I don’t have a big list, but here are a few:

Tonight while reading a short illustrated version of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, Maura asked me about the phrase, “he threw his sword straight as an arrow.”  She asked, “Where is his lawn mower?”  Either I need to speak more clearly or clean her ears.

Malcolm’s vocabulary:

  • prize-a-pee = privacy
  • pazzi = pizza (this is an old one that he doesn’t use any more, sadly)
  • what you said? = what did you say?

Maura’s vocabulary:

  • butter n’ jelly = peanut butter and jelly
  • pih mai uh = pick me up (this is an old one)
  • cully = color
  • cullies = crayons

Daddy’s vocabulary:

  • Stop = keep doing what you’re doing because clearly you are ignoring me and I can’t think of a consequence quickly enough to make you stop

Over the last few weeks my daughter Maura has been having some troubles sleeping at night. She is two years old (and change) and she still takes a nap, but I’m not convinced that her napping is part of the problem. I’ve considered nightmares, noises, dark, and of course willfulness.

Nightmares, or even just dreams that wake her up may have played a role early on, but I have no reason to suspect that they are what is continuing to wake her up in the middle of the night. Typically, she will begin crying for me before I even hit the top step on the way downstairs. So, while dreams of some sort may be dragging her out of sleep and into a dazed sense of alertness, I don’t think that is really what this is about.

On a side note regarding nightmares: I will occasionally let them watch movies around dinner time or before bath time. But even that doesn’t line up with the nights that she’s woken up. She did once tell me something about a man in her room at night time. That has me a bit freaked out. One, if there is some pervert in my house I will not think twice about permanently rearranging his internal organs with the softball bat I keep near my bed. Two, if it’s some sort of projection about a man (or men) that she has had contact with, then refer to solution number one (once I find out who’s causing those images). Likely there is no literal man here (perhaps a paranormal one?), but I am most curious about who (or what) it is that she’s seeing/dreaming.

As for noises, that could be what wakes her up. Her window faces the back yard which abuts a couple of houses behind us. For the most part, our neighborhood is quiet, but it would surprise me if once and a while a “rowdy” neighbor made some noises that woke her up. One of the guys behind us listens to the Red Sox on the radio, so I know it can’t be him.

The dark? Not possible. The kid sleeps with a night light that would make Al Gore blush. I’m sure that the meter on the side of our house needs to be cooled off by morning thanks to the night lights in hers and her brother’s rooms. I can recharge my solar powered nose trimmers with the light from her night light.

Willfulness. Yes, this is the most likely culprit. I have not figured out with my daughter when she is being willful and when she is just being a toddler (I know, they are often the same thing). At night time this task of discernment is doubly difficult because I am tired and cranky, too. I have determined to play a little tough love with my precious daughter as of late in order to break her from this sleep-depriving habit of hers.

What is interesting here is that she can climb out of her crib, but she can’t climb back in. So once she is out, she is out. She uses this to her advantage, I am sure. She will come to the bottom of the stairs and say, in her sweet little girl voice, “Daaaddy…peas you get me back in mah crib.” She will even come right up to the threshold of our room and repeat the phrase. She won’t come into our room because the light blocking curtains make it very, very dark in our room. I have taken to telling her to put herself back to bed. When she whines some more that she can’t, I tell her to go sleep on the couch. One night, she did just that.

After telling her to sleep on the couch, she walked away and made no more noises. So I fell asleep. A while later I woke to use the bathroom and sure enough she was curled up asleep on the couch with no blanket. She takes up a small fraction of the couch and it was very endearing to see her with her knees tucked up to her chin, sucking on the thumb of one hand while grasping the wispy locks of her hair with the other hand. Tough love or no, I picked her up gently and brought her back upstairs to get some rest in a more comfortable spot.

Last night she got out of her crib what must have been right after I walked downstairs. I was on the computer for a while and did not notice anything, although I thought I may have heard her sighing every now and again (it was hard to distinguish from Merlin’s snoring and breath – Merlin is a pug). When I closed the computer for the night and got ready for bed, the bathroom light shone up the stairs to reveal my little girl curled up on the steps about four steps from the top step. She had fallen asleep on the steps. Grateful, that she had not fallen down the steps while sleeping, I picked her up and gently put her back in her crib.

