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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Only YOU Can Prevent Playgroup Destruction

That fuzzy picture, my friends, taken by lone survivor H.M., is what's left of our house after yesterday's playgroup.  I headed over there at lunch to nab my share of the BLTs.  It was incredible to watch.  But fearing I'd eventually step on somebody, and there was a pretty good chance of that, I polished off my sandwich, some banana bread, a muffin, half a cookie and what ginger ale Jack left in my can and blew out of there.

This, ladies and gentlemen, was strictly for the professionals.  And I ain't no profeshunul.

I can't think of much to write about.  The days are beginning to lengthen, and the sun feels hotter. I even got my first sunburn of the year (probably of many) on the old pasty English-derived hide.  There's lots of work going on in the new sandbox, and we're walking around the neighborhood with Jack almost daily.  Mostly we pull him in the wagon, but sometimes he likes to jump out and stretch his legs for a bit.

You know when you were very young, and all you could think about was, "Wow! This is great.  I wonder what's next!"  I think I'm there.

I love this kid.  I love the way his little voice sounds out our big, grownup words.  I love the insane way he seems to hurtle through space as he runs.  I love his prayers.  Majesty and I figure the LORD must get a chuckle out of at least a few of them, because we sure do.  We're both snorting and wheezing by the time he hits the amen.  I love his trademark Squeezer Hugs.  I love, as has been documented here ad nauseum, his rocking out on his guitar.  He's not fooling around; three strings on it are just almost gone.  I love the way he demands some form of berry after every single meal.  I even love the way he gets tickled when we're just aaaaalmost asleep and we read that one line in the book that he finds - suddenly - absolutely hilarious.  And he dies laughing.  And I die laughing.  And H.M.'s downstairs wondering what in the wide world of sports is going on up there.  And I love the way that I am almost positively sure that I've had a small hand in creating something... someone far better than I.

What else can I say?  His Mommy is doing a great job raising him, and I'm hanging on by my fingernails, watching it all in amazement.

And I wonder what's next.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Blue Skies, Rainbows and Lumberjacks

In a little boy's mind, how in the world does a dilapidated old Honda trump two trees being sawn down in your front yard?  How?  It makes less than zero sense.

First, I have a new least-favorite animal.  Before now, the mosquito has been enshrined at #1.  But, at least for now, the little vampires have been bumped to the #2 spot.  I mean, sure, mosquitoes swarm me like determined ER nurses (syringes at the ready), and one time they literally ran me out of a restaurant in Mexico, but they've never, to my knowledge, really cost me serious dough.

But oh, Dendroctonus frontalis has.  Probably zillions of southern pine beetles ate up every  treasury note in my wallet two of the 962 pine trees around the house.  So I headed over to the casita yesterday for lunch again, and the tree guys were in full swing, with Jack and Majesty looking on.  And I mean that swinging part, because one of the dudes was hanging about 60 feet up, roped in with a climbing belt and tree spikes.

I looked over at H.M. and just said, "I'm glad I sit at a desk."

Like I said, Jack, who got himself all sick and croupy again, was out there watching all the climbing, chainsawing, trees falling, and pretty much all the supreme raging coolness that lumberjacking has to offer.  'Cause it does.  Guys can watch huge trees crashing to the ground all day long.  It's magnetic.

Which doesn't explain Jack running over to my [BWACK CAHW!] and demanding to be let in.  I try to redirect, but he's having none of that.  We climb inside, roped-in, fearless bro still sawing in midair.  The Buttonpusher pushes all the buttons he can push and turns all the knobs he can turn, and then raids the glovebox glove compartment.  Whatever.  He fishes out my [BIDH.  YEWWOAH.  FWASHWITE] and starts belting out Blue Skies and Rainbows.  Saws are whining, trees are falling, and Jack is bigtime praising his Lord in a parked car with a flashlight/microphone.

I just don't know anymore.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Bathroom Attendant? or This Joint's Classy

"Jack, I Am Your Father!"
I don't typically watch a lot of that darn color teevee set.  That's all fine and good if you want to burn some IQ points on decidedly unreal "reality" TV and projectile vomit inducing tripe that features a guy winnowing a harem of enthusiastic strumpets to do that.  It's America, after all.  Anyway, when you laugh at something and say, "That's just like that commercial!" I have pretty much no idea what you're talking about.

I even skipped most of the Superduperbowl this year.  I had it on tape delay (Ha.  Tape delay.  That's what we dinosaurs call Tivo.  And Tivo's what we call DVR, because DVR sounds too much like VCR, which would make us sound, you know, like, old.  Where was I?)  So I stopped myself about midway through the first quarter and wondered exactly what dog I had in this fight.  So I switched it off and went to bed.  Because, to me, sleep is a pretty valuable commodity.

But, because of the awesomeness that is YouTube, I didn't even have to watch.  Monday morning, I see the Volkswagen:  The Force ad posted online everywhere.  You've already seen it, I'm lame for reposting it, but I care not, ye dogs.  Behold!


