31 October 2009

Halloween, Part III

So it's nearly 8 p.m. on Halloween Night and I've only now gotten around to updating Growing Up Kaitlyn. You see, we've been a little busy over here.

First, we had the toga party. We had a great time and, to my amazement, I was one of only a handful who didn't wimp out and wear a T-shirt underneath my toga. Oh yeah, I kept it real. So did wifey, who looked stunning.

Michelle with Joe V., who showed his love for poker with his toga choice

So after a night of hanging with adults and drinking some good libation (not to mention sleeping until 8:30 in the morning -- yea!), it was time for Kaitlyn to get her Halloween on. We made our way over to Nic and Rich's place for some late afternoon pizza and chillaxin' with the kids, plus a short loop around their street for some trickin' and treatin'.

The crew. Don't mess with them -- they're a rough bunch

After a house or two, Kaitlyn got into the flow, which made things a lot easier

We got home and Michelle did a round 'round the neighborhood here, saw some neighbors, took some 100 Grands and Reeses' Peanut Butter Cups for daddy. We're settled in now, which is great because Notre Dame and the Yanks are on, which means picture-in-picture is gonna get some exercise tonight.

Hope everyone had a great Halloween. We know Kaitlyn sure did.

Note: I wrote my Halloween Missive for The Mommies Network, which you can read here. It's about the times when Halloween was more about the kids and the candy.

30 October 2009

Halloween, Part II: Fun with Photoshop

So on most days around this time, one of us would be on our way to pick up Kaitlyn from daycare so that we'd have a little family time before dinner. Maybe go for a walk around the neighborhood. Maybe blow bubbles.

But today, oh glorious day, Kaitlyn is in Mebane. You see, YaYa and Pop-Pop are playing babysitter tonight, leaving Michelle and I on our lonesome to head to a leave-the-rugrats-at-home adults-only Halloween party.

It's a toga party, as if you couldn't tell by the large image to your right. Now, I have a confession to make: I never made it to a toga party in college. Never had a crazy frat at the podunk small college I attended that threw such parties. The nearby university probably had them, but I never went. You see, my reasoning for not toga-ing (?!?) is the same reason I don't feel I'd be the best person to showcase ink: I'm a skinny bitch.

No, really. Like Ichabod Crane skinny. Olive Oyl skinny. I truly am all skin and bone. Not that I haven't tried gaining weight before. Just melts right off me. Don't worry, ladies: I'm a douche, I know. My wife tells me that every time I talk about anything weight-related.

So when it comes to putting some tats on my arm or wearing an outfit that supposedly "showcases" my physique, I usually pass. I mean, I don't like looking at my skinny ass; sure as hell know no one else does. Unfortunately, I don't have a choice. The hosts have laid down the law: No toga, no party.

Therefore, I must attempt to hold my head high and send off the aura that I look friggin' hot in a toga. Image is everything, the saying goes. Granted the person who said that is now saying his hair was fake, but I digress.

So in my head, I'm looking like this:

When we all know I probably look more like this:

Halloween, Part I

One of the great things about Halloween is being able to pass along some of the great traditions that we had as children. You know, decorating pumpkins, TP-ing the neighbors' yards, heading down to Franklin Street in a drunken stupor. Fun stuff like that.

Alas, Kaitlyn is a little young for some of those things. I really don't want her playing with knives yet, her arm isn't accurate or strong enough (yet) to get the roll over the branches and I've already told her she's got to wait until 14 to grab daddy's beer.

But trick-or-treating is our cup of tea. Walk around asking people for candy while dressed up in funny outfits? Dude, right up her alley.

The holiday has started a day early, as the daycare is celebrating with parties and door-to-door trick-or-treating. The kids looked great, even if Kaitlyn had to wear the same outfit as last year. She's too big for 24 month outfits and 2Ts are a little loose (my little fatty is actually losing that baby gut, which is kinda cool/sad all wrapped into one).

Plus, daddy got a little lazy, as we stated in an earlier post. We'll have updates and photos throughout the weekend regarding all the festivities, especially tonight's toga throwdown with the kickball crew. Photos for that one might be in short supply.

We highly recommend NOT turning off Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
while attempting to dress your child for Halloween

Okay, fill the bag and nobody will get harmed

Our teacher, Miss Donna, as a convincing pirate

Kaitlyn enjoying the spoils of her trick-or-treating

29 October 2009

Thank you, visitor Number 54

We here at Growing Up Kaitlyn would like to formally thank whoever is credited for page view #54 today, which became the 1,500th page view for this little venture.

Now, being a semi-retired Internet Communications Specialist, 1,500 page views isn't much to write home about. It probably would get you about a nickel on AdSense. But to think that I've actually been doing this for a month and nearly 700 people have made their way to this blog.

Who knows? Maybe someday Growing Up Kaitlyn will turn into a money-making venture. Or maybe it will continue to be a creative outlet and a way that I get to share Kaitlyn with all of you.

Or maybe someday it will turn into a money-making venture. I am semi-retired, you know.

Fun with Photoshop

So we went shopping yesterday to pick up a couple things and Michelle decided that Kaitlyn needed a new hat, one that we could keep at daycare when she goes outside to play.

