Monday, December 31, 2012

Facebook Monday: Crashing through the sky, straight to outer space

As my two year old's accountability partner, I've got to admit that some of her goals are more realistic (and sadistic) than others. But a kid's gotta have dreams, right? It's kind of like applying to college; you should have both "safety" and "reach" schools. And let me be the first to say, I don't think potty training Addison is going to be the easy task on the list.

On Facebook this past week, Addison tried to enter orbit (it was inevitable, what with the treasure trove of dirt to be found on Mars), and started her first serious exploration of surrealist existentialism:

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Have a Merry Christmas: Check.

Actually, Addison's favorite Christmas presents were:
  1. A 1/3-size, pink shovel to help hunt tree roots. And to grow big muscles.
  2. A pocket mirror to admire her looks.
  3. A miniature cooking set, complete with vegetable steamer. She's already experimenting with all of the ways dirt can be fried, steamed, and simmered. I'm pretty eager for Addison to become the family cook.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Facebook Monday: Spread the cheer. Spread it loud. Spread it proud.

A kid's renditions of the holiday classics are a thing to behold. Addison's no exception. On Facebook this past week, I recounted the ways in which Addison will not be silenced:


Whereas my great anxiety is about how people always seem to be talking about me (and laughing), Addison thinks that everyone SHOULD always be talking about, and to her. 
Loudly, after a prayer at church: "Why that man not bless my owie? And my other owie? Hey, man, I talking to you!" 
To the mailman, who is oblivious and has headphones on: "Stop. Stop! I want to talk to you! Mom, why that man not stop? Why he not want to talk to me?"

As a neighbor turns the corner of the street while pushing her infant in a stroller: "Oh no! I forgot to show that lady my owies! On my hand, and my knee, and my ankle. Oh, this is so sad. That lady wanted to see my owies and say, 'it's okay Addison. It's okay.' Fast! Let's go find her!"

To the baby at the playground: "Talk. Talk, baby. I want you to talk to me. What's your name? I ask you a question, baby. You need to answer my questions. Don't make me angry."

Also, that last bit is likely because we have a green hulk fist that makes smashing noises and says, "You won't like me when I'm angry!"

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Love those Christmas cookies

Just a few comics before the holidays. Cheers!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

An appeal for the candid camera

"Jeffrey! You stop punching your little sister! Just sit. And smile, dang it! A real smile, or you don't get any dessert! Where did Jennifer go? Well tell her to get off the phone! Benjamin, no, you can't go to bathroom again. Well, you'll just have to hold it! For as long as it takes, that's how long!"
We've all been there. The holiday family photo. Who'd have thought that getting a handful of people to stand in neat little rows with grins plastered on their faces would be so difficult?

I'll be the first to admit, I do not make family photos any easier. I've been described by people close to me as "reserved" and "quiet" and "reclusive." Okay, also "curmudgeonly." I don't love being the center of attention, and I definitely do not love to pose. It doesn't take long for my photo-smile to become a grimace, an involuntary mask of displeasure. In every event where I've been asked to participate in some sort of special photo op, whether for my wedding, or at Christmas-time, or for that random get-together that marks nothing particularly special except that three or more related people happen to have gathered at once, there's usually documented evidence to pinpoint the moment that I reach my breaking point. And in every photo thereafter, I'm either very sullen or my smile looks a little like I've just been punched in the kidney.

I want to punch myself in the face

Monday, December 17, 2012

Facebook Monday: On being overly friendly

As seen on the Facebook page this week, here's a representative moment of Addison at the park:

Addison: Hi! My name starts with "A." 
Parent: That's nice.

Addison: A-D-D-I-S-O-N. Addison. That's my name. It starts with a "A."

Parent: Right. That makes sense.

Addison: Why that baby not talk?

Parent: She doesn't know how yet.

Addison: Why?

Parent: She's too little.

Addison: Why?

Parent: She just is.

Addison: I can talk. I can talk a lot. I can say my name, A-D-D-I-S-O-N. It starts with...

Parent: An "A." I got it.

Addison: Yeah! That's my daddy. He is big. I am little. Why that baby not talk? Why that baby - Hey! I'm talking! - Why that baby not talk?

Parent: She just can't. I've got to go. Have a nice day, kid.
Basically, she's my complete opposite, and loves talking to people. And within a minute of meeting another kid, she'll be holding their hand and leading them around the playground, jabbering at them about her name or The Little Mermaid or every owie she's ever had.

