Tuesday, May 31, 2011


  • Isaac hands me Barbie, and chooses the Ken doll for himself. Will we act out a primitive play date? Will they have a toddleresque conversation? No. Ken crashes into Barbie, as a bus crashes into a semi-trailer. Complete with sound effects. Ah, boys.
  • Anna, upon seeing Isaac spit out his food: "Isaac, don't do that. That's what babies do. I don't want to see that." Someone has been listening to her mommy!
  • Which songs shall we listen to? Wiggles? Veggie Tales? Rafi? None of the above. Isaac wants to hear Darth Vader's Theme while Anna pleads for the jazzy sounds of the Cantina. Alas, neither tune can be heard over the tantrum of the disappointed child. Nevertheless it is worth the noise just to see Isaac's slow-motion interpretative pantomime of a villain he has never seen, but somehow feels exists.
  • The baby gate at the foot of the stairs is gone, the dining room booster seat is gone, bibs are fazing out, and sippy cups' days are numbered. Mommy sniffs and smiles. 
  • Lots of rain outside the house: Very good! Grass grows! Flowers grow! Pond is no longer dry! Rain leaking into the house: Not good. Insurance agent who claims it's a freak accident and will never happen again: Very not good.
  • A nature walk. Sun. Happy children exploring. Pooh Sticks at the creek. A hidden path. Excitement at exploration. Off trail, a toddler trips. Into cacti. Needles, tears, tweezers, shrieks. New rule: long pants mandatory on nature walks. 
  • Preschool is suddenly over. And so sad that Anna missed her last day due to illness. There is some symmetry here, however, as she missed the first day due to illness. 
  • End-of-preschool positives: one less thing to rush to, no longer have to wake up Isaac from his nap to pick up Anna, a break from tuition payments. Negatives: Anna LOVES preschool, loss of a solid 2 hours of house-cleaning time, no more Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches on the sly.
  • What not to say to a stay-at-home parent who has been at home with sick kids all day during rainy weather: Why don't you play with the kids while I clean up dinner?

Projects and Plans

Is there any day lonelier than the day after a long weekend, when that day is a home day and you have no plans? No, there is not. Which isn't to say we are not keeping busy over here, because there is much to do. In fact, I have not posted in awhile, in the name of Getting Things Done. This has been mostly successful, although I have not gotten Everything Done. Then again, does one ever get Everything Done? No, one does not. So here I am.

One of the projects nearing completion is the horrid digging out of the rock border in our backyard. The new tarp is now laid and I've been trying to put the rocks back, sans dirt and detritus. This is unexpectedly problematic, since it seems the centers of my rock piles have turned into heavy black dirt. Dirt which will not wash away, but instead turns to mud and stubbornly clings to the rocks from which it has come. Stupid dirt. Maybe I can train Isaac to start throwing individual rocks onto the tarp.

Other than moving rocks to and fro, we did have time for some fun stuff over the long weekend. We went to the Denver Aquarium, which is strangely owned by a restaurant. We saw some interesting creatures, a fun demonstration of a flash flood, and animals both in the water (lungfish! sea turtles! Nemo!) and out of the water (otters! a tiger!). Isaac caught glimpses of animalia here and there, but spent most of the time tearing through the crowd, pushing his umbrella stroller and yelling "beep! beep!" whenever he ran into someone or something. He appeared both terrified and intrigued, existing in a state of heightened arousal. Needless to say we did not stay for dinner, but collapsed at McDonald's and engaged in Happy Meal therapy.

Our zoo trip last week was a similar experience. Isaac spent the whole time at 100 mph, while Anna was mostly at 0 mph. What I'm learning from these experiences is that I need to rethink my plan for the summer. I have a mental list of fun things to do in the area, and was going to do one a week. Unfortunately, unless I leash Isaac I'm almost guaranteed to lose him in the crowd. Or lose Anna while I chase Isaac. I need to think of events that are in more small-scale, enclosed spaces. Oh well. Those are cheaper, anyway.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Eleven Ways Parenthood is Similar to Graduate School

1. Although people try to explain to you what it's like, you really have no idea until you're there.
2. Many meetings with doctors.
3. Many sleepless nights.
4. A lack of obvious markers that reveal how well you're doing.
5. An initial sense that you are way out of your league.
6. You can't get over the feeling that you are not doing as well as so-and-so who constantly has it all together and was obviously born to do this.
7. For a time, everything else fades to black.
8. Reduced discretionary funds.
9. Increased caffeine.
10. Encounters with a lot of literature by a lot of experts, only some of whom are truly competent.
11. To some people, the end result may look quite similar to the end result produced by others. But you see the subtle nuances and exceptional uniqueness that is your baby (be it a dissertation or an actual baby).


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Terrific Two

Isaac! You turned two years old this week! Wow! I feel that many exclamation marks are in order!!!
Here is a brief snapshot of you at two:

   Song: "Wheels on the Bus," hands down. This must be sung before every nap and bedtime. Your favorite bus guests include babies, grandparents, Anna, Daddy, snacks, dogs, and emergency vehicles.
   Activity: Anything with wheels, particularly buses and fire trucks. You often line up your vehicles with great precision, and intently study the motion of the wheels. You seem surprised that they rotate similarly regardless of the terrain. You also enjoy chucking these cars, attempting to mimic crashes and general mayhem.
   Location: You are an outdoors guy. Come rain, sleet, hail, wind, snow, or sun you stand at the door demanding to go out.
   Food: Yogurt, blueberries, and ice cream. Also, Daddy's coke and chips, and anything on Mommy's plate. This is why Mommy eats breakfast and lunch at the counter, and why on weekends Mommy wishes Daddy would also eat lunch at the counter.
   Lovey: Almost anything soft and fuzzy will do, but top of the list are Tiger, Monkey, Blankie (the green one with brown spots), Mommy's robe, and whatever Anna is holding.
   Books: Lately, those involving potties and poop (a good sign, right?) Also, "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" by Mo Willems which is a brilliant read and now overdue at the library.
   Shows: Pingu! Wiggles! A youtube video from the BBC's Top Gear involving a car chase in Albania. Recently, the first five minutes of Fast and Furious Four.  

Things you can do
Now that you are two, there are many things you can do. You may not always do these things quickly, but that is okay since Mommy needs to learn patience. And watching a toddler take 10 minutes to get himself into the car seat when we are late for preschool certainly increases Mommy's patience. Among other things.
   Buckles: Any buckle that is unbuckled should consider itself buckled once you've caught sight of it.
   Balls: You've got a good arm and decent aim. It's just a shame our yard is sloped, for I fear you're getting a skewed idea of the laws of motion.
   Beatings: This is one thing I wish you didn't do. On one hand, you won't take any grief from anyone. On the other hand, you need not smack Anna for no reason. In fact, you should not smack her for any reason. Where did you learn this behavior? Anna doesn't hit you - not even to defend herself. Is this a boy thing? Sometimes you scream at children who simply look at you. I hope you grow out of this.
   Boogie Down: You love to sing and dance, and nobody does a better interpretation of the Jaws theme song than you. You play a mean shark, Little Man.
   Burlesque: Not really, but this is the closest thing to pretend that begins with a "B," and I'm on a roll with the whole "B" thing. Anyway, you've begun taking on different personas, such a "doggy" or "kitty." This shows development in the area of Theory of Mind, and as a psychologist I find it rather interesting. Also just crazy super cute.
   Bedtime: You are a reliable sleeper. Generally 13-14 hours per day, including naps.
   Burrowing: You are such a cuddler, and I adore that about you. I love when you ask for hugs and nestle into my arms. And not just when you're tired or sick, but for the mere joy of cuddling.

Isaac-English Dictionary
Many of these Isaac-isms are disappearing as your language explodes and your vocabulary and diction improve. I will be sad to see them go. 
   cah-cah = car
   my do = I will do [insert action] myself or you will reap the whirlwind
   dump-cah = dump truck, pick-up truck, general construction equipment
   IO = Isaac. This nick name was coined by Bobi from your initials. It is similar to the Armenian word for yes. I find this ironic, considering...
   no = yes, no, maybe
   uh-huh = a tentative, slightly confused yes
   gummy bum = gummy worm
   bidah! = spider and things with spider-like qualities, including but not limited to lint, cracks, and dirt
   pingu = penguin
   gin (hard g) = again
   yard = I want to go outside right now!

These are a few bits and pieces of who you are right now. I love seeing you grow every day, and look forward to seeing who you will be at this time next year.
Happy Birthday, Little Man.