Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 875 - The Playroom

A few blocks away from where we live is an indoor playground for toddlers. It's one of those places where you pay admission for your children to play with a large assortment of toys contaminated with boogers, poop, and piss. And as a special bonus, your children will get sick a few days later.

Or at least that's what my initial impression was of these kinds of playgrounds. I decided to take Emma and Andrew to this place one weekday because I wanted to see if this would be elderly-friendly for Crazy and Lazy Ichikawa. I must say that my preconceived notions were for the most part wrong.

This indoor playground had a wide variety of activities for the kids: moon bounce, ball pool, plastic gym/slide, rock climbing wall, at least two dozen vehicles, tunnels, a pretend kitchen, and a gigantic keg of beer -- although I think that was for the parents. Emma and Andrew were overwhelmed by the sheer number of things to play with since the only things they have at home to play with are old Cool Whip tubs, hair rollers, and a gigantic keg of beer -- although that's actually for me.

The place was very clean, friendly, and had a lot of wide open space. You sign your kids in and then you take your shoes off before you enter the playroom which is fine by a Japanese who even takes off his shoes before he enters a 7-11. I think I was the only father around, although I did hear some women mentioning how they thought I was an adorable Chinese woman.

We were there a little over an hour, and that was enough time for the kids to play with everything they wanted and to be exhausted for a nice long nap. I was also glad to report to Crazy Grandma Ichikawa that I saw an employee cleaning all of the toys before I left. I don't know if that was something they do every hour or if it was because I was about to take our kids home. If it was the latter, I swear that I didn't know Andrew peed in the moon bounce.

But the one toy that the kids loved playing with was this mini-roller coaster. It was a plastic car that you rode on and it travels over two bunny hills. At first I thought they might've been a little afraid of the jumpy nature of the ride, but when I saw how much they loved it, I realized that they were smiling the exact same way when Lisa drives them around town.

Here's a short video of the kids on the mini-roller coaster!


video

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 874 - Co-pee Cat

There was a time when it took a little learning on our part to realize that the kids tend to pee after their bath. After several mishaps on the bathroom floor and the bedroom rug, Lisa and I said enough was enough. We decided to research baby catheters. After a brief visit from social services, I figured a better alternative was to have the kids sit on their potty seats after bathtime.

Tonight, we went through the same bath and potty seat ritual that we have been doing for the past months. The kids didn't have to pee, so everyone went into the bedroom to get dressed for bedtime. Unfortunately, Andrew's baby water hose sprung a leak and a little pee went on the carpet.

"What Andrew do?" asked Emma.

"Andrew just did a little pee-pee," answered Lisa. "Accidents happen." Gee, I wish Lisa was as understanding when I accidentally pee in bed.

As Lisa tossed some paper towels over Andrew's marked territory, she noticed that our naked Emma squatted on the floor with a determined look. Emma must have some magical relationship with her bladder because they worked together to create another puddle of piss on the rug.

Lisa and I were flabbergasted! The only thing that went through my head was that I better not say anything about pooping. Who knows what hocus pocus Emma has with her lower intestine.

I realize that toddlers copy other people because it's a great learning tool for them. But there's something terribly wrong and unusual with Emma forcing liquid out of her urethra. I don't know who would want to pee on the floor just because someone else did -- crazy homeless people not included.

Ultimately, we did not get angry at Emma, but we told her it is not appropriate to pee on the floor. Lisa and I did not want to make a gigantic deal out of it especially since we are still trying to potty train them. So after getting the kids dressed, we gave them their milk and we sat around the television watching John Waters' Pink Flamingo. Without going into too much detail, let's just say Emma's next diaper change was not for the faint of heart.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 873 - Picture Friday

Proud Emma accomplished her task of the day: dumping all of Andrew's toys down the trash chute.


Clap on! Clap off! The Clapper!


If it weren't for the fast shutter speed of my camera, I never would be able to capture adorable moments like this of Emma stuffing tissue paper up her runny nose.


Andrew loves to use his Lightning McQueen cup to drink motor oil.


