Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Two SINGular Sensations

Over the holiday my mom went all nostalgic on me and pulled out some VHS of my early performing years.  The first earth shattering role was that of Charlie in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. ... moving, really.  The play opens with yours truly in a god awful solo of "Sweet Hour of Prayer".  Now, according to the script it's supposed to be a god awful rendition. ... but I'm not sure it's supposed to make your ears bleed and feral dogs run away in horror.  As the collection progressed to the King and I (I played Louis) there was a notable improvement in my singing ability, although my 3 year old nephew mentioned at this point in the play list that he didn't like Uncle Kyle's singing very much. ... and he couldn't understand why I was on a pirate ship.  Remarkably, some 20 years later I now consider my voice to be one of my best assets (the other's being my wife and daughters).  There's not a karaoke joint in a 15 mile radius that I haven't closed down and my debut album, Gin and Bm, sold over five copies (and by sold I mean I gave them to my wife, mother and a couple of friends who requested them).  So I've been crossing my fingers and holding my breath that the girls develop a similar passion for music that I have.  And it should be mentioned that Gina is equally as passionate about singing and has been right along side me at every one of those karaoke shutdowns. ... you should witness our Love Shack rendition sometime. ... magic.  Well, I'm please to report that we are currently 2 for 3.  Not only can you hear the girls serenading Rosaline in her bouncy - usually a mash up of ABC's and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. ... they're not always on the same page with their song choice - but most nights over the crackle of the monitor can be heard the soft lullabies of the girls singing themselves to sleep.  Last night it was the Wonder Pets theme song.  "GOOOOO Nonederpets!" and the occasional "What gonna work - Teaaaaaamwoooork."  This makes me smile.  Partner that with the mini guitars we bought them for Christmas (partly to keep them from constantly man handling my guitars) and my vision of a Jr High talent show featuring the Kopp Girls rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody is almost complete.  Don't worry, I'm not about to go all Mr. Lohan or Mr. Spears on you. ... I just want to nostalgically pop in a BluRay ("what's a BluRay dad?! How old is that?!") on a Christmas day 30 years from now and remember when these three little girls were still so little.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

the Snuggle

There's something to be said for snuggle time.  First of all, it's never long enough.  It could last for 48 hours straight and I'd still be content just sitting there; holding her.  But as that child of yours lays in to your chest, the life form that came from you merging back in to you again. ... it's the most peaceful and surreal moment this world can offer up.  And yes, I'm getting a lot of current snuggle time from Rosaline, but it's just as magical when I get a moment of it from the twins.  Yesterday morning Genevieve crawled in to bed with me and laid down on my chest.  Aside from feeling like an anchor had just been dropped on me, I wrapped my arms around her and threatened to never let go.  We just lay there for 10 minutes or so.  Gina fed the baby in the other room and Arianna caught a few more minutes of sleep.  But the two of us, under the big green comforter just basked in the warmth of a good snuggle.  These moments are fleeting.  At 2 there's something to be said for clamoring in to bed with dad and pressing against him.  At 5 the gravitational pull of cartoons might start to win out.  Then by 10 it's a video game and by 13 it's just not "cool".  By 18 she'll be out the door with her own agenda and by 25. ... well. ... she may be gone.  When she does come home I'm sure I'll get a hug, a strong embrace; a quick grip of love and then a quicker release of independence.  I won't be able to hold her.  To play with her dirty blond hair.  To softly pinch her ears and press her open hand against mine; measuring the difference in size.  She won't want to "hide" with me under the covers, or lay her head on my chest as if to listen to my heart.  It's not her fault. ... big girls just don't do that.  And I know this.  Big boys don't do this either - and I'm sure my mom misses the days of her little tote headed admirer clamoring in to her bed to do the same.  So, as a wise man, I drink in this moment.  I remember the sound of every silent breath.  The warmth of her cheeks.  The softness of her hair. The deep blue eyes that look into mine, through my very soul and straight in to the deepest channels of my heart.  Such a silly word: "snuggle".   But my. ... what a profound and earth shattering effect.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again

Alright; I'm back.  Time to get this new adventure underway in the blogosphere.  So let's start with the elephant in the room: Rosaline.  What do you want to know?  Official stats: she was born at 12:25pm on Friday, December 16th.  She was 7lb's 13 ounces and 21.5" long.  Let's start there; I kind of expected bigger.  I've gotten so used to the twin towers that I was thinking 9, 10, hell even 11 pounds wasn't an unreasonable expectation (Gina's definition of "unreasonable" might differ).  But when she came around that curtain and I caught a glimpse of her for the very first time it didn't matter. ... I was in love.  She was perfect.  A small tuft of dark brown hair horeshoing the back of her head. ... kind of gave me a visual of my future hair line.  She has a nose that looks remarkably like Genevieve's but a forehead more in line with Arianna's.  She's got a great little jaw with a tiny "chin butt", as we call them, in her chin.  In fact, she looks remarkably like my 12 year old sister-in-law. ... like jaw dropping remarkably.  Long fingers.  Long toes.  And quiet.  My god how quiet she is.  The first night in the hospital I kept waking up thinking something was wrong because she didn't scream.  She didn't even cry.  She whimpers a little when she's hungry or when she's getting her diaper changed, but that's really the extent of it.  Now we stayed a little longer in the hospital than normal.  Post delivery Gina had a couple of minor complications arise that involved a second surgery. ... and which I've been told I can't blog about.  In fact, I believe that was Gina's first words: "Don't you dare blog this."  So. ... we'll skip that chapter.  What cracked me up most of this experience was the twins (can't call them "the girls" anymore unless I'm referring to all three) behavior in the hospital.  Our hospital is a smaller one, not one of the big city hospitals with NICU or any other kind of specialty type stuff, so when the girls where born they were like mini celebrities.  And they still got it!  They would swagger up and down that hallway telling any staff member they walked by that they were there to see new sissy and they brought their dolls to show her.  I kept thinking I would have to remind the nurses that we had a newborn there too because those two clowns kept upstaging her.  I'd take them home for nap and return empty armed only to have the staff asked me "what happened to the twins?"  Then leaving the hospital was like it's own parade route.  All we were missing was a horn section and some Shriners driving in front of us.  But the chaos of the hospital is over.  We've been home since Tuesday and everything is settling in.  The girls have been adapting wonderfully to big sisterhood - last night they both climbed in to bed swiftly at the promise of being able to lie next to new sissy for a few minutes; Genevieve even got up later to bring Rosaline a pacifier from her own private stash.  Gina has been improving, slowly, but any improvement is improvement none the less.  And baby Rosaline has continued in her perfection.  With the girls I would have to lug myself out of bed at nights, often times grumpy, and the older they got the more I realized how much I was missing those fleeting moments.  This time around I'm enjoying the midnight rocking chair sessions and the million and one diaper changes. ... the little things.  In fact, last night (aka early early early this morning) Gina went to move a pillow and woke me up.  My instinct was to stop her because I was so convinced that the baby was still sleeping there in my arms.  I had actually put her to bed some 30 minutes earlier.  But that's how quickly you snap back in to it.  Just like riding a bike.  On a tightrope.  Over a crocodile infested gorge.  Through a ring of fire.  With a couple of clowns sitting on your shoulders.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

And the Ginch's small heart grew 6 sizes that day

So here's the thing about plans... They're stupid. Human nature is to plan; human nature is also to be disappointed when plans go awry. And yet that never seems to stop us from making future plans. Take us for example. If our plans worked out we'd have one child right now.... so much for plans. Why then should we be surprised at our Thursday appointment - the one we thought we would schedule a c section for the following Tuesday at - when our doctor said this baby needs to cone now. The fluid had dropped from a 10 to a 4.5 and that was no bueno. So we headed home to grab what we had and come back that night. Fortunately the doc called a little later and said they had no room for us so we'd have to push things back till morning. I frantically tried to rework all of my business stuff scheduled for Saturday and Gina ran down the checklist of things to be done. Thank god we knocked everything out the week before. But you know what? Thank god plans don't work out. Because right now I'm staring at a beautiful, healthy, pink little 7lbs 13ounces of my own heart. All that curiosity of "how could I love another kid as much as my girls" was answered. Magic. It just happens. That little head pokes around the curtain and your chest just expands to house an even larger heart. Amazing. More to come when we get home from the hospital but for mow know this: my life just got more brilliant and I wouldn't change it for any of the previous plans I've ever made.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Exploiting the Claus

