Monday, January 31, 2011

One step forward...

So, The Boy had gone the better part of a week without any accidents. Today, he had two. The reason:

He just didn't feel that wet pants was worse than stopping playing. I can certainly understand that focus; G-d knows that I'm very tunnel-visioned at times. But, still.

Another thing I hope is outgrown soon: Little Bear's thing of hitting and throwing things at us and his brother, and his tendency to throw food on the floor instead of just telling us he's done. I know the first will happen as long as they're brothers, but the consistency is difficult. The second? Just annoying.

All right. To bed, because it's going to be a crappy day due to stupid ice storm weather.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011


The Boy loves letters and numbers, has figured out letter sounds and some basic phonics, and makes letters out of anything that is in reach (including drawing them quite well), but hates being read to.

Little Bear loves being read to, and fills in words and sounds when given the opportunity - much earlier than The Boy, although he wasn't given the opportunity as consistently. Different intelligence development, or different parents?

The Boy whines much more than his brother, but the brother is more likely to throw a tantrum involving throwing stuff and hitting than The Boy ever did. #BamBam

Little Bear seems to know his Aleph-bet better than his Alphabet, mostly due to Aleph-bet Yoga.

Little Bear loves when you sing to him and frequently asks for song repeats.

The Boy's new favorite game is "No More Monkeys Jumping On The Bed," where he starts jumping and I catch him and say that phrase. If I've done that less than 500 times this weekend...

Little Bear has finally started going downstairs backwards, which is safer for him. The Boy is going up stairs standing and alternating feet, which is a big deal considering the state of his physical therapy.

Little Bear is consistently and easily telling us what he wants at the dinner table, both by pointing and verbalizing. "That!" is what he uses when he doesn't know the word.

The Boy has really turned the corner on potty time. This was caused by his preschool experiences and by us backing off when he says he doesn't have to go.

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sense of Humor

The Boy is developing a nice little sense of humor, with pretty darn good comedic timing for a 3-year old. It's really endearing, to watch and to listen to him develop along those lines.

When I read The Boy a book, I always try to get him to memorize and to repeat the names of the authors. He knows that "Where the Wild Things Are" has story and pictures by Maurice Sendak, that Batman was created by Bob Kane, that "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie" was written by Laura Numeroff, and so forth. Writers are important, you know?

The other thing I try to do is to have The Boy fill in words while I read. In "Where The Wild Things Are," which might be his current favorite book, he plays the part of Max and takes all of Max's dialogue in the book. For instance, I'll read: "His mother called him 'WILD THING!' and he replied," and The Boy will say, "I'll eat you up!" It's a fun little way to keep him involved and engaged in the story.

(Side note: since we started doing that with Little Bear, he's started to learn lots of stuff earlier than The Boy. I'm sure The Boy could have done this at this age, but we didn't do it with him.)

So, The Boy requested "Where the Wild Things Are," and I said, "Story and pictures by..." and he replied, "Bob Kane!" We chuckled a bit, and I asked again. "Laura Numeroff!" he replied, confirming that it was intentional. He was telling a joke!

The funny bit? For the entire story, he read all of Max's dialogue by saying, "Laura Numeroff!" I didn't let it phase me, and I read the rest of the story as is. We laughed a lot about that.

He's really a very bright kid. I'm impressed by how his sense of humor is developing - it's as much a sign of intelligence as anything else!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mean Streak

Little Bear has been developing a bit of a mean streak this week. I mean, don't get me wrong - he's still a sweet, smiley kid. But, he's taking the pestering his big brother thing to an entirely different level: besides just pushing and trying to take toys away from The Boy, he's also starting to hit and such.

It's not uncommon behavior for a child who's 18-19 months old. I understand that. I also get that little brothers (having been one all of my life) are G-d's way of keeping big brothers from being too full of themselves. I just feel bad for the boys because of the near constant fighting.

Perfect example: yesterday, at a friend's house, The Boy was sitting with a Woody doll and Buzz action figure in a little kid-couch. He had been sitting there for fifteen minutes, just quietly playing and watching whatever was on tv (Yo Gabba Gabba, I'm told). Little Bear came over, sat down next to him, whacked him on his head to make him cry, then took the Buzz doll. The Boy stood up for himself and got it back, but still.

