Saturday, December 31, 2005

Don't make a pig out of yourself, Dad

Apropos of nothing, Matthew comes up to me while I'm getting ready to go somewhere.

"Here, Dada! Hahburszer!" and he places an imaginary hamburger in my hand.

Uh, okay. Glad he's got an imagination, I guess. I put it to my mouth and make noises like a starving teenager inhaling the Best Burger Ever.

"No, Dada! Stop! You eat too much!"

Friday, December 30, 2005

First prayer

Another first: last night Matthew said his going-to-bed prayer himself. All by himself. I remember my parents prompting my younger sister with things to say when they were learning to pray, but this was not for Matthew. He's far too independant.

(Letting Matthew pray was Rachel's idea. She remembers letting him try when he was younger, too, but he wasn't really verbal enough. I don't remember this so I'll take her word for it.)

It was a short prayer, and a lot was unintelligible to either Rachel or myself, but I did understand: "Bwess Mama, Dada, Maa-thew (he's almost entirely abandoned calling himself Wawa now), Lelyiss. Bwess two dwan'ma, Untoh Dwant, Untoh Eiyiss." [Two grandmas, Uncle Grant, Uncle Ellis. His emphasis.]

You trouszo!

Tonight Melissa was playing around the Christmas tree. (After all that work getting it set up, I don't believe in taking it down before the new year.) She got one of those cheapish round ornaments with the metal top holding a loop whose ends extends into the body of the ball to hold it in. She worried at it until she pulled it out. Matthew noticed.

"Mama! Lelyiss brote it!" [Melissa broke it!]

"It's all right, son," I said. "Mama can fix it." I was reading my Corvette Magazine at the time, lamenting the demise of my poor '87.

He took it over to Rachel, but paused on his way, and turning to his sister, pointed a stern three-year-old finger and declaimed, "Lelyiss, you trouszo!" [You're in trouble!] Rachel and I laughed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Dental hygiene

Took Matthew to the dentist today for his first checkup. He got a brand-new Matthew-sized (roughly 1/2 of a normal toothbrush's bristle-area dimensions) green toothbrush.

I guess he couldn't wait to try it out because after dinner he grabbed it up, disappeared down the hall, and came out brushing his teeth.

Cute! we thought. Then Rachel did a double-take. "Wait -- where'd he get the toothpaste?"

"He goes into our bathroom and helps himself. I've seen him do it before."

He brushed his teeth once more before bedtime, and announced his intention to brush after every meal tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Matthew causes his first (?) casualty

I left the living room briefly while Matthew and Melissa were watching a baby video. When I came back I didn't notice anything untoward. Then Matthew bounced on his seat a bit and CRASH! the plate he'd perched on the back hit the floor and shattered.

My parents got a 12-seat set of china as a wedding present. By the time I left home I think they had two bowls left.

Now it's my turn.

[Rachel's note: Alas, it is hardly his first casualty nor, I am certain, his last. Sigh]

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Putting the fear of Mom in him

On Friday, I took Matthew with me to pick up some lunch from Rachel's favorite sandwich place. After ordering, they didn't seem in any particular hurry to fill the order, and I felt bad for Matthew, stuck in his seat with nothing to do but talk to Dad, who is, after all, incredibly old.

I asked him if he would like to draw, and handed him a pen and some small sheets of paper that were conveniently in the front seat. He seemed to be having a good time, but either he ran out of paper or needed something more exciting.

"Dada, you draw A B Cs my han' [hand]?"

"No, son. I don't want to draw on your hand."

"You draw A B Cs my leg?"

"No, son. I don't want to draw on your skin at all."

That seemed to settle it. Then: "I draw two A B C my pants!"

Uh-oh. I turned around, and while there was little resemblance to the alphabet, his pants were extensively festooned with ink.

"Son," I said, "It is not good to draw on your pants. It's not good to draw anywhere except on paper. I don't know what to do with you, but I'm sure your mama will when we get home. She will not be happy to see this." I wasn't particularly angry, and I didn't raise my voice, but he got the message.

We got the food and drove home. When we arrived, Matthew immediately made a beeline for his room and hid behind the door. I pulled him out to tell his mom what he did, and he ran back, this time hiding under the covers. For the next two hours he was very subdued, and insisted he'd rather be in bed than eating lunch.

Finally I went to check on him, and he was in much better spirits. He'd changed his pants and was apparently feeling much less doomed.

(We never did impose a punishment. Seems like two hours of feeling impending doom about to descend on you ought to be enough!)

On the proper design of robots

About 10 days ago, Matthew and Rachel were playing with his "oversized legos" blocks. Matthew asked his mom to make him a robot. She did.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooo!" A tantrum looked imminent.

"What's wrong, Matthew?"

"Robot shoot! Robot shoot!"

Rachel added guns to the robot's arms. Matthew was pleased and took the robot on trips through the sky, shooting imagined bad guys.

Monday, December 19, 2005


Matthew started yelling for attention 20 minutes after being put to bed. There's usually several of these before he finally goes to sleep, ranging from "I lost my ball" to "I need to pee."

"What is it, son?"

"I nee' [need] sash [wash] han's [hands], Dada. I pick nose."

"New rule, son: when it's after bedtime, you don't need to wash your hands after you pick your nose."

I was rather pleased with this solution to the interruption, even if Rachel wasn't entirely satisfied. But a couple minutes later:

"Dada! Dada! Dada! DADA!"

"... What is it, son?"

"I nee' doh [go] pee."

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Photos and such

Rachel has painstakingly ordered the photos on our flickr account to be in something closer to chronological reality. This was hours of work, thanks in part to the flickr organizr's total lack of suitability for sets of more than 4 or 5 pictures. Go check them out and tell her it was not in vain!

Speaking of photos, we had a pro over yesterday to do some Christmas pictures. Our children did not cooperate well. Matthew looked everywhere but at the camera, and Melissa uncharacteristically refused to smile. Of course, as soon as the photographer left, she was our happy baby again. Sigh.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Free advice for automobile manufacturers

I had a brilliant idea the other day, one that all car manufacturers should adopt.

When you are in the car and your wife has left the parking brake half-set, the brake release should have a light that turns on, so it's REALLY OBVIOUS how to un-set it completely, even if it's COMPLETELY DARK outside, when the dash illumination is TOTALLY INADEQUATE to show you where the release is.

Otherwise someone might start hitting buttons essentially at random, which could be dangerous if the car is in motion. And if someone actually heaven forbid got hurt, you could get sued.

So, lightbulbs for the brake release. 'kay? Good.

You may wonder how I came up with such a brilliant if obvious idea. While I frequently come up with such patentable improvements, this one has a special story to go with it.

I took Matthew to the grocery store a couple nights ago. We got groceries and a couple used games from the Gamestop conveniently located next door. (Not that this influenced my choice of grocery store at all.) When we got back, Matthew was really excited. "Dada push wrong button!" "That's enough, son." He'd already announced this a dozen times. "Dada push wrong button!"

We got inside. Rachel had dinner ready. Maybe that would distract him. "Dada push wrong button!"

Guess not.

You see, I explained to my wife, on the way back I noticed that the ebrake light was on. Not sure how I missed it on the way in. Chalk it up to a relentless barrage of three-year-old verbiage from my son.

"Hmm," I thought. "I should probably turn that off." So I rummaged about for the release. Ah, here's a button: Pop! and the trunk went up. Guess that wasn't it. Well, maybe it's one of those ebrakes where you push it a second time to release it. Push!


The wheels locked and I struggled a bit to not veer into another lane. Good thing the light 20 feet ahead was red and I was already slowing, or I probably would have been rear-ended by the minivan behind me. Or if not him, someone; tailgating is a common hobby here in Utah. As it is, the drivers who saw it must have wondered what on earth my son had done to deserve the punishment that would surely follow such a drastic stop. That's what you get for popping the trunk, kid!

I finally found the ebrake handle and released it. I pulled into the gas station conveniently located on the corner to close the trunk, and continued home. Could happen to anyone. No big deal. Just a little emergency stop for no particular reason.

Matthew, of course, thought this was the COOLEST. TRIP. EVER. "Dada push wrong button!" Yes, yes, yes, already!


Wednesday, November 30, 2005


[author's note: hope this comes out coherant, I've had a nasty headcold for a week. It doesn't help matters that Melissa's been really stuffy and waking up half a dozen times a night.]

Matthew the Rocker
Jonathan recently purchased a game called"Guitar Hero" in which the player strums a plastic guitar and places fingers on the fret keys to make notes corresponding to notes scrolling down the screen. Matthew loves to 'play' with his daddy. Several days ago, while Dad was at work, he got out the guitar and sang "Nair Nair Nairuuum" while posing on his knees, the guitar finger board vertical. Jonathan thinks it would be a 'great idea' to give this kid a drumset when he gets older. . . . Personally, I think that might be the little boy in Jonathan coming out. A drumset? Hmmmm. . . Maybe if we have a sound proof room then.

Melissa Games
Melissa loves paying the bee game. I circle my finger over her head and make a buzzing sound getting louder as I get closer and then tickle her. She laughs and squirms and reaches for my hand as soon as she hears the sound now. Sometimes she'll preempt the tickle by eating the bee. Another game Melissa enjoys is a version of peekaboo. I've had to come up with ways to keep her attention while changing her diaper, otherwise she'll roll over and crawl away even before I get the soiled diaper off. To entertain her I'll place a flat cloth diaper on her head and ask, "Where's Melissa?" She giggles and will swipe at the diaper until she gets it completely off flashing me a baby grin of delight as I say "There she is!" She thinks its even more funny if I pick up the diaper before she does and announce in mock surprise "Oh there's my baby!" This buys me some precious seconds to change her. I'm just glad I don't have to use pins with the diapers- I'm sure I'd have stabbed myself numerous times by now.

Half-Pint Food Critics
Matthew is typically a very good eater and not afraid to try new foods, even vegetables. I was surprised when he dug in his heals over yams on Thanksgiving. I insisted that he have 2 bites. After much face twisting and gagging and threats of "no pumkin treat" he choked them down. These were good yams too! I whipped them up and added a little butter and brown sugar. They were naturally sweet, so I didn't add much. The next day when we had leftovers and I insisted once again that he have a bite. I figured he didn't have to like them (hey, there's certainly foods I don't like) but needed to keep trying them. Just a taste. "Wah hew eat yams, grow big and tall. Reach pumpkin treat." Yes Matthew, if you eat enough yams you will grow big and someday you will reach the pumpkin treat. Reaching the Halloween candy is his current goal in life.

