Rock Fists

Rock Fists

Monday, December 31, 2012


As in, where do they get it from?

Seriously, remember how much energy you used to have? I used to work all day on a Saturday and then go out. And when I say all day, I mean all day. 8a in the office to 7p. And this was running youth soccer programs so it was on my feet with hardly a break all day, dealing with kids ranging in age from 6 to 15 AND their parents. And then I would go out all night with friends. Now, I hardly have the energy to sit at a desk all day without taking a nap.

I don't know where kids get the energy. But they bounce back so quickly they must stockpile it or something. If I could find a way to bottle it and sell it I would be a gazillionaire!  My house has recently been taken over by some super virus that affected us all (even the dog). Both boys were better somewhere around Thursday.  I swear, for kids it only takes the # of years of their lives in minutes to be at full energy. They could be sitting on the couch looking like they could fall asleep at any moment and then PRESTO!, off they go either down in the playroom, wrestling or just being crazy.

Parents, on the other hand, I believe it takes the # of years of their lives in days, not minutes to be back to full strength, if ever. I'm 36, so therefore it should take around 5 weeks for me to totally be back at 100% full strength. It's been 6 days already and I feel ok, but I just don't have the energy level I used to have. I guess I have about 4 weeks to go. Ugh, to be young again..

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Beach, Part 2

I wrote a blog about 6 weeks ago called The Beach. This is Part 2.

The boys have pretty much always had tie-sneakers. We wanted them to get in the habit of having to have their shoes tied (whether by us or eventually themselves) and not always rely on velcro. Otherwise, it might be harder to break them of the habit later on. However, 1 pair was getting too small, very small and the other child's was falling apart. We had received a pair of sneakers for each from a relative who works in the industry, unfortunately they were too big. Like clown shoes. Even stuffing newspaper in the top would not have helped.

So I had to set out and find sneakers. I got the last 2 pairs of sneakers at Target that were their sizes, but they were velcro. No big deal, I'm sure it'll be fine.

They liked their new sneakers which is good. And the first day they came home from school I ask, like I always do "Did you play outside today"? And they answered how the usually do "yes". I said ok, you know what to do..  This means go sit on the front steps and take off your sneakers and shake them out from all the sand that we all know somehow accumulates in their sneakers (and usually ends up all over the house).

Well, I am then told that they don't have any sand. I said you played outside right? They said yes, so I said well then you have to have sand in there. It's only happened every day since they've been going to school there so why should today be any different.

I don't know what magical properties these velcro sneakers have but wouldn't you know it the little buggers were right.. NO SAND!!! And they haven't had sand in their sneakers 1 day since switching to velcro.

If I had known that velcro sneakers were the secret to not having sand all over my house, I certainly would not have worried about them wearing tie shoes.

Next up though is teaching them how to tie their shoes. However I should not be the one to do this. But that is another blog for another day.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey for you..

So, Thanksgiving is over.  I can honestly say I did not over eat.  I guess I did something wrong then. But I did eat. I've been eating differently since my last kidney stone episode, but Thanksgiving is different. It's ok to let yourself go every once in a while.

Something I have always wanted to do as well, I did. I played football outside on Thanksgiving with my son. Daniel and I played for about half an hour and it was so much fun. My brother in law and his two kids were there too and everyone had a great time. Not to mention, the kid has quite an arm! And accurate too, somewhat..  While he did catch a few, we have to work on that.  Maybe he'll just be a quarterback.

But what was missing was my wife and my other son. After the surgery, he needs to recuperate and can't do too much. Being with his brother and his cousins would have been too much stimulation for him. There is no way we would have been able to keep him grounded, literally. He would have been running and jumping and that would have been extremely detrimental to his recovery. So he had to stay home.

It was no fun celebrating Thanksgiving without my entire family. while I don't wish to do that again, I know that they were only 1 hour away. They were not half a world away. Please, everyone let's put our differences aside for just a minute to realize what we have.

Whenever we go to Children's Hospital, it is always the most humbling experience.  Not only is it the best hospital in the world, but it always manages to put things in perspective. You literally are there in the lobby and you look to the left of you and see a child who is worse off than yours. Then you look to the right and you see another child worse off than the other one. Then you look at yours and you don't feel happy, you don't feel sad.  You just feel thankful.

Let's all take a moment and be thankful for whatever it is you wish to be thankful for. But let's remember that for all our differences and for all its faults, we live in the greatest country that has ever existed. Let's be thankful for that.


No, nothing to do with politics..  This stands for DO NOT CATHETERIZE!

After spending roughly 48 hours with my son who had a catheter in, I'm all set thanks. Based on what I just had to do over the past 2 days, if it's necessary just forget it.

He did not move from my bed for almost 2 days.  I had to pick him up every hour to empty the catheter so that it did not flow backwards. Additionally, he was upstairs in my bedroom while I was downstairs trying to do work. This obviously presented a problem.

I had what I thought was a genius idea of giving him a bell (small Liberty Bell we had) that he could ring if he needed me. His voice was still very hoarse from the breathing tube so this would work perfectly. I recall from my childhood there was a cartoon with the same premise. Someone who was sick was given a bell to use to signal when they needed something. Then the bell would ring and the person would come upstairs only to find their kitten had gotten hold of the bell and was playing with it like a ball of yarn. We don't have a kitten, but it was something like that. I found him one time just playing with it and not needing anything. Thankfully his voice got better as the day went on so the bell wasn't as necessary.

But still every hour, if I wasn't going up to change the show, movie or bring him food/drink, it was upstairs to empty the catheter tube. Then, overnight he slept with me in my bed where every 2-3 hours I had to do the same thing. Plus, I had to make sure that in his sleep he was not rolling over on either side so the catheter would stay in place. Needless to say, I have not slept much since Monday.

Then finally Wednesday came and the doctors appointment to have it removed.  He has had a bladder tube before (a tube inserted directly into the bladder that diverts the flow from the urethra and out a tube so it allows the urethra to heal) and my role was to hold his torso down (mostly his arms) and make sure he is as calm as possible and not flailing his arms around.  I had to do that twice and it was not fun. But it was fairly quick so it wasn't too bad. (FYI, the bladder tube also naturally causes bladder spasms. At one point I had to stand in the middle of the living room and hold him in the same position for two hours because it was the only position he could be in where it didn't hurt). Yep, the things we do.

This however was different.  After keeping his arms down for a few minutes and after he screamed his face off right in mine, I told him not to worry they were almost done, only to hear the nurse say that they hadn't even started yet.  UGH! It got to the point where he was spitting up (kind of like the spittle that sometimes leaks out of your mouth when you sleep with your mouth open), except in a much bigger puddle accompanied by screams of pain. Yeah, good times. By the end, he and I were both literally sweating. His head was drenched and I needed to take off my sweatshirt and was having trouble breathing.  Remember, this is a kid on HGH. You know, the thing athletes take to make them stronger? Let me tell you, it really does work.

But once he calmed down and was home, he was fine. So he's resting comfortably on the couch now watching Power Rangers and we're doing our best to keep him limited in his activity. No running, jumping, straddling or any quick or sudden movements for 10 days. Yeah, have you met the Kraken?

Monday, November 19, 2012

7th Time's a Charm?