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 872 - Photo Booth


While dealing with two sick kids this week, I tried to figure out new ways to entertain and distract them. My first idea was having the kids watch Dumbo. But bringing a live elephant into the house dressed as Dumbo was a really bad idea. Not only because of the smell, but the damn thing filled up my Diaper Genie with one crap. My second idea was to just let them do whatever would make them happy. If I knew they wanted to shave my legs and feed me baby powder, then I never would've given them that option.

Thankfully, my last idea was a home run. I let the kids fool around with the Photo Booth effects on my computer, and they thought it was the most hilarious thing next to shaving my legs and feeding me baby powder. For those of you not familiar with Photo Booth, it is an application for your Apple webcam that allows you to take photos and videos with a variety of digital effects.

Honestly, there were a few effects that bothered Andrew because he did not enjoy seeing his face altered and morphed. But having the kids laugh for a few minutes was a great alternative to wheezing, sniffling, and whining.

Here's a short video of the kids futzing around with Photo Booth:

video

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 870 - Conversations With Emma

It was your typical bath time filled with bubbles, toys, and pee. Mostly because of the pee, I made sure I cleaned the tub really well after I got out since the kids were getting in next.

As Lisa was giving the kids their daily bath, things started to get out of hand. Andrew was keeping his energy level on the safe side of goofy, but he crossed the line and it was almost time to call in the large enigmatic Indian with the bed pillow for help. Thrown toys splashed water everywhere, and bath bubbles covered every surface including Lisa's face.

With good reason, Emma began to grow concerned about her safety with her manic brother. She turned towards Lisa and said, "Andrew crazy!"

"I know," agreed Lisa. "Andrew is acting really crazy in the tub."

And then a spark lit up Emma's eyes, and she added, "Crazy like Grandma!"

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 869 - Poll Results & New Poll


Last wizzle, I wondered how having kizzles has affected romance in your relationshizzle. What the fizzle! Fifty-sizzle percent said having kids makes romance fo shizzle! Twenty-eizzle percent thought it makes it fizzle, and only fourteen percent thought it made it sizzle. All I can say about this is that fo shizzle the nizzle hizzle is not going to eat that mizzle because after all of the kids have gone to slizzle there's no way that the dizzle is going to pizzle the quizzle. Ite?

NOTE: Actually I have no idea what fo shizzle means. I know one of those cool kid rappers says it, but I'm not too sure which one. Maybe it's that Michael Buble. I don't know. I just hope I don't seem too square or old with the current lingo. Jeepers, I even listen to contemporary music like Mylie Cyrus and Josh Grobin. How unhip could I be?

**********

I knew something bad would happen with the kids always picking their noses. No, nothing dramatic happened like their nose falling off or their finger poking out of their eye duct. The kids just caught a cold. Andrew had the runny nose on Friday, Emma got the runny nose today, and I just want to runaway.

When one person in the family gets sick, there's that feeling of dread wondering when other people will get sick too. You try your best to wash your hands and give the sick child an hourly dipping in a vat of Purell, but more often than not your valiant efforts are thwarted with a stray booger or an unexpected sneeze in the face.

Although I do find myself trying to keep the sick child away from the rest of the family (a mosquito tent stapled to a furniture dolly works wonders), there is a part of me that feels it is a waste of time. Trying to keep the sick child away from the healthy child is as impossible as keeping Lisa away from my wallet on payday (Joke's on her! I'm unemployed right now! Bwahaha!).

So what do you do when someone in your family gets sick?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 868 - Little Bruins


One weekend, Lisa and I decided to take the kids to our alma mater, UCLA. As Japanese-Americans, UCLA was one of two other places that Lisa and I could've met. The other two places are: 1) the abacus aisle at Office Depot or 2) the motherboard section at Electronic Fry's.

Although it has been years since we both graduated from college, it didn't seem too long ago when Lisa and I first met. Lisa was a senior, and I was an innocent, wide-eyed sophomore. Lisa introduced me to all of life's vices: alcohol, drugs, and farm animals. Who would've thought after all of those years we would've ended up married with twins? Certainly not all of those farm animals.

