Thursday, July 31, 2008

Give 'em the finger

So that injury I mentioned last time around? The finger that she bashed on the ground? Well, the nail wasn't looking so hot yesterday. 

And today her daycare teacher tells us that Kaylee walked up to her, totally calm, gave her the finger and said "Owie."

The owie is that she had completely bent the nail back. Completely. Perpendicular to the finger. OW-IE.

Rae called the D.O.B. who said the kid will likely loose the nail. We're just supposed to keep the nail on for as long as we can, keep it tied down with a bandage and slathered in Neosporin.

It's tender. And nasty looking. But it's got a band-aid on it.

Spider-Man, of course.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ten on Tuesday*

Everyone else is playing – follow the links on the right – so why not me too? Just don't expect it every week – I'm not good with structure. My creativity will not be contained.

1. I left for Vegas on a business trip over the weekend. (Single-handedly saving the future of the newspaper industry – or at least pretending to.) I wasn't gone for an hour and Kaylee fell on her finger while carrying a rock. She mangled it up good, tore and bent the nail. Basically, it looks like it's been through the pencil sharpener. And she keeps banging it on stuff. Awesome.

2. Kaylee left me a voice mail while I was gone. "Hi Daddy. I love you." (Hydadee. Aywuvyoo.) Too damn cute. I've still got it on my phone.

3. Spider-Man (still lovingly known as Manman) has gone from cool to an obsession around here. We keep several episodes of the cartoon on the Tivo because she insists on watching it first thing when she gets home in the evening.

4. No more serial killer games at daycare – at least not yet. Today's activity was stretching your arms to the sky and squealing "UP HIGH" then dropping to the ground "down low." Lots of fun at the dinner table.

5. Speaking of the dinner table – Kaylee has decided that she doesn't want to join us for dinner anymore. Probably because she can see the TV from her chair and she would rather be watching Spider-Man. We are slowly breaking her of this. Slowly.

6. Sometimes I wish she'd watch Batman cartoons. Just for a little variety. Hell, I'll take Pokémon. But I draw the line at The Wiggles. Seriously Рwhat kind of self-respecting pirate uses a feather for a sword?

7. No advancement on the potty front yet. She's sitting on it every now and then – but only as long as she's not distracted by something else. Like the bathtub. Or the dog. Or Spider-Man. I don't want to force it at this point. It seems like "did your parents try to potty train you too early?" is commonly asked of the psycho in the movies. And with her already being exposed to homicidal behavior at daycare, I'm not pushing my luck.

8. Kaylee was walking around with the phone today when she told us she wanted to talk to Grandpa Charlie. So we called him. Apparently Grandpa Charlie wasn't home – but he got a message on his answering machine.

9. She's got yellow down (yeyow pococo) – but I think she just mixes up blue, green, red and purple because she can.

10. I've only got nine things. I told you I don't do structure.

* Yes, I realize that it is Wednesday. See item #10.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Today at daycare

We get a daily update from daycare. A quick read on the day's happenings. The Toddler-gram.

This is what you live for as a working parent. You're not able to be there for each little moment of discovery – so you live vicariously through this 8.5" x 5.5" piece of paper. Go ahead. Ask it a question.

Did my child eat?

Why yes. She ate breakfast, lunch and a snack. And she ate enough of each of them that the teacher marked "All." That's my little over-achiever.

How did she feel?

Well, according to the sheet she was "healthy" and "full of smiles." That's better than the alternative of "sluggish" and "more tears than usual."

How was her bowel movement?

Those of you without children are probably snickering right now. But anyone who has, or has had, children will tell you that for the first several years of their life – much of your conversation will involve what comes out of them. Puke. Snot. Piddle ...

But mostly crap. Poop. Boom boom. Caca. Turds. Baby brown. Dookie. Bum nuggets. Doodie. Excrement. Mr. Hankey. And so on and so forth ...

Today, in case you're wondering, Kaylee was boom boom free. Either that or the teacher was just up to her arms in it and didn't have time to write it down.

Knowing my daughter, I'm betting on the latter.

And that takes care of the multiple choice portion of the form. You can only glean so much information from multiple choice. The real gems come from the fill-in-the-blanks section. This is where the teacher fills us in on the activities of the day.

The word of the day was "tomatoes." I assume this had something to do with lunch. When I asked Kaylee about it, her reply was "moes." I'm not 100% sure what she meant by this, but I'm taking it as an affirmation that there were in fact tomatoes present and that they were discussed in some fashion.

Although, she is getting into the "parrot" stage. So she could just be repeating what I said.

Repeating what I said.

Then things get really interesting. There are three sections that are usually related: "Movement," "Self-Awareness" and "Played."

Usually these are just different ways of saying the same thing. Basically a way of making it look like you did a lot more today that you really did. (Similar to that e-mail you sent to your boss last week.) You'll often see "Marching" under movement. Followed by "I can march!" under self-awareness. "Playing marching band" would wrap up the list.

See? What a scam.

Today's was a little different. Now, the teacher still ran the scam of filling three slots with one activity. What's different is what that activity was.

No marching. No counting. No spinning. Today's movement was "Drowning duckies."

Yeah. You read that right. The class played "Drowning rubber duckies and then watching them float."

Now "dipping duckies" I can get behind. Even "dunking duckies." But drowning? Isn't this how Ted Bundy got his start?

Next week my little serial killer in training will probably play "stab the bunny." (I can stab!) Or perhaps it will be "set the dog on fire!" (I can burn!) Who knew that the torture of small animals was actually part of the pre-kindergarten education?

Oh, and she made marker and tissue art. She says it's a picture of a skinned kitty – but it just looks like scribbles to me. But I'm just happy that they embrace the arts.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Fear of television

Kaylee's cutting teeth and it's made her a little cranky.

So cranky that I took a half day off work, picked her up from daycare and brought her home. Poor thing. (Half day of work. Yay me.)

She was pretty content once we got home, got a nap and some Tylenol. So we did what every All-American family does to pass the afternoon. We watched TV.

Usually when the TV is on the kid doesn't pay attention. (Unless Spider-Man is on. Then you have to fast forward through the commercials and the boring dialogue and skip right to the red and blue tights.) So I didn't think anything of it when I fired up the Tivo and picked a movie. I selected "Disturbia," a pleasant little flick about a teen on house arrest who discovers that his neighbor is a serial killer.

It's basically a retelling of "Rear Window" except it stars Shia LaBeouf. (Meaning they ruined it.)

But even without Shia's "acting" this movie is intended to be scary. It's lighting is dark and moody. The score is jumpy and foreboding. The violence is quick and brutal.

And it got to Kaylee. (Not sure about the acting – but the rest did.)

I didn't even realize she was watching. She was hanging out by the window playing with teacups and rocks (every girl's favorite toys) when she started crying.

My first reaction was to see what she'd stubbed her toe on, or where she had banged her head, or where she was stuck, or what the dog ate ... but she was pointing at the TV and saying "Ouchie. Ouchie. Truck. Ouchie."

You see, the movie opens up with Shia's father dying in a rather brutal automobile accident. I guess she WAS paying attention.

The movie calms down after that. (As did Kaylee.) Just your typical teenage movie crap. The stereotypically stupid best friend, the flaming bag of poo, the hot girl in a bikini (OK - that part was all right). But then the music started.

Near the end of the movie there are a couple of (too many) "jump scares." The killer is in the shadows or just off camera, the hero is trying to slink through the blackened hallway, the music spikes, the killer jumps out and ... it's just the cat ... BUT THEN THE KILLER JUMPS OUT AND THE MUSIC SPIKES AGAIN! Oldest trick in the book – but it's new to Kaylee. And it got her.

She hears the spooky music. She sees the creepy man. She sees the damsel in distress. She sees the violence that happens when all of them are on screen at the same time. And she puts it all together.

"Dadeeeeeeeee."

Now I know what you're going to say. "She's disturbed by the images she's seeing." But she's not. She's disturbed by the images she's ANTICIPATING.

When the hero is quietly trying to slip away in the shadows, Kaylee tells him "Shhhhhhh." (Complete with finger to the lips. Very cute.)

When the hero is hit in the head and falls to the ground, Kaylee tells him "Up. Up. Up."

When the music starts to build up, she'd run over, climb up on my lap and bury her head in my chest.

But she'd still turn to watch. (I'm raising a horror film buff, I just know it.)

So we've decided that it's time to watch what Kaylee's watching. No more Grand Theft Auto while she's awake. No more horror movies while she's still in the room. And no more Wiggles before bedtime.*

----

I still remember my first horror movie. I couldn't have been much more than four when one of my aunts (I won't say which one, but I was near 169th St. and Indianapolis Blvd. in Hammond ** when this happened) decided it would be fun to watch "Trilogy of Terror" on cable while baby sitting my cousin and I.***

I don't remember much about it, just the Zuni Fetish Doll. It was this foot-tall skull-faced beast of matted hair and razor teeth that chased poor Karen Black all around her apartment, terrorizing her, biting her ankles and eventually consuming her soul.

Great themes for a kid.

BUT – I did form a bond over my memories of that nasty little doll when I ran across someone in college who was equally terrified of it. Granted she had been about a decade older than me when she saw it. And she was STILL scared of it.

But maybe, someday, years from now when all this is just a blurry memory – Kaylee will meet a life-long friend when she shares her fear of Shia LaBeouf.

* Right. Like I'd ever let my kid watch THAT. What am I, a monster?

** Had to add a link for all those people *cough* DAD *cough* who think they know the geography of NWIndiana  better than me. I DID live there for a time ya know.

*** Thanks to the power of the intertubes I discovered that the movie was an ABC movie of the week in 1975. I'm assuming I saw a rerun. Otherwise, I've been screwed up for much longer than I thought.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

"Bye beach."

Only it didn't sound like "beach." It sounded like a similar word that one might get in trouble for saying. Especially when you're not even two-years-old.

Which explains why Uncle Ryan was mortified that he had prompted Kaylee to say it.

We hadn't been at the beach house for even one day – and he was teaching his adorable niece to swear. Sure it was unintentional – but he and Tori had taken the kids on their own and they were responsible for their behavior.

Their curse-laden behavior.

Not that we cared. Hell, we thought it was cute and it became one of the running jokes for the week.

And that's pretty much how vacation went.

If you were there (and about half of the readers of this blog were) you've already seen the photos. You've all got copies of everything and some of you (Maggie) have already beaten me to the punch in publishing your vacation memoirs on the World Wide Intertubes.

But what you don't have yet is my witty banter. And we all know that is the reason everyone reads this blog. It's not about cute pictures of the kid (anyone can post cute pictures and call it a blog), it's all about me. And who am I to disappoint all seven of my fans?

So what follows are my (somewhat random) thoughts on vacation and family and beaches.

And some photos too. Some even feature cute kids.

Just in case you're in to that kind of thing.

Beach house photos one (UPDATED*)

Yes, it's another crappy iPhone picture – but it was just too cute not to include. Especially since Kaylee didn't have her own ticket and was technically considered a carryon.

Kaylee started her vacation hanging out with me, checking out the Fourth of July parade in Arlington Heights while Rae and Maggie hit the gym. I'm pretty sure we had the better time. (Even when you factor in that Kaylee was terrified of the fire trucks.)

Two of the big reasons we planned this vacation. The other would be pie.

Speaking of pie – Kaylee and Alice lend Grandma Cindy a hand.

I had to back up to the wall, hold the camera over my head and shoot blind to try and capture the whole table. Dinner was one of the highlights of every day – there was soooo much food and laughter we never left the table wanting ... well, except for that first day.
We had plenty of laughter, but food ... not so much.


Uncle Ryan spent a lot of time getting to know the girls better. I'm pretty sure it had something to do with the fact that they are the exact opposite of the marines he's been hanging out with.

Teaching kids how to read is important. Teaching kids how to make monster faces while reading is equally important.

A picture from one of our rare trips into town ... and we still spent time down by the water. This is the end of the pier by the public beach.
You know ... the beach everyone else had to use because they didn't have access to a PRIVATE beach.


We're so cool.

Kaylee is confused by Uncle James' Windows-based laptop.

Story time was one of the few chances Grandpa Charlie had to get close to Kaylee. She's still not sure about the big guy, but if you distract her with her favorite book ...

Many bellies were exposed. Many zerberts were blown. And there was much rejoicing.

"Seriously?"


* Because I'm dumb and forgot to upload a photo.

Beach house pictures two

One of the few pictures of all three of us.
I swear, I have to do everything myself ...

Yes the water was cold.
Though we usually opted to swim without the sweatshirts.


"Hey wait a second ... YOU'RE not Dad!"

"Ummmm ... Mom? Where'd your legs go?"

Girls in hats.

James channels Mark Hamill as he ponders his future.

OK – I'm not being mean in this photo. I'm teaching the girls a life lesson. Never trust Mike with a bucket of cold water.

S'mores are served best with family, fire and a healthy portion of sand.

When you throw a fit at the beach – you get time out on the beach. And it's cute.

