Bad Eating Habits

It appears that Cole and Avery have taken on one of my bad eating habits each. Even as recently as Winter Break, both behaved similarly; they ate all their food and enjoyed the snack at the end of each meal. That’s changed, though.

1Cole, the distracted eater. In the past two weeks, Cole’s transformed into something of a picky eater. He takes the first few bites of whatever he’s served, then quickly bores of it. Like me, he hates being bogged down, so Lynnette’s had to resort to giving him novelty items to occupy him. Tonight’s mystery dinner date was an empty Coke bottle. Cole tries to drink out of the top, sides, and bottom of the bottle and – since this quest is impossible – it keeps him busy enough for Lynnette to fork food into his mouth. I get it. I like watching TV, checking my phone, reading, and playing poker during my meals. Cole also seems to take joy in dropping little bits of his food off the tray for Abby. Abby, of course, loves Cole for this and hangs out under the chairs and table during meal times. Cole likes salty and bland foods, like Madison did at his age. He enjoys puffs and baby mum-mums as dessert, and is always the first to come down from the high chair because he eventually no longer wants to eat. Unlike Avery.

2Avery, the bottomless pit. Avery is so well behaved during meal time because eating is her favorite thing. Cole’s favorite thing is running around and playing. It makes sense that he has little patience for being strapped to a high chair. Avery, on the other hand, loves nothing more than to be locked into a chair and served food until there is no more food. Earlier today at my parents’ house, my mom was excited to ask Avery “who’s hungry?” because she’s seen the Gravy Boat react to quickly and enthusiastically to the question. When my mom asked today, it appeared that Avery didn’t immediately recognize the voice, but then quickly walked over to grandma with her arms up. That’s what she does – she assumes whoever asked the question is going to give her food. Avery’s setup is much simpler than Cole’s. Lynnette just gives her a spoon to hold. If anything, the only time Avery gets fussy is if she thinks food is not being delivered to her mouth quickly enough. Then, when we finally run out of food, she’s released into the play area and her belly protrudes out over the waistband of her shorts. It’s the one time she looks anything like me at all.

3Since we’re on the topic of bad eating habits, Avery’s really taken things to another level. As you know, Avery has the particular habit of chewing on everything. We found out today that this also applies to the submarine I made out of cardboard boxes. I built the submarine to fit both Cole and Avery at the same time, but it does get a little crowded. We noticed Avery began to gnaw on the cardboard at the bottom of one of the “windows” I had cut out. Lynnette taped the edge to prevent her from doing more damage to the Blue and Orange October. Well, according to Madison, Cole was in the way of Avery’s preferred dining area aboard the sub, and so she tried to eat him instead. Cole’s got teeth marks on his arm.

You know, when the doctor revealed to us that we were going to have twins, my mind exploded and imagined thousands of hypothetical scenarios at once. None of them, however, involved one child biting the other. And yet here we are.

They Grow Up So Fast, Kind Of

12I spent the week hoping for another glorious beach day this weekend, but the news told us that Saturday and Sunday would be windy and rainy and the news was right. We braved the elements on our way to Babies R Us in Pearl City to pick up new car seats for Cole and Avery. Their chubby legs (pictured on the left) are already spilling out over the edge of their infant car seats. It’s gotten significantly more difficult to carry both twins up and down the stairs at the same time. They’ve grown at a great rate than my strength has, sadly. If you’re interested or in the market for a new car seat or booster or stroller, check out Babies R Us. They’ve got a trade-in program going on right now. We turned in an old car seat and the car seat stroller/frame thingy we used when the twins were newborns. It earned us 25% off the new car seats.

Lynnette, the handywoman of the house, has already taken to assembling and adjusting and whatever elseing the car seats. “How come one side seems looser than the other?” she just shouted at no one in particular. This is where I know better than to offer an honest answer because if I do, I will either be reminded of my lack of handiness and/or sarcastically asked if I want to deal with it. Neither of those scenarios are any good for the old self-esteem. She’s got Avery strapped into one of them right now, planted in front of the Mickey Mouse Club House. It’s like a luxury theater. Man, they grow up so fast.

But not fast enough, apparently.

