Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'll Give Ya an Ouch Report

While Jennie is in San Francisco, I (Mike) am taking over blog duties. Last night was the first night with just us two guys. Aunt Sherly picked him up at daycare and he was in a good mood when she got there. She brought him to me at work and other than a nasty diaper rash, things were fine all night. Since he was up at 6 a.m. with us for the ride to the airport, he konked out pretty quickly at nine. 20 minutes, which is probably a record.
This morning was different. 15 minutes after I got to work, my cell phone started ringing. It was daycare, saying Donovan had fallen and got a cut above his eye that should be looked at. It was still bleeding. I could hear him crying in the background when I talked to them.
So I dropped everything and told my supervisor that I had to go and of course he was cool with it. Somehow I managed to get through to the doctor's office who said to bring him in. (Luckily it wasn't going to be a full day in the emergency room.) When I got to daycare, one of his teachers was holding him and giving him ice. He saw me and reached out his hands. If he had been crying, he stopped. He was pretty mellow the whole way to the doctor's office too, so I didn't feel as frantic.
We got in pretty quickly. One of the nurses told me that her son used to cut the same spot on his forehead all the time when he was that age. This is what I have to look forward to? You mean this is going to keep happening? Where's that ivory tower? I need to lock him in it so he'll never ever be hurt or unhappy again.
Nothing serious. He didn't need stitches. She just put some ointment and a teeny tiny bandage on it. It was amazing how well behaved he was. There was only a minimum of fussing while she cleaned him up. This is what he looked like later in the afternoon.

Despite all that, I wasn't going to let him leave my jurisdiction for the rest of the day. We decided to celebrate having the day off together by having an early lunch at Uncle Sam's, where we both missed Mom and felt funny eating without her. The only trouble came when it was time to get back in the car. He did not want to get in the car seat and I can't for the life of me figure out why. I think he's done this a few times before, but still there is no pattern. On the third try, he stopped doing the bucking bronco shtick because I used my trick that works when he wants to roll off the changing table: I started reciting The Fire Engine Book.
Donovan had a long nap this afternoon, which might explain how bedtime went tonight. It was, as Aunt Sherly would say, like a date with Ike Turner. He drank two and a half bottles, kicked me in the face, threw one bottle at me and flailed all over the bed. Two hours later, he was finally asleep, which is where I'm headed after I hit send.
Tomorrow, Grammy and Gramps Shanley are watching him for a few hours while I'm at work. They'll be relieved by my friend Brendan in the afternoon.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I Shot Billiards With a Midget Until the Rain Stopped

"I was pacin' myself, trying to make it all last
Squeezin' all the life out of lousy 2 day pass..."

--Tom Waits, "Shoreleave"

I think of that line alot on the weekend because that's basically what a weekend is: a lousy 2 day pass. Gotta make the most of it. I think we succeeded in that this weekend.

Saturday I spent the majority of the day at home playing with the baby and waiting for the landscaper. You heard me right: landscaper. I decided that I needed to face the fact that I was not going to be the hero weeding the yard and prepping next years garden. Not with a full time job and a kid. Oh--and a lazy streak. I looked on Angie's List and found a lady who looked as if she only helps people with gardens--no grass cutting, no heavy work, just gardens. When I met her at the door her greeting was, "Honey, you have weeds." Obviously a seasoned professional. She and her daughter are going to weed and prune and edge and mulch and then work with me next year to get the correct plantings. Yes, its going to cost money--I've decided that's what my pin money from giving the cemetery tours is going to go towards. I feel a bit of shame (at not doing it myself) and a whole lot of relief (sweet Jesus, its going to get done!) After they left, I got a sudden case of cabin fever and packed up the kid for a trip. Our usual Saturday bus into Oakland had left so we went Downtown, which could have been dumb if I had not realized there is a super secret place for babies to run around:

Trinity Burial Ground!
At first, I have to say, I was not sure what the hell they were doing with the restoration work. If you did'nt know it already, I can be an insufferable snob when it comes to cemetery preservation and nothing makes me roll my eyes faster than a project that's only about the monument with no attention paid to the landscape. I still think there may be some of that mindframe going on but, in looking at these photos, I think they planted the pacasandra and weird grasses to keep folks from running around and stepping all over the fragile stones. I mean, some people let their kids climb all over the monuments and that's just wrong.Historically accurate or not, the flagstones made a great little labyrinth for Donny to run around. It was great too as the burial ground is both elevated and fenced it--no chance of the kid getting away from me. You can see from the photos that he was all over the placeI tried to get a photo of him actually looking at the camera and I only managed one, and he's not posing next to an interesting gravemarker:I'll admit that part of letting him run wild was to tire him out so that he'd fall asleep at his 9pm bedtime. I did my work a bit too well and he fell asleep on the 71A that we caught to meet Dad at Whole Foods. After we got home the New Roofer came over and we made a downpayment--the yard and the roof are going to be fixed! I think I might faint!

Today, Sunday, we made a one day trip to Elyria to see my family. Part of me hates these one day trips but this one went really well. We got there at about 1pm and Donny was hungry, tired and NOT happy about being in a strange place. We got him to eat some grilled cheese and drink a bottle of water but he ended up having to take a nap as well. Last time we made a one day trip, we tried taking him to visit my Aunts and that did not go well. With that in mind we brought the Aunts over instead and that went swimmingly. Everyone was doing well and was happy to see the baby and after his nap he was his usual charming self. He even did his little dance, which consists of him running in place as fast as he can. As if my Mom could love him more... No pictures from that visit but here are a few of him running around a rest stop in Ohio. The last photo is when I asked Mike to hold the kid still so I could take a photo of his face. Note the stars in his eyes.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Strange/Hysterical/Pathetic/Hard to Believe

Observances not worth a full entry on their own:

* Baby's first actual stop in his tracks moment hearing music: "Lazy" by Love and Rockets made him drop his block, run over to the CD player and cock his head toward the speaker. He did the same thing the next day with "You Are My Flower" by The Carter Family. Why those two? Dunno.

* I was complaining to Sheryl that Donovan cared more about his empty yogurt container than he did about his parents. She suggested I paint faces on the yogurt containers.

* If someone doesnt like you, the world's cutest boy child will not stop them from being a jerk.

* After Labor Day, Donny is moving over to The Toddler's Room at Daycare. He and his main man CJ are being moved over there together, which is good.

NOT RELATED: In looking for the link to "Lazy" I found this. The sound quality is pathetic, which is a shame but not really the point. Enjoy!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy Hour Gulag

Usually I can get around just fine. Yesterday was the exception.

Yesterday after work, the plan was to pick up the boy and take him to the Archival Happy Hour. That was Plan B as Plan A of having one of Donny's proxy aunts pick him up did'nt work out. Secretly, I was sort of glad as I do like showing off the baby and a few of the folks who would be there have expressed an interest in either seeing or meeting him.

What I did'nt bank on was a torrential downpour and a fussy baby who only wanted to run around outside in the rain. On that score, I have to admit that he's his mother's son. Nothing I liked better as a kid than running around in a storm. Still, we had places to go and things to do and there we were, stuck at Eastminster.

Pittsburgh has its share of beautiful churches. More than its share, to be honest. Gotta hand it to all those immigrants. Eastminster is a lovely old church and I found out just how lovely yesterday as I walked my kid all over that joint, trying to kill time and keep him happy and quiet. The ratio of stained glass in this building is unbelievably high--big, pictorial stained glass is to be expected in the sanctuary and all but there are little decorative windows everywhere else; hallway landings, meeting rooms, I swear I saw one in a broom closet. Donny has always been entranced with light and I thought he might like to see the glass glowing in the stormlight. Eh. Not so much. Still it made for a nice walk, sneaking around the nooks and crannies of the place.

The rain finally stopped and we got to the happy hour right as it was winding down. Donovan and I split a plate of sweet potato fries (which he ate two-fisted) and he got fussed over by a bunch of nice people. Is it professional to drag your 16 month old to a professional happy hour? Oh well: whatever.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Let's Break Out the Booze and Have A Ball...

We took Donovan to Klavons today. If you've never been there, Klavons is great, not just for the atmosphere of the place but they are very generous with their hot fudge and they have flavored whipped cream. Mike got a Banana Split, I got a Hot Fudge Sundae with Strawberry Whipped Cream and Donny got a cup of Strawberry ice cream.

