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Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I'm so glad Teddy is no longer two.  The melting, the whining, the yell-crying... they are mostly starting to recede, and we're getting a somewhat familiar little boy who can do all kinds of astonishing things.

He can run and jump and stand on one leg.
He can say the Lord's Prayer and sing responses in church without prompting.
He can make the sign of the Cross without prompting.
He helps with the laundry and the dishes.
He asks for permission before leaving the table.
He makes his sister laugh on purpose.
He knows the alphabet, the long vowel sounds, and the short vowel sounds.
He can sing on pitch.  In fact, he can sing all the time.  Did you know that the alphabet song, "Baa baa, black sheep," and "Twinkle, twinkle, little star" all use the same melody?
He can hold his ukulele properly and strum and sing along.  (The two don't necessarily have anything to do with each other yet, but it's still pretty darn cute, especially when he sings to his sister.)
He pretends to be Raffi, and encourages us, using his "microphone," to sing with him.
He can count at least up through 20 on his own without getting confused; he can even count backwards (although this includes "zero" and "go!" and a race: obviously necessary).
He can write his name.
He just loves numbers and letters.

He can dress himself, including socks (if they're not too long) and shoes (without laces: with laces are hard to find these days).
He's getting more consistent about using the potty ... unless he's preoccupied with something more interesting, but he can clean up his messes with a little prompting.
He can put blocks together to make shapes.

He can do real puzzles (real big puzzles) all by himself.  He can even (easily) do the camel puzzle (which gives Mommy trouble; those pieces do not cooperate).

He knows when it's time for bed.
He can match pictures, especially in the middle of a book when he sees the same picture inside as what's on the cover.
He can put his toys and clothes away.
He can buckle himself into his own car seat.
He can (usually) close the car door after he gets out.
He can pause and restart a DVD using the remote control.
He can pretend, and tell us about it.
He's interested in reading (even if it's not necessarily the words on the page when he reads by himself).

He's just started to learn Irish dancing, and is showing quite a bit of grit, getting through his frustration at not already knowing how to do things.  (It is hard to figure out right-and-left in English, although he's got it down cold in Romanian... if only Mommy could remember which is which in Romanian when we're facing each other).
He loves the Hokey-Pokey.
He can throw or kick a ball.
Of course, he can swim, but now he can retrieve one or two items and swim back to his start.
When he wakes up thirsty at night, he can get his own milk out of the fridge, drink it, and put himself back to bed.  Sometimes he even turns off the light again.
He can say: Please; no, thank you; yes, ma'am; no, sir; you're welcome.  (These are used rather effectively, because he does them so well.)
He can brush his teeth by himself.
He can climb a tree (a little ways; it's a little tree).
He can put away the flatware in the right places.
He can almost color in the lines (mostly red, mostly Lightning McQueen).

I do wish, however, that the phase of insisting that everyone in the family be a character from Cars (the movie) be over soon: Daddy is Doc, Mommy is Mac (I did carry him), Teddy, of course, is Lightning McQueen, and Lucia is Mater (at Mommy's suggestion, because if she has to be Mac, then Lucia wasn't going to be left out, and who else should she be other than Lightning's best friend?).  It's pretty cute when he tells her he's going into the cactus.  I have to help her pull him out, and then he says, "Thank you!"

He really is getting to be someone who is fun to have around.  Thank you, God, for your ready gift.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Thank you, Raffi

Teddy: Baa baa, brown cow, have you any milk for me? Yes, sir. Yes, sir, three bags full. One for my master, one for my dame, one for the little boy who walks down the dame.


Teddy: Cluck cluck, red hen, have you any eggs for me? Yes, sir. Yes, sir, three bags full.

Daddy: Cluck cluck, red hen, have you any eggs? Yes, sir. Yes sir, as many as your...

Teddy: Lunch.


Teddy: Cluck cluck, red hen, have you any eggs for me?

Daddy: Yes, sir...

Mommy: Yes, sir...

Teddy: As many eggs for me.

Friday, September 30, 2011

God's Water

We're working with Teddy on asking permission. We practice most often on food and drink. He must ask and receive permission before eating something we have or drinking what we have.

Usually, he wants my water:
"Mommy, may I please have your water?"
"Yes, you may."
"Thank you!"
"You're welcome!"

But today he didn't see that I had poured the water. (I'd gone to nurse his sister in the nursery.) So Daddy overheard this:

"This is God's water.
"God, may I please have your water?
"Okay! Thank you!"

It's cute, right? But shouldn't that be my prayer for anything crossing my lips? It's all God's water. It's all God's everything. And thank God that Teddy shows me in between times of being maddening.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Geography Lesson

I pointed out some things on the floor of Teddy's room, and he dutifully trooped around, answering what they were and putting them away. The last item was the letters bag from Matushka Anna. He asked where it was from (meaning who gave it to him), and I told him. Then he asked, "Where's Matushka Anna?" I told him the name of the state.

Then I got out the globe. (Who doesn't love a globe?) We looked at where we live and where Mat. Anna lives. I pointed out Texas: "Who lives here?" And he knew: his grandmother! I pointed out Georgia: "Who lives here?" And he knew: his aunt! I pointed out Minnesota: "Who lives here?" And he knew: his (other) aunt! Then we talked about where his godfather now lives (who recently moved to the same state we're in from the snowy north). I reviewed the continents, and he seemed to be bored, so we went and had a snack.

Later in the morning, I got out the road atlas to see the United States a little bigger. We opened to Florida and talked about the people we knew who live in other towns, and I pointed those out. When we paused, Teddy looked thoughtful, obviously trying to think of another person. Then he asked: "Where's John the Baptist?" So we got out the Bible and looked at the maps in the back. Then he asked, "Where are the saints?" There are icons in the Orthodox Study Bible, so I turned to one of them, and he said, "Oh, I need to kiss them!" and proceeded to do so.

I think I'm doing okay on the teaching thing, even without a plan. I mean, he's not even three yet. Most of the things he doesn't seem interested in while I'm explaining them (or at least that's how I interpret certain little-boy wiggliness), but he obviously remembers where family members live from previous sessions with the globe.

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9, 2011

We put together a bookcase to serve as a dedicated icon corner with more accessible icons. It's hard to find wall space on an east wall in our house. Teddy helped hand us screws and even turned the screwdriver a couple of times.

Teddy put the "Rory" doll next to Lucia, saying, "It's Lucia's turn!"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lucia Catherine

Rejoice with us!

Lucia Catherine was born on April 12, weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces, and measuring 20 inches long.

Our daughter's birth was much easier than big brother's. She came one day early so as to be born on Daddy's day off. She only took two hours and two minutes of labor. Also, she was born at home, just half an hour after the midwife came. (The student midwife was literally coming in the door as Lucia was born.) Again, all natural and no tearing. Glory to God!

Teddy is intrigued by his little sister, but we are still working on defining "gentle."

She is named for both her grandmothers (who were both named after their mothers), with the first name using the Romanian pronunciation, similar to the Italian, but with the emphasis on the first syllable: "LOO-chee-ah."

I only realized today that her name means "Pure light." It is hard to be at home throughout Holy Week. Sometimes Teddy goes to church with his father (but not for all the services), and we who stay at home are fortunate to virtually visit St. Nektarios and hear Fr. Seraphim (Dedes) and his excellent choirs singing the Holy Week services. Lucia seems to relax when she hears the chanting, and I know it makes me feel calm, especially when Teddy delights me by participating in little bits of the service.

When I see her, I can't help but think of two little ones who now dwell with the angels: Innocent and Lucia, pray for us. "Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward" (John 13:36).

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sunday Snippets

Driving to church:
"Look, Teddy, there are cows."
"They are eating. They are hungry. They're supposed to sit!" (Well, he is.)


Teddy, after being censed at the Doxology, started strumming his invisible guitar. I leaned in to hear what he was whispering: "When the Spirit says, 'sing,' sing..."


Fr. Peter came out of the Royal Gates bearing the consecrated Gifts: "With the fear of God, with faith and love, draw near!"
"Communion!" Teddy waved both hands in the air. "Communion! Yay! Communion!"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Adventures in... nudity?

Yesterday, as I was at the office, my wife sent me a message. It said something along the lines of "Your son did not take a nap today. Eventually, I told him he could come out. He said, 'It's cold outside. It's cold outside. Naked!'" She went in and, sure enough, he was wrapped in his blanket with no clothes on.

Fast forward to the evening. We put Teddy to bed and, as usual, late in the evening, Magda went to look at him. I was about ready to go to sleep, but she came, pulled me out of bed and said, "You have to go see your son." He was fast asleep. And naked. We put his clothes back on and went to sleep ourselves.

Fast forward to about 3am. Teddy must have had some sort of a nightmare, because he woke up and started crying. I went to see what was wrong. He was, you guessed it, naked. I comforted him a bit, put his clothes back on him, and got him to relax and go to sleep again. About forty minutes later, there's another cry. I go to see what is going on and Teddy is standing in the hallway with only his shirt on. My first reaction was to get a bit upset, since I had told him not to take his clothes off. Then I noticed that the diaper and pants were in the bathroom. Sure enough, he had picked 3:45 in the morning to work on potty training himself. The diaper was dry, the potty was full.

What can I say? That's my son.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The bishop and the PK

Last year, we adopted a family motto: "It seemed like a good idea at the time." In keeping with this motto, presvytera and Teddy are almost everywhere there is a church-related activity. This means that Wednesday they were in church for the vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil and the great blessing of the waters. Then, they were at the archbishop's luncheon in Clearwater. Then, they were at the trisagion for Fr. George Pappas in Fr. Myers. Except for the liturgy, Metropolitan Alexios of Atlanta was also everywhere we were.

Thursday, they were in Tarpon Springs for the Theophany celebration (all five hours of it), then they were in Tampa for hierarchical vespers at the church of St. John the Baptist. Metropolitan Alexios was also in both places.

Today, they were at St. John again, as was Metropolitan Alexios. So, in addition to having seen him a few times previously, Teddy got to be around His Eminence quite a bit over the last few days. This is important because, at the end of the service today, Teddy and I were walking around the grounds at St. John as Metropolitan Alexios was coming out of the community center there. We exchanged a few words, then he and Teddy had a little conversation, after which His Eminence extended his hand to Teddy and said, "Let's go." Teddy grabbed a finger and they started walking (and, as I was to find out later, chatting).

I got ready to follow, but Metropolitan Alexios was curious about something. He said, "Wait here, let's see what happens." I have to admit that, by this point, I was curious, too. They walked through the parking lot... They got out of the parking lot... They turned the corner... and kept walking. The bishop and the PK were having a grand old time and, for my part, I think I will enjoy for a long time the memory of Teddy just walking along with Metropolitan Alexios, holding on to his index finger and pointing out cars and colors.