Friday, January 29, 2010

Jacob the Inventor

Jacob made a fabulous new invention a couple of months ago, but I have only compiled the evidence recently. Here he is overlooking his new masterpiece:

"What!?!" you may say. "That's just a pile of toys and junk!" To the untrained eye it may appear so. Closer examination reveals a chopstick in his blurry hand. "That's just another piece of junk," you may counter. But you have to realize the blurriness is not an accident. He is repeatedly striking the various tins in front of him. He has in fact just invented the drum set. Lest you think this photo is some Photoshop fakery, check out this video clip of the master testing his invention:

Of course, the drum set has already been invented. But I'll bet the person who invented it wasn't TWO YEARS OLD!! Just think what will come next from such a fertile and active imagination.

Jacob is pretty serious about drumming too. See him here making another drum disciple:

So, look out drummers of the world! An up-and-comer is growing up fast and will be coming for your audience soon. Jacob is bound to make a big noise on the music scene.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jacob's Headgear Woes

It's Winter here in Maryland, which means the temperatures are abysmally low. We still go outside to do things but have to bundle up. Unfortunately, Jacob has a aversion to wearing hats. He never puts a hat on if he can help it. If the hat is new, he'll wear it for a little while. Then the disdain for headgear kicks in and it's goodbye annoying thing on my head.

The past couple of snow storms, we've begged and pleaded for him to wear a hat. He finally relented when we told him he could not go outside without wearing a hat. As soon as we'd come in, the hat was the first thing he'd remove.

A couple of months ago, we went to the Savage, Maryland, Fire Department for an open house. Among the items we got to take home was a plastic fire helmet which Jacob never showed any interest in wearing before. Lately, he has changed his mind. Maybe he's discovered that firefighters are cool. At any rate, he's taken to the firefighter hat and even wears it when playing with his little fire truck:

He's become even more stylish with it, wearing the helmet backwards and, if you look closely in the next picture, riding on his tiny fire truck.

If only it were a warmer hat, we'd make him wear it outside.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Imitation and Flattery

One of the problems I have been working on is getting Jacob to brush his teeth in the morning. He always brushes his teeth at night as part of his bath before bed. He enjoys it immensely. Usually mom or dad brushes his teeth first. Then he gets a turn. Jacob always points out that the toothbrush's bristles are blue and white and then he gets to the business of cleaning his own teeth. He mostly just sucks on the toothbrush. That Thomas the Tank Engine toothpaste is pretty tasty. At least, that's what I've heard.

Anyway, in order to get him to brush in the morning, I've implemented a new strategy. Every morning I make sure to walk out of the bathroom after my shower and let Jacob see me brushing my teeth. After a week of good example, Jacob said to me the other morning, "Jacob brush teeth now." Off he ran to his bathroom. He came back with the toothbrush in his mouth (we leave it on the end of the sink, so it is in easy reach), smiling as much as he could. I smiled too.

Except when I realized that I left his bathroom door closed. I guess he didn't want to let us know that he's figured out doorknobs too.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jacob's Generosity

We've been teaching Jacob the importance of supporting the church financially. Every week we give him a dollar to put in the collection basket. He's so used to giving the dollar bill during the offertory that he will ask for money (rather loudly), sometimes even during the homily. It's a source of embarrassment and pride for us.

The other day Jacob and I were in my bedroom playing. Jacob found a penny on the floor. With an angelic smile, Jacob said, "Jacob put in basket." I smiled to see his philanthropic spirit growing. He then walked over and put the penny in the laundry basket, cackling with glee. I guess we still have some work to do.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Lucy at Storytime

The other day at the library's story time, we sang a song which involved hand motions. Since Jacob and Lucy were there, Jacob sat by himself while Lucy sat in my lap. She was facing forward, watching the librarian intently from under her little pink cap. The song (sung to the tune of "Are You Sleeping") went like this: Where is bear? Where is bear? Here I am. Here I am. How are you this morning? Very well I thank you. Go to sleep. Go to sleep. Hands start behind your back, with one coming out on the first "Here I am" and the other coming out on the second. You then bend your index finger to simulate the bears talking to each other. At the end the hands go to sleep behind your back. The song repeats with different animals.

Jacob pretty much ignored the hand motions though he did seem interested in the song. I was performing the hand motions for Lucy, who I assumed was having as great a time as I with the interactive song. The song went on and on, first the bear, then a squirrel, then a turtle, etc. etc. I saw a mom from across the way looking at us and laughing quietly. She mouthed, "Her eyes are covered." I looked around to discover that Lucy's hat had slouched forward over her eyes, She was missing everything! So I adjusted her hat in time for the last verse. The mom came up to me later and chatted about it.

So my recommendation at story time is to keep an eye on your child's headgear and any helpful parents in the room.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fun in the Kitchen

In case I haven't written about it before, Angie and I have started a campaign to trick our children into liking chores. In stead of calling them "chores," a word with lots of negative baggage attached to it, we plan on calling them "hanging out." Thus we "hang out" in the living room with the vacuum (though Jacob doesn't like the noise of the vacuum cleaner), we sing songs while cleaning up toys and we have fun while doing the dishes.

It must be working, because Jacob is spontaneously finding fun in the kitchen. After lunch today, I was cleaning some of his cups and utensils in the sink. When I was done, I grabbed the spray nozzle and started rinsing down the sink. Jacob thought this was pretty hilarious. He loved the noise and the sight of the water flying out of the nozzle. Since then, every time we were in the kitchen he said, "Want Daddy to spray sink!" It seems pretty harmless, so I've complied so far. I hope he finds the rest of washing dishes fun soon...before the water bill does us in.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Jacob on manners

Teaching children proper manners is a very tricky business. We try to teach them how and when to say "hello" and "goodbye" and to throw the person's name in too. We want them to say "bless you" when someone sneezes and "thank you" when someone gives them a gift. And if they mess something up, we try to get them to apologize.

Jacob has sort of learned this, as he demonstrated today. At breakfast, Angie was pouring him some milk to go with his Cheerios and raisins. We use sippy cups that have snap on lids with straw holes. Angie just finished pour and was about to snap on the lid when Jacob grabbed it. The milk spilled all over the table. This caused a bit of commotion but Jacob did manage to apologize. Jacob said quite clearly, "I'm sorry, milk." The milk forgave him.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Liturgical Comedy of Errors

Yesterday, January 1, was the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. We decided to split up for Mass since the childrens' sleep schedules were not conducive to going as a family. I went to a 10 a.m. Mass at a parish whose name will be withheld to protect their identity. You will see why in the following paragraphs...

Mass was going along just fine until the lector came up for the second reading. He started with, "Since I read the second reading first by accident, I will now read the first read. May God have mercy on me!" Which got a good laugh from the congregation. Father then referenced the mix-up in his homily, which brought more humor.

During the offertory, Father asked if someone back by the gifts could bring them up to the altar. I was sitting towards the back and saw a family look around and get up to help Father out. I turned back around and saw some of the altar servers moving into position and one of them going to a side table near the altar. I realized the family wasn't going up with the gifts yet. Turning around, I saw standing around with quizzical looks on their faces. Father's voice came from up front, "Whoops, the gifts are already up here. Thanks for offering to bring up the gifts." The family sat down again while the one clued-in server was bringing out the bread and wine.

I was surprised that no collection took place. At the end of Mass, Father said that the deal between the church and the ushers' union was that they'd get 10 a.m. Mass off on New Year's Day, so if anyone brought an offering there'd be baskets at the doors as you left. Once he got to the back of the church, he profusely thanked the family that didn't get to bring up the gifts and wish everyone a blessed and more organized new year.

[Editor's note: In case anyone is suspicious, the only fictionalized part of the above story is the last five words. We do suspect that Father was fibbing about the ushers' union and that God will have mercy on the lector.]