August 30, 2007

To Swee’Pea…

I’m watching you as you play with your blanket. You are attempting to lay your pink blanket over Mommy’s aerobic step like you are making a bed. You are oblivious to me and it is a rare moment where I can be a fly on the wall of your world.

I look at your face and I am struck by your beauty. You are such a beautiful girl. The curls of your wispy brown hair fall lightly on your face, accenting your dark eyes against your light complexion. I don’t always get to really look at you in such a calm state. I look at you and I am in awe that I helped make something so wonderful.

You continue to straighten out your blanket, making sure the corners are evenly distributed. I can see you thinking about what to do next. Your eyes are focused as you contemplate your next move. As you move back and forth between corners of blanket I notice that you are swaying back and forth in rhythm to some unheard music. This movement is so you as you seem to move with a whimsical grace that I hope you never lose.

You are finally done with your blanket. It perfectly covers all sides of the step. You finally pause to look up at me. As we make eye contact you realize that I have been watching and you offer a bashful smile. I smile back, hoping that my smile conveys the love that is built up inside.

I finally speak. “Are you making a bed, Swee’Pea?” I ask.

“Yah.” you reply succinctly but firmly. You smile as you say this as if you are letting me in on your little secret – a secret only you and I share. You are kneeling as you say this and your swaying becomes quicker and more pronounced as you wiggle your little hips back and forth. Your spirit is captured in this little move. You are so complex. You are often shy among others but downright assertive with us. You will be bashful in front of a crowd but you will often boogie to music or even no music at all. I am reminded of all of this as you play before me.

Suddenly, you are done making your bed and you jump up to pursue another activity. You run away with your head swaying side to side in an exaggerated movement, your arms swaying wildly. You leave the room, but your spirit stays.

I smile at this notion of your spirit being so large that it overcomes time and space. May you always carry that spirit my little girl who I love so much. And may you always find rhythm in all things that you do.

Love Daddy.

August 28, 2007

I love the smell of diapers in the morning

We just had some friends stay for the weekend. We spent a good amount of time straightening up before they arrived so they would think that we are super parents with twins who don’t have a small collection of Hot Wheels, plastic fruit and stale Cheerios living under our coffee table. We wanted them to think our house is always this nice.

And speaking of nice, some people go to great lengths to keep their house smelling nice. There is an entire industry devoted to this single aspect of home living. There are candles, plug-ins, sprays, carpet powders and potpourri in just about any scent you can imagine. If you want your house to smell lemony fresh with a touch of oatmeal raisin cookies, it is possible to combine a few of the above products and – voilĂ  – instant warmth.

But if you have TWO toddlers who are programmed to excrete a toxic-waste-like poop each and every night at about the same time Lindsay Lohan is puking from her last amaretto sour, AND it has been so hot where you live that the Air Conditioner has become permanently set to “Igloo” then you are apt to wake to a different aroma emanating from the air ducts into each and every room of the house. Waking up to Folgers, it’s not.

Every now and then I get a whiff of what is the unmistakable smell of my kids poop. (BTW, it it just me or can you also identify your kid’s poop smell in a crowded room of toddlers?) My fear is that we’ve become accustomed to this smell. Much like your best friends house in the third grade who’s parents were from India and when you walked into the musty house you thought… “Don’t they smell this funk?” Did our guests smell this too? If they did, they were polite about it and puked in the guest bathroom with the door closed.

So, if you’re in the neighborhood, you are welcome to stop by anytime. We are great hosts and will welcome you with open arms to our humble abode. However, it might be a good idea to take along some lemons or oatmeal raisin cookies (and please don’t check under the coffee table).

Let us rejoice and be glad

Today is my wife’s birthday. It’s a special day because this is the only day of the year that she is allowed to love me more than I love her. Yep. I’m a giver that way.

We are celebrating this day like we celebrate every day… A mad dash of feedings, showers and running out the door.

Hopefully we’ll have time to give her what she’s always wanted. And what she always wants. The first gift is from me. The second one is from Swee’Pea and TheMonk – because they’re much sweeter than I.

