Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Real Princesses of Disneyland

For the past year, Addison and her mom have been going to Disneyland at least a couple times per month. Like the under-two rule for flying, we wanted to take advantage of the under-three rule for Disneyland, and so we only bought one pass, for Lindsay. I didn't get one, since standing in lines and navigating large crowds of people make me want to kick myself in the face. Which means every time Lindsay goes, I get a little extra time to play Bioshock. I mean, draw poop comics, my real work.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Facebook Monday: My morbid kid and her picky eating

On the Facebook Page this week, I recorded several conversations with my daughter involving how delightful it is to try to feed her (also, see here, here and here), and one in which she seems to be channeling something from the spate of horror movies lately involving creepy kids (you guessed it, I've written about this stuff before, too). Here's one feeding excerpt, and one sleep-with-one-eye-open excerpt:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

On chocolate chips and raisins

One year ago I was having a hard time finding things that Addison would eat. She was about to turn two years old, and I was still lamenting the passing of the baby food stage where she'd actually eat stuff I put in her mouth. Maybe some kids just shovel down whatever's put in front of them. Maybe some parents are masters of the kitchen, able to nonchalantly whip up something to hit just the right balance of kid-appeal and nutrition. These are not characteristics of our daughter, or her parents.

One day I came across a little box of raisins. It wasn't ours. Because both Lindsay and I hate raisins. Because they are horrible. All squishy and wrinkly and chewy, and they stick to your teeth. As I'm imagining what it would be like to chew one, my whole body cringes. And when they take on moisture, and they plump up a little and their consistency goes from tough little nuggets of unpleasant to big, juicy explosions of absolutely disgusting I just . . . I just can hardly finish this sentence.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Facebook Monday: On cleaning up poo

From the Facebook page this week:

While I'm wiping her bum and various other appendages and body parts after a minor poosplosion (thanks to the bug she caught last week):
"You're such a good helper, Daddy."
I appreciate her appreciation, you know? And there's something about the way she said it that kind of tugged at my heartstrings . . . that suggested that if everyone just helped out, it would all be okay. Sure, she freaked out a little when poo started coming out the bottom of her pants, and maybe some of the rest of us freaked out a little bit too. But the tears were brief, and Addison verbalized what I'm sure all of us were thinking:
"We can do this, together.
Some communities tear themselves apart when faced with overwhelming (poo) obstacles; individuals undermine the whole through desperate, animal acts of self-preservation (Get it away! Get it away!). But Addison seemed to understand that a community threat (Holy crap, it's getting everywhere!) can be a catalyst for growth, that if people could rally together for a common cause (Pick her up! To the tub!), and not succumb to their basest inclinations (I'm gonna puke . . . ) they might come out the other side stronger than ever (perhaps . . . cleaner than ever).

Potty training is supposed to be simple, right? Stuff goes in, stuff comes out. But for me, managing the stuff that comes out is no further than third on the list of things that I have obsessed over as a parent. It's taught me a lot about myself, and about life. Second is probably managing the stuff that goes in. First is sleep, the holy grail of parenting, for both us and the kid.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

On watching her sleep.

We're all slowly recuperating around here. Addison's been a mite bit sensitive for the past few days. Our little girl who doesn't usually like to be touched very much told me this evening, "Daddy, I just want you to cuddle me and watch a show." Well, that's pretty hard work for a dad, but I took one for the team and held the little critter on my lap. She leaned her head back on my chest, and her hair smelled like peanut butter and dirt (we're almost done digging up those roots). It was nice.

When I put her to bed, I gave her a hug and a kiss but forgot to say, "I love you." As I was shutting the door,  she shouted it to me.
"Daddy! Hey! I yuv you!"
I keep looking in on her tonight. A lot of nights I don't think twice about it, but tonight I can't stop watching her sleep. Through the crack of the door, I can just barely see her little chest rise and fall. Her blankets are in disarray. Her bunny clutched in one hand. Sweet dreams, kid.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Facebook Monday: Quarantine

For the past few days, Addison and I have been sick. Which means we have both watched a lot of cartoons while cuddled up in blankets. And I've eaten jello for every single meal today (I'm supposed to feed it to Addison, but she's been refusing it). Lindsay's mostly a good sport about it, but she did play this video for me:

So, I'd just like to point out that I loaded and unloaded the car by myself in sub-freezing temperatures at two different hotels and when we got home, all in the midst of my agony. I am a freaking hero. Also, here's the Facebook conversation for the week, which still makes me shudder when I think of Addison's really, really gross stuffed bunny:


Addison: GGggh. (Glottal Stop). Blech...BLEECCHHH! 
Me: Whoa! What's going...take that bunny's ear out of your mouth, would you? You're gagging yourself! 
Addison (tentatively): I gag myself. 
Me: Yeah, seriously, just stop that. Your Bunny's ear is gross, anyway. You'll be doing yourself a favor. 
Addison (using her "I just made a funny!" laugh): Ha ha! I gag myself! That's so funny! 
Me: Yes, well, very funny. But if you puke on me, I will be very sad. No more bunny ears in your mouth, okay? 
Addison (sighing): Okay. 
We did end up making it through Despicable Me and Toy Story 2 without any messes, and Addison even felt good enough to perform Dora's "We did it!" song and dance when Buzz helped Woody and Jessie off the airliner to safety.

Good luck with the sick season, y'all. To infinity, and beyond . . .

Thursday, January 10, 2013

On kids asking why and cruel interrogation techniques

A number of months ago, Addison began asking "why?" The word started popping up around the same time that Addison began asking questions about death. And then the two combined into questions about the whys of death. Frankly, it took us by surprise, as our toddler's primary preoccupation up until that point was sneaking up and shouting "Pickleweasel!" gleefully into someone's ear. I kept having to say to her, "Um, let's go talk to mom about that."

Monday, January 7, 2013

Facebook Monday: On having an attitude

This is my nephew, though Addison's made similar expressions.

As noted on the Facebook page this past week, our current road trip is marking a transition point in Addison's young life. Where once the kid, pinioned by child restraints, had little room for anything but anguish and a piercing scream (you know that moment in The Princess Bride where Wesley screams in the Pit of Despair, and everyone for miles and miles around stops what they're doing and is momentarily transfixed by the horrible sound? Yeah, it was like that), she's now broken through to another plane, one marked by the question, "Why?" She's asked us serious questions before, but the endlessly repeating three-letter interrogative brings things to a whole different level.

Although we can still sense under the surface a simmering resentment at road-trip imprisonment, she's getting old enough to read books in the car, draw pictures in the car, watch movies in the car, and have long, exhausting conversations in the car. Here is one of the last kind that we had recently:

Addison: Why Vanessa say "No!" to Eric?

Me: Huh?

Addison: Vanessa. In the Yittle Mermaid. Why she say "No!" to marry Prince Eric?

Lindsay: She wants to marry Eric. I don't think she said no.

Addison: She did! Why?

Me (closing my eyes to try to remember the scene, which I've seen with Addison about three times in the last week): Was it right before she turned into an octopus and said, "Eric, No!" when Eric tries to kiss Ariel?

Addison: Yes. Why she say "No!" She is mean.

What follows is a long conversation in which Lindsay tries to explain all of the reasons that Vanessa/Ursula says "No!" and Addison says "but why?" exactly 17 times. And then Addison gives us this:

Addison (ignoring most of Lindsay's explanation): Sometimes I say "No!" very mean to Mommy and Daddy. I say, No!


Addison: Why do I say that, mama?

Lindsay: Is it because you have an attitude?

Addison: Yes.
After this conversation, Addison settled back into her seat, satisfied. Sometimes it feels as though her "why?" questions are engineered for our benefit, for us to guess what she is thinking, rather than for her to find out anything about the world from us. So now we know; the kid's got an attitude. Wouldn't have ever guessed it before.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My favorite blog posts of 2012

I started this blog nine months ago in April 2012. It's not a full year old yet, but much of 2012 in our family has been punctuated in some way by the stuff I post here. In the "about this blog" tab, you'll read that I started the blog to reflect on some of my experiences as a parent before they disappeared down the swift river of time. It's already kind of surreal to go back and read about Addison's behaviors from just nine months ago, when she was barely two years old.

