Monday, March 31, 2008

Daddy Blogger Brunch: Appetite for Destruction

Steve invited us over for brunch. Well, he invited Barky over for a playdate with Rodney, who hasn't been himself since losing Reggie. Steve said we could come along too, if we wanted.

Of course we wanted to, so we did.

Here's hoping that Barky cheered up Rodney. We left the hounds to their own devices ... other than letting them in and out every 2.5 seconds. Barky didn't know where to go: A yard! Brunch! A yard! Brunch! ... Seriously, I think I got patio door elbow.

The boys? Well, you can see how they did ...

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

You don't need a weatherman

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Who turned the pollen switch on?

Spring is here! Woo hoo! Achoo!


It is that time of year when an middle-aged man's thoughts turn to his daily loratadine dose and the relief that it brings from that feeling that someone stuffed a burdock in each of his tear ducts and opened up a fire hose at the top of each of his nostrils and scrubbed his corneas with steel wool.

Ah, spring. I love you, I hate you, I love you, I hate you, she's my daughter, she's my sister...uh, what now?

Anyway, to celebrate, we're headed into DC for the kite festival today, which is just downwind of the Cherry Blossom Festival. Pray for my sinuses. It's due to be almost 40 degrees out so we'll leave either when Mama and I are too cold or when 3B has finally had enough of flying shiny things (read: we'll be hospitalized for hypothermia by 2 p.m.).

Last year, we had a wonderful time on a beautiful day with some good friends. We'll be without those friends this year--they moved to China--but we should still have a good time, especially with all the wind coming in with this cold front.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Friday, March 28, 2008

My beagle's a bottle blond

I'm standing in the bathtub, feet covered in vomit, wrestling with the dog, my fingers in his mouth and down his throat, trying to wrench his mouth open ...

If you want to know a good way to get your dog to barf, you've come to the wrong blog*. If you want to know some bad techniques, here are a few

  • hydrogen peroxide
  • outside
  • by yourself
  • at night
  • being nice
However, these are excellent techniques for dousing yourself, your dog, your pants, your shirt, the lawn and the inside of the sleeves of your leather jacket in hydrogen peroxide. I'm surprised Barky's coat wasn't the color of Marilyn's hair the next morning. I'm surprised my hair wasn't gray. OK, more gray.

If you want to know how to get a beagle named Barky to barf, I suggest table salt, which you'll only be able to get down his gullet after you've firmly pinned him in the bathtub and gotten Mama to administer the salt.

And not letting him out of the bathtub until he's chundered. Unless you want to scoop up a bowl full of partially digested dog food from the bathroom floor as well as the tub.

OK, that's enough lessons learned for one night.

*Seriously, go here to find out how from a pro--don't worry, you won't see a dog vomit. Actually, this is more thorough, showing you how to actually get the job done...again, have no vomit.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Be grateful for what you've got.
--William DeVaughn

Should I be worried that 3B demands to see Bobby Julich, "fast biker," several times a day? I've been trying to get 3B hooked on George or Levi, but there's only one George--the curious one--for 3B and Leipheimer's not as easy to say as Julich.

At least 3B's not demanding to see Michael Vick. And if this bike racing seed is planted firmly enough in his subconscious, perhaps we'll have to take a trip to see the Tour, Giro or Vuelta someday. You know, because 3B wants to go.

Besides, things could always be worse...

Monday, I had to wash out the bathtub just to get a cup of coffee, and I was feeling suitably sorry for myself about it...oh, how did that happen?

I went to get coffee...
  • had to dump the grounds out...
  • partially missed the trash can...
  • got some coffee in the dog food, some on the floor, some on the inside and outside of the garbage can...
  • had to toss out several days' worth of dog food...
  • clean the kitchen floor...
  • rinse out the garbage can in the bathtub, which meant I had to...
  • clean the bathtub...
and therefore didn't have time to drink that cup of coffee.

But then I got home and heard about Mama, who tried to take a shower before 3B's nap yesterday. She knew she needed a plan to keep 3B occupied, so she filled a bowl with water for him to play with...
  • Mama got into the shower...
  • 3B dumped the water on the bathroom floor...
  • played in it...
  • Mama had to mop the water up...
  • take off 3B's clothes and diaper...
  • he peed on the floor...
  • she's trying to dry herself off too...
  • he pooped on the floor...
  • she evacuated the bathroom to the bedroom...
  • he climbed up on our desk chair...
  • and peed all over it...
and as I listened to her story, I was thinking that my morning wasn't so bad.