It's very difficult to imagine the kids going to college now because they are only two, and it would be a tremendous waste of money. But in sixteen years, that's a different story. We've already started a college fund, but I imagine by the time we're ready to crack open the piggy bank it will be just enough money for a few textbooks and a semester's worth of instant noodles and juice boxes.

The kids really enjoyed running around the campus, and I was able to appreciate it more now since time has passed. As a student, you usually take for granted your scholastic surroundings since you're usually stressed about your classes, stressed about your relationships, and stressed about the results of your blood work from the campus clinic.

Here are a few pictures of the kids running around UCLA!

Future Bruin?


Future Ham?


Here is a portion of Bruin Walk. Or as the kids renamed it: Bruin I-Don't-Want-to-Walk.


The kids in front of Royce Hall.


I was wary of the kids playing in the fountain because I saw some horrible things done to it during hazing week.


At first the kids were a little scared of the bear, but I told them it was only a statue and the worst thing that could happen is that the statue could tip over and crush them.


The end.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 867 - Ichikawa Idol


Emma and Andrew are slowly beginning to learn how to sing songs. Emma actually has a small repertoire of songs so we can probably drop her off at the 3rd Street Promenade next to that silver robot dude. Andrew is still 2-3 months behind Emma with his speech and language development, so he has a more difficult time stringing together words in order to sing a song. His version of singing is to shout out the first or last word of a verse. I call it Tourette's Singing.

Here is a short video of the kids singing the classic song Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.


video

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 866 - Picture Friday

"andrew...don't turn around. but a caucasian is sneaking up behind us."


"The Phantom of the Opera is there...inside your mind..."


Emma holds the newly released Kultida Woods doll -- she'll love you no matter what.



"Winnie the Pooh. Hehhehheh. I said 'poo.'"


"Der-dee-der! Look! I'm Daddy's driver's license picture!'


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 865 - Eyes on the Lies


It is impossible to keep an eye on the kids every single second of the day. There are many moments when you must sway your attention towards something else such as preparing lunch, changing a diaper, or crouching in the pantry closet having your daily mental breakdown.

Although we always try to keep the kids occupied with a safe activity when we can't supervise them (i.e. coloring, blocks, dissecting rats), there are times when accidents or rough housing may happen. From experience, I can tell the difference between the two without even looking. When it's an accident, you hear an immediate cry or scream. When it's rough housing, you hear an immediate, "STOP! STOP! STOP! OUCH!!!"

While Lisa was preparing her infamous dinner of burnt tofu and hot water, she heard Emma crying for help. Lisa peeked out of the kitchen and saw Andrew pushing Emma into a corner and hitting her. I'm sure it was for a good reason, but he still shouldn't do that.

Immediately, Lisa went to break up the fight. She asked Emma if she was okay, and between sobs she said she was fine. And then it was time to interrogate Andrew.

"Andrew," asked Lisa. "Why is Emma crying?"

Andrew looked blankly at Lisa just like the way I look at Lisa when she asks me why I smell like cheap stripper lotion.

Lisa continued, "Andrew. Emma is crying because you were pushing and hitting her. Did you hit Emma?"

Andrew paused and answered, "No."

"Then what did you do?"

Andrew walked past Lisa and stood next to Emma. He then began to stroke her back and innocently said, "I pat Emma. I pat. Pat pat pat."

We were aghast to hear that. So Lisa and I did what any good parent would do. We grounded Emma for lying to us.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 863 - Pacifier, Be Gone!


After just two days, Andrew is no longer using his pacifier. Friday night was the worst night -- just ask Emma and she'll complain, "Andrew cry, cry, cry!" And Saturday really wasn't that bad. Andrew had a little more difficulty unwinding, but he eventually tired himself out and fell asleep.

Lisa and I are really surprised that it only took a few days for Andrew to give up his pacifier. It came to the point where if we asked if he wanted his broken pacifier, Andrew would make a disgusted face and say, "No!" The weaning process was so relatively easy that Lisa had to slap me around a few times when I told Andrew, "My son ain't no quitter! Suck that binky! Suck it like a man!"

Instead of Andrew being a quitter, I'm hoping that his willingness to give up his pacifier was a combination of it being the right time and him realizing it wasn't worth his time crying over a broken pacifier. And if none of those are the reasons, then I will attribute him no longer using his pacifier to brilliant parenting.

