Friday, April 30, 2010

We have Earrings!

Twins with Bling

So my girls are going to get their ears pierced today (at least that's the plan, of course "the plan" with twins often never happens because you can't plan anything with twins). I have mixed feelings. I'm behind it and I gave my OK because I know they'll want to have their ears pierced someday (even if it's only for a brief period between 12 and 13) and I don't want them to go through a painful experience at a point where they can really remember it. I'd rather have it happen now when they'll forget it and lose that memory of it. Also I'm afraid if we wait until their 1 or 2 they'll end up messing with it and getting them infected. As it is now their still fairly unaware of themselves and I think that'll limit their touching and pulling. Example of how unaware you ask? Last week Arianna came home with a "ripe" sticker on her forehead. Apparently her Thea Eleni thought the sticker from her banana looked great on my child. And Arianna was blissfully unaware of the decor she was sporting. Although it was good choice of wording because she happened to be fairly ripe at the time. Which takes me on another tangent - you know there are only three other animal species who are aware of their selfs in the same regard as humans? Chimps, Elephants and Dolphins are the only species who can recognize themselves in the mirror. A test was done where the animals were sedated and an "x" was marked on their foreheads. Upon awakening the researchers place a mirror in their environment and only those three animals looked in the mirror, saw the "x" and then spent effort trying to remove it from their faces. And there you go. I've just added to your awareness of the animal kingdom. That's not to say that my children are not as smart as dolphins, chimps and elephants. ... although that argument can be made about several people I have encountered in my lifetime. I'm sorry, what were we talking about again? Ah, earrings. So that's what's happening today. And while I support it I'm sooooo glad I'm not there because I would feel so bad watching some chick with a nose ring and a streak of hot pink in her bangs put a gun up to my 6 month old's ear and shoot a golden spike through her poor little earlobe. And the worse part would then be handing over the other child once the first is screaming in agony, albeit sparkly, blinged out agony. I mean, if you're going to scream your head off you might as well look gorgeous doing it, darling. Alas, this is just another milestone. Another indicator that my girls are growing up. I so desperately wanted to rush them out of Gina's stomach and now I just want to slow it down. Yesterday Gina was holding Genevieve and I leaned in to hug her (Gina) and Genevieve wrapped her other arm (not the one she was holding on to Gina with) around my back. It was a cute little group hug. I want to freeze that. I want to stay here. I know there's much to be said about walking and talking and learning and growing. ... but I like this very, very much. And I'm smart. I know what earrings mean. Earrings mean accessories, and accessories mean matching outfits, and matching outfits mean looking good and looking good is in order to impress and impressing usually equates with the opposite sex and the opposite sex leads to dating. Dating leads to boys and boys scare me because boys lead to marriage and moving out and leaving me. ... when did this happen. When did I become the stereotypical father of little girls? I sound like the villain in a country song. I am lost. ... Kyle Robert Kopp is no more. Only Daddy remains.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?

Letting the days go by, let the water hold me down. Letting the days go by, water flowing underground. So, obviously, I've just heard the Talking Heads on the radio and it's totally stuck in my mind. But it's not like that new catchy song where you only know three words in the chorus and yet you continue to sing it in your mind (or if your Gina out loud) mumbling through the other lyrics until you get to the part that you know. This is an old song, that I've heard a million times and yet it came on Jack and it kind of hit me in a weird way. I started asking these questions: How did I get here? Is this my beautiful wife? Are these my beautiful children? I don't have the beautiful house, but I am behind the wheel of a large automobile. It's an insane reality. 5 years ago I was dropping $100 bar tabs and doing back flips of the second story of a houseboat. Now I'm rushing home so I can feed pureed spinach to a beautiful little girl and follow that up by feeding more pureed spinach to an equally beautiful little girl so that I can put them to bed and have non-pureed spinach with a stunningly beautiful women who I have to thank for creating these beautiful little girls. Trust me, that's a heck of a lot of beauty to deal with. And that's in Stanton! The ultimate succubus of beauty as far as towns go. So how did I get here? How did I stumble my way through 28 years of life with out a clue of where I was going and end up in this beautiful mess? I'd call it luck, but I've never been a lucky person. I could tweak it a little and call it fortune but I don't recall a cookie every hinting at this. Grace if God maybe, but I'm sure there are many more worthy candidates. Karma? I don't recall a previous existence which means it couldn't have been that good. I don't know. But that song certainly feels like my past six months. I'm constantly coming up for air and finding myself asking how and why. Before I can get an answer though its back into the mix. After all there are still bed times and diapers and pureed spinach. I can't spend all day pondering, there's too much to enjoy. And if I had to choose between pondering and enjoying I'll take the enjoying. I guess some questions don't get answers. Sometimes you just go with the flow and the water takes you to paradise. Letting the days go by, water flowing underground. Into the blue again, after the money's gone. Once in a lifetime water flowing underground. Into the blue again, into the silent water.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Stay at Home Dad?

