Category Archives: good times

Kids: they have weird brains

Like a lot of parents, I had certain preconceptions about what my kids would be like that have been … uh, challenged, let’s say, since I had actual kids. As a former “gifted” child and general nerd/brainiac/teacher’s pet, for example, I was sure that my kids would be nothing less than child prodigies – or at the very least, academically and artistically inclined, and certainly above average in those areas. I mean, DUH.

Such arrogance. In reality, of course, my kids – like all kids – are a mixed bag. (Not to mention being so young it’s really difficult to tell what their ultimate strengths and weaknesses will be.) Take the Hatchling. Her verbal skills, as I think I’ve mentioned here before, are not quite in line with her peers – she’s a late bloomer – but she’s been able to catch and throw just about any kind of ball since she was two. She’s pretty iffy on the concept of rhyming (Me: “does ‘cat’ rhyme with ‘dog?'” Hatchling, enthusiastically, “YEAH!!”), but she can memorize songs and movie lines in one or two takes. (Eerily so – it’s not at all unusual for her to incorporate movie lines into regular conversation, which can be unnerving if you don’t catch the reference.) She can only write a few letters, poorly, but she does drawings that are really cool and complex, and put together in a remarkably sophisticated manner for a four-year-old.

Today was another excercise in contrasts. I was trying to teach the Hatchling the classic kid’s game of “I one the sandbox.” You know, from Sesame Street. Ernie starts off with “I one the sandbox,” and Bert goes, “I two the sandbox,” and they keep going until Bert gets to “I eight the sandbox,” and Ernie is all “YOU ATE THE SANDBOX?!?!” and, you know, hilarity ensues. So I’m trying to get the Hatchling to go back and forth with me, numbering the sandboxes, and though she’s been able to count to 20 since she was two or two-and-a-half – a long time – she just could not get the hang of it with the sandbox stuff added. I’d start it off with one, and then I’d say, “what comes after one?” and she’d get flustered and say “Six!” or something, and, then I’d say, “No, you say ‘I TWO the sandbox,'” and she’d go “I 2-3-4-5-6-7” or “I have THREE sandboxes” or something equally off, and finally we just called it quits. We worked a little more this afternoon and evening on what-comes-next games with numbers and letters, so she could practice giving herself time to think, and right before bedtime I thought we’d try the game again. She still got confused by the addition of sandboxes to counting, but we persevered. Finally I got to seven-ing the sandbox. “What comes after seven?” I asked her. She thought about it. “EIGHT!” “Right!” I said. “So I said ‘I seven the sandbox,’ and now YOU say ‘I eight the sandbox.’ She frowned with concentration. “I eight the sandbox.” “YOU ATE THE SANDBOX??!!?” I said, and, y’all: she just about peed her pants with laughing. I mean, it KILLED her with the funny. We had to do it about five more times before she went to bed, and even as I was rocking her sister to sleep I could hear the Hatchling lying in her bed muttering “… ate the sandbox … heheheheheh.”

And this is still kind of crazy to me. She struggles with a simple counting pattern, but a homophone-based pun? THAT she’s right on top of. Which, I dunno, maybe that’s completely normal for a kid her age, but it isn’t what I would have expected going into this. (Though, given her grand-paternal heritage, I probably should have known that punning humor would be her native territory.) And I guess that kind of sums up my entire experience of parenting. None of this is what I expected going into it. Sometimes that really sucks (breastfeeding issues, anyone?). But often, like tonight, it means you spend the evening laughing your face off about eating sandboxes. Which is not a bad way to end the day.

The Man I Love

Mr. Squab spent some quality time with the Hatchling this morning playing with her various and sundry stuffed animals and babies. The Hatchling is still at that sweet stage where all her play is about how much her animals love each other, and most of her time is spent posing them in hugs and snuggles, and making them give each other professions of undying friendship and bonds of eternal brother- or sisterhood. Which Mr. Squab totally went along with, except a) he made all her animals sound like Ron Burgundy, and b) when he was “talking” to the other animals, he gave all the dialogue a lewd undertone that was too subtle to be picked up by the three-year-old but just about made me pee my pants laughing. Sample:

Hatchling (as stuffed frog): Gimme a hug, bear.

Mr. Squab (as Ron Burgundy bear): Ooh, yeah! I looooove hugs. I never had me a REPTILE* before. (Makes bear do writhy dance.)

Hatchling (innocently): Oh, nice hugs!

Mr. Squab: Hey, Sheep, want a BEAR HUG???

Me (prostrate with laughter): Oh, god, that is so inappropriate on SO MANY LEVELS.

*Yes, apparently Mr. Squab thinks that frogs are reptiles. He’s a graphic designer, people, not a biologist!

Happiness is …

1.) Taking the kids on a nice walk to a fun family event in the beautiful morning weather.

2.) Getting to see a great movie, on opening weekend, in 3D, with your favorite date.

3.) Having friends who are big enough suckers to agree to watch both your 3 year old and your 2 month old while you attend said movie. And who are awesome enough to cope with an infant freak out and live to tell the tale. (It is soooooooo nice having friends with kids the same age as yours.)

