Month: February 2007

Big Week

Last week included a couple important firsts.
First (uh-huh, uh-huh) C. now has some teeth. As of Sunday evening, depending on your definition, she had between two and six teeth. Her two front, top teeth were the first to pop through and are very visible now. One of her other upper teeth is peeking through. Then, at least two bottom teeth had pushed through by this afternoon, although it was tough to see them. If you could get your finger into her mouth, though, you could sure feel them. One of her favorite games of late has been smacking people in the face when she’s happy. I have a feeling she’s going to crawl up and bite me in the next few days.
Then, M. had her first haircut. We were finding small rodents and birds living in her ‘fro, so it was time to hack it back a little. It was a home job, and although S. took maybe an inch off, that must have been a heavy inch because her hair looks a ton shorter now. I guess it was getting to be too much and the curls were collapsing. Now, they’re nice and tight again. All I’ll say about the actual haircut was it was pretty much a disaster. We’re not taking her to a haircut place, or a dentist for that matter, any time soon. If I haven’t posted before/after pics yet, I’ll do that soon.
Some other kid tidbits below.

C. crawls like a madgirl. She’s seriously dangerous. She covers so much ground she surprises you sometimes. I propped her up against her walker this evening, and with a little support from dad, she pushed it all the way across the room. I have a feeling she’s going to be walking long before her sister did (13 months). All of a sudden Saturday, she started clapping as well. My wife tells me that’s advanced. I’ve realized on kid #2 I can’t keep track of milestones like that anymore. Too tired, too frustrated, been there, done that. I kid, of course. It is harder to keep track because all of M.’s milestones kind of run together and when C. does something, I think, “Now when did M. do that and what is the average?” Then, I realize figuring out the answers means getting up and I stay seated.
M. has a new favorite word: sure. Or, as she says it, “sewr.” Kind of like sewer without the second E. She says it 75% of the time you ask her a question now. “You want some crackers?” “Sewr.” “You want to color?” “Sewr.” “You want to work on your multiplication tables?” “No Daddy, that silly!” The best is when she says it in a totally dismissive manner. “Hey M., you want to help daddy pick up toys.” “Sewr,” without looking up from whatever she’s doing. It’s a courtesy answer at best, a blow-off answer more likely.
She is losing some of her other funny pronunciations, which is kind of sad. Her F’s are getting much better. Occasionally, her old, mock-southern accent will kick in. She still can’t say oatmeal without sounding like she’s from Arkansas. “Daddy, can I have oat-mail cooookie?” Maybe it’s because I love that so much I reinforce it by saying it back to her. “You want an oat-mail cookie, M.?” “Sewr.”
I love her random outbursts. At a red light the other day, she said something along the lines of this.
“Oh, it a red light. When it turn green, we say “Go people!” Den the people go home to dey houses, say hi to dey doggies, dey lay down, dey close their eyes and go night-night. Yeah, people silly daddy.”
She’s also stuck on Old McDonald. She takes the melody, adds any words, and walks around “singing” it over-and-over. This afternoon she was singing something about people taking their doggies for walks, all to the tune of Old McDonald. It’s also her alarm clock. We usually let her talk for awhile in the morning, so we don’t get Angry Toddler. We know she’s ready to get up when she starts singing “E-I-E-I-O” at the top of her lungs. One morning, C. was jabbering away in her room, M. heard her, and this followed”
“OH, DAT C.! I HEAR YOU, C.! I HEAR YOU SINGING! E-I-E-I-O!!!!!!”
Finally, Saturday both girls were napping, M. getting into her third hour and C. tenuously trying to get past 30 minutes. C. either stood up and fell against the railing, or had a bad dream, but she woke up screaming. As we raced upstairs, we heard the following outburst from M.’s room:
“IT OK C.! WE’RE COMIN’ TO GET YOU! HANG ON, C.!”
Sadly, despite looking out for her sister, she was not ready to get up. When we tried, we had 30 minutes of angry toddler. You other parents of toddlers out there know exactly what I’m talking about. I’m beginning to see why people drink a lot.

