Uncle Jaime’s reindeer hoofs

December 27, 2009 By: nooccar Category: Adams, Claire, holidays, Parenthood

Since my parents bought a new house and had more room and since we’d not spent Christmas Eve night at my parent’s in years, it was time. Earlier in the day Donna and Claire met us there while I pretended to help my sister cook dinner. Later after dinner, Claire didn’t want to go to bed. She was waiting for Santa, and all I was waiting for her was for her to fall asleep sdo I can drag a crapload of presents out of my parent’s basement to put around the tree. This is the first year where I had to keep two things in mind. 1) Claire would recognize if grandparent and Santa gifts came in the same wrapping paper, and 2) we cannot put any presents under the tree before she goes to sleep on Christmas Eve.

As I always expect with Claire, she never wants to go to sleep. And since it was Christmas Eve, she was even more excited than usual. By 11:00pm everyone was way sick of waiting for her to go down by herself and something had to be done. Uncle Jaime, my brother, decided to climb into the attic and take matters into his own hands.

Over the couch, through the roof, suddenly Santa and his reindeer were loudly walking around on the roof, preparing to come down one of my parent’s chimneys. (Yes, I know she’s smart, so I kept one chimney/fireplace free from a fire that night incase she asked!) Claire, sitting on the couch full dressed, looked towards the ceiling, looked around at her people and bolted to the bedroom. Donna followed her into the bedroom, as Claire grabbed her PJs and threw herself onto the bed.

“Mama, help me get changed! I need to go to sleep now! Santa’s here!” She screamed as she stripped her clothes before throwing herself into bed.

Thank you, Uncle Jaime.

Claire’s igloo

December 22, 2009 By: nooccar Category: Claire, holidays, Parenthood, Pittsburgh

I always say my favorite part of the Christmas holiday is when the tires bounce down onto the Pittsburgh tarmac, and you know what? I didn’t even notice this time. No reason, really. It just wasn’t such a huge, relaxing deal. Maybe it’s because I have a million things on a list of things to do when I have time to do things. I don’t know.

Claire, after being shy girl lying on the airport floor, was glued to her Papa the first day in town, and we weren’t scheduled to see my family until Sunday. I told my mother to pick us up early so I could drop my MacBook Pro off at Apple for some minor repairs while I was on break and had access to other computers. She agreed and I went to bed Saturday evening in my brother-in-laws awesome Posture-pedic king size bed. Sunday morning came about 12 hours later as I really needed some sleep after last week.

Claire, her Uncle Danny and Papa were in the backyard in the 6+ inches of fresh powder, so I grabbed my camera, gloves, and ski pants before joining them for a short bit to shoot some photos before getting ready to see my family for the day.

Claire mentioned wanting an igloo, and I didn’t even know that she knew what an igloo was let alone that she wanted one. As I said, the snow was really powdery but anytime you tell Uncle Danny he can’t do something, he tries to do it. Especially when it involves jumping off cliffs and driving through rivers. This was no different. He wanted to build Claire an igloo so we go to work. We shoveled snow off the grass into a huge pile, scrapped it from the sidewalk, and filled recycle bins with snow from other parts of the yard to make it higher. Then Uncle Danny began to throw his weight against it while I suggested a watering can to make it wetter. We sprinkled water all over it, attached it like beached whales, and then began scooping it out. We got it to a point where Claire could get into it fully if she bent her legs, but of course she refused to do that. She did look up for a few photos, and then pulled herself from the igloo. She announced she was bored, hungry and cold. Papa immediately took her inside, while Uncle Danny and I admired our handiwork—two hours later and as my mother was scheduled to arrive.

Phx Zoo Lights

December 17, 2009 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Friends, holidays, Parenthood

Last night we took the kids to zoo lights but not before Claire was horsing around with Eli. I was sitting at the table waiting for Terrie to get ready when all of a sudden Eli shouts “Claire knocked my tooth out!” It was one of those moments were you freeze and wait for a giggling punch line and then there is none. I quickly began counting years on my fingers to see how old Eli was, and I realized I had no idea how old children are when they’re suppose to lose teeth. Suddenly the house erupted as his mothers became very excited about his losing his first tooth, and I as relieved that we were ok and not going to be thrown out of the house for destroying their son.

After the excitement of the tooth being yanked from his face, dropping it on the white tile, finding it, dropping it again, and finally putting it in a ziploc bag for the tooth fairy, we headed to the zoo. The Phoenix Zoo has “zoo lights” which is one of the largest outdoor light displays in our state.


