Friday, February 22, 2013

The Law of Unintended Consequences

Ruh roh, Raggy.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Jack's Prayer

We've been reading through a succession of children's Bibles for our bedtime routine.  Our latest one, given to us by Supergreatpreacher and Supergreatpreacher's Supergreat wife, is Archbishop Desmond Tutu's Children of God Storybook Bible.  It's a bit offbeat, in that the stories are very short, but still hew closely to the original text.  Each story is illustrated by a different artist, usually in pretty divergent styles.  Isaiah reminds you almost of a Byzantine icon, and Mary and Gabriel look like they're in a Mexican votive.

So we round everybody up, usually clean and good-smelling from a bath,  and sit there in the floor to read a Bible story.  We ask a few questions about the what we read, sing a song or two (Jack has still never tired of Jesus Loves Me), and then we pray.  The Dude has the honor most evenings.  And he's really getting the hang of it.  Last night, we read the story of Gabriel's message to Mary recorded in Luke 1.

This had slipped my mind, but courtesy of Majesty, I give you: 

Jack's Prayer (age 4 1/2)
"This was unprompted, and what was in his sweet little heart."

Dear God,
Thank you for this day.  Thank you for baby Jesus being born.  Thank you for Hudson's birthday.  And, please help Olivia come home safely from Brazil.
In Jesus' name, Amen.
This great old country boy Bible class teacher I know says, "It's good to see ya' kids do right."

And it is.


Friday, February 8, 2013

My Little Pony Turns One

CJMP has a lot to do with its namesake.  Jack has been, and still is, a bit of a crazy dude.  He's the sort of kid that the entire village raises.  It was natural to write down his shenanigans, even the paltry 1% we bother recording.

Caroline has been an altogether different story.  She's almost our little secret.  I think that's about half intentional, half otherwise.  But for whatever reason, I've been much more private with her goings on.  She's got a wonderful, engaging little personality, and probably way too much personality generally (the genetics are inescapable).  But she doesn't have the flair for destruction and mayhem that Jack had or has.

I stopped dead still this morning when I looked at the little black "8" on my watch.  The day before Caroline's first birthday.  "Should probably get to hammering on that birthday post, dude."  Yes, I refer to myself in the Dude.  And you're surprised?

Caroline.  My main idea - they tell you to have a main idea, I remember - is that I love her.  And that she is a blessing from God Almighty.  And that I'm really intrigued by her.  And that she cracks me up when she tackles stuffed animals.  I remember thinking similarly about Jack at this age, but it's a bit different with a DURL.

I had always been scared witless wary of having a girl.  But when it's upon you, you pull on your big boy Underoos and you play along.  There's all kinds of things that I know about boys.  And just about the best thing I know is that boys are durable.  One can fall out of a tree or off a horse and then his teachers can yell at him and tell him he won't amount to anything and he'll usually pick himself up... and kick you right in the shin.  Boys survive.  So the important point there is that some *ahem* dumb new father might have a difficult time in damaging one.  I used to take a lot of comfort in that.

Girls, however, I know nearly nothing about.  Even now, after 10+ years of marriage, they are a profound mystery.    Maybe they're survivors.  Maybe not.  Maybe they're as fragile as Ming dynasty porcelain, I have no idea.  But I worry about messing my little one up accidentally.

Fee-mails.  You people are all crazy, let's just say that right now.  But as Cary Grant wisely observed, "Like Adam said about Eve:  It's better than apples."

So with Caroline, like I've done with Majesty for the past 14 or so years, I've been tiptoeing along, just pretending to understand.  Faking it.  When either of them figures out that I haven't got a clue what I'm doing, I'm done for.  But faking it isn't so bad.  I can brew up some wicked good fake tea to fake pour in little pink fake teacups.  The tea may be fake, but the party part isn't.

The effect Caroline has on people is really interesting.  Jack was notorious for being able to melt anything in a skirt into a pool of Chanel No. 5.  Caroline's superpowers are a bit more nuanced.

Like with Jack, people are compelled to waltz up and talk with us.  You can see her intently inspecting everything and everyone - almost presiding over the occasion - and you wonder what she's thinking.  She's almost contemplative.  You want to ask her what she thinks.  Total strangers frequently do just that.  Supergreatpreacher has described her as being "in total control."  Maybe that's it.

She'll leap over into people's arms.  But she chooses.  She picks.  There's that total control, again.

This sweet old guy at our church came up to me one Sunday.  He looked at Caroline, and then back at me and said, "Oh, you got it BAD, son.  Just start writing the checks now.  Mmmmhmmm.  You're getting a reputation."  And he slapped my back and walked off.

Her hair smells like lavender baby shampoo when it's clean.  It smells like cotton candy when it's not.  It looks like... well, I have no idea what it looks like.  It's insane.  There are curls that start in the middle of other curls.  They all go up.  They all go out.  They go any way but straight.

She is the loudest person I know.  Not baby, not child.  That's personShe gets going at night, screaming her lungs inside out, 40 yards from us, through two closed doors and down a hallway.  It's still just about enough to deafen you.  Jack just pops his light on and reads, no matter the time.  Why fight it?

She's teething now.  And she's a big old sissy about teething.  Majesty says she's got five of them and that two more just broke through today.  Tonight'll be fun.  So far, she's had RSV (think a designer cold for babies with no helpful medication to whip it), the loveable, smokers-coughy croup and three ear infections, one a double.  She pulled on her ears so much it looked like she was playing either Auction or Third Base Coach.
For probably those reasons, she's terrible at night.  She keeps everyone in the house up.  She takes great naps (must be nice, man), but nighttime is awful.

I was giving her a rare dose of Motrin last night just before 11 o'clock.  I don't do too much with her at night, as Majesty is the heavy lifter these days.  I've never seen the child more upset.  The screaming could have etched glass.  I keep (loudly) saying her name to jerk her out of the crying spiral.  Was almost drowning her in the medicine.  She stops crying abruptly, looks up with these ocean-blue eyes... and tucks her head over in her right shoulder, coyly playing peep-eye with me.  I just about fell over laughing.

Little screwball.

When she wants to be serious, she can just about burn a hole through you with those ittybitty blue eyeballs.  I grab her and look at her for half a minute, sometimes.  We do that kind of thing.  Irritates the FIRE out of H.M.

I've mentioned this before, but Caroline is the fastest crawler I have ever seen.  She will literally spin out as she slams the throttle down, laughing and shrieking all the way.  Our reaction is usually to run.  Really.  She will occasionally rear up and stamp the floor with her arms.  It didn't take long for us to start calling her My Little Pony.

She LOVES baby dolls and stuffed animals.  Jack never really cared.  It was just more stuff to crawl over in getting to the light socket/broken glass/deadly poison.  Caroline, though, always smiles at them and tackles them when she hasn't seen them in a few moons.  Squealing, she attaches herself to a favorite stuffed pig's nose, just your usual stuff.  She's a big fan of playing with blocks, and has inherited Jack's cool "Spanish" blocks that just happen to be written in "Italian."  Allora. 

Additional details from people that keep track of these things:
Her room is decorated with hot air balloons and she loves to point to them and say "boo!"  Loves most of all to play with Jack. She also tackles him and just crawls all over him, patting, pulling his hair and laughing.

7 months:  sat up by herself
9 months:  mama, started pulling up
10 months:  dada, jack, ball
11 months to present:  up, balloon, no-no, cruising a little, still prefers to be spoon-fed but is a champ at feeding herself fruit, Cheerios and other foods she really likes, she's learning about "no no" -she says "mo-mo!"

Overall, it's difficult to describe someone accurately when they, er, don't speak more than 6 or 8 words in your language.  And it makes me intensely curious as to what she might be like, if she could only tell me.  That is, if she knows already.  It's almost like it's on the tip of her tongue:  "I am this.  Look!"

I'll bet that's the feeling that artists must get when they have wet paint, the colors all set to go on the palette, and a fresh canvas staring at them.

I wonder.

Happy birthday to you, Caroline.  Many happy returns, my girl.