Monday, October 23, 2006

Open Story Thread

Since I started sharing stories of Toddler antics I've received several emails from people with some of the funniest toddler stories I've read. I'm starting this open thread for those readers who would like to share their best stories. I will try to bookmark it on the side so it's always there. Just add to it when something funny happens.

Congratulations to new parents Tom and Allison Burns and Jeff and Jen Wall: Colleen Nora Burns and Sierra Murphy Wall were born this past month. All our best to your families and we hope you all get some sleep. Megan and I wish we could be there to see the new ones in person. We all look forward to hearing of your adventures here. On the way are second babies from Dmitri and Cindy Williams and Ernie and Ense Kwan - let's hear some Mia and Lauren stories.

I'll start the funny stories with a short but sweet one: Last week the Bittles were driving home after spending some time with Jenny and Todd. I had given Clara some apple juice to drink but she finished it before we got in the car. Halfway home, about 15 minutes later, Clara let out a little toddler burp. There was a pause, then Clara said delightedly, "Apples!"

I'll let Megan share how she let slip a word Clara shouldn't repeat, and how Clara used it quite correctly in a new sentence.

Tom, Colleen, and Allison Burns

Jeff, Sierra, and Jen Wall

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


While I'm not one to jump every time our local news flashes their latest scare "special report" (Can the socks you're wearing KILL YOU?!?,) I was intrigued by something I found on today about current research on Autism. The idea that there's something I'm doing (or not doing) that could hurt the girls scares me. But I also want to take everything with an ounce of salt - the recent reports that non-organic milk was harmful to young girls turned out to be a myth: Washington Post.

The Autism report finds a link between television viewing and autism rates in certain areas. The link is circumstantial at best but enough to warrant further research. Autism has been on the rise but scientists have been baffled as to why. In the last few years research studies have found possible causes for the increases in autism, including vaccines, genetics, and now television.

Take a look at the Slate story. Several of you are much more knowledgeable on the subject than I am so I'm interested in what you think. Parents also please let me know what you think. Slate Article

Also, some other findings:

Genetic Link: From MSNBC

Vaccines (myth): CDC

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Zombie Baby

It was a morning like all others: Clara sat on the couch, a cup of milk curled around the fingers of her right hand while she sucked on the middle fingers of her left hand. Big Bird filled the television screen as he searched a farm for any sign of Ernie. Suddenly Clara heard a sound from the hallway. Her eyes darted toward the door, the rest of her body remaining very still.

Not a foot off the ground, the tip of a bald head came into view. It was just as Clara feared. The bane of her existence approached slowly, ever so slowly. It was the slowness of inevitability. One hand forward...pause...opposite knee forward... pause... other hand forward. The zombie baby was on the move.

Clara dared not move for fear of attracting attention. As of yet the undead little one was unaware of Clara's presence. Perhaps the zombie would be distracted by the television, or the Dora van, or the Mr. Potato Head. Oh no, Clara thought, not the dolphin, not the fuzzy dolphin! It was near the doorway - the reanimated devil child had only to look left and she'd see it. No! She saw it!

The zombie reached for the dolphin and Clara couldn't help but jump at the thought of what that thing would do with it. But the enemy saw the movement, and now had Clara clearly in her sights. Zombie Kate's eyes widened, and she smiled that drooly smile of the damned. On she came.

"Noooooo!" Clara cried. "Kate! Nooooooo!" Maybe her dad would hear and come to save her. She could hear him in the kitchen. Why wasn't he protecting her?

Clara jumped up and ran to the end of the room, crying. Zombie Kate smiled and continued toward her. She's taunting me, Clara thought.

"What's the matter Clara?" Her father yelled from the kitchen.

"Kaaaaaaaaate! Kaaaaaaaaate!" Surely he would come.

"Oh sweetie, just share your toys with her." Share? Toys? This clueless man thinks I'm crying over a toy? I'm crying for my life!

