Rock Fists

Rock Fists

Monday, December 2, 2013

Take a Breath

You know that feeling.. It's been a long day..  You've been up since early in the morning, the commute sucked, your day was long dealing with, well people in general.. Your commute home sucked. The kids were wild at dinnertime, the bath was awful and it took all your energy just to get them into bed.

You've finally had a chance to eat dinner and maybe catch up on some TV, a chapter in your book or some quality time with the pup.. But now it's time to get ready for bed and while brushing your teeth what do you see?  Yup, the door opening and your child is coming into the bathroom when they should be asleep..

After a day like you've had the first instinct may be to yell or say "what are you doing out of bed" at a not so quiet level.

But take my advice and take a breath. It's not an easy thing to do, but may be worthwhile.

See a few weeks ago while checking in on the Twinado I accidentally slammed the door.. The windows were open and as you may know it doesn't take much for the door to slam quickly if the windows are open. I cringed and waited a minute to see if anyone woke up and I didn't hear anything so I left.

But there he was, standing there at the door so I just said "what's wrong"? All he wanted to do was hug me. So I got down to the floor and he gave me a big hug, then turned around and slammed the door in my face. Just a little payback for slamming the door while he was asleep. Basically saying I still love you daddy, but I'm slamming the door back at your for waking me up.  Little shit..

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Parent Teacher Conferences?

Did I really just come back from my 6 year old's parent teacher conference?  It was a pretty surreal experience.

I recall being that age and my parents going to my teacher conferences.. Of course these were at night and the one I went to was in the middle of the afternoon, but let that go..

My parents would get a babysitter for my sister and me and they would go to the school.. Then they'd come home and report back to us what our teacher said and what we had to work on and what we were doing well. Of course they would always have glowing reports from my teachers because I never did anything wrong.

It is a little weird to hear all about your child from someone who spends more time with them overall than you do. Unfortunately, that's just the way it is. But we try to have conversations with them about what they did during the day. They're getting better, but they usually go something like this:

Me: So, tell me about your day? (Anyone who has read one of those Pigeon books must be laughing)

TofA: It was good.

Me: What did you do?

TofA: Stuff

But after the conferences I am 100% confident both boys are in very good hands.

However, next year I am dreading that first grade homework!



Monday, July 15, 2013

Casual 5

Can a 5 year old be casual? Don't get me wrong, Douglas is definitely a 5 year old.. Still throws tantrums sometimes (not ok), can't go to bed without a hug and a kiss (always ok) and is lacking in the "trying new foods" department, although he is getting better.

But honestly, he's more like a teenager. He's very casual in his movements. He's got teenager tendencies.. For example, we'll go in to tuck them in and see him just laying there with his hands clasped behind his head while sleeping.  He'll even do that while sitting on the couch. He's also eating us out of house and home yet the kid weighs only 37 pounds.. I swear I have no idea where it goes!

He is very, very funny..  Fresh, but funny.. With that devious type of smile you know something is going on in that evil genius head of his that can't be good. Yet you have to laugh because he is so funny.  He's also very comfortable. And while many teenagers are uncomfortable for a variety of reasons, there are still many that are. And he is very comfortable in who he is, what he wants and when he wants it. He does things on his own terms and doesn't let many things dictate otherwise. I like these traits.

But if this is how he is at 5, oh man what is he going to be like when he really is a teenager?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Relocation

So when I was 12 my parents built a house on the other side of town and we moved. But it wasn't just any ordinary move. To be honest, I really don't even remember packing anything. I don't remember packing up my clothes in bags or suitcases. I don't remember going through my toys seeing what I could donate, take with me or throw out. I really don't remember the house being in disarray from all the boxes, etc.

But what I do remember is that I left my old house to go to school on one school bus and came home to my new house on another school bus. So there I am, walking to the bus stop periodically looking back to the only home I'd ever known knowing I'd never step foot in that house again. (back then they actually had a designated bus stop where kids in the neighborhood would all congregate instead of everyone being picked up at the end of their driveway, but I digress)

The best thing though was that when I was 10 we went to Florida and Cape Canaveral. I was very much into space and I got a Space Shuttle sticker. I put it on my bedroom door as kids tend to do. However, when we sold the house, I tried to scrape it off. Yeah, not so much.. I went to school with the girl whose parents bought the house. She got my room and yelled at me because now she had this partially scratched off space shuttle sticker on her door.. She never spoke to me again. Oh well.

Back to the story. It was really weird. It's still weird to this day to be honest. However it got even weirder, I think when the same type of scenario happened recently. We sold our townhouse and as I'm driving the Twinado to school that last day I reminded them, as I had every day for the previous month that we were going to a different house. We took pictures on the front steps of the house before we left and once we got in the car and went to school, they had already forgotten all about it. They were picked up after school and it was no different than any other day, except they didn't go back to their old house, they went to the new one.

