Fear

I’m sure all parents have a little bit of fear about how their child might turn out as an adult- or just as worse- an adolescent. I mean, could I really still love Arlo if he turned out to be a dickwad like Justin Bieber? I know I am supposed to say I will- and I will- but will I?

I remember seeing Justin Bieber on The Today Show when he was really young. His mom was his chaperone and she did most of the talking for him. Honestly, Justin seemed like a sweet little boy with an amazing voice. Excuse me while my embarrassment fades following my admission of watching The Today Show one time ten years ago. Hey, Matt Lauer was still cool then… No he wasn’t.

Anyway, back to the point- Justin Bieber is a dickwad. So, Arlo, if you ever come home with any haircut resembling Justin Bieber’s, I will punch it off your head.

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Well, except for maybe this one- you can slide with this one.

Sorry folks, sometimes I digress. But lucky for us, I started with my digression today- I have a more serious type of fear to tell you about. I don’t even know what to name it- I don’t think anxiety would be correct- I’m not walking around feeling anxious all the time- it’s deeper than that, like way inside of me and most of the time it’s hard for me to recognize. It’s not necessarily worry either. I don’t know what it is- I know it’s there though- and it first started happening in conjunction with fatherhood.

I’ve never been one to live with much fear- being who I am I have always been overly cautious- meaning why should I be scared if I’m so careful. Ever since I was a kid, I have always taken too much time to analyze a situation before taking action- I think that’s why I could never learn to ollie. Instead of actually trying to ollie with the skateboard, I would sit and stare at the board and try to figure it out in my head- I mean why fall over and over when I could just figure it out in my head first- that approach probably ended my professional skateboarding career.

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(Actual footage of me in 1983- well, of what I was doing in my head)

I can’t say that I have never really avoided dangerous things either- I mean, minus the ollie- that was just a case where the cost/benefit of ollie(ing) for the admiration of friends did not outweigh the possibility of broken bones (which I still have never had to this day).

I have done semi-dangerous things though. I motorcycled for a while- once even back and forth across the country. On a separate occasion however, I did have an accident with a pickup truck- it ran a red light- and I ran into it (that was five minutes from home though)- it totaled my bike and I got pretty banged up- but I bought another one and rode again. But I don’t ride anymore though- I traded that in for a welder (which can be dangerous if you look at the light).

I also fought forest fires for six seasons. While doing that I did not have an incessant fear like the one I have now. For the most part I felt safe while doing that job with the exception of a couple occasions. But there was never a wiggling seed of fear buried deep within me like there is now.

Here, I’ll give you an example by telling you what happened a few days ago…

ArloAcai.jpegOn Wednesdays during the summer in Missoula there is an event called Out to Lunch. Arlo and I check it out about every other Wednesday. We like to dress up in bright outfits, ride our bike there, listen to whatever live music is going on, and split an açaí bowl while we people watch. Yes, we both like açaí bowls- we eat more than just sardines together.

Well, this story is not about the event itself, but what happened on the way there. We ride the bike path from our house to downtown- it’s probably three miles- it cuts straight through town at a diagonal and we have to cross many busy intersections and end up on the riverwalk. This particular day we were riding we came upon a transient- he was middle-aged and scrubby with sun leathered skin. He was sitting on a bench looking through his bag and talking to himself over the blasting music from his transistor radio.

I remember all these details because when I’m with Arlo I have a tendency to analyze potentially dangerous situations- I usually (always) overanalyze and imagine every possible horrific outcome. (Like I said, I’ve never broken a bone)

Well, as we passed this man he looked up at us and gave me a bit of a crazed straggle toothed smile and said “Hey.” I looked over my shoulder and said “Hey” back and that was that. But then he yelled “Hey!” as if he wanted me to stop- I was ten feet past him now and thought about his crazed smile- nope, not stopping– instead I yelled back “Hey!” again and kept going. And then guess what happened? He yelled “HEY!!” again! I turned to look over my shoulder and he was running after us!

WTF!!!?

Yeah! With that brief glance I saw he was holding onto his lived-in filthy baggy blue jeans with one hand and his other hand was outstretched reaching toward us- running- not jogging- RUNNING!

