Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 1208 - Conversations with Emma & Andrew



When I put the kids down for a nap, I know it will take them anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes for them to calm down and fall asleep. I used to keep the baby monitor on to make sure things were okay, but their constant talking started to drive me crazy so I now put the volume down to zero and turn it back up when the red lights start flashing.

At first, the kids were just laughing and conversing about topics that interest three year olds: toys, poop, and politics. But as time passed, I could hear Emma growing frustrated with Andrew's chatter. Andrew began to talk more and more as Emma was winding down and trying to fall asleep.

Andrew started to ramble on about his Cars toys, "And then Chick Hicks and The King and McQueen go to the Piston Cup. And I'm McQueen and Emma is The King and Daddy is Chick Hicks. And Daddy is bad because Chick Hicks bumps The King!"

Emma tried to say something, "Andrew..."

Andrew continued, "Then The King gets dirty! And McQueen push The King over the finish line. And they say 'Boo' to Chick Hicks because he's bad!"

"Andrew," Emma attempted again.

But there was still no stopping Andrew, "Emma. You The King, ok? Ok? You The King. And I'm McQueen! Ka-chow!"

Finally Emma lost her patience and shouted, "Andrew! Get back in bed, be quiet, and close your eyes!"

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 1207 - 1st Week Wrap-up: Preschool Week


The first week of preschool is done, and for the most part, it was a good week. The kids are having fun at school, and I am having fun having three hours to myself in the morning.

At first, it is a very weird sensation being at home by yourself without the kids at home. You get so used to having your home being a place of screaming and shrieking and chaos that you're shell-shocked when it's quiet. It was so shocking to me that I actually peed myself a bit.

Emma seems to be doing really well at school and is genuinely excited about it. When I pick her up, she energetically tells me all of the fun things she did at school. Although she has shown no display of separation anxiety, Emma has not been sleep well at night. She wakes up 3-4x a night crying and often comes into our room where she finds us also crying due to sleep deprivation. I can only assume that this night restlessness is due to her transition into preschool. And if not that, it could be the life-sized Chewbacca doll I set up next to her bed.

Andrew has a great time when he's at school, but he is having a more difficult time getting used to preschool. He still cries when I leave him at preschool, but he stops a few minutes later. I'm hoping to remedy this problem by leaving him at random spots around Los Angeles and picking him up three hours later.

Andrew's teacher also says he has a more difficult time transitioning from one activity to another. Andrew wants things his way and gets upset when he doesn't get his way. If it's time to go inside, he wants to stay outside. If it's time to clean up, he still wants to play. But his teacher says this is something that he will understand through time.

As for my impression of the preschool, I really like the staff. All of the teachers knew the kids' names and my name. It could've been the fact that on my first day I wore my t-shirt that said "I'm Scott, Biatch!", but it was still nice. I also like the way the staff takes care of the students. They are strict, but extremely loving and nurturing at the same time.

The only thing about the preschool that took me by surprise is how messy the kids get. When they told me that they emphasize learning through playing, I didn't know that meant I would also have to do the laundry every day and purchase a gallon of Shout. But it is nice that the kids have a chance to be kids at school, and they can continue to be anal-retentive Crazy Grandma germ-a-phobes at home.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 1206 - Picture Friday: Preschool Week

I took advantage of the kids' illiteracy and told them Daddy made the hearts for them.



Andrew is already more athletic than his Daddy. The only thing Daddy ever got dunked was his head in a public toilet.


We take pride that we taught our children to be tidy and precise when doing art and craft projects.


...umm...forget what we just said...


Andrew hid his first snow ball in conjunction with his own balls hiding.


"...i can't feel my feet..."


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Day 1205 - Day Three: Preschool Week


As I walked the kids to school, there was a part of me that was nervous because this would be their first day at school without me. I constantly reminded the kids that I was not going to stay with them at school, but I would pick them up at lunch. I also told them that if I smelled of alcohol when I picked them up, not to tell Mommy.

