My little Lia

After a day of errands at a few stores I could tell Lia was ready to go home so on our last stop I told her what we were going to get and then we were going to head home and party. She turned and looked at me and said that she didn’t want to party, she wanted a celebration. I had now idea that word was even in her vocabulary not to mention using it in the right context. Either way it was well received by us. This is not the only time she has surprised us with “bigger” words, and most likely not the last time as they are priceless.

Everyone’s childhood favorite board game Candy Land was the latest addition to her collection and we enjoyed several games with her. I never knew I could enjoy watching someone cheat as much as Lia did every time I turned my head she would be 20 to 30 paces ahead of where she last was. What made it interesting was when she would draw a ice cream symbol, regardless of the fact that she has already passed that symbol, she would argue that it didn’t matter that she in fact got an ice cream card out of it, which to her is better than winning. In the end, she magically won every game we played, which is always OK in my book. ūüėČ

Little did I know about paper fan making before this past weekend. Lia is the foremost authority in that very subject, as there were about 7 fans strewn across the house at any given moment available in every shade of color one would desire when hot.
Lia likes playing classroom and being the teacher and we are her students. It’s fun to catch a glimpse of what goes on in her teachings as she is very thorough in her best performance as her teacher and giving directions, detailing activities, and reading to us a story that literally makes no sense to us, but perfect sense to her as she makes it up as she goes along. I just can’t wait for one of these books to be made into a movie.

A neighbor of ours recently gave me a brief glimpse into my future by setting up a lemonade stand for his daughter and supervising the event. It was fun seeing what I have to look forward to in my daughters ventures into capitalism, or in her eyes, what toy can she buy with the money she made. Either way, it’s something I truly look forward to helping her with as she will have the most elaborate and fancy set-up in the history of lemonade stands go, because image is everything and if the lemonade tastes half as good as her set-up, she is due for some big profits. This thought also spawned ideas of her history and science fairs in the coming years, and how hard it will be for me NOT to do the best displays ever, but will act as a consultant offering ideas and helping out here and there. Of course if she is anything like me, she will tell me that it’s due tomorrow instead of giving us weeks to plan it. A special thanks goes out to my mom and dad for saving my skin a few times, as I’m sure my days are coming…

On another note, Lia was literally obsessed with the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate for some odd reason and requested to watch it a few times this weekend, but we had to remind her that we didn’t have it recorded, and it was only on Friday. Of course the E Channel provided an encore presentation of the event, to which she dubbed “the parade” but soon called it a wedding once they got out of the car and the wedding started. I am not sure why she was so enthralled by the wedding, but it was cute to see her so tuned into the event like someone who was following the event religiously. With mine and Cassondra’s wedding day quickly approaching, Lia is getting excited and wanting to be in the wedding as our flower girl and think she will male a beautiful one at that. We look forward to having her in our wedding as much as she is excited about being in it. I know I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Whatever! Pretty much the last thing I ever expected my daughter to tell me at only 4 years old. Not only did Lia tell me “whatever”, but she stormed off after using the phrase followed by the appropriate walk off. It was as if time stood still for me to actually analyze what just happened. Now, I have to note that “whatever” is the adolescent version of F**K you and is not tolerated by most parents, including this one. I had to go back to the conversation in my head to replay it and it went a little something like this:

Lia: “Daddy, do you know where that little baby is with the backpack”
Me: “I don’t know Lia did you check your room? I think I remember seeing you have it in your room last night”
Lia: “Daddy, I can’t find it (getting a little flustered) and I want you to come help me find it”
Me: “Lia, I can’t right now, I am getting ready so we can go see Paw Paw”
Lia: (In her pre-cry voice) “But Daddy I want you to come help me find her, I can’t find her.”
Me: Lia, I will help you find her in a minute, but can you please clean up your room before we go and maybe you will find her”
Lia: Whatever! (storms off into her room)

Yeah, that just happened, and maybe like 8 years too soon I would say. I figured my first whatever would come in the preteen years, instead it came in the preschool years, much to my dismay. I think once I got over the initial shock, I knew I had to nip that nonsense in the bud and let her know really quick that “whatever” doesn’t work in this household, nor will it be tolerated. That didn’t sit to well with her as she was still distraught over not finding her baby but made it perfectly clear that “whatever” is not how we handle problem solving and communication when things are not going her way. I’m not where she picked it up, but hope that is the last I hear of it for a while…and things have been quiet on the range since so we will see.

I’m not sure where Lia has picked up the art of negotiation, but it’s been running rampant from how many pieces of food she eats, too how many minutes she stays up to finish watching a show or helping pick up after she makes a mess. I know I am dealing with some sort of Jedi in training as I have often found myself trying to negotiate, but when she “thinks” she is negotiating, I am 2 moves ahead in getting her something to do that I really didn’t plan for her to do, which is win win for both of us. For example, Lia will say “Daddy, I will eat 2 more pieces of chicken then can I be excused”. I quickly follow with “How about 4 more pieces of chicken, and 6 green beans then you can have a cookie and then help clean up your play area?”. 3 out of 4 times she is game, but that one time she will throw up some heavy negotiating not budging on her end. It started out to be cute at first, but noticed that she was using this tactic every time she would eat and had to quickly move into “how about let’s go to bed now” mode which meant negotiations were then cut off and fun time was over. As she grows older I see the intelligence in her little mind grow each time I am with her, but little does she know I am on to her game and deep undercover knowing all the tricks I played when I was her age. I have to give her credit, because in her tactics, she can make us laugh but have to hold back the smile at times to let her know we mean business. Even in the most difficult times in dealing with her I have to admit it’s been a wonderful process and she redeems herself by learning from each situation and how to avoid repeat meltdowns because after all, she is the only one upset while we remain calm, cool and collective. When the storm has passed and she is calm enough to talk, we explain what just happened and why they did, she apologizes, hugs and honestly feels like she learns from each event. I can honestly say this because tantrum duration and frequencies are down, which I hope, is an indication that she is progressing away from the “terrible twos and threes”. Next stop, Independence and the age of accountability. Please keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times, buckle your seat belt, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

A potpourri of fun

Park time has been an ever increasing activity in our active schedule time together. Being able to witness Lia’s social skills first hand have been something that I have enjoyed for a while. I can tell that she has come out of her shell a little more each time as she used to be an observer and not wanting to approach kids, but after several encouraging sessions and even joining in them to open the communication bridge has been successful.

Our last outing included a visit from everyone’s childhood hero, The Ice Cream Man! With his 35 dollar speaker system blasting sounds of enthusiasm from blocks away, you at first were immune to his hypnotizing whimsical riff as you carried on your way in a hyper game of chase. It wasn’t until the kids you were chasing all of a sudden became little maniac zombies in search of their parents to beg and plead for the only form of payment the ice cream man will accept. I can still see the hamster wheel turn in your head from 30 feet away and then you looking and running at me for the very same thing.

Needless to say, 10 minutes later and 40 wet napkins shorter you embarked on round 2 of your recess extreme without a care in the world, only this time tucked away deep into your limbic system in the hippocampus, you will log away the pitch and tone of the musical chants that is… The Ice Cream Man aka The Frozen Snack Pied Piper.

Shortly after that, you had made friends with a little girl and had wandered close enough to engage the both of you in conversation. Keeping things simple I started with the type of ice cream the other girl had gotten and what type of games were you playing with each other. After what seemed like a 5 minute answer I blurted out “Oh really that sounds like fun, I used to play those games when I was a little girl too” Now, with adults that situation is humorous, but with kids in a park, I just became the weird guy hanging out on the park bench. Of course I laughed and tried to explain “I meant a little boy”, but it was no use…they saw no humor and just went back to playing like nothing ever happened, but it was definitely worth writing about because I had never felt so awkward after a mindless statement rolled off my tongue. I’m sure like most kids, that little girl tucked it away until her mom put her to bed that night and she asked “mom, can little girls grow up to be men?” Only because little kids minds work like that, they take small amounts of data, tuck it away and when they find the time to assess it, they then inquire. It’s actually kind of funny to think about because I know I have answered some pretty questions from Lia that I know were from previous events that she couldn’t digest completely.

If I ever hear the words Slumber Party again, it will be too soon. Although Lia did not partake in the sleep over, she/me definitely got a taste of what’s to come. Don;t get me wrong, I think they are going to be fun, but I honestly think an airplane taking off makes less noise than the high pitched sequels these girls are able to expel. Funny thing is, nothing has to happen for them to trigger it, they were happening all the time and without warning. I had never experienced or even thought of a girls slumber party, which like most normal boys probably wouldn’t unless they has a younger sister. However my sleepovers pale in comparison, as we were actually normal, unlike these hummingbird frenzied girls running a muck. It was what I had imagined the New York Stock Exchange must be like on a busy day, paper flying, people yelling…it was contained pandemonium at the very least. These kids were a little older than Lia, but Lia found some girls her age and interacted great with them. She played freeze frame, got some face painting, and even played pin the lips on Justin Beiber. Of course she doesn’t even know who he is, and I hope it stays like that for a very long time, she had a blast.

I caught some video of a charade type game in which the participant pops a balloon and then acts out the clue inside the balloon. All of the kids had a hard time popping the balloon, but it was entertaining at the least as they all had their own way to try and pop it, and Lia sat more on the floor than the actual balloon. In the end she did end up popping it and acted out a “seal” which was in my opinion should have received a golden globe, but as her father I am a tad biased.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Birthristmas

I have gotten to the point where I have to make notes of all the things Lia does and says so I won’t forget to write about them. Last year I wrote about a new year will bring new memories, what I probably should have written is that every year will bring more than I ever could have imagined.

This December was full of Birthdays, Christmases, and more time with my cherished angel. I’m especially fond of her age right now because of ever evolving knowledge and understanding of the world around her and her interaction with it. She is full of the cutest sayings and a constant beam of laughter, energy and imagination I could have ever wished for.

One night while getting ready for bed she had a cup from the previous night sitting on her dresser that had a little water left over in it. She asked me if the water was old and I told her it was from last night, so it is considered old, but ok to drink. She then began to drink it all and put the cup down and told me in a way to reassure me that she couldn’t taste the old in it. I smiled and thought what in fact does old water taste like to her?

Looking through the Christmas advertisements over the holidays, I realized Lia employed a sense of accidental psychology in her request for toys. When she turned the pages, she didn’t yell “i want this and that Daddy!”, she instead phrased it like a poor orphan shivering in the cold wearing a potato sack saying “I don’t have this Daddy”. Of course this is purely coincidental psychology because we all have wants and do without them everyday, but when your almost 4 year old daughter phrases it as if she doesn’t have this certain toy to complete her it’s another story and cute to say the least.

The arrival of her fourth birthday brought love, joy and fun as we celebrated with some very close friends and family at a local park. She enjoyed everything from swinging with her grandmother and grandfather, playing hide and seek to opening presents complete with home made cake and of course present opening. She referred to any other kid at the park as “that little boy, or that little girl”, which is cute because she is smaller than kids younger than her, but that didn’t stop her from “making best friends” with all of them. It was her day to shine and she knew it, as it was her presents sitting on a park table with other kids taking notice and she was soaking it all in, the attention, the playground and the memory. I know it has been the best birthday to date, and plan for many more to follow.

At last, Christmas morning had arrived. The presents that had been teasing her every morning by staring her in the face had begun to say their last prayers because soon they would fall victim to what can only be described as “the opening”. I have to say Lia surprised me with her patience in getting to Christmas. She did of course keep asking when Christmas was, but she had a full understanding of patience and soon she would be the one dancing in the minds of sugar plums as today had finally approached. One by one, she opened each gift and reminded us each time that each toy was in fact “the one she had always wanted” as she soon discarded it and dove into the next. It took me back to when ignorance was bliss and my Christmas mornings mimicked the exuberance and joy that each gift brought. Only now, she was the one giving me that feeling as she tore feverishly though each present and the smiles on her face and high pitched sequels capped the early morning rush that only Christmas can bring.

One of her favorite presents (which apparently all of them were) was a kids play tent. I really didn’t understand the magnitude of the tent with her until I noticed she had moved into it, literally before lunch. I figured she would ask for a change of address request form by dinner time at the rate she was going. She had everything a kid would need to survive roughly 2 hours in it before she was bored or Dylan would walk by and sniff her tent which would aggravate her. I know this because I could her here tattle on Dylan that he was “too close” to her tent. I’m really surprised she didn’t set up a 24 hour surveillance with her dolls and stuffed animals, but realized she didn;t because they were ALL in the tent with her along with her new “sleeking” bag (which by the way she begged to sleep in her first night).

With a slew of places and family members to see, Lia was the life of the party. She interacted with everyone, enjoyed their company and was absolutely adored everywhere we went. This was a Christmas that will not soon be forgotten, and I pray the Lord will continue to bless us and provide many more close moments like these in the many years to come.

That’s Batastic

Having a child has been an experience I will not soon forget. Having a child that gives her interpretation of English words, well that’s just the icing on the cake. Last month it was “snarecrow” and this month has been “batastic” which is clearly the word fantastic, just heard wrong I’m guessing. She uses these words in the correct context which makes it that much more amusing. For example, Lia had been playing with Cassondra’s hair and putting clips in it when she steps back to view her work and says to her that she looked “Batastic”. In writing these past few years I have watched Lia blossom into a beautiful gem of a little girl with an active imagination. However, with imagination comes great responsibility to see through her cuteness to view what she might really be up to. There are many times when things grow eerily silent and she is not within viewing range and you call out to her “Lia, what are you doing?”. Now, in the past she would stop what shes doing and run into where you are at and reply “I’m not doing anything”. Fast forward a couple of months and when asked the same question you notice a slight pause before she replies “anything”. Now, I know she only almost 4, but she is deceivingly telling the truth. Anything IS what she is doing and that can account for many many things, so I just laugh and just check in on her to make sure she is not juggling knives, because that would be a bad thing… mainly because knife jugglers in the circus don’t make that much money.

During a Fall festival close to where we live, Lia had a chance to really live it up in a few moon walkers, face painting and of course, everyone wins children games. She had a blast and was not only the proud owner of more candy than she could devour, but also the new owner of 2 goldfish for which she “won”. Now when I say won, I mean they handed her a fish net and the object was to see how long it would take a toddler to follow a fish around in a tiny aquarium until the fish finally gave up. With our 2 new goldfish, we were given 2 coupons for 2 more fish at a local pet store which we headed to shortly after the event. There we purchased all the goodies needed to create a nice environment for our 4 newest finned family members. Lia was in charge of naming them which was fun because they had a different name every time she came over to visit, which of course was fine because they were her fish. It wasn’t until the third week of ownership that one of them died, and a few days later another one died until finally a third one had died. So, now we were left with one goldfish which we had pretty much thought his days were numbered, but found out to be quite the opposite (so far). What we did notice was that this goldfish seemed to be VERY happy with his new found space with no other tenants. So much so that he literally spends most of his days swimming back and forth like an aquatic Michael Phelps relaying from one end of the aquarium to the other. With this type of behavior in motion Cassondra and I came up with 2 conclusions: A. He is trying to get our attention and motion to us that something is wrong (for all we know he is swimming back and forth yelling “HEEEEEYYYYYYYYY”), or he truly glad to be rid of his roommates and he purposely knocked them off one by one while were not looking and he is some type of dorsal finned serial killer. We agreed on the latter and have since named him Dexter, named after a popular tv character who plays a serial killer with the same name.

You read, I will listen and record.

The video above demonstrates Lia’s lack of patience of being video taped while she is trying to read you something or any other time for that matter.¬† I laugh every time I see this clip because her expression and how her shoulders drop in disappointment¬†with her body language all without saying anything.¬† Although she is not able to read just yet, her imagination won’t prevent her from telling her own story to the book at hand.¬† It’s amazing to see how absorbent she is to the world around her and remembering of key details to something you thought was less than minor.¬† She is growing fast and I am enjoying every minute of it.

The other day it was another beautiful day with not a cloud in the sky as we played together in the front yard.¬† I looked up into the sky, pointed and asked Lia “where are the clouds?¬† Without the slightest flinch she looked up and said “They are behind the sun Daddy.”¬† As an adult and father, it’s easy to treasure these cute things that are said because they are in fact priceless.¬† In a way it’s funny to think of what she said, but what I enjoyed most was how she said it, like duh daddy… where do you think they are…everyone knows the clouds go behind the sun.¬† Another cute thing she said recently was while at Wal-Mart looking at Halloween decorations she pointed to a scarecrow lawn decoration and said “look, it’s a SNAREcrow!”¬† I held back my laugh and asked her again just so I could hear it one more time.¬† I normally correct her when she mispronounces words, but felt it was ok to want to hear her say SNAREcrow just a few more times this Halloween season.

Pirates Bay Matey’s

A few weekends ago we loaded up the boat and sailed to Baytown’s own Pirate’s Bay water theme park. ¬†Upon arrival you were practically out of the car before we got a chance to park as you could see the sky high water slides and the hundreds of kids not named Lia having the time of their lives. ¬†Rest assured you soon got your chance to experience exactly none of those sky high slides because they wouldn’t allow you to sit in my lap and go down them. ¬†However, you made up for it by enjoying the 2 foot water fountains that shoot of out the ground that can be found at any major mall, yet these were much better because they were not free like the other ones. ¬†After a few revolutions around the lazy river, you finally found enough courage to go actually play on the pirate ship that every 45 seconds dropped about 50 gallons of water on unsuspecting kids. ¬†They had a smaller version of the big kid pirate ship that you quickly took a liking to the water gun as you hosed people as they walked by. ¬†As the day progressed your courage to try new things were ever increasing, and despite your stature and limitations on certain big kid rides, you made the most of it.

When it comes to photos you are either rocking the inner ham that is inside of you with tongue hanging out and vogue poses, or you are the paparazzi shy “get that camera out of my face”. ¬†It’s actually funny and frustrating at the same time as I have missed some really great video ops because your camera radar is always on and very sensitive to any camera or camera phones being raised. ¬†One thing is for sure, you will never have to worry about seeing any pictures of video of yourself growing up because your life has been well documented since your arrival.

Liapalooza 2010 II

In the 2nd and final half of Liapalooza 2010, I’m happy to report that it was not only a strong bonding and learning experience, but something I will look forward to every summer from here on out. There may not have been over 35 bands playing at Liapalooza, but that doesn’t mean the decibel level didn’t reach that of a concert during one of her tantrums.

Although her fascination for taking care of her vast collection of babies is still active, she has now found a new interest in tutu’s, princess shoes and looking pretty.¬† Now, I know she’s only 3.5 but it’s only natural for a father to be guarded in the fact that in the future with looking pretty garners attention and with attention come the boys.¬† Deep breath, and exhale… I still have hopefully 10 or so years before I have to flex my daddy muscles to let these “so-called” boys know that she is my little girl and always will be.¬† But I digress as we have a while before those days begin.

Much is how many of any one thing Lia wants plenty of regarding food, snacks and even toys.¬† For example, if I am about to give her Cheeto’s, she reminds me that she wants “much of them”.¬† Even though I have corrected her on many occasions and she has picked up on it, I still like to use it when she is not around when I want many of something…as it brings a huge smile to my face.¬† So, if that’s me in the car next to you talking to himself and laughing or smiling, know that I am perfectly sane and happy as I reflect on how precious my daughter is.

So in closing the chapter on Liapalooza 2010, we leaned “much” things about each other and as our time together increases and we grow stronger together, I look forward to all of life’s obstacles, moments, and experiences we will share together.



Liapalooza 2010

This is my first solid summertime month with Lia and has been dubbed Liapalooza 2010.¬† This is the first time since she was 4 months old that I have had for for more than one week straight and I couldn’t be happier.¬† Although we are midway through our 2nd full week together, so many things have transpired, said and witnessed that I actually had to start making a mental note of things I wanted to talk about so bare with me as I try and flush out these wonderful moments of bonding, laughing and parenting.

Sine we live in a 2 story house, a baby gate is a given and necessity.¬† Over the course of having the gate, she pretty much has ignored it’s existence and just realized it was an immovable obstacle and it did it’s job.¬† This past weekend, she was ready to head to the donut shop as we promised donuts bright and early the next morning.¬† Between climbing in and out of our bed, side stepping Dylan, and reminding us that the word donut does start to sound funny after 300 times of hearing it that we decided to finally start to get ready.¬† While we were putting our clothes, she was still in her nightgown, but in her mind she had one foot already in Shipley’s.¬† Standing firm by the baby gate and losing patience, she said that we needed to hurry as she hit the baby gate softly with her hands and said because she can’t escape “this”.¬† It was an obvious statement, but the fact that she used the word escape let me in the fact that maybe there have been futile efforts to “escape” the gate before.¬† Either way the wording was classic Lia and not soon forgotten.

Lia also has made it clear that diapers are for babies and that she wears “pooh-lups”.¬† She only wears them at night but make no mistake about it, they are not diapers.¬† The dialect on the word “pull-ups” is hysterical and cracks me up every time and I find myself asking her if she wears diapers just so I can hear her correct me and say it for me.¬† I even wanted it recorded so I can hear it over and over, and of course so others can hear it because it’s just too precious.¬† Listen for yourself as I have it available for your listening pleasure below.

Stay tuned for the rest of Liapalooza 2010 as there is more to come.

Can you do me a favor Daddy?

This question can be heard as a “stay longer” tactic deployed by my very genius daughter as I tuck her in bed for the night.¬† It is usually followed by, I need to got potty (for the 3rd time), I’m hungry, and the ever loving “I need to go take my medicine”.¬† What child on Earth WANTS to take medicine, much less remind their parent that it is fact time for that.¬† What used to be a 10 minute ritual has now turned into a 30 minute bed time ordeal.¬† Now, I’m not saying that I’m letting her railroad over me, but it’s hard sometimes to leave because she is sooo cute when trying to apply these sly tactics. It’s even harder to keep a straight face while she scrambles to keep the last person in her audience of one captivated before Act II Scene 1 begins.

She is witty, crafty, and manipulative…all which are traits I have bestowed upon her, but now I must teach her to use these powers for good as I have these 36 years.¬† Although I have shed my cape and efforts against the evil doers of the world,¬† I have put on a new cape and taken on the role of Captain Fatherhood.¬† This role involves supervision, authority, delegation and compromise.¬† The ability to take time out of the day to enjoy something that otherwise would have gone unnoticed if Lia wouldn’t have pointed it out.¬† For instance the plane passing overhead, the bug in the flower garden, or quite simply how beautiful the world is when you have time to slow down and look through her eyes as she sees it.¬† As a matter of fact, where was I when the world switched to the complicated, busy and sometimes ugly world my daughter has yet to see?¬† I guess it doesn’t matter, because I traded my childhood badge for a shiny fatherhood badge to not only serve and protect my daughter at all costs, but to bring a smile to her face when she looks back over her childhood. Unfortunately, the pictures of us together loving, laughing and enjoying each other will only capture a microsecond of the special bond we shared, but the memories will last forever; and that is good enough for me.