Saturday, July 31, 2010

Why Kids Shouldn't Have Their Own Car

Just because Daddy bought you a car, doesn't mean you are qualified to drive it.

Some Assembly Required

Despite the fact that toys seem to be getting more and more complex, the manufacturers continue to send their products out with "some assembly required". Some assembly, by the way, means you have to do everything except poor the molds for the metal rods and plastic panels. Everything else is you. Because of these complexities no longer are you dealing with a radio flyer wagon (a basin, 4 wheels and a handle) but 4 wheels on swivel mounts with angled chassis, steering consoles, fitted roofs and more decals then a NASCAR. Add to that there are 187 parts needed and only 186 given. Plus they know that the odds are a dad is going to put it together so rather invest in written instructions the dad isn't going to read all you get are a series of poorly illustrated panels of what it might look like if you are doing it wrong. That means that all 5 types of screws are drawn to look the same size, the washers look more like top hats joints and the top hat joints are reminiscent of the flying saucers in Plan 9 From Outer Space. They do, however, offer the boilerplate warranty in English, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Slovak, Russian, and what I can only assume is Swahili, so there's no way that after an entire Saturday morning spent forming blood blisters and squashed toes, you can't sue them, even if you can't get the blasted thing together. All this so your kids can bang on the door and chew the hood. But I'll tell you what. ... it's worth it. Definitely worth it.

Friday, July 30, 2010

While Their Guitars Gently Weeped

Went to another concert in the park last night - new park this time - and it was a Beatles tribute band. While the pitch and harmonies were a little scattered it was still a very nice evening. This time, the whole family went - my sisters, the girls cousins, grandma and papa - so it was even more fun than the last couple of ones we've been too. One thing that Gina noticed last night was how intent Caelyn (the newest cousin) watches the girls and what they are doing. For the past 9 months we've observed them, especially Arianna, staring intently at older children as if they are taking notes and waiting for their shot at mobility to imitate the actions they've seen. Now we can see that same look in Caelyn's eyes and I know it's only a matter of time before she becomes the the third little Musketeer of the little girls club. She's much bigger than her brother and is looking like she's getting the strong blue eyes as well - in fact a couple people stopped last night because they thought they were triplets (they don't look THAT much alike, but I could see someone making the stretch, all three are babies). As we were driving home I began to have visions of sleepover parties with nail painting and hair braiding and boy talk, and I realized. ... I've only got a few years left until I'm completely muscled out. No one wants Dad hanging around their hair braiding party. No one wants Dad to join in the conversation on boys (and Dad doesn't really want to either). Gina won't let me near her toes and a bottle of nail polish after my last attempt towards the end of her pregnancy. So what's a Dad in a house full of girls to do? I figure my choices are A) start a car collection that I can constantly work on, B) sabotage the house from time to time so I have a projects list to work on or C) make some friends that I can go on fishing/camping/hunting trips with. It should be noted that plan A requires me to learn something about cars and plan C requires me learn how to fish (let's face it, most of my life my dad baited my hook and I just stuck the thing in the water. ... not rocket science) and/or get over my displeasure of killing other mammals. It looks like B is the front runner! Although Gina might start to get suspicious when every time there's a sleepover the barbecue explodes or the patio cover falls down. Whatever. As long as it gets me away from the conversation about Taylor Lautners abs.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

