The One Where I Don't Get It

Recent email conversation with an old co-worker of mine, who happens to be an IT Director:

D: Can't remember - were you a big HP fan?

Me: Not necessarily. They had an envelope sorter for the HP5si printer that I asked you about.

D: LOL. No, the HP I meant was a certain Mr. Potter. But I guess I got the answer to the question anyway.


My Freakk

So, I've been telling you guys about the My Twinn doll that Helen got for her birthday, and I've gone to their website to try and capture some of the images that disturbed me the most about their catalog.

Turns out there are a wealth of outfits and accessories that you can buy for your doll. Here was Helen's favorite outfit from the catalog:

Should I be worried that my daughter will grow up to be Elizabeth Taylor?

Or you can go for ethnic costumes, authentically designed by a random person in a cube farm:

Does your doll play a musical instrument? If so, perhaps you need to visit a therapist because YOUR DOLL CANNOT PLAY THE GUITAR.

Here's something every doll needs - a horse! Bridle & saddle sold separately, because hey! This horse isn't going anywhere.

In case your doll just barely missed the cut in Nagano, she'll be prepared for winter:

And furniture! Oh, the furniture. Tiny hangers sold separately, because every kid throws her clothes on the floor anyway. Why should your doll be any different?

I realize that Barbie has all of these things and more. Perhaps what is on some level really bothering me about My Twinn is the large size (startling in comparison to Helen) and the idea that the girl can match the doll. I don't remember getting a chance to look like Barbie, even if I wanted to. There are plenty of outfits for My Twinn (Helen already has one that she clearly loves), including matching Halloween costumes:

Matching sleeping bags:

Matching work clothes (yes, you can buy a wheelchair and casts for your doll - in case your mother should inflict some damage when the doll won't stop asking for a horse):

And for an extra added bonus, they even sell matching Christmas outfits, including one FOR THE MOTHER.

You're allowed to laugh. You are NOT allowed to order this dress in my size and expect me to wear it and take pictures and post them on the blog. Because that, my friend, is a sign of the impending apocalypse, when I start dressing like MY CHILD'S DOLL.


It's the little things

I have heard horror stories from other moms at the daycare about taking their kid to get a haircut - every single one of them has cried through the entire experience. Didn't matter if the kid was in the mom's lap or sitting in the chair alone - haircuts from strangers were very scary. So I've been a little nervous about getting Helen's hair cut. I had kind of hoped it would grow out all one length, but her bangs have been doing this freaky thing for about 2 months now, where the longer layers on top are growing out and keep getting in her eyes.

Finally, when Brian mentioned this weekend that she might need a trim, I decided it might be best to work our way up to the salon experience slowly, starting at home with a cut from Mom.

Now, I know what my mother and my sister are doing right now, and that is laughing hysterically. Seriously. I was not "cut out" to be a barber and proved that constantly when I tried trimming my own bangs during my youth. It would always prove disastrous, and Mom would have to "fix it" and then I'd wind up with SHORT BANGS that looked ridiculous.

Understandably, I was a bit nervous about cutting Helen's hair. She's a bit wiggly and squirmy and I could see scissors and forehead making a dangerous combination. Also, I wasn't sure how she'd react to hearing that Mom wanted to cut her hair.

So the other night during her bath, I tried making a big deal about how much fun it would be to have a haircut. I sounded very excited, like, "Hey Helen, would you like to have ... a HAIRCUT?!?" And she fell for it. "Yeah!!!" She chattered about haircuts all through the drying off and the dressing and the hair combing. Of course, she's only two and I don't think she had a clue what a haircut was. But if Mom was excited about it, by god, she wanted a haircut.

I warned her that she had to be very, very still. And she was. She was SO GOOD. She even went downstairs and showed Daddy her new haircut. She's talked about it several times today, too.

Pat on the back for me, thank you very much.

It took about 30 seconds to clip a few centimeters off her bangs, but if you've seen recent pictures of Helen and wondered what her mother was thinking, letting her hair go all HIPPIE like that ... well, your worries are over. Enjoy.

Another quick update - her My Twinn doll mentioned here came with a set of matching clothing for Helen. However, it was too large so I had it exchanged. The new outfit arrived today, and after I opened the package, Helen wanted to put it on immediately. She wore it all day, and kept saying "Baby outfit. Helen outfit." She was very proud of it.

I hope you are just as freaked out as I am, looking at this picture.

The catalog of My Twinn clothing and accessories, however, is a good enough for a blog entry all by itself, which I will save for another day this week. Stay tuned.


Licky Licky Licky, Here Comes Helen

Helen's newest trick is to snuggle with her dad and proceed to LICK HIM ON HIS FACE. It's great fun to watch him squeal and protest while she pursues him.


The funniest part is that she can dish it out, but she definitely can't take it:

The first night, he called her the Dreaded Tongue Monster. By the next night, it had changed to the Licky Monster.

Her father seems to be the only victim at the moment. She wandered over to try it out on her mother once, but got the reproving, stern look of "Don't even think about it, kid," and wandered right back to dad.

It's good to be Queen.


Workin' for the Weekend

Helen's Cousin M. made an appearance this weekend, along with Aunt M. & Uncle S. The fun started Friday night and didn't end until they left late Sunday afternoon. The two kids spent a lot of time in Helen's room, where Helen read books to him and showed him how to jump in her crib. Then Cousin M. made everyone a lot of food in Helen's kitchen, and built a giant Lego tower, several times. The time in between, they spent digging in the toy boxes for other things to entertain themselves. Today, the toy boxes look like someone tossed a grenade in and walked away.

Saturday we took the kids to the train museum downtown. To say Cousin M. is a huge fan of trains is like saying Bear Bryant watched football. We couldn't even tell the kids where they were going until just before we pulled into the parking lot, for fear of crying and wailing and much gnashing of teeth for the entire drive. Instead, it was a mysterious surprise with very little build up. Which, thank goodness we didn't build it up too much, because there wasn't a whole lot to see.

Here's a few shots inside the museum, where they had some old models set up, as well as pictures of old trains that ran many decades ago:

Here's a shot of a giant warehouse area behind the museum, where two giant model sets have been under construction since November. One of the owners was hanging around and offered to turn it on for us. So the kids got to see very tiny trains move.

Then Helen & Cousin M. headed outside to catch some of the action on the tracks (not moving):

Back at home that night, we cooked out on the grill. Uncle S. tried to interest the kids in some bubbles, but no dice:

Aunt M. had more luck, however, when she let Helen blow a bubble:

Sunday we would have enjoyed a lovely swim, but Helen was too tired to last for long. She begged me to take her home, and then got some kind of second wind that kept her from napping. By the time she crash-landed in the crib, she was 5 hours behind schedule and CRANKY.

Anything to stay up with her cousins, I tell ya. God forbid she miss out on The Fun.


A New Career Option

Helen's Aunt A. just got back from a conference in China, and she brought back gifts for everyone. I got a very nice pink pearl necklace with matching earrings, while Brian scored a few pirated DVDs and a faux Rolex. Copyright protectors, take THAT.

Helen's gift, however, was perfect. Bright pink, with beautiful dragonflies - stop by to see her debut at the local Chinese buffet restaurant, seating folks and taking their drink orders. I don't think the blonde hair or blue eyes will confuse them at all, do you?

Helen's future in hostessing is only limited by the seams in this dress. Clearly, she's straining to keep it together. It's labeled a "4" which possibly would have fit Helen at 4 months. I think it's too late to put her on a diet just for this outfit.

Her Aunt A. hadn't seen her in a few weeks, and she kept saying all evening, "She's gotten so tall!" Which is a nice way of saying, girl, that belly is NOT doing you any favors right now, and your mother BETTER stop taking so many pictures of it.


You call it WHAT?

Longtime friends of mine who have been to the beach with us will not be surprised to learn we are now the proud owners of a Deluxe Cornhole Set.

Essentially, a Cornhole set requires two large slabs of wood, propped up at a slight angle, with a hole cut out of each board. It also requires a set of 8 beanbags - four per team. You set the boards several yards apart from each other, and each team of two people takes turns throwing the bags at the board, attempting to land them in the hole, or at least on the board.

Like croquet, you're allowed to knock someone's bag off the board. This kind of move is not looked upon with kindness by your opposing teammates, but is sure to garner appreciative noises from the crowd assembled to watch. Plus, it improves your score. So if you can manage a throw that takes out your opponent, you definitely go for it.

By the way, the name of the game comes from the small bags tossed during the game, which are usually filled with corn kernels. If you're uncomfortable with the name, just replace it with the word "beanbag,' and you've got the gist of it.

My father, who was very uncomfortable with the name, is the creator of our set. I call it Deluxe because he takes his time cranking out even a simple wood project like this one. He is not your average carpenter, but instead excels at providing his daughters with beautiful (and free) furniture they'll treasure for a lifetime. He made the set for us as a way to break back into his woodworking habit. He has spent several years working out of state, coming home on a few spare weekends. But since April, he's finally back at home, and he used some of his newfound free time in his shop, crafting a game which is sturdy enough to survive the roughest blast of the corn-filled bags.

So, I also call this the Heirloom Cornhole Set. One day, Helen's kids will be taking a hammer to it, I tell you. "But I don't WANT that old game! No one plays cornhole anymore," they'll whine. And Helen will say, "Your great-grandpa wanted you to have it. That's why he put eight coats of varnish on it."

My father customized it with special signs from Brian's dear old alma mater. We played in our backyard at a recent cookout with friends. It was such a hit, we were asked to drag it over to Brian's brother's house for their 4th of July party. When we arrived, they had set up a bracket for couples to play each other, tournament-style. We got through the second round, and the championship game was called on account of darkness, but I expect a rematch just as soon as Brian's brother can install an extra spotlight in the backyard. At his wife's request, of course.

Helen's favorite part of the game is running back & forth to whoever is throwing the bags. Naturally, this means she's in the way of the game during at least every other throw. At the 4th of July party, there were 10 kids, and some of them caught on to Helen's trick. Others thought it was their job to pick up the bags that were thrown toward the board - even ones that had scored by landing on the board. So we had a very tough time keeping the kids corraled throughout the evening's games. Nevertheless, everybody had a great time.

By the way, Brian's brother isn't the only one with extra housework looming ahead next weekend. Dad, I've got several orders you need to fill soon:

Two Tennessee sets
One Oklahoma State set
One kid-sized set (maybe Lightning McQueen vs. Towmater?) to keep the kids busy