The chronicles and ramblings of a stay-at-home father raising his three beautiful girls, Anya Rose, Caitlin Rose and Reegan Rose.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

As unique as a snowflake

Genetics are a funny thing. How can the same parents have such different kids? A couple weeks ago my wife and I decided it was time to sign Anya and Caitlin up for swimming lessons. After working out at Lifetime last week, I found some classtimes for the girls that would be perfect. Anya's class was from 10:45 to 11:15 and Cai Cai's from 11:15 to 11:45. I had it all figured out, I'd drop Reegan off at the child care center by 10:30, get Anya changed and ready, and sit with Caitlin to help her feel comfortable with her surroundings. On paper it looked flawless...enter reality.

When we arrived at the gym at 10:40, Anya yelled from the backseat, 'Hey Dude (that's her latest thing, calling people 'dude'. She's so cute she makes Michelle Tanner look like Steve Buscemi) I left my shoes in the porch.' Any other day there would be at least one pair of flip flops hidden somewhere under the seats, but I had cleaned the van out the night before. Damn my cleanliness!

"We just have to go, kiddo," I said.
"But the police will get me!"
"We don't have any time, just play it cool and follow my lead. And don't step on any glass."

Well she did play it cool. We made it in. We hustled down to the child care center, dropped off Reegan, and raced back to the pool. The class was just about to get started, so we ran in the locker room to put on her suit (Okay, Anya and I ran, Caitlin walked lazily behind us a good ten paces, but she managed to find her way).

Once class started, life was good. Caitlin and I watched Anya as her teacher instructed the girls how to float, kick, and paddle with their arms. Anya caught on fast and enjoyed the new challenges. Unfortunately the class only lasted a half hour. The teacher dismissed her class and called for the next class to begin.

This is when the shit hit the fan.

I gave Anya a towel and pulled her up a chair close to the water so she could watch Caitlin and I. When the teacher asked the parents to get in the water, both of my Roses' bottom lips began to quiver. I reached my hands out to carry Caitlin into the water, when she decided she was as good a swimmer as she needed to be. She wanted none of it. Anya on the other hand, stood up to join me. When I explained to her that this was Caitlin's turn to swim, both girls started crying. The teacher, God bless her, was trying to comfort Caitlin by taking her hand, but Lord knows that wasn't going to help. Anya managed to pull it together in a minute or two and Caitlin finally allowed me to carry her into the water. My luck was starting to change...or so I thought.

We got about 10 minutes into the class when the child care attendent came into the pool area. This can't be good. "Mr. Schmidt, Reegan had a little bit of a blowout downstairs. Can you come down and change her? She's going to need a new outfit."

That was it. "Girls were outta here." Again Anya cried because she wanted to swim and Caitlin cried because Anya cried. We ran into the locker room to get changed and hurried down to get Reegan. Of course I didn't have a change of clothes for her, but I did have a towel. I wrapped her up and took my motley crew back to the car. Just another fun day at the gym. :)

Tip of the Day - Cascade dishwasher tablets look tastier than they really are, just ask Reegan.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Holy Crap!

The girls are all playing nicely upstairs, so I'm going to take this opportunity to share some of my memorable moments from the past few days.

1. Saturday in Byron, MN. The fam went to visit our good friends Jess and Chris and their little girl Taylor. It's great visiting them, new toys for the girls to play with and good conversation for Mommy and Daddy. It's always so relaxed when we visit them. We never have any plans, we just sit around and let the girls play and catch up on life.

2. Sunday volleyball tournament in Chaska. The tournament was in Fireman's Park in Chaska and was a great place to have a tourney. We had a kick ass team and ended up finishing 3rd/4th overall. We lost to a team with two professional volleyball players (both play overseas), an All American D-2 setter and 6'8 right side hitter. Not bad for a stay-at-home dad, and IT professional, a behavioral therapist and a grad student.

95% of the time that I'm not around the family it's because I'm playing or reffing volleyball. My Roses have now associated my entire social life with volleyball. If someone calls on the phone they ask "Is that your volleyball friend?". When we're in the car and I wave for a pedestrian to cross the street they ask, "Is that your volleyball friend?" I used to explain to them that Daddy has many friends and that is polite to be nice to everybody, but that only spurred more questions. Now I simply answer 'yes.'

Me - I'm going to run inside this store and buy some milk.
Anya - From your volleyball friend?
Me - [Sigh] Yes Anya, from my volleyball friend.

3. Anya called me into the bathroom yesterday to show off this massive shit she took. She was so proud. She yelled "Daddy hurry! I just pooped a Q?" 'What the hell is she talking about' I thought. But sure enough, when I got to the bathroom, floating atop the toilet's water was my daughter's bowel movement coiled into the shape of the letter Q. I was a proud father for two reasons, 1) I succeeded in providing my daughter with a high fiber diet and 2) my daughter clearly knew her letters.

