I can’t believe I’m saying this, but this morning I dropped off the Twins for their first day of kindergarten.
Holy shit, you guys. Is this really happening?
Of course, I knew this day was coming, but that doesn’t lighten the blow of its actual arrival. It seems like just yesterday my son was calling me (or Chuck Norris) “Dada” for the first time, or my daughter was playing air guitar while breastfeeding, or my son was giving my wife a fecal soul patch, or my daughter was still sucking her thumb through thunderstorms and animatronic pirate encounters. But the timestamps are right there on photos and videos. There’s no arguing with the date I see on the calendar. Whether I want it to or not, time relentlessly sprints forward.
Five years ago, while reflecting on the first eight months of the Twins’ life, I wrote:
I’d prefer not to tritely say “They grow up so fast” (even though it’s SO true), so I hereby submit a far greater phrase for nation-sweeping candidacy: “They grow up faster than a Red-Bull-guzzling cheetah in a Lamborghini on the Autobahn with his pregnant, twin-carrying cheetah wife going into labor.”
Go ahead, picture that for a minute. Man. Now that’s fast.
As I read this today (and just barely remember writing it), I’d like to give my past self a high five because this just about nails it.
Here’s what really gets me. For the first three years of the Twins’ lives I was a stay-at-home dad, and for the remaining two and a half years I’ve worked from home. Aside from the fantastic childcare help we’ve gotten from my mother, sister-in-law, various preschools, and the rest of our “village,” I’ve pretty much been around the whole time. I’ve had more hours with the Twins than anyone else. Yet, now that they’re entering kindergarten, I still can’t help feeling like I “missed” stuff–that I somehow should have been around EVEN MORE. The rational part of me prescribes a chill pill, but the emotional side is like, “nuh-uh.”
Parent Guilt is a real thing, you guys. Continue reading
My family’s kajillionth listen of Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go” was suddenly interrupted by the ringing of my cell phone on the car’s Bluetooth. This did not faze the Twins, who just kept on singing, reminding their audience that the cold never bothered them anyway. My wife and I had just picked them up from school, and like most school days, they’d gotten a fresh jolt of energy during the drive home, proceeding to uncontrollably kick the front seats and belt out lyrics with absolutely no regard for the melody or their mother’s migraine.
Without even looking at the caller ID, I answered. Typically my mother calls us on our drive home to see how the Twins’ day at school was. They’ve been attending semi-sporadically since the summer of last year, but as my PhD work has gotten increasingly demanding with each passing semester, we’ve slowly been increasing their weekly amount of school days. (And yes, I’m calling it “school” for a reason. This place has a big-kid curriculum, individualized learning goals for each kid, and even parent-teacher conferences. It is decidedly not a “daycare.”)
As you may remember, for most of the time I’ve spent on campus to do my doctoral work, my mother has very graciously taken care of the Dynamic Duo. However, due to some other important family commitments (which are beyond the scope of this Twincident), she’s been in and out of town, prompting us to seek other (tragically not-for-free) care options for the kids. The transition hasn’t always been easy, with several month-long plagues of sickness throwing off any weekly routine we hoped to establish, sometimes resulting in tearful toddlers at the morning drop-off, but lately, we’ve finally, finally, FINALLY found a groove.
And so whether she’s here in town, hunting Chupacabras in the Mexican wilderness, or scaling Mt. Everest to destroy the Eighth Horcrux, my mom calls us nearly every school day on our way home to see how the Twins’ day was, partly because she really and truly wants them to do well and partly (I’m guessing) because she misses them and wishes she could see them more often.
But when I answered the phone, I found that it wasn’t my mom after all.
“Hello?” I barked casually.
“Hi, I’m looking for John?” said an unfamiliar female voice, cranked to 11 on the car stereo while the kids were still screaming Frozen lyrics.
“Yes,” I called, clawing for my phone in my pocket to turn off the Bluetooth. “This is John.”
“Hi John, I’m calling about the position you interviewed for yesterday.” She hesitated for a moment, assumedly due to the stereophonic pixie voices booming, “I don’t caaaaare what they’re goooing to saaaaay!” Then, she continued. “Is this a good time to talk?”
It’s that time of year again, O Loyal Reader. The most important holiday of the year is upon us–the one people wait for all year with bated breath. It’s just a mere few days away, and I can hardly contain myself. I just can’t believe it’s almost Black Friday again!
Just kidding. I couldn’t care less about Black Friday or Cyber Monday or Max Out Your Credit Card Tuesday or Buyer’s Remorse Wednesday. While in my mind Christmas will forever be the King of All Holidays, there’s still a lot to be said for Thanksgiving.
Of course, I haven’t really had a moment to say anything about it because I’m: 1) in the middle of (FINALLY) running a research study for my dissertation; 2) organizing another study as a research assistant; 3) battling a terrible viral infection that has struck my entire family (including my dog and this one scorpion I found blowing snot-rockets in my backyard); 4) fathering the Dynamic Duo; and 5) trying to figure out where I can get a good deal on a partridge in a pear tree on Max Out Your Credit Card Tuesday.
It’s no secret I’ve been a little short on blog posts here lately. I am reminded of this every time I leave my house when I have to shoo away the protesters who stand constant vigil on my front lawn with signs demanding, “More Crappy Stick Figures!” and “What do we want? Mildly clever pop culture puns! When do we want them? Now!”
