Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sharing is for suckers!

Of all the challenges that you face with twins, I'm starting to think we may have run in to the most challenging of all. We've conquered double breast feeding (well, Gina did, I mostly just sat on the sidelines watching that one), we've conquered sleeping patterns, we've learned to walk, we've even learned to balance the budget and not go completely broke raising these two. What we haven't figured out yet, is how to share, and I get the feeling the girls are in no rush to master that one any time soon. Genevieve's our biggest problem. She seems to always want what Arianna has, even if Arianna has the same exact thing as she does. Because Genevieve's got the size advantage, she also has little problem taking what she wants from her sister. Arianna's personality is also perfectly suited to Genevieve's in that she moves on quickly. Her sister rips something from her hand? No problem. She quickly finds something else to play with - which her sister will naturally rip from her hands as well. Our boiling point, though, is this toy car we have. They only make this thing as a one seater and we only have space in our living room for one car, so it's a recipe for confrontation. If Genevieve sees Arianna in the car, she storms over, and tries to drag her out of the vehicle like a carjacker. If that doesn't work, she pushes her sister in further and crams herself into the car next to her so that Arianna starts to pop out of the passenger side window. Then everybody screams and starts crying and we've got to figure out how to extract two babies jammed inside a tiny car who want to remain in the vehicle but just have their sister removed. ... it's a delicate situation. Most of the time I end up taking the car away and putting it in our room, on top of the bed where they can't get to it and then no body's happy (especially Daddy, who's ready to melt the stupid thing and be done with it). The thing is I know Genevieve gets it when I tell her she has to wait her turn. I'll see her storm off toward her sister and I tell her "you need to wait" and she'll look at me with this inner turmoil expression of "I know, but I can't stand it dad!" She'll stand by the car, rocking her hips slightly and slowly inching closer and closer. She'll glance at me to see what I'm going to say and then slowly lower her hands toward the door. "Genevieve," I'll say, and she'll stand back up slowly, leaning her butt toward the car even more - keeping eye contact, mind you, like somehow I'm locked in her tractor beam and don't notice what's taking place below her neck. Finally, after a back and forth negotiation she can't take the waiting any more and will pounce. I know she's a sweet girl 99% of the time and I know that conflicts with the "mine" stage that we're in right now. ... I'm just ready for her to be in that stage where I can explain why she needs to share and she can understand that and then her sweet side will take over. In this stage of life I sometimes feel like I'm just talking to a brick wall. A very cute brick wall. One that understands what I'm saying, it just doesn't care.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Double the Inspiration

Those of you who know me personally are well aware of my feelings on an active lifestyle. I am part of that transitional generation, the last of the kids who played outside and the first of the kids who sat in front of a video game console. My parents were in the anti-gaming league so I grew up riding my bike, playing sports and getting in to what ever trouble I could find until the street lights came on. I carried that mentality in to my adulthood and nothing frustrates me more than a child sitting on a couch in the middle of they day tapping away on a controller. We get one life to live and so much of it is being wasted in a virtual reality instead of the actual reality we have around us. In an effort to encourage my own children to adopt this philosophy, not only will we not be having any kind of video game system in our own home, I will also have to be the example that gets set. A lot of these kids today are inactive because their parents are inactive; why should they get up and move when mom and dad sit on their butt and watch 40 hours of TV a week? We've done the mud runs, the 5k's the charity walks and our goal is to a full marathon some time next year. In my work up to that event I competed in my first Triathlon yesterday (a sprint tri - 1/2 mile swim, 14 mile bike, 4.5 mile run). It was a bit ambitious, but I want the girls to grow up seeing me doing stuff like this and realizing that this what life is about. I've got to say it was the hardest physical experience I've had thus far in life and it was bordering on one of the most emotionally challenging as well. As grueling as it is to force yourself to continue on, it's an extremely lonely couple of hours. Your swimming in frigid water, some how alone in a violent mass of writhing swimmers clamoring on top of one another hoping to shave a few seconds off their time by drowning those around them. You drag yourself onto the beach, legs wobbly and everyone around you screaming and scrambling towards their bikes. Then you sit on an uncomfortable pole, legs pumping as hard as they can to carry you up one last hill after which you collapse off your bike and desperately will your legs to carry you on their own for the run portion. It was on the bike that I really hit my hard spot, though. I was completing the first lap of the 2 lap course and climbing the final hill. My inner voice was damning the part of my mind that got us into this mess and I caught a glimpse of the red double stroller. The girls were still sleeping when I started the race (6am registration, 8am launch) so they had just gotten there when I came upon them. To see the three of them standing there - Gina screaming my name, girls smiling as they realized it was me passing by - I lost my composure. It's one thing to climb a hill on a bike, it's an entirely different experience to do it with your eyes swelling with tears. For the first time that morning I didn't feel utterly alone. The second lap was much easier, part of it because I wanted to see my girls again. My thinking in all of this is that I'm doing this stuff for them, to set a positive example in their lives, but I realize that it's them that get me through these things. Trekking an hour from our house at 9in the morning to stand on a freezing cold highway and watch me zoom by for a split second. Just long enough to scream my name and toss me a wave, just long enough to give me hope, to give me courage, to give me strength. While I'm trying to inspire my girls, it's really them that inspire me.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Little People, Little World

Remember when we were kids and we would build forts out of sofa cushions and play house in old refrigerator boxes? Yeah, they don't have to do that anymore. We went with Grandma yesterday to this incredible place called Pretend City, although the name is kind of misleading because you don't really have to pretend anything, they kind of imagined it all for you. There is a mechanics garage, a farm, a grocery store, a beach, a fire station (honestly, an entire city) all kid sized. The girls were in heaven, as were the other couple of hundred kids running around the place. The parents were mostly exhausted. As much as there is to see and do it seems like the kids wanted to get it all done in a 5 minute burst and all three (Connor went too) had a different plan of attack, so it was a little like setting hamsters loose in a cheese warehouse and then trying to recapture them with the lights off. Honestly though, I can't wait to go back. This place was so cool. ... one more thing I wish I had thought up first.









Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Top 10 Things I'm Thankful For

This is in order from least to greatest, although to make the top 10 you've got to assume that even the least is still pretty great.

10) My job: I don't love my job. In fact, I don't even like my job. But I like getting money and in today's world it's tough to find someone who will give you money for anything, even doing something you don't like. And I'm pretty sure there are a heck of a lot of people out there who would love to hate my job for me, so I'm pretty grateful that I get to do it.

9) Days off from my job: Weekends, holidays, vacation, sick time - what ever the reason I'm grateful that I get time off from my job (like the next 4 days) to be with my family. Just think, a century ago there was no such thing as time off. ... you only got it when you died.

8) My house: Yes, it's impossibly too small. My neighbors are a real pain. We lost our ass on this thing when the market fell. It was only supposed to be a "2 year house" 5 years ago. But you know what? It keeps the rain off of our heads. It keeps the cold wind outside. And it keeps all that oozy, gooey, sappy love of ours with in its walls!

7) Friends and Family: The past 13 months have been rough on the friends and our extended family. Priorities have changed dramatically and we don't get to see them as much as we'd like. But even though we don't see them directly in front of us, I know they are standing right behind us, arms outstretched ready to catch us if we fall and put us right back up on our feet. I feel that even though we are not their for them all the time, they're always there for us. For that I am grateful.

6) Karma: Yes, the ancient Indian balance of good and evil is great, but I'm actually talking about my dog, Karma. It may seem weird that she's above above (or below depending on how you're reading this) friends and family on this list, but if you find that puzzling then it's clear you've never owned a dog. She was our practice baby. She is our therapist. She is our vacuum cleaner. She is our friend and our ally. As grateful as she may be that we rescued her from the pound that day, I am even more grateful that she rescued us.

5) Sisters: I am surrounded by them. The lone wolf in a pack of pink poodles, so I better be grateful for them. 2 blood sisters, 2 step sisters and 3 sisters by law. The truth is I love them all, and they make my life a real joy. A brother might have been great, but I'd trade 7 sisters for 1 brother any day. Which is funny, because when I was younger I recall trying to make that trade and no one would go for it.

4) Moms: I've got two pretty terrific ones of these. My own mom has been my hero for as long as I can remember. She made me the man I am and she did it with out a very good example to show me. So I decided long ago that I was going to base the man that I would become on my mother. Sure there are side effect, like my love of the color pink, but I work hard every day for my family. I dream big every night for my family. I love hard and I play often and I do everything with in my power for my family. The best example of a good man, is a great mother. And I had one of those. I also hit the lottery with my mother-in-law. There are horror stories out there from down trodden and sad little shells of husbands. They must want to kill me with envious rage. My mother-in-law is amazing. Sometimes I think she forgets that I'm not really one of her flesh and blood children. ... sometimes I forget as well. She has 100% confidence in me as a man, as a husband and as a father and the best part is she lets me know it. I don't just "feel" like part of the family because of her - I am.