Pops

I love those random moments when you remember someone from your past and it makes you laugh and smile. Today, while unloading the dishwasher or folding laundry or some other domestic chore I tackle with aplomb, I suddenly remembered my boy Pops. I know a few of you remember Pops, too, but for those who have no idea who Pops is, skip down to the jump and read more.

I spent the better part of the 90s working at a warehouse in Lenexa, KS, shipping hardware supplies to stores around the country (Later, when I switched to the night shift, I got to drive a forklift all night. I’m a man of many fascinating surprises, aren’t I?). It started as a summer job, then morphed into a full-time gig when finances and an utter lack of interest in classes forced me to take a year off from school.

When I started, I was one of about four or five college kids who came in for the summer. Some of the folks in the warehouse were very welcoming, but others viewed us as uppity, educated prima donnas and did little to hide their scorn for us. A couple of the guys in particular, though, took an early liking to me. One of those guys was Pops. I called him Pops because he resembled former Pittsburgh Pirate <a href=”http://www.baseballhalloffame.org/hofers_and_honorees/hofer_bios/stargell_willie.htm”>Willie “Pops” Stargel</a>l. Since I was an Orioles fan at the time, Pops called me Junior, for Cal Ripken, Jr. Over the years, more than a few people looked at us strangely when we peppered our conversations with “Pops” and “Junior” references. “So why is that skinny white kid calling that fat black guy Pops?”

Pops and I got along great. I still had a foot in the hip-hop world, and with the strong R&#038;B influence I had from my mom, we could talk about current and old school black music. We talked a lot of sports, especially college sports. Pops was a big MU guy, so we had McDonald’s bets each time KU and MU played. As a summer hire, I didn’t have a work area of my own, but Pops quickly had me set up shop at his station. The morning after a bad KU loss, he would rush in and tape the story from the KC Star to our desk so it was the first thing I saw. I did the same when MU lost. We used clipboards to carry our work orders and mine was covered with pictures of KU players. He was quick to draw a mustache on <a href=”http://www.kusports.com/multimedia/photogalleries/basketball/02-03/ucla/6-01.jpg”>Jacque Vaughn’s</a> face or write “Wife Beater” on <a href=”http://www.ljworld.com/photos/2004/08/05/henleyrun.jpg”>June Henley’s</a> jersey. Oh, and we went round-and-round about <a href=”http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/pic/PHO/AAGK122~Magic-Johnson-Michael-Jordan-Photofile-Posters.jpg”>Magic Johnson vs. Michael Jordan</a>. Pops’ favorite line when defending Magic (remember, back then it was still an argument) was to rattle off his line from the clinching game of the 1980 NBA Championship. “Jumped center, 42 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, took tickets before the game, and sold popcorn during time-outs…”

But perhaps my favorite Pops memory is an unlikely one, though. He lived down near Longview Lake, and one summer Lollapalooza was held there, with Soundgarden headlining. The day after the show, he was going on-and-on about all the freaks he saw and asked me why I wasn’t there. Then, pivoting his 300+ pounds as if he was playing the bass, he started singing the bassline for “<a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outshined”>Outshined</a>.” Pretty impressive, I thought. But he went further. “I’m looking California….and feeling Minnesota!” Dude knew all the words to a Soundgarden song! “Yeah, you know you wanted to be out there, Junior!”

Anyway, that’s the kind of random stuff that pops into my head on occasion. Or, Pops into my head, I should say.

