Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Sometimes I think about the secrets I kept from my parents (sorry, Mom) and I wonder when that is gonna start happening with my kids. What was the first thing that I kept to myself; The first daydream that was too precious to be dragged out into the light, the first insight that was too fragile and tenuous to place under the gaze of my wise guardians? Jack is a pensive fellow at five, and often found staring off into space. If my wife and I see him this way, we’ll giggle silently and mumble little clockwork sounds under our breath to each other, as if we can hear his gears turning.

Yeah, I know we should get out more, but babysitters are expensive, and truth be told, we were a little lame even before the kids…

When I ask him what he is thinking about, he almost always tells me, and it’s mostly typical five-year-old stuff. To whit, “I was thinking about the time when I wanted Isaac to climb on the bed with me and write messages on little pieces of paper and he told me no and I said I really really really really really wanted him to come up and he didn’t want to so I told him I was really mad at him and wanted him to get out of the bedroom never ever come back and he said …‘POOP’!”

But sometimes when I ask he says,


And I know, I know, it’s something.

And I’d give anything to know what it was. What comes out of his mouth half the time is fart jokes and nonsense, but what’s going on in his mind is fascinating. His mind is his own, however, and God willing it always will be. I would never trespass there, but it is such an honor sometimes to be invited in.

Tonight I saw Jack with that far-away look, and asked him what was on in his mind. Jack kept his eyes fixed on the daydream he was chasing and said,

“It’s classified.”

Monday, February 22, 2010


Jack has manners. He wasn’t born with them, and growing up in New York doesn’t provide a kid with ample opportunity for public reinforcement (the whole “elevator-as-public-toilet” phenomenon, & c.), but my first born is nothing if not sensitive to social norms. Of course, this is a kid whose long hair sometimes gets stuck to his snotty nose, so maybe I should downgrade him from “polite” to “easily embarrassed”. Especially when it comes to using the bathroom.

When Isaac has to poop, the neighbors hear about it. He’d put out a press release if he knew what one was. He wants you to hang out with him and read books while he works his magic, but while my wife (bless her) does it without question, I firmly refuse. This kid can WRECK a bathroom like no teenager aver dreamed. Jack, on the other hand, simply disappears, and summons us when assistance is required. If we are in public, he will discretely whisper in the nearest parent’s ear, and off we go.

The other day, the boys and I were in the basement, watching our neighbor Murray work on something. Murray is one of those individuals who is always working on something, whether his project or someone else’s. The first time I met him, he was under my sink within 20 minutes, fixing my dishwasher, thereby earning my undying friendship and the adoration of my two pajama-clad youngsters who were fascinated by a man who could actually fix something without kicking them out of the room so he could curse. If I got out of bed at 3am and decided to, say, remodel my kitchen, I have no doubt that Murray would smell my toolbox being opened, sit bolt upright in bed, and be in my apartment in coveralls within 15 minutes, looking for a nail to pound.

So anyway, there we are, watching Murray build something, when Jack starts walking up the stairs. Our apartment door is right there, so I don’t think much of it, until he stops at the top step and says, “Daddy, I need you to come with me.” Since I like watching Murray work even more than I hate working myself, I resist. “No, pal, I want to stay in the basement.”

“But Dad, I need you to come with me.”

“Why, Jack?”

At this point, he sighs at my incompetence, comes partway down the stairs, looks at Murray, then at me, raises his eyebrows and says in a stage whisper:

“So that when I say ‘wipe my butt, please’ you will hear me.”

Thursday, February 18, 2010


When your kids are infants, you dream about them not NEEDING you so much someday. As that day marches inexorably closer, (and the sleep-deprivation-induced psychosis starts to ebb) that dream starts looking suspiciously like a nightmare. My wife and I have been careful to preserve our own identities in the maelstrom of parenthood, and we do have interests apart from our children, although I can’t seem to think of any of them right now.

Give me a minute…

Anyway, Jack laid this one on me the other day:

He had spent the day with his friend Markus, another home-schooled kid, who shares many of Jack’s more subversive traits, including his penchant for growing his hair long and shaggy and improvising punk-rock anthems. They are quite a pair.

When I got home from work, I asked Jack if he enjoyed his day.

“YES!” he said, “I had such a good time, I COMPLETELY forgot about you!”

Jack, in a more pensive moment, contemplating a rubber chicken.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


My first thought upon seeing Jack's face for the first time:
"He's the most beautiful creature I've ever seen"

My second thought:
"Holy Shit! What if I f*ck this up??!!"

