Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Sylvia Glossary

The other day, in the car and as she happily brandished a new Halloween straw that she’d gotten at school, Sylvia very intently and very seriously said to me:

“Daddy, we go weh-want and I get dink, I no have get sfaw for my dink because I have sfaw for my dink because I got one at my fool, okay? They people at weh-want bing me dink I say no sfaw because I got one from my fool here in hand, okay dad?”

I about choked on restrained laughter as she went on and on and on, reiterating this point for about another full minute. I was nearly crying I was laughing so hard (or, more precisely, trying so hard to NOT laugh). Particularly without being able to see her body language or know the context, I had NO idea what she was talking about (luckily Sally translated).

As a second child, Sylvia’s speech just didn’t evolve quite as quickly as Lillian’s. Experts say that older kids, being only children for a while, get more direct attention and thus their speech develops more quickly – plus often the older child speaks for the younger one, so a second kiddo just takes a little longer to develop her speech. Thus, Sylv’s has still got some pretty key words that just don’t sound quite right, especially if you don’t know the context around them and more so if you can’t actually see her mouth moving or read her body language (like when she’s talking on the phone to you).

Thus, I felt it was time for a little Sylvia glossary. Here are some key words:

Fam-mah – Grandma (A favorite expression is, “My fam-mah coming to visit, MY fam-mah!?!?”)

Yillian – Lillian

Hoe-tay – Okay (No Buckwheat jokes please…)

Mlik – Milk

Sfaw – Straw

Weh-want – Restaurant (So she might say, “I want a sfaw for my mlilk at the weh-want.”)

See-rall – cereal

Nana – Banana (‘Natch)

Wok Out – Rock Out (Yes, we – or more likely Sally – taught her to say ‘rock out!’)

Fool – School

Sirt – Shirt

Slirt – Skirt (Often makes it challenging when she asks to wear “a sirt and slirt to fool”.)

Bobbi – Barbie

Dwoll – Doll

Fistmas – Christmas (“Dada, can I add Bobbi dwoll to my Fistmas list?”)

Famee – Family

Ma bootie – My bootie (As in, “Shakin’ ma bootie, shakin’ ma bootie!”)

Crack butt – crack butt (With her penchant for going pant less, this one comes up often, like, “Mama, you see my crack butt? My crack butt, my crack butt!”)

Feep – Sleep

Zamas – Pajamas

Nap – Snap (As in, “Dada, before we go feep, can you nap my Zamas?”)

Bing – Bring

Hee-haws – High heels (Yeah. Really. No kidding: ‘Hee-haws’. Okay, #1 – We have absolutely NO idea where she got this one – well maybe some idea, but this phrase is SO far removed from it's original source that it's just hard to wrap your brain around it. #2 – You can only imagine just HOW LONG it took us to figure this one out.)

Please do study these and commit them to memory. There will be a test the next time you see Sylv’s.

Then again, by then many of these words could have changed. Such is the development of a 3-and-a-half year old: You can almost see and hear it from day to day, and especially if you haven’t seen her for a week or more – then the change in her development is absolutely palpable.

And just think, someday I’ll get to write a new Sylvia glossary, although the next one will be filled with stuff like, “OMG, my dad is SUCH a total tweak!!! WAJ!!!” So, for now, I’ll be content with a little occasional exasperation caused only the occasional ‘sfaw’, ‘crack butt’, and ‘hee-haw’.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Sylvia's First Joke

About two years ago, when Sylvia was about two and a half and just starting to really chat, she told her first joke.

Sally and I were in our sunroom, chatting about something relatively serious, when Sylvia came in, looking for her small, plastic Dora doll. She said:

"Where my Dora? You see my Dora? Where my Dora?"

Then she quickly turned around, thrust out her butt and said, "Is it in... my butt!?!?!"

Sally and I laughed out loud.

Her timing and delivery were dead-on and I think she gets that from me. And, I also suspect she gets her taste in subject matter from me too...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Open Apology

This is an open and very sincere apology to my friends who had kids before I did.

I have to apologize because I know that before I had kids, I did and said some pretty ignorant things to my friends that did have them. I only know this now because our friends without kids occasionally do it to Sally and me. At first this was a real source of frustration, until I realized that I surely did the same, if not worse. That, in turn, leads to this apology.