Which he wouldn't eat. So much for the eagerly anticipated Klavons debut.

Next, we took him to the park. He'd been sort of fussy and we thought we'd let him run around. Which worked alright, until we kept stopping him from running into the street. Apparently, the only direction that's good is forward. Turning around? Nothin' doin', no sir.

I might also mention that he wouldn't eat breakfast, he spurned the chicken salad he used to love at lunch and all he does with the big crayons I made him by melting regular crayons down in muffin tins is drop them on the floor.

I was pretty frustrated by the middle of the day--all week he's been refusing to eat the food I make him, getting whiny when I want him to hold my hand when we're walking, and he definitely thinks his empty yogurt cup is better company than his parents. Luckily, he ate alot of salmon at dinner and he was fun to play with after that. I was probably getting on his nerves too, what with my force feeding efforts and my unreasonable demands about not running into the middle of Forbes Avenue. I'm glad we were able to rally and end on an up note.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Thru The Smoke, Behind The Veil

Its late. Late, late, late. I used to stay up this late all the time. I'm nocturnal but I can't let anyone know that. That's part of how I pretend to be an adult.

While many people stay up late pursuing nonconstructive pasttimes, I've always been more of a night time baker myself. I didn't plan on staying up to make Hungarian Apple Squares, but I did and I have to tell you they are damn good. Damn good as in, "why did I ever stop baking? Why do I even look at the vending machine at work? Why would I ever buy cookies in a box?" For the past couple of months I've been really disappointed with baked goods--everything tasted to me like it came from the same base recipe but was just shaped/colored differently. Tonight, I am Cured and its because I was able to, as the Spiritualists say, Go Behind the Veil to access my old self. Say what you will about my old self: girlfriend can bake.

I'm also very proud of myself for using up the apples I impulsively bought at the Farmers Market yesterday. Thank You.

Do Not Read If You Are Eating Yogurt

When I went to get Donovan at daycare today he was SHRIEKING. In all caps, honest to god. I have never heard him be so upset! I picked him up to soothe him and *BLURT* Curdley milk baby vomit all over both of us. The SHRIEKING continued while I changed him into clean clothes, wiped myself off, wiped off the canvas bag his bottles were in, grabbed his stroller and got him out the door. He calmed down once he was in the stroller and moving but he started fussing when we went to Goodwill. Why Goodwill? Why, to buy Mama a new shirt, of course! I asked the cashier if I could pay for the shirt now and put it on to wear it out. She took one look at me and boy and said, "Sure. Let me cut the tag off for you." Donny has never liked dressing rooms but I like to think he started shrieking when he saw his Mom in a polo shirt. I felt like shrieking too but, hey, its all they had that fit. Once we got home everything was fine. Of course.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

E.M. Bigelow: J'Accuse!

Bad planning led to me taking the boy on yet another cemetery tour. He was very good to his old Mama and fell asleep almost immediately. We caught a bus after and went into Oakland.

Oakland, My Oakland: I love you, I hate you. I gave you the best years of my life and you gave me The Beehive (now, tragically, a Verizon Wireless Store), 2am post coital O Fries, cheap apartments, sweet Italian landlords and the lily ponds of Schenley Park. But, Oakland, you are a very cruel hostess. THERE IS NO SHADE IN OAKLAND. Schenley Plaza, the new park in front of the library? No Shade. Schenley Park itself? Some shade if you want to drag your kid and his stroller up a hill. Phipps? In a Wildean page from "The Selfish Giant," Phipps has locked the gates of its little garden with the fountains and the Majestic Hornbeam. The message? Welcome! Enjoy your stay! And remember to leave after 20 minutes or you and your kid will be covered with skin cancer! I have to make the same assumption about the collective mindframe of the powers that be that I attribute to the lack of benches at bus stops: the type of people who wait at the bus stops are not the type of people we want waiting at bus stops. The type of people who would like to sit in the shade in a park are probably the sort of people who should just keep moving along, thank you... Needless to say I'm taking this personally.

When we gave Donny a bath tonight I noticed he had a farmer's tan on his chubby little baby arms. I feel like such a lousy mother.