Tip of the Day - As soon as you establish a consistent routine and think you have things figured out, know that you are days away from chaos. Good bye naps, consistent eating times, and any sense of familial normalicy.

Friday, July 23, 2010

We've got a Red in the house!

Don't tell Ronald Reagon, but I think we've got a Red in the house. Yesterday afternoon we went to the Golden Valley library. With Blockbuster's skyrocketing prices for kids videos, the library has become the Schmidt's movie store of choice. Anya wanted to pick out her movie all by herself and I ablidged (she's got her mother's stubbornness and so my best bet was to just let her do her thing). Of all the movies to choose from; Dora, Elmo, Barney, Mickey Mouse, Anya chose Kot Leopolud, a Russian childrens cartoon.

When we got home Anya quickly ran to the DVD player to play her new film. I started preparing dinner as I heard what I thought was the Borat theme music blaring from the living room. I listened for a while, but instead of hearing classic lines like "This suit is NOT black" or "I will look upon your treasures Gyspy, is this understood?" or "My wife, her vagine hang like a sleeve of wizard," I hear a couple couple of mice speaking sputnik to one another. I poked my head into the living room to see a 'C' quality movie of Russia's best attempt at Tom and Jerry. What was really upsetting to me was that Anya was glued to the TV. Anya can find enjoyment in watching some pretty lame television programming, but I had no idea how low she could stoop. She had hit rock bottom.

She spent 35 minutes watching that Commie garbage. I've got my fingers crossed that she doesn't start spouting off about the ills of capitalism, but I may be too late; it was a pretty powerful film. We will be taking the DVD back to the library this morning in exchange for something more in tune with our cultural way of life, somthing along the lines of The Simpsons or Family Guy. Good American Humor. "High Five!"

Tip of the Day - If your spouse is vehemently apposed to Borat for it's vulgarity, don't bring home Bruno for a romantic date night. I thought my wife would like watching a movie where there was a plethora of male frontal nudity and such classy lines like "So hypothetically according to you (Pastor) I can admire a mans penis in the shower but the moment I put it in my mouth some sort of line has been crossed?" I was wrong.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

She Likes Me! She Really Likes Me!!!

It's been 11 months and 11 days since Reegan was born, and I think she finally gave in and decided to like her Daddy. I don't think she had any major problem with me, she just treated me like the guy who watches her until her Mommy came home. When she was wet, I changed her. When she was hungry, I gave her a bottle (this sounds like the Corporal Works of Mercy; Baby edition). But she wasn't too crazy with me. I can't say that I blame her. Reegs has pretty much gotten the shaft. When Anya was a baby I used to take her to the zoo. I would always get her the best view of all the animals. I would tell her the names of the creatures and give her as much Cliff Clavin-like information as possible, "Due to the shape of the North American elk's esophagus, even if it could speak, it could not pronounce the word lasagna."

Now when we go, Anya runs 20 feet ahead, Caitlin straggles 20 feet behind and Reegan is in the stroller, lucky if her face isn't nestled between the butt cheeks of some over-weight woman.

But this past week, I think Reegan has really started to like me. Over the weekend, she was the first person to wake up and we got some one on one time. We were rolling a tennis ball back and forth and she was really loving it. She has this super cute laugh when she really gets a charge out of something, it's really deep and raspy, almost like a smokers laugh. Cutest thing ever. It's amazing the things you can learn about your kids when you actually give them your attention... And yesterday at the gym, when I went to pick up the girls, Reegan saw me, gave me big smile, and crawled to me as fast as her chubby legs could move. She's really starting to develop her own personality, and even though I don't have the time and energy to give her the same attention I gave to Anya, I'm starting to form a close relationship with my littlest Rose. Love ya Reegs!

Tip of the Day - When faced with the option to purchase pre-packaged peanuts or buy the ones out of the bin at the grocery store, choose the pre-packaged option. Hypothetically speaking it is possible for a 2 year old to grab a handful of peanuts, put them in her mouth, and return them to the display. Hypothetically speaking.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cookie Monsters

At what age do people begin to be bothered by having crumbs in one's bed? I can tell you with certainty that by 29 it is in full force. The other night I went to bed and found myself unable to get comfortable. After a few minutes of tossing and turning, I put on the light to find that someone had been eating Pop Tarts in my bed. While I couldn't with absolute certainty rule out the possibility that I was the culprit, it felt so much better to punch my pillow and whisper, "Damnit Roses!" Similar in fashion to when my father loses his reading glasses and instead of admiting that he may have lost them, he jumps to the conclusion that "Some asshole stole them!" It just feels right.

I spent the next few minutes fishing all the multi-colored sparkles from my sheets. But no matter how much time you spend getting rid of the crumbles, you inevitably miss a couple; and those few crumbs annoy you tirelessly throughout the night.

One thing I learned this week, however, is that the discomfort experienced by crumbs in one's bed is a learned response.

Last week my mom made a delicious batch of sugar cookies. After we would finish our lunch, I would give Cai Cai and Anya a cookie while they watched Super Why in the living room (TV and sugar; at-home parents best friends when trying to clean up the house). While doing the dishes, I assumed the girls were eating their cookies, but last night I found out their dirty little secret; they would sneak upstairs to hoard their cookies for bedtime. While putting Caitlin to bed last night, I found four half eaten cookies. She had been snacking on them before falling asleep. The surprising thing wasn't that I found the cookies, the thing that blew me away was how in the world can someone sleep in such filth. The large chunks of cookies would have driven me crazy! After three days those cookies were harder than Ron Burgundy after meeting Veronica Corningstone! When I picked Cai Cai up to change her sheets, she through a fit. After three years of living with children, there is still so much I have to learn.

Tip of the Day - When money is tight, buying used is a great way to stretch your budget. There are, however, some things you are better off purching new; computers, fruit, gum, band-aids, toilet paper, and condoms.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Celebrating Independence Weekend

I had an awesome Fourth of July weekend with the family; we met up with some friends, grilled some meat, and even had a bonfire. It was wonderful. But as a parent of three, I had a hard time fully grasping the celebration of independence. I mean I'm glad the King of England isn't still here telling us what religion to be and keeping us from proper dental care, but I didn't really feel the freedom that the holiday is meant to embody. Was I free from changing diapers? Or dealing with the daily two-year-old meltdowns? Or waking up in the middle of the night to help my 3 year old 'find' her blanky (which was in her hand)? I think not.

A 'vacation' with three kids is like riding the Tilt-o-Whirl; it sounds like a lot of fun at the time, but after about two minutes on the ride, you want nothing more than to get off the God forsaken thing. And inevitably there is vomit involved.

Maybe I'm being a little harsh, but family vacations are anything but relaxing.

That's why this weekend I am celebrating independence day. Tomorrow afternoon I'm catching a ride with a friend of mine and heading down to Osh Kosh, WI for a weekend of volleyball. The Wapauca Boatride Tournament is one of the largest outdoor volleyball tournaments in the nation. The best part is I will be there sans children. God Bless America! I love my kids more than life itself, but Daddy has been losing his marbles these past few weeks. Dealing with sick children is worse than Turkish prison camp; no sleep, constant whining, and the lingering stench of vomit never seems to escape you. That's why this weekend is going to be great. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there will still be no sleep, and with free beer all weekend, there will be plenty of vomit, but at least I don't have to listen to the damn whining.

Tip of the Day - If you are going to share a water bottle with a 2 year old, make sure it is a clear container. It's one thing when you can see the backwash and choose to not take a drink, it's another when you take a big slug from your Sig water bottle and get a mouthful of water with half chewed Cinnamon Toast Crunch in it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I bet you didn't know...

...Anya was afraid of snakes until she saw Kaa in the Jungle Book. That's like saying someone was afraid of clowns until they saw the movie IT.

...Caitlin likes to chew her food for a ridiculous amount of time. Last week had steak for dinner at 5:30. After cleaning up, going for a 5 mile bike ride, and playing in the park, I noticed she was chewing on something. Worried it was ABC gum found on the underside of the playground equipment, I asked her what she was eating. "Meat," was her response. As sure as I am writing this, she was still chewing on a piece of steak an hour and a half after dinner.

...Reegan makes for a great vacuum cleaner. Anya left some small red hair binders on the floor yesterday. This morning I found those same hair binders in Reegans diaper.

...Anya and Caitlin love when I take them on bike rides in thier bike trailer. Anya especially likes it when I go fast so they wiggle and bonk heads with one another. Caitlin does not share this sentiment.

...That since I ruptured my ear drum, I can plug my nose and blow and make a whistling sound from my ear.

...Reegan can eat more than Caitlin and sometimes Anya.

...All the girls were sick for a week and Alicia and I didn't take them to the doctor. A few days later we both got sick. We both were in so much pain we had to go see the doctor. Bottom line, the Roses are a hell of a lot tougher than their parents.

...Anya can do a dramatic representation of a thunderstorm; including (but not limited to) arm movements, jumping, clapping, and screaming the word "KABOOM!!!"

Tip of the Day - If you drink a fifth on the fourth, you won't live to see the sixth.