May 28, 2008

Another thing they don’t tell you about fatherhood

I stand facing the bowl. Feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Knees slightly bent. Head down.

This is something I have done for approximately the past 34 years of my life. I am so good that I could probably go pro. I can do it (and have done so, I suppose) with my eyes closed. But in all my years, most of the time doing this has been in solitude.

Not today.

In an effort to encourage the potty training, the books recommend that you allow your kids to see you use the facilities. This, along with cartoon patterned underwear, stickers, m&ms, and a crisp $20, is supposed to entice the little one to forgo diapers and switch to the porcelain goddess.

So there I stand. In the aforementioned “stance” with four little eyes staring intently at the intended target, waiting for some action. I am momentarily frozen with stage fright as I feel the urge to go start to wane. I refocus, however, and release the stream.

Immediately Swee’Pea and TheMonk squeal with excitement at the event that is unfolding. It has been a while since I have drank any fluids and what I am producing isn’t exactly clear. In fact, the exact color becomes a source of debate. At first, they seem to agree on the color. “LOOK, IT’S YELLOW!!!” they scream. But then, TheMonk has second thoughts.

“No, it’s not yellow. It’s orange.” He says matter-of-factly.

“No, Monk.” responds Swee’Pea, “It’s yellow. It’s YELLOW!”

No, Swee’Pea.” TheMonk retorts. “IT. IS. ORANGE!!!”

This goes back and forth as I quickly finish up. I wash my hands and walk out the door. As I walk down the hall towards their bedroom I can hear them in the bathroom, continuing the debate.



*Sigh* Can’t we just leave them in diapers until they go to college?

May 26, 2008

A Day of Play

One of the coolest things about blogging is that it has opened the doors to some great opportunities for me and my family over the past couple of years. This weekend, for example, my family was invited, by the lovely Kami and the good folks at SeaWorld to attend the opening weekend of SeaWorld’s new Bay of Play – a child-oriented play area with a Sesame Street theme.

The even cooler thing was that a bunch of other local bloggers were invited to attend as well. We were graced with royalty as The Queen of Spain arrived from the north with her lovely family. Socal Mom, Joy Unexpected, Sweatpants Mom, House of Prince, Shama-lama Mama, Wannabe Hippie and Wannabe Urban Housewife were also there. Jason and Whit were supposed to come but they wimped out after spying a few measly sprinkles.

And while it was a little gray to start the morning, we eventually shed our jackets and had a blast. The play area is a lot of fun. There are a few rides (flying fish, tea cups, and a big rocking ship) that kids taller than 42 inches can ride on their own (under 42 ride with a parent. Since my kids are midgets, score!). Then there’s a ginormous climbing structure made of netting, bridges and slides. There’s a little bouncy pit for toddlers and babies to play in, a sand box and some water jets to run under and around.

The best part is that the Sesame Street Characters do a show every now and then and then you can get your photos taken with one. Swee’Pea and TheMonk got to hang with the Cookie Monster (which is pretty cool considering they do a mean Cookie Monster voice impersonation) and had a great time.

If you do travel to San Diego, SeaWorld is a fun visit. It ain’t cheap, however, so get there early and enjoy the day. In fact, if you get there when the park opens, you have fewer crowds. Shamu the whale’s show has a 10:30 a.m. showing with seating to spare. Later in the day, the show fills up to the point that you might get left out if you don’t get there really early. You can get in and out privileges as well so you can return at night and watch the evening festivities which includes a fireworks finale.

We only stayed a half day, however, as Swee’Pea was getting over a cold but we had a great time at the Bay of Play and I could easily see us returning for more fun at SeaWorld.

As a parting gift, we received a Bay of Play cookie jar with a plush cookie monster inside. I was going to take a picture of the cookie monster but Swee’Pea hasn’t let it go yet. TheMonk got a Shamu stuffed animal as well and as I write this they are both asleep with cookie monster and Shamu tucked under their arms respectively. I am told we can offer one of these cookie jars with Cookie Monster inside to a reader of this blog. So, the first person to mention Big Bird’s “imaginary” friend will win the cookie jar. (Hint: He was only imaginary back when us old folks were kids.)

May 21, 2008

If you fall off the treadmill, you’ve got to get right back on.

I don’t mean literally fall off the treadmill. It’s just that I took sort of a… hiatus… from all things called exercise. (Although at least 3 or 4 times a year someone falls off the treadmill at my Y. No one uses the emergency stops either. It’s not pretty seeing someone who thought they’d pick up their iPod that fell while running, do a face plant on a treadmill going 8 mph and get flung back to their childhood.)

But I digress. Anyway, since my wife forced me to get active this past weekend, I decided to jump back on the treadmill. And one other thing has got me motivated as well. It seems, that mommies check out “hot dads” when dropping off and picking up kids from school. I did not know this. I hadn’t thought, when contemplating fatherhood, that my pecs, biceps, abs and quads would be scrutinized like I was some subjective piece of meat. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. It’s just that a guy likes to be prepared.)

