Thursday, September 30, 2010
The kids have rediscovered their old friend and my old enemy: Tickle Me Elmo. While rummaging through a moving box, Emma and Andrew found their old Elmo doll. And what do you know? The batteries were still good. Dammit...
But what a year has changed. When the kids first played with Elmo, they just watched and listened to him chatter away like the little Muppet coke fiend he is. But now, the kids listen to his jabber and actually interact with him.
Emma finds Tickle Me Elmo much more entertaining than Andrew. Emma will dance and talk with Elmo while Andrew finds amusement by throwing him to the ground and driving his toy cars over him.
Yet after a week of finding Elmo, I think Andrew is starting to be on the same page as me and finds this little Muppet animatronic annoying as hell. Take a look at this video of Emma dancing with Elmo, and pay particular attention to what Andrew does after a few minutes.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Andrew has a habit of crying and calling for us several minutes after we put him into bed. Lisa and I try to ignore it as much as possible, but we eventually go upstairs to see what's bothering him. If it's something as simple as him not knowing where his bunny blanket is, I'll go find it for him. If it's something more challenging like an intruder, I'll send Lisa upstairs.
Tonight, Andrew was crying and screaming for me. After a few minutes, I decided to go upstairs. From this point on, you have to understand that everything that happened was nonverbal and silent.
I saw Andrew at the top of the stairs looking at me through the safety gate. I looked at him. He held up his finger. There was a booger on it. I took my finger. I put his booger on my finger. Andrew smiled. He went back to bed. I went downstairs. Lisa looked at me and shrugged. I showed her the booger on my finger. She acknowledged it with a knowing nod. I took a tissue and then washed my hands.
What completely baffles me is how unfazed we all were about this booger exchange. In a NORMAL world, this never would have happened. But in PARENT world, this is as regular as night and day. Oh? Andrew has a booger? Let me take that away for you. Oh? Andrew has poop on his nose? Let me wipe that away with my cheek.
As I try to rationalize this bizarre exchange, all I can think of is that this is all part of unconditional love. No matter what your kid needs, you'll be there for him...even if it's a booger. I hope our kids are starting to get a sense of this unconditional love because in forty years when I'm back in diapers, I'm going to need some help putting on some adult Desitin.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Andrew caught a cold in the middle of the week and getting sick never really bothers him. He'll tell us that his mouth hurts or that he needs tissue. But overall, he's still pretty pleasant and goes about his business. A few days later, Emma caught the cold, and her reaction to illness is completely the opposite. She cries and whines and makes the entire day a gigantic chore (i.e. she takes after me.).
As is usually the case with the common cold, you get hit with a sore throat. Emma cried about her "ouchy" throat the entire day. She would point to her mouth and throat and explain how "ouchy" it was. Her throat bothered her so much that she came up with a simple solution to soothe her throat: she stopped swallowing her saliva.
That's right. She would just keep quiet, and I would slowly see her cheeks get bigger and bigger. It was like that dam at the end of the first Superman movie. You start to see cracks and leaks around the edges, and you damn well know what's going to happen next.
"Emma," I reprimanded. "Are you swallowing your saliva?"
Emma would just look at me blankly.
"Emma, answer me."
Emma continued to stare at me.
"Emma. Yes or no?"
"No," answered Emma as the flood gates opened and saliva spilled out all over her face.
Lisa's solution to this anti-swallowing demonstration was to give Emma a little plastic bowl for her to spit. I felt like we were living in a saloon with all of the spitting going on.
Eventually I had enough of the spitting. I told Emma she had to stop spitting out and start to swallow again. For once, all my years working as a 1st AD in the porno industry finally came handy.
I carried Emma upstairs and sat her on my lap. She cried and cried and refused to swallow her spit. I told her we were not going to go anywhere until she stopped spitting into a bowl.
At first, I was determined to stand my ground. But I became uneasy as I started to see Emma's cheeks start to fill up. I quickly changed my tune and tried to coax Emma into swallowing her spit by being gentle and loving. Guess what? It didn't work. She spit all of her saliva on to my shirt.
I did not get mad; mostly because I was disgusted. Emma continued to cry, but I explained to her that I understood her throat hurt yet that was no reason to spit into a bowl. After she stopped crying, I asked if she was okay. She said "Yes" as another cup full of spit spilled on my pants.
