Wednesday, January 27, 2010

You're Just Going To Give Me This Candy?

You know what's awesome? Making a TV show. Bear in mind that I know as much as you about how to do it, less if you happen to know anything at all, but it's like waaaaay fun. Like being handed a multimillion dollar box of legos and instructions in Urdu (that's a language. I spent about twenty minutes trying to think of a funny sounding language. See how qualified I am for this job?) and then being told that you have six weeks to assemble them in the shape that entertains all of America or you and everyone you know will lose their jobs. High stakes legos, that's my new dream job.

You know what's not awesome? Apparently it's having your husband go play with legos while you tend to three children. Amy and I's conversations have started to fit a pattern: I ramble about meeting this person and starting that thing and how much free soda I'm getting and Amy says that's great and then starts to cry, which she usually only does when having limbs amputated, and then through tears she assures me that REALLY, it's GREAT, and she's 100% totally FINE. It seems Mr. Mars stint as a wonderbaby was short lived and he's begun an anti-sleeping campaign and Amy sits up night after night as he states his case, then greets the girls for a daily dose of two two year olds. She is thus unmoved by news of an unlimited supply of gummy worms.

Hopefully this all magically goes away because, as you know, bad things often magically go away if you completely ignore them and just hope for the best. In the meantime I have legos to stack and gummy to ingest, and all of it will be hard and awful and the fact that it is awesome will be our little secret.

p.s. We still need to talk about Stacey and you people finding her a husband so that she will not go home and get stabbed in the heart with a bicycle spoke. I'm going to get back to you on this, but I'll expect you to have some viable candidates ready next time we chat.

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Other New Baby

When, at some future date, you are reading about the poor decision making that led to the demise of Fox Broadcasting you'll know that it started here.

What began as a visit to possibly the flattest and brownest place on Earth will now be at least one hour of television about flatness and brownness. It could all go horribly wrong, but I suspect that at a bare minimum we'll get a pretty trainwreck out of it. It's hard and occasionally forbidden to write about work, but I'll keep you in the loop to the extent possible.

If you wish to send congratulatory cookies I will name extras after you.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

If Only I Could Get The Cat And The Kids To Throw Up On Each Other Instead Of Me

Hey Internet,

See how quickly you can fall off the wagon? Add one extra baby and you go from daily to semi-annual posting like that.

Here's some things you should know:

Mars is awesome. He doesn't look or act like any of us and obviously belongs to a family of cute and quiet monks, which is why we plan to keep him forever. His best features are - he never cries, he sleeps all the time, there is only one of him. I really can't stress that last part enough. If you're planning on having children I highly recommend you do it one at a time. One week into life with the twins I had already investigated moving to Canada and changing my name and twice caught Amy putting her luggage in the car in the middle of the night 'just to make sure it still fit'. One week into Mars and no one is trying to escape, though there has been talk of pre-pre-pre boarding school for the girls on some other continent.

The girls love Mars. They love to scream at him, and squeeze him, and poke him in the eye. Their growing vocabulary has collapsed to a single word. BABY! They wake up and go to bed saying it, and scream it every second in between. They simply vary the punctuation, usually in rapid succession. Baby? (Are you the baby?) Baby. (I wish to see the baby) BABY! (There is the baby, let's see if my foot fits in his ear!)

Ripley has become my mortal enemy. Her new trick is sticking her entire hand down her throat until she vomits. FOR FUN! You haven't seen evil until it crawls into your lap, makes itself puke on you, and then laughs. Now in addition to watching out for the 'store and spew' technique she was working on last week, I have to constantly be on guard when her hands head anywhere toward her face. She knows I'm looking for this and often raises her hand towards her mouth only to then scratch her nose and give me a little grin that says 'psyche!' Nixie has been trying to get in on the act and can get her hand in her mouth but thankfully seems to be having trouble finding her vomit button. In effect she just runs around chewing on her fist. Even when she's trying to be evil it comes out cute.

