Monday, November 16, 2015

Daddy Needs To Figure Out The Parental Locks

Yesterday was our "once a year birthday party" for all three big girls.  We're going to need to rethink this now that we have a summer baby as well and can't claim a mid November party to cover everyone in October and December.  Anyway, I got up earlier to get the backyard under control, while Gina attacked the downstairs.  We left the girls upstairs watching cartoons and out of the way.

After finishing the back, I walked by the stairway and I could swear I heard a quote from the movie Inside Out.  That's odd, I thought.  I'm pretty sure that movie just came out on DVD like last week.  I started up the stairs because this was going on much longer then a normal commercial and, by now, my interest was peaking. 

Sure enough, there it was on the upstairs TV, the newly released movie and all four girls sitting quietly, thoroughly enjoying it.

"Um. ..." I started.  "Are you guys watching Inside Out?"

"Yea, it's on TV." Genevieve responded gleefully.

"How?" I asked.  "We didn't rent the DVD."

There was a pause at this point, and the three big girls slowly swiveled there heads toward me with "oh no" reflecting in their wide eyes.

Another moment of silence before Arianna muttered "Lorelei must have pushed a button."

I love it!  Yeah, that must have been what happened.  They've figured out how to rent movies, they understand that it's going to cost money and I'm not going to be happy so they blame it on the four month old who has a hard enough time grabbing a pacificer to pick up the remote, locate the On Demand button and scroll to the new releases to find the movie for her older siblings.  Brilliant!  So guess what we're watching for the next three days - since that's how long we've paid for it.  Oh, and Honey, find that manual!  Daddy needs to figure out the parental controls on this damned U-Verse box!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Disneyland, Where Parents Act Like Children

Yesterday we played hookie from school and work and took the girls to Disneyland to celebrate all of their birthdays.  There are plenty of Southern California residents who renew their annual pass every year and trek to the Mouse House regularly because they've got nothing else to do on a Thursday night; but we want to make sure these experiences are special for our children so we limit our trips to every couple of years.  Ok, you caught me.  Have you seen how much they charge for a damned annual pass? I'd have to sell a kidney and that would only get me half the family covered.  And then how in the world would I renew the following year?  What's the run rate on a spleen these days?

Fortunately one of Gina's yoga students happens to work at the park part time solely for the ability to sign friends and family in.  She was gracious enough to come down first thing and help us get in to the happiest (and most overpriced) place on earth.

We had a wonderful day; like, flat out amazing.  The big three rode all of the big kid rides and wait times were 15-30 minutes maximum so we got on everything we wanted to before the sun set on our day and headed towards the exit filled with the wonder and glee Walt envisioned when he set out to build this place. And then some bitter and contentious woman had to go put a dent in the whole thing. 

As we were walking out of the park, down Main Street and looking for some ice cream to cap off the trip, it was obvious that folks were starting to line up for the big evening parade.  For those of you who aren't familiar with Disneyland, this is where the true madness really sets in.  It was 6:30PM.  The parade they were all getting their seats for (blocking every inch of usable sidewalk) wasn't scheduled to start until 8:30PM.  That would be two hours away. A parade.  A parade that most of the folks (a big portion are pass holders who only arrive at sunset for these things) have already seen a dozen tims.  A parade with a mouse - not the vets we are celebrating today or even bead throwing, boob flashing marti gras for christ's sake.  That's what this all centered around.

There was a brief moment, just in front of the ice cream shop we were all trying to get to (3 adults, 2 strollers and 6 "hangry" children), when a woman was standing shaking out a blanket she was clearly planning on putting down in the opening.  Our friend, who's charming British accent can usually turn folks into putty, asked extremely politely, "do you think we can buzz through here to the ice cream shop real quick before you put your blanket down?"

"Well," the "B" responded with the most snide and perturbed tone at our audacity.  "My blanket was already here, I'm just shaking it off.  So no, you're going to have to go down to another spot if you want to break through the line."

WHAAAAAATTTT????!!!!!!  This is an adult woman, surrounded by her own impressionable offspring, who is already up and displaced, flat out refusing to be a decent human being and instead forcing a few clearly out matched parents to go way out of their way to find another spot, just to come right back to where they were trying to go because, for lack of a better term, she woke up and decided to be a dick today.

Here are my issues:
1) Parents, you know how hard it is.  You've been there.  You've done that.  How can you not look at a person who's struggled the same road you have and not inconvenience yourself in the slightest capacity to make their life easier - just as you would have appreciate the same courtesy if the roles were reversed?  But here's the world we live in. It's all about me and never about you and the next thing you know you're on the news for all the wrong reasons.

2) You're children are watching you.  Trust me, they're always watching.   What they just learned is "I can be an asshole, if I want, for no apparent reason whatsoever."  So when your kid gets in trouble for being a little shit, and you say "I have no idea where he learns this!"  Just go back through your family vacation photo album and you can probably find all the evidence you need.

