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, 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 »