Hold On Daddy's Coming!

Stories, rants and reflections by a clueless father of three

Archive for the tag “twins”

On Being a “Night Student Daddy”

Now that school has ended for the semester, it’s officially time for me to discuss (which means “complain about”) how hard it was.  Those of you who are night students may be able to appreciate some of things that I “have”:

I have a boss who expects me to do my job; several bosses, actually.  They support me going to school and all, but they also expect me to actually work for my salary.  They’re demanding like that.  

I also have professors who expect me to be prepared for class. More often than I’d like to admit, I “research” important cases on Wikipedia and sketchy legal blogs.  And yep, I could soon become your lawyer… 

I have a body that’s beginning to fight back from all the 7/11 Big Bites (with nacho cheese and chili, or course), coffees, Mountain Dews, Red Bulls, Quiznos, and bags of peanut butter m&ms.   You know it’s bad when fruit snacks are literally your biggest source of fruit. 

I have a backpack filled with ridiculously heavy books that I bring with me pretty much everywhere I go.  Nothing says “professional” like a suit, tie, and a high school backpack.  

Oh, and then I have my beautiful wife.  We see each other in person on the weekends, and on Facebook during the week.   On my first day of class last January, Jackie said “bye babe, I’ll see you in the summer.”  

(It’s funny cuz it’s true).

Friends?  Facebook claims I have a lot of them.  But the call history on my cell phone would beg to differ. 

(It’s sad cuz it’s true).     

Also, being a night student comes with some unique dilemmas:

Should I finally take Jackie out on a date or should I finally start writing this paper? Should I save $50 and buy the old version of the textbook or buy the new one the professor says I “need” to have? Should I take a day of leave from work so I can study, or should I save it and go in?

These are things night students just have to deal with – a balancing act between work, school, marriage, and on occasion, friends.  I sometimes jokingly refer to it as “the night life.”  Amazingly, I’ve been living this night life since the Bush Administration. 

But now I also “have” something else:  two babies (that are super cute).  Which makes me a “night student daddy.” Or is it “daddy night student”? 

(Thinks about it…) 

Definitely “night student daddy.”    

Anyway. This past semester was the first full semester with the babies, and it was a grind. Nobody in our house slept much, and everybody in our house did some screaming. 

But now that it’s over, I can look back and truly admire what my wife has done for me and my family, and it’s really awesome.   

WARNING: it’s about to get real sappy up in here…

Here’s a quick-hitting list of things Jackie does:  she works (32 hours per week), she watches the kids, she wakes up with the kids, she does my laundry, she gets them to bed all by herself, she does the shopping, she runs all the errands, she pays all the bills, she cleans the house, she packs my lunch and dinner (and few snacks for in between…),  she sends me adorable pictures of the babies during the day, she thinks it’s important that I play racquetball on Sundays, and she makes me “soup and sandwich” when I start to get sick.  Yea, she’s good.

Me?  I take out the trash.  Unless I forget. 

One of these days, I may actually get to reward her with some of the “finer things.”  But until then, we will continue to use our old washing machine that, with the help of duct tape, usually works.  And we will continue to have a plywood board serve as a makeshift countertop in our kitchen.  And we will continue to pay for new semesters of tuition while holding off on the new refrigerator I know Jackie is lusting after.  And we will continue to go to restaurants that serve endless free chips.  Confession: I have signed my fair of $6 dinner tabs. 

Look, I’m not saying we’re poor; we’re not.  But we have had to make some sacrifices over the past four years to pay for school, and I’m glad I have a wife who is capable of thinking long-term.  

God hooked me up with a wife who is ridiculous, but also ridiculously awesome (for instance, she often answers the phone with “what up player?”).  I would have it no other way.  And when I finally finish school next semester, that degree will be every bit as much hers as it will be mine. 

Being a night student is tough and being a “night student daddy” is even tougher.  But my wife is a “night student mommy,” and that’s by far the toughest gig of all. 

Told you it was about to get sappy in here. 

Textbooks arent cool but these people are.

How I Watch Babies and College Basketball

People who know me know that I absolutely love college hoops. My wife isn’t quite as enthusiastic.  Army Wives?  Yes!  90210 repeats?  Yes!  Infomercials?  Why not!  College basketball?  Ugg.  College basketball…

In fairness, I feel the same way about “Say Yes to the Dress.” Bottom line: I watch basketball alone. 

Anyway, it’s Sunday morning and I missed the “highly anticipated” Indiana/Savannah State game last night because I was gone.  Jackie’s asleep, so I’m gonna watch it now.  With the kids. This should be interesting.     

