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December 8, 2010 / Chip

AL East Out of Reach?

Must pause now for a baseball interruption, but one that pertains to Ellis and Sevie. Stunning news tonight: Red Sox will reportedly sign left fielder Carl Crawford to a seven-year contract, extending into 2017. This development coupled with the news four days ago that the Sox will sign Adrian Gonzalez at first base through 2018 would seem to put the AL East almost out of reach from the Yankees for at least the next year, whatever Cliff Lee’s status. Who knows if these deals will seem good when Ellis is 12 and Sevie 9, but Crawford/Gonzalez will be among the Red Sox stars with whom our kids grow up — exciting players to help our own duo form their first impressions of baseball.

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December 6, 2010 / Chip

Sevie Speaks II

Sevie, even in a feverish state, introduced several new words yesterday. Among them, “dark” (after the sun went done) and “bak” for “backpack.” (If you are uncertain of the meaning of what he is saying and inquire, “Sevie, do you want your backpack?” or “Sevie, are you saying it is dark in this room?”, he’ll answer in one of two ways: either a plaintive, drawn-out “yeahhhhhhhhh” that tails off to almost a moan, or the opposite, an upbeat, resounding, “Yeah!”)

December 5, 2010 / Chip

Special Talents

Wendy, Derek, and their son Oliver, who is a year older than Ellis, came over for brunch today. Ellis impressed everyone by making placecards for each person’s spot at the dining table. Her upper-case lettering is improving by the day. Oliver then spent some time demonstrating his skill in writing the number eight, which wowed Ellis.

Tonight, as I was putting her to sleep, Ellis asked, awe in her voice, if I knew that two 1s formed the number 11. I told her that it was indeed special that Oliver knew his numbers so well, and pointed out that he was a year older than her and that everyone had different talents. Wendy is good at arts, Mama helps other mothers and kids around the world, I work to protect nature, Oliver knows lots about birds and other animals, as well as numbers. “Papa, do you know what my talent is?” she asked. Lots of things came to mind, but I replied, “No, what?” We were lying down in her bed in the dark, but I could hear her smile as she said with assurance, “Taking care of Sevie.”

December 4, 2010 / Chip

Sevie Speaks

The little guy, whom we frequently call Sevie-doo-doo, has picked up some new words in the last two days. To his expansive vocabulary — “baba” for “bottle;” “ba” for “ball;” “bebe” for “baby;” “fwuck” for “truck;” “shit” for “sit;” “pa pa” for, well, “papa;” and “mama” — he has added many. For example, “”boat,” “mit” for “mitten,” “trai” for “train,” and “bum. Also, “Eba” for “Elbow” (my term of affection for Ellis). And he has started referring to himself, proudly pointing to his chest and saying, “Doo-doo.”

December 2, 2010 / Chip

Going to Sleep

Since returning from our East Coast trip several days ago, Ellis has requested someone to snuggle her to sleep. For the first couple of nights, it was only Jenny, but then I had my time in the sun, or moon, last night: When Jenny creaked into the room after having gotten Sevie down, Ellis dispatched of her, with the words, “Jenny, you can go away. Papa is snuggling me.” Yeah, I couldn’t complain about that.

But tonight I was resolved for Ellis to fall asleep by herself. So after reading her a chapter of a book (which turned out to be about a girl who was scared to go to sleep, due to monsters hiding in every crevice of her room — in other words, I had to veer off-script, ad-libbing everything I was saying while turning the pages methodically along the way), I laid out the plan. “You can do it, Ellis,” I said. “But Papa,” she replied, “it’s Hanukkah. Snuggle me. Just for tonight. Just one more night.” Then she unwound a new line: “You have my word.” (Where on this blue earth did she learn that expression?) “Ellis, that’s crazy. You can go to sleep by yourself. We’re developing a pattern here. How will I know you won’t pull this tomorrow?” I asked, trying to reason with a 4.5-year-old and beginning to build up a head of steam. “Chip,” she said solemnly, “you have my word.” As if she knew what that meant. Sure enough, though, I ended up curled alongside her in bed. Two minutes went by. “I love you, Ellis.” “I love you, too.” Three minutes later: “Papa, I love you. Let me kiss you.” One minute more: “Papa, night night.” And I crept out, with her blessing, no steam left, only a warm heart.

December 2, 2010 / Chip

Second night of Hanukkah

Ellis was disappointed last night in her gift — a mermaid-princess-strewn bicycle helmet. What she had hoped for instead was, how to put it kindly, yet another small, sweet doll to add to her collection of nine others (and then to be forgotten within days). The intended was one she’d spotted earlier this week at the Vashon Pharmacy, which doubles as the new-toy store on the island. The doll’s polyester-made-in-China goodness consisted of “only new materials” (phew!).

Anyway, Ellis got her wish tonight, night two, and to see the wave of happiness roll over her, to witness her unalloyed joy, was pretty special. Even for a cynic.

December 2, 2010 / Chip

Pensive Father/Uncle/Brother/Son

Proud and Pensive Father