Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012, a set on Flickr.
I've really got nothing to say here. After two solid weeks of alcohol/Nog overload, my brain has left the building. Rather than try to force a post about how awesome Christmas was and how excited we all are that the world didn't end on Kitty's birthday, I figured I'd just share these pictures.

Happy Holidays to everyone out there in Ninja land. Rookie arrives in a little over a month, so if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go take a very long nap.

See you all in 2013!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Rudolph Can't Write

When I was a kid, one of our Christmas Eve traditions was picking up the rotary telephone and painfully spending 1/3 of the evening dialing NORAD, where one could receive "up to the minute!" updates on Santa's progress around the globe.  As our parents tended their tired dialing fingers, my brother and I gobbled it up, all crowded around a single tethered phone receiver in our kitchen.  In black and white.

Nowadays you can practically Skype with Santa as you track him on Google Earth.  Maybe I'm just being an old fogey, but that's definitely not the same.  All these newfangled contraptions take some of the intimacy out of what was an amazing shared holiday experience of my youth.

Wow.  I'm definitely turning forty.

I will grant that there is one part of the new Christmas experience that's pretty cool.  Just last week, Finn received a big envelope from the North Pole, with stickers, tattoos and personalized letters from BOTH Santa AND Rudolph.  Santa even knew what Finn wanted for Christmas and included a notarized, personalized "Nice" certificate, which makes it clear that he's either going to get exactly what he asked for or he's now going to be extra-special-extremely disappointed.  Thanks Santa.

Finn was beyond thrilled and he shows his goodies to everyone.  His love of Christmas & Santa is a wonderful thing to behold, even if it is based on a kinda-sorta lie.  But I don't need to worry about that yet.  When Jena jokingly expressed surprise that Rudolph could write a letter, Finn just dismissively responded, "Santa wrote the letter, Rudolph just told him what to say and signed his name."

Of course.  Duh.

Long live Santa, though his days are clearly numbered.   Finn is growing up way too fast.  Just earlier this evening, he spent twenty minutes reciting almost word for word from memory the conversation between Daffy/Duck Dodgers and Marvin the Martian on Planet X after only watching Bugs Bunny for the very first time this past weekend.  I verified his story not from memory, but because I decided to watch it again with him to check it out.  Bugs Bunny is awesome.

So as wonderful as it is to have a kid this age at Christmas, we'll see how much longer Santa sticks around.  Hopefully it's for at least one more year/letter.  This sure is cool.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What's the Worst that could Happen?

Finn's Grandparents were here a week ago, which is my main excuse for not keeping this thing up to date with the latest developments in the 2012 Christmas List.   This year's most surprising entry?  An "Art Collection."  When pressed for details that might help Santa fulfill said wish, Finn's only explanation was that it would be for "hiding art" and "leaving on trails".

Santa, you have your marching orders.  Good luck.

It was a good week.   Finn was able to demonstrate in person for my folks the fact that he can't do anything upon returning to the house until after he takes his pants off and places them on the stairs.  In return, his Grandfather dutifully forced him into the bottom of a sleeping bag and dragged him all over the house (as requested/demanded) and his Grandmother helped him make a gingerbread house.

When they left, I asked him what his favorite part of the visit was and he replied that it was giving Grandma & Grandpa hugs & kisses.  I found this questionable, since we had also gone up in a helicopter for his Grandfather's 70th birthday, but he was only willing to concede that perhaps those were of equal importance.

One thing we didn't do this year that we did during the grandparents' visit last year?  Purchase & decorate a Christmas Tree.  This was due in no small part to the fact that I am apparently completely unable to control my stress levels when placed in close vicinity to a grabby 4-year-old and a collection of delicate glass ornaments.  

This is clearly a character flaw on my part, as I've been informed by my wife.  Though to be fair, I get equally anxious when placing a grabby four-year-old in close proximity to taco shells that I'm trying to open.  And that's probably not entirely warranted.  I apparently need to learn to relax when Finn is performing delicate operations and let him learn on his own.

To "help" me with this, Kitty has attempted to walk me through an exercise called, "What's the Worst that could Happen"?  As it turns out, this exercise is rigged to make me look like a jerk.  For example, using the taco shells above, the worst that can happen if he breaks one is one less taco shell, whereas the worst that could happen if I am too domineering would (apparently) be that he would be screwed up for life, never want to try anything new, and resent his father.

Or so I've been told.  Oddly, that's the worst that can happen with pretty much all of the scenarios that I've been walked through.  Very coincidental.

But, I'm trying to relax.  Even when Finn ignored the special box of "Finn ornaments" that I put aside specifically for him while decorating the tree to zoom in on the glass box, I took a few deep breaths and (mostly) managed not to yell & scream.  Not a perfect performance, but I was pretty proud of myself.  Because no one cried.  This year.

Just yesterday, he asked if he could play with a glass ornament that was shaped like a rocket ship, which I'm convinced was a request designed specifically to test my self control.  We had a brief discussion about how that was a very special Christmas ornament that we bought for his first Christmas.  That it had his name on the bottom and that I couldn't fix it if it broke.  After multiple assurances on his part that he wouldn't break it, I had to take a deep breath, ask myself what would be the worst thing that could happen, and let him play.

