Claire is hooked on Arthur, the PBS cartoon about the adventures of Arthur, a human-like aardvark, and his human-like animal friends and family in the fictional town of Elwood City. The show is not as odd as it sounds. You forget pretty quickly that everyone is ostensibly an animal, just like in most kids’ books. The opening reggae theme song still surprises me, though.

Claire has watched Arthur for months now. This show does not get old. There are so many characters and so many episodes (hundreds!). As I write this, the show is in its 14th season, so it has more legs than something like Imagination Movers, which Claire tired of once it started repeating its limited episodes a lot.

The show is also engrossing. It has stories that a kid Claire’s age can relate to, involving friends and fun, plus conflicts and insecurities and how to deal with them. I feel like she learns positive behavior from the show.  Even has a lot of good things to say about the show.

Claire’s favorite episode is “Elwood City Turns 100”, which has lots of music and dancing and features an interview by the real Larry King.

Imagination Movers

Claire’s favorite TV show of late is Imagination Movers, a series from a popular kids’ music group.  She likes to watch this show every day over any other choice out there.

The Imagination Movers are actually grown men, and they sing kids’ songs.  In that sense, they are kind of like The Wiggles, but they are not nearly as annoying.  These are pretty much regular guys who have a problem-solving business in a warehouse, always wear blue and red jumpsuits, and are friends with a mouse, a proud boring guy named Knit Knots, and his assistant Nina.  Apparently one of the movers, Rich, looks kind of like me, or at least his hair does.

This seems like a good show for Claire.  These guys are all about teamwork and problem solving, the music is pretty good, and Knit Knots cracks me up with his love of all things boring (“Boring is beautiful.”) and his boring inventions such as snack chips that come in three boring flavors: plain, boring, and extra boring.  Okay, I guess I am a fan too.

No Hoax

The recent positive changes to Molly’s sleeping pattern are sticking (for now), after a temporary setback.

Molly got sick again a few days ago, and all the congestion and drainage was bugging her in her sleep. She had three tough nights, tossing and turning and waking up every hour or two. She was not sleeping much at school either during the day, and she was getting to be a bit of a mess.

Then, once her health improved, and we moved her out of her swaddle so she could position herself any way she wanted, she started sleeping like a maniac. On Wednesday night, she slept 12 hours, from 7 pm to 7 am! This is the famed “7 to 7” holy grail of baby sleeping that several other baby parents have told me just happened magically one day to their babies. (I don’t remember how or when this happened with Claire; I guess it wasn’t quite as momentous of an event). Molly is also falling asleep easier now without the swaddle. As long as the timing is right, I just turn on the white noise, cuddle with her while I sing Rock-a-bye Baby a few times, and put her in her crib. She usually throws herself on her side and falls asleep right away.

Proving it’s not a fluke, Molly has kept this 7 to 7 pattern up for the three nights since. The one gotcha is that she consistently wakes up one hour into her sleep, right during Claire’s own bedtime routine. Last night, Kit was out of commission, so I had to let Claire finish up her own teeth and hair brushing by herself and then watch a little extra TV while I went upstairs and soothed Molly back to sleep. There were no complaints from Claire on the extra TV!


This may or may not mean anything to Molly, but today she officially saw her first glimpse ever of baseball. We were flipping around the TV during a brief afternoon break, when a pre-season spring training game between the Cubs and White Sox showed up. Wow! The first whiff of summer! We may be one step towards putting this dreary, ill-stricken winter behind us. And Molly just saw the first proof.

Molly’s First TV Show

Today was the first time I put on a TV show specifically for Molly’s entertainment. Sure, she has seen a little bit of TV just from hanging out in the living room, but this was the first show just for her.

I was looking for a way to help Molly relax while I did her nebulizer sodium chloride treatment for her lingering RSV infection.  Kit and her mom had been using the mobile for this purpose, but it was sort of unwieldy to set up up by myself.  So why not pull out a classic?  I put on the DVD of Claire’s old favorite: Baby Einstein: Baby Shakespeare.  As with Claire, Molly was engrossed by the puppets, music, and moving toys, and she did not mind the nebulizer one bit.

Now these Baby Einstein videos might not may your baby a genius, but you would have to be a real dummy not to use them from time to time!

Our Hero Horton

When we moved to Austin, we were the beneficiaries of free HBO for a couple of fleeting days. With access to all those great movies, we recorded as much as possible to the DVR. One such movie was Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who!, which somebody (Kit’s dad?) decided to record. How lucky for Claire.

