How to deal with two babies

Almost two years ago, Zoey was born.  Shelly and I were in the nursery ward at Providence Saint Joseph and I was sitting on the couch which was also my makeshift bed from the night before.  Trystan was at a children’s party with Kayla.  Ben and Sheri took him when Shelly started going in to labor the day before.  Zoey was in her crib sleeping next to Shelly.  We were tired, happy and in awe of the new addition to our family.  I couldn’t stop looking at her.  After taking her out for some tests, they brought her back in with a little pink bow in her hair.  It was held on by a small drop of petroleum jelly.  This is one of the reasons we love this hospital so much; the amazing staff.

There was a knock at the door.  “Come in!”  Shelly said.  A Catholic nun walks into the room.  Everyday she makes her rounds in the hospital to read scripture and give communion to the patients.  We chatted with her for a few minutes before she continued on.  We learned something from her that day that we have lived by and I believe is what makes Trystan and Zoey’s relationship the way it is.

“Is this your first baby?” Sister asked.
“No, she has a big brother.”
“Let me give you some advice.  If both babies are crying, take care of the older one first.  The second one won’t remember anything, but the first one will and might hold it against the baby.”

So from that day on every time Zoey and Trystan would both need attention, it doesn’t matter which one started crying first, we would go to Trystan and make sure that he was taken care of.  About a year later, when both of them were in need of attention I went directly up to Trystan to see what he needed.  He saw me coming and stopped calling for me, instead he pointed and directed me to Zoey.  “Look Daddy!  Zoey is crying.”  Since then, little by little he began to look to her needs more and more.

Here is a heartwarming episode that just happened this morning.  Shelly had already left for work, Trystan and I finished breakfast, and Trystan was working on a homework assignment on his little table (yes, he already has homework at 3 years old).  I hear Zoey crying from the bedroom so I bring her to the dining room table to get her breakfast ready.  Trystan walks over and shows her his page of upper and lower case letter B’s and she smiles in approval.  He puts the paper back on the kiddie table, comes to the dining table and climbs on his chair.  He grabs a paring knife and about six strawberries and starts slicing the leaves off each one.  I wanted to capture him on video using a knife so I started filming.  After getting two good shots, I turn my camera off.  Then I hear him saying, “Here you go Zoey.” I glance back and catch him giving her all the strawberries that he had cut.  Then he takes his bowl of muesli and yogurt and splits it with her… Just when I thought the cuteness was over, he gets his step stool from the bathroom and brings it over to the kitchen sink.  He grabs his and Zoey’s cups, fills them with water and brings it to her at the table.

Well, Sister’s advice has worked amazingly for two.  Hopefully she will be at the hospital when baby #3 is delivered and she could tell us how to play Zone Defense.




Captain Roy Episode 2

The firefight continued and the wind was with us.  We had sunk one mercenary ship earlier in the evening, now her majesty’s sailing ship Lesion had caught up.  Pass after pass we let the cannons loose until driftwood, debris and life rafts scattered on the surface where her majesty’s navy ship stood.  The only light was from the burning oil and grease that floated on top of the water.   

I woke up this morning a groggy pirate, with a stink in my breath and an itch under my eyepatch.  I was tired and hoping that the two lesions on my eyelid had started crusting over which meant that they were no longer contagious and I would be on the downhill side of these damn shingles.  I walked up to the mirror and lifted my eyepatch to see two scarred over spots on my eyelid.  Yes!  My immune system had won the battle last night.

As the dawn began to rise over the horizon, we saw clearly the devastation that we had caused.  Floating bodies, lines, sails and shattered wooden planks around our ship.  The wind had died down and we did not move.  T’was for none the better since my men and I were tired from our long night of fighting.  “Ahoy Cap’n!!!!”  Walsh points over the gunwale toward the rising sun and I see the silhouette of not one ship, but her majesty’s armada.

I took the gauze off completely to wash my face in the shower, happy that this ordeal is almost over.  I got my clothes ready and turned to the mirror for another look.  My forehead was covered in red blotches, there were three small red spots forming at the upper left corner of my hairline, and under my left eyebrow was a rosebush with no leaves, just clusters of red.  The lesions hadn’t blistered yet but I definitely felt defeated.


Today was the first day I had the kids all to myself after getting shingles and as the day went on, the rash got bigger, and so did my swollen glands.  I took all the necessary precautions not to spread the virus to my children.  I did more research and got more tips from friends.  I scheduled a dermatologist appointment for tomorrow morning for myself and a pediatric appointment for Zoey to possibly get the chickenpox vaccine and to check on her cough.

