Saturday, October 31, 2009

A rockin good Halloween

As noted by Zygote Daddy on Facebook--because really, who blogs anymore? that's so, like, 2007--going to a flu clinic on Halloween is sort of like going to Rocky Horror. Except, you know, the toddlers, the startling sobriety and the daylight.

Ours actually didn't have much daylight since it was drizzling rain the whole time we were waiting outside. When we were inside, it cleared up a little, of course.

And when we were inside is when the show converted from the Rocky Horror show to the horror show. Don't let 3B's smile here fool you...

In like Flynn...
...most of the time we spent in line was punctuated with 3B's cries, "I don't wanna flu shot!" When he wasn't coughing, that is. We did everything to distract him, but after awhile we'd I Spied every object in the zip code, so we just set our watches every five minutes when he cried out. Once we got into the gym, however, the volume and frequency went up, peaking with a wicked crying jag during the shot that not even a bag of Skittles could quell.

Then they told us that he'd have to get a booster shot, while he was still on my lap. You didn't think he was going to understand what you said?

But we all survived to trick or treat another day...or night. We took our little Typhoid Harry down to cough his way around the nice neighborhood next to ours. Judging by the crowds, we weren't the only candy poachers.

It was like a block party on several blocks--people standing in the streets, houses decorated, folks sitting on their stoops or in their driveways with cauldrons of candy.

Meeting the King, baby.

And they were handing out the good stuff too--3B scored mostly chocolate, although the first candy he wanted when we got home was the Sweet Tarts.

Perhaps we were blinded by the good candy, or just forgot that our big pirate and witch hats blocked the rain, but eventually Mama and I noticed that it was actually raining pretty hard, so we bundled up our little rock star and headed home.

One advantage of Halloween with a toddler is that after an hour, he's satisfied. Although Mama and I were tempted to go back and score some more chocolate...

See the children run as the sun goes down

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

That's your side of the family

Mama is the Philosopher Queen of our house, so it's appropriate that she had this dialogue with our little zen master:

Mama: Is Eeyore in your room or out in the living room?
3B: [with appropriate gestures à la Vanna White displaying prizes] Whether he is up or down or in or out, it is the same activity.
Unfortunately, I don't bring any toys that are nearly so scintillating to the genetic pool. After all, I was the kid who would go to look up something in the encyclopedia and end up following all the See... and See also... references until I had a half-dozen or more volumes of the encyclopedia open in front of me.

So, yes, the internet, with every See... reference just a click away is my crack.

However, I think that particular kink in my double-helix might have been passed along. Just tonight, 3B was enthralled by one of his bedtime books, which was a nonfiction account of how cranberries are grown, harvested and processed.

Gripping, right?

Actually, I don't know. But I'm telling you, if I can pry that book out of his fingers, I'll let you know.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Lost in the laundry

  • Ticket stub to that concert--you left feeling like you could fly, and swearing that the friends with you would be with you forever.
  • That one tiny screw that you found by stepping on it. You weren't sure what it connected, and the day you figured it out, you realized that you had pocketed it and it was gone.
  • Your phone.
  • That one piece of food that could have been a cookie, a Clif bar or the crust of a PB&J that your child handed you. You'll never know exactly what it was, but you're sure it had something sticky and red in it.
  • All of your spare time.
  • A business card. The one from that guy who said he had a position for you that you were sure paid double what you're making now for half the work.
  • That piece of gum.
  • Your old shopping list and the receipt from that shopping trip. Good thing you wrote it on a fluorescent pink post-it because that makes it much easier to pick the shreds of it out of that load of darks.
  • The tail from your ass--but hey, at least it's fluffy now:

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Love never dies

This afternoon, after 3B got up from his (not) nap and I got up from my (too short) nap, I asked him if he'd had any dreams.


"Do you remember them?"


"What happened in your dream?"

"I went to visit Barky in the stars."

"You did?"

"I flew in my rocket ship up to see him in the stars."

"What did you do with him?"

"I played with him and I tickled him."

"I'm sure he liked that."

"Someday we can all fly up in a rocket ship and see him in the stars."

"Would you like that?"

"I love Barky and I miss him."

"Yes, sweetie, we all do."

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Some days you're the diaper, some days you're the pail

Mama: Why did you move the diaper pail into our room?

Papa: You don't like it there?

Mama: There's pros and cons. Why did you move it?

Papa: Well, the pros are that baby girl's changing table is in there, and she goes through approximately 1,200 diapers a day, so it's closest to the action. After changing her, we don't have to leave her on the changing table while we drop the diaper in the pail. In the middle of the night we don't have to open our door, which is right next to 3B's door, and make the dropoff in the old diaper pail location, which was also outside 3B's door, so we're less likely to wake him. Overall, it makes diaper changes faster because, really, who wants them to take any longer?

