Archives for August 2011

Yin and Yang, I Tell Ya! (part 2)

Last week, Baby A had her g-tube surgery.  (G-tube is short for gastrostomy tube–a hole in her tummy leading to her stomach, so that I can plug in a tube and feed her Pediasure at my whim.)  Baby B had this same surgery three months ago, so I knew what to expect in terms of the kiddo’s discomfort and how recovery goes.

Well.  So much for thinking I knew what I was doing.  Baby B is a (well, not to mince words) constant complainer.  He’s a bit whiny and dramatic on a good day.  After his g-tube surgery, he was a little whimpery (this was major surgery, under general anesthesia, for crying out loud), but he sacked up and got his Man Card.  He begged to eat the second he awoke from surgery, and he never required anything more than Motrin for pain.

Baby B, however, is very sensitive.  She is such a joy and is so light-hearted.  She complains about nothing, ever.  She had her g-tube surgery last week.  She woke up confused, and I took her bewilderment very personally–I was the one to assure her that everything would be okay, but she woke up and I wasn’t there (yet) and she was in such pain.  I gave our nurses strict instructions to stay on top of her pain management, which meant morphine every two hours.  The morphine made the kiddo sick, though.  So we stopped the morphine (when we finally did some root cause analysis and made the connection between the narcotics and her upset tummy) and dropped her down to Oxycontin (she is FOUR!  they let four year olds take hydrocodone!).  And she threw up for two days after that.  She threw up in the car.  She threw up in Safeway.  She threw up in her wheelchair.  The girl who can’t stand to even have sugar from a snickerdoodle cookie on her hands drove home with bile on them.  I don’t mean to gross you out, but it was just so sad.

So there we have it–my boy who pretty much cries wolf was a piece of cake.  My girl, who had the same procedure and who is sweeter than a honeybee’s bum, was incredibly difficult.

Nothing can be the same.  These two kids can never seem to make things easy for us. I just wish they didn’t need any of these procedures.  I hate it all.  It’s easier if they take it in stride, like my little trooper Kyle did this time.  But when sweet Lauren is suffering, I suggest the entire world pause and let’s help her feel better.  Yes?  I think so.


Cassandra can be found on Twitter @aclevergirl.  Learn more about her family’s unique challenges and why they have hope for a cure for muscular dystrophy at Byrds for a Cure.

Under Siege: Orbit

One of the toughest moments I’ve had as a parent, so far, happened exactly 2 years and 2 days ago. That was the day before my twin daughters, Emma and Maddie, were born. Yeah, Friday was their birthday, and that’s a very exciting thing around here. But in my heart, this day is also the anniversary of the day our oldest daughters world changed too.

There was always, like most parents I suspect, a very elevated spot that we placed our first child on. We didn’t spoil her…well, we tried not to spoil her, but she was the center of our world. We orbited around her. Her happiness, safety and health were the most important thing to her mother and I. We took grief from Grandma at times because we didn’t let her stay overnight at her house. Not because we didn’t trust Grandma, but because we didn’t want to be away from her that long. We wanted her to wake up in her home, in her bed, with her Mommy and Daddy right there if she needed them.

In hindsight, we kind of did her a disservice, in a way, by being so attentive and centering all in our life around her so much. Now, at 5 years old, she can hardly stay the night away from her parents without getting upset and typically having to be picked up early because she wants her Mom and Dad.  Sorry about that, Sydney.

I’m sure it’s not a unique consideration, my reasons for feeling this way. The day that my very pregnant wife and I went to the hospital to bring these twin midgets into our world, we took a few moments and sat on the hearth of my mother’s living room fireplace, knowing all was about to change in our lives. I remember the feeling, and acknowledging so, that these were our last moments as a family of three: Mom, Dad and Sydney. Soon, we’d be bringing the twins home and everything would change.  How would I ever love these two kids as much as I love their big sister? How can we do this to Sydney? How is she going to handle not being the center of our attention…. She was sun which around which we orbit?

Last week, Sydney started Kindergarten. It was a big, emotional event in our family that day too. We were excited for all the reason a parent gets excited about these things. Mostly, we were proud of how Syd was meeting a new challenge head-on and with excitement. Her first day entering this new world just made me think of how things have changed, and how they’ll continue to change as we all grow as a family. Thinking about that change made me reflect back to that day 2 years ago.

Emma and Maddie will never know the impact that they’ve had on our lives in such a wonderful and challenging way. Today, though, that question of  “How am I going to be able to love these two as much as I love their big sister” has been answered: How could I not?

So, we celebrate Emma & Maddie’s birthday, and Sydney’s Big Sister Day…The biggest change though, not that they’re getting older or maturing in new ways, it’s that all 5 of us now move around each other, pushing and pulling in a comfy, noisy, baked-goldfish fueled low orbit.

Happy Birthday Emma & Maddie… and Happy Big Sister Day, Syd.

Happy 7th Birthday Rachel!


Today you turn 7. Each year that goes by… you share with us something new that makes you uniquely you. You laugh is infectious. Your smile so sweet. Your dark eyes… so brown they’re almost black… shine with a happiness that everyone should know.

There was a time you were fearful to try new things… like swimming or riding your bike without the training wheels… but lately… you seem fearless. You take on challenges with a reckless abandonment that tests even me! Your favorite gift this year? A skateboard. Thankfully, it comes with pads and a helmet.

I hope you ride that skateboard til the wheels fall off and you ask for another. And another. I want your thirst for adventure to continue to grow. My sweet, fair, kind Rachel. Watching you become who you’ll eventually be is the most amazing experience of my life. I will be there for you and help to guide you in the best way that I can. I will keep you safe as you navigate through this world because I love you Rachel. And I always will.


The twins, who just turned four, lately have spent time meticulously developing the funnest game ever. Something this epically age-appropriate could have been refined only after compiling the data from focus group upon focus group–one would think.

This game involves no boards or pieces or colorful pretend money.  All you need are two young children trapped in high chairs with no toys within actual reach.  Each child calls out, “Mine!”, as if he or she was claiming a pretend something of value as their own–such as a Leapster®, or a ball of fuzz, or the errant Spanx® irrevently tossed off into the corner of my bedroom from last weekend.  And so it goes, with each child laying claim to the imaginary thing of value, alternating squeals of glee with squeals of bossiness.

The critical thing here–the absolute crux of game rules–is that the “Mine!” shrieking must be at specific decibal and hertz* levels.  I don’t have the metrics back yet on those two, but I can tell you how to know when the decibal and hertz are at the proper levels:  it’s that point in the children’s volume when you can’t decide whether or not to die or run away forever.  But the great thing about being unable to make such a decision is that your four-year olds will repeat “Mine! Mine! Mine!  No, Mine!” until you’ve had a good, long chance to contemplate which card you should draw.

Games where children pretend fight over pretend toys should be as illegal as reclining your business-class seat on an airplane.  Don’t be jerk–people just shouldn’t do certain things.  Talking to you, four year olds.

*I’m not sure if “hertz” is an appropriate term here, or if “hertz” is measured in “levels”.  I am a liberal arts graduate–and frazzled parent of young twins–so the slack you best be cutting me, yo.


Cassandra can be found on Twitter @aclevergirl.  Learn more about her family’s unique challenges and why they have hope for a cure for muscular dystrophy at Byrds for a Cure.

From first-time Dad to just a Dad

Note from the Editor: Happy Friday friends! It’s time for some Dad Stalking! This week we hear from my good friend, Alan Kercinik, out of Chicago. Alan writes his own blog, Always Jacked, and I’m so humbled that he finds time between his real job, his family, and his blog to write once a month for lil’ ol’ me. Thanks Alan! This week, we get a glimpse into the life of a father who’s expecting his second son. Don’t be afraid to leave a comment! Ask questions! Participate! We love it. Thanks for reading each week. xo -Kel

Our second son is due in six weeks.

Six weeks.

It sounds awful to say this, but sometimes I almost forget that we’re having another kid. Not forget, exactly. Clearly I know my wife is pregnant. I’ve been to the doctor’s with her. I’ve heard his heartbeat.

But just like you don’t ever really forget your first love, you don’t forget the experience of having your first child. Firsts of anything take all of your energy and thought.

Every doctor’s visit was a major event. Every kick and movement was a wonder. Every unusual feeling was a consult to What To Expect When You’re Expecting.

It’s different now. This isn’t our first rodeo. We’ve seen the movie. Heard the song. We know what to expect.

At least, we think we do. You never know what the kid is going to be like until they actually show up, do you?

The other difference this time, of course, is Jack. Our two-year old tornado. I don’t think he can walk. He trots everywhere.

I didn’t know it was possible to love someone with the ferocity I do my son.

Well, I did. I love my wife that way. Both of them, I just watch them being them and they make me laugh for not other reason than I like them both so much.

Most of my spare energy and thought goes to Jack. Hanging out with him. Playing. Reading him stories. Singing to him at bedtime. (The Monkees and the Spider-Man theme song are currently in heavy rotation.) Keeping him from jumping off couches or climbing up the kitchen cabinets.

He takes a lot of energy, so it’s sometimes hard to find the brain space to think about his brother.

This scares the holy hell out of me.

I was the older of two boys. There was a pretty big age gap between us, almost seven years. When he was born, I was already in kindergarten.

Of course, he needed the majority of my parents’ attention. Of course, people came to the house to see the baby. Or course, he was cute and cooed over.

Of course, I felt like I had suddenly been forgotten.

I wonder, sometimes, that if I love Jack as much as I do, how I can possibly love another child nearly as much. Do I have that much love in me to give? Because as I get older, I feel like I have less. Or rather, I’m willing to dole it around to fewer people. I’ve gotten stingier with my affections.

Like right now. I’m in my office, writing this post. Jack is up earlier than he should be and he’s calling for me. “Dada. Dada. Daddy!.” That didn’t work, so he switches tactics. “Alan! Alan! Alan!” He knows what I think when he calls me by my first name.

How can I not give this kid as much of my time and attention as possible? I never want him to feel, for one second, ignored or forgotten. But he’s going to, no matter how hard we try to make sure that he isn’t.

Women are better at this. They’re emotions seem to run so much deeper, an endless, bottomless pool. My wife, she lives for other people. She’ll do this well.

It’s me I worry about.

I don’t worry about Jack.

We had an ultrasound this week. When I came home from work that night, he had the pictures in his hand when I came into the house. My wife was smiling.

“Tell Dada who that is.”

“Baby brother,” Jack told me. Then he smiled this smile that about broke my heart.

“That’s right, buddy,” I said, putting down my bag. “You’re going to be a big brother. What do you think?”

He considers. “Ooooh. Fun.”

He’s right, the way that children often are because they just react instead of spending too much time fretting over all the junk that will cloud their heads when they’re older.

It will be fun.

Knowing how to hold a baby. Teaching him to crawl and walk. Even though these things feel like they happened a million years ago, they will all come back to me.

I hope one other thing does, too.

I used to take the night feedings with Jack. Three in the morning and we’d sit on our living room couch, the world dark and quiet around us. Just the two of us. I truly think this is how we bonded, those moments when I held him and he could tell that he was safe and loved.

I would be tired and bleary eyed at work the next morning. Sore in the small of my back from too little sleep. In need of two cups of coffee.

I was happy about it.

And I’m going to be, again.

Wordless Wednesday: Allison’s First Day of School