April 28, 2008

“Watch Me, Daddy. Watch me.”

“Watch me, Daddy. Watch me.” you say.

I turn to watch and immediately you make a silly face with your eyes and mouth. You are being funny and we both laugh at your silliness. After our laugh, I look away to tend to something else but soon enough I hear it again. “Watch me, Daddy. Watch me.”

But what you don’t realize, my son, is that I’m always watching you. And though I watch you every day, I can hardly believe how much you’ve grown up. Too soon, my son. Too, too soon. Yet, over the past few months, I’ve watched the little baby boy that I used to hold so closely to my chest on cold winter mornings leave me with nothing but gentle memories that tickle my consciousness like a warm breeze. Instead of that baby face, so soft and warm, I’ve watched a sweet little boy emerge. A little boy that loves to laugh. A little boy that loves to sing. A little boy that will dance to any music any time. A little boy that wants to be watched by his Daddy.

Yes, I’m watching you, my son. I’m watching you grow up right before my eyes and while part of me wants to desperately cling to the last few grains of sand in the hourglass of your infancy, I can no longer deny that you have become a little boy. A little boy who loves cars. A little boy who loves action heroes. A little boy who loves his Daddy.

Almost as much as his Daddy loves him.

Oh yes, I am watching you, my little boy. And someday, when I least expect it, I’ll look over and you’ll be all grown up. A young man who doesn’t want kisses on the cheek or rides on his Daddy’s back but will be more interested in non-Daddy things.

And that’s the bottom line of this parenting thing, isn’t it? As much as I love this phase of my life, my job is not to raise a child at all. Rather it is to raise a man. One who will be confident and kind and loving. And someday – someday too soon for my taste – I’ll look away for a moment and the little boy who snuggles next to me on the couch watching Curious George won’t be there anymore. He’ll be replaced by a man who has his own children and I’ll have to make due with “remember whens.”

So, yes my son. I’m watching you. I wouldn’t want to miss a thing.

April 25, 2008

Don’t mess with TheMonk

We are the park on a warm, spring Friday evening. After a picnic dinner, TheMonk and Swee’Pea are turned loose to burn off whatever energy they have left. Swings are swung, balls are kicked, paths are run.

Soon enough, it’s time to pack up and leave. A mom and her four kids are also heading out of the playground area and we arrive at our cars, which happen to be parked side-by-side. As the routine of getting six kids into two cars without getting in each other’s way begins, TheMonk and a little boy about his age start to play on the grass in front of our cars.

TheMonk chases the little boy. The little boy chases TheMonk. Unfortunately, the little boy catches TheMonk and gives him a little push in the small of the back, which TheMonk clearly feels.

In a second, he spins around. Faces the boy, points a finger at his face and tells him with every ounce of seriousness his little body can muster…

“Don’t… Push… Me.”

So, the kid’s got “using his words” down. Now we need to teach him to lighten up a little. Geez.

April 23, 2008

Huggies Clean Team: a few hits and one big miss

I was recently asked by the good people at Huggies to try out some new products aimed at keeping toddlers clean.  The line of products that Huggies calls The Cleanteam includes flushable moist wipes, hand soap, shampoo, bath wash, cleansing cloths, disposable wash cloths and detangler.

I was sent everything but the disposable wash cloths and detangler.  The containers are colorful and kid friendly – each product has its own cartoon character on the front.  The first thing we tried was the hand soap.  The soap comes in a hand pump that emits a soap foam onto the hands.  It also has a light built in that flashes for 20 seconds to encourage kids to wash.  Truth be told, however, my kids never saw the light. It wasn’t until just a few minutes ago when I picked up the pump to look at it closely did I notice that it flashes.  The light in our bathroom was too bright and overpowered the little light on the soap.  Nonetheless, the kids enjoyed washing their hands with the soap.

TheMonk loves his wipes.  He will make up reasons to go and take out wipes.  If he’s got even a hint of a booger, he’s making a bee-line to the wipes to fish that bugger out.  He did have a little time opening the flushable moist wipes but once in, they garnered his approval.  They were lightly scented and were strong enough to take care of the most unpleasant of wipes.  Solid if not spectacular.

The cleansing cloths were my personal favorite.  They are thicker than most wipes on the market and provide some real substance and allowed me to clean up a ketchup-smeared face and hands with ease.  This would be one that I would buy again – especially to put in the diaper bag when eating out.