So as I sit here in our personal section (or at least it seems that way) of the waiting area of Boston Children's Hospital (again), I'm reminded of the first time I sat here. It was exactly 5 years ago to the day and we were waiting anxiously to hear from the doctor about how the heart surgery had gone. We had gotten the news about 48 hours prior (as we were about to take him home for the third time) that Douglas's aorta narrowing had gotten worse. The two previous attempts to take him home were thwarted by last minute spikes in blood pressure (In hindsight, probably a good thing). It stemmed from an improper closing of the PDA valve after birth. This caused a narrowing in his aorta making it extremely hard for the blood to flow. Because he was so small, probably only about 5 pounds or so at this point, his heart was working overtime just to pump the blood normally but was working double overtime because of the narrowing. This was causing his blood pressure to spike even more. They told us if they did not operate to remove the blockage in 72 hours, his heart would literally explode.

Now you would think that news like this would be so devastating to new parents that they would break down uncontrollably and cry. But after the last 10 weeks of what we and the boys had been through, this was pretty much par for the course (and should have been a sign of things to come). Long story short, the procedure went flawlessly, his blood pressure is stellar and the annual EKG's have all been fun actually since he gets to play with all the stickers on his body.

But I've come to the realization that the old saying is true: That which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. Because this kid is the strongest 5 year old I know and if he can get through all of this in his first 5+ years of life, he can get through anything that life will throw at him. I love him more than he'll ever know.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Beach

No, not that awful movie with Leonardo DiCaprio, the real beach.  You know the one I'm talking about..  No, not that one..  The one that appears inside your children's sneakers from daycare.

I never thought it would be possible to have a pound of sand in each shoe when they didn't really go to the beach. (While I didn't actually weigh it, by the amount that ends up in the dust buster, I can only imagine it's that much). Plus, their shoes aren't even that big! They are wearing sizes 9 and 9.5 in kids! How do they even have room for their feet with so much sand?! Yet, every day when they come home and rip off their sneakers, there they are on the tile in front of the door, piles of sand. It's kind of a running joke between many of the parents because we all know what we're talking about when we say "the beach". "Oh did you go to the beach today?"  "No, the beach came to us!"

The good thing about the winter is the lack of sand in their shoes. However, then there's the snow.  I guess the beach isn't so bad after all.

Monday, October 1, 2012


My first concert was the summer of 1992.  Great Woods in Mansfield, MA. (it has previously been known as the Tweeter Center and currently is known as the Comcast Center, but anyone who grew up in the area will tell you it will always be Great Woods). I was a CIT (Counselor in Training) at a camp in Brookline, NH called Camp Tevya. All of the CIT's had 1 "night out" a summer and it worked out perfectly that the Steve Miller Band was playing at Great Woods on our night out.  While a night out in the summer may seem pretty standard, not to anyone who works at a camp.  When not many, if any of us have a license much less a car, it's hard to go anywhere or do anything that isn't camp sanctioned. So when we were afforded this luxury of an opportunity, we jumped on it. We sat on the lawn (grr..) and everybody danced and sang and it was so much fun. I "grr" at the lawn sentence because what used to be a really nice amphitheater seating about 10K under cover and another 9K on the lawn above it has now turned into a fortress.  People used to bring chairs, blankets and have a grand old time on the lawn.  Plus, it was cheaper than the seats.  Lawn seats for most shows were about $15-$20. Now, they have built seats that encompass about 90% of the "lawn" leaving the very top grass.  But you are so far away, it doesn't even matter. It certainly has taken something from sitting up there for a show.  But I digress.

As I get older I'm trying to do a few things I've never done before.. Some may call it a bucket list, some may call it "things I've never done before".  Either way, I'm trying to do these things before I don't have a chance. Many of the items on this list include seeing bands I've never seen. Many bands obviously I would love to, but it's just happening. (Although STILL holding out hope for a Led Zeppelin reunion tour with either Jason Bonham or Dave Grohl on drums).  It could happen..  Seriously, it could.. But it's also different nowadays.  back in the 70s, 80s and 90s, if you didn't go to the show, you didn't see the show.  Now, with the advent of cell phones with such great cameras on them, you can just look up on you tube any show you want and see what it looked like.  While it does take some of the value away from being there, however I don't think anything is quite like being physically at the live show. So when the opportunity came to see KISS and Motley Crue at said Great Woods, I jumped at it.  Obviously, these bands are not in their prime.  KISS only has 50% of its original members. But that's ok. I didn't mind.  Both bands put on fantastic theatrical performances, stuff I had never seen before at a live show and sang many songs I knew.

Getting back to the cell phone, is it me or has the cell phone replaced the lighter?  Everyone always has their phone out taking pictures and video of the show. Previously, if a band or artist was playing a ballad, the crowd would take out their lighters and use them to light the arena during the song. However now due to the brightness of the cell phone screens, people just leave their phones out for the entire show and use the phones during said ballads.  It's kind of weird.  There was something about all the lighters up with the flames hanging in the air while a band like Skynyrd played their classic "Free Bird". No shortage of jokes coming here I am sure.

Back to this show. Out of everything going on, I did see something that caught my eye: Kids. Especially for KISS, there were so many kids.. I mean, we're talking 9, 10, 11 years old in KISS t-shirts with KISS makeup on throwing up rock fists and singing along.. Granted they were wearing noise-canceling headphones (very smart), but they were there and I thought it was awesome. Originally I had wanted my boys' first concert to be something low key, maybe a James Taylor or something like that.  An artist I have seen numerous times, music than transcends generations and you can enjoy the show.  You're not going to see theater or pyrotechnics or anything of that nature, but you'll say great musicians performing their art to perfection. And that is still a show.

But I want my kids to go to a rock show.  They don't necessarily need to paint their faces, but I want them to experience something they've never experienced before every time they go to a show.  That's the reason why Gene Simmons formed KISS.  He said he was tired of the same old crap for live shows. They were boring and cookie cutter.  He wanted to perform on stage for people something they had never seen before and something they would never forget. If my kids can have those types of experiences at the live shows, then I've done my job.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

One Tooth, Two Teeth

Summer of 1983 is when I lost my first tooth. I had just turned 7 and my family was on vacation in Vermont. (Coincidentally enough Amy and I are going to that same resort for a long weekend in October. Weird, I know)  Anyway, my tooth was so loose before we left I was worried that the tooth fairy wouldn't know where to find us if it fell out.. So I wrote the tooth fairy a letter telling her the address of where my family and I would be staying so in case my tooth did fall out, she could find us. Lo and behold, my tooth fell out while we were in Vermont and the tooth fairy was able to find me and leave me something under my pillow.  And yes, I do still have the letter.

Well, history seemed to almost repeat itself almost 30 years later. My wife and I were on vacation with the twinado visiting relatives in NY and NJ and making a stop in between to go to Philly. One of Douglas's bottom teeth was very loose when we left for vacation and we had a feeling it would fall out while we were away.  So before leaving we made sure to get some Sacagawea coins from the bank. Hey, no one wants to carry those things around and a shiny new coin is the equivalent of giving a baby a box to play with.