Approaching school, every thing seemed fine. When we got to the front of the building, the kids began saying good bye to me already, but I told them I had to walk them inside first. My mom told me when I started preschool, she had the same worries of separation anxiety. But she said I transitioned quickly and soon began telling her to go home immediately. Little did she know that I wanted her to leave because of extreme embarrassment.

After I signed in the kids, I decided I would give them their hugs and kisses and make a clean break. But as I walked towards the exit gate, something tugged at my leg: it was Andrew. His eyes were full of tears, and he did not want me to leave.

It was a little heartbreaking to tear his little hands away from my masculine and toned man-thighs. I did not want to make this into a big deal, so I had to figure out a quick escape. I simply pointed over Andrew's shoulder and shouted, "Isn't that Lightning McQueen?" And when he turned around, I ran away.

A teacher was holding Andrew as I left. At first, I was concerned for Andrew, but when I turned around, I grew more concerned for the teacher because Andrew was violently swatting her away. Hopefully, she does not bruise easily.

When I returned at 12pm to pick up the kids, they were happily playing in the sandbox and did not want to leave. I spoke to a teacher to see how Andrew did after I left. She told me he cried a few minutes, and then began to play. I added that it must help that he has his sister at school, too.

"Funny, you bring that up," said the teacher. "When you left, I asked Emma if she wanted to give her brother a hug to make him feel better. Without even looking up at me, she said, 'No.'"

Great to know Andrew has a sister he can depend on.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 1204 - Day Two: Preschool Week


Once again, the kids woke up a little earlier than I expected so I had to calm an anxious Emma down until we were able to go to school. There would be no surprises for the kids because today had the same schedule as yesterday -- 9am to 12:30pm.

I was glad the kids were happy to go to school because I had this neurotic idea that something awful was going to happen on their first day and they would no longer want to go. I even had a list of potential things that would traumatize the kids: they would get injured, a kid would bully them, a Yeti would ransack the school.

After their morning activity centers, there was a music class. We all sat around in a circle and sang songs. One of the songs was participatory. The teacher would call on the kids to name a body part, and then we would sing about that body part. I began to get anxious for Emma and Andrew because I didn't know if they would speak up. But they did a great job when it was their turn. Emma chose her feet, and Andrew chose his hands. Ironically, the kids should've been worried more about me because when it was my turn, I blurted out, "Scrotum."

During lunch, Emma and Andrew were sitting next to two other kids and the teachers began to talk about it. They told me the reason they put Emma and Andrew in this particular class is because of the two kids they were sitting next to. The four of them constituted the oldest kids in the room: all of them are three years old. I found it interesting that our kids were automatically drawn towards the older kids. It reminded me of when I was in preschool and the teachers placed me in the class with the feral cats.

Overall, I'd say Day 2 of preschool was another successful day. No crying, lots of laughter, and no blood. But tomorrow will be a big test because that will be the first day that I won't be attending...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 1203 - Day One: Preschool Week


For the kids' first day of preschool, we were suppose to arrive at 9am and stay three hours. The past few weeks, I've been timing myself to see how long it takes me to get the kids ready in the morning and it has always taken me under an hour. And today was no different except for the fact that the kids woke up earlier than expected so I was finished with them at 8:10am.

Certainly seems like it's no problem having the kids all ready to leave for preschool, but Emma was being very impatient and did not understand why we could not leave right away.

"Let's go! Why can't we go? Why are we at home still?" Emma questioned incessantly.

Meanwhile, Andrew was just playing with his Cars toys and screaming, "And Chick Hicks BUMPS the King! BOOOOM!"

After thirty five minutes of Emma badgering me to take her to school, we finally left. As a dutiful father and Japanese, I brought my camera along to document this day. I took a few pictures of the kids outside carrying their massive lunch boxes; you'd think they were carrying half of Costco in there. And I thought how weird that three years has passed and the kids are ready to attend preschool. Instead of playing and peeing on the floor at home, we are now paying a preschool to have the kids play and pee at school.

As we walked through the classrooms, the teachers greeted the kids warmly and showed them where they could hang their coats, put away their lunch, and store their nap time supplies. I took the kids outside to the play yard, and they immediately ran away from me as if I didn't exist; it reminded me of my first date with Lisa.

