Friday, April 27, 2012

month 16

You can never step in the same river twice, and no two months in your kid's life are the same...but, when I write the book of being a dad, I will probably comment that the pace of change and development and onslaught of novelty slows some in the low teen months.  You do new things, but they are really marginal progressions over the last few months.

The most striking "new" thing that I noticed in April was your ability to understand me and your mom.  We can give you pretty complicated instructions, and you carry them out (if you are in the mood, not distracted by the dog, not hungry, etc...) and that comprehension and ability to act on your understanding is very cool.

In so far as we have family "traditions", one that has evolved over the last year or so is a Saturday trip downtown, with a nice family breakfast and trip to the TN Aquarium.  We've found that getting there at opening time makes a HUGE difference in our collective ability to enjoy the exhibits.  You are not yet 2 years old, and you have probably been to the aquarium 10 times already.  On this most recent trip you showed more active interest in the fish and birds and butterflies, as opposed to just a general excitement in being "out".

There's a little park near our home, and Mom takes you there pretty often.  You have graduated from just swinging and checking out the more mobile kids to BEING one of the more mobile kids.  It's cool to watch you watch the bigger boys and girls  - you seem inspired by their excitement.  And then you try to steal their wheels.

You are obsessed with wheels - anything that you can spin or roll has your attention.  Your late, Great Grandmother gave you a vintage toy truck (a WalMart 18 wheeler with realistic engine sounds!) and you abso-freakin-lutely LOVE it.  And it has vintage features like tiny plastic parts that can break off and or poke you in the eyes.  So we keep hiding it, and you keep going to the hiding spot and pointing at where the darned thing is hidden and doing to "I want that" sign language.

The three of us - me, your mom, you - spend a TON of time together and I can't really imagine it being any other way.  I do not think there is one right way to parent and I don't know how our choices now will affect you later in life, but I really enjoy being involved in your whole day.

I have more and more pictures like this one, and the symbolic content is not lost on me.  You are both capable and comfortable ranging further and further from Mommy and Daddy, and that is bittersweet.  Your parents both want you to be confident and strong and interested in contributing to your community, and we know that means giving you space to develop your independence, but it is a constant battle against the instinct to cushion you against bruises, to insulate you from fear, to protect you from the world - let's just say we are going to do our best to keep you safe but not too safe.
You are my second favorite person in the world, and my best little buddy.  See you next month!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

ode to my French press

This post could possible belong over at DRW Food, but it's here for now.

I love my French press.  It's forgiving to different grinds, it helps with portion control (the missus and I each get a decent cup - cup.5), and it feels so refined versus my Mr Coffee dripper.

Of course, I also have an AeroPress, and it's great for one off "espresso" style drinks.  I'm not sold on it for the morning coffee.

And then there's the Bialetti stovetop espresso/cappuccino maker (I don't think I spent that much on mine...I hope I didn't spend that much on mine...)

Moral of this story is that I have a small fortune in kitchen gadgets, but I have settled into a nice pattern of the French press for my daily joe maker, with the AeroPress for the occasional espresso experiment.

This post would be remiss in mentioning that my good friend Michael introduced me to French press coffee a few years ago in a Bronx apartment.  Cheers, Michael!

Monday, April 2, 2012

lessons I've learned

What's that you say?  Month 15 post wha'?  You can count now, little boy?!

I may not have written a March 26 post, but I sure did think about you a lot that day.  And today, I was thinking about things I have learned since we began this experiment.  In no particular order:

  • most toys are not worth buying.  It may sound cliche, but you have had the most fun playing with wooden blocks, empty cardboard boxes, balls, and yesterday for the first time, a paper bag.
this video is long!

  • it is wise to rotate toys in and out of accessibility.  A car you haven't seen in a few weeks is like a BRAND.  NEW.  TOY!!!  But with the added value of slight recognition.  Also, and related: if you don't seem to enjoy a particular toy, we just rotate it out and try it again later.  It's pretty cool how you can totally not care about a multi-colored rolling wooden wheel toy for months, and then chase it around the house screaming hysterically (happy) for half an hour.
  • As with toys, so with food.  When you were a little guy just beginning to eat "real" food, you LOVED avocado.  And then you didn't.  And now you do again, some days.  Same with strawberries.  And yogurt.  And most everything else, except bread and french fries - you hardly ever turn those down.
  • sleep is not a science.  some nights you sleep for 7+ hours, some nights you don't.  You have two data driven and analytic parents who have run the studies looking for correlation, causation, pattern recognition, and witchcraft, and we have figured out that we don't know what the deal is.
  • stoicism is important for dads, and yet is harder to practice when you are a dad.  I have always given consideration to possible bad outcomes, but when I think about how and what could happen to by best little buddy I get all, well, unstoic
  • one never knows what is going on in a kid's head
  • making you laugh is the best.  It makes me feel better than making money or making a mai tai, or watching The Big Lebowski.  Novelty is so powerful with you, and I'm constantly thinking of things I can show you or do for you that will get you going on that goofy, toothy smile and then ramp it up into the chuckle.  The belly laugh is more than I can ask for, and when it comes it's like jumping the fence onto Shields-Watkins field after UT beat Florida in's a rush.