Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

As I sit here in my spider-man outfit, complete with mask, a thought occurs to me, Hey it's Halloween. I guess I'll have to put away my everyday spider-man suit and break out the special occasion one. Even if that was true, I'm sure I wouldn't be the first person ever to post something on the Internet while dressed as spider-man. For some reason I imagine director Kevin Smith dressed that way as he posts on his website. To make up for that quasi insult here's a free plug. Zach and Miri Make a Porno, opening in theatres today. There, now at least 6 people know about his movie.

Anyways, getting back to the topic of Halloween, I've never been a big fan. I like the idea of going out and getting candy for very little effort but I'm not so much into the scary aspect. I don't generally watch scary movies and I've never been one for scary costumes. As a kid, I generally dressed up as super heroes for Halloween. One year I got brave and decided to be a vampire. The idea of wearing a cape was the big selling point for me. The big drawback was the fake blood. When it came time to put it on, I had a meltdown. Mom is standing there with a tube of fake blood as I'm crying in the corner trying to keep her away (let me take this opportunity to point out I was 8) while my little sister is laughing her ass off. It didn't take too long to realise the makeup was a lost cause so I went trick or treating as the world's first hemophobic vampire. More of a concept costume than anything else. Needless to say, that little childhood trauma has soured me on Halloween. I'm doing my best not to pass that on to the kids though.

They're both excited about dressing up in costumes. They enjoy candy too. It's having all sorts of ghosts and ghouls roaming the street that I think may present a challenge. I'll try not to be scared though. Both girls like their costumes so much that it'd be a shame for it to go poorly. The little one is a butterfly, or buttaby as she says, and her big sister is a witch. She picked it out herself. That came as a bit of a relief. We got a flyer in the mailbox from some costume place a couple weeks ago. She was looking at all the costumes that were shown on the cover and telling me what they were. "She's a ballerina. That one's a cowgirl. She's a princess. She's a fairy." The problem is they were grown up costumes and all I could think was that's great but they all look like hookers to me. If that's the direction Halloween is heading then I'm not looking forward to her selecting costumes when she's older.

What's wrong with the costumes they had when I was a kid anyway? You throw on a plastic pullover Batman, Superman, or Lone Ranger costume, put that flimsy plastic mask with eye, mouth, and nostril holes on (careful not to snap the elastic string that held it in place) and you're good to go. Head out to collect a garbage bag sized sack full of sugarbetes batter. Ah, the good old days. The 80's were a simpler time. Oh well, the costumes may have changed but at least I can count on my kids going out and feeding my sweet tooth tonight. "Yeah, that candy isn't the kind you like. And that one you're allergic too. Oh, that one made you sick the last time you had it. Here, you love trail mix. Make sure to share with your sister."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

First Snowfall

So we had our first snow of the season. Exciting times for the kids; not so much for the rest of us. It was so exciting that our oldest ran downstairs and threw open the backdoor. The big problem there is that we have an alarm system. As soon as that door opened the alarm went off. That meant I got to tearass down the stairs to shut it off and then into the kitchen to comfort her. She slammed that door shut right away and was quite distraught by the time I got there. So thanks to her fear of sudden unexpected loud noises she now has a fear of doors, snow, and the outside world. At least we don't have to worry about that one running away.

Actually, she was fine after we explained how the alarm works. Left out the part about deterring burglars; no reason to cause a bigger problem while solving a little one. Once she calmed down she had only one thing on her mind, let's go play in the snow. Like all kids I loved playing in the snow. As a parent, that enthusiasm has weakened a bit. It's been replace by my hatred of snowsuits, snowpants, winter boots, and my new arch enemy, mittens. I understand now why kids mittens only have a slot for the thumb and the rest of the fingers all get jammed together. I would lose my friggin' mind if I had to put each individual ringer into a different hole. That's why my big winter clothing rule is no actual gloves until you can put them on by yourself. Mitts suck enough as it is. It doesn't help that they're the last thing to go on. I'm already nice and frustrated from putting sweaters, socks, snowpants, winter jackets, and hats. All of that with minimal help from the kid I'm dressing. Ever try putting boots onto a kid that's providing no resistance? I get to see how flexible she is as I push her leg up over her head or I get to slide her across the floor like some weird broom while fighting to squeeze her foot in.

