One of those times bedtime changed

October 28th, 2014
frank
getting kicked and woken up

Blurry sleepy time

There’s a thing we do every time I put you to bed, (even when you’re not at my place and I have to say goodnight over Facetime) after I’ve done the Optimus Prime voice and the roaring car sound while hugging you, and I nuzzle your nose and rub my facial hair all over your cheeks to make them red, I say, “Sweet dreams of people” and you finish it with, “driving vehicles.”

But tonight you did not finish my sentence.

You rolled over inside your tent on the bed and cuddled against your Pocoyo, Shaun the Sheep, and Peelow and then the call was over.

First Day of School

January 7th, 2013
frank

first day of school

Today was your first day of school.

You knew off the bat we were not going to the babysitter. On the road, when we turned right instead of continuing South, you said, “This way! This way!”

We’d been telling you for a week that you were going to school. That you’d be playing with kids. That you’d be learning.

As with most things, you ignored us because you had better things to do. Lightning McQueen and Towmater and Mack truck and such. So important because now your life of nine to five has begun and this is the cage, welcome and sorry.

When we pulled up and put you on the sidewalk so you could walk on your own, you rooted your feet to the dirty concrete. I gotta be honest. I couldn’t look you in the eye.

Your mom and I each grabbed one of your hands and hopped you along the sidewalk, yanking you into the air and dropping you slowly back to the ground. I could tell you were not buying the hoppitty bullshit. You were tense, my boy. Like you were taking one of your bad shits. A seizure of suspicion. The blue wooden fence was  an unfamiliar sight early in the morning. The old lady who greeted us was not the dark smiling woman who smells of curry and lets dogs lick you every day.

You did not want to cross the concrete courtyard to where the kids were having breakfast. I picked you up and carried you. I saw a rocking chair and put you in it.

Because rocking chairs comfort me.

You sat there and looked around from beneath your furrowed brow and slightly lowered head.  You seemed to be checking the place out.

I told your mom we were leaving and she asked if we should say bye to you. I told her no.

I checked with one of the women who worked there, this was the right thing to do, right? Not make life difficult for everyone else by allowing our son to see our sadness and to share in it, to bring us to the point of saying fuck this, it’s pretty expensive anyway, we can wait another year or two or three or fuck preschool altogether, if we could figure out a way to win the Powerball, we would never have to educate you, you could avoid difficulty forever, you could grow up to be a super wealthy mongoloid asshole. But always happy.

She told me that yes, it was best if we just departed. So we did.

In the car, as we drove back home, I could see your mother’s head get lower and lower. Not bowed down, but a complete vertical drop, like ET is wont to do. An alien driving me around. Her shoulders twitched a little as we went and when we parked, she cried and her face was a green eyed question mark with ruddy cheeks. “We abandoned him.”

I said all the right things to comfort her.

I remember my first day of school: Kindergarten. 1982, I’m guessing. I never had any daycare or preschool or anything. Just always with my cousins. Four boys breaking things. Getting our ass beat a lot, though my aunts and uncles deny this shit the way escaped Nazis deny participating in war crimes. I remember being aware that this school thing was going to happen. And that WORK was being missed for this. For me.

I remember my father standing outside the low two door kindergarten building with his hands in his pocket. My god, he would’ve been 42.

I wrapped myself around his legs and apologized. I apologized for the universe, the big bang, for not reading the bible more, for talking back all the time, and for every horrible thing I would do after that day, just please don’t make me go to school. I did not look up at him. I buried my head in the stiff green of his pants legs and I could smell the dust of the polished metal that he fought every day and still does. My teacher pulled me away from him and into the classroom and he just stood there, his legs and the light of the sun and then the closing door.

Thirty years later, I saw my father’s face in my reflection in the bathroom mirror at work.

Jack’s First Wasp Sting

May 26th, 2012
frank

The wasps around here are territorial but they’ve never stung anyone. We have a silent agreement where I destroy their nests but generally leave the wasps themselves alone as long as they don’t come at me. I often walk right into a small group of them and they don’t do anything. I believe in not projecting fear when dealing with animals. Especially insects.

So, I didn’t think anything was wrong when Jack seemed a little scared of the wasp that was buzzing around him in his Little Tikes Cozy Coupe. Until he started to cry and said, “I sorry, I sorry.”

I pulled him out and eventually found a small sting on his toe. His little foot had swollen a tiny bit on top and on the toe.

From my chair, where I was sitting with Jack on my lap, I kicked the Cozy Coupe into the middle of the yard. Once Christie (who was visiting) and Christina took Jack inside to soothe him, I went and picked up the Cozy Coupe to see if there was a nest in it somewhere.