Happy Birthday my love! You look more and more beautiful with each passing year.

August 26, 2007

Daddy’s Race Car

I drive an old car. When I say “old” I mean that when my car was built Clinton was in his first term (Pre-Monica), OJ and Tanya were in trouble with the law and the World Series had been canceled for the first time in history. Yes, my car is old.

Because my car is so old, it’s safe to say that at some point we will be in the market for a new car. Granted, that when I say “at some point” I’m referring to the time when the wheel’s fall off my current car and duct tape will no longer hold important parts together. But a guy can dream, can’t he?

This is why it was very serendipitous that the good people at Ford Motor Company appeared to me in a dream through the magic of the blogosphere and asked me to test drive their brand-spanking-new 2008 Ford Taurus X – which has not been released to the general public quite yet.

Once I figured out that these people weren’t kidding – that they really did want to hand me the keys to a brand new car and let me drive it like I stole it test drive it for two weeks with nothing more than a signature, I was totally on board.

So, two weeks ago they dropped the car off at my house, handed me the key, and took off – leaving me drooling over the GPS system, Sirius Satellite radio and DVD entertainment system. Once I got around to looking at the rest of the car, it actually looked really nice. I was worried that it would have a “station wagon” feel but the car has strong lines with chrome detail that make it look more mini-SUV than the Griswald family car.

The first day with the Taurus X, we packed up the kids and went for a little ride around the neighborhood. TheMonk loved the car so much that when we pulled into the driveway after our short drive, he began to cry… “NO!! WANT MORE CAR! MORE CAAAARRR!” If TheMonk was writing this review, I think that that would have summed it up quite nicely.

Two days later we packed up the car and headed North along the Pacific Coast Highway. With the twins seated in the two middle Captain’s Chairs, we folded down the back two seats which left us with plenty of room to pack our bike and trailer. Soon, we headed to Long Beach rocking away to a Dora the Explorer DVD. (The system came with wireless headphones but keeping headphones on 2 year olds is a lesson in futility so we all learned that “Abre is Open”)

What I liked about the car? The engine was plenty powerful, the ride was plenty smooth, and it has plenty of room in front and back to seat four very comfortably for a long trip. It has seats for six but the back two seats fold down for more cargo space – which we definitely needed. But what I liked most was the attention to little things. For example, the floor mat on the driver’s side hooks into the floor so it won’t slide forward over time. There is also a built-in children’s mirror that allows you to see the back seats while also having access to the rear view mirror.

What didn’t I like? Well, this is picky but there isn’t a lot of cargo room when you have the rear seats up for use. This wouldn’t be a good car for a family larger than four to make a road trip as there wouldn’t be much room for all the gear. Also, my wife noticed that the way the middle seats were positioned in the car that when parked in tight parking spaces it was difficult to get the kids out of the car seats. But really, these concerns were really minor.

Gas mileage was fair – especially since we had the AC blasting the entire time we had the car since it was 90+ degrees here for the past two weeks.

But don’t take my word for all of this. Swee’Pea and TheMonk loved this car. If they had access to credit I’m sure they would have finagled a deal for this one. Early on they started referring to the car as “Daddy’s Race Car.” Not one to let down my kids, I started referring to it the same way. Unfortunately, whenever we would back out of the garage and see my real-life car on the street, they would point to it and say… “Daddy’s Old Car!” Sadly, Daddy’s “Old Car” would soon be Daddy’s “only car.” As all good things, this had to come to an end.

So, the good (but not benevolent) people at Ford Motor Company finally came and picked up the car on Friday after two fun-filled weeks of automobile bliss. I had to break it gently to Swee’Pea and TheMonk that Daddy’s Race Car went “bye-bye.”

Every now and then over the weekend, TheMonk will turn to me and say, “Daddy’s Race Car go bye-bye?”

Yes, Son, it went bye-bye. Back to the “Old Car.”


