Interesting Precedent

May 2, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Emma 

We’ve been using the reward [1] system to get her to to eat her vegetables.

You know; “Emma, eat your vegetables, and you can have some [insert desert here].”

It often works, but the payoff isn’t apparently great enough for her to finish her spinach or asparagus.

This evening, she finished her peas, and then horked down all of her fudge, and half of Margaret’s. So I told her that since she ate all her fudge, she could have some broccoli!

Amazingly, she went for it, and actually ate the broccoli.


  1. Yeah, I know. Another word for it is “extortion” or “bribery.” Though I prefer “direct compensation.”

Children’s Books reviewed on NPR’s “Weekend Edition, Saturday”

August 13, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
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These we have:

  • Henry Climbs a Mountain, by D.B. Johnson
  • Guji Guji, by …

These we’ve checked out at the library:

  • Mooses Come Walking, by Arlo Guthrie, illustrated by Alice M. Brock

These we…haven’t:

  • Little Old Big Beard and Big Young Little Beard, by Remy Charlip
  • Slithery Jake, by Rose-Marie Provencher, illustrations by Abby Carter
  • And Here’s to You!, by David Elliott
  • The Pelican Chorus and Other Nonsense, featuring poems of Edward Lear, illustrations by Fred Marcellino
  • Wind in the Willows, (New Abridged Version) by …, illustrated by Inga Moore
  • Three Stories You Can Read to Your Dog, by Sara Swan Miller, illustrations by True Kelley
  • Mr. Blewitt’s Nose, by Alastair Taylor
  • Jellybeans, by Sylvia van Ommen
  • Bake Shop Ghost, by Jacqueline Ogburn
  • How to Be a Good Dog, by Sara Swan Miller
  • Bats at the Beach, by …
  • The Picture of Morty and Ray, by Daniel Pinkwater, illustrations by Jack E. Davis.
  • A Day in the Life of Murphy, by Alice Provenson
  • The Red Wolf, by Margaret Shannon
  • Farfallina & Marcel, by Holly Keller
  • Arlene Sardine, by Chris Raschka
  • Little Babaji, illustrations by Fred Marcellino.
  • The Frog Wore Red Suspenders, by Jack Prelutsky
  • Davy Crockett Saves the World, by Rosalyn Schanzer.
  • Another Perfect Day, by Ross MacDonald
  • Yellow Umbrella, Jae-Soo Liu


Three Conversations

July 11, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Emma 
  • Something I’d never have thought I’d have to say: “Emma, don’t hang from your drawer.”
  • Also, I never considered I’d have to explain the difference between boy potties and girl potties.
  • Finally, I never imagined I’d have a perfectly charming conversation about big toots and little toots while my daughter was sitting on a potty in a men’s room at pre-school.

Great Moments in S@HD-dom

June 18, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Emma 

So we’re watching “Reading Rainbow,” starring Commander Jordi LaForge, who is talkingĀ  about Jazz.

One of the books they talked about was “Charlie Parker Played Bo-Bop,” which Emma has.

So after the show is over, I ask Emma if it would be OK if we play some Charlie Parker and read her book.

And so we do. Charlie Parker with Strings: The Master Takes. She sits on my lap, and we read “Charlie Parker plays Be-Bop” while Charlie Parker plays be-bop. We read that book five times.

It doesn’t get much better.

Uncarved Block

June 17, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
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Once a statue is finished,
It is too late to change the arms.
Only with a virgin block
Are there possibilities.

It’s not easy to to raise a child. You have to set an example all the time. Sometimes it is important for both child and guardian to understand that a child should not do certain things that the adult does. This is not hypocrisy. It is wisdom.

There was once a child who responded to his father’s admonitions by saying, “You do the same things.” The father took his son to a carver of temple figures. In the yard were great blocks of camphor and rosewood. Inside the studios were deities in various stages of completion, from gods still with fresh chisel marks to brightly painted and gilded masterpieces.

“I am older than you,” said the father. “So I am more like one of these finished statues. I have my accomplishments, and I have my faults. Once this figure has been carved, we cannot change the position of its arms.”

