Friday, September 9, 2011

Lunch Time

Is there really a better treat than lunch at Chipotle? Thanks, Mom!

Actually, I do need to give them some credit. They have managed to create a kid’s meal that my child will actually eat and is not going to saddle her with diabetes before she knows how to tie her shoes (by the way, when should she learn how to tie her shoes?). A chipotle kid’s meal consists of: A small cheese quesadilla – that we add veggies to -- black beans, rice, and milk. Yes, it is packed with sodium and my guess is that they put a lot more cheese on the quesadilla than necessary, but it is fast food. It is a treat. Like candy. You don’t give it to them every day.

As you can see from the picture, Olive devoured the quesadilla and is pointing to the site of its death.  She has come a long way from this.

(And just if you were wondering…no, I didn’t receive any goods or service in exchange for this post. Simply thought it was a cute picture of a little girl who just destroyed a quesadilla like it made fun of her mother.) 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cleaning Out the Notebook...

Random assortment of thoughts and recent dealings with two kids:
  • Thank you, Disney’s “Pocahontas”, for prompting my first conversation on race with my two-year-old daughter. “Why are they fighting, daddy? Why they no like him?” Chalk this up as one of the many conversations I will be forced to have with my daughter LONG before I am prepared to actually have them.
  • Asher is now entering the “I Want To Put Everything In My Mouth” stage of development, which means the “I’m Going to Constantly Have a Runny Nose and Ear Infection” stage can’t be too far behind.
  • Do you ever notice that we really ask about other people’s kids so we can have an excuse to talk about our own. “Hey, how is Jane doing?” “She is great, thanks. Starting to walk.” “Oh yeah? Let me tell you about when my kid started to learn to walk!”
  • Sticking Olive in a jog stroller and taking her for a run any longer than thirty minutes might be her version of water-boarding.
  • Checked out pre-schools in my area today. One Montessori school charges $24,000 a year for pre-school. And they close in the summer and the school day ends at 2:00 PM. I don’t know who this Montessori guy was, but apparently he has a REALLY expensive method of educating kids. Like using gold-plated crayons or having naptime on a mattress stuffed with $50 dollar bills.
  • It has been pointed out more than once that I need to update the masthead of the blog to reflect that fact that I have more than one child. Ever think that I just love Olive more? KIDDING!
  • Olive has now developed the habit of asking us to make up songs on the spot to sing to her at bed-time. She throws out a topic and we act as composer/improve actor. Last night I had to sing the “Sally and Nick Song”. Olive had to explain to me that they are the characters from Cat in the Hat. This was a new one. I have also had to sing songs about: Captain Hook, Wendy, Peter Pan, Pocahontas, Toy Story, Jessie, Woody and Buzz from Toy Story, Asher, several relatives, friends from day care, and penguins.
  • Olive has also taken to telling me to “Just try it” when I tell her I can’t do something. A typical exchange will go like this: Olive: “Daddy, jump on the bed with me!” Me: “I can’t, Olive. I’m too big.” Olive, with comforting voice and outstretched hand: “Just try it. Just try it, Daddy.” She might have a career in motivational speaking.
  • Every new day I spend as a happily married father of two who shares care of my children with an amazing wife and mother I have more and more respect for single parents. I cannot even fathom how you do it. I would implode.
  • Olive told me that she needs to get her snow hat out soon to keep herself warm. Crazy to think how much two-year-olds remember and understand. She now gets the concept of seasons. Yet she still can’t manage to not piss her pants.
  • Asher is a constant reminder to me that I am still a novice at this parenting game and that every child is different. His personality and his first four months have been completely different than Olive’s. Yes, of course I am better prepared, but I’m learning new things every second I spend with my two kids.
  • Also, I will leave you with this...little kids in big sunglasses never gets old.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


 “Why, Daddy? Why?”

Olive now says those words roughly 4,729 times per day. We have officially reached the Why Stage. This closely follows on the heels of the Doing Stage where Olive would start off every conversation with a simple question: “Doing?” It could have meant “how are you doing?” or “what are you doing?” or “why are you doing that?” or even, when speaking over the phone “where are you?” Now she is more concerned about why we are doing what we are doing.

As a parent you try your best to give answers, but eventually the little inquisitor breaks you down.

“Daddy, what are you doing?”
“I’m giving Asher his bottle”
“Because he is hungry.”
“Because he hasn’t had dinner yet.”
“Because it wasn’t his dinner time.”
“Hey, would you like to watch some Dora?”

I’m convinced that if we used two-year-olds to interview criminals we could get confessions for every crime.

“Where are the stolen guns?”
“I didn’t steal any guns.”
“Because I was out with my girlfriend when the guns were stolen.”
“Because she wanted to go out to dinner.”
“Because she said I didn’t spend enough time with her.”
“Oh dear God, I don’t know. Please, just make her stop asking why. I will tell you anything you want!”

Really, when she starts to ask “why” I start breaking out in a cold sweat because I know it will take me a good ten minutes to distract her away from the line of questioning. She also tends to go into a trance-like state when asking “why”…the outside world disappears and all she can focus on is the “why”.
So yesterday I introduced a new strategy, I decided to answer her as honestly and fully as possible. Here is how the conversation went.

“Okay, Olive, we need to go home now.”
“Because it is getting dark.”
“Because the sun is going down.”
“Why is the sun going down?”
“Yeah. Why?”
“Well, do you know how we see the stars up in the sky when it is dark out?”