And now we get to the shampoo and bath wash.  The bath started out well when I introduced the products to the kids.  They loved the scented blue-melon (whatever that is) and were excited when I poured the bath wash into the water to create some bubbles to play in.  Both are tear-free and the kids seemed to enjoy their bath.  The shampoo lathered well and rinsed well.  Everything seemed fine.

The next morning, however, Swee’Pea woke up with a small rash on her belly.  The rash soon grew and, almost a week later – after two doctor’s visits, hydrocortisone creams, steroids, and lots and lots of Benedryl – she STILL has a rash over most of her body.  Apparently, our little girl is allergic to something in the body wash or shampoo.  TheMonk, on the other hand, was fine.  Go figure.

So, if you do use the shampoo and body wash, go easy the first time.  If your child has sensitive skin or has had trouble with eczema in the past, I would probably forgo it.

So, overall, the products were good.  I’d use the wipes again.  The hand soap’s novelty has worn off a bit since we introduced it but now that I know about the light we can try and emphasize that.  The shampoo and bath wash?  Well, if you want a only-used-once bottle, I’d be happy to send it to you.

Being a Good Dad

I have been asked to be a regular contributor over a Be A Good Dad.  There I’ll wax poetically about how how you too can be a good dad.  It’s okay if you’re a mom, though.  We won’t hold that against you.

Go on over and take a look and see my first post.

April 22, 2008

“The snail dieded.”

I have avoided the topic of death when interacting with Swee’Pea and TheMonk as much as possible.  I’m trying to decide if that’s called smart parenting or me being a wuss.

Anyway, any time we see something that used to be alive (a dead bug, a dried up worm, Lindsay Lohan’s career) Swee’Pea and TheMonk are quick to point it out.  “What’s that, Daddy?” they’ll ask.

“Uh… Um… Hey, was that Dora over there?” Is usually my reply.

I guess I’m just not ready to challenge the innocence of childhood quite yet.

But somehow, somewhere, my kids have been introduced to the concept of death. (My money’s on those little hooligans at daycare.)  This became evident this week when we backed out of our driveway and the kids turned their attention to the snail that has been sitting on the wall of our neighbor’s garage ever since it hit mid-90s last week.  “There’s the snail, Daddy!” announced TheMonk as we passed the dried out remnants of the Gastropod.

“Yep.  There it is, Buddy.  Say bye-bye to the snail.” I reply as I continue to back out our very long driveway.

Then, out of the blue, Swee’Pea adds, “I think the snail dieded.”

“Yeah.” says TheMonk somberly. “The snail dieded.”

My mind races… How do I respond to this?  What do I say?  How can I torture the little punks at daycare who are polluting my children’s innocence with their talk of dead things?

Time stands still.  I have to say something, though, as the silence is deafening.  They are waiting for my words of wisdom.  They need reassurance from a strong parental figure that while death happens all around us, they will be safe and shouldn’t fear what we can’t control.  I need to wrap them in my parental cloak of love and tell them that everything will be okay.

So, I clear my throat, wet my lips, and say…


April 21, 2008

Wise beyond her years

It’s Sunday morning and I step out onto my step at 7:00 a.m. to get the morning paper. I am already imagining how I plan on attacking the paper. A quick look at the Target circular, perhaps? (Even though I never follow up with buying something because I saw it in the circular.) The comics? Maybe the local section and then the sports page. Or, perhaps, I’ll delve into the front page and get hit with a shocking dose of early morning reality.

In the midst of my day dreaming I am brought back by a shocking revelation. The paper has not arrived.

I scan my neighbors yards and I don’t see a paper either. But that could mean they got their paper already. Or maybe they don’t even get the paper – I cannot really remember as the caffeine from the cup of coffee currently in my hand has yet to fully take effect. I stand on my front stoop and try and decide what to do.

At this point Swee’Pea wanders over to investigate. “Whatcha doin’ Daddy?” she asks.

“I was going to get the newspaper but it’s not there, Swee’Pea.” I reply.

She thinks for a moment, looks up at me, puts her hands up to her sides, palms facing up, and says, “Maybe somebody taked it.”

April 20, 2008

Book Review: Where twin is a four letter word

As a parent of twins I was interested when asked to review a new book about parenting twins. I’m a big believer in knowing as much about parenting as possible.  (This parenting is hard work!)  In fact, upon learning I was going to have twins, I went out and purchased at least four or five books about parenting twins – so I’m well versed in what makes a good twin book.

