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!