Monday, December 28, 2009

The 12+ Days of Christmas

As last year's Christmas was decidedly unrelaxing, with the city on lockdown from Snopocalypse, and kind of a letdown, with Finn's total ambivalence toward his gifts, we had high expectations for this year.   As previously noted, we got an early start on Christmas, having picked up the Christmas tree just after Columbus Day.

Due to concerns about our household of demolition experts, equally dangerous in the arts of breaking stuff and flooding stuff, I would have been happy not decorating the tree at all, surrounding it with furniture and only looking at pictures of it on my phone.  However Mema was going to be in town so that just wouldn't have been appropriate.  Instead, we waited until the absolute last minute to decorate it.  And by "decorate it," I mean localizing all delicate ornaments in the top half of the tree.  Note the soft/unbreakable items hanging on the lower branches in the pic above.

The weather gods smiled upon up this year and it was a beautiful weekend in Seattle and a great time to check out West Seattle's insane Christmas light displays, including some of soon-to-be national renown.  In fact, we've spent so much time checking them out, that I'm not sure what I'm going to tell Finn next week when he starts his nightly call for "eh-eh liiiights."  Maybe I'll tell him we're now Jewish.

It was an all around fantastic holiday and as I now wait for our Christmas tree to drop its last needle before I finally get up the energy to carry it to the curb, it's time to look back at the highlights:
  1. Christmas lights!  If you haven't clicked the link above, there are seriously some amazing displays in West Seattle - from the Menashe's to the house with the FM broadcast.  And nothing gives Finn the opportunity to point our how much yellow is in the world as Christmas lights do.  
  2. Yellow!  Turns out, in Finn's world, everything is yellow (LAH-lo).  Though to be fair, he's starting to get better at identifying the other colors.  Of course, he might just be memorizing every light on the tree.
  3. Presents!  MUCH better reception this year for presents, though I've found out that it doesn't take much to bring back the unpatience you felt opening a present as a child. Finn unwraps presents in fingernail sized pieces.  I had to step in.
  4. Presents!  Did I mention this one yet?  It turns out that I also like putting stuff together. It makes me feel useful and it works out the coffee.  I know I'm going to regret ever admitting this.
But perhaps the single most astonishing thing about this Christmas?  I was able to get all of the wrapping paper, packaging and trash into a single load, which was picked up today.  AMAZING!

Also amazing?  The fact that neither Kitty nor I noticed that daycare was closed this week.  Luckily, this was caught just prior to our dropping Finn off this morning - something I typically don't even come to a complete stop in the car for, so that's... lucky.

Christmas with a soon-to-be two-year-old?  Expensive.
Finding out that you've all got one more week together, without any work/daycare/baseball to hide behind?  Priceless.

Happy holidays!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mommy's RULE!

On this, the darkest day of the year, and (coincidentally) the Mommy's birthday, I figured it would be fitting to use my recent cross-country trip with Finn as a reminder to myself of how important Mommy is to this family.

Plus, the carpets have dried out enough for me to take a break from swearing at the cats and type this up.

It was Kitty's idea that Finn and I take a trip across the country for my father's birthday since we wouldn't be traveling for Christmas this year. Like tequila shots, stage diving and Taco Bell, it seemed like a good idea at the time. As the time approached, however, I would have felt more confident taking a handful of peyote buttons and disappearing into the desert for a week.

We almost never got off the ground. The flights on the way out connected through Minneapolis, which was (and is perpetually?) going through a blizzard. After the gate agent made double-extra-sure that I really wanted to check-in knowing that and after a stern warning that I should make sure that I had everything I needed in my carry-on (I didn't), I was let through with a minimal chance of making it. Somehow miraculously, our flight was immediately upgraded from delayed to on-time, almost guaranteeing that I missed it. Definitely guaranteeing that I missed my pre-flight cocktail.

Finn was a dream on both flights out and aside from a brief side-trip to be de-iced in Minneapolis, we made it to NY just fine. As anticipated, the last time I saw Finn until the return trip was on the hand-off to my mother. Actually, that's not entirely true. I'm pretty sure he was at the cocktail party that my parent's threw, but that's only because I'm assuming it was him playing trains with the rest of the grandparents. And I'm also relatively certain that it was Finn's ear that my father was blowing into every time he came around on the merry-go-round at the children's museum... at least I hope it was.

Actually, I did see him for sure when he posed for the picture above. He put his boots on all by himself, then came over to my mother and me, handed us the camera, took a couple of steps back and said "cheese." Methinks we may take too many pictures of our son, if that's the only training he's got. Of course, this is the only quality picture I have for the whole weekend, to Kitty's chagrin, so maybe that's OK.

The rest of the trip was spent perfectly: feeding Finn pizza & graham crackers and handing him the phone every 15 minutes so he could "call Layla" and tell her all about his big adventure, however it only went well because I had the help of my parents. Without Kitty around, I struggle just to remember to feed myself, much less keep Finn alive. But it wasn't until the flight back, that I REALLY missed the Mommy.

I scheduled our return flight to coincide perfectly with a freak hour-long snow storm in Albany, thereby ensuring that we would have no layover to speak of in Detroit and would have to run for our connection. Turns out that Finn + 1.5 hr ride to Albany + 2 hr flight to Detroit + running to gate + 5 hr flight to Seattle - any time to run around in-between = very unhappy Finn. And an unhappy Finn + 2 bags + 1 stroller - any idea of what I'm doing = very frayed Daddy. Finn decided not to sleep the entire second flight, so it was well past his bed time and my personal endurance limit when we finally landed in Seattle and I was once again picked up by my far more proficient teammate.

So on this 7th anniversary of her 29th year on Earth, allow me to wish my beautiful wife the very happiest of birthdays. As a birthday gift, I make this solemn promise: I will never again willingly travel without you!

Lucky you.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The cats FAIL

I was going to use this post to catch both of you back up on how Daddy & Finn's trip back East went (Finn's preliminary travel grade: A-), but I'm afraid that I'm too tired to do that.

Remember when I used to compare Finn to the cats in a cliche attempt at humor? And I had the cats in the lead for a little while?

Yeah, they FAIL.

Still trying to get my mojo back after a cross-country trip in which the weather gods decided to choose the two days we were flying to dump snow on the airports we were headed through (incidentally, who puts an airline hub in Minneapolis?), I was awakened at 3 AM by Kitty. Apparently her Mommy-sense/rabbit ears were tingling and she heard something downstairs that needed some investigating. I'm an imposing figure at 5' 9", 160 lbs., so I've got no issue running downstairs to crack some skulls.

Unfortunately, this time I wasn't running, I was splashing.

FUN FACT: Cats can apparently turn on a tub faucet AND close the tub drain - possibly via cat teamwork. Amazing!

Even more amazing: the cats are still alive after flooding the basement with a 100 gallons of water!

So if you'll forgive me, we'll return to semi-funny self-indulgent Finn stories in a couple of days. Once the carpets have dried. Until then you'll have to make do with this picture of an apparently stoned and clearly homeless Finn.

Now where are those cats...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pray for me

I used to have a snake named Otis. He was a ball python that I found in the hallway of my apartment building in college. He was pretty low maintenance - I only had to feed him once a month - but his cage smelled awful. Mostly because I only cleaned it when I fed him.

I mention this not to compare Otis to Finn, though they both have the same eating and toilet habits, but rather to fondly recall how easy it was to fly with Otis. I'd stuff him in a pillow case, tie it up and toss it into my carry-on. He zipped through the luggage x-ray and spent the whole flight under the seat in front of me.

At least, I hoped he spent the whole flight there. I didn't want to get Samuel L. Jackson all up in my business.

Tomorrow morning Finn and I fly solo back East to visit his Grandparents. Just me and him. Alone. On an airplane for 6+ hours, with a layover in the middle. Something tells me that Finn is not going to handle the pillowcase-travel as well as Otis did. I don't know what I was thinking when I booked this flight. I'm not prepared for this.

I need Finn's Mommy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Second Noel

My father used to tell me that Christmas would regain its excitement for me once I had kids. I assumed he was referring to the inevitable foot races against the great unwashed for the last Torture-Me Elmo doll at the Germiest Place on Earth, but now that we're starting to gear up for the holiday with Finn, I've gotta admit that it's pretty exciting.

This is our second Christmas, but the first was a total loss so I'm not counting it. Finn was totally underwhelmed by the empty boxes that we wrapped for him and he didn't even give the tree much of a second glance. He was too busy blogging about what a terrible job the city was doing clearing the streets during Snowpocalypse. This year is going to be different. This year, we'll actually put something in the boxes for him to be underwhelmed by.

We decided to kick off the holiday season by traveling up to Christmas Creek with the Spiros to cut our own tree for the first time. This being only the second Christmas that we've ever spent in Seattle, we've always just hit an in-city lot, so we were pretty excited. Plus, we planned for Finn's first Santa experience this year and word on the street is that the Santa at Christmas Creek is the real deal. Spiro says that Macy's tries every year to pull him away.

Spiro also believes that the Gray Top tourist buses are spying on him, so take that for what it's worth.

Christmas Creek is about 45 minutes outside Seattle, so we filled up on breakfast from the local cafe for the ride. As an aside, the local cafe is a place that believes that Gummi Bears are not only an appropriate garnish for Mickey Mouse pancakes, but they also give you a container to go, in case your kid isn't hovering far enough above the ground already. We hit the tree farm right as Finn was about to explode out of his car seat and headed straight for Santa.

The cabin where Santa was blessing the masses was tiny, but warm. Or at least it looked warm from where we were standing in line, out in the freezing cold. By the time we finally were allowed inside, Finn was vibrating nicely. We were pumped up for an epic first Santa experience and were eagerly practicing our "ho ho ho"'s.

Rather than just narrate the Santa intro, I'll let the pictures do the talking. I'm sure you know how this is going to play out.

Finally at the front of the line, Kitty put Finn up on Santa's lap.

Note the downward gaze. Finn wouldn't meet the big man's eyes and just stared straight ahead at the floor. This didn't afford us the photo op that we were looking for, so Kitty "adjusted" his head.

Santa thought this was great, but Finn... not so much. It only took a second before...

We scooped Finn up and headed out into the tree farm, but the damage was apparently lasting - whether it was Santa or the Gummi Bears is unclear (smart money is on a combo of both) - and the meltdown continued outside, where we quickly bailed on the cut-our-own plan, bought a pre-cut tree by the cashier, threw it on the roof of the car and tore out of there.

Note Santa's concern. I hope we didn't hurt his feelings. He took it all in stride, though he did seem a little puzzled when I offered a genuine thanks for making my son cry. You see, we really needed a Christmas card pic.

Does that make us bad people?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Perhaps to soften the blow of having to tell us that our son is a wuss, Jena & Carrie threw us a bone and informed us that he was a savant when it comes to knowing his shapes. They showed us a video where he pointed out triangles, circles and squares with ease, which is apparently impressive for a young-un like him. He even nailed the oval, which I have trouble with sometimes.

We got all excited about his gigantic brain, until Kitty made the mistake of Googling "savant" and we found ourselves swimming in Rain Man references.

I know what you're thinking: "VEGAS, BABY!" Good idea, right? But what would it look like if Finn started crying after the dealer took his chips away? Ugly. We wouldn't be able to get any of the cocktail-waitress/strippers to talk to us at all.

We'll apparently need to come up with another avenue to get rich off of our kid, leveraging some of his other growing skills. The one that's currently standing out the most is his talking.

A Finn that's good at talking? Shocking, I know.

He can now name pretty much every animal, can count to five (if you don't care about three and four), can name every vehicle and every object in the sky. He can even put together rudimentary sentences like "Help, please," or "I love you, Mommy," or "Daddy-soda." Of course, he hasn't lost his penchant for one-word sentences either and his new go-to is "MINE."

As long as he doesn't use that when he's grabbing for my Daddy-soda, we'll get along just fine.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


As if the holidays weren't stressful enough, this year marked the first of what is sure to be many anxiety-riddled parent/teacher conferences. Does Finn know how to share? Will Finn end up in jail by his second birthday? Is Finn more likely to give Grace a hug or a punch in the nose? Does Finn understand that No means No?1

So many questions - with most of the anxiety focused on whether our little whiny, picky-eating, angel was actually a whiny, picky-eating terror when we drop him off in the morning. Turns out we needn't have worried. If anything, Finn's problem is apparently the same as his Daddy's: he's a pushover.

If someone were to take something from him, he'll either cry to the teachers or will move on; he avoids confronting the offender. That sounds about right. He doesn't even get upset when Grace wakes him up early by crawling into his cot during nap time. Again, just like his Daddy, if you know what I'm talkin' about.2

But the most astonishing part of the daycare conference was when we were informed that Finn has decided that he's ready to start using the potty and that he had already successfully used it to rounds of applause from his fellow students.

This was astonishing for two reasons:
  1. We had no idea that he was that ready for potty-training, but had actually just that weekend purchased the starter potty. He has since used it twice, for both #1 & #2.
  2. Apparently use of the potty is a spectator sport at daycare.
If the only complaint is that Finn needs to be more assertive and begin solving his own problems, I think I can handle that. Mommy and I have already put in motion a rigorous program intended to reduce whining and enforce more self-sufficiency. Then, once we've accomplished this for ourselves, we will roll it out to Finn.

I was going to include a picture of Finn on the potty for illustrative purposes, but I didn't want Finn's first act of assertion be his punching me in the nose for posting that. Instead I chose another daycare picture, where apparently they also put bras on your childrens' heads while out on a walk.


1 Unless of course it's spoken by Daddy, when it just means: keep whining and you'll get exactly what you want.
2 Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. Hey now!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Ain't no thang

Dinner has never been the Ninja's best time of day. We've tried everything to get him to eat consistently - pretending we don't care if he eats, smashing his face into his plate, changing the meal time, wearing funny hats, and eating dinner on the floor. Some nights he digs in, but it never seems to be the result of something specific we've done or something we're serving. I think he does it just to confuse us.

Of course, this was not the case when Mommy was out of town. In those 4 days, I never saw that kid turn down a slice of pizza or a chocolate chip cookie. Unfortunately, it's kind of tough to sell Mommy on the nutritional benefits of pepperoni, so it's not a sustainable meal plan.

And so it was with great excitement - while eating some nice healthy chicken - that we discovered Finn's apparent love of chicken wings! In fact, he was so into the wings, that I had to pry his jaws open to pick out the splintered bone fragments, nearly sacrificing a knuckle in the process.

It was only one time, so if we're going to see if this is a new go-to meal, we're going to have to do some more research. And where do you go for chicken wing research if you're under 18?

Raisins, of course.

Check out that dazed look on his chocolate-covered mug. Those Raisins girls are gonna chew him up.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Father of the Year

FACT: A steady diet of Honeycombs, Papa John's pizza and chocolate chip cookies over the course of a weekend will not kill a 19-month old boy.

But, OH MY, the diapers.

Of course, it took more than dirty diapers to keep our little fudge factory out of Mommy's arms upon her (long-awaited) return last night. I didn't think they'd be able to pry him out of her arms at daycare this morning, but it turns out they've got lots of Vaseline down there.

Finny and I both survived the weekend, though it was touch and go there for a while... for both of us. Me from sheer exhaustion and him from an apparent inability to stop throwing things at Daddy's head. That and shoddy carboard-box-slide construction.

Welcome home, Mommy! And just in time. We're out of Honeycombs.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

When the Kitty's away...

I've been putting in some serious Daddy hours this week. I had Finn all day on Wednesday, since daycare was closed for parent/teacher conference prep ("Congratulations, Mr. Parker, your son has only bitten three kids this week. That's a new record."), and now Kitty is gone for a long weekend celebrating some fine Americans with her Dad and sisters in Washington, DC.

I know from the 3 phone calls today that she misses her boy like crazy. I also know that upon her return, she is bound to be impressed by all of the stuff that Finn can now do. Like throw his toys clear across the room. Well, first she'll probably be confused since Finn isn't allowed to throw toys in the house. But once she realizes what an arm he's got, she'll definitely be impressed.

She will likely also be stunned by how well Finn can now feed Cash directly from his high chair. Again, great arm. Particularly when it's throwing chicken to the cats.

Once she's done being all impressed by the amazing job I've done cultivating these skills, she will surely congratulate me on my fatheriness. That or she'll kill me.

If I'm going out, I might as well go out with a picture of Derek Jeter in a wig, because some day when Finn looks back on this blog, I want him to remember what it was like to win a World Series at only 19-months old.

And because Kitty took the camera with the new pictures on it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I'm still getting emails from the online baby experts reminding me that it's time to start potty training, that I should be enrolling Finn in pre-school, that there are lots of online options for college funds and that 19-months is exactly the right time to start prepping for the SAT, but nobody will tell me whether it's too soon to start de-childproofing.

I only bring this up because, as another rainy Seattle winter has rolled around, Kitty decided that she could no longer live without a fireplace. In the interests of safety, we had a big ottoman blocking ours, which was not conducive to fires. To try and get fire-ready, but still maintain some semblance of safety (and to keep the cats from peeing in the ashes), we invested in some fireplace doors.

Totally safe, right? In order to set himself on fire, he will now need to overpower those tiny little fridge magnets that hold the doors closed. Of course, I don't have any corresponding safety equipment on the big fireplace poker that is now sitting right next to those doors.

A year ago, we would've been more concerned with this setup, but we've spent the last 19-months watching Finn nearly smash his head into every solid object between here and NY and he's still in one piece. The great football coach Al Pacino once said "Life is a game of inches," and nowhere is that more true than when you're watching a toddler climb on top of a rickety cardboard box right in between a stone floor, a pointy table and a fireplace.

So far, so good. The inches have gone in our favor, though I've got a 30+ year old scar above my right eye that says it doesn't always go that way.

But as long as he falls toward the fireplace, and not onto the poker, and/or doesn't break the glass doors in the process, we're all good!

Here is the still-in-one-piece-for-the-moment monkey one more time, looking oh-so-comfortable next to one of his future ex-wives. Good luck with that, boy.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Last year's Halloween party found us corralling a rampaging cheetah as he cruised around the furniture at Holly & Rob's house. This year's Halloween party promised to be much more exhausting as the cheetah has matured into a fully mobile monkey. A monkey that we had every intention of taking out trick or treating, even if he had no idea what was going on.

Daddy needs him some candy.

Turns out lots of animals must mature into monkeys, as they were everywhere. We started the day at Reid's second birthday party, where Finn and his daycare buddy Reid were both monkeys. Later that night, two other monkeys showed up at Holly & Rob's. Well, actually one monkey and one mouse - but the mouse looked like a monkey. And the cat looked like a mouse.

It was very confusing.

After running around the house for a while, the bigger kids headed out for the goodies so we decided to tag along and take Finn on his maiden candy run. Any worries that we might have had about him not being interested were quickly dashed as he immediately understood that putting candy into his pumpkin was somehow beneficial for him and took off around the neighborhood looting every house he could crawl up to in his over-sized monkey feet.

Here he is leading the charge after just one house.

He even approximated a "trick or treat" and a "thank you" after ripping as much candy out of the kindly old neighbors' hands that he could grab. We only made it a couple of blocks before I had to throw in the towel - watching a baseball game on your phone while walking is hard work, and dangerous - but I'm sure he could have gone all night.

Instead we returned to the party, where Finn was rationed two pieces of candy while we all watched the older kids attempt to murder each other with their bare hands in a sugar-induced psycho-frenzy. It was scary. Finn had a great time.

My costume was not a big hit, for some reason. I don't know why, but some people were really upset when they saw me. Weird.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Great Pumpkin

Apparently, the only thing more interminable than the baseball regular season is the baseball playoffs. This year, for the first time in history, the four major sports will all play on November 1st. That is, if you count hockey as a major sport.

But since I've got a day with no baseball and therefore some free time, I thought you'd enjoy a picture of Finn directly after he face-planted into a mud puddle while picking pumpkins on Saturday. Not pictured: the 400,000 other parents pointing at him (and us) and laughing.

As you can see, he's really broken up about it.

We read about a sick pumpkin patch and corn maze in Kent, about a half hour away, and decided to head out first thing on Saturday morning. As is typical these days, we didn't make it out as early as we wanted and hit the road at the crack of 9:30. We still figured that we were early enough to beat the rush - and we may have been, had I bothered to figure out where exactly we were going. One wrong turn, one stop at Taco Bell and one quick side-trip into Emerald Downs to bet the ponies (turns out it's right across the street) and we arrived right along with the rest of the Puget Sound parenting community.
  • Fun fact #1: Finn doesn't care if you just spent $14 on a corn maze. He's not interested in walking around in the mud trying to solve a puzzle. He'd rather just pull down the safety tape and pick the weeds between the corn rows.
  • Fun fact #2: They give you a map for a reason. Assuming you can just "feel" your way out of a maze of ten foot tall corn stalks is probably not a good idea. Particularly when you've got a toddler that regularly decides that walking is for suckers.
It had been pouring rain, but luckily the weather held out while we were there and aside from the aforementioned mud puddle incident, it was a great day. And even the mud puddle made for a good laugh - after about five minutes. It definitely made for good pictures.

