Friday, September 24, 2010

Dear Oliver

Dear Oliver,

Today you turned one year old. There are only 8 minutes left of your birthday, but I wanted to be sure I wrote you something. The older you get the more important I realize it is that I write down these moments for you - that I capture every good thing you do. I want you to look back and realize that even if you were an "accident" that you are a wonderful, blessed, beautiful "accident."

The first few months after we took you home from the hospital, your daddy would always look at you and he'd say over and over, "Can you believe we made this?"

For the longest time, we couldn't.

We would stare at you and every single part of you was perfect. Every part of you still is perfect. Somehow, your father and I came together and, though we are flawed, made something perfect. Last week, an old woman at the grocery store kept calling you "Milagro."  I didn't understand most of what she was saying, but I knew she was calling you a miracle. And it's true. If two flawed halves coming together to make a perfect whole isn't a miracle, what is?

You talked with that old woman for a long time. I let her reach out her soft, gnarled hands to pet your hair and smooth your collar. I don't know what she was telling you, but you smiled at her. You seemed to understand. She smiled back at you so big. She was just standing there, soaking up the happiness that you radiate so easily.  Maybe she had babies of her own, and to her you were a beautiful reminder of her earlier years. Who knows? I will never understand exactly what you were to that woman, but I know you brought her joy.

And that's just how you are. Everywhere you go, it's like somebody opened a window in a stuffy room and then there was you - this big whooshing breath of cool air.

You make it so easy to have faith in the world. Everywhere we go, there are more people who want to marvel at you. People are opening doors for us. Helping us carry in our groceries. Saying kind things to us. People who would otherwise have said or done nothing see you and they are reminded to be kind. They are reminded that it is okay to smile, that is okay to make eye contact, okay to offer up complements.  There is something about seeing a baby (especially one as warm and beautiful as you) that makes everyone realize that we're all people, and on some level we all deserve to receive love.

Your father and I have only known you for a year, but we are already helpless in our devotion to you. You were born because we needed you to be, whether we knew it or not.

Thank you for being here with us.  Thank you for being our Sun.

Happy Birthday, Oliver. We love you.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Flash to the past.

Peer pressure always works.

Thank you Dave for these photos.


Oliver's orchard experience 11 months ago. October 2009

We know how to have fun.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Apple Orchard

I just reread my last blog post. Apologies. Pieces of it were missing and I'm afraid I may have had a glass or two of wine beforehand... I may have thought I was capable of expressing the ideas in my head at the time, but clearly I can see now that I was not.

But anyway. Last Saturday we went to the apple orchard with my family. It was Oliver's second year apple picking. I would show you pictures from the first experience but *COUGH COUGH* Dave never sent them to me. So... Dave! Please send them so I can post them.

But anyway. Without further ado, Apple Picking 101.

My sister took my baby.

I took my sister's baby.

We all worked together.

Elisa ate a bad apple.

Josie ate a good apple...

...and climbed a tree.

Oliver decided to try it, too.
The End.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Reasons why I suck at being an adult.

Since having Oliver, old people like to play the "grown up" card on me. As in, "Wow, you're so grown up. You've sure had to grow up fast!" I never know what to say to that. Really, what can one say to that?

There is obvious option A:

"Why yes, I am impeccably grown up."

I cannot say that. First of all, I don't need to shove it in everyone's face that I rock. I mean...  I do rock. But really? I have to pretend like I don't know that. It's some sort of social law, I'm pretty sure. If I were just to be like, "Why yes, I am so grown up that I have at least 3 mortgages and I'm an active member of the booster club..." people would reconsider and their internal maturity meter would be like:  ERROR. ERROR. A true grown up would not say that.

But secondly? Next week they'll probably pull up next to me at a stoplight and see me grooving out to Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" or some other equally lame song. Or worse, they'll run into me at the grocery store tomorrow and see me arranging the produce in my cart into suggestive positions.

Then the jig would be up, and they'd be like, "Well, guess I had it all wrong about that one.. She is so immature!" (Note that "immature" would most definitely rhyme with the word "connoisseur". Because that is how old people talk.)

The other response, Option B, also has flaws:

"No... really. I'm not an adult."

It's always awkward to disagree when somebody pays you a compliment. The conversation always goes like this:

Person 1: Compliment! You look so nice today. That is a great scarf you're wearing. It totally matches your arm hair.

Person 2: What?This old thing? No... it's just some ratty thing I found in my closet. I think that might even be baby vomit on the corner of it.

Person 1: No, really! That scarf must be the colour of your inner aura. It is so you! Absolutely stunning!

**Awkward gap in conversation because everything that needs saying is already said, any further talking would be superfluous.**

Person 2: (It becomes obvious person one will not back down, so you admit defeat.) Umm.. well... thanks? I guess it is pretty nice?

So in the end, Option B really becomes the same as Option A, because somehow you awkwardly end up agreeing with them and admitting that you are, indeed, awesome.

BUT ANYWAY. Since none of that really made sense to any of you people out there, I have created a simple list of ways I fail at being an adult. Enjoy.

1. I fail at multitasking. 

Sure, you're probably right that I can do each individual task required of an adult. I can balance a check book. I can pay bills. Probably, if given sufficient time, I could learn what a mortgage is and successfully execute it on my theoretical house.  I can shave my legs and sometimes get up before 10 AM! But really? You can't ask me to do all of that in one day. That is faarrr too taxing on my brain.

I understand that some adults out there get up, shower, brush their teeth, put on make up, put on clean clothes, and then START THEIR DAY at a normal job. One that probably doesn't even involve playing with Little People or making roast beef sandwiches.

Then they come home and can still do some laundry (most definitely not forgetting it halfway through and having to retrieve it in the morning), eat a meal (that most likely involves more than opening up a can) and find time to watch a show on TV.

Is that insane or what?! I feel like it's a good day if I manage to take a shower AND put on clean clothes AND have at least on piece of clothing on my baby. If you want me to pay bills that day or clean the shower? Well, I can't do it all. Either I can pay bills or I can get dressed, it's your call.

2. While other adults are watching the news and relating to pressing issues in the world, I am watching B movies on Netflix and laughing at fart jokes.

Jared hates this, but I really can't watch much of the news. It is depressing. Call me sheltered, but I think I'm better off not knowing that 472 orphans drowned to death when their ship sank after running into a pod of endangered dolphins. Oh, and by the way, that was the last known pod of that endangered dolphin species. And also they'll all commit seppuku now because the dolphin that was tragically rendered in twain by ship's hull was their leader, and didn't you know that they are highly intelligent animals with deep familial bonds?

95% of the stories on the news are either depressing and/or deeply disturbing. The other 5%? Those stories are just dumb.

I figure that if anything happens I should know about, it will show up on the internets and/or my more involved and worldly friends can tell me about it. THEN I will go read the news story.

But until then? I'll be laughing at that scene in the movie where the talking dog leaves a flaming paper bag of his own poo on the cranky neighbor's front door step.

3. I still laugh when people say "Vagina."

I think that one is self explanatory. Add to that list the words menstruation, penis, and hemorrhoid.

4. I blame things I've done on my baby.

AWwww... Babies. They do the darndest things!"

After admitting this on a public forum, I'll probably have to stop using this trick. No one will ever believe me ever again. Ever. Never ever.

5. I don't drink coffee.

Other items on my "do not consume" list include: 1. herbed tilapia fillets. 2. other sea foods. 3. fancy nut mixes. 4. dark chocolate.

Items on my "please do consume often" list include: 1. french fries. 2. bread. 3. milk. 4. ice cream.

Note the similarities between my "consume often" list and the typical toddler's palate.

6. I consider Target to be a "high end" store.

Real adults probably buy their furniture somewhere besides Target. They probably walk into Slumberland all willy-nilly and decide on a whim that they need an ecru sectional. They purchase it. They probably even take advantage of the zero down payment plan! And they definitely do not shop at Walmart.  Oh no, only college kids and degenerates buy furniture at Walmart.

But when I'm in Target? I feel classy. I can rub shoulders with people who work downtown and are grabbing a sandwich from the D'amico's deli case! Frequently I see something at Target that I like, and then I look at the price tag and decide... what?! No way. I can find that on Craigslist.

Then I end up bringing home the most ridiculous, ugliest coffee table ever known to mankind because it was "unique!" "one of a kind!" and only $5. And even though, deep in my heart, I know it is a monstrosity... I love it because I found it on Craigslist and I had to carry it down from a 6th story walk up, load it into my parents' borrowed van, and lug it into my apartment. I'll be damned if I don't fall in love with whatever it is by the time it touches my living room. Then, whenever somebody comes over and gives it the critical eye, I feel like I have to defend that bastard love child of particle board and shellac.

And that's not all! There is a lot more. But it is 11:27 and I suddenly decided that I should be drinking a glass of milk before going to bed and reading my zombie book. So, on that note, I end with...

7. I still drink a glass of milk before bed, and read books about zombies.

(I also pick out my books at Barnes and Noble based on the colour of the cover. One day I bought only lime green books. Two of those books are my absolute favorites, FYI.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My baby.

So, since my last post I've decided Oliver's molars are really bothering him. He is now refusing almost all solid foods. And he's been going to bed at 6:30.

Lately since it's been getting colder and he's been trying to walk, I've had to dress him up more. No more little one piece rompers with puppies and smiling cartoon dinos. He's wearing jeans. A hardcore leather jacket. Long sleeve shirts with monsters and aliens and rock star graphics. And even... shoes, dare I say, socks! He wears classier, finer, and more clothes than the average West Virginian. He looks so grown up.

He tries to brush his own hair. He tries to buckle himself into his car seat. He holds the leash when my parents walk the dog. He knows where specific pieces of his toys belong, and puts them there. He does all kinds of things that seem like no big deal, but when you consider that a year ago he was still living off of my (ew) placenta and unable to even focus his eyes... Yeah. It's a pretty big deal. I am just the tiniest bit proud.

He's starting to try some words on for size. He says "mo"  or "mom" for more. He knows that cows go moo, dogs go woof woof, and kisses go "muah." And now that he's starting to walk? He just seems so big.

So big, in fact, that he sits forward facing in the car now.

Lots of people say, "But don't you miss when he was a tiny baby!?"

 I don't. At least I don't miss it right now.

Because he is becoming so much more person-like, so much less dog-like. Because I like that he is happy to see me. Because I like that he has his own personality. Because it is good to know that all of the work I do for him is actually contributing to something more than poop and spit up. Because I just like who he is turning out to be.

And while we can go out on family dates to the zoo, and he can watch monkeys and imitate their sounds...

...And while we can have deep, meaningful conversations about animals...

...And while we can build cardboard box forts together...

...And while he can stand up to beg for a Rice Crispies treat...

...When he falls asleep, he is still a little baby, no matter how I dress him up.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Failure to Communicate

Something isn't right in Doobie's world today. He's been crying and fussing all day, and that just isn't him. I thought that he'd be better after he woke up from a nap, and he was - for about 10 minutes. The rest of the time he's been pulling on my legs to be picked up, and even then he still fussed. He refused to play ball with me. He refused to play Little People. While I was feeding him he refused to sign for more, instead opting to yell at me. After repeated attempts to make him sign for more, he threw his head back and unleashed a full on fit. I physically had to make him sign for more myself. It took several times of doing that before he was willing to do it by himself - something we have been making him do for months now that he previously had no problems with.

We were doing laundry together earlier, an activity which he takes to with great joy. He loves to drop the socks into the washing machine. He likes to press the button to make it start up. He likes switching the clothes from washer to dryer. But not today. Today he wanted me to hold him, and he screamed when I put him down on the washroom floor.

Since he wouldn't play with any of his toys and I didn't know what to do, I put him down in his crib. And he just accepted it. He didn't scream or reach for me when I left him. I can hear him in there now - he's not fussing, but he's not sleeping either. He's in there all by himself doing nothing.

Could his molars be coming in? I stuck my finger in his mouth yesterday and I could feel the big bulge. Teething has never bothered him too much before, but maybe these molars are too much for him. It could explain why he is refusing to try new foods, and even old foods he previously liked off of our plates.... why suddenly he clenches his jaws shut when we try to brush his teeth before bed... why he has been putting his fingers in his mouth every time we feed him.

As much as I hate to do it, I'm going to give him some baby Tylenol when I get him out of his crib. I wish he could tell me more than "moo" and "woof" and "more" because I just have no idea why he's so upset.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Good morning to you too.

I was grumpy about getting up with Oliver this morning. I'm really not a morning person and the last thing I want to do at 9AM is play basketball over and over again. This morning, instead of playing with him or turning on the TV, I opened up the toy box and let him play all by himself. He kept trying to crawl over and share his toys with me, but I was too grumpy to play with him. I more or less ignored him and spent some time checking my email.

But then I heard him clapping and I looked- up. There he was, standing all by himself in the middle of the room. No support. No wobbling. Just standing up and clapping for himself.

It is good to know that even if nobody else is around to be happy for him, Oliver will be happy for himself.  I could learn a thing or two from him.

Friday, September 10, 2010

We went to the park again today.

He used to be terrified fo the climbing structures and the swings. Today, he crawled up the steps like nothing. You know. No big deal. Does it all the time.

Yes, I am aware how crazy his outfit is.

First look around.

Sliding like it ain't no thang.

Enduring gale force winds.

Sitting under the fir.

Friday, September 3, 2010


It always feels strange when my parents take Oliver for the night. In the early morning hours, I roll over in bed to look at the baby monitor, double checking that the little red light is on. I get up and use the bathroom in silence. Even when I know Oliver isn't sleeping in his room, I still tip toe around like I might wake him if I step too loudly. I still swing the baby gate shut even though I know he isn't around to come crashing through it. That is just the way things work around here, and it feels like I am incapable of anything else.

When I went to bed last night I felt like I had to get up and check the locks - something that rarely crosses my mind. The whole place felt weird and I couldn't put my finger on it until I realized that Oliver was gone. The apartment seems too big without him here. When he's away it feels like I've woken up in a strange bed in a strange room. It takes me a moment to remember and realize where I am. It is disconcerting.

For as small as he is, the presence he has here is huge. Our lives revolve around him. Being at home without him feels awkward, like wearing shoes without socks or showing up to a party a little bit over dressed. The mistake is a small one, but it reverberates throughout everything and affects every aspect.

When I walked out to the kitchen this morning I purposely made loud noises and turned on the radio, to prove to myself that I wouldn't wake Oliver. It felt  bold and daring. It literally made me laugh to bang the cupboards shut. I knew I was being a little bit crazy but I felt rebellious and wild.

Going out without him is different, though. I don't think too much about him being gone while we're out. We used to go out before he was born, so we can continue to go out without him now. But being at home? We've never lived here without him. We moved here for him. He is as much a part of this apartment as we are.

He wakes up, and he's happy to see us. We put music on, and he dances for us. We ignore him and he clamors for our attention. He fills this whole house with so much energy and happiness.

When I was going through that rough spot, it felt like a sin to be sad around him. How could I be sad when I had this perfect lovable baby tugging at my pants leg to be picked up? How could I have anything to cry over when I had Oliver there, clapping and laughing for himself?

For almost a year now we've had him here to help us. He helps us to get up in the morning. He helps us get out to enjoy life. He helps make us responsible, more loving people. Every aspect of my life has improved just because I've been sharing it with him.

Oliver was sent to us because we needed the sunshine. And what a good sun he is.

Five days old.

Two months old, watching the game.

Five months old.

Eight months old.

Two weeks ago, 11 months old.