Merry Christmas, everyone! May your holiday season be filled with love, friendship and lots of chocolate. From our family, to yours, have a very happy holiday.
I used to write a blog
About Swee’Pea & TheMonk
But then came #3
And now they’re in a funk, Boo Hoo Hoo
But Santa’s on his way
So we are being good
We tell Santa we love our sis
We’re just misunderstood!
Oh, Jingle Bells, The Baby Smells
But she’s here to stay
She only sleeps, eats and poops
But we love her anyway, hey!
At least three times a week
The baby cries at night
I haven’t slept a full 8 hours
And now I’m quite a sight
But they say this soon shall pass
When she’s not quite so new
Yes I’m tired, but it’s ok
At least it isn’t two!
For as long as I can remember we have been reading bedtime stories to Swee’Pea and TheMonk. That 15 to 20 minutes of reading might be my favorite part of the day. I genuinely miss it when I have to work late or we skip reading time because we’re late getting to bed.
In the past six months, something cool has begun to take shape. While I read, Swee’Pea and TheMonk have been following the words as I read them. A few months back they began to shout out words as they recognized them (which is kinda distracting when you’re trying to read, but I’ll let it go this time) and it has been more and more evident that they can read a lot of words.
But one of my favorites is good old Dr. Suess. We enjoy Cat in the Hat, The Thinks You Can Think and Wocket in My Pocket, but my absolute favorite is Green Eggs and Ham. I can read that book over and over again. In my mind it is one of the best books ever written. And, it seems, TheMonk likes it a lot too. He chose Green Eggs and Ham as the first book he ever read to Mommy and Daddy.
A little over a year ago, I got this idea (I’m sure after seeing something similar on the internet – I’m really not that creative). The idea was to take a daily portrait of Swee’Pea and TheMonk starting on their 4th birthday and ending on their 5th birthday. And so we did.
Over 365 days, Swee’Pea and TheMonk posed for 312 portraits – which averages out to six portraits a week. So, six out of seven days every week they took their portrait. The rules were simple. The kids could make whatever face they wanted and I would try and take only one photo no matter what it came out like (this didn’t always work but for the most part it was one take only). As you can see, Swee’Pea is not as much a morning person as TheMonk. The range of her photos from frowns to smiles to one flat-out tantrum is quintessentially Swee’Pea. TheMonk, on the other hand, liked to experiment with faces and loved seeing them on my digital display each morning. His photos too capture the true essence of TheMonk.
If I had to do it over again I would have chosen a flat wall rather than the back of our door. I thought it would create a good center point for the kids but instead it made it very obvious when they moved from their mark. I also would have put the camera on a tripod rather than me on my knee but this was the last thing we did each morning before leaving and we were often rushed so a quick snapshot was all we could do. The editing isn’t as sophisticated as I pictured in my head but I still really love watching the transformation.
The music was chosen for the sole reason that they are our most played songs right now. The kids love both of them and we have been known to boogie to these songs while getting ready for bed. It just seemed fitting to include them here.
So, without further ado, I give you Year Four of Swee’Pea and TheMonk:
Recently, while playing with YouTube on my iPhone, I decided to search for some School House Rock videos to play with the kids. Only, after watching a few, I realized that the twins are probably at least a couple of years away from really benefiting from some of the classics like I’m Just a Bill, Conjunction Junction or Interjection!
But then, I found an old, long forgotten favorite. It’s a Public Service Announcement from the American Broadcasting Company featuring Yuck Mouth – a disgusting dude with awful teeth singing about how his name is Yuck Mouth because he doesn’t brush his teeth. I showed this to Swee’Pea and TheMonk and while both enjoy it, Swee’Pea has taken an instant liking to it. After just a few viewings she had mastered the song. Now, when we brush our teeth, Swee’Pea likes to begin with a round of Yuck Mouth. Enjoy.
If there’s one thing I want my kids to take with them into this world it’s that living life to its fullest means not caring what others think and to embrace the joy that permeates our lives on a daily basis. One way the kids have taken that to heart is through dancing. From an early age, they have danced with me and it has always been a lot of fun watching their latest moves.
With that in mind, I have been noticing that Swee’Pea and TheMonk have been getting their groove on more and more lately. It’s been so much fun watching, I decided to video their dancing (and join in a little bit, as well). Enjoy.
I’m a big believer in fostering self-esteem in my kids. I praise them when they do something well. I encourage them when they try but don’t quite succeed. If you ask my kids if it’s okay to give up, they’ll look up and tell you, “We don’t give up. We keep trying.”
Of course, these are just words. And while words are fine action, as they say, speaks even louder. Which is why the first time we played Candyland and Swee’Pea landed on the last possible square before winning and then picked the card with the gingerbread man on it and was sent about 300 squares backwards, her old man swooped in to claim victory without missing a beat. It was beautiful. Dancing and chants of “Who’s your Daddy?!” might have taken place. Swee’Pea took it well, however. She wanted a rematch and whooped my butt the next time. (Stupid licorice square!) Her self-esteem seems just fine.
I don’t mess around in other games either. Hide and seek, for example is game where I own them. Not to belittle them or anything but, my kids suck at hiding. I count to 10 with my eyes firmly shut and I find them in about 3 seconds. Then, when it’s my turn to hide, I hide in the garage where they’re not allowed to go and I get at least 20 to 30 minutes of peace and quiet. Good times.
Finally, the kids fancy themselves quite the little runners and like to race each other all the time. I was a pretty good runner in my day and their mother was a 3-time state champion in track and field. So I know they’ve got some good genes to work with. But just because they’re three doesn’t mean they get to win every damn time, does it? Not when I’m around…
I have taken thousands of photos of Swee’Pea and TheMonk. We have, however, been hit and miss on the video taping of day to day life. The biggest obstacle has been the fact that our video camera has good old fashioned video tape and I am technologically impaired on how to convert it into digital formats that we can watch with ease.
To remedy the situation, I got a Flip Video Camera last week and I’ve been playing around with it. Perhaps someday I’ll get good enough to where it doesn’t look like every video is being filmed by a drunk guy in an earthquake and, perhaps, I’ll even be able to edit out the parts where my voice sounds like an extra on The Muppets.
And, perhaps, TheMonk will one day not be so fascinated by the camera that he wants to see the camera rather than do the cute thing that had me video taping him in the first place.
But, even with those obstacles, here’s the first video I took of Swee’Pea and TheMonk. They had just finished their bath on a Sunday afternoon and their favorite stuffed kitty and monkey had also received a bath courtesy of Mr. Kenmore.
While I might not receive any Director of the Year Oscar’s. Swee’Pea and TheMonk might win over the judges.