Tag: little miss

Get Whatever You Want in 12 Easy Steps

This post is brought to you courtesy of the Little Miss, who demonstrated the process this very evening to a small audience. I am merely passing along her methods, which, I should add, are frighteningly effective. Credit where credit is due.

Step 1. Begin nonchalantly. Stand up on your mom and dad’s bed.

Step 2. Release your stored up energy. Jump around on mom and dad’s bed, until mom says, “It’s time to relax, no jumping.”

Step 3. Demonstrate your independence. Continue to jump anyway until mom say, “If you don’t listen you’ll have to go into your own bed.”

Step 4. Call the bluff. Live for the moment. Do it again.

Step 5. Marvel at how quickly your are transported to your own bed.

Step 6. Play along. Lay down quietly, feigning sleep.

Step 7. Wait five minutes.

Step 8. Start yelling for mommy. Throw in a few screams. Turn on the waterworks.

Step 9. When daddy asks why you are crying, say, “I want mommy pick me up.”

Step 10. Surprise your opponent. When daddy says, “You can’t sleep in our bed, you have to sleep in here,” you say in your charming, voluble, 21-month-old voice, “I be good girl!”

Step 11. Puppy-eyes for effect.

Step 12. Marvel at how quickly you are transported to mommy and daddy’s bed.

Game. Set. Match.

The Little Miss Channels… The Terminator?

The nightly routine

We go upstairs. The kids play for a little while, while Kelly and I do various tasks in preparation for the next day. Lay out clothes. Pack bags and backpacks. Then it’s time for a bath or shower. When that is over we read a book. Sometimes, we read two, one for the Little Man and another for the Little Miss. When the book-reading is done, the kids usually climb onto our bed. They each get to watch a show. The Little Miss generally watches Caillou, while the Little Man, obsessed with superheroes as he is1, watches The Avengers cartoon. They both drink their milk.

It is during this brief respite that I squeeze in the my daily fiction-writing. I can generally get as much as 500 words done before the shows are over. At some point, Kelly gets the Little Miss into her sleep-sack, usually with only minor protest. Not long after that, the Little Miss will say, “Daddy, I ready!” Usually she has to yell this, as I wear my noise-canceling headset as I write. Usually, I respond (once I hear her), with “Okay, I just need two minutes.” This is because the Little Miss has chosen the exact wrong moment in my writing to “be ready.” I finish my thoughts, typing feverishly. Then I stand.

“Okay,” I say, taking out my iPhone and holding it up, “should we go listen to rain music?”

The Little Miss waddles across the bed in her sleep sack, a big grin on her face. She practically leaps into my arms.

“Goo-night, mommy,” she says. “Goo-night, Little Man.”

“Goodnight,” Kelly says.

The Little Man generally says nothing, absorbed as he is in what is going on with the Avengers. We prod him and without taking his eyes off the TV he says, “Goodnight!”

“I love you!” the Little Miss says.

“I love you,” Kelly says. “Sweet dreams.”

We start to walk out of the room and this is where the Little Miss channels the Terminator, every night, without fail.

“I be back,” she announces.

And before morning, she almost always is.

  1. I wonder where he gets that from?

Daylight Saving Pet Peeves

First and foremost, it is daylight saving time, and not daylight savings time as I both see and hear it referred to by so many people. There is a difference, slight at it may be. It is not a bank account into which you put your accumulated savings of daylight (and earn an utterly meaningless amount of daylight interest). You cannot withdraw daylight from your daylight savings account in the winter to get you an extra hour of sunlight. Small pet peeve, I know, but there it is nevertheless.

I actually like daylight saving time, and I like even more that it has been expanded. It is, like my birthday, yet another harbinger of spring, and spring is probably my favorite season. (And spring is always so much better after a somewhat cold and snowy winter!)

My real pet peeve regarding daylight saving time has plagued me for only a few years. Daylight saving time and parenting don’t mix well. Parenting, especially when your kids are very young, seems to be all about routine. Daylight saving time (and the eventual return to standard time) screw up those routines. It’s not so bad when your kids are infants. But when they are toddlers or preschoolers, it can wreak havoc on a well-ordered household.

Advantage: we can start taking our evening walks again as a family.

Disadvantage: the kids aren’t tired at their usual bedtime.

Advantage: it feels like we have more time to accomplish all our chores in the evening.

Disadvantage: the kids see the extra sunlight as meaning its not time to do those chores yet.

It took me an hour to get the Little Miss to fall asleep last night, this despite putting her to bed nearly an hour later to try to compensate for daylight saving time. I suspect that I would not have had this problem had we not sprung forward early Sunday morning1.

  1. Okay, who else likes to wake up at 1:59am on Sunday and watch the clock on the cable box change from 1:59 to 3:00am? Anyone? Anyone?