Turns out that the worst thing that can happen is that he can break the ornament roughly five minutes later.  And then spill a glass of water on me as I tried to carefully pick up the glass and avoid yelling "I TOLD YOU SO"in his sad little, remorseful face.  Which I did (avoid, that is).  Admirably.

So in the end, we lost an ornament, but hopefully I was able to delay screwing-him-up-for-the-rest-of-his-life for one more day, as it did lead to a productive conversation about accidents and replacing broken items.  As far as the "special" ornament goes, it's only fair to point out that what I told him wasn't exactly true.  This wasn't actually the first ornament we bought for him - it was a replacement for the first ornament we bought him.  

Since we had broken the original last year.  Probably playing with it.

So it looks like it's time for another "first ornament."  We'll probably just keep that little fact from him for now.  After all, what's the worst that could happen?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


A couple of months ago I did something that I didn't really think was a big deal at the time, but in retrospect I'm not terribly proud of.  I was picking Finn up at Jena's and had double-parked in the alley.  While we were leaving, someone was waiting to get past my car.  I couldn't get Finn into his car seat quickly, so I planted him next to the gate and jumped in the car to move it.  

Unfortunately, I couldn't quickly turn around and had to circle the block - which took about a minute and a half.  Finn was still where I left him and some nice old lady was asking him how he was doing.  I waved and grabbed him and she mumbled something about calling the cops, which I laughed off.  It wasn't until I got down the road that I realized that maybe she wasn't kidding.  

I decided I wouldn't tell Kitty about this whole thing.  No sense worrying her about kidnapping/child endangerment/busybody old ladies.  Everything was going great until later in the evening when Finn sadly asked me to never leave him on the side of the street alone again.  In front of Kitty.

I'm not sure why he didn't bring that up in the car or ANYTIME before his mom got home, but... that didn't go well. 

In the end, both Finn and I clearly have things we need to work on.  I (have been informed that I) need to recognize that the sidewalks of West Seattle are probably not as idyllic as the back roads of upstate NY that I grew up on and need to keep a closer eye on my son.

But more importantly, Finn needs to work on keeping his big, fat, tattling mouth shut.

In the end, giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming that he really was upset at being left on the side of the road and wasn't just trying to passive-aggressively rat me out, the worst part really is that I scared him.

This bugged me for a while.  Until tonight, when he yelled at me that he wasn't going to be my friend anymore because I wouldn't let him have dessert.  

I'm starting to think that maybe next time I need to move my car, I'll take a couple of extra trips around the block...

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Despite all of his excitement leading up to his new school, Finn had a rough month or so once it actually started.  Getting onto a new schedule was one thing, but he was also having a tough time socially.  Part of that was our fault.  We thought we were being smart getting Finn into Reid's class at school, assuming that would help with his transition, but we didn't really factor into the decision the reality that Reid had a year head start on Finn and an existing set of friends in the class.

The result was weeks of crying about the fact that no one would play with him, that Reid didn't like him and all other types of heart-rending complaints that were difficult to hear, but completely (in retrospect) expected for someone going through a transition like this.  We did our best to let him work his way through this and not meddle, and now everything seems to be back to normal.  He and Reid have worked through whatever massive pre-K rift was coming between them and he seems to be doing a fair job of making new friends - something his teacher helpfully confirmed at our parent/teacher conference this week.

Yesterday, Finn and I were talking about friends and "best friends".  He informed me that he's got six best friends:  John, Reid and Eli from TinyTribe days, a new friend from school, and Bumblebee and Peanut Butter Schwartz.

All good on the first four.  Here are the last two:

They definitely look like best friend material, right?  Though I am surprised the little guy want to be friends with us after we gave him such an unfortunate name.  

In addition to have six best friends himself, Finn let me know that he was a best friend to lots of people too.  I asked him why that was and he told me it was because he was "famous".  Interesting.  I asked him why he was famous, but he wouldn't tell me.

Finn is currently in the basement playing with three of his best friends (John, Bumblebee and PB Schwartz).  Five minutes ago, he yelled up asking whether he could take his pants off.

Perhaps that's why he's famous.  Just like Will Ferrell...

Incidentally, when I yelled down that was OK, he immediately asked if John could take his pants off too.  After clarifying that we were all keeping our underpants on, I had no choice but to approve that request as well.

I hope John's parents are ready for his impending fame.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Girls, Girls, Girls

The last couple of months have seen a 1000% increase in the number of pink baby items that I've been asked to review.  This is new for a guy that comes from heretofore male majority households and is taking some getting used to.  Luckily, for every set of lacy booties, there's a Sam Gordon to remind me that raising a girl is more than princesses and ponies.

If you haven't already seen this, check it out:

I don't really care whether the Rookie is into sports or into dollhouses, I'm already thrilled that she's joining the family.  Either way, one thing is now abundantly clear:  having a girl is really going to put a crimp in my misogyny.

And I think I can live with that.

For those of you that get this over email, here's the link to the video.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Halloween 2012

We tried a new Halloween plan this year:  let Finn eat as much candy as he wants in the hopes that he gets sick, learns his lesson, and we all move on with our lives.  Yeah, that didn't work.  At all.

On the other hand, letting me drink as much beer as I want as I walk around the neighborhood, dropping my empties in random recycling bins, had exactly the expected results.

Stupid Halloween hangover.


Halloween 2012, a set on Flickr.