Dear Friends Who Had Kids Before Me:

I absolutely and sincerely apologize for doing the things to you (or, more likely, saying the things I did to you) before I had kids.

I know that I said things like, “Well, just come out [to the game, bar, club, whatever] anyway. Just get a sitter.” I was well intentioned of course, and just wanted you to be able to come out and enjoy whatever non-parental fun I was having. I didn’t know how hard it is to find a sitter that you trust, actually have them be available at that moment, and/or actually want to go out, when in reality you just wanted to grab what sleep you could before the kiddos woke you up at 6:30 AM (as they would be waking you up, regardless if you did actually join me at the club, and went to bed just a mere three hours prior) with a hearty, and energetic, “Mommy, can we have pancakes today!?!?” And, I know now, that there are few things worse than parenting through a hangover…

I probably said, “Just bring the kids. Just throw them in the car and come on!” on whatever road trip, visit, or excursion that I was suggesting. I had no idea. I didn’t know that ‘just bring the kids’ first meant a mental checklist of things like:

  • Have they eaten/nursed, when did they eat, do they need snack now, and what additional snacks should we pack?
  • When did they go potty last? Do we have diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes already to go, or do we need to pack it? How long will it take us to get them both/all to go potty before we leave?
  • We must pack outfits, toys, books, toiletries, diapers/wipes, nighttime bear or favorite animal, sippy cups, iPod/iPhone/iPad movies or games, secret stash of candy for when things really go south (aka the ‘Bribery Bag’), pacifiers (aka ‘Fire, Ba-ba, Woo-dee, etc.), jackets, individual water bottles, shoes & socks, and on and on and on. Kids at home are tough, but kids on the road are about four times as tough.

I may have said, “Just come to the restaurant. We’ll help take care of them and they’ll probably just fall asleep there.” Actually, I wouldn’t have ever said this one. I was so unfamiliar with kids and so afraid of them that I never would have even offered to help take care of a baby, toddler, or preschooler. (At least then I was being honest.) I’ve now seen many a friend offer to do this, but then ‘take care’ of our kid for 3-4 minutes, get bored when they can’t understand them and then go back to eating, talking, and drinking.

My ‘favorite’ was when said friend who had offered to help would just completely stop ‘taking care’ of the kid and hand them right back to us once the food arrived. This situation then sticks the actual parents with kids at a restaurant (often chosen without regard to kid menu options), past their bedtime, getting cranky, and generally fussy and irritable for all. So, the dinner out ‘with friends’ (that you hardly get to talk to, since you're busy with the kids) is actually then much harder, more challenging, and just simply more difficult regardless of how many non-parental friends are there ‘to help’. (Plus, being out is also then keeping the kidlets up past their bedtime, especially as they never fall asleep when you want them too and certainly never according to any far-fetched hope to ‘have them fall asleep on your lap.' And this means that you, the parents, also get to deal with them being cranky, annoying, and generally a pain all the next day because they never got enough sleep.)

I’m sure I said (because I usually do), “C’mon, just one more beer. You don’t have to leave right now. Just one more, it’s just 20 more minutes.” I didn’t know that with little ones, ‘the schedule’ is a god never to be trifled with. The kids need enough sleep each night or else your next day is just a hellish, pain in the rump, ass-dragging kind of day of fighting, grumpiness, more ‘accidents’, and just a cascading hell of kids falling apart. I didn’t know this back then because I had never had to deal with those kinds of repercussions. (And of course, multiply that 'next day' pain times about 20 if you were hung-over.)

I would have never seen this need to apologize if I hadn’t had kids myself. Because I would have just toodled along, obliviously thinking my life was ‘busy’ and ‘stressful’ and ‘hard’ (which it was, in its way, but I dream, I absolutely covet having such days back now). But it took having kids to see and hear things from my friends to make me realize that I had make the exact same mistakes before my kids came along.

