Friday, January 25, 2013

Sienna "fights"

Sienna has always been a cautious child.

She did not start walking until she spent several months walking on her knees* in an effort to make sure she would be strong and steady enough, she is notorious for having spent a large portion of her life in day care sitting in a high chair watching everyone until she was able to move around on her own, and she would not even fight for a toy.

By the way, cautious child is a euphemism for shy, and as a parent you want your child to be cautious yet outgoing. This mainly saves you from having to explain to people that your child is cautious. Eventually Sienna started walking, came down from her high chair to join the rest of her school mates** though she continued to not assert herself, i.e. other kids would take her toys.

Over time the day care Provider - there are three and pretty much all of them did the following at least once - would greet me with a very excited look and story of how Sienna was FINALLY squealing or pushing back in an effort to assert herself. It was a tremendous day of excitement when Sienna was in the small yard of the day care center, in the playhouse with her friend Max*** when she tricked Max into leaving the playhouse and then locked--him--out.

All of these stories were preceded with the day care Provider stating, "Sienna got in a fight today." Though always with a smile since Sienna is the one of the smaller kids in the class and assertiveness is always good. Lately Sienna has been alternating between fighting and holding hands with a new boy named Steven.

Last night Danielle and I picked up Sienna and were greeted with "Sienna got in a fight." Knowing it was 5 degrees all day I figured the children had not gone outside so it was some sort of tugging match over a toy - which is call fighting.

"She hit, Steven," the Provider said, the thick Polish accent making everything come out as a matter-of-fact-not-to-be-argued.

"She get the toy?" Sienna and the other children often have the same favorite toys. Such is life.

The Provider started laughing. "She was punching him."

I give the Provider's a lot of credit. Fighting is never a good thing, though on a certain level children are going to shove one another and you don't need to tell a parent of every incident. Biting, bruising, blood - yes; everything else, me if there is a pattern. They really care about these ankle biters.

"Uh..." I glanced down at Sienna who had joined us and was hugging her Mommy hello. No worse for wear. I turned my attention back to the still laughing Provider.

"We looked over. She had wrestled Steven to the ground and was punching him in the head." This is about the most un-Sienna like incident I had ever heard. Yes, she used to wrestle the cat from chair. I had truly no idea where she learned to punch though.

"Um, oh wow." It was the extent of a reply. Danielle's eyes were wide as saucers. No one wants to learn his or her daughter is a brute. Conversely Danielle and I once saw Sienna's friend Adam tackle her to the ground while she attempted to escape his hug attempt. That was equally as uncomfortable as he gave her the hug on the ground while she screamed in anguish. So I guess in the grand scheme I'll take brute child.

"How did it happen?" I asked. Trying to edge myself out past the door.

"We don't know. We looked over. Everyone was shocked since it was Sienna." At this point the Provider was laughing. I think it is a point of pride that my little girl was defending herself - she has been going to the day care since she was 3 months old and she really is a waif. Wow, I sound like a parent making excuses. Awesome.

"We should show you the video. It's really pretty funny."

The Provider threw it in as a casual comment. Other parents showed up, including Steven's mother (we think, all parents look the same under winter clothes) and I certainly was not going to mention there is a video of my child tackling yours. Danielle will most likely see the video today and no, we would never show it to anyone else. The world doesn't need our child in such a viral video nor would I would a video of my child being wrestled and hit - no matter how funny it could be.

Either way it is time to reinforce to my child not to punch - still haven't seen it - and be secretly proud that she can handle herself a tiny bit. Or at least that the boy had enough manners not to wail her one.

* One day I was watching Sienna motor about as I picked her up from day care. In an attempt at self reassurance I once mentioned to her day care provider that they had problem seen lots of kids spend so much timing walking on knees. "No. Never like this. She is the fastest I've ever seen." Try walking on your knees for 2 or 3 minutes and see how you feel. She also got calluses on her knees. I appreciate all snarky comments kept to yourself, dear reader.

** Danielle and I never worried about Sienna's time spent in the high chair watching people. The head provider assured us Sienna would join in once she started walking as many children do this same exact thing.