I was not paid for this endorsement. Although I did get the car with 3/4 tank full of gas and I gave it back with 1/4 tank left. So, to be technical, I got about $25 worth of gas. Whatever. I’ll take it.


Total Miles Driven: 700
# of long trips: 2
# of times watching Dora: 252
# of times GPS prevented us from having an argument: 5
# of diapers changed in back of car: 4
# Total references to “Daddy’s Race Car”: 102
# of times I wished I could keep car: 743

August 23, 2007

Inquiring Minds Want To Know

On Day 2 of sick toddlers, Daddy had to use the bathroom.

In order to distract them while Daddy took care of business, he turned on the TV and dialed it into Little Einsteins. Usually this is like crack for them and they will watch those four little music-playing smart kids until the cows come home.

Not today.

No, watching Daddy sit on the throne was much more interesting. So, in we all went to our little downstairs bathroom.

As I sat down, I felt the need to talk them through the proper sequence.

“First, we lower our pants. Next we sit down. Then we pull out our Sports Illustrated…”

They were fascinated. TheMonk circled around back to see if anything had made its way into the bowl. Feeling a little bit of stage fright, nothing had happened yet.

Meanwhile, Swee’Pea was finding this whole scenario highly amusing but intriguing at the same time. “What’s Daddy doing?” she asked.

“I’m using the Potty, Swee’Pea.” I replied.

“I use potty too.” she said.

“Oh. Okay, Swee’Pea. We’ll let you use the potty later. Okay?” I ask, nervously.

“Okay.” she replied, seeming satisfied with this response.

By this time I had done what I needed to do. TheMonk, still standing behind me, watched as I stood to wipe – his hand on the handle, ready to flush everything down.

“Wait for Daddy to finish, Monk.” I said watching his hand twitching in anticipation.


Okay, so he didn’t wait. I had to finish up, close the lid, raise my pants and then announce that we wash our hands after using the potty. I then reached over and flushed again – much to the glee of TheMonk who has clearly made this part of going to the Potty his favorite.

Finally done, we headed out the door. Everyone satisfied with what had gone down.

How come just when I get used to this parenting thing, they keep changing the rules?

August 21, 2007

Welcome to MightyTwins

Hi all of you visiting from Maggie.

Please feel free to stay awhile. I don’t bite. Often.

Oh, and for my small but dedicated readership, send some love Maggie’s way as she has put up some very adorable photos of Swee’Pea and TheMonk when we visited The Mighty Family last month.

August 20, 2007

Don’t you realize I’m faking it?

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a nice woman who is the editor from a website called How To Do Things. She explained she had happened upon my blog in search of people who might be interested in contributing at How To Do Things.

Here’s what she told me…

We think that everyone in the world is an expert in something and our goal is to connect people who understand a process with those who are trying to figure it out. I noticed that you have a lot of useful information on parenting from a male perspective.

You’re clearly interested in sharing your ideas and knowledge online. I know that our readers would benefit from your insight as well. You seem to have the “look on the positive side” and “here’s what we can do to help” approach that we consider to match the tone of our site.

This email kinda freaked me out. I mean, here was someone who was telling me she saw me as an expert in parenting.

An expert?! Expert?! In parenting?!

I guess I should just put this out there. So that there’s no confusion to any of my 11 readers, I have a confession to make. It might come as some shock to you and will certainly make my friend from How To Do Things run for someone else, but here it is…

I have no freakin’ clue what I’m doing here.

I know! How embarrassing to be outed in this way.

Please. Please, don’t tell anyone.

Especially if I decide to take the nice lady up on her offer and pretend I know what I’m doing with this parenting thing.

Just call me an “expert.”

August 19, 2007

Random Funnies

I am playing with Swee’Pea and TheMonk in the playroom next to the kitchen while Mommy prepares dinner.

Suddenly, we hear the distinctive three beeps that announce that the microwave is done.


Upon hearing this Swee’Pea perks up, jumps to her feet and screams out loud… “DINNER’S READY!”

