February 26, 2006


Okay, I lied about waiting to see what everyone had to say about the idea. Plum it is.

She loves it. She posed in front of the mirror for about 20 minutes and had me call Julie at work so she could shout "ur-oh air!" ("purple hair") into the phone. She just went to bed, still fluffing it and giggling.

It wasn't as outlandish as she wanted, or as we feared. But it was fun. She sat in the bathtub patiently as her clearly closeted father applied the very very purple mousse stuff to her head. We sang songs and pretended that the stuff dripping from my gloved fingers was blood and generally had fun for half an hour, and then rinse rinse rinse, and a star was born.

Most of the purple came off her face and the back of her neck, I'm happy to report. The bottle says it should wash out in eight to ten shampoos, which in Schuyler's case means in like six months.

Maybe you think it was indulgent to do this for her, but she loved it and she's unlikely to have a job interview in the next few weeks. If she asks for a tattoo next, I'm putting my foot down, though. Not until she's seven, and that's final.

The Chubbin had a good day

Schuyler on her bike
Originally uploaded by Citizen Rob.
The sun came out today, and we made the most of it. Schuyler finally got to tear around the bike trail on her hot pink Stingray (with purple flames, don't forget), and then we met up with some friends who were in town to visit the Dallas Zoo.

I really don't have much else to say, nothing pithy or world-changing. I had a good day with Schuyler, and that's enough for me.

Oh yeah, one other thing. Schuyler has decided that she wants pink hair, this time for real. At first she wanted purple, but then she decided to run with pink.

She actually said it on her device. "I want pink hair."

Our first thought was "Well, of course not!" And then my second thought was, "Well, why not?"

(I think Julie's still hanging on that first thought.)

We went to Walgreen's to pick up more Beedie supplies, and while we were there, we looked at some of the hair colors. I think if we do this, we're going to compromise and go with her first choice, or actually sort of a plum. I like the idea of shocking the North Dallas folk, but hot pink might be overkill.

So yeah, Schuyler with purple hair. I'm sure someone out there has some thoughts on this.

February 25, 2006

The Lost Toofer

The Lost Toofer
Originally uploaded by Citizen Rob.
Schuyler lost a tooth today. It's the second one to go in just a few weeks.

And that other one in the front, the one that makes her look like a bottle opener? It's coming out any day now. It's currently flapping in the breeze like a loose shingle.

Julie and I have a differing philosophy about the losing of teeth. She's of the "pull it" school; the one that came out today had help from her. The thought of pulling a tooth makes me queasy; I'd just as soon she loose it while she's eating. I suppose there's a theoretical choking hazard, but honestly, they are tiny little teeth.

We'll see how this next one makes its escape. She's going to look like a happy little doofus soon. A toothless doofus, like her old man.

February 24, 2006

On raising a cyborg princess

Giraffe girl
Originally uploaded by Citizen Rob.
I've been reading about how difficult it is to be a parent, from people with all sorts of different perspectives. I feel like I should confess something.

It isn't hard being Schuyler's parent.

She's independent, but she's respectful of us and others. She's non-verbal, but she communicates pretty clearly, and lately I swear her speech has become slightly more recognizable. She's rarely frustrating, and never loses her temper. And I find that around her, we are the same way. Schuyler is, in every way that is realistically possible, growing up to be exactly the little girl we want her to be.

Julie and I aren't perfect parents, not even close. We make mistakes, lots of them. And honestly, we're not always that good to each other as spouses. But something about the way we work together with Schuyler, and the way we interact with her individually, has worked out exactly right. I don't always see how well or poorly I do as a father, but tonight, I can see things more clearly than usual. I can see that Julie and I do okay.

We talk a lot, in probably an obnoxious way, about raising Schuyler without physically punishing her, ever. And I know not everyone agrees with that, and that's cool. I get on my high horse about corporal punishment because I think the idea of hurting a child is loathsome. I am never more of a pacifist than when it comes to children.

But here's a little confession. Another reason it's easy for us to refrain from hitting Schuyler is that Schuyler never takes us to that place. As judgmental as I can be about this topic, I must confess that I don't get tempted by the dark side very often, if ever.

We're a weird little family, and maybe not like yours. Actually, I can guarantee we're not like yours. A lot of people look at us and wonder how we function at all. I wonder the same thing myself sometimes.

The answer is Schuyler. She does her thing with a happy heart, despite her monster, and she makes the rest of us better people for knowing her. If I'm a good father, it's only because Schuyler makes me one. Because of that simple and undeniable fact, I try to be careful about judging other parents and how they do what they do. They're at a disadvantage, as far as I'm concerned. They don't have a Schuyler.

As for Julie, I'm trying to convince her to contribute to this blog. She's resistant to the idea; she remembers what a bunch of weirdos you people are, after all. I'll keep working on her, though.

Tasty treat for the Rob

Blood oranges
Originally uploaded by Citizen Rob.
How is it that until my best friend at work introduced me to them a few weeks ago, I never knew about blood oranges?

I guess part of why I never knew about them is that they are apparently only available part of the year, and until recently, the produce section of the grocery store was a weird and foreign place that I rarely ventured. Planet Rob didn't have a lot of fruits and vegetables, I confess.

Well, I was missing out. Blood oranges are delicious, and cool to eat, too. I should read up to see what gives them their horror-show appearance, since for all I know, it's something that's on the Forbidden Rob Foods list. (Am I allowed to consume blood? Let me check my Beedies exchange pocket guide.) But yeah, it looks like blood. If you peel a slice just right, it looks like you're a zombie, dining on human body parts. Tell me a cooler way to eat if you can. You can't.

I realize that sweet fruits are still probably not the best snack for me; much better that I eat a raw carrot or a stack of Post-it notes. But compared to the things I used to eat, it's a huge step in the right direction. They're not fried, and they're not coated in chocolate. Let me be.

I feel like a vampire right now, and a workplace vampire at that.

February 23, 2006

Beautiful Freak

Originally uploaded by Citizen Rob.
It seems weird to me to have to talk about this again, considering how many times I've written about it on my journal, and I thought people got it. In any case, this is a new blog, and possibly a new readership, so let's talk about the name of this blog, and the kind of language I use when I describe Schuyler.

"My Beloved Monster & Me" is a song by the Eels, a favorite "group" (mostly one guy) of mine, and whose music I've always identified with Schuyler. If you don't like "My Beloved Monster", I can only imagine how you'll feel about "Beautiful Freak".

("You're such a beautiful freak. I wish there were more just like you. You're not like all of the others, and that is why I love you, beautiful freak, beautiful freak... Some people think you have a problem, but that problem lies only with them. Just 'cause you are not like the others. But that is why I love you, beautiful freak, beautiful freak...")

Schuyler is a beautiful freak. She's not like the others. She never will be, and she'll hear words like "freak" and "monster" one day. Those words will hurt her less if she already owns them. Some special needs parents need soft language like "handicapable" and "differently abled" to shield their sensitive children, and I understand some kids need that. I think the parents need it more, to be honest, but again, I understand why, completely.

Schuyler's different. She's also tough as nails. She rarely cries except in anger. She doesn't disobey on the major points very often, but in trivial matters, she delights in confounding us. She is a princess, and she is a turd. And the prettier she gets, the wilder she gets, too. She'll need that when she's older, and if there's one thing I'm confident of, it's that she'll have it. The first time someone calls her a freak, I hope she'll remember that she was a beautiful freak. If someone calls her a monster, maybe she'll remember that she was a beloved monster.

Or more likely, she'll pop someone in the mouth. That works, too.

She's feeling better this evening, after kind of a rough, pukey morning. Her nickname today has been Barfbag, which she thinks is pretty funny. I'd call her Barfbag, and she'd laugh and say "Noooooooooo!"

Holy crap, I love this kid.

Don't call me Pee Wee.

Della Cruz
Originally uploaded by Citizen Rob.
Apparently the key to beating the Beedies is not just eating paper and water, but exercising as well. Yeah, I knew this already, but you know how it is when you're looking at either going to the apartment's workout room or sitting on the couch. If you go to the workout room, you end up watching whatever crap is on the TV there, usually Oprah. Who needs that kind of sorrow in their life?

But once I got a bicycle, I felt the urge to actually get out and move. Naturally, the day after I got it, it was cold and rainy for four days straight. I sat at home, watching my blood sugar NOT go down, until two days ago when I finally decided to get out and ride no matter what the weather was like.

I'm glad I did. There's a trail that runs right next to my apartment (stalkers and killers take note: it's this one), and it's big and flat and concrete. I see old people on it all the time. Piece of cake.

Except for the hills. I call them hills, but you might refer to them as slight inclines, smartasses that you are, every one of you. In any case, I wasn't expecting there to be HILLS. It was a more vigorous workout than I expected, but I still enjoyed it immensely.

The best part? My blood sugar dropped over a hundred points after each ride; today's 131 was the lowest I've had since the Beedies moved in.

The worst part? Having to walk my bike up a hill in front of one of the many saucy stay-at-home MILFs (out walking her little gerbil dog, an obligatory accessory) that roam freely about North Dallas like the great herds of bison that once covered the western plains.

One hates to look weak in front of the MILFs.

Well, I suppose it was inevitable...

My Beloved Monster & Me
Originally uploaded by Citizen Rob.
I know, I said I'd never do it. I'd never give in to the blog craze. All the cool kids were doing it, but I was, you now, Too Cool. Cooler than the cool kids.

The word itself sounded like something my pug might cough up. "Blog." Like cell phones and those funny spinning hubcaps, blogs were new-fangled and scary, not for an old man like myself. And all the good names were taken already, most frustratingly by people who posted one lame entry and then went merrily on their way, never to return.

It was getting harder, however, to post big long entries over at Darn Tootin when I wasn't having big long things happen in my life. (That sounded dirty, but let's move along.) I liked the idea of being able to post short entries without having to make them fit into some larger structure. I love my journal, and I like the idea of being able to write actual essay-type entries over there when the mood strikes me, without any more of those squashy, "here's a bunch of random crap" entries.

So I'm splitting things up a bit, which will hopefully result in better journal entries over there and more entertaining short bits here. As the title of the blog suggests, I anticipate a large percentage of my posts here to be about Schuyler. If that's not your thing, I totally understand, although honestly, I can't imagine you'd be reading this in the first place if you weren't.

(If you are new to my stuff, you really should go read up at Darn Tootin. All shall be revealed there.)

The coolest thing of all? I'm posting this from my flickr page, where it will automatically throw in the photo of my choice. Why didn't someone tell me how easy this is? I feel like everyone's been watching me hand-code my big ugly journal entries like a caveman and snickering behind my back.

I'll tweak all this some more tomorrow. Schuyler will be home all day, as she is sick. Julie called me at work to tell me that Schuyler had gotten extravagantly ill on the way home from school.

"Was it bad?" I asked.

"She had mixed fruit at school," Julie replied.

I could tell from her tone that she had acquired that information the hard way.