Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day 432 - Family Portrait Day

I knew today was family portrait day because I did two things I usually never do: 1) I wore a belt. 2) I used a comb. Yet my pants were still saggy and my hair still looked crappy. Unfortunately, this was as well-groomed as I was going to get.

Since Emma's face looked much better today, we went ahead and took our family portrait. Our appointment was at 1:30p so we fed the kids lunch at noon and hit the road around 12:30p. My sister drove my parents in their car and followed us to the mall. For some reason, Anne passed me on the freeway but she only had to take one off-ramp and make a right so it wasn't a big deal..or was it?

I received a call on my cell phone, and Lisa answered.

"Hello?"

"umm..heh-heh. It's Dad...Scott's Dad. Umm...we took a wrong turn and we're lost."

"WE'RE NOT LOST!" shouted my sister in the background.

"Which way did you turn when you got off the freeway," asked Lisa in her demeaning sing-song teacher voice.

"umm.. We took a left."

"You were suppose to take a right."

"Heh-heh...I guess that's why we're lost."

"WE'RE NOT LOST!!!" yelled Auntie Anne while spitting pretzel bits out of her mouth.

Although they DID get a little lost, it didn't matter because we were thirty minutes early for our appointment. Since the waiting area had a play area with some toys and a TV, we took the kids out of their stroller and let them roam around. Andrew went straight for the television, pointed at it, and asked me, "Did you work on this show and get it canceled?"

Once my sister and parents arrived, we were able to go inside the portrait room and take our photos. We ended up buying a small package deal that included all of the photos on a CD. So what you see below are a couple of the pictures that we took with a brief description. Enjoy my groomed hair and belted pants!

Lisa always complains when I draw cartoons of us that I draw her so much shorter than me. I know in this picture it looks like I'm not much taller than Lisa, but she's actually standing on some risers. So my cartoons ARE accurate, ya damn midget wife!

My sister and I laughed when the photographer told me to give Anne a hug because the Ichikawas aren't touch-feely people. Notice the awkward positioning of my left elbow so it doesn't graze any part of Auntie Anne's (pretzel maven) shoulder. Got to make sure I don't get the cooties.

Emma was very grumpy and sensitive during the entire shoot. She would cry and reach her arms out towards Lisa. Then she would cry and reach her arms out towards me to hit me. I think she was frightened by all the lights and the kooky photography and her assistant. The photographers looked like Central Casting extras from "Freaks and Geeks." Nice enough, but I'm sure they would've preferred to be at a matinee showing of "Twilight."

This was the best picture of Emma and Andrew. The object Emma is holding on to is not an old sofa, but rather the muscular, toned shoulders of yours truly.

And of all the pictures we took, here is the best group shot. Everyone smiled except Andrew. I think the reason Andrew did not smile was because of the way Lisa was holding him. Either that or he felt awkward because Grandpa and Crazy Grandma weren't wearing pants.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Day 431 - The Thin Red Line


For my parent's 40th anniversary, Anne and I decided to treat my parents to a family portrait. I called up and made an appointment at a very fancy place that takes coupons (i.e. Sears). Our appointment was for today.

We usually gauge the time the kids need to go to sleep by the way they walk. If they walk in a straight line, they're not tired. If they start to wobble, bed time is near. And if they start to trip and stumble like me after one beer, then it's time to hit the sack.

But last night, Emma had an accident. It was time to brush their teeth. Lisa grabbed Andrew, and I called out to Emma. She crawled out from under a chair, smiled, and stood up. I put my hands out and Emma began to walk towards me. Unfortunately, she tripped and somehow did a 360 and fell into the corner of the wall. I tried my best to grab her, but failed. It happened so fast, yet everything moved in slow motion. If Emma had two pistols and there were doves flying in the background, it would've made a perfect John Woo scene.

I was expecting blood on Emma's face, so I used a yard stick to turn her over. I didn't want blood on my white t-shirt. Thankfully, there was no blood and not a mark on her face. All we had was a very sad girl in pain. Crazy Grandma Ichikawa grabbed an ice pack and placed it on Emma's face which calmed her down immediately. We brushed Emma's teeth and put her to bed.

When Emma woke up the next morning, I checked her forehead to see if she had a bruise but there was nothing. After a sigh of relief, I pulled the pacifier out of her mouth and lo and behold what did I find...besides a piece of turkey. Emma had a red line from the corner of her nose to the bottom of her upper lip!

So we cancelled our family portrait today and rescheduled it for tomorrow. As the day has gone by, the redness has faded away. We're hoping by tomorrow the red line will be hardly visible at all. Which is fine by me because I don't think I looked very handsome today. I'm hoping I will look better tomorrow, but I've been saying that for the past thirty years. Nobody in my family is holding their breath for me...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day 430 - Picture Friday

"Holy crap! I have no nipples!"