Before we begin, I note that Jimmy was screaming from 4:30-6:15am.  He was hungry.  Or lonely.  Or bored.  Or just felt like torturing us.  Either way, he was up and so was I.  Now it’s 6:30 and he’s asleep.  And as if on cue, Riley’s awake.  Fact: they’re not twins, they’re co-conspirators.    

Ok, so here’s what it’s like watching babies and a basketball game…

7:00am: get Riley out of bed, go downstairs, start the game on the DVR, and lay about 10 toys on the floor.  Lots of toys are crucial – boredom usually sets in on a given toy after about 2 minutes.    

I put Riley down and she does something incredible: crawls right past the toys and grabs the remote control, which I take away.  Next time I turn around she has my cell phone and has begun eating it.  So I take it away.  And then, I kid you not, she has her hands in the box of Oreos we left out.  Baby girls are smart. Slash evil. 

7:11am: Riley makes her way over to the toy bin and dumps it over.  I suppose this is a fair compromise.  Oh yea, IU is winning 9 to 4. 

7:16am: as I watch the game, I notice an advertisement on the side of the basketball court which says “Ken Nunn loves IU basketball.” 

Note: for those who are unfamiliar, Ken Nunn is Bloomington, Indiana’s most prominent ambulance-chaser.  I see his sign as an example of yet another slimy attorney trying to make a name for himself.  But then I start thinking about how many fans at that game will probably get arrested by the time it’s over, and suddenly realize that Ken Nunn is a brilliant marketer.  So now my respect for him goes up ever-so-slightly. 

7:21am: Riley is getting hungry so I make her some applesauce and rice cereal.  Meanwhile, I think I hear Jimmy crying upstairs.  I’m a big fan of denial, so I tell myself that I don’t hear Jimmy crying upstairs… 

7:23am:  Dang it, I definitely hear Jimmy crying upstairs.    

7:30am:  Having grabbed Jimmy from his crib, he is now sitting on the floor eating his toes while Riley drinks her bottle.  IU is up 31 to 18. 

Note: if you saw the title of this post and thought it was gonna be about college basketball, by now you probably realize that it’s not.  Just know that before babies I was 100% focused when IU was on.  Now?  2% focused.  Pathetic.     

7:33am: I sense that Jimmy is getting bored so I make fart sounds because they’re always good for a cheap laugh.  And indeed, I get a cheap laugh out of Jimmy. 

7:37am:  the announcer notifies us that it’s “Superhero” day at Indiana, and the camera zooms in on many fans who have dressed accordingly.  I would say that they look like idiots, but I went to several basketball games dressed as Spiderman…where I looked like an idiot.  Ok, they look like idiots. 

7:40am: Jimmy and Riley are staring at each other and laughing hysterically. They are letting out random shrieks and drooling all over the place. Seeing this stuff literally makes my day. 

7:42am: a commercial comes on. When people DVR sporting events they typically fast forward through the commercials; however, the remote control is on the ground and I am feeling lazy.  So it looks like I’m watching these commercials. 

7:53am: I need coffee.  I would consider taking the kids for a walk to the nearby Starbucks, but I happen to know from personal experience that our stroller doesn’t fit through the door, so that’s out of the question.  I scoop up Riley and go make it myself. 

Note:  I’m convinced that if I make coffee with Riley, she will magically start making it for me at a young age.  So for now she comes with me whenever I make it.  Which reminds me: I need to start bringing Jimmy with me to mow the lawn, clean the garage, and take out the trash… 

7:57am: Riley is now in her “exer-saucer.”  For those who don’t know what that is, it’s a sitting apparatus with a bunch of toys on it.  It’s genius.  And by its name you would think that the primary activity would be exer-cise, but for the past few minutes Riley has been trying to suck the ear off of a poor giraffe.  Her usual victim is the panda bear, so I suppose she has developed a sensitivity to endangered animals. 

Meanwhile, Jimmy is sitting in his “eating chair” (I’m pretty sure that’s not what Jackie calls it but I don’t know how else to describe it).  I feed him a bite of applesauce, and he gives me the “what-did-I-do-to-deserve-poison” look. 

I try doing the “airplane” and “choo-choo train” maneuver that I have seen Jackie execute but it doesn’t work.  I then make fart sounds and Jimmy laughs.  While his mouth is open, I stuff with applesauce.  Gets em every time. 

8:01am: Jimmy goes in his “bouncy seat” and starts bouncing like an absolute madman. 

Meanwhile, Riley seems bored so I give her some crackers.  To eat?  No.  To crumple up into a million pieces and drop all over the floor? Yes. It’s her favorite!    

