Friday, June 24, 2016

Bike Riding!!

   Guys!! After no more than two hours of me officially being in summer, I accomplished one of my summer goals: Wyatt can ride a bike!!

   Since he's only 4-and-a-half I think this makes him the youngest person to ever ride a bicycle ever. And you'll never guess who had absolutely nothing to do with this great accomplishment: Cara.
And listen, I was going to break it down in all the boring details: The trials, tribulations, triumphs and tiaras, but instead let's hit the blueprint.

1) We got Wyatt a balance bike over a year ago. He spent about 4 days slowly walking with it between his legs, never once pushing or gliding. It was painful and hilarious.

2) I took him camping and made up a new game: See how far you can go without your feet touching the ground. Withing 20 minutes he was doing this:


(please forgive the poor video/picture quality lately, I'm having a lot of computer issues)

Just so you know, that was by far his worst run. Most of the time it was smooth, straight, non-nearly-disastrous sailing.

3)   I borrowed a bike-with-pedals from a friend last Sunday. On Monday, I took him outside and gave him the following instructions: Ride it like its your balance bike, but you can use the pedals if you want." I went inside to get the camera, came out, and he was doing this:

 It had seriously been like two minutes. I wish I could take credit for this, but it is really all due to that darned little balance bike he started on.

4)   A little later, we are working on tricks:

   Now, I know those aren't very impressive tricks, but sheesh they are sure adorable. Even today he tried to stand up on the pedals a little, which really just means he got his cute little rump half an inch off the seat.

   But really and truly, the best part about all of this is that on that first day he stopped mid-ride, ran up to give me a hug, and said "Thanks for teaching me how to ride a bike, gad! This is the best day ever!!"

   We've had a lot of fun biking places since then. He fell down once, scraping his knee a little. When we got home, Cara and I sat down to read/watch Netflix/ignore Lincoln, and Wyatt walked up and said "Um, excuse me, isn't everyone supposed to be taking care of me?" This is what Cara says every day, so, it's no shock where he got that from.

My mood: super proud and super pleased
Wy's mood: super proud and super pleased
Listening to: the menu music to the movie "Creed" over and over.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Screen Time!!

   Guys, you know how pretty much everyone recommends that kids have somewhere between 0 and 20 minutes of screen time per day? Well, I'm such a good dad that I've basically quintupled those numbers. That's right: 0 to 100 minutes of screen time per hour for my kids.

You'll have to forgive the upcoming blurriness. For some reason my iPad refuses to take good pictures anymore. But you get the idea.

   It's hard being so effective as a parent all the time. When compared to recommended daily values, I went ahead and triple the amounts of sugar, sodium, and chicken nuggets they consume. But what's most challenging is probably knowing what the boys should be watching during their unlimited, healthy screen time. Wyatt watched 42 episodes of Beyblade Let it Rip!! in what I think was four days, drastically increasing his knowledge of ripcords and tired anime tropes. (Theme song: "Beyblade beyblade let it rip! Beyblade beyblade let it rip! Beyblade beyblade let it rip!" Repeat x13). Lincoln has hacked  the password for my iPad and can now watch PBS kids, but I usually funnel his attention to Pokemon to make sure he's not falling behind other kids his age when it comes to catching them all.

   Cara and I work opposite schedules. I am usually at school from 7:30 - 3:30, and she's often at the Pharmacy from 3:00 - 9:00. This timing is a lifesaver for our marriage, because spending time with me is the worst, but has always made it hard for us to get our little ones on good sleep schedules. It's usually not until summer time, when I am off work, that I a) get the kids outside, running and playing, every day, and b) can be in sole control of naps and bedtimes. Right now, Link almost always takes a nap around 3:00 (transition time between parents), and thus is up until about 1:00am. How do I handle him being up so late? NETFLIX.

   AKA screen time.

   Now, don't think that screen time is ALL we do at the Gil residence. Here's proof that my children shouldn't be taken from me:

   That's right!! Rock climbing!! The volunteers were super impressed with how brave he was, climbing above his head, but even more so that he was easily willing to let go of the wall and hang down by the rope. He's only four! And I know some 30-year-old handsome blogging math teachers who would be afraid to do that.

   Also, here's proof that Luncoln once had this one time he wasn't watching something
Ok, yeah, I'm not actually sure what this proves. That... than Link can grade tests? Or eat pen caps. Either way, those things are definitely on the list of "Not Screen Time" and therefore count as evidence towards my good parenting.

   In the glorious summers, our screen time will plummet to nearly zero. So will Link's education. He won't learn anything about superheros or bad sitcoms or even trains that can talk. I think it's worth it. But for about three more weeks, we'll be awful parents (Cara's definitely the worst) and our kids will get their fill of television.