I didn’t know what to do except pedal faster- and it’s hard to get some speed going when you are dragging a trailer with a kid in it who likes to collect rocks. Somehow (newfound dad strength) I gathered speed but I had to cross a road up ahead- but there was no way he would/could run that far that fast right? WRONG! He was still running after us- not yelling hey anymore, but screaming unintelligible words! And he was fast! Like former olympic athlete fast!

I readied myself for the road crossing- I either had to cross full bore and dodge a car or two- or slam on the brakes last second- Hopefully it would just be simple and there would be no cars coming and we could glide straight through to safety.

As I was about to hit the road I glanced back- he was still chasing after us and actually closing the gap. I turned back to the road and there were multiple cars coming each way- I slammed the brakes- well, squeezed them- it’s a bike- and there’s not much drama when saying I squeezed the brakes real hard. Anyway-

I jumped off my bike and let it fall- before it hit the ground I lounged for the bear spray I keep in the front of Arlo’s trailer- I stood up while pulling the pin ready to face my attacker who was just upon us.

“Hey man, I think this hat fell out of your bike trailer.”

He had a gasping but soft and reassuring voice. I looked at his outstretched hand that held Arlo’s blue hat. Arlo must have thrown it out when we were passing him.

I looked at the man. I looked at Arlo. I looked at the bear spray in my hand. I looked back at the man. He looked at the bear spray in my hand, “Don’t worry man, I’m an undercover cop- I used to run track.”

I sheepishly took the hat from his hand and put it in the bike trailer. I put the pin back on the bear spray and tucked it away. “Thank you,” I said, “You would never believe what I thought was happening.”

“Yes I can, I’m a father too.” He turned around and started walking back to his bench.


So, that was the happy ending that I just imagined right now while I was writing.

But the ending that kept going over and over in my head that day that I actually passed this guy was him chasing Arlo and I all the way to the river where the only way to get away from him was to plunge ourselves straight into the river where we were swept away to die tragically.

So, yeah, none of that happened except for riding by a strange transient sitting on a bench on the bike path on the way to lunch.

Sorry to take you all the way through that- BUT THAT’S WHAT IT’S LIKE FOR ME NOW IN MY HEAD! And that was truly the only way to make you understand.

 

 

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I feel a tiny bit slimy and deceitful now. Sorry. Oh- and that’s actually Cate Blanchett, not a picture of the guy I was talking about.

I don’t know where this fear comes from. Maybe it’s biological. It obviously has to do with our new family sect and me not wanting to lose it. Before Arlo, I was fine walking down the street- now when I’m walking down the street I wonder if the next car is going to barrel right over me for no reason whatsoever. Maybe I’m not so crazy to be thinking this way though with all the random acts of violence happening everywhere.

Growing up in California we used to have earthquake drills at school all the time- alarm goes off, everyone under their desks. I’ve heard it’s changed- now it’s active shooter drills- lock the doors and hide. It’s scary to think I’m going to have send Arlo off to school in a few years and he’s going to grow up with these safety precautions as normal. Is he going to come home and ask me, “Papa, why do people want to shoot other people?” Or does/will our culture already have that answer ingrained in a five year old’s head?

Geez, I really just bummed myself out- I didn’t think I would actually feel what it might be like in a few years when Arlo asks me those kinds of questions- but I do. Maybe I’ll explore this topic at a later date, but for now I need a lighter ending…

Dear Arlo,

I know at the beginning of this writing I said I would punch your Justin Bieber hair right off your head. I guess I just meant I don’t want you to become like Justin Bieber- you can still have a similar hairstyle as him. Also, it would be hypocritical of me to tell you that you couldn’t have a haircut like him, because I too, have had a Justin Bieber haircut. In my defense, it was sixteen years before he had it. I’m pretty sure he copied me…

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Also Arlo, your Nana made me retake this Senior yearbook photo- don’t know why, but she did.

 

One last thing- this is how you are sleeping this very moment- it looks like you were struck down by a lighting bolt, and then it just decided to take a snooze on you. 

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Sweet dreams kid.