I suddenly understand how Santa became so huge.  And by "huge" I mean deeply ingrained in holiday culture. ... not rotund. ... which he is as well and that's probably a result of all the cookies and whole milk.  Is Mrs. Claus checking this guy for diabetes?  Sorry, I digress.  You see it wasn't the children who made him popular, it was the parents.  Sure you see lines of kids waiting to sit on a jolly lap and millions of letters addressed to "The North Pole", but this obsession with the man in red is an idea implanted a la Inception by the parents.  They want their kids to love Santa.  They want them to believe in him and revere him and, yes even fear him, because he can be used as a method of control. ... at least for a month or two.  You see, the real Christmas story involves the birth of Jesus.  But Jesus is a year round figure, and to be honest the more secular the world becomes the more of his swagger he seems to lose.  When you 5 your not really thinking about eternal life, you're thinking about Matchbox cars and My Little Ponies.  So thanks Jesus for the gift of heaven but what I asked for was a Tickle Me Elmo. ... did you keep the receipt?  And if you think about it, it would be pretty sacrilegious to have dudes with long brown hair and beards (stoners and hippies basically ;) sit in white robes near the food court telling kids they'll get them a puppy if their good.  It would kind of turn Jesus in to a sell out.  So parents needed someone else. ... someone who could get away with it. ... preferably someone who had access to flying deer.  Now you've got this Santa character (based on a real saint which lends him a lot of credibility) who is human so he can be commercialized with every TV commercial between October 31st and January 25th, and yet he retains this power to know when you are sleeping and know when you're awake.  Suddenly the parents have the power.  The girls are really into Santa this year - after all they've decided that Santa must be the one who is bringing "New Sissie" since it's so close to Christmas.  And we found ourselves pushing this reverence and then exploiting the crap out of it.  Last night was "now you need to go to sleep with no crying because Santa is watching and he only brings presents to good little girls."  What the hell have we become?!!!  But it worked.  Lights out, almost no sounds.  This after a slew of crying episodes the last week or so.  And I remember my parents doing the same exact thing to me. ... and again, it worked very well.  So while the holiday season may have started as a celebration of the birth of Christ (and by the way, it's nearly impossible that Jesus was actually born on December 25th because shepherd's don't tend their flocks by night in the winter. ... it's cold - likewise unless Cesar wanted to insight mass uprising and be just a total a-hole he wouldn't have forced people to travel for a census in the coldest month of the year. ... he would have had that happen in the spring or summer. ... but whatever) it's become a celebration for the ability of parents to control their children through use of a bribery agent.  You see, if it's just me giving my kids gifts for being good they'll catch on that I'm their parent and I'm going to give them gifts regardless of their behavior because I love them.  But if it's some authoritarian with a check list who unobjetivly marks "naughty" or "nice" then it's really on them to kick the good behavior in to overdrive for the last 60 days or so leading up.  Now my opinion is we should build up all the holiday mascots to such a powerful state and obtain year round good behavior.  Easter Bunny only delivers eggs to good kids houses.  Jack-o-Lantern only gives candy to the good monsters and goblins.  Teachers only give summer break to the A and B students. ... maybe not that last one. ... then again. ....

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

re-design / aka Kopp 2.0

So I don't want to alarm you, but sometime next week "the Kopp Twins" will have to undergo a face lift.  So like us L.A. types, right?!  The truth is, when I first started this thing I thought it would just be an easy way to update family and friends during the pregnancy and then it would drift away from me, after all I had never really even read a blog let alone written one before.  But some 400 or so posts and 27,000+ hits later,  with readers as far away as Russia and Australia, it's kind of developed a staying power of it's own.  And now that we won't be talking just about the twins it doesn't really seem right to hail under that moniker anymore.  So I wanted to give my followers an advanced warning so they don't get all spooked on me when this change comes (which won't be until we officially have a 3rd Kopp Girl in our hands to talk about).  The Kopp Twins address will still work (and if your set up as a follower we will still be housed under thekopptwins so nothing is really going to change on your end), but you will now also be able to get to us through or just And my friendly, smirky avatar, with his over sized iPhone will also be retired, so enjoy his smarmy raised eyebrow while you still can.  In the redesign I'm going with more of an ipod commercial circa 2005.  Tell me if you love it.  Tell me if you hate it.  Tell me if, like a lot of perverts seem to be doing, you just googled "Victoria Secret twins" and wound up at this page and have been stuck here ever since.  Mostly I just want to thank you.  Thank you for following along with me.  For supporting me.  For encouraging me to keep this thing up.  It's more than just a silly blog.  It's more than just some guy trying to make people laugh or be all insightful and inspiring.  This is a love letter to my girls.  This is their life, through my eyes, archived in the expanses of the Internet so that some day they can come here and read their own journey.  See the unquestionable love I have for them.  Know that, no matter what is happening at that time in their life, there is one man who will always be there; who will never doubt them; who will forever protect them.  One man who's world starts and stops with them.  Dad.  So thank you for encouraging me to write this chapter, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on. ...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Full Moon

Last night I took the opportunity to do something with my wife that we haven't done in a very long time and will certainly not be doing again any time soon.  I took her to the movies. ... a grown up movie. ... well. ... sort of.  I took her to see the new Twilight which is for adults but somehow manages to turn grown women in to little girls.  Anyway. ... I liked the werewolves so it's all good.  But this post isn't about Edward Cullen or sparkly bloodsuckers and chiseled abs; it's about how we husbands can compete against such "perfect" men. ... and wolves.  You see Gina posted on facebook that I was taking her and alluded to the "best husband ever" as almost every wife on facebook does. ... a lot.  Little tangent: if your husband does the dishes and makes dinner one night a week - he's hardly in contention for the prize of best husband ever.  Equally, folding the laundry or watching the kids for an hour so you can get your hair done does not qualify either.  In fact. ... you should see that as a disappointment that it's such a big deal when he DOES do these things.  But here's the thing, I'm NOT the best husband ever either.  I probably never will be.  I can't possibly compete for such a moniker on the basis of our lives so far.  I do the laundry.  I watch the girls all the time.  Dishes are my middle name.  But the best husband ever takes more than day to day chores. ... he's the one who jumps in front of a bus to save his wife.  The one who donates a kidney.  The one who works 14 jobs to keep a roof over her head and never complains of blistered hands and a bad back.  I've not been put in a position where I have to prove my "best husband ever" stature.  I love my wife; I am fully dedicated to my wife; I will bend over backwards for her with out so much as a request. ... but this only makes me a good husband; not the best ever.  Even Edward isn't the best husband ever.  He's a vampire for crying out loud.  If he jumped in front of a bus it wouldn't hurt him.  If he fights for her it's with the strength of 100 men.  He doesn't even have to work a day job to keep her fed because he's sparkly and they drink blood which they never pay for. ... that's about the extent of his effort on the husband front.  So here's the saddest part. ... and this is the reason that women are swooning over him: aside from his looks and messy hair, he's polite.  He is respectful.  He shows his love with out relying on stating it.  His world revolves around her.  This is the reason women the world over are going crazy.  Because in today's society he's an anomaly instead of the standard.  Do you know how few men open a door these days?  Offer their coat?  Stare at their wife like they did on the alter that day?  My wife says that she loves Edward/Twilight because he reminds her of me so much.  Wonderful.  But that shouldn't qualify for the best husband ever. ... that should be the average husband.  Every women should love Edward because of how much he reminds them of their husband/boyfriend.  He should seem familiar to them, not foreign and exotic.  Edward Cullen should be the epitome of the everyman. ... albeit a little more sparkly.  But that's not how it is.  Men today don't have to try.  Women have relinquished the reality of Edward as a fantasy.  So they applaud the mediocre and bestow the "best ever" title for something. ... something as pathetic as doing dishes.  If I could change one thing about the world it would be women's expectations of men.  They should expect so much more from us.  They deserve so much more from us.  And as a father of daughters you can be damn certain I'm not settling for anything less than this for my own girls.  Boys be warned: you come calling, you best be prepared to earn the title of best husband ever, and maintain it the rest of your god given life.  And if you have abs like the wolf boy that'll be considered a bonus.

Monday, December 12, 2011

One Eye Open

It's amazing the things that take place when we sleep.  Coyotes prowl the streets.  Gnomes build shoes.  Even Santa and his present delivery system only happen after the last blink of the night transports us to sleep.  Well, we're in a stage now where the cats throwing up in inconvenient traffic areas aren't our only concern in the dark of the night.  The other (tecnical) morning I woke up around 2:30 and saw the oddest shadow on our bedroom wall.  It looked eerily like a giant head bobbing back and forth.  I rubbed my eyes for a few seconds but it's persistence assured me I wasn't asleep.  I got out of bed and moved toward it, trying to figure out what it was and where it was coming from.  Then I heard a whisper of "hi Daddy," and turned to find Genevieve under my computer desk, the blue glow of router light framing her darkened face.  Some how she'd gotten out of bed, out of her room, across the living room and into our room (not to mention inexplicably under my desk) with out any detection at all.  Of course her justification was needing to go to the potty so we did that and went right back to bed, but this isn't a lone incident.  Saturday night it happened twice - once again with Genevieve and the second time she brought her sister for back up.  Genevieve certainly seems to be the leader of these excursions, and 9 times out of 10 she goes potty when she's caught.  I'm happy she's able to realize she needs to go in the middle of the night,  and takes action to go to the bathroom - but I wish she'd call for me to come get her rather then roam the house on her own.  It's not like we live in a butcher shop or a mad scientists laboratory where she's going to find all forms of harm to befall her, but knowing that I might not know what takes place deeply concerns me.  We have a big door leading to the courtyard where there's a pool.  The door doesn't have a lock from the inside - it's one of those where if you open from the inside it automatically unlocks -  and even though the girls know they're not to go out that door, what's to keep her from exploring if Momma and Daddy are sound asleep with the rest of the world.  I had installed a deadbolt on the door to prevent this, but my father-in-law failed to remove the bolt when opening the door and somehow put enough force in to rip the screws from the wall. ... so that kind of toasted that idea (although a replacement is going in right away).  When they were babies I used to wake up in the dark and creep in to their room to put my hand in front of their mouths to makes sure they were still breathing. ... it's like that fear all over again.  I feel like the old tycoon who keeps his gold in a safe that he has to go to every hour to open and reassure the glowing valuables are still safely there.  Only now it's with a video monitor and a microphone.  So for now I'm sleeping on egg shells.  Waking up with every noise.  Having dreams about them finding all kinds of shenanigans in the dark.  Just waiting for a crash or a smash or just  a fire alarm to go off.  Oh the joys of parenthood. ... really it's just 18 years of non-stop freaking out.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Just the Bad Kopp. ... Good Kopp has the Night Off

Ugh. ... for the record, any post that begins with a grunt is not going to be good.  I hit my wall of frustration last night. ... doing 75 and with out my seat belt on. ... and it hurt.  It was Gina's last week night yoga class before taking some well deserved baby leave and I am so grateful.  We've suddenly pulled in to the "two year old" pit stop and reinforcements are needed to survive things like bed time.  I don't want to call it the terrible two's because it's not.  There's nothing "terrible" about them. ... it's more like the "less than ideal behavior at moments" two's. ... the LTIBM's. ... no. ... that's not going to stick. ... I'll think of something better.  The last week or so they've just been wound up, their attention span is like that of a hummingbird and their listening. ... well. ... they might as well be brick wall because that's what I feel like I'm talking to some times.  They're also pulling the potty card like crazy. ... but only when it's supposed to be bed time.  As soon as that last night time story book closes it's "Daddy kahka."  You're familiar with the little boy that cried wolf?  Well, they're not.  Of course, I'm not going to risk the accident so off we trot to the bathroom.  After 5 minutes if no one has gone (and sometimes they do - in fact, usually at least one of them will do something to justify the trip) we close up shop and head back to bed.  Of course, right when we cross the threshold of the room it's "Daddy, kahka again." ... this is where you start placing your bets.  Is she telling the truth or bluffing.  If she's bluffing I've got to deal with crying and fighting. ... if she's not I get the same result plus I have to clean up shit.  So last night, I gave them the benefit of the doubt.  And the wolf failed to show.  So we redressed and headed back.  Then I got the "where's Momma" card.  Nearly every Monday and Wednesday night since the day they were born she's been teaching so it's not like Daddy solo is something new.  "Momma's at yoga honey, you'll see her in the morning."  "No yoga Daddy, Momma home!"  "Not tonight sweetheart; you need to go to sleep and you'll see her tomorrow."  Then Genevieve jumps out of bed and runs out of the room screaming "Me go yoga, me go yoga!"  I chase her down and in the process Arianna starts screaming from her bed "Me kahka again Daddy, me kahka again, please!"  Now, if they add a "please" to the request it's usually for real so I take her (and Genevieve by default).  10 minutes go by and not one drop, fart or even grunt.  I'm really steaming by now.   They are obviously just pulling this card to get out of bed and I'm not having any more of it.  I cart them back to their room where they start wailing as soon as they're in their beds.  I'm not supposed to be the mean guy.  I'm not supposed to be the one who threatens the illusive "dada's" but there I am, making empty threats that I know I won't keep just hoping they'll bite and settle down.  Of course it didn't help and a lot of it has to do with the fact that they were a little sick. ... at one point Genevieve, eyes weeping like Victoria Falls, tried to hiccup and scream at the same time and all that came out was a snot bubble the size of a baseball.  Her eyes crossed together and widened in alarm as she looked down at it sprouting out of her nose.  So then we were at the sink trying to calm her down with a wet rag and clean it all up.  Let me just jump through to the end (two more potty trips later) where I clicked on their light and made them look at each other.  "Does Sissie look like a good girl right now?!" I demanded.  Genevieve shook her head.  "How about your Sissie, does she look like a good girl right now?!"  Arianna stuttered a "no".  "Well you are both good girls, and it's time you started acting like it."  With that I snapped of the light and left the room.  A few whimpers persisted but with in 10 minutes they were both based out (and neither one had moved when we did our final tuck in around 11) and I felt horrible.  I don't like feeling angry with them.  I don't mind frustration, but when frustration boils over to angry. ... I feel like I become my father - the one person in the world I want most never to be like.  So I basically moped around till bed time and now have to wait the rest of the work day until I can see them and hug them and kiss them and do all of the things that I should have been able to do at bed time last night.  Parenting is hard. ... and we're going to add one more to this bag of mixed nuts?!  Ugh.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Patience is a Virtue. ... and a Pain in the Ass

Surprise, surprise; Rosaline is just like the other two.  Seems she is quite comfortable in her mommy's tummy and in no real rush to go anywhere.  You'll recall the girls made it to 38 weeks before the doctor said enough and even then Genevieve took some prying to get out.  I recall making the mistake of looking over the partition (pay no attention to that man behind the curtain) and saw the doctor up to her bicep in my wife trying to pull Genevieve out of Gina's lungs.  So after yesterday's check up it seems there's plenty of fluid, no dilation and no reason to believe she's coming earlier then anticipated. ... which is kind of annoying.  You see, I'm not good at waiting for things. ... especially as it get's closer and closer to the projected eta.  If I'm going to add a third kid, I want it now. ... why wait another 3 weeks?!  For the record. ... Gina is more than happy to wait.  I'm on my own in this impatient state.  Of course, here we are trying to be parents and what's one of the top five things your trying to teach a toddler (obviously going number one and number two are number one and number two respectively): Patience.  Oh the irony in parenting.  The things we try and teach are some times our own most glaring short comings.  The parents who teach "no hitting" by spanking the kids that do.  The obese parent who makes their kids eat vegetables.  Similarly the obese parent who makes their kids play sports/compete in beauty pageants and yell at them for not putting in enough effort.  On a tangent, why is it always the hideous women in a faded Joe's Crab Shack t-shirt with high water sweat pants who's yelling at her tiara'd toddler that she needs to be sexier?  Then there's the parents who swear out their kids for bad language, the ones who don't let their kids date but maintain extramarital affairs and the ones who decry drug use but have a "secret" drawer that nobody everybody knows about.  And there's my personal favorite - the ones who preach to their kids that being gay or black or Muslim is a travesty and an abomination. ...and yet their marriage is failing because of unfaithfulness, they embody every host of their own negative stereotypes and they haven't seen the inside of a church or synagogue since puberty.  I'm sorry. ... that was a world class tangent right there.  Let's real it back in, shall we?  I'm not perfect.  I'm not the perfect husband, the perfect father or even the perfect Brethren High School Men's Volleyball captain of the 2000 season.  But I try.  So while I teach my two daughters virtues like patience (if we sit quietly and wait quietly for Momma's appointment, we'll get a lollipop at the end) I am going to work on my own flawed virtues. ... starting with patience.  So this is me waiting quietly for my next bundle of joy to arrive. ... and it's really, really hard to do.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Broccoli Differential

They slew of questions brought on by twin little girls never ceases to amaze; but among the more commonly asked is "are they different?"  Well obviously they are.  Are you and your sister different?  Of course.  These sisters just happen to share a birthday. ... and that's pretty much where the list of things in common stops.  Genevieve cries when she's upset, Arianna screams.  Arianna leans on caution (handrails on the stairs and such) Genevieve is a head down and charge at the problem type of kid. ... she doesn't so much descend stairs as she falls and manages to land upright.  Genevieve's favorite animal is a horse, Arianna likes ducks.  Arianna prefers ice cream in a bowl. ... Genevieve takes it on a cone.  But last night I noticed one of the more unusual differences.  You see, it's taken quite a while to convince Genevieve to eat her broccoli with out World War 3 breaking out.  I used to have to stick it in her mouth and wait for it to naturally dissolve via saliva over the course of weeks and months. ... no easy task.  The problem with this is broccoli is not going anywhere.  We are a vegetable heavy type of a household.  Their mom is a yoga instructor for crying out loud. ... you think veggies are going anywhere?!  Don't hold your breath (she tried that too).  So she finally is eating them and even saying that she likes them, which I kind of think is her trying to convince her own self, so I'll take the crazy that comes with it.  You see. ... she doesn't like the leafy part.  Which is really odd only because Arianna doesn't like the stock.  So I've got one kid who eats the top and hands me the stock and the other that makes me cut the top off so she can eat the stock. ... basically it takes two kids to eat one broccoli.  I'm not going to complain, I'm thrilled they're eating it.  And it's not important which part since both have the same nutritional value (although there might even be more in the stock which is good because Genevieve still eats less then Arianna who is a veggie monster much like her parents).  But there you have it.  The differences in my children summed up in one leafy, green vegetable.  They're polar opposites.

Monday, December 5, 2011

One - ah ah ah; Two - ah, ah, ah, Three - ah, ah, ah

The blossoming of a toddlers mind is a brilliant experience to behold.  It's hard to fathom the days when they lay on their backs just staring in wide eyed wonder at me.  Now they seem to explain the world to me as seasoned experts.  The leaf comes from the tree.  The bigger cat is the momma cat.  When you fart in the bathtub that makes a jacuzzi.  The most fantastic jump, however, has been in their problem solving and comprehension skills.  If you missed the tie in from the title of today's post, it's The Count from Sesame Street - who the girls have taken to imitating in the car. ... it makes me laugh every time.  "One - ah, ah, ah; Two - ah, ah, ah".  When he does it I get frustrated that he's simply an undiagnosed, purple OCD sufferer. ... but when they do it it's undeniably cute.  Anyway, Gina and her mom had a jewelry boutique at the house this weekend, so the 4 trouble makers (the girls, Karma and myself) had to make scarce for most of the days.  On Saturday we went to my moms to hang out, although my mom was at Lowes' from 10am to 7pm redesigning her kitchen so we never actually saw her, so we chilled with my sister and my aunt.  Both of them being teachers (my sister an 8th grade English teacher and my aunt a retired 2nd grade teach for some 40 years or so) it peaks my curiosity to hear their opinions of the girls' development.  You see, I'm the kind of guy who needs verbal reassurance.  Constantly.  I'm basically a needy, unconfidant pain in the ass.  It spills over to my girls as well.  I feel they're brilliant, beautiful, wonderfully behaved little angels - but I start to wonder if I just have rose colored glasses and the rest of the world disagrees.  So having two teachers - albeit close relatives who would never say anything to hurt my feelings so if they felt differently they'd never tell me - reassure me was very. ... reassuring?.  After dinner we went for a walk to look at the Christmas lights in the neighborhood and I was having the girls show off their letters: we can recognize "A" for Arianna, "G" for Genevieve, "K" for Karma, "D" for Daddy and, of course, "M" for Momma.  And we were practicing our counting (to five by ourselves and to 10 with a little support).  After I had Arianna count the reindeer on one of the lawns (there were four) my aunt turns to me and tells me that she has Kindergartners in the class she volunteers for (by the way, sign of a good teacher is the one who retires and still volunteers to teach everyday) that still have trouble recognizing the first letter in their name.  That being able to count objects (rather than just numbers) is extremely impressive for 2, and that my childrens' grasp of geopolitical spacial patterns is well above that of a 5th grader. ... ok. ... last one she didn't say out loud.  But I'm sure she thought it.  None the less I still took great solace in the knowledge that my kids are right on track, if not a little ahead of it.  I think that's the hardest part about parenting, especially for the first time.  You don't really know where in the pack your children are at this stage.  I don't have A+'s and C-'s to give me an indicator.  I have a mumbled A, B, C song and counting to 11 (after which Arianna always jumps straight to 16. ... for some reason she loves that number).  So for the next few weeks I'll remain confident in her assessment. ... and then I'll need reassurance once again.  All this aside, I do have to share one quick story with you.  When we were looking at the before mentioned Christmas lights, this one house we came on had a brilliant lawn display.  Reindeer everywhere, Santa on the roof,  a chorus of snowmen, all the happy, sing-songy goodness of Christmas; of course the garage door was open, and inside the home owner was happily cleaning out a shotgun. ... [I'm singing] one of these things is not like the other.  All I'm hoping is, if reindeer are in season, he has his proper tags.  Because that's an easy way to get on the naughty list.  [I'm singing again] Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say "Rudolph with your nose so bright-" BAM! "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!"

Friday, December 2, 2011

Pic of the Week

'Tis the Season. ...
for sibling squabling.
(actually from our Christmas Card photo shoot)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I rewrote this post 5 times

So I wrote this big entry just now. ... really passionate. ... a little abrassive.  But I deleted it.  It was too aimed at one party. ... and they didn't even know they were being aimed at.  Somethings that I feel need to be said. ... they just shouldn't be.  Don't worry, I'm not dealing with some kind of reality show styled fued or anything.  I just was made aware of some parenting choices of others and my dissappointment was evident.  But it's not my job to call people out and imply things. ... and that's what I was doing.  So I'm just going to generalize and broaden my message so that nobody knows it's really about them. ... tricky, huh?  So here it goes: step it up folks.  Parenting is hard.  But the difference between good parenting and mediocre parenting is just a jump to the left. ... and then a step to the riiiiiiiight.  Your kids. .... they are your life now.  They are not your wards between the waking hours of 7am and 8pm.  They are yours 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for (hopefully) the rest of your natural life.  Maybe even beyond.  Everything you do, and everything you don't do, is going to shape who they are.  Take an extra 5 minutes to read them a story at night.  Put down the gossip rag and play with them. ... on the floor. ... at their level.  Ask them about their day.  Who cares if you can't understand the response. ... it's practice for their conversation skills.  Ask them the colors in the world around them for the millionth time.  Go on a walk with them.  Let them "help" you in the kitchen. .... you can always clean up the "help" later.  Sit with them.  Not near them, with them.  Kiss them every time they walk by you. ... even if you have to chase them down and restrain them to do so.  Tell them you love them.  It's not a hard phrase and I'm sure you do.  Let's practice:  "I" - very good - "love" - you got this - "you". ... bellicima.  Make up stories during bath time.  Tell them they are good children.  Let them try to do things themselves, with out them realizing that you are fully in control of the situation at the time.  Say "hello" to them the moment you walk in the door - don't do anything else first.  Run to them when they call you - there should be nothing more important to you in the world.  Let them "teach" you.  We both know you realize the cat has orange fur, but it's important for them to feel like they're discovering something new.  Dance with them.  For the love of god, dance with them.  In your home, there's no one to judge you.  Being silly. ... it shows them that there are zero walls between you.  And that's a lot less fortification you're going to need to tear down when they're teenagers.  Most important of all. ... appreciate them.  I mean really appreciate them.  For some people kids aren't planned for.  Others call them a blessing but really wish they were somewhere else most of the time.  The truth is they are a gift.  A gift that many people fight for and never receive.  A gift that, sooner or later, you're going to realize the true value of.  And in that moment, you're going to regret that you didn't treat it as such sooner.  Don't say I didn't warn you.  Just listen to Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle".  So that's all today. ... had to get that off my chest.  We'll return to something more embarrassing tomorrow that my daughters will surely hate me for sharing.  But when they're my age, they'll realize that was just one more way that I was telling them I loved them.  I hope.  At least the shrink can explain that to them if they don't.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Panic Switch