I'm cool with that, especially considering we shop the sales and pick up such things on the cheap. That's one of the cool things about Michelle. She's a sale shopper. Mind you, she's no Stay-Up-And-Wait-In-Line-On-Black-Friday shopper like myself, but she's darn good.

We made our way to Ross and picked up a new cap for her. And by the way: It's a cap, people. Don't call it a toboggan. A toboggan is a sled. Only backwoods people call it a toboggan.

Anywho, Michelle's selection got me thinking. Plus, I was sort of bored after cleaning the bedroom and giving the dog its medicine. You know, life of the semi-retired:

The cap in question, which leads to ...

Oh yeah, you got served ... by Kaitlyn

In Pictures: Kaitlyn at the NC Zoo

I've been lax on putting these up, but here are some photos of our adventure to the NC Zoo from last weekend, save the elephant happiness. For more pics, head over to Facebook.

The girls (Aunt Kari, Kaitlyn and Michelle) begin their animal adventure

Aunt Kari and Kaitlyn checking out the polar bears

Kaitlyn loves a good water feature

Playing in the bee hive. Notice the MJ-like tongue wag going on

Kaitlyn wasn't in the mood for picture-taking toward the latter portion of the day

28 October 2009

Crying babies = birth control for non-parents

It's not typical for Michelle and I to get a babysitter and go out for an evening. I think I can count on one hand the number of times we asked for such a reprieve from Kaitlyn. Those times we have done so, family and friends have stepped up to the plate so we didn't have to shell out ducats for the privilege of shelling out more ducats.

Friends like Aunt Shannon.

Wonderful Aunt Shannon, one of the first people at the hospital when Kaitlyn was born, who watched Boo for a week only minutes hours days after meeting me and Michelle, who cooks some mean chicken cheese steaks and kindly invites us to dinner. Wonderful Aunt Shannon.

Kaitlyn loves her some Aunt Shannon. Always points out Aunt Shannon's house on walks. Always a hug for Aunt Shannon. One of Kaitlyn's first words was "Dutch," an abbreviated "Dutchess," which is Aunt Shannon's dog.

There was a surprise party last night for one of our neighbors, Kim, who turned 30. We asked Aunt Shannon if she could watch Kaitlyn for a bit so we could make an appearance. Aunt Shannon, always willing to help, said sure. So around 7:30 pm, Aunt Shannon and Dutchess came by.

Okay, before we go any further: Rewind to earlier that same day. I pick up Kaitlyn from daycare. I read her progress report sheet for the day. Little bit of a temperature, but nothing out of the ordinary. Ate great, go figure. Nap Time: 11:55 am - 12:30 pm.

WHA?!?!???! Oh this can't be right, I say to the teacher. Yes, she replies. And she knows this to be correct because at half-past noon when Kaitlyn stirred, she was so loud that she woke the rest of the room up, causing no one to get a true nap time in. When Kaitlyn ain't happy, nobody's happy.

I knew this would lead to one of two scenarios: The first, Kaitlyn would crash early and Aunt Shannon would have the easiest of easy nights. The second, well ...

At 8:30 pm, while at the party, Michelle's phone rings. She picks it up.


I still don't know whether that sound came from Kaitlyn or Aunt Shannon. All I know is party over, time to go. We walk in our front door and there she is: a scared, tired and shaking girl, looking like someone just crushed all her hopes and dreams. Her eyes, so wide and empty. She didn't know what was going on.

And there was Kaitlyn, too.

Apparently our little girl was so tired she had a meltdown, which is Scenario #2. I know I didn't have to tell you that, but I probably should have told Aunt Shannon that. I tried every soothing technique that I know, Aunt Shannon assured us. Nothing.

I take Kaitlyn and lay on the floor, stroking her back to calm her down. She eventually rests her head on my shoulder and falls back asleep in mere minutes. Michelle takes Aunt Shannon and sits on the couch, stroking her back to calm her down. She eventually rests her head on the cushion and lets out a sigh, ready to head home.

Aunt Shannon loves her some Kaitlyn, but this night was a little rough on her. Jokingly, I tell Aunt Shannon she's more than welcome to keep Kaitlyn when Michelle and I go up to New Jersey in the coming weeks. Instead of watching Boo, she can watch Kaitlyn and we'll take the dog with us.

No, she said definitively. That's all the birth control I need right there.

27 October 2009

Baby Einstein doesn't make children actual Einsteins

Kaitlyn loves her some television. Now, we don't plop her down in front of it for hours on end and let it entertain her. But she loves escaping into her Gabba Coma or Tinker Bell-induced psychosis.

One thing she never caught on to was the whole Baby Einstein phenomenon. We got a video or two after recommendations from friends. Gave'em a try, but Kaitlyn never got into them. Okay, so it's not for everybody.

Apparently, Baby Einstein isn't for anybody, at least according to the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which has been on a witch hunt we haven't seen the likes of since Happy, Doc and the bunch went after a certain queen.

Last week, after constant prodding, Disney announced that it would refund anyone who purchased the Baby Einstein babysitters time-wasters DVDs because they, in fact, did not make children geniuses.

"We see it as an acknowledgment by the leading baby video company that baby videos are not educational, and we hope other baby media companies will follow suit by offering refunds,” said Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

I'm all for turning off the TV to spend time with the kids. Do it all the time with Kaitlyn. But most of us grew up with at least a little boob-tube, which didn't rot our brains. It might have made us a little partial to certain products, but that's okay. We played outside and ran off the extra calories.

