April 28, 2011

My Daughter, The Discerning Foodie

My dad came for a long overdue visit this past weekend.  It was a nice relaxing time.  It was excellent to get some time with him and for him to get to spend time with the ladies.

Over the course of the long weekend, we went to the park and for several walks enjoying the beautiful weather.  Harper has started collecting rocks.  She sometimes brings them home, but mostly, she feels the need for geological companionship on our walks.  She will stop anywhere there is a large pile of rocks or stones and carefully sift through the choices before selecting a suitable partner who will accompany her along her stumbling journey through the neighborhood.

When given a wide variety of choices, she will almost always pick the smoothest, roundest rock she can find.  This warms my heart as I have several very smooth rocks sitting on the dashboard in my car.

Shut up!  It's a tactile thing!

When a smooth rock is not available, however, she will happily choose something jagged and dangerous to carry around in her wildly swinging arms.  If, during the course of the walk, she drops the rock or puts it down to examine something else, she is very likely to walk back half a block to get it again.

I do my best to make sure the rocks are not covered in bird poop because, inevitably, those rocks will go in her mouth.  If they are too big for her, she will find a corner that isn't and painstakingly examine the texture with her tongue.

In addition to rocks, she puts MANY things into her mouth.  So far, she has yet to eat things that are poisonous or even anything that makes me do more than cringe.  (No clods of dirt, dead birds, egg shells, etc.)  Mostly it's toys, remote controls, chapstick, coins, clothing, etc.

Also, entire apples.  (A-peez!)

When it comes time for meals, however, Harper takes (distressingly) after her mother.

Watching Sara eat is like watching Meg Ryan order a sandwich. (As Sally, of course.  I have no idea how Meg Ryan orders a sandwich in real life.  I assume it's something like "I'd like a tuna sandwich, please.  Thank you.")

Sara, my lovely, beautiful and amazing wife, eats her meals in a way that is vaguely reminiscent of mental patients.  First, she separates all of the different food products into piles, making sure that none of them touch.  Next, she picks one pile to start with, knowing that it must be dealt with before the next pile has its turn.

She then proceeds to cut her food into miniscule pieces, paring away imaginary fat and "icky parts" that would not be detectable with an electron microscope. Each piece is thoroughly examined for bad bits, including anything slightly overcooked, undercooked, discolored, wet, dry, greasy, salty, mushy, chewy, tough, tasty, etc.  The examined pieces are then sorted again, but not into piles of edible and otherwise.  It looks this way, but it is not actually the case.  I know this because after the sorting of all food, she will eat certain pieces from each pile with no apparent regard for why it was put there in the first place.

This is a bit of hyperbole, but there is more truth than I am comfortable with.

Jamie Lee Curtis says this yogurt will make them regular...

I mention Sara's habits because Harper, the precocious little girls who will try anything that is made of plastic, fabric, concrete, rubber, chalk, petroleum by-products, wood, etc. will spend nearly an hour picking through her dinner bowl to carefully separate the 6 kidney beans she wants from the 3 she doesn't, the 2 stalks of broccoli that she will eat now from the 4 that she will eat later.  I watched her break a snap pea in half, happily eat two bites of each half and throw the rest on the floor, yelling "NO!!"

Perhaps we should simply mix rock into her dinner and she'll eat it without hesitation or examination...

While all of this is going on, Brynn continues to sleep.

Here are some pictures.

April 15, 2011

My Daughter, Proving My Point

A short addendum to my previous post.

Just to prove my point, Harper spent 5-10 minutes yesterday walking around on the porch carrying a bubble machine that was blowing bubble directly into her face.

She would squint and turn her head, but not put the machine down, or aim it elsewhere.

Take that, Darwin!

April 10, 2011

My Daughter, The Religious Zealot

I consider myself to be a fairly enlightened person.  I don't claim to be an expert in anything (least of all parenthood) but I do feel as though I can speak intelligently (relatively) and have a basic discussion on almost any topic.  I enjoy a wide variety of subjects from literature to astronomy to culinary arts to landscaping.  My interests are so eclectic and ever-changing that when I was put back in touch with a good friend from high school after many years, one of her first questions to me was "What are you obsessed with these days?"

There are a few conversations that I generally avoid.  The big one is sports.  I know next to nothing about sports and I can't understand the obsession with it.  I find most sports boring to watch.  More so than this, I find that if you express this belief, you get stared at as though you just tore off your own head and replaced it with a Jack-o-lantern that has been carved to resemble Frido Kahlo.  Then the tirades begin.  They usually start with asking what is wrong with you and wondering if you were beaten as a child during baseball games and move on from there, generally culminating in shouting and accusations of witchcraft and terrorist ties.

These reactions are heightened as you approach Pittsburgh to the point where sharing my true feelings about sports at work is enough to get my coworkers to attack me with pointed sticks smeared with various strains of bubonic plague.

The next two topics of conversation that I try to avoid with my friends and coworkers are politics and religion.

My views on religion in general and God specifically could be considered heretical at best and condescending at worst.  I avoid discussions because I have difficulty keeping my part of the discussion polite.  I don't want to use this as a forum to preach and to even discuss God, so for the sake of this post, I will simply state that I am a firm believer in the theory of evolution.  I find it to be logical and supported by enough facts and evidence to sway me.

With that in mind, it is with a heavy heart that the following phrase leaves my fingers and makes its way into the greater world.

I think my daughter is a fanatical creationist.  **cringe**

I say this not as the result of a long discussion with her about the merits and drawbacks of evolutionary theory.  No, she's too devious for that.  I have come to this conclusion by observing Harper's repeated attempts to disprove the concept that humans beings have evolved over millions of years to climb our way to the top of the evolutionary ladder.  She is doing her best to show that "survival of the fittest" is simply untrue.

Allow me to list her latest arguments, as played out in her recent actions:

She runs headlong towards hard or sharp objects while flailing her arms to upset her bipedal locomotion and looking backwards to minimize the advantages of human sight.

She attempts to subvert her evolved human hearing by trying to pierce her ear drums with drinking straws.

She repeatedly puts objects in her mouth that are perfectly suited to obstruct her windpipe.

She only wants to play with things that will hurt her.

She is either determined to prove Darwin and his theories wrong by demonstrating the lack of survival instincts, or prove the existence of divine intervention by her lack of debilitating and permanent injuries thus far.

I love my daughter and whatever religion/deity she chooses to follow is fine with me.  I will love her no matter what.

But please, God (Vishnu, Ra, no one, whatever), please inspire Stephen Hawking to start writing bedtime stories for children.  Trying to indoctrinate her by reading Origin of the Species before bed is not having the intended effect.

Sigh.  Here is a totally unrelated video from two weeks ago that I promised and finally got uploaded.

April 6, 2011

My Daughters, Offspring of a Lazy Father

My deepest and most humble apologies, dear readers.  I cannot express how sincerely sorry I am that it has been almost 3 weeks since my last update.  Please accept the following list of excuses:

1) I am lazy.
2) I don't want this blog to become a chronicle of the day-to-day workings of my household.
3) We had a tornado and I took a very cute video of Harper's terrified reaction to the hail and I was waiting to upload it.
4) I've been busy.
5) I'm lazy.
6) I've been having a very difficult time at work for the past few weeks and I didn't want that to overshadow my posts.

Well, with that out of the way, I'll give you a brief summary of the events from the past few weeks.

Our addiction to Dexter has lead us to watch seasons 1-4 in a fashion that left us forgetting that it's just a TV show.  Dexter is not a neighbor or friend and we shouldn't be talking about him and his coworkers at the dinner table as though they are.  Seriously, it's an awesome show and you should watch it.

We took our first trip as a family of four out to Philadelphia where many of my friends and family got to meet Brynn for the first time.  Harper was very well behaved and, as usual, was the life of the party.

I stopped at a game store in Jenkintown and picked up some pretty fantastic games and had a great conversation with the owner, discussing the possibility of opening up a satellite store of hers in the Pittsburgh area.

At the end of April, I'll be taking the Praxis in an effort to hopefully become certified in Physics.  I would love to teach high school Physics, but mostly, I hope the dual certification will make me more attractive to schools that are closer to my house. (If anyone is hiring after Corbett gets done treating public education like a drunken prom date...)

On the way back, Sara and Harper had a drinking contest.

Brynn has been sleeping a little better at night (thank god!) and has been opening her eyes more, interacting with the world.  It's making it a little difficult to go home and workout when the other option is to lay on the couch looking at my daughter...

We have decided that we've been in our house long enough and it's time to start making some of the renovations that we've discussed.  The two major plans for the next few months are:

1) Redoing the bathroom in the basement with a new toilet, shower and sink, as well as walls and lighting. (I am less excited about this one.)
2) Adding a two-tiered retaining wall with steps to the backyard in an effort to better utilize our space. (I am REALLY looking forward to this and am having a great time planning the stages.)

Anyone who would like to come and help with these, whether financially, physically, architecturally or babysitter-ally,  Your help would be very welcome.

For the most part, things are going very well.  Harper loves her new sister.  In fact, she loves her SO much that she wants to show her different parts of the house.  She hasn't quite grasped the concept that Brynn can't walk and that being dragged behind a toddler is ... unpleasant.  We have had a few incidents where we've been forced to put Harper in her crib for a few minutes as a punishment for hitting Brynn or showing her exactly where her eyes are (with pointy fingers).

Overall, I think I've been doing a very good job of keeping my tone calm, but firm, when telling her that she has done something wrong.  I'm not spanking her or slapping her hand and when I take her out of her crib after a punishment, I give her a hug and a kiss and tell her I love her.  She is still at the stage where she easily forgets that she was mad at me.

Of course, that means that she easily forgets why she was punished...

In any event, things are going well and I'm looking forward to the summer, not the least reason being that I'll get to play stay-at-home dad.  Anyone up for a play date?

Have your people call my people.

If they aren't asleep...




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