Beach house pictures three

The last day involved a trip to Holland, MI – which apparently is filled with Dutch tourist traps. We found one that looked interesting, paid our arm and a leg admission and proceeded to make fun of an entire culture for the day.

A true Rice / Carlson family bonding experience.

Dutch "duhks."

"Must ... think ... light ... thoughts ... "

Several people took pictures of James being "delivered" by the giant stork statue. Only my angle made it look like a Hitchcock movie though ...

Oh those Dutch and their wacky games.

Maggie, Tori and Cindy got a kick out of the Dutch carousel.

Kaylee, not as much.

You have no idea how hard it was to get this shot.
I was driving in Chicago traffic at the time.


And of course, any vacation to the Chicagoland area isn't complete without a trip to White Castle. Nothing says vacation like committing one of the Seven Deadly Sins with tiny, steamed patties of meat.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

PottyWatch: Day 5

You know that whole "would rather play with the box than the toy"?
Kaylee takes it to a whole new level.

Vacation post complete with photos this weekend.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

PottyWatch '08

So on the way home from Michigan we stopped at Target and picked up a shiny new "potty."

I've got to say - I feel like an idiot typing "potty."

It may seem early, but Rae and I decided it was time to try it out. Kaylee has been telling us when she fills her pants for a while now – and has even told us before she actually does the deed. And let's not forget the wonderful finger painting incidents.

Day one was interesting. Kaylee immediately became obsessed with the thing. First she wanted to drag it all around the house. Then she wanted to climb on it (and in it). And it finally ended in several naked-butted time outs when Rae got hit and bit when trying to remove the princess from her plastic throne. (Why she kept putting her back on it I do not know.)

Day two I decided to try to put her on pre-bath. That didn't go over so well. She was excited to sit down again – but nothing can hold her interest when there are bubbles mere inches away. (Note to fathers: Potty first, THEN draw the bubble bath.)

So we're on day four of "PottyWatch '08" now. So far it's nothing more than this plastic thing taking up another square foot in my already tiny bathroom. (Not to mention the phone book. Apparently her feet need to touch the ground – and they don't.) I find it kind of odd that it has a handle on either side. I guess they're designed to give the kid something to do with their hands (instead of doing THAT with their hands), but really it looks like they're there as a poop-aid. You know, for those times you haven't had enough fiber and really need to "bear down."

At the moment she's not going anywhere near it. She's back to cutting teeth (Got another one last night. That's a total of nine!) so she's got one monster diaper rash. She's a little less monkey and a little more baboon right now. Poor thing was walking around the house patting her butt last night saying "ouch." She was even having a hard time sitting down for dinner – and that kid loves to eat.

So we're holding off on any more chair time until the great flare up subsides. For now it remains just another large plastic thing on the floor for me to stub my toe on in the middle of the night.

But really, what's one more?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Home.

In case the subject line doesn't say it all, we're back.

No more sand-filled S'mores. No more crowded house. No more never-ending games of Uno. No more private beach. No more golf cart. No more warm pie. No more "Papachawie" and "Gammaendee".

But we did bring home two more teeth.

Photos to come. Video to come as soon as Cindy sends them to me.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Learned at the lake house

- Moose are carnivorious.
- Kaylee likes swimming, as long as the waves stay out of her face.
- The water is cold.
- The locals can be rather rude.
- My paper's film critic was 110 percent wrong about WALL-E.
- Kaylee will go right to sleep if you wear her out on the beach first.
- Kaylee loves Alice, except when she's had enough.
- Alice's "redrum" freaks Cindy out.
- Chocolate-covered blueberries rock.
- Maggie has no idea what mole tastes like.
- Cindy, ovens and carbohydrates don't get along.
- Dad still sleeps a lot.
- Everyone needs their own damn iPhone.

More later.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Overheard at the lake house

"Kaylee, you can have either the sausage or the ball. You can't have both at the same time."

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Fatherhood is ...

... stifling a laugh at 30,000 feet when the kid pees on Mom's lap.

... resisting the urge to run to the kid's rescue as she screams herself to sleep in a strange, new bedroom.

Fatherhood is ...

... driving back from Phoenix at midnight because waiting until 6 PM the next day to see your daughter is unacceptable.

... getting over the fact that even though all she did was ask for you while you were gone, the first thing she asks for when she sees you is Mommy.

That's likely all you get for a while. But some of you will get to enjoy some live updates – the rest of you can keep watching the site and pray that I can get a good signal on my phone.