Dad Brog (#088): The house of cards that is parenting

A long time ago, when I was an active member of a baseball community, among the numerous swipes and passive-aggression shown between nerds on the internet, one of the phrases that often times would set people off, was when person X would make a hypothetical transaction, and then person Y would respond with something along the lines of “[Name of baseball team general manager] would laugh and hang up the phone.”

Person X would usually become incensed and defensive at the hyperbolic idea that an actual general manager would find their proposal to be so ludicrous and stupid, that it would result in their laughter before hanging up on them, and I would imagine the Michael Jackson eating popcorn gif in my head before letting them bicker, before I would inevitably have to call timeout on them because I was also a moderator.

The point is, I often times loved how much the phrase, laugh and hang up the phone on you, rose to such a prominent slight within the community, for something so fairly silly and innocuous.

Two weeks ago, we shipped #1 to South Carolina for the weekend, so that all of her grandparents could get some quality time with their eldest granddaughter, and mythical wife and I could have a weekend where we only had to take care of one tiny human instead of two.  It was one of the easiest weekends we’ve had in quite some time, as caring for one infant/toddler is tremendously easier than caring for two.

It was at this point where I realized that I would be extremely critical and judgmental towards parents of one out there that think their lives are at all difficult, because one child is a fucking cakewalk in comparison to dealing with the two that I’ve got.  I would, metaphorically, laugh and hang up the phone on any parents who thinks their singular child is difficult, because they are one or more additional kids away from knowing what true parenting hell is.

However, no good deed goes unpunished in the world of parenting, so as welcome and pleasant as it was to have a more relaxed weekend less one child, when #1 came back, she brought a nasty virus back with her.  Within a day of returning she had a fever, sneezing and runny nose, and I experienced the joy of having to administer my first COVID test to a toddler, who naturally was not a fan.

Fortunately the test was negative, but of course there’s all the doubt in the world that I did it right, or got enough brain juice on the swab to get an accurate test, but because we don’t have unlimited tests, we just had to have faith that it was negative.

Naturally, within the span of a day, mythical wife is sick, the nanny’s kid who is with us daily is sick, and I thought that #2 managed to escape the plague, but much like her sister, there was about a day of gestation before the shit started to hit the fan.  And unlike #1’s two-day bounce back, #2 has been feverish for five days now, been to urgent care once, only to confirm that it’s not coronavirus, it’s not the flu, but it doesn’t change the fact that she’s routinely spiking up to 103F, and on the way back to the doctor first thing in the morning.

And just like that, this is where the house of cards that is our general life comes crumbling down, once again.  My kids are sick just about every single month, it spreads like wildfire, including to the nanny, and her very needed attendance or punctuality takes a hit, which means I have to take a hit with my job, and then I fall behind and feel shitty about my job security. 

Usually, by the time I catch back up to things, the cycle repeats itself with one of my kids getting sick again, passing it onto the other as well as anyone adjacent to my household, and I’m exasperated and repeatedly getting called out by mythical wife for “always being upset.” 

Life is hard.  Parenting is hard.  I love my wife and kids, but everything is hard.  We’re trying our best.  I’m trying my best, and I am not perfect.  I lose my cool and I get upset more than I’d like to admit, but I’m trying.  But damn if it doesn’t feel like there’s occasionally no end to hard mode, and I have to tell myself to not think so hard about circumstances, because there are just a bunch of rabbit holes to fall into, where the outcomes of them aren’t always the best for one’s mental states.

Dad Brog #087: Don’t look now, my daughter’s a model

Available nationwide: Baby Girls’ Peach Dress with Hat by Carters just one you®, at Target

Just like that, #2 has earned her first real paycheck before hitting ten months old.  High expectation Asian dad is satisfied by this development.

For reals though, I’m over the moon by this, as is mythical wife.  Obviously biased, we’re always going to think that our daughters are the most beautiful children on the planet, but it’s nice and validating to know that corporate America also favors them in the eye test to the degree where they can be legitimate models for baby clothes.

It also helps that Carters corporate is based out of Atlanta, so we residents of the metro area have the luxury of basically getting first dibs at any of the calls they make out for model talent.  And mythical wife, ever the eye for opportunities like this, always threw our kids’ names into the hat, and it just so happens that we finally got one of them into a little bit of national spotlight, with a genuine featuring at Target.

#2 was picked for a camera test, then the subsequent fitting, and then actually picked for formal shooting, and we knew it was only a matter of time before we’d eventually see her out in the wild.  The thing is that they don’t tell you when and if they’re going to use what photos, and companies like Carters and Target hoard assets for years sometimes, so the question was just how soon, if at all, were we going to see our daughter in advertising?

Fortunately, it wasn’t that long, which is what mythical wife was suspecting, since she had a better understanding of what outfit to expect to see, since she was there for the shooting.  And just like that, #2 graces the Target brand, representing their own collaboration with Carters, and people all over can actually see my child on a national level.

And lest I overlook my eldest child, #1 was actually a Carters baby as well during her first year.  Picked for a camera test as well as a fitting, unfortunately she decided to have a meltdown during the fitting, and proceeded no further than that, but for all intents and purposes, she too, was a formally selected Carters baby as well.  And most importantly, she still got a paycheck for her troubles too.

I couldn’t be prouder of both my beautiful kids, and hopefully this won’t be the last time they see the spotlight.  But even if it is, I can still have the privilege to say that my kids have done a little bit of modeling in their lives.

2 Under 2: A catch up on dad brog post (#078)

Hard to believe it’s been over a month since I made any additions to this series.  I suppose I felt a little guilty that I was using it pretty primarily as an arena to bitch about parenting and that’s really not what I had wanted the tag to be in the grand spectrum of things.  This isn’t to say bad things that stress me out haven’t happened, but a lot of things have occurred over the last month and a half since the last time I made an official dad brog post, and I feel like writing about them before the thoughts, words and motivation to do so vanish into the aether, never to be materialized.

It started with one of the worst nights since #2 was born, as she woke up in the middle of the night like four times, required a bottle each time to go back out, only to sleep for like, 45 minutes before blowing up all over again and completely nuking mythical wife and I out of our minds.  We got to the point where it was trial by fire, and was time to evict the little night gremlin from our bedroom, and officially placed her into hers.  The crib, camera and just about everything else had already been set up, but being right next to #1’s room, our biggest concern was that her night tantrums would run the risk of waking her sister, and two miserable kids was the last thing either of us wanted.  But seeing as how our lives were being ruined at that very moment, we pulled the trigger and kicked her out, and put her into her own room.

The rest of that particular night didn’t improve much, but we did learn that through a combination of maximum-distanced cribs between adjacent rooms and two white noise machines, it was possible for #1 to not really hear the screaming going on next door, which was a small victory in itself.  Now we knew that we could start working with #2 to sleep in her own room without risking waking up her sister, no matter how much she screamed.

And since then, knock on wood, things have been showing some nominal improvement.  I hope I’m not jinxing it by notating it, but she has been sleeping better more than she hasn’t, and it’s creating some optimism for mythical wife and I, and I’m feeling like if this improvement starts to grow, then I may begin to have the capacity to get some evening runs in on the treadmill, which I’ve been pining for like crazy, because I’ve been gaining weight in not a good way over the last few weeks and it’s feeding into my general anxiousness about life as it is.

As was the case with my first child, my mom has come down to stay with me for a few weeks in order to help out as well as bond with her grandchildren.  Unlike the first go around, I don’t have my head up my ass for most of this time, and I absolutely love having my mom around and I’m not all (as) mopey and depressed about life while she’s here, and understand that this really is the best month ever all over again.

If you want proof of the importance of early bonding, #1 has lived a life very sheltered from people in general due to the never-ending pandemic we live in, but among the few people she met within her first year of life, my mom is one of them.  Now, she is basically stranger-danger to every single person she meets, including my sister, my dad and pretty much all of my relatives that she met for the very first time this past Thanksgiving, because she never knew them when she was an infant.

That being said, one of the greatest joys of my life is seeing just how happy #1 is around my mom, and just how much she wants to be around halmoni, except in toddler speak it keeps coming out as halmi which warms me to the very core of my often hard dark heart.  She loves my mom, all of her cooking, and I’m over the moon at the help and stability she brings to our chaotic household of two kids.

But also the fact that #2 is getting the same opportunity to bond with my mom and hopefully create a similar lifelong appreciation for grandma that my first child has.  My mom’s not getting any younger, and I’m just so grateful that she’s still got enough in her to lug around a 16 lb. and growing infant, and bringing some old school parenting tactics that is getting her to take naps and take a tremendous load off of my shoulders.

I’ve never felt more productive and relaxed during the workday than I have over the last two weeks with my mom in tow, because it means my nanny doesn’t have to pull double duty, and I know both my kids are getting the individualized attention that they really need.

Finally, on the topic of work, this week marks the first time that I’ve been reporting to an office in two years.  Sure, the company has since changed, and I’m going into an office I’ve never been to before, but the point remains, I’m now getting up in the morning and driving into work, three days a week, two days from home.

Among all sorts of awkwardness and germaphobia of doing such, I had a moment on Monday morning where I had to fight a clock, which was nothing out of the ordinary, but I had to pick up #1 and give her a kiss and tell her that I had to leave for work, for basically the first time ever.  Yes, there were 1-2 days after her birth and before coronavirus shut the world down where I went into the office, but she was in the NICU, and completely unaware of the world around her that she didn’t know that I was going to work.  It was a very surreal and unusual feeling moment, but is something that will for the time being, be the norm.

And it sucks knowing that after two years, I’m away from my kids for 7-8 hours a day, because without eyes on them, I genuinely have no idea what’s really going on, save for the mercy of updates from my mom or the nanny.

However at the same time, being in the office environment and completely devoid of all the distractions of home, I’m getting more work done than ever, and I feel like I’m actually learning more about the job than I did while being full remote.  It’s a good and a bad thing because of the tradeoff with my home and kids, but still essential nonetheless in order for me to actually grow in my career.

So that is where life as dad is right now, which is to say that these dad brogs don’t always have to be so miserable and full of mirth.  At this current juncture with my mom helping out, and me not dreading my job, things are actually feeling pretty optimistic currently.  Hopefully I’m not jinxing anything by acknowledging it, but it does feel refreshing to not feel so drowning all the time, and hopefully the myths of things getting easier as the kids get older starts beginning to come to fruition.

How today should be versus how it is

Today is my last day with *Fortune 50 company redacted*.  I’ve been here for a hair under six years, and this is the longest job I’ve ever had.  As much of a stressor and source of frustration the job had turned into over the last two years, under normal circumstances today really should be a bittersweet one, because there are still a lot of good people there, I’ve made a lot of good relationships, as I close this chapter of my career.

Instead I’m just bitter, at all the life’s circumstances that are swirling around in play right now, and I’m having a very difficult time letting go of all this anger and frustration I’m feeling. It’s tarnishing absolutely everything around in my life right now, and I’m fully aware of it and how calm people always wax poetic about how it’s never good to hold onto anger, but I can’t help it because my entire household has been compromised by one fucking person who thinks vaccination means they can resume living life like it were 2018 again and going into crowds and picking up plagues to spread unto others.

I should be excited about my new job starting up soon, but I’m not.  I haven’t even worked a day, but I’m already dreading it, because my home is still fucked with COVID, and in spite of me originally thinking I may have been asymptomatic, I’m feeling shit in my throat that is saying otherwise and I’m 99% sure I too now have dropped off the list of the undefeated but I can’t know definitively because the America is too full of stupid fucks, the disease is everywhere and I can’t get tested because all sites are slammed to oblivion and and all home tests are sold out everywhere until like 2025.

Instead of embarking on my new career path full of optimism and hope eternal, it’ll more than likely be just like a day like today: me on double duty with my girls because we can’t bring in help because of COVID and mythical wife still having to go to work because the school system is more fucked up than Heaven’s Gate and they’re more than willing to turn a blind eye to someone with a very recent exposure as long as they don’t have to go get a substitute teacher.  So I’m quadruple stressed out because I probably have the ‘Rona, I’m still on the clock with my last day of work, I’m worried for my wife, and dealing with both kids.

All because one person brought the fucking plague into my home.

I should be coasting to the finish line and feeling melancholy as I bid adieu.  I should be excited about my new job coming up. 

I should be in good spirits.

But I’m not.  I’m angry, frustrated, disappointed and disgusted.  Brain full of bile, throat full of phlegm, feeling bitter and resentful and helpless because there’s absolutely jack shit that can really be done about any of this but wait it out.Have to power through orientation and day 1 of new job while putting up a facade that everything is fine.  Have to wait out 10-14 days to hope that this Omicron bullshit works its way through my house’s residents.  Have to eventually find somewhere to test or have to pay for fucking home tests if they can even be found.

Have to keep life in fucking hold stasis for even longer, because of the conduct of someone outside my home.

Today should be a good day.  But it’s fucking not.  I can get over me getting sick, but my wife and my innocent children getting sick, is inexcusable.  It’s not fucking fair, and this is anger that I will be incapable of letting go of, for a long time. 

A kick in the balls at the buzzer

If you’ve never seen one of these before, no this is not a pregnancy test.  God forbid, no.  Mythical wife and I used those fancy tests that could actually run Doom on them.  Two kids was the plan and mission accomplished.

No, this is a rapid COVID-19 test, and the two lines that are shown indicate a positive, yes you have coronavirus within your system.

For all the caution, masking, distancing, isolating  and other measures mythical wife and I have done over the last 22 months, it still made it into our home.

To clarify, this is not my test, although considering someone in my household is registering a positive, it’s safe to say that we’re all exposed.  I, or anyone else in my house can’t really go get confirmed, because everyone in my area has gone bonkers and any testing sites are all slam packed not to mention it’s New Years fucking Eve.

I’m quite upset over the likely circumstances that brought this unfortunate development to light, but what’s done is done and raging about it will accomplish nothing at all.  But the result is still the same, and for the next week, maybe two, my household is going to be wonky, my wife and kids and myself will have to play spatial chess as we try to minimize together time so that those with symptoms avoid those without.

It upsets me that the world went from intelligent avoidance to eventual acceptance that everyone was inevitably going to contract coronavirus at some point, and in the case my home, it wasn’t anyone here that went out of their way to get themselves exposed.  We’ve been doing our part to minimize exposure and stay safe, but unfortunately we can’t monitor the world outside our doors and the activities that the people outside our doors are doing.

I’m just upset on varying levels and degrees right now.  There’s never any good time for anyone to get sick, but happening right on a holiday makes things a little bit harder and more inconvenient.  There is no consolation in me being negative or asymptomatic, when my wife and one of my kids are ill and addled.

My daughter registered a fever of 103F. Ordinarily, that’s a need to go to urgent care, but clinics and facilities all over are so overrun, that they do an assessment to see who’s at the greatest risk of death to determine on whether or not they should go or.  Seeing as how my daughter is acting fairly normal in spite of the temperatures, we’ve been recommended to “stick with what you’re doing – at home” instead of going to urgent care—that’s where the fuck we’re at in this state of the world right now.

Life is already fucking difficult enough as it is, but to throw coronavirus on top of it, and I’m just feeling defeated and owned and all sorts of dejected.  Things will seemingly never get easier, and all I can really feel like is the endless need to endure and be patient, instead of thrive and enjoying life more than I am.

It’s funny, because as I was finishing out my last post and ending it with how the book on 2021 was closing with that post, it was almost like tempting fate that something should occur with the one day we had left.  And much like the title of this post is called, it really does feel like a kick in the balls, right at the buzzer.

Happy fucking new year, everyone.

2 Under 2: the endgame for the girls’ blets (#069)

Not that I would’ve had any objection to have had a son, I low-key was hoping for a second daughter, for the explicit purpose that I could purchase a set of women’s tag team championship blets for my two daughters to become the lifelong tag team partners they were meant to be.

Anyone who’s seen the modest gender reveal video my wife and I did with a balloon filled with blue or pink confetti, when we popped the balloon and pink confetti rained over my kitchen, you better believe that within at least 3-4 minutes, my mind was already thinking about the tag team blets that I would have to inevitably get for my girls.

It took a few months, but I just so happened to be vigilantly on watch when the day came where the WWEshop dropped these specific blets to the price threshold I was awaiting them to hit before pulling the trigger.  I couldn’t have been more excited when they arrived, and not just because they made mythical wife’s eyes roll like Marble Madness.

Y’see, there actually was an endgame in mind for these blets, and I’m going to share it here, because it’s really going to be a toss-up if my brog lasts long enough for my kids to eventually read this, and that’s even if they’re even remotely curious to want read about dad’s online dear diary for the better part of what will probably be like 35-40 years old by the time they might be curious.

Continue reading “2 Under 2: the endgame for the girls’ blets (#069)”

100 Days, the sequel

Today is a special day in the life of my family.  #2 has made it to day 100 of her existence, and this is an actual occasion in Korean culture, known as baek-il (백일).

Historically, this became a thing back in the olden days when Korea was so ravaged by poverty, famine, disease and Japanese people, the life expectancy of children was so low, that even making it to 100 days was considered monumental.  Sure, the passage of time has changed some things quite drastically, but the occasion has stuck, and baek-ils are acknowledged by Koreans all over to this very day.

Ironically, not much has changed since #1’s own baek-il from last year.  Considering the fact that coronavirus is still very much around and killing people on a daily basis, and that America has basically become a third-world country with an economy that’s surpassed by at this point, multiple countries, there’s a loose comparison to be made about disease and poverty.

That being said, it is, more noteworthy that #2 has survived the first 100 days of her life, than it really should be, but that’s the state of the world we live in.

I know I’ve been using my brog over the last few months at something of a sounding board of how much I’m struggling with two kids, but what I really hope is that in future years whenever I look back through the On This Day plug-in, I’ll re-read a lot of the things I’ve written under fatigue and exasperation, and either shake my head, laugh, or just cringe at the mental frying I went through raising two under two. 

No matter what I say, how frustrated I come off as, and things that I may insinuate under duress, I love my kids and I love my wife, and I will continue to do so no matter what.  Collectively and individually, they are the best things to happen to my life, and even if I lose my shit from time to time, I always come back and always remember that they are my everything.

100 days down, onto the rest of our lives, with only the best things being wished for.