Friday, November 24, 2006

promises promises

What the heck happened to me and my promise to post every day in November? Did the kids just stop doing anything worth writing about? Well, no. I have picked up an important new project that is taking up a lot of my time. It's called being "responsible for my life." Step one is cleaning up all of the various promises and projects that I have been neglecting for the past few years. It is quite a pile, let me tell you. I expect to get "caught up" by the end of the year. The only way to do this and not get behind on current and new commitments is to really dedicate all of my time to working hard--"all" of my time being about 30 minutes a day that I am not working, sleeping, and not tending to hyperactive littlings. Thing is, I'm still new at this whole really-working-hard-to-do-everything-I-said-I-would-do. A pro would have found the 30 minutes a day that I need to blog, but I am not a pro--nowhere near it. I am not even on one of the AAA pro farm teams. I'm just playing ball in the alley at this point. But I am playing pretty good alley ball. By next November, I'll be good enough live up to this task and still get to bed on time. Promise.


dudes, originally uploaded by jandjgilbert.

Izzy loves abuse; something that her dad might want to have looked at by a professional. As such, she loves to come over and play with David, who thinks that she is the bomb and tries to demonstrate his love aggressively, much like a pro wrestler. Thing is, she is five, which means that she is just responsible enough to leave alone for 15-20 minutes at a time without destroying something and if I leave David with he, she'll totally rat on him when he steps out of line. This means Skylar can drop her off and I can alternate my time hanging out with them and actually getting productive things done. Wonderful wonderful. There are a several photos of them over at Flickr as well as some of the little one.

wedding photos

_DSC7951.JPG, originally uploaded by tinaandgrant.

Go see the photos of the Wedding of the Year and weep. You will never be this hip.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

on the ropes

OK, I dropped off of map there for a couple of days. Word of advice: don't teach your son knots. I figured David is so manipulative that he would really get into knots. So, I got some rope and taught him some knots--stoppers, bends, loops, hitches, just the basic stuff every salty veteran of the high seas knows. Big mistake. I've been hog tied to the play table for four days. He finally relinquished when he ran out of yogurt and Zionist hot dogs. But I'm back on the wagon (it's David's wagon; I like listening to him scream at me to get off so he can ride) and recommitting myself to daily blogging for the rest of November (NaBloPoFNi (National Blogging Fortnight)).

Later ropes fans

Friday, November 10, 2006

Statistical Correction

Simon is 25inches long (and she used his short leg) and 11lb 8oz (with a wet diaper).

This puts him in the 93% for height (the same percentage of people who think the arts are vital) and 26% for weight (the same percentage who think the Yankees will win the 2006 World Series).

tall, skinny

Jaime took Simon to the doctor this morning for a routine checkup, weighing, and measuring. She didn't actually tell me what his weight and height are, but she said his height is in the 94th percentile for his age (the same percentage of public places in Latin America found to have second-hand smoke), but only 24th percentile for weight (same percentage of Americans under 30 who voted Tuesday (I hear republicans drafting a constitutional amendment raising the voting age to 40) ). So he is not gaining weight at a rate that is keeping up with his height. No need for action yet, but the doctor is going to keep an eye the issue.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I have written many times about the pattern of adjusting our expectations and schedules to fit our kid's behaviors only to have that behavior change, requiring reevaluation and adjustment.

It used to be that David could be trusted to play by himself every now and then while we took a shower, made a phone call, or locked ourselves in our room and reminisced about those light, carefree days before we had children. I knew that our time with David being content to content himself were limited. I only hoped that the warning signs would not involve child protective services.

That time has definitely come. Left alone upstairs while I changed Simon in the living room, David plastered the lower part of himself with diaper rash ointment. He has attempted to brush his teeth with an entire tube of toothpaste. Several days ago, Jaime went downstairs to find him standing on the kitchen counter getting a cup for himself out of the cabinet. He keeps turning the cold dial on the refrigerator all the way up and freezing everything. Last night, I knew he was out of bed, but didn't bother to take action until I heard the familiar notes of one of the computers shutting down. Several days ago, I pulled a pad of stickers out of the CD-Rom drive. He has made my iPod do things that no documentation indicates it should do.

So we adjust. We had settled into a routine that was working for us and now we will settle into a new, more vigilant, one. I am looking for the next change to come from Simon. In a way it has. He has slept through the night every night this week. I know that sounds to you like a good thing, but I had set up a schedule for myself that depended on him getting his morning feeding out of the way around 5:00, not 6:00, and suddenly, with two kids and a commute, that difference is everything.

Fortunately, the overriding adjustment that has yet to change is the need to be continually adjusting.


Serveral times while out in public I have had women look at me and ask if my son's name is David. When I confirm this as truth they begin telling me stories of how they know my son.

"Oh I know him through Mommy's Club" or "I'm friends with Nikki".

It's almost like being out with Hollywood elite.

