Tuesday, November 30, 2010
As if Emma's scientific mind about rainbows didn't amaze me, imagine my surprise and wonder when I found out that Andrew is bilingual! At first, I thought bilingual was some sort of Italian STD, but thankfully Lisa corrected me.
I have no idea where Andrew learned to speak another language. The only thing I can think of is that he happened to come across my foreign pornography collection.
But for those of you who doubt me, here is evidence of Andrew's ability to speak another language. I asked him to sing the song "It's A Small World" for me in Chinese, and he did! Or at least I think it's Chinese. The only Chinese word I know is "fortune cookie."
Monday, November 29, 2010
Last week, I asked what age you thought you were when you remembered your first childhood memories. All of the votes were pretty even, but thirty-three percent of you took the lead and said your first memories were when you were four years old. The ages of two and three were right behind with twenty-two percent each.
Personally, my first memories were probably between the ages of three and four. I do recall a childhood memory of myself crawling through a small hole, so that was either my birth or spelunking in Hawaii when I was nine. I hope it was spelunking...
It's weird to think that Emma and Andrew might have some life-lasting memories at the age they are at now. If they do, I have a feeling all they are going to remember is their Daddy looking frazzled and constantly mumbling, "Where's the beer?"
The kids are going through another phase that is driving us crazy. After we tuck them into bed and leave their rooms, the next thirty to forty minutes is a constant bombardment of demands. They ask for tissue. They ask for chapstick. They ask to go to the bathroom. They ask for their sheets to be rearranged. It's like a Sprout version of Upstairs/Downstairs.
Our usual M.O. with them is to let them cry it out for a bit, and if they are still crying after five or ten minutes, we go see what they want. It would be great if they only had one request, but they usually have several requests. So Lisa and I end up going up and down the stairs in a huff. The only good that has come out of this ordeal is that our calves are really toned now.
We're not too sure what to do. On one hand, it would be really easy just to go to their room and give them what they want. If we did that, they'd probably be asleep in fifteen minutes. But since we don't want them to think that their crying is going to get our immediate attention, they sometimes don't fall asleep for an hour and Lisa and I end up being stressed and grumpy.
So what do you think? Give the kids immediate gratification? Continue doing what we're doing? Don't check on them at all? Buy earplugs?
Sunday, November 28, 2010
It is interesting to observe the kids to see how they solve problems. If Emma can't reach something underneath the sofa, she knows if she uses a ruler she might be able to get it. If Andrew can't see something in the dark, he knows a flashlight might help. If they see a toy they want in a holiday catalog, they know to ask Mommy for Daddy's wallet.
A more interesting solution that Andrew has come up with is his daily problem with Emma. Every day, there comes a point at which the kids are fighting over a toy or disagreeing about something. It usually ends with something thrown or someone hit; one time, someone was thrown.
But our ingenious son has come up with a brilliant solution to this problem. Whenever he is upset with something Emma has done, all he says now is, "I'm gonna sit on you, Emma!"
And voila! Emma gives up! Problem solved!
Of course there are times when Andrew actually sits on Emma, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's focus on the ingenuity of Andrew's thought process.
If you really think about it, Andrew is displaying the discipline of civil disobedience. Take a look at Gandhi. Or better yet, the civil rights movement. What Andrew is demonstrating is the process of a sit-in: You have a protester (i.e. Andrew) sitting down at a specific, meaningful location (i.e. Emma's ass), and the protester refuses to leave unless forcibly removed by the authorities (i.e. parents) or until their demand is met (i.e. the return of a Lightning McQueen car). Brilliant idea, Andrew!
Or on the other hand, Andrew has been watching a bunch Happy Days reruns on Nick at Night and might have got the idea of sitting on Emma from Fonz's catch phrase, "Sit on it."
Let's just stick with the Gandhi theory...
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Ever since watching an episode of Sid the Science Kid and driving through West Hollywood, the kids are fascinated with rainbows. They can mumble their way through a song naming all of the colors, and they are especially excited if they see anything resembling a rainbow.
One day, the way the light was shining through the window, it created a little rainbow on the wall. I called the kids over to look at it, and they looked as giddy and excited as Japanese tourists at Disneyland.
Andrew got my attention and asked, "Daddy? What a rainbow?"
Interesting question, I thought. Do I tell the kids what a rainbow actually is or do I create some imaginary visual picture in their head to stimulate their little creative minds. I decided to go with latter.
"Well, my little lads." Okay. I didn't really call them "my little lads", but I thought it would be a better lead-in into my rainbow explanation. "I think rainbows are very special and magical. Some people think there are special presents at the end of a big rainbow. There are some people called leprechauns who think there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And Kermit the Frog thinks his Hollywood dreams are at the end of one."
And yes, I really did say the Kermit the Frog thing. Sometimes I throw in references for my own amusement. Give me a break...
After my explanation, Andrew looked more puzzled, but shrugged it off and started hitting the little rainbow on the wall.
As for Emma, she looked at me and said, "Daddy. I think rainbows are light that go through water drops."
WTF? Who the...what the...calling Bill Nye!
As much as I'd like to increase Emma's 529 plan, the truth is that Lisa had a talk with the kids about rainbows just before I did. So whereas Andrew ignored both of our explanations, Emma retained what Lisa said and basically told me, "You're a liar and Mommy's smarter."
Both of which are unfortunately true.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Lisa does not realize that a quick glimpse to her right means that Emma will have gobbled up her five scoop ice cream sundae.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
There are times when you wonder if the kids are beginning to think too highly of themselves. You want your child to have a healthy ego, but you certainly do not want them thinking they're any better than you. After all, who could be better than us?
At our new townhouse, the kitchen is pretty small so if there are more than a few people in it, you're either going to get bumped or sauteed. A few days ago, Lisa was in the kitchen preparing dinner and didn't see Emma next to her. Lisa bumped Emma over.
"Emma! I didn't see you there. I'm sorry," Lisa apologized.
Emma got up off the floor and said, "Mommy, you need to be careful because I am special."
Lisa did a slight double-take and asked, "Special? Why are you special, Emma?"
Emma made an expression of disbelief that belies her toddler age and said, "Because I am EXCITING!"
Sunday, November 21, 2010
After dinner, the kids expect dessert. Dessert to them is anything sweeter than their dinner, so we try to keep it as healthy as possible. Some examples of their dessert is sliced apples, toddler crackers, or 1/2 a bag of cane sugar.
One dessert that the kids really enjoy is yogurt. The other night, I asked the kids whether or not they wanted broccoli or yogurt for dessert. After being assaulted with toddler obscenities such as Mothergooser, I relented and got a carton of yogurt out of the fridge.
But Andrew was very adamant that he was not going to get any broccoli. "No broccoli! Yogurt! I want yogurt!" he demanded. Does he not yet understand that the more angry you get at Daddy, the more sarcastic and a-holey Daddy is going to get?
So as a joke, I emptied out the yogurt container and put a piece of broccoli into it. I walked up to Andrew and asked if he wanted to spoon out the rest of the yogurt.
"I want yogurt! I want yogurt!" he screamed with delight.
I took a spoon and started to scrape the inside of the yogurt cup. Andrew's eyes widened as he anticipated a scoop of delicious, creamy strawberry yogurt. Well, imagine his horror when all that came out of the yogurt cup was a gigantic broccoli crown.
"No no no! No broccoli!" he screamed with anger.
"Are you sure you don't want this?" I teased Andrew as I hovered the spoon of broccoli around his face.
"I no want it! I want yogurt! No broccoli! AHHHHHH!!!!"
With Andrew's patented scream, I decided I should stop the teasing and give the kids their bowl of yogurt. After I placed Andrew's bowl of yogurt in front of him, he just looked at me with his furrowed brow and grumbled, "Why you so crazy for, Daddy?"
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
stu·pid/ˈstupɪd, ˈstyu‐/ Show Spelled [stoo-pid, styoo‐] adjective, -er, -est, noun
1. lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind; dull.
2. characterized by or proceeding from mental dullness; foolish; senseless: a stupid question.3. Scott Ichikawa
This morning, I made a bad situation worse.
It was a normal morning of dreaded anticipation of the kids waking up. As soon as I hear the kids start to whine, I down the remainder of my coffee, put down the paper, and flush the toilet (Yah, so...I like to spend my mornings on the crapper.).
As I began to change Andrew's clothes, Andrew noticed a mole on my arm. Andrew likes to call it a "dot" which is much more preferred over what he used to call it: melanoma. So I pointed to a little mole that was on Andrew's leg.
Emma wanted to join in on the fun, so she started to look for moles on Andrew's body. It was like a dermatologist convention. When Emma was just about to give up hope, she announced with excitement, "Look! I found some!" Emma pointed at Andrew's nipples.
I told Emma that those were not dots. I guess Emma knew that because she replied back, "I know. Those are Andrew's boobies!"
Sigh. The word boobies again. Pretty soon Emma and Andrew were saying "boobies" more times than I've seen boobies in my life; they said it 3 times.
I tried to stop the gigglefest by explaining to Emma that those were not Andrew's boobies because boys do not have boobies. My explanation went further when I began to say, "Those are actually called nip..." And then I stopped because I realized the word "nipples" isn't any better than "boobies".
But I should've finished my sentence because Emma said, "Those are nips?"
GOOD GOING, SCOTT! I've just created a racist. Pretty soon, she'll be doing hate crimes against herself. "One nip. Two nip," Emma counted.
REALLY GOOD GOING, SCOTT! Might as well have Emma say hello to Manzanar now!
Without making a bigger deal than it already was in my mind, I told Emma that those things on Andrew's chest are not called nips. So when she asked me what they were called, I said the only thing I could say.
"They're called boobies."
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
As I was driving the kids around town looking for the nearest strip club...err...strip mall, Emma noticed Christmas decorations on some buildings and asked what they were. Since the whole notion of Santa Claus seems to be so fleeting with kids, I decided to give Emma and Andrew an introductory rundown about Saint Nick.
I began by telling them there was a person named Santa Claus who lives at the North Pole. And once a year, he travels all around the world to deliver toys to all the good boys and girls. I emphasized to the kids for my own parental benefit that Santa Claus knows which boys and girls have been good and bad, and he only delivers toys to the good ones.
At this point, Andrew interrupted and said, "Emma no good."
Stunned, I said, "What?"
Andrew explained, "Emma no listen. She no listen to Mommy in bath." He was kinda right. The night before, Emma got in trouble with Lisa during bath time because she kept on pouring water out of the tub.
I tried to change the topic, but Andrew insisted on telling me why Emma was bad.
"Emma pour water. Keep on pour water and Mommy get MAD! Emma no listen. Emma bad," Andrew continued to explain possibly hoping ratting his sister would score him extra loot from Santa.
My attempt to create excitement about the holidays was deflating faster than my masculinity in a locker room. I couldn't tell if Emma felt bad because I was driving, but she was completely silent. I tried to make one last attempt to salvage this sled wreck.
"Emma, you're a good girl. I'm sure Santa will bring you plenty of toys for Christmas. And Andrew, you don't really think Emma is a bad girl, right?"
Without missing a beat, Andrew simply said, "Nope. Bad, bad, bad."
Monday, November 15, 2010
When last we met, I asked what should be done about Emma's anal retentiveness with her bedsheets. Forty-five percent of you thought we should just fix it for Emma because it's just another phase. Twenty-seven percent suggested we just let Emma cry it out -- frostbite be damned. And oddly, more people suggested we velcro Emma to the bed before we try to take the bedsheets away.
What Lisa and I have ended up doing is fixing Emma's damn sheets. I say bullsheet on this, but it's ultimately easier for everyone. For awhile, we tried taking away the sheets and ignored her crying, but it just made Emma hysterical and made Andrew grumpy and hysterical too. Just imagine the aftermath of this the morning after. We do believe it's just a phase, and as soon as the kids are old enough to fix their bedsheets, we'll be back to normal again -- unless both kids lose the use of their opposable thumbs.
It's hard to believe that the kids are already three years old. And it's even harder to believe that my things-to-do list that I started three years ago still has not been completed (I really have to do the laundry soon!). So far it seems to me that this age is a pretty major transitory stage between baby and not baby. Naps to no naps. Diapers to no diapers. Milk to whiskey.
I'm not too sure what my earliest childhood memories are, but I vaguely recall some moments when I used to live in San Francisco. When I was around four years old, we moved from San Francisco to Sacramento, so I know these fuzzy visions were when I was four years old or younger. This makes me realize that there is the possibility that Emma and Andrew might have some everlasting memories of childhood from this moment on. So to make sure I don't scar the kids, my first step towards creating pleasant memories is to always wear pants around the house.
So what do you think? From your earliest childhood memories, how old do you think you were?
Sunday, November 14, 2010
At the end of each day, I like to review with the kids what we did. I'll ask them simple questions like, "What did you like doing?", "What did you not like about the day?", "Do you think it's a good idea to tell Mommy that Daddy was drunk today?"
Tonight, I had this conversation with Emma while I was helping her brush her teeth.
"Emma, did you have fun today?" I asked.
"Uh-huh!" Emma said nodding in agreement.
"What did you like about today?"
"Uh...blarg blah pah guh," said Emma attempting to pronounce her vowels.
"I see," I said with disengaged interest. "What else did you like?"
"Dah garg nah ruh dah," mumbled Emma as I brushed her molars.
"Yes, that was fun." I had no idea what she said. "Did you like anything else?"
Then, Emma grabbed my hand and made me take the toothbrush out of her mouth. After spitting, she said with frustration, "You know, I can't talk when I have the toothbrush in my mouth!"
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Emma and Andrew went to a friend's birthday party where they had a bunch of puppies in an enclosed gate for the kids to play with. Although I find it a little peculiar to have a bunch of babies and toddlers crawling around in a playpen with puppies, I will admit it is a much better idea than the last party where they had the national touring company of Cats in a playpen.
Neither Lisa or I are big animal lovers. We don't have anything against them; we eat them every other day. It seems as if our lack of interest with animals has caused our children to be particularly wary of them. I'm glad our kids are cautious around animals, but there seems to be something a little wrong when they fear little furry, fetus-sized puppies scampering around their feet.
At first, Emma and Andrew seemed engaged with the puppies. When we asked the kids if they wanted to pet the puppies, they both said yes. But as soon as we put the kids in the playpen with the puppies, you could visibly see that Emma and Andrew wanted to get out faster than a john with a $2 whore.
I felt slightly embarrassed that our little kids were freaking out with the baby Cujos. I wasn't sure why I felt that way because I knew I was not transferring my own insecurities and fears upon my children. And there was absolutely no way those feelings were also being manipulated to amplify my insufficient abilities as a father and husband. Nope. No way. ...i need a hug...
But all kids fear different things for any number of reasons. As a parent, you just want to make sure these fears do not hinder your child's ability to function on a day to day basis. Otherwise, it's all a part of growing up and hoping your kids don't turn out too f'd up.
Here are a couple of pictures of the kids hanging on to dear life from the rampaging assault of furry cuteness.
Friday, November 12, 2010
On the next episode of Top Chef: Toddlers, the contestants struggle to cook anything with a pretend kitchen.
After being bothered incessantly by Emma, Andrew decides to build a well-meaning, but ineffective barricade.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Although both kids are improving with their potty training, Emma has taken the slight lead on the potty chart. Ever since we started giving the kids fruit gummies as a potty reward, Emma has become much better at telling us when she has to go pee or poop. If this food incentive works, I may have to upgrade the reward to a baked ham or some cheese fondue.
Andrew is a little behind on the chart because he does not tell us when he needs to pee. He has been pretty good about telling us when he's making a frothy poopiccino in his pants, but we are encouraging him to do the same for his pee.
Emma also likes to count how many happy face stamps she needs to get to the next reward. She currently received stickers and a book, and the next reward is a balloon. Andrew received stickers, but needs a few more stamps to get a book.
The other day, the kids were looking at their potty chart. Emma was counting her happy face stamps, and then she started to count Andrew's happy face stamps. She told Andrew that she already got her book reward, but he still needed more stamps.
And to rub it in a little more, Emma counted how many stamps Andrew needed and literally said to him, "Hey Monkeyboy! You still need two more!"
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Emma and Andrew not only are playing together more, but they also enjoy the idea of pretending. They pretend they cook, they pretend they go shopping, and they pretend they have a different father that does not embarrass them so much.
Another thing they like to pretend is playing doctor and patient. Andrew was the doctor, and Emma was the patient in this exchange.
"Okay, Emma," said Doctor Andrew. "You need a shot."
"Okay," said Emma.
Andrew gave Emma shot.
"Can I have a bandaid?" asked Emma.
"No," said Doctor Andrew. "You need another shot."
Andrew gave Emma another shot.
"Can I have a band-aid now?" pleaded Emma.
"No! No band-aid," retorted Doctor Andrew. "Another shot!"
Andrew gave Emma yet another shot.
"Band-aid, please?" begged a drugged up Emma.
Emma began to become visibly upset by this doctor visit, so Lisa intervened and told Emma she would give her a pretend band-aid. But Andrew did not order the pretend band-aid so he removed the pretend band-aid off of Emma and gave her ANOTHER shot.
"Mommy. Can you give me a band-aid?" asked Emma.
"Of course," said Lisa as she placed another band-aid on Emma's arm.
"Nope! No band-aid," said Doctor Andrew as he removed the band-aid.
Finally, Emma got fed up with this game of doctor and patient. She stood up and yelled at Lisa, "I WANT A NEW DOCTOR!"
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Andrew was grabbing the back of the sofa which usually means one of two things: he either dragged the sofa on top of Emma or he's trying to poop.
"I...neeeed...pooooon!" grunted Andrew.
"Do you need to poo, Andrew?" I asked.
"Pooooooon!" Andrew screeched as he was digging his hands into the sofa pillows.
"Let me put you on the potty," I suggested.
"No! I need pooooon! Poooon!" he yelled.
I then deduced Andrew's crinkled nose and clenched jaw that he must be constipated. "Oh! You need prunes?"
Andrew stomped on the floor with frustration. "Daddy! Poon! Poon! I need poon!"
I had no idea what Andrew was saying. Poo? Prunes? He started to climb over the sofa and dug his head between the pillows. I went to see what he was doing and moved some of the pillow around. Guess what I found at the bottom of the cushions? A toy spoon.
"Oh!" I said. "You need your SPOON!"
I handed him his toy spoon, and he mumbled something like, "Ash hole."
Friday, November 5, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I recently got some bad news when I went to the dentist. First, the dental hygienist told me she has seen better flossing done by thongs on a Miami beach. But more importantly, there were a couple of spots in my mouth where my gums have receded. It was recommended that I have deep cleaning done on the right side of my mouth.
From what I understand, deep cleaning is just a more intensive cleaning that gets underneath your gums more in order to get rid of all the tartar build up. So I made an appointment for the following week to start this anal (or is it oral) retentive cleaning process.
When I returned for my first deep cleaning session, I got a few novocaine shots which made the entire process a lot more comfortable. As I laid down in my squeaky, plastic covered chair, a revelation hit me: this was really relaxing!
This thought made me wonder if I was entering the world of masochism, but thankfully, I still don't know what the word "masochism" means. What delighted me was that I had a whole hour to myself. Sure, I had a woman using a pick to scrape underneath my gums, but when you have kids you take what you can get.
After the hygienist completed the bottom right side of my mouth, she told me I would have to make another appointment to clean the upper right. I told her I would be more than happy to do that because these cleaning sessions were like relaxing getaway vacations for me. As she used the plastic napkin to wipe blood away from my mouth, she looked at me with a quizzical look and called me a masochist.
I really should find a dictionary, huh?
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Since the kids turned three, I decided I needed to really focus on their potty training. Although we have been putting the kids on the potty 4-5x a day, the only way they have been communicating to us that they have soiled their diapers is by farting. I figured I needed to do something else.
I took out some construction paper and made a little potty chart for Emma and Andrew. And at every 6th square, I drew a little picture that showed them what prize they would get (e.g. stickers, balloon, book, Lexus).
When I taped the potty chart to the wall, I said to the kids, "Each time you successful empty your bladder or bowels into the toilet, I hope these stickers and prizes will be enough positive reinforcement to encourage and motivate you to end your dependency with diapers." After they looked at me with confused eyes, I rephrased and said, "You crap, you win." And then they cheered.
Andrew was first to go on the potty. So I tried to make a big deal about it. I cheered Andrew, gave him a hug, and told him to go mock and humiliate Emma for not going on the potty yet. I probably should not have told Andrew to tease Emma because she ended up swatting Andrew with her princess wand for 20 minutes.
But all of that aggression must have helped because Emma also went on the potty! Once again, I tried to make her achievement into a big celebration. I cheered Emma, hugged her, and told her to humiliate Andrew. Once again that was a bad idea because Emma's idea of humiliation was to swat Andrew with her princess wand for another 20 minutes.
I'll keep you updated with their potty progress. My hope is that in several weeks, I can start to have the kids wear underwear during the daytime, but keep them in diapers at night. In other words, what Lisa and I do every day.