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Friday, February 3, 2017 09:06 AM
(Last updated on Monday, February 6, 2017 03:34 PM)
I Wrote a Book!
 by Fëanor

Well, I wrote the book a while ago. And then my brother drew and colored pictures to go with. And then he made a couple of physical copies just for us. But now! You can go and buy it yourself! On Amazon! It's only an eBook for now, but we're going to look into making it possible to buy a physical, printed copy, too. Anyway, here it is!

Ballyhoo, and Mom's Other Tigers

It's a children's book, in verse, about tigers, sort of. If you do purchase it, and like it, please leave a review on Amazon! I understand good reviews are a great way to help us generate further interest and more sales. Thanks much!

UPDATE: And now it's also available in paperback!
Tagged (?): Animals (Not), Books (Not), Children (Not), Personal (Not), Poetry (Not)
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Monday, September 30, 2013 10:59 AM
Mr. X
 by Fëanor

Well hello there! Yes, I'm still alive. And we've got that second kid now. He's good. I like him.

All our attempts to schedule/plan anything about Griffin's birth were foiled. Nothing went as planned. This time, poppy scheduled a C-section, and although we had to wait much longer than we'd hoped for the operation to begin, and the thing itself took much longer than we remembered, it happened on the scheduled date, with no complications. We had a little scare about some weird thyroid levels, but that seems to have turned out to be a false alarm. Poppy's recovery has also been going a lot faster and smoother than the first time, although she's still certainly not 100%.

We're rediscovering how interesting life is with a newborn (oh right, they pee on everything with no warning! And crap out hazardous materials a dozen times a day! And want to be fed constantly! Laundry and bottles and bottles and laundry!), and discovering for the first time how extra interesting it is when you have a newborn and a three-year-old in the same place at the same time. It's particularly exciting when they both get sick at the same time - that's something we just found out!

Still - and maybe I shouldn't say this, for fear of jinxing myself, but here we go - I'm not feeling the same desperate, edge-of-a-nervous-breakdown exhaustion and terror that I remember feeling in Griffin's early days. But I am once again finding that all the cliches are true. X is a second child, and is getting the second child treatment. I feel more confident with him - maybe a bit over-confident. We've done this before, after all, and that one is still around. I remember when we went anywhere with Griffin, we took like three suitcases full of stuff with us. The first time we went out with X, we just threw some stuff in a plastic bag from Wawa and took off. It was the most ghetto diaper bag ever. We've upgraded him to a real bag now, but still. Sometimes if we're just taking a walk, we don't bring a bag at all! That would have been unthinkable with Griffin.

Anyway, the point is, it's going pretty well, all things considered. You can find pictures and video on Facebook and Flickr, although as before, you can only see them if you are marked as my friend or family, so let me know if you're not and would like to be.
Tagged (?): Children (Not), Parenthood (Not), Parenting (Not), Personal (Not), X (Not)
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Monday, July 15, 2013 10:19 AM
Late Announcement
 by Fëanor

In case you have not already heard some other way, I should probably officially announce, this kid we got is gonna have a brother by early September. Which most likely means a lot fewer updates from me in the coming months. Or more, but far less sane.

Poppy is hanging in there, but apparently it's going to be in the nineties this whole week, so please send her your sympathy and perhaps fans and ice, or a nice air-conditioned pope-mobile.

G is aware of what's going to happen, but only in an abstract sense. In actual fact, he has no idea what he's in for. Frankly, neither do I.

Kids! Plural! Hoo boy.
Tagged (?): Children (Not), Parenthood (Not), Personal (Not)
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Monday, July 1, 2013 08:49 AM
Priorities
 by Fëanor

My hands were hurting on and off for a while. Then it got particularly bad in my left hand, and spread up my arm. My first thought when it started was, "Damn, I'm gonna have to get that Dragon speech recognition software, aren't I?" Later, when I started to get worried I was having a heart attack and was about to die, my first thought was, "I'd better write down all my passwords and where I'm keeping the latest copy of my novel."

There's nothing that makes me realize faster that I am totally out of touch with my own body than going to the doctor. They ask me questions like, "Where does it hurt? How long has it hurt? How much does it hurt on a scale of one to ten? How tall are you?" And I'm like, "Uhhh... I dunno, let me check my driver's license."

Turns out it's probably Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. So of course I'm here typing about it! Don't worry, I'm wearing a wrist brace.

My relief that my death is probably not imminent is starting to wear off and I'm getting a bit annoyed about the whole thing. All I do all day at work is type, and then when I get home, I type for fun! And I bet that Dragon thing is really a pain to use.

