Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Teddy the futbol (soccer) fan

Haven't written anything in a while, so I'll probably be a bit rusty (especially because Blogger has changed it's interface since I was last here). But nevertheless, here goes....

Teddy is a big soccer/futbol fan. Seriously, he's a BIG futbol fan. To some extent, this is understandable. First, he's a boy, so as we've learned from observing the differences between the girl and the boy, the boy is much more interested in sports. Margaret generally couldn't care less. (She spends most of her time reading, but that's a subject for another post.) Second, his dad is a pretty serious futbol fan. In my dotage, I've decided that American football and baseball are just too time consuming and slow paced. I don't have three hours to waste watching guys run into one another and fall down (American football) or just stand around (baseball). Soccer appeals to me because it's two hours and we're done. And, as my earlier posts suggested, there are sublime moments in soccer that just can't be matched in any other sport. The result is that I've introduced him to our national team (go USA!), our local club team (Vamos DC United!), and our favorite European club team (Barca!). Ultimately, I have basically indoctrinated him into the sport from an early age.

But those points notwithstanding, Teddy has taken his love of soccer to a completely different level. This manifests itself in at least three ways.

First, the boy has his little soccer guys. These are a gift that he got at some point in the past, after having previously received football guys and baseball guys. In general, the little sports guys have proven to be one of the best gifts that he has ever received. I suspect that it's a basically bimodal toy - either the kid plays with it incessantly, or he doesn't play with it at all. Teddy falls in the first camp, especially when it comes to his soccer guys. He loves to set up the field and move around his players in a pretend game. "Dad," he'll say, "Fulham is playing Chelsea. Who are you rooting for?" "Well, Fulham of course," I'll say, "I can't stand Chel-ski." He'll then move his guys around a bit, calling the game as he hears on TV - "Fulham takes the ball from the back up to the goal and.... they score!!!! Fulham 4, Chelsea 0!!!!" And he will come back to report, "Dad, Fulham is beating Chelsea 10-3!" "Wow, that's a heckuva score in a soccer match," I'll tell him. He'll literally spend hours fiddling around with his soccer guys, setting up and calling games the entire time. The baseball and (American) football guys are there, but they don't get nearly the same use.

Second, the boy is a pretty serious little soccer player. He has always wanted to kick the ball around, but in the last year or so, he has taken his play to an entirely different level. Two developments have spurred this. First, he encountered Mr. Martin at the aftercare program at Margaret's school. Mr. Martin is a young fellow from Spain - and a Real Madrid fan - who was an assistant teacher at Margaret's school and helped coordinate the aftercare program this past year. Given that he had to entertain young kids for a few hours and is Spanish, he naturally looked to play soccer with them. The result was that every afternoon, Mr. Martin and a handful of kids played soccer in the schoolyard. When Teddy and I showed up to get Margaret, he would join the scrum. I would often stand back and watch as Mr. Martin tried to coordinate the kids in some fashion ("No hands!", "No pushing!", "Pass the ball!"), but after a year of this, all of the kids, Teddy included, were a lot better at soccer. And some of them, such as Teddy, were quite serious about the game. Teddy likes to score goals and, in the process, keeps score. He especially loved scoring goals against Mr. Martin and letting him (Mr. Martin) know when he (Teddy) did so. If Mr. Martin raised some objection to the way that Teddy was playing, Teddy was inclined to give Mr. Martin a red card. Or multiple red cards, given that Teddy could toss them out with abandon.

In addition to these schoolyard games, Teddy also played on an organized pre-K team in our local soccer league. Technically, he probably wasn't supposed to be on a team, as he wasn't actually in a pre-K class, but we figured that he would enjoy playing. Soccer at this level involves a 4x4 game with no goalie. Kids fall into three basic categories: those who have no idea what to do (the butterfly watchers), those who know what to do but can't do it, and the rare players who know what to do and can do it. Teddy clearly fell in the last category this past season. Every once in a while, we would run into a team with bigger kids who were similarly coordinated, in which case Teddy would run into problems, but most of the time, he scored tons of goals. As in the playground games, he liked to keep score and liked to talk about how much he was scoring, but as the coach (yes, that's right, I was the coach), I tried to reign in this behavior. Still, it was pretty impressive to watch him whack the ball in the net multiple times in each game. Here are some examples from our last game of the season:

The boy has more touch with the ball and a better field sense than I ever had in my years playing soccer (which isn't saying much, but still, he's only 4).

Beyond his involvement in the sport, either as an actual player or as a simulator of games, Teddy is a fan of watching the sport. He generally likes to watch any game that he can, but he is especially a fan of our local team, DC United. This largely stems from the fact that we've been going to games since he was just a little tike, but it has gotten even more serious this year because we went ahead and got season tickets to DC United. (As an aside, my general view of DC United and MLS is that it's basically like watching minor league baseball - you can have a lot of fun with the atmosphere, but the quality of play isn't really that good. That having been said, we've been lucky that DC United is currently in first place after a couple of years of really pathetic play. Vamos United!) Our tickets are on the same side of the field as the supporters section, that is, the folks who jump up and down and chant during the entire game. We're in the first row up, and a few sections over, from the main concentration of hooligans. Because we're in the first row of our section, there's a railing in front of our seats. Teddy and I stand during the game, with him putting his feet on the rail and his arm around me, to watch the game. And he really watches the game. Unlike Margaret (and Abby), who is mainly interested in the popcorn and cotton candy at the game, Teddy wants to watch. He knows most of the players (Chris Pontius, Maicon Santos, Andy Najar, Dwayne DeRosario, and so on) and can recite the outcome of recent games (we beat Houston 3-1 - or maybe it was 3-2, but Teddy would correct me if he was here).

Two specific games stand out for me. The first was the game earlier this season against the NY Red Bulls in DC at RFK Stadium. It was cold and raining. In fact, it was raining seriously hard the entire game. Teddy and I wanted to go to the game, but no one else did, so we dressed up in serious rain gear, with our jerseys on top, and went to the stadium. The crowd wasn't small, but most folks at the game stayed in the seats under the upper deck, out of the rain. Not me and Teddy. We stood in our seats in the rain, with Teddy on the railing, the entire game. Hooligans from the supporters section came by and gave him high-fives at various points during the game. And we won 4-1 in glorious fashion, with (as Teddy would tell you) Chris Pontius getting a hat trick.

The second game was a recent game in Philadelphia against the Philadelphia Union. We were heading up to Philadelphia to drop off Margaret for a trip to Grandma camp outside of Chicago. But before we left, Teddy asked, "When is the next DC United game?" Dunno, I thought, let's check the schedule. And, sure enough, they were playing the Union the Saturday that we would be up there. I checked to see it there was broader interest in the game (there was from Steve and Joe, although not sure that they knew what they were in for) and then scrambled to see if I could find some tickets. I ultimately bought four tickets from the supporters club known as the Screaming Eagles. The tickets involved some interesting conditions - don't light off any incendiary devices in the stadium, be there at 6:00 to be escorted into the stadium, park only in the visiting team lot, don't wander around the stadium, and so on. Sure enough, we were escorted into the stadium by a contingent of security guards an hour before the game. Our section was only accessible by a stairway in the back of the stadium, with the area around the stairway being fenced off from the rest of the stadium. And there were security guards every few yards surrounding our section. As Joe said, it made one think that there could be hooligan violence, even if there never really was the possibility that it would occur. (Rude chants back and forth, yes. Any serious indication of violence, no.)

Teddy was oblivious to all of this. All he wanted to do was to watch the game. While we were outplayed for much of the game, in the 78th minute, as Teddy would tell you if you asked him about the outcome, off a free kick from Boskovic, Pontius scored. It was glorious as we got to jump around, rubbing it in the face of all the Union fans.

After the game, they kept the DC United fans in our section for around 30 minutes until the rest of the stadium had emptied. Trying to keep us out of trouble, I suppose, especially as they then escorted us out of the stadium en mass to our visitor's parking lot. But in the meantime, we got to watch a bunch of little kids play on the field. Not sure if they were players' kids or employees' kids, but one little fellow kept taking the ball towards the net. It was pretty cool as our entire section, the only people left in the stadium, would cheer when he scored a goal or groan when he whacked it off the post. As I was watching the kids play on the field, I just kept thinking that if Teddy had been out there, he would've run circles around those other kids, scoring goals for DC United.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A bad idea

There are lots of costs of having kids. Diapers, clothes, food, daycare, college funds - eventually it all adds up. But one cost that has always bugged me is associated with Teddy's haircuts. He hasn't had many, but to get him one, I tend to take him to the barber with me. When we're lucky, the barber charges him the half-price "kid rate". But most of the time, we end up paying the same amount for him as for me - around $25 with tip. (One could quibble that $25 is cheap for a men's haircut in DC, but that's not the point of this post.)

Part of me thinks that this is a good father-son bonding experience. While our barbershop isn't completely old-school, which would make it a real male bonding event, Teddy seems to enjoy it enough that I have figured that it's worth the cost. Still, I've always wondered whether we could figure out a better arrangement.

Back in December, Teddy and I spent some time wandering around the mall in Tyson's Corner while Mama and Margaret went to a performance of the Nutcracker. As we were walking through Macy's, I noticed a haircut set for around $30. (You can probably see where this will end up.) "Hmmm," I thought, "$30 for a razor.... that's almost as much as one haircut for the boy." I ended up buying it, in the process telling the checkout lady that it was for Teddy. "Does his mom know about this?," she asked. "Not really," I responded, "But maybe we'll make it a Christmas present."

Which we did. So, on Xmas day in Chicago, Mama and Teddy opened the haircut kit as a joint present. It has spent the last month sitting around our house as Teddy's hair has gotten longer and longer. We debated whether to take it back, but never got around to doing so. I read the guide included with the kit a few times and figured that it can't be that hard. After all, I've seen lots of barbers run their shears over my head without much subtlety. And my mom cut my hair until I was around 12, at which point my vanity necessitated heading to an actual salon.

To sum up: It's just absurdly expensive to get a 3-year-old's hair cut in DC, and it can't be that hard to cut his hair in any event. This past Saturday, Teddy was the guinea pig on which these various theories were tested. You can judge the results in the following pictures. Notably, his mom has been pretty tolerant about the whole situation, both the underlying theory and the actual implementation. I do, however, blame her for the ultimate length of his hair, as she kept saying, "It's too long in that spot" which led me to keep cutting more to even it out. And he was a squirmy little dude, making it even harder. Not sure if we'll give it another try, but I figure that every kid needs to have a crew-cut at some point.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Good grief, has it really been almost three months since I last posted something? Well, those of you who are looking for pictures will be disappointed as our picture-taking has been about as lax as my blog-posting over the last few months. And those of you who are here for other reasons, like the stellar writing and deep insights about parenthood, will undoubtedly be disappointed too.

Margaret has some hearing issues. We first noticed them around a year and a half ago. At that point, we took her into the pediatrician who checked her a bit by whispering behind her before declaring her sound. Ok, we thought - unless there was some clear evidence, which her daycare teachers at the time also didn't seem to notice, we were fine with the diagnosis. And the problem seemed to diminish for a while too.

But earlier this fall, we started to notice some symptoms of hearing issues again. "What!!!," Margaret would bellow in response to question from us. We started to get a bit concerned, which was reinforced when Ms. B, Margaret's teacher at school, asked us whether Margaret had hearing issues. She was then tested, along with another kid in her class, by the nurse at school, and failed both hearing tests. At which point, we decided that something must be done.

Now, it's a bit difficult to determine whether a four-year-old has hearing issues. On the one hand, there are hereditary issues at play. My grandfather and mom both have some hearing issues, as does my mother-in-law (sorry Grandma B., but it's true). With my mom, I typically won't interact with her in the morning before she's put in her hearing aids. Following the first sign that she's not hearing me, I'll ask "Mom, do you have your hearing aids in?" After the inevitable negative response, there's no point in continuing, at least in my view. Even Abby has started to exhibit some symptoms of hearing loss, so we figured that there's a possibility that Margaret had some hearing issues that were hereditary, albeit a bit unusual for a four-year-old.

But at the same time, she's four. So perhaps she's just suffering from the same hearing deficiency that I experience - she just doesn't listen when people talk to her. When I yell "What?" in response to a question, it's not that I don't hear, rather I'm just not listening. In Margaret's case, she's may be busy in her own little world, fiddling with her four-year-old stuff, which prevents her from hearing what's being said to her.

After our experience plus her teacher's comments plus the tests at school, however, we took her to a hearing specialist. Margaret was a little trooper - she and I went into a little room where Margaret sat with headphones while the technician checked her with various sounds, asking her to raise her hand when she heard them, which Margaret did wonderfully. After the tests, the doctor told us that there was bad news and good news. The bad news was that Margaret isn't hearing very well. The good news was that she could, in principle, hear fine, but that she had fluid built up in her middle ear. He showed us two lines, one which descibed Margaret's current hearing (through the headphones) and the other her potential hearing (when the middle ear is bypassed). "This line (the headphone one) isn't very good. She's basically hearing as if she has her fingers in her ears," he said. "But she could hear perfectly if she just got the junk out of her ears."

So next week, little Maggie will go in to get tubes put in her ears. Not a big deal, I don't think, except that they have to put her under to get her still enough to do it. I don't think that's a big deal either, and it will be nice for her to actually hear things, but it'll be an interesting experience. Not like the kids that I remember from childhood who had big tubes running out of their ears, and it's nice to know that she doesn't have some deeper problem, but it will still be "exciting" to have the doctors put her to sleep and stick some stuff in her ears.

I can't say that I'll miss the hearing issues. During the weeks around Christmas, we dosed her with antibiotics to see if that would help clear up any ear infection issues before going ahead with the procedure. But it didn't seem to work. Instead, we had almost more episodes of "Margaret, what did you do at school today?" "What?!?!" "WHAT DID YOU DO AT SCHOOL TODAY?" "WHAT?!?!?!" She really can bellow to emphasize that she doesn't hear what you say. (Whether the procedure will lower her overall volume control is another matter.) The doctor said that it can make an incredible difference, which will not only require me to cut back on my cursing, but will also allow us to have "peaceful" dinner discussions without having Margaret constantly yell "WHAT?!?!?" in response to everything said to her.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Teddy likes trains. I suppose that's not a big surprise as anything that's big and noisy has to appeal to a little boy.

But what Teddy really likes are buses. Before getting into details about his fondness for buses, a slight detour...

For a while, we were biking into work. I would throw Teddy into his seat on the back and would bike for 15 minutes or so to get him to daycare before going to work. It was quite nice. It got us to daycare/work quickly and allowed us to quickly get back to pick up Margaret from her school in the evening. And it was a nice little workout for me that helped me wake up in the morning. (It's amazing how easy it is to ride a bike now that I don't have the extra weight pulling me around in the back. In fact, I sometimes feel a bit unstable without the extra ballast holding me down.) Teddy always had a fine time in the back, but he's been getting too big for the seat. So rather than biking in, we have lately been walking or getting a ride from Mama into daycare/work, after which we hurry home with the stroller to pick up Margaret.

Which is when Teddy is able to talk about buses. We see lots of buses on the way to get Margaret, and as each passes, Teddy asks, "What bus is that?" I reply with the bus number. "And where's it going?" I read the front of the bus and give the best reply that I can. "Oh," he says. Then we repeat the routine with the next bus.

"What bus is that?"

"The 38B."

"Where's it going?"

"That one goes to Virginia."



"What bus is that?"

"The D4."

"Where's it going?"

"Ummm, I'm not really sure."

Over and over again. I've started to get pretty good about identifying the various buses and where they go. Up Wisconsin Avenue to the Safeway, out by where Margaret has ballet lessons, over to Union Station (which always prompts the boy to chirp, "We've been there before with Joe and Lizzie!").

Sometimes, we even get to ride a bus home (if we're not in a rush because the bus tends to get stuck in traffic and move slower, or at least at a more variable speed, than us.) And Teddy has a ball sitting there poking at the emergency windows, asking if we're going to get off, and generally watching the world go by.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

So it's been some time since I've posted any pictures. Thus, a multimedia cornucopia.

Here are some from our annual Labor Day trip to Philly, where Joe, Andrew, Teddy and I went to a futbol game...

And here are some pictures from Teddy's recent birthday...

With a video...

And some Halloween pictures...

And some miscellaneous pictures...

Friday, October 22, 2010

One of life's great imponderables

Before starting this post, I have to note that I've been getting hassled to post some stuff. Not because people are really interested in my writing, "wit," or "insights," such as they may be. But rather because people want pictures. Alas, for those hoping for a kid pic fix, I can't sate you today. My muse was spurred by something unrelated to pictures, or any event related to pictures, as you'll see below, so you'll have to wait a bit longer for a backlog of pictures to be posted.

As a (almost) completely potty-trained little fellow, Teddy has quite an array of little boy underwear. He's got Thomas the Tank Engine underwear and dinosaur underwear from the Gap. His favorite underwear series are those that we picked up from Target with superheros. Wolverine, Thor, Spiderman - all of the classic superheros from the comic books of my youth. They don't really spur any particular nostalgia in me, although my comic book collecting experience was my first exposure to an asset bubble - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, issues 1-3, were appreciating at 200% per year according to the price guides and comic conventioneers when I picked up my first issue at age 10. (My comics are now sitting in my parents' basement where they will undoubtedly "pay" for my kids' college education when I finally decide to sell.) What I did notice, however, is that the picture of the superhero is on the back of the underwear. Teddy noticed as well. What's up with that? The whole point of wearing superhero underwear is so that you can see them when you head to the bathroom. But how can you see them if they're on the back? Early on, Teddy started insisting on wearing his underwear so that he could, in fact, see the superhero picture when the time was appropriate. "You want to wear your underwear backwards?", I asked. "No, frontwards," he replied. We've gotten to the point where, each morning, I ask him, "Backwards or frontwards?" And he says, "Frontwards." So the Hulk or the Thing or whoever ends up facing out in Teddy's drawers.

I mentioned this to the ladies at daycare, who thought it was a hoot, but didn't really think much of it until I saw the following today in Pickles in the Washington Post:


Apparently, we're dealing with a deep cultural question about the design of little boys' underwear. And, as I'm sure will be the case throughout his life (hah!), Teddy is a trendsetter of sorts.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

First day of school

Margaret started pre-K at the local elementary school last week. Decked her out in all the usual start-of-school stuff like new tennis shoes, new backpack, new lunchbag and so on. She handled it all very well, although it took long enough for them to get the kids into the building, and enough other pre-K kids were distraught, that the fussing eventually spread to her, and she got a bit upset on the first day. But since then, she's been a complete champ. Seems to be doing very well with her new teacher and environs. Each day, she comes home with a new song or refers to a new friend or talks about something else new that we don't understand. Everyone at daycare misses her terribly, especially the caretakers, like Ms. Jakki, that started around the same time that she came into the infant room so that they've been with her from the beginning, but they have Teddy, who seems to be a pretty good, happy-go-lucky substitute. The transition to one kid in daycare, one kid in school is creating some logistical issues for our morning and afternoon commutes, but everything has gone reasonably smoothly so far. I plop the boy in the back of my bike and head into work in the morning and then do the same in the afternoon as we head back to pick up Margaret. It'll be interesting to see what arrangement we come up with when it rains or when it starts getting colder in the fall and winter.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another vacation.... and the battles we fight

When one doesn't post anything for a while, one gets quite backed up in terms of things to write about. Even worse, one often runs out of inspiration, even though "inspiring" events occur every day. For example...

The boy is now almost potty trained. He fought it for a long time. Not really active resistance, rather he would grin and agree to use the potty while he did whatever he wanted to do in his diaper. But just in the last week, he has started to use the potty on a regular basis. It's really quite exciting.

As for Margaret, our battle with her often involves her clothes and accessories. "I want to wear a dress," she insists, almost every day. But we've bought all these darn shorts and jeans, I think, so they can't go to waste. Or "I want to wear something pink," she says. But that green shirt is so nice, in my opinion.

When we went to Target to buy school supplies, we ran into this issue head on. "That backpack with the princess picture really catches my eye," she said. Uggh. I do NOT like the backpacks, or lunchboxes, or notebooks, that have pictures of princesses or Tinkerbell or anything like that on them. I like a nice purple backpack, perhaps with an interesting geometric design on it. Luckily, I was able to distract her enough that we ended up with reasonably palatable school stuff. But it's a constant battle. Dresses, not shorts. Pink, not another color. Designs, not princess pictures. It just goes on and on.

Luckily, the boy seems to have grasped his new skill, so we don't have to battle over that anymore.

In any event, here are some pictures from our recent vacation to Mount Desert Island (i.e., Acadia National Park) in Maine.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Trip to Minnesota

We just got back from our annual trip to Green Lake in Minnesota. Interesting trip as mama unexpectedly had to leave early to get back for work while the kids and I stayed for a few more days. Before she left, Abby was able to run a 12 mile race around the lake, and we all got to watch the Fourth of July parade in the little town by the lake. Very small town America. Very different from the parades in D.C. where we see lots of bands and soldiers. This was more firetrucks and people in their cars driving through the town tossing out candy.

Luckily, mama's departure wasn't too traumatic as Green Lake is starting to grow on me - we had lots of fun swimming and canoeing around. Then, to make things even more interesting, the kids and I got stuck in the Minneapolis airport for five hours after our flight back was delayed. I was able to listen to the World Cup semifinal between Spain and Germany on the radio as we headed to the airport, and we we managed to get a haircut for Teddy during the delay. Still, the trip back wasn't much fun. Especially bad was when we got back to D.C. at 11:30 PM only to sit on the tarmac because they didn't have a gate for us. That was the only point where I threw my hands in the air and starting cursing.

In any event, here are some pictures. One thing to note is Teddy's "picture smile." Margaret has always had a charming picture smile. Point the camera at her, and she just lights up. Teddy, on the other hand, scrunches up his face and seems to grimace when a picture is being taken. It's cute, I suppose, in a certain way, but he definitely isn't as photogenic as his sister. Oh, and also note the last shot in which one can picture the future teenage Margaret in action. Terrifying.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ghana 2 - U.S.A. 1

Ah well, it was fun while it lasted....

Friday, June 25, 2010

Go Go U.S.A.!!!

The U.S. is through to the knock-out round of the World Cup, and no one can accuse me of being a fair-weather fan. After all, a year ago, I posted about the great U.S. performance in the Confederations Cup. And to all those Brits who mockingly chant, "Can you name your 23?" to U.S. fans, I can actually say, "Yes. I can." Due to an inexplicable shortage (who is in charge of this at Nike?), I haven't been able to get a U.S. jersey, although for a few games, I did wear my South Africa jersey that the in-laws brought back from their trip to South Africa.

On Wednesday, the U.S. faced a do-or-die game against Algeria. Technically, we could have advanced to the next round as long as England tied Slovenia (and didn't score more than three goals doing so), but once England went up 1-0 in the first half of that game, we basically had to win to advance. A co-worker and I met up with some folks at a bar in downtown DC, probably the only time that the place was packed at 10:00 on a weekday morning. England game being shown on one side of the bar, the U.S. game on the other. And a very stressful game, it was. We didn't play terribly well, given the stakes involved, but by the second half, we started taking hold of the game. Numerous shots that we really should have finished, but we just couldn't put anything in the net. Around the 70th minute, I said, "You know, one of these just has to drop at some point," but we still couldn't get one in. By the 90th minute, after jumping up and then cursing and banging my seat so many times, I figured that we were just about done. Four minutes of injury time gave some hope, but did we really have a chance? But then... a quick outlet after an Algerian threat... a pass... a center from close range... a tap at the Algerian goalie that he blocked such that I thought we'd be denied once again... but then the ball scooted just far enough away that... pandemonium ensues. I honestly don't remember much of what happened. I remember the ball shooting into the back of the net, praying the goal wouldn't get called back (yet again), jumping up and down, and yelling myself hoarse along with everyone else in the place. Just amazing. One of the moments that only happens in futbol where you can go from the depths of despair to the pinnacle of victory in moments.

Next thing I knew, I was on the street in the bright sunlight trying to figure out how I could possibly go back to work for the rest of the day. Given that I can barely remember what happened when we won the game, I can't imagine what people on the street thought when the nearby bar erupted in deafening cheers.

To get a sense for what this was like, start with the play itself (can't promise this will work for long as FIFA keeps getting the feeds taken down)....

Then move to the scene in some bar in Nebraska...

And then the folks in Kansas City...

And the people in San Antonio...

And finish with the scene in Davis, California...

which is pretty much what I recall from the bar here in DC. Just brilliant. I can't get enough of this. Although I wouldn't sell Ghana or Uruguary or South Korea short, I just hope that we can continue on through our (relatively easy) bracket to get to the quarterfinals or semis. Wouldn't that be unbelievable?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Graduation Day

I've recently been admonished to "put some stuff on the blog" because "some people count on it for updates." Not sure who those people are or what updates they require, but point taken. I've missed lots of stuff recently as my posts have dropped off. For example, while I noted that Margaret is starting to sprout up, losing all semblence of a little kid, in a recent post, Teddy has also grown a lot lately. He's now the biggest kid in the toddler room at daycare (by a mile!) and has almost caught up to Margaret. And he's losing all of his baby fat as he grows, although he can still flash a good belly or legs with some baby fat.

The biggest event in the last few weeks was Margaret's graduation from daycare. While we like the pre-school room at her daycare, she has already been there for two years, so we figure that another year is just too much. As a result, she'll be heading to the pre-school room at our local public school starting in August. Now, DC public schools have a pretty abysmal reputation so some of you may be aghast at this move. If so, you would fit in pretty well with our neighbors, almost all of whom send their kids to private schools. If you want a good school, the typical strategy involves sending the kid to a private school or moving to the 'burbs. But it turns out that the elementary school in our neighborhood is pretty good. Certain schools in DC, particularly those that draw from limited areas, are good and have huge demand from out-of-boundary families. Because we're in-boundary for the Hyde School, getting in wasn't an issue, rather we had to decide whether we wanted to send Margaret there, keep her in daycare, put her in private school, or move to the 'burbs. The second isn't too attractive for reasons noted earlier, the third is way too expensive, and the last would involve a big life change, so we've decided to send her to the Hyde School. And frankly, I think that she'll benefit from that decision. A private school would involve lots of people who are all the same whereas the local public school will have a more diverse, and interesting, group of students. And I think (hope) that, given some of the recent reforms in DC public schools, things will keep improving. We've started talking about it some, and Margaret seems excited in principle, although I suspect that in practice, she'll be much more hesitant when the time to transition actually arrives.

Because Margaret will be leaving her daycare at the end of the summer, she participated in their recent "graduation" ceremony. Now, I'm a bit skeptical about this type of event. After all, next year she'll be leaving pre-school for kindergarten. Then the following year, she'll be leaving kindergarten for grade school. This could continue forever with a new ceremony for each accomplishment. However, I suppose that some parents find this type of event to be a "big step" for their kid, and it is kind of cute, so I don't really object to it, as long as I don't have to do much. (Incidentally, the graduation started during half-time of the U.S.-Slovenia game in the World Cup. Because the U.S. was losing 0-2 at half-time after a horrific showing in the first half by the U.S. team, I was pretty perturbed at the beginning of the event. However, I followed the game on my Blackberry during the ceremony, and as the U.S. came back - first 1-2 early in the second half, then tying it 2-2 near the end - I was in a much better mood.) (Also, all of the daycare teachers teared up during the graduation ceremony. This was probably the most notable aspect of the event for me - while the teachers see lots of kids come through the center, it's good to know that they really feel some attachment to specific kids.)

So Margaret is now an "graduate" of daycare. In other notable news, Teddy pooped in the potty for the first time ever tonight. Because he befouls himself almost every day after getting home, I put him on the potty in front of a video and told him that he couldn't get up (but could keep watching videos) until he did something in the potty. I'm not terribly keen on the TV/video as a way to occupy the kids, but it appears to be about the only way to actually get the boy to sit on the potty, given that he generally shows little to no interest in it. In the end, he was successful which, quite frankly, I view as an accomplishment that (almost) rivals Margaret's "graduation" from daycare in the big scheme of things.