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[The Scene:] Yesterday, Calvin had a play date that kept him out until almost 5:30, which around here is actually nighttime this time of the year. As he was coming home we were in the middle of the third snow flurry of the year.

He comes in the door yelling, "Papa, come outside with me and see! It's SO BEAUTIFUL!"

So how do you resist that? I throw on a coat, hat, gloves, and walk out the back porch door. I don't see him at first, then from my right he says "Come stand right here, this is the good spot."

He's backed up to the garage doors, looking up at an angle. The moon is about 80% full and is only slightly occluded behind thin clouds. With the lake so close we get a steady but unpredictable wind that flows (sometimes, it howls) around the house and creates all manner of swirling eddies. Tonight it is spilling around both sides of the garage and as the snow falls through the pale moonlight, it spirals to earth in tight rings, the ones to our left turning one way, to our right turning the other. Tiny snowflakes fall straight down but the bigger ones are all spinning around and colliding. Calvin is almost reverent. "See? It's beautiful."

I stick my tongue out. Calvin mimics me and starts laughing, running around chasing the bigger snowflakes and cracking himself up. I hear a small whine and look down, and Ellie is wagging furiously with her ears pulled back in that "OH PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE" way. It occurs to me that we haven't really been outside with her in a few days and she must have a severe case of doggie cabin fever. So I reach into the porch and grab her frisbee. As soon as she sees me holding it, she turns into crazy dog, running madly in circles, digging her nose into the snow to throw it into the air. She comes back and sits without my asking, a huge grin on her face. We don't play fetch. We play, Throw->Chase the dog->clever subterfuge to make her drop the preferred toy and chase a stick or something->repeat. This is slightly more exciting than usual in the icy dark but somehow we all keep our feet and run madly about for 15 minutes or so. Right about the time I am getting winded, the snow pauses for a second and A. calls for dinner. Just so.
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Today was a busy and eventful day for Calvin:
1. After breakfast, he walked to the playground at the town beach, about a 50 yard stroll along the road through the single lane covered bridge. On the way, I saw him stop, step aside, and wave to the truck he let pass, before dashing off towards the monkey bars.
2. He saw a dead toad with its brains all kerflooey at the playground, so he had to run back and tell everyone about it. Rose insisted on seeing it, and we let Calvin and Rose go off on their toad-spotting adventure alone. They returned with a jogger/neighbor in tow, having made friends along the way back. I think the neighbor was worried about them, but we made introductions all proper like and let her know that the excursion was approved, nay, encouraged. Then Ellie came out to meet the neighbor and we spent the next 20 minutes corralling her.
3. He got a new bike, 6 speeds with no coaster brake, which he proceeded to ride quite a bit out of sight and back a few times.
and 4. most momentously, he jumped off the beach dock with a life-jacket and mask on, swam the 20 yards to the floating dock and back a few times, and THEN decided to shed his mask, life-jacket, and water shoes and strike out swimming for the dock for real. He ran out of juice about halfway there and I had to tow him there and back, but the gumption to start out in the first place is the bit that had been lacking throughout his recent swim lessons. A little more practice and I'll finally feel a little more at ease with him in the water.

There was also much fairy house building with Nina, and a canoe ride/fishing trip (Calvin rode, Nina and I fished but no luck). Now, he sleeps a deep, DEEP sleep :)
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So it's a little too early in the day to break a new set of glowsticks for the kiddies, so I put on Joan Jett.

No, wait, work with me here a minute.

So I put on Joan Jett, or rather I put on Calvin's iPod playlist, to which I have just added Joan Jett, and because the iPod shuffle algorithm is shadowy and mysterious, it pulls out "I Love Rock and Roll" first up. It should here be noted that when A. is away, it gets kind of loud around here.

It takes all of 3 chords before both of the little ones are rocking out in their own way. Calvin is trying to keep his feet in the same place and see how far he can get his hips from his hands without falling over. Rose is hopping around like a frog on all fours and wiggling her butt in the air with no sense of rhythm whatsoever.

Alas, an elbow hits a nose moments later and the spell is broken. But just for a minute there, heart asplode.
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This would all make a great webcomic if there were 50 hours in a day in which to create it... )
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Tonight we added additional characters to the bedtime story routine. As you may recall, we already had:
  • Simon, the brave man (Perhaps a spy. Has gadgets. Smells of old leather).
  • Iceblock, the whale (Baleen. Gigantic migratory route. Occasionally, can fly (a la Dirigible Behemothaur).)
  • George, the monkey (Curious. Always seems to be in some sort of trouble. Midget repellent.)
  • Bobo, the Penguin (Comic relief. Jollier than a bucket of leprechauns. Does not want to return to Hoboken.)
Now we must add:
  • Lucky, the cat (For those occasions requiring a character who can't be bothered to advance the plot).
  • Grit, the cabbage (Somewhat Flumpy (from the heat (from being carried in the brave man's pocket)). Apparently, destined to die/wilt/be consumed in every episode, like Kenny/Poster Nutbag. Bit of a grouch, and his speech is quite muffled (the pocket, again).)
  • Tommy, the youthful but vigilant defender of the garden.
  • Sally, the unfortunately underwritten Mary Sue.
Those last two, whose names are variable but whose roles are fixed, joined the party and have been incorporated into the canon after last night, when Rose brought a tear of joy to my eye by requesting the Slug's tale. I asked, which Slug's tale? and she says "the one where they laugh their slimy laugh, huh-huHHH, huh-huHHH, huh-HUHHH, and keep on eating the juicy lettuces." Who's got two thumbs and a 4 year old who asks for a recitation of Orb samples at bedtime? ME!

