Enlisting Help from Siblings (cause you need it!)

Not everyone who has multiples has help like I do.  No, I don’t mean my wife who of course is as helpful and loving as they come.  I am referring to my older son who will turn 5 this April.  His help with the the 2 years old twin tots has been essential in keeping them safe, happy and sometimes even fed!  I was able to write an article on this for the FATHERS OF MULTIPLES site so please take a look if you are looking for some advice on how to get those siblings to really chip in.

Operation Newborns- Getting Help From Siblings

The Day My Twin Stroller Died (and I almost cried)

 

It started out as an ordinary day in my life as a stay at home dad. Most mornings , my wife helps me get all 3 kids ready for the walk to school , where our firstborn is in pre-K. It’s about a 13 minute walk from our apartment (I can do it in 8).   After she leaves, I pack up the twins in our  5 year old, reliable, City Mini double stroller (it was a hand me down from a friend with twin boys). I make sure to grab cups of milk for the road, bundle up Justin, and head out for the walk. Sometimes, it is a harrowing journey depending on how the weather decides to treat us.

However, today, wifey takes Justin to school on her own and this spares me the journey. I was thankful to be able to stay in my pajamas for a few hours more until launching into the afternoon ritual of walking to pickup our son from school with the twins in tow.

But not today.

Shortly after I had masterfully put the twins to sleep using our  “Superman !” routine,  I checked my Phone and saw a text from my wife.  The school nurse has called her to say that Justin had thrown up at lunch, needed new pants, and must be picked up.  Oh dear.

Initially I was fearful that he was really ill since the  flu has been an epidemic this winter season.  Then, I was selfishly annoyed that I was a going to have to pack up to half sleeping kids into winter gear and take them with me to get Justin at least 2 hours earlier than I had planned.

Nevertheless, I went into hyper focus mode and proceeded to get myself dressed, grab the twins coats and socks and shoes, dress them while they were half asleep with all the stability of a bowls of jello, place them in our old reliable CityMini double  and we were out the door in record time(, if people kept records of uninteresting times that is).

I was accustomed to  taking this trip  every day early in the morning and late in the afternoon  since Justin started UPK.  I would see the same faces; adults bringing kids to school, local workers at the gas station always greeting us and neighbors on their way to work.

But I noticed that this was was different; it was the middle of the day, kids were already in school, most adults had arrived at their jobs already.   The streets were very empty, like a ghost town.

That’s when the wobbling started.  It did not strike me as odd since the stroller was sometimes shaky and the sidewalks are not level in all places.

Then I heard a cracking noise.

I stopped pushing the Stroller and looked down at two wheels that looked oddly familiar.  They were the same as the City Mini wheels.    That seemed odd.  The twins were still asleep and the concrete was cold, but not covered in snow, so I put on the safety brake to keep the stroller from moving and I stooped really low for a closer inspection.

Lo and behold, 2 of the 4 wheels had popped off, so my City Mini was down to 6 wheels.

I felt about 50 emotions in less than 10 seconds.

Anger.  Why is this happening now?  I have to get my sick son and now I have to deal with this?

Frustration.  This day has already been a mess, this makes everything much worse.

Fear.  How the heck am I gonna make it to my sons school on 6 wheels and back home?  What do I do if the other wheels fall off?  Carry the stroller on my back like ATLAS carrying the earth? Why are the streets so empty with no one to lend me a hand or ask if I need assistance?

Sadness.  This was the one emotion I didn’t expect expect to feel in this moment.  I was sad,   not just because the wheels falling off meant paying big bucks for a replacement, but because the wheels falling off meant that this trip to pick up my sick son would likely be the last time I could use the city mini again.

We had been through so many adventures, Trips to Vermont, trips to the Intrepid and so many more that would never happen.

After fiddling with the wheel and realizing the issue was beyond my limited mechanical skills, I took off the breaks, put the two broken wheels in the back pocket of the stroller, and took off up the block wheelbarrow style to continue my journey.

I arrived my son’s school 3 minutes later and after scaling the steps with the twins still asleep in the stroller because I was too stubborn go around the corner to use the wheelchair entrance, I pressed the buzzer to let the office know I had arrived to pick up my son.

Minutes later, they brought him downstairs in a pair of shorts I am pretty sure where not his because I had forgotten to put replacement clothes in his backpack for occasions just like this.  He did not look ill, but said he had fish sticks.  I am guessing they just did not agree with him because he ate like a horse the rest of the day without any issues.

Luckily, the walk home was much less eventful and the rest of the wheels stayed on the City Mini, with twins still fast asleep in their makeshift wheelbarrow stroller. Seeing the two wheels in the back pouch, my son asked question after question about what happened to the stroller. The  City Mini is still at its usual spot in our home.  For some reason, I did not have the heart to put it out that Friday night so it would be taken on the garbage truck Saturday morning.  It had been with us through so many good times  (and another family too). I did not want to rush to trash it quite yet.  It deserves (it’s still there) a few more days before being recycled, hopefully into a new deluxe city mini to be used by another family.