After Matthew's reaction, I shouldn't have been suprised that Melissa would act in kind. I gave her a taste of yams and her whole body spasmed. The look on her face was one of surprise and disgust. This is Not what I expected mom! She also rejects bananas and anything else I've tried to give her. I can't take it personally though, this is the child that will gnaw on shoes and newspaper given half a chance. Come to think of it, perhaps I should surreptitously leave mashed banana on baby spoons on the floor. Maybe it will be more apealing if she forages for it. It's a thought. Matthew didn't eat any solids until 8 months despite my cajoling so this might be what is normal for my kids. At any rate diapers get stinkier once solids are started so I'm not going to push matters too hard just yet.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Matthew inherited his father's vision

No, not the myopia. So far his eyesight is just fine.

But he did inherit Guy Vision.

What is Guy Vision, you ask? Allow me to explain...

Matthew was cleaning his room today, which means Mommy (or, rarely, Daddy) does most of the work. One of the last toys left was a turtle. "Matthew, please pick up the turtle." "Where?" he asked. "Over there," said Mommy, pointing. "Where?" "Over there!" "I can' see [it]!" he said, frustrated.

Mommy took his hand and pointed him to the turtle. "Oh!" and he picked up the turtle.

That is Guy Vision.

As I was writing this, Rachel asked if I'd noticed the newly-cleaned state of Matthew's room. I thought for a bit. "No," I answered, honestly.

That is also Guy Vision.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

A peanut's goal in life

Occasionally after finishing his meal, Matthew will be proud of his accomplishment. "[Food] help Wawa det [get] big, strong!" Yes. Good boy.

So for lunch I thought maybe this would provide additional incentive to stop chattering long enough to eat. "Peanut butter sandwich helps Matthew get big and strong!"

"Peanu' bu' san'wich help Wawa det big, strong, reach pumpkin treat?"

Rachel and I laughed. The pumpkin treat is his plastic jack o' lantern full of trick-or-treating candy, kept safely on top of the fridge.

"Yes, son. But that will be many peanut butter sandwiches in the future."

Friday, November 25, 2005

Big boy bed!

So a little over a week ago Rachel finished Matthew's new room (formerly the guest room) and moved him in. He was very excited. Monday he got a twin bed, his "big boy bed." He was even more excited.

Tonight the inevitable happened: Rachel and I heard a thump about 10:00. Rachel went to investigate.

"He was lying on the floor, on top of some hard toys, still asleep."

Apparently Rachel's brother Brian used to fall out of bed and keep right on sleeping, too. Guess it runs in the family.

Melissa's on the move

Melissa has really picked up on the crawling thing. Something clicked on Thursday (the 17) and she's now very fast and coordinated. Of course this was the day I was frantically finishing the painting in the guest bedroom in preparation for my parents arrival. (I had a cousin getting married). I was used to the slow stop and start scouting, with plenty of time to retrive the forbidden before she could grasp it. Now I have to take baby-proofing to the next level. She can cross a room in a matter of seconds.

So it's been a week now of expert crawling, and she's not content. Now she's attempting vertical crawling or climbing. Melissa can now pull herself up to her feet. I predict that it will not be long before she's walking. She's got that same overwhelming desire to be on the move and into things that her older brother had, and he walked at 9 1/2 months. Like him, her sense of self-preservation is nonexistant at the moment, so she'll probably receive many clunks on the head and shins as she learns to coordinate her body better. I'm just glad Jonathan put up that baby gate at the top of the stairs on Saturday.

In other news, we had my parents in town last weekend for my cousin's wedding. My parents attended the wedding which we heard was nice. With Melissa still nursing frequently we opted to just attend the reception that evening. It was at a hall at This is the Place Monument- the same place he proposed to her. Kind of a romantic touch. The reception hall was beautifully decorated and the bride (my cousin) gorgeous, of course. Matthew has been looking forward to Ma' moe and Pawpa coming for weeks. He got to bake cookies with "my Ma' moe" and go to the dinosaur museum (unfortunately he was tired due to lack of a nap and not on his best behavior for the museum). Their visit was short, Dad left Saturday night and Mom Tuesday morning, but Matthew seemed to enjoy what time he had with them. When Grandma left for the airplane, she gave Matthew "Where the Wild Things Are" as a goodbye present. It's currently his favorite book. He even took it with him in the grocery store to read in the cart while I shopped for our Thanksgiving dinner. Some of the other shoppers noted the title and asked him if he liked his book. "Uh huh. Mae' moe give book Wha' hew."


Monday, November 21, 2005

What's that noise?

It was one of those rare occasions where Matthew was amusing himself. Rachel and I were still eating. I think I was having my 7th muffin, or thereabouts, on Saturday morning, while Melissa tried to eat my newspaper. "What's he saying?" Rachel asked. I listened more closely.

"Who's my baby dirl [girl]? Uh huh uh huh uh huh..."

He was singing one of my nonsense Melissa songs. I guess I should be flattered; it's apparently right up there with Happy Birthday and the Witch Song from preschool (which Daddy doesn't know).

My nonsense songs are mostly baby-oriented -- I had nonsense songs for Matthew when he was that age, but they kind of died out. But he felt left out now so I had to make up some more about Matthew the good boy who helps his Dad and is three years old (so much bigger than a baby).

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Getting Big!

Friday Jonathan and I took M&M for their 6 month and 3 year checkups. Jonathan also had a physical and meet the doc appointment. Apparently health wasn't the only topic discussed- Jonathan found out our doctor is an avid gamer and they talked about games they both played.

Matthew is now just over 29 lbs and just shy of 3 feet. That puts him in the 40th percentile for height and weight. Not bad for a kid who was in the 3rd percentile for both for a while. That was when he insisted on eating only black beans, yogurt, bananas, and cheerios (he was nursing still, thank goodness or he might have been even smaller). His former doc even sent us for a blood draw and to an endocrinologist just to make sure nothing was wrong - there wasn't, he was just small. Now he proudly announces, "Wha hew Big!" He even corrects his Daddy if Jonathan calls him his 'little man.' "No Dada, Wha hew Big. Baby little."

Melissa weighed in at 15 lbs 10 oz and (if I remember correctly) is 26 inches long. That places her at the 60th percentile for both. She's getting bigger! In a way it's a little sad. I miss the newborn stage. Six-month-olds are such social creatures though, that it has its own pleasures. Since she's my second, I know how fast babyhood goes and it makes me want to hold on to each stage just a little longer. With Matthew I couldn't wait for each developmental milestone. With Melissa, I can wait and just enjoy....


Little pitchers have big ears

(Or is that "little pictures?" Either way it doesn't make much sense, if you ask me.)

Sunday morning it's getting cold--inside. It's not supposed to get cold inside. Cold is for outside. I go to the thermostat; it's 64 with a minimum of 62. I've programmed it to stay at 68 from 7 AM to 11 PM five or six times and it keeps screwing it up.

I manually override it instead of trying to argue with the programming again. I'm a bit peeved. I find Rachel in our bedroom getting ready for church.

"Dear, our thermostat is smoking crack again."

Matthew is listening.

"'Ermsa' smote twack, Dada?"

Crap. I have visions of him telling his 3 yr old friends that his Dad smokes crack.

"I mis-spoke, Matthew. The thermostat is confused."

Matthew's new room

Yesterday I finally finished the New Room. I tend to underestimate the work involved in projects and overestimate my time, and this was no exception. I must admit, though, that Jonathan did warn me. I painted our guest room a robin's egg blue (I took M to the store and he selected the color) and put in wainscotting and a chair rail which where painted white. Matthew's old room will be the new guest room once I get it painted as well. It was difficult playing the part of Bob Villa and Mama. No sooner did I get the circular saw set up or the paint can opened than some small person ugently needed me. Hence it took me a month to complete. Added to that Matthew wanted to "help." Paint and three-year-olds are a messy proposition. But it is Done. I am rather proud of the way it turned out. (I'll see if I can get Jonathan to link some pictures). More importantly Matthew is thrilled. "WOW! My new room! Tanks Mama! Mama Best!" Ahhh. For you anytime.


[Jonathan: here they are --]

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Great inventions

I've long been a fan of the mostly-forgotten inventor of the air conditioner. Some guy who started Carrier, I think. How many places would be unlivable, or at least impossible to work in, without A/C? Just in the USA there's a lot of them, including most of the east cost where it gets unbelieveably humid in the summer. (This is perhaps the biggest reason behind my resolve to never live there again.)

So the A/C guy gets my "probably the most important underappreciated invention of the 20th century" award.

But the vacuum cleaner guy is closing in. Almost every night Melissa falls asleep to the soothing roar of our Hoover. Without that, she just keeps fussing, increasingly cranky and increasingly unlikely to rest long enough to forget why she's angry and sleep.

My theory is, she thinks something like this: "Wow, that thing is way louder than I am. I guess my work yelling at Mom is superfluous. Now I can sleep."

Bonus extra subject

This isn't a separate post because (a) it's short and (b) Rachel already gets on my case about how many defecation-related posts I've made. So I'd like to stress for the record that this one was her idea.

Matthew postponed his BM today until just before bedtime in a cunning ploy to stay up longer. (I think we're losing the bedtime war. Tonight he was up til almost 9.) "Are you all done?" I called out. "No! Almos' done!"

After he was through, he gave the "all done" call and I wiped his butt. "I make five poops!" he announced. Uh... okay. Well done. Let's flush and wash your hands. "Dada, count poops!" he insisted, motioning towards the turd-infested bowl.

I don't think I'm an excessively sqeamish man, but absent a better motivation for compliance than potentially starting a tradition that could prove rather embarassing among polite company, I declined. Then I flushed it myself to prevent further discussion.

[Rachel's note: I was joking. I didn't seriously intend for Jonathan to write about that.]