"I think that every time I go into a store with 3B, it takes three years off of my life."
And then there was Mama's story about Tuesday's trip to BRU with 3B, which involved
  • a bulldozer ride in the lobby area
  • a scream that nearly took Mama's head off
  • a sobbing fit
  • a computer toy
  • another sobbing fit
  • one organic lollipop
  • cashiers parsing coupon text as if it were the Magna Carta
  • another organic lollipop
  • a cashier who wanted all of Mama's demographic data, to which Mama said, "No. I'm not doing that. I need to get him out of here. Now. If you don't check me out, I'm shoplifting these lollipops."

Maybe when I've recovered from the trauma of last night, I'll explain how I ended up wrestling with Barky in our vomit-slick bathtub last night ... it all started out behind the pool house with me, Barky and a bottle of hydrogen peroxide. I was trying to get him to barf ... but that's a tale for another time ...

So, go ahead 3B, chant your Bobby Julich mantra. Just no more pooping on the floor or meltdowns in the store. But if you do, I'm going to try to maintain your approach ... (and you, gentle reader, how do you recover from days like this? ... check out the new poll in the upper-left, there)

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pregnant twit on his way to Uganda

So, I've been feeling a little pregnant recently ...

Those of you who know that I'm a Twit probably know that I got a tetanus shot and that I've been taking typhoid vaccine in preparation for our upcoming trip to Uganda. I opted for the oral vaccine, which is a live vaccine, because it lasts for five years, versus the injection, which lasts two years.

One catch to the oral vaccine is that I had to take one pill every other day for a week. The other catch is that it made me constantly queasy, bloated, and exhausted. To keep from horking, I had to plan my movements well in advance because moving quickly was not an option. Neither was exerting myself in any way. Both would immediately give rise to greater queasiness.

All of these symptoms seemed vaguely familiar, and I finally realized why ... this was how Mama reported feeling during her first trimester. Except my breasts weren't getting larger.

So, I was finally able to control the nausea somewhat when I remembered how she coped--for the last week, I've been nibbling away on small snacks and sipping sodas from dawn until I collapse at night.

Now that I'm a few days past my last dose, that all seems to be lifting, however. Let me just say that I'm grateful that this has only lasted one week, not for a trimester. And, not that I wasn't sympathetic when Mama was pregnant before, but I'm thinking that this will make me a more empathetic dad next time around.

And let me say that I've got a little more trepidation now about next week's yellow fever shot, although that's the last of the shots. And now that the tetanus shot has worn off enough that I don't have to take Tylenol 24/7 just to move my arm, perhaps I'll be writing here more.

So, any tips for what to see and do in Uganda?

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ambient Play-Doh Psychedelic Claymation Drums

3B's either going to love this or never want to look at the computer again.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

I want candy!

Some of what our Easter looked like...and some other recent days...and some not so recent days.

Starring 3B, Ms. A, and what appears to be a silverback gorilla.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter from Grammy!

If you can't see this slideshow here, you can see it here.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Friday, March 21, 2008

It's too loud. I'm too old. Help!

As I've mentioned before, 3B has picked up a screaming habit from a playmate at daycare. For awhile, he was just imitating his toddler comrade, so Mrs. K was correcting 3B by telling him, "No screaming." but that only resulted in monologues from 3B:

[scream] No screaming! [scream] Too loud! [scream] No screaming!
On Wednesday, 3B had his first time out for screaming at Mrs. K's. This morning, however, I got an earful of screaming when I extracted him from the under the steering wheel to put him in his car seat--as you've seen, he loves to go into the driver's seat to play with "Knobs! Brake! Shifter! [i]Pod! Driving!"

I'm still a bit woozy from the illness, and possibly from the typhoid vaccination, but those screams, delivered as I bent over 3B to buckle him into his car seat, were so loud and so piercing, they made me dizzy. I really can't believe how someone so small can make a sound so loud without the assistance of a Marshall stack. My ears hurt worse after that than after watching the Who's [first] farewell tour, Fishbone at the Keystone, or even Metallica in the Cow Palace.

