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.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Working Together: Weekdays and Weekends

Life with two kids is simply busier.  If you wait for several years, as we did, between progeny, you quickly forget just how long changing diapers, unfolding strollers, and feeding a manic ball of energy that refuses to open his mouth unless you make airplane noises takes.

During the week, there's little "cushion" when it comes to time, at least for the hours between 6:30am and 9:00pm.  The kids and Mama have to leave by 7:30am for everyone to get to school and work on time, and dinner has to be on the table no later than 7:00pm for all of us to eat together before bath time.

So far, we've made it work (well, we've survived).  As somewhat of a surprise to us both, Mimi has stepped up to help make this happen.

In the morning, Mimi helps out by being the last to wake up.  This lets us feed Kuri, get him dressed, and get his clothes and milk ready for daycare.  On some morning Mimi wake up and dress herself and Kuri looks on, usually with one of Mimi's stuffed animals in his mouth.  By 7:30, it's time to put the kids in the car.
When Mama and the kids get home in the evening, Papa usually has dinner mostly prepared.  Unpredictable traffic has taught him not to finish until the family walks through the door.  In order for Mama to get changed following a long day at work, and for Papa to finish dinner, the kids play in the family room.  Kuri is partial to a box these days.  He seems to be partial to Amazon boxes, of which we have a nearly endless supply.
Mimi likes to help out her little brother as her parents are running around getting everything ready for the evening.  Here she is helping Kuri with his stacking cups.
It's rather amazing.  With us she is the embodiment of impatience, but with Chris, she's a teacher.  She really loves showing him how things work.  
After dinner, it's time for Kuri's bath (still done with a baby bath in the kitchen sink).  Mimi usually uses this for a little "me" time and heads to her table to paint, draw, or study.  
Once Kuri goes to bed, there's usually about 30 minutes to an hour for Mimi to hang out with Mama and Papa.  The other day she decided that she was on call, just like Mama.  She took a ton of calls that evening.  I was very proud of her.  She only broke down once because she was so busy.  "I can't help you right now.  This whole day has been super busy!"  Ok, Mimi.  Finish up that consult.  It's time for your bath.
When we moved into our new home we were a little uncertain if we'd ever really use the jetted soaking tub in the middle bath.  Mama and Papa will use it occasionally for soaking, but Mimi, she adores it.   After every bath with hit the jets and the slightly soapy water is transformed into a bubble wonderland.
The other day Papa built Mimi a Capsela jet boat to race through the waters.  No bubbles for this one.
Weekends, at least when Sumie isn't on call, are a bit more relaxing.  Mimi loves to help Mama bake.  Here she is getting ready to prepare a sponge cake.
This year's "Global Warming California Fall" has meant it's still more than hot enough to go swimming.  Christopher didn't take to the wading pool much at first (he doesn't like the water to be too deep), but before long, he was having a blast.  
Perhaps he came to like it because his big sister was so, um, enthusiastic about splashing.
There's often time to bang out a tune on the piano as well.  
It's very heartwarming to see my kids playing the keyboard of the piano my grandfather restored for my father - the same keyboard I learned to play when I was their age.  That reminds me.  I still need to have it tuned.
And of course, no weekend would be complete without some time that defies explanation.  Even Kuri has no idea what is going on in Mimi's head.  All he knows is that the chair isn't spinning anymore!
Although life with these two is assuredly busy, it's a good kind of busy.  I always wondered if I'd miss my free time once kids came along.  Occasionally, of course, I do miss having a quiet afternoon or a free morning, but living with these two more than makes up for that.  Who knew I'd rather spin a one year old around in a living room chair than do just about anything else.