Thursday, September 13, 2012

FLASHBACK Day 1648: Break In Case of Emergency

There are plenty of books that tell you items a parent should never be without:  a first aid kit, a well-stocked diaper bag, a fully stocked liquor cabinet.  But here is one thing that none of them will tell you to have:  a box of plastic knives.

Let me explain.  As the father of a four year old boy, I witness daily his infinite energy and inability to focus on one thing for more than five to ten minutes at a time.  He will play with his Legos and then jump over to his Cars and then ask for the iPad and then browse through a book.  I truly hope one day Andrew will be able to sit down and focus on one thing for more than...oh wait...the laundry is ready.  Be right back.

As I was saying, Andrew's lack of focus occasionally bothers me because I can foresee a time in the future when...hmm...I'm hungry.  I wonder what I have in the fridge.

You know what's great?  The chocolate chip cookie dough from Trader Joe's!  You pop them in the toaster oven for ten minutes, and out comes a delicious cookie.  Man, I need some milk.

Wow, I'm full.  Okay.  The point I was going to make was that I hope Andrew learns to focus on things more because it is an extremely important tool to have in your life.  I've been trying to teach him about concentration the past year, but it certainly seems as if he's not picking anything up from me.

All of this energy and focus on playing is great, but it does interfere with your parenting because trying to pry away your kid from his stack of cars can become a very frustrating and futile exercise in exerting your fatherly powers.  And more importantly, your child's ability to file everything else in life as unimportant behind playing causes something to get backed up.  Specifically, his poop.

I have spoken to other parents with young sons, and they all seem to have had similar experiences:  their son becomes constipated because they hold their poop while their playing which ultimately results in their butts giving birth to a mega-poop.  And no matter how many times you plead with your child NOT to hold their poop, they will and two days later another mega-poop is painfully given life to.

These mega-poops are so impressive in girth and size, it has become routine conversation around the dinner table.  Here's a fairly accurate conversation we had one day:

So what happened at home today?

Andrew did the largest poop ever!

It was sooooo big.  Right, Emma?


Did it hurt?

A little bit.  But it came out.  Then went back in.  Then came out.  Then go in.  Then it ALL came out!

It was as big as his forearm!

If that ain't a Norman Rockwell painting, I don't know what is.

And all of this brings me back to my original point:  a box of plastic knives.  It has become an Ichikawa household imperative to have a box of plastic knives because this is the only way to get mega-poop down the toilet.  There have been one too many times when mega-poop has overstayed his welcome in our bathroom and has come precariously close to visiting us in the hallway.

I imagine within the next few years, Andrew will become better at listening to his body...or at the very least his sphincter.  My guess is that once he starts elementary school, he will start to mature more physically and mentally.  And with his ability to focus and concentrate on...oh snap!  Man Vs. Food is on now!  Gotta go!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

FLASHBACK Day 1643: Picture Friday: The Avengers


"By the magical wand of Thor!"

Captain Andrew


Avengers!  Have a great weekend!

Monday, September 10, 2012

FLASHBACK Day 1642 - Go Ahead, Jump! Jump!!!

Although having fraternal twins makes it easier for Andrew and Emma to develop their own identity, the kids are very good at making sure everything is the same.  The kids want everything to be like FOX news:  fair and balanced, yet mixed with the occasional hypocrisy and lying.

Folded into this eye for fairness is competitive behavior.  Lisa and I try to make a conscience effort to praise Andrew's and Emma's individual achievements without implying that the other one, well, sucks.  But how much sugar coating do you really want or need to do when one kid is obviously not as good at something as the other kid?  I don't go around telling the kids, "Wow!  Andrew, you do a super job at peeing standing up.  But Emma, look at that mess you made.  That's just plain awful."

So as I continue to struggle with praise and encouragement with the kids, I bring you this short video that shows you Andrew's solution with this problem:  cheating.

Day It's-Going-to-Take-Awhile-to-Count: He's Alive

As four months have passed without a single update, I assume many of you who occasionally check to see if there has been a new entry have come to a few assumed conclusions:  1)  I have ended the blog.  2)  Something in my life has caused me to put the blog on hold.  3)  I became a tragic casualty of the zombie apocalypse, and this blog was automatically posted after my unfortunate transformation to warn you of the impending violence and chaos.

Although my appearance has become quite haggard, I have not become a zombie nor is the blog ending.  The past four months has just been a combination of too much work and not enough free time.  There was a one month period in which I suddenly started to get migraine headaches, and it ended with me having flu-like symptoms for a week.  Immediately after that, there was a one month period in which Lisa and the kids played the world's smallest violin out of pity for me.

So there you have it.   The blog is not dead, I'm not dead, and I'm not a zombie (Although did I mention my haggard appearance?).  In the upcoming days and weeks, I'll recap some highlights over the past few months such as someone losing their first tooth, our first vacation in a hotel, the chaos of purchasing a new car, and how I averted a zombie apocalypse.

Stay tuned!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day 1636 - Picture Friday

 Daddy does not approve of this car.