The one unexpected result of Andrew's oral un-fixation is that he has begun to wake up earlier and is having a more difficult time taking a nap. Instead of Andrew's usual silence because of the pacifier, he has become a non-stop babbling machine. I'm hoping over the course of the next week or so, Andrew will be able to calm himself down for a nap. I've tried to keep him quiet and entertained in the crib with dolls, books, and Shetland ponies, but he inevitably grows restless and wants to get out.

During today's nap, I listened to the baby monitor from the safety of my panic room. I didn't hear Emma talking or fussing after fifteen minutes, so I assumed she fell asleep. Andrew continued to babble, talk, and whine. And then about five minutes later, I heard Emma say these words, "Andrew! Stop talking! Stop. Talking."

Ah. Words to live by.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 862 - Poll Results & New Poll


Last week, I wanted to know when your kids were potty trained. Sixty-six percent obnoxiously bragged that their kid was potty trained before twenty-eight months (...i hate you...). And then thirty-three percent said that their child was potty trained between thirty-eight and forty-two months.

More importantly, I think this poll gave me crucial demographic insight to what kind of people are reading this blog. Obviously from the three people who voted in last week poll, it is so clear to me that parents do not read this blog. So who reads this blog? After intense research and analysis, I came to the conclusion that these type of people read this blog: people who are entertained by the sad and pathetic stories of a geeky Japanese father because his pitiful and embarrassing life makes their lives seem more fulfilling and hopeful. So keep on reading, my fans!

**********

To Lisa, yesterday was Valentine's Day. To me, it was Sunday. I wouldn't characterize myself as a very romantic person, but I'm definitely thoughtful. For instance, a romantic person would surprise his wife with a bouquet of flowers. A thoughtful person would give his wife a fifty dollar bill and tell her to buy a bouquet of flowers. Yup...I'm thoughtful.

Once you have kids, all of your holidays center around them. For Valentine's Day, I had the kids make cards for Lisa, and then they made a delicious filet mignon with a reduced red wine mushroom sauce. Also, it's very hard to have a romantic dinner when Andrew is stuffing corn up his nose and Emma is spitting water into her plate.

I began to wonder whether or not having kids tends to fizzle or sizzle romance in a relationship. I know some friends who said having kids was the best thing since upgrading to D battery toys; and some other friends say the last time they had sex was when they had kids -- and their kids are in college. What do you think?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 861 - Conversations with Emma


Although Lisa and I have been exhausted dealing with Andrew's whining and crying over his pacifier, I forgot that his volume and projection has a much more immediate impact on another person: Emma. Her crib is only a few feet away from Andrew's so she is getting the full impact. It got so bad one day that I think she tried to stuff her bunny blanket into Andrew's mouth.

Emma has slept through so many of Andrew's screams, cries, and monosyllabic monologues that I forget that she could be affected by his inability to sleep without his pacifier. While Lisa was changing Emma's diaper, they had this conversation..

EMMA: Andrew cry, cry, cry!

LISA: Oh, are you talking about last night?

EMMA: Yah.

LISA: Andrew did cry a lot last night. Daddy bought Andrew a new pacifier and it was broken.

EMMA: Why Daddy buy for? Andrew don't like.

LISA: Well that's true. But Andrew will eventually get used to the pacifier because we don't know what else to do about it.

EMMA: (with exasperation) Give him old one!

And once again, I fear Emma's teenage years...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 860 - Pacifier Withdrawal


zzz...zzz...zzz...

HUH UH WHAT? Oh sorry. A little tired today because last night we decided to wean Andrew off of his pacifier. That's right. Lisa and I stopped procrastinating and agreed it was time to tell Andrew the next time he'll go to sleep with a nipple in his mouth won't be until at least 2026.

As we got Andrew ready for bed, we told him that he was going to get a brand new pacifier. Little did he know that the pacifier wasn't going to work because I cut the tip off. I also punched a few small holes on the top so as he inhaled and exhaled it would create a sound that would sound vaguely like "loooo...serrrrrr."

