Micronaxx The adventures of Finn & Henry


Transient Witticisms (Henry Vol. 3)

At risk of burning you out on these things, here are a few more Henry-isms gathered over the last several months:

  • As we listen on speakerphone, the conference call system says, "Press the pound key." "Press the palm tree!" grins Henry. "Robot lady said it!"
  • "You crushed me, Dad-O," says poor Hen, clutching the paw I grazed. "Could you not crush me, Dad-O?"
  • Ear nose & throat:
    • On the way to Tahoe, high altitude is messing with Henry's head: "I need new ears, Dad-O! Take off these ones!"
    • Henry points to his nose: "This a tree. Bird in it." Draws mom's finger to his nostril: "Mom-O get out the bird."
  • Vehicles:
    • "There's Boeing Constrictor, Dad-O," notes little Henry. "That's not an A320." My boy!
    • As I playfully ram my head into Henry's back, he shakes his head: "You're not a tramp steamer, Dad-O."
    • "I'm a scooper truck" reports Henry, tapping his butt. "I have metal here--in my cheeks."
  • G-Man considers YouTube: "I would like some... Foxy Lady. I would like... more Garth."
  • No more tears:
    • Little Henry rubs his eyes, claims not to be crying: "I'm just movin' my eyeball."
    • Me: "Did you have a nice day, Henry?" H: "Yeah. I was shrieking." Me: "You were shrieking?" H: "Yeah. CoCo says, 'No shrieking.'" Wise lady.

¡Ay, Dios Mío!

The Finnfatha continues to try stretching his verbal muscles. I'm totally charmed by his sometimes goofy-sounding attempts at sophistication:

  • He'll now state a long string of info, then causally bolt on, "FYI."
  • Giving me the long made-up back story for some of his trucks tonight, Finn said, "Well Sheriff & Sam like to hang out with Monster, but then, blah blah blah, they just want to go in my room."
  • Other times he'll just throw up verbal "Hail Marys,"  trying out words he's not quite sure of. Ranting at some ants in the hot sun, he said "These ants are feeble, they're succulent, and they're not good for eating!"
  • When I tried taking a shopping basket back from him tonight, he shook his head and said, "Whoa, hey, ay Dios mío, I need that!" Wait'll he tries that one with las maestras at preschool! 😉

Transient Witticisms (Finn Vol. 2)

Good times over the last few months with the big guy:
  • Mondegreens:
    • Finn eyes a raspberry. "Is it part of a bear?" "A bear? Er, no--'berry,' not 'bear.'" "But is it buried??" (Verbatim, I swear.)
    • Sushi restaurant Finnyisms: "I see a Possum-lady fan." [oscillating fan] "I'd like a Spider-Man roll."
    • Parmesan cheese -> "Farmer John cheese."
    • "I'm a robin, Dad-O." "Oh, you're a bird?" "No, we're bad dudes, robbin' you!!"
    • I explained minivans to Finn. "You mean like a mouse van?" he asked. It took me a while to make the "Minnie" Mouse connection!
    • "Dad-O, if a we had a monkey who liked chips, he'd be a chip-monk!" Right on, little guy.
  • Transportation:
    • "What is 'U-tah?'" asks Finn. "Is it a big truck you can rent?"
    • Margot: "...but it's a freeway, so..." Finn: "What's a 'Butt Freeway'??" Ah, he'll be so let down. (Me too, kinda.)
  • Language:
    • "After the bizarre poodle incident," Finn tells me in bed, "the results were usually disastrous." (Your guess is as good as mine!)
    • "Bizarre": Great word to teach a kid, or GREATEST word? "I'm a bizarre chicken, Dad-O! And you're a bizarre Dad-O!"

