WHA’ HAPPEN? We all have the best intentions when we start these blog/journal type things. But then you kind of forget to write something down one week, and six months later you’re looking at several pages that should be filled with witty observations and sharp child rearing tips and instead are filled with cryptic notes that read “tights on backwards” or “fell down today/big snot.” So consider the next LARGE entry somewhat like the Dead Sea Scrolls. It fills the void, but am still trying to figure out what half of it actually means…
WALKING. Maisie is full on walking now. Or actually full on stumbling. Her form of stumblewalk goes kind of like this.
- Place one foot in front of other and put hands high in the air while stumbling forward as if you’re looking for someone to high five with each new step.
Every now and then Maisie reverts back to the crab crawling that had been in vogue until just recently. But the crab crawl has obviously plunged down Maisie’s list of favorite modes of transportation to just above old Ford pickup with no suspension and just below being dragged along by rope.
AMAZING. It is amazing watching her learn (you do say the word “amazing” a lot through this process like “It’s amazing that I haven’t taken a shower in six days”). Her vocabulary is still a series of different grunts followed by pointing. But she definitely will you know when she doesn’t want the banana or does want the picture of Uncle Steve hanging up on the wall. She can now tell Grandpa from her dad, her Grandma from her mom, and most importantly Elmo from the Cookie Monster. She is now a full-fledged little person with her own full-fledged little attitude.
LIFE OBSERVATION. Driving along yesterday, I saw a cow with his head stuck in barbed wire. I thought about this for a while. Besides the obvious point of why, if you’re a cow, would you stick your head into barbed wire in the first place, there was a deeper thought, a deeper revelation to be had. Here’s where I ended up:
- If you stick your head in barbed wire, it might get stuck.
Live by that principle and you shall be happy the rest of your life.
ONE EASTER STORY FROM FLORIDA. Maisie loves the Easter Bunny, or at least isn’t scared to death of the Easter Bunny. At a mall in West Palm Beach, she ran after him when he left to go on a ten minute Easter Bunny break. “I gotta go lay some eggs, kid,” I thought I heard him say. Maisie continued running after him apparently to remind him that rabbits are indeed not oviparous
LIFE OBSERVATION 212: OLD. Somehow I’m getting older and getting younger at the same time. The younger part of me finds programs like Sesame Street entertaining while the older part of me sometimes feels like my arm is going to fall out of its socket.
SESAME STREET CORNER. Sesame Street has become a full on addiction. When it’s on, Maisie stands at the coffee table transfixed. Pointing at Big Bird, screaming at Elmo and looking dreamily at Burt. And when not watching Sesame Street, we’re reading “1, 2, 3 by Elmo,” “Nighty Night With Baby Big Bird” or “Little Bo Peep As Told By Ernie.” Cookie Monster, Big Bird and Elmo dolls have taken over the house. Originally confined to Maisie’s easy chair, they now stretch out on the couch, hog the remote and eat all the cookies. It’s all encompassing, but it sure is nice to be able to set her in front of the TV for an hour and do some things around the house: pick up trash, put away dishes, drive to the store to buy cigarettes and bourbon.
FRICTION ON SESAME STREET. Don’t ever let it be said that there’s not an edge to Sesame Street. On the Rocko the Rock episode, Elmo gets pushed out of shape because Zooey’s friend Rocko the Rock wants to take a turn on a swing ahead of Elmo. But Elmo who is usually fairly easy going about these things, balks. He just can’t get past the fact that Rocko is a Rock and thus begins to complain bitterly. This goes on for a time, until Elmo finally acquiesces and says OK, Rocko can have a turn. That’s when Zooey steals Elmo’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookie and al hell breaks loose. Elmo pushes Rocko into a tree, and Rocko retaliates by throwing himself at Elmo’s head. Big Bird tries to separate them but nobody pays attention because Big Bird is Gay.
FAVORITE TOY OF THE MOMENT: That would be the talking picnic basket. Every day we all sit down and Maisie opens the basket and distributes food to everyone. Mommy gets the sandwich, Maisie gets the watermelon, and Daddy gets what’s either an orange slice or a bar of Dial soap.
BREAKING NEWS: MAISIE NOT FOND OF GAUGHIN, SELTZER WATER.
SEATTLE–In no uncertain terms, Maisie has let it be known that her father’s birthday outing to the Seattle Art Museum’s Gaughin In Polynesia exhibit was not high on her to-do list. Settling in somewhere between taking a bath and pooping, she communicated her displeasure by yelling loudly and making arm gestures. It appears that her least favorite portraits were Parahi te Marae (The Sacred Mountain), Women and A White Horse and Arii Matamoe (The Royal End) which she threw a rice cracker at. In an unrelated development, Maisie also made a number of sour faces while consuming Seltzer Water during a meal on Sunday night. “Who likes that shit, it has bubbles.” She told reporters When questioned why she kept drinking it if she found it so repulsive she said, “You don’t see some of the other stuff I have to eat.”
DANCING: Maisie’s dance steps are quite complicated, but with applied study and discipline, you too can also be a great dancer. Pay close attention(to the tune of Sheena Is A Punk Rocker by the Ramones):
- Stand on bed, put both hands on table
- Stick Butt out
- Move head back and forth three or four times. Stop
- Raise arm
- Move head again with arm raised
THERE HAS BEEN AN UNSUBSTANTIATED REPORT OF a Butt Crack in the house, but has yet to be confirmed. It is reported that the Grout Doctor came by to do some grout work, and in the process revealed at least a ¼ inch of butt crack while bending over to address the grout situation in the upstairs bathroom. During the incident, her father tried to shield Maisie’s eyes but failed in the attempt. Now she is scared of sirens, dogs and butt crack.
I KISSED A BOY AND I LIKED IT. Today after church, Aimee rounded a corner in the courtyard to see Maisie mashing on a one year old. The boy’s parents said that Maisie stalked him coming out of the church, waited until he was away from his parents then attacked with guns blazing and mouth open. After being separated, the boy experienced his first panic attack but will make a full recovery. Maisie just said “Whatever,” and went over to destroy some flowers.
NEW CAR SEAT. I understand that kids grow like weeds, but can’t something kid related last more than like four months. We just bought a new car seat and already she’s getting too big for it. It is nice though, it has a black and white cow pattern, a lot of belts and buckles and an instruction book that is completely indecipherable.
COOKING. I never really cooked all that much before…OK, like maybe never at all before…but I have mastered the art of scrambling an egg. My signature (which Maisie loves by the way) is called the Cesar Romero which is one scrambled egg with cheese, pepper, egg shells and unidentifiable food crumbs.
ANOTHER MILESTONE TODAY. Maisie produced her first work of art while at Swanson’s Nursery with Linda (she’s our part time sitter in case I haven’t mentioned it yet). It’s a pretty good representation of three lines of green and one blob of yellow.
WAVE. About the cutest thing in creation is an infant’s wave. sometimes you get it forwards, sometimes you get it backwards (which means sometimes she waves at you, other times she waves at herself or whatever’s behind her). But it’s when she sends a little wave from her crib as she’s falling asleep that can turn a day when you got a speeding ticket, scraped your car, got fired from your job, and was arrested for male prostitution into a pretty decent day after all. But there were ulterior motives two days ago when I came home when Maisie did a forward wave, came up to give me a hug, and walked away with my keys.
SPEAKING OF DECEPTION. I was reminded today of being in Africa and watching how hyenas lure lions away from their dinner. One would walk around to the right, while another would sneak up on the left. So the lion would chase after the hyena on the right, while the hyena on the left would zero in on the dead zebra fricassee and drag it away before the lion returned. Maisie just did the same thing. I was writing on my notepad. She walked up and pointed at the pen, meaning of course, “I want that.” When I told her no, she walked out of the room and started rummaging in the boxes she knows are off limits. When I got up to tell her “no you know those are off limits,” she ran back into the living room and hijacked the pen.
THE DAILY SHOW. Maisie is pointing more than talking (although she does say Da and Ma when she wants something or is angry). But she does have an in-depth understanding of anatomy, as witnessed by this ritual we repeat daily:
“Where’s Maisie’s feet?” Maisie points at her feet.
“Where’s Maisie’s hair?” Maisie grabs her hair (which usually has avocado or jam in it)
“Where’s Maisie’s tongue?” Maisie’s tongue rolls out (not unlike Gene Simmons of Kiss)
“Where’s Maisie’s ears?” She uses both hands and grabs both ears.
“Where’s Maisie’s belly?” She lifts her shirt and pats her belly just like she finished Thanksgiving dinner
“Where’s Maisie’s butt?” She lifts her shirt and pats her belly just like she finished Thanksgiving dinner. Still working on that.
BUBBLES. Suns out today, so we’re blowing bubbles in the back yard. Well, I’m blowing bubbles. Maisie is putting the bubble wand up to her mouth and that’s about it. I told her the secret to blowing bubbles begins with actually blowing. She still doesn’t quite get it, but at least she has a clean lower lip.
EVOLUTION. More and more, Maisie is helping out around the house. She picks up her toys, closes the front door when it’s accidentally left open and pulls the dishes out of the dishwasher to give to her Mom. Of course she does all this naked.
DISCIPLINE. For those who don’t understand the concept of discipline, here’s how it works:
- Child does something wrong like slaps spoon away while eating or bites shoulder.
- Parent speaks sternly to child
- Child stops what their doing, eyes well up, face turns red, lets out heartbreaking wail, then cries so hard child can’t catch breath.
- Parent feels bad, hugs child, says sorry he/she yelled at her/him
- Child stops crying knowing parent is in palm of hand
TOYS UPDATE. Those that used to talk now only make clicking sounds. This is true for all the toys except the Activity Center, which is permanently stuck in Spanish.
HOW FAST IS TIME PASSING? Yesterday was Maisie’s one year birthday. Today, she turned a year and a half.
CONCRETE STORY. Apparently Maisie did a face plant the other day while walking with Linda. But rather than be hugged or consoled, she just crossed her arms and walked down the sidewalk crying.
A TALENT FOR SLAMMING THINGS. Maisie likes to slam doors. She’ll go to one door in the kitchen and slam it. Move on to the doorway in the hall, slam it. Walk over to the front door, slam it. I believe this talent will come in handy in the future especially when a job description states, “must be a self-starter, have good communication skills and be able to slam doors loudly and with great force.”
THE BEST PART OF WAKING UP… Every morning when Maisie wakes up, she yells “Da.” Sometimes this is at 6:45 on a Saturday but it’s still pretty great.
OBSERVATION #500 You spend thousands on toys, books, and anything to keep your child occupied. Which guarantees that her favorite activity will not have anything to do with the toys books, etc. Spinning round real fast until falling down on the carpet as an example.
FRESNO. Here is a blow by blow description of her first time in the pool with her Aunts.
- Gets feet wet.
- Moves on to ankles.
- Steps in gingerly.
- Immediately graduate to splashing everyone who isn’t in the pool.
MORE ABOUT FRESNO
- Went to the zoo, chased birds
- Spent the day with her cousins and come back with 17 mosquito bites.
- Ate her first rib, her first beef ka-bob, her first jell-o salad and her firsthomemade vanilla ice cream
- Spent many hours in the pool
- Got $10,000 worth of new clothes
- Learned to like Uncle Larry again
CHEAPEST TOY I EVER BOUGHT. The straw from a large “Souvenir” Cup from Roeding Park Zoo in Fresno, California. Maisie has spent hours blowing into it like a flute that plays a grand total of three notes. Loud, loud minor and loud sharp.
ALARM CLOCK. I have a built-in alarm clock now, which is a couple leg kicks to the face. In the evening, Maisie uses all her persuasive ability to get in the big bed with her parents, then spends most of the night positioning herself vertically, so that at the first hint of sunlight, she can kick me in the face, the ribs, the head, whatever vulnerable body part is closest, to let me know that morning has arrived and to let her sleep another couple hours.
THE HEAD BUTT AND THE FIVE-SECOND DELAY CRY. It’s a bit of a shock when you’re sitting there minding your own business staring blankly at the window and a little head comes out of nowhere and bangs you upside the head. Then five seconds later the crying starts when she finally figured out that, oh shit, that actually hurts.
- Maisie just seems to be getting bigger by the day
- In the morning her hair looks like it was styled by electric shock
LATEST VOCABULARY AND ARM MOVEMENT REPORT:
- Father—Gnk (points at father)
- Mother—Gnk (points at mother)
- Water—Gnk (points at glass)
- More—Gnk (points at whatever she wants more of)
GENERATION GAP? On the way up to a weekend in British Columbia, Aimee was having a hard time remembering a certain show where a bunch of people were stranded on an island. Of course that could only mean one show, right? Gilligan’s Island.
WHAT HAPPENED DURING OUR WEEKEND IN VANCOUVER:
- Found out that Maisie loves Miso and Rice Balls and knows how to drink from a Miso soup bowl and throw a rice ball no problem.
- Likes Greek food, especially pita bread.
- Likes to go over to the air conditioner and put her face over it so her hair blows up. Like Stevie Nicks.
- Threw pennies into a fountain. I wished for health and happiness. Aimee wished for happiness and health. Maisie wished for her pennies back.
SUDDENLY and I mean like on Friday, Maisie started walking like a hunchbacked gorilla. Bending over very low, hands dangling to the ground and walking around like an infant Quasimodo. We immediately ran out to Toys R Us to purchase the Fisher Price Hunchback Church Bell, so she can ring it and scream out, “Oh, all that I ever loved.
iPHONE IS NOW NEW FAVORITE TOY. Maisie ran into the kitchen like she was on a serious phone call. Speaking loudly. Angry. Exasperated. Talking to the cable company would be my best guess.
KEYS ARE NOW NEW FAVORITE TOY. We have a fun game when I get home from work. I give Maisie my keys and see how long it takes before she turns on the car alarm. Usually around 15 seconds
T-SHIRTS ARE OTHER NEW FAVORITE TOY. Maisie has been raiding my collection of T-shirts and has decided she likes all the yellow ones the best including the Temporarily Out Of Order, Palm Strike and the Celtic soccer shirt. They are now all in her crib…which, of course, she never sleeps in anymore.
ANOTHER FIRST. Maisie unfastened her diaper all by herself and walked out into the kitchen with her ballerina shoes on and nothing else. Then she peed on the floor.
ANOTHER CRAZY BOOK “Baby Puppy” starts off well enough, but then goes off the tracks by leading you in one direction then completely pulling out the rug. Like “Jess and Charlie are sitting in the yard.” Then in the same breath, pulling a 180 and asking to “point to the fluffy cloud.” Or… “These two bunnies have floppy ears, can you point to the green grass?”
ANOTHER FAV: Her favorite thing to do now is going up and down the stairs. Then back up, then back down, back up, back down, up, down, up, down, up.
FALLING OFF THE BED. AGAIN. Not sure how this all went down, but around 1:00 in the morning heard a thump then a loud cry. I scrambled around and actually couldn’t find her at first (only extreme panic) then spotted her between the night table and the bed. She was fine, quit crying and went straight back to bed. But for the rest of the night and the next seven nights after that, every time she slightly turned or moved her foot, I lunged to stop her from falling off the bed.
NEW BOY. On our walk today, Maisie met a boy at the playground. At first he seemed like a cool dude. But then he needed his Mommy to help him up the ladder and the three platforms to the slide. In the meantime, Maisie had made quick work of ladder and platforms slid down on her stomach, and been three times around before the little boy made it to the top of the stairs. Then he sat there and cried for his Mommy. Wimp. You ain’t dating my daughter, pilgrim.
FIRST WORDS FOR SURE
AND FINALLY TWO STORIES ABOUT FLORIDA
ONE. It was a five and a half hour overnight plane ride from Seattle to Ft. Lauderdale. Long but hopefully uneventful if I could get Maisie to sleep at take off and stay that way until landing.
Everything worked according to plan for the first three hours. Then she woke up…small whimpers soon became intermediate cries which soon became bellowing wails.
Time for some quick action.
First I said, “Hope none of y’all were expecting to sleep tonight. We’re from Texas.” Then hightailed it to the back where we stayed an hour with the flight attendants in the back, ate thirteen cookies and got her calmed down.
We went back to the seat, and I cajoled her to the point where she was ready to go back into her seat. So of course when I picked her up, I poked her in the eye. And she started wailing again. And I got up from the seat with a “sorry Y’all, we’re from Texas” and headed for the back again.
One of the toys at her Grandparents house is a musical desk (the East Coast Office they call it). This morning she was playing piano section of the “office.” Seeing an opportunity I showed her how to use her feet to play the piano part of the desk. So now when I tell her to “Jerry Lee” something she knows that means to play it with her foot. Like the little kid who wouldn’t share with her at the playground. She Jerry Lee’d him real good.