Towards the end of the week we were visiting my wife's grandmother in Southern Jersey and took a day to head to Sesame Place, which was only about 40 minutes away. The boys had a great time and were doing so well until Douglas got a little scared while just about to go on one of the water rides.  It's a really good thing we didn't wait in line for 45 minutes to go on this ride, because then it would have been a total waste. (Yes, that was sarcasm).

However, on the way down to the bottom of the stairs, Douglas says "Mommy look" and points to the newly formed hole in his mouth..  So excited, Amy asked him where the tooth went and of course, got the 4 year old shrug of "I don't know".. So she did what any good mother would do and started looking all around on the ground for a tooth the size of a grain of rice in a crowd of 50 people. Numerous bystanders started asking if was she ok or if she had lost a contact lens. As soon as she told them her 4 year old son just lost his first tooth, immediately she had 5 mothers on the ground all looking for his tooth.  Unfortunately, after some time it was evident that the tooth was lost and we were going to have to figure something out.

While he was not too sad about losing the tooth, he was more curious how we were going to let the tooth fairy know where he was.  So the idea was that we would write a letter to the tooth fairy letting her know we were on vacation in NJ and giving the address of where we were staying.  However, there is this little problem of how does she find the tooth?  So, thankfully we still had a map of Sesame Place.  We circled the ride and the area that it fell out and included it in the letter.  Douglas signed his name to it and we placed it in an envelope under his pillow.

Now, you're saying wait a minute.. How does the tooth fairy know that he even lost a tooth?  How does she know to come to the house if the address and where to find the tooth is in the letter?  There are so many holes to this story.. But thankfully we are dealing with a 4 year old who thinks the tooth fairy has orange skin, blue hair and red eyes. So I think we're safe with this one.

We put him to bed with the envelope under his pillow but the kid would just NOT GO TO SLEEP! I'm thinking of calling in Samuel L Jackson at this point because seriously, it was past 1030p, we had had a very long day and I was tired..  If I, er the tooth fairy, was going to put the coin under his pillow, he needed to be asleep!! So finally at some point past 11p when I can barely keep my eyes open he falls asleep. I carefully exchange an envelope with the coin in it for the envelope with the letter and map. All is right with the world.

Fast forward to the next morning when he wakes up, early of course because it's vacation.  He comes into our room and says that there's nothing under his pillow. Now, I know for a fact there was because I did it, but obviously I couldn't tell him that. So I told him it had to be there all the while he is inconsolably balling because he didn't get anything from the tooth fairy (I blame society for this).  Thankfully, the envelope had just fallen behind the bed from under his pillow while he flailed around during the night.  He was extremely happy with his shiny, new gold coin and was very excited to put it in his piggy bank when we got home.  So excited in fact that he wanted to carry it around with him for the rest of the trip to make sure he didn't lose it. While you would think that would have disaster written all over it (his nickname is The Kracken after all), believe it or not he kept that coin with him for 2 more days and did not lose it. So I have to give him credit for that.

Since this episode, he has since lost the tooth next to the other one so he now has a gaping hole on the bottom of his mouth. Now you're saying "hmm, 4 seems to be a little young to be losing teeth".  And you'd be correct. However, in terms of doing things first between his brother and him, let's just say the scales are not tipping in his favor.  So while it may be early, at least he lays claim doing something first.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Day

For anyone who knows me, I have pretty much been the same weight since I graduated college..  There was this uptick of about 10 pounds my senior year from 150 to 160, but I honestly have no idea why.. Must have just been a fluke; you know, one of those things..

Anyway, I've been hovering around 150 for the better part of almost 15 years now (ugh, has it really been almost 15 years since I graduated college?) and I've been able to eat pretty much anything I wanted.. It's a gift you know?  It's like I can't control it. (Anyone who's seen The Girl Next Door knows that line). My metabolism, thanks to my grandfather, helped me out with that..  Truth be told, I've always been pretty active, but I've slowed down a bit in recent years.. With a full time job and the Twinado, my nights of playing indoor soccer have disappeared and my days of pick up hoop games with friends have waned into non-existence. Don't get me wrong, chasing the boys around, playing at the park with them or even taking the dog for a walk is good exercise, just not to the level I'm used to.

However I had an epiphany recently, or maybe it was a hallucination from the excruciating pain I was feeling while enduring my third kidney stone in the last 8 years.. I have no idea why God picked me to have these, but oh I am so thankful!! I used to think that you're never given anything you can't handle (see previous blogs), but seriously this isn't even funny.  My first one was in 2004 when living in Smallbany, NY. I would write a blog about that, but we weren't even there long enough for anything interesting to happen.. Oh, except for all of our belongings being stolen by the movers, but that's another blog for another day I guess..

It was in the middle of the night and it was pain unlike I had ever experienced before.. I had never really had any type of pain experience like that so I wasn't sure what to expect.  Of course, Amy wasn't feeling well that night so she had taken the red devil (NyQuil) so she could sleep.  So there she is in her NyQuil coma and I am writhing around in pain on the floor thinking something is going to burst through my side like in Alien (yes, I know, that was his chest but your kidney's aren't in your chest now are they?) 

Thankfully my wailing eventually woke her with obviously no clue as to what was happening.  Not knowing the area too well, or really what was going on, 911 was the best course of action.  While the ambulance is on its way I thought I could make it to the door.  It is the middle of the night, in February, in Albany so it's not exactly balmy out. Somehow I have clothes on when the paramedics arrive.  I thought I could crawl the length of the hallway from our bedroom in the back of the apartment to the front door, which in retrospect isn't that long, but seemed like one of those never-ending hallways.  Well, I didn't make it.. I collapsed somewhere between the end of our bedroom and the beginning of the kitchen, which was probably a total of 5 feet.  They had to put me on one of those chairs that keeps you in a tuck position because the pain of having to straighten my body was unbearable. Amy followed along in her car while the ambulance drove to the hospital which was about 5-10 minutes away. I do remember them hooking me up to the IV and giving me morphine for the pain.  I remember them saying " OK 5 cc's of morphine" and administering it.  Then they ask you, if you've never been in an ER or ambulance for a pain-related emergency, "describe the pain from 1-10?"  So I said 20!  OK, I'll let you in on a little secret here.. I don't deal with pain well.. I mean, a cut on my finger, or s stub on the toe, big deal.. but real, actual pain?  Nope..  So they gave me another 5 cc's of morphine. After a minute or two, they asked me again and I think I said 15.  So yes, they gave me 5 more cc's of morphine and then I was floating.  I was done. No more pain.  No more anything really..  The relief was the best thing I had ever felt..  Until it wore off at some point in the hospital so they gave me a prescription for Vicodin. While at CVS filling my prescription for Vicodin, the pharmacist asked me what it was for as it was heavy medication.  I told her it was for a kidney stone and she said, and I quote" I have had 3 children by vaginal birth and I have had 1 kidney stone.  I would gladly have 3 more children by vaginal birth than have another kidney stone." Fan-tas-tic.  Now make with the Vicodin before the one I took wears of..  

Unfortunately, I did not pass it so I had to sit on the couch for a few days and in between popping Vicodin drink those 24 oz sport bottles of Poland Spring and pee every 5 minutes into a strainer to hopefully pass a stone that was about half the size of a grain of rice, if that..  Tons of fun let me tell you..

