June 15, 2012

Uh-Oh. Look who’s one!

You came late in the evening on a Wednesday. You had tortured your mother for days prior to making your entrance and based on the stubborn way you stayed five days past your due date and the dramatic conclusion to you arriving in this world, I had you pegged as one that was going to test me like no other.

But I was wrong.  The only thing you have tested is my capacity to love someone as much as I love you, little one.

It has only been one year and I already cannot remember what it was like before you were here.  You are such a sweet baby and your belly laughs and cute smiles melt my heart each and every day.

I love how you interact with your brother and sister.  They weren’t sure what to think of you when we first brought you home but ever since you began acknowledging them, they have loved you so, so much.  They are both vigilant watching what you put in your mouth – even if they were responsible for leaving the baby death traps on the floor in the first place.  They eagerly hold you or play with you when needed and they love teaching you the finer points of silly face making.

You are louder than your brother and sister at one year.  I chalk that up to the fact that if you want to be heard in this house, you better speak up.  And while your vocabulary is limited to a few words – Mama, Dada (infrequently!), kitt-eh – my favorite is the one that I recently taught you: “Uh-Oh.”

You drop things on the floor and I smile at the inevitable, “Uh-Oh.”  Lately, you play the “Uh-Oh” game by dropping things on the floor while Daddy fetches them for you.  I am fairly certain this is your favorite game.  But you don’t just say it when I am around.  Just this past week, I heard you over the baby monitor before you fell asleep utter aloud, “Uh-Oh.”

I’m not sure what that one was about but one thing I do know.  There was no mistake in our decision to have you in our family.  I love you with all of my heart, little one.  Happy Birthday, GirlyGirl.  May your second year be as amazing as your first.

Uh-Oh
“Uh-Oh”

June 12, 2012

They Say It’s Your Birthday

Seven years.

I can’t believe it’s been seven years.  It seems like I’ve always known you.  The sound of your laughs, the way you speak, the smell of your skin during a goodnight kiss.  All of this is you and before there was you doesn’t even resonate with me anymore.

I am incredibly proud of both of you.  Swee’Pea, you really hit your stride this year in school.  You read at almost a sixth grade level and, socially, you blossomed into someone who makes good friends.  Monk, you loved first grade.  Your teacher was the perfect teacher for you and you soaked up school.  Your math and analytical skills are amazing and your love of Junie B. Jones is unmatched.

But I can’t believe it’s been seven years.  Just yesterday, you were snuggling in my arms.  Just yesterday, I was watching you take your first steps.  Just yesterday, you were clinging to my legs on your first day of preschool.  Just yesterday, you weren’t seven.

And now you are.  You are the most wonderful seven-year-olds the world has ever seen. You radiate joy and revel in the world around you.  You believe in magic.  You believe in fairies and Santa and the Easter bunny too.  I hope, in some way, you will always continue to believe what precocious little seven-year-olds believe.

But I also hope that you’ll slow this ride down just a bit.  Seven years.  It seems like yesterday.

Seven Years Old
Happy Birthday to my beautiful kids

May 26, 2012

You say potato, she says nuts.

It is a rare moment in time.  I’m playing with all three kids at once and as I playfully lift GirlyGirl over my head, Swee’Pea and TheMonk, jump around me shrieking in joy, kinda like a scene out of Lord of the Flies, only without the pigs blood.

I’m enjoying the laughter and the shouts of glee, particularly from GirlyGirl who is reveling in the moment as three of her four favorite people are having fun around her.  I swing GirlyGirl low, between my legs and then high, over my head.  I repeat this motion several times until I’m forced to change direction as Swee’Pea steps into the line of fire.

Unfortunately, the change of directions has placed GirlyGirl’s kicking feet right in line with a part of my anatomy that is near and dear to me.  She swings her feet hard and meets with a part of my body that rhymes with besticles, and suddenly, the world stops as I inhale deeply and make some guttural sound that only men in my situation can appreciate.

Everyone stops what they are doing.  Me, Swee’Pea, TheMonk and even Mommy over on the couch.  I make eye contact with the lovely wife and her look tells me she understands what just happened.  Apparently, Swee’Pea understood as well.

“What happened?” She asks. “Did GirlyGirl kick you in the nuts?”

The next 10 years are gonna kill me, I think.

May 24, 2012

Burrowing Baby

The beginning and end of your day are two of my favorite daily moments.  As I pick you up out of your crib in the morning, you are always happy to see me.  And as I embrace you in a morning hug, GirlyGirl, you always drop your hands to your side and burrow your upper body and head into my torso and neck.  It is clearly your version of a hug and, in the early morning, before the day picks up into a frenzied pace, I get one moment where it’s just us, baby and Daddy, together in a sweet, tender, loving moment.

