Under Siege: The Adventures of a Stay at Home Dad

*Note from the Editor: I’ve had a crazy busy week! If it weren’t for my amazing friends and contributors… you’d have nothing to read. I also forgot that this month had 5 weeks in it. My friend, Dave, stepped up to the plate for me on the condition that he still gets to write next week… Who does he think he is? Oh, yeah, one of the most supportive, funny, and best listeners I know. I have amazing friends. For reals. So without further rambling from me… I bring you:

Or “Mean Girls, the Home Edition”

I’m sitting on the couch, a little while ago, downloading a collection of Disney Princess, Hello Kitty and various other puzzle applications for my new smart phone. These aren’t for myself, of course… they’re for Sydney, my 5yr old daughter. She wants to use my phone in place of the iPod that’s been beaten up pretty good and is no longer working, to her displeasure. She insists she needs something to do during our frequent travels around town and says that it will help keep her quiet in the back seat, which she says is important because she knows how she can be noisy and bother daddy while he’s driving…she stops just short of delivering a “and it’s for safety, Daddy…for safety” capper. Being able to use the new phone for that purpose is a “no-brainer”, she would probably insist, if she only knew what “no-brainer” meant.

It’s soon after I begin the process of loading some of these apps that Syd notices me over here, messing with the new toy and decides to hop up on the couch to see what I’m doing. She sits on the arm of the couch, the one that I’m leaning back against. She’s just over my shoulder, watching, ordering up which puzzles she wants and putting the kibosh on those she doesn’t. As we sit there, she begins to very sweetly start playing with my hair…Now, the funny thing about this is that she’s always done this, from the earliest age and as a matter of fact, it’s one of her most endearing little quirks.

It’s actually become a very effective device we employ if we want her to take a nap. If she needs to take a nap, but is resisting, all I have to do is lay down next to her on the couch, or on her bed, tell her to cuddle up to me and demand softly that she “play with my hair”. She’ll reach up, and start sweetly running her fingers through my hair and like magic, she’s soon fast asleep. It works well!

The problem here is that it feels really relaxing and is beginning to make me think of napping myself…I say to her “That feels so relaxing, Boog {that’s my nickname for her}, you’re gonna make daddy fall asleep.” Without missing a beat, she responds with “Well, let me play with the puzzles on the phone and get me some apple juice, or I’ll stop playing with your hair!”

At that moment, incredulous at what she’s just said to me, I look over at one of her sisters, Emma, who is sitting next to the other twin sister, Maddie and is playing with Maddie’s hair just as Syd’s playing with mine….then Emma shoots me this look like she’d say if not for the binky in her mouth that “You had better get used to it, Old Man…’cus there’s more where that came from!”

Wow. The power that these sweet little girls wield over me, and the rate at which they’re discovering and utilizing this power is shocking and nervous-making ….I’m scared.

Later, after having let her use the phone for puzzles as we ran an errand, Sydney lectures “What did I tell you about singing in the car, Daddy?” in response to my listening to and singing along with a song on the radio.

“I don’t know, Boog, what did you tell me?” I replied

“To not do it!”

I think I am right to be scared. I feel it’s justified.

Under Siege: Adventures of an Occasionally Entrepreneurial Dad

Editor’s note: Welcome back Dave! We’ve missed you! In case you didn’t read Dave’s first post… he’ll be posting here the last Friday of each month for a while. I particularly like this post. It gave me a giggle. Enjoy your weekly dose of dad stalking! xo-Kelly

Or “How to Monetize your Captors and remain Guilt-Free”

I’ve been thinking of ways to monetize the twins.

I know. That sounds horrible, doesn’t it?

I’m not thinking about selling advertising space on their stroller or anything like that… although, wait, that’s a pretty good idea…hang on, let me write that down somewhere… It’s ironic, isn‘t it, how when really you need a pen, you can never find one. Oh well, I’ll hopefully remember the idea later…

So, what was I talking about again?

Monetizing the twins, that’s right…

So, along the way, over the course of the last couple of years, I’ve had many of what I, but few others probably, consider to be brilliant, innovative and definitely marketable ideas. I think it’s been that whole ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ thing and I think the twins really do need onesies that have handles sewn into the back of them.

When Sydney, our oldest daughter, now 5, came along, I treated her like a fragile little bird that if I looked at her wrong, she would wither and crumble…but you soon realize that these kids are resilient and tougher than you might initially think they are. It was in realizing that that I came to the conclusion that the twins could handle “The Grabsies”…that’s what I call my most “wish I could actually produce” idea. Let me explain. Imagine for a moment, that you’re chasing around a toddler, while you’re carrying another toddler, or whatever, in your arms…and how great it would be if you could just reach down and grab the escapee’s ‘handle’ and with a simple lifting motion, they’re back under your control again…”The Grabsie”… a onesie that has a handle sewn into the back, with which you can grab them, pick them up, move them from point to point, while leaving your other hand free to carry your latte, hold the phone, mix a drink, text a friend…or carry another kid. The Grabsie…. No? Seems like such a no-brainer that I’m shocked it hasn’t already been done.

(*note, I will be keeping my eyes open and if ‘The Grabsie’ pops up somewhere after I’ve written this, I will be very disappointed in you.)

So, maybe monetizing the twins isn’t going to take the form of their being my research assistants during a product development project, such as The Grabsie (which I vow to make real!). I think my best shot is finding a way to charge ‘admirers” of the twins when we’re out in the world, based on how they approach us and what, exactly, they say when they meet us. This idea, I can see, has a bit more traction, and much more upside – because we draw a lot of attention, for some reason.

Firstly, it would require us to go places: shopping malls, museums, festivals, etc…really anywhere people gather. That would get us out there, doing stuff, which is always fun. Secondly, it would take the seemingly innocent but very high volume of comments we get as we are out and about and turn them into money…(SFX: Insert Cash Register Sound here.) It was an unfortunate trip to Discount Tire a few weeks ago to get new tires in my car, and the 6 times I heard “You’ve sure got your hands full” from various employees and fellow customers that made me think there’s some potential in this idea.

I’ve been thinking this through a bit, and I’m in the process of affixing prices to specific comments and approaches. Here’s what I’ve got so far…feel free to share your thoughts on these: let’s say, an individual comes up to us, at any point of our visit to wherever it is we’ve brought the circus and says “You’ve sure got your hands full”, that person will be charged $2. If they’re paying attention and notice the pink shoes the girls will be wearing and suggest that because they’re girls, that I’ve “really, really got (my) hands full…Wow, all girls, huh?”, that instantly doubles the price to $4 (I surely don’t need to be reminded of the storms on the horizon, being the father of 3 girls who will all be in high school and college at the same time.) If it’s a group of little old ladies that surround the stroller and proceed to go on and on with how sweet the girls are, and regale us with stories of how their nieces landlord has twins, or how they met twins who were visiting a neighbor down their street, then the charges change from a per incident charge to a $5 per minute charge, for as long as the story goes on. This is potential Big Money Time, as people seem to like to tell us their twins stories.

However, if the twins big sister, Sydney, is there with us and the individual that’s approaching the twins acknowledges her as well, and if that individual pays a little bit of attention to her as they’re fawning over the twins, then, all charges will be forgiven. Syd’s been through a lot being the big sister of these two and has paid a big price already by having these two little, adorable hams grab her spotlight away, well, then you can say whatever sweet things you’d like about the twins and Sydney, and you’ll receive a special Manager’s Discount of 100% Off.

The more I think about this approach to the monetization of the twins, the more I like it. I can even see doing this as a fundraiser, where maybe whatever we collect over the course of a trip to the mall, or wherever, gets donated to a worthy charity…. I think maybe we should give this a try… Who wants to go to the mall?

I do have to say though, the vast majority of people that we encounter as we’re out are very sweet and truly interested, and it’s that sweetness that we’re fully prepared to exploit.

Now, how am I going to actually collect from these unfortunate souls who’s curiosity has drawn them into our little money-making venture? Let me think about that and get back to you.

“The Grabsie”, though, that thing is still on my mind too…

I can do both, right? I mean, after all, these kids have me in their clutches… Under Siege, as it were…I have time to work on it.