A conversation about numbers

Picture of my smiling little boy

What you need to know: We’re taking a pretty relaxed approach to potty training. We ask Tyler if he wants to use the potty, and let him decide. If he says he does, we encourage him and help him. We talk to him about pushing his pee-pees and poo-poos into the potty. Sarah’s had a couple positive results, while I’m always left with an empty potty when Tyler decides that he’s done. I made a deal with Sarah (that I won’t detail here) that has her stepping up her potty training game. Tyler says that he doesn’t want to try the potty more than he says he does, so Sarah offers incentive on occasion. In the form of an M&M.

Sarah: Tyler, do you wanna use the potty for one M&M?

Tyler: Two.

He ain’t no fool. Not my boy.

Apple Tree Farm

Super adorable picture of Tyler

I’ve wanted to write this post for a couple weeks, but couldn’t bring myself to do so. Sarah reads to Tyler at least ten times more often than I do. I’d actually put it closer to twenty times more. When Tyler wakes up in the mornings, he wants to read. I’m already at work, so Sarah sits on the floor with Tyler and reads book after book after book, until Tyler decides he’s hungry and must eat right now! They may read ten books one time, or they may read one book ten times. Tyler also enjoys story-time before his nap. And after his nap. And before bedtime. I find it difficult to sit here and complain about reading books over and over again, often to the point of inadvertent memorization – I don’t need to reference any books to tell you that Ichy Ichy Ichabod starts with I, I, I, or that the Three Bears never saw Goldilocks again – when I know that Sarah feels the pain exponentially worse than I do.

But that damned Apple Tree Farm (Farmyard Tales) is driving me bonkers.

Apple Tree Farm chronicles the adventures of a farm family, ran by Mrs. Boot, the farmer. I won’t detail it here, so hop on over to Amazon.com if you’re curious or interested. I admit that the stories are not bad. They aren’t too short and they aren’t too long. Imagine if baby bear had written the stories; they are just right. But when you read about Ted and his runaway tractor for the 10 to the nth degree time, well let’s just say that it starts to get old.

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We have a thick book that contains the entire collection of the Apple Tree Farm stories. It helps that, when Tyler brings the book to us saying “Boot, Boot, Boot”, we can select whichever of Mrs. Boot’s stories we want to read. It doesn’t help that we’ve read every single one of those stories countless times. Countless.

There have been a few occasions where Sarah and I both have said to Tyler, “No thank you Tyler. Let’s pick a different book.” Sometimes, Tyler protests, but he usually just grabs another book. That is precisely what happened a couple weeks ago.

Pulling the blue Apple Tree Farm collection book from Tyler’s hands, Sarah told him to pick out a different book. And he did. He brought us this book instead:

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That’s right… first, he wanted to read The Complete Book of Farmyard Tales. We told him to pick a different book, so he DUG AROUND in his bookshelf and brought us The Little Book of Farmyard Tales, which is the exact same thing, but a little smaller, and with a few less stories.

He’s learning. That little booger is learning.

On Being Absent

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I’m committing a blogger faux paus here by explaining my absence. I guess it isn’t really a faux paus, but maybe more of a pet peeve of mine. I don’t need to visit a blog to see a post that says “I know I haven’t been around, but I promise to post something soon.” That’s akin to calling someone to tell them you have to tell them something and will call back later to do so.

But here I am, getting ready to explain why my blog has fallen dormant for a bit (and why my unread blogs are in the triple digits right now). So, either skip this post, or just buckle in for a couple paragraphs.

I’ve already mentioned that I had some time off work for the holidays. I had a great couple weeks, and really wanted to enjoy the time I had with my family. I didn’t want to sit at the computer and type up a post when I would rather be with the very subject of my blog along with my dear wife. So I didn’t blog.

I snuck a couple posts in after the holidays, but then I was off to sunny Phoenix for a week (work related). I see my co-workers 2 to 4 times a year, and this was one of those times. With meetings, dinners, activities, a super-awesome sixty minute massage, and sleep, the days were packed full. So I didn’t blog.

