November 30, 2011

My Daughter, The Insomniac

Pro-tip for a happy relationship: Buy a couch that is comfy enough to sleep on.

Because you will need to sleep on it.

Brynn has not been sleeping well lately.  Part of it is not feeling well, part of it is teeth, part of it is that I think she hates us.  Or loves us too much.  Hard to tell.

Lately, any time we've put her own, she starts screaming.  This includes night time.  At night, we've been able to let her cry herself out and she'll fall asleep, for a while.

Last night, at midnight, she started up again and would not stop moving long enough to fall back asleep.  It was that kind that all parents know where you turn to your lovely, wonderful child, and in your most sweet and elegant voice say "If you would just stop @%$#ing your arms around, you would fall asleep!"

Sara and I decided that we had to vacate the room.

We BOTH slept on the couch last night.

Luckily for everyone involved, I woke up about 10 minutes before my alarm would have gone off and started the whole thing again.

Hence, why I'm typing a blog entry at 5:28 am.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a sound proofed room in which to stick your 9-month-old.

November 24, 2011

My Daughters Are Thankful for Chocolate Chips and People Small Enough That They Can Bite Their Heads

Thanksgiving and elections have a lot in common.

Well, one thing at least that I can think of.

I often feel, when someone asks me what I'm thankful for, that I am suddenly running for office.  It's hard to tell if they want the truth, or if they want something to make them feel warm and fuzzy inside: the verbal equivalent of being wrapped in a warm blanket with hot cocoa in front of a fire with a snow gently falling on the silent world around us.

Other than the occasional misanthrope, I am willing to bet that everyone you asked or will ask this week what they are thankful for will reply with the following, or some variation thereof:
My family
Good health
Being employed

When a politician is asked about the economy, Republicans will almost always say "no more taxes" while the Democrats will say "the rich need to pay more taxes."

While all of these responses may be true, they are predictable and boring.  If, somehow, we don't say those things, we are looked at in horror and disgust.

"What are you thankful for, Justin?"
"I'm thankful that Han shot first and was a better shot than Greedo."
"...Is that all you have to say?  What about being thankful that your family is healthy?  What about being thankful that you have a job?  Are you some kind of monster?  I'm thankful that I don't have to spend any more time with a callous, heartless, misanthrope like yourself. Good day to you, sir."
"I'm also thankful that this conversation is over."

So, aside from the typical stuff, here are some things that I am thankful for:

I am thankful that I made it to Thanksgiving without assaulting any of my students enough to be reported.

I am thankful that Seabase, the children's play area that looks like an acre-sized McDonalds' PlayPlace allows adults to accompany children on the apparatus.

I am thankful that more and more people are getting into Doctor Who.  Seriously, the show is excellent.

I am thankful that I liked A Song of Ice and Fire before it was a popular TV show. (Haughtily adjusts homemade hipsters glasses)

I am thankful for this amazing pumpkin dip I made.  Thanks, me!  You're great!  I appreciate your noticing that, me.  Of course!  Any time!

I am thankful for streaming Netflix, although not as thankful as I would be if they had the Muppet movies.

I am thankful for the expanding, hardening foam that helped me to stop the leak in my basement.

I am thankful to PNC for sending me an e-mail when I have money in my account again.

I am thankful to the Republican party for the candidates that it has put forth for President.  This has truly been a magical season so far.  (Take from that what you will)

I am thankful for Spotify allowing me to listen to whatever music I want!

I am thankful to Justin Beiber for not being in or near my house.

Happy Thanksgiving.

You are thankful for two posts in one day!

You are so welcome!

My Daughters, The Soon-To-Be-Nudists

I am fascinated by the concept of clothing design.  I am most certainly a man who believes in function over form, hence why I dress for comfort rather than to impress.

I have several friends who are clothing designers and they believe in the opposite.  The clothing that they make is weird, and crazy and amazing and wonderful and nothing I would ever wear.  It's mostly latex, spandex and feathers.

I almost hate to go shopping for clothes because of the variety.  I don't want to try on 15 pairs of pants just to find the one that has the cut that properly accents the non-existent nature of my butt.  I have too much everything else, and no butt.

Obviously, I do not have a degree in clothing design.  I view clothing from the practical side.  It is because of this, that I have come to a very important conclusion: The only qualification necessary to be a popular designer of children's clothes is that you must never have had to dress a child.

I don't want to get into the fashion of color schemes or picture themes just yet.  I am speaking merely about the physical construction of baby clothes.  By the time the child gets to the age of two, it's not really a big deal because they understand the concept of "Hold still for one second!"  Harper is not really a problem.

Brynn, however, simply lacks the capacity to sit still long enough to allow herself to be dressed.  My mother experienced this a few weeks ago while attempting to change the little squirmer and, understandably, gave up.  To change this child's diaper and get her dressed takes dedication and patience known only to the Dalai Lama.

