Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mama on Call, Papa on Duty

Any spouse of a doctor will know the dread that comes with the phrase: "It's my call weekend."  And so it was this last weekend for us.  As Sumie went into days 6 and 7 of her 12 day work week, I entered two days of kid-ruled chaos.  All call weekends have their challenges, but this one was something special.

Now those of you who are familiar with Mimi and Kuri may think that a weekend alone with the two would be like this...
...but it's far more like this.

Kuri (in toddler body English): Smell my butt!
Mimi: I'm not going to smell your butt!  Papa, Kuri wants me to smell his butt!
Our Saturday began with gymnastics.  Mimi was either absurdly excited to go, or had somehow picked up some crack on the way home from preschool and decided to smoke it up before we left the house.  All went well, despite a bandaid falling off and consistent cries of "My foot hurts!" as she scampered around the floor giggling madly.

Upon getting home, we put Kuri down for his morning nap.  Mimi had a project for me.  We took apart her toy car and then put it back together.  This we got from Great Grandma on a recent visit.  It's a Playskool toy from the 60s or 70s that you can completely take apart and then build again using plastic nuts and bolts.  I have no idea why they don't make toys like this anymore.  It doesn't make any noise, it doesn't take any batteries, and it actually teaches a child how to think mechanically. I wish we had more like this on the shelves today.
After working on the car, it was time to dive into the activity Mimi had been requesting all week: building her Gingerbread house from Trader Joe's.  Sumie had picked up a kit a few days back, and all Mimi could think about was putting it together.  As Kuri slept, we applied icing and built the structure.
Mim got the hang of it pretty quickly.  Before long she was laying down icing as mortar and applying jelly beans, candy bats, and bones everywhere.
As soon as Kuri woke, Mimi invoked the other activity she'd been promised this weekend: "Pumpkin Patch!"  We drove down to a nearby pumpkin patch that had the requisite bouncy houses (this was Mimi's request).  Mimi enjoyed bouncing...
...and hurtling down the slide.
I have to say that I'm pretty proud of her.  In many of the bouncy houses there were gangs of 3-6 year old boys doing what they do best - going crazy.  Mimi simply fought her way through and made it to the slides like a champ.

Kuri was a bit more stoic.  Too young to take part in the bouncy fun, he hung out with Papa and reflected on life's bigger questions, like "Will I really be able to eat this entire biscuit?"
Sunday morning we braved a trip to Costco.  After Kuri's first nap, it was time to head out.  That meant changing him and, unfortunately, Kuri has learned to roll, scoot, and scamper faster than my hands can fly.  Of course, he does this most expertly when naked from the waist down.  I've found hats are a good distraction.  At least for a few seconds.
Soon we were ready to go.  Kuri pointed the way.  He often points the way these days. Unfortunately, the way is usually just the ceiling.
 Just as we were stepping out the door, Mimi insisted that she couldn't go to Costco without a cape.  This turned into an entire outfit by the end.  Here she is with her cape, sunglasses, and homemade wallet (in which there was, sadly, no money).
The shopping went well all the way through check-out.  Then, things started turning ugly.  As we walked by the concession stand, Mimi insisted that she needed a smoothie.  Looking at the line 20 people deep and moving with the speed of a lethargic glacier, I decided we didn't.  Mimi, as you might imagine, felt differently.  By the time we got to the car, this is what I was pushing.  Utter disregard for the hard working Papa.
That was just the start of the troubles, though.  We got in the car and I turned it over.  No problem there.  I put it in reverse, and the engine died.  I started her up again.  Same thing.  I tried drive.  Same thing.  My little BMW wagon has served us faithfully for over 5 years, but that Sunday, she just wasn't having it.  Eventually, by holding down the brake and gunning the engine to get the car into drive or reverse without stalling, and then running all stop signs, we limped home.  I flew into the driveway, cursing that my car had an automatic transmission (not my choice, but that's another post). Still, despite nearly being stranded, I was proud of my little car.  She was hurting, but saw us home.

Once back, Kuri decided it was time to call Mama.  He picked up the nearest remote control...
...and then held it against his ear.  I was kind of amazed at this, but also thankful.  If he's pretending to make a call, at least that probably means Sumie and I are using our phones to talk with other people more than browse the interwebs when we're around the kids.
When Sumie got home, it had been a rough weekend, but we'd all survived.  We enjoyed dinner together and attempted to get an early night's sleep.  Monday found me taking the little BMW into the shop (thankfully, it's not a terminal case) and getting a rental to tide us over.

This afternoon, I finished the principle writing on a massive project I'd been developing for work.  To celebrate, and to get groceries for dinner, I ditched the rental and took Kuri for his first ride in the Porsche.
He was pretty startled when the engine fired up, but overall, I think he liked it.
Driving Kuri around in the 911, I realized just how many firsts he's had in his first year that I didn't experience until 5, 10, 20, or even 30 years later.  He's travelled throughout the US.  He's been to Japan.  He's learning two languages.  He's even ridden in a BMW and a Porsche.  I have a few days left before his first birthday for the two of us to share our first drive in a Ferrari.  So, if anyone can help us out, please let me know.

The weekend was rough, but for all the challenges, I still had a great time.  I came away happy.  I think that's one of the great (but still painful) aspects of call weekends.  They remind you just how painful parenting can be, but also remind you that you'd never have it any other way.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

World's Best Dad, Until...

I have a feeling every dad has been through this.

You're the world's greatest dad.  The kid is ecstatic, you're happy, everyone is laughing.  And then, everything falls apart.

I think that's the nature of dads.  It's not always stable.  The highs are always punctuated by the "What the hell were you thinking"s.   At least that's been my case.

Tonight, I was doing well.  I had just fed Kuri and tucked him into bed.  He'd only needed one readjustment of his burp-cloth and he was off to dreamland.  I came out of his room feeling good. Mimi wanted to play.  More accurately, she wanted to swing.

Now, I've done this a hundred times.  I hold Mimi by the hands and the wrists, swing her between my legs, and then up into the air.  Of course, I'd only done this outside or in the family room.  Tonight, Mimi ambushed me in the kitchen.  Already feeling good for getting one kid down so smoothly, I thought, "What the hell, let's give it a go."

First swing, "More Papa!"  Second swing, "More Papa!"  Third swing... oh my god, the kitchen light fixture just shattered.

A bit dazed, I held Mimi in my arms and then set her down where, stupidly, I thought she was out of range of the shattered glass.  I surveyed the damage.  "It could be worse." I thought.  And then it was. To my right I heard a scream of "Bloooooooooood!"  Mimi had cut her foot.  I'd gone from great dad to negligent monster in one swing.  Such is the life of a dad.

Sumie and I cleaned up the mess and Mimi was bandaged up.  I have to say I'm awfully proud of my little girl.  She was a little scared at first, but soon her curiosity got the better of her.  "Why is there blood on the floor?  Why does my foot hurt?  How many band-aids are you going to put on my foot?" I think Mimi's going to make a great doctor someday.  She really was a bit frightened at first, but she was far more interested in what happened and why.

Mimi ended up with 3 band-aids.  She was very excited to have so many at one time.  It was a new record.
As you can see, the initial scare soon switched over to interest and excitement.  Mimi was very good at keeping her foot elevated.  I'm not sure if she really knows what that means yet, but nonetheless, she did a great job!
This evening's wayward adventures followed a packed, but very rewarding weekend.  On Saturday, Mimi and Kuri visited their Great Grandma.  We brought a cake to celebrate, which both Mimi and Great Grandma enjoyed.
As is the case with all grandparents, the grandkids were spoiled.  Kuri enjoyed opening his gifts.
Although here I think he is coveting whatever his big sister was opening.
Back in NYC, we didn't get to see Great Grandma much, but now that we're closer, it's nice to be able to get together.  I think this picture sums up the day well.  Notice that I'm not in it.  There was a picture with me, but unfortunately, both kids were screaming.  Again, the life of a dad is a mixed bag.
On Sunday, Mimi got another dose of gymnastics.  She absolutely loves the foam pit.  Perhaps she has a kinship with the trash compactor monster from Star Wars.  I'll have to ask her next time we watch it.
Sunday afternoon, Sumie headed into the city to meet with friends and took the two kids.  I also ventured into the city for a going away party for a friend of mine.  All told, I think Sumie and I spent two hours together the entire day.  Still, she got some great pics of the kids.  Here's Kuri enjoying a swing in the park.
He's not quite as timid as his big sister was when it comes to swinging.  After all, he is a boy.
Lately, Mimi has been obsessed with the Lego Movie.  I can't really complain, as it's one of the best kids' movies I've seen in ages.  She decided to build her own Lego town, complete with ocean, on her little table in the family room.
Kuri is now quite independent.  He's crawling, cruising, sitting up, and standing on his own. Sometimes he likes  to pretend he's an 80 year old fire fighter from the 1920s.
Mostly, he just likes exploring.  Here he is in the kitchen looking for pots, pans, and tupperware to spread across the kitchen floor.
When Kuri came along (as I'm sure I've said before), I was worried at how Mimi might not get along with him.  Thankfully, I couldn't be more proud of her.  She's a wonderful big sister.   
Now, if only I could be as good of a dad, I'd have everything wrapped up.