Tagged: staying up late

Thunderstruck Thumb-Suck

Desert Lightning

I awoke suddenly to sheets of rain tap-dancing on the roof, werewolf-howl wind gusts, and the white-noise hiss of our baby monitor, my wife’s intent yet exhausted face lit by the screen.

“Hey,” she whispered.

“What up,” I yawned.

“He’s awake.” She turned the monitor to display my son in his crib, tossing restlessly. I glanced at the clock. 3:20 am.

“How’s she?”

“Still out,” she replied, just as the monitor toggled to our daughter, fast asleep.  My wife dubiously shook her head. “How are you just now waking up? How can you sleep through this?”

“Through what?”

A bright flash lit the room momentarily, followed by thunderclap that literally rattled the house.

Arizona LightningShe shot me a the-deafening-storm-you’ve-been-sleeping-through-you-lucky-bastard kind of look. My wife is a light sleeper, so she wakes up often at night and sometimes gets jealous of my hibernation-grade slumber intensity, particularly during nights like this.

“Oh,” I answered. “Talent?”

We are in the midst of what Arizonans call “Monsoon Season,” a time during which we are graced not only with three-digit heat, but also higher-than-usual humidity and a wave of tropical thunderstorms, including the most massive dust storm Phoenix has seen in years–or as I learned the day after the storm, the proper term is haboob. (Yes, really. How exciting is that?!) So, with that in mind, check out these pictures of this enormous, mind-blowing, spectacular haboob, from TWO angles!

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While it was incredibly cool to experience (at one point we couldn’t see anything further than five feet out the windows as the tannish fog enveloped the house), the timing was not ideal. The storm hit just as we were putting the Twins down for bed, so despite the soothing simulated-heartbeat jams of their Sound Machines (which I believe are from Miami), the rattling windows, moaning gusts, and our yapping watchdog kept them awake, which allowed them the opportunity to complement the clamor outside with alternating cries akin to dueling guitar solos.

ACDC

Luckily, neither the storm nor the solos Shook Us All Night Long.

I remembered the haboob experience as the sky paparazzi flashed another photo.

My first thought was: Huh-huh. Huh-huh. Haboob. My second was: Huh-huh. Huh-huh. But my third was: Get ready to hold crying progeny for an hour.

Not that I was hoping for it, but I definitely had to accept it as a possibility. But then, my selfish heart melted when I actually thought of the Twinfants, alone in their beds, waking with a start, never having heard or experienced such a loud, sensory-overloading thing. Recalling my own childhood and how terrified I’d get of lightning storms, I became totally okay with soothing them and letting them know everything would be okay.

Jim Halpert looking at the camera

I don't know if he's saying "hi" or mocking me.

My son flipped from his side to his back, his eyes wide open, looking up at the camera. I swear he already knows what it is and what it does because all the time I catch him half-smirking directly at it like Dunder-Mifflin’s Jim Halpert.

After a few minutes of silently willing him back to sleep, my wife and I gently high-fived as he found his thumb and sucked it all the way back to Sleepy Town.

“Okay,” I murmured, leaning over to kiss my wife. “Good ni–”

FLASH! (Yes, that is an onomatopoeia that doesn’t actually make a sound.) BANG!

“She’s waking up.”

“No she isn’t.”

“She is.”

Sure enough, there my daughter was, exhaling loudly, whipping what little hair she has back and forth. Now, she worried me even more. She’s a little more high-strung and observant than my son. Her eyes like dinner plates, she has a thirst for life in general and passionately takes in everything she encounters. This curiosity will serve her well, but it also causes her to get easily overwhelmed by situations that overload her senses. Such as bright flashes of light and loud booms.

Warwick Davies as Willow

The whipping-back-and-forth-of-hair phenomenon is credited to Willow Ufgood, who heroically did so while saving a baby from the evil queen Bavmorda.

The back-and-forth hair-whipping slowed to an alert halt at another flash and bang. Her eyes widened.

Oh no. Here it comes.

And then something incredible happened.

She just lost her mind laughing.

And then, in utter shock, so did we.

Each crash intensified her hysterics to a higher, more jubilant octave, rolling mirthfully back and forth as the storm raged on, while my wife and I tried to stifle belly laughs so the three of us wouldn’t wake my son.

Eventually, she tired herself out, found a tasty finger, and collapsed.

My wife and I, on the other hand, were now fully awake from laughing until we cried.

In fact, we listened to the sky explode for another hour, returning fire with overdramatic sighs and obscenities.

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We Don't Do That Here - A Trip to the Pediatrician's Office   Naptime Musings - My 6 Most Common Thoughts   Big Mother Is Watching

If not, maybe you just need to think of the word “haboob.” Huh-huh. Haboob.

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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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • The second you get in the car for a long ride, your twins will poop. Mine did both ways.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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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Let's Get Sh!tfaced   We Recycle   Big Mother Is Watching

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

Neo dodges bullets in the only good Matrix film.

We Recycle

Wife: Our son just flung vomit into my mouth.

Me: Yay, another milestone! Where’s his baby book?

I was not present at the Time of Flinging, for I was slaying daughter diaper poo in another room, but legend has it that the tragic trajectory events occurred as follows.

But first…

Our Son's Actual Baby Book (without his picture)--Click to buy from Babies R Us

There wasn't enough room in the book, so I wrote a link to this post instead.

Our son is a loose cannon in the spit-up department. Since his first day outside of his mother, he’s had a flair for reflux. We’ve been told this is more common with boys than girls and that it typically disappears after 12 months. In the meantime, however, my son often needs as many wardrobe changes as you would expect from Lady Gaga live in terrible concert. Bibs are no match for his vomit comets. Sure, they work okay, but ponchos would work better.

