Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why going to work is a relaxing break for me

...although it's not nearly as amusing or entertaining.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Veni, vidi, cycli

This morning we went out to watch the Tour of California in a downpour that would have had Noah casting off his lines and battening down the hatches.

It was a great day to be out. If you were a salamander.

The redwoods were spectacular, although, as 3B observed, "They are not red." Astute lad. He also suggested that "Next time we go to a bike race, it should be sunny." Wisdom is wasted on the young.

Brother #2 and I, who apparently don't have the sense in a nickel, walked 3B a mile or so down Tunitas Road, and then headed back toward the car when 3B's protests let me know that he was past done. I had tried to take into account the toddler propensity for not complaining until their situation is dire, but even so, it was a long walk back up Tunitas to the car.

However, it was a fantastic stage, even if we only go to see it for about a minute. 3B loved the pageantry of the parade of race, team, and police vehicles that precede the peloton, and as you can hear, he loved cheering for the bikers. Even the team cars get a shout out from him.

But yeah, we're waiting for the Palm Springs stage before we come back to the Tour of California.

If you want the full effect of this video, put on three layers of clothes, turn your shower on full blast cold, and open all the windows in your house--or turn on the air conditioner if you need to. When the temperature hits 40 degrees, stand there for one hour, then play the video. When it's done, hike 1.5 miles up a 7 percent grade carrying a 15 pound backpack, a 12 pound stroller that keeps slipping off your shoulder, and a 40 pound sack of concrete, into which you have to stuff pita chips every 15 seconds.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lance's time trial bike stolen at Tour of California

"Trek team liaison Ben Coates has reported that Lance Armstrong's time trial bike has been stolen along with three other Astana team road bikes sometime after the opening prologue of the Tour of California."
--Breaking news from Cycling News
It won't affect the Tour of California stage we're going to see tomorrow, which comes across the Golden Gate Bridge, then down the coast until it turns up into the mountains, where we're going to be waiting for it, but this still sucks.

As Lance writes, WTF, people?

I have two thoughts: one is that someone's trying to throw him off his game with a distraction. I don't think that will exactly work, given some of the distractions he's surmounted in the past.

Which reminds me that Lance tends to ride harder and faster when he's angry, so maybe the more likely suspect is Johan Bruyneel.

Whatever the case...not cool, people. Not cool.

But I will enjoy watching Lance tear the legs off of everyone until the bike is found.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Listen to my heart beat.

Today, Mama heard baby's heartbeat for the second time. The first time she heard it was at her nuchal translucency, which I couldn't go to since I was at home with the Human Torch.

Today, she had a routine checkup--everything was normal--and again heard the heartbeat. She kindly took along our Flip camera to record the sound so I could hear it when I got home.

Even though I wasn't in the room, it was still magical to hear the heartbeat, especially after what was a long and stressful day at work, which was the culmination of many such weeks. I won't go into details here, except to say that the recession took its toll, as it has at so many other organizations.

Coming home to hear baby's heartbeat was a welcome relief, excitement and joy.

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Pants on fire

Today 3B reported to Mama that, "Yesterday, I went outside and there was a car crash."

Is it OK to call a two-year-old a bald-faced liar?

Then again, tonight he reported that "Astronauts, before they go to the moon, have to get their tools."

So, he's batting .500. That does it, I'm checking him for steroids.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Hanging with the big dogs

The weather was so nice this weekend, we spent every minute outside that we could. This involved some cajoling, since 3B gets intensely focused on activities these days. When he's playing mechanic with Daddy's tools, don't even think of suggesting playing guitar, but when he's playing guitar, get these tools out of his way now!

We did convince him to ride his bike (read: trike) down to the race track, which is a gated cul-de-sac that our street abuts. He and I ride in circles there, racing each other, although he's sometimes more interested in getting off and wandering through the trees or chasing up and down the steps of the pool house.

This weekend, however, when we got to the race track, there were three big kids there on roller blades. They were all at least high school age and 3B wanted nothing more than to play with them, have them chase him, chase them, and so on. It was adorable to watch him pull up to them time and time again on his trike while they were gathered around playing with a cell phone or iPod, look up and say, "Guys! Come chase me, guys! Guys! Let's race around the race track! OK? OK."

I love it when he converses with himself.

And I love it even more when strangers oblige my child's wishes, so I made sure to profusely thank them for playing with 3B. They chased him, raced him, and generally goofed off with him for probably an hour. I don't think I've every seen such a big grin on 3B for so long. He loved playing with them. We finally had to tear him away to eat dinner, but not before I captured some of the fun on video.