The second one, of course in the middle of the night again was not as bad as before the ambulance even arrived I was already starting to feel better.. It didn't mean I wasn't in pain and didn't gladly accept the morphine they were giving me, it just didn't hurt as much for as long the second time. However, circumstances had changed because we had 2 very young children and in the middle of the night, it just wasn't going to be possible to have Amy and the boys follow me.  So after I was released, the ER called me a cab and yes, I took a cab home from the hospital. Only, I didn't have any money and had to plead with the guy to take me home explaining my situation.  I was praying that we had some cash at home to give him and thankfully, we had just enough.  Sorry dude, no tip this time.. Maybe next time..

And yes, there was a next time.. For the kidney stone, not the cab thankfully..  But of course, the middle of the night (there has to be something to this) and there it is again.. Agony.. After already having had two of them, I knew exactly what the pain was. So we pack up the boys in the car and drive to the ER. Toridal and Dilaudid this time around, which did the trick.. We were only there for a few hours and still was able to get a few more hours sleep on Saturday morning..  However, we were planning on going with some friends to Davis Farmland which had already been postponed once for the weather.  It was the boys' birthday weekend and I didn't want to miss it.  So I perc'd up and it was pretty fun actually.. 
So, the real point of this blog (if you're still reading) is that for the first time in my life, I'm on a diet.Well, it's not really a diet I guess, just trying to cut sodium.  You would not believe the sodium content in some things.. I'm not saying that too much sodium will kill you, but there are lots of things that we eat that can have lasting effects on our health  I'm not here to preach don't worry.  But my point is in addition to the fact I have no want at all to relive the pain of another kidney stone, I do have the want to see my sons grow up. . These last 5 years have totally changed me. But it doesn't have to be just kids. It can be parents, grandparents, siblings, grandchildren, whomever.  It doesn't matter who as long as it's someone. I'm not saying don't enjoy life, I'm just saying make sure you make it last a long time. And while I don't want to go too crazy, I will if I have to.  Because I think it's worth it.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


This blog is usually pretty light-hearted, but unfortunately sometimes I need to be serious.

Everyone has problems and/or issues with their kids.. No one's child is perfect (although we all like to believe so). Trust me, I know. Medical issues started with my kids while they were still in the womb! Some children have difficulty eating, some have chronic illnesses, learning disabilities, and other issues that we believe are so awful that we become so stressed about them and they start to take over our daily lives.  Not to make light of anything (I never would), but in many ways a lot of these issues are manageable whether via medicine, therapy or just good old fashioned time where the child will grow out of whatever it is.

However I heard some news yesterday about a friend's daughter that really threw me for a loop. Losing a child is quite possibly the worst thing I can think of right now. I don't know what I would do.

Thankfully they are persevering with help from friends, family and loved ones and coping the best they can with this obviously unimaginable tragedy.

So the next time you find yourself complaining about your child's issues whether it be not pooping in the potty, having trouble walking, or anything else, know that it more often than not will get better. The reason is because each day is another opportunity.

Now go hug your kids and tell them you love them.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Back In My Day...

Wow.. I'm only 36 and I'm already saying it.. I didn't think that was going to happen for a while.. Kinda like receding hairline and going to bed consistently before 10p, but I digress.

Now that my boys are almost 5 (Jesus), I can say I've been to my fair share of kids' birthday parties.. I've been everywhere from the local Discovery Museum to Jump On In.

Wow, those bounce houses are pretty much the greatest thing to happen to kids birthday parties since, well ever. I don't even really remember the birthday parties I went to to be honest. I believe for the most part we just went to McDonald's and played in the ball pits. Or maybe Papa Gino's where we got to watch the birthday child stand behind the counter and flip the dough while making their own pizza. I do remember, amazingly enough during the Blizzard of '78 (yes I was 4 months shy of 2) standing in the front door with it open just staring out into nothing because the entire door was blocked with snow. You couldn't even open it there was so much snow. Maybe I recall that because it was so memorable, unlike the birthday parties.

I went to a party the other day (not a birthday party, but mostly for kids) where there was a bouncy house. But not just any bouncy house; this one was a water slide bouncy house where you slide down and land in a pool of water! I mean seriously WHERE WAS THIS WHEN I WAS A KID?!?!?! I mean, come on.. 

My boys, once they got going were on that thing for a good 2 hours.. To tell the truth, I really wanted to go on it myself.. They actually came over to me at one point and said "Daddy, this is awesome!" It really was..

I can't even imagine what the birthday parties are going to be like when our grand kids go to them. Are they going to have hover boards like in Back to the Future? Really, what could possibly top a bouncy house water slide at this point?

Well, whatever the kids are doing at birthday parties 30 years from now, I'm hoping that I'm able to take part.. You're never to old to act like a kid.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Best of You

We made a conscious decision when we had the boys (at some point when we were conscious, but I'm not quite sure I remember when that was) that the one place we had that was sacred was our cars.  No kids music in our cars.  Period.  We were going to listen to what we liked and they were going to deal with it.  And it actually worked.  That decision has paid enormous dividends already as our kids go around singing Foo Fighters, Green Day, Beastie Boys (you gotta hear that shit, it's pretty funny).  It makes long car rides that much more enjoyable when instead of Sesame Street we're listening to Marilyn Manson covering "This is Halloween" from Tim Burton's A Nightmare Before Christmas.  For whatever reason, they're not scared.

So one day while on the way to school and listening to Foo Fighters, I told them that mommy and daddy have seen the Foo Fighters twice in concert.  So naturally, the next question is "Can we go see the Foo Fighters?"  Now, of course, these are the kids who used to go screaming from the vacuum cleaner because it was too loud.. They're supposed to sit through 3 hours of Dave Grohl, Taylor Hawkins and company?

So naturally I said, "well, when you're older".  But why?  Do we shield our kids from certain things just because of their age too much?  What if my boys were 10?  Would it be ok then?  Does everyone's first concert have to James Taylor or the Moody Blues?  My first concert wasn't until I was 16 (Steve Miller Band on the lawn at Great Woods).  But since there's no lawn anymore as well as it not being called Great Woods for many years, I don't go too often).

When I was 10 years old there was this huge pop star named Michael Jackson.  You might have heard of him.  He was kind of a big deal.  He was coming to the Boston Garden on tour and my sister and I wanted to go.  We were told no. Sorry mom, but looking back that would have been the most kick-ass show to say my first concert was Michael Jackson in the mid-80s.  I'm over it, but I digress.  The reason was because I was too young.  But I think that an experience like that could shape people.  What if going to that show at 10 years old brought out some love of music I didn't know I had.  Maybe then I wouldn't have had to fake play the clarinet later that year in my elementary school concert because I had no idea what I was doing. We just don't know.

Life is all about experiences and what you take from them and make from them.  So while taking my 4 year olds to see the Foo Fighters would probably be a little irresponsible, I'd say the show is quite possibly in their near future.  Because you never know, maybe it'll open up something inside of them that makes them the next Dave Grohl. (Oh that would be so awesome).

Monday, July 2, 2012

It's Like It's Their Sex

This post is in collaboration with guest contributor Jeff Blasbalg.

I have 2 boys so I don't know how it is with girls. I can only guess that the days are filled with playing dress up, dolls and dance recitals.. But that's just a guess. It might be something totally different, but I don't know.

