Thursday, February 21, 2013


It happened.  I swore that I would be one of those perfect parents who encourages his children to create, explore, and discover.  I swore that I wouldn't let them eat sugar or watch TV.  I swore that I would always stay calm and never use that awful word "no."  And yet I have done all of these things a couple of time.  I am no longer the perfect parent.  I am -- a typical parent.  (Hanging head in defeat.) 

I remember a little while ago I made Jeff cry when I let out such an exasperated grunt as I wrestled with him to get on a diaper.  I started using the word "no" more often over the last few weeks as Aaron and Jeff have decided that my glasses are much more interesting than the 4,821 books and toys we have for them that are strewn all over the apartment.  But Tuesday, February 19th, 2013, is a day that will live in infamy.  It was the first time I shouted the word "No!" out of frustration.

Jeff has discovered our kitchen drawers and cabinets and thinks they are the most wonderful toy in the world.  We have the child safety locks on some of them.  The drawer with the dish towels opens.  We let him explore opening and closing that drawer and throwing all of our towels onto the floor.  He loves it.  I love that it passes five minutes.  Life is good.

Well, he's taller now.  Derek and I know that the boys have grown when they can reach new things.  He had been able to open the third drawer from the bottom for a while but now he was able to reach in and pick out what is inside like a cheese spreader, a mini hand grater (not very sharp at all), a serving spoon, etc.  Nothing incredibly dangerous, but not stuff for babies and not what I want thrown on my floors.  I decided that it was easier to remove the objects and let him play with the drawer than to fight him on opening the drawer.  So my small counter space became covered with small kitchen utensils.

Then he went for the cabinets under the sink.  You know, the place with all of the toxic cleaning products -- I mean totally organic and natural cleaning products that a perfect parent like me would have.  ;-)  One of the safety locks isn't working so he was able to get the left cabinet open.  I closed it and redirected him.  He found the cabinet again.  I closed it and redirected him again.  We played this "game" for a few minutes until I got out the duct tape.  I'll tell you that I didn't know a ten and a half month old infant could be such a challenge to duct tape.  Jeff was determinted to open that cabinet.  He grunted.  He pulled.  He groaned.  He shook the door.  I tried to pick him up and redirect him to a toy but his little hand gripped that cabinet knob so tightly.  It was like Jack from Titanic holding on for dear life when the boat cracked in half. 

I put him down and ran to Aaron who needed my attention for some reason and heard that cabinet door shaking as Jeff continued to try to rip it open like the Hulk. 

"NO!" I yelled as I got overwhelmed with a crying Aaron and tried to break Jeff of his obsession with toxic -- I mean organic cleaning supplies.

And that was the moment I realized I may not be the perfect parent I had hoped.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still 99.9% amazing; I'm just a little bit human, too.  My mind is now fast forwarding to the fights over eating vegetables, not wanting to get out of the pool, doing their homework before watching TV, etc.  I'm going to try to make "no" not a common word in the house, but the reality is that it will slip out and that's OK.  We all heard it when we were kids.  We all still love our parents and grew up to be happy, healthy adults.  And now, as parents ourselves, we realize what a hard job our parents had and what a wonderful job they did. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's A Wonderful Life, Derek

I've never seen the movie "It's A Wonderful Life."  (Note to self - put it on my Netflix queue.)  I saw a stage version of it about 18-ish years ago but I don't really remember it.  However, since I have lived in America for 30-something years and it's on TV constantly for about one month each year I think I know the basic plot.  It's about a man who thinks life would be better if he had never been born.  After seeing what the world would be like without him, he realizes what an impact he has made in the world.

Sometimes I think about what my life would be like had Derek not entered my world.  Recently I had that thought again.  I had one of those days when the kids were tough and by the time Derek got home all I wanted to do was get away from the crying for a few minutes.  It made me think about all the stuff that Derek does/has done.  People all have their strengths and weaknesses and I'm not saying I couldn't do these things, I'm just saying without Derek I'm not quite sure how these things would get done...

- put together two cribs and knows lower the mattresses as the kids get bigger
- bought and hung the Johnny Jumper
- made a decision about which stroller to buy when there are waaaay too many option
- feeds the kids meat (I'm vegetarian but never planned on raising the kids that way unless they choose it)
- wakes up at 5:30 a.m. to give them their first bottle so I can sleep in
- folds the laundry because I am the worst folder on earth
- goes to music class because there is no way I could do music class with twins on my own
- bathes the kids together (bathing them at the same time really does require two people)
- earns a decent income so I can stay home with the kids a few days a week and have the experience of being a dad I had hoped to have

For all these reasons (and more) I'm so happy to have you in my life.  Happy Valentine's Day to my knight in shining armor from your sons and me who are lucky to have you.