It really is amazing to watch the kids and what phases them and what doesn't. I didn't push, I didn't make a big deal out of it. I just let them deal with it in their own way, which turned out not to be a big deal at all..

Friday, June 28, 2013

I Can Do That

It really is amazing to watch little kids attempt to do something and fail miserably, only to see their faces light up with such pride when they come back to you having mastered it.

For example, Daniel had difficulty for awhile on the monkey bars. He just couldn't get past the first one and would hang, get scared and fall. Slowly but surely he would do 2 and then 3 and before we knew it, he was coming home with blisters on his hands because he kept doing the monkey bars over and over again.. He didn't care that got blisters.. He knew he had mastered the monkey bars and that, for him was like acing a test is for a student or a promotion is for an employee.

Recently, he's gotten big into snapping. So I showed him how to do it and of course, he couldn't.. But when I tell you that kid was snapping day and night, I'm not kidding. Everywhere he is snapping or least attempting to. And then one day, he comes to me and shows me how he can snap.. And quite well I might add! And with both hands, which is not easy at that age (at least I don't think).

You have never seen a child so happy and proud for an accomplishment as this kid is from learning how to snap. He shows everybody.

It doesn't matter how little the achievement may be or how mundane the activity.. Remember, everything is new for them. But I am sure these are not the first goals he will set out to achieve and succeed. Far from it.

Monday, June 24, 2013

1st Day of Camp

So today was the first day of camp. Since the 1st week of January, 2008 the Twinado has always gone to the same daycare a minimum of 3 times a week, sometimes even 4. During the summer it turns into a de facto camp, but it's limited to certain activities on a smaller scale due to space. But since our move, the hour and a half drive (each way plus another 45 each way to and from work) 3 times a week to bring them to school for the past 5 weeks has been a major strain on my car and my stress level.

It is now almost 5 1/2 years later and today, they start camp. Much closer to the house. The Twinado definitely inherited my sleeping habits (thankfully) but due to that they aren't the easiest to get up in the morning. Not so today. Right out of bed and dressed and downstairs for breakfast. After breakfast, upstairs to brush their teeth and backpacks on. Normally this would be fantastic, but it was only 720a and the bus wasn't coming until 810a!  However, as I always tell them "early is on time, on time is late and late is unacceptable." So I will never say being ready 50 minutes early is a bad thing (especially when we have Kindergarten coming in the fall). Oy, seriously?

As we rocked out to a little ACDC and Incubus while waiting for the bus, I had to make sure they had sunscreen on before getting on the bus. So I brought them out around 8a to spray them down. Then, a few minutes after finishing, the bus came and they were so excited!!  Ever since they learned what a yellow school bus was, they have wanted to go on one. It was literally a dream come true for them.

Douglas, being the little guy he is needed some help reaching the first step of the bus. But the bus counselors were great and helped him on and got them to their seats. As we're waiting for the bus to leave, a mother who was there sending her son off asked me if they were twins and I said yes.. First time at camp?  Yes.. She also admitted they were watching me spray the boys down and were flabbergasted at how jacked Douglas was (her word, not mine).  Yeah well, HGH will do that to a kid, but I just said thanks.. Also not the first time that word has been used to describe him.

She also said her son was curious about the sunscreen because after rubbing it in on their heads (gotta protect the top of the head if there is no hat), ears and face, my hands were going to be all sticky and gross. He was interested to know what I would do and that was when I busted out the bottle of water and shirt from my car to wash them off..  This is not my first rodeo, kid.. I got this shit down..

Of course the Twinado was not on the bus for more than 5 minutes when the bus counselor had to come off and talk to me. Here's how the conversation went:

Bus Counselor: "So you're the twins' dad right?
Me: "Yes".
Bus Counselor: "I asked them if they knew what group they were in and they said no". (Even though we went over it this morning). "So I asked them if they thought their daddy would know and I just got a shoulder shrug".
Me: "Poodles. They're in Poodles."
Bus Counselor: "OK, thanks!"

As the bus pulled away and I'm dreading my still hour long commute, I'm reminded of where they started from 5 and a half years ago when I dropped them off at daycare for the first time and where they are today. It's amazing and exciting and man I hope the the camp is still standing by the end of the week.

Blank Slate

For lack of a better term, kids are blank slates. They may have some innate talent or intelligence passed down that is hereditary, but otherwise, pretty much blank slates.

