July 30, 2007

The Voice of Reason

Swee’Pea has been testing the rules lately. By testing, I mean she’s been whacking and pushing TheMonk at various times throughout the day. This, of course, earns her an immediate two-minute timeout. At the end of the timeout, Swee’Pea must say she’s sorry before we’ll let her out.

This past weekend was another chapter in testing the rules. Saturday morning around 9:15 a.m. Swee’Pea was sent to timeout for hitting her brother. At the end of the timeout, Mommy decides that Swee’Pea has been through this routine enough where a simple “sorry” just isn’t good enough. Swee’Pea has to say why she’s sorry. Swee’Pea is asked by Mommy to say “Sorry for hitting.” This is a request that Swee’Pea is more than capable of complying with and the feeling is that Swee’Pea needs to make the connection for why she’s getting all of these timeouts.

So, two-minutes after being put in timeout, Mommy asks Swee’Pea to say she’s sorry for hitting. Swee’Pea refuses. Mommy explains that if she does not say she’s sorry for hitting, she will go back into timeout for another two minutes. Apparently Swee’Pea is okay with this as she still refuses Mommy’s request. So she gets another timeout.

Two minutes go by. Swee’Pea refuses to say she’s sorry for hitting. Back into timeout she goes.

Another two minutes go by. She’s still not budging. Back into timeout she goes.

About this time I come down the stairs from showering as we are planning on leaving at 10:00 a.m. for a birthday party down the street. Mommy has to go up and get ready but explains the situation. We decide that I will continue to see if I can get Swee’Pea to say she’s sorry for hitting. Mommy goes upstairs and soon after, Swee’Pea’s two minutes are up.

I try my best to explain to her why she needs to say she’s sorry for hitting. It’s not good enough and back into timeout she goes.

By this time, TheMonk definitely senses something is different about these timeouts. After each two minutes are announced by the beeping of the cooking timer, TheMonk shouts out, “ALL DONE, TIMEOUT! ALL DONE, SWEE’PEA!!”

But Swee’Pea, unfortunately, is not done. She still refuses to say the magic phrase. It is now almost 9:45 a.m. It has been a half hour of timeouts and patient explanations of why she needs to say she’s sorry for hitting. But the girl is determined.

At one point, TheMonk approaches the timeout area, gets down on his knees and looks Swee’Pea in the face and pleads, “Swee’Pea! Sorry for hitting! All done timeout!”

It is a sweet, anguishing moment to see TheMonk so exasperated with the stubbornness of his sister. He has been waiting for her to finish her timeout so they can go play and she is not cooperating. It’s killing him and he tries to be the voice of reason for his little sister who is clearly not going to be playing by any body’s rules than her own. If she’d only just say “Sorry for hitting” all this would be done.

Finally, Mommy returns and decides that she will take Swee’Pea upstairs and talk to her while getting her ready for the party. Whatever was said, I know one thing for sure…

She never did say she was sorry for hitting.

Why do I sometimes feel like I’m losing the war?

July 29, 2007

Where I tell all my juicy secrets

A while back L. from Homesick Home answered some questions that were posed to her by Andie from Grumppopotamus. I thought it might be fun to answer some random questions about me so L. sent some over to me a few weeks ago. I have finally finished her questions and now I share them with you…

1) Being a father obviously comes very naturally to you, as evident on your blog. Did you always want kids? How old were you when you realized you wanted kids? (Sorry — that was two questions, but they’re so related.)

I don’t know if there was ever an “AHA!” moment where I realized I wanted kids. I think it’s been something that’s just been understood that someday I would marry and have kids. I think I really started to think about it after I started my first job after grad school when I began working at a non-profit youth center in San Jose. Being around kids reinforced how much I enjoyed being around them and that I was pretty darn good at relating to them. After that it was just convincing my lovely wife that we needed to have kids. She made me wait five years and for that, I am convinced, is why we have twins.

2) Your kids are still small, but do you already have educational goals for them? Why or why not?

Oh, there will be no question that the expectation in our household will be an undergraduate degree and graduate school will be greatly encouraged. I graduated from a prestigious university and I can honestly say that my college education is one of the greatest influences on my life today – not to mention what I learned in the classroom.

As for immediate education, I’m a big believer in public schools and the school district we currently live in is a good one. Having said that, I could see a time down the road where private school may be the way to go. We have a Catholic High School opening near us soon and it would definitely be an option when the time comes. Of course, I’d have to be earning more money than I am at the moment.

I also think for me, personally, my goal is to be really involved in my children’s education. I am convinced that the number one indicator of a child’s success in the classroom is parental involvement. I will know my children’s teachers. I plan on volunteering as much as I can and I will always be available to check homework and answer questions. And while they may get sick of me being so involved the older they get, to me, being involved is one of the greatest gifts I can give my children.

