January 31, 2007

Home is where the heart is

I had to be away from home tonight at a work-related event. I hate being away from my kids – even for a night.

I can’t help but think that I only have about 6600 days until they go off to college. Most of those days I only see them for about two and half hours, at most. Time, as they say, is precious. I don’t want to miss a thing.

So tonight it broke my heart to hear the following from Andrea this evening.

“Today, Swee’Pea suddenly ran towards the door and asked, “Daddy? Home?” She also kept doing the sign for “home” while she said it.”

It doesn’t help to know that I have four more times this month where I won’t be home until after they’re in bed.

January 29, 2007

I’m a Rebel now

This past football season, I had the pleasure of competing in a fantasy football with a bunch of fellow bloggers. I’m too lazy to link to them all but I did enjoy taking BIYF’s, Sarah’s, Metro’s, Kemp’s and Croutonboy’s money at the end of the season. Yes, I backed into the playoffs and then trounced everyone in my path on the way to the championship.

The reason I tell you this (besides pissing Tony, Sarah and Alan off) is that I decided to treat myself to a new toy with my recent windfall.

Anyone who has toddlers will tell you that keeping up with them is quite a challenge. With twins, this is doubly true. I have many photos with either Swee’Pea or TheMonk halfway out of the frame or gone altogether. This has been frustrating me to no end. I needed a faster camera.

So, yesterday I went out and purchased a Canon Rebel XT. It’s 3 photos per second speed and it’s 8 megapixel photos kick butt. I may never set the camera down.

I still have a bunch of photos from the old 3 megapixel camera that I’ll need to upload to flickr this week but soon you’ll be seeing Swee’Pea and TheMonk like you’ve never seen them before.


January 26, 2007

Please don’t let me forget…

-Soft, chubby cheeks.

-The lavender smell of freshly cleaned babies.

-Putting on socks and shoes.


-Crawling, feet-first, down stairs.

-Food in tiny little pieces.

-Sippy cups.

-Sign Language.

-”What sound does an elephant make?” “Pffft.”

-”What sound does a bird make?” “Pbbbbbt.”

-Bedtime lullabies.

-”Hi-ya” and “Buh-Bye”

-Tossing babies into the air.

-Little hands holding my finger.

-Crawling into my lap.

-Standing up in cribs to welcome me in the morning.

-2-hour naps.

-First words.

-First steps.


-Gobbling toes.

-Raspberries on bellies.

-”Sssshhh!” (As TheMonk stalks kitty)

-Two beautiful babies.

January 23, 2007

Good Friend, Great Dad

I arrived on the campus of Columbia University in the Fall of 1989. I was a hotshot track recruit from California and I was ready to run. The biggest adjustment, however, was the culture shock I encountered after growing up in a laid back surf town and suddenly finding myself amidst a loud, angry city. Luckily, the track team provided a safe haven from all the changes and my teammates are what truly got me through that rough time.

One teammate, in particular, became my biggest support. But it didn’t start out that way. In fact, one of my favorite memories of my early workouts at Columbia was running repeat 200′s (our coach’s favorite workout) while hearing Jean-Luc, a sophomore sprinter, telling me to slow down the entire workout. Finally, unable to take it anymore, I yelled that if he couldn’t keep up then to shut up and let me do my workout. It was the last time I ever recall me outworking J.L.

You see, J.L. was an average runner, at best, when I arrived at Columbia. Over the next three years he transformed himself from a scrawny 51 second 400 meter runner into a very impressive 46 second quarter miler by his senior year. And while his work ethic was admirable, it isn’t what drew me to him as a friend. It was – and still remains – his spirit.

Anyone who meets Jean-Luc Neptune never forgets him. His sense of humor is sharp, playful, and one that makes it easy to laugh at yourself. Whether it was his classic line, “Is that a paramecium in your pocket or are you happy to see me?” or his idea (along with partner in crime, Ed Cuello) that the track team should run naked through the campus each year (a tradition that started in 1991 and continues to this day), Jean-Luc embraces the humor and adventure that life has to offer. It is a quality that makes me lucky to call him my friend.

