Twit

Do you remember, Dear Reader, the days when a television series would occasionally run one of those awful clip episodes? It was like the opposite of sweeps week. Anyway, we’re about to have one here on the ol’ Blog of the Dad.

What you probably don’t recall, because I cleverly buried the announcement in the middle of this random post, is that I am also on Twitter. I’ve been using it almost exclusively to broadcast the cute and/or hilarious statements that come out of my children’s mouths. It’s a lot easier to whip out my phone and type it verbatim than try to remember exactly what they said later when I’m writing up a post. Which is why there have also been fewer blog posts like dedicated to their quotes.

Those of you who actually read this on a real computer (as well as my one follower on Twitter — thanks Sara Bingham@WeeHands!) have no doubt been enjoying the tweets as they appear on the left-hand side of the screen as you scroll way, way down. But anyone who uses a mobile device to read this blog has been missing out.

Therefore, I have decided to post the Blog of the Dad’s First Annual Tweet Roundup! (Some tweets may have been slightly edited for consistency of format.)

(UPDATE: It has been pointed out to me that I ought to mention on I am @Blogofthedad on Twitter. However, if I made it that easy to enjoy my tweets I would not need to have a Second Annual Tweet Roundup.)

Feb 12

The Dad cooks dinner

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Feb 28

RU: (to MeToo) I want a croissant with butter and jelly. (To The Wife) We were just playing Starbucks.

The Wife: That’s kind of sad.

Mar 4

RU (in Tombstone, AZ): Today is a cowboy day, isn’t it, mamma?

Mar 7

Professional at work: the Wife changes Z’s diaper in airport in under a minute, without even unbuckling his carseat.

Mar 16

RU: My piano senses are ‘yes’ to play the piano.

Mar 29

MeToo: Ack, this spicy!

The Wife: If your beans are spicy why do you keep eating them?

MeToo: I don’t know. Ask the beans.

Apr 4

MeToo: One, two, peanut butter, five.

Apr 25

MeToo (seeing a commercial for waffle sandwiches): Oh my goodness!

May 20

RU (Holding toy phone): My babysitter was texting me while she was driving.

Wife: That’s not safe!

RU:  I know, I tried to text her that.

May 24

Wife: RU, why are you crying?

RU: You told me I have to have shoes to go to college but I’m not going to college for a long time!

May 25

MeToo: How’d you do that?

The Dad: I’m Superman.

MeToo: Yer not Sooperman.

The Dad: How do you know?

MeToo: RU’s Sooperman.

The Dad: Oh.

May 25

RU: Everyone starts as a little baby because if you had a grownup in your belly that wouldn’t feel good.

Jun 21

MeToo: I’m pissed off

The Dad: What did you say?

MeToo: ‘m pish’d uffp.

The Dad: What?

MeToo: I wanna push-up.

The Dad: Oh! Okay.

Jun 24

RU: MeToo is my baby.

MeToo: I baby!

The Dad: Why is she tied up?

RU: So she can have a nap.

The Dad: Great idea. Let me know if it works.

Jun 25

MeToo (running around the house): I ice skating! I ice skating! (Trips.) Ow. I fell off my bicycle.

Jul 4

Me: RU, this not the time to play around, this is time for hurrying.

RU: What’s “hurrying”?

The Wife: That explains SO MUCH.

Jul 6

RU: Guess what, Dad! Sometimes I can understand what MeToo says! When she says “yes” or “no” sometimes I know what she’s saying.

Jul 10

The girls and I have had a busy week and need to veg. So tonight it’s picnic and Max Fleischer Superman cartoons.

Jul 10

List of Lois Lane awesomeness (from 1940s!)

•Pilots airplane directly to mad scientist’s hideout

•Machine guns train robbers

•Saves Earth

Jul 12

MeToo (handing me a wooden block): Have a piece of cake!

Me: Mmm, what kind?

MeToo: Horsey!

Me: Ah… What kind of icing?

MeToo: Um. Pig!

Jul 16

My 2 year old (to me): We’re getting married. Here’s your helmet.

Jul 17

RU: You can flush for me, Granma, since it’s your birthday.

Jul 20

MeToo (putting on Disney princess underwear): “I got wookie panties. Like Shoebaca.”

I’ll call that a win.

Aug 4

MeToo: Hey! Somebody peed in my pants!

Aug 8

The Dad (to RU): I don’t really know about the customs and traditions of Arendelle.

Aug 11

The Dad: Hey, put that up. Rattles aren’t for digging.

RU: That’s a maraca, not a rattle.

Aug 11

RU: Daddy, look — it’s a tub full of shower.

Aug 19

(Swaps vehicle keys with the Wife. Finds car)

Hey, this is clean. What happened to all our stuff?

(Looks around again)

Oh. Wrong car.

Yep, Gravity Still Works

So, the kids were playing on the playground in a park we frequent. I was doing my usual helicoptering, keeping them nearly within arm’s reach. You know, within smothering distance. Mostly, I just want to position myself near any gaps in the upper level’s railing, usually where they put the fire pole. I’m always worried MeToo will decide (again) that she can reach it and slide down without assistance, or lurch towards the side without realizing there’s no rail there. As she and RU were playing nearish to one, I stood beside it (it was between the steps and the nearest slide, anyway, so a good staging ground for where I was most likely to be needed). MeToo was just starting to scale her way down the iron steps when I got a text on my phone.

The message was from my parents, saying they were in town and could meet us for —

Clank! Thump!

I ran around the metal steps to find MeToo lying on the ground. She was on her back but must have rolled over because she had dirt and sticks in her hair and mouth. I picked her up and held her as she started bawling.

Once I’d discerned there was no immediate emergency, my brain began to struggle with the puzzle of how did this happen. She was on the stairs. There are rails. She’d fallen onto the ground a good foot and a half from the steps. Maybe she could have ended up there if she’d climbed the rails and jumped off, but they’re nearly as tall as she is — she’s not nimble enough to get over them that quickly.

RU, helpful as always, tried to piece things together, CSI-style, by standing in the spot where she last saw MeToo, just prior to the accident. Like me, RU didn’t actually see the moment when it happened, but had been closer to MeToo than I had been.

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“The victim was standing on this step.”

The best explanation I can come up with is that MeToo wasn’t actually walking on the steps but was trying to climb down along the railing. She does this sometimes at home on our staircase. However, that railing projects out from the wall, so is over the steps themselves. This railing was out away from the steps by several inches. If MeToo hadn’t been looking and just placed her feet where she expected stairs to be… Well, the gap didn’t really look big enough for her to pass through, but her slipping between the bars of the railing was probably where the metallic “clank” came from.

Mind the gap
Mind the gap

By the time I’d figured that out, MeToo’s crying had downshifted a notch and I felt it was time to pick her up and take her to the car. Yes, MeToo agreed, she wanted to sit in the car and have her pacifier.

Actually, she sobbed when we were about halfway there, she’d be okay if she just had the pacifier. She’d be fine to go back to the playground once she had that comfort.

MeToo was still shaken when we reached the car but her crying was coasting to a stop. The pacifier calmed her nerves like a smooth cigarette and she was ready to get back into action — on the smaller of the two play structures, though.

A short time later, we met my parents for lunch a few streets over. When we related the story to them, and to the Wife who had met up with us by then, MeToo announced that she wanted to return to that park after lunch.

“I wan’ go back to the playgroun’ where I hurt myself.”

So we did. MeToo went right back to that spot and showed us, “That’s where I hur’ myself. Now, I go play.”

And she still asks to go back there.

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Mumbo Jumbo

It isn’t easy to pick out an amber teething necklace for your son, especially when you only have pictures on the Internet to go by. Is it going to end up looking too feminine on him? Will the size be what he needs? How good is the clasp? Is it going to be the real goods or no better than a piece of plastic?

The way these teething necklaces (allegedly) work is that amber (supposedly) has analgesic properties when its warm. When worn against the skin (so they claim) it can cut down on a baby’s teething pain.

Honestly, I thought it sounded like a lot of hokum when I first heard of it. Still, it’s not like they’re expensive and it’s better to be safe than to have a wailing baby, right? If our first baby had been a boy, I might not have been as willing to try it. As it turned out, I figured if it didn’t work, baby RU would still have something pretty to wear. (I guess I’m more okay with boys wearing jewelry that’s theoretically functional.)

I was concerned about the possible strangulation hazard a necklace might pose to a baby. The one we went with had a magnetic clasp that would’ve popped apart if the necklace was pulled on. Once RU was a toddler, that might have become a choking hazard, since she could have taken it off herself. As it happened, we had to replace it before that became too much of an issue. By then, we felt it was safe enough to get a screw-together clasp. Ideally, the necklace is just big/loose enough that it’s comfortable to wear, about like a shirt collar; it shouldn’t hang down enough to catch on anything.

Do they work, though?

It’s hard to say. RU never seemed to have any teething problems. Seriously, I think she got a little testy once when working on her molars. We can’t know if that was due to her necklace or not though — I sure didn’t take it off to see if that made things worse for her!

When MeToo was teething, she was a little more vocal about it. She had a different necklace. Maybe it didn’t work as well? On the other hand, MeToo is a lot more vocal about everything, in general. She certainly would’ve let us know if she was in a little discomfort, whereas it would have been just like baby RU to not make a fuss.

One of ours with a broken screw-on clasp.
One of ours with a broken screw-on clasp.

Little Z has now gone through his first teething episode; he’s got two bottom teeth now. He seemed to be pretty unhappy about the process, but he was also going through a wonder week and, maybe, a growth spurt. These things always seem to stack up on top of each other like that. Z’s amber teething necklace looks fine on him, but it doesn’t look or feel like an effective apothecary’s charm. The good stuff is supposedly the dark baltic amber, and RU’s first necklace certainly looked like it had the goods. Does that mean Z’s is worthless? Or is he just a different baby with different teeth?

RU's original necklace. If any of them have really worked for us, it'd be this one.
RU’s original necklace. If any of them have really worked for us, it’d be this one.

This website has the skeptical perspective. My take is that every kid is different and, if you think about it, each of these teething necklaces is a unique thing as well. Some may work better than others. Some babies may get more relief from their properties than others. It’s exactly the kind of thing that isn’t going to be consistent enough or clear enough for the Scientific Method to be able to give a thumb’s up to.

Do I give amber teething necklaces a thumb’s up? Since I can’t be sure, either, I may give just a single thumb out of two. Or maybe both thumbs kinda halfway up. It’s absolutely better than not doing anything — unless it’s exactly the same as not doing anything. But it shouldn’t make your kid feel any worse!

 

Shoebaca

Friday morning was overcast and gloomy but still humid enough to be yucky out. It just seemed like a “blah” day, and so I decided to let them indulge in some TV while I got dressed and fixed breakfast downstairs. I started to put on a Daniel Tiger but changed my mind.

“Do you girls want to watch Star Wars?”

RU exclaimed, “Yeah!”

“No,” MeToo grumbled.

“Hey, MeToo,” I said in that upbeat, falsely-enthusiastic tone of voice parents use to get a kid excited about eating green vegetables or visiting the dentist, “you wanna watch Star Wars?”

“Yeah! Yay, Star Wars!”

It’s been about six months since the girls watched Star Wars. The last time around, even RU had trouble focusing on what was going on. They seemed more involved and, I think, got more enjoyment out of it now. Being more mature by half a year certainly helped, as did watching the movie first thing in the morning rather than late at night.

A word of caution, though: even movies you fondly remember from your youth may be too intense for younger viewers, especially the first time or two they watch something. For a movie as mild as Star Wars, I’ve found that just sitting with or holding the kids through troublesome scenes is sufficient to get them through and maintain their interest.

As a guide, my girls used the word “scary” during the following scenes:

When R2-D2 is captured by the Jawas, from the time they begin watching him until he is reunited with C3PO.

The whole trash compactor scene was particularly scary.

Darth Vader is scary, especially at first. I think they got used to him a bit and by the time the heroes were running around on the Death Star, he was just menacing.

When the Tusken Raider pops up behind Luke and does an Arsenio Hall impersonation before beating him unconscious may have been scary but I had forgotten that moment was coming up and was downstairs at the time.

I had to juggle watching the film with my girls with making our food (nothing says “movie morning” like li’l smokies and coffee cake for breakfast) but I did manage to record some of the girls’ commentary. What follows is a brief transcript.

MeToo (every three minutes): “Where’s Shoebaca?”

MeToo (watching the Imperial Star Destroyer spin away in the distance as the droids’ escape pod falls to Tatooine): “Shoebaca gonna steal those people.”

The Dad: “What? Chewbacca will steal the people away from the bad guys?”

MeToo: “Yeah. Shoebaca gonna take his sword and knock that airplane away.”

(I went downstairs to get breakfast started. When I left, Luke had just met Obi-Wan, his aunt and uncle were still alive, and the word “Jedi” had not yet been spoken. I came back upstairs to find the characters standing in front of a blasted sand crawler, throwing Jawa corpses onto a pyre. Luke is saying he wants to learn to be a Jedi, like his father.)

The Dad: “Did I miss anything important?”

RU: “No, nothing really happened.”

MeToo (during the Cantina scene): “There’s Shoebaca!” (Then, anytime the film cuts to any other character) “Where’s Shoebaca go?”

RU (upon Han Solo’s first appearance):  “Why is Chewbacca’s friend here?”

Once the action left Tatooine, they were either more fully absorbed by the story or getting bored; either way, their questions and exclamations died down. When I came up with the food, though, MeToo came running and met me at the stairs.

“Daddy, daddy! You miss it!”

“What happened? What’d I miss?”

“Shoebaca!”

Make Things More Simple

Apologies, Dear Reader, for the late post this week. As this is National Simplify Your Life Week, I had decided to just write the post directly in binary code to save my computer the effort of translating it into the raw data it shoves out my Internet pipes. I mean, it doesn’t get any simpler than just reducing all letters and numbers down to just a series of two different symbols, right? I only Got as far as “01000010 01100101 01100011 01100001 01110101 01110011 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01001110 01100001” before blood came out my nose and ruined the scratch paper I was working on.

That was when I decided that my tips for how to make your life simpler probably weren’t very good.

Hitchhiker 

We found this little guy clinging to the van’s antenna this morning. It blew off when I hit the interstate, although I’d stayed under 75 for it. (We were almost at our exit, whereupon we would’ve been going at least a little slower. I think if it’d held on just a little longer it could’ve lasted the whole way.)

We weren’t sure what it was so I snapped a picture of it. At first, it looked like it might have been a cicada. Once it spread its wings out a little it, however, we decided it was either a dragonfly or a hallucination induced by lack of sleep.

YOU SEE IT TOO, RIGHT???

Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!