Thursday, October 15, 2015

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Indoor Playground

Remember that party you went to in high school?  The one at the abandoned warehouse/parentless friend's house/downtown loft that you were totally not supposed to be at?  It was the party where at first you thought it might be fun-a little scandalous and a little outside the norm.  But after a short while you couldn't find your friends, felt the walls closing in on you, and were dying of thirst because you weren't sure you should be drinking any of the liquid offered at this party.

Guess what?  You're back at that party.  With two year olds.  I'd like to introduce you to the indoor playground.  It's loud, smelly, loud and full of other people's kids-the worst kind.  We have a few of these playgrounds here in Atlanta.  They have cute little names like Hippo Hop, Jump Jump, Catch Air...  when what you're most likely going to catch is The Ebola Virus. 

On a rainy Sunday (two words never to be associated with an indoor playground) Josh and I take the lunatics to our local indoor hell hole.

I take on Summer duty while Josh takes on Austin duty.  Austin likes to run all over the place while I prefer to sit on my ass with the child that typically walks in circles in a 2 square foot radius before making the epic decision to go down the 3 foot slide.

I strike up a conversation with another mother whose daughter also happens to go to Austin and Summer's Academy for Geniuses.  She remarks how cute and sweet my child is, and is impressed by the gargantuan bow on my child's head.  I drink in the praise eager to show her that I not only have one adorable, lovely, perfect child, but she comes as a set.  She is, in fact, a twin!
I see Austin running over with a big grin on his face, followed by his daddy.  

I'm about to remark to the other mother, "Oh! Here comes my son!" just as Austin approaches and proceeds to smack the woman's daughter on her head repeatedly with both hands.  The woman, appalled, comforts her crying little girl, while Josh swings Austin away to have a chat about child abuse and spend some quality time out. 

I turn to the woman and say, "My goodness, people just need to keep a better eye on their children" before excusing myself and Summer to go play away from such a fragile, sensitive child.

I, however, am not the least big surprised by Austin's behavior.  Just last week I snuck a peek in his classroom as I saw him repeatedly smacking a baby doll and telling his teacher, "Baby is crying! Baby is crying!"

I'll say what every other mom is thinking- as long as it's not MY baby crying, we're good to go.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mommy's Wiping Her Penis

So fast forward about a year from whatever you read last and here I am with my almost two and a half year old twins in the bathroom of one of our favorite lunch spots.

Going to the bathroom at a restaurant is always a challenge.  And I'm just talking about ME going to the bathroom.  The kids don't count because I won't let them get potty trained.  I prefer them in diapers.  Their pants fit better, it's amusing to me that they can pee and poop in any situation, anywhere AND I love spending money on things we don't necessarily need.  Just ask my husband.

So I ask myself multiple questions when I have to go to the bathroom at a restaurant.
1.  Do I REALLY have to go?
2.  How long can I hold this before I develop a urinary tract infection or my bladder bursts?
3.  How important is my bladder, after all?

Once I decide to make the obligatory trip to the bathroom, I have to decide if I'm going to bring the children.
1.  How sketchy are the people sitting around me?  Would they steal my children if I just leave them here?
2.  How insane are my children today?  Would somebody even want to take them home with them?

Sidebar:  I seriously heard the other day that a kid was abducted from his driveway but was returned the same day because he would not stop singing Gospel songs.  If that's true, I totally need to start teaching my kids some Gospel.

Eventually, I decide to take the kids with me, which often means Summer bringing a piece of a pancake or quesadilla to the restroom, because, heaven forbid she go 3 minutes without food.

Bringing toddlers in a public setting is always a questionable decision because you never know what they might say.  A bathroom is even worse because the conversation is entirely run by the potty.
So today, we're in the stall, I finish doing what I have to do, and Austin yells out, "Mommy's wiping her penis!"

Well, this is just wrong.

First of all, I don't have a penis.  And the last thing I'm going to do is let my son go back to preschool tomorrow telling his teachers I wipe my penis.  So of course, I correct him.

Me: "Mommy doesn't have a penis, honey.  Mommy is a girl."

Summer: (48 decibels louder) "Mommy has a vagina like Summer!!"

Austin: "I have a penis.  I'm a boy.  Daddy have a penis too!"

Summer: "VAGINA! VAGINA!!"

Austin: "PENIS! PENIS!!"

Who knows if everyone in the restaurant heard but they all have penises or vaginas too so the conversation is actually pretty banal.

When we return to our seats, Austin announces that he wants to go poop on the potty.  And because he's not potty trained I tell him to sit and eat his food.

But he continues to shriek about pooping on the potty.  This wouldn't be so awkward if people were less PC and more willing to talk openly about their bowel movements, but apparently talking about pooping in public is a faux pas.

I tell him to poop in his diaper.  That's what it's there for.  He won't have any of it.  So we return to the bathroom but leave Summer to fend for herself in the restaurant because there's no way I'm taking her away from her mound of uneaten food.  I ask everyone in the restaurant to watch her.  They seem like good people.

So I spend the next ten minutes in the bathroom stall listening to Austin say, "I poopin' Mommy!" while he just sits there pressing on his little penis and making zero progress.

Did we make potty training progress today?  Couldn't care less.  I can tell you one thing.  When I'm ready to actually potty train my kids, they are not getting candy, rewards or cheers for peeing in the toilet.
No one cheers me on for peeing in a toilet or gives me a bowl of ice cream for going #2.

Welcome to the real world, kids.  All you need to know is boys have a penis and girls have a vagina.  And you don't get candy for pooping on the potty.

Monday, January 7, 2013

We are ONE!!

I can't even begin to talk about this incredible first year with my babies.  So I won't.  Josh will.

Austin and Summer,
As I sat down to write this 12-month post, I was in a reflective kind of mood.  That shouldn’t be at all surprising considering this marks the one year anniversary of your birth, and first birthdays are kind of a big deal.  So I went back and read each of the 11 previous posts to remind myself of the journey we’ve taken as a family over the last year.  As part of that, I also went back and looked at some of the congratulatory emails we received last December.
As you can imagine, when you guys were born we heard from a lot of people that wanted to tell us how excited they were for us that you had arrived.  Lots of those emails included messages about how those people had felt during their kids’ childhoods.  One such note really stood out to me because the author mentioned that he didn’t really remember much from when his kids were newborns.  At the time, you were so young that I practically remembered every second of your lives.  I knew every inch of your bodies, every mannerism, and every sound you ever made.  The thought that I might ever NOT remember every second of your lives seemed preposterous. I literally couldn’t imagine ever forgetting any of those moments we shared together in the first few weeks of your lives.  But as more time has passed, obviously some of those moments have been forgotten.  Sure, many of them are etched in my memory, but the picture of your lives broadens every day.  I obviously cherish all of the individual moments we’re able to share together, but now there’s also a more collective view of you that I see.  That view includes knowing that when Austin is upset, he’ll invariably find his puppy, put two fingers in his mouth, and grab puppy by the ears that are soaked from being sucked on all day, or that Summy is our expressive little girl who wants to tell us about everything she sees, so she points to it and says her famous “duh” sound.  While I sometimes wish I could capture your entire lives on videotape and just watch it over and over, I also know that if I were to do that, I’d be missing everything that you do each day, which would be the worst crime possible since every new day with both of you is somehow even better than the previous day.
And then another thought struck me.  What if YOU guys don’t remember these times.  The reality is, you won’t have any specific memories of anything for your first few years, and that just seems so cruel and unfair to me.  These are the sweetest days, where we can spend hours just playing on the floor together, kissing you guys into giggle fits, holding and hugging you for as long as you’ll let us until you’re ready to go play again.  And sure, all of this will be implanted into who you are and who you become, but it does seem unfair that you won’t share the same memories of this first year that your mom and I have.  So, since you might be moody teenagers when you read this, let me take this opportunity to remind you of a few things: 
Austin, you are just about the sweetest tempered baby possible, and you’re a major daddy’s boy.  When I come home from work or even just downstairs after being away for a few minutes, the first sound I hear is your big hands slapping the wood floor as you come crawling over to me.  I hope you never lose that sweetness about you because, even if you want to have a tough exterior, having a sweet interior will allow you to love and be loved in a way you otherwise wouldn’t be able to experience. 
Summy, you’re our sweet, shy baby out in public but our silly little girl at home.  You always make new people work hard to earn your affections (if you’re reading this as a teenager, that better still be the case), but when it’s just the four of us, you’re always smiling and giggling up a storm.  We can tell that you have a bit of a wild side to you and you definitely like to make your own rules.  I already know that you’re going to push our buttons every now and then, and that’ll be part of your process of becoming a grown up.  But I also hope you know that sometimes when we make rules for you, it’s because we want the best for you, unconditionally.  And sometimes your parents really do know best.  
All of these amazing things you do, tendencies you’ve formed, and personalities you’ve developed have really created the people you’ve become.  I can’t wait to see if Austin stays the happy-go-lucky kind of kid that always has those eyes that tell you that he’s in on the joke.  Or if Summer will keep her poker face as the serious fa├žade that covers up that huge smile when she knows it’s ok to let loose a little.  Whether those things change or stay the same, always know that your mommy and daddy love you all the way, every day.

In other news, we have to give a report on your first birthday party since your mom is quite the event planner.  The theme was hair bows and bow ties, and you guys were both adorable in your outfits (Summy, you were in a ridiculously poofy pink dress; Austin, you were in a collared shirt with a sweater vest and a bow tie).  You guys will never remember it, but there will be a ton of pictures to memorialize it, and they will undoubtedly show how much time and energy your mom took to make the day amazing.  There were all kinds of decorations with a coordinated color scheme, handmade hair bows and bow ties as party favors, cookies in those same shapes, lots of fun activities for you and all of your friends, and incredible chalkboard artworks that mommy made for each of you detailing some of your favorite things.  When we brought out your smash cakes, you guys were very neat with how you ate it, probably partially because you had never eaten cake and icing, but also because you are such experienced eaters.  For right now, it seems that you prefer goat cheese and portabello mushrooms over butter and sugar, but that probably won’t last for very long. 

So, that’s all for this note.  There are literally a million more things I could write, but at some point every writer has to decide when to put down his pen.  The last thing I’ll say is thank you so much for making the last year the most incredible and memorable of my life.  I love you both more than even seems possible, and yet somehow I really do love you more and more each day.  I’ll check in again next month, and hopefully I’ll be in a much less sappy mood by then.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

There is no Santa, Asshat.

So as you may or may not know, I'm a Pinterest junkie.  Seriously follow me.  I rock at pinning.  And shopping.  And shopping for things I pin.  And eating cake.  But that's neither here nor there.

Often, I come across pins that are just plain stupid.  You might think they're sweet or sentimental, like the one, "30 ideas for Dads of little girls," which suggests picking posies together in fields of fluffy bunnies and rainbows while Pachelbel's Cannon plays from naked baby angels peeking through the clouds above...

But really, they're just stupid.  With the Christmas season upon us, and me being a frustrated Jew feeling like I'm missing out on all the mistletoe and glass balls, I found the following pin which I couldn't resist sharing.

A letter to your child who asks about Santa:

Seriously?  Did anyone else just barf on their MacBook keyboard?

"Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness??"  Are you effing kidding me?  A Krispy Kreme donut is love and magic and hope and happiness.

In order to leave a little mystery to your Christmas fantasies, I'm not going to divulge the real truth about Santa.

However, if I were to write a letter to my kids about Santa, it would probably go something like this:

Dear Kids,
First of all, don't you think it's weird that you asked me a question and I decided to make you wait while I formulate a response on paper?
You asked if Mom and Dad are Santa.
1.  The answer is no.  We're not Santa.  There's no such thing as Santa. 
2.  We're Jewish.  Go fry some potatoes.
3.  We'd like to reconvene in a couple of years to discuss the tooth fairy.
Chag Sameach,
Mom and Dad

Monday, December 3, 2012

One Month Shy of One Year Old!

So here we are.  Almost one year into my babies' lives and I'm posting for like, the fifth time.  Maybe in their second year I'll make it a point to blog more.  Or maybe I'll use all my free time to sit on my ass watching Gossip Girl and Dawson's Creek on Netflix.  There's always that shiny new year excitement before Auld Lang Syne slowly fades way to a more crowded workout establishment and shorter lines at my local Krispy Kreme.  Luckily I have almost a month until I have to make my new year's resolutions or the resolution to make no resolutions.  Obviously I have a lot to think about.  Without further ado... the hubs.

Month 11
Austin and Summer,
When I was growing up, and for most of my life, I’ve been full of ambition.  As a very young kid, I went to work for your Papa in the Variety Sales warehouse during the summers, pulling orders off the shelves in 100 degree heat because I loved the idea of getting paid at the end of the week.  A few years later, I started going to sleepaway camp during the summers, but that didn’t limit my entrepreneurial spirit.  I used to borrow a few comic books from a friend at the beginning of the summer, play poker for comics with my fellow campers, accumulate hundreds of comic books, and then sell them back to the other kids when their stashes were getting low.  In high school, I always had a job or other gig that was bringing in some money.  College was mostly the same, typically through the stock market, which was exploding at the time (though you should know that the stock market doesn’t always go up, and I wasn’t always a winner).  And then after college, I took about the most ambitious job I could possibly find, becoming an investment banker and working over a hundred hours a week most weeks.  Then about a year ago, I joined a startup company because I loved the idea of participating in something entrepreneurial and the thought of hard work trying to build something from the ground up was always exciting to me. 
I did all of those things because they either furthered my career, or because I liked money, or both.  And the truth is, I still want to further my career and I still like money, but since you guys came around, I’ve found myself wanting to be with you and your mommy more than anything else.  Even with my flexible hours, I’m still gone from the house most days from about 7-5.  You go to sleep at 7, so that only leaves about 2 hours that we get to spend together.  Some days it’s even less if traffic is bad or I have a conference call that starts late or some other similarly lame excuse.  My best salvation those days is the texts from mommy of photos or videos of you guys that at least give me some pseudo-interaction with you while I’m gone.  But that severely pales in comparison to when I get home at the end of the day and open the garage door and mommy says “Daddy’s home” and I hear both of your little hands pounding on the floor as your crawl your way over to me with those huge smiles on your face. 
This month, we got to spend lots of extra time together when your mommy took her first trip out of town since you were born, heading up to New York City for a long weekend with NaNa and Aunt Aimee.   Being home alone with two 11 month olds probably would have made a lot of dads in my situation a little bit nervous, but honestly, the thing that I was most concerned about was picking out your clothes (that is strictly a mommy job unless it’s a Saturday during football season).  Knowing that was my biggest fear, mommy laid out your clothes before she went and left the rest up to me.  It turned out to be such a fun few days for us.  We had some great help from your Nana, Aunt Aurora, and the first visit from your Uncle Greg.  But for the most part, we just spent the weekend together hanging out.  We played together in the playroom, ate tons of your favorite foods, took some long walks together in your stroller, and even did bath time every night (though you bathed separately instead of together).  And as much as you guys became even more attached to me during those few days (Austin, you are definitely going through a major “daddy” phase right now), the reality is that I also became so much more attached to both of you.  I didn’t even think that was physically possible, but somehow it was. 
We had lots of other fun stuff happen this month, too.  You turned 11 months on Thanksgiving Day, which brought with it a bunch of visitors to Atlanta.  In addition to the whole in-town crew, you got to spend a lot of time with your Sabba, Aunt Shira, Uncle Ari and his girlfriend Lindsay, who all stayed with us, and your NaNa and Papa were back in town, too. 
Summer, I think Thanksgiving was probably the best day of your life so far.  To say that you are a good eater is the biggest understatement of all time.  You literally grab your food by the handful and shove it into your mouth.  It doesn’t matter the food or the combination, you just love to eat.  It’s extremely adorable, especially since you’re such a dainty little princess.  Austin, the gruff linebacker, likes to eat his meals bite by bite, making sure he knows exactly what is going in his mouth, but Summer just piles it in without any regard for, well, anything. 
Other newsworthy items from the month:
·       You’re both sort of saying words.  Austin, you’ve definitely said “ball” quite a few times and you even occasionally say “hi” as you wave hello.  Summy, every morning coming down the stairs, you try to say “cat” when you see Eden.  Your pronunciation isn’t perfect, but it’s the effort that counts.
·       Speaking of the cat, you’re both pretty obsessed with her.  You crawl around the house following her wherever she goes.  It’s pretty cute, and mommy and I are glad that at least someone loves her.
·       Summy, you absolutely love books.  When mommy picks out a book and asks you guys if you want to read, you coming crawling right over with a big smile on your face and sit and listen for a really long time.
·       Austin, you got your first ear infection.  You were pretty unhappy for a couple of days but once you went to the doctor and got on medicine, you went right back to being yourself.
·       You both have your bottom two teeth, with Austin’s top two really starting to come in and Summy’s just peeking through.
A few other things to document, just so we make sure to remember them and see how you change over time:
       Austin, you have the sweetest, most pleasant demeanor.  You have this incredible smile and way of lifting your eyebrows that makes it seem like you’re always in on the joke, if not the one making it.
       Summy, your demeanor can depend on the day.  You’re definitely a bit easier to please than Austin.  But when we get you going with a tickle attack, you have the most incredible giggle fits of all time.  And even when you’re not being tickled, your smile with those two bottom teeth is as great as it gets.
       Austin, you’re also an extremely sensitive sleeper.  When mommy and I come to check on you guys before we go to sleep, Summy barely ever even stirs.  You, on the other hand, almost always let out a big breath, sometimes rolling over and even opening your eyes at us.  It’s really cute, but most of the time it leads to mommy and I running out of the room before you really wake up.
       Summy, you are the best 11 month old eater of all time, but your manners could use some work.  You pretty much love anything we put in front of you, to the point of grabbing a huge handful all at once and stuffing it all into your mouth.  You rarely swallow before stuffing more in.  Austin eats very neatly, always picking up a very specific piece of food before gently dropping it into his mouth.  At the end of most meals, Summy looks like she just finishing rolling around in garbage while Austin looks like he just came out of the bath.
It’s hard to believe that this time next month I’ll be writing about your FIRST BIRTHDAY, but amazingly that is the truth.  Time really does fly.

Month 10

I suck at blogging.  But my kids don't suck at being babies.  They're sort of awesome at it.  As told by my husband, Josh.

Month 10

Austin and Summer,
These monthly notes I write to you are, in many ways, the baby book we are keeping for you so we can look back and remember how we were feeling and what you were doing at different stages of your first year.  Since some months can feel pretty similar to the previous one, certain entries are harder to write than others.  You may be doing different stuff and of course our love for you grows every day, but to simply write about that can feel really repetitive.  And honestly, monthly love letters would be kind of boring for you to read about in the future.  So, I think I’m going to take a slightly different approach this month and write about an experience that I had. 
On October 7th, I ran the Chicago Marathon, which I’d been training for over the past 6 months or so.  This was noteworthy for two main reasons: 1) I ran a marathon, and 2) it was the first time since you were born that I went out of town over night without you. 
This was third marathon I’d run, and I trained harder for this one than either of the previous two.  In my first two marathons, the results were mixed.  I finished my first marathon (the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC) in basically 5 hours due to some unforeseen circumstances and a really bad day.  Right after that race ended I thought I’d never run another marathon.  But months later I realized I still had unfinished business to tend to, so I started training again and ran my second marathon (the Atlanta Marathon) the following year.  My goal was to break 4 hours, but I finished in 4:00:04.  It was a huge improvement, but I still had more to accomplish.  That’s why this year I trained even harder, with lots of long runs, plenty of speed training, and even giving up dessert for the two months leading up to the race (which is not easy to do around your mommy).
On race day, the first 20 miles went amazingly well and I was on pace to finish in 3:30, which would have been an incredible time for me.  But the last 6.2 miles, I got a ton of cramps and really had to battle through some serious pain to keep going.  I ended up finishing in 3:41, 19 minutes better than my last race. 
So, why give you all of that detail?  For a couple of reasons.  First, you should know that while it is easy to want good things to just happen, more often than not you have to work really hard to achieve things that will make you proud of yourselves.  And sometimes even when you work incredibly hard for something, the results still aren’t exactly what you’d hoped for.  And you know what?  That doesn’t even mean that you’ve failed.  It just means you experienced a journey along the way.  And if the goal you were trying to achieve still seems appealing to you, you should use that experience as motivation to get right back up, try again, and succeed the next time around. 
I also wanted you to know that during those last few miles, when it got really tough, I thought about you guys and was able to keep going because I wanted to do my best for you.  Your mom and I talk all the time about how proud we are to have you as our babies.  And as you grow up and your list of accomplishments gets longer and longer, we’ll only grow prouder.  But something I’d never really spent much time thinking about was the other side of things.  And the reality is, I want you to be proud of me, too.  I know you’re much too young right now to understand what that means, but hopefully when you’re old enough to read this by yourselves, you’ll understand and you’ll even think that your dad has done some pretty cool stuff in his life. 

As for being out of town, I had a great time on my trip and I was busy for most of it, but I was definitely very excited to be back home with mommy and my two little monkeys.  We talked via Skype a couple times a day, so I was able to see you guys eat and play, even if you were confused about why daddy was inside of mommy’s computer.  Of course mommy had no problem at all being home alone with you.  But this month mommy is going out of town for a few days, so hopefully I’ll be able to report back with the same level of success when she gets home from her trip. 
As for this month…Austin, I think it’s always kind of up for interpretation as to what a baby’s true “first word” is, but we’re pretty sure that you said “ball” this month.  I was at work and mommy was holding a ball when you made a “ba” sound.  I’ve seen it happen several times since, so we’re pretty convinced it’s for real.  I don’t know if this means you’re going to be some kind of amazing athlete or if you’re going to walk around with your hands in your pants all day (you already like to do that in your bath every night), but we’ll find out soon enough.
In other news, you also got your first haircut this month.  Your sideburns were starting to look like payos and it was driving your mom crazy, so we went to some fancy salon and you got to sit in a firetruck and get your hair cut.  It was actually pretty uneventful, so rather than describe the whole scene, I’ll just let you watch the video.
Summy, you finally got tired of seeing Austin move and shake all over the house while you sat and watched, so you decided to start crawling too this month.  Now you’re all over the place, too.  You also started dancing to music.  Mommy has been taking you guys to music class and it seems to really have resonated with you.  Anytime we put on music from one of your toys, particularly the ABC’s, you start moving back and forth to the music. It’s pretty damn adorable.  And you also starting clapping your hands this month, so whenever we say “Yay, Summy!” in a real excited voice, you clap your little hands and give us a huge smile. 
Can’t wait to see what you guys do next month!
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