I am (possibly) raising a sociopath.


The other night, my family decided to snuggle to a movie and the girls picked out Finding Nemo. We’ve seen the movie as a family before, but it’s a good film.

I think the fine people at Pixar used the opening of Finding Nemo to test a theory that they later went to perfect with the opening of their movie, Up. Make the beginning of the film sad.

If you’ve seen Finding Nemo, you know the scene that I’m talking about. Marlin the clownfish is bragging to his wife, Coral, about the ideal location of their new home on the edge of an ocean drop-off. They show the hundreds of fish eggs that will soon hatch, half of which will be named Marlin Junior, the other half Coral Junior, and one named Nemo.

Everything is fun and games and glorious rapture until disaster strikes. A toothy, evil fish knocks Marlin out cold and feasts upon Coral and clownfish caviar, leaving only one damaged egg. Nemo.

Here’s the scene if you have a couple of minutes to watch it:

We gain insight into the family dynamics that govern Marlin’s over-protective nature and fear of losing another loved one. We understand Nemo’s defiance and desire to prove himself capable in spite of his “lucky” fin. It’s beautiful story-telling, if somewhat heartbreaking to open the movie on such a blue note.

But as we’re watching this scene as a family, snuggled onto the loveseat in front of our computer, my wife and I silently contemplating the loss of each other and our children with tears poised behind our eyes, our 2-year-old daughter begins to laugh.

Full belly aching laughs.

“He eats the fishies!” she shouts cheerfully.

I’m hoping that she just didn’t understand the scene. I hoping that she doesn’t think that it is funny when family members are eaten or killed.

Anyway, if I all the sudden stop blogging, you may want to ask my 2-year-old where to find my body.

Interview with an Almost-Three-Year-Old

I took a few days off this week to spend with my girls while their normal daycare provider is on vacation. I love spending time with my girls. My youngest is all smiles and snuggles. My oldest is full of surprises.

oldest_daughterAnyway, I decided to do an interview with them. I’m only going to post the interview with my eldest here though, since my youngest is still working on building her vocabulary (at the moment, her favorite word is “bubble”, which, admittedly, is a fine word). The following is our interview.

ME: Your birthday is coming up soon. How old will you be?

HER: Umm, free. Free. Free. Free.

ME: What do you want for your birthday?

HER: Cupcakes with polka dots that matches my socks with polka dots. (She doesn’t actually own any socks with polka dots)

ME: Anything else?

HER: Cupcakes and muffins.

ME: Do you want any toys?

HER: Yup. I do want toys… and blocks. I do want blocks. I want to live in a house for my birthday (We do actually live in a house). I want to live in a tall house for my birthday with a lot of toys. A lot of toys.

ME: What is your favorite color?

HER: Red. Red is my favorite color.

ME: Why?

HER: I don’t know, but I remember that it is my favorite color. I have to remember that my birthday is coming up. Why is my birthday coming up? (She likes to question the motives of everything, including calendar events)


HER: Where are the baby squirrels? And the mama squirrels? And the daddy squirrels?


ME: Tell me about your family.

HER: Mommy. Mommy.

ME: What about Mommy?

HER: A horsey.

ME: Is Mommy a horsey?

HER: No.

ME: What is Mommy?

HER: A person.

ME: Good.

HER: Please, I want to color.

ME: Okay.


I  was pretty happy with how it turned out. And I’m glad that she doesn’t think her mom is a horse. Because that wouldn’t be a very nice thing to say about someone. Unless that someone is the amazing Mr. Ed (who actually was a horse).

The Melted Owl

One of the fun things about being a parent is watching your kids experience new things for the first time. Unless it is the first time they wake up screaming from some kind of strange nightmare involving an owl that lives under their bed and they refuse to go to sleep for hours, even though it is the middle of the night. That isn’t as much fun as you’d think.

This, unfortunately, was the situation a few nights ago when my oldest daughter started screaming like a banshee at 2am. Of course, it wasn’t until the afternoon of the next day that she told us about the owl.

“Did something scare you last night?” we asked.

“Yeah,” she said.

“What was scaring you?”

“The owl,” she said.

“What owl? Where did you see an owl?”

“Under my bed,” she said, nonchalantly, “in Cole’s bedroom.”

“Hmm,” we said.

Cole is our dog. We have an unfinished basement divided by a concrete support wall, one side of which is reserved for our dog, and it is the side directly beneath our oldest daughter’s bedroom.

“There are no owls under your bed or in Cole’s room,” we said. “We’ll take a look together.”

And so we looked. I didn’t see anything. She didn’t see anything. There were no owls to find.

“He’s gone?” she asked.

“Yup,” I said. “He’s gone. No owls are going to trouble you tonight. He probably went back to his house on the other side of the world, far away from your bed.”

“Okay,” she said.

The next night, we double-checked under the bed and in the dog’s room for owls. We didn’t find any, but my daughter insisted on sleeping with her door open (something she hasn’t done before) before she agreed to get into her bed.

Around midnight, she woke up screaming again. It took a few minutes to get her calmed down, but once she stopped screaming, we asked her about the owl.

“Did you see the owl?”

“No,” she said. “He’s safe?”

“Um,” we said.

“He’s safe in his house?”

“Yeah,” we said. Somehow, my daughter went from being afraid of the owl living beneath her bed to concerned for its well-being now that it had been kicked out and sent to it’s own house on the other side of the world.

And then things got weird(er).

“He’s empty?” she asked.

“What do you mean?”

“He melted?”

“Um. Yeah, but he is very happy in his new form. Very happy.”

“Hm. Okay.”

Man, kids are strange. I have no idea where she got heard about owls in the first place. So far as I know, none of her books feature owls as characters (other than Winnie the Pooh, but it has been quite a while since we’ve read that to her), not to mention the fact that owls don’t usually melt. Ah well.

At least it is happy in its new form. I just wish it would leave my daughter alone.


I am afraid of karma at Christmas.

Little known fact about me: Before I developed a sense of humor, I had a pretty volatile temper.

When my parents were out one night and my older brother was left in charge, we had some kind of altercation that ended with me putting my bedroom doorknob through the wall and the leg from my tiny desk chair through my brother’s bedroom door.

But that isn’t the instance that I want to talk about in this post.

No, this post is about an incident even earlier in my childhood (Mom, feel free to correct me in the comments if I don’t get this right).

DSC00937I was two. The same age that my oldest daughter is now. It was Christmas and my aunt and uncle had given me a nice, little wooden rocking chair. It was a fine chair, perfect for my two-year-old height to rock away my toddler cares and/or woes.

But apparently, it was not what I had asked Santa for that year, because I was not happy with that rocking chair. Not happy at all.

A strong child, of both will and muscle, I picked up that nice, little rocking chair and threw it at the Christmas tree with all of my might. A lesser toddler would have missed, but my aim was true. The Christmas tree, like the walls of Jericho, came a-tumblin’ down, breaking about half of the ornaments in the process.

Many years have passed, but I still have that rocking chair. My two-year-old seems to like it better than I did initially, so that’s good. But we just put up our Christmas tree…