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No Gold Star?

October 27, 2010 Leave a comment

On Monday night I was feeling particularly generous when we got home and I let the boys have some of the mound of candy they got at the parade the day before.  After dinner, I let them pick a small piece of candy like a tootsie roll.  Since they were so good, I let them have a little more a little while later.

Just before bed, Benjamin comes over with a sheet of stickers and says, “Papa, you have been a good daddy tonight.”

He then pulled off one sticker and put it on my shirt and said, “Thats for letting us have candy when we get home.”

He then pulls another one off the sheet and says, “That’s for giving us candy after dinner.”  He put that one on my shirt.

Then he hands me the rest of the stickers and tells me to pick one for letting them have candy a third time.

(He got more candy after that.)

Categories: Benjamin Quotes

Ooh, Nice!

October 15, 2010 1 comment

We were walking around the mall one day when Matthew kept imploring me to carry him.  By implore, I mean he would stand in front of me with his hands raised in such a way that I couldn’t move without knocking him over (he may not talk much, but he’s smart).  So, I gave in and picked him up.  He immediately put his chin on my shoulder and said, with a big smile, “This is nice!”

And “nice” has become one of his favorite words and his use of it has become very diversified.  Such as when he gets snuggled (“This is nice!”) or when he came in and saw the new furniture (“Oooh, nice”) or when I told him the playset was ready to be played on (“NICE!!”).

Categories: Matthew Quotes

Deciphering Their Words Part II

October 9, 2010 Leave a comment

A couple of weeks I did a little quiz on the words and phrases Matthew and Benjamin use and have used in the past.  So, here are the stories behind the words.

Bading Doop: Matthew continues to struggle with more complex sound combinations that include “s” and “th”.  This leads to “bathing suit” becoming “bading doop” and just about the cutest thing I have ever heard.  During the past summer, it became sort of a game to bait Matthew into saying “bading doop”, with even Ben getting in on it.  Of course, “Super Stars” (his class in school) becomes “Dooper Dars” among others.  I think I’ll miss it when he figures things out.

One-Yun: We have no idea where this came from, but for some reason, Benjamin really struggled with this word.  His first words came pretty quickly and he mastered a lot of words pretty easily.  Especially animals.  However, “lion” was not one of them.  Lion evolved over time, but for a long time, it was “one-yun”.

Nana: This was a bit of a trick question…”Nana” became Matthews word for everything when he was about 18 months old, and especially banana and blanket.  I think the reason is that, because he was delayed in talking, when he one day blurted out “nana” and pointed at a banana, we got super excited.  So, I think he began to use it for everything to get the response.  Eventually he started using the proper words, but for some reason, his blanket is still his nana.

Boo-Boos: When Benjamin was about a year old, he dropped something on his toes and I asked him if he got a boo-boo on his toes.  Well, he thought “boo-boos” were the words for toes and for a long time referred to his toes as his boo-boos.

My Doon: Not much explanation here, except it was another cute Matthew phrase.  He used this to express when it was his turn.  For some reason, it also reminds of another phrase he uses all the time, “tuse me”.  He’ll use that in place of “excuse me” to get our attention.

Ka-Venus: Again, Benjamin has a great vocabulary and is usually very clear on his words.  However, to this day, he refers to his venus fly trap as his “ka-venus fly trap”.  Even when we pronounce it slowly for him, he keeps putting the “ka” in front of it.  One day, in the car, he say, “Papa, guess what I’m thinking about…I’ll give you a hint, it starts with “ka, ka, ka…”  (That reminds me, I haven’t seen that since we moved…I hope he doesn’t realize it’s gone before we find it.)

Moving Out, Moving On, Looking Back

October 4, 2010 Leave a comment

I was suffering from a vicious tooth ache when we signed the lease on our old house almost six years ago, just before Thanksgiving of 2004.  I’m not sure why that is important here, but it seems appropriate and I think it’s because it’s really the last thing I have really strong memories of prior to the day, about two weeks later, I found out I was going to be a father.  (Okay, that’s not true.  The last really strong memory I have from before we found out was of sitting on the couch in our apartment in North Plainfield, NJ surrounded by boxes on a Sunday morning in December when Andrea walked in with a strange look on her face and said, “Remember that test I took this morning…”)

When we signed the lease to rent the house, we had done so hoping it would be the place where we would start our family.  We didn’t know then that it had already started.  We had taken Edgar, our bulldog, with us because our landlord wanted to meet him and she ended up playing with him as we signed the papers.  (There would be a weird symmetry in the fact that just over a year later, she would be playing with baby Benjamin at the settlement as we bought the house from her.)

And that was the first memory I have of that house.  A nasty toothache.  Our landlord playing with our hyper dog.  And hope of starting our family.  Nearly six years later, that house and that neighborhood are so full of memories, that everywhere I looked, I saw reflections of a scared couple becoming confident parents and tiny babies becoming little boys.  The laughter and even the tears echo throughout the house.

The house itself transformed as our family transformed.  It seems that one moment I was walking up and down the stairs trying to calm a colic Benjamin and the next moment, I was watching them come down the stairs, faces all lit up on Christmas morning.  In the kitchen I have such vivid memories of putting together the gingerbread cradle that I would use as a prop to tell my family our good news, but added to that is the memory of the step stool that was constantly moving around the kitchen so that the boys could see what we were doing or “help” us cook.  I spent hours and days in the basement building an armoire that could serve as a changing table at first and then as a dresser for tiny clothes later.  Hours and days were spent much later, transforming the basement itself into a playroom.

Andrea and I had bought this turtle toy very early on that had numbers on his back and when he rolled, he would go “bump-a-bump-bump” in a slow turtly voice.   Almost as soon as we moved in to the house, he was placed on a night stand along with a lamp in what would be Benjamin’s nursery.  I can still picture it sitting there, even as the room went from a nursery to a little boy’s room to a room shared by a pair of brothers.

Even the neighborhood is filled with memories.

The house wasn’t always a place of joy.  In those late nights, early on with a fussy, crying colic baby, my worst fears as a father would haunt me in the darkness.  As his cries echoed in the nursery, I wondered if I was cut out to be a father.  In the dining room, he screamed on the floor I had placed him as I buried my face in the couch, crying myself, wondering if God would grant me the patience.

However, I will always remember that house with bittersweet love.  It was the house Benjamin took his first steps and Matthew would say his first words.  It is where the four of us would share knock-knock jokes and start a family tradition of movie night.  It was that “wittle wed house in Bethlehem” where those two little boys would become each others best friend and brothers.  It is where I would learn that, yes, I could be a good father as God did give me the patience.

It was with great sadness, combined with excitement, that we left that house and I think I will alw

ays miss it.  The memories associated with it seem endless.  However, now we are in our new house, and, already, the memories are starting to pile up as I look forward to many, many more here.

Postscript: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Edgar.  I can’t think of the old house without thinking about our first little one.  In the almost nine months before Benjamin came along, he filled that house and owned that house.  He would love playing in the backyard or sneaking up to our room during the day for a nap.  When Benjamin came along, he would put up with the baby tugging at his ears and climbing on him, almost as if he was part of the house.  And, it was out that back door that I would send him one rainy day, six days after Matthew was born, and it would be the last time we would see Edgar alive.

Postscript #2: It is interesting as we unpack boxes how pictures and items and memories mix together.  How a baby toy can be found in the same box as a notebook from college.  Or how a picture of Andrea in Spain, just before we met is in the same box as a picture of Benjamin next to Edgar.  Or how media guides I worked on when working with the Orioles are stacked on top of baby books…It’s almost like past versions of our lives are time traveling to meet other versions.

Categories: Growing Up, Observations