Mama: Those are all good reasons.

Papa: So what's the con?

Mama: It smells like shit.

Papa: Well, there is that.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Eats, poops, sleeps

Last Tuesday was my first day back at work after almost five weeks off following baby girl's birth. Almost is the operative word there, since a few things came up in the middle of those weeks that required me to do some work.

That wasn't what I had in mind, but it's an indication of how flexible my work is--I can work from home and at off hours--which is a good thing now that I'm going back to a full time work schedule.

However, after that work interlude, I took the following two weeks off of everything, including blogging, except play time, baby bouncing, school dropoffs and pickups, Mama support, and napping...oh, and Facebook, of course. That's a lot of ground to cover in a blow-by-blow account, but don't worry--I can't remember most of what happened during those weeks anyway.

So here's the vaguest impression of how brilliant life has been with baby girl--as if you'd draped a cloth over the last few weeks and their radiance had burned an image onto it. A time capsule Shroud of Turin, if you will.

However, this shroud went through the washing machine with a load of blue jeans that all happened to have pockets full of pennies, so all that's left of it are some scattered tatters that you'll have to piece together yourself.

The wedding in Illinois was beautiful. 3B was a rock star ring bearer, in large part thanks to his comrade-in-arms, DJ, the son of the best man. Also thanks to his willingness to follow the flower girls anywhere. Our little boy crushes hard and fast.

While his baby sister was enjoying her first trip to the salon on the day of the wedding, 3B and I hiked through the woods to a playground where he promptly dumped the flower girls for Megan--a girl who ran up and introduced herself: I'm Megan. I'm 8. I'm so small because I was a preemie.

Well, hello, Megan.

Sorry to report, Megan, that as soon as 3B saw the flower girls that night, you were moved to the bottom of his dance card. However, your status seems to have leveled out--he does still speak to you now that we're back home.

Yes, our son speaks to people who aren't there. And stuffed animals that aren't there. And stuffed animals that are. And strollers. And trees. And buses. Even the stones themselves sing out to him. Yes, we've got an animist on our hands. It's all fine by us, except he expects everything to talk back to him, so we have to come up with a unique voice for each item.

In addition to frequently getting dissed for my Eeyore voice ("Mommy Eeyore has a better Eeyore voice, Daddy.") I'm often corrected--"No, the chair has a high voice...No, Daddy, the tree has a low voice."

Look, kiddo, even Frank Oz had only basically two or three voices.

As for getting to the wedding and back, both kids were perfect on the flights, even when one plane was damaged, forcing us to gather our effects, disembark, walk down 10 gates and board a different plane. While his baby sister slept and occasionally ate during the flights, 3B read--mostly the emergency information card. If you ever need to get off a plane in a hurry, you want to be with 3B. He's got that thing memorized.
"What emergency is this?"

"Do planes ever land on rocks?"

"Look, a slide!"
In the car was a different story. Baby girl often likes riding in the car as much as her big brother did (read: not at all) at this age and expresses herself as clearly as he did (read: screams bloody murder). 3B doesn't think this turnabout is fair play, and I suppose it's bad parenting to say, "See what it's like, mister?"

I'm sure he doesn't remember that drive to Boston while he was teething during which he screamed nonstop for about six and a half weeks at volumes and in pitches that caused dogs up and down the eastern seaboard to howl in protest.

Other wedding notes:
  • Filling two plates at a buffet while holding a baby in one arm is totally possible, especially if one plate is filled with nothing but mac and cheese.
  • If you're a waitress at the buffet and offer to hold my baby while I fill my plates, please take no look nice, and I'm sure you are a grandmother, as you say, but this is my baby.
  • If there is no band and you have none of your instruments, you can still have a band and play instruments, so long as you brought along your imagination.
  • Any walk through the woods requires a gun (read: stick) to shoot at trees, otherwise, why walk?
  • When you are staying in a cabin with a gas fireplace, it should always be on, even if it converts the room to a dry sauna in seven seconds.
  • If you are away from home, you are away from PBS and your DVR, which means that if you are to watch age appropriate TV and you are three years old, you will discover Tom and Jerry, which appears to be the zenith of modern comedy and Scooby Doo, which you enjoy, but aren't quite old enough to get.
  • What is it about dressing kids up in adult clothing that makes them so cute? I don't know, but it's almost the cutest thing ever. Almost? Well, then, what is the cutest thing ever? Until we can video 3B or his sister again, it's this.

Now that we're back home and back into our groove: eat, poop, sleep.

For those of us who are more than four weeks old, there are usually some other activities, but recently, we've been reminded how having a newborn really focuses your priorities. Notice, for example, some of the items that list is missing:
  • shower
  • cook
  • shop
  • leave the house
It's not that baby girl is overly fussy--Mama and I are having a running debate over whether 3B was this fussy at this age, but neither of us can remember, thanks to the post-birth amnesia that allows parents to keep having kids. Baby girl does appear, however, to be more refluxy than 3B, which means that we have to keep her upright most of the time.

Is it so wrong that we put her in coveralls, run a bungee cord through her shoulder straps and hang her from the planter hook in the ceiling? She's upright, plus she gets good sunlight there and we water her regularly.

But seriously, we are very happy to have learned about the magic soothing abilities of bouncing with her on the yoga ball because doing that while shushing in her ear is one of the only things that consistently soothes her. No matter that I'm well on my way to rupturing all the disks in my lumbar region--who else gets to play hoppity horse all day?

The bouncing is fun--more fun than the crying, at least--and it keeps us awake, but it also means that there's no way to multitask and read or surf the innernetz. To keep myself awake, I've taken to watching TV. I've gone through almost everything on our DVR, so if you want to know what's on any channel at 2 a.m., I'm your man.

If, however, you want to know who wins the Stanford-UCLA game, I can't help you, since I'm still making my way through it. This is because although I'm on the ball often, I'm not always on for long periods of time thanks to hunger, poop and crankiness.

Baby girl also gets hungry, poops and gets cranky, so between the two of us, it's hard to get on a roll and complete a show.

Regardless of whether she's more fussy than her brother at this age, baby girl is a newborn, which means that she's demanding and consuming in ways that only newborns can be--just as her brother was. She, however, enjoys an unfair advantage over 3B: parents who know that this too shall pass and who are therefore more chilled out about everything, like the fact that our daughter doesn't know how to poop without waking everyone in the room.

At least she's mastered farting in her sleep even if it means she dutch ovens herself in her swaddler.

We do have some questions about the body stiffening, back arching and twisting of the head off to one side, but I think we've decided that's a reaction to the reflux, not signs of developmental delays or seizures. (Nevertheless, I did knock on wood while typing that...can't be too safe.) It is really spectacular. I think you could hold her by her ankles and she would stick straight out like a dowsing rod.

Not that I would ever try that.

In fact, thanks to her need to keep her head in line with her spine and twisted to the side, even when she's hanging over our shoulders, she's been able to hold her head up pretty well for several days now, if not a week. It looks awkward, but it does give us the chance to gaze into her beautiful blue eyes, which we're suspecting will stay blue, unlike her brother's, which, like leaves on a tree in autumn, slowly passed through many shades and settled into a beautiful brown.

We're seeing her peepers more often now that she's staying awake longer and figuring out how to poop without so many grunts, screams and tears. Although her body is almost always shrouded in pajamas, cute little Mary Jane socks, a receiving blanket, swaddler, or some combination of those, those shrouds can't obscure her brilliance and beauty.

However, if we're lucky, those shrouds will be strong enough to secure us a full night's sleep someday, and perhaps a quieter car ride.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I'm gonna get you, sukkah

As all you members of the tribe know, it's Sukkot. All you gentiles, like me, you can Google this to understand what it means. You should know, after all, it all relates back to the first half of your book. Muslims too, since it relates to the first third of your book. Buddhists...well, you're off the hook here.

No really, go ahead and Google it. I'll wait here. (While I'm waiting, a question for the members of the tribe: have you ever wanted to have a get together with the Mormons so you would know what it feels like to be gentiles for a change?)

OK, you understand Sukkot now? Good.

We were going to go to a Sukkot Under the Stars dinner at 3B's school, which was unfortunately canceled due to low registration, so we've been studying up. We've also been studying just to keep up with 3B, who has been learning all about Sukkot and school and even built a sukkah with his classmates--OK, a piece of gauze littered with sticks, leaves and acorns strung over their Shabbat table in class, but still.

Turns out that's not all he's learning in school.

I've taken to counting in Spanish with him, mostly since I get bored with all the counting to ten we've been doing for everything. I know, bad dad, no biscuit, but hey, at least he can count from uno to diez now, right? The other day, 3B was showing off his Sukkot knowledge and we were counting something and I thought to ask him "How do you count in school?"

Mama helped him get started--I'm surrounded by smarty pants--but then 3B counted to 10 on his own in Hebrew. Great, so the kid is trilingual and I sometimes struggle with the one language I know...and I'm not getting smarter from day to day like he is.

If I'm going to stay ahead of him, we might have to take him out of school before the end of the year.

But seriously, I'm so happy because I've always known that my children would teach me more than I'd ever teach them. At last, he's teaching me something I can use when I take a vacation to Israel. Now he just needs to start making that money he's going to use to pay for my trip.

C'mon kid, ante up, nobody gets a free ride.

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