Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jack Bauer's replacement...

I can't really believe it took 3 1/2 years, but it did. Abby finally got out of her bed without our direct permission. Our eldest daughter must have seen her bed and covers as a comfy prison. After a long night's sleep or an afternoon napper, where was Abby? You could always find her in her bed. No, not in her bedroom, in the actual bed. Since her induction into the world of big girl beds, she patiently waited for Mommy or Daddy to come take down the forcefield and release her from the shackles of pink and brown sheets and pillows. Then one day she'd had enough.

I can just imagine her creeping out of bed on her own for the first time. I picture her carrying a brown satchel slung across her chest, complete with the whip and brown fedora hat. If she was as clever and resourceful as Indiana Jones who knows...she may have been sneaking out of her room for months? But one early morning as Anna went down the stairs she was met by our little adventurer on her way up them. I don't know who was more surprised. I'm sure Abbers was ecstatic to see she wasn't in any trouble for her blatant disregard of, well no rules at all. We never told her she had to stay in bed...until 4 days later anyway. So, what does a 3 year old do with such a new found freedom? Use it, exploit it and lose it seems to be the natural progression. Well, for the next three or four days Anna and I woke up to our Abbers (at 5:00-6am mind you)...no not to her poking us, not to the sound of pots, pans, toys, talking, singing, doors slamming, none of the logical ideas. Yep, for the better part of a week, she woke up, opened her door, crept up the stairs, came in our room and...hung out. Yep, she simply sat on her arse, and waited (and probably put out the vibe) while never making a sound. I'm thinking she's gonna make either a great stalker or superb field agent, either way the FBI is probably in her future. Of course, it was sweet and adorable and only a little weird. The result: she now must stay in her room until the clock says 7:something. And I will tell you what, she is punctual...I saw 7:01 on my clock everyday thereafter. Then we had to teach her how to turn on the TV.

It's about time Avery gets a little pub...

We have grown accustomed to our youngest flashing smile after smile after adorable little smile (now complete with teeth...err, well tooth). She truly is a happy baby and oh my how she loves her big sister. She laughs and smiles at virtually everything Abby does for her, with her and to her. However, beneath that darling facade, there is a diabolical side. Yes, little Avery is ahead of her time. More often than not, when Abby is disciplined within earshot of her baby sister, Avery gleams from ear to ear. It's truly as if Avery's stickin' it to her big sister already. I knew I liked this kid. I suppose it could mean trouble for this guy because I honestsly figured any sibling rivalries wouldn't begin for a few years. Imagine that, something else I got wrong about girls.

Pondering the Perils of Parenthood

There are a myriad of things one can expect when starting down Parenthood Lane. The first few things that come to mind are diapers, bottles, sleepless nights, trips to the park, brainwashing, the list goes on and on. There are an equal number of things one could never foresee, even with Miss Cleo on retainer. This list includes being completely willing to use your hands and clothes as tissues and toilet paper, trying to wholeheartedly give voices and personalities to Disney Princesses and Barbies, seriously considering DVR'ing Keeping up with the Kardashians (wait, that has nothing to do with child rearing does it?). But perhaps the most bizarre phenomenon I've stumbled upon are the rogue children sprinkled across every park in the southwest suburbs.

Let me explain. You take your kid(s) to a busy park one evening. Everything seems normal enough, no full moon, el nino is several months away...it's regular. You are physically ready and mentally prepared to play and look after whose kid(s)? Yeah, your kid(s). Not five minutes after your feet hit the wood chips and you've grown an extra appendage. You got it, it's this park's rogue kid! "Watch what I can do." "My name is Biff." "C'mon let's go this way." "Do you like my Willie Nelson tattoo?" These are the things that come out of this kid's mouth. It's a bona fide ambush and you are a sitting duck. Smile, chuckle, try to be cordial, what else are you gonna do? But your new conjoined twin doesn't pick up on social cues...astonishin
g, he's 5. I don't mean to imply that this child is nasty, or ill-willed at all...he's just really terrific at invading your personal space. Whatever combination of parents junior has are obviously not cutting it in the attention department. And whether they know it or not, they've been spiking his sippy cups with shots of creepy.

So, you turn your focus back to your kid(s), but a thousand questions are running through your head. Where are Biff's mom and dad? How many other people has he beseiged in his career? How many cans of Red Bull has rogue boy shotgunned today? Does he think I'll want to play with him more because he is steamrolling my daughter on his way up the rope ladder? Why does he smell like a hamster cage? The funny part of the entire episode is that my kid (3 years) thinks it's as weird as I do. Most likely the really funny part is what I don't notice...Frodo's parents laughing their arses off on a not-so-nearby bench.

This brings me to a story of one special roguester we met at a park near our house. We refer to him as Spider-Man kid. Not because of his prowess on the monkey bars, not even close, more because he was wearing a Spidey t-shirt and calling himself...well...Spider-Man. He was as aggressive as any rogue kid I've seen. Maybe 5 or 6 years old...dude was all over the place, seriously bonkers, like Robin Williams on a talk show. It was also obvious he wasn't..entirely..there. Poor kid's mom did come over after awhile to run some interference for us, or at least give it her best shot. From the looks of it, he had already eaten her for breakfast that morning. I gotta give her credit though because he looked hungry and she must have looked like a corn dog smothered in chocolate chip cookies to him. In case that wasn't clear, she didn't stand a chance.

The highlight of this chance encounter came 15-20 painful minutes in to his interrogation of us. At one point, after answering 30-40 of his questions (Anna is so nice), Peter Parker's proverbial bulb lights up and he asks my wife the following: "Can I hold your baby?" At this point Avery is about 120 hours old, as if that matters. What comes to my head? Well, the kind version is, "UMMM, we'll pass." I turn to Anna and I didn't quite recognize her. Probably because she suddenly looked like a guard at Fort Knox. That and the face she wore looked like she was asked to give the square root of 589,658.23, without using a calculator. Spidey waved, with both arms, as we moseyed on home.

If you haven't experienced this playground wonder, it's only a matter of time because...they are everywhere.

Short Abby story:

Abby was very excited when Anna picked her up from the health club daycare this evening. She told her mom, "I talked tonight." Definitely pat-on-the-back worthy for our shy Abber Dabbers. The teacher from daycare corroborated Abby's statement. Apparently Abby told her teacher that her daddy is funny and I tell her jokes. When prompted to tell a joke she learned from her daddy, Abby said, "Why did Tigger stick his head in the toilet?"
Teacher: "I don't know, why?"
Abby: He was looking for Poo(h)"


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Maybe a resolution will help?

There are really only two options when posting one's first blog entry in almost 11 months...try explain the events of the remainder of 2009 or simply pick it up from here and hope readers can catch on. I am going with the latter (I assume the extensive audience this blog reaches will understand).

What would a new year be without some well intentioned resolutions to screw up? I've never been one to give much weight to making a betterment pledge because there was recently a one digit change to the date we write on our checks and signed documents. But for whatever reason this new decade actually feels like something. Maybe it's because we are in a new decade? Maybe it's because I've never before been 30 when the calendar turned over? Or maybe it's the "pine mouth" I've been experiencing for about a week...it definitely makes the new year taste different.

In any case, I'm declaring that resolutions are in! Blogging more frequently is definitely my most challenging goal, but I'll do anything for my fans...and by "fans" I mean daughters. When they are old enough to read these entries about their family, I'm hoping they don't start to wonder why Daddy got dumber after he turned 30. You see, since venturing in to the nail bending business I have not written much of anything and it seems I have used only the construction side of my brain. Whoever said, "if you don't use it, you lose it" was right. So I'm also declaring that monosyllabic expressions are in, at least for a month or two.

Well, Christmas came and went faster than Abby's smile while perched upon EP Center Santa's knee. I think the only reason she even went close to him without crying is because Avery was on a collision course with jolly old Saint Nick too. This particular Santa photo parlour employed 3 elves whose jobs were, take pictures, collect money and keep any sparks or easily combustible materials away from the big man's beard. I mean, if all you do is snap photos wouldn't you be ready to pull the trigger at any time the kids on Santa's lap are smiling? Well, camera elf was not exactly Johnny on the spot. And wouldn't you know it, Abby was all smiles...for about 23 seconds, then, for Abbers, it may as well have been a picture from the early 1900s. I've often wondered why, in old photos, nobody is smiling? What's with that? And just as interesting to me...when did everyone decide, ok, let's try to not look like we're in the middle of the bubonic plague. Perhaps it's about the same time people started to care about hygiene and began to brush their chiclets? Anywho, Abby stonewalled real good for the duration of our Santa visit and camera elf captured, count 'em, zero smiles. Honestly, the picture is more memorable this way anyway.

I seem to recall comparing Abby's gift opening technique last year with a well known US Swim Team backstroker. So with the XXI Olympic Winter Games set to get underway next month, what does this year's present thrashing compare to that we may see in Vancouver? Abby was definitely Bode Miller, not because she quit the US Gift Opening team and took all of her presents back to her RV and opened them alone. No, she was carving her way through gift after gift, sometimes on one foot...it was hard to keep up with her. Avery would be best compared to someone in the same discipline, only someone who wrecked and now just sits and drools. Of course, her wide open, gorgeous baby blues are tough to replicate. I think maybe my favorite thing from this Christmas was this little high pitched, excited, mini-scream Abby would let out when she opened something she was really excited about. I really didn't appreciate the joy of giving until I witnessed the excitement and Christmas magic present in the eyes and soul of my oldest little girl. Yes, this Christmas was stocked with plenty of presents, but more importantly, it was filled with family, friends, laughter and wonderful new memories. Merry Christmas indeed.

Speaking of the bippidy-boppidy-boo properties of the Christmas season, there was certainly some Christmas mojo going on at our place on December the 12th. How else could one explain the 9 or 10 liters of booze we crushed that night? Our 35+ guests walked through the front door, entered the boundary of the kitchen and never left. I had to bob and weave my way through the crowd simply to reach the fridge to get more ice for the 300 drinks I mixed. At one point the lady of the house was recruiting, with fervor, people to drink red bull vodkas...just because. If you weren't careful you might have found yourself competing in a game of (pull the lever) CandyLand, in which shots were levied to the losers. There were yule tidings abound, one in particular came in writing..."Merry effin Christmas, Jesus." That was a first for this guy. It was easy to hear the music and difficult to hear conversations. It literally felt like being at the bar, glad that shipment of urinal cakes came in the previous week. There are 3 things I will say in summation:
1. everyone was in the mood to have some fun...
2. every conversation led back to Tiger Woods...
3. some people just don't appreciate an authentic re-creation of the pyrotechnics at the Vegas club Rain...

I will also add a few good party tips:
1. torches are great for a. starting fires, and b. prematurely ending parties
2. Usher played three times in a row, four different times does, in fact, constitute good song variety
3. every good shindig sees someone get their hair burned

Story from 2009

While Daddy is showering, Abby loves to come in the bathroom and turn off the lights. Well, she came in a little late one day because I was hopping out wearing...zippiddy-doo-dah. She stops short...stares...points...and asks, "Daddy, what are those things underneath your peanuts?"