Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I kick people

Recently John kicked me in the shin, for no apparent reason. "No, John, no kicking mama. No kicking anyone -- we don't kick people."

A day or two later, John was frustrated about something and started kicking the air near my legs. Again: "No, John, we don't kick people. We kick balls. We don't kick people."

John, in a sweet voice: "I kick people."

Later, in his booster seat: "Kick. Kick. I kick people."

Something about having your own children -- I find all of this unbelievably cute. (But no more classic yet violent Mickey Mouse cartoons for John.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thank You

We have the same routine every night when we put John to bed. We wind up "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," but sing "We love John, yes, we love John." Then I pray for him and then, as we walk out, we tell John we love him.

Tonight, as I walked out, I said, "Good night, John, I love you." For the first time, John said, "Thank you!"

Mommy is...good

John was finally able to put into words today how he feels about his mama.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

If you're happy and you know it . . .

. . . you might be John.

John loves that song. Recently the three of us were taking an after-dinner walk in the park and Michael said, "John, are you happy?" John said, "Yeah!" I started singing, "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands . . . ." John leapt and jumped, dancing around with joy. Since then, he has been getting the hang of the motions -- clapping when we clap; raising a fist when we say, "Hurrah!"

It is heartwarming to see his exuberant joy.

Monkey see, monkey do

Lately John has been imitating us a lot. It's amazing to hear him repeat words easily. Today at the park: "Whazzizz?" "A tunnel. Tunnel." "Tunnel." And off he climbed, repeating, "Tunnel."

John doesn't like to have his teeth brushed, but when he sees me brushing mine, he begs, "Brush, brush," until I give him my toothbrush. He brushes his teeth with it, and lately he steps up to the sink (not that he can reach it, but still) and pretends to spit in the sink a few times: "Peh," is the sound he makes. Then he tosses my toothbrush on the floor and runs off.

posted by Mama

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pancakes for John

John can't drink milk, but these pancakes taste fine:

1. Sift together 1/2 cup flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tbs. sugar, and 1/4 tsp. salt.

2. Beat together 1/4 plus 1/8 cup rice milk, 1/2 beaten egg, and 1 tbs. melted butter.

3. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ones until just combined and then cook like other pancakes.

You can scramble the remaining half-egg on the griddle when you're done cooking the pancakes. When I asked John if he wanted to try some of the scrambled eggs, he said, "Nooh,nooh, nooh, nooh, nooh, nooh, nooh, nooh."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

How Hard Can You Stomp?

John and I went for a walk after dinner this evening. It rained a lot today, so everything was wet. First, John ran back and forth over the pitching mound and finally slipped and fell. When he got up, his hands and knees were covered with red dirt.

Then we went to the playground and he climbed up and down the stairs. For a while, he took my advice and didn't go down the slide because it was wet. But at some point he did get wet, so we started to head home.

When we got to the basketball courts, John saw some big puddles and decided it would be fun to step in them. Then he decided it would fun to stomp in them. Then he decided it would be fun to see how hard he could stomp and how high he could make the water fly. Once he finished with one puddle, he went on to another. After a while thoughts of pneumonia came to mind and I decided it was time to go home.

"He could have gone on for hours," one of the tennis players said as we were leaving.

"It's a good thing his mother wasn't here," said I.

Yes, it is true that John's socks and shoes and clothes got all covered with mud, but sometimes that is how good memories are made.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Car-bus

While we were looking at pictures of trucks....

John: "I want something to drink."

Daddy: "What do you want to drink?"

John: "I want a cup of car-bus."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Smell of Yeast

John woke up very early this morning, around 4:30 a.m. I went in and told him to go back to sleep, but he was crying again in a few minutes, so I took him back with me into the study and we lay down for another hour or so.

When we got up I felt a bit groggy, but after I got John some Cheerios and soy milk, I decided to start putting together some bread dough. I got out a big red bowl and put in the lukewarm water, measured out the yeast and honey, and stirred it up. John was sitting on the chair next to me and grabbed the little measuring spoons and before I knew it, he overturned the bowl and it spilled all of over him, me, Bee Bee, and just about everything else.

Not only that, but John fell off the chair and stared up at me for a moment with those imploring eyes before he started crying. I am ashamed to say that I got angry at him and snatched him up and took him to his room and changed his clothes and diaper, telling him all the while how angry I was at him.

It was wrong of me to care more about the mess than about John and I apologized to him later. I pray that God will help me to do better next time around.

"Please Don't Make Me Dance"

The other evening I was changing John before bedtime and I started humming a tune. It was strangely familiar to Kristi and me, but we couldn't quite place it. Then we remembered that it was a song that I used to sing to John, while I dangled his feet on the kitchen table (this was before he could walk.)

Please don't make me dance for my dinner
Please don't make me dance for my meal
Please don't make me dance for my dinner
You just cannot know how it feels

I always felt slightly cruel when I made John dance that way, but somehow it was so funny that I couldn't help myself.


Sometimes I make believe that I am a big monster and shout out "Baaah" and then chase John. He gets a big smile on his face and then runs away to his mother.

Or sometimes we play this game on the big bed in the study and he crawls away into the corner of the bed against the wall.

If John wants to get my attention and get me to chase him, he shouts out "Baaaah."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


John has finally added the word "yes" to his repertoire, long after the word "no" (I think that was one of his first words).

Yes is much more pleasing, especially because John says it with so much enthusiasm.

"Do you want some juice, John?" (by which I mean his rice or soy milk).


"Do you want to sit in my lap (and read)?"


"Do you need some help, John?" (as he's dangling from the Learning Tower)


It feels as if we are having a little conversation.

Monday, July 7, 2008


John loves his music boxes and when he was younger he would push a button and dance while the music played. This evening, John pushed a button on one of his boxes and sat down to his toy piano and played along.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


"Carter" means computer.

(We put our computer on a low-lying coffee table in the kitchen, so that John can see pictures of cars on it.)

A "dee-ghee" is a digger.

"Shish" means fish.

"Ricey" is rice. (One of the only things John eats is spinach and rice, an Indian dish.)

"ECO" means "I see you."

"Odd Bess you" means "God bless you."

"Mere, Mere" means "Come here!"

Unfortunately, "cocky" means "cookies" (as in "C is for cookies, that's good enough for me").

Some things John does say correctly, though, such as "I got cars!" or "Wow! Cool!"

Monday, June 30, 2008


It is summer now and so John sleeps in thin little white onesies every night. There is a picture of the Gerber baby on the inside label and John says "baby" two or three times in a cute little voice when sees it.

The John Dance

John is a happy little boy and sometimes he is so full of joy that he does a little dance, in which he hops up and down and moves forward with one arm in the air. He especially liked it when I danced along.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What John Learned in His "Learning Tower"

We stayed with my cousin Rich and his family a couple of weeks ago. Rich and Lisa have a daughter who is about John's age, named Sophia.

We noticed that Sophia had a little Learning Tower stationed in front of an island in the kitchen. She could stand on it while she ate or watched her mother make dinner. Kristi got online and the reviewers said that it was expensive, but worth it, because it kept little children out of trouble and left parents free to take care of chores around the house. Plus, it was adjustable, so that it would continue to be useful as the child grew.

Kristi bought it immediately.

It arrived shortly after we returned home and, at Kristi's request, I put it together that very night. John has seemed to enjoy it.

Tonight, I became a little concerned, because John climbed out of it for the first time and scrambled onto the kitchen table, picking up the lid of the teapot and the pepper shaker and taking a good like around. (I had already lowered it one rung soon after we got it, because I noticed that John was able to climb out.)

So I lowered it another rung.

"John, it is going to be more difficult to climb out of it now, because I made it lower."

