Monday, September 28, 2009

a disturbing trend...

bebe has been really into looking at magazines lately. she's willing to sit down with just about anything she can turn the pages of these days, but she's partial to magazines/catalogs with babies. she's already demonstrated her advanced perception of abstract theories and ideas, and so i'm a little worried about her self-image and reality perception now that she's being exposed to all of these slick, carefully constructed articles and advertisements.

hey bebe? can i talk to you for a sec?


i know you enjoy looking at these magazines and things, but i'm a little concerned about what you think of all of these babies that you see in them.

"hair gel? weird. i'm sorry, daddy- what were you saying?"

it's just that, well, i want you to know that the pictures you see on those pages aren't really meant to represent real life. well, i mean, they are, but in a way that's not realistic. does this make any sense to you?

"you mean like how these kids are always smiling, for instance?"

well, yeah. that's one way.

"cuz' i know for a fact that babies aren't always happy. sometimes when morrie hugged nora jane too tight she cried."

i guess the point i want to get across here is that writers and advertisers are trying to manipulate you into buying whatever it is they're selling. or they want you to think that by having or using their products you'll feel a certain way. a better way.

"daddy, i know that! they're presenting some false, idealized version of child-life to over-make their point. let's face it, this kind of advertising is not very subtle. if the kids are supposed to be happy, then they're practically bursting with joy. gimme a break- who's that happy? are they drugged, or just morons? and for this article on teething, they're screaming their stupid heads off! unless, of course, the editor is trying the tender approach- you know the one, a cherub-faced baby with a single tear in it's eye, looking imploringly at the camera... 'help me. help me, i have teeth. can't you see? does it not hurt you, too?' i mean, wow. "

uh, wow is right. i guess you do kind of have a handle on this stuff. so you get that it's all a hyper-realized display of emotional situations and reactions?

"dude, mommy's the one you should be worried about. look at this lady here, selling who knows what to all the mommies who read this thing. she's got the elegant features, dressed all smart -whose mother is this supposed to be? are you trying to tell me that this ice queen, with her disaffected look and uncaring gaze of a thousand miles away is somebody's care taker? or even worse, that if you buy this scarf you can be her? yikes! 'wear our scarf and you'll never feel the need to comfort another child. retain your identity and let a nanny raise your children.' i'm not going to lie and say i totally get all this..."

"oh, and then there's this article about getting your kids to eat vegetables, complete with this pouty-faced baby model pretending to hate broccoli. only a parent would swallow this crap. every baby knows how delicious broccoli is. just don't cook the nutrients out of it. it's amazing, the amount of overcooked broccoli in the world."

"and where was it, let me see..."

"ah, here it is! this ad for pull-ups! nobody's that happy about peeing in their pants. i don't care what kind of magical diaper you wear! give me a break. they try to make it look like wearing these things will make potty training some exciting exercise, like you'll be taking dumps in the can in no time. whatever. i'm not buying into this nonsense for a second!"

you're not?

"no way! i like looking at the pictures though. it's fun to count all the babies, or all the balls, or the cars, or the dogs..."

huh. i guess i didn't have anything to worry about after all. (walks away)

"wow. i could really use a new pair of these gap overalls, though..."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

watching nj

if you follow mommy's blog (which you all do, right?) then you know that bebe's birthday best friend nora jane recently moved away. it was a very sad day for all of us to have to say goodbye. mommy put together a great little video documenting their little lives together so far, and one of bebe's favorite things to do is to sit on mommy's lap and watch:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

a journey of insanity, death, and carnage


i used to think it was so bizarre to see people strolling down the street seemingly talking to themselves and going on and on and on, only to pass them and see a headset or earpiece and realize that they're on the phone. i still make fun of these assholes, mostly because who cares, go somewhere private to talk, and if i should stand there obviously listening to you or even comment on your conversation, hold the dirty looks. if you don't want me to participate then don't give me the opportunity.

but getting back to the street-crazy behavior of talking to oneself in a loud and boisterous way- while i almost never answer my phone in public, i can say that lately i have been on the receiving end of some of those "wtf?!?" looks that i used to give out with such reckless abandon.

i've been trying to get bebe out of the neighborhood during our weekend hours together, and this can be done in one of three ways: on foot, on back, or in stroller. on foot is painfully slow and usually means that i end up carrying her shortly after we set out. in stroller sucks because once we get to where we're going i like to let her loose, and having to hold her hand and push a stroller is a pain. and also, given the opportunity to cart a ton of needless shit along with me, i'm all in. load me up. so then i have her, plus a bag, plus a wheelbarrow/stroller full of... everything.