If I were a highly paid clothing designer, creating marvelous pieces of under- and outer-wear for children under the age of two, I might include a very wide variety of colors and patterns.  I might have animals and rocket ships and hamburgers and hearts and construction equipment and music notes and Lego's all over the outfits.  I would have shorts and long pants and sweaters and t-shirts and onesies and full body outfits and hats and socks.

What I would NOT have, at least not in any functional capacity, would be snaps or buttons.

We have this outfit and it is adorable!  Harper looked great in it and now Brynn looks great in it.

It has 12 snaps.  WHY??  What baby will sit still long enough to button 12 snaps??  The legs flail and kick and pop button number 3 open just as you get number 6 closed!

Strategy: Pre-snap the legs, slipping baby legs in, then snapping up the middle.
Strategy: Put arms in first, so no matter what, baby can not escape, can only mess up the snapping of everything else.

I imagine that in designing baby clothes, items should be considered in the following order:
1) Safety
2) Ease of Changing Diaper
3) Style

In several outfits we own, the first two are completely disregarded.  Brynn has one outfit that, in order to change her diaper, must be completely removed with the exception of the snap holding it around her neck.

We have another that, when she crawls, her legs come out of the pants and her knees, tugging on the stomach area of the outfit cause the outfit to pull her head slowly to the ground until she is eventually trying to dig a trough in our carpet with her skull.

For the love all that is good and decent!  Why aren't all baby clothes made with zippers??

Also, it appears that someone in the future has heard my plea and sent an amazing invention back in time.  They missed the mark though.  We needed this two years ago!

November 18, 2011

My Daughter, The Birthday Girl

Harper turns 2 today.

It's very weird for me to say that because, as usual, I find it an overwhelming shock that I happen to have a child, let alone two of them, let alone one who happens to be two years old.

Harper celebrated her birthday by sleeping in a little bit and then getting up and being happy all morning.  It must be my birthday too!

Two years ago today, the hospital allowed us to take home this small mewling mass of human.  These last two years have been fraught with all sorts of monumental life changes, including, but not limited to, purchasing a house, moving into said house with a newborn, birth of a second lovely daughter and a major job change for Sara.

Through it all, I've been keeping up with this blog, sporadically.

My mom, her partner and my grandmother came to visit us two weeks ago.  It was a wonderful visit and I'm very glad that they were able to come out and see the girls.(I suppose they came to see me too)  While here, I was explaining to my mom how I've started using Twitter as a marketing tool for the blog in an effort to drive traffic here.  My grandmother asked me why I wanted to do this, and what the purpose was of having the blog in the first place, not that she didn't love reading about how I get covered in bodily fluids and the like.

I explained to her that increased traffic means increased comments and feedback, which in turn allows me to improve the blog.  I want to make it something that people want to read.  She asked me why, wondering if I was making money off of it, or if it was ego, or something else.  I gave her an answer right off the top of my head, which I think makes it more true.

I told her that yes, I want people to like it because at some point, monetization may be an option, but what I really want, more than anything, is a record of my exploits and adventures as a parent.  I want, upon their high school or college graduations, be able to turn this blog into a small book that tells the story of their lives from my perspective.

We all live our lives with ourselves as the main characters.  We are our harshest critics and greatest proponents but there is a limited amount of empathy that we can have.  We never get to live our lives though someone else's eyes.  I want my girls to be able to look back and see what it was like for me and Sara without the benefit of our hindsight.

To fully answer my grandmother, I want this blog to be an ongoing birthday gift to both of my daughters, a chronicle of their lives.

With that in mind, I'm going to take the easy way out and link you to two previous posts.  The first is the first real post that I wrote as a dad.  I know it is just that because I brilliantly titled it First Real Post as a Dad.  The second link is to the post from Harper's first birthday.  It is filled with typical birthday wishes that I will reiterate again this year.

Happy birthday, Harper.  I love you more than I can ever express in mere words.

Also, if someone wanted to turn the blog into a book and sell it to millions of people as either a guide to parenting, or a warning, that would be a great gift for the girls as well. :-)

To leave you with a smile, here's a video of Harper feeding Brynn this morning.

November 13, 2011

My Daughters, Victims of a Philosophical Father

Many people, when watching children's programming, would consider the educational justifications of having their children plopped in front of the TV.

After over-exposure, some adults may begin humming the songs of the shows, refer to the actors as actual people, or even adopt the mannerisms and phrasings of the characters.

I, however, begin to contemplate the deep, philosophical questions that are invoked by cartoon reality.  I am out of clever introduction, so without further ado, here is a list of shows and the queries that pop into my head.


The obvious question here is "why is a four-year-old bald?" but a basic Google search provides the answer to that one.  Apparently, they felt that if he had brown hair, he would have only appealed to kids with brown hair.  If he had blond hair, he would only appeal to blond kids, etc.  This of course, begs the question, "why wouldn't a bald kid only appeal to bald kids?"  How big could that demographic possibly be?

Caillou, the boy of the giant bald head and absurd name, has a sister named "Rosie."  Why is her name so mundane (no offense to any readers named "Rosie") when his is so ridiculous?