Now that I have a little experience under my belt, I was looking forward to reading a twin parenting book with that experience fresh in my mind rather than reading everything and wondering how the book would apply to me.  Now that I know what I know, any advice given can be compared to my own personal experiences.

About a month ago I received Emotionally Healthy Twins: A New Philosophy for Parenting Two Unique Children, written by Joan A. Friedman – a psychologist who is an identical twin and parent of her own identical twins. With a background like that, Ms. Friedman seems like she would be a natural when discussing parenting twins.

Unfortunately, the book takes a hard-line stance on how to parent twins that is not only very narrow, but doesn’t exactly fly with all twins – particularly those twins who are boy/girl. The premise, however, is a strong one. Treat your children as individuals. Don’t buy into what Ms. Friedman calls “the twin mystique” – that all twins are alike and that they must have a bond that should never be broken. Ms. Friedman advocates very strongly that twins should not be given any special treatment or parented in any way that celebrates or brings attention to the fact that they “happen to be born on the same day.”

On the surface, Ms. Friedman has a good point. Definitely, spend time alone with each of your twins. Definitely don’t compare them. Definitely encourage them to explore their individuality and uniqueness. That is hard to disagree with.

It’s the extremes that Ms. Friedman advocates that really bugged the crap out me. For instance, she suggests telling people that you are pregnant with “two babies” rather than twins – so as not to reinforce the “twin mystique.”  She even goes so far as to tell you to purchase separate dressers in the baby’s room so there’s no confusion about their sense of self.  I could go on and on with examples such as these.

There is an entire chapter devoted to fathers and twins. Unfortunately, this is the point of the book w

here I wanted to throw it into the nearest trash receptacle and call it a day. At one point she tells the reader that “fathers of newborns are generally pleased to have an assignment and to feel useful and effective.” Give me a friggin’ break. She clings onto stereotypes of the ignorant father and the controlling, overwhelmed mother who needs to give the father assignments or LET the father have alone time with the kids. And while I realize that many fathers need a little push, I felt offended reading the entire chapter.

On the whole, I get the feeling that Ms. Friedman has not fully worked out her issues surrounding her own childhood and growing up as an identical twin. Her theory of raising strong adults by separating twins as early and as thorough as possible screams loud and clear that she felt her own childhood would have been different if she had not been a twin – or, at least, treated like one.

As I said earlier, I feel like this book is not nearly as relevant to boy/girl fraternal twins. My own experiences have shown that it is a lot easier to separate interests and comparisons when the twins are opposite genders. I see how being an identical twin could present problems of identity but I feel like her hardcore stance is a bit much.

Finally, I think this book might have worked better as a memoir rather than a definitive way to raise twins. It is one person’s perspective that I don’t think many twin parents would be comfortable adopting. Like I said, the overall message of spending alone time with each twin and helping them create their own identity outside of being a twin is an important and necessary aspect of parenting twins. I just don’t agree that embracing your twins and all that comes with it and raising emotionally healthy children are mutually exclusive.

April 17, 2008

Welcome to our life

It was bath night last night at chez childsplay. Instead of our usual J&J shampoo, we tried a new body wash & shampoo – made especially for children or those, like me, who just act childish.

While drawing the bath, I poured some liberally into the tub to make bubbles and, once ready, launched the kids into the tub to begin our ritual of “let’s see how much water we can get on Daddy.” After I was they were sufficiently wet, we then applied the fragrant, blue body wash onto the bodies of Swee’Pea and TheMonk. To top it off, I applied fragrant, green shampoo onto their hair and let that sit there while washing them. We then thoroughly rinsed with my handy sprayer. A job well done.

This morning, while getting Swee’Pea’s out of her PJs and into her clothes, I notice her scratching her belly. “Does your belly itch, Swee’Pea?” I asked. “Yeah,” she replied scratching her navel, “my belly itches a lot.” I looked and noticed a few red splotches around her belly. I applied some cortisone cream onto her belly, finished getting her dressed and headed off to breakfast. No time to worry about a little itchy belly, we had places to go and people to see.

Fast forward to this evening. I return home and check Swee’Pea’s belly. Not only are the splotches still on her belly, they have spread. She has them on her arms, her neck and back – and they still itch. It is then we decide to give her a bath with some Aveeno oatmeal powder to help soothe the rash.

I marched Swee’Pea up the stairs but soon I could hear the cries of protest of TheMonk from the other room. Suddenly, he appears with a face coiled in agony screaming “I WANNA GO UPSTAIRS TOO!!!” Only, it was through tears and gritted teeth so it came out, “I WAAAAAAN GUUUUUU UPSTEEEEEEEEEEERRRRSSSS TUUUUUU!” What the hell. C’mon up kid.

