Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Actual email correspondence

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

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

Begin email

End email

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

Then, one from Mommy

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What are you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

"Mommy a La-lalli." She smiles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"A puhn, huh?"

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

"A puhn is a pear." She laughs.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you know what is maddening?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Just a conversation

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

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

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

And Mommy pulled her in again.

Monday, August 11, 2008

On the phone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today, though, there was a breakthrough.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The goat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 8, 2008

What should stay - What should go

We're trying to lessen our weight.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What about this Snoopy doll?"

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

"What about this candle?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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