You can see where this is going. I was probably spit on two or three more times before Emma finally started to swallow her saliva again. Thank God, Emma stopped this disgusting habit, and thank God, I was actually used to getting spit on from numerous blind dates in college.
Although some people might think I was being a little too strict with Emma, I did wait until the end of the day to get her to stop spitting into a bowl. I was just concerned that when she got into bed, she would have a difficult time falling asleep. All I can say is that if the next health problem Emma has is hemorrhoids, I'm going to let Lisa handle it.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
The kids have been enjoying their new tricycles a lot. They still aren't that good with them, but we make sure they wear their safety gear: helmets, pads, bubble wrap, air bags, springs, pillows, and a full-size aerobed.
Despite our good efforts, there is one thing that we can't do much about: klutziness. When Emma was getting off her bike, she tripped and fell on the ground. Thankfully, she was still wearing her helmet and pads so she walked away unscathed.
When I put Emma into bed, I was doing a recap of the day.
"And then did we ride our tricycles today?" I asked.
"Yes. I like the tricycle!" replied Emma.
"That's good. But did you fall down today?"
"Yah. I fell down," said Emma with a tinge of why-are-you-bringing-that-up-again?
"But it was a good thing you were wearing your helmet, right?"
"Yah. Good thing," agreed Emma.
"And do you know what the helmet stops you from getting?" I asked.
"Boo-bies," answered Emma.
Boo-boos. Boobies. What's the difference. They're both things that all fathers hope their little girls never get.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
It is hard to believe, but Emma and Andrew turned three today. Three years ago, they entered the world a blabbering, slobbering, smelly mess. And look at them now! Today they are a more mature blabbering, slobbering, smelly mess.
Three years is a short amount of time, but it's quite amazing how quickly your babies develop into these little human beings. Of course, if you compare your child's development to something like a baby giraffe who learns to walk about an hour after they were dropped out of a gaping giraffe vagina...well...your kid ain't much of a genius now, is he?
Sadly, I feel that these three years has aged Lisa and I considerably. We were once the ageless Asian couple, but now we have caught up with the rest of the world and are starting to look our age. If you don't believe me, take a look at these before and after pictures:
The kids are having a little birthday party with friends this weekend, so I thought I would try to make their actual birthday as fun as possible. To make the details of the day a little more interesting, here are a few pictures to look at as well!
The kids are having a little birthday party with friends this weekend, so I thought I would try to make their actual birthday as fun as possible. To make the details of the day a little more interesting, here are a few pictures to look at as well!
I haven't been to Chuck E. Cheese since the 1980s. Back then, it was an actual arcade with dozens of games, noisy animatronics, and cocaine in the bathrooms. When we were up in Sacramento last month, we decided to swing by Chuck E. Cheese with the kids. Amazingly, it's a pretty safe and clean place to take your toddlers. Emma and Andrew could care less about the games. What they really like to do are ride the little cars and merry-go-rounds. Best of all, every single ride and game is one token! It's not like the shopping malls where you've got to put your entire week's worth of laundry quarters into one damn choo-choo train.
I thought it would be fun to get some tickets so the kids could pick out some toys. Since I'm a decent bowler, I put a few dollars into the good old skee-ball machine. What I forgot is that it's very, very difficult to play skee-bowl when you have two 3 year olds around. Emma and Andrew started to take my balls (SKEE BALLS! ...you perverts...), and they tried to throw them up on other lanes or basically just roll them on the carpeted floor. After a few frustrating games, I got enough tickets to get the kids some leftover pizza crust and a retainer that a custodian found in the garbage can.
After the kids woke up from their naps and I took out the newly found retainer from Andrew's mouth, we decided to unveil the present that Crazy Grandma and Lazy Grandpa bought for the kids: tricycles! The kid were very excited so we took them outside so we could watch them scoot up and down the block. Unfortunately, they were not very good with the pedals and demanded to ride their bikes like the Flintstones drove their cars: with their feet. I imagine the kids will eventually get used to pedaling, but for now they are just going to yabba dabba do it the way they want to do it.