We can make these children into anything we want them to be. We can teach them manners, or we can teach them to be rude. We can teach them to read so they can learn, or we can teach them to watch TV so they can zone out. We can teach them to try new foods and expand their taste buds, or we can just feed them processed food which is bad for them, but we know they like just so they eat.

Whitney Houston had it right when she said that the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Jesus, did I just quote Whitney Houston from memory?  Ugh, don't worry I'll show myself out of man town.

But seriously, when our kids grow up, they are going to be the next leaders of our country. The next teachers, the next architects, the next programmers, the next pro athletes, the next everything. So don't we want to give them the best head start we can?

I'm not saying it's going to be easy. Nothing worth doing ever is. To quote one of my favorite movies, Road Trip: "That's why they call it a shortcut. If it was easy, it would just be the way". Don't take any shortcuts. it'll be worth it in the end.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Prodigy

Everyone thinks their kid is a prodigy of something.. Whether they can hit a golf ball at 2 (my son is the next Tiger Woods) or they can write their name at 3 (they're going to become the next great author), and so on and so forth.

Truth is, prodigal-type talent is mostly inherited. I have no concrete data to back that up, but just indulge me here. My guess is the reason Jason Bonham is such a kick ass drummer is because his father was such a kick ass drummer. And when you are around that type of environment when you are growing up, the part of you that inherited it comes out if fostered correctly. That doesn't mean that kids who don't have John Bonham as their father won't grow up to be amazing drummers, it just helps a little bit..

But don't worry if your child isn't exhibiting signs of being a prodigy of athletics, mathematics, science or anything for that matter. Sometimes a kid is just a kid. The majority of them are. I took the Twinado bowling by myself this Sat morning and then we spent a few hours outside at the playground, the soccer field and the track. Man, were they pooped! (and so was I). They got great exercise on a gorgeous early spring day and now they are relaxing because they are tired. Sometimes I think we push our kids too hard because it's important to have them try so many different things to figure out what they like and what the don't.

Sometimes we just need to let them be kids and I think they'll figure that out all in good time.

Oh, by the way, this is prodigy drummer I recently saw on the interwebs.. He's 6.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=g1qg9myFCqw

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Spoiled

So my job comes with some perks like sporting event tickets, concerts, restaurant gift certificates, etc.. But this perk I got on my own.

I won a weekend stay at a Hilton Hotel in Philadelphia from a raffle. Coincidentally enough, I happen to know the manager of the hotel. My family and I were heading down to NY for our annual cousins weekend and then we were going to continue on to Philadelphia for a family vacation. We'd do some historical tours in Philly, take in a Phillies game, go to the zoo, etc. But we needed to change the raffle award to weeknights instead of a weekend to accommodate the dates we would be there.

I was not only able to get a great deal on 3 nights at the hotel, but got upgraded to a suite. So when we finally got to the hotel, we walk in and to the right was a small kitchen, to the left an enormous bathroom and a King size bed. There were couches, chairs and a work area as well. Then, we took the boys to the adjoining room which was to be theirs. They found a TV, a bathroom and a queen size bed all for them! Needless to say they were super psyched. That was also the weekend that Douglas started pooping in the potty.. I doubt there's any correlation, but you never know.

The reason for the back story is because that was the first time they had ever been to a hotel. Just like the first time they ever gone to a Red Sox game, they were in a luxury box. (They're first Bruins game was in a box too). They literally ate their way through 4 innings of the game and we practically had to roll them out to the car. I hope they don't think that every sporting event is like that..

So we were in NY recently for my twin cousins' Bat Mitzvah and we were staying in a hotel. We opened up the door to the room which was just a standard room with 2 queen beds, etc, nothing fancy. Immediately, we hear:

Daniel: "Where are you guys sleeping"?

Douglas: "Where's the kitchen"?

Ugh.. Looks like I have some un-spoiling to do..

Monday, April 29, 2013

Times, They Are A Changin?

There's definitely something weird going on.. Not sure what it is though. Daniel has always been big into Superman and Douglas into Batman. It's like blasphemy if you even look at it as the other one will freak out saying "no that's mine"! Same way with some stuffed animals. Douglas has this puppy which he affectionately calls, well, puppy. And Daniel this very soft and cuddly blue bear, appropriately named, well, blue bear. Daniel also has this white pound puppy he just calls white. I don't know where they come up with these names.

Now it gets weird. Earlier this past week, Daniel actually gave, not traded mind you, gave his blue bear to Douglas for him to have in his bed while he sleeps. This is the blue bear that goes with him to his grandparent's house every weekend. He cannot sleep without it. Instead he wants to take this alligator.

This alone, while a little weird, would not have been such a big deal.

