Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Picking Favorites

Hyrum announced that he wanted to listen to Hark the Herald Angels Sing during dinner tonight (because we had just watched it from the First Presidency Christmas Devotional). Well, he didn't have any Hark the Angels on his playlist, so we need to pick one.

There are only 6 versions on this computer right now. So for dinner we listened to Mannheim Steamroller, Anthony Way Choirboy's Christmas, Julie Andrews, two Mormon Tabernacle Choirs, and Bing Crosby. After each one I asked which one he liked best. His answer was invariably "Hark All Ye Nations."

Until we were all done. Then the vote was in: Bing Crosby wins. Sometimes simplicity wins out.

(And now he's singing Hark All Ye Nations again.)

Small Moments of Christmas Happiness

Over the last couple years, my musical tastes expanded significantly, and there's a part of me that hasn't worried per se about my parents' reaction but has significantly doubted how well they fit into the family

Then for Christmas Pop not only bought me some of the new music I'd recently discovered, but liked it enough that he got it for Grandma Boo as well.

It felt a little like indirectly giving a Christmas present. :)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Christmas Bride

For our church Christmas party, each organization was supposed to come up with a song or a sketch or something to perform. As I told the elders, I LIVE for this stuff. So I was put in charge of coming up with a sketch. I pitched several ideas and the one that stuck was a parody of The Princess Bride. I got my food policy textbook off to the publisher by Thursday and wrote the script. The main players rehearsed it that night and we performed Friday. So the fight scene is completely impromptu. A friend recorded it and put it on YouTube. Sorry for the background noises of children, but you can hear us pretty well for the most part. The video is below the fold or linked here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Being Pinocchio (and Mario)

One morning Hyrum asked to see the part of Pinocchio where he is brought to life. So we did. Pinocchio has become a regular household name since. He asks that Grandma Boo and Mommy address him as "Hello, Pinocchio." Here are a few other conversations we've had with him:

H: I am Pinocchio. Mommy, you be Jiminy Cricket. You're my conscience.
J: Well, sit down and watch the Tabernacle Choir then.
H: I'm sitting here because you're my conscience.

This conversation happened while Hyrum was in his Woody pajamas about to go to bed.
H: I am Mario, Luigi, Woody, and Pinocchio. I love Pinocchio most.
D: Why?
H: Because he loves his daddy.
[Daddy melted to hear that one and gave the little boy anything he wanted.]

A few minutes later as I get Hyrum into his saque:
D: Okay, are you Mario climbing in the pipe, Woody climbing into your stagecoach, or Pinocchio climbing in the whale?
H: I am Pinocchio climbing in the whale. Daddy will get me out in the morning.

He didn't much want to go to bed, so he didn't want to give Joy, Grandma Boo, Grandma Straw, or Pop hugs. But he was willing to hug Jiminy, Figaro, Cleo, and Gepeto.

Hyrum looked at this blog post and said, "That's Hyrum being Pinocchio. A picture of Jiminy Cricket? A picture of you being Mario?"

After some discussion, we cleared up that he meant a picture of him being Mario. So here are Daddy being Mario (L) and Hyrum being Mario (R)

[Update 5/29/11: There used to be pictures on this post, but we've gotten an insane number of unknown visitors to see them. While we haven't gone private, we aren't necessarily asking for the entire world to beat a path to our door. So I've taken them down. Sorry. - DW]

Hyrum quotes on vacation

Daddy said he wants me to be happy.

[Pop and Boo have an ornament of Prince Philip and Princess Aurora, aka Sleeping Beauty, dancing. Her dress changes colors. Hy loves it.]
Dear Father Heaven. Thank Thee for Hy and the Princess.

[When I got him up from his nap today with a Grover doll on the other side of the bed]
I was finger painting with Grover. He's in time out.
D: Why is Grover in time out?
He hit me.
D: That's a good reason to be in time out. How long will he be in time out?
[Hyrum thought about that question, then rolled over and gave Grover a big hug]

[Hyrum wandered into Pop's office while he was on a headset phone call. Hyrum somehow figured out that Pop was working and waited patiently for 5 solid minutes without saying anything until Pop was done. Then he spoke up. This is much more patient and polite than he is when he wants to talk to someone who is speaking to someone else in the room.]

