Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter: This is probably gonna hurt

Lest you think after the last post that we're getting too lovey-dovey around here, here's a palate-cleanser.

Truth is, from the feedback I get, people like the stuff that tugs at heartstrings. I understand. I like it too, and that's why I write about it. But I ALSO really like subverting cutesy holidays and events. So maybe these are more of a palate-cleanser for me than anyone. Also, this was probably the first "photo shoot" I've ever done with Addison. She kept saying, "But the wench is so heavy. I can't hold it anymore." I understand, kiddo. Wenches ARE heavy. Also, you win at doing creepy mad faces. I likey.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Brand new day

Something tickles her cheek. A breeze, blowing in from the ocean while on a trip to the beach. No; a friendly spider, landing softly after its parachute drop from the ceiling. No; mom's finger, lightly stroking her skin. She reaches her hand up and grabs a fuzzy creature. She smiles. She opens her eyes and holds her best friend in front of her face. She bounces him up and down.
"Hop, hop, hop."
She hugs the worn plaything to her chest, burrowing beneath her blankets. She kisses his nose. She holds his face close so that he can kiss hers.

She yawns. She stretches. Her feet kick out from the covers. Her back arches and forms a bridge that spans the warm spot of bed that she's nested in all night long. A sound starts at her toes, travels up her body, and squeezes out like a small animal from her lips.

Her bridge collapses with a sigh. She breathes deep and watches as her bunny rises and falls on top of her chest. Up, down. Up, down.

She rolls out of bed and wanders to the door. A threshold of promise; the gateway to her future. It's shut tight, and she has to twist hard one way and then the other. She will not be denied. Finally, it dislodges, and she pushes the creaking thing open all the way. Just a few feet away is mom and dad's door.

When my daughter wakes up in the morning, she's Christopher Columbus. She's Amelia Earhart. She's Neil Armstrong. "Today" is about filling every moment with discovery; it's about looking for the hidden wonders amidst her everyday surroundings. There's a wide-eyed expectation in her. She knows enough of the world to have a sense of "the way things work," but the rules and boundaries that feel limiting to me are still only suggestions to her. She wavers between a matter-of-fact confidence in the rituals of her life, and a resilient acceptance of mystery and change. Her routines are the platform from which she launches into the unknown.

At three years old, she's lived over a thousand days, and yet each morning is still exciting, fresh, and new. She has yet to utter those sad words: "I'm bored." I hope we can always find a reason to delay them.

I love her exuberance, having the whole day ahead of her. It's nice that she wakes up whenever she feels like it, that when she rolls out of bed she's fully ready to meet the day. I hope she enjoys it while she can, because it won't last forever; nor would I wish that for her. Because someday I hope she can see in her own little girl what I see in her. The knocks on our door can be jarring, mornings do not catch me at my most heroic, and I always crave just thirty more minutes. But there's a reward. She is the magic in my world now, and it's a magic that I don't expect could ever fade away.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I'm currently working on an essay about singing songs with my daughter, but it turns out that writing essays is a lot like work, and I don't always feel like working after a full day of parks and library trips and digging holes in the lawn. I'm kinda excited to get another polished essay completed, but it's that sort of excitement that comes from imagining the future, not the sort of excitement that comes from wanting to get started on something RIGHT NOW. In the meantime, here's some fun exchanges between Addison and I from the past week, as seen on The Facebook Page:


We were digging out a crack (we're always digging something, over here) next to the foundation of the house in preparation to pour new concrete, and an evil looking spider comes out. I mash it with my gloved hand before it can get to Addison, and Addison says: 
Addison: "I glad you got that spider. I am a little shy to spiders."
Me: "I kinda am, too. But spiders can be good, too, because they eat other bugs that we don't want in our house."

Addison (echoing the first conversation we ever had with spiders): "Yeah, because some spiders are good. But some spiders are BITE!"

Suddenly a bunch of baby spiders bursts out of the crack.

Addison: "Ooh. Baby spiders! They are so cute!"

Which was the opposite of my reaction. No, I didn't kill them all. Also, I managed to not scream like a little girl. We took a break and went somewhere else for a while.