34Lynnette and I left Madison to watch over the twins while we got ready to leave the house. Lynnette finished before I did and soon after she left the bedroom, I heard her shout. “NO! NO! NO! NO!” she said. The tone wasn’t anger. It wasn’t fear, either. I wasn’t quite ready but headed to the living room anyway. I had to know what could inspire such a response from Lynnette. I saw Lynnette holding both Cole and Avery by an arm apiece. I got closer to Cole and saw his right cheek and parts of his right arm covered with Desitin. I wasn’t totally shocked. He likes tubes and bottles, and knows how to use his teeth to open them. In fact, just a few minutes ago, he stood on a pillow and opened a bedroom door for the first time. It was basically the raptor opening the door in Jurassic Park.

Anyway, As I looked over Cole, Lynnette clamored at me to look at Avery. “OH NO!” I said. Her mouth was covered with the diaper cream.  “What are you doing, Avery?” I exclaimed. She whined. She was upset that the tube of Desitin had been taken from her. “She was eating from the tube like Go-Gurt!” Lynnette shouted and she wiped down her children who were now both impervious to diaper rash in crotch, forearm, and mouth. “What happened, Madison?” I said. “I don’t know, I didn’t see them,” Mad said. “How did you not see this?” I said, pointing to my Desitin-goateed Gravy Boat. She and Lynnette chuckled a little. “Were you watching TV again?” I asked. “Maybe,” Madison said.

An Open House

3Though I have spent much of my adult life buried in work, I only actively bury myself in work in the avoidance of some other thing. Now, it should be said, that whatever this “other thing” might be, it must be horrible. Why else would I chose the essays and quizzes and tests?

Our school is hosting an Open House tonight and this means it is highly likely that I will not see Cole and Avery (awake) until tomorrow afternoon. There was a time not long ago when I wouldn’t necessarily have been upset about this scenario. I would have welcomed the time away from home. Until very recently, Cole and Avery were the other thing(s).

“I think I’m finally coming out of my funk,” I told Lynnette over this weekend. The funk began two Novembers ago when the twins were born. It got better last May, then it got worse in July. Now, the twins are 14 months old, I’m halfway through another school year, my wife is addicted to leggings, my oldest daughter is a sports traitor, and my dog still cannot tell a wee pad and the carpet apart. It sounds bleak, but things are looking up.

A few months ago I tweeted out something “How long can you say ‘I’m in a rut’ before it’s just the new you?” Obviously, it was not so much rhetorical as it was introspective. It was the start of an overwrought process of recovery. How had Cole and Avery affected my life? What did I lose? What could I get back? I realized that I stopped reading. I took pictures less frequently. Most important, I decided, was the fact that I wrote much, much less than I had in the past – even when Madison was a baby.

In looking over some of those old posts of a young Madison, I was struck by the tone. There was excitement mixed with bemusement; there existed a kind of humor which springs from hyperbole (which itself is often the result of a lack of true difficulty). I noticed that tone rarely found its way into posts written in the last 14 months. I know why. But the why wasn’t the hard part. The how to fix it was.

21I took small steps. I started to take more pictures with my camera and with my phone. I’m a hoarder with these pictures. I take so many random photos because I want them, but also because I think I might need them down the line or something, and then so many of them rest dormant in my phone, never finding their way into a blog post or onto Facebook or Instagram. I keep them there and every once in a while I scroll through them to inspect how much Cole and Avery have grown. Remember when Avery was bald except for the hair on the side of her head? Remember Cole’s wings that extended down past his ears? What about when they couldn’t sit up by themselves? Or hold their own bottles? Objectively, it was only a few months ago, but it feels like years have passed since then.

I’m trying to write more. I suppose this coincides with the winter break and actually having time to both do things and write about them, but I’m also trying to recall the wonder and appreciation of what it was like to be a first-time parent. I’m trying to find the joy in watching the twins’ new tricks, in learning the specifics of their personalities. Recently we figured out that if Cole doesn’t like something, he’ll refuse to look at it. Avery’s brain is mostly in her stomach but there’s still enough in her skull to figure out the two ways to get around the gate of the play area.

I haven’t finished playing Pokemon Moon yet, nor have I started reading The Undoing Project, but those things can only come, I think, as the twins get older. For now, I’m still trying to climb all the way out of the hole I helped dig for myself 14 months ago. It is the writing that helps the most. Thank you for your words of support and love. I hope that you also find joy in watching my family grow.