Anyway, here's my advice: don't use wrist rests, they suck.
Tagged (?): Health (Not), Personal (Not)
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Saturday, June 1, 2013 01:30 PM
(Last updated on Saturday, June 1, 2013 02:16 PM)
A Trip to Jiffy Lube
 by Fëanor

I took the car to Jiffy Lube today for the "Signature Service" (which is an oil change, plus whatever else they can talk me into, which is usually one or two relatively expensive extras). Brought the kid with me. He was good.

I should mention the only maintenance I have ever personally performed on my vehicle is that once or twice I've helped to replace a flat tire with a donut, and a few times when I was out of state I personally poured gas into the tank. If there is ever some apocalyptic scenario wherein all the mechanics are killed and I somehow survive, the car will be a wreck in no time.

So I felt my manhood shrivel up and cower inside me in the Jiffy Lube waiting room as two muscular contractors talked about all the giant stuff they've built and how they only take their big old trucks to Jiffy Lube for oil changes (more cost effective) and do the rest of the maintenance themselves. By the end of the visit they had exchanged names and business cards. Meanwhile, the lady at the register was wishing all the male customers a Happy Father's Day. Which seemed weird to me, as first of all, it is not Father's Day yet, and secondly, I was the only one there with a kid, and what the hell, maybe he wasn't even mine, you don't know!

Anyway. That's my story. Bye.
Tagged (?): Automobiles (Not), Personal (Not)
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Saturday, December 15, 2012 08:43 PM
Thoughts
 by Fëanor

If I told 14-year-old me that in 20 years he'd sit with a beautiful woman who was his wife and a wonderful child who was his son and eat spicy noodles with peanuts for dinner, I'm not sure which of those things would be more unbelievable to him. Probably the noodles.
Tagged (?): Food (Not), Personal (Not)
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Sunday, December 2, 2012 08:24 AM
(Last updated on Sunday, December 2, 2012 09:22 AM)
Building
 by Fëanor

I bought building blocks for Griffin as soon as he entered the safe age range of the set that had the lowest safe age range (Mega Bloks has sets that are okay for ages 1 and over - they're basically big, chunky LEGO bricks that not even the most determined infant could choke himself on). I love building blocks and remember countless happy hours as a kid putting crazy stuff together with them. The thing is, infants and toddlers aren't so much builders as destructors. The boy wasn't really interested in doing anything with his Mega Bloks but knocking over and taking apart stuff built by other people. We kept his bag of bricks in his playroom, but didn't touch them much; he's been focused mostly on playing with cars and guys.

Then, yesterday, while he was pulling down and throwing around all his toys (like he does), he came across the bag of Mega Bloks. He handed it to me and I asked him if he wanted to build something with them. He said yes. We dumped them out (he loves dumping things out) and I asked him what he wanted to build. He didn't seem sure, so I suggested robots. I built a small one myself, and then, after some trial and error, he built two more. When he was done he did a little dance and said, "RO-BOTS! RO-BOTS!" Although it was more like "WO-BOTS! WO-BOTS!" Our creations are below. Mine is the one on the left.

Robots


I'm a little embarrassed at how happy and proud this made me.

UPDATE: I should add, the boy's robots would have been bigger if we hadn't run out of blocks. I was like, "We ran out. We need more blocks!" I'm dangerous in toy stores. The other day we were in Target and he was playing with a little car, and I think he would have actually put it back and left peacefully, but I said, "No, you need to have this."
Tagged (?): Children (Not), Griffin (Not), LEGO (Not), Parenthood (Not), Parenting (Not), Personal (Not), Toys (Not)
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Friday, November 9, 2012 09:05 AM
How to Fight a Toddler (And Lose)
 by Fëanor

The good news is, if it comes down to a physical confrontation, you will almost certainly win. You're bigger, stronger, smarter, and (if you're lucky, and not too out of shape) faster. But even then it won't be easy, and here's why: that little creature doesn't have any empathy, man! Even though he needs you and cares for you, he has no idea he could seriously hurt you or himself in his struggles. So he is going to fight you with everything he's got, holding back nothing, using all of his tiny psycho strength. He's not going to fight fair; he doesn't know what fair is! He's going to take a cheap shot without even realizing he's doing it. He's just the right height to punch or bite you in your most delicate areas. Meanwhile, unless you're blind with rage or a complete scumbag, you are going to be holding back; you don't want to hurt him or yourself. You're at a disadvantage.

And really, let's be honest, if it's come down to a physical confrontation, you've already lost. You're fighting a toddler, man. That's just sad.

The bad news is, if it's a battle of pure will - a game of chicken where he who blinks first loses - you've got no chance. The toddler will win every time. There's a couple of reasons why. One is, your time is limited. You want to go to sleep at some point. You've got somewhere to go, something to do. He doesn't. He has all the time in the world. He doesn't have any appointments. He's barely aware that there's a past and a future. He's living in this moment, and in this moment, he wants to beat you. That's all he has going on.

Another reason is, repetition. The average adult can build up a pretty decent tolerance for repetition. But the average toddler thrives on it. He loves it! Do you know how many times he can watch that same episode of Dora in a row? Infinite times. He is prepared to say, "I wanna watch TV, Daddy!" until the end of time. How long can you stand up to that? Professional trained torturers should observe toddlers for tips and tricks.

But don't worry. He won't be a toddler forever! Eventually he'll be a teenager.

ARGH!
Tagged (?): Children (Not), Griffin (Not), Parenthood (Not), Parenting (Not), Personal (Not)
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Thursday, November 8, 2012 11:46 AM
Knowing
 by Fëanor

Often Griffin will see something and ask me (or poppy, or my parents), "What's that?" And very often when he is given the answer ("Oh, that's X."), he will either insist that it's wrong, and that he has a better answer ("No, not X, Y!"), or intimate that he knew the answer all along ("Yeah, X.").

Probably I'm getting a little too philosophical and pretentious here (I considered not posting this at all; I'm afraid it's a bit corny), but this has got me thinking about how early in life we decide we know everything, and how long it takes us to realize (if we ever realize it at all) how wrong we are. Maybe we can't ever fully understand how little we know, and how little we can ever know, because it would fill us too much with existential dread. There's a lot of cognitive dissonance around the recognition of our own ignorance - knowing that we don't know. We have to believe that we have a good working knowledge of the universe in order to keep moving through it and not just give up entirely. That being said, I think it's definitely useful to stop every once in a while and remind yourself just how much you've learned, and how much there is still to learn, and that you can't ever stop.

I'm not going to burst the guy's bubble any time soon, though. In twenty years or so he'll figure this all out for himself. I just hope it doesn't come with a lot of existential dread, because that stuff sucks.
Tagged (?): Children (Not), Griffin (Not), Parenthood (Not), Parenting (Not), Personal (Not), Philosophy (Not)
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012 09:18 AM
(Last updated on Thursday, August 9, 2012 07:18 PM)
A Griffin-to-English Dictionary
 by Fëanor

The boy is getting better and better at speaking, so a lot of the stuff he says now is completely clear and understandable. But some of it still requires a bit of interpretation. Probably I will update this as we remember/notice more of his vocab. (UPDATE 1: I should perhaps note for clarity that he actually knows many more words than the ones listed here - like "hot dog dance," for example - these are just the ones that can be confusing to the uninitiated.)

UPDATE 2: New entries are bolded below.

Sound(s) MadeApparent Meaning/Explanation
Aa-poh"Hippo"
Aa-poo"Octopus"
Aa-pull"Apple", as well as any fruit or vegetable that looks even remotely like an apple
All-Fahn"Elephant"
Bee-bop or Bee-bot"Robot" or "bug"
Beed-yeahWe really have no idea what this means. He seems to use it to refer to a multitude of unrelated things. It might just be an all-purpose word for anything he doesn't know the word for.
Boo"Spoon"
Chee"Cheese" or "tree"
Ee-ee"Horse" (it's an imitation of the sound horses make)
(ee-)Yeah"Please take this empty sippy cup from me". Yeah, this one's a bit of a mystery. Maybe he's trying to say, "here" as in "here, take this"?
Ho-ho"Pirate" or the TV show "Jake and the Never Land Pirates"
Mao"Mouse"
Mo"More"
MooUsually "milk", sometimes "moon" or "more", and rarely "cow"
Nake"Snake"
Pee-pie"Pizza pie" or "french fry". Conveniently, the same sound designates his two favorite foods!
Puh-uh or puh-puh"Pretzel"
Shih"Fish"
Wa or Wawa"Water"
Wah-Shih"Rocket ship"
Tagged (?): Children (Not), Griffin (Not), Language (Not), Parenthood (Not), Parenting (Not), Personal (Not)
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Welcome to the blog of Jim Genzano, writer, web developer, husband, father, and enjoyer of things like the internet, movies, music, games, and books. For a more detailed run-down of who I am and what goes on here, read this.

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