3) Life: You know how you know it's a good day today? You woke up. With out this breath in my body I wouldn't be able to be grateful for anything. For that fact I am grateful. What more, I live in a wonderful country, a beautiful state, and vibrant and colorful city. I wasn't just give life, I was given luck as well.

2) My wife: Gratitude isn't a big enough word. Thanks is hardly the verbiage. Recognition and benediction are far too formal, and beholden just sounds to holy. When she found me I was a broken, scared, starving little mutt. Hunkered down in the corner of a deep, dark alley. Her voice calmed my heart. Her smile brightened my world and her hand pulled me out of my abyss and brought me to my feet again. It was her love that built a fire in me, taught me who I was, showed me the man I should be, the one I wanted to be. With out her, this list is much shorter. ... and my story does not have it's happy ending. I don't deserve this woman in my life, but I'm grateful that she hasn't figured that out yet.

1) My angels: I found purpose with Gina. I learned drive from my mother. I got strength from my family and friends. But all of these things were tools; objects to be used for creating a masterpiece. My children are my masterpiece. I will not do great things, but I have a feeling they will. So, by default, they are my great thing. Or things, I suppose, as there are two of them. They quickly have become the center of my universe. The magnetic energy around which everything else in my life spins. They hold me in the palms of their chubby little hands. They are mine, but the truth is I am theirs. If everything else in my life falls to shambles in an instant tomorrow, I would still have to bow my head and give thanks; for He has given me the greatest gift of all: fatherhood.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monsters to scare cancer

If you've never heard of Aidan Reed you should really check his story out. He's a typical 5 year old American boy who spends his free time drawing some really great monster pictures. Oh yeah, and his aunt sells his pictures to pay for his cancer treatment. While Aidan is lucky in the sense that his form of leukemia is fairly treatable with a very high success rate, his fight has still pushed his family to the brink with its high expenses. As a parent the choice is obvious, house verses child - child wins every time. But to be put in that situation is a nightmare in itself. Fortunately Aidan's aunt came up with an idea of selling his drawings in the hopes of raising a little money to help out. Well the idea exploded and has taken on a life of its own. So far they've raised enough money to cover the costs of his treatment, allowing the family to save their home. I read about this last week and it's been rolling around in my mind since, so I decided that we are going to add a link to Aidan's blog and a link to his Etsy shop so if you feel the desire to help out, you have the resources to do it. With two little monsters of my own I'm hoping this brave little boy is able to use his monsters to chase off this demon.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Elmo Must Die

I'm starting to form an opinion (with out ever watching an episode of Sesame Street, mind you) that Elmo is in fact the devil. And I'm not talking just some random demon, I think he's the head honcho, the actual devil himself. The girls got one of those talking Elmo dolls, along with a talking Cookie Monster doll for their birthday a few weeks back. Cookie Monster is relatively laid back, you have to click on a cow in his pocket to get him to say anything and it's mostly just "allo der moo-moo cow" and "Cookie Monster had a farm, e-i-e-i-o." Which ever girl ends up with the blue fur ball mostly snuggles with him. But that freakin' Elmo doll. ... everything on him is a sensor and every noise he makes is annoying to the point of insanity and worst of all, the girls absolutely LOOOOVVVEEE him. They've both figured out exactly how many times they have to squeeze his right hand to cycle through the sayings and get to the one where he sings "head, tummy, feet and nose" (of course he can't sing the correct version because he lacks the required equipment of shoulder, knees and toes which makes it all the more aggravating to listen too). So an average car ride (Elmo and C Monster have been banished from the house and exiled to the car) sounds a little like this "Find E-You fo-Give El-he he he-Fin-Hands, tummy feet and nose... Hands, tummy feet and nose... Hands and feet and a tummy and a nose, Hands, tummy, feet and nose - feet and nose!" We then cycle through the same routine another 279 times until we arrive at our destination with mommy and daddy ready to put a hit out on Elmo. And I don't get breaks from the red haired demon when I go to work either. Any phone call I get from Gina through out the day I am guaranteed to hear his voice in the back ground, same cycle, same aggravating emotions. Then I get to have him in the back of my mind, haunting me the rest of the day. As I type this I am actually humming the "hands, tummy, feet and nose" song desperately trying to purge it from my thoughts, to no avail. I know I can't take the doll away from the girls because they really do love him (and his third person references make it apparent he loves himself too!), so I'm anxiously awaiting the day the batteries finally die and I can stare at his mute carcass with overwhelming joy. Of course the toy company seems to have the same batteries they use for deep space travel and, by my guess, they'll finally run out sometime in June of 2045. By then one of us will surely be dead. ... and I have a feeling Elmo will be singing at my funeral. As they slowly lower my casket in to the hole, the bagpipes will swell with a soft, mournful note as his shrill voice breaks the cool morning silence "hands, tummy, feet and nose - feet and nose." The mournful widow will seek solace in the red haired bastards embrace and his plan will be complete. With me out of the way, Elmo will quickly take over control of the family. Wow. This vision took an interesting turn in to Soprano land.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