I felt the way I think I would feel if someone just handed me the controls to an airliner and casually asked me to land it. I recall coming home that first night, with my wife and newborn son still in the hospital, looking at the stack of child rearing books on the shelf and thinking that they were about as useless as the flying manual for that 747 would be if somebody shoved it in your face while you tried valiantly to land the thing.


Little by little, the panic abated. Once I was confident I could keep him alive (relatively easy) and keep myself from having a nervous breakdown (deceptively difficult). I had a little time - two weeks, say - before I started to panic about the more complicated stuff.

OK. I can keep him alive, but how do I keep him from growing up to be an a$$hole?

That's still an open question. And a lot of the responsibility is still in my lap.

The other morning, Jack was sitting at his "special chair", the one that no one else is allowed in.

(***I permit him this eccentricity because my dad had the same thing, and I remember being insanely jealous of it. A piece of furniture that was yours and no-one else's. Intoxicating. Also, in a 700 square foot apartment, personal space is at a premium. The crappy part is, once he chose that spot at the table, I realized it is the BEST spot. AAARRRG!! You know when you sit down at a table in a certain spot, and it just *feels* right? It has a good view, you can lean your back on the wall, your elbow doesn't bump anything? That's Jack's spot. The little bugger. I can't even sit in it when he's asleep. Feels like I'm trespassing or something...)

Anyway, there he was. And he asked me a question. I answered, and before I even finished, he bellows, "OF COURSE!!!"

Oh, so he already knows that part. I go deeper into the subject, and as I'm talking he starts babbling, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, of course, of course!!!"

At this point I'm annoyed, and want to get back to making my coffee.

"Jack! If you already know all this, why are you asking me?"

Jack looks innocent. For-real innocent.

"I didn't already know all that."

"So why do you keep saying 'yeah, yeah' and 'of course'?"

"Because Everything *YOU* Say Is True."


I play a mean second fiddle.

I've always been comfortable with the fact that for the first several years our children preferred the company and attention of my wife over me. I was particularly comfortable with this between the hours of midnight and 6am. My wife and I are very "new generation", share-the-load, equal parental responsibility types, but our work/school schedules had her at home more during awake time, and after all, she is MOM. Dad is cool and fun, but let's face it: if Dad had to do what Mom had to do to bring you into this world...well, Our first son might be here, but he'd be an only child. Dad also lacks the ability to make food come out of his body, keep calm when you've broken every egg in the refrigerator on the floor, or remember what the current I-must-have-this-object-with-me-at-all-times-or-my-life-will-end happens to be from day to day.

Nevertheless, I've been really enjoying my increased status as the boys get older, and they start looking to me to see what being a man is all about. Both boys want to come with me to work, help out with whatever project I'm doing around the house, and will often choose me over Rebecca for books, music, or other fun stuff. One night a couple of weeks ago, I was putting both boys to bed while Beck was at school, a process which involves fresh jammies, toothbrushes, soap, water, books, and two long doses of cuddles, one for each boy. (For a while, I entertained the idea of weaning them off the cuddles, just to shorten the bed-time ritual, but then it occurred to me that on my deathbed, I'm certainly not going to wish I'd cuddled my kids LESS.) We had enjoyed a really wonderful dad-and-boys evening: more videos than mom approves of, lots of laughs, and a minimum of sibling-on-sibling violence.

When it's Jack's turn for his cuddle, he curls himself up in the space between my chin and my waist, and whispers softly into my chest.

"Daddy. I have a favorite parent."

"Oh, yeah?", I say, a faint smile playing across my lips above his little head. "Who?"



The funny thing about headbutts is that the person receiving the headbutt is the only one who gets hurt. The headbutt-er is, for reasons possibly unknown and definitely unfair, oblivious to the pain. I conducted a long experiment in this phenomenon while sharing my bed with Jack from birth to about 2 years. I would be awoken by blinding pain (you know the kind where you actually see a flash of light behind your closed eyes?) only to see my beloved son sleeping soundly, inches from my face, seemingly unfazed by the brutal trauma he had just inflicted upon his slumbering father. After several months of this nightmare scenario, I developed a habit of sleeping with one arm wrapped around my head, and my other hand placed strategically between my legs. Although the frequency of the attacks intimated a sly malice, I bore no ill-will toward my little boy, because I am a parent, and we are suckers.

Although the (blissful?) days of co-sleeping are behind us, my two boys still get their licks in during evening cuddle-time and any other instance of close proximity. An especially dangerous time is the “Bunny Burrow”, the boys #1 activity, which involves variations on the theme of piling up blankets, crawling under them, giggling, and cuddling. All in all, a wholesome event, but prohibitively dangerous to adults (see headbutt analysis, above). I have personally suffered split lips, bruised pride, and my personal favorite, “Oh my god you just broke my tooth! Ahhh! Did you break my tooth? Is it broken? No? Oh thank god…”

The other day, I was summoned to a Bunny Burrow, and having been away from the boys for several days and missing them terribly, I let my guard down and acquiesced. After crawling under the blankets and receiving a few licks from Isaac ("Isaac, please don’t kick me in the face, OK? Yes, that’s my face. Stop kicking!") I see Jack’s little hand thrust into the blanket-tent. He’s offering a kitchen towel.

“Here, Dad.”

“Oh, thanks, Jack. What’s this for?”

“In case you need to wipe up some blood.”


No Whining.

This was our one rule in my high school choir program. Our choir guru, The much-loved Mary Kay Pryce, was always available to us for advice, encouragement, even a shoulder to cry on, but as soon as somebody started that high-pitched, talking-through-the-nose, poor-me song and dance, her eyes would go a little wide, and she would shake her head and back up a step

“Oh, there’s no whining in here. You can’t whine.”

As the last child of four, and the only boy, whining was my second (and sometimes first) language until I started trying to impress chicks. If there was any left once I reached ninth grade, MKP wrung it out of me with her tiny little hands. If I took anything away from those years other than a deep respect for music and an aversion to chewing gum, it was an intense hatred of whining.

Jack is now five.

My wife and I have instituted a zero-tolerance policy on whining, and it seems to be going well, but there are days…

Where does whining come from? Does the whiner hope that he/she will sway the opposition into acquiescence? Is it an effective, yet annoying self-soothing technique? Jack answered our question the other day. Something set him off on a whining jag, and Beck informed him that whining was simply not ok., and wasn’t going to garner him any sympathy in any case. He looked up at her with wounded surprise.

“I’m not whining! I’m TRYING to CRY!”


Jack doesn't like anything on his face. No halloween masks, no make-up, and if you want a kiss from Jack, it's going on YOUR cheek, not his. And don't even think about going for the lips...

Jack also has a nearly constant appetite for sunflower seed butter. It's a great alternative to peanut butter, which makes his face blow up like a balloon. For reasons long forgotten, it has come to be known as "sunshine butter". Sunshine butter sandwiches are such a constant presence in the story line of our little tribe, that they have come to be known by their shorthand moniker: SSBS.

The third character trait of my eldest that figures into this tale is his propensity for eating like a beaver. You would think that such a fastidious young man would be a tidy at mealtime, but in that you would be profoundly mistaken. The space under Jack's chair at the table must be swept after each meal, and sometimes raked. His chosen method for devouring an SSBS, which he does several times a day, is to start at one side of the sandwich, and chew a path to the other side, creating two smaller sandwiches and leaving a Joker smile of SSB along the sides of his face. My wife and I have been fascinated/horrified by this habit for some time, and Rebecca recently decided to stage an intervention. Assuming that pointing out the mess on his face would get more of a reaction than the mess on the floor, she tries this gambit:

"Hey Jack, do you like all that sunshine butter on your face?"

Jack: "YEAH!"


Mom: "Um...why?"

Jack: "Because THEN, when I want some MORE...I don't have to ask you for it!"

(Note: Jack has now been furnished with an auxiliary dish of sunshine butter, and is attempting to eat from the corners of his sandwich.)


Another unique challenge to raising kids in the city is that whenever you step out of your front door, you have an audience to your child rearing. Walking down the street, riding on the train, going out to eat, you have (at least in New York) representatives from over 100 different countries silently judging you. This may sound paranoid, but only because it's true. I know because I do it to other parents. We all do, it's just that in a town where the only privacy you get is in your bedroom (unless you live in my house) there are more opportunities.

Example: We're on the train. Isaac has a cough. He is usually good at covering his mouth, but this time he forgets. It has been an H-E-double hockey-sticks of a day, and I am semi-comatose and enjoying the opportunity to take three breaths without lifting a kid, pushing a stroller, or answering a question, so I skip the verbal reminder. A nearby (childless) couple notices. The female crinkles her nose. Looks at me, looks at Isaac, looks back at me, cups her hand over her mouth and whispers to her boyfriend, who looks at Isaac, then at me. I want to punch them in their well-rested wrinkle-free faces. This sort of interaction doesn't happen in cars.

The kids, however, love all the extra contact with adults. Isaac is especially apt to strike up a conversation with anyone on the street:


This garners him many smiles, and the odd high-five.

The other day, Isaac identified himself and his crime-fighting intentions to a passing stranger who studiously ignored him, although he was only a couple of feet away, and had made eye contact. I though Isaac's feelings were going to be hurt, but big brother stepped in and explained (loud enough for the stranger to hear)

"Don't bother telling HIM, Isaac. He doesn't understand."


My imminently capable wife once said to my mother when our first boy was about 3 months old, "well, we're not drowning, but we're swimming all the time".

In the ensuing almost-five-years, Jack has grown into a sensitive little guy. Patient (mostly) and sweet (undeniably). He knows his old man is swimming as hard as he can to keep him and his little brother happy, smart, and out of the emergency room. But he also has a front-row seat to my obvious limitations.

So I didn't take it too hard when one day, after my customary 45 minute panic attack that precedes the three of us walking out the front door (you would think experience would improve this, but somehow it always feels like the first time. I'm like that guy from "Memento"...), Jack took my trembling big hand in his small, warm, little boy hand and said,

"Daddy? Did you manage to pack any food today?"


It wasn't easy to decide to raise our kids in the city. I grew up out in the sticks, watching Sesame Street and wondering what the song "These are the People in your Neighborhood" was talking about. "The people that you meet, when you're walking down the street..."?? The only thing I met walking down my street was the pick-up truck that gave me my first concussion at age 8, and the occasional interesting bit of road-kill. I dreamed of living in a bustling city. But there is such a pull when you become a parent to give your kids not only what you didn't have growing up, but what you DID have. This is what makes us neurotic wrecks.

So we got a place close to the park, we go camping whenever we can, and I take every opportunity to re-connect my kids to the "natural world". I put that last part in quotes because kids don't recognize the difference. The world is the world, man. Some parts of it just have more dirt to play in.

So Jack and I are at the food co-op yesterday, and I see that they are now carrying honey in the comb. Nature Lesson! Dad puts on his teacher's hat:

"Oooo, Jack! Look at this! They have a chunk of honeycomb here, with the honey still in it! Look! You can see where the bees capped off each little chamber to hold the honey in place! Wow! We could buy some of this and..."

Jack interrupts me:

"Umm, Dad?"

He looks at me sideways and cocks an eyebrow

"You know they have honey in JARS here, right?"


Jack brainstorms about various ways to streamline poultry care operations at our backyard farm:

"Instead of thinking about or looking at our chickens all the time, we should build a remote-control chicken robot with a spin button."


Dad: Isaac, do you want me to cut your eggs up, or leave them whole?

Isaac: cream.



"Why did the chicken cross the road??

The chicken crossed the road because he wanted to get to the other side.

His baby was on the other side.

The daddy and mommy chicken were playing hemp-scotch across the road from the baby

Hemp-scotch is where you jump across the road, away from your mommy and daddy, and then turn around and yell


Footnote: I am copying this out of Isaac's journal, where Beck scribbled it down. I have to be really careful not to let the squashed butterfly drop out from between the pages.

That's what little boys are made of.


It was a rainy day today. Isaac went with Rebecca to do a show last night, and was up late. You might think this means he slept in, but you would be sorely mistaken. Isaac is a glutton for life, and when the sun is up, Ike is on the move. Don't try to reason with him. He'll just throw open the curtains and inform you that "It's DAY!"

So Isaac was up late and up early, which means he is cranky and must be afforded a ten-foot safety radius, and if possible, sedated.

This mornings sedative of choice was Pink Panther on DVD.

Isaac is in his seat of choice, a high perch on a stool right in from of the computer. He sometimes falls from this stool for no apparent reason, wails in pain for a while, and then insists on climbing right back up. It must be exciting.

Jack is on the couch, about ten feet back, the better to cover himself up with pillows so he can hide his face during the violent parts.

I plop down next to jack. He glances at me, and then does a double-take. I arch an eyebrow at him.

"What is it, man?"

"oh, it just looked like you had a shirt on."

"ah, was it my tattoo?"

at this point he is back into the cartoon, and his voice comes from far away.

"No. Just your hair."


We want to be everything to our kids, because they are everything to us.

We get so wrapped up in them, which is easy, because (unless we are teenage parents) we (hopefully) are done being so wrapped up in ourselves. And our children are at an age where the whole WORLD is themselves. Nothing has any meaning except in its relationship with the child. (full disclosure: I know absolutely NOTHING about psychology or child development, and am completely talking out of my ass.)

Anyway. We love our kids, and want them to love us like they love Spiderman or Santa. But they don't, because they are *used* to us. We're too real. Also, Santa never puts the ice cream in the fridge, and Spiderman doesn't forget to bring snacks on the long train ride.

Our kids DO love us, deeply and passionately, just for being there.

Jack and Isaac were sitting on either side of me (this is the only way they are safe) playing a game on my iPhone. When Isaac takes his turn, Jack wants to see, so he climbs over the back of the couch and peers over his brother's shoulder. He then clambers back to his side and takes his turn. jack weighs in at a hefty 50 lbs or so these days, so having him walk on my shoulders is unpleasant. "Jack," I ask him more than once, "please walk on the couch, and not me." "Oh, sure dad, sure,sure,sure." (Jack likes to repeat his "sure's" until he's confident I'm going to stop busting his chops. He gets back and forth pretty well once or twice, and then plants his foot squarely on my fresh (and still sore) tattoo, and catapults himself to the other side of the couch. I cry out in pain, and he's quick to assure me it was "an accident." Fair enough.

A few minutes later, he turns to me and says:

"Dad. It wasn't really an accident. It was sort of on purpose."

"Oh, yeah?"

"Yeah, I needed a lump to lift myself up, and you were the only lump around."

another use for Jack's favorite lump.


It happens. Your kids will one day be smarter than you. Thing is, you sort of expect it to happen when they graduate from Columbia or win the Nobel, but if you're really paying attention, it happens when they are 4 or so.

In a previous post I detailed Jack and Isaac's fixation with sending "messages" from on high. In this instance, "on high" was a slide at a playground in Williamsburgh, and the "messages" were leaves.

The boys have been sliding leaves down the slide to one another, announcing "here comes a message!". Great fun. For them as well as me, as this keeps them self-sufficient for 10 minutes or so while I diddle with my iPhone and drink coffee. For those 10 minutes I feel like one of those parents on TV, who can have an entire adult conversation, uninterrupted, with their two kids in the room. In reality THIS NEVER HAPPENS. One day you are young, hip, and exciting, and the next thing you know you are looking forward to going to the bathroom by yourself.

Anyway, I hear my cue.

"Daddy, this next one has YOUR name on it!"

I get the leaf-message, and decide to be inventive, clever, and cool.

"Oh, thanks, Jack! Let's see...'Dear daddy, I am sending you a message from the top of the...'"

I trail off because I can see that Jack is eying me like I'm the village idiot.

"Daddy. It doesn't say that."

(the tone in his voice is that of a devoted son, taking the old wrinkled hand of his dear, demented father)

"Oh. Sorry. What does it say?"

"It says 'John'"



Daddy, I have a job for you.

The stroller is in the hallway,
and hanging from the stroller is a white bag
and in that bag is a granola bar.

And THAT is what I WANT!


Isaac speaks a little poem.


when Mommy is away,

she thinks

that I don't touch the Earth,

but I do.

I do touch the Earth.

It's what I ever wanted.


A friend of mine just posted that she was being "tested by both her kids". I told her I felt like I got about a B-minus today, which ain't too damn bad, considering. I very rarely get a flat E, but I do log the odd D. Maybe D-minus. 62% or so if you're in to those measurements.

The thing is, it really is a test. Wanna know how you're doing? Look down. Are the boys laughing maniacally and doing their best to kill each other in a playful way? Something is most likely amiss, and you're the one with the full grown brain. Guess whose mess it is.

OK, so Tuesday was a solid D for me. It started off well enough. We went to a home-schoolers picnic in Central Park, and having some time to kill after, we decided to explore a bit before we met Mom on the other end of the park. In my excitement, I forgot how L....O.....N.....G the Park is. We took our time, and I thought the day went well enough. There were a few Lord-of-the-Flies moments, but nothing unexpected. We saw the Reservoir, (Now named for Jackie O, bizarrely enough), did some swinging, threw some rocks. But mostly, it's true, we walked. Slogged.

On the way home, my grade came in, by way of Isaac, (who seems to be the one I get all my material from lately):

"Daddy, why were we trapped in the park all day?"


This one is for Aunt Kim:

Isaac: (referring to a picture in a book of a lady sticking her head in a car window)

"She is looking in the car. In case there are clowns."


We are enjoying the late summer in Prospect Park. We rode the carousel, went to the Audubon Center, and took a boat ride where the guide talked about conservation and the threats that humans pose to natural settings like the park. We're on our way home:

Jack: Daddy, when I get home, I want to paint pictures of trees being born.

Dad: Oh, that's a nice idea, Jack.

Isaac: I want to paint pictures of birds being dead.

I'm laughing to myself, but then I realize: Somebody is thinking about the balance of nature. Good boy, Isaac.


OK, guys, I want to take a picture of you, so stand over there . No, over there. Jack! Jack! Hey man, can you stand by Isaac? Isaac! Isaac, wait a second, buddy I want Jack to stand next to you so I can take a picture. Ok, Ok, great, right there, I gonna take your picture...
OK, that was pretty good, but can you show me your eyes?
Um, OK, that wasn't exactly what I meant, um, could you...Isaac? Isaac, where are you going? O well, nevermind...


Isaac: Daddy, why did all your hair jump off your head and go on to your face?


By this time many of you have gotten a good idea of my two son's contrasting personalities (refer to Random Kid Thing #7, and others). To illuminate them further I offer the following example:

Jack and Isaac are sitting up on our loft bed, drawing pictures on small slips of paper and throwing them over the edge. This is a favorite game of their own invention. They have requested (demanded) my presence so that I can receive said masterpieces, thank the artist, and praise the effort. Not a bad gig. I get to sit down, at least.

I retrieve Jack's first drawing. It is a passable square drawn in blue pen.

"Jack, thanks, man. Cool picture. What is it?"

"It's a pillow"

Fair enough.

Isaac's first three come floating down all at once. They are reddish-orange squiggles with sharp angles drawn in marker that nearly soaks through the paper.

"Wow, nice drawing Isaac. What are you drawing?"

"I'm drawing people who have been BITTEN by SHARKS for a LONG TIME. ALL AFTERNOON."


Mom: Isaac, we're going to Seattle soon!

Isaac: Yeah!

Mom: We're gonna see Grammy, and Aunt Kathy,...

Isaac: and Attle!!!!


Jack likes cotton candy.

Seeing as how cotton candy is 100% super-refined sugar, and 105% pure evil, his mom (wisely?) has limited consumption of said confection to the first Coney Island trip of the season. This would be more manageable were it not for the hordes of cotton-candy vendors that descend upon our fair Borough every summer like a plague of locusts, hawking not only the standard red and blue varieties of CC, but PURPLE as well.

Jack's favorite color.

Jack wants purple cotton candy. Mom stands firm.

Jack delivers an ultimatum, phrased in his sweet, lilting voice:

"But mommy, if I can't have purple cotton candy, I'm going to break down ALL the walls in the WHOLE WORLD!"

My wife is quick:

"But Jack, if you knock down all the walls, what will happen to the windows?"

Jack, though he has to tip his head to the side like the RCA dog to think about it for a bit, is also quick:

"I guess I'll have to build columns to hold the windows up."

Thus distracted by his new engineering project, he drops the request for cotton candy...


OK, so this one can be filed under
"Let's read way way too far into what my kid says, and extract some existential statement from it."
But it was too good to pass up. Guilty as charged.

Isaac likes to cover our heads up with a blanket and whisper things to each other in bed. Sweet enough to give you diabetes. So we're "in the bunny burrow" as it is referred to in the Norman-Sokoll household, and Isaac is counting on his fingers:

"One, two, fwee. That's how old I am"

"That's right Isaac. Next week."

"One. That's how old you are."

"Oh, yeah? I'm one?"

"Yeah, Daddy. All the people in the whole world are One."


"That's right Isaac. We are."


Jack translates train conductor:

So I'm on the train with both boys, it's crowded and noisy. I'm standing, and the boys are two seats apart. In this configuration, I have to bend at the waist and bob my ear from one kid to the other trying to hear their stories and answer their questions. For those of you that are musically inclined, picture a metronome set to "largo".

I'm trying to decipher Isaac's (adorable) squeaky three-year-old babble, when I realize Jack is asking me a question.

"what's up Jack?"

"Daddy, what did that train conductor just say?"

"Not a clue, man" (this is the type of train conductor with a serious romance going on with the mic. The announcements are plentiful, loud, and completely indecipherable to humans)

I turn back to Isaac, and as he is finishing his story, I hear Jack say to no-one in particular

"I know what he said now. He said 'Don't the elevator'".

I told Jack that was as likely as anything.


Isaac says:

"The world is covered in *plain* water and I want *ice* water!"


Isaac doesn't like "broken cheese"