Edison the Hutt

A while back, I wrote about Hope’s love of storytelling.

If anything, she’s gotten more into stories. She makes conversations out of them and often I’ll find myself starting one story and finishing another. Hope will ask question after question and try to relate the ongoing story with something she knows about.

Last week, Hope watched part of the movie Hop. The next day, she asked The Civee and I to re-tell her the story of the movie (which we weren’t paying much attention to). So we mentioned the few facts we knew, starting with the Easter Bunny’s son going to Hollywood.

Hope: Where’s Hollywood?

Me: In California.

Hope: Why did he go to Hollywood?

Me: Because that’s where a lot of famous people live.

Hope: Why do they live there?

Me: Because they make a lot of television and movies out in Hollywood.

Hope: Why?

And at this point I saw my chance to get away from talking about Hop to talking about something I knew  about (thanks to my film classes in college). I told her the simplified, kid-friendly story of how in response to Thomas Edison’s attempts to control American filmmaking in the early 1900s, a number of producers went to California and started making movies in Hollywood.

She actually understood all of this. And then came up with an analogy which surprised me.

Hope: So Thomas Edison was like Jabba the Hutt.

(A few months ago, the music from the final scene of Empire came on and she asked about it, so I told her the Rebels were trying to save their friend Han Solo from Jabba, a greedy gangster).

Yes, Hope. Thomas Edison was exactly like Jabba the Hutt.

The Giant Inflatable Sumo Wrestler Will Only Lead To More Questions

Near our house there’s a tire place that advertises with giant inflatables. Every week, there’s something different outside the store advertising that week’s deals. It used to be simple, large tires, rabbits or monkeys. But in the past few months, the place has had a steady rotation, mixing in a dinosaur, sumo wrestler and even a large inflatable Elvis to get attention.

Hope loves to talk and ask questions, and the inflatables have started a lot of conversations on our car rides.

The questions started out normal:

Hope: What’s that guy?

Me: That’s a sumo wrestler.

Hope: What’s a sumo wrestler?

Me: Sumo wrestling is a sport they play in Japan.


Hope: What’s that guy?.

Me: That’s Elvis. He’s the king of rock and roll.

Hope: Like Weezer?

Me: Yes, but older.

Hope can see anything and ask for a story about it. Or try and relate it to something else. But we’ve had to be careful, because her questions have gotten more involved. Last time we saw the sumo wrestler, the conversation went something like this:

Hope: What does that sumo guy do?

Me: Well, two of them are in a circle and have to push each other out.

Hope: Isn’t that mean?

Me: It’s part of the game. There’s a referee.

Hope: Is he naked?

Me: No, he’s wearing something.

One topic that we’ve had to start addressing with her is death. Earlier this summer, she had some pillbugs in a container that died overnight. So The Civee and I tried explaining the concept to her. And she won a goldfish at a church festival back in June that has miraculously survived (so far). We knew the topic would come up again, and eventually we would have to let her in on the fact that people die too. A few weeks ago on the radio, the DJ mentioned it was the anniversary of Elvis’ death. This led to another round, once the Elvis inflatable made a reappearance:

Hope: Did Elvis die?

Me: Yes.

Hope: Why did he die?

Me: Ummmm…because he took a bunch of medicine without his doctor or parents saying he could.

She’s asked these questions every time we’ve passed the Elvis inflatable. And we try and steer the conversation back to something positive about Elvis. But it’s better she’s learning about things like death. At the very least, we can use these conversations to have the [other] king teach her a lesson- don’t take medicine your doctor or mom or dad doesn’t tell you to take.

I Would’ve Gotten Away With It; If It Wasn’t For That Kid

For a few different reasons, The Civee and I rotate Hope’s toys in and out of use. Doing so makes the most of our space and allows her to concentrate on a few items, making the most of her time.

A few months ago, we put Hope’s wagon down in the basement. Like the other items we’ve taken out of the lineup, we don’t make an issue of it. The toy just disappears. Hope has a stroller now, so it’s not like she doesn’t have anything to push around. We all forgot about her orange and blue wagon until last night.

The Civee was at school, so Hope and I were hanging out. We were looking at some cards (her current favorite item) when she spotted one with a little red wagon on it. She started shouting “Wagon…Hope’s wagon. Push. Hope want wagon.” I tried deflecting the issue, moving on to the next card, but that only frustrated her. She started crying, demanding the wagon, but I was determined to keep it where it was. Until we had the following exchange:

Me: The wagon is…being fixed right now. It’s away.

Hope: Wagon…downstairs…basement!

Me (puzzled): Wait…what? Who told you that?