This teddy bear died of starvation because Emma always fed him through his belly button.


"Holy crap! I have two nipples!"


Emma's attempt to accentuate her legs caused major wedgie butt burns.


Have a great weekend (...I think...)!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Day 429 - Happy Thanksgiving

For the second year in a row, my parents and sister spent Thanksgiving at our place. Also for the second year in a row, our dinner was prepared by our next-door neighbor, Marie Callender. Marie is a nice enough woman, but she really needs to lower the volume on her Bon Jovi albums.

Last year, our Marie Callender feast was ruined because our oven broke. We ended up cutting cold turkey slices and frying it in a pan. But this year the stove worked and what a difference an internal temperature of 75 degrees versus 140 degrees makes to a turkey.

Since Auntie Anne (pretzel maven and cup maniac) is a vegetarian, she made a pan of roasted vegetables and a few pumpkin pies for dessert. But the food we ordered was practically all vegetarian except for the turkey: fire-roasted yams, steamed vegetables, stuffing, cranberries, mashed potatoes, corn bread, and an apple pie. So to prove my point that a little meat isn't going to hurt anyone, I mixed a little cow blood in every dish. Don't tell Anne!

After dinner, we put the kids to sleep and watched the movie "Tropic Thunder." For those of you who haven't seen it yet, I'm going to give away a little spoiler so jump ahead to the next paragraph if you don't want to know! Before the actual movie starts, there are a bunch of fake movie trailers starring the fake actors in the movie. This confused the hell out of Crazy Grandma Ichikawa. "Who dat? What fake? Dis no movie? When movie start? My head hurts! Stupid!"

And that is why Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. die is the movie. Whoops. Gave away another spoiler. Sorry. Next paragraph!

Overall, it was another nice Thanksgiving. I'd say it was better than last year since the kids are a little more aware of their surroundings. Both Emma and Andrew enjoy playing with Grandpa and Crazy Grandma Ichikawa. And the kids also enjoy finding Auntie Anne's (pretzel maven) used cups around the house.

This Saturday or Sunday I'll post some video of the kids eating turkey! Gobble gobble, everyone!

Day 429 - Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving! I'll post something up tomorrow regarding our Thanksgiving dinner with Anne, Grandpa, and Crazy Grandma Ichikawa. Until then...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 427 - Things in Common


Auntie Anne (pretzel maven) has been staying with us for the past four nights.  Since she is immediate family (although she does have a striking resemblance to my mom's tofu delivery man), I was wondering whether or not the kids would have anything in common with her.  Lo and behold, I discovered something that Andrew has in common with Anne:  a love for cups.

Andrew loves his stacking cups.  Whenever he is quiet he is either on the floor playing with stacking cups or Emma is sitting on his face.  And Anne loves cups.  Not stacking cups.  Just your regular every day drinking cup.  Although she hasn't expressed any fetish towards cups, I can only assume she loves them by the sheer number she uses every day.

I probably go through a few cups a day, but Anne goes through a multitude of cups that I can't quite fathom.  In the morning alone, she goes through three cups:  a juice cup, a coffee cup, and a water cup.  Throughout the day she adds more and more cups because instead of using the same one, she just pulls out another cup from the cupboard.  By the end of the day, there are more cups laying around than a high school locker room.  

She also puts her cups around our place in unusual places like our sofa.  She has already left a few watermarks on it.  And this morning she placed her mug of hot coffee on an ottoman that Andrew was standing next to.

"Umm...maybe you should move your cup?" I suggested.

"Huh?  Why?" answered a half-asleep Anne.

"So Andrew's skin won't resemble bubble wrap..."

If my sister wants to use a dozen cups a day, it's fine by me.  Tomorrow, I'm going to experiment with an idea I came up with combining Andrew's and Anne's love of cups. In the morning, I'm going to put all of Andrew's stacking cups in the kitchen cupboards.  So when Anne goes to get something to drink she will use those and eventually leave it lying around the house.  Andrew will find these cups throughout the day and start to play with them.  At the end of the day, Anne will have used all the cups, Andrew will have played with all the cups, and then I'll start the whole process over again.  My cup runneth over with ideas!  

Monday, November 24, 2008

Day 426 - Poll Results & New Poll


Last week, I wondered whether or not we should allow the kids to roam free in our "off-limit" zone in the living room. Forty-four percent of you think we should let the kids walk around in the "off-limit" zone so they can be exposed to electrical cords, hidden porn, and my machete collection. But thirty-three percent of you say the kids should stay away, and twenty-five percent say the kids could break my precious television set that contains deadly mercury.

