Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"It's a chicken!"

My daughter and I were home alone today while the Boy and Ma Chere were out at music class.  Her basic needs were met.  And although the weather  outside was little chilly, the temperatures weren't  too bad and we always  get sun on our front stoop.  So I threw a hat on her and walked  out the front door. 

Maybe she could have  used a coat, but when you're hanging with dad, you get exposure to the outside world...and outside  temperatures.

Just then, Ma Chere and  the Boy pulled up and walked  up the stoop.  The  Boy made it  half way up, and then decided to walk out onto our patch of  pre-rowhouse  grass to indulge his idea of yard work.  This involved brandishing the hose at some point.   It nearly involved grabbing the 240v service line where  it  enters our house from the power meter.

And suddenly, it involved picking up a dead  housesparrow that one of the neighborhood  cats had  left in our yard, brandishing it at  us, and  yelling "It's a chicken!   It's a chicken!"

Since I  was in stocking feet and  holding our baby, I was glad to let Ma Chere take care of  this  situation.

Big Boy Panda Bear

The Monkey has a way of bonding with his parents while injecting some whimsy.

He approaches me and says -- for example "Hi, Dada Panda Bear." This is my cue to say, "Hi, Big Boy Panda Bear."

He is affirming the Dada/Boy connection, but at the same time taking the conversation in a decidedly panda-y direction.

He approaches his mother in the same way. In fact, I think they invented this game together.

And of course, the formula applies not just to panda bears, but to any creature under the sun. I am trying to think of some of the more outlandish creatures for which we have been Dada/Mama/Big Boy...dinosaur? anteater? There really is no end.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Sometimes, you want to tidy up the house.

And sometimes, you want to do a puzzle.

But when your toddler has scattered the pieces to several puzzles across one or more rooms, and you want to tidy up the house, you often find yourself putting together puzzles. Which makes tidying up the house rather slow going.

Of course, puzzles are good for the kid. And it would be nearly impossible to estimate the joy that puzzles of dinosaurs, tools, or earthmoving equipment have brought him.

But sometimes you do want to tidy up the house, but you don't want to do a puzzle.

New Deal

I am considering a New Deal for pseudonyms on this blog.

For those just joining us, the cast of characters has been:

Me: Monkey Daddy
Wife: Monkey Mama
Son: Monkey

Then our daughter was born. I canvassed the World Wide Web for a nickname for her, but thought all along that "Little One" would suit.

...But the "Little One" herself is quite physically robust, and the name seems demeaning in its way.
...And "Monkey Mama" does not span the full set of her activities, as she is Mama to more than one Monkey. (And an extraordinary one at that).
...And now that the "Monkey" has learned to talk, I am considering going a new direction with that nickname. (Also, he adopts the personae of so many different animals in any given day, it's hard to keep track.)

Proposed new pseudonyms:

Me: Still "Monkey Daddy", but with the "Monkey" referring to my own quirks rather than the antecedent being our firstborn
Wife: "Ma Chere"
Son: ???
Daughter: ???

Everything is wide open.


We're getting close to another milestone: the Monkey Mama is going back to work.

Our Little One is almost 6 months old. We've made some allowances and some sacrifices to make those 6 months count. The biggest ones -- financially, anyway -- have been to keep the Monkey Mama at home (away from her good-paying job) and to keep employing our daytime caregiver 2 days a week. Of course there are complicating factors: career, continuity of daycare for the Monkey, and many others. But we have made it a priority that the Little One gets access to her mama every day, and full access to her mama at least 2 days a week.

Moreover, I've been at home one day per week (foregoing 20% of my salary) to be at home with our little ones. It's been great to share that one day per week with the Monkey Mama.

But now that she is heading back to work, I have to make preparations. I will be home with both kids every Monday...with no help from grownups.

Of course, the Monkey Mama has been confronting this challenging scenario two days per week for some months now. (And when she does, it takes it out of her.)

I've been steeling myself, quizzing the Monkey Mama for eating, napping, and pooping schedules, and the other sundry details of raising a wee person.

I am reclaiming the stay-at-home dadness that made my life so interesting (to me) that I had no choice but to start this blog.

But I also feel like I am submerging, heading under water for 10 hours at a time. Every Monday.