D.A.D.D.S.

Well a good friend of the blog, Hayley, came down south for a visit this weekend and, while she had alternative motives for the 5 hour drive, we told ourselves she was strictly down here to visit us. The lovely person that she is, she came loaded with gifts for everyone in the family and her gift for me has inspired me to start up my own chapter of a men only fraternity. ... no. ... not that. I am now accepting applications for the Southern California chapter of D.A.D.D. - Dads Against Daughters Dating. Membership will include a workout regiment, martial arts training, an NRA subscription and your own "posse" for situations that require back up. We'll also train and assist with window bar installations, padlocking and security surveillance systems. Plus, you'll get this great membership t-shirt. Contact me now for application information.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

God Bless Coffee

In the past I've made mention that wine was specifically designed for consumption by parents needing to unwind. Now, I'm also going to claim that coffee was designed specifically for parents needing to drag through a day after their kids kept them up the whole night before. True, there are many people in the world who have no kids and enjoy both coffee and wine regularly, but the appreciation level is what's lacking. Those young whipper snappers get their soy ginger latte to recover from studying all night for mid-terms, we parents need it because we laid in bed for 8 hours listening to one year olds scream in an oddly impressive harmony, then had to get up and function at work. So while the pledges over at Theta Nu are enjoying a double foam peppermint mocha with a pumpernickel scone to nurse their hangover from last nights kegger, I literally need the quadruple shot espresso coursing through my veins at the moment to simply keep my eye lids from cementing together and my head from permanently affixing to my keyboard. It all started when we were decided to go to bed "early" last night. I was picking up the toy graveyard that our kitchen turns in to during the course of the night and I pushed the girls chairs back in against our dining room table. Well, the damn cat was sitting under the chair and got spooked, jumped out and latched on to a metal (fortunately empty) wine rack and brought it crashing back down. As the dust settled and I clenched every fiber in my body to avoid skinning the fur ball alive I listened for the expected shrieks of waking babes. Oddly there was nothing so a few tense moments later we continued prepping the house for bed. We then went in to do our final check on the girls and as Gina creaked the door open she locked eyes with Arianna who was sitting in a dazed stupor, probably trying to go back to sleep from the cat/wine rack fiasco. Of course, upon seeing mom she started crying which woke up Genevieve and the night began. We spent the next two hours with the girls crying, quieting, crying again, quieting, crying again, quieting. Every time we would make a move toward the door to settle them they'd quiet before we got there and (assumably) go back to sleep. By the time we laid back down ourselves, though, someone would start crying again. We were like tennis balls in a Federer - Nadal match; to the door, returned to the room, to the door, returned to the room, lob to the door, smashed to the room by Federer, great return by Nadal to the door. Finally we just went in, picked everyone up, got them some cold water and rocked them for a while (it sucks to be the dad in this situation when there's only one rocking chair - 30 pound baby gets heavy real fast at 12am). They seemed to settle a little bit after this, but sure enough not long later we were back up again. I managed to squeeze in a precious few minutes of sleep before the 5:30 alarm but I know Gina got less because every time I woke up she was already awake, propped up and listening with a pained look on her face. We both have concerns over these situations but she takes it personally, like the girls are judging her because she doesn't have an answer for the situation. As I was getting ready in the dark this morning she sat up, awakening from one of her brief moments of sleep and asked if anyone was crying while I was in the shower. Even when asleep she still was dreaming about them crying. So this morning, as I drive in through the morning fog, it wasn't the usual question of "should I stop for coffee on the way in", it was "where" and "how big".

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Timing is EVERYTHING

Parents figure this out quickly. Timing is crucial to everything you do. Wait too long to feed a baby and they won't eat. Too early and you've got the same problem. Not tired enough or too tired and they won't sleep. Start your "abc's" too late and they'll end up street walkers, too early and you've got a Ted Kaczynski. Ok, maybe an exaggeration on that last one, but you catch my drift here. It's a sensitive balance of when you do what. So yesterday the girls only caught a 20 minute nap on the way to having lunch with my mom at work. They played around in her office, went and ate - even rode a carousel before they dropped grandma back off at work. Problem was when they got back to Yiayia's they really weren't ready to take a big nap because that teaser was still holding them over. Gina was substituting a class last night so when I got to Yiayia's to pick them up they'd still not napped and we were coming up on 5 o'clock (a big nap that late means bedtime gets pushed back). So I tossed them in the car and hoped they'd fall asleep for the ride home. Well, Genevieve did but Arianna just sat there rubbing her eyes in exhaustion (still hasn't learned that you can't rub away sleepiness, you've just got to give in to it). By the time we got home Genevieve was still asleep but Arianna was in a really grumpy mood, so I couldn't just sit in the car with them as I had planned. I woke up Genevieve (not happy about that) and took them both inside hoping I could just plop them in bed and get them a 20 minute quickie (my how the definitions of certain words change as you morph from newlywed to parent). That didn't work either, because we were too late for a nap with Arianna and now to early for another nap with Genevieve. What ended up happening was Genevieve laying down in her crib playing in the dark room while I sat in a rocking chair next to her holding Arianna who snuggled into my chest but remained wide eyed and delirious for about 30 minutes. I must say, as a parent this is not what you "plan for", but secretly what you kind of hope will happen. The older they get the rarer and quicker the snuggle sessions last so if I can get that much of a chunk and she's game for it I'm happy to sit there in the dark with my arms around her for as long as she can stand it. The only down side is I've only got enough space on my lap these days for one at a time - but Genevieve was fairly happy playing with a baby doll so I don't think she minded. Fortunately this was also enough of a down time to help us survive dinner and bath and then make it to real bed time openly ready for the sleep. Of course there was another lesson in timing during the bath. I had Genevieve in and soaking and was getting Arianna ready to join her. I took off her diaper and noticed how dry it was. Just as I turned to throw the diaper away my foot felt warm and wet and I looked down to see her peeing on me. I was two seconds too early with the diaper removal. Gina came home about 5 minutes after that. See, timing truly is everything.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Wedding Fantasies

Little girls are notorious for fantasizing about their future wedding dates. They dress up in over sized gowns and tie together a bouquet of colorful weeds so they can march down a mock aisle and fake marry the little boy that lives down the block who thought he came over to have popsicles and play on the slip n' slide. After that they play house, where they live in a discarded refrigerator box and have someones younger brother who just wants to be included in the game for a pet dog (if there's more than one younger sibling around then they also have a cat and boy do those two get in to some shenanigans). Well, for boys we don't really fantasize about weddings until much later. ... like 3 and a half minutes before we pull the ring out of our pockets and shakily ask you to marry us. That's the first moment we even have a concept that a ceremony might take place some day. But I'm learning something new about the time line of wedding fantasies, you see the little girl isn't the first one to have it. ... it's her father. ... and it's not really a fantasy as much as a nightmare. Our first instinct when we look at our little girl (or in my case little girls) is to selfishly dub them "mine". "That's my little girl!" And we all know what happens the moment you claim something as yours. ... you start freaking out about people trying to take it from you. The proud father instantly develops a little Golum inside with horrible grammar that whispers in our ear to "protect the precious!" We start playing this loop in our mind of the next 30 years and how we are going to handle these boys that come and "trys to stealz them away froms us." So that soft focus wedding fantasy that our daughters have is also playing in our mind, but more with a Stanley Kubrick style shot and a death metal soundtrack playing to it. But there is one part to the fantasy that we view with moist eyes and a heart melting smile. ... the father daughter dance. I try to block out the wedding fantasy and keep it from ruining my days, but yesterday a song came on the radio (this happens to me a lot) and all I could think of was having that last dance with my daughters before I pass them off to their betrothed. The soft focus, the back lit image, the slow motion. ... it was magic. Don't get me wrong, I can definetly wait for that day, I'm in no rush at all. But when it comes and that song starts up. ... cue the rain maker cause a storm is coming. And as a string quartet plays Guns n' Roses "Sweet Child of Mine" I'll spin my little girl across the floor, fighting the demon inside that screams to keep her for myself, and pass her off the only other man capable of loving her as much as I do. And if he hurts her I'll break his freakin' neck. Now that's a fantasy that makes me smile.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Under the Sea

