Sienna Puts Me In A Compromising Position

I sat with my back to the door, arms and knees to my chest, hands covered in kitty litter dust. Toe throbbing. Knee burning. Face red. Minky’s soft, hungry meow coming through the door. Next to me sat my near 2 and a half-year-old Sienna smiling proudly, impishly. And why not? She did something that a student of media had to appreciate. She succeeded in creating a living sitcom. For you see, the door we sat against led to the inside of our apartment. We sat in the hall facing the elevator. And I was dressed in nothing but my frog-printed boxers.

Five seconds. That’s all it took for Sienna to create this hackneyed yet utterly embarrassing situation. I’d just finished cleaning the cat litter and stepped outside in my boxers like I’ve done hundreds of times before because the garbage chute stands 3 feet away from our apartment door. I threw away the garbage and suddenly heard a soft creaking. For a split second my heart stopped and then I reacted. I twisted around, slipped, bent my left big toe sharply backwards while falling, skinned my knee on the rug and reached the door just as Sienna closed it and locked us out. At first one thing zoomed through my mind:



But then I sat there half naked with my toe throbbing and me knee burning and my daughter smiling not realizing what she’d done and I thought of all the sitcoms where a character’s towel gets caught in the door and they get locked out of their house or apartment, naked, flailing, and all I could do was add to the canned laughter.

I also realized how glad I was that I decided to change the cat litter later than usual because we only had 30-40 minutes until Elaine came home as opposed to the hours we’d normally have to wait. Plus I felt thankful that BOTH of us were outside instead of Sienna locking me out and her in. Ugh. Could you imagine?

What to do? I suggested Sienna run up and down the hall while we waited for Elaine and/or I thought of a way out of our predicament. Thrilled, Sienna obliged except she looked back at me with a sunny grin rather look ahead and thus she smashed into a hall corner leading to tears, wails and cries to go back “outside.” I couldn’t stop laughing, not at her pain but at how ridiculous everything was, at how it kept escalating into further ludicrousness. I didn’t want to hold Sienna with my hands because they were covered in kitty litter dust so I held in my forearms and calmed her by telling her to listen to Minky’s meows through the door. I always feed the cats after changing their litter so poor Minky wanted his food as his meows were so pathetic and sad and funny because of the inches of door separating us. Meanwhile my toe began to turn black and blue. I couldn’t bend it downward without causing sharp pain. Here’s a pic I took later:



Believe me, the toe looked worse the next day. Now it’s taped and immobilized. But back to the hallway.

Sienna stopped crying after five or ten minutes. I thought of my options:

1) Sit and wait for Elaine

2) Knock on a neighbor’s door to ask if I could use their phone to call my parents so they could use their key to let us in (plus I could wash my hands)

3) Knock on Fae’s door (Fae serves on the building’s board and I thought she could somehow secure a key. I knew our super was on vacation so I didn’t see the point on taking the elevator down to the lobby while in my boxers to knock on his door…and there was no guarantee Sienna’d stay still. She could take off leading to a seriously embarrassing chase through the lobby and ground floor. Problem was I didn’t quite want Fae to see me half naked and looking like an idiot)

I wanted to just wait for Elaine, but then decided to go with 3. I asked Sienna to knock on Fae’s door and miraculously she did so…a few times. No answer. I think I was too ashamed to do it myself even though I was laughing at myself. Somehow my realization that I was living a funny cliché combined with the knowledge that Elaine would be home soon helped stave off an anxiety attack. But still I’d rather not let anyone see me in boxers.

So we sat watching the elevator go up and down hoping it’d land on 4, the doors would open and my wife would do a double take. And then it happened. The doors opened and there was the double take…except it was 2 young women who live down the hall. Oh boy. I covered myself as best as I could. And at that point I didn’t care if Fae saw me in my underwear. We had to get back inside.

“Hi!” I said. They averted their eyes and almost ran to their apartment. “Umm…can you do me a favor and knock and that last apartment door and see if Fae’s home? This little one here locked us out.”

“Ok,” said one of them. They knocked, Fae opened her door and saw me sitting on the floor half-naked with Sienna standing next to me.

“Hey Fae!” I waved. She was dressed for bed. “Umm, Sienna locked us out and John’s on vacation. Is there any way you can get a key to our apartment?”

“I heard knocking,” Fae said laughing, “But I figured Sienna was just playing. Give me a sec. John’s back home. I’ll go downstairs and get the key.”

