Saturday, November 28, 2009

Getting in the Christmas spirit 

Despite L's inability to talk, we still tried to (as tradition mandates) get our home ready for the holidays. K didn't quite get decorating the tree (as you'll see below) -- she thought it rather sad that one would just barely get their hands on a cool toy, and then have to give it away. By the time it got to putting the angel on the tree (traditionally the job of the youngest) she was outright ENRAGED. How could daddy take away all the coolest new dolls!?! NOT FAIR!

A bath calmed her down. (Alright, so "calm" is not the word for it.) By the time we got to reading the bedtime story (Paul & T, you have to watch this last video) K had found one thing that made the whole ordeal worth it -- dancing snowmen. Thanks, mom and dad. The diabetic duo is a huge hit again this year. As is the epileptic penguin.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Language explosion 

Two days ago I went to pick my youngest daughter up from day care. She is 13 months old.

As soon as she saw me, as usual, she got a huge grin on her face.
"Hi!" I said.
"'Ow-r-ew" she said.
"How are you?!" I asked.
She got a huge smile on her face as if to say "yahoo! you understood me!" and said "yah."

"Did she just say 'how are you?'" I asked her teacher, Kelly.
"Sounded like it to me," she said.


Today, in addition to calling her dinner by name ("be" she said, pointing to a bean), she also picked up a few other words ("Mimi," among others) -- and she wasn't even repeating me!

Here's tonight's story:
I was watching her play in her toy room. She had a toy hot dog in her mouth.
"Do you like the hot dog, K?"
"ummy" she said.

No kidding. Yummy."

"Wow. Are you talking now?" I asked her.
"eee-up" she said, nodding.

And then she got a smile on her face and shook her head in baby disbelief. ["silly adults. what crazy questions they ask. of course I'm talking, can't she hear it? seriously."]

Ah, yet another family member to be proud of! Go, Mimi, go!

Are you talking now? 

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Steve is doing one tutorial this semester. Every Thursday he gets together with a guy named K- at noon and discusses public finance for an hour.

Today Steve decided to try to squeeze a flu shot in before hand. "It's okay" said I (munching on my lunch) "I'll just hang out in your office, and if K shows up, I'll tell him you'll be right back and give you a call so you know he's here."

K showed up punctually at noon. He looked around the office for Steve. "He'll be right back," I said.

"Oh, okay," said K, "I'll just get the tea started, then."

... "the tea started" ...

As the impressionable young undergrad walked off with the hot pot to get new water, I thought, "Wow, Steve, you've done your job."

Steve later informed me that, since beginning his tutorial, K has not only become a tea drinker himself -- well versed in the differences between white, green, black, and oolong -- K has ALSO introduced all his housemates to the joys of tea.

That's right. Somewhere in this fine town, a group of four or so underclass men are discussing the finer points of tea drinking. K informs Steve that soon they will purchase a house tea pot so that they can brew their tea together each day.

I'm so proud.

Monday, November 02, 2009

E -- The Negotiator 

Based on E's performance in properly depositing her excrement (potty training), she is rewarded with candy. The sudden influx of holloween candy has given her options for rewards, which she decided to test today. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Congratulations E! You did it!

E: I get candy now!

Me: Thats right.

E: I want three candies!

Me: actually, you can have either four M&M's, or two holloween candies.

E: I want four holloween candies!

Me: Nice try, but you can have either four M&M's or two holloween candies.

E, deciding to play hardball: I want four holloween candies!

I repeat my ultimatum.

E, seeing the need to compromise replies: I want three holloween candies.

Me: Good try, but I control the candy supply, you are in no position to negotiate.

E: I want three small Halloween candies.

I repeated my terms, and she re-iterated her offer two more times, until finally.

E: I want holloween candies.

Me: Good choice.

In retrospect, I am quite proud that my two-year-old is a rather sophisticated negotiator. I guess this just proves that kids learn skills fast when they have something to gain.

Sunday, November 01, 2009


I am a mover. I like to be on the go.
I am a creator. I like to orchestrate and make things.

I want to be an observer. I am a pathetic observer.
I want to be a listener. My own thoughts get in the way.

I've been reminded again and again over this weekend of the value of allowing GOD to move and create; of providing space for the creator to work and me to observe in wonder; of being still and knowing, trusting, beyond myself; of introspection. These are things I don't do well. I am engrossed in vain-glory, entrapped.

Several years ago I saw my father-in-law head out to work. Brief case in hand, dressed in suit and tie, he started down the sidewalk. He didn't get more than ten paces when he stopped, stooped, and stared. No, stared is not quite it. "Observed." He observed, interested, as if what he was looking at was of more importance than catching his bus, than the work he was to do in the city. A butterfly had perched on a flower. He continued to watch for at least a minute. Do you know how long a minute feels to me in those circumstances? So much of me cries "you will be late for work" or "someone is waiting for you" or, simply, "you're on the move, don't stop now." But stop he did. And looked. And wondered without words.

I want to be still. I want to observe a butterfly with wonder. Furthermore, I want to be known by actions more than words.

I have found art.
I am finding silence.
I hereby commit to studying both over the next few weeks.

Art I will study because it is my stepping stone to observation. I create, I move, I do... and yet, in order TO do ART, I must first be still and observe.

Silence is my (perhaps vain) attempt to rid myself of vainglory. I was challenged this weekend to try a modified vow of silence. (Which I will begin after I finish this post -- and may be after tonight's small group study.) No more talking about myself. No more stories, no narration to justify actions, no explaining myself. No posts on facebook that explain my feelings or discuss what brand of toothpaste I tried this morning. Silence. How will one know me? By actions. Do not justify. Let actions justify. And where actions fall short, rest in an identity that is free from human approval.

With this last goal in mind, this post is peppered with irony.

Gosh, art is a lot easier than silence. I am already anticipating failure within the first hour of trying.

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