Er-da-ger-da-gerda is a word. Well, at least to my twins it is. At least now they do us the courtesy of pointing and using dramatic expressions to convey their needs. Maybe even a real proper English word as we clearly don’t speak their language. A couple of nights ago I was putting them to bed in our great big master bed (don’t even ask, we have given up!) and instead of things settling down into quiet sleep I hear “gergda-gur”, then from the other direction I hear “Girda-girda-ger”. Oh it’s on now. Gerda-gerda-gerda-ger into infinity until they were both rolling around laughing. Then one stood up and the other shot up and they were jumping up and down laughing in the dark, screeching now “gerda-ger-gerda-ger”. I pulled them down by their shirts and squashed all the fun. I was laughing on the inside though.
My mother in law just had major back surgery. The surgeons took out an entire vertebrae and fused her spine back together with plates. My wife, father in law, one aunt and myself spent 8 long hours in a hospital waiting room. Oh boy was it nice.
I am so hard up for some quiet time and uninterrupted adult conversation that this day at the hospital was just what the doctor ordered (pun intended). I spent hours reading a book that didn’t have cartoons in it (Collapse by Jared Diamond). I talked politics, had a robust group review of the hospital cafeteria cuisine (meh…. not too bad) and got to spend more time talking to my wife than in the previous week combined. I didn’t think about my kids almost at all and after hearing the surgery was successful, I went home with an unusual feeling: I was relaxed.
When I came home my parents did their best to look undefeated after 10 hours of running hard with the twins. From what I can tell they spent most of the next day recovering. Parenting is hard work. My mom is having knee surgery next month. A full replacement. That should take at least four hours right? It will be so nice, just don’t tell my mother.
Let it be proclaimed that watermelon is, at this time, the biggest deal in my household. It is the magic elixir that soothes achy teeth, calms hissy fits, satisfies a hungry tot long enough to get dinner made and may be the only food enjoyed by all five members of the house. Even the chickens and dog like it and they just get the rind.
Be warned there are some drawbacks to this wonder fruit. Upon opening the refrigerator any twin within the vicinity will descend on me pointing at the plastic wrapped watermelon on the shelf saying “wa-wa”. If it’s Clappy and you don’t give him watermelon you can expect a full and complete meltdown including writhing on the floor, rolling into the wall and possibly blowing snot bubbles out of his nose. Often times it is easier to give in and cut them a fresh slice. Sadly I must admit I have taken to glancing to see who’s around before I open the fridge and then if it’s clear, getting what I need out as fast as possible.
Another drawback is the juice. While a big part of the watermelon experience is the juiciness it makes for a sticky situation. You can follow a trail of watermelon drippings through our house, eventually either finding a rind or a child with said rind. That child will be wet and sticky and happy and he will certainly want more watermelon. A watermelon session means new shirts, hands and face cleaned, cleanup of the floor and a very likely hissy fit from Clappy and a halfhearted copycat hissy fit from Morty when I cut them off.
In fact I will tell you a story. It’s a story about a story really. That’s two layers of story so try and keep up, Ok? This very night I was at the dinner table after a long fun day. They had their two year birthday party so they had been treated very well. They had eaten about half of their dinner when Clappy started pointing to the large oval shaped green watermelon sitting a foot away from him. Due to logistics this was the best place for it at the moment. Anyhow, I found myself saying “No more watermelon. You have eaten way too much, no Watermelon for you on Sunday”. This is funny because of an inside joke. A joke which I am now letting you in on. I made up a story for the four year old when he was their age that goes like this:
Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved to eat watermelon. In fact she loved to eat watermelon so much she ate one whole watermelon every single day.
On Monday she ate a watermelon.
On Tuesday she ate a Watermelon.
On Wednesday she ate a watermelon
On Thursday and Friday she ate a watermelon.
Then the next day was Saturday and it was her day off and she was so hungry she ate two whole watermelons all by herself.
Now the next day was Sunday and her mamma came outside and she said “Girl you eat too much watermelon. No watermelons for you on Sunday!”
So the little girl sat down and said “well if I can’t eat watermelons on Sunday, then I’d better try some other kinds of fruit”…..
The story goes on, but now you can see why that is funny. I lived a part of my story today and it made me laugh. It was a sweet moment. Sweet just like watermelon.
Top 10 signs of a burned out parent
- Silence is your new favorite band. If you could you would listen to them all the time
- You suddenly feel guilty for most of your childhood and want to apologize profusely to your parents, especially for the teenage years
- You start dreaming in cartoon
- Instead of thinking about sex you have fantasies of a great big empty bed you could nap in.
