Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hot Doug's

Nicole and I were tossing around the idea of going down to Hot Doug's, since Uncle John and Aunt Sam have always raved about them. On Saturday, they have "duck-fat fries" and their daily specials usually include sausage made out of all sorts of game.

Today's menu, for example, includes sausage made of alligator, sausage made of lamb, sausage stuffed with bacon, and so on.

I was telling Gamble that we were thinking about going to a place that served all kinds of sausages, made out of about any animal he could think of eating.

"Okay," he said, "How about giraffe?"

"Touche," I thought.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Lives for Snack Time

Of all the little things that Gamble does to get on our nerves daily (he is four, and that seems to be his job), perhaps the worst for me is the holy time of eight o'clock, when Gamble receives his much desired snack.

I don't know exactly how it happened. Snack time has become the meal between dinner and bedtime, though much closer to bedtime than dinner, and it's become an entitlement. Possibly because he was such a good boy for so long that it was hard to refuse a healthy request later at night. Perhaps because he's four years old and his 2T pants still look gangsta hanging off his waist.

Note, just because we call it snack time, doesn't mean that it's junk food. Most nights he settles for a yogurt or a half a can of pears, but there are rare nights when he receives a treat during the day and knows that if he's good all day, he'll get to have something really yummy before brushing his teeth and heading off to read in bed.

But he nags. As soon as he's done with dinner (could be as early as 5:30), he's asking whether it's eight o'clock. He can tell some times, and if he really thinks about it, and it's on a common half hour, he won't need to ask. But he doesn't have a concept like "how much longer" in his mind, so he asks.

And asks.

And asks. Sometimes as frequently as every five minutes. The other night, he was warned that he would be told when snack time was and continued to question so persistently that his special snack was taken away in favor of something else (he was asked to choose a different snack).

I think the Taco Bell commercials are affecting him.


Not only is Random babbling. She's rolling and scooting. Put her on the floor, and she's figured out that she can continuously roll in one direction to get farther.

On the other hand, this morning, she was crawling backwards in a straight line. "Look, Nic!" I said. "She's receding!"

First Words

Random's been babbling a lot less randomly these days. Very purposeful sounds.

And Saturday?

"Ma ma ma ma ma."

Over and over. All day. Mama mama mama.

Mama mia. Those who didn't see it coming, raise your hands. Right. No one.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Shortest Distance From Type A to Type B is Random

She used to sit and smile so complacently.

Now she flails around wildly. Not unhappily, mind, but in a crazed, I'm-a-party-girl sort of way.

No, not Nicole. Well, not right this minute anyway.

It seems our cute little Type B has begun to learn the ways of her environment and appears to be taking pages from the First Letter of Gamble to the Party-On-ians (no, not the party-onions; they're way too small).

She's nuts; she's wild; she's boogie fever on crack. Nicole said that she doesn't want to cuddle anymore in the morning, and will only settle down if Nicole lets her lay on our bed without touching her. Not only do I know how she feels, I think I'll look a bit askance at her the next time she suggests that it's only Gamble and I that are cut from the same cloth.

All this energy just in time for Nicole to stay home with them full time. This has Reality TV written all over it.

Blankets Have Birthdays

Unbeknownst to us, blankets have birthdays, and although only Aunt Masha is qualified to give us any kind of reasonable date, Gamble announced that "Greenie" and "Blue-ie" not only have the same birthday, but that said birthday was last week.

On the same day as one of his classmates.

This sort of weirdness is daily with him. It's only really recently that Greenie and Blooey (as I think of it being spelled, kind of like "Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie") have become first class citizens of planet Gamble, up there on par with the immortal Poole and the transforming Kim.

He occasionally will jump up, run out of the room, and get both his blankets from wherever they were. "They were crying," he'll explain without ceremony.

He'll occasionally talk to them, kiss them, etc.

Does he just need more attention?


You can hear it coming.

She's trying to get words out. It seemed to happen overnight. I don't see her as much, but Nicole said Random's been babbling real syllables for a couple days now. It's absolutely amazing to hear, and music to my ears.

For example, tonight she said, "Dadoo-gliarma". See? See?

She said, "Dadoo? Grab me in your arms-a."


One day, while Grammie and Gamble were playing throwball, Gamble picked up a dandelion, not the yellow flower, but the kind with the white fuzzy stuff on top.

He said, "Grammie, these are called 'wishberries'. You have to make a wish and blow it."

We weren't aware he'd ever heard of wishing on a dandelion.

With a huff and a puff, he blew real hard and said half out loud and half to himself, "I wish if I could play baseball day and night."

How cute is he? We are thinking maybe baseball camp...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Moving on

Not everyone who reads this is in such close contact with us on a daily basis that they would know about all our ins and outs, but I wanted to at least mention here that I'm excited that our lives are starting anew in a whole new chapter.

I'm leaving Allstate on Friday. It has been an incredible five years of growth at a great company with great products. Through my various roles there, I have met some incredible people, and I will miss them all, but I am very excited about my new role at Calamos Investments, located in Naperville at the corner of 59 and 88.

As part of the transition, Nicole is going to stay home with the kids for a spell, and I know she's going to be as fantastic for them as they will be for her. I just wanted to let everyone here know that, if you have only been using my work email, you can always get in touch with me at daviskevinp at gmail dot com.

And I'm sure Nic will feed me plenty of stories from their times together.

Guess Where I Peed

On the drive home from day care today, Gamble pipes up from the back seat: "Daddie? Guess where I peed today."

I don't know of any good conversation that ever started that way.

"Only in the toilet, I hope," I said, thinking back to the recent episodes of wanting to pee outdoors.

"No, Daddie. Christopher and I went to the bathroom and we peed..."

"Gamble, are you allowed in the pottie with anyone else at school?"

"No, we went in when Miss Jenny wasn't looking. And you know where we peed?"

I was beside myself at this point. It was like a frosted mini-wheats commercial. The adult in me knows this conversation is all business, but the giggling kid in me sees two four year-olds whizzing all over the bathroom and each other, which is probably what I would have done as a kid. I'm nearing breaking up. Luckily, he's in the back seat, and only sees my serious, dead-pan (I hope) eyes in the rearview. I didn't know what to do, Nic wasn't there, and I'm the last guy you want in this situation.

I did my best to adult one out of the park.

"Where did you pee?"

"We peed on the paper towels."

"Oh yeah? Where were they when you peed on them? Were they on the floor?"


"Where could they have been?"

"Well, we pulled them out, and we peed on them then put them away."

I'm horrified to say that I wasn't able to learn much more about the crime. He wasn't really able to articulate it, and I couldn't tease any more detail out.

I changed tactics, toeing the parental line equivalent to, but not nearly as tried as, "if Christopher jumped off a bridge..."

You know, I always wondered if there was any practical purpose to the whole "one person in the restroom at a time" thing. I thought it was maybe a prudish, puritanical heritage of dirty, dirty private parts. I now see why it's so practical.

Because little boys think this stuff is hilarious. That's why.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Gamble's always been a great socializer. At parties he's always moved around, talking to people. Sure, he was a little apprehensive at day care drop off, but he's never been scared at a relative's house.

("Movie trailer guy" voice) Until now.

He wigged out late the other night when at Nic's folks' house. Her Aunt Mary and Uncle Shrek had come over to see the kids (oh yeah, and us). Well, typically Gamble loves playing throwball outside with Uncle Shrek, or even air hockey.

But this time, they brought a couple friends, and Gamble freaked out.

He came downstairs with me, and while I got online on my laptop, he hid under a blanket on the chair.

I went upstairs and suggested that Shrek go down and turn on the air hockey table and say something like, "Sure wish I had someone to play air hockey with. Boy, I love it when my friend Gamble is here playing with me."

He came upstairs a few minutes after that, defeated. He said that the bump under the blanket on the little wooden chair never moved.

The Grandabear went downstairs and returned a couple minutes later with no better results.

I went downstairs to see him, and as soon as I sat down, he took off his blanket. His eyes were really red, and he was soaked. He'd obviously been sobbing, scared out of his mind, but bravely sitting very still and silent.

I don't know what brought this on, but now he's scared of the dark, too. And monsters. And bad guys. And apparently strangers.

Of course, when I told Sam about this, she was thunderstruck, reminding me that he'd always been her intrepid adventurer, boldly going into their basement armed with nothing but a flashlight and cold blue steel nerves. I remember those days, but alas, they seem to have gone missing.


Gamble and Isaac got to play together in a big box at Grandma Pat's the other morning. Yeah, it's true. Toys all around, bikes, even acorns, and they wanted to play in a big cardboard box.

Well, I got the idea that they should get in the box, face opposite directions, and try to run.

They tried it, but they didn't quite get what I was saying, so one of them turned around and they both tried running in the same direction. One behind the other. In a cardboard box.

They took one step and flopped over.

This was the funniest thing ever. So they did it again and again.

Eventually, they did try running in the opposite direction, with disastrous results. Isaac got whipped backward over Gamble's shoulder and hit his head on the floor. He cried, but he shakes things off fast. Sis says that if he and Lukie didn't, they'd be in trouble, since they roughhouse all the time.

And then it was back to more single-file, falling over fun.

Party Girl

Random is getting excited.

And when she gets excited, she lets you know. If she's lying down, she starts wiggling her torso back and forth, shaking her head "no", and pulling her hands to her shoulders with her arms twittering nervously. Her mouth twists open in a gleeful smile, and she squeaks. When she does this, I call her "Party Girl."

Over the weekend, she cut her second tooth - her lower right tooth.

She turned seven months old on the 4th, and who can believe it's been so quick?

The Apple and the Tree

Gamble's pretty funny.

And he knows it. He's always doing silly things, and trying to get laughs. He's my little joker.

Well, Nicole recently noted a certain pattern to his humor. Everytime he gets a really good laugh from any size audience, he follows it up with another joke.

A poop joke.

And it could be as inocuous as saying the exact same thing he just said, and then adding "Poo poo head" after it.

We groan and say, "Oh, Gamble, that's not funny. Please don't talk about poop."

I wish I knew where he gets some of his little foibles.

Oh the Fours

The fours are definitely our biggest challenge so far. Gamble's got two new tactics that he employs at every turn.

The first is the ol' reverse psychology. Whenever we get upset with him, or we tell him he can't do something, he says, forlornly, "Okay. Oh well. I guess I'm just a bad boy." Or "I guess I'll just go to my room, then. I really don't want to, but..."

The second is outright defiance. The other day, he told Nicole adamantly that she needed to go get one of his toys before he would wash his hands.

I'm sure I know where he gets the second one. All the time we tell him that he can do something he wants to do if only he'll do something for us now.

I guess the foot's on the other hand now, huh?

My Culprit

This evening, after G was done talking to Nicole's folks on the phone, she caught him out of his bedroom. Once he saw her, he quietly whispered "I'm sorry Mommie. I..."

"What Gamble? What is it?"

Humbled, and contrite: "I shouldn't have come out of my room. I know I shouldn't and I did. I didn't mean to, Mommie."

"Oh, Gamble, it's okay. Let's get back to your room. Got any huggies for me?"

"I was a bad boy Mommie."

"Oh no, Gamble, we all make mistakes and we all forget to do what we are supposed to do."

"Like you, Mommie, when you made me hurt my back?"

"Yes, Gamble, just like that. Mommie wasn't being very careful, and I mistakenly pulled the rug right out from under you. Mommie is very sorry. See? Mommie is still learning too! You, too, are learning and so you will make more mistakes than even Daddie and Mommie because you are younger than us and have more to learn."

"Hmmm. Can you send Daddie in?"

"Sure, Gamble. Love you!"

Hm. I think I found my culprit for the excuse...

The Excuse

Gamble was yelling at the back team while playing Wii tennis (he's now officially better than I am at it). He kept calling them jokers and babies. Taunting them.

I asked him why. He said, "well, that's what you do. You have to do that."

"No, Gamble. It's not a nice way to play, and if you can't play nice, I should probably take the game away."

"Well, Daddie, I don't think I can remember that."

"I'm sure you can, Gamble. I believe in you."

"I'm a four year-old, Daddie. Sometimes I forget. I'm not a five year-old or sumpin. I mean, come on..."

Ok, so who fed him the line that he's not old enough to know any better? Whoever you are, you may be laughing now, but I sure hope you babysit for him soon.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Cry of the Lonely Ket

We're home from the long weekend, and I was letting Gamble catch up on some Spongebob while I worked on some stuff I've had pending.

At some point, he vanished from the room. I waited to hear him upstairs bugging Nicole for a snack, but he didn't. I heard him come back into the room, but he didn't say anything.

I noticed that he now had his blankets with him. He now calls them "Greenie" and "Blue-ie".

I asked him what happened.

"They always cry when I'm not there," he said, kissing each one in turn.

Ah, yes. Of course.