You know that feeling you got on the morning of your final exams, when you sat in that chair and the test was just starting to be passed your way.  Your heart started beatings somewhere in your throat and your stomach trembled and growled like a Yeti in some Himalayan cave.  Everything you studied flushed from your mind like a toilet and all you could suddenly remember was some random episode of Suddenly Susan that you thought you'd successfully burned from your memory bank.  Hello feeling. ... welcome back.  36 week check up yesterday and the realization hit. ... we're going to have a baby before the next month is out.  It's amazing. ... you have 9 months to prepare but suddenly you feel so unprepared.  Of course the doctor told us everything look fine, and then tossed in one little "but your amniotic fluid level is a little low (a 7) so drink more water and try to increase it by next week because if it drops to a 5 we'll have to deliver."  All Gina seemed to take from that is the baby is coming next week.  Of course this won't work, so she attempted to drink the Adriatic when she got home.  However this fear has now become persistent in her mind and the more she believes it the more I feel inclined to be convinced as well.  For two people who (my own opinion here) are pretty damn good at raising kids, I feel like maybe these first two were just flukes and this is the kid I"m reeeaallly going to screw up good.  All the knowledge I've accumulated through the years. ... gone.  I can't remember if I swaddle the arms first or tuck the legs.  Do I burp with my right hand or my left.  It's front to back wiping right?!  Oh god, I'm getting sweaty palms now.  Do you know how hard it is to type in a manic state with sweaty fingers?  It's hard.  I promise.  Fortunately I finished up the. ... see. ... it's happening.  I can't even remember the word.  It's not a crib. ... it's smaller and it's on a rocker. ... bassinet!  That's it.  Bassinet.  I finished up the bassinet last night, so at least the baby has some place to sleep.  Gina's worried about getting the baby cloths out of storage and washing them. ... of course I've pointed out that they were all washed before they went in to storage so unless we have a gnome infestation that's been wearing them to magical creature soiree we really just need to pull a box and go.  I feel really silly for all this excitement.  We've done this before.  In fact, we've done double this before.  This should be a walk in the park.  It's like Hideo Nomo worried about pitching to Little Leaguers.  You see how bad this is?  A Hideo Nomo reference in 2011.  And that's a Dogers Hideo Nomo reference so you know it's really old.  It's going to be fine.  It's going to be like riding a horse.  When we climb up and grab the reigns it's going to feel natural and perfect.  Of course the horse could always spook and then we ride off in to the sunset dangling from a boot stuck in a stirrup, never to be heard from again.  But, hey. ... that would make for one hell of a blog entry, so at least you'll be entertained.  Speaking of. ... what am I going to rename the blog.  "The Kopp Twins" won't work anymore. ... man, so much left to figure out before this baby comes.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hooray for Doodie

You're familiar with the old expression "I don't give a shit."  Notice this isn't a question, it's just a statement.  Everyone has heard, thought or experienced this blase state of mind.  Well Genevieve. ... she does give a shit. ... especially about shit.  She's quickly become our bathroom cheerleader during the past few weeks of potty training (which I can't believe we've been in for over a month already. ... the Diaper Genie has become a lonely relic of times past, sitting empty and depressed in the closet all month).  It's especially funny because she was slower out of the gate on this event and experienced more. ... um. ... challenges than Arianna did.  But, none the less, she is very excited when anyone (literally anyone) succeeds with using the toilet and not their underwear - also known as kiakis, minnies, ladies, now-nows, flowers, yoga yabas and puppies depending on their adornments.  Even when she walks in on me using the potty (we still don't have a bathroom door in the pool side suite, although curtains were finally put up a few weeks ago and the gardeners are grateful for that) she claps and says "yay Daddy" and then points out that I get one M&M for peeing and 2 if I went, well, number 2.  Yesterday she wouldn't let me leave the bathroom until I showed her that I had received my reward and it was in my mouth.  Then last night when Arianna was struggling with a number 2 (which she made sure to tell me was "not a baby Kaka, Daddy - BIIIIG Kaka!") there was Genevieve, jumping up and down applauding and yelling "Yay Sissie!  Two MMs!  Two MMs!"  Aside from the occasional Chic-fil-a and the rare "Mr. Kopp, please report to the Kids Club" she too deserves a strong round of applause.  Not only is she a potty trained big girl (got herself up to go to the bathroom last night - I thought a midget had broken into our room at 2:30 when I woke to see a little shadow passing through our room towards the bathroom) but she has become the number one porcelain cheerleader in the world. ... or at least the greater tri-state area.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Rise, Fall and Resurection of Roar 2.0

We are back from Arizona, so no more "sent from my iPhone" messages at the end of my posts.  You can also blame any further typos or odd word choices on yours truly.  For long time followers who are quite attentive to details, you may have noticed that in a lot of the pictures I post of the girls they are each clutching a little stuffed tiger as if their life depended on it.  Well these are our Roars.  We got them from the Tucson Zoo after visiting Grandpa last Christmas and, for one reason or another, they imprinted on us and have been inseparable ever since.  I think every kid has their version of this.  Some have a lovey, some have a snuggy. ... some have their own other silly, made up name for a piece of fabric held together by nothing more than hope and a child's need for it to exist.  I think the best analogy to offer is Woody from Toy Story.  That one source of comfort that a child will always treasure in their heart. ... even when they've long since grown up.  In fact, I think we still have Gina's in storage some place.  Anyway, this is what the Roars have become for us.  They go everywhere with the girls. They never miss a bed time.  They have to be secretly pried from sleeping fingers and washed from time to time, placed back in their clutches before they wake or all hell might break loose.  In fact, in the middle of the night after a bad dream, "Roar" is called out almost as often as "Mama" or "Daddy".  So as we headed back to Tucson last week the idea came to replace the Roars with something new.  Grandpa was more than happy to oblige a return trip to the zoo and after seeing everything that swung, galloped or flew we hit up the gift shop for the ultimate choice.  The whole back wall of the store was stuffed.  Anything you could imagine: frogs, birds, cats, wolves, zebras, snakes. ... they even had a plush beetle, and the girls were given free reign to choose what ever their little hearts desired.  And after about 10 minutes their minds were made.  Arianna came running up delighted, shouting "Daddy. ... new Roar!" That's right, they chose the same exact things they had last time: Arianna the orange and black tiger, Genevieve the white and black.  Well of course they did.  Why alter a good thing.  The next step was going to be removing old Roar from the scene and leaving new Roar to pick up the pieces.  That, of course, hit a snag as well.  On Friday with a bunch of family over to my Father-in-law's house, one who will forever remain nameless attempted to make a space at the table by moving new orange Roar to the side. ... and directly onto a candle.  New Roar survived, but his tail did not.  It was almost sad the instant rejection he received from Arianna.  She wanted nothing to do with the now deformed Roar, pleading instead for "old Roar, Daddy, please!"  The shunned Roar was placed in the protective custoday and, after returning, home he underwent  serious surgery.  My Mother-in-Law removed the damaged section of tail, grafting the tip back on to the shortened remaining tail.  It worked and, although very skeptical of the visible scar, Arianna accepted the reconstructed Roar. ... Roar 2.5.  Now, to get the old Roars out of the picture. ... where did I put those candles?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankfully Thankful

Today, I'm thankful for all the things in life I didn't think I was thankful for at the time. I'm thankful for being forced to take Anthropology 101... I met Gina. I'm thankful that my acting career imploded and I had to settle for a normal life with a wife and kids. I hate to say I'm thankful for the biggest loss of my life, but the twins would never have happened with out it. I'm thankful for the baby we didn't plan on. I'm thankful my in-laws were so open to let us move in with them. I'm thankful I have to get up at 5am to go to work. I'm thankful that despite my greatest efforts, none of my life has gone according to plan. Because my plan sucked compared to the life I ended up with... And that's a fact!

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Potty Training Goes To Sh!t

We are broadcasting to you live from Tucson Arizona this week; visiting my father-in-law for the holiday... So ignore any strange words and typos. My iPhone autocorrect feature is possessed by the ghost of dyslexic gerbil. The 9 hour car ride went great... Considering it was still a 9 hour car ride, although we forgot about the time change and walked in to a Chili's for a late 9:30 dinner at 10:30 AZ time... Looked like parents o the year as the only other occupants were in the bar and most of the chairs in the restaurant were already on top of the tables. But the real fun was lunch today. Gina tracked down a Chic-fill-a (her new obsession due to cookie milkshakes, healthy fast food and a 3 and under play area) so it took a little while to finally get there. Needless to say we ate and went right to the play zone. Arianna said she had to pee so I took her and she went. A few minutes later she had to poop so Gina took her and I stayed with Genevieve. High atop her perch at the peak of the slide I heard her suddenly shriek. "Slide down" I prompted. "No slide, Daddy...peeeee" was her response. She rounded into view and I saw the small dot on her pants start to spread across her undercarriage. "Hold it, hold it, hold it!" I pleaded. So she bent her knees and pointed them in while sort of wobbling her way back down the steps, desperately trying not to release any more. I sheepishly scooped her up and rushed her to the bathroom, passing Gina and an unsuccessful pooper Arianna on the way. We cleaned up, went to the car and got new panties and headed back inside... Where the other two were no where to be seen. We waited in the booth for 10 minutes before I leaned over to my toddler and said "I bet your sissy pooped herself." She looked up at me solemnly and said "yeah dadda.". Needless to say, we won't be going back there during the rest of our stay. It was a long, quiet...pants-less car ride home. Oh the shame.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, November 21, 2011

Two Tiny Thumbs Up

Now that we've officially gotten through the three major hurdles that separate people from the animals (talking, walking upright and not shitting all over ourselves) we decided to tackle the final obstacle that makes us human. ... movies.  You'll recall that once upon a lifetime ago, I was an actor. ... and by my own accounts a really good one.  Maybe some day I'll need a pat on the back and put my demo reel up here so you can all I agree how amazing I was. ... sorry, back to the two people you came here to read about.  As a result I've always really taken my movies seriously.  I'm the guy who knows every storyline to every movie, including the ones I've never seen simply because I know the writers and/or directors well enough to establish the plot twists.  Don't ever watch a movie with me if you don't want to know in the first fifteen minutes what the "Sixth Sense" twist that's bound to happen in the end is gonna be.  And 7 Degrees of Kevin Bacon is for chumps. ... I'll get it done in 3.  Of course, as with most new parents, I haven't seen the inside of a movie theatre more than a handful of times since the girls were born. ... and I'm pretty sure most of those times were sitting through Twilight movies with my teenage girl of a wife.  Love you hon. ... go team Edward. ... sigh.  But the girls are now big enough that we thought we'd test the water with them.  They've sat through a few kids movies at home - Wall E, Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid and of course Nemo.  So we with Happy Feet 2 coming out we thought this was a great opportunity to try.  The girls couldn't be more excited about "the penguin movie".  And we brought my sister-in-law along for back up.  We got to the first morning show figuring it gave the girls enough time before lunch and nap to avoid being cranky, and any people who had a problem with little kids in a movie theatre should know better than to go to the 10:20  Sunday morning showing of a movie about dancing, singing penguins. ... I had a whole speech worked out in case we got any flack.  I do have one suggestion. ... if it's a "kids" movie, maybe skip the 20 minutes of previews. ... or cut it in a half.  We're working with limited attention spans here people. ... don't cut in to our window of focus time.  For that matter, don't make the kids movie an hour and 45 minutes long. ... it was a really great film and all, but we pretty much checked out after the angry brown seagulls came in.  Something that couldn't be avoided was the mixture of sitting in a dark room and potty training.  I must have gone to the bathroom with Arianna half a dozen times.  About a third of those actually resulted in a bodily fluid discharge, the others were just false alarms.  Can't begrudge the kid, she's still trying to figure out what's what down there.  At one point, we had just sat back down and she turns to me and says "Kaka daddy."  I said "we just went, sit down and watch the movie," to which she responds "Please Daddy, kaka!"  I'm smart enough to know you never deny one who is pleading to poop.  Nothing happened, but better safe then sorry.  We also had a 30 second tussle over a chair, but other than that no behavior problems.  All in all I gathered the movie is about the same dancing penguin who now has kid and a flying penguin that looks like a puffin who speaks like the Swedish Chef from the Muppets.  They all try and dance some snow in to a valley that the other penguins are trapped in, with the help of some Elephant Seals. ... and Brad Pitt and Matt Damon are a couple of shrimp who want to eat a Leopard Seal. ... I'll go with it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Split the Queens

A remarkable thing happened yesterday. ... the girls spent a few hours apart.  Seems like no big deal, right?  Well, consider that in 2 years and 1 month they've rarely been in different rooms let alone seperated by miles.  It wasn't a conscious desicion. ... we weren't intentionally forcing them to spend time with each other or anything, there was just no reason to split them up.  But yesterday Arianna needed to go to the doctor for a small infection and she had to get there before 4.  Geneveieve was still napping and Gina didn't want to wake her so she just took Arianna and left Geneveive asleep with my sister-in-laws (all this went down while I was still at work).  Two things happened which I find notable.  First, Arianna was reportedly on the best behavior of her life.  Gina said she's never been more snuggly, more attentive and more docile then she was at the doctors office.  It's like she becomes rambunctious or defiant as a means of securing attention from one of us when she's got to compete with her sister.  Bear in mind, it's not like she's a crazy, bouncing off the walls terror or anything; this is normal "rambunctious" we're talking about here.  The second thing that is interesting is that she didn't stop talking about her sister.  Saying that sissy cries at the doctors, that sissy is still sleeping, what's sissy doing now. ... stuff like that.  Almost like she was thrilled to be away from her, but couldn't deal with not having her there.  That's an interesting paradox.  Even more interesting is that Genevieve awoke at home and displayed the same behavior.  Calm, well behaved and talking non stop about sissy.  As Gina and I discussed this last night, we came to the conclusion that kindergarden is going to be tough.  All the "experts" (and I use the term lightly because I don't really know how you can become on expert on other peoples imotional and education impact by generalizing them based on information gathered by completely different individuals; general and individual are two terms in direct conflict with one another) the best thing for twins is to split them up in classes.  But there's obviously a big part of them that is tied to their sistser.  And how could it not be.  They've spent more time together than even we have with them.   That was a confusing sentence right there.  When Gina and I go on vacation, to work, to yoga, to the gym. ... any place with out them, they're still with each other.  That means out of 756 days of being alive 18,144 hours have been spent in the same vicinity as each other - just with in screaming distance.  By kindergarden that will more than double.  On the biggest, scarriest day of their young lives we're then going to ask them to go it alone.  That doesn't seem smart.  Maybe we'll wait until 1st grade to try splitting them up.  At least then the whole "school" thing won't be as scary and they won't need strength in their twin.  I know a singleton would be expected to go it alone, so why shouldn't my girls. ... well, because they're not singletons; they're twins.  Gina and I call ourselves the letter "A".  We lean in on one another for support.  That's the same with the girls, they developed their strenght from leaning on each other.  The letter I can stand alone, but an A that's cut in half is just a /. .... and a / in the real world looks like this: __.  Then again.  Maybe I should wait another 2 years until I really start freaking out about kindergarden.  Now there's a thought.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Spectators No More

If you're a parent then you've experienced the Nick Jr.  You've contemplated hitting the "drill bit to the temple" button during the Upside Down Show only to abort the plan when noting how much joy it inexplicably brought your child.  You've resisted the urge to jump in to the screen and punch that whinny, annoying little HoHo monkey right in his fuzzy jaw.  You want to get Dino Dan the proffessional help he really needs.  And you've fantasized about setting Dora's map on fire. ... you know you have.  Those of you who aren't parents yet but think you will be some day. ... cancel your cable when the time comes.  If you can avoid discovering what "Oobie" is. ... you are a lucky human being.  Although, for the record. ... I like Bubble Guppies a lot.  I really do.  Anyway, despite my inexplicable experience with just about every show on this channel (I wrote a kids TV article for The Examiner for about 6 months), our kids really don't watch much TV.  Probably about an hour a day, a little in the morning, a little at night.  For the most part it involved them sitting there (more recently on their Elmo potties) looking like Rodin's lesser known sculpture "The Slacker".  Feet spread wide apart, knees angled back in and touching, arms hanging primate like at the side, back hunched, mouth agape, eyes locked in a deadened stare.  Every time Diego or Dora or Kai Lan turned their over sized brown eyes to the viewer and said "help me do this this stupid thing by muttering some annoying phrase with me in Swahili" the girls just stared back, unresponsive - like a penguin at the aquarium who you're trying to make tap dance.  Nothing.  All of a sudden, last night, Diego said something about helping him call a flying squirell by squeaking.  "C'mon, squeek with me!  Squeak, squeak, squeak!  Squeak, squeak, squeak!"  And there it was.  From the right side of the couch.  "Skee, skee, skee!  Skee, skee, skee!"  Arianna was participating.  She was responding.  She was interacting.  Albeit he was squeaking and she sounded like she was demanding a winter sport, it was still suddenly a two lane street.  After that we watched a few minutes of a promo where they said "get up and dance with us!"  And she did.  Right off the couch.  Dancing across the living room like no one was watching (although I'm pretty sure she knew I was because that was the hammiest dance I've ever seen)!  I never thought it would be a big deal when they finally took the cues from these shows and responded.  I thought "dear god if they start talking back to these shows when prompted I'm reaaalllly going to need that cyanide pill"; but I didn't.   Instead, I beamed a little with pride.  It's another step in growing up.  Not just staring mindlessly at something, but receiving the signal and responding with your own.  Don't be fooled, though.   This doesn't mean an increase in TV time.  Sorry Upside Down Show. ... I'm pressing the "middle finger" button on my remote control to you right now.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Earning my Da.D

I've gotten away from the parental existentialism I once seemed to spout without breaking a sweat.  Drifted more in to the realm of cutsie "updates" and silly projections.  It's not a bad thing.  It's how most of the parent blogs of the world go about it.  It's actually more in line with what the "web logs's were designed to be.  But today I feel like letting the beast from it's cage.  Writing something more from the heart than from the eye.  An OP ED piece rather than breaking news.  I'm dad.   Dad.  A masculine parental title meant to exude love and respect simultaneously.  A three letter word that sums up a sole purpose in life.  In the thousands of years prior to ours, this was the only title attainable.  You hunted or you gathered, eventually you might have farmed, but your main objective in this life was to populate.  Outside of the 10 commandments brought down in stone form, many people forget there was one given way before these.  "Go forward.  Fill the earth and multiply".  In a sense, be a Dad.  Of course another interpretation might be "get out of here you crazy kids; and have her back by 12:30!"  It depends on how your mind works.  So while it's great to be a Dr. or a PhD. or an Esq., even RN and MA. seem to carry some weight, they pale in comparison to the original title man once strode for. .... Dad.  Anyway, now that we've firmly gone off on a tangent, let me reel it back a bit.  The flu escapade of 2011 didn't end with my bout on Tuesday; it reared it's ugly head once again on Friday night.  We held Gina's hair back most of the night while she prayed to the porcelain god and we slept with a bucket in bed that night.  Wasn't really a bucket, it was a cooking bowl - but I'll never see it as a bowl to be used in cooking again. ... so it's now considered a bucket.  Saturday I took the girls so Gina could sleep (and to try and keep them from being exposed).  Of course, that didn't help.  Around 2:30 Sunday morning Arianna started crying "Daddy!". ... here's a tangent worth going on: I've noticed that whenever someone poops or throws up or does something else gross, they call for Daddy.  If they want love or to cuddle - Mama.  When it requires a hose and some rubber gloves. ... that's when I become numbero uno.   What the hell is that about?!  It's like Gina hardwired them or something so that I'm the default in these situations.  Anyway, now back to the currently developing article - so we ran in to find her pillow soaked in puke.  We got her up and cleaned and brought her to our room where we had to watch in heart wrenching angst as she threw up in to the newly minted "bucket" for the next 5 hours.  You forget how scary that first time throwing up can be.  It's not like the spit up of infancy or the gag reflex of learning to eat solid food. ... it's a whole other animal.  And as your body convulses violently and this burning, acidic froth is forced up your throat against your will. ... it's terrifying.  And she was terrified.  We were able to get her back in to our bed (after rotating every 10 minutes; one napping while the other sat on the couch with her) and played the new game, everyone sleep for half an hour and then wake up, try to grab the bucket and get it under her chin before she gets it all over.  We lost a lot.  So after exhausting our sheet and towel supply she finally went to sleep for good and woke up feeling a million times better.  Don't know why these thing metastasize so quickly in children (rather than us adults who have it for two days straight) but I'm grateful she only had to deal with it for a few hours.  I then spent the rest of Sunday prepping the new (or old, as it is second hand) bassinet for refinishing - don't have room for a crib in our new digs - while everyone else took it easy for the day; Gina and Arianna recovering and Genevieve just waiting for her turn to battle the bug.  So where was I?  How does this all come full circle to the dad title?  Well. ... how doesn't it?!  Life - or life as it was originally intended for our species - doesn't revolve around titles like Dr. and Esq.  It doesn't revolve around car payments and concerts, martinis and new film releases.  It doesn't revolve around politics and vacations, it doesn't even circle our friendships.  Life, my life, the life of a parent (those who've gone forth and multiplied per instructions) revolves around these little people with chubby hands and bright eyes who we've been given the honor of escorting toward adulthood were they'll take on the mantle and continue the process.  It's a grand journey that will look magnificent in it's finalized, abridged version.  But while it's still being written it's all about holding back tiny pony tails in the middle of the night to avoid ruining Elmo pajamas, and spending a Sunday sanding their future bed instead of watching football with the other y chromosomes.  It's about teaching "please" and "thank you" and playing on a jungle gym.  It's cutting avocado into manageable bites and enforcing time out when they try to take a manageable bite out of their sister.  It's about rubbing a swollen tummy and feeling a tiny foot press back.  It's about looking into a tiny face and seeing the amazing, wonderful, intelligent, beautiful, successful and inspiring adult with in.  Everything else. ... is just passing the time.  How's that for a Monday morning blog?  Now get out of here you crazy kids; quit passing the time.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pic of the Week

"Story Time With Karma. ...
'Clifford' of course."

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Life Flu By

Kids. ... when it comes down to it, they're basically just cute little virus monkeys.  My 3 year old nephew seems to be the latest culprit, introducing a 24 hour flu bug which is knocking us off like domino's (he had it Saturday, my mom fell Sunday, my step dad Monday) of which I was the most recent to fall.  Woke up about 3am Tuesday with stomach cramping. ... I'll spare details and just refer to it as such.  Tried to get up and go to work at 5:30 but I couldn't even straighten out enough to take a shower.  I ended up in bed until almost 1, then the couch till about 4 and then back to bed until 8.  Woke up at 2am this morning completely soaked in sweat, but aside from that completely fine.  Just as quickly as it hit, it went away.  I'm crossing my fingers now that it doesn't hit the girls, or more importantly Gina.  I don't think stomach cramping is conducive with 8 months pregnant.  Aside from the symptoms, it was harder to deal with being quarantined all day.  The girls got up and wandered in to our room around 7 and all I could do was wave at them as they were herded in to the other room.  Through out the day they'd poke their little heads in to check on me, trying to hug or kiss me to make me feel better, only to be shoo'd away for their own well being.  I thought being at work, away from them all day was tough. ... much harder to be with in sight of them and not be able to play or hold them.  I felt like if I could just scoop them up and hug them I'd be miraculously cured. ... of course that would have required getting up, and probably exposed them more than they already were. ... and I'd feel worse watching them "stomach cramp" than I did when I was "stomach cramping" myself.  That was actually one of the hardest moments - rushing to the bathroom, doubled over, and having them just stand there and watch. ... I felt like big, strong Daddy has just exposed his humanity.  They looked at me like the kid who just watch Daddy eat Santa's cookies on Christmas Eve. ... like how could this be happening.  I had to grip the porcelain god with one arm and hold the other outstretched to keep them at bay until Gina could intervene.  Their sweet little faces showing great concern and desire to help.  They just kept repeating "Daddy sick. ... Daddy sick" the whole time.  All in all, not the most pleasant day I've had - but as with everything, my children made it a moment to behold. ... another revelation of what love looks like. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Who's Afraid of the Dark?!

I always found it interesting how secure my girls were.  How unafraid and bold they were in their fresh and natural condition.  I made mental notes to avoid corrupting that part of them, because, while fear can equate to safety it can also hinder life.  Yes, we should be afraid of heights cause if we fall it will hurt, but too afraid and we never climb the Eiffel Tower or ride in an airplane.  It's conditioned to be afraid of insects and spiders (poison) but I'm not going to be the sole bug killer in this house.  And dogs should be approached cautiously and under supervision, but I don't want one of those kids who's shrieks in terror at the mere site of a tea cup chihuahua.  So I avoid saying things like "oh, that's scary" or "oh no, run away from the big bad so and so".  So you can understand why now I'm scratching my head trying to figure out how in the world Genevieve became afraid of the dark!  Like, literally, in the past two days.  I always assumed fear was learned, especially fear of something like the dark.  I mean, kids spend 9 months in the dark before they every see the light, and the last two years they've always gone to bed in a fairly dark room - we've never really done the "night light" thing. ... tried, but they were always crappy.  Suddenly, last night I go to bath them and I send Genevieve ahead to turn on the lights and she comes running back "No daddy, me scared. .... dark."  Qua?!  "Turn on the lights honey, it'll be fine." "No daddy. ... dark.  Me scared."  We had the same thing happen later in the night when we went to their room to read stories.  "Me scared.  Dark."  I have no comprehension of how the dark suddenly became a scary thing since Monday.  I asked Gina, later, when she got home from teaching and she said the same thing had happened the night before (I was studying so I wasn't at bath on Tuesday).  She can't figure out where it came from either.  The only thing we can be certain of is she wasn't scared of the dark on Monday. ... and now she apparently is.  Fortunately she's still not afraid of anything else (she was hugging a giant rat Halloween decoration on some one's porch the other day) so we'll just have to work on this dark thing. ... otherwise we'll have to rule out deep space exploration as a future career choice.

On a potty training update, we've now completed day 2 of no accidents. ... so one of two things is happening. 
1) They've totally mastered their bodily fluids and the modern day disposal methods, or. ...
2) The pressure is building and any moment both girls are going to explode and strewn our home in bodily waste.

.... I'm really pulling for number 1 here. .... no pun intended.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

4lb 6oz

With a little less than seven weeks to go "new baby sissie" - as the girls have come to call her - is measuring in at 4 pounds 6 ounces. ... So she should fit right in with our other monster babies. Expectations tell us she should put on a 1/2 pound a week going forward, but those same "averages" say she should only be about 3 and a half pounds right now. ... So who knows what to expect anymore. All I know is we still won't have a chance to use those newborn cloths everyone got when the girls were born. Oh well... Better drag out the 3-6 month box again.

On a potty training note - zero accidents yesterday. That's gotta be some kind of a record. And that includes a big trip to the mall!
Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All Tricked Out With Treats

So I'll be honest, I fully expected today to be a rant post.  Before Halloween had even gotten under way I began mentally drafting a post about my dissppointment with the back slide of the whole Halloween experience; overun by teenagers and transplants looking for a free hand out, displacing the community event where neighbors interacted with each other and build a stronger sense of self by handing out treats to the little ones down they way, while parents taught their kids respect and gratitude by emphasising "please" and "thank you" simultaneously teaching their kids to use the walkway and not trampling the prized flowerbead and overwatered lawn.  But for once I didn't get to this point.  No out of town minivans pulled up with 40 people crammed in side this year.  No grandmothers dressed in their grandsons cloths brought up the rear of a mob, seeking one more free "fun sized" snickers.  Only about a dozen or so young adults bothered to attempt trick or treating this year, which is my biggest pet peeve of all.  If you can legally drive a car. ... no treats for you.  There was one which really pissed me off. ... kid was in street clothes save for a piece of paper taped to his shirt that said "costume". ... keep walking son, nothing here for you.  My problem with these two groups is they ruin it for everyone else.  Not only are we dodging skateboards and screaming teen hormones, but we can't even park in our own neighborhood because of all the out of town traffic that's arrived for free candy.  As a result, this year nearly 50% of the homes in our neighborhood were dark in retaliation. ... that's not fair to my kids who are the ones this day was invented for.  It's for cute little ghosts and goblins who can barely reach the doorbell, not for the back up quarterback on the high school football team and the out of towners.  Anyways, I said this wasn't going to be a rant post (or at least I alluded to it not being one) so that part is done.  Overall our Halloween was a real treat this year, the girls had an absolute ball.  Dressed as fairy princesses, complete with twinkling wands, they eagerly bounded up entry ways, ringing door bells and gleefully shouting "trick or treat" when the homes inhabitants came out to greet them.  My favorite part was the "thank you's".  Genevieve would give her coy little "thank you" as she sheepishly turned her head, while Arianna would bend over, hands on her knees and scream through her smile the biggest "thank you" imaginable.  That's the stuff that makes me happy.  Yes, there is free candy tonight, but there's also a slew of free lessons we as parents are presented the opportunity to teach our children. ... I felt they did very well.  I think the highlight for the girls might have been the Yo Gabba Gabba family, though.  Grandmother dressed as Plex, granddaughter as Fuffa, and the mother had picked up the fathers DJ Lance mantle and combined it with her Muno ensemble.  As we walked away the girls just stared back in wonder at the "magic robot", which really was the piece de la resistance of the group, and Genevieve kept mumbling "Plex, yellow; Plex yellow Dada".  Afterwards (the girls lasted way longer than I ever would have imagined) they sat on their Elmo potties eating chocolate and doing their best not to fall asleep before peeing and getting their jammies on.  It was every bit as magical as it was supposed to be.  Now my other thing about Halloween is the pumpkins.  Ever since I was a kid I loved carving pumpkins, but as those around me quickly learned I don't settle for faces.  So every year I've striven to come up with something new and better than the last.  I've done the Superman logo, an Autobot from Transformers and last year I even carved the girls profiles. ... so this year it seemed about time to turn the entire concept of a jack-o-lantern on it's head. ... literally.   So I carved the S.S. Gourd and boarded her with a fearsome crew of produce pirates.  As you can see in the picture below, the grape is forced to walk the plank at the tip of Captain Pickles sword. 

S.S. Gourd
By the end of the night, we even discovered that the Gourd was seaworthy and she took her maiden voyage in the pool.

Girls pumpkin.
For the girls pumpkin we kept it simple, a sweet little smiley face. ... just like theirs.  As they get older, they can decide what they want to do with their vegetable, but for now we'll keep it traditional.

Face time

So ready for candy!
All in all, it was a great Halloween.  And I look forward to next year when Rosaline can join us.  In case you missed that, I just formally announced baby Bean's name for the first time. ... so get used to hearing it.  Happy Halloween everybody.