The Boy doesn't respond much, because he understands the concept of "not nice." He gets quite upset and looks to us to help mediate, although he frequently will try to offer Little Bear another toy with which to play. The Boy is a more passive presence at home, usually choosing to just do his thing and try to ignore or to distance himself from his little brother.

So, what do we do? I'm not a violent person and don't advocate violence outside of sci-fi movies and comics, but I don't want The Boy to sit back and let his brother walk all over him. Right now, we're trying to redirect the negative behavior and provide positive alternatives - different toys, different places to be, patting nicely instead of hitting. Punishment ( besides the immediate cessation of games and attention when extreme behaviors show up) is not an option right now, because he's too young to get it. You can't whack him or time out him, because he doesn't understand cause and effect well enough.

Any suggestions?

Tonight, I was sitting in my chair while he was trying to unzip the cushions. I put my arm on the cushion to anchor it in place to prevent unzipping, and Little Bear got quite angry with me. He actually wound up and hit my arm! I said, "Excuse me?" and he did it again. "Do NOT hit me," I said in a calm, firm, teacher tone, along with a years-practiced and effective death look. He backed off (wisely), because that might have been the first time I've shot him that particular look - students of mine know it well, the look that usually ends whatever bad behavior that's occurring. That's not a permanent solution.", however.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011


Suddenly, between yesterday and today, The Boy started calling me "Dad" instead of "Daddy." Isn't that strange? I'd love to know what changed in his thinking patterns to get him to do that. Not that I mind; it's just a sudden change for him.

Little Bear had his 18-month checkup today. 34 inches and 28 pounds; which is 90th percentile and 70th percentile, not that that matters. I guess that means that we need to feed him some more, to catch him up! (Of course, he's always, always eating. That's why that's funny.)

We went to the JCC today, to go to a free play session. It was interesting to see The Boy play, as it was the first time in a little while that I'd seen him really play. (Pittsburgh in the winter is not great for outdoor playing.) He's running so much better, and he's climbing well also. He and Little Bear are playing well with others, although Little Bear keeps pushing other kids out of the way of his toys. That's what happens when you're used to playing with the big kids and having to "force" your way to the toys you desire. It'll be interesting to see what happens when he gets in the Rodef Shalom preschool with the other kids.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Review: Mary Poppins, The Musical

On Sunday, The Boy, The Wife, and I went to see Mary Poppins at the Benedum Center in Downtown Pittsburgh. The theater is located in the aptly-named theater district, around the corner from Pittsburgh C.A.P.A. 6-12, the school in which I taught math last year. It's a nice theater, with a silly situation for lines: the snack table is in a different place than the drink table, and the lines tend to intertwine. I'm also not a big fan of the restrooms on a different floor. But, the seats were wide and comfortable, and even though we were in the back of the orchestra floor, we had a clear and unobstructed view. The seats are staggered enough so that The Wife and I - being unusually tall - weren't blocking the view of anyone else.

Now, on to the show. The Disney movie, Mary Poppins, is a genius-level work of art. In my opinion, this might be one of the five or six best movies ever made. It's utterly perfect: the acting, the effects, the songs, the dancing, the costumes, the pace. We've watched the movie at least 50 times, and each time, something new pops out to the eye. Dick Van Dyke steals the show as Burt, which is amazing considering that Julie Andrews plays the titular character. The Boy was quite excited to go to the musical to see a "real life Mary Poppins," because the movie is a favorite.

The musical is not the movie. The musical borrows a little more carefully from the original Mary Poppins stories by P.L. Travers. The stories are in the same style as "traditional" British folk tales and fairy tales: dark tales, with poor-behaving characters, in order to teach life lessons. For instance, the first act ends when Mary Poppins, trying to teach a lesson to the ungrateful Banks children, suddenly leaves, taking all of their toys with her.

The musical is still wonderful. The acting was up to par. The songs are the same wonderful, catchy tunes from the movie: "Supercalifragalisticexpialidocious," "Step In Time," "Perfect Nanny," etc, although the songs are in a different order and different context than the movie. The effects were marvelous, particularly Mary flying off over the crowd at the very end of the show. The scenery was fantastic. Burt tended to serve as a narrator and a catalyst for changing scenes, which was an interesting take. The singing and dancing was quite good - not great, but very good - and the large ensemble numbers were well-choreographed and entertaining.

Te musical was absolutely appropriate for The Boy, but parts of the show were kind of scary and dark (at least, relative to the movie). If you don't read Grimm's Fairy Tales to your kids because of the dark character, then this might not be the musical for you.