Visited the Aquarium of the Pacific today. Words don't really do the day justice, so here's a look for yourself.
video

Over the moon for the moon

This is now my second attempt at this blog entry, the last one was hijacked by Genevieve and you can see how that turned out. It's fitting that she was the culprit as this entry is mostly about her. When the girls were born I remember the doctor saying that they could only see a few inches in front of their noses so you had to get really close in for them to see that it was you. As they aged we could notice as their vision increased - they noticed the dog, they saw the tv, they'd recognize us from across you a room. Well, Genevieve has moved way outside her little box of objects in her world and taken notice of (and developed a great affection for) the second most distant thing she can see. ... the moon. She discovered it about a week ago and, like Galileo before her, has fallen head over heels in love with it. If you take her out in the night time she instantly scans the sky till she finds it and then points it out too you until you are back in doors again. Yesterday we were at a jewelry boutique with Gina and I took her out back to get some air. She instantly started pointing up at the sky and cooing. Several people around us asked what she was pointing out and, without looking myself, I said "the moon must be up". Sure enough, turning around, there it was. The faint white daytime moon just peeking over the roof of the house. When Shakespeare wrote "arise fair sun and kill the envious moon, who is already sick and pale with grief that thou, her maid, art far more fair then she," he was complementing Romeo's Juliet. I think Genevieve may have written it differently, with Juliet whose "vestal livery is but sick and green" followed by a request for the moon to shine more brightly.

Over 20t\\20

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"That's your daughter!"

Explain to me how it is that when genes are passed from mother and father to the baby, only the good genes from the mother and the bad genes from the father are absorbed? You see, I'm noticing a pattern (shocking, Kyle sees a pattern in something): when ever the girls are cute, or funny, sweet or smart I'm always told they "must" get that from their mother. "Oh, look Arianna is so smart, Gina was just like that!" Or, my favorite, "Genevieve is so pretty, she looks just like Gina at that age." I'm ok with this, I'll agree my wife is a stunner and was a very cute baby, so that's an ok thing. But how come they only revert to being my offspring when they've blown out a diaper or shoved their finger up their nose? I haven't blown out a diaper in years, why am I getting credit for this?! Today I got a call about "my daughter" who decided to sit in a mud puddle while everyone was walking to the car this morning and completely mucked up her pants, shoes and everything else she had on, forcing Gina to go back in the house, clean her and redress her. When is the last time I chose to sit down in a mud puddle? And how is that a genetic trait that I passed along? I've already got a title in my house as "the king of all things sh!t" because I somehow get stuck with picking up animal waste, changing the really gross diapers, dispatching of weird insects and cleaning "unidentifiables" on the kitchen floor - now I'm also the bearer of genetic defaults? Am I supposed to add this to my resume? "The king of all things sh!t and purveyor of genetic defects". It's kind of catchy, but it hardly seems fair. I'm just saying, for once I'd like a positive trait to be attributed to my half of the DNA. And throwing an excellent tantrum (though it does have the word "excellent" in it) is hardly a positive trait. ... although I do throw a mean tantrum. One might even call it "excellent".

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Dirty mouth?

I do my best to keep my language in check around the girls, but every now and then I get in trouble for letting something slip when I stub my toe, stab myself or completely destroy something. So there's a little bit of fear in the back of my mind that one of the girls is going to repeat one of these words someday and I'll get in real trouble. Well, it seems that Genevieve has taken it upon herself to preemptively strike. We were running a little late with bed time last night so Gina took off to teach her class and the girls and I finished getting ready. As the girls are brushing their teeth the phone rings. I grab it and a pleasant voice on the other end starts giving me the pitch for breast cancer awareness donations. Before she can get very far in to her script, though, I turn around and see Geneveive with a bar of soap in her mouth, chomping away. I explain this to the lady who kindly lets me go and I have to spend the next 5 minutes pulling chunks of soap from my daughters mouth. Her entire tongue had turned white and there were little bubbles in the corners of her mouth. Personally I think she was just mixed up which Dove bars are for eating and which are for washing our bums with. I will say this, however, her breath smelt of an Irish countryside spring afterwards.