However, this past Saturday he allowed Douglas to wear his long sleeve Superman shirt. Ok, he's being nice and sharing his shirt. But then, in a stunning turn of events, said that he could keep it in his drawer! I had to ask him 3 times to make sure I was hearing it correctly. This essentially means that he will no longer wear it. Because they wear the same size shirts, their drawers are kind of interchangeable, however they do have "their" shirts that only they wear. The Superman shirt was definitely one of those and is now being discarded like an expired coupon. Douglas then gave his Batman shirt to Daniel which is now his to wear along with puppy to sleep with.

It gets even weirder. I went in to tuck them in before I went to bed and didn't even realize until the next morning that they had switched beds!!

Are they growing up realizing they want different things?  Are they just going through a phase? What are they going to do next say that they don't want to wear Angry Birds, Ninja Turtles or Phineas and Ferb underwear anymore?  Oh, that is going to be a sad day..

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Where Were You

There are those moments for all of us. Some are personal and some are local, national and even global.

For people who remember, they know where they were when JFK was shot. (Way before my time). They know where they were when the Challenger exploded. (I was in my classroom having recess because my teacher for whatever reason wouldn't let us watch. Another student barged in and told us what happened). They know where they were when 9/11 happened. (I was at work and when told that a plane had hit the WTC, I asked NY or Boston because I knew my mother in law worked at the one in Boston).

But if we think about the ages that we were when certain life events occur, we don't remember much when we're young. I was 10 for the Challenger so I remember that. But I don't remember the Iranian hostage crisis as I was only 3. I don't remember Reagan or Lennon getting shot as I was only 4.

I've struggled going back and forth on whether or not to expose my kids to some of the horrors that are happening in today's very screwed up world. They do not know, to the best of my knowledge about the shooting at Sandy Hook. All I did was come home that night and hug them as tightly as I could. And we snuggled for a long time before they went to sleep. We have never talked about it.

As for yesterday, I don't believe they know either. The TV was definitely on while they were eating dinner, but they did not pay attention. They did not ask what happened, nor did I offer it up. Even though my son had someone running in the marathon for him as part of the Miles for Miracles program with Boston Children's Hospital, he still did not ask. We had been there at the finish line just 48 hour earlier.

Do I show them the video? Do I then teach them about what true evil looks like? Do I save their innocence, even if it's just for 1 day until the next evil comes along in some other form?

I brought them into work with me today. Really for no other reason than just to be with them. It seemed like a good day to do it. We had lunch together in the kitchen. They drew me pictures. It was nice.

My guess is in the future they would not remember what happened yesterday as they are only 5. And even if they did remember, they may not be able to process it completely now so their memory of it would be faint at best.

I think I'll leave it alone and hopefully they'll never know what evil really is.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Be Prone

As in, get on the floor..  See things from their perspective. Babies love eye contact.

No, of course you're not going to fit on their play mat when they are 3 months old, but there's nothing wrong with getting on the floor and playing with them and their toys.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Explosion!

Not sure how many people that are reading this watch How I Met Your Mother, but recently there was an episode where Marshall and Lilly's son Marvin had a huge poop explosion. Anyone who is a parent has probably had this happen. My story is a little different.

The boys were still in the NICU at Brigham and Women's and we were spending one of the many Sunday's we spent at the hospital in the fall of 2007. They had finally been moved to NICU A, which was a step up from NICU B. It meant they weren't as critical which is always a good thing. There was also a little more room as there weren't as many isolettes.

They were still very young, about 8 weeks old or so I would guess (my memory of that time is a little fuzzy). Amy was over hanging out with Daniel and I was with Douglas. And of course, as luck would have it, it was time to change him. So of course I get everything prepared and open up the isolette. Now that they were in NICU A we didn't have to reach through these holes anymore. We could actually just open up the side of the isolette and put our whole arms in which was nice.

So I had everything prepared for the changing. I had the new diaper under the old one, wipes next to me all set to go. Now at this point, they weren't even in regular diapers. They were in these things called wee-pees. I'm not joking, they were so small because they boys were only about 4 pounds or so each, their bodies would have just been swallowed by a regular diaper. So I take off the tabs on the sides of the dirty diaper and lift up his legs to remove and.......

SSSSSSSSSPPPPPPPPPLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSSHHHHH!!!!!

That is my best attempt at onomatopoeia.. He unloaded this vile, green and brown fecal matter everywhere and it just wouldn't stop!! I mean all over my arm, the floor, the entire isolette, the wires, the monitor that was monitoring his heart rate, BP, O2 levels, etc.. Literally everywhere it could possibly be, it was.. So I'm standing there with poop all over the place trying not to yell for someone to help because you need to keep your voices down while in the NICU.. So I'm yelling at the highest level I can, which is about a normal talking level..  nurse...  Nurse..  NURSE!!  Finally I just couldn't deal anymore and a nurse came over and immediately doubled over in laughter..  Yeah, real funny.. although, I'm sure it had happened to her before which is probably why she was laughing.. She knew what it felt like..