4.) Enjoying an impromptu pizza on the patio in the backyard of said friends’ house, watching the kids run around wearing each other out while you enjoy a beer.

THAT is a good Saturday.

Fa la la la la, la la la la

This is the first year the Hatchling is old enough to want to help with the Christmas decorations. We finally got the tree up this weekend, and she was very “helpful” with the ornaments (or as she likes to call them, the “wondaful decowations”). Sure, she wanted to hang all of them off the same small branch, but at least she did manage to actually hang some all by herself!

Decorating the Christmas Tree, 2008 from Squab on Vimeo.

Contrasts abound

Yesterday, Mr. Squab, the Hatchling and I went to the State Fair with some friends. I ate:
cheese curds
fresh lemonade
grilled corn on the cob
a cone of chocolate chip cookies
a caramel apple

… it was delicious.

The Hatchling also totally enjoyed herself, mostly just looking at the sights from the comfort of her stroller, but also going on:
Aquatic bumper cars
a Dinosaur-go-round
a Whale ride

She went all by herself – or at least, with no adults – and totally had a blast, as these photos show:

The weather was perfect, the kids were well-behaved, and we were in and out before the crowds got too crazy. It was great.

TODAY, on the other hand, I had an appointment at the diabetes clinic this morning, then had to haul the cat to the vet with two kids in tow (nephew is hanging with us this week), then get lunch, then clean up the chocolate milk the Hatchling spilled all over the place, then fend the cat off from my own food, then put the Hatchling down for a nap, then try to do something productive and totally fail, then take the kids to the park and around the block, all while feeling so tired I want to lay down and die, partly just because, and partly due to the fact that two of the medications I’m on have fatigue as a side effect.

Can I just go back to yesterday, please?

A celebration of Two-ness

We just got the Hatchling’s Two-Year photos back, and just like last year’s, they’re flippin’ adorable. I swear, if I could, I’d hire Katy to just follow me around and document my life in photos, because it would look WAY more interesting and beautiful that way. As it is, we’ll just have to settle for a yearly dose of crazy cuteness. Enjoy the slideshow.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.


I went to see Sex and the City on Friday with two of my chicas. Unlike some people, we did not go all-out glam, but Ali wore some serious fuck-me shoes and we had a very good time. I found the movie extremely satisfying. It ain’t Godard or anything, but it’s a damn good chick-flick. (I thought the scene where Samantha feeds Carrie her breakfast was really beautiful – in fact, the whole portrayal of Carrie’s depression was brilliantly done.) And watching the audience was almost as good as watching the film itself. Even in the lobby, it was extremely apparent who was there to see SATC and who wasn’t. The entire theatre was crammed full of hetero-women in their 30s and 40s, drunk off their asses on cosmos and wearing clothes that really would have looked better on their daughters, and gay men, also drunk on the cosmos but generally better attired. We sat down just as the usher was telling everyone to be sure and move all the way in. The man I was sitting by asked if they could tell people not to try and save whole rows (the answer was no). I looked around and realized we were in the midst of an enormous group of extremely tipsy, extremely loud women.

“Are those the people you were talking about?” I asked the man.

“Hell, yes, honey,” he said. “They told us they were saving this row, and I was all, ‘You might *think* you are, but we are sitting HERE.”

I laughed. “What I like is that not only did you sit in their row, but you took the very best seats!”

“Damn right,” he said, “if they are going to have the paleolithic gall to save an entire row on opening night, they deserve what they get.”

Paleolithic gall. I dunno what it means either, but I’ll be damned if I don’t try to use it at least three times this week.

Back to the grindstone

Well, that was a lovely little break. Of course, we picked one of the coldest weekends of the year to go up to a cabin in the northernmost part of Minnesota. (It was below zero pretty much the whole time, and as we were packing up to go on Sunday the temperature was around -20. That’s NOT including windchill.) I slept in head-to-toe polar fleece underneath 5 blankets and a down comforter, and the thermostat had a hard time keeping up with the blizzard-level winds coming through the chinks in the walls. But it didn’t matter. We kept cozy with a fire going in the fireplace and the wood stove, and talked and listened to cheesy 80s music, and danced tipsily around the living room, and read trashy novels and even trashier magazines, and drank wine and ate junkfood and just generally caroused. You know, there aren’t many people with whom I’d want to be stuck in a remote cabin in the woods for 48+ hours. But – surprisingly – these three women make the cut. I say “surprisingly” because I’m not sure any of us would have predicted, four years ago, that we’d keep up this yearly tradition. We all used to work at the same corporation (only one of us is still there) and were drawn together by a variety of experiences. We’ve kept in touch over the years, but it’s not like we see each other often – in fact, I hadn’t seen one of the group for nearly a year. And we’re all very different personalities, with strong opinions that we’re not afraid of expressing. I imagine someone looking at us from the outside wouldn’t guess that we’re well suited to spend isolated weekends together. But we really are: we never run out of things to talk about; we can get into arguments without anyone taking it personally; we’re all good at sharing the cooking and cleaning chores; and we can all let each other be when needed. And (perhaps more importantly) we’re also damned interesting, witty, fun and nice. This is our third year of having a “retreat” (we skipped last year because of scheduling and babies) and it’s an emerging tradition that I really hope lasts as long as we can manage it. Because friends like that are rare finds.