He enjoyed it quite a bit, but not as much as we hoped. He slept through about half of the first act, including most of the best and most familiar songs - darn afternoon nap time! Because it was different from the movie, I think some things confused and frustrated him a little bit. He recovered from each "surprise" quite quickly, all things considered, and enjoyed the day out quite a bit.

All in all, it was successful. We would and will do it again. But, we're not going to take him to see Shrek the Musical this spring; it's probably different enough from the movie that we don't want to explain the difference.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

On the Disabled List

Sunday afternoon, we took The Boy to see Mary Poppins. I still have a review percolating inside, so I'll say that we all had a great time! The boys got to bed at nice, normal hours; we got to bed at a normal hour, getting ready for work the next morning.

Sunday night / Monday morning, I woke up at 2:30, sweating and dizzy and achy and sore. Long story short, I had strep throat, a touch of the flu, and thought I was going to die. I spent all day Monday and Tuesday in bed (there goes $240 from work, right out the window - no sick days for temps). The Wife and Grandparents did an amazing job helping me out, taking care of the boys so that I didn't have to do more than recuperate. (I also watched "Afro Samurai" and the followup movie, which was cool.)

I returned to work on Wednesday, worked a full day, then chased after children until The Wife came back from her lessons. Afterward, an exceptionally rare thing occurred: The Wife and I actually had a nice, long conversation that WASN'T an emergency! We talked about The Boy's sleeping arrangements (still with us, not back in his own bed from Christmastime), our Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World (asking for next Christmas), the benefits and drawbacks about asking for intelligence testing for The Boy (looking ahead to potential learning disabilities caused by chemotherapy side-effects), and a bunch of other, similar things.

Interesting things: The Boy has been opening up more about school, telling me with whom he's played or activities he's done (like sitting in the story circle or singing a song). He's also been doing "aleph-bet yoga" with Mum and myself: making yoga positions that are evocative of aleph-bet (Hebrew alphabet) letters. This has now extended into the alphabet and numbers, although those two things he'll do with me and helping me. It's fun.

Younger Bro has been using more and more words identifying things and answering questions. "Do you want to sit in your chair? Yes or no?" "Yes!" He's also shown a pretty amazing knowledge of stuff. Today, we said, "Aleph!" as part of the yoga, and he said, "Aleph! Bet! Gimmel!" fairly clearly! We started to count, and he kept going: "4! 5! 6! 7! 8! 9! 10!" (He needed some help with 10.)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Normal Development

From the annals of the "Entirely Normal Development" files, here's a couple of neat things that my kids can now do that is entirely and utterly ordinary:

Little Bear has started saying, "Again!" when he wants you to do something with him again. I gave him a toss in the air, and he said "Again!" about fifteen times. Tossing a 30-ish pound kid in the air and catching him again is a nice military press sort of shoulder workout.

He's also making more definite choices, shaking his head in less time when presented with several different options. He's also gotten in the really bad habit of grazing - constant eating without eating too much at any one meal. That's not such a great habit for him, and we'll hopefully get him out of it quickly.

Little Bear is also starting to use two word sentences quite often, like "Hi, Daddy!" and "Hi, Mum!." He's also using "Up!" for upstairs, "Down!" for downstairs, "Go!" for going out or on errands, "Beans!" for jelly beans, "Pop!" for lollypop, and he says the names of all of the immediate family members and knows what they are in an abstract manner as well. When told, he can "Find Grandma!" When I say, "Where's the monkey?", he'll go look in the mirror and giggle. He also knows that the mirror is a mirror and knows the difference between the mirror Daddy and the actual Daddy.

We're fairly sure that Little Bear is working on his last couple of teeth right now, at the same time as he's trying to get over the cold that has him snotting all over the place. He's got his 18 month well checkup tomorrow morning. We're going to go to breakfast at a new IHOP near the doctor's office.

The Boy is starting to speak quite clearly and quite fluently. He invites me to do things with him: "Daddy, come with me to the living room!" "Daddy, come play chalk with me!" "Daddy NOT on the computer, Daddy come play with The Boy!" He gets irritated when his adult playmate gets distracted by something.

He loves playing with Grandma's iPad! He really plays with lots of different applications. He loves playing with some of the coloring programs - touch the color at the bottom of the screen, then touch part of the picture to color it. He talks to a cat application that echoes you in a funny voice - Grandma says that he really talks to it, talking in ways that we never hear him talk (giving directions, telling stories). The drawing applications are the best - he draws alphabet and aleph-bet letters using the drawing applications.

Over the past five or six days, The Boy has had stellar potty days. Today is a perfect example: when he was home, he took himself to the potty every time, whether clothed or not! That's new. This morning, I found him sitting in the potty, pants around his ankles, like a good little potty user. This is more than "progress towards goal;" this is almost reaching it!

Tomorrow, we're taking him to see Mary Poppins live on the travelling Broadway stage. We're all excited about it; The Boy has even been remembering that he's going to go, and he's been talking about it!

Friday, January 14, 2011


Today, The Boy greeted me at the door, wearing a yarmulke and excitedly exclaiming, "Daddy! It's Shabbat!" he loves that particular yarmulke because it has aleph-bet letters on it. That means, of course, that he'll wear it for almost three whole minutes before yanking it off his head.

The really neat thing? For the first time, he said the blessing of the wine with Mum! "Baruch ata... etc," all the way to the end! He was fuzzier on the bread blessing, but, wow! What a start! It's hard to believe the changes in him in the two weeks he's been at preschool. He loves his teachers and the other students, and he's really thriving. They love him, particularly the way he makes letters out of anything and everything. Apparently, he's even sat still for storytime! I've never seen that out of him. He's even sang the songs and done the hand motions at music time, which is a relief to hear.

I admit to being really concerned about The Boy's ability to adjust to the preschool environment and to all of the other students. I was concerned that the amount of isolation time through the course of his treatment was severely damaging. The jury's still out, but early results are encouraging.

The Wife reminded me about some of the other long-term side effects, like concentration issues (The Wife's side of the family: above average concentration. My side: near-autistic, definitely ADHD hyper-focus) and difficulty with higher math (The Wife's side: above average to holy cow. My side: the same, but I'm closer to holy cow than my wife is). The optimist in me says that that might mean that he goes through occasional periods of merely above average school performance. The pessimist is not pleased.

Still, future potential learning issues aside, I'm thrilled with the first two weeks of preschool and excited to see what the future brings.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Nighttime Cuteness

So, I was out all day and evening today - went right from work to the computer repair place (my PC is crashing like gangbusters) to a quartet job, singing for a local minor league team's winter hot stove dinner. We got paid in a hat, a signed baseball and dinner, which is wonderful, as far as in concerned. Pictured is me and Jim Leyland, former Pirates manager.

When I arrived home at 10, The Boy was still awake (surprise, surprise).

He was in prime cuteness form. He told his usual jokes (the "A told T" bit from Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, where he scrambles his letters on purpose) and cruised for some hugs and smuggles. He then actually told me about his school day, reporting about sitting in a circle and listening to a story and playing with blocks that had letters and that he likes Abigail. Very nice to hear!

He was also going "Tickle, tickle!" and tickling my belly! And, he'd grab the sides of my face, turn my cheek toward him, and kiss it three or four times, until an appropriate squeak was created. He'd then giggle And do it again. Very cute and endearing. It's also insanely fulfilling to hear, "I love you, Daddy!"

It sucks being away from home for so long, but it's awesome to get such great welcomes from my sons. It's also nice to be a stretch of perfectly normal and appropriate behavior from them. Here's The Boy walking around in a pair of Grandma's snow boots (and no pants - reminds me of college):

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Daddy Disappointed

This morning, I was hunting for a band-aid to put on a cut on my hand. I was extremely disappointed, because all of the Batman and the Super-Hero Squad band-aids were gone.

You see, The Boy likes to put band-aids with colors or characters on any exposed part of his body. This is independent of the need to cover a wound, naturally. Just band-aids as decoration.

I settled for an Ernie band-aid. Ernie is cool because he keeps getting the better of Burt.

Here's a cute picture of the boys playing Legos together:

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Location:E Culvert St,Zelienople,United States

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sick Day

Last night was a two-hour trip home from work due to the several inches of snow that fell on the Pittsburgh metro area. I taught a saxophone lesson, shoveled the driveway and the sidewalk, then came inside and basically passed out. I woke up this morning at my usual time, tried to get out of bed, and wasn't able to do it. Ugh. Sick day.

The only problem with working a temp job is that I don't get sick days. If I miss a day, then I don't get paid for it. Frustrating, particularly since my body could likely use an extra day besides today to recover - but I can't afford to lose another day's wages. The Wife didn't teach her lessons today, either - rescheduled some of them - because she has been sick all week, and I wasn't in any kind of condition to chase after children by myself. So, all-in-all, we lost around $200 today in missed wages. Sigh.

On the other hand, the boys were quite sweet when they were around. The Boy did some very nice snuggling, allowing us to nap while he watched Winnie the Pooh until he fell asleep. Younger Bro did a nice job of being... well... normal.

I did excuse myself from the family right after dinnertime, as Younger Bro was feeling yucky and grumpy and picking fights with his brother, causing gigantic screaming matches between the two of them. My head just couldn't take it at the time. (That makes being around the industrial machines at work tomorrow that much more appealing. Yuck.)

Other than my illness, nothing much is happening. We're enjoying our children working their way through entirely normal development curves. Younger Bro, while he does display exceptional creativity and intelligence (according to my entirely unbiased opinion), is working on vocabulary and speech at a normal rate. Today, he did put a little sentence together: "Watch Mickey!" The Boy is loving playing with Grandma's iPad, getting very frustrated when she wants to use it or he needs to go to sleep. He's adjusting well to school, even sitting still for story time for the first moment in his life!

Okay. I'm just finishing watching some TV and dealing with my continually-crashing computer, so I'm going to try to get to sleep by, like, 9 or so. Wish me luck.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Drop Back and Punt

So, we're temporarily punting the whole The Boy in his own bed thing. It's turned into a major stressor for everybody involved, and it just doesn't seem to be important enough to fight over.

The way I figure it, we need to do one of three things: 1, put the gate up and let him cry himself to sleep each time he wakes until he gets in the habit of staying asleep in his own room. Not an acceptable option, as it's unfair to everyone in the house, particularly the brother with whom he shares a room. Two, be really rigorous regarding a bedtime procedure, eliminate his sleeping with us entirely, and walk him back to his room and do what is necessary to get him back to sleep, which could mean sitting with him for some time, every hour at night. This is a gentle method, but one for which we haven't the energy. Three, do what we're doing: keep to a reasonable bedtime procedure, and take a break from his own bed. This weekend, when we're all not sick, we'll get him back to (at least) starting the night in his own bed.

It's not necessarily the most important thing for us, The Boy being in his own bed. It does make it more difficult to play snugglebunnies with The Wife. But, if he needs to be with us, we're willing to deal with it.

If it was something important - medicines, hearing aids, chemo, IV lines, that sort of thing - we'd fight about it. It isn't. We're fairly sure that he'll be in his own bed by high school. Whatever.

Maybe it's also time to finally finish reading the "No-Cry Sleep Solution," and implement a system. I don't know.

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Handful...

The boys haven't been feeling particularly well over the past couple of days, and it's shown in their behavior. Don't get me wrong - my children are quite sweet and are reasonably behaved, for toddlers. It's just that, when they're feeling icky, they aren't are sweet and fun and considerate as when they're healthy and raring to go.

Last night, The Boy spiked a 103-degree temperature, just as The Wife and I were coming home from the officers' installation dinner for my barbershop chapter. It was a nice night out with our nice friends, and it was an unfortunate end to the evening. Not a bad ending; not a "Pack the hospital bag, we're planning a two-week stay in the Hotel St. Barnabas" ending, just unfortunate. Some Tylenol, a viewing of "Bedtime With Elmo," and lots of extra snuggles got us through that crisis. This morning, he woke up with a 98.8 temperature (axillary - under the arm - so add a degree), and all was relatively normal for the day.

Younger Bro gets disturbingly familiar to my behavior when he's not feeling well: he digs his heels in the ground and shows every ounce of stubbornness that his tiny little frame possesses. He makes a beeline for everything he's not supposed to have - water faucets, food in packages, dishes, knives, etc. He goes for them normally, but he can be diverted with some effort. When he's not feeling well, he seems to go for the stuff that gets him immediate attention and feedback. He was a candidate for early dismissal tonight, and was in bed by around 6:45.

The Boy has started some amazing things lately. He's been enjoying drawing his alphabet and numbers on the chalkboard. He'll draw the upper case and lower case letters, announce them to the room, erase them and start the next letter. Most interestingly, he's started doing that with the Hebrew letters, the aleph-bet. (Named because the first two letters are "aleph" and "bet," just like the first two letters of the Greek alphabet are "alpha" and "beta.")

Entertainingly, he's been doing "aleph-bet yoga" over the last couple of days: making the shapes of the aleph-bet with his body in yoga-like positions. This is a source of general hilarity (Grandma even bought a book to encourage it, which hasn't arrived yet), and occasional grossness. Why grossness? Well, my boys don't like to wear pants very often. Naked boy, doing bent-over yoga poses... yuck. That's a view of my son that I don't particularly want, yet seems to happen relatively often. Butt & nuts. Butt & nuts.

He seems to have turned a corner on the potty business, as well. At least, two of the three school days last week, he came home with the same pants that he wore to school. Yesterday and today, he's even said, "Got to drop what I'm doing and go to the potty!" like Grover & Elmo from "Elmo's Potty Time."

The bedtime thing has regressed; he's spent about four total hours in his bed over the past week. That's unfortunate. It also gets to be a tad crowded, as Younger Bro likes to join us in bed when he's not feeling well (like the last week or so). Sigh. We're going to need a king-size bed.

Here's the pictures of the alphabet, from a diner in New Jersey last week: It's hard to see, but it's fairly clear when you zoom in.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Some 2010 Statistics

From my iTunes Library file, which doesn't count a handful of stuff because of computer errors / crashes / et al:

Total music heard: 6639 items
Total time: 17 days, 0 hours, 46 minutes
Total space used: 37.58 GB

This doesn't include multiple listens of the same items, like learning tracks. This counts everything once only, so my guess is that we're probably closer to 30 days of music, which is on the low side of sounding right - think about the number of times that we've listened to the kids' music and my learning tracks and the rare album that I obsess over.

Most plays, 2010 items: This isn't just plays in 2010, this is total plays. They don't keep track of each play by date and time, just the total number and last played.
"You've Got A Friend In Me," by Max Q (For The Children), 128 plays
"Bad Horse Chorus" and "Freeze Ray," from the Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog Soudntrack, 107 and 93 plays, respectively.
"Old MacDonald," by Max Q (For the Children), 78
"Brand New Day," from Dr. Horrible, 74 plays
The next two tracks are from Roland Wyatt's "Guideposts for Singing Bass," and they have 73 plays each.

The first track that isn't a learning track for my chorus/quartet or a kids' track is "Lazy Day," by the Gas House Gang (The Gas House Gang's 5th), with 19 plays. It's quite a ways down the list. The next group of stuff is holiday music, which tends to get a lot of playing in November and December, although since my collection has grown to 600+ holiday tracks, I can get through one and a half times each, unlike the 5 or 6 times that I could get through stuff in smaller-collection years.

From a total collection standpoint, I'm sitting at 18,850 items, or a 50 day, 2 hour, 57 minute play time and 90.19GB of storage space. I've ripped (from my own DVDs, thankyouverymuch) 51 movies and 160 TV show episodes, but most of the movies are Sesame Street stuff and the TV shows are mostly kids stuff as well. The ebooks (around 50) are mine and, with two exceptions ("Whale Done Parenting" and "The Colorado Kid," the latter by Stephen King), are pulled from the free section of iBooks.

That also doesn't count podcasts, to which I am currently subscribed to 12. That's down pretty significantly, and 7 of them are weekly (with 1 going daily during the baseball season and 1 other that is "every blue moon" regular).

Okay, statistics and some bragging over. Here's a cute kid picture to reward those who actually read this:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sleepytime Fun

So, the other night, we finally got The Boy asleep, after a long resistance to sleeping in his own bed. I crashed and immediately fell asleep. The Wife went downstairs and acted like a grownup (what?) for a little while. She came up around 1AM to go to sleep, walked in our room, and laughed enough to wake me up.

Turns out The Boy "snuck" into our room around midnight. He came around to my side of the bed, as per usual, and started to crawl into bed with me. I attempted to be accomodating and rolled onto my back to help. He made it halfway across, ran out of energy, and fell asleep. His legs were hanging off the side of the bed, and his upper half was splayed across my midsection, thumb in mouth (of course), asleep. Apparently, we'd been like that for an hour or so.

Aren't kids wonderful?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

First Day of School!

The Boy had his first day of preschool today, at a local Reform Temple. He's in the "3-year old" class, which consists of 9 total children (4 boys, 5 girls). The interesting thing is that one of the girls in the class is a kidney transplant recipient! What are the odds, in a 9-person class, that one other person would have significant kidney issues?

