Days With Daniel

Thursday, October 26, 2006


I've worked with children for as long as I can remember. It started in late elementary with babysitting for neighbors or helping out in the nursery at church. My first real job was with 2 year olds in a daycare center. I've worked with elementary school kids, preschoolers, toddlers, and even as a nanny. I have always prided myself on my ability to switch off my bad language problem without even having to think about it. Co-workers over the years have been amazed at my ability to go from sailor to saint the minute a child walks in the room. I trusted that this would just happen naturally with my own child. I guess not.

Daniel has a rather large vocabulary of inappropriate words now. Some are just unfortunate mispronunciation, some are full out used properly bad words. One is even in another language!

It started with Percy. He's a friend of Thomas the Tank Engine and was Daniel's clear favorite when we first discovered the joy of Thomas and Friends. Unfortunately, at not quite two years old, Daniel pronounced it much like a word that can be used to describe either female genitals or a cat. This was hysterically funny at first (actually it still kinda is) and we just let it go. He has since started to pronounce the "r" a little more and so things are getting better.

Next, was the word "Penis". I'm not one for euphemisms. It's a penis, let's just call it that. I didn't think he would be able to say it so clearly or want to talk about it quite so much.

I blame our first bilingual faux pas on Diego. We were watching Go Diego Go one morning and they were hopping around and saying the Spanish word for hop. I'm not really sure what that is now, but to Daniel it sounded like the Spanish version of the f word. So, he spent the rest of the day hopping around the yard and house yelling that obscenity. He has yet to do it in public, but I know he will.

Here's the one that really gets me, though. He has started saying sh*t. A lot. And he uses it properly in the right context and everything. He started doing this after we spent a weekend out of town for a wedding, so he could have picked up from anyone. Still, it seems so familiar to him that I'm thinking I say it too often and just don't realize it.

But Wait! It gets worse. My first thought was to just ignore it, stop using the word myself, and he would to. That wasn't working. Everytime he stubbed a toe or dropped a toy out it came. Ok, plan B, correct him. Not making a big deal about it, one day after he said it I casually asked him to say "shoot" instead. He agreed. The next time he banged his knee he said "shoot......mother f**ker". I don't even want to think about how to handle that one!

I Told You So!

I told you I would abandon this blog! You were warned. How far did I get? Four entries? I'm to lazy to actually go and count them. I'm back now though. At least for one entry!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Day of Buddha

I collect Buddha statues. All sizes and colors. I prefer them to be gifts and I love it when they are unique. One of my favorites is a little tacky gold one my mom found me in Las Vegas. It's so perfectly Vegas and it makes me smile thinking of Mom spending all Dad's winnings in tacky little gift shops all over town. I have two rather large ones Dan found me that take on a weird almost creepy glow in the dark. My very first one is medium sized and very traditional. I wanted it for almost 3 years before my boyfriend at the time bought for my birthday. It has a very distinguished place in my curio cabinet. I love them all for different reasons and each one has a story behind it. They are tucked in inconspicuous corners or proudly displayed in every single room of our house.

Daniel has fallen in love with them, too. I have a small curio shelf that my uncle Joe made me that houses the ones my aunt Mary has given me over the years. It hangs in my bedroom and has captivated Daniel. He spends a great deal of time standing in front of it and talking to and about Buddha. On occasion, I have gotten one down for him to hold and look at. He has even convinced me a time or two to let him carry one of the less breakable ones around the house for a little while. Yesterday morning he was being so sweet and cute about them, saying please very nicely, not whining.......That I caved and got them all down for him.

It started with just one. Then two, three, and four. Finally, we had all the Buddhas in the bed with us. We spent a full hour playing with them. Daniel made them slide down my leg and say "Weeeeee", dance to his singing, kiss me and Dan, and hop around saying assorted things about puppies. Eventually, the Buddhas went to sleep so Daniel could have a snack.

Later, while shopping at the mall, Dan suggested we go into a little shop that he thought might have a very large Buddha Daniel might like to see. They did and he loved it. There was much laughter and belly rubbing. On our way out Daniel spotted the most colorful, cheesy Buddha snowglobe I have ever seen. He fell head over heels in love and we paid way too much for it. He hasn't let it out of his sight since. I even have a funny little mark on my right leg from partially sleeping on it. As I type this, Buddha is supervising Daniel as he plays with his Little Touch Leap Pad.