Claire watched this movie the first time with Kit’s dad. She seemed to enjoy it, but she forgot about it pretty quickly. A week or two later, we had it on again for some reason. This time, it really clicked for Claire. I mean, really clicked. It has literally been the only thing she has watched on TV for the last three or four weeks. She has lost interest in all other shows. I tried to get her to watch some other shows over breakfast such as her old favorites The Little Einsteins, Olivia, or the newcomer Special Agent Oso. But Claire has none of it. “I want to see Horton,” she always explains. It’s not worth fighting over, and Horton really is a great movie, so what the heck.

Horton may have even surpassed the cast-induced obsession Finding Nemo as her favorite movie, and that is saying something. And I can see where Claire is coming from. These movies get better with each viewing. After a while, you start to feel a special attachment to the characters, like they are part of the family. And you start to appreciate some of the unnoticed funny lines and small details that are crammed into these quick movies. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen anything else except Horton for the past three weeks either!

By the way, we also got the original Dr. Seuss book that the movie is based on. To my surprise, much of the fine rhyming narration from the movie is actually not in the book. I assumed that all the charming, melodic narration was take straight from the book, but most of it is not. Also, the movie adds a whole lot of character development that is not in the book. It seems that screenwriters Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul (according to IMDB) may have out-Seuss’ed the beloved Dr. Seuss!

A Girl Named Leo

These days, Claire won’t tell you who she is, but she sure will tell you who she isn’t.

The other day, Kit said, “Let’s go to dinner, y’all” and Claire responsed, “I’m not a y’all!” We couldn’t tell whether Claire was intentionally making a joke, but it was funny either way.

Today when I picked Claire up from daycare, her teacher, Ms. Laura, said “Goodbye, sunshine!” to which Claire, of course, responded, “I’m not a sunshine!” Claire had a coy smile on her face when she said it, so I think it was actually meant as a joke. Ms. Laura got a chuckle out of it too.

Even if you call her by her actual name, that is “Claire”, she takes exception to it. She insists on going by June or Leo (from Little Einsteins), Dora or Diego, also of TV fame, or one of her classmates like Ian or Sydney. If I say, “It’s time to go to school, Claire” she insists, “I’m not Claire! I’m Diego!” She also insists that Kit and I are Dora or Boots or Leo or someone else to go with her character. We don’t really “do” anything anything else to act like these characters, but Claire seems to get a kick out of it anyways.

By the way, she does not just occasionally pretend to be Leo or Dora or whatever. She does it all the time, all day. You can never get away with calling her Claire, even during the course of an entire weekend. It is always, “I’m not Claire, I’m Leo”, sometimes even if you did not actually call her Claire. You might simply say, “I’ll be right back”, and she will respond, “I’m not Claire, I’m Diego.” I guess she just wants to be sure we know.

Curious Claire and the Cat

Claire loves Curious George. She loves the books, and she just discovered the cartoon on TV this morning when I stumbled on it during breakfast. When the show was finished, she politely asked for “more Georgie”, as she always does with things she loves.

Anyways, it’s no wonder Claire loves Georgie. She basically is Curious George. She is a good little girl, and always very curious. She wanders around the house with her big sweet eyes scanning each room for something new to tinker with. She loves to “help” around the house, especially with the dishwasher. Yesterday she helped load some of her clean cups into the dishwasher, and take some dirty ones out. I thought I got it all straightened out, but when I emptied the dishwasher today, Claire’s popping wind-up car was sitting on the top rack, filled with water. I guess it needed a cleaning.

Today after Grace had left and Claire woke up from her nap at 5:30, we saw a black kitty cat out the window relaxing on our driveway. Claire really loves cats, so we decided to go say “hi”. As we slowly approached, the cat looked more and more suspicious, specifically eyeing Claire and occasionally looking at me for some sort of indication that everything was cool. After all, there I was holding this pink and yellow, wiggly, three-foot-tall kid who was pointing and giggling right at the cat. But the cat held her position.

About 10 feet out, Claire was finally in “hi” range. She stuck out her right arm, squeezed her little fingers in and out as if juicing an orange, and said “hiiiiii” in her little squeaky voice. The cat took this threat seriously and jogged off just out of “hi” range. Claire and I slowly and clumsily advanced and repeated the exchange. This exercise went on a few times until we ended up three houses down and the cat finally disappeared into some bushes. Claire looked at me sadly, did the hand sign for “more”, and longingly said “more kitty” a couple of times. But I was not going in after that cat, plus we were wandering uninvited into some unknown neighbor’s slightly creepy yard.

This was a very Curious George moment, and I felt bad for cutting it short. But once we got inside, Curious Claire buried her sorrow in a plate full of four-cheese “patsa”. Yes, fuel for more adventures.