After Eli and Claire got out of their respective trucks, they took each other’s hand and Angelika and I rolled our eyes as they spent the next two hours inseparable, running through the zoo hand in hand, checking out all of the lights, looking for animals in the dark, and enjoying the evening.


It’s all fun & games til…

November 30, 2009 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Parenthood

Tonight Claire threw a tantrum. Shouldn’t they end when she turned four? She kept hitting Mama or me and kicking us. I finally had enough as she kept head butting my stomach, and I put her in timeout. We tried the whole ignoring her thing, but she kept getting up and giggling because she wasn’t in the timeout chair. Then she got in more trouble, and, of course, I spanked her. How great is it to smack someone for smacking someone else? Ugh.

Eventually Mama sent her to her room (supposedly to bed without her supper). I stood outside the door to keep it shut, and damn, it was easier to do when she wasn’t so strong! Eventually I had to let go of the door to get ready to leave, and then she kicked open the door and kept kicking and kicking.

Mama told me to get in there and whoop her butt again. Claire heard me coming and slammed her door. I hopped forward and stuck my foot in to block it. The door hit my shoe and forcefully bounced back and and smacked Claire in the middle of the face. She began to howl and cry. “Dada, I’m sorry!” she wailed as she climbed into my arms. I took her into the kitchen, grabbed the Booboo Bunny and took her to her mother in the living room.

Before running out the door to bowling I reminded that, “It’s all fun and games until you get smacked in the face with a door.”

How to teach young children about race

November 17, 2009 By: nooccar Category: Claire

This past weekend I was off at PodCampAZ while Claire and Donna were home. Claire was excited because it began to rain on Saturday, which never happens in Arizona. She ran inside, put on her bathing suit and rain suit, and then ran outside. She played for awhile in her play set area where we have artificial grass (the rest of the yard is mostly dirt (err…. mud)). After that got boring, she decided to play in the mud. This continued until she was pleasantly covered in mud. And as she rubbed mud up and down her arms until she looked “brown”, she called out “look I look like “. She repeated that with her other friends who are African American.

When I was in college in multi-cultural education, the professor wanted us to describe people not by skin color but by hair color, etc… If I got a room full of people and thirty are white and one is black, I sure the hell ain’t gonna say “the man with the black hair” instead of saying “that black dude”. That’s crap. I am a white boy and the first to admit it, but see, I get it. I get what “they” think we should say and not say, but little people aren’t with it, yet.

Does it make me insensitive if I describe someone as brown if they are, in fact, brown? Black? White? etc … How’s this different than saying “the red-head” or “guy with beard”.? It’s not. It’s all in meaning. If you’re talking about someone’s race in a negative way and use him or her as an example, then WTF. You suck. If you’re literally describing someone and that’s what he or she looks like, well then who the hell cares? Not me.

But, as I said before, my 4 1/2 year old sure doesn’t know the difference, so how do I balance between her learning stereotypes of race and neutrally describing friends, like the few “brown” kids at school? In the car on the way home, when we’re discussing school, I’ve specifically not talked about color of people. But she sure does know (you’re an idiot if you pretend to not notice!). I don’t have an answer for you, but it’s something to think about.

Wait! Aren’t I a bird?

November 10, 2009 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Parenthood

Yesterday I headed out really early to grade at Lux Coffeebar in Phoenix, and while I was gone Donna made me a “Honey Do List” that got longer the longer I was gone. By 12:30pm I expected a book and got home to two pages of notes. One of the items on the list was to sweep the roof. Yes, the roof. Of the house. We have these huge pine trees that’ve seen better days and were shedding all over our roof. We don’t have gutters here in Arizona but we also don’t have precipitation to help clean off the roofs, so up the ladder I went.

Claire watched mildly amused as I climbed up this A frame ladder with my trusty broom. It was one of those ungodly hot and sunny Indian summer weekends. I climbed to the very top of the ladder, reached out for the edge of the roof, got my knees up, and pulled myself onto the roof. I made my way up and over the roof to where the needles were in large piles.

As I began to sweep, Claire’s little head popped up over the edge of the roof as if to say “what’s up, dad?” In cases like this, the best thing to do is not freak. I calmly walked to her as she stood on the edge of her heels 30 feet off the solid ground. I took her wrist tightly and helped her sit down in a safe place.

As I finished sweeping the roof, I wondered why I didn’t bring my cell phone up there with me. After I was done, I half held her-half walked her to where I could bang the broom on the edge of the patio until Mama came out of the house.

Once she saw Claire on the roof and the space between the ladder and the roof initially, she climbed the ladder and reached out for Claire. We got Claire down off of the roof and reminded her that she was four years old and not invincible.

Hannah’s a palindrome!

October 27, 2009 By: nooccar Category: Claire, School

We’re sitting around at dinner, eating our pasta, and Claire blurts out, “My friend, Hannah’s name is a palindrome!” Then Mama asked her if she knew what a palindrome even is, and she said matter-of-factly, “Yes, since Hannah has two Hs, two As, and two Ns in her name.” Yes, Claire, of course. Of course.

Where the Wild Things Are: A Review

October 19, 2009 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Movies, Parenthood

My wife and I decided to take Claire, our 4 1/2 year old, and her 6 year old friend to see Where the Wild Things Are today. Wow, I think I would’ve rather stuck hot nails in my eye sockets. I won’t posit to suggest I am not about to give stuff away; read at your own pace. The whole opening sequence was really hard to watch and disturbing. The mom, played by Catherine Keener (who I can barely stand in anything), works long jobs and seems clueless, except when she has Mark Ruffalo over to dinner (for frozen corn?!) and to snog with. The only mention of Max’s dad is a globe that’s engraved from him, but there’s nothing about him at all except that this kid comes from a broken family. The sister, named Claire, and her friends have a snowball battle with Max (who by the way instigates it). He loses the battle and cries about it, as Claire leaves with her friends. Big deal. Then kids freaks out because Mom is snogging Ruffalo and bites her on the shoulder. You know what he needs? A spanking and maybe a therapist. Instead, he runs away.

He gets to a land Where the Wild Things Are, and they have cute human names like Carol and Donald. They also sound human. He arrives as Carol is having his own temper tantrum and tearing down everyone’s houses because his girlfriend left the community. (Wouldn’t you if your man threw temper tantrums?). Max brings a new element to the group and of course he pretends to be almighty, so they elect him “king”. He runs around with them for who knows how many days (there are more sunrises and sunsets in the film than stars in the sky; the beat each other, rip trees out of the ground, and are annoying. KW, the girlfriend comes back, and everything is all happy-like for about half an hour in the film. Then Max is paranoid that Carol is going to discover he’s not really a king, so he wants to make a secret compartment where he can hide while sleeping, away from his “friend”. Of course Carol gets pissed off and rips Donald’s arm off!! Yes, a kids movie, everyone. I sure bet the kids love that part. In this big fight KW decides to leave again (sure, sure, she’s said that before), and in the morning Max decides to go home. He leaves a heart made from sticks for Carol (which I suppose means, it’s ok that you’re an abusive asshole). He leaves the group and they just stand there as he floats away (no, there is not any resolution with the group). He goes back across the “seas”, lands, and runs home to his mother. She, of course, is waiting. She cries, feeds him, and she falls asleep at the table while he’s stuffing his face. The end. Ugh.

Side note. Later in the day, my daughter threw her own temper tantrum, bit a huge hole in my wife’s wrist, and yelled that she was going to run away from home to where the wild things are. Great, Spike Jones. Awesome. Thanks a lot.

Peter Yarrow’s new book. Claire gets a copy.

October 11, 2009 By: nooccar Category: Books, Claire, Parenthood

Claire and I drove over to Changing Hands Bookstore today to pick up a copy of the new children’s book by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary fame. He’s going to be at Changing Hands on Sunday signing and singing. This conversation below is a true story.

As we walked in the door:

Claire, “Dad, what’re we doing here?”

Me, “Getting you a book.”

Claire, “Awesome! I love books. Which one?”

Me, totally clueless, having no idea the name of the book. “Dunno. Can’t remember the name. Let me find someone to ask.”

Claire, stopping me in mid-aisle, “Is the book Day is Done? Is that the one, Dad?”

Me, floored. Finding my voice and suddenly remembering the title, “Why, yes Claire that is the book.”

Claire, “ok, there it is.” Pointing to the poster selling Peter Yarrow’s new book Day is Done.

Not only did she read the title, she then proceeded to get in line to go ask the cashier for a copy housed behind the counter.

My response to her mother when I got home. “How ’bout I just give her my wallet and car keys, too.”
Claire listening in and needing the last word, “Yes, and I already read it to myself in the store.


August 09, 2009 By: nooccar Category: Claire, Parenthood

On the way home Friday from work in the car.

Claire: Dada, what are we doing this weekend?

Me: I’m not sure. We’ll ask Mama. Maybe we’ll go to the mall.

Claire: Dada, I want earrings.

Me, trying not to react: Why do you want those?

Claire: Cause Kaitlyn has them.


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