Why is this girl holding my hand?
And when one of the other kids (whom she'd only met twenty minutes prior) had to leave the playground the other day, she came and yanked on my pants and said:
Addison: Where my friend going? 
Me: Well, sometimes kids need to go have lunch or take a nap.

Addison: I just miss her so much. I think maybe I should go with them.

Me: What am I, chopped liver?

Addison: No daddy. You're just my daddy. Bye bye!
After which she sprinted away from me after her "friend" who was already in the parking lot.

But, ah man, I'm too young to be an empty-nester. I'd miss her. So I dragged her back, kicking and screaming. Someday, since I love her, I'm gonna have to set her free (how terrifying this feels in the aftermath of the last few days), and then I suppose we'll find out if she comes back or not and if she was ever really mine. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

On getting filthy and hunting whales

Addison and I have spent the last couple of weeks digging up the lawn of Lindsay's parents' rental property. I mean, not non-stop, but it's taken the place of at least three or four afternoon visits to the playground. I shouldn't even really call it a "lawn." That's what it will be. Right now, it's not too far from looking like the surface of Mars.

Here's the thing: the property has a root problem. Which is another way of saying that it used to have a tree problem (turns out it both used to and still does, as you'll see). Some of the roots get pretty near the surface, and so we've been taking them out as we make room for a sprinkler system.

It turns out that digging for roots is a lot like whaling. It's possible that I say this because Moby-Dick is one of my favorite books, and I've been known to go out of my way to find parallels. But picture this:
You get a strange feeling in your bones, of something beneath you, of the "subtleness of the [earth]," and "how its most dreaded creatures glide under [the ground], unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of [umber]." -Herman Melville, with my own additions

Monday, December 10, 2012

Facebook Monday: Pirate sounds and kicking ducks

"Facebook Monday" clearly doesn't have the ring that "Facebook Friday" would have, but Friday is date night. So "Facebook Monday" it is.

Here's the first of my favorite two daddy-daughter moments this week, as first seen on my Facebook Page:
Today at the park: 
Addison: I want to kick. 
Me: What? Kicking isn't nice. But . . . what did you want to kick? 
Addison: I want to kick a duck. 
Me: Why? Who do you know that kicks ducks? 
Addison: Oh, lots of people. Can I kick a duck? It would be SO special to me. 
Me: Well, if you can catch it, you can kick it...
That experience was last Tuesday, and we were at the park again today. We always head for the ducks first. To feed them, not to kick them. So, we'd just gotten out of the parking lot and I was still holding her hand. Addison started trying to wrench her hand out of my grasp, and I asked her what the rush was.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Crazy hair

Addison was born without much hair. She spent about the first half of her life as a cute little baldy. Hence the cabbage toupe:

But in this last year, her hair finally stopped being so shy, and started rapunzeling its way down her beautifully round head to fall right above her shoulders in a stylish bird's nest of snarled silky golden fibers. We tried to comb it, more or less. But unless she'd just gotten out of a bath, it'd never really lay down the way it's supposed to.

Monday, December 3, 2012

On my daughter having a problem with death

I've been enjoying this blog's Facebook page as an alternative venue for sharing moments with my daughter on a more casual basis -- it really hits the spot when I just have a moment that I want to record and spread real quick-like. It's a great way to link up with friends and family and other readers who still aren't quite sure what this whole blogging thing is all about.

I have found, though, that some of the conversations I've been recording there are actually kind of special to me, and I want to get some of them back over here, since I think of this blog as a sort of keepsake to pass on to my daughter someday when she's old enough to care.

So, I've decided that every Monday I'll start sharing some of my favorite conversations/thoughts of the week from the Facebook page, with some additional analysis or a comic or whatnot. Here's this conversation from the past week, a follow-up to this post about death:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Daddy, I want to be strong like you!

I didn't exercise a whole lot after Lindsay and I got married in 2007, and that "not a whole lot" shrank to "too small to measure" once Addison was born in 2010. But in 2011 I finally finished school, we moved to California, and I was ready to get back in the swing of things. I had visions of recapturing the athleticism of my youth. I joined a gym and enrolled Addison in their kids' club (which she hated at first, but has since warmed up to).

