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Da'gain!

Posted on November 26, 2012 at 5:10 PM

Da’gain!

    New words courtesy of Blair….  Not the first and I’m certain, not the last. I know exactly what it means and I hear it constantly, it appears to be a sub-three year olds contraction for “Do it again.”  …..and given the amount of times she says it, it is almost necessary that she economize on it.

                We have in fact progressed from made up words such as geek-geek (a toddlers approximationfor music) to just plain ole’ bad English. The best (worst) ones even get concatenated into a sentence sometimes. A favorite of mine came out when we were at the hospital (which we will cover in a minute) and pertains to a “deal” she was trying to make with me. ….it’s all about the deal lately. I say “time for bed”…. She responds with “how about this …..?”  and tries to sell me on an idea that will let her stay up. I hear this almost as often as “why?”

                She really speaks very well but when she came out with this answer to where we should put the Christmas tree I almost fell over. “How about this" she says, "we put it on the peenyanyo at the hosibul?” I had been talking about at home but she decided it should be on the – piano at the hospital- so everyone could enjoy it. The child, you see, was concerned that the hospital’s holiday tree didn’t have an angel on it. So she wanted to share ours. That’s not taught folks – I said nothing that would have influenced that. I merely told her it was a holiday tree and they don’t always have an angel on them. So she wanted to share hers. I was at a complete loss as to whether explaining would have taught her something or her completely innocent desire to simply share should have taught me something. “Prabaly” the latter I think.

                A quick story before we get to the parts about the newbies that you are all looking for here… and yes the story may seem a stretch but it’s all true and makes for better storytelling. It all began with the biggest, grossest, hairiest, meanest spider you ever saw. It was either a huge spider or a small tarantula depending on your point of view. It was easily the size of a small hand. It was so big infact that the last one (being the first one ever) I saw that was dead was big enough to SMELL dead. It actually smelled, dead. When was the last time you could smell a dead bug? There is a size line you have to cross to smell dead and spiders should not be big enough to cross it, period. But here I was faced with a live one – thankfully outside the house. I scooped that thing up in a plastic can with every intention of taking it out behind the wood pile to…. well…. Lets just say the bugs in the yard were not going to be unhappy about what happened next.

                Blair spotted the whole capture thing and started asking too many questions. So I figured it would be a good lesson to show her that we never hurt living things just because they are ugly and nasty, like Pandas Koalas and ....spiders. So we released it waaaaay in the back of the yard, never to be seen again! (it’s another story for another day but there was in fact a second one a few weeks later in the house that we also released…. farther away this time – just thinking it might be the same one that came back gives me the willies)

                The reason for all that is I made the offhand joking comment to Marissa that I was making a deposit in the Karma bank by saving that spider. – and doncha know, It actually worked! During hurricane Sandy we had two large trees fall across our driveway, effectively blocking us in. Remember- Marissa is nine months pregnant at this point so I had to get it clear. I wound up out there as the storm is winding down in the wind and rain trying to cut the trees with a hand saw. It was dull and so when I say “cut” I mean more like “rub.” Since the power was out, my ELECTRIC chain saw wouldn’t work and the wife had closed the purse strings on a new gas powered chainsaw earlier in the year (and a generator for that matter too) so you can imagine my disposition. I must have even looked pitiful too since the mailman – who was actually delivering mail – came over to laugh at me. Really, a man I’ve never had a conversation with before, who JAMS my mail into the mailbox so it takes 5 minutes to get out. The guy who smushes and wrinkles all my mail and leaves the door open so it get rained on every time wants to break my chops? Half the time I get the mail from the car window and because of the way it’s all packed in there something falls and I have to park the car to get it. That guy wants to pal around at a time like this?

                Turns out as soon as he hears why I’m out there doing this in such bad weather he tells me “I’ll be right back.” I laugh to myself thinking he’s going to the mail truck to get the handy dandy US gov’t issued hand saw he conveniently carries for emergencies to help me. My scoffing turns to anger when he suddenly pulls away though. Now I’m pretty mad as I’m sawing and getting soaked!!! Now he’s just added insult to injury.

                Now,all you loyal readers know that I am not prone to exaggerated writing so when I tell you seeing his mail jeep coming back followed by a couple of cars (queue the music) was like the ending of a movie when the cavalry comes in to save the day you’ll believe me!. He ACTUALLY brought the honest to goodness cavalry! He went and rounded uphalf the neighborhood with some chainsaws and had me cleared out in about 10minutes. I could not have been more grateful! He earned his Christmas tip this year and then some!

                I think most people would come out in a storm and help somebody like that – I know I would.Most of the time people are unaware though – the helper can’t go walking around looking for someone to help and likewise the helpee can’t really do that either. Once in a while you need the middle man to make that connection happen.

                Anyways….I thought of that spider as I cleaned up and came inside.

 

                So, I’m sure your all wondering but Blair is now officially the big sister in our house! …and she is just eating up the attention she’s getting for it. All the kids came and hugged her and congratulated her when she went back to school.She felt like such a champ! She even asked for my phone so she could show off the pictures of her new brother and sister! I think she is genuinely happy about the whole thing. She doesn’t seem to feel threatened by them at all. We have lifted some restrictions to help alleviate that too though. Her room gate is gone so she can come and go as she please during the night. (she doesn’t move – it was to keep the dogs out…. But don’t tell her that).I’m betting a few days of babies crying and she’ll do exactly what we would like to do but can’t.Pull the pillow over her head and stay put.  Diapers at night are next – if she can string4 dry mornings together in a row we will leave them off. (She can’t help it but wet morning diapers embarrass her so much - It’s so adorable) She is at a record 3 in a row as of this writing – so we are almost there!

Well, I’ve chatted you up enough so I will let you get to the pictures! There will be more but I wanted to get some out there for you!

               

On 11/20/12at 8:08 AM Jenna Morgan was born. She was 6 lbs 9 oz and 19” long. John Charles IV came next at 8:11 AM and was 5 lb 10 oz - 19” long. She looks every bit the 1 pound heavier too! We know who was dominant the Last 9 months. He even had a fat (bruised) lip when he was born! Poor guy! They are so small it makes Blair look like she grew from being our little toddler peanut into our big-girl kid over night!

A big thank you to Angel - our Doula. She was with us for Blair and were lucky enough to have her back for Jenna and John. I highly recommend their services to anyone having a baby!

Blair took to her almost immediately and is wearing a sweater in the last picture that was a big sister gift from her.


Really, Angel - Thank you.

 

Last note - As I'm driving Blair to school on her first day back as a big sister we are just cruising along listening to music when she suddenly asked me why i was smiling.....

 

I didn't realize i was doing it but I guess i was. Only a child would have to ask me why.

 

'scuse me... scuse ME ...... 'SCUSE ME!!!

Posted on October 24, 2012 at 1:50 PM

– OK, now I’m miffed. I just wrote you this whole story about the cute “scuse me” incidents and because I hit backspace on the web page I lost it all! I am not happy and can’t even re-write it again for you. All my creative desire just got dumped on the floor. I really dislike computers sometimes. Really, I know them pretty well and I REALLY can have moments when I don’t care to ever see one again.

Arrrrright….. It’s another day and I think the story was worth it so we will try again. I hope I can muster the same effort and energy in this version as the one I lost. If not and the story stinks….. Just be mean to your own computer for karmic retribution.

Yeah, I know... Sometimes it seems like blah blah blah even to me…….

Anyway……… Man this is hard to start again – it just takes everything out of you when something like that happens.

THE PRINCESS……….. Likes to wake us up at night now – most times repeatedly. (a simple grammatically error filled start to get the story rolling) She will cry and call out to us until one of us makes an appearance in her room. And she will use any and all tactics to draw you in if you resist or delay. Alerts can include the onset of extreme and debilitating thirst, a wet leaky diap, marauding lions, the need for a complete blanket reapplication, or just simply needing a hug are some of the tactics she employs. So far, for the most part, it has worked for her. Lately though it has gotten a little out of hand. Crying jags, screaming tantrums and insisting you stay and sleep on the floor… etc are becoming more common. I was usually able to give some reassurance and get her resituated and go back to bed… (Mommy gets stuck though!) but because of the frequency of all this I decided to try to put a stop to it like the newbie I am… somehow. And all youse experienced parents out there can just sit there and stew in judgment because I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, because…. well, it’s obvious that, in reality, sometimes I DON’T actually know what the hell I’m doing. But, I do give it the forethought and effort I think it takes to make a well intentioned attempt at it. Sometimes, it produces very funny results as you’ll see in a minute. I figure if as long as I do no harm, a futile effort is better than no effort at all; even if it produces zero results. In this particular scenario my best level headed thinking is to just have a full-on discussion with a two year old about it. Sounds like that should be a full stop right there, right? I didn’t expect her to understand the majority of it… I thought just maybe she’ll get the gist of it so when I tell her to lie back down and go to sleep from another room we don’t have a complete melt down, again.

I begin by sitting the child down and making it clear that I am trying to talk to her about something important. I want her to understand I’m not mad but that in fact we need sleep too and she is waking us up when she really doesn’t need anything. The last part I talked about is that we will answer so she knows we are there but that she needs try to go back to sleep on her own.

…….Yeah I know she’s two. And I know it’s a lot to ask and this is probably futile in the extreme but I am hoping to just establish the idea for now and perhaps build on it later. I ask her if she understands and I get a firm unequivocal commitment of “yes”. Then she is off and running again. I basically am content that she let me get all that off my chest and stayed still for it.

Here’s the thing……. She actually understood all of it. Not only did she understand but she also put on her big girl pants and pulled in her school lessons on politeness. This made me both smile and feel like a fool for ever doubting her. That night when she woke up and wanted us she didn’t call out or cry….. she simply and calmly and in a little tiny voice started saying…….

“’scuse me…… ‘scuse me”.

I could not believe what I was hearing. It was sooooo friggin cute and smart and right in line with everything she had been taught and told. She could have asked for anything at that point because I certainly wasn’t grumpy at being woken up anymore. I even got an unbelieving “what did she just say?” from Momma-Blair too. I had to resist going in…… but I asked what she wanted and she invoked the fear factor. “I’m scared - there’s a lion coming.” I told her to give him a cuddle and tell him to sleep on the floor and watch over her until we could all play with him in the morning. I heard a little muttering that could possibly have been her telling the lion and the lion giving a little protest as he laid down… but then…. Silence. Absolute, unbroken silence. I kept thinking…. Aaaaaaany second now she is going to call out again but no….. She either lay there quietly or fell back to sleep!

So now, she even one upped herself and actually LISTENED and went back to sleep! I was so encouraged and proud of her. The rest of the night progressed just as well even though there were 4 or 5 more incidences. She obviously wasn’t fully satisfied with no one coming in, but – oh-my-god, what a good start. She definitely earned herself A LOT of latitude for the next coupla nights!

That little tentative voice going “scuse me….. ‘scuse me…….. “scuse me……” It just makes me smile thinking about it. It was just so cute and small and polite. ……….and cute.

What does NOT make me smile is her belly button. It is BOTH an inny AND an outy. How does THAT happen and is it even possible? She can grab it and actually pull it out and it will STAY out! It makes me cringe! Every kid has that one creepy trick they can do to gross people out and this is hers. I used to turn my eyelids inside out to freak out the adults… she pulls her belly button out! It comes out like 2 inches and is a tube….. oh man, it is soooo weird and she likes creeping me out with it! I have to ask the doctor to re-tie that thing or something. She can actually turn her inny into and outy and it stays. There is a pic in the album! …Don’t judge my belly-button squeemiosity if it doesn’t bother YOU! You just have to see it then.

And for our next trick - We have slow motion chases around the house lately. It has its roots in several things….. 1) No running – one of us always ends up in tears, and 2) marching! and 3) making our shoes squeak. We take fast but little tiny steps that make our sneakers squeek on the floor while saying MARCH at the top of our lungs all around the kitchen. It is a great equalizer because if I don’t cheat she can do it as fast as me to catch me and I can’t catch her unless I cheat or have a better angle. She’s good too – she squirts out of my trap to corner her most times! She has to use a little strategy to evade me and she has enough “game smarts” to become the chaser when it’s appropriate if I make a misstep. She never ceases to amaze me!

The storm is coming - THE STORM IS COMING!!!!

Poor Blair is no longer a fan of storms. Over the weekend we had a particularly bad storm in our area. Little Blairy was in the tub when the sky got REAL dark and the first rumbles of thunder shook the house. It happened so quick I had to rush her out of the tub. I dunno - somehow I thought it irresponsible to give her a bath in a lighting storm. (that’s my mother talking) Anyway, she could sense the urgency from me and started to get a little nervous. I wasn’t panicky or anything but I wasn't putting up with the usual dilly-dallying she has become accustomed to after a bath either. So... the poor kid is getting nervous with the thunder and lightning crashing and Daddy’s urgent prompting - when all of a sudden the sky opens up with a torrent of rain and high winds! It was really something to tell the truth! ...and this doesn’t make it any better. -- Enter two scared dogs. Now, add them to the 30 seconds of complete mayhem that is about to ensue. They are now under foot and pawing at me to save them too.

This is literally all happening in like 5 minutes. Just then it dawns on me the house is wide open downstairs because I am rudely reminded when I hear the basement door violently slam shut... and I mean VIOLENTLY SLAM shut. So, I grab the child... dance over the dogs… and all 4 of us careen down the steps and straight into the rain and wind coming into the front door - sideways. It was blowing into the house about 10 feet. The front door is slamming open against the wall over and over and I have to fight my way down the stairs and through the child gate, through the flapping curtains and driving wind and rain with two dogs underfoot and a now terribly frightened child in my arms. Yes - it really was as bad as it sounds - that wasn't all just for dramatic effect. Now that I have the front door closed I still have double deck doors and a garage door to close.

Everything in the house is now soaked from the rain coming in from both the front and double deck doors on opposite ends of the house. The doors are slamming around, the wind is blowing, the dogs are wailing, the child is whimpering, the thunder and lightning and wind are making quite a racket. I’m telling you it was a... very. bad. storm! It is at this point I determine that it’s serious enough that I need to put the child down so I can pick up the pace of the lock down. I weigh the options and decide to put the child in the bathroom in the middle of the house with no windows. Admittedly, I kind of yelled at her to stay there. I was trying to convey that I was serious - it was meant as an order! ...and now we are crying in earnest. My little trooper has now lost her composure and we are a full throttle cry. I figured I better make this quick and turn and run to close the deck down. (seemingly the next biggest problem to me) Although I knew it then as well as I know it now that we were never TRULY in danger of anything more than getting wet and pelted with sticks, the crazy catastophe thoughts still began racing through my mind. I knew better but you can't help thinking this in the moment you suspect the storm of the century is going to touch a tornado down right in front of you and suck you out the door into the funnel and unceremoniously deposit you about 5 miles away on the other side of town in a tree about 30 feet of the ground. Now, before you judge me crazy - just think of the poor guy who that actually happened to. He probably wasn't thinking how cool that spiral cloud looked so up close and all.

So, back to what I was sayin... As I push the door closed against the wind and rain I think, well even if the worst happens the Princess was safely stashed in the bathroom at least. I’m feeling pretty smug about having thought of a safe place for her first! ...but nay nay there campers. As I turn to now close the garage door that same safely stowed child is standing right behind me in full melt down mode. She is wet and now has sticks and leaves in her hair to boot. But, there really isn't time to dwell on it - I swoop her up (this is when my heroic theme music starts to play) and head for the garage where I’ve seen in movies the wind will lift off the roof if the doors are open. Again... I must reiterate, very heroically, place the kid down in a safe spot to go brave the elements filling the garage to close the door. Before I even take the first step it occurs to me she is never going to stay put so I will have to take her with me. So I cover her with my cape (ok, that’s a little added drama for ya) and go close the door. Now, I realize all this has been pretty traumatic so I start damage control. We begin to survey the destruction together now that the din of the storm is safely locked outside. Everything is wet including us and there are little sticks and leaves and stuff everywhere. The little trooper eventually gets her nerves together again, enough to stop crying anyway, as I try to talk her down. We look at the lighting from well away from the windows and I try explaining that I know it was scary but that she is safe. She is still shaking a little so we head to the basement where it is quiet to wait out the storm. The dogs appreciate this too – they haven’t gotten much screen time in this story but trust me when I say they are not happy. We sit down to read a book and talk about all this when she starts telling me about a children’s book where a storm is coming and all the animals FREAK out. I'm sure it has a nice wholesome ending but I can assure you that is not the part she remembers about it. It was quite an experience even for me - but the book must have put the thought that storms are bad in her head and that made it all the worse. Darn children’s books.....

Fortunately kids are pretty resilient - she still talks about the storm and how she was pelted with the rain and debris but she was all calmed down and talking a mile a minute about it about 15 minutes later. She went on and on about how bad it was and all the bravery she showed in the face of the storm of the century. I have no idea where she gets all this bluster and flair for the dramatic! Must be her Mom.

...this was about the time mommy came home. She had been DRIVING in it. ….all preggers and everything! Needless to say she didn't think it was as big a deal as we and the dogs did! I think she was just being brave for our sake.

Blair is getting so big - so fast! I remember being a kid for-like-ever and her last 2 and half years have just FLOWN by. She is old enough to actually have a serious conversation with now. ...and I do mean serious AND conversation. She asked to talk about her bed last night. "Tell me something" I think she opened with. Then she proceeded to tell me in a way that I could absolutely understand that she wanted a bed like Mommy and Daddy and that she wants to take down the last 3 sides of her crib. (It’s setup like a day bed now) Believe it or not it was already in the works - needless to say - the child is getting a real "big-girl bed now! Hell, if she can ASK for it already - she can certainly have it. ….I know this type of thinking is entirely unsustainable.

OH and I almost forgot one of the more entertaining moments that have happened recently! Daddy gave Blair a haircut! – Which, surprisingly is not at all the part of the story that is funny. The funny part lies in my stupidity at what I did immediately following the awesome job I did cutting her bangs - in the tub. I can't believe I have to admit to this - but I do so purely because of the absolute temerity of my actions. The child - as a child would be expected to do, asked to SEE the trimmer I just used on her bangs. To which I promptly accommodated. But that wasn't enough - it had to be ON you see, just like it was for me. So.... I.... turned… it on - thinking ONLY of the vibration she would feel while it ran. The child smiled in pure delight in response to what she sensed was a very special moment. I even felt all warm and fuzzy at having given the child a new experience and sense of trust and also having made her so happy! I felt THAT but I also promptly and completely unexpectedly felt the shaver get buried into the hair on top of my head too. The shaver can't cut your skin - but it sure can cut the heck out of hair! She gave me a HUGE bald spot - which I catch people looking at when they talk to me. (See the picture - you'll know which one it is). I didn't get mad - it actually was something we laughed at - but even now when I point it out and say "YOU did this!!" - she denies it......... she emphatically denies it in just such a way that she purposely intends it to be funny.

Herein is another little grown up thing she does. She fancies herself a comedian. I mean it – she actually does. She LOVES to make people laugh. She's pretty good at it to. She actively does things just to be funny - it's not an accident. I thought kids knew what was funny to laugh at but not what funny IS and that you could willingly BE funny on purpose. She's changed words to a song, let a welled timed fart fly, call you by a different name (and maintain the conversation like that), she'll even deadpan inform you, "don't even think about it" or that she will "jack you up" if you try to trick her to grab her food or toy or something. ...half the time I think she really means it.

She has other tricks too – a phony laugh, phony cry, phony sad face, a dramatic fake fall (that drama thing from mom again), and some others. She can work the room too… She’ll say “zip it” while you’re talking and then just stare at you while you wonder in disbelief if you just heard what you think you heard. About the time the situation begins to get a little uncomfortable for everyone she’ll break the standoff and start laughing. So far she has done it so appropriately that it IS by all definitions – funny. It has been on at least one occasion a “bring the house down” kind of gag by a two year old. I may have had something, but not a lot, to do with this one.

Fortunately, she's still young enough to tell on everyone (even herself) where she gets this stuff - she always says she learned it in school - from the "big kids." THIS from the same child who told her teacher that "snitches-get-stiches." Yep – me again.

As a Dad I think she needs to be sequestered in the infant room from now on. Away from all but the complete wholesomeness and innocence of infant-hood!

I figure all I can do is invest the time in with her now in the HOPES I'll still hold some sway over her as she grows a little older - when that dreaded day comes when taking Tickle-Me-Elmo away has no effect anymore.

By the way - the twins are Girl and Boy. That’s the order we found out in. We have some names in mind but I'll save them for now as they are prone to change. ...sometimes daily.

They come out one way or another on November 20th 2012 ......so stand by!

Doggie Do Blah

Posted on May 3, 2012 at 11:40 AM

 When you look at the pics use the "slideshow" option for a much better view. The drawback is you do not see all of my exciting commentary above AND BELOW the ones i commented on.

2 years and 2+ months..........

    Doggie Do Blah - you need to say it a few times to yourself to really appreciate it. We hear it so often it sounds like a French name for an invisible friend or something. Turns out she is really just very upset-able by dog puke. She knows every spot in the house that the doggies did blah on and until fairly recently avoided them like they were live land mines. She is OBSESSED!! There is the doggie do blah vacuum (carpet shampooer), doggie do blah cleanup kit (sponge, water bucket, resolve... etc., doggie do blah causing things such that if eaten will cause the blahs to start such as grass, too many cookies, gum.... anything SHE wants and doesn't want them to eat are now deemed hazardous and may cause an episode of blah'ing. By designating things this way she knows she has just enlisted you as a gaurantee against doggie pilfering. She understand that you don't want the blahs to happen either. She even scolds them - "No blah on the carpet - go outside!" There are two really funny things about this though. One, If you suddenly point and say "look out for the blah" near her general vicinity, you will see a toddler do one of those high step freak outs like where the one cowboy shoots at the others feet to get them to "dance". Trust me - it's hysterical. She is a poop and puke - o - phobe just like her daddy! The second - and she learned it at school - not from us, is when she finds it you will hear her say "Oh GAWD, Doggie Do Blah!!!" ...and then notifies Mommy. You see Mommy can CLEAN anything.... whereas daddy can FIX anything..... That subtle difference saves me getting the job on most occasions. The cleanup job is a crisis job.... she just goes on and on and on about it until and while you do it. It is in everones best interest to just do it right away. It just might be the thing that upsets her the most. She will literally say it 30 times per incident. So.... if you see doggie blah before she does.... throw yourself on it like a live grenade and save us all some trouble. Unless you want to see it at least once - it IS cute the first time.

     She really is such a good girl and even when she does something to try your patience... she does something else to make it all worthwhile anyway. I've hear it theorized that nature makes children cute and parents sensitive to that cuteness as a survival mechanism. It makes their frustrating little endevors a little more endearing to even the most hardened adults. I'm serious - thats a true scientific hypothesis although admittedly dumbed down. ...not for YOUR benefit - I just couldn't explain it any better. I'll give you an example..... She has been waking up in the middle of the night and calling out for us to come and give her a little reassurance. Ordinarily, that would get old real fast.... but she knows you'll come.... and in a hurry.... if she says she's scared and needs a hug. So the interaction goes something like this: "Mommy..... Mommy...." and we say "it’s night night time - lay down and go back to sleep." So she ups the ante to the max all at once with - "I'm scared - lions are coming!" To which Daddy has to show up and slay the entire pride of beasts and reassure her everything is going to be alright. So, knowing full well I am being manipulated at 3 AM, I still don't mind being called upon to SAVE THE PRINCESS! She usually goes right to sleep which makes you feel kinda good that she is secure in the knowledge you have indeed taken care of the problem. But some nights.... she wants you to lie down on the floor and keep her company for a while. In most cases you are entirely unprepared for this. Its' uncomfortable and cold so you really have no plans to stay for more that the "two minutes" you promise her. Until she asks to hold your hand..... and I absolutely melt - Needless to say, I've spent many a night on that floor with no complaints.

     Late addition to this story.... she has added needing water to her repertoire on getting us to come running. I have to laugh - it sounds like she is in a medieval dungeon or something the way she is calling out for water! She says it in such a pitiful voice too. She's getting good and being inventive at trying different approaches - I have to give her credit but gee-whiz what an actress she is!

     Bath time is always fun. We bought her some kids nail polish that comes right off in water and mommy lets her paint her feet and daddy has even let her do his finger nails once. She is like an old pro after watching mommy doing it… the way she shakes the bottle and then bangs it on her hand upside down to hear that little ball rattle or the way she dips the brush in repeatedly to get more paint - daddy dips once but mommy dips repeatedly and very fast, banging the top down each time. All you ladies know what I mean - it’s the same dipping technique used with mascara. ....Where do they teach that because every girl does it and no boys know why. Then to top it off she puts a blot on the nail and says "Oh GAWD - too much" and has to re-dip and wipe some off. I get a kick out of the whole thing really.

     But the real fun is doing her nails with real polish! We put a tarp (towel) down and have her sit on her step-stool while I dry her hair, file and paint her nails. It is the hardest thing to do to get a two year old to sit still long enough for the polish to dry. She tries... she really, REALLY tries but she just can't do it! She tries to sit so perfectly, feet flat on the floor and hands on knees for what seems to her like forever! But all she really does is twitch and curl her toes and sing or talk – and she becomes very Italian at times like this. She begins to talk with her hands and with a lot of body movement. Yeah, I went  there, I did it - I stereo typed… I usually do her toes first and then her hands so the feet have some time to dry. Then it’s the hair so the hands will dry. When she can finally get up she is so used to TRYING to be still she can't relax right away and her hands are out with the  fingers all splayed out like when they were drying. It’s like putting scotch tape on a cats paws. …not that I’ve done it but it’s how I imagine it to be.

     So, over the weekend I had one of those moments when you realize you've just seen something that you just might remember for the rest of your life. Probably even one of the frames in the sequence of your "life flashing before my eyes" type thing if I ever have a momment like that. The little one put on her mother’s heels and proceeded to clomp around the tile floor of the kitchen as loudly as humanly possible. It was so noisy. These little feet (they've gotten bigger but they used to be like little bars of hotel soap since they fit in your hand so perfectly) fit just right jammed up into the toes of the shoe and so they stay on pretty well. She was just all smiles and happy as pie clomping around like mommy "getting ready for a meeting". I even thought to myself I want to remember this moment. A little while later I was in the basement and heard her upstairs doing it again. It sounded like a parade of cross dressers coming through and it sounded like the house was coming down. I smiled a little and said let it fall then. (I just picture male cross dressers not being as graceful in heels i guess - it's a comical image so all you cross dressers out there, - you know who you are - don't get your panties in a bunch over it) ....if you do just leave your name and complaint in the guestbook so i can apologize to you personally for all to see.

     I guess the knife cuts both ways...... Our little imitator gives us a little glance at ourselves and insight to some of our mannerisms and actions. ....some are downright embarrassing - even if it is some of the cutest acting you have ever seen! For instance she wanted to go to another room one time and I guess I do not get up as quickly as I once did... or rather as fast as she would have liked and she stamped one foot and pointed to the floor in front of her and said in all seriousness - "RIGHT NOW!!!"

     ...and it was like I burped, farted, coughed, hiccupped, sneezed and yawned all at once. I was sooooo mad to be told what to do like that, amused at the earnestness she felt, embarrassed that I must have done that at some point, proud of her assertiveness, and just plain melting over how endearing it was. I didn't know if I should hug her or facilitate the implementation of a non-violent behavioral modification technique as some of those highbrow websites call it.... I call it a time out!

     THEN came the salt in the wound... the insult to injury..... the proverbial stick in the eye..... I must have paused and looked over at her and her sheer audacity ………and the child undaunted by the stink eye I was giving her proceeded to utter the unthinkable. She added fightin words – and a direct challenge to both my physical size and inferred authority as an adult. She added……… "CHOP CHOP" and the accompanying hand motion to drive the point home.

     The only thing she didn't do was kick me in the shin! I guess she really didn't have to –I did what every other red blooded American male in my position would do. I have been domesticated since the wedding so I know better and just did what I was told.

     The chop chop thing was something I taught her a loooong time ago believe it or not. It was to needle mommy a little to tell the truth. ….JUST A LITTLE for fun. Any time Blair asked for something from the Mom I would whisper "chop chop" and she would say it out loud! It was a little way to indirectly mess with mommy a little bit. I know how much she likes the attention. It got under her skin just enough but not too much to be a serious afront..... and at the same time it was cute so we could both get away with it. Mommy warned me it would come back to bits me.... and she was right.

     So..... then.... last night we got a "Holy Crap" at dinner. It was used appropriately and in the correct context..... So, we being grammatically studious parents, allowed the infraction to pass without penalty. ...and held our laughter for as long as we could. We gave each other a "did she just say what I think she said” type of look and asked her to repeat it - just to verify ……you understand. And sure enough we got another "holy crap" out of her.... along with the name of the teacher who said it! She must have picked up on our reaction because it came out all timid.... but there was no denying what it was! I'm going to have a very hard time disciplining some of the things she does if they strike me as that cute. I’m assuming that these antics get markedly less cute as they get older.

     I was fortunate and happy to see Blair has a good work ethic the other day. I asked her to picked some dandelions (and only the dandelions) to keep her busy for a few minutes. Well..... she must have picked 200 of them and cleared a whole area! -- yes the lawn is that bad. I told her she was done but she kept going.... then went back to collect all the little piles she made when her little hand overflowed and put them in the fire pit! It’s amazing to watch her do these things. Sometimes I feel like I expect too much of her and have to remind myself that she is only two but then sometime I completely underestimate what she is capable of. She is a little person already! I'm just surprised how fast it all happens. I remember being a kid for like EVER! A year in kid years is like an adult decade. In my mind she is still supposed to be a baby yet she’s getting all grown up so fast!

......time to make another one I guess.

Maybe two...... see the last of the new pictures in the Doggie Do Blah album.

...and yes - I am saying what you think I am saying! :o)

Attitudy Judy

Posted on November 11, 2011 at 12:20 AM

Attitudy Judy

I have to tell you, if I had known how rewarding it is to have a kid I would have started this a long time ago.

OK OK……it’s been a while….. I KNOW!!!! ….Sheesh!

You want more Blair…. Then, here… Have more Blair!

Yes, yes… it HAS been a while. Too long in fact. …and although I have had many many momments of inspiration for something to write here I have always managed to become distracted by something menial and mundane…. such as work, before putting pen to paper.  Let me fill you in on a few of the more memorable momments of the recent months.

Where do I start….. There’s so much to tell.

The Mayor – (This part was started way back in early June – I decided to include it here so you can see how fast the development is happening)

The child is barely knee tall and has only about 20 words to her vocabulary yet she is running the joint over at Day Care. Everybody knows her! Kids I’ve never seen before announce “Blair’s Mom/Dad is here” when we go to pick her up. …..and parents say goodbye to her by name when we are leaving.….. Parents that I have by the way never even met.  Everybody seems to know Blair.

Must be that she likes her school and everybody there. She readily goes to any one of the staff and seems perfectly comfortable with them. I think they take pretty good care of our little pea to be honest with you. Even when we talk about school at home she seems to get excited and even recognizes the names of the people and all the other kids. Some days it’s hard to get her to leave! She will show off how she knows what all the toys do in - high speed, as if she is trying to show you all of them as quickly as possible – before she has to go home.

…to the dogs.  She perks up when I tell her about seeing the house and the dogs. She says Nora about 100 times (Nora means Nora and or Dorian in her world – Dorian is too hard to say so he has been nicknamed D, or Big D), we woof a few times since that’s what dogs say! Then we go to the truck, which she can pick out in the parking lot now. – not the WHOLE parking lot mind you, but she’s pretty reliable with a choice of 5 or so cars to pick from.

     Then we make VROOOM car sounds and off we go! We turn up the radio and jam to the music with the windows open and look like the two guys from the Roxxy bobbing our heads to the music in such an exaggerated way. ……..It makes me laugh every time.

     I have to question her taste in music though……. Grandma Stepi gave her a bunny at Easter that plays the Usher song “YEAH!” and she went nuts for it. (we changed the words YEAH to BLAIR when we sing it so that might have helped) So being the inexperienced Dad that I am… I had the well intended but ill-advised idea to download the song and video to my iPhone. Well, the law of unintended consequences applies here. She loved it! …..and danced around with the phone over her shoulder like a radio (I have no idea where she learned that – She’s never even seen the show "Good Times") playing it over and over and over….. ad-nauseum. I can’t stand it anymore! …..and I swear if she didn’t like it so much I would never suffer myself to hear it again! ….but she likes it – and it’s funny …….so we play it again and again!

She loves playing with her older cousins. They are older, bigger, stronger and faster than her but GD if she doesn’t try to keep up and in the thick of things! We usually see them at Grandma’s house and the environment gets pretty chaotic sometimes… even for an adult. But if you can sit on the sidelines for a minute and just watch, it is pretty interesting. She will watch them and try to soak up everything about them. They were sitting in a circle one time playing – she seemed VERY small and out of place – but she held her spot like she owned it and watched everyone else intently and tried to copy things they were doing. Her reward? …. Successful mimicry or one of the other kids would do something to include or praise her and you could just tell she was tickled pink about it.  

   What else can I share with you…… maybe the story about how our back yard is really a giant hill and when she falls it’s like watching it in slow motion? (it’s grass – no children were hurt during the making of this story) The hill isn’t so steep that she can’t ALMOST stop the tumble….. but it is steep enough that she can’t ACTUALLY stop it immediately and it usually takes what seems like a long time - and several overly dramatic tumbles - to fall down. (imagine Eddie Murphy’s Aunt Bunny falling down the stairs – you may have to youtube that if you don’t know what I mean) I haven’t caught it on camera and I can’t do it justice in writing but trust me when I say it is HILARIOUS to watch. Take a second to try and imagine it – …..We’ll wait.

   She knows almost all the animal sounds, thinks it’s funny when you swat at bugs flying around (she doesn’t see them and must think I’m stark raving nuts – but funny), points out the correct picture of things when you show her in a picture book, can eat an apple all by herself (not our idea! – YOU try to take it away) ((reminds me of a fortune cookie I once had – Anyone who says easy as taking candy from a baby – hasn’t tried)), eats like a “big girl” (meaning the damage is somewhat contained – at least it’s not in the lights anymore), can put her face in the water and blow bubbles at bath time, tell us when she is “all done” with something, accepts a pillow as a form of bribery, thinks (her) burps and farts are funny, pets and give hugs to the dogs, operate some functions on an iphone (much to my chagrin), put garbage in the garbage can, put laundry in the hamper, move wet clothes from the washer to the dryer (no we aren’t making her do all the work – she can’t make bottles now can she? …or can she… hmmm), open baby proof cabinets with ease – this might be worth a few words……

So it’s bathtime and the door is closed so she has the run of the place while I fill the tub ….. and I notice she has the sink cabinet open and is proceeding to “shop” through everything in there. Well, I mentally blame mommy for leaving it open and shut the cabinet securely and go back to making sure the water won’t become hot Blair tea when I dip her in in a moment. ….and AGAIN I hear her rummaging or rather “shopping” in the cabinet. Now, I begin to mentally curse mom for leaving the other side open too! So again I close it. Now Blair is mad and little Blair’s alter ego comes out  -  I call it Attitudy Judy at times like this - so Judy the nudy is bouncing off the walls because I closed the doors again and promptly and purposefully  proceeds to open the cabinet door (in spite) by reaching inside and unlatching the child proof lock. Child proof should mean a bit more that 15 months proof if you ask me. (I guess if they called it that it wouldn’t sell as well). It was exceedingly effortless the way she did it. No fumbling at all and scary fast. So I closed the door in disbelief to see it again. …and she cheerfully obliged – with a little sneer as if to say whats the matter with you, you didn’t catch it the first time? …..Jeeze, she’s barely out of infancy and I can’t stay a step ahead of her already? At this rate I’m going to be bested in everything inside another 6 month! I had hoped to keep the upper hand at least for a little while…. I didn’t have it while dating the wifey and now I don’t even have it with a small child!!!!  I mean I knew I was going to turn into an blithering idiot when it was time for math homework but this ….this is too soon!

BUT, I still have SOME credibity  with her when it comes to the stars though. –funny how I probably know marginally more about them than I do about math. She has this little ladybug star projector night light on her dresser and we lay on the floor of her room and look at the stars. ….and I tell her everything I know about them ….which takes about 15 seconds because it is virtually nothing. But she’ll lay there and listen as long as I keep talking and pointing! (it’s such a cool thing – I cant wait to do it with clouds outside) That in itself is pretty cool but then she’ll start asking QUESTIONS…. I can’t understand them but she’ll ask and I’ll answer anyway. I really try but I don’t know what she even asked let alone have plausible answers. So I just talk like I know what I’m saying …and she digs it! If anyone heard some of my explanations they’d think I was a complete nincompoop. (a word choice favorable with Blair) I enjoy the interaction to no end though. I have to learn a little bit about stars if I want to keep it up as she gets older, because it won’t take long for even a little kid to figure out how full of crap I’ve been.

And she has what I call “the phony phone laugh”. C’mon – if you’re real honest with yourself you know this person too…… it’s a pretty common phenomenon. (I may have even done it myself once) The person who, when they are talking on the phone suddenly burst out in obviously phony, forced and overblown laughter. It must seem real on the other end of the phone but it’s definitely not their natural laugh. I can only guess it is the obligatory laugh people feel they must provide at an amplified level while or specifically because they are on the phone. The bottom line is it sounds kinda phony whether or not it really is. Blair has mastered this – just not on the phone. She will fake a laugh sometimes… whether for attention or because she thinks you want to hear a laugh at that moment. It’s just so, so, sooooooo insincere and curmudgeonly peevish of her!  …but it IS cute.

Here’s another one…..

The Mommy instinct is strong with this one……. We are so proud to watch her with her baby dolly!  It’s amazing to see her try and mimic what we do to her as parents. She carries the baby, talks to her and gently rubs her head like Daddy does! She tries to give her a bottle (a little more forcefully than I would have but, hey…;) and then burps her. It’s touching to see her rock the baby and pat her on the back like Mommy will do to her.  But, then suddenly tender time ends and it’s as if the World Wrestling Federation title is on the line! Body slams, headlocks and atomic elbows are delivered in rapid succession! Headbutts, pile drivers and turnbuckle whips wear down the opponent…..until the dolly has been defeated.

…and in shocked disbelief me and the wifey turn on each other, point and say…..

YOU must have taught her that!

…and lest I miss an opportunity to regale you with some potty humor let us begin with some here. I never get tired of it and it’s a good thing because the material just keeps rollin in…… or rather … piling up.

I refer to it as the door bell incident. ….and Blair cannot reach the door bell on the house.

It was a hot summer day and the wee one and I were just hanging out on the deck. We had just finished pointing out all the objects we could identify in the backyard like trees, birds, clouds…. Wood peckers……  and had just mastered the art of leaning back in our chairs and letting out a big over exaggerated….sigh of contentment and announcing we are “relaxing”, so she was particularly alert and observant. Now, being that our dogs’ tails are of the “up all the time” variety it was inevitable that at some point Blair would notice certain anatomical …characteristics of a dogs hind end. So being the ever observant father I strive to be,  I immediately recognized that look on her face and promptly tried to distract her… but I never really had a chance. Even if I removed her completely and put a bandaid over the ‘situation’ (lol – I just now realize where that guy from the Jersey shore might have gotten that nickname from!)  she would have done this another day at some point anyway.  So it all started innocently enough – the pointing, the questions….. the awkward father explanations…… and with each passing minute the pointing finger got infinitesimally closer to the object in question.  Oh sure – I told her not to touch, I told her that is a dirty, icky, yucky, poopy port….. I even told her “NO!”outright - but no one listens to me at home anyway and I knew certain things were going to happen whether I liked it or not. Poor Dorian was just standing there looking cool, guard his turf and lording over his domain like a good dog with visions of squirrel chases playing over and over in his head. …this is about when I became a slow motion version of myself – and my cat like reflexes completely failed me as I tried to stop the unstoppable. He never even saw it coming which might be a blessing but he really didn’t deserve what happened next. …that finger that kept drawing inexorably closer finally was in range and whether on purpose or because of a slight imbalance or foot adjustment while looking back and forth from the target to the parent for explanation the contact was made.  I can’t even say it was actually a contact – it was so close though that it could have been a static arc that made the leap from her fingertip to ……Dorian’s ‘starfish situation’. The static explanation (coupled with sheer surprise) would help explain the magnitude of his reaction though. He jumped straight up in the air about 10 feet off the ground and yelped like he had been mortally wounded. …..Dorian can really jump high when he wants to but this was REALLY high and he had no running start and no springy leg work – its as if his toes all pointed at once and he launched. He looked and acted like he felt violated the rest of the day. Funny thing though – with this episode behind us she isn’t at all curious about it anymore…. And he doesn’t turn his back on her anymore. We don’t talk about it, ever – it’s like it didn’t happen.

As funny as that was to see…  it was the look on her face as she looked at her finger tip in both utter disgust at what she had touched and unbelievable awe in the power that little finger held that it could propel her lovable pet and protector skyward so effortlessly. Those subtle fleeting moments within moments are what I enjoy most about her.

 

Fast forward now to early November……

So how about a quick list of updates to transition to our next story…..

We can count to 10 - I hear that pretty good for an 19 moth old. (That’s the sound of a proud father ACTING like he doesn’t think that is pretty special!)

Our favorite song is Happy Birthday – and we NEVER tire of singing it.

Followed not so closely by the alphabet song and  Twinkle Twinkle little star……..

Oh!! – Short story to interrupt our list –

Momma Blair has been working late recently and Blair has been asking where is Mommy? …and I was explaining that she was working. At some point it became obvious to me that she was making a negative association about it. She would ask for Mommy and before I could answer for the ten thousandth time she would answer her own question “Working” in a sad .... I know,… I know resigned kind of way. …you could almost hear the sigh and see those little shoulders slump a little. It was so cute and heart wrenching at the same time, it actually makes your heart hurt a little. So now when she asks where Mommy is I say “Working!” in an animated way…. then ask her “WHY mommy’s working” and she answers with “Makin Money!!!” and then I say “So we can go …….” And she answers “SHOPPING!”  It really is cute and totally takes the negativity out of it. At least once in a while I feel like I avoided doing something that might screw up the child a little, later in life.

Speaking of….. I recently found the “Return if Lost” note my mother put in my wallet when I was a kid. Every time I come across it in life I keep sticking it back in there again. I’ll probably have it forever. I guess it means I know my mommy loved me and wanted me back if I got lost or hurt ……..but jeeze I guess we all have our issues. See how easy it is to screw up your kid! You can’t even tell if the good things you do for them will have some crazy effect!

More list…

She likes to wear sunglasses….. I’ve never seen a kid that would do more than put them on just to take them off. She wears them ….. and she KNOWS she looks cool.

She like Matchbox cars – or maybe she doesn’t but her man-child father THINKS she does. They are only a buck or so in the supermarket (2 at the larger chain stores. I won’t mention their names but one of them starts with a TOYS and ends with R US) Anyway we have learned about cars, trucks, planes, trains (yes they make them) through them. So I consider them educational tools. …and opening the package keeps her occupied for about 5 minutes.

Must be a guy thing….. I gave her Crayola “the worlds most washable crayons” in the bathtub. (yes – they say that on the box) I thought it was absolute genius. Washable crayons, big white bathtub walls, washable, water, soap, distraction, occupied, fun….. what could be wrong with that picture. Crayola should PAY me for that idea! …and yes it worked out in practice just as good as it sounds here….. but that is the only reason I don’t get THAT LOOK from Momma Blair anymore for doing it. It doesn’t seem to be an obvious go-together-type-thing to Mommy’s as it does to Daddy’s. …and I am willing to bet any couple out there reading this is looking at each other right now and the guy is going – yep, makes perfect sense to me and the chick is thinking “my idiot here is the same as this other idiot for not seeing the problem here” …..The bet is a nickel, we can settle up later.

But I will admit all the Daddy ideas that seem funny or make sense at first – don’t always end as it should. Like lifting your leg to fart (FAAAAT as she would say)– even once… unless you want your sweet adorable daughter doing it too.

But that isn’t the story I wanted to tell…. I wanted to tell you about the fish. One fine day I decide to take the child to the park for a few minutes along our ride home. We got there and climbed on the construction equipment in the parking lot first – very exciting for both of us! I even had a matchbox bucket loader in the car so we could compare it with the real deal! Next we are running across the grass and out onto the pier to see the boats, and birds, and planes, and clouds and….. fish. No, …….. based on my stories so far you probably THINK you have an idea of what happens next but your wrong.  No one slips on duck crap or falls in the water. What does happen is that my little angel learns to spit. Heres how it happened and it is so innocent really… Daddy sees and points out the fish – Little girl can’t see said camouflaged unmoving animal in water 5 feet away. So daddy spits….. not a rude nasty type thing – just a little spray really that got the attention of the fish and get them moving! It was quiet and over her shoulder so she didn’t even know… she never even reacted.  But she DID know. So big success – fish are now moving and she sees them and all is good. But they settle down and she loses them again. ……And proceeds to spit in the water to get them moving again. I honestly don’t know sometimes wheteher to be out of my mind proud of her or horrified at my own actions however well-intentioned and covert they might seem to be.

On a sorta-positive note……. She will pick up the most foul garbage of the ground because IT MUST BE THROWN IN THE GARRBAGE. This is not negotiable. I can’t talk her out of it. She will talk about it for the next 15 minutes if it is bypassed. We have to pickup every soda can, bottle cap and piece of paper we come across and dispose of it properly. …meaning she needs to visually witness it going into the garbage can or else it isn’t “cleaned up”. So if you have any regard for the germs she could come in contact with if I’m not watching like a hawk for garbage as well as everything else the child might get into – STOP LITTERING!!!! (My public service announcement for the day) I dunno how our little pea became such a cleaner-upper, but we are proud that she is so anti-litter – if not a little wary of it in actual practice.

We have a master manipulator on our hands….. This is not an exaggeration or a joke. Warm weather – we come home from school and kick off our shoes and put on some shorts and go sit on the deck and have a cold beverage. Cold juice for her and Ice Tea for me – in case you just have to know. At some point the little conniver will make it known that she wants to go play on the clubhouse on the lawn.  (Plastic kiddie playhouse type thing…;) So Daddys says no not now – we need to cook dinner. This is followed immediately and in rapid succession by a requests for 1) “uppy” 2) visit the turtles downstairs 3) go outside (the door is right next to the turtles in the basement) and finally the clubhouse which was the intended destination to begin with. At this point I realize I have been had. She showed no special interest in any of the previous steps - only cursory acknowledgment so we could then move onto the next stage.  She planned it from the very beginning and I should have known when she was “steering” me by pushing and twisting my shirt while I carried her. I have since tested this theory and it always progresses and ends the same – with Daddy doing exactly what he was told. Score one for the kid.

Where did this list go…

We do not like going to the doctor one bit. She is like the dogs at the vet – all happy when we are going for a ride but the minute we walk into the office…… complete shutdown. It’s the needles. She freeks when the nurse or the doctor comes in. No amount of distraction can settle her down. …or so she thinks. Daddy has a couple of tricks too you know. So we have wailing and wriggling of biblical proportions going on and what are you really going to do? …. Let her down? That’s exactly right! All that resistance, all that struggle…. Ok your down now what? That settles her enough that I can get on her good side and start coaching her! Between the nurse who weighs and measures her and the actual doctor coming in we work on her defenses. I tell her when the doctor comes in to wave that finger (index) in the air and you tell that doctor “NO NEEDLES!!!”  …and we practiced. And when the doctor came in she went from a Tiger to a timid mouse. …not a peep… arms puplled in, body smooshed into me as far as she could get. I figured we had given up and were going to take our needles with out a fight. I was dead wrong. This little peanut came out swinging all of a sudden and gave that doctor a piece of her mind. She was crying uncontrollably and must have been scared but she laid into that doctor with the finger wagging  – “NO NEEDLES!!!” “NO NEEDLES!!!” ”NO NEEDLES”. She calmed down a little after he assured her there wouldn’t be any. I don’t know if she was supposed to get them that day but after her little performance there wasn’t a doctor alive that would have given her one. What I didn’t know was that they could hear me coaching her and her reaction outside the door and were in hysterics over it. They really enjoyed that. ……..I have to be more aware of my surroundings I guess.

Which brings us to Toy-R-US embarrassing momments…… Blair picked up VERY early on that if she held up 1 finger and said “one more” in her cute little way she would get almost anything she wanted from anybody at anytime. So here we are shopping and having a blast and I give her a nerf football – in the shape of Stewies head,  that she proceeds to throw down the isle for Daddy to fetch. And as soon as I do and try to put it back I get the “1 more” plea, and of course I perform on queue and give it to her to throw again. This happens 5 maybe 10 times. What I didn’t realize is that I had an audience. There was an old lady watching this go on and was laughing. We put on a good show the two of us!

We lost power last week – I’m sure you heard of “historic” storms on the east coast that canceled Holloween.  You know you’re a second class holiday if you can be canceled.  Christmas can’t be canceled period – no explanation needed.  Thanksgiving – you sleep in that airport if you must but there is never any doubt that the holiday IS NOT CANCELED.  But Halloween - You can’t postpone it. It would look a little odd if you show up at someone’s door demanding candy on any other day. Meh….. cancel it if you must. Besides – the kids will still get their candy – matter of fact they will get a WHOLE BAG of the exact kind of candy they like the best from their parents without doing all the work to get it. It’s either the candy they had in reserve for the ‘treaters or a big “bag-o-guilt” from the supermarket the following week. So the kids today can have all that candy without having to leave the TV for the night. This would be a good place to rail against the obese children in America today – except I’m not going to do it. But I will say…. Send those kids out in the snow to gather that candy – it’ll build character. Let them have one day of that and maybe they will appreciate the weather we endure every morning before daybreak walking to school, up and down the hills in wet sneakers carrying heavy books (not a Kindle) – and we were grateful for the opportunity.

By the way…. The national dental association advocates letting the kids eat all the candy right away. They figure all that sugar on their teeth at once is better than dragging it out for days and weeks. I read it on the internet so it must be true.

Quick funny story – So, on Sunday, Marissa tries to get Blair to take a nap – and tries, and tries….. and tries… to no avail. But, the minute Mommy turns out of the driveway to take the dogs for a walk, and I do mean the very second she was out of site (we watched her turn out of the driveway from the window) – Blair turns to me and says – “Crib” It was so perfect I thought she was kidding. So….. I put her in the crib and she promptly lies down and goes to sleep. I couldn’t believe it. I could tell Mommy was infuriated inside (but she kept it inside) when she got home and found out Pickles was asleep. Blair likes to test her with sleeping. She gives her quite a hard time whereas she cooperates completely with dear ole dad!

Sorry Momma Blair – it’s always MOMMY this and MOMMY that………..   MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY

So when DADDY finally wins one – he’s got to rub it in a little. ((rub)) ((rub)) ((rub))

LAST STORY for this installment…..

Anyway – I spent some awesome quality time with our little rug rat over the past week. With the power being out school was closed so it was Blair time all the time! I took her to the Children’s Museum in NJ which was a blast! She played for almost 6 hours before running out of steam. I was pretty impressed – I was getting tired before she was. It was pretty cool although I don’t know why they call it a museum. There are about 50 different areas with different themes. There are castles, fire trucks, hospitals, Indian tepees, old west towns, dinosaur digs in sand boxes, construction equipment, etc – you name it they had it. She especially liked the grocery store where you shop with a real basket (her size). She even had a doll in the seat. She kept telling it to “sit like a big girl” like I tell her all the time. It’s amazing how they mirror what you do.

OK – I’ll wrap it up here with her technology skills! My mother was always proud that she was a carpenters daughter because that meant she was handy and could do things for herself. Maybe Blair can say she’s an IT guys daughter as she effortlessly fixes everyone’s pc  at an early age. …Admittedly it doesn’t have the same ring to it….

So Grandma was really impressed that she knows how to use an iphone already. She can’t navigatre the programs yet but she knows to touch and swipe the screen to do things. Its funny to watch – she LOOKS like she know exactly what to do. She can select videos she wants (if you open it to favorites), swipe to browse photos and poke to squish ants (an iphone app her Aunt Dawne turned her on to). She even knows to wait for videos to load and prop up the phone to watch.

As the cold weather comes we are moving our outdoor activities inside. Although she has seen and played in her first snow  already now…. The one thing I will miss most is laying on the deck head to head pointing and babbling about the clouds, the birds, the trees, the squirrels, the woodpeckers, planes and singing her songs….. It’s the little things.

Next year I will have to actually KNOW stuff so I can tell her. I can’t keep telling her the Toll House elves need chocolate chip cookie factories and that’s why we have trees.

 

 

...brought to you by the letter B and the number 7..... and the Helena Rubenstien foundation for public television

Posted on November 5, 2010 at 7:46 PM

..... I have baby brain.

I've been home too long. ...walls are... closing.......in........

 

On the plus side.....

I have been looking for a job like there is a kingdom out there in need of a king....

But, what I found........ was a child..........  in need of a jester!

Good thing the dogs can't talk. You'd be amazed what a person will do to try to make a kid laugh!

 

BTW... Have you ever seen the "Family Guy" episode where the dad gets some wishes and one of them is to have his own theme song? So anything he does has a Ta-Da like flourish to go along with it. Well, I kinda have something like that now. ....and if a genie offered me three wishes I can guarantee it's not something I’d wish for again...... unless it came with another little peanut mind you. That would be just fine then.

You see, the little princess prefers to take her naps in one of those baby swings  with a little swinging action in her boudoir and with a little lite lullaby music going in the back ground for ambiance. Well being the doting dad i strive to be, I have to carry around the monitor while she sleeps so I know if (God forbid) there is a problem or so I know when she wakes up. That means my life has a sound track now. '80's Lullaby music to be exact and the soft constant swishing sound the swing makes. It is oh so soothing to a child I imagine --but devastatingly repetitive and dull to an adult. "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper  and "Where the Streets have No Name" by U2 (to name just a few) performed in a delicate lullaby arrangement are now the sound tracks of my life. My theme songs if you will. Yeah just try performing something energetically and heroically to THAT!!!

 

So what is new with the little princess you ask?

Well, she likes her vegetables.... but not so much the fruit. I think it's a little too sweet to her. She scrunches up her face if you give her a straight shot of fruit. Even gets a little shiver out of it on occasion. She prefers her friut watered down with a nice rice meal and Momma's magic milk.

...and oooooh those delicious little melt in your mouth puffs and little breakfast cheerios....Well, they are like crack for kids. She just about DIVES for it when we put it on her tray. Now I know what to use to lure her out from under a bed or something when she has a tantrum as she gets older. We are practicing using the thumb and forefinger to pick them up. She can do it pretty regular now.

 

I really tried teaching her sign language. I've been doing the sign for "hungry", "mommy", "dog", etc..... but i just don't think it's working. There are like ten signs and I figured if she always saw it it would build an association.... but nothing. Nadda. Zilch. I'm about to call it quits. She does focus intently on the word when you speak and seems to get the idea but doesn't seem to notice the gesture.

Hey, easy now, before you judge - I bet Einstein didn't know how to sign either.

 

She likes football and baseball - we can actually sit on the couch and watch it for a bit. She is a watcher so it makes sense that she'd be content to watch what people are doing. ....and aside from baseball.... sports have a little action to keep her interest. She likes to sit back and take it all in for a bit whenever we go anywhere. I guess she needs to tune in to the vibe going on before diving in.

 

She really is such a good baby!

Now before I go and jinx ourselves let me just start by knocking on wood, putting on my lucky socks that haven't been washed since HS gym class freshman year, fiddle sticks - pick-up-sticks, don't step on the cracks, sign of the cross, etc.....

(foot note here - The very night I wrote this she woke up several times and kept us up most of the night - The same the next night. - serves me right for writing this next part)

She hardly ever cries! (It’s literally like once or twice a week that she'll cry and even then it's minimal. (I know you think I’m full-of-it or exaggerating but, it really is true), she likes to go to people, take her naps, sleeps at night, ..... poops regularly....... (i figured you all expected a comment on that by now. I felt obligated)

She is just happy all the time, smiling, babbling, ....grabbing everything. ...did i mention grabbing everything? ....no earing, necklace, womens' low cut shirt, hair, teeth, or anything in range of those little arms (or feet for that matter) is safe. Now if we can get her to just pocket all that jewelry she gets.....

 

Seriously, she really does brighten up a room.

 

Our little peanut is a thrill seeker. She loves being "flown" through the air, pretend crash landing on the couch pillows , and going for wild knee-horse rides so it only seemed logical that she needed a swing with some over the top, daddy designed - amped up muscle! (channel Tim Allen here). So, naturally I attached one to the bottom of our deck which is really really high up. The chains are pretty long and provide a very long swing stroke to maximize the thrill! (the swing seat itself is very very low to the ground) I didn't get the Leonardo and Kate riding the bow of the Titanic reaction I had envisioned while building it but you can tell she digs it. She doesn't wiggle or move a muscle but the mouth is open and grinning ear to ear! She is just holding on and enjoying the excitement! ....she always naps pretty good after that adrenaline rush.

 

Speaking of flying a child through the air........ I was warned against doing this to a baby as they sometimes.... spit up. ...and if your under it....... well you get the picture. I didn't believe I would not see it coming and be able to avoid it, if not prevent it entirely. Well, take my word for it - it happens and you will not see it coming. You have been warned.

 

Amazingly she can tell when Mommy is coming home. The crazy part is that she takes her cues from the dogs. I have been able to keep them from barking like they used to but now they just run around and whine with excitement. She knows when this starts Mommy just pulled in. We are normally in the living room and there are two doors to come in. She just darts her head back and forth until Mommy reveals herself! ...I can't even distract her - she knows without a doubt that "MOMMYS HOME!!"

 

We just dropped her crib mattress down........ she has completely bypassed crawling and only wants to pull herself up and stand. She knows we are all impressed and you can tell she is all proud of herself when she does it.

 

No teeth yet. But I am fairly certain she should be a dentist when she grows up. She is completely INFATUATED with mine! I can barely even speak if she is close otherwise I get a hand in my mouth. She like to feel my teeth and try to grab my tongue! She'll keep it up as long and as often as i let her! She is fast too - she will drive that whole hand in as far as she can if I'm not careful. If she wasn't so entertained and so damn cute laughing about it, it would definitely be more than I could tolerate. So I guess it goes without sayin that she's walking all over me already.

 

And... she LOVES school! We send her for half days on Tuesdays and Thursdays so she will be used to it when the time comes that she has to go full time. I have to refrain from mentioning it is a school day until after her nap because she gets all jazzed up. I tell her she is going and name some of the teachers and the kids and you can just see her light up.

Then we sing "I love my Mom - My Mom is cool - but now it's time to go play at school!"

(From the “Sid The Science Kid” show - ...I told you I have baby brain now)

 

I have to say something about Mom here..... ……Maybe even ALL Moms.

I don't know how she does it.

She can no longer hide the cape, boots, tiara, golden lasso and the invisible jet that make her Super-Dooper Mom. (..... I dig the costume by the way) She just keeps going and going and going.......It's unbelievable. ....and with no complaints!!!! I just don't get how she does it. God has definitely doth bequeathed mommies with a special mommying power that dads just do not possess!

Oh, we certainly try. We lift all the heavy objects, fix broken stuff, make mega-swings for infants, and reach all the high things – We are fixers – that’s what we do. But then Mom comes along and does that extra something special.....all the time it seems…. she'll make a dinner with love after a hard day of work, sit and read a book with a whining, grumpy, tired and squirming child in total patience, be completely excited over an especially messy poopy diaper, say something nice -- when you know darn well she's tired and doesn't FEEL like being nice, offers to do a household menial task for you so you don't have to (those things I certainly try to spare her of), I could just go on and on.

…..and therein lies the difference I guess - mommy WOULD just go on and on!

 

 

Who is this woman?!??!?

Little Blair is very lucky.... as Mommys go – I think she got a really and truly great one!!

 

...to be continued....

The Princess has awakened and is demanding an audience.

...meaning Blair

 


For that side of us all that finds it funny when other people's jack-assery gets them mildly hurt

Posted on November 5, 2010 at 7:43 PM

I know this isn't even Blair material .... but I thought it might make you laugh a little…..

Don't worry -- Fortunately, no one (meaning me) was seriously hurt during the making of this blog.

 

 

...and I'm hoping deep down I'm not the only person something (less dramatic of course) like this has happened to.

 

 

 

I have literally put in about 20 hours so far trying to keep up with the leaves this Fall  …using a blower so I wouldn’t have to rake. (meaning lazy) But alas the trees and leaves got ahead of me during a few windy days. So, finally and begrudgingly,  I go get a rake from the garage to help move the pile along - so I can chase it with the blower. (still meaning lazy) If the pile gets to big and heavy the blower won’t really push it.... and i can't have that!

 

 

 

So…… what happens on the very first swipe of the rake I give it? The handle breaks.

Not only does it break but because I went to give it a good swipe to drive the leaf pile as far as I could.........  when the handle broke it smashed me in the side of the head.

So in essence – I clubbed myself. .....Clubbed myself hard enough to see stars and get all woozy. Now I know I can take a punch - but I knocked myself DOWN!!!

I sat back on my kiester like a baby falling while learning to walk kind of fall down.

…and trust me it’s a lot further to go than babies have, and hurts exponentially more! I felt like and must have looked like a complete idiot out there.

 

 

That is one of those things that can make a person hopping mad. I mean madder than a midget trying to play with a full size yo – yo kind of mad. So mad in fact I whipped the handle as hard as I could at a tree. …and lo-and-behold karma took hold of that flying stick, thrown with anger and malice as it flew through the air ….and as karma is inclined to do….. assured it's trajectory, and of all the places in the known universe it could have gone…. made sure it came straight back at me and left a gash (ok ok more of a bad scratch) on my leg.

 

 

If only the video cameras where rolling – I could see the title – “man beats crap out of himself while raking leaves”.

…and there is me – clubbing myself, getting tagged by a ricochet rake and stumbling around.

Now you have to admit that is kinda funny.

 

 

....and that should be the end of the story.

 

 

But, no.….. THIS IS THE THIRD TIME THIS HAS HAPPENED!!!!!!!!!!! I chipped a tooth once and swelled up my eye the other time. THREE TIMES? REALLY?!?!

 

 

I’ve never even HEARD of this happening to anyone before.

Darn Walmart grade rakes….. “not strong enough to actually rake with but darn sure hard enough to knock you out.”

 

Now there is my new career! –writing catchy and overly honest product assessments and descriptions for chain stores.

.....or crazy fool with a rake in the circus.

 

 

 

 

 


Optional reading - My rant - Childrens stories

Posted on August 9, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Ok.... I've got a gripe.

What is the deal with all the childrens stories being such tragedies?

Even Bamby is still to this day a little too traumatic for me.


So Blair and I sit down to read the Pied Piper. Do you remember the story? ...REALLY remember it?

It's all happiness and merryment how he saves the village from a scourge of rats!!! - They could have stopped at that and we'd have a good childrens story, would we not? But... he goes on to  DROWN them!

OK -- we can even over look that part. .... the lesson could be rats can't swim or the potential dangers of a river.


Then it goes on to the towns-folk reneging on their promise to pay him for his extermination work. (an entire village of cheap bad people?) ...and of course he gets mad. To get even - he leads ALL but one of the children (figures its the one too weak to keep up) off into the mountains where they are never seen again!

THAT my friends is a little much!!!

What lesson do we draw from this little story hmm? ALL people in the village are bad and can't be trusted? Keep your word or there are enormous repercussions? Never follow strangers?

Wait... I know what it is....... Always get revenge - and make sure it is with the most vitriol, vituperation, (....and other harsh sounding "V" words) aspersions, caluminations, as well as all the spite, malice and cruelty you can muster.

(yeah, I looked some up for your vocabularying pleasure. Ok, ok - so, i totally made "vocabularying" up))


So thats a childrens story, right. I guess it wouldn't be "R" rated unless there was a little nudity and a cuss or two in there.


Yeah -- I know i'm making way too much of it. Just trying to make a point is all. It just seems all these childrens stories are so morbid or sad. But I will be changing the ending a bit in the future - he will just be bringing the rats back or something like that.


I guess it all prepares them for adulthood and horror movies like Jaws -- which has ruined swimming in the ocean "without a care in the world" for most of us. ....and in case you actually are able to be a reasonable adult and KNOW there are no Great White Sharks in your neighborhood pond there are now Nat Geo shows that prove SOMETHING can always getcha.


It seems to be all about the digestive system...

Posted on July 28, 2010 at 4:16 PM


Update -- Everything is still going well!!!

I was right -- it is both a rude awakening and an awesome experience taking care of Mini-WE!

 

 

We are getting better with the diapers......sorta. I have figured out that the bargain diapers while well... a bargain.... are less diaper and more..... how shall i describe this....... less diaper and more.... DEFLECTOR!! Tis true if you emmerse the baby in a pool with the bargain diapers on they  will sop up half the pool and add pounds to your tot - but they are not able to do this quickly. ....which i took for granted as it seems a necessary function and an integral part of the containment systems' basic job!!!!!!!!

.......thank goodness it's nothing a little duct tape can't fix.


So I go to Home Depot to get out of the house and get more duct tape..... (sounds like the beginning of a joke, right?)

I know, I know..... another poop story.... but for the love of ice cream they are soooo numerous! (see how i deftly dodged the perfect place to be profane? ...I have to watch my mouth now)


So the little food processor got a little backed up recently. She started eating rice cereal and Gerber first veggies recently.... um... prunes to be exact. Yes I know I truly deserved what comes next for feeding her prunes but we were going for the funny faces at mealtime and i figured they would have the most taste. You would think we just gave her lemons the way she sqwooshes (thank you Dr Suess for that word) up her face so it was worth it. She does the "Popeye" face.

Anyway -- there was no gift in the diaper the next day at all..... (in literature they would call that foreboding - but here i'd just call it "stoopid daddy thinks he had a good diaper day and blissfully ignores the fact that it didn't just disappear into thin air..." )

So the following day (....not being COMPLETELY oblivious to the coming storm) Daddy waits for it  ALL DAY before leaving to go to the store. Now we have two days of prunes at the ready. ....and I decide to take my chances.

Now, mind you I know not to gamble because I never win but on this day I bet against the odds and the house won.

I made it all the way to Home Depot and most of the way through the store when the baby became like an inverted excorcist. She filled the car seat. ...and I do mean filled. (i actually poured some out in the parking lot - leaving a crappy welcome gift for the next guy!)


I honestly didn't know what to do or where to begin. I couldn't take her out and clean her up - the seat was completely defiled! So where do i put her then??

Even though I had all the supplies to completely change a baby and her clothes several times over - I had no where to put the child!!! ....and I figured it would be frowned upon to let her ride up front ...even "just this once".

(This would have be ok in 1970 though - for those that remember)

Now I still had to pay!!!!! So I wheeled the little dumplin' up to the counter and hoped the lady wouldn't notice. But nay nay, that was not to be be! She leaned over and said "oh what a cute little did you know she shit all over herself?" I then acknowledged the crisis and secretly hoped this experienced Momma would take pity and help me.

...She did not.


To her credit the wee-one kept her hands out of her diaper and resignerd herself to a messy ride home. I swear it took hours to clean.... Hose off, laundry, bath, shower for me, change of clothes -- UGH what a mess.


But somehow I still managed to be totally enamored with this little child the whole time! Crazy, right?!?!? ...her face just had this cute "what just happened" slash "did I do that?" look the whole time.


-----------


As for pee-wee....

I was sooo hoping to witness certain firsts for her while i'm making like Holly Homemaker.....and then just like that....

A strange thing has happened.....

I don't know exactly when.... seems like over-night, but she has change from an infant into..... a baby!!!!

Yeah, I know.... what the heck does THAT mean.....

I can't explain it but she has become.... aware. I can no longer fool her with stuff... like putting a rattle in her hand and having her be entertained. Now she either WANTS it or she DOESN'T.  She knows when i begin the nap process and RESISTS now. She knows when i put her to sleep and then put her down - she becomes INSTANTLY awake and starts performing (i swear this is true) the things we usually cheer her on about when she does it. For instance - she does this "running baby" thing on the changing pad. She just starts pumping her legs and arms wildly and we always laugh and cheer her on. Now she does it to pander to our emotions to get picked up! Is she not a little on the young side to be manipulating us?

 This can only get worse - I better take a psych class before she gets ahead of us.


As for Momma Blair.....

Momma Blair has it tough right now......

The little offspring does sleep through the night ..... 8:30 PM until between the hours of 4 AM and 7 AM. But that still makes Momma Blair a tired Momma Blair. (she does the morning since she gets up for work and to pump) Momma Blair get more done in the morning than the Army. Feed and change baby, shower, blow hair, put face on, fill bottles, pump...... (sorry MB - I know i'm probably missing about 15 other things too) Then we see her off to work the grind-stone all day.

When she gets home ( i have the baby at least fed, rested and clean for her when she gets home - I try to have everything done but the work is NEVER done) then we do dinner, feed the munchkin (major daily undertaking), clean up ((cleanup seems to be a monumental task after dinner lately)) pump and go to bed.

We need at least another day added to the weekend and an hour to the day.

......so props to Momma Blair for all her Mommy-ing. Mommies seem to have Sooper-powers that the rest of us lack - no matter how much we try to keep up!

I believe I saw a piece of her cape the other day. She swears it was her slip.... but I know what it was.


I am working on MAMMA being Blair's first word - small reward for Mamma but well deserved.

So its seeing the pictures of Momma, "thats mommy's", "when mommy gets home", MOMMY'S HOME, MOMMY'S HOME!!!", ..............just wait till your MOTHER gets home   

.............all day long.


It's all about the little things now.

:D




Daddy Day-Care week 1 complete

Posted on May 28, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Well, dady and baby made it through the first week on our own relatively unscathed. I have already acquiesced any control i thought I might have in regard to scheduling anything. It really is a hard job taking care of baby all day. Blair eats up all my time! ....but I am certainly not complaining! .....but jeeze, no wonder Mothers day is such a big event!


Momma Blair didn't want to go back to work after maternity leave with out the baby. She got a little misty-eyed because she was so used to having Mini-We around her 24X7.

Blair was sad to see her off -- i had to work overtime to keep her occupied with clap hands clap hands till mommy comes home - cause mommy's got the money now and daddy's got none!   lol.... it's the little things that entertain me too.  :)


I have found to my utter dismay that the baby will not take a good long nap unless the swing plays it's music continuously.... and in Fisher Price's ultimate wisdom they have chosen to have the music turn off every 15 minutes or so. That means either daddy needs to spend all day getting baby to sleep only to have her wake up 15 minutes later OR keep running over when the music stops to restart it. ...Believe me I have tested it and if the music stops so does the sleeping. ....and if the sleeping stops then the cranky crying starts and never seems to end. I have decided running over every 15 minutes is worth the trouble. Just wait till I get to WalMart -- I'm buying them out of lullaby CD's.


I must say we had some nice weather this week. It was hot in fact. Hot enough to not wear a shirt actually. Due to this little fact i found out the hard way that babies like to grab hair and pull it - CONSTANTLY. So I did what any enterprising daddy would do - I proceeded to trim my chest hair to eliminate this little hardship. I only tell you this because it plays an entertaining part in what comes next........


So I think we bought the wrong size diapers. They have to be the wrong size because they don't seem to have enough capacity when full ...if you catch my drift.

Baby had a movement an adult would find satisfying which proceeded to get it all over her, her bouncy seat, changing table, her feet / socks and her clothes. I actually asked myself out loud...

"OK... now what do i do?"

Where does it all come from? More seems to come out than what we put in!

It took a half a pack of wipes, 4 diapers, a change of clothes and a washing machine load to bring her back to some semblance of clean.  ...and yet..... there was this lingering odor.

So the little pea got a bath to get everything out of the nooks and cranny's and off her skin. We dried off (yes both of us), lathered her up in "Butt Balm" (yes thats an actual diaper rash preventer product) put on a new diaper (hoping for better performance from this one) and re-dressed the wee-one. ...now we can relax. Took baby outside and both of us rested for a few minutes. She actually started falling asleep on my chest. (AWWW, ... I know!)I figured it was nap time (for her) and went to bring her inside and put her in her swing.

Thats when I realized my mistake. She was COVERED with little cut hairs. It was all over her - on her cheek, her ear, nose..... clothes....hands.... I mean everywhere. ...and it doesn't wipe off easily when it is hot out.

.....aaaaand once again I'm back at "OK, now what do I do?"

So first daddy got a shower and then little Blair got bath number 2!

Hey, I'm learning as I go.


2 months 2 week and a few days.....

Posted on May 11, 2010 at 11:47 AM

Babies change people.....

I never though I'd hear my wife utter in any way certain things under any circumstances and for any reason. There are just phases that you would think were impossible that would be said, and you don't know exactly what they are but when you do hear them you know it was one of those things.

So we are just playing with baby and I notice a little smudge on wifeys sleeve. She looked at it and smelled it and then she said the impossible.... "oh it's just a little poop". ....like it was nothing. How does that happen? ...a little poop of ANY kind would normally send a person in the kind of contortions rarely seen outside a limbo competition in an effort to avoid it at all costs and get as far away from it as possible.

(For the record it wasn't hers - It was a small spot and it just happened while changing the baby )


So........ on to the bad news...... hopefully turned that greatest time of my life. My contract at work has run out and as luck would have it my last day will be the friday before the Monday that Momma Blair puts back on the family pants and heads back out to work the grindstone again after her maternity leave. I will have to Crisco grease Blair's whole body before the Missus wakes up so i am able to slip the kid out of her protective clutches and give her a kiss and brown bag lunch before sending her back to the rat race.


Then I get to play Mommy. I have to admit I'm a little nervous but I figure it just may be the best time of my life! Now, while still beinging fiscally minded, this time while hopefully brief will be an experience I would not normally have. I commute far and work some odd hours sometimes so to be able to stay home and raise baby will be awesome. I do worry about sleep deprivation and the fact that the diapers are filling up more and more but I look forward to this time so much!

Yeah, I know I'm in for a rude awakening.









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