*** Fake name

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sienna and the Ritual

Danielle often asks me why Sienna and I hang on the couch together. Several times she has come home or into the room to find myself under the giant white blanket while Sienna giggles madly as she plays with her toys or uses me as a climbing device. Several times Danielle has been shocked as Sienna orders me onto the couch and then last night. I'm not sure Danielle fully understood when I said, "Sienna and I have our little ritual."

Last night I introduced Danielle to one of Sienna and my rituals. The ritual is fairly straightforward. Sienna climbs onto our double-wide couch, says "white blanket" or "confter" - which I then fetch - then Sienna order, "Baby--other baby--spot--monkey" All items which I retrieve. I then take away one of the four giant pillows on the couch, creating an even wider space to play in.

I crawl under the blanket, Sienna lines up her stuffed animals to watch, and then we color. I should say Sienna scribbles away with laser-like focus for 10 minutes. At which point she tosses her coloring book on the floor, climbs UNDER the blanket, throws in, "Daddy! Come!" at which time I join her under the blanket to play a massive game of peek-a-boo, tell stories, or enjoy a camping out type of experience.*

Usually we play this game until Sienna gets hungry or she hears the door for Mommy coming home. Last night Mommy was home earlier than usual (or maybe I was later) so I ordered up a pizza. After Sienna devoured her favorite food she ordered up her blanket AND that Mommy joined us.

Despite the sauna-like tendancy the white blanket tent creates Danielle soon came to realize, Sienna LOVES the tent. Absolutely loves it and giggles like a little mad woman. Part of was thrilled that the wife finally joined (was invited by Sienna) while another part of me is saddened that the father-daughter time may have an interloper!

I guess the deciding thought it that Danielle now understands and Sienna and I will always come up with new little games - such as "Daddy--sit--watch" that brings a huge grin to her tiny face, plus the huge grin to MY face as Sienna ordered Mommy "Baby--other baby--spot--monkey" as I sat on the couch with Sienna while Mommy fetched the toys.

* This only works with the white comforter, as opposed to the red blanket. This is due to the opaqueness as the red blanket results in a pitch blank tent which Sienna does NOT appreciate.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sienna: Loving the Cold

The last great New York freeze was the year Sienna was born. A massive snowstorm descended on New York on December 26, 2010. You may note that is a very specific date to recall. Well Danielle and I went to the WWE at Madison Square Garden that night, returning via the F train to find...that the F train was no longer running all the way to our apartment. We walked a mile through the raging blizzard, leaping into snowbanks when the oncoming lights headed toward us.

Oh, Danielle was also six months pregnant at the time. Gotta love a wife who exhibits such behavior.
The snow and cold continued to be miserable for the next month - at least according to my memory - culminating with a second massive snow storm, which effectively buried our car the morning we were leaving for a trip to Virginia in the last week of January.

Undettered - and with an assist from a friendly neighbor - I managed to get the car out of the spot and we made our way to Virignia where...everything was frozen solid. Roads were closed, icicles hanged from every conceivable surface, and my seven month pregnant wife and I curled up under some warm blankets. It was a nice vacation.

Two weeks later Sienna showed up (six weeks early) and our life began as currently is.
Today it was minus 1 degree out. Even from Massachusetts I find this type of weather unbearable. Hell, it is why I refuse to live back in Massachusetts again. Hell, I admit this having been someone who used to walk around in shorts during the winter.*

Sienna on the other hand...let me take us back to this Monday when it was a relatively balmy 20 degrees out when Danielle and I picked Sienna up from daycare. Sienna was fine riding in the stroller, disgarding her gloves second before instructing us to take her to the park. She had the park mostly to herself as she proceeded to play for half an hour on ice cold equipment, including swings and a slide. The only hinderance for her was touching her bare hands to icy metal. A sensation she was not pleased about.

I can relate. I spent my entire life in houses with the thermostat set to 66-68 degrees. Danielle and I freeze whenever we visit my Massachusetts friends and relatives. Conversely I am fine with Sienna walking around naked in our apartment when it is cold since I once saw a documentary where inuit children were waking around naked in igloos.**

Today I should not have been surprised that she wanted to WALK to daycare. I encourage her to walk everywhere. I stuffed her in a stroller. She didn't want to wear her gloves. I made her wear her gloves. She didn't want the wind shield on the stroller. I put it into place.