She ducked back inside as the 2 young women waved goodbye. Within a minute she came back out in jeans. I related the story to Fae and she belly-laughed.

“Don’t you unlock the doorknob when you step out?”

“Nope. Only when I do the laundry, but you can bet I’ll be doing it from now on.”

“Ok,” Fae said. She smiled. “Sienna, you want to come with me in the elevator?” Sienna did. She took Fae’s hand and I shook my head at our predicament as I watched the elevator door close.

Great. Now John gets to see me in my boxers. Except he didn’t because apparently he had no extra key for our apartment. Everyone else yes, but us no! What next?

Fae invited us to wait for Elaine in her apartment. I graciously excepted, keeping my arms crossed on my chest the whole time (still a behavioral remnant from my years of suffering gynecomastia). I washed my hands. Sienna started at the TV. Then Fae brought out a box shaped like a treasure chest on which Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty’s faces were imprinted.

“I’ve been meaning to give this to Sienna. Princess dresses!” Fae exclaimed.

Sienna jumped up and down as Fae ripped open the box.


Sienna grabbed a pink skirt.

“Put ON!” she demanded. “Put ON!”

Fae helped Sienna into the skirt as the elevator doors dinged and Elaine stepped out.

“HI!” I called out and there was the double take. The real one. The one that read what the hell’s going on?

I relayed the whole adventure as Elaine cracked up, Fae laughed and Sienna swished about in her new princess dress. Then finally we thanked Fae and Elaine opened our apartment door. I limped inside and sat down. Sienna being Sienna ran about the apartment as Elaine checked out my toe. Years ago I ruptured the tendon in my right big toe after I slipped in the shower the same day we had to drive to Vermont. Now that was a painful trip (Elaine doesn’t drive). Elaine was worried that I’d ruptured my other tendon and she wanted me off my feet because next week we’re heading to Utah and Bryce Canyon meaning a bit of hiking. After examining me, she decided it was a sprain and she wrapped ice around my toe and sent me to bed. I took a pic of Sienna dressed as mixed princesses before I left.


Sienna as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty with ubiquitous security scarf

She fed the poor hungry cats and got Sienna ready for bed. Then she brought Sienna in to say goodnight and to make sure my foot was properly elevated.

Sienna watched quietly as Elaine adjusted the pillow beneath my foot and fixed my blanket. And then she did one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen. She did something that made my heart nearly explode with pride and nearly set Elaine’s eyes to tearing.

Sienna gave me her precious scarf.

“Daddy’s scarf,” she said, her voice sweet like cotton candy.

Then she took her cherished white blanket and covered me with it, carefully adjusting it just as Elaine had fixed our normal blanket.

“Daddy’s blanket, she said. Daddy has a boo-boo.”

“Thank you, Sienna,” I said, a smile on my face, amazement, joy, pride flowing through me. Elaine stood near crying.

Then she said kissed and hugged me goodnight and I said it was ok to take her blanket and scarf which she grabbed hungrily.

But it was worth it. All of the embarrassment. The three women seeing me half naked. The sprained toe. The rug burns on my knees. The sitcom brought to life. Everything was worth it to witness my daughter give me her most treasured items because Daddy was hurting. My love for her grew exponentially if that’s even possible.

I’m so proud of her. So proud.

And lesson learned. Never again will I leave the apartment to throw something in recycling or the garbage chute without unlocking the doorknob.

I can’t wait to see what sitcom plot we act out next. Hopefully I stay fully clothed for it.



A Tantrum Leads To A Near Wedding Fiasco

We double, triple, quadrupled checked everything. Meticulously packed all items. Card holding crucial check stored in Elaine’s handbag. We packed up Sienna for her overnight stay with my parents making sure all her favorite stuffed animals were accounted for and we were good to go for our 3 and a half hour trip from New York to Pennsylvania for our friends’ wedding. We even got the front door open.

And then like an unforeseen hailstorm – tantrum.

Sienna wanted to wear her Mickey Mouse fleece despite it being 83 degrees outside and was not leaving the apartment until that red and white polka-dotted coat safely encased her torso. We tried reason, but it shockingly failed miserably. So we put her in the fleece because we had to go go go.

Got down to the car, buckled her into her carseat, and set off for my parents. Dropped her off with my dad with lunchtime instructions (like she’d eat anything) and once we plugged in our hotel’s address into Google Maps, it was time for smooth sailing pending little traffic.