On Feeding Rabid Geese

Gina had to go to class before the girls were ready for bed last night, so she pumped a couple bottles and left us to our vices. It's an interesting thing feeding two mobile babies in the same room when both want to eat (and I realize Gina has to do this multiple times every day so I'm not complaining, I'm just observing). When you are nursing one you only have a brief couple of seconds before the other, seeing what's taking place, comes at you like a heat sensing missile. Upon arrival she starts pulling on your leg, or patting your feet. Then she pulls herself up to standing on the chair you are sitting in and does everything she can think of to try and climb in to your lap and take the bottle out of her sisters mouth for her own consumption. When you're done with the one and move on to the other, the one who just ate does the same thing - regardless of the fact she is so full you can hear the liquid sloshing around in her tummy when she crawls toward you. They remind me of feeding geese in the park. Everything starts out nice and picturesque, but then suddenly they start to get too close for comfort. 1 turns into 5 turns into 50 in a matter of 30 seconds. Then one starts gnawing on your shoe laces. Then somebody bites your pant leg. Before you know it you're running like the wind, screaming like a five year old framed by an explosion of bread crumbs and feathers behind you. BTW, I imagine that's what an action movie would look like if it stared the Snuggle Detergent bear. Anyway, last night I even put Genevieve in her crib (she ate second but finished first as I have to feed Arianna in stages - short attention span and all. ... sounds familiar. ... where was I? Squirrel!). She pulled herself up in the crib and reached her arms over the bars toward where I was sitting with Arianna, as if she just stretched a little more she could snatch the bottle - she was still a good 8 or 9 feet away, but not for lack of effort. I swear - dressing these two is like dressing rabid raccoons, and now feeding them is like feeding ravenous geese. I can't wait until they're walking. Then I'm sure it'll be like chasing suicidal monkeys. This must be why everyone advises having a pet before you have children - cause the similarities are striking. You're constantly cleaning up messes, moving things out of reach, using the word "no" and you've never had so much fun in your life!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pretty Fair Day

We can add a new "first" to the list - first trip to the county fair. We discovered a few things: we like curly fries, we like watching kids on the rides and we love, loooooooove goats. There was a moment where I literally had to pry Genevieve's fingers from the bars on the goat pen to get her to move on because me pulling on her had just put her into an airborne horizontal position. I was a little apprehensive in the petting zoo area because the animals there eat pellets, and pellets look remarkably like 9 month old fingers. So we got close enough to touch, but we stuck to the back ends and kept away from the faces - not ideal hanging around livestock butts all day, but I doubt the girls really noticed. We saw some big cows and pigs and sheep and we discovered another thing - we don't like turkeys. One of future Thanksgiving dinners gobbled at the girls and Genevieve burst into tears - received a collective "ahhh" from the other people in the area. But it's OK. Her Thea Alkisti ate a giant turkey leg for dinner so we got even. Take that poultry! Got lots of stops from admirers along the way. Should have just opened our own booth and charged admission. Could have help offset the ridiculous prices they are charging these days - $4.50 for one carnival ride? $3 for a thimble of soda?! How much to ensure the duct tape holds and I don't have to sit in a cage that smells like puke? Although that last sentence could probably serve as the title for my memoirs on the past year. Oh well, it was fun anyway and as my dad used to say "fun ain't free!"

Pushin' It

Pushed the girls to the max once again yesterday. Went to see some friend from northern California who were in town with their 18 month old daughter. They were staying at with her sister, husband and their twin boys who are two. The girls loved playing with all the other babies, it was like a baby Woodstock or something. After that we went directly to Laguna where Gina's aunt lives as her dad was in town. We hung out at the house for a bit, made some new dog friends and then went to dinner for our first Teppan experience. The girls were mesmerized by chef cooking in front of us, and I have a feeling that the staff was equally mesmerized by the amount of noodles covering the floor when we left. Thank goodness Grandpa left a good tip. We didn't end up heading home until almost 10pm - a good 3 hours past bed time. But you wouldn't know it from all the smiling and giggling. Man I love these girls!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Twin Weddings, or Just a Good Gum Commercial?

