Sunday, April 21, 2013

Two Years of Tate

When I go back through pictures of my kids, my first thought is usually, "I can't believe how little Paige looks," or "I completely forgot that Curtis always did that."

Tate just hit the two-year mark. It seems like a good time to take a quick snapshot of our littlest guy.

Comfort stuff. If it's time for a nap or bed, there are a few necessities--his duck blanket (that he calls "baby"), his stuffed monkey ("Unkey"), and his bottle. Monkey gets more play than the others. Tate likes to push him around in a stroller, give him his own seat at the table, and let him sit on his little Thomas the Train chair. When Monkey is lost, Tate will settle for Sheep or Doggie. (Elephant is a distant third.)

TV. Tate likes to hang on us pretty much every second of every day. This makes it pretty tough to get anything done. Usually, the day's only free minutes come when Tate is watching TV. His favorite show is Blue's Clues but mostly just the the episodes with Joe (sorry, Steve). He calls Blue Bow-Bow and generally enjoys Salt and Pepper.

Black car. The vast majority of Tate's conversation revolves around "black car," our old Nissan Altima. I don't know why, but from the moment he wakes up ("Black car...garage"), to the time I go to work (""), to the time I come back home ("Dad...go car"), he needs to tell us about the black car. When he's not talking about black car, or getting sooo excited to see it after we've been away ("There it is! BLACK CAR!!!"), he'll talk about "white van." But that's usually just as a way to remind us that it's not the black car.

Fashion. A few months ago, Tate made the decision that he was only wearing pajamas. Though we continue to try to get him to wear real clothes ("pockets," as we call them--telling him he needs to wear  pockets if he wants to carry his race cars is one of the only things that works), it's generally a losing battle. Most days, the best case scenario is getting him out of his nighttime jammies and into daytime jammies.

Siblings. Curtis is generally indifferent toward Tate, but Tate loves emulating everything Curtis does--and has thus learned all of the naughty boy stuff about bums and toots. Paige wants desperately to mother Tate. He responds by hitting her or pulling her hair. While he likes his siblings okay, he loves his grandpas.

Dad. Tate probably likes me best. This makes Traci sad when she doesn't have a kid to snuggle, but happy when she gets a break from him, since he's attached to me every second that I'm home.

Oh, Big Red. We're happy to have you.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Moment of Silence

Sacrament meeting is supposed to be a respite. A place for quiet contemplation. A place for spiritual rejuvenation.

Just not when you have kids.

We spend much of our Sabbath worship trying to keep Tate from escaping the chapel or from hurling cars at  his siblings (or at the unsuspecting bystanders sitting in the pews around us). We try to keep Paige and Curtis from fighting over crayons or fishy crackers or over who's looking at who when that who doesn't like being looked at.

But something magical happened today.

It was quiet.

Paige and Curtis were both being good and Tate was sitting quietly on my lap. It was so peaceful that I was even able to close my eyes and silently take it all in.

And then I was abruptly brought back to reality--when a little finger was shoved directly up my nostril. Before I could even react, Tate had shoved a second finger up my other nostril.

There is no respite.

Monday, April 01, 2013

When Your Kid Decides to Turn You Down for a Date

I feel like Curtis gets middle-childed sometimes. We spend a lot of time working (or, rather, fighting) with Paige on her homework and piano. Tate requires energy and attention about every second of the day. And then there's Curtis, just doing his own thing.

So I thought we should do something extra fun, just the two of us. Curtis is becoming increasingly interested in sports. He loves playing soccer and football with me. Lately, we've also been having a great time drawing the logos for all of the NFL teams.

I called in some favors at work and scored some really good tickets to the Jazz/Trailblazers game. Curtis seemed pretty excited about going to his first NBA game--we talked about it for weeks--and I was probably looking forward to it even more.

Tonight was the big night.

Traci also had plans, so we had arranged to have her parents watch Paige and Tate. But when we all met up  at her parents, Traci told me there was a slight problem.

"Curtis says he's not going."

"What?" I replied. "You're kidding."

"He's been talking about going all day," she said, "but when we got in the car, he said he didn't want to go."

If I only had one word to describe Curtis, I wouldn't hesitate to say "stubborn."

I asked and I bribed and I threatened and then I bribed again. But I knew he wasn't going.

I'm not sure why he didn't want to go. I'm guessing that watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoons for the thousandth time at Grandma's just seemed like a sweeter deal than sitting on the 8th row at Jazz game with his dad.

And it kind of broke my heart.

I went to the game without him.

The 40-Day Fast is Over

I did it. Forty days potato-chip-free. When we got to my parents for Easter dinner, I promptly destroyed this bowl of chips and the accompanying onion dip. 

Dear chips, 

I'm sorry I left you for so long. Let us never be separated again! 


At the Ballgame

It's hard to buy gifts for my parents because they don't need anything anymore. So instead of giving them  more things, my sisters and I try to give them stuff they can do--play tickets, gift cards, etc.

A few months, when we were trying to find a Christmas present for my dad, my sister Jenny came up with a great idea: tickets to the Rockies/Mariners pre-season exhibition game in Salt Lake. I, however, dropped the ball immediately thereafter. Instead of buying tickets the day they went on sale, like Jenny asked, I waited until day number two. Big mistake. They were completely sold out.

Luckily, my dad doesn't need the help of his lousy kids. Thanks to a hookup, he not only got two tickets to the game, but two tickets on the third row behind home plate. 

In classic Sutherland fashion, the invitation to come along was extended to me thusly:

[Me in a room with both of my parents]

Mom: So do you have everything arranged to go to the game with your dad?

Me: [Looking at my dad] Well, we hasn't asked me.

Dad: [Looking at my mom] Well, Martha, I thought you were going with me.

Mom: Me? I don't want to sit outside at a cold baseball game!

Dad: It's supposed be be 65 degrees!

And that was the end of that.


Two days later, my dad called me about the game.

Dad: So, you'll probably need to be here by about noon on Saturday so we can be on time.

Me: I thought mom was going with you?

Dad: Well, you can be her backup.

Me: Traci is working on Saturday. I'll have to find a babysitter.

Dad: Your mom can tend them.

Sweet. I was in.


It was a perfect day for baseball--sunny and 68 degrees, with a slight breeze. I felt pretty lucky to be watching a couple of major league teams...playing in minor league stadium...set to the backdrop of a snow-capped mountains...with my dad (who even smiled for a picture--I don't think he knew what I was doing when I pointed my phone at both of us).

Couldn't have asked for a better afternoon.