Letters to Holly

Friday, July 8

Media Exposure

I'm going to be in the local paper again.

A reporter contacted about my unofficial station as the local comic artist. It's a sidebar for an article on the new comic store. The reporter found out about me via the minicomics on sale there, and I wouldn't be surprised if the store owner mentioned me by name. He's good like that. We set up an appointment for Saturday morning in my workshop. I told him about the article I wrote about myself for the Asheville convention; that should give him a strong base for our chat. I'll need to take down the nude fashion photos from the bulletin board lest they appear in the background of my portrait. That would make the average reader catch the vapors.

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The sidekick stays home today, and it appears he was losing the novelty of daycare. He lost composure as I dropped him off and picked him up yesterday, and we had to pull over as we left Asheville so he could collect himself enough to sleep. Your Sis hopes to wear him out enough today that he sleeps through the night again.

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The plentiful rain has inspired the pumpkin seeds to sprout already. They were put in the ground just under a week ago. The pea vines -- if they are pea vines and not an alien maneater with a flair for Motown -- are standing by themselves.

Picture of the Day
The last shuttle mission may begin today, weather permitting. The crew is limited to four people as that's how many can fit in a Syouz capsule docked at the space station if the shuttle is damaged in liftoff. I remember the shuttles debuts and, of course, the loss of two over the years. I think we'll have to rely on private enterprise to have a regular space program again, and that presents some interesting questions about ownership of extra-planetary territories when Richard Branson's ships land on the moon. Or Mars.

Wednesday, July 6

A Rough Adjustment

Your Sister remains an emotional shambles.

The sidekick, by all accounts, did just fine yesterday. I heard nothing from the daycare, suggesting all was well. She called me about an hour after I dropped him off, and I walked her through the morning. I arrived there again after work and turned a corner to find him in the large communal room connecting the classrooms. I saw him before he saw me, and he was playing with a ball. He seemed fine. I called his name, and we caught eyes, and his face slowly fell into an exhausted cry. I scooped him up, and he hugged me back (a new trick of his), and he was bouncing and laughing within seconds. One of the minders equated his reaction to the emotional release of seeing someone after their plane lands.

We got him home and fed him and bathed him, and she tucked him in, and he was out by eight. But she was wobbly. She had called the daycare around 4 to get the skinny, unable to wait until I got home to hear how he did. She broke down a few times during the evening in what can only be called despair.

I feel responsible for this. Whatever the truth is, I think I talked her into having a child in hopes that he would provide the kind of love that I can't. I am too separated -- filtered maybe -- from the world, and that makes me seem aloof. Even dickish. I was sure that a child we raised would be directed away from that kind of reflex, and so far it's worked. But I should have realized that I also introduced her to someone who could break her heart. That's what's happening. Her heart is breaking as he goes off, hereafter interacting with her in a much smaller daily window. I felt this months ago when I realized that I also would only be with him for maybe 90 minutes a day. But again, this is what's good for him. He has to go out into the world and learn how it works so he can conquer it when he's ready. If we wanted to coop up an object of love, we should have bought a bird. I think she'll be OK in a few weeks.

He awoke around 10:30 in a hellacious fit. He was wired, he was screaming, he was inconsolable. We suspect it was gas. I was able to calm him down by letting him play in the crib, and he was out cold a half hour later. I suppose he was processing the day in addition to his upset stomach. It was the closest to colic that he's experienced in months.

This morning, I again dropped him off with little fuss. I noticed that he was playing with a Sesame Street toy there last week. It plays a snippet of Cookie Monster's 'C is for Cookie' song. This morning over breakfast, I sang him that same snippet. He looked at me with a mix of surprise and confusion; maybe he holds the home and daycare worlds that distinctly. When we got there this morning, he hovered close to me until I walked him to that toy and played him that snippet. He was engrossed in it as I left, and I felt relief that it had gone well. I have to believe the drop-off will only get easier over time. He'll go again tomorrow and stay home Friday. I hope Your Sister is comforted by his ability to handle that new place and its social packs. He's learning. That's what we want for him.

Oh, hey, guess what happens the weekend you visit? MUTHAFUCKIN' ROLLER DERBY! You're welcome to come along. We might have a small gang meeting up.

Picture of the Day
See you in a few hours, sidekick.

Tuesday, July 5

Off He Goes

The boy is now at daycare for his first full day. Your Sister was a wreck last night. She knew this was coming, and we visited the daycare a few times to prepare him and us. But they've been a binary pair for a year now, and she put her career on hold to raise him. He gave her a new identity, and that's changing as of today.

I tried to assure her. I reminded her this was our plan all along, that we chose this daycare above the others, that we are lucky to have a child that has the development that allows daycare to be an option, that he isn't going to camp or war. It's a daytime teaching center, and we're advocates of public education. This is good for him. This is the best program we can give him. I'm a daycare baby, and if I can grow up to find a gal like Your Sister momentarily addled enough to marry me, then maybe daycare ain't so bad.

Then again, I've been leaving him behind every work day for a year now. This is her first shot at it. Yeah, she left him with family as she ran errands or attended workshops. But now he's just down the road from me, and, emotionally for her, he might as well be in Swaziland. She's visiting with a college buddy today, and that will distract her.

She called me about an hour after I got to work to hear how his arrival went. He seemed mostly OK. It's been almost a whole week of new people and places, and he's processing it all. He had bad dreams the last few nights, but a drink of water and a cuddle puts him right out in a few minutes. Turns out a drink of water in the middle of the night really does work for kids. Also he has a new truck toy to obsess over, and he's already making engine noises with his mouth. That seems like the play of an older kid.

Our Sister-In-Law was shocked and dismayed that we didn't prepare a small cake for the sidekick to demolish on his first birthday. I'd even say she was horrified. She explained to the other party folks that you're supposed to make such a cake and videotape the cake violence so you can watch it over and over. But we don't do that. As you saw at his birth, we'd rather experience the moment instead of stepping back to document it. That's our parental style. But we do appreicate her taking so many pictures during the party. We took none. We were busying hosting or baby chasing.

And now, of course, he's baptized and officially dedicated to a Christian life, and this was her hope and choice. I wasn't consulted. I don't object; it's for her benefit, and I'm for making her happy. You can't expect a baby to commit to anything other than mashed bananas, I'd argue, and as long as he isn't subjected to the spiritual browbeating and mental discouragement that I grew up with in a church, I have no problem with this. But the first time I hear he has to convince himself he's no good and inherently damaged, I'm yanking him out of there.

In other news, I yanked up some potatoes Saturday morning. We got 20 from five plants, and two were chucked for suspect bug holes. I planted pumpkin where some potato stalks stood. I think we're gonna get a heap of tomatoes ripening at one time.  

Picture of the Day
I need to relax. I'll unwind with some caffeine.