January 31, 2006

Public Service Announcement

(Pssssst. Psssssst.)

Two weeks until Valentine’s day.

Just thought you might like to know.

January 30, 2006

Who wants to Swap Wives?

Now that I have your attention, let me explain.

First, sorry guys, but you ain’t gettin’ my wife. But, if you and your spouse are looking for a little adventure and you don’t mind a national television audience watching, you could be the ideal candidate for Wife Swap.

I get a handful of unsolicited emails in connection with this blog. But when I received an email from Danielle, the Casting Producer of Wife Swap, I was a bit surprised. I mean, people with interesting jobs actually read my blog? At least one of my thirteen readers apparently does and she had a thought… Do I know of anyone who might be interested in being on Wife Swap (which airs Monday nights on ABC)? Here’s the pitch, in Danielle’s words…

In case you’re not familiar with the show’s format, “Wife Swap” is the
family show where two moms switch homes, and live life in the shoes of
another woman for six days. Each family must have at least one child who
falls between the ages of roughly 5 and 20.

“Wife Swap” is an experience that is savored by moms looking to get a taste
of another family, to broaden her horizons, and to appreciate her family
more upon return. Families that appear on “Wife Swap” receive $20,000.

As you can see, Andrea and I don’t qualify. Our kids aren’t in the age range she’s looking for. But you might be the perfect fit. She’s looking specifically for, “families with metrosexual dads, families with specific parental philosophies, and parents with stay-at-home-dads” for upcoming episodes.

So, what’s in it for me? Well, if one of you contacts me and let’s me know you’re interested and then you actually get chosen for the show, I get $1,000. Hey, do you know how many t-shirts I’d have to sell to make a $1,000?! So, if you’re interested, give me a holla and I’ll hook you up with the lovely Danielle.

Now get Swappin’!

January 29, 2006


We have reached a new milestone in the Childsplayx2 household.

Last night, we had a family friend over to meet the twins for the first time. “Aunt” Patrice is a vibrant older woman who lives locally and has been a great support for Andrea and I as we acclimated to a new city over the past few years. We don’t see each other very often, but when we do, it’s always a pleasure.

However, I’m not sure the babies feel that way.

I happened to be holding Swee’Pea as I saw Aunt Patrice approach the house. I arrived at the door at the same time as Patrice did and I promptly opened the door. Aunt Patrice smiled brightly and looked Swee’Pea right in the eye with a big “Hello!”

Bri began to scream. AAAAAAAHHHHH! She buried her face into my neck and continued to scream. Every now and then she would calm down enough to turn and look at Patrice. Then she would start screaming again.

About this time, Andrea arrived with TheMonk in her arms. Again, Patrice smiled. Again, a baby screamed. This time TheMonk wailed a broken staccato cry that I have never heard before. He was obviously terrified. His face showed a look of fear while his little hands clung to Andrea’s shirt. He looked at me as I tried to comfort him. He was having none of it.

Finally, we managed to calm them down and we fed them as the adults caught up on the past seven months. Eventually, TheMonk warmed up to Patrice and, after a few aborted attempts, allowed Patrice to hold him.

Bri, on the other hand, kept right on giving Patrice the “stank eye” that she reserves for people she’s not sure about. I’ve only seen it a few times (okay, I’ve seen it plenty of times – let’s just say some of these things have to be genetic) but this time was not as severe. Poor Patrice. She never did get to hold Bri.

So, stranger anxiety is alive and well here in our household. Another friend is coming by today so we’ll see how that goes.

Someone tell Grandmother she’s in for a surprise the next time she visits.

January 25, 2006

Life Lesson: Fighting

I was having a conversation with some co-workers today when the subject of fighting came up. It reminded me that I have been in exactly three fights in my life – none after the eighth grade. All three fights were brief and, as best I can recall, I walked away from all three without any major injuries. The three fights are not worth going into great detail but I will say this: I was provoked in all three.

Before I dispense my vast knowledge on how best to handle a fight, I want to make it clear to both of you, TheMonk and Swee’Pea, that I will not tolerate any bullying by either of you. If I ever hear that you actually started a fight, you will spend so much time in your room that they’ll erect a plaque in your honor. Am I understood? Good.

First, the best way to handle a fight is to actually avoid the fight. When being provoked into a fight, 99% of the time you can use wit and intellect to avoid a physical fight while still standing up to the antagonist. I have found that a quick, humorous insult directed at the loser in front of you will often confuse the imbecile enough to allow you time to keep on moving (after all, these bullies always seemed to be a few cans shy of a six pack). I would refer to this method as the “jab and run” way to avoid a fight.

Speaking of running, both of you have been blessed with a genetic pool that should make you as fast as lightning (It should be noted, that while I was a pretty decent sprinter and I won my share of races, your mother is the true athletic stud in this family. After all, she was a high school state champion in the Long Jump and the 300 meter hurdles.). Therefore, I want to say to you that there is no shame in running. In fact, I am very fond of the saying, “I’m a runner, not a fighter.” (What, you’re not familiar with that saying?) So, when the opportunity presents itself to get the hell outta Dodge, do it. Sure, people might start calling you Forrest Gump, but that won’t last past high school. I promise.