But let's not turn nothing into something here. If you actually thought purchasing a DVD was going to make your two-year-old a certified genius, you've got bigger problems than a talking sock puppet taking your $15. Besides, there are more pressing matters regarding children's television.

26 October 2009

I know how she feels

I was going to take a day off after yesterday's events. I don't think anyone would argue.

However, while watching some TV at the end of the day, I came across this ad. Too funny.

25 October 2009

The birds, the bees and the elephant's junk

I wasn't supposed to write a blog post this afternoon. It wasn't supposed to be like this.

I was supposed to post a couple of pictures showing everyone what a great time we had at the N.C. Zoo with Aunt Kari. I was supposed to say We had a great time, take a look! and call it a day. Mail it in for today and then go into some more detail tomorrow, getting two posts for the price of one.

We weren't supposed to see six feet worth of elephant happiness.

We were having a great time walking around the zoo. We toured the North America pavilion, checked out some animals. Kaitlyn walked nearly the entire time; no small feat considering the place is 500 acres and has about five miles of trails.

We were about halfway done with the African pavilion when we made it over to the Watani Grasslands, where the elephants hang (pun intended). And boy, oh boy, did this elephant hang.

Michelle and Aunt Kari couldn't stop watching this poor elephant just flapping in the cool fall air, which apparently doesn't affect his "stature" as it does his human counterparts. There the girls stood, for a good three or four minutes, staring intensely. More scared than anything.

Michelle: It's like a train wreck.

Aunt Kari: I know. I can't move my eyes off it.

Aunt Kari: I feel so bad for those female elephants.

Me: You realize their asses are the size of a Buick, right? It's all relative. (Now, I don't know if female elephants like to swing that way, but you get the idea. I'm going to guess that at one of those watering holes a fertile male elephant can find a promiscuous female willing to "give anything a try once.")

Thank goodness Kaitlyn is old enough to know her animals, yet too young to even start recognizing anything that might be, well, off. And no, we did not take a picture, much to the dismay of Aunt Kari. Apparently she wanted a keepsake.

The elephant in question, post-erection

Sweet blog with a sweeter gig

One of the things that Growing Up Kaitlyn has allowed me to do is read some pretty great bloggers. In my previous writing incarnations, I stuck to things like marketers, journalists and the like, since they were of my ilk.

When you venture outside your comfort zone, though, sometimes you find great things. That's why that "Who We Read" section in the right column is there -- because I read them and find them fascinating, and I think you will too.

Well, I've got another I'll pass along. I found pretty*swell while checking out the NC State Fair blog. As I was reading the posts detailing this year's festivities, I came across some posts from the Deep Fried Ambassador. I said to myself, Who is this person and how do I get this job? I mean, eating deep fried foods at state fairs should be my permanent gig. I'm a human trash can, but I still keep my girlish figure.

Anywho, even though the state fair ends today, you can re-live the fun that was vicariously through our state's Deep Fried Ambassador. Photos, videos and written word describe all things state fair, including some of the best concoctions assembled.

24 October 2009

Greensboro cool for kids, but not as cool as Jersey City?

We see a lot of city rankings for a lot of different topics.

There's the most dangerous list (#1: Detroit), the most expensive list (#1 worldwide: Tokyo), the fattest cities (#1: Miami -- really?!?!) and even the ugliest cities (#1: El Paso, TX).

As with most things in life, we give a quick glance at such belittling things, discard their contents and never speak of them again, especially considering the sources. Unless, that is, you're on the list. Then you either puff out your chest and exult in your revelry, or you scream bloody murder and demand a magazine or Web site staff's heads.

This latest list, I really don't know what to make of. You see, the people at Children's Health Magazine decided "to rank 100 noteworthy American cities" to find out which are the best to raise a family. While commendable in theory, the people at Children's Heath Magazine leave a lot to be desired on disclosure.

Now, in fairness, they do tell us their criteria. There were 17 individual studies, reports and statistical comparisons used within three specific categories: Employment, Health and Housing. While the magazine tells us exactly which reports were used to determine these rankings, they don't tell us how they decided to choose the cities themselves.

Now, I am going to guess that the good people at Children's Health Magazine never visited the cities, since they give no synopsis on what they found in each city. They give a very short summary on their #1 choice -- Burlington, Vermont -- but not a word about the other 99 cities.

And some of those cities? You can probably guess those that ranked near the bottom (Detroit, Miami, Cleveland and Las Vegas were all in the bottom 10). Some surprises:

Orlando was ranked 98th out of 100. I'm sure that if you polled children, they would like nothing more than to live in Orlando. Trust me.

Fargo, North Dakota, ranked third out of 100. The magazine's explanation was the same as my reaction: Speechless.

Jersey City, New Jersey ranked 13th and Newark, New Jersey ranked 46th. Now, as someone born and raised in the Garden State, Jersey City and Newark are not the first places I would choose to relocate with the little ones. Granted, they're no Camden. But "Jersey City", "Newark" and "best places" don't deserve to be in the same sentence, unless we're including "cheap hookers" in that sentence, as well.

