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.


How much they understand is surprising sometimes.

Now, you must understand that Daddy teases Tahlia a great deal. Well, Daddy actually teases everyone a great deal, probably more than he should. Someday, Daddy will age past sixteen and actually start acting like an adult. At that time, he most likely will also enter a coffin; hopefully, therefore, this transition will not be for a long time.

But he does tease a lot. More often than not, as Daddy states something with his deadpan face, Mommy intercedes to say, "Tahlia, Daddy is teasing you."

We've never really explained teasing. So many times when Tahlia comes in contact with a new phrase or situation, she wants it explained. She, being two, doesn't come out and ask, she just keeps asking us to retell a story, or keeps asking us why until we figure out how to correctly answer her question. Even though we haven't explained teasing, she has come to figure it out. Most likely because of the number of times Mommy has said the above mentioned statement.

An example might be during breakfast. She may have asked for pancakes and, so, Daddy made pancakes. After one serving, Tahlia might ask for one more pancake, and Daddy might tell her that he has eaten all of the pancakes forever and there never will be any pancakes ever again.

Ok, I have to stop for a second. I just read what I wrote. Yes, I'll admit, this is the type of thing that I might say to her. Yes, taken out of context, as I believe my telling you in this writing is out of context, it does sound a little harsh. Maybe harsh isn't the right word. Maybe mean or cruel . . . ferocious, savage . . . vicious. But you have to understand, it is all int good fun. I mean, she understands. Doesn't she understand? She doesn't understand, does she?

Ok, but the point is I've taught her what teasing is.

So, I've viciously attached my child's psyche by making her believe there is a blight on pancake mix and Armageddon is just around the corner. I've crippled her spirit by having her believe that no longer will there be yummy breakfast meals, but, from this moment on, we most likely will only eat cardboard.

She doesn't cry, mind you, she just looks at me with, what I would like to think is a budding sense of humor. Others might call it horror. And, so, Mommy intervenes, "Tahlia, Daddy is only teasing. Here is another pancake." Thus, making the world a safe place for all breakfast foods and the possibility of all breakfast foods again.

But today, Daddy is at work, and Mommy is at home. They are eating lunch, and there are the loud noises coming from outside that denote a construction site. The loud booms of two ton tailgates colliding with the hard steel of the massive truck beds resound throughout the neighborhood and the house. They are punctuated with the sudden zip of the engines roar as large machinery move about.

Tahlia cocks her head to listen. Wonder is evident on her face. "Mommy, what is that?"

Mommy listens for a second and then replies, "It's trucks and scoopers. It's a construction site."

Tahlia cocks her head the other way to peer up into Mommy's face. Then, a smile steals across her face. She knows her sounds and that isn't the sound of trucks and scoopers. "Mommy, you teasing me; that is thunder." And her smile widens.

Maybe it is time to explain teasing.

Failure to understand

She's quietly sitting on the floor in the darkened room. Mommy almost has Asher to sleep for his nap. This is the critical time. Any noise could wake him. This is the time that Mommy prays that the UPS man doesn't come to the door, or a neighbor who needs a beer, after all, who comes for sugar anymore. This is the time when Mommy needs Tahlia to stay sitting quietly on the floor.

Out of the corner of her eye, Mommy catches the movement of a small girl beginning to sit up.

Before it progresses to some type of sound that will most likely be an attempt at a quiet voice but ring out like four dogs barking on the playground, Mommy tries to intervene.

Through complicated signs and subtle whispers Mommy communicates to Tahlia. "I'm almost done. I'm going to put Asher in his crib." The words are accurate. Drawn out so that the listener will be able to understand, but punctuated enough to show intensity. It is the type of whisper you hear when one character on a movie is attempting to have another character understand that there is a deadly snake slithering up his pants. "There . . . is . . . a . . . snake . . . on . . . your . . . leg." In addition, you must envision the pointing and head jerking to demonstrate the direction and location of the moving baby.

Tahlia, in all honesty, whispers back, "Mommy, what are you talking about?" There is no ploy of not understanding, only genuine confusion.

Silence is critical, and, therefore, Mommy tries again. The head jerk occurs. The point to the crib. The whispering about Asher in bed.

