Friday, December 16, 2011
Sunday, December 11, 2011
We went on with our party business, and at one point NJ and I were in our hosts' son's room with some other kids, playing with his train set, when I said "Hey NJ, are you ready to tell Santa what you want for Christmas now?" "Yeah," she replied, and she walked out of the bedroom and around the corner to Santa's area. When I caught up she was standing in front of him, then she climbed up. She didn't say anything to him (and she didn't have any requests for him anyway), but she spent a few minutes with him and managed to smile some, too (not pictured).
This guy ain't fitting down our chimney, Daddy ...
Friday, December 9, 2011
And don't worry, NJ only does the good thumbs-up:
Friday, December 2, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Just hang on to the hat, Mommy. I'll let you know when I need it.
So I can just reach in here and take anything, is that what you're telling me? I can just take it and move on to the next free candy distributor? Really, now?
This sucker might last all day!
The last stop on the hour-long tour was at an ice cream shop that opened a couple of weeks ago (they didn't exactly hit their "Opening for summer!" goal), where the kid and The Wife sampled some pumpkin-chocolate chip ice cream. The reviews were positive, especially when the chocolate was discovered.
Friday, October 28, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
"You can kiss me on the butt!"
Turns out she'd injured her fanny and The Wife had offered to give her a kiss -- but on the head. NJ didn't understand why, in this case, the healing smooch wouldn't be applied to the point of injury, as per usual.
Looking forward to NJ saying the same thing, but with different intent and vocal inflections, when she's a teenager.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
I told Mommy and Daddy I'd turn them into pumpkins if I didn't get a cookie. I TOLD THEM!
NJ scarfed a couple of muffins, threw a mini-tantrum when the notion of sharing a toy didn't appeal to her, did a lot of charming stuff, and changed out of her dress and into clothes more appropriate for outdoor play:
Don't you just hate it when an octopus blocks your way on the slide?
Speaking of candy -- don't skip any two-story houses (last item on list).
Friday, October 14, 2011
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
"What color is that?" (Typical answer: "Geen." Or, "Red." But no more "o-shon" for orange, which is good but kind of makes me and The Wife wistful for simpler times.)
"What is this?" (Typical answer: "A doggie." Sometimes, "A yellow doggie.")
"Who's that?" (Typical answer: "Mommy!" Also: "NJ!" when presented with a photo of herself. I've used that one so much that yesterday she said "NJ!" before I even turned my phone around to show her the pic.)
"What does this do?" (Typical answer, if we're talking about her Curious George jack-in-the-box: "Monkey comes out of the box.")
With all the questions, I should have been wearing this for the past several months.
So this morning, when we were both sitting on the couch bracing ourselves for the day ahead, the little dickens snatched the pebble from my hand.
"Who is Yo Gabba Gabba?" NJ asked me, beaming and pointing to the TV show, currently her favorite, that she was watching.
The host was on the screen, so I answered "DJ Lance?"
"Right!" she said triumphantly before turning back to the TV. And I swear I saw a little flash of pride in her eyes. She probably thinks I'm developing quite nicely (but could put out a little more effort).
BOOM! Consider the tables turned, Dad Solo!
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Things started to look iffy when we left Seattle, which was gray but dry, and crossed to the east side of Lake Washington, where it was much grayer. And wet. And when we got to Issaquah, which we had to drive through to get to the farm, we ran headlong into Salmon Days, which shuts down a pretty big chunk of the town. Long story short, we ended up driving around for almost 90 minutes. For NJ, of course, that's 90 minutes of sitting in her car seat behind us. My heart went out to her.
My heart went out to her so much, in fact, that after we had lunch, I made sure she got a mini-cupcake for dessert. She loved this, and I think it bought The Wife and I a fair amount of goodwill.