The first day I showed up at the gym, I was a assigned a trainer for a preliminary evaluation. Too bad I didn't know you could just opt out of these things. He was a nice dude, but we were clearly on different pages about why I wanted to start using the gym.
Him: "What are your main goals for coming to the gym?" 
Me: "Um, to get in shape?"
Him: "Right. Cool. And if you stick with me, you'll really be able to pop with a tight t-shirt on." 
Me: "Yeah, I guess. But mostly I just want to get stronger and faster." 
Him: "I totally get you, man. And the ladies love the muscles, amirite?"

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turkeys and toddlers never let you sleep in.

According to a poll reported on CNN this morning while I was at the gym, the day before Thanksgiving is the most traveled day of the year. *Relief* I sure dodged a bullet on that one.

I've made no secret of the fact that traveling with a toddler is one of my least favorite things to do. Of course I know that there are tricks that make that hellish endeavor easier. But there's no way around it, going on a holiday trip with my kid is no holiday.

Having said that, I was at the airport yesterday, ALL BY MYSELF, and I couldn't stop watching other people with their kids. I had a book, I had a whole bunch of junk food that I never get to eat at home, I had a few precious hours of alone time before I returned home to what would likely be an ulcer-inducing domestic revolution (Lindsay moved Addison to a real bed while I was gone). I could have nestled myself into some little corner, as far from other people's little hellions as possible. But no. I've found that now I'm a dad, I can't. stop. watching. kids. Mine, yours, theirs, whoever's . . . it's like a strange Clockwork Orange alternate reality of parenting. A couple of years ago, I wouldn't have thought twice about a dude and daughter on a moving walkway, his finger clenched in her little toddler fist. But now, it's as though any moment of parenting that I encounter, whether I've got my kid with me or not, grabs me by the eyeballs and says, "THIS IS YOUR LIFE. THERE IS NO ESCAPE."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Blog post or date night . . . blog post or date night . .

I told Lindsay a couple of days ago that I wanted to reduce my weekly posts here on the blog. She was like,
"It's about time, you jerk. Time to take me on a DATE." 
I started blogging on my birthday back in April, and started posting three times per week shortly thereafter. I'm pretty proud of keeping that schedule for nearly half a year. And I'm pretty sure that Lindsay thought I was going to give up on the whole thing after about a month. So, BOOYAH! It's possible I kept up the schedule just to win the imaginary argument I'd been having with her in my head.

Monday, November 12, 2012

That which was lost is found

On the positive side of crawling ventilation ducts: John McClane. Your wife can never again tell you to stop exclaiming "Yippee-ki-yay, [Mr. Falcon]!"

On the negative side: Tom Skerritt in Alien. You're gonna die in there.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Push! Push! PUUUUUUSH!

Today I was cleaning up around the house, which mostly involves pushing piles of stuff from one part of the house to the other. Shovels would probably help. So while I was doing this cleaning/bulldozing, Addison stopped in her tracks and suddenly began concentrating really hard. You all know what that means. She was suddenly hearing the distant shrieks and howls of the wild pack of toddlers that we stole her from that roams the foothills of L.A. Also, she was trying to push all of her food from the last two days out of her body.
Me: What are you doing!?  
Addison: I'm doing a poop.
Me: Crap. Wait, I mean don't! Hold it in!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Two-year-olds cannot be trusted

In other news, forts are awesome:

Until they find you and make you take out the trash.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I hope you made the right choice today

When was the last time a write-in candidate won the Presidency? Maybe it'll be this year.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Here's a comic to qualify yesterday's comic, in which I cast all politicians as devils. I don't really think either Mitt or Barack is Satan. Or Hitler. It's what I try to teach my two-year-old -- when someone does something you don't like, you tell them how you feel and seek a resolution. You don't hit, bite, scratch, or call names. I'm gonna try not to be the guy who's got to start back at level one over and over again, keeping the game from progressing to the next level.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Damned if you do, damned if you don't

Do y'all think one of your candidates is amazing (I don't even really want to know which one, just your general feelings), or do you, like me, feel like someone's gotta be a little messed up in the head to want to run for President? I know, I know, some people start out with good intentions, but if anyone's read All the King's Men or Primary Colors, you know things change when someone's tasked with winning over a constituency.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Promises, Promises

Because if you're going to promise something you can't make good on, you may as well make it the coolest promise you can.

