DAY 4 – My 30th Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!
EVENT 1 - BOY
My son is fearless… either that or foolish enough to not realize that he’s in danger. He tries to run off docks into deep, frigid waters. He leaps from furniture blindly. He pulls fans off tables, looking for free haircuts. Typically he screams, “RORY!” just before he does it… just so you know what’s about to happen. See, typically, I’m there to catch him. Typically, I’ll be walking on the dock next to him, holding his hand. Typically, I’ll be lying on the floor and he’ll be jumping onto my chest (whether I expect it or not) but the events of yesterday… not so typical.
Animal has decided to start crawling out of his crib. He throws one leg over and then heaves himself up, up, up until gravity takes over and pulls him into his sister’s sleeping quarters… something she’s not entirely pleased about. Especially when he arrives in the night, throws her doll out of the crib, overpowers her blanket from her, throws it into his own and then slips back into his barracks. See, the girl can’t do it; she lacks the upper body strength. So she just screams and wails and then we finally just had to separate the cribs.
But then we realized that this kid was probably just days away from attempting to crawl out of his crib and onto the floor. Granted, there would be about a three and a half foot fall in the middle there but we were confident he was planning his moves. Well, yesterday we finally decided, “It’s time to pull the side of the crib off”. Let’s give him a Big Boy Bed and see what he does with it.
The results were magical. It was like Christmas had come early.
Both children began crawling up and down, up and down, up and down. They jumped on the bed. Screamed. Laid down, stood up, tested it out. This was a whole new bed!!! Nap time came around and we put The Boy in his Big Bed and The Girl into her Crib (something she was not very excited about) and then left. Listening by the door we could hear his little feet wandering around, playing with things and messing about but, roughly thirty minutes later, he had crawled back into bed and fallen fast asleep. Success!
Fast forward three hours later and I’m pulled out of an episode of The X-Files (Nerd Alert: I download them off the world wide web) by a loud THUNK! and then “AAAHHHH!” I rush through the house knowing exactly what’s happened. When I swing open the door, The Boy is running towards me, tears streaming down his face.
It’s funny that we were so afraid of him falling out of his bed that we took off one entire side of it. Looking back, it actually makes very little sense.
EVENT 2 - GIRL
The girl runs at me and I don’t even hear her coming. She’s like a snake in the grass… or a puma… or a cheetah (aren’t they the fast ones?). By the time she strikes, it’s too late; I haven’t had a chance to prep for it. She screams and lunges. She throws herself on me. She literally jumps into the air and with full force, throws her entire body mass onto my chest while I’m lying on my back. I cough and she laughs and I look at all the little teeth in her mouth. There are so many and they’re so white. I squeeze my daughter and I tell her that I love her and she stands up and body slams me again.
I’m afraid that I’ve forgotten more than I can ever remember… not just regarding my children but regarding my entire life. There are moments and events that have taken place that are completely gone to me and, even though I was there and experienced them, I will never recall again. This saddens me in ways I cannot properly express. I’m a sucker for childhoods (especially my own) and I hate that there are sleep overs that I can’t remember or dark summer evenings playing kickball in the empty lot that are gone to me for good. I hate it. And I hate that there are a hundred moments with my children that I treasure now that are slowly disappearing as well. I hate that I had 100 separate memories of the each of you in the hospital and now I can only remember a few. I remember the moment they brought each of you around the sheet; I remember the first time I laid eyes on your pink, screaming faces. I remember holding Quinn for an entire hour only to change her diaper and realize I had Rory (you looked very similar those first few days). I remember putting your one-sie on upside down and shoving your legs through the arm holes and your arms through the leg holes and wondering what the buttons were for around your neck. I remember putting you into the car for the first time and not having any idea what I was doing. I remember bringing you into the house for the first time and introducing you to the dogs… sort of. Then things get blurry.
I hate the blurriness; the stupid bad TV version of our memories. I want them all back. I want to DVR my memories. I want to burn them to disc and store them on a shelf and look through them when I need to. God, please let these letters be that. Please let me read these letters in 60 years and remember my children as they are today. Please let me keep this. Please let me remember Quinn’s body slams.
EVENT 1 - BOY
“AMMO! AMMO!” He screams at me like a drill instructor that’s seen it all. ”AMMO!” And like some noobie cadet, I rush around the kitchen pointing at different things, trying to decipher his non-sensical baby language. ”Do you want juice?”
“Do you want milk?”
“NO MILK! AMMO!”
“Do you want water?”
“NO WA-WA! AMMO! AMMO! AMMO!”
Panic sets in. Whatever strange cryptology he’s using, I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to decode it. His demands become more insistent and my nerves start to shake. ”What if I can’t find what he wants? What will he do to me? Will he just start screaming? Oh, God! Please! Please, God! Don’t let him start The Screaming!” I pray.
“Elmo!? Do you want Elmo? How do you even know who that is?! You want Elmo?” Jesus-God, please let it be Elmo.
He wants a gun. I don’t know why. ”Ammo? You want ammo? For a… gun?”
“NO! AMMO!” He’s been screaming this for two days now on and off. ”AMMO! AMMO! AMMO!”
I break down in tears. I drop to my knees. I throw my fists to the heavens and I scream, “I don’t know what you want! Just…… point at it!” and the little man stands on a chair and leans waaaay over the counter, into the fruit bowl and lifts up a green apple and says, “Ammo” and I say, “Apple?” and he says, “Ammo” and I say, “That’s right, buddy! Apple! That’s an apple! Good job!”
He eats it whole, like a man.
EVENT 2 - GIRL
Balut. Lutefisk. Kopi Luwak. Strange foods are consumed the world over, ranging from the modestly weird (prairie dog; Texas, Southern folk and poor people) to the extreme (rotten shark meat; Iceland) and I am simply convinced that my daughter is turning into a connoisseur of flavor. When she was younger she used to find lint on the floor and spend long periods of time staring at it and poking it around before shoving it in her mouth and eating it. ”Yeah, but she was just a baby. Babies do that” you may be saying.
Sure. Sure. And you’re probably right. I just hope that’s the same reason she’s constantly tasting pennies, nickels, dimes, rocks, socks, toys, floor tiles, screw driver handles, dog food, paper, people skin, Tobasco sauce and month old french fries she finds on the car floor. Here’s the thing… I don’t think this is a weakness. I think it’s a natural bend and who am I to stand in the way of my child flexing her creative muscles?
She wants to adventure and explore her culinary sensibilities. GO FORTH! This morning, after The Boy had “finished” his apple, he threw it on the ground, only to be found hours later by The Girl. It’s white skin had oxidized into a deep brown color not dissimilar to fudge. Truth be told, the apple was already a little old… so there’s that… but the little chef didn’t care. She carried that nappy Granny Smith around with her, sucking the life juice out of it all morning. I gagged twice when she smiled at me with the soft brown flesh smeared over her teeth but again… who am I to stand in the way of a learning experience.
I hope that someday, when The Girl is back-packing alone through Italy and munching on Casu Marzu (Sardinian Maggot Cheese) or while she’s visiting Vietnam with her husband on their honeymoon and eating Tiet Canh (Blood Soup) that she’ll think of her dear ol’ dad and say a little prayer, thanking the Good Lord above for encouraging her to experience life to it’s fullest very early on.
PS. Kopi Luwak pretty much amounts to poop coffee.
EVENT 1 - GIRL
This morning my wife went to get her hair straightened, an epic process that took nothing short of three hours, and, in turn, left me to spend the better part of a Saturday morning with my children, alone. My daughter has recently developed various attachments to a number of inanimate objects, the most recent of which is a dirty ol’ Piglet doll that’s roughly half the size of my fist*. She carries it around in a death grip, white-knuckling the stuffing out of this poor pink totem. She tries to bathe with it, nap with it and eat with it, a choice which makes me cringe. As a bit of a germophobe, I can’t help but shudder when she takes that dirty Honey Bear loving hog and drops it in her fruit bowl. This morning, while she poked pieces of sweet potato pie into her goblet, I tried to casually remove The Pig from her grasp, saying something like, “Here, let’s just move Piglet right over… here… and he’ll watch you eat from a far.” She stared at me for a second before releasing a William Wallace style death cry, throwing her arm out towards Big P and wiggling her fingers.
I admit. I bent. I broke. This morning, Piglet dines with the family.
…and for once, it’s not as a main dish.
EVENT 2 - BOY
My son has also – albeit not recently – developed an attachment to an object; not a specific object, mind you, just any old piece of nutrient based grubbery ie FOOD. You put something in front of this kid and, if it lives up to his Ratatouille-esque standards he sucks it up like an industrial strength Hoover Vac. He’s got this really incredible method of eating that sort of plays like a hotdog eating contest. This morning he took bits of his turkey sausage patty and, with the graceful nuance of Takeru Kobayashi**, began dunking the chunks into his milk glass before slamming them into his mouth. If the birdy giblets didn’t want to fit, no problem! He’s actually developed a really precise skill wherein he takes the palm of his hand, places it ever so gently against the piece of protruding food and then shoves towards his face until every crumb of sustenance has slithered down his gullet.
I’m telling you, this kid is going to be a food eating champion some day. This must be what it was like to watch Tyson cracking skulls on the playground.
Greatness in the making, folks.
*Please note, the writer has tiny fists.
**Hotdog eating Champion