I couldn’t believe it. This little not-yet-two-year-old had just Scooby-Doo-ed me. I was actually impressed with her figuring it out, so I went and got her the wagon (which made her quite happy). Later, after The Civee came home, I discussed what happened and she told me she had no idea how Hope knew where the wagon was; she had forgotten it was down there.

I don’t know how Hope did it. The next time I’ll have to act less impressed.

Hope Cracks the Code

The Civee and I are in trouble.

Tonight, I was getting Hope changed as part of her bedtime routine. I was starting to prepare for the next step when I noticed something was missing, so I decided to ask The Civee.

Me: Did we bring up any M-I-L-

Hope: -K. Milk! Milk!

The Civee and I don’t do the spelling thing all the time, but I guess we won’t be getting away with it much longer. Maybe we’ll have to start using signs or a foreign language, but it will only be a matter of time before she figures that out too.

This isn’t the only worrisome thing to happen lately during Hope’s bedtime. The other night, as I was putting her in her crib I said “I love you,” to which she replied something that I swear was “I know.”

It was tough not to crack up, but I’d really like to know how and when she watched The Empire Strikes Back without me.

Indoors Inspiration

Over the past few days, I’ve had conversations with friends about blogging.

One friend is considering starting a blog. The other used to blog prolifically, but hasn’t updated his blog in a while.

Both conversations left me feeling like I should blog more. I had a streak of a few days last month where I was updating regularly, but since then I’ve had a hard time coming up with ideas. My veteran blogger friend suggested going outside. But today it’s nasty outside, so that method of inducing inspiration will have to wait.

At least we’re entering the time of year where the weather is more conducive to outside activities (unless you get hit by a solar flare). So maybe I’ll have more to write about. Or I could just write about being indoors and having nothing to write about.

My Test of Wills With a 22-Month-Old

Tonight, I was tested as a parent like never before.

Recently, during dinnertime, Hope has finished eating much quicker than The Civee or I. And she repeatedly lets us know she’s finished. Sometimes she will sit with us as we eat, but many nights, she wants to get out of her chair and play, often asking for us to leave the table and play with her.

The Civee and I usually don’t give in. We’re fine letting her down early, but it’s our goal to finish our meal, hopefully impressing upon her the idea that as a family, we sit together until everyone is done eating. I should probably also mention that one of her favorite commands is “come,” and she will say this as she reaches for our hands to take us somewhere to show us something or to play with us.

Well, tonight, she finished early. And The Civee and I were enjoying our pork chops and conversation, so we let her down. She stood by my chair and looked up at me, grabbing my hand. “Come,” she said. To which I replied, “Hope, I am not done. We will play when mama and dada are done eating.”

She went away and came back after a few moments. Still with a big smile on her face, she looked up at me; “Daddy…come.” This started to weaken my resolve. The Civee and I had always taught her to refer to us as Mama and Dada. I don’t know where she got it from, but within the last week, she’s started calling me Daddy instead of Dada, and it just sounds so cute. But still, I stayed seated and continued my meal.

She pouted a little, went into the living room and came back a minute later. She grabbed at my hand, pointed to the couch with her other hand and said as she smiled and looked into my eyes; “Daddy….come. Watch…..Weezer.”

And there it was. This little girl knows my weak spot. We don’t watch a lot of television with her (and I’m pretty sure that Weezer videos are the only thing she and I watch together), but we do enjoy the many kid-friendly videos Weezer has. The Civee was looking at me too and I knew I had to stay put. I could not give in at this point. I simply said, “Hope, no.”

She started to cry. Which made me want to cry. All because I’m trying to teach her a lesson. We’ve had a great weekend so far, spending a lot of time playing and even taking a trip to COSI while The Civee studied. There will most likely be a time in the future when she won’t want to hang out or want my attention as much as she does now. And as tough as it may be to believe, she may not always want to watch Weezer videos with me.

Still, she does have to learn about mealtime. And I can’t give her the idea that I’m putty in her hands. It’s tough, but I’d like to think that what I did tonight was good for both of us.

Getting My Wires Crossed

I was pretty tired last night after dinner. The Civee and I were having a discussion about movies and filmmaking, and I said:

Well, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi weren’t directed by George Steinbrenner.

Obviously. Although, I could totally see Steinbrenner as an overanxious filmmaker.

Stupid Checkout Questions and Banner-Style Receipts

The other day, The Civee and I stopped at a CVS on our way back home from a few hours at the park with Hope.  We had a drive ahead of us and wanted some drinks.  I stepped up to the register with four items- two drinks and two candy bars.  I answered in the negative to the standard CVS checkout question of whether or not I had the loyalty/friend/reward card/number/whatever.  But as I handed the clerk my debit card to pay, the following exchange happened:

Cashier (surprisingly animated for a question of this nature): Would you like to also purchase some hand sanitizer?

Me: Um…what? Why would you ask that?

Cashier (as surprised by my response as I was by his question): Um…we’re supposed to ask…?

Me: Well, it’s a stupid question. And no.

I was a bit surprised by the question.  All I wanted was to buy my drinks and candy bars and get out of there.  It’s bad enough to have to deal with the loyalty card question, but now they all but accuse me of being a dirty, unsanitary person simply because I don’t want to buy a tube filled with scented alcohol.

Are there any stores left where you can just walk up to a register, pay and leave?

And as if CVS wasn’t wasting enough of my time, it seems like they also like to waste paper.  Keep in mind, I had four items.  This was my receipt (I’ve enlisted some of Hope’s toys to give you an idea of the scale):

That receipt is more than a foot long.  I’m not sure whether to throw it out or to give it to a high school marching band so the drum majorettes have something to march behind for their homecoming parade.

The Civee says I should have been nicer to the clerk.  I say spontaneous, honest feedback is the best option in a situation like this. After all, I was the one who went in the store to get the drinks.

E-Mail Without The E

A few weeks ago, a household item The Civee and I own broke.

Because I’d still like some help getting it fixed, I’m not going to identify the item or manufacturer.  Let me just say it’s not something used indoors, took some time to put together, and not every family/homeowner wants (or uses) one of these.  Despite the fact the item is used outdoors, I think the cold temperatures we had the past few months had something to do with it’s breaking.  The screws in the picture to the right are part of the problem- they just snapped in half.

Anyway, after trying to fix it myself to no avail, I decided to e-mail the manufacturer.  I used a form on their Website, listed the item and explained what happened and listed the broken parts (using the names in their instruction manual).

I was actually surprised to receive a response within 24 hours.  I was a bit puzzled, however, by the second line of the e-mail:

Good Afternoon,
Do you have internet access?

I’m not quite sure what they were getting at, considering I used my computer and Internet connection to e-mail them in the first place.

Anyway, the rest of the e-mail was asking if I could send some pictures of the broken pieces, which I did.  But that was a few days ago.  I haven’t yet received a reply.  I’m thinking either they sent the pictures to the lab to get to determine how to fix what’s broken, or that they’re upset I never answered the “do you have internet access?” question.

Hope’s Ready for Round Two

Last week, I was on the phone with our medical insurance company to ensure everything was good to go for next Monday, the date of Hope’s second surgery, to repair her cleft palate.

The insurance rep asked me what Hope would be undergoing, to which I replied “a palatoplasty.” “Ohhh, we don’t cover that,” she immediately shot back, “typically, we don’t cover elective cosmetic surgeries.”

It’s a good thing her computer quickly told her that a palatoplasty is a necessary procedure to give children born with cleft palates normal speech and eating functions, or else I would have unleashed a torrent of words unsuitable for a blog that my daughter may read one day.

Yes, Hope’s next surgery is scheduled for Monday, a day The Civee and I can’t wait for, yet at the same time, we wish we could push back.  Last August, Dr. Pearson and his team did a great job with Hope’s first surgery.  The Civee and I couldn’t be happier with Hope’s smile.

At the same time, it was rough.  The first few post-surgery hours (days, actually) are unsettling- from the moment when she unhappily first wakes up from the surgery to the nights of restless sleep afterwards.  Additionally, the surgery had other temporary, if negative side effects- Hope’s sleep was off for a while and other things were, well, let’s say backed up.  And while Hope won’t have plugs in her nose for six weeks after the surgery, she’ll still have to wear arm restraints for three weeks, which she absolutely hated.

Considering the fact that she’s making all sorts of noises, walking around the house, sleeping and eating normally, not to mention just being a happy little person, The Civee and I are not anxious to see what effects the post-surgery period will have.  Unlike the surgery to repair her cleft lip, there won’t be any visible signs of something good happening (take that, insurance rep!).  And while the surgery will allow her to eventually speak and eat normally, Hope will still need speech therapy and will be back to soft, pureed foods for quite some time (although we are planning on letting her have as much ice cream as she wants).

The other thing (as I’ve mentioned) that we’re not looking forward to is the arm restraints.  The doctor says she will need them to keep her from putting her hands in her mouth.  But last time, she was very irritated at the fact that she couldn’t move her arms.  I had an idea the other day for a way around this which I plan to ask the doctor before surgery- baby boxing gloves- big enough to keep her from putting her hands in her mouth, but covering just her hands, allowing her full motion with her arms.

Even though she’s facing surgery next week, Hope is a strong, lively little girl.  The surgery will help her in the long run, and while she may be out of it for a few weeks, she’ll be back to walking, eating normally and being a happy little baby in no time.