 8:03am: babies are occupied, and I finally get to pay attention to the game.  Bliss.  IU is up 46 to 31. 

 8:05am: Riley wants out, so I hold her while IU freshman Cody Zeller nails 2 free throws. Money! 

 8:07am: I look over to realize that Jimmy has literally been bouncing this entire time.

Riley (now on the ground) eyes my pen.  She wants it.  Somehow, she will get it.  But for now, I take it away. 

 8:12am:  I need to go to the bathroom so I leave. Immediately I hear Riley fussing. 

Note: when you’re buying time with twins, you’re not buying minutes…you’re buying seconds. I make every one of them count.  I run back to the living room and grab the box of donuts on my way in. 

8:14am:  Jimmy is still bouncing.  Still smiling ear to ear.  Still got the moves like Jagger.  

8:14-and-a-half am: Timeout!  Now, before I get into how I fed Riley a donut, let me make a quick comment.  When it comes to donuts, our babies don’t like your standard bran or classic glazed.  Oh no, they gotta have the white powdery donuts.  You know exactly which ones I’m talkin about.  These donuts don’t make a mess, they make a crime scene. 

8:15am:  I feed Riley white powdery donuts.  I quickly realize that she would much rather feed herself.  “Oh, I’m so sorry.”  

8:19am:  Riley’s donut is doing exactly what I figured it would do: multiplying.  I tell myself I will clean it up later (which is a feel-good way of saying “Jackie will take care of it”).   8:21am:  IU sophomore Victor Oladipo slam dunk.  Nice!  IU is up 61 to 39.  Somehow 22 points were scored and this is the first one I’ve actually paid attention to.  8:25am: Riley is once again fussing so I sing “BINGO” because Jackie always sings it to them and they love it.  I switch up the lyrics and make it “RILEY.”  Somehow I don’t think she really notices the difference. Jimmy briefly stops bouncing to listen.  He’s entertained for a second, but then goes back to bouncing.  Apparently he doesn’t have time for my silliness. He’s got work to do.   

8:29am: Jimmy is now tired of the bouncy seat so I put him on my lap and feed him a bottle.

8:32am:  bad call goes against IU.  The drunk college students let the ref know that they don’t agree with the call. “Hey kids, earmuffs!” 

8:34am:  Riley grabs my phone off the ground.  I’m too lazy to stop her from eating it. 

8:36am:  Riley grabs her old donut and begins spilling it everywhere.  Ok, now I’m up. 

8:40am:  Jimmy pukes on my pajamas.  “It’s ok bud, I did my fair share of puking during IU basketball games…”   

Fortunately, it’s not enough puke to induce me to grab a new pair of pajamas.  As a general rule of thumb, I won’t change unless the radius of the puke is greater than 3 inches.  This radius is only about two inches…well within my limit.  Don’t judge me. 

8:43am:  Riley is ready for her morning nap.  I take her up and put her in her crib.  1 down. 

8:45am: now it’s just me and Jimmy. Score?  Goliath 71, David 42.  Also, it only took me an hour and 40 minutes to realize that Savannah State is a historically black college.  What triggers that realization? Two things:

1. at this point in time there are 5 black players on the court for their team, and 4 white boys on the floor for Indiana. 

2. wikipedia confirms it. 

8:49am: Jimmy spots white powdery donuts on the floor and begins eating them.  I half expect him to look up at me as if to say “hey no fair Riley got donuts!” but he doesn’t.  He’s content with her crumbs, which makes him awesome. 

8:51am: The game suddenly stops because I forgot to record the next event on the DVR. The two hours that the Big Ten Network has allocated to this game apparently weren’t enough.  Rookie move on my part – I know better than to trust that the game will fit squarely within the allotted timeframe.  I suppose this is what you can expect from someone who is 2% focused. 

Now that the party’s over, Jimmy goes in for his morning nap.  Both babies are asleep, which pretty much is the most beautiful thing ever.  Time for me to go downstairs and evaluate the damage caused by a few white powdery donuts. And wouldn’t you know it; our living room isn’t a mess…it’s a crime scene. 

The suspects?  Just a few co-conspirators…  

How I Miserably Failed P90X

Well before Jimmy and Riley were born, I resolved to stay in shape throughout their infancy.  This is something that’s important to a lot of new dads (and moms too).  Well, two months after the twins were born, I did what lots of people seem to be doing the moment they spot some flabbiness:  P90X. 

Before I get into details, let me just make a few general comments about P90X.  First off, the whole premise is that you do ridiculously hard and uncomfortable moves for about an hour or an hour and a half… 90 days in a row.  On top of that, you’re supposed to eat things like soy sausage muffins and asparagus soup and grilled ahi tuna salad.  No joke.