And, even though it is as clear as the hand gestures of the third base coach to a player on another team, Tahlia in her best whisper, repeats, "Mommy, what are you talking about?"

There can be no anger. She is trying so hard to understand what Mommy is saying. Maybe, since Mommy was able to successfully place Asher in bed, she does understand on some level what Mommy needs.

They both leave quietly, and Asher sleeps on.

Talking Crabs

Too many times, situations occur while Mommy is attempting to put Asher down. I think I could repeatedly start entries with, while Mommy was attempting to put Asher down. It would become repetitive and dull, and, honestly, who would want to read it.

A few days ago, while Mommy was attempting to put Asher down, Tahlia, as she often does, burst into Asher's darkened, quiet, noise-maker-sound-filled room with all of her two-year-oldness bursting from the seems because she needed to talk to Mommy.

Tahlia knows that while Mommy puts Asher down, her choices of activities are broad. She can play with her Fisher Price 1970's house, her Fisher Price 1970's castle, read her books, or play quietly in her room. She knows that she is not supposed to burst into Asher's room and make any noise at all.

When Mommy sees her there, and hears her request, Mommy lets her know, in the harshest whisper that she can muster, that Tahlia must return to her room and play quietly. She lets her know that she can't talk right now.

Tahlia doesn't seem dejected as she leaves; in fact, she seems resolved. The reason she is resolved is because she's found a loop hole. Mommy won't talk to Tahlia right now, but maybe she will talk to someone, or something else. She returns moments later, seeming to have forgotten the dictates of Asher's put down time. She seems to have forgotten her castle, house and books, but has remembered a little, plastic, red, bath crab that she now has in hand.

Mommy reiterates in a whisper, "Tahlia, I can't talk. Go back to your room."

Suddenly there is a little plastic, almost cartoon like crab held out at arms length, "Mommy, the crab wants to talk to you."

I'm glad Mommy had to deal with this. This is one of those situations where, if I was dealing with it, I would have started laughing ferociously. Mommy though, after having the experience of helping to take care of her brother and sister, and having stayed at home with Tahlia for her entire life, doesn't miss a beat.

"I don't want to talk to the crab."

And, to everyone's surprise, this doesn't seem to be a shock to Tahlia as she turns and leaves the room.


We want the kids to nap, but, maybe more than that, we want to nap. It has been a long four months. After having a child who quickly, 10 weeks, learned the art of sleeping through the night, to have one who continues to wake up two to four, and sometimes more, times a night, we are having a difficult time, to say the least. Mommy has the worst of it since she breast feeds him and that means that she has to wake up more than Daddy. In addition, Mommy wants to make sure that Daddy is rested for his internship, and, therefore, often will not wake him so that he can gain those precious hours of snooze.

The night after Asher didn't sleep at all was particularly difficult. I know. How is it possible that Asher didn't sleep at all, you ask. But he didn't. He would cry, on and off, for about five minutes, then stop, then start crying again, all through the night. Not enough to go in, but not enough to allow Mommy to sleep. Ok, ok. So, if there is a crying baby in the next room, apparently Daddy continues to sleep. Makes you wonder what would occur with Daddy if there was a fire, or a bear in the room.

But this isn't about Daddy. It's about Mommy.

Daddy was at the internship. Mommy had just put Asher down for a nap and had a few invaluable moments with Tahlia. Those moments that have washed away with the wave of a second child. Those moments that are unforgettable. Those moments that are like a dream. Well, at this moment, they actually were a dream because, while lying on the floor playing with the Fisher Price Alphabet Zoo animals, Mommy fell asleep.

She doesn't remember the dream, but she does remember waking up with Tahlia's cheek pressed snug against hers while Tahlia said, "I love you, Mommy."

The great story, of course, would be if Tahlia was repeating this phrase. There is no proof of this. In the retelling, I pressed Mommy to admit that Tahlia repeatedly said, I love you, Mommy, as Mommy dozed. Unfortunately, there is no evidence. There was no rolling camera. There was no supervision and therefore, no proof. But, in my head, I like the image and therefore will keep it of Tahlia repeating the phrase over and over as her Mommy, her caregiver sleeps contentedly on the floor.