Monday, November 8, 2010

While you were not quite sleeping

Interesting scene last night: we made our final rounds before going to bed and we were delighted when we checked on the girls and heard no noise. No coughing, no wheezing, no sniffling, nothing. It was beautiful silence after a week of these ridiculous colds. But, of course, a moment like this is always to good to be true. As I placed a blanket up around Genevieve, she suddenly startled awake. I hit the deck in perfect for Child's Pose and Gina struck a Downward Dog. We held our yoga poses for a good chunk of time waiting for her to settle back down, but she refused. While we stifled our laughter she eventually sat up completely and started a whine. Gina tossed me a binkie which had been thrown on the floor near her and gave me a look that I should do something with it. Still cowering down I slowly raised the binkie up like a periscope, snaked it through the slat in the crib and placed it her open mouth. She gripped the binkie firmly in her mouth and relaxed for a second. Then she got this look on her face like "What the hell just happened" and promptly stood up and glared down at her ridiculous parents in their yoga poses. Silly Daddy. Did you really think you could pull that off? As the full blown cry kicked in I retreated back to our room, even getting a "seriously?" glare from our dog on the way, and let Momma fix the mess I just made.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dear Lord, deliver me from footwear

I used to think there were few things worse then shopping with a woman for shoes. ... I admit when I'm wrong, and I was very wrong. Shoe shopping with three women is far worse and I can only imagine how much harder it's going to get when they actually WANT to go shoe shopping. As it is we were looking for something to do yesterday afternoon when Gina suggested we go to the mall to exchange a few birthday outfits that didn't fit our enormous children. It took us no time at all to make the exchange, but then Gina saw shoes. We've been down this road before. We once went shoe shopping specifically for me and after 5 minutes and a pair of Alfani square toes I ended up sitting in an arm chair for an hour and forty-five minutes while Gina scoured the Nostrum heel section only to leave empty handed because they didn't have anything that worked. I've learned not to ask questions while you're in the moment, because coming between a woman and a potential pair for shoes is like trying to save a deer from a hungry momma grizzly. There's only one outcome and it involves you losing your head. So when I heard "the girls need some shoes, do you mind if we stop and look real quick?" I said "of course not honey", and I bit my tongue. The taste of blood reminded me that I was still alive. ... for the moment. Nearly 2 hours later our "quick trip" was coming to a close and I was standing at the cash register handing over the AMEX having little to now clue what we were buying because only one pair of shoes fit and the others were needing to be ordered and shipped. I was asked often what my preferences were but I'm not really sure what I was looking at as my energy was spent keeping Arianna from eating a pair of red dress shoes and Genevieve from shoplifting a stuffed puppy she had fallen in love with. As for that puppy I pity the person who ends up buying it as I could never find it when it came time to leave, but I know for a fact it was covered in snot, slobber and every other germ riddled discharge pouring from my daughters faces as a result of these colds. As we left all I could do was look at the mass of boxes, scattered shoes and destroyed displays, turn to the sales lady, shrug my shoulders and tilt my head to the side. "Sorry?" Like that somehow covered it. And with that we were on our way. Next stop, Red Robin for dinner, so we can make another underpaid college graduate clean up the walking disaster that we are. And that was fine with me. Eating I can handle. Shopping. ... that's rough.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Alphabet According to Twins


Best purchase we've made in months has to be the magnetic alphabet Gina scored from Big Lots about a month or so ago. The girls absolutely love them and as a result they've made it to the far reaches of the universe - it's not uncommon to unload the girls at my moms house and find out an "R" has tagged along for the ride. I've found letters in cribs, under couches, other peoples houses even other peoples backyards. Suffice to say we've permanently lost several letters in the last few weeks. So I give you the revised alphabet according to twins: DEGHKLNOPQUTZ. As you can see we've gotten ride of that selfish "I", those mean "B's" and most of the letters that begin the big money swear words ("F", "A" and "S"). We've also removed the "W" because we can always just use the "U" twice, right? And this new alphabet lets us still say words like "putz", "hen" and "kleghn". ...so that should still allow for some interesting conversations.

