Thursday, November 8, 2012

Handholding (with a strong undercurrent of tension)

I'm not going to lie. On weekend mornings my children turn into insane, sibling-taunting, whining-screaming MANIACS unless they get outside before 9. Here, I have liberated them and they seem to be turning things around, though Olivia's "guidance," not surprisingly, teeters right on the edge of "torment." Judge ye yourself.

Incomprehensible Friend Language

This may go down in history as one of my favorites. Ella, Olivia's partner in crime and across-the-street neighbor, sometimes peeps out the street-side window, spots her friend, and then does some kind of signaling that they have a playdate soon. Here is how Olivia responded. I have no words.

The "Please" Face

Early(er) in his life, I taught Shepard the wrong sign for "please." It involved putting his hand near his face. Later the hand fell away, but the earnest "please' face remained. Here is a mild version of it. I will try to capture a stronger one before he remembers to say the word consistently and then it disappears.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Poet savant, or song memorizer?

Olivia and I were in the kitchen this morning. She was making thank you notes for her birthday presents. She asked me to write this down for her--she wanted to put it in a card for her sweet friend, Luc:

Should I tell you the secret?
I have been floating
Beyond the sky
Like fire.

What do I do with this?? I have emailed her teacher to find out if it is a song, or song snippets. In "Stripes" class at school they learn about God. Is this one of the songs they learn? I am so floored by the beauty of this utterance, it's bordering on agitation.

The beauty. That child. The beauty . . .

Friday, October 5, 2012

Siblings (and babies)

This video captures siblinghood. First, one sibling engages in sweet, meaningful play with parent looking on (and recording) . . . but it turns out, the toy belongs to THE OTHER SIBLING. Olivia's body position, negotiating voice are both impressive. Unfortunately poor Shepard does not prevail in this exchange, even though I think that he was able, with my intervention, to retain Baby.

Olivia and the Beach Donuts

At Dewey Beach, most things come in size L. When we first went there, I had spied The Fractured Prune, but didn't muster enough momentum to get over there to get some donuts. Well, with my trusty assistant in tow, we went to investigate the mysteriously-named shop in our 2012 trip to Dewey. And boy was the payoff . . . large.

Shepard loves "Tats"

Not surprisingly, Shepard loves cats. (Note to self: post link to earlier Earl-tackling videos starring Olivia.) Here, in August of 2012 (at 15 months), Shepard communes with the cat statues around the fountain at Betsy Ross's house in Philadelphia. (Apparently she also loves cats.) Then, in September, upon waking up from a nap, Shepard has a catfest, including the wonderful naming (and naming, and naming) of Cat, and then the [priceless], true-to-life imitation of Bella's meow.

Olivia's Kindergarten Class: "Voiceprint"

Olivia's class records their likes. Olivia is second-to-last in the class lineup. I won't give away what she says she likes doing first . . . and then repeats at the end. But I will tell you I almost cried.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Olivia saves the toadlets

At the beginning of the summer, we went down to the Skukyll Center in the evening time and saved little toadlets, whose hatching ground and maturing ground are separated by a road. It was VERY exciting. They were VERY small.

Hi-yee! (How I know my baby loves me)

I know my baby loves me because every time he sees me he says "HI" so enthusiastically. (What? He's genetically engineered to do that? Oh, shush it.)

Shepard walking, Natural History Museum

I especially like the end, as he heads toward the elk display . . .

Meditation, or "Why??" hands? (You decide.)

I am unclear whether Shepard is engaging in baby meditation, or silently asking the universe, "Why??" Please let me know what you think is happening here.

In the long tradition of Turner fart humor . . .

Behold, the whoopie cushion playground friendship:

Shepard, months 13 and 14 (photos)

These are some of my favorite Shep shots, months 13 and 14. His hobbies right now include seeking out and then enjoying baby-sized seating, eating ice cream, and wrestling with Olivia. Words include "hi," "bye," "cup" (repeats when asked), "no" (does not need prompting). Emerging signs include "thank you" and "more."

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Yet another bath video

Because if you are a parent, you just can't get enough of these . . . (of your own kids, I mean. Not so much of other kids).

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Run Toto, Run!

This video captures Olivia's Dorothy phase (4 years old). We are cooking up a Toto costume for Shepard's second Halloween. Stay tuned.

Twisty Swing

Shepard loves the prospect of being twisty-swung by his idol, Olivia. I, on the other hand, am relegated to referee.

She Walks with Sticks (Angrily)

Olivia was pissed off on the day we went hiking. The incongruence of the fluffy pink tutu makes this priceless.

Sock Bandit Strikes Again

Shepard's favorite pastime, months 6-12: sock banditry.

A Message for Big Kids, Who Ruin Everything with their Gum Chewing Ways

A Scolding Lecture (in the hopes that she will be allowed to chew gum on the way to school once the big kids learn to manage their own gum properly) by Olivia

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Milestone: crawling (10 months)

Operetta inspired by "Seussical"

We went to the performance of Seussical at EA last weekend. Olivia was VERY touched by the epic tale of Horton protecting JoJo and his fellow Whos on their tiny clover. Here, beneath the huge blossoming . . . magnolia, is it? . . . she looks like nothing more than a tiny Who herself. I like the twists and turns the song takes, as well as the admonition for my attempting to join her in song.


I loved bringing Olivia to the swings at our park in SF. Shepard has a very different swinging style--mellow, as you might expect. As far as I know, this is his first swinging experience . . .

The sillies

Olivia had a wonderful hike this Sunday in the Wissahickon. It culminated in this not-so-rare display of intense silly. Or intensilly. Depends how you pronounce it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How I know it's worth it

Like Shepard, I believe strongly that my entering a room should be met with applause. This baby not only shares my vision, but is committed to making it happen. What a guy.

I've come so far

I used to be a germophobe. Actually, I still am a germophobe.
This is Shepard. He's happy.
That's the bath mat.
I'm tired.


If Olivia is motion and talking, Shepard is laughing and cuddling. Here he's catching some zzz's on a Sunday morning (after keeping everyone up for most of the night).

Obligatory eating video

Thar she blows.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Saturday in the snow with Dorothy

For Olivia, the early bird who always catches the worm, seasonal fluctuations make no difference in her flight behaviors. Here is what we did (and more importantly, what she wore) on our outing last Saturday, which began with a lovely snowstorm but turned more rain-like as we made our way out. To the bakery. At 7:30 AM.


This is sure to be a perennial favorite--Shepard's first free-form (no silly baby bathtub) bath. It's open season on splashing. He takes full advantage. This will be just the thing to show at his engagement party!

Mello Yello

Shepard's zen state is remarkable. Aside from needing to hold five things for entertainment while he eats, he just tends to go with the flow, as they say. Here, on the bed on a visit to Grandma's house, he is just about relaxed as he can get. If you care to watch through, you will get a nice explosive dose of personality toward the end, though.

Sock bandit strikes again

This video is only for the most die-hard Shepard enthusiasts. Nothing really happens. It is, however, testimony of a habit I'm sure that we will look back on with fondness: sock banditry. This kid just won't keep 'em on. They are irresistibly delicious, apparently.

"Run Toward Me" (The Game)

This is one of Shepard's favorite games. This is an early version of it, though, created over a month ago, when he was only 7 months old. The laughs right now are much more raucous. I will attempt to capture the current evolution of this riveting pastime.

The picture taker

As the chronicler of my children's escapades, I'm rarely in the pictures myself. Here are two "autoportraits avec bébé," as a Frenchman would say. The first is from December 18th (7 months) and the second is from late January, so you can see what a difference a month makes in a wee babe's life.