Tag Archives: imagination

Bum rushed

The other morning, while Maia and Sarah slept, I was sitting at the table checking my email and eating my bagel. I heard Keana’s footsteps all over the house, stopping in this room, then that one, no doubt collecting toys to play with. To accompany her footsteps was a constant stream of talking, role-playing really, between the characters she had collected. I didn’t see her at all though until something caught my eye. Out from behind the couch straight in front of me, in the only patch of sunlight that filled the normally shaded room, two little hands, each holding a character, danced around to the narrator’s voice. I couldn’t see her face or feet, just two sunlit hands playing. And just now, I walked out into the living room to stretch my legs and Sarah’s dozing off on the couch as Keana’s crooning “Once Upon a Dream” from Sleeping Beauty. She’s getting quite good at that song, hitting almost all the pitches and remembering all the words to the chorus. Hilarious.

Maia is growing into her independence. That girl definitely has some sass in her step, literally. Today she was standing on the shoe rack which is about 18″ off the ground. I warned her of the edge, and she purposely walked right up to it, put half of one foot over it and looked up at me with a huge smile on her face. I think that pretty much says it all. She can string together two and three word sentences now and continues to dazzle us with her sense of humor. She’s basically potty-trained too, so her independence grows and grows. I’m also amazed how much she and Keana can play together. Keana does get bossy, but she’s also really good at asking Maia questions about what she thinks about something or what she wants to do.

I feel like we’ve been “bum rushed” by the end of July and August so far. We spent the end of July decorating our house and really moving in. The ass-kicker for us there was hosting Iana and Ryan’s baby shower at our house on August 1. We always need an ass-kicker to really get us to finish less-essential domestic tasks. The shower was great and we really enjoyed being able to have so many family and friends over. The next day was spent quasi-cleaning up and getting ready for the annual family camping trip with Sarah’s family. It wasn’t easy, but we got it done. I think we were more inspired this year because from Fresno it’s only a two-hour drive to the campsite instead of the six-hour-usually-hellish drive from Richmond. Indeed, we got up there without much event, and setting up camp was pretty easy since Iana and Ryan were up there first and were available to help out with the girls.

I’m not going to lie though, this year’s campout was not the greatest. There were lots of family issues flying about, both Maia and Keana were sick, there were several cloudy/cold days, there was more of an agenda due to Nathan (Sarah’s cousin) and Jennie getting married up there, etc. But let me tell you what was great. Being outdoors for a week is always good for our souls. Being by and in the river was great. Keana had a blast with older friend Phoenix (9). And of course both Keana and Maia had a ton o’ fun with Uncle Michael, Iana, Ryan, Grandma Jennie and all our fellow campers. Iana and Sarah sang at Nathan’s wedding, and the wedding and their singing were quite beautiful. There was a live band in the meadow too, and our whole family enjoyed a little dance party after the potluck reception. So even amidst the stressful family shit, there really was a lot of great moments. About halfway through that trip though Maia started crying, “Home!” on and off, and I think she was spot on because it was really nice to go home.

We slipped back into our routine on August 10th, at which point Sarah got sick and now I’m sick. Keana started her first full year of preschool yesterday, August 17, and I think it’s going to be a great year. It’s hard to believe summer is coming to a close and I can only hope that we can squeeze in some redemption camping before the weather starts to change. Speaking of which, this Fresno heat is no joke and I’m really looking forward to the decline in temps as fall approaches.


I’ve been meaning to write about this hilarious thing Keana does. It’s called “slaw” and here’s how it works: when getting dressed in a long-sleeved shirt—usually pajamas at bedtime—and her hand is covered in the sleeve, she sticks her covered hand out and sings in a very high, loud opera-like voice, “SLAWWWWW!” I was an instant fan the first time I observed it, which was about seven or eight months ago I think (maybe earlier). It cracked me up and when I asked her about it at first she couldn’t really explain it. Then after a while it came out that “slaw” was like a trunk of an elephant spraying water, so if you got “slawed” you were all wet. One might also have “slaw foot” if your foot is mostly covered by the leg of your pants. It was really cute when Keana noticed newborn Maia’s hand covered by her sleeve, remarking, “Hey! Maia has slaw too!”

Of course now that I finally wrote this down, the great “slaw” is beginning to fade. Keana doesn’t say it hardly at all anymore and I almost feel like us, The Old People, catching onto it, killed it. Isn’t that the way it is? By the time adults catch onto the latest slang or music or style, the kids have already moved on to the next thing while rolling their eyes and shaking their heads in embarrassment.

So what are dem kids up to?