Some favorite examples of things we hear from kid-less friends that we just chuckle about now:

  • “OMG, my life is just so CRAZY right now!” – You know, it is and we certainly get that, as ours was too. But unless you are CEO of a company or maybe an ER doctor, this one becomes kind of laughable when you say this to the parent of little ones. Our favorite was a friend who once went on ad nauseum about how ‘crazy’ her life was because she’d just gotten a dog. At the time, we had a toddler, a newborn, two dogs and a cat. We just let her talk and talk and talk about her ‘crazy’ life, then moved on to someone else at the party.
  • “Well, just bring the kids and just fly out here!” – We’d love to, really, but please see the list, an abbreviated one mind you, of just what it takes to get a kid ready to travel in a car. Now add in things like getting kids through airport security, dealing with airport bathrooms and finding food kids will eat there, then fussy/tired/grumpy kids strapped into airplane seats (and getting more fussy/tired/grumpy because they don’t understand that – at times – they absolutely cannot get OUT of that airplane seat), then add hauling car seats in/out of cabs or a friends car… And again, that’s just a short list. (And note that while kids in cars are four times as hard as usual, kids in airplanes is about seven times harder than usual.) Oh, and let’s not forget that now “just bring the kids” means buying four plane tickets instead of one or two, and the fact that a friend’s non-kid house has not been kid-proofed one iota.
  • “I won’t let being a parent change me. I will still [add in ‘rock climb’, ‘go to Red Sox games’, ‘play in my band’, ‘be active in my Civil War re-creation unit’, or other formerly fun activity here].” – Yeah... no you won’t. I’ve seen some couples do this (one couple rock climbing with friends in Colorado with a newborn in a little portable crib at the base of the climb sticks out), but these Uber Parents are few and far between (and generally only have one kid). What you really do is just attempt to try to squeeze in one or two of your favorite activities per year, if you are lucky, and then you should just be happy that you were able to keep your toe in whatever activity it was at all. Now, we have heard occasionally of one parent (never both) who adamantly continues to ski, hunt, go to sporting events, etc. at the same frequency and duration as before they had kids. While some might congratulate this parent on ‘having it all’, I’d describe a parent like that as an uncaring jackass who shouldn’t have had kids in the first place. The kid comes first, and you are third (after your spouse, who comes in second… actually, you may actually only come in fourth as now also taking care of your kids’ and spouse’s house also takes precedence), so deal. You’ll get to get back to competitive skeet shooting and the local biathlon club when they’re older (although how much older, I can't say as my kiddos aren't quite there yet).
  • “I won’t ever let my kids do…” or “My kids will start [activity of choice] by the time they are [ridiculously young year]” – These ones are fun. Now, I first – and again – admit I was totally ignorant here too. My kids were going to be up on skis by age four, reading on their own by five, and also learning Spanish or French by now. All that you had to do, I ‘knew’ was to start early, be consistent, and ‘just do it’! Yeah, not so much. As Sally and I joke sometimes, ‘Are the kids fed? Clothed? Alive? Then they’re fine.’ It’s a joke but it also shows how much time and effort that just the basics of taking care of a kid take. There is rarely, if ever, much time for anything more than that. (We heard one comment just this past weekend BTW, where one of Sally’s younger relatives stated their kid would be playing piano by age four. Maybe so, and I certainly hope that’s true, but the odds are against it. And, bottom line, it's absolutely okay if it just doesn't happen.)
  • “Start a daddy blog!” – Okay, so this one was actually much appreciated and, obviously worked. But all the sincere, well-intentioned, caring people that suggested this (people that I appreciate and thank mind you!) were all people without kids. I tried to explain the whole lack of time thing, but again: you just don’t know what it’s like until you’ve walked in these barf-covered shoes. But, they all did play on my need/desire to keep doing something to write and to them I’m very thankful for pushing me. And so I try to think up or jot down little stories or quips like this on airplane flights, in the shower, or at 5:12 AM as the girls slumber on. But, like all the trials and tribulations of fatherhood itself, I’m loving it... it’s a good pain.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Top Ten Techniques for Swingers

In no real order, here are ten creative techniques for swinging a kid at the playground:

10. Ironman - I push a girl with one hand, executing one big push, and end up in a stance like Ironman always is after he shoots a 'repulser ray' from his palm. "Take that, evil-doer!" I think this one started because I would, trying to entertain myself, mutter 'Ironman!' somewhat under my breath. Now the girls ask for it by name - although they may have no idea who Ironman actually is.

9. Don't Drop the Baby - I hold a girl my arms like a baby (as she is still in the swing), give them lots of baby-talk and goo-goo's, then say, "But don't drop the baby," and... drop the 'baby'. To the girls this macabre act is, for some reason, apparently an absolute riot. Nothing like dropping babies to make people laugh, I always say.