 

Bubble

Today Arlo blew the biggest bubble of snot from his nose I have ever seen. Instead of running for Kleenex, I ran for my camera (it was worthy, trust me). But as soon as I got back he gave me a quick smile and smeared it all over his face.

He’s been a little under the weather this month- mostly just a runny nose and a little congestion on some days. He can’t seem to kick it completely- I have succumbed to the idea that he will stay sick until the warm days come back. 

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Just seconds after the bubble burst

Luckily (luckily?) we have a Nose Frida to help unplug his nose. What’s a Nose Frida? Well thanks for asking- A Nose Frida is device used for sucking out snot from a baby’s nose- powered by your own mouth- that’s right- it sucks- I mean you suck- well, I suck. Basically it’s a surgical tube about eighteen inches long with a removable filter at the end of it. At that end, you attach small hard plastic tube that is tapered to fit into the baby nostril. So you put it in his nose, and suck. It’s that simple- except for it’s not- because he hates it- don’t know why, but he hates it. So much so that it has become a game of sneaking up on him to suck his snot. Because he hates it. If he knows what you are up to he turns into “Arlo the Octopus on Meth”- limbs start flailing and his neck begins turning 195º back and forth at a rapid pace. His first words in life will most likely be expletives during one of these encounters. The kid’s got some fight in him.

Oh, are you still stuck on the gross aspect of it? I was the same way, trust me. When the Nose Frida was brand new and still in the box I remember looking at it and saying, “Yeah fucking right- that’s disgusting.” But now… Now I’m like “MY TURN KYLIE!” It’s basically exactly what hunting is like- and baby, it’s open season- I begin by making sure he is upwind and then I get real quiet and low- if he’s on the floor I approach in an army crawl with the mouthpiece in my mouth with the tube dragging at my side. The hard part is springing on him- I have to get both of his arms locked to his body with only one of my arms- leaving my head to pin his head to the floor or my shoulder- If I manage to do that then I have a 85% chance of lining up the Frida to his nostril and getting a clear suck. If I miss my opportunity, I have to pretend I was just playing around and sheepishly return to camp to regroup and debrief.

Sometimes it goes perfectly and there is a moment of pride when I’m walking to the sink to look at my bounty- sometimes it’s a good catch and I feel like I’ve done a good deed- meaning, he can breath happily again. But sometimes there’s not much in the tube and I have to wonder- What went wrong? Did I hit mostly septum? Do I try again? Or maybe he just doesn’t have much in there? Honestly, it’s a very thin line that I’m still learning to walk. I should have it figured out by the time he is fourteen.

OH! But here’s the grossest part, I think they make a Nose Frida for the bum hole.

 



 

Boob

I don’t have one- and that’s all he wants today. There has been a lot of crying today. It didn’t start out that way. I had today by the balls. I was awake at 8:30am and Arlo was still asleep. I decided to get up and brush my teeth and make my coffee- and I did- all before he woke up- that’s a huge win right there. I decided to push my luck farther- I set up a sprinkler in both the front and back yard. And then? Yeah, there’s more- then I fixed a mobile (not phone), a paper and monofilament mobile that I got tangled in and broke last week. I had a real dad morning today- almost one like Peter, my neighbor, who has two kids and does yard work in the six o’clock hour. I wrote about him in Routine before I was a dad.

But… then… Arlo… woke… up.

It was a wake-up like any other morning. I started hearing some mouth noises and movement so I went and picked him up, got him out of his swaddle sleep sack, changed his diaper, and started warming water for his bottle. He seemed happy. He smiled- I would like to think. Birds were chirping and the sun was shining- and then I tried to feed him.

It was like any other time- I thought. I put the nipple in his mouth and he kinda gummed it a little and then spit it out. Again, I tried, again he refused. This happened a couple more times until he grabbed it with his gummies and tried biting the thing in half like a dog shakes its toy. Then his face smooshed and turned red and the cries begun. There wasn’t any “easing into it”- he just flat out busted out cries like it was the worst day of his life so far (maybe it was going to be).

