b Papa Dog's Blog: Daddy at Home Day - Watching a Squirrel/Blowing Kisses to the Moon

Papa Dog's Blog

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Daddy at Home Day - Watching a Squirrel/Blowing Kisses to the Moon

Daddy at home day today. We went to the park in the morning. Baby Dog tried out the swings for a while and went down a slide a couple of times. We practiced walking in the shady grassy area. Baby Dog sat on a Fischer-Price contraption modeled after some sort of motor vehicle and said “vroom vroom,” which I’ve told her is the sound that cars make. We spotted a squirrel foraging outside the park gate. Last time Baby Dog got a good look at a squirrel was some months back. She decided it was a cat and meowed at it. She’s older and wiser now, having absorbed a lot of information from books and from her wooden blocks, each of which has a picture of an animal on it. As of a week or two ago, she was able to identify by name all but 3 of the 28 animals depicted on her set of wooden blocks. One of those three was the squirrel. I’d mentioned it to her a couple of times but it didn’t seem to take. Today, as we watched the squirrel rummaging through the vegetation, I said “Look, a squirrel!” and Baby Dog instantly replied “Stirl!” We watched for a good fifteen minutes as the squirrel would dig madly in the dirt, come up with a nut, jump up onto a low tree branch, and eat. It repeated the cycle over and over. Baby Dog kept pointing and saying “Stirl!” Whenever it got close to the bars of the gate, she said “Hi, stirl!” Eventually, it ran off out of sight, Baby Dog calling “Bye-bye stirl” after it. Tonight, at home, she looked at the picture of the squirrel on her blocks and said something that sounded kind of like “Starla,” but I think she’ll have it mastered soon. Seeing the rodent like that—up close, live and in action—really made the necessary impression.

I had a whole list of ambitious plans for nap time (not all of them involving television) and was nonplussed, flummoxed, discombobulated and perhaps even bumfuzzled when Baby Dog woke after less than an hour of her customarily 2+ hour afternoon nap. Sometimes when she makes noises mid-nap she’s still actually asleep, so I waited a minute before going in to her room. She was standing up in the crib, crying “Daaaaddy! Daaaaddy!” She looked not quite awake but very discontented, and the fact that she was standing seemed to indicate that she was not going to go back to sleep. I picked her up and checked her diaper. It was dry, but she continued to cry throughout the operation. I held her and shushed her and bounced her about and sang to her. Crying and screaming continued throughout. She seemed sweaty, so I got her some water, which she batted away, continuing to cry. I let her loose in the living room, but all she did was sit on the floor and scream. This is all very un-Baby Doglike behaviour. Usually if she’s unhappy, it’s easy to spot the cause, and quickly remedied once diagnosed. The only thing I could think was that she needed more sleep, so I tried settling her back in the crib, with predictably disastrous results. Finally I came to the conclusion that, although lunchtime wasn’t due for a while, she must be hungry. I put her in her chair and gave her a Sippy cup of milk. That did the trick. I followed up with the lunch Mama Dog had prepared, leftover chicken and taters. She ate heartily and gradually came to seem content. The magic power of food.

When she got home, I predicted to Mama Dog that Baby Dog would go to sleep easily tonight because of her short nap. After supper I walked Doggy Dog. When I got back, Mama Dog, Baby Dog, and I all went out on the front porch to have family moon gazing time. The moon was full and Baby Dog continues to be enthralled by it. She’s also starting to point out stars. Mama Dog gave Baby her bath and I took care of the kitchen. Mama Dog read stories then did the sort of thing I never think of because it involves opening blinds instead of closing them. She pointed the rocker at Baby Dog’s window, opened the blinds, and they rocked there, looking out at the moon. Mama Dog sang to Baby Dog about the moon. Baby Dog just about fell asleep on Mama Dog’s lap.

I came in for the finale. Baby Dog kissed Mama Dog good night, and I had her blow a good night kiss to the moon as I closed the blinds. Then I got my own good night kiss and we sat down to rock and sing the usual suite of bedtime songs. For the first time in I don’t know how long, she fell asleep on my lap.


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