Sofia eventually woke up but was still sleepy so I put her on the couch with a blanket and, while Justin and I were playing in the bedroom, Jackson still slept in the stroller.  He slept until he woke up and half asleep tried to exit an imbalanced stroller.  Luckily the stroller is low to the ground. Justin and I heard a crash and rushed to the living room to find Jackson on the floor with a look on his face as if to say “What on earth did I miss?”   If you only knew, buddy.

Maybe I will read this story to him in a few years to get a good laugh.

Give Thanks at Thanksgiving (and 364 other days a year)

If you look at the picture I posted you’re probably wondering why I would be thankful that our car was broken into, the radio stolen, along with Bruno Mars CD the Day before Thanksgiving.

I’m thankful because we have insurance.

I’m thankful that we woke up to just a broken window and not an empty parking space.

I’m thankful this happened on the day when I have the babysitter so I could take care of stuff without having to drag the twins with me.

I’m thankful because my wife and I were able to team up and take care of all the issues surrounding the car.

I’m thankful I have a good memory so I can just sing 24 karat magic and Perm in my head until I get a new CD.

A part of me hopes that whoever stole the radio, will sell it and use the money to buy their family some food for Thanksgiving or put it towards something meaningful. Regardless it’s important to remember to be thankful in all situations, good and bad.

It’s not easy, but it helps.

#blessed

 

Where did I go?

Has it really been over a year since I last posted?  In a word:  Yes.

When I first started this site, I thought I would be a blogging machine in between diaper changes and nap times.  Come to find out, being a stay-at-home dad is MAD work (feel free to say “DUH” out loud like most people would say if this were an actual conversation).  Now, I knew this would be difficult coming in because I stayed home with my oldest son when he was just a few months old before going back to work full time along with my wife.  He is now 4 and quite the delightful handful himself.  But being home with twins is another animal that no singleton or set of books can really prepare you for.

While I can’t update you on everything I have been doing over the the last 12-18 months, I can tell you one of the big items I have been working on is a YouTube channel for kids where a pirate puppet named Captain Vernon (a stretch, I know) and a nerdy professor (yet another stretch, I know) do toy reviews combined with educational lessons on a variety of cool subjects.

The Professor (see picture to the left) even did a few live performances for kids recently talking about gravity, geysers, and green milk and was asked to return despite some terrible jokes.

But you might be wondering, why start blogging now after being home for almost 2 years.  Well, 2 reasons.

The first:  back when I first started this Stay-At-Home dad life, I did not have much to say.  I was learning on the fly for the most part, and could not really think of stuff to write that would be anything more than a paragraph or 2 about what had happened in any given week.  I figured a few updates to friends and family on Facebook would cover that.

My second reason for starting this up again:  this photo.

To give you some context, it was taken by a reporter who did an article about spending 72 hours at the world’s largest Stay-At-Home Dad convention hosted by the National At-Home Dad Network in Portland this past September.   I wanted to attend last year, but could not work out the details and this year posed similar problems.  But when I saw all these dads wearing masks for the photo to show a sense a unity, 2 things came to mind.

First:  Because I am child of the 80’s and 90’s (amazing decades on their own, epic when combined), I immediately remembered the masks the robbers used in the classic Patrick Swayze (RIP) and Keanu Reeves movie Point Break and how I need to watch that movie again simply for nostalgia’s sake (yes those robbers used presidential masks but still..).

The second thought that hit me:  where are the black, brown and tan masks?

This is not to say I have any issue with National At-Home Dad Network or the photo.  I am sure the attendees wore the mask that best represented them and that there are masks in other colors as well.  MY issue is with people of color representing at all events, but especially when it comes those events that show how much we love caring for our kids.  Seeing this photo helped me realize that I have a voice and a perspective that could be helpful to all people of all backgrounds, but may be even more helpful to that brother out there caring for his kids on his own because he is the only breadwinner, or the brother who stays home with the kids because he just loves to do it and his wife loves that he does it willingly (and also because the babysitter comes in once a week to give him a full 8 hours of freedom).

Either way, to quote the terrible, terrible Will Smith movie Wild Wild West, maybe if I start planning for the 2018 SAHD Convention  (sounds like a downer as an acronym), I will be able to a “…add color to these monochromatic proceedings”.  In the movie’s defense, this is one of the funnier scenes with Smith and Branagh going tit for tat with comments that highlight Smith being black and Branagh being stuck in a wheelchair but that is a blog for another day.

So, I am back on the scene for as long as I can be and hope I can bring a perspective that is helpful to dads and moms (and all caregivers) alike.

Daily posts?  Doubtful.

Weekly posts?  Maybe.

Monthly posts?  Likely.

Subjects will run the gamut from childcare to Netflix reviews to some Paw Patrol commentary and everything in between.  No subject is out of bounds!  Except maybe politics…

Whatever happens, I look forward to sharing it with you.

Let’s do this!

coolminivandad

 

We Are The Champions!

