Thursday, January 2, 2014

You Want Applesauce - You Can't Handle The Spoon

While feeding my darling 1-yr old daughter tonight and trying to play the airplane game to get her to eat her applesauce from the spoon I was holding (which she clearly wanted to hold herself) it brought to mind the final courtroom scene from the movie A Few Good Men. The only difference here is that I play the role of Jack Nicholson and my daughter plays the role of Tom Cruise. See if you can follow along.

Dad (Jack Nicholson) - You want applesauce?
Giuliana (Tom Cruise) - I think I'm entitled.
Dad - Do you want applesauce?
Giuliana - I want the spoon!
Dad - You can't handle the spoon! Sister we live in a world that has walls and those walls have to be guarded by men with the ability to keep food off them. Who's going to do it, you? Your brothers? I have a deeper responsibility than you can possibly fathom. While sitting there complaining that you can't hold the spoon, you weep and tell me how hard your life is and you curse all of the family. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. My unwillingness to give you the spoon probably saved my wife, and my existence while grotesque and incomprehensible to you saves me from my wife. You won't admit it but deep down in places you won't talk about at play groups you want me to clean those walls, you need me to clean those walls! We use words like "keep the food out of your hair", "don't touch that", and "don't give that to your sister". We use these words as the backbone of a life spend defending our sanity; you use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to someone who rises and eats the food which I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would just as soon have you say thank you and be on your way. Otherwise I suggest you grab a mop or at least a paper towel and start scrubbing. Either way I don't care what you think you are entitled to!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Nightly Routine

I just thought of a word that perfectly describes our nightly routine. Pinsetter! Don't worry I will explain why.

Anyone who has ever ventured into a bowling alley has seen a pinsetter, but one may not associate the name with its function. A pinsetter is the mechanical device that removes all of the pins and then resets a new group of ten perfectly placed pins to get ready for the next bowler. Well that's what most evenings feel like around here. We go through the day and the inevitable piles up...laundry, toys, dishes etc. After the kids go to bed we basically put the house back in order only to let everything get trashed again the next day. Put more crudely the kids knock crap over all day and in the evenings we sweep everything off and reset it for the next day. This is what it must feel like to be a pinsetter. Lather - Rinse - Repeat!

Now there is a certain tiny personal victory in getting everything put back in its place because I can't stand clutter. However it does have a tinge of "groundhog day" to it since there is seldom a day when dishes or laundry aren't done and unfortunately the children aren't quite old enough to be truly useful. Sure they can "help" so long as they are supervised, which still requires as much effort as if doing it oneself. So therein lies the reset it yourself or supervise those who will reset it for themselves with the knowledge that the latter option may actually take longer than the former. The answer to this question varies by day and I still haven't found the perfect solution.

So from now on I'm going to refer to our nightly sashay around the house getting everything put back in order "the pinsetter routine."

