July 30, 2006

Tale of the Tape

Milestone update because we never updated that damn baby book.

Bri: 5 (working on #6)
TheMonk: 4 (catching up quickly)

Bri: Dada, Mama, Kitty, Hi, downstairs (allegedly)
TheMonk: Dada, Mama, Cracker (it had to be food)

Both are pulling up and TheMonk will cruise more than Swee’Pea. Swee’Pea has just begun to figure out how to get down from the standing position. TheMonk can kneel down and lower himself to his butt. Today, Swee’Pea pulled herself up and decided, “To heck with it. I’m just gonna let go and see what happens.” She stood there for a few seconds like someone learning to surf for the first time. Her hands flayed out to her side and she had a look in her eye that seem to say, “Holy crap!”

Then she crumpled to her butt as Mommy and I realized our lives will never be the same.

July 27, 2006

Feeling Separated

TheMonk came down with my birthday bug last night. At dinner he projectile-vomited all over everything (including yours truly) and, unfortunately, kept it up for a few hours until his limp, tired body finally gave out and we put him to bed. This morning he awoke looking and feeling much better but Andrea stayed home with him as he was still a little listless.

And this is where a milestone was created. Swee’Pea went to daycare without TheMonk.

As I dropped Swee’Pea off at the home where she stays everyday, it was apparent to me that she realized things were different. My usual routine is that I always take Swee’Pea out of the car first, bring her in to the daycare provider and then I return to the car to get TheMonk (as an aside, this is a favorite time for me because I can see TheMonk sitting in the car as I approach the street. I usually wave frantically and make funny faces at him and he always laughs at silly old Daddy).

Today, however, there was no returning to get TheMonk. As I explained to the daycare provider that TheMonk was sick and wouldn’t be coming, we looked at Swee’Pea sitting on the floor. Usually full of energy as she checks out her favorite toys, she just sat there on the floor looking sad. I looked into those beautiful brown eyes and told her that I would be back later to pick her up and we would see TheMonk then. I kissed her goodbye and, as I left, I felt a sadness in my heart that I only hope Swee’Pea was immune to.

Somehow, I don’t think that was the case.

July 26, 2006

Photographs and memories

After a long delay, we’ve finally updated our photos on the right. There are over twenty new ones up on flickr so that should keep Grandmother busy for a while.

Highlights include birthday hats, family get-togethers and just plain cuteness (of the twins, not me).

July 24, 2006

Holy Cow, I’m how old?

Today I woke up to a stomach bug that kept me home from work. The fact that it happened to coincide with my 35th birthday is merely coincidence (really, no tall tales here).

So, I spent my 35th birthday sleeping and staying close to the bathroom.

I had thought of writing a tribute to my 35th year but I no longer have the energy but, suffice to say, it would have been a beaut.

I will say this… Once upon a time I thought 35 sounded old. I had teachers who I’m sure were younger than I am now who seemed like they’d been around for a while. Little did I know that I’m just getting to the good stuff.

I have a beautiful wife, a beautiful home and two extremely beautiful children.

Life just doesn’t get any better than this.

July 21, 2006

Proud to be related

My cousin Maggie is one of my all-time favorite people. She has such a great personality you just can’t help feeling good after talking to her. I’ve always envisioned her being one of those “super cool/hip/chic” city dwellers who has her act together. She and her husband live in San Francisco and, unfortunately, we don’t get to see them that often. I stay connected through her blog and, until recently, didn’t even realize that she has read my musings here at Childsplayx2.

But it appears she has. I know this because I recently received an email from her agent (okay, it was her husband but he sounded very official) asking for permission (with legal documents attached) to use an excerpt from my blog for her new book.

Yes, my cousin Maggie is a published author. I mention this for a few reasons. One, you could buy her book and make her very happy. Two, did I mention I’m in the book? And three, the topic of the book is very relevant to all of you in the blogosphere. The book is titled: Nobody Cares What You Had For Lunch. 100 ideas for your blog.

Amazon.com describes the book as a unique idea-book for bloggers seeking fun, creative inspiration. Margaret gives writers the prompts they need to describe, imagine, investigate and generate clever posts.

So, if you’re so inclined go buy the book. It’s available here at Amazon or you can get your very own autographed copy from Mightygirl herself here.