At home, the end of NJ's nap coincided rather unfortunately with the start of a football contest waged by the Good Guys, so I was out of contact for a while. (Hey, they only play 12 or 13 games a year. Give me a break.) The Wife and NJ ran to the supermarket, and when they got home I one-eye-on-NJ-one-eye-on-the-Horns'ed it for a while. As dinner approached, the cupcake goodwill must have run out. She got a little tetchy, and once dinner was served she chowed down something fierce. Then bath, stories, milk, and bedtime. All went smoothly.
Point being, The Wife and I let NJ down today in the things-to-do department, and she ended up bored out of her mind. Still, though, she was a heck of a trooper, maintaining her Good Girl status most all day long. Lots of smiles and laughter and overall good-naturedness. So good-natured that, at the supermarket, she did things like this:
When life gives you pumpkins, make pumpkinade.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Saturday, September 24, 2011
And it was! She scooped up a bunch of "pay-ears" and found a couple of nice, clean, healthy pears she wanted to eat. I joined them (after the hard work was done, natch) and lifted NJ up so she could pluck a couple of fruits from the branches. NJ dug that a great deal.
Once inside, hands and pears all washed, she enjoyed the fruits (literally! Ha!) of her labor.
All the sweeter because I picked it myself, Daddy. All the sweeter.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Meantime, to tide you over, here's an appetizer: An adorable kid eating a cupcake.
She ... wore ... bluuuuuuuuue iii-cing ...
There are more of these, right?
Lots more, I hope. Bring them to me.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Yesterday she came home from day care with an accident report describing a trip-and-fall into a cabinet. She also brought home this forehead shiner:
Photo intentionally blurred to project a disconcerting sense of movement, in an effort to fully capture the essence of an NJ bath.
Then, as I was testing our new camera today, I snapped this shot and saw those shins. Let's count the bruises, shall we?
Hey, these graphics are a little crude, so tell you what: No charge for the graphics. You get them free, absolutely no cost to you at all.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
NJ raked in the goodies, including this miniature kitchen, a guitar, a pile of books, some gear for her favorite doll (Babydoll) and a fun game that involves an elephant blowing butterflies out of its trunk. She also made a triumphant return to one of her favorite places in the city, the aquarium. Then it was fish for lunch (oh, the irony) and then home to the daily grind: She spent a lot of time in her new kitchen, aping things she's seen us do (OK, mostly The Wife) in ours.
You expect me to get dinner on the table and take care of this baby at the same time? I don't think so!
D'oh! Left the shovel in the car again.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Funny thing is, the freezer already needs defrosting.
The Wife sent me on an errand yesterday afternoon, and when I got back she'd unpacked everything and started to assemble. And get this -- she wanted me to drop everything I was doing (Web-surfing, TV, etc.) and help!
Once it's finished, it will be covered by a bed sheet until next Monday, when NJ celebrates turning 2 years old. She'll no doubt throw the little pots and pans (not pictured) around and ask whether her play food is organic and local.
Now we'll need to build her a little woodworking shop, a little basketball court, a little scientist's lab and a little executive's office to make sure all our bases are covered.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
The beginning of a beautiful friendship.
The 'before' photo.
Monday, August 1, 2011
First, the refinement -- her first experience with corn-on-the-cob came last month, and last night she proved that she's got it down:
Is it true, Daddy, that you can fashion this thing into a pipe once I'm done eating?
I've been wanting to take the kid out for sushi for a while now. Last week I spoke to a friend whose daughter is almost 4, and when that kid was 2 she was eating not only sushi but oysters on the half-shell -- something I didn't even muster up the courage to try until I was an adult. So this past weekend we lunched at a very good nearby sushi joint.
I would quote from the Tubes' song 'Sushi Girl' here, but I'm trying to rein my habit of making references so obscure that only I get them. As fun as that is -- and trust me, it's fun. Sometimes I really crack myself up.
But the real action came Saturday when we swung by a the soon-to-be-open ice cream place a couple of blocks away. It doesn't open for a couple weeks, but on the weekends they've hauled out a cart and sold sample-sized cups (it's very good, too!). NJ got her first taste of ice cream, and if she could articulate a little better she'd tell you that her life has been irrevocably and forever changed.
"Really? This tastes like this? Wow! I could really get used to 'chocolate ice cream.'"
When you ask NJ to 'make your sad face' while she's eating chocolate ice cream, this is as close as she can get.
I forgive you guys for not giving me ice cream before. Just make sure it's always in the house from here on out and we're good.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
But now it's really hit home for me how my actions can influence the course of events.
A few days ago I bought NJ the awesomest long-sleeved t-shirt ever, thanks to a discount at one of my favorite haberdashers. What 23-month-old wouldn't want to give major props to the man who taught the world how to play guitar? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you NJ and Mr. Chuck Berry:
"Daddy, I'm not going onstage until I have every dollar of my money, in cash, in a briefcase or even a dang paper bag. Otherwise, you gotta go out there and tell those kids there ain't gonna be no show tonight."
A couple of days ago NJ was on a real tear -- happy one minute, ticked off the next, then wailing, then laughing and crying simultaneously, the whole bit. Finally it was bath time and as usual I scooped her up to get her undressed and ready for the March of the Towel-Carrying Naked Baby down the hall to the tub. She'd been clinging to Mommy a bit, and as I put her on the changing table her cries for The Wife got louder and more insistent. Then she ratcheted things up to desperate. I laid her down and noticed she was looking at my belly with a heady mixture of fear, uncertainty and dread. I tried to soothe her, but the stink-eye persisted. I know, NJ, I know -- I gotta drop a few pounds, I get it! I thought. Then, with a quiver in her voice, she spoke as she gestured at my stomach:
Bees are NJ's latest (and first, and only, as far as I know) scary fixation. The Wife started calling them "honeybees" in hopes of sweetening (ha!) bees' image with the kid. The PR effort has failed, at least up to now. Occasionally NJ will hesitate while playing outside because she saw a bee, or thought she saw a bee, or just associated flowers with bees and assumed bees were lurking.
But there were no bees in her room. What there was, though, was the new Wolfgang's Vault t-shirt I was wearing. It features this:
And the wind ... cries ... NJ
Once I put two and two together -- and after I had a good chuckle while the kid lay uneasily on the changing table -- I pulled the shirt off, turned it inside-out and put it back on. And NJ's mood turned 180 degrees in a second: smiling, giggly, ready to continue our pre-bath rituals.
If it was me, I'd have been even more concerned that the flying eyeball was now inside my daddy's shirt, because just think of the chaos it could wreak there. But it wasn't me, it was her. And now I have to be sure to wear that shirt only when she's not around, or under a sweatshirt or something. Until she's old enough to appreciate Hendrix, of course. Perhaps her uncle will teach her to play "Purple Haze" one day and we can all head over to Capitol Hill, pay our respects and tell spooky stories about the Flying Honeybee Eyeball.
Maybe his eyes are closed because they flew away.
"It never got weird enough for me." -- Hunter S. Thompson
"It's too weird for me, Daddy." -- NJ
Monday, July 25, 2011
"I don't like that."
"I DON'T LIKE THAT!!!"
"NJ's ____!" (Although "NJ's Daddy" has a nice ring to it.)
"I want to watch Wiggles/Yo Gabba Gabba now."
Oh, my. It's going to be a looooong ... what, 16 years?
Monday, July 18, 2011
Which is all a long-winded way of saying that this post is my "She's Leaving Home." But if you're a Dad Solo completist -- and OF COURSE YOU ARE! -- please forge ahead.
Andy Warhol. Never had much use for him, myself. He's one of The Wife's "Brush with Greatness" experiences (Manhattan street corner, a young assistant, a free copy of "Interview" magazine), and he gave the great Velvet Underground a platform -- these are two good things you can say about the man. On the other hand, he also made some truly unwatchable films (not even good, campy "bad" films that are fun to watch and riff on -- just terrible, excruciatingly awful films that can make you queasy) and that idiotic "In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes" ethos that's made Kim Kardashian and her ilk household names. And ... that hair. Oh, that hair.
Something I've come around on lately, though -- much like my aging heart now has a soft spot for Paul McCartney (of "She's Leaving Home" fame!) -- is Warhol's silkscreen works. I've grown to appreciate the DIY ethos, and the bright colors. And when you get tired of looking at portraits of Andy's celebrity pals, there's always a soup can, Coke bottle or automobile crash for a change of pace. Maybe Andy would have won me over sooner if he'd had a compelling subject. Like oh, say, this:
Take a hike, Edie.
"In the future, everyone will be famous for as long as their doofus dads insist on chronicling their every move on the Internet."
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Here's a rough timeline of events. Times that are bolded are exact; italicized means an estimate.
4.45 p.m. -- I pick NJ up at day care. She doesn't seem to care that I'm not The Wife, who'd dropped her off that morning on her way to Portland. NJ doesn't rush to the door to greet me, though, as she sometimes does -- she's laying on a mat with a boy; she's playing with his feet, which are draped across her tummy. One of the teachers tells me that this boy has no source of income, no gainful employment, so I call NJ away from him and we leave. At the car, NJ says "Mommy at home?" I tell her no, and she wails. It doesn't last long, and soon we're driving home laughing and chatting and occasionally high-fiving.
What, me cry?
Inside, Mommy's absence is forgotten and we have a lovely time. After a hearty round of "Go to Bed" -- her current fave game, in which she puts two of her dolls to sleep in her crib and then joins them for a succession of 10-second naps -- NJ devours much of the hamburger patty with Provolone I make her, along with some pickle slices and quinoa. And a cookie, of course! NJ's bath is uneventful, other than me failing to keep her from repeatedly drinking bath water.
8 p.m. -- Hilarity ensues when I ask NJ if she's ready to "go to bed" and she cheerily replies "Yes!" She was thinking of "Go to Bed" and her smile fades to sour disappointment when I pulls the shades in her room instead of turning on the music. It was like one of those "Three's Company" episodes (all of them?) when Mr. Roper overhears Jack and Janet talking and thinks they're talking about sex when they actually were talking about getting their car serviced. NJ and I compromise -- I let her play a little "Go to Bed" and actually get out of the crib again for a little while, and she ... huh! I seem to have forgotten her side of the compromise. Anyway, at about 8.20 p.m. I try again and NJ's happy to settle down to sleep. I celebrate with a glass of wine and a couple of "Cheers" reruns.
2.34 a.m. -- This is why I'm doing exact and estimated times, because 2.34 a.m. is burned in my mind as if someone wrote 2.34 a.m. across it with an acid-tipped pen. This is when NJ's cries on the baby monitor woke me up. It was 2.34 a.m.
2.50 a.m. -- She's still at it, so I head downstairs. A diaper is changed, a rocking chair is utilized, but every time I move to put NJ back to bed, she squawks. So ...
3.30 a.m. -- I put a row of pillows where The Wife usually sleeps in our bed, plant NJ in next to it, then lay down myself on the remaining mattress real estate. She's not going back to sleep yet, but she's calm and cool and collected. I can't see the clock because of the pillows, but after a lengthy stretch, the kid's out.
5 a.m. -- Dad's still awake! I crane my head and check the clock when a sleeping NJ kicks a tiny foot into my ribcage.
6.30 a.m. -- The alarm goes off. I dozed enough that I can't claim I got no rest at all. NJ's a little grouchy, but generally OK. Ninety later I'm driving back home after taking her to day care.
I'll let you know when I'm ready to leave for day care, Daddy.
5.45 p.m. -- NJ asks if Mommy's home and, when informed that Mommy was still away, crying commences. Once we're inside and NJ sees I'm not lying, crying becomes wailing, and "wailing" becomes the Theme of the Evening. Literally, the worst I've ever seen her. NJ wails through play time, dinner, bath (it was shampoo night, never a picnic under the cheeriest of circumstances), post-bath play time, and bedtime. A list of things that upset NJ greatly during this period includes (but isn't limited to):
- Daddy asking for one of her many Cheddar Bunnies (not taking one, mind you, but asking);
- Her sippy cup;
- Getting ready for her bath;
- Being placed in the bath;
- Being asked repeatedly to sit down in the bath;
- Getting her hair wet;
- Getting her hair shampooed;
- Getting her hair rinsed;
- Being asked to get out of the tub;
- Being presented with the wrong book during post-bath Reading Time;
- Learning that it absolutely, positively is time to go to bed.
1.30 a.m. -- The roar of what sounds like a vintage motorcycle engine wakes me. It starts up and immediately dies. Whoever's trying to start this engine spends the next 20 minutes revving, or trying to rev, it. There is time for tinkering, then more attempts, and finally the thing starts. Then there's a good five minutes of roaring engine noise, as if someone was hot-rodding a vintage motorcycle up and down the street. During this 45-minute ordeal, not one sound emits from the baby monitor.
6.30 a.m. -- I walk into NJ's room and she's already awake, and ... laughing? Laughing! "Mommy's gone," she says, smiling. A good night's sleep is key to acceptance of bad news, apparently -- a fresher perspective and all that. She smiles and giggles through breakfast and eventually marches into day care with a determined jaunt. I must have pinched myself five times during this period.
10 a.m. -- The Wife calls to say she'll be home early today. I perform a celebratory dance in the basement.
Now NJ's got a little fever, so if she was coming down with something that certainly explains her wild behavior. I'm just glad The Wife's back. This morning, I didn't even hear it when NJ woke up at 3 a.m.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
I also received a Father's Day card, but NJ confiscated it because of the cute puppy on the front.
I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. Tarantino!
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
My mother got a lot of attention -- particularly when she broke out the cookie dough for a baking session after we told her NJ often holds the TV remote to her ear like it's a phone and says "Grandma? Cookie?" She was more coy with my dad, but thankfully stopped calling him "Grandma" in favor of "Dad-dad," his now-official grandparenting moniker. She was still extremely shy with him, but she always made darn sure he was paying attention to her, no matter whether she was in her crib or high chair or on the sofa or running around the living room. He got lots of smiles and giggles, and when he carried her to the table for dinner their last night here, it looked like they were BFFs.
Daddy told me the raw cookie dough is better than the finished product. And, sorry ladies, but he's right!
Your mom loves you more, NJ, but she's loved Bono longer.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
That thumb she's always sucking turns out to be ... green.
She points to the window box and exclaims "My garden" whenever she sees it now. Next up, I plan to teach her to use the lawnmower.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
I've been duped by plush puppets. Man, is my face red! (Embarrassed red, not fellow-traveler red, I swear.)
The book, published by Rupert Murdoch's HarperCollins is perhaps at its most condemnatory when accusing the creators of Sesame Street of attempting to brainwash young children. It quotes Mike Dann, one of the show's founding executives, saying it "was not made for the sophisticated or the middle class".
Early episodes featured the character Grover breaking bread with a hippie. Oscar, who lived in a rubbish bin, was supposed to address "conflicts arising from racial and ethnic diversity."
"Sesame Street tried to tackle divorce, tackled 'peaceful conflict resolution' in the aftermath of 9/11 and had [gay actor] Neil Patrick Harris on the show playing the subtly-named 'fairy shoeperson'," notes Shapiro.
What are we to do with this rogue's gallery of Destroyers of the American Way?
Never puts his hand over his heart when 'The Star-Spangled Banner' is played.
Why, just look at how green this one is! Any doubt that he's a filthy tree-hugger?
'H' is for 'health care.' I guess he also has a 'D' for 'death' and a 'P' for 'panels' handy, too.
Hey, Oscar, get out of the trash can and get a job!
Is this guy's cape ... pink? Hmmmm.