“But you, my son, are like the pieces of wood in the yard, still to take shape. I do not want you to have the same faults as I do, so I do not let you do certain things. Look at me. Yes, you say I still do certain things, but doesn’t that show how hard it is to undo a mistake once it is carved into you? Don’t copy me, and don’t make the same mistakes that I did. Only then will you become more beautiful than I.”

Ming-Dao, Deng. 365 Tao: Daily Meditations. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1992. 281.

I guess I’m STILL not a member of the “club”

June 5, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
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Before my lovely bride and I got married, one of her neighbors had a child. We stopped by to give our regards, and a discussion on being a parent ensued. The father suggested that being a parent is like being in a club. Many things become clear once one has a child of one’s own. Parents are able to nod knowingly at one another, and are able to weather the whithering stares of the young and unchilded. The thought is usually a variant of “they’ll understand once they have a child of their own.”

I recently received an e-mail from an acquaintance, and he opined that he didn’t know what he’d been missing before he and his wife had their first. But upon having their second child, he felt a measure of sadness that there are others who choosing not to experience the additional joys that a second child brings. His aim was to do his bit to convince us to have another.

But we’re not planning on having a second, for a number of reasons. I guess I’m a little sad too, since we’re apparently still not members of “Club Parent.”

Why we’re late, part two

May 29, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Emma 

So today, I’m trying to get her out of the house to PT/OT.

She goes to the potty. Great. But I have to coral her to get her to wash her hands. Which she does. But at some point, she grabs the towel, is running around, runs back into the bathroom, and shuts the door to the toilet/bath area. A few minutes later, she hollers at me that she needs help hanging up the towel. Whilst helping her, I notice the towel is wet. “Emma, did you get the towel in the potty?” “Yes,” she admits, brightly.

So we’re back to washing her hands. While she does that, I go finish collecting spare clothes, snacks, etc. She comes back out, and her hands are dry. Anyone who has a toddler in the family knows it is impossible for a three year old to wash and dry their hands completely.

Back to the bathroom. “Get your hands wet!” She places her finger tips in the water. At this point, I hurry things along by physically directing her actions.

Once we’re done with that, we have to get her shoes and socks back on. Which is annoying, because she’d already put her socks on earlier, all by herself, and has, subsequently, taken her socks off, all by herself.

It wasn’t as bad as other times, which have included last minute trips to the potty, complete with oversprays that soaked pants and underpants. Meltdowns while I’ve tried to comb her hair. Meltdowns while trying to get her dressed. Meltdowns while insisting that she doesn’t want to go to school. Strenuous requests to watch just one more episode of “Clifford.” And so on.

Kids and Life

March 5, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Emma 

So Emma took a little tumble off a curb while we were at an event downtown Saturday.

Turns out she broke her tibia, near her ankle. She’s been fussy, as one would expect (especially considering the cold and borderline ear infection.)

But she’s also been quite sweet and accepting of the situation.

I’m finding out that dealing with stuff like this is just taking one moment at a time. It sounds really bad to family or friends, but when we’re enmeshed in the situation, it seems quite organic and natural.

Kinda weird. But nice to know, too. One day at a time.

I found it particularly interesting the other day – we took a nap together (“in mommy and daddy’s bed”). At one point, she told me a story about her day; she fell down, hurt her foot, the doctor listened to her chest, and made her foot feel better.

That was pretty cool!

Something I never ever considered I’d have to say:

January 16, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
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“You need to move if you’re going to be swinging your monkey.”

Followed by:

“No more. You’re done. No more swinging your monkey.”

A Few Things I’ve Learned

September 15, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Emma 
  • To a toddler, gratification delayed is gratification denied.
  • Distraction is a very useful tool, though it doesn’t always work.
  • A sharp retort at our toddler when she’s in the midst of a tantrum doesn’t do much good. Patience and a soothing voice work much better.
  • Before Emma joined us, I couldn’t imagine life with another small human being in the house. After Emma, I can’t imagine life without her.
  • Patience is a virtue…but it’s much much easier when one doesn’t put many expectations on the day, when there’s only one child, and when she’s generally pretty mellow, anyway.
  • DVR and Sesame Street; It’s a good thing.
  • Few things in life are better than cuddling one’s daughter.
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