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Showing posts from April, 2014

In Which Winnie-the-Pooh Is Improved

I'm about to commit a heresy of epic levels. A heresy of literary, parenting, and pop culture values...

I don't like Winnie-the-Pooh.

There, I said it. I should clarify here that, for all the moaning and whining that people--everybody, really--does about Disney "ruining" good stories, their children, and society at-large, I think Winnie-the-Pooh is one of the few books they probably helped. They turned a mediocre, boring, poorly-written, too-cute children's tale into a beloved icon. Disney is good at that, after all.

My problem with Winnie-the-Pooh is this. And I just gave it a chance by bringing the complete works home from the library to read aloud, so this is fresh for me. My problem is that it's not a very good book to read aloud to your children. The language is stumbling and lacks flow. There are too many aside explanations that ruin the story for the little ones. It attempts to deal with both the real world and the fictional world at the same time maki…

Why we're not going green

It will probably disappoint some of my neighbors and friends, but we're not choosing "green energy" when given the chance. And here's why.

First, let me get you up to speed...our village had a vote awhile back on electricity aggregation that allowed the local government to purchase power from the source collectively to save residents money. Our village chose the "renewable" option at that time. (We're a super environmentally friendly community.)

Recently, there was a bid for the next round of aggregation and the renewable rate came back higher than the "brown" rate so our Village Board chose the cheaper, less "green" option which is causing considerable backlash in the town, a large debate, and lots of hurt feelings.

When the time came for us to read the literature from the energy supplier, I read through the material with an open mind. We're getting a cheaper rate than if we opt-out of the program altogether. We could maybe choo…

Day 1 among the barbarians...

Dear blog,
I find myself alone among a small band of fierce, tiny warriors. They number only 2, but use a combination of high-pitched vocalizations. stealthy combat tactics, and trickery to achieve their goals. I've been forced to cook and clean for them, worship their monkey-god named George, and eat their primitive food they call "snack." My backup is days away. I will hold out as long as I can, but they have severe forms of torture with exotic names like "I want more chocolate milk," "can I watch a video on the computer," and "I want Mama."

In attempting to find a weakness to overcome them, I've discovered they can be put into a trance-like state using a combination of popsicles and reading them the collected works of their doctor who they call "Seuss." Though I doubt his medical credentials.

I am sleeping when I can, learning not to anger my captors, and planning rebellion only in the worst of circumstances. Escape seems un…

Rough waters ahead

I'm in the process of trying to plan my week next week. Mostly for myself. Mostly meals for myself. The Mama is headed out of town for business leaving me on full time daddy duty. So the groceries need to be fully stocked. And anything that requires me to leave the house it would be most helpful to do it in the morning when it's only one kid to worry about (rather than two). So no quick trips out to pick up something I forgot.

The kids eat the same breakfast pretty much every day. Lunch varies. They rarely eat dinner. But, I'll be honest, that's the meal that usually gets some degree of discussion with either The Mama or myself making an effort to prepare something. I have about 3 evenings of single--maybe "for two" if Leda likes it--dinners. Evenings are the worst. And now that Leda is sleeping through the night and putting herself to sleep in her "big girl bed," there's less in the overnight department to worry about. Fingers crossed.

Of cours…

Parental Advisory: A Brief History

For whatever reason, I had "99 Problems" stuck in my head today. Not the newer, Jay-Z, 2004 version about being stopped by the police. I'm talking about the (better) 1993 version by Ice-T. Nevermind that Ice-T went on to become a cop on Law and Order: SVU.

But it struck me as oddly humorous that those of us of a certain age are now parents and far less bothered by what used to be pretty edgy stuff when we were kids. NPR yesterday even ran a story about how boring gays on screen have become so that Hollywood is showing more transgender characters.

I had a look at the list of some of the first albums that got parents in a frenzy back in the day--Prince, Megadeath, Danzig, Soundgarden, Guns N'Roses. And, of course, the infamous 2 Live Crew As Nasty As They Wanna Be ("Me So Horny").

The Parental Advisory logo was started by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1985 as a response to the National PTA and Parents Music Resource Center to address growin…

Fighting the technophobic parenting crowd...

As I write this entry today, I'm sitting at our patio table in the side yard on my laptop--mobile phone nearby--while my daughter plays. And that disturbs quite a few people in our world. (Not that this is the only disturbing thing I do on a daily basis as a parent.)

There's a growing backlash against our plugged-in world. Even NPR--who I normally love--has jumped on the bandwagon. This morning's headline made me cringe: For The Children's Sake, Put Down That Smartphone You can add it to the growing list of pet peeves I have as a dad. We normally gripe about the lady who tells us our child should have on a coat or hat or the constant comments about how it must be "mom's day off." Now, it's the "parents these days have their noses in a smartphone" crew. It's condescending. It usually focuses on the negative. It makes many assumptions about the way that modern parenting does and does not work. It has an element of throwback, longing for th…

Finger touches

My daughter is a hugger and a kisser. She throws her arms around you and gives big, squeezy embraces with smoochy lip smacks. My son is another story.

He's always been less willing to have affection shown to him...he usually pulled away...and his attempts at giving affection were usually over-enthusiastic--bordering on aggression--with jumping on you and hitting as his way to show love. I suspect a great many families, especially with boys, have a similar situation. They're more prone to sensory, motor, and development issues anyway. Combined with gender differences, it can sometimes lead a parent to wonder what is wrong. To us, our son seemed a bit cold and aloof while other parents were getting big, gloppy "I love yous."

Which is where the "finger touch" came into being. Even forehead kisses from The Mama were too much just a year ago. So our family started a less "affectionate" tradition of saying goodnight...the ET-style finger press. Known in…

Love/hate at the local bike store

The moral of today's post is that I came home with a brand new Scott road bike...that makes 3 Scotts in our house...that was (for the first time ever in my life) fit to me and setup with my own pedals, shoes, etc.. That part is awesome. But I found the whole experience of shopping to be frustrating.

I live in a rather large metro area (3rd largest in the US) so I know for a fact that it isn't for lack of options that the experience was...strange. We're talking 10 different local bike-specific stores probably. While some cities are lucky to have 2-3 options. It's more to do with where, I think, many intermediate riders land on the spectrum of bicycle rider "types." Bicycle clubs and organizations are certainly having their own problem with it. How do you classify and cater to different riders? Without being overly general or overly specific? Commuters. Recreational riders. Competitive riders. Fitness riders. The boom in cycling is giving everybody a niche. And…

Puke and tell

My daughter was in the doctor's office this morning--happily playing with toys in the waiting room and waiting for her checkup--when she threw up all over. The carpet. The decorative glass wall. The toys. So I had to give the poor receptionist that "sorry about the smell and chunks, but we had a little accident out here" speech through the office window.

I felt so horrible. For her. For them. I even offered the nurse help with cleanup...because, let's face it, if it had happened at home where it usually does I'd be the one wiping up. But, hey, they're medical staff and it comes with the turf. The nurse declined the offer, but thanked me for asking...apparently some parents don't even feel like mentioning it and just leave it for them to find later. What?! Ok, so now I feel a little better.

No fever. No swollen glands. No swollen belly. We finished the checkup because Leda wasn't acting sick and she didn't need any shots today. But she came up as w…

Successfully moving on

For those of you new to the blog who need a recap (or for family and friends who can't keep our saga straight)--my son was in the state's Early Intervention program this time last year. Being seen by an occupational therapist, speech therapist, and social worker for a variety of issues...not talking, sensory issues, motor problems, social/emotional/behavioral problems. He was evaluated by our local school district and then has been in an early childhood program 5 days a week the entire school year.

But I'm happy to report that he's being considered for dropping his special services. That's how much progress he's made over the last few months. Really, it's like a different kid.

Next year, he'll still be in a school district-supported preschool program. Only with far less supervision and more children than his current class. Everyone in his new class next year will be in the program because they meet at-risk criteria--being watched for problems. Though it…