Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ah, Dutch

This kills me. So many of my fatherly fantasies during the pregnancy were embodied in what I thought was the perfection of Dutch and Juniper. It makes me sad to see him so melancholy at the threshold of his second round of fatherdom. But it's a beautiful melancholy. Sweet Juniper! is still one of the best blog experiences around.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Captain's Blog, Supplemental

By the way, that's a Star Trek reference, Mom.

Thumper's bath seat is convertible from reclining to upright. He just had his first upright bath Sunday night. To use it in the upright position, one hooks a "safety arm" over the edge of the big bath tub, known as the "family tub" in the instructions, and then the infant tub attaches to the safety arm. The safety arm keeps a tight hold on the family tub by means of of some pretty stiff springs. Thus, the WARNING message stuck to the safety arm:

"WARNING: Children have drowned when left unattended in bath seats. ALWAYS keep children within arm's reach. NEVER use bath seat without safety arm. NOTE: The tension you feel is normal and will ensure safety arm is firmly attached to family tub."

Personally, I think for parents today, "the tension you feel is normal" considering that you are constantly reminded of the DANGER to which you expose your CHILDREN through the improper use of a vast array of SAFETY equipment.

Thank You, Little Baby Jesus

I hate to be obnoxious about it, so I apologize in advance for this post. But seriously, we really lucked out on this whole baby lottery. I kind of don't want to say anything, because whenever I write about Thumper here, he reads it and changes his behavior. But I just can't think of anything else to write about other than how lucky we are to have him. So thank you for this blessing, little baby Jesus, thank you Jewish God, thank you Allah, thank you Tom Cruise. By the way, Mom, that's a Talladega Nights reference.

First, he's on the most regular feeding and sleeping schedule imagineable. I would like to take credit for this, but it's all him. It's very easy to predict the time that he will begin his countdown to emotional meltdown, which makes it easier to plan errands, playdates (like the one he had with SWSIL this weekend), and other variations from the daily routine. This morning, we took the car in for service. The customer service rep and a couple of the other customers repeatedly remarked what a happy baby he is. I looked at the clock and said, "Yeah, we've got about another half hour." Half an hour later, my name was called, and he started to lose it just as we finished with the cashier. Predictable. You can't get better than that.

Second, he's sociable. He makes me have conversations with perfect strangers, and that's a good thing for a guy who otherwise would never talk to anyone and live in complete isolation. An anecdote for illustrative purposes: yesterday I was filling out the online form that begins the background check process for my potential airport security screener job. It asks for home addresses going back ten years, and non-relatives who knew me at those addresses. The first person I could think of was our realtor. After that, I was stumped.

But Thumper makes me talk to people. He's an excellent flirt, especially with the ladies. I think he'd be happy to flirt with the gentlemen as well, but the ladies are just so much more responsive to his dimply charms. So I am frequently drawn into conversations that I would not otherwise have had. Usually it's about his age and the status of his dental and mobility development and how he's going to be a real handful soon. Sometimes people gently probe the question of the mother, but only occasionally does someone ask me directly if I'm a "Mr. Mom."

Third, and I suppose this is just a corrollary to his sociability, he's so freakin' cute. People often say, in tones of utter disbelief, "He's so adorable. My God, look at those eyes." I usually feel awkward saying "thanks" to this, like I sculpted him myself out of a giant block of butter, but I usually do. It's better than the awkward silence.

I think Thumper's cuteness and the sociability get me better customer service, too. People remember me better. They're friendlier. They go the extra mile by holding open doors for us and things like that. People love a baby. If you're tired of surly service, I highly recommend getting one. It doesn't always work, particularly in fast food joints, but it definitely increases the odds.

So thanks, Thumper, for being a great baby.

