Massage Madness

The two little ones are down at Grandma Camp this week so it’s just Mom, me and Riley. And it’s weird. Like Rye said today after we got home, “Man it’s weird not having the girls here. It’s so quiet.”

She’s absolutely right. I also got to work about 35 minutes earlier than I usually do this morning. That was weird too.

Anyway, we convinced Mom to come down to the basement and play the Wii with us last night. Riley demonstrated her tennis dominance over me and then furthered my humiliation by knocking me out in boxing. She’s developed the ability to set you up with some jabs, batter you with a combination and then land the haymaker and lay you out. She’s getting a little cocky too. Like Apollo Creed but without the Uncle Sam hat.

Either I need a better corner man or I have to stop leading with my chin. I looked like Balboa in his first fight with Clubber Lang. Cut me Mick.

Seriously she’s getting so good that she can simulate Sugar Ray Robinson’s Candy Cane punch. P4P she’s the best boxer in the house. Her ring generalship is unmatched.

I finally beat Rye at baseball to reclaim some of my dignity. I think when adults play the Wii they REALLY simulate the actual movements. Hence my shoulder pain and Mom’s wicked form at bowling. She uses a lot of space as she releases the ball. She’s got this Sally O’Malley stretch thing going on.

Anyway, if she’s playing tennis you’ve got to pay attention. Rye and I were actually diving for cover as Mom repositioned herself for her return backhand and overhead smash. Despite the violent backswing, she’s pretty good. She owned the alleys and had the computer running all along the baseline. I’m going to need to take some time off and work on my game to catch up.

We also took advantage of our one-child supervisory responsibilities by doing some shopping. Got some sweet new Cyclone gear. Rye helped me pick out a new jersey, hat, t-shirt, and mini-helmet. But somehow I got roped into using part of gift cards to buy Mom some new jeans. Funny how that works…

But the funniest thing that happened all day though was when I picked up Rye from daycare. I walk in and her teacher points down a hallway, which is usually off limits to the kids, and Rye and a friend are taping something to the bulletin board.

“Your daughter started a new business today.”

“Really?”

“Hey Dad this is our massage schedule for the teachers. We put a pencil up there too so they could schedule themselves at a good time.”

“Wow, good job. Nice grid format for the sign-up sheet. What did you name your new massage business?”

“Riley’s Massage Madness.”

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Published in: on July 30, 2008 at 10:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

BBQ Jam and Boxing

Cook-outs went well. We actually went to one on Friday and another on Saturday. Girls were so excited that they cooked up a little something for the occasion. Here’s a pic.

Yes, that’s a sign that says “BBQ Jam.” Why? Because the rest of the things you see are their musical instruments. There was singing and choreography and all kinds of girly things…

And aside from Bailey getting a bloody nose from the foosball table on Friday, the evenings went without incident. She had white shorts on so she kinda looked like Bruce Willis after a few laps through Nakatomi Plaza. Her nose, as fate would have it, is exactly at the same level as the handles on the foosball rods. The handle clearly got the best of this brief but bloody confrontation.

I also got to play some shuffleboard. Funny how those bar game skills never seem to completely leave…

Anyway, I was out shopping at Toys R Us over lunch today. My nephew turns 6 and loves pirates. Not the ones in Pittsburgh however. So I got him Captain Hook’s Island. This thing has a boulder blockade, a firing cannon, not to mention the skull face which is ominously affixed to the face of the island itself! Ha Ha Ha!

While I was browsing the rest of the sweet collection of Fisher-Price imaginext pirate stuff like the Phantom Schooner (also featuring a skull face), the Battle Skiff and the Sea Serpent, I happened to notice they had some Wii’s in stock.

Some extra games and a second controller later, I’m giggling about excited the girls are going to be about this. I told them we could get a Wii way back in February and as soon as we found one in stock somewhere we’d buy it. I sorta forgot about that until I saw the sign that said “Wii’s in stock.”

We had already planned to go to the pool after work and daycare so the girls could try out their brand new swimming goggles. No more dry eyes from the chlorine for me. I let them use my goggles at the pool on Sunday and, miraculously, whichever girl had the goggles was much more willing to swim on their own, go under water, etc. The mystical power of the goggles tricked them into practicing what they learned at swimming lessons without any coaxing from Mom and I. Who knew that goggles were the key to an enjoyable afternoon at the pool?

So we get home, they tear through showers and dinner and then down to the basement. I told them I had a surprise but they had to be good at the pool, take their showers and eat all their dinner and help me clean up a bit before we could go see the surprise. They had a much more liberal interpretation of “help me clean up a bit” than I did however.

