Kite 2

Alice and I flew George Washington the other morning. We were in the field behind the house, and GW was flying wonderfully.

I put the string in her hand, thinking momentarily I should take some sort of precaution to prevent the kite from flying away if she let go.

"Ah," I thought. "Kites don't fly very well without someone anchoring them on the string end."

She let go. That sucker flew.

It drifted lazily over the roof of the house. I ran as fast as I could to catch it.

It flew toward the tree in the front yard. The kite cleared the top. Its dangling string lingered momentarily in the branches before continuing on its way toward the neighbours' yard.

GW stuck in their front tree. The string tangled around the telephone wires that cross the road in front of their house.

Me: Crap.

There was no way to get it down. I held out brief hope of a southern wind blowing the kite out. Four hours later, the wind changed and blew GW onto the power lines right smack in the middle of the road.

There was no question as to where the kite came from. There it flapped, like a giant badge of Dave's An Idiot For Letting His Kids Fly Kites Near Power Lines.

Yesterday morning, we watched from our front window as GW flapped in the wind.

Henry/Jane: Go, George Washington! Go! Go, George Washington! Go!

Dave: It's not the same...


Later the same morning the wind blew the kite to a perch dangerously close to the power transformer on the pole across the street. I called Maritime Electric. It was a lazy, sunny Saturday morning. I think the very nice man in the cherry picker was happy for something to do.

That's what I tell myself.

Lynch mob, interrupted

Jane and Alice insisted on wearing dresses today. Both looked as pretty as can be: Jane, with her unruly golden curls bouncing over her long purple dress; Alice, cute and innocent in yellow flowers.

Jane: Let's get Joan!

Alice: Ya!

They are chasing our cat. Alice wields a tiny hockey stick. Jane brandishes a broom.

Jane: Let's get JOAAAAN!

Alice: git git Jo!

They have the poor cat cornered in a bedroom.

Me: Guuuys. Are you harassing the cat?

Jane/Alice: No.

There is a long pause. They stare at me, wondering how much I've seen, and how much I believe them.

Jane: Dad. Go away.

Programming notes

A couple of non-cute things to discuss.

1. You're reading I went and bought the domain name. The old blogspot address still works. A minor point, but I thought I'd let you know.

2. Twitter. Are you on it? I am. Follow me. Just know you're more likely to hear me engage in a debate about the obvious superiority of pie over cake, than stories about the kids. (though, they do come up from time to time...)

If Henry had a blog...

...first, he would call it Creamy.

Second, he would write this story, which he reminded me of the other day (I'd forgotten).

Summer. Day. We're in the kitchen listening to some Raffi. He's singing a song originally made famous by a certain Mr. Belafonte.

Henry: Where's Jake?

Me: Outside, I think. He's been out there a while.

Jake, at the time, was the new popular dog in the neighbourhood. All the other dogs came to lure him out for adventures in the woods, fields, and streams.

Me: I'll go call him in.

I walk to the door front door. My mind is not in the task. I open the door and stick my head out.

Me: (loudly) DAY-O.

I realize immediately what I've done, and what a wonderfully absurd thing I've just yelled at the top of my lungs. Henry is on the floor in hysterics. If my mind were with me, I would have followed up with, "Me say 'DAY-0!''"

I wish that last part were true.

Me: (embarrassed) I mean.. Jake!

Grinding coffee. It's fun!

As an infant, Henry was terrified of the coffee grinder. It was loud, it was sudden, and it made him cry. A lot.

So, we tried a little Pavlovian experiment. Before grinding our coffee every morning, we started cheering and yelling.

Erin/Dave: Woooooooo! Oh ya! Go! Go! Go! Wooooo! Coffee, yay!

Grinder: Grrrrrrrrrrr

It took a few weeks to work, but Henry eventually started cheering right along with us. His brainwashing was so thorough, we didn't even have to cheer ourselves.

Grinder: Grrrrrr

Baby Henry: Yaaay!

We still have a carry-over of those times in our morning coffee ritual. Alice and Jane never had a big problem with the grinder, but we do give them the courtesy of announcing when we're about to use it.

Me: Noisy, guys. Here it comes.

Grinder: Grrrrrrr

This morning as I ground the coffee, I looked over at the kids playing with Lego at the kitchen table. Jane and Alice had their hands over their ears. They looked at each other with big smiles and experimented with changing the sound by moving their hands on and off their heads.

Henry wasn't part of that game, but I caught a twinkle in his eye. I believe he was thinking a 'yay!' inside his head.


We own three kites. Two are very nice and we probably paid too much for them. The third is a cruddy dollar-store purchase. Guess which one flies the best.


So last Sunday--an absolutely perfect day filled with sun and hardly a breath of wind--when the kids asked to fly kites, I was skeptical. The day before, I'd tried to launch all three to put one in each of the kids' hands. It was a remarkable failure. Not only did none of them sustain flight for longer than 30 seconds, there was a time when all three were tangled together.

I agreed to one kite. If it flew, they could take turns holding the string. Feeling the windless air, I knew it was a large if.

Whoosh. It swept into the sky. I unhooked the line and let it go. The thing went straight up in the air and sat there as if some unseen god were holding it in place.

"Cool," I thought.

I looked around to find a kid to hand the line to. They were all gone, off doing something else.

I watched the kite for a while, amazed at how steadily it flew. Not wanting to end such a perfect flight, I walked around the perimeter of our yard (outside the fence). The gate was all the way around the other side.

Henry: Look! Daddy's taking his kite for a walk!

I entered the yard. The kite kept flying. I anchored the line to the kids' swing set. The kite kept flying. That was 9:30.

It was still flying when I hopped in the car at 10.

It was still flying when I came home at noon. While I was gone, the kids had named the kite. Every once in a while, they'd pause from whatever game they were playing to chant: Go, George Washington! Go! Go, George Washington! Go!...

It came down about a half hour later. We were in the house and didn't rush out to pick it up. Five minutes later, George Washington launched himself back into the air with the help of a tiny gust that came out of nowhere. He came down for good about a half hour later.


Dear sicko,

I have removed the photo you have found so fascinating over the past several months. Really? Eight visits this week? 40 this month? 254 visits since June 2010?

Perhaps I should have paid a bit closer attention to my stats, but then again, I really didn't think people would be coming here to peep at photos of my 3-year-old daughter. Way to affirm my faith in humanity.

Oh yeah, I have your IP address. I wonder what I should do with it?

Best Regards,

This is my favourite photo of Jane, taken last summer in our backyard. I see a bunch of things in this photo: that smile, the joy of a girl doing her favourite thing in the world. She's pumping by herself for one of the first times, so there's some pride there, too. A keen eye would spot her pink underwear. This was also one of her first days out of a diaper.

Jane had a couple of accidents this week we though would turn her off swinging. The first I didn't see, but heard. I knew she was swinging. I heard a loud "Ooof!", then quiet, then scream/crying. It was the kind of cry that expresses shock, fear, and pain. I'm pretty sure she knocked the wind out of herself.

She explained later that her nose had been itchy, and she tried to scratch it while still swinging.

Jane: I flipped upside down!

I am so glad I didn't see it. She was back on the swing a few minutes later.

Two days after, I was in the yard with the kids. Jane and Alice were swinging while I pitched a softball to Henry. I had promised Jane I'd be over in a few minutes to give her a push.

I walked up behind her, announcing "I'm going to give you a push, Janey." I didn't realize she didn't hear me.

On her backward swing, I put my hands on her back and gave her a good hard shove. I felt her stiffen in surprise. Halfway through her swing going the other way, she gave a little jump. Her butt slipped off the back of her swing, but she still had a hold of the chains with her hands. Momentum carried her up to the apex of her swing, at which point her hands let go. Her legs went straight up, her head went straight down. Her feet hooked around the chains, preventing a vertical drop, but by this time the swing was coming back down. Upside down, suspended by her feet, she came careening back to the ground. Her face dragged in the dirt the full length of one swing.

And I couldn't stop it.

I picked her up. It took a moment for her to cry. When it came, it was that same combination of shock, fear, and pain.

Her one cheek was scratched up pretty good. I'm always amazed by how quickly those things heal. You'd never even notice it today--6 days later.

Later that afternoon she sat back on the swing, but didn't do anything. She just sat there.

Eventually, she asked me for a push.

Jane: But not like last time. Just low, OK?

Three pushes later.

Jane: Higher, Dad! Higher!

Not helpful

Erin is scratching a spot on her neck.

Erin: I can't believe I still have this bug bite.

Me: When did you get it again?

Erin: February.

Me: Wow.

Erin: There's a little spot at the centre of the bite.

Me: Maybe it left a stinger.

Erin: Maybe...

Me: Or an egg sac.

Long pause. Her eyes are huge.

Me: It's not an egg sac.

What do normal children argue about?

It is a beautiful day. Sunny. Warm. The kids munch snacks on the back porch while I chop vegetables in the kitchen.


Jane: Waaaaaaah! Henry, no! Henry, NOOO!

Me: What is going on out here?

Jane: (still sobbing) Henry said something mean.

Me: What did he say?

Jane: He said I'm not made out of skin and blood and bones.

Me: What did you tell her?

Henry: That she's made of molecules.