Friday, December 5, 2008

Run and hug

I've just come down from putting her down. Mommy is doing the dishes. We stand in the kitchen discussing the day.


Ok. So she didn't say that, it sounded more like: "DADDY! DADDY?!? I need to go pee-pee! Daddy!"

I grab the potty and head up the stairs.

The room is black as I enter. The small night light is not enough to even cast a light shadow across the room. As I place the potty in its base, I hear the rustling of a small child clambering out of bed. I have enough night vision established now to see a toddler sized body hurtling at me. It slams into me, then clamps it's arms around me. In my ear, I hear, "I love you this much."

I try to hold on.

Mixed animals

She is mixing animals.

It started a last week. We were driving in the car, just Tahlia and me, singing Old MacDonald. Currently, when singing Old MacDonald, Mommy and I pause to let Tahlia tell us what animal we should have on his farm.

We started out with a normal animal -- a horse. The second round, though, became a little odd.

"Old MacDonald had a farm, E I E I O. And on that farm there was a . . . what was there Tahlia?"

"Roar hop." She calls from the back seat.


"Roar hop."

I'm not sure what she means. In our house, a roar equals a lion. A hop equals a bunny. "Tahlia, are you a lion-bunny?"

"Yeah." She giggles and smiles.

And we keep singing.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Weasel

She is almost three, and although we feel her ability to speak is very advanced, there are still many words that she pronounces incorrectly. We are happy that she pronounces them incorrectly because, at the end of the day, Tahlia uses her words more than she doesn’t use her words, which makes our lives so much easier.

For example, she entered into the demanding phase:

“Daddy give me that.”

“That is mine.”

“I want a banana.”

Because we don’t want to raise a rude little cherubim, we work on her being polite.

“Daddy I want that.” She’ll state.

“Daddy, may I have that please?” I’ll say back to her.

“May I have that pleeece?” It is soft, almost inaudible, but it is a move in the right direction.

Sometimes, I try a different approach, “Tahlia, can you ask for that politely?”

“Pleece.” Yes, it is not a question. It is a statement, but, at least, it is the right word.

And in this drive to say things in a nice way, we are glad that she says so many things.

Many of the things she says make us laugh out-loud. Recently, for Thanksgiving, Nona gave Tahlia a little pilgrim and Native American bear from Hallmark. She decided that Asher would keep the Native American, and she would keep the pilgrim. But it's not pilgrim, it's “Pidum bear.”

One of the cutest things she says, though, is when she wants to use her Melissa and Doug easel. We keep it in our kitchen so that she can color, chalk, or paint on it when ever she wants. Well, she actually can’t do any of those things when ever she wants. We have removed the chalk tray because Asher, when he would see it, would high-tail over to it before you could grab him so that he could shove chalk in his mouth. The whole time you would say, “Asher, wait, wait, wait,” with the utmost urgency, “we don’t put chalk in our mouths,” he would have a giant grin on his yellow, pink, or purple chalked mouth. The tray for the paint is there, but it is empty, for the same reason we removed the chalk tray. But, when she wants to paint, we’ll give her the paints – same goes for the chalk.

She knows that when she wants to use the easel, all she has to do is ask.

“Mommy, can I use the wheesel?”

The first askings were difficult, but we quickly figured it out.

We, of course, without mocking, always reply, “Yes, Tahlia, you can use the weasel.”

Friday, November 28, 2008


He must be the only baby in the world who has called his mother's name first.

Evidently, saying "Da-da" is far easier for a baby than saying "Ma-ma." Evidently, that is only true some of the time. I have yet to hear a "Da" come out of my son's mouth.

But "Ma-Mamamamamamm"s are everywhere in our house.

It started about two days ago when Asher sucked in his lower lip and let out a "mmmammamammam." I was ecstatics and told him he did a great job saying "Ma-ma." He smiled, especially when Mommy ran into the room. Since that day, any time he makes any sound resembling a "m," Mommy comes running. Now, pretty much on cue, if you ask him to say "Ma-ma", he will smile and let out a pretty close approximation.

Of course, Tahlia joins in because she wants some of the kisses that Mommy is raining upon Asher.

And, because she is magnanimous, and, because she can speak, she sees that Daddy needs some attention too, and will let out a "Da-da."

I think it is because she doesn't want me to be left out, but it could be so that she can attain the kisses that I freely give for any sound that resembles my name.

Back bends

When there is something behind you, how do you see it?

For Asher, it is simple to bend backwards.

Sadly, this stunt is coming to an end as he realizes that he can simply turn to one side or the other, but in his younger days, if there was something behind him that he wanted to see, he would simply bend backwards.

For the full effect, you have to imagine the situation.

I'm walking out of Tahlia's room, holding Asher. I turn around to finish a conversation with Mommy. At the sound of Mommy's voice, instead of turning around to see Mommy, Asher launches himself directly away from me back arched, head heading down. I squeeze his legs in a vice like clamp to my chest to not lose him. My other hand shoots out to catch his head and neck as they plummet towards the floor. He sees Mommy and smiles.

But, as happens with most babies, this was a phase that is rapidly coming toward an end. Much like the "O" mouth that Tahlia used to make, soon the backbend will be a memory. Soon, all of these moments will be behind us, and then, how will we see them.

Possible career

Oftentimes, like most parents, when we are walking through a store and Tahlia sees something that she decides she must have, we let her know that we just don’t have the money. Mommy and I discussed this strategy when we realized that Tahlia was approaching the age when, on a whim, she would want things. We realized that simply stating that it wasn’t in the budget, we hadn’t planned for it, or that we just didn’t have the money for what ever it was that she wanted was a good idea. Sometimes, after we give our lack-of-monetary reason, Tahlia will state that she wants it anyway. We repeat ourselves, and she is usually fine.

Tonight, however, we were given some insight into how it is really affecting her.

Asher and I were in Mommy’s and my bedroom preparing for bed. I had already wrangled a diaper on him and squeezed him into his pj’s. I just had started reading a Winnie the Pooh book to him when a naked Tahlia dashed into the room and started to launch herself onto the bed.

“Daddy, I hear the book too?”

“Sure Tahlia, come on up.” Now, I was sitting with a squirming baby who was trying to shove Winnie the Pooh into his mouth and a naked two year old who just wanted to kiss her baby brother.

Mommy came into the room and grabbed Asher. Tahlia began jumping on the bed. A brief interlude of screaming baby, jumping girl and quiet conversation occurred.

Tahlia decided that she was done jumping on the bed and began squirming over to my side to slide off.

We asked Tahlia who was going to put her down for the night, which, of course, was a non-question – the answer being Mommy. I told Tahlia that I was going to have to go back to work soon and maybe she should allow me to put her to bed.

“Why Daddy goes back to work?”

“Because I have to make some money.” I wish I could have said something about loving my job, but I try not to lie to my daughter, and right now, I simple don’t love my job.

She looked deeply at me and slid completely off of the bed. For a moment, she disappeared, then her head poped up and she said, “I’m off to work.”

We watched as her little naked bum sprinted out of the room; in her hand, a catalog was visible.

I say good night to Asher and Mommy, and I head after Tah.

I find her in the other bathroom.

“Daddy, I’m at work.”

I smile and head back to tell Mommy that our little girl is at work.

I returned to find Tahlia coming out of the bathroom.

“Tahlia, are you working?”

She smiled and said yes.

“What do you do?”

She walked quickly back to Mommy’s and my room and said, “I go in here and get a magazine and I come out here and go in here,” she starts heading back into the dark bathroom, “and I read the magazine.”

I look at her, naked, standing in a pitch-black bathroom with a toy catalog, and say, “Is your job reading magazines.”

She smiles at me incredulously, “Yeah.”

I’m pretty sure this all stems from the idea that Daddy works to make money, and she hopes to contribute to the family coffers. Or, maybe she is hoping one day to be an editor, but, in reality, I would love to have the job of reading toy catalogs. I wonder how much it pays.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving and giving thanks

A few years back, Mommy and I, pre-Tahlia and Asher, were celebrating Thanksgiving with some friends in Oregon. As we sat at the dinner table, the husband of the couple who are no longer together, stated that he and his wife had started a tradition. The tradition was to go around the table and have everyone state one thing for which they were thankful. Initially, I was thankful that I didn’t have to go first so that I could judge what types of things others in my peer circle were thankful for. When it came to be my turn, I said something that was in line with everyone else’s.

I did, however, like the idea of stating something for which you wanted to give thanks. Mommy and I have tried to remember this and, during thanksgiving, state something for which we are thankful. Since Tahlia is at an age now where I can ask her more complicated questions, I decided this year that I would tell her about this tradition.

I told her that Thanksgiving was a time to think about all of the things we are thankful for and let people know. I stated that I was thankful for Mommy, Tahlia, and Asher. Then I asked her what she was thankful for.


“You’re thankful for Candles?”

“Yeah. Candles.”

I reminded her of the types of things I was thankful for, and re-asked the question.


I gave up.

That was in the morning. After nap, it was cool enough that we needed to put on jackets, but warm enough, and sunny enough that a tromp out to the playground to go on the swing, her scooter, and her bicycle, which is actually a tricycle, was warranted. Suki and I mounted the hill with Asher in tow; Tahlia lagging behind. Mommy came shortly after with Grandma, who is now living with us. Then, playing ensued.

There was running down hills, jumping from benches, pushing on swings, chasing, laughing, running, jumping, glee. After a little while, Grandma was cold so she went inside, leaving just the nuclear family – Mommy, Tahlia, Asher, Suki and me. In the mid afternoon light, love floated about all of us. For a few minutes, all of our worries were gone. Tahlia sat beside me by the tennis court, magnanimously giving me leaves. Then Mommy did some ballet steps from her youth, which led to Tahlia scooting up to dance with her. Asher and I sat in the cool fall air watching the two ladies dance and spring and soar about. There was a lightness about all of us and the dried leaves seemed more to sing than to scratch around the pavement. Tahlia dashed over to sit with me, handing me more leaves that she stated were the other leaves’ family. She didn’t want them to be alone. Mommy came over to see what we were doing and Tahlia sprang up to dash away. Mommy gave quick pursuit. Asher and I realized that we didn’t want to miss out on the running, and we to fled to join our loved ones.

And as all of this occurred, I realized how thankful I am for my family. I realized how lucky I am to have a wife who will dash and chase after her little girl, forgetting for a moment that people may watch and judge from their windows. I realized how lucky I am to have a little girl who hops and jumps and scoots over to her little brother to kiss him on the head and let him know how much she loves him. I realized how lucky I am that even though there is so much going on in our lives right at this moment that is making it so hard to see the little things that are truly joyous, in this one afternoon, I can see how much I really have to be thankful for. For having a wife, daughter, and son who are healthy and happy to just spend time with one another is really a reason to give thanks.

We all sat down on the pavement holding hands. It was almost time to go in because Tahlia was hungry, and we were all becoming cold. Tahlia decided that it was Mommy’s birthday, and so we sang happy birthday to her, while we all held hands – even Asher. Of course, Asher didn’t sing, but we did hold his hands.

After finishing, I decided to try once again.

“Remember today is Thanksgiving? Well I wanted to tell everyone that I’m thankful for you,” I pointed at Tahlia, “and you,” I pointed at Mommy, “and you.” I point finally at Asher.

Mommy told everyone that she is thankful for all of us too.

It was Tahlia’s turn. Thankfully, she didn’t say that she was thankful for candles. “What are you thankful for Tahlia?”


We were going to having sweet potatoes as part of our dinner. She had some for snack and really liked them. She obviously thinks they’re carrots.

But I know that this moment will be part of her consciousness for a long time, and Mommy and I will continue to have moments like these for a long time. And, one day, she will not only be thankful for items that start with a “c”, but for her family as well.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


A book about Eddie

There is a book called Where’s My Teddy?

It is a simple and silly story about a little boy named Eddie who has lost his teddy. He wanders into some woods to find his bear and ends up coming face to face with a gigantic bear who, ironically, has also lost his teddy. “Eddie’s teddy’s name is Freddy”; the gigantic bear’s name is Ted. The rhyme scheme is a little odd, but it seems to work. By which I mean that Tahlia, for two weeks, asked me to read it every night.

The story goes:

“Eddie’s off to find his teddy. Eddie’s teddy’s name is Freddy. He lost him in the woods somewhere, it’s dark and horrible in there.”

I don’t really like the book, but what I do like is reading it with Tahlia.

What happens is that I open the book and begin reading the first line, “Eddie’s off to find his teddy.” Before I’m done with the first line, Tahlia is reciting the story. Page after page, line after line, she continues to recite the book.

I’m, of course, proud of my little girl, but, maybe even more importantly, I’m amazed by her.

Where's My Teddy? by Jez Alborough

A long time ago

“Daddy, why do I wear Dora?”

“What?” I really don’t understand. I think she has said Dora, but I’m not sure.

“Why do I wear Dora?”

“Tahlia, did you say Dora?” She doesn’t watch T.V. to really know who Dora is. The only way she really knows is from some pull-ups she used to wear.


“What do you mean?”

“Daddy, why do I wear Dora diaper?”

“Are you talking about the night-time-panties that you used to wear?” When Tahlia was at the end of her potty training, the last vestige was having her wear Dora Pull-ups at night. During that time, she never had an accident, and after a while, we realized that we were wasting money by having her wear expensive “panties” that she never used.

“Yeah. Why did I wear diapers.”

“Tahlia, those were big girl panties; they weren’t diapers. How do you remember that?” She hasn’t worn them in almost a year.

She smiles, and continues reading her book, as she sits on the potty.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I don't love you

It has started. I thought that it would take longer, but I have received my first, "I don't love you."

It was late, or early, I'm not sure. I think it was 4:00amish. Tahlia was crying. Currently, we are going through a major transition, and Tahlia's outbursts are "normal." They aren't enjoyable, but they are expected.

I went in to calm her. She was crying about I don't know what, and I don't know what. When I arrived in the room, I helped her onto the potty, and told her everything would be ok. Apparently, that wasn't the right thing. Apparently, I wasn't the right person; she wanted Mommy.

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, at the twilight of morning, a parent can be short. I was short. I attempted to explain to Tahlia that I was tired, she needed sleep, and Mommy was sleeping. For all of these plausible reasons, Tahlia needed to go back to bed - back to sleep.

This made her upset, and she began to cry. I, again, being rational, attempted to explain to her about the need to be quiet so that Asher could sleep, Daddy could go back to sleep, Tahlia could go to sleep, and Mommy could continue sleeping.

This made her upset. I gave her a kiss and let her know that I needed to go. Her response: "I don't love you, Daddy."

From my years of teaching, I've realized the importance of letting students know that their feelings are valid, although, they may not result in the desired effect the speaker intends. For some reason, at this early morning hour, I fell into my teacher mode and stated, "I believe you Tahlia." She looked at me blankly, much like my students do when they tell me they don't want to move away from their friends and I state, "I believe you. Now please move over there."

I kissed her again and said, "I just need you to know that I love you soooo much." This calmed her and she laid her head down on the pillow once again. I left, and soon she was asleep, hopefully dreaming about a Daddy who loves her, and who she loves too.

Another person’s house

I was just about to head upstairs last night when I realized that I was in another person’s house. I wasn’t really in anther person’s house. I was actually in my house, standing just in front of the door on the sandy hued tiles that act as a foyer for our tiny town home.

What I mean by being in another person’s house is that I looked over towards our sunken living room where the couch, the television, the fireplace, and the children’s toys are. Covering our oak looking wood floor were the big blue play mats that act as a protection against falls for Asher’s head. They cover the majority of the floor and on top of them, at this moment in time, were the days toys. There were dolls and puppies, balls and rings. Because today’s toys are so colorful, a parent today might say that it looked as though a clown had exploded. The day’s toys could number in the hundreds, and, today, is no exception.

Tahlia had run ahead of me upstairs, and I knew that Mommy would be wrangling Asher in the tub while stiff-arming Tahlia from joining him. For a moment, however, I was unable to pull my eyes away from what I saw.

I was thirteen again. I was standing in somebody else’s house. I don’t remember exactly whose house it was, but I was there to babysit. I had just entered through the door that led away from the garage, and my eyes were accosted by the barrage of toys strewn about. I couldn’t comprehend why the owner of this house hadn’t taken any time, in the past week, to clean up the flood of toys submerging the room. As a thirteen-year-old boy, I did not realize that these were just the toys from the day; I thought they must have been collecting on the floor, like dust balls, for months.

“Daddy, can you come up soon,” I am back in our house, and I suddenly remember that I need to bring Tahlia’s three drinks and two vitamins upstairs. Tahlia won’t bathe herself, and Asher’s diaper needs to be administered.

I tear my gaze off of that other person’s floor, for, it couldn’t possibly be ours, to head upstairs where, I will find my family. As I put one child down, I may dream about the beauty of having a baby sitter come over while not caring what he or she decides about the appearance of the house.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Communications with the Cat

She's sitting on the blue Bjorn potty in her room. It is nap time.

I'm sitting next to her waiting for her to finish pooping. Later in life, she will be angry that people read this type of thing about her.

As I'm sitting there, she tells me to do something, "Daddy, go tell Kitty-cat that I'm on the potty."

"You want me to tell Kitty-cat that?" I'm not overly enthusiastic about crawling over to a stuffed animal in an attempt to communicate with it.

"Yeah." She smiles.

"Ok." I reluctantly crawl over to the potty and mumble to Rona, the black cat, that Tahlia is on the potty, cognizant that the monitor, that sits beside her bed, is currently transmitting to the living room where a guest sits talking to Mommy. Then I crawl back.

"Daddy? What did Kitty-cat say?"

"She said ok." I'm not exactly sure what Kitty-cat should say, so I took my best shot.

"Uhm, Daddy? I pretty sure that Kitty-cat said that I like Dog-dog and so she is cuddling with Panda in the bed."

"Oh. I see."

"Daddy, go tell Kitty-cat 'la la-la la la-la-la'."

"Uhm, Tahlia, what does that mean?"

"It means, uhm, it means, it means the umidifier is, no! the noise maker is on."

"Ok." I crawl again over to Kitty to mumble her code. When I arrive back to her, I let her know that her message has been transmitted.

"What did Kitty-cat say?"

I wasn't expecting this, it is the proverbial curve ball. I decide that since she gave me nonsense, I'll give nonsense back to her. "Kitty-cat said 'wa wa wa-wa-wa waaa'."

She pauses. "Daddy, what does that mean?"

"I don't know Tahlia. What does it mean?"

Without skipping a beat she says, "It means the music is on" and smiles.

Who would have known that not only did she have a secret language with Kitty-cat, but that Kitty-cat communicated back to her.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

One minute of love

Tahlia is known for telling people she loves them.

Tahlia is also known for not talking. The amount of talking that she does at her preschool is minimal. The teachers aren't worried, as they feel this is just a small problem, as long as she speaks at home, and speaks at home she does. One of the things she can often be heard telling Mommy, Daddy, Asher, or even Suki is that she loves the specific individual to whom she is speaking, or another individual about whom she is speaking. Sometimes, the person she loves is, "That one." Clarity on this is gained by observing the direction of the extended index finger pointing directly at the one on whom she is bestowing the love. The index finger is like a tiny laser of love raining love on the individual at whom the finger is pointed.

We often hear, "Mommy, I love you."
Or, "Mommy, why do I love that one?" Pointing at Asher.
Or, "Daddy, why do I love Mommy?" Said while Mommy is bathing Asher.

Or, "Daddy, I love Mommy, and Asher, and Suki, but I don't love Daddy."

Ok. So the last one isn't the same. She does love me. I mean, I think she loves me. No. She loves me. But she also loves to make me cry. I don't really cry. If I hadn't heard the progressions to the statement of "I don't love Daddy," I think I would have cried a little for real, but she went through quite a few iterations before landing on the not loving me idea.

It used to be that she didn't love Suki. Not loving Suki made sense. Suki knocked her over, ate her bunny crackers, and licked her. Honestly, many adults, for all of these reasons, don't love Suki. Tahlia would always come around, though, and after a specified period of time -- five to eleven minutes -- she would love Suki again. She decided upon the amount of time that she didn't love Suki.

With me, it is the same. She decides how long she doesn't love me for. It is always the same, however. She always doesn't love me for "two minutes."

When she states that she doesn't love Daddy, I ask her for how long.

"Two minutes."

I pretend to start crying by scrunching up my face in a grotesque manner, let forth a wail of despair.

Quickly, with in ten seconds, she smiles and says, "I love you for one minute."

"Oh good!" I'd reply and smile at her.

"Why is it good, Daddy?" She'd ask.

"Any amount of love is good from you Tahlia. I'll take one minute."

I always thought it arbitrary that she loved me for a minute. I always wanted more than just one minute, but I thought I'd take what I could get.

Tonight, I had a realization: Tahlia can't tell time. Ok, so this shouldn't have been too great a leap for me, but for some reason, I never thought about it. Therefore, I addressed it.

"Tahlia, how long is one minute?" A simple enough question, many would say self explanatory.

Standing in the bathtub, as she takes her shower, she looks at me and says, "A long time."

I smile. I want a minute to be a long time. "How long would it be if it was a short time?" I ask, intrigued by her understanding of one rotation of the clock's hands.

She ponders for a second, looking down at the foam letters that, if they were un-jumbled, would spell Tahlia, as long as the purple "V" is turned upside down and read as an "A." She looks up into my face and says, "One time."

She's right; one time is a short time. I'll take the minute.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Under the place mat

I'm under the green place mat. More specifically, I'm sitting on the floor beside the table under a green place mat. Obviously, I'm hiding. A few minutes ago, Tahlia was under the very same place mat, but she has decided that Daddy had too much fun and now she must indulge.

It all started after I finished cleaning the raspberry sorbet off of her face; the largest quantity, of course, collected on her forehead. I left the room with the bowl and spoon, and when I returned, Tahlia was nowhere to be found. Well, that is not entirely true. To the untrained parent eye, it would be clear that she was still sitting on her chair under her green knit place mat. Untrained parent eyes would have immediately asked why she had the place mat on her head, but, with my trained parent eye, I saw an opportunity to have some fun, although some may state this was an opportunity to teach poor table manners. Seeing her under the mat, I exclaimed to Mommy, "Oh no! I've lost Tahlia!"

Mommy ran into the room with mock fear from the kitchen with a screaming Asher in her arms and said, "Daddy, I think she may be under the place mat." Asher immediately fell silent as this little child attempted to make sense, once again, of one of the many situations that occur in our house that make no sense.

I looked around as if in a daze, then proceeded to peer under all of the mats on the table, proclaiming after each that she wasn't under it. After each examination, a small giggle would emanate from the Fisher Price Booster seat in which Tahlia sat.

As the choices of mats dwindled, Mommy began using the Tahlia-look-to-the-side to indicate to me where the little girl was hiding. This look is used when Tahlia is being reticent and does not want someone to know her true intentions. Rather than pointing, or looking directly at something, she strains her eyes to the side to indicate the specific location or item to which she is referring. As Daddy is a dunce, he was blind to this obvious tactic; however, Tahlia took much glee from Mommy's antics.

Before I could locate the little one, she grew bored and decided that I needed to hide and she needed to go around and look under every place mat.

That is how I ended up under the place mat. Unfortunately, I'll probably be under here all night since, after looking under three of the place mats, she has become enamored with her baby brother who is about to go to bed and forgotten all about me. I think few would have realized that such an obvious location could be so effective under which to hide.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sitting Pretty

Today . . . breaking news . . . Today . . .

Mommy put Asher on his mat on the floor on his belly. She turned around to pick something up off of the piano. Remember, he was placed on his belly. When she turned back towards Asher, he was sitting.

Oh, you should know that Asher can sit by himself without anyone supporting him. Therefore, if you didn't know that, then the above information is even more dramatic. However, the most important thing you realize is that today, all by himself, he was able, not once, but twice, to move himself from his belly to his bum.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Songs from the past

We make choices as parents. I made the choice to make Mommy laugh.

Sometimes songs strike me. The sneak up on me and, suddenly, I'm singing. Usually they are songs from when I was younger, although, occasionally, I will sing a song that I have recently learned and is just stuck in my head.

The other night, the song that jumped into my head was "Parents Just Don't Understand." A fun rap song from the '80s.

Mommy had already brought Asher upstairs for bath, but I was downstairs with Tahlia as she finished up her sorbet.

As you know, Tahlia is two. This means that she repeats what she hears.

I started singing. As the only part that I know is "Ok, here's the situation, my parents went away on a weeks vacation." I just sang it over and over.

Suddenly, As I begin the part of the song I know, I hear Tahlia finish it "My parents wen away on a weeks a-ation."

Upon hearing their child sing an inappropriate rap song about kids misbehaving, many parents will wonder what they have done. Many parents would wonder how they could begin singing a Sesame Street song to rid the rap from her brain. Instead, I grabbed her, hugged her, and dashed upstairs.

I prepped Tahlia as we went up the stairs. "When you see Mommy, wait until I've said my part, then you say your part." When we arrived at the top of the stairs, she dashed ahead. She ran into Mommy and my room where Mommy was applying a diaper to a squirming child.

In the ideal world, I would have said the first part, and Tahlia would have said the second, but this is not the ideal world. Tahlia blurted out her part before I could say anything.

Instead of a hysterical laugh from Mommy, we both received a "What?"

I was able to get Tahlia to slow down and I delivered the first line and Tahlia finished up. And then, we received our hysterical laugh.

I've tried to introduce Sir Mix-alot, but Mommy frowned on it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Actual email correspondence

When you're a parent, the type of emails you receive change.

First, an email from Tahlia. These used to be called "Type 'a daddy." But just to day, there has been a change.

Begin email

End email

I know that if she could sign it, it would say "With lots of love."

Then, one from Mommy

Begin email
she actually said type "to" daddy! i thought about how last year at this time, it was "a daddy". sad!

HEY - i just got a great bloody/mucusy sample from asher, so i'm hoping to get 2 more over the course of the day and then be able to take it to northridge this afternoon. i would rather do it with you, so that i don' have to schlep the kids out of the car and back, just to drop off a sample, but if i have to, i will. let me know if you think you can make it home in time to go today.

the guy came to pick up your dad's thing. came at 9:20, 20 minutes after asher went down for nap...and woke him up. awesome. well, i suppose suki woke him up, but no matter.

rolly polly about to roll off mat. must go! love you!
End email

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What are you

As you know, Tahlia likes to decide what people are.

Currently, Asher is an apple, Daddy is a cucumber, and Tahlia is a strawberry.

Asher has, consistently, been an apple lately. At the beginning of the weekend, Tahlia and Asher were both bananas, but that all changed when we went shopping. Daddy has been a cucumber for as long as I can remember.

"But, what about Mommy?" you might ask as Tahlia often does.

Well, that took a little work tonight. Recently, Mommy has been a pumpkin. But not initially tonight.

I'm holding Asher, while Tahlia and I sit at the dinner table. Tahlia has her food in front of her, Mommy is making up our plates in the kitchen.

"Daddy, Atah sing the fruit song." She states.

The fruit song is when I hold Asher and bounce him around, singing a nonsensical song about how his big sister is a strawberry, or pear, or peach, well, you get the idea, and Asher is a apple, or banana or . . . well, you know.

Todays fruit song is a little different though. Since I'm unsure what everyone is, I pause after each name to allow her to fill it in.

"I'm Asher," I start singing, "And I'm an . . ."


"I'm an apple and I love my big sister who is an . . ."

"Peach, no, strawberry" the "aw" is drawn out.

"And I love my big sister who is a strawberry. She is so sweet and great. I have a Daddy who is a . . ."


As I type this out, I feel like we are playing some strange game of Mad-Libs.

"And my Daddy is a cucumber. But I love my Mommy soooo much. My Mommy is a . . ."

No reply. She is thinking. She is staring off into space chewing on some rice pasta as she contemplates what Mommy is.

I try again, "And my Mommy is a . . ."

"Mommy a La-lalli." She smiles.

"Mommy's a La-Lalli?" I ask incredulously.

"Yeah," she smiles. "Mommy a La-lalli."

"Hey Mommy," I call to Mommy in the kitchen, "Did you know you're a La-lalli?"

"No," she sing-songs back to us. "Am I a la-lalli?"

"Yeah!" blurts out Tahlia as she begins to laugh.

"What is a La-lalli?" Mommy inquires.

She is now laughing and has a huge smile plastered across her face, "A La-lalli is a puhn." She giggles.

"It's a puhn Mommy." I tell her, making sure Mommy hears.

"A puhn, huh?"

"What's a puhn," I ask Tahlia.

"A puhn is a pear." She laughs.

"Oh, ok. So Mommy is a pear?" I continue with the Asher fruit song. "I love my Mommy who is a pear."

"No, no, no, no." Tahlia interrupts, "Mommy a pumpkin." She smiles and continues to eat her pasta.


She's precocious. Well, probably as precocious as other two and a half year olds whose parents love them.

She's playing with blocks. I've recently arrived home after work, and she wants to play with me. As I clean up the day's playing so that there is room to play some more, she decides that we'll play with blocks.

She moves her vacuum cleaner, snowman, laundry bag -- ok, that is the family's, and we have been looking for it for a while -- and a little dog out of the way so that she can pull the huge bin of wooden blocks out. Most of these blocks were made by her Uncle Mike, but some of them are blocks with letters.

We start by using the Uncle Mike blocks to build a tower. Well, she builds a tower. For some reason, any of the towers that I attempt to build make it about two blocks before they come crashing down, or, a hand makes them come crashing down, well she crashes them down. After she makes a tower with all of the blocks of a certain size, she decides to play with the littler blocks with letters on them.

I'm looking at Asher. Nowadays, you always have to look at Asher. If you're not looking at Asher, then he is probably launching himself off of the mat on which you have placed him, onto the wood laminate floors after some toy with which he shouldn't play. He is currently trying to slobber on one of the blocks that is just out of his reach. I roll him over so that he is in the middle of his mat. In an instant, he is on the other side of the mat attempting to put a half empty bag of diapers over his face. I put him back into the middle of the mat. Again, he is almost off of the mat and is attempting to shove some wires for a computer into his mouth. I roll him, one more time into the middle of the mat and turn to Tahlia.

In the three seconds that I was playing with Asher, Tahlia has taken out two blocks and placed them beside each other. There is an "A" and a "Y."

"Daddy? I need an 'M,'" she says to me.


"Because, I'm spelling Mya." She continues to dig through the blocks. She has done this before. It completely amazed us one time when we first were playing blocks with her about six months ago, and she suddenly spelled out Mya's name correctly. It was one of those nonchalant things she would do as if everyone could do it.

I start to help her, but before I can find an "M," she has it in her hand and carefully lays it beside the "Y." This should, of course, effectively spell "MYA," but, instead, it spells "AYM." I ask her what it says.

Starting at the "M" and moving backwards, she spells out "MYA." Then looks at me and smiles.

I try to help. I move the "M" and the "Y" so that it actually reads "MYA" and say, "This says Mya."

She moves all of the blocks around so that it spells "AMY" and then points randomly to the blocks and spells out "MYA."

"Actually Tahlia," I say, "that spells Amy. Do you know who Amy is? You remember Stella's Mommy. That is Amy."

She shuffles the blocks so that they spell out Mya and says, "AMY." I tell her that she has done a great job and turn back to Asher who is ferociously hanging onto the parrot that is hanging above him on his tummy time mat. He is attempting to devour the bird whole. Since he is occupied, I turn back to Tahlia.

She has taken out four blocks. She puts them side by side.

"Look Daddy," she begins to point at the farthest block to her right and moves her finger to the left. "'B','A', 'I', 'A'. That spells 'out'." She looks at me for confirmation. Of course I'm worried that she is dyslexic, not because the four blocks that she just "read" to me actually say "7" - "P" - upside down "V" - "8," nor because the last time I checked BAIA does not spell "out," but, because, she read it as if she was reading Hebrew or Arabic.

As I am impressed with her ability to spell, I call Mommy in. Mommy is on the phone with another friend who has a child who is Tahlia's age minus seven weeks. I hear Mommy say to her, "I have to go. Tahlia is spelling something right now, and I have to pay attention." Mommy heard her gasp, but little does our friend know what Tahlia is spelling.

"Tahlia," Mommy inquires, "What do you have there?"

Happy that she now has all of our attention, Tahlia shows Mommy what she spelled, "A-I-A-P," she says pointing at the same blocks that spell "out," I mean BAIA," It spells Ipp." Mommy looks at me and says, "Oh. That's wonderful.

Since it is now dinner time, we move to the table. Tahlia, however, isn't done spelling. She continues to spout out the different words that the 7 the P the V that is upside down and the 8 actually spell, her final one being "Ahhinp." Of course, we're all unclear on what Ahhinp means, but at least she knows how to spell it.

I decide to err on the side of precocious -- I'm going to decide she isn't dyslexic, because, after all, I don't know much about Hebrew or Arabic, and who am I to say she doesn't.

Do you know what is maddening?

When we just had Tahlia, we wondered all of the time about the different things that were occurring with her. Were they normal? Were they extraordinary? I mean, of course they were extraordinary because she was our first child, and, like two children, Mommy and I relished in every moment with Tahlia. When we would stay up most of the night holding her so that she wouldn't cry, I would think about how lucky I was that I had these stolen moments with her. I would make up songs to sing to her about how I would always be there for her, that, even after she no longer felt as though she needed me, I would still be there for her to come back to. Mommy and I always cherished these precious times. Another example would be when she was a tiny newborn and she pooped while we were changing her diaper. We giggled like two teenagers as we cleaned the expelled product off of a door that was easily four feet away. These are the moments of parenthood.

But now, we're in those moments of complete aggravation. We are now approaching almost one month of blood in Asher's stool. We feel so bad for the little guy. He is still in high spirits, and, because of that, the doctors aren't "too" concerned. A month ago they thought it was a tear in his anus, or as we like to call it, his little bum. We bought it. We believed it. We added additional Desitin when changing his poopy diapers. A week later, when the amount had increased, we called the doctors back. This time they said that it was probably allergies. Since the two most common allergens for a newborn are milk and soy, we cut those out of his diet. Well, we cut them out of Mommy's diet because all Asher eats is "Baby Milk" as Tahlia calls it. They said that it would take about two weeks for all remaining remnants to clear out of Mommy's diet.

A week later, no milk, which meant no yummy decaf treats from Starbucks, also known to Tahlia as "The Muffin Store," there was no change. And, to add insult to injury, the symptoms were worse. Mommy started to cleanse her diet even more.

Here we are now. Mommy is now Soy-Free, Diary-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free. And what did the allergy test for which we were given the results today show? That Asher doesn't have any allergies. They did tell us, though, that the tests were sometimes inconclusive, giving false negatives. So we have made an appointment with an allergist now.

So we continue our program. Mommy is going to try cutting garlic and orange juice out.

I know. You're probably wondering what there is to eat? Did you know that they make rice pasta? Cookies that are free of everything stated above? Even ice-cream made with coconut milk. Yeah, it all pretty much tastes like you'd expect, but, when you're trying to help your baby feel better, you'll do pretty much anything.

And it is maddening. It is maddening in today's day and age, with all of the medical advances, we're shooting in the dark in an attempt to help our little baby. We're back in the days of alchemy where we are blindly combining ingredients in an attempt to create gold out of lead. Well, I'm trying to create good tasting food out of dirt, but it is almost the same thing.

Oh, and did you know that Hersey's Chocolate Syrup doesn't have any of those ingredients? Get Mommy a big spoon.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Just a conversation

Mommy and Tahlia were eating lunch when Tahlia blurted out, "Mommy, when you not here, I not be very happy. . . When you here, I be very happy."

"Oh, Tahlia," Mommy replied as her eyes began to fill with tears, "That is so sweet." and she scooped Tahlia up and clasped her to her chest. "I am very happy when you are here too."

"Mommy?" Tahlia asked seriously as she pushed away to look into Mommy's eyes, "Why you very happy now?"

And Mommy pulled her in again.

Monday, August 11, 2008

On the phone

Do you remember the book about the pig and the pancake? I think I have a modern version.

If a parent is on a phone, then a child will want to talk to her.

We've all experienced it. You're sitting in your living room. Your child is playing quietly with some toys. You remember that there is a call you need to make. Maybe it is to a relative, or a doctor, or the President of the United States. It really doesn't matter. You will pick up the phone, and, it must be because of some type of electronic signal that is magically sent between the phone and a toddler's brain that lets a child know that someone is about to make an important, or non important call.

Suddenly, there is a need. Suddenly, there is yelling. Suddenly, not talking to Mommy is no longer a choice.

We have been working with Tahlia on not talking to Mommy when she is on the phone. One day, Tahlia even attempted to understand the need to be quiet by asking me to explain why Miriam was crying. This was one of those stories that we tell to Tahlia. The story that I made up was that Miriam's mommy was talking on the phone to her mother and needed to say something important and if Miriam was quiet, her mommy would be off the phone quickly and be able to play. We think this helped Tahlia for a little while.

But the story wasn't the only thing. We also tried to teach her phone manners. Sometimes, we'd play phone. One of us would pretend there was a call, and say something like, "Hold on Tahlia, I'm on the phone. Blah blah blah. Ok, bye. Ok Tahlia, what do you need?" She liked the game.

But still, when the phone rang, or a call was made, Mommy was needed.

Today, though, there was a breakthrough.

Mommy and Tahlia were having a conversation, when Tahlia suddenly picked up something and pretended it was a phone. Mommy looked at Tahlia and in a sing song voice said, "Oh Tahlia, who are you talking to?"

Tahlia put her little index finger up to her lips and whispered politely, "Shhhhhhh Mommy, I'm on the phone."

Mommy nodded her head and mouthed, "Oh, I see. Ok." And remained silent.

After a short conversation, Tahlia hung up the phone and looked at Mommy and said, "Ok Mommy, what do you need?"

She clearly knows the routine. Now, all we have to do, is have her act like Mommy when she was on the phone.


Swinging is fun. Tahlia has always been a child who enjoys being lifted onto the swing and flung into the air. As a small baby, Mommy would sit on the swings just outside our house in the common area with Tahlia on her lap and swing, sometimes literally, for hours. There has always been something about the swinging motion that she enjoys.

Of course, she is not alone in this. Most children enjoy swinging. Since our neighborhood has a set of swings, Tahlia always saw the older children swinging on the swings, and, therefore, she too wanted to swing. Because the older children were able to swing by themselves, before she turned one, she rode on the big girl swing all by herself.

Tahlia likes the big swing. This is when Daddy pushes her. Mommy does a pretty good job pushing Tahlia, but, if you want to go "Real high!" it is Daddy you call. When Tahlia starts swinging really high, she just laughs. Her little blond hair bobs in the air, first flying back, then rushing forward into her face. Her laughter floating through the leaves and across the tennis court.

Tahlia is serious about her swinging. So serious is she that when she sees a child in a book who is standing on a swing, or holding on with one hand, she asks, "Mommy? Why that child naughty?"

But, even while swinging on your bum is fun, there is something even more fun. Swinging on your belly.

She has recently become bold enough to do this. She stands in front of the little swing and usually calls for help. But recently, she learned how to do it all by her "delf." Slowly she moves forward, carefully, carefully, then suddenly leaning forward, her little white and pink sneakers lift from the ground, and she is flying, flying very much like when she asked me about becoming a caterpillar.

"Daddy, what would happen if I was a caterpillar?"

"I don't know Tahlia, what?" We were walking Suki. We had just rounded the corner and were heading up the hill. Large trees loomed to our left.

"Maybe I would climb up high in a tree and maybe find a bird and climb and fly high up in the sky. But maybe when I'm older."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The goat

She doesn't actually pick her pajamas anymore. She used to. She used to need, at a minimum, three sets laid out perfectly on the floor like three flattened people, and, while she walked, she would say, "Which one? Which one should I choose?" The question was really to nobody in particular, more of a stream of consciousness.

But those days are gone. Now I lay two pair on the floor, and ask her which one she would like.

She then bounds up from her red bean bag chair and dashes to the castle to find the goat. Today, he was just inside the gate that was over the tiny moat. She then snatches him from where ever he is and runs over to the pajamas. Then, she says, "Daddy, which one the goat want to wear?"

My reply is always, "I don't know, Tahlia; which one do you think he wants to wear?"

The goat then parades over the two pajamas and finally "chooses" one. This is where the difficult part occurs because the goat is a Weeble. The goat must lie down in the neck hole of the pajamas as if he is sleeping. I don't know why the goat is a he. It could be that when we received him as a gift, he came with a name and that name denoted him as male, but I don't remember. I don't really understand the need to name toys. Are children today unable to name their own toys? We never really pay attention to the names that the toys come with because we're lazy and likely to forget them. No. It isn't likely that we'll forget them. We will forget them and therefore don't look at them anymore. Furthermore, the names that Tahlia has been coming up with are far more interesting. We are past everything being named what it is. Tahlia has a dog. The dog's name is Doggie. She has a lion, aptly named Lion. She has a cat, and you have probably already concluded that the cat's name is Cat. Well it isn't. For some reason, the cat's name is Rona. But the sheep's name is Sheep, and the snowman's name is Snowman. Yes. We have a snowman. It is one of those two foot tall Christmas ornaments that more likely than not came from The Christmas Tree Shop. Tahlia recently found it in the basement and has been dragging it around everywhere with her. It still is clutching one of the wooden skis that it came with and its nose is still clearly a carrot, which, incidentally, has created a spike in the amount of raw carrots that Tahlia wants us to cut up for her. I don't say eat, because she doesn't eat them, but she likes them handy. But, for the most part, things earn new names now, as if they came from some middle Eastern country.

"Daddy," She'll say after making a shape out of some PlayDough. "Look."

"Tahlia, that is beautiful," I say, admiring the brownish blob with clear finger holes that she is holding. "What is it?"

"It's a fish." She states as if I'm an imbecile.

"Oh," I say foolishly. "What is it's name?"


She is certain the fishes name is Falavia. I ask her several times, and with each pronunciation of Falavia, Falavia becomes more Falavia than Falavia ever was before. Her eyes brighten with every statement, and, even when Mommy comes in to admire Tahlia's handiwork, Tahlia states the fishes name. "Falavia."

How much more interesting is that than a zebra whose name is Galvin. Don't get me wrong; I don't have anything against the name Galvin. I think Galvin is a great name for a handsome boy, or even a girl if the parents really like the name. Nothing wrong with the name Galvin. But why is a zebra's name Galvin? Why not Strippy or Blackandwhitehorselikeanimal? Or even Falalalalaleea? I'm not saying that is one of the names that Tahlia might give to something, but it could be, and it is far better than Galvin, at least for a zebra.

I'm pretty sure that the reason why toys are given names is because the people who are doing the marketing always asked their parents, "What is its name?" when ever they were given a toy and their parents, not realizing the power of asking questions back to the child, would give the toy a name, thus robbing their child of the joy of naming things. And now, these once children, have the chance to name the heck out of more toys than they ever thought imaginable. I know that somewhere, there is a toy-naming-person who is sitting holding this little "Galvin" saying, "I love you Galvin! Yes I do! And Galvin is so much of a better name than what my mother would have named you. No. No Zebby or Zeb or Bra for you. I don't care that my mother would have loved those names. You are Galvin!!" He then holds this little toy, and cries a little.

Ok, so maybe it is because Mommy and I don't feel like taking the time to name the animals. Maybe it is because we know that if we give the animal a name, we will be responsible for the rest of our lives for remembering the given name and we know, with how tired we are now, that we will never, ever remember the name, and that is most likely why we say to Tahlia, with a haggard look in our eyes, "I don't know Tahlia, what is its name?"

But the goat is Goat, and Goat is a Weeble who must fall down. Yes. I know that Weebles "wobble but they don't fall down." But this Weeble must wobble AND fall down. If he doesn't, there is a minor meltdown going to occur. So, I carefully slip Goat under the "picked" p.j.'s. I push his head down to the floor, carefully. Carefully. Carefully. I pull the pajama neck up to Goat's neck and pause. "Stay down," I whisper. Today, he does. I slide him, and the pajama top over to the dresser so that Goat doesn't sleep for the rest of the night in the middle of the room.

The remaining pair of p.j.'s are for Tahlia.

Of course, this all wouldn't occur if Lion didn't call on the phone to tell us what to do.

Friday, August 8, 2008

What should stay - What should go

We're trying to lessen our weight.

Mommy isn't a pack-rat. I am. We're trying to pare down the amount of stuff we own. Once, a long time ago, while moving into an Aunt and Uncle's house, I was told, "A nomad you are not." I don't know why I have a hard time ridding myself of things. It could be that I'm sentimental and see a memory in every object, but I think it comes from growing up during the Depression when anything could be anything. Ok. So I didn't grow up in the Depression, but I do have the mentality of one who did grow up then.

So we're throwing things away. We have piles to go to the Salvation Army which will end up at Goodwill. There are piles to photograph so that we can post them on Craig's list, which will later be destined for the Salvation Army to finally end up at Goodwill. And, of course, there is the pile for the dump. These, as you have already guessed, will most likely end up at the dump. If you thought for a second we would try to pawn them off as tax deductible contributions for delivery to Salvation Army, by way of Goodwill, you are seriously mistaken. You obviously have no idea of the things that we have decided are not trash and should go for a donation rather than trash.

I recently brought one of these piles to Goodwill - not the trash pile; the pile that was supposed to go to Salvation Army. Mommy and I have contributed to this non profit for a long time. We don't make any bones about it - the truth is, we are going for the tax deduction. When asked if I want a receipt for tax deduction purposes, I have been known to shout, "Hell yeah!" While there the other day, attempting to reduce my fees for living in the United States, I witnessed a rookie donator. As I was filling out my tax deductible form, he approached the woman who was organizing my junk . . . I mean trash . . . I mean, well, you know what I mean. I've committed the entire dialogue to memory in hopes of one day using it when I begin donating to another facility where my name, license plate, and vehicle are not known. When I begin donating at a place where the employees do not, upon seeing me, immediately drag a trash-can towards my car, or direct me towards the dumpster marked TRASH.

"Ah, excuse me," the innocent neonate to the world of Goodwill whispered to the woman who was haphazardly sorting shoes. "Ah, uhm, my wife and I are new to . . . well, we like the idea of giving back. . . We like the whole idea of helping out . . . we're not sure what to do." He rung his hands. He looked down. His tone was apologetic. His shoes were A. Testoni.

I realized, at this moment, that this was his first time. He was still virginal. Still attempting to be innocent. His eyes were downcast. I recognized the look of a person who is attempting to appear to not really understand what he is doing, when, in fact, he has already done his research. It is how I feel I looked when I bought my first condoms. I understood the implications; I just didn't want to admit it. I wanted to pat him on the shoulder. I wanted to let him know that everyone does it. I wanted to inform him that his friends and family wouldn't judge him. If he had looked, he would have seen me attempting to catch his eye so that I could give him the head nod to the damaged box of assorted, candles, some already partly used, which I was currently donating in hopes that he would understand we were kin. He kept his head down and averted his eyes.

She gave him the directions. He, not really understanding that you just park your car near by and unload as quickly as possible like a college kid who is using a near by dumpster the day before the landlord does the final walk through, backed his silver Honda Ridgeline with the leather interior right up to the door, blocking the hasty escape of fellow donators.

And I drove away, thinking about the upcoming dump run.

The way that we are currently deciding if most things should stay or go is if Asher will eat them.

"What about this Snoopy doll?"

"Tahlia doesn't play with it, and Asher will eat it."

"What about this candle?"

"We don't use it, and Asher will eat it."

"What about these booties for Suki's feet?"

"She doesn't wear them, and Asher will eat them."

Really, Asher will attempt to eat anything. We've seen it. Anytime that there is something near him, he attempts to put it into his mouth. Currently, it is for the sole purpose of gumming it, but we know that, shortly, it will be for the sole purpose of ingestion. If you'll notice, I didn't say anything in arms reach, because it really doesn't matter if it is in arms reach. He will lean, roll, shuffle, and mentally will anything he sees that he wants to put into his mouth to come to him. A list of some of the things would be: pizza crust, paper, magazines, diapers (full or empty), wipes, toys, pillows, watches, telephones, plates, vacuum cleaners, pieces of wood, etc. It really doesn't matter.

Of course, this could all be normal. Except it wasn't for Tahlia. She would find something on the floor, say a coin, and look at it, then look at us. This was, of course, prior to her having the ability to formulate a sentence. Through mental telepathy, we would hear her thoughts asking, "Mommy? Daddy? This? This can I put in my mouth? Should I touch this? Yes? No? Mommy? Daddy?" We would look happily down on her and say, "Wait Tahlia. We don't want you to put that in your mouth." She would then have a look of relief and pick up offending article, holding it with an air of disgust between her index finger and thumb, to hand it to us, rather than putting the vile object into her mouth.

I know; it is unbelievable. But it is true. Let me give you an example. Most children have the darndest time understanding electrical outlets. Not Tahlia. The first time she approached and casually reached out an inquisitive finger to prod at an outlet, Mommy quickly kneeled down by her and, while making eye contact, said in a calm, but firm voice, "No Tahlia. That is dangerous. You don't touch that."

Rarely do we tell Tahlia no. But, due to the severity of the situation, we took dire precautions.

She looked at the outlet for a little while longer, and continued crawling on her way. The very next day she was back at the outlet. Tahlia looked up at Mommy, pointed at the outlet, and said firmly, "No." That was the end of worrying about outlets.

On many occasions Tahlia has handed us objects that she has found on the floor that she has deemed dangerous: a small piece of plastic, a sharp stick, a broken piece of glass. Although all of these were found inside the house, when it is outside, she still lets us know.

But we realize that things will not be the same with Asher. Gone are the days of coins on the floor. Gone are the days of no feet wiping. Gone are the days of broken bottles and loaded guns lying carelessly around the house. We've realized our sinful ways and are repenting - one partially used candle that Asher will most likely eat, at a time.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dad's expressions

My dad, Grampa, has a lot of expressions. These are the types of expressions all parents have that, at a certain age, all children start repeating. I think some of the expressions that our parents used are genetically coded into our DNA and no matter how hard we attempt not to use them, it is beyond our locus of control to stop. For example:

"Hey Dad? Do you know where Danny is?"
"Nope. Not my day to watch him."

Yes. This is something my dad would say. This is one of the expressions that has a time delay in my brain, and, therefore, I am able to stop it before I actually say it. Unfortunately, the shadow of the saying always flashes through my mind, and, so, I am always haunted by it.

One of the expressions that often slips through the filter is the following. Since I am a teacher, I am often asked what day it is.

"Hey Mr. M.? What's today?"
"It's Tuesday, all day." All day is drawn out as if there needs to be extra emphasis attached to it.

I try to stop myself. I try not to let those two syllables slip past those two teeth at the forefront of my mouth which are all a small child with a lisp wants for Christmas. I try. More often than not, I fail. But sometimes, and I savour them, my tongue sticks like a gymnast's landing off of the vault, and silence follows "Tuesday."

It isn't that these phrases are annoying. My dad is who he is and these expressions make up part of him. But, that doesn't mean they are me. And because of this, I sometimes want to sign up for gene therapy.

Tonight, we are sitting down for dinner. Dinner is pizza. It is Friday, and somewhere in our parenting mentality, pizza has been OKed for Fridays. Tahlia used to not eat pizza, but recently, she sucks it down much like the popsicles that she so enjoys.

Usually, she eats the pizza with gusto, but, for some reason, most likely because she is exhausted from going to the pool today, eating is a painstaking task. She is through four fifths of one piece, but is losing momentum. We asked her if she is all done, and due to her subtle nod, we switch to blueberries. She needs to poop and fruit usually does the trick.

After eating five or six blueberries, she looks at me and says the magic words.

"I want a popsicle." You have to read it in a sing song manner. Popsicle is all three syllables: "Pop - sic - le." The best way I can describe it is to imagine you are skipping and saying it. "I. . . want a Pop - sic - le." Probably three strides to complete the whole phrase. The "a" is in a higher range than the rest of the phrase.

I look at Mommy with the, "Has she eaten enough?" look. She nods with the, "Asher is starting to go crazy and I'm not sure if he wants to eat or go and play in the other room but I have been with these kids for the whole day and I really would rather not make another decision so if you could just handle this and not rely on me to make every single decision in the house I'd really appreciate it and while you're at it could you please get me a piece of chocolate?" look. My receptors are on the fritz, so I wave at Tahlia's plate and one of my Dad's expressions slips out.

"Make this disappear."

For those of you who don't understand, "Make this disapear," is the equivalent of saying "Eat the rest of your food. There are starving people somewhere and, quite possibly more importantly, we paid good money for this." It does not mean to drop some on the floor so that the dog eats it. It doesn't mean to have some kind soul who is at the dinner table eat the rest of your food, and it definitely, by my father's standards, doesn't mean what Tahlia deduced.

She looked at me for a moment, and by moment I mean "one Mississippi," and picked up her napkin and covered her plate. Then she picked up the entire plate, placed it beside her place-mat, and, with the "I didn't do anything wrong" look said,

"I'm all done."

Maybe it is that I don't have the je ne sais quoi that my father has when it comes to delivering his lines. Maybe it is that I wasn't clear and should have reexplained. Maybe it is, and this is the one I'm going to stick with, that when you're beat, your beat, and even if it is by a two year old, you have to "know when to hold them, know when to fold them." Ok. So my dad didn't say that.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I call him a puddle. I'm not exactly sure why, but to me, Asher is a puddle. He snuggles in when you pick him up. He attempts to kiss everything. Ok. Maybe kiss is giving him a lot of credit. He is more like a hungry baby bird who feeds off of partially chewed kisses. When anyone, including his big sister, approaches him, he opens his mouth as wide as he can, moves his head from the left to the right in a rocking motion, and attempts to suck in the love as if it is a small worm full of nutrients.

He's a puddle.

When he wakes up, more often than not he just looks at you and smiles with bright eyes that call calmly for someone to pick him up to hug. Once in your arms, he droops and drips down into a small bundle of love.

He's a puddle.

Often times, I'll be singing to Tahlia, or we will be playing a silly game at the table, and I'll glance over to see him staring at me. When I catch his eyes, his face becomes a giant smile with an open mouth that slightly resembles a square. He can't control the amount of joy he feels, and he turns away, still smiling.

He is a puddle.

When we named him, we thought of all of the great names he would have. Of course, we simply love Asher, but we loved the idea of him being called Ash, or Ashy. Sometimes I call him Basher too. There are so many.

But , I'll admit, I'm a little partial to Pudd.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

At dinner

She loves cold things. Cold peas. Cold corn. Cold anything.

Please don't think that we deprive our child. Granted, just recently we introduced dessert. Granted, a few months ago when Mommy was in a Hallmark card attempting to buy a card for some celebration, and Tahlia was throwing a fit, Mommy was in the middle of the statement of, "Tahlia you need to get back here or . . . " when she realized that there was no "or." There was no television time. There was no special food. Mommy didn't really think that saying, "Tahlia, you need to get back here now or we won't give you any whole wheat DHA infused bread with Smart Balance spread for snack later," would really have the effect that she needed.

Maybe Tahlia's love for cold things is genetic. Recently, we were reminded that when Mommy was really young, she loved eating popsicles during the summer time, too. By popsicles, I mean ice on the end of a stick -- literally. Mommy was allergic to most food as a young girl and so couldn't have real popsicles. Never having had the real thing, she was enamored with the ice pop. One day, when one of her little friends was visiting they decided to have a "popsicle." Of course, the little boy who was her friend, had had the real thing and immediately expressed his disapproval. Most children would have been heart broken, but Mommy just continued to enjoy the cool yumminess of frozen water in the shape of Micky Mouse with no calories.

But she loves cold things. We have been looking for popsicles that don't have any added sugar. "Good" popsicles if you will. Sure, there is the Breyers brand that states that it is sugar free. They are, but they aren't. They are sweetened with Splenda. When I bought them, only to discover they were seasoned with Splenda, I felt a little betrayed. I ate them, and seethed with the feeling of betrayal. Tahlia, with red juice flowing down her chin, ate them with glee. So did Mommy. My feelings of betrayal almost stopped me from having one the next day, but I needed to rid the house of Breyers near lies, and so I seethed with a red tongue.

We found them. We realized that we only had to go as far as our refrigerator. We bought popsicle makers and poured V8 pomegranate and blueberry Fusion juice in four of them, and poured OJ in the other four. Viola -- healthy popsicles. We were excited when we put them into the freezer -- Tahlia cried. I wish I could tell you that she cried out of happiness, but it wasn't. It was out of sadness because she wanted popsicles then, at 8:00 am. We tried to distract her with pancakes.

Which brings us to tonight. We are having dinner, and Tahlia is chowing down on some chicken and macaroni salad. She is excited because, if she eats a hearty meal, she will have desert -- a juice popsicle.

She impresses me with the amount that she eats, and I ask her if she wants a yellow popsicle or a red popsicle. She could have said so many different things:

"I would like a red one."
"Red please."
"May I have a red."

But no. She looks nonchalantly around and then says, "How about a red one?"

I laugh loudly at her silly phrase, a phrase that she has obviously learned from hearing Mommy and me speak.

As I go to fetch her popsicle, I realize she has not had any vegetables, so I ask her if she wants corn or peas.

I return with her popsicle and a bowl of peas and watch as she repeatedly says, "Cold! Cold! Cold!" as she chomps down a V8 pop and frozen peas.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Names of parents & that person

I remember when Tahlia started calling Mommy Mama. I know that you probably are thinking it was a beautiful moment, a moment to cherish. It is a moment that is forever etched in our memories.

It was a long time ago, and Tahlia has now moved well past calling Mommy Mama. It was when she was around nine months old. Mommy and I were at our wits end because attempting to help Tahlia to go to sleep was always a marathon that involved rocking, walking, and bouncing. Hours and hours of seemingly endless hours were spent in an attempt to help her fall asleep. Much of that time was spent holding a crying child, a child who we just wanted to be at peace, and we seemed unable to give that to her. In the end, we decided to follow a fade out approach in which Mommy and I would allow Tahlia to cry for a few minutes, and then slowly add minutes to the few that we had waited the last time. Within four days there was no more crying.

It sounds great, but it was a little difficult (Mommy would disagree and say that it was extremely difficult). It was around this time that we were given a wonderfully horrible gift. It really was wonderful . . . it was a Summer video monitor. The reason it is amazing is that, after your child begins falling asleep, you are allowed to see your little angel sleeping peacefully through night vision goggles. However, before that, you are allowed the view of a child who wants her Mama and Dada. Yes, not Mommy and Daddy. Mama and Dada. On too many occasions we watched as our little girl held onto her crib rungs, swinging back and forth, screaming and crying for "Mama."

"Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama."

Suddenly, the sounds Mommy loved to hear became toxic. But, after four eternal days, she no longer called out and that Summer video monitor just showed us the cherubim sleeping.

But Mama passed and was replaced by Mommy. When at first Mommy was called, anything was given. Those sweet sounds of "Mommy," filled Mommy with such love that she was putty in this child's hand.

And a year passed, and Mommy and Daddy were no longer just our names to her, but to each other. When I would need something, no longer would I ask by Mommy's given name, but would ask "Mommy" to bring a soda for me, or a bagel.

Recently, Tahlia received a book from Nona about the sea shore. It quickly became one of her favorites. The book does not only have the child find various animals and crustaceans found in the ocean, but there are also treasures such as bracelets and rings that can be found.

On one page, there is a heart locket with an engraved letter. It is the letter that starts Mommy's first name. I asked Tahlia whose locket it was one time while reading the book. Not really thinking, I said that it was Mommy's.

"Why it Mommy's locket, Daddy?"

"Because it starts Mommy's name."

"Daddy. You teasing me."

I make a split second decision. "Really Tahlia. Mommy's name is ___________."

"Why Mommy's name ___________."It sounds like a foreign word coming off of her lips. It sounds surreal. It holds no meaning to me because she is simply saying a word that really has no attahed meaning, after all, Mommy's name to Tahlia is Mommy.

"Well, that is that name that her Mommy and Daddy decided to give her." I continue with an explanation about if she believes that Mya calls her Mommy Rene or if she calls her Mommy Mommy. She doesn't believe me initially, but I guess, after talking about a few of her friends, it begins to make sense and when I ask her about Esme, she states that Esme most likely calls her Mommy Mommy.

The next day, Mommy, after the kids are in bed, is shocked. She relates the story of Tahlia, while reading the seashore book, suddenly turned to her and said, "Mommy, you're ___________."

Mommy, because I didn't tell her anything about the night before, is shocked. How is it possible, she wonders that Tahlia has any idea what her name is.

While retelling this experience to me, I tell her about the night before, and it all makes sense. I was a little surprised that she held the idea with her for so long. But she seems to do that more often than not now.

And we still love to hear her call me Daddy, and Mommy, Mommy. Recently she has been doing the run-up-and-grab-my-legs-thing while saying, "I love you Daddy." Hearing our names doesn't get any better than that.

Which brings me to dinner two nights ago. We are finishing up and decide to see who she wants to put her to bed. If we don't ask now, there is the possibility that right in the middle of putting her down, she could decide that Daddy shouldn't put her down but Mommy should. When this happens, I wait out the crying and curse myself for not thinking to ask earlier, and forgoing all of the crying. The down side of this is that this question usually means that Mommy has to put two children down, but it does open up some time for Daddy to clean up the house prior to Mommy coming downstairs. Not necessarily a win win, but at least a tie-tie.

So we ask Tahlia, "Hey honey, who do you want to put you to bed tonight."

We expect Mommy. We expect Daddy. What we don't expect is, "That person," which she says as she jerks her thumb towards Mommy. As the sense of humour in our house is rich, we both begin laughing.

I smile, "Who is that?"

She smiles too, "Mommy."

"What is her name," I'm just curious if she will remember.

"___________." she says so sweetly, and again, although I hear the sounds come out of her mouth, they mean nothing. It is as if the white noise from Asher's noise maker interrupt the sounds as they flit past her teeth.

Again, I'm curious, "What is Daddy's name?" There is no way she has an answer to this one. We haven't even gone over it.

"___________." And she says my name. I've never heard it before from her lips.

But, even as she states our given names, they are not our names to her. Our friends call us by those names. Our coworkers do too. Neighbors and family all recognize us as these names given to us from the beginning. But they are not our names to her. They are foreign sounds on a non-native's tongue.

But we relish in those sounds.

Looking for balloons

I'm putting Tahlia to bed. She is wearing new purple pajamas that make her look like a little princess. They really don't make her look like a princess, but there is a little crown on the front of them and so I've told her they make her look like a little princess.

We finish reading her books for the night and have turned off the light to cuddle and tell her first story. This is one of my favorite parts of the night time routine.

I'm about to start the story -- per Tahlia's request, it is going to be about "Tahlia on the little swing, and Miriam on the big swing, and all of a sudden Miriam and Savanna begin crying." It is an interesting story.

Anyway, as I start telling it, "One day, Tahlia was on the . . ." She interrupts me.

"Daddy, why Tahlia go like this?" She has her palm pressed firmly to her forehead. I have a sudden thought that she is not well.

"Tahlia, are you ok?"

"Yeah Daddy. Why Tahlia go like this?" She is sitting up now, looking at me with her little hand on her head.

For the life of me, I don't know what she is talking about. I'm trying to have her relax, and I know that not understanding what she is asking about will not relax her. Luckily, recently when we have been having a hard time understanding about what she is asking, she is very patient with us. "I don't know Tahlia. Why are you doing that?"

"When we saw the ballons, I put my hand like this. Why?"


It flashes into my head, a fragment of a memory, a shadow of a sight. Earlier in the evening, we were returning from Boston Market from dinner with Opa. I was driving with the kids. Not an unusual sight in our city, but one that is always loved is the hot air balloons that frequent our skies. As I turned down one of the streets to return home, I noticed, out of my rear view mirror two balloons in the distance. I knew that Tahlia would be ecstatics about them, but I don't want to let her know about them too soon as there is the possibility that they will never be in her visual range. I hedge my bets.

"Tahlia, we might see some balloons."

She begins looking around. "Where Daddy?"

"I'm not sure you'll see them. Maybe."

We keep driving. We turn another corner. And another. And then the last.

And there they are. Two beautiful balloons floating just above the tree line.

"There they are honey."

"Where Daddy."

"There, do you see them?"

And there is the memory. Just before she says something, I catch a glimpse of her with her hand on her head looking through the window into the evening sky. It didn't register with me what she was doing, but now, when she asks me about her hand, it suddenly all makes sense.

In the car, she lets me know that she does see the balloons, and we return home.


Back in her room this whole memory flashes back to me. I realize that what she is attempting to do is what she most likely has seen Mommy and me do a hundred times when we are in the bright sun outside and there is something in the distance we want to see. What she is trying to do is shield her eyes so that she can see the balloons, only, she didn't realize that she needed to lift her palm away from her forehead.

Now, in full realization, I quickly, and calmly explain "Why she's doing this."

And we continue with the night time routine. I'll make the last story about balloons.

Going to the beach -- on her bus

Catching up -- from 4/32/08

Grandma gave Tahlia a bus. I'm not really sure why we call it a bus. It is a Winnie the Poo vehicle that has a seat and wheels.

Lately, she has been pushing herself around the living room. Sometimes, she would go to Mya's house. Other times she would go to the grocery store. Then, she decided that she wanted to go to the beach.

"Mommy, I go to beach."

"How are you going to get there?"

"On my bus."

And off she goes, to the beach. She'll have a good time. She always does.

Driving in the car

Catching up on old posts -- this one is from 4/23

"I want to drive."

We've just arrived home from somewhere. It really isn't important from where we've arrived, just that we're home and we need to go inside.

Now, she wants to drive. This is a new experiment lately. She likes to climb into the driver's seat and start pushing the buttons. When you watch her, she has a level of concentration on her face that I think is only matched by the engineers who construct the space shuttle. She pulls the windshield wiper lever, pushes the seat heater buttons, presses the fog lights. Sometimes, when you move away from the car, you will hear the locks click shut, then open, then shut, then open.

"Keep the doors unlocked Tahlia."

She isn't going to keep the doors unlocked. She will lock them again.

I know this will just be one of those things that she does for a while. Although at this moment, it really is no big deal for her to sit in the car for a little while longer pressing buttons and pulling levers, it will be one of those things that she will want to do when we are in a serious rush to enter the house. I know that this is one of those things that Mommy and I will sit later and talk about how we remember how Tahlia used to sit in the car and "drive."

We definitely will remember tomorrow when we enter the car and the seats are heated, the wipers are on, and people keep flashing their high beams at us because our high beams and flood lights are on.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Molly Bath

We like to think we have an international house in which we are raising our children. It is just something we like to think. There is nothing about our house, or anything that resides within to indicate that we are international. Most people who would enter our house would think we are from the United States of America, and a little messy. Ok, maybe a little more than a little messy, but definitely from the USA.

Some things we do have that are a touch of the world are books that help people learn French. Mommy was a French major in college, and I think it would be amazing to have a bilingual child. Maybe we'll adopt.

The books are fascinating. The are cutesy little stories about a dog who steps in horse poop; a girl with too many stuffed animals; an elephant and a giraffe who want to be like each other. At the top is the English, and at the bottom is the French. When pressed, Mommy will read the French to Tahlia. Sometimes, I read the words at the bottom to Tahlia. I wouldn't say I read the French to Tahlia, it really is that I phonetically pronounce the words at the bottom which definitely isn't how they would be pronounced in French. But I have fun, and sometimes, when I have memorized how Mommy has said all of the words, I can recite them very well.

One of the books is about a little girl named Molly. Her dad has promised her a story if she quickly moves through her nighttime routine. Molly rushes to the bathroom and washes her face and brushes her teeth, only to find her dad "fast asleep and snoring."

One day, we were in a rush. We needed to quickly have her in bed. Molly and Molly's bath came to mind.

Now, rather than always giving her a bath, quiet often we do Molly bath, which is a facecloth, and a quick wipe of her face and hands to clean of the grime of the day. Very international.

Can your finger go someplace

I'm not exactly sure what this means, but she wanted to know. I hope I answered correctly.

While putting her down tonight, a rushed put down after a dinner out with Opa, she grasped hold of the very tip of my nose and started twisting it back and forth. As you know, Tahlia is too gentle to actually hurt anyone or anything, so the twisting was more of stretching. She was talking to the end of my nose, saying things like, "Hi Daddy's nose."

She gave my nose a respite for a little while, and clasped her hands together and began twisting them to the right and the left. After a few turns, she says, "Daddy, my hand can't go all around, only this far." She shows me. "It can only go this far because my hand holds it." It was an obvious statement, so I didn't say anything. Then, "Daddy, why can't my hand go?"

"Because your other hand is holding it." I respond, using her answer as so much of the time she uses mine.

"This far Daddy?" She asks twisting to the stopping point.

"Yes." Remember, even though this is fascinating to me, I have to have her go to sleep. It is quickly approaching late, and she needs to sleep.

She lets go with one hand and begins twisting her hands at the wrists, then arms. First this way and then that. She looks back at me and grasps my nose again.

"Can your nose go somewhere?"

Her question, as many of them do, caught me off guard, "No, sweetie, it can't go anywhere." I convey with my whisper voice.


"Because it is attached to my face." Again, an obvious answer.

She seems to like twisting various parts of my face right now, and her hands shoot out and grasp my forehead, "Can your forehead go somewhere?"

"No." I say as she smiles.

"Can your chin go somewhere?"


"Can your eyes go somewhere?"

"No." With each new question, comes an new finger grasping or poking the mentioned feature.

"Can your finger go somewhere?"

The song that I said I was going to stay through is at its end. "No, honey," I say softly, "It has to stay attached to my hand."

And I give her a kiss, and tell her to have sweet dreams, and slip out the door to leave her wondering, very much like the Cake song, "When you sleep, where do your fingers go?"

Friday, July 18, 2008


Tahlia has always been a child who has shown concern. She often asks us to explain why this child or that child was crying. We have elaborate stories that I will relate at some point surrounding Zara, Mya, Miriam and other children trying to shed some light on why they were crying and why it is ok.

Recently, though, Mommy has been dealing with a lot. Because of these factors, Mommy felt overwhelmed in the car on the ride home from an appointment. After she stated this feeling of being overwhelmed, Tahlia began asking why,

"Mommy, why you sad?"

"Tahlia, Mommy isn't really sad, it is just that there is a lot on her mind right now. There is a lot she's thinking about."

"Daddy, why Mommy thinking about a lot?"

"I don't know, there is just a lot she has to think about."

"Why, Mommy sad?"

Seeing as though my current answer didn't work, I attempt to switch gears. "Hey Tahlia? Do you know when Daddy keeps tickling you and you start to feel crazy and want him to stop?" I see her head nod. "Well that is a little bit of how Mommy feels right now. But she is all right and will be fine soon."

"Why Daddy tickling Mommy?"

Obviously the second attempt didn't work. Fortunately, a cherry picker or some other vehicle passes by and Mommy's consternation is no longer on the table.

Well, at that time.

Suddenly, when I am putting her to bed tonight, she brings up the subject again.

"Daddy? Why Mommy sad?"

"Well Honey, she really isn't sad. There is just a lot she has to think about right now."

"Why Tahlia, and Daddy, and Asher not sad?"

"Well, Mommy isn't really sad either. She just has a lot to think about now."

"Why there a lot for her to think about now?"

"Well, there just is. What is important is that even though she has a lot to think about, she really is happy."

"Why she really happy?"

"Mommy's happy because she has a wonderful little girl who she loves and loves her; a wonderful little boy who she loves and who loves her; and a Daddy, that's me, who loves her sooooooooooo much."

I think I've found the answer. I hoped, with my switch from sad to happy, she will bite and the reason behind the overwhelmed Mommy will be gone. What I don't expect is the next thing she says.

"Why Daddy love Mommy?"

I lay out the laundry list of reasons for why Daddy loves Mommy, and she is content. In a few minutes, she is asleep, her world safe again with a Mommy who is happy, and a Daddy who loves her Mommy.

Behind closed doors

A story from Mommy.

Mommy is putting Asher down and Tahlia is playing in her room. Since we don't actually know, we often imagine what Tahlia does when she plays by herself in her room. We think that she is sitting in front of the castle, running through scenarios of various people's birthdays. Or, she is sitting in front of the white milk crate that is her book case reading about Corduroy at the beach, or the fairies, or the big red barn. But really, we don't have any idea. She could be climbing on the dresser. She could be performing open stitch surgery on her stuffed elephant.

Or what if it is as our wildest dreams depict it? What if, when parents are away, when those of us who have allowed our younger minds and beliefs to be replaced with the realities of bills and deadlines, when children are alone in their rooms, the toys come to life as depicted in stories? What if she is dancing with her teddy bear who does not need her to hold its hands to polka around the room? What if there really is a fairy, much like the fairies we always profess will come and sit on her pillow while she sleeps, who is playing with her and sprinkling fairy dust in her shoes?

Of course, there never is any evidence of this. It seems that whether Mommy or I am watching her or not, her room always looks like gale force winds and a major tropical storm has struck.

But maybe we aren't looking closely enough. Maybe we are allowing our preconceived notions of what is and isn't possible to cloud what is really occurring.

This is where Mommy's story ties in.

As she was putting Asher to bed, she watched as Tahlia dashed out of her room; a look of awe and possibly fear on her face. Her arms were pumping as it seemed to be a matter of life or death to expeditiously exit her room. Mommy watched as Tahlia peered with saucer sized eyes over the shoulder closest to Asher's room. Then, the object of dread, the object that created this exodus came rolling out a fraction of a second behind her. A blue ball chased her heels.

Now, we can all rationalize the situation. Obviously she had thrown the ball at the wall, or some place else, and it bounced off. Engrossed in her game, she decided, rather than stopping to pick up the ball, to flee from it. The trajectory was such that the only route for Tahlia to take was out the door, or else, the ball would catch up to her. The impact was great enough to allow the continued rolling of the ball even though the friction of the carpet was great.

It all makes rational sense. The above clearly has to be the explanation.

But what if. . . what if Tahlia, the blue ball, the elephant, the monkey, Little Esme (the Fisher Price toy), Little Mommy and Daddy (again, the Fisher Price figures -- a queen and king), a sheep Weeble, and possibly DogDog and Panda were all playing tag? What if the blue ball was "it" and needed to catch Tahlia? What if, although Mommy may deny this, even though a ball rolling from a bounce off of a wall should slow down when it is on a shag rug, was actually gaining speed in an attempt to no longer be "it?"

We can all believe our stories, but I'd like to believe that Tahlia was legitimately running out of that room because she was involved in a crazy game of tag.

Why not others

Recently, Tahlia has been fascinated by things happening to other people. She is struggling with the idea the something can happen to somebody else, and it doesn't happen to everyone.

Here is a situation that happens often.

We are eating dinner and Suki steps on somebody's foot. Yes, Suki shouldn't be in the dining room when we're eating dinner. When she is in the dining room and begins moving around, she immediately begins to knock into people and furniture. This makes the meal go from pleasing to distasteful and usually leads to one of the adults in the family sternly asking Suki to leave. And yes, "sternly asking" is a euphemism.

Once moving around, and once the foot is stomped, there usually is a gasp and an exclamation concerning the location off Suki. Usually she just leaves and that, sans the pain that resides in the foot, ends the situation.

But today, Tahlia asked, "Why Tahlia and Daddy and Asher's foot not hurt?"

Mommy's answer addressed how she guessed it was because the big black dog's massive paw had only landed on her foot.

But this was not the only occasion. If somebody trips over something, she questions why it doesn't happen to everyone. If somebody knocks into something, again, the questioning. When you are in a house with two very sleep deprived people, a two year old toddler, and a large dog who acts as if she is not ten but two, there are a plethora of incidents concerning injury.

I'm fascinated to see her little mind struggle with the idea of self and others.

I'm also glad that we don't have a bigger family.

"Why Tahlia and Daddy and Asher and . . . and . . . and . . . . not hurt?"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

When good choices go bad

Choices are supposed to be our bread and butter. When you are dealing with a two year old, the ability to make things happen often happens because of choices.

Say, for example, you need to have them put on their shoes. When you have a two year old, you don't fight for one specific shoe, but give two equally good choices, knowing that, although the white sneakers will match much better with the turquoise outfit than the motley colored ones that have green and mauve which barely match with each other, the child will most likely pick the shoe that doesn't match. But not matching, unless a major photo shoot is scheduled, is a minor detail. Making it out the door on time with weather appropriate shoes is the more relevant matter.

So we give them choices. Choices of fruit, vegetables, pjs, directions of walk, toys, and the list goes on.

Choices are our bread and butter.

Today, though, the unexpected happened. We needed Tahlia to go pee-pee on the potty prior to walking Suki. She didn't want to go, professing that she could hold it and go after the walk. Recently, however, she has developed the ability to go "A little bit" in her panties. She has realized that if she siphons off a minuscule amount, she gains the ability to continue the activity in which she is presently engaged. Often times, although she has stated that she has gone a little, we can find no evidence of leakage. Maybe it is all a matter of mind.

Deciding to circumnavigate the above mentioned situation, we decided a choice was in need.

"Tahlia," Daddy smugly stated, "Do you want to go pee-pee with Daddy or Mommy."

Today, Tahlia was all about Mommy, so the clear winner would be Mommy.

Have I mentioned that choices are supposed to be our bread and butter. Choices are supposed to help us arrive at closure. Choices are what we give to them so that we can attain what we want.

Choices let us down today.

As she marched away from both of us, she stated, "I don't want to pee-pee with anyone."

Maybe next time, we'll try three choices.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hold me

Suzanne Vega has a song called "Gypsy". It is a beautiful song that Mommy once, a long time ago, introduced to Daddy.

It starts: "You come from far away/With pictures in your eyes/Of coffeeshops and morning streets/In the blue and silent sunrise"

And it is beautiful. It is beautiful to me for more than just the song; for, as is so often with music, the song is not only the song, but is all of the emotion of those days long ago when Mommy and Daddy were just falling in love, just beginning to reach out to find each other's hands to hold, just beginning to steal kisses. It is a song that returns often to me.

Part way through the song, the chorus states, "Hold me like a baby that will not fall asleep."

When I was younger, and without children, I yearned for these words. Although they are beautifully sung, the chorus is a bit ironic, for, how many people actually enjoy a baby who will not fall asleep? Our experience is that, while we enjoy whole heartedly holding a child who has already drifted into dreamland, the child who needs constant rocking and simply contests falling asleep really is not very enjoyable.

All that said, artistic license is accepted. We will, for this exercise, decide that holding a baby who will not fall asleep is a beautiful thing.

The song rushes into me now. Tahlia has just climbed out of her bath. She is sopping and naked and wants to jump into her towel. Instead of waiting for me to wrap her up, she calls for me,

"Hold me, Daddy. Hold me like a baby."

Now, not only do I have those long ago emotions, but also all of these new ones that are the suddenly created by this cherubim who, by simply existing, makes everything ok. And I wrap her in the pink overside towel and fulfill her request, pulling her carefully onto my lap.

And I freeze time. I take a snap shot. I encase this moment in memory ice. I savory this, for this moment will soon flee and our little girl will keep growing. Already she realizes that she is no longer a baby, she is a big girl. She has grown out of her baby life, and she will keep growing until she is a teenager who possibly wants nothing to do with her dad. She will keep growing until she moves away, attending a college, or marrying. She will keep growing into the wonderful person who we truly want her to be.

And I freeze time to hold her like a baby while she lets me.