September 11, 2007

Six years later

It has been six years since the terrorist attacks changed our lives forever. Since that time I’ve become a father which has changed the way I see the world and the way I see myself. Six years ago I was angry. Six years ago I wanted to hunt down the scum of the earth responsible for these horrendous acts and make them feel the pain that was inflicted on our country.

Today, I’m not sure what I feel. I guess I still feel a sense of loss. A loss of freedom. A loss of innocence. That day six years ago changed us and there is no going back. I read somewhere that 9/11 is our generation’s JFK assassination or Pearl Harbor. We all remember where we were that fateful day and we all remember how our lives used to be.

This morning, I snuggled with my two beautiful children while scanning some of my favorite blogs. The smell of lavender shampoo was strong as Swee’Pea and TheMonk rested their heads on my chest while they watched The Wiggles. I visited my friend MetroDad and was reminded again how my loss of innocence does not compare to his loss of his best friend.

How lucky am I to have all that I do.

And then I thought of someone else. About a year or two ago a co-worker of mine named Eryn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease or ALS. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. These nerve cells die and eventually the person afflicted with ALS becomes paralyzed. After that comes death. There is no cure.

Eryn was not a close friend. We did not even work at the same location. But I knew her casually and we would chat about her beautiful small children. She would light up when talking about them and I knew that we shared a love for parenting our children.

Erin moved to another state to seek treatment and recently I received an email asking for me to consider helping raise money to fight ALS through Eryn. I thought of her two small girls growing up without their mother and I cried. And then I made a donation.

Many tears are being shed today. I weep as I write this very sentence. I weep for people like Pierre who have lost their best friend in a senseless act of violence. I weep for Eryn who must be so afraid inside yet is courageously fighting the only way she knows how. I weep for my children as I realize how impossible it is to protect them from all harm and disease in this world.

May we weep together, my friends. May we stand tall and unite to make others lives a little better. We cannot undo the awful things that happened six years ago. But we can help others in their name.

If you feel so inclined today, I ask you to consider making a contribution, small or large, to one, or both, of the following places…

The Andrew Golkin Memorial Fund in honor of MetroDad’s best friend. This fund goes to give scholarships to underprivileged kids in New York City.


The 2007 Walk to D’feet ALS that my friend Eryn is participating in. If you do give, please put in honor of Eryn Baird.

Thank you for anything you can give.

September 8, 2007

Fast Forward to Del Mar

A few weeks ago, my beautiful wife bought a new DVD player. One that’s supposed to play DVD-RW discs that we’ve recorded from our other DVD recorder/player. (We’ve yet to figure out how to play those DVD’s, but that’s another matter.) With this DVD player came a small remote control. This remote is essential as the only buttons on the actual DVD player is the ON/OFF button, the PLAY/PAUSE button, the STOP button and the EJECT button. No fast forwarding, no choosing scenes, no viewing the menu on a standard DVD.

Well, TheMonk took a liking to this remote control, laying claim to it as soon as he saw it. “MY REMOTE!” he’d tell anyone who listened.

Needless to say, TheMonk lost “his” remote. One day it was there. The next day (and subsequent two weeks) it was not. This posed a problem. We looked high (counters, tables, drawers). We looked low (under coffee tables, couches, play pens, in shoes). It was nowhere to be found.

We feared it had been thrown away as TheMonk likes to throw things away in the trash. Since we really did need a remote, I went online and ordered a replacement. With shipping, it cost more than half what my beautiful wife paid for the entire DVD player. We are currently waiting for the remote to arrive via the U.S. postal service.

Today, it was a beautiful Southern California day. Not too hot. Not too cold. Not a cloud in the sky. A perfect “head for the beach now that the tourists are gone” day. So we loaded up a picnic lunch, grabbed a blanket and the diaper bag and headed out the door to Del Mar’s Powerhouse beach.

