Lemon-Scented Bivouac  

Fatherly and, eventually, teacherly blather. Also: graphic design, baseball, synthetic fabrics, jug band music and, lord help us, the occasional politics.

Friday, May 23, 2003  

Elliott is two months old today. I celebrated it with him by scooping up, going out to the porch and drinking coffee while I watched his fontanel throb. Other, more voluntary accomplishments I haven't yet recorded on this journal:
--He coos. This is devastating. It's guaranteed to turn Dana and I into little puddles. Sometimes he actually says "coo," and sometimes he says it sotto voce with a little tremble of excitement, the way an actor might choose to voice his character looking at, say, the light of eternal paradise and whispering "wow." I want so much for him to coo that I repeat any word that ever worked, and most of them have to be delivered in a high-pitch voice: "whoopee," "wow," "yipyipyip" and the ever-present "hello." Much of our conversation with Mr. Baby reminds me of the scene very early in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure in which Pee-Wee, during his morning bathroom ritual, scotch-tapes his face and, looking in the mirror, yells "HELLO."
-- He follows us around the room with his eyes, just like the spooky busts at the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland! Only it's not spooky, it's *cute*.
-- He shows remarkable and inexplicable restraint in evacuating his bowels. It's now a once-every-two-days event (although I think it's longer, Dana corrects me on this point) and then it's, well, quite a production. This, as with every other appaling development of infancy, is just fine by the pediatricians.
-- His hollering, which I now realize was never far out of bounds by baby standards, is diminished. He still rarely knows what to do with himself, and there's always that perfect way to hold him at any given moment that is slightly different from the way you're holding him. But he gets through the day and our nerves aren't shot.
-- He still greatly appreciates the chance to be nude outdoors, and he likes to have his garments inflated with the air from a hair dryer. You see what my life has come to?
-- He's becoming fairly jolly. He has moments of levity. Then, quite often, he farts.

  posted by Andy @ 11:49 AM §

Economists. Enjoy.

  posted by Andy @ 11:19 AM §

Sunday, May 18, 2003  


More in a dear-diary mode, I had me one weak game on the soccer pitch today, then weakly carped about the whole thing to a couple of teammates. No one would blame them for punching me right in the kisser, but instead they forebore (were forebearant?). In goal I valiantly called for a ball that was sailing across the goal, reached out and watched it drop under my arms and onto the head of an opponent, who popped it into the goal. Later I played out of goal and slackly hummed along passing to no one. I let balls drop around me instead of trapping them. Where I was I cannot say. Inside I could hear all the right decisions calling out as if from behind styrofoam. On the outside I must have looked like one of the players in this game:

If you don't remember that game, the board vibrates and the "players" just meander around in Brownian motion until someone scores.

Half my life ago the circle of behaviors in which I was sure everyone but me was competent was large enough to include talking to people, walking around and doing things. Now I've long since narrowed the list only to athletics, and even there I'll be competent enough to toss nice soft balls at Elliott without hurting him or myself. But ... yikes. In fact, if there were a punctuation mark for "yikes," I'd just tack it onto the end of this sentence and finish that way.

  posted by Andy @ 6:49 PM §

Yesterday my grandmother, whom I do not see often, got to meet Elliott. During her visit, she told me a story. It must have been the late '40s. She was still newly married to my late grandfather, with two young daughters, neither one my mother (she was next in line). They lived in Pennsylvania. They had all just finished eating lunch when the sun came out, lighting up the rain that had fallen earlier. She said: "It's so beautiful, we have to go for a walk." The whole family went walking, my grandmother in her long dress. They came to a spring of cold clear water, and around the spring she saw countless morel mushrooms. They all started picking them and, having no basket, my grandmother lifted up the hem of her dress to make a pouch to hold them in. They weren't hungry; they'd just eaten. But they kept picking and picking and filled up the dress. So they went to her mother's, where she had just made bread. They fried the mushrooms in butter her mother had made and ate it with the bread.

My point is: Blur was right. Modern life is rubbish.

  posted by Andy @ 6:31 PM §

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