My guess is that it's slightly more common than one would realize. I liken it to the birthday thing: when you have a group of people more than, say, 20, it seems likely that two people will share a birthday. That's something that should be a 1 in 365 (or 366) thing, but it always seems to happen. Now that we're locked into the cancer community, the Wilms Tumor community, and the kidney community, we start to notice more and more children that have those or similar issues. Logical Mommy is on a big card-exchanging list with other Wilms Tumor patients. But, I digress. School.

The Boy doesn't quite possess the tools to describe his day. He remembers stuff and remembers people, but he doesn't quite put the order of events to words. The Wife brought him to school with hearing aids, but she had to return in an hour or so because of an excessive amount of feedback. She thinks that it was the attachment straps that were causing the feedback.

Anyway, he had a great time. When Mum arrived at the end of the day (12:30) to pick him up, he was still wearing the same pants - no accidents! They have little potties there for the kids, which The Boy loves. Of course, he was standing in front of the fridge with poo in his pants, but we've chosen to think of the positives. He did a lot of playing and enjoyed his lunch. I don't know what they did for the rest of the day, but he had a lot of fun and said that he wants to go back tomorrow. He even checked a book out of the "library" and let me read it to him!

Younger Bro stayed with Mum for the duration, and they had a lot fun. She's trying to do something active and interesting with him while The Boy is at school. They could then, hopefully, all nap in the afternoon together. That's the way it worked today.

School was a success, so far. Let's hope that the positives (the games, the play, the fun, the love of learning new stuff) last much, much longer than the negatives (the ridicule, the cliques, the ignorant and small-minded teachers).

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Can't believe how screwed up driving six straight hours and getting home at 1AM only not to fall asleep until close to 4AM and then not really eating normal meals will get you. One would start to think that normal sleep, a decent travel schedule, and three square meals is actually beneficial for one's mental, physical, and emotional health!

Let's not get carried away.

Suffice it to say: all of us slept until after 9AM this morning, and the entire family was down for a nap at around 1 o'clock in the afternoon. I took a shorter nap intentionally, as I still have to wake up at 5:20 tomorrow morning and head back "to the salt mines," as Grandma put it. On one hand, eager to get back to work. On the other hand, I need a vacation from this vacation. Isn't that normal? I'd love a couple of days to get my stuff together and get unpacked before heading back out into the real world.

Plus, my little white car needs some love and attention by the dealership, and I've just not done that in, like, six months. Sigh.

Grandma got an iPad for Channukah from Uncle C. The Boy has been playing with it for most of the last six hours. Like father, like son. Me? I'm holding out for a couple of things:

1) A full-time job;
2) The next generation, which will be cooler than this one, I assume. I mean, look at how the iPod and iPhone changed from one year to the next! We'll see.

Okay. I'm going to bed.

The Voyage Home

This morning, we had a nice family brunch. The boys got some great time with their uncles and their aunt and cousins, and The Wife did an extraordinary job cooking steak and pancakes. (Not in the same pan.) We had a great time, and it was nice to have the whole family (save for two nieces, who were working) together. Aunt S and Uncle P played with the boys for about an hour in the basement.

After that, we went to Uncle B's house for a nice New Year's dinner of burritos. I love his burritos. It's just a normal thing of beef, taco sauce, cheese, and sour cream... but it's just special, the way Uncle B does it. His niece, Ava, came by and played with the boys. She was fascinated by Younger Bro, as most of us are. The boys liked the dogs as well.

The drive back to Pittsburgh was easy-peezy. We left Uncle B's at 7 and arrived in Pittsburgh at 1. The boys slept for the overwhelming majority of the trip, which meant that we didn't have to stop. There was no traffic, and the weather cooperated, except for a spatter of rain in the last 20 miles of the trip.

I have much to discuss, including some realizations about my family and our relationships, a discussion about some what-ifs, and the first New Year's with my college friends' children. Not now, because it's 2:25AM and I'm still jittery.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


2010: limped into existence with our tail between its legs; started horribly, finished fairly strong.

2011: keeping moving in a positive manner. Progress towards goal, as Grandma says.

Younger Bro fell asleep at our friends' party at 8:30, stayed asleep. The Boy made it to midnight but not past 12:02.

Here's to a new year. May you live in interesting times.

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