Friday, November 29, 2013

Our Own Baby Moses in the Basket

We've created a (red-headed) monster. We learned long ago that kids like non-toy toys way better than toy-toys (have you ever seen a kid choose a toy cell phone over a real one? and what's more fun than playing with the remote?).

Every time Traci folds the laundry, Tate clamors to get in the basket. He loves it when I push him around the floor in the basket or shake it (like a Polaroid picture). A couple of weeks ago, he realized that he could transform the laundry basket into a relaxation station. He got his blanket, his bottle, and a pillow. You've never seen a happier kid.

I jokingly asked if he wanted to sleep in there. Stupid question. Of course he did.

"Sorry, kid, you can't really sleep in the basket."

Paige--ever the helper--chimed in. "But dad, he really wants to sleep in the basket. Why don't you just let him?"

"Because I don't want him all scrunched in there and because I don't want him to tip over in the middle of the night and get trapped under the basket." And, for good measure, I added,"And suffocate and die."

But it was too late. The seed had been planted. Every night before bed, Tate asked if he could sleep in his basket. And every night I'd say no. Until one particularly crappy night where Tate was (again) refusing to go to bed. I gave in and put him in the basket. Problem solved. He went to sleep.

Problem created.  Now he'll only sleep in his basket.

So every night, we go through the following routine:
  • Put Tate and all of his accoutrements (blanket, pillow, stuffed monkey, books) in the basket
  • Hoist the basket into his crib
  • Wait long enough that he's asleep - but not too long that I fall asleep - before going into his room, taking him out of the basket, and putting him in the crib
There have been a few nights when I've forgotten that he was still in his basket, only to be awakened by a screeching two year old at 2 a.m. Luckily, you just have to rescue him from the tipped-over basket and he goes right back to sleep. 

We're great parents. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Paige Bailey, 8 Years Old

For the most part, Traci and I started having kids the same time as the rest of our friends. So, that means our kids have reached milestones at about the time--off to nursery, off to preschool, off to kindergarten. Each of these landmarks have been important for sure, but also incremental and manageable. (Well, off to kindergarten was pretty scary for mom and dad.) Age eight--the one where they get baptized and start making that transition from little kid to big kid--always seemed so far away.

But now it's here.

We are the parents of an eight year old.

Paige is ready to be eight. Actually, I think she'd feel just fine being 13, the way she bosses us around and makes it clear that she knows everything.  She's incredibly smart, often very sweet, and more often very stubborn. And we love her.

Age eight seems like a good time to look back at how she's grown (and to wonder where the time has gone).

After a pretty scary emergency C-section, this little baby came out perfect.

At age 1, Paige kind of had the shape of a bowling bowl. (And the hair of Beavis and Butt-head--completely missing on the sides.)

By age two, Paige had inherited her mother's curly hair, which she twirled in her fingers incessantly. 

By the time she was three, Paige had become a big sister. (She liked Curtis a lot more then than she does now.)

By age four, to her mother's chagrin, the curls started to disappear. 

The five-year-old princess spent her birthday at Disneyland.

When  she was six, Paige had to share the house (and the spotlight) with Curtis and Tate.

Age seven was when the teeth started falling out. 

And here we are today. We're pretty lucky to have her.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Why I Never Want to Drive the Carpool Again

Yesterday, I had the singular privilege of driving the carpool. I had Curtis and three seven-year-old girls riding with me in the minivan. Within minutes of our departure, they started playing the "raise your hand if..." game. It started like this.

"Raise your hand if you've seen Monsters University."

And, logically, went to this.

"Raise your hand if you've seen Despicable 2."

I wasn't too surprised when it took a more aspirational turn.

"Raise your hand if you wish that you could live at Disneyland."

"Raise your hand if you wish the sky was made out of cotton candy."

Then Curtis added his two cents.

"Raise your hand if you want to punch Santa in the head and take all of his presents." (That's my boy!)

From there, the conversation devolved into the most random collection of thoughts I have ever heard.

"Raise your hand if you want a giant red star to explode and destroy the entire earth."

"Raise your hand if you want California to slide into the ocean." (From the "red star" girl.)

"Raise your hand if your great grandpa is Russell M. Nelson."

"Raise your hand if you want to kiss Abraham Lincoln." (From Curtis.)

"Raise your hand if your mom voted for Mitt Romney."

"Raise your hand if Barack Obama made your dad lose his job."

"Raise your hand if you want to become the president so you can make everyone in the world kill themselves." (More "red star." What are they reading at that house?)