After their favorite dinner of cheese pizza and foie gras, it was time for cake. Lisa made the cake, and I decorated it. Both Emma and Andrew do not care for chocolate cake, so Lisa made a basic yellow cake with white frosting. Awkwardly, Andrew told us, "No black! No black!" referring to no chocolate cake. More awkwardly, Andrew said that when we were all watching the newest Tyler Perry movie at the Magic Johnson theater.
Watching the kids eat their cake was like watching a magic show. One second you see cake, and the next second it's gone. Emma promptly finished her cake like a true magician careful not to reveal her secrets.
As for Andrew, you can see him next Friday on FOX's The Masked Magician: More Magic Secrets Revealed!
Happy birthday, Emma and Andrew!!!
Monday, September 20, 2010
Last week, I asked whether we should cave in to Emma's and Andrew's obsession with Disney Princesses and Cars for their birthday presents. Fifty-four percent of you thought that we should buy them what they want; so I guess if they wanted to jump of a bridge, we should let them do that too. Thirty-six percent thought that we should compromise and give them some Disney toys and some other crap...err...presents.
Now that we have finished buying and wrapping all of their presents, I can tell you that we heavily leaned towards the Disney Princesses and Cars toys, although we did mix it up with some other stuff. I think if you know your kid likes a certain type of toy, then why not indulge them a few times a year (i.e. birthday, Christmas, Groundhog's Day). Now that Emma and Andrew understand the concept of presents a lot better now, I'd rather see them open up a gift with wide smiles instead of a frown and giving me the bird.
Who came up with the concept of the terrible twos? I ask because as the kids approach their third birthday, I find Emma and Andrew a lot more difficult to deal with. Sure, the twos weren't a breeze. The tantrums, the mobility, the inability to communicate through words, the drug and drinking addictions. But that seems like nothing compared to the emotional development the kids are going through now.
On one hand, we have Emma who has become very stubborn and obstinate. And on the other hand, Andrew has become a lot more whiny and needy. The unfortunate aftermath of this is that I have become more stubborn, obstinate, whiny, and needy. Lucky Lisa...
So what do you think? Do you think the threes are more difficult than the twos?
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Although I divulge a lot about our personal lives, I do try to keep certain things anonymous. There are times when I won't mention someone by name, or I may even delete an entire blog entry because after reading it I find it may have crossed a line. With that being said, I am going to try and talk about an awful haircut incident that we have with Andrew without giving out any names or places.
On September 18th, we phoned (310) 458-7947 to make a 12:45pm hair cut appointment for Emma and Andrew. We found street parking directly in front of The Yellow Balloon 1328 Santa Monica Blvd. It must have been our lucky day.
After a short 5 minute wait, the kids were called up to their chairs. I stayed with Emma initially with her professional hair stylist. But after a few minutes, Andrew began crying and called for me. This was unusual because this was the very first time that Andrew cried when getting his hair cut. So I switched places with Lisa, and I stayed with Andrew.
After calming Andrew down, I noticed that the hair stylist seemed very impatient with Andrew. As I was helping the stylist keep Andrew's head still, I noticed a little blood behind Andrew's ear. It looked like it was a little nick, but I gathered that must have been why he started crying.
I wasn't enraged or anything, but I did want the hair stylist to acknowledge that she nicked Andrew's ear and to give some sort of apology. I got her attention and showed her Andrew's ear.
"Hmm...I don't see anything. Maybe I need my glasses," said the stylist.
WHAT? SHE SAID WHA? WHAT DAH WHO DAH HUH? It was as plain as the skank on her breath that there was blood on Andrew's ear. And if you're going to make an excuse, you don't say you need your glasses when you're continuing to cut someone's hair! That's like being a proctologist and saying that you've been having a series of arm spasms lately.
At this point I was very angry. It was pointless to talk to this stylist anymore, and the haircut was over with anyways. So I asked for the manager and explained the situation. I was calm and firm when I told him I understood these things occasionally happen, but for the stylist not to acknowledge her actions and to create an unbelievably lame excuse was inexcusable and unprofessional.