This has happened before. Arlo started getting real icky about the bottle a month ago- right before Kylie was going back to work. Him and I hung out one Sunday morning and had what I like to call, a bottle boot camp. For an entire morning he cried at me, I cried at him, we cried at each other- and I think Kylie cried just from listening to us cry. He finally took the bottle at around noon that day, and everything has been fine since- I thought.

Today’s bottle boot camp has lasted the entire day. Wait wait wait! He has eaten today, just not his normal amount. That first bottle this morning? He cried himself to sleep in my arms after refusing the bottle for about an hour. I then tricked him into eating a bit while he slept- I think he dreamt ate- but only about an ounce. I figured he was going to be starving when he woke up so I had a larger than normal bottle on deck. Again, crying and screaming and some kicking- I had to shut the back door in fear of what the neighbors would think. Can’t let that Peter think I don’t have a handle on this guy.

I found Arlo an odd sight today while he cried. He has a huge bottom lip that seems to expand to unimaginable proportions when he’s angry. He also has a case of cradle cap that is wildly visible under his thinning hair- it basically looks like scaly skin- it’s normal for some babies, I think. He also seemed to have some accumulated weird baby dirt between his fingers and under his nails. I think we would all agree that nobody’s face is pretty when they cry- and that goes for him too. Let’s just say he wasn’t the most pleasant thing to look at today.

That second bottle? He didn’t touch it. Four ounces of hard earned breastmilk down the drain. During that bout he did quiet down though- for about two minutes. I think he was trying a new strategy to get the boob. He started making these really long but quiet mouse squeak sounds. They sounded like when you pinch a balloon out on two sides and let the air out slowly- you know that sound? That’s what he sounded like- he actually deserved the boob for that. Wily little guy.

What’s that? I should try a different bottle? I done did that before the original bottle boot camp. I tried out a few different bottles and nipples with him. Then Kylie talked to a few of her mom friends and some said they had the same problem- that some babies just prefer the boob over the bottle, and some will make it known. Arlo decided to make it known today.

The rest of the day has been kind of a blur. I know there have been two more bottle attempts since the first two. I think the third went okay- he ate most of it in between fits of anger- I thought I broke him- but I didn’t- he only ate an ounce of the fourth bottle. Stubborn little squirrel!

Uh oh. I’ve been wearing him on my chest while I’ve been writing this. He’s been asleep but he just woke up and he’s rooting around for boob- standby…

Whew, close one. He started crying real bad so I started getting his last bottle together- but then he fell back asleep- so let’s finish this, shall we…

The day hasn’t actually been all bad. He’s had some happy times- he smiled a lot today- we played games, read books, and went to the grocery store where he stayed awake looking around the entire time. I even got dinner together somehow- New Mexican green chile enchilada casserole (show off). It’s all ready to be put in the oven when Kylie gets home and resigns herself as Arlo’s food supply for the rest of the evening. Not joking either. On days she works Arlo knows it and misses her. When she gets home, she’s all he wants. Me too for that matter.

Somehow I kept my cool today and his crying didn’t really even bother me- like not at all. Sure, I felt bad for the little booger but I never got angry at him. But I’m realizing this parenting thing can be hard sometimes. It’s not all peanut M & Ms and gummy bears. It is fun for me to remember what I was like before I was a dad. I used to say things like,

“It’s just a baby, how hard can it be?”

and…

“All you do is feed it, change it, and let it sleep, right?”

and…

“I am going to have so much time when I’m a stay at home dad.”

and my favorite…

“I hope we have twins!”

Wow, ignorance is bliss, and I am the boob. I wish I could travel back in time and meet that guy while he was saying some of those things. I wouldn’t even say anything to him. I’d probably wait till he was mid-sentence… then I’d punch him in his throat.

 

 

 

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Coo

It’s 2:07 am and Arlo and I just finished watching Straight Outta Compton. We made a drinking game out of it. Anytime the movie made us want to punch a white guy or a cop, we drank- Arlo finished his bottle and passed out in less than an hour so I put him down- light weight.

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Anyway, I still have a little Fernet Branca in my glass so I figured I’d drop a line since I have to work the next few days and by the time I decide to write again Arlo will be flipping me the bird on his way out to college or something.