It has been 11+ years since we were roommates in our post-college days. That time in my life is full of great memories of being a young man living in a young man’s Manhattan. I’m glad I was able to do that and I’m lucky that it was with a good friend like Jean-Luc. Since that time we have both married (we were groomsmen in each other’s weddings) started careers (he, like most of my Ivy League bretheren, makes significantly more money that I do) and started a family.

And that’s why I decided to write this post. I’m pleased to announce one of the greatest guys to walk this earth is now a father. His lovely wife Sarah gave birth to Sebastien Jean-Claude Neptune this week and I am so excited for them both. And I’m even more excited for little SJC because he’s got a great dad.

J.L. has also recently joined the Daddy Blog community. So go on over and congratulate them yourselves.

January 22, 2007

Best hug EVER

I arrive home and enter through the garage. The door to the garage is at the opposite end of the house where TheMonk and Swee’Pea are playing with Mommy so they don’t hear me come in. Mommy hears me though and I can hear her ask Swee’Pea and TheMonk “Who’s home?” I approach their end of the house while I drop my belongings on the floor so I can greet them.

Suddenly, I see TheMonk poke his head around the corner. His eyes meet mine and he breaks out into a big smile. “Daddy!” he says with his characteristic understated smile. Soon, Swee’Pea appears and she shouts out with her characteristic energy, “DADDY!!”

I smile and say my hellos as I undo the baby gate to let myself in. I crouch down to give them both hugs and kisses. I pick up TheMonk and kiss his soft, chubby cheeks. Then, suddenly, I throw TheMonk high into the air. He loves this and shrieks with glee. His joy is contagious so I continue to throw him into the air. Finally, Swee’Pea decides she wants in on the action. She approaches so I set TheMonk down and pick up Swee’Pea.

I throw Swee’Pea up into the air and she laughs out loud. She loves it too but I can tell that she’s not going to want as many tosses as TheMonk. After a few tosses I sense that the timing is right to stop. I catch her and pull her close in a large embrace. She wraps her little arms around my neck and tightly squeezes while resting her head on my left shoulder.

The hug feels wonderful and I return the hug with gentle firmness. I keep waiting for the hug to end but Swee’Pea is not ready. She continues to squeeze my neck with her little arms and I take a moment to burn this feeling into my brain. I know that someday she won’t want to hug her Daddy like she is right now. I feel so special with this little one hugging me – an expression of love and trust that no one else outside of her Mommy gets.

Finally, she lets go and I let her down onto the floor with one last kiss on her face. I watch her walk away and I can’t help but think how great it is being a father.

January 18, 2007

A Dad’s Tool Kit

As my children progress into toddlerhood, I have found that there are certain items that are indispensable when it comes to performing my fatherly duties. While a mom’s list might include hand sanitizer or lavender lotion, this is something that most men can relate to. While not a complete list, these have been in my top-ten for the past few months and I thought it might be useful for all you new fathers out there…

Top 10 Tools For a New Dad

1) Protective cup. For some unknown reason, toddlers like to kick their legs furiously when you least expect it. Picking up a child for a hug, for example, can lead to swift kicks that inevitably land in the one area that a man would not want a swift kick. Now, wearing a protective cup might make you walk a little funny but it sure beats vomiting on the floor while your kids laugh their tails off.

2) Snacks. Kids get hungry when you least expect it. For some odd reason, just because they’re growing an inch a day they think they should get food whenever they’re hungry. Adding to this dilemna is that they are not so well equipped to tell you, “Why Daddy, I’m quite hungry right now. Could you please give me something to eat?” Instead, your precious child goes from zero to eruption in no time. Having some Cheerios or Kix cereal for such an occasion will go a long way.