The time approached when we put him into bed and gave him his new pacifier. At first Andrew was a little puzzled as he tried it out. As he inhaled and exhaled through the cut pacifier, the wheezing made him sound like an asthmatic midget marathon runner. After a few more tries, Andrew disconcertingly held the pacifier towards us and said, "I need help!"

We asked him what's wrong and he continued to say, "I need help." He started to fiddle with the tip of the pacifier and noticed the hole. Andrew wasn't very happy about it and began to get angry.

I tried to calm Andrew down and told him, "Oh no! Your pacifier is broken. Well, you can either try to use it or you can throw it away. What do you want to do?"

"Throw!" he yelled.

So I got him out of the crib and let him throw his pacifier away. I thought this was a pretty smart and mature decision on Andrew's part. What a good boy! I put him back into his crib, patted his head, and said good night.

A few minutes later he started to scream. I went back into the room and asked what was wrong.

"I NEED! I NEED! I NEED!" he yelped.

"You need your pacifier?" I asked.

"Yaaaaah," he whimpered.

As I pulled the pacifier out of the trash and began to wash it in the kitchen sink, I began to think how not very smart and immature Andrew was about this pacifier predicament. But I realized that this is something that he has been using every since he was born, so this might be a struggle for him. Most articles I've read about weaning a child off a pacifier said it would take around three days. Annoyingly, the articles did not note that the three days might feel like three weeks.

For at least an hour, Andrew cried and whined about his pacifier. He demanded a recall as if his pacifier was manufactured by Toyota. Lisa and I were firm about not giving in to Andrew's needs, but we were also compassionate and understanding about it. We would take turns checking in on Andrew every 10 minutes and tried to distract him by putting some assorted dolls in his crib. I even put my old Macintosh Classic in the crib, but that bulky thing fell on Andrew's head. Stupid Apple.

Around 10pm, there was quiet. Sweet, delicious quiet. Andrew tired himself out and cried himself to sleep. The drama was not over yet because at 1am, he began to cry again. Once again, for almost another hour, Lisa and I took turns trying to calm Andrew. At 2am, the crying stopped and Andrew fell asleep. At 2:15am, I stopped crying from exhaustion and fell asleep too.

Although Lisa and I went through the fussing and crying with the kids when they were first born, there was something decidedly different about it last night. The difference being that you're dealing with a kid who is crying over a loss and can actually communicate about it. There was something a little heartbreaking to see Andrew crying over his decapitated pacifier, but you just tell yourself that this is for your kid's own good.

I don't know how many nights this drama is going to continue, but now that we started this nonsense, we've got to see it through. For some reason I think the final outcome of this all is that Andrew is going to stop sucking his pacifier, but Lisa and I are going to end up sucking a crackpipe.

TO BE CONTINUED...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 859 - Picture Friday

"Happy Valentine's Day, ladies. I'm single and need my diaper changed."


As Emma's new hairstyle is cemented into place, we hope this hair hook will make it easier for us to carry her around town.


"Seriously, dude. Do you have to take a picture of me when I drink? Come on!"


Sadly, Emma has to take the really, really, really short bus to school.


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 858 - Change of Fart


There are three tell-tale signs that your kid crapped their pants: 1) You see them grabbing onto the sofa and grunting like a hog. 2) A small piece of crap falls out from their pant leg. 3) The smell of excrement overwhelms the room. The latter happened this evening.

It was time to put the kids to bed. I walked into the bedroom where Lisa was reading a book to them, and that distinct stench of flattened feces against powdered baby butt told me one of the kids had a Cracker Jack surprise package.

"Oh oh," I said. "Who went poo-poo in their pants?"

As I began to check their diapers, let me make a public service announcement to those parents whose babies are becoming toddlers. When you check a toddler's diaper, please be careful how much finger you use when pulling the diaper away from the waist. I have made the horrible mistake of going in too deep on several occasions, and the only time you want your finger to look like that is when you're licking a mixing bowl full of chocolate frosting.

Surprisingly, when I checked the diapers I found nothing. Perhaps it was just a fart, but I decided to check their diapers once more in case I missed a small Milk Dud hiding in a crease.