I gotta come clean though, Arlo wasn’t wearing that onesie tonight (Straight Outta NICU). That pic was taken over a month ago. I don’t even think he fits in that onesie anymore. BUT– It is now 2:27 am, we did watch Straight Outta Compton tonight, and Arlo did get milk drunk and pass out, and I am sipping on some Fernet Branca.

Now that I have set the scene… Sorry it’s been a while! We’ve been having a wonderful time though. I can’t say it’s been story worthy though… Lots of milk drinking and a whole lot of pooping. That means a lot of sitting around feeding, and a lot of changing out dirty diapers. That’s my whole story. Good one, huh?

I can’t really say anything super interesting has happened- well, what you would find super interesting, but I guess here are some things…

  • Today we switched Arlo to cloth diapers (he’s finally physically big enough for them) I know, we thought about having a party for him to celebrate the achievement but we’re just not those kind of people

Wow, I feel like there were a lot more things to talk about but now I don’t know, every time I start writing something down I realize how boring it probably is for you to read….

  • One night Kylie walked into the living room and yelled at Arlo and I for being too loud. We woke her up while she was trying to sleep. I blame his loud toots but Kylie says I was yelling “Wwwwweeeeeeeeeee!” too loud. (Boys will be boys- am I right?)

I guess that’s it for my list of mildly interesting things that have been happening…

Remember when I said he doesn’t cry? Well fuck me, he does now. But not a lot though, he cries just enough for me to have to admit that he does. And he’s not an asshole about it- yet- but he likes us to know when he wants us to know something. Soooo… chalk that one up for progressive communication skills?

Speaking of communication skills- he still doesn’t have a definitive smile- or “coo” like babies do- what’s up with that? We get some crying but no smiling? Sure, his face contorts to all sorts of shapes and some resemble a smile, but he doesn’t do it on purpose- he doesn’t light up when I walk into a room (like his mom does). What is definite and very purposeful is his resting bitch face- this kid (unfortunately) takes after his Papa and just gazes intently with furled eyebrows and a facial expression that says, “What the fuck is wrong with you?” Sorry kid.

What else? Hmmm… He’s going to be two months old tomorrow… so that’s cool. We were going to have a party for him, but again, we are just not those kind of people.

Oh! Oh! I know! Pick me!! Arlo’s cousin was born! A week ago. I won’t go into the details (because I wasn’t there (and it’s not my story)) but his cousin Parker is here now. Mama, Papa, and baby Parker are doing just fine and are settling in at home. Arlo and Parker have hung out a few times in the last week but I was always working so I never got to see the ruckus- but I did get to see them hang out tonight. I’d show you a picture but I forgot to get permission. But maybe I can describe what it looks like…

Ehh, never mind, I was going to paint you a beautiful picture with my words but I’m too tired. Just imagine one baby with an oversized trucker double chin and the other with oversized clown hands laying next to each other with no interest in each other whatsoever. Sure, there is a lot of cooing and smiling but all of that is coming from the mothers and fathers standing above who have been waiting for this moment since last October. (…Sigh…)

UPDATE! I got permission! Here ya go…

NICU

Little Arlo has been alive for 3 days, 13 hours, and 3 minutes. With the exception of his first wet and slimy hour of life, his time has been spent in the neonatal intensive care unit. I know this sounds super serious, but he’s fine. In fact, he’s making strides every few hours, and we get to spend as much time with him as we like. It’s like a halfway house for new families- we see him when we want, but there are restrictions to what he can do until he matures a little more.

The little guy was too impatient to meet everyone and didn’t wait for the steroid doses to strengthen his lungs, so they’re still developing right now. Up until this morning he was connected to a CPAP machine, which forces oxygen into his lungs and keeps them ballooned until they can do it on their own.

*Disclaimer* I am going to explain all the medical stuff how I understand it- Looking this stuff up to make sure it’s accurate for this blog post would make this boring to write, and probably boring to read. If you are a person who needs things to be 100% accurate, please correct me in the comments, I won’t mind. Otherwise, this is all my understanding and perception. Thanks!