I’m like 90% of the U.S. population (that’s a statistic I made up to support this post) in that I’ve made a New Year’s resolution to get in shape. So, this past Monday, I started the P90X program. If you don’t know what it is, Google it. What I will say is that it is the most intense workout I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never been in so much pain over my whole body. To accommodate the 75 to 90 minute routines, I’ve had to sacrifice some of my “computer time” in favor of “exercise time”. I’ve also gone to bed a bit earlier this week, because I’ve been dog tired come the end of the day. So, I didn’t blog.

It also turns out that when one doesn’t blog for a while, it’s difficult to get back into the flow of doing so. I love this blog. I love sharing with all of you. It’s a great release for me, and I thoroughly enjoy going through and reading some of my previous entries. I have a terrible memory, so reading my past posts truly allows me to relive the moments. I sometimes wonder if somebody else has the password to my site and rewrites my posts because the author of some of these entries is damn talented! But having, what a consider to be, too long of an absence, my creativity has began hibernating. And waking that beast is a bitch, so I didn’t blog.

But I’ve missed blogging. I’ve missed your blogs. I’m on day 5 of the P90X and can finally move a little bit, so I wanted to get my blog juices flowing. What better way to do that than to write a post explaining where I’ve been?

So, I’m blogging.

Hi

Picture of Tyler and Delilah

I love my son. I swear I do. Every day, I tell myself that I could not possibly love him more than I do at that particular moment. Then the next day, I realize that I love him more than I did the day before.

But he can really annoy the hell out of me sometimes.

Over the holidays, I was off work for two weeks. Sarah and I alternated sleeping in and waking up with Tyler. We spent entire days just lounging around, playing, and relaxing. Interspersed with these times of zen were periods of chaos, which is to be expected during any holiday season. Me being at home gave Sarah the opportunity to have a bit of a break from full-time, non-stop parenting. A break that she needed and deserved. A bit to her chagrin, Tyler also thoroughly enjoyed my sudden availability. On a few occasions that Sarah felt the overwhelming desire to give Tyler a hug, or read him a book, he shunned her in favor of me. So, while I know that she loved having me around, the flash of green that sparked in her eyes a few times did not go unnoticed. Quite the contrary, because I can relate.

My return to work Monday was an adjustment for all of us. Although I talked at length with Tyler about it on Sunday, telling him that I had a great time but that I had to back to work the next day, and although he said “yeah” at all the appropriate moments, signaling that we were on the same page, I get the impression that my eighteen month old little man didn’t fully grasp what I was conveying to him. Maybe I should have just said “Daddy work morrow byebye luh-loo.”

It also didn’t help that, due to both work and treacherous roads/weather conditions, I had to spend a night away from home on my first week back. Tyler hadn’t seen me in forty-five hours after having me at his disposal for two weeks. That’s like 8 months of separation, in toddler-years, right?

When I got home – after six hours of white-knuckled driving, mind you – and had given Tyler my undivided attention for the better part of ninety minutes, I made the mistake of thinking I could talk to my wife for a moment or two. Tyler turned his attention to driving his little police car on his road-rug, so I started to tell “HI” Sarah about “HI” my “HI” long day “HI” when Tyler decided that “HI” he absolutely HAD to “HI” talk to me “HI” again. I tried to “HI” talk over him “HI” and continue my “HI” conversation with “HI” Sarah when I finally “HI” had to “HI” bend to Tyler’s will.

“Hi, Tyler. How are you?”

“Ashdin.”

“Oh, did your truck get into an accident?”

“Yeah! Figgst.” He jumped up and ran to his toybox, returning with a tiny toy wrench.

“Are you going to fix it? Yes, good job, Tyler. You are fixing the truck.”

“Yeah,” he said as he pretended to tighten a bolt on the tire. When he finished, he went back to playing. Me, unable to be the better man, unable to just let things go and attempt to finish my conversation with Sarah, waited until he was well into playing with his car. Then, I decided to poke the sleeping bear.

“HI HI HI HI HI HI HI HI,” I said in my best try-to-be-as-annoying-to-Tyler-as-he-was-to-me voice. It worked, too. He turned to look at me.

“HI,” I said again.

Tyler replied flatly, without even a hint of humor, “Done.”

Why you little shit, I thought. Before I could even make an attempt at a reply, Sarah broke into laughter. I joined her. It was good to be home.