So a janitor was called to clean up the floor and take the isolette away and have it hosed down..  Douglas had a quick bath while a new isolette was retrieved and set up.  I cleaned up, but we left shortly thereafter.

Let's just say, we made sure there was always a nurse around every time we changed him from then on.

Looking on the bright side, changing diapers for many years for two boys, I was never ever once peed on. So I have that going for me.

Monday, April 1, 2013

How to Diffuse a Tantrum

For centuries, as long as there have been children, there have been temper tantrums.. Actually, as long as there have been adults there have been temper tantrums too..

But the hard part is what to do once it happens.. You can see it coming too. They ask for the toy and you say no. First, they get really sad when they don't get what they want. With some kids you might even get that lip quiver trying to make you feel badly. Then they might hold their breath.  And when all else fails, they start crying loudly and falling to the floor wailing. Then, the last step is to go boneless. It's really quite simple and depending on the parent, effective in getting what they want.

Except when you know how to diffuse a tantrum. Knowledge is power. Every parent is afraid of that situation when you are in public, perhaps at a supermarket or department store and the tantrum starts.

I have to say I cannot take credit for this. My wife is the one who came up with it.

When you see the tantrum start, follow these 3 easy steps to diffusing most tantrums:

1. Tell the child they are doing it wrong.

Huh?  What are you talking about?  Just trust me. Clearly the child will stop to look inquisitively at the parent trying to figure what they mean. Don't they understand that I am trying to throw a tantrum here?

2. Tell them how to do it properly. Show him that it's stomp, stomp, arm, arm and not arm, arm, stomp, stomp.

You will have the most bewildered child in the world at this point. Is my adult human really trying to tell me how to properly perform a temper tantrum? I'm the temper tantrum master don't they know this?

And then, when you have them all sorts of confused, lay the big one on:

3. Then, you flop down on the floor and flail!

Seriously, just do it. Your child will think that this is so funny and the best thing ever. Don't get me wrong, they will throw the tantrum, but they'll be LAUGHING while they do it.

Not only did you just change your child from crying to laughing in a matter of a minute, you just diffused a potentially embarrassing situation (especially if you are in a public place) and you didn't lose your temper yelling at your child.

While I can't guarantee success, I can say you have a much better chance of making a bad situation into a funny one. It seems to work with a 100% success rate in our house.

And as you are leaving the store, be sure to bow to the rounds of applause from the other parents. You will have earned it.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Twinny Twin Twin!!

New York City, 6p. Wendy Smith is boiling some water for dinner and accidentally burns her right hand. At the same time, across the country in Los Angeles, Wendy's twin sister Bonnie feels a sudden and sharp pain in her right hand. Coincidence?

Remember those? Whether you believe them or not, there is no doubt that twins is an interesting thing. There is absolutely an innate connection. While mine are fraternal (two separate eggs fertilized), they are still as close as identical. We saw 3D ultrasound pictures of them in the womb where they would be rubbing heads. And very often, after they came home, if we put them in the same crib to nap, they would end up with their heads touching, even though they didn't start that way.  It also happens on the couch. They'll be sitting on the couch watching a movie, separated by maybe 1/3 of the couch. Sooner or later you just see them drift towards each other until they are right next to each and don't even realize it.

Sometimes I equate them to the aliens in one of my favorite 80s' movies, "Just One of the Guys". (I highly recommend it). There are these alien twins who appear at the school and cannot be separated. Check out this clip. Fast forward to about the 1 minute mark to see what I mean:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMwIYmgviP0

I'm not saying it's always like this, but there are points where they need to be together. I swear there's nothing cuter than going into my twins' room and finding they are sleeping in the same bed. Only they don't always start that way. Clearly at some point one goes into the other's bed. Daniel has a full size bed and Douglas a twin. For a while they were sleeping in Daniel's bed and that was fine because there was enough room for both and as long as they slept, we didn't care. But lately, they've been wanting to sleep in Douglas's bed, which remember is only a twin. Now we all know how much room there is in a twin bed. More likely than not, many of you reading this have slept in one. Sometimes even with company. We all know it's not the most comfortable of night's sleep.

But really, who is it hurting? Well, I guess it's hurting Douglas because he woke up with a bloody nose the other morning. You know why? Because Daniel had hit him in the face while he flailed around in his sleep because there's NO ROOM FOR TWO PEOPLE IN A TWIN BED!