I'm starting to develop a "twin" theory. We have family friends who have a set of twin boys (ironically the brother of the dad now has a set of twin girls as well), and I'm constantly noticing an interesting interaction that takes place. The two boys are grade school age and in almost every aspect they are your typical little boys. Always up to something, always moving. But I catch these little moments when we are around them where I will see one or the other in an intimate moment with one of our girls. Really close to their face. Gently touching their hands. Sometimes just staring intently at them. My first instinct is "oh sweet lord, I have to worry about boys already?!" But I hardly think that's what's on the mind of a seven year old. So I just kind of tuck these observations away as moments in the archive footage of my mind. But last night caused me to bring the footage out, revisit it and start to form an interesting theory. Last night we took the girls to another concert in the park - such a good experience for them being outside with all these other families and great music in the background. Well we ran into some friends of ours - actually one of my best friends sister - who also have twins; three year old little boys. Again, typical little boys, running, screaming, trying to show me how many years old they are with fingers that aren't quite yet cooperating to the extent that they would like. But once again I'm observing these same stolen moments. One boy would run by the girls, stop, stoop down and tickle their cheek. A moment later the other would run by, stop, sit down with them and gently stroke their hand before tearing off again. I've seen this behavior with their cousin Connor before, but he's their cousin and everyone in our family makes such a fuss over the girls I think he's doing it more out of imitation than anything, and he's seen them so much he's extremely comfortable with them. But I don't see it out of other little kids that we're around. Every now and then someones little girls feels she's the boss of the babies and so she becomes quiet attentive, but never in the same manor that these sets of twin boys have been. So here's my theory: twins are known to have a bond between themselves because of time in the womb and time shared in intimate infancy, but what about twins that aren't related? It almost seems like just the fact of being a twin yourself makes you instantly bond with another person who's gone, or is going, through the same experiences you did. Like they are a slightly different species than the rest of us, and when they find someone else who is like them they feel drawn to them. It's crazy, it's out there, but I swear this is what I'm seeing. Then again, maybe it's just little boys seeing pretty girls and trying to work their charm early on. If that's the case I'm going to have to turn "Dad Mode" up a few notches. Can you install a gun rack on a Mustang?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What's in a Name?

When I was growing up I had a good friend of mine named Jon. We were mostly school friends, only hanging out before, during and just after school so I had never been to his house or met his parents. For some reason, I don't recall anymore, I had to call his house one night. His mother, an older English woman, answered the phone and I asked to speak with Jon. She informed me that no one by that name resided there and promptly hung up. I assumed I must have had the wrong number and, as an awkward teenager, gave up my attempt. The following day I confirmed with Jon that I had the correct number and I explained what had happened. Turns out his mother hated when people called him Jon and not Jonathon, thus the response I got. I thought, at the time, that was really ridiculous and that she was a little off for feeling this way. Flash forward some 15 years and I am now in the same boat as Jonathon's mother. I have developed quite the pet peeve over the shortening of my girls names. Mostly it's when people refer to Genevieve as Gen (Jen). It drives me batty, like nails on a chalkboard. Here we picked out what we think is a beautiful and unique name and people reduce it to something so common that in most classrooms there are so many of them they have to use the last name or initial to keep them straight. We intentionally wanted to avoid the possibility of the girls having more than one Genevieve or Arianna in their class with them - that was kind of a goal. Gina and I never had this problem, I was always Kyle and she was always Gina - never Kyle K. or Gina B. Meanwhile I have so many friends named Chris that we don't even use the name anymore. They've all gone by their last names since we were in grade school - Crumby, Santore, Fort, DeMaci, Carmen, ect. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with a common name, in fact there must be something right if so many people use them, it's just that we took such great strides to avoid this outcome and when someone makes the decision on their own to undo that it negates the whole intent that we set out with. Now there are plenty of names that get shortened all the time - Jeffery to Jeff, Christopher to Chris, Jennifer to Jen, but to turn Genevieve to Jen is to turn it into a different name. Christopher to Chris is still the same name, both equally common and both having the same meaning. Genevieve to Jen is to take unique, 1 in a 1,000 and turn it into 1 in 10. ... it's a huge change! And it's not like it's some great effort to say the name. We're talking three syllables here. That's about 1/3 of a second. I will even argue that I'm not as crazy as Jonathon's mother because Jonathon to Jon is just like Christopher to Chris. It means the same thing still, it's just a less formal version of the same name. Now if Genevieve decides that at some point that she wants to go by Jen, or Arianna by Aria or Anna, that's fine. It's their name to do with what they want, but for the time being we'd like to enjoy the names that we chose while we still can. We should have that right, and no one should argue with us about it. Some people think we are being silly, that we are over reacting. Of course, when I turn it on its head and shorten their name to something other than what they go by they act like it's blasphemy. Suddenly it's much easier to see my point. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but I doubt Mr. Shakespeare let people refer to him as Shay, despite how many letters and syllables it might save.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Making A Splash