Any suggestions from you parents out there? In the meantime, I’ll keep plugging away with my (modified) tough-love approach.

She’s upstairs, in her room, crying.

Like she was at midnight, 2, 3, and 4.

No discernable reason for her crying (although I think the furnace coming on is what precipitates it). As soon as I pick her up she stops. She seems content to know that I’m there. May it always be so.

Oh, and happy birthday, Maura!  (I believe you actually had me awake during your birth time.)


This is my first attempt at being a webcam videographer.  Don’t look for my filming to get much more sophisticated.

Does anyone else think that children who are learning new words are behaving at their most precious?

Maura (22 months) is starting to form three and four word sentences.

Malcolm said the word, “Twitterpated” at dinner tonight (compliments of repeated viewings of Bambi).

At what point do you get nervous that your son wants to watch Bambi instead of football?

Maura thinks that anything that is dirty is “Un poopy diaper”.

Maura uses the word “un” as a prefix to just about anything she says.  “Un poopy diaper.”  “Un juice, daddy.”  “Un daddy!”  Either she is secretly learning French, or she is developing her own version of the Canadian “eh?”  Instead of at the end of a statement, she puts hers at the beginning.  Un interesting idea.

Malcolm helped himself to three brownies while I was giving Maura a bath tonight.  Well, he says it was three.  I didn’t approve even one, so I didn’t bother getting upset about number two and three.  Of course, I didn’t even get an opportunity to approve the brownies.  How does the old saying go, “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than to get permission.”  Something like that.

Pizza is yummy.  Even if it’s a half an hour late.


Well, well…there was something I was supposed to wish you all, but I can’t remember what it is. It’ll come to me. In the meantime, here are some more goings on in the Whitman house.

The day started off well enough, that is unless you count the broken picture frame above Malcolm’s bed. I’m not sure how it happened, and I decided right away that it wasn’t going to bother me, but an 8×10″ picture of Malcolm, Mommy, and Daddy on Malcolm’s first birthday (compliments of the Dinnany’s – thanks guys!) was off the wall, glass smashed, picture torn, and lying in Malcolm’s crib. Obviously, the most frustrating part was that the picture itself was torn (pretty much beyond repair) and that we have no duplicate of that image. I did check to make sure Malcolm wasn’t hurt and proceeded to spend the next 10-20 minutes cleaning up the mess he had made while he and Maura ran around downstairs.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that we ran out of diapers and the only thing we had was pull-ups (which for you uninitiated folk are diaper-lites: good transition to underwear but weak on the absorption, and definitely not poop conducive). No problem, right? After all, we’re trying to train Malcolm to be diaper free and potty trained so what a perfect excuse to promote using the toilet for our peeps and poops. Stayed tuned…

So after I clean up from the picture fiasco, I proceed to make breakfast. Keep in mind, it’s gotten rather late. Blast, no more cereal that the kids like! Now what? Well, thanks to Grandma, we’ve got some cinnamon bread in the house and it appeals to young taste buds quite nicely. Everyone has breakfast and walks away content.

Mommy and I rush to get ready because I have a doctor’s appointment at 11am and by the time breakfast is cleared up it’s getting rather late. I brought Meredith over to her parents’ house and left the kids with Stephanie (who was eager to see them on break from school) and then headed to my appointment. (I should say that the kids were excited to see Stephanie, too.) I managed to get to the doctor’s appointment within a half an hour of the actual time (and you know the way the doctor’s office works…that means I was actually early for my appointment!).

Well, the rest of the day proceeded in relative calm. Meredith got to visit with two of her friends from high school, Cara and Rachel, and I was told they talked “girl stuff” and that I wouldn’t understand. I told her that I’m a father of a girl and to try me for understanding, but I could get no more information. Oh, and remember the potty training thing I mentioned earlier…well, let’s just say we’re still working on it.

Enter bed time…

Maura and I ventured upstairs for bath and bed time. She seemed a little out of sorts and possibly a little warm, but we proceeded as usual with our routine. When I took her out of the tub she was shaking and shivering so much that she made the changing table rattle, so I decided to take her temperature to see what it was. Well, little Miss Maura does not like the rectal thermometer (can’t say I blame her). She cried, and cried, and squirmed, and cried. After the thermometer revealed that her temperature was 102.5, she proceeded to vomit on the changing table. I was dodging chunks of Clementine oranges while trying to minimize the collateral damage and provide some degree of solace for my poor little girl.

I cleaned her up, gave her some Tylenol, and proceeded to get her ready for bed. By this time, Malcolm was most interested in why Maura was throwing up. So, he had to come upstairs with us to read stories to Maura before she went to bed. Well, Sir Malcolm smelled a little ripe, but when asked if he had something in his diaper (it was a real diaper at this point, because I managed to get to the grocery store on the day before Thanksgiving which is almost as stupid as trying to shop for Christmas presents the day after Thanksgiving) Malcolm claimed not to have anything in there. Yet when he jumped up to my lap to read a story with Maura and me he refused to sit on his bum. Sure there’s nothing in there, buddy.

Anyway, Maura went to sleep fine, and as I listen on the monitor, I don’t hear her making any unusual sounds (like fish tap dancing on marble floors). Now we shift our focus to Fruit One. He does well right up until the point where I take out the nail clippers. He does fine with his fingers and after a considerable amount of coaxing, cajoling, and outright threatening, he managed to get all but the big toe on his right foot cut. Sadly, I had to resort to brute force to subdue the squirming foot long enough to get two effective snips. He calmed down, but neither one of us was terribly pleased with the exchange.

I went downstairs to finish cleaning up after Maura’s vomiting episode only to discover a gurgling sound coming from the shower after I flushed the toilet. That could mean only one thing: our drain pipes were backing up. Slowly I made my way downstairs unsure of what I would find. Sadly, I didn’t make it to the third step before I realized there was water on the basement floor. Sure enough, the drain pipe had indeed backed up, poop and all. (There is more to the story of seeping sewage and perhaps I’ll get around to writing about it…If I haven’t already…)

So, after about an hour of sucking up the water with a wet/dry shopvac (which arrived at our house during the great basement flood of the spring of ’08 – thanks Dad!), I moseyed upstairs to get ready for bed. Of course, I couldn’t sleep so here I am, remembering what it was that I was supposed to wish you at the beginning of this note…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Good morning.

It has been almost a week since Meredith had her shunt removed, and praise God she has had no symptoms indicating a regression of any kind. It is still possible for swelling to occur but God willing that won’t happen. Everything seems to be headed in the right direction.

When compared to the progress she made when she first came home the progress that she’s making now seems to be in larger strides. She is still a long way off from where we all want her to be, but between the therapies, time at home in a “normal” environment, and a lot of blessings from God she is moving in the right direction.

We are also in the process of tapering the last of her medications. She has been on some form of steroid for about 9 months. I don’t know a whole lot about steroids and their effects on the human body, but from people who know more than me they say it is not a good thing to be on steroids if you can help it. So, hopefully by early December (if not sooner), she will have weaned off of the steroid and she will essentially be medication free.

Considering that she still has the tumor (as of the last MRI scan in August) and she still has a long road to neuromuscular recovery, I think that it’s pretty darn amazing that she doesn’t need any medication.

On another note…Malcolm has developed a fever that got as high as 103.8 last night. The good news is that it responds to Tylenol, so I haven’t panicked yet (I was considering an ice bath instead of medication, but thought better of it).

Maura continues to learn words at a typical almost-two-year-old pace. So, if you happen to see her, be sure to watch what you say. Or, if you prefer a challenge, I would love for my children to have a rich vocabulary and an inquisitive mind, so use plenty of multi-syllabic words with complex meanings. Of course, if you do that, be prepared to do a lot of explaining to an attention-challenged 21-month-old.

Merlin…well, he and I went to the dump yesterday. He loves the dump (who doesn’t?). He scored because not only did he get a treat when we brought our trash, but he got another one when we brought Papa’s office trash. Lucky dog.

Your prayers, thoughts, and generosity have been tremendous and I pray that God will bless you each in a mighty way. Take care and God bless.


Caring Bridge web site

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