Pokai Bay>Green Bay

Nothing ever really gets the tacky slime of utter disappointment off of you, but a trip to the beach doesn’t hurt.

DCIM100GOPROG0082712.The original plan, of course, was Ko’olina, but by the time we arrived at 10 there were lines extending from every lagoon. “What should we do?” I asked Lynnette. “Do you want to just keep driving out to Waianae?” she asked. “I think we should just go here, to a regular beach,” Madison said from the back of the van, offering unsolicited advice. “We just have to find a place that isn’t rough,” Lynnette said. “Ko’olina’s not rough,” Madison said from the back seat. “There are lines at all the lagoons,” I said. She sighed. I can’t really blame her. The last time we went to the beach was an overcast day in November. Before that? I can’t even recall. Madison had a great day at the beach. Lynnette and I tried to occupy the twins so Madison could play as much as possible. I launched her into the water a few times and it kind of made me feel a little about the Cowboys loss (she doesn’t even understand football, but she really loves Pitch Perfect).

DCIM100GOPROG0062688.The Gravy Boat wasn’t too keen on the water today. Maybe Saturday in the kiddie pools was enough for her. She was over the whole thing after five minutes and decided to spend the rest of our time at the beach clinging tenaciously to Lynnette. We tried to put her in her floatie and it amused her for a little while. Soon, though, her teeth started chattering and she began making her fussy dragon noises which can be loosely translated as can-you-please-get-me-out-of-the-water-dude-I’m-legit-freezing-thanks. If you know anything about the Avery “Gravy Boat” P.I.T.A.Girl Higa, then you know she explores the world around her by eating things. All the things. Today was no exception. She stuck her fingers in the sand, then stuck them into her mouth almost immediately. It’s one of those things: I could see it coming, tried to stop it, failed over and over again, then accepted the eventually of the whole thing. Imagine Aaron Rodgers carving up you football team and that’s kind of what it’s like to deal with the Gravy Boat Galactus who I caught earlier this morning chewing on plastic shards that Cole broke off a bucket handle.

DCIM100GOPROG0453074.I thought that if anyone was going to enjoy the beach trip it would Cole. Oddly enough, the only thing he really wanted to do was walk from the shore back up toward the tent. I don’t get it. All of us sat at the water’s edge. Cole would become disenchanted with us and pop up, turn toward the parking lot and start walking. “Cole Joseph!” I shouted. He turned to look – but only that first time – before continuing his march up the sand. This is one of my favorite pictures of the day. He actually filled a cup with water, then stumbled up the sand intermittently like some college student who showed up and turned up waaaay to early for a beach party. Except his cup was filled with salt water, which I assume taste eerily similar to the hot tears that I forbid to fall from my face yesterday afternoon.

DCIM100GOPROG0322947.Lynnette never got into the water past the waist because it failed to meet her temperature standards. The “No Splashing Mommy” Rule was in effect all day, and as hilarious as it would have been to watch her eyebrows run away from her face, it would been the opposite of hilarious to deal with Angry Mommy consequences. This is a full family pic from our trip to Pokai Bay and you can still see the hurt and bewilderment in my face from yesterday’s loss. You can see the joy on Madison’s and also Lynnette’s, since she derives pleasure from my suffering. I am sorry, Avery, for smashing the canopy into your face. And geez, figure it out, Cole.

I am a little burnt – unlike the Cowboys’ secondary which is extra-crispy – but happy. Today didn’t go as planned, but I would argue it was better. Such is life sometimes, only it takes a little time to show.

2017 NFC Divisional Round: Packers @ Cowboys

DCIM100GOPROG0042439.I’m writing this now because I’m not sure I’ll have the will to do it later, either way.

234First, if you were wondering “Wait – did they just cut up 9 month onesies into t-shirts because Phil couldn’t find a reasonable price on any website for 2-day shipping?” then the answer is yes, yes we did. I don’t know why I waited so long to start looking for Cowboys gear for the twins. I should have done it weeks ago once they clinched the playoffs, but then I’m an idiot and I thought to myself “But we haven’t really worn the shirts all year, and what if wearing them jinxes them?” Then, when it became clear Green Bay would travel to Dallas, I thought “They’re going to need us,” because I’m an idiot.

