Sunday, February 19, 2012

Party of Five - Plus One

Three plus weeks into life as a party of five, and we’re at least doing better than Jeremy London’s career since his run as Griffin Holbrook ended in 2000. But just barely.

Rather than risk boring you with complaints about the last few weeks, I’ll cut to the chase. Tilly has been great. Whoever has overnight duty (almost always THE WIFE) is sleep deprived, as expected. But overall, the baby is fine.

On the other hand, Gus had about ten consecutive miserable days of teething that was all consuming to him and the rest of us. On Superbowl Sunday (of course) I was in the process of packing a bag to bring him to the hospital because he was so inconsolable until he finally just fell asleep around halftime. His mood was so bad during that stretch we felt compelled - at the suggestion of one of our doctors - to rule out that Gus didn’t have a “hair tourniquet” on his penis or any other extremities. (For the record, he was tourniquet free.) Long story short, G-man is finally back to his normal happy self so I can stop cursing about my envy for every single, childless adult male in the universe.

On a semi-related note, breast feeding has been going really well. THE WIFE and Tilly are getting into a pretty good routine, as has Greta with her newest dolls Foxy and D.D. No joke – Greta’s shirt was pulled up this morning while she sat on the couch next to THE WIFE as she nursed Tills. (MTV’s Teen Mom producers are now scrambling with ideas for their next show.) Oh, and yes, Greta came up with both names for her dolls. When she calls them by name, I think of an all-female C.H.I.P.S. series from the 80s that never made it past the pilot episode.

As the Charlie Salinger of our family, I went grocery shopping (twice in two weeks, for that matter) for the first time in approximately 10 years. Due to the gap in time since my last visit, I was shocked to discover how ridiculously expensive food is. Furthermore, healthy and/or organic food is even more freaking expensive. I had no clue. Still, if I have to choose between premature puberty for my kids because of lesser expensive food with hormones and chemicals, or more expensive healthier food, then I’ll spend the few extra bucks.

Anyway, a prior blog post addressed the impressive amount of cheese that my family has on hand at any given time in the ice box. It wasn’t until I got my recent grocery shop on, though, where I realized the obscene amount of dairy products that the T family consumes. Whole milk for Gus. 1% for Greta. Half and half for my coffee. Whipping cream for the occasional crème fraiche. Sour cream and shredded cheese for tacos. Sliced American for sandwiches. Diced feta for salads. Parmesan for pasta. Butter. Margarine. Greek-style yogurt for all. (G-man would probably be about five pounds lighter if not for yogurt alone.) Frozen yogurt sticks for the kids. Other than egg nog and buttermilk, I think we fulfill a dairy decathlon in the span of about three days in our typical week. In other words, it makes complete sense for us to just buy a cow and keep her in the backyard – next to her own wood stove of course.

Now moving on to actually cooking the groceries, we’ve been eating like Vikings since Tilly came home. Between our moms and friends, all I’ve had to do is reheat and serve. But as of late, I’ve been taking a stab at making a lot of our meals. I’m not sure how good the food is that I’ve made because here’s what happens:

A) You could place a unicorn steak with black truffles and beluga in front of Gus and he’ll throw it further than Johnny Damon from center field.

B) Greta doesn’t eat anymore. When she was younger, we could puree literally anything and she’d eat it. Now, what she likes to eat and when she likes to eat, changes like Katy Perry’s hair color. I have no idea how she is growing because she only takes about four bites during her sit-down meals.

C) Tilly will automatically wake up the minute we sit down to eat dinner as a family. Guaranteed.

D) Greta will have to take a shit the second I’ve finished feeding August and I’m about to take my first bite of lukewarm food. Although Greta pees on the potty, she’s still wearing a diaper for dumping out. Since THE WIFE can’t lift anything because of the c-section recovery, that means I’m on crap duty. It’s possibly one of the worst interruptions to encounter when one is about to “enjoy” a meal.

E) By the time THE WIFE and I have the chance to eat any food, it’s cold but we shovel it down like sumo wrestlers as we plead for Greta and Gus to take a bite of anything. By the end of the meal, I’ve usually surrendered. Cheerios sit in piles on the kids’ plates and I pound wine because there’s only ten minutes left before bath. Good times!

If Tom and Padma want to come up with a way to spice up the quickfire portion of Top Chef next season, come to me. I want to guest judge. Here’s the episode.

Padma: Chefs, please welcome Dennis Teravainen. Mr. Teravainen is a father of four who lives in the suburbs with his wife. He moonlights as an executive chef at Chez Gawaine, while working a day job fighting ambulance chasers. He spends countless hours of his work days arguing with unhappy people who insult him, while writing pointless reports for hours at a time that no one reads. After he commutes in bumper to bumper traffic for a drive that should be 20 minutes but lasts 65 minutes instead, he enters a home with crying children and his wife asking whether he remembered to call the painter for an estimate yet. Today, you will step into his shoes for your quick fire challenge. Dennis?

Dennis: Thanks, Padma. Chefs, you will have thirty minutes to prepare a meal that feeds two adults and two children. To simulate how I feel when I am about to prepare a meal during a week night, I first need to smash you over the head with this frying pan. Next, you can choose to carry my 18-month old or leave him on the floor where he will cry to the point that you may, too. My 3 year old will follow you around to chat, but she’s irresistible so you can’t ignore her. Oh, and you have to feed our fourth child with wood to keep the gas bill down while you cook the meal. Chefs, I encourage you to drink the Chardonnay in front of you like it’s your last supper. Your time starts now.

Cue the quick fire anthem: ba-da-da-dop-dop-da-dop-da-dop-da-doo-doo, etc. and the knife sharpening sound effect.

Okay, maybe it’s not so bad but you get my drift.

So what else? Um, let's see, not much. I fell asleep at 10:30 on Saturday night with Tilly on my chest. Wild and crazy weekends over here.

THE WIFE and I are still sleeping in separate bedrooms at least until Tilly starts to sleep a little more than in two hour stints. My house mate got annoyed at me for signing an email to her as “DT” the other day (instead of honey bunny or something along those lines I guess) but we patched things up and we’re a “team not on vacation” again just trying to power through until the family routine normalizes. I have been impressed with how well THE WIFE is functioning on such little sleep especially considering how much she loves to get her snooze on. So if you see THE WIFE in the coming weeks, give her a high five and a hug. She deserves it.

As for the fourth child and sixth member of our family , I recently sat down to tell him that I was his biological father and THE WIFE is his adopted mother. He said he knew already. Smart kid.

Anyone want to come over for dinner?