It's hard for me to fathom that just a year ago, 3B would play in the same room as other kids, but didn't really want that much to do with them, and ham. Gee, wonder where he gets that? It does make me nervous, of course, wondering how he'll feel if he ever gets rejected in his bids for attention and validation. Around home, he lets out a piercing scream, but he seems to sense that this isn't the best course with strangers.

Now, if only I can convince him that he doesn't know me, I might be able to keep my hearing until I'm 50.

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Swingin' weekend

As I mentioned in my previous post where I announced that we are pregnant--and by "we are," I mean "Mama is"--there has been some fatigue and nausea around Chez Bradstein for the past three months.

And when I say "some fatigue," I mean that I've been the only one up past 8:30 p.m. for the last 90 days. While that's provided me with lots of Me Time, it's not actually been that much fun, since I miss my evenings with Mama, and it's only served to highlight the return of my pregnancy insomnia...I'll get to the return of my pregnancy sympathy belly later.

Fortunately, the nausea never resulted in something so unfortunate as Mama horking into her hat on the Metro, as happened last time she was pregnant, but it did make for some days where certain activities weren't going to happen. Activities like standing and walking--on the upside, she did get to catch up on a lot of reading.

However, this made for some challenges, given 3B's current energy level--he goes to 11, while Mama was only able to muster a 4 or 5 on her best days. Of course, Mama somehow made it work, which is proof once again of why god gave pregnancy to women.

God realized that if men had to go through all the glories of pregnancy, we'd do nothing but lie flat on our backs for 40 weeks and kvetch to anyone who came near us and berate anyone who tried to help us. Instead, god gave pregnancy to women, who can handle it, and insomnia to men as a reminder of their weakness.

Given all of that, and 3B's 24-hour recovery from the ear infection that had him laid out for two days, we were all ready to go to the "different playground." And by "all ready," I mean that 3B had enough energy to tow Mama and I in the car down to the playground. If that would have meant that I could sleep on the way down there, I would have had him in a harness in a heartbeat, but alas, I had to steer, so we opted for conventional propulsion.

While there, 3B managed to have a blast while Mama and I managed to stay awake. He loved playing silly games on the swings, sliding down the rope hill, and trying to hotwire some other kid's trike. If the music wasn't so loud, you could hear the most awesome grunts and groans as he tries to get the trike rolling. And me laughing at those grunts and groans.

Until I can remix and upload, enjoy this version...tomorrow, I'll tell you about our afternoon at the velodrome.

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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Coming soon to a family near you

Yes, these are new. Yes, Mama was tired and sick (but not sick and tired) for three months because of this. Yes, that's mostly behind us and now the hard work begins. Yes, we're excited. Yes, 3B will be a big brother. Yes, we are pregnant again.

No, we still don't have any idea what we're doing.

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Friday, February 06, 2009

The best lessons

After consulting Spock and Sears and a nurse at 3B's pediatrician's office, we decided to take 3B to the doctor yesterday.

Mama's instinct was to take him the day before and my instinct was on the fence until I read what Sears wrote. It covers several pages about levels and healing properties of fever, types of bugs and remedies, but it boils down to this: they're most concerned about parents' reactions.

If a kid presents with a fever of 101, but the parent says he's lethargic or pale--I'm not sure how our little redhead could get more pale, but OK--they take that more seriously than a fever of 102 and no parental concern. We definitely had the lethargy. 3B would ask for his favorite dance songs, like Rockit, but then just lay on the bed and say, "I'm tired" while they played. At one point he commanded, "Eeyore dance" as if Eeyore could be his dance surrogate. All of this, combined with my instinct to always go with the lowest threshold of concern between Mama and myself led us to take 3B in.

Chalk up another one for maternal instincts.

Turns out 3B had one ear infection, but no strep. However, he had strep symptoms earlier this week--peeling fingers and toes. At first we thought, "Hm. That's odd." But then all of his skin on all of his fingers sloughed off at once in sheets--oh, sorry, were you eating? Mama was more concerned than I was, but neither of us got around to calling the doctor about it. His toes weren't as bad, but they were pretty flaky.

Our friend, Pediatrician's Wife, gave me a little talking to when I told her this over the phone. "Why didn't you call us? Pediatrician would have told you over the phone." All I could say is that 3B's parents are as flaky as his toes. Also, there's the minor issue that Pediatrician's Wife was delivering a baby and recovering from that effort while all of this was going on, so I don't think we wanted to bother them.