The Little Miss’s Trio of Songs

Despite the fact that the Little Miss is only 18 months old, she already knows a bunch of songs. Some of these are snippets of the songs I sing to her instead of the traditional lullabies. (Think: “Where the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day” or “Far Away Places.”) But recently, I noticed that she knows most of the words and tune to three different songs: “ABC”, “Bah-Bah-Black Sheep”, and “Twinlke, Twinkle, Little Star,” If I start singing one of these songs, she’ll jump right in and join me, getting most of the words, and all of the tune right. And as soon as I finish singing, say, “ABC,” she’ll bounce up and down and say, “Bah-Bah Black Sheep!” and we’ll move on to that one. It really is amazing to me.

Of course, it is also a bit of a cheat. After all, the “tune” to all three songs is identical. Hum it to yourself and fit the lyrics to each of the three songs and you’ll see they are identical. Even so, the Little Miss’s voluble singing abilities continue to amaze me–and always bring a smile to my face.

Puppets and the Perils of Parenting (A Little Miss Tale)

I found a unique way of entertaining the kids today while Kelly was on the elliptical machine. The Little Man, Little Miss and I were up in the Little Man’s bedroom. The two Little Ones were happily bouncing on the bed while I sat on the floor, encased in a beanbag chair and attempting to read my book. The fun lasted about as long as you might expect and the two Little Ones were ready to move on to something else.

The Little Man happened to pick up a Yankees hand-puppet that I got for Christmas. I told him to hand it over and proceeded to do my best Edgar Bergan/Charlie McCarthy. Before long, I had the Little Man rolling in the aisles. He was not only laughing, but interacting with the hand puppet, holding a conversation with it and having a good ‘ol time.

And that’s when I noticed the Little Miss. She had moved away from the bed and was standing in the dead center of the room. She hadn’t moved since the puppet had come to life. And she had a strange look in her eyes. Now, the Little Man is nearly four and the Little Miss just past the 211 18-month mark. The Little Man was having a blast. And I made a mistake.

I misinterpreted the Little Miss’s nervous silence as frustration. After all, the puppet spent most of his time talking to the Little Man–who, naturally, was talking right back.

So I turned the puppet to the Little Miss, and he said to her, “Hello Little Miss! How are you today?”

In the ordinary passage of conversation, the Little Miss would have returned this interrogative with a delightful little, “Heh-loh!” She might even clap her hands together, bat her blue eyes and issue forth a smile that could brighten a looming darkness.

Instead, she eyed the puppet warily. Convinced that she hadn’t heard him, the puppet repeated, “Well hey there, Little Miss. Can I get a kiss?” He gestured with his arms.

It might have been the gesture that triggered what happened next. She took two nervous steps to her left–the direction of the bedroom door–and burst into tears. It was as that point that it occurred to me that she might be frightened of the puppet. It might seem inexplicable to her.

So I did what I could: I tossed the puppet into the closet and picked up the Little Miss. “It’s okay, sweetie,” I said, wiping away her tears. “It’s just a puppet. It’s pretend. It’s just a puppet.”

Through her sobs, she clarified at once that I was mistaken. “Scary puppet, Daddy,” she said. After that she held tight to me. I took her into our bedroom, sat down in the rocker and rocked her to sleep, feeling like the absolute worst dad in the world.

Scary puppet,” she muttered as she dozed off.

I wonder how many years of therapy that will result in?

(And for those curious, here is the scary puppet:)

Puppet

  1. I don’t know what I was thinking here. I just totally screwed up the math, okay.

The Little Miss Turns One

We had family in town this weekend and I was so busy with that and other things that I didn’t get a chance to post about the Little Miss’s first birthday until now. On Sunday, the Little Miss turned one and it is rather remarkable how quickly that first year went by.

At one, the Little Miss is just such an adorable little girl that there are times when I wish she would stay one forever. She has a vocabulary of twenty or twenty-five words that she can say. She can understand a lot more. If I ask her where the light is, she’ll look up at the ceiling, find a light, point and say, “Liiiiight!” If I ask here where the bed is, she will point at it but won’t say the word. Which is strange because many of the words she says start with the letter B: book, ball, and stuff like that. She says Mama and Daddy. She says Maggie (one of our cats) and Miriam (one of the caretakers at her daycare). The latter comes out like “Mhi-yam.”

She can walk if she wants to but she still prefers to crawl. This is different from the Little Man, who never crawled so he walked more quickly. But she can crawl like the wind. She can climb the stairs by herself, meaning if we stand there to make sure she is safe, she can do it all by herself. We avoid letting her do this when we are not supervising, of course. She has an adorable laugh, and when she thinks something is really funny, the laugh turns into such a high-pitched squeal that she might upset nearby dogs and stir up any bats in the neighborhood. The one person who can make her laugh the hardest is the Little Man.

The Little Miss has quite a few teeth already. She’s omnivorous at this point, having eaten some meats in addition to other foods. She is a big fan of blueberries and strawberries, and loves macaroni and cheese. She is an incredibly messy eater, more food being distributed about her person than actually getting into her mouth–at least when she feeds herself.

The Little Man gets along much better with her. He now understands that she is a baby and she is learning, and he helps her out when he can. He is more tolerant of her touching his toys and will sometimes, of his own according, giver her one of his toys to play with.

And she is a clever girl, who I fear will be out to taunt me with her wit from here on out. Just the other evening, she was sleeping on the floor with Kelly (Kelly wasn’t feeling well and wanted to be able to stretch out–the floor had more space) and all was quiet when I heard our cat, Maggie, banging on the gate at the top of the stairs. It was her signal that she wanted to be let downstairs. It was 3:30am and I stirred slowly, but then I heard what I thought was crying. I suspected the Little Man, so I wandered into the hallway to investigate. It turns out it was neither the Little Man, nor Maggie, nor even crying that I heard. The Little Miss had wandered, on her own accord, down the hallway and was standing by the gate, giving it a good rattle now and then. When she saw me, she smiled and giggled.

I think we’ll have to keep an eye on that one.

The Little Miss at 11 months

The Little Miss1 turned 11 months old today. It’s rather remarkable to think just how quickly that time zipped by! I realize that I haven’t written an update on her in quite some time now so I figured the 11-month mark is as good a place as any to rectify that oversight.

First, let me get the doting father bit out of the way: she is a delightfully beautiful little girl.

I suppose I can be excused for saying this because I am a doting father, but you know what, others say it to, and I’m going to assume that when they say it, they mean it, even if they don’t mean it. At present she’s got wispy straight blonde hair that is just beginning to curl around behind her ears. When she is hot or her hair is wet, it gets a little frizzy which makes her look even more adorable. And she’s got eyes the color of Neptune.

She has a vocabulary of about 8 words or so, including: momma, dada, that, bye-bye, hi, light, uh-oh, as well as her brother’s name. These are the words she says. She knows quite a few more words than this, and if you say, for instance, “television,” she will point to the item in question. She has a terrific laugh, a warbly giggle that melts into a liquid laugh if she thinks something is funny enough. Interestingly, the thing she things is most funny in all the world is her brother. He can make her laugh harder and longer than anything else.

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  1. There may be accusations among my science fiction friends that I call her this in deliberate tribute to the character from Isaac Asimov’s moving story, “The Bicentennial Man.” Well, all I can say is that I wish I’d made that connection sooner and could claim that this was so. In fact, it is merely a parallel name for her older brother, who I’ve always referred to here as the Little Man.

Big milestones for the Little Man and the Little Miss

The Little Man

It’s been a while since I posted an update on the Little Man and now seems as good a time as any since we hit a second big milestone last night. But I’m jumping ahead. Let me go back to the first. Nearly three weeks ago, Kelly decided it was time for the Little Man to be completely potty-trained. He could do it when and if he wanted, but he was still in diapers and didn’t really have any incentive. So Kelly kept him out of school on a Thursday and Friday, giving four straight days to get it done. That Thursday, she put him into “big boy” underwear, and I am enormously pleased to say that he hasn’t used diapers since. There were little accidents along the way, but they have been few and far between. Even when he is at school, he generally does a very good job and no matter where he is, he has learned to tell someone when he needs to go.

The credit for this is divided between Kelly and the Little Man. Kelly was determined to make it happen and she endured a few difficult days to make it so. The Little Man has done his fair share, too, and now that we are coming up on nearly 3 weeks of his being diaper-free, I think we are all seeing the benefit of their efforts.

The second milestone took place last night, but requires a little back-story. Up until around the time the Little Miss was born, the Little Man would sleep happily in his room by himself. Once the Little Miss was born (which was back in August), he decided that he was missing out on the fun and no longer wanted to sleep alone. This evolved, after the first of the year, into me, sleeping on a mattress on the floor in his bedroom. Part of this was to make the Little Man happy, and part of this was because I could not sleep in our bed with the Little Miss there. After five long months of sleeping on the floor in the Little Man’s room, I finally returned to my own room and my own bed last night.

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A smile that cures all ills

I had a long day at work today. I was in the office just after 6am with the thought of trying to catch up on some things early, before I could be interrupted. Alas, that’s not how it worked out. I was recruited to a task that diverted me for more than 2-1/2 hours. That was pretty much how the rest of the morning went. I was able to make some progress in the afternoon, but I didn’t get done half of what I’d hoped when I woke up this morning.

By the time I left the office, I was frustrated and my right side was in pain thanks to this litte bug I’ve caught. I wandered into the house. Kelly was in the TV room and she said, “You have to come look at the Little Miss.” I put down my stuff, unloaded my pockets and then headed in to see the Little Miss. Kelly has her “sitting” on the couch, propped up in a corner. She was wide awake and looked content. I sat down in front of her.

“Hello, Little Miss,” I said.

And she gave me the biggest smile I’d ever seen her give.

With that smile, all the frustration of the workday, all of the pain in my side, just melted away.

I snapped a picture of her smiling and posted it on Facebook for friends to see. It’s a nice picture, but the smile there isn’t half as dazzling as the one she gave me when I got home from work.

Cars and trucks and things that go to the bathroom

My oh my was last night a doozy.

The Little Man has entered a phase where he no longer wants to sleep in his own bed. I’ll put him to bed and say goodnight and he will have a full on tantrum. Last night I just went downstairs. We have a gate at the top of the staircase to prevent him from falling down the steps. (Actually, it’s to prevent the cats from bothering us at night, since the Little Man can now safely navigate the stairs.) Until last night I didn’t think he could open that gate but in his transformation into the Incredible Hulk, he got the gate open. I’ve been trying to avoiding staying in his room with him until he falls asleep, but I had little choice last night. I compromised by sitting on the floor next to his bed and watching a documentary on the making of Season 1 of Millennium while he dozed off. It took an hour.

Even then, he didn’t stay asleep. He woke up asking for me and I had to go back in there and sit on the floor until he fell back asleep. Kelly brought up the Little Miss at about the same time. The Little Miss seemed happy, and indeed she was, until a little while later when she started to cry and then scream. It woke up the Little Man who proceeded to come into our room and since we couldn’t juggle both, the Little Man ended up sleeping with me. Once he was asleep again, Kelly and I took the Little Miss downstairs. We tried everything to console her, including giving her a bath. She would calm down for minutes at a time and then start shrieking again.

Add to this the fact that the major road down from our street is being resurfaced and said resurfacing is taking place between 9pm and 5am to prevent traffic backups. The trucks are loud. At one point, the Little Man, curled up in a soft blanket and nestled in my arms, had quieted down and I could hear the trucks rumbling as if they were just outside our front door.

“I hope the Little Miss starts crying again soon,” I said Kelly. “It will help drown out the sound of those (redacted)1 trucks.

It was frustrating for everyone, not the least of which the Little Miss, who I imagined very clearly pontificating on our ineptitude as parents:

“I am telling you exactly what is bothering me, why don’t you listen for god-sake,” she was saying. “How obvious do I have to make it for you? Have you any sense at all? My goodness, if these are the parents I’ve inherited then I’m in real trouble. That can tell a complaint from a cry. How am I supposed to get across to them the urgent significance of the matter at hand? Pink Floyd comes to mind,” she continued, “‘Is there anybody out there?’ Oh, great, now they are going to put me in the bathtub. I’M FINE THANK YOU. I DON’T NEED A BATH! A NEED TO POOP, OKAY, IS THAT PLAIN ENOUGH FOR YOU? I NEED TO TAKE A (expletive removed)-ING DUMP. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?”

Meanwhile, the trucks outside seemed to do nothing but drive backwards, based on the constant BEEP BEEP BEEP we were hearing.

Eventually, somehow, everyone quieted down and maybe we slept some, too. For a little while anyway.


  1. This was a long stream of colorful profanity that stretched on for 30 seconds or more.

Division titles and inconsolable infants

When I picked up the Little Man from school yesterday, we went through the usual preliminaries (“What did you do at school today?” “Play toys! Outside!”) and then asked him a very important question: Do you want to watch the Yankee game with Daddy tonight?

So at 7pm, we headed upstairs to watch the Yanks. About the same time, the Little Miss seemed to get somewhat cranky, but Kelly was about to feed her so I figured she’d calm down once she had some milk in her belly. Of course, the Yankees game was rain-delayed and so we watched the beginning of the Orioles/Red Sox game. On our walk home from school, I’d made sure to teach the Little Man to say “Go Yankees!” and being a quick learner, he would stand on our bed during the Red Sox game shouting “Go Yankees! Go Yankees!”

Meanwhile, I could hear the Little Miss crying downstairs. Not an all out screaming cry, but a steady, idling cry.

Early in the Red Sox game, the Orioles hit a home run and I cheered, throwing both hands up in the air and shouting, “Yeah!” The Little Man replicated this perfectly. He is the Rich Little1 of his daddy’s sports celebratory outbursts. Thereafter, no matter what the play was, the Little Man would do a little celebratory dance.

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  1. I wonder how many people will get this reference?

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.