Friday, August 24, 2012

One More Round Of Applause For The Kid

NJ turned 3 the other day, and a while back I decided that I'd write this blog's last post in honor of that occasion. Mainly for reasons outlined here.  (This is probably no surprise if you've noticed the dearth of posts the past few months.) There is one more story I'd like to share, though, before I sign off. It's about NJ and Paul McCartney.

A few years ago, my wife and I had only been expecting a few days when I heard Macca's then-new single. 'Dance Tonight' is the kind of song he's been writing for 40 years -- simple, sweet melody, nice beat, lyrics that get straight to the point, however slight that point may be. "Listen to this, it sounds like a children's song," I said. Then I read that he wrote the mandolin-heavy ditty, pretty much filler in the McCartney songbook, because his 3-year-old loved dancing when he played that instrument. As a prospective father-to-be, that warmed my heart. And since I can't play the mandolin, I vowed to play 'Dance Tonight' and dance around with my child when he or she was ready to dance.

A few weeks later we miscarried. I did the best I could to comfort my wife, and I held myself together pretty well (I thought). Until I was sitting at my desk the next day, sort of zoning out, when this song popped up on the iPod. I was so overcome that I kind of went numb for a few seconds before shutting off the music, getting up and storming out of the room. It was a bad night.

The thought of the song always took me back to that place, but I never got rid of it because I thought that would be cowardly, somehow; I skipped over it once, I think, but I have thousands and thousands of tracks and it certainly didn't come up often. It did come on again, though, about two years later when my wife was about four months along with NJ. I immediately felt a catch in my throat and a rush of bad feeling, very Pavlovian. But my wife was happy (as happy as a pregnant woman can be) and healthy, and NJ was, too. This was different. I skipped over the song that time, too, but it was more of a don't-jinx-anything move instead of despair.

Once NJ was here, bright and fresh and new, I never sought out 'Dance Tonight' on my iPod. The first time it came on NJ was more than a year old, not quite walking but otherwise up and about. She was in the room, too, and I'll tell you what: We danced. Since then I've dialed it up on the device a lot, sometimes with NJ and sometimes without her. It always makes me think of her. It usually makes me cry, too. Always has.

Oh, don't worry. He'll probably write stuff here once in a great while. He really can't help it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

I Must Be REALLY Good At Example-Setting

A quote from the August newsletter at NJ's daycare, in the "Heard Around Preschool One Class" column (basically the school's answer to TMZ and Walter Winchell):

"When I grow up, I'm going to be a daddy!" -- NJ

Damn, I make it look gooooooooooooooood.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Definite Hair Do

The girl has developed a fondness for pigtails, and perhaps I'm biased, but ... I can't believe she found a way to be even more adorably cute.

 How's ya like my new do?
For some reason I'm unaware of, she'd never sported pigtails until a few days ago, when her teacher did them up at school. She came home very proud of her coiffure. Sure, she looks darling, but she can also get a little wacky:

Actual quote before this photo was snapped: 'I can do silly!'

Only problem is, it can be a little tricky getting those rubber bands on and off without a little pain. I heard NJ wailing her bedroom from the front porch this morning as The Wife fixed her hair. And The Wife took off on an overnight business trip, so in a couple of hours it will be my task to remove them. RUH ROH.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blogrolling XXXIII

I used to love rides like this, and assume I still would. I guess I'll find out eventually.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Profile In Courage

NJ had a nice little moment of bravery the other day. The notorious slide fanatic attempted her biggest solo slide EVER at the Golden Gardens playground.

Some things scare NJ -- as they do all kids her age -- and one of them was the drop she saw when she finally got to the top of the apparatus and sat down:

It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll ...

I could see the concern in NJ's eyes from the bottom of the slide, and after a few moments she hesitantly stood up and walked away. The Wife (pictured behind NJ) said something like "OK, let's see what else there is to do" and prepared to climb down. Another kid was on the way up, though -- NJ saw her and reevaluated her position. She came back to the top of the slide, sat down, and firmly grasped the side railings (above). Her eyes looked the same, but I swear I saw them slide from concern to resolve a second before she pulled herself forward, then pushed down and slid to the bottom. It was the fastest she's ever slid, and she loved it. She performed the stunt several more times, consecutively.

(Later on she let go while swinging in the Big Girl Swing, i.e. the built-in seat, and it did not end well. But that's another, even less-interesting story.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Blogrolling XXI

They felt I really went overboard voicing my opposition to the Wiggles and cut that part down in this piece.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Blogrolling XX

In which I ... pick a fight with The Wife?

Yeah, I know. Probably not a good idea.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Maurice Sendak, RIP

Sendak, who died this week at age 83, was one of NJ's favorite authors. Here is her dramatic reading of "In the Night Kitchen."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Blogrolling XIX

In which I question this whole freakin' endeavor.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Sands Of Time

Yesterday was a milestone for NJ -- I took down her crib and assembled her new Big Girl Bed. She was probably ready for this a few months ago, but we decided there was no rush and she didn't seen to care. Yesterday, when I showed her the new headboard, though, NJ got very excited about the prospect.

Thanks for two-and-a-half years of stellar service, crib. You will be missed the first time NJ wakes up crying at 3 a.m. and comes upstairs.
Her excitement quickly turned to worry, though, when naptime came yesterday afternoon. NJ called her mom into the room a couple of times with concerns about blankets and such. It took a good hour or so for her to calm down and go to sleep. Last night, though, she went to bed early (her call) and slept through the night like an angel.

Hooray for new furniture!
But, uh, I'm trying to catch a few winks here, as you can see. So, if you don't mind ...

Seriously, Dad, get out of my face. OK?
There's a gap between the bed and the wall -- the bed can't be completely flush because of a window sill -- but The Wife ingeniously stuffed NJ's five-foot-long stuffed caterpillar in it and all's well. As a sleepy NJ says, "Sweet dreams!"

Monday, March 5, 2012

Blogrolling XVII -- Plus!

A recap of our trip to Hawaii a couple of weeks ago is here.

The photo of NJ on the TODAY blog may be my favorite of her ever. Here are some more good shots.

Please tell me we aren't eating these fish later for dinner.

The kid did not want for opportunities to pick stuff up off the beach.

What's prettier, my girls or my legs? Wait, don't answer that -- I don't want you to offend NJ and The Wife.

Can't this clown see I'm trying to eat?

Mommy, I think the beached whale behind me just tooted!

Enjoying a sunset.

I need some cucumber slices for my eyes.

We thought about burying NJ up to her neck and sneaking off for a while, but a plan never materialized.

I heard Dad muttering that he could really get used to this, and I gotta say ... I agree.

Languageses>es YahooCEerror

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Saturday, February 4, 2012


NJ's first solo spin on the big-girl swing wasn't the most exciting thing ever, but dang if she don't look good in them shades, huh? (Be sure to watch through the end, the shadow in the lower left has a special hand sign for you.)

This looks like a lot more fun when other kids are doing it, Daddy.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Blogrolling XV

In which Dad Solo offers some dad-soloing tips to another dad who recently went solo.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blogrolling XIV

I hope this doesn't escalate into another East Coast-West Coast war.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Case Closed

Ever since NJ and I opened the Curious Case of the Jimi Hendrix Flying Honeybee Eyeball, I've been careful to wear the offending t-shirt under other clothes so's not to alarm her. If you're too lazy or obstinate to click on that link -- the kid was afraid my t-shirt with this on it:

Yesterday I pulled off a sweater, forgetting that I was wearing the Hendrix eyeball T underneath. But instead of getting frightened, NJ looked at it curiously, with a hint of a grin, and said "What's that?" I explained it, she studied it a few moments longer, then went back to her Play-Do. It appears that, at long last, the house is once again safe for flying eyeballs.

Don't know if this exchange had anything to do with NJ saying later on that she wanted to eat her mommy's eyeballs.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Blogrolling XIII

Q: What's in a name?

A: In this case, just dusting off that hoary old cliche so I can link to this for your reading pleasure.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Blogrolling XII

New year's resolutions are here.

You stay classy, fans of NJ.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Beware The Ghost Of Christmas Just Very Recently Passed

When NJ and The Wife wake up from their respective naps, the Christmas tree will come down and the holidays will officially be over (don't tell my boss, though, because I have tomorrow off). The season didn't flash by quickly for me, as it has the past few years, but I'm always a little surprised when Jan. 1 and 2 roll around and I look back and say "Well, it's over" to myself. We just relegated the dead Christmas tree out to the side of the house, so it's all official and stuff: 2012 has started.

The best part of the h0liday season was NJ's complete and total warming up to my parents -- she got over her well-documented shyness in a big way. I knew things would go well when NJ, unprompted, crawled into my father's lap, spun around, sat down and put her thumb in her mouth. She'd glance over at him occasionally, and they'd smile at each other and she'd return to contently sit and suck her thumb. That set the tone for the week, right through to the morning they left for Houston and we got NJ up at a very early hour to say goodbye. It's been a little tough for her to get to know Grandma and Dad-Dad since they live so far away, but finally the shyness levee broke and the valleys of their hearts were flooded with deadly, raging love and affection.

The Wife and I managed to slip out a couple of nights for dinner, which was nice, too. NJ really raked it in, gift-wise -- a couple of days before Christmas I looked around and realized that yes, she was getting way too much stuff. Again.

The new year kicked off with The Wife laid low with some kind of 24-hour stomach bug and me limited by a sore back, but NJ was a pretty good kid on Jan. 1. She and I played and watched TV (thanks to a concert we saw, she now knows how to say "The Rolling Stones," and she can "whoo-whoo" like a pro during "Sympathy for the Devil") while her mom recovered (she's fine today). The only real glitch for NJ came today, Jan. 2, when her mom broke out the vacuum to clean up after we chucked the tree out of the house. The kid does not care for the noise that comes from the vacuum cleaner. At. All. I was able to successfully distract her with videos of Bert and Ernie on the YouTubes.

So from us to you, whoever the heck you are, Happy New Year!