"Our Little Parrot"
It'll be the middle of November by the time this entry makes it onto the
site. Halloween has come and gone, all the candy has been eaten, and we're
trying to get ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas and the financial implosion
that always comes in January. Despite the lingering sense of impending doom,
this has been a fun month.
Theron had a great time at Halloween this year. He helped me set up the
decoration in the front yard. He carried his pumpkin and wore a necklace of glowsticks with great satisfaction. And, of course, he went from house to house,
collected candy, and even said, "Happy Halloween!"
Unfortunately, none of our costumes worked out quite the way we intended.
This is mainly because the weather was far too warm. By the time Theron and the
Beautiful Woman made it to the Mom's Group activity that morning, we knew they
weren't going to work.
Theron was supposed to go as Elmo; the costume was too hot, so his mother
took it off and spiked his hair up instead. She had intended to accompany him as
Cookie Monster, but when she put the hood/mask on, Theron freaked out.
Apparently, in addition to cookies, Cookie Monster had just eaten his mom. So...
no Sesame Street costumes. They went as rebel rockers instead.
I had intended to dress as Connor McLeod, using a nice London Fog trenchcoat
that I picked up on Ebay for $20. Unfortunately, when the day came, it was too
hot to wear a coat. So I made a quick switch to a pirate outfit, instead. It was
still a little warm; what I really needed was a costume that involved shorts and
a tee shirt.
For the actual trick-or treating, we took one of Theron's white shirts and
wrote on it with a magic marker. The back said, "Rebel." The front said, "I
rebelled against my Elmo costume." As a costume, it actually worked:
The problem is, if I put together a costume for next year that actually does
involve shorts and a tee shirt, it'll be freezing. Texas weather...
Texas Renaissance Festival
This was our next big event, two weeks after Halloween. It was basically a
weekend trip; TRF is down near Houston, making it a bit under a five hour drive
for us. So, the plan was to drive down there, meet one of my old college friends
and his family, and spend the night with them. We'd drive back in a more
leisurely fashion on Sunday.
As with Halloween, this A) didn't work according to plan, and B) was a lot of
The first part worked pretty well. We packed on Friday night, so when we woke
up on Saturday we just loaded up the car and took off. Theron was the very last
thing to go in, so he was still asleep for the first two hours of the trip.
This trip was also a sort of test run for Thanksgiving, which is coming up
soon and will involve driving down to a dude ranch. As an early Christmas gift,
my parents gave us a portable DVD player.* This kept Theron occupied for the
rest of the trip, so we managed the first leg entirely free of complaints from
the Podling. My wife is deeply in love with the portable DVD player; I think I'm
We made it to the festival, found the friends we were looking for, and went
inside. This is more impressive than it sounds; last time we tried this, we
never found them. We were all at the same festival, we just failed to either
find or identify each other. This was despite having made arrangements in
advance, and spending the whole day looking.
Inside the festival, we checked out the booths, boggled at the prices, and
made fun of the "sword"** vendors. They had rides (though, in keeping with the
medieval/fantasy theme, everything was people-powered). Theron went on two
spinning rides ("More round-and-round?") and one giant swing ("More swing?"). He
looked around, ran around, and generally had a good time.
(We had a good time, too. Then again, any time I get to wear a sword around
is a good time.)
Then we left the festival, and our plans went off the rails. The next step
was to follow our friends back to their house. Unfortunately, we couldn't find
them; the place has more than one exit. Fortunately, they had printed off
directions, and we were able to follow those and eventually arrive at their
house. Unfortunately, the route we followed was the same one that everyone else
was using, and it took us half a century or so to get clear.
Once we reached the house, we ordered pizza, put the kids to bed (our friends
have a boy of their own, Clay, who is about a year older than Theron and enjoyed
showing off his toy dinosaur and his new puppy), and chatted a bit. Then we
collapsed. Everything was more or less back on track...
...until about five-fifteen in the morning. We'd all been worn out, and
something about that part of Texas had set off our allergies. By five-fifteen,
Theron was so stuffy that he basically couldn't breathe if he was horizontal. We
tried a few things, but couldn't get him to settle back down -- at least, not in
a way that would let him sleep. He was getting progressively more unhappy, and
we were about to reach a point where he would either A) wake up and play, and in
the process wake everyone else up; or B) going into a screaming, crying,
miserable meltdown, and in the process wake everyone else up.
So, finally, we gave up. The only sensible thing we could see to do was load
Theron in the car and head back to Dallas. That would allow his sinuses to
drain, and hopefully he could get back to sleep. So, I shook my friend awake and
gave him a quick summary of the new plan (which was possibly garbled by me being
half-awake and suffering my own allergy attack). Then we threw everything back
in the car and headed out.
That part actually worked fairly well. Theron did go back to sleep, and we
got back to Dallas in time for me to collapse (while the Beautiful Woman covered
the Snot Explosion). She then kicked me awake, and I took over the Fountain of
Mucus while she took a nap. So, by evening, we were exhausted but functional.
Theron is still stuffy, as are we. I think it's going to take a few days for
our systems to figure out that we aren't still breathing the gunk that set them
Our son, the parrot
Shortly after the last entry, Theron quit burbling***, at least mostly.