Deep breath….

“Well, the sun is a big star and it is at the center of our solar system. The Earth, which we live on, is one of those planets. Our earth rotates on an axis, sort of like you spinning around. When the earth rotates, that means part of the earth is facing the sun, and some of the earth is facing away from the sun. When the sun rises in the morning it means that the earth has rotated so that the part of the planet we live on is starting to face the sun. When the sun goes down it means that our part is turning away from the sun. The sun is still there and shining, we just aren’t facing it. Kind of like when you turn your back towards a bright light. When it is dark here, the sun is shining on a different part of the earth. It takes one full day for the earth to rotate all the way around. The earth also orbits the sun and one trip around the sun equals a year. Part of the reason it is getting dark now, earlier than it was at the beginning of the summer, has to do with the earth being tilted on its axis, but that is a whole different discussion”



Victory is mine.

I can’t wait till she asks why I am eating so I can explain the digestive system.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Three months...

Three months. It has only been three months. That is a blink of an eye. I mean, the NHL playoffs take two months. That might be the reason why I can’t figure out how this:

Photo: Dan Candura

Became this:

Photo: Brandon Candura

Really, despite still being a skinny little guy, the changes are unbelievable.

Asher has been a good little man. But as the second kid, he definitely takes his share of abuse. Forget about trying to quietly take a nap in the car. Forget about being able to have a bottle without your little sister being read a book at the same time. Forget about being able to lay on the ground and have a few minutes of tummy time –big sister quickly interrupts that by lying down next to him and throwing her arm over his back. “I love you, Asher,” She will say.

That is ridiculously sweet and kind, honey. But can you love him without driving his face into the ground? Love means never having to gasp for breath, remember that Olive.

Some of this might explain his laid back attitude. Sitting there and taking the abuse, or tuning out the background noise is easier than fighting against it. As long as someone is there to feed him and rock him to sleep when he gets tired, he is as chill as the crowd at a Jack Johnson concert. Right now he could not be more different than the whirling dervish of excitement that is his older sister.

Of course, things will change. Maybe he will talk a blue streak like his older sister. Maybe he will decide that sleeping through the night is over rated. Maybe he will end up being allergic to 900 different kinds of food. Who knows? All I know is that things will change. Just got to give it a few months.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Adventures in Potty Training

Olive is officially entering the world of bladder control.

(Too much information? Hey, if you don’t want to hear about this stuff, don’t read a blog about little kids!)

She has been going to the “potty” for several months now, but really, it has always been on her terms. Mostly she would go when trying to delay her bedtime (“if I sit on the potty I know I can get them to read me eight books before they finally pull me off and put me to bed”). But after a series of summer vacations and car trips where a potty-trained toddler would have been more of a hassle than a blessing, we decided to give this training thing a whirl. So one morning I sat her down and said, “Olive, if you go potty, I will give you a lollipop and you can wear big-girl pants with Dora on them instead of your diaper.”

“Purple lolli-pop?”

“Sure, I can get you a purple lolli-pop.”

“OK. I use the potty.”

And she did use the potty (If there wasn’t a purple lolli-pop ,I think she would have filibustered and simply asked “why” for the next three hours). And then she did again in a couple hours. And again in a couple more hours. She was even requesting to go potty. Man, was this going smoother than expected.

But after a little while Olive, instead of thinking of the lolli-pop as a reward for using the potty when she felt like needing to go, thought of using the potty as something she needed to do in order to get the lolli-pop…which she wanted constantly.

At least twice a day, she would randomly jump up from whatever she was doing and declare. “I need to use potty.” And then look at me, hold her finger in the air and say, “I get lolli-pop after. Purple one!”

She then sat down on the potty, gritted her teeth and groaned until her face turned four different shades of red.

“I CAN’T DO IT!” She yelled through her locked jaw.

She even started to request big glasses of water to make herself pee so she could get a lolli-pop.

Uh-oh. This wasn’t good. I was going to give my two-year-old a hernia and/or create a life-long addiction to purple lolli-pops.

But she WAS going to the potty. She WASN’T wearing diapers. This whole lolli-pop bribery thing, for all its sugar-drenched faults, was working. Sure, it might give her early-onset diabetes, but really, the way things are going, by the time she goes to school approximately 98% of her classmates will be taking insulin. Don’t want her to feel left out.

Eventually, we managed to trim down the lolli-pop consumption by creating diversions (“You want a lolli-pop? Wait what’s that over there?”) and using a variety of parental white lies:

· “If you have too many today there won’t be any tomorrow.”

· “Another one will make you sick.”

· “Daddy lost the lolli-pops.”

· “Lolli-pops don’t taste good in the morning.”

· “Your face will freeze like that.”

· “Columbus discovered the Americas.”

Most of the time it works, but other times we just give in and give her the pop to keep the incentive going. Now it has been a couple weeks and she is almost completely trained. She rarely has accidents, and when she does, it is almost purposeful. Like when Leanne left her inside while she went to get something from the car. Olive wanted to go too. Mommy said no. Olive decides, fine, you leave me here. I’ll just piss on the floor. This bladder control thing works two ways.

So we continue to march slowly towards the land of expelling bodily waste on command. A milestone moment for a child and one more moment in parenthood when you sit back and say, “I don’t know how my life can get more ridiculous. Did I seriously just give my child a high-five for taking a poop?”