8. BIG Pull/Push - I grab the swing by the chains, right next to the girl, yank back and let 'er rip! Usually a nice swing starter, sort of like the opening salvo of fireworks which is actually rather lame, but seems cool because it's just first.

7. Underdog - The classic. I pull the kiddo back, run really fast and push 'em up and over as I run underneath. The girls squeal with delight - as I immediately worry that I've either just dumped a girl upside down into the dirt from nine feet up or launched her into a tree.

6. Big Smack - While the girls are swinging in a small child's swing (the kind with the bucket-like seat) I imitate a pro wrestler and crank up the fanfare. "You want some of this, HUH!?!?" As they swing close, I do a big pose, smack my hands a couple of times together and then, just at the apex of their swing, I smack the front of the swing so it makes a good, solid 'smack!' sound - and also gives them a push. Usually also followed by a big faux pro wrestling rant, like "OH YEAH! BIG DADDY MADNESS!"

5. Knee/Foot Push - Stand in front of the girls, and push their knees or outstretched feet. Used primarily to actually see them as we talk about coloring, snacks, best friends, best-best friends, best-best-best-best friends EVER, stinky boys, etc.

4. Roller-Coaster - A Sally Grimes invention with great drama. Hold the top of the swing, start to slowly walk forward while making sounds like a roller coaster as the car is being chain-driven to the top of the first hill, push the girl back until you are completely extended, arms locked out, and holding her up in the air as high as you can. Then get out of the way. Peals of delighted laughter ensue.

3. Booty Smack - The name says it all. Really. Like all things involving the butt, this one is always a good 'go to' source of laughs.

2. Metronome - This should only be attempted by an advanced daddy. It's when you've mastered the normally pedestrian 'regular push' but can actually do it with TWO kids, having them so perfectly off-sync from each other, that you can push one with the left hand, then the other with the right, then the first with the left, then back to the right. Seeing it in action is just a thing of beauty, really... it's just... moving to see that kind of mad daddy skill...

1. (This one probably is the girls' #1 favorite:) Kick Daddy! - Like with all things, fake injuries to dad are the most fun! They swing back and try to kick me as I execute all sorts of dramatic and over-the-top moves to avoid the 'deadly feet' that are trying to knock my block off!!! (And if that seems like too many exclamation points, it's because I was imagining the 1970's-style promotional copy on the box such a 'game' might come in.)

How to add drama:

One for the money - Before any swing, simply countdown to blast-off or do a 'One for the money, two for the show...' count. Easy and yet brings forth lots of absolute bug-eyed anticipation and giggling.

Broken Coaster - Just as you reach the full extension of your body during a 'Roller Coaster', with the girl stuck in the air, you tell her the coaster is broken. Luckily, my girls are pretty well versed in mechanical repairs, canting the magical, "Fix. Fix. Fix." to take care of the problem. They are, like, better than MacGyver at fixing stuff. Really.

Taunting - "You want WHAT? Ironman? You're not READY for Ironman! Why, you're just a little GIRL. And you think you can handle an... IRONMAN? Pfffft - WHAT-EVER!" Ah, the drama of it all... too much fun.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Who's Got A Woody?

One of the greatest things about kids it just the natural comedy that they can sometimes, at even the most mundane of moments bring to a home. To wit:

Two nights ago Sally made 'Toy Story' mac 'n cheese for the girls for dinner. The meal includes some of the Toy Story characters in it, including good ole 'Woody'. As we sat down to dinner, suddenly the girls excitement for the new mac 'n cheese bubbled over, with some unintended innuendo thrown in (mostly fed by their immature dad).

Sylvia [her fork in the air, waving about, with a skewered piece of pasta on the end]: "Wook, I have Woody!"

Lillian: "I have a Woody too!"

Dad: "You what? What do you have there!?!"

Both: "A Woody! I have a Woody!"

Dad: "That is so cool that you guys have a Woody!"

Sally: [Pretty much can't speak because she's trying to reign in her laughter.]

Dad: "Sally, did you hear what the girls have? Girls, what do you have there!?!?"

Girls: "A Woody! We've got Woody!"