P.S. If you head to my facebook page, you can find all the comics in a single album.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Dad, why do you vote?

For the record, this isn't the reason my wife votes. She's a pretty smart cookie, and a pretty serious citizen. I'm a work in progress.

Also, I'm going to post a political cartoon every day until the election. I'm like the Stephen Colbert of dads who draw stick-men cartoons on the internet. Whatever that means.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween: When all of your parenting fears come true.

Light seeps in through the slivered gaps between the window shades, dripping little splashes of obnoxious sunshine right onto your eyelids. You strain to listen, but hear no sounds from the munchkin's room, so you stretch and turn over. Just for a few more minutes.

But despite the cheery transition from sleep to wakefulness, from shadowy night to revealing day, something unsettling tickles the edges of your awareness. You turn again. And then again. Is that a cry you hear? A faint, almost feline sound, too far away to be your daughter. Or is it? It sounds again, seeming to echo forlornly on another plane, a reality just barely touching your own.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Need something to creep you out till Halloween gets here?

Halloween: two days away. The truth is, I don't care much for trick-or-treating, or even for costumes, unless they turn my daughter into a Jawa. What I do like is a holiday or season that really embraces a certain atmosphere. This is the season for things that are unsettling. For things that make the hairs on your neck stand up (like my daughter channeling The Joker).

One of the best ways to make something creepy is to take something loved and make it just a little . . . off. Like snow-fort building.

Below is an excerpt of a project I worked on at film school, and it should be fine to show your kids, and hopefully it creeps the heck out of them too. They'll never look at Bambi the same way again.

And let me just say, planning scenes that involved untamed predators is no simple task. You've just always got to keep a few first-year film students on-hand to feed to the beasts when they get restless.

Friday, October 26, 2012

My pirate is gonna plunder your princess for Halloween

As Halloween approaches, Lindsay and I have been asked how we're going to dress Addison up. In some ways, it seems she might like to try "psychopathic killer," but we've been keeping pencils away from her for a while just in case.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What does dead mean?

Posts for the next week are going to be Halloween themed. Mostly because Halloween is a pretty great holiday. I don't mean in the Friday the 13th or commercial aspect, but more like if you take spookiness in a more literary direction, along the lines of Edgar Allan Poe or Coleridge or Hawthorne or more recently, something like Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Before I lose my train of thought and start talking about books (that's what my other blog is for), let me just get to the point:

My toddler just starting asking us about death. Perhaps it's because the house next door has a pretty intense Halloween setup, full of mummies in caskets with separated limbs, and huge spiders, and skeletons and gravestones. What am I supposed to say when she points to each and says, "What's that, dada?" I'd like to start in on The Raven or The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, but something (my wife) tells me she's not ready.

She might also have learned the "death" concept from her Gramps, who reads her stories like Snow White and says "the dwarfs thought she was dead," instead of "the dwarfs couldn't wake her up" or "the dwarfs wanted to help her because they thought she had an owie."

In any event, here she is, asking her question, which she finishes off with a very emphatic declaration that she knows what she's asking and she will NOT be put off with half-way answers or chuckles and a bait and switch:

My wife fielded the question, which involved saying that "dead" is when a spirit leaves someone's body. Reasonable answer, and it didn't involve dessicated bodies unearthed from thousand-year-old tombs, or decapitated grinning skulls (she already gets enough of that from watching Fantasia). In a few years, however, I do look forward to introducing her to the concept of mostly dead. Quality entertainment will be had.

Since that conversation, we've been selectively pointing out things that are dead. Today, it was the tarantula at the pet store. It was curled up on its back, legs pulled in tight like the clenched fist of a skeleton. At dinner Addison told me, "That 'pider at the pet store was dead." Then she turned her sad little eyes up at me and said mournfully, "I yuv that 'pider so much."

I wonder if it would make her feel better about how many living 'piders there are in the world if I explained how many crawl over her body at night. Shudder. My protective fatherly impulses feel impotent when struck with the reality that 'Piders. Are. Everywhere. 'Tis the season to be creeped out.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Free samples are the gateway to New Age Religion

After our trips to the gym, Addison and I usually stop in at the health food store next door. It's where we sometimes buy soy milk for a treat. And they have samples.

Addison lives for the samples. She expresses roughly the same amount of glee about samples as she does Disneyland. When she's being a pill about getting in the car for some reason, all we have to do is mention "Trader Joe's" and she flips emotions on a dime. She runs in circles shouting, "Yay! Trader Joe's! Samples! Trader Joe's! Hooray!" Which still makes it hard to get her in the car, but glee is better than belligerence.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The joy of a sick toddler

I'm pretty sure my sick days would coincide with Addison's sick days. If I had a real job.

Addison snuggled with me through two whole movies while I stroked her hair and rubbed her tummy. Most productive use of my time in months. Hope she feels better tomorrow, though.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Get up that wall! Go Go Go!

Your feet slap the concrete, a staccato beat overlapping the in-out rasp of your breath, which in turn overlaps the hammering of your heart. You inhale as one foot goes down and exhale on the other, just like they taught in high school track to fend off side stitches. Your arms pump at your sides, pistons in a regular motion, kidney punches to an invisible opponent. The whole coordinated operation is a series of layered rhythms which, when everything's working right, strike together in the athletic equivalent of an "amen!"

Finding these agreeable rhythms is a breeze for some people. For them, every run offers a smooth, reliable avenue for scoring hits off of their internal endorphin machine. I am not one of those people.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Endorphins: opiates that are even fun for the kids.

No broken bones. Just mysterious scrapes and bruises that I keep finding in odd places on my body. This is the third year I've run the Volkslauf, and I'm sure I'll run it again next year. Because isn't this mud run fad way cool?! Also, one of my superpowers is being a glutton for punishment.

We're still decompressing after the trip, but I'll write more about the experience on Wednesday.

Friday, October 12, 2012

On masochism and second thoughts

This weekend I'm running a 10K obstacle course mud run. It seemed like such a good idea when I signed up. I'll let you know how it went on Monday.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On Footy Pajamas

Sometime between the first day of October and today, autumn became a reality. I can't pinpoint the moment; it probably came in the night, sneaking past the sun's sleepy defenses. I only know that one day it was hot and feverish, reaching temperatures which, when found inside the human body, mark the ruthless biological defense of self-immolation (to fight off invaders, our bodies deliberately burn themselves up). The next day, it was as though the earth's fever had broken, and a wisp of cool air brushed past my cheek. For a moment, I'd have thought I was mistaken. It was only a hallucination, a phantom memory teasing my senses. But then there was another touch on my skin, gentle and sweet like a cool cloth on a burn.

Of course, this is still California. The sun isn't going to go away. But soon we'll have days to remind me of the ones Charles Dickens described, days when "the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade." Winter might still be a stretch here in Orange County . . . but I'll take what I can get.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cool winds of change

September, you've burned me one too many times. October, you screwed up once, but I'ma let it slide. Don't let it happen again.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Creepy kids

Sometimes it's the parents who are creepy. And sometimes it's the kids.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Duck, duck, dead

Addison and I went to the park today to feed the ducks. It's cute and fun, but as we're sitting there trying to bean the poor things with cheerios, I can't help thinking that it would be pretty dang easy to off one of these things and bring it home for dinner. Not that we'd know what to do with it. We can barely figure out how to cook spaghetti, much less something that has feathers all over it.

Don't get me wrong, I've never killed anything larger than a small frog before. And that was an accident for which I felt remorse for months afterwards. He hopped right under my foot as I was running. I'm not even joking. It wasn't my fault.

Nevertheless, the ducks were so close, practically eating out of our hands, and their bodies are so cute and plump . . . and really, if I'm trying to teach my daughter something about self-sufficiency and how to survive the zombie apocalypse, she's gonna have to learn how to break a little animal's neck sooner or later. Right? Much more efficient to teach her to do that than to plant, and nurture, and then harvest her own soybean crop. The girl's gonna need to get her protein from somewhere.

In other news, for every fun excursion we take during the week, I can think of about fifty ways for it to end scarring my child tragically. What to say? I have a wandering mind.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Too hot in the hot tub!

It hit 103 degrees today. Hot. To quote Eddie Murphy while channeling James Brown, definitely "too hot in the hot tub." To quote Addison, it was hot enough to "burn all the babies." In this picture, you can see the way Addison's hair is plastered to her head by sweat. She's tinged yellow because that's the nuclear power of the sun exploding through the windows. Hold me close, ebola bunny.

When we moved to California, I was growing my hair out. And then I realized that this coastal paradise that people describe as being so temperate and appealing is actually a desert. Not the kind you eat with a spoon and a cherry on top that makes you fat and happy. It's the kind that spontaneously catches things on fire and makes your whole body cry tears of sweaty sadness that stain the armpits of your shirts.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Caption Contest: Good for your brains

I was going to work on some text for this comic, but then I realized that, actually, this represents a whole lot of different interactions in our household. Sometimes my schemes don't go over that well, even when exploiting a cute little person for my cause. What about you? If you were to put some captions or dialogue to this comic, what would your characters say?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The first time I saw my alien-head daughter

Exactly three years ago, give or take a few hours, I sat down and wrote a reaction to seeing Addison for the first time. The day before, Lindsay and I had gone to the hospital and seen her amphibian features in Addison's first scheduled ultrasound.

I'm gonna re-post an excerpt from it here, to honor the anniversary of writing something publicly about our baby girl for the very first time.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Heath Ledger, eat your heart out. Also, RIP.

It's 2:30 in the afternoon and I'm at my computer. Addison has been doing "quiet time" for about 15 minutes in her bed while drinking a sippy cup of milk and scolding her bunny for not dancing upon command. And then I hear a thump as my three-foot-tall creature hits the floor.

"Read your books, Addison," I call. There's no answer. She might be reading books. It's possible. Even though the last time I didn't hear anything from her it was because she had scaled a bookshelf and was trying to pull it down on top of herself so that she'd be smashed like a pancake and then I'd be sorry for making her do quiet time. I'm pretty sure that was her thought process.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The bottom of the trough, but staying above water

Today I'm at the bottom of the trough. I'd intended to go to the gym with Addison, followed by the playground and park, followed by the pet store, and then maybe a brief stop at the lab to cure cancer. Also, we were going to work on letters and numbers somewhere in there.

But we both woke up a little late after a middle-of-the-night contest of wills about whether I was going to get Addison a drink of milk or water in her sippy cup. I lost. I tried to explain to her that if she drinks milk at night her teeth will rot out of her head and nobody will ever want to go on a date with her, but she didn't seem to care.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On (mostly) ignoring kids with a smile

Lindsay and I went to see The Avengers at the dollar theater yesterday, courtesy of Lindsay's mom who is awesome and took off work to do some babysitting for us. It was a fun flick.

Once the movie started, though, I discovered I had a kicker sitting in the seat behind me. When my seat first started vibrating, I glanced behind me just to make sure the kicker was less than four feet tall. Satisfied, I turned back around, and enjoyed the rest of the movie. The reverberations against the back of my seat really enhanced the action scenes. They made it like a full-on sensory experience, you know?

I thought about it afterwards, and found myself actually a little surprised that I didn't mind the kicking that much. I mean, we were on a date. A cheap one, but it was a DATE, and we'd gone out of our way to get our little hanger-on off our hands.

But the kicking wasn't that hard, although pretty constant. And the kid wasn't making any noise or whining or anything. He might have been a little young to be watching the film, but frankly I felt a little nostalgic for my daughter as I sat there jiggling to the beat of this six-year-old's rhythm. You know, like the way your toddler will kick her leg while sitting in your lap while you watch The Backyardigans.

The mom told her kid several times to stop what he was doing, but aside from that early check-in, I didn't tun around again. Don't worry, mom who I don't know. I'm a parent, too. Being able to watch a movie with just a little rhythmic back massage is better than I usually get, so don't sweat it. Kids are gonna be kids. I can deal with that. I'd much rather have a kid who's mostly well-behaved than some adult who won't get off their phone. And though we're not supposed to ignore our own kids, I didn't feel bad at all mostly ignoring yours. With a slight smile on my face.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Read all the comics!

In April, when I first started blogging and drawing comics, I showed the first couple to my father-in-law to see how he would react. This is what he looked like:

Friday, September 14, 2012

On burning babies

Addison has been pleading to go to the playground all week long. I finally caved today, and took her after my workout. I hadn't checked the forecast when we left this morning, so I could only make some assumptions about the temperature based on what we experienced. I knew it would be hot, because this is California, and it's almost always way too hot here, no matter what those tricksters say about the temperature in California being so nice. When I put Addison in her carseat after the gym, she said:
"Hot! Burning me! Too hot!"
And I said to her:
"You better get used to this, kid, because we live here now, and we're going to be here for a long, long time."
And then I laughed maniacally. But she said she still wanted to go to the playground, despite me promising her some soy milk if we just went straight home and skipped the outside stuff. I told her:
"If we go to the playground, the sun will burn us. We might catch on fire. We might be consumed in a brief burst of pain and glory, and travel in black clouds of ash up to meet our maker. Is that what you want?"
And she said:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My top 3 favorite videos of my toddler dancing

I like this one for the hand jive she performs, which appears to be some combination of patty cake and the Macarena. Also, Addison came up with the lyrics to her song and dance herself: "Addison potty, Addison potty . . . "

In this second video, you may be able to tell through the heavy filtering that Addison is in her birthday suit, and that she's covered in arcane marks and symbols. This is her primitive battle paint. Just prior to singing the happy birthday song, she killed a rooster and drank its blood. And then she did a weird martial arts dance around the room and collapsed in the corner muttering, "the horror . . . "

But this last video is probably my favorite. First, because that alphabet song is seriously catchy. Second, because she's really working those shoulders. It's possible that she's a little confused and she thinks one of her parents keeps trying to grab her by the shoulder, and she can't stop trying to shrug us off. "I just want to finish my song first," she snaps at those invisible hindering parental units. You may recall her trademark stand-offish-ness.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Taking a day off from parenting

Well, not a whole day off. And I'm still parenting. A little bit. I'm working myself up to taking her to the park for a few hours. But until we leave around 10:30 or so, I'm not gonna be winning any daddy awards.

At 2:00 a.m. I asked her why she was awake, and she said, "I dunno." I pressed her, and she offered, "One cow coming in? Take my play house away?" It's the only reason she ever gives now for waking up suddenly. Damn scapegoat cows.

How many times of being woken up in the night does it take for you to give up on the next day? How many hours of lost sleep does it take before you lose your will to "make today the first day of the rest of your life!" I like to think I'm a pretty good dad . . . but sleep-deprived parenting does not put me at my best.

Also, I'm kind of a wuss, because my sicky wife is sleep deprived almost every single day of her life. She's a hero, I tell you. A real American hero.

Friday, September 7, 2012

On the predator instinct

Addison and I went out hunting produce today. We were looking for something to do, and I almost brought her to the mall and pet store like I do most other days. But then I remembered Lindsay bringing home a rather runty, totally unripe avocado from one of her walks around the neighborhood. And my vision went red, and I could almost taste its slightly nutty flesh crushed between my "'cary, 'cary teef," as Addison would say (no, I don't have messed-up teeth, they're just a lot bigger than Addison's).

I'm her dad, right? I'm not just a tickle-monster or a brings-sippy cup-when-demanded-machine. I figure it's my responsibility to help bring her natural hunter/gatherer instincts to fruition. Literally. Because we're after fruit. And you can't rely on the schools to teach your kids these kinds of life skills. If the zombie apocalypse occurs and we can't make it to the supermarket because there are too many bodies in the streets, she needs to know which neighbors to steal from.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Everyone wants me for a husband

My wife gave me a hug the other day and my two-year old put her hands in the air and said,
"Stop! No Hugging!"
And my wife said,
"I can hug him, he's my husband."
And my daughter said,
"No, my husband!"

Monday, September 3, 2012

My daughter and the Mars Rover

So I've already established that my daughter likes dirt. A lot. She incorporates it into her digestive system at every opportunity. And she does so with fervor. I can only compare that soulful, rapturous, reverent look she gets on her face with a moment that people usually describe in religious settings. When Addison crunches a surreptitious bit of grit between her teeth, she stares off into the distance, communing with the land, contemplating a sacrament.

So what does this have to do with the Mars Rover? I've been following Curiosity's journey pretty closely, and I spend long moments ogling shots like the one pictured above (I grabbed it from, where you can get an interactive 360 degree visual). There's so much detail in the pictures the Rover is sending back, and they're so tantalizingly familiar for such a distant, foreign place. These NASA photos mesmerize me.

Addison walked in while I was looking at this photo and she stopped, as though in awe, and said,
"That a yot of dirt!"
Yes, yes it is. If my daughter makes it onto the first manned mission to Mars, we'll know that she was after a taste of the exotic delicacies paving a planet from horizon to horizon.