Of course, I haven’t read the book yet and I’m not entirely sure that the excerpt she used from my blog wasn’t an example of what not to do. If that’s the case, well maybe I’ll need to buy that book too.

About the Author
Margaret Mason has been a professional writer and editor for over a decade. Her shopping blog, Mighty Goods, was recently named number one shopping site by both Business Week and Forbes, and her personal website, Mighty Girl, draws thousands of readers each day. She is a contributing writer for The Morning News, a New York-based Web magazine, and The New York Times. Mason is also a sought-after expert on lifestyle issues. She has been interviewed by The New York Times, Crain’s Business Daily, The San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco’s KFOG radio.

(See why I’m so proud?! That’s my cousin!)

July 20, 2006

It’s a long story


You won’t believe what happened to me this morning after you left for work.

It started out just fine. I played casually with the twins as they scampered around the play room as they chased after toys and books and each other. To add to the atmosphere, I put on a CD of their favorite music and we rocked to Animal Fair, Wheels on the Bus and Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Before I knew it, TheMonk and Swee’Pea both started to dance the cha-cha. Which is funny because I don’t even know what the cha-cha looks like. All I know is that they were getting down and laughing so I ran to get the video camera to document the collective genius of our children. In my haste to secure the video camera I tripped over the Fisher-Price schoolbus with the little wheelchair still inside. Trying to regain my balance I reached for the nearest thing to keep myself from falling. Unfortunately that nearest thing was the drapery that hangs hung from the front window. As you could guess, the drapery was no match for my impressive bulk so it came down with me along with the curtain rods and the lamp from the corner. Before I knew it, I was laying on the floor among all the remnants.

Dazed and confused I staggered back up. I glanced at TheMonk and Swee’Pea who were both now clapping at this impressive theater that their beloved father was putting on for their amusement. I smiled in spite of my shock and pain and then checked the damage. It was then that I noticed that the drapes were smoldering from the heat the lamp was giving off, still glowing on the floor beneath my feet.

Before my eyes the smoldering drapes burst into flames. Not sure what to do, I quickly grabbed the flaming drapes and, in one quick cat-like motion, opened the front door and threw them onto the front lawn which, luck would have it, was being watered by the sprinklers at that very moment.

Crisis averted, I once again turned my attention back to the twins. TheMonk must have been so excited he pooped his pants. The smell was hard to ignore so before cleaning up the mess I had made I decided to change TheMonk in the living room. I’m not sure when he last pooped but it looked like he had been saving it up for quite a while as copious amounts of excrement filled his overburdened size 4 Huggies. I pulled off the soiled diaper, setting it aside, while I cleaned him and changed him into a fresh diaper. I was just getting finshed with him when I heard a distinctive “meow” coming from somewhere outside.

Setting TheMonk down, I went to investigate. Apparently, in my haste to get rid of the flaming drapes I hadn’t noticed that Nutmeg the cat had escaped outside when I opened the front door. Concerned for our poor little Nuttymeg I went looking for her outside. It was then I saw her on our roof – 25 to 30 feet above terra firma. Knowing I had to act quickly I went to get the ladder from the garage. Now, normally I wouldn’t even think of getting up to the top of our roof but this was our Nutmeg up there. I HAD to save her. I extended our ladder as far up as I could get it. Unfortunately, it was still a good six feet short of the roof. Nonetheless I scampered up the ladder and reached for our beloved kitty. Not in a mood to be petted she jumped back from my extended reach. As I lunged for her, the ladder slipped from under me. In a desperate act I grabbed the gutter that lines our roof top and hung there as the ladder fell.

This was a predicament. I was about 20 feet from the garage roof which, if I could get there, would allow me to drop down without killing myself. I inched my way over there while my fingers desperately clung to the edge of the gutter. Eventually I made it – just in time to see Nutmeg jump on my back and catapult herself to the ground. She then bolted for the door and waited for me to let her in. Which I would have done except the door was locked.

I looked in and noticed TheMonk and Swee’Pea gleefully playing. I waved to them frantically and they waved back – enjoying this new game of “Wave at the crazy man named Daddy.” I started to go around the house trying all of the windows and doors to see if I could get in. As I got back around to the front of the house I noticed we had visitors.

This might be a good time to mention to you that our new Neighborhood Watch program is doing a fine good job. I know this because apparently one of our kind neighbors noticed a man hanging from the gutter of his neighbor’s house and called the cops. Did you know that they don’t just send one patrol car when something like that is reported? No, they send at least five patrol cars – with lights flashing. Also, I never knew how big a patrolman’s gun looks pointed at you.

Anyway, after I explained who I was they helped me get into the house to prove I lived there. They even were nice enough to let me change my pants (Let’s just say I wish I was the one wearing Huggies when the police officers pointed their guns at me). Once I showed them my driver’s license and TheMonk and Swee’Pea’s birth certificates, everything was fine (Oh, and I made a nice contribution to the Police Officer’s Ball later this month).

Finally, everything seemed under control. As you can imagine, however, I was quite late in getting the kids off to daycare. I scurried around getting our stuff together and putting the twins in their carseat. You know how much I hate to be late. Even though I hate being late, I did spend a few extra minutes putting the drapes back up (just ignore the charred spot near the ground), uprighting the lamp, putting the ladder away, making sure Nutmeg had her food and water after such a traumatic experience, and putting away one Fisher Price Schoolbus with a wheelchair inside. I knew you’d appreciate me cleaning up the mess.

That done, I couldn’t stay any longer. Work beckoned so I ran to the car, pulled away from the house and managed to get the kids to daycare and myself to work even after such a harrowing morning.

And THAT, my dear beloved love-of-my-life wife, is why you found a very soiled poop-filled diaper sitting on the bookshelf in the living room when you came home today.

And you thought I was just scatterbrained.

July 18, 2006

The Power of Friends

Metrodad made me think of best friends today.

Over the years I have had a handful of best friends. My first best friend was a guy name Jesse Scrimscher (I have no idea if that’s how he spelled his name – it wasn’t important as a seven-year-old.). We had a fight one day and we left each other in a huff. Soon after, my mother announced we were moving. I didn’t get to say goodbye but saw him briefly when we came back to clean the house. I don’t recall ever seeing him again.

My second best friend was Jeff Lawton. We played baseball and kick the can and even dungeons and dragons. When we got to junior high we eventually grew apart. I don’t recall ever spending time with him in high school as we gravitated to other interest. He is now an air traffic controller (as I found out at my 10-year high school reunion – which was seven years ago) and I know little else.

My third best friend and someone who I still consider my best friend is Brent. We had beginning band together in seventh grade – both of us wannabe drummers – and we forged a friendship that remains strong to this day. We don’t live in the same city and we don’t talk very often but when we do, it’s like time stood still. There’s something comforting in knowing someone as well as I know Brent. He is one of the few people in this world where there is no pretense. I am me and he is he. We talk about everything and know that the other one will understand. It is a friendship nurtured through years of cheering each other on and being friends in every sense of the word. When I think of friendship, it is this barometer that everyone is measured by.

I will turn 35 years old next week. Almost four years ago I moved to where I live now, leaving behind my childhood friends. We knew exactly two people when we moved here and it has been a long hard struggle to establish new friends. And, I have learned something about myself in the process: I’m not good at making friends. While most would consider me an outgoing person, I find it incredibly difficult to initiate close, personal relationships. I wait for the moment to “click” when spending time with a potential friend and when it doesn’t come, I chalk it up to “not being compatible.” Perhaps my “Brent” standard is a bit high. Perhaps I need to remind myself that hours spent in drum practice or meeting in the early morning to ride our bikes to school or working in his family’s business forged a closeness that just can’t be duplicated with an occasional weekend with a new friend. I need to be in this for the long haul.

And as I begin to meet other dads, I am finding a fraternity of men that the only thing we have in common is our children. This is a time for me to step out of my comfort zone and reach out to become that outgoing person everyone thinks I am. This is my opportunity to be friends with other dads and one I just might enjoy.

July 16, 2006

Now it can be told…

Editor’s note: This story was originally written on June 8, 2006. Unfortunately, the story did not make it to press. The story is now being run in it’s entirety.