We are thinking about taking him to a local Chinese restaurant for lunch that has a Buddha even bigger than he is! I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A Day in the Life

I get a lot of people asking "What did you do today?" to which I usually respond; "Oh, nothing.". This, of course, isn't true. I just figure they want a highlight or something really interesting. So, I end up getting the feeling that it's assumed we sit around watching TV and taking naps all day. Anyone whose been a stay at home parent knows how untrue this is. But for those of you who haven't, here's what we really do on a random Wednesday!

6 am: Daniel wakes up bright eyed and bushy tailed. No amount of begging, pleading, or trickery will get him to let me sleep a few more minutes.

6:30 am: After some cuddling and tickling, we get up and make breakfast. Daniel eats 2 whole grain pancakes and some yogurt so I'm happy.

7 am: I let Daniel play in the floor with some plastic bowls while I wash dishes and clean the kitchen. We sing the ABC's at least 17 times.

7:30 am: I sit at the coffee table and make a grocery list while Daniel pretends to eat my toes. Decide that the toe eating game is more fun and abandon the list. Toe game turns into chasing Daniel around the den singing "Move It" which turns into Daniel giving an American Idol style performance of his original song "Everyday Doo Da".

8 am: I decide to risk letting Daniel wake up Dan and take a shower. Daniel plays quietly in his room, only coming into the bathroom a few times to throw a toy in the shower with me. As I get dressed I remind Dan that he wanted to wake up early, he grunts and turns over.

9 am: After playing with Daniel in his room and reading some books, we decide we have cabin fever and should go to the grocery store. I get Daniel ready which turns into a new and exciting tickle game involving Daniel yelling "One Nine Puppies" every few minutes. Not really sure what that's about.

10 am: Finally arrive at grocery store. Daniel spent the entire car ride severely scolding a lion toy in the backseat. I tried really hard not to laugh. For the first time Daniel notices the big horrible shopping carts that look like trucks. He, of course, becomes enamored with the biggest filthiest one they have. After a few tries I figure out the trick to navigating one of these death traps and we begin to shop. I regret having abandoned my shopping list almost immediately.

11 am: Have to make a second stop at Walgreens. Daniel talks me into a Superman ball. And candy.

12 pm: Let Daniel wake up Dan while I unload and put away groceries. Dan stumbles in and says "I thought you were gonna wake me up early?". I grunt and start Daniel's lunch and Dan's breakfast.

12:30 pm: Daniel finishes his chicken nuggets but won't touch his apples or banana. He does eat a vitamin. Dan dozes off on the couch and I let Daniel watch Noggin for a little while so I can pack Dan's lunch and check my email.

1:30 pm: Daniel is napping and Dan is awake and getting ready for work. I decide I won't make it until bedtime if I don't get a little nap, too. As soon as I start to doze off the electrician calls and says he can come early if I want. I agree, thinking it's better to just get it over with.

2:45: Electrician shows up just moments after Dan leaves for work. He fixes the dryer situation and I immediately begin some laundry. I finally lay down and get about half an hour before Daniel climbs into bed with me. He cuddles up and falls back asleep. So do I.

3:30 pm: We're awake and having a snack. Daniel eats a banana and some goldfish. He insists on feeding me some goldfish and I am expected to make gobbling up noises and then say "yummy". We decide to play outside for a little while.

5 pm: We're back inside and Daniel is playing in the floor with his cars. It was wet and muddy outside, so I'm cleaning off shoes and finishing up the laundry I started earlier. I'm restless so I put my iTunes on shuffle and we dance around for a little while.

5:30 pm: We decide to color and then paint. Daniel likes for me to color the picture and then he "finishes" it by scribbling the whole thing with black. He paints a water peep (penguin) for me and then decides it's for Papa instead.

6:30 pm: We have sausage and rice for dinner. Then some Italian Ice for dessert. I try to talk Daniel into a bath but he isn't interested and I'm kind of relieved. We do a quick wipe down instead and get him into his pj's. He wants to play in his room without me, so I sit in the floor and look at a magazine.

