a library, to it’s expected gender role, why not give it 9 months to just be a baby? Why the big hurry? But to some, the really macho guy who NEEDS to have a son because, “only a man can make a man!” (are we still cavemen?) or the people who are control freaks, I guess it is important. Nothing against my control freak friends, you’re fun to watch.

And there are some out there, you know who you are, that really do want a boy or a girl but feel that it’s taboo to admit to it. I can completely understand that if you already have a child and you only plan on having two, that it would be nice to be able to experience the parenting trials and tribulations, that one day become specific for each gender.

To me, there was no feeling like assisting in bringing my child into this world, raising them high (like in ROOTS or The Lion King), and announcing to the world that I have a daughter.

A beautiful and healthy daughter.

I AM The Hollywood Clown

“Mommy, Daddy, look! It’s Santa! Can I tell him what I want for Christmas?”

Then IT happens.

Your child gets on Santa’s lap and she screams bloody murder. And rightfully so. After all, you spend January through November telling her not to talk to strangers, yet here you are, telling her that not only is it “ok” to sit on his lap, but to also be sure to take candy from him.

I guess it would be worse if your kids had to watch all the other kids do it and they weren’t allowed to participate. Oh, wait… We call those kids Jewish. Did you ever see the episode of “Friends” where Ross dressed up like the Hannukah armadillo because his son was half Jewish, yet was all into Santa? Well, it was very funny. I miss my “Friends.”

Speaking of friends, I’m here to give you, my friends, a little advice on how to avoid the “Screaming child on Santa’s lap” episode. Having done many parties as the white-bearded one in my day, I can honestly say that we don’t like having a screaming child on our laps. Screaming children sometimes feel the need to hit, grab or worse: relieve themselves. The human fight or flight response is a cruel joke to Santas everywhere.

So here’s a quick tutorial:
One: Test the waters. What do you do before you go into a pool? You cautiously put a toe into the water to see if it’s to your liking. Think of visiting Santa the same way. From a safe distance, see if your child is curious about Santa. If he seems to be then…

Two: Move closer to Santa – and it’s better if you don’t acknowledge him unless the child acknowledges him first. Now the best thing is if the Santa knows well enough to also follow a scared child’s lead. If the child says nothing, Santa should also say nothing. I’ve seen many a Santa scare a nervous child from a distance just by saying, “Hello.”

Getting close to Santa is one thing, sitting on his lap is a whole different ball game. Batter up!

Three: With your child in hand, stand next to Santa.  Good? Then…

Four: Kneel down next to Santa. Kid still not screaming? Moving on…

BONUS TIP – One parent should ALWAYS be at the ready to snap the photo that will line the refrigerators of Friends and Family for months. When I say at the ready, I mean that you have the camera framed up and finger on the button. As photo taker you must also be ready to trade places with the other parent. Kids are unpredictably predictable and they may have a moment where it’s imperative that the other parent take them to see Santa.

Five: Slowly – and I can’t stress this enough – slowly try placing your child on Santa’s lap and walk around in front of Santa (be sure to not be in the way of the parent taking the photo). Hopefully your child will watch the parent who set them down and you’ll have a nanosecond where the child is on Santa’s lap, looking ahead for photos, and most importantly, not screaming. Your child may seem ok, but remember, at any moment he could blow. So the parent manning the camera should be snapping away. With digital, it’s totally worth it to take a bunch of photos. You can always trash the bad ones.

There you have it. Easy.

One last thing: children change from year to year, so one year they may looooooove Santa and the next they don’t want to be in the same room with him. Saying stuff like, “Well you liked him last year” doesn’t help the situation and it’s just plain mean. Don’t be a bad Mommy or Daddy and be sure to follow your child’s cues.

If you’re the type of parent that enjoys photos of your kids screaming on Santa’s lap, then disregard everything that I said and make sure to pinch them before you hand them over to the bearded stranger in red with candy to insure that you get that cruel photo that your child will always hate you for when they are older.

I would love to hear your Santa stories. And see pictures, feel free to post them here or on my Fan Page on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hollywood-Clown/

Happy Holidays from The Hollywood Clown!

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