"Hmm. Did neither of you go poo-poo?" I asked the kids. "It sure smells like someone stunk up their pants."

As I turned around to close the bedroom door, I heard someone speak up. Was it Emma? Was it Andrew? Nope.

Lisa looked up at me from the couch and said, "I farted."

And with that, I looked forward to Valentine's Day that much more.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 856 - The Final Frontier


When the weather was bad a few weeks ago, I resorted to showing Emma and Andrew videos on YouTube. I showed a variety of things: animals, cartoons, something about a couple of girls and a cup. But the one thing that stuck with Andrew was the Space Shuttle launch.

Since we have a wooden puzzle with the Space Shuttle, I figured I would show the kids how it launches. It seemed to have been especially fascinating for Andrew because he now reenacts the take-off with the puzzle piece and his Fisher Price airplane. As for Emma, she was not that interested in the Space Shuttle, but she loved to watch kitties yawn on YouTube so I have now succumbed to purring like a cat and licking my hands.

Here's a video of Andrew pretending his airplane is the Space Shuttle:


video

Monday, February 8, 2010

Day 855 - Poll Results & New Poll


Last week, I wanted to pick your brain to see what we could do about stopping the kids from picking their noses and mouth. Fifty-five percent believed we should just ram it into their heads that they should not play with their facial orifices. Thirty-three percent told us we should be thankful that they're only picking their face holes and not their butt hole.

The continuing picking and digging only got worse the past week because Andrew began to stick some food up his nose. On one occasion it was a corn kernel. The next time it was a piece of rice. Most recently it was a turkey leg -- which ironically was the easiest one to pull out.

I read a few articles about nose picking and most of them agreed that punishing or getting angry at your child may reinforce the problem. The child may continue to do it because they know they will get a strong reaction from the parent. So what Lisa and I have been trying to do is one of two things: offer them a tissue or gently pull their fingers out of their face with no reaction. We'll see how far this gets us, but it's awfully hard not to react when your kid has a chopstick halfway up their left nostril. Which begs the question, where did the other chopstick go?

**********

The potty training is progressing very slowly. Without a doubt, there's more poop and pee in the pants than in the toilet. But enough about me, let's talk about the kids.

The kids are also progressing slowly with the potty training. The kids have been most successful before and after their bath. There have been a number of celebratory dances after bath time because Emma and/or Andrew peed or pooped in their potty chair. As for the rest of the day, let's just say they are still very comfortable scooting down their indoor slide with a pile of dung in their denim.

I read an article in a parenting magazine that the average age for a girl to be potty trained is 35 months; a boy is around 39 months. Emma is 28 1/2 months, and I'm pretty sure Andrew is the same. So according to the magazine, we are still 6 1/2 to 10 1/2 months away from saying good bye to diapers and stained sofas. Of course the statistic is just an average, but that means we may be 4,000 diapers away from the kids finally being able to flush!

So just to see how accurate this article is, when were your kids potty trained?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 854 - Conversations With Andrew


Note: Today's blog entry may make more sense if you remember Day 839's Auntie Anne's Twisted Pretzel Tales.

Auntie Anne (pretzel maven) was talking to Emma and Andrew via video chat. It was an extremely interesting conversation about peek-a-boo, cars, Hello Kitty, and the ideal amount of time it takes for pretzel dough to rise.

Soon it was time for Emma and Andrew to go down for a nap. I told them to put down their pretzel dogs and cinnamon sugar pretzel sticks because they had to say good-bye to their favorite aunt. And by favorite aunt I mean their most favorite aunt on the Ichikawa side because I'm afraid Pediatric Intensive Care Nurse Auntie Susan may stick me with a deadly dose of children's Tylenol if I didn't qualify myself.

After Emma said her good bye, I had to pry Andrew away from his Lightning McQueen toys to bid a fond farewell to Auntie Anne (pretzel maven).

"Andrew," I commanded. "Come here and say good-bye to Auntie Anne."

"Oooookay," said Andrew as he put down his Lightning McQueen butterfly knife.

I place Andrew in front of the computer and asked him to say bye-bye.

"Bye-bye," whispered Andrew.

"Bye-bye whom?" I questioned Andrew.

