Maddie’s Vocabulary at Age 2

For posterity, and to embarrass Maddie in later childhood: These are the things (in no particular order) that Maddie could say around age two.  She’s learning words every day, so I’m sure there are words she knows that are not on this list.

gai-gai (go out)
nai-nai (milk)
sui-sui (water)
po-po (grandma)
pot pies
thank you

And these are the things that she understands, but doesn’t like to say:

cat (says meow)
cow (says moo)
(The) Wiggles

Maddie’s new old Chest of Drawers

With a new baby on the way, we have to make room.  And this meant moving Maddie into her own big-girl’s room. And the big-girl’s room was going to need furniture.  I had my mother’s old chest of drawers out in the garage holding some stuff that we’d never need. It was time to see if I could refurbish it and use it in Maddie’s new room.

Originally, the dresser had a fine faux dark natural wood finish.  But it’s over 35 years old, and that finish was showing its age.  Actually, I didn’t even know the “grain” was fake until I sanded it off.  I got under the fake grain and found some decent panelling.  But this dresser was going into a bland room, and we wanted something that would add some color.

It took some thought, but we decided on light green.  I mocked up a doodle of the dresser in Paint Shop Pro, added some flowers, and we decided that that’s the way it should look.

Concept Photo

The refurbishing of the dresser took me a month with only one session per week during that month, so that’s about 4 sessions.  Basically, it was sanding, priming, painting, and painting a second coat.  The dresser is a little rickety due to its old age, but we hope it’ll last us a few more years.

Band of Squarepants Brothers

I don’t really know any details about this dream that my wife had.  But I know where it came from.

Lillian rented a couple of DVDs from the local video rental shop.  She got a Spongebob Squarepants video for Maddie, and one of the Band of Brothers DVDs for me.  Lillian doesn’t particularly care for either, although I’m more than willing go explain about Gary, Patrick, and how to recognize the Allied forces vs. the Germans.

That didn’t stop her from having a dream about the two.  Apparently it was set in World War II, but Spongebob Squarepants played a major roll in Easy Company’s maneuvers.

Man, just writing this down makes me wish I could have had that dream for myself.

Bathtime Follies

Bathtime used to be a fun time to splash and wonder at bubbles.  Until…

A few weeks ago Maddie inexplicably became terrified of having her hair rinsed after shampooing.  We have no idea what could have brought it on.  Normally it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but her terror of the clean water phase became pathological.  She began to dread bathtime and shampooing because they led up to rinsing.

She would cry and howl until there was no more air left in her tiny little body.  It was heart-wrenching.  We love our daughter, and we hate to do anything that terrorizes her so.  So we tried everything we could think of to expedite process, or to make her more comfortable.  But little helped, Maddie had it ingrained in her that hair rinsing was torture.

It was my turn to bathe her last Sunday.  I knew that Maddie had gotten a little better during the hair rinsing process.  (Thank God.)  So I set to task, and wonder of wonders, she didn’t even cry.  Whew, what a break through.

Glad that phase was over.

So it was time to take Maddie out of the tub.  I say, “OK Maddie, time to step out.”  She shakes her head, turns her back to me, and scrunches to the other side of the tub.  “C’mon Maddie.  Let’s go.”  I reach for her, and she liquifies the bones in her body.  (Parents know what I’m talking about.  She just went all rubbery to escape my grasp.)  I try again, and she starts howling.

Wait a minute.

So, here I am, trying to get Maddie out of the water, and she’s freaking.  Wasn’t it just two weeks ago that she was terrified of the tub because of the hair rinsing process?  Now she doesn’t mind, and as a matter of fact, she’d rather not leave the tub, thank you very much.  Was this some kind of cosmic joke?  I guess that’s a matter of opinion.  What’s certain:

That’s children for ya.

Note to Self

When inspiration strikes, you’ve damn well got to jot it down.  You will not remember it later.

Chinese Tradition, or You Have to Drink What?

According to Chinese tradition, once a baby reaches one month of age, that baby and mother have recovered from the birthing process enough to be presented to the world.  A party is held in honor of the baby, a Red Egg and Ginger party.  I have an invitation to a Red Egg and Ginger party that describes it as follows

In China of old, it was customary for mother and child to be homebound for a full month.  This is the time for both to gain strength and health.  After this critical period is over, the occasion of this blessed event can then be celebrated.

The red egg symbolizes good luck and the ginger (yang) serves a dual purpose (to ward off evil spirits and to equalize the cold (yin) of the new mother).

The traditional diet of the new mother is chicken whiskey soup and pickled pigs feet.  Both dishes are nutritious and have medicinal value because they provide a source of protein and calcium, act as a purifier and blood thinner, and also rid the body of cold air in the system.

My wife’s mother honors this tradition, and kicks it up a notch.  After Lillian gave birth to Maddie, Lillian was indeed homebound for a month.  Lillian’s mother stayed with us off and on to help out with the new baby, and to ensure tradition was followed.

She made sure to combat the cold yin with everything she had.  Lillian wasn’t allowed to have any cold liquids.  Any water she drank had to have been boiled and had to still be hot.  (Lillian’s mom asked me to bring some boiled water directly to her in the hospital right after Maddie was born.)  Cold water wasn’t allowed near Lillian, for that matter.  Lillian wasn’t allowed to bathe or to wash her hair.  (Wet hair gets cold before it dries completely.)  Imagine giving birth, and not being allowed to bathe for a month.

Then Lillian’s mom made sure that Lillian ate enough of the chicken whiskey soup.  (Which we call, “Alcohol Soup” because Lillian’s mom doesn’t cook away much of the whiskey.)  To complement the chicken whiskey soup, Lillian also had to drink vinegar soup, which was mostly vinegar and eggs, and maybe some meat.

Lillian had to have a couple of bowls of soup every day.  She wasn’t allowed to have any fruit.  Maybe there’s something yinny about fruit too, I don’t know.  She was allowed to have some vegetables, but just a minimum.  I actually don’t remember Lillian having to have much pickled pigs feet.  Which is fine by me.

Our Obstetrician’s Office

My wife and I are expecting our second child in early January.  She recently had a weekday appointment with her obstetrician, so Maddie and I came along and watched after each other.

We were all led in to her examining room,  where we waited for the doctor.  We took the time to look around, and it became clear the doctor was a very health conscious, biking and basketball playing obstetrician.  In addition to the usual clinical photos and memos on the walls, she had plenty of sports photos and paraphernalia.  It was a refreshing change of pace from the usual overly saccharine or sterile office.

Then we remembered that Lillian’s first obstetrician had a nice picture of a waterfall and blue sky on the ceiling over the examining bed.  We realized why, when the doctor asked Lillian to lay down.  Then she could focus on the serene photo, and (try to) calm herself while being examined.

So we looked up at this doctor’s ceiling.  She had some posters up there too.

Oh, yeah.  Pierce Brosnan looking suave and dashing as James Bond, and some young nicely honed (yet slightly glistening with sweat) boxer.  I’m sure these posters are even better at distracting the doctor’s patients.

Don’t Tell Me

My family has this weekly tradition.  We go out to our local Noah’s Bagels for lunch.  As Maddie’s grown older, she’s able to share grown-up food with us.  So we’ve been cutting off slices of the dog-part of my bagel dog, and feeding them to her.  Nowadays, she pretty much eats the whole wiener, leaving nothing but soggy bagel for me.

At home, she eats these tasty microwaveable mini corndogs.  Since I wanted my own bagel dog this week, we microwaved some corndogs, and brought them with us to Noah’s.  We offered Maddie her corndogs as I garnished my bagel dog.  But Maddie wasn’t having any of that.  She knows,

When we’re at Noah’s, Maddie gets steamy hot bagel dog wiener.

That’s the routine.  That’s the rule.

Fine, fine, fine.  I cut off slices of my bagel dog for her.  She grabs a spoon, but I correct her, and try to place a fork in her hand, so she can stab the slices and feed herself.  She wasn’t going to have any of that either.  Maddie insisted on using a spoon, and trying to stab the slices with that, as if it were a fork.  I tried to show her how to scoop up with slices with the spoon, but that wasn’t what she wanted to do!

So, Maddie’s Mom and I sit there watching our pride-and-joy ignore the food we brought for her, and trying to stab slices of my hotdog with a spoon (sometimes successfully).  I say to Maddie’s Mom with a little exasperation, “I tell you,” but then words fail me.

Without skipping a beat, she looks at me and deadpans, “It’s hard having kids?  You don’t have to tell me that.”

What Do You Want? Part 2

A few days ago, when I was changing Maddie, she went nuts.  She started wiggling furiously, and calling out something that sounded like, “dish!” or “this!” or “dhis!”

She was really trying to get at something on the counter.  She didn’t have any toys up there.  It’s where we keep the wipes, and creams, and nick nacks.  I just wanted to get her into a clean diaper.  I wasn’t particularly interested in figuring out what’s going on in her little head.  But she wasn’t letting up.

“Dhis! Dhis! Dhis!”

I just grabbed the nearest thing I remember Maddie having touched, a tube of cream.  I offered it to her, “What?  Do you what this?”


That’s exactly what she wanted.  She grabbed the tube, settled down, and let me change her.  Apparently Maddie’s Mom and I have both been offering “this” to her.  And now she knows the cream is This.

Whoops.  What we accidentally teach our children.

Hateful Shoes

Maddie’s shoes are getting a little too tight.  So at every available opportunity she tries to take them off.  First she unstraps the velcro strap, then violently kicks her little legs, flapping her little feet until the sheer whiplike force throws her shoes into the air.  It’s pretty funny if you don’t get hit by a shoe.

This weekend we took Maddie to see her grandparents.  Things went pretty well until the time came for Maddie’s Mom and me to go out for a date.  We said goodbye to the grandparents, then kissed Maddie goodbye and headed for the doorway to put on our shoes.


Maddie scampered after us, and latched onto my pants’ leg.  (Babies have incredibly strong grips.)  I gently pried her away, and she looked up at us in desperation.  Surely there must be something she can do!  She turned around looking for a corner to pout in, or… she squatted down, picked up her vile little shoes, stood up and held them high, as if to say, “I’ll wear the shoes.  Just take me with you!

We knew how much she hates those shoes, and so it really melted our hearts to see what she would suffer just to be taken along with us.