Wednesday, March 15, 2017

the twelfth power

My years as a father have been some of the most rewarding of my life.  I can't believe how quickly they have flown by.  My little girl seems more and more like a young woman with every day.  At this point, she has graduated from reading stories to writing them.  I'm inspired by her creativity and productivity.  Watching her "just do it" has given my the incentive to work on stories that I've let simmer for ages.  

This year with the snow on the ground during her birthday, I am reminded of the morning she came into this world.  I went home to get some things for the overnight stay at the hospital and saw flowers pushing through the white blanket.  

Her uncle Byron wrote a poem about the snows of middle March:  

"What delicate flower consents to emerge?"

Friday, May 15, 2009

a book is like a garden carried in the pocket.

chinese proverb

reading to my daughter has been a source of sublime joy. i love to use different voices and point to the words as i go. she started out following my finger when i read to her and seeing the closed caption when we would watch television. often we would quote stories and scenes when we weren't reading or watching them.
there was a time when she would recite books from memory, which would amaze her grandparents. now she has moved on to actually reading, which amazes me. the first time i realized it, we were looking at one of her many horse books and she told me the name of several of her favorites from the table of contents! before i knew it, she was reading her books all by herself without me even reading them to her once. she sounds out new words and repeats them when i correct her.
i couldn't be more proud. it really is wonderful to hear her lilting voice read nursery rhymes, advertisements, or even the newspaper. we love to visit the local libraries and i often carry big stacks of books to and fro. she likes to read to her animals; but i am glad that she still asks me to read the dr. seuss.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

curious behavior

we watch the cartoon version of curious george on public television every once in a while. i've never been a fan of the franchise even when i was a kid. even then i didn't understand why the man with the yellow hat always gave so much responsibility to his pet monkey. the cartoon seems to have taken it much further; whether george is entrusted with the repair of a space shuttle or taking the initiative and fixing the clogged pipes (almost) like he saw the plumber do it. it makes me a little crazy to watch it all happen sometimes. then i just have to take a deep breath and remember that it's just a cartoon.

at the end of every episode there is a video segment with kindergarten age kids acting out what just happened in the show. it really bothers me because they preface the narration with the caveat: "curious george is a monkey and he can do things that you can't do." then they proceed to show the kids doing just what curious george did.

i make a point of telling my daughter that she can do anything that george can do. and more.

this week she told me, "some of the things he does are dangerous though."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

guaranteed personality

"i'm all lost in the supermarket
i can no longer shop happily
i came in here for a special offer
guaranteed personality!"

i have heard a lot of this song lately. my daughter insists on playing it over and over. i can't say that i mind all that much since london calling is one of my favorite albums. i have to thank ben folds for this development in her musical appreciation. his version of it during the credits of over the hedge inspired us to dance and me to play the clash for her in the car. it's that easy. i even showed her how to use the remote control on our stereo so that she can play "number 8" over and over. sometimes she'll get preoccupied with her toys and i get to hear the rest of the album. if i play the song on my guitar she will sing with me during the "i'm all lost" part at the end. that's when i'm found. she's too cool for school.

the clash helped me define myself in my formative years. they inspired me to investigate the political machinations for myself and to question authority. that said, it's some heavy and heady stuff to have my three year old daughter listening in on. the imagery of the "hedges over which i never could see" completes the isolation of "nobody seemed to notice me". this sad undercurrent gets lost in the groovy busyness of the song. since she and i do most of the shopping together, there is a connection for us there; especially when we have to go back and forth looking for that last thing on the list.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

toy jail

we have a system for discipline in our house that has been working for us. it's called toy jail. rather than the extended wrestling match that the popular 'naughty chair' method can involve, we prefer this more relaxed approach. basically, we warn shuggie when she is being "mean" and give her a warning that we will put whichever toy it is that she is playing with at the time into jail. usually, the warning is enough; but sometimes we have to carry through with the incarceration.

Friday, February 22, 2008

the swiper

shuggie and i are often in a power struggle. i can get a little controlling and over-protective. sometimes i get impatient and take things away from her, rather than getting her co-operation. as anyone would, she gets upset when i do this. it is at these times that i become the swiper. if you aren't familiar with dora the explorer then you haven't heard the cries of "swiper no swiping!" shug uses this quite a bit; and it is a reminder to me that i might be going too far. there are times when i need to take things away from her for her own protection; and then there are times when i'm just being a nervous nelly (aka swiper). when i see my inner control freak flag a-flyin', i can only sheepishly echo the words of the foiled swiper: "oh man!"

Monday, February 18, 2008

season of the fair

my daughter is in love with horses. so much so that she calls herself "little horsey". any coin-operated horsey ride that we see must be tamed. "can i ride it daddy? please! can i? can i? can i?" sometimes i take alternate routes home so that we don't pass the places with such equines. recently, we had an opportunity to go to an indoor fair that had a full size carousel. this was the first time that she had seen a real merry-go-round; and the awestruck look on her face in this video says it all.