By the time the day ends and I have endured work, and corralling your brother and sister into jammies, brushing of teeth and bedtime stories before I turn my attention to you and our little own bedtime routine.  As I hit “play” on the iPod docking station that plays your lullabies, we sit in the darkness as I feed you your last bottle of the day.  You take the bottle while looking at me in the darkness and you never fuss.  And, unlike in the early days, once the bottle is done, you seem to understand that it’s bed time.  I transition you to hold you against my upper body as I gently rub your back until you burp.  Then, to make sure you are ready to be transitioned to your crib, I hold you for about five minutes.  It is then that you, once again, drop your arms to your side and burrow into my body.  You rest your cheek on my shoulder as I inhale the baby smell of your soft, curly hair.

Eventually, I lower your tired little body into your crib, kissing your soft, chubby cheeks as I do while wishing you sweet dreams.  Most nights, you leave your burrow and practically dive into your bed where you burrow your upper body into the mattress as you get comfy enough to sleep.

I leave the room, the sounds of lullabies wafting towards the door and I’m already looking forward to the morning.  For my good-morning burrow.

 

May 20, 2012

She’s got his back

Swee’Pea and TheMonk get to buy lunch at the school cafeteria one time a week.  It’s our favorite day of the week because they get to choose what they want at the cafeteria and I don’t have to make lunches.  It’s a win-win.

A little more than week ago, on a Friday, Swee’Pea and TheMonk came home from school and I asked them what they had for lunch that day.  Swee’Pea excitedly rattled off her choice of pizza, salad, orange slices and, for dessert, a frozen orange juice fruit bar.  This last item is considered a dessert and all other items must be eaten before eating the fruit bar.  This rule, I imagine, is rarely enforced because the kids self-report that they ate everything to get their juice bar.  With this in mind, I asked TheMonk what he ate.  With a dejected look on his little face, he explained that he chose pizza, carrots and spicy pickles.  “But the pickles were too spicy so I didn’t eat them and I couldn’t get my fruit bar.”

Fast forward a few days later and I ask Swee’Pea and TheMonk which day they want to buy lunch.  Swee’Pea votes for Wednesday.  TheMonk votes for Friday.  I tell them, “I’m not going to make one lunch so you two need to talk it out.  Explain your reasoning on why you want the day you want.”

Swee’Pea goes first.  “I want to buy lunch on Wednesday because it’s “brunch for lunch” and we get pancakes.”  This is a compelling argument and I expect TheMonk to readily agree with his sister.  Who would turn down pancakes?!

TheMonk, however, isn’t swayed.  He looks up at both his sister and I and he simply says, “I want my popsicle.”

Swee’Pea, bless her heart, without missing a beat, says.  “Okay.  Friday.”

May 14, 2012

If Mom (and this Dad) Had Three Minutes

Three minutes. If my math is correct, that’s 180 seconds. That’s not a lot of time. I mean, it takes me at least 15 minutes to get out of bed in that morning so three measly minutes is like the blink of an eye.

And it would be ludicrous to me if someone suggested that I could actually clean in three minutes time. Are you kidding? It take me three minutes to survey the clutter to decide what can get put away and what can get shoved under the coffee table (Honey, if you’re reading this, don’t look under the coffee table).

But the fine folks at Clorox set out to prove me wrong. Three minutes is enough time to do some serious cleaning. They even created a cute cartoon-themed e-book called, If Mom Had Three Minutes that highlights some creative ways to spend three minutes.

After reading this e-book I realized that I’m pretty darn creative with getting my kids to do my work for me encouraging my kids to clean.  In fact, if you give a six-year-old a baby wipe and tell him to go to town on door jams and light switches, he will think you gave him the keys to the car.  A squirt bottle with water and vinegar and a wash cloth bestowed upon a six year old also works just great.  Bonus points if you break out the stopwatch and see how fast he can get it done.  (Or is that just my kid?)

Anyway, go check out the e-book and let me know what you think.  Because, lord knows, we could all use three minutes.

Disclosure: I am being compensated by The Clorox Company to talk about my favorite time-saving, multi-tasking tip(s) as part of the If Mom Had Three Minutes program. 

May 1, 2012

Potty Mouth, Katy Perry

TheMonk is in his usual spot on the couch. It’s the spot that has a power strip hanging over the side that he has his iPod plugged into. The iPod, on this day, is plugged into travel speakers and he listens to his music while singing along.

TheMonk mimics his current favorite, Carrie Underwood’s Jesus Take the Wheel, perfectly hitting the high notes with his young, prepubescent voice. I am not paying too close attention as he sings but I am aware that he is, as ever, ensconced in the music.