Oh, and as for updates: Yesterday, at his six-month checkup, he was 17 lbs. 15 oz., and I think he was 26 inches long*, though I could be misremembering the length part. He's in the 85th percentile on height and 65th for weight. He's in the 90th for head circumference. Who knew big, giant heads were so cute? He's exhibiting excellent balance in sitting unsupported, though he's not sitting up himself yet. He's also not rolling over or crawling, but he's nearly there on the rolling over. As Biggest Brother said, all it would take would be a strong gust of wind. He's tolerating Tummy Time for longer and longer periods and gets his head way up in the air. Yesterday he even started lifting his abdomen up, too, which just about gets his knees under him. He's trying very hard to scoot forward towards toys, but his best efforts push him backward, which he finds not at all helpful.

I know I said I was going to try not to post many pictures of him, because of that whole pesky internet predator thing, but how can I resist? I try, I really do, but when he drinks his bottle, he does this "Oh my, I think I'm gettin' the vapors" back-of-the-hand-to-the-forehead thing. How could I not share a picture of that?

*Corrected length: 27.5"

Friday, January 25, 2008

Outsmarting an Almost-Six-Month-Old

We've been trying to get Thumper to drink a couple ounces of water a day. Not to embarrass the boy, but we thought it might help counteract the effect that the rice cereal has had on his digestive system. To the same end, we've also fed him prunes, pears, and squash. When he had his first bite of squash, he made a face that quite clearly expressed the question: "Why would you put that in my mouth?" But after a few bites, he was enjoying it quite as thoroughly as he had the pears.

Whenever we drink water, we we talk about it. He gets very excited. We give him sips out of our glasses, but that doesn't work very well, though the clink of his tooth on the glass tickles me to no end. So we put the water in a bottle. He was very happy to see the bottle, even if he'd just had formula recently. But when he realized it wasn't formula, he'd get mad, fuss, spit out the water, shove the nipple over to the side of his mouth and chew on it. Then when I pulled it out of his mouth, he'd look at the bottle with great excitement again, and we'd repeat the process. No water was making it down his throat.

Today, though, we tried a sippy cup. I asked him if he wanted water. We went to the kitchen, and he watched me fill the cup that he's never seen before. I told him it was water, then I sipped out of it. "Aaaahhhhh!!" He was intrigued. He simply had to get his hands on that cup.

So I gave it to him. He grabbed the handles with both hands and put it in his mouth. He didn't really understand the mechanics of tipping the cup up, so I helped him. He loved it! Most of it still ran down the front of him, but he definitely drank some. And he couldn't get enough.

I guess the moral of the story is that water sucks when you're expecting formula. I wonder: Will we have to provide a unique container for every variety of beverage we introduce? Will he be drinking apple juice out of a beer stein?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Date Recapped

I was surprised by Thumper's initial reaction. He never fails to grin and kick at his own image in the mirror, but face to face with another baby, he fussed nervously. To be fair, he was mostly looking at the other daddy, though. I guess he's inherited his daddy's social anxiety.

We put them on the floor and let them kind of scope each other out. Thumper more or less pretended she wasn't there at first and was strictly focused on his toys. M____'s a month younger, but she's slightly ahead on the rollover scorecard and was a little ahead on the scooting efforts as well. She stretched and kicked and stretched and did everything she could to touch Thumper, until her daddy had mercy and moved her close enough to lay a finger on his arm. With that accomplished, she upgraded her goals to fitting him into her mouth, but to no avail.

We kind of moved them around as we chatted: tummy, back, sitting, standing, tummy, back, etc. Thumper may have set a non-fussing tummy record, watching M____ try and try to reach his toys. They stayed for a total of about 45 minutes, and by the end, when we held them as we stood and said our goodbyes, they were flirting and smiling and shyly hiding their faces. It was just too freakin' adorable.

As for me and M____'s dad, we did not flirt and smile and hide our faces. We did talk and compare sleeping and eating and fingernail-clipping notes, and I don't think he thought I was an idiot. College football was mentioned. He even said we should do it again, and at his house next time. All and all, bueno. He and his wife will be switching roles in a few months time, though, so I don't know if the blossoming friendship between M____ and Thumper will survive the change, but we'll see. Who knows what the future holds? I'm just glad the Thumpster got to lay eyes on a real, live baby who doesn't live inside the mirror.

First Date

The Austin Stay-at-Home Dads group is great, and I anticipate it's going to become an invaluable resource for me as Thumper and I move along in our journey together. Right now, though, all of the scheduled playdates are groups of toddlers playing at various indoor and outdoor playgrounds. It's kind of fun to watch, but Thumper's not quite ready to crunch through the gravel with them. And since they're all scheduled for smack dab in the middle of his morning nap, we don't really go to that many.

Another Infant Wrangler joined the group recently, though, and he and his 4-month-old daughter are coming over in a couple of hours for a playdate. I'm excited! I'm nervous! Should I have made food? I swept and vacuumed. I can make coffee, but the only creamer I have for it is soy milk. I hope he doesn't think I'm an idiot. I'd love to find out how he's doing this whole baby raisin' thing. Is she crawling yet? Can she give Thumper a few tips? Did I mention I'm nervous?

A girlfriend for Thumper! He's had no interaction with other infants, but he loves the baby in the mirror. Poor Thumper; his only friend lives in the mirror. I wonder how he'll react? Is this the beginning of a lifelong friendship? Will they get married? That's too much pressure for the boy. Let's just hope he doesn't scratch her eyes out. I cut his nails this morning, just in case.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Are Those Shoes?

I like my baby raisin' job. Is it the best and most meaningful I've ever had? Let's see: drive-through cashier for a multi-national fast food company; pizza dough maker and delivery driver for another multi-national fast food company; overnight security guard in empty office buildings; photocopy machine operator (officially I was a "Systems Coordinator" for a litigation document management company, but really, I made copies); cubicle filler in an overstaffed and underworked office. Yep. Best. Most meaningful.

But it doesn't pay that well, so I'm always keeping an eye out for additional revenue streams. While I was on looking for the part-time nights and weekends IRS job that I saw advertised on TV but which only seemed to exist in San Antonio and not Austin, I saw a posting for TSA Security Screener. It also said part-time flexible scheduling, but it didn't have specifics. So I applied.

Saturday, I celebrated my birthday by taking the qualifying exam for the job. Then I continued the celebration by ushering a basketball game, where I got my first "Will you take a picture of us?" moment. It was a wild time; It's good to know that at 36, I haven't forgotten how to party!

Anyway, I'm not supposed to discuss the contents of the exam, and I'm not the kind of guy who wants to screw around with the Federal government. But I will say I have new respect for the people who stare at those x-ray machines and less optimism about the actual effectiveness of that kind of visual screening process. A lot can slip by.

But I passed the test. I almost immediately received an email informing me that I would be "notified in the future regarding the next steps in the evaluation process." I don't know what that means, but if someday I hassle you at the airport, try to remember I'm just doing a job, and all I really want is to finish my shift and go home to my two loves. Come to think of it, if I make you move out of somebody else's seat at a basketball game, try to remember the same thing.

Friday, January 18, 2008

I Need to Go to a Strip Club, Get Drunk, and Light Some Farts. Or Something.

My testosterone is waning. I just read Thumper The Polar Express before his afternoon nap, and my voice cracked on the final line. I mean, nobody dies or anything, and I still got choked up.

And yes, I know it's a Christmas book, and yes, I know it's January. But if I read that friggin' Jamberry one more time...

One of His Chickens Died, and His Cat Peed in His Closet Twice

One of the main lessons of my life that I never really learn is: stop creating an expectation and believing fervently that reality will conform to it. Most recently, I believed that Thumper's birth story would go a certain way. It did not. I thought he would be starting to crawl by now. He's not (and he's still not digging the Tummy Time much either). And last night was another case in point.

As I mentioned, I have a friend who's gung ho for the Landmark Forums. He really wanted me to attend one about a week before Thumper was born. I told him I didn't have time for it in my life just then, but to come back in six months, when my birthday comes around. He didn't quite refrain from evangelizing for those six months. A couple of times, he said things like, "I know it hasn't been six months, but there's a great seminar in San Antonio this weekend that I think you'd like." Or Houston.

Well, guess what? Tomorrow's my birthday. Six months are up. Guess who came over for dinner last night? With his new girlfriend that he met at a Landmark Forum? Oh, I won't make you guess. It was BFF.

So for the week or so leading up to the dinner (I made a lovely roast eye of round with a side dish of sautéed leeks and apples. Yes, Martha Stewart may have been obliquely involved), I knew, just knew, that this was going to be the big Landmark pitch. I wasn't looking forward to it. I was restless and anxiety ridden. I got testy with Mrs. Rodius over the menu.

Granted, some of my expectations are spot on. When the phone rang an hour and a half before the appointed time for dinner, I said, "He's running late." When I answered the phone, sure enough: he was running late. He's always running late. When the phone rang again at the appointed time for dinner, I said, "He's just picked her up, and they'll be here in about a half-hour." When I answered the phone, sure enough: he had just picked her up. They arrived about half an hour later.

But you know what? It was a lovely dinner. The conversation was fine. I felt awkward sitting across the table from and making eye contact with the new girlfriend, as I always do around new people. Landmark was mentioned, but never pitched. In fact, it was mentioned in the context of how BFF was taking a break from Landmark to focus on a few neglected points of home ownership and animal husbandry, and his new promotion. No pitch.

When am I going to learn?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Two Instances of Cuteness

Instance One:

I ushered at a basketball game yesterday. A three-year-old boy and his parents came out of the arena through one set of doors (known as vomitories to those of us in the show business) and began walking down the concourse to the restrooms. When they started to pass the next set of doors back into the arena, the little boy climbed up the couple of steps to the door.

"No, honey, we're going this way," said his mother, reaching for his hand.

"But I want to see THIS game now," he replied, pointing toward the door.

"That's the same game we were just watching," she answered. He furrowed his brow, and like Nigel Tufnel explaining that this one goes to eleven, he said again, "But I want to see THIS game."

Instance Two of the Cuteness can be found here and here.

Congratulations, Minivan Mom, and thanks for the mention. Does it bug you that you're MORE Than a Minivan Mom, but you frequently get abbreviated to Minivan Mom? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wifely Duties

Since I've been doing this job for almost 3 1/2 months now, I thought it was time I did the Full Housewife and got down on my knees.

You know, to scrub the kitchen floor. What did you think I meant?

I'm not particularly particular when it comes to cleanliness. I'm not cleaning the floor on a weekly basis. Or monthly. But we have one of those Swiffer things, and every time I use it, I get pissed off. It's completely useless if your floor has any more texture than, say, your average pane of glass. So I'd use it, curse it, and put it away for another couple of months, then use it, curse it, put it away. Every single time, I'd look at the dirt still stuck in the pattern of our tile and think that some day I'd scrub it with a brush. For some reason, today was some day.

If this is how housewives before 1972 spent their days, it's no wonder they wanted to leave the home and join the workforce. It kinda sucked. I spent almost 4 hours, split between two Thumper naps, on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor with a brush, then wiping up the dirty water with a sponge. I kept thinking about Girl 6, Spike Lee's movie about a phone sex girl. In it, one of the phone sex operators acts out Richard Belzer's character's fantasy of a big-breasted woman in a short dress scrubbing a floor in "big, soapy circles."

Wait, where are you going? You got this far through a story about scrubbing a floor, and you're going to let the proximity of the words "sex," "Richard Belzer" and "fantasy" chase you off?

Well, anyway, I scrubbed a floor today. I thought about my mother telling me years ago that I'd make someone a good wife some day. I compared myself to a big-breasted vixen in a short dress. In the end, my manhood returned, though. As I neared the end of the job, I thought to myself, "I wonder if this will get me laid?" Sure, years ago, that thought would have occurred to me much, much earlier in the project and probably would have even been a prime motivating factor in undertaking the project in the first place. But at least I still thought it. I'll take what I can get.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I'm Pretty Sure This One's AHEAD of the Curve

Apparently to drive home to me the fact that I'm no expert on the timeline of developmental landmarks, Nine-Year-Old-Niece today presented me with this conversation while simultaneously impressing Thumper with her mastery of the Skip-It* on the deck in her backyard:

NYON: I like recess. You know the funny thing about recess, though? I have a crush on this boy, A? And he has a crush on me? So we spend a lot of time together. And B? He still likes me, too? So everywhere I went at recess, I had two boys following me around. But that's OK. I really like A, so I enjoy his company? But then B, he said he'd devote his whole life to me.