3) Tissue. Your toddler will spew some of the most vile fluids you have ever seen. These fluids will ooze from your child’s nose in such copious amounts that you might think she was an extra in the movie Ghostbusters. Having tissue on hand will save you from having to use your own shirt for a quick cleanup. Besides, you’ve seen that kid at the playground who uses the back of his hand to wipe snot and dirt all over his face. Do you want that to be your child? The mothers will look at you and snicker because they expect that from a Dad.

4) Parlor Tricks. Every Dad needs to know a trick or two to keep the kids entertained. I can cross my eyes and then have one eye dance to the left or the right – which mesmorizes the kids just long enough for them to forget why they were about to go ballistic (in my case it’s almost certainly one taking a toy from the other). I can also make a loud hiccup-type sound that cracks the kids up every time. (Note: Your wife might not appreciate your tricks as much as you or the kids do. Proceed at your own risk.)

5) Batteries. Sizes AA, AAA, D, C, and 9-volt. Someday I’m going to run for President and my platform will be that I’ll introduce legislation that will make it mandatory for all toy makers to use the same size battery. Until then we all have to be well-stocked with every size battery imaginable. Few things are worse than having a favorite electronic toy stop working right as you’re about to watch the Chargers win lose a big game and not have any batteries in the house.

6) A small phillips screw driver. Along the same lines as #5, all toys have battery compartments with tiny little screws that must have been designed by Santa’s elves. Most of us manly-men (*snicker*) don’t have a screw driver that small because the size of our tools are important. But trust me on this, you need a small screw driver.

7) A non-operating “real” phone. Toddlers love telephones. I can’t explain it, it’s just true. Unfortunately, they also know when they’re being hosed when you try giving them a toy phone to play with. What we have done is taken an old cordless phone that we no longer use (and is no longer plugged into a phone line) and keep it charged right next to our real phone. Now, when one of our toddlers wants to use the phone we take the old phone, push a couple of buttons to show them it’s “real” and they’re good to go.
8) A Kid-safe drawer. First, you don’t let your wife do all the cooking, do you? Real men know how to cook. Sure it can be a meatball sandwich or a hearty plate of nachos, but you should be able to handle kitchen duties when called upon. When I’m in the kitchen, our kids love to run around. Inevitably they want to open up the cabinets and rummage around inside. Instead of banning them from the kitchen, we have designated a drawer as “their” drawer. In it are all of our knives, skewers and fine china tupperware containers and lids. We direct them to that drawer when they get curious and they have a great time re-arranging all of my perfectly stacked tupperware containers.

9) Funny voices. Every dad needs a signature funny voice that you can unleash at times when there is a need for a major distraction. My voice is a cross between Scooby Doo and Yogi Bear. Funny voices work best when accompanied by funny faces. Protruding tongue and googly eyes are always a hit. (Note: Wife will definitely not respond to this voice in the same way as your kids – especially in the bedroom.)

10) Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Preferably with ample amounts of chocolate. (This is not for your kids, it’s for your wife when she’s had enough dealing with you the kids life. Possibly the most important item in your tool kit.)

Now this list is just a sampling of all the tools available to a dad. It’s a treacherous path, this fatherhood thing, and we could use all the tools we can get. So, Dads (and Moms!) what tools do you have in your tool kit?

January 16, 2007

Two Part Harmony

TheMonk and Swee’Pea are in bed and I get dinner ready while listening to them over the baby monitor.

Swee’Pea is in a maternal mood this evening as she harmonizes about her mama.

“Maaaaamaaaa… Maaaaaaaaaamaaaaaaaa… Maaaaaamaaaaa.”

Suddenly, I hear a soft little boy voice in the background.

“Daaaaaaaadaaaa… Daaaaaaaaaadaaaaaa… Daaaaadaaaaaaaa.”

Having twins is awesome.

January 15, 2007

Why not a “Mommle”?

Our good friends Chris and Kristie gave us a fabulous Christmas gift this year. Knowing how much I love to spend time with the kids, they found an item that will give the kids hours of fun for years to come. Unfortunately it will also give Daddy a bad back and sore knees.

