Tagged: caffeine

Mug of War

Mug of War

It was early in the morning and since Mommy had just left for work, it was time for Daddy to take the stage for my daily variety show. Although I’ve been known to perform intimate acoustic Disney-song concerts, reproduce Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” on the Magna Doodle, and even regularly scare the robotic tigers my son has imagined into existence back into “other houses, but not this house,” I was feeling especially wiped out on this particular morning. The Twins had just gotten over a nasty cold, and had so generously shared it with me, so as I sleepily hacked up a lung, I decided I needed a power-up and fired up our Keurig (arguably the best purchase we have made as new parents). And yes, I realize that coffee is not a fantastic idea when one has a cold, as it discourages hydration, but when one is accustomed to caffeine every morning, one is inclined to not pile the withdrawal headache on top of fiery sinuses and a gravelly throat. So there.

“Daddy?” my daughter half-whined. “You come play in my room?”

This is a new fun game I play with my daughter. She recently has become enamored with the novelty of playing with all of her toys with Daddy in her room. So much so, in fact, that every moment of every day I am home with them, my presence is requested in her room.

This, of course, would be fine if I didn’t have another child who expects an equal amount of Daddy’s attention. But I do, and there are times when I’m in the middle of building a perfectly-scaled replica of Mount Rushmore with Duplos with my son, or helping him line up his beloved “sea treatures” on the floor by species, and can’t just drop everything to “go play in her room.”

Help!And so I tell her “No,” invariably triggering a hissy fit which lasts way longer than it needs to. In fact, just the other day, I was rocking The Beatles’ Help! on vinyl at my son’s request (yeah, he’s pretty awesome), and in the middle of the opening title track, my little girl invited me to play in her room. After I explained that Daddy and Brother were busy doing Awesome Things, she staged a very vocal protest spanning almost all of Side A. On a side-note, my resilient son didn’t let the screaming infringe upon his Beatlemania, and he just kept literally dancing circles around his sister as she kicked and punched the floor.

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Twinfamy Ball Animation Screenshot

Keep Your Eye on the Beh

In addition to my groundbreaking research on closet zombies and whatever sustainability is, my Ph. D. program has also provided the opportunity to learn computer programming–something I’ve wanted to do for years but never had the time or resources.

Twinfamy Ball Animation Screenshot

WTF is this? Rest, Neo. The answers are coming.

This has had to happen fairly quickly, as on the first day of the semester, one of my professors had my classmates and me each introduce ourselves along with our programming experience, since it would be a foundational element of the class. Having been awake since 3:15 am with my sick son, I’d just chugged two Venti coffees in order to be a functional human being, so as you can probably imagine I was already feeling incredibly chipper and eager to learn.

I grimaced as I listened to my colleagues’ alien technobabble:

“Most of my experience is in Java Frappuccino Monty Python Venom Script with Pirate Eyepatch Death Star Optimization Support.”

“I’ve dabbled in C-Minus-Plus-Ampersand Continuum Transfunctioners, but I’m most comfortable with Skynet Flux Capacitors.”

“I created the Allspark.”

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Growling Coyote

Coyote Fugly: Part 1 – Your Friendly Neighborhood Predator

I was already mourning the morning walk.

Before we’d even traveled a block my dog had decided to lead the caravan, walking directly in front of the jogging stroller, her hindquarters mere inches from the front wheel. I don’t know why she insists upon this walking arrangement–maybe she likes to think she’s in charge–but(t) it never “ends” well for her, typically culminating in me literally running her ass over. It begins when she looks back at the stroller and decides she is terrified of it, so terrified that she freezes in place, causing the usually-taut leash to slack and wrap around the stroller’s back axle, putting us at a dead stop just after the tire bumps her square on the cheeks. I do my best to stop before the butt-bump, but she forces me to tailgate her at an unsafe following distance.

Falkor from The Neverending Story

It would be a lot easier (and fun) if my dog could fly.

On this particular day, she had jumped to deer-in-headlights mode so abruptly and forcibly that it had pulled her harness clean off. (We attach the leash to her harness and not her collar because after years of scientific research, we have determined she would rather be choked to death than respond to leash tugs.) And because my dog just barely qualifies as obedient, I knew I had to act quickly on this leashless freedom unless I wanted to choose between:

1) chasing her around the neighborhood, loudly cussing her out while she thinks its a game, waking the Twins from their stroller catnaps and yielding a sterophonic meltdown; or

2) tritely employing the if-you-love-her-set-her-free-and-if-she-never-returns-she-was-never-yours axiom, which would most likely mean never seeing my beloved canine again, as she would surely make a grand exit from this life in Harry Houdini fashion while performing her famous freezing-in-front-of-an-oncoming vehicle trick.

It was in that moment that I remembered I am a ninja, as my keen, subconscious reflexes sprang into action, one-handedly snagging her by the tail, keeping the other hand firmly planted on the stroller.

She turned her head towards me, dumbly panting with glee, as if to say. “That was fun, Dad!”

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Diaper Bullets

Dirty Diaper Dodgeball

“Some day you’re going to look back on this and miss me throwing dirty diapers at you.”
–My Wife

Diaper Bullets

My wife has developed an interesting habit. It begins when she changes the Twins’ diapers and rolls the dirty ones up into neat little balls using the Velcro straps. Now, I had seen this method utilized by other parents before we had the Twins, and understand the philosophy behind it–containing the stank within the confines of the diaper so that until it is thrown away (and even once disposed of), the rankness does not seep out. This part I get.

However, doing so seems to also give my wife license to just leave these little parcels wherever they have been created–changing tables, blankets on the floor, or even our own bed, where we change and feed the Twinfants every morning.

Minutes and minutes of researching our family history for the genesis of this tendency have revealed that it began when we (well, in a strictly anatomical sense, she) first had the Twins. I’ll admit it was a bit of a clusterf*ck in that we were constantly exhausted, running on four hours of sleep compounded over an eight-hour period, each of us feeding a baby every 2-3 hours, day and night. During that time, it was very common for both of us to simply leave dirty diapers where we changed the kids and throw them away later when they were finally asleep and had the an opportunity to do so.

There is also the argument that when changing one of the kids, the diaper disposal device–either our Diaper Genie or Diaper Champ–isn’t always right next to the changing location, so I can also understand that, especially now that the kids are able to roll around (and off things like changing tables and beds).

However, there are a few reasons why these diaper wads have gotten on my nerves.

First of all, they’re DIRTY DIAPERS. They staaank (sick sic). Now, I will give my wife credit for always properly disposing of poop-centric diapers, but liquid-based ones she lets linger start to smell just as much when you have four of them on the corner of the bed collaborating as a pleasant-odor-fighting Injustice League. Even though they are sealed to prevent liquid leakage, the stink burrows its way out.

The Justice League

If I go crazy, my wife will still not call me Superman.

Furthermore, because I’m the one who’s home all day, whenever my wife creates these treats in the morning before work, I am thus tasked with throwing them away. With as much as I pretend to do around the house as it is, I would prefer not to have to dispose of newly-established dirty diaper colonies.

Finally, the most irritating reason (which is the true spearhead of this domestic exposé) is that my wife has taken to throwing these diaper balls at yours truly. In fact, she had even dubbed these parcels “Diaper Bullets.” Her military strategy is built around times I am tired and thus more vulnerable to attack. Since she is a much lighter sleeper than I am, she’s always the first person to wake up when the Twins do. As I’m drifting back into the real world from vanquishing Voldemort or sticking it to the Galactic Empire, I’ll often be “helped along” by the impact of the still-warm diaper that has just been removed from the first-changed child. I am also often met with a barrage of fire just before going to bed. I’ll be watching tv, reading, or even taking my glasses off to lie down, and catch a faint, ever-intensifying whiff of baby urine, but before I can perform an evasive maneuver, BAM!

Operation Upshot - Knothole - Badger 001

A simulation of the actual impact multiplied by the emotions it inspires first thing in the morning.

Now, don’t get me wrong–I don’t just take this “lying down” so to speak. I retaliate with return fire, prompting a spontaneous sort of dodgeball match, but with soiled diapers.

At the same time, the “shot heard ’round the world” in the morning when I’m still half asleep and the unsuspecting kamikaze attacks before bed are what really annoy me, as I’m already tired and irritable.

I mean, really, I enjoy throwing dirty diapers at my wife as much as the next guy, but during the day when I’m alert and caffeinated. More often than not, the projectiles are unwelcome.

Of course, my wife and I have discussed this matter. I’m not just passive-aggressively blogging about this instead of communicating with her. I will say that in recent weeks, conditions have improved, for me at least. She has actually moved on to other victims–her mother and sister for example–and whenever doing so, in the same way that a wayward golf ball merits a “Fore!” she courteously bellows “Diaper Bullet!” As the perplexed target attempts to decipher what the hell she just said, he or she takes the answer to the face.

However, I have also noticed a recent resurgence of Diaper Bullet stockpiles throughout the house. She swears it’s because our lives are so chaotic at the moment since we are moving this week and stumbling over boxed belongings hourly; she allegedly forgets to go back and dispose of them because there’s so much else to do.

But I know her real motive. She is amassing ammunition.

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We Recycle   Let's Get Sh!tfaced   Open Roads and Diaper Loads - Our First Road Trip

If not, I’d watch out for Diaper Bullets.

iTunes Gift Card

The Quest for Redemption

By the Friday of every week I am completely exhausted. After wrangling the Twins, beating the snot out of my house-husbanding chores, and writing this fine publication (which many have recently remarked that they cannot believe I have time for), I am spent. So spent that my during-the-rest-of-the-week 2:00 pm crash usually hits at 11:30 am, while lying on the floor with my progeny in the middle of Tummy/Rolling All Over the Place Time, as I nod off mid-pseudo-engaging-baby-critical-thinking-question-about-the-toys-they-are-marvelling-at. (“What color is that ball? What shape is that ba–Zzzzzz…Ow! Did you just punch me in the nose? … What color is my nose?”)

With that in mind, I usually set few, very small goals for Fridays.

To Do List

Take last Friday for example. It was the end of my busiest week in a while. In addition to my regular duties (huh-huh, I said duties), I’ve been doing some contracted tech work as well as boxing belongings and seeking out new residences for the Pseudonymous family since we have recently decided to move.

And so, as I resuscitated myself with my super-charged Friday morning coffee, I decided to aim low. Aside from the givens (twin care, dishwashing, ninjutsu training), my primary objective was to browse the iTunes store for music and determine what I would purchase with the $15 gift card my wife got me over a month ago for Father’s Day. (Would you believe I haven’t had time?) I’ve had it sitting out on the counter as a reminder ever since receiving it from my wonderful wife, and have caught taunting glimpses of it while making bottles, folding laundry, and soothing meltdowns.

iTunes Gift Card

My wife was even thoughtful enough to find one of a semi-transparent-silhouetted guy who high-kicks and rocks air guitar while listening to his iPod, which is exactly how I and all other sane people listen to music.

With months of trophy husbanding experience under my belt, I believed this iTunes iTask to finally be within my iGrasp. Even if the kids were particularly grumpy, I could line up my sonic candidates like reality show contestants waiting for the red rose of approval, hit play, and discriminatingly consume. In fact, the Twinfants would most certainly enjoy the ever-changing sensory stimulation generated by the constant toggling of song clips.

No problem, right?

Well, of course not. Why would I write about that? It failed miserably.

The primary reason the plan disintegrated like a drool-drenched Graduates Puff was that we had absolutely no Nap Overlap. Those of you who are Loyal Readers know this means my children were never asleep at the same time. In fact, for the entire day, they were on completely opposite sleep schedules. As soon as I delivered one to Sleepy Town, the other was just waking up. All. Freaking. Day.

Now, I will admit this situation has its advantages, for instance facilitating quality one-on-one time with each of the twins individually, which is something all the books about twins that I don’t have time to read seem to say is important. On the other tiny hand, such a rhythm does not facilitate Daddy getting a freaking second to himself. Not to go to the bathroom, not to eat (unless I combine them), not even to accomplish tedious tasks like defunkifying dishes, laundering laundry, and listening to smooth on-hold jazz while waiting to haggle with customer service representatives.

Plus, at almost seven months old, the Twinfants are teething and especially irritable. As a matter of fact, amidst Frankenstein-monster moans akin to dueling banjos, transparent vampire-fang drool trickles flowing from each mouth corner, angry head-butts to Daddy’s sternum, and the frantic gnawing of foam books, plush pandas, and human fingers, we have sprouted the First Two Teeth of Pseudonymous: The Next Generation, with our son’s inaugural chomper emerging on Thursday evening and our daughter’s fashionably late pearly white fanfaring into view Saturday morning.I Got My First Tooth Card - CLICK TO BUY THIS CARD

Guess which day was right in the middle? That’s right. Friday, the day iFailed.

