Thursday, August 30, 2007

Joyful news

The Monkey Mama gave birth to a beautiful daughter yesterday.

I don't really feel like blogging about it, but I thought regular readers would want to know.

We are very, very happy.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

"Should I have said 'Monk'? How about 'Mingus'?"

The Monkey and I ran to the Petworth Library this afternoon to grab a few books. With no Monkey Sibling born to date, the time can only be drawing closer when the Monkey and his Grandma will spend a nice long visit together downstairs, while the Monkey Mama -- with help from the Monkey Daddy -- labors upstairs. I figured that a few fresh books would make their time seem to pass more quickly.

It was shortly before the library closed, late on a Sunday afternoon. So we ran straight upstairs to the children's reading room. The only person upstairs was a librarian, who was listening to some very cool jazz. It was a drum solo, but as the sax broke in I identified the player right away.

Just then, the Monkey pulled out a book with Thomas the Tank Engine on its cover. He said "Train!"

The librarian asked, "Did he just say 'Trane'?"

I pointed at the book and said, "I think he meant this. He's only 2 years old, which is old enough to love drum solos, but not quite old enough to pick out John Coltrane."

But wouldn't that have been cool?

Seventh sign of the 7th sign

The Monkey spontaneously ran off the letters "A-B-C-D-E-F-G" today.

Later, he counted "1-2-3-4-5-6-7."

Although he can spell/count along with some of the higher letters and numbers, that is the highest of each that we have heard him go all by himself.

But is there some special significance that "G" is the 7th letter? Was he speaking in code?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Feathering the nest

I came home from work today only to find that the Monkey Mama had re-reorganized the house.

I think the baby can come any time now.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Expiration date

So I'm riding down Rhode Islande Avenue approaching Connecticut, racing along the shoulder past two rows of cars backed up at the light 100 feet away. A blue BMW sedan makes a left turn from the opposite lane, crossing the rows of stopped traffic to enter his parking garage. I see him first, yell as loud as I can (which is Very) and squeeze my breaks in a panic stop. I don't know if he sees me, or if his burst of acceleration exceeds his reaction and braking time.

He t-bones me. I am knocked from my bike. I land on my right side. My helmet takes the hardest shot I have ever received in over 13 years of bicycle commuting. The only harder shot I can ever remember -- at least since high school football -- was scouting rapids along the Big South Fork in Kentucky, when receding flood waters left a broad, muddy, slick rock for me to slip on.

My right brake handle is bent, but the rest of the bike seems ok. We exchange telephone numbers and proceed on our way. He says the right things, about how at least I'm alright. I'm still a little dazed, and have kind of a hard time putting my sentences together. Maybe it's the adrenalin, or maybe it's the blow to the head.

The vanity plate on his car - now askew - proclaims that he is a lawyer by training. Well, good for him and his BMW. There are a few scratches on his hood now.

I've got a stinger in my neck, but I'm eating ibuprofen, massaging it, and resting it.

Frankly, I could use a day or two of rest if I am to be of much assistance during our expected home birth.

But all things considered, not too bad. Today is the expected due date for Baby August.

I am glad it is not my expiration date.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Stream Story

The last thing the Monkey hears before bed every night is a story. Usually it is improvised by the Monkey Mama. But tonight she is being fĂȘted by playgroup moms, so it was my turn to come up with a story.

Our stories often have quite a bit of verisimilitude. For instance, a popular one is "The Baby Story," which goes into considerable depth in depicting a home birth. (We are relying heavily on The Baby Story quite a bit to orient the Monkey during the upcoming birth of Baby August.)

Here was tonight's story, essentially a recapitulation of our trip to Spring Park in Takoma Park today:

"Once upon a time, there was a little boy named [Monkey]. He went on a drive with his mommy and his daddy to a playground. There were stairs to climb up, and slides to slide down. There were tunnels to crawl through, wheels to spin, see-saws to ride, and little boys and girls everywhere.

"After a while, [Monkey] noticed something out of the corner of his eye: a rocky stream running through the edge of the playground. The stream carried water from the top of the park to the bottom. He wondered to himself, 'Where does the water come from?'

"He called his daddy over to go exploring. They climbed up a hill, over some stairs, along a path, by some benches, under some trees, and through some bushes...until they came to a little well. The well was behind a low brick wall set into the hillside. It was full of cool, clear water that seemed to come from nowhere! In fact, the water was coming up from under the ground, because this was a natural spring.

"His daddy helped him climb over the low wall. The well was just big enough to wade around in. At first, the cold water felt tingly on his feet. But it was a warm, sunny day and the water actually felt very nice.

"While wading in the well, he noticed a small pipe leading out through the low wall. It was just big enough to fit his hand. He felt water running down through the pipe. 'Where does this lead?' he wondered.

"His daddy helped him back out over the wall, and down a path, until they saw a small pile of granite at the mouth of a seep of water. That must be where the water comes out! There were sandy parts of the seep, green parts of the seep, and plants growing all around it. In one corner of the seep, they saw a square drain with water falling down all four sides. It made a cheerful noise. But where did it lead?

"At an angle to the path, the stream reemerged in a rocky stream bed that rambled across the hillside. The footing was a little unsteady because of the large, rocky cobbles. But holding his daddy's hand, [The Monkey] was able to follow the course of the stream. He pushed some rocks out of the stream, and pulled other rocks in. Some of them made a splash in the shallow running water. The bigger the better!

"They turned a corner with the stream, and then another corner, until they heard the sound of falling water. They came to a square drain grate, where the stream spread out and descended through some holes. [The Monkey] squatted by the grate, and his eyes followed the water until he couldn't see anymore.

"They watched like this for a while. And even though cool water ran through their shoes, they felt the sun warming them up. Looking over his shoulder, [the Monkey] spotted his mamma -- who was sitting on a bench near the playground, never that far away at all -- and waved her over. Then mamma, daddy, and [the Monkey] got in their car and drove away."

I told him the story, and he asked to hear it again. Then he asked to hear it a third time, but instead we just listened to each other breathe until he fell asleep. After the air conditioning compressor hummed loudly for a while, I made a stealthy exit, went downstairs, and made myself some dinner.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

No baby yet

Baby August has not arrived yet. Could happen anytime now, though.

The Monkey Mama's Mama arrives from California in three days. It's a race!

The family was up at Silver Sprung yesterday, taking in some dinner, the children-play-in-it fountain, and some live outdoor music.

The Monkey stood alone, front center of the stage, and danced. The bass player even copied some of his moves.

Then the Monkey played some air guitar.

Then he stopped...but only for an air drum solo fill.

Virtually a chip off the old block, I say. It hearkens back to a game of Quarters I played once as a lad. The pernicious rule that was instituted was that I personally could in no way sing, percuss, air accompany, or in any way emulate music. It applied only to me. It was impossible to follow.

I tried to teach him how point with his index and pinky fingers while tucking his thumb underneath his middle finger, but he's still working on it.