They get down to the basement and see the Wii box and Bailey and Kinsey have no idea what it is. Confused smiles on their faces. But Rye takes a look and says, “Finally! A Wii!”

It was like the heavens erupted in a chorus of “Alleluia!”

Bailey, in her first ever Wii experience, grabs the controller and bowls a strike in bowling. She didn’t know what she did but we were jumping around so she got excited too. Turns out in boxing that Rye is like Ali in his prime. She knocked me and Bailey out with a vicious right hand upper cut. You have to see Bailey play boxing. She throws in kicks and spins and lots of sound effects.

Kinsey fell asleep on the couch before we even had the thing set up.

We were up past 10:00 playing and as luck would have it, Mom is out of town on a business trip and I have to get the girls have to be up and ready for daycare tomorrow. If they’re a bit growly in the morning its completely my fault. But watching Rye and Bails box each makes it totally worth it.

Published in: on July 22, 2008 at 11:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dry Eyes

This week has been a tad bit hectic. The girls had Vacation Bible School every morning from 9-11:30 and had swimming lessons from 4:30-5:30. So Mom or I had to drop them off each morning at church, then I had to run all the way back from work and pick them up and then drop them at daycare. Then I had to leave work early and take them to the pool for swimming lessons. The whole leaving work early and going to the pool part didn’t bother me by the way.

We had a pretty smooth week truth be told. Bailey told me this morning she “LOVED” vacation bible school and Kinsey was a visibly improved swimmer by week’s end. Her bravery level went up correspondingly too as she went down the pool slide by herself and swam over to the ladder. Riley, despite her less then glowing self assessment of her breaststroke prowess received a couple of thumbs ups from her swimming teacher on it.

I pretty much sat in the sun, watched the girls play and caught Bails coming down the slide. Have you ever actually just sat and watched little kids play in the pool? If there was a way to harness the energy produced by the kids racing to the slide then swimming to the ladder then racing back to the slide, we could power Al Gore’s mansion for a month. Here’s my new workout I’m going to market. Jump in the pool, then climb out of the pool. Repeat 25 times. You watch kids do this over and over and over and they are just gassed. Not enough to slow them down but gassed nonetheless. Most of them have the metabolism of a hummingbird after drinking 6 Red Bulls.

Anyway, like I was saying, things went pretty smoothly. Until Thursday. We had to race from swimming lessons to the church for their singing performance. Church is about ten minutes from the pool. Swimming lessons are over at 5:25. Girls have to be at church at 5:45 for a 6:00 performance.

I immediately ruled out any chance of getting there by 5:45.

So Kinsey’s lesson ends at 4:55. We get her dried off, changed into her clothes, then spray her hair with that detangler stuff, brush it through a few times, put it in a pony tail and Kinsey is all set. That detangler stuff was a key piece of gear because after lessons on Wednesday, Rye just let her hair dry and she looked just nasty. No way Mom is going to let me put the girls on stage at church looking like that.

Bails and Rye finish up and both come running over to me and exclaim excitedly that they have to go to the bathroom.

“Fine. Take your towels and clothes in there and dry off and get changed too.”

Two birds. One stone. I’m totally going to be there in time.

A good ten minutes later they come out.

“What took so long?”

“I had to go poop. My tummy hurt really bad.”

“Excellent, are you all set too Bails?”

“Yup. Went poop too.”

Great. So we don’t have to worry about that. To my astonishment they both cooperated with the detangler spraying and hair brushing procedure save the loud and off key singing from Bails.

“Daddy, I’m practicing.”

I grab some Sun Chips from the snack bar to preemptively end whining about being hungry and we’re off to the church.

We’re almost there when both Bails and Rye start whining about their eyes hurting. Hmm…

“Did you open them underwater?”

“Yes.”

Oh great. Ever have the chlorine from the pool dry out your eyes? It actually does hurt and it makes you look like you’ve been crying for three days.

“Okay, guys, you’ll just have to suck it up cause there’s nothing we can do about it right now.

“AHHHH, OWWW!”

“And don’t rub your eyes because you have Sun Chip crumbs all over them.”

So the Sun Chip decision was a poor one.

We rush into church, run over to the bathroom so they can wash their hands, answer a call from Mom who wants to know where we are, rush upstairs and into the church.

Kinsey is fine. But Bails and Rye are tearing up through the whole thing. But they were so excited to do it, they muscled their way through the performance AND through an ice cream treat for all the singers afterwards.

