Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Teaching

Despite being the offspring of two teachers, I've never been a very good teacher myself. I lack the patience, I dislike apples and my chalkboard penmanship is terrible. I gave it a run once, but the only good thing that came out of that was learning that the father of one of my students was Ace Frehley's tour manager during his Frehley's Comet Tour. I tried to get some juicy backstage details from her, but apparently that's not an "appropriate" discussion to be having during a fourth-grade Sunday School class.

My inability to properly teach is unfortunate, as it turns out that parenthood requires quite a bit of teaching. I didn't really think about the fact that Finn wouldn't just pop out knowing how to do everything. Short-sighted on my part. Whoops.

OK, that's not entirely true. I knew I'd need to teach him stuff like how to hit a baseball, how to pee standing up, and how to tie his shoes, but how to eat with a spoon? I didn't count on that one. Same with things like covering his mouth when he coughs - which would explain why he's not very good at either of those.

A lot of the stuff that needs to be taught is fun. We're doing a "preview" of driving at the moment, which is great. The boy's awesome at turning up the radio and breaking off the turn signal. It also turns out that he's a real Miles Davis with the car horn, though I have not yet been able to teach him how to maintain his cool through the extraction from the car. It's also fun to teach Finn the storied history of the New York Yankees and important life tidbits like the fact that tofu is disgusting.

Other stuff is hard is teach, like colors. How do you explain to a 22-month old that the thing that he's always known as a "truck" is now called "green"? The answer is: not well. He gives me that same look my boss gives me when I open my mouth before my first cup of coffee in the morning. That's not a good look.

And some things are just easier to do yourself, like the proper method of crossing a busy intersection. That's not the best place to have a rational discussion with your child about the relative importance of getting across the road versus eating the cigarette butt that he/she has just discovered.

Luckily, we've got daycare to handle most of the teaching. These kids have a curriculum that rivals my college classes - though of course, I was a Communications major at Penn State, so I'll let you draw your own conclusions there. They do show and tell, they explore their senses, they practice somersaults, and they even cover basic safety items - like crossing the street.

This is great, as it leave me free to focus on the other important items. Currently, I'm trying to get him to name his toys and animals. I think I've found the most important lesson that I may ever be able to teach him:

Don't name your favorite hippo "Mommy". That's not going to go over well.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lumpy

The gods are angry.

I'm not sure what they're angry about, but they're angry. Specifically, they're angry at Finn. Perhaps, like Adonis, he has been judged to be too beautiful. Or perhaps like Job, his life is too good. Either way, he is currently being visited by a plague that we are referring to as "The Situation".

I present Exhibit A.


Check out that thing on his knuckle. If it sticks around, we're going to need to get a bigger house.

The doctor has written this off as some sort of freak allergic reaction. Since this came about immediately after Daddy/Finn day on Monday, I can only assume that he's allergic to my lameness. As soon as Mommy spent the day at home with him yesterday, he immediately started recovering.

This also came right on the heels of Kitty and I chortling over how lucky we were that Finn had been so healthy.

Note to self: no more chortling.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ham

Whoops, forgot that I had some video to go along with that last post. It's short, but since it seems like I focus on the frustrating more than the devastatingly cute (better material), I think it's important to show the other side.

This was shot after he had already poured/spit/launched all of the liquid from his soup bowl. Note the casual "cheese" at the :10 mark.

He's such a pro.

video

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Cooking with Finn

As previously covered in extensive detail, mealtimes around the dojo are always an adventure. Some days, he's a great eater. Other days, the neighbors must hear him screaming from our table. Even the days that he does decide to eat are filled with questions.

Will he like it? What's the first thing he'll throw at me? How much of this will actually make it into his mouth? How much will stay in his mouth?

Finn has been labeled a "mono-eater" by his daytime mommies, meaning that no matter what they put on his plate, he'll typically focus on just one thing. This does not lend itself well to the idea of a balanced meal, which in turn, does not lend itself well to a happy Mommy. Kitty is constantly working to find the perfect balance between meals that we all enjoy and that also cover at least two of the five food groups (we count crayons as a food group).

The other night was one of our go-to meals - kimchee soup. The soup uses leftover braised pork rib meat, which Finn is a big fan of, but what makes it extra goutilicous is the incredibly rich braising liquid used in the broth. I can feel my joints tightening up just typing this.

This is what it looked like coming off the stove.


And this is what it looked like 10 minutes later, after Finn applied it liberally to the front of his shirt. And pants. And socks.


Now a lack of proper spoon skills certainly contributed to this particular issue, however it also highlights another problem that I've alluded to before. No matter what we do, we can't keep him from spitting his food out down the front of his shirt. The sad part is that we're certain that we contributed to this behavior by giving him a great spittoon via that trough bib that we used to love so much. Breaking this habit has proven extremely difficult, which is unfortunate because nothing says class like loudly reminding your child to spit his food into his hand at the restaurant.

Of course, none of this bothers him. He's the happiest kid in the world as he's spitting his food all over the place - which makes it very difficult to stay mad at him. But I'd be the happiest dad in the world if he'd just learn to use the vacuum.

We're working on it, though you can tell from that posture that he's not taking his lessons very seriously.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Remember when...

There was a time when it was Daddy against Mommy. Mommy would lay down the rules and Daddy would politely wait approximately 30-seconds and then break them.

Bedtime is quiet time? Not a chance. No spitting at the table? Pfffffbbbbbbbblt.

I was completely secure in my belief that the mischief was good for Finn and that he would understand when it was time to reel it back in, on account of the fact that he's a genius and all.

I am no longer secure in this belief. There's a storm a-brewing on the horizon and that storm's name is Typhoon Two. Boundaries are not just being tested, they're being unceremoniously pushed out of a moving vehicle. It is not uncommon for dinner now to end with me lifting Finn out of his chair, brushing off whatever delicacy he's decided to spit all over himself and depositing him in the corner, where he will continue to cry about the fact that his milk is no longer warm and the bread/cheese is not artisinal enough.

This is a shame, because we had just started getting into foods other than crayons.

So far we've still been lucky enough to avoid any major public spectacles, but extracting him from the toy car display at Rite Aid takes about 5 minutes longer every time. Eventually, it's all going to go sideways.

And so it was with such a potential hanging in the air that we ditched the Ninja with Aunt Holly & Uncle Rob last weekend to head for Whistler. Our hope was that we would be in another country when the explosion finally occurred. Upon our return, not only had the explosion not happened, but Finn cried when Holly left.

This is unacceptable. Finn has never cried when Kitty or I have left. Just so I don't develop a complex over this, I'm going to have to start pinching him before I walk out the door. Especially if he doesn't stop spitting his dinner all over the place.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Talkin' in the new year

As a reward for my incredible solo Daddying of the last month and a half, I was given some bachelor shore leave for new year's eve and spent it up at the cabin skiing with Holly and Rob. When I left, Finn was talking up a storm - flexing his Frankensteinian pronunciation - but his conversations were all limited to just a couple of words thrown together, like "Call Layla" (as you can see him doing to the right) or "Elmo Big Bird" (repeated every 15 seconds; what was I saying about wanting a child that watches TV?).

And so it was with great surprise (and even greater hangover) that I returned from the trip over the weekend to find Finn had really stepped up his talking game. He continues to point out every car in the universe, he tries really hard to count past two and he still works diligently at identifying the colors that aren't yellow, but to all of this he has now added the following complete sentences:
  • "It's milk time!" (see also: "It's Taco Time®!", "It's Mi-Mi (binky) time!" and "It's poop time!")
  • "Twinkle twinkle little star" (sung; see also any of the other weird yoga songs that Kitty makes him listen to that he also appears to know the words to)
  • "I drive car" (transition into screaming meltdown when removed from said car, but that's a story for another time)
  • And of course now: "Watch Elmo Big Bird / Cars / Yo Gabba / baseball"
It's the last one that's driving me craziest, of course. Doesn't he realize that we CAN'T watch baseball?! He's so cruel.

But in the end, my favorite new phrase would have to come down to one of the following:
  • "I love you, Daddy"
  • "Daddy farted" (which is what I believe he's explaining to Layla above)
I know. It's a toss-up. I love them both equally, as they're both equally true.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm engaged in a wicked game of chicken with our neighbors to see which is going to be the last house in the neighborhood to take down their Christmas lights. And these guys are good; I think they've had their lights on continuously since 1987. I may be overmatched.