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!
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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.