Friday, January 28, 2011

(ThirtyMag) Freakin' New Guy

I was featured as a guest blogger over at ThirtyMag yesterday. Check out the post, Freakin' New Guy, along with other great Dad stuff at their site or on their Facebook page. 

Freakin' New Guy, of Dad-on-the-Run, discusses feeling like a noobie Dad and his days as a stay-home Dad are contrasted with his past life as a private investigator...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mom Sentenced to Jail For Seeking a Better Education For Her Children | Crooks and Liars

Please take a moment to read this story and pass it along.

"if you're a single mom living in the projects who is going to school yourself to earn a teaching credential in order to make a better life for you and the kids, you might consider enrolling them in the district where your father lives, because that district has a terrific rating and great test scores. And if you did that, and got caught, you might be convicted of felonies and receive a jail sentence. For trying to get a better education for your kids."

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
~ Martin Luther King Jr

Tiger Mom... Not so GR-R-REAT!

It seems everyone has already written about Amy Chua and her book "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother", so I'm a little late hopping on the bandwagon. Maybe it was my parents' laissez faire approach to my upbringing that kept me from being the first to analyze this... I'm sorry father for I have shamed you by not being the first and best blogger to cover this story.

While I agree with Amy Chua that some Americans may over-indulge our children, I think there are miles and miles of middle ground between what she sees as our stereotypical parenting and the Tiger Mom approach. I have some big Problems with only accepting first place for your child in all things. First of all, there can be only one (sorry, couldn't resist). Obviously, we should teach our children to strive for the top spot in all they do, but you have to accept a child's best effort and recognize their devotion to different challenges and activities will vary. I also believe that being proud of your child for placing less than first is absolutely crucial to teaching fair play and good sportsmanship. Can you imagine the way a child would act in a competition after taking third place if they know their parents are going to be scornful of their performance? 

Chua pokes fun at the way Americans praise our children for the smallest things like "drawing a squiggle or waving a stick." In my view, praising small victories is a big deal. I'll never stop doting on my daughter with over-excitement for those things she accomplishes, be they small feats or momentous triumphs. Of course, I'll have to crank it up for the real victories, but helping to construct that early self-confidence encourages strength... not weakness. Having your parent/mentor displeased unless you take the top prize is like something straight out of a kung-fu movie; I just don't buy the assertion that holding the bar so unrealistically high will result in well-adjusted adults. I'd wager these expectations result in arrogance and crushing bouts of depression when, at the end of the day, you are just not as proficient at something as the next kid. My parents pushed me hard and I always felt pressure to bring home only "A's", but I think it was more self-applied pressure than fear of disappointing them and they always encouraged me to focus on studies and activities that I enjoyed.  "What Chinese parents understand," says Chua, "is that nothing is fun until you're good at it." I could not disagree more. To me the key is to encourage the idea that learning (and practicing) is fun. Maybe Chua's approach is great for generating athletes and musical prodigies, but does it help children to achieve their dreams of becoming artists, actors, scientists, philosophers, politicians, writers, counselors, teachers, et cetera? This observation may seem cheeky coming from a stay home dad blogger and directed toward a critically acclaimed author, but my point of view and how I define success is apparently very different from the Tiger Mom's. 

I do agree with the idea of praising hard-work more than inherent intelligence. If you teach your children hard work is praise-worthy, they will continue with that habit and learn to encourage themselves and recognize the rewards of hard work. Teaching your children they just have a natural ability can breed complacency and arrogance. Take me for example; I've always dealt humbly with my "giftedness" and hereditary mental superiority, which is why I have no humility when it comes to critiquing a best-selling author's take on parenting. (Hopefully, everyone recognized that as a joke… I actually think I’m kind of a simpleton when it comes to the range of human IQ).  

I am also a little skeptical that this woman is really going to allow her daughters to go in the direction they wish with their matriculation and careers without interference; only time will tell. I would say let’s wait for an interview with these girls in 10-15 years, but one of the problems with this parenting philosophy is they will still be seeking her constant approval and may never tell us how they really feel while she is alive and perhaps not even when she is gone. In fact, I'd be willing to bet this whole "tiger mom" bit is just a scared little girl's attempt to garner attention and praise from a father who was too harsh and obviously has his own ideas of what constitutes a "good" parent. Parents of differing schools of thought have raised children who are just as talented and smart as Chua's daughters. I have to wonder though if she would receive the same praise from her father had she not chosen his way of thinking and it stands to reason she may look through the same lens at her own children when it comes to parenting.

I won't let that happen with my daughter; not on my watch. The idea that each of us is a "special flower" (as Amy disparages) is not a fairy tale or something to be taken lightly, it's a philosophy of life I truly believe in and will share with my child all the years I am here. Stephen Hawking is never going to be a champion in tennis and Hellen Keller was never the best cello player, but they certainly excelled in areas of their choosing and ended up contributing a hell of a lot to this pale blue dot. I wonder where and how the handicapped fit into the tiger mom's parenting views?

To me the whole Tiger Mom outlook is a militant way of approaching parenthood. The military hierarchy and totalitarian approach have their merits depending on your goals, but there are many ways this approach falls short. If you are bent on world dominance... raise yourself an army. If you are looking for enlightenment, happiness and hope to instill compassion for others... raise a child with that in mind. J Bean can conquer the world if she decides to do so, I'll make sure she has the foundation from which to spring in any direction but, hopefully, I won't drive her crazy while laying those cornerstones.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Like to Move It!

I'm still working on the signatures of my blog, I'm told I need recurring themes to give my page some character. So far I have "Stuff my Mom says" (sure to win awards for originality with this one) and I'm thinking I'll probably have more for the "I don't recall asking your opinion..." series which will be used to regale stories of T.U.R.D.'s (Thoughtless Unsolicited or Redundant Declarations) since people don't seem to be able to resist the urge to tell Daddy's how to do our jobs.

The "Time to Move it!" posts will be fun stuff for the little ones to join in on. I'm hoping these posts spark some impromptu dancing in the living room and serve as a reminder that being a parent is loads of fun and we need to remember to get off the computer, put away the bills, set those chores aside and forget our troubles regularly to just spend some time with our hands in the air and smiles on our faces with our kids. First installment: They Might Be Giants - One Dozen Monkeys

Don't mess with the bull, young man. You'll get the horns.

Now that I've completely overstated the situation in the title with use of a Breakfast Club quote, please allow me to tell you about a pet peeve of mine... store policies which go against the goal of the people who put them in place. In this instance, a local grocer placed huge piles of $10 coupons in nearby buildings. I grabbed a handful as I occasionally shop at the over-priced store due to its proximity to our place. I go often enough that most of the cashiers and the guys behind the deli recognize me and J Bean. I headed out last night to grab a few things. It's not really a long walk, but it has been frigid this week. With wind chill in the negatives, any walk seems life a hike. I arrived at the store to find I managed to make it with my list (unusual occurrence), but I had not remembered my coupon (shocker...). I discreetly grabbed the attention of a familiar clerk and asked him if I could possibly get the discount without the coupon being that I had half a dozen of them at home and, as I mentioned, they had literally put out hundreds of them. He informed me that he would need the actual coupon and added cheerily "we'll be here until midnight, so take your time". Well, I don't want to take my time, I came out with a list in hand and want to be done with this chore so I headed home to get the coupon ($10 is worth a short, cold walk when your family has only one income).

I decided I would achieve vengeance by bringing along an extra half-dozen coupons and I had a great time handing them out to other customers as I shopped. It made me feel quite a bit better about making the walk and it was fun to spread some neighborly cheer. The customers were grateful, but I have to imagine the owner would be more than a little perturbed at the short-sightedness of the clerk. The discounts were designed to bring in happy customers to spend money and to make sure the store is on our radar. Having me walk through the snow to get a coupon any jerk could print up at home kind of missed the mark though, and ultimately cost them an extra fifty or sixty dollars. I'm not bitter, but as they say - revenge is a dish best served cold - and it was real cold on that walk back to the store.

Monday, January 24, 2011

It's not always black and white...

In a recent post I lambasted the attitudes of our society toward men and our interactions with children in this country, but this article from CNN helped remind me how and why these misconceptions come about.
"Selena is a 13 year old who was sold for sex...Like so many other underage trafficking victims, Selena is a chronic runaway, picked up by a pimp after she took off from home."
"According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, there are at least 100,000 underage girls being sex trafficked in America today."
I stand by my defense of men and dads in particular. While it is true most pedophiles are men, it is very important to remember most men are not pedophiles. However, we can't ignore the real dangers to our children and to children of the world.

Internationally, the problem is even larger and more tragic.

To learn more about human trafficking and what you can do about it, please visit and/or to help with the slave trade/prostitution involving children in the United States visit

This line of discussion also brings to mind some thoughts on the legal age for marriage, which varies widely from state to state. If our society is to fully repudiate abuse of children, then we need to make our position unequivocal by putting and end to exceptions to the rules which separate children from adults when it comes to sex and marriage. A child of 13 or 14 is not at the point in his/her life where they can make informed decisions about having sex and getting married... period. Just because the child has the bad luck of being born to parents who think it is a good idea should not change matters. Alabama law (only chosen as an example, other states including "progressive" states are just as bad or worse): 
With parental consent, parties can marry at age fourteen. However, this parental consent is not required if the minor has already been married.  
The lack of black and white lines on the issue of age of consent come into play when you consider the age of both parties. Is a 17 year old who marries or has relations with his 15 year old girlfriend in the same boat as a 30 something who has relations with a 15 year old? Of course not. However, a child of that age should have restrictions on decisions they can make which will affect the rest of their lives. The issue is complicated, but we need solid definitions to protect the under-age from predators, abusers and manipulators. Check in on your state and weigh in, more importantly make sure your children are aware of your position on the issue and develop relationships with them that will keep you in the loop as a trusted friend, guardian and mentor... and for crying out loud, keep track of where your children are and who they are hanging out with! 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Children more likely to have frenemies than enemies.

This recent article from Science News discusses relationships amongst elementary school children.

Kids' friendships sometimes illusory: Surprisingly often, grade-schoolers say they're tight with a peer who actually dislikes them.
In the brutal social world of elementary school, friendship can be deceptive. It’s relatively common for children to consider as a friend a classmate who admits disliking them but seems affable on the surface, researchers say.
Other children feel they have friendships with children who have no opinion of them at all. Sounds like a lot of adults I know, wonder where they learn this behavior?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A crying shame... 13 month old dies while Mom is on Facebook

This is the saddest thing I've seen in a while. I hate to dampen anyone's mood and usually try to keep things light here, but what a poignant reminder of the need for water safety.
 A Colorado woman told authorities she was using Facebook in another room when her infant son drowned in a bathtub, according to an arrest affidavit. (via CNN)
You cannot know how a child will act in or around water when you are not looking. Straight up negligence.

Facebook for Dummies, anyone? by daveynin

Stuff My Mom Says...

"Your father never taught you to lose, he just made sure you didn't win."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Who's your Daddy!?

The stereotypes Lenore Skenazy discusses here present real challenges for full-time fathers. Nothing to brighten your day like having someone ask your offspring who you are as if your claim of parenthood is a matter of debate. As I have mentioned, J Bean and I walk the underground pedway in Chicago a lot and she is allowed a longer leash as she grows and understands more and more. It is not uncommon for me to stand against the wall while she dances and spins in the walkway around our favorite street performer. Most people just smile and keep walking or offer a tip to J Bean to give to Bill or drop something in his case directly. Unfortunately, I can't help but notice some of the faces which show signs of concern... after all, here is a 2 yr old girl with two grown men... oh, the horror! I actually had one lady stop because J Bean had walked a full 20 feet away from us and she wasn't sure if she was with us or not. I swoop in immediately if someone is taking any interest in J Bean other than a smile or a wave and this time as I am walking up (already self-consciously donning my friendliest smile, lest I be scolded as an amateur dad or mistaken for something worse) the woman asks if J Bean is with us (Bill and I) and I reply, "Yes, this is my daughter". She then looks J Bean in the eye and says "Is this your Daddy?" and seemed concerned J Bean wasn't answering her (she tends to bottle up when approached abruptly by adults who talk with her rather than being introduced by me). I picked my daughter up, smiled at the woman and went back to our spot as she walked away with more than one furtive glance back at us.
I don't mean to read too much into it, but would this happen if I were a woman? Are men in general under suspicion in our society any time we interact with children? What message does this send to children?
Of course I fear for my daughter's safety and use due diligence in deciding who I would allow her to spend time with outside of my watchful eye but that goes for men and women. Some of the other FT dads I know would be my top choices to care for J Bean and lest we forget... there are a few crazy women out there too. Of course we have to face the facts; most pedophiles are men, but its very important to remember most men are not pedophiles.

P.S. DOTR on Facebook now, please use the link to the right of the blog entries to "Like" this blog on FB. Thanks!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Baby swinging?! File this under "What the Hell?!"

Hat tip to Greg at DaddyTypes for sharing this article which is originally from Dadwagon. I don't know what to say about this other than you have to see it to believe it. Warning, the video in the link below contains brief nudity and is probably not safe for work. More importantly, if you are a parent human being, this may make you sick to your stomach.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

When teaching restrains discovery

Great read regarding how to introduce new ideas, toys, concepts, games and just about anything to children (and adults) in the most effective manner to encourage exploration and innovation.

When teaching restrains discovery

When the apparently knowledgeable teachers in the experiments provide a seemingly complete lesson about the toy, the children deduce that there is a no more to learn. If the lesson is interrupted, or if the instructor seems like a novice, the child deduces that there is more to discover.

Use the right tool rather than being a tool... still puts out some very useful information on occasion. I enjoyed this article and found it informative.
Why is discipline such a big dilemma? Because it feels like a tightrope act. On one side there's the peril of permissiveness — no one wants to raise a brat. On the other side there's the fear of over-control — who wants to be the hardliner raising cowed, sullen kids?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Do you remember the time...?

Interesting article by Charles Furnyhough in Psychology Today which discusses how conversations with your child about past events helps to extend their autobiographical memories.
Talking about the past makes for a warm family moment, but it also seems likely to help children to organize their memories, especially when adults put a bit of effort into creating a rich memory conversation.
Our family practices this every day when VeeVee arrives home from work, J Bean enjoys telling her about our day and it is always intriguing to discover what tidbits of the day are shared first. Forget the trip to the museum, she jumps right into a boo boo on her finger and how I put a band aid on it (which is very scary).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Aftermath of the Arizona shootings: A Lesson in the Golden Rule

I don't get in to politics often at Dad-On-The-Run, but I feel OK with this post as it isn't meant to be partisan. It's much more to with the civility of the world we are raising children in and how we must change for them.

Americans, let’s stop pointing the finger over the recent act of violence. Tempers have flared, emotion blinded many of us, I know I’m guilty of it certainly, but now we should step through the emotion and work on ways to change. We all see the Arizona shooting as a tragedy and are saddened by the needless loss of life. The left and right are scrambling to label the shooter as a member of the other group. Honestly, it doesn't matter what this lunatic's party affiliations are. At the end of the day people are still dead. Regular Americans like you and I will not wake to see another day, a judge and a congresswoman were gunned down, and one little girl won’t reach her 10th birthday. We can all agree the shooter is unstable and he could have been set off by anything or maybe by nothing at all. Finding a picture of him with an ACORN t-shirt or a "Don't tread on me" flag won't prove anything and it won't improve the outcome of the recent events.
With that said, we should recognize some civility should be returned to our politics and to our dealings with each other in all things. What we can do is say enough is enough, we are not powerless. Politics is just that... politics. Our nation has a very effective system of electing the people's choices to office and of limiting power amongst all branches of government. In other words, liberal, conservative and everyone in between can rest easy knowing neither group can destroy your idea of America if you believe that America is for the people and by the people. At the same time, it is inevitable our America is changing as it always has and as it always will. Change doesn't qualify as destruction, we don't say a seed was destroyed to make a tree or that a caterpillar was killed to make a butterfly; it is just part of living on this wonderful planet among the wide variety of people. I know change can be uncomfortable, but it is necessary. Some feel change is happening too fast while others had hoped change would happen more speedily; the very existence of these opposing views illustrates the rate of changes is probably near where it should be.  This nation is not a group of left or a right voters, it is one country with many opinions and we are all part of it. We can’t be rid of each other any more than a right hand can be rid of the left hand; to lose one is to damage the whole. We can argue and we can debate policies, philosophies and other ideas and we can do so passionately but we should be able to have those conversations without vilifying each other.

What we all can do is stop tolerating the antagonistic war/battle rhetoric. Both sides have used this tactic before and I'm not going to get bogged down in who does it most, who did it first or who is doing it currently. What is important is that we stop and we cannot stop if we are labeling each other as the cause of innocent deaths in this situation. We have to move past that. If you see a news article promoting political opposition as war or battle, stop watching. If it's a blog, unsubscribe. Same for magazines and newspapers. If its a friend, be brave and let them know how you feel about their vitriol. When it is one of your elected representatives (at any level) voice your disappointment and vote them out! Tell them all we don't want to hear it in those terms anymore. There are plenty of sport metaphors to use if you must plant the antagonism in the article... better yet leave that out too. We are not on opposing teams, the metaphors are completely off-base. As Americans we support coaches (leaders) with differing philosophies on the game, but we are all in the same game and on the same team. We all want peace and prosperity (a.k.a. victory) for our team.

Of course words have meaning and they can cause damage which is why I'm calling for a shift in how we use them, but we also need to recognize words don't pull triggers. A man did that. He has a mind, fractured as it may be, and he made a decision. What we have to do is make sure guys like this are not smiling in their mug shots, if he thinks he will be a hero among those who share some of his political views (whomever they turn out to be), he needs to think again and if we think we didn't give him the impression he could/would be then we need spend some time examining ourselves. Now, I'm not saying to outlaw words or tamper with our freedom of speech. There is no need for it to be illegal, I'd settle for this type of speech being frowned upon by the general public. It is the public who have, through our attention, support and readership, created this environment where we treat those with opposing opinions as enemies in our words. Let's change that environment and let's treat those we love, our families, and our neighbors with respect.

There are people I love who are conservative and others who are liberal, some who are libertarian and some who are socialists, there are people I love who are gay and others who are heterosexual. I love people of many beautiful hues and with many wonderfully unique accents. I call some people friends who hold doctorates and others who worked hard for their G.E.D’s.  I love some people with loads of money and some without a penny. Among my friends are Protestants, Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, agnostics, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists and others I’m sure I’ve left out. These friends of mine, who I’m so grateful for, have a lot more in common than they have to differentiate them… after all, we are all Americans and more importantly; we are all human beings.  It’s all about the Golden Rule… a multitude of religions and common sense lead us to follow it, why don’t we?

Christianity: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matthew 22:36)

Native American: “’The Universe is the Mirror of the People,’ the old Teachers tell us, ‘and each person is a Mirror to every other person.’” (Hyemeyohsts Storm).

Judaism: “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself" (Leviticus 19:18)

Brahminism: “This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done unto you.” (Mahabharata 5, 1517).

Buddhism: “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” (Udana-Varga 5, 18).

Mormonism: "Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets." (3 Nephi 14:12)

Hinduism: "One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. Other behavior is due to selfish desires." (Anusasana Parva, Section CXIII, Verse 8)

Confucianism: “Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not unto others that you would not have them do unto you.” (Analects 15, 23).

Taoism: “Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.” (T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien).

Islam: "That which you want for yourself, seek for mankind."(Mohammed from Hadith).

Socrates: "One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him."

Atheism: "Treat others as one would wish to be treated by them. This sober and rational precept, which one can teach to any child with its innate sense of fairness is well within the compass of any atheist." ~ Christopher Hitchens

In closing, I'm asking for your forgiveness in the words and thoughts I have said and felt following the shootings in Tucson. I'm also offering my understanding to you for the same. For those of you who did not say these things and did not have thoughts along the lines of the majority of the country, congratulations... you are a great example to the rest of us. I promise to voice my opposition to those who can't follow the golden rule in the future and I hope you will remind me of the same if you see me falling short in my commitment. It's a new day, have a good one!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Terrifying Twos...

My daughter just scratched out my previous definition of "tantrum" and showed me how 2 year olds really roll. Screaming, shaking, crying, pulling away from me, sticking her finger in her nose until it bled and an attempt to claw my face off. Why are we having this tantrum? Mainly because she's 2, I guess, and partially because she was both sleepy and hungry; a terrible combination. J Bean was in bed for nap and wanted out, got her out and she wanted to be in. After 15 minutes, I stopped trying to control her tantrum with distractions, consoling, and even some time-out and just began to fix her some lunch while hoping for the best. The demon has subsided and my little angel has returned and is currently watching Toy Story and chomping on a PB sandwich and fruit. For a moment, I thought I was going to have to call an exorcist or something, tsk tsk my dear... where oh where did you get a temper like that (full disclosure... she got it from me, I had a nasty temper as a child and a teen). Now I just hope I can get that elusive nap in as soon as she's done eating. She has a dentist appointment at 2:45... if she doesn't get a nap, I'm wearing a helmet to the dentist's office. Might just be one of those days.

UPDATE: Well, she was "skeered" of the dentist but the hygienist was amazing. She spent 15 minutes just talking with Jayla and giving her stickers and toys to play with before she even invited the doctor in to take a look in her mouth. J. Bean cried some during the exam, but not to the extent I was expecting. Oh well, that's behind us for another 6 months... Doc says J Bean needs to be rid of the paci or risk permanent misalignment of her teeth (upper jaw is narrower than the bottom from sucking at night) and says she has the beginnings of a tongue thrust which could cause speach and dental issues if we don't call it quits soon. Can't wait for that ordeal. We had decided the paci could stick around for a while based on the reading we had done, but apparently she is sucking on it so hard at night it could be an issue with her if we don't get rid of it. Oh well, I'm sure I can just reason with her again.

Amigurumi work poached from DoomedtoLive blog here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cut me some Flax...

J Bean loves yogurt with flax seed mixed in as part of her breakfast. VeeVee came up with this tradition, they eat it together on the couch every morning... nothing short of genius in the marketing here. J Bean also digs on edamame (thanks mostly to the single packs of shelled beans with Dora the Explorer on the bags), she enjoys raisins (I believe it has more to do with the interesting little boxes than the taste), and she loves granola and even couscous on occasion... these last two are favorites which may sprout from having interesting sounding names (she pronounces couscous perfectly and settles for "Nola" for the crunchy stuff).
I'm not saying this to boast about J Bean's diet, we are far from perfect and she is more likely to beg for "roni" and cheese or screech for "finch fies" if she spots the golden arches out the window, but we do try. I'm very pleased that we are able to get J Bean to take interest in a large number of healthy foods with our different approaches:
  1. Name-Calling: We name healthy foods after other things we know she enjoys. "Chips" has grown to include all manner of crunchy snacks including dried vegetable and fruit slices.
  2. Dressing it up: Coating items with cheese, sauces, yogurt and even honey on occasion. These toppings help get us over the hurdles of food that is new or something that is just being refused.
  3. Showmanship:  As the post mentions above, we use this method in many different ways. It's all in presentation, excitement, and utensils. We find that J Bean will eat some things she has previously refused just because we give her a big spoon, a new fork or even a toothpick to eat it with. Of course, every parent knows that excitement about food is effective, but you have to be genuine about it too. If I oversell some food, J Bean will quickly lose interest.
Any one else have some ideas to share? I know that healthy eating will serve J Bean well into her adulthood if we get her started now, so it is music to my ears when J Bean comes into the kitchen to ask me for "gogurt, flasseed and booberries".... Sure thing kiddo, here you go!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Stuff my Mom says...

