Tag: little man

The Little Miss at one month: a mini-FAQ

After 30 days off for paternity leave, I am back at the day job today. Man did those 30 days go by fast.

Since getting back to the office, I’ve gotten quite a few questions about my time off. To help answer those questions, here is a mini-FAQ:

1. Getting much sleep? (Usually asked with a sly grin)

We are. We generally get full night’s worth of sleep, with one or two small interruptions. Nothing like our every-three-hour-routine with the Little Man. The truth is, the Little Miss seems much easier than the Little Man was. There are several possible reasons.

  • We have experience. We’ve been through this before and know how to be more efficient about things
  • The Little Miss is just easier than the Little Man was. Of course, this can change at any time.
  • We’ve had a lot of help. Kelly’s parents were with us for several weeks and helped out with everything. My parents are in town now and have been helping out as well.

2. How is the Little Man handling having a baby sister?

He has mixed feelings about the whole thing. He will say goodnight to her when he goes to bed. If she is crying and no one seems to be doing anything, he will try to console her with a few words. But if you tell him to look at something she’s doing, he gets uncomfortable. If you ask him to help out with her (“Can you hand me a diaper?”) he pretends he doesn’t hear you. And if she is upset and he is upset and you go near him, he holds up his hand and asks that you remove her from his sight.

About what you’d expect from new big brother. He is no longer the center of attention and he is learning that. He is doing the best he can and I think he’s doing a pretty good job, all things considered.

3. How is Kelly doing?

She is doing great. Of course, she still has three and a half months before she goes back to work. But I think that things have been easy enough that we’ve eased into our new routine without much fuss or trouble.

4. How does it feel to be back at work after a month off? Were you inundated by email?

I tried avoiding thinking about work at all while I was on leave. Sometimes, on vacation, I’ll think, “only 5 days left…” but I avoided that too, this time around. It wasn’t until last night that I started moping slightly, not so much because I was heading back to work, but because 30 days went by so quickly.

I had 713 unread work-related emails when I got to the office this morning. I quickly whittled that down to 156 that I actually had to read through. By the end of the morning, I had 48 messages in my inbox on which I have to take some kind of action. Not bad for a month (I predicted a total of 1,500 emails) but then I was warning people about my absence for quite some time.

The Little Man sings the “blues”

The Little Man is a smart fellow. He talks quite a bit, you can see him making various logical connections and inferences. He knows his numbers from 1 to 10. He has at least the concept of letters. But there is one area in which he seems to be utterly confused: colors.

It’s gotten to the point where it is almost hysterically funny.

As the Little Man what color something is–virtually anything and he will answer at once: “Bluuuuuuuue! He really stretches out that word and he smiles when he says it.

“What color is the sky, buddy?”


“What color is the grass?”


What’s funny is that it’s moved over into other categories as well.

“What type of car is that?”


It’s almost as if he has the word queued up and ready to go as the default answer to any “what” question.

He does recognize some colors. He know “orange” for instance. But otherwise he almost always answers with “Bluuuuuue!”

I’m not exactly sure why I find it so funny, but I dooooooo.

From the mouth of the Little Man #1

Walking to the park yesterday, we saw a chip monk running through the trees. I said to the Little Man, “See that, buddy? That’s a chip monk.”

“Chick monk,” he said. “Whas he doo’in?”

“He’s out getting dinner for his family,” I said. “Chip monks eat nuts.”

“Oh man.”

“Do you like nuts?” I asked him.

“I like donuts,” he said.

Gone fishin’, revisited

The Little Man can sing almost the entire rendition of the Bing Crosby/Louis Armstrong version of “Gone Fishin'” and it is absolutely adorable. As I’ve written before, I don’t sing traditional lullabies, but instead sing various Bing Crosby tunes to the Little Man (and now the Little Miss). I guess I’ve performed this one enough times for him to have it memorized. For some reason, this seems to impressive to me, but then I am coming at this from the role of doting father.

At some point, I will take a video of him singing the song with me and post it up on Facebook and you can judge for yourself.

Nothing’s more fun than a brand new potty

Kelly, the Little Man, and company came back from the store with a new potty. Of course, it was a Mater/Cars potty, the idea being that might help to encourage use of the training device. I’m not sure I’ve seen the Little Man so excited to open a box since he opened his big birthday present several months ago. While I was in the office eating my lunch, the Little Man came racing in, sans pants, exclaiming his excitement on his pending use of the new potty.