He climbed back in and then right back onto the table. So I lowered it another rung, the lowest one.

"John, it is going to be more difficult to climb out this time, because I lowered it to the lowest rung." I didn't want him to be too disappointed when he realized that he couldn't get out anymore.

So he climbed back in and, this time, got up onto a cross bar and tried to lift himself out, but couldn't. Then he tried again, pulled himself up, and scrambled back onto the table.

How long was this thing supposed to last us?

(My wife correctly pointed out that this is an opportunity to tell John that he is not allowed to climb on the table.)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

These Are Some of My Favorite Things

Busses in Hungary and cars in Cuba and a few toy trains

Thursday, June 19, 2008


A week or so ago, while we were on vacation, John started waving and saying "hiya." One of the first times I noticed it was when we stepped out of the little house we were staying in and encountered several sheep and goats and a donkey.

"Hiya," John said as he waved at them.

At other times, we weren't quite sure whom or what he was waving and saying "hiya" to. A house? A tree? A squirrel?

Some times John even says "hiya" and waves to a person.

Chopsticks and Cheerios

We were eating some Asian dumplings the other night and we always give John a chopstick, too. He put the tip of his chopstick into the center of a Cheerio and ate them one by one.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Potato Chips

Mama's out of town for a couple of days and it's just us boys.

We were eating lunch and I decided to get out some potato chips that Kristi bought. We don't usually eat them, but this was a treat, since we're on vacation for a week or so. Cape Cod Sea Salt and Vinegar.

John was eating or mostly tossing overboard some pureed carrots while I ate my sandwich and I decided to let him try a potato chip. He ate it and pointed to the bag, so I gave him some more. This went on for a while and I think I saw him puckering his mouth from time to time because of the vinegar.

After he was done, he came over and sat on my lap and fed me a potato chip or two and held my bottle of O'Douls to my lips to give me a drink.


Baby blanket with a dog on it (actually, a blanket that is a dog)

Watering Can

John has a child-sized watering can that he received as a gift from his aunt Cynthia.

This morning John let me know that he wanted to do some watering. So we took the hose and filled up the can together and then he walked over to a row of herbs and started watering. Then he watered the potato plants and then the dirt where some potato plants used to be.

We filled the can up again and he poured the whole can out in one shot, I think on a bushy oregano plant.

By the way, the string beans that we planted in John's garden (and elsewhere) are just about ready to eat.

Just Say No

"John, do you want to go outside?"


"Do you want to stay inside?"


"So do you want to go outside?


"Do you want to stay inside?"


After this brief conversation, John got down from his chair and walked to the door.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Cheerios on Bee Bee's Nose

As of the last couple of days, when John needs his blanket, he cries out longingly for "Bee Bee." That's how we came to know his blanket's name. Until then, we were calling it "Blanky."

The other day, John was eating breakfast on his booster seat while holding his blanket. With Kristi standing next to him, he put a Cheerio on Bee Bee's nose and then ate it. Kristi called me over and I watched him do it again.

I think John likes to perform for us sometimes. There are also times when he speaks emphatically and rhythmically and dramatically, as if he were giving a little speech, even though he is not saying any words.

Where he gets all of this from, we do not know.


After observing John lately, I can safely say that "dawkter" means "tractor."

"Ouch" means "out"--as in, I want you unstrap me and get me out of this booster seat.

"Bee Bee" is "Blanky"--his favorite blanket.

There yet remain a few mysteries. For example, what does "dutch" mean? Or "gob, gob, gob"?

Perhaps if we watch John carefully and listen to what he says, we will soon find out

Saturday, May 31, 2008


This morning I sat John in front of the laptop at the kitchen table and did a search for images of cars. John would pick one that he liked and then I clicked on a larger image of it. Here is a verbatim transcript of John's response:




Then I did the same thing with trucks and here is John's response:

"Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, etc."

"Car, car, car, car, car, car, etc."

He also said something like "dah-ter" over and over again, but I have no idea what that means.