Instead, he has started repeating almost anything we say, verbatim. So, for
example, two weeks ago I found him holding the plug-in charger for a portable
phone. He was holding the cord, and swinging the heavy end (you know, the one
with the prongs) around. I said, "Oh, look, Theron. You found your weapon.
He answered: "Weapon, good."
Last night, I told him he was a good boy. He said, "Good boy."
Later, on the way home from my parents, we were singing Jingle Bells. Yes, I
know it's far too early for this; he started it. Someone has been teaching it to
him, probably in preparation for one of those horrible end-of-the-year shows
where the parents ignore how bad the singing is and dote on the cuteness of the
children instead. So we were singing Jingle Bells, and we finished the song, and
he said: "You did it!"
This is a terrible situation, because it immediately confronts me with a
horrible temptation: what can I get him to say? It has to be something fairly
easy to pronounce... and something that won't get me in too much trouble if he
happens to say it again in, say, first grade. "Masticate," for example --
despite being a perfectly innocent word in its own right -- is probably
unacceptable. I have, however, gotten him to say "Impending Doom". I'm fairly
pleased with that.
The good part about children who can talk
One night he was crying in bed. When I went in there, he had unzipped his
outfit (we put him in the one-piece footy-pajamas to keep his toes warm). I
asked him if his teeth were hurting, and he said, "Yes." Then he said, "Diaper."
So I asked him if he needed to change his diaper, and he said: "Yes." I asked if
he had pooped in his diaper, and he said yes to that too. So, I pulled him out
of his outfit, pulled his diaper off, wiped him clean, and put a fresh diaper
He hadn't actually pooped, but he seemed much more comfortable after I'd
changed him. I'm guessing, but I think maybe the old diaper wasn't on quite
straight, or was chafing, or something like that. He drank some water, then
settled down and went to sleep after that.
It is very, very nice that he can now tell us what's wrong. Having to guess
is, frankly, horrible.
It's also possible that he's starting to make things up to get attention/stay
up later, but I don't think so. He's not even two and half, yet, so I think it's
a little early for that. We'll see, though.
Theron isn't much of a cuddler, at least not usually. He likes to run around;
he's usually busy doing things. Even if we're sitting on the couch watching
Elmo, he tends to stay on his side... unless he's busy jumping or climbing on
us. That's pretty much the pattern in restaurants, too.
There are, however, a couple of exceptions. When Theron isn't feeling well,
he wants to be held. In fact, he can be downright clingy. And when he's going to
sleep, he really wants someone to lay down with him.
Now, generally we don't do this. We tell him that he's a big boy, and he
needs to go to sleep by himself. He complains about this, sometimes loudly, but
he usually does it.
There have, however, been a few occasions where we've tried it. These are
generally nights where he's either had trouble getting to sleep in the first
place (by eleven p.m., we're pretty desperate); or else they're times when he's
woken up in the night, and is having trouble getting back to sleep.
So, basically, you stretch out on the mattress beside him, and he tries to
cuddle. Unfortunately, his idea of cuddling involves pressing as much of his
body as close as possible. He keeps trying to burrow into you, which means
there's no way you can get comfortable. Plus, he's constantly moving as part of
the process, so he isn't really settling down, either.
It's like snuggling with a rhinoceros.
The Rhinoceros... of Luuuuuuuv.
Theron has been on the receiving end of tickles for a long time. I tickle
him; my wife tickles him; and occasionally other people tickle. Mostly, he
thinks it's fun. (We're careful to stop before it goes from fun to irritating.)
Recently, however, he's decided that turnabout is fair play. So, he will
attempt to tickle his mother (or, rarely, me). He does this by putting his palms
on our ribs and waving his fingers around while yelling "tickle-tickle-tickle" -
except his pronunciation isn't quite right, so it's more like "teekle-teekle-teekle".
We both laugh helplessly, because it's just so cute.
I'm not sure the description really does it justice. So, here's some video:
And now, here are some other pictures and video.
|Climbing on a Giant Spider
||In the Pumpkin Patch
||Still in the Pumpkin Patch
|Drawning Hair on a Pumpkin
||Elmo and Cookie Monster
||Look at that ghost!
|Working on a Jack'o'lantern
|How we watch TV
||Playing in the Pumpkins
|Fountain At the Dallas
|Ice Cream at the Renfaire
||Our son, the baby elephant
* Actually, they just gave us money, and the Beautiful Woman bought it. My
brother and his wife helped her pick it out, which was a big help.
** See, calling something a sword implies that it has a blade made from an
actual metal, and that you can swing it without endangering yourself (within
reason). The ability to actually cut things is generally also a prerequisite for
the label of "sword". Most retailers are selling Sword-Like Objects (SLO's) or,
at best, wall-hangers. That's fine, if all you want is a decoration; but don't
swing them around. There was a video clip going around a while back, which
demonstrates the dangers: click here to watch.
*** Talking randomly to himself, in nonsense phrases. Actually, I'm not sure
they were nonsense; he may have been reciting chunks of dialogue from various