Friday, October 30, 2009

You Can't Eat The Moon

While we are not crazy-granola-hippy parents, we don’t allow Jackson to watch TV. It isn't like a giant soap box that we stand on, it just isn't really an issue.
It’s just not on the schedule.
If one of us stayed home with Jackson during the day, I'm sure things would be different. TV would be most helpful when a parent has got to finally get to that shower, fix a meal, etc.
But since Jackson is in school, the minute we all come home we spend our time visiting, playing, etc.
All that being said, we do however let Jackson watch
That's right.
No T.V.
We just let him troll the underbelly of the internet.

Every now and then we will play a youtube video of a family member, a great song or of a Sesame Street character. Currently Eric has been trying to educate him on Michael Jackson's music. Youtube has a plethora of MJ as you can imagine.
But his favorites are of course Fiest's 1234 Sesame Street song as I have mentioned here before, and anything Elmo related. He also loves Ray Charles and India and Elmo's duet version of the ABCs is a big fave.
Last week, however, he became enamored with Cookie Monster’s short clip singing the song "C is for Cookie." We had never heard this one before.
The song, which Cookie Monster sings to a crowd of awe-struck monsters whilst perched from a capital C, has only three lyrics:

C is for cookie.
That's good enough for me.
Cookie, cookie, cookie, starts with C.

You can enjoy the jazzy number here:

So after only seeing it a few times, I noticed Jackson had started singing the song to himself which I find adorable. In fact, while "skyping" a relative that same evening (Hi, Sylvie!) he sang a few bars of it through a mouthful of graham cracker.

But things got really weird when only one day after the c-is-for-cookie fever hit our house I was eating lunch downtown and looked up at the chalkboard next to the restaurant’s giant menu:

I think the universe is trying to tell us to eat more cookies.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


While getting Jackson ready for his bath, I noticed a pretty good size scratch on his right shoulder.
I wrinkled my brow and asked him what happened.
"Who scratched you?" I ask.
He looks up at me and wrinkles his brow.
"You did," he responds.
I quickly review the day wondering if one of my nails had grazed him and couldn't recall a thing.
"Me?," I reply. "No, not me!"
Turning toward me again, he repeats a bit louder, "You."
"No, I did not scratch you," I protest.
"YOU!" he raises his voice getting a bit irritated with the line of questioning.
I recount the days' events again, thinking there just can't be any way I did this. I am not taking the fall.
"No way." I declare. "Wasn't me."
"No! Yooooooouuuu!" he shouts, thrusting his chin so far forward I think his neck will pop out of place. "Youuuuuuuuu! Youuuuuuu!" he chants like a tiny ghost.
Finally, he puts his tiny hand on my knee, juts his chin into my face, opens his eyes wide as if all this might help his feeble-minded mother understand him and says, "Luke scratched me. Luuuuuke! I said no-no Luke. Don't scratch. Don't hit. This hurts. Just hug."

The best part is that after bath, I was drying Jackson off when Eric came home from work and walked in to greet us. He noticed the scratch right away and asked about its culprit.
"You, daddy," Jackson responded.
"Me?!" Eric was in disbelief and before I could contribute to the dialogue he had thrown his hands up in the air and shouted, "No way, man! I didn't scratch you!"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


You know how crazy I am about Where the Wild Things Are? Right?

Check it out:

Small Talk

During dinner everyone discusses their day. Highlights, recaps, funny moments etc.
Jackson asks each of us how our days were.
"How was your day, mama?" and after my short response he will turn to his left and ask, "How was your day, daddy?" and Eric will also partake in this bit of dinner-time small talk.
But the best part is when we turn the question to him.
Typically he mentions playing in the kitchen and how he cooked something like sour cream soup. Sometimes he acts as though he has been working at a construction site all day by having to "hammamer" at school. He sometimes makes up stories about jupiter jumps and maybe even adds a few tall tales about falling down or getting a boo-boo that doesn't even exist.

Yesterday, they must have played in the gym because while devouring a pile of spaghetti he mentioned a new activity.

Amanda: What did you do today, Jackson?
Jackson: I played with balls.

Eric doesn't miss a beat.

Eric: Who's balls did you play with?
Jackson: Mine.

We may not be the best parents in the world but the boy will definitely know a good joke when he hears one.

Monday, October 26, 2009


From Jupiter jumps to fire trucks, this weekend was packed with flashing lights, cookies, music and so much candy collecting that in the quiet darkness of his room as Jackson drifted off to sleep last night he said:
"Let's go to another festival, mama."

And so the festivus season has begun.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Back Seat Driver

You might be a bad driver if on the way to school this morning your two-year-old says:
"Slow down, mama! Not like a race car!"

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hop On The Potty Train

We are currently in the throes of potty training.

We seem to be nearing the other side as Jackson has total understanding of the process and every now and then the only issue is remembering to get to a potty in time - not just 5 seconds before, making mama and daddy nearly break their necks as everyone flings themselves down the hallway and into the potty.

As I do for most parental undertakings, I read a lot of different resources about it and asked for advice from anyone who would give it. So I thought I would put together a timeline of tips and advice that worked for us in case any of my four readers were interested. (I see you taking notes, Cookie!)


18 months: Jackson displayed an interest and so we got him a potty chair of his own (from Target) and put it in the bathroom. Just so he would get used to seeing it. He loved it. Found it hilarious. Would sit on it. Giggled and pointed at it. BUT- he never "used" it if you get my drift. Not once. So that was a waste. He wanted to sit on the big potty. The seat gathers dust in the linen closet.

19-20 months: Jackson would inform me of the status of his diapers. He would also use the potty when the mood struck him. Progress.

21 months: I will never forget it. We were at the mall getting Eric's birthday present ordered. He was playing on the train. He started to retreat into a partially hidden part of the playground area - maybe for some private time? I caught his attention with an excited: "Want to go use the potty?" I asked. "The MALL potty!?" This mall concept appealed to him greatly and we dashed down the walk way. At once, I realized I had no idea where the almighty "Mall Potty" was. (Note: My mother assures me that there will come a time in our lives where we will know the location of all potties within a 10-mile radius) I just kept running, with a gleeful toddler ready to see his first Mall Potty trying to keep up at my side. When I finally located it, I was thrilled to see they had a family-friendly bathroom. (Note: You will come to worship these family facilities when you have a kid. WOR. SHIP. You will fall to your knees and thank the potty-gods that this airport, mall, etc. has provided you with a family-friendly restroom!)

At the end of it all, the Mall Potty event was a huge success and really the beginning of the boy’s lengthy potty career. I'm thinking of scrapbooking the event.

After the Great Mall Potty 2009 incident, we decided to get him a potty seat that fits onto a regular toilet. It was a big hit. He loved it. I found that selection is limited everywhere but we located the perfect size at Babies-R-Us. It was the only place that had any variety and by variety I mean a pink Dora one and a green Winnie the Pooh one. I went with Winnie. Also, I immediately tossed the "pee-shield." While it may be needed, it is too difficult for a child to maneuver around that thing. Discard.

I also made sure to get one with pads on the bottom to protect the toilet seat from scraping, handles on the side to help him with balance, and that also separated into parts for easy washing. These are features I highly recommend.

We began the weekend after Labor Day. We had several lengthy conversations about it and one-week prior we regularly started reading an Elmo potty book. The book's sounds effects are hilarious. (No! Not THOSE kinds of sound effects.)

Right after he came home from school on Friday, we explained the system. We set up a potty chart with star stickers. We went through several outfits and did not leave the house. We choose a good weekend that was warm enough for him to run around in with just shorts on. We also found a few cute videos on youtube that showed him other kids training and Elmo's Potty Time song was a helpful tune. Come Monday morning he headed to school with his Elmo underpants on.

Like a potty-training rock star.

His teachers were ready to assist. They set up a chart at school and took potty breaks every thirty minutes. Rumor has it, he bragged about his new fancy pants to fellow classmates and even their parents. Wouldn't you?

Sure, there are occasional accidents, and now the kid bargains for M&Ms as well as stickers, (he is very convincing!) but I am so proud of Jackson and his willingness to learn. Several times a week I even catch him using it all by himself. Once Eric and I did a lengthy dance in the hallway, when we discovered him. I think he was appreciative of the entertainment.

He's also a pro at the public restroom scene. We're free again.

We are using pull-ups when he goes to bed and during the 5-hour road trip to visit grandparents. He does tell us in the car when he’s got to make a stop and we have become very familiar with all of the sketchy gas-station bathrooms along the regularly-travelled route. But we’re happy to do it. Sure we rub Purel all over his body afterwards, but we’re still happy to have yet another successful potty moment. Even if it adds 7 more hours to the trip and is in a creepy Ozark outhouse.

This bring me to the best advice of all: While it is important that your kid is ready for potty training, it is just as important that YOU are ready, because it is something you and your whole family have to commit to.

The best part was when I dared to get rid of the diapers.* At first, I was superstitious that the moment I cleared them out of the changing-table drawer, he would decide he would never use the potty again. So I waited. Eventually, I had to make the move. I was so thrilled to be done with them, I was deliriously handing out diapers to random children on the street.

I may still hand them out to trick-or-treaters next week.

Their mothers will understand.

*I secretly still have four. I told you I was superstitious. I’ll probably keep them until he’s moved out of the house … just in case.


Movie: Miss Potter
Such a delightful, utterly charming, jewel of a film that after viewing you must tilt your head just so and speak only with a soft English accent while conversing with colourful caricatures of tiny, yet smartly dressed woodland creatures.

Based on the current potty training holiday-reward system, we give this movie: 3 out of 5 candycorns.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Me: Ok, Jack here is your m&m for using the potty!
Jackson: No, mama. This is my medicine.

He clutches the purple candy, and wanders down the hall, head down, wearing a very serious face.
I follow.

Me: Oh, you need some medicine?
Jackson: Yeah. I'm sick.
Me: Oh. What's the medicine for?

He turns back, looks up, thrusts the tiny and now melting candy in my face.

Jackson: It's for ME!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Not Really About That Dream I had Last Night

Me: I had this dream last night that I kept trying to talk to you but you kept watching t.v. Except it felt like a nightmare.

Eric: Oh, really? Man. Well... But what was on t.v.? I mean ... was it like X-Files? Because then ... well. Come on!

Monday, October 12, 2009



We texted during the first half.

Bailed before the second half.

We love both of these actors, but could not get through this.

Based on the current potty training reward system, we give this movie: 1 out of 5 M&Ms.

So Long, Summer

It was a good summer.
There was lots of sliding, plenty of tomato picking, endless reading, visiting family, tons of growing, some travelling and it was all topped off with potty training

What did you do this summer?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

So Not Attractive

So after bath last night, Jackson was giggling so hard while hanging upside down that he gave himself the hiccups and then urped through his nose.
Sometimes parenthood is gross.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mail Call!

Oh? Have I mentioned ...

... my courtesy copy arrived last night!
From London!

So, I highly recommend adding it to your reading list.
Oh, and also page 176.
Just sayin.'

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Pumpkin Town

Was a very big success. I recommend it.
...for the rest of the adventure visit:

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Since we've just discovered NetFlix about a year ago, we thought we'd include a new feature here at houpley inc.
Welcome to: Three-Sentence Movie Reviews!
How does this relate to parenthood, you may ask? NetFlix is the easiest way we are able to actually watch a movie! We've been playing catch up for quite some time.
Not only have we been trying to watch some classics we never got around to but we've also been working on The Wire. Also we're fans of the Watch It Instantly feature.
Plus with NetFlix, it doesn't sting so badly when you've ordered a dud.

Like this one:

Movie: I love you, man

We laughed out loud four times.
For sure a renter.
Gag reel was funniest part.

Based on our current potty training reward system, we give this movie: 2 out of 5 M&Ms.

Fall Reading List

Excited to start a few new books.
Over the weekend, mom loaded me up with some literary recs.

First up: People of the Book

Next on the list: The Known World.

Except I took a peak at this one and may have to move it to the top of the list.
Have you read either of these?
If so, let's make plans to discuss. I'll bring the wine, you bring the cheese.
If not, I'll still bring the wine.

I love having new and delicious books waiting for me on the bedside table.
You know, for those 30 seconds before I fall asleep.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Paw-Paw's Spousal Abuse Prevention Program

Nearly every night, just before bed time we all head out to the bench on the front porch and take a few minutes to hear the crickets, smell a storm coming in, or feel a cool breeze on our cheeks before reading a story and tucking Jack in for the night. Last night, while swinging his legs from the bench and enjoying a final graham cracker or two, Jack spotted three tiny slugs coming up through a crack on the porch.
We all became very interested in their unhurried travels and Jack must have asked a million questions about them.
His last question, "I touch 'em?" was met with a “no” and followed up with a few slug stories.
Everyone has a slug story.
Once, I accidentally stepped on one barefoot and it was one of the grossest things I've ever done.
Paw-Paw regaled us with a classic slug-torture tale involving salt. He said he had seen someone do it and it was horrible.
This led to the discussion of why children, particularly boys torture animals and why some parents don't do much to halt the destruction of the smaller animals like frogs, slugs and turtles because it must not seem to be a big enough deal to them.
But even those tiny amphibians or reptiles or whatever slugs are, are a big deal.
Our household subscribes to the “peace for all creatures” philosophy.

But Paw-Paw's reasoning really put it best:
"Don't let him hurt a slug.
Because first it's slugs.
Then cats.
Then your wife."