Saturday, March 29, 2008

Month 12

Dear Grayson,

Your mama is having a hard time fathoming this one year old stuff. Your becoming a big boy before my eyes and I can no longer find clothes in pastel colors (albeit only pastel greens and blues even then) for you. You're entering "Boy World" whereby we dress you in solid prints and dark hues. I whimper occasionally when doing shopping for you. I sneer at the clothing manufacturers which insist little boys like monster trucks and footballs. I would like to dress you in little ducks and puppies and bunnies for a few more months now. Do you have to adhere to our cultural obsession with masculinity so soon?

You have been such a busy boy lately. You've perfected your duck quack to an art-form. In fact, I'm a little worried that after being helped along by Grandma and Grandpa's stuffed Easter duck gift which when pressed quacks loudly at your own twelve-month-old command, your own personal quacking might initiate a duck migration the likes of which have been unimagined in a small nameless neighborhood outside Fort Wayne. You quack. You quack loudly. And often spontaneously. And I laugh. And then you quack all the more animatedly. What this means for your future has yet to be determined. A future as the Chick-Filet spokesperson? God, help us. Your father and I have considered entering you in local duck call contests to raise a little money for your college tuition. I think you've got a good shot in the tri-state area.

Your life continues to revolve around family...your grandparents, your sisters, your parents. But, what hasn't been mentioned in this blog is your relationship with your Greek grandparents, your Yaya and Papou. Our neighbors, Helen and Kosmas, have welcomed you since learning of your conception and consider to adore you beyond words. Sweet Kosmas is declining into the abyss of Alzheimer's, but when you arrive to visit, he quickly perks up and chatters happily to you (mostly in Greek, and mostly insisting that you are a girl...but these are small details, yes?). Helen smothers you with kisses, and sends us home laden with Greek pastry which she made by hand. You have no idea now how blessed you are to be bathed in their affections, but in time you'll know. You'll run across the street (after carefully looking both ways) and come home, your pockets full of Helen's cookies, and tell us how much you love your Yaya and Papou.

But they aren't the only ones...there's Grammy and Papi, who watch you each and every Wednesday rain or shine and offer their abundant grace and love. There's Grandpa and Gramma B. who shower you with affection and fly you high in airplane rides. There's Miss B. who reads you Sandra Boynton books (because they were her favorites) and takes her role as big sister so very seriously (despite being so reluctant when she heard of your arrival). There's Miss T., who even in the thralls of teenaged Facebook Obsession hears and comforts you when you fuss and allows you to contentedly sit in her lap and bang on the computer keyboard as if you were writing your own Facebook Likes and Dislikes. There's your Texas kin and Connie, and Lynn, and Cheri, and Erin, and Lili, and Abby, and Beck, and Mia, and Uncle Bryan and Aunt Kimberly and all your aunties, and your extended family and pretty much the entire staff of the Hospice where Mommy works, and too many more to name and What I'm saying, Boy-Boy (and there's a reason Mommy capitalized this last bit, because I wanted to say it with EMPHASIS, is that you have a village that surrounds you and loves you and marvels at the very being of you.) Don't ever forget that. Even when plagued by acne and voice change and other woes of adolescence.

Happy Birthday, Wonder Boy. The most amazing gift I received in the world was delivered at 4:36 p.m. on March 28, 2007. And I will never be the same.

I love you, love you (and that can be translated in Duck-Speak to "Quack, quack, quack.")


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bad Hausfrau

After work I stopped at Kroger and bought two Healthy Choice frozen dinners.

R. and I came home from work around the same time and retired to our private sanctuaries (in front of our respective computers) whilst Grayson slept.

Around 7ish Grayson awoke, R. came downstairs, I finished typing.

R. got a frozen dinner out to defrost and said, "Thanks so much for making dinner tonight."

And meant it.

Buying a frozen dinner now constitutes "making dinner."

I am so incompetent as a housewife.

Interview with Insomnia

(This was actually composed somewhere between 2:17 and 3:03 a.m. while I lie awake but was too lazy to walk downstairs. I just have superior memory skills and can tell you now...)

C: (Looking Oprahesque and coming into a crowded room giving high fives and handshakes). Welcome to our show tonight. It's good to have a familiar friend with us. Insomnia, or can I just call you, In? In, I'm glad you're here, it's been a few years...I think the last time you were here was when I was in about her seventh month of pregnancy and couldn't actually get comfortable.
Insomnia (heretofore known as I): Yes, C., I think you're right...those were good times...
C: (Smiling gratefully) Well, we have an important issue to address tonight, an important topic that many people are overlooking in life, the question of why women in their 30s don't sleep.
I: (Nodding approvingly) I'm so glad you brought me here.
C: Tell me, In, how is it that you keep going year after year.
I: Well, C., I did take a hit after you discovered AMBien. There were some tough nights. But, I believed in my strength and will and lived through the pain.
C: Did you write a book about that?
I: I did not...I was afraid that there were too many books that were putting people to sleep at night, and I wasn't a joiner, you know, I didn't want to play the game.
C: (Nodding empathetically) Yes, I do know. I'm a chaplain. I don't play the game either.
I: But, you notice how good I have become at posing additional questions and issues to you to keep you awake at night? How I have added topics like "autism" and "feline pattern baldness" and "c-section scars" and "will my college students like me-itis" to your evening repertoire?
C: Yes, yes I have. Qudos to you, In. You are the master.
I: (Steepling fingers) Thank you. I try.
C: How has daylight savings time effected your work?
I: (Suddenly animated, gets up and jumps on the couch) I LOVE IT, CONTEMPLATIVE CHAPLAIN! I REALLY, REALLY LOVE IT! (Long, thoughtful pause as Insomnia rearranges the pillows on the settee and the audience titters with the recognition of young love) I'm sorry, C., I just get carried away. I cannot thank Mitch Daniels and the Indiana government enough to allow me to do my job. I find that subtracting that additional hour from people's lives is a real God-send in my line of work.
C: And with babies, it's especially helpful.
I: (Smiling slyly) It is. It truly is.
C: Well, I think that's all we have time for tonight. I want to thank our special guest, Insomnia. Tomorrow we'll be working with our other long-lost foe, Anxiety. Until then, get some sleep.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

People Ask About My Sanity...

...and I say, "I can't help it...these are my elders." Now, come here and pull my finger.

Month 11

Dear Grayson,

It's been quite a month. It went incredibly quickly.

The most formative event of the month may have been your ability to stand while holding on to various pieces of furniture. You stand carefully, always gripping the object of stability with both hands. And then cry when you're tired, but don't want to fall down, as you haven't figured out yet how to gently drop or sit. God love you, you're becoming the obsessively neurotic child I always knew you'd become (having been raised by the queen of obsessively neurotic behaviors). It's okay, Grammy and Grandpa report that I was also "cautious" and have turned out not so bad. Except for the excessive desire to document words looked up in dictionaries, which actually gains merit in the "English Major Awards."

We do, though, need to talk about your lack of ambition in certain areas. Mostly when it comes to eating. You excel in loving each and every food we offer. You have given up your squash and sweet pea aversion and seem content to munch on Del Monte turkey and green beans, or Beech prunes. Last night I fed you bits of bacon, followed by pieces of kidney bean, a few fingerful's of wild rice and topped it off with a nice apple-cherry medley courtesy of Gerber. You didn't blink an eye. The foods, you embrace. The ways of eating the foods, you fall a little short. Not a lot short, just a little. I don't want to be an overly critical parent here, but, well, I'm just looking forward to the day that you express interest in being a little more independent here.

I realize that most young men attending Harvard don't have their parents there spooning foods or placing cheerios in their mouths. I know this, intellectually, and yet I worry. Because, as bright as I know you must be, as certain as I am of your future with a Masters in Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School (your father's alma mater and your mother's degree would be nice, wouldn't it?). You have no inclination to do much on your own. For don't crawl (although you roll in some amazing ways and end up jettisoned on pillows and trapped under harmless coffeetables), you don't place food in your own mouth (although food placed on your bottom lip and tongue is greatly appreciated and immediately devoured). Again, we would never want to attach the word "lazy" to your life, but, well, let's be honest...there is one parent whose baby book specifically uses that word (not that I've mentioned that in previous posts or anything).

Your father is convinced that this lack of desire in feeding and propelling oneself is perfect indication of your inherent intelligence. He believes that you have already learned that there are few years to bask in the limelight, to allow others to carry you everywhere you want to go, to have Mommy and Daddy available to spoon food into your mouth or hold a bottle to your lips, and that you are simply taking advantage of those moments, as they will never come again.

And, he may be right. After all, you've already learned how to push yourself in the swing when you want to go faster. You know the times to use the system and the times to get your own needs met. My little pistol, who has already learned that those who can work can figure out loopholes to allow others to work for them. Almost makes me wish we were Republicans so we could celebrate. Instead, we'll continue to teach you the word "Marxism," and dress you in "My Momma's for Obama" onesies.

Time is going so very fast. I think of where we were a year safely ensconced in my womb. Me growing big and grumpy. The days we spent in the hospital in the end of March 2007 were probably the sweetest of my life so far. I marvel at how far we've come in this year. And can't wait to celebrate the birthday of my big boy next month.

I love you, boy-boy. I love you more than you could imagine.