Monday, July 15, 2013

The BabyShow: An Abrupt Ending

Players: Gus, Ruby, Ruthie
Location: Living Room

Ruthie: “Okay, kiddoos, let’s read some books.”
Gus toddles in from the other hallway: “Boo-k, Boo-k.”
Ruthie calls down the hall: “Ruby, would you like to pick out the first book.
Ruby: “YEAH!”
Ruby runs down the hall like a flat-footed T-Rex. She runs over to the book bin and stars flipping through the books.
Ruthie: “Ruby, why are you naked?”
Ruby (who is actually still wearing underwear) looks down at herself like she forgot she’d taken her clothes off, then: “because I’m inside.” She then pulls a book out and hands it to Ruthie.
Ruthie re-positions on the couch. Ruby climbs up next to her, as does Gus.
Ruthie makes a light concerned face when she opens the book: “Okay, Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss.”
Ruby laughs around the thumb in her mouth.
Ruthie makes her way carefully through Fox in Socks.
Ruthie: “…’Who sews whose socks? Sue sews Sue’s socks. Who sees who sew whose new socks, sir? You see Sue sew Sue’s new socks, sir.’[1] Gus, where yah going?”
Gus slides off couch: “Buk.” He toddles over to the book bin.
Ruthie continues reading. About a page or two later, Gus returns and hands her the interactive A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Ruthie: “Why is this book even out?”
Gus: “BUHK.” He slaps the book a few times.
Ruthie: “Okay, we can read this next.”
Gus goes off to play with a ball while he waits.
Ruthie continues to read Fox in Socks, sighing audibly when it is finally finished.
Ruthie: “Okay, Gus. Come on back. It’s time for your book.”
Gus comes back up onto the couch.
Ruthie opens the book: “A Charlie Brown Christmas, by Charles M. Schulz.”
Ruby: “I wanna press the buttons.”
Gus: “BUH-tone.”
Ruthie: “You can take turns.”
Ruthie begins reading the book. Every other page or so, there is a picture that indicates that a button on the side of the book should be pressed. The kids take turns pressing these buttons and listening to the sounds come out.
Ruby presses the button that results in Charlie Brown saying ‘Good Grief’ approximately 1000 times while the story is being read.
Ruthie starts reading the section where Charlie Brown attempts to decorate his tiny, sad tree and it poorly: “ ‘A look of horror  crossed Charlie Brown’s face. “I've killed it! Oh, Everything I touch gets ruined!” His head hung in defeat, Charlie Brown sadly walked away.’”[2]
Ruthie turns the page, only to find that all the following pages have been ripped out of the book.
Ruby and Gus look up at her expectantly.
Ruthie: “uh….The End…?”
Gus blinks a few times and then slides off the couch.
Ruby giggles around her thumb, then flops of the couch onto her feet and goes to steal whatever toy Gus just picked up.
Ruthie, thinking that the story is now hysterically dark, puts it back in the book bin.

[1] Dr. Seuss, Fox in Socks (New York, Beginner Books, 1965), pg 21
[2] Schulz, Charles M., A Charlie Brown Christmas: An Interactive Book with Sound (Philadelphia, Hallmark Gift Books, 2010), pg 35.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Baby Show: She's gonna blow.

Players: Brad, Gus, Hope, Ruby
Location: Coming back from the park, the long way.

Brad, having gone around the long way to come back from the park, turns onto his street with Hope in the Baby Backpack, and The Baby Show in the double stroller.

Ruby turns around and looks up at Brad: "Daddy, I have to go pee."
Brad: "What, right now or can we make it home?"
Ruby pops her thumb in her mouth and stares at him.
Brad, knowing that Ruby has been having more accidents recently, expects the worst: "Ruby, you really need to go pee?"
Ruby nods: "and poop!"
Brad begins to run. From this direction, the entire rest of the trip to home is uphill. 
Gus: "YEAYYAW." {Finally, some speed! ADVENTURE!}
Hope is bouncing manically in the backpack, her stiff Frankenstein arms are out to the side, flapping: {Faster, I'm almost airborne}
Gus: {AGREED. I'm late for a meeting with the Daoguang Emperor! Get this Rickshaw moving, chinaman!}
Gus: {My apologies! Just trying to be authentic to the period.}
Brad turns into their driveway and runs them up to the backdoor. 
He frantically unstraps Ruby and unlocks the backdoor: "Okay Ruby," gasp "go quick" gasp "to the potty."
Ruby stands and stares at him for a moment, then takes her thumb out of her mouth. "I don't need to go potty. I want a graham cracker."
Brad takes a few breathes: "Please go try anyway."
Ruby toddles off.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Baby Show: Can't do this by myself