Dad: "Who's got a Woody? Do you guys have a Woody? Sally, the girls both have a Woody!"

Sylvia: "I've got TWO Woody's!"

Dad: "Sally, Sylvia has TWO Woody's! Well, you can't have enough Woody's in life, that's what I always say! Lillian, do you have a Woody?!?!"

Sally: [Is pretty much vibrating, she's laughing so hard but still trying to hold it in.]

Lillian: "Wait, I can't find my Woody... OH, here's one! I've got a Woody!"

Dad: "Three cheers if you've got a Woody!"

Well, they won't be handing out an awards to this dad for either maturity OR propriety any time soon... And that's just fine by me.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Little Miss Sunshine

Sally was getting ready the other day while Lillian, as she often does, was bouncing on our bed to some of Sally's urban-pop-hiphop-dance-funk-rap music. Lillian was wearing a bathing suit and a long white 'Snow Princess' skirt (don't ask) and says,

"Momma, I'm going to dance for you now. Then I'm going to take off my skirt, hold it up above my head and swing it around. Then I'm going to throw it to you!"

So glad that Lillian is already, at such a young age, exploring ALL her vocational options.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Mine is a world of cycles.

Actually it's a world of cycles within cycles... within cycles.

The day starts like this: If I'm lucky (and not hungover), I get up early to have a little 'me time' and maybe write a bit or get some work done (which is clearly not 'me time' at that point). Then the girls get up and the cycles start.

First we wake 'em up, then try to feed 'em: 'Okay, who wants juice? Both of you do? Okay, Lillian, your waffle is in the toaster and yes, I know you want 'extra syrup'. Here's your juice Sylvia. Lillian yours is already on the counter. Sylvia, what do you want? Sylvia, what do you want to eat? Are you hungry? You are going to school soon, so you need to eat. Sylvia, what do you want for breakfast? Broccoli? (The kid actually loves broccoli, which she pronounces 'bocky'.) No, we're not making broccoli for you. How about a waffle? Cereal? Drink yogurt? Luna bar? Spoon yogurt? Squeeze yogurt? Yogurt smoothie? No, you can't have peanuts... actually here are your peanuts.' (This is an abridged version of our usual food conversations with Sylvia by the way. Usually they last several minutes longer than this.) Cycle #1 complete... sort of.

Then we get them ready. Undies? Check. Acceptable clothing (no light up cowgirl boots on 97-degree days, no summer dresses in a snowstorm, nothing that doesn't totally clash, etc.)? Check. Hair, teeth? Check, check. Then shoes, backpack, lunches packed. Check, check, check. Then all previously mentioned items: 2 girls (dressed), 2 backpacks, 2 lunches (packed), 2 pairs of kids shoes (on feet) all loaded into the Prius. Assigned adult at the wheel, lucky adult kisses girls good-bye. Cycle #2 done.

Now mind you, on any given day, any one of the aforementioned items (shoes, teeth, lunch contents, etc.) can either suddenly become a huge battle (Lillian: 'But I HATE the collar on this shirt! HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT.') and/or a huge source of consternation. ('Sylvia, I have asked you seven - no, now EIGHT times - to get your shoes on.' 'No Sylvia, you cannot bring the cat to school, put her down!' 'Sylvia, WHERE ARE YOUR CLOTHES?')

And, on any given day, at least three of the aforementioned items actually will become an issue. The only question on any given day is, will it be minor or major?

Oh, and the last one, about Sylvia taking her clothes off is currently a given each day. At some point, maybe even after dressing her and getting her ready in her school clothes, she'll come around a corner, stark naked, singing her new favorite song, "I naked, I naked, I a naked girl, I naked," over and over again. It's super cute - on days that we're not running late. And there are no days where we aren't running late.

Cycle #3: drive the girls to school, get in the drop-off line, drop them off successfully, watch them walk hand-in-hand down the sidewalk into the preschool section of their school. Pull away from the curb and either:
1. Gloat with pride at just how cute/awesome/amazing they are
2. Immediately get your stomach in your throat with fear that 'something' will happen to them while they are at school
3. Fight back a tear because of just how cute/awesome/amazing they are
4. All of the above

The next cycle, #4, is - unfortunately - optional: get to gym. This one often doesn't happen because work is backed up, either one of us is just coming back from or going to a trade show, we're tired (aka hungover), or just generally feel like crap (gee, I wonder why? SEE: all other posts here).