The best part is they find it funny when I struggle so they help even less. As we all know, laughter makes frustration so much better. Reminds me of the story Dad likes to tell about when Mom was pregnant with me. She couldn't squeeze around the car to get in while it was in the garage. That meant Dad had to back it out. They were late for whatever they had going on. In his haste he failed to close her door before backing out. Actually, he forgot to close his door too so when he backed out they both got caught on the garage door's frame and bent backwards. So he's fuming and Mom is in the driveway with a friend beside themselves with laughter. As Dad likes to put it, if he'd been able to get either door off the car I might not be here today.

With that in mind as I struggle to winterproof the children I'm left to wonder, how bad is hypothermia anyway? If they lose a thumb then my mitten problem would be solved anyway. Yeah, I know that's not the best solution. I guess I'll just have to suck it up and keep bundling the youngsters before tossing them out into the snow.

Oh crap, now one of them has to use the potty. All that fun in reverse with the added fun of a ticking timebomb. I gotta go.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Happy Wiggle Day!!

"It's Wiggle day, it's Wiggle day!"

That's the sound that rang down the hall to wake us this morning. That of course means she'll finally stop asking every morning if it's Wiggle day. That's been going on for at least a month. That was when I made the mistake of mentioning we had tickets to their show. Every day since has been one big countdown. In my opinion, it was worth the wait.

We've been to quite a few of these kid show things, some free, most not. The free ones of course being just appearances. There was the time we got to meet and have pictures taken with three of the Backyardigans. That didn't go too bad. The big one freaked out of course because they were basically just big mascots. Her little sister was less hesitant. The beauty of it was that when we took a picture there was some little girl in the shot who passed for our oldest from behind. To this day she talks about how fun it was to see them and how Tyrone patted her on the head. I just wish we'd gotten the little girl's contact info so we could use her as a stand in for things like that. Then again, with Photoshop we can pretty much fake any pictures we want. "Remember the time I fought Godzilla and saved everyone Daddy?"

"Sure do sweetie, it was awesome."

Back to the show though. When it comes to these live show/capade type things there's a few area the Wiggles beat the others on. First, when we go to one of these and have no choice but to get some little light wand or stuffed doll for the kids, I like to know it's not going to fall apart before we leave the building. Looking at you Diego. If you're going to overcharge people for some little twirly piece of crap then the least you can do is make sure everything is glued on tight. Forget animal rescuer, I want to go see the Go Diego Go, competent manufacturer show. Anyways, the second are where the Wiggles win out is authenticity. It's actually them performing, not some dude who looks like the character or someone in a costume. Sure, they have a built in advantage because they're not animated characters like every other kids show personality but that's beside the point. Now stop distracting me with the physical limitations of the world we live in. All I'm saying is it feels more meaningful when it's actually the Wiggles up there on stage driving the Big Red Car. Who knows how many Diegos or Thomas the Trains are touring the globe at any one time. We can be certain when we're seeing the Wiggles that we're the only ones seeing them at that point in time.

That brings me to my third area or praise, they put on a hell of a show. All sorts of costume changes, tons of interaction with the kids in the audience, and all sorts of jumping and flipping. The pirate guy's entrance was jumping out of a castle window and sliding down some curtains. The blue wiggle kept trying handstands and even did some acrobatics on the rings at one point. (I know all their names; I just didn't want to look like a big lose by saying Captain Feathersword and Anthony) All that effort pays off too because the kids went nuts for them. Our two were laughing and dancing the whole time. Just like every other kid in the place. That's why they can charge so much at these things. Watching your kids having the time of their lives makes you forget all about the $4 you just paid for a bottle of water. ("How about I give you $1 and you just give me an empty bottle and directions to a faucet?") Ok, almost forget.

