Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Penny is 1!

Our precious Penelope just turned 1 year old! The standard observation applies: Has it been a year already?!

You know what they say, time flies when you're wiping up poop that has smeared up the baby's back.

This is where Val interjects and says, "Um, yeah, you mean the one time a week you change a non-pee diaper?"

Touche, Sweetheart!

So how is Penny doing? Except for having to get two shots of antibiotic for an ear infection, she's doing very well. She especially enjoys playing around her big brother, even if Cooper sometimes isn't so receptive to her grabbing his trains and trucks.

Penny is really having fun with trying to walk, even if she can't get more than a couple of steps so far.

She still only has one tooth and that one popped up just a week ago. By his first birthday, I think our mini Cooper had a mouth full of teeth.

Her favorite toys are really just the ones she can either chew on or swat around the floor while she crawls around and around the house, making a beeline for our bathroom where there is more toilet paper to try to eat.

Really, Penny is just adorable, has the sweetest and most contagious smile since, well, Cooper (I know, I'm very biased), and it's so nice to come home and she's crying on the floor at the front door until I pick her up to say hello. I will never miss being missed by my family!

Here's our daily routine:

2 a.m. - I wake up, get ready, go to work.

6:15 a.m. - Penny wakes up Val, who feeds her and usually gets Penny back to sleep for another hour or so, becuase ...

6:45 a.m. - Cooper wakes up, snuggles with Val on the couch while watching a show.

7:30 a.m. - Penny's back awake.

8 a.m. - The kids play, eat breakfast, Val tries to keep both happy.

10 a.m. - Penny takes her first nap.

11 a.m. - Penny's awake.

11:50 a.m. - Daddy's home!

Noon - Lunchtime for everyone, then Val sometimes takes a nap.

2 p.m. - Me and Cooper take a nap together, Val puts Penny down for a nap and takes one herself if she hasn't already.

4 p.m. - Everyone's awake! Snuggle on the couch, watch a show, then play.

5:30 p.m. - Dinner time, either at home or at Chick-fil-A or at Val's parents' house.

6:30 p.m. - Bath time!

7:30 p.m. - Time to get Penny down for bed, try to get Cooper in his PJs to unwind and eat a mini-Hershey's bar and watch his show.

8:30 p.m. - Bed time for Cooper, devotional for me and Val, then bed.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Wisdom of Children

My new column for GodlyDaddy.com ...

When I was but a wee lad lacking basic common sense, I once stuck my finger in one of those old ice crushers. I was fine. Just a little bleeding, no harm.

What was my excuse? Nothing. I was a boy. Boys do things that seem interesting, which are not always the smartest things.

So why do I have the same tone of voice when I see our mini Cooper getting ready to do something potentially dangerous and say “Be careful,” no matter if he’s just splashing sticky Sprite out of a big glass over his baby sister Penny’s head, or standing on top of a 20-foot ladder wearing a cape and yelling “Geronimo!?”

My guess is that it is the same emotions that parents have given in to through the years: exhaustion, frustration and the desire to keep everyone happy or stop whining.

That’s why when I have both my kids in my lap and trying to keep Penny from crying or pulling Cooper’s hair out, I’m far more prone to give in to her desire to play with anything she wants, including the Baby Einstein My First Sharp Object.

Yes, sometimes kids say something that yanks at the heartstrings. But they will also eat dirt and laugh at the smell of their own burps.

So why do we give kids credit for more wisdom than they deserve? Is it our desire to be child-like?

In 1 Corinthians 13:11, Paul writes that “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

It’s not just the youngest kids, either. I can only roll my eyes when politicians trot out teens and college kids for votes. When it comes to listening to the young’uns to set public policy, Jonah Goldberg of National Review Online puts it this way:

“Youth politics are the cheapest form of identity politics. … Moreover, we treat them as if they’re geniuses precisely because they don’t know much and have little life experience. Of course there are incredibly bright and knowledgeable young people. But as a rule we’re all born stupid and ignorant, and that condition improves only as we become less young.”

Darling Valerie and I are not happy when shows like “America’s Got Talent” let through the young singers. Little kids are adorable when they sing, but they sound like little kids, and half their votes are because the judges are too nice and the audience wants to “ooh” and “awwww.”

(Man, do I sound like a fuddy-duddy right now or what?)

It’s the same reason you never want to be in the top three of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” with videos featuring babies or puppies. Cuteness always wins out, including with parenting.

So yes, when our Super Cooper smiles at me with that look that says, “Dada, you’re the coolest,” I will melt and give in to buy him at Christmas his very own Hasbro Bag O’ Glass. But be careful. You could put a rip in the couch with that.

Cooper and Penny playing out front

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cooper playing at church, Penny's wave

Sunday morning, Cooper playing with the other kids in church. (His class came outside at the same time we had our own nursery class at the playground.)

On the way home he's content with the Kindle Fire, playing Angry Birds.

Penny gives us a big wave hello! Or goodbye as she heads for the bathroom to try to eat the toilet paper.

Sunday night, Cooper watched football with us and spent an hour practicing his touchdown celebration, which mostly consists of throwing the football up in the air and diving on the ground.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cooper playing on the hill

The weather has been nice enough to go outside again, so while Penny and his Mommy were napping, me and our mini Cooper decided to go out front and race his monster trucks down the hill ...

He was a little curiously concerned about the truck full of guys and equipment that pulled up two houses down to mow/weedeat/leaf blow the yard ...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Facebook, Hashtags and YouTube, oh my!

My latest column for GodlyDaddy.com ...

I am not ready for the future of protecting my children from the Big Bad Internet Wolf. It seems to call for a level of technical savvy for which I am horribly unprepared.

For instance, the Tech Guy at work makes us change our passwords frequently and never accepts something simple (like “12345,” which, coincidentally, is the combination of my luggage). Not once this week have I logged in correctly on the first try.

Our toddler, Cooper, already likes to play “Angry Birds” on our Kindle Fire, so it’s not much longer before he’s showing me how to write programming on that computer thingamajig that sits in the corner of our living room and is used pretty much for checking email and Facebook on the Interwebs, and that’s it.

Not to get too “In my day” on you, but we didn’t have a computer when I was growing up, nor did we consider how we survived life without the ‘net, iPhones or streaming “Short Circuit” on the TV. Upgrading from Burgertime on our Intellevision to Super Mario Bros. on Nintendo ’64 seemed top of the line at the time, and made us very happy.

I was in college before I could spend hours a day in the Union library on ESPN’s chatrooms talking about college football while pretending to be my sisters just to see how crazy the other guys acted when a ladyperson entered. This would also explain the 2.25 GPA after my first semester as a freshman.

In the very near future, when it comes time for our mini Cooper and baby Penny to surf the web, you betcha that I will not hesitate to monitor every keystroke, every page and every Google search.

This, after I try to get them to watch the Hampster Dance site and Peanut Butter Jelly Time, and they roll their eyes and declare that to be “old.”

Even the strictest controls aren’t a guarantee. When I do a search on Google Images I have it set for the most puritanical level possible, and even then you’d be surprised at how often mostly-nekkid folks or graphics with cursing pop up no matter how much I yell at it to “Get thee behind me thou foul temptress!”

If you need help as well, Focus on the Family has a handy dandy guide to protecting our kiddies from online evils, although not one of which is “turn the dastardly thing off.”

The guidelines include such advice as, “Be suspicious of anyone you meet online and understand that a person may not be who he says that he is.” Lesson learned. See: “pretended to be sisters” above.

My kiddies should also be warned that I will be sneaking into their chat rooms to see what’s being discussed, which will probably be topics such as, “My parents keep invading my privacy” as they keep wondering why a random chatter replies all the time, “Sounds like a caring and awesome parent to me.”

We do have a few years before all of this, at least, and when it comes time I’m sure Cooper can install all the software for us. I hope he doesn’t figure out my new password, though. It will be “54321.”

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cooper and Penny at Shelby Farms

I had the day off today, so we tried out the big playground at Shelby Farms. Cooper just wanted to play in the sand area while Penny and Val hung out ...

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Cooper and Penny's Labor Day, pt. 1

Val's parents and sister watched both Cooper and Penny Sunday afternoon through Monday afternoon - bless their hearts - when we all got together for Labor Day ...

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Cooper and Penny share a laugh

Cooper loves, loves, playing "Angry Birds" on the Kindle Fire ...