I turned in my project. It will certainly come back to me, likely with a strongly worded legal letter about failure to meet minimum standards for competency and so forth, but until then it's just the hurling twins, the baby monk, and the first video game I've owned in like a decade. I'll be up late destroying invading armies and gaining seven pounds for every one that Amy loses until further notice. I will try to return to a more regular diet of blogging once I have saved the planet.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Welcome To Earth, Mars

Mars Bar,

Well, here we are, mere hours from the first of hundreds and hundreds of shared birthdays (assuming you follow instructions and have my head properly frozen). I've gotten lots of birthday presents over the years, but this will be hard to top. I'm going to let someone else unwrap you though. Ick.

Sadly, you've beaten me to the finish line. Even if I stayed up all night I wouldn't finish my work before you got here. When I asked for another extension they told me I could take all the time I needed as long I handed it in by Monday. So, it looks like I'll be holding you with one hand and typing with the other.

Which frankly is indicative of the crappy reception you've gotten all the way around. When your sisters came it was a life altering production. I was an unemployed hobo (as opposed to those employed hobos you're always seeing) terrified that they would turn me into a minivan driving cliche. I didn't know if I really wanted kids, but I was sure I wanted to be more than just a parent. I wanted my life to matter for its own sake. And I thought no one would ever see me as anything but the thing pushing the stroller. None of which has come to pass, except for the minivan, which frankly was your fault. The point is, the night before the girls came felt sort of like I was jumping off a bridge. With you I feel more like I'm picking someone up at the airport. Which is to say that being second can suck, something I'm sure you'll understand as I try to stuff you into your sisters' pink hand me downs in the coming years.

But it also means you get much better parents than your sisters did. Frankly, we're pros at this now and every bump, bruise, backward diaper, or chewed tube of vulva cream that they've endured is one less you'll have to put up with. And you'll get something they never had, older siblings to love, hug, and probably dress you up in ways that may lead to gender confusion. I guess that part's kind of a mixed bag.

But what will never be second is how much you're loved. If seeing your sisters towering over the tiny clothes laid out for you today has taught me anything, it's that all this goes by in a flash. I can't promise that when you walk I'll react like I've never seen first steps before. But I assure you I'll react like I'm never going to see them again.

So enjoy your last night in another world. Tomorrow you become the new center of ours.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Study In Heroism

Mars Bar,

A very sweet, if terribly misguided, young man wrote to me today to tell me that I'd 'kind of become his personal hero' which obviously doesn't bode well for him and says a lot about his low threshold for heroism, but I wrote back and asked him to feel free to tell me more and if he felt the need to use capital letters or express his admiration in the form of a poem, song, or letter to the NY Times I encouraged him not to hold back. Long story short, we're now best friends and I'm trying to adopt him in the hopes he'll let me call him Mojo.

Certainly, it's easy to minimize this occurrence. After all, people do regularly write to prison inmates saying how much they admire their work and occasionally proposing marriage, and I won't lie, I was a little disappointed that the 'M' word didn't even come up in his letter. Also, for every 'you're my hero' mail I get (so far, just the one) I also recieve about a thousand 'you're a moron and I wish someone would set you on fire' mails. And that's just counting the ones from your mom. Ba Zing! Point being, the internet is a fickle mistress that occasionally makes you feel warm, fuzzy, and egotistical but mostly makes you feel like we're headed for an apocalypse brought on by an epidemic of poor spelling and cat videos.

Anyway, by the time you're old enough to form an opinion, what's left of me will probably appear more doughnut than human, and the idea that you yourself could admire the man who slaps a lawnmower engine on your bicycle instead of giving you a car for your 16th birthday will no doubt seem absurd. But I will then refer you back to this post and you will see that for one brief moment just before you were born, someone, possibly intoxicated and almost certainly deranged, felt that I was hero material. And you will say, that's great Dad, can I please just have the keys to my lawnmower bike? And I will say, no, not until you bring me a doughnut.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Mars Bar,

Just rolling stream of consciousness style tonight. Between work, trying to organize a green card marriage for Stacey, and your impending arrival I just don't have time to organize my thoughts into a focused, crafted, and hilarious piece. As the mall Santa used to say when I was a kid, 'just be glad you're getting anything."

I'm not really trying to organize a greencard marriage, but that's only because Stacey seems really resistant to it. Instead we've been looking at sending her to school so she can stay. It sounded good until we started making the schedule and realized that she'd spend every hour of her life either writing freshman compositions or watching three bizarrely named children. Once she sits on that for a few days my craigslist husband hunt might start to seem more attractive.

Your mom's been home on maternity leave for a week now which means that the girls have had no use for me. Ripley and I had a breakthrough tonight in which she not only acknowledged my presence but seemed thankful for it. The only catch was that I had to be wearing her as a hat. The minute she came off my head things were unsatisfactory and she explained that to me with her fists. It's nice that she's learned to say, "HAT! HAT!" but if feels a little weird that it means she wants to BE your hat. I take what I can get.

The middle name derby, which long ago stopped be interesting to anyone else, just keeps getting messier. Instead of narrowing down the choices Amy just keeps throwing more in. Canyon? Baron? Wren? Some of her suggestions are just noises. Tull? Also, Mars Canyon? What if we just name you Mountain Top? I think you're just going to have like nine middle names. Mars Cooper Mojo Canyon Jethro Tull Killen.

But I'll make you a deal. You call me Pilot and I'll call you whatever you want.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Almost Time To Panic

Mars Bar,

Not going to lie, there's nothing like blogging everyday to make your life sound uninteresting. Today I worked. Tomorrow I will work. Thursday... you get the idea. Kind of a mad dash to turn everything in before Friday while nervously twitching/chanting/performing voodoo rituals as we wait to hear if the tv show gets picked up. You should get your first taste of really good or really bad news before you're a week old. I know you're not even 0 yet but it's never to early to start crossing your fingers.

My plan in to have a magical creative outburst between now and Friday, then teach the girls to ride bikes to distract them from the fact that not only is mom not coming home for a couple days, but when she does she'll be bringing a small creature with her who trumps them for lap privileges. If the success of my experience teaching them numbers is an any indication my efforts to teach the girls to ride will end with lots of tears and a twisted pile of limbs and wheels. We may all be in the hospital by the time you're ready to leave.

All that to say that we're keeping it short tonight. Sleep well. It may be the last time any of us does for a while.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Probe Them Or Just Leave Behind Embarrassing Creams? (It Becomes Apparent I Do The Titles Last)

Mars Bar,

Today Nixon was chewing a tube of vulva cream. We don't really need to get into what that is but googling it will lead you down some interesting paths (avoid the story where the lady talks about having fire vulva). I wish I could say this was shocking, but 90 percent of the time when I look up one of your sisters is chewing on a medicine or a chemical or small animal (not really small animals, I just threw that in to distract you from the fact that we let them get hold of so many medicines and chemicals).

We've babyproofed drawers and cabinets seemingly at random. Small appliances and the liquor are totally accessible. Some days I come out to find Nixon just walking around with the toaster or Ripley hugging a bottle of rum. However, the drawer with the baby spoons in it is sealed up tight. If they want to get drunk, have a toaster fight and rub vulva cream on each other, that's their business, we're not looking to stifle anyone's creativity. But no way in hell are we going to let them get a hold of age appropriate eating utensils.

All this to say that after your nine months in a fluid pillow you're probably in for a world of hurt. We like to think that injuring yourself is just another way of learning. The smarty pants at the park might know the alphabet but do they know what to do when they're being chased by a two year old with a crockpot?

You will, Mars Bar. You will.

IMPORTANT NOTE **** - Amy and Stacey would both like me to make VERY CLEAR that the vulva cream did not belong to either of them and neither of them has ever used it or had or known anyone who's had or even read any google stories about people who've had fire vulva. Their collective best guess is that it was a part of a bag of samples (a welcome kit? I don't really know how the woman doctor visits work) from a checkup and it's been established that the tube had never been opened and still had its safety seal. Except for Nixon's bite marks it appears to be a brand new tube. They threatened to delete this entire post unless it was made perfectly clear that the vulva cream is of mysterious origin at best and was most likely left here by aliens.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Killen English

Mars Bar,

There was a kid at the park today, just a month older than your sisters, walking along a row of numbers on the ground and counting them out loud. This while your sisters were fighting over the opportunity to walk UP a slide.

His dad said that, yes, they taught him to count to ten, which of course was 'easy', and then he just seemed to pick up the rest of the numbers (the rest of them? I think I was actually 11 before I knew there was anything over 10) and the entire ALPHABET on his own. Just taught himself the alphabet this kid, you know, in his spare time. And thus far he could only read and spell three letter words, but they were working on it. As he said this I could hear Amy telling Ripley not to put dirt in her mouth.

As soon as he left I rushed the girls over to the numbers on the ground and tried to give them a crash course. I thought we'd just learn 1-5 really quick today and then pick up 6-10 tomorrow. Nixie was standing near the two and as soon as I said two she said TWO. I clapped. I cheered. I pointed to three. She said two. Then she walked along all the numbers and called them all two. Then she ran in a circle and tackled her sister and everyone just kept shouting TWO!

So numbers are out. We moved to the alphabet written on the wall. I had intended to teach the girls the alphabet at some point and had some little letters that they could play with in the tub, but things that have more than one piece don't do well around here so the alphabet (26 pieces, seriously?) is kinda hopeless. I think we still have an A, G, Z, and a 4 which I was kinda hoping would tide them over till kindergarten. Not that they've actually learned any of those. I take out the A and say, this is A, and then one of them will take the A, examine it, and then throw it at the other's head. Then I say, now there's a bunch of letters we don't have, and then this is G, and then the G get hurled. As far as they're concerned the alphabet is just a collection of oddly shaped projectiles.

So I pointed to the A on the wall, and reminded the girls that this was one of the letters we actually OWNED. Ripley said B. B? Where did you hear about B? We don't have a B. And then they pointed to C and called it B. And then they pointed to some bark on the ground and called it B. And then they put the bark in their mouths. And then Amy said, what did I tell you about putting dirt in your mouth?

Even things I thought they knew they don't. Eating for instance. I thought we had the basics down. Bite, chew, swallow. But Ripley just bites and chews then repeats until her cheeks are so full of partially chewed (but not swallowed!) food that she looks like she's trying to eat two golf balls. And then she sits in your lap and slowly opens her mouth and lets the whole mess (which is called a bolus in case you don't have a doctor wife who likes to offer you bits of trivia while you're cleaning half eaten pretzels out of your pants) drop out of her mouth. It's only the second day of the year and twice I've found myself in piles of partially digested food.

But fear not, we'll do better with you. We'll teach you all 26 letters. In order even. You get in Friday, you'll take the weekend, we'll start Monday. And if anyone ever tells you there aren't advantages to being the baby in the family you'll be able to point to your college scholarship while your sisters are fighting on a UFC undercard and signing their names AGZ4.

How Cats Show They Care

Mars Bar,

This morning I woke up in cat vomit. It wasn't that surprising since I knew I was laying in cat vomit when I went to sleep, but I felt like waking your mom up and changing the sheets was just going to be too much of a production at 1am, so I decided I would just sleep carefully and dodge the vomit for the rest of the night. But once I was asleep I didn't dodge so much as roll in the vomit. In your twenties you go to bed on New Years Eve and wake up in your own vomit. In your thirties it's the cat's. Also, the headline I may be burying, we have a cat who will throw up in your bed.

I was at the park today with your sisters and wearing one of those paper wristbands they put on you when you go into a bar. Someone saw it and said I must have had a big night last night. I told them no, I was laying in cat puke by 12:05, this was from taking my twins to Jumpy Gym at 9am on January 1st.

Jumpy Gym is kind of what it sounds like, a giant place filled with inflatable things and other distractions. Ripley went into a giant huge of toys and came out wearing high heels and pushing a lawnmower. She's going to make some man incredibly happy someday.

Still debating that middle name. I don't know if you read the comments from in there, but I'm still reeling from the news that I could have been Pilot. I don't know if it would have made my life any better, but I know all my shirts would be monogrammed. I'd pass it on to you but Mars Pilot reads a little too much like a job description for even me.

Anyway, I'll get around to writing one of these during the day soon so we have more time to chat. Right now I have to go examine my bed by flashlight before diving in.

Friday, January 1, 2010

20 10

Mars Bar,

Just stayed up to say Happy New Year. Your mom went down about three hours ago which is an hour longer than I thought she'd make it.

8 more days and you get to see what all the fuss is about.

Welcome to 2010. It's your year.

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