Overall, Wiggle day was great. The show was entertaining, the girls' Dorothy dolls haven't fallen apart, and they loved the whole thing. I didn't get peed on, thrown up on, or have a youngster crying for an hour and half so I enjoyed it too. I would definitely recommend it.

P.S. For the sake of full disclosure, we went to their show the last time they were here a couple years ago and this one was a lot different. Both good shows but it's nice to know they're not just doing the exact same show over and over again. Not sure what it says about me that I can say the two shows are a lot different but whatever.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sharing Is Caring

We do our best to try and teach the girls to share. It seems to work more often than not, with the older on at least. The little one is more into trying to assert her dominance by not backing down. I'm pretty confident we can put an end to that before she decides to take that show to the playground. I don't have any interest in being the parent of the playground bully who knocks out the kid who's playing with the shovel she wants.

Anyways, sharing took a surprising turn yesterday. Whenever one of us is laying down with a blanket on, our oldest asks us to make a leg crib for her. That just means we make room between our legs so she can lie down. That's what happened yesterday, my wife had a blanket on as the had quiet time before bed and she had to make a leg crib. The big one settled into place. Her little sister eventually noticed what was going on and headed over. Expecting a fight to ensue, my wife asked big sister to share with little sister. Surprisingly, she did without any argument, rare indeed. She didn't just share the leg crib; she got up and let her sister have it.

"That's very good sharing. What a nice big sister you are."

That's when the truth came out. "That's ok, she can have it. I farted in there."

A sweet act of sisterly kindness turns out to be an odour-filled booby trap. Can't get mad at her though. I'm kind of proud that's she's pulling off something like that when she's only three. Besides, who among us has never farted on a sibling's blanket or pillow? Think about that the next time you go to bed and see if you get a good night's sleep, Katie.

All Aboard

So the pregnancy seems to be progressing well. Of course, in pregnancy that means nobody has killed anyone yet. It's a roller coaster ride of mood swings combined with extreme exhaustion and, in our case, a constant threat of vomit. My wife has had some of those symptoms too. The cool part is that the kids seem to understand that there's a baby in Mommy's tummy. Actually, they understand more than we think.

Yesterday, my wife was talking with our oldest. They were talking about the baby. She said to our little girl "One day when you're a lot older you'll have a baby in your tummy too." That seemed to elicit some strange looks so she tried to clarify what she was saying but got cut off.

"I don't want to have a baby in my tummy."

"Why not?"

"Because I want to have energy."

Apparently, she'd rather be able to run around and play than have kids. Another instance where she was more aware of what's going on than we gave her credit for. Personally, I'm all for anything that gets her on board the abstinence train. Little bugger's not even born yet and it's already paying dividends.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Palin On SNL

I just have to talk about Sarah Palin's appearance on SNL. Quite simple, I loved it. If you haven't seen it you can check it out here. I can't say that her actually being there added anything to it. The stuff with Wahlberg giving Andy Samberg crap for the impression of him was a lot better than anything Palin actually did. That being said, I give her credit for being there.

Tina Fey's Palin sketches have been the highlight of the show all season long. They've gotten huge buzz online and plenty of mainstream discussion on the 24 hour news channels. Every comedian out there is making jokes about her but none have gotten as much attention as these things. A couple more and I think she'll be entitled to a writing credit for the show. So with SNL hanging its hat on her this year she still showed the guts to walk right into it. Something the current President Bush or Dick Cheney has not ever done. Granted, they've been actively harmful, to put it extremely mildly, while she's just been amusingly oblivious, so far. I suspect that if Bush or Cheney ever did appear on something like The Daily Show, Jon Stewart wouldn't be able to just make jokes. Honestly, if he couldn't resist calling Tucker Carlson a dick on live TV (skip ahead to about 6:10 if you don't want to sit through the whole thing) then what chance would either of them have at some good natured joking around.

Back to Palin though. She went into a hostile environment knowing she was going to be made fun of. Hostile may be a harsh word for it but just look at the total lack of interaction between her and Tina Fey. They crossed paths with little more than a nod. Compare that to when Hillary Clinton was on sharing a scene with Amy Poehler's Hillary Clinton. Poehler seemed genuinely excited about the situation. Not hard to tell which way everyone's voting there. So yes, she gets credit for showing up. That's about where it ends for me though.

