Two Wonderful Girls. One Day At A Time…

Archive for January, 2007

Iris: The Antidote For Civilization

Several years ago, the Baltimore Orioles signed a reliever named Mike Timlin to be their closer.  For those who aren’t baseball fans, the closer is the guy called on to pitch the last inning of the close game when the team is in the lead.  He’s usually the best pitcher on the team and manages to finish things off.  Well, Timlin didn’t do such a hot job during his first months as an Oriole.  In fact, he downright stunk (not the word I used back then, but this is a family blog).  Game after game, the Orioles would be winning only to have Timlin blow the game in the 9th inning.  What was worse was that he was being paid millions to lose these games.  They interviewed Timlin about his woes and I never forgot his response.  He basically said "It is tearing me up, but when I go home to my son, he doesn’t know anything about it and he still thinks I am great."  At the time, the comment drove me nuts.  Who cares about his son?  My team was getting killed in the standings–and by the Yankees, no less!! Ugh! Well, I owe Mr. Timlin an apology. Eight years later, I now get it.
Friday, I had one of those days. You know what I am talking about. It was one of those days when you’re just really annoyed and frustrated by the day’s activities. I came home really tired and ready to just explode. But then I saw Iris. Suddenly, I didn’t even remember that I had a job. That smile melted everything away. We read our books and sang our songs (well, I sang and she nodded in amusement). The next morning, we danced around in the living room, had a sloppy breakfast (mmm, yogurt), played soccer in the kitchen (shh, don’t tell mom), and went for a leisurely walk to Starbucks (where we got in a lot of peekaboo amidst the "that’s so cute" reactions from everyone who walked by). Later on, I had night duty as Cherise stepped out for an evening on the town, which gave Iris and me even more bonding time–including a bath, which usually doesn’t happen without mom. OK, giving her medicine wasn’t as much bonding time as it was legal torture, but the rest of the night was kinda fun.
As I was going through the day, I realized Mike Timlin was a pretty smart guy. The highs and lows of work are fleeting, but Iris is forever. While her behavior is anything but constant, our relationship is. She will always be my daughter, I will always be her father, and as long as I respect that, we’ll always have each other. As far as she knows, I’m a professional singer (yes, that is funny). Nothing that happens from 7am-7pm really affects her. Don’t get me wrong–I’m still the same guy I was before and I am still pretty driven (to keep a balance, I watched "The Godfather Part II" after Iris went to bed). But at the end of the day, as long as I’ve got a great relationship with my family (both Cherise and Iris), other things seem secondary.
As for Mike Timlin, he pitches for the Boston Red Sox now. Far be it from me to ever root for the Red Sox, but I suppose the next time I see him pitch a good game, I’ll think of 10-year old Jake Timlin and smile.

Iris Loves Disco – Happy New Year 2007!

  What will it take to keep Sandy from watching one of his team’s biggest football games of the year?  Something even more drastic than when my family first met him and took him to see the Nutcracker during the Houston Oilers final football game back in 1998…
Try Iris in a sparkly onesie, pink skirt, and pink fur vest all ready to go to Baby Loves Disco!  (where else will she ever wear such wild stuff?).   We hardly went dancing in clubs even before having kids, but our trendy friend Trisha got us to go, saying that no matter what happened, we’d never forget it.  So our social butterfly daughter met up with friends Ian and Abbey and partied to bring in the New Year at noon. 
It was very crowded at Chop Suey, but she still managed some “Travolta moves” on the dance floor among the bubbles and flashing lights.  She also loved the dragon hanging from the ceiling.  Unfortunately, we had our hands too full to try the adult cocktails like “Mama-Margarita” or “Dirty Diaper”.  So while these two couch potatoes ended the night at home watching the ball drop on TV, our daughter did get us out to chaperone her daytime party.  Is that just a hint of what’s to come when she’s a teenager? 

Cookie Monster Builds a Home

Sounds like I’m back to my affordable housing days, huh?  Nah, though I look back fondly on my days at Rural CA Housing Corp., this refers to a case of me mis-hearing the new SingNGiggle Sesame Street Tool Bench that my mom had waiting for Iris when we got to their house in California for Christmas.   Cookie Monster is on the drill, and says “cookie monster drills a hole”, not “builds a home”.  I like my lyrics better though, with their ambitious and worthy goal.  Either way, Sandy and I are still singing the catchy songs weeks later.  The tool bench was one of many toys in Iris’ toy room at my parents’ house.
Iris thoroughly explored their entire house, sprinting around and doing things we didn’t know she could do yet, like opening the front door and stepping outside.  Oops!  Is she really that tall?
She increased her musical repertoire by playing her fisher price piano (where she creatively made herself a piano bench from an old box of baby wipes), and also played my dad’s keyboard and recorder, and the Moroccan drum.  Best of all, she kept asking us to put on her “jingle bells” that velcroed around her ankle – this was fun for her and very useful for us to keep track of where she was when she ran out of sight.
She’s getting very good at animal sounds too.  Her favorite books now are Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See, and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  Both were gifts from my mom’s longtime friend and ESL teacher Nolia, who demonstrated how to read them with rhythm.  Now Iris anticipates the next animal and makes the sound for it.  Like in the middle of the sentence “I see a black sheep looking at me”, Iris will excitedly blurt out “BAAA!!” with gusto.
Peek-a-boo is still her very favorite game, only now she will initiate it herself by hiding behind something or by just putting her hand over her face.  After dinner she was extra fun, running and peeking around the kitchen island while we lingered over my mom’s latest feast.
Iris enjoyed the whole family, and especially bonded with Aita (my mom).  By the last few days, she’d go up to Aita with her arms outstretched, asking to be picked up and carried around to visit the various moving things in the house (like the walking Snoopy windup toy or the German spinning candle display).  Or they would point out birds and trees through the window, Iris pressing her nose in her attempted sign language for “bird” or waving her arm and hand in the sign for “tree”. 
It was a holiday filled with ways for Iris to communicate about all the exciting things that surround us, from pianos and books to rocks and trees.  I’m sure she can’t wait to get back to Lincoln for another visit sometime soon.

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