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.