It wasn’t for lack of trying. Although both kids had their share of I-need-you-to-hold-me-right-now-Daddy-or-I-will-shatter-every-window-with-my-squeals moments, there were also a few peppered throughout the day when they seemed content, or, as Snoop Dogg wouldn’t say: “Rollin’ down the floor, sucking teething rings, sippin’ on baby formula, laid back, with their minds on their (stuffed) monkeys and their monkeys on their minds.”

Then, I got greedy.

On at least three occasions, I thought, Okay, they seem pretty chill. I could maybe squeeze in a song sample or twenty. I even lowered my laptop’s volume and strategically placed it in accessible but out-of-baby-sight locations, as I have learned they do NOT like to compete with Skynet for my attention. On my final Hail Mary attempt, I even tried earbuds. However, every listening session ended abruptly, about five seconds into the first clip, as they noticed I was not staring at them, hanging on their every gesture, the only proper response for which, of course, is a tantrum. This did not make for an optimal music previewing atmosphere.

I’ll admit I missed an opportunity around 2 pm, just after bottle-guzzling. They were happily cooing at their playthings on the floor, and I home-run trotted to my computer. This is it! I thought. It’s all happening! I chose an album (The Features’ Wilderness) clicked “play all samples,” and rejoined the munchkins on the floor. As they chattered and smiled at me occasionally, I laid on my back and stared at the ceiling fan, listening to my prospective new jams. Which made me think of seeing the band live when they came to Phoenix a few years ago. It was just my wife and me then. Simpler times. Not “better” times by any means, but definitely simpler. And I remembered the electrifying onstage energy the band had, and the badass hollow-bodied guitar their frontman rocked. Which made me think about how Pseudonymous hasn’t “Gone Electric” in a while. I’ve been folking out with the Twins acoustically, but haven’t “plugged in” for months. I should do that. Do I need new strings?

Dylan Goes Electric

Bob Dylan "Went Electric" in 1965, met with criticism from legions of fans. But I don't think the Twins will mind.

Before I knew it, the song previews had ended 15 minutes ago and I had still only paid attention to the first five seconds of the first song.

Now, before you decide that this poor, frustrated soul is clearly on his last nerve and take it upon yourself to send in your magical parenting guru suggestions about what I should have done in order to achieve my iGoal even though you: 1) weren’t here, 2) weren’t as tired as I was, and 3) have never met my children and thus don’t know what works (and what doesn’t) with them, I want to emphasize that in the scheme of things, I don’t care about the stupid iTunes card. (I also already tried your suggestion anyway since eating Wheaties daily makes me a Champion by definition.)

The more I pushed to “git-r-done,” the more I realized that purchasing music was just not in the cards for me that day. (Haha, get it?) Even more importantly, every day I could focus on achieving little tasks like buying music, getting every last dish washed, or writing yet another genius blog post–and in doing so, continually exasperate myself because the Twins usually need me more than I anticipate. Or, instead, I could remind myself what a privilege staying home to raise them is. Even though I spend more time with them than anyone else, it still feels like they’re growing up so quickly. I know although my wife enjoys her job, it doesn’t hold a candle to seeing them all day on weekends, and remember when I first returned to work from paternity leave, I felt like I was missing out all day.

Ferris Bueller, Righteous Dude & Sausage King of Chicago

Ferris Bueller, Righteous Dude & Sausage King of Chicago

Every moment I have with them is an opportunity for me to savor the awe-inspiring experience that is parenthood and, in the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

There will be plenty of time for me to buy my stupid music in the future, and yes, over the weekend, I was finally able to redeem the gift card one night once the kids went to sleep. As it turned out, it was an even better Fathers’ Day present than it first appeared to be.

It reminded me how lucky I am to be a Dad.

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If not, maybe you just need a day off. It worked for Cameron.

Mommy Magic

Open Roads and Diaper Loads – Our First Road Trip

I am thrilled, O Loyal Reader, to announce that the following Twincident was actually not written by me, but instead an Über-Special Guest Author. You’ve heard her thoughts on having more children, hydration and colored clutter. You’ve seen her catch vomit with her mouth, stick her chin in poo, and even put up with her husband’s suggestive innuendos while deathly ill. Now, for the first time, the floor is hers. Please welcome my wife, Bernie Pseudonymous!

(Yes, that’s right, her name is Bernie. Please withhold your Weekend at Bernie’s jokes. You may think you’re being original, but we’ve heard them all and none of them are funny. Not even yours.)

Tumbleweed Snowman

When you start seeing tumbleweed snowmen (real OR imaginary), it is probably time for a vacation.

This story starts like most other stories in my life lately. “My husband and I were feeling a little adventurous, so…” we decided that a weekend getaway to San Diego (5 hours by car) was totally doable and should be in our immediate future. The main motivation behind this quest was a five-generation picture that I wanted to get with our five-and-a-half-month-old twins and their great-great grandmother who was able to come down to San Diego with my grandmother so we could capture this rare twincident (if you will) on film. Plus, getting out of the 100-plus Arizona heat sounded very appealing and I wanted to prove to myself that it COULD be done. We knew that the twins could handle this adventure if we planned it right.

So we started preparing about three weeks prior to the Fourth of July weekend, talking to friends and scouring these internets for twinfant travel tips. The plan was to leave after we fed the twins dinner and a bottle hoping the baby food coma would keep the kids asleep the whole way. To me this seemed like a solid plan but the actual car ride, not so solid.

Pretty much every night our daughter falls asleep after dinner and stays asleep for the night. She can’t take a nap worth a damn, but at night she recoups. Our son is a little different. He goes down for naps relatively easy all day but also wakes up relatively easy and usually to the sound of our dog alerting us a car has gone by or some other annoying sound like thunder. So this applies to our car adventure because he was unable to fall asleep right away and the loud swooshing of wind flying by the car kept him awake. And unhappy. He cried for about 45 minutes, but then fell asleep until we reached a halfway mark where I could change him as the sky finally darkened, allowing his brain to recognize that sleep was in fact a good idea. (He did this on the way home, too but that time our daughter woke up, so Mom ninja-ed her way into the back seat and performed Mommy Sleep Magic on them both. Not ideal, but not terrible either.)

Mommy Magic

This Mommy is using her Magic to part the Red Sea.

We arrived in San Diego at 10:30 pm at which point I had to wait 20 minutes for my sleeping mother (who goes by “Nani” instead of “Grandma”) to come down to the lobby to tell us where our room was. As an added bonus, my 14-year-old brother had fallen asleep in our room (why he was in there in the first place…?) and Nani needed to get an extra key from the front desk to open it. All this commotion woke the bambinos up and UP they were for the next two hours. Once everyone settled we all slept until 5 am, but thankfully we handed the kids off to Nani at 6:30 after they ate and Mom and Dad got to sleep until 9. It was our first time sleeping that late in months, and It. Was. Awesome.

Most of our trip was spent swapping babies between my husband, Nani, my sister, brother and me so naps could be achieved and meals could be eaten. It was not a bad system.  Later that afternoon I was so excited to take my kids on a non-100-plus-degree walk that I just threw them in the stroller and we left not knowing we’d be taking a three-mile walk and not putting sunscreen on. Needless to say, the adults got burnt but the kids were unscathed and loved the walk. We performed some voodoo on the kids upon our return and got everyone to take a nap, refreshing us all.

After our nap we decided we needed to take the five-generation photos, as postponement might result in whiny twin/great-great-grandma syndrome. I can happily report that said photos turned out perfectly and I am so thrilled to be able to share these with my kids. After the pictures we ate dinner on the patio and had drinks with the whole family, great and great-great grandma included. Some fond memories were created. The kids’ great-great grandma is sharp. She was telling jokes and totally chatting us up. Definitely worth the 45 minutes of crying…both ways.

The next day came too quickly and we were off that night to return home. This was a trial vacation but I know the kids can handle longer and I can’t wait for the next time. In the end, the trip was quite a success.

Here are a few things Mom learned along the way:

  • Both my parents and my husband’s parents gave us crap for the three suitcases, two travel co-pods, stroller, two diaper bags, backpack, fleet of bottles, high chairs covers and portable bath tub that we packed BUT there was only one item we didn’t use—a portable jumper—and that’s only because the door frame wouldn’t allow it.
    .
  • In a choice between a car with space and a car that is super quiet, the quiet one wins. My poor son scared himself too many times in the loud sport utility vehicle we swapped with Nani to take to San Diego, but luckily we swapped cars back and drove our own, much quieter four-door sedan home.
    .
  • Rest areas, hotels, and some fast food joints do not have diaper-changing stations in their bathrooms. They will pay someday. I don’t know how, but they will pay.

    No Changing Table

    I will be avenged.

  • Our car stereo has a fade option allowing us to turn down the speakers next to the kids. Had no idea. My husband thought I was crazy for not knowing this information. Guess I’ve never had to fade the sound to the front so my kids won’t wake up before.
    .
  • The second you get in the car for a long ride, your twins will poop. Mine did both ways.
    .
  • The white noise Sound Machines (that my husband believes are from Miami) are lifesavers when staying in a hotel. The constant slamming of doors is less annoying if not projected through hallways full of paper-thin walls.

    (Miami) Sound Machine

    A lifesaver. It also looks kind of like a candy Lifesaver.

  • A family trip with five-month-old twins and an 88-year-old great-great grandma is actually a good idea since they are on the same nap and nighttime schedule.
    .
  • Food at a hotel is WAY too expensive, but it’s the closest spot to get some food in your belly that doesn’t require the Twin Car Shuffle, so it will do.
    .
  • Going on vacation with my husband, my mom, my grandma, my sister and brother was genius. There was always someone to help with the kids. I believe all vacations with my kids should require other family members.
    .
  • Caffeine is such a great friend. It never lets you down when you need it most. Even if you have to dump 10 packs of sugar in it to be drinkable.

    Sugar Packets

    I don't like my coffee to taste like coffee.

  • Stroller naps are just fine. So are naps anywhere else.
    .
  • My daughter is a great traveler. My son’s not.
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  • Mommy can and did squeeze her tush between the car seats in the backseat of our four-door sedan. When two kids are screaming like wild banshees, it can be done.
    .
  • Twins are a novelty in California as well as Arizona, as are idiots who believe they are entitled to touching our twins even though they are complete strangers.

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If not, I’ll turn this car right around and go back home. Is that what you want?

5 Hour Energy

Think of the Children!

My wife, who was valiantly driving the entire Pseudonymous clan home, pointed out the passenger-side window.  I perked up from an inevitable doze and glanced in that direction, but found nothing of interest.  While I was trying to make something up about how, yeah, they should really fix that pothole–think of the children!–so as to not ignore her, she elaborated.  Kind of.

“No, the thing.”  This is what happens when my wife gets tired.  She loses the capacity to communicate verbally.  She had initially opted for a completely nonverbal interaction (the pointing), and I knew that this helpful-yet-cryptic verbal qualifier took a concerted extra effort on her part, so I was thankful for that.  (That may appear to be sarcasm, but it’s not.  I really did appreciate it knowing how drained she was.)

It had been a grueling Sunday.  We’d planned to cart our travelling circus to Grandma’s house, but did not plan on waking up at 2:30 a.m. for my son’s teething emergency, which in turn made him realize he was hungry, which in turn made him realize it was kind-of-almost-but-not-really morning and a phenomenal opportunity to hold an animated roundtable discussion with Mommy and Daddy regarding such hard-hitting issues as “Dah-gaah,” “Nn-gee,” and “Naaaaah!”

As we futilely attempted to recover from our guest appearance on our son’s late-night talk show, we had also been keeping an eye on our poor, ailing daughter, whose fever—despite a steady clanging of more cowbell—had returned after what we thought was a few days of relief.  With it came bonus features like labored coughing, booger mustaches, and projectile sneezing (now with 50% more slime!).  Quite certain our daughter had acquired her first cold, we planned a return to the pediatrician the following day.  We just needed to make it until then.

I now followed my wife’s finger more closely, and realized she was pointing at the pocket in the car door (is there a name for that thing?), inside which was our emergency stash of 5 Hour Energy.  “Oh, right,” I eureka-ed.  The Case of the Pointing Finger had been solved!

5 Hour Energy

The Secret Weapon

As I’ve mentioned before, the exhaustion of raising the Twinfants often makes the drive home worthy of such feats as self-inflicted face slapping, high-volume externalization of one’s inner monologue (“Don’t you dare fall asleep!  Think of the children!”), and the occasional power-up beverage.  My wife and I have massacred the drive home time and time again with 5 Hour Energy and have dubbed it the Secret Weapon, with permanent installations in both of our vehicles.  While taste is not one of its virtues (“Berry” is our favored flavor), we can’t deny its effectiveness.  You can literally feel the energy coursing through you after drinking it. (Find out why in this post’s 500-Disc DVD Special Edition Bonus Feature below.)

Of course, in the heart of the scorching Arizona summer–during which we brave 100° F-plus temperatures like nobody’s bidness–a parked car creates a microwave-like atmosphere, scalding everything in its path and tragically damaging any forgotten chocolate into feces-like masses that do taste the same, but not really.  We love our coffee piping hot, but we do not feel the same way about 5 Hour Energy.  It is best choked-down cold, with a remark to the effect of, “It’s not that bad, I guess.”

However, today, our automobile had greenhoused our Secret Weapon to what felt like 150° F as it radiated in my now-trembling hand.

“Um, it’s pretty hot.”

“Do you want me to stay awake or not?”

“All right,” I muttered, unsheathing it from its tamper-safe wrapper and removing the lid.

“Is it gonna burn my mouth?”

“Don’t think so.”

“Will you check?”

“How?”  Yes, I actually said this.  Parental exhaustion has sparked a new brand of idiot conversation for both of us.  We sometimes become worse at making inferences than my former seventh grade students.

“By drinking it,” she duh-ed.

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood is said to carry sunshine in a bag. Convenient.

“Oh, right.”  I menacingly stared down my aqueous adversary as the stereotypical whistling score of a Clint Eastwood Old West showdown came from the back seat.  “Thanks, kids,” I said, remarkably unfazed by my four-month-old twins’ newfound whistling abilities and knowledge of American cinema.

Especially during my wife’s double-barreled pregnancy, more seasoned parents made a point to warn me, “Your life is no longer your own.”  Although I’m fairly new at this, I feel the stereophonic nature of my status as a parent warranted me a full understanding of this early on.  And as I “Eye-of-the-Tiger-ed” myself for the courage to imbibe this infernal concoction, I reminded myself that parents must often endure obstacles they would not normally expose themselves to, for the good and safety of their offspring.  Think of the children! I thought.

I tipped the tiny bottle back and took a miniature, fiery swig.  While its temperature was, in fact, at a tongue-worthy level, its taste was very much not.

“Oh.  God.  It’s… so bad…”

“Hot?”

“No, not hot…”

She pulled the bottle from my hand.  “It can’t be that bad.”  In she plunged, taking in full gulps.  Her hand suddenly jerked forward, yanking it from her now-grimacing mouth and staring at it as if it had b!tch-slapped her.  “Okay, yeah.  It’s that bad.”

Then she looked me in the eye before adding, “But I’m exhausted.”  She went back for round two, tipping it completely upside-down in her mouth.

I love this woman.

She finished half of it, and handed it back.  “I only need two and a half hours of energy.  Then, it’s bedtime.”

I don’t know why, but sometimes when something tastes particularly unfavorable, there’s a backwards sort of allure to it.  On the surface, the expression “This is terrible.  Here, taste it.” does not make any sense at all, but for some reason, we still taste.  That fascination—paired with the fact that I, too, needed to be operational for the next two and a half hours—culminated in a full-on chug of the remaining “Energy.”

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Seven Hours Later…

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“I don’t understand.  If it’s 5 Hour Energy and we split it, how are we still awake?”

“Shh!  I think they heard you!”

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Additional Twinformation About 5 Hour Energy
(Amaze Your Friends!)

A 500-Disc DVD Special Edition Bonus Feature

It should first be noted, O Loyal Reader, that in no way is this post intended to knock the 5 Hour Energy product.  While its taste is not the most stellar in the caffeinated beverage family, its efficacy is indisputable, and we depend on it for that reason.  We just don’t recommend serving it scalding unless absolutely necessary, as demonstrated here.  We also do not recommend it for daily guzzling, or, for that matter (again) unless absolutely necessary.  Here’s why.

While my wife and I laid awake that night, we whispered sweet nothings in each other’s ear wondering what the hell makes it so effective.  I crept to the kitchen in ninja mode–hurdling every couch and Exersaucer in my path–to get a bottle, and here’s what we found on the back:

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5 Hour Energy Ingredients

Actual Supplement Facts for 5 Hour Energy

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Then, we did the math.  If my wife and I split a bottle, we shared an impressive 8333% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin B12, or 4166.5% each. This means that, having drank it on Sunday, June 5, we technically do not need to worry about our B12 intake again until 41.665 days from then, which will be July 17.  We found this dosage just a little excessive, and are glad we usually only drink a few gulps, versus the whole frickin’ thing.

That being said, the verdict: way better Secret Weapon than daily wake-up agent.

You heard it here first.

Unless you already knew it.

But I heard it here first.

So there.