Having said this, there may come a time where you are cornered and have nowhere to run. Maybe you’re in a crowded room or maybe the smart-ass comments you made earlier have only pissed off your opponent even more (sorry about that). If this happens, I have one piece of advice to give you:

Fight like you’re a frickin’ lunatic.

The one thing I have noticed is that no one really knows how to handle “crazy” when it presents them in the face. And when I say crazy I mean you have to present an arm-flailing, loud-shrieking, crazy-eyed looking, tongue-wiggling, body-hopping, leg-kicking, ankle-biting, hair-pulling, crotch-grabbing, face-scratching, eye-gouging, mouth-drooling appearance. Trust me. That person will not want anything to do with you. Besides, there are no rules when it comes to protecting yourself. Fight dirty if that’s what it takes to get out of there. And, as a bonus, word will spread pretty quickly that no one should mess with that Crazy TheMonk or the Lunatic Bri.

So, that’s it. I guess I should mention that your first thing you should do about a bully is to tell an adult. But sometimes, you gotta defend yourself. Just remember, a lot of crazy will get you home in one piece.

January 24, 2006

What I really need…

is a really good booger picker. You know, smaller than my finger but bigger than the bulb syringe.

And while were at it, I could use arm and leg restraints for the changing table, clothes that grow with my kid, one extra hour a day, and a third arm (hand optional).

Please let me know if you can be of help.

January 22, 2006

Guys Day Out

TheMonk and I have been talking. We decide it’s time for a guys day out. The question is, where do we go? It’s too cold for anything outdoors. TheMonk doesn’t have the patience for Starbucks. And the mall doesn’t appeal to either of us.

Then, TheMonk tells me of a place he’s heard from the guys at daycare. It’s crawling with really cute girls, he tells me. And, best of all, it’s not a meat market. “So, what is this place?” I ask. “Babies-R-Us.” He tells me. I tell him I’m not too sure but that I do have some items I need to pick up there. He assures me that this is the place to be. I tell him, “But only women and babies will be there!” He replies, “Uh-huh. What’s your point?”

So, after his early afternoon feeding, we do a quick diaper change (because dirty diapers are soooo uncool) and head out the door. We’re feeling good so we take the new Pathfinder. I open the sun roof and we let the jams play. TheMonk tells me I need to hurry up and burn some of his songs on a CD so we can jam to the Hoppity Song by John Ondrasnik (his favorite). Today, however, we only have the radio to keep us company. I find an R&B station and pump the bass as we cruise to Babies-R-Us.

Despite TheMonk’s assurances, I’m a bit nervous about this being a cool place for us guys to go. We pull into the parking lot and, sure enough, there are mothers and babies galore. I pull him out, still buckled into his infant carrier and I, not seeing any carts nearby, carry him towards the front of the store. As we make our way through the parking lot, I notice a small two-seat convertible sports car approach us, looking for a parking space. I make eye contact with the driver. He glances to the infant carrier in my hand. I glance to his passenger seat to see a similar-looking baby carrier strapped into the front seat. We make eye contact again. We have something in common. We’re dads going solo to Babies-R-Us. We do the “What’s Up?” nod as he drives by. It’s a brief bonding moment between fellow dads.

Huh. What do you know? TheMonk was right. Babies-R-Us is the cool place to be for us guys. We head inside. I find a cart and perch him on top facing me. We stroll the aisles as he looks around. I’m amazed at the kid’s confidence. “What’s up, ladies?” he seems to say as everyone we pass glances his way. Yes, my kid exudes cool. His coy smile partially hidden by the blue binky in his mouth. I play the sensitive dad part and tickle his feet and lean over to blow raspberries on his cheeks. He only smiles – as if to say, “Yeah Daddy, this is a lot of fun when we’re at home in private.” I don’t care. I’m having too much fun. However, before long we’re done shopping and we head up to the front.

I pay and as I’m leaving I glance over and see the father from the sports car. It’s apparent the child he’s carrying is a girl. And, yes, she’s pretty cute. We nod again. And then we get in the car and head home, silently bopping to Beyonce, lost in our thoughts of our guys day out.

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January 20, 2006

An Ode To A Bouncy Seat

To some you’re just a chair
but to me there is no doubt
You are the single baby item
that we couldn’t do without

You sit there in the corner
Ever ready when there’s a need
You even lend a hand
When it comes time to feed

The gentle way you bounce
helps put the babes to sleep
But the humming that you make
Makes that sleep become so deep

You’re so tough under pressure
you’ve weathered every puke, poop and pee
I wish that we could use you
from now to eternity

But, alas, one day you’ll be too small
As the babies continue to grow
Just know I will always be your fan
Long after we let you go

January 19, 2006

Growing Pains

Dear TheMonk and Bri,

How did you get to be seven months? It seems like just yesterday (one long, sleep deprived, yesterday) that I was holding your tiny bodies in my arms and nothing else existed but you and me.

