The Big Talk (Part XI)

December 31, 2006

Today at lunch, our daughter was watching a little boy and his baby brother at the next table. I decided this would be a good time to work on her some more:

Me: You see the big boy and his baby brother?
Daughter: >nod<
Me: Would you like a baby brother or sister..?
Daughter: … I want a brother.

So, we’re making progress. I’m just not sure what we’re gonna do if we cannot produce a brother. I guess we got a 50-50 shot*.

* yeah, okay, I know it isn’t exactly 50-50, but it is my blog, so…

Conversations with…: Getting Dressed

December 30, 2006

I never knew a kid could not want to get dressed so badly…

Me: Okay, time to get dressed.
Daughter: I don’t wanna get dressed. I wanna play.
Me: We can either get dressed or sit quietly and stare at the walls.
Daughter: … stare at walls.
Me: Okay.
Daughter: …
Me: …
Daughter: …
Me: …
Daughter: What are we doin?
Me: Staring at the walls.
Daughter …
Me: …
Daughter: We’re not doing anything!
Me: We’re staring at the walls … Tell you what – we can get dressed and then we can play. How’s that option?
Daughter: Not good. Let’s stare at walls.
Me: Okay…

I think we stared at the walls another 3 or 4 minutes until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I think she was prepared to wait me out, though.

It ain’t easy…

December 28, 2006

Things change when you become a dad. And being a dad isn’t easy. I’m not old, but I became a father for the first time at an older age than a lot of men become dads. I don’t know if that makes it harder or not. But being a dad can feel difficult sometimes.

My back hurts more often. Maybe I am picking her up wrong?

I don’t get as much sleep as I used to. And I wake up (okay, am woken up) during the night more than I used to. Okay, some of the blame goes to the cats.

I didn’t used to drink coffee before I had kids. Now I feel I need a couple cups in the morning.

I feel worn out long before my daughter does. She has so much energy.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I love my daughter, and she melts my heart with every hug and every, “I love you, daddy!” But sometimes, these other things are the dominant thoughts in my head.

Of course, when I read the Esquire article (via the blog, Truly Equal) about the young man, Bryan Anderson, who, thanks to the war in Iraq, lost three limbs, it makes me re-evaluate just how “difficult” parenting seems to be.

I don’t want to get into a debate about whether we should be in Iraq, or whether we should scale back or get out. Regardless of my thoughts on all those issues, it is interesting to see what a positive outlook on life this young man has.

Of course, being a father, one particular paragraph resonated with me more than any other:

“But I plan on wearing my prosthetics most all the time. And if I have those on, I’m not going to be able to carry my kids. I can’t really bend over because it’ll throw my balance off. So I’m not going to be able to pick up my kids. So you’re walking through the park and they don’t want to walk, they want to be carried. Sorry, I can’t do it. I’ve thought about that a lot. It’s going to be hard.”

Perhaps tonight, when my daughter says, “hold me, daddy!” instead of sighing, I’ll pick her up and I’ll carry her until she starts wriggling and saying, “let me down! let me down!”

The Big Talk (Part X)

December 28, 2006

This morning, my daughter was playing with her three dolls (two of which are new, as of Christmas). They were all sleeping on her new dolly bed (thanks, Santa!). At one point, she took the two new ones off and said, “She doesn’t like her baby sister!”

This is not a good sign.

Beep Beep, Beep Beep, Yeah

December 27, 2006

Just like Thanksgiving, my daughter did not sleep on the trip back home. She did, eventually, with a lot of frustration and hard work, take an okay nap on the drive home.

I don’t mind the “being awake in the car” part of not napping during the drive. My daughter is a lot easier to entertain (both actively and passively) than she used to be. She even recieved some decent Christmas gifts which help her self-entertain (more on the loot in another post).

The part I don’t like is the crabbiness later in the night, the difficulty getting to sleep when it is bedtime, and the waking up several times during the night that the missed nap leads to.

This has led me to institute a new rule with our parents (and friends, as well, thought hey have not been told yet) — they are no longer allowed to tell us stories about, “how [us] kids used to fall right to sleep once we got in the car.”

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go get some more coffee.

Pre-Vacation Quickies

December 20, 2006

Okay, so I am on “vacation” starting tomorrow, but in reality, I will be visiting relatives for the holidays. Here’s a few quickies to keep you occupied while I pack:

  • My daughter has always been good with manners. Lately, though, she is concerned about correctly directing her manners. At dinner, she’ll ask us, “Mommy, you make dinner?” or, “Daddy, you make dinner?” Once she knows who made dinner, she’ll give us a, “Thank you, mommy!” or “Thank you, daddy!”
  • She is also really big on saying she “loves” things. For example, lately, depending on the meal, she’ll tell us, “I love that dinner!” On our “Christmas Morning” last weekend, she declared, “I love Santa!”
  • My mother now has high-speed internet. The good news is that I may be able to blog from her house now. The bad news is, she already broke it and is expecting me to fix it when I’m there.
  • Here are a couple of daddybloggers I’ve been checking out, and who have been checking me out:
    • Mike Adamick (Cry It Out: Adventures of a stay-at-home dad) is a reporter and essayist and a (duh) stay-at-home dad. He also has a weekly round up of  funny parenting blog entries he’s come across (I gotta get on one of these after the holidays!), and he’s fond of taking photos of his kid in public places.
    • Clare’s Dad is another Connecticut daddy who blogs. We’re growing in numbers! Soon we’ll have our own convention. Nice layout, and some interesting insights. Check it out.
  • Since we celebrated “Christmas” last weekend with our daughter, it feels like “after Christmas” to me. I see ads on TV, or hear songs on the radio, and I am thinking, “Why are they still playing that!? Christmas is over!”
  • My daughter is addicted to the Wizard of Oz. I mentioned earlier how I hardly ever talk in my own voice anymore because it is always, “Daddy, wanna be scarecrow? Daddy, wanna be witch?” Now, we’ve resorted to an Oz themed trick to get her to eat her dinner. We’ll pick out a piece of food and say, “This is … the scarecrow. Don’t eat the scarecrow!” She’ll then eat the piece of food, smile, we’ll be all, “oh no! she ate the scarecrow!” and she’ll wait for us to come up with some other piece of Oz to eat.

That’s all for now. Hopefully, I’ll have some good holiday stories to share… once I am done fixing my mom’s computer.

Christmas (Part I) is over!

December 18, 2006

Sorry that I’ve been kind of scarce, but it has been a busy weekend. You see, Santa came to our house Sunday.

Since we are going to be in Western New York for the holidays, we asked Santa in our letter if he could come to our house early, since we would not be here Christmas morning. After some discussion, he agreed to come Saturday night/Sunday morning.

Ms. Kaz and I decided it would be a good time to exchange our family gifts, as well. In addition to saving us from having to haul them back from Western New York (which is also part of the reason we wanted Santa to come here instead of there), it also saved us from having to haul them there.

See, we learned our lesson about last Christmas and how much her grandparents spoil give to her.

I have to say, this Christmas was way more fun than last. My daughter helped us roll the cookies in sugar before baking (Snickerdoodles; my favorite, and I think my daughter’s new favorite). She helped us put out cookies and milk for Santa, and carrots for his reindeer (she seems to be in love with Donner, though it may be because it is the only non-Rudolph name she remembers easily).

In the morning (thank god she is still young enough that she slept in on “Christmas” day), she came downstairs with us, pointed at her dolly bed, and said, “what’s that?” After some explaining, we went to go check on the milk, cookies and carrots (all that remained was crumbs), and began opening gifts. After a little bit, she really started to get into it and get excited. She wanted to play with everything right after she opened it, and before opening anything else.

Prior to being a parent, I didn’t realize how much fun it was to watch them get all excited about Christmas. One good thing is that Santa definitely made some great decisions on toys. She seems to really enjoy all of them.

She really loves the dolly bed. And, while we don’t want her to grow up based on stereotypes of little boys v. little girls, it is extremely cute to watch her tuck her dolly into bed and say goodnight to it, then move it over to the sled (present from grandparents – a really nice one, too) and tuck the dolly in there and pull it around the house.

It has been a while since I’ve felt this much joy at “Christmas”.

[Kaz: Thanks for indulging me on some of the day-to-day postings around the holidays. I promise to get back to something useful for everyone soon!]

Family Ties

December 15, 2006

Last night was my company’s holiday party. It is an extravagent (i.e. they spend a lot of money on it) affair, with a couple thousand people all dressed to impress.

After I dusted off and squeezed into my suit, I headed downstairs to say goodbye and goodnight to my daughter. She had never seen me in a tie before. At least, not that she could remember. When I came down the stairs and she saw me, she said, “THAT’S a funny scarf!”

The Big Talk (Part IX)

December 12, 2006

Ms. Kaz: Hey, sweetie. Would you like a little baby to come live with us?
Daughter: … no.
Ms. Kaz: Why not?
Daughter: Because mommy would hold it, and I would be jealous.

Uh oh.

Things My Daughter Taught Me: On Being Frustrated

December 12, 2006

It is a busy time of year. We try to use my daughter’s nap time to get a lot of stuff done; shopping (just one of us at a time, of course), paying bills, addressing holiday cards, wrapping presents, cleaning, etc.

This past weekend, Sunday was the day my daughter decided would be a good day to skip a nap. We managed to get some stuff done as she sat in her crib and played and talked to her stuffed animals for over an hour and a half. But it wasn’t enough.

When Ms. Kaz got my daughter out of her bedroom and brought her downstairs, my daughter came over to where I was paying bills. I was, as my daughter would say, “a little frustrated” with her. I was probably a bit curt in my answers to her questions. When she started to look through the envelopes with the paid bills, I said, “don’t play with those!”

At which point my daughter ran in the other room and started crying to my wife. When Ms. Kaz asked what was wrong, my daughter said, “daddy said not to touch the bills!”

My daughter could pick up on the fact that I was “frustrated.” One thing I’ve learned is that she is very good at picking up on our emotions. And she has learned that she really doesn’t like when we are mad.

And it made me feel a little bit sad. Not because I felt that I should never be angry with her. There are plenty of times I should. But this was just a skipped nap. It wasn’t as if she ran into the street, or strangled the cat.

It is, to me, (a) amazing that kids, at a very early age, can register adult emotions so well, and (b) difficult to remember this.

I can remember when my nephew, now 17, was very young. Probably under 2 years old. And I, being much younger, and less wise, said something a little insensitive about him at the dinner table. He began crying, and my sister scolded me, telling me that he has feelings, too. It amazed me at the time that he picked up on it. And it made me feel a little bad about it. It obviously made a lasting impression on me.

I’m not sure what I am really getting at here, other than the fact that my daughter is growing up fast. Things we used to be able to get away with in front of  her, we no longer can. I just hope it is quite a while before she learns to spell. Otherwise, Ms. Kaz and I will have to learn another language to speak in front of my daughter of such things as S-A-N-T-A and D-I-S-N-E-Y W-O-R-L-D, and I-C-E C-R-E-A-M.

1 Sentence Book Reviews: A Trip to the Library

December 11, 2006

We went to the library recently, and picked up a couple gems*

Hand, Hand, Fingers ThumbHand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins, Illustrated by Eric Gurney

A book about a Woodstock for beatnik monkeys.

(Purchase this book for your little hippy for just $8.99 at Barnes & Nobles. Or, if you really are a hippy, just get it out of your local library. Commie.)

Tomie’s Little Mother Goose by Tomie dePaola

Tomie’s Little Mother Goose The author/illustrator of Strega Nona presents a collection of nursery rhymes which starts off with the following gem:

Old Mother Goose,
When she wanted to wander,
Would ride through the air
On a very fine gander.

(Purchase this book of “rhymes” at Barnes and Nobles for just $7.99)

* Honestly, though, I really like these two books. Especially the monkey one. It is a fun read, and, well, it has monkeys. Millions and millions of monkeys.

… and I will call him George.

December 8, 2006

I don’t get it.

The whole time we were at my mother’s house for Thanksgiving, my daughter was very loving, and very kind to my mom’s cats.

So why is it that she is constantly doing one of the following to our cats?

  • Grabbing/pulling their tail
  • Laying on them
  • Pulling them by their neck
  • Hitting them
  • Throwing things at them
  • Trying to scare them

Don’t get me wrong – there are times she is really nice to the one cat that will get near her. But that is almost exclusively in the morning, when the cat hears me going up there to wake/get my daughter up, and he goes in there and they are all lovey to each other. These times are cute. My daughter will scritch his neck and call him her “buddy,” or she’ll pet him nicely and say, “you’re a good boy!”

I just don’t know how to get her to stop being mean to them. It is almost as if when we say, “you’re scaring him!” she acts as if that was the desired result.

Any ideas?

[Kaz: Update -- LAKitty gives his story here.]


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