I'm finding that there is this stigma attached to fathers, this perception that we're not at the same level as mothers. In fact, it's not so much that we're not at the same level as it is that we're not EXPECTED to be at the same level. Why is that? Why is not more expected out of the paternal side of our homes. Last night Gina had a class to teach, so I was home from work at 4:30 and she was out the door by 5. I'm finally getting the cold that everyone else in our house has suffered through the past month, but I still got the girls through belly time, sitting time and saucers. I prepped dinner, I fed the girls their solid food dinner (I even finished off the spinach processing - or as Gina calls it 'making a spinach margarita' - so the girls could have it right then), changed in to jammies, administered vitamins and prepped bottles so that right when Gina walked in we put the girls down, and the moment they were in bed I finished cooking dinner for us (chicken and shrimp Alfredo with Rosemarie garlic bread) so that Gina and I could sit and enjoy a bottle of wine before "the Office" started. I don't need an award, I don't need a pat on the back, I don't even need a thank you. Gina does this job 20 hours of the day, I only have to do it for 4 - but I keep finding people who are surprised to hear something like this. Surprised that I am left alone with my daughters, surprised that I can cook, surprised that I WILL cook. It's as if they never, in their wildest imaginations, expected a husband/father to do anything aside from go to work and change the oil every 3,000 miles. There's something wrong with this train of thought. It bothers me. It bothers me immensely. When I married Gina I entered into a partnership with her. When we decided to have kids, WE decided to have kids. When we found out we were having twins I told her WE would make it work. That's a lot of "we's" on the table for me to assume that I just have to sit at a desk for 8 hours, come home and be catered to. After all, Gina's job is 24/7. She doesn't get a lunch break or a nap break - she really doesn't even get break at night to sleep. That means I don't either. All those promises and agreements mean when I'm not at work, my dress shirt better have it's sleeves rolled up cause it's time to get dirty and when I am at work I better be grateful for the breather that it is, because when it's over I better get back in the game cause the ball is now in my court. And I'm OK with that. I like that. I agree with that. And I'm pretty perturbed that it's not what's expected. The way I see it "Mother" and "Father" are only different by two letters. That's 66.66% exactly the same. If I'm at work for 8 hours, that's 1/3 of my day. So the other 2/3's I better be working exactly as hard as Gina, because that's what my title demands of me, and that's what I demand of me as well.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Little Jackalopes

So the girls came to work with me today. ... well, kind of. Our main office in Irvine had a Spring Olympics competition, and I headed a team out of Santa Fe Springs (the Jackalopes) and the Gina brought the girls down to cheer us on. They had little jerseys to match our teams, tutus and sneakers and they pretty much stole the hearts of everyone there today. Always the perfect angels, my favorite comment was as we walked out I heard someone in admin say "do those girls ever cry, I want one". How lucky that I have two!

BTW, I'm the one in the big rabbit hat - sort of the mascot and team captain.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Great Swimming Adventure

So, all of our pictures (well, all but two) from the trip turned out to be from the Morongo swimming pool. ... obviously the highlight of the trip. I suppose as a parent that's how you tell the importance of things in the past. We took 3 pictures at the kindergarten graduation compared to 150 from the Disneyland trip. Which one had more of an impact? So, here are a few of my favorite photos - the rest are up on photobucket and facebook should you feel the need to browse them.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why People Think Our Girls Are So Cute

It's simple association psychology. Tell me Arianna isn't the spitting image of the iconic "perfect baby" that Gerber uses as their logo. And since Genevieve looks like Arianna, she too gets the subconscious association. I just didn't have a picture of her doing the perfect pose to show it. Kind of freaky, right? Only thing missing is a little more hair, everything else is there: Big blue eyes, perfect chubbiness in cheeks, little protruding chin, big lips, bright glow, happy demeanor. I am the proud father of two Gerber Babies.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Perfect Travling Companions