Sunday, December 19, 2010

We missed that holiday...

Featuring the artistic talents of all three Watsons: Joy drew the outline, Derrill cut the holes based on themes and variations on the outline, and Hyrum gave chose the number and style of the teeth.

Hy dressed as Buzz Lightyear for Halloween, Joy repeated her role as the romantic Roman, and I came dressed in 22 t-shirts ... for some strange, esoteric reason. If anyone has pictures -- of me being wrapped up as a mummy by the Petersons, for instance -- please send them. There were several other Buzzes among the children.

Hy enjoyed Trick or Treating more than expected. He followed all the other kids around, said trick or treat, and filled his bag full of candy we knew he'd never eat.

Wrong again. Halloween candy became amazingly popular, in no small part thanks to Mario Party 8, which includes characters that eat candy that produces fireworks and changes their shapes. He wanted candy instead of cookies, actually ATE Tootsie Rolls in multiple flavors, and played with all sorts of strange, new, artificially-colored shapes for weeks.

Dear FCC: We continue to receive no funding or representation from any company we mention on the blog.

Performing the Chorus

Last year, Hyrum stood on the front pew at church enthralled as Pop conducted and Daddy accompanied the rest of the family and the choir in singing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus. He joined in the conducting, making a Christmas memory for most of the congregation that has gone down in legend.

I warned Pop last month that Hyrum probably wouldn't be conducting this year. He doesn't see Mommy doing that every Sunday and his enthusiasm for conducting has died down. He's much more into singing right now, and I joked that Hy might try to join in.

The last month he has joined me for most of my practice time as I tooled up to move the Chorus from piano to the organ. He was always very excited during rehearsals, but regularly interrupted rather than conduct, never sang along, and generally had an exuberantly good time running around.

That was more or less true yesterday too as the choir had its next-to-last practice -- and the first one on the Chorus. Our plan was that Hy would sit with a family in the ward, with Pop and Boo joking that they could probably auction off the right to care for Hy during the program on Facebook and get some pretty good offers.

Then on the last rehearsal Sunday morning, Hyrum stood in the middle of the choir next to Mommy and Grandma Boo and ... sang. I'm not sure which parts he was following, but I had a good view of him from the organ singing along. He sang the whole thing.

Joy and I looked at each other. We had the most scathingly brilliant idea since moving the Chorus to organ. Every year, Pop invites anyone from the congregation who has sung the Chorus before to come up and join the choir. We invited a good friend to watch Hyrum during the program whom we knew would come forward and told her to bring Hyrum. And so she did.

Pop says he just about lost it (his voice caught with tearful emotion) when he saw Hyrum walking up the aisle to the choir. He stood directly front and center next to Mommy and Grandma Boo again.

And he sang.

He sang and he sang and he sang.

He, himself, the Hyrum sang the whole piece.

Sometimes he may even have been on key, but that's not the point. It was a lot of fun to spare my eyes from the sheet music and the keyboards for a few seconds just to watch my son sing.

I feel very sad for the many members of the congregation who came up after to say they had missed seeing Hyrum conduct or sing -- some of them said they had brought camera phones just to record his performance. Since he was front and center, Pop, the organ, and the piano effectively blocked most people's view. Those in the choir generally noticed and talked about how adorable he was. The nice part of where Hy stood, though, is that since Pop didn't get a chance to see Hyrum conduct last year, at least he got to see him sing this year. Although, when he did look at Hy, he choked up, so he tried not to pay much attention.

I learned how to play piano with a vision of someday playing while Pop conducted. That was my dream and ambition, fulfilled when I was only 12. Today I played with Pop conducted ... and my son sang. My cup runneth o'er.

