THE MAISIE CRAWL
Maisie has developed a singular method of crawling. It goes like this.
- From a sitting position, lean over and put one hand on the ground.
- Cross the left leg and place it under the buttocks.
- Bring the other leg around to the right.
- Scoot the butt over to the left.
- Roll over to the right side.
- Pull left leg around, leave right leg behind as if it didn’t work.
Yes, it is an unconventional way of crawling, but, like San Francisco Giants Pitcher Tim Lincecum, if it works don’t screw with it. Plus she can scoot herself around in a complete 360 degree circle in seconds , and throw a two-seam fastball between 90 and 95 miles per hour.
SOLID FOOD REPORT.
Maisie has been cleared to eat solid food by her pediatrician, so now she can load up on TV remotes, earplugs, wedding invitations and dirt.
BOOK REVIEW—BABY ANIMALS
With “Baby Animals” there is minimal effort to try to develop anything that even resembles a plot. The story begins with a picture of a baby cat, and a narrative that simply states “Kitten.” Things do get a little more interesting on the next page as we see the picture of a baby dog, and learn from the narrative that it is a “Puppy.” The plot does finally take an interesting twist on the following page with the introduction of the baby cow, and the revelation that the baby cow is in fact the “Calf.” But after that things just spiral downhill. No sooner after we learn of the existence of the calf, we’re off to the foal. Then the piglet, with no explanation of what happened to the foal. Or for that matter the calf, puppy, kitten, lamb, owlet, fox cub or baby koala. At the climax we are introduced to yet two more characters the “Rhinoceros and Calf” and “Giraffe and Calf,” then it just ends.
TRICK OR TRICK. Halloween didn’t quite get off to the best of starts. We arrived at Heidi and Shane’s annual Halloween Party with Maisie all toted out in her ladybug outfit. Now as it happened, she was already not in the best of moods because this particular ladybug outfit made it look like a meteor had landed in her pants. So we walk in the front door and she holds it together through Shane’s Scoutmaster costume and Heidi’s Cruella DeVil, but then completely loses it when little Colby comes running into the room with a sheet over his head. This, followed shortly by a pirate, a Dalmatian, a witch, a lit-up Christmas tree, and a beheaded used car salesman sent her completely over the edge.
After taking her outside so she could loudly alert the neighborhood that there were midget pirates and ghosts about, she did finally calm down when we removed the giant meteor from her back end. Maisie then spent a very enjoyable evening with the women as they sat in the living room and talked about raising children while the men retired to the garage and farted.
HALLOWEEN STORY. Wanting to relate the story of the Ghost of Sleepy Hollow to Maisie, but not quite remembering how the story actually went, here was my version of Washington Irving’s Classic.
Once upon a time, there was a cemetery in a dark and foreboding land known as Mount Pleasant. The cemetery was filled with all kinds of tombstones, some old and broken and crooked, others old and broken and crooked. Under these tombstones were many, many bodies, some of them Revolutionary War Soldiers, others belonging to actors and actresses, and still others founders of the Chrysler Corporation and devisors of the Bliss Library Classification System. One day, several of the Revolutionary War Soldiers complained of their eternal resting situations, making the observation that the largest gravesites and monuments usually only housed one or two rich people, while they were all jammed together like so many sardines. So after yet one more town meeting, it was decided that headless Major Franck (who had been decapitated by a cannonball in the battle of Saratoga) would lead them in open revolt. It was then agreed October 31 would be the day of the charge, and they would all rise from their sardine graves at exactly 12 midnight. And so All Hallows Eve finally arrived, the clock struck twelve and headless Major Franck and horse galloped out of the grave towards the more moneyed side of the cemetery. He rode hard and firm with great purpose and intent, and was halfway to the monuments when he noticed he was the only one charging. So he stopped in his tracks, yelled “Where are my men? For what purpose have they deserted me?” and turned his horse around right into the path of one Ichabod Crane who happened to be in the cemetery drinking a 32 ounce-can of Budweiser. Crane saw the headless horseman, dropped his jaw and tossed the King Of King Of Beers away and began to run. He ran and ran and ran and ran. Unfortunately he ran directly toward the grave of Major Franck’s, in which direction Major Franck was heading (or not heading since he was headless, right). The chase continued across the cemetery until Franck made it back to his headstone, dived in and immediately rounded the men up for an all-out tongue-lashing. It was then that Major Franck discovered that it was not only Halloween that evening, but also the end of Daylight Savings Time, and his men had all remembered to set their clocks an hour clocks back while Major Franck was once again done in by his lack of head. As for Ichabod Crane, he was last seen somewhere around Pasaic looking crazed and troubled.
VOCABULARY. Maisie’s seems to be expanding on a daily basis. In volume.
WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF A CRYING FIT . Maisie woke up in an all-out crying fit about 1:30 last night. The worst thing about these fits (which don’t happen all that often, thank God) is it’s really hard to figure out what’s causing them. So you have to kind of go down a mental checklist until you figure out where the problem is. Like, is it a dirty diaper? Does she have diaper rash? Did she have a bad dream about pirates, ghosts or lit-up Christmas trees? Is there a tooth coming in? Is she sick? Is she crying because she knows it will get her parents out of bed? Then you run down a list of remedies…a walk around the room, a cube of ice, a clean diaper, a warm bottle, a cold washcloth, etc. Or if it’s 1:30 in the morning, give her a shot of baby aspirin and put her in Mommy and Daddy’s bed so you can get some sleep.
THE LAST COUPLE MONTHS IN PICTURES SINCE I’M TOO LAZY TO WRITE.
THANKSGIVING REPORT. We had turkey, cornbread stuffing, greens with bacon and pine nuts, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, popovers, and pie. All of which Maisie seemed to enjoy immensely.
CHRISTMAS. We had three Christmases. One here in Seattle with just us three, one in Florida with Aimee’s family and one in California with mine. Over the course of the three Christmases, Maisie mastered the fine art of opening presents. Beginning in early December as a novice, she would only make what amounted to a perfunctory half-hearted stab at the bow and ribbon. But in late December, she would tear open anything that was close no matter if it was hers, her parents, her grandparents, her aunts, the package set aside for Toys For Tots, etc. She did make a fine haul though…everything from the Zebra Scooter Thing That Talks to a pair of pink maracas.
ST. NICHOLAS 2012. I did modify the Santa story a bit, telling Maisie on Christmas Eve that Santa leaves presents for all the little children in the world, except the bad ones. If you’re bad, he wraps you up, hauls you back up the chimney to his sleigh and drops you off in Edmonton on his way back to the North Pole. We’ll see if she remembers that.
ON THE WAY HOME. On the way back to Seattle from Central California, we drove along the coast, taking in one beautiful cliffside drop into the abyss after another. The road follows the contours of the coastal ravines, hanging on to the side of the mountains like discarded crime scene tape. And you can truly feel the energies of creation at work, gouging, digging, scouring one thousand feet below at the foot of the cliffs. Waves hit the rocks dead-on sending white foaming shrouds of water and mist into the air. And the sound…thunderous, crashing, monotheistic…would certainly be very nice if it wasn’t interrupted every 15 seconds by…
“Elephant left you a message, he wants to play.”
“Circles, they’re round, round, round.”
See, every toy made in America now talks. And when you load every toy made in America into the back of the family utility wagon, they talk every time you hit a bump in the road. And there are many bumps on California Highway One between California and Washington. Like the one two miles outside of Big Sur when you’re just about to melt into the scenery.
“Let’s meet the hippo in the river.”
Or you’re about to discover the balance between nature and science.
“Red Yellow Blue Orange. I like orange.”
Or you’re one thought away from the meaning of life.
“1, 2, 3, call a friend to play.”
A SHORT COURSE IN CHILDREN’S BOOK SPEED READING .
All kids love to be read to. But sometimes you’re forced to read the same children’s story over and over, like, say, sixty times in five minutes. When this happens, it’s OK to cut a few corners by the sixtieth read. Take for example, the story of the Animal Noises:
“What does the Fuzzy Duck say? Quack Quack.”
“What does the Wooly Lamb say? Baa.”
“What does the Brown Cow say? Moo.”
“What does the Pink Piggy say? Oink Oink.”
“What does the Billy Goat say? Maa.”
“What does the Red Rooster say? Cock A Doodle Doo.”
“Fuzzy Duck says…Quack.”
“Wooly Lamb says…Baa.”
“Brown Cow says…Moo.”
“Pink Piggy says…Oink.”
“Billy Goat says…Maa.”
“Red Rooster says…Cock A Doo.”
If reading continues into the hundreds, it is possible to condense it even further:
“Duack, Lamaa, Cmoo, Poink, Goma, Roock.”
But this should be undertaken only in extreme circumstances.
AND FINALLY, HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY.
HOLIDAY AFTERMATH. Maisie left a trail of food on the floor of every restaurant from California to Washington. She is very sly about this. Whenever the waiter or waitress is around she smiles, acts cute, feigns innocence. But the minute the wait staff leaves, Maisie’s lower lip tightens and within ten seconds everything on her tray is on the floor. So this means that whenever the waiter or waitress comes around to check on us, we have to divert their attention from all the Cheerios, French fries, carrots, prunes, baby food, napkins, forks, bibs piling up under the high chair. We do this until the bill comes, then we pay it with cash, run out of the restaurant, get in the car and haul ass burning rubber out of the parking lot.
Have to give her credit though, Maisie is a better traveler than most adults. Strap her in the car seat, turn on the ignition and she’s quiet for hours. Not quite sure what she does back there, but as long as it doesn’t involve throwing luggage out the back, I’m OK with it.
BABY WATER BOTTLE PHYSICS. If you stop at Mo’s in Florence Oregon and put an eleven month old in a baby seat, then put a baby bottle next to the eleven-month old, the eleven month old will fling the bottle across your table, under a neighboring table and hit the person sitting at that neighboring table in the foot.
MAISIE VS. THE TV TRAY.
Maisie got into an altercation with a TV tray today.
The TV tray won.
She was creeping along the wall– making her usual rounds of the living room when the TV tray got in her way (as TV trays have been known to do). This time around though, Maisie decided it was time to test the TV tray. She inched across, grabbed it by the side and wrestled it to the ground. TV tray, being a little nimbler, pulled out an old wrestling move and did a flip slam mambo reverse pinning Maisie to the floor. Separating the two, I sat her on one side of the room and the TV tray on the other. But the damage had already been done. While the TV tray just sat against the wall innocently, Maisie just gave it the death stare.
SNOW DAY. Whenever Seattle gets more than an inch of snow it goes into lockdown mode. So when a storm dumps eight inches in one day, Snow Day For The Entire Population Of Seattle Day! At our house there was even enough snow to cover up the butt-showing gnome in the back yard, so it seemed the right time to take Maisie out to get her first taste of the white stuff.
She kind of liked it. Kind of. At least liked it enough to not cry in the first three minutes.
But she definitely didn’t like it when placed in snow angel position. And come to think of it, I probably wouldn’t like it either if I was one year old, and my parents threw me on my back in cold and snow and waved my arms up and down. “They’ve lost their minds,” I can hear her say, “they’re becoming hippies.” Anyway, within ten minutes Maisie was back in the house and in a dry change of clothes staring at the TV tray.
11.75 MONTH FOOD REPORT. Here is what Maisie ate on January 20…
- oatmeal with apple and cinnamon
- chopped up bananas
- bottle of formula
- whatever came in the mail that day
- 15-20 cherries
- buttons off the remote control
NEW FOOD ITEM. Last night Maisie expanded her palate once again. This time to include dice from the Trivial Pursuit Board Game, 80s Edition. In other words, just when you thought you had baby proofed everything including everything, Maisie finds something that slipped through the cracks. Although it would probably help if we were paying less attention to Celebrity Wife Swap and more attention to her when she’s rummaging through stuff. Oh well.
AND ON A RELATED NOTE…HOW TO BABYPROOF A ROOM. Pull everything out of the room and put it on the roof.