Thursday, September 28, 2006


Somehow the horse sound is wildly appropriate for this "I two" stage. Here he is riding "Beam" -- Ranger Steve's sidekick. He looks like a natural, huh? Grandaddy: don't get any ideas.

I just have a few unrelated points to make tonight.

  • Chick-Fil-A really needs to get Mr. Rogers's Ph.D. resources to help out with their new treats for the toddler set. In their Happy Meal equivalent, they are giving out a series of books about animals in Virtue Valley. The one we got is called A Tale of Resourcefulness with Armadillo. On the back inside cover are a list of "Discussion Points" and some advice about how to ask questions related to the story, two of which BEG to be posted here with all the rest of my nonsense. Please remember that this is what they give instead of a toy with small parts ... it is intended for children under three. Here are the ones I like the best: (1) How did Armadillo use her resources? (2) What does it mean to be resourceful? (3) Make a list of what you can do best to get a job done. Now am I just doing my usual underestimating, or does that seem just a titch advanced for a toddler?
  • On a non-Goose note, school (read: working full time) is going well for me. Which means that nobody is consistently pulling down his/her pants in class, stealing things, or glueing together my file folders. Yes, I had all of those experiences when I taught 9th grade. I was listening to a news report about the trial of Saddam Hussein the other day and I thought, "Hmm ... that courtroom sounds VERY similar to some of my previous teaching experiences." Thank the good Lord for immigrant adults. Otherwise the world would've lost this teacher.
  • The Goose went for his 2-year checkup today. He's 50th percentile for weight (around 30 pounds) and 75th for height (2' 11.25" -- yes, that's almost three feet tall). Apparently he did a little crying during the vaccination part but then, through his tears, thanked the nurse profusely for his special bandaid. Now I'm not one to brag, but that's good parenting people.

picnic pose

  • While at the doctor's office, they were asking about his language development (I'm sure they're working on a new article for The Journal of Pediatrics or Gifted Child magazine or something similarly impressive). One of the questions was, "Is he putting together up to three words?" Now, I wasn't there, but y'all: he's putting together MUCH more than 3-word utterances ... and anyway, complexity cannot be measured simply by quantity. We need more profound structural analysis than just counting in order to measure his true abilities. To illustrate, I thought I'd share our latest ON REPEAT car conversation:

JEB: A mawnmower!

KPB: Yep, there's a lawnmower.

JEB: That yady.

KPB: Yep, one time we saw a lady on a lawnmower.

JEB: That pink hat.

KPB: Yep, she had on a pink hat. It was a lady with a pink hat on a lawnmower.

JEB: A noise.

KPB: The lawnmower goes vrrrooom, vroom, vroom.

JEB: Vroom, vroom, vroom.

KPB: Yep, that's what the lawnmower says.

JEB: Is a noise?

KPB: Yep, it's a noise.


KPB: Yep, it's just a loud noise ... not a scary noise.

JEB: That mawnmower.

REPEAT CHORUS, except this time insert "bucket truck, garbage truck, fire truck, a mule, that tractor (auger on back), a chainsaw, that coffee grinder, a hair dryer, that fan for hands," etc. It goes on and on like this. I'm not sure what it is about being in the car that triggers it, but the conversation never varies (other than whatever noise-making thing is being discussed). I think the "Is OK?" part comes from the fact that one time I was trying to prepare him for the loud noise of something and I told him that it was going to make a loud noise but that it was OK ... just a loud noise, not a scary one. Now he always clarifies this point.


We went on a family picnic yesterday, and a good time was had by all. The Goose discovered softball, and this is what it sounded like: "A bat! Kick. No. A bat! Go, go. A ball. A baseball. NO, no. A big ball. Is soft. A bat!" I have never been so interested in softball, frankly. His commentary could keep me interested in anything.

While on the picnic, he usurped a pink and purple bike, to the dismay of its bow-headed 3-year old owner. Upon discovering that she was not into the idea of him riding on it, he walked up to her older brother, who was holding a power rangers balloon, and said, "That boon pease." He replied, "OK, but just for a minute, because balloons are VERY expensive." Contentment abounds ... along with some conjecture and hype (or possibly, price gouging) about the cost of helium and mylar.

And then of course every night we all pile into the big bed for Tory Time. No, it doesn't involve a bunch of white-wigged Brits. Rather, it involves book after book about going to the potty. Penguins in Big Boy Underwear. Michael goes poop (yay Michael!). Mr. Roger's simple explanations about how children need to take their time about making B.M.s.

story time

And on that note, I think I'll say good night. I have the distinct luxury of flying away to another state tomorrow for a Girl's Weekend with my old college buddies. We are all turning 30 soon even though we still look 21.

Happy fall y'all!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

New Babysitter

Since both of our babysitters recently went away to colleges to stun the world with their talents, we have been looking for fresh meat, per se. After trying out a couple of my Japanese students (who asked -- as we were about to leave the house -- "Do we need to stay?"), we were left with the feeling that perhaps speaking extremely fluent English should be a criteria. You know, in case of emergency. So, we got a recommendation from our other babysitter's mother, a long-time family friend of the Beckers. And we tried out the fresh meat yesterday afternoon.

She brought a friend because she's 12.5 and it's a little scary being in a big ole isolated house in a park. I know, I know ... 12.5 seems young. But when I think back to when I was that age, I was babysitting three kids under the age of 5 (at the same time). That in itself is amazing considering the fact that I have trouble with just one child under the age of 5 NOW (and I'm nearly 30). So they came over post-nap and we went out for a few hours and when we came back here is what I found:

  1. A spotless playroom -- blocks neatly stacked, toys in the toybox, and blankets folded. Teddybears, who were once spread eagle on the floor, were sitting nicely in chairs as if waiting for their tea to be served.
  2. A note on the table (see picture above) with a detailed list about the goings on of the evening.
  3. The Girls and The Goose upstairs preparing for bed by changing into clean clothes and beginning story time.

My heart soared. I couldn't help but use my red teacher pen to give them an A+. We've already booked them again for early October.

Prayers have been answered, people.

ION ...

Nana has already sent a CD of her own pictures from the birthday weekend (all 339 of them) and I have uploaded some of them to my Flickr account. In case y'all missed it: he's 2 now and proud of it. He tells everybody: "I two."

And indeed he is two.

This morning while I was brushing my teeth I glanced over and just happened to notice that what was keeping him so quiet was a HUGE pile of toilet paper in the toilet -- still connected to the roll so that when he flushed the potty it would continue to roll out and go down with the water.

I think his newfound interest in toilet flushing can be related back to his fascination with a recent library book: Going to the Potty, by Fred Rogers. It's not a potty training book; rather, it documents how babies move developmentally from helpless to helpful by learning to use the potty. There's a page in the book with a picture of a little girl flushing the potty and the quote says, " Toilets are meant to flush away ONLY things that we don't need." Maybe I'm just a more obvious writer, but I think I may have put a for example in there just for kicks. Especially if I, like Mr. Rogers, felt the need to send shout outs (via acknowledgements in the preface) to two people who hold Ph.D.s in some field which makes them qualified to serve as references in a potty training manual for toddlers. Anyway ... I'm guessing that an ENTIRE roll of Angel Soft does not count as "things we don't need."

Now I've gotta get back to the grind, but I do want to say a very sincere thank you to everyone who attended the party and brought gifts, food, friends, etc. It was a really, really special day and I just hope there are many, many more (of course!).

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Umm, y'all are singing.

Umm, y'all are singing.
Originally uploaded by Kimmy Crack Corn.
Look at that face. He was confused by the Birthday Song. It isn't one of our regulars, and everybody knew it except him. A scary thing, I guess.

But look at that cake! It has four of Bob the Builder's friends: Roley, Lofty, Muck, and SCOOP (the fave). Nana did it up right.

I'm exhausted tonight, so you'll just have to look at all the pictures. Click on the one above to see the full spectrum of the party.

Good night.

p.s. Go ahead, say it: BORING. And then say "phew" because I've spared you all of my asides and tangents. Next week you might not be so lucky.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

1,051,200 Minutes of The Goose

To My Dearest, who is Two in Two Days (but nowhere near Terrible):


It's simultaneously possible and not possible that you've been with us for two years (1,051,200 minutes ... i.e., 525,600 minutes x2). Since your birth, I feel like I have been on a long, long journey. Not really a vacation, but definitely a trip. An adventure. At times long and difficult. Other times fast and fun. Definitely worth it.

In the early months, it was like we were touring somewhere in the far northern hemisphere. Somewhere really cold and scary, yet beautiful. 2 days oldA place where the aurora borealis flames wildly in the sky and yet everyone just acts like nothing extraordinary is going on. A place where there is never day ... or is it night? I forget now, because to me (to YOU), there was no difference.

Then there was The Honeymoon Trip: The Good Ole Days, between three and six months, when you had figured out that Mama likes to sleep at night.

TUMMY_EDITED.JPGIt was before you could crawl, stand, or even sit. It was great. I would hold you and nurse you or alternately put you down on the floor and come back to find you between two and fifteen feet away from the spot where I left you. In. One. Minute. Flat. You'd just roll around while awake and then take two to three naps a day. Yes, at this point I think we had travelled to one of those all-inclusive places in the Caribbean, where there's a lot of sand and sun and people who bring you drinks (or numerous packages of saltine crackers) on the beach. I think I maxed out my library card during this time, because I had so much free time.

After six months, there was Crawling Stage -- zoomcrawlduring this part I picture us somewhere in a third-world country -- India? Africa? A place where there are lots of partially domesticated animals running loose in the streets pooping. In my mind, during this stage, the ground was always dirty, and you always wanted to be crawling around down there amongst the dirt and poop, tasting everything and getting skinned knees. This wasn't my favorite stage, but it was much better than the Aurora Borealis days.

Walking. a bottle

I loved it. It was like all of a sudden it didn't matter as much whether or not the floor was filthy! And, we weren't in India/Africa anymore with the pseudo-domesticates. Now, we were somewhere in Europe where, granted, people smelled funny, but they at least spoke a language that didn't involve clicking sounds or references to reincarnation. We could go to the park and hang out in the yard or just take a little walk.

Talking. Ahhhh. I thought this would be like Coming Home. And it was the good ole U. S. of A. But instead of "home," it seems to be somewhere in Northern California ...

Too much WHINE


I couldn't WAIT for you to talk. I nursed you for 22 months because my biggest fear was that you might get a lot of ear infections that would delay your language acquisition. When, at 15 months, your only word was "clock," I started to get a little uneasy. Everybody said, "Be careful what you wish for."

And I do still dislike the whining. But the talking! I don't think I've laughed this hard since I was in middle school (at a Church Youth Group Lock-In) having one of those out-of-control, pee-in-your-pants giggle fits. I can't get enough of it. The vocabulary! The grammar! The syntax! The semantics! The sociolinguistic aspects!

And now ... these days of Big Boyness ... well, by now I guess I'm used to travelling. I'm sorta buying into that cliche about life being about the journey and not the destination. I can feel myself getting laugh lines and crow's feet just watching you live out your days.

Examples? Oh, you know me ...

You can pump up your own tires.

Almost Two

You can give, hands-down, The. Best. Kisses. Ever.

Then you lean in.

You can pose.

A Pose

You like to eat.

Piggin out on peaches

You like to sleep.

A Guy Needs His Rest

(with a meow and an uff-uff)

You LOVE to read.

The Reader

(about chickens taking rides in red pickup trucks)

You love to steal my heart with those cheeks.

Almost Two

You even like junk mail.

VS Guy

And you're not at all a troublemaker like most twos.

Poised on the Verge of Troublemaking

I'd be your travel partner any day of the week and twice on Thursdays.

Happy TWO Bubby!

ALL my love,


Monday, September 11, 2006

Big Boys (& Girls)

I snuck in there last night and this is what I saw.
And earlier tonight, this is what we looked like while watching Dad mow the lawn in preparation for the Big Birthday Bash ... it was serious bidness.

Yep, he's mine

Yep, he's mine.

But ... let's not forget that his father did contribute in some (minor) ways to his deliciousness.

last summer

Note: picture taken last summer before his eyes changed color.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Possessives & Potties

Well, he is upstairs asleep in his big boy bed having just spent the last two days in monster truck underwear. We do not have a baby anymore.

We also do not have chickens anymore. Juanita's death was confirmed this afternoon when I found her remains -- lying in a heap of feathers with feet on top -- just across from the tomato bed. Minerva Louise has gone back to live at The Coop from Whence She Came, where we thought she would be much happier amongst her old friends. A tragic end to our poultry adventure, but of course we learned a lot and do not regret the experience. Now we just have to tear down that huge coop that we built, all plush with a ceiling fan and everything. I guess there are worse things.

I cannot believe he is up there asleep in that big boy bed. Go figure. And don't even get me started on the monster truck underwear. All that credit goes to The Dad, who has worked tirelessly and successfully by using only positive reinforcement and every potty book from every library within a 10-mile radius. The Mom tends to use popsicles and other various bribes (like a bottle of "Allergy Eyes," which has become the Random Obsession of the Week).


And now back to our regularly scheduled programming: Toddler Grammar Analysis ...

Do you know how many meanings there are for the word "MINE!"? A lot, apparently. As far as I can tell, it is used to mean the following:

  • I want that object to be mine.
  • That is mine and you have it; give it back now.
  • My boogers are my own property and I'd rather you not scrape them out of my nose with a wet washcloth.
  • No.
  • Yes.
  • I don't want to go potty.

Starry Eye

Possessives are the new thing around here. On certain mornings of the week, The Goose and I have this ritual where we go out for a long walk/run (him in stroller) and then come back and eat oatmeal in the yoga/playroom, sitting on an old quilt with our backs on pillows propped against the wall. It's anybody's guess who will spill their orange juice first. One day The Goose sat down in my usual spot, so I said, "Hey, that's my seat!" and started a revolution in the acquisition of possessive determiners and their application to various household objects.

First, he started saying, "My seat!" Then, he'd say, "My big seat" or "My apple juice" or whatever. Now, he's saying, "my seat Mama" to mean "Mama's seat" or "my 'poon Dada" to mean "Dad's spoon." Or any number of similar phrases.


He also likes to use other types of determiners -- demonstrative ones in particular. For example, y'all know how popular Ranger Nane is. Nane (Shane) is the one who drives the infamous mule, which often has a boat hitched to the back. So whenever we see Nane, The Goose says, "Nane. A mule. That big boat." He also says "Nane" whenever we see a jeep, because Shane's personal vehicle is a green Jeep Cherokee. He'll say, "That jeep. That jeep. That jeep" until I acknowledge that yes, indeed there is a jeep and it looks like Shane's.

In the picture just above, he and The Dad are watching Shane & Steve (The Big Boss Ranger) use a tracty with an auger to drill holes in the ground. Over and over he'd say, "Seve. A tracty. That auger." This is a child who just a couple weeks ago could not tell me he was thirsty or hungry. Now he is identifying construction equipment (with at least 80% accuracy) and requesting "eggs and tofu" for every meal.

The part where we say, "bye-bye" to various things (like tracties with augers or playgrounds with slides or what have you) is still a little rough (don't look, Mom):

that tracty.  byebye

But all in all, he's a swell kid. Even for an almost-two-year old.

ION ...

Work is going well for me. It's the first time I've worked full-time since before he was born, so it's a challenge. But no moreso than staying home with him. Someone once told me, "If you work, it's hard. If you stay home, it's harder." It's so true. I'm teaching four classes -- two upper-level writing courses, one intermediate literacy class, and a communication skills course. It's a full schedule but is going well so far. I have already had to give a few lectures about how not doing your homework is a waste of time and money, but for the most part, I can't complain.

That's about all I have for tonight. Next week we'll celebrate two years of The Goose. Aunty Amy, Baby Jack, and all the G'Parents are coming into town. Excitement abounds.

I'll leave you with another stock tip: Invest in monster truck underwear. I have already thrown away several pair and the ones we have left have been washed so many times that they're stretched out and falling apart. I have a new philosophical question to pose for our environmentalist readership: What's worse? Filling up landfills with disposable diapers or wasting water to wash out underwear?

Big Boy Undies


Sunday, September 03, 2006

When Two Became One

And not in a good way.

Alas, I'm writing to report that we forgot and left the coop door open last night. All night. This morning there was only one girl remaining and she refuses to leave the nesting box. It must've been traumatic, whatever happened.

Chicken Chaser
RIP Juanita.
Note: picture taken in September 2005