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Wednesday, December 7, 2005

After my shopping spree yesterday, my plans for today didn’t include anything other than a quick trip to the post office and back this morning. When I woke up to a light rain, my plan was revised to include staying bundled up in my cozy house for as much of the day as possible.

So I wasn’t sure what I was going to do when Tammy asked if I wanted to meet her at D.J.’s basketball practice. Of course I try to take advantage of every family-oriented opportunity that comes my way, and I was planning on making an effort to get there, but I wasn’t sure. When she suddenly needed me to take him to practice, I was suddenly sure. If Aiden has to go to the doctor and David has to stay with Kylie and Dakota, then of course I’m going to take D.J. to practice.

Aiden and Tammy showed up a few minutes into practice, and I hung out with them until Aiden ran out of gas. At first he was interested in everything that was going on, and he kept saying, “D.J.! Basketball!” and pointing his big brother out to me (as if everyone in the building didn’t know who D.J. was by the time practice was half over). The team has a game Saturday, and while I’m not sure this practice will get them ready to roll over an opponent, they should at least know which direction they’re going at least half the time. So that’s a start.

D.J. could use a little more work on his passing game. Whenever he gets hold of the ball, he seems to think he’s all of a sudden playing rugby instead of basketball. And he gets a little testy if the ball doesn’t find its way into his hands every time down the court. Let’s just say there were tears involved, which led the very patient coach to design a play that made sure D.J. got to take a shot before the scrimmage ended. (He hit the rim, by the way.)

The plan had been for Tammy to take D.J. home after practice, but Aiden didn’t want to stay that long. He’s not really horribly sick, but he has a few symptoms of the croup that keep hanging on and coming back, so his patience isn’t what it usually is. (I think what he really wanted was to get out of his stroller and run out onto the court and tackle D.J., the way he does at home.)

So I got to take D.J. home, which meant some time with beautiful Kylie, who was serenely sitting on her daddy’s lap watching college basketball (and won’t she have some good advice for D.J. when she’s old enough to talk). And I got to see Dakota, who when he’s in one of his serene moods as he was tonight is a calming kind of presence. He’s good for me that way.

6 December 2005

Fall landscape.

By the time I got D.J. home, Aiden was acting more like his old self. He’s an overflowing fountain of words these days, new ones every day. He does animal sounds on command, and he has a twinkle in his eye that lets you know he’s going to be a real pistol when he gets a few more words and a little more size. When Tammy gave him his medicine, he handed me his bottle, and then when I gave it back to him, he said, “Thank you, Uncle Mike.” Unprompted! And Dakota has taught him to look out the window and say, “Uncle Mike’s green car.”

This all makes it worth getting out of the house, even on a day when I’m tired and it’s raining and I have a ton of work to get done. There will be plenty of time to sleep and work, but how long will Aiden be eighteen months old? Judging by how much he changes every time I see him: not long.

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Despite the fact that this was one of the most active trading days in recent baseball memory, no deal that was made stands out more than the one that wasn’t, when the Astros refused to offer arbitration to Roger Clemens, the major leagues’ RBI leader last season. This ensures that Clemens won’t pitch for the Astros next year, and since he’s already “retired” once, it could be the end of the line for a future member of the Hall of Fame. But there will be plenty of teams interested in having him pitch for them, and a few who might even be able to afford them. Personally, I think he’s ready to be a full-time dad. He doesn’t have anything left to prove in baseball.

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