But we figure it's easier to let them grow out of the stage where they want to sleep in the same bed then force them to do anything that will produce the sound from this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMwIYmgviP0

Monday, March 18, 2013

Nail Biter

Not what you think.. I'm actually ADVOCATING for my children to be nail biters.. Well, not so much finger nails, but toe nails..  Yes, I know, gross..

But have you ever tried to cut a child's toe nails?  Not the easiest task is it? Now try to cut that child's toe nails when he's on steroids?!  And not figuratively, literally on the juice. Yeah, whole different ball game.. (no pun intended). Ok, pun intended.

The trick seems to be sitting on the off leg, as well as some of the 2nd leg while holding the foot of the nails you want to cut. Also, letting them smack you in the butt seems to be a good way of distracting them while you cut their nails. Plus, they think it's funny and concentrate less on you clipping. Trust me, whatever works.

Either way, I will be super happy when the day comes that they can cut their own nails. And shower. And wipe. And tie their shoes. And brush their teeth. And..

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Doppler Effect

So the Doppler Effect, in lieu of an official definition is the change in volume of a noise you hear that gets louder and louder as it gets closer and closer and then gets more faint as it gets farther away from you.

I equate this to raising kids.. Everything just gets louder and louder as your kids grow up. And then suddenly there will be a point in which it starts to get quieter. You don't realize what the mid-way point is until it's too late. Your kids won't need you as much for things anymore. And pretty soon, the house is quiet. No more fighting. No more yelling. No more anything. You long for those days of building forts on a rainy day, reading them books before bedtime or even just snuggling in on family movie night (which I highly suggest by the way). We're also trying to institute family game night as a regular occurrence. Both have been big hits.

I work from home once a week and a few weeks ago I am suddenly approached by two masked superheroes, although the masks aren't plastic or fabric masks. They are marker masks. Yes, they drew masks on each others faces..  (This is why we only have washable markers in the house). I didn't get mad. I laughed as it was pretty funny. They did a good job too! (not sure what the shin guards are all about though).


My point is that maybe they have careers as artists, or maybe not.. But being a kid is all about trying new things.. and we need to make sure we document all of these. We need to chronicle these things that they do. Because what else are we going to use to embarrass them later on?!




Monday, March 11, 2013

Baby-Proofing

Should you do it? Yes you should. Is it necessary to wrap everything in your house with bubble wrap?  No. Kids need to learn boundaries.

Take the proper precautions like putting covers on the outlets. We put safety locks on the cabinets in the kitchen that they could reach. We made sure to tell them what was and what was not acceptable. What they could open and what they couldn't. However, that only goes so far depending on your kids.

We were at a friend's house one day when my boys were about 18 months or so. Then one of mine comes up to me with the lock that was on my friend's entertainment center cabinet and hands it to me. So much for that child proofing!

But we have a coffee table that has some sharp corners. I think I've gotten hurt on them more than the boys have. But if they did get hurt, they would learn to be careful and not to play around the coffee table.

I'm not advocating doing nothing and just letting them go nuts all over the house and get hurt all the time. Take the necessary precautions when they start becoming mobile, but leave some things off the list and test them. Tell them no and that they are off limits and see how it goes. If they listen and understand, then slowly remove certain things as they get older. Before you know it, it'll be a non-issue for both the kids and the parents.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Let's Go Bruins!

So I try to get my boys to a Bruins game at least once a year. And hopefully they won't be scared this time like at the Worcester Sharks game where it might have been thought the mascot was a real shark. Yeah, I know..

But this year was interesting because of the lockout. They kept asking me if we were going to go to a Bruins game this year. Knowing they have no idea when the season starts or how long it is, I just kept saying that the season hadn't started yet, hoping to God the season started really soon because I was starting to really miss it. (And the questions were getting annoying)

I was able to get tickets to the game on February 9th. Yes, the day of the Super Blizzard. Alas, we did not get to go. We were all pretty disappointed so I said I would try to get tickets for another game. Thankfully, I was able to come through and my boys were very excited.

Saturday morning they got up and immediately put on their David Krecji jerseys and were very excited. Even though the game was at 1p and we were going to leave around 1115a, I told them they should take a nap in the car.

To one half of the Twinado I said "may I remind you what happened at Disney on Ice? I told you to take a nap and what did you say?" He replies with "NEVER"!!
"Yes, and what happened?"
"I was whiny and cranky and had to be taken out of the show."

Exactly..  I was NOT going to let that happen at an event I actually wanted to be at. Thankfully, they both did take naps and were well rested by the time we got to the Garden to pay $34 to park. Yes, that's right. $34.  By contrast it was $10 at Disney on Ice. Same venue. Different 3rd party running the parking.

