Update: Kids and football

It seems I’ve worried my parents by not blogging for a week. Here’s an update on my previous post, Using football to raise a world-wise child.

Our almost entirely TV-free home has been obliterated in the name of watching World Cup games with my 6-year-old daughter.

I bought a sparkly new 40″ TV and subscribed to cable, bundling it with phone and Internet service, and of course a digital video recorder. In short, I went whole-hog back into media. (Yeah, it’s not just for World Cup. Umm, it’s for the Tour de France too!)

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Live blogging a proud moment

As I type, my daughter has a friend over. Our front room is completely occupied by a massive cardboard fort. They are not in it. It’s sunny outside, the temperature is pleasant, and we have two swings hanging from our tree. They are not on them.

They are sitting on a couch in our family room. My 5-year-old daughter is reading her friend a book.

I just told her, “You have a cardboard fort and it’s sunny outside and you want to read a book?”

The two of them look outside, and my daughter says, “We could read in the sun.” Her friend says, “I’ll go put on my shoes.”

The book: Mummies in the Morning from the Magic Tree House series. To their credit (?), they’ve just left the book on an outside table and are swinging now.

A Grinchy T-Shirt

Photo of a baby shirt that contains an image of Santa along with the words: Santa Claus doesn't eixst, but I can't read, so it's okay.

It’s okay as long as you don’t encounter any elementary school-age children. [Available from Zazzle]

Baby GoGo: A doll for boys, and girls

Photo of the Baby GoGo doll with its accompanying book, and a photo of an Asian boy hugging the doll.

Baby GoGo by Little Sib bills itself as “a modern doll appropriate for a boy or a girl to play with.”

At its core, you’re buying a 13-inch gender-neutral doll wearing gender-neutral sleepwear. It comes with a blanket and a picture book titled Baby GoGo Goes Home, for a total suggested retail price of $40. A color-coordinated diaper bag is $25, and a Moses Bed will be available this summer.

As the title indicates, the picture book’s premise is that Baby GoGo was just born and is coming home, perhaps making it well-suited to a child expecting a sibling.

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Two Proud Moments

Photo of Auntie M learning sign language from Big Sister.

Our Auntie M visited this past weekend. She has almost total vision loss, but that didn't stop her from feeling Big Sister's hands to learn how to sign the alphabet and numbers. Here she's learning the number eight. Big Sister has rapidly picked up sign language from a series of DVDs her little brother is watching so that his speech impairment isn't quite so frustrating.

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To rip or not to rip

Last year I wrote a diatribe about my distaste for handwritten inscriptions inside books, and was roundly castigated by just about everyone.

An unusual circumstance presented itself today. A nearly new children’s book I bought at a yard sale contains the following inscription in a child’s handwriting:

Jane Doe! have a nice day!

I’ve changed the girl’s name for this discussion. The writer was presumably a friend, probably a classmate, who wrote a surprise message in the book.

The issue troubling me is that the girl, this 9-year-old girl, died two years ago in a well-known hit-and-run incident in our community. Two scumbags were racing on a highway and one of their vehicles hit a SUV, killing the girl — a twin no less.

My wife worked with the girl’s mother for three years in college, so she had a bit of a reaction when she discovered the handwritten note.

The question I’m pondering is whether to keep the inscription, or to rip the page out (which is easily doable because it’s an otherwise blank page). I have no doubt that this book will go on to have other future owners.

I could make arguments either way, so I’m curious what you think.

Four Gifts for Fathers

Photo of the front page of a spiral bound square book that my daughter has decorated. It reads !Fiesta! con Papa, and contains a drawing of a guitar. Two hands in the middle have the letters C and P on them. Other jagged strips of colored foam fill the page like confetti.

1. Klutz Build a Book: Why I Love My Dad ($12.95)

This gift is one a child gives his or her dad. Above, you see the cover of the book my 5-year-old daughter created last night. She’ll be working on one or two pages at bedtime each evening with her mom this week in preparation for Father’s Day.

She devised this cover on her own, writing “Party for Papa” in Spanish, in part because she attends a language immersion elementary school where she is learning a second language. She knows English obviously, finishing kindergarten testing at a sixth grade reading level. [/brag]

In the center of the cover are two foam hands with initials on them to signify her name and my name (P = Papa). She could have used background sheets contained in the kit to give the book cover a full-color background, but my wife tells me my daughter was quite clear on the point that she has other plans for those backgrounds. She has the whole book mapped out in her mind.

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Father’s Day Revenge

My wife was smiling last week as my daughter told me of the wonderful gift I’m going to receive for Father’s Day. My daughter is going to cut my hair.

I was smiling yesterday as my daughter told her mom about the wonderful gift she is going to receive for her upcoming birthday. My daughter is going to cut Mom’s hair, apply make-up to Mom’s face (having never seen it done before, by the way) and then the whole family is going out for dinner. Yay!

Justin Roberts: The Soundtrack of our Lives

Photo of Justin Roberts on a jungle gym with his guitar.The dilemma I face with children’s musician Justin Roberts comes in the year 2017. My youngest child will be 9-years-old, leaving the 3 to 8 age range of Roberts’ music.

What excuse do I give my kids for my still listening to his music?

Roberts is our family’s favorite children’s musician, no question. We’ve been fortunate to be enjoying a preview of his latest CD due out June 8th, Jungle Gym, an opportunity I looked forward to as much as my 5-year-old daughter.