When it comes to actually doing anything, she was less than impressive. She made fun of Alec Baldwin: how hard is that? Alec is the most talented Baldwin brother. That's looks as impressive on a resume as a gold medal won at a track meet for the obese, an accomplishment he may also be in the running for. There, I zinged him twice and I wasn't even trying. The best thing I can say is that she didn't look awkward or robotic while hip hopping along to that rap on Weekend Update. I friggin' loved that rap. I'd put it right up there with dick in a box or Natalie Portman rapping as one of my favourites from the show. She wasn't able to get through it without cringing at the criticism though. She was biting her lip, which cracked me up, after the line about how she built a bridge, it ain't going nowhere.

So yes, she did seem to have a sense of humour about herself, to a degree. And she went on a show that does not support her and makes a living making fun of her which took some courage. It was also a heck of a way to get people to talk about something other than a report about your abuse of power I guess. I think the more telling fact about it all though is that they had so much to make fun of her about considering she's been in the picture less than two months, and doesn't answer any questions from the media. If she ever does start talking to reporters they'll have to expand the show to two hours.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Lose Lips Sink Ships

My oldest totally ratted me out the other day. Tuesday was election day and personally I was not real eager to take part. Both at a national and local level I was not inspired to throw my support behind anyone. The Conservatives are jackasses and the fella running in our area, running for re-election, is a little twit. The Liberals have a "leader" who's about as inspiring as a chess team pep rally and their local candidate is a jackass. He tried to run as a Conservative a few years ago but our current Conservative MP got the nomination instead. Add to that the fact he did minimal campaigning and didn't take part in any of the all candidates meetings and I can't imagine why he should have gotten a vote. My own personal conspiracy theory is that he was only running as a Liberal to help ensure a victory for the Conservatives. I don't have any proof of it; I just wanted to throw it out there. That left NDP and Green party as possible votes. Based on the demographics of this area I'd might as well cast a vote for a contender on So You Think You Can Dance. I've never watched that show but I assume they have the audience vote, like every other show in that genre.

Anyways, so I had no intention of doing my civic duty by taking part in the democratic process. The big issue for me though was keeping my political apathy a secret from my wife to avoid any kind of lecture. So I told her I voted in the morning and she should just go vote on her way home from work. The problem with that was she decided to park at home and walk to the polling station, along with our little blabber-mouth. They were on the way in when Chatty Cathy asks "Why are we going in here?"

"We're going in here to vote, like you did with Daddy today."

"I didn't come here with Daddy."

Damn it. I'm sure there's a lesson in there about always telling the truth but that's not my major concern. Now I'm going to have make the transition from liar to conspirator. I can't just be less than truthful. I have to come up with a cover story for my co-conspirator to tell if asked. Friggin' kids make everything so much tougher. Maybe next time I'll just go ahead and do what I should have without being forced to. Thanks a lot kids. So glad you learned to pay attention and talk. I'm pretty sure the next one has a good shot at being my favourite. At least until he or she learns to talk.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thanksgiving Dinner...Yum

Why do kids and cars never cooperate when you take them in for service? They'll make all sorts of weird painful sounding noises all day long but as soon as you get inside a waiting room they're purring like kittens. I'm left with some dude in his special work outfit looking at me like I'm some sort of idiot. "I swear the little bugger was sputtering and spewing out all sorts of awful stuff earlier. I put some oil in so I guess that must have fixed it. Oh, you're a pediatrician not a mechanic? Are you sure?"