Clearly, the time out at Mrs. K's didn't work. Mama and I have talked about using time outs , but we don't think that 3B would really understand them well enough to learn a lesson from them.

But we need to do something.

So I'm asking you, innernets ... I've posted a poll (upper-left corner, there) to learn what has worked for you. Feel free to also leave comments, suggestions, and recommendations for otologists below.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

My son, the harbinger

3B woke up this morning chanting, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

Either he's learned a new phrase, or we're in for a long day.

Correction: he's going to Mrs. K's today, so she may be in for a long day.

Mrs. K, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lessons learned, mac & cheese, words of the day

We're all better enough from our illness to be back at work, but not well enough to really exert ourselves, so I'll be brief here. If I have the energy tomorrow, perhaps I'll write about the typhoid in our fridge, or my wedding anxiety dream.

Another one of Beitzel's axioms is that growth is painful, and that learning is a form of growth. This is why sometimes I'd rather avoid learning. However, at times it's unavoidable. During my illness was one of those times...Lessons learned: You won't puke if you don't eat. Bones, although seemingly bereft of nerves, can ache. If you're hit hard enough in the forehead with a steel bread hook, rolling your eyes can trigger a headache (this may not be a problem if you're not as sarcastic as I am).

Noodles & Co. just opened next to the office, making bland comfort food a quick walk away, which is no small mercy while I'm still recovering my digestive equilibrium. However, isn't a trip to Noodles to get mac & cheese a trip wasted? I guess not if it doesn't make you barf, it's not.

Words of the day: in response to Mama bringing 3B a bowl of cheese and fruit for a snack, he reported that he was "very excited."

Also, Mrs. K reported yesterday that when she looked at 3B's highchair tray after lunch and told him that he'd made an "awful mess" he looked right at her and said, "That's funny."

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Now I'm #3

This parenting thing gets easier every day. Today I discovered that I can do it while sleeping.

This morning, Mama and I debated whether I should stay home while she continued recovering from Pukeapalooza. She insisted that she was OK to the point that I was walking out the door to work when she said, "I'm sure that I can make it at least until noon."

So I stayed home, watching 3B while Mama retreated to bed.

3B kept insisting on getting into his crib, which left me lying with Barky on the futon in 3B's room, where I drifted off several times as I started feeling worse. To my credit, 3B was dozing too. I think. Barky was definitely out cold. At any rate, 3B was perfectly safe, and I didn't even drool on the comforter.

By the time Mama got up, feeling somewhat human again, she looked at me and told me to go to bed. Thank goodness for that. As victim #3 of this pernicious bug, I've slept six hours today. I'm up now for some bullion, but then I'm heading back to slumberland before anything else in my body starts aching or cramping.

Before I do, here's my viral top ten...kiss a friend, pass it on...

  1. Aching knot on my forehead from getting cracked on the skull by Captain Hook.
  2. Refrigerators that we still--still!--have in our house.
  3. People in this house who are all, like, Buddhist and are all, like, be all nice to all living things and all that crap, who would just as soon see every sample of this virus dropped into the Pu'u 'O'o cone.
  4. Minimum number of hours between doses of Tylenol.
  5. Symptoms of this illness that you really don't want to know about. Trust me on this.
  6. Pages of the NY Times I could skim before getting a headache.
  7. Sips of bullion I'm keeping down.
  8. Parts of my body that hurt right now.
  9. Times I've read Rocket Ship today. 3B used to bring it to me to read insisting that he was 'cared [scared] of it, but wanting me to read it nonetheless. Today, there were no claims of being scared by it. In fact, Mama and I are trying to work out if he is using that word the same way that we do. Many thanks to Aunt S, cousin J, and our brilliant cousin for the hours of rapt amazement today.
  10. Number of oyster crackers I had for breakfast.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Sunday, March 16, 2008

It's good to be #2

3B now says "Cheese!" for cameras
Today, everyone seemed to be better--for awhile. Mama was up and out in the living room, even if she wasn't eating much. She did manage a slice of toast and some coffee, and was able to stay awake through a conversation, which was a huge improvement.