Players: Brad, Gus, Hope, Ruby
Location: Kitchen, The beginning of lunchtime

Brad deposits Hope in her highchair and straps her down.
Brad: “Ruby, would you like to play Starfall while I get lunch going?”
Ruby pulls herself into her chair at the kitchen table: “I want macaroni for lunch.”
Brad: “You always want macaroni. I think we should have something else.”
Ruby: “But I want macaroni because after lunch we will take naps and when we wake up we will have lots of energy and then we will go to the park and maybe the pool.”
Brad thinks ~ that was almost a coherent argument, I think. It was definitely an accurate order of events. Should I reward that?
Brad: “Okay, we can have macaroni.”
Ruby: “But while I wait for dinner, I can play Starfall.”
Brad: “Its lunch, but yes.”
Hope starts to fuss: {HEY, YO. I’ve been sittin’ in this chair for, like, 1 minute. Where is the FOOD?}
Brad: “It will be just a minute, Hope.” Brad pulls the computer over and starts up Starfall. “Now Ruby, remember that you can only play Starfall as long as you aren’t sucking your thumb. If I see you sucking your thumb, you’ll be done playing Starfall for now. Do you understand?”
Ruby, obviously believing that the question is ‘do you comprehend English in any manner’ says: “Yes, Daddy.” She then looks at the screen. “I wanna do Numbers.”
Brad: “Okay.” Brings up the numbers section and lets her go for it.
Brad puts a pot of water on the stove to boil.
Hope: {HEY. I know you prolly forgot I was here and all, but I could really use some food before I full on pass OUT.}
Brad: “I think that’s a little overly dramatic.”
Hope: {Oh Yeah? I’m tiny, and have a super small stomach. Also, I just learned to crawl, so I need my sustenance to keep up my mad crawling SKILLZ.}
Brad gets a carton of orange baby food and peels back the wrapper.
Gus has been contentedly doing something toddlerish in the living room: {Hark, is that a container of foodstuffs being opened?} He run-bumbles into the kitchen: “THAT!?  BITE!” {Father, I heard the emergence of some delicious morsel. Please deposit said morsel into my eating orifice, that I might sample it.}
Brad: “There is no way you actually heard me open this.”
Gus: {Au Contraire. I’ve found that, when it comes to matters of the palate, I seem to have keen, superhuman senses.}
Brad: “Well, that’s great, but this isn’t for you. Go play.”
Gus sees Ruby playing Starfall. {Ah, the interactive cartoon program. Delightful.} He pulls a chair out from the table and pulls his baby-body up onto it so he can take a closer look.
Brad begins feeding Hope, who squeaks and squeals anytime the supply of food is delayed for more than 3 seconds.
Ruby: “DADDEEE, Gussie is messing up my Starfall.”
Gus, who has belly-flopped onto the table-top in order to reach the keyboard, is pressing the PG DN key repeatedly: {I find the clicks of this movie machine invigorating.}
Brad: “Gus, get down.”
Gus gives Brad a measuring look and then slides back into the chair.
While distracted by The Baby Show, Brad has inadvertently moved the container of baby food within Hope’s reach.
Hope, grabbing the half-full cup and pulling on it violently: {WHAT UP, FOO! I got my own plan now. Gimme them yummies.}
Orange baby food is now all over her high-chair, her hands, and her onesie. Brad salvages as much as he can and cleans her up.
Ruby wails. Gus has bellied back onto the table and shut the lid of the computer.
Gus: {HA HA, The Day is Mine!}
Ruby, cry-wailing: “Dahdee, Gubbie dup die barball und cow tricam tray cucumbers bile irate Formica pony.”
Brad: “Ruby, its fine. Here.” Opens the lid back up and Starfall immediately pops back up.  Brad puts the baby food well away from Hope, picks up Gus and deposits him in the living room, closing the baby-gate.