As for something a little closer to home, Greensboro, North Carolina, came in at Number 61 on this list. I can't really make a solid argument to move the Gate City much higher since I haven't seen the data or visited most of the other cities ahead of us. And I'm no magazine writer who looks at random data and puts a whole bunch of cities through the ringer for gits and shiggles, so I'm not going to bust open an argument.

All I know is that Growing Up Kaitlyn is proud to be based in the Piedmont Triad, even if we do have some of the ugliest men in the nation.

Kaitlyn: Swine-free since October 2009

Okay, okay. I caved.

You might remember that a couple weeks back I discussed the internal debate over whether Kaitlyn should receive the H1N1 flu vaccine.

Since that time, Michelle and I have discussed a lot of things: whether Kaitlyn and I would be making a trip to New Jersey in the coming weeks (not a fan, but might go by default), what the topic of my supposed book should be (I didn't even know I was writing a book), whether the neighbor's newly-painted door looks good (I think yes, Michelle's on the fence).

But one topic that hasn't been broached is the H1N1 vaccine. Until yesterday.

You see, Michelle scheduled an appointment at the county health clinic for Kaitlyn to receive the seasonal flu shot, which I have no problem with her getting. We were sitting in the room with the doc, who then asked what we were there for (Shouldn't they know that already? I mean, it's an appointment). Michelle says, "She needs the seasonal flu shot, and the H1N1 vaccine, I guess."

Whaaaaaaat?!?!? I was sort of perplexed at this turn of events. You see, even though we received some sound medical advice, we never came to a decision. Guess there's no time like the present, huh?

So I told the doc, Listen, you've got to convince me to put this second needle in my daughter. She looked a little stunned I would say this, going against the establishment and all.

I have to say, she really didn't convince me. She mentioned something about kids being more at risk for the virus. She said something about how Kaitlyn might be even more susceptible because of  her history of developing croup.

She then told me that we'd have to bring Kaitlyn back to get a second H1N1 shot because of her age and the fact that children's immune systems aren't fully developed. She said we'd have to come back in a month.

Me: Okay, do we make that appointment now?

Doc: No, you'd just have to call another day.

Michelle: But we only got this appointment because there was a cancellation. The nurse told me on the phone that they didn't have another appointment until November 29 (Footnote: If my math is correct, that's later than a month).

Doc: Oh, well, it doesn't have to be a month.

Me: Well, then why does she need the second shot if it doesn't have to be within the allotted time?

Doc: (Blank stare)

As you can see, not real convincing. Plus, let's remember supply and demand. There's not enough vaccine to go around right now. There's not enough being made. What's to say there will be any when the time comes to get that second shot? I broached that subject with the doc, too. Got the same blank stare.

But Michelle and I looked at each other and knew what we needed to do, even if the doctor was as helpful as these dopes (especially from this past week. Explainer here, here and here). We needed to do this. So, we subjected Kaitlyn to two shots. Thankfully, her thighs are large enough to handle the needles with minimal crying.

So Kaitlyn, hopefully, will be swine-free. Save the occasional bacon. We love bacon.

23 October 2009

Growing Up Kaitlyn in syndication

Some of you might not be aware of this, but Growing Up Kaitlyn reaches the masses here in the Piedmont Triad.

After starting this little blog, I was approached by an old college friend, Becky, after responding to a post on I've known of for quite some times, as Michelle would use the message boards for info during her pregnancy and shortly after when we didn't know what we were doing raising this new addition to our household.

Becky and were looking for writers to update their site's blog, The Mommies Newtork. Now, I'm no mommy, but I figured I needed the creative outlet since I've been semi-retired. Plus, I always have something to say. Just ask Michelle.

So once in a while I send some copy over to TriadMommies for them to upload. The first was an original that you can only find on that blog. The second was my Johnny and the Sprites column, which deserves all the audience it can get, since Disney really shouldn't have pulled the plug on the show.

But besides clicking over to read my stories (which everyone should), I've found some really unique and creative writers on the blog. We all love our children and posts on The Mommies Network proves that.

A third is in their queue for November, which is also an original that you won't find on Growing Up Kaitlyn. So check it out.

22 October 2009

Cognitive Development, aka Watching the wheels turn in Kaitlyn's head

For those of you out there who actually pay attention to this blog, I haven't forgotten about you.

You see, I've actually had some real things going on, like interviews and contract assignments and volunteering (you read that right!). So I've been a little slow on posting new and wonderful things about me, my wife and, of course, Kaitlyn.

I realized I was shirking my blogging responsibilities the other night while watching Kaitlyn watch TV. Watch TV? you say. Why is that? Good question. I'll explain.

You see, prior to the other night, Kaitlyn watching TV was sort of like deer staring into headlights. She would gaze blankly at that big box like she was daddy watching this, this or this (Baywatch, you will never be forgotten). Hence, the Gabba Coma.

But a funny thing has started happening. You see, Kaitlyn has begun to actually understand the things going on in her television shows. The first time I noticed it, she was watching My Friends Tigger & Pooh. Tigger said something, a joke or punchline of some sort, and Kaitlyn started laughing. Laughing.

I couldn't believe it. First I thought, She didn't just do that, did she? Then she did it again a couple moments later, a direct reaction to something that happened on the show.

