Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 934 - Picture Friday

Don't miss Andrew as McMurphy and Emma as Nurse Ratchet in the Montessori School presentation of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Emma's obscure impersonations #47: Walter Matthau.

Andrew can't decide whether he is recreating rush hour on the 101 or the 405.

Don't let that coy, innocent face fool you. Underneath that robe is a steaming pile of dung.

Andrew does an reenactment of his dad at every high school dance.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 933 - Conversation with Emma

Emma has reached a phase where she is always wondering what Lisa and I are doing. If Emma asks Lisa why she's walking into the kitchen, Lisa will answer, "To cook your dinner." If Emma asks me why I'm walking into the kitchen, I will answer, "To extinguish your dinner."

One day, when the kids were busily keeping themselves occupied with their multitude of toys, Lisa decided it was a good time to take a pee. But instead of doing it in her pants, Lisa figured she'd better go to the bathroom.

As Lisa opened the bathroom door, Emma asked, "What you doing, Mommy?"

"I'm going to go to the bathroom," answered Lisa.

"You go by yourself?" questioned Emma with serious concern.

"Yes, Emma," said Lisa. "I'm going to go to the bathroom by myself."

And then with a sigh, Emma said, "Good job, Mommy."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 931 - Little Big Mouths

Crazy Grandma and Lazy Grandpa were babysitting the kids one night while Lisa and I were out partying it up (i.e. dinner at Carl's Jr and sleeping in the SUV for 30 minutes). When we returned home, Crazy Grandma got mad at me. Of course it's totally normal for Crazy Grandma to be mad at me for any number of reasons: posting unflattering pictures of her on the blog, mocking her Japanese accent, sending her to Arizona without any identification. But she got mad at me because the kids ratted me out!

You see, we took the kids to Souplantation for lunch, and for dessert I filled up these tiny ice cream cones with a little frozen yogurt. I gave the kids one each, and before you could say, "Kirstie Alley at a Hickory Farms," they ate it up.

I don't know when or how Crazy Grandma got it out of the kids, but they started telling her that they ate ice cream today. More specifically, Daddy gave them ice cream. Supposedly, Andrew kept on shouting at Crazy Grandma, "I TASTE IT! I TASTE IT!"

Crazy Grandma was none to pleased that I gave them a little frozen yogurt. She lectured me about how important it is to feed the kids fresh and organic foods. She continued telling me everything she knew about artificial flavoring, packaged foods, and saturated fats. And this comes from a woman who had a crystal meth problem for eighteen years...

This incident awakened me to the fact that Emma and Andrew have entered a new phase. A phase I shall call Big Mouth Blabbing, also known around the house as the Lisa Ichikawa Syndrome. Lisa has a tendency to blab her mouth off with information that shouldn't be in the public domain. This has gotten her in trouble more than once with friends, work, and the North Korean government. Alas, the kids have begun doing this.

Thankfully for me, the kids don't have the vocabulary and ability to say everything they want to say. But I'm going to have to start watching what I say and do around them a lot more. I'm this walking disaster of sarcasm and off-color humor. This has never been a problem with me since I'm antisocial and have no friends; who would I insult?

With this ice cream incident behind me, I'm bracing myself for more Big Mouth Blabbing in the future. I'm just very glad the Emma and Andrew do not have the following words in their vocabulary yet: whiskey, prostitutes, and midget wrestlers. That's one story Crazy Grandma does not have to hear...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 930 - Poll Results & New Poll

Last week, I asked whether or not you thought Disneyland was too expensive. Seventy-eight percent believed Disneyland is indeed too expensive. Then again, those same people who thought Disneyland was too expensive are also stockholders of Goldman Sachs, AOL, and Blockbuster. Tough few years, eh?

I do agree Disneyland is expensive. I remember when I was a child, Disneyland probably wasn't much more than twenty dollars to get in. Then again, back then Disneyland only had two attractions: Storybook Land Canal Boats and Great Moment with Mr. Lincoln. And this was so long ago, the show was performed by the actual President Lincoln.

But despite the cost, I will also agree that you get a lot of priceless moments of wonder and awe from your kids. Just seeing their reaction the first time they ride Peter Pan or watching fireworks or falling on the concrete or refusing to get in the stroller or crying bloody murder in the Haunted Mansion...wait a second. I want my money back, dammit!


Emma has a new fear: flies. I don't know when or how it happened, but if she sees a fly buzzing outside she freaks out. I tried to explain to her that flies are actually harmless by having her watch the David Cronenberg movie The Fly. I figured by watching the movie, she would understand that there are much scarier and worse flies to be worried about. Surprisingly, the movie just reinforced her fear.

What do you do when your toddler has a fear of something? Crazy Grandma and Lisa have been trying to calm her down by closing the window blinds if Emma sees a fly outside. But does this encourage Emma to continue her fear of flies? Of should we do something Fear Factor-style and dump a bucket full of flies on Emma's face when she's sleeping? What would you do?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 929 - Conversations with Andrew

It was almost time to put the kids to sleep, and I was carrying Andrew in my arms. Lisa was on the other side of the room vacuuming, dusting, and fixing drywall, so I really didn't want to bother her too much. But to make simple conversation with Andrew, I pointed towards Lisa and asked him, "Who is that over there?"

"Daddy," Andrew answered.

Certainly, Lisa has some manly attributes (e.g. hairy legs, facial hair, penis), but she is definitely not as rugged and masculine as me.

I asked Andrew again, "Who is that?"

Once again, Andrew answered, "Daddy!"

I took a step forward towards Lisa and asked one final time, "Andrew. Who is that?"

With a big smile, Andrew said, "Daddy!!!"

I turned Andrew's face towards me and explained to him, "Andrew. That's mommy, and I'm daddy!"

Andrew looked simply at me and said matter of factly, "It just joke. It just joke."

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 928 - Disneyland Week: The Kids Speak

Although Disneyland totally exhausted us, we all had a good time. Emma and Andrew continue to talk about their visit as much as I talk about how our checking account got depleted.

I decided instead of writing a typical summary of our Disneyland trip full of anecdotes and poopy humor, I would videotape the kids talking about Disneyland. Please remember it is still difficult to understand much of what the kids say, but for the most part the enunciation is pretty clear. I figure if you can read Crazy Grandma Ichikawa stories with her thick accent, you can understand a couple of toddlers who sound like they downed one too many beers.

Here are Andrew and Emma talking about their Disneyland memories!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 927 - Disneyland Week: Picture Friday

Andrew enjoys the ride that Daddy calls Merry-Go-Horses Impaled with a Golden Stake.

Emma realizes the world really is small. It only took 11 minutes to go around it!

"You complain how expensive Disneyland is, and you end up buying us $20 plastic hats? Way to go, Dad..."

"I got a crazy Asian driver, and this thing doesn't even have an air bag."

After riding the merry-go-round, Emma asks to see the play Equus.

"I got a crazy Asian driver, and this thing doesn't even have an air bag."

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 926 - Disneyland Week: Dos and Don'ts

Being a geek, I find the merging of storytelling and technology to be a...well...geeky fascination of mine. This is a reason why I am such a fan of theme parks and 3d pornography. I have been to Disneyland enough times that I can rattle of a bunch of trivia and walk around the park without getting lost. But now that I have kids, it's a different story.

I find that I'm still a bit of an amateur when it comes to being a parent at Disneyland. Based on the few times we have visited the park with the kids, I have learned a few things every time we have gone. And if I may, I would like to share with you a few dos and don'ts about going to Disneyland with toddlers.


DO bring snacks. We packed our diaper bag with a small assortment of goodies like fresh fruit, cereal, and bottled water. It did freak me out when I found stray raisins inside of a diaper, but it freaked me out even more when I ate them and realized they weren't raisins.