Maia is amazing. Everyone’s asking how big she is now and we don’t really know, but we think she’s about 13 lbs. She’s been holding her head up since the beginning, but she’s much stronger now at 9 weeks and swivels that head side-to-side to check out things around her. Her eyes are an amazing shade of blue and they dart around eagerly following movements and sounds, trying to see what’s going on. She smiles much more frequently and the early morning smiles, right when you wake up together are the best. Not only that, but she is one talkative little baby. I wish I had the skill to spell some of the squeals laughs, and screams out, but I guess that’s what video is for. Maia will have long periods where she talks and talks if you keep asking questions and agree with her. It’s so much fun and the most amazing thing to be there when a child finds their voice. We can’t wait to hear more, but she’s certainly telling us all about it now. We had been using Keana’s old swing and it broke down, so we bought the Cadillac of swings using some Target gift cards we had received (THANK YOU Target gift-card-givers out there). The swing goes side-to-side and back-and-forth which is really cool and comes with five or six “noise” settings. She prefers the nature noises and will stay napping in that swing on-and-off throughout the day. Maia likes it so much that I was actually worried it was bad that she was in it so much, but after talking to the pediatrician, I guess those fears are pretty unfounded. Not that I wanted it to be bad. Without that thing, Sarah would never have a moments rest during the day and Keana would be mad as hell fighting for attention.

Speaking of which…what’s up with Keana? Well, Keana is amazing. She continues to be super sweet with Maia, often getting excited whenever Maia wakes up from a nap. At the first sound of Maia’s cry she usually says, “Oh! I think Maia needs us! Let’s go help her!” Down the road, at times, Maia may not think this, but she is very lucky to have Keana for an older sister. Keana loves petting her head and both of them enjoy lying next to each other on the bed and Keana either tells her a story or sing her a song—very sweet. Her nickname for Maia has been “Mi-Mi-Mai-Mi” usually followed by a, “She’s so cutie-cutie-cuuuute,” and a head pet.

Keana is active as always. In the house she loves running around and jumping up and down (especially on the bed) and still finds time for some “downward dog” and somersaults. She loves dressing up and the latest has been dressing up like Cinderella or a princess, using some of Sarah’s old jewelry as a crown and one of Tia’s old dresses for her “fancy dress”. This girl’s imagination remains quite active and we love seeing where she takes it. All last week she was really into having a “lovely apple”. Taking the idea from Snow White, she’ll get an apple from the fruit bowl asking either Sarah or I to offer it to her. She says, “You can say ‘here, take one of my lovely apples!’”. That’s another thing, she like role playing. So she’ll tell us what to say or how she wants us to react to get it started, then we take it from there. An interesting part of this is that she likes to role play defiance. For instance she’ll say, “You can say ‘no, don’t do that!’” and of course she’ll do it anyway. Luckily this is only a game at this point and she’s very respectful of the rules we’ve set. She definitely pushes those boundaries, but she continues to be such a good kid.

There have been some issues around going to bed though. They started before Maia was born, then mellowed out, then picked back up when I went back to work. Basically she tries to avoid going to sleep by coming up with every possible excuse or problem known to man. First it’s usually “I’m thirsty” followed by “My feet hurt” or “My stomach hurts”. I’m terrible at this, often folding at every request (though I have gotten better). Sarah does an amazing job with it and has gotten it back on track for the most part. I take regular discipline classes at the School of Mama Sarah. So there were a couple nights of very angry yelling and screaming, but for the most part it’s fine.

Another interesting development has been Keana’s love of movies. We always swore the TV wouldn’t be a baby-sitter, but honestly, sometimes there’s really no other way. When we’re both home, it’s different cause one of us can play with Keana and the other can watch Maia, but when Sarah’s there alone with both of them, there has to be a compromise involving the TV. Her consumption is still quite low, especially compared to the national average I’m sure, and we’re keeping it in check. This last weekend Grandma Jennie brought all the old Disney video tapes so I think it’s great that we have variety, but we’re definitely going to have to watch this. It’s another one of those things that you have opinions and theories about before you become a parent, then form new opinions and theories when you’re actually faced with it.

Present, past, future

So much is happening, has happened, will-be-happening that I hardly know where to begin. Maybe I’ll just start at the present, move back a little, then jump ahead to a not-so-distant point in the future…and probably all over that timeline in-between.

I’m hungry—be right back…

I just had some of Sarah’s amazing mac-n-cheese. Damn that’s good. (I told you I’d start with the present, right? Okay, let’s move on.)

Side thought: Our camera is still broken! I finally mailed it in to get fixed, but who knows when it’ll be back. I feel like we’re really missing out on things here.