- During actual sex you keep thinking you hear a baby crying, a musical toy going off or the sound of a grandparent unlocking the front door.
- You start considering how quickly clothing will get ruined by food, milk, poop or vomit when shopping
- You plan meals based on what takes the least amount of effort to cook rather than taste or nutrition
- You start to resent people in their twenties
- You start to admire people who have retired and taken to some eccentric hobby like collecting rare cactus or building wood furniture
- You realize you are turning into your parents
Being a kid is dangerous and that’s a big part of the fun. From the youthful eye it’s adventure, exploration or just getting your parents to freak out. I made an art of it myself: building a lightening rod for monsoon season, free climbing to the roof, lying at the bottom of the pool to freak people out and the time I put a flat pointed cleaver knife against my arm so it looked like I was stabbed and then ran into my moms room screaming. Yeah, I’m sure karma is going to get me back soon.
The twins are 1 year 11 months and 20 days. At 1 year, 11 months and 13 days something changed. They got, bigger, smarter and most importantly learned the art of scaring the living hell out of their parents: pushing chairs up to the counter and turning on the oven, opening the dishwasher and promptly removing all the knives, climbing out of the crib and surprising us in bed, plugging things into the outlet (successfully!) and various other forms of baby suicide have all been attempted since that day. Now before you picture me as some inept buffoon, understand that these things are happening in a very short time frame while my wife or I are distracted with one of the other two hellions. Are they already working together? “Hey Clappy, you go throw a fit in the living room so I can get this here mouse trap set” Morty would say as Clappy ran towards us crying. They’re twins, they can probably just look at each other and say it.
Never have I been so tempted to buy them leashes. They do act like little dogs after all.
They are starting a half day preschool program and I’m not sure the school knows what they are in for. They went to summer camp for a couple weeks there so I think they have an idea. We are just hoping that when the school inevitably calls us up, that they are hurting and terrorizing each other and not the other kids in class. My wife has taken to lovingly calling them “The tyrants of Tar Tar”, which is the name of their new classroom. Maybe being around other polite and less danger-centric children will turn them around. Maybe they will grow wings. Maybe I need to take a deep breath and go see what they are doing right now. It’s awfully quiet all of a sudden.
Let me tell you about ants. I’m qualified to do so because I live in Ant Capital, USA. Tucson Arizona and the Sonoran desert are home to more ant species than anywhere else in the United States of America. Therefore I am a specialist, so listen up. Our charming 1922 adobe bungalow house is about as sealed as an open air chicken coop. I jest, but having no foundation, hard wood floors and old doors makes for a challenging time when it comes to ant invasions. Then there are the ones in the yard! Cute little black ones that walk in a line up the wall, aggressive red fire ants that invade our home at the first sign of rain, big black one’s that swarm the ground by the hundreds after a good monsoon. If those ones bite you a few times you start to feel high, like you might start hallucinating. Some neurotoxin hitting my brain I’m sure. Then there are the big fast red one’s that Clappy took a liking to.
You see, he got his first ant bite the other day by a big red fellow who was racing along the cement in front of the porch. As usual it only took a couple seconds of spirited adult banter and distraction for Clappy to get a shot at catching that ant. If I was two I would fucking love ants. They’re small, fast, colorful and they look tasty. He grabbed the ant then quickly dropped it, looking concerned. That’s when we all noticed, exactly when he got bit. At first he played it cool like “ah come on, you know me guys! I meant to do that. It’s a joke!” and then tried to look busy, but soon he started to feel it. He shook his hand like it might fly off and then started crying, pulling on his thumb. Pobre sito, poor thing! Some cartoons and a snuggle with his mama and life was good again. The first of many ant bites here in Ant Capital USA.
There must be metal in the twins mouth. Why else would they be so attracted to magnets?
Morty is learning the fundamentals of a market economy. When I bring him a snack he often produces something from his mouth to trade with me. Lately it’s been a rock or a paperclip but sometimes it’s a penny! Real currency, before the age of two? Man I know who I’m going to for stock tips in a few years.
Seriously though, the twins are sooooo different than the 4 year old was at their age. We were so spoiled with Zimms! When he was 22 months he was memorizing Shel Silverstein poems and reading us a bedtime story! Now I’m just happy if the dishwasher doesn’t get restarted 40 times a day and the twins aren’t eating dirt. Ah relativity, you tricky old dog!