Monday, August 27, 2007

They Might Want To Get Moving On That Long-Awaited "Beatles On iTunes" Agreement

Madison and I are in our home office tonight, getting ready to download some Jonas Brothers songs she has been asking about.

I call up the iTunes store and this image appears as part of the banner at the top of the page:

And, immediately upon seeing it, Madison, who is 6, says:

"Why is there a picture of Harry Potter on there?"

Down A Tooth

Madison has had her first "wiggler" for the last couple of weeks, one of her bottom central incisors. She's gone through periods of fascination with this - wandering around the house moving it back and forth with the top of her finger and sharing the experience with anyone who happened to be around.

Appropriately horrified by this clear and present precursor to college, we would implore her "not to rush" the thing out of her mouth and let it "take its own time." Sometimes these warnings took the form of "STOP!" Eventually, we would all forget about the unstable chopper, Madison included, and go on with our lives.

We were at my parents' yesterday to celebrate a family birthday and, once again, the refreshing blue rectangle of water that occupies their backyard. During dinner, Madison bit down on the tooth at an odd angle and it loosened considerably. She had the same experience while eating dessert. By the time we had her in the tub for a bath before driving home, the thing was clearly ready to roll, hanging on by a thread as she pushed it back and forth with her fingers.

She wanted to know if it would hurt when it came out, if it would bleed a lot, if Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens would come to our house for a party and to see her dance to the songs on the High School Musical 2 soundtrack if she invited them.

I was trying to rinse the shampoo out of her hair, reassure her that pain and blood were not going to be much of an issue and explain that Zac and Vanessa are really pretty busy at the moment when suddenly she looked up and said, "It's out! Daddy, look, it came out!"

She extended her palm and there it was... a tiny white chip, smaller than a Tic Tac, to go along with a smile as wide as the Grand Canyon, missing an essential span of rock. All of the other party guests had already left, so Madison ran around the house looking for Grandma and Grandpa to show them the tooth and, after receiving the requisite praise and adulation, asked us to start calling friends and relatives on the phone.

When we got into the car for the drive home, she wondered aloud how the Tooth Fairy would know to come to our house that night. To be honest, Gwen and I hadn't appropriately prepared for this obvious question, even with the early warning, but Ava jumped in and attempted to save the day.

"I know, I know, I know," she said. "The Tooth Fairy has a special machine, and she carries it around with her and she puts the machine on the pillow to tell her if there is a tooth inside."

Madison considered this for about half a second and said, "NO... that's not it! Because then she would have to go to every house and every pillow in the whole world looking for teeth every night, and there is no way she could do it. Maybe she has a magic globe that shows her where to go for teeth."

Gwen and I agreed that they were both right. The Tooth Fairy uses a magic globe to find the houses she is supposed to visit each night and - once inside - a special machine to find the teeth waiting under their respective pillows. That seemed to satisfy the occupants of the back seat and end the debate.

When we got home the girls were ready for bed. Madison put the tooth into a plastic bag and nestled it under her pillow, in between asking several thousand additional questions related to the logistics and machinations of the Tooth Fairy.

Gwen and I settled in and watched Entourage while waiting for sleep to take hold. There was plenty of Ari, which is always the sign of a good episode. After the show was over, I went into our office and started work on the note that appears below. We went through several drafts and finally, as I was getting ready to fold some money into the finished product about 11:30 p.m., Gwen had an inspiration worthy of Christmas morning - she got out of bed and liberally covered the page with glittery hairspray.

Dear Madison,

I was so happy to pay you a visit tonight, and see the first of 20 baby teeth you will lose over the next few years. What a cute little tooth. Congratulations!

As your Mommy and Daddy probably told you already, it is very important now that you brush your teeth every morning before leaving for school and again at night before going to bed, because the new teeth you grow will be with you for the rest of your life. Take good care of them!

Since this is the first tooth you lost, I am leaving it for you in your special box, so you can always remember it. I am also leaving you something special under your pillow… buy yourself something nice!

Tell your family that I said hello. This is the first of many visits I will make to your house to pick up your baby teeth as they come out, and it is nice to have a new friend.

The Tooth Fairy

I went into Madison's room, confirmed she was sleeping and made the exchange. As mentioned in the letter, I dropped the tiny tooth into a little silver "my first tooth" box she'd been given as a baby, which we'd left on her nightstand.

About 4 a.m., she appeared at the side of my bed. "She came! Daddy, the Tooth Fairy came! She left this under my pillow," she said, producing the note.

We opened the letter together and she asked me to read it, which I did. Her face was like a fireworks show, an amazing representation of child-like wonder and astonishment worthy of something out of J.K Rowling. When I finished reading, she ran around the bed to Gwen's side to show her as well.

This morning, as she was getting dressed, she called me into her room and showed me the note again. Holding the paper at an angle, so the light bounced off the glitter, she said, "Look, Daddy, see how it sparkles?"

One down, 39 more to go in our house, and I am looking forward to lamenting and celebrating all of them.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We take no particular pleasure in this...

But the signs are as unmistakable as they are unwelcome. Summer is waning. "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may." These aren't roses, but they're already goners.

Here's a reminder of what they used to look like.

Monday, August 20, 2007

"And now it's all over."

Summer Vacation 2007, that is.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Never enough time up here. We arrived late-afternoon Monday, will be leaving around noon tomorrow, and it feels like we're just hitting our Green Mountain stride.

We've been to the pool four times, to the mountain fun zone/alpine slide three times, hit The Bean once for lunch and once for dinner (Ava: "And I don't even need a menu, 'cause I know what I want." Madison: "What?" Ava: "QUESADILLA!!!"), watched "Finding Nemo" three times, in its entirety, weathered several tantrums and listened to more Hannah Montana and Hilary Duff than any (sane) adult would care to admit.

A few good bottles of wine along the way for those of legal age, plenty of ice cream for those who are not. We also took some photos.

[The girls prepare to storm the mountain.]

[Ava catches some air.]

[Different year, same bumper boats.]

[All visitors to Vermont are required at least one trip to Ben & Jerry's. We were happy to oblige.]

[The alpine slide. Next summer, Madison rides alone.]

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Summer 2007...

...the year Ava conquered the water.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Still Life - New Haven, CT

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Morning Art

See, I promised there would be new stuff. Girls did some painting this morning. Something they love to do and a nice little "start of the vacation" decompression activity for the adults in the group.

[Ava: Freewheeling creativity. Bold. Confident and, at times, reckless.]

[Madison: Order. Structure. Gravitating to lines and rules. Not always, but definitely more than her sister...]

[The results.]

Yes, I know...

It's been a while since my last post. No excuse, really. Just life. But I'm here to report that the patience and dedication of my 14 steady readers is about to be rewarded - I wrapped up work last night and formally began a block of time that will forever be known around here as Summer Vacation 2007.

Here is a link to last year's installment, for those who may be following along.

When I got home and reminded the girls, again, that I was off next week and we were going to Vermont, Madison - who has had a summer filled with various camps and activities - turned to me and said, in all seriousness, "Daddy, after we're back from Vermont, are you going to sign up for work again?" Like it was a kick-ball game or lanyard class.

Yes Maddie, I told her, I think I may need to sign up for work again. I promise the benefits and subtleties of that decision will become increasingly apparent to you over the next 20 or so years.

So as I sit here this morning, cup of Peet's coffee by my side, we're looking at a Saturday around the house, a Sunday back in my parents' pool and on Monday we're off, bound for the land of alpine slides and mountain pools, return visits to Pepe's and The Bean, outlet stores and - most of all - several uninterrupted days together. I anticipate a steady stream of blog-friendly photos and anecdotes... in other words, I hope, the wait for new material will have been worth it.

Just like the wait for these, which is finally, mercifully and happily over. More on that later.