Thursday, February 21, 2008

Freckles loves Joseph and Joseph loves Freckes.

This makes me so happy. For a few weeks Joseph has been laughing, squealinlg, and stomping his feet when he sees the dogs. Also, now that Joseph needs to grab everything he sees, Freckles--and especially her ears--are extremely wonderful to him. He tries to lunge out of my lap to grab her, and she has been more than patient with this. She's basically a good natured dog--tortured by anxiety, but ready to love anybody. From the beginning she's been interested in the baby; when Joseph was a newborn Freckles would follow Scott or my mother around when they were holding him, as if to make sure they knew what they were doing. If the baby was sleeping in his cradle (ha ha) she would perch on the bed watching him. We don't know what inspired this interest, whether it's because she has some maternal instinct because she had puppies before we met her or because she likes the baby's smell. Probably the latter.

Can you believe how small Joseph is? I think he's three or four days old. Freckles clearly is impressed by the diaper. She's like "Finally! I've been trying to get these people to stop washing themselves for years. I respect and admire the filth of this small human."

Indiana, meanwhile, not so much. We have dozens of pictures of Freckles and Joseph, but hardly any of Indiana and Joseph because Indiana pretty much just runs away from the baby.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

danger boy

Joseph seems determined to show me how dangerous everything around him actually is. In the past week he has figured out how to roll over onto his stomach and how to grab things with almost perfect accuracy and then shove them into his mouth. He has managed to combine these skills to flip his play mat (the thing with the foam bars that the toys hang from) over on top of himself. Here he is, amid the wreckage:

Doesn't he look triumphant? Or smug?

Yesterday morning he liberated one of the sea creatures from his mobile. He figured out that if he grabs quickly and pulls with all his might, he will be rewarded with a fistful of octopus, which he then eats.

I do think that most of the conventional baby rearing wisdom overstates the dangers of practically everything, but now that he can roll over onto his belly and get stuck there, or possibly roll off the bed, or suffocate himself with his play mat, or strangle himself with the string from his mobile (or, as Scott pointed out, swallow the string from his mobile), I am a little concerned. This, I suppose, is why people have play pens. Except for how proper play pens don't seem to exist anymore, and have been replaced by those extremely ugly pack and plays, which I do not want to see in my house, and which, if I did have one, would probably host a cage match between the baby and one of the dogs. So I think I will just keep my eyes glued to the baby.

Monday, February 11, 2008


One of the most disturbing parts of selling the house is that we always need to be ready to show the house. I don't think this had really sunk in before we put the house on the market. I had never bought or sold a house before, so I didn't quite wrap my brain around the idea that people can come into your house at any minute, and may or may not make an offer based partly on what your house looks like at that moment. On television, houses are sold through open houses; for one afternoon, you have the place all shined up like a new penny and make sure you have apple pie or whatever wafting all over the place. In reality, you feel like you should have your house in that condition every minute of the day.

So I've pretty much accepted the fact that I need to spend every morning cleaning and tidying, and that the best way to avoid clutter is to put things away as soon as we're done using them. It turns out that this can be quite a zen exercise: make tea, drink tea, wash cup, put away. The house is much more serene when there isn't any clutter. Having unfinished business all over the place is like a constant reprimand: "Clean me!" "Put me away!" As I write this, there is basically nothing that needs to be done in my house. The baby is sleeping, the bathrooms are clean, the laundry is sorted, washed, and put away. Very peaceful.

I'd like to think that I'll take this wisdom to our new house instead of lapsing back into my old pattern of frantic cleaning and tidying when people were coming over or when I got sick and tired of looking at the mess.

Friday, February 8, 2008

tastes like chicken

We've been doing a lot of toe sucking and foot eating here lately. I'm pretty sure that this started as his effort to see what he can make food come out of (so far he hasn't had a lot of luck, but he's optimistic), but it developed into a source of fun in its own right. Of course naked feet taste the best, but he'll settle for nibbling on socks or--my favorite--pajamas that have little animals as the feet. Pictured above: chicken feet.

Look how happy these feet make him:
Every time he grabs them he gets all satisfied with himself ("Look what I have!"). Other things that make him happy include looking at Freckles, stomping his feet, standing up (with help) and taking a bath. It is very easy to rescue this child from a bad mood.

Are all babies this happy? Scott and I wonder about this. Scott says that everybody has a mood thermostat which basically predetermines his mood. Scott's thermostat is set to "eh" and mine is set to "uh-oh," so it must be some recessive gene that has set the baby's thermostat to "hooray!" Unless babies are all this cheerful, which is probably the case.

Monday, February 4, 2008

This is what crazy looks like

I've been exploiting Indiana's neurosis. He has this stuffed giraffe that he guards and obsesses over. He hides it under the desk and in the hall bathroom, two places that he knows Freckles will not visit. Freckles, for the record, does not care about the giraffe and probably has no idea that it has this strange power over Indiana. We usually don't let Indiana have the toy for too long because it's too pathetic to see him furtively moving it from room to room, like it's the one true ring and he is a demented hobbit. However, after Indiana woke the baby up about four hundred times last week by barking at the construction workers across the street, I've decided that Indiana can permanently have his stupid toy because at least it keeps him quiet. Whenever he starts to growl I say "Indiana, where's your toy" and he grabs it and runs to another room to admire his precious. I feel slightly guilty but mainly proud that I've outwitted the dog. The current score is Indiana 400,000, me 1.