Archive for category Silly Behaviors

Wasn’t Me

If you think about it, even for just a minute or two, you’ll see that this was not my doing.

After all, I’m the one that suggested we take a break after we lost our dog last week. I was the voice of reason.

But then things started happening.

First, without a dog in the house, it suddenly became clear just how much food Clay drops on the floor. He takes heaping handfuls of pretzels or chips, much more than he can hold, then leaves trails of food throughout the house. He is also a master of what we call the “bite and toss,” an odd compulsion where he flings the last quarter inch or so of a french fry or apple slice or chicken nugget indiscriminately. It’s a miracle no one has lost an eye. Clearly, we needed another dog for housecleaning purposes. I couldn’t very well let the house be overrun with ants, could I? Read the rest of this entry »


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The Science of Sleep

Baby in a night shirtClay burst in to our bedroom the other night, babbling at the top of his lungs. I fully expected him to belt out a song, Ethel Merman-style. “There’s no business like show business.” He was ready to go, tapped into some powerful energy source. One tiny problem. It was 2:15 a.m. Five minutes earlier, we were all asleep.

Clay is the Typhoid Mary of sleeplessness. Basic rule—if he is awake, I’m awake. Generally, he is out by about 11 p.m., but there are plenty of nights when he can’t settle down. When that happens, he’ll come in for a visit. Sometimes he circles our bed reciting phrases from Dr. Seuss books. Sometimes he burrows under the covers between us, squirming like an eel on a hook. Sometimes he drags his comforter with him and plops on the end of the bed with his feet in our faces. Sometimes he goes downstairs, turns on every light and forages for food. Sometimes he does all of the above. Read the rest of this entry »


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Battling the Leathernecks

Clay swimmingWe took Clay swimming on Father’s Day, and nearly wound up in a brawl. Let me explain.

Clay, his older brother, my wife and I spent the day at my parent’s house, one of the few homes we visit that calms the little guy. The open floor plan and lack of clutter seems to work for him. He’ll circle through the living room, kitchen and dining area, check out the den, then retreat to the quiet of their finished basement, where he spends most of his time. You always need that escape room. After a few hours of him wandering while we stuffed our faces and caught up with my family, Clay’s usual steady line of patter turned agitated. The keyboard was retrieved. Read the rest of this entry »


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Hot Lips

french fry statueMost nights during the week I cook french fries in the oven for Clay. He likes to eat by 5:30, while the rest of the family isn’t home and ready to eat until about an hour later. To keep us all sane, Clay eats a light dinner—french fries and a hot dog or chicken nuggets—at 5:30, then joins us for the full dinner at 6:30. Two dinners? you ask, one eyebrow arching slightly. Yes, two dinners. The little guy is always on the move, burning fuel like a Chevy Suburban. Even when he is eating, he rarely sits down. Two dinners works out just fine, thank you very much.

I used to put the fries in the oven and go off to get some work done on my laptop for 20 minutes. Can’t do that anymore. Clay does not do the waiting thing well. He opens the oven every three minutes to see if the fries are done, yet. I’ve caught him once or twice eating still-frozen fries he swiped off the edge of the pan. Now I stand guard, usually sitting on the counter next to the oven reading the newspaper or a magazine. At long last, the timer dings, and I pull the fries out. This is where the serious wrestling begins. Read the rest of this entry »



Shoeless Joe

Empty shoes and snackClay wears sneakers all day at school, but the moment he comes in our back door off they come. The picture to the left is the view one minute after Clay came home from school on Friday. A visit to the afternoon snacks and removal of the sneakers. It is not such a bad thing inside—although we have an old farmhouse with irregular wooden floors—because he keeps his socks on. The dilemma is outside.

In warm weather, trying to keeping Clay inside is like standing between a fat lady and an ice cream cone. Ultimately, you are going to wind up with an empty hand, counting to make sure you still have all 10 sticky fingers. Problem is that he is always on the move—inside, outside, inside, outside—and every time he comes in, flinging the door wide open, the shoes come off. Read the rest of this entry »


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Sticky Situation

pouring liquidI’ve mentioned before that Clay enjoys pouring things out. We’ve long since learned to keep shampoos, mouthwashes, liquid soap and other “pourables” behind locked doors, along with the paper towels and napkins (a topic for another day). Forget about hydrogen peroxide or witch hazel. We smuggle them into the house in unmarked bags like winos in a cheap hotel and still the bottles will be empty within hours. It is an obsession that is as puzzling as it is maddening.

The last few days Clay has been dumping juice. Read the rest of this entry »


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Still Looking

My wife and I take a different approach to cooking. She can scan the refrigerator and pantry at 5:30 and ad lib a healthy, tasty meal we are happily chomping on by 6:15. Me? “Winging it” is not in my vocabulary. I follow recipes. With great care and precision. I double check amounts. If the recipe calls for 1.267 ounces of curdled fish sauce, I’m adding 1.267 ounces of curdled fish sauce. (“Season to taste” in a recipe drives me crazy.)

So, the other day I was cooking a lentil stew and had all my ingredients neatly arranged on the counter. (Since we have to keep our pantry and refrigerator locked, it’s easier to get everything out in one trip.) I was carefully following along with the recipe. Read the rest of this entry »


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Magnificent Obsession

Clay certainly has some interesting obsessions. For one, we can’t keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in the house. We’ve tried. We buy them. We put them behind locked doors. (Many doors in our house have locks, a topic for another time.) If we slip, though (leave a door unlocked, leave a bottle out for just a second), he will find it, and he will dump it in the sink. Sure, he likes to dump shampoo and liquid soap, too. But he attacks hydrogen peroxide like a hungry dog going after a dropped hot dog.

Clay also obsessively turns on lights. As the guy who pays the electric bill every month, I obsessively turn lights off. This leads to some interesting conflicts. Read the rest of this entry »