He liked those images so much that I couldn't keep him in his seat: he kept on leaping toward the screen. (I think a poster of trucks that we saw might be in his future.)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

ma MA

Just so that we don't forget: a couple of months ago John started to call out to Kristi (we think) from his crib, saying "ma MA," like a little French or Italian boy. He hasn't done this in a while, which is kind of too bad, because we enjoyed it.

(This morning he said "mommy" in a sweet little voice--at 5:45 a.m.)


Kristi and I have to tell John no sometimes, like when he wants to write on the couch with a pen or pull all the cds down from the shelf. Kristi started out trying to say "no thank you" at first, just so that John would be more polite when he says no to us. But I think in the heat of the moment our no's are more straightforward than that.

The other day John was sitting on the couch in the living room while I was at the computer in the kitchen. I began to realize that John was saying "uh uh" over and over again and so I decided to go in and see what he was doing. He had taken down a dvd case from the shelf and opened it and was spinning the dvd in the case--something that Kristi has asked him not to do. I think the "uh uh" was him letting me know that he was doing something that he knew he was not supposed to do.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


John likes to play with chopsticks. Whenever Kristi and I use them, he insists on having a pair.

Tonight, as we ate some Gyoza, John took a single chopstick and pierced a piece of flat bread with it. He held it up triumpantly in the air and then moved it to the left and to the right, following it with his eyes. Then he swung the chopstick forward and the bread flew across the room.

Fly Swatter

One of John's favorite toys is an old red plastic fly swatter, with a few of its little plastic parts broken off in the swatter part. Right now John is running back and forth in the living room, dragging the swatter part along the floor.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


John and I played in the backyard after dinner. Mostly the game consisted of John throwing his little Rangers ball into the potato patch and me fishing it out. Then it consisted of me trying to stop John from throwing the ball into the potato patch. He would get the ball and run toward the patch and start to throw it and I would block it. Or I would keep moving in front of him as he tried to find a way to get to the patch and throw the ball in. We both laughed a lot.

When John was through playing, he said 'side and walked to the steps and I followed him in.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Beautiful Mama

John was very sad when his mother left for small group this evening. He looked out the window and cried as she drove away. He cried a little more and then walked into the kitchen and pulled a picture of Kristi and me off the shelf. Then he sat down on the floor with his blanket in his hand and the fingers of his other hand in his mouth and gazed at the picture of Kristi.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Return of Blanky

It was time for John to go to bed, but we looked around and his favorite blanket wasn't in his room. Kristi asked me to get it, because her knee is bothering her. John was busy throwing his orange ball all over the room.

I found the blanket in the living room and when I got to the door of John's room, I opened it a crack and stuck through just the little head of the dog. (John's blanket has a little dog's head in the middle of it, with flappy ears that John finds it soothing to run his fingers over.) I couldn't see John's face and Kristi couldn't see what John was looking at, but Kristi saw John break out into a big smile and suddenly someone ran to the door and snatched Blanky right out of my hands.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Of Polar Bears and Ibuprofen

John used a little plastic polar bear as a hockey stick and slapped a container of Advil across the floor. I think you get the idea by now: John likes to play hockey and anything will do for a puck and a stick.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Lazy Boy

I had a hard day at school today and came home with a headache. After dinner, I crashed on the couch in the living room. John saw me there and climbed up onto the opposite couch and laid down on his back as well, with his head on a pillow (I think). He turned over on his stomach, crawled to the edge of the sofa, but kept on returning to that position on his back, just like his daddy. He looked relaxed and like he was enjoying it.

Hand, Plastic Food Container, and Wooden Spoon Hockey

There was a big inflated ball and John hit it across the room with his hand. Then, a day later, he took one of his rectangular plastic toddler-food containers, with the food still in it, and hit a ball across the floor with it.

This evening John took a wooden spoon and made hard, accurate slap shots, hitting a plastic car into the sofa or against the wall.