   Ahh, summer. It's like a dream that's realized every year. It's waiting like waiting on a prophecy while remembering that it already came to pass. Teachers sleep in, kids play outside, breezes blow through the house, books are read, video games are played, and hammocks are filled.

   I asked Cara what her goals were for this summer. It's usually things like "build a fire pit," "build a deck," "just build a planter box or something for crying out load," and other pipe dreams that are impossible. This time she said "I want Wyatt to learn to swim and learn to read. What are yours?"
   "I want him to learn to ride a bike, to throw and catch really well, and to add and subtract."
   This means we are either really great parents or super lame adults, I'm not sure. You'll note there were no Lincoln goals in there. Why? Because if he can just say "up" and go to bed before tomorrow, I think we're happy.

My mood: eyes hurt from screen time
Wy and Link's mood: eyes are ever-improving due to screen time
Cara's mood: sleepy
Listening to: Beyblade in my head incessantly.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Play Date!!

This sums up my two special children quite nicely. Link falls asleep while eating, Wy doesn't want to start eating in the morning.

   A friend recently wanted to borrow my truck. This is a common occurrence, actually. The fact that he didn't want to borrow me to help move things with said truck was a downright miracle. When he and his son came to grab the truck, I offered that his boy could stay and play with me. I mean, Wyatt. Play with Wyatt.

   Boom. Playdate.

   Playdates are the best because a) Wyatt doesn't want to spend any time with me when friends are here, but more importantly b) they let you compare how your kid is doing to someone else's kid.

   I can say with ample evidence and a firm conviction that my kid is way more special than his kid. In this case, let's call that other, non-special kid "Doug."

   Sure, Doug can ride a bike with pedals, but Wyatt can almost brush his own teeth.
   Sure, Doug can read, but Wyatt can play Angry Birds really decently.
   Fine, Doug has coping mechanisms to deal with things like losing a race or handling Wyatt's cheating when winning races, but Wyatt is able to break down into tears when he loses, so everyone acts like he won. This is a strategy that will never backfire.
   And I get it: Doug has better grammar. When I tell Wyatt to eat his dinner, he says "I'm are" instead of "I am," whereas Doug says "I think you meant 'I am,' " and it's like come on Doug you can't end a sentence with a preposition. Oh, what's that? I guess you're correct, Doug, "am" isn't a preposition. Nice work."
   See, here's the important thing: Doug is twenty-one days older than Wyatt. So, in three weeks, Wyatt will be just as good at all of the above things, no sweat. So enjoy that head start while it lasts, D, because Wy and I are coming for you.

   But Wyatt is way better at making up songs. Today, he sang "I'm - going to throw - to the moon - this car!" to the tune of "I want to tear my ears out," and all Doug could say was "What are you doing?" or "I don't think that's a real song."

   Still, it's lots of fun watching two four-year-olds try to make up rules to Candy Land, build a train track that is straight awful (I even told them this. I walked up and was like "This track is garbage, you two gotta figure this out." I think they respected me for my courage and honesty.), and maybe engage in what can only be described as a screaming contest.

This was a result of a game called "Hip Hip Hooray!!" where they would throw Candy Land cards in the air. I tried to get them to play a version where they throw weeds into a bucket, but they saw through it.  Doug said "I think you are just trying to get us to do yard work!" and Wyatt tried to pick his nose but kept missing.
Also, no, the shade on that light isn't dirty, clean your computer screen.
Also, yes, that does look sort of like a cool eclipse.

   It was also fun to observe how they handled independence. When Greg - shoot!! Doug!! - was dropped off, I told his dad my plan was to nap as much as possible, and the kids wouldn't be terribly supervised. I think he thought I was joking BUT I DON'T JOKE ABOUT NAPS. While I was in bed, I heard one of them say "Are we alone?" Doug said "My dad left. Is your dad here?" Wy said "I don't know, I think he left too." Then they just kept playing. An undisclosed-and-yet-totally-appropriate amount of time later I came out and they said "Oh we weren't alone!"

   "You never are. I always be with you." I said to Doug.

   So now we know that Lord of the Flies is bogus. Also, I think we now know that parenting isn't really necessary past the age of 3.
   Successful play date with minimal parenting. And the best part is now Doug's parents owe us a babysit, so our next weekend away is covered.

My mood: accomplished
Wy's mood:  Not sharing great
Link's mood: sick and sleepy
Cara's mood: at work
Listening to: Michael Jackson

Monday, February 22, 2016

Christian Music!! And Puffin Rock!!