Once summer starts (in May for Miami, pretty much), I tend to step up my wasp nest prevention patrols. I look under the railings on the deck and porch. I check in and around all the hurricane shutter frames. I even look under the damn Cozy Coupe. But, I never thought we had wasps who were trained as smugglers, because this time I found a nest underneath the dashboard of the Cozy Coupe. I didn’t even know there was an “underneath” FOR the dashboard! But there it was, a half formed comb of sorts. I pulled it out, stomped on it and flung it into the air, where it blew back at me.

I went inside and got the wasp spray. I drowned the crushed nest and kicked it under the deck. Then, I waited for the wasp to come back, and when it did, I bathed it in a nice firm chemical stream.

The thing that pissed me off the most wasn’t even that Jack got stung. I mean, shit’s going to happen. It was those sad, teary, “I sorry”s. It was like he thought he did something wrong and we were punishing him. And that’s so unfair.

For the wasps, too.

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Withdrawls

August 11th, 2011
Christina

I have a confession to make. I suffer from these urges. Tonight was another night, I just had to pluck Jack from the crib to selfishly have him near me. To feel his little warm body snuggled next to mine, to intoxicate myself with his sweet scent, to kiss upon the dimples in his little soft hands. My sleeping beauty…I wish I could spend weeks like this. *sigh*

Remembering

July 9th, 2011
frank

My dad doesn’t remember much when I ask him about the kinds of things I did as a baby and when I did them. He says, “Eras normal.” Walked at about a year. Talked at about a year. And a shrug when pressed for details. Even when I ask if certain things I remember are true or just hopeful made up memories, square pegs for round holes, he says, “Quien se recuerda de eso? Era hace tanto.” Hell, no one remembers where the fountain of youth is, right?

So, Jack, this is for you and me. This is so I don’t have to remember. And this is so you know. This is so your road’s beginning can be etched just so. But let’s be honest here, from me to you, the details are choices.  Continue reading »

The eve of Jack’s 1st birthday…

July 8th, 2011
Christina

One year ago today, I was still 36 weeks pregnant and uncomfortable! Our doctor wanted to induce me for fear of the Cholestatis’ effect on Jack. So we checked into the hospital and the rest is history, as they say.  I remember feeling unprepared, scared, itchy, tired, excited and out of shape.  The next day, our beautiful baby boy was born weighting 5lbs 13 oz. From the moment I heard his little kitten like whimpers, my whole life changed. What’s not to celebrate? Jack’s birthday will always be a big deal for us. He should know how happy we are that he was born and how important it will always be to celebrate his life, our little guy that brings us so much joy. Over the past 12 months, he has changed so much and has conquered many developmental milestones. Each feat worthy of its own celebration.

Frank and I on the eve of Jack's birth...

Jack just mins after his birth.

And the months that followed..

Jack @ 4 weeks

Jack @ 2 months with 1st smiles

Jack @ 3 months with his budding personality

Jack the Bumbo Master @ 4 months

Jack chilling in his bouncy chair at 5 months

Tummy time master at 6 months

Mr giggles at 7 months

Jack sitting at 8 months

 

 

 

Momma Gets Older and Finer

March 24th, 2011
frank

Today was babymomma’s birthday. We’re not allowed to talk about how young she is as it’s a national secret and if she tells you, she then has to come to your house and do terrible things to your underpieces while you sleep. When you wake up, there will be no feeling below your waistline (or the belly, as it is in my case). There was no taking the day off of work to celebrate her excellence, but we went to lunch at Harvest Moon.  A place that doesn’t take credit cards and believes that the boxes for leftovers should be the size of an altoids tin. The food was satisfactory to She Who We Must Worship. So much so that she did skip to and fro on the way back to the car as she sang Skip To My Lou, a song that I only learned recently because it’s stuff you play for babies. Come to think of it, I don’t know ANY of his nursery rhymes. This could be because Cubans only play Guantanamera for their kids. Or it could be something we weren’t allowed to listen to for religious reasons. Maybe the jehovah’s witnesses think skipping is a sin (just like all the other fun stuff, such as “cutting the cheese.”).