3B ate a good breakfast while Mama walked Barky, although he did complain that something felt like it was "cutting" his stomach. So, he was eating and full of energy, but he had a stomach ache, I suppose. 3B went on to eat a normal lunch, and then as we were putting him to bed, he had a little bit of milk and listened to a story, then sat bolt upright and vomited up a stream of lunch. After his first heave, he got this sad look on his cute mug, and turned to his favorite parent for comforting, and disgorged the rest of his lunch across Mama's lap.

Sometimes it's nice to not be the favorite parent, especially when it comes to partially digested tofu pup, avocado, and sweet potatoes.

We again got 3B cleaned and changed in record time and put him down for his nap, despite his post-puke burst of energy. Mama and I then lay down to get some rest, but 3B kept waking up and calling out for us, and I kept worrying about what it could be, because lord knows, it couldn't be just a stomach bug--no, no, I was sure it was appendicitis. Except he was pooping just fine.

And that made me think about the first time he puked, at all of two weeks or so old. Mama and I did a little freak out dance--take his temperature? where should we take it? are you serious? how high is too high? what if it's too low? what if it's the flu? is he getting dehydrated? what do the books say--and can you describe the vomit, please? call the doctor! call the nurse! call the lady with the alligator purse!

Meanwhile, today the kid horks out a gallon of bile across his futon and we have him cleaned up and tucked in and are down for our own nap within ten minutes. We'll call the doctor if his head starts spinning around, but otherwise we need some shuteye.

Anyway, I ended up sleeping just long enough to wake up with a head full of tar and cranky. The cranky wasn't helping matters, and besides, there was too much to do, like feed 3B his second lunch, which Mama did, and watch the kid, which we sort of did. He did still manage to crease his face pretty well in the kitchen however.
Scarface's stool
See, we keep the stools overturned so Barky won't use them to get up on the counters--no, I'm not kidding--so 3B was crawling around, put his hand on one side of the stool, and it flipped up right into the bridge of his nose. Mama said 3B didn't even peep when it happened.
I'm not as tough as the toddler, however--when he cracked my forehead with the bread hook from the mixer as I was lying on the couch, I sat bolt upright and yelled. Which caused 3B to yell. I didn't mean to upset him; it was just instinct when I heard, and felt, something clang on my skull above my eye. If I had assembled the pantries, the mixer wouldn't be out for Captain Hook to be playing with, so it's my fault in a way.
A dog and his boy
We did manage another round at the playground and dog park this evening, and Mama was even feeling good enough to accompany us, her two scarfaces. When we got home, however, she had to go lay down again, so it just us scarfaces at dinner. Mama did get up again and bathe 3B, although she tucked right into bed to watch the Muppet Movie--thanks Kangamoo, for that treat--and Mama's now sleeping peacefully.

I'm up folding the formerly puke-sodden laundry, picking up toys, and wondering how much I should worry that our upstairs neighbor called down to report that her new stove has no gas. Given the weekend so far, what could possibly go wrong with a gas leak?

However, if her kitchen blows up, maybe we can put in that skylight in our living room. Plus, if our condo does blow up, I'd have an unimpeachable excuse to not put those pantries together--no way to do it if I can't find that little flippin' allen wrench in all the rubble, right? And, if I'm blown to kingdom come, I won't get this puking bug.

So, tomorrow may be even better than today.

Or, I may spend all night awake, worried that 3B's room is filling with natural gas, obsessively checking the video monitor to see if he's moved, or if I can hear him breathing.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Apologies again for whatever I did in my past life

Our new pantry

After tearing out our old fridge with the help of our neighbor last night, we sipped beers with him and talked until the wee hours--that's 11:30 for us parents--about God, Catholicism, Judaism, Buddhism, and martial arts. He's one of the brightest people I've ever known, and bound for the priesthood, so he's well versed in the topics at hand. It was a great night up until he left, when Mama said, "I'm going to throw up tonight."

As the evening had worn on, she had been feeling worse, until she was stuck on the couch, floating in a sea of queasiness. She did make it to bed, but sure enough, at 0'dark-thirty this morning, she did get sick. Ugh. Poor Mama.

We're pretty sure this is the reprise of what made 3B barf at midnight earlier this week, which prompted a funny line from him as we were tearing off his sheets and pajamas since he had apparently barfed and then rolled over in it. He pointed to the barf on one sleeve and said, "Yucky." So that's why you rolled over in it, then?