Moments after the proposal in Cozumel

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sleep Part Twelve: Who Has Two Thumbs And Sleeps 6-8 Hours A Night? -- This Guy!


That has been my night for the last month.  Pretty exciting, huh?  Over the last month the boys have been sleeping longer stretches of time more consistently.  In mid-January Jeff sometimes woke up at midnight and almost always woke up at 3:00 a.m.  Some nights I could get him back to sleep quickly.  Some nights, when I'd go into their room to give him a pacifier and cuddle with him to help him go back to sleep, Aaron would wake up.  However, Aaron has been able to sleep through the night about three-quarters of the time.  Over the last two weeks Jeff or Aaron might wake up once.  Sometimes they can fall back to sleep on their own, sometimes not.  But the point of this is that I'm getting a decent amount of sleep with (usually) only one, short interruption.  It's amazing how much more human I feel.  More sleep plus the fact that warmer weather will be here soon is making me excited.  I know I have almost survived being cooped up this winter and we will be outside playing soon. 

So the sleep saga seems to be coming to an end...for now.  I've heard that kids still wake up in the middle of the night when they are scared, hot, cold, sick, nervous, excited, want water, drank too much water, need the bathroom, want candy, ate too much candy, have a stomach ache, want to pet the cat, need to call grandma and grandpa at 3:00 a.m. for no reason, want to watch Dora the Expolorer, want to watch Go, Diego, Go, want a cracker, want a blanket, hear crickets outside, hear a siren outside, hear a cat outside, hear a dog outside, hear wind outside, want to talk to their stuffed animals, are excited to see Yo Gabba Gabba on ice tomorrow, can't sleep because they just saw Yo Gabba Gabba on ice today, want to discuss having an elephant for a pet, wonder why spiders don't talk, and a million other reasons.  I know their will be more sleepless nights, but I'm just thrilled to get a little break with the waking up for now.

However, I secretly like the one middle of the night wake up.  I love picking up my son and wrapping him in a blanket, kissing the top of his head, and feeling his warm body get heavy on my chest.  I know the times left for doing that are dwindling.  In another a year or two I'll at least get to enjoy the boys crawling into our bed and snuggling up next to us on a cold, weekend morning. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What I Have To Look Forward To

I saw this posting on Facebook and decided I had to share it with my fellow parents and parents-to-be.  I thought it was so funny.  It's Jason Good writing about 46 Reasons My Three Year Old Might Be Freaking Out.  If I had to predict my kids' reasons for freaking out in two more years I would say it would be these...

Aaron has heavy hair.  He has so much of it it's has to be heavy for his little head.  He also will be upset that the can't won't let him touch its eyeball.  Aaron loves chasing the cats now.  It's cute to watch him watch the cats and, when they're on the floor, he crawls after them.  Once in a while he is able to sneak up on them enough to get in a pet/grab and then they run away after that.  He'll also want to get out of the car by himself.  Last week, when we had a warm day, I took the boys to the grocery store.  While being a good dad and putting some healthy fruits and vegetables into a bag I looked over and saw Aaron had managed to wriggle out of his lap belt, stand up and put one foot into Jeff's side of the stroller.  I'm not sure what he was going for, but clearly there was something that he HAD to get on the other side of Jeff.

Jeff will definitely freak out because he has too much food in his mouth.  When Jeff gets ten Cheerios on his tray he shoves eight of them in his mouth and then gags.  Yes, we have learned not to give him ten Cheerios but even if you give him two or three they all have to go into his mouth at once.  He might also freak out because chicken is gross.  Recently both kids have developed a picky palate.  A couple days ago I gave the boys some boiled carrots and every time I managed to get one into Jeff's mouth, half a second later the mouth would open and his tongue would stick out with the carrot still on it.  Clearly he was not a fan of the carrots.  He also may cry because I picked out the wrong pants.  Getting dressed is quite the ordeal with Jeff.  He has learned how to hang on to the mirror of the changing table for dear life.  He reaches across his body with his right hand to grab the mirror on his left so his torso is twisted.  I hold onto his legs to keep in on his back while he tries to turn over to his front.  Last night we sat there for a minute in a game of chicken.  Do you know how long a minute feels when there is an immovable object coming into contact with an unstoppable force???  Who knew that getting a clean diaper and fuzzy pajamas was such a horrible thing?

What are the reasons your baby will freak out when he/she is three?  Or what's your favorite story of your older child freaking out?  Share them with me.