   Change is coming to the Special Household. Lately, Wyatt will sing along with and repeat any song he hears, often as soon as he hears it. Sometimes he'll hear a line and immediately sing it himself.  Recently, while listening to some Classical Music of the Ke$ha Variety, Wy asked "Why does it say 'We're going to die young?'" His favorite is "X's and Yo-ho-ho's they want me!" at the top of his lungs:


   I've made the very hard choice to only listen to good music around him, by which I mean musicthatisusuallyreallybad: Christian radio. I think it's advertised as "Some of the same songs you sing in church, but performed by a guy you want to punch!" I've heard the song about Him being a Good Good Father (it's who He is) seven times in two days. It literally repeats every word and line 5 times (not literally).

   Is this a worthwhile sacrifice? Probably. Most of the "good" music on the radio is still surrounded by six hours of people making sounds like they are having sex, or is 15 years old anyways. For every one of Bieber's "Love Yourself" there are 4 other of Bieber's "Whatever else I sing." You might be thinking "Hey Grant, why don't you just play your own music." Great idea, you fantastic problem-solver you! But the CD-player in my car doesn't work, someone stole all my tapes, and my phone can only hold like 4 sound effects at this point.

Wy finally realized how to play so Link won't ruin everything. I dressed both boys all by myself!! Except Wyatt.  This picture is symbolic of Christian Music, I'm sure.

   This, of course, isn't the only thing I've given up since Wyatt has grown into the impressionable ages. When he was around two years old, his Sunday School teacher approached me and said "Wyatt's been acting rather aggressive and punching the air a lot." I said "Oh, just the air? So, like, not people?! DOESN'T SOUND LIKE A BIG DEAL." Then I said "Yeah, he's been watching me play a lot of a super-violent Batman game." I've not played the game (or games like it) since.

   Cara and I have given up good TV as well. It's become a whole lot of Pokemon over here. I came home one day and saw him watching one of the cartoons and I was terrified, for two reasons: 1) A Pokemon habit can become rather expensive over time. 2) THERE ARE LIKE 6 MILLION EPISODES OF THE SHOW. It was also rather depressing when Wyatt could encapsulate the whole dang show after two episodes: "Dad, Ash is a good guy, and he has pokemon! One of them is pikachu. Team Rocket is the bad guys, and they try to catch pikachu."

   Wait, still? They are still trying to catch pikachu? It's been like 18 years. Has the show just had Team Rocket trying to catch Ash's pikachu every episode? Why not catch any other pikachu?! There is literally an infinite supply in Veridian Forest. Can my 4-year old really grasp THE WHOLE SHOW after two episodes?

   So we agree that kids shows are the worst. Except for one... um... exception: PUFFIN. ROCK.

   Have you seen this show? It's on Netflix. Netflix gets parenting. They are the same people that put out a fake New Years Countdown so you could put your kids to bed at 6:45 instead of 12:05. Anyways, this is the intro to Puffin Rock, and also, you're welcome:

   It's just so calm and soothing. And pretty! I came home one day and Cara was staring at Puffin Rock, mesmerized on the couch. I think she'd been there for four hours. Wyatt was trying to cook dinner for me (and probably himself), realizing that he was in charge of his own survival at that point.

   The show itself is equally cute, calm, and pleasant. It's narrated by Chris O'Dowd, which, if you don't know who that is, stop what you are doing and go watch The IT Crowd right now. (well, don't stop what you're doing, because you are reading this blog. Instead, keep reading, and then share this with everyone on all your social medias. Then go watch The IT Crowd and also you're welcome.)

   Music. TV. Video Games. It's like all these things might actually just be bad if I can't consume them in front of my children. I might give them all up forever. I wonder what kind of things I could accomplish without these distractions. Really, I wonder if anything like these distractions is ever worthwhile. What is worthwhile? Probably reading my Bible and trying to help other people. Which sounds a lot like Christian radio. Hmm, this is rather annoying.

My mood: surprisingly contemplative about life changes
Wyatt's mood: ever-calmer as those puffins play tag. (Kidding. Wyatt's mood is DAD! LOOK! PIKCAHU!)
Link's mood: he keeps falling and hitting his head
Cara's mood: She acts like she keeps falling and hitting her head
Listening to: Puffin Rock

Monday, January 18, 2016

Lots of Talking!!

   I don't know who had the bright idea of teaching Wyatt to talk. It's all he ever does now. It's incessant. Which is the opposite of cessant. I wish it was cessant. He will talk and talk and go on and on and it's like the stuff he's saying has no point and I have no idea where he gets it from.

   He has a wonderfully active imagination. He tells story after story about his snow house, which has all the things we don't have at home. "Dad do we have cereal with eyes?" (This is what he calls Cinnamon Toast Crunch.) "No, Wyatt I ate it all in a day." "Oh, well at my Snow House there's cereal with eyes." And 10 bathrooms. And a snow car. And a snow bike. It's like this all day.

Here's Wyatt regaling a crowd of high school girls with his stories of how he can stand on one foot. If only I'd known how well this worked when I was in high school. I figured it out much too late. When I tried this move in college, no ladies were impressed. They were looking for handstanders at that point, methinks.

   What's worse is the attention he demands. If I don't respond to every single prompt, it gets repeated. I know this is parenting 101, I even wrote about this coming day a couple summers ago, but it's SO BAD. What's worse is when Wy repeats what he says for my own benefit, because once wasn't enough. Just yesterday, we had this conversation:

In an annoying, giggly voice: "Hey dad! You're a snowman!"

In an irritated, yet firm, soothing, manly voice: "Oh, wow."

In an informative, excited voice: "Hey dad! I said "Hey dad, you're a snowman!""

"Oh, wow."

   I get in the habit of saying "yes" or "uh huh" or "oh, wow" to anything coming out of his direction, a hundred and twelve times per day (I counted once). Today, I think I agreed that "If a lightsaber hits your head then your head explodes," for example.

   Sometimes I say "Wyatt, it's time to be quiet. You're being too noisy." I might've yelled this whilest exasperated. He got real quiet and sad and said this: "I'm sorry dad. ... I'll be quiet. ... ... ... ... Sometimes I talk too much. I'm sorry. ... ... ... [awkward laugh] ... it's just that I like to talk. ... At my snow house I talk all the time. Sometimes I'll tell stories to my snow brother!" He went on from there. I bought myself about 9 seconds of silence and 30 years of guilt. He's so gosh darned sweet!

   The other day, Cara and I said "Wyatt go away. You're being too loud. Go somewhere else." (#dadoftheweek). This happened:

Wyatt went to the far wall and put his back against it. He then looked at us. And started blissfully talking to us. Also, wow, I can't believe how clean the house looks. Don't look too closely at that kitchen.

   Seriously, who decided to teach this kid words?!

   On a different note: When will Lincoln start talking!? I can't wait!! He does the cutest job of trying to mimic me sometimes. Watch me making his favorite sound, then him trying to make it:


   I love it when he laughs, and when he tries to make the sounds himself. I also like that Wyatt is in the background talking at times, with no one responding to him.

My mood: needing some quiet time
Wyatt's mood: wanting to go to the snow house
Link's mood: wanting to play with the fireplace
Cara's mood: wanting to make me some dinner
Listening to: Jet

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

First Step!!

Well, I've stepped on my first baby.

(Don't worry, it wasn't one of mine)

Here's Wyatt, pining for some of his mom's attention. She's just happy to have some cuddles. Also, that couch is beautiful.

   Don't act so shocked, nor surprised. I know that all of you faithful readers really look up to me, thinking of me as the greatest father and person of the day. I am, probably, but the CDC estimates that 73% of people will step on at least one baby in their lifetime. The fact that it took me so long is a testament to my grace and concentration.

   So we're at Cara's parents house for Thanksgiving. I am running my traditional play (you know the one, say some hellos, eat some snacks, go to the spare room to watch tv/play ipad/nap for the next 6 hours. As I am walking in there are sleeping pads all over the floor. Not uncommon, people sleep on those floors a lot during the holidays. Usually me, really. I take a step, feel an odd softness/hard lump, and hear the baby start crying.

   I do what anyone would do: tell the baby to quiet down, throw the blanket over its head, and hope it fades. It doesn't. I check it to see if it's dying. It isn't. I decide to go tell an adult. I find dad and say "... um Baby's crying."

   Dad says "Yeah? She just went down. Everything okay?"

   "I think she got stepped on."

   *startled* "Really?"

   "Yeah. By me. I think I stepped on her. I did, actually. Yeah, it was me that stepped on her and that's why she's crying. She's under a blanket because I put her under it so you wouldn't hear the crying." (A few other people in the house rudely start eavesdropping and ruderly start judging. Him.

   We go, grab the baby (who is totally fine, just a little sweaty in the face), and he says "Mom shouldn't have put her right in front of the door." (She really was, though next to a bed. Horrible parenting.)

   Now, here's the good news: The above story is true, and happened about 4 years ago. Baby has grown up just fine, apart from that big bend in her leg that we think comes from wearing shoes on the wrong feet a couple times.

Something really cute and happy must be happening right now.

   Bad news: I stepped on my second baby yesterday. Mine.

