The Pillow

My wife is the one who tends to save things in this family, and I’m just the opposite.  Generally, I never thought it was an issue.

One day, while looking at a sky with perfect little white clouds, I said to my wife, “The sky reminds me of that body pillow of yours you used when you were pregnant.  We ought to give that away.”

She retorted, “We ought to give you away…  There’s a thought.”

I never mentioned it again.


All of 16 months old, Aaron’s mastered his first pick-up line.  “Hi,” said very confidently and breathily.  Then he stands there for a few seconds to see if the strange cute girl responds.  If she doesn’t, that’s fine too.  He just walks over to the next cutie and tries the line again.  One girl (or woman) after another.

After putting him to bed in his crib, we’ve heard him practicing his line on the stuffed animals.  “Hi.”

We only realized he had a problem recently.  Aaron’s not just a casual flirt.  He’s got a need for the fawning he sometimes receives from his line.  One morning while my wife was watching A Dating Story, when the pretty host appeared on screen, he walked up to the TV and gave her his best “Hi,” and stood there waiting for her to gush over him.

That’s his Tooth

Today turned out to be a nice warm spring day.  I started it out by mowing the front yard, getting myself a little sweaty and grassy.  Then it was time to take Maddie to her swimming lessons for a half an hour.  It’s an indoor pool, and although well ventilated, the whole place smells like chlorine.

We came home to find an infestation of ants in the house, but they hadn’t yet found any food.  So we embarked on an emergency house cleaning.  Lillian vacuumed and cleaned a bathroom, while I spread ant-killer outdoors.

It’d been a pretty productive day, so we treated ourselves and went to California Pizza Kitchen, the apparent mecca for middle-class parents of babies and toddlers.  We over-ate, and waddled out of the restaurant with our leftovers into the mall, only to find that it closed early, because it was Sunday.  We went to the children’s playground anyway, and we were the only family there.

We all really enjoyed ourselves.  The kids ran freely from structure to structure, and Lillian and I wondered if we’re getting locked in the mall.  When Lillian and I do decide to leave, the kids were having none of that idea.  Lillian and I started walking out the door, and Aaron sleepily started running after us.

Maddie ran up behind Aaron and gave him a push to get him to go faster, but he fell down.  I admonished Maddie just as she fell right on top of Aaron and slammed his head into the floor with her own head.  Then my language got a little stronger, and when Aaron lifted his head, blood was dripping down his face.  I picked him up, and Lillian came running to the site.  Then I noticed the thing.  In the small pool of blood on the floor there was a small, solid, roundish lump.

“Oh, my God.  That’s his tooth!”

Maddie still had her milk from the restaurant.  I asked Lillian for it, so that I could put his tooth in the milk and keep it there until we get to the hospital.  (Is that advise sound?)

I investigated the boy’s face, while Lillian grabbed the tooth and looked at it carefully.  She told me, “I don’t think it’s a tooth.”  And when I looked at it, it turned out to be a blood-soaked red-candy-coated peanut that was already on the floor, but in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Aaron simply had a bloody nose, and it clotted up nicely.

As I write this, I smell of grass, chlorine, sweat, blood and tears.   That little scare has taken two years off of my life.  But boy, am I going to sleep well tonight.

Read to Me

The bedtime routine in our house is that after brushing her teeth, I put Maddie to bed and read her one story of her choosing.  Over the last couple of months, though, Maddie’s requested that her Mommy come to bed with her, and I read the two of them the story.

That’s fine.  But I’ve been wishing there were more flexibility in the routine.  So I’ve encouraged Lillian to put Maddie to bed, or to do the reading, since she’s in there anyway nowadays.  Lillian’s fine with that, but Maddie isn’t.

Last night, after brushing teeth, (and playing “hide and seek” in the master bedroom), I asked Maddie to go to her room and pick out a book to be read.  As usual, she asked her Mommy to come along.  As they both left the master bedroom, I scurried into Maddie’s room, and hopped into her bed.  This would change the routine for sure!

When they got to Maddie’s room, Maddie picked out her book, and I stayed in her bed.  When Maddie returned to the bed with her book, I asked her, “Maddie, who do you want to read the book?  Daddy, or Mommy?”  (Yep, I emphasized Mommy like that.)

Maddie said, “Mommy in bed!” with a big grin.  Drat.  I knew that meant she expected me to read to the two of them in bed.  So I crawled out of bed, and Maddie said, “No!  Mommy in bed!  Daddy in bed!”

Lillian caught on before I did.  Maddie wanted to read the two of us the story, tuck us in, give us a kiss, turn off the lights, and close the bedroom door.  There was much giggling, but she did every bit of it.  And after she was done, she climbed back into bed, and I read her and Mommy another story.

No More Monkeys

The family and I drove down to visit my parents this weekend.  It was going to be an unusual trip because we couldn’t stay with them this time, so we were going to stay at a nearby hotel.  Lillian and I were pretty apprehensive about staying in one room with a one-year-old and a three-year-old who were used to their own rooms.

When we checked in at the hotel, we had them roll in a crib for the baby.  Well, Aaron would have nothing to do with the crib.  He saw that all the sleeping action was going on up on the beds, and he insisted on getting a piece of it. 

So Lillian slept with Aaron on one bed, and I slept with Maddie on the other.  It was a rough night all around, neither kid would stay put.  Aaron was especially dangerous, because he was used to being able to roll around unfettered in his crib, and Lillian had to keep one eye on him the whole night to keep him from rolling off.

The next night was my turn with Aaron, and I didn’t do so well.  He fell off the bed twice, between the bed and the wall.  After the second fall, we padded that space with every spare pillow and the two bed covers.

The third night wasn’t starting much better because the kids didn’t take a nap that day.  They spent all of nap time jumping from the bed into the now-cushioned space between the bed and the wall, and climbing back out.  Oh, it was great fun.  So later, when we tried to put them to bed for the night, they started playing the same game.  I warned them that as soon as someone gets hurt, that kind of play would have to come to an immediate stop.

Not two minutes pass before they solidly knock heads with each other.  There’s one second of silence before they register the pain.  I scooped up Aaron, and set him on the other bed.  Then…

Whaaa!  Whaaa!  Waaa! Waaa!
Whaaaah!  Ah, whaaaa!  Waahaahahaaah!

We were getting bombarded with stereo cries.  Lillian tried to calm Maddie while I inspected Aaron for the inevitable shiner he was going to sprout on his noggin.  The two kids were inconsolable, but we couldn’t see where they were hurt.  Finally, in a moment of desperation, I let Aaron down to do as he pleased.  He climbed back up onto Maddie’s bed and with squeals of joy the two kids were plunging back into crevice.

They weren’t crying because they were hurt, they were crying because I’d threatened to separate them and stop the fun.

Ant Torture

A few days ago, Maddie was being a pill during dinner.  I’d gotten used to the fact that she won’t sit straight in her chair while she eats, but her behavior that day was too much.  She would turn completely sideways, and lounge back, fingering her food, pushing it around the plate.  I’d asked her to sit up and eat her food.  I told her that we could play later, after we eat.  But it did no good.

She persisted.  She kept playing with her food in this irritating lackadaisical manner, spilling some of the food off the plate.  She didn’t even care what I asked of her.  So I explained to her carefully, that I didn’t want any food to be left on the floor that might attract ants.  “And ants can bite you,” I informed her and gave her a little pinch.  (Probably a little harder than was necessary, but she was bugging me.)

She still didn’t care, and she kept playing with her food.  I was about to revoke one of her bedtime privileges when suddenly:

“Daddy!  An ant!”

Oh, this was too good to be true.  There it was, one lonely ant in the middle of her plate.  Maddie was quite worried about it, and she was trying to climb backwards out of her chair over the back of the chair, keeping her eyes on the ant the whole time.

Was I a good daddy or a bad daddy?  What do you think?

I kept her in her chair, and spouted off for half a minute.  Stuff like, “What did Daddy just tell you?!  What did I just say?  And look at that!”  I almost picked up that ant and put it on her nose.  “Will you sit straight now?  Will you eat your food instead of playing with it now?”  And on and on.

Oh, I was a bad daddy.  But it felt so good.

Language Studies Continued

Aaron’s a year old now, and he’s picking up words of his own.  He’s learned “nana” for banana, “nai nai” for milk (in Chinese baby talk), “dada” of course, and a few others.

Lillian and I have been making every effort to speak clearly and correctly when in front of the children.  There’s no way to avoid some exposure to poor or sloppy language, because when we take the kids out in public, well, you gets what you gets.

Imagine our disappointment when it seemed that Maddie had begun to pick up a little ghetto speak.  (Or maybe it was just lazy speech.  We didn’t know what to think, because she never heard these words from us.)  She would grab a toy out of Aaron’s hands, and exclaim “Hey!  That’s mines!”  Or she’d be looking for something, and when she found it, she’d say, “I finded it!”

We listened to this poor speech for a few days before we realized what was really going on.  We knew she didn’t hear those words from us, we’d only assumed she’d heard them on the street.  But that’s not the case either.  She was figuring out grammar and simple, regular verb conjugation!

She wasn’t saying, “That’s mines.”  She was saying, “That is mine’s.”  She knew that for most the other words, you make them possessive by appending the apostrophe s.  Daddy’s, Mommy’s, Baby’s, Mine’s.

It was a similar thing for finded.  For regular verbs, you can make a past tense by appending “ed.”  Walk, walked.  Play, played.  Therefore:  Find, finded.

English is going to be one heck of a language to learn after all.