Monday, May 21, 2012

Vote for Twice the Fun:

Clean up


On occasion, Elissa and I have had a house guest who although well-meaning, spent the majority of their visit looking around at all the flaws in our house and pointing out all of our unfinished projects. “Hmm, looks like you could use a little caulk around the door trim to finish out that tile floor you put in,” or “that bathroom renovation looks great, I can’t wait to see it when it’s done.”  We had, of course declared, “mission accomplished” on that bathroom months before.  I can’t plead complete innocence; I have certainly thrown stones from my glass house and teased a friend or two about their home-remodeling skills now and then.  But it wasn’t until these two little rug-rats of ours started to crawl that I met the end all, be all of home cleanliness and décor inspectors.

Ethan searching under
the closet door for food
You can vacuum, you can mop, you can swiffer to your heart’s content but these little munchkins will search out and capture every stray piece of lint, dust, paper, coin or plastic wrapper below four feet high. Unlike those wonderfully helpful house guests that just point out the imperfections in your home, eat your food and go home, our toddling bundles of joy have two preferred modes of attack for anything they deem out of place.  Their primary weapon is what I like to call: “Capture and Ingest.”

The basic premise goes like this, race your brother as fast as you can to the offending item, perhaps a four-day old half-eaten dried up puff that slid under the table.  Glance over both shoulders to be sure no one over four feet tall all is coming to take it away.  Then, flick it around the floor with your finger trying to gather as much stray dust and lint on it as possible, as soon as said brother comes within reach, grab the puff and stuff it in your mouth.


There's gotta be a few
puffs in here somewhere!
Their secondary weapon, "Destroy and Ingest" is to be used for any and all décor or general items around the house that one or both of the children consider offensive.  So far these have included: table cloths, curtains, anything on any shelf below four feet, wires, electric sockets without covers and cats. Once the offending item has been identified and locked into their sights, it is immediately and without hesitation ripped down to the ground with a firm downward motion, often taking the child down with it. The mission usually ends at this point as our stealthy secret agent is face down and crying.  If not, the offending item, assuming it hasn’t hissed and run away is immediately ingested in any fashion possible. 

With so much vigor for the innocuous, I can’t wait to see what they manage to get into their mouths during our next renovation project.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Funniest picture I've ever taken in my life!




Chubbers


When we were living in Japan babies came in two sizes, newborn and fat. Once those kids left the maternity ward they would blow up like balloons as though each of them was training for Sumo stardom right out of the womb.  As non-parent opinionated Americans from New Jersey we regularly commented to each other how appalling it was that these parents were raising a generation of chubbers only because they couldn’t be bothered to sooth their little akai chyan (baby) when he/she was upset.  


Well ain’t karma a bitch.  Wouldn’t you know it, I looked back at pictures the other day of Ethan & Ruthie at two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight & nine months and they made those little Sumos look like anorexic runway models!


That’s just the thing, I had no idea it was happening when it was happening.  They would cry about every two hours and we fed them.  They would cry and we’d feed, cry, feed, cry, feed, cry, feed – you get the idea.  It wasn’t out of ignorance, the doctor said about every two hours; the books I read said the same thing.  But looking back, maybe we could have rocked, coddled and sang to them a little more and shoved a bottle in their mouths a little less.


Friends and neighbors would come over after not having seen the kids for a few weeks and I could never understand the look of shock and awe on their faces.  Everyone seemed to want to know how much they weighed all the time and what percentiles they were in.  I would confidently explain that Ethan was in the 92nd percentile for height and Ruthie was in the 98th.  But in hindsight, that clearly wasn’t the stat they were asking about and the reason they were probably so tall at the time wasn’t because of their Dad’s genes, but because of the two inches their chubby feet were giving them.


My little girl before
we fattened her up
Often friends would give us unsolicited comments about how, “they’ll lose all that baby weight once they start moving.”  “What baby weight?” I would ponder to myself, “they look just fine, Ethan is 20 lbs. at six months old because he’s so tall.” 


Then it happened, a month after crawling, rolling, standing, falling, standing, falling and constantly trying to walk, I was holding Ruthie and felt something strange on her side.  


They were ribs!


A whole rack of them, all around and that’s when I decided to look back at those pictures to see if it was my imagination or if I really hadn’t felt her ribs in eight months!
My future Rhodes Scholar trying to take a drink.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Tree

I cut down a tree and feel pretty manly, especially considering I just spent twenty minutes deciding between pink onesies for my daughter.


My introduction to the baby version of the law of unintended consequences.  I thought a play pen would make things safer and easier.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

food

Life's A Happy Song Finale by The Muppets on Grooveshark


Press play above before reading.

For the past week or so I have been playing this song from the new Muppets movie at meal time and it  occurred to me as I lay here trying to sleep the reason why.  Because by the time meal time rolls around everything is great.  Not because we are always so amazingly happy like in the song, but because of the amazingly hard work it takes to buy and serve the food we feed our kids.  

Allow me to explain what I mean by that....  We are a little "granola" when it comes to food.  That means we
believe in the food bogey man.  We read lots of articles on scary blogs but primarily we talk to lots of other
food hippies who spook us about new things to avoid on pretty much a biweekly basis.

By way of example, yogurt.  Not a big deal you think.  Wrong.  Of course it's gotta be organic, the other
stuff is just low-priced poison.  Then it's gotta be made from whole milk not skim or some low-calorie
garbage, then it's has to be sugar-free.  This is because someone told us babies shouldnt't have processed
sugar.  I forgot why, maybe something about ADHD, but I just made that up.  

See!  Not as simple as you thought.  That leaves one brand that is sold at one store within 5 miles of our
home for approved yogurt.

What about just cut up fruit you ask.  Good question, what could go wrong with small pieces of strawberry
Well, I will tell you, everything.  Are they organic berries?  Are they locally grown?  Are they from the 
US?  We are patriots here and want to support migrant workers in California not Chile or Spain.

How about fruit with a skin that you peel off, that sounds safe you say, pesticides are probably only on the
skin.  Well, we agree.  We are on a budget and needed to interpret things loosely somewhere.  So kiwis,
bananas, mangos, avocados, etc. are in.

But wait, I haven't dropped the bomb yet.  We keep a kosher home.  

Oy gavult!  

Yes, I'm serious, that means that whatever selection you thought existed has now been cut in half.  You have
to go around looking for the obscure hippy food, then it also must have a hechsher on it certifying that it is
kosher.  Not a big deal until you try to find the damn thing.  It's basically a little tiny, nearly invisible U with a
tiny, nearly invisible circle around it.   Or a K with a circle or one of dozens of other possible symbols
certifying that the food was prepared without breaking the strict code of Jewish law in its preparation.

Have you tried to find organic kosher cheese in the greater Philadelphia area?  You would have better luck
finding a mets fan at the Philiies world series parade.

But I did it, I found one bar of cheddar, it's sold at Trader Joes and it is from New Zealand.  No joke, we
are so absurd that we only eat cheese that come from organic cows with close ties to the rabbinate who live
on a small island in the pacific ocean near Australia!

So if you take the enormous grocery store we primarily shop at that is so big that it is named Giant, we can
shop at the equivalent of 1/2 an isle spread out over the whole place.

So like the lyric says, "everything is great." At least by the time we actually sit down to eat!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Savant


I’m no longer unnerved by poop.  While Elissa was pregnant I was scared out of my mind about the prospect of changing the poopy diapers.  My first diaper experience didn’t come until Ethan was a day old, so I had no familiarity with any sort of diapers, wet or messy and certainly not the exploding up the back ones I have come to despise.  But after ten months with two babies, I am more or less unfazed by anything I may find in there.  I imagine I’m a bit similar to a sanitation worker; the first few weeks on the job must be absolutely unbearable.  But after a few months, you are just going through the motions – work is work and poop is poop.

I’ve changed diapers without breaking stride all over the place. I just changed one on the floor at LA Fitness (in the Kids Klub area) and it was a gross one, too!  I’ve changed them at the mall with a child strapped down to the Koala Kare Changing Station while singing “Old Mac Donald” to calm the other and smile/nodding off glances from confused men on their way to the urinal.  The tailgate of my car is an old standard by now. But we are trying to sell it, so I’ve got to be extra careful there.

Having said that, what I feel has truly taken me to the level of “Savant Daddy Care Taker” is my ability to regulate the children by carefully monitoring their diet and by extension, their digestive responses.  First, I had to learn about BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Apples & Toast) – these are your binders, they are the key to everything.  Those four little letters were especially important in the beginning for little Ruthie.  We wanted to avoid these at all costs; the poor little girls head would look like it was going to pop off when it was time for #2.

That’s when I discovered fruit, oh blessed fruit, those mangos, kiwis, peaches, pears and the crème de la crème of the Plant Kingdom – The Plum.  That most wonderful bowel-loosening gift from G-d, her sister Prune Juice can make a crying, frantic four-month old turn her frown upside down in less than an hour.  Granted, the next six hours are quite unpleasant for the diaper changer.  But that adorable toothless smile makes it all worth it. 

Maybe there is something very very wrong with me, but it has gotten to the point that I take great pride in hearing that grunting, aggravated noise from my babies with no crying or whimpering and I know that I’ve gotten the balance just right - quite a far cry from where I was just last June 21st.

Relaxin on the swings