Wednesday, May 28, 2014


We had a thunderstorm tonight. The 3 month old fell asleep before it started, and the three-year-old ended up falling asleep while mommy sat with her.

Walking home from the park, Tadpole asked about thunderstorms, and we went a little bit Magic School Bus in our explanation: we showed her the grey clouds and talked about how water up there was joining into little water droplets, which would turn into raindrops and fall down.  And how the grass (and our garden!) really wanted that water.  I don't think we got into root systems, but we did talk a bit about lightning, charges separating, and electricity jumping between the clouds and the ground.  I talked about how that made a lot of energy and the thunder was part of that energy.  R talked about about how the thunder was the lightning saying 'hi'.  (Aside - myths, folktales, and kids stories seem less silly now that I'm a parent)

Tadpole ate it up.  She asked us to tell the story of the thunderstorms at least three times, and filled in words and phrases as we went on.  This was exciting and a way to use words and things.

And then we went inside and she said "I don't like the thunderstorm because it's loud and scary."

Yep, kiddo, it is.  We can tell you stories and use words and reassure you that you're safe and talk about being in a brick house which is the one that the big bad wolf can't even blow down, but at the end of the day lightning and thunder are scary.  And thinking about them is scary.  And maybe in the moment we can watch them together and have fun with that so that you have a not-scary experience of thunderstorms.  But for now, while you're three, words and stories and experiences are very, very far apart, and I'm not going to keep you up until 10:30 to watch the lightning and laugh together and process the experience.  But I will hold you and hug you, whenever you let me.

Unrelated aside - at bedtime, I was singing "Somewhere over the Rainbow" and Tadpole informed me that:
"Soon we're going to get a rainbow"
"Yes.  We're going to get it in a package from Amazon.  We're going to get two packages from Amazon and one will have a rainbow in it and the other one will have other things."

So also there's that.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Two anecdotes

We took the girls out to a park and Ice Cream yesterday. On the way home, Sprout (3 months) began loudly explaining that she was hungry and tired of being in her car seat.  Tadpole decided to comfort her sister:
Sprout, if you would like to watch the Cars movie when we get home, you need to refrain from whining.
R and I sat stunned for a moment, then laughed. Encouraged, Tadpole continued.
And what do we say to that? Mind Blown!!

At the end of dinner, Tadpole was doing "Rock and Roll" fingers. Somehow these also became a phone to discuss her schoolwork on.
Ring, Ring. Oh hello Rock and Roll. I traced sandpaper letters with [classmate] today.
Me: hello Tadpole. What letters did you trace.
No, Rock and Roll, I don't want to talk about school anymore. I'm just going to be quiet.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

We should all be Type A

Tadpole discovered the story of the three little pigs recently.  In our story, the little piggy with the brick house is Type A.  Much like mommy.  At the end of the story, Tadpole announced:
"I'm a bit Type A."
"Yeah.  Just like mommy."
"So you like having everything just so?"
"Everybody should be Type A!"

OK kiddo. We'll talk about work-life balance when you're older.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Daily Dispatches

Tadpole's on fire this afternoon.

Driving home from school, after confirming that she ate lunch:
Yeah and I took a nap!

Great! Did you do any work?

Yeah but I don't want to talk about it!


I did new work today. It was cloth washing!

Oh? What did you use?

We need a basket and a small cloth and some unsafe sugar!


Yeah and I used the unsafe sugar and I cleaned with the small cloths.

What did you clean?

I don't want to talk about it!

Later at the library she was mostly dashing about excitedly, but she did sit long enough to help me look up some call numbers, and later to check out Hugo- and Nebula-nominee Ancillary Justice.

On the way home, we passed a fair being set up:

Daddy I'm going to go on the Ferris wheel and not you and mommy and Sprout just me. I'm going to go one the Ferris wheel and a horse and a helicopter and a boat and a car to go visit my friends across the ocean.  But when I'm older.

Yes you will kiddo. What else is there to say?

Monday, May 12, 2014


R and I have been thinking a bit about how to introduce Tadpole to religion when she gets a bit older.  Tonight, somehow gods (Greek mythology?) came up in conversation and we asked Tadpole about them.

"Do you know what gods are kiddo?"

"Yes. They're like the captains of a big white boat."

<general laughter, pleased smile on Tadpole's face.>

"Mommy, are you going to cry happy tears?"

A good evening, with a very observant child.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Happy Friday!

It's still Friday as I start this anyway.  Both girls are asleep.  Sprout slept straight until 5:30 this morning, and while I don't dare expect or hope that will continue, I am certainly going to celebrate the sleeping baby whenever she does sleep through the night.

Big sister Tadpole tricycled (with some help) to a park close to one of the local schools this afternoon and so go to play on a playground otherwise populated by older kids! (High school? Old grade schoolers? Dunno. Old enough to think she was cute and charming, not an inconvenience). Riding the see saw with an older kid? Giant, giant smiles!

On the domestic front, I'd reconciled myself to a total dud in the various batches of beer I most recently brewed, but I cracked the second round of vanilla porter tonight and it was drinkable! Flatter than I'd like, but I get to drink my own beer tonight, which is a pretty great feeling!

So all in all a good Friday. Did I mention both girls are asleep and Tadpole went to sleep by herself with little drama!

(Above is "baby Amphisbaenia", a mythical two-headed snake featured in a book we checked out from the library a while ago.)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Geese, I guess?

Driving back from grocery shopping yesterday, I pointed out a pair of geese to Tadpole, but by the time she looked, we'd passed them.  A few moments later:

Look daddy! A goose! Just one goose.

Neat! Where?

We passed it already.

Oh. OK. Well thank you for pointing it out.

Did you see it?

No, but I'm glad you did.

Yeah. I saw it.  My eyes are better than yours. 


Your brown eyes have trouble.  But my blue eyes are really good. So I saw it because of my blue eyes.

So I see two geese on the side of the road, point them out to Tadpole, and eventually get told that my eyes aren't good based on their color because they can't see an imaginary goose.

Three, people.  She'll be here for the next 15 years, not tipping her server.

On a slightly related note, this mostly made me realize how different her conception of using words to say that we saw a goose is from mine.  Whatever those words mean to her, it's not what they mean to me.  I've been reading the Lives of some early medieval saints, and there's a recurring episode where the saint comes across a village of pagans and basically takes over their bodies, making them freeze or dance, in order to disrupt their ritual and/or show them the power of God.  In the same way that "I saw a goose" just means something fundamentally different to Tadpole than it does to me, I'm pretty sure these episodes meant something fundamentally different to their authors and audiences.  In all cases, I wish I understood what was going on there. I think the world would be more interesting.

It's just so tough to be Three

We've been noticing a lot lately that it's just so tough to be three. (Which I cannot hear in anything other than the tune to "I just can't wait to be king" from The Lion King.)

It's hard when you need to go to bed and daddy's been clear that you need to be quiet and go to bed but you just pooped in your diaper but you can't tell daddy so you writhe around until he leaves and mommy comes in so you can tell her.

It's hard when daddy asks whether you remember the nightmare that woke you screaming and asking where mommy was. No! But now it's necessary to be carried and clingy all morning. Who mentions nightmares the next day?

It's hard when daddy asks if his shoulder smells like milk and so you try to nurse like your sister and you bite him and he gets mad. How were you supposed to know he was just commenting on how your baby sister spit up there earlier.

It's hard when you want a fruit bar but it's in two pieces and daddy won't hand them over. Of course screaming is the only solution here. There's no call for daddy to laugh. None.

Going on a bear hunt outside is totally awesome!!!

So awesome that you forget about potty and pee in your clothes right after coming inside.  

It's tough when you take a bath because there's all this water right there and you have a mouth plus daddy seems to want to play a game where he reacts a lot if you pretend to drink the water, but why does daddy get upset when you try to play the game? You waited until the bath was done because you've learned drinking bath water is the fastest way to get out ...

It's just so hard to be three.  And so, so hard when daddy makes the choices he does. Time to step it up and not talk hard daddy.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

All the Muffins and Bagels in the Land

With apologies to Josh Lyman, had I not been leaving the bedroom of one sleeping child and walking into a room with another, it's likely I would have recreated his famous scene. As it was, I contented myself with a few fist pumps.

Tadpole's bedtime routine has been on a rocky road towards improvement, with last night a near-total disaster in which I had to call in R to finish things off.  But last night I articulated one very specific change I needed to make: if Tadpole was having trouble settling calmly after we finished books, I would default to assuming she needed to go potty. Tonight I did exactly that, she went potty, then fell asleep easily.  Hence, Josh Lyman.

Two observations and a few other nice things:
First, a successful bedtime tonight does not mean tomorrow will be easy.  After last night'a disaster, it was comforting to be able to approach tonight as a whole new bedtime. I've learned the hard way that one good night does not a pattern make, but it can get my hopes up and lead to frustration down the line.
Second, bedtime has taught me that parenting often provides many opportunities to get it right. I might be happier when I handle a situation well the first time, but as long as I can look back on tough situations and think of something new to try, I'll probably have another opportunity to handle it well later. (Any suggestions for a girl who signals she's ready to end the bath by trying to drink dirty bath water? :)

Other things that have made me happy recently:
N.K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy is coming out in an omnibus edition with a new novella. Jemisin is one of my favorite authors, so this is fantastic news!

In the latest "What If?", the creator of XKCD answered a 4 year old who wanted a billion story skyscraper. 

Twenty years ago this week, Internet came to NPR. Melody Kramer (@mkramer) has the initial memo. It's delightful. 

 Today, happy thoughts. Soon, why it's been so tough to be three, recently.

What's that on your face?

Possible appearances to the contrary, this isn't about my lack of shaving.  More a public service announcement:
If you make coffee using an Aeropress (recommended)
Use the inverted method (recommended by many, though I've never really had it work)
Spill coffee grounds on the bottom of the tube because you're not using the funnel.

It is, theoretically, possible to clear the grounds off by blowing on them.  In practice, however, you're likely to accidentally blow into the tube of finely ground coffee.  Which will end up in your eyes, the coffee mug, the floor, etc.