Friday, September 30, 2011

Bahs, Catbah and The Big Reveal

"Pardon Me, But Would You Have Any Catbah?"
My child has forever ruined the English language for us. Pop quiz:  Identify the following objects from actual household conversations:
E.C.  "Babe, have you seen my bah?  I heard it just a minute ago.
H.M.  "No, but I've got mine.  Let's go."

H.M.  "What do you want for dinner this week?"
E.C.  "Ahdunno.  Catbah?
H.M. "Yeah, catbah sounds good.  Get about a pound and a half."
E.C. "Done."
"But of course!"
For some reason, Jack substituted BAH in for any sort of "F" sound, so "phone" became BAH (and later BONE).  Same for "fish," hence "CATBAH."  Linguistics be some wacky stuff, yo.

And we litter our daily language with all sorts of other weird words and nonsensical phrases, cooked up by somebody that (1) doesn't read, (2) can't write or spell, and (3) is supposed to be learning our particular brand of the Queen's English from his elders (that'd be us).  We flap our arms and yell, "YANNIT" when we really like something.  We can't bear to correct him on "peenano" yet because it's charming.  And hilarious.  And charming.  But rest assured, 20 years from now, we'll be attending that peenano concerto and charging up our bahs.

Oh, and forgive me, but the best of all was him calling pomegranate juice...

POMMADAMMIT.  I kid you not.

I'm tired of toying with you.  Julio is a....


That's right, friends and neighbors, it looks like we'll be completing our set with one of those crazy and wildly irrational fee-mails.  Jack was pretty pumped, and is now referring to himself as BWUVAH BEAWH [Brother Bear (a'la Berenstain)] and the new kid in town as SISTUW BEAWH [Sister Bear].  Daddy Bear thinks that's awesome.

The anatomy scan showed little hearts and livers and brains and stuff.  So that's good.  I'm told the 'fluid levels' looked good, as well.  I've no idea what that means.  I chose to interpret that as transmission, washer, brake, and power steering.  Sue me.

The Melvin Udall School of Blogging
This is a big one - I'm gearing up for writing blog posts in pink, frilly font (on an unreadable, headache-inducing hot pink background), ruthlessly sprinkling sentences with the words "precious" and "sweet" and "adorable."  This should be really insane to watch.  And precious.  Dare I say sweet?  Adorable, even.  Sounds precious, doesn't it?  See, I'm already getting the adorable hang of this sweet and precious preciousness.

Precious.  Wow.  It really is unsettling in this pink, isn't it?  Holy moly.  I'm getting queasy just writing this.

Bullet Points
  • Jack strips down at the drop of a hat, now.  You'll turn your back on him, and he's instantaneously nude.  Happens all the time.  I'm trying to explain to him that there's a point in his life where this becomes, uh... legally actionable.  And awkward in social situations.  Anyway, H.M. tells me that quiet time inevitably ends with someone getting nekkid.  I hope The New Kid skips all this.  You girl-people generally show more restraint on that point, I think.
  • We rode the Water Taxi the other day.  So there's this meaningless public transportation that kind of putters around the artificial canal that runs nearby.  My boss presciently told me "Yeah, you'll do that once." I now know why:  Hot.  Boring.  Jack did okay, but was somewhat less than enthused.  No fooling, it got stimulus money from the gubbmint.  Natch.
  • Majestad took The Dude (and I guess by extension, Julio) to the Natural Science Museum this week.  There were 1,000 butterflies and Jack...  just wanted to jump in puddles.  Missing the point is what childhood is all about.  I'm told The Mommy enjoyed it, and that's all that counts sometimes.
(Extremely Brief) Conversation of the Week:
H.M.:  Jack, what's in your shorts?  (Obviously asking if there were any, er, accidents lurking in there.)
J.M.W.:  Legs!
You know what that is?  Precious.

This will get ugly.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Man About Town

This looks like the movie poster from The Big Chill
Let's discuss The Dude's new ride.  I get this text at work from Majesty that says, "I don't think I'm getting out of Wal-Mart without this."  Attached to the text was a picture of a cheeseball smile (attached to my son), atop a Radio Flyer scooter looking thing.  "Just do it," was my canned Nike slogan  reply.

As I've observed before, success in parenting sometimes hinges on picking your battles.  And there was absolutely nothing to be gained by Majestad dying on this particular hill.  Who wants to be buried on "Scooter Hill," anyway?  That sounds lame.  You wait for a "Fire Breathing Dragon Hill" or "Extremely Unwise But Principled Stand Hill."  That's where you dig your foxhole and go down in a blaze of glory.  But Scooter Hill?  Not so much.