This morning as we soaked up the sun and enjoyed a warm fall day we happened upon two cute blonds around David's age at the park. Sure enough they were part of his fan club.

Perhaps if I get a few more sons under my belt my dream of having a Baldwin or Wayne family in Hollywood will come true.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

photo update

While working on a project for grandma, I loaded some new photos to Flickr. Some haven't previously been uploaded and some are printable versions of previously-loaded images.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


My aunt, who has five daughters and no blog, sends me this email today:
Years ago, when we first moved to Ohio, we had a horrible time getting "A" to go to bed. She would get up sometimes right on our heels. We’d battle every night for several hours at a time, for weeks on end. Nothing changed no matter what we tried. We finally asked our pastor and his wife for advice. They had a couple of children older than Andrea and we thought they might have some insight for us.

Days after we talked with them, Andrea broke her leg. When "S" (our pastor’s wife) heard this and called me. “I think breaking her leg was a little extreme!”

I’d like to tell you it will get better but then they become be teenagers and…


Here's a fun new game. You need a toddler and an mp3 player that shuffles. Put them in a room together.

Song 1) Clash (I'm not sure which one, I'm new to the Clash): David starts bouncing wildly on the floor and then on the couch. He has this move where he spins around and the flops on the floor over and over

2) Mile Davis, something from "Birth of the Cool": David's whole composure and attitude changes as he begins this jerky, arrhythmic dance reminiscent of the death throws of a spider.

3) Fiddler on the Roof, "Miracle of Miracles": not so much a dance tune, but the chorus is repeated enough that, by the end, he is singing along.

4)Quartetto Gelato, Leoncavallo: "Mattinata": This is an Italian Aria. By this point David has returned to assembling his jigsaw puzzle (oh? I didn't mention he is doing jigsaw puzzles? Yeah, has been for weeks. [Jason casually stares into distance, sips martini]). Without looking up, he says, "meatball music."

5) Sheryl Crow, "Mother Nature's Son": sings along with the doo doo doo doo doo doo-doo-doo

And that is it. The iPod died at that point. It's been acting funny all day but I have been coaxing it along. I couldn't coax it at this point. I read the entire Apple support Web site looking for hope. My only hope is finding a place that will service it for less than the cost of a new one. That part about looking over the entire site is important for the last part of my story here.

David was a bear to get to bed this evening. Really testing my patience by getting out of bed and wailing constantly. Around 9:00 I hear him upstairs wandering about, but I don't think much of it. Finally, he announces that he has pooped. I have run out of patience, but poopy diaper is admittedly a legitimate reason to be up. I go up to find him stinky and holding my iPod, which I had left on my desk like a cadaver on a slab at the morgue. I take it from him and look at it. The screen says, "TESTING." Like a reminder from God or something. Yes, I know, testing.

Now, I have been over the entire Apple support site and nowhere does it talk about the iPod declaring that it is "TESTING" anything. I ask David what he did and he assures me that he did nothing. I have no idea what it meant or how it got there. Just Apple's way of keepin' it real, I guess.

later, Clash fans

new photos

David Jaime Simon

say ahhhh elephant, crocodile Simon Jaime crocodile rock crocdile activity time girl crocodile girl

Monday, November 06, 2006


I'm just phoning this one in today. Frankly, they take it out of me sometimes. I think they have a special secret communication where they tag team needs with the goal of wearing me down so I'll do whatever they want. Lately, David has simply refused to go to bed--getting out over and over. I feel like I have to stay on top of him because he has to learn to stay in bed. Not tonight. Tonight, I wanted to accomplish something with my evening besides mastering the stairs. So I let him wander around upstairs while I did laundry and dishes with a sleeping Simon strapped to my front side (because, if I put him down, he would get unhappy). Finally, David comes downstairs and tells me that he took a nice long nap this weekend. That's great, but where are you supposed to be now? He seemed honestly perplexed. It didn't take much to jog his memory at set him bawling again. But that was the last time.

If I were feeling creative, I would use the magic of words to paint you a picture of what it feels like for Simon to drench my pants with the partially-digested contents of his last two meals. Mighty Girl says you don't care what I had for lunch, but she doesn't rule out telling you what I had for Simon's. Regrettably (or, fortunately, it's all about point of view), I am not feeling creative.

Later, phone phans.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Oh man, sorry I missed yesterday. Total forgetfulness, total lack of integrity, I know. And you, my poor readers, suffer. Oh, the sorrow. Misery like, for instance getting soap in your eyes, which I think is some sort of rite of passage for the toddler. He hollers about it loud loud loud. I don't even try to wash his hair anymore because of the screaming. The neighbors probably think I'm applying hot irons. So Jaime has the job of trying to wash the hair and she is progressing, the bold girl. This evening there was some wailing from the second floor as the soap ran into the eyes. Meanwhile, the second child is hollering on the first floor because his wee little tummy is as empty as a promise to blog everyday for a month. Wailing in stereo is some sort of hell for bad parents, I'm sure of it.

David was upstairs and quiet for a very long time this evening. When he's this way for long enough, the fear sets in. In a film, this silence would be represented by a sustained minor key on strings. Armed only with courage, we crept upstairs. The bathroom door was closed. Bad sign. Behind it, we found David with my toothbrush in his mouth and our $5.00 tube of Sensodyne swashed in his hand. The amount of toothpaste on that brush--I don't use that much toothpaste all year. It wasn't until after he took it from him that he realized something about grown-up toothpaste--menthol, it doesn't feel great to have a mouth full of it. "It's spicy!" he wailed.

later stereo fans.

Friday, November 03, 2006


We have a new schedule in the morning. I get up early and do personal work and then sign on at the office and work for an hour. This allows me to go in late so I can let Jaime sleep in a bit. The wrench in the system is that, since the time change, David has been getting up at 6:30--right in the middle of my work. The solution--I caved.

My position on TV was simple. Absolutely no TV until his fifth birthday. I thought I had everyone in my life enrolled in this plan but it turns out everyone in my life are traitorous lagabouts intent on the early TVification of my children. So he gets to watch a fair amount of television--primarily "Dora, the Explorer," "Blues Clues (sp?)," and the like. I can't stand the slack-jawed gape that he affects in front of the boob tube and I get tired of the whining during all the times when he is not allowed to watch it--which is pretty much anytime I am around and able to even partially engage with him.

However, at 6:30 in the morning, when I am trying to work, I have given in and allow him to watch a video if all else fails. That is, if he refuses all of my suggestions that he play quietly with a puzzle or the like.

This morning I put in Dora for him and the DVD was freezing and bumping and skipping. I eject it and examine. There is a fine film of toddler fingerprints over most of the playing surface. David observes, "It's broken"
"No, its just coated with little yogurty fingerprints"
Presenting his yogurt-free fingers, he is indignant, "nuh uh, I licked them."

later, slack-jawed lagabouts.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

conversations in dreamland

Everyday, David becomes more like a real person as his conversational vocabulary expands. He'll reflect on past events, respond, empathize, chew the fat. But it is often like holding a conversation with a schizophrenic in dreamland. He has no concept of time. Ask him what he did today and he'll tell you what he did last week in great detail. He told someone at church that he was going to McDonald's to have chicken nuggets, fries, and chocolate milk. In fact, that is what he had done the day before with Auntie Skylar. At random times, he'll blurt out some little fact or bit of conversation that he picked up in the last two or three days.

And when he not confused about reality, he is fabricating it from whole cloth. His imaginary world grows in depth and detail every day. I asked him to hand me something earlier this week and he simply handed me the pretend version, pantomiming the act. Last month, he was riding his tricycle when dad called. Jaime stepped out to tell David that grandpa Brice was on the phone and wanted to talk to him. Without missing a stroke, David took one hand off of the handlebars and put it to the side of his head with the pinky extended towards his mouth and the thumb towards his ear, "hello." He rode on past the apartment carrying on a conversation with his grandpa, who was waiting patiently on the phone.

later dreamfans

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

text book: bounderies

(something is wrong with blogger, so I'll spell check this later)

The setting: Jaime was home Friday evening, which is unusual since she normally works evenings. I asked David what he wanted for dinner and we settled on scrambled eggs--a new favorite because he can scramble them himself. He helps me make his dinner and we all sit down at the table to talk and eat.

David was picking at his food but not eating. We have a rule that if we prepare a reasonable meal and he doesn't eat a reasable amount, he doesn't get anything else to eat the rest of the evening. We have gotten pretty good about not being emotional and nagging about it--eat if you want, don't eat if you don't want, but no snacks. So we simply reminded him of this rule and resumed our conversation. At one point he started playing with this plate--scooching it towards the edge of the table and tipping it. We let him know that, if he dumped it, he would have to leave the table and, since we are having an unusually late meal, it is bed time, so he'll go straight to bed. He paused, affected wry grin and turned his plate upside down.

We totally kept our cool. As if nothing unusual happened, I asked him to get his broom and dustpan out of the closet and help me clean up the mess. Then I told him to give his mother a hug and kiss goodnight. Reality must have set in at this point and the wailing began. I redirected (! (I'm lousy at that) by reviewing everything we'd be doing--potty, brush teeth, pjs, prayer, read books. Distracted, he headed for the Dora toothbrush in the bathroom. All was good until he struck up a conversation about the subject while getting stapped into the pjs. I don't remember how he brought it up, but we began reviewing the events of the past 15 minutes. He need to clarify the "no more food" part, "can I have a bisquit?"



So I walked out letting him know that when he was calm, he could let me know and I'd return. The rest of bed time went normally.

I was just so proud of Jaime and I for keeping our cool that I had to share. I notice that when I lose my cool with David it is partially because I was lazy at some earlier point and didn't establish clear and reasonable boundaries, leaving me nothing to work with when it hits the fan.