Daddy’s Little Girl

Yes, I really am posting at 12:20-something AM. I’m not doing it to show off, the way I used to send e-mails late at night or early in the morning in my Corporate Hack days (To the day I left the Big C Corp, there were a few people in high places that I would run into occasionally who would point at me and say, “This guy works crazy hours!” And this was at a company where crazy hours were mandated. Boy, did I have those fools fooled!). And I’m not doing it to make up for my recent run of minimal postings. No, I do it because I’m up and there is news.
This is the rare night when I’m working on my bimonthly editing gig and an article for class at the same time. With about 1000 inches of snow on the ground (Or perhaps slightly less, but still the most snow we’ve received since I moved here) and two kids keeping me busy all day, it’s a late night oil night. So I’m sitting here, tapping away on the keyboard when I hear M. on her monitor. She is really cranked up good, which is unusual. I go running up and S. is leaving her room, not terribly pleased.
“She doesn’t want me, she wants her daddy. She said, ‘Daddy get my cubers.’”
Holy creature of habit! That’s what a little freak my oldest daughter is. When she wakes up in the middle of the night, tangled in her sheets and blankets, daddy must be the one to come get her straightened out. Thank goodness I’m not traveling anymore. I can’t imagine what would happen if I was off in Portland or Phoenix or LA.

Why? And Teeth

We heard that worst of toddler words today. “Why?” I don’t even remember the context, I just know I was asking M. to do something while cleaning C. up after her breakfast and M. looked at me with big, two-year-old eyes, and asked, very matter-of-factly, “Why?” It was so unexpected that I just ignored her rather than using any of the numerous defense strategies I’ve thought up. I’m sure I’ll get many, many chances to practice them in the near future.

I’ve not gotten around to doing a full kid update for awhile because they’re both doing so much that it is hard to remember everything. So a few quick updates, mostly on C.. This weekend, her two upper, front teeth pushed through her gums. Her lower two teeth look to be close behind. Beyond all the pain they go through, I really don’t like the teething process. When babies start getting teeth, they have that awkward period where they look like little demons with parts of teeth sticking out here and there. They’re much cuter when they’re all gums.
C. also graduated to pulling up on things over the last ten days. She had become a world-class crawler, able to get anywhere she wanted in the blink of an eye. Then, one day, I walked by her bedroom and there she was, standing up in her crib, holding onto the rail and waiting for someone to come and get her. They grow up so fast!
She’s a funny kid. We’ve been extremely fortunate that, much like her big sister was at the same stage, C. is mostly good-natured and happy. She loves to play, and now that she can chase her sister a bit, she’s having extra fun. Sleeping is mostly good. We reverted a bit last week when teething woke her up in the middle of the night, but for the most part, we’re working on four weeks of solid sleep through the night from her.
M., on the other hand, seems to wake up once or twice each night. I’ll go in to check on her.
“What’s wrong, M.?”
“I want my cubers.” Or, “My cubers, daddy!”
We’ve tried to teach her to pull her covers, er, cubers up on her own, but I guess she prefers to cry until we come and do it. Another reason I can’t wait for spring.
Potty training continues at a slow pace. We’re not pushing her, and some weeks she is interested in sitting on the potty, if only for long enough to get one of her reward stickers. She’s peed a few times, but nothing more solid or consistent from her. In fact, I bet she hasn’t been on the potty for a week. We’ll continue to slowly work on it until it gets warm, then S. claims to have some tricks that can get her on board quickly.
She’s also a funny kid, when not driving us crazy with her toddler moods. At least ten times a day she’ll say something that makes us laugh out loud. Yesterday, after she woke from a nap, I was changing her diaper, which was rather foul. Trying to make conversation to distract her, I asked, “Did you take a nap?”
“Yeah.”
“Do you feel better now?”
“No, I yucky.”
I wasn’t sure how to respond, so she continued the conversation without me.
“Daddy, I wanna see the yucky poopies. M. wake up and make yucky poopies. They yucky, daddy.” I was fully aware of how yucky her diaper was without her pointing it out 60 times.
She’s also repeating things we say to her. One of my favorite phrases when I’m disciplining her is “I told you…” Naturally, she uses it right back at me at other times.
“Daddy, I told you…”

Indy Grows Up

For the first time in 21 years, I live in the home of a world championship team. And with the Colts’ title, Indy officially becomes a football town. I’ve shared this story often: the Colts couldn’t even sell out the smallest stadium in the league in time to lift the TV blackout for their home opener against their arch rivals the first fall I lived here. Four seasons later, they are Super Bowl champions, a sparkling new stadium with the fifth highest capacity in the NFL is being constructed across the street from the RCA Dome, and this city has finally fully embraced the team. It’s been an interesting and exciting run.

This Super Bowl was not one that will go down as a classic. Sloppy track. Sloppy play. Rex Grossman. A bunch of shitty commercials. But what matters is the Colts won and there are thousands of drunken idiots downtown at Monument Circle running around in the -15 windchills. (I was all bundled up just to take the trash out tonight. There are guys downtown without shirts on. I guess that’s the difference between drinking two beers and 20.) Oh, and lots of bad local TV which has been the real highlight of the night. There’s nothing like seeing a reporter who usually covers the Statehouse get stuck in a bar for six hours, and then receive kisses on the cheek from other men while trying to do a live report.

If this was college basketball, Dick Vitale would already be telling us who will win next year’s Super Bowl. Sometimes pro sports are better. When do pitchers and catchers report? (Correction: at 12:15 the tools on ESPN started discussing next season. Typical.)

Super Duper

Somehow I’ve managed to avoid most of the Super Bowl hype this week. It was S.’s week to work days, which helped. That meant I rarely had a chance to do more than glance at the paper, often in the evening, and when the local evening news is on, I’m generally finally taking a shower or hitting the books after a long day with the girls. So I’m actually looking forward to the game for the game itself, rather than as a break from the interminable hype leading up to it.

Oh, and I’m anxiously awaiting the rumored announcement that the Beatles catalog will show up on iTunes later this month. That could be a memorable commercial, if the rumors come true.

One piece of news I did follow this week was Indianapolis formally bidding on the 2011 Super Bowl. On the one hand, I think it would be cool to have a Super Bowl here. On the other, I don’t think it would be the windfall for the city proponents expect it to be. Indy is a nice city, but I shudder to think how thousands of people who will come for an entire week will keep themselves occupied. There are only so many nice restaurants and clubs in this city. It works for a weekend event, like the races at the Speedway or a Final Four, but I expect the columns slamming the city would start as early as Tuesday. Second, the forecast low this Sunday is 2. Monday, we’re expected to dip below zero. Sure, there’s always the chance we could get some balmy weather and have temps in the 50s, but chances are it will be cold in February 2011 just like it is most other Februarys. People will be stuck in their hotels and bored, and despite the city’s efforts to shine itself up, there will be few good things said by the out-of-towners.

Finally, according the the Indy Star, the NFL mandates that all hotel rooms the league reserves for the game have taxes normally levied upon them waived. So the league, which I’m guessing grosses in the billions each year, and makes hundreds of millions off of the Super Bowl alone, is too cheap to pay the room taxes that Joe and Judy Fan will have to pay if they follow their team to the title game. I’m not sure where Indy sends its hotel tax dollars, that’s a pretty good chunk of change that will not hit the city’s coffers. Yes, the city will experience increased sales tax revenues, but it will also be picking up a huge tab for extra security, lots of last-minute repairs and beautifications, etc. Every dollar counts. I’m not sure if it makes a huge difference in income for the week, but Indy isn’t exactly a city that is awash in money. Seems like a cheap move on the NFL’s part. Too bad no city ever called bullshit.

On to the game. My thoughts have not drifted much from my initial reaction when the match-up was set. I think the Colts are just too good offensively and the Bears too limited offensively. Interestingly enough, the Bears O has outperformed the Colts O in the playoffs, and the Colts D is playing slightly better than the Bears D. I’m not sure what to make of that. I think the Bears have to get an early lead, and I’m talking 10 or 14-0, no a field goal or single TD, to have a chance. If the Colts score early, I think the game is over early. The wildcard is what the Bears can do when they get a turnover or on kick returns. They need at least two take-aways and a return TD to win. They might get those and still lose.

I see Dallas Clark and Joe Addai catching a lot of short passes early in the game, moving the chains, setting up the running game. The Colts grab an early lead, take it into the locker room, and in the second half, Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison get into the act. Feeling pressure to catch up, the Bears start passing, which plays right into the Colts defensive strengths. Then, it gets ugly.

Colts 38 Bears 21

I won’t be surprised if the score is different. I will be surprised if the result is different.

Happy weekend. Stay warm.

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