o'side daddy raisin' younguns in socal

January 23, 2007

jazz hands

Filed under: — crowder @ 11:00 am

Yesterday, at dinner, we taught Ollie and Reid to ask for things by saying please, and at the same time doing jazz hands.  Yeah, they’re gonna be weird kids.

January 21, 2007

Slacking again

Filed under: — crowder @ 8:44 pm

So at one point I had told myself that I was never going to do “rewind” blogs.  If I miss something that happened yesterday, it’s gone forever from the annals of history.  But what happened yesterday at the zoo was too good to be passed up — and far too good to be lost due to my blogcrastination.  After an exceptionally busy day, the boys found themselves at the zoo with their friends Ashley and Isabelle (I’m spelling Isabelle’s name correctly now, where I have used the Spanish spelling in the past).

While the kids were all playing together at the hippopotamus exhibit (ignoring the live animals in favor of the large bronze replica nearby, of course), some poor unsuspecting girl passed near Ollie with a bag of Doritos in her hand, and what can only be called An Incident ensued.  Ollie (perhaps guessing by height and assuming this was Isabelle, without really inspecting his target), reached out and snatched at the bag of chips — I am not sure whether words were exchanged or not, but the girl demonstrated remarkable reflexes and stunning determination, and the Incident lasted far longer than such an incident ought to because of the determination of the two children involved.  Ollie’s first mugging attempt was, in the end, a total failure.  As far as I could tell, he didn’t acquire a single Dorito.  I don’t know what about the incident was the most embarrassing for him (whether it be that he mugged someone random, instead of a friend; or whether it be that the mugging failed so categorically), but he did seem to react with genuine embarrassment when “the authorities” arrived.

Today, Ollie and I were on our own.  Reid, his mom, and nanny (Aunt Judy) all ventured fearlessly to a quilting show.  Ollie and I, spared this terrible, terrible torture instead set our sights on a visit to the Wild Animal Park.  In general the thing went off without a hitch.  Ollie doesn’t look at animals so much, but it is possible to stall him with food when I want to observe a particular animal for a while, and he very much enjoys running as fast as he can up and down the slopes and hills with which the park abounds.

He may have reached an interesting milestone after his nap tonight, since I think it is the first time he has ever actually asked a question of either of us, spontaneously.  The question:  “What name?”, asked while holding up a train to be identified by its character-name from the Thomas series.  The answer:  “Duncan.”

January 18, 2007


Filed under: — crowder @ 9:23 pm

Does it get cuter than this?

The boys’ aunt Judy gave them a Christmas present which they opened late today.  The gift is a mantle-ornament which is a scale train-engine.  They love trains.  This one, when plugged in, emits some sort of scented smoke, and rolls its wheels, while playing Christmas carols.  All of the boys in the house (including myself) crowded around the dangerously-exposed wall-socket to inspect it.

January 16, 2007

I, slacker

Filed under: — crowder @ 8:55 am

I’ve been negligent in my posting the last couple of days.  Yesterday, I took off in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., but I have no excuse for other days.

My wife and I rarely wake up in time.  On the rare occasions we do wake up before them, showering and other morning distractions usually delay us enough that we hear them chattering on the monitor before we see them for ourselves.  In other words, both of us having relatively flexible schedules , the monitor is also our alarm clock — I told you it was handy.

This morning, Beth made it into the shower before the chattering started, so I had a chance to listen to them singing the “mommy….  daddy….” song for a little while before I joined them.  A pleasant wake-up this morning, no screaming, no whining, and apparently no egregious personal assaults (these include the taking of blankie, sitting upon your brother, or hugging him for way longer than he could ever possibly want a hug to last).

When I arrived in their room, though, I was greeted by a site I now know well.  Both beds were totally stripped: blankets, pillows, meow-meows,  Jeffs, and dinosaurs strewn about.  Upon seeing me, Ollie proudly announced, “I close it!” and ran to close an ominously-open bathroom door (all their doors have sophisticated, high-tech  security systems installed, so we must have left this one open last night. Fortunately, the bathroom itself seems not to have been visited with the same tsunami of destruction as their room.

After that, Reid and I threw Pluto around a bit, there were several choruses of “little bunny fu-fu” sung (their favorite verse of the Trout Fishing in America song “The Window”), and then Beth showed up to relieve me of duty.  On my way out, Ollie went out of his way to stop me to insist on a hug.  It was a good morning.

January 14, 2007

wild animals

Filed under: — crowder @ 12:44 am

Took the boys to the World Famous San Diego Wild Animal Park today.  Drove there, loaded ’em up in the stroller, got ’em inside the property and let ’em loose.  They ran to their favorite waterfall first thing.  Five minutes were spent admiring the waterfall (a new speed record) before bustling away to admire — and feed — the mother and baby gorilla sculpture.  We were sternly advised by a far-too-old groundskeeper to be very careful of the area around the sculpture due to the apparently-deadly needles falling from the trees looming over it.  In spite of an utter lack of regard for this warning, no casualties were sustained.

After feeding the metal gorillas, we continued to the railway ride that runs in a circuit around the park.  It’s being expanded to include a roadway tram, but that work isn’t complete yet.  On the first trip down the path, we discovered that the train had just left.  Not daring to tempt fate by making both boys wait for the train before boarding it for a forty-minute ride, I turned back and instead let the boys run in circles in the switch-backs leading up to the ride.  After a good ten minutes of running in circles gleefully, Ollie announced a poo.  Myself an experienced poo-harvester, this only caused a brief delay in our excursion, in spite of what Ollie considered a “very messy poo, daddy!” (he was right, too)  After that we made another descent toward the railway.  This time, our arrival was timed perfectly with the last few moments of loading the train, so there was no waiting before the ride.  Which is good because about 15 minutes before the end of the ride, Ollie announced that he was done.  Now.

Though Ollie is a very verbal little boy, he also is a firm believer in the theory that actions mean more than words, and so he made his announcement not in words, but instead by kicking the seat in front of us, thrashing, rolling in my arms, trying to bite me (these are relatively playful bites, not the cannibalistic assaults of his younger days — but still unpleasant), and so on.  This left me in the awkward position of trying to subdue him while holding Reid — or rather the lump of sleeping toddler he had become — with one arm, while trying to prevent the thrashing Ollie from injuring myself or the people in front of me, or flipping himself out of the train.  No one died and a good time was had by all.

The overzealous, needle-obsessed groundskeeper then somehow managed to find another opportunity to scold me as I was pondering the exit sign of a restaurant near the railway ride.  I immediately turned to find the other door (the one labeled “enter,” as the groundskeeper had irritably informed me) and was in no time the proud owner of a hamburger (for myself) and two colorful plastic buckets full of a very small portion of breaded chicken and enormous quantities of chips and animal crackers.  The end to a delightful trip to the wild animal park.

After that, we headed home.  “NO nappytime, JUST home!” Ollie boldly asserted during the drive.  Ten minutes later, he and Reid were both fast asleep in the car.  Some strategic and tactical errors were made during Operation Enduring Naptime (the transfer of personnel from car to sleeping quarters), however, and so Ollie’s prophetic prediction largely came true.  He napped forty-five minutes or an hour before waking up ready to face the world — Reid wrapped up a tidy two-and-a-half hour nap just before their sitters for the evening (some close friends of ours) arrived and we left for our anniversary dinner.

Anniversary dinner at the Napa Rose at Disneyland was delightful.  There’s something very pleasant about not having to bolt one’s food down (we did anyway, of course, probably the result of a parental survival instinct which dictates that the slowest eater loses), being able to chat and enjoy food and wine, and all of the other luxuries of a nice dinner, without having to know the location and potential lethality of every piece of cutlery on the table, and without having to defend one’s drinks and plates, and without having to exhort two two-year-olds to eat anything that isn’t mac & cheese.  That’s right.  We missed them.  They apparently enjoyed an evening at home and went to sleep on schedule, without event.

January 12, 2007

the monitor

Filed under: — crowder @ 9:45 am

Many parents see this endlessly useful invention as merely a means of ensuring that their children continue breathing throughout the night.  And while that is, I concede, one of the primary responsibilities of any parent, this function of the monitor is vastly outdone by the ability to eavesdrop on morning mischief.

The only downside to the monitor in this capacity is the tendency for its batteries to die just when things are getting interesting.  It feels as though I’m Houston having finally re-established contact with the moon mission, only to have the transmission cut short just as an astronaut begins to scream bloody murder:

“No, Ollie!  Aaaaagg~~”

January 11, 2007

morning reading

Filed under: — crowder @ 8:48 am

They’re getting to be more patient with me reading to them.  They’re even getting better at not wrestling over the book as they both sit in my lap with it.  So this morning, I read to them some nursery rhymes.  Humorous:  to them, Humpty Dumpty is a chant one sings before jumping into a swimming pool:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,

And then, after what used to be trepidation, and now is a gleeful scream, everyone jumps into the pool and swims to mommy.  Even Humpty Dumpty himself, when read about in the nursery rhyme, must swim to mommy.  More humor:  I spent too much time in their earlier childhood teaching the boys how to make noises with things.  Rubbing their fingertips on the surface of one of these thick, laminated cardboard children’s books to make a farting noise is one of them, and Reid still does it every time this particular nursery-rhyme book is opened in front of him.

After I was done with them, they let mommy help them get dressed and went to the Y gymnasium for their gymnastics class, at the end of which they will acquire stamps (one stamp on the back of each hand, and a rolled stamp on each foot — rolled along the same path a flip-flop strap would take).  After that, they’ll be off to either the zoo or LEGOLAND with Ashley and Isabel.  This is the recipe for another 3-hour nap.

January 10, 2007

I stand corrected…

Filed under: — crowder @ 7:55 pm

Upon further questioning at bath-time tonight, Ollie insisted vehemently that he does like his goggles:  “Ollie LIIIIKE goggles!”  He offered no explanation for his tendency to cry when they’re put on for him.

We had an excursion to the bookstore tonight to “play trains,” but it was cut short when a scuffle ensued between Ollie and Reid over a particular favorite train.  No one was injured, and no charges were filed, but we felt it best to leave the scene of the incident.

first day

Filed under: — crowder @ 5:01 pm

One of my challenges in writing this blog is that in addition to being “daddy”, I also work full-time.  Hopefully not much of that will clutter this area, I’d like the stuff here to be about the boys, their milestones, and my adventures in keeping them alive to reach those milestones (Beth has adventures too — hopefully she’ll blog about them).  So, often, when I report on a day’s activities, it will be from the perspective of their mom, who boldly goes on the vast majority of their week-day outings with them.  At two-and-a-half, as capable as they are, they still need at least a chauffeur (this is a joke, of course — Beth’s many responsibilities and challenges remain well beyond my comprehension).  Hopefully, my weekend reporting will be more detailed.

The first agenda item today, was swimming.  It’s my understanding that swimming occurs on most Monday and Wednesday mornings.  I have gone a couple of times, but since our Y isn’t that close, driving there, changing, swimming, changing again, and driving back can eat up a good chunk of the day, and I have that “work” thing people expect me to do.  Today was the first day in the pool with goggles!  Reid’s been complaining about his eyes being sore (“eye hurt!” — said while jabbing a finger into his eye to make the point) during and after swimming, so the research and development department have kindly provided both agents with state-of-the-art protective eye-wear.

Ollie hates them; we went on a trial diving mission in the bathtub with them last night, and Ollie cried for a healthy portion of the mission — at much risk to the mission’s success, I might add.  Reid seemed pretty cool with his new gear last night, and I’m told today’s live mission essentially mirrored the “dry-run” in the tub.  Ollie hasn’t been complaining about his eyes, though, so Reid will wear goggles and he won’t.  Yay, Reid.  Ollie’s usually pretty well immune to physical and psychological trauma, which makes the torture of the goggles stand out in stark contrast from the usual — timeouts, bashing of foreheads into hard wooden edges, dropping heavy toys on feet, falling from high places, and so on.

After swimming, Beth took the boys to the Wild Animal Park, where they met their friend Ashley (and maybe Isabel, Ashley’s big sister, though I may have been told she was at school today — I’ll have to do better research).  So far, no war-stories have emerged from the afternoon’s outing, but the boys are still recuperating (3-hour nap!  Few generals in history have won greater victories.)  I’ll post more later, if additional rumors or gossip emerge.

Blogging Begins

Filed under: — crowder @ 1:48 pm

I had to wait until it wasn’t hip anymore to start blogging.  So here goes.

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