December 18, 2008


This Sunday is Schuyler's ninth birthday. Yeah, that's right. Nine. I'm not sure how that happened. I still remember her as a little baby, all fat and hairy and weird. At some point, someone replaced her with a little girl. I'd like an explanation for that, because it has left me feeling quite befuddled.

Anyway, instead of more deep dark scary talk about the monster, I thought I'd share some random observations about Schuyler, in no particular order and not of any earth-shattering importance. Really, I just like thinking about all the weird little things she does. She's a weird kid, "my weird and wondrous monster-slayer", as I call her in the dedication of my book.

So, some quick facts about Schuyler, at nine:


Schuyler still loves fairies and dinosaurs and mermaids. She likes princesses, but her favorite book right now is about princesses who kick ass in various nontraditional ways, so I'm not too worried.

Schuyler's brief interest in Hannah Montana appears to be over.

Schuyler's Martian is becoming easier to understand, and yet, there are still intriguing gaps. When she sees a Mini Cooper, for example, she gets excited (she got accustomed to watching for them back when I was going to get one over the summer), and she points and says "Mini!" But it doesn't sound like "mini", not even close. It's a word that she gets the vowels wrong on, too. Martian is a more complicated language than I thought, apparently.

Schuyler can go on a six hour car ride with me, and the return ride a few days later, without a word of complaint. As long as I play my cool "Atomo Mix" in the car, she's all good. But only if I start with the Ali Dee and The Deekompressors version of the Speed Racer theme.

Schuyler is now 4 feet, five inches tall. When the nurse told us that, I thought it had to be a mistake. Babies aren't that tall. I am clearly not dealing well with the passage of time.

For all her height, Schuyler only weighs sixty-eight pounds. She is all arms, legs, ears and front teeth. And giant hypnotic eyes. She's like an anime character.

Schuyler's lost glasses mysteriously appeared in the teacher's lounge at her school a few weeks after they vanished.  They were even still in the case.  Not sure what to make of that.  We decided just to accept it as a gift from the universe and move on.

Schuyler's love of Chuck Taylors has not abated at all.

Schuyler is now wearing women's size six shoes. She is one shoe size behind her mother now. Adult sized Chuck Taylors are twice as expensive as the identical kid sizes.

Schuyler makes up names for her toy friends, names that are strange and kind of wonderful. Her new triceratops from the Field Museum, for example, is named Yliksa. At first I thought she was just randomly stringing letters together, but no. When quizzed about it repeatedly, she always gets the spelling the same, and gets upset if we get it wrong. I sometimes wonder if these are popular names on Mars.

Schuyler loves soccer and baseball, but hates football so much that she boos when she sees it on tv or being played by other kids. I'm pretty sure she does that for my benefit. She is truly a coach's grand-daughter.

Schuyler met a friend of mine via videoconferencing a few weeks ago, and now refers to my "friend in the computer". She's going to lose her mind when they meet in person in a few weeks.

When she signs books now, Schuyler has taken to writing things like "Love, Schuyler!" (Always with the exclamation point.) It slows down the line at book signings, but I don't think anyone minds.

If you can catch her without her noticing, Schuyler is an amazing and beautiful photographic subject. If you ask her to smile, however, she will squint and make what she thinks is a smile but which looks more like a pained grimace. It looks more like a painful pooping face than a smile. For two years in a row, the school photographer has apparently told her to smile.

Schuyler still spots police cars for me. "The fuzz! The fuzz!"

If Schuyler turns out to be having seizures, we'll have to get rid of her cool loft bed. It would be far too difficult for one of us to get up to her if she had a seizure up there. I'm not sure why, but lately, this is the thing that has been making me the saddest about the possibility of seizures.

Schuyler will try any food, and she's not afraid of spicy things.

Schuyler is transfixed by ballet. She was watching the San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker on tv, and you would have thought there were dinosaurs, eating princesses and chocolate ice cream at the Purple Cow. She was mesmerized. Afterwards, she danced around on her toes for the rest of the night.

Schuyler lost that little kid belly that she always had when she was young, the one that all little kids have. She is tall and slender and has an actual girl butt. I find this to be very troubling, and it only gets worse from here on out.

Schuyler did a paper on leopards this semester. She presented it while wearing a leopard print skirt that she picked out herself for the occasion.

Schuyler picks almost all her own clothes. She puts the outfits together, too, although we exercise veto rights. Well, you would, too.

Schuyler and my mother have a very close and sort of wordless bond that is unlike any other in her life. It's hard to describe, but it makes me happy.

When Schuyler looks sad, she looks like my grandmother, who has the saddest story in all my family. But she doesn't look sad very often.

Schuyler loves babies. She would have been an amazing big sister.

Schuyler is my best friend and the finest daughter a father could ever dream of having. I'm not sure where she comes from and what that other world is like, the one that she visits us from, but I'm inexpressibly happy that she spends time in my world, too.

Happy birthday, Chubbin.


Elizabeth said...

Happy Birthday to Schuyler and to you and your wife as well. This is such a beautiful post, a reminder to remember and honor all the things about our children that are truly "special."

Barbara Walsh said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY< SCHUYLER (and for Julie, Happy Mothers Day - the day of a child's birth is a big one for Mom too ) Schuyler you are a lovely young girl And Happy Holidays to you all.

Iselyahna said...

Happy birthday, awesome girl.

And happy day to her wonderful parents, too.

Anonymous said...

I have been enjoying reading your blog for quite some time now, but have never posted. I just wanted to wish Schuyler a very happy 9th birthday. Unfortunately I have to admit that i have not yet read your book - something I will definately be doing very soon. Have not seen it in any bookshops here (South Africa), so I will have to order it online... soon... really looking forward to reading it! Wishing you and your family well over the holiday season too!

ysabelkid said...

Happy birthday to one of the most kick-ass girls in the world! And one of the most beautiful, too.

To Lee: Rob's book is available on - 24-hour delivery and no need to worry about the post office!

Carey said...

I think it's time I picked up this book! Happy Birthday, Schuyler!

J said...

Schuyler, I remember the day you were born and how thrilled (and scared) your dad was.

I'm so excited to be here to see you turn 9 and reinforce to your dad (and mom) what wonderful parents they are and how amazing you are (though I don't think they need to be reminded).

Amanda said...

Happy Birthday Schuyler! You are gorgeous!

KimHewes said...

Aw, Rob. You went and made me cry at work.

I remember when she was just a Julie bump!

She's a beautiful young woman.

Anonymous said...

Happy, happy birthday, Schuyler!

What a beautiful love note to your amazing daughter.


Amy Lynn said...

Happy Birthday, Schuyler!!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Schuyler!

Rob -- What a beautiful post about all that is wonderful about your baby girl!

Anonymous said...

Happiest of birthdays, Monster Slayer! I can't believe I remember when she was a grubbin. I've loved her since I first read about her. I hope I get the privilege to meet her someday. Come to NYC, Rob!

Shawna said...

Happy Birthday Schuyler!

And Rob? What's the title of this book "about princesses who kick ass in various nontraditional ways"? Sounds like one I'd like to get for my daughter.

Liana said...

Wow. Beautifully written, as always. Your love for Schuyler just shines through your words! :)

Happy 9th Birthday, Schuyler! I hope it's fun and perfect. :)

Niksmom said...

Aw, man, this made me weepy! Happy, Happy, DELIRIOUSLY Happy Birthday Schuyler!

Thank goodness for the short-lived Hannah Montana phase (woof!). On to bigger and better things!

Anonymous said...

Wishing you many, *many* happy returns of the day, Schuyler!

By the way, how does one pronounce Yliksa?

Jim Howard said...

I still think of her as 'the grub'.

Mia's Mama said...

I just finished reading Schuyler's Monster. I have never enjoyed a book so much! My own daughter was sadly neglected for the past 2 days as I was engrossed in the text. Thank you for bringing such a personal experience to share with the world.

Happy happy birthday to you, Schuyler! May your journey through this life continue to be blessed with adventures and victories over monsters!

Julia O'C said...

She is so beautiful that it makes my heart hurt.

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday, Schuyler!

Anonymous said...

hey Rob! Jennifer here, Cassandra's mom..anyway, are you guys having a party for her? We picked something up for her, and i forgot to send it to school today!! Maybe we can get together in the next couple of weeks, maybe go for lunch, or she could come over and play?? Let me know!

kris said...

Happy NINE, Schuyler! From all reports, nine is just *fine*--enjoy it!

Rob, gorgeous entry.

Colleen said...

Happy 9th Birthday Schuyler!

little.birdy said...

Can I be your daughter's speech therapist? She sounds amazing. Maybe she could loan me some fashion sense! Happy birthday, Schuyler!

mooserbeans said...

Rob when I read your book what struck me the most was your relationship with Schuyler. My husband (also a Rob) has that same amazing relationship with our daughter. They are partners in crime and best buddies. It is a love afair the likes of which I've never seen. I suspect you have that same magic with Scuyler. Enjoy this time with her. My daughter is getting ready to turn 11 and this time is magic. It takes your breathe away and breaks your heart. You have grown a real person and now you can see it. Happy birthday Schuyler!

Ellen Seidman said...

Happy, happy birthday, beautiful Schuyler. I am glad you have fallen out of love with Hannah Montana, I must say. And that you like kick-ass princesses. My little girl, who's almost four, is still into the Disney kind, but I recently read her Princess In A Paper Bag--an anti-Princess story--and she loved it, so I was happy.

Loves Pickles said...

Happy Birthday to Schuyler!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with missbanshee - what is life without a visit to the greater Boston, Massachusetts area. I can wish...
PS. Don't understand the openID URL thing. Not a computer geek. Caqn anyone help?

Paradiso said...

I've been reading your blog since you were writing the book (read the book too) but I don't think I ever posted before. I just wanted to wish a Happy Birthday to Schuyler as well as a Happy Schulyer's Birthday to you and Julie.

I found this site online while looking for unusual Christmas presents and it immediately made me think of Schuyler. It's a create your own monster site. Basically you create your monster on the site and then order a handmade, customized stuffed animal version. I thought it might be something you both would enjoy. Such a special girl deserves a good special monster, after all. Here is the link:

joanneof said...

Happy Birthday girlie!
Rob I can't believe you have a 9 year old and I have a five year old now!
Especially since in my head Schuyler is still wee like she was when we went to New York.
She is so lucky to have a father who loves her so much.
Where does the time go?
Hope you're all having a kick ass day.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Schuyler from Illinois. May you have your best birthday ever tomorrow always knowing how much you are loved!!! You are very special and one of a kind. I'm very blessed to know you through your daddy's book and on line. Keep using your "box of words". Thank you to Schuyler's mom and dad for "the gift".

Denise Emanuel Clemen said...

Happy Birthday, Schuyler.
And to her dad, I LOVE your blog. Been a fan for some time now.
Check my blog to see your award!
Happy holidays to your family.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday, dear Schuyer,
Happy Birthday to you!

Happy 9th!

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, Schuyler Noelle! You've gone from "a grub" to "a chubbin" to "a-MAZING" and we are crazy about you!

My nine-year-old son wants me to ask if you will come to the prom with him in, oh, 2016 or 2017. It might be the only way to get your family back to Connecticut for a visit!

Nightfall said...

Born on the day the sun begins to return to us... how appropriate. ;-) Thank you, Schuyler, for bringing your sunlight into so many hearts.

An Unlikely Retirement said...

Happy birthday to Schuyler! And thank you for giving us more of a glimpse into just what a dad thinks of his little girl.