Monday, February 6, 2012

Top Six Things Kids Cannot Measure

In no particular order, here are the top five six things I've found that children have difficulty measuring:
  • Sound Carries
    • Really, sound travels. You can't convince your children of this but the reason parents are "so smart" is that we hear the kids coming a mile away. My children like to undertake clandestine operations only to be thwarted by Daddy (who 2 minutes earlier heard them planning their "surprise attack"). My reply is simply that I have eyes in the back of my head. No parents don't really have eyes in the backs of our heads but when they make as much noise as elephants we don't even need eyes to detect them coming a mile away.
  • Value of Money
    • You'd be amazed at what we can get our kids to do for a nickle. You would think that they had just won the lottery when we promise them a nickle for doing their chores or helping around the house with their younger brothers. I'm not sure how much longer this will last, but I'm going to ride this wave as long as possible.
  • Timing
    • Our older children just don't understand that we have to schedule things around nap time in order to keep a healthy home life. No one likes a cranky baby and therefore we must wait to go out and do anything because nap time is sacred. I will willingly forego being out and about for peace and quiet any day.
  • Amount of Milk That Goes on Cereal
    • How many times have you seen an improper ratio of cereal to milk in a child's bowl. Whatever happened to filling up the bowl with cereal and then gently pouring milk into the bowl until the cereal begins to float? Why is it that when my children attempt to do this we always end up with a milk puddle under the bowl and a tidal wave of Cheerios beginning on the table and ending on the floor?
  • Distance
    • It is soooooo far to the store. Really? It is 1.5 miles to Wal-Mart and takes 3-4 minutes in a car to get there. The park is half a mile from the house. Daddy can we drive there it is sooooo far! No, you each have a bicycle and that's the perfect gasoline free way to get where you are going...don't forget your helmet.
  • Amount of Time it Takes to Do Anything
    • The reason we don't eat out much is that it is a production just getting everyone ready to leave the house, drive to the restaurant and sorting through the endless kids meal options that by the time all is said and done it takes 2 hours minimum to go out and eat. Now a two-hour meal with parents only would be welcomed, but that's not the kind of meal we are talking about here. This is the kind of meal where the kids can never agree on anything, drink their sodas way too fast, and end up eating next to none of their overpriced Mac & Cheese. Meals like this usually end with me carrying one crying boy over my shoulder and another cradled in the football hold, giving the door the Heisman as we make our way to the parking lot hoping the rest of my entourage can keep up.
I'm sure you have more than my top six...feel free to inspire my next round of observations.

Friday, September 2, 2011

It Has Been A While

I can't believe it has been almost a year since I made my last blog entry. Honestly finding the time to do so since we had Giordano has been challenging to say the least.

Suffice to say that going from 3 boys to 4 has been a quantum leap in the amount of time required to settle our day-to-day affairs (laundry, dishes, general cleaning etc.) that by the time the kids go to bed and all of the parental chores are complete there is little time left for much else. However here is a brief recap of what's been going on in the Gallizzi household over the past year or so:

  • We now have 4 boys. Essentially 6 years between the first and the last. I love my family, but sometimes the noise level approaches that of jet engines and the ringing in the ears only subsides after a good night sleep.
  • Good night sleep...what's that? With a teething baby, children that like to stay up and play rather than going to bed, and waking up early to run in order to stay in some sort of shape other than round I can't say I get a lot of good night sleeps.
  • Crazy travel schedule. Misty will tell you that she is not a huge fan of how much I've been travelling over the past 12-15 months since I took on my new job. Since I've taken this job I have traveled all over the Southwest including Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Denver, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, South Texas, San Antonio, Austin, Houston, and Lubbock. The fun part is that I am rarely in the same place twice...the bad part is that I'm rarely in the same place twice!
  • Messy House...Holy crap this place gets dirty in a hurry! We have slowly weaned the number of toys in our house, but we still seem to find stuff to trip over. Add to that the fact that my children have holes in their chins when they drink and the baby thinks it is hilarious projectile spit his food everywhere it is a wonder we haven't gotten a dog yet just to lap up the food mess on the floor. It is all we can do just to keep the mess manageable on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately most of this falls squarely onto Misty's shoulders especially when I am out of town.
  • You do dishes how often? Seriously if we don't do them every day we must do them at least five times per week. This is a new, big-as-they-come, dishwasher and we run this thing like we own a restaurant. This doesn't even count the number of times we have to hand wash the dishes because the dishwasher is full. Paper plates sound better every day!
  • No joke: 5 Gallons of milk per week and at 3-4 dozen eggs per week. I am partially to blame for the consumption of milk and eggs, but these kids are starting to drink so much milk I'm looking into buying a cow. I will still buy the eggs at a store, because I can't raise enough chickens to keep up with our consumption habits and frankly chickens don't have as much personality as cows. I can't wait to see what it is going to be like to feed these kids when they are teenagers. Look out Country Meat Market!
  • Homeschooling: In the past year we have seen our number of school age children grow from 1 to 2. Antonio is now in the first grade and Angelo is starting Kindergarten. What is most interesting about this is that we decided to home school our children (for many reasons), but primarily because we feel that they can learn just as much at home in a shorter amount of time than is required to attend school. We looked at the schedule and realized they aren't getting that much dedicated learning time at this age anyway. Most of their school day is filled with recess, PE, lunch time, music, art etc. So they go to school for 7 hours but only are in the classroom learning environment for about an hour and a half. We are gradually learning what to do (and more importantly what not to do) as homeschooling parents, but this is a trial-and-error approach that has so far been successful, at least by my measures. Now if we could just get the kids out of the house for an hour so Mommy does not go insane...
Those are the high notes. I'm going to try to get back into my groove of blogging more often, so feel free to keep me honest if I start slacking again.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Homecoming Parade