Then we got into the car. Mom of course takes Kinsey home. I’m stuck with the other two. If the Hoover Dam held back crying, whining and overall horribly annoying sounds, then there was now a gaping hole in it located in my backseat.

Luckily all it took was some liquid moisture drops and they were good as new. Of course Rye required three separate applications accompanied by ridiculously detailed descriptions of how badly hurt eyes continued to hurt.

Stay tuned, we’re going to a cookout tonight…

Published in: on July 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Kit, The Captain and Chuck Norris

Saturday we took the girls to see Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. If you’re a dude and you have little girls, then you know exactly who Kit Kittredge is. You also know Molly McIntire and Felicity Merriman. Normally this would embarrass me, but I kinda like the whole American Girl thing for a couple reasons.

First, it teaches the girls about American history. And everybody needs to know more about American history. It’s tough to know your country if you don’t have any understanding of its experiences. But that’s a rant for a different day.

Second, is that I have yet to purchase an actual American girl doll or any accessories. Grandmas and Aunts are great for this. Plus I’ve never had to visit the mecca of the American Girl Doll empire in Chicago. Did you realize that they have photo studio there. For the doll. A visit there might change my mind about the whole thing. But for now all I do is point to Molly and we’re into a discussion about World War II then over here is Kit and we’re talking about the 1930’s and the Depression and then there’s Felicity and life in the colonies just before the Revolution. Plus with Kit I get to have movie popcorn. I could probably accomplish the same history lessons with some vintage GI Joe or Captain America action figures, but the girls can’t really do up GI Joe in anything but fatigues and an M-16. At least, not while I’m around.

We also brought a small bag of candy with us into the theater to watch Kit. All three of them were really into the movie. Even Bailey. At least until she decided she wanted some treats. Treat #1 was a gumball. But she couldn’t get it out of it’s small plastic wrapper so she asked me in that little kid whisper yell to open it up. Except she was so excited that it was open she knocked it right out of my hands onto the floor. Bailey is still little so she doesn’t know that the three second rule doesn’t apply to movie theater floors. Your food hits the floor in the theater and it might as well be in East Germany during the cold war. Bailey, to my amazement, doesn’t cry. She just looks at me and whisper yells that she brought another gumball. Three in fact.

So she starts chewing on number 2 and eventually onto number 3. About the time Kit realizes something is amiss with the boarders staying in her house, Bailey whisper yells that her gum “fell out of her mouth.” I tell her that’s too bad. Except that the gumball didn’t just fall out her mouth. If fell out of her mouth and into her lap. Somehow the gumball managed to find its way to a strategic spot and had adhered itself to Bailey’s shorts, underwear and skin. This is not really a spot you can work on in the dark, in a movie theater, on a 4 year old.

Bailey is not happy.

Seriously what do they put in this stuff? Did 3M get into the gumball business? You could use this stuff to seal air leaks on the international space station.

She makes it through the rest of the movie and then does this weird twisty walk out of the theater to the car. Lots of whimpering but we make it home where it is up to the bathtub to try and get the stuff off. It’s like it was designed to harden upon impact with human skin. You could patch I-80 with it.

Anyway, Bailey sits in the tub for few minutes and then stands up and assumes the Captain Morgan position and tells me to get the stuff off.

So I did. Who knew but warm water is to gumballs what Chuck Norris is to the North Vietnamese.

Published in: on July 15, 2008 at 9:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Monday Meltdown

Riley stayed down at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house. So after work Monday I took Kinsey and Bailey to the grocery store. I’m sans one kid and was hoping that it would be a quick trip.

Needless to say, I was wrong. And not like you singing along to “Best of My Love” by The Emotions and you missed your turn wrong. I mean like Davy Crockett going to the Alamo wrong. Like Kurt Russell making “Escape from LA” wrong. Like Portland drafting Sam Bowie ahead of Michael Jordan wrong.

Anyway, Kinsey had a meltdown in the aisle 3 when I told her and Bailey that the snack we’d get for them was the graham crackers with the princesses on them. Yeah, princesses. Usually giving them something with Belle and Cinderella on it helps my situation. Not on Monday. Kinsey evidently wanted a different snack and she went from zero to 60 faster than the Ferrari Daytona Spyder Crockett and Tubbs used to chase gunrunners and smugglers around Miami in the mid-80’s.

“I don’t want those! I want something else!”

“Okay, no snacks today. Yelling and throwing a fit means no snacks.”

Bailey stops, turns on a dime, looks at me, then at Kinsey and gives her the “Dad Face.”