Friday, November 5, 2010

We're All On Quack!

As we continue to fight these terrible colds over here, something other then snot has emerged from Genevieve's face. ... what I'm going to call her first real word. Genevieve has had this thing with animals, I won't call her an animal lover per se because when she is next to them she kind of beats them up (tough love maybe) but she sure does love something about them. We've noticed that she has started to imitate the noises they make. You might recall the growling episode several months ago. She also meows and barks when the appropriate animal makes their noise. These aren't so much her saying the word "meow" or "bark/woof", just a similar sounding noise, like a high pitch squeal or a gruff grunt. But as I discovered last night (and Gina the day before but she failed to mention it to me) Genevieve has now started to say the word "quack" for ducks. Unlike the other two this isn't a recreation of the duck sound but actually the word quack. It comes out more like a "cuck", but it's obvious her intentions as she does it in response to the word duck or the word quack. And, with out any kind of endorsement deal here, I must be honest - we owe the first word to a Leapfrog learning station toy. It was that little e-book that repeated the phrase "the duck says 'quack, quack, quack'" over and over and over which lead to her learning of the word. So there you have it, we're in to the talking phase already. My understanding is once you enter this phase the next trick is trying to figure out how to make them stop talking. ... this could get interesting.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Couple of snot nose little kids

Well, the first cold of the season has snuck in to our house. No telling where it came from, but if Mount Rushmore and Niagara Falls had twin babies I think they'd look pretty similar to my girls right now. They aren't seeming to let it affect them to much during the day. They're still running around playing (I think Genevieve may even be enjoying the snot flow as she can't seem to keep her hands out of it). Arianna is a little more irritable than normal, but I think it's because she's feeling drained, and like Daddy, she doesn't operate too well when she's tired. The biggest problem was sleeping last night, especially with Genevieve. Because she couldn't breath out of her nose she kept waking up, and when she put a binkie in to go back to sleep she couldn't breath at all, so this was causing her to fuss up a storm. It would only last a minute, maybe two, before she'd pass out again because she's exhausted, but she must have got up like 6 times last night. I felt like we were back to 8 or 9 months ago. Gina finally got up and rocked her a bit around 5 because she wasn't going back to sleep on that one. By the time I left for work this morning Gina was back in bed and all was silent. ... well, except for the heavy mouth breathing coming from all the plugged up noses.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hit Me Baby One More Time!

Monday's are the worst. I think that God decided to make Sunday a day of rest because He needed to mentally prepare for the upcoming Monday which He knew was bound to be a bummer. Sure enough, Adam and Eve ate the apple and the s#@t hit the fan. Well my Monday's aren't much better. The girls eat dinner at Yiayia's house to give me a solid couple of hours to study and listen to lectures, but this means my only real time with the girls before they go down and Gina heads off to teach is the crabby hour where we bathe, change, drink our milk and brush our teeth. Lately we've been trying to move toward one nap a day so "crabby" has kind of morphed in to "furious" and "hell bent" by the time we get to the end of the day. Last night when I went to help everyone in from the car I was greeted by Gina yelling (she will argue she was merely conveying a point in a loud and firm tone) about a missing knee brace so I grabbed Arianna who started screaming at me, passed her off to Gina to calm down and picked up Genevieve, who also promptly starting screaming at me. We moved in to the house where everyone continued to scream at me culminating with Arianna actually hitting me when I tried to console her. This is the first intentional hit that I've received. I've been smacked by flailing arms before, but this had wind up, aim and then the evil stare afterwards to let me know she was serious. I don't know what you do at one. I told her 'no' but to be honest I was more saddened by everything than mad about it. I only get about 45 minutes on Mondays before they go down and I have to return to monotonous legal lectures so I like to make the most of it, but when I'm getting beat up and screamed at it makes me want to slink off in to a corner and whimper like Karma does when she's in trouble. So instead I skulked off to the bathroom to start running the water for a bath. As I moped around in there I suddenly felt a tap on my thigh. As I turned around I saw a sheepish grin and a naked Arianna standing there. It may not have been an apology per se, but it was enough for me to forgive and move on. Of course the furious hour continued once everyone was in the bath, but I didn't take it personally any more. One little smile is more than enough to get me through the rest of the night.