But then, it was heartbreaking to hear a new sentence from him as he sat in only his diaper after I'd washed him off with a washcloth. Even though the washcloth was warm, he looked up at me and said plaintively, "Feel cold." I'm certain that I've never gotten pajamas on him so quickly.

The next morning he requested baby food carrots for breakfast, which he gave back essentially unchanged onto the dining room carpet approximately five minutes later. Lovely.

While 3B seemed to bounce back pretty quickly, Mama was knocked out all day today. We missed 3B's final swim lesson so I could walk Barky--and 3B, since I'm on 24/7 Daddy duty--and stay close to home in case Mama needed something. We got back in time to take delivery of our new fridge and pantries. Since it's all from IKEA, that means that I had to set up the fridge, including reversing the doors, and now I have three pantries to construct and install. Also, since someone at IKEA screwed up the paperwork, we now have two refrigerators, since IKEA never told the delivery company that they had been contracted to pick up the old fridge.

So, if you need a beer and you're sitting in the recliner in the living room, you don't even have to get up. On the other hand, if you want to get anywhere in our house, don't plan on going there in a straight line.

The three of us stooges then went back to the playground, which was like Times Square on New Year's Eve for whatever reason. Despite the crush of short, stumbling, screaming humanity, 3B did manage to get in five sessions on the swings, which is all he wanted to do. His singular desire meant that I managed to get five screaming sessions in my ear--one each time I had to separate him from his beloved. We followed that up with a dog park visit, which was splendid fun for everyone.

Then it was home, dinner, bath, a spot of milk, books, and bedtime. And now I'm sitting here, bone-tired, wondering how Mama does this every day of the week and if maybe these pantries are the self-inflating kind.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Friday, March 14, 2008

3B's first talkie

As you can hear in this video, when we went to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, 3B was talking up a storm as he buzzed around outside, pushing his stroller, playing with sticks, and running away from us to sit on a street corner with a paper cup, his stick collection, and a tattered sign--Will Play for Toys or Lollypop.

Before we did the running around that you see here, 3B had a great time inside, especially going inside a rocket ship (the Skylab mockup) with Mommy.

And, uh, yeah ... those hats ... For the longest time, 3B wouldn't often wear hats. Finally, we've convinced him that hats can keep him warm and keep the sun ("Bright! Bright!") out of his eyes. Apparently he sometimes needs both functions at once ... or he was getting in touch with his inner homeless man.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

3! (not a meme)

This morning, 3B and I were reviewing the Why We Don't Bang Our Cars on the Glass Windows lesson, which we pretty much have down. I was proceeding to the This Is the Windowsill lesson while 3B was talking about his cars...

"Pick. Up."

"Yes, that's a pickup truck."



"Yes, that's a tow truck."


"Yes, that's your Lamborghini. Can you say 'gull wing'?"

"Three cars."

"Yes, you have three cars." (Silently to myself, "Holy crap.")


"Yes, apparently you can count."

Of course, Mama said that they'd been working on numbers this week, but even she was surprised by that.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Month of hot dates

In the last month, I've been able to have three hot dates, one with a man, one with my wife, and one between Mama and another woman.

The man
No, when I was home to continue sifting through Mom's house, I didn't meet up with Bacchus, Hubby, and Little Man for a night on the town--besides, that would have been a date with three men. I didn't even contact Bacchus before my trip because I was going to be out there for such a short time that I didn't figure that I'd make it into The City. Brother #2, however, figured that we had time to catch the SF Symphony playing Tchaikovsky, which we did on Saturday night.

It was a wonderful surprise and a fitting interlude on a busy weekend full of difficult and tedious work. Mom and Dad used to go to what was then called Civic Light Opera--which we now call musical theater--leaving all six of us kids in the hands of an older babysitter with the requisite Kleenex stuffed up the sleeve of her sweater. They also would go to the occasional symphony or opera with friends when the opportunity presented itself. After Dad died, Mom bought season tickets to the SF Symphony. Sister #3 and I still lived in the area or at home, so we got to go regularly as Mom's dates for dinner and a symphony performance. This continued through college and right up until Mom died, and those dinners and performances are some of my most treasured memories of my time with Mom.

So this was an especially fitting break from sorting through Mom's thousands of CDs.