So, I did find clothes in their size, but none of the sites could guarantee delivery by today via standard shipping. The lowest rate I found was $20, so I guess if you’re trying to quantify how much I love the Dallas Cowboys, the answer is “no more than $19.99.” Sad. Lynnette took scissors to the twins’ onesies and turned them into crude t-shirts. Both Cole and Avery have their little pot bellies hanging out from below the bottoms of the shirts, but that’s GOT TO BE GOOD LUCK because they’re rocking their shirts like Zeke Elliott!

Big ups to Lynnette who converted the onesies into t-shirts and wore her own Cowboys t-shirt for the first time this season. More importantly, I should point out that she’s wearing a pair of LuLaRoe leggings that don’t quite match in terms of color – but does because of the stars. Do you know how hard that is for Lynnette to do? She prides herself on three things: 1) Secretly being better at everything than everyone else and whispering that fact to herself, 2) Drawing in her eyebrows perfectly, even when I’m singing booty music hits and dancing accordingly right behind her, and 3) matching her clothes. This sacrifice will not be forgotten, my love.

Finally, Abby is rocking her Dallas Cowboys cheerleader’s outfit after her Cowboys paint job faded into oblivion and holy hell, that better not be a sign of things to come.

5“Can you find me a Green Bay shirt, dad?” Madison asked when it became clear Green Bay would travel to Dallas. “Sure,” I said. I meant it, too. Despite the fact that it breaks my heart, I totally support her right to choose her favorite teams. If my dad was a tyrant, I’d be cheering for the Raiders, Lakers, Vikings, and Braves, and I can’t think of a single reason I’d ever want to do that. Aside: OK, yes, I was also very eager to buy Madison a Packers shirt because I HOPED THAT SHE WOULD JINX IT!

If you didn’t know, Madison because a Packers fan after some of them showed up in Pitch Perfect 2. She knows the names “Tony Romo” and “Dez Bryant” but she actually recognizes Clay Matthews. I spent the first 6 years of her life trying to foster in her a love for the Dallas Cowboys and all it took was frickin’ Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson  to undo it all.

I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight, but one of us is going to be really happy, and the other is going to be really sad. If things go badly, one of us might not want to go to work on Tuesday and the other might have to go to bed right after the game.

24 Hours With a LuLaRoe Junkie

Lynnette’s got a running list of LuLaRoe leggings she’s been trying to acquire since she became a full-blown LuLaRoe addict. This list is a more specific, apparel-related version of the list that she has for real life (of which she has checked off “home in Mauka”, “Highlander Sienna”, and “multiple children”). She picked up four new LuLaRoe pieces in the last 24 hours. She just tried on three new pairs of leggings in the kitchen. Were I a lesser man, I would have been distracted by her interminable hotness, I would have failed to complete this entry. But I am not a lesser man.

1

I learned that ninjas are less intimidating when they’re plastered all over the lower half of my wife’s body.

Lynnette’s been on the hunt for this ninja pair for some time. My co-worker shot me a picture of them on Thursday night because I asked her to stay on the lookout for ninjas. “Is this the one?” my co-worker asked. I showed the picture to Lynnette and she erupted in the Daniel Bryan chant. “I’ll have your money tomorrow,” I replied. She LOLed. That made one of us. I had the pair of leggings waiting for Lynnette when she got home Friday afternoon. You know, a few minutes before we drove into Waipahu to check out a LuLaRoe home show.

2

Don’t worry, it made its way home with us.

The coolest thing about LuLaRoe is that there isn’t a limit on the location or the number of times you can come across a vendor or consultant. It’s basically a never-ending network of people who sell similar-but-not-necessarily-identical pieces of clothing, which means that LuLaRoe is a never-ending treasure hunt. There’s never really a promise that Lynnette will find something she likes (unless she’s pre-paid for something), but she likes going anyway. To be clear, I’m not being judgmental. If there were Nike SB consultants stationed all over the island a decade or so ago, I would have dragged Lynnette to random people’s houses too.

 

3

Check ’em out.