 Emma experiences what it was like when Mommy drove her first car.

 Daddy approves of this car.

Move over, Ponch and Jon!  There's a new CHiP officer in town, and she's not easily ruffled when she lays down the law.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day 1633 - Under a Spell

How does Pixar do it?  How do they get millions of boys infatuated with their Cars merchandising?  Do they put something in the die-cast paint like car crack or car-caine?  Have they embedded their plush dolls with speakers and at night John Lasseter whispers things like "If you ever stop loving Lightning McQueen, then Chick Hicks will give your parents cancer"?  Regardless, Andrew is still a Cars loving freak.

But one good thing did come out of it:  he learned to spell.  Or at least he found the need to spell.  You see, Andrew began to ask me how to spell words like "Cars 2" or "Mater" or "Ed Catmull President of Pixar Animation Studios".  Why?  Because Andrew would find my iPad, select the YouTube icon, and then search for videos about Cars.

So far, Andrew has learned to spell a handful of words.  He can spell his name, Cars, Cars 2, mommy, daddy, Emma, and a pretty decent list of words that are similar to Mater such as water, later, and antimaterialism. 

Here are a few pictures of Andrew showing off his adeptness with spelling.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day 1629 - Picture Friday: Disney California Adventure Edition

 New for Summer 2012!  Uncle Remus's Colonoscopy Tunnel Escape!

 I can't tell if Andrew is flexing his muscles or auditioning for La Cage Aux Folles.

 "Maybe this would be the 'Happiest Place on Earth' if you got that damn camera out of my face..."

"Someone needs a Fastpass for a stick of deodorant."

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day 1626 - Conversations with Emma & Andrew

As evidenced occasionally by this blog, I have a sarcastic and teasing sense of humor.  I guess it is not a gigantic surprise that Emma and Andrew have this type of humor too.  But more goofy than sarcastic, and more innocent than teasing.  But Andrew often has the ability to say something in jest that stops the conversation.

The family was in the car talking about the different holidays we celebrate through the year.

"Daddy, when is it Easter again?" asked Emma.

"It won't be for another year," I answered.

"That a long time!" added Andrew.

"How about Christmas?  How long is that?" inquired Emma.

"Well, Christmas won't come until the end of this year, and then we'll have to wait a whole other year for it to return.  Most holidays and celebrations are just once a year," I was able to explain with my vast knowledge of weeks, months, and years.

Emma whined, "Why do we have to wait so long for Christmas?"

"Santa needs an entire year to get ready for Christmas.  If we had too many Christmases, then Santa wouldn't have enough time to prepare all the gifts and nobody would get presents," I explained.

"Why wouldn't we get presents?" exclaimed a shocked and outraged Emma.

"I know!  I know!" shouted Andrew.

"Okay, Andrew.  Why wouldn't Santa be able to deliver all of the presents?" I asked.

"Because he died!" stated Andrew.

And with that news, Emma gouged her eyes out with a crazy straw.  Happy holidays!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Day 1629 - Picture Friday: Easter Edition

 The only thing bigger than Emma's smile is that big ass bow on her hip.

"Psst.  Wanna see my eggs?"

"If I squeeze my bunny hard enough maybe he'll poop out a chocolate egg!"

"Emma gets a bunny, and I get a sheep and Irish t-shirt?"

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day 1626 - Egg-ception to the Rule

Out of the four Easters we have spent with the kids, this year was the best.  Not only did I win a prize for stuffing the most marshmallow Peeps in my mouth (54), but the kids were actually excited to search for eggs left by the Easter Bunny.  What symbolizes the resurrection of Jesus Christ more than finding jelly beans and stickers inside plastic eggs?

Before the festivities could begin, we had to do a few errands in the morning.  While Lisa was strapping the kids in their car seats, I quickly hid two dozen plastic eggs all around the house.  I even left the Easter baskets and a note from the Easter Bunny at the bottom of the stairs.  I couldn't wait to return from Costco to see the surprise on Emma's and Andrew's face, and to figure out where to store 36 rolls of toilet paper and 16 cans of tuna.

But as often is the case with kids, your plans never quite work out.  When we return home from errands, the kids can't wait to rush upstairs and play with their toys.  But this time, they just screwed around downstairs while their precious plastic eggs awaited to be discovered.  I don't have the full five minutes of them dawdling, but here is a video that shows how their goofing around tested our patience.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Day 1622 - Picture Friday

 Emma enjoys coordinating her shirts with her food.

 "Can you believe that although these cars only cost $4.99, you have bought me fifty-two of them which means you have spent $259.48 without tax, but with tax $282.18 on toys that I will outgrow in a few more years?"

"This chain hurts.  Thank god I don't have testicles."

Guess who lost in the battle of dress-up.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Day 1619 - Crayon Creativity

It is nice to see the kids able to enjoy themselves at a table with a stack of paper and a box of crayons.  Some of my favorite times when I was younger involved paper and crayons.  I remember being in elementary school and spending hours drawing and coloring.  I remember being in middle school on the bench during P.E. because nobody picked me and spending the period drawing and coloring.  And I remember being in high school at home not going to Senior Prom because everyone teased me for always carrying around paper and crayons.  Such memories.

On Saturday afternoon, the kids were having a fun time playing with each other.  Andrew asked me for paper and crayons, and Emma asked Lisa to play the "Winnie the Pooh" song on the iPod.  So we happily obliged our creative children and let them go at it with their imagination.

They did not want us to see what they were doing because it was going to be a big surprise.  After frantic coloring, the kids asked us for scissor and tape because they wanted to cut out their drawings and tape it on the wall.

Lisa and I were very excited to see how our little Renoirs were going to surprise us.  Soon it was time for the unveiling of their artistic endeavors.  As I looked at what they did, all I could think was "What crap." 

I'm not being mean or overly critical.  Literally.  They. Drew. Crap.

Lisa was slightly aghast at what they drew.  Emma drew her turds with a certain amount of realism, but Andrew went the Picasso route and drew eyeballs and eyelashes on his feces.  Personally, I thought it was hilarious and was impressed that they chose to play "Winnie the Pooh" to get them into the mood.

We did tell the kids that while it may be funny at home to draw poop with optics, it is not appropriate behavior at school or with other people.  After all, home is where the poop is.  Or something like that.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Day 1615 - Picture Friday

Congratulations to Emma for graduating from Lame Origami Hat Academy.

Andrew's repeated attempts to spell finally resulted in a series of doodles 
he called "Cars, Rockets, and Poop".


Andrew apologized to Vibrator Smurf for using him as a t-ball stand.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 1612 - At Least She Doesn't Call Me A Dumbass

Emma is a very inquisitive and curious person.  She's quite the chatterbox around us and isn't afraid to share what she has on her mind for better or worse.  And although there are times when we think she is much older than four, a certain incident will occur that will make us say, "Ah yes.  Emma is only four."

The difference between three and four for me is that kids are able to verbalize their frustration more clearly.  Whereas a three year old would just cry and throw a temper tantrum, a four year can now cry, throw a temper tantrum, and communicate to you how much they dislike cauliflower and that you can shove that scoop of sherbet up your ass. 

A pretty good example of this happened to me when Emma was playing on the iPad.  There's this game called Scribblenauts where you can type in a word, and then it will appear on screen for a character to use.  It's great for the kids because it teaches them how to type, spell, and read.  Already, the kids know how to type "poop", "pee", and "maxipads".

It was Emma's turn with Scribblenauts, and she asked me, "How do you spell GPS?"

So I said, "GPS."

"No.  How do you spell it?" she repeated.

"That's the way you spell it," I explained. "It's just the letters G, P, and S."

"But how you do you SPELL it?" she said with frustration.

I knew where this was going to go, so I tried to take the iPad from her to show her how to type it.  This was a ridiculously bad idea.

"DADDY?  WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" she screamed as if I stabbed her Minnie Mouse doll.  "I CAN DO IT MYSELF!  HOW DO YOU SPELL IT?"

"G. P. S."

"I knooooooow that.  Just tell me how to spell it."

I decided to amuse myself.  "I. T."

"Huh?" answered Emma.

"That's how you spell "it".  I. T."  I laughed to myself.

"I don't know what you are saying.  I'm going to go see Mommy," said Emma as she walked away in a huff.

Frankly, I probably shouldn't have amused myself so much with this situation, but if I took it too seriously, I would have gotten just as frustrated and angry as Emma.  And that is never a good combination.  It's like giving Andrew stool softener in his juice and running out of toilet paper.  A bad combination.

It strikes me funny how as an adult, you sometimes accept things without question.  But you look at a four year old with their book on how the world works, and if something doesn't make sense, you have a lot of explaining to do.  I do hope Emma never loses her tenacity or willingness to question something.  But if she asks me how to spell DVD the next time, Mommy better be in the next room.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Day 1608 - Picture Friday

This is what happens when you ask Emma to throw out the trash.

 Andrew is always helpful when a replacement fairy is needed around the house.

 "Hmph!  Andrew broke my building!"

 "Hmph!  Emma is so easy to mock!"

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day 1605 - Wrong Jump

Andrew and Emma have developed a healthy sense of competition with each other.  By healthy, I mean the loser chases the winner out of rage thus getting in a good cardio workout.  And by competition, I mean the loser figures out a way to cheat the next time.

Honestly, I think the kids are pretty normal when it comes to games and competitions.  They're happy when they win, and they're pissed when they lose.  But Lisa and I try to encourage good sportsmanship and manners when we play a game.  For instance, we always tell the winner to shake hands with their opponent, and we tell the loser to always, always, ALWAYS make sure you give the winner the finger when they are NOT looking.

Over the weekend, we were at a playground and the kids were trying to see who could jump the farthest.  You can see what Andrew does when he is bested by Emma, but what I find most amusing is the last few seconds of the video when you can aurally hear how funny Andrew thinks he is.