A final tip: with 4-6 year olds, apparently, ANY story is hysterical if told in a Mortimer Snerd voice. If you can get three or more Mortimers in the same story, plus maybe a genial wino or something, that's comedy gold. Hence, I now must occasionally tell the tail of the Three Billy Goats Dumb and the Tramp in the Alley.
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Last night, during the "funny stuff" part of bedtime tuck-in, in a fit of brainlock, I ALMOST told Calvin and Rosie the story of Charlie the Unicorn. I recovered in time to tell a story about a different unicorn and a different candy mountain, with no gruesome punchline. but I DID keep the magical leopluradon.

Then we went back to the tales of Bobo the Penguin, Iceblock the Whale, George the Monkey, and Simon the Brave Man. and so to bed.
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Sometime around Halloween, Calvin piped up at dinner and said, "I want to learn how to read." When probed for the source of his sudden interest, he replied that "You need to know how to read to be able to use an iPod!"

The end justifies the means, right? [livejournal.com profile] canetoad pulled out the workbooks we used with Nina and they started working through them at bedtime. Calvin being Calvin, attention-span was an issue, but by the same token his glee at figuring out words and phonics and so forth lit up the room. There was a brief moment of iPod touch lust (over a lava lamp game, actually), but in a subsequent pillow conversation Calvin declared that it was all up to Santa which version he got and he mostly wanted to play his songs over and over again. Shortly thereafter, he read about half of _Go Dog, Go_ to me, including working out about 10 new words all on his own. Santa was satisfied, and Calvin received the same iPod Nano 4g that his father and sister own.

and what did he want to listen to? )
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Calvin shows a remarkable facility for staying up way past his bedtime and playing with glowsticks and other luminescent objects.

Hello, Human Genome Project? Riddle me that.
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"Do you think clams know that this thing inside them is made out of meat?"

awesomeness

Oct. 2nd, 2008 09:33 am
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Calvin has suddenly leapfrogged to that developmental point where the box of legos is a completely blank canvas, not a way to build the thing pictured on the box. Now every day brings a new multifunction space conveyance and its attendant chainsaw-wielding mutant robot spy-fireman.

Pictures to follow.
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Calvin is lost in thought. After some time, he looks at me and says, "Papa, is there such a thing as a man-grabber?"
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from Calvin, while speaking to his cousin Kerri.

Calvin: You know why I was never here before?
Kerri: No Calvin, why?
Calvin: Because I never even EXISTED! I had to be CREATED, then I could come here!

Rock!

Jul. 26th, 2008 03:30 pm
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Calvin and I are clambering around the long stone jetty at Hampton Beach state park. I think it looks like your typical New England style stacked-rock wall built large; he is convinced that they are the broken pieces of asteroids, destroyed by a rocket ship and fallen to Earth. He is relating his theory to everyone who passes us on our journey, whether they inquire or no. We are passed frequently, as the gaps between asteroids are rather larger than a small boy-- even if he IS five-- can navigate without all four limbs and much careful maneuvering.

About halfway out (on this excursion...we made several trips to the asteroid belt today) he decides he's had enough space travel and wants to climb down the side instead, before the tide comes in and renders that path inaccessible. During our descent, this conversation:

Calvin: Everything real is in my mind.
Me: Calvin, there are more than a few things that are NOT real in your mind!
Calvin: Sure! But, every real thing is in my mind. Like this rock here. See? [taps the barnacles with his foot] It's real! and it's in my mind!

All this climbing makes my feet sore, but my heart light.

also

Feb. 11th, 2008 11:42 am
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Calvin calls the thing in the back of his throat his HOOvula. This comes up rather more often than you would at first assume.
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Calvin: "Papa, what are people made of?"

Me (momentarily forgetting that the correct answer is "star stuff"): "Oh, you know, flesh and bone..."

Calvin: "Flesh and bone and blood and Dreamland. Right?"

Me: "...that's absolutely right."

Calvin: "Sometimes the blood comes out, but Dreamland never comes out, right?"

Me: "Very, very rarely."
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[livejournal.com profile] boutell interviewed me. Leave a comment if you want to be interviewed, I'll give you 5 questions, please offer to interview others when you post your responses. Click here for performance news, geekery, music, and more proud-papa gushing than you can stand )
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toddler: n. a mobile humanoid tool user, with many advanced features including a thorough command of spoken language, but no. logic. whatsoever.
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Some time ago (en route to [livejournal.com profile] crisper and [livejournal.com profile] cda's baby shower?), in need of car music we all could handle, I loaded a playlist of Seamus Kennedy songs. I saw Seamus perform at the late lamented Ireland's Own pub in Old Town Alexandria probably 200 times in the early 90's.

Then, after mentioning them in a response to [livejournal.com profile] ilanarama, I put on an old VHS tape of the the King's Singers.

And I remain, as has been noted, a damned dirty hippie.

So this is what we have been singing lately )

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