DO bring your stroller. I know that in many situations you may be unable to bring your own stroller to Disneyland. But I highly recommend bringing your own stroller because it will be more comfortable for the kids, and it will save you valuable money that can be spent on more important things like twirly do-hickeys, spinny hats, and foam whatchamacallits on your hands. And a hint for parents of twins: Disneyland does not rent out double strollers!

DO take advantage of doing things off-schedule. Most people when they first enter the park will naturally go to the left (Adventureland) or right (Tomorrowland). So go straight ahead and hit Fantasyland and Toontown first for the kids. Instead of eating meals at usual times, use this time to have a healthy snack (e.g. churros, funnel cakes, fritters) and eat lunch/dinner after the rush. Go take a ride on popular attractions when there is a parade.


DON'T try to stick to a plan. How can you expect a child who can't even put on velcro shoes be able to stick to an itinerary? Toddlers are young enough where anything they do is exciting, so there's no need for you to feel guilty if they don't get to do something. If your kid doesn't get to meet Mickey, it's not the end of the world...unless Mickey is killed in a tragic mousetrap accident set by Pegleg Pete.

DON'T count your money. Disneyland is a money pit. From the moment you pay your $12 to park, it's all downhill from there. As long as you realize the day is going to be several hundreds of dollars, there's no need to budget yourself too much. If you go easy on the souvenirs and $8 turkey legs, then you should be okay.

DON'T stress out. Inevitably, there will be a meltdown at Disneyland. And sadly, the meltdown will most likely involve you and not the kids. But let's not be that parent you see at Disneyland who is dragging and berating their child. That type of behavior is uncalled for and should really remain at other theme parks like Six Flags and Universal Studios Hollywood.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Day 924 - Disneyland Week: The Rides

One of the advantages of going to Disneyland when you live in Southern California is that you can visit the park during the off-season. Unfortunately, the off-season has became far and few between ever since Disneyland started doing Southern California discounts and holiday celebrations. You have the SoCal 2Fer tickets, Mickey's Halloween Time, Disney Christmas Holidays, Bambi's Deer Hunting Season Festival, and Scrooge McDuck's Passover Party.

Thankfully, the day we visited the park wasn't overwhelmingly busy. We did notice that some of the more popular rides like Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, and the Adventureland women's bathroom had wait times of over an hour. But the rides we took the kids on had wait times no longer than twenty minutes...although sometimes it felt like over an hour.

Here is a list of the attractions the kids experienced and a brief description of their reactions:

1) Dumbo the Flying Elephant: The kids knew who Dumbo was because we have a Dumbo book at home, so I think this added to the enjoyment of their experience. What could be more magical and exhilarating than sitting in the innards of an elephant? And for me, my magical moment was seeing Lisa look like she had the butt of an elephant!

See! Lisa looks like an elephant butt!

2) King Arthur's Carrousel: The good news is that the kids have been on merry-go-round before and love them. The bad news is that this was the most expensive $72 merry-go-round they've ever been on.

3) It's a Small World: At first Emma was a little scared as the boat entered the dark tunnel, but soon became hypnotized by the repetitive music. As for Andrew, he practically clapped the entire time he was on the ride.

4) Autopia: This was one of the longer lines we had to wait in, but there was enough for the kids to look at that made the line bearable. I drove with Emma, and she enjoyed the smell of exhaust in her face for five minutes. And as for Andrew, I couldn't tell by Lisa's video if his face enjoyed the ride, but it looked like his forehead sure did.

5) Celebrate! Parade: We caught the last five to ten minutes of this parade. Since Lisa and I were a little too lazy to carry the kids so they could see the parade, we just left the kids in the stroller. Basically they saw the parade the way I saw Andrew ride Autopia. I don't think our kids have the attention span to sit and watch a parade for twenty minutes, so I'm glad we didn't watch the entire thing.

6) The Many Adventure of Winnie the Pooh: The great thing about this ride is that the line is almost always short. The kids know a little bit about Winnie the Pooh, so this was familiar territory for them. There's one scene that is a little psychedelic; it's as if Winnie the Pooh went on a bad hunny acid trip. But the kids didn't seem to mind it too much -- probably because we gave them some Gerber LSD before hand.