According to our swim instructor at the girls first swim lesson yesterday the dolphin in the ocean goes "kick, kick, kick - kick, kick, kick - kick, kick, kick". And this apparently goes on all through the sea. The turtle, on the other hand, and perhaps this is an attempt to avoid oil spots, goes "splash, splash, splash - splash, splash, splash - splash, splash, splash". This too taking place all through the sea. Now that we know these facts the girls should be ready to compete in the National Olympic Qualifiers coming up. No? Bummer. Welcome to Mommy and Me Swim Lessons. Although, it's worth noting in this ridiculously PC era in which we live it's now officially called Parent and Me Swim Lessons. Maybe rightfully so as there were three moms, three dads and an aunt in the pool. As we were walking toward the pool Gina wondered allowed how long until it's officially changed to Guardian and Me, to which I informed her it will probably move to Adult of Legal Age With Some Affiliation to Consenting Child Formerly Known as Me Swim Lessons shortly after. But that's another blog. The cheesiness and the silliness aside, though, it was a good first lesson and I really can see the benefits of doing things like singing "Wheels on the Bus" with different words. It's all about making the kids comfortable in the water. From there you can spend the next years building on their ability to move around in the water on their own, but it needs to be built upon a level of comfort. So we practiced getting in to the water, getting out of the water, floating on our backs - basic stuff, and most of what we've already done with the girls on our own, but the element of other kids their age and size (well, not their age cause they were definitely the youngest, but still their size) being in the water with them certainly added a new dynamic which is good for them to get used to. Our cousin Conner was also there so that was nice to have him near by. One dynamic of twins is that each is with a different parent in the pool, but the parents have to make sure they're on the same wave length to keep the consistencies up. The instructor told us when the kids enter the pool the parent needs to have an initiation sequence that brings the kid in - "1,2,3" or "ready, set, go" or something along those lines. Before Gina (who had Genevieve) or I (with Arianna) could begin we had to have a meeting of the minds to decide what we were going to use. I couldn't have Arianna going on "1,2,3" if Gina was going to be using "ready, set, go". Can you imagine how confused the poor child would be? This could really develop into a complex problem and then one day when she's on the space shuttle ready to launch the first manned/womanned mission to Mars and she hears "3,2,1" she may have a melt down screaming "I thought it was 'ready, set, go'! Where's my 'goooooooo?!!!!'" I'm pretty sure that all insanity in the world is brought on by parents over analysing every ridiculous thing. Like the debate over 1,2,3 vs ready, set, go. Our kids are smart enough, are they really going to freeze on the edge of the pool waiting for "go" when we arrive at "3" in the count down? I doubt it. But, that's what we do. Anyway can't wait until this afternoon for round two. I wonder if we'll learn about ducks paddling or fish blowing bubbles? Or maybe we'll learn about manatee's floating lifelessly all through the sea.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mud, Blood & a Sweet Summer Symphony

It's so hard to find time on the weekends to blog because we seem to always be on "go, go, go" mode and then come Monday I've got so much to recap and I'm often to exhausted to really do it justice - so please allow for thee blogs in one.