My three-year-old might be braver than I am. Which is cool. But if she brings back a nest of spider eggs to hatch cute little spider babies, I'm probably gonna have to give her away.


Just as we were about to leave for church, Addison found some lotion, squirted about ten dollops into her hands, and then smoothed it all back into her hair. Why? 
Addison: "Because that's what Ursula does in The Little Mermaid." 
Damn you, Ursula. Now we're trying to explain to Addison that Ursula was using hair gel. And now we have to go buy hair gel to make sure she understands the difference. And then I'll probably be forced to style the kid's hair...

Though I probably wasn't as bothered as Lindsay was. She pointed at Addison, and then she pointed at me, and said, "Both of you! Stop trying to get us out of going to church. I mean it!" I think she was serious.

In other Little Mermaid hair news, Addison was observed heading for Lindsay with a fork in her hand:

Addison: "I'm going to brush your hair with this fork. Hold still. It will hurt a little bit."


While watching Oliver and Company as a family today: 
Addison: Why that dog helping that man? 
Me: Well, because they're a team. They're using teamwork. 
Addison: Oh, teamwork. 
Me: Yeah, because they're a family. 
Addison: Like us! And we do teamwork to do poops! 'Cause we're a family! 
Me: Um. Yeah. I suppose so. 
Addison: Teamwork! 
I'm okay with the definition of teamwork for the moment, but clearly we need to create some new "teamwork" experiences.


Just before we're about to go do some digging in the yard, I hear Addison shouting for help from the bathroom. Which is not usually a good sign. I walk in and she's kicked the stool over and is hanging onto the counter with her feet dangling. 
Addison: I got stucked. 
Me (folding arms): Hmm. This is a predicament. 
Addison (urgently): You need to help me. 
Me: This might be too tricky for me. Should I call the fire department?

Addison: No. Just lift me down.

Me: With my tiny little arms?

Addison: You do not have tiny arms. They are so BIG!

Me: That's nice of you to say. I guess I'll give it a try.

I lift her down and then notice the toothpaste smeared on the counter.

Addison: Also, I opened the toothpaste for you.

Me (sadly): I see.

Addison: That's because I am helpful and I very love you.

Me (sighing): I love you too. Let's clean this up before mom gets home.

Addison (nodding soberly): She would not like this so much.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The sound of a heart breaking

Conversations from the past week, as seen on the Facebook Page:
Me (for the twentieth time): Eat that little bite of quesedilla, please. PLEASE.

Addison (whine-crying): I want to get down!

Me: Just eat your last two bites!

Addison (muttered under her breath): My heart got breaked.

Me: What?

Addison (slightly louder, but still deadpan): You are making my heart die.

Me (stifling an exasperated laugh): Where did you learn that?

Addison (muttered, not looking at me): I don't know.

Me (trying not to make a big deal out of it): Okay, just eat your last two bites. You asked for them.

Addison (muttered): My heart died.

Me: Do you even know what you're talking about?

Addison (barely audible): No.

Finally, I got her out of her seat, and started throwing away her bites of quesedilla. She freaks out.

Addison (screaming): I wanted those beans!

Me: I am not happy with you right now. You should have eaten them when I asked you to. Now, since you've been so difficult, I'd like you to go sit against the wall while I clean up the mess you made smearing beans on everything.

Addison (against the wall): My back is hurting.

Me: Maybe it's because you're being so contrary.

(muttered): My body is dying right now.

Me: What are you talking about?

Addison (loudly): I am NOT happy about this.

So, two things:

1. I have a little mutterer.
2. If I already made her heart die at three, does that mean she won't have any heart for me to kill when she becomes a teenager? Please tell me yes.


At bed-time last night, following the demise of her little heart at dinner time, Addison asked Lindsay for a different kind of bedtime song: 
Lindsay: What kind of song would you like? 
Addison: I wanna bad guy song. 
Lindsay: Okay... 
Addison: About punching people in the eyes. Like this... 
a pause to collect her thoughts 
Addison (singing): Punching people in the eyes. That's so beautiful. It's so beautiful. 
Lindsay, too tired to argue, says "okay" and sings it back to Addison. She gets up to leave. 
Addison: No, you forgot spraying people in the eyes. 
commences waving arms like a conductor... 
Addison: Spraying people in the eyes. That's so beautiful. It's so beautiful. 
Note to self: do not go near daughter without eye protection. Also, stop making her heart die.

Friday, March 15, 2013

My daughter and David Bowie

I had another post planned for this week, but I just wasn't feeling it. Below, however, is what I was feeling. Addison! Goblin King! Go!

Yes . . . good . . . keep going . . .

Notice any similarities? Perhaps it's because...

She reminds you of the babe

What babe? The babe with the power

What power? The power of voodoo

Who do? You do

Do what? Remind me of the babe

Oh, wait. She broke the spell. Also, I've just been spotlit (spotlighted?) on Andrew Kardon's blog, Mommy's Busy . . . Go Ask Daddy. Check it out to get some of my perspectives on blogging. There's even a never-before-seen comic!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The ones you love always taste the best

Fatherhood wouldn't be nearly so fun if I didn't have a creepy kid. As seen on Facebook this week:
Addison (spooning around a little bit of shredded wheat): Oh, poor little guy. 
Me: What's wrong? 
Addison: Little guy misses his mommy and daddy. 
Me (fishing out some bigger ones to put in her spoon): Well, here. Here's a mom.'s a dad. 
Addison: Oh, thank you! They are so happy! 
Addison: I going to eat you now! Nom nom nom nom!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The things you do for love

Now that Addison is spending more time (see here, here, here and here) on the potty -- you know, crocheting sweaters and choreographing sit-down dances -- it's probably inevitable that every once in a while something falls in. The other day it was two crayons. She looked at me with anguish.
My crayons!
And I looked at her with sympathy, but firmly said,
That's what happens when you drop things. Now let's not let that happen again.
Her lips quivered, but I was proud of the way she kept it together as I flushed the vivid color-makers away. It's a lesson that we all have to learn.

Unfortunately, not everything can be flushed. Like this Rapunzel domino.

I cringe every time she asks for something to play with on the potty. Because I know something's gonna make a splashdown sooner or later. And if it's big, and if Lindsay's not around, I'll have to go after it myself.

But there's not much choice, is there? If I want her to stop leaving me fragrant surprises in her pantaloons, I've gotta do what it takes to keep her on the pot. I just know that if we ever have another kid, I'm going to lobby for an industrial strength airline toilet. Something that seals around the edges for a massive suction effect. I don't know why it kills me so much; I spent years cleaning this kid's poo off of my hands with every other diaper change. But reaching into a toilet to retrieve something is about the most terrifying thing I do these days. I'm a real hero.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

On being a potty mouth

Addison has been aware of the difference between boys and girls for quite some time now. And almost 100% of the time, we're glad that we taught her accurate words for body parts. In addition to the fact that most euphemisms sound really silly, we liked the idea that it could be protective tool for her to be able to express ownership over her body, and to reliably communicate in the event that (heaven forbid) she ever ended up in an abusive situation.

However, when kids become comfortable talking about bodies you gotta accept that you're gonna end up in situations like this one, which I wrote about on my Facebook Page:

I'm sure there's something Freudian to say about the way even children observe the world and find phalli (yes, phalli is in fact the plural form. I looked it up) in unexpected places. But I don't have anything more to say about that. Just this one further story:

At church two weeks ago, there was a certain respected, high-ranking official who walked into the bathroom just as I was bringing my three-year-old in to use the potty. He walked over to the urinal as I ushered my daughter into a stall.

We finished up and got out as fast as we could, never making eye contact with the other dude. For better or worse, I have a (literally) potty-mouthed kid. My wife says it's just as bad when she goes to the women's restroom; the kid narrates every sound in the place. Probably our next lesson needs to be about judging people silently, as the rest of us do. In that most vulnerable of places, the restroom, you can think all you want, but you keep your mouth shut. Imagine sitting in a stall doing your business, only to hear a tiny voice giggling in the next stall over, "I heared a toot! Someone is doing a poopie! They need to wash their hands!" Hope you don't have performance anxiety.