Speaking of pre-ordering things, earlier this week Lynnette found another of her desired pairs. They are purple and feature panda bear heads. Some of those heads are wearing sunglasses. I guess. Lynnette just tried them on in the kitchen and said:

“The Vietnam ones run smaller than the ones from Indonesia. The Indonesian ones are super-stretchy. *Tries on purple panda pair* Ooh, I like these Chinese ones.”

This commentary is notable for two reasons. First, it reveals the level of her expertise. It’s more or less how I had memorized most Nike models of shoes and exclusive colorway releases before I had a mortgage and a kid. Second, it is the first time Lynnette has openly admitted to liking anything Chinese since 2003 (when I broke up with my ex-girlfriend).

4

She hasn’t been this happy since like 4 hours ago.

I was alone in the living room watching a movie when my phone chimed. It was Lynnette, texting from the bedroom.

I just got a message from someone who said she got my donuts in. My mission is complete. 

I believe one of those statements is true. I suppose only time will tell. But anyway, Lynnette got her doughnut leggings and of the newest three, they look the best on her. Maybe it’s just because I like Lynnette’s legs and I like food. I don’t know. But I know that I love seeing her smile like this, so I don’t mind if she stays addicted to LuLaRoe a little longer. As long as we don’t have to sell our home.

 

Avery at 14 Months

Please don’t tell Avery that I’ve already posted Cole’s 14-month update earlier today. She is likely to be upset about having to share her day with Cole –  or anyone else for that matter – because as you are aware, she is something of a diva. Should she discover the post before this one, she might possibly strike her signature pose: legs stiff as two 2x4s, arms and head thrown back dramatically as if the end of the world is nigh. She throws in the scream for free. If I had any semblance of artistic talent, I would draw out this silhouette and turn it into a logo – like the Jumpman – and stamp it on all her clothing. But I digress.

10Avery loves food most of all, but Lynnette is a very close second. If Avery could, she would affix herself to Lynnette for all time, that way Mem wouldn’t be able to put her down and disappear into the bedroom or kitchen. Personally, I love it when Lynnette’s carrying Avery and she tries to pass her off to me. Avery can feel the shift in Lynnette’s body and as I get nearer, Avery turns her head to look over Lynnette’s shoulder and begins to cry. Females have been rejecting me since I could speak to them yet the stonewalling still stings. When I take the Avery, she strikes her signature pose which makes it difficult for me to hold her, so I lean to put her down which somehow makes her more upset because (I suspect) that it is an existential crisis she has not yet solved: I don’t want this man but I also don’t want to be put down, so which option should I choose if one of the options is not MOOOOOOOOM?!?!?!?

9The dork in my wants to start calling Avery “Unicron” or “Galactus” because her appetite is insatiable. Where Cole is picky about his food and prefers sweet snacks, Avery does not discriminate when it comes to food consumption. I just asked Lynnette if there’s any one food that Avery has denied more than once and she couldn’t think of any. You might have seen recent videos of me asking Avery if she’s hungry. Basically, she’s not constantly hungry, but if she is reminded of the concept of hunger or food or drink, she becomes triggered and consumed by the thought of consuming. If, for example, she sees a bottle of milk, she lets out a screech that is equal parts desperation and kapu. It doesn’t matter where she is in the play area, or what she’s doing, if you ask “Who’s hungry?” she will move like lightning (see below) in your direction while uttering sounds meant to evoke pity from prospective food-givers. Don’t worry, I only ask her this question right before meal time. I am not one to toy with her emotions (in this particular way, anyway).

Still, there are moments when the Gravy Boat (the name she answers to most frequently) absolutely melts me heart. If I am lying on the couch watching TV, she will intermittently walk over to me, then pat on my chest with both hands. Her tiny jaw juts out from under her round cheeks and she smiles so deeply that her eyes disappear. This, however, only happens if I have a shirt on. I don’t have a shirt on, she will walk up to me without a smile. She will then slowly extend one hand toward my chest and pinch my nipple. It hurts every time. “Why do you do that to Daddy, Gravy?” I say. But when I look in her face, it’s like she can’t hear me. Her eyes appear like those of a shark and in that moment, all she cares about is maximum amount of pressure she can apply to my vulnerable nipple. Sometimes she actually fusses when I remove her hand from my chest. So mean.

Bonus Gravy Boat footage: