Friday, April 21, 2006

And Let This Be A Sign Unto You

We think, but we're not entirely sure, that Arthur has learned to say more. In sign. Only he's using the sign for 'together.' I know the baby sign book says to be forgiving, but it means our conversations go something like this.

John (holding spoon): Arthur, would you like more (signs 'more') food (signs 'food')?

Arthur: (Repeatedly signs 'together' and opens mouth) ha da!

We also think that he's making distinctions between the two of us by saying "DA-dah!" and "da-DAH!"

On a different note, we are sure that Arthur thinks the vacuum cleaner is a kind of god. He worships the closet where the vacuum cleaner lives, and when it comes out to clean the carpet Arthur goes kind of crazy, crawls all over the room, and squeals with delight.

He also tries to eat the electrical cord.

Arthur also worships the toilet. It's something he really really wants to get close to. We have to make sure the door is always closed.

I guess I'm okay with it, but I'll be really worried if I come out of the bathroom and Arthur is signing for more.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter at Mr. McGregor's Garden


Let's see. Lots has happened and I've been too busy to post.

Mark's mother, Mary, and his sister, Melora, visited us from the east coast earlier this month. Mary is Arthur's great-grandmother and Melora is Arthur's grandma. We had a good time visiting with them and eating out. We went to the beach around Cook's Chasm and collected driftwood. Driftwood sticks are now Arthur's favorite toy, and I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before all sorts of things become cudgeled.

Oh yeah. I cut my hair. Just like I did in 2001. I'd been contemplating the cut for a month or two. I realized that I was spending a lot of time combing, washing, untangling, tying back, brushing, and cleaning up after my hair. I was also wearing it tied back so much of the time I figured, "Why bother?" And when I had it tied back in a pony tail it gave me headaches, and if I drove anywhere, the ponytail would poke into the back of my neck. I could also say, "Daddy's hair is not a toy!" way too quickly.

When I went to Unitarian Church the very next day, so very few people recognized me that I had to go up during the candle lighting and sharing section of the service to announce who I was and light a candle for my hair. The minister did a double-take. "I'm lighting this candle for my hair," I said, "which I will miss... the same way one would miss a useless pet."

Spring is trying to come to the Willamette Valley. So the worms are mating (see picture). Worms are hermaphrodites. I'm not sure what's going on with the rubber band in the lower-left-hand corner of this picture, and I'm not sure I want to know.

Mark was singing a song to Arthur.

Every day you should be kissed by a duck.
Every day get a kiss for luck.
A kiss by a duck is very sweet.
And maybe he'll even kiss your feet.

Every day you should be kissed by a duck.
And it only costs a buck.
Oh duck prostitution is rampant now
And watch out for those painted cows --

(at this point I scowled at Mark)
"Well, said Mark. "Fischer-Price told me to make up songs..."

It's happened. Arthur is crawling. On all fours, not the zombie-army crawl he's been doing. Last Friday (April 15), I was craving some Newman's Fish. It's bad, it's evil, and the healthiest thing about it is that it's salmon. I also got a bright blue paper cup full of Evil Pepsi. I've actually been quite good lately, and the last two weeks I've cut my Pepsi intake down to about twenty-four ounces a week.

Anyway, Mark came home, saw I was jonesing for some fish, and sent me off. When I got back with my fish and chips (and Pepsi) Mark and Arthur were playing on Sarah and Gretchen's front garden area. So I sat down on their steps.

Arthur saw The Blue Cup of Evil and started crawling. Real fast. Before you could say "pesticide-free organic baby food," Arthur had chased me up all six of Sarah and Gretchen's front porch steps. I never did manage to get a bite of my salmon. Mark laughed and laughed. "He knows the logo," he said as I retreated inside to our house to the dining room table.

Easter Sunday I went to the Unitarian Church Service. Now in case some of you are wondering, this Sunday is the first time in about three months the name "Jesus" has been mentioned, and the first hymn we sung was a chant to the Goddess. I was sitting right next to an older, conservative looking man, one who sends old-fashioned jokes to e-mail lists, and he belted out "We are one with the Goddess." And he wasn't even wearing patchouli.

Later we had our annual Easter Bunny Nuke. This year we had an overabundance of Peeps. So Mark made Peep S'mores. We also made grapes arc in the microwave (which was difficult to do this year for some reason). Mark W and his daughters were in attendance, and they brought a chocolate Nascar. Other friends brought a chocolate fountain (filled with really good chocolate, not that crappy oily brown stuff).

We had a couple of folks new to Bunny Nuking. One in particular -- a friend of Sarah and Gretchen's (and incidentally a Unitarian) -- was introduced to Easter Microwave Fun AND the results of several years of Anti-Valentine's in one short afternoon. I thought we might have frightened him off for a moment. But a minute later he was back. With fireworks. From his car. For the chocolate bunnies.

Wow, Unitarians learn fast!

Today Arthur picked imaginary nits off of Mark when he came home.

Mark got him back. As he was tying his shoes he said the following:
Criss-cross Apple Sauce.
Then the bunny goes around the tree and through
the whole and then gets tied up in the barbed wire and strangles.  
And that's how you tie a shoe.  (Mr. McGregor Style)

Afterwards, as we were coming back from an evening at the library, Mark wanted to know what Arthur had eaten today.

Mark: What did you feed Arthur today?

John: Well, we had cheese chunks and formula and carrots and broccoli and those organic white carrots.

Mark: Organic? White? Those weren't carrots! Those were parsnips!

John: They were with the carrots. I thought they were some kind of funky organic white carrots you bought at the Kiva.

Mark: 'White Carrots' sounds like a perfume for Liz Taylor. Did you taste the food you made for Arthur?

John: No!

Mark: If you didn't know what food they were, why did you feed them to the baby?

John: I thought they were white carrots!

Mark: There's no such thing as white carrots! 'I don't know what this food is, I think I'll feed it to the baby' should not be a thought process that goes through your head!

John: They were in the same place as the carrots. Given the context of being next to real carrots, my brain was primed for them to be carrots.

Mark: Am I going to have to put 'Mr. Yuck' stickers on things?

John: They were in the 'fridge.

Mark: So was the burrito!

John: But I made the burrito, so I knew what that was!

Mark: Some people need culinary literacy tests.

So here: Since I'm not Mr. McGregor, I have a picture. If you saw those vegetables, wouldn't you think the white thing was some kind of white carrot?

Monday, April 03, 2006

Daedalus House

Mark and I have put the finishing touches on some partitions. A little glue, scissors, and some fabric and paper (OK, and a poster of a Perugino Madonna) and voila! Baby safety on a shoestring budget. We use them to keep Arthur away from the baseboard heaters. And the computer cords. And the bookcase. And the CD rack. We've come to the conclusion that cardboard is our friend, and that we can build baby furniture out of it at a fraction of the cost that it would be if we purchased plastic baby furniture. I think a collection of cardboard panels and arches could make an effective labyrinth.

Arthur has decided that the bathroom is his favorite forbidden place to explore. I'm not sure if under the sink, in the bath tub, the toilet or the kitty litter box is the shining treasure that makes him squeal with delight when the bathroom door is opened. Mark insists that Arthur is fascinated by watching us urinate. When I use the bathroom, Arthur bangs against the door, and his little fingers push through the gap between the door and the floor. All I know is that it's like being in a zombie movie.

Arthur does like his baby gate, though -- to climb up on. The other day he managed to push it over. It fell with him still clinging to it. I think he might have invented a new kind of carnival ride. At least he landed on it and not the other way around.

I've found a new secret vice: the iTunes store. I can download songs straight to my mini iPod. Bad songs. Naughty, evil, wicked songs. Songs that I would never, ever play on the stereo in front of Arthur. And I can't. There's no CD -- just evil wickedness from a business card sized chunk of white plastic straight into my ears. And possibly the best thing about it is that I can listen in front of Arthur and he doesn't really care.

I think Mark might be grateful. I happen to like Juno Reactor, a techno-dance group. On a good day, Mark says that they're boring. On a less good day, he calls the general corpus of their songs "music to do drugs by," and two in particular the "Mommie, why is the bad man chasing us" song and the "It's not 'Who Died,' it's 'Who's Going To Die.'" song. Can I help it if the only place to dance in Eugene closed several years ago and Eugene has never recovered?

I just happen to own one of their CD's, Labyrinth. Maybe I'll have to play it for Arthur when he's playing with the cardboard panels we've decorated. Naw. I'll just give him some puppets to play with and put on some David Bowie.