Archive for the 'Sesame Street' Category

Examples of Dad’s geekiness

January 27, 2011

Andrew Hicks


  • Likes to refer to Sarah’s rainbow bib as “Roy G. Bib.”
  • When burping Silas, will frequently pat his back to drum beat of “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie while singing, “Let’s burp!”
  • Got a good laugh out of a little kid on “Barney” saying, “She’s like a brother to me.”
  • When Silas peed on Dad’s leg while flashing a huge grin, wrote a Facebook status about it on phone before cleaning up.
  • While half-awake, could have sworn Elmo was singing “Skeet skeet skeet skeet” on “Sesame Street.”
  • After breaking ankle on neighbor’s stairs last fall, wanted to purchase said stairs and comically reenact Stephen King‘s practice of buying and destroying the car that hit him in 1999, when he broke every bone in his body. Later found out King didn’t actually do this; he just bought the car and had it junked.
  • When Silas smiles, sometimes calls him “Smiley Silas” because it rhymes with the name of Billy Ray Cyrus‘s uber-famous teenage daughter.
  • Occasionally uses the prefix uber-.
  • Upon learning Sarah would automatically laugh when hearing the word “sassy,” Dad tracked down every Phil Hartman quote he could find from 1991 Sassy’s Sassiest Gentlemen” SNL sketch.
  • Now can draw Elmo’s head in seconds with five pen strokes.
  • Built most of this blog posting around months-old material written on a yellow legal pad. (Sorry, this actually belongs in the companion piece “Examples of Dad’s Laziness.”)


My 3 favorite ladies -- Tiffany, Sarah and my mom. Christmas 2008.

“Who’s this?” “Iola.”

December 7, 2010

Andrew Hicks

2-year-old Sarah has reached the point where, if I name every character and object on the inside flap of her Sesame Street books, she can point it out from the lineup. It’s like a 20-person Hollywood Squares amalgam of the usual PBS Muppets – Cookie Monster, Bert, Big Bird – plus A-listers of the toddler vocabulary like book, shoes, truck, flower, etc. Sarah has it down pat. There’s nowhere to go but up for this girl. Tomorrow we start studying my framed print of the cast of “Mama’s Family” from the 1989-90 season. Which was a very good year for Mama and the family.

ME: Who’s this?
SARAH: Vinton
ME: And who’s this?
SARAH: Iola.
ME: And who’s this?
SARAH: Naomi. Trashy.
ME: Where’d you learn that word?

She’s getting really good at naming and pointing to parts of the face and upper body, too. Hair, teeth, eyebrows, forehead. She counted ten noses on me this morning. This little girl thinks way-y-y-y outside the box. As my Facebook buddy Open Mike remarked, “To quote the over-quoted old lady from the diner scene in When Harry Met Sally, ‘I’ll have what she’s having.'”

Sarah’s speech patterns are progressing at an ever-quicker rate, too. She’s stringing together short sentences and listening a lot better to what her mom and I tell her. We’re at a ratio now of probably three real words to every gibberish word. Sometimes what’s what is a kind of toss-up.

Like, either I was having problems understanding her earlier today, or my 2 year old’s new favorite person to talk about is Sanjay Gupta. I tried to put her reference in context: “You mean Sanjay Gupta the renowned neurosurgeon and CNN correspondent who writes those delightful but insightful medical features in Parade magazine?”

She said, “Kipper? More Kipper? More Kipper? Kipper, daddy?”


Sarah pauses before opening birthday presents earlier this month.

MVT (Most Valuable Time)

October 23, 2010

Andrew Hicks

I’m near the end of the glorious downtime that occurs only once in the daytime hours. Both babies are asleep. As parents know, an hour lasts 120 minutes when your kids are awake and 30 minutes when they’re not. So this is the most valuable time of the day for me. It’s my 1909 T206 White Border #366 Honus Wagner baseball card*, if you will. This is when I take my laptop outside and write this blog.

It’s another great day out, too. Even the faint smell of Liggett Lady’s secondhand smoke and the sound of her intermittent hacking cough seem to be harmonious with nature. Only the back issues of the Farmer’s Almanac will be able to say for sure, but I suspect this September and October have been home to the most beautiful days I’ve ever slept through.

This is the fourth day I’ve been getting around with a cane rather than crutches, and it’s been a major advancement for me. My in-laws are still taking good care of Sarah and Silas, for which I’m extremely grateful. Tiffany comes up on the weekends, too, but each day sees me resuming more and more of the responsibilities of caring for my own children.

Probably one more week of assisted-living exile, and I’ll be back at home, facing 45 hours a week of solo daddy time. I’m having to relearn old stuff and freshly learn new stuff. My body’s still healing, too, which leaves me feeling exhausted a lot more easily. It’s hard for me to resist sleeping when they sleep, and nap time is over far too quickly.

The naptime wakeup ritual has taken a strange turn this week. For four consecutive days now, sometime during her nap, Sarah has removed her pants and diaper. No poop episodes yet, but everything in her bed that could be peed on got peed on. Parents of kids older than mine have been warning me this would happen. And, yes, I had noticed Sarah randomly pulling her pants to her knees and then walking around with them like that, but I just figured it was because VH1’s been showing 8 Mile twice a day for the past month.

The potty-training days are drawing nigh. We’ve been watching the Elmo’s Potty Time DVD on almost a daily basis lately. Having seen “Sesame Street” with Sarah for more than a year now, it’s weird to watch their format be adapted to talk of poop, pee and diapers for an entire hour. Three quick examples:

  • A disconnected shot of a soundstage with twelve to fifteen preschool-aged kids standing around and all simultaneously announcing, “I really need to urinate.”
  • Lots of bathroom-themed songs, including one called “Dirty Diaper Blues.” It’s a decent rendering and all, but the great Elmore James recorded the definitive version.
  • When Baby Bear, the muppet character with the speech impediment, calls himself a “potty animal,” it sounds like he’s saying “potty enema.”

I’ve been more or less out of commission with Sarah since AB2KX**. She’s gotten better at her tricks. Sarah moves fast, she hides my cane when I’m not looking, and she frequently outsmarts me. After just one afternoon back on the job, I was ready to call local adult-contemporary radio and dedicate Sade’s “Smooth Operator” to my daughter. Some people count to 10 to get their anger under control. I get Delilah’s people on the phone.

Sarah is a really fun, warmhearted, loving little girl, and I treasure the time I spend with her. It’s been great to be able to play outside again minus crutches. Sarah likes me to pretend-chase her around the yard, and I can finally do it again. The ground is unlevel, so she kept falling down. I was moving conspicuously slow and unsteady and could never catch up with her. It was like we were reenacting a scene from a bad ’80s slasher movie.

Then we went inside, and I gave her cookies and let her eat the outside of a banana (pronounced “buh-mah-muh”), which Sarah insists is the tastiest part. I’m getting back into the swing of things.

*I just Googled a few “most valuable _____ in the world” queries, and that was the baseball card match. Several sites I hit first all proclaimed the most valuable thing in the world is “time.” Indeed, I wasted five minutes reading about the value of time and another five pondering the simple irony of wasting valuable time reading about how valuable time is. Then about 90 seconds typing up this footnote that no one in their right mind will read all the way to the end. Pickle shoes. Cinnamon and gravy.

**a.k.a. Ankle Break 2010. I’ve decided to get all acronymy on you. But aesthetically, especially with that double asterisk weighing it down, the phrase AB2KX looks like a hack-job. It doesn’t make me cool. Just Google AB2KX and see what I mean.


Sarah and Silas with my father-in-law Jim, our child-care MVP of the past month and a half. Thanks, grandpa!

I move to the couch!

October 5, 2010

Andrew Hicks

Week 3 of my ankle-break recovery exile is offering a change of pace. Instead of sitting in bed at my mom’s house all day into the wee hours of the night, I’m sitting on my in-laws’ basement couch all day into the wee hours of the night. It’s 2:23 am right now. Silas is asleep beside me. Ten minutes ago, he was awake. An hour ago, he was asleep. Two hours ago, he was awake. And so on. Awake, asleep, awake, asleep. He’s an indiscriminate, narcoleptic infant.

Really, the only time Silas concretely decides he wants to be awake is when I turn out the light to go to sleep. I can’t decide whether he’s afraid of the dark or is just a jerk. I’m kidding, of course. I’m the jerk, I think. I feel inconvenienced when Silas decides he wants to eat just as I’m getting ready to enjoy my own piping hot food. I mean, can’t the kid wait? He eats all the time. He gets like eight bottles a day. I only get four to five giant meals a day. If I’m lucky.

I’m sending a message by moving my base of operations from the bed to the couch. The message is, I’m not helpless anymore. Okay, I still have food brought to me, and I’m still not doing my own dishes or laundry, and it’ll be a little while before I’m back to work, but I cleaned my room today. And, let me assure you, that’s an accomplishment even when I’m not injured.

After the washcloth bath I gave myself* early afternoon, I brought my dirty clothes back to the bedroom by gripping them in my crutches and tossing them forward a few feet at a time. Takes a little while, isn’t pretty, but achieves results. I liken this process to a dimwit simpleton with a chopstick in each hand, tossing lo mein toward his mouth and occasionally hitting his target. I also managed to make the bed in fifteen minutes flat while hopping on one foot.

I’m even watching both my kids simultaneously again for up to two hours at a time. My best bet with Sarah, almost 2, is to keep her close to me and engaged. We read the same two books four or five times each, and we watch a little Barney** on the DVR. Then I get bored and crack the lid on the laptop, at which point Sarah makes a beeline for the laptop and asks optimistically, “Elmo? Elmo?”

I cruise to and show her an Elmo video, it ends a couple minutes later, and Sarah asks, “More Elmo?” She just learned the word “more” in the last week or so, but she’s 100 percent on top of it. This girl can’t be happy with one of anything. She needs to watch more Elmo while she’s eating more cookies–uh, I mean carrots. More carrots. Lots and lots of carrots. I’m not one of those dads.

If I keep her close by and occupied, there’s no trouble. Couch-bound with a broken ankle, I can still grab my daughter’s legs and lift her upside down above my head, twisting her back and forth and exclaiming, “She’s upside down! Sarah’s upside down!” while she laughs and squeals her head off. Then I deposit her safely on my chest, and she says, “More! More!” And I oblige her. Being a dad has its simple, sweet moments.

It’s the idle hands that truly cause problems. If Sarah gets distracted by the stuff in the room, she’s simultaneously meticulous, thorough and unbelievably sloppy about moving every object to somewhere it doesn’t belong. Tonight, she wandered over to the CD tower, grabbed a CD from the rack, walked back over, handed it to me, said “Here you go,” and repeated the process a couple dozen times.

This was the most exhaustive look I’ve had through the music collection of my wife’s parents. Checked out some Glen Campbell, Tony Bennett, the Benedictine Monks Chant album (triple platinum!), the second of Amy Grant’s fifteen Christmas albums*** and lots of Bach. Towards the bottom of the stack are the CDs you can tell my in-laws bought on a foldout merch table at the back of the church directly from the artist. Nice of them. These are the CDs with no bar codes on the back, released by people you’ve never heard of. I wonder when those CDs last made it off the rack for a courtesy listen before Sarah haphazardly yanked them off earlier today.

Time to sign off. Silas is awake again, and he smells poopy. This could be a five-wipe affair.

* = You don’t want to smell me until I can walk again. Chances are, by that point, you will still not want to smell me. But I normally give off a pleasant aroma. I’m still rotating Perry Ellis For Men and Hugo colognes I bought duty-free on my cruise vacations in 2004 and 2005. I don’t see an expiration date anywhere on the bottles, so I’m gonna spray those things until they run out.^

** = It seems like every “Barney” episode lately has one of the little kid dinosaur puppet characters getting mad, then Barney reacts by singing the same cute song about mad LKDPCs. Which, by the end, makes the LKDPC into a happy LKDPC. Sarah loves it. I scratch my head.

*** = She went overboard with the holiday releases, but I love ’80s Amy Grant. I grew up in the church and spent eleven years in Christian school. I’ll still take some “Where Do You Hide Your Heart,” “Find a Way,” “Stay For Awhile,” “Lead Me On,” “Sing Your Praise to the Lord,” “Angels” and “In a Little While” on the Bose headphones any day of the week.

^ = A black lady I worked with once asked me, “Is that you wearing all that cologne?” I eagerly responded back, “Uh huh, it sure is,” thinking she was going to compliment me. She continued, “And I mean, ALL that cologne,” and tossed off an unpleasant nose wrinkle. My wife loves that story. I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two about cologne moderation in the eight years since the incident in question.


Sarah and Silas, both looking at a non-existent camera to their left.