February 15, 2006

The National Past Time

To my little Chunky Monk,

I have a baseball that sits, tucked into the CD tower that leans against the wall of our den. If you weren’t looking for it you’d miss it. In it’s appearance, it’s unremarkable, but it’s not just any baseball. It’s an Official Major League Baseball, rubbed down with mud from the Delaware River and pitched in an actual Major League Baseball game. I caught it – a foul ball off the bat of Ryan Klesko – when the Padres hosted the San Francisco Giants in the early Fall of 2004. I attended that game alone and sat right behind home plate in hopes of seeing the Giants beat the Padres in their stretch drive for the National League West Division Title.

I have watched a number of games alone. After catching the ball I held onto it and examined it, but ultimately slipped it into my pocket as I didn’t have anyone with me to share it with. Normally, I don’t mind going to games by myself because I love the intricacies of the game that are sometimes missed when sitting with someone else. The only person who I know that loves baseball as much as I do is your Uncle Ben, and circumstances keep us from watching a game together now. On that day, it sure would have been nice to share that moment with someone close to me.

And now, I have you.

Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training tomorrow, Monk. Tomorrow marks the beginning of your first baseball season and I am very much looking forward to taking you and your sister to your first baseball game. I want to share with you a passion of mine that I hope we can share for many years to come. Perhaps one day, when you’re older, we’ll sneak away to a “get away” game played on a Thursday afternoon and watch batting practice and eat sunflower seeds and talk about each player as they make their way to the plate. I’ll explain the infield fly rule and the balk. I’ll teach you the importance of hitting the cutoff man and running out all fly balls. We’ll look for situations where the manager might hit and run or call for a suicide squeeze. We’ll hug when our team wins and we’ll be bummed when our team loses. We’ll eat hotdogs and cracker jack and a chocolate malt on a hot summer day.

We’ll do all of that. But most importantly, we’ll spend quality time together. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll catch another foul ball and confidently place it in your little hands and your oversized baseball glove for you to hold and wonder and keep forever as a reminder of a great day spent watching a baseball game with your dad.

The Blogging World is Beautiful

Today a few cool things happened in the blogging world that I wanted to tell you about.

First, The Blogfathers website kicked off today and it seems like it’s being very well received. Go over there, if you haven’t already, and see the great writing (but not mine, my first post was crap. Read the others, though. They were great!).

Second, I won the First Annual Sweet Juniper Weird Search Hit Contest over at Sweet Juniper. Dutch told me that he’s going to make TheMonk and Swee’Pea some cool shirts for submitting this little nugget:
“Every time i eat my nose is clogged up and get very tired” Now how could you argue with that?

Finally, today I got my 1,000th comment since I moved on over to the new digs from my old blogspot account. I was very excited to see that the special commenter was the lovely Melissa who has been leaving comments forever but just joined the blogging world recently. She’s had a great week. She got to see the birth of her best friend’s baby (albeit a bit early in the morning) AND she wins this free t-shirt for taking the trouble to tell me how cute my kids were this Valentine’s Day.

Image hosting by Photobucket

February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine’s Day Sweetie


By now you’ve been treated to a day’s worth of TheMonk & Swee’Pea Valentine pics. Your co-workers were very nice in helping scatter these photos around the office and I’m looking forward to hearing just how they surprised you with them throughout the day. I know you’ll probably be a little embarrassed but I hope you know that I wanted to share with everyone how much I love you and how much our little ones love you too.

It’s been an amazing year. Last year, I gave you little TheMonk and Swee’Pea onesies and we draped them across your gigantic belly. It has gone by so fast but this last year has been the best year ever. Thank you for being such a wonderful mother and for going through this parenthood thing with me. We’re learning each day how to work as a team and I know TheMonk and Swee’Pea will benefit from the closeness we share. Can you believe we made these two?

Me either.

Valentine’s Day has brought on a new meaning and it’s a reminder that I thought I knew what love was prior to having these munchkins. I didn’t have a clue. All I know is that through loving these babies so much, I have grown to love you even more.

If that were even possible.

