Letters to Holly

Friday, July 1

Further Exposure

The second visit I made with the sidekick to the daycare was good and bad. 'Good' in that the awful nose gunk had vanished from the other kids. 'Bad' in that the boy got upset, and we could only remain hidden, allowing the sitters to settle him down. He was doing well for a time; he continues to sit with a book or toy and entertain himself. I'm fine with that. He's an only child. He has limited social time, and we've steered him toward solitary amusements.

I think this is healthy. I think it fosters independence. I learned it when I was young, and it makes me compatible with Your Sister. Not only can we occupy ourselves while sharing a room, but it means we can make use of personal downtime with a variety of options. We don't get bored. We don't demand to be entertained or attended to.

They were able to distract him from his tears, settling him with a toy or song. That's the real secret to comforting a baby: distraction. It also works for saying 'no.' If he wants to play with some restricted item, saying 'no' and changing the subject keeps him from fighting the instruction. We set him down and stayed out of eyesight while we chatted with the sitters (attendants? baby monitors?). He's the new kid in the group, and he has to learn the pack rules. There's a kid who commandeers toys at will, causing tears and wailing. I don't like him. There's also a girl who's fighting to be the alpha of the bunch. We hope we've taught him to be resilient as the relationships sort themselves out.We left after about half an hour. On Tuesday, I'll take him for a full day, and he'll go three days consecutively each week until Your Sister goes back to school in August. I still remember my pre-kindergarten days. I loved the daycare I was in. I hope he grows to enjoy this place.

+  +  +

We found a zucchini in the garden, suddenly full and ripe, and Your Sister deemed it ready to eat. She plucked it while offering a new schedule for grabbing the gourds. I disagreed, and she persisted, so I decreed she would now be responsible for squash harvesting. I'll mind the 'maters and taters.

+  +  +

The usual juggling of notions has begun as family comes into the area for the weekend. We might entertain the nieces Saturday but going to Asheville for a group supper is almost impossible given the sidekick's bedtime. Your Sister feels the pinch of clashing schedules. I'm on the periphery of this. I go where she points. We'll recover Monday with a mutual holiday.

Picture of the Day
Sean Connery will not sell your wares.

Wednesday, June 29


The sidekick again visited the daycare, and this was the first time I was with him. My God. All those kids have noses running with various colored goo. I want to boil myself. The boy seemed just fine. We sat him down in the common area for his age group, and he started playing with this toy and that toy. The other kids were squabbling over their toys, and our guy looked ten times smarter for avoiding the pack. I want him eventually to be social with them, and he might be once we're not hovering over him. He can ease his way into the group. That's fine.

I was invited to sit among the kids, and I found a chair in the corner. The kids eyed me up for a few minutes, and some went back to their toys. I saw some books on the floor and showed them to Parker, asking silently if he wanted one. He decided to play instead with the toy vacuum. Another kid, the lone girl, picked up a book, walked up to me, and held up her arms in the universal "pick me up" gesture. I heaved her up and sat her on my leg and read her a book. She would stare at my face and then back at the book. We finished the book, and she walked off to get another one and came back to return to her roost. We went through about four, and her patience shortened with each book. Eventually she walked off. The novelty was over. Another kid started to walk over, but he had some foul gunk coming out of his nose, and I shuffled away to the other side of the room.

The attendants seemed in control and patient, but I felt those pangs that plague Your Sister: We should keep him home. We should never let him out into the world. I squashed those quickly. He can't conquer the world from our cocoon.She again mentioned her hesitance to send him to daycare full time, and I asked what kind of public-education advocated we'd be if we kept our kid at home.

But those icky noses gave me the creeps.I think I caught the bug he had last Friday. I'm flooding my system with Vitamin C and Ricola. Yesterday's vaccinations don't seem to have affected him.

Picture of the Day 
Ah, I see.