Then I attempt to cram a 12-hour work day into 8.647 hours. (Mind you, this cycle has its own intricate complexities, frustrations, stresses, successes, etc. of course but, for the purposes of our home-life, it's just one more cycle to start, work through, and complete.) Sally, who is part-time will continue the school cycle by also picking up Sylvia at 10:30 (her preschool is only three hours) then collect her, buckle her up, drive, unbuckle her, and deposit her at an in-home daycare. She then attempts to cram an 8-hour day into about four hours. She then picks up both girls on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:30 - or at 4:30 on other days. (We like to keep it complicated. It makes it all even more fun.) Cycle #5 done.

Cycle #6: make dinner. Repeat previous food conversation with Sylvia but switch 'bocky' with 'waffle', as in: 'Sylvia, what do you want for dinner? No, you can't have a waffle. How about broccoli?' Then repeat that conversation several more times with Sylvia.
Lillian on the other hand will go something like this: "No, I HATE mac-n-cheese!" (Suddenly one day, after years of loving something like mac-n-cheese and asking for it 70% of all meals, she despises it. Bam! Like that. This generally happens immediately after Sally and I finally say, 'Let's just stock up on [insert girls' food of choice here] and get a TON of it.')

With cycle #7 we attempt to get children to actually EAT the dinner they just requested. This requires several conversations about what food should go where on their little (cute) segmented kids plates, what food is DISGUSTING or not (Lillian), why you should not show people the food you are currently eating (Sylvia), and several trips to get different kinds of water, in different kinds of cups, with/without ice, etc. Just as we've finally gotten them just what they want and we're both sitting down to actually eat, the girls are done eating and want to go bounce on the couch.

Cycle #8: sigh heavily and imagine what bar I'd like to go stay the rest of the night (or week)

Then we clean up. I fight urge to eat the girls leftover food (sliced apples, half peanut butter and honey sandwiches, etc.) rather than waste it and try to decide what food is actually worth trying to save (extra mac-n-cheese is useless for example, because they will not eat reheated mac-n-cheese, no matter how much we doctor it up). Cycle #9, check!

After maybe 30-45 minutes of actual play and fun stuff with them (or, more realistically, an errand or folding laundry or taking out all the trash), it's Cycle #10: bath time. Get them naked, get the tub full, get them in the tub, get them 'washed', stop them from fighting over a toy, maybe wash hair (an apparently horrifying, deadly ordeal for them both, thus often avoided), stop them from fighting over a toy, let them play while we both get into pj's and brush our own teeth, then get pissed that they are still fighting over said toy, get them out and try to get them dry-ish.

Cycle #11: undies on, PJ's on, teeth brushed, last pee, pick out one book each. Lucky parent kisses girls goodnight, other parent lies down with them, reads books, turns off light and lies/sits with them until they are asleep. (Yes, we STILL have not weened them off us being in the room, or even the bed, with them as they fall asleep. Hey, don't judge. It's on 'the list' of things to do... someday. This fall maybe. It's time, really.)

Cycle #12: attempt to sleep.

Then we start all over again with #1.

Every day, day after day. Lather, rinse, repeat. Lather, rinse, repeat. Lather, rinse - you get it.

And if you think weekends are much different, they aren't. And actually they are harder than weekdays (yeah, GONE is the thought of 'recharging' on the weekends). For a weekend day, you simply replace Cycles #3 and #5 with this one:

Attempt to read paper. Scan headlines. Recycle paper. Discuss the day with Sally, attempt to prioritize doing 'something fun' with the girls. Choose said activity and try to fit it around all other necessary activities of the weekend: mowing lawn, grocery shopping, general errands to get more household supplies, possible odd errand like having to ship a box or deal with a license plate issue, etc. Run through all activities too quickly. Eat out too often. Fight voice inside head that says, 'You know, I could start drinking right now,' all day long. Eventually give in around 4pm and start drinking. Throw on a movie, pray that girls fall asleep to said movie so that you can actually skip Cycles #10 and #11. Girls don't fall asleep, but you skip #10 anyway and go right for #11. #12 actually becomes, 'pass out'.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Lather, rinse, repeat. Over and over and over and over again. These cycles make a day cycle, seven day cycles make a week cycle, and onward.

