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Dad’s Birthday


So, it was my dad’s birthday today. Not much else to say about that, except that it looks like everyone in the family did OK.

Posted in Journal at 11:52 pm

Journal for 14 July 2009: A Weekend With Mathias


So, it was an interesting weekend. Lisa was down in Madison catching up with her folks, leaving me with our rambunctious little toddler. This was a fact that was both fun and challenging, but on the whole the weekend went well. We spent a lot of time outside biking around the lakes, cooking, shopping at Target, and, uh, painting the kitchen (without Lisa knowing we were doing so).

Generally speaking, I’ve found Mathias is happy whenever he can be doing whatever his mom or dad is doing. In most cases it’s enough just to let him mimic what we’re doing—he had a dry paint brush for much of the painting, for example—but every now and then it’s not enough for him to mimic: he needs to have his hands in whatever Lisa or I happen to be doing. This is most problematic when cooking, but I’ve managed to stop that issue—for now—by giving him a perch or location where he can safely see what’s going on.

In the meantime, we’ve installed a child door on the entrance to the kitchen so we don’t get a repeat of what I found him doing when I got out of the shower on Sunday: He’d pulled one of his little toy chairs up to the stove, climbed up, and disassembled one of the burners to see the “clock” inside. (The metal base of the burners kind of looks like a dial, and Mathias is obsessed with anything that looks the least-bit clock-like.) Later in the day I found him on top of one of the kitchen counters, placing plastic bowls in our toaster oven. I have to give him a little credit. If he’s going for disaster, at least he’s aiming high.

~ ~ ~

If there was an actual train wreck over the weekend, it was dinner on Saturday. I decided for us to try the Tin Fish—an occasionally decent restaurant in a fantastic location that keeps us suckers coming back—and came prepared for the long wait I expected with Cheerios, milk, and other items to keep Mathias distracted. It took about an hour and a half to get dinner, but, regrettably, the distractions stopped working on Mathias at the 1:15 mark. The last 15 minutes before we were served were among the longest the entire weekend. Mathias became chipper again once offered french fries, but he wouldn’t touch his fish chips.

The trip to the Mermaid Car Wash on Monday deserves an honorable mention, I suppose: It turned out the car wash was a bit, uh, advanced for Mathias, and while he definitely enjoyed watching the inner workings of the car wash, he was basically horrified to see our car get pulled through it without us in it. So, not quite the father/son bonding exercise I thought it would be. Maybe a year from now he’ll find it more interesting, and acceptable.

Posted in BabyLog,Journal at 10:17 pm

Enough About MJ


So, I’m pretty much sick and tired of hearing about Michael Jackson, and dread the “human interest stories” about the fate of his kids and his estate that I’m sure we’ll be assaulted with over the coming weeks and months. While I fully recognize that he played a huge part in pop culture history, and essentially acted as an informal ambassador of the United States (right alongside Coca Cola and McDonald’s), I think we’re at the point there are more important things to talk about.

So, CNN, and whoever else is still hammering on the story, for the sake of humanity, please stop.  (Anything new in Iran these days?)

~ ~ ~

One of the reasons I may be a bit more insulated from—and annoyed by—the grief around Jackson’s death is that I never really liked his music that much, and hence never understood what all the fuss was about. I was in grade school when Thriller came out, and despite not liking his music at all, finally relented to some friends’ requests and watched the video on MTV. (We didn’t have cable back then, so I had to watch it at a neighbor’s.) I was pretty unengaged from the start, and then the zombies happened. You know what? I never liked zombies. I wasn’t scared by them or anything, I just thought they were… lame.

And that’s pretty much what I thought about the video. And the album. And those stupid fucking white gloves some of the kids were wearing. I’ve stayed pretty much of that opinion ever since, although I did think it was kind of funny when his hair started on fire, but only because he wasn’t hurt.

So, do I think it’s sad that he died?  Of course.  He had a strange life, and had to put up with a lot of things that no human being should have to deal with, but in those regards was nowhere near being unique.  If anyone’s death should’ve gotten attention over the past week, it should’ve been for the man who’s actions contributed to thousands of lives lost in the Vietnam war, and then potentially saved as many through his work at the World Bank.  But did you hear much about Robert McNamara? Of course not. There was a pop star to talk about.

Posted in News at 11:15 pm

Journal for 7 Jul 2009: Long Weekend


The original plan for the Fourth of July weekend had been to take Mathias on his first camping expedition, but those plans had to be scuttled due to a combination of everyone in the house getting sick—first Mathias, and then his mom and I in rapid succession—as well as the threat of severe weather. (Trying to camp with a toddler is one thing. Trying to camp with him in a thunderstorm is quite another.) We still had a reasonably fun and productive weekend, though, starting with setting up our tent in the sunroom and camping there.

Mathias loved the tent, so we have that going for us. We hope to get him out in the great outdoors before the end of the month.

On Thursday evening, despite coughs coming from each and every family member, we took Mathias out for his first bike ride. We decided not to do the yuppie-bike-trailer thing, instead opting for the more traditional (and harder to find) rear-mounted child seat. Mathias enjoyed it—he gave us a number of “wows” over the course of the ride—although he proved to be extremely fussy about who was riding which bike. The seat was mounted on Lisa’s bike, but Mathias would flip out whenever he saw me riding on my bike. We solved this by me switching to Lisa’s bike—which does not fit me well at all—and that more or less satisfied him, although he flipped out on a couple of occasions when Lisa rode in front or behind of me. (I’ve noticed this is somewhat typical of him these days. When I’m around he likes to be by me, but he always wants his mom in close proximity.) This may turn into one of those things where it’s easier for Lisa or me to do something with Mathias, rather than both of us trying to do something with him. We’ll see.

Our destination that beautiful Thursday evening was the Tin Fish at Lake Calhoun. Once getting there we stood in line for 25 minutes to place our order, only to be told there would then be an additional 30 minute wait for our food. Mathias was way past his regular dinnertime, so we opted for hot dogs, which were ready. They were horrible.

On Saturday we decided to ignore the clouds and sprinkles and head down to the Minnesota Zoo. The poor weather was actually beneficial for us, as it probably would’ve been more difficult to wrangle Mathias if the zoo had been busy. As it was, we spent plenty of time trying to keep him from crawling into the exhibits. Next time we go, he’s going to be on a bungee cord tied to my belt. And we’ll probably avoid the butterfly exhibit.

Mathias Attacking Butterflies at the Minnesota Zoo

Saturday evening brought fireworks at Powderhorn Park, and Mathias up way past his bedtime.

Beyond that, most of the weekend was spent cleaning, and by cleaning, I mean by renting commercial-grade cleaning equipment to try to rid the house of pet dander. It’s not clear how much of an impact all this effort will have, but if all goes well, we hope to have Mathias off of the daily nebulizer treatments by the end of the summer. The nebulizer treatments over the past week have been especially difficult, as Mathias has to go on an additional treatment whenever he’s sick. The additional treatment pushes each neb session to a full half hour—we have to go through two of them every day—and the drug has the side effect of making him extremely hyper. As an added bonus, we’re supposed to give him the second treatment just before bedtime, so getting him down has been a lot of work.

In short, we’re sick of the nebs. I miss my cat, and Lisa misses her pigs, but if we can get Mathias better by not having them in the house, it’ll be worth it.

Wow, this turned into a long entry. I guess I should quit and go do something productive. More later.

Posted in BabyLog,Journal at 10:37 pm

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