3) You realize in the description of the parade, this is what it says:

Watch in wonder as the vivid imagination of Mickey Mouse and his friend Tinker Bell’s enchanted pixie dust paint the night with dazzling Disney dreams, complete with a colorful palette of more than one million glowing lights!

You're a grown ass adult.  You just threw a tantrum to some complete strangers to see dazzling Disney dreams and pixie dust.  F*ck you, lady!

Now, I will complete my own written tantrum here by saying that none of these feelings or comments left my head.  We did respond with a "really?!' as we trekked down the street to find another opportunity, but we did not take the bait and set equally pitiful examples for our own children.  But I couldn't help but editorialize this scenario for the sake of at least starting the conversation.  Why must we be awful to each other?  Why?!  What harm or strain would this have caused her?  This "me, me, me; mine, mine, mine" mentality really irks me.  We stand here, destroying the world around us, claiming to be the pinnacle of civilization, but in the singular moments of our day we can't muster simple common courtesy anymore.  It wouldn't bother me if this was a one off, but it's a daily thing.  And it's sad.  And we're teaching our children that this is how people are supposed to act to one another.  Awesome.

Fortunatly, while that happened and it bothered me, we didn't allow a scene to unfold, and that means that all my kids remember of yesterday is this:
So what did your kids remember, lady?

Friday, October 30, 2015


I have the wonderful fortune to have grown up with two sisters.  Unfortunately, as you may have noticed, I'm a boy.  That makes me a brother, or a bother, and, in this case the odd man out.  There's something deeper in the relationship between gender similar siblings.  Brothers with brothers and sisters with sisters, it's just right. It's not to say that I can't, or don't, have good relationships with my sisters. ... it's just on a different level then what the two of them share.
As I watch my gaggle of daughters interact, I take joy that all of them will have this unique bond amongst them.  This lifelong army of sisters to back them through adventures and misadventures alike.  So watch out world.  You take on one Kopp Girl you take on all of them.  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Midnight Updates!

We've had some issues the last few weeks with Rosaline wetting the bed in the middle of the night (despite our me taking her in her sleep around 11pm like clockwork).  So I can appreciate that last night, on her own, she got up around 2:30AM and went to the potty all by herself.  What I appreciate slightly less is her needing to wake us up to share the news immediately afterwards.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Of All The Days. ... A Lesson In Bullies

Today was a very special day for the twins; it was they're sixth birthday.  And it was also National Anti-Bullying Day.  But more importantly it was their birthday.  But more importantly, it was also National Anti-Bullying Day.  And Genevieve had her first taste of a bully.

It's not unexpected for us to think our kids would go through this; I think most kids have to deal with it at some point.  But, believe it or not, Gina and I were not always ever the cool kids growing up.  Gina was the awkward girl who preferred reading to playing at recess.  I was the kid with glasses that would make Mr. Magoo giggle, an affinity for musical theater and very poor choices in wardrobe. And yes, that is a mini glow worm doll in lanyard pouch around my neck in this photo.  Trust me, I know bullies.  I recall hiding in the playground tubes while my tormentors sat on top and sang out a clever little rhyme they made up at my expense.  I remember taunts and tricks that kids can play.  It all left it's mark, still there some 30 years later.  And those scars sting a little today.

When Gina went to pick the girls up from school and whisk them away to Chuck E. Cheese in celebration of the big Six Nothing, Genevieve was already in tears.  There's a apparently a little girl in her class who has been something of a thorn.  On this special day Genevieve got to be birthday girl in the class.  One of her duties is appointing a helper who has special privileges too.  Well the thorn used the classic "if you pick me I'll be nice to you and you can be my friend" (oh the old "if you pick me").  Needless to say, Genevieve sacrificed her choice and the bargain was not upheld.  Little thorn became a prick.  Even worse it shifted into a higher gear at lunch with the thorn pursuing Genevieve on the playground and taunting her with hurtful words (I won't repeat them because what's hurtful to a six year old doesn't always carry much weight with adults who aren't their parents and I don't want to lose sight of the fact that the words DID in fact hurt).  When the lunch monitors intervened it stopped, but "the mati" as we call it seemed to worsen through an unapologetic apology.  It struck her deep, this first of many blows.  So much so that after Mr. Cheese's and birthday dinner, ice cream and more presents, it was still a touchy subject when I brought it up during tuck in.  But I wanted to make sure she saw the bigger picture, so we talked.

It's important for her to know that the four eyed boy in bad clothes and after school plays learned what bullies really are.  They're children and adults who aren't as happy as you.  Their mission is not to bring themselves up, but to bring others down so they're not so lonely in the depths of their own misery.  It's awfully sad, and we really should feel compassion for them in between our own tears of hurt.  But we can't give them too much credence.  Words will always hurt, long after the sticks and stones have done their damage, but we can't lose ourselves in all of it, because that's the special light that draws them to us.  That special light is so important that they have to put it out.  They can't stand to see it shine.  But if we keep it lit, in spite of any pressure to dim, the glasses will eventually go into a drawer.  The fashion sense will improve. ... slightly.  And the degree in musical theater is how I met her mother.  I really don't know what to say about the glow worm necklace.