Let’s really begin:

Keana’s downstairs sleeping and Sarah is with her sister Iana for a night out and a slumber party. For those of you who don’t know, Iana is moving to San Diego in August with her boyfriend Ryan. Ryan’s already down there in law school—just finished his first year—and Iana’s going to join him in Ocean Beach. She’ll still be working at the National Writing Project and coming up to Berkeley about once a month once she moves, so we’ll still get to see her a little. It’ll be interesting to see how Keana deals with the move since Iana comes over to the house once a week to play with Keana and visit with Sarah. I’m sure she’ll miss her lots.

Before Iana leaves she’s been trying to get time in with all her friends and family here in the east bay (hence the “sister night” tonight). Also, as part of the ongoing going-away flurry of activities, Sarah, Keana, Iana, and (Grandma) Jennie went to Big Sur for the weekend of June 30–July 2. They hope to make it an annual trip just for The Ladies and it sounds like they had a really good time. Since I wasn’t there I can’t really fill you in, but maybe I can get Sarah to write a blog entry soon to cover all the ins-and-outs of that trip. For now though, I’ve put together a video from footage that Sarah took one evening of the trip.

I can, however, tell you what I did that weekend. Oh man. As a little background info, I haven’t had time alone at our house since Keana was born. I have had some time to myself while traveling for work and other short one-nighters here and there visiting my brother Peter in Santa Cruz, but this was the first time at home alone. Seeing how this blog isn’t just about me, here’s the synopsis:

June 30, afternoon:

  • Ran errands
  • Got car washed
  • Slept on floor with cat

June 30, evening/late night:

  • Went to Giants game (vs. Arizona Diamondbacks) with friend Kacie
  • Ate donuts
  • Watched movie

July 1, early early morning:

  • Watched movie
  • Slept

July 1, morning:

  • Still sleeping

July 1, afternoon:

  • Ate breakfast
  • Went hiking at Tilden

July 1, evening:

  • Went to movie theater and saw Live Free or Die Hard (third time to theater since Keana was born)
  • Ate
  • Practiced trumpet
  • Backed up music
  • Cleaned toilet
  • Slept

Exciting, huh? I had a blast but realized that I am truly a changed man. Staying up till 4 a.m. just isn’t the same and I truly missed my Girls. The house was too quiet and although it was really good to just do things for myself, it didn’t have the same magic as doing things for the little person with pretty blue eyes. Of course I missed my best friend Sarah too.

June flew by extremely fast and here are some magical Keana things we’ve really been enjoying the last month:

  • I may have mentioned this before, but before bed, while brushing teeth, it is so much fun singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Keana knows all the words and has added a hilarious “BWAAAAHHHH!” at the end while shaking her head back and forth vigorously. She’s crazy and we love it.
  • While walking without shoes on she’ll often say, “I’m just in my feet!”
  • In June we made it to the ocean twice and while standing in the ocean, Keana yells, “I love it! I love it!” and, “Here comes the ocean!” as the waves come to shore.
  • The other day, while sampling some of her imaginary soup, I said, “You are very skilled in the culinary arts Baby,” and she replied, “I don’t have any culinary arts Papa.”
  • Playing ball: Keana loves to be chased while carrying a ball and faking you out by throwing it off to the side instead of towards you. She’s also perfected the reverse over-the-head throw where she throws the ball backward over her head. The ball thing has really added a whole other dimension to “I’m gonna getchya!” one of our favorite games.
  • Keana continues to be the sweetest ever, often saying, “Oh, I love you so much,” and requesting hug after hug before I go to work. And what better way to come home from work than with her screaming, “Papa’s here!” as I walk up the stairs followed by a, “Oh, I’m so glad you’re here Papa!” when I walk in the door. Of course she does this when Sarah comes and goes too, but Sarah doesn’t leave as often.
  • Clinging to Mama: maybe it’s because Sarah’s pregnant or some other developmental thing, but Keana has been all about Mama lately. When I’m here Keana often refuses to let me change her diaper, feed her, and brush her teeth. I know Sarah could use the break but I think she knows this will pass and happily pulls the weight even when I’m around. Aren’t moms great?
  • While in Big Sur, Sarah said that after she gave Keana a bite of food Keana ran down the hall a little bit, stopped, turned around, and in a stylized, deep “monster” voice said, “Thank you Mama.”
  • Keana loves to pretend. This morning we were playing downstairs, opening and shutting doors so the dinosaurs wouldn’t get us while eating imaginary pie out of tiny to-go containers that were used for pickles.

There’s so many amazing things we get to witness on a daily basis that I can’t possibly write them all down here. Today we were watching videos from Keana’s first year and Sarah noted that we’ll never be first-time parents again. In the videos the giddiness in our voices and apparent amazement at every little thing Keana did was so obvious that I couldn’t help but agree. What’s it going to be like when this next little one is born and changes all our lives in a new and different way? I also noticed that the amount of documentation by photo, video, and words has slowly decreased as Keana has gotten older and it made me a little sad. Have I gotten lazy? Have we started to take the day-to-day wonders of Keana for granted, and therefore haven’t dedicated the time and energy to capture the latest fleeting moments? I don’t know- I’d like to think not.

Only two things to do: get that damn camera fixed and keep writing.

With imagination, we’ll get there

Keana’s imagination lately has been hilarious. Yesterday we were at the park across the street and the whole time she was in the swing she kept saying, “Scary monster in the house” looking towards the corner of the park at a shed in someone’s backyard. She kept saying it over and over not taking her eyes off the shed but not looking scared either—just very matter-of-fact.

“Oh, there’s a scary monster in there, huh?” I said.

“Yeah. And the cat’s knocking on the door,” she replies.

I started to get a little weirded out. Some grown-ass man I am.

“The cat’s knocking on the door but scary monster’s snoring,” she says.

“Oh, so the scary monster can’t hear the cat knocking because he’s snoring so loud?” I ask.


And she kept saying it over and over, eventually switching scary monster to scary lion, but the cat was still knocking on the door.

When I told Sarah this she told about a similar situation last week when Keana looked up and saw the smoke detector on the ceiling and said, “Elephants on the ceiling.” Sarah asked about it and she replied, “Yeah, elephants with water in their nose.” Keana went on to elaborate in great detail but Sarah wasn’t able to follow all the ins-and-outs of the whole story. Sarah also became a little weirded out at how detailed and elaborate Keana’s story was. Her stories are so detailed and strange that they almost seem real and you begin to wonder if you aren’t missing something completely.

I think we’re going to cut back on Dr. Seuss for a while.

One, Two

Keana turned two. It came and went as quickly as just about everything else around here. She had three parties: one on Wednesday, March 22 with just Sarah and I, one with Sarah and Tia on her actual birthday (while I was teaching), and the big family extravaganza birthday on the following Saturday, March 24. I also snuck away from work to have lunch with my Ladies on her birthday since I couldn’t be there in the evening.

What I want to know is who coined the term “terrible twos”? Methinks it was someone from the school of “children should be seen and not heard” and someone who believed the domestication of the human animal was a very important step around the age of two. Keana speaks her mind and isn’t afraid to say “no!”. She’s learning to reason, argue, and persuade. She’s very sweet but tests her boundaries and the boundaries of those around her. When she hits the limits of those boundaries she takes note, pushes them more, tries a new approach, and learns. She remembers everything and recalls things from weeks ago when she sees an association. We see the fine line between discipline and restricting freedom and growth. Sarah and I are of the mind that there isn’t much flexibility with boundaries regarding Keana’s health and safety, but everything else is pretty much gray. It seems she needs us to let her have her gray areas and discover and define some things for herself. That’s one of the greatest joys lately is seeing her make these discoveries for herself. These discoveries used to be things like clapping or swinging her arms or opening and closing a box. Now that Keana’s two she’s discovering how to express herself in an effective way to others and she’s learning how to speak her mind. There’s nothing terrible about any of it. In fact, it’s teaching me I need to revisit my own domestication and socialization and rethink what’s important and what’s not while moving through the world.

The future’s so bright

Today we got a baby toilet. With her Scooby Doo action doll in tow, Keana, Sarah and I headed down to Target to take care of taking care of business. Keana’s been quite curious about things leaving the body lately so we figured it was time. She’s also been much more aware of her own situation so that was another good indicator. And get this: within 30 minutes of getting the little baby toilet out of the box, she peed in it. One giant step for baby, one tiny step for baby-kind.

We had the toilet in the living room, then in the kitchen, then in the bathroom—oh such fun. Whoever thought it would be so cool to take your toilet with you? Actually, now that I type that out, it does sound pretty cool, or at least really convenient.

In other news, she’s learning more lyrics to songs. In addition to singing along with ABCs she can also sing along to “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” and “Baa Baa Black Sheep”. In fact, the song of choice for walking downstairs for bed time is These Boots.

Keana’s also been having a lot of fun dressing up her Curious George and Big Bird in her other doll’s clothes. I came home one night this week and Monkey had a dress on, and, I must say, looked pretty darn good in it. And the blue dress on Big Bird really matched his feather-tones well. Today we put a pair of plaid shorts and a poodle dress on Monkey too which was a big hit.

As you can see her imagination is fully intact and growing every day. More and more she personifies her dolls/animals—feeding them, changing their diapers, helping them go the bathroom and dancing with them. It’s so fun to be reminded of how much fun being a kid was, and every time I play with her I think it’s time to back to that.