Behold the Marcus Schenkenberg of the pumpkin patch. This kid could sell some serious pumpkins. And laundry detergent.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pinch hitting

Seeing as all of my energy, emotions and creative swear words are still tied up in the baseball playoffs, we'll have a pinch hitter here today.

Check out these videos that Jena shot of Finn at daycare.

There are two:
  1. Watch as Finn exercises his Johnny Damon-like throwing arm, while also displaying selective hearing - very important when opposing fans are taunting you and/or Carrie is asking you pick up the cow you just threw.
  2. Watch as Finn races the basepaths with Brett Gardner-like speed. Minus the constantly getting thrown out part.
Go Yanks!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Best of Box

All parents have a story about the time they bought their kid a fancy present and the kid ended up just playing in the box. We decided to short-cut the expensive present part and just gave Finn the box his last shipment of diapers came in.

His reaction proved that we are in fact geniuses. I present a short film that I'm sure you'll be hearing about at Sundance next year, assuming Sundance is ready to buzz about a 4 1/2 minute clip shot on a crappy camera that chronicles nothing more than a cute kid crawling around in a box.

You have no idea how hard it is not to overdub each and every one of these little videos with Joe Cocker's "With a Little Help from My Friends." Curse you, Kevin Arnold. And you too Winnie Cooper.

Not you Paul Pfeiffer. You're cool.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mr. October, Jr.

'Tis the season once again. The season in which Kitty loses a husband and as a result, the blog posts dry up and the dishes pile up in the sink. I'm speaking, of course, of baseball playoff season.

More important than the Yankees being back in the mix, after the painful existential crisis that is a single missed playoff season in NY, is the fact that this is Finn's first playoffs. Given that he's shown little to no interest in the television, I was worried that this would hurt my ability to watch the playoffs too.

And by "hurt my ability," I mean result in me getting regularly yelled at by Kitty for shirking my parental responsibility to pace in the basement screaming expletives at the TBS announcers.

Turns out I needn't have worried. Finn has taken to baseball faster than stink to a diaper. He's now watched a portion of two of the Yankees ALDS games with the Twins and can (kind of) clearly say "baseball."

OK, it's more "bah-bah," but we all know what he's saying.

In fact, he picked up a David Wright baseball card the other day, held it up and proclaimed "bah-bah!" To which I excitedly responded, "Why do we have a David Wright baseball card?"

And when the Yankees won game 2 on Tex's walk-off home run while Kitty was putting Finn to bed, he apparently reacted to my whooping from the basement with his own little party in his crib that went a little something like this:

"Yay! Bah-bah! Dah-eeeee!"

I can only assume that he was smiling the winning smile seen in the pic above. If he keeps this up, I'll happily overlook him wearing his headband upside down.

We still have to work on his slipping me the tongue when he kisses me goodnight, but we can focus on that after the playoffs.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

What a gyp!

As an anniversary gift and yet another show of my awesomeness, I sent Kitty to the spa for the day on Saturday. That meant that it was just me and Finny for the day, and with the brains of the operation out of the house, I was forced to come up with the day's agenda on my own. Unfortunately, when he got up it was too early in the day for pizza, which left me completely out of ideas.

In a panic, I ran to my best friend for help - good ol' Mr. TV. Finn has yet to show more than a passing interest in anything on the tube, which makes me cry inside, but I figured we couldn't go wrong with Saturday morning cartoons.... could we?

Turns out, we could. Mostly because there doesn't seem to be a thing called "Saturday morning cartoons" any more. At least no cartoons that I recognized. Where are the Gummi Bears, bouncing here and there and everywhere? Where are the Smurfs, smurfing it up all over Smurfdom? Heck, I'd even take the Snorks with their stupid brain snorkels!

What has the world come to when you can't even find Bugs Bunny on a Saturday morning? I had to settle for Bob the Builder - which I have to admit sucked me in, though Finn couldn't have cared less. He just continued demolishing the basement while I laughed along with Scrambler and his hijinks.

Here's a quick iPhone video of Finn demonstrating what children did before the advent of cartoons.

That's right, they rolled around on the floor like adorable little bears who like to say "no." Who needs the Snorks?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

No man

It's funny to me - and therefore to you - that there was once a time when Kitty and I were concerned that Finn wasn't talking yet. This is funny because, by my last count, he hasn't stopped talking in 21 days.

Morning is still his favorite time and he now greets it with a 15-minute rundown of every sound he knows. Here's a typical AM setlist, performed entirely in his crib beginning the minute you open his door:

Elephant trumpeting (with arm used to mime trunk) >
Owl hooting >
Cat meowing >
Cow mooing >
Drumz >
Space >
Dog panting

Firetruck siren >
All Along the Watchtower

It's important to note that he ends every morning show with Watchtower. Just kidding. He's not Dave Matthews.

(Ed. Note: Sorry, old folks, I'm sure a couple of those references are over your head. I'd explain them, but it would require me admitting to some things that aren't kiddie-blog friendly, so we'll have to take it offline.)

After weeks of this repetition, he's got the sounds down pretty good. The biggest problem he's got is in choosing the right sound or word at the right moment. It's not uncommon for him to trumpet for a rhino. Or call a helicopter a boat. In fact, all vehicles are now boats. As is the entire body of the Puget Sound. And I don't mean the boats on the Sound; I mean the Sound itself. There are boats EVERYWHERE.

The new favorite, unfortunately, is the word "no." It is the default response to all questions, which is a complete reversal of his early talking days.

Are you hungry? No.
Do you want to go outside? No.
Did you just say no? No.
Ha! You totally just said no! Liar!


Postscript: As I was getting ready to post this, I read today's entry from Friend of the Ninja hamanneggs and couldn't help but note that he totally copied my final theme. Amazing, since I hadn't even posted it. It's probably because Chicago is 2-hours ahead. Yeah. That's it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Grandma & Grandpa Parker are visiting at the midpoint of a cross-country road trip, undertaken entirely in their 1957 190SL. They've been regaling us with stories of rest stop mechanical overhauls and stressful mountain climbs, which concerns me greatly, since they're only halfway through the trip. And because that's my future car they're driving.

Since they're old and used to sitting around without anything to do, they offered to watch their grandson this week. In addition to performing their own interpretations of the Finnglish language, my mother has discovered that Finn can smile on command. We had no idea that he could do this, but he was happy to show Grandma when she offered milk in exchange for a smile.

The pic above was taken a few weeks back, when we luckily captured an accidental smile. This is not the smile he's giving his Grandma, but I've included it for illustrative purposes, since I haven't yet been able to capture an on-demand smile. The new smile is mostly just him baring his teeth and squinting his eyes like he's in terrible pain.

Still, it's a much better look than the one I typically get:

This is the "keep your hands off my Kitty and Hootie, old man" look.

In his defense, I typically am trying to steal Kitty and Hootie. It gets so cold in our bed and the Mommy is all boney & pointy.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I used to feel bad when a friend's toddler would tell me something and I wouldn't understand what he or she was saying. I felt like I was letting them all down, which is ridiculous. I'm a regular attendee of the Finnglish 101 class and I barely have any idea what this guy is talking about.

It's not like he mumbles. Or is shy about repeating himself. In fact, I think he's been screaming "cow" every 5 seconds for the past month and a half. The problem is that I have no idea whether he's talking about a cow, a car or his underfunded college savings account. I mean, let's face it, his pronunciation stinks.

The trick I used in high school French (cheating off of the kid next to me) isn't working out (Kitty's penmanship is terrible), so I've resorted to trying to focus on what he's pointing at/vaguely looking at/in the general vicinity of to try and define the word based on context. Using these cues, I've been able to piece together the following:
  • Sri = tree
  • Sruh = truck
  • Kee = kitty (not Mommy, which is a nice clearly enunciated "Momma")
  • Poo = OK, this one is easy, but it's my personal favorite
He's got more, but these are the top nouns in the rotation these days. Luckily we don't have verbs or any complicated conjugations to make things difficult. There's only one full sentence that he employs, "Na-na", which can mean a variety of things:
  • "Give me that."
  • "I want that."
  • "That interests me a great deal."
  • "Hey idiot, I'm not going to stop saying 'na-na' until you hand it over."
He's also got proper names down:
  • Ta-ta = Tango
  • Chosh = Cash
  • How = Aunt Holly
  • Lay-aaaah = Future ex-wife #1 Layla
That last one is his personal favorite, since he breaks into a huge grin whenever I make him say it. Enjoy it now, kid, because she's going to chew you up and spit you out. And I mean that in the best possible way.

My personal favorite, of course, is "Dah-eeeee." I've been getting lots of these lately, as Finn appears to have entered a (sure to be brief) Daddy period. If I can teach him to say "Jeter," I can die a happy man.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Ostriches and the Bees

The Woodland Park Zoo is a cute little zoo, tucked away in the middle of the city, with pretty habitats and a laid back vibe. It's a great place to take kids, and in an effort to get these kids to pester their parents into becoming zoo members, they're always trying to market the crap out of their newest cuddly exhibit. A few months back it was the Humboldt penguins, but now that they're dying from avian malaria, the zoo marketing department has quickly pushed those stuffed animals off the shelves in favor of the next big things...

Which are the new snow leopard cubs, as seen above. In addition to photo op cut-outs, they've stocked the gift shops with little leopards and they even had Apple name their new operating system in their honor. These people have no shame.

Since we're zoo members (marketing works!), we shot out on Saturday to spend a rare rainy summer morning waiting with everyone else at the zoo for the little balls of fur to come out of hiding. It turns out that a snow leopard looks like a regular leopard except white with a big squirrel tail. Very cute, but no word on performance or backward compatibility for OS 10.5 apps.

Sorry, should have thrown up a nerd alert before that last one. Won't happen again.

Anyhoo, though we went for the Snow Leopard cubs, Finn got lucky with a biology lesson thrown in for free. Courtesy of the ostriches. I have a movie, but it's really not blog-friendly, so you'll have to settle for this still photo.

They were doing this right in front of a huge pile of ostrich eggs, which leads me to believe that this bird is the Jim Bob Duggar of the animal kingdom. Luckily, Finn's still too young to ask questions, so I didn't have to make up any stories about how the Daddy ostrich is just cleaning the Mommy ostrich's back, which is nice.

After that exhibit, there was really nothing else to see so Finn spent the remainder of the day jumping in every mud puddle in the zoo. Which probably didn't help his cold. Which potentially hastened the arrival of another ear infection. Which has now led to our doctor recommending a consult with an ENT regarding tubes for his ears.

I blame the snow leopards. Stupid zoo marketing department.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Oooh that smell

Back when the Ninja was nearing the end of the gestational assembly line, Kitty determined that we were going to minimize our contributions to the local landfill and somehow she convinced me that cloth diapers were a great idea. Something about wanting the house to constantly smell like a Honey Bucket at a Phish concert. I don't know. I wasn't really listening.

Whatever it was, being a good little hippie with poor listening skills, I stupidly agreed and we signed up for a weekly diaper service. We went with the service since I wasn't about to throw dirty diapers into the washing machine with my clothes. Obviously, this is back before I became so intimately acquainted with bodily fluids & excretions. Back when the idea of getting peed or thrown up on terrified me.

In retrospect, my worries probably led us down the wrong path. Instead of being able to quickly launder any stinky diapers, we were stuck with them in our house 24/7 - an ever growing pile of poopy rags. I'd have preferred Finn to just poop directly into the dirty clothes hamper, where we could immediately clean it up, than to have to stick the diapers into a pail that wouldn't get picked up until Friday.

We stuck with it for 16-months, but as of a couple of weeks ago, we are now back on disposables 100%. I thought I'd be thrilled, but now the disposables are nagging at me. Every time one breaks when I try to put it on, or when Finn decides to poop five minutes after I change his diaper, I feel like I'm throwing away my beer money with each wasted diaper. At least with the cloth diapers, I could use as many as I wanted and the price didn't change. In addition to soaking up all sorts of smelly stuff, they were also great for dusting the house and polishing the car. And the big bags they were delivered in made great beanbag seating for guests, as you can see from the pic above.

We need to get this kid potty trained before I stoop to rinsing the disposables out and re-using them. He flushed the toilet for the first time the other day, so he's halfway there. Unfortunately, that's not the important half. Jena's got him napping without a binky, which is more than we've accomplished, so maybe I just need to sit back and do nothing until she gets him potty-trained too.

That approach has served me well in my career, so I don't see why it wouldn't apply here as well.

Get to work, Jena.

Friday, August 21, 2009

An American Love Story

You've heard it all before:

Boy meets rock.
Boy throws rock.
Boy never sees rock again.
Boy finds new rock.

Process repeats itself until boy finds a rock so difficult to move that he can't throw it.

We call that rock "Mommy".

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Head hunter

A baseball player who possesses hitting ability (for average & power), fielding ability, speed and throwing ability is said to be a "five-tool player". By my count, Finn's got exactly zero of these tools. He is able to move pretty quickly, but I don't see him stretching a single into a double any time soon. And unless "fielding" ability includes catching balls with your face, he's got some room to go there too.

He is developing his throwing, however. He practices on anything that he can pick up -- rocks, toys, cell phones, tantrums... you name it, he throws it. In fact, the other day I was laying on the living room floor, as I am wont to do, when Finn decided to throw a toy truck at my head. I opened my eyes just in time to deflect it, but it still made enough contact that I likely won't lying on the living room floor again any time soon.

Admittedly, we give Finn mixed signals. We're now trying to be more precise about when it's okay to throw and when it's not. In other words, it's okay to throw if it will stop him from crying. It's not okay to throw if it'll make Daddy cry.

A friend of ours was going through a similar period with her son when he threw a metal truck at her head while she was driving. Concerned about this new development, she asked Jena what she could do. Jena told her that she should start by not giving him metal trucks while she's driving.

That's why Jena has a graduate degree in child development. I never would have been able to figure that out.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back to reality

Mommy & Daddy returned alive from their Phish weekend, along with a reminder of the fact that they are no longer in college and/or childless. Mema Finn successfully navigated the boy for his first weekend alone and was rewarded by having to take care of three children once Kitty and I stumbled home through the door, extremely sleep-deprived, on Sunday.

Sleep-deprived. That's what we're calling it.

As expected, Mema handled the weekend with grace and aplomb. We did find out that we missed major milestones in his development over the weekend, like his ability to use the step stool in the kitchen to work the toaster. But one thing we did get to enjoy was his newfound enjoyment of spinning around in a circle until he gets so dizzy that he falls down.

Though to be fair, we saw plenty of that last weekend. Of course, it is exponentially cuter when Finn does it than when an aging Phish fan does it.

Since I don't have any cute pictures or videos of him falling on his head, here's a cute picture of him at REI while Mommy & Daddy shopped for junk they don't need.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Goin' Phishin'

This weekend marks the first time that Kitty and I will be leaving Finn for more than just an overnight down the street as we head over to eastern Washington for a 2-day concert event. Mema Finn arrived on Tuesday to make sure the boy does like he's told and stays in the cabinet under the sink while we're gone.

To honor the occasion, Finn decided to glue his eyelids shut with a healthy dose of eye boogers. Nothing like a little conjunctivitis to get the weekend started off right.

Of course, since he checked out with the doc, we're continuing on with our plans to the Gorge. I like to think that we would have changed plans had the prognosis been different, but...

Luckily, we won't have to make that call. Here's Mema and Finny getting ready for a weekend alone.

We'll be sure to bring them a phatty hemp necklace from the show.

In other news, since we finally made it to the doc to catch up on his 15-month checkup (a month late, in typical Parker family style), we were happy to find out that his head is still in the 90th percentile.

No wonder it smashes into everything... including my nose.

Friday, July 31, 2009


The heat has finally broken and we've been able to move Finn back into his own room. It was only in the 80's today so I had to put on a sweater. And let me tell you, it's tough to type with mittens on.

But it wasn't the cooler temps that moved Finn out. We moved him out because he attacked me. Well, maybe he didn't attack me, but he broke my nose. Well, maybe he didn't break my nose, but he did headbutt me in the bridge of the nose - hard enough to make my nose bleed. And that's while we were snuggling.

See why we don't snuggle? Check out the carnage! I hope you haven't eaten recently...

One day I'm going to headbutt Finn in the nose and when looks at me with tears in his eyes and he asks "why?", I'm going to point to this blog post and tell him that we're even.

I'm just going to have to do it while he's still smaller than me.

Wanna see some slides of our last big trip back East?

The modern version of the uncomfortable vacation slideshow is presented for your viewing pleasure. Luckily for you, we can't tell when you turn it off to go do something more interesting, like anything.

I apologize for the length, but it's tough to trim down 45,674 pictures. I hope you enjoy the music - the computer put that one in all on its own. I don't think it knew that it would have to repeat the song 5 times.

Should you just want to view the pictures, or download a particularly attractive picture of yourself (in the unlikely event that there is one), you can do so here.

Thanks again to everyone for everything on Tick Tour 2009. Special thanks to Cousin Colin, who taught us all how to be nautical.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hottest day ever. Seriously.

Wow, look at that picture of the pool in that last post. I sure do miss that pool.

Today is officially the hottest day on record in the City of Seattle. Ever. Here's what my little desktop weather widget says, at 3:40 PM:

The previous record was 100. They're now projecting that we'll hit 103 today.

EDIT: I must have passed out from the heat, because it's now 10 PM. It did indeed hit 103 today. In fact, it's still about 90 degrees in our house and Kitty and I are hiding out in the basement. In our underwear. Sitting on frozen peas. Here's a blurry pic of our thermostat from a few hours ago, just in case you think I'm fibbing.

Finn is upstairs in our room, the only room with air conditioning. It's been a long time since we've all shared a room. Last time he was right next to the bed. This time, he's in the closet.

Don't worry, it's a nice closet.

To try and escape the heat this past weekend, we headed out on Uncle Rob's & Aunt Holly's boat. It was awesome, as always, but we do get concerned about trying to keep Finn occupied out there on the water while we alternate between shotgunning beers and arguing maritime law. We're very nautical.

We considered bringing toys, but the big fear is that he'll just toss them overboard. Then Genius Mommy identified the perfect solution. We grabbed the boy and his sexy ducky life vest and hit the water, along with a bag of rocks.

And the rocks hit the spot. In fact, they hit lots of spots, but luckily most of those spots were in the water. We're definitely giving him mixed signals, scolding him for throwing rocks at home but encouraging him to throw rocks on the boat. But hey, there's beer to be shotgunned.

Here's the boy showing his nauticality with Mommy & Aunt Holly. As you can tell, a terrible time was had by all.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

No whammies, no whammies... STOP!

Finn spent the majority of last week complaining that he hadn't been on a plane in 10 days and that his newly acquired frequent flier miles were already getting stale. In fact, he was so insistent that we immediately booked a ticket to Denver. Turns out, it just so happened to coincide with our friends Rob's & Aly's wedding in Vail. But just to show him who's boss, we didn't get him a seat and made him sit in our laps.

Not a smart move when your son is a Squirmasaurus, but given his track record we figured it was worth a shot.

Using baseball parlance (truthfully, the only kind of parlance other than drunk parlance in which I am familiar), Finn is batting around .750 on flights. There are some rough moments, but his slugging average is well over 1.000, since when he is good, he knocks it out of the park, routinely charming everyone on the plane. With his 5th flight in just over 15 months, we're starting to feel like we're pressing our luck.

At this point, we're familiar with the tools of the trade for flying with toddlers: snacks, toys, wrapped toys, wrapped snacks, toy snacks, wrapping paper without snacks or toys, Benadryl, vodka, Xanax... And that's just for us. However, with friends and family spread all over the country, we need to travel for reliable babysitting.

We were hesitant about getting on a plane so soon after Tick Tour, but with our friends Jen, Steve and little Wyatt Hooker offering a place to stay and some babysitting options for the wedding, it seemed like the thing to do. Look how happy they are to have us at the Hook Hotel!

What a smart decision it was. Not only did I get to meet my blogging mentor for the first time, he bought me lots of beer in exchange for stories of my Star Wars van while we sat in the corner stroking each others' needy egos. Add in all of our other great friends, their ever-expanding brood, and the idyllic setting of Vail, Colorado and you have a recipe for an extremely (hazy) memorable weekend.

Plus, Finn took the opportunity to expand on his three word vocabulary by spontaneously doubling it with "hi", "ouch" and "Holly" (according to Aunt Holly) all in one extremely productive pool session.

But now it's back to reality and reality = NO MORE TRAVEL. Sorry Peter Tomarken, but we're done pressing our luck.


Aside to the (good-natured) TSA guy in Denver who gave me a hard time for wearing my Yankees hat at DIA, forcing me to admit they were in second place on Monday morning: You're just lucky that I didn't come through security 5 hours later! Yeah, take that.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Spoon fed

While I continue to compile my extensive notes (read: pictures) from Tick Tour 2009, here's an update on Finn's latest milestones:
  1. Kissing on command. Given that the Ninja spent his first 15-months wanting nothing to do with us in the way of affection, this is huge. He's been blowing kisses for a couple of months, but when he's doing that he just looks like he's punching himself in the face. His early kisses were all open mouthed, so that was a little weird and not the kind of thing you'd want to do in public. Now that he's starting to get the pucker down, we're asking for kisses every 15 seconds.

  2. Feeding himself with a spoon. As Kitty likes to say, if it were up to me, Finn would be spoon fed until he was in college. It really cuts down on the hands and knees floor cleaning. But I suppose that would make dating awkward, so I've relented on allowing Kitty to teach him to use a spoon.
Kitty wanted to make sure that I share a little video of the latter accomplishment since the G'mas love the talking pictures.

Don't think that all of his self-managed feedings have gone this cleanly. Notice that I'm keeping a fair distance, hiding behind the laptop. And the final "uh-oh" means he knows what happens when a utensil gets dropped during a meal.

A delicious knuckle-sandwich dessert.

We're very strict.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dijon circumcision

I'm sure you pervs are all dying to know how Finn's wiener is doing, so I apologize for the lack of update.

It's fine. It requires regular application of antibacterial goo and it looks kind of freaky, but everything went as smoothly as we could hope. Here's how Tuesday went down...

7 AM: Wake up Finn and rush him out the door, right through the kitchen, since he wasn't allowed to eat anything prior to the surgery. This was a dicey move, since breakfast is the boy's big meal and he regularly devours 4 oxen and a field of oats. It's how he maintains his svelte figure.

7:30 AM: Check-in with the doctors at Swedish Medical Center. They were all very nice and Finn got to put on a fancy gown. The gown is clearly made for a teenager, but that just makes it more adorable (as you can see). In order to keep him distracted from his hunger while checking his vitals, they gave him a cool little fan that lights up. He promptly ripped it in half. We quickly ran back to the playroom before they noticed.

9 AM: Meet with the doctor, who is an incredibly nice guy and clearly very excited about his job. The first time we met with him, he drew an unsettlingly accurate representation of what he was going to do right on the paper covering the examination table - Ron Jeremy sized. He clearly loves "freeing the penis", as he put it, and was excited to do Finn's "fancy circumcision". You would think this would seem weird, but it didn't at all. There's no one else in the world that I would rather trust with Finn's wiener than Dr. Happypenis.

9:15 AM: Meet with the anesthesiologist who will be working with Finn. She warns us about the typical response to anesthesia - a rolling back of the eyes accompanied by flailing and crying. They tell us that 90% of parents - male and female - come out of the experience crying. Kitty and I begin to get a little freaked out and play rock, paper, scissors to see who gets to get traumatized the most by accompanying Finn to the back. Kitty "wins" and gets to go back, but not before donning a "beekeeper meets lunchlady" spacesuit.

9:17 AM: Kitty returns. Apparently Finn is awesome at falling asleep under anesthesia. The doctors are amazed. We begin praying that he wakes up just as awesomely.

10:15 AM: The doctor comes and finds us in the waiting room and tells us that everything went well. We both exhale audibly. Finn's penis is now free of its tether. The doctor likens it to sun rays beaming down from the heavens and the angels singing. Seriously. Dr. Happypenis is very pleased, as are we. We begin waiting for Finn to wake up.

10:20 AM: He wakes up, but he is not awesome. It's all we can do to hold onto him as he squirms and cries hysterically with an IV in his hand and a monitor attached to his foot. He guzzles two bottles of sugar water and is not sated. Over the nurses' objections, we begin shoveling applesauce into his face. That slows him down enough for us to move him to the recovery room. We know our boy.

10:30 AM: We shovel more applesauce into his face. He is now settling down.

10:40 AM: He falls asleep on my shoulder. It's the best feeling in the world. Kitty looks longingly at me, her eyes begging me to hold him. I pretend I don't see her.

11:20 AM: We receive instruction regarding post-surgery care, including penis goo and codeine application directions, and are discharged along with a little teddy bear wearing a doctor's uniform. I'm not really sure how comforting that particular brand of teddy bear is, but Finn gives it his seal of approval: he puts his head on it, holds it for 5 seconds then throws it to the ground.

11:45 AM: We return home and give Finn his first dose of codeine. It's hilarious, proving the age-old adage: drugged up kids are funny. With the painkillers flowing through his veins, the boy immediately returns to normal, pointing out all of the wa-wa's (flowers) and caws (cars).

Three days in, he's off the codeine and back to his normal manic self. His wiener still looks a little raw, but I'll spare you those pictures. I'm sure I've already done enough psychological damage to his teenage self by transcribing this little adventure.

Plus, this isn't that kind of blog.


Tick Tour postscript: turns out we weren't entirely unsuccessful in acquiring Lyme. G'ma Parker did indeed pick up a tick and is now on antibiotics. Victory!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sharin' in the Groove

We have safely returned home from Tick Tour 2009, and not a minute too soon. Despite our best efforts, we didn't actually score any new Lyme ticks, however with all of the family attention over the last week and a half, Finn's head has swelled to dangerous levels -- even after the hair removal. With all of the Grandparent/Aunt/Uncle/Cousin doting, I'm afraid we may never again be able to fit that amazing sun hat on his little noggin.

As such, this is likely the last picture of him wearing his exceptional headgear, taken on Weekapaug Beach in RI, the site of Mommy & Daddy's wedding.

I'd say that Finn looks just like his Daddy without his shirt on, but we all know that he's got way more muscles than me. Even if we do share the same beer gut.

Fact: pale, skinny, fat guys pull wicked chicks.

As always, the trip back east was far too short. Big thanks to G'ma and G'pa Parker, Mema Finn and Grandpa Finn. Even though our travels took us across 3 states in 11 days, this was by far the most relaxing vacation that we've taken as a family and it was extremely sad to come home. It got far less sad once Finn started crying the minute we got on the plane in Newark; then it was just painful. But the crying was short-lived, the sleep was long (from 8 pm EDT until 7 am PDT) and we're now back to normal.

Just in time for Finn's wiener surgery tomorrow.

Now that I'm back on a real computer, I'll try to give a more complete rundown of what's going on/has recently gone on with the Ninja over the next couple of weeks. Anything to take my mind off of what I'm putting my son through tomorrow.

Dear future Finn: Don't hate us for making you go through with this procedure. We're doing this for you and your future girlfriends/ex-wives. Trust me, you'll all thank us for this some day.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Proving that he's definitely his mother's child, Finn has spent every minute that it hasn't been storming here - all 3 of them - in the pool.

In anticipation of this, his Grandma Parker got him this fancy pool float.

Notice how well it matches that exceptionally masculine sun hat. What a stud. He's got all the Grandmas by the pool swooning, first in NY and now in CT.

We leave for Rhode Island tomorrow, but there's no pool there. I wonder if that thing is seaworthy.

-- Post From The Windward Side

Finny's first haircut

Turns out that mobile blogging causes thumb fatigue, which cripples my online poker career so I apologize for not letting y'all know that we survived the rest of the flight in. And in solid shape, all things considered.

We're all in one piece, though some of us are slightly smaller than we started in the golden flowing locks department. It took Mema's steady hands to finally remove the wings from our little featherhead. We were too worried that we'd shear off his ears.