Because of this poll, I did let Andrew walk around in the "off-limit" zone one day while Emma was taking a bath. When I placed Andrew in this area, his eyes lit up and seemed a little shocked. "What did I do to deserve this treasure of discovery?" Andrew thought. At first, he was a little tentative and kept on looking back at me to make sure he wasn't going to be yelled at. Once that past, he was smiling away and running back and forth. I started to think that maybe we should let the kids explore more openly. But then he started to hit the television set. I pulled him back. He ran back and hit it more. I pulled him back again. He yelled. I pulled his face towards mine for eye contact.

"Andrew! Do not touch the television set. Danger. Do not touch."

He stopped yelling and smiled, so I put him down and patted my back for good parenting. And then he hit the television.

I think we'll keep the barrier up a little longer, but we'll take them down when we know the kids can understand a little more what they can and can't touch. I understand this may never happen, but I love my television too much. Perhaps the day when 52" LCDs go down in price, I'll remove the gates and expose the kids to deadly mercury.

**********

As of today, it looks like the kids are no longer terrorized by Auntie Anne's (pretzel maven) presence. They have asked her to read books to them, and occasionally they have even smiled at her. Anne also seems to enjoy the kids more than the last time she saw them when they were just these little pooping blobs. Now that the kids are comfortable with Anne, I was contemplating whether or not she would be able to babysit the kids by herself if I needed to go out for an errand (i.e. go see Quantum of Solace).

The thing is that I don't know how baby-capable Anne is. Here's what I do know: she has not changed a diaper, made a bottle, or fed them yet. But I could easily teach her all of these things. It just worries me that a nickname she has chosen for herself is "Baby" from Dirty Dancing. Can a Baby take care of two babies? What do you think?


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Day 425 - Hello From Pretzel Maven - Guest Blogger!


Hi, it's Anne AKA Scott's sister AKA pretzel maven. As Scott explained in his prior blog entry, I'm in LA for an elongated visit. The current status of the economy has made my pretzel empire suffer (guess people don't want to pay $3.00 for a piece of fried dough) and my day job as a freelance writer isn't really pulling the bucks in either. To make matters even worse, my night gig as a high-class hooker has also suffered from the recession as my regulars have opted to put food on the table for their children instead of using my services. Let's hope President Obama can help our country's weary state.

Now time for a little twinchikawa story:

Today while making a trip to the grocery store, people stopped my brother and I in the aisles to comment on how cute Emma and Andrew are. Blah blah yes they are twins blah blah no they were never conjoined blah blah blah blah no, just because we are Asian doesn't mean we feed them with little chopsticks. Somewhere in my meandering thoughts, I realized that these people probably thought I was Emma and Andrew's mom and I am Scott's wife. AHH! EW!!! GROSS!!! I felt compelled to interrupt them and explain: I AM HIS SISTER. NOT HIS WIFE. I HAVE NEVER EVER SEEN HIM NAKED! Lucky for everyone, I didn't make a scene, because the candy aisle and the giant chocolate turkey on sale distracted me. Gobble-gobble delicious!

Anywho, I foresaw my days here in California as productive and relaxing. I even had grandiose plans of starting to write a book with all this free time! However, now two little energy-sucking babies occupy the daylight hours. Yes, they are cute and related to me, but when their playtime gets in the way with my daily dose of Oprah, I really have to put my foot down!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Day 424 - Return of the Pretzel Maven!


What do the kids think about the return of Auntie Anne (pretzel maven)? A picture is worth a thousand words...or in this case a thousand screams.

I'd like to say Emma was crying in this picture because she missed Auntie Anne (pretzel maven) so much. That when she saw Auntie Anne (pretzel maven), Emma was so overcome with love and emotion that the only thing she could do to communicate her joy was through tears. Well...that's a load of crap. Emma didn't know who the hell this lady was and wanted to get the hell out of her arms.

My sister flew into Los Angeles yesterday for a prolonged visit. Unfortunately, Auntie Anne (pretzel maven) has not been making pretzels (i.e. money) for quite some time. Due to the hard economic times with the publishing industry, she has been out of work. But she has been able to do a little freelancing writing here and there...if you count graffiti as freelance writing.

Actually, most of her time has been devoted to starting a new blog site for teenage girls with her friend. The website is: iheartdaily.com. Since my sister has been an editor for several teen girl magazines (e.g. ElleGirl), and her friend is a writer with several young adult books on the market, together they have a lot of contacts and hope to make this site a success. So get the word out to all of your teenage girls to visit this site on December 1st! My sister (and my parent's bank account) will greatly appreciate it!