Luckily, I happen to have written one of my favorite Twincidents about Thanksgiving one year ago. While I’ve never done the whole reposting thing before, I feel like this one has a message worth repeating, so I decided to carefully dust off the text file character-by-character and present it to you in this newly-restored, digitally-remastered, platinum edition, which now includes an afterword with B. A. Baracus himself, the one and only Mr. T. With this more-than-sufficient amount of ado, I give you:
Don’t Have a Happy Turkey Day (Deluxe Digitally Remastered Edition)
I’m not going to lie. When I’m wished a “Happy Turkey Day,” I cringe.
It’s not that I have anything against turkey–I find it to be delicious and consume it regularly throughout the year. And I don’t have anything against Thanksgiving itself. In fact, I love it, which is precisely the reason the moniker “Turkey Day” irritates me.
The problem with saying “Happy Turkey Day” is that it puts the focus on the day’s superficial elements and off the idea of giving thanks.
To my knowledge, I did not attend the First Thanksgiving, but I did attend American public schools, which means I am an expert on the topic (especially tracing my hand to draw a turkey), and from those thirteen years in historical academia, I gathered that the original reason for the celebration was the relationship between the Native Americans and Pilgrims.
The Pilgrims (who chose their name due to their enthusiasm for John Wayne films) left England in search of a better life, one of religious freedom and less tabloids about the Gallagher Brothers. However, when they arrived in America, they continuously failed at living off the land because there was no Starbucks or Wi-Fi anywhere. There were no apps on their iPhones for growing corn or not dying from scurvy. They’d already run out of duct tape while building a cool fort on the Mayflower, and thus had crude shelters unsuitable to withstand El Niño. They were dropping like flies shot by a proficient fly marksman.
Thanks so much for browsing in on such short notice. I know we’re in the midst of The TwinfaMaui Saga, but dire circumstances have prompted this brief interruption. I don’t have much time, so I’ll get right to the point.
Just a few days ago, scientists at the Twinfamy Research Labs unearthed a lost and long-forgotten relic from the elaborate network of catacombs beneath the Pseudonymous residence: the (tw)infamous Dead Draft Scrolls. For those who don’t know, this highly sought-after artifact is a hard drive containing sacred ancient writings of the Pseudonymous people, including drafts of compositions that really ought to be New York Times Bestsellers by now (and surely would be had yours truly realized how much free time I had before becoming a parent).
Among these legendary texts is a collection of war stories from my career as a middle school English teacher, a stint that ended in a blaze of glory as I was summoned to stay-at-home greatness. The writings are dated 5 B. T. (5 years Before Twins), placing them around the year 2006.
As you can imagine, there was much rejoicing in the Twinfamy camp, as my Prodigal Brainchildren had been found. However, it is with a heavy heart that I report one of these pieces is already missing.
Which is the reason I’ve called you all here.
I recently received the highest honor WordPress bestows upon its bloggers–“Freshly Pressed.” For those of you who don’t know, that means one of my posts was featured on the WordPress homepage, affording hundreds of thousands of bloggers the convenient privilege of experiencing the genius that is this fine publication.
The post, titled “Did He Just Say What I Think He Said?”, was about my son saying “Dada” for the first time, possibly because of Chuck Norris. I can only assume The Man Himself received word of this post and flexed a bicep ever so slightly, causing a chain reaction in the cosmos resulting in a WordPress employee stumbling upon Twinfamy, sharing it with colleagues, and culminating in a celebratory cheering-at-desks-and-cubicles scene akin to Jim Lovell & Co. returning to Earth’s atmosphere in Apollo 13.
The response was overwhelmingly amazing, and if you’re a new Loyal Reader as a result of this National Holiday, welcome.
But that’s not the reason I’m writing this post.
I am thrilled to announce that the tale of my son’s alleged first word has inspired the production of a movie…starring Legos.
Earlier this week I expressed my affection for Legos, and as soon as the Twins are old enough, you can bet we’ll breathe life into the finest Lego structures this world has ever seen. If there’s anyone who’s fueled this anticipation, it’s my friend John Willey, a multi-talented writer, photographer, and Lego aficionado. His blog Daddy’s in Charge? is one of my favorites, brimming with humor, reflections on being a stay-at-home dad, and highly entertaining Lego movies about his life raising his two sons.
I am ecstatically honored to be part of John’s latest Lego opus, his response to the Legend of the Chuck Norris “Dada,” which features the Twins and Yours Truly in plastic Technicolor.
I was a little apprehensive about being temporarily transformed into a Lego figure for the day we shot this, and even more concerned that the Twins would also be making this transformation.
For instance, would there be any long-term side-effects? In the event of an accidental dismantling, would all the King’s Horses and Men be on hand to remedy the situation, and if so, have they learned from the infamous Humpty-Dumptygate Scandal? In the end, though, I just couldn’t turn down the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with Lego Chuck Norris.
And believe me, everything they say about him…it’s ALL true.
Plus, who knew Chuck Norris was responsible for other children’s first words?
Well, Chuck Norris did, of course, but I didn’t. What a guy, huh? Not only does he keep the Earth spinning by trimming his beard (so it doesn’t throw off the gravitational pull) and prevent zombie apocalypses before scientists can even get out their chemistry sets–the guy still finds time to give the gift of speech to babies! Such a class act. Someone get this man a Nobel Prize, or at least some frozen yogurt.
Anyway, thanks a kajillion to John for including us in this fantastic piece of Lego cinema. You can read his own post about this video here. I urge you to check out more of his fine work on Daddy’s in Charge? and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
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If not, expect a visit from Lego Chuck Norris. It will not be a friendly one.