Just when you thought he couldn't get any cuter...

-- Post From Mema's Barber Shop

Friday, June 26, 2009

And we thought Seattle was rainy

Pop quiz: What's better than a 5 hr flight from Seattle to Newark with a baby?

Give up?

How about a 5 hr flight that's diverted to Syracuse due to thunderstorms, with (hopefully only) 3 hours on the tarmac, before compleing the final hour to Newark. With a baby.

If that baby were anyone other than Finn, I'd be jumping out the back and making a break for it, but the Ninja is handling it well.

Here's mommy sticking a spider on his face to distract him. Let's hope he doesn't get bored with the spider or it's going to get ugly. For mommy, that is.

-- Posted From The Syracuse Tarmac

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mobile blogging

In preparation for our big trip on Friday, I've downloaded a blogging app for the iPhone and this is the maiden post. Of course it was difficult to turn off the Yankee game to type this since they're actually winning for a change, but I make big sacrifices for my kid.

Whom I've now lost sight of.

Never mind. There he is standing on the window seat. See?

Impressive. He got up there all by himself. I did mention he's a big climber now, no?

Now if you'll excuse me I need to go post on Facebook about his impending fall. Does anyone know if I can get a doctor via Twitter?

This is quality parenting, 21st century style.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dad's Day

Father's Day was everything that it is supposed to be. I got to sleep in (8 AM!), I had coffee hand delivered and I spent the day at a baseball game with my family. Finn was considerate enough to change his nap schedule for the day to free up our afternoon and he made it all the way until the 8th inning before we had to split. I don't care what was happening on the field, that was a major victory.

The only part that didn't go as planned was when Drew folded him up in the chair. In Drew's defense, he didn't see Finn standing on the chair next to him. Or maybe he did see him and Finn's first complete sentence was, "The Tarheels suck." Either way, one minute we were all enjoying the baseball game, the next minute Finn is staring at the sky and kissing his kneecaps. I'm sure he deserved it.

This picture was taken just pre-folding. You can totally see the wheels turning in Drew's head.

So a happy belated Father's Day to all the dads out there and a big shout-out to Kitty and the little guy that makes it possible for me to enjoy the holiday. I'm an extremely lucky dude, as I am reminded daily.

Now let's hope that luck holds as we prep for a cross-country flight on Friday...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Terribe, horrible, no good, very bad

With Finn's increased level of activity and seemingly incessant need to get all up in everything's business, comes a whole new level of mess. We barely washed this kid when he was a baby, but now it seems like he needs to be hosed down daily. He comes back from daycare soaking wet and muddy. He exits dinner covered in Ranch dressing and whatever healthy food the dressing was trying to mask. You can't tell where he ends and the pile of vegetables under his chair begins.

Even though he loves bathtime in the tub, running a bath every night always seems like too much work, so we mix it up periodically with a shower. This is a two person job. One person to hold him in the shower and one person to run around the outside of the shower curtain playing peek-a-boo. I drew the peek-a-boo card tonight which meant I was also on drying duty.

After a nice shower, there's nothing I enjoy more than doing laps around the house naked and it turns out that Finn is into that too. I figured I'd let him run around a bit while I got his diaper & PJ's ready. Bad idea #1.

I didn't notice the pile of poop on his floor until he had already stepped in it and was tracking it back toward the bathroom. I quickly scooped Finn up and threw him back in the shower with his mom. Bad idea #2.

We have an old claw-foot iron tub upstairs, and while quaint & cute, it doesn't really drain very quickly. Since Finn's feet were covered in poo, this now meant that the shower water remaining in the tub was slowly turning brown. Eager to begin trying to bleach her feet, Kitty washed Finn quickly then set him down outside the tub while I continued scrubbing the carpet with toilet paper (extremely effective). Bad idea #3.

Finn took off down the hall again, still unencumbered by any sort of poop prevention device. Knowing that he often saves "the best" for last, Kitty frantically tried to call him back to the bathroom; calls he ignored. When he finally decided to listen, he ran back to the bathroom at full speed down the hall, only to slip on the now soaking wet floor and lay out flat on his back, thunking the back of his head soundly on the floor.

The scene is now: me on hands & knees scrubbing poop out of carpet with fraying toilet paper; Kitty in shower, standing in poo water; Finn laying on his back on the floor, naked, screaming at the top of his lungs. Awesome.

Luckily, the tile is cork and the baby's head is apparently concrete and/or lead so no permanent damage appears to have been done to anything other than our nerves. And perhaps the carpet. Luckily we're still on a diaper service, so from here on out, I can just carpet the upstairs in cloth diapers for bath time.

I don't have a picture of Finn and poop, so here's a picture of Finn and Aunt Holly.

Hmm. Perhaps I could have phrased that better.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cat's in the cradle

I used to idealize business travel. Expense accounts and frequent flier miles were something to look forward to, but these days I would much rather spend my time in my own bed, listening to Finn discuss current events with his Hootie owl over the baby monitor, than I would trying to figure out how to discreetly hack into the hotel neighbor's wi-fi.

I haven't had to travel for work since Finn was born, but that streak ended last week when I made it from Seattle to London to NYC and back inside 5 days and 2 hours, 5 days and 1 hour of which were spent in the air. This was by far the longest that I'd been away from the boy and in that span of time he has started shaving, been married (twice) and retired after a successful career as Journey's fourth lead singer.

He's also got a new word ("wa-wa", which we're pretty sure means either "flower" or "convenience store") and has mastered the art of mountaineering.

He was already starting to climb before I left, having summitted Mount Jungle Gym down at the park and regularly perching himself in the mini easy chair in the bedroom, but he is now legitimately climbing stairs - using feet instead of knees. He's also able to pull a wicked Luke Perry on the gliding ottoman in his bedroom.

That thrills me to no end and not just because I love to see him having that much fun. It's also because I really love Luke Perry.

It's good to be home.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Yes man

Most of the time, Finn is a very agreeable dude. Pretty much always, with the exception of feeding time which he still hates with every ounce of his being most days. Or at least it seems that way. Perhaps it's our fault, though. Maybe we're just not giving him what he's asking for -- which is a difficult thing to determine since he's not great at communicating beyond the banshee wail.

He does have words, like "yeah" and "dad" but I'm not sure he's really using them appropriately.

For instance, "dad" is any light fixture. The dome light in the car is dad, the lights in the kitchen are dad. Sometimes, even the sunshine is dad. I don't mind, I just wish these other dads would kick in for daycare or at least change a diaper every once in a while. Deadbeats.

As for "yeah", he can be counted to use it as a response to almost any question:

Do you like pepperoni pizza? Yeah.

Do you think Mommy is hotter than Megan Fox? Yeah.

Do you think Daddy is better looking and has more range to his right than Derek Jeter? Yeah.

He nailed the first two, but the last one made it clear that he has no idea what he's talking about.

He's thrown around some other sounds that could be words, including "Cash" for the cat and "hot" for the stove, but that may just be wishful thinking. Either way, he's getting closer, which can mean only one thing. Unless I want his first words to all have four letters, I'm going to have to start watching my mouth around the house.

Parenting is hard.