This does not make me a great parent. Or a wise parent. Only a parent who did not want to turn his child into a popsicle.

Given all of the above I should not have been surprised that Sienna complained the entire way that she wanted to walk, including pushing her hand through the windshield, and including giving me a dirty look when we got to daycare. Won't be the first or last dirty look, though I am pleased she honors her New England heritage, or at least Danielle wandering through cold, snowy places during her pregnancy.

* I was in amazing shape in High School where I could do stuff like walk around in freezing weather and not get sick. If I tried that now I would freeze, get sick, and most likely cry the entire time.
** My wife likes to point out that we a) do not live in an igloo, and b) we are not inuit.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sienna's first late night

1 am.
We shouldn't have stayed up until 11 pm watching prowrestling. Our stay-up-late endeavors do not play out well. That is life. I've been fighting a cold for weeks, got myself healthy, and now...parenting is full of fools I suppose.

All I could wonder was it my turn or Danielle's turn to go tend to the crying child. Sienna is not a child who has plaintive moments in the middle of the night, so the wife and I try to check it out to see the issue.

The inherent danger to this is that as Sienna approaches two her voice is getting far more powerful and she has seeminly figured out that if I call out to my parents in the night eventually we show up. This is completely different than she she cries out from discomfort while she sleeps - an occurence usually reserved for her having a cold or...actually she has only ever done it while she has a cold.
Since I have been sick Danielle grunts something that I believe is an affirmative that she will check out our new born. Several minutes later Danielle returns carrying Sienna, Sienna's monkey blanket and Sienna's night time toy Spot.

Some parents have a child where you can plop the kid down between them in bed and the kid immediately zonks out. The only time Sienna zonks out in bed is when she is sick. Since she is not sick we find outselves with a kicking, rolling, squirming child.

1:30 am
"Sienna go back in the crib?" I might have asked it. Or Danielle might have. Either way the affirmative "yes" from our offspring results in Daddy (me) transporting her back to the crib. Thankfully this usually means the rest of the night belongs to us.

4 am
"Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" The rule of thumb is that if the child calls out to you by name you must go fetch the child. I am sure that several parenting books specfically discourage this behavior. I question whether the people writing these books ever have a child as it is difficult to ignore a clear cut voice piercing through the walls imploring you.

I think Danielle giggles as I leave. Actually I am not even positive she had woken up until I drag myself out of bed.

Sienna greets me with a huge grin as she stands in her crib expectantly. This time I am carrying Sienna, the blanket, and Spot. "Bed?" I inquire. "No!" replies my way-too-awake child. She points her arm toward the living room. A child has about 15 different no's. Over time you learn when the child is serious or not. Sienna is definitely serious, and if I carry her into our bedroom there will be screeching.

No one wants screeching at this point.

This is patently my fault at this point. As I have been sick most of the weekend I have crashed out on the couch with our thick red blanket or extra comforter, so that my daughter knows that Daddy is still alive. Sienna thinks this is the greatest thing ever since she climbs up on the couch with me and either a) colors, b) plays under the blanket, or c) plays with her dolls.

Sienna points to the couch as we approach. "Sienna sleep?" Everything these days is cave man talk. "Yes." I deposit her on the couch. Sienna slpeeing with a person on the couch is a different experience as she leans backward against the person's in some sort of toddler crucifiction where she manages to put all of her weight straight on the bladder. Maybe she thinks it is a water bed.

"Blanket?" I grab the edge of the red blanket. I rue the cold of the living room. Sienna will be fine, she has heavy feetsie pajamas on; I on the other hand might turn into a popsicle. "No!" Sienna bellows as she pushes my hand off the blanket. "Comfter." That is toddler for the heavy white comforter.

I encourage Sienna to stay on the couch as I take the cold walk down the hall - stopping in the bathroom to take care of my suddenly full bladder - and returning with the heavy blanket. The entire way I half expect to hear a thump of her falling off the couch. Sienna fell off of one of our couches months ago - the one and only time.