When Kinsey throws a fit, it’s like Earl Campbell getting the ball circa 1978. It starts slow but once it’s gets moving, it’s not easy to slow down.

So I’m faced with a critical decision here. I can grab both girls, leave the cart in the middle of the aisle and leave the store. It would be a good lesson for both of them. I could attempt some type of discipline right there in front of the salsa and refried beans. Or I could use diversion. Give her the head and shoulders fake, while maintaining my authority and make it through the rest of the grocery store trip and then let her have it in the car and at home.

I chose option 3. I was about to go with option 1 but as I was bending down to look Kinsey in the eye, my peripheral vision caught that all I had left to get was milk and orange juice. I got her to calm down, broke the indoor grocery cart speed record and blazed to the check out. You wouldn’t notice by looking at them but when they get up on two wheels, those carts still can corner all right.

And then it was explained to Kinsey what she did, why it was wrong and what the consequences were. That led to another meltdown in the car. But she was already strapped into her seat and couldn’t annoy anyone other than me.

As we’re driving home, Bailey, through Kinsey’s crying, manages to cut to the bottom line. At least for her anyway. “Hey Dad, I was good at the store so I don’t have to go to my room and I still get a snack right?”

Published in: on July 9, 2008 at 11:26 am  Leave a Comment  

Fourth of July

Didn’t start so well. After picking up the girls on the afternoon of the 3rd, I thought we’d run by the car wash and get the bird bombs washed off the car. $10 into the machine. I press “gold wash” and get two Susan B. Anthony’s as change and hit the window button.

Nothing.

The driver’s side window decided to pick the exact moment after I’d paid for a car wash to cease working. But even more funny than that is that these car washes have timers. If you pull into the wash in the allotted time window, you’re golden. If not, you’re out of luck. Well I’m frantically turning off and on everything in the car hoping for some sort of weird sequence of options to cause the window to go up. Nothing. About this time I notice that my allotted time is up. I say “stupid window” and hit button once more.

Goes up halfway, stalls, then goes up the rest of the way.

Great.

Luckily the guy at the car wash fixed me up and we got the Jeep washed anyway.

Kinsey: “Hey Dad were you mad at the window?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kinsey: “If it had a bottom would you have smacked it? If it had an eye, would you have poked it? If it had a tail would you have pulled it? If it had cheeks, would you have chubbed them?”

Then on the way down to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house the next morning I was politely reminded by local law enforcement of the 55 mph speed limit. Mom and I were talking, listening to Huey Lewis and the News (Mom’s 20th high school reunion was Saturday) and I forgot about the cruise control.

Then while we’re at the country club getting ready to watch fireworks Friday evening, Mom ditches me with the girls for awhile so she can hang with all her peeps she hasn’t seen since “The Flame” by Cheap Trick was #1 on the charts. I get up to go to the bathroom while the girls are finishing up their dinner of pork sandwiches, baked beans and cole slaw. It’s the Fourth of July, if you weren’t eating baked beans and cole slaw have your patriotism reexamined. I even let them have a little caffeine free Diet Pepsi. It’s fairly harmless and it’s the Fourth of July. Plus the girls thought it was the greatest thing since they discovered how to access the Scooby cartoons on the DVR. So I walk up to the sink to wash my hands and lean against the counter. That’s when I noticed the counter was pretty darn wet. About that same time I noticed that I had nice dark wet line about an inch and a-half thick across my shorts. I also noticed that the moisture was traveling south and that it looked like I had an accident in the bathroom.

Great. How am I going to explain this to the girls? Plus all of Mom’s high school classmates are there and here I am walking around like someone shot me in the shorts with a super soaker.

So I’m standing at the hand dryer trying to dry off my shorts while ignoring the chortling from other dudes in the bathroom And this isn’t a big bathroom. So everybody who comes in notices the guy drying his shorts with the hand dryer.

But at least things come in three’s so I figured I was done.

Fireworks turned out to be great. At one point they had Poison playing as the music. For just a moment it really did feel like the summer of ’88. Then Bailey, who is snuggled up on my lap, elbowed me in the ribs as she tried to get more comfortable and reminded me that it’s not. At the end she turns to me and says, “Holy crap Dad, that’s was loud. And sparkly.”

The Fourth of July is a cool holiday and the girls and I had a conversation on the way down about our favorite holidays. The Fourth came in third for me. Right behind Thanksgiving and Christmas. The girls were stunned that anything came before Christmas. Riley was equally perplexed at my hostility towards Valentines Day. She had me down to 11th on my rankings before I got to Valentine’s Day. It came in right behind Pulaski Day and just ahead of National Mustard Day.

