"You should see the other guy. ... ie the ground."
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Picked the girls up at my mother-in-laws yesterday so I could switch cars with Gina as she headed of to teach and we headed home for dinner and a bath. We got home around 5:30, just as the sun starts coming through the girls bedroom window. As I'm taking off shoes and putting them away, Genevieve jumps out of my lap and runs toward the window yelling "go, go, go!" All the while she's furiously swatting at the air and spinning in circles. Um. ... is my child a nut job? I stood up to figure out how to approach the scene when I noticed, from her angle, that the sunlight was hitting these little dust particles that were floating around, rendering the otherwise invisible, visible. She was trying to scoop them out of the air and get them out of her room. It appears that somebody got my clean freak gene.
at 9:39 AM
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
The last week, while we were out of town, a good friend of ours found herself in town for a visit. It worked out perfectly as she stayed at our place and took care of our gimpy dog while we were away. Rather than pass like two ships in the night, she and her kids have stayed a little in to this week as well so it's been like one big party in our small place. This makes for interesting evenings as all four kids have been crashing in the same room. Surprisingly they all go down extremely easily. ... it's around midnight that the games begin. Someone will mumble in their sleep or whimper a little, waking a non-sibling child who lacks the ability to drown out the noise. Then a small little voice will call out "mommy" and it's up to us to quickly guess which mamma is being summoned. The only certainty is when "dadda" is called - which has been a lot lately. The hesitation is that none of us wants to rush in and rescue the wrong kid. Can you imagine how traumatic that would end up. Calling for mommy and strange Uncle Kyle comes rushing through the door in his boxers. Of course, the down side is that more than one "mommy" might wake up everyone else, which happens none the less. So it's kind of like playing musical chairs, but with kids. I rush in to settle one of mine, but wake hers in the process, so as I exit she enters and as she leaves Gina heads back in to calm our other one - and round and round we go, where it stops nobody knows. One particular moment even found all three parents in the room settling down all four children around 3:30 in the morning. I was almost forced to call Karma for back up.
at 8:54 AM
Monday, July 25, 2011
Hey, I know you! Long time no see! How've you been? Did you miss me? Don't worry, not much has changed. I'm just a little tanner and choc full of wonderful new tales to tell. You know, I often tell Gina that I think our life would make a killer reality show. Were that true, this past week would be our season finale. And it would be a TV legend. If Chevy Chase's career keeps on the uptick, he may even want to steal my vacation and turn it into another of his "vacation" movies. ... I'm calling it "Caribbean Vacation: The Griswolds Go To St. Lucia". It starts like this: the family decides to take a red eye from LAX to San Juan, Puerto Rico towing twin 2 year old's and 7 other Greek family members. The babies sleep for the first 4 hours and then raise all kinds of hell the following 3. I'm just saying, if it's only 3am "LA time" why does the moron next to two sleeping toddlers feel compelled to raise the shade to "check out the sun". ... who cares if it's now 6am, the rest of the plane is still firmly under the illusion that it's 3 and we're very happy to continue that fantasy. ... jackass! We landed in San Juan and the girls were suddenly very giddy. ... I believe this is the moment that the delirium settled in for them. We boarded the propeller plane for our puddle jump to the island and then sat for 45 minutes in the tin bucket in sweltering heat while they tried to fix a latch. Since it was a prop plane they couldn't turn it on and thus we had no air conditioning. I was ready to black out before one of my sister-in-laws took Genevieve off my lap and I got a little bit of breathing room. Once airborne, the kid was back in my lap and happily looking at the safety procedure brochure. Suddenly she flung it up and stabbed me with the corner right into my eye. ... my good eye. If you're not an avid reader I should mentioning I'm pretty much blind in my left eye. So know I'm pretty much blind in both. We arrived in St. Lucia about the same time our luggage was landing in