It doesn't just stop there. While watching Tinker Bell, for example, she will scream at the television "Oh no, Tinker Bell" when the little fairy vixen (yes, I said that. For more details, read here) is in trouble. Same with other TV shows and her favorite characters.

It's not just television. She tips over her snacks. "Oh no. Sorry Mommy." She accidentily hits Boo with a ball. "Uh-oh, sorry Boo-Boo." She jumps on me and lands squarely on the goods, sending me in writhing pain and making Michelle crack up. First, laughter. Then, "Oh No. Sorry Daddy."

It's all quite fascinating (besides getting the goods flattened). I mean, what's next? Taking her to the bus stop? Getting a permit? Selling those God-awful tubes of wrapping paper and tins of cookies? Oh wait, they've already started that. More on that in a future post.

It's all too real sometimes.

21 October 2009

Grooming Tips from Kaitlyn, Part 2

18 October 2009

Kaitlyn's Weekend Update 10/18

We're only halfway through, but this is shaping up to be a very busy weekend for lil' ol' Kaitlyn.

Originally, Kaitlyn was supposed to be spending some Q.T. with YaYa and Pop-pop this weekend. First, there was a wedding down in Myrtle Beach (congrats to Sarah and Stan), but we had to pass on actually attending. Then, Kaitlyn was going to be at the in-laws because Michelle and I were going to run in the Cannonball, a 5k race in Greensboro on Saturday morning.

Plans changed again. I decided not to run, but was going to bring Kaitlyn and root on Mommy as she crossed the finish line. Well, Mommy bailed and didn't race. She's already been put on notice that the Gobbler is in a month and she will be running.

We did wind up heading over to Country Park, however, to cheer on some of our friends who were running the half-marathon. Crazy people. Totally awesome, but crazy.

After a little breakfast with half of the crazy people and a little nappy-nap for Kaitlyn, we headed over to J. Razz and Tazz Farm for Lily's first birthday party. It was a great time, with a corn maze, tractor ride and, above all else, great friends.

16 October 2009

Kaitlyn's Halloween preview

So I was on hiatus for the last couple days, doing important things like contemplating the meaning of life, attempting to cure cancer and, above all, trying to find the answer to that age old question.

As I was brokering a peace accord in the Middle East, I realized that Halloween is right around the corner. I had big plans for Halloween this year, thinking that I could use a creative outlet while semi-retired. I wanted to create Kaitlyn's costume on my own after getting an idea from that bastion of creativity, The Food Network.

However, I realized, shortly after doing some research, that: A) making your own costumes, while truly awesome, are expensive, and B) I really didn't have the energy to do it, especially after solving the country's financial crisis.

I came to the decision after seeing some cheap, yet cute, Halloween costumes at Costco. I mean, for $10, you've got yourself a good looking costume. Fabric for my grandiose plan would have cost me that much. Now, trying to get out of Costco with nothing more than that $10 costume is a whole different story.

Another idea (one I am not fully behind but isn't a bad one) is to use last year's costume since it still fits. Not it-still-fits-like-that-old-pair-of-jeans fits, but actually fits. I'm not a big fan of recycling the same costume, but Michelle is making a strong argument. Who am I to argue?

14 October 2009

Kaitlyn's first publishing deal

We love Kaitlyn's daycare. The feeling is mutual, and not just because they cash our checks.

You see, the women who work at the daycare, Friends Playhouse (by the way -- has the sentence "The men who work at the daycare" ever been written? And not be meant tongue-in-cheek? I digress ... ), think Kaitlyn is hilarious. when we walk in, there's always a "Kaitlyn did _________" or "Kaitlyn said ___________" moment they're all too willing to share.

It's a good thing. You don't want the daycare women thinking your child is the one they don't want to deal with when they walk in to work that day. And in the same vein, you don't want to be the parents the daycare hates dealing with. It's not good for you, it's not good for the daycare and it certainly is not good for the child.

One of the things I love about Friends Playhouse is the amount of time they spend doing projects with the children. Now that Kaitlyn's at an age where she enjoys a good project (building blocks, unfolding the laundry we just folded, coloring the floor/table/dog), it's really cool to see the things they're doing.

Just the other day, Kaitlyn came home with her first book, an autobiography titled "All About Me" by Kaitlyn Moffit (Yes, that's how they spelled it. Guess they don't look at those checks too closely).

In her book, it describes everything about Kaitlyn: her birthday (January 13, for those who like to shop early), her pet's name (Boo), her favorite places to go (the playground and the pool) and her favorite toys (riding toys, baby strollers and baby dolls).

Also included are her favorite foods (fruit, ice cream, pancakes, cheese, eggs). Mind you, most of the other children in class had one or two things on their "favorite foods" list. My daughter had five, and it wasn't a complete list.

However, there are some things that this autobiography didn't explore. I mean, who writes an autobiography that tells the whole truth? So, here is an unabridged version of Kaitlyn Moffat (or Moffit, your choice):

Favorite activity at home (inside): Flipping the light switch on. Then off. Then on. Then off. Then on again. Then off again.

Favorite activity at home (outside): Going for walks, which usual entail picking up every weed and saying "flower," taking trash can lids back to their respective receptacles and wondering whether dog poop is a rock.

