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Family valued - 1.25.06

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Ice ice baby

It's nice to learn that Rochester was once under a glacier and mastodons used to roam around here. But more importantly, it's fun!

"This is one of the most fascinating things you've ever brought us to!" exclaimed my 12-year-old son as we toured Expedition Earth: Glaciers and Giants, the RochesterMuseum and ScienceCenter's new exhibit.

"I like the interactive stuff," he remarked as he piloted the simulated tour of the glacial features of MendonPondsPark. With the allure of a video game and the educational value of a Nova special, it bridges the generation gap like nothing has since the Macarena.

Across from a spectacular walk-through cave, kids worked together to unearth casts of mastodon bones. My 9-year-old daughter was transfixed. "The hard areas are the bones. You need to work on the soft parts." Yeah, I get that a lot.

A display of local mastodon bones describes the information the bones contain, including butcher marks. A mastodon skeleton towers above. Nearby, a life-sized replica shows what the mastodon looked like before Fred Flintstone got to it.

Paleontologist George McIntosh explained, "This is how scientists really work. We take evidence from different sources and compare it." That's something we parents do, too, every time we bust up a kid fight.

RMSC hours are Monday to Saturday 9 am to 5 pm, Sunday 12 to 5 pm. Adults $8, seniors/college students $7, ages 3 to 18 $6, kids under 3 and members free. Visit www.rmsc.org or call 271-4320.

--- Linda Kostin (www.junkstorecowgirl.com)


New daddy diary, January 23, 2006

We get to meet our first child soon. Our due date is Monday, January 23 (today), but my wife Nikki has felt ready for over a week. The bags are packed. The nest is spotless. She's tired of the bulge and reflux and ready to mom out. Thanks to the baby shower tradition, we have everything this little girl could possibly need for the duration of her babyhood, and then some. We have things I had never heard of, a whole new world of infant nomenclature. We have a Boppy. We have teethers. We have an Exersaucer. While taking inventory last week, Nikki said we needed more onesies.

"We need more WHAT?"

"Onesies."

"What the hell is aonesie?"

She turned and looked at me as if I had asked, "What's a dog?" But if I'd ever heard the word "onesie" before, it had gone in one ear and out the other. I mean,onesie? How do you even spell that? Onesie?Onezee?Wunzy? Must every word be cute?

"You know, baby clothes. Those one-piece things."

"...You mean...with the feeties...?"

"No, that's a sleeper."

"Sleeper? Why not just... baby pajamas?"

"They're called sleepers. And we could use a few more of those, too."

I'm learning. Meanwhile, nearly-dad here can't sleep because he can't stop his mind. Whose nose will she have? What will her favorite book be? Will she tug at my pants while I do the dishes? Who is this little person making Nikki's belly morph into crazy shapes? Will everything be okay? I tell myself, "Relax, man. This has been successfully achieved billionsof times. The precedent is pretty much set, there, daddy-O. It's no big deal. She'll be just fine. Nikki will be just fine. And you'll do fine for her. It's2 a.m. Turn your mind off and get to sleep."

Then, at 3 a.m., Nikki asks, "Are you up?"

"Yep."

"Wanna play cards or something?"

--- Brandon Heffernan

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