Secondly, the dudes on P90X are ripped, but not necessarily jacked.  I think this is why I keep convincing myself that I can do the program.  A lot of workout programs are led by dudes who have been roiding since high school.  Me? I’m a stick who played a lot of chess as a kid.  So the last thing I’m gonna do is listen to some crazy, oiled-up body builder tell me how to add 70 pounds of muscle.  In contrast, the guys on p90x look like they might work at Goldman Sachs during the day and just happen to be workout freaks on the side.  They’re the kind of guys I can look at and think: “hey, maybe I can look like that too…”  

Of course, the reality is that I can’t.

If I was a workout freak of any kind, it wouldn’t have taken me almost 25 minutes longer than Oprah Winfrey to finish the Marine Corps Marathon.  And if I was a workout freak of any kind, I wouldn’t classify 18 holes of golf as my exercise for the weekend.  You get the idea.

Well, my plan to “do P90X” was dead on arrival because it’s by far the most unrealistic workout ever.  In fact, I’ve now failed it twice.  The first time was because “law school was really ramping up and I really needed to stay focused and blah, blah, blah” Translation:  I quit because it was miserable.  I have no idea why I thought things would go any better when I tried it once again just two months after Jimmy and Riley were born.

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how I failed the program:

Before I even broke a sweat, I decided not to follow that ridiculous diet.  Zero chance I’m eating pears and granola for breakfast.  Besides, there’s nothing more American than a donut and coffee in the morning.  I’ll just do the workouts… 

Day One was a “Chest and Back” workout, along with a separate workout for abs.  They had me doing lots of pushups (which I can do) and pull ups (which I can’t do). 

Day Two was a ridiculously hard workout called “Plyometrics” where you’re pretty much just supposed to jump all over the place for an hour.  It totally sucks. 

Note: at this point in time, the kids are sleeping just a few hours at night.  I’m seriously wondering if this is even a worthy cause.  Basically, I’m laying a foundation for many excuses to come… 

Day Three: I decided that the stretching part of the workout was taking too long.  And other exercises that I thought were stupid were taking up too much of my time as well.  It was questionable, but I think I can say I “finished” the workout.  Either way, I decided it was time to show off what I had accomplished over those past three days: hello sleeveless shirt!

If you now have a visual of me in a sleeveless shirt, I apologize.  Moving on… 

Day Four was yoga – “definitely not doing yoga.”   FOR GOODNESS SAKE THE WORKOUT IS AN HOUR AND A HALF LONG!!!  And I’m really tired.  And I just don’t want to do it.  And it sounds hard and boring.  And I hate stretching.

Note:  Aaannnnnnnnnd were totally falling off the tracks. 

Day Five was legs and abs.  Unfortunately, it fell on a Friday and I just didn’t have the time for all of it.  I did the ab workout with Jackie (which always makes things a little more…interesting).  I rationalized not doing the leg workout by telling myself that leg strength isn’t really something that dudes in their twenties should be worried about anyway.   

So thus far, I’ve told myself that the following things are pointless:  the diet, the stretching, some of the more awkward maneuvers, the entire yoga workout, and the entire leg workout.  And I’m about to add another…

Day Six was karate.  The problem was that I spent much of the night before up with the kids so that Jackie could get a few hours of sleep (a luxury for her).  And then I played golf the next morning.  And now I’m supposed to do an hour of karate?  Uhh, no.  So I improvise, telling myself that a 30 minute jog is basically the same as 55 minutes of intense karate.  Much better.

Day Seven was a day of rest with the option of doing an hour of stretching.  Shockingly, I opted for the day of rest.    

The next week got worse.  Slowly but surely, I was doing less and less of the workouts.  At some point I had to admit that even if I continued what I was doing for another 70-80 days, I wouldn’t look like the dudes on the infomercials who had religiously followed the program.   So I stopped entirely.  So much for my transformational story about going from slob to stud…  

As a new dad, I can blame a lot of things on Jimmy and Riley.  For instance, I recently used the word “tummy” in a serious conversation.  I say “cute” way more than is acceptable for a man.  And I spent a recent Friday night watching the Lion King – for which I definitely blame the kids.  But for failing P90X? I can pretty much only blame myself.  The kids merely accelerated my inevitable downfall. 

P90X isn’t just the most impractical workout for people with newborns; it’s the most impractical workout ever.  So if you’re thinking about doing it and you have newborn twins, then you should prepare for a miserable failure.