My wife
Actually, while in California, I took advantage of not needing to schedule a babysitter and took Brother #2 out on a second date, to see Juno in one of my favorite hometown theaters where the manager came down to the front of the theater to deliver the announcements to all six of us in the audience. I loved the movie, and the soundtrack included VU's I'm Sticking with You, which Mama had just told me that she and her best friend Buddy had sung a capella at a coffee shop open mic night--don't you just love Mama?

The day after Bro #2 and I saw Juno, I called Mama and emailed babysitters to start scheduling a date for Mama and I to see it when I got home. I figured Mama would love it, which she did, and that I'd like to see it again with her, which I did. We both laughed out loud at the same inappropriate moments, and we both cried through the childbirth scenes. It occurred to me this morning that those scenes were so moving because they were so real and that they were so real because they honestly mixed the joy of the miracle with the pain and the abject confusion that run through every birth.

It was great to go out and share a good laugh and cry with Mama, and then come home and hang out with 3B and some friends. We even started making plans to get 3B to his first baseball game at the new park.

The other woman
To cap off this amazing date streak, I booked a date for Mama with another woman. After the other woman called Mama to set a time to meet, Mama called me at work and when I answered the phone Mama said, "My dream just came true."

That's right. We hired a woman to clean our house once a month. Ever since Mama started consulting, I'd figured on this day coming, but I didn't realize how much it would change how we spend our time, even after only one cleaning.

On the one hand, it seems extravagant, but on the other, we've been living like this for months now, and no schedule we've tried has given us the time to keep our place as clean as we like. And for what Mama and I combined are paid for an hour of work, Mrs. N spent several hours getting our house ... well ... as clean as she could.

We were happy with the results, but Mrs. N just sighed and said, "It's a start. I'll have to work on it some more each time."

Added bonus: 3B loves her and Mrs. N also babysits.

I told you they were hot dates. Now my only problem is topping this streak.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Words to live by

Recently, 3B has been coming up with new words and phrases fast and furious. It was only a week or so ago that we asked if we wanted some milk and he said, "No. Water instead."

Instead? Where did you learn that word?

And on Monday, after telling Mrs. K, as he was about to drop some food under his high chair, "Mrs. K, no dropping food," he came home, kissed Mama, wandered around for a minute, grabbed a lovie, then lay down with it under his high chair.

When I asked him what he was doing, he replied, "Take break. Takin' break."

Where does this kid learn this stuff?

I think Barky is coaching him.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Monday, March 10, 2008

Great gifts from our lost invisible heroes

Reading about the three cyclists killed by a sheriff's deputy who swerved over the centerline in California, it occurred to me again how we all walk among invisible heroes. It's not easy to see them, camouflaged in their khakis and button downs as they disappear at work, or as they pick up our toys and stack our books and look in on us and softly rub our backs and smooth our hair as we sleep, or as they soar above us and swoop by us in a flash of color on their bikes, but they are among us.

Many elements of this story struck home: they were on a road that I would likely ride if I still lived in my hometown, she was cited for outclimbing elite men on a beautiful road that I always wanted to ride, but never felt good enough to attempt, my brother sent me this news just after he and I had spent a good day watching cyclists race nearby...

And so I searched for the site commemorating the life of one of the cyclists, but because the site is so new, Google hadn't indexed it yet, and I accidentally clicked through to another site that had this post, which holds within it a poem from the Writers Almanac about fatherloss that describes how motherloss felt to me.

Especially because every Saturday night I use Mom's sourdough starter to start the batter for our Sunday morning waffles, just as she did every Saturday night--batter that I use every Sunday morning, just as Dad did for myself and my siblings, to make waffles that 3B and Mama love, and that I use later for pizza crusts and pancakes.

Even after they leave us, our invisible heroes give us great gifts.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Sunday, March 09, 2008

After three beers, work doesn't seem so weird

"If you lose two hours of sleep, that can impair your performance equivalent to having had two to three beers. So, you know, you wouldn't go to work that way, hopefully - not drinking, but we do that with a couple hours of sleep loss."

There I was, laying on the couch at 9:30 p.m., with a mountain of clean, but unfolded, laundry, watching CBS Sunday Morning because I never have time to watch it when it airs since 3B has been up quite awhile by then, and is running at full speed. Actually, he's running at full speed from the moment he awakes, unlike Mama and I, who take at least 30-45 minutes to get going in the morning.