“Dad, how can you not like Valentine’s Day? It’s like Christmas, but in February.”

You see what corporate marketing can do if you aren’t paying attention.

But my rankings did give me a chance to talk about other days like Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, D-Day and Pearl Harbor Day. To my surprise, Rye tells me she knows when D-Day is and what it is about.

“It’s June 6th and it’s when the American soldiers went to France to fight the Germans and help the people there become free.”

How cool is that?

Plus the Fourth gave me a chance to fly my new Betsy Ross flag and explain to the girls why the stars are different than on our regular American flag.

So we had a good weekend and snuck in some history lessons amongst the greatest tunes of 1988 and the lessons about leaning against bathroom counters.

Published in: on July 9, 2008 at 10:27 am  Leave a Comment  

A Glimpse into the Future

Lots of things are scary. Americans depending on The Daily Show for their news, Marty Schottenheimer coaching your favorite team in the playoffs, Scientology. But when you have three little girls nothing is scarier than getting a fleeting glance into the future. A short preview. A sneak peek. It’s kinda like catching half of a movie trailer and thinking it looks really interesting without know for sure what it was about.

That’s what is going on right now.

It’s Fourth of July week and nothing is more red, white and blue Americana than the Fourth of July. At least until the secular left decides that the Fourth somehow is a religious celebration and relegates it to the same closet that public schools store Christmas parties and Halloween celebrations. Anyway, I took the girls swimming after work on Tuesday and yesterday. They’re big enough now and know how to swim well enough that I can watch them with same diligence as the lookout on the Titanic.

Tuesday things went really well. So since it was 90 degrees yesterday, we thought we’d go swimming again. And things were really good for about 30 minutes. Then, in what I can only assume is a preview of the future bathroom negotiations and maneuvers of the girls, it turns into one of those old Batman & Robin fight scenes. Pow! Bam! Biff!

“Girls, stop it. No hitting. Play together or we’re leaving.”

Whack!

After we got home I sent them up for their shower. But as you already know, Riley has totalitarian tendencies as shower commandant. So I give them detailed instructions regarding how much time they have and who goes first and last.

Well they gave as much attention to the instructions as that radar operator on Oahu did to that giant blip on his screen on December 7, 1941. Lots of yelling from Riley. Lots of whining from Kinsey. Lots of mischief from Bailey.

Then this morning we’re eating breakfast. Everybody has cereal. Everybody has a vitamin. Peace is defined as freedom from conflict or disagreement among people or groups of people. And for scant seconds, that’s what we had at the breakfast table.

Then it started. The girls always have each other guess the color of the vitamin and which Scooby, Flintstones, etc. character the vitamin portrays. Well Rye decides that she’ll only guess Bailey’s and not Kinsey’s. Naturally this leads to whining from Kinsey directed towards me. Rye doesn’t like this so she ominously announces that she’s not talking to Kinsey the rest of the day. Naturally this leads to whining from Kinsey directed towards me. Bailey likes to jump in at these kids of moments, throw a couple verbal grenades, and them jump out.

Is this what it’s going to be like when they’re older? I know the answer. And that’s why I’ve been researching survival techniques. Most places say that you need a shelter appropriate for the climate you expect to experience. My climate will consist of a lot of sarcasm, dagger-like stares, and noise. The environment will be populated with predatory animals called “teenage boys.” I have a strategy for this. It’s based on Dan Hedaya’s line in Clueless about anybody dating his daughter, “I’ve got a .45 and a shovel. I doubt anybody would miss you.”

They say two of the basic rules of survival are to relax and not panic and stay in one place and wait it out. The relaxing thing is going to be an issue. But the waiting it out won’t be a problem. Especially if my shelter has the NFL Network and a dorm fridge filled with Golden Draft Light. Picking your survival site is key. My site will include a moat filled with sharks. Most tips say to pick an open area so you can be found. But I don’t want to be found. I want to stay below the radar, to lie in the weeds, in the shadows. You can’t ambush the predators if you’re standing out in the open wearing an “I’m the Dad, Please Trick Me” sign.

Anyway, despite these future shock episodes, I’m looking forward to this weekend and the Fourth of July. After all, Bailey is still only 4 and that’s still small enough to sit in my lap watch fireworks. I’ll let you guys know how the weekend goes…

Published in: on July 3, 2008 at 1:46 pm  Leave a Comment