Lydster: something substantial


My daughter has commanded that I write something substantial about her for her significant birthday. But it’s TWO hard! How can I encapsulate her TWO decades in one post? I know – I’ll write TWO posts over TWO months! My blog, my rules.

Let’s start before the beginning. My wife had asked, more than once, if I was ready to have a child. My response, of course, was: how the heck do I know? I had said I was amenable to trying, but when you’re five decades old, you don’t know if it would happen.

Then it did. My wife and I remember when we first knew she was pregnant, but no one else, save for folks in the doctor’s office, did. We were returning from a small party when we saw our friend Fred. He was out with his one-week-old named Carol. Indeed, Fred has mentioned this encounter in the past year, so it was significant to him, too, especially after he heard about our secret.

We developed a birth plan, and when we realized the ob/gyn was not on board, my wife changed doctors at eight months pregnant, which I thought was great. Scary, but bold.


The child was born. She didn’t sleep well for a few days, so neither did we. But things got better eventually. Someone had told us that the way one gets a child to sleep is to drive them around. This was SO not the case for her! On trips to see her maternal grandparents in Oneonta, NY, she’d cry -OK, wail – for ten minutes before falling asleep for an hour. She’d wake up and start wailing again UNLESS her father got into the back seat with her and sang to her constantly: e.g., OldMcDonaldHadAFarmEIEIOAndOnThatFarm… This generally worked.

My workmates had gotten us a red carriage, and I loved to ride her around the neighborhood. The school district has razed the 99-year-old School 19 and then built Pine Hills Elementary School on the same site. I appreciated that they built a new structure just for my daughter, or so I chose to believe.

After my wife returned to work, she dropped our daughter off at a private daycare for the first year. It was during that time that I SHOULD have been recording all of her milestones: when she started to crawl then walk – the former was earlier than the norm, the latter, slightly later. She crawled up the stairs, much to the horror of her mother.

As a result of NOT tracking her progress in the book, I’ve been writing about her EVERY month on the 26th since May 2005. I might have written about her on other days, but this is at least the 227th piece. Now, I could wade through this blog and pick out highlights in her life. But, with few exceptions, I will wing it instead.


Around that time,  I took her to Mercy Cares for Kids, right on the bus line. We were happy about the diverse population of the children. I loved dropping her off, and it was our little time together. Then I’d take another bus to work.

Only one time that she got there but refused to stay, and it was a morning that, for some reason, we got there about a half hour late. She did NOT like to go in when all of the other kids were already there. So I brought her home and took off the day from work. Even then, she had rules.

When she started school, she attended Watervliet Elementary for kindergarten since her mother taught there. Then, she went to Pine Hills Elementary for grades 1-6. She met her bestie, Kay, there.

Her sense of fashion was evident early on. After she outgrew the hand-me-downs my wife’s friend Alison gave us, my daughter largely specified her wardrobe. Early on, it was pink and purple, but she quickly developed her own style. She also started taking care of her hair, in part because her parents were fairly hapless. Eventually, she also got into makeup. Her process is tied to her sense of art, which is very strong.

Popular culture

We watched a lot of television together, such as Little Bear and Franklin. Wonder Pets was a favorite; her mom was Linny, the guinea pig, I was Turtle Tuck, and she was Ming-Ming Duckling. Later, she watched some Disney shows, some of which were not awful.

The first compact disc I bought her was the Beatles #1s. When we saw Paul McCartney in 2014, she knew most of the band’s songs but was less versed in solo Macca and Wings. I also tried to let her know about 1960s and 1970s Motown.  Ultimately, she found her taste, listening to Pentatonix, then BTS, but ultimately 1990’s soul, especially Blaque. She owns a 3-LP set of Aaliyah, and Santa got her record player last Christmas.

My daughter was involved in various ballet, soccer, and other activities. It’s all a learning process, and we never prodded her to continue. She WAS pretty good at the clarinet, though, and we still have the instrument in case she ever wants to return to it.

That’s enough for this month, except to wish her a wonderful birthday!

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