4:07 am
I make it back before she plunges off. Actually she grins as she greets me. I wrap us in the blanket and wait for her to get comfortable. And wait.

Sienna starts a conversation.

I wait.

Still waiting.

4:20 am
Still. Waiting.

4:21 am Man my daughter can talk when she wants.

4:30 am
"Rice!" Sienna suddenly draws herself up in a perch position, calling out for her favorite food.

"Crib!" I reply.

"Rice!" Sienna argues.

I pick up Sienna, Spot, and her blanket. Depositing her gently in her crib. She falls fast asleep. I return to Danielle - she is half-asleep thanks to Sienna's non-volume controlled babbling.

7:30 am
Danielle wakes up Sienna.

"Daddy?" asks Sienna.

"Sleeping," replies Danielle.

I drag myself out of bed, showering quickly.

7:40 am
Sienna is groggy in the kitchen. She points toward the hallway. "Bed?" she steps in that direction.

"No." Danielle says it with a grin.

You stay up all night kid, you pay the price. Life lesson. It won't be the first time.
I think

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sundays with Sienna - July 8

The always adorable Cubs were in town for the latest game. Definitely a strange world where Cubs are cute - at least to Sienna's eyes - and I refer to Queens as a town - it is definitely a city.

Right now Sienna is digging on her favorite stuffed toy, a plush leopard who we not-so-creatively named Spot. This tidbit plays into the story since a child will naturally be drawn to a team that has a cute animal name, a cuddly bear as an icon, and a tradition involving terrible singing.

Thankfully this past week Sienna pointed at the Mr Met fat head that I stickered about her crib the week before she was born. A child's natural curiousity is always amusing to behold, especially given that it has been there over a year. Sienna pointed at it as though she had never seen it before and gave a quick "Gah?" - which is toddler for what-the-hell-is-that?

I am guessing she noticed it from her changing table directly across the room though depth perception being a relatively new concept she is trying to figure out how an object so small from a distance is nearly indecipherable from so close. Some fans may also think this relates to baseball in general but I digress.

Onto the Car...
Sienna is now a master of taking mostly only one nap a day. This allows for a much more robust parenting experience in that when she now gets up from her 9:30 - 11ish nap odds are she will make it through the rest of the day. When she deems a second nap necessary - meaning she ignores her 1 pm nap - she usually goes for a 3 or 4 pm nap, which is parent speak for saying we will have her in the car at the time hoping she falls asleep.

In one of the many hand-me-down Mets outfits she received from Danielle's co-workers Sienna looks like a pink assassin of baseball. Ths pink assassin also has parents who have finally figured out how to not rush her to the ballpark.

Either way I want uneventful and we get uneventful. Which we do, well before the game so Danielle can get some work done.

Now the Park...
Sienna still resists walking at this point. There are two ways to think about this:

  1. The first time parent perspective - Ohmygodmychildisn'twalking!WhatamIdoingwrong?

  2. The second time parent perspective - Enjoy it since the little buggers get into everything once they walk

We claim we lean toward perspective 2, though really we are more perspective 1.

To Sienna though the ballpark means looooooooooooooooooooooong hallways which she can ply her trade of knee walking. This consists of moving down the hallway at a high speed using on her knees. I happen to believe this shows a higher degree of intelligence since the knees offer a much wider base of support. Okay that is complete justification but whatever.

Sienna seems all prepped for her hallway manuevers as I release her from her stroller. She pops into the hallway and...

...backs away because Buddy the Dog is at Danielle's office doorway. Yes, Buddy the golden retriever really exists and Sienna is face-to-face with him.

Sienna has shown an affinity for small dogs. The toy poodles. The boxers. Anything that is Scudder-cat size really. Buddy the Dog is decidedly much larger than Sienna. Sienna wants nothing to do with the dog.

Danielle's new intern pops in to meet Sienna for the first time. Okay, not specifically to meet Sienna; she has no idea my child is going to be there. However she is fantastic with Sienna. Not in a fake sort of put up with you child way but actually having experience deadling with children.