A couple of months ago I had to severely limit the time I spent online, since Lindsay got a job teaching and I became the primary caregiver for Addison. I created a Facebook page to have a more casual way to record some of the conversations I have with Addison without the pressure of trying to craft them into carefully edited posts. I also joined a dad blogging group on Facebook, which is really opening up my eyes to the behind-the-scenes stuff that other dad bloggers deal with. As a sort of collective project, a lot of the dads in the group chose their single favorite post of 2012, and Oren Miller of A Blogger and a Father got them all compiled in one place. Go check 'em (and mine) out!

While trying to decide on that one post to stand for the best of my blogging in 2012, I spent some time sorting through the almost 100 posts I published in 2012. In the sidebar to the right, you can see what some of the most popular posts have been. There's some good stuff there, I think.

But there have also been some posts that have slipped by a little less noticed, some of my favorites, in fact. Yesterday I read through most of these with Addison on my lap, and between the two of us, we've highlighted some of the best.

Here they are, with commentary from both Addison and me (click on the pic to get the full post):

Addison: Hey! I got someone else's hair on my head. Why? I want my own hair back. My crazy hair. Oh, I miss it. Not want that hair.

Me: This one is actually in the sidebar as a "popular post," but I've included it because it's one of Lindsay's favorites, and it's got a lot of fun pictures in it. It's possible that I joked to Addison that "scalping" explained where the hair from other people came from, and then had to backpedal quickly when I realized I was in tricky territory.

Addison: Me has arrow eyes! Why I got arrow eyes? I got circle eyes, not those eyes.

Me: So, Addison doesn't seem to understand that this is how an "artist" draws squinty eyes. Also, since we're still in the thick of potty training, this stuff is still on our minds, and most parents can probably relate.

Addison: That's me! Right there. In the pirate pants. Fighting the princess. I say aaargh!

Me: I'm pleased that Addison looked at this picture and identified with the pirate, and not the princess. Not that there's anything wrong with princesses.

Addison: It's a Queen! Also, it's me! Addison Sage Call!

Me: She is a queen. That's better than a princess, right? This one gets at the way I miss my little girl when she's gone, or when I am. And the way she just kinda misses me.

Addison: That daddy has tears. And he is putting a pencil in my mama's mouth.

Me: I'm not sure where Addison's pencil story comes from. Anyway, given that I devoted at least a full month's worth of blogging to the fact that I hate the heat, this is my favorite of the bunch, complete with a tirade against

Addison: Oh, I am crying. I don't like cows. Cows make me cry.

Me: Cows have really scarred this kid (which you can read about here). But this post is actually about my unconscious reaction to hearing my kid cry. And it offers a picture of the first time she flipped me the bird.

Addison: Bunny! Oh I very yuv it yuv it yuv it. It is so special to me! But . . . it's fire hurting my bunny. Makes me sad. And it makes my bunny feel sick.

Me: Just so you know, that's not fire, those are the fumes of a stanky bunny. This isn't actually my favorite post; it's Addison's. She always wants me to show it to her when we sit together at the computer.

Addison: That's a daddy. They hush little babies. Like this: hush little baby, don't say a word . . .
And then a big storm comes and my daddy runs away from a big storm.

Me: I wrote this as my first guest post, and really spent a lot of time editing it down to something I'm proud of.

Addison: I messed up mama's make-up. It made me fancy!

Me: I wrote this Halloween post as a way to exercise my fiction-writing muscles, just a little bit, and as a way to think about just how creepy my daughter is. But I still love her.

Addison: I don't like this one. I don't like this one the most. I want a picture with my bunny.

Me: Okay, so the comic isn't that great. But I felt good about the prose in this one; I really tried to polish it.

Addison: Daddy doing exercises! I'm sitting on him! He is an airplane and we are flying!

Me: I've written a number of posts about trying to get in shape and do physical things in order to show an example to Addison, and this is probably my favorite.

Addison: I am playing in the mud! It makes me feel good. Very good. So so good. I yuv the mud!

Me: She really does love playing in the mud. This was an effort to introduce one of my literary loves (Moby-Dick) into a post, and I think it came out really well. Also, it was the very first comic that got my father-in-law to crack a smile, so that's something. And now he's totally happy that I started cartooning and didn't get a job.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy new year, and don't stop running/believing!

Happy new year, everyone! Here's to not fumbling the pass. This comic brought to you by Journey's Don't Stop Believing (if you drop the baton, pick it up and keep running!). And...go!