Yes, our good friends gave us The Daddle. And it sits in our play room ready for the kids to ask for a ride whenever the mood strikes. And lately the mood strikes every freakin’ day. In fact, you can add “Daddle” to Swee’Pea’s huge vocabulary.

It has been fun but a man can only take so much riding. I have tried to convince the lovely wife that it really is called “The Mommle” but she’s not convinced. I can’t wait for “Uncle Chris” to come over and babysit (next week?) so they can participate in all this Daddle fun.

Giddy up!


January 11, 2007

So Busted

It is quiet. Too quiet.

I’m in the kitchen, cleaning up after breakfast while Swee’Pea and TheMonk play in the next room. I can hear them interacting with each other and with their toys. I recognize the familiar music from a Fisher Price phone and I know that TheMonk is playing with it. What I don’t hear is Swee’Pea and that is why it’s too quiet.

Feeling it’s time to investigate, I poke my head out of the kitchen into the adjoining play room and both Swee’Pea and TheMonk, sensing that I’m near, freeze in place. At the same time they both turn to look at me. I quickly survey the scene. TheMonk is sitting on the ground with his legs extended straight out in front of him. He is doubled over like a diver in a pike position. I see that he is clutching the Fisher Price phone tightly to his chest, protecting the phone from the clutches of a certain little girl. The look on his face, as he turns to face me is one of extreme distress. “HELP ME!” he seems to be saying.

Meanwhile, Swee’Pea is also frozen – and she too is looking at me. However, she’s in a slightly different postion. She is standing behind TheMonk with both of her hands firmly on TheMonk’s shoulders. She is clearly seeking the Fisher Price phone and, just as clearly, is about to throw TheMonk to the ground to get it. The expression on her face is pure “deer-caught-in-the-headlights.” Her eyes are wide open and she stares at me for a second as she sees me survey the situation. She knows the jig is up. She knows that she’s been busted.

So, she does what any 19-month-old little girl who’s been caught in the midst of terrorizing her brother would do. She smiles at me, turns to her brother who is still tightly clutching his toy – not knowing what is about to transpire – and plants a kiss on his head. She turns to me and smiles once more and then returns to TheMonk and plants another kiss on his head. Not sure what to do (do I reprimand her for something she really hasn’t done yet?), I praise her for kissing her brother. Swee’Pea’s smile turns to a laugh.

She stands up straight and walks away from TheMonk. As she distances herself from the current situation I can just tell she’s thinking… “Whew, that was a close one!”

January 10, 2007

A cry in the night

I am awakened by your crying. I jump out of bed while glancing at the clock. 1:47 a.m. it says. I continue quickly down the hallway to your room. I open the door and notice you sitting up in your crib. I can barely make out your face in the dark but I can see the look of fear on your sweet little face.

I bend down and pull you up into my arms. I whisper into your ear, “Daddy’s here, Swee’Pea. It’s okay.” Almost immediately I feel you begin to relax. You stop crying but your breathing is still choppy with an occasionaly hiccup. I can still feel the fear in your little body as you cling to me in the darkness. You seem to respond well to my voice so I continue to talk softly in your ear. “It’s okay Swee’Pea. It’s okay. Daddy loves you. It’s okay.”

You stand in your crib and, for a moment, I think you want me to pick you up. But as I stoop to embrace your scared little body, I sense that you just want a hug. I hold you in the darkness and I can feel your little arms cling to my neck. I kiss your wet cheek and whisper words of calming into your ear. You rest your head on my shoulder and you finally seem to relax.

Sensing that you are ready to go back to sleep, I pick up your stuffed kitty and place it in your arms. You squeeze it tightly and take this as your cue to lie down. I help you lie down and I rub your back while you get comfortable. I whisper my goodnight and I head out the door.

As I close the door, I pause and listen. You are quiet and, I’m sure, asleep once more. I think to myself how great it is to be your Daddy. I think of these one-on-one moments where I know how much of an influence I am in your young life. I think how much I love you. I think of how I love being your Daddy. And I think how I really don’t care that it’s 2:00 a.m. because I will remember this moment for the rest of my life.

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