IR: Uh...

NYON: I know, right? Boys are so ridiculous.

IR: So are A and B friends?

NYON: Well, B kind of gets on A's nerves. And A kind of gets on B's nerves.

IR: I bet.

NYON: So then we're playing volleyball? Me and four of my friends? And C and D are really good, so they're playing the rest of us? But then they said that I should come on their team, but then E and F said, "Hey, that's not fair!" So I said A should play with them, but he said, "No way!" And I told him, "Look, if you're going to hang out with me, you're going to have to get used to my friends..."

IR: Maybe we should go in now and check on your brother.


*I asked her if the Skip-It had a counter on it, and she said no, the one with the counter is the new model, this one's an old model from a couple years ago. Wikipedia says this is a toy from the 80's, and the one with the counter came out in the early 90's. Her daddy's a big anti-pop culture Luddite! Can you believe these kids got a Wii for Christmas??

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Note to Self

While Googling on the phrase "teaching baby to roll over," I found this. I don't know anything about RIE or Magda Gerber, but these words helped talk me down from another "Ohmygodmybaby'sdevelopingabnormallyslowlyI'mscrewinghimup" spiral of anxiety. I'm trying not to have those, but what's life without a little homebrewed stress?

"Trust baby’s natural development. Physical development occurs in predictable, progressive stages in all children, although the timing is individual.... Wait for the next stage, and don’t push. It is not necessary to teach a baby to move. The infant’s body is intrinsically driven to move through each milestone, when ready to do so... [A]ll over the world, children that are not taught how to sit, walk, crawl, still learn how to do so within the average age range."

I think I should unsubscribe from the hospital's weekly developmental milestone emails. The subject line this week was, "Your Baby This Week: Can Your Baby Do This?" No, he can't! Crap! It contains helpful paragraphs like this:

"While 4-month-old babies are usually able to pick up and hold toys and other objects, 5-month-old babies are able to pass them back and forth from one hand to another. This is an important milestone in brain development as a baby learns to move both hands at the same time: opening one and closing the other. Five-month-olds also adore putting objects into containers and taking them out again, and can amuse themselves for minutes at a time with a box or bucket and a pile of safe toys."

Which I translate into: "He's five months, and he doesn't pass objects back and forth! It's an important milestone in brain development! And he doesn't adore putting objects into containers and taking them out again! Crap!"

Yeah, I think maybe I could do with a little less of that kind of helpful information.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Gay Angels!

Beware of the Golden Compass spoilers...

If I had not heard of the controversy surrounding Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, the first book of which is The Golden Compass, I might never have listened to the audiobooks. It seems like religious groups that find certain things objectionable would have learned by now to shut the hell up about them because the controversy inevitably increases the popularity of the objectionable music, movie, book, etc. If I hadn't heard that Christian groups are outraged over a novel, and now a movie, in which two children set out to kill God, I probably never would have listened to the entire trilogy. Of course, the movie's got Nicole Kidman in it, who's on my list of female actors who, as anniemcq put it, I'd watch read the phone book. So I'd have seen the movie eventually, and if it engaged me enough, I might have read the books. Or maybe not. But kids killing God? One, I figured it had to be an oversimplification, an unfair characterization of the actual plotline, and two, I wondered how exactly you write a story like that it. So I burned through all three books as quick as I could and enjoyed nearly every minute of it. Thanks for the tip, fundamentalists!

Top Ten Things Fundamentalists of All Faiths Might Find Offensive:

10. The wisest, kindest, most spiritual people in the series are a kind of invertebrate elephant-gazelle that tear around at high speed on wheel-shaped seed pods like they're Hell's Angels.

9. Part of the three-part nature of humans (body, soul, and spirit), the spirit, is physically manifested as an animal, a kind of familiar, known as the person's dæmon. Apparently, this is pronounced exactly like "demon," so I was unaware until today that it was spelled differently. Granted, there's a significant difference between "dæmon" and "demon," but whatever. I still think it's funny that the human spirit is a demon.