Happy Valentine’s Day Sweetheart – from your husband, your son and your daughter. We love you.

JT and Bri Kiss

February 13, 2006

When will this fog lift?

Yesterday I chronicled our attempt to get out of the house only to find we had the wrong day for the community party. Anyone can make that mistake right?

Well, today we might have topped that.

You see, here in the United States we celebrate President’s Day in February. It commemorates the birthdays of President George Washington and President Abraham Lincoln. Their birthdays are a little over a week apart and on calendars here in the U.S., they print their birthdays but also acknowledge President’s Day which this year will be next Monday, the 20th. No one celebrates both Lincoln and Washington’s birthdays together. No one. And when I say no one, I mean absolutely no one.

This is important to know because when we started daycare our provider gave us a nice list of holidays that she would be closed. I noticed that they pretty much coincided with Andrea’s holidays (the Y*M*C*A is almost never closed) so I didn’t give it much thought. (Do you see where I’m going with this?)

Today I arrived, as usual, at 8:00 a.m. to drop off the kids. Our provider’s daycare is in her home and it’s not unusual to have her family there when I drop off the twins. The twins are treated like royalty by the whole family. Our provider is from the Middle East (I forget which country) and her mother lives with them. Her mother speaks no english but obviously has taken a liking to the twins – especially Swee’Pea. When I arrived today the grandmother answered. She smiled and talked to me in her native tongue and I smiled faintly – not understanding a single word. She started unbuckling the kids and I signed the kids in. The grandmother gave me some hand signals that indicated our provider was in the shower. I shrugged this off and, while unusual, didn’t cause me to stop and think. I gave the babies a kiss goodbye and said goodbye to the grandmother who seemed delighted that the twins were there. I left feeling good.

This afternoon I got a call from Andrea after she picked the kids up. “Did you know daycare was supposed to be closed today?” she asked.

“Um. (racking my brain) Noooo” I replied. “Why didn’t she call me, if they were closed?”

“She said she didn’t have anything else planned and it wasn’t a problem at all.”

Okay. But I still feel extremely embarrassed. The provider even turned down Andrea’s offer to pay her the “Holiday Rate.” Andrea is out right now purchasing a very nice Valentine’s Day gift for our very nice daycare provider.

So, three questions come to mind:

1) Would Mary P. keep my kids without even a phone call on her day off?
2) When does this “New Parent” fog lift and we start acting like the responsible people we once were?
3) Don’t you wish your kids were as cute as mine? :)

I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse

A while back BIYF emailed me and a handful of other dads out in the blogosphere and wanted to know if we’d be interested in participating in a multi-dad blog site called The Blogfathers.

I needed exactly 1.2 seconds to agree. (It would have been sooner but I had to put down my raspberry white chocolate mocha first. What? Stop laughing.)

The esteemed group of dads include Adventure Dad, The Bean’s Dad, Dad Gone Mad, Genuine, Eric from More Diapers (who designed my site, by the way), Mr. Nice Guy, Not-For-Profit Dad, Dutch from Sweet Juniper, and Woodge. The Zero Boss and Laid-Off Dad will have the important role of consigliere.

I’m looking forward to having an avenue to write about fatherhood in ways that might not fit the style that I have set up here. The Blogfathers kick off tomorrow – fittingly on Valentine’s day. Stop on by and say hello.

February 12, 2006

All Dressed Up With No Place to Go

A while back we got a flyer in the mail announcing there would be a community party at the community center in our neighborhood. Andrea and I thought this would be a great opportunity to get out with the babies because, let’s face it, going anywhere with the twins requires a lot of planning and always leaves us feeling a bit drained.

So Saturday arrived and we began preparations to get out of the house for the noon start of the party. We picked out cute outfits for the twins and Andrea and I planned our morning. While the babies were doing their 10:00 a.m. breast feeding session, I would shower and get ready myself. After the babies were done breast feeding, Andrea would shower and get ready while I fed them their oatmeal and then dressed them.

Our planning worked flawlessly. At about 11:45 a.m., we all congregated in the loft. Andrea looked great. She had put on makeup, styled her hair, and was wearing shorts and a t-shirt that would leave people doubting that she had twins just eight months ago. The babies looked great too. They were fed and happy. We gathered our belongings to bring downstairs to load everything into the stroller. For some reason, Andrea decided to look at the flyer we received in the mail.

“What’s the date today?” she asked.

“It’s the 11th.” I replied.

Andrea looked up at me and slowly handed me the flyer.

I glanced down at the flyer. Underneath the “You are cordially invited…” stuff it had the particulars starting with the date.

DATE: February 12, 2006

We looked at each other in disbelief. All that preparation, down the tubes. We briefly considered going somewhere else but we knew we couldn’t go far because they’d have to eat in another hour and a half. So, we changed them to normal clothes while cursing our foggy brains that eight-month-old twins have wrought.

Today, we did it again. Only this time we made it to the party. A good time was had by all.

Daddy & JT
Daddy & TheMonk

Mommy & Bri
Mommy & Bri

February 9, 2006

The (De) Evolution of a Parent

After months of research, both scientific and anecdotal, I have come across a distinct pattern in parents – if not worldwide, at least in North America. For some reason, I couldn’t find a scientific journal that was willing to accept this finding (something about my methodology being fundamentally flawed). So, I have decided to launch my findings on Childsplayx2.com.

Keeping our Children Safe From Bacteria and Disease – The Real Story

Phase I – Parents sanitize everything. Bottles, binkies, nipples – you name it, it’s either boiled, microwaved or sanitized in the dishwasher. Sometimes with unintended results.

Phase II - Sanitizing becomes a little lax. The little steamer bag that comes with Medela products still has a few good uses left in it but it sits on the counter in the kitchen, taunting you every time you pass by, leaving you as guilt-ridden as a Mexican mother. In an effort to keep up the pretense of sanitizing, anti-bacterial wipes make an appearance around the house. One parent uses them religiously, the other, well, not so much.

Phase III – Bottles are only washed in warm soapy water. Binkies never get washed except when they fall in the bathtub by accident. Every once in a while a parent will say, “Hey, we should really sanitize all the baby stuff.” The other nods and then they go back to watching American Idol.

Phase IV – Binkies fall on the floor and the parent will pick it up, put it in his/her own mouth to “get rid of the germs” and then hand it back to the kid. The kid doesn’t die. Hmmmmm. Interesting.

Phase V – The first utterance of the phrase “Five-Second Rule!” appears. Perhaps a quick wipe on the pants will suffice before popping the binky back in the kid’s mouth.

Phase VI – Parents watch as kid picks up binky or any other thing that looks like it might look good in it’s mouth like cat food, days-old cheerios, and daddy’s sweat socks. The parents might say something like, “Sweetie, don’t put that in your mouth.” while they casually glance up from the morning paper – but more often than not, they just *sigh*.

Phase VII – Parents actually start giving their kids disgusting things to put in their mouths – like fruit gushers and Trix Yogurt.

After that, it’s all down hill. French fries become the only vegetable the kids eat. A Big Mac is the closest a kid comes to the four basic food groups. And our children die a slow, albeit delicious, death.

But, hey, at least we sanitized those binkies.

February 7, 2006

Baby Bri

To my little Swee’ Pea,

You are growing up before my eyes little girl. You are just short of eight months and I am blown away by how in love with you I am. You see, I have always wanted you. For as long as I can remember, I always pictured myself having a daughter. I’m not sure why, but I have dreamed about you for such a long time. In fact, even your name has meaning to me. Long before I met your mother, I knew I wanted a little Swee’Pea. Your name, to me, sounds so beautiful to say. And it’s more fitting than I ever imagined, for you are the most beautiful little girl I have ever seen.

It has become very apparent that we have already bonded in a profound way. In fact, your mother gets annoyed that I’m around when you’re breast feeding only because you’d much rather look at me and smile than eat. I try to make myself scarce during those times but I secretly love it. Your smile melts my heart and I cherish every time you smile in my direction.

