Sunday, June 13, 2010

My New Best Friend, by Oliver Sledgehammer Juggernaut Ceccarelli

Being a dog can be rough. Sure, we get to sleep most of the day away and we don't have to keep a job. But when your every waking moment is dominated by a hunger so fierce you could eat four bags of beef jerky and a half a box of goldfish, not having money or opposable thumbs can be a real pain. That's why I'm sure happy to have my new best friend Olivia hanging out at my house so often!

Now I won't lie - when Livi first started coming around, I was skeptical. She didn't throw my ball, play tug-o-war with my hedgehogs, or give me belly rubs. I mean, she didn't even eat real food. The first time my dad tried to get me to clean up her "food", I was so excited I had three mouthfuls down before I realized I was eating this nasty chicken flavored apple-sauce mush.

And if high chair cleanup duty wasn't bad enough when Olivia started hanging out with us, she always wanted to poke me and slobber on me. Now, she chases me around the house trying to put my harness on me to go for walks! Escaping her grasp is exhausting, let me tell you. I guess I do like getting to go on so many walks though, even if Olivia insists on touching all the plants and rocks I find instead of finding her own. And she sure does walk a lot slower than my dad, which is great because it gives me plenty of time to mark trees and bushes on our walks!

The food is a lot better now than it used to be too. Olivia and I get to eat all kinds of great stuff, like cheese, and crackers, and salami, and chicken, and tacos and tons of other awesome things! And now that Livi is older, she's become much more mature. She used to be kind of selfish and I would only get to eat things she accidentally dropped on the ground. Now, Livi always makes sure to share plenty of her meals with me, even the good stuff like pepperoni.

And after we finish eating, Livi gives me the best belly rubs. Sometimes she tries to pick me up and carry me around the house, but I'm too heavy. I mean, I'm a pretty big, muscular dog, so it shouldn't surprise you that she can't pick me up yet. I always act disappointed, but secretly I'm not. I'm fairly certain that she would drop me as soon as something shiny caught her attention.

Anyway, tomorrow my new best friend Olivia and I are going to play together. She used to be a real pain, but now she's pretty much the coolest. I just love my new best friend Olivia so much that I can't stop thinking about what we might have for lunch tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Putting your foot down

On a scale of zero to ten gauging how much of a softy I am (at least, when it comes to my daughter and her "needs", or more accurately, "demands"), I fall right about Perris Kelly (12). So... I've got nowhere to go but up!

I can't say "no" and stick with it. It's not good. But you've got to understand - it's progress. Ever since Livi could process and respond to oral language, "no" has been her kyrptonite. Even if she heard it said between two other people in a conversation unrelated to her, she may turn on the waterworks over mere confusion. No longer.

I can say no these days. I say it all the time. Issue: Olivia can say no now too. She says it all the time. In fact, my fantastic little sharer has become much more protective of her sandwich bags of cheerios since she learned the power of "no". I don't get half the handfuls of wet, sticky, snotty cheerios I used to. And while she's become much less emotionally responsive to me saying no, it's almost to the extreme.

She seems to take everything I tell her as a consideration and not an order, which doesn't bode well for compliance. I have absolutely no idea where she gets that from.

Anyway, so here is my REAL problem. Olivia says no to me and sticks with it. All the time. And I know I need to put my foot down now. As my mom said, "I had three Olivias at once. And they were boys. Imagine handling that." (If you have multiple kids and both boys and girls, you understand. Olivia is the wildest girl at day care. But she's not nearly as wild as the wildest boys. x3. And to think of all the things she'll never know about...)

I'm realistic. I know I will have to pick my battles. Carefully. As you can see, for now sitting on the table falls in the "passive regulation" category. Things like refusing to leave her swing so she can go home to mom will now likely fall in the "active regulation" category. It's times like these I appreciate the "this is not a democracy" theory of parenting. After all, I don't want to create a bratty step-daughter for somebody crazy enough to board our ship one day!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to Some of my Favorite Moms!

People always say that as you get older, the pages on the calendar tend to flip over a little faster and the days all seem to start blurring together a tiny bit. I guess that's true - sometimes I can't figure out how summer (not summer break, but ACTUAL summer in Oregon) is only about a month away when I could have sworn that yesterday was, like, December.

But as fast as the days may fly by, there are certain days that seem to mean so much more to me as I get older. Mother's Day is just one of those days. Every year, it seems like I know one or two more new moms, embarking on this incredible journey of parenthood. It's very exciting.

So, today, I first want to say how excited I am for my sissy pants, Katie. My new little niece, Taylor, is just the cutest little thing ever. Olivia likes the baby too, which is good since she will have to show Taylor the ropes. Most importantly, my sister is healthy, happy and a wonderful, attentive, caring mother.

And how about some love for MY mom! She's simply the best. It's true. Here's why: without her, there's no me; without her cavalier early-20's attitude, I don't have a cavalier early-20's attitude; no attitude... maybe no Livi?!? Anyway, do you see how this all comes together? Thanks Mom, for all the indirect influence you had in giving me life's greatest gift. Hope you have a GREAT day today with Kate, Dad, Ryan, and Taylor!

Finally, I want to share my appreciation for Olivia's mom, Amanda. She's so loving and dedicated. I always know that no matter where Olivia is, whether she is with me or Amanda, she is going to be loved and protected. She wants nothing but the best for our Livi Lu, and that sure makes co-parenting our girl an easy task (for now - until she sneaks out of the house with one of our cars. I hope it's not mine. I think when she's 16, I should have a pretty nice car. Oh God - she's totally going to wreck my car, isn't she?!?).

Anyway, I just had to share a little bit of my love for a few of the important moms in my life. I hope you all remember to do the same today!

(Yes, I know this is light on Livi-related adventures. But c'mon - it's Mother's Day weekend. She's with her mom! Sit tight, we'll be back with stories to tell this week.)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Welcome to the digital home of America's Favorite Toddler!

If you've wound up on our doorstep, boy are you in luck! The NBA may be Where Amazing Happens, but this blog is where incredible lives. I'm Dennis, and I'm one hell of a lucky dad. I love sports, current events, sports, debating largely irrelevant topics and a bunch of other things that make me who I am (like, well, sports). But we're not here to talk about any of that - we are here to celebrate the most important thing in my entire life, my alpha and omega, the reason why I get up every morning with a smile on my face: Olivia Marie Ceccarelli.

Meet Livi. She's only 16 months old, but she's taking the world by storm. She's a walking, talking, smiling, laughing, head-shaking whirlwind of excitement. Some kids march to the beat of her own drummer - but Olivia? She has her own traveling band. And that's just the way we like it.

You see, in the real world, life does not revolve around a single person. In Livi's world (which I guess is my world, but really it's hers and I'm just privileged to reside in it, as I'm sure she'd tell you if, you know, she could), she is the center of the universe. And I can't say I've done much to change her line of thinking.

Again, we are so excited to share Livi's adventures with you. Check back soon to find out just how much fun our girl can be In Livi Color!