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.