Saturday, December 5, 2015

The 8 Month Check In

Owen crossed the 8 month barrier which meant I was overdue for another two month update.  The "long" Thanksgiving weekend passed in a whirling blur as family and friends descended on Casa Tajlili for Owen's exorcism... ehem... I mean, baptism.  Last Sunday evening, I found myself trying to recount the last 60 days with a paralyzing case of writer's block and memory loss.  Where did November go?  For that matter, what happened to all of freaking 2015?  I'm ending the year with a mind like mashed potatoes in a county fair Gravitron.  #%&#!

"I will eat ALL the food"

Mr. O's 8 month check-in


Having mastered crying, whimpering, and fart noises pretty much straight out of the uterus, Owen has moved on to new tricks such as speaking in tongues.  Megan claims he can say "mama" and "dada" but most of his sounds seem like random babbling to me.  Others sound like a pterodactyl stuck in a manhole.  It's an early read but his leading career prospects at this stage are Pentecostal minister or Jurassic Park extra.

"I will eat ALL the toys"


Owen is a curious dude, already showing the neophyte signs of the impending leap to banshee-terror-toddler status.  Everything is a potential object to bite, chew, or suck on.  Mr. O still hasn't mastered the crawl, but when left alone for 45 seconds he can generally manage to find his way wedged headfirst under the ottoman braying like a lost goat.  The world is a fascinating place to explore apparently, especially the underside of our furniture. 

Where are you going Owen?


Owen has begun to eat a wider variety of solid foods.   The default favorite is the miraculous cereal puff.  They have no nutritional value whatsoever, but are good for at least 5 minutes of entertainment - or longer than any one of his actual toys.  Owen's most effective feasting technique when the pincer grip fails appears to be slobbering all over his hand, slamming it on top of as many puffs as he can at one time, and then biting the residual bits off the back of his drool soaked paw.  Flies have managed to keep themselves in existence for hundreds of millions of years eating the same way, so apparently this is a perfectly reasonable way to not only survive but thrive.

Of course as he has ventured into new and larger quantities of foods, diaper changes have become increasingly more obscene.  For months I feared the day we took on the meats.  That day has come and passed.  I am a stronger, more resilient person for it.

"Hands Off the Poopy Wang"

Clearly, the intersection of all of these various changes at the same time can lead to some interesting happenings in the once tranquil Tajlili house.  The blowout mega-dump diaper change doubles as a great opportunity for Mr. O to explore his man parts with the same ferocity that he tackles his puffs.  It's not so much the perviness or colossal mess that bothers me, so much as this:  I've been scratched by those razor sharp claws - just watching him grab his junk with his raptor talons makes me wince in pain.

At least he will grow out of this phase in about 87 years.

For the record, "poopy wang" is still available to claim on urban dictionary.

"I heard that your daycare threw its applesauce out the window and serves foie gras."

Among the stranger events for those of us heathen daycare types is the first parent-teacher conference and report card review.  What exactly does a seven month old's report card look like?

It's more complicated than I can possibly explain.  

My synopsis:  

He is at benchmark at such social-emotional objectives as "taking care of own needs appropriately" (why do we need to feed, bath, and dress him then!?!) 

Above benchmark at "solving social problems" (what does this entail in a class of infants?  breaking up a fight over a Sophie doll?)  

He still needs to make progress in using an "expanding expressive vocabulary" but shows emerging patterns of "demonstrating knowledge of the Earth's environment" (I am confident his demonstration involved eating leaves or dirt)

Most bizarre of all?  He was well above benchmark at "toileting and personal hygiene" ... based on the #poopywangsaga I begged to differ.  In fact, during an extended bout of diarrhea, he was sent home with the bag o'shame five of six days - each day with the outfit I dressed him earlier that morning tied up tightly in a plastic bag labeled with his name written on masking tape.  Owen - Soiled Clothes.

This section of the report led to the following awkward exchange:

Brian:  "I think I need more detail here.  Can you tell me more about how you measure the toileting metric?"
Teacher:  "ummm...."
Megan:  "is this report statistically valid?"

As much as we tried to resist it, we had fallen victim to the malady of the "new generation" of overachieving #firstworldproblem parents.  Honestly I don't expect anything too unreasonable from our child care provider.  Is he is (generally) happy?  Safe?  Well fed?  Clean?  Yes.  Check.  

If he learns to speak High German, play Baby Got Bach on the key-tar, or solve differential equations on a wooden abacus, then whoop-de-#$%&-ing-doo.  

Guess whose kid is eating the pumpkin?

It wasn't until the teacher went off script that I really felt like I had a good picture of Owen's personality at school:

"Owen gives the best hugs.  And of all the babies he has the saddest sad face."

Aww, he is empathetic.  This is a good thing for someone who will hit retirement age sometime around the year 2080.  True emotional intelligence can't be outsourced.  It can't be automated.  At least not yet.

Mr. Saddest Sad Face :( :( :(

Here is one thing I do expect without fail from Owen's day care experience: to have him bring home a new cadre of diseases, including the one that turned our house into a scene from the Walking Dead just before Halloween when the gruesome Hand-Foot-and-Mouth virus rampaged across the Triangle and even hit yours truly.  

Dun-dun-dun... dun-dun-da-dun... da-dun-da-dun-da-dun-dun-da-dun-na...

"Escaping The Black Hole"

In the new parent world, it's easy for life to get so narrow focused on the immediate tasks at hand.  The latest fire drill at work.  Keeping a melt down at bay.  Remembering to shower. World events by contrast seem like they are just happening around us, to us, another reason NOT to leave the house.  Thankfully (or regretfully?) I have the Facebook-Twitter combo to keep me up to speed on all the world news so I don't feel like I'm living under a rock.  

In 2015, we have had no shortage of such events and situations to make us feel awful about the state of affairs, and social media gives an endless number of outlets for opinions and sounding boards about police violence, immigration, gun control, ISIS, Trump, racial inequality, the trend toward wider disparities in wealth, class wars, religious wars, and the impending climate change disaster.  It's the year political correctness-international conflict-domestic issues-social media have jumped the shark.

It wears us out.  It wears us out.

So here is what I have to offer regarding this horrifying repetition of history, since this tells a story better than I ever could:

Yeah it's been that kind of 2 months for humanity.

I had to get that gorilla off my chest.  But that's sure as hell not where I want to end.

It's here.  Home.

unparalleled joy

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