Laid Bare

Does your child do this? Strip crayons of their wrapper; exposing the somewhat fragile, somewhat sticky inside, leaving piles of wax paper shrapnel in their wake? This is the Cricket’s latest thing.

Barin' it all

Barin’ it all

I would like to think a naked crayon has a better “feel” and allows her to better express her creativity. Yeah, I am sure her Picasso-esque piece is on its way. Or maybe she is developing her fine motor skills. Chime in Developmental Psychologists. Unfortunately, there is no room for naked crayons in our bag. Oh no, those buff colors are put in their own place for some soon-to-be-discovered awesome recycling project. Suggestions?

Un-wrapper Undercover

Un-wrapper Undercover

We Interrupt This Program…

Yeah, they do that when you don’t pay your registration fees.

can't quite see

Can’t quite see…

So those of you who stopped by on Wednesday may have gotten a screen with just an error message on it. No worries, nothing happened, I just forgot to pay for the next year’s hosting. That’s all, minor oversight…and we went dark.

Really? You didn't pay the bills?

Really? You didn’t pay the bills?

Anyone else out there distracted? Holiday shopping, decorating (going on our fourth day and we’re still not done), visiting with friends and family? Well, just be sure to take some time out for you. Getting us back up and running took one minute, exactly one minute. So make sure you take at least one minute for yourselves.

Ha! Silly Daddy!

Ha! Silly Daddy!

So you’re probably wondering what these pictures of the Cricket have to do with a lapsed registration fee. Honestly, nothing. I just figured I would pepper an otherwise boring post with her pictures. Just gratuitous cuteness. Enjoy.

I love holiday cookies!

I love holiday cookies!

 

Birthday Cosplay

We had a surprisingly busy spring this year. Wife and I have been distracted by a home renovation project that will soon become the focus of our lives, and probably the focus of some posts, too. Add to that the other life stuff that happens every day and here we are already in June. Because we were so busy, we decided to keep Sweetie’s birthday party low-key this year. Tough to do in general, but she has been attending parties for classmates and friends and that just adds to the pressure. Needless to say there was not much to post about from this year’s party. It was nice and all, but nothing like last year. So I decided to take you all back..

Sweetie chose a Curious George theme for her 3rd birthday. That was great because there is plenty of stuff at the local party store for Curious George – he’s a popular little monkey. Sweetie’s godfather, Micompadre, upped the party ante though when he asked/suggested/challenged me to dress up to fit the theme.

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Micompadre let me know that he owned a monkey suit and would happily join me in the fun, as you can see. With his support, and a giant costume store just down the street, it was on. Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat were in attendance.

George!!!

George!!!

Now despite the obviously high quality of our costumes, not all of the kids loved it. In fact, many of them had a look that was either incredulity or horror. We kept moving and didn’t stay in front of any child too long in order to avoid breakdowns. And thanks to the quality costumes and unseasonably warm day, our time in costume was quick.

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Just a man and his monkey friend

I have to give all credit to Micompadre. Without his push I would not have added this to our party planning. There are wonderful and fun places to go when family supports you. So something else to add to the list of things I didn’t see myself doing: cosplay for a birthday cause. But the parents out there are not surprised; they’ve done it too. To the would-be dads: expect to wear many different hats as a father, some that you never thought you would even consider. I think this is especially true for a stay-at-home dad. But when you see your little girl’s face light up, and the mood of the party shifts to “fun-silly”, it’s worth it.

Random Thought for Thursday: Nose Hair

“Daddy, when I get older will I have hair come out of my nose?”

Sweetie asked me this question from the back seat and I immediately felt that I had to handle it delicately. She had been quiet prior to the asking, so I knew it was something she was thinking about. I didn’t want her thoughts to turn into worries.

Everyone knows that everyone has hair in their nose, right? Rather, everyone who is not 3 years old know this. I couldn’t tell her she already had hair in her nose. What if I made her feel silly for asking the question? What if this fact of nature freaked her out?

I am a fairly hairy guy (good Eastern European genes there), and I happen to be approaching 40. So I am losing hair where I want to have it (on my head), and growing it where I don’t want it (ears, eyebrows and nose). Any guy who is getting older can tell you this happens. So I know half of the population does grow more nose hair as they age. But is it the same for women?

 While I was weighing the best way to answer Sweetie’s question, she piped up:

“If I don’t, then all the dust and garbage and stinky houses will all get in.”

Yes, you read that right, dust and garbage and stinky houses. Maybe this was not such a concern after all. Maybe this was just part of their lesson plan of the week: learning about the senses.

“Yes, honey, I imagine you will.”

Question answered, on to the next one.

What can I ask next?

What can I ask next?

It’s the principle

“Ain’t the size [of the scratch] that’s in question here, it’s the principle.”

I was reminded of this quote when Sweetie made some bad decisions at a recent play date. She decided to bring a toy home from her friend’s house, but didn’t bother asking. That’s right – THIEF!

Obviously “life lessons” take all shapes and come from all places. We all know it’s cliché, but yes, even Hollywood can capture a lesson on the big screen. The above quote is from Pharaoh Joe, a character from George Lucas’ movie American Graffiti. American Graffiti is one of George Lucas’ earlier, sometimes overlooked, films. Set in 1962, it is Lucas’ ode to the 60’s, when he was a teenager living in California. The movie draws on his experience and tells a coming of age story involving girls and growing up, cruising and cars.

Cover

One of my favorite scenes shows a heavyhearted Curt (Richard Dreyfuss) brooding in front of an appliance store. He’s sitting on a car fender staring at the window display televisions and listening to the Wolfman Jack radio program.

CurtCruise

Curt is ruminating about a mysterious woman in a white 1956 Thunderbird (Suzanne Somers). They shared a moment when their cars were cruising side-by-side and she looked over at him and smiled.

Who's that lady?

Who’s that blonde?

He’s so caught up in his infatuation (and singing along with the show) that he doesn’t notice three guys walk up on him until they join him at the car.

What are you doin', creep?

What are you doin’, creep?

There is some intimidating banter made by one of the guys, who is Joe (Bo Hopkins) the leader of the Pharaohs car club. He explains that Curt is sitting on a car owned by a friend of the Pharaohs. Curt tries to casually slide off the fender and walk away, but he’s stopped so Joe can show him a scratch across the hood. Curt tries to clean it off with his finger and some spit (very technical repair) and plays the scratch off as being not so big. And then the quote: An obviously frustrated Joe looks at the scratch and declares, “Ain’t the size that’s in question here, it’s the principle”.

Let’s get back to our crime. Sweetie’s friend, code name “Kevin” (he likes Minions) invited us over to play on a vacation day. We had originally met Kevin and his mother, Momstar, over a year ago, but it wasn’t until Sweetie started school that we re-connected with them and learned that they a few blocks away. The day went fine, with the kids making a mess and a racket and generally playing like kids. It wasn’t until we were loaded in the car (“we” also includes the Cricket) that Sweetie pulled a traffic cone out of her pocket. Given that Kevin’s has his train table near the door, I knew she had sticky fingers. Note that the cone is maybe one inch tall, and she has a Duplo cone just like it. So it’s not the size of the stolen toy in question here, it’s the principle.

You stole THIS?!?

You stole THIS?!?

I took the cone away from her and told her that she would be returning it to Kevin the following day after school. I figured this gave her a full day to stew in her guilt. And she immediately started peppering me with questions about the incident. When we got home I sent a “Thank you” text to Momstar, and informed her of the stolen toy. She laughed it off, but she backed my plan for a public return and apology. The next day at pick-up we stepped off to the side and Sweetie returned the toy with no hesitation. Kevin accepted his toy without any drama, and in a matter-of-fact tone told Sweetie, “Next time just don’t take any of my toys home with you.”

Despite feeling infuriated by Sweetie’s theft, I stayed cool throughout the entire incident. When I discovered the toy, I explained that you don’t steal from your friends. I told her that was a sign of disrespect and was not nice. Momstar supported how I chose to address the situation, and again, all was calm. I am well aware that children take things, and getting caught is often the best way they learn not to steal. All In all, I think I made good use of this teachable moment. In American Graffiti, Curt takes a ride with the Pharaohs, and through their misadventures they become friends. While my approach was not as cool as cruising around town in a chop-top ’51 Merc, I think Sweetie got the point. And I know it’s better to collect friends like Kevin who share their toys versus ones that steal quarters from pinball machines for gas money.

PharoahJoe

Almost Time!

True, Halloween isn’t until tomorrow. But there are events happening at the school and the girls are dressed up and I haven’t given you all any pictures for a while. So here’s something to hold you over…

Practicing for the big day!

Practicing for the big day!

The Cricket will be in a different costume on the 31st. We are going to try our hand at a “Family Costume”. Want to guess the theme?

Help me Obi-Wan...

Help me Obi-Wan…

All credit due to Buya and Wife here. But there’s more to come! Have a safe end of your week…

20 Year Take-Aways

There are limousines parked at the Olive Garden, Facebook is exploding with photos of teens in ill-fitting evening wear and reunions abound – we are in the homecoming season. We celebrated by attending my 20 year high school reunion. It turned out to be a fun night spent in the northwest suburbs (down the street from my high school) with many pleasant re-connections and funny memories. We did not take the girls with us, for obvious reasons. But I did try to remember a few things from the night to share with them as they face challenges approach older school years. I figure I have to record these thoughts now – my memory might not be so great by the time the girls can appreciate this wisdom.

  • Things change, people change. It was weird to look around a room full of classmates and pause with so many people. Some of the people who were big in high school are not so big anymore. And some people who were small are not so small anymore. Some people who were “too cool” twenty years ago are approachable and friendly. And some who were friendly then are now a bit too cool. Like everything else in life, people change.
  • The more things change, the more they stay the same. About halfway through the event it struck me. The novelty of the night was wearing off, the music was getting too loud to talk, and the alcohol was setting in. And people starting drifting into the groups that they knew twenty years prior. People went with what was comfortable, even if it was a bit older.
  • Everything shakes out, even if it takes twenty years. Again, the evening was full of pleasant re-connections. Gone were so many of the social constructs of our youth. The social strata was also largely absent. Nobody got loud and nobody re-hashed twenty-year-old drama. Interactions felt more genuine – we were meeting one another right where we were, and that was okay.

I know this stuff is not really profound. In fact, I am sure many people would just say it is just a sign of “growing up”. But I do hope to share these thoughts with the girls when they are in high school. My high school years were not traumatic, but there are things that could’ve been better. I expect their experience to be similar, so I want to have some good stuff to offer them.

So for all of you out there who were at the event, it was great seeing you. I am glad our detours crossed. Especially MN – congrats again on your success, so good to see you, girl. To all those from the “rival” high school, glad you crossed Camp McDonald. So now I guess we start looking forward to the thirty year – Go wildcats!