Sunday, January 22, 2006

The toilet monster

If you are looking to toilet train your kids, I suggest NOT starting with this.

Go Steelers!

Jessica: Look! It's the Stee-lows!
Mom: And what are they playing?
Jessica: Foobow!
Mom: Do you like Football?
Jessica:No, I like yellow and green.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Ascension Revisited

We went back to REI today. Natalie of course climbed today. And she made it to the top! Dang, we're proud. this will come in really handy come spring time when I need someone to get frisbees unstuck from trees.

Daddy climbed too. While he made it to the top as well, most muscles were either pulled, strained, or bruised. Any that weren't considered themselves quite lucky.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

All wet and sparkly

Picture this. Your daughter is playing in her room. Suddenly there's a loud crash, three seconds of stunned silence, then the piercing scream of a 5-year-old in turmoil. You run upstairs to find her soaking wet and covered in sparkles.

What could possibly have happened?

On Monday night my wife was out, Nat and Jess were upstairs playing, and I like a good, watchful father, was bumming around on the computer and ignoring my children. Natalie was busy hosting a surprise birthday party for her imaginary friend, Alicia.

The party was going well, from what I could hear filtering down the stairs. All her imaginary friends were there, the imaginary cake was cut, the imaginary presents (which were actually grocery bags filled with random crap from throughout the house) were being opened, and the imaginary list of names for thank you notes was being maintained by Jessica (who of course can't write). There was only one thing

Natalie decided that, to keep the flow of the party going, she should play some tunes from her carousel horse music box/snow globe on her dresser. This thing is a beautifully decorated snow globe with a carousel horse in it, and a typical wind-up music box in the base. It weights a good five pounds.

She picked it up off her dresser, and attempted to wind up the key on the bottom. Trouble is, she turned the key the wrong way and ended up unscrewing it. The key promptly disappeared down her sleeve. As she shook her sleeve trying to get the key out, she somewhat absentmindedly placed the snow globe back on the very edge of the dresser with her other hand. The key fell to the floor, and as she bent down to pick it up, the snow globe toppled off the counter and smashed over her head.

How she escaped major injury is beyond me. But when I found her she was, as I stated earlier, soaking wet and covered in sparkles. The sparkles were a combination of tiny shards of glass and sparkly snow globe contents. When I asked her "are you ok?" and "what happened?", I was only able to get, "WWWAAHHWWHAAGGGHSNOWGLOBEHEADBROKEWETWEAAHHWAAAAGGGGHH!" out of her, so I proceeded down the trail of forensic science without any input from her. Soon she calmed down just enough to demand that mommy get home. Given the amount of glass all over her and her bedroom floor, and the fact that Jessica was left unattended in her kitchen stool downstairs, I figured that was probably a wise idea.

So we called mommy, at which point Natalie attempted to explain over the phone how the snow globe attacked her, and how we need to go back to the Carousel Museum in Bristol, CT to buy her a new one NOW, and how even in the movie Madagascar they always had a supply of snow globes, and how life just won't be worth living without a snow globe in her room and how no one fixes booboos like mommy and how Alicia's party is ruined and how she wants grapes as a snack before bedtime. At some point I did manage to get a word in to Let my wife know that there was no blood and that she shouldn't panic.

Jessica, meanwhile noticed that Natalie seemed to be sucking up a particularly high volume of attention from mom and dad. She grabbed the phone and told mommy, "I fell and hit my head on the paper bag." This was true. Minor, but very important in a two-year-old's mind for the purposes of equal attention.

So if anyone asks why we missed last Monday's episode of 24, there ya go.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Dad, what's a down?

Having been brought up in Connecticut (The Land Without Sports) and not being from a sport-centric family, any friend of mine will tell you I'm atheleticially challenged. I don't know my MLB from my AFC, my two-minute warning from my seventh-inning stretch. I've been living in Pittsburgh (The Land of Black Milk and Golden Honey) for about a dozen years now, and I still don't get it. Only this year have I begun watching the Steelers play, simply because I've gotten tired of not having an answer to the age old question, "y'inz watch the game n'at yesterday?" (and because it's much more fun to watch in hi-def). I still struggle, however, to comprehend the massive force that is the passion of the average Pittsburgh sports fan, but I think it's got something to do with Myron Cope.

Which leads me to today's topic. Yesterday we, as a family, along with some friends of ours, watched the Steelers barely hold the lead for a playoff win against the Colts. Even I can say that the game was worth a few doses from the defibrillator towards the end. And poor Natalie was set back about 18 months in getting out of her "startle reflex", after being so frightened by the yelling and screaming of my buddy Mike (an avid fan and lifelong Pittsburgher, and therefore one of those crazies) that she tried desperately to climb back into mommy's womb several times just in the first half.

During the game, I had to answer Natalie's occasional question about how the game is played:

Steelers! Steelers! Dad, why did they tackle him?
Cuz, that's the point of the game.
But doesn't that hurt?
Well, yeah, probably.
Wouldn't it be more fun if they got along better?
Go get me a beer.

Dad, what happened?

He intercepted the ball, then fumbled it, but recovered his own fumble.
What's an interception?
If I throw the ball to mommy but you catch it, you intercepted.
So, what's a fumble?
You dropped it.
What's recovered?
you pick it up again.
Why'd he drop it?
It slipped out of his hands.
Was the ball slippery?
well, no.
So, shouldn't he have held onto it?
I think you're starting to get it.

Dad, what's a first down?
Well, that's when the team advances the ball past that yellow line. It sort of gives them a first turn again.
But how come the line keeps moving?
Well, the line's not really there. It's just shown on the TV, but the players can't see it.
If they can't see it, how do they know when to stop running?
They don't stop until they make it to the end or are tackled.
So why do they need a first down then?
Go read a book.

Dad, what are those words and numbers on their shirts?
That's so you know who's who. See #36? his name is Jerome Bettis.
So, why is he number 36?
They looked deep into his soul, and assigned him a number based on the order in which he joined?
Dad, what are you talking about??
Not a Simpsons fan, I guess?

What's a false start?
Someone on the team started moving before they said "hike".
They're going on a hike?
No, they just say "hike" to start the play.
They're just playing?
No, the play, it's when they first start moving.
Dad, when's this going to be over? I want to watch Dora.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Eyeglass screwdrivers

Hey guys out there. Have you ever been asked your opinion on a gift to get for a baby shower? I didn't think so. BUT, should it ever come up, here's my suggestion:

A set of eyeglass screwdrivers and a pair of wire cutters.

Very few new dads own screwdrivers tiny enough to open those little battery doors. And of course the wire cutters will reduce the time spent opening toys tremendously. They will appreciate the thoughtfulness. And, if you really like the guy, toss in a case of beer.

Speaking of bad packaging

A friend sent a gift to my kids today via Amazon, and it takes children's toy packaging to a new low. Rather than the typical wires, plastic, and tape, they toy is actually SCREWED to the packaging, using two hard plastic washers screwed through the cardboard into the back of the toy with a couple of little eyeglass screws. Unbelieveable. And to make matters worse, this toy (a little walkie-talkie) has a "demo" button on the front that pops out of the package so people can try it out on the shelves. Which means, of course, that by the time YOU get to wrestle the package open about ten thousand people have pressed the button before you got it, killing off the battery. Once you turn the unit on, the demo button no longer functions. So, why is it there? Oh yeah, to sell more batteries.

Monday, January 09, 2006

That explains it.

A friend forwarded this joke to us. It explains a lot.

After their baby was born, the panicked Jewish father went to see the obstetrician Dr. Cohen.

"Doctor," Mr. Spiegel said, "I don't mind telling you, but I'm a little upset because my daughter has red hair. She can't possibly be mine."

"Nonsense," the doctor said. "Even though you and your wife both have black hair, one of your ancestors may have contributed red hair to the gene pool."

"It isn't possible," the man insisted. "This can't be, ur families on both sides had jet black hair forgenerations."

"Well," said the doctor, "let me ask you this. How often do you have sex?"

Spiegel seemed a bit ashamed. "I've been working very hard for the past year. We only made love once or twice every few months"

"There you have it!" the doctor Cohen said confidently. "It's just rust."

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Some old family photos

My dad and I have been gradually putting together a family tree. Along with it, we've managed to scan in a few long lost portraits in hopes of preserving them. Here's a few shots of my mom's family. Okay, so it's not a post about the kids, but it's all in the family.

Monday, January 02, 2006


Over Thanksgiving, Natalie stunned her parents and the general public. We went to the local newly-opened REI store over Thanksgiving weekend. While there she discovered the Pinnacle, which is the store's freestanding indoor climbing wall. I told her what it was, and immediately she wanted to try it. I didn't think that they would even LET a 5 year-old child climb, but they were more than willing to allow her. So up she went. And she made it almost to the top.

Here are some pics of our little spidergirl.

I'd say something to the effect that she's showing shades of her father there, but she failed to come down all bloody and bruised so she's obviously got more work to do before she completely mimics me. But heck, I was impressed. And mom was a tad nervous. Good thing grandma wasn't there that day.