Favorite snack: Cheerios, Frosted Mini Wheats, Goldfish, cheese, English muffins with butter, applesauce, peaches, banana, Ramen noodle (All one snack)

Most commonly used phrases: "No", "No Daddy", "No Mommy", "Silly puppy", "Juice please", "Snack please", "Milk please" and "No" again. (At least she's polite).

13 October 2009

Don't Upset YaYa

Apparently, I've created a stir.

You see, my mother-in-law took exception to one of my blog posts. In my defense, it wasn't meant as a pot-shot; I thought it was a pretty funny anecdote. She didn't see it that way.

So, to make it up to YaYa and show her how much I appreciate her, here is a list of things that make my mother-in-law special. Note: This is not an all-encompassing list, as my mother-in-law does so many things so well that they can't all be listed in this short space.
  1. She is a great artist.
  2. She makes a mean meatloaf, among the many home-cooked meals that she does wonderfully.
  3. She's always there to provide support to my beautiful, smart, funny (did I mention beautiful? You know where she gets it, YaYa) and considerate wife.
  4. She hosts great parties.
  5. She's always willing to help with Kaitlyn.
  6. She's a fashionista. Blue pants and a white shirt will never go out of style in my book.  
  7. She might not hit the ball 300 yards, but she's fun to play golf with.
  8. She lets the guys watch football each Sunday and doesn't complain, no matter how loud they yell at the television when the Jets give up a touchdown.
So thank you, YaYa, for all you do. And so others don't make the same mistake I have so egregiously made, I provide you with this little lesson:

"Pee-pee on potty"

That's the chant I've heard the last two days we've picked Kaitlyn up from daycare.

"Pee-pee on potty!"

Our little girl -- and yes, she is no longer a toddler, our baby or any other cutesie name. She is a little girl -- is doing a great job on the can at daycare.

Now, she's never been shy about sitting her tookus on the potty. Actually, she relishes those moments when she can sit on the potty and read her book, listen to music or just be naked. She's getting more and more like daddy every day.

Michelle has always called our child a genius. When she started standing and wobbling on her feet at 10 months, Michelle was ready to enroll her in Duke. After she began reading words back to us from Hop on Pop, she elevated Kaitlyn to Princeton-status. Her first successful potty trip? Kaitlyn's a Rhodes Scholar in waiting.

I haven't taken a sip from the genius Kool-Aid. Yeah, she's smart. I think that's more a product of working with her and a child's natural curiosity. I try to diffuse the Einstein talk by pointing out other things, like why does my daughter only pee at daycare and not at home? How does she not realize that we still want to sleep at 6:30 in the morning on weekends? Why is she fascinated by a giant orange Tic Tac?

Don't get me wrong -- I'm tremendously proud of all my daughter's accomplishments. I enjoy watching her grow up and learn all of these things, even if it means my little girl is becoming, well, a little girl.

She just better not come asking for the car keys anytime soon.

11 October 2009

Grooming Tips from Kaitlyn, Part 1

10 October 2009

Kaitlyn at the crack of dawn

If you're reading this, then I am sorry.

It means you're awake on a Saturday morning before dawn, a time reserved for restful dreams. It means you're either: a) sick; b) protecting the rest of us; or c) with a child who doesn't understand sleeping in.

The mornings with Kaitlyn are some of the best times of the day. She wakes up calling our names and -- when one of us finally arrives after fumbling around half asleep trying to avoid inanimate objects -- lifts her arms toward us. She rests her head on our shoulder as we carry her into bed with us, just for a moment, and she gives big hugs and kisses.

I only wish she would do it at 8:30 a.m.

She regularly stirs between 6 and 6:30 a.m., weekday or weekend. We stopped setting alarm clocks because she is so regular. She doesn't go back to bed, either; hasn't since she was only a couple months old. When she's up, she's up until nap time (a long, long, long five-plus hours away from when she wakey-wakeys).

In the summer, this wasn't so bad. The sun began rising before Kaitlyn, so at least you could "start your day" or something. Now, as the crisp morning air replaces the warm sunlight, it's getting a little tougher. A lighter shade of darkness creeps into your eyes when they open.

"Daddy, Daddy."

You instinctively want to close your eyes again, thinking it was all a dream. You see the streetlights still beaming brightly and reflecting off the cars. You want to rest your head back on that pillow and curl up, the brisk air coming through the windows.

"Daddy, Daddy."

You realize the battle is futile, so you rise and stumble without hitting a dresser, tripping over a pair of shoes or stubbing your toe on the previous day's random toy sitting in the path between the bed and the nursery.

But then it all fades. You realize (again) this is one of the best times of the day. So I sit here now, the clock just passing 7 a.m. and Winnie the Pooh captivating my daughter while I write and prepare my coffee. There's only on thing on my mind:

Where the heck is Michelle? Oh yeah, sleeping and dreaming those restful dreams.

08 October 2009

Bubbles are a cure-all

Thanks to everyone who's been asking about Kaitlyn's health. She's been sick, on and off, for the last few weeks, but she's doing better and is even back in daycare part time.

But on Tuesday we had a little daddy-daughter downtime and, luckily, the weather was awesome. So we went on a little walk and then came back to the house for a little bubble time. If there's anything that cures all ills in children, it just might be bubbles.