Other than keeping the Twinado from climbing the boards onto the ice, the big challenge at this game was going to be security. I don't know about anyone else's kids, but if there aren't snackies readily available for the #Twinado, we're going to have problems. But seeing as I already paid $34 for parking, I didn't have another $34 to feed the boys. So we took the chance of bringing snacks and drinks with us in a backpack. We had no problem getting in to Disney on Ice with it so we were hoping we did not have a problem. We go through the line and they ask my wife to step to the side so they can check her bag. A little nervous because we have had problems at Fenway with bags and also at the Garden previously. Not with snacks, just with bags in general. Thankfully, the guy just looked it at and had no problem and sent us through.. 

We got to our seats and they were very excited that the Bruins were practicing shooting at the net right in front of us. I took some time to explain some basic things to them. They obviously know the point of the game, but they started to understand power plays, the penalty box and were a little excited when the first fight happened. But so were the other 20K fans so I guess it's ok.. The intermissions were hard. They were good sitting there for the action (periodically asking if the Bruins had won and/or if it was over yet), but when there are 15 minutes or so of down time, it's a challenge. So we got up and walked around the arena and I showed them all the historical pictures and memorabilia that is placed around the Garden. That seemed to pass the time well and it also gave them a little glimpse into some Boston sports history, which is also nice.

The other problem with public events had been the noise level. Whether it be a sporting event, movie, etc the PA announcer or anything loud usually bothers them. I don't know if it's something to do with their prematurity that is just taking its time to mature or not, but I brought ear muffs for each of them and that seemed to sufficiently dull the noise so they were ok.

The third period was here and the Bruins were tied 2-2 after being down a quick 2-0. They had already eaten all their snackies as well as chicken fingers and fries and most of my wife's lunch. They were starting to get rambunctious and we were wondering how much longer they were going to be able to stay there. Thankfully they allowed us to separate them and hold them on our laps while we watched because with about 2 minutes left in the game, the Bruins scored and everyone went crazy!!! 

They were very excited, but it was loud and the ear muffs weren't cutting it..  We did stay till the end of the game, but they were extremely happy to leave as they were passed out not long after exiting the garage.

All in all a good day at the Garden. Bruins won and everyone had fun. But the moral of the story is as always, if you're going anywhere with the #TwinsofAnarchy, make sure you bring plenty of snackies or you'll be sorry!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Bottles for daycare

If you're sending your kids to daycare like we did, they need to have all the bottles made and ready for the entire day. This meant 2 kids, 6 bottles/day while at school = 12 bottles to make. Every day. Just for school.

So don't kill yourself making each bottle individually. Go get yourself a couple of pitchers. You can get them anywhere. You used to make strawberry daiquiris in them before you had twins, remember?

Make sure each child has his own pitcher and write his name on it so there is no confusion. The last thing you want to do is mix up the formulas. We had 1 child with a milk protein allergy so he was on Neutramegin, which was one of the most foul smelling odors I've ever smelled. I still can't even believe he drank it, but he did. The other one was on Enfamil AR, which is pretty common.

Mix the right amount of formula with water so there is enough for all 6 bottles. Do this the night before and put it in the fridge for the morning. Pour the bottles in the morning and you're good to go. Before going to bed that night (obviously after washing all 12 bottles and the pitcher), make the pitchers again and put in the fridge.

While it doesn't seem like much time is saved, believe it or not making the pitchers and not the individual bottles saved enough time for us to maybe eat breakfast in the morning or perhaps snooze once or twice.

And in the world of having children, not just twins, those two things are gold.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Less is Better?

So I've had this opinion for a very long time about something.. Some people disagree and that's fine. It may not even work for everyone as everybody is different. But it works for me and I guess that's all that matters.

Let me ask you a question: When it's the winter and you get into your bed and it's cold (because you're just getting in) do you warm up faster with more clothes on or less?

My thought has always been that the less clothes you wear to bed, the more contact the comforter has with your skin and therefore transfers the heat more quickly warming up your body faster. Am I crazy? There are people out there who swear by wearing socks, sweatshirt, sweatpants, etc to bed saying they're cold so they wear layers.  But to me, that doesn't make sense. The heat from the comforter has to go through all of those layers to get to your body.

Perhaps it's the difference between wearing more clothes takes you longer to get warm but keeps you warm longer because the heat is trapped in from all the layers, or wearing less clothes makes you warmer faster but escapes easily there's less clothes in which to trap the heat.