He agreed with everything I said and promised me he would talk to her. I mean I'm realistic enough to know that nothing probably happened. The manager probably talked to her, she made up some excuse, and she's still there collecting a paycheck. I unfortunately did not get her name, but I can say with all honesty that she looked a little like that woman who had plastic surgery to look like a cat. You know, this woman...
So if any of you decide to go to The Yellow Balloon in Santa Monica to get a haircut, beware of this lady! And if you get her, at the very least make sure she looks like this:
The odds say you'll have a 45% less chance of being cut if she's wearing her glasses.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Now that the move is over and we have no other travel plans, I am trying to focus a little bit more on the potty training. We don't have any pressing issues like potty training them for daycare, so we are being more encouraging, yet not forcing them on the toilet.
What I am really looking forward to is the amount of money we will be able to save per year on diapers. Here is what I figured out our monthly cost on diaper supplies is:
(2) boxes of Costco diapers: $80
(2) boxes of overnight diapers: $40
(1) box of Costco baby wipes: $20
(2) bottles of diaper cream: $10
TOTAL: $150/month x 12 months = $1800/year
The cost gets even more ridiculous when you take into account my incontinence:
(2) boxes of Depends: $100
(1) industrial tub of talcum: $50
(16) sprigs of lavender (I got to smell nice, ya know): $25
TOTAL: $175/month x 12 months = $2100/year
As has been proven to me over and over again, girls really do mature faster than boys. Emma has been pretty good about going on the potty to pee, but still has not felt comfortable enough to poop. But she has pooped in the potty a handful of times, and has pooped in my hands once.
Andrew is another story. He doesn't tell us when he has to pee, but when I place him on the potty after breakfast and dinner, he usually pees. And through his grunts and facial contortions, it is always obvious when he is pooping, but he refuses to poop on the crapper.
Andrew's poop situation got even worse because a week or so ago, Lisa emptied one of Andrew's poops into the toilet. As she flushed, the poop got stuck and the toilet got backed up. Thankfully, we are Japanese and had some disposable chopsticks in our utensil drawer. So with my ninja skills, I started to cut the poop in half with the chopsticks. Stupidly, I asked Andrew if he wanted to see what I was doing. I think he was traumatized by the experience because to this day he seems very concerned when he stands next to the toilet, and he says, "Poop got stuck." But if I was him, I'd be more concerned about using disposable chopsticks for meals.
My current plan is to focus on Emma more because she seems more ready to transition from diapers to underwear. Hopefully, when Emma gets potty trained, this will encourage Andrew to do (Hey! A pun!) the same. And if I can only get over my incontinence, we can start saving enough money to put towards a new car.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Corn on the cob were the kids' favorite until they realized they were actually eating the carcass of Big Bird.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Emma is a very sweet girl. She loves to play with her dolls, color, and give motivational talks to toddlers at local My Gyms. But as her vocabulary and comprehension increases, the things she says some times frightens me because I see it as a precursor of things to come.
Just over the past few days, here are a few incidences as examples:
1) As the kids were finishing up dinner, I was cleaning up the table and began to finish off my plate while standing up. When Emma saw what I was doing, she told me, "Daddy. You sit down and eat. You do not stand up and eat. Sit down."
2) After I finished brushing Andrew's teeth, I called for Emma. "Emma! Time to brush your teeth!" She slowly rolled off her bed. "Emma! I said it's time to brush your teeth!" When she came into the bathroom, she said in a huff, "You don't have to say it again when I'm coming!"
3) We were at Target, and I was watching the kids in the toy section while Lisa was checking out. I told Emma and Andrew that they could take turns looking at the Cars and the Princess section until Mommy came to get us. As the kids were playing with all of the Cars toys, Lisa popped her head down the aisle and said she was ready to go. We were all walking down the aisle towards the exit when Emma flopped to the ground. She said, "I didn't get to see my Princess toys. You said I could see it. Andrew saw his cars. I want to see my Princess!"
These examples scare me on two counts. First, it's hard for me to comprehend that a girl who isn't even three is telling me these things. Second, every thing she called me on, she was absolutely right about. And that's what is most pee-in-my-pants scary. The next thing you know she's going to tell me lap dances are a form of cheating on your wife.