So there we go, Itchy Swee’Pea, Sniffling Monk, along with chuckling Mommy and Daddy – shaking our heads at TheMonk’s burning desire to tag along. We head on up to the bathroom where I start to draw a bath. Mommy hands me a packet of the powdered oatmeal and I pour it into the bath. This intrigues both Swee’Pea and TheMonk. “What’s that, Daddy?” asked Swee’Pea. “It’s oatmeal, Sweetie,” I reply. “Isn’t that silly?”

“Yeah, silly. Heh-heh” Swee’Pea agrees with a little hesitancy in her voice. It becomes apparent that she’s having second thoughts about this bath thing. After all, she’s more of a Cream of Wheat girl nowadays and the thought of sitting in some oatmeal doesn’t sound all that appealing. TheMonk, on the other hand, becomes VERY intrigued. “Oatmeal? In the bath?! DIDN’T I TELL YOU?!! IT IS MY DREAM TO BATHE IN OATMEAL!!! I am SO there!”

But, sadly, this bath is not for TheMonk. He doesn’t have an itchy belly and he will not be getting to fulfill his dream of bathing in oatmeal (with copious amounts of brown sugar and cinnamon, no doubt) this evening. Instead, I strip Swee’Pea down and begin to put her into the murky water. Apparently thinking she’s going to get mistaken for brown sugar and cinnamon, Swee’Pea starts to scream as I lower her into the cloudy, warm water. At the exact same time, TheMonk realizes he’s not getting a bath and starts screaming too.

Before we know it, Swee’Pea is screaming because she doesn’t want to bathe in oatmeal and TheMonk is screaming because he does want to bathe in oatmeal.


Like I said, welcome to our life.

April 15, 2008

Awwwwws and Ahas!

It is early morning and we are getting ready to face the day. Breakfast has been finished (although Swee’Pea and TheMonk didn’t eat much) and they are now sitting on the couch, sharing a blanket while watching Curious George. I am over at the sink, cleaning up breakfast stuff and I notice that Swee’Pea and TheMonk are having a quiet conversation. Just as I look over, Swee’Pea leans over and gives TheMonk a kiss on his cheek. They then go back to watching TV. I wish I knew what prompted that kiss!

Fast forward 20 minutes and the twins announce they are still hungry. I’m not surprised since they didn’t eat a whole lot this morning. Swee’Pea pulls up her shirt for emphasis, points to her belly, and tells me that her belly is empty. She needs food.

Since we ran out of bananas, I pull out a handful of the organic animal crackers, put them in a small bowl and tell them they have to share. TheMonk immediately commandeers the bowl and I can sense there will be trouble. I tell him he has to share the crackers and he reluctantly nods. He then begins to hand Swee’Pea a cracker one at a time – but only when she’s done with the previous one. Soon enough, TheMonk sees that the bowl is almost empty so he stops giving Swee’Pea crackers. Swee’Pea appeals to me regarding this injustice. Seeing the bowl lying next to TheMonk on the floor, I encourage her to just go get one. She thinks about this for a second and then… She’s off! Lightning quick and with a flash she swoops down on the bowl, grabs a cracker, holds it high in the air and shouts, “Aha! I got one!” She then runs over to me and we exchange high fives.

TheMonk? Not so enthused. But he’ll get over it.

The Favorite Meme

I was tagged by Christine at The Bean Blog for this meme and I’m just now beginning to forgive her. I have done many memes in my blogging life but THIS one was downright impossible. I have almost 700 blog posts and I was expected to pick just one in each category.

OH. MY. GOD. I was tagged on March 6th. It only took me 40 days to finally choose my favorite posts in each category. And I’m STILL not convinced I picked the right ones. (Although it was fun to re-read my archives. You should try it some time.)

Anyway, before I pass out from sheer frustration I finally submit these choices…

Here are the rules:

Go back through your archives and post the links to your five favorite blog posts that you’ve written.

Link one must be about family.
Link two must be about friends.
Link three must be about yourself.
Link four must be about something you love.
Link five can be about anything you choose.

Post your five links and then tag five (or more) other people. At least two of the people you tag must be newer acquaintances so that you get to know each other better.

I tag:
Life, Liberty, & Vodka Tonics
Mamieknit bits
And Whit because I like to torture my friends.

Next Page »

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: