Sunday Snap

Our back-to-back-sick-kid weekend, by the numbers:

  • Temperature high: 103.5
  • Posicles consumed: 10
  • Trips to Walgreens: 3
  • Minutes spent waiting for Walgreens to locate (again) child's health insurance information: 18
  • Infected ears: 1
  • Feverish nights: 6 straight
  • Total wake-up calls over those nights: incalculable
  • Parental coffee requirements by Monday morning: 4-5 cup minimum
  • Quantity of coffee grounds a sleep-addled Lab Partner spilled Monday morning: incalculable
  • Additional dollars our pediatrician charges for Sunday appointments: 35
  • Number of post-doctor's appointment stickers on Lulu's leg: 40 (it's good for what ails you)


Fatherly advice

I've captured some pebbles of what passes for fatherly wisdom around our house.

  1. Always wear some kind of shirt under your sweater.
  2. There might come a time when people try to convince you that Frank Zappa made exceptionally good music. I do not think that is true. That said, I encourage you to listen to Hot Rats and The Mothers of Invention Freak Out and to know those records so you at least have a point of reference.
  3. When you dance for fun, don’t get stuck on doing certain moves unless they are your moves and try to find a blend of funny and cool moves so that you don’t start taking yourself too seriously when you dance, because it’s supposed to be fun.
  4. Remember that you dance for yourself and nobody else, unless your friends want to do some kind of synchronized dancing, then that’s pretty rad.   
  5. Try to befriend people who exercise, but who don’t make staying in shape the only thing they care about and the only thing they do in their free time. Run the race and then go to the movies. 
  6. Always keep a working bike around the house.
  7. Someone who says disco music is bad doesn’t know what he or she is talking about.
  8. In fact, people who say they hate an entire genre of music are most likely masking some kind of “ism.”
  9. Having a fancy car isn’t important. Who rides with you in the car is important.  
  10. Curse when you mean it, but not because you’re lazy.
  11. Always own at least two hoodies – one with a zipper and one to pull-over.
  12. Going out to breakfast with your friends is one of the greatest bonding experiences in your early 20s, so make sure you do that, a lot.
  13. Nothing is perfect except the decision to brush yourself off and try again.
  14. Ask people about their lives and then listen.  Ask follow-up questions and then listen some more.  
  15. Jim Gaffigan and The Best Show will always cheer you up.
  16. Always know where you are and how you can get home from that place.  Never let anyone take your telephone and only let your best friend take your car keys, and only if you are intoxicated.  
  17. Liking the Grateful Dead is ok, but they should never be your favorite band, ever, because if they do become your favorite band you will break your mother’s heart and you might end up doing a lot of embarrassing things that have nothing to do with music, but everything to do with the Grateful Dead.
  18. Avoid people who have a bad sense of humor, or who can't laugh at their mistakes.
  19. Clean your bathroom in your swimming suit.  That way, you can get wet while cleaning the tub and it isn’t a big deal.
  20. As your father, I can't keep you from watching Kevin Smith's movies, but I can let you know in advance that I think they are terrible.
  21. #20 is also true about George Carlin.
  22. Friends don’t make you feel bad about yourself, but they are honest and push you to improve by showing they care and letting you know when you're messing up. They will follow-through and follow-up.
  23. One of the reasons people hate change is because they are afraid they are going to lose something, figuring out what that is makes change easier.
  24. If you're within a mile, and the weather is decent, walk.
  25. You can move home whenever you want, at any time of day, at any stage of your life.

Look out, they grow. 

About a week ago I took a look at E and was wondering when this tall kid appeared.  It seems like she grew three inches overnight.  We confirmed with our height chart that she shot up four inches since this summer - eight inches over the past year, probably, a rate L matched.

Obviously kids are going to grow, especially if you load them with food, but the transition from chubby toddler to lanky kids has been jarring.  Here's a before photo, from 2011.  

And here's what they look like after three years of steady diet and running around.

The good news is that pretty soon they will be able to reach the faucet. 


An Illustrated Ode to Home Work


After, wow, two weeks away, I'm easing back into blogging with a love letter to my new favorite children's book: Jonathan Bean's Building Our House. Maybe you've heard of it? The book, which looks and feels like a graphic novel, found itself on all sorts lists ranking the best picture books of 2013.

The book isn't wildly imaginative or filled with wacky illustrations. It's just the simple, absorbing account of a family that sets out to build their own home. It follows them every step of the way, from digging the foundation and laying the pipes to -- a year and a half later -- painting, wiring and moving in. Although we purchased the book our construction-loving kiddo in mind, it's become a favorite of all of ours.

And, though the details of home-construction are pretty fascinating (I now know, among other things, how to mix concrete...), my favorite aspect of the book is the fact it's a true story. Through an author's note at the end, we learn that Building Our House is based on the home that Bean's own family built when he was a boy.

Lab Partner says he likes to read the book on particularly busy nights: when we know we'll be up late working, it's nice to see some parents who worked much, much harder.

Hipster homesteaders, take note. This family -- and wonderful book -- is the real deal.




Getting to Know You

This week, our sweet Lulu turns 3.

Lulu, I can't say that you've spend the past year coming into yourself because, honestly, you've been very much your own person since day one. You've known -- precisely, unwaveringly -- you wanted and what you liked, even before you had the words to show us. No, all I can say is that each day, your dad and I are getting to see all of the facets of that one-and-only-you.

You prefer old movies (the original 1961 Parent Trap and The Princess Bride are your favorites) to cartoons. Your favorite "toy" is your dad's boxed set of four Paris Review books, which you pretend are everything from pillows to ice skates to tiny stages. You claim your favorite food is rotten noodles, that you don't speak English, and that we are actually your coworkers. You make us laugh every day.

A champion worrywart, I have to say that I don't worry as much about you, Lulu. I know you'll have heartbreaks and failures and all sorts of obstacles that everyone faces, of course; but I can't imagine for a second that any queen bee or boyfriend will shake your sense of self or steer you off course.

Just in case we forget, here's a snapshot of Lulu, age 3.

You, in five words: Funny, affectionate, independent, spirited, stubborn

Favorite activities: Make believe, make believe, make believe. You love to play "Mama, Baby, and Big Sister"... as long as you're not in the role of the baby. You love playing school and ballet class. You are a mermaid in the bathtub. You are a hard-knocked orphan from Annie. Sometimes we have to request that you be Lulu for awhile.

Least favorite things: Sleep, which you've declared is too boring. You've never slept past 6:30, and I doubt you ever will.

Future aspirations:  Professional paper-cutter, mother to 13 kids, and nurse.