Aside

dancing

Just remembered that once upon a time it was fun to go out dancing, and realized the next time we’ll do it is probably when one of Annie’s friends gets married.

Snack the Horse copes with loss

I spent at least an hour with Annie in a small tent yesterday, lying on the ground while she stepped around me to play, and Paul occasionally burst in to show us toy cars and bounce on my diaphragm. Annie had encountered a stuffed horse, who we’d quickly decided was Snack the Horse, a character in the “Joe the Purple Lizard” stories Bryan started inventing for her and she now coauthors. (Pink and purple cupcakes are usually involved in their adventures—more on this series in future, no doubt.)

Today Snack was feeling low. He was crying for his Grandma, who’d had to go back to her house, but it was okay, Annie told him, because his mom (Annie) and his daddy (me) were right here. She cradled him and talked to him, and reminded him, “You have your toy” (a car). This went on for some time before things got worse for Snack. Now he had to lay down in his bed (one side of the tent), while Annie went to her bed (the other side of the tent). So much for Mom and Dad. Annie pet him and consoled him, and, from “her bed,” instructed me to tell Snack that he had to stay in his bed while Annie was in hers. Back and forth she went, meeting and parting with poor, weeping Snack in his bed. Things took another turn in Act III, when Snack could no longer have his toy car for comfort. “You canNOT have it, Snack, you canNOT have it,” Annie explained gently, as she hugged and rocked him, and held the car out at arm’s length.

Snack bore up well under the stress, in the end, and I felt like I was treated to an immersive performance of how toddlers make sense of hardship through play. Christmas at the Ranch.

can i see it?

We do a lot of talking about what we see during our daily 60-90 minutes in the car. Cars, trucks, red lights, green lights, blinking lights, the highway, the regular street, cranes, cranes turning around, buildings, birds, bikes, people, the letters A and P—if it exists in downtown Austin, we’ve probably talked about it. It’s a way to pass the time that feels at least minimally engaged with the kids and mentally stimulating, which assuages some of our guilt for subjecting them to a daily commute strapped down in carseats.

Right now, though, when we point out a feature of interest (look, there’s a firetruck!), Annie starts chirping the first question that has truly stumped us as parents:

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

Look out your window, it’s right there!

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

Well, no, we passed it now.

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

Uh, hey, look now—it’s a school bus!

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

I don’t know, Annie, can you? I’m not sure what you can see.

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

I can’t see out of your eyes, Annie, I don’t know if you can see it. It’s right there! LOOK RIGHT THERE.

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

 

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

Can I see it?

 

So far we have managed not to drive the car into the river.

Image

Rumpus McBumpus

Bryan and I impulse-bought this fellow out on a date night about 9 months ago, having wandered into Toy Joy after a couple of beers and been beguiled by his round and bouncy charms. He’s apparently quite popular in Japan, and specially patterned for some significant anniversary. Suitable for ages 3 and up. The first time we put 18-month-old Annie on it, she promptly pitched off and hit her forehead on a door frame.

Recently, however, her legs have grown long enough to reach the ground around him, and she has caught onto the bouncing. I named him Rumpus McBumpus, but Annie calls him “Rabumpus Rabumpus.” She requests, “Some Rabumpus time maybe?”, rides him like a mechanical bull, and then obligingly hops off so that Paul can have a turn. Paul also loves Rabumpus though we have learned our baby lesson and keep a firm hold on him during his rides.

Ladies and gentlemen, Rumpus McBumpus.