These are the things I found out.  If anyone out there ever gets shingles and you have kids, remember these pointers.  This is my body and if this virus wants to take over, well it’s going to have a hell of a time because I’m going to put up a fight.

  1. Keep an alkaline PH level in your body.  Apparently viruses don’t survive well in alkaline environments.     CLICK HERE FOR A LIST of alkaline forming foods.   My beautiful wife went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of veggies and teas from this list and I ordered a water ionizer from
  2. The lesions are contagious only while it’s blistering.  Therefore, it’s NOT contagious before the blisters form and after they have crusted over.
  3. Tylenol is your best friend.  If it is really bad, then see your doctor to get stronger pain killers.  Or switch off between acetaminophen and ibuprofen.  One has an 8 hour cycle, the other has a 6 hour cycle.  One hits the liver and the other hits the kidneys.  With that said, drink TONS of water to flush out your liver and kidneys and the rest of your system.
  4. Cold packs can ease the itch.  Heat increases itch.
  5. Oatmeal bath soothes the itching and is also supposed to suck the toxins out of your skin.  I don’t know if the second part is only a wives tale, or if it is true, but the payoff from soothing the itch is reason enough for me.  Except since mine is on my face, then I’ll probably not take a bath in the tub (not enough time), I’ll just do a mask type treatment.
  6. Wash the affected area with soap and water often to prevent bacteria and infection.

Regarding handling children who have not had chickenpox (If you have no choice like me):

  1. Keep the lesions covered.  Phantom of the Opera half-face patch, check.
  2. Wash your hands after touching the affected area before touching your kids.  I basically have been washing my hands after adjusting my eyepatch and before I touch them or anything of theirs.
  3. If you have lesions in your mouth, throat or lungs, the virus can be airborne for a 2 foot distance.  Note that lesions in wet parts of the body may not experience pain (and lesions under the shower don’t either).  I’m pretty sure I don’t have any in these areas but still, I avoid talking directly to Trystan and Zoey’s faces, especially if I’m within 2 feet (putting them down to sleep or in comforting a crying Zoey).
  4. Feed your children healthy foods that will boost their immune system.  This should be the same stuff you’re eating to boost your own immune system anyways.  No sugars, no dairy.
  5. Since touch is limited, exercise the other love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, gift giving.  Today, I made sure to give extra words of affirmation and really spend quality time with the kids.  It was short lived as I got tired pretty fast but hey, you can only give what you’ve got.

With all that said, I am thankful that we have really easy children.  Trystan and Zoey interact so well together and can keep themselves entertained, that I didn’t really have to do much.  Trystan can finally dress himself and is completely potty trained, and he helps take care of his little sister by throwing her dirty diapers away after I change her, putting away her toys and consoling her when she cries.  This afternoon, Trystan, Zoey and I had races in the back yard.  And we kicked crocodiles.  Kicking Crocodiles is a game he likes to play with an assortment of little blow up animals.  He stands them on all fours and yells “Let’s get the crocodiles!!!” and we run around the yard kicking them as hard as we can.  Today was the first time Zoey joined us in that game.  Zoey fell asleep within 10 minutes of going to bed.  Trystan had a more difficult time, but after I got too tired I left his room and he fell asleep on his own.

I am also thankful for our friends who called to offer their help this week, whether for advice or for picking up Trystan from daycare or for watching them during the day so I can take a break.  I am most specially thankful for my wife, Shelly, who took care of me with a foot rub and a nice cup of ginger lemon tea, and made sure that I didn’t stay up too late writing this blog.

Finally, here is a video that a friend sent me to cheer me up.  Thanks Brenda, it made me and Shelly laugh, what a nice end to the day.

I’m a Daddy and I Know It – Awesome Parody!


These phrases were often heard in our house when my five siblings and I were growing up:

Who drank all the orange juice?
Who left the bathroom light on?
Who made $300 worth of long distance calls on the house phone?
Who left the TV on?

The answer was always the same, it was Mr. Nobody.  Mr. Nobody would answer and only he would seem to have done it; none of us did.  When I moved out to Fort Worth, Texas he didn’t follow me.  I lived alone and I knew all the answers.  Everything was mine and my whole apartment was decked in my favorite colors of yellow and blue.  If I was looking for something, it was right where I left it.  It was great, because everything was me.  Then Shelly and I got married and not long after, Mr. Nobody came back.  He played even more of his tricks once Trystan was born.  Ahhhh, I had known him so long I dropped the title Mister; he was just “Nobody.”