One of the kids' teachers asked if I had a moment so she could show me the sign-in book and where our mailbox is. I took a glance at the kids and they were happily playing in the sandbox, so I went inside for a few minutes. But when I returned, I was greeted with a crying Andrew.

During that brief moment inside the preschool office, Andrew was trying to find me and had separation anxiety. The preschool director told me that the reason she has the parents attend the first two days of school with their children is to make sure they feel secure and to make the transition easier. And the next time I leave the kids, I should make sure I tell them where I'm going and when I'll be back.

Man...I had flashbacks of elementary school when I was scolded by my teachers. Granted the incident in first grade when I poured rubber cement into my teacher's purse was an accident, but I swear it wasn't me who followed up with the bags of glitter.

At around 9:30a, the teachers gathered the kids and sang a song and read a book. She then brought them inside to wash their hands to have a yummy snack of hash brown, turkey bacon, and milk. For the next hour or so, the kids were either able to play at activity centers or do free play in the classroom. Then it was another forty minutes outside, and it was time to leave at noon.

I'd have to say the kids had a rather positive first day at preschool. Personally, I also think this is going to be a preschool that will have a positive influence on the kids' development. It's not an academic preschool, but that was not something we were looking for. We just wanted a preschool where the kids could learn to socialize and develop themselves into individuals. The whole curriculum with the preschool is based on learning through playing and active parental involvement. And the fact that it was a block away from our home and had an opening for us in January greatly influenced our decision too.

So bring on Day 2 with all the germs, boogies, and drool!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 1202 - Poll Results & New Poll: Preschool Week



Last week I asked if you thought it was okay if Andrew played video games. Fifty percent of you thought it was a bad idea, and if I allowed him to do so I'd might as well say good bye and rename him Boo Radley. Thirty-three percent were more lenient and thought an occasional video game would be okay as long as it did not become a habit. Sadly, this is the same advice given to Courtney Love and Charlie Sheen.

I decided that it would be okay to have Andrew play an occasional game on the phone or the computer as long as it met three guidelines: 1) The game is used as a reward or motivator, 2) the game should be educational, and 3) it is a game I want to purchase. I figure if video games ever become a problem, I'll just force Andrew to play Dead Space or Resident Evil and that will probably make him not want to play another game for at least five years.

**********

Tomorrow is a momentous day in the Ichikawa family for two reasons: 1) The kids begin preschool, and 2) I will have to cash in a few mutual funds to pay for preschool for the next year and a half.

Lisa and I have been trying to make the first day of preschool an exciting day for the kids. We talk about how they will make friends, get to play with new toys, and create different arts and crafts projects. But I also don't want to over-hype preschool for the kids like the way my co-workers over-hyped the movie Crash for me.

So what do you think? By the end of the week, do you think the kids will be excited for preschool or have a bad case of separation anxiety?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 1201 - Jitter Bugs: Preschool Week


On Tuesday, the kids are about to embark on their first day of preschool. Lisa and I have been trying to get Emma and Andrew excited about school by telling them how great it will be for Mommy and Daddy to finally have some peace and quiet at home; this news has not excited them at all.

There has been a certain amount of anxiety on my part because: 1) I tend to over think situations and 2) I'm a wuss and have some not-to-be-specified female anatomical parts that causes hormonal surges. Both of the kids are looking forward to preschool, but Emma is anticipating it more than Andrew.

When I ask Emma if she's excited for school, she'll respond with an enthusiastic, "I CAN'T WAIT FOR SCHOOL!" When I ask Andrew, he responds with a typical male answer, "...yup..."

This week will be the transition week for the kids so they will not attend full days yet. When the kids start on Tuesday, I will accompany them for three hours and then take them home. On Wednesday, I will be with them for three and a half hours and then take them home. And then Thursday and Friday will be half days without me. Needless to say, I will rename Thursday and Friday to Whoreday and Vodkaday.

