Wednesday, September 29, 2010


NJ started day care 28 days ago.

Her first day care cold surfaced the following week. That lasted for a few days, and the cough that came with it has stayed behind and intensified to the point that, like clockwork, she'd had hacking fits around midnight or 1 a.m. every night for close to a week now. And they last a long time. The pediatrician says it's just that, a cough and nothing more. But it sounds like NJ's a two-pack-per-day smoker.

The Wife was pretty sick over the weekend, too. It didn't last long, but it was brutal.

Me? I've had a stuffy head and nasty cough for going on three weeks now. A couple of days ago I was unfortunate enough to catch whatever The Wife had over the weekend. Yesterday I went to bed at 4 p.m. I've mowed through more Sudafed, Tylenol PM, cough lozenges and other medications in the past few days than I did in the previous calendar year.

All of this I blame on day care.

What's in my lunch box? Disease, virus, bugs, sickness. Have some, Daddy!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Rubber Match

NJ should be home in an hour or so, and we'll see who'll win this week's best-of-five World Series of Teething.

Monday she came home with perfect teeth imprints on the back of her right hand.

At bath time Tuesday, we pulled her long-sleeved shirt off to find a giant mark on her left forearm that The Wife characterized as "a horse bite."

Wednesday morning I politely chewed out a very nice lady when I dropped NJ off at day care. Seems that a boy in her group is going through teething hell lately, according to his parents, and the day care folks would be more vigilant in overseeing them. Without blaming the biter, I explained that I thought one bite was understandable, but another bite the very next day seem a little ... unfortunate. "Maybe you guys could keep an eye on him and at least maybe let him gnaw on someone else for the rest of the week," I said, smiling big but trying to put a little "I mean it" in my eyes. That afternoon NJ sported no new bite marks, and I got an accident report explaining that she "got bit by a friend when they were playing together in the tomato house in the playground." Feeling like I was in control and getting results, I immediately demanded that they start spelling NJ's name correctly on her art projects, the nap tally board and other paperwork.

Thursday there were no new bites.

So: 2-2. Today will tell the tale. More later!

UPDATE: NJ didn't get bitten today! Some other girl gave her a big scratch on her arm, though, that warranted another accident report. So she wins the World Series of Teething, but it's something of a hollow victory.

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's Easy To Trace The Tracks Of These Teeth

The Wife brought NJ home from day care today and thrust three stapled pages at me. "Biting," the headline read. I scanned the first few lines, which outlined the reasons children bite other children. Before I could ask if NJ gnawed on someone -- she's still only got two teeth, but they are razor-sharp -- The Wife held the kid's hand out in my direction and showed me this:

Get forensics to make a cast of these bite marks and let's catch this perp.
The morning minder wasn't around by the end of the day, so The Wife didn't get the story (assuming the minder even saw the incident) -- whether NJ was all up in some kid's grill, or if there was dispute over toys, or if the other kid is teething terribly or just unhappy or anxious at day care, or what. All I know is that other kid had better run when he or she sees me coming, because I will make his or her life a living heck. Do you hear me, other kid? I will hunt you down Charles-Bronson-in-'Death-Wish' style. A. Living. Heck.

OK, not really. But keep your choppers to yourself, alright?

When the ladies got home NJ smiled real big and reached out for me, and now I can hear her happily chattering in the kitchen with The Wife, so she's obviously put the bite in her rear-view. Hopefully The Wife will get the lowdown tomorrow morning, and if it's at all interesting I'll update. But for now let's just chalk it up to kids being kids. At least the bite isn't contagious, like the two colds I've caught since she's been going to day care. (Unless rabies are involved, of course. Wait, what am I saying ...?)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"B" Is For ... Better

Looks like someone knows what to do with constructive criticism!

Two down, 24 to go. Don't go away or you won't know what comes next!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An 'E' For Effort ... At Best

NJ brought her first art project home from day care today. They're working on a letter a day, or a couple of letters a week, or something. Loyal readers know that I'm crazy about this girl of mine, but I must say: This is just not very good. Not good at all.

"A" is for ... an unprintable word that describes me for writing this critique.
For starters, she didn't even bother to paint within the lines. They're big, thick, black lines -- pretty hard to miss, NJ. But there's green paint on the lines, within the lines, inside the A's triangle, outside the lines. Everywhere you look, you see a little green paint. And by "a little," I mean: Not very much at all. That's a big, fat A there, NJ, and you barely used any paint at all. There's probably just enough to fill up that open triangle. That leaves far too much white space for this to be considered a green A -- which I assume was the goal.

And the technique. Oh, don't get me started on the technique. Where are the lush, Monet-esque brush strokes or the Pollock globs and trails? There's nothing here but drops, a few of which are carelessly smeared, and some obviously accidental spray droplets.

In sum, I just get the feeling that NJ didn't even try with this. And while I'm not happy with the laziness and lackadaisical, unfocused approach to her artistic mission, I actually hope I'm right about that. Because if she was trying, she's got a long way to go.

(And yes, of course it's front-and-center on the fridge door.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Super Solo Redux

The Wife leaves for a road trip in a couple of days, the first of three in the next five weeks. My loyal readers know that I've aced past Super Solo assignments with trumpets wailing and colors flying and everything short of Padma Lakshmi smiling warmly and murmuring, "Congratulations, you are the Top Dad." This go-around should be just as smooth, hopefully, but it'll be a little different because of some new factors:

The Sick
NJ is winding up her first prolonged illness. Her day care cold is mostly gone, except for what sounds like a brutal cough that crops up from time to time. One of those times is around 2.30 a.m., after she's been laying horizontal for a long time. Hopefully we won't hear that number on our baby monitor in the wee hours this morning, and by Wednesday -- when The Wife hits the road -- it should all be over. (Including the diarrhea. Please, sweet little baby Jesus, let that include the diarrhea.)

The Day Care
I've yet to drop NJ off at day care. It's no big thing, obviously, but there is something of a routine that I'll need to know. What if, for example, I walk into the play area with my shoes still on? Heaven forefend! Or I fail to sign in in the morning, or out in the afternoon when I take her away? (OK, that one is important.) There's also all the stuff I need to take in with us -- the diapers, the blanket, the packed lunch. Yeah, that packed lunch: I'll have to pay attention tomorrow evening when The Wife puts it together. All I really know now is that when I load the dishwasher, there are about 47 tiny bowls, lids and other Tupperware-like objects.

The Job
There's an office reasonably close to NJ's day care I can go to after dropping her off (since I'll be more than halfway there anyway). And: going to an office means incentive to shower, something all work-at-homers need.

The Standing
Nothing to do with The Wife leaving town, but I thought I'd bury the lead because it's my blog and there are no editors clamoring for a rewrite. NJ's interest in and ability to stand has increased ten-fold since starting day care. She stands up from her knees or from her butt with ease, hangs on to the coffee table or sofa edge with one hand while waving a toy (or just waving) the other. She also has walked a few steps while holding on to said sofa edge or coffee table. I guess I'd better get on that babyproofing stat.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Aaaaaaaaannnd ... There It Is

NJ is home today with her very first day care cold. The new blog name suggested here is not fully on the mark, though, as The Wife is working from home today as well. We'll both be taking care of the little tyke and firing off e-mails and the like during naps and such.

NJ's cough would scare you if you heard it while walking down a long, dark hallway, and she occasionally rumbles the phlegm in her throat like an old subway car coming to an emergency stop. And there's such a constant slick sheen under her nose you'd think British Petroleum is in charge of her sinuses. But she's in very good spirits:

Eh, things could be worse.

Monday, September 6, 2010

It Had To Be Mexican Food

"Man, she sure is fussy today. What a moody little girl."

"No kidding! Let's finish up and get home. What do you want to do about lunch?"

"Burgers on the way? There's nothing to eat at home."

"OK. Hey, what's this? A new Mexican restaurant? Want to try it?"

"What about NJ?"

"She's not crying right at this moment. We can eat fast and get out of there."

"Hmm. Our choices are to take the fussy child home and get take-out on the way, or take the child into a restaurant and hope she can keep her cool for an hour or so, even though her mood is shifting from one extreme to the other and then back again in a matter of seconds."

"This menu looks pretty good."

"OK, let's go in!"

20 minutes later

"I dunno what's up. She acts like she's teething, but I can't feel any new teeth sprouting. You eat and I'll take her outside for a bit."

10 minutes later

"Here, let me try. We'll be right back."

8 minutes later

"Oh well. I'll take her to the car. You finish up and get mine to go."

2 minutes later

"Was everything OK?"

"Yes. We just gambled on the kid and lost."

"You never can tell with little ones."

"Oh, we had a pretty good idea."

4 hours, 2 bottles and 1 nap later, at the Arboretum's Japanese Garden:

Crying? Fussing? What the heck are you two talking about? I'm living la vida loca and loving every minute of it!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day Care Confidential

A recap of NJ's first week of day care:

Day 1: The Wife checked everything out thoroughly at the center and, reluctantly, left for work. She told the teachers that NJ's proposed breakfast snack of Frosted Mini-Wheats was a tricky endeavor for a kid with only two teeth, so NJ ate cheese instead. NJ then made a beeline to a set of blocks in a corner and immediately took an interest in a new friend, barely noticing The Wife's departure. When The Wife returned to pick her up, though, NJ cried when she saw her ("Oh yeah, that's right -- my parents! I was so excited about the toys and children I completely forgot that they abandoned me!"). She only slept for 30 minutes that day, approximately one-fourth of her usual naptime.

Day 2: Just like the day before, NJ got her hands washed first thing. Unlike the day before, though, this made NJ cry. Raw broccoli and Wheat Thins for breakfast snack: Again, not good for the tooth-deprived, so some soft bread was procured. Play time wasn't as good, either. Two older girls -- awful, selfish, mean girls -- were grabby and wouldn't let her have any blocks. NJ waved goodbye to The Wife when she left, then crawled off to find some nicer friends. There were no tears at the afternoon pick-up. NJ slept an hour this time. And like the first day, she wouldn't take a bottle and was very hungry when she got home.

Day 3: There was no Day 3. The Wife stayed home with NJ. They went to a park and to the beach in Ballard while I slaved away here in the basement office.

The notes the day care folks send home with NJ were glowing both days, but they were so happy-happy-joy-joy I semi-question their accuracy. Still, no worries. NJ has a little bruise on her leg that probably came from getting jostled or falling onto a toy or something. By the time she's old enough to read she'll have forgotten all about her first day care experiences, I'm sure. But if she could read this now, and talk, she'd no doubt say something along the lines of "Why were you two so anxious about this? It's cake."