February 2001

Two Cool daddy-o-s at the sock hop February was empty.  Or maybe it just seems like that after writing so much about January.  Most everything that happened in February was a continuation of something started the previous month.

The boys finished up their swim lessons at the YMCA just in time to start Saturday baseball practices (nice planning, Mom!).  Brad is doing quite well, but is afraid of going on to the next level because they ask you to swim a length of the pool, which scares him because it's over deep water.  He's physically ready, but not psychologically ready.  Doug has a good time, but still can't put his face in the water.  He gets upset at bath time if I get water on his eyes during a hair wash.  So he still has a ways to go.  I don't know if Brad was too much better at Doug's age.  Relating, as I do, everything back to my youth growing up with my younger brother, I had always thought Doug would pick up swimming (and bike riding) just a calendar year after his brother did, and so learn it two years earlier, age-wise.  The important thing now for Doug is to continue to be exposed, so we'll try to fit in another swim lesson around baseball and before summer.

Doug at practice hitting off the tee. Little League Baseball did start in earnest in February.  Brad is in "Minor B" where the kids now do the pitching and they keep records of wins and losses (both changes from last year).  Doug is starting out in T-Ball.  I have been assistant coach on Brads teams for the last couple of years.  The plan was this year, with Doug starting and Brad moving out of "developmental" league and up to Minors (and up to a perceived new level of coaching pressure and egos), that I would drop back and assistant coach Doug's team.  It hasn't worked out according to plan, however.  The manager who picked Doug already had his coach picked out, and assigned practices are on Wednesday evening, which we already have committed to church.  So I go with Doug for part of the practice and help out as I can.  The long term plan is to scout out the other dads and managers during the season, and hook up with one for next season.  Coaching the beginners is a lot of fun, because there can be such a radical improvement in skills and understanding over the course of a season.
Doug directly in front of instructor Stuette the pet hamster passed away February 17.  We had had her since Christmas of 1999, so just a little over a year.  Services were held the following day in the backyard.

Both boys are taking classes one day a week as part of after school enrichment programs.  Brad is taking Spanish and Doug is taking karate.  Haven't heard too much out of Brad about Spanish, but Doug loves his karate class.  By the time Doug quit his twice weekly karate lessons in the summer of 2000, it was quite an ordeal to get him motivated to go.  He seems to have forgotten all that (a wonderful gift kids have), and is really, really enjoying it currently.  His last class was at a studio in a strip mall; this class is taught by the instructor in school gym (or multi-purpose room, which is what they call the gym when it is also used for lunch room and after school karate).

Brad being chased and undressed by girls Don't know when exactly it happened, but Brad has discovered girls. Perhaps more importantly, the girls have discovered him.  Rather than being defensive, he seems almost relieved to talk about boy-girl matters with his parents.  Apparently the girls are beginning to express their preferences for boys, and Brad is enjoying the attention.

The school held a sock hop in February where we got to observe the phenomenon first hand.  Brad delighted in being chased by the girls. So much so that when they tired of the game, he would approach them and try to get them to chase him some more.  As another parent remarked to us, "Brad has become quite the little babe magnet."

Brad at left holding team's trophy; principal at right holding microphone Brad had one final honor associated with his participation in the school geography team.  Recall that Deer Canyon Elementary won the greater San Diego Geography Olympiad, elementary school division.  The team was presented (along with two other high scoring schools) to the school board at the monthly meeting.  Given that so many families, this one included, move into the area specifically for the school district, I thought this was pretty neat.  Of course the highly acclaimed superintendent wasn't present, being on a paid leave of absence while the district struggles through sexual harassment accusations made by two of his coworkers...

Brad was fascinated by the school board and the meeting, although his agenda item didn't come up for 40 minutes.  He claimed he wanted to stay for the whole meeting, but I can't help but think it had more to do with putting off going to bed rather than any nascent desire to watch grass roots democracy in action.

Brothers play chess I cleaned out the attic one wet and stormy Saturday.  Brought down all my old model rockets and strategy board games.  Boys are growing up; they might get interested.  It looks now as if Doug will be my little game player. Keith needs someone to play this role for him; Kristi was clear from the earliest days of marriage that she was not interested in playing games with me. Doug wants to play board games all the time. I think Brad went through this phase.  It lasts until they can read recreationally or their friends are noticeably cooler than their dad.  I have been a game fanatic since I was a teenager, and remember playing strategy games with my dad before that.  It will be interesting to see if either boy develops and keeps this interest.
Bradley sings in church choir One of the reasons we attend Soul Food at Church every Wednesday evening is that Brad gets to sing in the Children's Choir.  All this spring they are practicing for a musical presentation that will take the place of a sermon one Sunday in May.  They are also brought into service occasionally to sing a song or two. The last Sunday in February was such an occasion.  Brad, in addition to singing, was one of two narrators.  He narrated in Hebrew.  He did an excellent job.  Must be those after school Spanish lessons.

Douglas, being younger, is part of the Cherub Choir, which does much simpler songs.  Mostly they specialize in standing in front of the congregation and looking adorable.

Overheard lately:
Kristi: "It's mornings like this that give you false hopes for the day ahead."
Kristi, on the length of Brad's toe nails: "Time to clip them or paint them."
Doug, looking at pictures and noting hair and clothing styles: "These guys are from the 60s.  They're practically dead by now."

Reading List:
Chinese Cinderella (Brad)
The Distruction of California (Keith)
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia #1) (Keith to Brad)

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