Pause

January 26, 2007

We’re about to leave on vacation.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to post while I am gone, so things might be a little slow for the next week.

Hang in there. I am hoping I will have some great (or at least interesting) stories for y’all when I get back.

When I return, I should be well rested, and ready to go. Oh, wait. We’re taking our 2 1/2 year old. I can’t promise I will be well rested. I am not even sure I can promise I’ll return…


Little Miss Manners

January 24, 2007

We’ve always worked hard to develop good manners in our daughter.

For the most part, we’ve been pretty successful. We frequently get, often without prompting, a “please”. We tend to get a lot of “thank you”. We get an, “excuse me” when she burps (and an, “excuse you” when we burp). We even get a lot of “excuse me” when we’re talking, and our daughter wants to say something.

I’m very proud of my daughter for being so polite.

However, lately, manners have made reading certain books a real chore.

zaxTake for example, The Sneetches, by Dr. Seuss. Particularly, the stories, The Zax, and What Was I Scared Of. The Zax, for those who are too lazy to click the link aren’t familiar, is the story of two stubborn, uh, Zaxes, one who always goes north, and one who always goes south. Well, of course these two run into each other, and neither one will move out of the way. A nice lesson, no?

Well, I get a few pages in, reading in my totally awesome Zax voices, and I get a, “No, no, Zax! You’re supposed to say excuse me! Don’t bump into each other! You’re supposed to say excuse me!” Of course, she expects me to talk as the Zax… what can I say? I can’t agree to say, “excuse me” because then why bother reading the rest of the story? I can’t be rude and refuse to say, “excuse me”. I’m lucky if I get to finish the story.

In What Was I Scared Of, there is a… uh… some kind of Seussian creature who runs into a pair of pale green pants (just pants, no person inside), and is repeatedly frightened until he(?) one day discovers that the pants are afraid of him. Then they become friends. Again, a few pages into the story, I am hit with, “No no! Don’t be frightened! He’s friendly! Don’t be frightened! You be friends later on!” Okay, not necessarily manners, but does still kind of kill the story.

Okay, one last example. We picked up a small “Vintage Disney” book in the dollar bin at Target called, The Clock Cleaners. It features Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck attempting to fix up an old clock. Of course, as the always do, they screw it up. In the end, Minnie Mouse yells at them. Thank goodness it is at the end! At least with this book, I am pretty much done reading by the time I get the, “No no, Minnie! Don’t yell at Mickey and Donald, all right?!?”

So, reading may be a bit difficult these days, but I am very happy with her manners.

[You can buy your own copy of The Sneetches at bn.com, and teach your children some manners, for just $11.96]


Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?

January 22, 2007

Everything around our house lately seems to (still) revolve around the Wizard of Oz.

We were at Target the other day, and as Ms. Kaz was looking at clothes, my daughter and I went to check out the toy aisle. One of the things we discovered there were dress-up costumes and other toys that were obvious rip-offs of characters they apparently could not or did not want to pay for the rights to.

RubySlippersWhat we found was a costume set of “Dorothy,” complete with “ruby slippers,” and a “good witch” outfit with crown and wand. Not from The Wizard of Oz, mind you, the set just happened to have clothes similar to that of two characters from that movie.

Well, I hate to admit it, but we pretty much just bought the set (hey, it was kind of cheap) so our daughter could wear the ruby slippers. We looked for a pair of sparkly, red Mary Janes, since Ms. Kaz remembers seeing them there last year, but they no longer carried them. So, these costumes would have to suffice.

We never really played dress-up with our daughter before, aside from the occasional paper bag robot. She is now addicted to dressing in these costumes. She actually likes the good witch one better than the one with the ruby slippers.

She insists on wearing this costume during reading/milk/snack time prior to bed. Last night, she asked if she could wear the costume to bed. I fell back on the standard excuse, “Sorry, it will make too much noise, and keep you up at night.” Apparently, this is acceptable to a 2 1/2 year old.

The other day, she also bit her tongue, and I used the wand to “magically heal it” — “BLING! All better!”

Now, Ms. Kaz and I have to stick our tongues out, pretending we bit them, so my daughter can wave the wand, and go “BLING!”

We’ve ventured down the dress-up path, and there’s no turning back.

Here are some other Oz-related tidbits:

  • My daughter has begun quoting the line, “Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?” The cute thing is that she does it in the soft little voice. I think she is trying to say it like Glinda, the good witch.
  • Speaking of this line, what’s the deal with Glinda telling Dorothy that, “only bad witches are ugly”?? What kind of lesson is that teaching kids?
  • The other day, when my daughter was making me be Dorothy (yeah, I know…), we have the following conversation:

Daughter: Your name is tortilla!
Me: Tortilla?
Daughter: Tortilla Lemon!

I think this may be Dorothy’s porn name…


Higher (Cost Of) Education

January 19, 2007

As every new parent knows, once your child has his or her first birthday party, you’ve already started planning for college too late.

Well, in some ways, we’re about 1 1/2 years overdue on our planning.

And did you know that when my daughter goes to college, at the age of 18, the average cost of one year at a university will cost $342,000! Okay, I made that number up because I am too lazy to look up the various college cost estimates.

Oh, sure, it would take about 10 minutes to open up a 529 plan and let the grandparents start contributing to it. But, you see, that’s not me. Like everything else in life (except, apparently, having a kid), I need to research it to death to find the best option.

And then I go with either (a) my gut instinct, or (b) whatever looks coolest.

I gotta tell ya – researching college savings options is like reading my old business law textbooks.

See what I’ve uncovered so far after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »


The Father Life

January 18, 2007

The first issue of The Father Life on-line magazine is now available here.

I have to admit, when they first sent me an email, prior to the first issue, I was a little skeptical. There are a lot of fathering sites popping up, and I wasn’t sure what separated these guys from the rest, aside from better graphic designers.

The first issue of their magazine, featuring an interview with international pop star and father, Mangi, a review of Spike Lee’s Inside Man, a whole bunch of Super Bowl inspired stuff, a fashion spread, and dad-gadgets (dadgets? maybe I can coin that term…).

The magazine bills itself as geared toward “guys in their late 20′s, 30′s and early 40′s, with young kids, families and careers. Guys who are still active in our interests in everything from sports and cars to music and fashion, but equally as passionate about our families and our kids.”

The first issue comes off a little too … hipster? for me. I think they are going to have to work hard to strike a balance between the interests of dads in their late 20′s with those in their early 40′s. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

One feaure I did like was the Rambling Thoughts section, which this quarter features The Art of Fatherhood by Chad Kyler. He gives us his take on the modern father, and how his (our) role is different than that of our fathers. Although his experience is geared toward a son in his early teens, I appreciated the thoughts and advice as I try to deal with a 2 1/2 year old who is starting to assert her independence already…

Unfortunately, although they’d like to be a bi-weekly publication eventually, issues are only scheduled to be quarterly for now. That means I will have to wait until March to see their progress.

But go check it out, see what you think, and feel free to let me know your thoughts here (or, more importantly, pass them on to the “publishers”).


The Christmas Haul, Part V: See You On The Moon

January 17, 2007

My brother-in-law is not one of my daughter’s godparents (she doesn’t have any)… he’s more like her musicparent, responsible, I think he believes, for her musical upbringing.

Now, I admit, we indulge her with the occasional Barney or Raffi song. But I do sing her a lot of Beatles songs at night. I try to be a “hipster parent,” as the kids today say. But it is nice to know my brother-in-law’s got my back.

moonThis year, my daughter received the cd, See You On The Moon, by the very prolific band, Various Artists. They are mostly Canadian artists – how much more hip can you get? Okay, I’m not really ragging on Canadian artists. I grew up near the great 51st state of Canada, listing to a lot of those hip (and not-so-hip) Canadian bands — Bryan Adams The Tragically Hip, Barenaked Ladies, Lowest of the Low, The Dream Warriors, etc.

It is taking me a while to get into this cd. And, like more Various Artists compilations, I think there are ones I will like, and ones I will not like. I think the same is true for my daughter.

This disc is very eclectic, moving from a slow, lullaby-like songs, to funny songs, to upbeat, to songs with a techno-y beat. I need to give a few more listens, but I like the techno-y, 24 Robbers, a jump-rope song with a nice beat to it. I also like the title song, See You On The Moon. My daughter immediately liked this one.

In fact, she so like the song, that she is now determined that she will be an astronaut (“maybe I’ll be an astronaut/work for NASA/Maybe I’ll see you on the moooOOOOooon“) “when [she] grow[s] up, and ride in a spaceship and go to the moon and mommy and daddy go with me?”

I’ve given up trying to explain that I will likely be to old by the time she’s an astronaut. I don’t want to get her all paranoid about her parents getting old already. Besides, who knows? Maybe we’ll all be taking weekend trips to the moon in 20 years. If so, I’m getting my brother-in-law to provide the tunes for the trip…


More Potty Talk

January 16, 2007

My daughter attends a small, in-home daycare. The woman who runs it, and her husband, are like a 3rd set of grandparents for her. But, even our daycare provider admits that, as my daughter approaches three years old, she will need a pre-school-like environment to help her learn and grow.

Well, the other day, we went to visit one. We had visited before, briefly, on the advice of our daycare provider. This was a more formal visit.

We really like the program: there are more kids there, at a variety of ages, the primary daycare provider (teacher?) is very nice, and extremely qualified, and, just as important, our daughter enjoyed her visit.

“Would you like to go to that school someday?” we asked her. Her responses have been enthusiastic and consistent — “Yes,” she tells us.

And the other child at her current daycare – a boy around her age whom she adores, and who adores her (“He’s my best friend!” she told us the other day) – will be go there, too.

So, we are asking our questions of the main provider, and I ask, “What about the potty situation?”

The unsatisfyingly obvious answer and more after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »


Darn! Didn’t win (again)

January 12, 2007

In this morning’s paper, I noticed the Life Magazine (didn’t this used to be a real magazine? Like, one you had to pay for?) named Patrick Dempsey, “The Sexiest Dad Alive.”

I thought for sure this was my year… oh, well. The good thing about Sexiest Dad Alive is that once you are eligible (you become a dad), you remain eligible forever. Unless you die, I guess.

The funny thing is, if you are around my age, 37 late-thirties in your thirties, you remember Patrick Dempsey from such movies as Can’t Buy Me Love, and Loverboy, where he got the women (girls?) but was anything buy sexy.

I guess there is hope for me!


Tuesday Quickies

January 9, 2007

Just a few small items I thought I would lump together:

  • My daughter has a stuffed rhinocerous from the John Lennon collection. Okay, I actually bought it years before we even thought of having kids. Anyhow, the other day, she was pretend sleeping with it, and I asked what she had. She told me it was a, “Rhinosaur.” I asked her rhinosaurs’ name, and she told me, “Baby Rhinosaur!”
  •  Tonight, my daughter cut me a little more slack with the defintions. Today was, “What jealous mean?” After just two times of me saying, “it means when someone has something you want,” she seemed to be satisfied.
  • Also tonight, as we were reading and getting into bed, she told me how she didn’t like germs. “We don’t like daddy’s germs”, “We don’t like mommy’s germs”. Even, “We don’t like Marshall and Rascal’s germs!” (Marshall and Rascal being our cats)
  • Also tonight… my daughter obtained a new fear. I had to repeatedly reassure her when she stated: “Nobody will get me”, “Nobody will get my blankie”, and “Nobody will get my friends” (“Friends” being her lovies)
  • A week or so ago, we were playing in the playroom, and she was having me do the Sylverster McMonkey McBean (from the Sneetches … you know, Star-Belly Sneetches and Plain-Belly Sneetches) voice, and putting stars on various stuffed animals’ bellies. She handed me a little toy airplane and said, “here, you can stamp with this.” I was stamping stars away with this little toy airplane, and started to say, “now I should remove the stars and make you –” It was then that I realized what she was telling me. I could use it to make … plane-belly Sneetches. I was amazed a 2 1/2 year old could come up with this.
  • Speaking of amazed, my daughter utilized a thought process I don’t recall her using before.. we were making popcorn (it was daddy-daughter night), and she said, “I like popcorn!” Thinking about it some more, she said, “I like popcorn better than pancakes!” I am not sure she has even compared two things, declaring one better than the other before. I don’t know if this is typical for her age, or not, but I was impressed!
  • And speaking of the Dr. Seuss book, The Sneetches … you know you are a parent, and especially a parent who reads too many Dr. Seuss books, when you co-worker is telling you about a meeting which has, “too many Daves” to keep straight and you tell her, “Did I ever tell you about Mrs. McCave, who had 23 sons, and she named them all Dave?”

Whew.


Attachments

January 9, 2007

I had three related conversations this weekend:

#1: At home, Monday morning:

Daughter: Daddy, you going to work?
Me: Yeah, daddy’s gotta go to work today…
Daughter: I don’t want you to go to work!

#2: On my cell phone, 20 minutes into my 30 minute commute to work:

Ms. Kaz: Someone wants to talk to you.
Daughter: …
Ms. Kaz: Talk to daddy.
Daughter: I wanted to hug you.
Me: Aww. I’m sorry, sweetie, but I had to go to work.
Daughter: … I wanted to hug you.
Me: I know. I want to hug you to. I’ll give you extra hugs tonight.
Ms. Kaz: Give daddy a kiss over the phone.
Daughter: I wanted to hug you.

#3: Sometime this past weekend, at home:

Ms. Kaz: You know, she’s been really attached to you lately.

All of this reminded me of a column I read by John Rosemond, a syndicated parenting advice, uh, writer. I usually skim his column in a coworkers paper each week, and I don’t always agree with what he says. But this column popped into my head after these events.

No, not the question about pre-school. The one about “boundary issues.”

Now, what I experienced isn’t a boundary issue (I don’t think!), but in his answer, he states:

“In the first place, notwithstanding that your son does not need a grown man as a best friend, parenting is leadership, not friendship. A young boy cannot look up to and respect a dad who has established no boundaries in the relationship, and more than just about anything, every young boy needs a man to look up to and respect.”

I like to think my daughter, when she’s older, will be able to look up to me and respect me. The part I am worried about, and I touched on this previously, is that she wants me to stay and play because she thinks of me more as a friend than a parent.

I’ve tried really hard to be a well-balance father, if you will. I discipline when I need to. I stay firm when I need to. Perhaps I cave in a little more than I should. Maybe I am just paranoid (those of you who know me, and especially Ms. Kaz, will probably say this last statement is the answer).

Maybe I just need to relax, feel confident that I am doing a good job, and feel lucky that she misses me so much when I go to work.

[Kaz: Yes, of course I am just being paranoid. Reading about attachment here only helped cement that idea in my brain. As you'll learn, I have confidence issues :) But it does make me curious as to why toddlers can become attached to one parent for a while, then switch to the other parent...]


Conversations with…: Embarrassed

January 8, 2007

Daughter: What embarrassed mean?
Me: Uhm…

.
My daughter has learned how to ask what words mean. Usually, these questions are very simple to answer. She is only 2 1/2.

Tonight, I got the question about the word, “embarrassed.” I am not sure I could explain this concept to an adult, let alone a 2 1/2 year old. And, of course, I am trying to get her ready for bed, and, of course, she has to ask me repeatedly, “what embarrassed mean?”

Of course, I kept attempting to refine my answer each time, explaining it in a different way. I thought she wasn’t understanding my definition. After about the 5th time, I realized she was just attempting to learn by repitition.

I know this is just a sample of the damned-near-impossible-to-answer questions I have to look forward to… I just didn’t expect them at 2 1/2.

Where does a 2 1/2 year old come up with this? And she does this all the time. At least once a day, she nearly convinces us that she is a little old lady, and not a toddler.

As best as I could deduce, via intense interrogation, she heard the word from her teacher at daycare. I also learned that she “hit [the boy at daycare] on the head and got a time out and [she] didn’t want to be in timeout and [she] cried and [the boy] was calling [her] and he was saying “come here” and [she] couldn’t get out and [she] didn’t want to be in daycare and then [her teacher] told [her] to come out of timeout…” then I lost consciousness.

Anyhow.

I think the best definition I could come up with was, “It is when someone sees you doing something you didn’t want anyone to see, and it makes you feel silly.”

Can anyone think of a better way to explain it?


The Christmas Haul, Part IV: Leap Pad

January 7, 2007

LeapPad

As I mentioned previously, we had bought a portable DVD player, mostly for the plane ride, but also as a better “emergency” tool for the long car trips than using the Mac PowerBook.

For Christmas, my daughter got a gift which helped us avoid having to use the DVD player – the LittleTouch LeapPad, by LeapFrog.

There may be other products like this, but I am not familiar with them. I have to say, if you’ve ever had to drive in the car with a 2 1/2 year old for 6-7 hours, having to provide basically all their entertainment, this thing is a god-send.

Oh, I love my daughter, and I love playing with her. However, a car limits your choice for playing with them (unless you really enjoy doing Wizard of Oz voices for 5 straight hours), and their choices for entertaining themselves.

Find out more after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »


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