Why does Rosie have no clothing except a housecoat with ruffled sleeves and collar?  Who dresses their child that way?  Then again, the mother wears the exact same outfit, but with pants, so I guess they shop at the same store.


In a world where anthropomorphic animals are the primary residents, where these animals act like people, how do they decide which animals get to act like people, walking, talking, owning property, and which ones have to remain as regular animals, scrounging in the dirt for food?

How does Kipper own a house, when he doesn't have a job?  How does he pay his mortgage with his life of leisure?

Also, is everyone in this world on sedatives?

Berenstain Bears:

Again with the choice of clothing for the mother, are those pajamas?  She runs errands in pajamas?

Someone wrote a blog post about naming, but apparently, the grandparents in this family didn't get the memo.    Can you imagine the emotional trauma that the parents endured going through school with the names "Mama" and "Papa"?  Just picture the conversation!

Bully:  Hey, Papa, what kind of a stupid name is that?  You a dad or something?

Bullies are not not known for their witty repartee.  Additionally, it means that the grandparents wanted to ensure that they had grandkids some day.  The destiny was guided by the names, much like naming a child Doctor makes it difficult not to become a doctor.  Or naming a child Chastity and being shocked when she becomes loose in the ways of women.  Sadly, this trend continued into the current generation.  Do they want the kids to become a monk and a nun?

What would they name a third child?

Sesame Street:

I understand that a large part of this show is about diversity, so I will run down the main diversities in terms of the personality disorders of the cast.
The Count: OCD
Cookie Monster: It's in the name!  Eating disorder.  (Again, see Berestain Bears for the destiny/naming connection) Also, his grammar is atrocious!
Elmo: Speaks only in third-person
Ernie:  Inability to read social cues, optimistic jerk
Bert:  Depression, pessimistic jerk
Grover: No clue, but something is seriously wrong with this guy.

Many of these characters have traits that would put them solidly on the Autism spectrum.

Bob the Builder:

Mostly, this show makes me want to build things.  But I am curious, as with Kipper, who decides which construction equipment is allowed to be alive?  Why isn't the shovel dancing around?

Who pays for all of the materials?

Thomas the Tank-Engine:

This show disturbs me on a level that I can't quite describe.  I want to see the first episode where some mad scientist creates sentient trains with human faces and emotions.  What could that motive possibly have been?

When I think of what hell might be like, it is close to being a train on this show.  Imagine for a moment that you have full control of your mental faculties and the complete and total inability to move anything other than your eyes and mouth.  If you want to travel, you can only move front and back along a track that someone else had laid down.  Above all of this, you need a constant supply of energy that you are completely unable to get on your own.  All the while, a small person with infinitely more freedom climbs in and out of your head and tells you what to do and where to go.

Also, why, on an island as small as Sodor, are there so many trains??

There are other shows, but I think this entry is too long as it is.  So much so, that both of my children have fallen asleep reading it.

November 5, 2011

My Daughters, The Marathon Runners

I am in serious trouble.

I mean life-altering trouble.

The kind of trouble that may lead me to leave my family, gather my liquid assets, change my name and move to another country.

Brynn is on the move.  God help me, I have two mobile children!

I think it's revenge inflicted on us by the ghost of Patrick Swayze.  He has returned from the great beyond because Sara broke the first rule of "Don't piss of Swayze:"
She put baby in the corner!

As long as he doesn't start massaging me while I'm trying to make ashtrays and coffee mugs, we'll be alright.

She went from stationary mode to mobility VERY quickly.  I don't mean that the transition was swift, as much as the moving is swift.  Her attention span is also swift.  One she arrives on one side of the room, she sees something elsewhere that she finds interesting and goes for that.

She has also taken to following her sister around, which is freakin' adorable!  Harper will lead her into their bedroom, proceed to pull all of the books off of the shelf and then the two of them will roll around in the literary accomplishments of Mercer Meyer and Dr. Seuss.

Brynn also has started indicating when she wants to be picked up by crawling over to said victim, and pulling herself up pant legs and looking helpless and sad until she is removed from the floor.

Having hairy legs, I have never been more pleased at the impending approach of winter and putting my shorts into storage.

As far as Harper goes, she has been doing her level best to remind Sara and me that she is almost 2.  She is starting to perfect her dramaticollapses to the floor and often garnishes it with a sprinkle of arm flailing and foot pounding.

It's not always sunshine and bubble gum though.  There are tough times too.  I have had to take a few days off of work to spend time with my daughter.  THE HORROR!!

We've gone to the park and played outside and went shopping!  It's was traumatic!


So...Who wants to buy me a smart phone with a better camera?

She even helps me with yard work.

The girls play very well together, no matter where they are.

Next weekend, Sara will be going to Florida with Brynn for her friends baby shower, which means that Harper and I get to spend the whole weekend together!

One of us is going to end up corrupted and I sure do hope it's me!



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