In the past, I’ve described Roberts as “high energy all-ages guitar pop (with some nice diversity in supporting instruments) that is perfect for creating an impromptu toddler mosh pit in your living room.”

Talking to my daughter, I’ve come to realize with this CD what makes Roberts special.

I asked my her what she likes about track #1, We Go Duck, an upbeat story about a rainy day at school with recess being held indoors. Answer: it strikes a cord with her. Even though her class doesn’t play the Duck, Duck, Goose game referenced in the song, she feels the same level of energy and excitement about school that Roberts conveys.

What does she like about #2, Sleepoverland? She likes having a sleepover too.

What does she like about #3 Trick or Treat? Yep, she loves trick-or-treating.

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Quote of the Day

Photo of a yellow spherical smiley face pinata hanging from a ceiling.At our wedding, we had a pull-string piñata broken open during the ceremony to determine the best man and maid of honor. Aside from confetti, inside the piñata were two severed plastic fingers donning our wedding bands. Whomever among the wedding party found them earned the honor.

We also had a yellow smiley face piñata displayed as one of the room’s decorations. That piñata has hung in our daughter’s room since she was born.

Our 5-year-old daughter’s birthday party is next week and she has requested a piñata. Mom suggested we could use her smiley face piñata.

My daughter protested thusly:

“No! I’m going to take it to college with me. I’m going to have my husband hang it in our bedroom so I can always remember how much I love our family right now.”

My kids’ ugly 20th birthday

A photo of my daughter during her first year of life smiling inset into a computer-generated interpretation of what she will look like in 20 years. It's not pretty.

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Richard Feynman about his father

This 6 minute clip is Richard Feynman talking about how he was educated by his father.

Feynman was, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, an “American theoretical physicist who was widely regarded as the most brilliant, influential, and iconoclastic figure in his field in the post-World War II era.”

In this clip, he talks about sitting on his dad’s lap and being read pages from the Encyclopedia Britannica (and having the information made real for him), the difference between learning human things (such as bird names) versus observing what a bird is doing, and questioning his father about a ball’s movement in a wagon he was pulling.

The quote I honed in on:  “[My father] knew the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.”

Now, we can’t all be stellar at science like Feynman’s father was. But it turns out science was merely his father’s pet interest; the guy made his living as a varied businessman.

Today, parents have the Internet on their side. When my daughter asks me an interesting question, we discuss possible answers before I tell her the most likely answer. If I don’t know or can’t properly explain, we resolve to consult the Internet at our next opportunity. There’s greater opportunity and excitement in learning when your parent doesn’t know everything and the two of you can learn together.

Dyspraxia and a Dead Gopher

Iconic photo of a gopher from a certain 1970s golfing movie.

I apologize. I’m sorry, so sorry, but you’re going to read the grisly details of a gopher’s untimely departure if you want an update on my son’s speech impairment.

You see, a few months ago a pocket gopher discovered my back yard. His telltale mounds of dirt began popping up in the lawn.

First, I tried sonic spikes. Insert a couple ‘D’ batteries, bury the stake in the ground near the perimeter of your house and every few seconds the thing shrieks and vibrates. Milton is supposed to steer clear. Over time, you progressively move the stakes further from your house and drive Milton away.

Sorry, I asked my wife for a cute gopher name and she gave me Milton.

Moving on.

So, what did Milton do? He dug a tunnel straight to one of the spikes and kicked up dirt around it as if to mock me.
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Playing Registered Nurse First Assist

Photo of my daughter playing a game of Operations fully obscured by a surgical mask and cap. She is also wearing surgical gloves as a male nursing student observes her technique.

That’s my daughter partaking in a classic game of Operation in the kindergarten nursing room at her school. My wife organized one of the 75 community groups that visited for a day of exploration.

Students who thought they were playing doctor were informed they were playing Registered Nurse First Assist, a class of nurse that assists with operations. The game was the most popular activity, probably due to the real surgical mask, cap and gloves students got to use and keep. There was also a skull and spinal column craft activity, vitals monitoring using hospital equipment and viewing germs on your hands using special light.

After putting out a general call for volunteers, I noticed only women had signed up, so I asked her to seek out a male role model… who turned out to be a third semester nursing student. It’s an issue I’m keenly aware of because of the fuss mothers make over the two fathers who participate in our Parent-Teacher Organization.

See previously:  Surgery doll: Erwin the Little Patient (for the last photos on the page)

On when to pierce ears

A friend sent me the following e-mail because being a blogger makes me an expert at dispensing sage advice:

I briefly spoke with [your wife] about this today, but I was wondering if it would be an appropriate topic of discussion for your blog. I’ve asked my friends, but am hoping for a slightly broader view, even though I fear your readers may side with my hubby. [Oops, I guess I'm not a friend, just a casual acquaintance, and she wants your sage advice.]

Dilemma: My 4-year-old old daughter, whose first year of preschool has brought many challenges home, wants to get her ears pierced.

Arguments against: She’s only (almost) 4-years-old! She shouldn’t be allowed to decide. It’s giving into peer pressure/societal pressures. She’s only 4! She’s only 4!

Arguments for: She should be allowed to make decisions (if she even goes through with it, which is very likely she won’t) about her own body. The more you oppose something, the more desirable it becomes to those with that personality (which she has), and that this is an acceptable way of expressing herself at this time — being better than nail painting, where the polish remover is basically cancer in a bottle.

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