Archives for April 2012

Oh Dear…

Today, when I went to pick you up from daycare, we had a minor
surprise.  Each day we drop you off, we bring you a lunch and two cups
for milk.  We put it into the refrigerator as soon as we get there,
then take it back home with us when we pick you up.

Lucas, as soon as you see Mom or I come in the door, you will often go
back to the kitchen on your own, open the refrigerator, and pull out
your bag on your own.  The kitchen is on the other side of a door
within the daycare, and up until today, nobody thought anything about
it.

Today, however, you went through, and closed the door.  Normally,
that’s no big deal, except that you also started playing with the
lock.  I was quite calm about the whole thing… I figured that I
would just tell Lavigne , one of the teachers and owner of the
daycare, that we needed the key to the door.  When I told her, she
looked confused… “What key?”

“Well, it seems that Lucas closed this door and locked it with him on
the other side.  I need to get the door open to bring my boy home. ”
And at that moment, this dark-skinned woman went pale as a ghost as
she covered her mouth with her hand with and repeated the phrase “oh
dear” over and over.  you see, she did not HAVE a key, and for a
daycare to have a child behind a locked door was probably a big no-no.

For my part, I simply called to you through the door and said “Lucas,
can you open the door for me?”  At which point, I could see and hear
you fiddling with the doorknob, and in just a few moments you had
managed to unlock it.  I scooped you up and brought you home, with
Lavigne still muttering “oh dear.”

I let her know that at home, we have a small screwdriver that we keep
outside of the doors for just such a reason, and that since this was a
commercial lock on the door, she may wish to tape the key up top just
in case this should happen again.  The color started returning to her
face, and after perhaps one more “Oh dear,” we were on our way home.

Bring Your Kid to Work Day – 2012

Tomorrow is “bring your kid to work day,” and I have been waiting for this for over a month.  You see, I really WANT to bring you to work.  On the one hand, you two are like my ultimate show-and-tell project.  On the other, the idea of bringing two people whom I love so deeply with me is just plain cool!

Lucas, you are so into trains that I figure I can sit you down in front of the window in my office, and every 8-12 minutes you will be in train-heaven.  Anna, the more time you and I spend together, the better the time we have.  For example, after a weekend (what we call “Anna Lucas” days), you are typically so much warmer and affectionate than you are by the end of a week at daycare.  So bringing you with me to work is another opportunity to spend more time with you.

There are also a handful of other parents of youngsters in the office, and of course we periodically talk about our joys with children.  So bringing you in is an opportunity for us to meet and see who it is that we have all been talking (bragging) about.

The last reason I so want to bring you both with me is that when I am with you, my focus is so much on love – not just showing you love, but more for myself, focusing on who I really am, and being and coming from love in my interactions with you.  As much as I would like to be and come from love more broadly, I don’t always find it easy.  But you two just seem to bring out the best in me, and so having you there with me is an opportunity to re-focus on who I really am too.

Now, as far as how much work I’ll actually get done, well, that’s another story.  There will be activities and supervision for you during the morning, and I’m bringing your tents with me to set up in the office, but I also realize that the afternoon may not really be productive.  At least not from a work-standpoint. But from a love and being perspective, I’m quite sure that it will.

Pull My Finger

Even with “Pull my finger” as a title, I figure half of the people reading this will already have a distinct notion of what this post is about. But you see, my dears, this is actually about preconceptions and the power of laughter.

During dinner last night, Anna, you looked at Mom, pointed your finger at her and said “Pull my finger, mamma.” She didn’t, of course, but instead gave me the biggest stink-eye I’ve seen in quite some time – as if I had been teaching you what that was about all along, which I have not. Oh, I think I did it once, maybe twice about 6 months ago, but Mom made it clear that she did not want you two to be doing that.

“Pull my finger,” of course, is something that parents (OK, maybe Dads) the world over have been doing with their children for almost forever. Juddi certainly did it with my brother and me when we were younger. When the child pulls the parent’s finger, the parent passes gas, and the children think it’s hysterical.

Once, when I was a camp instructor in New Hampshire, I was teaching some of my coworkers how to rappel down the side of a mountain. There was this one fellow who was forever asking the campers to pull his finger. The kids, of course, thought it was hillarious. We, as his peers, being exposed to this week after week thought that it was more than a little immature.

So when he was learning to rappel, there is a technique where one hand goes behind your back, just below your waist to add friction to the rope, and is referred to as your break hand. The other hand sits above the breaking device, and in theory is not suposed to hold any of your weight. That one is called your guide hand. Except that when people just learn how to rappel, they are more than a little scared, and put far more of their weight on the guide hand, making it verry difficult to go down the mountain.

This fellow was in a near panic as he was half way down the mountain. He could not bring himself to get into proper form to descend, and there was no way he could climb back up. So I set up a secondary rope rather quickly, then I descended down to just above his level, half way down the mountain, so that I could calm him down and talk him through the process of getting back into proper form.

Normally, in order to ensure proper form in my students, I would tell them to “wave” at me with their guide hand to ensure that they knew they could take that hand off the rope completely. It sounds simple enough, but it’s actually quite scarry the first time people do it. He could not let go with his guide hand because he was not yet putting his weight on his break-hand.

Finally, since I was hanging out litterally 3 feet above him in mid-air on the side of the mountain, I bent down and told him “Look, if you’re not going to let go of your guide hand to wave, then there’s something really important that I need for you to do, else you will never get down off of this mountain, so pay attention.”

He was paying attention alright – he was terrified, and he knew that I was there to help him. His arms and legs were trembling, and the look of fear in his face was unmistakeable. Some of our peers were leaning over from the top of the rock, and others were standing down below in support of this fellow.

“Do I have your attention?”
“Yes, yes, of course… just get me out of here!”

I got into position so that my waist was just about at the level of his shoulders, then told him that everythig would be fine. I told him to look up at my hand, to take a deep breath, and then I asked if he was ready. Finally, wihtout any hesitation in my voice, and in a tone that was deadly serious, I told him “Good. There’s just one last thing to do…” and I told him to PULL MY FINGER!

Because that his been THE thing that this fellow was known for, everybody up top and down below burst out laughing. He looked up at me and knew that in his moment of greatest fear, I was able to reconnect him to his lighter side. He began to laugh, then tried to punch me with his guide hand.

“GOOD! GOOD! All your wieght is on your break hand now! Keep that position, and now let’s walk down the side of this mountain together.”

When we were both on the ground, we all had a good laugh about the whole thing, and he never asked another kid to pull his finger for as long as we worked together that summer.

So you see, my beloveds, “pull my finger” is not really about passing wind on command. Instead, it’s about the power of laughter and its ability to vanquish fear.

Diddle Diddle Dumpling

One of the nursery rhymes that we read to you two is

Diddle diddle dumpling, my son John,
Went to bed with his stockings on.
One shoe off, and one shoe on;
Diddle diddle dumpling, my son John.

So this morning, when I was driving you both into daycare, you both started singing that together. Initially, I just thought that it was cute, but when we got to daycare and I turned around, guess what?

BOTH of you had one shoe off and one shoe on!

Who Sat on a Duck?

As youngsters, you two seem to have an innate fascination on various bodily functions, not the least of which is passing gas. A while back, when you two started farting audibly, I would ask you “Did somebody just sit on a duck?” and you picked it up.

Recently, we were having a Skype conversation with Sithee and Grandpa, one of you farted, then exclaimed “I sat on a duck!” Sithee had no idea what you were talking about and started playing along as if you were pretending. Meanwhile, Mom and I were well aware of what was really going on at more levels than I can describe. Finally, I told Sithee what you meant by “Sitting on a duck,” and she nearly fell off her chair laughing.

I remember that when my brother and I were younger, it seemed that our Mom was invariably passing gas. As youngsters, we of course made great fun of it. There were actually times when I was upstairs asleep and I could hear her cheeks vibrating from downstairs in the kitchen. She will vehemently deny this, of course, but I remember it clear as day.

Meanwhile, my brother and I were often a less-than-charming pair, let me tell you. We had a habit of belching as loud as we could, largely trying to emulate our role-model who we affectionately call Dad. So at one point, our Mom got fed up with my brother and me and told us to “JUST STOP IT ALREADY!”

I remember telling her that we would stop when she did; that when she stopped farting, we would stop belching. Amazingly, she agreed, and for several days, things were actually rather quiet in our household from a flatulence point of view. We all still passed wind from both ends, of course, but we were far more subdued about seeking to maximize audible volume.

Then, one fateful evening while preparing dinner, Mom let it rip. Your uncle and I took one brief look at each other, and those few days of peaceful decorum rapidly evaporated as we both returned fire with a salvo of such proportions that I am literally torn between the laughter from my youth and my disgust and embarrassment retelling it as an adult.

Well, my beloveds, I am older now than my Mom was when all this was happening, and let me tell you, one of the many byproducts of being both older and a vegetarian is that all that fiber breaks down into lots of greenhouse gasses. So when you look at me and giggle that I sat on a duck, I can’t help but think back to my youth and fondly recall my mother.

QUACK! QUACK!

Not bad! Silly!

Anna, a while back, you did something like throwing your milk, bowl, or spoon. I Dont actually remember what it was. But when I told you that your behavior was bad, you responded with something like

“That’s NOT bad! I being SILLY!”

Were you actually recognizing that different people already see things from different perspectives? I doubt it, as that is not a cognitive level that comes until MUCH later. Regardless, it did make me wonder what kind of mental constructs you have going on inside your head.

You also do this thing where when Mom or I will ask you to do something, you say “Cry!” as if that is what it takes to get something. And today in the car on the way to daycare, you were saying “I no cry at daycare.”

I tried letting you know that it is OK to cry, but you were insistent that it is not OK to cry. What about at home? Is it OK to cry at home? “No. Anna not cry.” You do, of course, on a regular basis when you don’t get what you want. So again, your comments make me wonder what on earth is going through your head.

Lucas, a couple times at breakfast or dinner together when you have done something that you are not supposed to, you will belt out “That’s BAD! NO FOOD FOR YOU!” In what would best be described as your own personal rendition of The Soup Nazi, which you have clearly never been exposed to. Where would you be hearing “No food for you?”

It’s hard to tell what you are constructing on your own, what you might be hearing from other kids who bring in ideas from their own home, and what you might be hearing directly from those who run your daycare.

I have no doubt that as you both grow up, any number of odd turns of phrase and linguistic gaffs will arise, and for now, they are just baffling and fascinating.

Did Mommy Eat Me?

You two are both getting bigger all the time. Anna, you are already 3 feet tall. There was a time when you could not even REACH to the top of the dinner table, and now you can look over the top of it.

So recently, when I was commenting on how you are getting bigger, I was comparing you to when you were smaller, including when you were the size of my two hands, and even when you were the size of a pea when you were in mommy’s belly. You looked quite confused about being in there, then asked “Did Mommy eat me?”

I suppose it’s a fair question, and as you get older we’ll explain more and more about how all of that actually worked. For now, I just said “No, Mommy did not eat you.” and you seamed satisfied.

Honk!

Anna, I’ve been fighting a cold for more than the last week. Often, when I blow my nose, it makes quite a honking sound. So one morning when I was blowing my nose, you asked for a tissue too, at which point you proceeded to “honk” on your own.

Now, at first, I thought this was great progress, as you have previously never really understood the concept of BLOWING the snot out! But when you did it again, I noticed that you were not honking your nose at all, but just making that noise with your mouth underneath the tissue.

I suppose that’s what it appears I do from your perspective.

HONK!!