My afternoon was headed for perfect until I got a call from Misty stating that tonight we would be attending the Lewisville Homecoming parade. My mood quickly changed since there are few things I enjoy less than parades, and Misty is well aware of this fact. However, my darling wife knowing me better than I know myself, gave me the heads-up while I was at work so that I could mentally psych myself up for it given a 2-3 hour head start.

So we drive to Old Town and we mosey down to the parade route where we setup camp within candy throwing distance. Little did I know just exactly how long the parade would be and how much candy would be thrown. There were no less than 50 vehicles and groups throwing candy much to our children's amazement. I told them to wave and shout and the more they did the more candy was thrown their way. Even Giancarlo started getting into the waving and shouting. The kids were running back and forth grabbing candy within about a 30 foot radius. We were stowing the candy in the stroller which started to sag in the stowage compartment because of all the candy.

We told the kids that they could have candy when we got home, however Giancarlo didn't see it that way. Giancarlo found out that he could contort and twist himself just far enough to reach the candy jackpot, which he did repeatedly. This kid was relentless in his pursuit of candy. We found out that he loves the suckers, but isn't too fond of the Starbursts (probably because the packaging is a little tougher). He found the starbursts valuable as projectiles, but that kid had a death grip on the suckers.

So just before we got home, Misty turns around to the boys and says, Say thank you to your daddy for taking you to the parade." The kids obliged. Then she said "did you know that Daddy doesn't like parades?" To which Antonio replied "WHAT!?" This wasn't a confused type of "what" it was more of an "I can't believe what I just heard, you must be crazy, and I must not have heard you properly, because any idiot with an MBA in Finance can see that on a cost vs. benefit scale we used very little time, got to bond as a family and we are dragging the rear end of the car on the pavement because of all the freaking candy, what's not to like!?" At least that's what I hear when he said it. Misty definitely heard it as well, because she almost wet herself laughing at his response.

I do remember that as we were leaving Antonio said that the parade was awesome. He was right. The length of the parade made it worthwhile, the temperature was just right and I can cross Halloween candy off the shopping list. I will definitely be back next year.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Shopping for School Supplies

I don't want to go on a rant about shopping for school supplies, but I had to witness an exercise in ridiculousness yesterday that was beyond comparison.

First we had to deal with THE LIST! I have no idea who puts this list together but I guarantee that the person is getting a kick back from Crayola. THE LIST called for 4 packages of the 8-packs of crayons...about $1 each. It also called for 2 packages of 16-packs of crayons...about $1.50 each. All totaled just short of $7 on Crayons. This was exacerbated by the fact that on the next shelf down were Crayola brand 24-packs of crayons for $.30 each. Not a typo...thirty freaking cents. Now I'm not a math major but I can multiply 3 packs of 24 = 72 crayons for less than $1. For those of you keeping count 4 packs of 8 (32) plus 2 packs of 16 (32) only equals 64, so keep in mind I'm getting 8 fewer crayons here. Why on earth do I have to purchase 6 packages of crayons for $7. I thought about it and the best idea I can come up with is that they want the major colors from the 8-packs and some supplements from the 16-packs. So my thought was 6 24-packs for $1.80 and throw the ones they don't want in the trash. School gets what it wants and I save $5 on crayons. Home schooling is starting to look more appealing every day.

To compound my Crayola induced cerebral aneurysm we had the whole family shopping for school supplies which under ordinary circumstances shouldn't be an issue, but since this is a first I had to put up with the "Why does Antonio get that and I don't" from Angelo. We explained that it was simply Antonio's first year of school and that next year it would be Angelo's turn. It lessened the whining, but didn't eliminate it completely. Then Angelo decides he needs to potty...luckily the school supplies are right next to the restrooms at our local Wal-Mart. Then Angelo decides he must do #2. I tell him absolutely not...I will permit #1 only but I'm enforcing a strict no-solids rule for the duration of the shopping experience. Why do my children feel the need to use the facilities whenever we are in public? It is almost as if their inclination to use the restroom increases with others' usage. Example: they only somewhat have to potty at the Library, but they have a stronger urge at McDonald's, and can't resists at Wal-Mart or Costco. I don't think they will be satisfied until they have tested all public facilities in a 10-mile radius from our house. But I digress...

Continuing our shopping experience. Glue Sticks = check, folders = check, notebook = check. Where's the construction paper? Over there. No we're looking for different construction paper. Specifically looking for 11X24 sheets of colored construction paper, you know the one that is only stocked at the very back of the store. Is it me or is THE LIST overly specific? So we finally find ourselves among the office supplies and stationery and I point at a package of construction paper and ask Misty if that is which she replies it isn't. Antonio then says "will you guys stop arguing?" No joke...our kids have never seen an argument from their parents...mainly because we just don't have arguments. Misty and I found humor in Antonio's flawed interpretation of an argument. In any event we found our construction paper and then headed to the checkout. The only open place was the self-checkout lane, so Mommy stayed behind to scan and pay while I grabbed the boys and beat feet to the car. We have to divide and conquer most times to avoid implosions.

All I can say is that our first school supply shopping experience was interesting to say the least. I think I'll keep the kids at home next time and let Mommy do the shopping.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Temper Tantrum #1

A couple of days ago I was able to bear witness to something unforeseen in my household...a full blown, arms flailing, foot-stomping, screaming, crying, convulsing temper tantrum and the culprit was not who I would have anticipated. It was actually Antonio.

Now let me provide a little background that led up to this. Firstly Antonio and Angelo had been waking up awfully early the previous few days (we're talking 6:15-6:30) and because it is Summer we allow the kids to stay up later than normal, frankly because they just won't go to sleep when the sun is up. Secondly they haven't been able to play outside as much as we would like because of the heat so they aren't burning off all the extra energy I wish I had. Lastly these kids have been struggling to pick up their toys lately, however when we get on to them about it they reluctantly pick up with a little (or a lot) of help from Mommy and Daddy.

Well imagine our surprise when we asked the kids to pick up and ten minutes later they came downstairs and proclaimed that they had in fact picked up all by themselves which I promptly verified to be true. I was amazed at the tidiness. Well come to find out the next day that the toys hadn't been "put away" so much as they had been shoved under the couch and out of sight. That did not make Mommy happy. So Mommy bravely called downstairs for a trash bag and in go the toys: not to the landfill, but to the shed (she has quite a flair for the dramatic when it comes to these things). To make matters worse it was already a mess and Antonio was refusing to assist in the cleanup. So Mommy asked him again, and again to help, but to no avail. Once she exceeded her self-imposed threshold of asking no more than three times she told Antonio to change into PJs, brush his teeth and go to bed. Our neighbors could have probably heard the screaming.

From his open/slammed shut/open again door came abundant wails of unfairness, fits of fist-clenching anger, remorseful "give me another chance"s, and finally ultimatums about what he would or would not do if we relented the likes of which I have never seen or heard. As much as it broke my heart to leave him in his room I did not want to set a precedent of allowing a temper tantrum to dissuade me from enforcing the consequences of the aforementioned actions. In fact had he not thrown the tantrum we would have been much more likely to let him off the hook, but after the tantrum started you could forget about it.

The next morning Antonio was his usual chipper self and he promised that it wouldn't happen again. Thanks to our stoic adherence to our parental duties I believe him.

For the record Angelo was guilty of the tiniest bit of schadenfreude as he made merry in the glow of his brother's punishment, but not for too long. He was in rare form himself for the remainder of the evening and I think he enjoyed staying up late with Daddy. Let's hope he will learn by example of what not to do.

So unfortunately I can finally join the ranks of parents who can say that they have truly experienced the full force of a temper tantrum. I am actually amazed that it took nearly 6 years of parenthood before I saw my first, but I have a sneaky suspicion that it won't be the last.