The light she carries is so strong, and the future before her is so bright.  She'll do amazing things as long as she doesn't let those little pricks of the world detract her.  It's easier said then done.  And parents words of comfort and support can often fall short.  But as long as she knows I've been right there with her, that I'm right here with her now. ... maybe I can drown out the negative.  If not me, maybe the outfit I'm wearing in this picture can.

At the end of our conversation, there was still one things that just bothers her to no end about this.

"Why did it have to be on my birthday?! ... And why on National Anti-Bullying day?!!!"

We concluded that the little thorn was not wearing orange today like the rest of the school to show support for the day and it's meaning.  I'm hoping it's because she and her parents did not know (that's easier to swallow then an intentional decision NOT to support Anti-Bullying, in which case our problems may increase with this one moving forward).  Perhaps that's a reflection of the lack of education and awareness that's still out there.  Just because your kid didn't come home crying today because they were bullied does not mean you should not address this topic with your children.  Maybe they didn't come home crying because they're the bully in this story.  And if that's the case, you've got a lot more damage to deal with tonight then I do. 

Despite all of this, a very Happy Birthday to my oldest girls
 I can't hold as well as I used to, but I'll never let you go.

Monday, October 12, 2015

You Want The Tooth?! You Can't Handle The Tooth!

So, warning: if you're not someone who can handle dentistry topics then maybe jump to another posting cause this might not be for you.

My kids love the dentist. ... weirdo's.  But it's true, they really do.  They think it's a magical experience and they are more then eager to visit the lady who get's the sugar bugs out of their mouths.  So last week they had their visit and for two out of three it was a typical good check up, but Genevieve had a little bit of an odd day.

It started when the Dr. thought she saw a cavity forming in one of Genevieve's molars.  It's odd, if only for the fact that she's only had them a short time now - it wouldn't seem possible with even basic brushing for one to have formed so soon.  But it was a deep groove and the Dr. wanted to make sure she treated it before it became any kind of real issue.  So she advised Gina and began the process. ... and then she paused.

You see, as she began to drill gently against the tooth, it started to gave in.  That's right, her tooth began collapsing in on itself.  The more she explored, the more of the tooth crumbled, until there was what I can only describe as Molokini crater in her mouth. .... HA!  I just read that out loud and realized we should call it Molar-kini crater. ... I crack myself up.  But I digress.  What I found most bizarre rather then expose root or nerve, underneath the fallen enamel was healthy, pink gum line.  What the Dr. believes is that her tooth never formed in utero.  In essence a bubble got inside and the tooth formed around it, so once pressure from the drill was applied it basically turned into a sink hole in her mouth.  Crazy right?!  Here's a pic (because what half way decent parent wouldn't shove their iPhone into their kids mouth during what may be an otherwise traumatizing experience):
All's well that ends well, though.  Dr. was able to clear out the void, fill it and seal it so it shouldn't pose an issue moving forward.  And Genevieve is the ultimate champ.  Five years old and she didn't even flinch during all of this.  Her father, on the other hand, soaked through his shirt with sweat sitting in that chair a week earlier for a routine cleaning.  Turns out my kid did not get her nerves of steel from me.
And shout out to Dr. Negar Derakshani - like the best dentist I've ever had!  If you're an avid reader you'll know this not the first unusal Kopp case she's had to deal with.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

That Bloody Moon

Here in lies the problem with my new found resolution to keep up with this blog; sometimes I am going to be a week late in posting stories relevant to that moment. 

Remember all the way back to LAST Sunday, when we had that Super/Blood Moon combo going on?  Well it hit the left coast right around 7:30, which was just after the girls had transition to bed.  But I chanced by an open window and saw it was a perfect night and the moon was situated just above the roof line.  My whole motto on parenting is making sure they experience moments of magic and wonder so I rushed back upstairs and pulled them from their beds.  I dragged them downstairs and into the street in their nightgowns, pointing at the moon and making certain they revel in the uniqueness of a moment like this.

Big mistake.

Arianna asked me if we can see it again tomorrow - I think her interest was more piqued by my obvious interest rather then her own - and I explained that a moment exactly like this would not occur until she was a grown up and had a family of her own.  I wanted to stress how special it was, make sure she grasped it. ... but for the next two hours (YES!  TWO HOURS!!!!) I had to consul a distraught Arianna over the fact that she would have to wait 30 something years to see a super blood moon again.  Yea. ... I did not see that coming.  It even extended to the following day as I had to promise that we'd look at all of the instagram pictures posted when I got home from work in order to finally calm her down enough to sleep.  And she was certain to hold me to that. 

The next cosmic event I'm keeping to myself; it might just be easier that way.  Stupid blood moon.