Toads and Kids

In late May, while Freyja took a nap, Sullivan and I went for a walk down the road. I didn’t really know where we were going to go, or what we were going to do; I think my initial thought was to go to the horse stables.

Along the way, we found a hole, probably 4 feet deep and about 6 or 7 feet across (dug out for some utilitarian purpose, I think) that was filled with a couple feet of water. I saw a giant frog, or maybe a toad, on the other side.

“Sullivan, look!” I whispered. “See the frog?”

When we stepped closer, it quickly hopped into the water, making an audible *PLOP*. And then two other frogs, that we hadn’t seen, jumped in too: *PLOP* *PLOP*. A fourth one jumped from about a foot or two from our feet: hop, hop, *PLOP*. This gave me an idea.

“Hey, let’s go check the pond for frogs! I bet we’ll find some!”

We re-traced our steps back to the pond we had passed earlier, and started to walk around the edge of it. About one-third of the way around, I glanced at the water and saw what I initially thought was some sort of aquatic vegetation or strange bed of rocks, but turned out to be a myriad of tadpoles! They wriggled and swam around. Sullivan didn’t see them at first, so I tossed a small pebble into the middle of one of the tadpole groups, and the tadpoles quickly dispersed in all directions; Sullivan saw them.

We kept walking around the pond, looking for more tadpoles and kept seeing more and more. On the far-side of the pond, there was a convocation of so many tadpoles that you could barely see the earth underneath. Remembering that he had his old aquarium in his closet, this gave me an idea. I sent a message to Melissa, telling her about the tadpoles and asking her if she could bring a bucket to us to catch some. We were going to raise some frogs / toads.

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One more week

My phone rings; a trip-hoppy ringtone reminiscent of Thievery Corporation.


“No, I don’t want to.”
“Talk to Daddy”
“I want to talk on the puter”
“Here, talk to Daddy.”

*a few moments of static*


“Hello?” I said, with a smile in my voice, “Hi Sullivan!”

“I love you, Daddy.”

“I love you too, Sullivan. Guess what! I’m going to see you in one week!”


“Seven days; I’m going to see you in seven days. Then we’re going to get a big truck, put all your things in it, and we’re going to move you up here to Ithaca!”

“Ok. … Bye!”

“Bye, Sullivan. I love you.”

*a few moments of static, then the phone hangs up.*

Parenting: heart-wrenching bedtimes, week 1.

Now imagine him crying. :(

Now imagine him crying. :(

Today is the end of the first week Sullivan has gone to bed by himself.

Up until this past Monday, Sullivan had been co-sleeping with us. Pretty much since he was born. When he was an infant, we had his crib side-car’d to the bed (for safety reasons). There was a brief while when we moved his crib into his own room (around age 1) and I would lay him down in his bed at around 9pm. He would inevitably wake up around midnight or so, and we’d end up just bringing him to bed with us. It was tough; Mel and I were both full-time students so we just really never had the available time to dedicate to getting him into a routine. Plus, it’s just really hard when you’re holding the door shut so he can’t open it, all while he’s screaming tearfully and trying to get you to let him out (“Yah-yeeeee!!!! Maiiiii!!! Baff? Toyees?”) Continue reading

Biking, Blackberries, and Pancakes [Sustainability Saturdays]

sulandlena_onbakfietsThis morning, my friend Mark stopped by to see if Sullivan and I were interested in going on a bike ride.

Mark has a really cool Dutch cargo bike called a “Bakfiets“, it’s like a normal bike except it has a wheel-barrow-sized cargo bay up front. It has a bunch of other nice amenities as well, including handcuff lock, internal-gears, and head/tail lights. They’re kind of pricey and a bit difficult to get used to, but definitely handy to have!

One of the nice features in the Bakfiets is that the cargo area has seatbelts built for children. We strapped Sullivan into the cargo area, right next to Lena (Mark’s daughter), and grabbed a plastic container for collecting blackberries (the fruit, not the PDA). Continue reading

Parenting: much ado about sleeping

Sullivan!Look at that face — Could you possibly resist it if it were crying?

Because that’s precisely what pretty much every “parental guide”, other parents (including our own!), and advice column has advised us to do at night, when he wakes up. “Just let them cry it out,” they say, “they’ll get over it after a few nights.”

I just can’t do it though — we’ve tried it. For about 2 or 3 days, when he would wake up, I would callously make him wait before we went in. First wait-period was 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 15 — every time he wakes up (which is a bit of a mis-statement, as he never really goes back to sleep) the duration of the delay increases.

The problem is, it doesn’t work. One night he cried for 2 and a half hours solid. Seriously. He’s done this in the car too. The kid’s got lungs like the Three Tenors. Continue reading

Thoughts Fueled by the Midnight Oil

It’s midnight, and I should really be sleeping, but my brain is hyper-alert right now. I think it’s the chocolate cake we ate for dessert. Or maybe I’m just dehydrated, I don’t know. This has been an interesting week so far.


My third straight week of biking was this morning. I have only missed one day, and that was because I got my first pinch-flat. (Rear tire wasn’t inflated enough and I went over a bump a little too hard and it popped the tube). Fortunately for me, Mark & his family were able to come over that evening for dinner, and he helped me do my first tire patch. Exciting! It rides great now. i just have to keep the tires better-inflated; comfort be damned.

Moths Continue reading