Dear Holly: Your Very Interactive “Daddy Puppet”

6 years, 1 month.

Dear Holly,

On Father’s Day at church this week, the craft was to make a puppet out of a paper bag to look like your Daddy.

Turns out, in the likeness of Forky in Toy Story 4, the Daddy puppet came alive the moment you created him!

So for all this week, you have been following me around ,with your hand activating the Daddy puppet, having him mimic my every move:

Whether I’m making dinner, mumbling to myself, or working!

You happened to be sitting in my lap as I was finishing up my final phone call of the day.

“Goodbye, Frank!” I said.

Needless to say, there was an immediate echo of “Goodbye, Frank!” – but this time, in the voice of a 6 year-old girl trying to sound like a 41 year-old man!

And yes, Frank heard you.




Dear Holly: I Have Sort of Convinced You That a Rat Puppet is Actually Your Class Pet Dwarf Gerbil from Your School

2 years.

Dear Holly,

For the past couple of months now in your preschool class, you and your friends have enjoyed the presence of Gus Gus, a dwarf gerbil.

Each morning when I take you into the classroom, our immediate routine is to for me to lift you up to the cage so you can ask, “Gus Gus?”

That translates as, “Are you awake yet, Gus Gus?”

The answer is usually, “Well, now I am!” as we watch the wood chips move around and see two beady eyes looking back at us.

One morning we even walked in to see a clear blue plastic roll right across the floor as we opened the door, as Gus Gus raced to the other side of the room as part of his early morning exercise.

Gus Gus finds his way into daily conversations, too. I use him as an interesting subject to help you formulate sentences.

For example, anytime you see a pick-up truck now, you point, and proudly shout, “Truck? Truck! Truck!”

So from there, I started saying, “Gus Gus drives a truck?”

You obviously liked the concept, then decided to repeat that ridiculous thought.

Now anytime you see a pick-up truck, you know what to say to me:

“Truck! Truck! Gus Gus drive truck.”

It finally occurred to me as we were playing with your toys in the living room, to bring life to the rat puppet which I originally got right before you were born, as I was planning on it being a character in your brother’s superhero series on YouTube.

You were amazed to learn was Gus Gus secretly living in our house the whole time, but also that he could talk, and even say your name.

And even when you realized that you yourself could stick your hand into Gus Gus and control his mouth, you still were every bit excited to announce, “It’s Gus Gus!”




Dear Holly: The Giant Rat Who Came to Breakfast (and the Return of the Ewok)

10 months.

Dear Holly,

Sunday morning, with Nonna and Papa in town, Mommy had made breakfast for us all. I immediately noticed that you and I had matching “bedhead” hair. The conversation topic was the fact we heard coyotes howling during the night.

Somehow, that discussion inspired me to run in my closet and pull out my “rat pack” puppet. I had bought it right before you were born, as I had planned to use it as a character on one of my children’s programs on my YouTube Channel. But I haven’t had the time to dedicate to making new episodes since you were born.

I got the hunch you would find an appreciation for who I call Magellan the Mouse.

And I was right.

At first, of course, you were skeptical of the giant rat who was apparently trying to share your Cheerios with you. You weren’t afraid of him, you just didn’t know if you were in the mood to share your food with a non-human.

You eventually warmed up to him, though. Then you weren’t so much annoyed with him, as you were just confused on his origin story.

How had you never met this friendly rodent before? After having lived on this planet for nearly a whole year now, and in our house, how does a giant rat just show up?

Why did everyone else just instantly welcome him, like we’d always known him?

But that’s how it is for you. Being the baby of the family, you’ve just learned to roll it, whatever it is… including a giant rat who wants to help you eat your cereal.

A few hours later after lunch, you were winding down, getting ready for your nap. I have no idea how my Ewok action figure from 1983 showed up with your toys, but you chose to clench it in your little hand as Mommy wrapped you up in a blanket to feed you your bottle and then to rock you to sleep.

But before you actually fell asleep, Magellan the Mouse made one more appearance. I have a feeling he’ll be sticking around.



Dear Jack: You Correctly Spelled “Pack Rat Puppet”… Just Because You Can

5 years, 11 months. (Less than a week away from turning 6!)

Dear Jack: You Correctly Spelled “Pack Rat Puppet”… Just Because You Can

I admit, ever since your Kindergarten teacher provided me with official documentation that you are on a 4th grade reading level, I have been both proud and skeptical. I think it’s great that the assessment test shows you are that intelligent, but at the same time, I just want to be sure these findings are legitimate and accurate.

However, my doubts are starting to fade away. Monday Morning, I was backing out of our garage, with you and your sister in the back seat.

You randomly asked me a question that I wasn’t ready for:

“Daddy, does this spell ‘pack rat puppet’?”

You were holding the tag to a puppet I bought earlier this year for one of my videos on YouTube- though it has yet to be made, since your sister was born in the midst of me planning the video shoot.

I didn’t even realize that tag was even back there. Apparently, it was stuck between the seats and you discovered it.

Quite amazed, I nearly shouted, “You can read that?! You figured that out on your own?!”

Dear Jack: You Correctly Spelled “Pack Rat Puppet”… Just Because You Can

You humbly answered, “Yeah, I just sounded it out…” You yourself almost seemed surprised that I was so surprised that an almost 6 year-old boy could locate an old tag in the back seat, sound out what it said, and correctly read it out loud in the brief process of his Daddy backing the car out of the garage.

I assured you, “Yes, that’s definitely what it says. Wow. You even figured out the word puppet. I am very impressed by what you just did!”

Further fueled by the encouragement of that event, every day since then, you have been finding any opportunity to sound out words and read them to me; like when we are stopped at a red light.

Man, I seriously just can’t get over it. You spelled “pack rat puppet”. On your own. For fun. For the challenge of it. You are one smart kid.



Dear Jack: You Correctly Spelled “Pack Rat Puppet”… Just Because You Can