so lately i've elected to go with a carrier. we own about ten thousand (not an exaggeration), as it turns out you need one for every month of your small child's life since each carrier is tailored to a specific size baby. now, some of you snarky mathletes have just run the numbers and are ready to jump in here saying "bebe isn't even ten thousand months old!" and how right you are. where do all of the extras come from? well, each one fits the wearer differently as well, so you need one that fits the baby and isn't going to kill you in the process either. also, some of these are a lot more complicated to use than the website/instructional dvd/phone support/in home customer service emergency demonstration team would have you believe. it's a costly process of trial and error whereby you collect and retain every example of your past failures as they surround and eventually bury you.

some are full of clips and straps and locking mechanisms, and may inspire you in ways that have nothing to do with a baby except that to use them, uh, recreationally, may get you another one. you can plan ahead to that day of disclosure with junior #2 when you'll hear yourself wistfully saying "well, your mother and i really weren't planning on another baby, but then 'The Torsal Dominator Baby Transport Harness' came in the mail... and for all of the use it got, we never did take it out of the house. not once. oh, except that one time we took that caribbean vacation. and then nine months later- you were born!"

and while you can take pride in the fact that some of these are so freaking complicated and daunting, not only to safely load a child into, but just to successfully load onto your own person, that you don't need to feel stupid for failing. but then there are what we can and will call The Humiliators. or The Humblers, if you're feeling kind/filled with self pity. these are advertised as "Simple," "Traditional," and most condemning, "Easy to Use and Wear!" they usually consist of one long length of some material or another, and then perhaps a tightening ring at one end. they involve wrapping the endless amount of material around your body in such a way as to create a "safe, warm, comfortable" pocket of cloth within which to place your child.

now i'm not bragging or anything but my baby-mama is highly intelligent, and the last time i was i.q. tested i was a hell of a lot smarter than anybody else i knew, and in spite of our massive combined intelligence all bebe ever did in this thing was almost fall directly and immediately onto whatever hard surface we were standing on at the time. and that was when we could actually get her into the thing, because if you tightened it up the way they advised, you got an awesome body wrap-shawl kind of thing that in no-way could be used to carry or hold a baby. the slimming effect was wunderbar, though.

have you noticed that i go weeks with posts of just pics and a few comments, and then one day there's some long, rambling missive on here, as if i've been saving it all up? where was i?

oh yeah, the carriers. anyway, the one carrier i kind of liked, the baby bjorn, i'm told one day by that smarty-pants wife of mine is no good for bebe. the angles are wrong, blah blah blah. i liked it because it was easy to get her into and out of, and putting it on felt like being in a james cameron sci-fi movie, all harnessed and ready for blasting some alien scum out of existence:

me: Die! Die Alien Scum! Get Off My Planet!!! POW POW POW!

alien scum: but this is my planet! you landed here and started shooting us.

me: Die Alien Scum!!! POW POW POW! POW!

anyway, it felt solid and only mildly bothered my back, but it was not meant to be. something about twisting beatrix into a pretzel or something. so then there was the "baby hawk," which was great if i had some help getting her onto my back, but solo felt like a three stooges-harlem globe trotters routine whereby starting with her in front of me i'd swing her around one side onto my back, only to have her come sliding down the other side a fast second later. she laughed and thought this was fun every time, except the time i dropped her. just kidding, i caught her by the top of her head right before she hit the floor. and she did laugh. but still.

what we've finally settled on is the becco. it's got enough clips and straps to satisfy the average fetishist, plus it's pretty straight-forward and easy to use. remember way back up at the top when i mentioned those cell phone crazy people(take a sec and scroll back up there if you need to, go ahead, i'll wait... ready? ok)? with bebe strapped to my back, i can talk to her by craning my neck to either side, but if you happen to be ahead of me, or coming towards me, you have no idea what the hell i'm doing or who the hell i'm talking to. here's an example of what i mean:

see? even from the side you can imagine how invisible she would be from head-on.

imagine you're out for a walk- the air is a mild seventy-four degrees, slight breeze to cool you off should you work up a sweat, friend or loved one or pet at your side, strolling along at a leisurely pace on your way to the park, or perhaps returning to your home. now imagine your idyllic afternoon jaunt shattered by that crazy guy coming up behind you on the sidewalk- there he is, idiotic grin plastered to his face, his head swinging wildly on his neck, first to the left, then all the way over to the right, and at the farthest extension each time he lets out a loud "Pssssst!" before his head swings back to center. he lets out a laugh, then his head continues to the far side where he repeats the "Psssst!" before swinging back to center again, grinning, laughing.

he's coming right towards you! he's wearing some kind of support harness or something, some kind of shoulder strap, belt clip type thing, but oddly enough, no helmet. as he bobs his head from side to side he's talking to himself in some funny sounding voice, or waving his arms around, throwing them back behind his body awkwardly, sometimes laughing, sometimes singing. what a strange, jolly, scary man this is!

and that would be me.

when we pass one another you can finally see that the motive behind this seemingly insane behavior is that adorable little lady strapped to my back, bouncing along, laughing and "pssssstht!"-ing back at me on each side.

i often look silly, but my daughter affords me the opportunity to look truly insane. and i have to say, it's very liberating. plus you get the entire sidewalk to yourself.

anyway, on sunday we took our act on the road. i decided to walk up to jamaica pond and let her walk around for a while. we could go around the pond itself, or take a side path onto one of the lawns; there are plenty of options for tiring out your one year old.


we saw this on the way there. this would be the 'death' part of the post. in case you couldn't tell, it's a piece of a squirrel tail. if you were a glass half full kind of person you might reckon there's a squirrel out there missing part of his tail. but i'm not, so there isn't.

fresh out of the becco, she's ready to roll!


she loved seeing the ducks and geese, and as a bonus, whenever we stopped to quack(which we did often), we were invariably passed by a number of DOGS! DOGS! DOG DOG DOG DOG DOG!

eventually the ducks headed back into the water, and we decided to walk on.

for about thirty steps or so. apparently, bebe is easily winded and needed a rest. hey, here's a bench!

we sat for a little while, and as per usual, bebe made some friends. a little guatemalan boy and his sister stopped at our bench to say hola. there was a little bit of a staring contest, and then some hearty waving as we said goodbye. and that leads us to:


on the way home we saw what looked to be a rubber snake left on top of a utility box. only, as we got closer, it turned out to be a real dead snake. on top of a utility box. as a bonus, there were some big flies. i love exposing bebe to nature!

a quick note: i've got a bunch of stuff to post here so hopefully there will be some regular posting at least for the next few days. also, i've decided to post more photos on my photo-only blog (non bebe-related) and those will be starting soon, maybe by the weekend. i've decided to eschew any kind of major format and just post whatever i have/want- some days it might be a series, other days it may be single pics, who knows. but the goal will be to do daily posts for the foreseeable future. it's a very ambitious plan, i know. i've already prepared an apology for the irregularity of the posts so it will be there when i need it :)

you are getting sleeeeeeepy...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

auntie ash's visit

this is from a couple of weekends back. apologies to auntie ash for not posting this sooner.
uncle trev drove auntie ash and grammie over to bebe's house for a visit one weekend not too long ago. bebe was awfully surprised to have some of the family visit her- they should do it more often!
as is the custom, visitors bring gifts. in this case it was a present for daddy as well: a star wars shirt! the force is strong with this one.

at the time, bebe is of course more interested in the paper than anything else.

there was a spirited game of peek-a-boo

...some snuggles and tickles

...and a staring contest.

who's that silver-haired lady behind bebe? must be grammie!

thanks for coming, family!

Monday, September 21, 2009

family birthdays

both mommy and auntie ash were quicker to get their birthday posts up, but for once i've got a little back log so i'm just getting mine up now. it turns out i'm taking fewer pictures with the family these days, mostly because i like being part of the action, instead of standing around observing it. a quality of life points rise for me is a quality of blog posts points loss for all of you. whoops. anyway, in case any of you have forgotten, september is fertility month in my family. i guess the actual pregnancies occur in february-march, but the babies are all born in september. uncle seth, auntie ash, auntie jamie, and grammie are all september birthdays. and then uncle trev's is right around the corner in october, along with aunt marge's and uncle ben's. and then mommy's is in november, along with grandpa steve's! the end of the year is a rush of birthdays all ending over the winter with the most celebrated birthday of all: mine.

beatrix has this habit of bringing you a book and demanding that you drop whatever you're doing at the time to read to her. then, after about a two pages, she either walks off or closes the book on you mid-sentence and takes it away. it's nice to see her pull this with someone else for a change:
"cat! cat!"

"ball! ball ball ball!"


then she's off to give someone else a chance to get shut down. it's not so bad because it means you stop what you're doing for twenty seconds at best, and then she's back in her own little world. the downside of this behavior is that i still don't know if the old dog and the goat ever become friends!?! well?!? do they?!?

she's so used to getting presents of her own that when she happens across one she just assumes it's for her and starts opening it.

i don't know about this one. maybe auntie is going to swallow bebe whole? dunno.

"a toaster oven? what the blue blazes am i supposed to do with a toaster oven? i guess i could melt some of my toys in there..."

beatrix marie!