8 pm: After some stories and singing Daniel falls asleep. I stay up for a little while and talk to Dan on the phone. I fall asleep watching a documentary I DVRed.

Other than some assorted phone calls and diaper changes that about sums up our day. Some days we do more and some days we do less. Not a whole lot of TV or napping, though. Mostly we just have fun. It's not the most thrilling schedule, not packed with things to brag about, but it's wonderful and we enjoy it.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Fine Art of Conversation

I have always been a huge fan of conversation. I would rather sit around and talk than almost anything else I can think of. In fact, I spent years of my life sitting for hours and hours in assorted coffee houses and all night diners doing nothing but talking and smoking cigarettes. I keep a handful of friends who I can always count on for good conversation on any topic you could imagine. So, imagine my delight when I discovered that I can actually converse with Daniel!

It's not, of course, profoundly deep conversation. Said conversations don't last very long. And, of course, there are no coffee pots or cigarettes involved. It's more fun than I could possibly describe, though. Here are some examples:

Daniel: Have a boo boo. (sadly)
Me: Where?
Daniel: (shows me the boo boo)
Me: Oh no, are you going to be okay?
Daniel: Yeah.
Me: That's good.
Daniel: Yeah, good.

Daniel: Mommy?
Me: Yes Baby?
Daniel: Where Daddy go?
Me: He's at work.
Daniel: No Sleepy?
Me: Nope, not sleeping.
Daniel: Oh. Daddy work. Yeah.

Daniel: Momma, I love you.
Me: Oh, sweetie I love you too.
Daniel: alright!
Me: Who else do you love?
Daniel: Daddy and Nanny and Papa and Jay and Nemo and Aunt Nana and Papa and Papa and Puppies.
Me: Wow that's a lot of people.
Daniel: Yeah, oh yeah.
Me: Who does Mommy love?
Daniel: Baby
Me: That's right and who does Daddy love?
Daniel: Baby
Me: Who does Baby love?
Daniel: Daniel! Ha Ha Ha

Right now is just too much fun!

Oh, and we did end up at Nanny and Papa's house for the July 4th festivities. Good food and good company. Daniel didn't care much about the fireworks and was much more interested in the rain and puddles!

July 4th

For the first time in longer than I can remember, we don't have cement plans for July 4th. It's mainly because everyone is working. And it's supposed to rain all day. Of course, they said that today and we spent all day out in the yummy sunshine.

We have plenty of options, but for one reason or another they all seem wrong for us. We could go up to the park where Dan is working and watch fireworks and have a little picnic. It would be a way of sort of spending the holiday with Dan, but I'm not sure a little bit of Daddy wouldn't be worse than no Daddy at all. There are at least 3 city celebrations close to us that sound promising. I'm just not sure Daniel would enjoy all the noise and crowds at his age. Two of them are within 5 minutes from our house, so we could just head over on whim if we decide to. And head home just as quickly if we aren't having any fun. Then, there is always the option of forcing ourselves on Nanny & Papa and that delicious pool if the weather holds up. Papa is always on Daniel's top 10 list and he never has bad time with him. I'm sure that even though they say they aren't planning anything we will all gravitate over there anyway and it will turn out to be a big party like it always is.

I guess I've made a decision and we have plans after all!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Awkward First Entry

After much poking and proding, I've finally gotten around to starting a blog about our adventures with Daniel. I'm infamously bad at keeping up with things and I'm sure this project will fall along the wayside with so many others, but I promise I'll try.

I've been given quite a bit of advice on what to write and how to step into the "blogger" world. One of the most helpful was to write 100 things about me, Daniel, and our life as a first entry. Here goes:

1. Daniel is almost 2 years old.
2. I can't wait for the terrible two's; I think it will be hysterical.
3. He is our only child.
4. He has made our lives so full, he might just stay an only.
5. Then, again, sometimes I want a little girl so she can grow up and be my best friend the way my mom was mine.
6. I miss my mom and I'll probably write about that frequently.
7. I'm a stay at home mom and I adore it.
8. Daniel's Dad is working and looking for a new job in law enforcement.
9. Yes, I'm okay with being married to a cop.
10. I get asked that a lot.
11. Daniel has this amazing thick, curly, red hair.
12. When the sun hits it, it's like his whole head catches fire.
13. He gets it from both sides of the family.
14. I get asked that one a lot, too.
15. Mine is red, too.....from a bottle.
16. I'm told my hair was just like his when I was little.
17. It looks thin, straight, and brown in pictures.
18. Before I got pregnant I wanted to be a Social Worker.
19. That's what my degree is in.
20. I'll probably go back to that when Daniel starts school.
21. Unless I actually go back for my Master's the way I keep saying I will.
22. We all know I won't. ;)
23. We are always doing some kind of project to our house.
24. Less because we want to and more because we have to.
25. We love our house, though.
26. It originally belonged to my Grandparents and has always felt like home to me.
27. I took my first steps here.
28. Daniel did not.
29. He took his first steps at his Grandparent's house.
30. He loves his Nanny & Papa.
31. He can't get enough Papa.
32. We can get him to do pretty much anything if the end result is getting to see Papa.
33. We try not to abuse that power.
34. Daniel is talking like crazy.
35. He says so many funny things, it's hard to remember them all.
36. I try to write it all down.
37. I say that I scrapbook, but in reality I haven't done any scrapbooking in 2 years.
38. I do take a lot of pictures, though.
39. I just put them all in albums now.
40. I am going to start scrapbooking again as soon as I get organized.
41. Really! I am!
42. I'm not an organized person.
43. I think my life would be easy as pie if I could just figure the whole organization thing out.
44. And Math.
45. I love to travel.
46. Well, that's not exactly accurate...........I love hotels.
47. Daniel is such a good traveler.
48. He adjusts to new things unbelievably well.
49. I think it's because we've never been very structured.
50. You know, the whole unorganized thing again.
51. I love to read.
52. I don't really care what I'm reading.
53. I tend to gravitate toward murder mysteries.
54. I get that from my mom.
55. Lately, I've been into non-fiction.
56. I would love to read The Bible start to finish.
57. And really understand it.
58. It's a daunting task.
59. I've read a lot of books about The Bible.
60. I hope Daniel enjoys reading as much as I do.
61. So far he enjoys being read to.
62. And just playing with books.
63. I need to sit down and read with him more.
64. I don't have an IPod
65. I can't think of anytime I would use one.
66. I haven't once picked up Dan's and used it.
67. He uses his all the time.
68. He really gets into what songs he wants and how he wants them.
69. We have totally different tastes in music.
70. Daniel likes both.
71. I like Daniel's music, too.
72. I listen to his Backyardigans and Curious George CDs without him.
73. I've caught Dan singing stuff from Noggin and Dora in the shower.
74. Sometimes we sing it together without Daniel around.
75. Then we laugh at how much Daniel has changed our lives.
76. Daniel seems to have a preference for Disco and Salsa music.
77. He really likes The White Stripes, though.
78. That's one of maybe 5 bands Dan and I agree on.
79. I've come to appreciate the musical influences of my parents since they've been gone.
80. In fact, I'm listening to Charlie Rich right now.
81. Picturing my Dad doing the twist in the backyard on a Sunday afternoon.
82. I hate that Daniel will never know him.
83. And try not to dwell on how much he's missing out on.
84. I'm an only child.
85. Dan is not.
86. He has a younger brother.
87. They are very close and make me seriously think about having another child.
88. Then I think about how wonderful my childhood was and the unique relationship I had with my parents.
89. Then I decide to stop thinking about it for now.
90. I'll know what to do when the time comes.
91. Right?
92. I don't really eat meat.
93. It's not a lifestyle or anything........I just don't like the taste.
94. I'm trying not to impose it onto Daniel.
95. It's working so far.
96. He seems to like a good variety of foods, even though he isn't always a good eater.
97. Daniel is much more curious than most kids I've known.
98. He loves to explore and question his surroundings.
99. Even as a newborn he always seemed to be studying things.
100. Wow, I honestly didn't think I'd come up with 100 things. (I know I was stretching pretty far on most!)