Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy Half-Decade, Mini-Me!

Five years ago, I wouldn't have spent an evening fighting a 4-ft Darth Vader.

Five years ago, I wouldn't have spent the rest of said evening attacking Lego snow troopers and destroying the Death Star.

Five years ago, I wouldn't have spent a summer morning playing video games...well, I might've, but by myself.

Five years ago, I wouldn't have spent a summer morning swinging as high as I could at a local playground.

Five years ago, I wouldn't have slaved away in the kitchen to shake-n-bake a gourmet smorgasbord of bean & cheese chip tacos (nachos, basically), baby carrots & ranch, grapes, birthday krispie treats.

Five years ago, June 22nd was just the day (or second day) after the summer solstice...

Five years ago, though, I was lucky enough to stand in a hospital delivery room, accept you in my arms and welcome you into my heart.

Five years ago, you turned me into a father.

Thank you for all the adventures.

I love you!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Many Mini Posts about Mickey (TMNTK): Chapter 3

Disney World's considered The Most Magical Place on Earth.

Nothing could have been more obvious as we perused the photos of our trip...

Yes. It looks like it's time to change Mini-Me's name to Captain Sourpuss. After we woke him up early to catch the first bus to The Magic Kingdom the kid seemed to make a conscious choice to not show he was having fun all morning long.

But, oh...scowl as he might...he was having fun. We rode Peter Pan three times, Dumbo and Buzz Lightyear twice, and pretty much everything else appropriate for younglings once.

As we waited in line for the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, I explained the premise of the show and the laugh collection process to him (we're behind on Disney movies that don't involve Woody, Buzz, or Jack Jack). He sat straight-faced through the entire show while I was doubled over in the aisle (okay...maybe it wasn't that funny, but still). 
"Daddy, I didn't want them to have any of my laughs. I didn't want to feel empty inside."
But our laughter never runs out, bud. It's something we should always share with people...well, in appropriate situations, you wouldn't want to laugh at a...nevermind, I'll explain that later. They wouldn't steal your laughter and make you feel empty, Mini-Me. When we laugh, we're expressing our happiness and sharing it with everyone around us.
"Okay, I might have laughed a little on the inside."
Luckily, after a nap and dinner at the hotel, we ventured back to the park with greatly improved moods and the magic truly began...the fireworks helped...fireworks always seem to help!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Many Mini Posts about Mickey (TMNTK)*: Chapter 2

So the boys weren't outwardly surprised or excited about the announcement that we'd be heading straight to the airport.

In fact, Mini-Me actually reprimanded me:

"'s not nice to keep secrets. You shouldn't have kept this secret from me. That's not nice."
But, buddy, it wasn't a secret, was a surprise. We didn't tell you because we wanted it to be a surprise!
"No, daddy, it was a secret. And you shouldn't have kept it."
Point taken. No surprise parties or Cracker Jacks for Mini-Me.

The boys did great as we worked our way through security and down the concourse to our gate. Mini-Me was especially fascinated by the boarded up windows from the Good Friday tornado,  The Wubster was fascinated by the trucks driving around the tarmac.

On the plane I fought the good fight, constantly handing over coloring books and markers...different, daddy, different markers, V.Readers, iPods, apple juices, snacks, a half-dozen "Stop kicking the chair in front of you"s, a bakers dozen "Leave the tray up...or down...just leave it!"s, and umpteen dozen, "Shhh, please stop yelling...inside voice!"s.

By the end of the two hour flight, I was exhausted. I figured the boys, happy, but loud and hyper, had exhausted the patience of those around me, but then Mini-Me looked out his window on our final approach and announced he'd seen the moon. The man behind us tried several times to see the moon for himself to no avail, and instead struck up a conversation with Mini-Me before speaking to me,
"Man, your kids sure were quiet. I didn't hear 'em the whole flight. You really got 'em trained, dontcha?!?"
Yeah, I guess I do.
"Hon, did you even hear those kids in front of us? They must'a slept through that whole flight."
"No, they were awake. You were listening to your headphones the whole time. They were real good, though."
Well, thanks.
My mind danced between pride and confusion. My super-sensitive parenty-sense led me to believe the boys were incredibly loud, disrupting the entire plane, raising alarms that very nearly brought out the F-15 escorts and, yet, no one around me radiated exasperation in our direction.

Unfortunately, I still had to maintain control, usher the boys through the airport, find the Disney Magical Express line, keep The Wubster from whipping fellow travellers with the retractable lane markers, and wait 40ish minutes for a 30ish minute bus ride 120ish minutes past the boys' bedtime.

Luckily, the bus pulled up just in time...for Mini-Me to tell me he needed to "poop...real bad."

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Many Mini Posts about Mickey (TMNTK)*: Chapter 1

You've seen the commercials, right? The unsuspecting kids open the pizza box to discover their pepperoni 'n cheese has sprouted a set of iconic ears. Or the sisters sitting on the couch opening a box out of which spring balloons with a sign announcing, "We're going to Disney World!". Surprising your kids with a trip to Disney World looks exciting and adorable and perfect. Heck, watching those commercials even teases a tear or two out of my ducts...ahem...or, I mean...ummm...I'm allergic to cuteness. Yeah, that's it.

Once we decided that I'd fly down with the boys to meet Rach at her conference in Orlando so we could visit the park, my mind started mulling over potential methods of breaking the news to them. Eventually, I decided that we'd keep the trip a secret until the day of the trip when I would pick them up from preschool with Mickey Mouse balloons and have Rach on the phone to tell them that we were heading straight to the airport. They'd be thrilled! Especially after a couple days of "I miss mommy!"s

Here's how it turned out (Be forewarned...this is two minutes you may never get back!):

I won't wait up for a phone call from the Disney Corporation about the boys starring in their next commercial.

*The Mouse Not the opposed to Mickey (TKNTD) who stayed home because we're smarter than we look.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Many Mini Posts About Mickey (TMNTK)*: Prologue

Way back in January...
Rach: Hey...I'm thinking about going to this conference in June in Orlando. What do you think about bringing the boys down to stay with me and we could take them to The Magic Kingdom?
Me: [Apparently forgetting my brief visit to TMK in November during my own conference in Orlando when I swore the boys were too young and I was too impatient to haul them around the park like the frazzled parents I saw] Sure! That would be fun! They'll love it!
Over the next few days I'll regale you with tales from our brief forewarned. It's about to get REAL!**

*The Mouse Not the opposed to Mickey (TKNTD) who stayed home because we're smarter than we look.
** REAL CRAZY...cause we look smarter than we are!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Masters of Facades

It's what you work for as a parent: "Oh, your kids are so polite and well-behaved!"

In public.

I politely nod and agree and occasionally dish out an "Aw, shucks."

When we get home, though, the boys often flip their crazy switch, unleashing a full-on emotional assault, especially on weeknights when their pent up emotions from the day gurgle out and ooze throughout the house.
"No, Mini-Me! Is mine!"
"WuuuuubSTER! I had it first!" [Grabs and squeezes brother's arm]
"Owwweee!" [Checks brother into couch]
"Mommy! Wubster hurt me!"
"NoooooOOOO! Mini-Me hurt ME!"
So, tonight, when I decided to forgo the battle over eating dinner with Mickey (TKNTD) vs. playing longer and they played calmly and politely with each other, I thought I was on to something. They played, they shared, they spoke sweetly.

Oh, my kids ARE so polite and well-behaved.
The pipe-dream burst after Mickey was in bed and we finally sat down to dinner with the boys. Well, I wouldn't call it dinner. Train wreck, maybe.

And if dinner was a train wreck, the bedtime routine was a nuclear meltdown.

I know I take the kids' behaviour personally sometimes and get overly frustrated when they don't behave the way I know they can. I know they're overtired, they haven't developed the ability to keep emotions in check, they're learning the basics of sharing and getting along with others. In the heat of the tantrums, though, my emotions are strained as well. It's one of my biggest challenges as a parent.

With an upcoming major adventure with the boys, one in which I know their physical and emotional stamina will be put to the test, I worry that we'll spend more time attempting to diffuse bickering than actually enjoying time together.

I should probably heed my own advice and just chill.

I'll let you know how it goes.