The good news is that as soon as 3B got home from the doctor's office, he was much more perky than he's been all week. It's some sort of placebo effect, I figure. The only thing they did was give him Motrin, since they wanted to get his 103.3 fever down stat. Or maybe they have super-duper doctor-only Motrin...but c'mon, it's just because the kid was wowed by the white lab coats.

The placebo effect did wear off, however. Six hours after getting the super-duper white-lab-coat Motrin, 3B was crying out in his crib, but some regular Mama-and-Papa Motrin took care of that. Today, when I talked to Mama, 3B was slamming his guitar on the floor in a fit of pique, so I'm guessing he's on the mend.

We've learned our lessons

  • 3B won't give any specific indication of ear infections
  • maternal instincts are the best diagnosis
  • peeling digits isn't the name of a band, it's a symptom of strep
  • good friends are good to have
  • glue is strong stuff, even wood glue on a luan guitar
These aren't new lessons, but the best lessons are worth learning several times.

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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Sick dude

3B has been sick since Monday. At first we thought maybe he partied a little too hearty at the Super Bowl party we went to, but this seems to be a bona fide virus of the nasty sort, complete with high fever, lethargy, aches, pains and glassy eyes.

Today, Mama had meetings in the office that she couldn't miss, so I stayed home with 3B. Sadly, it was a pretty relaxing day because it took all of his energy just to sit around and watch videos. Actually, we did play zoom-zoom cars and (doll)house for a short time this morning, but he was still ready for a nap at 11. He normally goes down at about 1.

Because I didn't want him to go down to early and leave us with the longest achy afternoon ever, I strung him along until noon, mostly by reading to him. It worked because that was all that he had the energy for and even on a good day, he's willing to sit through a 60+ page book like Pickles the (Gay) Fire Cat. So we read that and Green Eggs and Ham before he collapsed into his crib. He normally takes about 45 minutes after we leave his room to fall asleep. Today, he fell asleep while I was singing Hush Little Baby to him while stroking his hair.

That's a first.

But it's been a week of firsts. This weekend we went to, as 3B says, "a different playground." We've been there before, but apparently not regularly enough. Because it was in close proximity to a bagel shop and Mama had a massive craving for a bagel sandwich, we told 3B that we'd go there after the playground. Apparently, he believed that we'd walk there because when we left the playground, he walked right past our car and headed into Old Town, as if he'd walk all the way to D.C., if that's where the shop was. We finally convinced him to let us drive a little closer by telling him that he'd still get to walk there--we weren't about to discourage his preference for walking over carrying.

Nevertheless, on our way from the reparked car to the bagel shop, we got our first, "Are we there yet?" To which I believe Mama said, "No. Hurry up, you two." Just kidding. I couldn't hear what she said, since she walking away a block ahead of us while we listened to the half-hearted trumpet busker, who 3B would have gone home with if I hadn't peeled him away.

The other two firsts were both related to this damn virus. Last night, 3B cried out in his sleep at about 4 a.m.--the insomniac know, just close enough to the waking hour that you never really get back to sleep. I can't remember what he wanted, but he specifically requested me, so Mama and I were both in there, giving him another dose of Motrin, some water and singing to him. He was just about asleep when we left, but when he heard the door latch behind us, he cried out loud enough to wake the neighbors, "Hey! Don't go out without me! I'm upset now!"

Mama and I laughed loud enough to wake the neighbors.

And then today, I heard words come out of my son's mouth that I've never heard from him before. I heard them several times, and each time I heard them and looked into his glassy eyes, these words deflated me just a little.

This from a boy whose normal daily activity level makes a pachinko ball in a machine tumbling down a staircase during an earthquake look stationary in comparison: "I'm tired. I need to rest."

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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Guitars and Planes

Recently, we went to the Air and Space Museum, as you know. A few things I forgot to mention about that trip...

While 3B was whaling away on the buttons of some exhibit, he said something like, "I'm a woman" or "I'm the lady." It's hard to remember because he takes on so many other characters every day, from Coach Cotton and Williebob of Rocknoceros to Buzz Aldrin of Apollo 11. For several days, he was "an old woman" and responded much better when we would address him as "old woman" rather than by his name.

He also takes liberty with the identities of everyone around him. Mama and I have been recast several times over the past several months, and currently 3B's dragon doll, the stuffed animal formerly known as Puff, is now Armstrong--as in Neil, not Lance. He did have a moment of transition, going from Puff to Puffstrong to Armstrong, but now he's firmly Armstrong. That's in keeping, since 3B is pretty firmly Buzz--as in Aldrin, not Lightyear--these days, and he pals around quite a bit with Puff Armstrong, flying to the Moon (his futon), getting into his rocket ship (tunnel cube covered in a blanket), going back to Earth (the floor), or Mercury (depends...could be futon or floor), or Venus (also depends).

So, when 3B announced at Air and Space that he was "that lady," Mama just said "uh-huh," if she responded at all. However, the father of the boy who was at the console next to 3B turned to Mama and said, "My son said that earlier today too--that he was a woman. I told him, 'No, you're not. You're a boy, and you like girls.'"

OK...seriously? I guess that by your insecurity and public compensation, you're saying that that's your jacked up, chromed-out, ginormous red pickup in the parking lot?

Mama was speechless. I asked her what her reply was. She said that she couldn't think of anything to say, so she said nothing back, and shortly after that 3B ran away to the next shiny thing. I guess I don't know what to say to that man either, except that the boys are both two...the world is full of possibility and wonder for them. Don't cut that off with the dull blade of your insecurity.

The other item I forgot to mention about our trip to Air and Space is that I took our video camera. If 3B had sat still for more than 20 seconds at any location, can see for yourself how the trip went. Before the museum footage, I included some from his recent concerts, including an accordion concert for Grammy, because I was clearing clips off the camera and because guitar and space travel are his two great loves, so they go nicely together.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

When stars are bright

Brother #2, MrJumbo, sent me this article, asking if I'd seen it. I hadn't seen it, but I have been looking at these bodies with 3B during this week.

It's amazing how far 3B has come since last year. However, plus ca change and all that--every time I show 3B the night sky, I think of Funk Daddie's dad.

Winter has made it easy to show 3B Venus, and with it right next to the moon, it's been beautiful to look at. Orion's also been easy to pick out in the evening sky, and I have to say that I'm proud that 3B has picked it out a few nights this week when I asked him where it is.

Being the skeptic that I am, I wondered if he wasn't just pointing in the general direction, but today, when I was typing in a password on my phone, I got interrupted and left the screen with three asterisks on it. 3B picked it up, looked at it and said, "There's Orion." And tonight, on the way in from the car, 3B pointed straight up at it and again said, "There's Orion," even though at 8:30 it was higher in the sky than he's used to seeing it.

I guess that answers that question.

This all ties in with 3B's current fascination with space travel, driven in part by his love of Rocknoceros' songs Blast Off! and Apollo. We play on the Moon in 3B's room, in rocket ships wherever we can find them, and since talking about other planets, we now also play on Venus and Mercury. We sometimes travel from the Moon to other planets or send Eeyore, Puff and other stuffed animals to other planets, where we talk to them from the Moon or Earth. And, if you ask 3B, he'll even tell you that he lives on Earth.

He will also tell you that he wants to "fly from the Earth to the great big Moon," which brings me back to FunkDaddie, who wisely observed when we were well past our childhoods that "You get to that day when you realize that you're not going to be a star in the NBA, or be an astronaut and go to the moon, or whatever it was that you dreamed about as a kid." While that may be true for Funk Daddie and myself, it's not true for 3B, so every time 3B talks about flying to the Moon or Venus or Mercury, I always respond, "Let's go!"

In fact, in my heart, I hope that it never comes true for 3B that he gives up on his childhood dreams, even if my mind tells me that that day will come. That's a feeling that I'm sure Funk Daddie's dad had about his children and grandchildren as he showed them the stars shining in the night sky and sang softly to them. As I think of him and of Funk Daddie, I think of my own Dad, his hands moving across the piano keys, singing low.

I never paid enough attention to honestly say what songs I hear him sing, but I'd be surprised if I never heard Dad play this

And now the purple dusk of twilight time
Steals across the meadows of my heart
High up in the sky the little stars climb
Always reminding me that we're apart

You wander down the lane and far away
Leaving me a song that will not die
Love is now the stardust of yesterday
The music of the years gone by
Dreams change--while I once dreamed I would be an astronaut, I now dream for 3B, and this song reminds me that what I dream now is that 3B will always know love.

If 3B has to fly to the Moon to find love, so much the better for him.

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