So we sat down to have a nice thanksgiving dinner yesterday. We worked all day on the turkey, stuffing, potatoes, carrots, and pies. I can say "we" because I peeled the potatoes. In front of the tv while watching football. Which reminds me, can someone please explain to me why the Dolphins' "wildcat" formation seems to be so friggin' hard to defend? They've got two castoffs and a pothead in the backfield but if they line them up oddly the defense suddenly looks like the defenders falling all over themselves on the Cosby Show as they try to tackle Rudy. (Couldn't find a clip of that on Youtube but you know what I'm talking about)

Anyways, the food was all set out on the table so nicely. We were all settling in to our seats. My brother in law was about to pass the turkey when it happened. Out little one, who'd been pretty cranky for most of the day, threw up on me. Actually, threw up doesn't quite paint an accurate picture. Basically, she took everything that was in her stomach and in four good heaves put it all over me. I probably had time to get out of the way of her last three digestive show and tells but I'm at a point where it's now just instinct to step in front of the vomit. Like I've said before it's easier to clean my clothes and take a shower than it is to scrub the carpet or mop the floor. To those in the room it may have seemed like concerned parenting but essentially it was my own cleaning laziness that overshadowed any common sense or self preservation. The motivation isn't really important as the result was still me covered in my 20 month old's stomach contents. Needless to say, I didn't get to eat. Not sure how much anyone else ate but I take it as quite a compliment that anyone ate at all after witnessing that little display at the dinner table. I can take it as a compliment because I did peel the potatoes which means I get a cooking credit.

After stripping off my new vomit suit and getting her dirty clothes off of her I was able to get her to settle and nap a bit. That gave me time to call work and tell them I'd be a little late. Little tip, if you call work and tell them you'll be late because you've just been thrown up on you will be laughed at. Also, they won't ask any questions at all. "You got thrown up on? Just take a shower and show up whenever you want." So I did. Got there about fifteen minutes late and stayed for a whole hour. That's when I got the call.

My wife called to let me know that the little one was inconsolable and needed to see a doctor. Since it was Sunday on a long weekend that meant the ER of the Children's Hospital. ER's in a regular hospital are generally an interesting and often entertaining place to hang out. The ER of a children's hospital is just sad. All sorts of sick and injured youngsters; not even a jerkass like me finds it funny to hear what's wrong with everyone. Actually, that's not entirely true. A children's hospital is one of the few places you'll hear questioning like"Do you know what you put in your ear? Do you really not know or you just don't want to tell me?" It's a good thing I was preoccupied with my own kid or I'd have had to interject.

"Maybe if you speak into his other ear you'll get an answer."

Anyways, to make a long story (I mean a five hour wait) short, she perked up while we were waiting to be seen. Her fever lessened, she wasn't crying, and she didn't throw up after eating so we took her home. Being a long weekend meant that lots of sick kids were streaming in from all over (from what I saw, it was a bad day for arms). Both my wife and I didn't feel like waiting around to have our youngster make us look like liars to the doctor so we all went home. Turned out to be the right decision because she went right to sleep and has seemed fine since. Fingers crossed she doesn't start making any more weird noises. Ditto for the car.

Friday, October 10, 2008

You Deserve A Break Today

MacDonald's now has a triple chocolate muffin that includes Oreo cookie crumbles on the top. I applaud them for embracing the fact their food isn't good for us. Honestly, if you're going to MacDonald's for a muffin, why are you kidding yourself? Just take the stance that it's 7 am and I'm in the MacDonald's drive thru (they embraced poor spelling long ago) for breakfast so I may as well just go all out. I'd like to see them take it a step further. "Try our new triple chocolate muffin. Guaranteed to give you sugarbetes." In case anyone's curious, they're pretty tasty.

So we took the kids to MacDonald's the other day. Not just MacDonald's but the one with a playland. I have no idea how combining fast food and running around a play area could possible go wrong. I'm still shocked that I haven't witnessed any youngsters throwing up there. That's not to say it hasn't happened; I don't want to know what goes on inside those giant tubes. Our oldest is at the point where she can maneuver around the tubes with no problem. She's no longer scared by them and has a blast any time she gets the chance. The younger one hasn't quite gotten there yet. She's agile enough to get around but is still kind of hesitant. Lucky for us she wants to do everything her sister does so she dives right in. They disappear into that maze of PVC and we're left trying to figure out where they are by catching glimpses through the strategically placed portholes.

We were doing a good job of keeping track and big sister was doing a fine job of acting as Sherpa. For a while at least. Then suddenly "Tenzing Norgay" makes a break for the summit and little "Edmund Hillary" is left in the middle wishing she'd just brought a GPS. A short time later Tenzing pops out of the slide and we're left to ask where she left her sister. You'd think a Sherpa would know that pointing doesn't really help answer our question but that's about all we get. Thankfully, the tube system's acoustics allow us to hear our little one and let us call to her in an attempt to guide her through. With my wife calling to her from the bottom of the slide and me acting as spotter, we locate her just short of the peak. My motioning for her to climb up and go down the slide don't seem to work. We sent her sister up to retrieve her but that doesn't work. Clued into that when the big one cam "weeee"ing down the slide.

A couple more failed rescue attempts and I'm beginning to wonder what the protocol is in this situation. Do they have a crack team of trained staff that comprise an emergency rescue crew? If so, am I supposed to press some kind of alarm or do I just go up to the counter? "Hi, can I get a double cheeseburger with fries and the MacDonald's elite search and rescue team to get my kid out of those tubes? Oh, and that triple chocolate muffin looks good, I'll take one of those."

As much as I'm enjoying the imagery of Grimace and the Fry Guys springing into action, I'm pretty sure that's not the case. If anyone is going to have to squeeze into those tubes it's probably going to be me. My wife chose to play the pregnancy card on that one. My hope is restored when little Sir Edmund starts to turn around and head back down the way she came. We send her Sherpa sister up to help her but that backfires. Big sister realises we're leaving once little sister is safely out so she helps her go back up. Stupid Sherpa. Just reinforces what I always say "never trust anyone from Tibet." (I've never said that before. I just threw it in there in a desperate attempt to have the Dalai Lama leave feedback.)

Luckily, the big one only got a couple more slides out of it before her little sister finally gave in and attempted the big slide. We grabbed them both, threw on their shoes, and made a mad dash for the parking lot. Of course we got a couple triple chocolate muffins on the way but other than that we got out of there as fast as we could.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Clean Bill Of Health

Is it wrong that I was a little disappointed the kids weren't sick when they woke up yesterday? Jeez, don't be so quick to say yes like I'm some sort of idiot. Like any parent, I want my kids to be healthy and would never wish them to be ill. Certainly not anything with a lot of throwing up and discomfort. It's just convenient sometimes to have them slowed down a bit by a cold. It's like performance enhancing drugs in reverse. With them in a lethargic state, suddenly I'm superman instead of being overwhelmed. I don't know why Barry Bonds didn't try that as a defense against the steroid allegations. "I didn't take any drugs. I contend the opposing pitchers had an adverse allergic reaction to whatever virus has caused my head to swell and that made it easier for me to hit homeruns." I'd send that one to him but I've always thought he was a big time a-hole so he's on his own.

Back to the whole sick kids thing, sunday they were feeling a bit under the weather. We thought it was the downward slope of an illness but apparently that was the low point. Some coughing and complaining as well as napping. That was friggin' sweet. Getting both kids to nap at the same time is like an eclipse for me. It rarely happens, doesn't last long, and will burn your retina if you stare at it too long. I'm not positive about the last one. If both kids are napping at the same time, I'm not going to waste it by staring at them for an extended period. Instead I took advantage of that little gift and watched the end of the Colts game. A big thank you to the players on both teams for waiting until the last five minutes to put on one of the greatest turnarounds ever. I know they didn't do it for me but telling myself that little lie makes me feel important so what's the harm?

Anyways, I was fully expecting to have a couple sick, tired kids to hang out with yesterday. That wasn't the case. It was disappointing because they get cuddly when they're sick. I went to bed with visions of napping on the couch with the kids as I watched what I wanted on TV. I woke up to two recharged maniacs ready to run, play, and jump on me anytime I wasn't looking. You know how to ruin a pleasant afternoon nap? Have a 35 pound youngster jump off a table onto your stomach. If I'm lucky she lands on my stomach. Worst case scenario she jumps further than that and I get two feet planted squarely in "dadland". I'm rolling in pain as she laughs and asks why it hurts so much.

"It hurts because you hit me right in the... the jewels."

"You don't have any jewels."

"Not anymore."

The worst part is I remember being a kid and how funny it was when my Dad got hit down there. Heck, half the videos on youtube prove that point. (If you click on the link and see that first video, I just have to ask what the hell is with japanese gameshows? At the very least it's an innovation that would make Wheel of Fortune watchable.) And that only makes it worse. Pain coupled with guilt. At least it takes away some of the guilt I felt about wishing the kids were a little sick. It would be nice to have a couple cuddly kids to nap with instead of having to wear a cup all the time.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Helping Out Or Passing Judgement?

When did my oldest decide to take on the role of backup parent? I'm not sure if I should be happy or offended. It's nice that she wants to help her little sister but it does kind of give the impression that she thought to herself "oh jeez, this idiot needs someone to step in." Funny how it's not diaper changing time when she steps up. I guess she has been paying attention to me. I'll have to be more discreet from now on when I smell a stinky bottom and check the clock to see if it's almost time for Mom to be home from work. A kid comes running to give you a hug with a smelly diaper, you have to change it. I don't make the rules, I just exploit them.

Back to the big one parenting the little one though. Yesterday we went to their Thursday play class. The plan had been to go from there to another play group. I learned last week that if you take them to two different play groups and then spend a couple hours at a playground bedtime is super easy. Comes in handy when, as an example, you want some peace and quiet so you can the season premiere of The Office, for example. So we're in the van leaving play class number one and the little one is freaking out. All sorts of crying and yelling that doesn't seem to have any conceivable cause or solution. That's when the older one stepped up and started asking her sister where she'd like to go. She's listing all sort of places like the museum, the mall, the park, and even somewhere to go see animals. Each one is met with a negative response. Finally, she asks "do you just want to go home?"


"Ok, we'll just go home then."

Thanks for letting me be apart of the decision making process guys. I thought being in the driver's seat meant I was in control but apparently I'm nothing more than a glorified chauffeur. The ride home it continued.

"Just calm down, we're almost home. We just have to stop at those lights and then turn and we'll be home. When you feel the bumps you'll know we're home."

Is she reassuring her sister or giving me directions? She thinks I'm an incompetent parent with no sense of direction? She might be right on the first one but my sense of direction is at least good enough to find my way home. It's not like I'm the sort of person who gets lost in a Christmas tree display at Canadian Tire. That would be my Mom. She was leaving Canadian Tire with Dad one holiday season. He turned right and she turned left, right into a bunch of fake Christmas trees. He turned around when he heard her calling from the middle of the trees "Darryl, how do I get out of these things?" Needless to say we no longer let her go into a garden centre without a compass and a fully charged cell phone.

I wish I could say our van ride was the only example of being second parented by a toddler but I can't. The little one has somehow gotten the idea lately that she's the only one who should be allowed to watch tv. She'll stand right against the screen so no one else gets to see. That of course angers her sister and fighting ensues. Generally, they like to do that when I leave them alone so I can get stuff done. I'll be in the laundry room or kitchen and hear the two of them yelling, screaming, and eventually crying. I come running as quick as I can to break it up. I'm usually tempted to Terry Tate one of them to separate them but I've resisted that urge, so far. Once I've got them separated I have to try and explain to the little one why she can't stand right in front of the TV. Since 20 month olds are all about logic an reason that usually goes smashing. I'm doing my best with no luck when her big sister, seated calmly on the couch, says "tell her to look at my face", as she makes the saddest face you've ever seen.

"See, it makes your sister sad when you don't share the TV with her." That seemed to make a bit of an impact and eventually led to the end of the whole TV hostage situation. Just glad I had backup to help talk her down so I didn't have to let the snipers take their shot.

So that's where I am. Stuck with a 21 month old who feels it's her responsibility to decide who gets access to entertainment and her older sister who seems to believe I need her help when it comes to parenting. Not sure that's the kind of path I want to be on but my oldest tells me it's a good idea so it must be. Her guidance and cues have been pretty good so far.