Friday, November 04, 2005

The apple orchard

Matthew was so disappointed when we left the orchard earlier this week, that I promised him that we would come back. So today I bundled up M&M and we met my friend Jessica and her crew there. It's a really kid-friendly orchard. They have large groups of 1st graders tour the farm. Jessica's two daughters and Matthew were the only little kids at there at the time, but an orchard worker offered to take them on a hayride. Needless to say, the kids were thrilled. They really went out of their way to make sure our kids had a good time. On top of the hayride, Matthew polished off a gala apple, learned about making apple-cider and sampled some, got a coloring booklet on Johnny Appleseed (in which he colored all the apples blue, but that's another story), charmed the lady out of not one but two lollipops, and of course picked apples. Little boy heaven. Really wished I remembered the camera! Now I need to make applesauce and pie out of all the apples we brought back. Mmmm.


Making Faces

One of Melissa's favorite ways to play is making faces in the mirror at me. She's quite good at copying some silly expressions. (Tongue out and in, raised eyebrows, surprised expressions etc) She gets her whole body into it. When I make a face that particularly delights her, she throws all her limbs into motion and chuckles with baby pleasure. Looking at her today, I think she got my eye shape if not color. They crinkle into two cresents when she laughs. This is another difference I've noticed between Matthew and Melissa. Melissa is much more interested in faces (both watching and making) than Matthew was.


What a stubborn son I have!

Jonathan is right, I haven't been pulling anywhere near my share in posts. I'm trying to make up for it now.

Right now Matthew is in his room. In an effort to enforce the wearing of clothing, I instituted a new rule "Thou shalt wear at least underwear while in the presence of the rest of the family or remain in thy room." Since it is getting colder, pants and shirts are strongly encouraged as well. He's been testing this new rule for the past hour. Rather than yelling at him to get dressed (this uses too much of my energy and isn't very effective) , I've just shooed him back to his room. I've decided I've been expending too much energy lately on things I can't control and it's been wearing me out. (I can't make him eat, sleep, or get dressed- so I'm not going to try anymore.) I don't like being a grumpy frazzled mom. From now on my goal is to conserve my energy and instead use up his. He's got plenty to spare!

There he is now- dressed! He's cheerful, I'm cheerful this is good.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The semi-reluctant cloth diaperer

Melissa seems to have inherited the same sensitive skin that Matthew had. I tried all kinds of different brands of disposable diapers and barrier creams to alleviate the chronic rash, but to no avail with him. Finally I tried cloth diapers and it cleared right up and I didn't need to use zinc oxide again. Seems to be the same for Melissa, so that's what I've been using the past 2 months. I decided though, that since I am saving so much money on diapers, I could use some cute diaper covers. I've been using the utilitarian prowraps and bummis pants, but they're not cute. So I spurged a little on different types of covers and prints to try out. I now have little froggy and bee prints in soft fleece covers. I've decided that my kids' sensitive skin has a silver lining- no disposable diapers are as soft or sweet looking as cloth diapers. Now that I'm back in the swing of things it's really not much more work either. The flat prefolds make good toys too. Melissa likes to chew on them and Matthew turns them into capes, hats, and plays peekaboo with them.

[Jonathan's note: also, Rachel's husband put her last set of diaper covers in the dryer, ruining them. I knew this was bad for them but I was half asleep at the time and forgot.]

-Rachel's comment: Well some of the covers aren't supposed to go in the dryer, but they still seem to work. No harm done.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Only a matter of time now

Melissa crawled last night, just a bit. I got some of it on video. I'll see if I can post it on Google. Pretty cute stuff -- she was grinning and so pleased with herself that sometimes she'd forget to hold herself up and just fall forward. "I'm such a big girl now!"

Wrapped Presents

I left Matthew and Melissa together for two minutes today while I took a much needed potty break. Matthew took it upon himself to entertain his baby sister in my absence. Suspicious I called him to me. "What are you doing Matthew?" "Give presents baby sister, see!" He had gotten some tissue paper and wrapped her toys in it. "Baby like presents!" I laughed and said ok, just don't give baby sister the paper. When I emerged from the bathroom, Melissa had a pile of toys on her and was surrounded by a circle of tissue paper. Matthew's a good big brother.


Matthew Tiger

For about two weeks now Matthew's been calling himself "Wha hew Ellis." While driving in the car after receiving a tiger costume from Grandma, he announced, "Wha hew Tiger." "Aren't you Matthew Ellis? "No. Wha hew Tiger. No Wha hew Ellis." Ok. He was so excited to be a tiger for Halloween. He roared at Melissa to their mutal amusement. Baby and little boy giggles ensued. Very cute.


Saturday, October 29, 2005

The incredible shrinking wardrobe

Rachel was picking out a jacket for Matthew from his closet. "I wan' blue jacket!" Rachel got it down. "Oh, too bad! Blue jacket too small!"

Can't trust those clothes. When you turn your back they start shrinking. Until you're old like Mom and Dad.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Dad loses a battle

We had a late dinner tonight. After it was done and Melissa was bathed it was half an hour past Matthew's bedtime, so I intended to put him to bed. "I need bath!"

"What you need is sleep, son." He didn't nap today and was cranky and whiny. Unsurprisingly, he took this opportunity to whine as well. Partway into his tantrum he thought better of it and went to Rachel. "Mama, I need bath!" Rachel thought this was a fine idea, so he came back to me. "Mama say otay! [okay]"

I was defeated, but I muttered something less than gracious along the lines of being ganged up on. Matthew didn't understand and thought I was still contesting his bathing priviledges. He went back to Rachel. "Mama, Dada l'rass me!" Neither Rachel nor I had any idea what he meant. We guess a few words. Then Rachel figured it out: "Was Dad harassing you?" "Yeah! Dada l'rass me!"


Photos up

Those of you with access to my private section on flickr will see around 900 new photos. These are the ones that I had on my homebrew photo site before I decided this was getting out of hand and my wife would be _seriously_ pissed at me if the non-RAIDed disk on the 15 year old Sparcstation running the site went bad, and decided flickr's fee was worth not having to worry about backups and stuff. Also I believed them when they said they'd have grandparent-friendly features like one-click print ordering "just around the corner," which 6 months later obviously wasn't the case, but oh well. They'll get to it eventually; it's too much potential income not to. Right?

(Mom: this includes all the historical photos I scanned for you.)

Monday, October 24, 2005

On parenting

I posted this on carnageblender last night:

I'm so proud. My 3 year old son is playing Ghouls and Ghosts from the capcom collection for ps2. I know what he's playing without turning around, because I recognize the music.

That's my boy!

This morning he was excited to help Dad do the dishes, and so proud of helping Mom clean his room that he borrowed her phone to call me. ("Matthew?" I said. "Does Mom know you have her phone?" She didn't.)

Tonight we took Matthew to a party store to get Mom and Dad costumes. (Matthew and Melissa were each taken care of by a grandmother: they're going to be a tiger and a lion, respectively. So Rachel wanted me to be a bear, but I talked her out of it.)

All was well: I "zoomed" around outside with Matthew and we had a fun time. Then we went inside to see how Mom was doing. Matthew was still being good. But when Rachel dropped off the basket with me in the checkout line while she went to try to find someone to get her costume down, he threw a tantrum that he wanted to go with Mama. He'd been with me the whole time, totally fine, but now that wasn't good enough. I tried to reason with him. (Ha.) I told him if he kept it up I would spank him. His yells said, in effect, Whatever, Dad. You can't make me shut up. So (after the promised spanking) I trundled the basket off to Rachel from my position at the head of the very long line, handed Melissa back to her, and took Matthew out screaming under my arm to the car, where we stayed.

The ups and downs of raising a three year old.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Life with a 3 year old

I wake up from my nap to a commotion in the hallway.

"Wash your hands with hot water and soap! Don't touch anything! Hot water and soap! Hot water and soap! ... Yes, that's why I told you not to touch it! Hot water and soap!"

If I didn't know my son, I would have thought my wife had lost it. (He'd gotten into the raw steak Rachel was dicing for stroganov.)

In other news, Melissa can push herself up to her knees, but isn't quite sure what to do once she does. I predict she'll be crawling within a month.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Today is your birthday

Sunday was The Day: the day Matthew had been looking forward to ever since Dad's birthday earlier that week. Matthew opened his presents, and a good time was had by all. Dad was even able to glue back together a piece of his wooden train set that came broken. (Rachel found an outstanding train set for $25. Less than 1/4 the price of "Thomas the Train." I'm very glad I never got any of those videos for Matthew.)

But the birthday saga wasn't over yet. On Thursday, his joy school class had a belated birthday party for him, complete with crown and singing happy birthday. (Photo of Matthew proudly wearing his crown.)

This morning, the first thing he wanted was his crown. For the next hour, whatever he was doing, he'd start singing Happy Birthday to himself. ("Hap' birsday TO you, Hap' birsday TO you... Hap' birsday Wawa...") Sometimes I'd sing it with him which pleased him very much.

Finally I prevailed on him to sit and eat his toast. He got in his chair, but then more important matters got his attention: he faced himself in the mirror and sang Happy Birthday again, admiring his regal birthday crown.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

... and speaking of the capcom collection

I played Final Fight--2 player co-op--with Matthew last night, up to the 3rd level. The one with the flames that come from everywhere and toast you. This was frustrating for a kid who barely gets the analog stick.

So this morning he asked to play the "new game, hit bad guy" again. Sweet! I set it up for him while I played with Melissa. When she was ready to take a break in her swing, I joined Matthew for the game. He's been making good progress, mostly by taking advantage of the small amount of damage all enemies on-screen take when you die. (Capcom, fortunately, gives you basically infinite lives, or I would have a very frustrated three-year-old.)

"No, Dada! I do it! You ea' cereal!"

Hey, youngster! Whose game do you think this is, anyway!

My new favorite fast food

We ate at Arby's last night, because it was next to the GameCrazy store where I bought Capcom Collection. (There are something like 20 games included, but the best are Final Fight, Ghouls & Ghosts, Street Fighter 2, and Forgotten Worlds.)

It turns out that Matthew can eat an Arby's sandwich without dropping the beef all over the table, getting frustrated, and ruining everyone's dinner. This is incredible. Something about it just makes it hold together better than your average sandwich. (And don't even think about feeding a 3 year old a hamburger; within seconds the bun will be in one place, the patty in another, and the condiments all over the 3 year old. Of course, any attempts by his parents to help before the disaster are rebuffed.)

I forsee many roast beef sandwiches and BLTs in my future.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Daddy's boy

It's a rainy day. Rachel calls me up to say hi. Of course Matthew wants his turn on the phone.

"Hi, Matthew!"

"Hi Dada. I home."

"Yes, you're home."

"Dada... you come home?"

Friday, September 30, 2005


I was rereading some old posts (another reason I'm glad I write this, even though it's hard to find time) and came to October 1 from last year, where Matthew seemed to have inherited his dad's inability to sense dirt.

Such is not the case now. Any time his clothes get the least bit dirty, he announces, "take shir' off! launry! [laundry]" And so on for other articles of clothing. We joke that he's our mini-Monk (after the fictional detective with OCD).

Rachel says he couldn't have gotten it from her, since she is not that bad. Still, I think it's pretty clear that he definitely didn't get that from my side, either -- although his grandfather is reasonably fastidious about most things. (And my father's father even more so, I hear.)

In other news, I went to my mission's reunion tonight. ("Enter Sandman" came on the radio as we drove over. How apropos.) Some people I barely recognized. Others had hardly changed at all. Huh. Wonder which side I fell on.

I also noticed that Jeff Stokes and I were the only ones sporting facial hair. President Watts didn't say anything. I wonder if he's mellowed a bit.

That's my boy

On Tuesday, Rachel ruled that Matthew Shall Not Watch TV With Dad in the Morning. Period.


So Wednesday morning I tried the next best thing: I got out the Matthew-sized travel mouse and looked up some Flash games.

I tried this with him about 6 months ago and it was a total failure. He could not associate the mouse's movements with the screen pointer. He got frustrated, I got frustrated, even Rachel got frustrated when she tried to teach him. Hence, the TV-in-the-morning-while-Dad-pulls-pillows-over-his-head-on-the-couch-and-tries-to-sleep-another-ten-minutes routine.

But Wednesday, he was ready. He wasn't very good at it, and he still got frustrated when he moved the mouse too far outside his flash window, but he could understand the basics of, "I move the mouse left, the little guy on the screen moves left." Hurray!

So now our mornings go something like this:

  1. 6:00-6:30: Matthew wakes up. I tell him to go back to bed; it's still dark outside.
  2. 7:00: Matthew gets up for good. (He's surprisingly puctual for a kid without any clocks in his room.)
  3. 7:01: Matthew asks for "crackers and cheese." (His breakfast of choice for the past couple weeks. Both his parents enjoy crackers and cheese, so I guess it's not hard to see where he gets it, but neither of us eat that for breakfast. I'm more of a cereal guy, myself, and Rachel's into actually cooking stuff like eggs and oatmeal.)
  4. 7:01: I tell Matthew he can have his C&C if he first eats something healthy. Bananas or slices of toast frequently appear here. Hey, it's better than jello and oreos.
  5. 7:45-ish: Matthew finishes breakfast. (He's easily distracted. This morning, for instance, the garbage truck, peeing, getting on a jacket -- "I told [cold], Dada" -- and his baby sister all took significant amounts of attention.) Daddy busts out Rachel's dell for him to play a flash game on.
  6. Hopefully he doesn't get bored until I start to get ready for work around 8:30. Otherwise we have to move on to messier activities, like destroying magazines with scissors.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The difference between Daddy and Mommy

Melissa spent a few minutes tonight playing with my beard. She thought that was pretty strange stuff. I could almost see her thinking, "How very strange. Mommy's face doesn't feel like this!"

Then she started pulling it, which brought a swift end to that experiment.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Comparison shopping

I took Matthew until 2:00 today. It was a heroic effort. My wife has one of the hardest jobs I know.

We stopped at a dollar store about 11:30. (On the way to the dollar theatre -- Dad's a big spender.) I told Matthew he could pick one item from the store. Almost the first thing we saw walking in the door was a row of plastic battle-axes. He chose that. "All right."

Next we came to some swords. Cool ninja swords with a sheath, and a (safe, plastic) throwing star too. "I wan' sword! I wan' sword!"

"Do you want the axe, or the sword?" This was not a question easily answered. After some thought, he decided, "sword." "Then you need to put the axe back," I told him, and he did -- at a run.

For the next ten minutes we wandered about the store, which was full of things a little boy wants. He'd mutter to himself, as we passed particularly tempting items: "Ball... sword. Sword." "Car... sword. Sword." "Baloon... sword. Sword."

So Matthew walked out of the store with a new sword and without whining.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

A boy and his watch

Matthew's been trying to get me to take him outside all morning. Poor harassed dad.

He came up to me at about 9:30, "watch" (Jimmy Neutron compass with armband) in hand. "Wash! Up high!" he demanded, pointing at his upper arm where he likes to wear it.

"No, not with that shirt; it would be too tight. I'll put it on down low."

Once it was on, Matthew looked at it and declared, "Five o'clock! Time doh [go] owsi'e! [outside]"

Friday, September 16, 2005

The fair

Matthew was a Good Boy yesterday, so we took him to the state fair.

I myself am not a fairgoer by nature. I went to Comdex once, before it started sucking and then dying. That was pretty cool. But animals and overpriced rides and bad food and stalls selling kitsch? No thanks.

Which is probably why I didn't think to take the camera: who would want to record such things? It just didn't occur to me. But with kids along you should always take a camera in case they do something cute, such as the "little farm hands" fair attraction (which, among its other virtues, was free).

Matthew got a (Matthew-sized) basket and an apron. He scooped some corn out of a bin and put it in his basket, before his parents could help him put it in a bag as instructed. He wanted to stay and be the Official Corn Scooper but we moved him along.

He planted a wooden carrot seed. Picked up a plastic potatoe and apple. Rode a tricycle "tractor" with an appropriately-sized bale of hay. "Milked" a wooden cow and fed it his corn. (I'm not sure what the white liquid was, but it smelled kinda nasty.) At the end he got to choose from various farm treats (still free! w00t!); he chose strawberry-flavored milk.

That was the high point of the fair from Matthew's perspective. He also liked the "Giant Yellow Slide" that charged $3 for the priviledge of me taking Matthew down it on my lap. (Rachel said he looked like he was in Boy Heaven, though, so I guess it was worth it.)

We also saw a bird show that left Matthew and Dad getting restless after about 20 minutes. (After about 30 we talked Rachel into coming with us down to the slide.) And a magician/comedian that Matthew's parents enjoyed far more than he did.

Matthew's favorite was probably the Basilisk tank the National Guard had standing near the slide. He would have played there until they closed the fairgrounds and kicked him out, I think. (I'm not having any luck googling Basilisks in this context, so maybe that's not the kind of tank it was after all. Still, it was very cool.) He climed in and looked around excitedly. "Wawa hewoh [hero]! Tank shoot bad die [guy]!" He was in Guy Heaven. When I told Rachel about this, she started giggling. "This kid is so full of testosterone! That came from you! Not me!" Maybe it's just as well I didn't mention how manly I felt next to that tank. Shoot bad guys. Awww yeah.

Oh, and Dad left Mom's purse at the burger stand for about 10 minutes. Someone handed it inside the stand where it was waiting when I arrived breathless to look for it. When two of your hands are full of food and your third is collaring your three-year-old, it's easy to forget little things like that...

My David

One of Matthew's favorite book series is one about a kid named David who gets into all sorts of trouble and doesn't mind his mom too well.

Tonight, out of the blue, while harranguing his mother to read him a David book, he announced, "My David ah' [at] Mwama [Grandma's] house."


Soup and toast

Tonight, Rachel proposed split-pea soup for dinner. She cooked up a huge amount a few months ago and "canned" (pressure-bottled) most of it, so all I had to do was go downstairs and bring up a quart bottle.

Matthew met me at the top of the stairs. "Don' want soup!" he announced. Rachel wanted to get him fed and abed quickly and wasn't inclined to argue with him. I cast about for something healthy enough to meet Rachel's approval, but easy enough for Dad to handle.

"Okay, son. Would you like toast or soup?" Hey, it was whole-wheat bread.

He tried to escape my dichotomy with a third option ("cheese!") but I was not to be swayed. Another night, perhaps, I would have gotten him cheese for dinner, but he had diarrhea today so cheese was off the menu. Eventually he settled on toast.

I got him the toast, and some for myself. He likes company eating and Rachel was nursing Melissa, who had turned decidedly grumpy. He was in no hurry, so Rachel sweetened the deal: "You can have cotton candy [from our trip to the fair yesterday] if you eat the toast all gone."

I was halfway done by now. "Daddy's eating his toast all gone. Daddy's going to get candy!"

Matthew became alarmed. "Dada ea' blue tandy! Blue! tandy!" Blue candy? Huh?

He stood up on his chair, facing the refrigerator where we'd put the candy he brought home from the birthday party in the hopes it was out of Matthew's reach. (So far, so good in that respect.) "Blue tandy Dada tandy! Dada don' tush [touch] Wawa tandy!" A light dawned. I don't have much of a sweet tooth, but I like an occasional Jolly Rancher, and Rachel had purchased a bag for me. It stood on top of the refridgerator, and yes, it was blue. Rachel and I started laughing. "Yes, Daddy will have the blue candy. Daddy won't touch Matthew's candy."

Somewhat mollified, he still wanted to cover all the bases: "Baby sister don' tush Wawa tandy!" We assured him that Yes, his sister was too little to have Matthew's candy.

Not long afterwards he had a huge barf (he warned us first, so we had a bowl ready: good boy!) and Rachel decided he could dine on popsicles instead, but that's another story.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A dark day

Matthew figured out how, with enough effort, he can remove the anti-peanut locks around almost every doorknob in the house. This Is Bad.

As I write this, for instance, he is 20 minutes past bedtime, opening and closing his bedroom door, just a hair.

Click. Click. Click. Click.

I am going to go send him back to bed but he will just get up again. It's that kind of night.

It's hard being 3

Hard on your parents, anyway.

Rachel and I were going to take Matthew to the fair yesterday. I went in two hours early to work so I could leave in plenty of time.

But Matthew decided he was going to be grumpy and not mind his mom. So, just as he missed that birthday party a few months ago, he missed going to the fair.

Too bad; we're doing our product beta launch on Wednesday so I might not have another chance to take him.

Monday, September 12, 2005

A birthday party

Matthew went to his first birthday party on Saturday. (He was invited to his friend Mason's party a couple months ago, but couldn't attend due to high tantrum levels. He spent the party time taking an involuntary nap instead.)

He had cake and ice cream, played with Michael's toys with at least a dozen other boys (Michael has brave parents), and generally enjoyed himself very much. A good time was had by all, except the dog, whose foot I stepped on when I picked Matthew up. (It tried to trip me, I swear.)

Matthew came home with a brown bag full of various forms of processed sugar. When Rachel saw it, she said, "I should have let Matthew give Michael your toy!" I'd picked up a very cool toy gun that shoots rubber discs, but I got one for Matthew too and it turned out to be very obnoxiously noisy, and Rachel wasn't about to inflict that on a fellow mother. But for a mother who gave her son candy to take home, she decided, it would have been appropriate after all.

... In other news, Matthew's picking up words fast enough that Dad has fallen behind in translating ability. (His pronunciation is still lacking, so you still need the Matthew -> English key.) This morning, for instance: Matthew heard me getting ready for work and woke at 6:30. I told him it was still dark outside and he should go back to bed. "Chichi breh [bread]," he told me. "Mama say okay."

Matthew has discovered who the real boss is in our house, and often tries to con me into letting him do something or have something he shouldn't by claiming his mom gave it her blessing. I'm wise to him now, but I didn't know what Chichi bread could be.

I asked my wife. "What is Chichi bread?" "Gingerbread," she translated sleepily. Ohhhhh. "And do you let him eat that in bed?" I was pretty sure of the answer. "No," she said, "it gets crumbs all over."

So I got Matthew some warm milk and a granola bar (I know what you're thinking, but it's less crumbly than gingerbread, apparently) and told him good night.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Last night, Melissa settled on a new goal: crawling.

Every time I put her on her back -- on the bed, on the couch, on the floor -- she almost immediately starts rolling onto her tummy, where she commences squirming mostly-aimlessly.

Then she gets frustrated because she's only moved a few inches and yells at Dad. Like it's my fault...

Good thing that baby gate for the stairs is on order already.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

All choked up

Melissa is normally a mellow girl, but at nights if she wakes up to discover herself anywhere but next to Mama, she completely loses it. Dad is not acceptable. Every so often Rachel "lets" me have a turn, just to make sure Melissa hasn't changed her mind on this score, and Melissa turns the full power of her baby fury on me.

She starts loud and gets louder, and louder, and louder, until she hacks and coughs on the spittle she's spraying. (Then continues where she left off -- even louder, if possible, to make up for lost time.)

Then Rachel takes her and she is content. Is that a glare in her eyes as she starts to nurse?

I didn't know the origin of the expression "choking with rage" before Melissa.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Matthew corrects The Incredibles

Watching Matthew's favorite movie, Matthew paid more attention to the first Edna scene than he has before. "You're the best, E."

No, Matthew corrected. "Dada bes'! Dada bes'!"

And for good measure, "Wawa tyute [cute]. Mama zsayzso [angel]."

Wawa doh work

Matthew came out of the bathroom this morning carrying a handtowel and demanding aid. "Help me! Help me!" His hair was soaked. I helped him towel off. "Thank yoo Dada! Wawa hair wet! Wawa doh [go] work!"

Just like Dad.


I had called to see what Jonathan would like to have for dinner. As far as working out, I have always discussed it as something both of us should do to get in better shape. We've got to last a long time to reap the benefits of grandkids someday, right? (Married men last longer than their single counterparts probably because of their wives' active interest in their health and well being.) Lest there be any doubt, I think Jonathan is even more handsome than when I married him.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

A couple more firsts

Rachel called me at work today. I think she wanted to make sure I was going to be well-fed. (Then she tells me how I need to work out more or I'll keep getting fat.) (She only says the first part. The second is implied.)

Matthew wanted to talk with Dad. He told me that he went to the gym ("I mind teester! [teacher]") and other inconsequentials, some understood, some not. Then Rachel told him to say bye-bye. "Bye bye Dada! I wuv you!" Awwww.

Later, in the evening, we all went outside. Rachel was watering growing things, Matthew was playing with his new R/C stunt car, and I was planning to read the paper. Matthew brought me a plum from Rachel's year-old tree: "zsoosi! [juicy]" I took a bite and juice went all over. "Mmm! Yes, it is juicy! Thank you, Matthew"

He paused on his way back to his car. "You weltum! [You're welcome]"

Rachel tells me she hasn't heard that before, either (she did get a spontaneous "wuv you" first, though). Daddy scores on the Welcome!

Melissa rolls over

Melissa is now arching and rolling over. Actually this first occured several days ago. She seems pleased with this new skill. Perhaps she's calculating how this will aid in her primary goal in life- getting everything she sees into her mouth.


Dance Dance Dance!

I was reading on the couch when I saw Matthew crouched over Melissa. Uh oh I thought. When I asked him what he was doing he said "Baby dance!" He had his hands on either side of Melissa and was wiggling her back and forth. Melissa was gurgling and laughing with Matthew. "Dance, dance, dance!" They both were having a grand time.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

The verbal peanut

Matthew is starting to string increasingly complex sentences together.

Today, for instance, we had a pillow fight on Dad's bed in the morning. It ended when Rachel called me away for something or other. When I came back I couldn't find the bed pillows. When Rachel lay down to nurse Melissa I had to bring one of the couch pillows in.

I figured the others would turn up, but they hadn't by the time we got back from church. "Matthew," Rachel asked, "where are Mommy and Daddy's pillows?"

He took off for the bedroom. Finding the door closed, he explained, "I hide Dada pillow bed." When the door was opened, he dove under the bed and retrieved the pillows.


We were reading a version of the scriptures for kids, and we came to a description of Jesus's birth: his mother was named Mary.

"Did you know your mama has a name?" I asked.


"What's Mama's name?"


I think he's kind of shaky on the whole "name" thing. He's heard me call for Rachel, and imitated it himself at times. I guess he doesn't really associate it with her as an identifier... just something that whacky Dad yells sometimes when he's looking for Mama.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Smile update

For the past couple weeks Melissa has greeted her dad with a half hour of smiles every morning. What a pleasant baby!

Here's a few.

Things you never thought you'd say

"Matthew! Stop licking the air vent!"

"If you finish your cake, I'll let you have some chips."

Friday, August 05, 2005

Doh work!

Rachel was going to blog this but it's been a week, so I'll give you my second-hand account.

Rachel took Matthew outside to play early one morning after I'd left. (At least I think it was morning.) He ran into the garage and got his orange plastic car. "Wawa tiss Mama! [kiss!] Wawa tiss baby! [kiss!] Wawa doh work!" and he scooted off.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

A well-equipped man

Rachel's grandfather Van Duker moved recently. In the process of packing up his workshop, her uncle Keith inventoried 5 socket sets and lost count around 3 dozen screwdrivers, among many other tools. Apparently, if he couldn't find the tool he wanted he just went out and got another instead of wasting time finding the old one.

That's a lot of screwdrivers.

Friday, July 29, 2005

The poop doesn't stop

This happened on Monday, but I thought this blog could stand to go at least a couple days between poop stories. Rachel wishes I would write about something else, but hey, she has the password too. (I tried to add her to the blog as a separate user, but blogger borked it up twice and when it finally went through it ate her post. Once again she wasn't on the userlist. Brilliant.)

I had gone to run errands with Matthew. On the way back I stopped to pick up Chinese food for dinner. I was placing my order with the takeout lady when Matthew started hopping around and grabbing his butt. "Poop firs! [first] Poop firs!"

I handed the lady a $20, picked up Matthew, and ran for the bathroom. I pulled his pants down to help him on the toilet -- he can get his pants off himself, but in an emergency Dad is faster -- and stopped. I was too late. There had been an explosion.

I tried to ease the pants off without getting poop all over and failed miserably. It was a disaster. A poop meltdown. The Chernobyl of poop.

A couple dozen moistened hand-drying-towels later, Matthew was clean but the pants were not. I seriously considered throwing them out, but my frugal nature prevailed and I wrapped the nastiness in some more hand towels.

The counter lady said there would be a 40 minute wait for the food. When I explained the situation she gave me my $20 back and we headed home with Matthew naked from the waist down in his car seat. (There was another guy at the counter with the air of fatherhood about him. "Forgot your diaper bag, huh," he said. "No; he's supposed to be potty trained," I replied. All bets are off though when your two year old has diarrhea.)

Shortly after arriving home he had to poop again. "This one is yours," I told Rachel.

He didn't quite make it. Fortunately,
  • there was less poop in his system
  • he did make it to the tiled bathroom area, away from the carpet
  • it was already established that this one was Rachel's

After that we diapered him for the night.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Update on the hopping thing

Matthew now hops on one foot (mostly his right) with some facility.

Yesterday we went to the local Barnes & Noble so he could play with the train set and I could read Linux magazines while waiting. (Sort of a Mission: getyoursonoutofyourwife'shair thing.) We hopped on one foot all the way down the sidewalk.

We got some amused looks from the cafe patrons.

continuing adventures in poop

"Dad! Need wipe!"

Apparently Matthew had pooped in the toilet and needed me to wipe his butt. I grabbed a baby wipe and headed over.

It stunk.

My first wipe brought up WAY more poop than it should have. Then I saw the smudged TP in the bowl. Matthew had tried to wipe himself. Crap.

There was poop down his thigh, poop on his scrotum and even low abdomen, poop on the toilest seat...

I wiped the worst of it, then sat him in the tub to get the rest.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

A rude awakening

I get up with Matthew as usual. Melissa needs to be fed so I leave her with Rachel.

Normal routine. Matthew goes to the bathroom. Needs new underwear since he got poop on the four pairs he wore yesterday. (This is normal behavior for him. Well, okay, the average is probably only 2 but 4 is not unusual. That kid has the leakiest butt EVER.)

I go back into our bedroom to find some underwear in the laundry basket. Melissa is done eating, so I pick her up and make typical Dad/daughter noises to her. ("Are you my sweet little girl? Do you have smiles for your dad?") She grins at me, then emits a HUGE poop. And it starts dripping through her shirt and onto my right foot.

"Help! Wipes!"

Rachel gets up groggily and hands me some wipes to stop the flow of liquid poop. I take Melissa to the changing table while Rachel tries to get it out of the carpet. Good timing, though; Rachel said she needed a new outfit anyway.

The table and the floor both required Heavy Duty toddler-cleanup supplies to get the stain out.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

A great excitement

Rachel was putting Matthew to bed for the final time when he came rushing out of his room.

"Fire truck! Fire truck!"

We'd just had a brief power outage so I supposed it was possible that there was a fire truck in the neighborhood. We stepped out onto the front porch.

"See? Fire truck! Fire truck!"

No, I didn't see any fire trucks because there weren't any. I did HEAR several, though, racing off to the source of a huge pillar of smoke billowing over the houses in front of us. I tried to explain the difference between hearing and seeing but he wasn't paying attention.

"Fire truck! Fire truck!"

So I retrieved the book I was reading (1776) and sat down on the porch while Matthew enjoyed the smoke and the sound of sirens.

"Fire trucks! Nono! [water] Oh no! Too bad!"

All this and he got to postpone bedtime until the smoke and sirens died down!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

A three-popsicle evening

Saturday night. Rachel is outside working on a trellis to hang from our back porch. I'm watching Melissa inside. We give Matthew a popsicle to help him listen to his mother. (Because if he doesn't, we can confiscate the popsicle.)

A few minutes later he comes in. "Posisle! Tids!" (Popsicles! Kids!) Rachel translates that he wants to take some out to share with the neighbor kids who have come out. At this point he's almost done with his own.

I give him a few and he heads out. There's one too many, so Rachel take it. Not for long: Matthew begs it off her as soon as he finishes his. I only find this out later.

Five minutes and he's back inside. "Posisle! Mama!" Sure, Rachel deserves one too. I hand him a blue one and he heads out again.

He never did give the blue one to his mom. I wonder: was this premeditated, or was the temptation of a popsicle in his hand just too much to resist?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Peanut gym

(Rachel made me write an entry for her cousin newsletter so I thought I'd share it here, too.)

Matthew is taking a gymnastics-for-kids-whose-parents-sign-a-waiver-saying-we-won't-sue-if-he-breaks-his-neck class. He gets quite a kick out of it. He tells anyone who will listen about the "big swing," which is what he calls the hanging rings. He also gets homework: Rachel gets to drill him on hopping on one foot and walking backwards. I've tried, without even registering.

Dad: “Come on, Matthew: let's hop like this."
Matthew: "Play outside! Play outside!"

Come to think of it, that's how most of my conversations with my son go.

The gym also offers "drop your kid off for all the running around and sugar-infused drinks he can handle" on Friday nights. For a nominal fee, of course. Matthew likes this even more than the actual class, if possible. (Rachel: "likes" isn't a strong enough word.) We literally had to drag him away, kicking and screaming. (Rachel: "I got him calmed down before we left. But he was not happy to see us.")

So Matthew and his parents both have something to look forward to on Fridays.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Melissa is smiling

Asleep in her swing and smiling to herself. Very cute. She must be having a good dream; now she's laughing through her nose.

Rachel: "I'll bet she's grinning about how she had her mom trying to keep her happy during church." She was a pill.

Kinda gives dad an inferiority complex. She smiles for Rachel almost every day. Now she's smiling when she sleeps. But smile for Dad? I've gotten two so far, and I've worked for those.


I asked Rachel what I should write about.

"Did you write about mimi tas?"

"Yes," I said. But then I googled it to be sure and it appears that I haven't. So: we taught Matthew that a polite young man says "excuse me" when he passes wind. He transliterated that into "mimi." Of course (perhaps since he is also taught to excuse himself for sneezing and yawning), in his two-year-old mind he has to explain why he's excusing himself. So, "Mimi tas" is his expression of, "Excuse me, I had gas."

Rachel also said I should write about Matthew's negotiating skills.

I've mentioned (or have I?) that Rachel's in the habit of giving Matthew a five-minute warning before taking him away from an activity he's enjoying. He often tries to bargain (punk little lawyer that he is already) but often bargains the wrong way: "No! TWO minutes!" We just laugh and don't hold him to it.

He does this with meals, too. "Eat two more bites." "No! FIVE bites!" Two and five are his favorite numbers; he's very clear on what two is, and five is a whole hand's worth of fingers; three and four are a little more nebulous, I think.

Maybe this is what's confusing him: when he's outside, about to be taken in, bigger is better. But when he's trying to eat as little chicken as possible before earning a treat, smaller is better. What a confusing world his parents came up with!

The peanut and the squeaker

We're still casting about for a nickname for Melissa. "Squeaker" is a good fit, except for her high-volume periods of baby rage that can last for two or three hours. My own suggestion for those times was "Fussmonkey." Maybe she will have two nicknames, but probably she won't end up with either really sticking.

Anyway. Besides the evening hours, there is one other time Melissa is markedly LESS mellow than her older brother. One of the surest ways to calm down a fussy Matthew was to take him for a car ride. I can't count how many times I took him on early morning rides in Provo while Rachel got some rest. I had to be careful to drive East, towards the sun, until he was well asleep, otherwise, the sun coming through the back window would keep him awake and angry.

Melissa's car seat has a collapsible cover, so the sun wouldn't be a problem. She just hates her car seat. Absolutely won't stand for it. The best you can hope for is that if she's already asleep, she won't wake up for 15 minutes. Once she's aware that she's in the seat (and she never takes longer than that to wake), she will yell with the volume turned to 11 until she gets out. She really goes all out; I'm half afraid she'll choke on her splittle sometimes.

In the car, she's definitely a fussmonkey.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

They're breeding

The Sunday paper came with an advertising suplement. Matthew pronounced them the mama paper and the baby paper.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Melissa speaks

Well, not speaks, exactly. But she's mostly made grunts and hiccups to date.

She's been grinning at her mom in a happy contented baby fashion while nursing for a week or so now. Today she added cooing. Rachel tried the imitation game: opening her mouth, baby opened hers. Sticking out her tongue, baby stuck out hers.

Doesn't perform for Dad, though. Figures.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Choo choo

Matthew has a lego/duplo block train. Choo choo! This morning he whacked his rubber balls with a hammer for a while, then took them for a train ride, with the block stubs keeping them relatively stable. "Hang on tight, balls!" he told them. "Choo choo!"

Friday, June 10, 2005

Melissa likes her baths

I bathed Melissa again tonight. I think this is my second time bathing her, so yeah, this is one department Dad isn't pulling his weight in. But, it's not really a chore since she likes them so much.

She likes me splashing water across her, and particularly likes to twist her head to the side (usually her left) to get a drink of the water. She kept opening and closing her mouth and twisting her head after I took her out; when she realized that the water wasn't coming back she yelled at me for a while. So I put her in the swing, and she fell asleep.

Good baby.

(Far cry from her howling at Rachel and me until 11 and later, earlier this week.)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

A walk with the peanut

I took Matthew and Melissa on a walk tonight. "Let's go for a walk, Matthew," I said.

Okay. "Help Grandma!" he said, as he looked for his shoes.

"Help... Grandma?" I wondered to Rachel.

"Because Grandma took him on walks."

Help Grandma!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

All praise the vacuum

Melissa was on a rampage tonight, yelling at mom and dad for at least an hour straight. A lot like Sunday. Then Rachel suggested turning on the vacuum -- one of her old tricks to get Matthew to settle down.

I turned it on in the next room over. Melissa started at first, then apparently decided, "Wow, that's louder than I" and settled down.

Peanut existentialism

I sat Matthew on his dresser this morning to put his socks on him. I accidently knocked over one of his baby pictures as I did. "Uh-oh! Baby! Fall down!"

"These are pictures of you when you were a baby. Did you know Matthew was a baby once?"

"Yeah. White sock on."

I guess it will be a while before this "past" concept sinks in.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


The Coverstons came over last night. Matthew and Ben (about 6 months older) shot each other with foam arrows, chased each other inside and outside, and generally had a great time for almost four hours.

Little boys need to play with other little boys.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Cleaning up

I sent Matthew to his room this morning. When I went to let him out, he was backing his Tonka truck up to his bookshelf, filling it with books, and dumping them out on his bed. "Teen up. Mess," he explained.

I don't know if his mother would agree that he was cleaning up, precisely, but I guess his heart is in the right place.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

A new game

Matthew played a new game with Dad yesterday. [Note: I wrote this a while ago but didn't get around to posting it. "Yesterday" means "some time in late-ish May," not "May 28."]

We went outside and played on the neighbors' swings for a while. When he tired of that, Matthew took me over to where Rachel had hung a whiffle ball from our porch for him to swing at. "Dada hit ball!" Uh, okay. I'll hit the ball. Where's the bat? "Oh! Bat!" and he fetched the bat from its bin. Then he started running up the stairs to the porch.

Puzzled, I tapped the ball once, and twice. Then it started rising up towards the porch floor! Hey! Where's the ball going? Two-year-old chuckles ensued and Matthew grinned down at me from where he was pulling the ball up.

We played this for a while. He'd let me hit the ball a couple times, then raise it out of reach while I pretended to be puzzled and dismayed. He was enormously amused.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Four generations of ding-dongs

My father was a model of avoiding profanity. With the exception of one time I saw him clobber his thumb while nailing a project together (he lost most of the nail later), the worst he ever said was darn, dang it, or, perhaps most idiosyncratically, "ding dong it!"

I didn't realize I used the expression myself quite so much until I heard Matthew, exasperated with something, say, "ding dong!" in a tone just like my dad's. From father, to son, to son.

And my mother out here for a visit just told me that my father got it himself from his.

Makes me proud, it does.

Another one of those days

Watching Matthew outside. He started pulling at his butt. "Ow! Ow!" Do you need to poop? "Poop!" So we headed in. At the bathroom he decided he really needed to pee instead. Okay. Peeeeeeeeee. Move his stool over to the sink. Get up to turn on the water...


Pretty nasty. At least he didn't have diarrhea. Still, it was a fairly loose poop.

I wasn't pleased.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Cars and trucks and things that go

is the correct title of the Richard Scarry's book I mentioned.

It's the new "read this with me every time I take a nap or go to bed book."

The coolest thing is the "Find goldbug" minigame. So far I have found him on the first dozen pages or so, EXCEPT FOR THE FIRST. This is driving me a little bit nuts. But Matthew gets a kick out of finding him, and I guess I do too. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Revenge pee

Matthew peed on the floor 3 times today to get back at his parents. The last time was for me, after I spanked him for headbutting his sister. Before that, he did it twice when Rachel told him he had to pee in the toilet before having some gummi bears: once when she informed him of the way it was going to be, and again when she took him into the bathroom to get anything else out.

On a lighter note (although that's probably plenty amusing to everyone who didn't have to wipe the pee up), Matthew's already correcting his dad. I was reading Richard Scarry's "stuff that goes" book or whatever the title is, and pointed out a red truck. "Orange!" he said. On closer examination I admitted he was correct.

Not that this kid needs more assertiveness. But I'm told I was precocious that way, too, so I guess I can't complain.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Melissa has Matthew beat

in 11 days she has gone through over 130 diapers.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Peanut maturity

Rachel was putting Matthew down for his nap, a process that involves as much stalling as possible on his part. Meanwhile, Melissa slept quietly on my shoulder as I congratulated myself on my good luck. (I'd been all set to put Matthew down, but he said, "Mamma nap! Dada hold baby!")

Rachel's mom said that she remembered Matthew at Melissa's age, and there was no way he would just go to sleep like that, even as a newborn. Very true. Then she added, But you know, I wouldn't have been able to just leave the bathroom door open for any of my kids.

We couldn't leave it open for Matthew for the first couple years, either. Shredded toilet paper was about the tamest thing he did. But after he started potty training it seems that he understands that if he wants bathroom access, he'd better not pull any of that kind of crap anymore.

It's progress.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Melissa's Birth

I'm writing this several months after the fact (August), but I'll just slip it into May's posts...

Melissa was due the 7th of May, but on the 6th I decided to see the midwife, Rebecca, and see if she could "stir things up" as she described it. She stripped the membranes and gave me some blue and black cohosh to see if we could get things started. This was at nine in the morning. Rebecca greeted us in her scrubs- apparently another lady was in labor at the birth center. I thought this was a good sign.

I was pretty anxious to have this baby soon, because it is very uncomfortable being nine months pregnant. I do believe that the last month exists to get women to look forward to labor. In addition, my mother was in town for two more weeks, and I really wanted her help for after the baby was born.

I played soccer with Matthew and did some weeding that morning, but didn't feel any contractions until sometime around 1 pm. Unlike my son's birth, these started far apart and mild. I walked, jumped, and swayed back and forth in an effort to bring them on harder. Around 3 I needed to pause and relax to get through them. At 4:30 I called Jonathan and the midwife. Rebecca suggested I come to the birth center just to see how things were going after I mentioned I wasn't sure if I was being premature in calling. Jonathan came home and we scurried through the house to pack last minute items for the birth center (contact lense cases, hairbrushes, rice sock, things of that nature). I also laid out things for my Mom for Matthew's bedtime and with lots of kisses and hugs we left for the birth center.

We joked and laughed in the car between contractions and the pain and discomfort blissfully faded after each contraction (another major difference between my first and second's births- no constant backache!). Then we got stuck in traffic and the contractions increased duration and lessened in recovery time. It got to be pretty uncomfortable. Jonathan called the midwife and told her we were running late due to traffic. We arrived at about a quarter to 6. Before getting comfortable in our room, our midwife wanted to monitor the contractions and record the baby's response to them. That meant more sitting in a chair with monitors strapped across my belly. Yuck. Our little one must have been asleep though, because it took a while to get three accelerations of the baby's heart rate in response to the contractions. With a warm rice sock strategically placed, we interrupted our baby's slumber and got the last acceleration on paper.

My first request was to enter the tub. The water was heavenly for the contractions. Rebecca called the warm water "a giant rice sock" which I feel is an apt description. Jonathan held my hand, just loving me, which is what i needed. He is a wonderful support to me during labor, and I don't know how I'd get through it without him. When I entered the water I took off my watch and lost all contact with time. I didn't look at a clock until some time after the birth so I'm a little hazy about the timing of events. After a while even the water didn't help as much so I thought I'd try the birth ball. I sat on the ball and rested my head on the bed. Jonathan supported my back with his hands, but I didn't need much pressure on my back (unlike Matthew's birth). After a few very intense contractions on the ball I opted for the tub again.

At this point the contractions were right on top of each other with no rest. Jonathan continued to hold my hand and I rested my head on the side of the bathtub. I tried to will all of my muscles to relax and let the water support my body, but it got to the point where relaxation was impossible and endurance kicked in. Before Matthew's birth we learned visualization techniques such as envisioning each contraction as a wave, or the cervix as a beautiful flower opening- but those aren't helpful to me in the thick of things. Damned flower! This hurts! (I'm not a swearing woman, so I didn't say anything, but I confess that I thought it). Instead of visualizing, I just thought with each contraction, "I can do this one, it will be over soon." I know Rebecca kept Jonathan supplied with crackers and juice and made the surroundings more comfortable, but I was focused pretty inward at this point and not entirely aware of what was going on. Jonathan and the midwife also chatted between contractions, but I have no idea what they discussed.

I don't think much time had elasped since I returned to the tub when a wave of nasuea hit me. Jonathan handed me a wastebasket just in time. I then asked Rebecca to check the dilation because I was getting tired and discouraged. She said she would, but she thought I was fairly far along. If I was still at a three (what I was when she stripped the membranes that morning) then we would discuss other options. (What I really needed was encouragement that birth was soon). I stepped from the tub, lost my lunch again (in the wastebasket) and simultaneously felt my membranes break. Not a glamorous sight.

I lied down on my side on the bed for a few contractions with a pillow from home between my knees. Our midwife offered to cover the pillow with chux pads lest any blood get on it, but the last thing I wanted was the pillow moved for even a moment. If the pillow got ruined, so be it, at the time it would have been worth the sacrifice. (It actually escaped unscathed.) Lest there be any doubt I informed Jonathan and the midwife that it hurt. I also kept thinking that this had better be transition because I couldn't take much more. Rebecca told me that she could tell that Jonathan would labor for me if he could. I responded that I knew that. She then checked me - a ten. I asked her if she was sure. She said she was sure she couldn't feel any cervix. This brightened my mood considerably. Rebecca then suggested I try sitting on the toilet to bring the baby down. She informed me several days later that the baby was at a -1 when she checked, so pretty high. I still wasn't feeling any urge to push.

Jonathan helped me to the bathroom and the midwife stepped out for a minute to deal with her seasonal allergies. May brings cottonwood here. I gave a small, experimental push between contractions and then a big contraction hit and I could feel my body pushing and a great deal of pressure (no pain). I looked down and saw half of the baby's head! I was a little surprised, as was Jonathan. I reached down with my hands and simultaneously stood up. She was born into my arms and I held her next to my body. Jonathan's hands were right below mine so if I had missed he would have caught her. She was born pink and crying. Such beautiful sound! I remember making cooing and oh sounds to her. I wasn't able to call out to the midwife, being somewhat preoccupied. However, once Jonathan saw the head emerging he called out. She didn't hear him until he cried out REBECCA! for a third time. Our midwife and another midwife came rushing into the room. She had only left for a minute, but our Melissa was born fast. They placed a towel over our baby and asked what we'd had. I replied that I didn't know yet. It had happened so fast that I hadn't even had a chance to look yet! I was delighted to find out she was a girl.

Melissa was born at 9:24, 19 minutes after my water ruptured. It wasn't quite how we'd envisioned the birth going, but it went well. I thought it was great to be the first to hold her and welcome her into the world. I wouldn't have chosen to give birth over a toilet, but oh well. It was very good nontheless. I had no tears requiring stitches despite Melissa's hasty entrance, and she was a healthy 8 lbs 3 oz with 9/9 apgars. She latched on well to nurse right from the beginning and is not a baby to miss a meal. On top of that she is a delightfully mellow, happy baby.

I loved the hours after her birth. It was so sweet and peaceful holding her in the night. I had a tremendous amount of energy and would have moved mountains for Melissa if needed. I walked her around the room and hallway. Her Daddy made up some songs to sing and rocked his baby girl while I showered. After a brief rest, a shower, and a meal (birthing is hard work and I was hungry!), I decided that I would prefer to sleep in my own bed. (I was also anxious to return home to Matthew and wanted to see him when he got up in the morning.) We left the birth center around 3:30 that morning, just as another couple entered. Our midwife had 3 births in 24 hours. She really earned her Mother's day rest that Sunday. As for myself, I enjoyed my Mother's day with my precious newborn and (most of the time) charming 2 year-old. My sweet husband and my mother made the day a special one.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A word from Uncle Grant

(I watched Matthew on Saturday while his parents went to Rachel's cousin's wedding.)

I gave Matthew his choice of games to play with me, and he insisted on playing KOTOR II. Uncle Grant's opinion was that there were a plethora of games more suitable for two year old intellects (up to and including Soul Calibur II, but that's a different topic). However, Matthew was adamant, and because the whole point of the exercise was that video games were to be the opiate of the masses, I did not insist.

Our first task was selecting a character model. Matthew did not seem to understand the point until I asked him, "Do you want a mama or a dada?" "Mama," was his immediate reply, and he then proceeded to get moderately peeved that Rachel's face was not one of the character models he could choose from.

I ended up choosing a blond one with longish hair, which somewhat mollified him, and that was that. I didn't think more of it until he started referring to the character as Mama throughout the game. On another note, Matthew understands the concept of "Bad guys." With 'bad guys' meaning, noun, the things that you press the green button repeatedly when you see. (I had to handle the dialogue for him, but he could handle pressing the green button
repeatedly without problems. I tried to teach him about the blue button [queue action] in fighting, but with less success.)


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The next big thing

Rachel broke out Matthew's "Christmas present" power-shovel truck yesterday. It's big enough to ride on, and Matthew looooooves it. We thought he would, which is why we didn't give it to him until it was well into Spring: as predicted, he doesn't want to do ANYthing besides play with his truck.

This morning, when I went to get him after a sleepy little voice declared, "Up! up!" the next the he said was, "Truck!" (All vehicles that are larger than cars are trucks to him.) No, I said, you've got to eat first. So he devoured some home-canned apricots. No, I said, you've got to get dressed first. So he put on some pants. No, I said, Daddy's got to get dressed first. Well, that was an easy one: just harass Dad until he gets dressed too.

So I'm outside now, far earlier than anyone should be outside, sitting on the steps while he plays with his truck in the sandbox. At least he's happy.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Potty update

It's been two days. Time for a potty update.

Looks like he's slowly getting better. Tuesday night it was the same drill: "Ow, ow!" "Do you need to poop!" "No! ... ow, ow!" So I locked him in. After about 8 minutes of howling, "I did it!" and Dad wiped him off.