Today, however, there are constant reminders that you’re growing up. Too fast, my little ones. Slow down. What’s your hurry? But you don’t listen. You insist on learning new tricks right before our eyes.

Bri, you rolled over backwards and forwards this evening like an old pro. You’ve been reluctant to do this of late but now it seems like you’re finally ready. It’s also apparent that you’re getting ready to start moving around. While on your belly, your head up and arms fully extended in front of you, you lunged for Nutmeg the cat as she walked by. Pretty soon, Nutmeg is going to have to be just a little bit quicker than she is right now. Our little cat lover is going to start chasing kitty all over the house.

Bri, you are also learning how to give kisses. You don’t quite grasp the concept of a pucker so instead you plant a big, sloppy, open mouth kiss on my cheek. When you pull away and I give you praise for giving your daddy a kiss, you have a look of pride on your face as you smile at me. *Sigh* That smile melts my heart.

TheMonk, tonight while feeding you your bottle, you grabbed it firmly with both hands and fed yourself the remaining half. You even knew to tip the bottle back further, the way a guy in a bar polishes off the last of his beer before heading home. You sat on my lap, holding onto your bottle while gazing up at me. In the blink of an eye I saw you growing up – not needing your Daddy to feed you or hold you or give you kisses. It hasn’t even happened yet and I miss it already.

And yet, each new day brings something so uplifting that it leaves me craving more. Last night, TheMonk, while in your mother’s arms, you looked at me, arched your body away from your mother towards me and said, “Da Da”. Your mother and I looked at each other, not sure if you really knew you were referring to me or not. Of course, I’m inclined to think so.

Bri, your Mommy said she heard you say “Da Da” yesterday while feeding you. I have yet to hear this but I can’t wait ’til I do. I suspect since TheMonk says it all the time you’ll be doing so soon anyway. Just this once, you can hurry up.

In the food department, you tried carrots the last few nights. You both really like them. And since Swee’Pea’s poop is a toxic orange color I’m eager to try something a little less colorful. Pears, it seems, are next on the list. You both seem so eager to try new things. It’s an exciting time and I’m loving every minute of it.

You’re almost over your latest colds. The bronchiolitis returned and we are still giving you nebulizer treatments with the mask. I’m amazed at how docile you are during these treatments. It’s almost like you’re getting a facial at the local spa as you both often times close your eyes and rest. All you need is little cucumbers for your eyes. Of course, we can’t do that because TheMonk would end up eating them.

Well, it’s late and I have to get to bed since I’m sure one of you will awaken sometime during the night. It seems every time we get close to getting you both to sleep through the night, you get sick and then wake up congested. I’m hopeful we can make some positive steps towards sleeping through the night this weekend. Of course, soon you’ll be teething so I may not get my much-sought-after full nights sleep.

But for now, I am here for you. Sleep tight my little ones and have sweet dreams.

I love you.


January 17, 2006

Chef Baby-Ar-Dee

Now that we’re starting solids we have decided that while the pre-made baby food is just fine, it would be fun (and less expensive) if we made our own. So, I have been slaving away in the kitchen the past few nights perfecting my recipes, knowing I have to appeal to the most discriminating of palates – TheMonk and Bri’s.

I am proud to say that my hard work has paid off. I have created some absolute masterpieces (if I do say so myself). I am also keenly aware that some of you out there may not be as skillful in the kitchen as I am. Nor would you have the time or energy to concoct the perfect recipes based on trial and error. So, my friends, fear not. I am only too glad to share with you these recipes. It gives me great pleasure to know that these recipes will be passed down to future generations and provide nourishment for children for years to come. So, without further ado, here are my recipes. You might want to get a pen and paper or get your printer ready.

1) Take very ripe bananas
2) Put in blender
3) Puree


1) Slice peaches and throw away the pit.
2) Steam peaches
3) Put in blender
4) Puree

1) Slice pears and throw away the core
2) Steam pears
3) Put in blender
4) Puree

1) Slice squash after throwing out seeds
2) Steam squash
3) Remove outer rind
4) Put the rest in blender
5) Puree

Pour each puree into ice cube trays and freeze overnight. Put them in ziploc freezer bags and label and date them. This is crucial as it all looks pretty similar when they pop out of the trays.

I know what you’re thinking. You are in awe of my culinary skills. Don’t be intimidated by my vast knowledge of baby food. Instead, take advantage of all that I am passing along. In fact, feel free to spread these recipes far and wide. This is my gift to the human race.

You’re welcome.

January 16, 2006

Our jagged little pill

There once was a baby named Bri
Who was as sweet as a girl could be
Then one day her rage
Took center stage
And her poor parents had nowhere to flee

[To see what that rage looks like, go here.]

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