Although I wish we could stay home with the kids a little longer (especially my checking account), the kids are almost 3 1/2 and it is an appropriate time for them to start preschool. Admittedly there is a bunch of stuff I'm dreading about preschool (i.e. illness, lice, injuries, lawsuits), but I do believe a preschool experience in tandem with a strong family foundation can be a great combination for both child and parent.

By the end of the week, I hope the kids will be acclimated to their preschool environment. And if not, I won't be able to rename Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to Moviematineeday, Playstationday, and Meetupwithmatchdotcomdateday.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Day 1200 - Conversations with Emma & Andrew


While reading the kids a story about rainbows, I decided to ask them what their favorite color is.

"Emma," I asked. "What's your favorite color?"

"Umm," she thought. "Purple!"

"Andrew," I continued. "What's your favorite color?"

"Umm," he thought. "Aquamarine!"

WTF? Just to make sure we were on the same page, I asked Andrew a few more questions and found out his favorite food is chicken saltimbocca and his favorite book is "Moll Flanders".

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day 1199 - Picture Friday

"If you don't give me dessert, this doll dies!"


"Paint inside the lines...paint inside the lines...DAMMIT...paint inside the lines..."


Don't believe this picture...smoking is not cool!


Despite Andrew's bubble blowing efforts, the only thing his blowing got him was a light head and a slight concussion.


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 1198 - Game Strategy


Once a day, if the kids are well-behaved, we allow them to play one game on our cell phone. Oh fine, whom am I kidding. Several times a day, we bribe the kids to be well-behaved by allowing them to play games on our cell phone.

A particular game that they enjoy is a matching game with characters from the movie Cars. But it's not an authorized game so it's a bunch of similar looking cars that you'd probably find being sold in a questionable toy store called Toys R Gus.

I noticed that Emma got the hang of the game pretty fast. In some instances, she remembered where the matching cars were better than me. But that's not much of an accomplishment when you're looking at the guy who gets lost at the Costco parking lot every weekend.

As for Andrew, he seemed to be challenged by the game. It took him a really long time to make matches. Andrew would just stare at the screen and hit the same tiles over and over again. I was about to reduce the direct deposit into Andrew's college fund until I realized something a few days later: he was missing up on purpose.

The kids had two different objectives: Emma wanted to complete the game with the best time possible, and Andrew just wanted possession of the game as long as possible. Eventually, you could see the joy in Andrew's eyes as he stalled the completion of his turn, all the while increasing Emma's impatience and frustration with not getting her turn.

If I was back in school, I would probably ask Emma to tutor me and ask Andrew for a copy of the answer key.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 1196 - Conversations with Andrew


There are times when Andrew likes to categorize things as a boy or a girl. He will go through family members, his toys, and pictures in books. I tried to confuse him by showing him a scene from La Cage aux Folles and The Crying Game, but I was afraid his little noggin' was going to burst.

This morning, Andrew had something to tell me.

"Daddy, daddy!" screamed Andrew. "I have something to tell you?"

"What do you want to tell me?" I asked.

"Andrew is a boy!" said Andrew.

"Yup," I agreed.

"And Emma is a girl," continued Andrew.

"Yes."

"Daddy a boy!"

"That's right."

"Mommy is a girl!"

"I hope so."

"Poppa is a boy."

"Mmhmm."

"Gaga is a...Gaga is a...what's Gaga?"

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 1195 - Poll Results & New Poll


Last week I asked what to do about Emma's increasingly random late night wake-ups. Seventy-two percent recommended that we only check on her if it sounds important such as she had a nightmare or Andrew is crapping on her new Rapunzel doll. Only eighteen percent thought we should rush to her side no matter what. Obviously these people love their kids more than their sleep.

Currently, Lisa's instinct is to still rush to Emma's side. On the other hand, I like to wait a few minutes before deciding if I need to check on her. Lisa and I have reached a slight compromise though. If we hear Emma cry and Lisa starts to get out of bed, I'll awake from my slumber and articulately say, "Eeeh grrr naaaaah!" which basically means in 3am language, "Wait a few minutes."

**********

Lisa and I both believe in moderation with our parenting. It's okay if you expose your kids to a little television, a little dessert, and a little Showtime softcore original programming as long as you don't over do it.

Andrew has discovered through YouTube videos and my cell phone the magical time-sucking wonder of video games. If the kids behave, we'll let them play one game on the phone. It's usually something silly like a fireworks simulation game, a matching game, or Andrew's favorite, a racing game.

I have been a video gamer as long as I can remember, and I have been very discrete with my gaming. As a matter of fact, I have never played a video game in front of the kids. I have also never played a video game in front of Lisa because she always walks out of the room for fear of my gaming rage and subliminally becoming a geek.

Just recently, Andrew has started to talk about Cars video games. He has seen a couple of Cars games at Target and Best Buy, and he always says, "I want this for Christmas!" I also have a Wii hooked up in our bedroom, and Andrew asks what the Wii controllers are. I don't want him to know that it's a video game controller, so I lie to him and tell him it's Lisa's vibrator.

So what do you think? Should I allow Andrew to play an occasional video game on the Wii or PS3? Or is this just a gateway drug that will lead to World of Warcraft, Grand Theft Auto, and no girlfriends until the age of 26?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Day 1194 - Crazy Grandma Ichikawa Storytime


I hope you're putting away enough money into your health savings account because you'll need extra medication in order to enjoy this entry of...Crazy Grandma Ichikawa Storytime!

Next week, the kids are going to start preschool. We are all excitedly anticipating the big day when Emma and Andrew are off to their first day of pseudo-school, and Crazy Grandma of course has her two cents about it. And man, if I had two cents every time she piped in about something, I would have $1,546,380.02.

The first week of preschool is a transition week. On the first day, the kids only go for three hours, but I'm with them the whole time. On the second day, the kids go for four hours, and I'm still with them. On the third day, the kids go for four hours by themselves. On the fourth day, the kids go six hours by themselves. On the fifth day, the kids are on their own. And on the sixth day, I recover from a severe hangover from partying too much on day five.

I was trying to explain this transition week to Crazy Grandma, and I needed a transition week just to recover from the conversation.

CRAZY GRANDMA
Soooo...when dooo dah kidz stahrt preskool?

CRAZY SON
They start next week, but it's a transition week. I stay with them for the first few days.

CRAZY GRANDMA
I waz tahlking to dah neighbor and dey have dere kid in preskool. Dey had to go to skool with dem for one hour for two weeks.

CRAZY SON
Well, this school doesn't do that.

CRAZY GRANDMA
You stay wif dem for two weeks too?

CRAZY SON
No. The first day is only three hours.

CRAZY GRANDMA
So you stay wif dem for one hour and dey stay for two more?

CRAZY SON
No, I stay with them for three hours.

CRAZY GRANDMA
The preskool is only three hours?

CRAZY SON
No...

CRAZY GRANDMA
Only three hours for two weeks?

CRAZY SON
NO...three hours for only the first day...

CRAZY GRANDMA
You know, the neighbor sayz she had to stay one hour for two weeks. Maybe you can do dat.

CRAZY SON
But this school doesn't do that.

CRAZY GRANDMA
Maybe dey should!

CRAZY SON
But they don't!

CRAZY GRANDMA
Well, the neighbor sayz she had to stay one hour for two weeks.

At this point, I hung up on Crazy Grandma and immediately called my therapist. I am going to see her one hour for the next two weeks...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Day 1193 - Playground Confidential


There are several perks being married to a teacher: the kickass salary, the permanent smell of rubber cement on her hands, and access to the school grounds. Every so often we will pack up the car with the kid's scooters and take a trip to Lisa's school so the kids can have their own private play area.

Although we packed up the car with the scooters, the kids only rode on them once because they were having too much fun on the playground and the other activities in the kindergarten yard: hula hoops, jump ropes, basketball, and the kids' new favorite game, Milk or Bird Poop.

Here is a short video of the kids playing at Lisa's school. But notice at the end of the video how technology trumps the day.


video

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 1192 - Picture Friday

As the kids review Andrew's car collection, one collective thought crosses their mind: What a waste of money.


Emma points out to Andrew another word she can not read.


"...i don't have to pee...i don't have to pee...i don't have to pee..."


Dr. Emma gives Andrew his diagnosis, "You have something that Daddy does not: a brain."


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Day 1191 - Conversations with Andrew


As I mentioned in the previous entry, Andrew has a way of procrastinating his (and ours) need for sleep. You'd think his active lifestyle would be ideal for quick slumber, but you would be mistaken. When he's in bed, he is thinking of ways to get our attention (i.e. screams, demands, the infamous jar of Aquaphor).

This evening, we heard Andrew's first demand over the baby monitor.

"Daddy! I'm cold! I want my sheets!" shouted Andrew.

I went upstairs to see Andrew, and he kicked all of his sheets off the bed. I silently pulled the sheets over Andrew, but my mind was loudly cursing up a storm.

Soon after, Andrew's second demand was heard.

"Daddy! I have a boogie! I need a tissue!" yelled Andrew.

I went upstairs, and Andrew had a finger pointed in the air with the much anticipated boogie. I wiped Andrew's finger with a tissue and dragged myself downstairs again.

A few minutes later, Andrew's third demand was heard.

"Daddy! I have to tell you something!" screamed Andrew.

I had enough. I was in the middle of watching Live to Dance, and there was no way I was going to miss Paula's riveting remarks. So I asked Lisa to go upstairs this time to see what Andrew wanted.

As Lisa stepped foot into the bedroom, there was no thanks or gratefulness from Andrew towards Lisa. All I heard him say was, "Hey! You're not Daddy! Where's Daddy? You're not Daddy! DAAAADDY!"

Lisa came downstairs as I went back up to see what Andrew wanted.

"Andrew," I sighed. "What do you want?"

"I call for you, but you not come up. Mommy came up! I no called for Mommy," explained Andrew.

"I know, Andrew. But what do you want?"

"Why did Mommy come up? She not Daddy," Andrew continued.

"No, she's not Daddy. It's time to go to sleep. Why did you call for me?"

Andrew tilted his head towards the ceiling to think, and when a realization came over his eyes, he reconnected with me and said, "I forget. Oh well!"

I then tilted my head towards the ceiling to see where the best spot would be to hang myself.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 1189 - The Long Good Night



When we moved to our new home, we used it as a way to shorten the good time ritual. At our old place, we read a book, did shadow puppets, chased a flashlight spotlight, waved good night in front of a mirror, cooked a meat loaf, defragmented the hard drive, and then finally put the kids to bed. Our new ritual is a story for each of them, a hug and a kiss, and defragmenting the hard drive.

The kids always try to procrastinate bedtime by doing and requesting some odd things. They will kick all of their blankets off their bed and then shout, "I'm cold! I'm cold!" They might occasionally pick their nose until a booger comes out and then shout, "I need a tissue!" They will pee in their overnight diaper a minute after we leave their bedroom and then shout, "Change my diaper!"

The newest maneuver Andrew is using to keep from sleeping is a pretty funny one. Just before we step out of the room, he will say, "Daddy! Mommy! I have to tell you something!" So we slowly turn around and ask with trepidation, "What do you want to tell us?"

And then Andrew will proceed to lay out what he's going to do after he wakes up. With all seriousness, he tells us with bated breath and excitement, "When I wake up tomorrow, I change my clothes and change my diaper and then I get milk and then I eat and then I brush my teeth and then I play with my cars then I want to blow bubbles and then watch tv and then I eat lunch and after I eat I play with McQueen and Mater and Chick Hicks and The King and we race and go fast, fast, fast and then I try to nap but I no like to nap so then I play some more and then I eat dinner and I want some goodies and I take a bath and watch YouTube and then brush teeth and go to sleep! That what I want to do!"

The good news about this is that Andrew is talking a lot more and enjoys sharing his thoughts and ideas with us. The bad news is that Andrew talks very slowly, and by the time he finishes telling us about his plans for the day, it's 1:15am. Perhaps a little espresso might be necessary to get everyone to bed earlier.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 1188 - Poll Results & New Poll



Last week I asked whether starting the kids at full-day preschool is going to be a good thing. Seventy-five percent of you voted that the kids will enjoy themselves, and there isn't anything to worry about. And right behind, twelve percent thought it was not a good thing to do, and another twelve percent thought the bigger worry is college.

Lisa and I debated whether a nanny or preschool would be the best thing for the kids, and we both agreed that the kids were old enough and would probably enjoy preschool more. But this did not stop me from continuing to search for a back-up nanny on Google Search with helpful search phrases such as "nanny in fishnet", "wet t-shirt nanny", and "mary poppins nanny fetish".

Ideally, it would be great if I could stay home with the kids for a few more months, but work beckons around the corner...as well as our disappearing savings account. But I think the kids will have a fun time at preschool, and it will be great for them socially. And if preschool isn't for them right now, I have a handful of phone numbers of Mary Poppins impersonators.

**********

Ever since we returned from our holiday vacation, Emma has not been sleeping well. She has been waking up in the middle of the night with crying, whining, and the occasional shriek. I am not a big fan of the shrieking because it triggers a bladder reflex in me.

My first instinct when I hear Emma crying is to wait for a few minutes to see what will happen. If the crying morphs into blood curdling screaming, then I'll put my bunny slippers on and see what's wrong. But Lisa's first instinct when she hears one of our kids crying is to immediately go to them.

When I asked her why she rushes to their side, she says it's a maternal reflex that goes back to when they were babies. This very well might be true because when the kids ask her for a snack, her first instinct is to pull out a boob.

So what do you think? I think it's better to wait out the crying. Lisa thinks there's nothing wrong with going to check them immediately. And the kids are just plain frightened when Lisa pulls out her boob.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day 1186 - Calling All Cars!


Do you know how much money the movie Cars has made off of merchandising? About $5 billion dollars. And do you know how much of that money came from us? $4.9 billion dollars.

Andrew loves his Cars. He lives and breathes Cars every day. When he eats, he pretends his food is a car. When he gets into bed, he asks for a Cars bedtime story. When he farts, he says, "My muffler backfired."

I will admit that it is fun to see him get excited about his toys. For Christmas, he received a bunch of Cars vehicles, and he was just as overjoyed from the first one he opened to the last. I wish I was just enthused as he was when I opened my first present of socks to the last one.

But his obsession of Cars also drives me a little loony. Each night, the kids get to pick a few YouTube videos before then go to sleep. Emma will pick a variety of things, but Andrew unwaveringly will pick a Cars video each time. And do you know how many videos come up when you do a search of "cars disney pixar"? Almost 5400. I still have a long way before we get there.

Recently, Andrew has made our oval coffee table into a racetrack. He takes his Lightning McQueen, Chick Hicks, and The King cars and recreates the opening race of the movie. The only comfort I get is that at least it's better to recreate the racing scene than the scene in The Lion King in which the dad gets killed by a jealous sibling (I'm watching you Auntie Anne (pretzel maven)!).

And what's even more unnerving for me is that a Cars sequel is going to be released this summer! But I'm sure I don't have to worry about buying new Cars toys for Andrew because we all know how terrible the Disney marketing and merchandising departments are. I mean it's not like Disney has their own stores or anything like that, right? Right?!?

But like all kids, you eventually outgrow your toys. And I guess that's the reason why we continue to allow Andrew to enjoy his current craze of Cars. There's something innocent and nostalgic about seeing your child be so passionate about a toy. Might as well let him be a kid and enjoy himself. But I'm warning him right now: when he gets his driver's license in thirteen years...ONLY ONE CAR!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 1185 - Picture Friday: Sacramento Holiday Edition

Andrew finds a safe haven amidst the Ichikawa family drama.


"Blah! Blah! Blah!" screams Andrew. "I'm Grandma! Blah! Blah! Blah!"


Emma's Obscure Impressions #47: Rick Moranis as a Japanese girl.


Emma is having a great time with Grandpa. Andrew's head...not so much.


Have a great weekend...and new year!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 1184 - Competitive Nature


Emma and Andrew have started to show a little competitiveness. At night, we give them half a Flintstone vitamin, and they fight over who gets the bigger half. When they're in the car, they fight over who is going to get out of the car first. And don't even get me started on their arm wrestling matches...

I began to wonder where their competitiveness stemmed from. I would label myself a silent competitor: I won't be in your face about winning, but I am planning in my head how to make your life extremely unpleasant. And then I began to wonder where I got this from. Then it hit me: my mom.

Over the holiday break, the family was playing a card game after the kids went to sleep. For some particular reason, my mom always wants me to lose (More about this at my next therapy session.), and she got her wish: I lost. But what made it an even grander loss was that she beat me.

I don't want to say that she made a big deal about it, but it might be better to take a look at this video of her victory.

video

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 1182 - Conversations with Andrew


There are times when I like to sneak up on the kids and start chasing them. I suspect I enjoy doing it because so many people in middle and high school enjoyed chasing me; I did not enjoy it.

Andrew was innocently playing with a few of his Cars toys when I snuck up behind him and wrestled him to the floor. We were both laughing when Andrew had a question.

"Daddy? What dat?" he asked.

"What are you looking at?" I asked.

"Dere. In your nose," Andrew said as he literally pointed into my nose.

I wasn't too sure what he was looking at, but I assumed it must have been a booger.

"Oh. Do I have a boogie in my nose?" I said as I nonchalantly used my fingers to clean my nostrils.

"Yah," Andrew agreed. "Lots and lots of boogies. Black boogies!"

Black boogies? I've had green, yellow, red, and an errant lavender boogie. But not a black boogie. At least not since I quit being a coal miner.

"Are you sure I have a black boogie?" I asked.

"Here, here, here, here. All black!" Andrew asserted.

I got up and went to the mirror to see what he was talking about. There were no black boogies to be found. But then I replayed the conversation in my head, and when Andrew was saying, "Here, here, here, here," what he was really saying was, "Hair, hair, hair, hair," because I noticed stray nostril hairs protruding from my nose.

Embarrassing? Yes. But not as embarrassing as when Emma said, "Here, here, here, here," when I bent over and she saw my butt crack.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day 1180 - Auntie Anne's Ass Whooping

Over the holiday, Auntie Anne (pretzel maven) flew to Sacramento to spend some time with the family. To me, this meant that the extra room Lisa and I usually sleep in was occupied, so we were thrown into the living room on top of an Aerobed that we had to inflate and deflate every single day. For the kids, this meant that they had someone to play with. And by play, I actually mean beat.

There's something terrifying when you see what twins can do when they work together. Now think how much more horrific twins can be when they are instructed to do horrible things by their demented father.

Take a look at Emma and Andrew tenderly destroying Auntie Anne (pretzel maven)!


video

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day 1179 - New Year's Resolutions


Happy New Year! I hope all of you people who don't have kids had a fun and safe night. And those with kids, I did the exact same thing that you did: recorded Dick Clark, went to bed at 10p, and woke up to the human alarm clock of screaming kids at 7am.

Many people love ushering in the new year because it allows them to make resolutions. I'm not one for yearly resolutions. I'm a bit of an underachiever so I usually do resolutions each decade. This past decade I only achieved three of my goals: have kids, get a house, and buy Shakespeare in Love on DVD.

I want to welcome the year with some parenting goals of my own. Here are my top ten parenting resolutions for 2011:

10) Do not give in when the kids ask to watch the Saw movies.
9) IV tubes are not a good alternative for breakfast.
8) Read something to the kids every day even if it is a Maxim magazine or the liner notes to Jessica Biel's Buns of Bronze DVD.
7) No longer will I compare the achievements of one child over another...although the college savings fund is skewed towards one kid, if you get my drift.
6) Desserts will be served with a side of children's Lipitor.
5) Television and video games will be rationed throughout the day from only 8a-11:30a and 12p-7:30p.
4) I must refrain from threats that I can't carry out such as "If you don't finish your vegetables, I'm going to shoot that bitch, Ni Hao Kailan."
3) Stop using the word "bitch."
2) Encourage independent thinking, but only if the ideas come from me.
1) Remind the kids that Daddy and Mommy will always love them, and even more when they are sober.