Tuesday, December 29, 2009

When Spousal Indiscretion Serves the Greater Good

There have been many casualties in this brutal war against my unfinished house, but the one I mourned most was the loss of my daughter's baby pictures.

I hate printing.  It kills trees.  And it yields papers, which must be filed.  I hate filing.  So the first year of my daughter's life was recorded only in pixels.  And we talked about backing up those electronic pictures onto a CD or something, but we didn't.

And then our computer, along with a guitar and a video camera, were gone.  This happened before we ran out of money for contractors and we believe one of two things happened:
1.  The construction workers left the door unlocked and a lucky thief happened to notice.
2.  One of the construction workers was a lucky thief.

I cried.  Several times.  Have you seen those commercials where the woman who failed to back up her photos dresses her 9 year-old in his baby clothes in a mad attempt to recreate his baby pictures?  On some desperate occasions, I considered dressing my son (who happens to be a clone of his big sister, if it weren't for his gender) in my daughter's baby dresses to fake some nice mementos.

Fast forward three years.  A couple of weeks ago, my mother-in-law calls with news.  She spent Thanksgiving at her daughter's house and guess what she found there?

Apparently, back when my daughter was a baby, she requested photos of her granddaughter from my husband.  That blessedly lazy man, instead of choosing some nice ones to send her, simply copied off our whole photo album onto a CD and sent it off.  She soon lost the CD, but not until after she had copied it and sent CDs to all of my in-laws.  And one of those in-laws still had it!  A few days later, I got my very own copy of my own photos in the mail!

I was thrilled!  Until I noticed how thorough that album was, and then I was quite embarrassed to realize that all of my in-laws had been privy to these photos.  My sweet hubby had not taken any time to censor the album before copying it.  There were several pictures of myself in a bikini showing off my expanding pregnant belly.  Worse, there were pictures of my daughter (and a not-so-flattering part of myself)  as she entered the world during her vaginal delivery.

Oh well. The humiliation is worth having that lost year of photos back.  Here are some recently recovered highlights from my daughter's first year of life:

Our First Family Photo (my daughter is the one in the ultrasound, 6 weeks gestation)

Within Minutes of Her Birth

My First Mother's Day

Meeting Great Grandma

With Daddy and Grandma

At Her First Parade

No First's Here, but isn't she cute?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Birthday Pics

The angelic face captured through skill and trickery...

His actual expression through most of the session...

On his birthday, Grandma and Grandpa took him and some cousins on a train ride and to a children's museum exhibit. He grinned the whole way. The train was certainly a hit.

His aunt and uncle gave him this cool ride for his birthday. Within about an hour or two of ownership, he was performing daring stunts like this...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Colors and Commitment

I have been painting my basement rec room lately. White. This is a very unusual color choice for me. I like colorful colors. However, the room in question has purple carpet installed by the previous owners and a green sofa inherited from my husband's grandparents that is much nicer than anything we could afford, so we had to go neutral on the walls.

My husband and I put considerable effort into choosing the perfect shade of white. My parents gifted us the services of a professional faux painter to texture and top coat the walls. (She traded them this service for the privilege of using their ideal home for her daughter's wedding.) We consulted with her about color choices that would not clash with the purple and green and would combat the dark, dungeon-like feeling of the basement room and she recommended "ivory," which she described as off-white with a yellowish hue.

We looked at lots of paint samples that were the same color as all the dingy, cinder block, quite dungeon-like student apartments and dorms of my past. We carefully avoided that exact shade, and the result was, well, white. I saw a finished white room on the painter's website, and with her finishing touches, that white room was quite lovely, so I am hoping for a beautiful and not-as-dull final product.

As I painted the white room, I was reminded of a scene from a movie I watched recently, The Accidental Husband. The heroine's boring fiance attempts to engage her in a discussion about paint samples and she tells him they all look the same. "In what sense?" He asks. "In the sense that they are all white," she responds.

Now I am about to give away the end of the movie, but it wasn't a great movie so if you haven't seen it, don't bother. The heroine leaves her fiance at the alter.

As I mused on this topic, I soon thought of several films featuring characters whose apathy toward their romantic partners is manifest as apathy toward paint samples:

(Warning: I liked these flicks, so if you haven't ever seen them, avert your eyes. Although, when you see a character shunning paint samples, you'll know what's up.)

IQ: Because she doesn't care, the heroine randomly points to the color, algea, when her fiance asks her to choose a color for their new home. She dumps him before long.

Juneau: Husband doesn't care what color they paint the nursery. By movie end, he is divorcing his wife and dabbling in pedophilia.

He's just not that into you: Husband barely humors his wife as she muses about paint colors for a new addition at their home. He is in bed with another woman a few scenes later.

Are so many screenwriters telling this story because they can't think of another metaphor for commitment problems? Or have they independantly stumbled on a universal truth?

Just in case, I am relieved that my husband actively participated in finding the perfect shade of white for the rec room.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

He's a Big Boy Now

My son turned two recently, so I thought I would take a moment to highlight him.

Signs of Bigness
While his birthday was just recently, he declared his "big boy"-ness a few months back, when, almost within the same week, he refused to sit in a high chair any more, moved out of his crib into a toddler bed, and asked for a turn on the toilet for the first time where he actually succeeded at going peepee!  Shortly thereafter, we put out the toddler potty, and now he occasionally announces, "Pee-pee!  Potty!" and goes into the bathroom to sit on his potty.  On about a fourth of these occasions, he actually goes.  Usually he just hangs out naked and pretends.

Current Interests
Letters:  He has a Leapfrog toy that announces the names of letters and he studies it faithfully.  Now he remembers the names of several letters and can correctly identify his favorite:  the letter 'O'.  He pretends to read, pointing at signs and randomly calling out the names of letters.  He wows strangers by pointing at the letter 'O' and naming it.  "He can read!  How old is he?"  they exclaim.  I agree that he can read--one letter: 'O'.  My mom has a giant "NOEL" in her entryway in honor of Christmas and my letter-loving son likes to steal that big, 3D 'O', leaving only a "NEL".   Lately, he has also taken up writing.  He scribbles something, and then announces which letter he has just written. "O! B! N!" he reports.  It is a good thing he reports his writing out loud, because it is written in a scribble code only he can understand.

Speaking of Scribbling:  This is another favorite activity.  It is very endearing on paper and the chalkboard, and less so on the walls.

His Woobie:  He has a favorite blanket, given to him by my parents when he was a baby.  He must sleep with it, takes it out of bed with him in the morning and walks around with it, and protests when I wash it. 

Dancing:  He is a dancing fool.  I keep trying to catch him on film, but whenever he sees a camera he stops dancing and tries to steal it.  Maybe someday I will get a video posted here if I am sneaky enough.  He has a hot pink Barbie alarm clock passed down from his cousin that plays Barbie dance music.  He carries it around the house and asks me to plug "Bobby" in.  (No, I am not going to take away his love of dance just because gender stereotypes say he shouldn't like Barbie stuff.)  He also likes to sing and dance to Blues Clues Big Music Show, which he calls, "Beep Bop Bay" after the sophisticated lyrics to one of its main songs.

Balls:  He loves balls and anything related to them, like rackets, basketball hoops, clubs and bats. See, that Barbie alarm clock isn't hurting his masculinity.

Helping:  He loves to be a helper.  He is so proud of himself when he cleans up toys and lately, he has actually developed a knack for finding things for me.  Recently, Jared and I were discussing artichokes.  I had three, but Jared thought there had been four.  It's not like we eat a lot of artichokes around here, so I don't know how he knew what we were talking about, but he came running into the room and gave us the missing vegetable.  (Yes, it was missing because he had stolen it, but it was still impressive.)

Hugging and Kissing:  He was always such an affectionate baby and he still the same as a toddler.