Gus begins crying: “DADDEE.” {Why would you leave me in here alone? I just want to love you.}
Brad: “Really? Cuz it seems like you just want to torment your sister.”
Gus, still crying: “Daddie.” {I’m a young male. That’s how we show love.}
 Brad comes back to the table, but then notices the water is boiling, so puts in the macaroni.
Hope kicks her highchair with her ridiculous baby strength: {Get back over here or I will straight up break this high chair and come smack you.}
Brad finally finishes feeding Hope, then makes her a bottle and places it in front of her. “Knock yourself out.”
Hope grabs the bottle and puts it in her mouth. Brad turns. Ruby is a little zombie, staring at Starfall. Her thumb is in her mouth.
Brad puts a hand gentle on her head and readies himself: “Honey, you’re sucking your thumb. That means we are done with Starfall for now.” He hits Ctrl+f4 on the keyboard, and Starfall closes.
Brad: “Sweetheart, calm down. I told you this would happen if you sucked your thumb.”
Ruby’s hair has begun to fan out and stick up, her face is splotchy red with tears. Dogs down the street begin barking: “AaAAaAAAaaaAAAaAAaAaAaAAaAAaaAAaaaAAAAaAAAaaaaAAA.”
Brad takes a few deep breaths and reminds himself that he is dealing with a toddler: “Ruby, if you don’t calm down, we won’t play Starfall anymore, because you can’t seem to handle it. Now breathe”
Ruby, gulps some air. “Eye juice billy wanatoe flay Barfly bile weigh core iMac Arrow knee.”
Brad processes that for a second: “Well, I appreciate that, but we agreed on the thumb sucking thing. Besides, you will get to play Starfall again. And the macaroni is almost done.”
Ruby: “Eye want uh bupple bow.”
Brad keeps from rolling his eyes at his daughter: “Okay.”
Hope: {Yo, dropped the bottle.}
Brad picks it up and puts it back on her tray.
Brad finishes up the macaroni. Brad puts Gus in his chair, then goes over to dish the macaroni into bowls.
Gus, seeing the macaroni, begins to cry: {I see that you have life-giving morsels, yet it is beyond reach! Are you some sort of monster?}
Brad: “You’re fine, buddy. It will just be a minute. It’s too hot still.”
Gus wails: {I am wasting away!}
Brad begins to sing the ‘Have Patience’ song. Gus calms a little.
Hope: {BOTTLE!}
Brad picks it up and puts it back on her tray.
He pours milk for Ruby and gives Gus his Sippy. Gus just cries louder, stubbornly refusing to drink it. Brad then puts out the macaroni. Gus slaps the bowl, sending it to the floor. While reaching for the macaroni, Ruby knocks over her cup of milk.
Brad breathes for a few minutes, loudly, through his nose.
Then he cleans everything up,gets more milk for Ruby, more macaroni for Gus, and sits down at the table  wondering if it is too late to get his old job back. Why did I think I could do this?
After a few bites, Ruby stops: “Daddy, we didn’t pray.’
Brad sighs: “You’re right. Go ahead and pray for us.”
Gus: “Pay!” and clasps his little hands together.
Ruby: “Dear Jesus, thank you for this day. Thank you for Daddy and Mommy and Gussie and baby Hope and macaroni and milk. Amen.”
Gus: “AWMN.”
Brad smiles a little: “Thank you, Honey. That was great.”
Ruby, very serious face: “Daddy, did you know that Jesus died?”
Brad blinks: “Yeah honey, I did.”
Ruby gets big eyes: “But he came back to life.”
Brad looks at her a moment.
Ruby takes a bite of macaroni and smiles at Brad.
Brad smiles back.
There is a small thunk under the table.
Hope: {Hey, sorry to break up this precious moment, but BOTTLE YO.}

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Day in the Life: Not As Planned

First, I traveled 30 minutes away with 2 toddlers to pick up the last pieces of a shed some friends were nice enough to give us, just to discover that all that was left was 2 small paving stones that the frame rested on - which I have dozens of lying around my backyard.