1) Sweet Summer Symphony:
Took the girls to their first concert in the park on Friday evening. Turns out it was Gina's first too, despite growing up a mile from where they put them on for the last few decades. My mom used to take my sisters as me when we were kids. Grab a pizza and a picnic blanket, sit out in the waning light, air finally cooling from a hot day and experience something we had never heard before. In between sets the kids run around in the open fields and the adults sneak sips of wine and beer they smuggled in. It was nice to revisit this experience from my past and even better to share it with the girls (Gina included). Although I don't think they really heard the music because we have music going all the time at home so it's kind of normal for them - but I know they liked being outside on the grass and amongst such a large amount of new people. I think we'll make a habit of this and see how many we can get too. And being free, you can't beat the price.

2) Blood
There are some kids who are destined for emergency rooms. No amount of helmets, padding, or bubble wrap is going to prevent them from coming home some new and interesting injury. Most often it's boys who have this gene, and because their boys they push this ability to the limits. However, it springs up in girls as well, and I'm fairly certain that Arianna has this gene. The child can not seem to keep from getting into situations that involve injury. You'll recall the earring incident - that was my fault, but none the less she seems to attract these things because she refuses to sit still. On Friday she was in a wading pool (little one) and she pulled herself up, launched herself out and face planted into an umbrella stand. Before you judge there were three of us watching and with in 8 inches of her and the umbrella stand was further away then any of us. But she moved so quick there was no time to react. Fortunately she ended up with just a bump on the bridge of her nose and a swollen cheek bone under her left eye. Freak out dad that I am had images of her eye being gouged out flying through my head as I saw her go. Then, Saturday (24 hours later) we were getting ready for bed and just after jammies went on, she went number 2. So while I'm changing her for the second time she flips herself over and starts to crawl away. I pull her back towards me and, for who knows what reason, she throws her arms out from under her and plants into the floor. It wasn't a far drop, but the binky was in her mouth. I quickly pick her up to calm her down and realize I'm wet. I walk with her to the bathroom to realize we are both covered in her blood and a nice gash has opened in her upper gums right across where a tooth in waiting is. She was laughing 2 minutes later. I was still sweating the morning after.

3) Mud
In the continued pursuit of making my children in to good people I entered a team in to a Mud Run race benefiting the Boys and Girls Club. My sister Cassie and her boyfriend Arvin joined my four man team which I rounded out with a reluctant Gina. Mud and my wife are not the best of friends. Neither are dirt, grim or ooze. Gina's sister Alkisti also wanted in so we signed her up as a solo runner and she became an honorary member of our team. We did the 5k run with 18 obstacles added in (roughly 3.5 miles total) in just over 40 minutes, putting us toward the top of the teams list, but not quite in the top 10. The important thing though is we had the time of our lives. I've never had so much fun working out (and it was work) and to do it with my wife and family made it even more incredible. We finished with out a clean spot on us and had to be hosed off by a fire hose. Then we met up with the girls, who were being walked around by my mom, for some lunch and a wonderful afternoon by Irvine Lake. Good day, good weekend.

so there you have it. 3 blogs in 1.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Phone Call

Got my morning phone call. ... may have over exaggerated a little with the "audible smile" quote. Still upbeat, but that's one drained momma.

My Super Hero

You know that feeling when you find out that you did something right, despite the odds? That A you received on a history test you felt certain you bombed. That time you took an unlikely route to work and just happened to bypass an accident that had the rest of the world in gridlock for an hour. That one time you put your change from lunch into a slot machine and it gave you $100 back. Forget all the times you did the same move and your convictions proved true, I mean the one in a hundred time it worked. That's how I feel about my wife. Granted my choice to marry her wasn't a hard one or even one I felt iffy about. I knew she was the right one for me from the very first time she opened her mouth and made it clear that she was the boss and I'd never have to worry about being in charge of anything ever again. ... ever. But I get that same satisfied feeling every now and again when she does something that just amazes me. That little reminder that the stars aligned for me and that choice that I made was money. Absolute money. Last night was a perfect storm for trouble. It was unbearably (over dramatizing here) hot and stuffy in the house. Girls stayed up a little too late because we went to sushi for dinner. Bedtime was rushed because we were up too late. Nobody nursed well because we were tired from being up too late. ... just a mess waiting to happen. And sure enough, about 11:30 things started getting rough. It wasn't nearly a disaster like we've had in the past, just a constant back and forth of one is up, now the other and just as we get them down and to sleep they wake up again. But my wife, my superhero in the flesh. ... she just kept slugging it out. She'd return bruised and battered, lay down exhausted only to rise moments later and jump right back in the ring. Around 3am she even told me to go back to sleep so I could get up for work, and she had to have been up for about an hour after that because finally at 4 she asked me to get some Tylenol for the girls. She got back up again around 4:30 and once more at 5:15 when I got up for work. It was like an old German Cuckoo clock. The minute hand drops into place, the little person rises, crosses the room, does an activity, returns lies down only to repeat the process the next time the minute hand drops. And who knows what she was doing in between, because while I was sleeping I'm more than certain she was not. And the amazing part, the part that truly makes me love her more and more, is that this morning she'll call me - probably in another hour or so - and I will be able to literally hear her smile through the phone. She does that. She has an audible smile. She'll be peppy and optimistic and full of her usual "go get 'em" to the point where you can't help but smile as well. I don't know how she does that. I think she should actually start a business delivering bad news for people. It would be great. "Your girlfriend is dumping you today!" "Awesome!" "Those test results came back positive!" "Terrific!" "You're being let go!" "Spectacular!" If I had a night like hers I would go to Starbucks, ask for the IV drip to be installed in my left forearm, get to work, close my door, lay my head on my desk and god help any poor soul who disturbed me. But that's why I didn't marry me. That and because I think you can only legally do that in Vermont.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Finally, a round of applause

Parenting is truly a thankless job. You get accolades and pats on the back from those around you who have been down that road or those who are fearful of winding up on that road someday, but from the children you raise you rarely get a "thank you" or "job well done". ... at least not until they're parents of their own and fully grasp the chore you undertook. Granted, we are paid in smiles, and giggles, and accomplishments, but for once it would be nice if Arianna turned to me and said "great job feeding me the pureed spinach and beans dad. I especially appreciate your failed attempts at keeping me from repainting the kitchen with it. A+ for effort dad, you're the man!" Or have Genevieve whisper in my ear as I try to rock her to sleep at 2am "Way to rock like a champ dad! I'm definitely not going to sleep for another hour and a half, but that doesn't mean you're not a spectacular snuggler." I know. ... I know. ... dreaming right? I think not!!! I am proud to gloat that I got my first standing "o" during dinner last night. Well, it was a sitting "o" but little Miss Genevieve has mastered the clap. ... that doesn't sound right. Anyway, she figured this thing out - and we have no idea how. During yesterdays afternoon nap I got home from work and instead of sleeping she was just lying there focusing on putting right hand to left hand, separating and repeating. Neither of us have worked with her on it (like sitting or standing), she just kind of stumbled on to it herself. Then at dinner, while Gina was teaching a class, in between mouthfuls of pasta and chicken she started clapping again. I mean, I know I was a decent dinner feeder, but I had no idea I would inspire a John Hughes 1980's teen film slow clap. Takes me back to my days in theater. You can make an audience laugh or cry, but if they don't clap for you then it was all in vein. Well, I can feed her and change her, cloth her and keep her warm, but now I know. ... she likes me! She really, really likes me!

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Importance of Teaching Children "911"

Well we're back from vacation so I it's time to for me to get back on the blogging horse again. We had a really nice time out in Palm Springs, girls did very well in the pool. We had some rough nights with Genevieve - don't know if it was the strangeness of a new place, the schedule being thrown out the window or the smallness of the cribs provided by the hotel, but something irked her pretty bad. Spent the first night up from 12 - 4am just screaming her head off. Other two nights were much better, but we called on an old friend named Tylenol to help us out. Other than that there wasn't much adventure, all went smoothly. But I did learn a valuable parenting lesson. It's very important to teach your kids 911 in an emergency. Even if they can't dial yet, the simple act of screaming it can do the trick. Let me set the story for you: Gina and I are doing a charity "mud run" next weekend so I've been working hard to make sure I'm up to the challenge. Even on vacation I felt the need to keep my workouts going so I don't lose my momentum. The Westin resort we were staying at has two sides, a time share side and a hotel side. We were on the time share side and the gym that I like (from a past stay) is on the hotel side. So I would run the 1/2 mile or so through the parking lot to the hotel gym (the furthest point possible from our room), work out and then run back through the complex (there are pathways that run through a park and across some streams that divide the complex, each unit having a back door that opens to the area). So I left the back slider to our room unlocked so I could come back this route. July in Palm Springs is a tough time to be running outdoors, so I was shirtless and drenched in sweat when I returned to our room. I tried the slider to find it locked. A little miffed that Gina locked me out I went to the living room door and opened it. As I entered the room two things struck me 1) Gina had moved the girls cribs and 2) the 2 year old boy sitting on the sofa watching TV was not mine. He had a similar thought and with eyes wide as dinner plates launched into a scream "Mommy 911! 9-1-1!!! Mommy! 911!!!!!". Thoughts of a mom with a kitchen knife and father with a 9 iron flashed into my head and I ran like one of the blurred faces on "Cops" out the door, stumbling over patio furniture, down the path, over the stream and back to our room. ... which was a good two buildings a way still. Aside from recreating an afternoon school special or a commercial for ADT I learned a valuable lesson about making sure my kids know this numerical sequence so well that it instinctively flies from their mouth any time a sweaty, half naked man wanders into the living room with a dazed look in his eyes while their watching Spongebob. I then spent the rest of the trip keeping an eye out for the little boy (didn't need to be ID'd while at the pool) and marking our room with a strategically placed towel or shirt on the patio furniture. Ahh vacations.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Stealing to Share

Genevieve has recently become quite the binky hog. It's not an addiction where she needs it all the time, we really only use them for bed time and in extreme meltdown situations that can't be resolved by other means, but when a binky is present Genevieve zero's in on it like a hawk on a rodent and with a locked gaze moves right towards it (by the way she started crawling last night - makes me feel super stupid for being concerned - so "moving" is actually taking place) with only one objective in mind: get binky in mouth. We keep a horde of binkies in the girls cribs so that if there are any problems in the night either they can get one on their own or we can easily find it in the dark when we come in. Lately, when you lay Genevieve down, the first thing she does is gather all the binkies in her crib up into her clutches, and she falls asleep like Scrooge McDuck on a pile of gold coins. If she's hanging out in the living room and some how a binky materializes she finds a way to make sure it ends up in her possession. This morning, we were all playing on our bed, each girl had come in with the nights binky in their mouth. Suddenly, Genevieve realized her sister had a binky. Keep in mind, she still had her own safely gripped between her teeth. ... tooth. But still, her hands slowly extend out toward her sisters face and - yoink! "That's my binky." She did this time and time again, Gina and I taking it back each time and returning it to Arianna who sat with a perplexed look on her face like one who has just had their purse snatched from them. Finally she did it again and we were either to exhausted from repeating the same monotonous task over and over again or curious to see how Arianna would respond given the time to contemplate so we left the situation alone. Genevieve studied the binky in her hand for few moments, tried to shove it in to her mouth with the other one still in it, looked at her sisters empty mouth and then returned to binky. She tried to actually put in Arianna's mouth for her, but the coordination was not quite there, so Arianna just took it and did the task on her own. But the thought was there - she actually looked at her sisters empty mouth and shared her excess of binkies. ... granted her first instinct was to steal the binky and add it to her own collection, but hey, can't be picky here. At least her 2nd thought was a good moral decision. Isn't that what second chances are all about?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Furlough Fridays