I called Kristi in to see him and we talked about whether or not we could see him as a hockey player when he gets older. There's an ice rink behind the Sonic drive-through a few blocks away. We watched him as he threw himself onto the floor and got right up and kept going, so we figured that we could.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Pistachio Nutshell and Key Ring Hockey

This morning, John found an empty half of a pistachio nut on the kitchen floor and used it like a hockey stick to slap a tennis ball across the floor.

This evening at the park, John borrowed a tennis ball from an Asian family that was playing tennis and that other racket sport (bad-mitten?). I was tired out and sitting against the fence while John kicked the ball around. When Kristi came, John wanted her key chain. He took it and used it like a hockey stick to slap the tennis ball across the court.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Toothbrush Hockey

I brushed John's teeth tonight, which he doesn't ever seem to enjoy. It's getting more important, though, becase he suddenly has a mouthful of teeth. After I was done, he took the brush himself and stuck it in his mouth. He seems to like doing things for himself.

Then suddenly he did something I had never seen before. He picked up his little cushy Rangers ball, threw it on the ground, and then starting running after it with his toothbrush in hand. When he caught up to it, he reached down and smacked it across the room with his toothbrush. He ran it down and--whap--hit the ball again. Every once in a while, he would pick it up and throw it down and hit it again with the brush. Sometimes he hit it into the closet or under his crib. A couple of times he even cried out "goal"! (Just before this happened, I called out to Kristi to come in and see what he was doing. She assured me that he was really saying "ball" and it only sounded like "goal." It sure sounded like "goal" to me, though.)

Up Here

John and I were in the backyard this afternoon and John stood next to a chair and said "up here." That means that he wants to get up on the chair. After that he was playing on the grass and kept on saying "appear, appear, appear." It only occured to me later that John was simply continuing to enjoy the pleasure of saying "up here."

Then, when we were back in the house, I noticed him doing the same thing again. First he said "up here" when he wanted to get up, but then he kept on saying it, and now with variations:

A beer
A pea

and so on. I think he likes playing with words.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Starting Young

There was a boy, around 9 or 10 years old, playing basketball at the park this evening. He was a good shot, making some reverse layups and ten-footers. John was intrigued and came onto the court. Immediately, John threw up his hands as if to guard him, with a big smile on his face. He crouched and stood up again several times, as if he were trying to jump. John always wants to play basketball with the older boys.

Giving Chase

When John was still crawling, he used to like to chase balls across the floor. At first, I thought it was by accident. He would crawl into a ball and it would shoot ahead of him and then he would crawl into it again. After a while, I realized that he was doing it on purpose.

These days, John is still chasing balls, but now he runs after them. Tonight we went to the park after dinner and took a ball along with us. John ran onto the tennis court and threw the ball down and kicked it and ran after it. Kristi and I spent the next few minutes following after John as he kicked and ran after the ball. Sometimes we kicked it as well or picked it up and threw it. No matter where the ball went, John chased after it

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Growing Things

Some of the corn and beans have sprouted up in John's garden. I say his garden, even though I have to sometimes keep him from stomping on it.

Today I filled up the watering can and watered our plants on the front porch. Then I went back into the backyard, where John was, and filled it up again. I handed it to John and he walked right over to his garden and started to water it. We went back to the hose and filled the can up with some more water. I carried it back (it was too heavy for him this time) and then he watered his garden some more and also the marigolds next to it.

A Sticky Situation

John likes tape.

Yestderday, after he tore a limb off my pepper plant, John pulled out a long strip of Scotch tape. I wasn't happy about that either.

This morning, he got a hold of the tape dispenser again, but this time I let him play with it. When he pulled out the tape a little, I tore some off and left it stuck to his hand. John went to the middle of the kitchen and started throwing his hand up in the air, the way he does when he's throwing a ball straight up. He was trying to get the tape to fly off his hand, but of course it wouldn't go. He was smiling as his hand went up three or four times and then he gave up.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Death of a Pepper Plant

John had a hard day today. Kristi said that he whined a lot and that he fell in the kitchen and hit his head. Maybe he was tired from not sleeping enough yesterday (he didn't get a morning nap because he was in the nursery at church).