Tuesday, June 28

Check Up

The sidekick had his one-year checkup, complete with five vaccinations in preparation for daycare. He's completely normal if a little under the curve in weight. Your Sis is afraid we're underfeeding him, but he knows how to ask for food and doesn't get desperate for snacks. I think he's eating fine. We gave him a little more to help him sleep. The doctor says he's just perfect. He visited the daycare and attended a swim class, so, yes, he slept through the night. He slept like the dead. He even slept though a diaper change.

It's a horrible feeling to go to bed anxious that he'll wake up, screaming and inconsolable. Every movement and noise he makes jolt me awake. Your Sister dives straight into sleep while she can. I never picked up that talent. Before we married, I would go to sleep listening to the radio. Your Sister can't sleep that way, and I acquiesced, and I still occasionally get distracted by branches on the siding and the house settling. The boy doesn't share this problem. He doesn't seem to associate our walking noises with our proximity, if he hears them at all, nor does he get rattled by weather noises or the house settling. He is his mother's son.

Another fucking hailstorm gave my potato plants the business, and I had to bolster a few with stakes and string. I think I'll have to yank up the taters this weekend before the big baptism party. That will give me space to plant some late-season stuff, like pumpkin.

Picture of the Day
Seacrest out.

Monday, June 27

Things Was Did

The deputy visited his daycare-to-be Friday and immediately picked up whatever nose-flood bug the kids had. He was cranky with the babysitter that night and has slept poorly this weekend. Lovely. We knew daycare would expose him to everything in hopes it would strengthen his immune system. I had hoped, though, that the exposure would be more gentle and less goo-inducing.

We hired a sitter to attend an anniversary party for Travis and Kathy. It was at a German restaurant, and I of course ate American food. They had a deal on steak. and I pounced on it. We haven't had red meat in the house for almost a month as part of our communal diet. It's worked; Your Sister's pre-pregnancy clothes wear baggy on her now. During appetizers, we ordered at the bar, and I had my first Manhattan. I blamed the order on reading Esquire all these years. It's a nice drink; I see why it's a classic.

I sat with an acquaintance I met through Travis -- a guy we see maybe once every two years -- and we discovered that I had seen him in a production of Little Shop of Horrors while I was at my first college. He acted alongside my girlfriend at the time, the woman who became my first wife, and we exchanged notes on her stagecraft. We both remembered that particular performance because, at her request despite his reservations, he slapped the crap out of her onstage. I jumped in my seat. He was apologetic about the moment during our meal, and I assured him I knew she would request that, and I myself was likewise clobbered onstage around the same time in a Look Homeward Angel scene with another actress. We debated ways the local theatre group could reverse its fortunes, and how we'd run a theatre. We also talked genre shows and Def Leppard. A fine time, as you can imagine.

On Saturday, Your Sister shopped for baby stuff with Your Mom while I tended to the garden and ran. That afternoon, I took a friend's son to see Green Lantern (a solid C+ production; bad pacing, odd story movement, and a hanging subplot that demanded closure in such a boys film). He was wild about the trailer for the new Transformers movie, and I offered to take him to that if he couldn't get a movie date otherwise. I was worried about how we'd relate. We may have said ten words to each other prior to this. But we talked the whole drive home about the film we just saw and the ones he wants to see, including Captain America. He was jazzed after seeing GL; it was exactly what he wanted.

This might become a regular thing during the summer if not longer. We seem to be bonding over video games and comics, and movies, proving that Your Sister married a sorry manchild. He and his sister were done dirty by their fucktard father, and their mom is worried about his continuing response to an ugly divorce. She jumped at the chance to get him out of the house with what can only charitably be called a good role model.

It may be the cold, but the deputy is wolfing down more food than normal. He practically ate all her rice at the Mexican restaurant yesterday. He's only run into one food he didn't like, and those green beans may have been cooked wrong. He got a rocking horse and a new bear for his birthday, but the cold seems to have sapped his curiosity for either.

Because of Murphy's Law, my garden is a fantastic grass orchard and a middling veggie plot.  I had to use a weedeater to cut the grass back so I could merely see the squash plants. I also forgot a pen in my jeans pocket and ruined a load of laundry. Virtually all the affected clothes were mine.

Picture of the Day
Protect me, Mister Lion Action Pants!