Does anyone know where you get one of those limousine windows that's between the driver and the backseat? I'd like to get one installed in the minivan.

Sunday, November 10, 2013



Here's the problem with cleaning out the basement during daylight hours. Your kids wander down there to see what you're up to. When they see boxes full of stuff, they of course want to see what's in there, and then instantly think they need to get it out of the box, take it back upstairs, and make things messier than they were before you started cleaning in the first place. 

A couple of weeks ago, Curtis saw a box in the basement labeled "board games." He implored me to get it down and reveal the contents. They were all grownup games--Scattergories, Cranium, etc.--so I didn't think he'd be too interested. But one caught his attention. My most loathed game. Monolopy. (Or monop-you-ly, as Curtis calls it.)

"Dad, let's play." 

"Sorry, buddy," I said. "If we get that out while Tate's around, you know he'll destroy everything."

"Can we play it when he takes his nap?"

"Sounds like a great idea." It did sound like a great idea. (Because Tate hasn't started to grow out of taking naps, to Traci's endless chagrin.)

Every few days, Curtis would bring it up again. 

"Dad, let's play Monopoly."

"We will...during Tate's nap."

This actually worked for a couple of weeks. Until Curtis had finally had enough. 

"Dad, I want to play NOW. "

So I gave in. I thought he'd be bored by the time we got the game set up (which takes forever, one of the many things I hate about Monopoly). Nope. He loved it. (Even with the non-napping Tate destroying everything.) 

Now we have to play it every day, multiple times a day. 

From now on, I'm only cleaning the basement after the kids are asleep. 

Saturday, November 09, 2013

If You Need Me, I'll be Sleeping in My Shed

"It'll take a Saturday." That's what the girl at the Lifetime store says when I ask how long it should take to assemble the shed I was about to purchase.

Before I let her swipe my credit card, I probably should have rephrased the question--"How long will it take me to assemble this shed?"

If she could have seen the future, she would have replied:

"It will take me 15 minutes, with the help of a forklift, to get the shed loaded in the back of the truck that you borrowed from your dad..."

"Your tailgate won't close, so you'll be nervous about driving home, so you won't take the freeway, and it will take you like an hour to get back home..."

"It will take you a couple of trips to Lowe's to buy wood and gravel to build a base for the shed (only to give in and just decide to put the stupid thing directly on the ground..."

"Then it'll finally be time for that "Saturday," so you'll have to invite your brother-in-law over to help you (he put his together all by himself in an evening)..."

"It will be going pretty well, but then he'll have to leave for his kid's football game..."

"And then your parents will come over to help. Your mom will see you taking pictures and threaten 'If you put this on your blog...'"

"The pieces will only almost-fit and it will be a hugely, hugely frustrating experience, but you'll get so close to being done...and then run out of daylight..."

"And then you'll have to wait until Monday and the last piece won't fit and you'll run out of daylight again..."

"And you won't be able to stop thinking about what in the world you're doing wrong..."

"And your brother-in-law will come over again and notice you forgot a piece from page 8 of the 150 million-page instruction book..."

"But he'll know how to fix stuff..."

"And you'll finally get it done..."

"And notice that it sure looks a lot smaller than you thought it'd be..."

But instead, the girl at the register says, "It'll take a Saturday."

And I fall for it.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Held For Ransom...By a Five-Year-Old

Curtis hates sleeping in his bed. Paige was sick the other night, so he jumped at the chance to sleep on the couch in the family room downstairs. (Who could blame him? He sleeps on the bottom bunk. I wouldn't want to be in Paige's splash zone, either.)

Now he doesn't want to go back upstairs.

Me: Curtis, you need to go back in your bed tonight.

Curtis: No.

I left it that.

Five minutes later...

Curtis: Do you know when I'm going to sleep in my bed again?

Me: When?

Curtis: Never.

Two minutes later...

Curtis: Do you know what you'd have to do to get me to sleep in my bed?

Me: What?

Curtis: Give me five dollars.

Me: [No response]

Curtis: And I want it in one dollars. Five of them. Or a dollar bill that's a five dollar bill.

Me: [Silence.]

Two minutes later...

Curtis: And I won't take coins. It's got to be dollars.

One minute later...

Curtis: And if you don't have dollars, I'll just take your wallet.

That's when I walked away.

I don't negotiate with terrorists.

I still have my five dollars.

Curtis is asleep on the couch downstairs.