San Salvador. ... which was awesome. We've now been in the same cloths for about 36 hours in 89 degree heat and 400% humidity so a change of cloths wouldn't have been the worst thing imaginable. Fortunately everyone else got their bags, including the babies, so at least there were diapers that could be changed. Only Gina and I would be the source of the smell from this point on. We got to our hotel and it was actually quite lovely. ... I, on the other hand, was a bit of a grumpy, stinking mess - so I signed off and took a 2 hour nap. I met the girls for dinner after that and then we all went back and crashed for the remainder of the evening. The next morning, refreshed (only mentally of course, we were still wearing clothes that smelled of camel refuse) I changed my outlook and took the day head on. I bought a $30 swim suit at the hotel store and a $12 beer mug magnet that Genevieve broke in the process and we headed to the beach. I thought I'd take my sister-in-laws out for a little adventure, so I signed out a catamaran and we set off across the bay. I should mention that at this point my right eye is nearly swollen shut and I'm operating on the left eye which sees mostly just colors and fuzzy shapes. Not the best guy to be operating a sail boat - but I've been on doing this since I was 5. ... what's the worst that can happen? Well I'll paint one scenario for you. I taught one of the girls how to steer and was trying to teach the youngest when we managed to get up against a cliff and out of the reach of the wind. With out wind a sail boat is basically just a piece of drift wood so we went where the current took us. .... which happens to be right in to that very same cliff. Being the man on board with three adolescent girls I jumped off the boat and on to the rocks to absorb the impact and push us back out. I found the rocks. I also found a couple of sea urchins in the process. I jumped back on the boat and the girls screamed at the blood trailing from my foot. I pulled out a purple spine about and inch long from my sole (which felt like it was my soul) and the blood fountain that followed pretty much put the three of them off sailing for the day. I hobbled back to our room where I pulled out a total of 6 spines. The best was the one Gina had to pull from my big toe, which looked like nothing but kept growing as she kept pulling. ... that's what she said. ... literally. The second best was the one in my middle toe which didn't come out until after a 4 mile run on day 4. ... that was weird. So at this point, I'm now blind, my feet are cut to $#!t and I smell like an Afghan goat. But damn it if I'm not smiling as best I can. My mom's rule of law: "Show a good time, have a good time." I'm showing. ... I'm showing!!!! Luggage showed up shortly after that which gave me the lift to push on. ... silly me. Let's just speed right along and say day number 3 saw a crab attach to my nipple. Day 4 saw me leave the comfort of the water slide at the pool and land on the wall of the tube on my back. Can't you just picture Chevy in this role? Days 5, 6 and 7 were incident free, thank god! And the plane rides home were wonderful. Here's something we learned - travel with kids around nap time, not after bed time. Sit in the very back of the plane, and if you have twins (two kids under two can't sit in the same row) sit on opposite aisle seats so it's almost like you're right next to each other. Aside from all of my shenanigans the trip was amazing. The girls were wonderfully behaved and charmed the pants off everyone at the resort - who were nearly all English. ... I found that weird - don't American's go on vacation any more? And what's up with Switzerland? I met a Swiss guy who get's like 9 weeks of vacation. ... where do I sign up?!! But with using our lame American vacation plan we spent our days on the beach, our afternoons napping, our evenings eating and our nights dancing like crazy. My mom was right. I showed one hell of a time, and we sure had one. But now back to the grindstone, and regularly blogging. So come back tomorrow. ... same dad time, same dad channel.
at 5:00 AM
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Well, it's Sunday, so we're officially off the grid and in beautiful Saint Lucia. Assuming I'm lacking a WiFi signal and too cheap to pay the roaming charges on my data plan it's unlikely I'll be doing much blogging for the next week. In the mean time, enjoy this visualization of what's probably going on at this exact moment. You can fill in the details of how we got to such a predicament. ... your crazy imagination will probably be right.