So, seeing as how I have 2 more years before I’m dropping my kids off, before being ogled by all the Mommies, then I have some serious exercising to do.

Crunches, anyone?

Bein’ a good dad

Hey, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before but I’ve been doing a weekly guest post over at Be A Good Dad.  Today, I’m writing about How to be a Good Dad (duh, right?).  You can also find the other posts I’ve written – about how the Y or other recreation programs can benefit your family – here.

Go check it out!

May 18, 2008

Someday I’ll forgive my wife. Just not now.

I was going to write this very eloquent, tear-jerking story about how fatherhood has changed me… or something along those lines.

Instead, my lovely wife decided that we should all should go support our local schools by running in a 5 kilometer race. Which, here on American soil translates into 3.1 miles. Or, about 2.1 miles further than I have run at any one time in the past five months. And exactly 3.1 miles more than I have run total in the past 2 months. In other words, I’m out of shape.

And this might be a good time to mention how lovely the weather has been here lately. Sunny, not a cloud in the sky and 90+ degrees in the shade.

The lovely wife hinted at this yesterday but I was hoping that she’d change her mind when it meant that we had to be up and out of the house by 7:45 a.m. Fairly early for a Sunday morning here at our house. But, no such luck. So, we packed up the kids, donned our gear and jogging stroller and headed out to the race.

She’s done this to me before, you know. She’s gotten all excited about running a race but apparently cannot possibly run the race on her own so I get to go along just so she can watch me be tortured. But now I also get the added pleasure of having my kids watch me get tortured. They seemed to enjoy their run through the foothills of where we live. And, let me just say, there is not one flat road with a 6 mile radius of where I live so the kids got to tear down some downhills and crawl up some uphills. And, yes, I made the lovely wife push the stroller whenever we got to an uphill.  I’m chivalrous like that.

Amazingly, we finished. I only heard TheMonk yell, “Faster, Daddy, Faster!” once and we did stop at the 2 mile marker and have some orange slices and water. This seemed to placate the twins (and me – why do we stop eating orange slices after we stop playing youth soccer?) and we finished on a high note.  If you mean by “high note” a racing pulse, painful breathing, and sweat stinging my eyes.

And now, I sit here on the couch – more than 12 hours after the race – feeling the soreness start to settle into my thighs and my lower back. So, no tear-jerker story tonight. The only one shedding the tears is me.

May 15, 2008

Sarcasm and almost three-year-olds don’t work

I have a bit of a sarcastic sense of humor. It edges on biting at times. At work I like to keep the mood light and I will lightheartedly pick on those who I know can take it and enjoy it when they give it right back to me. For example, if a co-worker starts off a story by saying, “My friends and I…” I will quickly interject with a “Oh, c’mon, you don’t have friends.”

This usually produces a laugh at work. At home, however, I’m finding that using sarcasm with a toddler will produce other, not so good, emotions.

Just this past weekend, for example, we were telling the Monk and Swee’Pea that we were going to go out that day. We kept telling them that we would be going “bye-bye” in just a little bit. TheMonk, however, must have been pretty excited because he kept asking me, “We gonna go bye-bye, Daddy?” After assuring him that, yes, we would be going “bye-bye” he’d ask again a few minutes later. With the same answer.

Finally, for about the 20th time, he asked again.

TheMonk: “Swee’pea’s gonna go bye-bye?”

Me: “Yes.”

TheMonk: “And I gonna go bye-bye too?”

Me: Turning to look at him and with a sad face, I reply, “No, buddy. I think you’re gonna stay home with Nutty Kitty today. Mama, Daddy and Swee’Pea are gonna go bye-bye but you’re going to stay here. Okay?”

TheMonk: Looks at me. Blinks once. Blinks twice. Blinks three times… And then bursts into tears.

So, maybe we’ll wait to introduce sarcasm until he’s three.

May 12, 2008

Finding her inner Chi

Longtime readers will remember that we’ve dabbled in the art of Yoga here at the Childsplayx2 household with various levels of success. I have yet to fully recover from my last Yoga session, but it hasn’t quite been a year so I’m thinking I’ll be healed enough to try again shortly. Swee’Pea, on the other hand, has been studying up on the metaphysical aspects of Yoga and has managed to find a balance of equal parts toddler and hippie chick.

Why in the past couple of weeks Swee’Pea has begun to add meditation into her daily routine. It’s not uncommon to find her off in a secluded corner channeling her Chi (When she’s not in a timeout, of course, then she’s just channeling her inner terrorist.).

Lately, she’s begun adding props. I think in the photos below she’s praying to the goddess of plastic fruit, thanking her for a bountiful harvest. And, yes, I realize I’m probably mixing my religious/metaphysical metaphors but my brain is fried and I just want to go to bed. Perhaps I should meditate a little before bed. It seems to work for Swee’Pea…

Swee'Pea Yoga1

Swee'Pea Yoga2

Swee'Pea Yoga 3

May 11, 2008

Moms Rock!

Since approximately 90% of my readers are moms, I just wanted to tell you that you look wonderful today.  Is that a new haircut?  It really frames your face well.  I love the color too.  Oh, and I love your shoes, did you get them on sale or did you pay full price?  Whatever you paid, it was worth it.

May your day be full of even-tempered kids, a doting husband, and chocolate.  Lots and lots of chocolate.

To my mother, I’d like to say “Hi Mom!  Sorry for the surly teenage years!  You know I love you, right?!”

And to my wife, the mother of my children, the one who keeps the family heading in the right direction (because, really, if it was up to me, we’d be bouncing around life like a giant pinball machine), I just wanted to say that Swee’Pea and TheMonk are so, so fortunate to have a mommy like you.  You make sure they eat healthy, you smother them with love when they get a boo boo, and you’re always there to wipe a nose or a butt.  And, you do all of this while looking H-O-T.  (The kids might not appreciate this, but Daddy sure does!)

Happy Mother’s Day to my lovely wife and to all mothers out there.  You deserve more than a day but there just isn’t enough chocolate in the world for it to last any longer.

Have a great day!

May 9, 2008

#23 on his wrists but #1 in our heart

At the golf tournament the other day I bid on and won my very own (and not so desirable, considering I was the only one who bid on it) Clay Hensley autographed baseball hat. Not surprising that Mr. Hensley was of little value considering he has two dubious claims to fame. First, he was suspended for steroid use in 2005 and, secondly, he gave up home run #755 to (wait for the irony)… Barry Bonds.

The hat was $25 for a good cause. Which is all I got out of it because the hat they provided was a fitted cap that might fit TheMonk but certainly doesn’t fit me. There were a few other items in the bag along with the cap that included a Padres bumper sticker, some Padres baseball cards and… Adrian Gonzalez wristbands.

Now, as fate would have it, TheMonk’s friend Brandon (yes, THE Brandon) wears wristbands to daycare every day. We hear a lot of these wristbands around our house and I’ve seen them on him the few times I ran into the little guy while dropping the twins off at daycare. I got a glimpse of them yesterday and one is definitely a red Power Ranger. The other? Not so sure but it’s definitely NOT an Adrian Gonzalez #23 wrist band. The past two days, since I first introduced TheMonk to these wristbands, TheMonk has been extremely excited about donning the wristbands to show off to his wrist-band wearing friend. He can’t shut up about how he’s wearing wristbands.

“I wear wristbands, Daddy! I wear TWO wristbands, Daddy! Help me put ‘em on, Daddy! I gonna show Brandon my TWO wristbands, Daddy!”

So, off my little man goes. All 35 inches of him with wristbands starting at his wrists and ending up at his elbows ready to take on the world one wrist band at a time. He thinks he looks cool and that’s all that matters – even though I can’t help but think of Wonder Woman fending off lasers.

[Updated: Since there was semi-popular demand for a photo, I have obliged.]


May 7, 2008

TV Dads, Golf and bunny rabbits

In my last post I posed the question, “If you had to compare yourself to one TV parent, who would it be?”

While I loved the “Fred Sanford” answer (because don’t we all want to be cantankerous junk yard proprietors?), I think I do fall a bit between Heathcliff Huxtable (we dance exactly alike), Charlie Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie (because he had such a big heart, willing to help others) with just a little Homer Simpson thrown in for fun (because he’s such an endearing goof).

Switching gears… Today I went to a golf tournament to support the Y that I used to work for.  For the past three years I ran this tournament but today I got to play.  I have played a grand total of 90 holes in my golfing career (plus a few thousand practice balls at the local range) and I got put onto a team with three guys who had a grand total of 82 YEARS of golfing experience.  Needless to say, I was out of my league.  But I did contribute in one aspect of the game.  My friends, I don’t like to brag, but I can putt.  And the old adage “you drive for show but putt for dough” was definitely true today.  And what do I owe this putting prowess to, you ask?  Well, it’s a little known fact that I used to kick some serious butt at old Neptune’s Kingdom back in Surf City growing up.  Don’t mess with me and my putt putt putter.

Finally, I can tell that fatherhood has changed me in many, many ways.  Most, surprisingly, have been in very, very good ways.  Today, for example, as we drove around the golf course situated in a rural area Northeast of San Diego, I noticed rabbits and squirrels and road runners running rampant around the area.  Instead of thinking of my next shot, what my yardage is or when the drink cart will make its way around, I’m thinking one thing…

Swee’pea sure would love seeing these bunnies.

And suddenly I missed my little ones.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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