Random Thought for Thursday: Ca-Ca, Ma-Ma, Da-Da

I am a firm believer that a child’s early lexicon is a direct representation of their environment. An unfiltered reflection of what they are living. We are reaching a point where Cricket’s babbling is starting to shape up into words. As you can guess by the title, Cricket’s three favorite words are Ca-Ca, Ma-Ma, and Da-Da. Oh yes, in that order.

I figure she is gaining an awareness of her body and what is happening to her. And her words are reflecting this experience. Poop is gross and uncomfortable, so she is learning to advise us when she is soiled. That’s the ideal. Of course right now just about everything is “Ca-Ca” (which is very easy to mistake for “gracias”, her number 4 favorite word). Everything except Wife, who of course is “Ma-Ma”. Now Mother is the Source, right? She is the fount of life from conception until she is not. So there’s no surprise that Ma-Ma is a favorite. And me? Well I’m always around. I’m happy with a top three finish.

Micompadre could chime in here to explain these beginning sounds and early speech development. He knows all about the different language sounds and where we make them and such. But I didn’t feel like interviewing him on the topic. We’ll just keep working with Cricket and see what forms next. We didn’t push Sweetie, and we won’t push Cricket. I don’t want her to tell me, “Da-Da, Ca-Ca.”

Random Thought for Thursday: Google Maps Famous

Whether covertly or overtly, many people these days want to achieve fame on the interwebs. YouTube famous, Instagram famous, Facebook famous, etc. – I mean, who wouldn’t want to be the next meme? And once you break out, who knows how far you can go. Grumpy Cat’s upcoming movie is just one example of how far internet fame can take you.

We recently discovered that we are Google Maps famous. Wife and I were checking into some things and decided to check the street view of our house. Lo and behold, me and Sweetie loadin’ the stroller. Ironically, a couple of days later a childhood friend sent a message saying he saw us while looking up our zip code. And so our trending begins…

Hey look...us!

Hey look…us!

Yep, that’s our little bungalow, rain barrel and all. I did crop out the hotrod Versa sitting on the curb. There is only so much of us you can cram into one photo.

I am thinking that I will start a group for other people captured by the little Google cars. We are a community too! Really I get just a bit creeped out by the fact that I didn’t realize they were driving past capturing the street view. Thankfully I wasn’t dancing in front of the window.

So there it is, Google Maps Famous. Are you street view famous too? Let me know in the comments!

Steppin’ Out

The Cricket is making her way toward her next developmental milestone. Actually moving. That’s right interweb, it’s time for another toddling video!

She has been walking along with the furniture for a while now. But about two weeks ago she started “free-standing” a bit. Then she progressed to a couple of steps. And now it is a matter of growing her confidence and going!

I am sure you are all blown away by her cuteness – the drunken sailor walk is cute at their size. But don’t be fooled. No, really, watch out world. You’ve been warned.

I love you more than…

We have added this sweet little script to our nighttime routine: Wife and I will tell Sweetie how much we love her by quantifying our love in easy-to-understand, relate-able measures. Sweetie then returns the sentiment. So as we are wrapping up a day we will tell her something like, “I love you more than ice cream.” And then we’ll get back, “I love you more than windows.”

It’s all very fun, and it can be touching at times. And not that we are in competition, but the other night Wife brought down the house with,” I love you more than red tic-tacs.” Apparently this is an allusion to a new addition to their morning drop-off routine. Regardless, Sweetie was blown away by the depth of her mother’s affection.

I completely expect that Sweetie is enamored with Wife and I. We feed her, clothe her, bathe her – she should love us. And there will be a time when she does not love us. Or at least she won’t admit it. And I am okay with that, I am fully planning on butting heads with this little girl during her teen years. But it is her love for her younger sister that has me guessing.

It takes time to love a sibling, right? I mean, the videos of 2 year-old kids loving their newborn siblings have to be coached. From what I’ve seen they can’t be real. Either that or our older daughter is mean-spirited and slow-to-love. Or she has just taken a while to appreciate her younger sister. But that is changing.

More and more we are seeing Sweetie acting nicely towards her sister. She still takes away toys, or hides the ones she wants to play with. But I think she is giving out less choke-holds and not pushing the Cricket nearly as much. I think.

Now here’s the proof: Sweetie has taken to climbing into Cricket’s crib in the morning. It started with door duty, where Sweetie had to be the one to open the room. But now it has escalated. That’s got to be a good sign right? I mean, c’mon, “I love you more than my personal safety, so I climb the crib side to hang out with you”? That’s some sibling stuff going on there.


Who knows, but it is some cute stuff. Sweetie seems pleased with her climbing accomplishment, and Cricket is too happy with her visitor. It might take some more years to fully develop, but maybe this is a step towards “I love you more than anyone else.”


Random Thought for Thursday: It’s Picture Day!

This school gig is downright inspirational! There is so much to write about. Really, it’s a whole new chapter for the detour. I promise I will keep the pictures of me to a minimum, they have just been so fitting! Once again, this is from my PreK-3:

Now you know

Now you know

And that introduces Sweetie’s big excitement: today was her first picture day! I know, I know, “What is so random about picture day?” I mean, it only happens to every school kid in America. Every year. Whether they are ready for it or not. No, it has nothing to do with picture day, but rather with my conversation with Sweetie this morning, before picture day. Wife had done Sweetie’s hair up all nice, and put her in a cute dress (see below).

Me: “Oh, your hair looks so nice, and you look so pretty in your dress.”

Sweetie: “Oh Papi, you look just so beautiful in your shirt, and (pause) pants.”

Mind you, this is 7 a.m., no coffee, no shower, no shave, and said shirt and pants were from yesterday (my morning routine happens after Wife and Sweetie leave). Children are blinded by their love for their parents.

Not the official pic, but still pretty

Not the official pic, but still pretty

Random Thought For Thursday: TBT from Me?!?

I have been avoiding the “TBT” trend for a while now. Mainly because this blog is supposed to center around the girls and throw backs go to a time before them. But I am also not a follower of the trends and habits of the “socials”. I don’t know selfie etiquette, I seldom photograph my meals and I have never broadcast my location in real-time. I have yet to send a tweet and have never watched a vine. So throwing back has not been a high priority for me. The TBT idea works with my “Random Thought” theme though, as it’s just as random as the things my 3 year-old says. And many times also just as cute.

But hold on tight, folks. This week is different with Sweetie starting school and all. Since she is starting a  new adventure, I am going to try something new too. So here is my TBT In honor Sweetie’s first week of Pre K-3:


Yep, this is a picture from my PreK-3 class, circa 1980. Can you find the 3 year-old Flagman? If not, don’t fret, Wife couldn’t either. Looking back to this photo, I realized I didn’t see many of these folks after Kindergarten. Oh well, maybe Sweetie’s ride will be different.

Oh, I just want to take a second to thank everyone for the kind comments to Tuesday’s post. So far this school thing is going off without a hitch. And without a tear! But it is still nice to read supportive, caring comments for my girl. I hope your new school adventures are going just as well.

Joining the mass

Like so many of you out there, we sent our child to her first day of school today. That’s right, Sweetie is off to Pre-K!

Wife and the girls

Wife and the girls

The school is smart about this, so last week there was a welcome open-house type event. Today, parents hung out to see the morning routine. So Tuesday is the technical first “drop-off and leave” day of school. Kind of convoluted, but at this age it makes sense.


Sweetie is keen on the school idea. The classroom is full of toys, craft supplies, posters, games and most importantly, books. Her teacher roped the kids right in and had them learning basic manners and good classroom behavior right off the bat. This is gonna be good.

Mmmm,. books

Mmmm,. books

Sweetie has some playground buddies attending the school as well. And thankfully, her first friend is also in her class. That’s right, Linda is right there with her! They are actually seated at the same, all-girl, “super-power” table. The teacher had no way of knowing what kind of situation that would create, but “Team Trouble” should make things interesting. And wow, to think we met this little one when she was just 8 months old!

Always good to have a friend close

Always good to have a friend close

So now Sweetie joins the educated class. If all goes well, she will be at this school until she is ready for high school. She is also paving the way for the Cricket who will join this melee two years from now. And we join the masses of parents who post photos of their childs’ first day of school. Oh yeah, and put the sign in our yard. Oh boy…

Yeah, that's in my yard

Yeah, that’s my yard

Random Thought for Thursday: 3 year old logic

Over the past week Sweetie has been dealing with a summer cold. Nothing major, one day of low-grade fever and a bunch of boogers. So it’s really more of an inconvenience than an illness. Still, Wife and I have been pushing plenty of fruit, food, liquids and rest. Little did I know that my 3-year-old knew how to heal herself. Here’s how it went down the other morning:

Me: “Take some water, Sweetie.”

Sweetie: “Umm, no.”

Me: “Have some oatmeal honey” (with fresh-cut apple bits and cranberries cooked up in there).

Sweetie: “Umm, no.”

Me: “Drink a little orange juice.”

Sweetie: “Umm, no”

And so went breakfast. She did eat some of her oatmeal and sip some orange juice. And when she saw me drinking some water she asked for some. But the medical miracle came shortly after  breakfast.

Sweetie: “Daddy, I talk some Spanish and now I’m all better.”

Me: “You spoke some Spanish and now you’re feeling better?”

Sweetie: “Yep.”

Me: “Oh, um, okay. Here, have some water.”

So there you have it folks, the 3-year-old logic that kicked a summer cold. I can’t really prescribe it, Spanish might not be your kid’s thing. But apparently it was Sweetie’s. 3-year-old logic – yet another thing that only a parent can appreciate.

Springing back; a growth story

Chicago weather is getting steadily warmer. Yeah, the start of this week looks rainy, but I think we are past the 40º days. The detour is headed for the spring transition! Now is the time of year when everyone starts posting their outdoor pictures. Flowers, yard work, local eateries with outdoor patios, spring adventures, etc. And for us parents that means pictures from the playground.


Back at it..

Back at it..

For Sweetie this is a return to familiar territory – the park. We headed over to our local park and she was right back in the mix. With her being older she blasted over things that she was creeping over last year. Despite her advancement, she is still preferring the full-seat swing. Fun stuff.

This ride is just fine

This ride is just fine

For the Cricket this is like a whole new world. I figure her eyesight and awareness of the world came into focus during the grey winter days. I think her world was the size of our house until just recently. So going to the park for her is a Columbus-like experience. While she is still too young to crawl around on the equipment, she is completely entertained trying to find the thing that is making that chirping sound or watching the kids run around playing. And she will learn all about those swings soon enough.




The social calendar is filling up fast, especially with two of them filling the days. So we’re off! I hope it’s warming up wherever you are. Get out there and enjoy.

Hour 1 of 10,000

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell details the “ten thousand hour rule” for mastering a task. According to Gladwell, 10,000 hours of practice is “the magic number for true expertise”. And in order to hit that number early in their careers, most people need to start their practicing when they are young. He demonstrates this trend from Mozart to the Beatles to Bill Gates.

Well, if I had to qualify Sweetie’s current level of mastery of a stringed instrument, I would say this is the opening minutes of her first hour. She’s no Ani Difranco yet, but you’ve got to start somewhere. It has been awhile since I posted a video, but I caught Sweetie jammin’ on her guitalele (thanks Padrino). The song is primarily an homage to Wife, but I think I get an honorable mention in the liner notes. While it’s a bit rough, it could be the start of something great…


No doubt my car singing is boosting her musical talent (I do belt out a mean “Old McDonald”). But her development is probably due to the music classes that we have had her in since she was eight months old. I have written before about the Old Town School of Folk Music and the music classes that we have taken there. To date, they have been play and movement classes, not instrument lessons. But it obviously is having a positive effect on Sweetie. And besides her random rock out sessions, she has taken to singing about her daily life experiences. In the context of a two-and-a-half year old’s day,  this is very cute. So thank you to our many wonderful Old Town teachers – in particular Maestro Yahvi and Maestra Maria. Add to this a Padrino who often serenades her with his guitar (even over something as trivial as an afternoon snack) and we have the foundation for a budding musician.

Malcolm Gladwell points out an excellent aspect of the ten thousand hour rule: when one is practicing a craft and starting from an early age, one needs a strong support network. Gladwell writes, “It’s all but impossible to reach that number all by yourself by the time you’re a young adult. You have to have parents who encourage and support you.” So kudos to all of you out there supporting your little one’s development, whatever their interest.