What I do know is that I am a guy. And it's no secret that guys think about sex. There was some study done that said a guy thinks about sex like 40 times a minute. Now I didn't do the study, but that seems a little extreme. Or dead on, one or the other.

But anyway, even if it's 30 seconds out of every minute, guys think about sex a lot. Well, obviously 4 year olds have not discovered sex yet (at least we hope not). So what do the lives of 4 year old boys revolve around? Super Heroes. You name it, they love it. Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Hulk, Green Lantern, etc. It doesn't matter which one sometimes, just as long as it involves a super hero. We're talking t-shirts, bathing suits, lunch boxes, sheets, towels, sunglasses, plates, cups. Seriously, it never ends..

And it's all they talk about.. It's all they do. You think 40 times a minute is a lot to think about and/or talk about one subject? These boys live and breathe super heroes every waking moment of every day. It never ends.

I wonder what's going to happen when they discover girls and start thinking about things other than super heroes? Well let's just hope they upgraded their sheets by then.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Well, this past spring the day had finally come for the boys' first soccer practice.. You can't really call it a game as it was more like herding cats than an actual game.. My first thoughts when signing the boys up for soccer were that one kid would kick the ball and then sit down and cry because the ball wasn't passed back to him and the other kid would just go around kicking everyone in the shins..  I'll leave it to you to guess which was which..

In any event, it wasn't so bad.. Although the kids were all over the place (there were about 20 of them) things were relatively contained.  The parents were semi-involved which was good and they kept the kids moving around for the majority of the time, which I guess is the point at the U4 level.

One thing I did notice was that every parent, grandparent, guardian or whomever had a cup of coffee in their hand.  Now, it certainly wasn't balmy out at 10a Sat morning, but it was ok.  Seriously if Dunkin Donuts would just get a mobile van and take it to all the parks around town where kids are playing baseball, soccer, etc they would make a fortune (even more than they already make)!  Fortunately for me I don't drink coffee.  Unfortunately for me, I am always tired.

It will be interesting to see how they progress with soccer and whether or not they want to continue. They're starting to get into things like music and instruments. I definitely want to encourage trying different things.  We're researching possibly signing one of them up for Ju Jitsu, but I just saw a take down of some kid on Tosh.0 last night that makes me re-think that research.

I certainly don't want to restrict them from trying anything, but I also don't want them to get burnt out because of so many activities. Unless one of them develops a 95 mph fastball with a nasty breaking ball.  Then it's on!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Used Car Amenities

So a long time ago, somewhere around 1998 I graduated college..  I had gotten a job and needed a car.  However, not just any car.  I didn't want another used car with those used car amenities.  I wanted a new car.  You know, one that started when you turned the key and and when you turned on the AC cold air blew in instead of hot air..  I was stupid as all college graduates really are and I got a car with "new car amenities"..

However one thing I still could not have, regardless of the car I bought was the ability to listen to a song anytime I wanted.  Or, better yet, be able to see what the song title was and who was singing it.  I mean, that was futuristic stuff in the late 90s!  (This was just starting to come out and was a top option in available models)

Fast forward 14 years and we have satellite radio, ipods and in many cars the text button.  Press this and on some stations it will tell you what song is playing and who the artist is.  This feature is standard for my children.  They will never know what it is like not to know the title and/or artist of the song currently playing.  And, for some reason if you are not blessed with this feature, yup there's an app for that.  I have an app on my phone as a lot of people do where if you launch it and hold it up to the speaker, it will not only tell you what the name of the song is and who is singing it, but the title of the album, it will scroll the lyrics for you and you can also download the song to your itunes with the touch of a button.  And, if you are so inclined to want to tell people what you are listening to, you can post it to Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.  Crazy..  I love it.

But I feel like the boys are missing out.  They'll never know what it's like only to have 5 or 6 channels.  They'll never know what it's like to actually BE the remote control for someone (raise your hand if you ever sat close to the TV for the sole purpose of being close enough so when your parent or older sibling told you to change the channel, you didn't have to move that much).  Keep em up.. That's right..

They'll never know what it's like to think "Argh, I forgot to set the VCR"!  Or worse, you remembered to set the VCR, but forgot to rewind the tape!  now not only do many people have DVR's, but you can set it from a computer and even your phone!  They'll never know what it's like to sit in front of your boombox for half an hour because the DJ said that coming up was your favorite song.  And while you're waiting you set up the cassette in the boombox all ready to hit play and record together so you can record your favorite song.  And then when you want to play it, you can just hit rewind and then stop.  Then play.  Realize you still have about half the song to go and then rewind some more, stop.  Play. Almost there.  Rewind and stop.  Play.  Rewind stop!  Rewind stop!  Yeah you remember doing that..

Now my 4 year olds just go to the ipod, hit itunes and play (they even have their own playlist of songs and artists they like).  For example, Foo Fighters, Beastie Boys and Green Day are in heavy rotation. Or, take the ipad, turn on Pandora, choose a station and hit play.  When they want to watch something?  On mand (On Demand to the rest of us).  For other shows and movies not on mand?  Sure, why not.  There's Netflix. Hit a few buttons on the remote and there you go!  Instant Gratification.

I have a feeling that on the way to school on Tuesday, I just might not tell them who is singing the song on the radio.  I gotta have a little fun right?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Rock, Paper, Scissors

It's been a staple of conflict resolution for centuries, Rock, Paper, Scissors.. Ok, well maybe not centuries, but you get the point..  For a very long time people have been settling disputes with Rock, Paper, Scissors.  Some people use the old "how many fingers do I have behind my back" or "I'm thinking of a number from 1-10".  We all know none of these work because you have to put complete faith in the person either holding or thinking of the numbers, and that ain't happenin...

Fast forward to a recent bath for the Twins of Anarchy.. It's always a fight to get them washed and neither one obviously wants to go first.  Usually, when I say it's time to get washed, the first words out of Daniel's mouth is "Douglas goes first".  But I figured we could turn it into a game.

They like playing this game although they just don't seem to get it 100%.. Ok boys, we're going see who gets washed first by playing Rock, Paper, Scissors!  Yay!!!  They were very excited.  I told them whoever wins 2 out of 3 will not have to go first.  I explained how to play, even though I know they "know" how..  You take 1 hand behind your back and then I will say "Rock, Paper, Scissors SHOOT"!.  When I say shoot, you will take that hand from behind your back and hold out a fist for rock, an open hand for paper or scissor-like fingers for scissors.  Got it?  They answer, yes.

Then I hear Douglas say, "Rock, Scissors, Paper, Paper, Shoot".  So I repeat what it's supposed to be and then I hear "Rock, Paper, Scissors, Paper Shoot"! Well, this is going to take forever, they could have been washed by now!

So finally we're all set.  I say when I say "Shoot", hold out your hand with what you want to throw.  Daniel bellows "I want to be rock". "I want to be paper", says Douglas.  Ugh.. "Boys, don't say what you are going to throw because then the other person will know what it is.  Just show your hand when I say shoot, ok?"  "Ok, they respond."

Ok, ready, Rock, Paper, Scissors SHOOT!"  Nothing.  Blank stares.  "Boys, you need to show your hands".  So they both show their hands and they both have rock.  Ok, a tie.  So we try it again.

