Archive for January, 2008

He loves me

January 31, 2008

I’ve been having some difficulty dealing with the day-to-day recently. Maybe it’s the winter doldrums, I’m not sure. It’s nothing I’m ready to write about yet. But in the midst of my gray days, Charlie’s love sometimes shines through.

On Tuesday, as we sat on the couch reading, Charlie saw the wooden Willow Tree sculpture my sister got me for Christmas two years ago. I haven’t had a chance to put it out until this month. First, because we moved apartments and then because we had no tables or shelves. Over MLK weekend we got some book cases and now we have a few spaces for objets d’arts. The figurine was the first thing I unpacked. It’s a mother holding her child in front of her, their foreheads touching. It looks quite a bit like Charlie and I looked almost every day of his first year, as I held him in the front-facing carrier. The sculpture is beautiful, and the mother and child obviously love each other. (I didn’t realize until I looked for the link that it is appropriately titled “Tenderness.”)

Charlie pointed to the figurine, which I pulled off the shelf for us to examine more closely.

He softly touched the woman’s head. “Mama,” he said, which I thought meant ‘a mama.’ But then he looked up at me and said, “Mama.” It was pretty clear he was saying, ‘you are my mama, a mama like this one.’ One who loves her baby.

He touched the baby’s head. “Charlie,” he said, seeing himself in the sculpture. He could see that he was like that child, cherished.

The wooden mama and baby clearly love each other, and in his own way, Charlie was saying he loves me like that, too.

Holiday videos

January 27, 2008

Santa was especially good to Charlie this year. His elves came to visit us in Brooklyn on the Winter Solstice, and then Santa also left many goodies at Nanny’s house for Charlie in Georgia on Christmas Eve. Here are several videos of Charlie’s Winter Solstice morning. The guitar was his favorite. He didn’t want to let it go to look at anything else.

I didn’t have time to edit these down, so the videos are a little long, 3-4 minutes for some of them. Be forewarned.

Gross out

January 24, 2008

Today, on the Daddytypes blog, I read an interview with Elisha Cooper, the author of Crawling: A Father’s First Year. (We have that advanced reading copy in our bedroom, on a big pile of books, but the only one who has had time to read it is Charlie, who likes flipping the pages.) In the intro to the interview Daddytypes said: His stories of taking his newborn daughter to Chez Panisse cracked me up and kind of grossed me out [apparently, they don’t have changing tables].

This got me thinking, remembering the many, many times in Charlie’s first year when I had to get over being grossed out. Granted, I never went to no Chez Panisse. But in NYC, it’s hard enough to find a public restroom anywhere, much less one with a changing table.

When I was still on maternity leave and Charlie was not yet three months, I had to get my drivers license renewed. Sitting in the DMV, waiting for my name to be called, he began to cry. I responded as I usually did to those kind of tears, I fed him. Then he responded as he usually did when being fed, he pooped. I noticed a little bit on his pants. When I lifted him up, I realized that little bit was only the tip of the green, gooey, massive iceberg. Liquid yuck had oozed out of his diaper, all over his clothes, all over my lap and down the front of my pants, onto the floor. We dripped poop all the way to the restroom, which, no, did not have a changing table. The unsanitary options were: walk/bus/train back home with both of us covered in poop or change my baby on the dirty, cold floor of the DMV. On the floor he went, protected by only a flimsy disposable changing pad.

You’d think that after almost two years doing this mom thing, I wouldn’t run into those kinds of situations any more. You’d be wrong. Just this past Christmas, while in Georgia visiting my family, we took a day trip into Chambliss to visit our friend Patrick. We left the car parked at the MARTA station and trained into midtown Atlanta. We wanted to explore just how walkable the “new” Atlanta really is. (Answer: not much.) We had a wonderful day that included Thai food, a thorough stroll through Piedmont Park and playground, and dinner at the Flying Biscuit. We’d already managed one diaper change, on a bench in the park. But at the Flying Biscuit, there was poop. Thankfully, it was the more grown-up kind that sticks together and doesn’t ooze, but it was still stinky and still not something Charlie needed to sit in for the hour or so it would take us to get back to the car. The restaurant bathroom had no changing table, only a chair. So Charlie hung his legs off one end and his head off the other and we managed a diaper change. All was going well, he was even laughing about his precarious position, when his flailing arms knocked off my glasses and I lost sight of what I was doing. That big ball of poop I was trying to control landed on the floor with a splat. All I could do was finish up, clean up, and . . . hope no one had to change their baby on that floor.

Santa Claus

January 21, 2008

Santa
Our visit to Santa at the South Street Seaport.

Drunk Christmas dancing

January 21, 2008

We took Charlie to the South Street Seaport to see the choir tree. He loved it! When he first saw that gigantic Christmas tree he screamed in delight: “Meh-mah mee!”

He danced to the upbeat tunes, but I only managed to catch the tail end of his rhythm. He kind of looks like he’s drunk, which I think is funny. Then he runs away, toward a store, but he can’t stop dancing long enough to escape.

Calling all grandparents!

January 21, 2008

Gigi came for a visit this weekend. We all had a great time, but Charlie particularly had a lot of fun. He loved having another person to play with and he let her know about it–loudly.

Just before Christmas, he started calling for people and things. (He and his daddy were watching “Orangutan Island,” where the scientists were calling for Cha-Cha by cupping their hands to their mouths. Charlie soon started calling for Cha-Cha, then Mama, Daddy, horses, dogs, cats…basically anything and anyone he wanted to appear.) While we were in Georgia over the holidays, he perfected his calling technique on Jenna (Nenna! Nenna! NENNA!), Nanny (NANNY! NANNY! NANNY!), and PawPaw (PAAAAWPAAAW!). Gigi got the full brunt of it.

Charlie would call Gigi from across the apartment, across the room, from the couch, from the changing table…from anywhere! He loved it when she appeared, but he was just as happy when he heard her call his name back. He was still calling her this morning, after she left. That boy loves an audience!

ABC…The End

January 21, 2008

Charlie’s latest:

He’ll take down every book from the bookshelf, look at a few pages, and close each one with a thump and a big “Theee Ennnd!” Now he thinks other things should “the end,” too. When he got tired of me looking at the computer, for example, he tried to close the laptop screen while insisting, “The end!”

We got a Sesame Street DVD, “Do the Alphabet,” for Christmas and it has become his new favorite. He hands me the remote control and says “Bihh Buhh. ABC. ABC.” The songs get stuck in my head, so maybe he’ll know more than the first three letters of the alphabet soon. (When watching the DVD, I tried to remember not knowing the ABCs, but couldn’t. My only pre-literate memories about writing and words are seeing my mom write lists for groceries and bills and not knowing what the writing said. I remember trying to copy it with my scribbles and not being able to read my writing either!)

Charlie is already a 21st century kid. He won’t just read one book or watch one TV show. He reads a book to himself while I read one out loud. Or he’ll watch Sesame Street while also reading Wow! America! He’s a multi-tasker like his Mama.

Happy 2008!

January 15, 2008

After a crazy-busy holiday season (more stories about our adventures to come), we’ve finally returned to a semblance of normalcy. In the weeks before and after Christmas, Jesse and I were both bombarded with projects at work. His still isn’t finished. Mine are, thankfully, coming to a close. At least for the foreseeable future, I will have time to do something besides edit 600-page manuscripts in my spare time. The fact that I now have spare time is more than enough incentive to rejoice this New Year.

Also cause for celebration: Charlie is no longer puking his guts out onto the living room couch (and floor, and bedroom, and kitchen). Poor kid had a bad stomach bug last week, but seems to have made it through no worse for wear. I don’t know how long he would have made it without bananas and yogurt anyway. (The doctor had told us no milk and no solids until he’d gone twelve hours without throwing up. When I came home from work on Friday, the first thing CW said was, “Mama. Nana? Nana?”)

For the rest of my family, the New Year has brought some challenges. Their stresses started just after the first, and have not let up yet. After we left the clan in LaGrange, my sister and her unborn baby were laid low by high blood pressure just as the need for continued work (and paychecks) reached its height. There was a ceiling that crashed in and repairs to be made. There was the camaraderie (read: craziness) of a family of four moving in, for a few weeks, with a family of three in a three-bedroom house. And just this Sunday, Nanny went to the ER with her own high blood pressure. Stress-related, the doctor said. Ya think? We’re wishing y’all well down there! (And, Nanny, I meant it about the daily glass of wine. Try it with dinner!)

With all of this, I’m just happy to be back online. I’ve got tons of photos, videos, and travel stories to share. I’m geared up for election year coverage with plenty of opinions, strongly held. And, as always, everyday tales of Charlie’s endeavors. It’s good to be back!