Now that we have two children, Nobody’s been up to more mischief than ever.  Even Trystan and Zoey have befriended him.  Nobody left the dirty diapers out, Nobody spread my dirty clothes all over the house;  Nobody unraveled the toilet paper roll and Nobody took the changing mat out of the baby bag before going out.  Of course Nobody has explosive poop and Nobody forgets to turn the sink off.  Yes he’s definitely moved back into our house.  Though you think he might have driven us nuts by now, he doesn’t because…

Who gives hugs like Zoey?
Who makes Daddy more proud than Trystan?
Who is more supportive of Daddy than Mommy?
Who takes care of Mommy better than Daddy?
Who puts bigger smiles on my face than this family?
Who loves you more than I do?

…that’s right, Nobody.

New York Chronicles E2 – “Trystan’s Elevator Adventure”

I took the first week in Manhattan off of work to get the family settled with housing and childcare so I spent the days with Trystan who was a rambunctious two and Zoey who was seven months old.  Shelly had just gotten home from her first day at work and stayed in to play with Zoey while us boys went out to get food.

Trystan put on his Superman jacket complete with hoodie and cape, a pair of blue jeans, and his light up Lightning McQueen shoes.  This was his ultimate outfit, which boosted his abilities dexterity +1, stamina +2 and stealth -5.  And boy did it work.  He could not sneak past a half-deaf, legally-blind, hobo if he wanted to.  He was turning heads everywhere we went.  Mind you this was before the movie “The Man of Steel” was even on the radar, so a Superman sighting near the corner of 38th Street and 1st Ave was a pretty big deal!  Especially for those who have never known him to be so cute.  He was running down the sidewalk, leaping over everything in sight.  I was dressed in jeans, a light jacket and my running shoes as this was our only exercise after the long travel day before, and our full day inside the hotel room.  My walk had turned into a welcomed jog and an occasional sprint.  I watched my son marvel at his own feet as he watched his own steps like a tight camera shot.  Light steam escaped his lips as the crisp air crept in with the darkness.

I’d let him run a few strides in front of me to give him some freedom and a sense of dominance.  Then as he would reach the corner of the street I’d yell out, “Turn right here buddy!” His little head would look left, then right, then left again, then he’d stop.  I’d catch up to him and guide him by the shoulders toward the right, and just like a steaming locomotive, once he was pointed in the proper direction, he goes full throttle.

We picked up our first dinner from the pizza restaurant that we passed on our jog.  Afterward, we headed to Duane Reade for some supplies and then headed back to Mommy and Zoey.  On the way to the hotel, I decided to change my tactics.  I let Trystan run ahead of me for the length of the block, then just before we’d have to turn, I’d sprint ahead of him and then cheer him on while pointing him in the direction we were going.  He’d never have to stop running until we got to our front door.

It worked.

Within a few days, we had developed a routine:  We’d come into the hotel, say hello to the person behind the front desk, press the elevator button, wait for the elevator, then get in the elevator and press the number 18 button, turn left, unlock the hotel room door, open the door, take off your coat and shoes and finally put them in the coat closet.

One evening, the whole family went out for dinner.   Upon coming home, Shelly and I decided to check the mail just past the lobby.  There were some letters and a package for the previous tenants and nothing for us.  Shelly closed the mailbox and just as we turn to bring the letters to the front desk, I see Trystan turning the corner at the end of the hall, making his way to the elevators.  We run down to the corner just in time to see the elevator doors closing between us and our two year old son’s smiling eyes as they melted into confusion.

“Stay here and see which floor the elevator goes to,” I told Shelly as I ran for the stairs.  In my mind I prayed that he remembered to press our floor and I will see him standing outside our door when I exit the stairwell.  He wasn’t there.  Gotta be quick.  Called Shelly on the cel phone, “The elevator went up to the 23rd floor.”  So I press the call button on the elevator then go to the 23rd floor.  Not there either.  Call to Shelly, “Is he there yet?”, Hmmm, not there either.  After going back down to our floor to check if he found our button and remembered his routine, I decided to reunite with Shelly and Zoey on the ground floor and wait in case Trystan made it back down.  I remember thinking “So this is what Joseph must have felt like when they lost Jesus,” then I spent the rest of my time in the elevator thinking of options; Trystan’s options and my responses based on which ones I thought he would choose.  The elevator doors open and I see Trystan sitting next to Shelly and Zoey on the bench in front of the elevator.

“Daddy!” he yells with arms outstretched.

Apparently, our little boy had followed our routine up to the elevator when someone on the 23rd floor pressed the call button.  Surprised to see a little kid get out of the elevator by himself, they tried to talk to him, then brought him back down to the lobby where Shelly was waiting…

Our first week in Manhattan and we’ve already almost lost our firstborn.  Luckily it was resolved fast enough for him (and us) not to remember it as a traumatic experience.

Trystan in the Elevator

Trystan in the Elevator