The Twins first got their Nabi tablets about two years ago. We’re conscious of limiting their screen time, but I think anyone with kids can agree that anything that keeps them busy for more than 30 seconds can be a win for everyone at least once in a while. Lately, with both of the Twins sick with colds (and my son somehow contracting a mild case of pneumonia in the over-100-degree Arizona heat), the Nabis have been a fantastic distraction for them while they rest and leave Mommy and Daddy alone for five freaking minutes–maybe six If we’re lucky.
We recently added the YouTube Kids app to their playscape, and they absolutely adore being able to watch videos of grown adults opening toys and ill-conceived animated songs whenever they want, and Mommy and Daddy can rest easy knowing it has an excellent kid-friendly filter. My daughter’s favorite function of the app is the ability to search for videos with voice commands. Like most newfangled contraptions nowadays, she can simply press the microphone-shaped icon, vocally request what her heart desires, and through modern sorcery, the videos magically appear before her eyes.
As my wife and I had the pleasure of taking turns with two snot-nosed four-year-olds (and their boogery six-month-old sister) all week, I decided to compile a list of some of my very favorite YouTube searches I overheard my daughter barking at her Nabi. Feel free to search them yourself, but a fair warning: What you find may numb your mind, bore you to tears, or even disgust you (especially if you’re NOT using that YouTube Kids filter).
Here they are, in no particular order. As you’ll soon see, my daughter has VERY specific tastes.
1. “Superman and Batman costumes with people inside them wearing them singing songs”
Because it is important to clarify that there are people inside the costumes.
2. “Plain Hello Kitty surprise eggs with nothing on them”
When asked I her for clarification, she replied, “I don’t want the eggs to have any pictures on them, but I want them to have Hello Kitty toys in them.” (For those who don’t know, surprise eggs are exactly what they sound like. Think those Easter eggs that you can put stuff in. You’d be amazed how many of YouTube’s servers are filled with people opening f*cking toy eggs.) Continue reading
I watched the sun as it crawled toward the horizon through a line of palm trees just off in the distance. Despite it being early October, the temperature was still in the mid-eighties, meaning a t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops were the only way to go. A cool breeze blew through my toes as I finished off my Philly cheesesteak and glanced at my wife and kids around the table.
No, we were not on vacation. We were not at the beach. In fact, we were actually sitting outside at a restaurant only a few miles from our house. This is Arizona’s “Fall,” and after four months of 110-degree weather, it reminds us every year the real reason we live here.
Gazing at the orange sky silhouetted by palms, I told my wife, “I know you grew up here, but every time I see a sight like this, it still feels like I’m on vacation.” (I was raised in Connecticut, where it was not uncommon to expect snow on Halloween.)
“Yep,” she replied. “This is like the best time of year. And it goes by so fast.” She’s right. As soon as the weather cools off, it always feels like a dead sprint through Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
But this evening, with autumn still new and shiny, time seemed to stand still.
“Are we still getting ice cream?” asked my son, who had just finished his chicken nuggets.
“Well, yeah, Buddy,” my wife replied. “We are, but we’re still waiting for Sister to finish her dinner.”
My son eyed his sister, who was leisurely nibbling on her fries, with plenty still piled on her plate. He grimaced. “Is this a dessert place, too?”
“No, Buddy. They only have chicken nuggets and French fries and Mommy and Daddy’s cheesesteaks.” (And yes, in case you’re wondering, cheesesteaks followed by ice cream were, in fact, my pregnant wife’s idea. Boo-yah.)
Looking up from her fries, my daughter chimed in. “I saw cookies inside.”
The Pseudonymous Family is moving to a new house this week. Although our current residence has served us well, it leaves little space for my wife and me to chase our little Ewoks around and has an air conditioner that was installed around the time Return of the Jedi was released. This does not bode well in the 115-degree Arizona summer, as it runs constantly and sh!tily and still does not sufficiently cool the house.
Accordingly, we’re very much looking forward to our new place’s additional square footage, reduced electricity bill, and gargantuan master bedroom closet organizer (a feature my wife literally dances about at its mere mention).
As we’ve been packing up the house, the Twins have been in rare form, no doubt thrown off by the disturbance in The Force due to their constantly-changing surroundings. While my daughter has fully integrated the word “No” into her vocabulary (Yeah. I’m in trouble.), my son has begun to test physical boundaries, exploring the limits of both furniture he’s allowed on and his own body. In fact, once we’d emptied the bookshelf in his bedroom the other day, we discovered a new talent of his, as illustrated by the following footage:
If there’s one thing I learned while growing up, it’s that–in the words of the great philosopher Hoots the Owl—“You gotta put down the Duckie if you wanna play the saxophone.”
I’ve since devised lifehacks allowing me to defy this nocturnal avian jazz musician’s First Law of Multi-Tasking, deftly blowing the perpetual 12-bar solo that is being a husband, dad, and student while still keeping a firm grip on the duckie that is this fine publication. However, during the month of July, the song’s tempo sped to a breakneck punk rock moshpit pace, and as I attempted to keep up with the chord changes, the poor little duckie came flying out of my hand.
Since I know you hang on my every Twincident, O Loyal Reader, I’m sure you noticed things have been considerably quiet ’round these parts. I’ve always told myself I’d never let writing about being a dad get in the way of actually being a dad, and the past few weeks found me in that very position. While writing is a deep passion of mine, I can’t let it jeopardize my sax life.
I had to huck the duck.
Now that summer is in full swing, I know many parents are looking for ecstatically fun activities to keep the kids entertained. Well, be not afraid, O Loyal Reader, for I’ve got yo’ back. Despite my incredibly busy schedule, I went to the trouble of compiling a list of enjoyable pastimes sure to keep you and your children free of boredom during these long summer months.
Granted, I’m no expert, but speaking from my own experience, the Twins and I have together agreed on several occasions that we like to do the following:
1. Eat, eat, eat apples and bananas.
2. Ate, ate, ate aypples and banaynays.
3. Eat eat, eat eeples and baneenees.
4. Ite, ite, ite ipples and baninis.
5. Oat, oat, oat ohpples and banonos.
6. Ute, ute, ute upples and banunus.
And if you’re feeling adventurous, an additional option that we sometimes enjoy is to:
7. Yte, yte, yte, ypples and banynys.
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.)
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.)
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stroller naps are just fine. So are naps anywhere else.
- My daughter is a great traveler. My son’s not.
- 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.
You may also enjoy:
If not, I’ll turn this car right around and go back home. Is that what you want?