It was a small poop, though. So today while I was at work, he pooped twice more. Rachel tells me the first wasn't bad, tantrum-wise, but the second was a fifteen-minute mini-marathon. Even though she let him pick out his popsicle beforehand (and move it down to a freezer shelf HE could reach), so he knew what he would be getting when he was done.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Potty update

(Warning: more fecal discussion ahead, if you needed a warning after the title.)

Rachel called me at work on Friday a little after 3:00. She said she was just calling to say hi, but I heard yelling in the background. She admitted that it had been a long day; Matthew was in his room now screaming. He needed to poop but he was too stubborn to do it. After Wednesday's battle we were ready to let him stay in diapers if he felt that strongly about it, but he didn't want to do THAT either. He was miserable, and he was making Mom miserable.

I went home early and alternated with Rachel camping out in front of Matthew's room while the screaming continued. On Rachel's watch, she went in to see how things were going and there was a nice long turd laid out neatly on the floor. Silver lining: since he'd been holding it in since Wednesday, it was fairly dry and not bad at all to clean up.

Today it was more of the same, screaming and howling and hopping with rage. I guess 2 days is as long as he can hold it... This time I figured hey, if he's going to take a dump on the floor let's do it where it's easy to clean up, so I put him in the bathroom and locked the door. I set up the potty seat for him, just in case he felt inclined to be reasonable about it. Nope; after oh about 20 minutes of cranking the volume to 10, he yelled through his screams, "Dada, poo poo." So I went in to see the damage.

He was standing in a corner of the room. I picked him up and put him on the toilet; a small turd dropped off his butt. Fine, I said, There's got to be more. See if you can put the rest in the potty.

Then I looked around and saw that I was standing in the rest. A much bigger turd, with my bare heel in it. No, parenting is not for the squeamish. I cleaned off my heel and the floor and his butt, and we got ready for church.

After church, reprise the same scenario. This time, it was only about ten minutes before the call came out -- calmer, this time -- and I went in. He was seated on the potty with the business in the water below. Good boy! I wiped him up and Rachel got him a popsicle.

Finally, before bedtime, the familiar clutching of the butt and Ow Ow-ing. I didn't think the pressure in his colon would be enough to overcome his hatred of the potty, but Rachel wanted to give it a try. She shut him in the bathroom and in only 5 minutes he was calling for me. (I'm honored, I guess, but really I think the butt-wiping should be more egalitarian here.)

So, maybe the worst is over. Mommy and Daddy earned it.


  • I noticed this morning when Matthew came downstairs to "help Dada" carry up a box of cereal that he takes one leg motion per step now on the way up, like an adult. That's quite a stride for a little guy.
  • I got tired of roughhousing with Matthew before he did today. I sat down in a chair and started reading "Go, dog. Go!" out loud. Usually he'll get interested in the book and join me reading but this time he climbed on my lap and shouted, The end! The end! and closed the book.

Saturday, April 16, 2005


  • Matthew is now in the 25th percentile for both weight and height. Small, but his at his previous checkups the best he did was 3rd. :)
  • Matthew still can't ride his skateboard standing up, but he admires older kids who can. At the park he saw one: "Tatoh [skateboard]. Wow... cool."

Friday, April 15, 2005


Outside with Matthew this afternoon. He's busy ruining Dad's pruning shears rooting about in the dirt with them, but I don't care. Then he notices the dandelions and stops. Daddy's taught him that Mommy likes flowers. Pretty! he says, and picks four of them. Flowers! "Do you want to take them to Mama?" Mama! *hyperventilates* and he's off.

He presents them with pride. They are received graciously with a kiss.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


The case of the missing popsicle

I got home from work a couple days ago and Rachel told me, "I'd appreciate it if you fed Matthew something more nutritious than popsicles for breakfast." Huh? He didn't eat anything I gave him, so I left that to Rachel. "There was a popsicle stick on the counter, and when I got out of the shower he was tearing into another one with sticky hands. The thing is, he's a terribly messy popsicle eater and I'm afraid I'm going to find a sticky spot somewhere in the house. AND, I know I was in the shower for under 6 minutes because his Katamari Damaci level was just ending when I got out."

We still haven't found a sticky patch, but Dad makes sure to remember to put the baby lock on the freezer now before leaving.

The first successful "number two"

Matthew has been good at peeing in the toilet sitting down or standing up. He hasn't, however, had a bowel movement in the toilet -- until Wednesday.

Normally, he has 2 or 3 a day, but since Monday he'd been diaperless and had kept things closed down. So Wenesday when he started clenching his butt and saying "ow" we knew what to do: I pinned him down while Rachel administered a suppository.

Thus began one of the worst hours of my life. He was livid about the suppository, and his rage grew instead of diminishing as we sat him on the toilet and it started doing its work. He was maddest while his bowels were actually moving, but at no time did he ever stop whining, howling, or uttering incomprehensible imprecations that were probably directed at his parents. I couldn't take this for more than five minutes or so without being siezed by an irresistible urge to swat his butt and tell him to calm the heck down, but I suspected that probably wouldn't help the whole "the toilet is your friend" thing we were trying to encourage. So Rachel did more of the consoling the inconsolable, poor woman.

(His anger seemed worst when his bowels were actually moving. My theory is that he was trying with all his might to keep everything inside, but the suppository had done its work and he couldn't.)

When it was all over, everyone was just ragged. I let Matthew have popsicle, cheesecake, gummi bears, anything, but he was still one angry peanut. What a stubborn son I have...

We let him wear diapers around the house now so he can poop in them if he wants, and take them off to potty if he wants. (He doesn't like underwear; he's discovered that it lacks the properties that make diapers safe to poop in.)

In other words, Daddy and Mommy surrendered. For now.

Saturday, April 09, 2005


Went to Carl's Jr with Rachel and Matthew a few nights ago. Matthew was having a great time in the play area but Mom and Dad were about ready to go. We were talking about this when Matthew looked over and held up his hand. "Five min'."

In the spirit of giving him choices, Rachel has started asking him, "Do you want to stop now, or keep playing for 5 minutes?" But this was the first time he's brought it up himself.

He loves the power "five min" gives him. The only problem is now he thinks if it works once, it should work over and over again. Yesterday I had to chase him down to get him off the slide. All the other parents looked at me knowingly and smiled sympathetically.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The truth

Matthew's never had much respect for the truth when it's inconvenient. ("Are you stinky?" "NO!") But this morning is the first pre-meditated lie I've seen. I told him he could have some cranberry juice after he finished his breakfast. He did, and I got it for him. "Ice? Ice?" No, ice is a special treat for naptime.

Ten minutes later or so it was time for me to get ready for work. "Daddy's going to go get Mama," I announced. "Mama nap!" Yes, I suppose so. "Wawa nap!" Hmm, okay. Went into the bedroom. Got his bear. Turned on the "frogs." Got a blanket. Then he handed me his juice sippy cup. "Ice!" Aha! Sneaky little fellow. "All right, if you're going to nap." Got the ice. Matthew leaped out of bed. "No wa nap!" Okay, that's fine. Daddy will just put the juice in the fridge until you nap later.

Tantrum time. When I left for work he was still tantruming. Poor Mommy!


  • Put Matthew into the car seat yesterday. He hauled his bear onto his lap from where it had fallen to the side when he dozed off earlier, hugged it and said "Bear nice." Then gave it a kiss. That's more affection than I get most days.
  • Rachel's been in the habit of putting her radio on the toaster -- there's more room up there to twist the antenna to get better reception. Yesterday the toaster lever got depressed and we had a melted radio on our hands. This made a deep impression on Matthew: today he's still pointing it out to me. "Hot! Wawa fix it!" I'm not sure what kind of fixing he has in mind, but I don't think I want to find out.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Vocabulary update

  • Trage: Garage. E.g., "Owsai! Trage!" (Let's go outside, through the garage)
  • Tis: Kids. E.g., "Tis! Owsai!" (Kids! Outside!)
  • No wa: Don't want. E.g., "No wa nana" (Don't want a banana)
Hopefully one of these days he'll start pronouncing things better. In the meantime, Daddy and Mommy are experts in peanut-speak.

No way!

A week or two ago Matthew was being grumpy about something; I forget what exactly. Mommy had had enough of him , so when he dug in his heels and yelled "No way!" to whatever it was he was supposed to do, I could see her blood pressure rising.

"No way! No way! No way! No way!"

So I turned it into a game. "No way?" and started chasing him. "No way?" and tickled. He started giggling and running around with me.

This morning he came over to me on the couch. "No way! No way!" Time to play, Dad!


Matthew had been playing with the scissors yesterday at the table, cutting paper or silly putty; I forget which.

This morning he sat down and took the scissors to his batman cape that Grandma had made for him. I stopped him quickly but not before he had 4 or 5 slashes right in the middle of the cape.

Matthew has lost scissors priviledges for the forseeable future.

Friday, April 01, 2005


I mentioned that I thought the play-doh factory would be popular with Matthew. I didn't know just how popular.

Monday morning he got up and saw the box on the counter where it had somehow been left. "Play-doh! Play-doh! Play-doh!" (They should film this kid demanding his malleable overpriced whatever it is for a commercial. He's unrelenting.) He played with it for an hour and a half -- almost unprecedented in Peanut attention span.

Then he played with it some more that afternoon. Mommy showed him that if you squeeze out a longish strand and cut it off you have... a snake! This was a whole new dimension in play-doh fun. "Ssssss," he hissed, as his snake did a tour of the table.

Tuesday morning he woke up and demanded play-doh. And made snakes. Dad tried to mix it up by sometimes making two snakes, one for Dad. But that wasn't kosher. The rule was one snake. Dad is so slow sometimes.

Wednesday morning he woke up and demanded play-doh.

Thursday morning... you get the idea.

In between play-doh binges, he discovered that if he pressed his silly putty onto the newspaper, it lifts away some ink. He likes the colored comics pages best. He also discovered that silly putty is fun to cut with scissors.

So between the play-doh and the silly putty and the air rocket, being indoors hasn't been so bad. Which is good, because when it hasn't been raining this week, it's been snowing. And when it has been neither raining nor snowing it's still been cold and wet outside. (Wednesday afternoon I took him out anyway. I am not easily chilled, and I was freezing by the time he finally came in. Matthew is something of a wimp about cold at times -- from his mother's side, no doubt -- but when he wants to play outside, neither rain nor snow nor dark of night etc.)