Thursday, August 19, 2010

What kind of man do you want to be

We were sitting on Asher's bed while at the beach in Duck, N.C. It was a new book about Jack's house and the real story behind Jack's house. You remember the original book:

"This is the house that Jack built. . ."

Anyway, we were reading the new book that actually reflects on the fact that someone else actually built the house for Jack but he got all of the credit.

Suddenly, he turned and looked up at me,
"Daddy, you're sweet."
"Thanks Asher," I replied, with a quick laugh. "You're sweet too."

And we kept reading. I was only about three words in when he turns to me again, interrupting with,
"Daddy, you're a good man."
I laugh, "Thanks Ash. You're a good boy."

And he snuggled into my arm, and we kept reading.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Lately, Tahlia has become infatuated with pirates. We have pirate books and recently visited the beach, which I think has made her fascinated with them. This fascination grew exponentially the other day when, shortly after her rest time (naps are no longer) she asked me to make a pirate flag. Well, the flag happened, and was lashed to the couch, which, of course, became the pirate ship. Then, a map was made, followed by a hat -- black and adorned with the skull and crossbones. I was able to fashion the hat so that it sat on Tahlia's head properly -- not one of those newspaper hats, but with a slight tilt and everything. I even went so far as to create a sword for her. In the subsequent days, Asher also was given a sword that could second as a red jalapeƱo pepper, complete with a green handle, or stalk. The swords were not a big hit with Mommy, but, I felt if they were going to be pirates, they should probably be prepared to deal with other pirates, who were definitely going to have swords.

For several days, the pirate play went on. There was arrrrrging; there was shouting; there were scalawags. And after a while, there was enough.

The flag started falling off of the boat more and more, which would result in crying. Sometimes it was stolen by a small being who no longer longed to be a pirate. This scamp would snatch the flag, with no fanfare or flourish, and dash away, gleefully. In the wake of him, there would be a devastated-once-pirate (pirates, in general, do not throw themselves on the floor crying about a flag).

Although Tahlia was the self-proclaimed captain, the admirals of the much larger ship being driven through this life were growing tired of pirate games. For, with more reading, it started to become clear to the head pirate that pirates really aren't good people. Discussions were started about why people needed to walk the plank, or why did the pirates attack a ship and them make everyone get off prior to sinking it. And as there was a greater understand as to the type of people pirates were, there were behaviors that went along with acting like a pirate.

One day, Daddy was trying to get the captain to eat something. I didn't care what it was, but I was hoping that she would have a little variety in her diet. To that extent, I was trying to make sure that she ate something other than a second banana for the day. She was pretty set on eating a banana, so I thought I would just clarify something.

I asked, "Do pirates eat a lot of bananas?"

She looked at me, and with a look of incredulity, stated, "Daddy, pirates do what ever they want."

I guess we can move onto the next role play -- this one is clearly understood.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

If you were four, what would you be?

If you were at the beginning of your life, and you could do it all over again, would you want to change the job that you have? I often think about the work that I do as a school teacher. While there are tons of emotional perks to the job -- influencing children's lives, helping them to learn and grow, watching them grow and mature, having them come back and thank me -- I am often in awe of the community's lack of financial support for teachers. When I think of Tahlia and Asher, I want them to chase their dreams, I want them to pursue that which will fill their souls and allow them to lead rich, full lives. As a pragmatist, I also want them to pursue something that will allow them to have the monitory freedom that will also allow them to do what they want -- for whatever that means. These are my thoughts -- I don't bestow them on the children -- the most they interact with them is when I grow brooding and silent.

Sometimes, however, Tahlia will let us know exactly what she wants to be:

We were driving down the road that leads to our house. It is a long stretch, and, as we headed home, the four of us were quiet, I'd like to think it was in anticipation of being home after a lot of travel -- more likely, though, it was because everyone was too tired to talk, or sing. Tahlia suddenly had a revelation:

"Daddy," she stated, "When I grow up, I want to be a paleontologist."
In my head, I start thinking about what this will mean for her -- jumping far ahead of the personal satisfaction one gains from chasing a dream. What will this mean for her family? Will she travel a lot and be away from her family? How will it pay? Will she be able to do other things she and her family want? Yes -- I know -- it is too far away.
"Oh," inquired Mommy, "You want to study dinosaurs?"
"No," She corrected, "I want to be a paleontologist-princess-mommy."

I guess my worries can wait -- she seems to have everything thought of already.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fly like an Eagle

When he was younger, and he wanted to go really fast, Asher would lean forward, extend his arms directly behind him, hands up, and dash forward, as if he were flying.

When you have children, you become accustomed to loss. Loss of those funny words they once said. Loss at the ways they used to walk or smile. Loss at giving them baths.

But sometimes, things have a funny way of coming back.

Once again, when he wants to go really fast, a just-two-year-old Asher leans forward, arms extended, hands towards the sky, and he dashes forward. So fast, his eagle wings almost make him fly. He is, for a moment, a jet plane. An airplane. He soars.

For a moment, we hold onto the now and store it forever.

Christmas or Chanukah of something else altogether

Mommy and Tahlia were getting ready for bedtime.

There is a much reduced ritual around this time, but currently the ritual is two books, two stories, and one time back.

Instead of picking two different books tonight, Tahlia had picked a book that was made of three different stories. One of the stories being The Night Before Christmas, another was about the Baby Jesus being born, but it is from the animals in the mangers point of view. The third story, The Christmas Story is a Golden Book about Mary and Baby Jesus -- there are angels and everything.

The first story that Tahlia wanted read was the one about the Baby Jesus being born. This book mentions The Son of God a lot. Towards the end of this book, Mommy told Tahlia, "See Tahlia, some people believe that Jesus is the Son of God. And some people believe that Jesus was a very wise man who did a lot of wonderful things and was very kind and knew a lot about kindness and God." Because Tahlia goes to a preschool that teaches about the customs of Judaism, we felt it was important for her to know that the information that she is learning there isn't the only information about religion.

Without any prompting, and without any solicitation - almost before Mommy could finish, Tahlia stated, "I believe that Jesus is the Son of God." And that was that.

Well, until the next story was read.

The next story was The Night Before Christmas, which Tahlia loves to hear even as daffodils are popping out of the ground.

In the middle of it, right around "Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer! and Vixen", Tahlia interrupted and stated, "Mommy, I don't want to believe in Christmas, and I don't want to believe in Santa and I don't want you to believe in it too."

Mommy said, "Ok, that's fine." and kept reading a little bit. Who can really fault a small child for not wanting to indulge in a mostly commercialized holiday that has lost much of its true meaning when not done correctly. And Tahlia, being at the age she is, was more about the gifts and Santa then the Christian aspects of the holiday. She truly is all about the giving, which we encourage, but she is also, definitely, about the receiving.

Suddenly, Tahlia asked, "Mommy how many days?"

"How many days?" Mommy inquired


"Do you mean how many days do you get presents?"


"Well," said Mommy, "For Christmas, one; for Chanukah, seven."

Again, without any prompting, without any solicitation, and almost before Mommy could finish, Tahlia stated matter-of-factly, "I want to believe in Chanukah; I want to be Jewish."

And, even though we just read The Grinch Who Stole Christmas last night, and Tahlia heard as the Grinch ponders "how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags", and then concludes his pondering to wonder "what if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?" Maybe she really isn't forgoing Santa to boycott capitalism. Maybe seven days of presents means a little bit more.

Monday, March 29, 2010

TollHouse Cookies

You might wonder what the correct response to the question of "Do you want chocolaty-things for dessert, or a cookie?" is.

It is really obvious, if you ask Tahlia, "Oh yeahhhh. That would be great!"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

As you leave her room

If, after you have said good night to her through the crack in the door, move away a little so she can't see you anymore, then listen, you will hear one of the sweetest prayers you have ever heard.

"I love my Mommy and my Daddy and my myself AND my baby brother Asher."

Friday, February 19, 2010

After the car was hit

A while ago, Mommy brought the kids to the doctor. While in the doctor's office, someone hit our car with their car in the parking lot. The mysterious hit-and-runner didn't leave any information, but we were able to get to the bottom of the problem, just by having a quick conversation with Asher.

Mommy: "Oh my God, who hit my car."

Asher: "Lady hit your car"

Asher: "No Mommy lady not do it. I did it."

Mommy: " You hit my car."

Asher: "Uhhuh."

Mommy: "Asher, what did you hit my car with?"

Asher: "Jackhammer."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Words you should know

Parents all know that words for their children change quickly. But, when raising a child, everything changes quickly.

Tahlia has always had a lot of words; one of our earliest favorites being when she would stand at the front door door shouting "Da-ba-da" as the garbage truck drove by.

And Asher definitely takes after his sister.

Here are some of the current things he says:
A bump-duck is a dump truck
A did-de-doder is a skid steer loader (or a baby scooper)

But they're not just single words.

He often attempts to hit the phone out of Mommy's hand telling her to "Get off the phone."

When Mommy's on the computer, he let's her know she needs to "put that down."

But he is also amazingly sweet. When he snuggles in close to Mommy, he often says, "Mommy's baby." This was fun, until, one day, Daddy tried to get a "Daddy's baby." I'll admit, I tried to push him to it, "Asher," I asked as I hugged him close, "Whose baby are you."

He snuggled in close and I heard a muffled, "Mommy's baby."

Ah, the things they say.

How to test for a witch

Disney has entered our house, in the form of Cinderella, and YouTube.

When the snows hit, and we were all trapped inside for days on end, except for the brief respite when we would flee outside for a few minutes for Tahlia to gobble up snow-cones made out of real snow and flavored with, well, snow and dash around tossing snowballs at Asher, who would laugh madly every time a white sphere would crash into him or at Daddy, who would scream in pain at the nearest touch of snow, we finally succumbed to Walt and his Disney magic. It started off simply, innocently, and from a book.

The kids had received Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as well as Cinderella in book form. Both children were drawn to the dwarfs and wanted to know more about this song with the "Hi" and the "Ho." So Daddy, yes, the no T.V. enforcer, had the bright idea of turning to the internet to show his kids what the dwarfs sound like. He found an adorable short where the Dwarfs hammered and picked away at a mountain that seemed to hemorrhage jewels. The Dwarfs gleefully hi hoed and hi hoed. It was only a few minutes. Then a few minutes for Snow White. Then just the first Cinderella, max ten minutes. Well, the first and the second -- probably twenty minutes and four seconds. There was an agreement about after nap and more. Until one day, the snow was too great, and the cold was to severe, and the madness had set in that the full movie, in approximately ten minute intervals was watched.

Tahlia started wondering about the movie. "Why do the mice call her Cinderelli?" "Why does she like the cat?" "Why does Gus say 'Happy Birthday'?"

But, the focus quickly settled on the ugly stepsisters, specifically, their singing in contrast to Cinderella's.

"Sing sweet nightingale, sing sweet nightingale, ah aha ah aha ahhhhh."

Now, if it is Cinderella, you can just imagine the cherubic sound created by her heavenly voice.

However, if it is one of the stepsisters, or, dare I say it, the mean stepmother, the sound is soul wrenching. For there is nothing good about those individuals in the story, even their voice.

Soon, a game arose that Cinderella would be at the door, and we would have to check to make sure it was really Cindrella.

Tahlia, of course, does a flawless rendition of both the princess, of which she is often one, and the evil trio.

But, suddenly, unexpectedly, at dinner the other night the game changed.

At the dinner table, as dishes were near empty, the game began. But, suddenly, Asher wanted to play.

"Not Not." He says as he knocks on the table.

"Who's there."

"Dindella." He says looking around.

"Cinderella, can you sing 'Sweet Nightingale' so I can make sure you're a real princess?"

And in his most beautiful voice he sings, "ring nigh-en-ale, ring nigh-en-ale, ahhhhahhhhahhhahhhah." His small little mouth expanding into the larges "O" possible.

And he is pleased when his Daddy and sister determine he sounds just like a little princess and he is allowed entry.

A competition of love

Tahlia continues to let us know how much she loves us.

Sometimes it is in a simple way.

"Mommy, do you know how much I love you? I love you more than the whole world."

Sometimes she plagiarizes.

"I love you all the way up to the moon."

But recently, she has gone further than anyone could think.

"I love you all the way to God."

Mommy would counter with, "WOW! That is a lot. Tahlia, I love you all the way to God and back."

Tahlia, of course, would have to concede.

But today, there was no competition.

"Mommy, do you know how much I love you?"

"How much Tahlia?"

"I love you more than God loves you."

A hug, "Oh Tahlia, that's a lot."

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I don't have much to say today, but I wanted to write. I was looking at the blog and realized that it has been a long time since I have written. At first, it was because of how hectic life has become. But then, after a little while, it was more because I hadn't written, and a concern over what I would say.

I'm sorry that I've lost so much time in the last year. I've seen so many amazing things occur over the last year in both my daughter and son. And here we are, just after the fourth birthday of Tahlia, and racing towards the second birthday of Asher.

So here I go. Back in. Recounting the two of them.