Andrew looked straight into the computer screen, and then his face lit up as he exclaimed, "BYE BYE, CHING-CHONG!"

As he repeated this over and over, I just glared at Auntie Anne as I awaited another angry phone call from the Mah Jong Appreciation Association.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day 853 -BFFs

During the weekdays, it's just me and the kids. My social interaction with other people is restricted to instant messaging, an occasional phone call, and my new imaginary friend, Stainy, the talking sofa.

Having your two year old children as your main source of human interaction can be akin to having a foreign exchange student. Conversations are rather mundane, and sentences are constructed of one syllable words. When in public, you can't take your eyes off of them because they would get lost. And they both tend to smell.

A realization hit me over the course of the past week that I have gained new found friendship and trust in a group of people that I have not befriended before. You have seen and most definitely heard them in a wide variety of locations like grocery stores, shopping malls, and delis. I am talking about old Jewish women.

That's right. Old Jewish women have become my new best friend. I don't know what they find appealing about a thirty-something Japanese man pushing twin toddlers around in public, but they gravitate towards me like matzah in soup stock. Like lox on a bagel. Like Jackie on a Mason. Oh...you get the idea.

Weather permitting, I take the kids out on a thirty minute stroll every day. I usually go to the grocery store, the mall, a coffee shop, or a synagogue (hmm...possible connection?). And practically every time I end up talking to an old Jewish woman. We end up talking about the kids, what I do for a living, what my wife does, and the best way to make latkes.

Although these talks are brief, there is something comforting and enjoyable about talking to other adults. These old Jewish women also spark something in me that makes me immediately comfortable with them. I wasn't too sure what it was, but I began to think about all of the stereotypes associated with old Jewish women: naggy, controlling, shrewd, and overprotective.
Then it hit me. All of the Jewish women reminded me of Crazy Grandma Ichikawa.

Now that I had that epiphany, I hope my relationship with my new friends won't deteriorate. I've already rolled my eyes several times and even said, "I heard you the first time, woman!"

Friday, February 5, 2010

Day 852 - Picture Friday

"Curse my yet-to-be-far-enough-apart-eyes for failing me to see these glorious 3D effects!"


"SHE'S SITTING ON MY BOY SACKS!"


Missing toy car=needle. Gigantic mess of books=haystack.


Emma practices to poop in the potty while reading her favorite poopy periodical Poopular Mechanics.


"Pour one for my homies..."


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day 851 - Works of Art


During those days when I am exhausted, the one thing I can do to keep Emma busy is to give her some crayons and paper. And if that doesn't work, I tell her Crazy Grandma is going to visit and then she ends up dusting the entire house for an hour.

There are a couple of things I find very interesting when Emma does her art stuff. First of all, she figured out the correct way to hold a crayon/pencil/scalpel. I think because of this, she is able to control her coloring/drawing/incisions with more precision. Secondly, she exudes an enormous amount of focus and concentration. When she is coloring, there is nothing that could pry her away from it -- well, maybe a cookie. Finally, it really looks like a few of the drawings she has made actually looks like the thing she was trying to draw. Take a look at these drawings she made on her Magna Doodle:



A face.


A fish.


A man biting a raccoon.

As for her coloring, Emma gets fixated on certain shapes or colors and enjoys repeating the pattern over and over again. Here are two examples of what I mean:

If there is a large canvas for her to color, like this pajama, she likes to use different crayons and create a patchwork of colors. She has done this type of coloring on other large items like balloons, hearts, and The Biggest Loser contestants.


And here is a collage that shows you what I mean about her coloring a shape over and over again. When we gave Emma a new Sesame Street coloring book, she ended up coloring all of the round noses of the characters. We don't think this means that she's going to have OCD when she gets older, but we're no longer going to let her watch As Good As It Gets.

What about Andrew, you ask? Although Andrew colors along with Emma, he currently doesn't hold the same focus and interest in it. His idea of coloring is grabbing a crayon, marking up a page with random lines and scribbles, and calling it a day. But give Andrew a paintbrush and palette, and he really shows some promise. I don't want to be one of those naive, proud parent, but his latest painting is quite impressive.