Today, it was nonstop action. We took 3B to the National Air & Space Museum before his nap, and we reprised yesterday's trip to Del Ray this afternoon between lunch and dinner, taking Barky for a walk and 3B for a romp on the playground. 3B had never been to Air & Space before and ran into the great entry hall with his mouth agape and his finger pointing up over his head, swinging from one object to the next.

He was enraptured for almost our entire visit, except those times that we wouldn't let him do what he "want exactly," for example, climb into the helicopter--then he was temporarily enraged, but there were always plenty of other shiny things to distract him. And us. We were so carried away showing him planes--the Spirit of St. Louis! a DC-3! Glamorous Glennis!--and rockets--which he declared "Very cool."--that we missed the entire kid's touch-and-feel gallery on the first floor. Next time, we'll start there.

After all of that excitement, we came straight home so 3B could nap. Often, we're so tired that we'll take short naps when he does on the weekend, but today we decided to finally get to some outstanding items on our to-do lists--and you thought we'd never send those holiday cards, didn't you?--so we stayed awake and worked. Man, did that suck.

And it sucked more when a fully recharged 3B awoke and ran us ragged until, in a grand finale, he peed on the futon, took a bath, pooped on the bathmat, and went to bed. So, as I was lying on the couch, dozing over my my ice cream and brownie, watching Sunday Morning, I was wondering how I could feel so tired. After all, I used to work 80-hour, 6-day weeks, which often involved no more than five hours of sleep each night. According to the math in the show, on a standard work day, I was showing up operating as if I'd already had half a six-pack before I arrived.

Maybe that's why my job never struck me as strange until Mama, who also worked there, pointed out that when the TV show "Strange Universe" shows up to film a documentary piece on your workplace, you work in a strange place.

But if the hours of sleep deprivation=beers drunk equation is accurate, and if it's also the case, as it seems to be, that we have a greater tolerance for alcohol and sleep deprivation when we're young--I'm wondering about my capabilities as a parent.

However, I will say this for myself--at least I know how to self-medicate. That information that Sunday Morning had about coffee was material for a primer, not for an expert. I had learned all of that by the time I graduated from high school, through thorough self-experimentation. Of course, I also knew that after six cups of coffee, my pee smelled pretty much like it was poured straight from the pot. So, even if I'm the equivalent of three sheets to the wind when I pull 3B out of his crib, I can at least still teach him something ... "two to three cups, OK ... four to six cups, have Mama change your diaper."

But seriously, I'm going to stop typing and turn in. I don't want 3B to be depraved on account of I was sleep deprived.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Saturday, March 08, 2008

What we should all do

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Thursday threesome

We frequently walk Barky through the neighborhood next to ours, in part because they have a lovely city park and quiet streets and all we've got it the parking lot behind Popeye's. We also enjoy using their free poop bags when we forget to bring our own or, on those spectacular three- or even four-poop walks, when we run out.

Recently, there appears to have been some contention over proper disposal of said plastic-clad dog poop, with one regular garbage can now bearing a reminder that it's against the community rules to dispose of dog waste in any but the designated cans, found under the bag dispensers. Although we don't live in the community--which we access on public roads, thank you very much--we do try to mind our manners there.

However, when they ask me not to take my dog into the only section of this neighborhood where I'm allowed to dispose of his waste, which is also the only place I can get a bag to pick it up with in the first place, I'm inclined to believe that their board members aren't the brightest candles on the birthday cake (that green post behind this sign is the bag dispenser/poop receptacle):

How many Californians does it take to screw in a light bulb? One: He holds it up, and the world revolves around him.

My son's state of birth may make him sound like the title character in an Owen Wister novel, but as a native Californian myself, I'm doing my best to ensure that 3B stays true to his roots. I do this by making sure he knows that the sun rises and sets on him, and that everyone else should be aware of this too. That's why I can't believe that our building has scheduled fire alarm testing at nap time.

My solution? As soon as they wake him up with their testing, I'm going to hand him to them with these instructions: Return him when he's no longer screaming, crying, or grumpy. Oh, and with a clean diaper too.