Mark ye well also the "Making of" video, which was almost better:


If this isn't direct video footage from Jack's future, I don't know what is.

Even More Awkward Than That Attendant Guy
One of my favorite parts of parenting is the completely ridiculous, bizarre situations kids introduce.  Today, when I went home to have lunch with the family (one of the innumerable benefits of working at Greener Pastures Cap), I had finished up with eating and decided to hit the loo before I left.  Jack just strolls in there with his [GEETAUWR] and declares, "I CAN'T SING SOME SONGS!"

Did I mention that he waltzes in when I'm kinda in flagrante dilecto?  Yeah.  The conversation goes from there.  "You can't?  Well, what's a song that you can sing?"  He says he can sing Jesus Loves Me.  "Great," I say.  I'll bet Anna Bartlett Warner and William Bradbury never planned on that.

I'm being serenaded by a twopointfive year old, busking with a guitar, singing a hymn, while peeing.  Right.  Should I tip him like that dude in the swanky restaurant's john?

He proceeds in belting out Jesus Loves Me, and gets to nearly the end when he abruptly stops, giggles, and says in a quiet little voice:

"Tee tee."

At least the attendant dude keeps the commentary to himself.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Watermelon Balance of Power

 “I’ve Got Blisters On My Fingers!”
Jack has joined the illustrious ranks of Roy Clark and others who’ve played the guitar as a boy until they’ve worn blisters on their fingers.  We had to impound the [GEETAWR] until it heals.  The finger, that is.  El Capitan’s still casing the place trying to find where we have it stowed.  The guitar, that is.

But when he’s not blistered and out of commission, he’s covering that newfangled music all the kids like, like those crazy hippie Beatles.  Loves, LOVES to sing Here Comes the Sun.  Really.  And it is, in fact, all rightH.M. plays Name That Tune with him, too, which is pretty funny to watch.  Musical.  This cat is musical.  In every sense of the term.

"Except Ye Be Converted..."
Seeing something pure is rarer than you might think.  And watching The Dude sing Jesus Loves Me totally qualifies.  Or hearing him pray.  He's really good at that.  A sample:
[DEAWH] God.  [FANK] you for my beans.  And my [CHITTEN].  And my [CAAHWOTS].  And my [MILT].  In [JEESAS] name, [AMIN].
 When was the last time you prayed to God like that?  No, not with typos.  Oh, you know what I meant.

Direct, to the point, no kidding around, thankful and specific.  No asking for more money, more toys, no getting even or hedging your bets.

The Watermelon Balance of Power
My parents came down last week and stayed with us, just beating all the cold weather.  We all sat out on the patio, enjoyed an awesome day and watched Jack do his thing.

Oh, random hilarious (and true) story from my grandfather, via my dad:  A farmer had a watermelon patch.  People got to stealing them and the guy got mad.  He got so mad, in fact, that he decided to do something about it.  A little while later, the farmer posts the following sign in the field:
ONE WATERMELON IN THIS FIELD IS POISONED.
 More time passes.  Finally, another sign, in an unfamiliar hand, appears:
TWO WATERMELONS IN THIS FIELD ARE POISONED.
Corduroy:  Not Just for Pants!
Yakubu’s memory is starting to get into the realm of the unbelievable.  It’s simply fantastic.  He now, in a matter of days, can recite virtually any book.  Corduroy is his current favorite.  You can sit there, turning the pages for him as he recites along to the pictures.  The recitation sounds a lot like what I’d probably sound like reading transliterated Mandarin Chinese.  Oh, and he acts it out later, too.  Even plucked a button off of our old kitchen chair cushions (Corduroy the Bear is missing a button in the story, if you’re not familiar).

The most interesting part, at least to me, happens when he can’t articulate the harder phrases.  He’ll mutter and mumble and drone on in the exact meter and time it would take to actually say the words themselves.  So the whole thing resembles someone singing a song they half-know, filling in the missing verses with da da dum, da da dah

So the reading of books becomes not learning a certain string of words, but attaching words to a sort of song.  It reminded me of the really interesting phenomenon of Jewish cantillation.  Anyway, my ringside seat to the mechanics of how basic learning takes place, even in the absence of the written word, is fascinating.

As adults, it's difficult to remember (or understand) what it was like to not know and think in spelled words and hard syntax.  Watching a two year old almost instinctively attach the meaning to the sounds to the symbols and words is just plain fun.  I digress.

And it’s not just the drilled-in stuff.  His long term memory is surprisingly entertaining, too.  One day, Her Majesty told him they were going to Bouncin' Bears to jump on the bouncy castles.  Great.  Jack said "Go see Hayes [his bud from church]?"  They met Hayes and his mom at Bouncin’ Bears over 5 months ago, had not mentioned it since, and had not been back.  Unreal.

Overheard
A recent Jack faux fonecall:
"Hi, this is [MEWANIE WATWEE]... My number is ...546... that's it... bye."