7) Mickey's House: I thought this was going to be a home run for the kids. Andrew and Emma love to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the Disney Channel, and we have Mickey dolls at home. Unfortunately, as we made our way into Mickey's house there were these animatronic chickens that were clucking eggs. This made Emma freak out. The rest of the wait was a little stressful, so I guess the yolk's on me.

8) Peter Pan's Flight: My memory of this ride has always been the view of London at night against a cloudy, star-filled sky. With this memory, I was excited to share it with Andrew and Emma. Sadly, I forgot there was also a gigantic crocodile that was always trying to eat Captain Hook. This is the memory that our kids will one day be sharing with their kids...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 923 - New Poll

Disneyland is known as the happiest place on Earth. It is especially true if you're a stockholder of Disney because Disneyland is one expensive place to spend the day. From the $12 parking fee to the $72 admission price to the $3 drinks, it must be one expensive cryogenic bill to keep Uncle Walt frozen.

They say memories are priceless, but many other things are priceless too: farts, burps, and inadvertent blood-letting. Although I had a good time taking the kids to Disneyland, I can't help but think that the happiness to price ratio is a tad bit skewed. When I see Emma and Andrew smile in the exact same way when they experienced It's A Small World and unraveling a toilet paper roll in our bathroom, it just makes me wonder. What do you think?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 922 - Disneyland Week

Since the past few weeks at work have been really busy, I figured what could be a more relaxing way to end the weekend than taking 2 1/2 year old twins to Disneyland. I'll tell you what's more relaxing: having a root canal without novocaine in the middle of a tornado while an elephant is sitting on your crotch.

Although we have been to the Disneyland Resort with our kids before, this was the first time when the kids seemed genuinely engaged. They clapped when they were happy; they covered their eyes when they were scared; and they pooped like crazy when they ate too many churros.

Instead of trying to pack in a day's worth of stories, pictures, and videos into one long post, I thought I would make this week's blog entries all related to our Disneyland trip. In addition to the weekly poll, Cartoon Wednesday, and Picture Friday, I'll also share with you my Disneyland dos and don'ts with toddlers.

As an example of dos and don'ts, here are two videos of the kids on Autopia. In the first video, I am recording Emma on her first drive through Disneyland.

In this second video, Lisa is recording Andrew's first drive through Disneyland.

To summarize: DO use a camcorder to record precious memories; DON'T let Lisa use the camcorder.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 921 - Crazy Grandma Ichikawa Storytime

What's crazier than Kate Gosselin crying and whining every week on that Dancing with the Stars show? Nothing actually. But that won't stop another edition of...Crazy Grandma Ichikawa Storytime!

My parents have been babysitting Emma and Andrew for the past month and thankfully nobody has been injured, they're both happy, and diapers have been changed regularly. Oh...and the kids are fine too.

A few days ago, Crazy Grandma couldn't find her indoor slippers. She was looking all over the place, but had no idea where they were.

"Hmm...where sandal? Where dey go?" said a very flustered Crazy Grandma. "Dey were right here a few day ago. Hmm...who coulda moved dem?"

Wait for it...

"I didn't move it. Who move?"

Wait a little longer...

"Right here! It was right here! Hmm...I know! Lisa mustah move dem."

There you go.

Crazy Grandma was convinced that Lisa hid her slippers, but I kept on telling Crazy Grandma that there's no reason why anyone would hide her stanky orthopedic slippers. The next day, Crazy Grandma found her slippers. She hung them in a plastic bag in the closet (please don't ask why because I really don't want to ask her.).

I told Crazy Grandma that it was a little lame that she automatically thought Lisa hid her shoes. It's not like Lisa had some sort of plantar fascia agenda against Crazy Grandma.

"Okay okay," said Crazy. "I just forget where I put slippers. You see, one day when you get old you forget too. I no blame Lisa no more."

Literally a day after this slipper slip-up, Crazy and Lazy were over again to babysit the kids. Crazy was trying to find her coffee cup that she brought over from their place.

"Where my coffee mug?" asked Crazy Grandma.

Wait for it...

"It alway here. But now it no here. Where is it?"

You know it's coming. Just wait...

"Not on counter. Not in cupboard. Hmm. I guess Lisa hid it."

Oops! She did it again!

"Mom!" I cried out. "You're blaming Lisa again!"

"No no no!" Crazy defended herself. "I no blame Lisa. I just say she hid my mug."

"She didn't hide your mug!"

Crazy Grandma finally agreed with me. "Okay. Maybe she no hide my mug. But you know what might happened? She break my mug! Lisa probabee was washing mug and it broke. Oh well. Good ting it was only $1.99 at Target."

Finally, my mom decided to grab another coffee mug from our cupboard. She poured some lukewarm coffee into it and opened up the microwave. And guess what she found inside the microwave: her mug.

"Haha!" Crazy Grandma laughed. "I must put my mug in here already to warm up coffee. Stoopid me. At least good ting Lisa did'ent break my mug. It cost me $1.99!"

Crazy Grandma Ichikawa continues to look for her brain.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Day 920 - Picture Friday

Money Saving Tip #35: Dressing your child only in long sleeve shirts cuts your laundry costs by almost 50%!

Andrew practices his speed dating techniques on the Disney Princesses.

She don't get no satisfaction.

Andrew enjoys his new scratch and lick book.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day 919 - Name Game

One weekend, I decided to run into the Disney Store to buy the kids a just-because toy. Okay fine. I ran into the Disney Store to buy myself a just-because Princess Tiana gown (not really just-because since I had a party to go to).

As I moseyed up to the cashier, the perky lil' cast member said, "Hello there, Dad! How can I help you today?"

I proceeded to purchase my gorgeous Princess Tiana gown, and the cast member continued to call me "dad." It became as irritating as the skin surrounding my hairy knees on a humid, summer night.

Walking out of the Disney Store, I realized that the cast member was making an assumption that I was a dad. I didn't have Emma or Andrew with me. Nor was I wearing the Best Dad Ever t-shirt that I made for myself for Father's Day. What if I just went through a messy divorce, and I lost custody of the kids? What if I was infertile? Or what if I was just a really unattractive Japanese woman?

I understand that the cast member was just trying to be friendly, but I really do think you shouldn't assume a person is a father just because he's buying a toy at the Disney Store. Perhaps my feelings are strong about this because of my many past experiences in other retail stores.

Here are just a few examples of what I have been called in other stores:

"Hello, uncoordinated girly-man."

"Hello, don't you have anything better to do on a weekend than visit us for the fourth time in one day, dude."

"Hello, pervert."

"Leave. You're too old and you have no style."

"Hello, Mr. Yoshinoya."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 917 - Evil Eye

As is typical during dinner, Emma refused to eat her vegetables. After some polite begging and pleading on our part, we drew the line in the sand and told Emma if she didn't eat any vegetables, then she would not receive dessert. Instead of the expected crying or throwing of the plate, we got a different response from her: an evil eye.

Personally, I thought it was really creepy. It wasn't just a simple stare with narrowed eyes; after all, we Asians have narrowed eyes to start out with. But Emma tilted her head down and glared at us with her eyes looking up. To make it extra creepy, all that was missing was a violin soundtrack and a crisp, chilly wind -- which Andrew actually provided...except it was stale and warm.

I hope Emma does not continue with the evil eye because in the history of the evil eye, it has almost always ended with something awful happening. Take these evil eyes for instance...

Alex from A Clockwork Orange.
Singin' in the rain, anybody?

The Evil Witch from Snow White.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away...BECAUSE YOU'RE DEAD.

Jack Torrance from The Shining.
Hello, room service? There's a tidal wave of blood in my room.

