Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Weasel

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

For example, she entered into the demanding phase:

“Daddy give me that.”

“That is mine.”

“I want a banana.”

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

“Daddy I want that.” She’ll state.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Mommy, can I use the wheesel?”

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

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

Friday, November 28, 2008


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back bends

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

For Asher, it is simple to bend backwards.

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

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

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

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

Possible career

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

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

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

“Daddy, I hear the book too?”

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

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

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

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

“Why Daddy goes back to work?”

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

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

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

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

I find her in the other bathroom.

“Daddy, I’m at work.”

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

I returned to find Tahlia coming out of the bathroom.

“Tahlia, are you working?”

She smiled and said yes.

“What do you do?”

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

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

She smiles at me incredulously, “Yeah.”

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

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving and giving thanks

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

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

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


“You’re thankful for Candles?”

“Yeah. Candles.”

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


I gave up.

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

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

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

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

After finishing, I decided to try once again.

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

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

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


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

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


A book about Eddie

There is a book called Where’s My Teddy?

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

The story goes:

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

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

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

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

Where's My Teddy? by Jez Alborough

A long time ago

“Daddy, why do I wear Dora?”

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

“Why do I wear Dora?”

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


“What do you mean?”

“Daddy, why do I wear Dora diaper?”

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

“Yeah. Why did I wear diapers.”

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

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

Monday, November 24, 2008

I don't love you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another person’s house

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Communications with the Cat

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

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

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

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

"Yeah." She smiles.

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

"Daddy? What did Kitty-cat say?"

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

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

"Oh. I see."

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

"Uhm, Tahlia, what does that mean?"

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

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

"What did Kitty-cat say?"

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

One minute of love

Tahlia is known for telling people she loves them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Two minutes."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Under the place mat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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