Upon arrival, we laid our blanket out on the green lawn overlooking the Pacific Ocean and prepared to eat before turning the kids loose on the playground that overlooks the ocean as well. Beautiful wife, realizing the kids needed sun screen, rummaged around in the diaper bag for the tube stashed away in one of the many pockets. Reaching deep within, she grasped something odd, yet vaguely familiar. As she pulled it out of the bag she let out a laugh. TheMonk, seeing what was in her hand, shouted out…


September 5, 2007

My kids rock

It’s difficult not to compare your kids to other kids. It’s only natural that you want your kids to be doing whatever the other kids are doing when it comes to developmental skills. I mean you see this guy’s kid writing his name at age four and you’re thinking… “Impressive… Excuse me while I go find my kids and a pen.”

You read that this guy’s little guy is memorizing books and speaking philosophically and you start googling Philosophy for Children because, damn it, your kids need to catch up.

But then you remember what your kids can do. For instance, they both know the anatomically correct name for their “private parts.” Furthermore, Swee’Pea has proven to be a great teacher. Just today, PBS has thrown my morning routine into chaos by replacing Curious George and Clifford with Teletubbies and Barney the evil purple dinosaur. When TheMonk demanded to watch Curious George and I had already explained to him that it wasn’t physically possible to watch Curious George because his father was too cheap to purchase the DVR function from our local cable company, Swee’Pea finally got tired of TheMonk’s whining and said in a manner that was simultaneously cavalier and exasperated, “Curious George is all gone, Monk.” End of story.

Our kids read books too. Or should I say “book”? We have had to hide the Car Book from TheMonk as there’s only so many times you can look for the man in the dump truck. Swee’Pea has finally moved on from Goodnight Gorilla and we’re now into identifying objects in a Dora book. She’s got Boots and Dora down.

And then there’s the physical achievements of late. Just today, TheMonk walked by and Swee’Pea playfully swatted TheMonk on the behind. This will come in handy when she’s terrorizing quarterbacks in the NFL. TheMonk runs a lot now – but it ain’t pretty. In fact he’s a spitting image of Phoebe from Friends. As a former collegiate sprinter, this concerns me to no end. I’ve got to work on his arm swing. However, his training partner Swee’Pea pushes him every day (literally and figuratively) to do more and if he does someday achieve Olympic greatness, the genesis will be the days that Swee’Pea spent chasing her brother.

So there. My kids kick butt (or in Swee’Pea’s case, swat butt). What can your kids do?

September 3, 2007

Aligning our chakras

At the Childsplayx2 household, things can get pretty hectic. For example, I personally feel like we are constantly cleaning up after a room full of monkeys. I mean, they leave their toys, sippy cups, and banana peels in the most unlikely places. It’s pretty stressful to sit down, one hour after cleaning up and find that the monkeys have been let loose once again.

Lately, Swee’Pea and TheMonk have begun to show a little stress as well. I mean, it’s hard work tearing the house up on a daily basis. I’ve become a little worried because they’re beginning to lose their touch. They used to leave sippy cups under the table but now they just leave them lying on top of the table. It’s been a sad decline.

Since I have taken some steps to relieve my stress by attempting Yoga, we have decided that maybe the entire family could benefit from the soothing practice of breathing and tearing ligaments stretching. After weeks of practice Swee’Pea and TheMonk have become quite adept at this yoga thing. See for yourself:

September 2, 2007

Dinner Time!

I love watching Swee’Pea and TheMonk eat. Most of the time, they are happy and lovin’ the food that they are getting and it makes for such a fun environment. Swee’Pea, for example, will really come out of her shell and be a little ham. She has a bit of mischievousness in her and she will play a bit with Daddy. TheMonk, on the other hand, is in his element. There is no better place than sitting in his chair, eating whatever we happen to put on his tray. Life is good.

September 1, 2007

No going back

So you’ve eaten low-fat and non-fat yogurt all of your life.

Then you stop by the new Trader Joe’s in your neighborhood and make an innocent purchase of this:

Trader Joe's yogurt


This just in… Fat tastes goooooooooood.

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