Sienna is happily playing with her toys at the ball park though. Her Mr Met doll, her soccer ball, the meal I'm feeding her. This gives her enough energy to recheck that hallway to ensure that Buddy is gone and to start crawling around.

The Crawl...

Sienna took off down the hallways as Danielle was busy at work. To Sienna the place most likely resembals a limitless plain for her to crawl down. The the crawl always begins the same way, Sienna stops and looks inside John Ricco's office from the hallway. Thank goodness he has kids since he has been non-pulsed whenever he looks up and sees her staring at him.

After that Sienna takes the tiled hallway toward the executive offices. The tiled hallway must feel cool on her hands and knees since she picks up speed in her most determined crawl. If long distance crawling was an Olympic Sport then Sienna would get a gold.

At least if it took place in the one hallway.

Sienna also has the most interesting habit of hearing a toilet flush, heading for the sound then looking expectantly for someone to come out. What confuses her is when Danielle and I are next to her.

After the trek to and from the long hallway.

The Seats. The Seats. The Seats.

We actually made it to the seats for game time! Sienna is showing more interest in baseball when something happens. That is the key for her. People standing around = boring; people running around = interesting.

Also interesting is the chicken fingers & krinkle fries. Sienna enjoys baseball much more while eatting the fries. The people in front of us as extremely patient, most likely since it is blazing hot out and everyone is escaping to rows further back to be out of the sun. I say most likely since no one is in his or her correct seat.

"We're supposed to be in row 12," someone says.

We're all in about row 25 at this point.

Sienna plays tag, or at least her version of it, using my legs as one base and Danielle's as another. She may not know baseball is going on, however she certainly knows baseball means hanging with Mommy & Daddy.

Sienna also takes her time switching between our laps, sometimes looking at the field, glancing around at the people in the area and generally being a well behaved child. I even actually explain a little more baseball to her.

She takes it with good humor. Especially when she starts drinking her water.

We introduce our daughter to the "strategic moveback" and set a horrible example climbing over seats to the rows behind us. As always, we endeavor not to drop her. Sienna is unconcerned save for the location of her yellow hat and her kninkle fries.

She could probably go for a few more innings. Mommy and Daddy last three.

Caesar's Club

All Sienna baseball games must pass through the Caesar's Club. Besides getting our child used to Vegas/AC style rooms it provides air condition, room to roam and pizza! In this case two slices from Two Boots.

Whoever decided to put Two Boots in a ballpark is a genius. The Larry Tate and the Mets Meatlover. Sienna nibbles at Mommy's Larry Tate.

Sienna must also be getting used to Gary Cohen's voice since she hears it coming through the TV and starts paying attention.

We spend the next three innings hanging out watching the game. It is glorious and our child may not understand baseball yet she does understand food.

The Exit

It takes us two more innings to get out of the ballpark. Saying goodbye to co-workers, navigating the parking lot. The game is on the radio and Sienna...

...she naps all the way home with a delighted smile on her little face.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Last Month the DL and the return to baseball

I haven't been to any baseball games with Sienna as my hip surgery required actual RECOVERY TIME. Who knew? Okay, my Doctor.

The surgery was May 24 with the first two weeks leaving me unable to even have my daughter sit next to me on the couch. Sienna is a firm believer on using Daddy as a jungle gym whenever possible. No doubt her little hands would have honed in on the stitches

I am pleased that I am now able to actually carry my child again. My original intent was to take Sienna to games on Sundays with Grandma's help except Danielle (smartly) nixed the idea. EPSN took the final decision away by turning June 3rd into a night game on ESPN. I found myself laying on the couch pumped up with pain killers muttering about how the Mayans were right.

Or something like that. Moral of the story: listen to Danielle.

The Mets v Yankees series at Yankee Stadium also afforded us a chance to attend. Though Danielle would have been left to the actual work of carting Sienna around hostile territory while I was on crutches. My wife is smarter than I, declining the offer of us attending the game.

Around then the stitches came out, Sienna being able to join me on the couch. This is where my loving progeny displayed her most recent sign of independence: sliding off the couch to play with her toys while the Mets played. Yes I tried to turn my daughter into a couch surfer and failed.

I can't blame her. Her toys are pretty cool.