To make matters worse, while John and I were in the back yard, I noticed that he had broken off a limb of a cayenne pepper plant I am growing in the back yard. There were a good four or five peppers starting to grown on that limb and when he started poking at the plant again I got angry at him. The poor little guy looked at me with such a confused look on his face. He's not used to me speaking to him in that way.

The pepper plant only cost $2.49 so it's not worth getting angry about and it's certainly not worth hurting my son's feelings about. I'm glad that I'll get another chance to treat John well in the morning.

(I just remembered something else: when we went to the park after dinner, we forgot to bring a ball with us. There were some boys and a young man playing on the basketball court and there was a ball lying on the side. John wanted to pick it up and play with it, but we wouldn't let him. This time, none of the boys told John it was ok to play with their ball. We went to the tennis court, where John loves to throw and kick around a ball, but there was nothing for him to do. So he went back to the ball, but we told him again that he couldn't play with it. Again, none of the boys offered to let John use his ball. This was just one of those days when nothing seemed to go John's way. I guess even little boys have some of those too.)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Rubber Band for Blanky's Nose

John got up a littler earlier than usual this morning. I was already up and reading and eating my breakfast.

We got John a booster seat yesterday, so I pulled a chair up to the table where I was sitting and sat him down in it with some Cheerios and soy milk (he has a milk allergy) and the latest J. Peterman catalogue (lots of pictures).

Before or after that (I can't remember which), John took a little blue rubber band and balanced it right in the center of the nose of the dog on his favorite blanket, Blanky. He balanced it like a ring on the pillow at a wedding and came and showed it to me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Precious Cargo

John loves to transport cargo in his trucks. As I walk around the kitchen, I see:

1. A red truck with a long yellow bed, in which John placed a jar of meat sticks.

2. A big yellow school bus with a small tupperware cup inside.

3. A big yellow dump truck with a small tube of hand cream in the dumper.

Yesterday, as we were coming home from the park, John walked on a bleacher step and then stepped down inside of the bleachers and found an empy cardboard gum container. It went into the carrying compartment of the stroller.

Also, John has a car that Kristi's parents gave him that is big enough to ride. It has a front hood that lifts up and serves as a storage compartment. We never know what we are going to find in it.

What's the point of having trucks and carriages with places to put things if you don't put something in them?

Update: I just checked the front hood of the car and was surprised to find that there was nothing in it this morning.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Two Tennis Balls

My father took John to the park a few days ago and John kept running out onto the tennis court. There was a man playing tennis with his son--I think they may be Ethiopian--and he gave John a tennis ball to get him to stop interrupting their game.

Yesterday evening, Kristi and I took John to the park after dinner and saw the same man playing with his son. "Was this boy here the other day with his grandfather?" We told him he was. The man gave John another tennis ball. (After a few minutes, John threw the ball back onto the court and I darted after it and barely missed getting hit by a ball the man's son just hit.)

Yesterday before dinner, a girl let John play with her basketball: once he saw it he lost all interest in his little inflated rubber ball.

Today, Kristi took John to the park and a nine-year old boy showed John how to catch and throw. There are a lot of friendly people at that park...and not a few of them are willing to share or give away their balls.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Planting Seeds

John planted his own garden today. It was my mother's idea and it was a good one. John has seen me digging up dirt and planting herbs, potatoes, tomatoes, and onions, but I haven't let him touch anything. But today he got to use a little spade and put seeds in the ground (corn and string beans) and then he watered them with a watering can. It's hard to believe that he's only a year and a half.

The idea is that he will know that this is his garden and he can do what he wants in it. I hope that he'll enjoy seeing his little seeds grow.