Saturday, February 27, 2010


A little late in the day with this but went out to breakfast and had to buy a lawnmower so, bloggus interuptus.

The second birthday in three days for our brood (tis the season here - the Boy has one coming up as well). The Girl is three today!

For some strange reason it feels to me as if she has been three for a while. Not for her though: she is proud of the fact, even if she can't get her fingers to display the proper count.

The angry photo is not so much an insult to her as it is a display of her classic emotional state. She is just mad or sad more frequently than the other two. And, to be honest, she is just so cute when she's pissed.

Happy Birthday, Little Girl. Daddy loves you... even when you're steamed.

And a Happy Birthday to RC as well, sharer of this birthday, though not birth year.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tempus Fugit, Grizz

After a delay that seemed to last forever, it was one year ago today that the youngest member of our clan finally made her debut.

I rarely post much about her. The Boy is coming into his own and his incessant (and I do mean incessant) chattering tends to make good blog fodder. The Girl's issues command a lot of our time and concern - the squeaky wheel, you know. So the Baby is left to her own devices. Part of it is that by number three parenting tends to run on autopilot. You stop sweating the little stuff. You are (sadly) less amazed by the everyday miracles. Three kids means less time is devoted to each one individually. It isn't just us; the grandparents and friends spend less time doting upon the youngest. We are simply used to it by now. It helps that unlike the Girl and her speech, or the Boy and his early health issues, the Baby is damned typical with her biggest problems being rather run-of-the-mill colds. As a result she gets less press, less concern. Such is the lot of the last born.

That does not mean she isn't a story unto herself. She is ready to walk. She cruises, does her squats, prefers to "take a knee" when resting. She is much more troublesome than her predecessors. She ignores all admonishments regarding those things she should not touch, sometimes with a haughty shrug. She eats anything she finds - we call her the roomba. She is incredibly strong and will defend herself and her possessions from interloping siblings with force and an occasionally vicious bite. She has, of the three, the most delightful smile and cheerful personality, that can turn Mr. Hyde with alarming suddeness, usually around 5pm.

She refuses to sleep all through the night, preferring to awaken sometime around 1 or 2 and demand action from weary parents. Baby food has fallen completely by the wayside, her nose turns up at the mere sight of it. She demands instead, whatever else is on the menu for the rest of the clan.

She's incredibly loud, regardless of mood. If happy she yells with delight. If unhappy she screams with a volume that even the most jaded parents have commented upon. She can literally wake the neighbors.

So far her vocabulary consists of not much more than Mama and Dada. The Girl has us on edge regarding speech so we are keeping a watchful eye on the Baby to make certain this minor delay in word acquisition (by now she should have 8 to 10 words) is not a sign of something more substantial.

She growls. Even when happy she moves through the house growling at things. The Boy has taken to calling her Grizzy.

Her laugh is easy and infectious, like one of those ubiquitous youtube baby vids. She will laugh heartily at anything and she gets a lot of playful jokes. She frequently demands (and I do mean demands) to be entertained.

She is a wonderful mimic. At five months or so, while changing her diaper, I stuck my tongue out at her. She watched me carefully and then did it herself. I moved my tongue from side to side. She followed suit. Everything I did she imitated. It was on of those embarassing "My God! She's a genius!" parenting moments. Genius or not, she's one smart cookie.

She has taken a while for me to get used to. The extra work and lack of sleep left, I think, a small grain of resentment inside me for her. That's a hard thing for a parent to admit. Her inate charms and winning personality have worked hard to counter it however, and have ultimately won me over.

So one year on, one year old, and today she'll blow out her first candle... or she'll just frickin eat it.

Happy Birthday, G.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

For My Wife

For Valentine's Day, a repost. Only because two years on the sentiments have not changed, but only grown stronger.

In that beat icon masterwork, On The Road, Kerouac said, "The prettiest girls in the world live in Des Moines." Having spent part of my life in Des Moines, I had always assumed that was the booze talking. Eleven years ago, however, I had a change of heart. It didn't matter whether or not all the prettiest girls lived there; the prettiest one did. You see, Des Moines is where I met my wife.

My wife is beautiful. From her flawless, alabaster skin to her big easy smile; from her warm blue eyes to her long, but childlike fingers, everything about her says, "heaven, right this way." Even if she weren't so lovely she would still win you over. She is sweetness incarnate. Gentleness, understanding, caring and thoughtfulness, are all facets of her being and as natural to her as blinking to me. She can make my worst day seem silly with a pat on the back. Yeah, she's that good.

Then there is that laugh, that easy, unjaded, welcoming laugh, that perfectly complements my rather ham-like qualities. It isn't just me upon whom that warm laughter is bestowed. No, she can find humor in the kids even on those occasions when all I glean is annoyance. I roll my eyes, but she laughs with no reservations. She laughs at herself, recognizing the silly or the foolish in her actions and racing with it. She doesn't fear her own childishness, a trait not a few of us could benefit from acquiring.

She supports us; tramps off to work everyday to earn our daily bread. When we had children we decided that one of us would stay home and the other would not. Her profession, more lucrative than mine, gave her the wage-earner slot. That is hard on her. I take nothing away from myself, as raising kids is the hardest thing I have ever done, but her lot is harder still. She must tear herself away each day from the children she adores, knowing that some little miracle will invariably occur while she is gone. On her days off she will often excitedly point out some task or achievement by the boy or girl and, insensitive fool that I am, I will reply, "Yeah, he/she did that the other day." And still, she takes a clod like me in stride and thinks nothing of it.

Younger than I by quite a bit, she seems unconcerned with the prospect that, not long after we have ferried the last of the kids out of the house some twenty years hence, she will face an aging spouse who will probably be in need of care himself. She accepts that - it was part of the package. It's another unselfish part of her character - another reason she is wonderful.

My life is so much better with her than it would have been without that I can not measure the difference. There isn't a device to quantify it, only the acute sense that I was fortunate beyond what I probably deserved and will remain so as long as she will have me.

The word love will get tossed around a lot today. I won't toss it for fear of losing it. Instead, I hold it aloft, a boast, I suppose, that I have it and she is grand.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Sometimes I forget how amusing Tracy Ullman can be.
Her Arianna Huffington kills.

Monday, February 8, 2010


We are, by nature and habit, a rather free thinking family as regards our bodies. Wandering about the house with little in the way of clothing is, if not common, certainly not aberrant. The children too, often parade through the various rooms in various stages of undress. It is just the way we do business. We all have a body and within the confines of our home we have no issues with letting it all hang out.

So it came as something of a shock last night when the Boy, who heretofore has shown no reluctance to saunter through the living room at 7 in the morning with nothing on but a smile, demanded he be allowed to shower rather than share the tub with his sisters. The Boy has always feared and hated the shower. The enclosed space, the water pouring down from overhead, and the echo of his own unceasing voice have all made the prospect of showering seem unlikely for him in our lifetimes. Yet there he was last night announcing that he had no intention of bathing with his siblings and would instead be stepping into the shower to clean himself. My wife and I were both amused and curious regarding this development. He had, just the night before, bathed with his sisters with great enthusisasm and no complaints, as he did almost every other night. Why this sudden transition? Enquiring minds wanted to know.

He explained. He thinks his naked body looks funny. He doesn't want to be seen with no clothing. He would prefer to clean himself in relative privacy. "I look funny with no clothes."

Huh? From whence did this overdeveloped sense of modesty (shame?) derive?

We have no idea. And it apparently did not last as he was up at 6:30 this morning galavanting sans clothing in front of the living room picture window with usual lack of propriety. Funny yes, but our laughter had nothing to do with his actual appearance, so who knows.

In the meantime he remains steadfast in his desire to continue his showering routine, though with the added reasoning that it is actually warmer than it is sharing a bath with two bouncing (and crowding) sisters.

We'll watch and wait... and wonder.