Elaine and I relaxed a bit knowing we were Sienna-free for a bit more than a day. We sang along to 80s ballads. We talked about weddings and reminisced about our own. We planned to get to the hotel with hours to spare so we could unwind from the drive and shower before the cocktail hour and reception. It wasn’t until we reached the mouth of the Holland Tunnel that Elaine shouted something that made my guts fall into my shoes:

“We forgot your suit! My dress! We have nothing to wear!!”

That’s what a toddler tantrum can do. It can unravel all of your painstaking plans and careful choreography. Our formal wear stood in the closet next to the front door laughing at us fools now an hour away from home. Sienna was probably obliviously happy in the park, playing with in the sprinklers with Pop-Pop, her fleece long out of mind.

“What should we do? There’s no way not to go through the tunnel!”

“It makes no sense to go back,” Elaine said. “It’d take us 2 hours to get back here. They’ll forgive us when they hear the story.”

“We can’t go in wearing jeans and t-shirts!” I countered.

The Holland Tunnel opens right next to the Newport Mall on the New Jersey side. It was almost serendipitous. We screeched into the mall parking lot and raced to Macy’s. Time for emergency shopping!

Elaine and I raced to the women’s petite section and she desperately pulled everything in her size off the rack.


Elaine makes a face of desperation as we emergency shop

The second dress she tried on was perfect. She grabbed some gold stud earrings off a kiosk and then it was my turn. I needed slacks, a sport jacket, a tie, a shirt and a belt. Luckily we’d packed our shoes in the suitcase. We ran to the mens’ section but both of us were lost, so we asked for assistance. We told the nice woman who helped us that we were on our way to Pennsylvania and just now realized we’d forgotten our formal wear.

“What?” She said. “You know, I’m angry at you! How could you do that?”

“We have a 2-year-old. She threw a tantrum.”

“Stop right there. I forgive you. Mine’s 4. Let’s go find you an outfit.”

Elaine and the saleswoman worked together to pick out my clothes and it was perfection. The suit fit perfectly and matched Elaine’s dress. She then told us to hold onto the tags so we could return everything which didn’t feel right to me.

“You didn’t hear it from me,” the saleswoman said, “But people do it all the time. Besides, in your case it’s a toddler-related emergency. Don’t worry about it.”

We bought the clothes, drove the rest of the way to the hotel, checked in, got dressed and made it right at the end of the cocktail hour. But we had to stop and take a picture, of course. I mean, how many times does something crazy like this happen? And we did look good for being dressed almost completely off the rack. My wife looked especially hot.


Off the rack, baby!


I don’t know how many times we told the story, but it got huge laughs including from the bride and groom.

“You see how much we love you?” We joked. “This is what we do for you!”

It was a beautiful reception, two cultures (Indian and Chinese) coming together to form a brand new one just as Elaine (Latina) and I (Jewish) had 8 years prior. We ate and danced all while making sure not to mess up our clothes.

The following day we made a pitstop at Indian Echo Caverns which was just 20 minutes from the hotel and got to marvel at some of nature’s beauty. As I looked at the glistening stalactites and stalagmites, crystal-embedded limestone and underground lakes, I forgave my daughter for her last-second tantrum and imagined taking her to and sharing with her such a wondrous place as Echo Caverns. There’s something about appreciating each moment with your child, about not wanting them to reach the next phase in life, but there’s also something about wanting them to reach that point where they excitedly look at the green, blue, red, white rock formations just beneath a parking lot. I can’t wait to see the awe in her eyes when she sees something like this:


An underground lake at Indian Echo Caverns

But that’s still 1-2 years away.

What amazes me most is how I handled the situation. No I wasn’t happy, but for some reason anxiety did not grasp my chest and leave me incapacitated. In the past I would have been reduced to jelly. I probably wouldn’t have been able to drive and it’s quite possible we never would have been there to witness our friends’ nuptials because my parents would have had to drive out to Jersey City to take my shaking, stuttering self home. But this time laughed at the ludicrousness of our predicament. This time I emergency-shopped. I problem-solved. And when we reached Queens on the way home, we dropped in at Macy’s and returned just about everything. The dress stays. Elaine’s just way too gorgeous in it.

So I forgive Sienna for being 2 and throwing a tantrum and forcing us to forget to bring our formal wear to a wedding 3 and a half hours away. I can’t be angry with her, especially since we avoided a potential fiasco and I proved to myself that I am indeed improving in the mental health department. I might not be exactly where I want to be, but I can’t refute facts.

Besides, she gave us a great story to tell.


7 Ways That Professional Athletes Are Like Toddlers

You wouldn’t think it to look at them considering their sometimes enormous size (sometimes 7 feet tall and/or 350 pound multimillionaires that exhibit insane coordination and athleticism), but our favorite professional baseball, basketball, football, hockey and soccer players have a ton in common with wee toddlers. How so? Let us count the ways?

1) They all want the damn ball. Almost immediately following his rookie season, former football player, Keyshawn Johnson, stirred quite the controversy when he published an autobiography titled Just Give Me The Damn Ball  in which he called one teammate a “mascot” and complained that his then team, the New York Jets, didn’t throw the ball his way enough. Many sportswriters ripped Johnson for having the gall to make such a demand, especially with just one season under his belt, and the controversy lingered long enough for beloved New York Jet Hall of Famer, Joe Namath, to weigh in by saying Johnson was acting “downright ignorant” (Gerald Eskenazi, New York Times, 1997). Johnson is far from the only professional athletes to believe he or she is the difference maker. Plenty of other ballplayers complain about playing time or get accused of hogging the ball (particularly in basketball). Now toddlers aren’t ignorant, but they sure are ball hogs, and should a bunch of them have a ball you can almost guarantee there will be arguments about not sharing as well as tears and wails. At least they’re too young to write books.


2) They break rules they know they’re not supposed to break. Professional athletes break rules all the time, everything from skipping practice to blatantly injuring another player to taking performance enhancing drugs. Former basketball player Allan Iverson had an infamous press conference in which he constantly used the phrase “We’re talking about practice!” when it leaked to the media that he kept missing mandatory Philadelphia 76er practice. Iverson called himself a “franchise player” meaning, in his mind, that he was above it all including the rules. He kept testing his then coach, Hall-of-Famer, Larry Brown, on the subject. He tested the media. He tested the Philadelphia faithful. Toddlers consistently test their boundaries with parents. They know well enough not to climb on bookcases, but they do it anyway…again and again and again. Athletes receive punishments for rule breaking such as suspensions and fines. Toddlers receive time outs or trips to the “penalty box” just like hockey players commit slashing penalties.

 3) They refuse to accept blame or admit mistakes. How many times have you seen a football player cause an obvious penalty and then get up and act as if the referee were blind or had it in for him? “Me??” “I didn’t do anything!” How many times have you asked your toddler if they smeared Chapstick all over the television only to hear an unabashed “No!” For years cyclist Lance Armstrong denied using steroids despite piles and piles of evidence against him. He even destroyed people’s lives in order to protect his image. One-time superstar baseball player, Alex Rodriguez, followed the same suit and is now banned from the game for one year. Their refusal to accept blame caused them to become social pariahs despite their eventual weak confessions. Meanwhile toddlers break things; hit, kick or bite other kids; and destroy precious items and blame it on either siblings or imaginary creatures. Both professional athletics and toddlerhood are rife with the blame game and constant “I didn’t do its.” While all we can do is sit back and hope our ballplayer heroes stay clean, it’s our job as parents to teach our toddlers that admitting mistakes is ok and accepting blame is a part of life. Americans greatly appreciate apologies. If only our sports heroes understood that.

4) They have a sense of entitlement. As demonstrated above with Keyshawn Johnson and Allan Iverson, many professional athletes are egocentric and believe the world revolves around them. Not only do they feel they’re above us fans, some often feel they’re better than their teammates. I’m sure it’s a combination of the media and fan attention as well as the millions of dollars showered upon them, but athletes act like they rule the world. They also feel above the law as evidenced by hundreds of professional athletes getting arrested for DUIs or worse. Luckily toddlers aren’t going to commit crimes with the exceptions of occasionally unwittingly shoplifting  a candy bar (it’s up to us parents to give it back) or stealing another kid’s property, but they sure are egomaniacal. How dare Mommy or Daddy go to work? How dare we say no to their demands to use a serrated knife by themselves? Unlike athletes who should know better, toddlers are pure id and it’s our job as parents to teach them right from wrong, instruct them on the importance of sharing, and explain why it’s important to keep those candy bars on the rack.

5) They speak of themselves in the 3rd person. Speaking of egocentrism, how often have you heard an athlete say something ridiculous like,”Kobe Bryant needs to figure out what’s best for Kobe Bryant?” It seems like almost every athlete has forgotten “I” and instead goes right for the 3rd person. Toddlers too skip “I” in favor of things like, “Sienna’s toothbrush!” or “Sienna’s hair!” but toddlers can be excused for such self-absorption since we’re repeatedly using our kids’ names in front of them so that they learn who they are and can distinguish themselves from others. Athletes have no such excuse, though you can blame the media which perpetuates this annoyance by asking stupid questions like, “How does Peyton Manning feel about playing for the Denver Broncos?” At least there’s a good reason for toddlers to speak in the 3rd person.

6) Many of them have rituals. Whether it’s Hall-of-Fame baseball player Wade Boggs’ infamous eating of chicken before every game or basketball star, LeBron James’, throwing pre-game chalk-throwing, most athletes attend to some sort of ritual to assure good luck and performance. Baseball infielders go “around the horn” after a strikeout meaning the players toss the ball to each other provided no one’s on base. Basketball players slap each others’ hands after a foul shot. There are so many rituals in sports that it’s impossible to count them all. Some are superstitions. Some are just imbedded in the game’s culture. Toddlers also have rituals, particularly at bedtime. My daughter’s night-night liturgy includes milk; a pink firefly that sprays blue stars across the ceiling; an often unintelligible conversation with a Hedwig puppet (Harry Potter’s owl); Daddy and daughter singing “Rainbow Connection”; Kermit the Frog wishing her goodnight, telling her all her stuffed animal friends will watch over her during the night, and asking for a kiss and a hug; and finally a kiss goodnight and reinforcement of love from Mommy, Daddy or both. The night-night ceremony helps our daughter feel safe. Rituals help athletes feel focused. So long as something crazy like human sacrifice isn’t involved, it’s all good.



7. They like to make up funny dances. I still need to capture some of the hilarious moves my daughter makes to things like “Billie Jean” and the Alf theme music, but football players are known for wonky post-touchdown dances and thankfully you can find Jimmy Fallon’s “Evolution of End Zone Dances” on YouTube. Enjoy!

I’m sure I’m just at the tip of the iceberg. What other ways are professional athletes like toddlers?

7 Unintentionally Dirty Things I’ve Said to My Kid

The best thing about Easter for us non-Easter-celebrating folk is when it’s over and drugstores slash prices on holiday-related things. Yesterday I stopped by CVS, went through their 75% items, and came home with something I thought my 2-year-old daughter would go bananas over – a yellow plastic cylinder like the base of a flashlight with clear egg-shaped top made to look like a bee. When you press a button, the insides of the egg spin causing lights to flash and the whole thing to buzz and quiver. The toy cost 62 cents or approximately what it cost to make. Sienna squealed with glee and I smiled because I’d made my daughter happy.

Ear!” she shouted, eyes gleaming with fascination at this new sensation tickling her skin. She pressed the buzzing bee to her earlobe. “Nose! Arm! Elbow! Head!”

“Wait until your bedroom’s dark,” I said excitedly. “It’ll light up blue and green and yellow and red! Do you like how it vibrates?” And then my innocently meant words hit me in an entirely differently context. I looked at the shape of the thing. The bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz sound echoed in my ears. Face-palm.

Sienna's Vibrator

Sienna with her new “toy”

To all you new or soon-to-be parents out there, this isn’t an abnormal thing. You’re all going to say something really simple only to do a double take with your partner as it sinks in that you’ve said a simple phrase you’ve happened to associate with Skinemaxian entertainment for the past decade or two. At first you’ll blush. Then you’ll giggle. Soon you and your partner will race to say, “That’s what she/he said!” And finally, as your child gets older and you and your partner try not to laugh at what one of you just said, you’re just going to do the old face-palm. So I present to you the 7 funniest phrases (plus one bonus Q&A that had my wife and I on the floor) I’ve said to of about my daughter that when taken out of context, means something entirely different in the bedroom.:

1) “Do you like how it vibrates?”

See above

2) “Please swallow!” and “Don’t spit! Swallow!”

The first time I said this I literally cringed until I caught my wife’s eye and saw her trying so hard not to laugh. Then I just laughed along and went with it.

3) “The girl was so wet, she was dripping.”

Ah those fluctuating pre-air conditioner spring days when you put your kid down for a nap and discover her all sweaty and disgusting because her room was about 80 degrees.

4) “You need to suck harder.”

Teaching my daughter how to use a straw. My wife beat me to “That’s what he said!”

5) “She’s so cute, I just want to eat her.”

Can’t remember when or why I said it, but does it matter? When those words come out of your mouth, translate into adult connotations, and you realize you’re talking about your daughter? *shiver*

6) “Did you just put that whole thing in your mouth?!”

After Sienna gobbled an entire string cheese without chewing forcing her cheeks to look like she’d been gathering nuts for the winter

7) “Stop playing with your balls!”

Doesn’t really apply to a girl, but it still generated a sideways look between my wife and I. You parents of boys are sure to love saying that one for the first time!


One thing you new and soon-to-be parents might not know is that kids sometimes take time to learn how to use their tongues correctly (face-palm) meaning that the letter L often gives them trouble. Hence, I bring you the following interaction that had my wife and I doubled over with laughter as our daughter stood with such gloriously and proud and pure look on her face:

Me: “Sienna, what do you want for dinner?”

Sienna, pointing at the wall clock: “C*ck”

What can us parents do but cackle?

Sharing Your Childhood Likes With Your Kid

I’ve been having a rough time blogging of late so I wanted to write something personal yet fun because despite all the turmoil I’ve gone through recently, I’m seriously enjoying Sienna’s current verbosity, her ability to mimic and the accompanying glee that comes with it.

I’ve already taught her plenty of animal sounds so if you see her and ask what a crow says, she’ll answer you with a smile and a loud, “CAAAAAAAW!” But what I’ve found even more enjoyable (and clearly more hilarious) is teaching her pop culture words and phrases from my childhood. In a way, I feel it further connects as Daddy and Sienna. Sure it might be utterly ridiculous and have no redeeming social value, but it absolutely feels special because I’m teaching her a part of myself and we both love it.

It all started when Sienna was just a few months old. She made these noises that reminded me of Gizmo from Gremlins so of course I immediately went out and got her very own Mogwai (not a real one, people…they don’t actually exist!):

Sienna and Gizmo copy

Now she asks for Gizmo when she goes to bed and I couldn’t be happier. She’ll also cheerfully squeak, “Bright light! Bright light!” when you ask her what Gizmo says. So cute!

I also find it cute that she loves the theme music to Alf. I’m not sure why she does, but I made sure to put it on her YouTube list (we don’t let her watch much television and instead created a playlist filled with classic Sesame Street and Muppet skits and songs as well as “Let It Go” and a bunch of other things which we let her view on occasion). She recognizes the first note from the theme and goes, “Alf!” and I grin like a fool.

Just like Daddy, she says, “D’oh!” when she drop something echoing this famous character:


If you ask her what this guy says, she yells, “Cobraaaaaaa!”


If asked what Peter Venkman says, she’ll repeat the famous Ghostbusters line, “He slimed me!” though it sounds more like, “‘limed me!” She’ll shout, “Yo Joe!” if you ask her what Roadblock says. She’s working on, “I’ll be back!” (complete with accent) when asked what Schwarzenneger says. She giggles and goes, “How you DOIN’!” if I ask her what Joey says (wrong emphasis, but still impressive, and though it might not be from my childhood, it’s still pretty funny. And once she gets those down I plan to teach her John McClane’s awesome “Yippee ki yay!” (sans the MF, of course).

She even starred in her own version of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan which you can see here:

Teaching Sienna this stuff is not for the benefit of others, though sometimes I can’t resist watching people crack up when she throws out an 80s reference. Teaching her these things along with numbers, letters, colors, songs, manners, names of things, etc., is a way for me to bond with my daughter and pass on some of my own loves. I also adopt her own as I taught her to say, “Drums! Drums!” when she sees the Muppets’ Animal because she gets excited whenever he comes on screen. Her other favorite is Beaker (who happens to be my chosen Muppet), but she picked up on his, “Mee mee mee!” without me having to do anything.

I tell you, there is nothing cuter than seeing a 2-year-old girl refer to Batman as “Na-na!” thanks to the 60s theme song unless it’s hearing her say, “Braaaiins!” when asked what a zombie says. I promise to make sure she knows that not only do the zombies on the bus not say, “Brains! Brains! Brains!” by the time she goes to school, but that she understands there are no zombies on the bus. One day she’ll be ready for zombies and Gremlins and Ghostbusters and G.I. Joe and hopefully we’ll sit, snuggled up, bowl of popcorn in our laps, and watch some of Daddy’s favorite things, but for now the objects will remain abstractions, the words and phrases echoes, just things for the two of us to laugh about and share. Oh, and Sienna, if you’re reading this, we need to keep working on your Chewbacca imitation.

So what am I missing? What other 80s references should Sienna spout? Something from The Breakfast Club since it’s celebrating its 30th anniversary (ugh!), right? Send me your suggestions!