In ten short years, Emma will be entering the teenage years. If memory serves me well, when I was a thirteen year old girl, those were very trying times. The mixture of angst, hormones, and righteousness will probably put quite a weight on the Ichikawa family. But as with every step of raising a child, this too shall pass. At least we can all rely upon our impending death to bring peace and comfort to our hectic, parental lives.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
At our new place, there is a bunch of patio furniture up and down the common area. Since the weather has been nice, I often have the kids go outside, sit, and color. And when I feel like it, I join them.
After today's nap, I took the kids outside to color. Whereas Emma can color non-stop, Andrew's attention span with coloring is about as long as my attention span is with a Katherine Heigl movie.
I had Lisa take Andrew inside while I waited for Emma to finish coloring her Cinderella picture. I told Emma we had to go inside after she finished.
"No!" protested Emma. "I want to stay outside and color more."
Since we had a slight problem with the wind blowing away their coloring pages, I said, "We have to go inside because it's windy and too difficult to color outside."
As I waited for Emma to finish her fairly obsessive coloring job, Emma began to look in the sky. I wasn't too sure what she was looking for or whether she heard something. But finally she told me the realization that hit her.
"Look, Daddy!" Emma said as she pointed at the trees. "It not windy anymore. That means we can stay outside. Yay!"
And as you finish reading this entry, it is now 10:15pm and we are still outside coloring.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Last week, I asked what was more tiring: working or staying at home with kids. The results were unanimous! One hundred percent of you said that staying at home with kids is more tiring. I can only gather that the demographics of this blog site is either parents who have experienced both work and raising kids or the economy really does suck and I got a bunch of unemployed parents who no longer remember what it's like to be at work.
Due to my freelance television production career, I generally work nine to ten months of the year which means I am at home with the kids for at least two to three months. Honestly, the months I am at home with the kids is a lot more exhausting than putting in 10-12 hour days at the office. Yet I know I am fortunate to be the occasional stay-at-home dad and see the kids grow up on a daily basis. But is it so wrong to say I still miss craft service and the warmth of freshly copied call sheets?
Next week will be Emma's and Andrew's birthday. I can't believe they are already turning three because I feel like I have aged ten years (And I won't even mention how many years I think it added on Lisa!). This year's birthday is going to be pretty low key. We're just inviting a handful of friends, and since the kids aren't in preschool year the attendance will be minimal (...thank god...).
As Lisa and I roamed the pages of Amazon.com for birthday presents, we began to add a variety of gifts to our cart. When we reviewed what we selected, we realized that we pretty much picked nothing but Cars toys for Andrew and Disney Princess toys for Emma. I have nothing against Disney, but I began to question our choices. The kids have a wide variety of toys to play with at home, but for some particular reason they have really gravitated towards Cars and Disney Princess toys. We didn't push them in one way or another, although I will say that I asked Andrew to stop dressing up like the Little Mermaid; the clam shell bra really had to be stopped.
What do you think? Is it particularly wrong to give the kids the toys they want for their birthday or should we give them toys that we want them to have (i.e. generic toys, books, SAT study guides)?
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Every December, I put together some sort of obnoxious parody of your standard holiday newsletter. A few years ago, the premise was that we had Anne Geddes take portraits of the kids, but unbeknownst to me, I hired an Anne Geddes wannabe. So as part of the newsletter, I included a collage of bad photos that were supposedly taken by this fake Anne Geddes. Here are a couple of the photos:
As you can see, I am as sarcastic and weird during the holidays as I am with this blog...
Anyhoo, we had this photo collage on our refrigerator and the kids began to question it. Emma especially seemed confused by the photos.
"Why are we in toilets?"
"Ooo. Dat dangerous. Why are we in dah street?"
"Oh no! We in dah oven!"
"I don't remember doing intensive acrobatic training for a Cirque du Soleil show."
As for Andrew, he just seemed to be excited that he was in all of these weird situations.
"I'm in a TOILET!"
"I driving in the STREET!"
"Oven is HOT!"
"L'exécution en Cirque du Soleil est un rêve viennent vrai!" (Andrew got a hold of my Rosetta Stone DVDs and now speaks fluent French.)
There was never a point in which the kids seemed afraid or bothered by the pictures, but they began to ask so many questions about it that we took it off the refrigerator. I distinctly remember Lisa's expression as she took down the photo collage because her face had the same look of disappointment and disgust that she had on our honeymoon.
To some people, they may think this incident should shine the light on the situation that I need to be more careful of what I do and say around the kids. Honestly, I think I'm pretty good about my behavior around the kids. I've always been conscientious about my language, and I never talk about my porno collection or alcoholism.
What this incident did shine a light on is that I will need to be more careful about what I leave out in the open for the kids to question. Thankfully, the kids don't know how to read or else I would have to edit the past three years of this blog extensively. But they will ask questions about anything they see.
I'm glad our kids are inquisitive and curious about the world around them. I will just have to be a little more diligent about what we leave out in the open for them to question. Which reminds me that I need to ask Lisa to take down the wall of photos of all of her ex-boyfriends. If the kids tell me one more time that Mommy made a bad choice, I'll be forced to take my porn and vodka out in the open.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
We have been encouraging the kids to draw and color more often on paper because we realized we don't have much artwork saved. Most of the things the kids have drawn that we wanted to keep were on Magna Doodle boards, and let me tell you it became one hell of an expense to purchase one Magna Doodle board after another.
The kids definitely have their own particular style and focus when they approach their drawing and coloring. Emma really focuses on what she does, and she figured out how to hold a crayon the proper way so she has quite a bit of control over her lines. As for Andrew, he's not as interested in drawing and coloring so he ends up holding his crayon like a beer can and interprets art as the fastest way to color a page with as many crayons as possible.
Not too long ago, I asked the kids to draw Mommy's and Daddy's face. I went ahead and drew the head and hair, but left the face empty. And here are the results...
Here is Emma's drawing of Mommy. Although she just did little dots for the eyes and nose, I was impressed that she put them in the proper area. And as for the mouth, look at the gigantic smile she gave Lisa. The last time I remember Lisa smiling so big was when I told her I had to go in for a biopsy.
This next drawing is Emma's attempt at drawing me. Once again, she did little dots for the eyes and nose and gave me a gigantic smile. But what impressed me was that she drew glasses and the bridge on my glasses. She also told me that she drew my glasses extra big and thick because I'm a geeky dork.
Now here is Andrew's drawing of Mommy. At first, he started to do dots for the eyes and the nose, but then he began doing more and more dots. Pretty soon, he started laughing hysterically and began drawing a bunch of circles all over Lisa's head. The one thing that Andrew got accurate is that there is this one line that he drew behind Lisa's ear that shows where she got her face lift.
And finally, here is Andrew's drawing of me. I'm not exactly too sure where he was going with this one, but he started off with drawing my mouth and then he drew another mouth and another one. Once again, he began to laugh hysterically at what he did and said my head looked like a diaper.
But as I looked more and more at Andrew's drawing, I realized that I resembled someone. It took me a long time to figure it out, but it dawned on me that I looked like one of the villains from that Dick Tracy movie. And to be specific, Pruneface.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Although the kids don't take a nap every day, I'd say they still sleep at least five days of the week. And those days that the kids do not nap, it's usually Andrew who is the one who refuses to sleep.
Today was one of those days where Emma fell asleep despite Andrew's crying and whining. This usually makes things worse for Andrew because he has no one to talk to in the bedroom. Eventually Andrew will come up with any excuse to get out of bed.
"I'm too cold!"
"I need to go the bathroom!"
"I got a callback to play The Engineer in Miss Saigon!"
I grabbed Andrew out of his bed and brought him to the living room. After he calmed down, I decided to see if I could figure out why he refused to take a nap.
"Andrew," I said. "You were crying so much. How come you didn't want to take a nap?"
Now let me preface the end to this blog entry that I'm usually not the sentimental or emotional type, but I just felt this was one of those moments that really shine a light on why it's worth it to be a parent.
As Andrew wiped away a tear, he told me he didn't take a nap because "I missed you, Daddy."
Okay...a little time has passed and I need to continue this story.
When Lisa came home from work, she was surprised to see Andrew awake. I told her that Andrew refused to take a nap.
"Andrew," Lisa asked. "How come you didn't take a nap?"
"Because," Andrew answered. "I missed you, Mommy."
Son of a bitch...