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The Advent of Traditions

Home - 1 Comment » - Posted by SFDad on December 15, 2009 at 7:22 am

Monty, I'll take what's behind door #3.

Monty, I'll take what's behind door #3.

Back when SFDad was growing up, he had always wanted a Christmas advent calendar. The kids of our Christian next-door neighbors got one every year, and SFDad always looked longingly at their chocolate-a-day treats whenever he went over to visit.

So, when SFDad spotted a $0.99 advent calendar at Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago, he could hardly refuse the chance to provide this tasty experience for SFBaby.

As you might guess, the advent calendar was a hit, but enforcing the “one chocolate a day” rule has been hard. It doesn’t help that we sometimes miss days and need to “make up” for them later, which muddies the water significantly. At this point, we have to actually hide the calendar outside of the meal area so as not to distract SFBaby from her normal food.

After discussing with SFGrandma, it seems that SFDad did actually get advent calendars during some years of his youth—he had just forgotten about it. But that doesn’t make for as good of a story.

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Something Afoot in the Crib

Sleep - 2 Comments » - Posted by SFDad on December 7, 2009 at 6:55 am

I didn't exactly "sleep like a baby".

I didn't exactly "sleep like a baby".

Lest anyone think that SFBaby’s life is completely perfect, she has been having a little more difficulty going to sleep over the last few days. During the Thanksgiving break, SFBaby had the luxury of hanging out and being the center of attention the entire week: the grandparents, her aunt, and both sets of parents were fawning over her the whole time. Unfortunately, when we got back home, she was necessarily tossed back into the solitary world of “daddy day care” for the remainder of the week.

The Monday after Thanksgiving, SFDad dressed SFBaby in the morning as usual, including her new pink top and pink socks-with-hearts. She went down for her nap in a storm of crying, thumping and bumping, and she apparently managed to rearrange a bunch of things along the day. When she finally awoke after an hour or two, SFDad was greeted with this sight…

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Bundle of Joy

Sleep - Comments Off - Posted by SFDad on November 27, 2009 at 7:11 am

Snug as a bug in a...coat?

Snug as a bug in a...coat?

Cold weather has recently arrived in San Francisco, so we now have to worry about keeping SFBaby bundled up a little more. It’s been a long time since we’ve really needed to bundle her up, and it’s admittedly not quite the same nowadays.

We have noticed that the little one does seem to take after SFDad in terms of his tolerance (or lack thereof) for warm temperatures:

Earlier this week, after SFBaby had been supposedly put to bed in a snug head-to-toe sleeper suit, we heard her calling for us. After a few minutes of plaintive whining, SFDad realized that she was calling “daddy take this.” He opened the door and walked in…only to find that she had already unzipped her entire set of fuzzy pyjamas, taken them off, and had started dangling them over the edge of the crib toward him. Okay, we can take a hint…

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Plenty of Fish in the Sea

Play - Comments Off - Posted by SFDad on November 24, 2009 at 7:05 am

Shakespeare could have hardly been more tragic.

Shakespeare could have hardly been more tragic.

Within the last few months, we discovered the thrill of crayons: these magical devices have mystical and liberating properties that somehow allow us to take SFBaby to a restaurant and still allow everyone to eat (mostly) in peace.

It took us a while, but during this process of crayon discovery, we realized that our daughter will probably grow up to be as quirky as we are. SFBaby is quite taken with crayons, so she loves to “draw” only a little bit more than she loves to see us draw things for her.

Early on in her “artistic career,” our friends TheHayesValleyPosse introduced her to a simple drawing of a fish. Somewhere along the way, she was also introduced to happy and sad faces. Putting the two together, SFBaby’s favorite request of her parents is now to “draw sad fish.” Another recent request is “daddy draw broken heart.”

What, exactly, does that say about her? (Or about us?)

For now, we’ll just say our thanks that she seems happy and that she is scribbling on her paper pad and not the wall!

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Two is Company

Sleep - 2 Comments » - Posted by SFDad on November 16, 2009 at 3:30 pm

John Ritter would be proud.

John Ritter would be proud.

Over the the last few months, we have come to realize that SFBaby is a stickler when it comes to her sleep routine. Somewhat distressingly, it’s also much harder for SFMom to get her to go to sleep than it is for SFDad. (We think the main issue is that SFMom is still breast-feeding, and it must be oh-so-hard to drift off to sleep when your bottomless cup of milk is nearby!)

Our current bedtime routine requires us to pretend that SFMom is leaving, so we all say our goodbyes, and then SFMom deports herself to the hallway outside our apartment.

With the mommy distraction out of the way, SFDad and SFBaby are finally able to get started on the sleeping piece. SFBaby is usually happy to walk herself to her crib, so SFDad just picks her up and puts her in. Next, she generally demands milk, so SFDad walks back to the fridge, loads up a sippy cup half-full of milk, and brings it back.

The next part of our routine is more fun. SFBaby is a procrastinator, so we remove the top of the sippy cup and have her drink directly from the glass to speed things along. This worked well for some time, but now that routine looks like this:

  • SFBaby drinks a few gulps from the cup.
  • SFBaby JUMPS UP AND DOWN AND UP AND DOWN for five seconds, while still holding a mouthful of milk.
  • SFBaby swallows said mouthful of milk.
  • SFBaby JUMPS UP AND DOWN A LITTLE BIT MORE.
  • SFBaby walks around the crib.
  • SFDad asks: “More milk?”
  • Repeat from top.

Ten minutes later, once we’ve finished all of the milk in the cup (there is a reason why we only fill the cup halfway!), SFDad has to declare that the milk is “all gone” before we move on to the next phase.

SFBaby then usually requests to “snuggle daddy”. This started out with SFDad just picking her up and letting her rest on his shoulder for a while, and after a few minutes, he would then deposit her into the crib for a nice sleep.

Now, things have become more complicated. For background: SFBaby has a couple of toys that she likes to play with in her crib, including a stuffed Curious George doll (“George”) and Dmitry the Teddy Bear (“Didi”).

A few weeks ago, she started requesting “SFBaby snuggle George with Daddy.” Thus, the routine now requires SFDad to hold SFBaby while George is sandwiched between everyone. Let’s just say that it is hard for SFBaby to even reach SFDad’s shoulder when George is stuck in the middle.

SFBaby, however, is not one to be complacent. On Saturday, SFDad got the newest ultimatum: “SFBaby snuggle George and Didi with Daddy.” Now what do we do?!?

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A Tall Order

Feeding, San Francisco - 3 Comments » - Posted by SFDad on November 6, 2009 at 7:10 am

You can probably guess what I will be demanding for lunch.

You can probably guess what I will be demanding for lunch.

Over the weekend, the grandparents introduced SFBaby to kettle corn. The SFGrandparents live in a town with a fantastic kettle corn vendor, and although SFMom and SFDad weren’t previously appreciative of the whole concept of kettle corn, this particular supplier had really good stuff. We managed to plow through the better part of two bags during our weekend stay.

Fast-forward to this Wednesday when we were walking around the local farmers’ market back in San Francisco. SFDad noticed that the local kettle corn vendor had a stall, and he also noticed that there was a relatively long line (which is typically a good sign). Based on our weekend experience, SFDad decided that we had to take the plunge and try some of the local wares.

The verdict is that the kettle corn was not as fantastic as the stuff we had at the grandparents’ place, but it was still quite good. And the bag was also very, very big.

Speaking of “big”…after the market visit, we trundled off to the playground. SFBaby went up to play with another little boy, and the boy’s mom asked how old she was. When I gave her age (19½ months), the mom said that she had thought that SFBaby was about three years old. Oh, my!

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Hallowe’en Fail

Travel - 1 Comment » - Posted by SFDad on November 3, 2009 at 7:10 am

I've always wanted an orange cymbal!

I've always wanted an orange cymbal!

This past weekend, we took SFBaby up to visit the SFGrandparents for Hallowe’en. The SFGrandparents live in a family-friendly town, but the city’s Hallowe’en arrangement was opaque to our understanding. For some reason, the main trick-or-treat celebration in the city was on Friday the 30th in the early afternoon. Do kids skip school or something to go trick-or-treating? And isn’t that a day early anyway?

There was another Hallowe’en festival on the morning of 10/31 at the farmers’ market, but it finished up at 1 pm. We did not arrive in town until late morning, and with SFBaby’s nap schedule, we didn’t make that event either.

Finally, we found that one of the local grocery stores was supposed to be holding something in the afternoon of the 31st. When we arrived at their “haunted house” at 2 pm, there was only one other kid there, so it was not particularly exciting.

So, we went home and carved pumpkins instead. Luckily for us, SFBaby didn’t seem to care and she enjoyed hanging out with SFGrandma, SFGrandpa and SFAunt.

We are promising ourselves to do a better job next year!

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Where the Sand Don’t Shine

Play, San Francisco - 1 Comment » - Posted by SFDad on October 29, 2009 at 7:00 am

Is there any baby TNT in my bag of toys? Fine, then, I'll do yoga instead.

Is there any baby TNT in my bag of toys? ... Fine, I guess I'll do yoga instead.

As part of our “get out and explore the city more” theme, we also recently started venturing to a new playground atop Potrero Hill.

We love this particular playground for the magnificent views and the shade, so it is a particularly good place to go when the rest of the city is too hot. This playground is modern and recently renovated, so it has been tricked out with all of the latest play equipment.

Unlike most of our other favorite playgrounds, this one does not feature a sandbox…but in the middle of the playground, it has a deceptive patch of very hard and yellow dirt (presumably laid on top of bedrock!).

As you can imagine, SFBaby was stoked to see the new playground and the new “sand pit.” She kept running over to the patch and asking for her sand toys, so when SFDad finally relented, she extracted all of her toys from the bag, tried to dig, and…was bewildered! Luckily, this playground had plenty of other things for her to do.

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Patching Things Up

Play, San Francisco - 1 Comment » - Posted by SFDad on October 26, 2009 at 7:05 am

Queen of the castle? A baby pumpkin! Keep your eyes and, uh, ears open for goblins.

Keep your eyes and, uh, ears open for goblins!

One of the joys of living not too far from rural communities is the number of farms nearby. SFMom recently decided that we needed to take SFBaby to a pumpkin patch, which are often run by local farmers, so we trucked the whole family down to Half Moon Bay this past Saturday. After dealing with an hour and a half of congested traffic on the way down, we finally met up with some friends at the Arata Pumpkin Farm.

SFBaby thoroughly enjoyed her time there: pumpkin farms are generally very kid-friendly, so she was able to run about everywhere and explore, and almost everything was a “hands on” experience. Although SFBaby did not fare very well on the pony ride, the patch itself made for a great playground!

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Christopher Columbus Could Have Hardly Had a Tougher Time

Play, San Francisco - Comments Off - Posted by SFDad on October 22, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Three painted ladies (plus one unpainted lady)

Three painted ladies (plus one unpainted lady)

One of the joys of moving to a new neighborhood is having the opportunity to explore places that you wouldn’t normally get to see. Of course, the first item on our list is checking out new playgrounds.

At least in this part of the country, there only seem to be a couple of companies that manufacture modern playground equipment. If you go to a recently-remodeled playground, you will notice that you’ve seen most of the play structures at other parks.

Luckily, that was not the case for this gem of a playground that we found just across the street from the painted ladies of San Francisco!

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