3) Do you always expect to live in the same part of the country where you’re living now?

Yes. I could live anywhere. But my lovely wife is from a place on earth where cold white flakes descend from the heavens and accumulate on the ground in large enough proportions to make life generally miserable. (Or so I’m told.) So, I don’t think we’ll be leaving this warm, beautiful climate anytime soon.

4) Do you think the fact that you lost your own father when you were very small make you less likely to take chances, now that you have children?

I’d be lying to say that I don’t think about that. As I’ve stated before, one of the main reasons I started this blog was that I wanted my children to know me and how much I love them in case something were to happen to me. So, to answer your question, I do take less chances. I drive a bit slower. I take my time shaving. I wear shoes in the garage.

5) If you could someday take your kids (when they’re old enough to appreciate it, of course) to any one out-of-town baseball park, which team would you go see, and why?

My plan is to one day see a game in every major league baseball park. I would especially like to take my children with me as I hope to pass my love of the game on to them. Having said that, I’d love to take my kids to see a San Francisco Giants game at Pac Bell SBC AT&T Park (or whatever name their stadium happens to have at the time) because that was the team I grew up rooting for. And while I haven’t seen a ton of games there since I’ve moved, that is the stadium where I feel the most at home.

Anyone want to participate? Let me know in the comments section and I’ll put some questions together for you. It might be a few weeks though so be patient!

July 25, 2007

Vacation Photos

A couple of weeks ago we packed up the twins and drove 500 or so miles up to the Bay Area for a whirlwind tour of family. We started with Grandmother in my hometown of Santa Cruz. We took the kids to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a local amusement park where I spent much of my youth, which also happened to be where I took Andrea on our first date – 10 years ago. Talk about coming full circle.

Next on the tour was the Mighty family of Maggie, Bryan and baby Hank. He was a tired little dude but we got to see his beautiful self up close and that was totally worth it. As you can see Bryan and Maggie were big hits with Swee’Pea and TheMonk.

Finally, we saw my brother’s family – which included my nephew Thomas and the newest addition to the family – little baby Caroline whose squeaks were just way too cute.

Enjoy the photos.

July 24, 2007

So they say it’s my birthday

Today, I turn thirty-six years old.

I don’t feel 36. Perhaps my lower back does every now and then but my mind definitely does not feel 36.

My hair is turning gray, the young men and women who work for me often refer to me as “sir” and the other day I thought, “Maybe I should eat more fiber.” Damn, maybe I AM 36.

As I sit here, some random thoughts float through my head. When I was 35 I would have spared you. But at 36 I have one foot in the grave so I might as well just share my increasingly fleeting thoughts.

I am twice the age of the youngest adult.

I saw an old episode of Tom and Jerry the other day and I swear, I was nine all over again. All I needed was some Cocoa Puffs and and my Star Wars pajamas and I would be set.

I’m sure most 18 year olds would have no idea who Tom or Jerry are.

My age has a square root of six.

Next year my age will be a Prime Number.

I may be square this year but next year I’ll be in my prime.

I share a birthday with Barry Bonds and Jennifer Lopez.

I don’t share a steroid history or a big butt.

But I think I’ve got a shot at the big butt thing.

It’s never too late to set goals.

All kidding aside, I’m feeling pretty good about being thirty-six. With age comes experience. With age comes accomplishment. Being 36 means I’ve accomplished an unprecedented level of maturity in my lifetime.

Excuse me, Swee’Pea just accused me of “tooting.”


Okay, now where was I? Oh yeah, I’m mature.

July 23, 2007

Because Prayer is all I got

Dear God,

Please be with Amy in her time of need.

And PLEASE spare me her misery. Please? Pretty Please?


July 22, 2007

Practicing Humility

I followed three college-age young men in the grocery store today. As they stopped to load up on a case of Top Ramen I overheard them talking about their blogs. They were comparing daily visits. One guy got 80 daily visits. The second got 250. The third received 700 daily visits.

I smiled as I passed them, overcoming the urge to tell them about a blog about two little kids. I didn’t think they’d appreciate the old guy chiming in on HIS daily visit count.

Thanks to all of you who make me more hip than college students!

July 21, 2007

Not that there’s anything wrong with it…

First, a little known fact: I look good in pink.

My tan complexion against a soft pastel pink looks damn good. Back in the ’80′s I actually wore lots of pink, most notably my pink Izod shirts worn with acid wash jeans, topsiders with no socks, and a cream-colored sweater draped over my shoulders. Today I have a few dress shirts that incorporate pink along with a tie or two to match.