And by the time the cycles finally start to slow down and you might have time to actually enjoy spending time with them, they are 12 and have already started to resent you. But, at least then we'll get to read a book.

Bed Hoppin'

Here's a typical atypical bed progression for a night:

8:30 PM - Sally puts both girls down in Lillian's bed (we have a bed for Sylvia but it's primary purpose these days is to hold sheets and a comforter that match her room 'perfectly') and Sally dozes off with them

9:30 - Sally moves to our king-sized bed in our bedroom, with Sylvia - who still hasn't gone to sleep yet. Sally is half-asleep yet half-pissed at Sylvia.

10:00 - I get into bed. Have to move Sylvia and her bear 'Snazzy' to get a spot. Dogs join me, deciding that they are far more comfortable lying on/over/around me, thereby making me claustrophobic and driving me out of the bed (per their nefarious doggie plans...)

10:11 - Decide to crash in girls bed, with Lillian, since that will keep her down in that bed (because if she wakes up, she'll cuddle up next to me and know that someone is there and then NOT head into the big bed - plus it's cute/fun to cuddle with her before she turns 12 and starts to hate me)

10:15 - Fall asleep. Have really bizarre dream where I'm in a giant video game, jumping up these lava rivers from floating stone to floating stone to finally arrive at my destination: a really pimped out TGIF/McDonald's that serves giant scones and '100 types of rose tea'. Oh, and I'm in high school, it's gym day, and not only have I forgotten my gym clothes, but I'm totally naked sitting at a table, until I scrounge a t-shirt and a towel. (WTF? Note to self: seek therapy.)

3:22 AM - wake up in Lillian's bed, realize that I'm in Lillian's bed and seek to cuddle a bit to reassure her that someone is there, thus keeping her in her bed longer so that she sleeps better and Sally is prevented from having too many kids/dogs/cats in the big bed and thus she sleeps longer too! Hey, I'm just that kind of thoughtful, caring dad.
I reach over. Lillian is not there.
She's in the big bed.
I chuckle in order to stave off typical dad frustrations, then close my eyes.

3:28 AM - realize there is no way in hell I'm actually going to go back to sleep. Get up and head to my office to get some work done.

3:28:34 AM - See a light on in Sally's office. She's working too. Woke up at 1AM and couldn't get back to sleep either.

Final tally: one, very large, nicely comfy adult king sized bed with no adults in it. Two kids beds with no kids in them. Four or so dog beds without a single dog on them. The dogs are in the adult's bed, cuddled with the kids, there is no one in the kids beds, and the adults are both up in their offices, working (or blogging).

Just another typical atypical night at the Chimes House.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Milk Money

Lillian and Sylvia both started 'big girl school' this week, Lillian to Kindergarten and Sylvia to a 'real' preschool in a classroom setting (versus her previous at-home daycare). Part of the transition is dealing with milk money, as the girls now have to pay 50 cents at lunch to get their coveted carton of chocolate milk.

The first day of school, we gave Lillian a dollar to buy her 50-cent milk. After being picked-up that afternoon, she blurted, "Mommy, I gave them my money and they gave me money BACK! It was like being at a REAL restaurant!"

You know, for most of us, it's been too long and thus it's all too easy to take for granted, but can you remember just how AMAZING it once was to have a dollar or even a quarter in your hand (much less receiving from an adult actual CHANGE)? It just used to feel so special, and empowering, and amazing... plus your eyes pretty much bugged out of your head as you immediately started to wonder just how many Milk Duds, Bubble Yum, or swedish fish you could buy.

Now Sylvia, all of 3 years old, it turns out didn't have to pay to get her milk, because she's still in preschool. We didn't know that so gave her 50-cents anyway. When she came home, Sally was telling me, in front of Sylvia, that she didn't have to pay for her milk. Sylvia piped in with, "Yup, LUCKY ME!" Sally and I laughed and then gave each other that 'where the hell did she get that one?' look (which we do ALOT).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Chug, Chug, Chug!

Do you think it's inappropriate, when your daughter is sitting with you at a family restaurant and picks up her bowl of ice cream to drink down the last dregs of her melted sundae, to start chanting, "CHUG CHUG CHUG CHUG!"

Yeah, me neither.