at 5:00 AM
Friday, July 15, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
We had another check up for the bean yesterday - everything looked really good. In fact we got a great shot of bean staring down the camera, which was pretty intense. A few weeks prior the doctor told Gina that she saw "something there that shouldn't be there if the baby is a girl" which put in our mind that we might be having a little boy - although she stressed at the time to "hold off on buying blue just yet". It's kind of funny too because everyone (from Great Yiayia to some strangers in Palm Springs two weeks ago) said that Gina was having a boy. Every one's an expert and has their own way of telling. She's carrying it low; she's not craving sweets; they saw it in a dream. What ever the reasoning everyone seems to be on "team boy" this time around. We even stopped looking at girl names so we can focus on boy names (we want to pass initials down so it limits our choices and makes it much more difficult). So go figure when the doctor took a peak yesterday there was not a whole lot dangling between the legs there. The doctor even kept saying "come on dingle, where are you dingle" until she finally turned around and apologized to me. I admit, it would be nice to have a little boy at some point in time, but I don't know why everyone assumes I am going to be bummed by another girl. I was raised around women. I understand women (not like a native, but like a resident alien of Venus who's able to speak the language with only a slight accent and only occasionally pulls the "how you say" card). Last count has me with 4 sisters (2 real, 2 step), 3 sister-in-laws, 2 daughters, 2 girl cats and one female dog (the only bitch in the bunch). So while a boy would be nice, I would hardly know what to do with one. Of course the part that makes me think someone is messing with me is when I got back in my car after the appointment (came straight from work) the song on the radio, mid chorus, was Oingo Boingo's "I love little girls". You know. "I, I, I love little girls they make-me-feel-so-good!" Too creepy to be coincidence. That's somebody upstairs just trying to mess with me now. Of course this is not an official determination just yet, either. We still have about a month until we're sent out for the in depth screening at another facility that will verify once and for all whether bean is a he or a she. Then again, my youngest sister was a boy all the way up until the doctor handed her to my dad and said "here's your son". To which my father replied "I think you left something in there then, doc."
at 7:18 AM
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The joy of having your children learn to talk is also brings with it the greatest curse: the word "Daddy". Or the more often used "Mommy" I suppose has a similar effect. Arianna has been having a rough time going to bed the last few nights. She's totally fine until the moment you start to walk out the door and then she starts that patented banshee wail of hers. When we were sleep training (love that word - it really means we were training ourselves to deal with them going to sleep, not the other way around) it was rough enough just listening to them cry for the 10 or 15 minutes it took. Now when the cry is actually the word "dddaaaaadddddyyyyyyyy" it makes my heart want to explode. Needless to say I should trade in the name "daddy" for a new title: "sucker". Because that's all I am. One big, hard candy outside filled with ooey, gooey softness on the inside. All it takes is 3 "daddies" to get to the center of this tootsie pop and I'm rocking a baby in the dark till she's on the verge of dreamland. I'm pretty sure these two had me pegged from day one, too. They were just bidding their time figuring out what the trigger word was. Nailed it!!!