Nursing Strike to Protest Adverse Living Conditions

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA - A young girl, known in her hometown as “Baby Bri,” has announced a nursing strike to protest what she claims is adverse living conditions. Those closest to her were shocked at her new stance (“What the Hell!?” her father was quoted as saying) while others had seen it coming for weeks now.

“She was throwing tantrums when she didn’t get her way. She was so loud I would leave the room.” Said Nutmeg the Cat.

Her brother TheMonk has pledged his full support for his sister. “I fully support her actions,” he said. “This means I get her milk, right?”

Bri, at her news conference this afternoon, complained that she would no longer subject herself to the whims of “those people.”

“I am my own girl and I’m tired of being plopped onto a pillow and forced to suck milk when I could just as easily get in from that ba-ba thing.” She said. “Besides, someone’s gotta take a stand around here. I’m being forced to take naps and my cheeks are chafed from so many frickin’ kisses.”

Word on the street is that Swee’Pea is trying to get her brother TheMonk to go along with her, but so far she hasn’t received the support she’s looking for. “I love my sister,” he said. “But if she thinks I’m going to give up milk AND naps, she’s loonier than I thought.”

It all might be a moot point, however, as the weaning process will be commencing soon. “I just wanted a little more time with my Sweet Pea.” Her mother sighed. “I guess I’ll just have to admire her independence and let Swee’Pea be Bri.”

“What the Hell?!” her father was, once again, quoted as saying.

July 14, 2006

Badges of Honor

It is early morning and the Childsplayx2 household is getting ready for another day at work/daycare. The wife has left already and I am spending a few minutes playing on the floor with both TheMonk and Swee’Pea before we head out to daycare. I am already dressed for work in a pair of slacks and a black shirt.

TheMonk crawls over to me and climbs up on my leg. I start to give him a “horsey ride” by bouncing him up and down on my knee. He shrieks with glee and laughs out loud as he bounces up and down. Perhaps rapid bouncing so soon after eating breakfast isn’t a good idea. This becomes evident as TheMonk releases a globule of spitup in mid bounce off my knee. I see it, in slow motion, fly into the air. I follow it with my eyes as it descends rapidly through the atmosphere, finally landing. On my pants. The crotch of my pants.

I set TheMonk aside, making sure he’s okay. He seems oblivious to the fact that he has added his own touch to my sartorial splendor and crawls off in search of something to entertain himself with as I wipe up my pants.

Meanwhile, Swee’Pea is standing over at the musical table. It dawns on me that she has been standing there for some time. This is problematic because while Swee’Pea has learned to pull herself up into a standing position, she has yet to really figure out how to get down. As a result, she’ll stand at that table for a long time unless she’s helped down to the ground. I call over to her as she starts to whimper while looking at the ground. “Plop on your butt, Swee’ Pea.” I tell her. She decides to go for it but upon letting go of the table, falls forward rather than backward and hits her face on the table as she crumples to the ground.

She begins to cry. Loudly. Very loudly.

I go to comfort her and pull her into my body as we sit on the floor. She continues to cry and her nose starts to run profusely. I find a tissue and try to wipe her nose. There is very little Swee’Pea hates more than someone trying to wipe her nose. She begins to cry even harder. In an effort to avoid the tissue she buries her face into my shirt. When she pulls away, I glance down to see a line of mucus smeared across the front of my black shirt. After calming Swee’Pea down, I go and find a damp cloth to clean up my shirt.

Finally, I’m ready to leave. I gather up the twins and our assorted gear and soon we are headed for daycare. I say my goodbyes with a hug and I squeeze their little bodies tightly and feel their heads resting on my shoulder. Soon, I am on my way to work.

Later that day a co-worker glances at my shoulder. “I think you have baby spit on your shoulder,” she says.

As I glance down at the barely visible mucus streak on my shirt and the faint mark where spitup once sat on my pants, I smile. “Yeah, I guess it comes with the territory.” I say.

I glance at the spot on my shoulder. I smile once again, remembering the hugs that must have contributed to this spot.

This time, I don’t clean up the spot.

July 13, 2006

It’s bugging me

Proof that this parenting thing is starting to affect my way of thinking:

I killed an ant today as it crawled across the table where I was eating. I immediately wondered if that ant had a wife and kid back home – waiting for it to bring home dinner.

It still kinda worries me.

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