"Boys, make sure to show your hand when I say shoot ok?"  "I want to be rock". "I want to be paper.".

Ok, we might have re-think this bath strategy..  "Hey boys, I'm thinking of a number 1-10"..

Monday, April 2, 2012

Independence Day

I don't get it.. The kid that is able to do everything, yet doesn't.. Douglas is that kid.. I know positively 100% that this kid can do everything I am asking him to do in order to be more self-sufficient and he just picks and chooses.. Ridiculously frustrating.

Perhaps I got a glimpse into the mind of the Kraken the other tonight. After staying up late to watch a movie (9p), they went up to brush their teeth and go to sleep. Takes no time at all and I'm downstairs. About 25 minutes later Douglas is asking for some water.  So I actually go upstairs reluctantly and help him instead of asking him to do it himself (which I know he can do). I didn't want to wake Daniel up. So I give him the cup and he stands on the step stool.

I said, can you turn this on?  And at first he said no (but not just a regular no it was that drawn out 7 syllable no that seems like it lasts an eternity)..  But, I figured he is so tired I I would try asking him again and, be-grudgingly he said, yeah.. But it wasn't just a regular yeah.. It was the "I'm so disappointed in myself because now he's on to me" kind of yeah... He then proceeds to turn on the faucet and fill his cup all by himself.

Well did I just get a glimpse into the mind of the Kraken and is he starting to break?  Or is he just messing with my head a la Stewie Griffin?  I sure hope it's the former because I can't deal with all those song and dance numbers..

Monday, March 19, 2012

Swimming With the Goldfishes

I guess it's my own fault..  I know I shouldn't let the boys eat food in my bed, but sometimes, it's just unavoidable..

They don't nap anymore at home.  Once they started climbing out of their cribs, that was it.  Daniel had fallen out around 18 months or so and Douglas wasn't even walking yet much less climbing out of his crib.  So we got a crib tent for Daniel and that seemed to solve the problem for the time being.  About 6 months later, we are downstairs watching TV and hear talking from their room, which is normal.  What is not normal is how close it sounded.  So we went upstairs to check and when we opened the door, Douglas goes, "Hi momma" and runs zooming past..  That night we decided it was probably time for toddler beds.

Ever since that day we broke down the cribs and put in toddler beds they have not napped once in their beds.  Our bed however is a different story.  We call it "down-time".  It's usually around 1-130p and they are whiny, cranky and just overall exhausted.  So we put them in our room and put on a movie.  Many times they will fall asleep and take good naps which is the goal.  Other times, they will watch the entire movie, but at least they are calm and resting which is sometimes just as good.  However, it's when they wake up and want a snack that is gets dicey.  We'll often times give them small snacks like goldfish in a bowl in our bed so they can continue to relax and finish the movie.

But while I don't mind them having quiet time, napping or even snacking in my bed, I really don't need to get into my bed and hear the crunching of goldfish crumbs underneath me..  But like I said, I guess it's my own fault.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hummala Bebhuhla

In honor of Van Halen's semi-reunion (it can't really be a full reunion without Michael Anthony), I thought I'd tell a little story I had forgotten about until someone accidentally brought it out of me.

The Twinado was about 18 months old or so and we were taking a car trip up to the edge of nowhere, otherwise known as Maine.  And we're not talking about Portland, either..  It was about 5 hours north of Portland, at least.. Ok, maybe only 2-3, but it sure felt like it..

Anyway, neither of the boys was talking yet..  They were making sounds yeah, but talking was far off..  Hell, one of them wasn't even standing on his own so them speaking was the furthest thing from our minds.

We're driving along and listening to the radio, sometimes singing along.  Sure enough, Panama comes on the radio.  This song is perfect for the boys..  It's not like Roth doesn't repeat the word Panama about a billion times (well, really only 15 if you can believe that; seems like so much more).  So in addition to him saying it, we're saying it.  And wouldn't you know it, from the backseat we hear "panama".

Even though I was driving I have never whipped my head around to the backseat so fast..  We know that we heard it.  It was crystal clear.  One of sons had just said their first word and it was the name of a Van Halen song.

For some reason, I didn't mind the rest of ride.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Crystal Ball

The lights are down..  The din of the crowd is not unlike that of a Yankees/Red Sox playoff game.. you know that din...

The anticipation of the crowd is growing with every passing second..  The best band in the world is about to come on stage and perform.

Then finally a riser from the back of the stage ascends from the bowels of the arena and the bass of the drums is heart-pounding..  The crowd starts to go crazy and the greatest rock show on earth has commenced..

I was recently told by one of my sons that he wants to be a drummer..  Allow me this moment..

Monday, February 20, 2012

Name Game

Sitting in the pediatrician's office the other day I was reading a magazine. You know one of those magazines that says they're for parents but really the only time they mention a dad is when they are telling them what to get the mom as a gift for what a wonderful job she does raising their child all by herself with no help from him..  But I digress, that's a blog for another day..

So there I am reading letters that parents (moms) have written in with stories about how their wonderful child's name came to be..  I mean some of these were ridiculous..  One person wrote about how they named their son Reef because they were avid scuba divers and loved the ocean.  Another couple named their daughter Azure because she was conceived on a picnic blanket underneath a clear azure sky..

Really people?  What ever happened to naming your child the old conventional way?  After movie characters..  When we were told we might be having 2 boys and not a boy and a girl we quickly had to come up with a second boy name..  At this point we were both dazed and confused about everything going on and since that's one of our favorite movies, we decided a name from that movie would work well. And it's even more fitting he's got this creepy Wooderson laugh..  Alright, alright, alright...

Monday, January 30, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons: Part 3

This is where the movie part ends. There were no flowers or cards or cigars.  I sat alone in my room for a couple of hours, but it seemed like an eternity.  Unable to see my wife or my children I had no idea what was going on.  Occasionally a nurse would come in and ask if I needed anything like water, etc..  While it was appreciated, it certainly wasn't going to help.  It was the middle of the night, well technically now very early in the morning so we weren't going to call anybody.  We had already made the decision that evening on the way to the hospital that if we did have the babies that we would wait until the morning to call and not have any one come that day.  It was going to be hectic enough without having people around to ask questions we just didn't know the answers to.

Finally I was able to see my wife which was nice..  She had done such a great job.  I was so proud of her.  But we were so concerned about the health of the babies that we really had no time to think about anything else.  Because they were so premature, born at 28 weeks and 1 day, they were immediately moved to the NICU (Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit) where they would be hooked up to more wires and tubes than I would ever see in my entire life.  You couldn't even see their little bodies as they were all covered with gauze, wires, tubes and numerous other devices that were helping them stay alive.  They even had little blindfolds over their eyes to shield them from the bright lights of the NICU and their isolettes.  One funny thing though, the diapers they were wearing, because they were so small were called WeePees.  I couldn't make that up if I tried. That's what they're called..  Pretty funny..

As I mentioned, we were originally told we were having a boy and a girl.  Then, at about week 24 or so, we were told to stop telling people that. Then, after delivery, we were told we had a boy and a girl again.  So we guessed the original genders were correct.  However they were telling us not to say anything to anyone about the sexes until we had a conversation with the doctors.  We were ushered into a conference room and suddenly were standing in front of about 12 doctors and specialists.  We had a feeling this was not going to be your normal conversation.

We could not have been more right.  They proceeded to tell us the reason why they could not give us the gender of one of the babies.  It had been born with a chromosomal genetic abnormality called Mosaic Turner Syndrome.  A chromosome analysis test called a karyotype determined the diagnosis.  Some of the characteristics of Mosaic Turner Syndrome are short stature, a high palate making it difficult to eat, coarctation of the aorta, and ambiguous genitalia (the baby had all 4).  When the babies' chromosomes were replicating, early on there was a mistake.  A genetic abnormality if you will.  One of the X chromosomes did not pair up with a Y, it was left blank.  That mistake replicated all the way down so the baby only had 15% XY and 85% XO.  Therefore, we had a decision to make.  We had to decide the gender of our child.  Was the baby going to be a boy or a girl?

Now there are some decisions a person makes that defines who they are going to be.  For example, what college you go to or don't go to, what job you take or don't take, who you date and perhaps eventually who you do or do not marry.  However there are very few decisions that one makes that defines their life.  This would be an decision that defined mine.

We met with teams of doctors including genetic specialists, endocrinologists, urologists, among others. Tests were run and it was concluded that the baby was in fact making testosterone, however was not making  enough. Based on the absence of any female indicators and all signs pointing to male indicators, the decision was made that the baby would be a boy.  Because the normal reproductive system had not fully developed, numerous surgeries would need to be performed in order to create a functioning reproductive system.  These would happen over the next few years.

Now that the decision was made, it was time to name the babies.  We had already had 1 boy name picked out because we knew were having at least 1 boy.  However when we were told to stop telling people we were having a girl, we knew we should have a second boy name just in case.  Thus, Daniel and Douglas were officially named and soon became household names.

This is by far not the end of the story as this is the ever-evolving tale of the Twins of Anarchy.  But writing this particular blog was quite cathartic for me as I've told the story before, but never put it down on "paper".  I do wish I had started this back when I found out we were having twins.  Well, there's always next time..  Eh, I don't think so.  :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons: Part 2

It started like any other..  A nice day to go with your dad to the ballpark to watch the hometown team..  I knew I wasn't going to have many more chances to do that so I wanted to get it in while I could.  My dad and I enjoyed a great day at Fenway on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend 2007.  My wife, completing her 28th week was just as happy to relax on the bed with the dog and sleep.

We both went to sleep fairly early that night knowing we both had the day off the next day for Labor Day.  Plus, it was a long day for me traveling to Boston, the game and getting back.  Even though it's only an hour away, an hour back and the game was 3 hours it turned into an all day thing..  Always does.  I can honestly say it was one of the most sound sleeps I had been in in a long time.  And then, around 1am, poke poke..

"Um, honey, I think I'm having contractions".

"Huh?"  Oh, ok I'll get the watch and the paper.  Having finished the birthing class about 2 weeks earlier, I knew what my role was.  We time contractions for about 30 minutes and they are all over the place.  My wife just doesn't feel right and wants to call the doctor which was fine.  She calls the local hospital which is affiliated with our hospital in Boston and who does she get?  The one doctor out of the 6 she had seen that she didn't like. That doctor wanted us to come to the closer hospital.  When my wife asked what would happen if she needed to deliver (remember she just finished her 28th week) the doctor said well they would deliver there and then send the babies to Boston.  So when she tried to confirm that we would just follow the ambulance after, the answer was no, you'll stay here..   Well, then that was a big fat no thanks.. we'll just go to Boston.  It's 2am and I'm sure there won't be any traffic..  we'll take our chances..

So I quickly packed a bag (thankfully) and we started off to Boston.  Unfortunately, the only way we knew that time to go was Route 9, which is ALWAYS under construction..  So someone who was having contractions and had to drive in a car going over unevenly paved road with exposed sewer caps, she was less than thrilled.

They say it never happens like it does in the movies..  I'm calling shenanigans..  that's EXACTLY the way it happens..  We pull up into the emergency zone, and I get her out of the car screaming, "I need a wheelchair and a doctor!" We wheel her into the hospital and fill out endless forms before we can enter..  We finally get brought into an area to get checked out by a doctor.  While my wife is being tended to, I'm being asked a whole host of questions..  I think I answered all of them, I really don't know..  I do know the nurse was very impressed I knew her social security number (my wife's, not the nurses.  That would be have awkward). Then, I heard a doctor say "I can feel a head.  we need to get you the delivery room stat!"  Ok, I don't know if she said stat, but I'm keeping with the whole movie theme..  They literally threw scrubs at me and pointed me to a bathroom to go change and meet them outside. 

Do you remember the scene in Pulp Fiction after Vincent Vega's date with Mia Wallace where he's in the bathroom contemplating whether he should sleep with her or not all while she's OD'ing on the super crank he had in his jacket?  That was kinda the scene here where I'm getting ready with these scrubs asking myself in the mirror if this is really happening or is it a dream..  How could they be here already we still have 3 months before they're supposed to be born, we're not ready, we don't have anything, etc.. While it seemed like an hour it was probably only a minute or so.  I came out of the bathroom to an empty hallway.  No one.  I thought that can't be good.

Finally I find someone that said my wife needed to be taken to the ER immediately and they couldn't wait.  I got directed where to go and by the time I got there, they had already closed the doors and unfortunately, I was not allowed to enter.  So once again, like in the movies, I am sitting there in the hallway pacing around by myself wondering what was going on.  Then, like an angel I hear a familiar voice, "Ben?"  Now, my wife always complains that I know someone wherever we go.  I ran into a fraternity brother on the plane to Hawaii for our honeymoon for example.  There isn't a sporting event, concert or random place we go to that I don't see someone I know.  However, this time I think she would be happy.

"Kristin?"  It was an old friend of mine from growing up who happened to be working that night and was heading into the ER where my wife was giving birth.  It was her job to make sure that once born the babies airways were clear and they were breathing well.  Let me tell you, not being allowed to be in that room was the worst feeling ever.  After hearing about everyone else's experiences being in the delivery room, being together, taking pictures and video, to know I wasn't going to get to do that was deflating.  I knew these were the only children we would have which means I will never get to experience it.  A hole that will always be vacated.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Da Dun.. Da Dun..

The boys have been asking to go to a Bruins game since about the middle of last season..  It was about the time when they started really noticing sports, being able to recall logos and such.  While tickets are not as easy to come by as they used to be, I still managed to get us 4 tickets so the boys could go to a Bruins game. However I thought it might be a good idea to take them to a Worcester Sharks game at the DCU Center in Worcester as a primer.  It's not that far from us and this past Sunday just happened to be Pucks and Paws day.  That's right, minor league hockey AND you got to bring your dog!  Half the cost of the dog ticket went towards the Worcester Animal Rescue League so it was for a good cause.  And we got to take Cadi to a hockey game.  How often does that chance come around?

So off we went all bundled up and got into the car.  I had to lift Cadi into the back of Amy's car (not happy about continually having to do that, but that's another blog for another day).  We got to the arena in plenty of time and walked around a bit to see all the different dog-related booths, activities for kids, etc.  So far, so good.  Cadi made some friends with some new dogs as only dogs can (why isn't it that easy for humans I will never know).

We headed down to our seats and they were great!  2nd row from the glass right near the face off circle!  The boys were going to be so excited they were so close to the ice!  They had designated certain sections for dogs only so you were assured not to be bothering people with your dog.  However they said nothing about bothering other people with your children!

We got down to our seats and Max settled right in and was raring to go..  I took Cadi with me, walked around a bit, sniffed some dogs, etc..  As I headed back I see (and hear) Douglas having a meltdown.  He was just beside himself.  Wailing, screaming almost, didn't want to take off his jacket and he wanted to sit on my lap.  So he sat on my lap and then the music came on and he freaked even more!  He covered his ears and at this point was almost inconsolable.  He wanted to go to the top row of the arena.  I told him we could only go as high as this section so he said ok.  We went to those seats and he was still crying and didn't want to be there.  He wanted to go outside (onto the concourse thankfully because it was about 10 degrees out).  So I took him out onto the concourse and as we walked he started to settle down.  We got a frisbee for Cadi (more than likely to be broken the first time she plays with it), some nerds in a box for him and he seemed to be ok.  Amy texted and said Max was requesting a pretzel.  I could have gone for a pretzel too.  So of course as I said this to Mitch, he wanted pizza.  Of course you did.

So there I was trying to juggle 2 pretzels, ketchup (for Daniel) and mustard (for me), 2 waters and a piece of pizza all the while trying to hold Douglas's hand so he didn't run off.. And before you ask, no Amy didn't want anything.  I made sure to ask.. 

We somehow made it back to our seats with everything intact and gave Daniel his pretzel, ketchup and water.  We sat down and we were in our seats no more than 5 seconds before Douglas started up again..  So I took Douglas , my pretzel and mustard along with my water and headed back up to the top row of the section.  This time I needed to know what his deal was.

I asked him, "Mitch are you scared"?  He told me he was and I asked of what?

He said "the sharks".  I said what shar..  Ohhhhh..  For some reason, Douglas was under the impression that there would be REAL sharks on the ice and he was afraid of sharks apparently so he kind of freaked out..  Trying to keep my composure and not laugh out loud (or LOL as the kids say) I told him they aren't real sharks and explained what team nicknames and mascots were.  He seemed to understand and realized they weren't real sharks, but the music and PA announcer were loud anyway so he wanted to walk again.

I said that's fine, but I wanted to finish my pretzel first.  The words weren't even out of mouth before he was stuffing the pretzel into my mouth, making me eat it so we could leave.. I have to admit, the kid is funny..

By now, the 1st period has ended and we have been there for a total of about 1 hour and in my seat for about 5 minutes.  After I got a text from Amy telling me that Daniel was asking when it was going to be over, we decided it was time to pack it up and head home.

While the Pucks and Paws Worcester Sharks game might have been a failed experiment, I'm hoping for a much better result at the Bruins game.  As long as Douglas doesn't find out what a Bruin is..

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

When Life Gives You Lemons: Part 1

I can't stand that expression..  It's not always so easy to just "make lemonade" out of lemons.  Sometimes life gives you something for which you are not prepared, nor could you ever be.  I would put having twins up there at the top, at least for me.

On April 2nd, 2007 we went to my wife's doctor for a check up.  We saw the nurse who was performing the ultrasound.  As we watched the computer monitor, she nonchalantly said "so, you know you're having twins"..  I can't even put a question mark at the end of that sentence because in reality, it was not a question.  She was thinking she was confirming something we already knew.  Oh she could not have been more wrong..  The shocked expression on our faces was something out of a horror movie where the soon to be victim just realized the killer was inside the house..

"Wait, what?" I asked?  Being April 2nd, where the previous day was April Fools Day, I of course asked "this isn't some belated April Fools joke is it?  Because if it is, it's not really that funny".

The nurse then said, "oh no, see that little dot right there?  That's Baby A and then see that little dot right over there?  That's Baby B".

I will be honest..  The first thing that went through my head was not excitement; it was a dollar sign. Thousands of them.  2 mouths to feed, 2 kids in diapers, 2 kids in daycare, 2 Bar Mitzvah's!!!  I really don't recall when it set in..  Not sure it truly has.

The next few months which should have been full of joy, shopping and excitement were some of the longest months of my life chock full of doctor's appointments.  I feel like that's all we did.  Doctor after doctor and test after test. With my wife not being very big (5 feet or so) and carrying twins, obviously the doctors wanted to monitor her closely.  Oh, and the fact that she had had multiple back surgeries, including 2 spinal fusions, didn't exactly help matters.

Then, at about 20 weeks or so we had an appointment.  The ultrasound revealed a two-vessel cord on Baby B (Normal would be 3 vessels).  Baby B also had a distended stomach.  Now either of these things alone is no real cause for alarm.  However the two characteristics together can be a marker of certain birth defects such as Down Syndrome.  The doctor then tells us that we should seriously start thinking about considering selective reduction.  And yes, it's exactly what it sounds like.  While an amniocentesis could potentially confirm a diagnosis, at this point it would be too dangerous for the healthy twin and it would not 100% confirm anything.  So really, we had nothing to gain from doing the procedure and everything to lose.

She says she would like to see us next week to discuss, but we were going away to North Carolina for vacation, our last before the kids. We tell her we are going away and then she tells us she is on vacation the following week so she can see us when she gets back.  What?  We're supposed to now have this life-altering decision weighing on us for 3 weeks, including our vacation?  She seemed very indifferent to the situation and saw no immediacy in a resolution.  I guess in retrospect we could have canceled our vacation but the stress of the situation was really baring down on us and we needed this break for whatever sanity we had left.  Regardless of what your beliefs may be, when faced with that type of decision it is not as easy as you think. You start weighing things you never thought you would weigh, speak words you never thought you would speak.  But after some discussion, the decision was clear. Already knowing we would not be selectively reducing the twins, we decided it might be best not to go back to that doctor and start seeing one in Boston where the twins would be born.  Though it would be a much longer drive and require more time for appointments, we felt it would be well worth it in the long run, and we were right.

We saw this fantastic doctor at a hospital in Boston and were told we were having a boy and a girl.  We were elated!  1 of each and we're done?  Oh this was great, we could not have been happier..   We had names picked out and everything..  Then a few weeks later, at another ultrasound (which seemed to be a weekly occurrence) the doctor asked "what did I tell you that you were having"?  We told her she had said a boy and a girl..  And the doctor said something I will never forget "Um, you may want to stop telling people you're having a girl".  Wait, what?  The reason for the confusion was that Baby B was not cooperating very well in opening its legs so even a 4D ultrasound (which I HIGHLY recommend if you can, very cool) could not determine the gender for sure.  Another reason was that there was a possibility of the fetus having ambiguous genitalia.  One could understand the lack of confidence in the gender with these two factors. 

More doctors and more meetings with geneticists, urologists, counselors and on and on and on it seemed..  The doctors also wanted us to rethink having an amnio.  We believed it was more to satisfy their curiosity about the gender of the babies.  However, the cons far outweighed the pros.  There was no guarantee that the amnio would be 100% and there was a good possibility that the healthy baby could move, puncturing its sack and sending my wife into early labor.  That was certainly not an option (at least at this point).