I guess it will be one of those age old questions that's never answered. All I know is the best cure for a cold bed is to bring your yellow lab up and use her as a space heater.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Feeding, at the same time

When I tell you that trying to feed them at the same time is a disaster, I'm not kidding. But, then that little lightbulb goes off and you think you're a genius. You're not, you've just had more sleep that day than previous days..

Step 1: Get a boppy. 2 if you can, but one will suffice.
Step 2: Please the boppy to the side of you, whichever is your dominant hand so the open part of the ring is facing you.
Step 3: Put 1 kid in the boppy leaning the head against the middle of the ring so they are slightly upright.
Step 4: Sit up against a pillow, wall, etc so you are upright and place your other child on your lap with your knees up so they are upright.
Step 5: While making sure both kids are within arms reach, feed. You don't have to hold either kid, they are being help upright by either the boppy or your knees which will help with swallowing and digestion and you can feed both at the same time.

If your first question is about burping after, well that goes to another lesson you're going to learn. Well, more like your twins are going to learn: You won't always be first and you won't always be last. Burping at the same time is ok, but I found you were never really able to get a good one because of the lack of control. So pick one up, burp them, put them upright on the boppy or the bouncy seat and then burp the other one.

Once you've mastered this, you will drastically cut down on the feeding time for each kid and you have more time between feedings.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Feeding

So I'll be switching gears a bit and delving into some tips for dads of twins.. I wish someone had been there to help me with these things along the way, but hey, sometimes you gotta just do it yourself and figure it out.

So we had a lot of feeding issues when the boys first came home (not to mention in the NICU). I mean, 45 minutes for one of them to take about 1-2 ounces, only to have them throw it all back up. Yeah, and at 2am it pretty much meant that life sucked.

So we invested in some bouncy seats, but they were more upright and we didn't utilize the bouncy function. We were sleep deprived, but not idiots.. So after feeding one, we would him hold upright for about 10 minutes and carefully burp hopeful not to bring up everything that was just consumed, if that was anything. Then, carefully put into the bouncy seat. This allowed the baby to be help upright as much as possible to help with digestion while we fed the other one. Then, when the 2nd one was done, we would switch them, wait another 10 minutes or so and then put the second one back in the crib.

It definitely worked..  It took a little more time overall, but it got better as time went on because they would be eating more and puking less as their stomachs grew. So if your twins (or singletons for that matter) have reflux issues, try holding upright for a bit after eating and then place in a more upright bouncy seat to let everything settle before putting back down flat in the crib. That will hopefully work as well for you as it did for us.

And this is not a one way street. If you have tips that you think other parents would benefit from, please feel free to post in the comments as the more information the better!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Running with Scissors

I have to admit, we're pretty lucky. Having twins enables us to sleep because they always have someone to play with. I also will not complain because if there is one thing we were blessed with it is good sleeping kids. On any given night they'll sleep 10 hours, straight through. And based on everything we've been through, we deserve at least that.

So we've conditioned them from a very young age that Saturdays and Sundays are for sleeping. So when they wake up, they usually either go downstairs to the playroom, go to the kitchen table and play with whatever game is available, or stay in their rooms and play with cars, build forts, etc.. But they know that Saturday and Sunday is for sleeping. Unless there's something going on, we can usually get to 8am, which is usually unheard of when you have kids.

So for Hanukkah the boys got Trouble and Sorry as gifts. How apropos, right?  Anyway, Trouble was already opened and played ad nauseum, although it is a fun game. Sorry was still in the cellophane wrapping. They came into our bedroom Saturday morning and asked if we could come downstairs, open it and play. It was too early so we said play Trouble for a bit and well come down soon, open Sorry and we'll play. I came downstairs shortly thereafter to walk the dog only to find the Sorry board game open, set up on the living room floor with the two of them quietly playing. Reluctantly, I asked how they got the game open. And of course, the answer was "with scissors".


After feeling my heart in my throat, I took a deep breath knowing that they were fine so clearly nothing bad had happened. I asked them to show me what they did. They walked me into the kitchen, opened the kitchen drawer and pulled out the pair of scissors they used. They even said, "and we carried it like you showed us", which is with your hand over the closed blades. Hey, I gotta give them points for at least listening. Since their hands are not strong enough to open the scissors, it looks like it was a team effort. They got the cellophane open, put the scissors back, shut the drawer and played the game.

Now, there is no way I can be mad really. I WANT them to be more self-sufficient. I WANT them to be independent and take care of things I know they can. I WANT them to work together to come up with solutions to problems. I just didn't think it would happen so quickly!

So I explained to them that while I was very impressed at what they did, that they always needed to be careful when utilizing scissors or any sharp object and never to run with them. They understood.

Now, if I could only get them to pour their milk for their cereal...