Kaitlyn loves her some bubbles. Hell, even I love doing it with her. But Kaitlyn, she loves bubbles. Loves blowing them. Loves chasing them. Hell, she even loves eating them. The video explains that:

07 October 2009

Fatherhood is a grind

Dentists suck.

Not like any of this is breaking news, with their flossing and braces and root canals and all. Dentists, in general, just plain suck. And if you are a dentist, don't take it personally. Take solace in the fact that for working on people's teeth, you're driving this, this or this, all while I'm driving this.

Anywho, I make my way over to Dr. C on Monday morning to get the twice-a-year song-and-dance ("Floss more, brush the backs better, why didn't your parents get you braces for those God-awful bottom teeth when you were younger?").

Sidebar: Dental assistant? Really? That's worse than flight attendant. No more. It's tooth nurse from now on. I own the copyright. Just like Gabba Coma. Moving on.

So the tooth nurse is checking (what else) my teeth and she says, "Do you grind your teeth?"

"No, why? Does it look like I grind my teeth?"

"Well, you know your teeth normally have a point to them, like a mountain range. Yours are flat. Actually, in the back they're a little inward, like a canyon."

Wait, it gets better. Apparently, I have been grinding my teeth so much that it has cracked the fillings on one side of my mouth. Plus, the enamel on the opposite side of my mouth is cracking because of this apparent grinding. Then Dr. C comes in to take a look and informs me that my, as a result of the grinding, I have been polishing my own filling to a nice shine.

I never knew I did this. Michelle never had a clue, but maybe that was thanks to the Ambien. I'm guessing it's stress-related, considering we have been a one-income family for the last five months and I'm getting more rejections than a fat girl come prom time.

So now I wait for the insurance company to tell me how much I get to shell out for a mouthpiece. If I have my choice, I'm going with something a little different.

06 October 2009

Flu Vaccines: Needed medical treatment or Doctors' sick joke?

I really wasn't going to get in on this debate and all, but couldn't help but look up the research on kids and flu vaccines after reading a post from good ol' Becky over at TriadMommies.

Now, my response was more humorous than genuine, but it still got me thinking: Should I push a second needle into my daughter? Kaitlyn got the flu shot last year and will likely get it again this year (that "likely" part is sure to stir some debate in the Moffat house, but oh well).

But the H1N1 flu vaccine has been a topic of discussion in our household for quite some time. My wife has always been one to err on the side of medical advice, sound or otherwise. I, on the other hand, have always been one to let things pass. I get a cold and take some OJ and let it run its course. Michelle gets a cold and wants something to cure it immediately. Or else.

But when it comes to Kaitlyn, we've always been a pretty good team. I don't remember what my parents did for me when I was her age, so I only have their advice and stories to go by. But that would mean taking advice from my parents, and I can't give them the satisfaction. Same with Michelle's parents; her mother actually let one child sit at home with a broken arm so she could finish a soap opera. No joke.

So we have to trust the doctor. And I have to say, we have a great practice where we bring Kaitlyn and trust the doctors there. And then there's the research. And the stories. And the assurances from the government. And the blogosphere.

The more and more I read, the more and more I think it's safe. But there's still that little part of me that doesn't trust what I'm reading, since this is a brand new vaccine for a brand new disease. So I ask, what's more dangerous: the more combative version of the flu, or the drugs they're putting into you and your child?

I really don't know the answer to that question. I guess more reading and research for me. Note: It's stories like this, though, that really piss me off and turn me off from getting a shot on principle.

For your viewing pleasure, the government's argument for the vaccine:

05 October 2009

Bring back Johnny and the Sprites!

Before the Gabba Coma, there was Nonny.

"Johnny and the Sprites" was a Playhouse Disney television series that ran for two seasons. It was Kaitlyn's first foray into the world of Disney, her initiation to becoming a Disney Girl.

You see, there used to be joy in our house each morning, as Kaitlyn would stir around 6 a.m., which was our cue to get ready for the day. The only thing that would soothe our daughter while we showered and changed was the humming of John Tartaglia, Basil, Lily, Ginger and Root.

The first time we saw this show, I was surprised to find my wife laughing hysterically at the lyric "I just need an hour/with this cauliflower" being sung by the character Seymour (Episode title: Seymour the Sleuth, original air date: Feb. 2007. You're welcome, honey). That morning began a love affair for Kaitlyn with Johnny (or "Nonny," as he is known in our house) and his band of magical friends.

We watched the show every day, mostly because it was the only thing Kaitlyn wanted to do. Some of her first words were the characters on the show. When we were able to get our hands on a copy of the show's DVD, we had it on replay. When we found a soundtrack, we couldn't stop playing it out of fear of a tantrum. To this day Kaitlyn claps and cheers "yea Nonny" after each song.

We started DVR-ing episodes to have, just in case she wanted to watch Nonny sometime in the evening, or if she wasn't feeling well. We emptied the DVR of all but one episode sometime in the fall of 2008. A week later, Disney pulled the show from its Playhouse Disney rotation. Nonny was given the ax. We weren't given an explanation. No press release. Just some parents like me asking, "Why?"

The Sprite puppets probably are sitting in a warehouse somewhere on a backlot under the remains of a Fraggle. Tartaglia is now off on Broadway playing a wooden boy.