Second, I drove back 30 minutes to Costco to pick up some Preen, waited 20 minutes until the Costco opened, and discovered that they no longer carry it.

Third, I went to a park district pool center to get my picture taken for my ID, to find that they are the only pool center of the 3 that can't do it, and the next closest place closes in 5 min - it is 10 minutes away.

Fourthly, I went to Home Depot to get a new tank sprayer, some Preen, and some Velcro strips to secure my daughters black-out shades. The tank sprayers I would have preferred had been strangely opened and badly taped closed; Home Depot doesn't seem to carry Preen either; but I did get the Velcro strips.

Finally, we decided to get pizza for dinner from Little Caesar, and called ahead for their Hawaiian Pizza. When we arrived, the gentleman behind the counter had no record that we ever called.


I got to spend the day with my kids, who were fairly well-behaved--we had fun new ice cream for lunch from the Korean grocery store down the street; and when we got home from picking up my wife from work and had finished our sausage pizza dinner, my kids danced together in the living room for us like laughing, delighted, dervishes.
I got to pray with them and sing them goodnight, and then relax for a few hours with my wife.

such a good day.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The BabyShow: Quick Trip to the Market

Players: Brad, Gus, Ruby
Location: Local produce market

As they enter the store, Brad grabs a cart.
Ruby: “I don’t want to go in the cart.”
Brad: “If you can stay near me and be a good listener, I’ll let you walk. Can you do that?”
Ruby, apparently believing the question is are you able to walk: “Yes, daddy.”
Brad picks Gus up and puts him in the cart, and straps him in.
Gus: {Is this some sort of racing machine in which I need to be strapped down for my own well-being?}
Brad: “No, it’s a shopping cart. You are being strapped down for my well-being.”
Brad then speaks a curse upon himself: “Okay kids, we have 20 minutes to just grab a few things before we head to the Woodhouse’s to play.”
They begin walking through the store and before they even get to the first aisle, Ruby runs ahead to look at the bananas, cutting off several elderly people.
Brad reacts to this as if Ruby took an octogenarian’s cane and began beating the poor woman while she lay helpless on the tile floor: “RUBY, I told you to stay near me. Are we going to have a listening problem?”
Ruby, who believes that her ability to comprehend language is unimpaired: “No, daddy.”
The BabyShow makes it down the first aisle, obtaining bananas. In the second aisle, they stop in front of the plums.
Brad begins poking plums.
Gus: “THAT!?” {What are those things that you are prodding?}
Brad is considering whether Poking Plums would be a good band name: “Sorry, what?”
Gus: {Are we having a listening problem?}
Brad: “These are plums, Gus.”
Meanwhile, Ruby’s cuteness has been receiving rave reviews from people walking by, and that has made her forget all else. She runs around the corner of a produce aisle.
Brad: “Ruby, come back.”
Ruby comes back and The BabyShow marches on.
This continues for 4 more rows.
Finally, Ruby has been dancing (which for her is indistinguishable from frenetic monkey jumping), gets in the way of a kindly-looking older lady. The old lady smiles at Ruby, and looks up at Gus and Brad.
Brad grabs Ruby’s hand and pulls her back out of the way: “Sorry about that.”
What Nice, Older Lady actually says: “That’s quite all right, she’s adorable.”
What Brad hears: “You’re lack of parenting skills is only just overlooked because your children, while misbehaved, are cute.”
Brad picks up Ruby: “You haven’t been listening and you keep running around when I’ve asked you to stay nearby. I’m putting you in the cart.”
Brad puts her in the carts main basket with the groceries. As there is a sign on the cart saying not to place children in the cart this way, Brad is now convinced that he is a social pariah and will be asked to leave the store.
When Brad returns to the back of the cart, Gus is eating an apricot from the closest display case.
Brad: “No Gussie, we don’t eat the food right off the shelf.”
Gus grunts: {Well, that’s just ridiculous. Who puts food out where other people can see it if they don’t want it to be eaten immediately?} Gus takes another bite of apricot.
Brad quickly grabs the last item that he was looking for and then looks at his watch.
40 minutes has passed.
Brad quickly wheels the cart to the front. All open cash registers have lines. Brad sadly decides it would be quicker to just put everything back and leave. He does so.
They quickly leave the store and get in their car and drive away. It is not until 5-10 minutes later that Brad realized that they did not pay for the apricot Gus ate.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The ThrowDown: Ruby Vs. Wedding Activities

ROUND 1: Wedding Rehearsal
As Flower Girl (or the title she was bestowed by the Bride – Flower Princess), Ruby was required to be at the wedding rehearsal. After walking down the aisle with the RingBearers (or Kings of the Ring), the Bride wanted to see if the kids could stand on the stage during the ceremony so people could see their overwhelming cuteness. It is understandable that the Bride would want to harness this power for her own use – if baby and toddler cuteness could be converted to electricity we would easily solve the energy crisis—but the issue is that the Bride’s plan required toddlers to stand still for more than 30 seconds.
The parents mentioned this issue to the Bride and the wedding planner, but we were all willing to give it a shot at the rehearsal. Within 5 minutes, the kids were all over the stage. At one point we lost Ruby and one of the Ring Kings, and heard a shattering from stage left. The two of them had snuck behind a partition, jostled it in their toddler glee, and sent a 4” diameter, 4’ tall, glass candle holder plummeting to the earth.
While the Ring King was blamed for actual destructive actions, all parties involved agree that he was likely convinced to act thusly by one Flower Princess
WINNER: Wedding Activities. Toddlers have 2 settings-Moving and Sleeping. They move while they eat, they move while they use the potty, they really even move while they sleep—just less. The toddler is doomed to fail at any activity that relies on stillness.

ROUND 2:  Walking Down the Aisle
Traditionally, Flower Girls throw petals onto the walkway as they come down the aisle. However, in this particular case, our Flower Princess was relieved of this duty. All she had to do was hold the hand of the Ring Kings—who weren’t carrying rings—and walk from the back of the sanctuary, down the aisle, up a small flight of stairs, and stand on the stage until the officiate asked everyone to be seated—we all finally agreed that standing up there the whole time was asking for disaster.
This process went swimmingly in rehearsal; however, the Flower Princess didn’t wear her dress during the rehearsal.
During the ceremony, as she climbed the stairs at the end of the aisle, she kept stepping on the hem of the dress. She couldn’t lift the dress out of her way because both hands were being held by a Ring King. So, she began tripping up the stairs.
WINNER: Ruby. Thanks to her inherent toddler cuteness, her dress/walking issues came across as adorable rather than troubling. Also, the Ring Kings kept things moving by literally dragging her up the steps. All in all, it simply added a fond and cute memory to the ceremony.

ROUND 3: Reception Dinner
Most of the dinner doesn’t require comment. However, the wedding favors were a seemingly unending supply of cake pops—white cake or red velvet cake.
Ruby was the Flower Princess, Ruby was in a beautiful dress, Ruby has no shame—she simply walked up to any one and every one and requested a cake pop.
Who is going to say no?
WINNER: Ruby. She worked the system like a pro. I shed a little tear, I was so proud.

ROUND 4: Reception Pictures/Speeches/Etc
But now we have a sugared-up toddler who has been seated right next to where all the reception activities are taking place. At some point, Ruby decided that this was her wedding, and started out onto the dance floor in the middle of the cake cutting, and the speeches, and any other traditional reception activity; because the Flower Princess decided that she needed to be in every picture.
WINNER: Wedding Activities. The Flower Princess eventually had to be escorted from the room by the Flower King in order to stop disturbing the proceedings.

ROUND 5:  Dancing
The combination of sugar and dress-enhanced toddler cuteness reached its zenith during the dancing. Ruby was allowed back on the premises and danced the night away. Her dancing consists of a lot of jumping, arm-flailing, and falling down—the way drunk, white adults dance.
WINNER: Ruby. Her somewhat spastic dancing was so full of joy and giddiness that it made all who saw it laugh in delight.


She had a great time and she behaved decently well—didn’t have any of her melt-downs in non-relative public. Also, even though she ate enough sugar to kill a small rhino, she danced it all off and fell promptly to sleep.