H.M. is still pretty green around the gills, but out of the nausea and the haze of pregnesia came a whopper of a great idea.  We drove over to that Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Thingy for a free concert one night.  The Houston Symphony folks were performing a Brahms violin concerto paired with a selection from Dvořák.  We scored some Chipotle and took it up to the huge ribbon of lawn above the 'spensive seats and had a nice picnic.  It was great.  The heat had broken a bit, and a breeze made it just abominably enjoyable.  It occurred to me that there's no more beautiful music than classical.  You can certainly prefer other music, but it's just not as beautiful in the er, classical sense, if you read me.

I don't know what Jack liked best:  the quesadilla, the phenom soloist just sawing away mercilessly on his violin, or running at the edge of control down the steep grade of the lawn.  I think it was the running.  He finished up the night by crashing spectacularly, smashing his mouth into his sippycup as he hit the ground like a meteorite.  He was unhurt.  At least, he was laughing before, during and afterward, so we didn't ask questions.

Norah's birthday party was this week.  She got a pink Flintstone car.  Guess who rode in it?  Everyone but Norah (sorry about that, Norah - owe you one).  She took on a massive cupcake to the delight of the adults present, but she didn't really want much of it herself.  But my son was there close by to vulture what she fed him.  Yeah, so Jack co-opted that intensely personal family moment...  again, sorry 'bout that, Norah.

And once again, I am "that guy."  The irresponsible parent guy.  Thanks a bunch, Jack.

I guess the most consequential thing about this week was telling Jack about Julio.  Have I mentioned that our codename for this baby is Julio?  Even though Majesty is sure it's a girl?  I don't even ask anymore.  And yes, it's in honor of Julio Jones.  Hey, it was better than using his real name:  "Quintorris Lopez Jones" just didn't have the right ring to it.  I've been further confusing things by calling her(?) HOOL-ee-ya.

Whatever.  We'll know what flavor we're getting next week,  the Lord willing.  If I'm sweating and pale, you'll know I'm trying to work out the financing behind a ridiculously huge wedding.  If I'm looking awfully relaxed, then I'm just springing for barbeque in our back yard or something.

Oh, back to telling Jack.  We do have this on video (which I don't have with me, natch).  Jack kept asking, "Where is it?" as he looked down H.M.'s shirt for the baby.


He is now busy with listing off stuff the baby would need:  toys, a bed, a blanket.  He also thinks the baby is a girl, but I'm not entirely sure Majestad didn't coach him into supporting her position.

What does the baby need?  Right now I'd say a heap of good luck.  Can you imagine crash landing into this family?  The kid has zero chance at a normal life.  Zero.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cravings and The Craven

 The summer's been tough for those of us in what's apparently become the lobby of Dante's Inferno.  You may know it as "Texas."  But there are coping mechanisms.  Iced tea.  Lemonade.  Tiger blood snow cones.  And... hot chocolate?

I made mention of this insanity last week but that's right, there's nothing that cools you down in 106 degree weather (in the middle of the worst drought on record) like a steaming cup of hot cocoa.  And not that fakity-fake Nesquik junk nuked in a microwave, either.  We're talking old school stovetop, babies.  Mini marshmallows.  Full throttle.

There I am, with a look on my face like I'm trying to figure out how to model String Theory in Play-Doh, just whisking away like a fool.  Because if there's one darn thing I hate, it's lumpy hot chocolate.  Okay, I'm whisking away furiously because, let's face it, this isn't my first rodeo, and to paraphrase Alfie Tennyson, "Ours is not to reason why; ours is but to ask 'how high?'"

But it's getting super weird.

Majestad is frequenting fast food joints that she hasn't been to in a decade.  Arby's is the current favorite.  By the way, how did I not remember their sauce being so clovey?  Seriously, it's gotta be like 60% cloves.  She went to Arby's twice in a single day.  Swears that she's limiting it to once per week, now.  Uh huh.  Suuuure.  Taco Bell was running strong there for a while, too.  Note:  Taco Bell has not changed one single bit since I was too poor to eat elsewhere.  It's like a (lethal) culinary time capsule.

The woman ventures out in one of the only rainstorms in recent memory to get... a whole watermelon.  With a sprained ankle.  Drags the kid with her.  Eats one slice and tells me it wasn't really what she wanted after all.

She wants iced tea.  She boiled up a huge pitcher of it and siphoned it off for a week.  I finally poured the remainder into my glass just to ensure she wouldn't drink sweetened botulism or something.  See how much I love you, babe?!  SEE?!  And no, I couldn't pour it out.  You don't pour out sweet tea, people.  Like, ever.

She wants sushi (currently unfulfilled).  Raisin bran.  Fried eggs with grape tomatoes (I'll giveya three guesses who was frying eggs at 10pm).  Pecan pie.  She insists we have French toast and pork sausage every Saturday.  I deliver crushed ice and apple juice to her nightstand at 7ish every morning.  (She spills it at least once per week.)  I put the glass of juice next to the Pop Tarts that get her going.  Eats her "real" breakfast out on the patio with Jack.  2nd breakfast... it's like they're hobbits.

She avoids the "smell" of the dishwasher like it's the Black Death.  Wasn't really aware there was much smell there but hey, I'm not currently incubating another human being.  H.M. can't stand being in the vicinity of raw meat, especially chicken.  And beef.  Sausage.  Lunchmeat.  Pork.  She shies away from the fridge altogether.  Thinks it's revolting.

The cravings and aversions are really just part of the odd behavior generally (mostly in trying to reduce the nausea).  She walks around with kid's (blue camo) Sea Bands on.  The adult ones don't fit her.  (I think the urban camo is quite flattering.)  The nausea still kills her anyway.  So enter Preggie Pops:  the world's most rare, expensive, and sour candy.  I don't even want to do the math, because they're probably like a few grand a pound.  But she's got to have candy or something to snack on at all times.  Empty Tic Tac boxes and Jolly Rancher wrappers litter the house.  And her car.  Peppermints are everywhere.

Speaking of nausea, the dry heaving is the absolute best.  These vulgar, disgusting sounds echo through the house at all hours.

I declare.  All of you people are CRAZY.

I have no idea if this is a craving or not, but she made me crank up 1944's Arsenic and Old Lace the other night.   I second what Cary Grant's character observed:

"Insanity runs in my family.  It practically gallops!"

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Veni, Vidi, Weewee

That's right, he came, he saw, he potty-trained.  I say again, we have housebroken the child.  And the indoor plumbing fixtures of the earth did tremble mightily.

In unrelated news, Kimberly-Clark stock dropped sharply on a reduction in forecast U.S. diaper demand.  Weird.

Jack took to the ah, first order of business immediately, since a primary characteristic of being male is the ability to urinate on demand anywhere, anytime.  "Phase II" as Majesty calls it, took a bit longer.  But two weeks of perseverance (and a ton of guitar time whilst sitting on the throne) did the trick.  There.  Civilization returns to the house once again.  We're not perfect yet - he's still working with a net during the night and at "Quiet Time" (f.k.a. "naptime") but it's a good start.

So this is an object lesson for all who would take little things for granted:  Don't.

Oh, and this Quiet Time thing is sheer genius.  We've been fighting over naptime since he was 18 months old (I'm told), and things are much, much better now that we skip over all that babystuff foolishness.  So Jack heads to his room, grabs an 18" stack of books (really), and reads quietly or sings songs by himself.  H.M. heads off to DVRed Friends episodes, and I hit the old leather couch in the living room and konk out for a half hour of oblivion.

This is a GOLDEN AGE!

Is there anything JR Cash can't do?
A week back, we did the last of many third birthday parties for Jack with a few friends.   As usual, I won't bore you with sticky, buttercream icing covered details, but I do want to mention the awesomest kid's CD I've ever seen, given by Jack's bud, Hudson:  THE JOHNNY CASH CHILDREN'S ALBUM.  You heard me.  This is like the Death Star of children's music:  This [CD] is now the ultimate power in the universe!

We had an excellent Labor Day weekend.  It started off poorly for me with a trademark headache on Friday evening.  After I had (partly) recovered, I sat out on the porch - zonked out of my gourd on meds, mind you - and I saw a large hawk alight in a tree near me.  Real or imagined, I had no idea.  He had something in his grasp, but I couldn't see straight if you paid me.  I then see his cargo just flapping for dear life.  The hawk takes off from his branch, and drops what turns out to be a DOVE in my swimming pool like he's a B-29 on a bomb run.

The fam is out there by this time, and I am now pretty sure this is real.  Yeah, I go fish the injured dove out of my ce-ment pond without falling in (I grabbed the one in the middle).  Anyway, Jack and I had Wild Kingdom time with the calmest almost-was-a-tasty-meal on the planet.  Later, when Majestad then heard bats flitting around above us, she looked at me and said, "I'm outta here."

City folk.

Somehow we became Southern California over the weekend, and we dipped into the low 90s, with strong winds, rock-bottom humidity, and...  wildfires.  The whole place smells like a weenie roast gone horribly, horribly wrong.  But Jack and I got to swim a long while, and to work in the front yard (insert obligatory wheelbarrow ride here).  I mean, after we took care of H.M.'s Arby's craving, that is.  By the way, I haven't eaten this much Arby's since they did 5 for 5 my freshman year of college.  It's absolutely insane.  And tangy.  But insane, too.  I'll do an official cravings post soon.  A preview:  We made stove-top hot chocolate this weekend.  You know, to ward off the Texas summer chill.  Brrrrrrr!

A question for all you wise folks out there.  Any advice on how/when to tell Jack about his competition numero dos?  We wanted to wait until we at least have brother or sister specifics to give him...  Got any words of wisdom for us?

"Gelato, I hardly knew ye."

Yes, that is TP.  In necktie form.

"Dad, don't get me wrong, I love the horsepower, but I mean, the turning radius just isn't there."