Tuesday, December 9, 2008

So you will all understand if we don't get a Christmas card out this year . . .

Baby C
Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
Five years ago, Collin was Baby A; Lilah was Baby B. So Ryan says this one must be Baby C. Hey, we're nothing if not alphabet-savvy here.

Hope everyone who reads this is doing well!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
Well, it’s happened—already. Our family is split on party lines. Collin is voting for “Arack Obama,” but Lilah is voting for John McCain (though she usually refers to him as Jean Valjean, the character in Les Miserables, so she may actually be a populist and not know it.) And she’s actually a bit sad that she can’t vote for the lady any more.

“Mommy—why is she not running for the President anymore? What’s her name, that lady—Henry? Henry Clinton. I wanted to vote for her.”


Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
I really think that Ryan had anticipated most of the challenges that he, in particular, would face when he became a parent: the lack of sleep, the discipline issues, the sudden presence in his house of some very loud people who think things like fine cheese and truffle oil are “stinky . . . ewwww.”

What he hadn’t counted on was Lilah not inheriting the matching gene. If you know Ryan, you know that he’s got it (straight from his mom, of course). Subtle shades of brown in a blue-patterened tie means you wear a brown jacket and blue shirt and your students are a little taken aback by your snazzy wardrobe.

Lilah, on the other hand, seems to have inherited a matching gene directly from her grandmother Mirene, who was a huge fan of cabbage roses and matching her shoes to her bag to her lipstick. Add to this tendency a literal-minded understanding of pattern (“But Daddy, this shirt has flowers and the pants have flowers so they match!”) and a LARGE dose of sheer bloody-minded stubbornness on both parts and you have some interesting mornings.

“No, Lilah. You cannot wear that polka dot shirt with the flowered skirt and striped tights. People will laugh at you.”

“But why? They are all new things that I got. I want to wear them together.”

When Ryan is in charge, he wins. Let it be noted, however, that sometimes Lilah changes clothes in the middle of the day when he’s not around (witness this lovely ensemble.)

As for Super-Boy over here beside her, there's just no explanation. I mean, he's Super-Boy! Surely you can see his awesome powers of judo and skinny-legged kicking.

Pappy explains it all

Pappy explains it all
Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
Well, it already feels like it was at least a year ago, but in fact it was only three months ago that we packed up the van (and I do mean PACKED the van) and headed to Canada for our sort of semi-annual vacation with Ryan’s extended family at picturesque, though oddly named, Crotch Lake. As the many flickr photos will attest, it was a really wonderful experience for the kids. The weather was cool and rainy off and on, but they shrugged of the horsefly bites and pretty much splashed through everything. We swam in the lake (and even bathed in it a few times, courtesy of bio-degradable soap). We went on boat rides, took nature walks, visited with cousins ranging in age from note yet 2 to no longer willing to disclose their age.

The sad part of this trip was that Ryan’s grandmother had a stroke just before we left, then died while the whole family was up in Canada, so everyone was a little subdued and Ryan’s dad didn’t make it up at all until the middle of the week. I have high hopes that the hug Lilah gave him—and the accompanying shriek of “PAAAAAPPPY!!!!!!”—did something to raise his spirits. In any case, once he was there we didn’t give him much down-time. And we were ALL made approximately 50 million times happier by the presence of our adopted family member, Erin, who came, cooked tacos, pretty much carried Lilah everywhere, and kicked Ryan’s ass in Yahtzee most nights. (Or so she says. Ryan may have a different story. I was usually immersed in a trashy novel of the sort that I rarely allow myself during the rest of the year.)

Pretty, Happy

Pretty, Happy
Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
In the last few months I’ve begun to include conversations with the kids in these blog posts, but this one is just a straight transcript of Lilah talking to me one morning a few months ago. Enjoy (or be confused. Very confused.)

Help, help! I’m trapped, this is actually your fish tank, but it doesn’t have any fish in it . . . actually, this is a clam but it’s my pet clam, actually, so he’s hugging me. Huuuuug. Here he is, want to feel him, isn’t he so soft? He’s soft because he has super powers, he’s a superhero pet clam, his name is . . . Marky. Watch how fast he can run . . . zzzhoop . . . I’m actually Supergirl, Lady. Lady? Lady, I’m actually Supergirl. Will you watch my clam—what’s his name again?—oh, Marky, will you watch him every day at nine o’clock and then I’ll be back in one minute . . . zzzhoop . . . at 10 o’clock and pick him up. Here he is, Lady. Okay, bye. Did you know, I’ve been kind of sick, so I’m very tired, because I’ve been sick . . . ding dong, somebody’s at the door of your house lady, it’s Superman on his way to fix my house, I actually live in a tree house because I like to feel the wind on my back, especially I live there when its raining. I can build you a tree house, here, zzzhoop, there, see, Lady? Lady, come look, see the tree house I built for you. Now I can live with you! But Superman is on his was to fix my house. He’s not a superhero anymore. He drives a truck and builds houses. He got bored being a superhero. Would you like to come in my submarine and see Mermaid City?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Knock Knock

Our friend Morgan just posted some knock knock jokes created by her 5-year-old brother, which prompted me to recall this recent exchange, reproduced here for your amusement.

Child: Knock Knock
Me: Who's there?
Child: Aren't you glad I didn't say banana?
Me: Ummm....I think that part's supposed to come later.
Child: Oh yeah. Knock knock.
Me: Who's there?
Child: Banana.
Me: Banana who?
Child: Knock knock.
Me: Who's there?
Child: Banana.
Me: Banana who?
Child: Knock Knock
Me: Who's there?
Child: Banana.
Me: Really? Banana still?
Child: Yeah.
Me: OK. Banana who?
Child: Aren't you glad I didn't say banana?
Me: Ummm. You did say banana.
Child: Daddy! c'mon!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Baseball bat? Sword? Giant stick? Who cares!

Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
The big news of this post is not visible in these pictures: Collin got a haircut. As you can see, it was getting quite long. After our friends the Bosharts came to visit, Collin decided to grow his hair long like Jack (a big kid!) But he gets so sweaty and hot in the summer than Ryan persuaded him to get a buzz cut. Now we all love rubbing his head for luck.

We are working on several things with Collin this summer. One is his inability to use anything approaching an “indoor voice.” My theory is that he is so used to shouting at big boys on the playground until they listen to him (“HEY ROSS! HEY! ROSS! LOOK AT ME!! I’M OPTIMUS PRIME! KARATE KICK!! ROSS! LUCAS!! WATCH ME!) that he thinks that’s how he needs to talk all the time. Even when he whispers it’s a ridiculously loud stage whisper.

He did, however, make me day a few weeks ago when he said the following to his beloved babysitter: My mom is 26—no, I think maybe, I think 36. But don’t worry, Carrie. She doesn’t have any wrinkles and I don’t think she’s even a little bit close to dying yet.

What a relief!

The other ordeal Collin faces soon is the mailing off of all his “passas” (pacifiers) to Lolita, the Pacifier Fairy (kindly voiced by Auntie Nette). When he does this he will get an amazing prize in return, but he’s not sure anything could be worth it. So wish us—and him—luck.

Princess Lilah

Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
Ah, Princess Lilah. She is the most beautiful of the Princesses who come to the Prince and he always chooses her to marry. Then they “have a weddin’,” take a nap, and the Prince (who is usually frantically trying to make dinner while also choosing his bride) must open presents from Princess Lilah, who turns out to be a kitty. Meow, meow.

Mercurial. That’s our daughter. She finds us all hilarious, as evidenced by her assertions that, “Mommy, you crack me out!” Then I do something cruel like throw away the filthy shoelace she found on the playground and is now sucking on (ewwww) and she turns into demon child . . .

Lilah (enraged): I’m not going to be your friend anymore! I’m not going to be your daughter anymore, either! Don’t talk to me! Leave me alone! (brief pause) Mommy, I want to hear the kitty song: Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow . . .

Lilah also talked to the pacifier fairy on the phone and pronounced, approvingly, that Lolita has a “strong but sweet voice, kind of like my singing voice.” Lilah is big on both singing and dancing, which she does in a style she calls “serious” dancing. It involves a very scrunched-up, angry face and a lot of punching and it is hard to keep a serious face while watching this dancing, especially when, as happened this morning, the dancer accidentally punches herself in the face.

And to think we almost named her Lilah Grace.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

No, we couldn't find any more shades of pink to put in this picture

Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
Seriously. This post will be about more than this picture (see, for example, the picture on Flickr of Collin and little Ava as well). But the incredibly clashing colors in here seemed to need a mention (or an apology!)

Last weekend, our very dear friends Katy and Dean Boshart brought their three kids (Jack, 10, Sam, 7, and Ava--6 months and gorgeous) to visit. It was the first time any of us had met Ava and Ryan and I plotted several plans to steal her, abandoning them only when we saw how tired Katy and Dean were and remembered that we didn't like being that tired.

Collin's response to the weekend: JACK AND SAM!!!!! SAM!!! BIg boys are cool, I'm a big boy, soon I'm going to be 10 years old and then I can jump off the sofa and throw the basketball and play cool games like Jack and Sam . . .

Lilah's response: Goo goo ga ga.

And also: "I need a diaper. And a high chair." In short, some serious attempts at regression to infancy. We don't know if it was the attention Ava got, how cute Ava was (not that Lilah's not cute, but still), or the extremely soft and bright pink fuzzy blanket that Ava brought with her, but Lilah had some sense that this litle girl was onto a good thing.

In other Lilah news, many of you have no doubt heard about her ascension to the throne as--self-titled, I assure you--The Mean Queen. This is an onerous and wearisome responsibility, as it involves generally being mean to and with small stuffed animals, bossing around Baby Troll (Collin) and Mommy Troll (guess who) and avoiding the surpassing authority of Daddy, who refuses to cooperate and remains, well, Daddy. An amusing recent conversation in this vein:

Mean Queen: Mommy. You and Collie need to do what I say because you my customers.
Mommy: No, honey, customers are people who buy things from you. We're your subjects.
Mean Queen: Subjects?
Mommy: That's right. That's what you call us.
Ryan (to me, upon walking in and overhearing the above): What is wrong with you? Are you crazy? Stop encouraging her.

Well, I don't want her to get made fun of at the World Convention of Evil But Cute Rulers for using the wrong word, do I?

Ohh, Casanova . . .

Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
You look at this delightful picture of Collin in tights and your first thought might not be: "Well, I be this guy is good with the ladies."

But then you would be underestimating the subtleties of Collin's mind, as well as, frankly, the extent of his success wih the ladies. As evidence, I submit a conversation from the car just last week:

Collin: (coy) Mommy, I have two new girlfriends.
Me: Really, buddy? Who?
Collin: Naomi and Katya.
Me: (blankly) Oh. Wait--who was your old girlfriend?
Collin: (infinite ennui) Oh. Rachel.

And how does he get these girlfriends of his? Collin has figured out a tactic that his other male friends at school have not: tell the girls that you like princesses.

Next he is going to learn to love shoe shopping.