A few weeks ago, my 2 and ½ year old son Justin went back to daycare after being off for a week from Christmas Eve thru New Years.  To be perfectly blunt, the morning routine of getting him out the house for the first few days was…less than pleasant.  Crying, kicking off of shoes, snotty noses.  And don’t get me started on how Justin was acting.   He calms down once he arrives at daycare and sees his friends and teachers, but leaving the house was a nightmare for me and the wife because he naturally wants to stay home with me and the twins since that was the routine for over a week.

Also, as anyone who knows me knows, I am a blast to hang out with, so who can blame him for not wanting to leave.

This got me to thinking about Father/Son relationships since I have now that I have 2 sons of my own.  My mom and dad have always told me that growing up, I was stuck to my dad like glue and when he left the room, I would go searching for him like a lost puppy.  I dispute these facts, but it was so long ago I will choose to believe was I am told.  When my dad comes over to see me (really to see the grandkids) he tells me the same story mainly because is further cements his feeling of being awesome.

So for all the fathers (and mothers) out there, cherish those times when your children don’t want to let you out of their site or even let go of you physically.  It may seem annoying when you feel like you need a crowbar to dislodge them from their car seat when they stiffen up like a piece of plywood in front of school as you attempt to get them out of the car without looking like an unfit parent to onlookers, but it is a beautiful thing to be loved on almost any level.  I hope there will not be a future where I can barely get a “Hello” from my kids or a hug, but I know it is a future that is possible.  I am doing my best to avoid that scenario daily! Lot of hugs, some limited Ipad time, and the occasional French fries or Munchkins as a treat can be amazing motivators.

This into leads me into a “great” memory growing up.

Many dads play sports with their kids.  Many dads enjoy defeating their kids at sports and rue the day when their son or daughter finally defeats them at backgammon or racketball (yes those are the 2 examples I have.  I was a private school kid my whole life, and my other athletic skills were limited to middle school basketball so leave me alone).  For me, I hated losing to my dad because of one thing: THE SONG.

Whenever he was victorious, which was often when I was young, he would stand up, shake his fist in the air as if rolling a pair of dice and sing his specially crafted victory song that I thought he had written just for me.  It features lyrics about how he would “always win in the end” and how there was “no time for losers” and being “the champion of the world”.  If you know music at all, you will already see where I am going with this.  He would hold each note as long as he could to make the song feel like eternity.

My mom hated this.

When I was around 10 years old, I remember driving somewhere with my dad and the radio was on some rock station.  A song that I had never heard before came on that started“I’ve paid my dues, Time after time, I’ve done my sentence, But committed no crime, And bad mistakes…”  Having never heard the song before, I had no idea the chorus to come.

We are the champions – my friends
And we’ll keep on fighting
Till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions of the World

I turned to my dad with my mouth hanging open.  He had been torturing me with a song by the classic rock band Queen.  Not even an original song.  I could not believe it.  All he could do was look at me and laugh.  The secret was out.  Needless to say, he sang the song a bit less since I was in on the joke.  Also, I started beating him at sports as games a lot more, so maybe the song revelation was motivation for me.

We still laugh about it to this day, but I say this because I still feel close to my dad and he loves being a grandparent.  Still not very good at changing diapers, but makes a great wrestling buddy for my oldest son who attacks him the minute he lays down on the rug.  He was not a perfect dad, but none of us are perfect anythings (bad grammar I know).  But moments like those are the ones that stay with me and I hope I can make lots of memories like those with my three.

A few snowmen when the weather finally calms down will be a start.

Better late than never…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Well, it only took me a little over a month,  but here is my first post for my blog coolminivandad.com since becoming a Stay at Home Dad (yes the acronym is SAHD)Let me start by saying:  This SAHD Life ain’t no joke #SAHDLife.

I will go more into that as the months go on, but rest assured, I have changed more diapers, than I care to admit and have unintentionally watched more episodes of the terrible, terrible “reality”show Love & Hip Hop than anyone should .   I say “reality” because these shows are as scripted(sometimes even more so) as any sitcom or drama on tv so they are not as real as they try they to advertise.  That diatribe will be for a later post…..

I just want to take this time let you know what you can expect from this site and how often.  I will post when I can and the subjects will be a varied as you can imagine.  Everything from personal parenting tips (Diaper Genies: Miracle or Menace?) to my real life celebrity encounters (like my recent run in with Cousin Larry from the classic 90’s sitcom Perfect Strangers), even some classic tales from my childhood (like The Christmas Day LEGO Incident) and anything else I get the time to write .  Maybe a movie review if me and the missus can ever get to an actual theatre and get someone to babysit times 3!  We are taking childcare offers people!

I hope what write will be funny, insightful and relevant to you or somebody you know.  It might be 2 pages long, it might be a paragraph, it might be just a few words.  It really depends on how much time my twins and 2.5 year old will allow me at any given time and how far behind I am on any given house chore (right now laundry and dishes are neck and neck with Christmas toy clean up and vacuuming closing in fast)

At my current rate, I will to post at least once a month, so feel free come back every month around then or sooner.  Hey, if you have some good subjects for me to tackle and just want to say hey, shoot me an email at coolminivandad@gmail.com!

Thanks for taking a few minutes to look, SAHD Out!

VG2