My youngest, Little Pink, has introduced a game of make-believe that can only be named, and described, as “Baby Pig”. Essentially, she takes to all fours and crawls around the apartment emitting little whimpers and whines which are, I assume, meant to resemble what an actual baby pig would vocalize. During this time, she will only answer when addressed as “Baby Pig” and she will only perform in such a manner befitting a baby pig.
I have no idea where this game came from or why it is so entertaining to her. This is not an occasional foray into Baby Pig-land, but an oftentimes lengthy sojourn that lasts for hours. This may lead to a young children’s book I am kicking around called “Spending a Day with Baby Pig”. It will be 87 pages of onomatopoetic pig noises.
My to-do list for the day involves: writing a little (and…done), bathing the children and dog (not at the same time, thanks.), and cleaning and preparing for the family camping trip this weekend. The dog needs scrubbed because, for one thing, she stinks and also because she will be taking her first visit to a “doggie hotel” during our trip. I call it a “doggie hotel” instead of a boarding facility or kennel when I mention it to her in hopes that she will be excited and happy about her little vacation. Ignoring the fact that she is a Pomeranian and that she has a brain the size of a walnut, I could probably call it “the doggie torture chamber” and she would respond with the same mouth-agape wide eyed face she always displays. Regardless, the dog hates camping. It is the complete opposite of what she finds entertaining and comfortable. Instead, we are giving her two nights in a deluxe suite complete with a comfortable cot and lambskin bedding, ample personal attention and an in-suite television tuned to “pet-related programming with all happy endings”. This is the description given to me by the all-too personable lady on the telephone. All the while I’m thinking, “I don’t think I have ever seen the dog watch television. I’m pretty sure she has never acknowledged the television’s existence”. But nothing is too good for our little Princess Walnut Brain.
Also on my plan for the day is waiting impatiently for UPS to deliver my new toy, a tenor ukulele. I am beyond excited and, like a doofus, have been clicking on the UPS package tracking site three times a day for updates on its progress. When it comes I will share my thoughts and maybe even offer up some samples of my virtuosic playing. Yes, you are that lucky.
Since my wife and I made the decision to downsize some things, we have been eliminating possessions like hot air balloon ballast. Our garage sale that was held last weekend was a big step in getting our “stuff” down to a manageable size. Don’t get me wrong, we still have too much stuff; it’s just that now there is a little bit less of it.
Obviously, the act of moving into an apartment from a house requires the jettison of some now-superfluous items. Lawn and garden tools have been rendered unnecessary along with a great deal of other “fix-it” items from the garage. Our basement, once a storehouse for excess (and excessive) furniture is now all but bare, with a small pile of boxes in the corner that is ready to move. Honestly, our front yard looked like a flea market furniture store last Saturday, and it all sold. In fact, other than my Newcastle Brown Ale sign (which I was reluctant to part with anyway) the few items that did not sell are already packed up and ready to be dropped off to a local non-profit.
The miracle part of this whole process is that we also managed to get rid of a lot of toys that the girls either don’t really play with anymore or that are too big to take with us. They honestly didn’t really care about most of them. With the exception of a large Mickey Mouse ball, which Little Pink looked at longingly for a few seconds, the kids didn’t put up any fuss about it. They have certain things that they play with on a regular basis. I think that they have a better understanding of what they value and what they enjoy playing with thanks to this little exercise. In fact, I think that parents (and grandparents) tend to assign value to toys more so than the kids do. I know that as they age, their desires and demands will become more difficult to dissuade. Right now, though, they seem pretty reasonable and rational when it comes to possessions. Our oldest will entertain herself with a mirror; that’s just how she is. Our youngest does more actual playing with toys, such as the dollhouse and Barbies, but she has particular favorites, and most of the time she will occupy herself for hours with a small doll and a couple of outfits.
Again, they still have too much stuff, but it is a workable amount for now. I have a feeling that the real battle will begin as we approach the holiday season. If any grandparent decides to go a little “crazy” on the gifts this year, they will also need to budget in the storage unit rental that will need to accompany said purchases. We don’t have the room. This is a good thing, in my opinion. It frees up funds to buy one quality gift that the girls will really enjoy. All too often, I feel, people employ a “spray pattern” of gift buying for kids instead of targeting their specific desires. I know that 75% of gifts purchased for my kids get played with approximately once before they are tossed into the toy box and forgotten about. Sometimes this is simply because so many more toys get piled on top that they never see it again. In order to combat this, I would like my kids to pursue activities that interest them. Toys and activities aren’t just ways to kill time or a distraction for kids; they are modeled interests that reveal parts of their personality. They are tools that allow kids to explore and grow in the world. If you don’t let them focus on the things that interest them, they will never know what does interest them. If I constantly introduce new toys into the mix, then they never have time to actually be interested in anything. I wouldn’t be surprised if the cause of ADD was too many damn toys as a kid.
There comes a time in every parent’s life where they sit, eyes wide in amazement as they marvel at just how much the kid’s movie they are watching absolutely sucks. Anyone who happens to have a copy of The Care Bears Movie knows what I’m talking about. This is why I have named this phenomenon the Care-Bear-Stare, in accordance with the movie. Glazed eyes, mouth open in astonishment of just how horribly thought out this show, movie, etc. might be. The only thought that runs through my mind during the C.B.S. is how these people still manage to have jobs in an “entertainment” business. If I would be as bad at my job as these people are, something would have exploded by now; and I work in an office.
I pretty much C.B.S. my way through each mornings “Arthur” episode during breakfast. I would prefer Blue’s Clues, but for some reason the girls really like that horrible show featuring that irritating, whiny um…hamster? Continue reading Untimely Movie Review→
This past weekend was a whirlwind of home projects and accomplishments. My wife and I dropped the kids off at her Mother’s and proceeded to paint three-quarters of the interior of the house. It has needed it for years, since we moved in, actually. This was probably our best paint job yet, and we know a thing or two about painting. We gave ourselves plenty of time to achieve our goal and checked off smaller goals as they were accomplished. We taped and did prep work the first night, did two coats of trim around the windows, doors and woodwork the second day and rolled on two coats to finish on the third. A little cleanup and curtain hanging on Sunday and we were done. We even managed to fit in a little yard work after we picked up the girls. Plenty of good energy and a well-accomplished weekend. The point is, we didn’t get into a rush for our results. We gave ourselves the time we needed to do things properly. We didn’t get tired or sloppy and it shows. In a way, my own health journey is similar to this methodology. Celebrate small goals, take your time and enjoy.
By the time we finished up on Saturday night, we were in no mood to cook dinner for ourselves. This meant throwing ourselves to the mercies of restaurant food. Continue reading A Productive Weekend→
I don’t remember snowmen being so hard to make. It must be one of the things that goes with age, like hearing or the appreciation for sour candy. To the left, you can see my wife’s snowspider. It is a very happy snowspider. It is probably just happy to be near such an obviously cool snowman.
I won’t mince words (or is it mint swords?) about the wintertime, I’m not a fan. No, sir, I don’t like it. The cold is the major issue for me. I don’t like being cold. People who say they don’t mind the cold are people who just want to be different from you when you say you don’t like it. “I enjoy the change of seasons” these mentally deranged people bleat. You could stand before them being attacked by Colobus monkeys and screaming for help, and they would stand there being attacked by the very same monkeys, stating how they don’t mind the shrieking monkey attacks so much. “It’s a nice break from the day” they might say. “At least they don’t have thumbs!” they may throw out. These people, I offer, are buttheads. You can keep your lake-effect snows and monkey attacks; I prefer a somewhat warmer climate. But since I also like a brisk dichotomy, I will profess that I enjoy snow. It’s pretty and it’s fun to play in, at least until snow’s friend Numb Extremities comes to visit. Continue reading No Fun Like Snow Fun!→