Transient Witticisms (Henry Vol. 2)

We keep collecting random Micronaxx bits via Twitter, and I realize I haven't shared any in months. Here, then, is a sample set from the G-Man:

  • On Being Dr. No:
    • Henry's taken to disagreeing with everything, to the point CoCo calls him "Mr. NoNo."  "I'm not Mr. NoNo!" he insists.  (See?)
    • Hen contradicts everyone--even the Beatles:
      • John Lennon: "Nothing is real.."
      • Henry Nack: "It is real! (What's the strawberry dude singing about?")
    • "You're a nice little boy, Henry," says Margot. "I'm not a little boy," he replies, "I'm a small man!"
    • Turns out 2-year-olds don't really "get" rhetorical questions. "Want to get dressed or just fight me all day?" I ask Henry. "Fight you all day!"
  • Treats:
    • "This is my snack," announces Henry, brandishing his wet finger. "May you eat this snack, Dad-O?"
    • Having been told we have options for dinner, Henry emerges from the pantry holding up Mac & Cheese: "I would like to eat these options!"
    • The other day we were watching WALL-E with the lads. WALL-E cuts open an old fridge. "It has cheesy milk in it?" asks Henry.
    • Our pizza-loving kids? "Crustifarians."
  • El Baño:
    • Spanish immersion is paying off: Henry announced this morning, "I did mucho pee-pee at preschool!"
    • Henry denies needing a new diaper. Me: "You've got something brown." H: "It's not brown!" Me: "What color is it?" H: (pause) "It's not green..!"
    • "I'm not peeing on your leg," announces Henry. "I peed on the rug last night... It was awesome!*"

*I learned later that Margot had responded to the peeing with a sarcastic, "Oh, that's awesome."


To the Manner Born

At lunch yesterday my friend Iván, father of a 1-year-old girl, remarked on how she's uncannily similar to him in her mannerisms--things she hasn't been taught & almost couldn't have observed. When his mom sees her granddaughter pout or make certain faces, Iván says, she says "It's you!!"

Our guys can be similar. I'll sometimes catch Henry chewing on his knuckles or forearm. "I'm not eating my arm!" he'll declare, but guess what? It's just like my weird habit (which I caught myself doing while writing this post!)--and my dad's for that matter.

Finny, meanwhile, has taken a keen interest in his often banged-up feet. "Check out my blood toes!" he'll crow. Taking off his Crocs he declares, "A flock of blood toes is on the loose!" Offered some itch-busting eczema lotion, he shakes his head: "I'll just play with my blood toes." Let's just say, the old man can relate. 🙂

When I asked Margot if she thought the boys mirrored any of her mannerisms, she had to think about it for a minute. "Oh yeah," she said, "Finny's definitely inherited the 'I'm ready to go home now' declaration from me." (A rather well-known story about 2-year-old Margot concerns her wandering out into the middle of a grown-up Christmas party with her mom's purse, finding her mom, and very definitively indicating she was ready to leave. NOW.)

Oh yeah, and there's the stubbornness that both boys evince pretty frequently. We have no idea where they get that...!


“Tom, Julian, & Cemente”

'Tis better to give than to receive, right?

With that in mind, on my birthday I/we gave the boys a pretty great treat: front-row seats to the Exxxtreme Destruction of our driveway via a team of workmen, followed by its re-paving. For months we'd been meaning to repair the damage necessitated by our sewer line work, and last week we finally made it happen. Finn & Henry were *thrilled* to pull up chairs and watch a jackhammer-wielding Bobcat lay waste to our concrete, then scoop up the shrapnel, after which workers laid rebar & finally poured new cement. Check out our gang enjoying the show.

For me Finn's verbal inventions were the best part. Some months ago we started making up stories about a cement truck driver named Zeke. Our barber Tom has three sons named Tom, Julian, and Clemente. Finn decided that Zeke's boys must be named Tom, Julian, and Cemente. Thus we loved playing name-that-dude, assigning names like "Zeke" to the workers. Oh, and Finn (often aka "Blackbeard") dubbed the hairy, heavyset foreman "Chubbybeard*'--though not to his face! 🙂

* He'd previously dubbed his pirate Mom-O "Curlybeard"


Green Wolves, Big Orange Sheep, & El Beaver–Oh My!

From the Rocky Mountain Dept. of Wildlife:

  • The Liggetts' neighbor has a ratty wooden trailer hand-painted with the words "Green Wolf Recycling." Whenever it's missing we tell the boys that it's off to pick up some cans. "Yeah, and some green wolves!" notes Finn.
  • Years ago in Death Valley, a salty old guy with the voice of Sling Blade told us about bighorn sheep in the area. My friend, struggling to understand, asked, "Did you say, 'Big Orange Sheep'?" As we see sheep-crossing signs in this area, we love to stay on the lookout for "big orange sheep"!
  • With the boys having started Spanish immersion, we've been trying to imagine how their animal buddies Leo & Ollie would sound in Spanish. We've jokingly decided they'd say "El roar!" and "El hoo!" Patrick & Charlie got a kick out of this, but they really loved helping coin "El beaver!," the "Spanish" utterance of their stuffed otter. Now imagine four little dudes running around and randomly yelling "El beaver!!," totally cracking one another up. As Patrick says, "It's laughing gas!"

Bonus animal bit: Today on the train Finn informed me out of the blue, "Dad-O, if a we had a monkey who liked chips, he'd be a chip-monk!" Right on, little guy. 🙂


Transient Witticisms (Henry edition)

Not to be left out, G-Man's contributed some fun bits lately:

  • Language:
    • Henry has taken to answering yes-or-no questions (e.g. "Do you want a snack, yes or no?") with "Yes or no!"
    • Unfamiliar with shorts, Henry tugs desperately at his hems: "Close down... my pants!!"
    • Henry greeted me rubbing his face: "Seagull... broke my eyeball." And later: "I'm a goofy ball!" (meaning goofball).
    • "Dad-O may you sit with you, Dad-O?" asks Henry. Quasi-palindromes from a tiny man.
    • A toddler + the word "actually" = A parent-correcting bonanza. ("Watch out for the car, Henry," I say. "*Jeep*, actually," he replies.)
  • Henry munches a brown M&M, eyeing the bag's wooden shelf: "How bout... orange one? Cut it down... from the tree!"  (We've consequently dubbed the shelf "The Tree.")
  • As I'm changing Henry's diaper, he grabs my passport, shoves it between his toes, and says, "Readin' the Dad-O book!"
  • Henry sees me shirtless post-workout & runs screaming "No, no!" He later asks, "Dad-O go to Pilates?" Dang, boy, I can take a hint...
  • Apple might describe the little guy's slap-footed form of locomotion as "I Pad, Shuffle."

Transient Witticisms (Finn edition)

We enjoy using Twitter to capture fun little bits involving the boys. We used to put tweets alongside the blog, but a few months ago we hit a technical glitch I haven't been able to resolve. Therefore I thought I'd pull together some good recent bits from the Finnster (Henry to follow!).

  • Meat-loving Finn, learning of Dirt Devil vacuums, reports, "I'm a Bacon Devil! I like to suck up bacon!!"
  • I taught Finn about deodorant this morning. "Is it Dennis the Mennen?" he asks.
  • Safety First: From his Cozy Coupe Finn announces, "I'm locking the door so no bad dudes named Henry get in!"
  • Food:
    • Finn's turned "Edna St. Vincent Millay" into "Edna Wasabi Sushi Magoo." #poetaster
    • Beyonce perplexes Finn: "What are 'Almond Single Ladies?'"
    • Came across Finn dropping yellow & black sawhorse beams into toilet paper tubes. "I'm making a good soup of bananas & chocolate" he reports.
    • We've somehow made a 3-year-old who loves, and asks for, "artisanal bread." Oh my.
  • Baseball:
    • We're at the SJ Giants game (Finn's first ballgame!). "Are they part of They Might Be Giants?" he asks.
    • A ballgame stunt involved chipping golf balls into a kiddie pool. Relaying this to Mom later Finn said "They were using a cat pool!" ("kiddie"->"kitty")
  • "I'm drawing you an American Eagle," Finn reports. "Is the 'FUselage' where the FUel goes?" (Yes, my proto-plane nerd, yes!)
  • Baño:
    • Finn, with a fistful of pull-up, says, "Stay down, regular pants: I'll pull you up in a minute."
    • He's started using the epithet "You *shy bladder*!" to yell at things. (I'm already saving for therapy.)
    • "This is a broken-down BMW," announces Finn, disassembling a toy car. "Now it's a BM!!"
    • "Someone's strummin' on the old baño!" announces Finn. Fiddle-ee-i-oh!
  • Casually filling a garbage bag with his belongings, Finn announces, "I like living in boxcars. I'm a hobo!"
  • As Finn tucked my iPhone under his blanket tonight, I heard him whisper, "Shh, I love you..."

Target, Land of Enchantment

Boy, I guess we must go to Target more than I imagined: Henry's lately started volunteering the opinion that things--anything!--could be gotten at that store. Reading some Richard Scarry tales the other day, he noted--in his halting, weirdly William Shatneresque way--"Dude's hat... popping off... Got it... at Target." And later, when Mommy Cat burned up Pa's shirt with her iron, Hen suggested, "Get another one... at Target."

Target execs, if you need a sub-3ft pitchman, you know where to reach us (presumably at Target!).


Now bring us the friggy pudding…

What's the old line about little pitchers...?

Somewhere (we have our theories where), Finn picked up the, ah, charming adjective "friggin'." It's hard to know quite how to react to his using what's not a real curse word but not very polite, either. An example scene:

The boys & I walked to nearby Hummingbird Park for some post-dinner R&R the other evening, and Finn insisted on towing a small wagon laden with all kinds of toys. (Amazingly, and to his credit, he was careful & didn't lose any.) At the park Henry grew naturally curious & made a move for the wagon.

"Hey!!" shouted Finn. "Dad-O, he's going to grab my friggin' wagon!"

Oh boy, I thought, not knowing whether to laugh or apply the brakes. Not wanting to make a stink (and maybe raise the word's scandalous appeal), I ignored the language & calmly assured him that Henry wouldn't take the wagon.

"Yeah," said Finn," but then he's gonna grab my friggin' police car, my friggin' pirate ship, my friggin' ice cream truck..."

Man oh man--what to friggin' do? 😉


Deciphering Finny

Sometimes I think we need to hire some of the WWII Navajo Wind Talkers or build our own Enigma machine to decipher what exactly Finny is talking (or not talking!) about these days. Recently, while I was getting ready for work, Finny and Henry were poking around our bedroom, and Finny exclaimed, "I want to play with that Scramble under the couch!" My response: "Whaaaat? What is Scramble? Can you describe what you're talking about?" He said "The little pieces with letters on them that go in this big box. It's right here under the couch." It was then I figured out he was talking about the Scrabble game under the bed!

Sometimes, the challenge is not even to decipher the words coming out of Finny's mouth, but the things he's feeling when he chooses not to use words. This has become more common lately, as he tries to noverbally exert his will in various situations. He'll grump around because he wants you to bow to his bossy demands, or he doesn't want to do something he knows he should (like ask for things politely). He's trying to see whether he can get away with being rude and bossy instead of polite (short answer: NO.).

Last night, Finny was terribly grouchy, whiny, and petulant (without giving me anything to go on), and he was raising a big stink about wanting to watch one of his fire engine videos. I refused on the grounds that he had been a totally grumpy handfull all night long, so I wasn't rewarding that with a video. He was unhappy about it, but seemingly went to bed quietly after we read a book. An hour or so later I heard him moaning and crying in bed, and when I went down to check on him, he wouldn't explain why he was crying...but I figured out he was still upset about the video.

Tonight, after a prolonged late-afternoon doctor visit where he was a total gem, he asked about the fire truck video, and told me he would not cry, whine, fight, or kick like he did last night, and that he would be good so we could watch the video. I was impressed that my 3 year-old boy had sorted through last night's episode and decided at last to verbalize his feelings. It just lightens my heart when we make tangible progress through these kinds of rough patches.

["These tiles don't want to be obedient!" said Finn the other day, mashing the Scrabble set. "They just want to friggin' *panic*!" Oh boy: we tell Finn not to "panic" when he's emotionally derailing, and as for the language--well, more on that in a bit. --J.]


Henry’s Petting Zoo

Little Hen is, let's say, not shy in expressing his wishes, especially now that he can toss some words around. Lately he conveys his desire to be held by saying, "Dad-O, hold you??*" We're trying to teach him to have a little patience, but he's wily: Seeking to draw me nearer his high chair, he'll offer to pet us. Example:

H: "Pet... Dad-O??"
Me: "Uh... you want to pet me?"
H: "Nah" (meaning "Yah").
Me: "Uh, okay," cautiously extending an arm.
H: (seizing the moment & the arm) "Dad-O, hold you??"

He can be trying, this kid, especially as he tends to burst into tears (which he helpfully notes as "Cryin'?! Fussin'?!") if gratification is delayed. Ah, but then he can be so nice: As we've sung in the dark at bedtime the last few nights, he's combined elements of just-read Pat the Bunny, caressing my stubbly throat & chin and saying, "Pet, Dad-O... soft, face..." What a guy, what a guy; I think we'll keep him. 🙂

*Nearly every phrase features little pauses, then rises with the tone of an urgent, somewhat pained question.


Comic Gold

The onslaught of verbal creativity at the Nack house continues to pick up steam! Both boys' abilities and imaginations are really blooming this spring.

Henry has started to truly enjoy being read to, and has abandoned his old practice of bailing out halfway through a book (or even a page). Most of the time he hangs in there for the entire story, although periodically he'll grab the book and try to shut it with a pre-emptory "The End!" His top two book requests are: "Moo! Moo! Brown!" (Seuss's Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?), and "Seaside?!" (Calling All Engines, a Thomas book that includes references to the seaside). Henry's also starting to string together phrases, and every day adds at least one or two to his repetoire, which includes "Hello...Finny!", "Mom-o's yogurt", "Dad-o hold you?", "Bye bye doggie!", "Come on, Finnster!", and "...like it!" (which actually means "I don't like it." A favorite at meal times.)

For his part, Finny keeps cranking out comic gold. After climbing up a little climbing wall and sliding down its adjacent slide, Finny declared "Now I'm really a rockstar!" At snack time yesterday, he dutifully noted "I'm really wolfing down these nuts!" He has started calling his brother Henremius (apparently the ancient Roman version of Henry), and has dubbed the little Android-branded robot toy, pictured above, "The Italian." Not to mention his ongoing fascination with pirates and their names. He is Blackbeard, so he's appropriately dubbed me "Curlybeard." At bathtime, the whole family becomes a horde of Bubblebeards! And apparently his new method of grooming involves "polishing" himself with "slop" (aka spit). He is also quite opinionated these days...After being assured that John's drink at Aqui was juice & not a margarita, he smiled & opined "I think it's a margarita."

I swear, we don't make this stuff up! It's straight from the birdmens' mouths!

[One other fun bit: Finn's taken to narrating his life using language from stories. Once he's adopted a persona (e.g. Thomas, Lightning McQueen), he might say a sentence normally, then add, "...tooted Thomas," "...bellowed Lightning," etc. --J.]


Chinny Jipasaurus and the Baby Quail

We have a lot of fun goofing around with words at our house, and Finny is not only a willing participant, he's often the instigator of new phrases and word games. Utterly out of the blue, he renamed himself Chinny Jipasaurus while we were horsing around one afternoon. The name has stuck, and Chinny Jipasaurus has come out to play several times over the last few weeks. He even named his brother Hinny Jipasaurus!

Other personas and characters are often adopted by Finny. Lately he's been a quail, running around ululating behind us, or from under tables or behind furniture. His favorite game right now goes like this:

-- F: "Can you say 'Where did that quail go' Dad-o?"
-- Dad-o: "Hmm...I seem to recall there being a quail running around here. Have you seen him, Finny? Where did he go? I haven't heard him in a while."
-- F: (a little bit put out) "I'm the quail! doodle-oodle-oodle-oodle-oodle!"
-- Henry: (getting in on the act with a fainter, higher-pitched tone) "doodle-oodle-oodle-oodle-oodle!"
-- Dad-o: "Hey! There's the baby quail, too!"

He's been downing a lot of unusual "birdseed" as well: square birdseed (mini-wheat cereal), meat birdseed (self-explanatory), and round birdseed (Cheerios).

One last bit of language fun: Yesterday, when John and Grandpa Liggett took the boys to a big aquarium, they saw sharks, stingrays, crabs, turtles, otters, and beavers. When John asked Finny what he liked best about their visit, Finny replied "I liked the stingraisins!"


“Vaya con Leos”

With rainy weather setting in, we're spending a lot more time in our semi-finished basement. Gazing up at various pipes yesterday, Finn asked, "Did Jason the Mason [a bricklaying pig from Richard Scarry's world] build this house?"

"No," I told him, "I think it was a bunch of Nicaraguan dudes."

Finn paused for a second to think. "Did they drink the agua out of jars--pickle jars?"

"Uh, what do you mean, buddy?" I asked. "What jars?"

"Pickle-agua jars!"

I laughed my head off. Now Nicaragua will forever be the land of pickle agua, full of thirsty workmen slugging back jars of briny water. Maybe they're big fans of "Delicious Pocket," Finn's phonetic rendering of neighborhood restaurant "Tlaquepaque." And now that Henry has started imitating Finn & refers to his own Leo-style blankie as "Leo," the Pickleaguans might with the boys a hearty "Vaya con Leos!" 😉


Busmen Holidays

Over the last few months, we've been charmed that Tyler (our little Tuesday-Thursday babysitting pal) has been calling everything "Bus!!" Living in San Francisco, he's quite taken with the big busses that rumble past, and he calls anything vehicular (little toy shopping carts, garbage trucks, walkers, whatever) "Bus!"

Little Henry's become quite the impressionable little myna bird, so now he goes around saying, "Bus, bus!!" If I'm holding him and he catches sight of our Richard Scarry Cars & Trucks book, he lunges sideways and paddles the air like Michael Phelps until I let him down to paw the pages. "Bus, bus!!" Good times all around. 🙂


The Tastiest Poetaster

Just now as I sat in the gazebo, Finn squeezed in next to me carrying a handful of Gobots.

"Hi, Dad-O.
"Hi, Finny."
"I'm writing."
"You're... writing?"
"What are you writing?"
"Poems...? Really? What are the poems about?"
"Hearts?... What kind of hearts?"
"Poop hearts... I like talking about poop with you, Dad-O."

Aaaand, Scene.


Babyslang: Summer 2010

Time to fire up the Nack Family Secret Decoder Ring...

  • Chasando: Chasing. We've corrupted Finn's nascent knowledge of Spanish, teaching him that the suffix "-ando" equals "-ing." Thus he requests a little post-bath roughhousing by saying, "Let's do some chasando!!"
  • Duck furniture: Dirt clods. Recently Mom-O & Finn used a big "lopper" to lop off a root growing behind our garage. Somehow Finn decided that the root was part of a duck house, and that the ducks took off, leaving behind their furniture (clumps of dirt). This leads to weird incidents like Finn running up, saying "I'm gonna blast you with some duck furniture!," and then slamming dirt clods into my knee.
  • Sand Potato: aka The City Formerly Known as San Mateo
  • Hoot bags: Backpack. Our friend Hughes (Hoot) and I have similar backpacks, so when I pulled mine out of storage, Finn said, "Dad-O's got a Hoot bag!"
  • Heavy Duty/Mega Duty: Blankets. Long ago Finn and I dubbed his green wool blanked "Heavy Duty," and not long ago the even bigger wool blanket from Grandma Liggett became "Mega Duty." We say that the blankets are brothers, or "Two Duties, Heavy & Mega."
  • Metal nudists: Rodin sculptures up at Stanford.

Don’t worry, we’re doctors…

I get an unreasonably big kick out of assigning absurd title/surname combos to the boys (e.g. Captain Boogerfiend, General Birdwallis, and so on). "Doctor" works especially well, as featured in examples like:

  • Dr. Dipechek: The guy we call in to check on a dipe (diaper); "Paging Dr. Dipecheck, Dr. Dipecheck come in please, you're needed in Finny's pants..."
  • Dr. Neutron McCrazypants: Finn in hyperkinetic mode after getting hopped up on horchata
  • Dr. Pebblewetter: Finn spraying down the gravel next to the driveway

...and so on.

Turnabout's fair play, of course: Finn spotted me putting on a pair of unbelted shorts the other day and immediately said, "Dad-O's 'Dr. Pants-Fall-Down.'"