April, 2007

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Displaying a surprising grasp of marketing…

The lyrics to the song that W. composed to avoid eating dinner tonight:

Zo-e wanna be Elmo
Zo-e gotta be Elmo
ELmo gotta beeeeeeeeeeee…. ELmo!

Being Two Years Old: The Essence.

Me: “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray/You’ll never know dear, how much I love you, please don’t take my sunshine away.”

W: “Actually, Mommy, I AM going to take your sunshine away.”

And so it’s about… his art?

We had another hitting incident at the Remo drum circle yesterday. This one mystified me, as usually W’s victims have at least looked at him funny. This kid was just standing there when W. hit him in the arm with his drumstick.

“Why did you hit that kid, anyway?” I asked him (after reading him the riot act).

“I was using dat widdle boy as a cwash cymbal.”

Oh. Great.

I mean, it’s not like we haven’t had to give the people-are-not-drums talk a few times, but never before for such a specific reason.

Sorry it’s been quiet ’round here… we’ve had company in our wee little room and that doesn’t leave much time or space for writing. Quick update: Everyone’s reasonably healthy, I’ve got a bunch of potential employment situations in the works, and… well, that’s about it in a nutshell. Fascinating minutiae to come.

In the car today

I’m about to put on Beatles ’65 because the classical station is boring right now. Before I can quite get the CD in, the radio switches to another flavor of boring, which R. thinks he should maybe listen to for professional reasons.

A minute or two in, it’s clear that it’s neither very good nor bad in any particularly instructive way, so R. says, “If this gets unbearable, you can put on the Beatles.”

And I say, “That might be the best epitaph I have ever heard.”

Then I put on the Beatles.

Being nice.

W. has problems with impulse control sometimes. He’ll be fine for months and then blam, people (mostly me) start gettin’ hit. I’m about 80% sure this coincides with physical growth spurts – not that it’s an excuse, but I think it’s the reason.

And so, along with the negative consequences (which are completely ineffective when used alone with my particular kid), we reintroduce the concept of the Super Reward – 24 hours of no hitting, no hurting and no being mean and he gets to pick out a medium-sized toy. That’s how we transition out of these phases. It goes a lot more quickly this way.

This afternoon, he said he was ready to try for one. For the next two hours, he sat in his play area playing quietly, except that every five minutes or so, he’d sing out, “So far, so gooo-ood! I am just putting balls in dis truck and dere is no being mean at all.

And you know it’s so important not to laugh. And you don’t laugh. And you wonder if you will rupture an internal organ, with the not laughing.

And that’s pretty much how life goes, until suddenly he’s two inches taller and much more pleasant.


If you’re in the northern part of the Los Angeles area and looking for something to do tomorrow, the Multicultural Festival at Moorpark College is free and might be interesting. W.’s favorite band (we like them too!), Masanga Marimba Ensemble, is playing in the late AM, and there’s lots of other musical contents that looks interesting, along with things such as lectures on bird flu that we will probably not attend.

Masanga has a few other free shows coming up, as well. They’re well worth checking out.

For those of you playing along at home

I’m messing around with the template here, so if you happen to get here at a moment when it’s hideous or baffling or weirdly redundant, odds are it won’t stay that way. The layout, that is. The text is probably here to stay.


I would like to register a complaint about children’s television. I believe it is a complaint that nobody has ever made about children’s television. It is about cable network Noggin. Noggin: would you please, for the love of all things fluffy, do some damn merchandising already?

All of W.’s favorite shows, with the possible exception of Sesame Street, are on Noggin. When we had our very own apartment, with our very own cable service, their total lack of merch was mildly annoying; I’d think, “Why is there not a Jack’s Big Music Show CD?” (I realize there are Laurie Berkner CDs; my kid’s not so much into the Berkner.) Or while making a list of birthday or Christmas gifts, I’d think he’d really love pretty much anything Oobi-related, too bad no such thing exists. Then I’d move on to checking toy trucks for small, dangerous parts.

Living in a Holiday Inn with a very limited version of Dish TV, we have no Noggin. My kid hadn’t seen Oobi in months when, last week, he decided that he is Oobi, I am Uma, his father is Grampu, and his Grandma L. is, naturally, Oobi’s hip black friend Keiko. We’ve been the Oobi family pretty much constantly since.

Did you know that, as far as I’ve been able to tell from poking around on the net, there are no DVDs of Noggin shows? No downloadable episodes? They don’t even have many shorts on the website, and 90% of the ones they do have are from network mascots Moose and Zee. (90% of the ones that weren’t Moose and Zee? Laurie Berkner!)

They do have some games to play online that are kind of related to the shows, which is nice. I’ll give them that one.

There have been many things about parenthood that have been vastly different from my expectations. This one might top them all. I really never thought I’d be bemoaning the lack of licensed-character merchandise for children.

Life in a Hotel, Chapter One

The people in the suite next to ours tonight were, hand to god, playing live drums in there tonight. Live drums. In a hotel room. And not even very well.

That may never stop being funny.

Words of the Week: Always and Happy.

Like most little kids, W. has been behind on some milestones and ahead on others. But when it comes to talking, it’s been early and often, and as a result I haven’t really had time to keep up with documenting all the verbal cuteness.

So I thought this would be a good time to take a shot at documenting at least a few favorites regularly (weekly? Well, we’ll see.).

“Always” is in heavy use, usually in the service of adorableness: At the park, he was very involved in talking to and “feeding” a turtle statue. I told him that being nice to turtles was a very good thing to do. He got up, a big smile on his face, gave my legs a big hug, and said, “I will be nice to turtles always.”

But this morning, we had a prime example of the darker side of always. His first act after waking was to demand a cookie and upon refusal, burst into tears and wail, “I want cookies instead of breakfast always!” You and me both, kid. You and me both.

“Happy” isn’t showing up in so many original sentences, but it’s the star of my two favorite toddler colloquialisms. If you ask him to do something and the answer is not “NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!,” odds are it will be, “I would happy to!” And if he needs to greet you – and he will need to greet you a lot, whether you have been apart for more than five seconds or not – it will likely be with a perky, “It’s happy to see you!”

And here’s a bonus happy from yesterday, as delivered through copious tears: “I don’t need a nap! I am happy instead of cwanky!”

In retrospect, this was probably inevitable.

I’m afraid my toddler has gone Hollywood.

Over dinner at the Farmers’ Market this evening:

W: [makes horrible science-fiction monster noise] Mommy! I’m a SCARY puppet bear! AND, I’m a producer!*

Me: A producer? Really? What are you going to produce?

W: Actually, Mommy? I’m not going to produce anything.

I’m not sure whether we should start working on his BS skills or just be impressed that at his tender age he’s so much more realistic than many other producers I have met.

*Not to interrupt the flow of the conversation, but: a producer? The hell? Between this and his walking around with a straw hanging out of his mouth announcing that he’s “smoking” when he doesn’t even know anyone that smokes, I’m beginning to wonder if my toddler has a secret life.