Tag Archives: Daddy reflections

Beautiful Day

Griffin woke up early this morning and intercepted me as I was finishing getting dressed. He wondered whether he had had a dream about a big “boom” that shook his bed or if it had really happened. In the darkness, in Sarah’s sewing room, we reviewed the facts. Had I had heard the boom? Was the dog next door barking? Did Maggie wake up? We determined that it was probably a dream, but it might have been a Boomba: a monster made of tires that can make really loud booming sounds. (This is the first I’ve heard of a Boomba, but Griffin knows many things that I don’t.)

Griff wanted to come downstairs and help me with breakfast. And he was a great helper—putting dishes away, starting the toaster, and asking many probing questions about my breakfast cooking technique. (Daddy, why don’t you put all the butter in the pan to watch it melt? What would happen if we turned the toaster to broil?)

Then, Daddy, can we listen to music? I put on my trusty Eels mix, and Griff sat with me while I ate, asking many questions about the songs and repeating the tracks that he liked. I explained that the lyrics had lots of inappropriate words, so he couldn’t sing them at school or at friend’s houses. He accepted this without question.

A few minutes later, someone peering in the window would have seen Griffin, in his PJs, and me, in my school clothes and backpack, pirouetting around the dining room, belting out the sublime refrain from Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues:

“Goddamn right it’s a beautiful day!”

And it is.

Maggie, 23 months

Maggie is growing up fast. I thought I’d jot down some recent observations, just a month shy from her second birthday.

  • Pacifier — Neither Griffin nor Maggie was ever much interested in pacifiers until about a month ago. Then, suddenly, Maggie became an addict. She calls it her “fier” (sometimes pronounced more like “fwah”) and demands it at almost all times. I’m sure we’re dooming ourselves to future pain, but so far it has reduced crying and whining, and increased her patience with non-optimal situations (e.g., waiting for dinner).
  • Talking — Speech got going in earnest for Maggie in September (≈17 months). She had a few basic nouns prior to that, but this fall she started adding vocabulary rapidly, and she clearly understood almost everything we said. She was able to respond to queries and construct simple sentences. Most of this, of course, was unintelligible outside the family (and often within). Griffin has been a particularly good interpreter. As always, the arrival of language is transformative. The balance begins to shift from interpretation to communication. She can now, pretty regularly, tell us what she wants or why she’s unhappy about a situation. This doesn’t always resolve things to her satisfaction, but it’s worlds better than us trying to guess why she’s crying in her car seat (Diaper? Cold? Hot? Thirsty? Hungry? Itchy? Uncomfortable? Bored? Fire ants?). We still remind her regularly to “Use your words,” but the fact that she can is a gigantic leap.
  • “Griffin” — She never had much of a name for Griffin because his name was so hard to say. She could say “Mama” and “Daddy,” but had nothing to say when pointing at Griffin. This changed in February when she finally managed a recognizable version of his name. It’s not 100% consistent, but sounds something like “Guhggin” or “Gohdun.”
  • “I choose!” — This usually relates to clothing, when Maggie will demand to choose every article of clothing and gets very peevish about any fashion advice. This is great… most of the time. Can be difficult when we’re in a rush or when the weather dictates warmer options than she’s choosing. I’m getting better at pre-selecting her options, like, “Do you want these long johns or these ones?” She’s usually game for that.
  • “I try!” — Maggie wants to do everything herself, and this is her battle cry. It often follows, “I choose!” when getting dressed. She loves to try and dress herself. Again, often fun (and she’s remarkably good at it), but it works best when we have a very leisurely schedule. If we’re in a rush to get her brother to preschool, she will howl like she’s dying as I pull her socks on. She also regularly wants to do scarier things like help us cook at the hot stove, climb playground equipment way beyond her ability, cross streets without holding hands, etc.
  • Celery with ketchup... Yum!
    Celery with ketchup… Yum!

    Eating — Maggie is at an adventurous eating stage. Meals are another time when “I try!” comes out. She sees me pour Sriracha on my soup and suddenly the world will end if she doesn’t have a large dollop of chili sauce on her soup too. But, with that said, she’s quite tolerant of strong flavors and even a bit of heat. She loves dipping things into ketchup, too, including just about anything that she’s eating. She’s remarkably good with silverware, using a regular salad fork and teaspoon for the past few months. She prefers using silverware even when it slows her down. This is in contrast to Griffin who still regularly digs into his bowl of mac-and-cheese with his hand; no joke. See our recent Two Plates post for a fairly typical comparison after an identical meal.

  • Climbing — Maggie is getting really into climbing. Recently she began climbing the ladder to Griffin’s loft without assistance. This is terrifying. She climbs into and out of her high chair, usually successfully, and can sometimes manage her car seat. She has no trouble with stairs, but sometimes chooses to sit at one end or the other wailing for a parent to carry her.
  • Griffin has been climbing into Maggie's crib in the morning with a pile of books. It's seriously the most adorable thing. (They're also reading one of Joey Alison Sayers' comics — quality lit!)
    Griffin has been climbing into Maggie’s crib in the morning with a pile of books. Adorable! And awesome for me! (They’re also reading one of Joey Alison Sayers’ comics — quality lit!)

    Playing with Griffin — Maggie and Griffin have become inseparable playmates. Throughout the day we hear Griffin saying things like, “Maggie, do you want to have a dark party?” or “Maggie, do you want to play chase?” or “Maggie, do you want to read some books?” Maggie usually cocks her head quizzically for a moment and then says, “Yeah!” Over spring break I’ve been down with a nasty virus, so it’s been wonderful to see the kids playing so well together. A particular miracle has been their new habit of reading together in Maggie’s crib in the morning (instead of yelling for me at the top of their lungs).

Other recent Maggie pics:

Maggie loves to dance
Maggie loves to dance, like her brother.
Maggie and Daddy after a nap (Daddy was not feeling well)
Maggie and Daddy after a nap (Daddy was not feeling well)
Maggie likes to climb into things
Maggie likes to climb into things
Snowy walk home from Griffin's preschool on Monday, March 24. Maggie is generally happy on long walks, which suits me nicely.
Snowy walk home from Griffin’s preschool on Monday, March 24. Maggie is generally happy on long walks, which suits me nicely.

January 2014

It’s been a very busy month around here so the blog has been neglected. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Sarah’s birthday!
  • Unbelievably cold weather. I wrote a post about the cold in December, but that was nothing. On January 6, the Governor officially closed all the schools in the state due to the cold for the first time since 1997. That was the first of a string of ultra-cold days. Local public schools have missed five days already this month due to dangerously cold temperatures; these were not snow days. At SPA (my school) we missed only 4 ½ days because we reopened at noon on one of the days. This many lost days is unprecedented in the memories of my veteran colleagues.  We’ve had multiple days where the high temperature was below zero, and wind chills in the Twin Cities have dipped into the -40s. Crazy! With that said, I’m pleased to note that my cold weather gear is handling it marvelously — those ski goggles are getting far more use than usual!
Griffin and Daddy, ready for the wrath of Boreas
Griffin and Daddy, ready for the wrath of Boreas
  • Sandy’s shoulder surgery. My mom, Sandy, (usually known as “Grummy” around here) had shoulder surgery at the beginning of the month. Recovery looked very good for 24 hours, then very bad for another 24, and a slow but steady recovery since then. I flew out for MLK weekend and had a wonderful visit despite the struggles.
  • “Winterupt.” At SPA we’ve launched a new two-week program for 8th graders called Winterupt. (See the announcement letter I wrote to 8th grade families if you’d like more info; it’s a bit PR sounding, but it gives a good overview.) It’s been a ton of work and we’re only half-way through, but the first week has been outstanding. I feel lucky to work with an amazing team of educators who make this whole thing come alive. Today I simply had a blast doing my job. In the course of a few hours this afternoon I got to play with legos, tromp around in the snow with 80 kids (taking measurements and trying to locate hidden rubber ducks), assist students in creating accurate scale sketches of our playground, blast great music, and try to get a cookie from my forehead to my mouth without using my hands (I succeeded, but then had to spit the cookie out because I’m not eating sugar and flour right now, see below).
  • Whole30. Sarah and I are almost done with our second Whole30 program. It’s basically 30-days where you don’t eat or drink sugar, grains, dairy or legumes. This is, obviously, a royal pain in the ass, but it’s worth it. We’ve both experienced it a bit differently this time around. Sarah has been less excited about it this year, and is definitely ready for day 30 (next week). I, too, am a bit fatigued by it (I had to spit out an oreo, grrr) but have mostly found it to be far easier than last year. In particular I like how it resets my appetite, makes food more about sustenance than emotional satisfaction, and makes me pay more attention to what I’m eating.
  • Escargot! The cafeteria today featured food from France and China (this connects to the language immersion component of Winterupt, and our cafeteria is awesome.) I had never had escargot before, and there it was for the taking. At first I was a bit leery, but then I saw some of my students heading back for seconds. If they could try something new, so could I. Overall impression… not bad. Loved the garlic sauce. Reminded me of shellfish or octopus—the chewy texture. Will definitely try it again some time. (Note that technically this broke some Whole30 rules because I think it was soaked in butter, but trying somewhat legendary cuisine trumped the fine print.)
Escargot
My snail.

Za Za, Fuzzy Wuzzies, and the Three Billy Goats Gruff

Griffin, to my delight, loves a good story. Actually, quality isn’t the issue—mediocre stories will do. And I know that I shouldn’t be surprised because who doesn’t like a good story? But I do find real joy in the fact that we can share them together and that our made-up stories have evolved and shifted in ways I never planned, with Griffin engaged not just as audience but as creative partner. Below are three examples of how Griffin has helped shape our fictional landscape.

Za Za

Za Za was Griffin’s first recurring character, invented some time in the past 15 months. I can’t remember when Za Za started, but it was in this house, maybe around his second birthday. I think Griffin just created Za Za out of the blue one night while telling stories at bedtime. Za Za is not an imaginary friend, exactly, but originally seemed to be an alter-ego for Griffin. Griffin would ask us to tell him about Za Za which would prompt us to ask who “Za Za” was, but Griffin couldn’t say. After some questioning, we discovered that in Griffin’s mind, Za Za had done many of the things that Griffin had done that day. So if we had gone to the park, Griffin would want to hear about Za Za at the park. At first we stuck to this, and basically retold our days using Za Za as the protagonist. Griffin loved this and would jump in to add key moments from his day, “Then Za Za went down the BIG slide and bonked his head!” Riffing off of this we would talk about Za Za and Griffin playing together, as if Za Za had been with Griffin all day. Pretty soon I was fictionalizing things and Za Za became Griffin’s partner in numerous adventures across time and space. Sometimes Griffin wasn’t even necessary, so we might tell the story of Za Za and the pirates or the time Za Za went to the moon to deliver a package to the queen of the lunar mice. Recently, Za Za has faded in importance. Griffin still likes to invoke his name, but doesn’t need him to be a central character. I often use him as a framing device, so he becomes the narrator of another story involving other characters. Which brings us to the Fuzzy Wuzzies.

Fuzzy Wuzzies

Unlike Za Za, I remember exactly how the Fuzzy Wuzzies arrived on the scene, but I had no idea how important they would become.

First, some context. Most of our stories take place at bedtime after we’ve read a few books. We turn the lights out, cuddle up in bed (before Griffin’s loft and “big boy bed,” I would somehow cram myself into the crib) and tell a few stories or sing a few songs. At this point I am usually much more sleepy than Griffin. This casts a surreal tint on everything. It is not uncommon for me to fall asleep in mid-tale, at which point Griffin pokes me, “Hey! Daddy! Is that the end?” My imagination is already fairly weird and dark, in a fairy-tale sort of way, with lots of old D&D plots rolling around: all bridges have trolls under them, most plants are carnivorous (or at least poisonous), and every sidewalk square is a trap door to a subterranean lair. Compound this with sleep-visions and things get fairly outrageous. Sarah and I used to worry that some of my stories might be too scary for Griffin. He has always been fine with them, but the age of nightmares hasn’t really kicked in yet, so I want to be careful not to fill his sleepy head with fearful thoughts. The tension between my natural storytelling inclinations and my responsibility to keep Griffin safe and secure (both mentally and physically) creates a back-and-forth quality to some of our stories, a thematic dance between Dr. Seuss and H. P. Lovecraft, butterflies and lava pits.

Thus one fine night a year or so ago, I found myself telling Griffin a bedtime story about how he and Za Za were playing at  Mattocks Park, our neighborhood playground. They played on the swings, the see-saw, the climbing structure, and then went down one of the slides together. Suddenly, the ground opened up at the bottom of the slide and the two kids fell into a tunnel. The lid snapped shut behind them, and they tumbled down in darkness for a long time before landing in a heap in a dim cavern. They heard scuffling and snuffling noises in the darkness. Now we had a story! I was thrilled, but then thought I might be piling it on to thick. Looking back, this seems innocuous enough, but Griffin was younger and still a bit timid about slides, even without deadly trap-doors at the bottom. I needed a new story ingredient quick… something subterranean that scuffles and snuffles but isn’t scary. Out of the darkness emerged a rolling, smiling pile of Fuzzy Wuzzies. (Physical details are sketchy, but I was picturing something between a Star Trek tribble and Fizzgig from The Dark Crystal.) Fuzzy Wuzzies are shy creatures that live in extensive underground kingdoms linked to the surface world through secret doors. They come out when people aren’t around and particularly love parks and playgrounds. Griffin and Za Za were taken on a tour of Fuzzy Wuzzyland and eventually returned to Mattocks Park before any adults noticed they were gone. The Fuzzy Wuzzies promised that they could visit again some day.

Griffin was thrilled, and I was satisfied that I hadn’t generated any nightmare material. I figured that would be the end of it, but the next night Griffin wanted to hear about Za Za and the Fuzzy Wuzzies. In short order, the Fuzzy Wuzzies took leading roles in our nightly dramas. We’ve discovered entrances to Fuzzy Wuzzyland in remarkable places: Griffin’s closet, the back yard, the basement, a few public restrooms, and in pretty much every park in the Twin Cities. In Mattocks Park, in particular, Griffin has identified a number of secret entrances to Fuzzy Wuzzyland, and happily points out the “Fuzzy Wuzzy Tree” to befuddled playmates. The Fuzzy Wuzzies are also good friends with any other characters worth knowing in the fictional universe. They have introduced Za Za and Griffin to Sinbad the Sailor, Ali Baba, Puff, the three little pigs, and most recently, to three grumpy goats.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Ok, so this is just a minor tidbit, but since the number three is sacred in fairy tales, I figured I’d better tell three stories in this post. A few nights ago I was telling the story of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” It was Griffin’s first time hearing it, so I hammed it up as best I could. (Fuzzy Wuzzies and Za Za were, of course, involved.) As we approached the climax, with the third goat coming out onto the bridge, Griffin interrupted me: “The third goat is too BIG to fit in the troll’s mouth!” He was clearly very proud of his prediction, and while technically incorrect (the big goat butts the troll off the bridge), he exhibited a much deeper understanding of narrative structure than I would ever have expected. He understood that the third goat had to defeat the troll somehow and that his victory would be due to a feature already mentioned in the story. The only thing that differentiated the third goat was his size, so Griffin came up with a plausible explanation based on size that would prevent the troll from getting his meal.

I am staggered not by Griffin in particular, but by this example of how impressive the growing minds of children are.  Kids digest the hidden structures of language and culture around them at an astonishing rate. As a teacher I have worked with middle-schoolers who struggle to perceive the underlying structure of stories even when I’m explicitly revealing it to them. By that age they are distracted by so many other things, but a toddler’s mind is primed and ready. Cool.

Although I liked Griffin’s too-big-to-eat version, I figured he also needed to understand the importance of fight scenes (or how can he hope to unpack Hollywood?) so our old-fashioned goat sent the nasty troll into the river, howling all the way.

The Princesses and the Potty

The Pink Potty Hook

It looks fairly innocent, but this bit of pink plastic had us stumped for a week. For those of you who don’t immediately recognize it, it is a potty hook: a place to hang the kid-sized potty seat when it’s not in use. As usual with most kids’ stuff, they only come in insanely gendered versions—I can’t remember if Griffin chose this because of the hot pink, one of his favorite colors, or if the boy stuff was out of stock that day.

Last week, in the interest of science, Griffin and his good friend Zoe sent these princesses on a nautical expedition to explore the ever-fascinating sewers beneath the toilet. Alas, like Shackleton in Antarctica, the Pink Potty Hook did not make it very far. It is the perfect size for vanishing down the mysterious potty hole, but not nimble enough to traverse the narrow, treacherous bends beyond. At this point the stymied (but gleeful) young scientists turned the experiment over to their elders.

How to rescue the princesses and, hopefully, return the potty to functionality? It was a surprisingly daunting challenge. Unlike an average blockage, this shipwreck resisted the plunger and was beyond the reach of simple grasping gadgets (or even fingers… yes, we tried). More advanced tools, such as wire clothes hangers, were equally impotent.

After a week of failed attempts, we determined that nothing less than a radical solution would succeed. We shut the water off, drained the tank and bowl, and removed the entire commode. Even then we could neither see nor reach the wreck from either direction. Grandpa Jeff, our toiletless houseguest, suggested the winning strategy: a length of plastic hose. From beneath it was flexible enough to snake up the passage but stiff enough to push the Pink Potty Hook back out.

The treacherous narrows where the Pink Potty Hook was shipwrecked for more than a week.

In total, this adventure cost us a mere $11 (replacement wax seal and floor bolts), far less than a plumber’s fee. Moreover, we learned that toilets have more bark than bite—they are not nearly as intimidating as they seem. As an added bonus, the usually dubious territories behind and beneath the toilet are immaculately clean.

The three princesses (captain, first mate, and bosun?) happily survived the soggy ordeal, necks still coyly bent and coiffures unsullied.

Three Princesses

Winter is Underrated

We’re in the dregs of winter these days—below freezing most nights, relatively warm most days with rain more frequent than snow.  Additional snow, which we expect, has lost its ability to intimidate (unless you live in a flood zone).  Our formerly unassailable snowpack is melting daily, revealing bedraggled lawns, silty sidewalks and forgotten snowman accessories.  It’s messy, wet, and muddy.  The remaining snow (of which there is still a good bit) is crusty and dingy gray.

As much as I am looking forward to the beauty and warmth of spring and summer, I will truly miss winter.  It feels like sacrilege to say this around here (where everybody is completely sick of it), but I loved the snowy coldness of it all.  My pre-dawn walk to work in the bitter cold has been one of my most treasured times of day.  For one thing, it is stunningly beautiful outside.  It is dark, but the snow reflects so much light that it never feels gloomy.  After a fresh snowfall, everything is white, even the middle of the street.  All the urban grime is replaced with glittering silver.  As I trudge through the sidewalk canyons, flanked by thigh- or shoulder-high snowbanks, my inner geek goes wild: I’m listening for Mr. Tumnus in Narnia or avoiding storm troopers on Hoth.  (Little do my students know that “Mr. Roy” regularly takes out imperial AT-ATs with his lightsaber before school.)  If I’m lucky enough to catch the moon still up, I get the visual treat of moonlight through ice-limned branches—the light refracts in such a way to make the straight branches look like they bend to encircle the moon.

On these walks I am often surprised by how life-affirming this dead time of year is.  No matter how dark and cold it is, there are always rabbit prints in the snow ahead of mine, and often the rabbits themselves.  What do they eat?  I have no idea. Then, as the eastern stars fade away, the birds start emerging.  That just boggles my mind—how is it possible that the tiny, delicate things don’t freeze solid overnight?  But they’re out, chirping happily and heading to their favorite birdfeeders.  Cool.

Then there’s the cars-as-ballerinas effect.  To understand this you need to understand that I don’t like cars.  I think they are great tools, and I can appreciate (I suppose) a particularly well-designed automobile, but for the most part I hate them.  They are dirty, noisy, and usually in my way.  This is true whether I’m in a car or on foot, but as a pedestrian they are especially annoying because they are so much more dangerous and so much less respectful.  Winter helps with this on a number of levels.  First of all, drivers are all freaked out.  The roads are terrible.  It’s tough getting out of your driveway, not to mention managing to stop at a light or start again afterwards.  Everybody is sliding every which way and their confidence is shot.  (Forgive me for getting a bit of amusement out of this.)  Add to that the fact that the snow and my layers of scarves and hats also dampens sound.  Put together the combination of slow driving, relative silence, lights reflecting off the snow, and the oddly graceful slip-sliding of tires and you have a transformation of the banal reality of winter traffic into an ethereal ballet.  I kid you not: I have been stopped in my tracks by the silent beauty of oncoming headlights through the snow.  (That is until I have to cross a street, when beautiful or not, they revert back into me-hunting demons.)

Finally, on some days it is just about sheer survival.  On the very coldest mornings, when windchills have dropped into the negative 20s or worse, I’m not thinking about lightsabers or birds or ballet, I’m just focused on making sure my eyes don’t freeze shut and watching where I put my feet so I can get to school as quickly as possible.  Arrival, under these circumstances, feels like a victory.  And that’s not a bad way to start a schoolday.

Not quite a gamer yet…

Griffin loves going through the cabinet of board games in the basement. He dumps out the cards, plays with the dice, buzzes the buzzers, and wreaks havoc on the box corners. While he was doing this today, he started playing with a die from some game that had colors on each face. My gamer instincts kicked in and I thought, “We could actually PLAY a real game together… something with colors… he knows colors, and he kinda gets rolling the die.” So I came up with a few possibilities involving various collections of colored objects that matched the colors on the die. I wasn’t sure exactly what we would do, but something like “roll the die, then put the green thing into the box.” Not super sophisticated, but it would be a real game — with rolling dice. Yay!   (Of course we already play lots of great games together — making faces, hide-and-seek, knocking towers of blocks down, etc. — but they are a different sort of game than the type with dice and moves.)

Griffin was thrilled that I was getting into it with him, but I think the logic of die-rolling or multiple steps of play still evades him. After a while, I could see the look on his face, “Daddy, why are you messing up my game???” So I let him get back to stomping on the boxes and folding up all the cranium cards. But soon, soon, he’ll be ready for the next step!

Showers

This is not about baby showers.

Taking showers with Griffin was one of the earliest ways that he and I bonded, and remains one of my favorite ways to hang out with him while getting something useful done at the same time.  I’ve been meaning to write this post for more than a year, since I figure other new parents might want to try this too.

I remember being afraid of showers when I was a little kid.  Baths were the norm, and showers were scary grown-up things.  I don’t remember when that shifted, but I was definitely still mostly taking baths in elementary school.  When Griffin was born I assumed that this fear was hard-wired, and that was why everyone only talked about giving babies baths.  But Griffin hated baths.  We had the mini tub for him, but it was hard to keep the temperature constant with so little water (and our house was often cold in Oakland).   When I was in charge of a solo bath it usually end with Griffin crying, my knees hurting, and both of us wet and cold.  Bleh.

One day in the blurry early weeks of no-sleep,  I was up early with Griffin and he was having a hard time — teething, indigestion, grumpiness, who knows. He was loudly voicing his discontent with the world.  I was tired of walking around the apartment trying to calm him down, and I felt gross, so I brought him into the shower.   I felt a bit edgy, like, “I wonder if I should check one of the baby books before I do this?”  As usual, I didn’t check the book and decided to experiment.  As soon as Griffin was enveloped in the steam, he stopped crying.  He snuggled up against my shoulder and just lay there quietly.  I let the water splash on him and run down his back.  He seemed happy!  After a while he reached out and tried to grab the spray.  He giggled.  I giggled.  Our morning was transformed.

That first time neither of us got much of a wash.  I didn’t want to drop him or get soap in his eyes or otherwise ruin the moment.  Pretty soon, however, he and I were taking showers all the time.  In the morning, I would scoop him up and take him in with me.  Often he was happy playing at the back of the tub while I washed.  If I was done with the soap, I would let the tub fill up a bit so he could splash around.  I could get out and get dressed while he continued playing.

Nowadays, Griffin enjoys real baths too, and we have a bigger tub here so sometimes I join him.  But he and I still take showers together regularly.  I even have a steam-free shower-mirror so that I can shave while he’s playing (he likes watching the shaving cream slide down the drain).  After I’m done, I always pick him up for some snuggle time and we both laugh together as he tries to catch the water and causes it to spray all over.  These happy moments go a long way toward preserving my sanity in the face of toddler moods.

Daddy Afternoon

It’s our first full day in Boulder, hanging out with Alli and Nik.  After a very cranky breakfast, we put Griffin down for a much-needed nap.  Auntie Alli and Sarah went shopping and Nik headed out to a meeting, so I was left in charge while Griffin slept.  After he awoke, we had a super-fun afternoon!

First, we went and got the laundry from the laundromat downstairs.  To Griffin’s immense excitement, while investigating behind the trash can, he discovered a huge dirty plunger.  Fun!

Then we went back to the apartment and decided that folding all the laundry was a bore… so we had choices: lunch or swimming.  We decided on swimming.  The pool was cold, but Griffin had a blast.  There were inner tubes and a ball that he kept throwing into the water.  And there was a puddle on the deck to splash in.  I was a bit nervous heading down there, because Griffin has no sense of self-preservation when it comes to the water… he’ll happily walk right off the edge into the water.  But we were in sync this time, and had fun exploring the whole environment. He seemed to understand the concept of the stairs better this time — he knew that he had to stay on the first two steps.  (Later, however, he did try to make a sudden leap into the deep end.)

After swimming we were hungry.  Griffin happily ate a piece of bread, half a banana, turkey, ham, cheddar cheese, and even a bit of pesto.  Yum.

Then, of course, it was time for a stroll around the courtyard.  More fun, and Griffin was happy to smile for the camera.  (See the pics below.)  It feels pretty good to have only one responsibility: being Dad.