Harper in action.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Marley Firsts

Okay, so enough about Harper (for now). Let's remember the second cutest Lawrence boy in the family. Marley is now seven months old and is advancing every day. It constantly amazes me how quickly he is growing up.

About a month ago, Marley said his first word, "Da Da". It came in a string of nonsense babble, and it is clear that it is not actually connected to any intent of identifying me. Regardless, he has been very consistent in repeating it.

Then, about two weeks ago we felt a tooth just below the surface of his gums. Now both bottom teeth have poked through! He can gnaw on all sorts of things now (although his favorites still remain anything plastic and colorful). It certainly has been a momentous month for our little Marley Man.

He's even started getting up on all fours and rocking forward and back. We expect him to begin full on crawling any day now. When he does the rocking motion he kind of looks like he's a sprinter in the starting blocks waiting for the starter's pistol. Unfortunately, all his effort only allows him to move backwards so it's not very effective form for a competitive runner. But we have some time to work on that.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Harper the Grinch

Christmas time brings with it it's very set of challenges when you have a two year old and a six month old. For instance, if your home is totally child proofed (like ours), you have to start from scratch when it comes to decorations and tree lights. Heck, even the tree itself can be a death trap (not like ours). Then there are the presents to consider. Do you put them out a little at a time and hope that little feet don't step on them? Or wait and dump them all at once on Christmas eve with no build up of anticipation? We've decided to go with the first option. And so it was that last week McCall and I decided we would try to have a nice date with some friends of ours, leaving a neat pile of wrapped presents under our tree.

We were going out for a little dinner and a show. We had an extra pair tickets for Jesus Christ, Superstar starring Ted Neeley (the original Jesus from the movie). Now, it should be noted that Ted Neeley is nearly twice as old as Jesus when he died so it's a bit of a stretch to say the least. But, I will say that old Ted has still got some great pipes and was very impressive hitting some of the toughest notes.

Now, while McCall and I were blissfully enjoying our evening without a care, Harper and Marley were at home with a babysitter who will remain unnamed. Said babysitter definitely had her hands full because she was also watching Harper's best friend, Sophia (also two years old). Probably while feeding Marley, or giving him a bath, the babysitter lost track of Harper.

Harper then went totally Grinch on us and tried to steal Christmas! When we got home we found one of the gifts under the tree had been opened - a present from me to McCall, which will remain unnamed - and the box was empty. Actually, it wasn't empty. Instead of the gift I purchased, there was a plastic "K" from a toy alphabet collection. I assured McCall that this was not what I had gotten for her. After several minutes, she believed me. But I still had to find the gift.

I dug around the tree skirt on hands and knees and finally turned up McCall's present hidden within the folds. I was so upset with Harper (as well as the anonymous babysitter), but in the end I'm reconsidering. Perhaps I should thank them both. After all, McCall can't be very disappointed with whatever is actually inside the little box. Even if she doesn't love it I can always say, "Hey, at least it's not a plastic 'K'."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Dancing Queen

Harper Jo loves to dance. Like most kids she is totally un-self conscious when it comes to busting a move. This is simultaneously heart warming and totally hilarious, because lets face it, toddlers are lousy dancers. They have no rhythm, poor muscle control, and a drunkard's sense of balance. But still one of my greatest joys as a father is watching Harper get down.

Almost all kids start out with the same dance. The dance is basically bending your knees and bobbing up and down. Some little ones who are very advanced in their motor development might even throw in a side to side rock. It's like an instinctual bone God throws to us all, as if to say, "If you never get any better, at least you should always have this one in your repertoire." Such is the case for my dad.

Harper's first real personalized dance movement was what we've come to lovingly call "the Peg Leg." While dancing the Peg Leg, Harper keeps one leg completely stiff and pushes forward off it while catching herself with the other. I've not really seen it anywhere else, so I think it's a true original. And totally hilarious.

It was also pretty early that she was jumping up and down on the bed shouting "Shake your booty." We never quite figured out where that came from. However, as jumping on the bed isn't really dance, I digress.

Next she developed a very simple double arm wave. Compare Harper's dance (shot on my cell phone)
with this clip from a Charlie Brown Christmas and pay close attention to the red head in the upper left corner. Even though she's never seen this Charlie Brown special, I couldn't help but see a similarity. Separated at birth? We may never know.

But recently Harper Jo's added a brand new "go to" move. Now, if you ask her dance she will kind of jump around or shake her booty like she's building toward something. Then suddenly she gets down on her hands and feet and sticks one of her legs way up in the air. It's almost like she's trying to do a somersault and can't generate the momentum to get her feet over her head. Again, we have no idea where this came from or how it developed. None of her friends or schoolmates are dropping these kind of mad skillz so it's not peer influenced.

It is possible that she may be trying to imitate some break dancing she saw on one of her favorite shows, Yo Gabba Gabba. A kids show that features break dancing (not to mention Tony Hawk, and Biz Markie)? Now that's good programming.

Whatever the case, it's easy to see that Harper has a genuine love of dance, and I look forward to seeing her next wave of dance evolution.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Spanish Fly

We live in an area of Los Angeles called Korea Town. True to its name, a significant portion of the local population is Korean, and a huge amount of businesses are Korean owned and operated. In fact I can't read most of the merchant signs in my neighborhood because none of them are in English. It's almost like going on vacation to a foreign country every day. Except instead of that location being different, it's always Seoul. In addition, there is also a massive Latino population in Korea Town. So I guess some days it's like visiting De La Seoul. Rimshot!

Harper goes to a preschool at the end of the block whose students are primarily Latino. And her best friend is of Venezuelan descent, so she gets an earful of Spanish every day. I think this is great. I wish I had a better grasp of the Spanish language, and I think if she can be fluent someday, it will open up doors of opportunity for her throughout her life.

However, right now her handle of Spanish is a bit iffy. Up till now her primary educators have been Dora and Diego. So she knows arriba (up) and abajo (down), and she can tell us that dinner is delicioso! Harper also knows how to count in Spanish...sort of.
Harper: Uno, dos, tres, taco, cinco...
Me: No, quatro. Like daddy's razor. (Rimshot!)
Harper: Cinco, quatro...
Me: No, tres, quatro, cinco.
Harper: Tres, taco, cinco, quatro...
Me: Nevermind, watch some more Dora.
Harper: ¡Delicioso!

But there's one word she has down pat, . In fact, she doesn't say yes anymore. Only . The other day I asked her if she could say "yes". She said, "S..., yes." She had to stop and correct herself because she was going to say ! Oh well, I guess I shouldn't complain. She could be bringing home a lot worse words than that from preschool.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Crying Game

You know how scientists say that you can tell approximately how far away lightning is by counting how long between the flash of light and the sound of thunder? I've always heard that it's one mile for every second that elapses.

Well I've developed a similar method, sort of a game, for determining how badly Harper and Marley are hurt based on the same science. The length of silence between the catalyzing event and the first shrill cry is directly proportionate to the severity of the injury. Here's an example from about 30 minutes ago.

Marley was playing on the floor with a toy. As he was playing he bonked himself in the head. Immediately he started flailing, kicking and clutching. But there was no noise, not a peep. His face was distorted in a soundless howl, as though he had hurt himself in a silent movie and was waiting for the title screen to read "Waaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh". And then the floodgates burst and much high pitched wailing followed. Fifteen seconds between impact and the breaking of the sound barrier. Pretty bad.

But I've also found this observation to be fairly useful. It provides a concrete criterion for us to communicate boo boos to each other.
"Harper fell out of her chair."
"How bad was it?"
"Not bad, three seconds of silence."

However, unlike with real science, this is something you can use in everyday life. If you have a little one, see if my observation isn't spot on. And if you don't, go sit at a park and watch toddles in their natural environment. You'll probably get all the necessary data to replicate my findings.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Harper 2.5

So Harper is now two and a half years old! It's really amazing how quickly she's growing up and how beautiful she is. Here are a couple of anecdotes to make you wish she was your child.

Harper loves to watch videos in our family vehicle, which she call's "mommy's car". When we drive around town, she watches DVDs of her favorite shows (Dora, Diego, etc.), educational videos, or kids films.
She also loves McDonald's (which she calls "Donald's"). Sometimes I will take her to "Donald's" for special Daddy/Daughter Dates. These are usually nights when McCall is otherwise occupied (read: happy hour) and I don't want to deal with cooking. I follow in a proud tradition of Lawrence men in this respect.
Well one day I was picking her up from day care and she asked me, "We going in Mommy's car?"
"No."
"Mommy's car has videos."
So I asked her, "What does daddy's car have?" She paused for a second, scratched her temple as if deep in thought, then replied, "Donald's".

This is a totally true story. The other day we all leaving the house for a stroll around the neighborhood, and McCall and I were talking about something and McCall remarked that it "makes me feel bad." Without missing a beat, Harper corrected her, "Makes you feel badly." We were both shocked and amazed. We have no idea how she knew the correct grammar.

Harper is very inclusive. She likes to make everybody feel involved. If we're playing Ring Around the Rosey, or having a dance party in the living room, she wants everybody to get up and take part. This comes out in conversation, too. I may ask her, "Harper, do you know that I love you?" And she will often reply, "Uh huh, and Mommy, and Marley, and Harper, and Daddy," making sure it's clear that I love everybody in our family. And often it doesn't stop with our immediate family, she wants to make sure I love all her friends and their families as well, "...and 'Laina, and Jack Jack, and Sophia, and Vikki, and Tina." Yes, I love them all, but really I just want to make sure you know I love you!

And just this morning we were sitting with Harper having breakfast talking about an audition she had yesterday. McCall and Harper were telling me about the actor who was playing the role of her father. They were telling me in what ways the two of us are similar and different.
"Eyes," Harper said. "That's right. They both have blue eyes."
"No hair," Harper said while rubbing her face. "No, he didn't have any facial hair, did he?"
Then McCall asked her a question in terms she could understand, "Which one is prettier?"
"Harper!"
I think she's probably right.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mr. Marley Man

Please welcome our newest addition (better late than never!), Marley David Lawrence. Marley joined our crew on May 21st, 2008. He arrived via c-section (planned this time), of which I got some gnarly video and photos, which I will spare you.

Marley spent much of his first month in and out of the hospital due to jaundice and then some digestive complications which required a spinal tap!


Marley's first time in a tanning bed.



Harper is very excited about her role as big sister.


But he is now VERY big and healthy and is the smiliest little buddy around. He is already rolling over, and should soon master quantum physics.