I'm not too sure how long Anne is going to stay here in California, but I think it will be at least until early January. My parents are coming back down this week not only for Thanksgiving, but I start a television pilot next week so they are going to babysit again. With all of the holidays, my parents will have a lot of breaks during this next television project. Basically, they'll be here for three weeks, then they'll return to Sacramento for three weeks for the holidays, and then come back down for about four weeks until my pilot ends. Thank god for Grandpa and Crazy Grandma Ichikawa!

Overall, it will be nice to have Anne around to spend time with the kids. She only sees them a few times a year, and it will be good for Emma and Andrew to know their other aunt. And for me, it will be nice to have her around because I can then understand what it would be like to take care of three babies. After one day, I already see that two is enough.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Day 423 - Picture Friday

"Good news for our asses! Desitin is on sale this week!"


Emma realizes her feet smell with or without socks.


Andrew's interpretation of the Times Square New Year's Ball Drop.


"Stop, thief! She stole my book and clothes!"


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Day 422 - Crazy Grandma Ichikawa Storytime


It has been a long time, but here is another...

CRAZY GRANDMA ICHIKAWA STORYTIME!

Since I have been Mr. Mom, practically every afternoon my parents video chat with the kids. I pull out my Mac, set it up on one side of the sofa's chaise, and the kids stand on the other side waiting to see Crazy Grandma Ichikawa's babbling internet antics.

At first, the kids are usually very happy to see Grandma and Grandpa. They smile and scream and point at the computer screen. Then several seconds later, they lose interest and find something more interesting to do like pick up lint from the floor or examine their belly buttons. But this doesn't stop Crazy Grandma Ichikawa from talking nonstop.

"Look at Grandmaaaaaah! I bought new toy for you!"

"Look at Grandmaaaaaah! I bought new book for you!"

"Look at Grandmaaaaaah! I bought thyroid medication for me!"

One day before we video chatted, Andrew's pants got all wet because he spilled water in his high chair. So I took his pants off and just let him run around the house like that for a bit. When I started the video chat, Crazy Grandma Ichikawa was not happy to see Andrew without pants.

"Why Andrew have no pants?" demanded Grandma.

I responded, "Andrew wants to look sexy."

"No sex! No sex! Put pants on!"

Funny how replacing the word 'sexy' with 'sex' suddenly made this video chat awkward and creepy.

I didn't put pants on Andrew despite Crazy Grandma Ichikawa's repeated request. As a matter of fact, this inspired me to take Emma's pants off.

"Ah!" screamed Grandma. "Emma have no pants! No funny! Put pants on!"

Now I had Andrew and Emma walking around the house without pants on. This was driving my mom crazy. When Andrew was off camera, I went to him and took his shirt off. When Grandma saw this she went ballistic.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" begged Grandma. "This no funny. NO funny at all. You going to make Andrew get sick! Put clothes on him now! AHHHH!"

I figured I took this joke as far as I could. So I told my mom I was going to take Andrew into the bedroom to change his diaper and get him dressed. While I was doing this, Emma was just looking at one of her picture books in front of the computer. When I finished changing Andrew, I took him off the changing table and let him run back to the video chat.

"NO! NO! NOOOOOO!" yelled Grandma.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"ANDREW NEKKID!"

That's right. After I changed Andrew's diaper, I put him on the ground butt naked. Now he was running around the house proudly showing off his frank and beans.

"You crazy! YOU CRAZY!" Grandma said with disgust. "You be sorry! Andrew go pee pee or poo poo in house. Then we see who sorry! Dat right! You get pee pee and poo poo on floor and you be sorry! I no want to talk no more. Dat it! I'm going. Yes. I am going."

This entire episode made me realize that if I'm ever unable to end a video chat, all I need to do is get one of the kids naked. The only thing I worry about is that if I do it too many times, Crazy Grandma won't care anymore. Fortunately, I have a Plan B. Unfortunately, that includes me being naked.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day 420 - Don't Be A Yuck Mouth


Probably a month ago, we started to brush Emma's and Andrew's teeth.  Lisa found these little toothbrushes and baby toothpaste that does not contain fluoride.  Her idea was much better than my initial idea of putting Comet on a toilet bowl brush.

Initially, I thought the kids would hate having these bristles rubbing all over their mouths, but then I remembered two words:  Farmer Dick.  The kids LOVE putting things in their mouth!  Silly me.  Plus the toothpaste has a fruit punch taste so it's almost like having an additional dessert before bedtime.  

The kids have their own way of dealing with the
 teeth brushing.  Andrew pretty much lets you have your way with his mouth (...damn you, Farmer Dick...).  He doesn't fuss and just goes along for the ride.  As for Emma, once you get the toothbrush in her mouth she purses her lips and starts sucking.  I'm pretty sure she's trying to get all of the fruity toothpaste into her mouth.  Either that or I'm going to be an awfully worried Papa when she goes out on her first date.

When the doctor first told us we needed to brush the kids' teeth twice a day, the first thing I thought of was, "What a waste of time."  I mean these teeth are just going to fall out anyways.  Why take the time to take care of them, right?  Unfortunately I have this rather faulty reasoning with many other things regarding the kids:  Why buy shoes when their feet are going to grow?  Why buy them toys when they're going to get bored of them?  Why look for the kids when they're going to get lost again?

And then the second thought I had was my own personal experience with the dentist.  When I was a baby, my pediatrician told my mom not to worry about brushing my teeth.  Sadly, I drank a lot of orange juice and the acid from the juice ate away at my enamel.  By the time I was four or five, I had to have quite a bit of work done on my teeth.  My pediatrician also told my mom not to worry about cleaning my ass, and by the time I was four or five, I had to...well...you can fill in the rest.

Back to my teeth, my mouth ended up being full of silver caps.  Every time I smiled I looked like a poster boy for Reynolds Foil.  My experience with the dentist was further worsened when he actually strapped me into the chair because I was moving around so much.  I had a Nazi dentist.  It was like a version of "Marathon Man" for PBS Kids.   

After my childhood flashback ended, I got my senses together and realized it is important to teach the kids good dental hygiene.   Although it can be a nuisance at times, they only have a few teeth and it takes hardly any time at all.  And that is why after every breakfast and dinner, I strap the kids into their high chairs, play "Triumph of the Will" on DVD, and start brushing away at their teeth.  Perhaps my early dentist experience still has a little too much influence on me...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Day 419 - Poll Results & New Poll

Last week I asked what I should do about Andrew's haircuts. Well, move over Vidal Sassoon, Not-So-Fantastic Sam, and Mr. Flowbee! The poll showed that 84% of you approved of my kickass haircut skills. For the rest of you nonbelievers, may your next haircut look a little worse than this:And by the way, this is not the famous picture of Phil Spector. This is actually a picture of Crazy Grandma Ichikawa with blond highlights.

**********

I feel the kids have plenty of places to play in the condo. They can hit each other in the bedroom, pull hair underneath the dining table, or have knife fights in the living area. But there are quite a few closed doors, gates, and electrical fences that keep the kids out of certain areas. We always keep the bathroom door closed -- not because of safety reasons, but I make quite the stink. The kitchen is also off-limits -- not only to the kids, but Lisa too. And we also rearrange the furniture so they can't play in a certain area of the living room. Basically we don't want them to touch the desk, the bookshelf, and the television area. Take a look at this rough floor plan:

Crazy Grandma Ichikawa told me that when she returns to babysit the kids, she's going to let them play in our forbidden area. She thinks the kids should be able to play where ever they choose (Good thing we don't live near a mine field.). This made me wonder whether or not we're being a little too paranoid about them playing in the "off-limit" zone. Should we let them wander free with supervision and teach them what they can and can't touch? Or are they too young still? Or will Crazy Grandma Ichikawa owe me a new television set?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Day 418 - Small Stack

For the past few weeks, Andrew has been concentrating very hard with his stacking cups. There has been a lot of frustration (i.e. screaming), learning (i.e. screaming), and moments of silent focus (i.e. screaming). Most of the time Lisa and I would have to help Andrew with the cups and play with him. But no more! Just like every growing boy, Andrew now knows how to play with himself! Hmm...that doesn't sound quite right.

Anyhoo, Andrew can now stack several cups on top of each other. Although we have several sets of stacking cups, Andrew usually plays with these cups that Lisa bought for the kids. He has mastered stacking three cups, and is on his way to four. Each cup has a letter on it so he can stack A,B, and C. We are waiting for the day when Andrew can play with Lisa's D cups. Damn. That doesn't sound right either.

Here's a video of Andrew stacking cups!

video

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Day 417 - No Solicitors!


During one of my afternoon strolls, I was walking towards another person who was most likely another stay-at-home dad.  There are a few tell-tale signs that someone is a stay-at-home dad.  They usually wear shorts, t-shirts, and a baseball cap.  Facial growth is visible.  Eyes are glazed over.  And in this case, we were both mailing our unemployment benefit forms.

As I approached this man pushing his baby in a single stroller, he stared at me.  For a moment I thought to myself, "At least I can tell him I voted no on Proposition 8."  But as we passed, he looked at Emma and Andrew, and then told me with a big sigh, "I don't know how you do it."  I answered, "Well, I do push-ups and sit-ups every day."  Only later did I realized he was referring to the twins.

You see, this is something I have noticed:  People have a tendency to have sympathy towards parents who have twins, triplets, or more -- like that damn Jon and Kate couple.  I don't know how warranted it is to have this sympathy, but I do know I have used it to my advantage.  With whom?  Telemarketers and solicitors.  Let me give you a few examples...

During the day, it is amazing how many phone calls I receive from telemarketers.  I usually screen my calls, but there are times when I answer the phone because I'm expecting a call (Yes, I have friends...not many, but I take what I can get.).  One time the phone rang while the kids were napping.  The kids were not having a good day, so I rushed to answer the phone for fear of them waking up.  Of course it was one of those happy-go-lucky UCLA Fund whores.  They started their long spiel of how they need money for teacher assistants, student activities, and the new Cinnabon they want to build in the Student Union.  This UCLA whore was especially chirpy and was starting to irritate me.  She irritated me even more because the phone call did wake up the kids.  So what did I do?  I walked into the kids' bedroom and put the phone directly next to Andrew's screeching cry.  

"Your phone call just woke up my twins."

"Twins?" said the Bruin money whore.  "I am soooo sorry."

"Yah.  Please don't call again.  I'll donate online.  Bye."

And I will admit I have done this more than once to telemarketers.

As for solicitors, I was approached by one this week as I was leaving the grocery store.  It was a sunny day so I had the stroller's canopy pulled all the way over the kids' faces.  I don't know what the guy's pitch was, but he had a tin can with Sharpie writing on it which never bodes well for legitimacy.  Before he could continue his pitch, I raised my index finger to my lips and went "Shhh" and pointed to the kids.  The guy looked down and saw Emma's and Andrew's feet dangling out from the edge of the canopy.

"I think they're asleep," I whispered to the guy I shall name Jack Ash.

"Whoops!" said Jack Ash. "Sorry, man.  I'll let you go."

And off I went on my merry way.  I know I could just be polite and tell these people I'm not interested, but I find my methods to be much more amusing.  In a way, I feel like I'm teaching the kids how to participate in practical jokes.  I think the next natural step for the kids is to teach them how to light up their poopy diapers in front of someone's front door.  Any other suggestions?


Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 416 - Picture Friday

"Yup, I feel it. Someone needs to change Emma's diaper."


Playboy's Playmate of the Year.


PC World's Doofus of the Year.


Someone put Gilligan's white hat in the laundry with the colors.


Kleenex is overrated.


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 415 - Baby Talk

It probably wasn't much longer than a month ago when I questioned how much Emma and Andrew actually understood when I spoke. Anytime I talked to them I was answered with a blank stare and, if lucky, a little drool. But what a difference a month makes!

I feel like we are starting to make a little headway into the world of two way communication with the kids. And how ironic this would happen the same time when I think I'm also making progress communicating with Lisa after eight years of marriage. Instead of throwing dishes at me when I ask her a question, Lisa replies with grunts and spit. I hope in a few weeks we can make a giant step forward with one syllable words.

There is a definite difference between Emma and Andrew and the way they are advancing with their attempts at communication. Andrew listens to us when he wants to listen. Most of the time he's too busy playing with his stacking cups or terrorizing Emma. But there are fleeting moments when I know he understands what we are saying. He knows simple words like "clap", "wave", and "steal second base". Yet I don't think he has the focus and interest that Emma has with us.

Emma seems to be much more engaged with us when we talk to her, and this makes a big difference. Andrew might understand just as much as Emma, but Emma actually does what we ask her to do. She knows a few body parts (nose, ear, belly button, fallopian tube), and does a few more tricks than Andrew (dances, rubs her tummy if something is yummy, simple algebra).

This week, she did a few things she has never done before: 1) When I patted the floor and asked her to sit, she sat down next to me. 2) I was across the room from her and asked her if she wanted me to read her a book. I did the baby sign language for book, and she walked to the shelf, picked up a book, and brought it to me. 3) When I read a picture book to her, I told her these animals were called ducks. She said, "...duh...duh..." And when I turned the page and there were some birds in the air, she pointed to the birds and said "...duh...duh..." That's when I scolded her and said, "You idiot! Those are pigeons!"

Now I don't want you to think that I'm bragging about our kids. If there's one thing that bothers me, it's arrogance and a sense of superiority. And I'm far from that. Sure our kids may eventually excel in math, science, and shaping little plants into trees, but that's in our Japanese genetics -- that's not bragging.

Whatever may seem like bragging on my part would actually be one of two things. First, it would just be excitement. For those of you who aren't parents yet, you'll eventually understand kids are gigantic time suckers. All of the things you used to enjoy don't necessarily disappear, but you have less time to do them because you're spending all your time taking care of the kids. So if all your time is with your kids, it's only natural that the things you get excited about revolves around the kids. Thrilling things like teething, temper tantrums, and bowel movements.

Secondly, something construed as bragging on my part would actually be an indication that I'm in between jobs, bored, desperate for adult conversation, and under pressure to write something -- anything -- for this blog...like now. I mean, really. Give me a break. I'm home alone with thirteen month babies and peeling grapes to keep my sanity. I'm going out of mind! Call Dr. Oz! Call Dr. Phil! Call Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem! Anyone!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day 413 - My Cherie, A Door


Almost every day since I've become Mr. Mom, I have taken the kids out for a daily walk. I usually walk around the neighborhood for about thirty minutes, and then top it off with a cup of coffee. I have zeroed in on four different places to get my coffee: Starbucks, Noah's Bagels, Gelson's, and this little donut shop next to an In N' Out. Some times I'll get a pastry, and some times I won't. I don't like to plan these things in advance because it takes the excitement out of life.

The new stroller we have is great, and you can maneuver it easily with one hand. The wheel balance is great and the stroller rolls in a straight line every time. Believe me, I've tested it. Last week I was on one side of the crosswalk, gave the stroller a good push, and it made it to the other side of the street without supervision and not hitting a single car. Amazing, right?

But the one thing that is an inherent problem with all double strollers is the size. These strollers are either too long or too wide. The stroller we have is side-by-side so it's on the wider side. And the trouble you find when you're by yourself is trying to open a door while getting yourself and the stroller inside at the same time.

I bring this up because I have made an observation: People, especially men, do not help me with doors. I've seen many times when you see a woman trying to get their stroller through a door (a single stroller no less!) and someone will get up to help them get through. Furthermore, this also holds true for women who look man-ish.

Just because I have a penis doesn't mean I wouldn't appreciate a helping hand with a door. Do I give off a sense of physical perfection that I do not need help? That the bulging muscles rippling underneath my Golden Girls t-shirt shouts out, "Stay away! This man needs no help!"?
Sadly, I think not.

Maybe if more men were able to experience what it is like to stay at home to raise their kids, the world could be a different place. It could be a world where all men are bald due to exhaustion and stress. It could be a world where all men knew the names of at least three different diaper rash ointments. And it could be a world where all men would never have to pay anyone to poop or pee on them.

Dare to dream, people. Dare to dream...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Day 412 - Poll Results & New Poll


Last week I asked what I should do about Andrew's favorite new toy: his screaming. The majority of you (61%) voted that this is just a phase and Andrew will get over it. And a few of you (23%) say that I should just let him scream it out. For the past week or so, I tried not to react to Andrew's screaming. Initially I thought I would just ignore it, but that incident with the meat slicer was a warranted scream. I also figured out that most of his screaming involves food. Either he really wants a bottle or he wants something to eat. As for Emma, I don't think she screams as much about her food because the food in her mouth prevents her from screaming.

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If I may, I want to talk a little bit more about Andrew's haircut. I agree that it isn't the best haircut in the world, but I think it does the job for a baby whose idea of hair gel is his snot. If we took him to the kiddie hair salon every 5-6 weeks we would end up spending close to $300/year. That's a ridiculous amount of money for a baby whose idea of hair spray is his urine.

So what do you think? Should I continue to cut Andrew's hair? Every month? Alternate months between myself and the kiddie haircut salon? Or grow it out like Cousin It?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Day 411 - Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

If you are reading this and your name is Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse Auntie Susan, then please scroll down to the bottom of this entry until you see your name in all-caps. And if you are not Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse Auntie Susan, please continue to read.

It was almost two months ago when Andrew received a haircut from the kiddie hair salon. Recently Andrew's hair has been resembling a dandelion on steroids. There's this very odd contradiction with Andrew's hair: it's coarse enough to stand straight up, yet when the light hits it the hair looks very thin and wispy -- similar to the way my body looks like when the light hits it.

Last month I bought unbeknownst to my family a pack of hair shears on Amazon. It was only $25 for three scissors; the stupid kiddie hair salon cost $30. I figured how could you go wrong for $25? Sure they were used scissors from a pet grooming salon, but they were advertised "like new." Good enough for Fido, good enough for my kids.

When Lisa commented that Andrew needed a trim today, a gigantic light bulb went on over my head -- Emma accidentally turned on the dining room lights. But that jarred my memory, and I remembered my scissors. I told Lisa I could try to give Andrew a trim. Lisa asked me if I knew how to do it. I responded that there's nothing to worry about. What's the worst thing that could happen? Sure I could accidentally gouge an eyeball or puncture an eardrum, but that's why God gave us two of each.

As Lisa strapped Andrew into his high chair, I went to get my equipment: scissors, comb, electric razor, a water sprayer, and a bag of trail mix (I was hungry). I honestly wasn't too sure what I was getting myself into. I watched a few You Tube videos on haircuts, and my dad told me how to cut hair evenly ("Dad, how do you cut hair evenly?" "By not cutting it uneven. Heh heh."). But I figured I would just cut a little bit off and not try to do anything fancy like a perm.