I vaguely sense that the song has changed and before a few moments have passed, I recognize Katy Perry’s voice singing on the iPod. TheMonk and I make eye contact and he looks at me with the seriousness of a straight and narrow six-year-old and says, “Daddy. Katy Perry says a bad word in this song.”

Immediately my mind races to the catalog of Katy Perry songs that I have indexed in my brain. Last Friday Night jumps to the front and I begin to race through the lyrics in my head looking for the bad word that that hussy Katy Perry surely uttered.

But TheMonk beat me to it. “She says, Daddy, SHUT UP.”

The seriousness and somber tone that TheMonk delivers this sad news is difficult to replicate in the written word but suffice it to say that we had to pause for a moment of reflection and silence. When I make eye contact again I realize that the boy is expecting me to say something.

“Oh, right. ‘Shut up’ is very rude to say, isn’t it?” I ask, hoping that the reverent tone in my voice adequately matches the expectations of TheMonk. It seems to as he solemnly nods and turns back to his music. By this time, the music has changed again.

Ah, Taylor Swift, where have you been?

April 29, 2012

Baby Sings the Blues

GirlyGirl is almost 10 and a half months. Time flies when you are outnumbered by kids. Milestones are flying at us at a rate that is hard for this old man to keep up with. Just this week GirlyGirl went from zero teeth to three teeth and is not too happy about it. Her refusal to nap, one would think, would leave her cranky and bitter but that seems to only have affected her parents.

It’s hard not to compare but with the twins they were napping twice a day. Nice, long naps. Naps that meant Mommy and Daddy could have a little respite from babydom for just a little while. I was the only reason we showered, I think.

This one, however, has a mind of her own. Schedule? Nap? If I damn well say so, she says. It’s times like this that I have to remind myself that we chose to have this one.

Another milestone that is creeping up on us is crawling. She has been combat crawling for a number of weeks now but is clearly ready. However “clearly ready” to me is clearly not “clearly ready” for GirlyGirl. Her personality seems to be such that she is measured in what she does and will only attempt something new if she has practiced and practiced and practiced. The girl can climb stairs but won’t crawl on hands and knees.

In spite of the speed that we are traveling down baby #3, I am aware that I’m going to miss all the things I’m complaining about. Someday, too soon, she won’t need me to give her a bottle and rock her to sleep. Someday too soon, she’ll be almost seven, complete with attitude. Someday soon, she’ll call me Daddy and the little embraces I get will be a thing of the past.

Milestones are cool but I’ll take them a slower pace, please.

April 15, 2012

A future in sales?

Swee’Pea, seeing the remnants of our old blender tucked away in the pantry, suddenly looks up at me as I tend the pancakes on the griddle. “Daddy, did you know you can get a Ninja Blender?”

Thinking there is a punchline to the joke forthcoming, I ask her to continue.

“Yes, while some blenders leave the nutrients of vegetables you blend behind, the Ninja Blender does not. And you know how much it costs? Not, $300. Not $200. Not even $100. You can buy it with four easy payments of $39.95.”

Hmmmm… Maybe her mother was right about limiting the amount of TV she watches (and maybe spend that time with her math skills).

But, damn, I think she’s right. I need that Ninja blender.

*(This is not an endorsement of this product. It’s a sure sign that my daughter is watching informercials instead of Nick Jr. Buy this product at your own risk. If you do buy this product, let me know how it works. I’m really interested.)

April 13, 2012

Substance Over Style

It’s Friday. Which means the favorite clothes have been worn and the kids are reduced to bargaining with their dad over what they can and cannot wear. Normally, this back and forth is with Swee’Pea. I have often said that I could hand TheMonk a garbage bag with holes for arms and a head and he’d put it on with no argument.

But not today.

It’s threatening rain here in paradise – so our normal shorts and t-shirt attire is out of the question. Unfortunately, the entire week has been a bit chilly and TheMonk has worn all of his pants. I am skeptical when he tells me he has no pants left so I check his drawer. Sure enough, there is one pair of jeans in the drawer.

I pull the stylishly faded jeans out and hand them to TheMonk. “But Daddy,” he says. “I don’t like those jeans. When I put them on, they squeeze my booty too much.”

Upon closer inspection, I realize that these jeans, bought with love by Grandmother, are tapered and would probably fall into the “skinny jean” category of fashion.

“Okay, Buddy.” I laugh. “Lets dig some jeans out of the hamper to wear. I don’t want your booty to be squeezed.”

Now let’s just hope he doesn’t learn of the sagging jean trend. Then I’m really in trouble.

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