Thursday, 27 January 2011

Jesus loves dinner time

Tonight at the dinner table, Samuel decided it was time to do a little singing.

Jesus loves dinner time from Chris Turner on Vimeo.

posted by retrophisch at 8:39 PM -->in God , fun , music , parenting , that's life
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Monday, 13 December 2010

If I could only bottle the innate cuteness…

If I could only bottle the innate cuteness...

I would be richer than Gates or Buffett.

posted by retrophisch at 11:15 AM -->in fun , parenting , photography , that's life
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Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Our ballplayer


This spring, Davis started playing baseball. At the six and under level (6U), it’s coach-pitch. He did pretty well, and we saw improvements in his fielding from that first practice to the last game this past Saturday (May 22d). Hitting wise, he did awesome, going seven for eight in the first half of the season. He hit a slump, but rebounded for the last two games.

To see more photos, including a couple from the game, check out the rest of the set.

posted by retrophisch at 3:39 PM -->in baseball , love , parenting , photography , that's life
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Hanging out


From back in March. While I was getting myself ready, the boys watched Sesame Street in Mom and Dad’s room.

posted by retrophisch at 3:07 PM -->in love , parenting , photography , that's life
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Wednesday, 23 December 2009

On the narrow path

Tony Woodlief:

I remind him to watch the cars, to look the drivers in the eye and make sure they see him. His brothers and I sit in the minivan while he goes to the curb and waits for a chance to walk out to the girl. Finally a car stops to let him pass. The girl’s face is turned down; she sees nothing but the ground. I watch my son’s narrow shoulders as he crosses the drive, and I am praying that no harm will come to him, not now or ever, that someone who is this loving will be spared the pain of the world, which is when I remember that it is Christmas, the time when we celebrate precisely the opposite, the coming of pure love to suffer for all we who sit with faces turned down, not even knowing what to ask for, knowing only in our crusted-over hearts that anything will help.

posted by retrophisch at 3:13 PM -->in God , helping , love , parenting , salt and light
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Tuesday, 01 December 2009

Partners in crime

Partners in crime

Davis and Samuel having fun on the backyard play set.

posted by retrophisch at 7:25 PM -->in fun , parenting , photography
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Sunday, 11 October 2009


Wow. Seven years as of yesterday.

Seven years ago, I had a great job. A career in IT.

Seven years ago, we hadn’t been in our new house even a full year.

Seven years ago, we were churchless.

Seven years ago, we were childless.

Now, I do not have a career in IT, but I do have a job: being a stay-at-home dad. And it’s awesome.

Now, we’ve been in the house nearly eight years.

Now, not only do we have a church, but that church has given me my best friend, and yet another purpose: leading some of our collegians in Bible study.

Now, we have two wonderful boys, six and thirteen months. They are absolute joys.

I’m blogging less. Twittering more. Chasing a little guy all around the house. Having fun.

It’s not all a bed of roses, but there are more ups than downs, and I thank God for all of these blessings.

posted by retrophisch at 11:26 AM -->in parenting , that's life , web/site
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Friday, 09 October 2009

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can… from Chris Turner on Vimeo.

So back on the first of September, a mere week after the boy started full-blown walking, I find Samuel attempting to climb atop the ottoman. So I grabbed my camera and started shooting. So far as we know, this was his first summit attempt and success.

posted by retrophisch at 12:03 AM -->in parenting , that's life , video
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Wednesday, 30 September 2009


Last evening, after arriving home from dinner, our family decided to take a walk. Our neighborhood has a small green belt with a walking/biking trail through it, the air was cool, but not too cool, and it just seemed like the right thing to do.

Our six-year-old, Davis, wanted to ride his Razor scooter. Donning his bike helmet, he did so, coasting ahead or behind us, as his pushing and balancing allowed.

At one point, while he was ahead of us, I noted his problem keeping the scooter fully upright while pushing. I thought it might have something to do with the fact that our normally right-handed son was using his left leg and foot to push the scooter along.

I verbally made note of this observation, and suggested he try switching his feet, placing the left on the scooter and pushing with his right. He tried this for a few moments, felt it was worse than before, and switched back.

My wife, thinking along the same lines as I, remarked that he hadn’t really given the right-foot push enough of a try. His reply?

“I’m just left-footed.”

posted by retrophisch at 12:21 PM -->in parenting , that's life
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Tuesday, 17 March 2009

The boy hearts books.

Tony Woodlief (yes, again):

Isaiah loves books. He loves to read them, loves it when people read them to him, loves to hit his brother Isaac upside the head with them. The boy hearts books. I hope he never stops loving them, even as the world around him transitions into a post-modern funk of hyper-links and text messages and overstimulating audio-visual mind sludge. Then one day he can visit me wherever he and his brothers have finally put me out to pasture, and maybe read to me there.

Davis is getting to this point, too. At times he will decide that he’s had enough playing with his Star Wars Galactic Heroes™ figures, or pretending to duel a dragon, or building with Lincoln Logs™ or LEGO™ pieces, and he’ll plop down in the play room and “read”.

My parents instilled a deep love of reading in my sister and I when we were growing up. Weekly visits to the local library (which was about as big as the downstairs area of our current home, minus the garage) were the norm. While we’re not going weekly, Kelly and I have both taken Davis to our local library (which is larger than the downstairs area of our house, including the garage), and he loves it.

Davis will often ask for a second or even third book to be read before going to bed, although I suspect this is as much about staying up as late as possible as it is about loving books.

I’d hoped to pass on this love of reading to both our boys, and so far, it’s looking pretty good.

posted by retrophisch at 4:23 PM -->in love , parenting , read , that's life
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Wednesday, 04 March 2009

Losing that first tooth

Davis shows off his new grin.
“Mind the gap.”

Davis showing his new grin and the tooth he lost.

Davis has lost his first tooth! It came from the middle bottom, and was kind of a surprise, especially for Mom!

Thankfully, the tooth wasn’t lost, though for a little while, we thought it might be. It had fallen out during dinner, and was still in the dinette, sitting on Davis’s chair. We cleaned it up, and Mom helped him ready it for the Tooth Fairy that evening.

posted by retrophisch at 8:26 PM -->in love , parenting , that's life
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Monday, 26 January 2009

Puppet show

Puppet Show from Chris Turner on Vimeo.

Davis threw an impromptu puppet show from Samuel, and as you can see from the latter’s reaction, the show got rave reviews.

posted by retrophisch at 9:58 AM -->in fun , parenting , that's life , video
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Sunday, 30 November 2008

A message from God

“Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.” —Rabindranath Tagore

[Via A Child Chosen.]

posted by retrophisch at 12:32 AM -->in God , love , parenting , quote
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Friday, 19 September 2008

Test drive

Our son, Samuel, tries out his crib and mobile for the first time.

Test drive from Chris Turner on Vimeo.

posted by retrophisch at 1:19 PM -->in parenting , that's life , video
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Tuesday, 27 May 2008

What really matters

Rebecca Walker is the daughter of founding feminist, and The Color Purple author, Alice Walker. Rebecca recently reflected on her life, and her disownment by her mom because she decided to become a mother herself. After reading this article, I’m left wondering what kind of person Alice Walker must be, to have been so selfish, and most recently, so hateful, toward her own daughter and grandson. She has never seen him.

Then I recall that selfish pride is the oldest sin in the Book.

Here are some choice bits:

The truth is that I very nearly missed out on becoming a mother - thanks to being brought up by a rabid feminist who thought motherhood was about the worst thing that could happen to a woman.

You see, my mum taught me that children enslave women. I grew up believing that children are millstones around your neck, and the idea that motherhood can make you blissfully happy is a complete fairytale.

In fact, having a child has been the most rewarding experience of my life.

I’m so grateful I never had to experience, as a child, being told by my mother that I was enslaving her, that she bore me as if a millstone.

I was raised to believe that women need men like a fish needs a bicycle. But I strongly feel children need two parents and the thought of raising Tenzin without my partner, Glen, 52, would be terrifying.

As the child of divorced parents, I know only too well the painful consequences of being brought up in those circumstances. Feminism has much to answer for denigrating men and encouraging women to seek independence whatever the cost to their families.

Walker goes on with a litany of how her mother’s feminist ideals robbed her of a normal childhood: divorce; being at the bottom of her mom’s priority list; being left when relatives while Alice vacationed for two weeks in Greece; feeling utterly alone in her femininity, not having an attentive mother to talk to and connect with; having sex—with her mother’s knowledge—at the age of 13, and becoming pregnant at age 14. She had an abortion, which “haunted me for decades. It ate away at my self-confidence and, until I had Tenzin, I was terrified that I’d never be able to have a baby because of what I had done to the child I had destroyed. For feminists to say that abortion carries no consequences is simply wrong.”