As his parents, my wife and I are constantly in the line of fire, enjoying refreshing vomit rinses multiple times daily. I can’t remember a day since I began house-husbanding that I did not need to change my shirt due to battle damage. Now, keep in mind, it’s high summer in the arid, scorching Arizona desert. Wussy, coin-sized spots dry right up and do not necessitate a wardrobe change. In contrast, here is an accurate depiction of the quality of work you can expect from him, as modeled by my lovely Who t-shirt.

My Who Shirt + My Son's Vomit

I thought I'd sufficiently burped him. I Won't Get Fooled Again.

After the day’s last feeding, we always feel we’re walking on eggshells that have already been slightly cracked by someone at the grocery store and that actually burst apart when pulled from the carton in an attempt to assemble them into a walkway, leaving us with egg on our faces and everywhere else. But the egg is vomit.

This is because once he’s had his last bottle, he could blow at any moment, but we need to get him ready for bed and put on his pajamas. So we do, so that he can hose them down, prompting Pajama Change 2: Return of the Reflux. And then he drenches those. and we initiate Pajama Change 3-D: This Time It’s Personal. And so on.

Not only is this process simply annoying, the re-changes often re-invigorate him when he’s just about to drift off, keeping him up later than he should be, depriving himself of much-needed slumber, and most importantly, infiltrating Mommy and Daddy’s only few hours to ourselves. How can I pretend to be interested in my wife’s So You Think You Can Dance commentary while flinging Angry Birds if he doesn’t go to sleep?

So when Old Faithful is about to be faithful, we are perfectly okay with doing anything we can do to keep his pajamas dry, even to the point of taking the bullet ourselves. One method we like to use is the Use My Hand as a Barf Bag Method (UMHAABBM), in which the user cups a hand and, well, you get it.

All right, now that you’ve been briefed, here is how the Great Vomit Fling of 2011 came to pass.

Into my wife’s mouth.

Eyewitnesses claim it began with the groan we have come to identify as “Fire in the hole.” My wife, who was sitting with him on the couch, valiantly administered the UMHAABBM with great success, inheriting a wrist-adjacent pool of formula, breast milk, rice cereal and prune baby food, spilling only a few drops and leaving my son’s PJs unscathed.

As she deftly balanced herself so as to not spill this treasure, my son noticed his hand, and remembering it to be an excellent appendage on which to suck, brought it to his mouth, still dripping upchuck.

He then glimpsed Mommy’s Bangs, another tried-and-true snack with the additional appeal of The Squeaky Sound Mommy Makes When I Pull and Don’t Let Go. His hand shot right for it.

Neo dodges bullets in the only good Matrix film.

Follow the white vomit.

Now, I may get in trouble with our Clan for divulging this, but my wife and I are ninjas. So in a move akin to Neo’s Bullet-Time dodge in the only good Matrix film, she successfully eluded his swipe, but–after a long day at work–did not account for the globule of vomit launched in the strike.

In its wake, not a day goes by since last night when it happened, that I don’t hear people ask, “Where were you when the vomit fell?”

They respond with awe and wonder when I casually remark, “In the next room, changing a diaper. No big deal.”

But it was a big deal.

At least to my wife.

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Author’s Note

A 500-Disc DVD Special Edition Bonus Feature

My wife has observed that Twincidents have tended to feature humor at her expense–sticking her face in my son’s feces for example. She explicitly stated that she does not mind because such experiences happen to all parents. However, she did suggest writing about my own unfortunate twin run-ins, to which I responded, “But I can’t think of one. Can you?”

“Actually, no, not really.”

“See?”

“Wait, what about the time you…?”

…but that’s another story.

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Let's Get Sh!tfaced   Naptime Musings - My 6 Most Common Thoughts   Pun for the Whole Family

If not, at least try to get it in my cupped hand.

Michael Scott Laughing

What She Said

I stayed up later than usual the other night to put some finishing touches on a Twincident or five.

When my wife decided to go to sleep, I said I’d just be a minute more.

I wasn’t.  (Only the best for you, O Loyal Reader!)

When I finally crawled into bed, she glanced at the clock and said, “That was much longer than a minute.”

There was, of course, only one logical response for me to give:

“That’s what SHE said.”

Michael Scott Laughing

Michael Scott, Former Dunder-Mifflin Scranton Branch Manager & 2011 Dundie Award Winner, World's Best Boss

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Don't Fear the Teether   I Guess We're Done Then   Let's Get Sh!tfaced

If not, let’s meet in the conference room in five minutes to hash this out.

Wine Glasses

Pun for the Whole Family

Wife: I think tonight’s a wine night.

Me: Don’t they whine every night?

(Spoken over two wailing banshees.)

Wine Glasses

“Open it outside.  The corkscrew might wake them up.”

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If not, no whining.

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.

Crying in Stereo

Dictwinary #2 – Twincident

twin•ci•dent1

[TWIN-sih-dent]

singular common noun

An occurrence (or incident) involving twins

The twincident of the forgotten pacifiers echoes as loudly in our memory as the tantrums it produced, broadcasted in hi-fi stereo sound throughout the vehicle.

Crying in Stereo

At least it wasn't Dolby 5.1.

Twin•ci•dent2

[TWIN-sih-dent]

singular proper noun

A blog entry on Twinfamy, everyone’s favorite epic-stay-at-home-father-of-twins-parenting-humor-specific publication.

Despite a standing brunch engagement with her estranged biological son who had apparently been raised by a kindly family of Sasquatch, Agatha simply had to stay up late in order to read the latest Twincident.

Open Twinty-Four Hours

Fear not, for Twinfamy is always open, unlike customer service centers and post offices, which intentionally close at times most people would prefer to use their services.