We took the first big trip of the girls young lives this past weekend. Went out to Arizona to see Grandpa's (Gina's dad's) house and took a trip down to the ranch as well. We were a little apprehensive heading down (I don't know why) considering we had finally gotten the girls to sleep through the night multiple times in a row and we knew we were basically throwing that feat to the wind by taking the girls out of their element for 5 days. But that's what we do. We perfect things and then totally shake them up just to see how the dust settles. We were quite brilliant in our planning though. We packed two pack n' plays, two baby Einstein saucers, two high chairs, bathing suits, baby sun screen, floppy hats, extra blankets, extra bottles, everything that we could imagine needing. Of course what we forget was everything else - the photo album gift we'd made up for Gina's dad, more than 2 pairs of socks for me, all of my law study aids and books. But what do we matter any more? We also took advantage of two things: 1) Gina's mom, step dad and sisters were staying at Casino Morongo that week and 2) the night time. We went down to Morongo and hung out at the pool most of the day on Wednesday. The girls got to swim and play and get generally tuckered out. Daddy got to play cards and win enough to pay for the rest of the trip. Then we left there (cutting out 2 hours of the trip) at 8pm and the girls slept the whole time. Well, Arianna woke up 20 miles outside of Phoenix, but we fed her a bottle in the back seat and she was asleep again by the time we got through the city (hard to sleep when there are so many lights outside your window). Only downside, of course, is then Mommy and Daddy are really tired. Plus Genevieve woke up when we got to Tucson at 2:30 and wouldn't fall asleep again until 4. Then they both got up at 7, so we ended up running on about 3 hours of sleep that first day. But, as usual, the girls were great the entire trip, smiling and laughing for anyone and everyone. We even took a trip to Tombstone (great old timey photo taken which I'll post as soon as I can scan) and it happened to be Founders Day so there were all kinds of parades and "gun fights" and signings from old Western stars. It was a total mob scene. Even in all of that the girls managed to steal the show. A gun shot went off at one point during a re-enactment and Arianna "lost" it, so we hightailed it down main street and everyone kept looking and pointing out, "look, twins!" Every store and saloon we walked into we were surrounded by oglers. It was funny because some of the people had the same smiles as the girls - toothless and somewhat confused by life in general. Grandma also bought us our first pair of moccasins. Although I'm pretty sure Native Americans weren't rocking the pink 150 years ago. When we finally had to go home we decided to leave early and stop in Phoenix so the girls could meet Jim and Diane (Gina's step mom, Francesca's parents) since they've been so sweet sending gifts and cards to the girls and Gina. We left at 4 am (got up at 3:30. ... actually, got up at 1, 2:15 and THEN 3:30) and headed out into the dark desert. Had to explain to the Boarder Patrol agent who stopped us why we were traveling through the middle of no where (literally a single lane road closer to the boarder then any US town) at 4 am, with two infants. Gina wanted to cover the girls carriers with blankets to keep out light (which there is very little of at 4 am) so the girls would sleep better. I convinced her to wait because Boarder Patrol would think we were smugglers. Even uncovered you could tell they had their suspicions about us, but they let us through anyway. They were probably to afraid to open the car for fear of all the baby crap stuffed in the back creating an avalanche and burying them. No one wants to be crushed to death by a Baby Einstein playing "Old McDonald" and telling you how to say "Cow" in Spanish. Which is "Vaca" by the way. We made it to Phoenix by 7am(girls slept the whole way, Gina most of it as well). They played for 2 hours and made big fans of Jim and Diane. Then they slept until 11:30. We stopped at a truck stop, fed them, then I sat in the back seat with them and played for an hour or so. Then they went back to sleep and stayed asleep until we got home at 3:30. No fussing, no crying, no unpleasantness through almost 19 hours of car rides this weekend and 5 days of new places, people and schedules. In my wildest dreams I would never imagine that two infants could be so pleasant to travel with. I'm not saying I'm going to push it and try something like this every weekend. But it's amazing to walk away from this and not have a horror story to tell the girls when they grow up, have children, and are foolish enough to try something similar.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Steady, Certain Hand of Time

So I'm rocking Genevieve to sleep this afternoon because her nap had lasted all of 35 minutes and her morning nap was totally non-existent. We are going to an engagement party this evening and there is no way we're leaving Yiayia with two cranky babies. So I've got her wrapped up, binky in and we're rocking in the chair in their room with the afternoon sun glowing through their blinds and I find myself getting misty eyed. It hit me, hard, that I've only got a small number of these moments. Sooner than I like these girls will be crawling away from me, walking away from me, going to school, going on dates, getting jobs, getting married, having kids of their own. I'm not going to be able to call them up in 20 years, hold them close and rock them while they sleep. ... they might find that creepy. But that is the most satisfying experience I know of. It's a total embodiment of "home". Home is where the heart is, right? Well, this is where my heart now is. In tiny hands, tiny smiles, small moments of perfection. And it's sad to know that I've already gone through 5 months worth of moments like this. I don't know how many more I have, and what if I didn't savor them enough. What if I failed to grasp them because I was tired, or because I was busy, or because I was just to foolish to realize their rarity. These are things I will miss. These are what justify the lack of sleep, the vanishing hair, the house that looks like a tornado has moved in to stay. And I want to horde them forever. Stuff them under a mattress and pull them out in 30 years when I'm old and crotchety. ... ok, oldER and MORE crotchety. But they won't be there then. It's like a perfect rain. You better run outside and dance in the puddles now, because you only get the memory afterward. Drink in today, cause tomorrow you'll be thirsty.