at 9:20 AM
Monday, July 11, 2011
For my non-literary friends out there, let me give a fine example of the device called foreshadow. This is a moment in a storyline when a rather mundane event occurs and only later, after a more significant event comes about, do you realize that the earlier event alluded to the big event that came later. Kind of like a fortune teller. Well the fact that we started yesterday off shopping for an Elmo potty to kick this potty training thing into high gear was a wonderful foreshadow that our day would end with everything covered in shit. And I mean everything. The girls were napping at Yiayia's house - we'd spent the day shopping with their Thea and brought her home just as nap time hit us so we put them down there and Gina and I went and did a little more shopping (St. Lucia is only 5 days away after all). They woke up and I changed their butts and sent them off to mom for a snack. Now we rarely ever need a diaper change between the "after nap" change and bath time. ... like 1 in 100 times. Well, Arianna's been dealing with constipation lately (can't wait till she's 16 and realizes I told the whole world about her poop) so, of course, she finally got this little nugget out about 5 minutes after I changed her. Normally I'd just take out the nug and save the diaper, but it was smashed in there and I wasn't going to do that to her. It was only after I got the old diaper off and wadded up that I realized, we were out of diapers. Like I said, we have our diaper math down and planned to the "t". We'd used a couple extra at the mall after the girls downed some apple juice, so our reserves were gone. Fortunately we were still at Yiayia's and she keeps an extra stash there, so no problem. .... or so I thought. We'd had a really wonderful weekend, and I wasn't ready to end it so I suggested we go out to dinner rather then head home. After burgers at Islands, they were doing great so I pushed it a little more - let's head across the street and get some yogurt! Hooray!!!! The time bomb was ticking. The girls and I got yogurt while Gina waited to take some home since she was full. Isn't it amazing how pregnant women can be so hungry and then get so full so quickly?!! So we finished up and Gina headed inside to get hers to go. The girls were running around being all charming when Arianna suddenly froze and struck the "I'm pooping pose". This is where she bunches her neck up like a turtle trying to go into its shell, sticks her arms out to brace against a nearby object and then shakes a little while turning red. I hate seeing this pose because I feel so bad for her. Just as she releases Gina walks out of the door next to her and makes this "Dear God" face. Then, in the middle of the crowded courtyard she let's out a "who pooped?!!" So now we have to leave because even if anyone didn't catch a sampling of the smell, they officially know that one of the two kids has pooped. We head back to the car to change it out and get home when it suddenly dawns on us that we still have no diapers. I'm not about to let her sit in this mess all the way home (for her sake and the sake of the car seat) so we quickly McGuiver a solution using one of Gina's yoga towels floating around the car and her shorts. I rush to the opposite end of the parking lot (where the closed shops are) to throw away the devils diaper - seriously, it was pure evil in that thing - and we quickly got on our way. The thing about parenting that no one tells you is that after changing a diaper like that the smell doesn't come off of your hands with out napalm. So the whole way home I'm trying not to smell my fingers and then dry heaving when I catch myself subconsciously running my fingers through my hair. I'm trying to maintain the speed limit but also dealing with the fact that there's a kid with diarrhea in the back who's only wearing a gym towel and could go off again at any moment. I try to lighten the mood by making jokes like "brings a whole new meaning to the term Namaste!" and "well hon, guess you can only use that towel for shitvazinah now". ... the yoga people out there get it. We park at home, rush in and I immediately start the bath while Gina untowels. It's only 30 seconds later that I hear the shriek. This is the cry of a person who realizes that the worst was not behind them. You see, in the panic that surrounded the incident outside the yogurt shop, no one thought to check and see if Genevieve was packing as well. We've now discovered that she was and the device has exploded everywhere. Not sure how Gina didn't notice it when she got her out of the car, but we now know that the poop smell permeating all the way home wasn't in our imaginations or just on our fingers. So while Gina bathed the two of them I got the lovely task of cleaning the car seat, which fortunately is pink with brown accent marks. The night did end on a positive however, as Arianna used the Elmo potty we'd bought earlier. Of course this signifies only the beginning of moments like this; won't be the last time I hose down a car seat in the twilight hours of a Sunday evening.