In short, I have nothing against pink. I would go even further to stress that because I happen to wear pink that I don’t feel challenged in my masculinity in any way.

Given all this information, I am trying very hard not to let it bother me that my son has taken a liking to Swee’Pea’s My Little Pony.

July 19, 2007

Just thinking…

That when the Daycare provider tells you that all the little boys at daycare are afraid of your daughter that… it’s… it’s not a good thing.

(But it makes me smile, nonetheless.)

July 18, 2007

Tales from the crib

On Monday, Swee’Pea came home from daycare with a couple of bruises on her legs. When asked how she got the “ow-ies” on her legs, she quickly replied, “Evan… Push me… Fall down…”

Now, it should be noted that this speaking in sentences is still a novelty and I thought it was pretty cool that my daughter had the ability to verbalize exactly how she got those bruises. Upon hearing about this scumbag guy named Evan who viciously attacked my little girl, I turned to her brother and asked, “Monk. Did Evan push Swee’Pea?” TheMonk, sitting across the room, looked up from the train he was playing with and looked me right in the eye and softly nodded, “Yes.”

“Did you kick his butt?” I asked, quickly realizing that maybe this wasn’t the best message to send to my 25-month-old son (we’ll have that talk in 9 or 10 years). Luckily, TheMonk was already back to playing with his train and didn’t seem to hear my question.

But I wasn’t going to forget about this Evan kid. Mommy and I agreed that we would inquire about this incident with our daycare provider. I didn’t want this Evan kid thinking he could just go around pushing cute little girls without some repercussions.

Upon arriving at the Daycare Provider’s house this morning, I inquired about the incident. While holding my sweet little girl in my arms, I relayed the story that Swee’Pea had told us about this punk Evan and his agressive little attitude. “Was this true?” I asked.

“No!” replied the Daycare provider. She laughed and recounted to me what really happened…

Apparently, Swee’Pea has a favorite blanket at daycare that she doesn’t allow anyone to play with or even touch. Monday, she had spread out her blanket on the floor and little Evan happened upon her and made the mistake of trying to touch Swee’Pea’s blanket. Well, Swee’Pea is prone to being a bit dramatic and immediately screamed out at the injustice of someone having the temerity to actually touch HER blanket. Upon screaming out, she flung her little body to the ground. Unfortunately for her, she happened to throw herself onto a pile of Legos and THAT is how my child received those “Ow-ies” on her sweet little legs.

While Daycare Provider told me this story, little Swee’Pea buried her face into my neck and wrapped her arms around me and held me, squeezing as tightly as she could. It was almost like she realized she was being busted.

Of course, you realize what this means, right?

My sweet little girl told her first lie this week.

My apologies to little Evan. You are a gentleman and a scholar.

Epilogue: The funnier part may have come this evening when Mommy went to pick up Swee’Pea and TheMonk at Daycare. Daycare Provider mentioned to Mommy the conversation we had this morning. Then she told Mommy that it was obvious that Swee’Pea was actually mad at her the rest of the morning for telling Daddy about her little lie. She refused to look at Daycare Provider the entire morning and was obviously upset with Daycare Provider.

You realize what this means right?

My little girl can hold a grudge.

Oh, and I realized my life will probably never be the same.

July 16, 2007

The tides are shifting

TheMonk watches his sister play with HIS toys. He knows he’s supposed to share his toys but he also knows that there are some toys like Donald The Train (but, oddly enough, not Donald’s twin brother Douglas) and the “McQueen Car” that are, without question, his.

And Swee’Pea is playing with them.

TheMonk does not like this. In months past, however, he might have let it pass. Or started to cry until Daddy or Mommy figured it out. But now… NOW!… he has his new-found voice. It might have taken a while to get used to this talking thing but while quiet, he wasn’t just sitting idly by.

No, he was taking notes.

He boldly approaches his sister and announces to her in a slightly louder than usual voice, “MY toy.”

Swee’Pea, looking up from Donald the Train that she is playing with, says, “NO! MY TOY!” And with that, she pushes her brother away.

Stumbling back, TheMonk catches his balance and takes a moment to assess the situation. He takes a step forward towards his sister, stops and announces to her in a very stern, very assertive way, “No pushing me. No pushing me. Time out!” He finishes this last phrase with a hand flourish reminiscent of the way an umpire might eject a player for arguing balls and strikes.

With that he turns and looks at his Daddy for confirmation of his understanding of the rules. Daddy, rising from his seat, agrees with TheMonk. “That’s right, Monk. Swee’Pea gets a Time Out for pushing.”

Daddy scoops up a very surprised Swee’Pea who begins to protest this turn of events obviously realizing that her days of dominating this relationship have come to a sudden and decisive end.

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