We might actually have to start using that stove thing – so Swee’Pea doesn’t think all meals come from a microwave.


I am lying on the couch dozing while Swee’Pea and TheMonk play in the room. I am not quite asleep and vaguely aware of their presence.

Suddenly, it gets quiet and I can feel the heat of two toddler bodies suddenly close to me on the couch. I don’t open my eyes but I have a feeling I’m being watched.

Suddenly, I hear Swee’Pea say, “Daddy. Daddy has mocos“*

TheMonk, must be agreement because I hear an affirmative-sounding “Uh-Huuuuuh” come from him.

I open my eyes to see two two-year-olds looking at me. They are not just looking at me, however. No, they are looking at me with their chubby little index fingers firmly planted up their own little nose. As if the mere talk of daddy’s snot has caused them to go mining for their own.

I gotta say there are few moments in one’s life where you can say you’ve been awakened by a double finger-up-the-nose salute.

*”Mocos” is spanish for mucus, snot, boogers, whatever you call it in your household.

August 18, 2007

Brotherly Love

TheMonk has taken it upon himself to be Swee’Pea’s comforter when things are not going her way. As you may be aware, Swee’Pea has been known to throw a tantrum. Up until recently, it was up to Mommy or Daddy to comfort Swee’Pea whenever she started to lose her grip on reality. But now, TheMonk has taken on that role.

How he goes about it varies. He can be sensitive or assertive, depending on the situation.

For example, early yesterday morning as I finished changing both Swee’Pea & TheMonk out of their PJ’s we headed down the hall from their bedroom. For whatever reason (or no reason at all, as the case may be) Swee’Pea collapsed to the ground and began to cry. TheMonk, seeing his sister on the ground in tears, ran back to her, placed his hand on her head and said, “Okay, Okay, Okay, Swee’Pea.”

He began to pat her head softly and reached down to kiss her on the top of her head. “Okay, Okay, Okay, Swee’Pea.” he repeated.

Before long, Swee’Pea stopped crying and we were able to proceed downstairs to breakfast.

This afternoon, Swee’Pea and TheMonk were playing in the back yard. At times they would run inside where I was sitting, engage with me for a minute or so and then run outside where Mommy was to continue playing. At one point, Swee’Pea came inside and it became clear that she wanted to take a blanket on our couch outside. “No, Swee’Pea. I’m sorry but you can’t take that blanket outside.”

It was getting towards bedtime and Swee’Pea was not in the mood to hear me say no. She began to cry.

At about this time, TheMonk sauntered in to witness his sister begin another meltdown. This time, he decided to be a little more assertive. Rushing up to Swee’Pea as she began to cry he says to her in a stern voice, “No, Swee’Pea! Outside. Let’s go outside!” And he grabs her arm and begins to lead her to the door.

At first, Swee’Pea is taken aback and kinda goes along with it because she doesn’t know what else to do. Halfway there, however, she realizes she’s supposed to be upset and begins to protest and stops in her tracks.

TheMonk is having none of this. “No, Swee’Pea. OUTSIDE!” he says.

And he gently pushes her towards the door.

Soon, they are both outside and moments later I hear both of them laughing as dusk descends upon two toddlers. Tantrums forgotten amongst some brotherly love.

August 13, 2007

The Softer Side of Swee’Pea

Since Swee’Pea has hit toddlerhood, I might have suggested once a couple many times that our little Swee’Pea has a little… how should I say this?… spunk.

Yes, she’ll throw a major-league tantrum just because she wants to remind you that she can and that she will make your life miserable at any time. Yes, she’s been known to smack around her brother (or any boy, for that matter) like he was her red-headed step child. Yes, she’ll tell a lie to cover her butt faster than any two-year-old should be able to do.

But just when I think I’ll have to request a prescription for happy pills, Swee’Pea has a moment that makes my heart melt. Words cannot describe it so I present the evidence that my little girl can be a tender, sweet, nurturing little girl.




But don’t get too weepy. Ten minutes later she was dragging that baby around by its foot.

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