But life goes on in our house. The DVR-ed episode (Johnny's Not Invited/Basil and the Beanstalk) can now be recited word-for-word by me and my wife. We know the words to the CD like it was August and Everything After. Kaitlyn, while moving on to Mickey, Dora and others, still comes back to Nonny every so often. But it's not enough.

For those of you out there who understand this, are fans of Johnny and the Sprites, or just want to make my little girl happy, I have started an online petition asking the Big Mouse to bring Nonny back. At the every least, give me a way to watch old episodes with my daughter. Even if I have to pay for a damn DVD of the two seasons I was able to enjoy.

For your viewing pleasure:

04 October 2009

Unfortunately, I can't blame Michael Moore for this Sick-O

So I've got a sick child. Again.

About two weeks ago, we had Kaitlyn in the hospital with croup. Normally not an illness that gets you admitted to a pediatric ward bed, but for us it did. For two nights.

Then, after a week of good health, Kaitlyn came home early from daycare on Friday with a little fever. Nothing major, but even the smallest fever these days sets off an alarm at our daycare louder than a Metallica concert. Something about a sick pig or something.

By the time Saturday night hit, we had a 21-month-old with a five-alarm fire in her forehead. And the snot. She was all-out sick. By the way, you're welcome for that little trip down memory lane.

After a not-so-pleasant night sleeping with the wife, the daughter and the dog, leaving me with all one-eighth of the queen bed, we were able to squeeze an appointment into the doc's office on Sunday afternoon.

The long and short, Kaitlyn's sick. Shocker there. But then the doctor began devising a plan to combat the illness, one that involved a combination of OTCs and prescription meds that would make some people very jealous.

So here we are, Monday morning. After a rough early part of the morning, we're running around like we're Usain Bolt. Guess the drug cocktail is working.

03 October 2009

Manny is more Handy than we thought

We're very fortunate that Kaitlyn has never been a picky eater. She's no Takeru Kobayashi, but given time she will eat you out of house and home.

So some days we have to give a little encouragement to keep the feeding process moving. Sometimes it's as simple as bribing her with treats, other times we have to be a bit more stern. Just kidding, we save that for people who really deserve it.

This time, though, we had to bring in the big guns. So while daddy was off winning the long drive competition during a United Way captain's choice tournament, mommy was using her uber-smarts to get Kaitlyn to have lunch:

02 October 2009

It could also stand for "A Happy Aqua Date"

Thursday night was Michelle's big night. For months, her and her co-organizer Laura Mrosla had been planning, organizing and, finally, preparing for AHAD, or Adolescent Health Advocacy Day. You can read more about the actual project here.

Basically, this is big for Michelle and her program because it brings local elected officials, public health advocates and others to one big room and provides a showcase for her kids. She puts a lot of work into it and she does good work. And yes, I would have said that even if she didn't read this blog (but I know where my bread is buttered).

So anywho, Kaitlyn and I decided to head on down to where the event was held a show support for mommy. Now, I knew Kaitlyn wouldn't sit still, but I figured she'd give a "Yea Mommy" shout-out when Michelle was announced.

However, Kaitlyn had other ideas, as you will see:

01 October 2009

Nick Jr. encroaching on my Disney daughter

It used to be so simple.

You see, Kaitlyn was always a Disney Girl. Was always going to be one. We had the Disney bloodline -- my parents always brought us to WDW, have Disney timeshare, even had a Mickey Mouse clock in our family room that took up two-thirds of the wall space. Hell, my sister got married at the Grand Floridian and the wedding pics had Cinderella's Castle and the damn monorail in the background.

We're a Disney family. Always have been, always will be. And so I thought with Kaitlyn. Early on, things were simple. Kaitlyn loved her some Mouse. She would point out characters in the books we would read. She'd drop her jaw at Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Darby and everyone else in the Hundred Acre Woods.

I got Michelle to cave and we brought Kaitlyn to Disney earlier this year, well before the mandatory "She's got to be out of diapers and able to walk the whole damn park on her own" timeline she had originally set forth. Even got Kaitlyn into that new Tinker Bell storyline, which I just don't buy (and when did Disney decided to make Tink a Playboy Bunny, anyway?).

But now things are changing. Minnie is being replaced by Dora, Goofy by Diego. Handy Manny is getting brushed aside for The Wonder Pets. I won't even mention The Gabba Coma. Nothing against Nick Jr., which is quite a good channel. But Moose can't hold a candle to the Icon, nor will I let him.

Mark my words: Kaitlyn will remain a Disney Girl. Sure, I'll let her indulge in DJ Lance for a little while longer, but soon enough the princesses will come calling. And she'll be back to her roots. Her Disney roots.

Fatherhood is a priviledge, people

I like a beer as much as the next guy. Hell, I had five of them Wednesday night. But I was also smart enough to let my wife drive home and was damn sure not to sleep on top of my daughter.

Daniel Clark doesn't seem to be that smart. You see, Mr. Dumbass was apparently so strung out on alcohol and/or smack that he rolled on top of his 10-month old daughter and suffocated her. The 25-year old has been charged with nothing more than negligent child abuse because, as the local sheriff's department spokesman says, "there was no direct intent."

Mr. Dumbass is sitting in jail right now, most likely because he cannot post the $200k bail with his high school diploma and bank account-depleting crack habit. Here's hoping that Mr. Dumbass stays in jail for a long, long time.