She had nowhere to run. She had backed herself into a corner and Kate showed no signs of stopping. She kept smiling and drooling and grunting that zombie grunt. Realizing she had little choice, Clara ran at the little zombie and, keeping herself out of arms reach, ran around her into the hallway.

"Daddy!" She sobbed. He was in the kitchen putting dishes away. Why did he choose today to start doing that?

"What's the matter sweetie?" What's the matter? The matter is that your "sweetie" is going to be zombie food if you don't do something quick!

From the entrance to the living room came a grunt, a tip of a head, those dark, dark eyes, that smile, and so much drool. Nowhere was safe!

"Kaaaaaaaaate!" Clara cried.

"Oh sweetie," her father said in that condescending tone. "Kate just wants to play with you."

Oh what a clueless man. Yes, she wants to play with me, like a cat plays with a mouse, Clara thought. Clara was giving up hope with every inch the zombie baby crawled. Clara held tight to her father but he did nothing! The end was here. At least she saved her stuffed dolphin from certain doom.

At last Kate made it to her and Clara's life flashed before her eyes. Goodbye mommy and daddy. Goodbye dolphin. Goodbye giraffes at school. Goodbye trains. Goodbye Clarice. She closed her eyes tight.

Her father moved, picked up the zombie child, and deposited her in the high chair, pouring cheerios in front of her. The nightmare was over - Clara was saved! Hiding behind the cabinet, Clara peered around the corner at the zombie child. Kate reached for a cheerio, saw Clara there and smiled her drooly, crusty smile as if to say, "this isn't over."

(the last we saw of our dog)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

2 Year-Old Tidbits

Welcome to a new column titled 2 Year-Old Tidbits (because “What the hell is my daughter doing?” didn’t feel positive enough.) In this recurring column, I’ll share some things that I have to share for my own mental health.

Daddy’s new toothbrush: A few weeks ago I visited the dentist and came away, of course, with a new toothbrush, which I put in the drink holder of our car. Later that day, Clara was making a fuss in the backseat so Megan handed the toothbrush back to give her something to play with. Now to Megan’s credit the toothbrush was still in its packaging, and honestly, what could she really do while strapped in her car seat? It worked like a charm; she was so busy making crinkly noises that she forgot whatever it was that made her upset. Megan and I actually had a conversation for a short while. But that short while became suspiciously long and I turned around to see that not only had Clara unwrapped the toothbrush, she was busy brushing the bottoms of her feet with it. She grinned at me and said, “Feet!” I looked at Megan and said, “You owe me a new toothbrush.”

Bookies and Milkies: Megan and I are not the type of parents who make words kid friendly. For instance, we don’t call a dog a doggy or . Obviously, there are words like puppy or baby or monkey or tummy/belly that come with the kid friendly “y” at the end. Some time last week Clara decided that everything ends with a “y.” She began to ask for Milky or Juicy, to call where we live our housy, and to refer to her stuffed animals as bearies. I just ignore the new trend and call everything by its rightful name, hoping she’ll catch on. The other day we visited my dad at the Warrenton Senior Center, which he now runs, and while trying to break Clara’s habit of ending everything with a “y” we sat her down to a snack of… a brownie. This is a losing battle I’m fighting.

Pray for Pagan Babies: During a play-date at Jenny and Todd’s house with their niece Kennedy, Clara showed just how much we’ve failed at teaching her table manners. Jenny made the toddler ambrosia that is macaroni and cheese with cut up hot dogs – Clara wasted no time digging in. Kennedy put her hands together and looked at Clara and said, “We pray.” With the fork halfway to her mouth, Clara looked at Kennedy with a confused look on her face. Todd’s mother Pat gently held Clara’s hands to her side so Kennedy could pray for the food and for each of her family members one by one. Pat, Todd, and Jenny had trouble keeping a straight face through Kennedy’s list of prayers because Clara, who now could not use her arms, leaned her face toward the bowl as if to bob for mac and cheese. Eventually Kennedy was ready to eat and Clara got back to the business of eating. Time for etiquette school I guess.