When she learned she was pregnant, Rebecca was hesitant to tell her mother, but she did:

Although I knew what my mother felt about babies, I still hoped that when I told her I was pregnant, she would be excited for me.

Instead, when I called her one morning in the spring of 2004, while I was at one of her homes housesitting, and told her my news and that I’d never been happier, she went very quiet. All she could say was that she was shocked. Then she asked if I could check on her garden. I put the phone down and sobbed - she had deliberately withheld her approval with the intention of hurting me. What loving mother would do that?

I could go on and on, to the point where I’d quote nearly the entire piece, and I encourage you, dear reader, to read all of it yourself.

Ultimately, Rebecca has abided by her mother’s wish to not have contact with her. She’s accepted it for the better, that despite the good things feminism has done for women, for the well-being of her son and herself, “I can no longer have this poisonous relationship destroy my life.”

It’s a shame a child has to say that about her parent.

posted by retrophisch at 10:49 PM -->in love , parenting , that's life
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Monday, 28 April 2008

Today’s proud parenting moment

Me: Let’s get your Crocs on so you can go play on your swingset while I scoop the dogs’ poop.

Him: No, thank you. (This from the child who hasn’t met a slide he hasn’t liked.)

Me: (walking in to the living room where he is) Why, what are you up to?

Him: I’m picking up the pieces of the puzzle that spilled out.

Me: (aghast) Okaaayyyy…..

posted by retrophisch at 7:50 PM -->in parenting
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Tuesday, 08 April 2008

Ride’em, cowboy!

This past weekend, we spent a few days visiting my parents in the suburbs of Birmingham. (That would be Alabama, not England. Just in case it wasn’t clear.)

My dad pulled my old rocking horse, Donut, out of storage, cleaned up the parts, and assembled him in the basement, all for my son to ride while we were visiting.

If you want to see a slightly larger version, click on the video.

I got Donut about the same age as the little phisch is now, roughly 1974. The nostalgia from watching my own child ride the same horse I did thirty-three, thirty-four years ago, was overwhelming.

posted by retrophisch at 9:10 PM -->in fun , love , parenting , that's life , video
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Saturday, 02 February 2008

Third skating lesson

Two weeks later, some more skating fun!

The little phisch got better moving around the house without help, but seemed to regress when it came to getting up when he fell.

Click the photo to see the entire set.

posted by retrophisch at 5:52 PM -->in fun , hockey , learning , parenting , photography
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First skating lesson

Whenever he’s been asked what sports he wants to play, our son has been consistent: “Baseball and hockey!” The first skill required in hockey is the ability to ice skate, so with that in mind, we enrolled him in ice skating lessons earlier in the year. Of course, Dad had to take photos of the first lesson!

Click on the photo to see the entire set.

posted by retrophisch at 4:13 PM -->in fun , hockey , learning , parenting , photography
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Saturday, 26 January 2008

“Ouch” is right

Tony Woodlief:

I never thought I would have to hold a package of frozen peas on my son’s penis. They don’t tell you this may be a possibility in parenting class. It’s all breathing and learning to count to ten and not freaking out when they get a diaper rash. But penis bruises? Nowhere in the manual.

posted by retrophisch at 12:21 PM -->in parenting , quote
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Monday, 14 January 2008

Proud geek dad moment

This past Saturday, the missus and I took the little phisch to see The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything. The film was released by Universal, and had the studio’s latest audio-visual intro at the beginning, as is the norm for motion pictures. The little phisch leaned over and whispered to me, “Daddy, what music is that?” I told him, and we settled in for a fun time.

That little exchange immediately took my mind back a few weeks before, at the end of 2007, when the missus and I took the little phisch to see Alvin and the Chipmunks. That particular film was released by Twentieth-Century Fox, and its extremely recognizable audio-visual intro rolled at the beginning. Then, the little phisch leaned over and excitedly exclaimed, “Daddy, it’s the Star Wars music!” I smiled broadly, and assured him, that yes, it was indeed “the Star Wars music.”

Amazing how those blaring trumpets and the monolithic wording have become synonymous with Star Wars for him, just as it did for me when I was a boy. To this day, whenever I see or hear that intro, I’m half-expecting the “Star Wars Main Theme” to follow shortly thereafter, or to see “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” centered on the screen.

posted by retrophisch at 4:20 PM -->in Star Wars , fun , love , movie , parenting
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Monday, 01 October 2007

The joys of getting older

Jim Lindberg, lead singer of Pennywise, in Punk Rock Dad:

This is all part of the game of being a parent. When I signed up to be a dad I had to leave my cool and my self-respect at the maternity room doors. On our white minivan we have no less than three life-size decals of Britney Spears’s face stuck to the windows. A friend saw me driving the wife and kids in it and said he was going to the record store to trade in all of his Pennywise records. I told him to get me the new Christina Aguilera while he was there because the kids were begging me for it.

posted by retrophisch at 1:59 PM -->in parenting , that's life
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Friday, 14 September 2007

Life now has meaning

According to the rules laid out in Punk Rock Dad, my punk rock name is:

(Are you ready for this?)

(Are you sure?)


(Okay, you’ve been warned…)

Larry Leprosy.

posted by retrophisch at 10:42 AM -->in fun , non-fiction , parenting , read
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Saturday, 08 September 2007

Don’t Suffer the Little Children

Tony Woodlief:

The constrained vision indicates that world harmony and universal satisfaction are mirages. People are innately selfish, and they’ll always desire more goodies. This means that tradeoffs between competing wants are inevitable. My wife and I therefore forbid our children to use the word “fair.” Parents still in the thrall of the unconstrained worldview are prone to manipulation by their kids, who like little human-rights lawyers insist on fairness as an imperative. And don’t get me started on the damage that an exaggerated sense of fairness and entitlement has done to public schools. In our house things are much simpler: That last piece of cake had to be divided somehow, and in this imperfect world your brother got the extra frosting. Deal with it.

While the unconstrained worldview teaches that traditions and customs are to be distrusted as holdovers from benighted generations, those of us with the constrained view believe it’s good to make our children address their elders properly, refrain from belching at the table and wear clothes that actually cover them. Mr. Sowell noted that some benefits from evolved societal rules can’t be articulated, because they’ve developed through trial and error over centuries. This reveals the sublime wisdom in that time-honored parental rejoinder: “Because I said so.”

It’s not surprising, then, to see Mr. Sowell approvingly cite Edmund Burke’s observation that traditions provide “wisdom without reflection.” This is lived out in our house by the dictum that parents are to be obeyed first, and politely questioned later. That seems oppressive to parents with the unconstrained worldview, who want to nurture Junior’s sense of autonomy and broad-minded reasoning. It’s awfully useful, however, when Junior is about to ride his bike into the path of an oncoming car. Obedience may be a dirty word in progressive schools and enlightened parenting circles, but it saves lives.


I sometimes speak to groups of high-school and college students, and I have taken to disabusing them of the feel-good notion that they can do anything they want so long as they are passionate about it. Intentions, as Mr. Sowell observes, mean very little in the constrained worldview—and, besides, individuals are neither equal nor perfectible. This means that some of us will dig ditches for a living, especially if those certain someones, who know full well who I’m talking about, don’t stop shooting spitballs at their brothers and get back to their math workbooks. Firmly in the constrained camp, I’m less concerned that my children self-actualize at an early age than that they learn a trade and get out of the house.

And since I’ve gone and quoted about half of the piece, you should just go and read the whole thing.

posted by retrophisch at 1:42 PM -->in parenting
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Sunday, 02 September 2007

On being a wall

Tony Woodlief, author of the great Raising Wild Boys Into Men:

Sometimes as a parent you feel like a wall. One side of you is hard chipped stone. The side facing these little ones is smoothed, its cracks spackled as best you can manage. Sometimes your child will run a finger along one of those cracks, and when he does this you know you can go on standing, no matter the weight, until he is strong and ready to beat back the world with his own muscle and bone and faith.

posted by retrophisch at 11:44 PM -->in parenting , quote
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Wednesday, 28 March 2007


I didn’t used to be one for custom ringtones on my mobile phone. When I got my Sony Ericsson T616 a few years back, the only additional ringtone I used on it, other than Sony Ericsson’s fairly nice included set, was a ring that sounded like an old telephone. But when that phone went belly up, I ended up with the Motorola V551 (since replaced by a V557). The ringtone selection that came with the Moto was anemic, and you can bet I wasn’t shelling out three bucks for ringtones from Cingular AT&T.