I'll admit father's day hurt. I was planning on running the bases with Sienna. Okay, I would have been on crutches and I wasn't even medically cleared to hold her. It would have been watching Grandma Trudy take care of Sienna at Citi Field while father's enjoyed a day with off spring.

Instead we spent the day in Queens (Danielle had to work) where Grandma Trudy took Sienna and myself to a park. I watched my daughter learn how to use the slide that day. It was awesome.

ESPN took any decisions out of our hands by turning the next Sunday day game into a Sunday night games. I might have been able to attend though it was Mets v Yankees round 2. I don't know if I would have subjected Sienna to that atmosphere yet.

Late-June rolled up on us faster than we expected with Danielle doing super mom duties of picking up, dropping off, being a happy person during all of this and threatening me a reasonable amount of times. Grandma Trudy lent a more than helping hand on the night's Danielle had to work relate or just needed a break.

Now we find ourselves in July on this Sunday as I am now clearned to carry my daughter for short periods of time, she likes sitting in her seat and oh, she has been climbing onto the couch again lately.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lazy Man Review: TV shows '12

It is the end of the spring '12 TV viewing season which means it is time for a check in on all the shows that Danielle and I are currently watching. Or sometimes watching. Or taking off our DVR list.

On with it

Alcatraz (C). I will be shocked if this show returns next season. I had such high hopes for a science fiction/mystery/fill in the void left by Lost. Instead it is a show that was decidedly average at best, poorly written at worst, and managed to lose over 50% of its initial audience.

Storage Wars (A+) Possibly the best show on television right now and once again showing the initial casting plus luck makes a huge difference. How big a difference is casting? Storage Wars: Texas is awful compared to the original because you cannot overcome how vicious Dave Hester, Jarrod (& Brandi), Barry and Darrel are to one another. Okay, Barry isn't really mean to anyone - but the contempt the others have developed for one another borders on awe inspiring due to the sheer arrogance involved. It is beautiful television.

Grey's Anatomy (B). This show leads my list of "WTF?" on season finales. A season finale setup involving a plane crash that made Danielle so angry she remarked on it to the receptionist at our pediatrician's office. The rest of the season has been fairly awesome due to the de-emphasis of Meredith's Grey character and the heavy lifting done by Sara Ramirez and Sandra Oh. How good is Sandra Oh? She was in a storyline where she aborted her child because she didn't want kids and by the end we were cheering for her.

RAW is WAR (C). Since this is live professional wrestling fare Danielle and I have developed a surprisingly accurate prediction system: if the opening promo is good then the show is good, if the opening promo is bad then the show sucks.

Glee (D). We used to love this show. Now we have no idea what is going on. That is despite watching the first half of the entire season. Danielle doesn't even watch the DVR'd episodes.

30 Rock (B). After nearly being taken off our DVR list after last season's debacle this show has become must-watch again. I am still unsure whether I am pleased or horrified at the continued attempts to shoehorn Tracey Morgan and Jane into scenes together. Okay, I am pleased since they kill me.

How I Met Your Mother (F). A season finale that out did Grey's Anatomy for horribleness. Does any viewer like any character on this show anymore? It is like finding an honest man in whatever that biblical story about finding the honest man is about. This show has one more season to run though no one is going to care about how the mother is anymore since no one is going to like the characters.

Modern Family (A+). Oh yeah, hello Best Show on Television! Consistently funny, consistent character growth, consistent gratuitous shows of Sophia Vargas's cleavage. Ed O'Neill has been killing it as the patriarch in the family since it slowly being revealed as a really bad parent for his first set of kids.

The Big Bang Theory (A). A show with a wedding that WASN'T THE FINALE! Mega points just for that. This show started out about four nerds and now it is about four nerds and their friends and families. I can't say enough about this show as it also has a rare bit where people are actually good at their jobs! I know, strange though making people competent.

Person of Interest (A). I admit to loving number driven crime shows. PoI has perfected the weekly episode connecting into an interesting overall story. I am afraid to talk to much about this show as I am afraid it would start sucking too much.

So there is 2012 Spring in review. We probably should remove a show or two from the DVR, though habitual viewing is a terrible habit to have.