Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ghost Moment

I had one of those moments last night.

One of those moments when you know you are holding the baby, but for some reason, you hear the baby making sounds from across the room.

One of those moments when the baby is clearly in your arms, for you are holding your arms as if there is a baby in them, but the baby is clearly making noise from across the room.

One of those moments, one of the many moments of confusion, when your sleep deprived brain is still attempting to help the baby who is already asleep and in his bassinet across the room to go to sleep while you lie in bed sleeping too.

Mommy woke me up to ask if I wanted to pick him up out of the bassinet. I was confused because even though I can hear him from across the room, I'm pretty sure I'm holding him.

It takes me a moment. Mommy asks me again. I'm not confused anymore, just holding a bundle of air, and I swing my legs out of bed to head over to pick up the real baby.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Moby D

I never thought I'd feel this way about a piece of ten foot long fabric in which you carry a small child, but I do. I. . . I . . . I love it.

It has nothing to do with Herman Melville's novel. At first you may think putting it on is as elusive as the notorious whale, but, after a few times, you realize that Ahab would have given his other leg if catching Moby Dick was as simple as this wrap. Yeah, it's simply a wrap. A wrap that has nothing to do with Chipotle.

I'll admit, when Mommy said she wanted to get the Moby-D, not the Moby because it doesn't have the additional piece of fabric, I was hesitant. Why not a regular sling? But, as the Monkey's song goes, "Now, I'm a believer."

You take this ten foot piece of fabric and wrap it around your belly, around your back, make a cross, go over your shoulders, under the part in front of your belly, make another cross, around your waist, tie a knot and voila, you can do anything while your baby is snuggling against your chest. Ok, so that sounds complicated, but really, it isn't.

We went to the store prior to Asher's birth to try one on, and, as stated, I was hesitant. The reason for my hesitance could have been the fact that the one we were dry running was lavender with a flower motif and a silk fabric panel. But when the nice woman at Nature's Child helped me wrap it this way and that way and this way and that way, then handed me the twenty pound life size doll named Tommy who I slid effortlessly into this secret pouch, I was astonished. It was like I wasn't even holding a child. Plus, the purple was slimming. I began to grow fond of the purple. There was a purple one left in stock. Mommy looked at me askance.

We went with the brown.

Now, I am not hesitant. It is amazing. We feel safe with Asher in there. He is secure and not going anywhere, and we can use both hands without any effort. It fits Mommy as well as it does Daddy. There is no bulky stroller when we want to go for an evening walk. If we need to go to the store, after arriving at the store we don't have to worry about the car seat. We pop Asher out of his car seat, slip him into the Moby, and bring Tahlia along.

You become accustomed to the stares. But the stares are usually followed by a, "Is there a baby in there?" Then "oh's" and "ah's" when you produce a little head. I wonder if these are the types of stares the people who used the first prams received. Did people make comments like: "Is there a baby in there? Odd that you don't have your child secured to your body."

And, when his little head is popped out, you can give kisses galore -- I think this is an added bonus. But who knows, maybe it is all part of the package. Who would have ever thought I'd feel so amorously for a ten foot piece of fabric in the first place.

I was wrong about the naked running in "a different view" entry

They were crazy dancing.

Crazy dancing is when one swings her arms up and down enthusiastically while dancing around the room yelling, "I'm crazy dancing; I'm crazy dancing!"

Crazy dancing, I was told, can also turn into crazy jumping, crazy running, and as Tahlia demonstrated, crazy twirling.

Mommy admits to "possibly" making Tahlia a little crazy before bedtime.

Sometimes bedtime routine is for winding down. Sometimes it's just for enjoyment.

Mommy rarely has this time with Tahlia, the stomping and giggling make us all smile.

Cannibalism Part II

It wasn't me; it was her.

She's started eating people. It really isn't anything serious, Mommy tells me. Tahlia just recently decided that she occasionally is going to eat people. She'll be sitting, playing with lions, or Weebles, or her retro Fisher-Price castle (the one I played with as a child. The one, quel horreur, that has the trap door that could actually catch a small child's finger. Yes, we're rebels, we not only encourage her to play with it, but we show her how to drop various people down into the dungeon -- can you imagine, in this day and age, a child of only two dropping people into a dungeon?), or wooden blocks made by Uncle Mike, and she'll decide that she wants to eat people. Who she chooses is always random. It could be Mya, or Sam. Sometimes it's Esme, but at dinner tonight, her first course was Brianna.

This was my first experience with the people eating, so I didn't really understand why Tahlia, after finishing her tortellini, began pretend eating something on the side of her dish. Nor did I comprehend when she said, "I'm eating Brianna," what was going on.

Mommy caught me up, and we all began playing the game.

An important component to the game is that Mommy always tells Tahlia that somebody is going to be sad. For example, since Brianna is the current delicacy, Mommy will say, "Oh, Tracy and Brian will be sad."

Sometimes, when Mommy doesn't make her statement fast enough, Tahlia quickly asks, "Who be sad, Mommy?" In an attempt to figure out whose heart she is breaking by eating his or her loved one.

As Tahlia munched more rapidly on Brianna, I asked, "Will Tracy be sad?"


"Will Brian be sad?"


"Will Tahlia be sad?"


"Oh," Mommy chimes in with a smile, "I forgot. Tahlia is never sad."

Tahlia is an empathetic child in reality, so I'm not concerned. For some reason, though, the eating of a friend, thus the loss of a friend, a friend who she will never see again, equates to no tears. I admire her moxy.

I attempt to trick her. Maybe there are people who she holds more dear to her heart. "Tahlia, are you going to eat Daddy?"

A smile sneaks across her face. She is voracious. She quickly scarfs down Daddy.

"Who is sad Tahlia?" I ask. I'm confident she will be sad. Why wouldn't she be sad for her Daddy?

"Mommy sad; Atter sad; Suki sad; but not Tahlia." The "not" is elongated and sustains to emphasizes its meaning. She smiles and looks directly at me with that big grin. We all laugh.

Two can play this game, "What about Mommy?"

Again, the eating. "Who be sad Daddy?"

I return the question, confident now that, if she isn't sad for Daddy, Tahlia won't be sad for Mommy.

"Daddy sad; Atter sad; Suki sad." Is her reply. I'm victorious.

Then, I go for the coup de grace. "What about Tahlia."

"Tahlia sad."

I'm defeated. And we all laugh. It's time for apple sauce. Nobody's sad for apple sauce.

A different view

It's interesting to see what you see.

I'm downstairs bouncing. Asher is before me, and I'm attempting to put him down for the first leg of tonight. The first leg, for me, is always the hardest. He especially hates me now. When Mommy puts him down, he seems not to hate her as much, but for me, I am sure it is a feeling of loathing.

The exercises ball, blue and bouncy, gives the right momentum to the night, and for once, he is asleep prior to Tahlia's bedtime. I am to be rewarded with the preverbal turkey -- Asher asleep by my hand and time with Tahlia.

But for now, I am as blind as you are; my imagination the only sight I have.

You'll have to imagine the bathroom. It is a guest bathroom -- a sink, a toilet, a bathtub and shower. Everything is yellow, for, everything in our house is yellow. Don't imagine white trim, for it is yellow too. It's an ordinary shower curtain -- possibly white, for it is so ordinary, even though it is in my house, I don't know what color it is.

Tahlia has recently climbed out of the tub. Mommy is drying her right now. The color of the towel is probably blue. And all I hear is giggling. All I hear is:

Tahlia: giggling -- first low, then high pitched, a little muffled, "Mommy, Mommy." It is rushed and urgent, but gleeful
Mommy: "Yes Tahlia." There is playfulness in her voice. It is very quiet. Almost a secret.
Tahlia: more giggling, then full blown laughter. It lasts for about fifteen seconds, then returns to giggling. "Mommy, no Mommy." A begging for more.
Mommy: "Ok." I see her starting to move in again for some type of tickling. "I just need to dry your toes."
Tahlia: A crescendo of squeals and laughter. "Mommy, Mommy." Her face is smeared with a smile -- her mouth is open.
Mommy: a quiet giggle, a small laugh. She too is smiling. Her eyes bright.
Tahlia: "Mommy, I'm naked" Naked is more Neck-'ed. More giggling.
Mommy: "You're naked?" Happily, I imagine she continues drying her off -- I'm wrong as I hear soft raspberries flutter down the stairs.
Tahlia: "Mommy, Mommy," The second Mommy is always more urgent than the first. " I'm naked, and cold." I imagine Mommy pulls her close for a big snuggle. They both smile.

They're out of the bathroom, and I hear romping in Tahlia's room.

Asher is asleep now. I have to go. There must be naked running.

Friday, April 25, 2008


I'm fighting every urge to go to sleep. I need to wake up. I need to swaddle Asher. I need to take the baby from Mommy and wake up and swaddle the baby. I need to wake up. I need to wake up. I need to wake up.

My body is fighting me. No. My brain is fighting my body. No. My brain knows I need to wake up and my body is ready to wake up, but my brain doesn't want to get up, nor does my body. Wait. My body knows I need to wake up and my brain is ready to wake up, but my body doesn't want to get up. Wait.

It's 12:45.

It's 12:45 in the morning.

It's 12:45.

New perspective. It's only 12:45. If I lived in a different world, at 12:45 on a Thursday, I would probably be somewhere drunk thinking about how early it is and how the night has just begun.

I don't live in a different world. I live in a world where we try to go to bed shortly after Tahlia and Asher have gone to bed. We live in a world that is divided into two to possibly three and a half hour segments. Sleep is elusive. Well not really elusive. Sleep is easily found. Often we find it in the middle of a story for Tahlia. For a moment, we close our eyes, confident in our ability to continue the story while resting our eyes. The confidence is shattered each time we realize that this poor girl, who was thoroughly enjoying a story leading up to the climax where Sam and Mya and Esme and Briana and Tahlia are about to finally find the dragon who lives in the hiding tree who has a room that is the embodiment of The Little Gym, but who is now possibly listening to the half formed words of a dozing parent who is now possibly explaining how the lesson plan will not work with the current class because all of the children in the class, including Seth are unwilling to empty the grate in the back of the classroom. Well, that is possibly what is said because, since the story teller is sleeping, it is difficult to know exactly what was, or is said, since the last part was definitely seen; whether or not actual words were communicated is unclear since Tahlia just sits quietly. When we start, and awake to find ourselves no longer in whatever reality our sleep deprived brain created, but actually in Tahlia's room attempting to tell a simple story about a dragon to our daughter, we ask Tahlia if the story became confusing at the end. "Yeah," is her reply. We start off again, from where we think we left off, and Tahlia, and Mya, and Sam, and Esme, and Briana have a great time with the dragon.

And in this world, it is 12:45, and I am trying to tell my body to stay awake.

And I'm up. I apply the T2. Even though I have numb hands, the T2 is not a challenge. He is really sleeping when Mommy gives him to me. There is no struggling. He's nothing more than a lump. A bump on a pickle. A peanut, as Tahlia likes to call him. A quick grunt is heard, but he is quickly mummified. The T2 holds.

And I'm up. My brain is fighting. My body is fighting. Again, I become confused against whom each is fighting. Shouldn't my brain be fighting to stay awake? Wouldn't that mean that my body is fighting to go to sleep? But it seems that my brain is fighting to go to sleep, and my body is fighting to stay awake.

It's 12:45.

I'm rocking now. Standing and rocking. He is quiet. Tahlia is quiet. Yesterday, after I put him to sleep, I went into Tahlia's room because she was awake. I don't live in that world where 12:45 is early, but sometimes it is the beginning of the night, and the night is young.

Her molars are coming in, and it's 12:45.

I'm still rocking, and it's raining. This is a new thing, the rain. It really isn't raining, just in our room. You think I'm losing the fight don't you. You think I'm in one of those hallucinations where I'm not sure where I am, don't you? No. It's raining, or so the noise maker on the floor would have Asher believe. It's very soothing, the rain. One of them, my body or my brain, wants me to sit in the rocking chair. One wants me to sit in the rocking chair and turn my face towards the heavens to allow the rain to pour down and drench me. I think it is my brain that realizes that if I sit in the rocking chair, which ever is fighting to go to sleep will win. I think it is my brain that keeps me standing. Either way, I'm still dry.

It's funny what you think about when your brain and your body are simultaneously attempting to fight each other to go back to sleep. I'm thinking about The Life of Pi, a novel I recently completed. Fascinating. My students read it for an independent book project; thus, I read it. I also read a critical article on the novel the other day in which the issue of cannibalism is discussed. Since there is the possibility that Pi became a cannibal, this critic discussed how, when in the survival mode, the human brain accepts cannibalism. I don't have it all straight right now, but it has something to do with the body shutting down unnecessary functions. I can't remember clearly, probably because it is 12:45. But it could also be because of the abundance of other 12:45's as well as 2:45's and 4:45's after which Asher decides there really isn't any reason to go back to sleep, I have become so tired that the acquiring of some unnecessary information, such as what happens to the human body when it is starving, becomes muddled as it enters the brain. Anyways, I think the stomach and gall bladder shut down early on. Maybe the pancreas. Then some other internal organ. Then weird things start happening with the brain. Parts of the brain start to shut down that don't keep us living, but keep us human. One of those parts of the brain that stops working, goes to sleep if you will, is the part that says, "WHAT THE HECK, THAT IS HUMAN FLESH! IT IS WRONG! DON'T EAT IT! DON'T YOU KNOW IT IS TABOO?!?!?!" This part of the brain shuts down and the part of the brain that says, "you're getting sleepy. breathe. breathe. heart pump. heart pump. breathe." also begins to say things like: "food. that's food. do you see the food. yes, it was once another person, just like you, but it is food now. there is nothing wrong with food. if you were the food, and that person was looking at you thinking, breathe, breathe, heart pump, that person would see food too. just a nibble." The article discussed that most castaways in this situation are not found, for long, to have committed any crime. Anyways, it is all in this article:
Cloete, Elsie. "Tigers, humans and animots.(criticism of the book 'Life of Pi')(Critical essay)." Journal of Literary Studies 23.3 (Sept 2007): 314(22). General OneFile. Gale. Albemarle High School. 25 Apr. 2008
If you decide you want to read it. I don't think I will read it again, so if you read it, let me know if my brain read it right.

And I'm thinking about this now. No. Not because I've decided it is ok to eat my child, but because I'm trying to understand what part of my brain, what part of a parent's brain, keeps him and her, him or her, functioning. I'm wondering, since I can't tell if my brain is fighting against my body or vice-versa, what it is that is keeping me not only on my feet, not only continually rocking, not only out of the sleep infested rocking chair, but also able to safely continue to hold this little bundle of love. I'm wondering how it is that after I put him into his bed, sound asleep, I'll go and make sure that Tahlia has a blanket over her, before I climb back into bed. And, how I'll do it again in a couple of hours. It will definitely be raining then.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cherry blossoms

The cherry blossom petals, pink
and delicate,
drift down
languishing on the pavement,
the bright grass green below.

The rain comes
pulling each down
faster than we want
faster than we can catch

I want an umbrella
black and large.
As the winds thrash the tree
tearing the beauty before all is realized
before each is held

I'll hold it not right-side up
but upside down
snatching each as they drift or dash down
and away
out of our grasp
out of our minds
before we've held each moment,
filling the umbrella
so we may dilly
and we may dally
in these moments
as we please

And she dashes off again,
petals drift in her wake.

You forgot Asher

This one is Mommy's, but I'll relay it.

Tahlia has realized that Mommy and Asher are always together. Daddy is back at work, so when Asher is awake, he is with Mommy. This is a huge change for Tahlia, but she is doing as well as one can expect.

Let me set the scene.

It is the end of nap time. Mommy always has Asher with her during nap time. Usually, Asher is screaming and, therefore, it is apparent that Asher is there. Tahlia has this strange ability to make act as if he isn't there. That his screaming is only for people three years old or older. Not for her two year old ears. Usually, when Tahlia goes down for nap, Asher is on Mommy's hip. When she wakes, Asher is on Mommy's hip.

But, on this rare occasion, Mommy was able to get Asher to go down before Tahlia woke and Mommy needed to go in because Tahlia had called.

Mommy is happy with herself. It is so rare that she has a moment alone with Tahlia, the child with whom she has spent almost every waking hour for the past year.

She walks into the room and gives Tahlia a great big hug. Almost instantly, Tahlia realizes and pushes Mommy away. She is concerned and states, "Mommy, you forgot Asher."

It is rare, these moments, and Tahlia sees it too.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Skidamarink a dink a dink

Randomly, at dinner tonight, she begins singing the Skidamarink a dink a dink song as Mommy held Asher.

But it's changed.

The first part is as it always is:

"Skidamarink a dink a dink, Skidamarink a dink a doo"

But then there is a twist. She says this with her big blue eyes shining and an impish grin the whole way through.

"I dove you, Ahtah. Skidamarink a dink a dink ,Skidamarink a dink a doo, I dove you, Ahtah. I dove you in the morning Ahtah, and in the afternoon, Ahtah, Idove you in the evening, Ahtah, and under neith the moom, Ahtah. Oooooohhhhhh Skidamarink a dink a dink, Skidamarink a dink a doo, I dove you, Ahtah."

And even as she tripped over the added words which messed up the rhyme, muddling her way all the way through, you could feel the love for her little brother.

Books to read

We're eating dinner. Actually, we've just finished. Just finished for Tahlia means that she has started playing with her food. If you ask her if she is going to eat anymore, or just play with her food, she will always answer honestly. Either it's "Eat more," or "Play with my food." There is no hesitation in her answers; no attempt at concealing what she is doing; we don't think she sees anything wrong with either of those two actions.

Suddenly, in the middle of twirling her finger in some white macaroni and cheese, which sits in her pink monkey plate, she turns to Mommy,

"You want a magazine?"
"Where will you get a magazine?" Mommy inquires.
"At the grocery store." Grocery is actually more like gross-y
"Are you going to go to the grocery store and buy a magazine for Mommy?"
"Yet. You want a magazine, Mommy?" Head cocked to the side. Voice rising to signify the question.
"Yes Tahlia."

Tahlia quickly turns away from Mommy to face a plant that is in the corner of the room. She reaches her arm out into the air, a foot away from touching anything, as if taking something off of a shelf. Her fingers wiggle. She mumbles a little to speak to the cashier or whom ever is helping her, and then turns back to Mommy.

Deftly, with her left hand, she holds up two fingers. Holding up two fingers is a skill taught to Tahlia by Mommy. After Tahlia turned two, Mommy began asking her how old she was. She, of course, would say, "Yeah." At that time, "yeah" meant "I don't know." After a little while, she could say that she was two. When we would tell her she was two, we would always hold up our index finger and middle finger to give her a visual representation of her age. She became interested in this finger posturing and asked Mommy how to do it. Mommy complied, and very shortly, Tahlia was able to not only say that she was two, but, by holding up "pointer" and "long man," show the questioner how old she was.

"You want two magazines, Mommy?" She asks. Magazines is actually "mag-a-eens."
"Sure Tahlia." Mommy takes what she believes is two magazines.
"You read magazines, Mommy?"
"Oh, should I read the magazine?" Mommy smiles and begins pretending she is reading the magazine.

Tahlia is staring intently at Mommy, pleased with her ability make her mother happy. Mommy thought she had both magazines. She was wrong. Tahlia is skillfully holding up Mommy's other magazine. Apparently, Mommy took the magazine that was the pointer, so now, long man, also known as one's middle finger, is held up right in front of Mommy's face. Tahlia's other fingers are carefully clasped in a fist.

"Mommy? You want other magazine?"

We all attempt to stifle our laughter and Mommy happily takes the last magazine.

"Daddy? You want a book?" Daddy only is offered, and given, one book. Aunt Chris has three.

And, although Mommy doesn't like anybody reading at the dinner table while people are eating, in short order, we are all perusing our various books and magazines. Mommy's, of course, is only one long finger that she gleefully waves around for all to see. Mommy always gets the best books.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Each moment

So many times, Mommy and I almost fell into the trap of "I can't wait 'till."

I can't wait until she can walk.
I can't wait until she can talk more.
I can't wait until . . .

For the most part, we steered clear of those thoughts. At times, when the odious words slipped past our lips, we immediately chastised ourselves. Therefore, we relished, and still relish, every moment of her life. Everyone feels his child is the most amazing, the best, but Tahlia truly is amazing, and we are so thankful that we have her.


The first time it was easy. All we had to think about was Tahlia. Every moment was new with her, so celebrating those moments were easy.

We're trying to keep the same mentality with the second.

I'll be honest, though. I liked when we used to be able to sleep.

The extreme double dip

If you're going to a cocktail party where the host will serve dip, you might want to consider not taking Tahlia, for she is the extreme double dipper.

You must know, first of all, that Mommy and Daddy may be considered by some to be bad parents. The reason for this is, at a very young age, we introduced Tahlia to ranch dressing. She always loved it, dipping her broccoli, carrots, green beans, or other vegetable of the evening deeply into this white, heavenly condiment even though its acidity would leave her with read welts on her soft pink cheeks where the dressing had sat for too long after a failed attempt at hitting her mouth.

There were a few times, early on, when we would have to remind Tahlia that she must actually dip her veggies in the ranch. Using her index finger as a modified ranch spoon was not acceptable.

Recently, however, we saw the supreme of her attaining the most ranch for her buck.

She was eating peas. Usually she will grab some and give a quick dip and pop them into her mouth. Occasionally, she would eat them without dipping them at all, much like she does when she eats them for snacks. Suddenly, I noticed that she was reaching inside her mouth. This made me panic since, when she usually does this, she is beginning to choke on a piece of food and is trying to grab it.

She wasn't choking. I watched as she deftly used her small index finger and thum to pinch a ranch free pea from her tongue so that she could swipe it a second time in the ranch.

I couldn't believe my eyes. Mommy and I waited to see if it was a one time occurrence . Unfortunately it wasn't.

There are many things you say as a parent that you never expect to say. "Tahlia, after we put food in our mouths, we don't take it out to put more ranch on it," is one of those things.

Cocking her head

As I read through the posts, I realize that, in order to understand the way she states some ideas, you must have a visual.

Although she will often say please, or more recently, "may I," she usually questions people by leaning toward the person to whom she is speaking, tilting her head to the side while using a soft, high-pitched voice that rises at the end.

Therefore, she may say, "Mommy, you want some pancakes-es?" Add the cocked head and the soft voice, and you'll have the idea.


Kisses come in three sizes: big, medium, and small.

Once upon a time, Daddy was instructed to only give Tahlia kisses, "Right here." A small index finger would affix to her forehead. Mommy could give her kisses on the mouth. But no, the forehead was earmarked for Daddy, a place I often found synonymous with a tranquil desert.

But now, kisses come in sizes. Interestingly enough, they are the same sizes given to scoops of yogurt.

Lost words

We're losing words. As she ages, she loses words that we loved to hear.

She has replaced aado with ah-va-dado.

We don't hear noo-noo any more. We used to love the song, Twinkle Twinkle Noo-noo Star, but she's replaced it with little. She used to be a "noo-noo girl," but Asher is a "Little, little baby."

Mee-mee and Bop-bop were two condiments with which she couldn't live. Now she has muhtahd and catup.

She is now Tahlia -- Aya is no more.

It's funny about these words. She would hear us say the words correctly all of the time, but, because she was unable to create the correct sounds, she said the words as best as she could. Sometimes, we would fall into Tahlia talk. I always wondered if when we used her words, for example to say, "Tahali, do you want a noo-noo more pasta?", if she had any idea about what we were talking. When we said noo-noo, did it sound like little to her? Or did she think we were making up some crazy new word that she had never heard because every time that she said noo-noo, she heard little.

Noo-noo does this matter now, for these words, to Aya, are quickly become extinct.

What you talking about

She wants to know. When two adults are talking, Tahlia always wants to know, "Daddy, what you talking about?"

Often, I forget that she is listening and very aware of what we are saying. But she always lets me know that she's there and well aware, "Daddy, what you talking about?"

Sickness never ending

Not Tahlia this time. Mommy. She's sick. Bad sick. Sick with green phlegm, sick. It started last Saturday. We tried to go the homeopathic route, but on Sunday, at 11:35 PM, Daddy made a run to the 24 hour CVS pharmacy for some cough syrup. It did absolutely nothing. Mommy states that she has razor blades in her throat, and she didn't sleep for Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and most of Tuesday.

She is slowly improving and will be well soon; we all hope.

Currently, Tahlia likes to say, "Tahlia not sick. Daddy not sick. Ahta' not sick. Suki not sick. Mommy sick."

On an earlier day this week, Mommy was feeling so bad that she began to cry. Whenever somebody cries, Tahlia always wants to know why. Mommy told her it was because she feels so poorly, then she went into the kitchen. Tahlia asked me why Mommy was crying, and I reiterated that Mommy was sick and needed a lot of love because love can fix everything. Tahlia looked at me for a moment, then walked into the kitchen. Mommy told me that Tahlia went over and gave her a big hug.

Promptly after the hug, she said, "Mommy, you better now?"
Mommy replied, "Yes."
With that, Tahlia returned to the living room and let me know, "Mommy all better."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Statement in the car

On the second return trip from Whole Foods. The second trip was needed because Daddy left his wallet at home.

While driving down the street:

"Daddy, please don't drive anymore."
"Tahlia, did you ask me not to drive anymore?"
"Yet Daddy, please don't drive anymore."
"You don't want me to drive anymore?"
"But how will we get home?"
"Tahlia do it by her-oat."


Tahlia has become a very polite young lady. She often, without request, uses please.

It often sounds like this:

"Daddy, please don't tickle me."
"Daddy, please don't take off my shoes."
"Daddy, please don't eat my food."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Leek soup

On April 2, Tahlia and I were outside playing. After feeding Asher, Mommy came to join us. We were just up at the playground doing the usual things: drawing with chalk, running around, swinging.

After a little while, Tahlia said that she wanted to climb a tree. We went to a near by try, and I lifted her up to the lowest branch. She, of course, wanted to "do it by my oat," meaning that she could do it by herself. I, of course, kept my hands almost attached, knowing that at any moment she could topple. After an extended period of time, about thirty seconds, she was ready to try something different. I suggested one of our latest activities -- looking for bugs. She acquiesced, so we began our search.

An ant traipsed by. Then nothing. A lady bug graced us with its presence, then fluttered away. Then nothing. I bored of looking -- it was too cold to find any good bugs. I think she too bored.

By this time, Mommy had joined us. We were on a hill that was overgrown with lawn, but, currently in our neighborhood, what lawn isn't overgrown. We wonder, often, why we pay a grounds keeper when he doesn't seem to keep the ground.

To my joy, there were some chives growing near where we were sitting. I ripped some up and had her smell them. She wanted Mommy to smell them of course, and I smelled them too. After a little while, I asked if she would like to make some Leek soup. Of course chives aren't leeks, but she doesn't know this.

So we began the process. First, gather some chives. Then, add a dash of leaves. Next comes the extra grass and little sticks. After all of the ingredients are gathered, stir with a stick. Vuala -- leek soup.

We tasted it, all admiring its rich body and warmth. I love that Tahlia can pretend to taste things. One of her friends, when ever we pretend to eat something, always ends up with a ring of dirt around his mouth and a muddy tongue. This is not the case with Tahlia.

We left the soup on the ground, and moved on to the next activity.

Friday, April 4, 2008

I want to talk about people

This is one of her favorite activities lately.

"I want to talk about people." She says, completely out of the blue.
"Who do you want to talk about?" The first one is usually the same.
So we give the most current resume on Mya, including her parents' names, jobs, social security numbers, favorite hobbies of both Mya as well as all family members, recent contact with Mya, etc.

If one of us comes in in the middle of "talking about people," Tahlia will make sure the activity isn't interrupted.

"We're talking about people," she'll nonchalantly inform us.
"Oh, you're talking about people? Who are you talking about?"


We've entered the "Why" phase. I thought that it would be gradual. I thought that there would be a why here and there. I thought that she would be content with simple answers to simple questions. I was incorrect.

Often times, it comes at opportune moments. Times when it doesn't really matter how many times we answer the why.
"Come on honey, we need to put on your jacket."
"Because we're going to walk Suki, and it's gold outside."
"Because Suki needs to pee and poop, and there is a low pressure front coming in from the north that is pushing some of the cool air off of one of the Great Lakes."
By this time, the jacket is on. We're hoping the outdoors will end the questions.

Sometimes, it comes at inopportune moments. Times when it really does matter how many times we answer the why.
"Ok honey, Daddy's going to leave now." The lights are off. I've returned for the one time that I've said I'm going to return. She needs to go to sleep. She needs to go to sleep.
"It's late honey, and you need to go to sleep."
"Because you're tired, and you're sick, and you need to rest." Even sick, she has a mental advantage over us because of sleep deprivation. Usually, when there is a need to end the "why" barrage quickly, we answer with too many options. I've fallen into the trap again.
"Which one honey?"

Recently, I've realized a wonderful solution. For people who have thought they've prepared for the why phase, they think they'll be cunning and turn the why back on the asker. This may work for older whyers, but for the young ones, they just ask again.

"Why?" the child will say.
"Why do you think?" is your reply with a crooked smile.
"Why?" and checkmate.

The solution is in the question, but one must change the course of the question. A two year old doesn't really understand how to answer a why question, but Tahlia is empathetic, and so we play to her strengths.

"We need to be quiet honey."
"Because Asher is sleeping."
"Because he's a little baby and you want him to be rested don't you?"
"Yeah," and the conversation moves in another direction.

How I know

People joke with me that there is no doubt that my children are mine -- people say they look exactly like me. When Tahlia was young, I always gave the coy smile and the look down. I felt bad for Mommy because very few people said that Tahlia looked like her. She even confided in me, one day, that she would often call Tahlia by my nickname. Again, the coy smile and the look down.

When Asher was born, again people started making the comments.

"Well. . . he looks exactly like you."
"Who do you think he looks like?" Mommy would ask strangers on the street. Sometimes they'd pretend to think it over, but all would point at me. One person said she saw a lot of Mommy in Asher. I'm pretty sure she also smelled heavily of whisky.

Some people would wait until Mommy had already stated that she felt as though Asher looked like me, then say that that was their first thought.

Coy smiles. Look downs.

Recently, though, I've come to believe that they do not look like me. This occurred to me when I realized that Mommy stated that the two children look nothing alike as infants. This made me wonder: If they don't look like each other, but they both look exactly like me, how is that possible? It was then that I realized that I must look like an infant. It is not as much that these two babes resemble me as I resemble a week, month, etc. old child.

That said, last night, I found how I know they are truly mine. Not mine in the biological sense, often, this matters little to parents. Mine in the mine sense.

It was late. Not the 11 o'clock news late. Not the Late Late show late. The late of Mommy waking me to say that I needed to take a turn because she just needed to lie down. Some people also call this late early. It all depends on one's perspective. If you're thinking about when you thought you'd fall asleep, then it's late. If you're thinking about when you're waking up, then it's early.

I took the small bundle in my groggy arms, blinking my eyes vigorously in an attempt to stay awake. In an attempt to remember my duty and responsibility. That duty, of course, was to keep the child quiet enough so that Mommy could have at least an hour of solid sleep. I looked to the rocker, and realized that it was too early to attempt the feat of staying awake while rocking. I heard the lull of the rocky rocky rocky. A dangerous combination. Therefore, I stood and rocked.

At first I had a cradle hold, but the little guy started squawking like the toucan in Tahlia's latest library book. Therefore, I moved to the head in the crook of my neck, bum against arm, body straight up and down hold. It was then that I realized it.

He fit.

I think there is something in our children's DNA that allows them to fit exactly into that spot in the crook of our neck. As I stood there, I remembered back to a forgotten time when Tahlia was this small and would fit in the same, exact spot. When, on similar sleepless nights, I would hold her in the same way and, as I comforted her, she would comfort me with her smooth forehead and downy hair. As I stood there, no longer struggling to stay awake, I was brought back to that moment. A moment I thought was gone long ago, but somehow, stayed in the recesses of my mind. And Asher fits the same way.

Now, when I cuddle with her as she recovers from this nasty bout of croup, she curls up on my chest and finds that same snug spot that housed Asher the night before. And she fits.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Laugh till you pee

We were making Play-Doh faces. She didn't fully understand that the eyes were the eyes. I'm not sure that my poor attempt at art insured her understanding that it was a face at all.

It all started with the nose. She picked it up and stuck it to the eye.

"WHAT? You can't stick her nose to her eye."

She started laughing, and did it again.

"WHAT? You can't stick her nose to her eye."

Again, the laughing, and again she did it again. I gave the same comment. Then she picked up the eye and pretended to eat it.

"WHAT? You can't eat her eye."

We were both laughing now. Full fit. Eyes watering. Laughing.

She pretended to eat it again. Same response. Same laughter.

We repeated this for approximately three dozen times. She never wearies of things she finds funny. I never weary of hearing her laugh. Sometimes, as I know the joke is no longer funny, I continue pretending to laugh so that she will keep laughing.

Finally, she fell into me with fits of laughter, and I caught her by the bum. It was soaking. Not the little accident soaking, the soaking that made the tops of her socks wet.

"Did you go pee pee in your pants?"

She was still laughing, and nodding. Then, she put the eye back up to her mouth.

A little while later, I changed her pants.

The T2

We call it the T2.

Tahlia was not swaddle friendly. No matter how we wrapped her, it seemed as though she had superhuman strength and could remove any swaddle. Although I was a fair swaddler, she could break my wrap as if it was the wrap of a first week, sleep deprived parent. We stopped attempting to swaddle her when we found her with the blanket covering her face. We felt it was a sign.

We were young and immature. We didn't fully understand the swaddle.

With Asher has come the T2. It is a modified swaddle built off of the expertise of labor and delivery nurses. When watching one of these nurses, one will notice that the nurse seems to believe one's baby is made out of some type of malleable substance that will not break. New parents look on in horror as their baby is whipped about with little concern for this new cherubim recently gifted to these to unworthy beings. The second time parent knows better. The second time parent has partially prepared for the sleepless nights, the crying, the wakings, the feedings, the changings. The second time parent pays close attention to these geniuses who change the newborn baby's diaper with out a flinch.

It was while watching, we'll say her name was Erica, Erica that I noticed the amount of torque placed on the last bind of the swaddle. I did not believe that our son should have to struggle to breath, but this didn't stop Erica from pulling the last wrap all the more tightly. I felt I saw him gasp, then exhale. He became quiet. He was still breathing, of course, but he seemed, well, as they say, comforted.

Armed with this memory, we returned home. But the memory was worthless in the beginning because the nurses advised us poorly. We of course took the nurses suggestions, therefore, I'm not sure exactly who is to blame. They told us to swaddle the little one with his hands close to his face, elbows bent. This allowed him to freely smack himself in the face while we attempted to sleep.

After several nights of Mommy holding him all night long, we began losing it. In desperation, we called our doctor. When we explained how we were swaddling him, we believe the doctor put her hand over the phone, and laughed. "No, put his hands down." There was no sympathy in her voice.

That night, we set to with our new advice and distant memory. In so doing, we created the Tahlia 2, or T2. This swaddle starts off as any would -- a blanket set askew with a folded down top. Next, the baby is off set, either to the left or the right, depending on the swaddler's preference as well as favored hand in which the swaddler with find the most strength. The head of the child is placed half on the blanket, half off. The short side is folded first, bringing the blanket first down along the child's cheek, then adding another fold, and then across the body. The added fold gives a second barrier through which the child must break in order to free the arm. Arm, of course, is flat against the side. No slack is allowed in this first fold, and the remaining fabric is tucked neatly behind the baby to ensure a strong hold. The bottom is folded up next, and again, tucked behind the child. The final arm is put against the baby's side as the blanket is first moved down, adding a fold and then across the body. Here, not only is no slack allowed, but additional force, or, uh, snugness is added to give that warm and comfy womb like feeling to the child. It is not unusual to see the child look up in alarm as he remembers this once nurturing place. If needed, a foot can be used to ensure the proper amount of tightness is used.

After you're done, the child should look like an overstuffed burrito freshly created by the laborers at Chipotle. Surprisingly, much of the procedure is given the same amount of attention those servers give your burrito.

I've found it helpful to add a dialog to facilitate this work of art. If you like, you may follow it, but feel free to ad lib or create your own conversation.

"You're not going to get out of this one. Keep your hand down. Ah, that's right. Across, oh, is that tight enough? You want it a little tighter? Now keep those legs down. You think you can just squirm out don't you? Well not this time buddy. No-sir-re mister. Uh... uh... Keep those legs still. There we go, a little more snug and around the back, ok ok you can keep trying to get out but you're going to stay in, and now this arm down good good and across and roll and snug and voilĂ , there's my little sausage. Almost good enough to eat."

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Yeah body

In a conversation this morning at the breakfast table, her response to, "Nobody eats tacos for breakfast."

"Yeah body."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Wanting to read

She has discovered that on the back of the Hairy McClary from Donaldson's Dairy book that each of the five stories is shown. I taught her this. I used to take pride in the teaching of this. I thought how heroic I was for showing her how, now, she could turn the book over and point to the story she wanted to read. I loath myself sometimes. The scenario starts the way I wanted.

She flips the book over. "Daddy which one? Which one?"

If you are like me, you are amazed that she wants to pick one. Then it all goes awry. "This one and this one and this one and this one and this one." There are five different books. She has picked all five.

"Honey, we can only read one. Pick the one you want."

"Which one Daddy, which one?"

Finally, she points to the one, well, the one about a cat stuck in a tree.

I turn to the beginning of the story. In my fantasy, we read through the story. She is amazed and overjoyed that she picked the very story that we are currently reading. It is my fantasy. The reality is that, prior to reaching the bottom of the first page of the story, she pulls the book away, flips it over and says, "Which one Daddy, which one?" and points to them all.

Luckily, Mommy and I can recite most of them from heart and just recite the story while she points at the back page. We feel it is developing her imagination.


We looked at bugs today. Mya, Tahlia and I walked around, from tree to tree, looking for different bugs. After about a half hour, Sam joined us.

We found bugs. It started off with a flying ant, then Mya accidently flung dirt in my eyes as she dug for bugs. I wanted to tell her that I thought it was foolish that she was digging randomly for bugs. I wanted to point out how inane it is to use a long stick shoved into the ground at whim in an attempt to discover a bug. Instead I let her know she needs to be careful. After my vision returned, we moved to another tree and found a beetle. A daddy long leg awaited our arrival in the following tree. We discussed their venom and how deadly it is if one is a bug. I could sense the anxiety in them and asked if either of them were bugs. They both replied with a no, and I told them they had nothing to worry about.

Next, we found a black widow. I didn't believe it at first either. There, in a small cobwebbed crevice, her black body with the eery red hour glass shone in the afternoon sun. This one, I told them, is one they should never touch. The three of us crouched in awe. I realize, right now, that I was crouched in awe. I'm not sure what they were feeling. All I was thinking about was how unbelievable it was that I was looking at a black widow and that I needed to keep their hands away from it. Maybe it was awe for them. Probably, though, just mild two and three year old curiosity, which, I like to believe, with how amazing everything in the world is to them as it unfolds, equates to unceasing awe. I hesitated a moment, and decided that it was best for the entire neighborhood, and I called the mothers to see.

Mya gleefully told both mommies that I had found a black widow.

Neither smiled. Mommy wanted to know what the hell I was doing so close to it if it was a black widow. I am pretty sure I saw both of them reach protectively for their older child as they shielded their younger one with their body. There was an agreement to let the other parents know, and we moved on.

A worm, an earwig, a pill bug, a centipede, a millipede, another worm, more earwigs, a small spider all graced our presence. We even found a tiny little snail and a grub. By this time, Sam had joined us. Tahlia touched the worm, the snail and the grub, even while the other children wouldn't. I admired this in her. I don't know if this is how all children are at her age. I know that most children her age do the parallel play thing, but I don't really see that as what she does. She does play with the other children, but she also wants to do her own thing. She wanted to see the insects, but where the other children, even the older Mya, wouldn't touch them, Tahlia still was curious and wanted see if Daddy was right and the grub did feel like jello and the snail really was hard. She was also willing to run off to other trees to see what she might find there while the two other children sat close by me and listened to my rantings on various insects and the vegetation in which the little creaters abide. Later, in the same day, when the other children were happy to jump in the diminishing puddles from yesterday's rain, Tahlia decided to splash her hands in the puddle and make hand prints on the dry concrete nearby. It's like the scooter thing. Near, but not the same.

Sickness part *#%!#$

She has croup.

The viral thing is gone. Now, we have discovered a barking seal sleeping in the bed that once housed our daughter.

It's amazing, with parenting, with how much certain aspects, like sleeping on a child's back vs sleeping on his tummy, have changed, some things are still exactly the same. To help Tahlia breathe last night, I found myself sitting with a child who sounded like she smoked a pack a day for the last twenty years, clothed in her pajamas, wrapped in a wool blanket, wearing a pink hat that has two pompoms on the top and wraps below her chin, singing a silly song on the front stoop. Both the book, and the doctor who was awakened around 11 p.m. to answer our questions, told us that if it was cool outside, to take the child outside for a while. It was cool, so I sat on the front stoop. Tonight, Mommy and I sat with her in a steamy bathroom as the shower ran. Where some things have changed drastically, some have remained the same.