Spring seems early.

28 02 2008

I’m not complaining. It’s sunnier, drier, and warmer than I’d expect, considering it’s still February.

The plants seem to notice. Here are two pictures from our back yard this past weekend.

I wish I knew what plant this was — it’s blooming all over the place right now.


And our lilac is now budding:

Hey Bud

Of course, the drawback of spring is it also means that the moss is back in full force on our bricks. When I muster the stamina, it’ll be time to pull out the wire brushes and scour it off.


Gentle Touches

28 02 2008

Molly and I both got a kick out of this note from daycare the other day:

Alex had an awesome moment outside, sitting in the box outside — he was aggravated by another friend — but when I told him to be gentle, “use gentle hands,” he touched her head gently — when I praised him he just lit up.

We thought this was funny because he now seems to be in a stage where he thinks he can make up for being mean by immediately being nice, and both Molly & I have experienced this.

For example, the very evening we got this note, Alex whacked me in the eye with a plastic toy man when he got out of the bathtub. “Ow!” I said. “That hurt Daddy!” (It really did hurt — he’s getting stronger every day.) “Can you say you’re sorry?”

And right away, he started doing “gentle touches” to my face, then he said, “Hug!” and gave me a big hug. Even though he was naked and soaking wet from the tub, it was kind of cute.

Big Boy Bed

25 02 2008

Saturday, Alex took his first nap in his big boy bed.

These days, I figure we have about a 50/50 chance that he’s going to fight going to sleep. Naptime on Saturday was a fight. I put him in his crib, and he screamed and wanted to be picked up. I don’t remember what triggered it, but he started pointing over at the big bed. “Do you want to sleep in your big boy bed?” I asked.

“Yeeaah,” he said through his tears.

So I carried him over to the bed, figured out how to work the railing we put in to keep him from rolling off the bed when he slept, and left him there. Now, before you start thinking that being in the big bed made all of the difference and he was now happy — it didn’t. He was screaming when I left him in the big boy bed, but I figured it was time to leave him in his room and let him fall asleep. Luckily, he didn’t figure out (this time) that he can get out of the big boy bed. He cried for a few minutes, turned on the light in the room, and fell asleep. (Yes, one disadvantage of the big bed is there’s a light switch within reach.)

I snuck in when things were quiet and took this picture:

Big Boy Bed

I tried the big boy bed trick again for the Sunday nap. It didn’t work as well. I had him in the bed and he was crying, “Downstairs! Downstairs!”

“No,” I said calmly.

Then he started trying to step over the rail of the bed, saying, “I do it!” So back to the crib he went…

I wonder if he’s the ringleader?

22 02 2008

Today’s note from daycare:

Alex has joined a few of the other toddlers in the new activity of pulling his pants down — I don’t know why. We’ve gone from the removal of shirts to pants 🙂

And I thought I was such a good parent

18 02 2008

For a while tonight, I was really proud of my parenting ability.

It turns out that daycare is closed on President’s Day, but Microsoft isn’t. So Molly & I divided responsibilities for the day. Molly watched Alex in the morning while I was at work, and then I came home and Molly went to work for the afternoon.

Molly was the wholesome parent. She took Alex to the zoo in the morning, where he got to visit with our friends Eva, Rainier, and Johan. When she got home around noon, I was already home with my oh-so-nutritious lunch of McDonald’s. Alex was thrilled. He proceeded to sit at the dining room table for almost an entire hour and ate all of my fries. Clearly he’s a future gourmand.

He then took a long nap (3 hours!). At 4:00, he woke up and I somehow managed to get him out of the house to go to the neighborhood playground. We spent some time chatting with neighbors on the way. I was proud that I got Alex to walk most of the way to the playground instead of carrying him, which is the way he normally gets there. He had a great time playing, and I got him back home without incident. I told him we were going home to eat dinner, and he answered, “Long noodles?”

“Yes,” I said, “You can have long noodles.”

I was a little surprised that Molly wasn’t home when I got back to the house. She’d called when we were on the way to the playground. We didn’t have much of a chance to talk, as Alex was about to dart into the street, but I thought she was on her way home. “Surely,” I thought, “she’ll be home any minute. In the meantime, I’ll get Alex’s dinner going.”

Well. It turns out that the only “long noodles” we had in the house was some fresh pasta we’d bought at the farmer’s market over the weekend. So, on the fly, I both cooked Alex a meal of pasta, peas, and olive oil AND improvised a dinner of pasta, mushrooms, sausage, and chicken stock for Molly and myself. And I managed to do this with Alex constantly underfoot, demanding to see what was happening on the stove or picking up a jar of spices and saying, “Smell!” (He’s no longer content to pick up the spice jars and shake them. Instead, he and I sit down, take the top off each spice jar, and smell the spices. Cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg are his favorites.)

As I was finishing cooking, Molly still wasn’t home. “No matter,” I said to myself. “I can handle all of the cooking, and I can feed Alex on my own.” As I put the final touches on the improvised adult meal, and I finished preparing Alex’s meal at exactly the same time, I was in awe of my own ability to run a household.

But then, behind me, Alex said, “Potty?”

I turned around and he had his pants down to his ankles and he was struggling to get his diaper off. At the pinnacle of my excellence as a parent, Alex decides he wants to get potty trained. I run upstairs to get a clean diaper and diaper wipes, then run downstairs to bring Alex over to the toddler potty that Molly bought him a couple of weeks ago. With his pants pulled down but his diaper still on, he happily sat down on the potty on his own.

Here was my real test as a parent. Do I get that diaper off him now, maybe clean up a mess, and let him learn how to use the potty? Or do I let him just sit there with his diaper on, and then have him eat dinner?

Well, since you all know me, you know I chose the lazy and non-messy route. I let Alex sit there with his diaper on. And after a while, I started talking about “long noodles” with him, and he pulled up his pants (with my help), washed his hands (with my insistence), and went to the dining room table to eat his dinner of long noodles, peas, and olive oil. I ate my nice meal at the same time. Eventually, Molly came home, and everything mostly returned to normal. We ate, we finished our meals, we did the dishes.

And as we were doing the dishes, I saw Alex reaching into the dishwasher to play with some plates, and he came back with some gunk on his hand. As I was currently scrubbing things in the sink, I told Molly, “Ugh, Alex has some crud on his hand. I think it’s a mushroom from one of the plates. Can you clean it off?”

“I don’t know,” she said, when she took his hand and wiped it clean with a cloth. “It doesn’t look like a mushroom.”

Then it it me. “Oh no!” I said. “Is it poop?” Molly looked at Alex’s back, and sure enough, the back of his shirt was brown and chunky from where he’d shoved it down into his diaper and then pulled it out. This is the same diaper that had probably been poopy since Alex had wanted to sit on the potty at the beginning of the meal.

He was a mess, and his clothes were a mess, and thank God Molly was home because I don’t think I could have handled it on my own. She cleaned him off and put his clothes in the laundry while I wimped out and got the bath water ready.

So much for my superhuman parenting skills!

Overheard at the Playground Yesterday

18 02 2008

Dad: Claire, it’s time to go.

Claire: But dad, the wood chips are lava! You need to carry me.

Dad: You now, we have to start going to playgrounds that don’t have so much lava.

The Weekend’s Alex Pictures

17 02 2008

Here’s Alex enjoying his banana on Friday morning:

Banana Breakfast

Earlier in the  week, we loved how Alex liked to sit inside his toybox:

Alex and the Alligator

And even when Alex isn’t in the camera frame, you can see the impact he has on our house:

Alex Was Here

Is it really almost Spring?

17 02 2008

That must mean that it’s almost time for Alex’s second birthday, and we’re really not ready for that milestone.

But here are some photos from yesterday morning that suggest that Spring is close at hand, at least in the Pacific Northwest:

White Flowers

February FlowersSpring

Oh no, is this a new phase?

17 02 2008

Two weeks ago, after Alex had his second afternoon at daycare without a nap, the new teacher in his room asked Molly, “Alex really fights his nap. Does he do this at home?”

“Oh no!” we said. “Alex has no problem going to sleep at home, but that’s probably because there isn’t as much interesting stuff happening.”

Well, we’ve now had a weekend where Alex has vigorously fought going to sleep. He screams when we leave him for naps and when we leave him for the night. Luckily, the screaming is over within two minutes and then he’s sound asleep. But still, we’re so used to having a good sleeper that we’re not quite sure how to handle this new development.

Yeah, I love all kinds of attention

17 02 2008

Normally, I spend Saturday mornings with Alex while Molly goes to the gym. But yesterday, Molly was taking the morning off from the gym, and I took the chance to spend a couple of hours out with my camera. I got up early hoping for a spectacular sunrise over the Seattle skyline. That didn’t happen. It was all gray flat sunlight. Luckily, I thought ahead and brought some props, and I got this shot:

The shot's the other way!

This picture got picked up on one of the area blogs:


The rest of my pictures from the morning are here: