Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A moment

On my way home from work this evening I saw a man sitting on a step with his arm around a woman. Her head was down, and it looked like he was comforting her.

As I got closer I saw that she was smiling, and I thought, "Oh, good."

Not that it had anything to do with me.

It's just that we all have a finite number of moments in our lives, and it goes without saying that some of them are going to be shitty.

It's important not to let the others get away.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

New books with Samuel

In celebration of my new job (yay) and my book being on the 2016 Notable Books list (wait, did I mention that already?), I went out and splurged on some picture books. Then I forced Samuel to let me read them to him. He was very patient for a 17-year-old. Thank you, Samuel.

Here's our list, in order of preference:

1. Dragons Love Tacos

This is NOT the last book to read before bedtime, and it's too sophisticated for kids under two. But we both liked the silly humor and action. Our favorite.

2. You Are (Not) Small

This book is great for very young kids (as young as 18 months) all the way through early readers (five or six). It reminded both of us of Dr. Seuss's "Star-Bellied Sneetches," though not quite as action-packed.

3. Is Mommy?

Another very simple book, consisting essentially of asking whether Mommy is tall or short, pretty or ugly, nice or mean, and always answering in the negative. We can see how little kids would find this hilarious, but we can also see how some moms would find it mean-spirited. I told Samuel, "Never buy this book as a gift, unless you want to piss off the mom." He agreed. We are both just too damn nice for this world.

4. Waiting

When I read this alone I thought it was such a great book because it's a sweet, simple metaphor for life. Reading it with Samuel, however, it's clear that little boys like us are unlikely to shout "Read it again! Read it again!" Not exactly high-adrenaline. But a good "final" bedtime book, if you don't want to buy that stupid rabbit-makes-your-kid-fall-asleep book.

5. Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear

This is an interesting story, but too sophisticated for kids under four, and too many "big" words to be an early reader. It's a good choice for older kids who don't mind a book featuring a toddler, are interested in genealogy, and who still like Winnie the Pooh. In short, pairing it with a great illustrator was a smart move. 

Thanks, Mr. Sam-Sam. You're a good son.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Friday, January 15, 2016

Last day at the old job

Am I really out of here?

I am. Whew.

Come on, elevator that never works.

I feel like John McCain at the end of the war.

Come on, slow people, don't block the exit.

Goodbye crappy building. Goodbye crappy block.

Walk faster. Walk faster.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

We made the cut!

I shared my celebratory milkshakes with a grown-up little boy who loves robots.

Monday, January 11, 2016

We're a Notable Children's Book Nominee

"Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep!" is among the ~100 books under consideration for ALSC's 2016 Notable Children's Books.

I'm mentioning it here for two reasons:

1. No one else seems to have noticed. Unfortunately that means I can't just reply with faux humility to someone else's Tweet or Facebook post. 

2. The final list will only be 30-40 books, so the odds aren't great. And once the list is announced, if I'm not on it I can't really do a blog post and say, "Well, hey, I actually was under consideration." This is my only window of opportunity.

So...in the unlikely event that we make the cut, I'm going to do something wild and crazy like drink two milkshakes. And if we don't, our nomination was recorded here for posterity.

Monday, January 4, 2016

8 Things I Loved About Zander

I spent New Years in Chicago for my niece's wedding. Jen and the boys didn't go, so I spent a lot of time hanging out with the cutest 18-month-old in the universe.

Here are eight things I loved about him:

1. He was fun to have conversations with--even if it was just pointing and saying one word every thirty seconds. "Sit!" "Go!" "Tree!" "Yellow!"

2. He found joy in simple things like watching a waitress make margaritas in a blender, examining an ornament on a Christmas tree, watching a violinist play a solo at a wedding ceremony. So many new and exciting things in the world.

3. He could walk, and he could even sort of run--but not too fast. And if he started to get into too much trouble I could just scoop him up. 

4. He was very determined. He liked what he liked and wanted what he wanted--generally someone's mobile phone. He required the ability to think fast to distract him with car keys or a look out the window or a belly tickle.

5. He had a great sense of humor: quick to smile, to mimic, to laugh at the sound of someone blowing their nose. 

6. He was full of love: always excited to hug his mom or dad, or his big brother, whom he'd watch intently, especially when he had something of interest--like a mobile phone.

7. I didn't have to change any diapers or deal with any meltdowns or try to put him to bed when he'd been up too late. I would've if called upon.

8. There is really nothing on Earth like holding hands with an 18-month-old. Getting a hug. Kissing his cheek. Carrying him around until your forearm muscle starts to cramp, and not even caring.


You and I both know this is really about Samuel. Right? And Ethan. And how life moves way too quickly, and how you just wish you could slow it all down and be a dad of an 18-month-old again. And again. And again.

As if that's not obvious. As if there could possibly be anything greater in the world to aspire to.