Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
This column ran today in the Greeley Tribune:
My wife pretty much always dreamed of being a mother. I think she had other dreams - something along the lines of living in a romantic chick flick, preferably one staring Matthew McConaughey - but being a mother ranked pretty close to the top of her life list.
On my list, being a parent was somewhere ranked between “hike to Everest base camp” and “get to Level 34 at Dig-Dug.”
Needless to say, I didn’t want to grow up. I didn’t get married until I was 30 and when I did get married, I gave up exactly nothing. I started my goal - started, not wrapped up - of climbing all the 14ers in Colorado. I bought an X-Box and played it enough for Kate to occasionally refer to it as “The Mistress.” I read books and watched lots of movies and kept up with every new rock band.
I was 30, but my mind still pretended I was a teenager.
And then Kate got pregnant. Now I make it sound like it was not planned. Oh, it was planned. We were trying for six months. But let’s be honest. Trying to get pregnant is really fun. It’s easy to forget about the ultimate goal behind the trying when you’re trying as often as we were, especially when you’re brain is still 17.
But all that trying eventually worked, darn it, and Kate was pregnant. When she told me, I acted happy. I was happy in a sort of, “Well, this will be cool, let’s try this out.” I went along for the ride. I helped pick out furniture for the nursery, argued with Kate about my son’s name (she won, of course) and went to birthing class. I even drummed up some nerves, as if my brain realized that it was going to have to accept some responsibility for this baby, nerves that were not calmed until I took Boot Camp for New Dads at North Colorado Medical Center.
Then Jayden arrived, and things, of course, changed. But they didn’t change as much as you might think. Kate got up most of the time. I still played video games - I remember him taking a nap on me once while I blasted aliens - and I finished the 14ers that year.
When the twins arrived, playtime was over, and I really struggled. I got up with Kate every two hours, for months and months and months, because we both had to feed a baby. I learned how to do things with one arm because the other was always nestling a baby in its crook. I did not climb much at all that year, ran only a few races (and nearly quit one 5K because I was so tired) and focused all my creative energy on making an iMovie of the twins’ first year.
The thing was, I didn’t want to give up fun time. I still went to bed around midnight. I spent a lot of time with my kids but, at times, slightly resented it. I was always looking forward to the next Kansas basketball game or the next movie or, yes, the next level of whatever video game I was playing.
I loved my kids dearly. I just didn’t want them taking over my life.
As a result, I ignored the subtle hints. Kate would throw a huge pile of laundry on the floor and sigh about how hard it was to get it done and cook dinner and vacuum with the kids everywhere. I would nod in agreeable sympathy and talk about how yard work was the same way.
Finally, one day, Kate broke down and, through tears, said she was overwhelmed. I’m not sure if it was the tears or the words, but a small part of my brain kicked the rest of it in the shin.
The problem with twins and a toddler is you can put in a lot of work and not really make much of a dent in what needs to be done. You can, for instance, play with one child and have Mom chase the other two around and still believe you’re doing your part. I thought I was being a good husband and father, and I was, by some fairly weak standards. It wasn’t nearly enough.
So - insert the “Rocky” music here - I volunteered to do the laundry. I started cooking dinner at least one night a week. Most of all, at night, after dinner, I was getting wet during the kids’ baths and playing with them until it was time for bed.
I also shoved Kate out the door so she could spend time with her friends, even if it meant I had all three kids alone. It turns out that Kate, like me, needed her freedom as well. I even recently watched all three for four days when Kate took her first trip away from the kids (to Las Vegas, appropriately).
The girls turn two in May. People ask me if it’s easier. It’s easier in some ways. Jayden’s settled down, listens to us a lot more and is turning out to be a smart little guy. The girls sleep through the night (usually), can entertain themselves at times and can talk to tell us what they want.
Jayden also still needs more attention than we realize, asks us “why” about a billion times a day and insists on doing everything himself, even if it creates a big mess. The girls still scream loud enough to break the sound barrier and do it way more frequently than I would like.
All of them, however, say “Daddy!” when I get home. So in many ways it’s not getting easier. It’s just a lot more fun. Even those four days with the kids, alone, was fun. No, really, it was.
I am now taking a perverse satisfaction in the fact that I’ve washed more clothes to cover all of the 14ers I once climbed. I am coming up with new recipes to delight and confuse my wife at the same time (she’s still not sold on citrus carrots). I am loving the times when Andie climbs on the couch to roughhouse and am amazed at the punishment she can take (and dole out).
I’ve also given up video games, go to bed by 10:30 p.m., and I’m such a veteran, I teach that Boot Camp class a few Saturdays a year.
The cool thing about all this is not that my kids are growing up. It’s that we’re growing up together.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Calling what we did today an "Easter egg hunt" would be like tying a bunch of old tires to the back of a few turtles and calling it a chase or hog-tying some deer, throwing them in a cage and shooting them and calling that a hunt. Our city's staff threw a bunch of eggs on a softball field, a bunch of tiny kids gathered and we all dashed for the eggs.
It was over faster than it takes to cook a bacon and cheese omelet.
Still, it was fun:
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
And just to prove that, last show's $900,000 (!) pot between Dwan and Greenstein was the least interesting of the three, since it was just a coin flip after the flop (overpair versus pair and flush draw) and it practically played itself. The only reason I list it here is because, holy shit, it WAS a $900,000 pot.
Plus anyone who's had a nightmare session playing poker (yep, that's me, raising my hand) had to be comforted watching Daniel Negreanu's meltdown. It can happen to the best of us.
They're adding a new mix of players this week, and I have a feeling it will be a bit of a letdown. Still, why the hell did GSN ever hesitate to renew the show? It is, no doubt, the best poker on television. I usually watch the World Poker Tour after I watch HSP, and I almost fall asleep watching all-in after all-in showdowns.
On another front, April is Omaha-only month in the Pokerpeaker household. I'm writing about this for Pokerworks and will let you know when the story runs. So far, so good. There are too many bad players at the lower limits for me to keep scratching out birdseed in Hold 'Em when I can be eating three-egg omelets with cheese, ham and bacon in Omaha.
The Horsetooth Half Marathon is next weekend. It's been a long, hard winter of training but I know I'm ready. The racing season is underway and I can't wait.
Finally, I'm happy for UNC and Roy Williams, but what a boring game. I found myself rooting for Michigan State just to give me a good game. Still, it's nice to see Roy win his second. I root for him again after we got even by handing out the beatdown we did against them last year.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Besides, Kate is coming home very soon and I'll be out the door for a 12-mile run.
Saturday, April 04, 2009
I stumble into their room. Pacey, Andie demands. Out! Out! Out!
Rats. I was hoping they might hang out in their crib a bit and read or, God forbid, sleep.
This is one of the harder parts of the day for me. I am not a morning peson. Few people are, I realize, but while Kate sees rainbows and sunshine when she gets up in the morning, I see dark, stormy clouds and a need for a slow wake up call. It never happens these days. I take them out, they both run into the room, hop on my bed, where Jayden, with the stealth of a ninja, deposited himself a couple hours before, and climb up. Jayden, who is 4 and not a morning person either, protests by climbing on one of them and holding her down. Screams. The day begins.
6:50 a.m. - Mom? Allie asks, as if to really see if she could give me a break and seek out Mom's arms for comfort. I say she'll be back tomorrow. Allie considers this for a moment and then demands to be picked up. I'm the man, apparently.
7 a.m. - Crack eggs. Put in cheese. Get out pan. Not in that order. Oops. I'm still tired.
7:05 a.m. - Snow snow snow snow snow snow snow. I am informed 758 times in this minute that snow has fallen. Hmmm. It doesn't look terrible. Looks like a trip to the Mall playground is in order.
7:07 a.m. - Demands for milk and juice fall on my ears. They are fulfilled.
7:45 a.m. - A new law is enacted. No more screaming. It is broken .0003 seconds later and three more times in the next three seconds. I consider the death penalty but instead retract the law. It can't be enforced without screaming yourself, and that's breaking the spirit of the law.
8:07 a.m. - Allie is trying to scramble up on my lap as I type this, and "I wanna know what love is" calls out on the kitchen radio. I think I know. Time to dress the kids.
8:55 a.m. - Taking care of yourself is almost impossible with three little ones to watch. I somehow manage a two-minute shower. Allie senses that I need help and tries to do my hair.
8:57 a.m. - I start to dress Andie and Allie. I call for them three times and they ignore me, lost in their toys. Normally this would piss me off, but today I've decided to leave my anal personality at, um, home. If they're having fun, it's all good with me.
Regardless, eventually one of them comes by, and I snare her in my trap. Andie screams and rolls over at every second I don't have both arms pinning her down. I realize most 2-year-old toddlers don't hold still, but my kids not only don't like it, they seem to have a serious aversion to it. Not only does that mean I'm constantly chasing them down, but things like dressing and changing a diaper is a workout, not just an activity.
9:30 a.m. - Jayden isn't dressed yet. I'm doing the best I can. Sigh.
9:33 a.m. - We're headed to the mall. The snow is definitely falling but the roads look clear, and I really need to get out. So do they. The mall has some quarter-operated rides and a play area. It has saved my life more than once.
10:25 a.m.- Diapers, six juice bottles, coats, three pacifiers, one bad snowstorm (clear roads), snacks, a huge-ass stroller and three bibs later, we're at the mall play area. We spent an hour there before heading to the food court. I get Chinese, they get overpriced hot dogs at Dairy Queen. Most of the other parents sit and watch their kids play. I don't even come close to sitting in the hour they play (and no, I don't hover), so it feels good to sit a bit. When we leave, there's a mess under the table three feet deep.
11:55 a.m. - Time to go home. I pack the kids back up in a raging snowstorm (streets still clear) and we manage to make it home. Diaper changes, Madagascar (what can I say, the boy likes it), a DQ blizzard and Omaha. Ah. It's probably the best part of the day until the kids go to bed.
When is the Final Four?
The girls are totally attached to me now at least. I'm finally A No. 1 parent! Who-hoo!
2:30 p.m. - They're still asleep. Sweet. Naps rock.
4 p.m. - I chop up the ingredients for our homemade pizza. Thanks OhCaptain for the suggestion. Summer sausage, Italian sausage, pineapple, ham and turkey pepperoni. We all gathered around it and put the ingredients on there. It was fun.
4:30 p.m. - We chomp up the pizza. Jayden is kinda driving me nuts right now, begging to go to the jumping place and not taking no. Plus he keeps hitting the girls. He gets a few time outs, attempting to set the record for time outs taken in an hour.
4:40 p.m. - The Final Four's on. Sweet.
5:25 p.m. - Allie pushes the kitchen set far out into the middle of the floor. Where did she get that strength?
5:26 p.m. - Jayden colors. It's much more peaceful now.
5:28 p.m. - Andie says "off" and wants a plastic ball stuffed down a cup taken out. I can't do it. It won't be the first time I disappoint her.
5:35 p.m. - Andie and Allie are having a drag-out, scream fight right now. Wow. I haven't seen that EVER. Then Andie seems to understand what's going on and tries to talk to Allie about "her shirt." Their communication is really funny. I do think twins can communicate more than other siblings.
5:36 - Andie keeps hounding me. I am neglecting my kids. Time to get a bath. Andie confirms this by getting right in my face and saying "No more Daddy."
5:45 p.m. - One of the tougher parts of the day. Bathtime. I corral Andie and Allie in our room so I can watch the MSU/UConn game. I gather their diapers, towels and PJs to the bathroom and corral them in our room again. Allie keeps taking Kate's summer clothes and trying them on and saying "Cute." I tell Jayden he's after the girls. He takes his clothes off and throws a shit fit when I tell him he's second. Whatever. I let him go first. Maybe he'll be a spoiled brat when he's older, but for now, I've seen enough fits over nothing. Allie's diaper is dirty, so I clean her up. When it's Andie's turn, she fights me once again. These girls cannot sit still for a second.
Wash hair, clean off, watch game, prevent drownings, dress, put diapers on. It's an intense 45 minutes.
6:30 p.m. - Andie blows my theory. She is sitting here with me, guzzling grape juice, while I type, and imitating everything on "Word World." These cuddle moments are few and far between, so I'm enjoying it. If it lasts more than a couple minutes I'll be stunned.
6:31 p.m. - Allie climbs on the chair and is close to toppling off. Moment's over.
6:32 p.m. - Oops. I mistook Allie for Andie, I actually had Allie with me there. Yes, that still happens.
7:07 p.m. - I have my first meltdown. Jayden sits by me, Andie crawls up and Allie, who I've held for the last half hour, starts to cry right by me after I have to tell her to stop crawling up. They all start whining, and I'm trying to update my music list, the first thing I've really done for myself all day. I freak out momentarily and even yell a bit.
Imagine being in a marathon, thinking you're only a mile or two away, then realizing that you've got a dozen left to run. 7 p.m is like that for me. So close and yet I've still got more than an hour to go before the kids go to bed.
7:20 p.m. - The girls go to bed. Andie calls for her blankie and I have to run down to get it, but I'm willing to do that at this point if it means she goes to sleep.
7:35 p.m. - Jayden and I watch the last few minutes of a movie I put together of his first year when he was a baby. He asks me 874 questions in that 10 minutes. Poor guy. He doesn't get the one-on-one attention he deserves after a day like these.
Regardless, I put him to bed, and he falls asleep in two minutes.
He seems as tired as I am.
One down, one to go. But today, I did it.
Friday, April 03, 2009
The dress rehearsal before Saturday and Sunday, when I have them every second of the day. Thursday was only a couple hours after work. Not bad.
I took Jayden swimming for an hour and a half and then picked up the twins at 3:30 p.m. from day care. Thus endeth the dress rehearsal.
I'm not sure how evolution decided to give toddlers who are almost 2 a full, intelligent and determined mind. I really wish at times like these their brains were still wiring up, so they would just sit on the floor and wait for me to dress them, bring them food and give them juice.
Instead, I have tiny people running around who believe with all their tiny hearts that they are fully capable of doing anything they want, when, in fact, they're capable of crapping their pants and that's about it. This means the percentage of time I spend taking them down from counters, chairs, tables is much higher than the percentage of things I actually accomplished. My kids also do not believe in playing with their toys. They'd rather get into everything in the house they're not supposed to get into, meaning I'm constantly picking up little piles of messes everywhere they go, or worse, removing, say, a pair of scissors from one of their hands.
I play Omaha for an hour today while Jayden watches "Madagascar." I finally get to relax for an hour. I lose $50 to three two-outers. Awesome.
Conversation with Jayden, 4: "Can I go swimming Daddy?"
Me: "We went swimming today."
Jayden: "Can I go to Ruthies? (His day care provider).
Me: "No, tomorrow we're spending the day with Daddy and the girls."
Weather report: Blizzard warning after midnight. That's the best fucking news I've ever heard. Sweet. That means I'll be trapped in the house with all three kids.
It's not the best start? But the scary thing? It really could be a lot worse.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Fortunately I do know when she'll be back again.
Unfortunately it will not be until Sunday.
Now before you pipe up about my two trips out there without her, yeah, I KNOW. That's why she's going.
Still, it leaves me with twins under 2 and a toddler under 4 from Thursday until Sunday.
It won't be terrible since I work Thursday and will only have Jayden for a while Friday. But Friday night the fun begins.
I have run or worked out every day for two weeks, pretended that my soft, soft pillow is really a club with spikes and am mentally preparing for the fact that I may not see much of the Final Four.
Kate's stated goal for me this weekend: "Just keep all three kids alive."
That's probably not a goal where 66 percent would be considered good. So let's crank up the comments, folks. I have a few questions:
1. What fun kid stuff can I make and serve for dinner? I can cook, don't you worry, but I'd like something other than Hamburger Helper (which will be served one night, Cheeseburger Mac is pretty damn good).
2. What fun kid stuff can we do together, besides go to the Mall play area (which we will hit up Saturday, don't you worry)?
Inevitably the thing I hate most about taking care of all three of them is I put out more fires and prevent them from killing themselves more than really spend quality time and have fun. So I'm trying to do a little prevention.
3. What should I tell them when they ask for Mommy? That she left to join a radical movement bent on saving the Polar Bear? That she needed a break because you all were driving her nuts? That she went to go play with her friends? What will a child that young understand?
4. What prescription drugs would you recommend so I can survive the weekend?