OK, readers. I’m about to inaugurate my first blog challenge. This challenge was initiated by this post from Eric with a C, who just happens to be the man who took yours truly to the senior prom. The year was 1989. The fashions were … truly outrageous. Truly, truly, truly outrageous. Are you brave enough to look? ARE YOU BRAVE ENOUGH TO POST YOUR PROM PICS IN RETURN? The gauntlet has been thrown down, y’all.

Here’s me and my lovely escort (my dad was taking the pictures from crazy American Bandstand-style angles):
Junior Prom
Note the mullet. Note the tails (those were my request). Note the randomly bridal ensemble I chose to sport. Good times!

Here’s the whole group I went with:
Junior Prom party
The short one on the left is my youngest brother, who was standing in as my best girlfriend’s “date” since she was going stag. Questions to ponder: Why am I the only one not wearing royal blue? Why did I feel like I was totally fat in high school? (That might be a topic for another post.) Why are both my date and I making bunny teeth? (Click for the bigger version to see.) Why does anyone ever wear a white tux?

So there you have it. Me in all my high-school glory. Please link to your photos in comments. IF YOU DARE.

A brief vignette

Last night, the Hatchling, Mr. Squab and I had to go to a men’s clothing chain store to get Mr. Squab a suit for my brother’s upcoming wedding. The Hatchling hadn’t taken her usual excess of naps and is generally going through a clingy/cranky phase, so I was not sanguine about her ability to wait patiently while Mr. Squab tried on his suit, got measured for alterations, and looked for a dress shirt. Initially, we were ok: one of the sales associates had left his measuring tape on the floor, and measuring tapes are one of the Hatchling’s favorite toys. She slung it around her neck and wandered the alterations area like a miniature tailor, exclaiming “HI!” in her usual pleased manner when she espied me, her father, or her aunt or uncle amongst the suit jackets. But these pleasures can sustain a toddler for only so long, and when the measuring tape had to be surrendered to its rightful owner, I braced myself for some righteous fussing/whinging/acts of vandalism.

But I was not reckoning with the guardian angel of beleaguered mothers, who appeared to us that night in the form of a sweet tweenaged boy with a shock of blond hair and a mouthful of braces. He was stuck there with his family and had taken refuge in one of the chairs over by the shoe section. Now, I don’t know how many tweenaged boys you know. I myself have only limited contact with them, but it’s enough to recognize that, in general, their tolerance for the toddler set is somewhat limited. Even the Hatchling’s much-beloved nine-year-old cousin, though very sweet, is liable to get a little fed up with his small relative when she throws his game controller to the floor for the fifth time, or interrupts his computer game by thrusting herself onto his lap and poking her finger in his eye. And really, who can blame him?

This kid, though, was different. I don’t know if it was merely circumstance (nothing else to do at the Mens Wearhouse at 7:30 on a Monday night), a preternatural affinity with 17-month-olds, or the Hatchling’s ability to seek out the most baby-friendly person in a three mile radius, but this kid had the right stuff. The Hatchling spied him from across the store and you could practically see the cogs turning in her wee baby brain. “KID! MUST GO SEE!” She marched right over to him, put both her chubby hands on his knees, and let loose with an absolute torrent of baby babble. And rather than looking slightly pained at this complete invasion of his personal space – you know, like a normal person would – this young man gazed right back into the Hatchling’s upturned face and said “Ohhhhh. Really?” just as if the Hatchling was the most fascinating conversationalist with whom he had ever had the good fortune to come into contact.

Well. This is this kind of response the Hatchling normally gets only from her besotted adult relations, and frankly that’s gotten a little boring by now. But THIS! A cool, older kid, giving her the full force of his attention? Really listening to her and talking back? OMG. She, like, could not even HANDLE it. She was so delighted with him that every time he said “Ohhhh” in response to her she let out a peal of infectious toddler laughter and then babbled some more. Then he would say “ohhhhh” again and that would set her off laughing even harder. Her squeals of rapture were so squeal-y and so rapturous that half the store came over to see what the heck was going on, and I had tears of laughter streaming down my face. The boy’s mom glanced over at us and said, “I don’t know what it is, but babies just love him.” And I said, “well, mine thinks he is her new best friend.” The Hatchling and her new idol “chatted” away while Mr. Squab finished getting measured and got back into his own clothes, and then it was time to go. “Can you say goodbye to your new friend?” I asked, and the Hatchling did the fist clenching and unclenching that passes for a wave in her book. “You’re really good with toddlers,” I said to the boy. “Thanks,” he replied a little awkwardly. “Have a good night.” “You, too,” we said, and went out into the dark to get in our car and drive home.

I tell you what, with kids like these, sometimes I think the future isn’t going to be half bad.