You’ve started to give hugs lately Swee’Pea. In fact, just the other day, I picked you up to bring you downstairs and you wrapped your little arms around my head and you held me there. We embraced, cheek-to-cheek, for what seemed like a long time, but was really only a few seconds. The tenderness of the moment caught me off guard and actually brought tears to my eyes. I hope I never forget that hug.

You like to dance my little jitterbug. You seem to have a natural rhythm that allows you to sway your shoulders and head back and forth to an imaginary beat. Many times, you’ll look at me and if I start rocking my head back and forth, you’ll follow suit. You love to listen to music and any toy that has music has become a favorite of yours. If you ever want to get into show business, you should do well. You have the makings of a “triple threat” – Singing, Dancing, and Cuteness – that could take you far. Of course, you could do none of those things and I’d love you just as much.

You are my little girl. You’ll always be my little girl. While you are growing so much, I will always remember that little girl who likes to sit on my lap or giggles when I give her “butterfly kisses” or lights up when she sees me. My fear, is that as you get older, that we’ll lose the closeness that we have developed since you were born. I hope not, little one. I know that daddies and daughters often grow apart as little girls blossom into grown women but I can honestly say that I will always strive to be there for you – in whatever way you need me. I know I will not be able to provide you things that your mother can give you, but that’s okay. I also know that I will be here for you unconditionally. Always.

I dream about your future and my role in it. I see myself as a support. Encouraging you to follow your dreams. I see music recitals and sporting events. I see quiet moments where just you and I get to know each other in a whole new way. I see you growing older and more independent. I see you being an incredibly warm and loving woman – just like your mother.

I am your Daddy. It’s taken some time for that to sink in but I don’t take that role lightly. I hope that, one day, as you read this, you’ll understand how much I love you and how much I want your life to be filled with blessings and love. Your spirit lights my darkness, baby Swee’Pea. Your love gives me strength. You deserve the best this life has to offer. I hope that I can in many, many ways, provide some of that for you.


Your Daddy.

Baby Bri

February 5, 2006

A Tag Team Battle Royale

A while back, Dutch wrote at length about the best “tag teams” in the history of the WWF (I’m sorry, but I’m old school and I’ll never call it the WWE).

While I can’t argue with the likes of the Killer Bees and Hulk Hogan and Randy “Macho Man” Savage, I’d like to propose another great tag team in the making: TheMonk and Bri.

In fact, yesterday they had a match of the ages, as described in the following news clip…

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -
It was a battle of the ages. One that had been brewing for the past 7 and a half months. While the well-established tag team duo of Mommy and Daddy felt confident in their ability to take on any and all challengers, the newly established team of TheMonk and Swee’Pea quietly plotted their triumphant debut in the ring.

While the unsuspecting Mommy/Daddy team were blissfully sleeping, TheMonk and Swee’Pea had all-night planning sessions on how to bring down the formidable duo. When the much-anticipated match-up finally occurred yesterday afternoon, those who had ring-side seats would never forget the day TheMonk and Swee’Pea flexed their collective muscle.

Their plan was simple yet brilliant in its execution. While one of the twins would distract Mommy with their cuteness, and playfully coo and laugh while Mommy played, the other would attack Daddy with a ferocity not yet seen in the Childsplayx2 household. In round One, TheMonk played quietly with Mommy while Swee’Pea rough-housed with Daddy on the floor. Swee’Pea soon showed that the team of TheMonk and Swee’Pea were ready to challenge for the title by distracting Daddy with a cute smile and then delivering a massive head butt to the nose. Daddy staggered back, eyes watering and he glanced up at his tag team partner Mommy, hoping to tag out to regain his composure.

Unfortunately for him, TheMonk was busy keeping Mommy preoccupied and she did not see Daddy’s attempt to tag out. Daddy sneezed a couple of times – a result of his still-smarting blow to the nose. Swee’Pea, smiled at Daddy as if to entice him to engage her once again. The trick worked and Daddy came at Swee’Pea. They danced around the room until, once again Swee’Pea sensed Daddy was vulnerable. She deliverd another ferocious head butt, this time to the lip, causing Daddy to reel once again. As Daddy checked his lower lip for blood, he could feel it swelling considerably. Surely, he thought, Swee’Pea must be hurt too. He glaced at her but her smile showed that she wasn’t hurting at all. Daddy, sensing he was in trouble, attempted to tag out once again.