8. Only some of the witches are bad guys. The rest are heroic! It's almost as bad as Harry Potter here!

7. There are an infinite number of universes, and in presumably an infinite number of those, humanity is not the supreme life form.

6. The Kingdom of God keeps the dead in a horrible prison camp known as the World of the Dead. No "good guys to Heaven; bad guys to Hell." Essentially everyone goes to Hell, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Heaven's a lie they've told us to keep us meek.

5. The dead are set free and allowed to drift away into their basic atomic components to re-enter the world and become air and trees and PVC pipe again, or whatever. This release is a supreme joy to them.

4. The children may or may not "do it" at the end. Yep, you heard me. Premarital sex! Underaged premarital sex, even!

3. One of the major projects of the Church is to figure out how to separate children from their spirits by using a kind of guillotine. The process renders the children catatonic, but at least they're free of the burden of Original Sin!

2. A pair of male angels are deeply and passionately in love with each other. Yes, in that way.

And the most offensive plot element of the series is:

God is himself completely helpless and senile. He is kept in a crystal box by his one-time lieutenant, an angel who was once human, and who apparently named himself after a Transformer (More Than Meets the Eye!). When the children accidentally kill him by opening his box, he is relieved and grateful. And to add insult to injury, the scene is really only a minor incident in the story.

But behind all of that offensiveness, the truly ironic thing is, the central message is as conservative as you can get: the children learn that they must be kind, be cheerful, study and work hard. The end. Revolutionary stuff, that.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

That's a Stupid Name

There's a whole set of male actors that I love. Why male? I don't know. That might require a whole level of personal introspection that I'm not prepared to make at this moment. But these actors, I'd watch just about anything if they were in it. I think I mentioned Brad Pitt before. Would I have sex with these actors? I don't know. Maybe. If they asked nicely. I don't think that makes me gay. A partial list might include Morgan Freeman. Ben Kingsley. Bruce Willis. Josh Hartnett. I know, I know. I don't know why on the last one either. It must be the hair, carefully coiffed to look like he just tousled it carelessly before walking out the door.

Maybe you can see where this is going. My Netflix list, as I've mentioned, is unnecessarily long. It takes so long for a movie to rise to the top that when it arrives, I no longer remember anything about the movie, like why I picked it or what it's about. This week, Lucky Number Slevin showed up in our mailbox.

Mrs. Rodius, from the beginning, was unaccountably offended by the title. "That's a stupid name," she said. I think she felt that the name of the character of Slevin was contrived such that it would rhyme with "seven" and thus provide a clever twist on the familiar phrase, "Lucky number seven." She may have had a point. It's not until the 17th Google hit that Slevin becomes an actual name unrelated to the movie. But, whatever. I'd watch it.

Now, our Netflix queue is occasionally a point of contention. Mrs. Rodius has neither the time nor the patience to spend adding movies that she's interested in, so she has little other choice, besides finding something else to do, than to sit through the schlock that I pick. Sometimes even I am dismayed by the choices I made when they, after a long, long cooling off period, arrive in our mailbox.

"Why did you pick this?" she asks. I can only admit I haven't a clue.

Mrs. Rodius made it clear whenever she saw a commercial for Lucky Number Slevin, throughout the theatrical run and again after the DVD release, that she was not interested. She was irredeemably disgusted by the title.

Beware: here there be spoilers.

But I remember seeing the trailers and thinking it was right up my alley. Morgan Freeman. Bruce Willis. Some sort of semi-comic gangster movie? Maybe? I don't know. Whatever. I'd watch it. Maybe not one of those rare, willing-to-pay-an-ungodly-amount-of-money-to-see-it-in-the-theater-I-mean-four-bucks-for-a-soda-you-gotta-be-kidding-me kind of movies, but yeah, I'd watch that.

So this week, we did. Finally. The verdict? Eh. It was all right. I wanted to like it; I really did. But I was distracted by the many instances of horrible wallpaper. And the intentionally concealed plot elements through the first half of the movie made me feel like I was drunk and too embarrassed to admit that I had no idea what was going on.

In the end, all is explained except the wallpaper, and I didn't feel quite so drunk. We find out, too, that the hero with the perfectly tousled hair didn't really let his love die, innocent and insignificant collateral damage in his lifelong Count of Monte Cristo-style vengeance plot. So it can end as the semi-comic gangster/love story it seemed to be before it suddenly went all medieval on our asses. (By the way, that's a reference to Pulp Fiction, Mom.)

So will I learn from this experience and become more selective in my use of the Netflix queue? No, I will not. I will continue to add movies just because I like the people that are in them. Like Christian Bale. And Russell Crowe. Maybe you can see where this is going. Stop by again in six months for a disappointed review of 3:10 to Yuma.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Scent of Now

I'm not the first to notice that the senses are strongly connected to memory. It probably even has a name, and suttonhoo probably knows it. Me, I'm too lazy to look it up.

In my early teens, I visited my brother in the hospital after he was in a traumatic accident. I had to don the paper scrubs and booties, and a mask. Many years later, I bought some paper masks at the hardware store to wear while doing some sanding, and when I put one on, I was immediately transported back to that hospital room.

And it's not just smell. Sounds, too, can transport me back. The generous use of cowbell on Motley Crue's first album still takes me back to my bedroom and the "You Pick the Story" Dungeons and Dragons book that I was reading when I played that audio cassette over and over and over.

So I was thinking today about what the Scent of Now is. There are three. First, the hair and body wash that we got at the baby shower that we're still using for the boy's baths. He only holds that smell for a day or two, but it just smells like him and his fuzzy wittow head.

Second is the laundry detergent we use on his diapers. It smells even more like him because I get a noseful several times a day, every day.

Third is the smell of melted plastic I get every time I use anything that's been in our dishwasher lately. Two or three weeks ago, a black plastic slotted spoon fell to the bottom of the dishwasher and was melted into oblivion on the heating coil. Ever since, though we scrubbed the heating coil clean, removed all trace of the spoon, and have run load after load of dishes since, everything still smells of that melted plastic. I've even got to the point now where it's not even really unpleasant. I raise a glass to my lips, and it's just sort of comforting and familiar.

So I think in twenty years, it will be those smells, two kinds of soap and burnt hard plastic, that will propel me suddenly and forcibly back to these days with Thumper. Ah, memory.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A New Year

We at Rodius, Inc. took a little holiday break, and we enjoyed it thoroughly. I hope you and your family have enjoyed your holiday season, too.

Today, I took a look back at some old blog posts, mainly because we're way behind on Thumper's First Year Calendar, with stickers for landmark moments and everything that we never made a point of recording. So we were trying to figure out his First This and First That dates, for which the blog was somewhat helpful. I made a label for First, but I didn't really label any of his firsts. Sounds just like something I'd do.

Mostly, though, as I read through it, I was struck with the strong urge to go back and delete all my whiny posts about the baby. I feel so much calmer and more confident about the boy lately. He's doing great at self-soothing, going down for naps and for bedtime with very little complaint, and he's gone from four daily naps to three. He's still not keen on Tummy Time, but we keep working on it, just as we're working on hand-eye coordination and alone time. He's not real keen on the alone time, but we're working on making him suffer through it here and there. He makes me laugh all the time, and he makes me frustrated all the time, and I'm not sure why I didn't know it would be like this.

Anyway, I don't know. I'm half thinking of following my mother's example and pulling the plug on the blog. I feel silly for taking it all so seriously, as if each moment was potentially permanently negatively impacting his future. Does each moment of angst really need to be documented? No, probably not.

On the other hand, it's good to have a place where Thumper's extended family can keep up with what's going on in his life, because I don't really email or (HA!) write as much as I should. And it's fun to write something I think is funny and have people respond positively to it. So I think I'll keep at it awhile. It was nice to have a break, though.

Happy New Year, y'all! Here's to new beginnings. And Mom, I'm sorry to see your bloginess fade; it was good to keep up with what's going on in your world, too.
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