We were smart enough to cut Andrew's hair after he ate his lunch, so he was well behaved in his chair. I wet his hair, combed it, and then proceeded to act like I knew what I was doing. I cut around his ears, trimmed the back, and cut the front. The part that I got confused about was the top of his head. I know you're suppose to grab a bunch of hair in patches and then cut the amount you want off, but it just was not happening. So I just did as little as possible and hoped for the best.

Here's a picture of Andrew before with his dandelion head:

BEFORE

And here's a picture of Andrew after his haircut:


AFTER

Not awful, right? For the first time, I was rather pleased with myself. But if I paid $30 for this haircut I would ask for the manager and get my money back. At least you can see Andrew's ears, and his hair isn't as out of control. Plus I stabbed him on the top of his head, so you can't see the scar. All in all, a job well done for my $30 scissors that were once used to neuter animals.

***PEDIATRIC INTENSIVE CARE NURSE AUNTIE SUSAN READ HERE***

Day 411 - Best Day Ever

Today was the best day ever with the kids. Both Emma and Andrew woke up in their 100% baby-proofed home. They didn't fall or trip, and they each had a healthy bowel movement. Although they are only 13 1/2 months year old, they enjoy reading Toni Morrison and admire the art of Warhol. Before they went to sleep, the kids drew this picture on their own:This is the best day ever!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Day 410 - Grape Scott!


During the week, I usually take the kids out once a day for a stroll or an errand. And some times, just to be exciting, we do both together. But since the kids have been sick this week, I didn't take them out at all. And I got to say that being home all week got me a little antsy.

My once naive notion that staying at home would give me the opportunity to pursue my interests during their naps (i.e. drawing, playing the piano, writing, cross-dressing) made me want to stick a "sucker" sign on my back. Unfortunately there is no room to put the "sucker" sign on my back because Lisa makes me wear a "dumbass" sign when I'm at home.

Earlier this week, I was getting lunch ready for Emma and Andrew. I chopped up some boiled chicken breast and cut some broccoli and carrots into bite-sized pieces. And dessert would be some grapes and Cheerios. Lisa got the kids used to eating peeled grapes, and I swore to her that I'd rather eat my own poop than peel grapes for the kids. Well, I ended up peeling grapes for the kids and poop tastes better toasted (texture goes a long way).

While peeling the grapes, I discovered a short cut! Lisa peels the grapes whole, but what I found out was that it's much easier to peel the grapes when you cut them in half. Who's the dumbass now, Lisa? This got me very excited. Then I wondered whether or not it might be possible to peel the skin off the grape in one motion. Nah! That would be impossible! But what if...ohmygawd! I did it! Yes we can! Yes we can!!! And THEN I counted how many grape halves I had and then decided to count how many perfect peels I could get. Finally, I could do a simple math calculation to figure out my percentage of perfect peels! I just created a new game for myself! This is so much fun!

This is so pathetic!

It didn't take me long to figure out how pathetic my life had become. After I figured out my percentage (which was a measly 15%) and after I made a chart entitled "Grape Expectations" and after I sewed a felt grape and after I placed the grape on the chart with a magnet THAT is when I thought to myself, "Wow...how sad! I only got 15%." And after that, I thought to myself, "And this is kinda pathetic."

I guess it's only natural to figure out ways to entertain yourself at home when the only other people at home are two babies whose sole source of entertainment is currently your belly button. Not having anyone to talk to or be social with gets tough on the mind especially when it brings back sour memories of college and high school and middle school and elementary school and preschool.

But these moments of self-pity tend to be short lived.  Why?  Because you have to change a diaper.  Or you have to put your kids to sleep.  Or you have to comfort Emma because Andrew got into the kitchen cabinets and hit her with a salad spinner.  Basically you realize you're a parent.  Sure you're allowed to occasionally wallow in your own pool of tears and urine, but this is what you signed up for.  Ultimately, you're devoting the rest of your life to your kids and there's nothing pathetic about that.  It's only pathetic when you don't.

So I'll probably continue to figure out new ways to entertain myself when I'm home alone.  I think the next game will be to see how many strands of hair I pull out of my head every day.  I'll title the chart "Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow."  

Friday, November 7, 2008

Day 411 - Picture Friday

"OUCH! I'm sitting in a VERY uncomfortable position!"


Now that Obama is President-elect, Emma wishes for the one thing she wants more than anything else in the world: To be an only child.


"Hey ladies...how you like my Clooney-do?"


"No, Marty! The flux capacitor needs 1.21 jigawatts of electrical power!"


Have a great weekend!