And if you don’t have newborn twins?  Well, you should still prepare for a miserable failure…

Dont hold that picture on the left against me. That was *before* I got into the best shape of my life…

The Dreaded “I Think We Need A Bigger Car” Conversation

Clearly, these sleeping babies are miserable because they don’t have enough room in the car…

Dudes, be warned. If your pregnant wife drives a car that seats less than 8 grown men, then you need to know this: she won’t be driving it for long. 

Like I’ve said before, women are sneaky.  Chances are your wife has been scheming to acquire a nicer vehicle for months (pretty much rule #1 about women is that they like new things…even when the older thing is still perfectly good).  This is her golden opportunity. 

It’s actually a four-phase process.   Here’s how it goes down:

For me, Phase One began with subtle suggestions that my wife’s car was too small to fit the necessities of life (episode two of the new show “Up All Night” actually does a pretty good job of depicting this).  Prepare for your wife to explain to you that “we can’t go (insert fun place) because there just isn’t enough room anymore.”

The thing is, she could fit it all in there if she really wanted to.  Oh, and she knows it too. Here’s proof: when my wife and I go on vacations, I am continually amazed by the amount of things she can fit into one suitcase.  A month’s worth of clothes?  Packed!  Games? Packed!  Seven books that most definitely won’t be read?  Packed!  Sometimes my wife will literally stand on top of the suitcase and pull the zipper shut to accomodate excess luggage.  I think this is something she stragely enjoys doing.

But now, somehow, she cant fit the stroller into the car?  Riiiiight…

Once it’s been established that the car is a bit too small, she will begin Phase Two.  This was when my wife brought the full court press on how “frustrating it is that I can’t fit everything I need” or how it took her “ten minutes just to get everything out of the car!”  If you have twins like we do, prepare for an even fuller dose of sob stories.  Oh, and if you have a dog, this is where your wife will insert comments about how your four-legged friend “just doesn’t look happy in the car anymore.”  Apparently the dog’s level of happiness in the car actually matters…   

So now it’s 4 to 1 in my wife’s favor: that “old” Nissan Altima (a 2008!) is wholly inadequate.  Note: it doesn’t help that every other mother on the planet also has an SUV and likes to talk nonstop about how much happier they now are with one.  So thanks for that, other moms. 

With public opinion squarely on her side, my wife moved in for the kill.  Wait for it…

Boom!  She drops the safety card on me.  Welcome to Phase Three.  “That car just isn’t safe for our child.”  Your wife may cite some random website which says that her car only got 4.5 stars (out of 5) on some random side-impact crash test.  Bottom line?  “I think we need a bigger car.”

Here’s the beauty of all this: it’s not for your wife…it’s for the child!  I mean, come on dad.  You wouldn’t want to put your child in danger, would you?  You don’t want your child to die because you were too stingy to buy a fully-loaded Lincoln Navigator, do you? 

Didnt think so.

Men: I don’t know when it happens, but at some point women realize that child safety is the ultimate trump card.  It gives them carte blanche to buy ridiculous things like organic baby clothes, booster seats with multiple cup holders, and $500 pieces of wood (er, cribs). 

Yep, “child safety” is a winner and your wife knows it.  And she isn’t done using it against you (stay tuned, its coming…).  

So.  We’re looking for cars.  But now I have something far different in mind than my wife.  Maybe a gently-used minivan?  Ya right!  She doesn’t want to look like her mom did 20 years ago; she wants to look like a baller.  So even though the minivan would seem to fit her criteria (bigger and safer), we spend 100% of our car search in the SUV department. 

This is when I suddenly became an environmentalist.  “These cars only get 13 or 14 miles to the gallon! That’s horrible for the…ecosystem.”  It was a good try, but this tactic was totally futile.  Apparently small to mid-size SUVs just aren’t big enough for our family; only something resembling a yacht would do.  Besides, this is America and we do what we want.   So let’s just move on.

Here’s where she drops the safety card again.  See, the reasonable car you are hoping for (about $10,000 less than the one she wants) doesn’t have a rear-view camera or hi-def DVD player (OBVIOUSLY, these are vital safety features).  And it doesn’t have heated seats, either.  Why are heated seats important, you ask?  “The kids need them.” 

Once youre finally on the fence about whether or not to get her the car she wants (and has been secretly eyeing for about 7 months), she has one last trick up her sleeve: the good husband routine (aka Phase Four).  She will tell you about how hard it’s been adjusting to caring for a child day and night, and that this is what she needs.  Translation: be a good husband and buy your wife this car. 

Game. Set. Match.  Enjoy those car payments, gentlemen.  

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