"Oh, Tahlia, "Mommy quickly stated. "I'm sorry," she said as she began to sit up.

But, Tahlia, stopped her. I like to think that Tahlia understood the seriousness of the situation. I like to think that Tahlia realized that if Mommy fell asleep, it must have been because of the depravity this woman was feeling. But, most likely, it was because Tahlia felt as though it was a game and wanted to continue it.

"No, no Mommy." Tahlia said earnestly. "Mommy take a nap. Tahlia read her a book," and then pushed Mommy back towards the floor.

"Oh, you want Mommy to take a nap?" She asked, as she laid back down on the floor.

Tahlia, feeling pleased with herself, marched over to the book shelf to find a book.

We wonder, if Asher hadn't woke, if Daddy would have returned from his job to find Mommy sleeping on the floor with a vigilant daughter watching over her Mommy, who just needed a nap. Or, if they would have been curled together, because, after all, everyone needs a nap.


She wants to know how old people are.

"Who is two?" She asks at dinner, holding two fingers high in the air. "Daddy, who is two?"

We used to just start naming off people who were two. "Esme's two; Basil's two; Alden's two; etc."

Then, she'd change the game.

"Is Asher two?" She'd say with a smile on her face.

"No, Tahlia," We'd correct with mock dismay, often, our hands on our foreheads as we shook our heads, "Asher's zero." We'd show her how to make a fist.

"Is Rachel two?" Again, the smile.

Again, our dismay, "Oh Tahlia," we'd state, "Rachel's one." We'd hold up one finger.

Now, the game is more complex.

She's learned how to show how old Daddy is (hold up three fingers on this hand, five fingers on that hand), and how old Mommy is (hold up three fingers on that hand, and two fingers on this hand). When pressed this past weekend about how old Grandma is, she said three. Opa and Grampa are thirty five just like Daddy. Nona, Nanny, Aunt Christine, Aunt Becky, Aunt Devra and Aunt Paola are all thirty two, just like Mommy. Suki is ten (all fingers held up). She knows who is two, one, five, and four. She works, continually, to force her little fingers to show this many fingers.

So now, the game . . .

"Who is two?"

"Ah. . . I think Asher is two."

"No, Daddy." Exasperation. "Asher's zero." She holds up a fist.

"Oh. I think Miriam is two."

"No, Daddy! Miriam is five." All five fingers held high.

"Right. Right. I think that Sam is two."

"No, no, no Daddy. Sam is three." The thumb carefully finds the pinky so that the index, ring and "longman" stand proud.

"Oh. I think that Daddy is two."

"No, Daddy this old." She holds up three fingers on her right hand and five fingers on her left hand.

This game started months ago, and has slowly developed into one of those things. How old. How old. Funny to think that as she ages, no longer will the fascination be with how old people are, but how young.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I'm trying not to laugh. I'm trying to focus on doing laundry. I'm not successful at either.

A few moments ago, I took out the SHOUT bottle so that I could prepare the children's laundry. Facing Asher's poop stains and Tahlia's food stains is not small task. I girded myself and found a comfortable position on the floor. Tahlia, of course, wanted to help.

I quickly find her spray bottle, one that we bought for her so that she could practice washing windows, an activity we hope to enlist her in in the future. The spray bottle is simply filled with water.

I have all of the laundry sorted and start spraying. Tahlia startles me when I see that she can actually, by holding the back of the spray bottle with one hand and the handle with the other, squeeze the bottle on her own, thus producing a stream of water. Unfortunately for her, the nozzle is facing her, and she is squirted in the face. She smiles. I take the bottle and spritz the air several times. Most lands on her, and she squeals and dashes from the kitchen. When she builds enough courage, she comes back for a second round. The floor is slippery now with water so I spread towels out to aid traction. More spritzing occurs, to both parties, and we are now each a little damp.

The laundry, I realize, is not doing itself. I tell Tahlia she's on her own and pick up the SHOUT. I finish one shirt, and then, no more.

She is holding the bottle with the nozzle purposefully towards her face. She sprays it, deliberately at herself and gasps, sucks air in through her nose. Repeats the process. After several times, she puts the bottle down and goes over to lie down on one of the towels. I watch on as she dries her face on the toweled floor. I'm sad for a moment as
a. Mommy was unable to see it.
b. I didn't have the alacrity to find the video recorder to capture this moment on tape.

Fortune is with me. She returns and picks up the bottle. This time the first spray is immense, and she gasps loudly. I call to Mommy, and, although Mommy is currently on the phone, she comes over to see the spectacle. Tahlia continues to spray. While Mommy attempts to hide her guffawing, Tahlia goes to dry off. I scramble for the video recorder and am rewarded by finding it in close proximity.

I don't say a word. I pretend she is a lion, and I am a documentary maker on the Serengeti. I start rolling film.

For approximately ten minutes I film in silence while Tahlia entertains herself by either spraying herself or me. While she dries off her face on the floor. While she sings a song about Brianna.

These are the moments parents always want to capture. Moments of found joy.


Along with big, medium and small kisses, there are rough kisses and soft kisses. Rough kisses are due to Daddy not shaving. Often times, after a day or two of not shaving, if I attempt to give more than two kisses I am greeted with a small hand harshly pushing my face away and the statement: "No Daddy, too rough!" These words aren't malicious. They are factual. My kisses are too rough.

When she was younger and unable to protest, the only way that we would realize that I was too rough was because of the raspberry colored patches on her cheeks or belly. Those days are over for her, although just beginning for Asher.

Now, regularly, Tahlia will let me know that I need to shave.

"Daddy, you're too rough. You need to shave."

Often times, I attempt to be cognizant of this and only give small kisses. Just the other day when she was in the car, I gave her a very little kiss on her forehead. She then asked for a medium kiss, and I let her know that I couldn't.

"Why Daddy?"

"I'm too rough."

"Daddy needs to shave."

On the very next day, while she was still asleep, I began readying myself for the administrative internship I am currently doing. I woke early and shaved. After my shower, I heard that Tahlia was awake, so I went in to see her. Still in bed, she was very sleepy. I went over to give her a kiss and was met with protest; not surprising since I was so rough the night before

"No, no, no," I pleaded. "Let me give you one kiss."

She conceded and then said, "Daddy shaved. You're soft like fruit."

Not only was a taken aback by her use of a simile, but also by how accurate her description was. I'm not bragging here about my shaving talent, for, anyone who knows me knows that the need for me to shave is like the need for a person to put effort into playing fetch with a lab. A Walt Whitman look alike I am not. One day I hope to have a beard, but for now, if I attempted one, I would have a patchwork of hair springing from various areas on the lower portion of my face. Therefore, whenever I shave, my skin is surprisingly smooth. In addition to this, Tahlia recently has discovered nectarines, which have smooth and silky feeling.

I can take being compared to a nectarine. I don't think I'd be as happy if she'd used a metaphor and said, "Daddy, you're a fruit."

Rolling over

Last week, Asher did the easy roll -- from front to back -- this move is little more than falling over.

Today, though, was the big one. He successfully made the transition from his back to his belly. Did we catch it with film? Do we now have it on video? Did anyone see it? Of course not. How, then, do we know that he performed this monumental task?

Mommy had been playing with Asher and Tahlia on the floor in Tahlia's room after nap. Asher started fussing, so Mommy just flipped him over from his tummy to his back for a change of scenery. She turned around to continue playing with Tahlia and the "little people." No. This is not some rude euphemism for other children or midgets. These are the Fisher Price toys that we mention so much. A couple of seconds later, she turned because Asher was fussing again only to find him on his stomach facing her. Due to sleep deprivation, although it should have only taken her a moment to realize that he had rolled over, a few seconds later it dawned on her that she had placed him on his back and now he was on his stomach.

If he begins crawling before we can attain more sleep, who knows where we'll be. Hopefully not all playing 'find the Asher'.

Asher Laughing

Around June 16th Asher began laughing. Mommy would give him kisses on his belly and he would start to laugh.

It is difficult to make sure that we document these small milestones. They mean so much to us, but with how exhausted we are, we find it difficult to make the time to write them down.

How do families with six children do it?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

New Posts


Just wanted to let you know that I'm going back and writing some of the blogs that I had saved from a while ago. Therefore, as far back as April, you might find a new blog. If you have subscribed to this page and are using something like Google Reader, you probably already know this. If you don't, here are the most recent blog entires:
Bouncing on the Ball
The Alphabet
The Beach
Rip Van Winkle
I dove you Attah
You forgot Asher

I dove you Attah

She loves him. She loves him. She loves him.

It is amazing how much she loves him. She loves to give him hugs. She loves to give him kisses. Her love for him is simple. She loves him.

She tells him, often.

"I dove you Attah." she says.

Well, that isn't true. It isn't like that at all. You probably imagine her looking at him with a blissful smile on her face. You probably imagine that, in a soft voice, she says those words. It isn't like that. We are considering going to a child psychologist.

We think what happens is that she becomes so filled up with love, that, if she doesn't attempt to slow it down, it will flood out onto Asher and suffocate him. That all of her love will be to much and he will become smothered. So she tries to slow it down; a crack in the dike.

"I dove you Attah."

Ok. To see it you have to imagine a possessed being. She clenches her teeth together. You must imagine the sound of gnashing teeth. Mostly because there is the sound of gnashing teeth. Her lips are wide, almost as if they make a square around those grinding pearly whites. Her neck is taut due to the exertion needed to pull her lips back, to hold the love in so that it eases out; remember the flood? Her eyes are full. Full of, well, it looks a little like rage, but we are pretty sure that it is the intensity of a heart on fire. Her hands hold . . . well, a little more than hold . . . maybe grip, or clasp, clench each side of Asher's head, or hand, or foot, really, what ever is closest. Then, looking into his eyes, she seethes, "I dove you, Attah." The Attah is drawn out. The first three words are punctuated. If a stranger was present, and heard her, there is the possibility that he may not be able to understand what she said and become concerned for the welfare of Asher. Her Uncle Nick, Mommy's brother, isn't a stranger. He loves Tahlia. He has loved her ever since he held her for the first time at UVA Medical Center shortly after her birth. He found it, well, a little creepy.

In addition to wanting to always hold him, and smiling and laughing ridiculously when she does, recently, she has taken to putting her feet on his head. How can anyone doubt her love?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Alphabet

When we were at The Little Gym one day, a little boy who was several months younger than Tahlia ran across the room. For many who have toddlers, a child dashing across a room when everyone else is sitting down isn't really a big deal. What was amazing was that a child who was around twenty months old could spell his name. His name was Kai, I think, so it was only three letters, but still, it was impressive.

Of course, we wanted Tahlia to be able to spell her name as well, but the six letters seemed too many.

To aid her in this, I created a little song. It is simple:
T-A-H . . . L-I-A is how you spell my name. . .
T-A-H . . . L-I-A is how you spell Tahlia.

I know, you can't really hear it, but it is sweet.

About a two weeks ago, she started singing the song on her own. It was really quiet, and she had difficulty pronouncing the "l", but all of it was there. The thing that also surprised us was that she started begin able to identify the letters that were in her name. She did this as she sang the song, which sort of made sense.

As she has become stronger in her name recognition, she also started learning the alphabet a little better.

We'd draw a big alphabet on the playground and she would dance around on it to the "ABC" song. Which, she calls "ABCDs," and sometimes does a remix with "Twinkle-Twinkle" and "Ba Ba Blacksheep."

On Thursday, she did something that was pretty surprising. I asked her if she knew where the "M" was. "M" is a go to letter. Just like the "O," she always knows where it is. Ever since we borrowed Alfie's ABC from the library, she has known the "M." She also knows "W" because I don't like the "W" in the book. She often asks me, "Daddy, do you like that "W"? I have to admit to her that I don't like it. It looks like two "X"s side by side and I feel that it is confusing. So, ever since we've read this book, I've always had to tell her that I don't like the "W." Not to worry though, as Tahlia always tells me, "Mommy likes that "W"." My simple question was answered with a questsion, and she quickly ran to the "M" and asked, "Is that a "M"?"

It was, of course. I thought I'd mix it up a little, so I asked her where the "P" was. Sometimes, she knows the "P." More often, though, she doesn't know where it is. Today, was the usual. She started walking aimlessly around. For a moment, she was by the "S," then, over to the "X." She wasn't going to find the "P," and that was fine. All of a sudden, she ran over the the "A," and , as she took large strides pounding one foot after another on the next letter, I could almost hear as she ran through the song. She stopped, right on the "P," and turned to me hopefully and with true curiosity in her voice asked, "Daddy, is this a "P"? I lauded praise upon her. But, as will happen with all two year olds, two times was enough, and when I asked her to repeat the performance for Mommy, she looked at us with a wry little smile and started singing "Ba BA Blacksheep" as she merrily skipped along the letters.

As the days have passed, she has become stronger at identifying her letters. So much that today, she asked Mommy to pick her up so that she could look at some letters on a sign. Mommy was blessed with the pick up because Daddy was carrying Asher. To both of our amazement, Tahlia identified the first four letters of the street sign. Towards the middle of the word, she became stuck, but still pointed at the letters as Mommy read them off. We moved along and arrived at a "stop" sign. Mommy picked her up again, and Tahlia pointed at the "S."

"What letter is that, Mommy?" Mommy told her.

We knew she knew the next letter, so we asked, "Tahlia, what is that?"

When she answered, we began questioning if she really knows her letters, because evidently, the second letter in "stop" is "Tahlia."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


It's dinner time.

Tahlia has some V-8 Fusion. There is a red line of liquid on her chin from what I like to call the hole in her lip where the juice has flown out of her mouth and into her Bjorn bib. She mostly drinks water, but recently, after a particularly difficult bout of constipation, she has taken to drinking the V-8. The constipation was caused by too great a quantity of frozen corn and hard peas. The hard peas are also frozen, thus hard. Many may wonder how we know that these vegetables caused the constipation, and the answer is simple; we saw it. Prior to throwing the poop residing in her Bjorn potty into the big potty, I glanced to see a solid inch of corn and peas preceded by something other than the yellow and green vegetables and followed also by something not yellow and green. As you can imagine, it was difficult to pass.

This all connects to the V-8 as we told her that it helps her to poop. So far, we've been right.

So there she sits drinking her V-8. Mommy has some too.

Suddenly, Tahlia turns to Mommy and says, "Mama, let's do cheers."

She holds up her cup, and I watch as plastic lid-less cup and highball glass clink together. Mommy says cheers. Tahlia smiles, pleased with herself.

I'd love to

I think I've only heard it once, but, now that I've returned to work and Mommy is spending all of the time with Tahlia, Mommy hears it often.

Her little face and big blue eyes looking at you and nonchalantly stating, "Oh, I'd love to." The inflection is as you'd think it would be. The "oh" has the essence of surprise -- "Oh . . . you brought me flowers. It isn't even a special day!" The next emphasis is on the love. She puts particular emphasis on it. There is a joy that she will have the opportunity to partake in an activity that once was only dreamed about. But, this is all in passing.

"Oh, I'd love to."

So what are the situations in which this statement is given? Are we asking her if she would like to go to the zoo? Not really. How about an opportunity to have ice cream at the local parlor? Again -- no.

This is how the situation might unfold.

Asher is in his bouncy seat. He has stopped crying for a few minutes and Mommy has a respite in which she can play with Tahlia. Mommy turns to Tahlia who is currently playing with bubbles that she has spilled on the floor. She really isn't playing with the bubbles as much as she is playing with the liquid that, when blown through the little yellow ring, creates bubbles. She has rubbed it effectively enough so that it now looks like the foamy soap with which she so loves washing her hands. Even though it is obvious to Mommy that these now spilled bubbles look like the foamy soap, Tahlia turns to Mommy and states, "Look, Mommy, foamy soap."

To this, in an attempt to redirect Tahlia away from the glugging bubble bottle, Mommy might state, "Tahlia, would you like to play with your animals?"

Her gaze is drawn towards her animals as she states, "Oh, I'd love to."