   Now, Nielsen Ratings estimate that 93% of people step on at least two babies during their lifetimes. So if it hasn't happened to you yet, it will. Also, protip: If your made up stats don't end in 0, 5, or 2, they are much more believable.

   We were again at Cara's parents house. I was again playing games on my ipad, and was told Link needed a new diaper. I don't know why Cara didn't just change it herself, she was just watching a lifetime movie. Yeah, we get it, they had a kind of hard past and you're going to spend two hours showing them that they love each other. They'll probably buy a cute ornament FROM HALLMARK.

   Anyways, Link's on the floor. I see him, get up to grab him, and am still playing my game. I trip on a ski boot, but with my remarkable core strength and balance, I power through and keep walking, all while still pwning some noob. Well, Link moved mid-step and snuck into the path of my trip-step. My foot ended up right on the base of his neck at the spine.

   Remember!! Core strength!! I put very little weight on him, stepped off immediately, beat the game, then took care of him. All's good.

   I get that you read the title of this blog and probably thought I was going to talk about Link's excursions into the world of walking. It turns out he has no interest whatsoever in walking. He's been able to stand - on his own with no assistance - for months. He has great balance and stability, but realizes he can crawl way faster than walk. We've seen him take one-and-a-half steps several times, but then he calmly gets on the ground and crawls.

   It's funny, because Wyatt started walking just before 10 months, which makes him the earliest walker in recorded history despite all of you telling me that your nephew started earlier. But Link is too concerned with eating everything in sight and improving his bite location to really be concerned with bipedal movement.

My mood: ashamed
Wyatt's mood: alphabet
Lincoln's mood: Wants nothing more than to put his hands in the toilet
Cara's mood: 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Happy Birthday Lincoln!!

   Lincoln has made one whole trip around the sun. Seen all of its sides, knows what to expect. He turned one year old!!

One!! We decided to go with a Mike Tyson themed party because Lincoln has become a bit of a biter, with his 4 razor-sharp teeth. Actually, he only really bites if he thinks you are food, or if his brother has been laying on his back too long. Hasthagchampionshipbelt. Also, really well groomed.
   We had a big party for him. All of our friends and family and most of the important/beautiful people in town came. (Sorry you didn't get invited. Now you know you are none of the above things.)

Wyatt asked "Can we open presents now?!" no less than 68 times. We said yes four of those times.

Lincoln opening presents with all of his decapitated family.
   We bought 24 cinnabons for this shindig. Not the lame "minibons" either but the real deal. Our guests ate 7. Total. I ate 7. In 40 hours. It shortened my life span by roughly 8 months. Like, when I am dying, I'll think "was it worth those seven cinnabons? I could live until almost next year if I hadn't done that." We'll have to see. There's a chance my life is pretty lame at that point anyways. There's also a chance I'll lose another several months to cinnabon binges between now and then.

Uncle Garrett. I can't remember if this was during the party or four hours after. I also can't remember if all those plates were his or just three of them. What's he thinking about, anyways? Murder? A frustrating conversation? Lost?

Mom thought this was cute. Cute that we got him drunk and took a picture, I mean.

We had a friend give us a big inflatable bouncy house. It had no less then 15 holes. It turned into a great air-mattress that turns into a decent floor over time. Here's Wyatt all puckered out. (We were going to use it as a boxing ring, because, yknow, Mike Tyson themed, but we had to cut off all of the house-stuff because of all the holes. THANKS FRIENDS, for the holy bouncy house for free.

   No one was more excited about this than Wyatt, who loves Link so much it's stupid. You remember Wyatt's first birthday. We got him a candle and threw a huge Legend of Zelda party and I filmed while Cara burned his fingers.

   This time around, we decided I'd manage the sugar and Cara'd do the filming. I'd love to show it to you, but Cara actually didn't film it. Like, I was writing this blog post and she said "You know I don't have any video, right?" I'm pretty sure she took a couple selfies instead.

   So, when I record, she burns the kid, but we get it on film. When she records, everything goes great, but we don't get it on film. When I record AND do everything, it'll be the Lincoln's second birthday and she'll be in the corner. Where she belongs. For hours.

   Lincoln is way more fun at one year than he was at one month. Laughing all the time, always happy unless he's hungry, which he always is, following his brother around and pulling mom's hair. Can't wait for more birthdays with this guy. Any maybe without Cara.

My mood: sugar-high
Wyatt's mood: unsure how to handle the fact that Lincoln has his own toys now.
Lincoln's mood: unsure how to handle any of his own toys.
Cara's mood: blaming everything on the camera. "It was set to night-time!!"
Listening to: Christmas music.