I sometimes park in this garage near work. You can write your own snark about this:

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

3B's first Venn Diagram

Best Venn Diagram Ever, originally uploaded by pescatello.

Who knew that he even knows PowerPoint?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

You're roughly 19 months old now

Dearest 3B,

As you have started speaking in sentences this week, I've realized yet again that I have no idea what I'm doing.

I won't overbrag and describe your speech as complete sentences because, although it's close, you generally still miss a few words. It started on February 23, when you strung two words together for the first time as you called out to us from your crib in the morning: "Wake up. Wake up! Wake up? Wake up." We were both excited at your newest verbal trick, as were you, and you shortly thereafter added new phrases, such as "come back" and "time out."

That morning was, in fact, the first time that you'd strung two syllables together outside of saying "mommy," "daddy," or "doggie." And sure, a couple of those phrases happen to be complete sentences, but that's just a happenstance. However, being newly polysyllabic allowed you, on February 25, to report to Mama, "Fire engine down road."

Now that's a sentence.

Not a full one, but a sentence nevertheless. I know that Mama was delighted at it, since she called me at work to report the news, and you were still saying "down road" repeatedly when I got home that night. In fact, whenever someone says "fire engine," you repeat it. This all gives us one less developmental hurdle to worry about you getting over. For now. There will always be something to worry about later, I'm sure.

Actually, I did wonder--not worry--about that article and asked Mama if she thought you knew 50 words or not. She immediately said, "Oh yeah, I can come up with 50 words right now: barn, tractor, truck, motorcycle, helicopter...all his colors..."

Your colors were something that Mrs. K mentioned last time I picked you up. She pointed out that when all of you at daycare are talking about an object, you'll state the color of the object. And she repeated what my sister Kangamoo said--that understanding colors is hard because it's an abstract concept, since it's a quality of the object, not the object itself, yet it's inherent (or so it seems) to the object.

But, you know what, little guy? This does likely mean that you have an aptitude for spoken language, but what it surely means is that you've got two gabby parents. Sorry about that, but turnabout, it seems, is fair play, because you're quite the motormouth at times. Like at times when Mama and I are having a conversation. Like when you're going to sleep or waking up. Like when we're driving around and you announce everything that we go past, "Gas [station]! Playground [actually, the turn off for it]! Store! Grocery [in case we weren't sure which one he was announcing]!"

What's harder to figure out is when you announce those things that happened last time you passed that way, especially when you passed that way with the other parent...


"Do you see a helicopter?"


"Do you hear a helicopter?"


"Does that truck sound like a helicopter?"


"Do those birds way up there look like a helicopter?"


"Do you want your toy helicopter?"


"Do you see a drawing of a helicopter? Is there one in your book back there? Does that tree look like a helicopter? [What can I say? I get desperate.]"


"Did you see a helicopter last time you were here with Mommy?"

[Big grin around thumb firmly planted in mouth. Bingo.]
I don't know why, but I fall for this at least once a week. And with far greater frequency, I realize that I have no idea how you learned all these words, other than having a Dad who's a Chatty Cathy, and a Mama who knows big words. This also seems to be how you picked up some vital skills like eating and walking and laughing, but if my primary teaching mechanism is osmosis, you're hosed when it comes to other important skills like math, dressing yourself in matching and appropriate clothing, and dusting. Apologies for all of that, but remember, Mama's the smart stylish one.

I love you with all of my heart, tiger, and I can't wait to hear what you have to say in the rest of our months together. All my love,

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:

Dinosaurs and VD: Breeders wear flannel

It's new movie Tuesday here at the Bradstein household...

I love this piece, except if the trailer looked like this, Herb Alpert would have done the soundtrack...

Is it so wrong that I want to see this movie just for the title track...and the first track in the trailer...and that witty cokehead leading man...

And something educational about dinosaurs and venereal disease, because life can't be all fun...unless you're a toddler, of course...some sample quotes from this great 1966 educational video, which shows how a young woman can get VD by drinking from a water fountain near two homosexuals...who can apparently be identified by the sweaters they wear--if I'm reading the subtext correctly, breeders wear flannel...

"The chances of meeting a dinosaur in today's world are very slim. But, the possibility of contacting another kind of prehistoric monster is all too real. This monster is venereal disease..."

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address: