Monday, March 24, 2008

Alex in bunnyland

Did I ever mention that Dear Alex really likes bunnies?
I don't think there's any more to say, really. Her face says it all.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Best of all, it's yellow

Because Beautiful Wife had to work a bit this weekend, we stayed in the city yet again. It was a chance to take care of those odd little things we wanted to get done, and a chance to take Dear Alex shopping for a much-needed raincoat. Well, not that much needed, but we did want to get her something to wear in the rain, as she's rapidly growing (3 feet tall and rising) out of her existing assortment of coats, and they're not all that waterproof. So, with April showers coming and all, we got Dear Alex a raincoat. I should probably say The Raincoat - the definitive yellow slicker with a matching hat that she can wear for the next year or so, or until she decides she's over yellow. It's astonishing how excited she got over this yellow (it's her favorite color) raincoat - form the moment she first saw it in Conran's (great kid stuff) she had to have it. We spent the rest of the day walking around outside, and yes, it did rain a little bit just to make it all worthwhile. Just watching her delight in this over-the-top outfit made me smile and think about how wonderful it is and how easy it can be to make this kid happy. She made a lot of people smile.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Top o' the stairs

It's been a while since we've had the chance to get away to the country for anything more than a "drive by" - a quick visit where all you really get to do is turn the house on, put the kid to bed, make a few meals, play in the snow a little bit, then close the house up and leave. I have all sorts of nostalgia and longing for a time when we can actually stretch out and stay for a while, to enjoy the splendid isolation. In a way, that's unrealistic, and it's not likely to happen anytime soon with the rush of work and the intense pressure and travel of the jobs that Beautiful Wife keeps getting handed. That's okay, I guess - because it's better these days to be working than not. But still, I sorely miss it - time feels different there, and Beautiful Wife and Dear Alex and I can simply play. A long time ago I wrote about the 'thing at the top of the stairs' that magically kept Dear Alex from climbing and playing there - eventually, it's powers diminished and I shoved it in a closet. Now that landing is a favorite spot, and Dear Alex has a wonderful time hanging out there, and delightedly dropping things from above - and we have a new game - 'catch the slinky' as she tips it down the stairs - hey, it works like magic! BW got the giant stuffed pink pony into it, and the kid goes wild. I am absolutely fascinated by the kids imagination, and the delight she takes in the silliest things, and the best thing is - it's contagious.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad

Had my father lived to see this birthday he would have been 81 - not a stretch these days, but it didn't happen that way, and I sorely miss him. I owe him much for my character and my strength and patience, and I'd surely thank him for that if I could. He was a grand man who lived his life as well as he knew how, and enjoyed all that he got to do. After losing his beautiful wife - my mother and part-namesake to Dear Alex, he held on, but his life was never the same.
I know that he died from chronic, congestive heart failure - but at another level, he died from a broken heart. Not the acute pain and grief of immediate loss, but the grinding day-to-day without someone that he clearly ultimately loved beyond anything else in his life. I know how that might feel, just from how much I've discovered in the day-to-day that I love my Beautiful Wife. Not something easily written about, but you certainly know it when you feel it.
I dearly wish that my father had lived to see the wonderful little girl that Dear Alex is becoming - He'd have gotten a kick out of her spunky little self, and would have loved her magnificent hugs.

Elmo deathwatch day 30

Ever since we had the wonderful occasion to see Sesame Street live, which is an experience worthy of at least several blog entries that I couldn't possibly find words for... we've been living with the shadowy company of a helium-filled mylar Elmo presence that's hovered over our everyday activities: Grinning relentlessly down over the dining table, hovering mercilessly over the bed in mommy and daddy's room for a few days, drifting from room to room, hanging out in Dear Alex's room leering down with those loveable pop-eyes. He's been dragged around by his string, toyed with by the cats, and squeezed repeatedly by the kid and survived it all. Elmo's been around. Elmo's seen it all. He's definitely hung in there, through subway and cab rides and tantrums, but Elmo is finally showing signs of a little wear and tiredness beyond his years, and has begun to sag a little bit, his features distorted by a very slow leak and the wear and tear of being a simple mylar balloon subjected to the hands of Dear Alex. He hasn't been his formerly jaunty self for days, and tonight he was finally banished from her bedroom by Dear Alex, probably because he's no longer charming, but kind of scary looking. It's a wonder that he's lasted so long. I'm wondering how I'm going to explain his absence after I deliver the coup de grace and stuff him into a d'agostino's bag for immediate disposal.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

The good day

Yes, she was in her PJ's until about 3pm, but having a lot of fun making "action art"
I swear she was channeling Jackson Pollock.

Dear Alex had a great time with daddy outside in the fresh snow.
Sweet and funny little girl. "Are you happy daddy?" Was what she'd just asked me -
"Yes" was the only possible answer.

I'd said in my last post that today was going to be a good day - I was right and wrong, but it hardly matters. I was up late last night, truly loving that cozy feeling of the 'house in the snowy woods' and the oddly romantic notion that you'll only get from someone from the city that doesn't have to deal with the pain-in-the-ass reality of it every day, something that occurred to me after a brief email exchange with one of my truly nice country neighbors. I had that remembered feeling from when Dear Alex was a baby of taking great care to turn down the lights, make the coffee and prepare for the next day as Beautiful Wife and Dear Alex slept through a beautiful, driving snowstorm outside. My "good day" started at 7am, with the distraught screams of Dear Alex, with a litany of complaints. After the hug, the diaper, the reassurance, and the cup of milk, she went sort of back to sleep at 8-ish, leaving me wide awake with that startled feeling of "what just happened?" I had a cup of coffee and watched it snow for a little bit until the dear girl was truly up and ready to be lifted from the crib into my arms for a ride downstairs. We played, and played and scattered things from room to room until it was time to clean up and start all over again, and have breakfast and and a diaper change and another and more play. The only thing missing was mommy, who slept and slept and slept, until I was actually beginning to worry. Just before noon Beautiful Wife joined us, and all was right with the world. Let's say it was a low-energy day, and we had a lot of fun doing very little but playing and painting and just hanging out at home, with everyone just where they should be. Dear Alex told BW that she was "pretty" today without prompting (really did come out of nowhere) and that daddy was "awesome" (I think she was trying to say handsome, as coached by BW) but I'll take it...
As I've written before, it's the little things and the every day accumulation of details and wonder that make it all worthwhile. Watching Dear Alex paint and play and make music and love her beautiful mother made today the good day I thought it was going to be after all.
And yes, we did make it outside to play in that beautiful snow.

Into the night

We finally got it together in time and space to be in the same place at the same time to get out, out, out of the city this weekend - a return to what used to be a normal routine. A frenzy of packing and stocking up on food and stuffing things into bags remembering to take important things like socks and shoes (and Original Bunny) for Dear Alex, and all the dirty laundry for Beautiful Wife and myself , and remembering the little detail things that are easily forgotten if you haven't travelled in a while. We did okay and finally got into the car at around 8:20. Beautiful Wife and I had a brief moment to talk before she succumbed to the chronic tiredness she still carries with her from Mexico, and Dear Alex uncarachteristically fell asleep before we hit the GWB. As we crossed into New Jersey, there was an easy silence as both BW and Dear Alex were down for the count, leaving me in that position of grave responsibility for driving the two most important people in my world into the cold dark, and snowy night. I was glad for the snow, and it's endless streaming past the windshield, a reminder of other times and other trips like this, looking forward to that moment of silence and repose at the end of the journey. It ended up being a long drive, but we got to step out at the end of it into a driving snow, fine and sparkling like powdered sugar, fresh footsteps in new snow, and into the house to put Dear Alex to sleep in a place she loves. Dear Alex, for some reason didn't have the same romance with the end of the trip, and the trip to the crib. She screamed and screamed and screamed - a jarring note to end an otherwise idyllic journey. To her credit, Dear Alex fell asleep quickly - I think it was just the break in her routine - Beautiful Wife has taken to our bed, and all is quiet as I write and the snow keeps falling. Tomorrow will be a good day.