So the 6% pay decrease in exchange for every Friday off at noon is actually much more worth it than it looks on paper. Life is priceless, so they say, therefore half of a day extra to play with my girls is infinitely more valuable than 6% of my paycheck. Yes, we are blessed that we are not scrounging pennies for survival and such a loss can be absorbed (thanks to yoga money), but even if we were I think in the back of my mind there would still be a warmness and gratitude for the blessing in disguise. Because our jobs consume so much of our time, so much of our life is missed. It's nice to be forced to experience a little more of it than the past would have allowed. Today was the first beach day for the girls and I had the opportunity to be there. ... it was a missed opportunity however because after driving 45 minutes from my office to the beach there was not a single parking spot available (keep in mind said 6% decrees means I enjoy life, but am also a cheap bastard who won't pay $15 to park at Bolsa Chica for an hour). So I drove around for another 30 minutes or so (and "drive" means I sat in one spot way in the back of the queued cars waiting for a spot) before I decided to just pack it in. At least I had the opportunity to join my girls at the beach. ... that's more than most people had today, right? Plus I got to see pictures. So it was like I WAS there, with out the sunburn.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

An Apple and An Orange

I know we're not supposed to compare twins. It's like the Cardinal Rule of multiples - you can't compare two different children despite their exposure to the exact same environment. They are, after all, still two different people. ... but man is that hard! How are you not supposed to do that? It's like when you're mother taught you not to stare at people, but then a 400lb Elvis impersonator in his 80's walks by. Or how they tell you don't look at the accident on the side of the road, just keep driving. But have you ever passed a ball of twisted metal with a 30 foot flame and not turned your head like the "we are legion" girl from The Exorcist? So how now (brown cow) can I not compare two girls who have been exposed to the same exact conditions for the past 8 months? If one gets sick and the other doesn't how can I not pause and wonder why?! They wore the same cloths in the same temperatures to the same place where they saw the same people. How is it one reacted one way and the other reacted totally different? The latest problem I have is with the crawling. Arianna is like a pinball, bouncing from one object to the next at breakneck speeds. As soon as she arrives at her destination, she plots a new course and is of in a blur of arms and legs. Genevieve, my sweet Genevieve, goes pretty much no where. At all. Ever. She's grasped the concept. She knows that movement requires her to be on her belly, and she's figured out that the arms and the legs play a key role, so she gets on her knees, rocks a little bit and then just kind of melts back in to the floor where she flops around a few times before crying. And my problem is not that she can't do it. I know that all kids develop differently, some kids take longer to crawl, some don't do it at all. My problem is I feel so bad for her because I think she really wants to. She watches her sister zoom around and she acts like she wants to go to. Or her sister comes and steals a toy from her and takes off with it and there's nothing that Geneveive can do but watch. So rather than think I have any disappointment I want to make it clear that I don't - I just feel bad for her and I want her to be able to do the things she wants. But when I try and work with her (get her on her knees, move her hands and legs, ect.) she only shows interest in standing up and trying to walk. Part of me thinks that she's come to the conclusion "why settle for matching my sister when I can just best her. If I can walk first while she's still crawling, then I'll have the upper hand." Maybe that's the subtext - we'll never know for sure. I'm just having a really tough time accepting that they are different people who will do things differently, and that's OK. It's almost like I just want them to be even, that way no one is left out or feeling better/worse about life. But that's the human condition, isn't it. If not for those feelings the idea of greatness would not exist. Can you imagine Neil Armstrong landing on the moon and planting 180+ flags for all the other countries who could not figure out how to get there? That would kind of take the fun out of things. It's easier to do when your kids are not at the same level, side by side in life. You can separate them easier when there's a one year, two year, ten year gap. But this is my problem, not there's. As far as they are concerned - life is going great, whether you're crawling like mad or just sitting and enjoying the scenery.