Well, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve started complaining about my childhood instead of doing what I came here to do: worship the woman I love with words (so that she does not dip my electronic devices in water while I sleep). Grandma, graceful woman that she is (AND she shares her birthday with William Shatner, so you KNOW she’s awesome) took babymomma and myself to eat at the Cheesecake Factory where Jack proceeded to scream in agony as soon as we stepped into the restaurant. After selling our soul to the devil, he finally calmed down and we had a pleasant time. I was even able to convince the waiter not to have anyone sing Happy Birthday or Skip to My Lou (I sensed jehovah’s witnesses in the place and I did not want to agitate them. If you make them angry they just start handing out magazines and speaking in tongues. Or Spanish.). Christina returned from the bathroom where she had gone to change Jack, or as I like to call him when poops: The Smelly One, and found her apple crisp ice cream dessert had a candle in it. Just one candle.

Because she is the best one in our life. Happy Birthday, darlin’. May your best skipping days be down the line.

Why I Don’t Read Baby Magazines

March 22nd, 2011
frank

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Because baby Hitler is waiting to pounce.

Red Deck, Blue Sea

March 20th, 2011
frank

Almost done painting the deck

Almost done with the deck now. The worst of the cracked and rotted boards have been replaced. They sit on the temporarily relocated deck table in the northeast corner of the yard casting long shadows in the late afternoon sun. Some of boards’ ends arch up at the sky like old fashioned cartoon skis.

Got all the rails and the posts under them done yesterday. That took up a gallon; so many damn skinny posts. I went for another gallon today, but we ran through that, too.  Going to need another one to finish feeding this monster.

I have learned that this is the thing with wood: it swallows paint. Like it knows we’re trying to change it. Maybe this is where the ghosts of the previous owners make their last stand.

I admire these stubborn boards. I don’t like being prettied up either. I grumble at change. I creak. So maybe it’s just having a drink before the pretty party. Taking the edge off. It’s an alcoholic going on a final drinking binge. A painted oblivion. Lying out here behind the house, drying, creaking, cragging its edges up. Cutting and splintering. Taking a nice chunk of my right pointer finger. I’m letting it scar. It’s best to respect the deck. It took its flesh fair and square. A lil thin string of Cuban for about 130 feet of wood.

I remember the first time we saw this house and the realtor gave us a tour. I remember a child’s things in the back yard. A plastic Playskool playhouse and assorted dolls and a toy shopping cart. That playhouse was still there when we skulked through the alley in Elaine’s car later on, peeking at life in a home we thought we’d never live in. I was a little surprised the playhouse was there. I was sure the realtor put it there to sucker in anyone with kids. But I never thought about the darkness of the deck. That faded blue jean deck that seemed like a cowboy’s best friend.

Wasps underneath. Tripping me in the dark while I carry a bag with a dirty diaper in it. Splinters. This one board that rotted through so bad, a leg from the barbecue went in and the whole thing tipped over, spilling ash. The side steps that don’t really seem attached to anything. They clunk down when you walk on them. Like a lil wooden gotcha.

The toys in the yard made me ponder a family life. The grass made me consider responsibility and the upkeep of a full on home. The deck lured me in with promises of barbecues, card games, shade under the umbrella, and whiskey sours.

This week, it left me with a sore back, sunburns, and the smell of treated wood in my nose. Even in the light of the computer screen, my flesh is emergency sign red.

Jack slept for most of the time we were out there painting. Momma brought him out when we heard him on the baby monitor smacking around the toys in his crib. We’d run out of paint  by then and had been chilling under the fox palms. I had my head in her lap and Jack was standing on my face. It’s what he does. He climbs people.

The deck squatted before us, with just that tiny section of blue left. Defeated, really, like this was the last tooth left in its mouth.

Millions of wooden slivers of blue made up what was left: about 12 square feet.

Christina mentioned how beautiful Jack’s eyes were. So blue. Though sometimes crossed.

She comes from Vikings, you know? And his blue eyes are her baby blues which turned green eventually. Green by way of the blue sea that Vikings sailed while pillaging.

I wonder if they burned any decks.

Teefing

March 8th, 2011
frank

I think the little guy is teething. He’s usually in a good mood but since last night, he’s been cranky and drooling like crazy. We gave him some baby Tylenol to maybe help him with any potential pain. I can cheer him up as usual by throwing him around and “flying” him. But it only soothes him so much. He’s out to the pastures of baby dreamland right now thanks to a combination of exhaustion, the drugs, and the tinny baby music we have going on.

I’m glad that he may potentially be hitting a milestone here. But I’m genuinely and unexpectedly going to miss when he surprises me with nose chomps. It’s something he’s done for awhile now and he always leaves tons of drool and a smile when he’s done.

What years old habits is he going to form that I’ll miss down the line? Hopefully not being a big old pussy like his dad.

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