I’ve become one of those people who can’t stand the default rings on most phones, and for whatever reason it irks me when someone’s phone rings in public and you can instantly tell it’s a Nokia, or a Motorola, or they’re with Cingular AT&T, or Verizon, because they never bothered to change the default ring. And so many people don’t change the default ring, how do you ever know it’s your phone that’s ringing when you’re out in public?

But I digress. Yes, there are plenty of of free ringtones available online, but this time around I thought I would just make my own. One copy of iTunes, one copy of Audio Hijack, and voila!—instant custom ringtones. I only needed 22 seconds of any particular song, as that’s how long the Moto rings before it goes to voice mail.

The first song I ripped was The Who’s “Baba O’Riley”. The synthesizer at the beginning makes a great ringtone, and people always seem to look at me with a sense of wonderment when they see it’s my phone making that sound. They may not be able to place the music at first, but they know they’ve heard it somewhere before. This is my default ringer.

The other song I ripped was New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle”. This ringtone was applied to all of my wife’s numbers in my address book.

“Bizarre Love Triangle”?? Really, Chris?

Yes, I know it may sound odd to have a song so named be the default anthem for whenever your one and only beloved calls, but there’s a profound and sensible reason behind this.

Oh, this should be good.

Oh it is. You see, when I was in high school, I was a metalhead. Oh, I didn’t necessarily hang out with the metalhead crowd, but I was in to heavy metal and hard rock, with a little punk thrown in on the side. This was my big teenage rebellion; having grown up on a lot of classic country (some of which I still enjoy), along with Neil Diamond and other assorted light pop, I went a different direction, musically. This is nothing new; the kids who followed Elvis and The Beatles were rebelling against their parents’ choice of music, too.

My wife, on the other hand, was in to the “New Wave” stuff, the alternative stuff of the ’80s before it took on something of a grungification in the ’90s. One of the groups she followed was New Order.

After we met in college and began dating, I was gradually exposed to this world of music her high school years had been spent in, and out of all of that, there were a handful of songs by New Order that I could stand, and a couple I actually liked. “Bizarre Love Triangle” was by far my favorite New Order song. So because it was something from my wife’s past that I grew to like, thus becoming something we now share, and it has that cool opening to the song, that’s how it became the custom ringtone for when my wife calls me on my mobile.

Okay, okay. That’s pretty good.

See? I told you. Now, you’ve read this far, and you’re probably wondering why the heck I’m bothering to tell you all of this. Here’s the payoff:

I’ve been using BLT as my wife’s ringtone for coming up on a couple of years now. Yesterday, in the Pilot on the way to the little phisch’s karate class, my phone rings. “Bizarre Love Triangle” begins to play, and the from the back seat, without any input from me whatsoever, the little phisch cries out, “It’s Mommy calling!!”

This morning, my wife is taking the little phisch to school, and on the radio, what song should happen to come on? You guessed it. At this point the little phisch cries out, “It’s Daddy’s phone!!”

Kids have amazing minds.

posted by retrophisch at 11:32 AM -->in music , parenting
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Wednesday, 21 March 2007

The duel

Monday evening a promise was kept and shopping commenced for a lightsaber for the little phisch. We charted a course toward the Toys R Us system, arriving there just a few parsecs after dinner time. (It might’ve been faster if Solo had loaned us the Falcon, but whatever, he’s too busy dodging Imperial cruisers or something.)

The purchase was made of a blue lightsaber, because we figured this would juxtapose nicely with my own double-bladed, red lightsaber. (And, more importantly, it was the only color in stock.)

Alas, by the time we arrived back home at Echo Base, it was bed time for the little phisch, so any dueling with Daddy would have to wait another day. The new lightsaber spent the night on the night stand next to the boy’s bed.

Last night, the promised duel was held. The missus insisted it take place outside, so on to the back deck we went. Daddy only used one of his saber’s blades, to, you know, keep things “fair”. Both of us had an awesome time.

The little phisch held nothing back. Every swing of his blade was meant for limb severing, for disemboweling, for decapitation (if he could have reached my neck, that is). My knuckles held the proof of his relentless onslaught.

I also learned a bit of how Count Dooku and Palpatine must’ve felt going up against Yoda: it’s actually tough countering the attacks of someone half your size. That, and since I was seeking to have fun with my little guy without causing injury, played a part in my own defense and counterattack.

(For the record, yes, I injured the boy, but it was a tap on the shoulder that didn’t even leave a mark, and he was quickly over it.)

The little phisch is also quite the drama king. He has a great fake death scene, acting it out more than once when I stabbed him in the tummy. We should get video of that.

posted by retrophisch at 4:56 PM -->in Star Wars , fun , parenting
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Tuesday, 13 March 2007

It happened

Last night, the missus had a work-related dinner to attend, so it was a guy night in the phisch bowl. The little phisch consumed mixed veggies and fish sticks (the irony of this statement is not lost on me), whereas I consumed mixed veggies with leftover red beans & rice. And we watched Star Wars.

The first attempt at the viewing with my son of the movie which made such a tremendous impression upon me when I was six was met with some…boredom. He knew who some of the characters were, after all. I don’t think you can know me at all, or swim in this tank we call home, without encountering, in some random, non-deliberate fashion, characters from the Star Wars universe. But we never really made it through that first viewing of the movie. Not together, anyway. While he decided he was bored and went off to play with Thomas on the train table, or roll Lightning McQueen around the floor, I finished watching the movie.

Because, c’mon, it’s Star Wars.

I’m not sure what changed between then and now. Perhaps it was my receiving the entire Star Wars Mr. Potato Head collection for my birthday this past December. Darth Tater, Storm Tater, and R2 Tater have all occupied a place of semi-honor in the formal dining room, and the little phisch has been allowed to play with them. We’ve read this Luke Skywalker children’s book I picked up two years ago at the Friends of the Flower Mound Library fund raiser. But we haven’t really talked about the movie all that much.

So I was pleased when I was greeted with a enthusiastic response after suggesting Star Wars last night. After dinner, we enjoyed watching about an hour of it.

He asked a lot of questions. A lot. I’m not sure I can begin to describe the totality of “a lot of questions” to those of you who do not have three year-old boys.

Bed time was approaching, and we agreed to stop the movie after an upcoming scene. The missus arrived home just about that time, the movie was stopped, and the bedtime rituals commenced.

The payoff came this morning.

I stumbled downstairs, where the missus and little phisch were already eating breakfast, and on the TV I’m greeted by…Star Wars. Han and Luke are firing down the detention bay while Leia’s already diving in to the garbage chute, and Chewie’s complaining about the smell.

I’m informed, “Daddy, those are stormtroopers!”

I smiled, gave him a pat on the head, and turned so the missus wouldn’t see the tears welling up. It’s done. He’s converted.

Oh, I forgot to mention he wants his own lightsaber now. He told me last night.

Where are the tissues?

posted by retrophisch at 11:03 AM -->in Star Wars , fun , movie , parenting
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Sunday, 11 March 2007

Quite the memory

The memory capacity of three year-olds is amazing.

As we were wrapping up dinner, my wife put forth the possibility of our going out for some ice cream for dessert. We kept this to ourselves for a few moments, thinking we may need to use it as a possible bribe with the little phisch. We did not have to, thankfully, and when we mentioned going out for ice cream, he stated he wanted “Cookie Monster Ice Cream!”

Cookie Monster Ice Cream?!?!?

So on the way to Emack & Bolio’s, the missus and I are wondering if this is one of their flavors. If it is, then we would be suitably impressed, as the last time we were at E&B’s, it was before Christmas, and the little phisch remembered having it more than three months ago.

We walk in the door, and sure enough, there it is: Cookie Monster Ice Cream. Cookies and cream, with chocolate-chip cookie dough mixed in. One kid’s cup was ordered up.

The boy has some memory.

This could be trouble.

posted by retrophisch at 7:08 PM -->in food , parenting
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Tough but worth it

Now see, the hamburger was his idea.

There was a discussion about going to grab a bite to eat, then drop by the shoe store to pick the little phisch up some new sandals. For lunch, he wanted to go to the “apple place”. (No, techno-nerds, not that “apple place”.)

As we pulled in to the parking lot, Mommy asked if he wanted chicken fingers and fries, his customary meal at the “apple place”. After a second or two of silence, he replied, “I want a hamburger.” Mommy and I exchanged glances.

From that moment, until we actually placed the order with the waitress, we repeatedly checked that he was still on message. Did he want chicken and fries? No, he wanted a hamburger. Do you want cheese on the hamburger. Yes. Do you want chicken and fries? No, a hamburger, with fries. Okay. A hamburger with cheese, with fries.

About three or four bites in to the hamburger, it apparently lost its luster. Then the struggle began, most of the heavy lifting being done by Mommy, as she was the one sitting next to the little phisch. As any parent with a toddler will tell you, the point of bribery was reached—this time rather quickly, given the circumstances—and bites of hamburger were exchanged for more fries. More quickly than we would have thought possible, the bribery stopped working.

Then the whining set in, following swiftly by sniffling, and then that slow-building, deep-from-the-pit-of-the-stomach-and-hell-itself mournful wail that sets any parent’s teeth on edge, especially when in a public place.

Fortunately, Mommy and I had finished our meal, the bill swiftly arrived, and we paid. The little phisch did not want to leave, of course, he wanted more fries. Our getting up from the table led him to throw himself on to the floor and begin the launch in to full-blown tantrum. At this point I had to scoop him up and carry him out, nearly tossed over my shoulder like a thirty-pound bag of dog food, his cry of “More french fries!” resounding in my ear.

As he was loaded in to the car, his plaintive wail for more fries continuing, it was explained to him that he could have had more fries, but he chose to not do what was asked of him. The tantrum erupted, and continued as he realized we were not, in fact, going to look at sandals, but were instead heading home because someone had hit his wall after going ninety miles an hour the entire morning, most of which had been the province of Mommy to oversee, and she was exhausted, too. “More french fries!” was replaced by “I don’t want to go home…”

But to home we did go. He had mostly quieted by the time we pulled in to the driveway, and allowed Mommy to remove him from his seat and carry him inside. Once in the house, however, the tantrum started up again, and I had to again throw him over my shoulder and carry his kicking and screaming body up the stairs and to his room. Mommy followed behind, and after a few minutes was able to get him to calm down. Still a few minutes later, he asked for me.

“I want to snuggle,” he told me, so I lay down beside him in his bed, and he folded himself in to the crook of my arm, resting his head on my shoulder/chest. After a few seconds, he told me he wanted covers, so I pulled the sheet up over his legs. Then he wanted Snoopy, and I reached down to grab the Peanuts mutt, handing it to him. He was quiet for a minute or so, then he wrapped his fingers around my thumb, his fist swallowing the digit, and gave a squeeze.

“I love you, Daddy.”

And everything from the past half-hour disappeared.

The Peace Corps, for all its good work, has it wrong. That is not the toughest job I would ever love. I’ve already got that job, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

posted by retrophisch at 1:39 PM -->in parenting
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Friday, 16 February 2007

A pair of fatherhood quotes

“The guys who fear becoming fathers don’t understand that fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man.” —Frank Pittman

“We have evidence that in our own society men can rear and nurture their children competently and that men’s methods, although different from those of women, are imaginative and constructive.” —Kyle D. Pruett

[Courtesy of the Mr. Dad newsletter.]

posted by retrophisch at 3:44 PM -->in parenting
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Friday, 26 January 2007

Yes, but could he tame T.O.?

An observation I’ve made repeatedly to my spouse is that given the temperaments and egos of the engines of the Sodor Railway, I believe Sir Topham Hatt is experienced enough to manage a NBA or NFL team.

posted by retrophisch at 10:10 PM -->in football , parenting
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Monday, 22 January 2007

Isn’t technology sometimes pretty awesome?

I’d say 4D ultrasound has to be the coolest in pre-birth baby tech. I would have loved to have seen our little phisch this way. Maybe with the next one.

posted by retrophisch at 12:33 AM -->in parenting , tech
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Tuesday, 26 December 2006

My favorite Christmas moment

Yesterday, my wife awoke to find our son still in his bed. Granted, he was awake, but he’s only three and still hasn’t quite figured out the whole Christmas morning, Santa has left presents, thing. So she went to get him up, and moments later he came in to our room.

“Hi, Daddy.”

“Merry Christmas, buddy!” I tell him as Mom helps him up on the bed.

“Merry Christmas, Daddy,” he replies, giving me as big a bear hug as his little arms can muster.

He then proceeds to plop down next to me, still hugging me, and we stay like that for about forty-five seconds before he pops up and says, “Come on, Daddy. Let’s go get presents.”

If nothing else, those sixty seconds made this the best Christmas ever.

posted by retrophisch at 9:24 PM -->in God , love , parenting
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Friday, 01 September 2006

Let this be a lesson to all of you regarding those pledge drives

My status message read:

Barney tomorrow: God help me

posted by retrophisch at 9:12 PM -->in parenting
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Monday, 21 August 2006


  • Thanks to the folks at Xerox, with help from Layer 8 Group, you can send a postcard, with original artwork by a child, to a member of the armed forces serving abroad: Let’s Say Thanks. I sent one, how about you?

    [Via Susan via e-mail.]

  • has some good advice in its Back to School section concerning backpack selection for students. The first tip they offer, to get a bag with two straps instead of just one, to help balance the load across the body better, is why I’m a dedicated backpack guy.

  • My new addiction is Armagetron Advanced, an open source 3D game of the lightcycle contest from Tron.

posted by retrophisch at 5:36 PM -->in armed forces , fun , helping , learning , parenting , tech
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Friday, 07 July 2006

Part of a conversation with a fellow parent

Cookei IM conversation

posted by retrophisch at 10:33 AM -->in parenting
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Monday, 05 June 2006

On the Horizon at Panera

As if the free wifi at Panera Bread wasn’t enough of a reason to frequent the joint—that is, beyond the yummy food—the little phisch and I learned today they now carry Horizon Organic single-serving milk boxes, and Yogurt Tubes in place of chips, for the Panera Kids meals. Kudos, Panera!

posted by retrophisch at 6:37 PM -->in parenting
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On Corporate America’s sad view of the family

My father taught me to never raise my hand to a woman.

But if I had been the one sitting across from the female HR person who told a mom she had “wasted” the past 19 years of her life raising her three children, I could very well have forgotten those lessons from my father.


posted by retrophisch at 5:37 PM -->in parenting
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Thursday, 18 May 2006


Good tip, courtesy of TUAW, on pairing your Apple Remote with its intended system. Very useful in a mutliple Apple-Remote-Mac home. I went ahead and paired my iMac with its remote, even though it’s the only such capable Mac we have. You never know what might be around the corner.

* * *

42 Climbers Reach Summit of Mount Everest. Note to self: “May is considered the best month to climb Everest. Climbers in Nepal have to complete their mission by May 31 before the weather deteriorates during monsoon season.”

* * *

“Elvis impersonators can relax: No one’s coming after their bespangled jumpsuits.”


* * *

This story is encouraging me to let the little phisch have a cheap point-and-shoot digital in a few months. He loved using a Fujifilm disposable camera a couple of months back, and even framed a shot or two pretty well.

posted by retrophisch at 4:24 PM -->in Macintosh , fun , parenting
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Thursday, 27 April 2006

Parenting Hot Tip

Mark D. Roberts:

My hot tip for fathers (and mothers, too) is a simple one: Spend time one-on-one with your children, and if possible, for a few days in a row. I realize that some of my readers aren’t in a place to do this, because you don’t have children, or your children are grown, or… . But if your children are in a place where they can get time away with you, then by all means take advantage of this timely opportunity.

I’m very blessed in this regard. My son is home with me two days a week, so we get a lot of buddy time while my wife is at work. I know our friends Michael and Heather get similar opportunities with their son. I can’t wait until the little phisch is older and we can go on trips like the one Mark describes in his post. This one is at the top of my list; I love the Tetons/Jackson Hole area.

posted by retrophisch at 7:09 PM -->in parenting
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Friday, 31 March 2006

A gift from God

Much happiness coursed through the phischbowl last night when we learned of the arrival of Brennan. Our sincerest congratulations to our friends Jim and Lissa, and all our best to Lissa for a speedy recovery.

posted by retrophisch at 4:49 PM -->in parenting
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Tuesday, 07 February 2006

Should I be worried?

A conversation I had with my two year-old son, on our way down the stairs yesterday afternoon, post-nap. (His, not mine.) I’m the one asking the questions.

“Are you poopy?”
“Are you peepee?”
“Do I need to change your diaper?”
“You wouldn’t lie to me, would you?”

posted by retrophisch at 12:06 AM -->in parenting
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