If I'm going to be a "big time" blogger, I'm going to need some of these reoccurring themes in my posts right? I hope so, because this one is fun. My Mom, who I love dearly, has a penchant for saying some pretty funny things, these posts will highlight some of her most entertaining quotes:

Mom: I can't remember the first part of the show title, but its "something.. the lyrics"       

Me: ... you mean "don't forget the lyrics"?

So this is Christmas?!

Sorry for the lack of posts (funny thing to say when you have 2 followers, I guess) but it still feels appropriate. I do enjoy writing and know I will be glad for a record of this time of my life when I am older so I want to be more consistent in my posting, while not just posting for the sake of it.
This year, VeeVee and I spent Christmas in the south with my mother, a.k.a. Gran. The twist to traveling this time was that VeeVee, my wife, was flying separately from J Bean. This was the first time J Bean had her own ticketed seat on a flight which she thought was just fine. She slept on some of the flights and gave little protest to the presence of the seat belt most of the time.
After a few days at Gran’s house, it became apparent J Bean was getting really sick with medium to high fevers and some trouble sleeping.  One morning, J Bean woke up early with some vomiting; as I entered her room to check on her she proclaimed to me through tears “Mouth hurt! Mouth Mess!”, which was her way of describing the unfortunate turn of events in her crib (and more importantly, her mouth). With our road-trip to a Pensacola wedding on the horizon and J Bean’s condition worsening through the day, we headed to a pediatric after-hours clinic where J Bean was tested for the flu and ultimately diagnosed with an ear infection and tonsillitis. We were prepared for me to stay at Gran’s with J Bean while VeeVee attended the wedding without me. Fortunately, a double shot of antibiotics had J Bean on a strong rebound by the next morning and we were ultimately able to continue with our plans to drive down to Pensacola, FL for a couple of friends’ wedding. The trip turned out to be a nice little side show for the holiday visit. The wedding was held in a unique venue, inside a commerce museum with an old time Main Street setup in this hangar-type building. We had a great time at the wedding and going out with friends while we there.
By the time we arrived back at Gran’s my sister, Eska, and her husband, Matt, were in town. We spent almost every night drinking heavily and playing “Apples to Apples” and “Smart-Ass” which are both wildly entertaining (especially when you are drinking heavily). One of the mornings was, of course, Christmas and we shared gifts. J Bean was soon into the swing of unwrapping presents as she recently had practice at her birthday. This time she would often open one side of the present, then toss it aside and inquire about “Mo presents”.  It took about a week to convince J Bean there would be no more days in the immediate future where the agenda would include multiple gifts to be unwrapped. This conversation is similar to attempts to convince a 2-year old that chips and chocolate will not make up a balanced meal; although that pairing will, no doubt, be on the menu when she reaches college. 
We are now back home, and the weather is cold… really cold compared to the faux winter we were enjoying down south. On a side note, we now have Gran “on the computer” with Skype and were able to talk with her via video conference for the first time tonight. Of course, I had to help with click by painful click assistance to get her logged in but after the trial runs we had attempted last week, it went pretty well although the video left a lot to be desired.
A computer in my Mom's house: $199. Internet connection: $59 a month. USB video camera for Mom (aka Gran): $9.99. Seeing her blurry face in 8bit quality as J Bean hugs and kisses the screen: Priceless.