Saturday, July 29, 2006

My daughter is a girl

Tonight after Rachel left to perform in her concert, Melissa toddled up to me holding her Hawaiian outfit, top and bottom. She handed them to me; I thanked her and set them to the side.

She handed them to me again, and started tugging at the shirt she had on. She couldn't get it over her head, but it was clear what she was trying to do.

So I helped her out of the old outfit (the one that she'd been wearing for about 20 minutes, after she got far too enthusiastic with some cherries in the previous one) and into the Hawaiian one. She toddled away again, content. (And then I grabbed her to change her diaper, because I detected a smell...)

Thank you!

Today Melissa said "Tank-ou" after I gave her some cheese. She's been a pleasant little Miss lately.

Matthew often has to "talk to the mayor" during meal times. He has yet to develop the coordination to do an adequate job of wiping up after himself, so usually the honor is bestowed on me. He recently relayed to me, "Mama, you best at wiping Matthew bottom." A title of dubious distinction if you ask me. Jonathan cracked up when he heard him and made comments along the lines of "high praise indeed," and "I guess only the best will do for Matthew." Personally, I think he is trying to shirk his share of t.p. duty.

Monday was Pioneer day, which means fireworks. Naturally they are loud and colorful, and as such, right up Matthew's alley. Our neighbors took turns setting them off until very late at night. Matthew was thrilled and informed us that he wanted to grow "big and tall" so that he too could set off fireworks. Pioneer day is more like Pioneer extended weekend though so the noise started Friday night and continued through Tuesday. Unfortunately Matthew has been staying up late and been exceptionally grumpy all week. I'm wondering if he's just got in the habit of staying up too late and not sleeping well, or if something else is going on. It's as though someone has spirited away my sweet cheerful boy and left a whiny, crying, unpleasant fellow in his place. He also complains of headaches in the afternoons and has not taken a nap all week despite his exhaustion. In fact he complains and loudly voices his disapproval of most everything. (And I mean everything- the way I fix my hair, any food offered, books, what I dress Melissa in, songs I sing, and on and on. Nothing is right.) I feel bad for him and want to help him feel better, but it's also trying on his parents!!! Maybe next week my pleasant boy will return. I pray.


Monday, July 24, 2006

Initiate Brother

I just read Initiate Brother by Sean Russell in about a day. I haven't been that into a book in a long time. Highly recommended, especially since you can find it used on Amazon for basically free plus shipping.

I'd never heard of Mr. Russell before; I bought it based on Orson Scott Card's recommendation. Now I can't wait for my copy of the sequel to arrive.

One Amazon reviewer compares Initiate Brother to Dune. I wouldn't quite rate Russell's work that high, but then, I think Dune might well be the best novel of the 20th century. The main point of commonality is very well-done political intrigue. I'm drawing a blank trying to think of another author who really pulled that off well, so maybe the comparison is more apt than I thought at first...

The only real cloud marring my silver lining here is that I suspect I'm likely to agree with the Amazon reviewers who think IB is Russell's best work. The set of authors who manage one high-quality piece of work is much larger than the set who pull it off consistently. (My favorite of the latter is Vernor Vinge, whose Rainbows End just came out a couple months ago.)

I'm going to give Beneath the Vaulted Hills a try next.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Cleaning skills

Matthew is almost done cleaning his room. It's taken him about half an hour. (Plus an hour and a half shrieking, but hey...)

He actually doesn't need much in the way of direction now. He still can't do it efficiently -- "pick up all the blocks" -- because his area of attention is about two feet square. But he's quite able to pick up the nearest object and put it somewhere off the floor.

It's quite nice, really, to sit and not have to direct him to each object that needs picking up.

Matthew is useful.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Soon After We Got Married....

Composed by Jonathan after a particularly harried day.

(Sung to the tune of the 12 days of Christmas)

Soon after we got married, my true love did conceive,
   One little Peanut and we were busy.

Three years after we were married, my true love did conceive,
   One big boy Peanut and a baby Honey Bee.

Five years after we were married, my true love said to me,
   ONE big boy Peanut, ONE Honey Bee are quite enough for ME!

-so no, another one is not in the near future plans, maybe after I start sleeping through the night again. Mmmm sleep. Or better yet after our Bee is potty-trained. Not sure I want to train again while pregnant. Uck. My Grandma trained all hers by 18 mos. Yeah no diapers! Sounds good to me. 'Course we'll have to see if Melissa will go along with this.

(I say all this tongue in cheek, fulling realizing that plans can go awry. Our next door neighboor is expecting her 4th anytime now and her last three (including this one) have all been 14 mos apart. Not quite how they had planned things.)


Escape artist

Rachel, just now: "I just took Melissa out of the tub, dried her off, and diapered her. She ran off and before I could catch her she dived back into the tub again, diaper and all!"

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I got to the part where you fight the Flood; let's just say that now I agree with the M rating and the age when Matthew will be allowed to play went up about 5 years.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Space Rangers All

"Matthew is Buzz, Lissa little dirl Buzz, Dada is Buzz, Mama is Buzz."

Matthew loves being Buzz Lightyear. In his 3 year old generosity, he extends the same honor to the rest of his family.

I'm partly responsible for encouraging this. Yesterday I told him to build a Robot Buzz out of his blocks. He did, and he's extremely pleased with the result. Since then it's all been about one Buzz or another.

In non-Buzz news, Rachel's brothers got me playing Halo in Washington, and I was hooked. I borrowed my neighbor's copy yesterday and despite breaks to watch kids, entertain company, and so forth, got almost halfway through by the time I retired at Midnight. (Which is an indication of what an old fart I've become, incidently. I remember playing Starcraft until 4 AM, back in the day.)

I'd avoided Halo partly because I'm not a huge FPS fan in general, and partly because it was rated M. But the gore level turns out to be really minimal (no "gibs", very little blood). I guess it is pretty intense, but I'd let Matthew play it in a few years.

I noticed another oddity in a different rating system the other day. I picked up a copy of Mad Hot Ballroom (a movie about middle school students taking dance classes) and noticed it was rated PG. This movie was less disturbing than Bambi, for crying out loud. Why not rate it G?

Rachel postulated that maybe parents assume that G = suitable for children, so they rated MHB PG since young kids would be bored stiff. I suppose that's possible, but I think using the rating system to convey that sort of information is a bad idea.

It turns out that the PG in this case is officially for "some thematic elements." What, kids need to be protected from learning about competition? That not everyone finishes #1 all the time in real life?


Sunday, July 09, 2006

The case of the midnight pee

I've probably mentioned already how our custom of late is to wake Matthew when we go to bed and have him go to the bathroom. This improves his chances of waking up dry from "almost never" to "almost always."

He's tremendously sleepy when we do this. Sometimes he can't even walk to the bathroom, and I'll carry him to and from the toilet.

A couple nights ago, at Rachel's parents' place, I took him to the bathroom as usual. I put him in the general vicinity of the toilet and instructed him, "Pull down your pants and pee."

He pulled down his pants and peed... nowhere near the toilet.

I yelped and picked him up, still spraying, and pointed his stream towards the proper receptacle. Then I had to clean up the cabinets and floor. There was far too much to clean up with toilet paper, and there were no paper towels in the house; I settled on the hand towel, which I left on the floor where, I hoped, nobody would use it until I could put it in the wash in the morning. (Everyone else was in bed and I didn't want to wake someone just to ask where to put a dirty towel.)

In the morning, the towel was back in its place on the wall. Somebody had picked it up and, presumably, used it. Eww.

(Rachel didn't want me to write about this, but I pointed out that I was, in fact, exercising enormous restraint by writing about this instead of a far grosser incident that also occurred at her parents' house. She had to agree when I put it that way.)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A good time was had by all

Matthew had a great 4th of July. All of Rachel's Washington relatives came over for a barbeque and fireworks. Matthew was shy at first, but he quickly made friends with Rachel's cousin Ryan and Andrea's finace, Scott. He roughoused with them outside, and when he was done with that, Ryan and I played "big boy ball." (He's too big for "baby ball" now, after all.) He enjoyed that enormously and kept urging us to "teep dohing!" [keep going]

Then it was time to set off the fireworks. All told we had around $300 worth (at last-minute discount prices, too). It was quite a show, and Matthew got to stay up until about 10:00 watching it. Amazingly, Rachel got Melissa to sleep while it was starting. These were not your wimpy legal firecrackers, either; these were "tribal." Meaning, of course, that you could get much bigger ones from firework stands on reservation land. The big ones made me wish I'd brought ear protection.

Melissa had a great time, too. Before she went to bed, she wandered from relative to relative, grinning her dimply baby grin, charming everyone. When she saw food she liked, she went "mmmmMMMMMmmmm!" and usually got some. Lots of cherries (cut in half first) and juice from her parents, and chips and cake from practically everyone.