A Very Mario Christmas 2-3

Joy has been doing an advent calendar with Hyrum this month based on an article from The Friend magazine. Each day it asks a question about the nativity and they read a scripture from the New Testament to answer it. We've already mentioned Mario interrupting the story. Saturday the question was: "Who did the king send to find the baby Jesus?" Hyrum answered, "Mario!" ... Sorry, Mario, but your Savior is in another manger!

Hy and Joy have also worked up a new rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Joy has come up with eight days so far, but Hyrum only cares about the first two: two Mario and Luigis and a Buzz Lightyear coloring book.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Strange Dream: Fictional Mandela

I woke up at 3:30 this morning from a strange, detailed dream. The setting was a fictional middle-income country severely divided by race. This may be the first time I dreamed I was black. I saw several scenes from the main character's life, in early childhood living on the streets and as a senior politician who sometimes seemed to have lost connection with his people and sometimes seemed to really be part of them. I don't know the names of any of the people, so in my lack of imagination I'm calling him Nelson even though the only resemblance is a vague similarity of setting.

I wrote down the last scene I saw before I woke up. I'll put it below the fold in case you're interested in it - just over 2 pages long. I should warn you that the scene includes references to fecal matter and refers to it with words I don't use. If that makes you squeamish, you are so advised. This is no way an attempt at social commentary about any person or people.

Nelson had just finished giving yet another speech at a five star hotel before a large group of influential people on the social inequalities and politics of the country. If it were a movie, this would be somewhere in the late middle when the protagonist is starting to feel worn down by the many pressures on him, doubting if any good will come of all his efforts, and getting cynical about the whole thing. Right now, he is so tired that the people around him are blurring and he's not entirely cognizant of what is going on, but is fighting on regardless.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Collateral Spelling

As part of showing Hy more and more movies to broaden his horizons, he sees a certain introductory movie quite regularly. So at some point he decided that THX was not only an essential part of movies but a theater experience all its own.

When we show him his ten minutes of movie in the morning, he regularly asks us to start the movie from the beginning just to see the THX sequence.

So it is little wonder then that he takes not-Scrabble tiles and spells out THX with them.

He's been able to read Bob, Disney, Mom, and Dad for a while now. He's recently also acquired THX, Wall-E, Toy Story, Pixar ["And you jump on the I!"], and most of the time Hyrum, but he also thinks Hanes spells Hyrum.

Thank you, Pixar and LucasArts.

My favorite ornament and other goings on

Hi there. Hy here.

This is my favorite Christmas tree ornament. Gamma Boo made it. I ask Mommy and Daddy every day if I can take it down and play with it. It's one of the first things I ask for after I make sure they turn the Christmas tree lights back on.

Boy, if it weren't for me there would be no holiday cheer around here, I tell you!

Tonight I got to put Daddy in time out. He went to my room. After a few moments, Mommy called out to ask if he was going to stay there or rejoin us. He called back, asking *me* if he should come back or stay in time out.

"Stay in time out!" I called then started walking to him. Mommy asked if I wanted to go talk to him. "Yeah," I said.

I walked in the room, and with my biggest big-boy grin looked him square in the eye and said, "Why are you in time out?" just like Mommy and Daddy!

'Cause I hit Hyrum with my head,' Dad said meekly but with a twinkle in his eye. He waited for me, then continued the script without me: 'I'm sorry, Hyrum. Will you forgive me?'

"Yes!" I leaped into his arms and gave him a big, wet smooch. Then we walked back to Mommy again.

[Daddy says: Best. Time Out. Ever]

In other news, I got to keep my underwear on from after my nap through to bedtime before I wet it. A new record!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Santa: After and Before

Part 1: Hy meets Santa (pictures to come later)
Hyrum had a good time at our ward's Christmas party. Daddy had a great time too, but that's another story. After the food [so nice to have that first and on time] and the singing and program, a Special Visitor was announced. I asked Hyrum if he would like to meet Santa Clause. He's not overly familiar with Santa yet, but he's heard the Night Before Christmas and the Grinch, and we did a family home evening about Santa ... and he did well meeting tall strangers at Disneyland ... so he might be interested.

Hyrum said yes. Great. I snapped him up and raced the big kids to get Hy back home within three hours after his bedtime. (Poor kid). As we waited our turn, I told Hy what to expect:

When you go up and sit on Santa's lap, he's going to ask you some questions. He's going to ask if you've been a good boy. Have you been a good boy, Hyrum?
Yes, you have. [It's so nice to believe that!] Then he's going to ask what you want for Christmas. What do you want for Christmas, Hyrum?

[This is the big question. In previous attempts to elicit information from him, he hasn't really gotten it. He usually asked for a toy he already owned but wasn't in his hands.]

"I want a decorated Christmas."


It was Hyrum's turn. He walked up to Santa and stood in front of the big man nervously. Santa invited him onto his lap, but Hy stepped backwards. So Santa reached into his pack and pulled out ... a Candy Cane! Aha! Hyrum knows candy canes. They decorate Christmas trees. They are crunchy (blekh). It's just what he wanted! He hopped right up on Santa's lap.

Have you been a good boy?

I couldn't tell what else Santa asked, but I could tell that Hyrum's response was silence. So Santa let him go and I took his hand and walked back to Mommy. Hyrum was very excited. He paused to tell good friend Jon that he got a candy cane. He played with the candy cane the rest of the night and much of the next day. We asked him how he liked the party the next day: "I got a candy cane."

And that's how Hyrum met Santa.
Part 2: a PSA on planning for Santa
Now that the Church has gotten rid of Activities Committees, there's no risk of me be called to one when the bishopric goes bat-guano-insane. But it's worse: now anyone can be assigned to prepare things, so having a calling is no protection.* So just in case someone ever decides I need to organize Christmas, I'd like to remind myself of a couple points about preparing for Santa:

Hyrum according to Facebook

Last night I plugged the camera into the computer and discovered I haven't been posting Hyrum pictures or many blogs about him since Halloween. Time flies when you're working 12-15 hour days for two months at a time! Thankfully, we have some records through Facebook's status updates:

Saturday, Dec 11: Hy asked to listen to a song ten times. I told him when we got to number 7. He announced "Only three more times. 8, 9, 10." 2.75 years old today and he can solve 7+x=10 in his head.

Friday, Dec 10: Hy just counted backwards from 8
Thur, Dec 9: Hyrum tries on big boy underpants.
More of the story: We've been half-heartedly potty training Hy for a couple months now. We have alphabet stickers and some small prizes to give him, but there are still some significant challenges to get through before we're even going to be close. Problem is, he starts school in two weeks. Our original plan had been that he would graduate to big boy underwear as a reward for becoming potty trained like all the kids books say. After praying together about what we could do, though, I had the idea that because transitions are so important to Hyrum, we need to start even that transition now.
So we went to WalMart and bought him a pack of Cars and a pack of Pixar underwear. I had thought we would need to show him the underwear for a few days, spend another few days getting him to hold them, convincing him to try them on for a couple minutes to see how they 
Nope, nothing doing. He wanted them on right now. Joy says, "I had no idea what you wanted." It's not really what I wanted, just expected. So when he wakes up or gets up from a nap, he gets some underwear. He soils them and tells us he is wet and he goes back to diapers for the rest of the day-segment. It may just be helping! It also tells us that Lightning McQueen is preferred to Buzz Lightyear who is preferred to Wall-E.
Friday, Dec 3: For the first time, I heard the dreaded words "Whose kid is this?" No blood, no foul, right?
Just a boy an hour past his bedtime being a little rambunctous in a store, to the dismay of one of the customers.
Sun, Nov 28: We've begun teaching Hyrum about Christmas fun (in the Nativity he is well versed). Tonight after Joy's FHE lesson on Christmas symbols, I read him "Twas the Night Before..." and tomorrow we start reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas. In his prayer he said, "Thank Thee [for] Christmas."
Wed, Dec 1: "That's the Grinch. He had an idea."  
Sun, Nov 21: "I'm slicing the chair to decorate the floor for Thanksgiving - Steve and Emie coming"
Sat, Nov 20: Hy's new vocabulary word is Lava. "Lava is red. Don't step on the lava." Thank you, Incredibles, for teaching my son such a valuable lesson.
Wed, Nov 17: Joy won the bowling tonight with strikes in frames 8, 9, and 10. Hy prayed "Thank thee for bowling. Thank thee for strikes...."

Thank you, Mario

It's pretty clear that Mario is the new king of the hill. Hyrum is deeply interested in MarioParty and Super Mario. We've already mentioned his effects on Christmas lights. There isn't a prayer lately where he doesn't mention his thanks for Mario, Luigi, Peach, and often Toadette or Daisy.

Now how does an enterprising parent turn this into an advantage?

Joy answers, "Burn the DS! That's how he got introduced to Mario."

I have a less violent solution. Hy has this green sack Joy made for him that we try to put him into at night. But because he can't get out of it, he doesn't like getting into it much. I've tried connecting it to other characters in the past: Buzz climbs into his spaceship (very unpopular), Woody climbs into his stagecoach (not too terrible), the fire trucks drive into the fire station... So why not invite Hyrum to be Mario and climb into his pipe? And why not sing a little while I do so, a little Mario theme, Mario going down the pipe, Mario in the underworld... I've been listening to this stuff for over 20 years.

He LOVES it! After church when I didn't put him in his sack for his nap, he said as I left "I'm not Mario. :(  "  And when Joy went to wake him up, "I'm not Mario :(   I don't get in the pipe."

Success! Thank you, Mario. Le dee, dedee dee dee dee. Dudee.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hyrum really really sings

I know I've reported on Hyrum's progress in learning how to sing and called it Hyrum sings. Today he really did it!

He is currently enamored of the Hallelujah Chorus and Hark All Ye Nations, both with fairly recognizable rhythms. Today at church Hyrum ran up to a random member and sang, "Dun dun da-dun dun! Dun dun da-dun!" The fellow looked at Hy for a moment, and responded with the next line of the song, also in dun-duns. Hyrum looked very happy and ran off again.

In other cute news, Joy and Hyrum walked in to the chapel as the bishop was welcoming everyone. Hyrum looked up at him and said, "Hello." The bishop was surprised, but recovered quickly and welcomed Hyrum in particular, "Hello, Hyrum."

The number one part of going home or being at home is the Christmas tree lights. He just wnats to see the lights and talk about the lights and touch the lights and put toys in the lights (or talk about Mario - tonight the Angel Mario visited Mary, who then visited her cousin Peach who gave birth to baby Luigi. The Angel Gabriel visited Joseph Smith instead.)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

We got out the Christmas tree today and plugged it in. Enough of the lights are on that Hyrum is fascinated. Last year he mainly tried to blow out the lights on the tree, as if they were candles.

1 - He has decided the lights represent Mario Bros. characters. Red is Mario, Yellow is Princess Peach, and Green in Luigi (Wugi). He hasn't figured out what blue is. Joy recommends Princess Daisy.

2 - Joy also pulled out my Statler and Waldorf dolls from the shed while she was at it. They're the hecklers on the Muppets. Hyrum has eagerly been trying to put them on or in or through the Christmas tree, which is tough for a 12" doll to manage. When I introduced them to him by name, he took each one over to the tree and said, "There's our Christmas tree." Then he brought them back together to give each other a little kiss. (FYI - Statler's the tall one.)

Joy has also been doing a advent activity with Hyrum from the Friend. Each day they pull out a paper ornament to velcro on the paper tree and ask a question about the Christmas story. The first was the name of the angel. Today they talked about John Baptist's naming.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Weigh In

Joy has lost 30 pounds in the last ~15 months.
Derrill has lost 30 pounds in the last 18 months - 10 last year on South Beach, 10 May-July on not-SB, 10 since the kidney stone in October when I gave up chocolate and then had a stomach flu for Thanksgiving.
And oddly enough Hyrum hasn't gained any weight in the last few months, though he's getting taller and progressing into size 3T pants and 4T shirts. Maybe half a pound.

I also upped my weight lifting today - benching 155 pounds.