at 7:34 AM
Saturday, July 9, 2011
For the past few months I've been staring at this Red Robin gift card in my wallet that I knew had a couple bucks left on it. I thought last night would be a nice opportunity to get some use out of it. If you know anything about Red Robin you know that they have balloons for the kids. It's no secret that Genevieve is a bit of a globophobic, but the last few months she's showed a normal child's love for balloons so right when we got in Gina went over and had the hostess blow up a couple balloons for the girls. Genevieve was really excited and ran over to see the balloons - but the moment it started to blow up she flipped out and spent the rest of the evening staring at the balloon (which was now attached to me. ... I look good with a pink balloon) ensuring that it wasn't creeping toward her and her meal. On the opposite side, Arianna was thrilled with her orange balloon and played with it the whole dinner. Afterward we got into the car and had to strategically tie off the pink balloon so it didn't fly over to Genevieve's side, while Arianna clutched her orange balloon with a death grip. About 2 minutes from home the death grip loosened and the orange balloon slipped free. What happened next was horrific. ... or hilarious depending on how you view it. The orange balloon floated across the car and behind Genevieve's head. It then stuck to her hair from the static build up and the girl went berserk. I'm talking full force screaming and water falls for eyes. She was hysterical. ... and Gina found it particularly hysterical as well - laughing so hard the she too was crying. I'm trying to drive (refusing to pull over that close to home for a freakin' balloon) and reaching back to grab the string, which is just out of reach. Arianna, too, is trying to regain her balloon so she's whining; Genevieve screaming; Gina laughing. I finally park and Gina jumps out to the rescue, but as she flings the door open to get Genevieve the orange balloon shoots off in to the sky. Now Arianna is really pissed, but Genevieve is happy to wave "bye-bye's" to the now distant orange balloon. I assure Arianna that it's OK, she can have Genevieve's pink balloon. I untie the balloon and wait for Arianna to come around the car so I can give it too her. Genevieve is in momma's arms right next to me, Gina trying to get her comfortable with the balloon. Suddenly, for no reason, pink balloon explodes just as Arianna rounds around the corner of the car. Hysteria! Genevieve is now terrified again, Arianna is mourning, Gina. ... once again laughing.
at 8:38 AM
Friday, July 8, 2011
Thursday, July 7, 2011
We're kind of getting into a rut lately with our repeat offender. Arianna seems to be spending so much time in "time out" that I'm not sure exactly when she's in time on anymore. We started time out (or "the thinking chair" as I'm calling it) to try and stem the biting problem that's been plaguing us. We tried everything short of covering Genevieve in hot sauce but her sister just kept biting, so finally we went to time outs. They're nothing crazy, usually only between a minute and a minute and a half (recommendations out there are not to exceed one minute for every year of age because they forget what they're there for after too long). I can't tell if it's working or not; the biting has slowed but we've also kept really active the last few weeks with swim lessons and vacations - but the "thinking chair" is getting used for pretty much everything now, from tantrums to. ... well. ... pretty much just tantrums (it's a broad category, I suppose, that covers almost everything a toddler does). Since Arianna is like me and prone to fits she's become a permanent resident of that chair. So much so that as soon as the word "time out" comes up she trots off to the room, clears out the chair and climbs in with out any kind of appeal. I think of the kids on those nanny shows and how they had to drag the kid to time out and pretty much sit on them to make sure they stayed there. Our kid is offering no resistance at all. I'm not sure if that's the result we were looking for. We were trying to avoid raising a felon, not raise one that happily self incarcerates after committing a crime. I can't tell if the little experiment is working. There are two ways of looking at it: 1) it's not because she's still acting up, or 2) it is. ... just imagine how bad it'd be with OUT the thinking chair. I don't know. I'm not big on spanking (although if it comes to it and it's a serious enough crime I'm not an empty "1, 2, 3" counter) so I'd rather keep with this method of punishment - I just wish we didn't have to have any type of punishment at all. What is nice is that after each time out we address the problem again and we hug, then send her off for an apology if necessary. She's really good about making up after the fact. I suppose that means it's working. Of course 20 minutes later she violates parole and ends up back in the joint. Looking at the bright side, she's doing a lot of thinking in that thinking chair, which has got to be good for brain development, and we're getting a lot of hugs after release, which is a bitter sweet enjoyment. So if we're not correcting the problem, at least we're creating a brilliant criminal mastermind who enjoys a good hug.
at 7:31 AM
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Unfortunately, there's just not much to talk about today except the travesty that was the Caylee Anthony trial yesterday. This case has wrapped up the emotion of so many because every time parents across the country look at pictures of that beautiful little girl they see their own children's faces. Add to that her demise was apparently brought at the hands of her own mother, the one who is supposed to protect and nurture her, and you've got a scenario that shocks the conscience and blows the mind. The one person who is not supposed to harm you is your mother. Mommas are supposed to fight to the death for their children. They are supposed to jump between an out of control car and their kids; run into a burning building; dive into a raging sea. They are not supposed to suffocate them so they can party a little more; dump them in the woods for the scavengers to pick at. But here's the truth, as upsetting as it is: the jury got it right. I hate that. Every fiber in my body is nauseous at the thought. As one who studies the law, I know our legal system is set up on a principal that 1) you are innocent until proven guilty and 2) you must be proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. The evidence tells us that Casey Anthony is guilty of harming her daughter - but that doesn't mean it proves it. Our gut instincts, they way we "just know". ... these are not legal doctrines. The problem is there are light leaks in the guilt. Tiny little holes that don't show until you put the vessel in water and she starts to sink. There's no time of death. There's no method of death. It's not that there's no proof her hand wasn't in it, it's just that there are shadows all over the details, and the same loophole's put in place to avoid another Salem Witch Trial are the same ones that allow this guilt laden mother to walk away free (in some respect; she'll still have to serve some time for the minor charges they found her guilty of). The truth is that Casey Anthony is a horrible person. Horrible. Disgusting. Terrible human being. Anyone who fails to report their daughters death for 31 days and parties during that time, knowing their precious little girl is dead (remember, she claims the daughter drowned and that she new about the "accidental" death in those days she was clubbing) is a wretch of a human being. That being said, we've yet to make this a crime in our society - and we can't punish her through the legal system for something that is not a crime. No doubt her life is still ruined and her treatment by the society she re-enters will be a cruel and unusual from of punishment. For the next 50 years the name Casey Anthony will be synonymous with tigers that eat their young and there may even be a day that Casey wishes she had been put in prison or been put to death. Imagine trying to date someone and saying "hi, my name is Casey Anthony". Or imagine going on a trip and having that be the name on the ticket you hand to the boarding agent at the airport. Imagine having a postman deliver mail to with the name Casey Anthony on it, or applying for a job with the name on your resume. Everyone in the world knows what she's done, and everyone in the world knows she got away with something awful. Even if she didn't murder her daughter, she did something morally reprehensible. But the law is not about morality. It's not about gut feelings and doing what the rest of the world wants. It's about justice with in the confines of the law. And the law says their can be no shadows of doubt, even fuzzy details. Don't hate the jury, they did what they were supposed to with in the confines of our legal system. The blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the prosecution for failing to shine a bright enough light to disperse the shadows. All we can do is hug our children this morning. Hug them with all of our love and all of our goodness. Hug them the way that Casey Anthony should have hugged her daughter. Hug them like only a parent can.
at 7:26 AM
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
4) Parents need alcohol. There were more red cups and shinning beer cans in the hands around the kiddie pool then all of the resorts adult only pools combined.
6) We all sabotage each others above lessons out of politeness when we say "oh it's OK, he can have that toy" when the 3 year old screams "mine" or "it was my daughters fault - say you're sorry" after strange little boy hits for no apparent reason.
7) Adults with out children are really just big kids themselves. Only they're allowed to drink and don't have a curfew. ... I'm talking to you 45 year old party woman in a bikini at 1:30 am outside my window blasting Lady Gaga and screaming about Vodka shots.
8) 90% of the people in hotel gyms on vacation have never been to a gym at home in their lives.
9) As soon as you put on a non-absorbent swim diaper your daughter will pee through it.
10) Elmo deserves some sort of Presidential award because, as much as I hate to admit it, Elmo saves lives.
at 7:28 AM
Friday, July 1, 2011
In addition to our traditional Pic of the Week post below, I've got a guest blog posted over at my dear blog friend becomingsupermommy today. Pop on over and see all the nice things she said about me. ... plus you can read the post I guess. Also make sure and browse her site when your done. She's an amazing story teller and has some amazing stories to tell. ... if you're keeping track at home that's two "amazing's" in one sentence. ... that's pretty amazing.
at 7:05 AM