Mike from Monsters Inc.
You try putting a contact lens in that eye.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 916 - Poll Results & (no) New Poll

Last week I recounted how Andrew has a new found need to neaten up his room before going to sleep. I wondered whether Andrew was being neat or manipulating the situation so he wouldn't have to go to bed. Fifty percent thought Andrew was manipulating the situation. And thirty-three percent thought it doesn't matter either way because he's just going through a phase.

Lisa and I believe Andrew is procrastinating and making excuses not to go to bed. We basically shrug off his demands and try to distract him with something else like a book or a feather tied to a fishing pole. Crazy Grandma Ichikawa still believes that Andrew is not manipulating her, and there is no reason to have him crying before he goes to sleep. As of yesterday, Andrew's new nap routine that Crazy Grandma has to go through consists of neatening up the room, feeding him grapes, and giving him a ten minutes foot massage. Manipulator? Naaaaaaah.


Since this week's blog is so far behind schedule, it's pretty useless to put up a new poll this week; we'll go back to the poll on April 19th. So in lieu of a new poll, please enjoy these random pictures of poles.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day 915 - Cars

Andrew is obsessed with the movie Cars. He plays with Cars toys, he reads Cars books, and he drinks unleaded fuel.

Since we still don't allow the kids to watch television much more than 20-25 minutes twice a day, the most the kids have seen of the movie is about five minutes of the beginning and the end...which honestly is probably the best way to watch the movie.

A few weeks ago, I received in the mail my new 95 cup Zojirushi rice cooker. The shipping box was so huge I decided to grab my trusty Sharpie and make the box look like Lightning McQueen.

Both Andrew and Emma were excited when I revealed their brand new toy: a used box with doodles. Here's a video of the kids playing with Lightning McQueen!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Day 914 - Dirty Diaper Dancing

Just like any toddler who hears music, Andrew loves to get up and dance. When he hears a rocking ditty like "Under the Sea" or "Heigh-Ho", he has gots to get his baby groove on. Unfortunately for Andrew, when I see him dance he reminds me of myself.

When I dance, I do something called defensive dancing: I will dance terribly to get the intentional laugh instead of the unintentional laugh. When I did musical theater during my high school and college years, I realized through extremely, extremely hard work that I could figure out how to do a soft-shoe, polka, and a waltz. I also realized when I did musical theater that it was extremely, extremely hard work to make people realize I was straight.

A few nights ago as Lisa was undressing Andrew for his bath, he put his t-shirt on like pants and started to do this goofy little dance. Lisa only took pictures of his dancing, but I thought it would be fun to put it together with a little appropriate Broadway music.

Curtain up!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Day 913 - Picture Friday

Andrew's photo entry for "Porcupine Monthly."

Emma is about to toss her doll off the sofa for wearing the exact same outfit.

Sadly, after giving Lightning McQueen a good night kiss, Andrew's front teeth got stuck in the front grill.

"Yah, I have a question. How many f&(#ing parents does it take to fill up a f&*#ing sippy cup?"

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day 912 - Swings, Slides and Screams

Last weekend, we took the kids to Griffith Park. Emma and Andrew enjoyed running around the grass, exploring the playgrounds, riding the merry-go-round, and asking what chicharrons are.

It was interesting to see how differently Emma and Andrew explored the playground. Emma took a more focused and calm approach. She would walk around until she found something that interested her. But Andrew was like an alcoholic let loose in a Bev N More store. He wanted to try anything and everything.

While I was pushing Andrew on the swing, I was surprised by his reaction. Not so much his emotional reaction, but his vocal reaction: he screamed like a little girl. Every time I pushed him higher, Andrew would grin and squeal like a woman who just got tickets to Oprah's My Favorite Things show.

Take a listen:

Although I did find it a little weird that Andrew's high pitched scream continued to attract packs of feral dogs, I tried to rationalize that it could have been worse. After all, there are a lot of other noises that are a lot more irritating and annoying than a little boy's yelps.

In this next video, I put together a sampling of noises that would have been much, much worse than Andrew's actual screeches. Personally, the last example has made it impossible for me to sleep for the past two nights.