Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Cautionary Wail

For those of you who may be a little cavalier in your birth control, I've posted a video of one of my favorite sounds in the whole world. Regrettably (well, Emily is the only one who seems to really regret it), I've developed an uncanny ability to filter out these noises from the hours of 10PM to 5AM.

When we talk about Summer's vocal talents to other parents, we've discovered there are two types of mothers: those who've had screamers and those who have not. Parents who haven't had screamers casually brush off Emily's concerns with lines like "it's OK, all babies are like that." On the other hand, parents who have had screamers will immediately rat out their offending child ("That was my Nick, the rest weren't so bad"). Sorry, Summer, no immunity for you either.

Note: No babies were harmed during the filming of this blog post. No comment on the parents.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

paradigm shift

i am a success junkie:

beginning academically, i maintained prized A's and high scores all through high school, college, and graduate school (uh-hem, excepting for that cursed aerobics class, forever tarnishing my record).
transferring this philosophy to employment, colleagues will attest to my continually competitive nature and attempts to "make the grade" be that through promotions, salary increases, reviews, kids reading (even if i have to force them!), or little daily things like just being right.

i also plan for months what to bring to a pot luck and make darn sure it is a dish that everyone loves. nothing screams B- to me like a half-eaten casserole.

and now, here i sit, at home. no one even cares if i get dressed in the morning.  my task-master, a six-week old baby. and i don't think she'll be handing out any pay raises in the near future.

still, i scour my life for little successes. and as acknowledgement is my heroin, i must share them with the world:

1. summer slept for her first full nap--over 2 hours--without being held! (from here on out, i can see myself confusing my successes with my children's; the line is becoming fuzzy...)

2. my sophomore effort at candy making was far more successful than my debut; bryan has officially been uninvited.  

3. i went almost three months without purchasing clothes for myself--you know how hard that is for me. today, i ended my record on (what else?) a sweet pair of jeans.
if that's not an A+ day, i don't know what is. 

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Patterns and practices

Most of my early memories derive from what I would call experience archetypes. Many of my experiences conform so closely to these archetypes that I cannot distinctly remember them. Consider the following:

Hiking Trip Archetype
1. Get up early
2. Start hiking when it's dark and cold
3. Come home when you're reached all of your objectives (it's never too dark and cold to turn around)
Ski Trip Archetype
1. Get up early
2. Start skiing when it's barely light and very cold
3. Come home when it's dark (it never gets too cold)

Fishing Trip Archetype
1. Get up early
2. Start fishing when it's barely light and very cold
3. Go home when it gets too dark (it never gets too cold)

Astute readers will notice that even these archetypes share common features. With this in mind, consider my fishing trip last weekend.

1. Leave my house shortly after 4AM to meet my dad and his workplace colleague in Concrete, WA.
2. Meet the guide while it's still dark
3. Learn exotic, double handed fly fishing technique (see Spey casting) while the sun is rising
4. See more bald eagles in 10 minutes than I've seen my entire life
5. Stand waste deep in frigid water the rest of the day
Strangely, it's much more fun than it sounds. We didn't catch many fish (my dad caught a single dolly varden, pictured above), but that's OK because catching fish isn't part of the "Fishing Trip Archetype" and thus not critical for enjoyment.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

if wishes were fishes

upon a review of the most lauded and up-to-date literature revolving around newborns, we have discovered there are a few things that, as a baby, summer is supposed to love. among these: car seats/rides, swaddling, and white noise. but instead, she hates them with all her little baby might.

#1: car seats
this one is actually rather problematic and presently constitutes most of her hate. we don't go a lot of places, but when we do, it's such the ordeal. i have never heard summer scream in quite the way she does when she decides she is done with a car ride. so poo-poo on all those recommendations to take your child for a ride in the car to calm them down. unless it's opposite day.

#2: swaddling
very early on in her life, summer decided that she was bigger than her baby body. in fact, most of the time, we think she feels grossly inhibited and frustrated by her own corporeal immaturity. she put up with the swaddling for a little while; then she got bigger, stronger, and louder. the catch-22 with her swaddle-hate is that she, as with most babies, has a hard time sleeping with her arms free (if they are free, they are moving). we are still experimenting with effective solutions.

#3: white noise
instead, she prefers the musical stylings of everyone from beyonce to counting crows to martina mcbride to creedence clearwater. nothing settles little summer down quite like rocking out. just the other night, we had on our usual white noise cd--which was markedly ineffective in calming her--then put in some more hard core tunes, and she was out like a light. my secret weapon is putting her in the baby bjorn, turning up the music, and practicing some moves of my own. dance, mommy, dance! if i stop before she is ready, the peril be upon me.
on the upside, she loves the tub.

Me + Tree = Storm

Long time readers may recall our difficulties in obtaining a Christmas tree last year. We forged a path along treacherous roads deep into a US national forest only to turn around, no tree in hand, due to unseasonably inclement weather.

Emily assured me that without a suitable offroad vehicle (more on that in a later post), and more importantly, with a 4 week old baby on board, we would not be plying any forest service roads in pursuit of the perfect tree.

Fortunately, local tree ranchers have long recognized the desire of families to cut down their own Christmas trees with little or no physical risk. Furthermore, said families prefer to cut down their trees within spitting distance of an espresso van. We happily found just such an enterprise at the Carnation U-Cut Christmas Tree Farm.

As luck would have it, bad weather hampered our festivities this year as well. Summer stayed in the car with Granny Wendy while Emily and I braved the snow storm to obtain this lovely Douglas fir (a third the price of its more pretentious cousin, the noble fir).

And since no blog post is complete without a picture of the babe, here she is, ready for a blizzardy car ride.