This time he was able to get Mommy’s attention. However, Swee’Pea with a cat-like quickness, tagged TheMonk first and before he knew it, TheMonk was engaging Daddy in rough house as well. Daddy, sensing he had to come with his “A” game in order to survive this surprising challenge came charging at TheMonk as he lay on the floor. TheMonk was not impressed, however, and maneuvered to deliver a quick but decisive blow to Daddy’s head with his powerful legs. His massive mallet-like feet came thumping down with a quick “One-Two” to the head and Daddy went down for the count.

Pandemonium erupted as Daddy was declared out! Mommy and Daddy didn’t know what hit them. Shrieks of glee were echoing through the house while Daddy lay on the floor dazed and confused.

TheMonk and Swee’Pea’s celebration was short-lived however, as Mommy filed a protest with the commissioner. The commissioner sentenced TheMonk and Swee’Pea to a nap while Mommy and Daddy had time to recuperate. Foiled by the sly maneuverings of Mommy and Daddy, TheMonk and Swee’Pea took their nap in protest – continually crying out. Mommy and Daddy were undeterred, however, and TheMonk and Swee’Pea finally accepted that they would have to fight another day.

While the outcome wasn’t quite what TheMonk and Swee’Pea were hoping for, they have certainly established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Mommy and Daddy now know they cannot take these well-coordinated foes lightly. It is certain this will be a great rivalry, pitting age and experience against youthful guile, for years to come.

February 2, 2006

A Y’s Request

Some of you may know that I work for the Y*M*C*A. The Y is a wonderful organization that teaches kids across the world core values such as Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility.

The Y I work at, the XXXX Family Y in San Diego, is an urban Ythat serves a largely low-income community. Ninety percent of the youth and families that walk through our doors qualify for financial assistance. And, because we never want to turn anyone away due to an inability to pay, we try our hardest to make the Y experience they need a reality. I cannot tell you how many times I have helped a single mother looking for affordable childcare so she can continue to provide for her children, look at me with tears in her eyes and thank me. I feel so humble in those moments. I cannot truly know what this woman is going through, but it makes me feel good to help someone in need.

The financial assistance we provide is substantial. Tens of thousands of dollars are given out in scholarships each year at our Y. To make that happen, we rely on the generosity of those more fortunate to help us reach our goal of serving everyone. Each February we have our annual fundraising drive where members and volunteers tell the Ystory and ask for a donation. Today, I am asking you, dear reader, to consider contributing to my Y. Your donation is 100% tax deductible and would help so many children have a safe place to be while their parents work. It might help one more youth learn how to swim. It might provide a child a camp experience that otherwise would never be able to do so. Or it might provide an elderly lady a chance to stay fit in our water aerobic classes while, at the same time, keep socially active at a time when many seniors become isolated.

I have nothing to give you but this… If you donate any amount of money to my Y, I will include you on my Blogroll of the Month on the right. That’s all I got. However, you’ll be getting a lot more in return, I promise. I sent out a letter of appeal to friends and family yesterday and one prominent blogger has already pledged $100. I didn’t ask him if I could announce it so he’ll have to remain anonymous for now. I was floored by his generosity and I hope you might be willing to consider a similar donation.

You can give in a number of ways. The first, is you can go to the Y of San Diego County’s website and make your donation online. Please make sure to choose my Y when you donate. If you choose to do this, please email me to let me know you did so, so I can personally thank you.

You can also pay by check or credit card on a monthly, quarterly or all-at-once basis. You can either make your pledge in the comments below (and I’ll contact you via your email address for more information) or you can email me offline and I’ll give you more information. My email address is childsplayx2@gmail.com.

Thank you for considering this request. And if you cannot give to the my Y, I ask that you consider visiting your local Y and getting you and your family involved.

Thank you.

« Previous PageNext Page »

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: