Child looking through a portable potty seat.

Tomorrow this child will be 2½. That seems to be an important developmental milestone. Although I could sit and have an intelligent conversation with her anytime over the past year, I haven’t pushed learning the alphabet. We talk about the world around us but not the days of the week. She loves to paint and knows the colors, loves cats and dogs and recognizes several breeds, but we haven’t gotten to addition or subtraction yet. Am I remiss in my child care? When her mom was growing up, I was annoyed when she had school work to do. Home time was our time, and we had things to do. Things that I thought were important or meaningful. Academics can happen later, or as those skills may be useful in our adventures. Observation. Awareness. Compassion. Fun and funny. All are what we do.

The other morning we went to a little market up the street. My granddaughter knows the folks in the market and asks about them every time we shop. She likes to help carry things back, too. Last visit we picked up several things and had two bags to carry home. One was light but bulky, six loose rolls of toilet paper. Outside I handed the two handles of that bag to my helper and she grabbed them and tried to take a step. The bag dragged on the ground and she could barely walk.

“Wait…” she said. “Wait, let me put my arm through it.” She slid her arm through the handles so the bag was at her shoulder and no longer dragged. Then she just walked back to the apartment with me. I feel pretty certain that if she needed to count those six rolls, she’d figure it out.

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not so deep in the 100 acre wood

Every now and then we take the guys to the park with us. It’s much more fun without a camera, but we all agreed to suffer through this to get a fair shot for documentation.

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water fountain

There are two water fountains at this spot: one for adults and this shorter one for children. Or short adults. Whatever. Both are too high; so, this is an entertaining solution. Moments later, she was on all fours in a puddle, lapping water like a dog. Fortunately, I stopped her instead of taking the shot – A sure sign I was destined to be a grandfather and not an artist.

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hair brushing

My granddaughter hung out with me for an hour on Saturday while her mom did some last minute birthday-gift wrapping. When mom came to pick her up, she sat on the floor to finish watching Daniel Tiger and get her hair brushed. I have about five minutes of hairbrushing video, but I have to publish this tiny snip. We’ve met many kids at the park and haven’t run in to another practically-two-year-old who would understand the phrase “shake some water on the brush” let alone actually do it. The whine beforehand is perfect. She needs to learn to say, “oh mo-ther!” Maybe I should work on that…

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March for Babies on Sunday

This is the second year my daughter and granddaughter have walked in the March of Dimes’ March for Babies. It’s a good cause, at a time of the year when there are many good causes. And it looks like it will be cold and raining. Ah well. I know they’ll still be there. We’re all committed to the folks who made it possible for this little one to make it through her first few weeks in Geisinger’s NICU. There were many others there at the time, and some didn’t make it. Many. That’s my granddaughter’s word for more things than she can count. Many balloons. Many cookies. Many babies. Many causes. We’re so fortunate that she was able to master an understanding of the concept many. I hope she has many friends tomorrow.

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I read a post in one of the caregiver blogs that talked about a two-year-old’s vocabulary. I tried to document this kid’s at 22 months, but just can’t keep up. The other night she slept over. For a late afternoon snack she had cheerios and milk. It takes a fairly long time, as each banana slice gets a thumb through it and occasionally the cereal is eaten with the fingers- piece by piece. When she finally neared the end she sat up and said,

“More? More?” Well of course there’s more. I sprinkled new honey-nut cheerios on top of the milk still in her bowl and she took a spoonful. She chewed for a moment, then raising her eyebrows she looked at me.


Yes they are indeed.

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2 photos

Two quick photos:

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Yeeha! Puddles!

Her mom found great snow pants for her and we all hoped for a decent snow fall so we could use them. We finally had an inch or two and my granddaughter was excited to get her snow pants and purple boots on. We went over to the park and she did enjoy the snow. The brick walk that runs over the canal was bare, though. There were ducks, of course, but a few good puddles, too. The puddles gave us both a bit more joy. In the clip, my granddaughter actually says, “Yee-ha!” at about eleven seconds in. I have no idea where she learned it; could it just be spontaneous?

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a found cartoon

Let me be clear: This wonderful little drawing is not my work. I found the cartoon just as it appears here: lying in the street in a zip-loc bag.

I was walking to my car early Sunday afternoon and saw the bag on Spring Street at Cherry Alley. I realized it wasn’t litter from a few feet away; it was spread flat, and smoothed out as if intended for clear presentation. I slipped it into my pocket to review later. It turned out that I couldn’t wait long; after I started my car, I pulled out the bag and dumped the contents into my hand. It contained a small, folded, very stylish cartoon and a glass marble. My instincts told me the placement of the bag was intentional, and the method of random distribution only made the thing more endearing. I may replace it in an alley somewhere, but maybe I’ll frame it. I’m not sure.

After I ran my errands, I messaged the folks at Comic Swap and walked to Jack’s comic and Game shop on High Street. I asked if they recognized the style. I knew Comic Swap sold the work of a number of local cartoonists but wasn’t sure about Jack’s. Neither was able to shed any light on the work. I posted a snapshot to twitter, and it, too, resulted in no response.

The work is beautiful. Whimsical and gritty, I think the piece is just stunning. Stumbling onto it, finding it in the street, feeling like it’s a personal message – all these things just make this package a little jewel.

I don’t need to know who did it, but I’d sure like to let them know how much I like it. And I’d like to pass it on to keep the story alive, but the “thingness” of it is so wonderful I’m hesitant to give it up. Will posting on twitter or this blog help keep the story alive? Not sure. Will the post eventually reach the creator so they can ignore it, reclaim it, add some backstory, whatever? I have no idea. By all means, read it. Enjoy the drawings. If you recognize the style let that artist know about this post.

But by any and all means: Pass it on, and keep the story alive.

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twirling spaghetti

The question being answered quite clearly here by my granddaughter, is “what is the proper way to twirl long pasta with a fork: On the plate, or, against a spoon?”

Traditionally, foodies frown on using a spoon. The only time that pasta —say, angel hair— would be twirled against a spoon is if the pasta is in broth and twirling it arranges it neatly in the soup spoon. The spoon then carries the pasta to the mouth. But really, who cares? Isn’t the spirit of good food one of personal enjoyment? Tradition be damned?

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