The potty was set up temporarily in the TV room because you know, why complicate things by setting it up in the bathroom. The Little Man sat on it but nothing much happened. Indeed when something finally did happen, he only missed the potty by about 40 feet. I was pulled away from my meatball sandwich to take a look at the impressive mess that the Little Man left on the floor of the foyer. Naturally, it was what one might expect from someone four times his size.

But we have to be very encouraging during this stage of potty training. And so we cheered and hooted and hollered and congratulated the Little Man for missing the potty by only 40 feet. “Very good effort,” we said. “Very nice try, buddy!”  “Maybe next time you can try to miss by 20 feet!” His little heart beat proudly in that moment of fecal glory. And he decided then and there that for the rest of the day, perhaps the rest of his life, he would go entirely without pants. After all, why wear pants and a diaper when they are so inconvenient to put on and take off. You can just run around naked, and when you feel like you have to go, you can, well, go, and you’ll be congratulated for missing the potty by 40 feet.

Now what can be more fun than that?

“Oh man!”

So the Little Man has developed a hilarious new phrase and he didn’t learn it from us. It is a versatile phrase and he uses it with glee. He could be playing with a toy, for instance, and the toy will leap out of his hand and smash into the floor.

“Oh man!” he’ll say.

He could be eating his dinner and drop some food on his lap. “Oh man!

He might be watching a cartoon and see one of the characters so something silly. “Oh man!”

I don’t know where he learned it, but I love it. I think it is hilarious. Now I’m just waiting until I tell one of my wry jokes. He’ll roll his eyes and say, “Oh man!

When a brother meets a sister coming through the rye

After months of build-up and anticipation, the Little Man finally got to meet the Little Miss in-person last night. I suspect it was a bitter letdown for him.

We’ve been building up to this point for some time. The Little Man knew he had a sister coming. He knew her name and that she was in mommy’s tummy. After we set up the Little Miss’s room, I’d ask him, “Whose room is this?” and he would say, “Baby sister!” When he got to the hospital yesterday, the Little Miss had been taken to the nursery to get cleaned up. (She wanted to look good for her big brother.) Meanwhile, the Little Man got to open some presents from his little sister, something he was very excited about.

He wasn’t so excited when she was brought back into the room. I’m not sure what he’d built up in his mind to expect, but whatever it was, it wasn’t that wrinkled thing wrapped up like a burrito. He didn’t really want to have anything to do with her. At first.

Over the next few hours, however, he warmed up to her a little. But just a little. He still didn’t want to try to hold her or kiss her or even touch her. But he did try to share some of his toys with her. And by the time he was getting ready to go home with his grandparents, he said goodbye to her repeatedly, and wished her a good night’s sleep.

I can only barely remember when my brother came home from the hospital. I was about the same age as the Little Man is, and I was excited because I knew a baby was coming, but I don’t remember any other emotion I might have had. I feel for the Little Man because so much is changing for him so rapidly. For more than two years he’s been the center of our attention and now we have to shift focus to the Little Miss. I’m trying to think of ways to make sure we include him (giving him little jobs to help out) but also to make sure that he doesn’t feel neglected.

I’m looking forward to him coming back today and hoping that he’ll warm up a little more to his sister. Stay-tuned…

The Little Man’s Herculean efforts to make sense of his rapidly changing reality

Times they are a-changing. In a few days we’ll have an additional family member. We’ve been in the final stages of preparing for weeks now. This weekend, we finished up most of what we need to do around the house to be ready for the Little Miss’s arrival. Her room is all set up, for instance, despite the fact that she will be staying in our room for a while. Of course, we’ve been preparing the Little Man for the Little Miss’s arrival. We haven’t really been sure how much much the Little Man, who is now just over 26 months old, really gets, but some signs of awareness are beginning to show. Especially in the last week, the Little Man has been acting out in ways that make it seem like he is aware a big change is coming–and that he’s not particularly pleased with it.

The Little Man says, “No!” a lot these days. This is part of being a 2-year old. It comes with the territory. He is learning what boundaries can be crossed and what can’t. But he is sometimes rather dramatic about his defiance. He will look at you, point a finger in your direction (a finger that he hold just under his nose for some reason). His brow will furrow, his voice will deepen and he will say with some force, “NO!” Kelly ignores this while I engage the Little Man in combat:

“Yes you will,” I say.

“No!” he replies

“YES!” (Dammit!)


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Dr. Seuss predicts the Nook in 1960


At present, the book du jour that I read to the Little Man each night is Dr. Seuss’s One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. We read it every night and while I’d memorized it as a kid, I’d forgotten a lot of it until I started reading it again. Now I have it memorized again, and there is one passage in the book that comes across as rather prescient for a book written in 1960. Quoting from memory (because I’m not going to fetch the book right now), it goes like this:

We took a look
We saw a nook.
On his head, he had a hook
On his hook, he had a book
On his book was “How to cook”

We saw him sit and try to cook
He took a look at the book on the hook
But a nook can’t read so a nook can’t cook, SO…

What good to a nook is a hook cook book?

I don’t think you can read that passage in today’s world and not think of the Barnes & Noble e-reader device, which happens to be called a Nook. Of course the fact that nooks and books came together in the Dr. Seuss passage has only to do with the fact that the words rhymed.

Or does it…?

Yet another sign the Little Man is a Superman fan

I hum sometimes. Earlier this evening, I was humming the Superman theme under my breath. (There are perfectly valid reasons for this choice, which have to do with a scene in the novelette on which I am working, but that’s another story.) Here’s what happened.

I hear the Little Man running down the hallway.

“Hey, buddy,” I said, “what’s this? I then began to hum the Superman theme, certain that he would have no idea what I was talking about.

Without even a second’s hesitation he clapped his little hands together and said, “Soopah-man!”

I was stunned. I hadn’t expected him to come close to even guessing. I figured he’d ignore my and try to get me to chase him around the house, or take him outside or something. That he answered the question, and answered it correctly just stunned me.

Watching and re-watching those action scenes from Superman Returns must have really made an impression on him.

Strange quirks of the Little Man, episode 1

The Little Man and I had a pizza party last night. You have to understand that it has been a very hot summer in the metro DC area. Kelly is now 3 weeks away from giving birth. We have little energy at the end of the day and what energy is left is sapped by the heat. We don’t feel like cooking. We barely feel like eating. So we’ve been making due with light meals or local places like Subway. The Little Man likes pizza and was asking for Pizza last night, so I ran up to our neighborhood Target and got two small Pizza Hut pan pizza’s and we took to my office floor, sat down and had a pizza party. It was loads of fun and I posted a picture of the event on Facebook for friends and family.

We sat there eating our pizzas and drinking our drinks. I had a Coke and the Little Man had orange juice, but of course, he kept wanting to sip my Coke and I let him do it a few times, as I always do. He takes the smallest possible sips through the straw, barely anything really. And then after two or three small sips, he’ll take a big, ten-second long pull and he’s satisfied.

During our little party, I discovered another strange little quirk that Little Man has. It’d gotten him a cheese pizza, even though he has eaten and likes pepperoni pizza. The cheesy surface of his slice was flat, except for one small part, where a piece of melted cheese had curled up and rose above the surface. When the Little Man got to this part, he said, “Uh-oh, Daddy.” He proceeded to pull off that piece of cheese. “Trash,” he explained. He got up took the offending cheese into the kitchen and tossed it in the trash. Then he returned and finished what was left of his (smooth-surfaced) pizza.

Kelly said she’d seen him do this before. I find this amusingly strange and quirky, but it was very serious business to him.

Incidentally, I recognize that the Little Man might someday decide that my public discussion of these (innocuous) strange quirks of his are embarrassing to him. All I can say is that they are in direct response to the long, popular, and hysterical series of blog posts that he will write thirty years from now titled, “Strange quirks of my Old Man.” Come on, you know that’s inevitable, right? And let me state for the record that none of what he will right is true. And if is true then he is simply exaggerating for effect. Got it? Good.

Superman comics, the Little Man, and me

For a long time, I’ve been a fan of Superman. I’ve talked about how I introduced the Little Man to Superman. But until Friday night, I’d never read a Superman comic. And doing so gave me a nifty little idea.

When I heard about the DC Comics “new 52”–their renumbering of 52 of their most popular comics–I was pretty excited. I’ve never read comic books, but I like Superman and this would give me a chance to start fresh with Superman. I suppose I am the ideal audience for DC Comics and this is exactly what they were hoping for by doing this renumbering: bringing new readers onboard. Of course, they have upset some longtime fans, but you can’t please everyone.

I couldn’t sleep Friday night and tossed and turned, until finally I grabbed for my iPad and launched the DC Comics app, for which I have zero content. It was just after midnight. When I went to browse some content, I discovered  to my surprise that DC Comics was holding a 48-hour special they called Superman 101, in which they were offering full comics from the various Superman threads for $0.99 each in digital format. Among the free comics they were offering was the Action Comics #1, containing the very first Superman comic.

Well, I couldn’t resist that. I ended up buying 9 comics:

  • Action Comics #1, #6, and #23
  • The Man of Steel #1-6