Anyway, the CPAP machine came off this morning because he was breathing so well, and now he just has a nasal canula to help him out. It’s smaller and easier to maneuver. The CPAP made him look like he had a big rhino horn sticking out of his face, this new canula just makes him look like he’s an old regretful lifelong smoker.

But what that also means is now we can see his face! And he looks like a cute little monkey! Really, he’s got a head full of thick black hair and a nose that has been smashed down for the last few days from his CPAP. His perma-frown and wrinkles wonderfully support this new moniker. He’s even got soft hair (lanugo) all over his back and shoulders! He looks like a little monkey and he’s my little monkey- mi changito!

El Changito’s first day or two on earth found him pretty placid and sleepy. He didn’t care what was being done to him or when. Now, however, he gets angry and cries out little squeaky roars if you mess with him. He gets his fingers caught in his tubes and he pulls them every which way. He hates the cold wet wipes when we change his diapers (speaking of, he already peed on a nurse). He is getting an intake of breastmilk and making plenty of glorious sticky black poops (meconium). All this output and all this fussiness just means he’s developing the energy, awareness, and lungs to be pissed at his situation.

But it’s gonna last a little longer because as you can guess there is a whole bunch of criteria that needs to be met before he comes home with us. He needs to be able to keep his own temperature, he needs to be on a good feeding schedule, and he needs to be breathing well on his own- those are the main things that he needs to accomplish before going home. Babies hit those marks at all different stages. We were warned that it’s best to assume he will be going home on his due date (June 8), but it is also possible to get out of the halfway house sooner. I, personally, am shooting for what would have been his thirty sixth week of gestation. It’s not an overly ambitious goal from and new overzealous father, it’s just a realistic goal from information I’ve gathered from various nurses.

He’s a happy little buckaroo and he’s most stable when we have our skin to skin time. He is probably on either Kylie’s chest or mine around twelve hours every twenty-four hour period. During that time his stats are great. Sometimes he looks around but mostly he just sleeps and gets stronger. We sing him songs and talk to him and we pet his soft hairy monkey head.

Although this halfway house was never in our plans we are super grateful for it as well as for the staff here- the nurses cannot be thanked enough. I joked with them today as I walked by their station on my way to see Arlo, “Don’t mind me, I’m just that squatter living in room #2 walking through to see his son”. I think I heard one of them mutter to the other, “Great, another brand-new-dad joke.”

One More Thing…

I went home last night to pick up some stuff and say hi to Mazzy. On the table were some ideas Kylie had written down about her birth preferences- just a start though, she was going to finish it in May… Kylie’s brother finished it for her…

Birth Plan

 

Love you all, thanks for reading.

Mural

I finished the mural last night. It felt weird this morning to have coffee without a brush in my hand. It hadn’t necessarily consumed my spare time, but it did seem to dictate it. I had tiny goals for it every week- like find a place for Sam I Am, outline Hop on Pop, or deciding what kind of happy little bush to paint near the water. My initial idea of just few characters hanging out turned into twenty-seven characters with a waterfall, a cliff, trees, flowering fields and a trail leading off into distant mountains.

Kylie warned me not to overdo it. “Just something simple,” she said. She knows me though. I think she knew what was going to happen. And it did.

I would like to make a statement though: I’m not going to be one of those parents that go overboard on everything. Sure, my track record is not good so far- I have a dad blog- I painted a ridiculous mural- and the kid’s not even born yet. My only defense is that I’ve just been so damn excited for the last few months. I feel like Kylie’s doing all the work herself by carrying that lug around and maybe this is my way of being a part of it. I mean, if I could, I would take that little parasite out of her belly and put it in mine and carry it to full term. I’d give it back to her for the birth though, because NO THANK YOU- besides, I’m not a very stretchy guy. See there, I’m not that dad that’s going to go overboard- an overboard dad would have said he would give the birth if he could- but I’m just not that type of guy.

Without any further ado…

Panorama Rama Lama

The “to there” points out the door. The Lorax is a pretty known story about saving the Truffula Trees and the environment in general.

The Lorax and Thidwick

Thidwick the Big Hearted Moose was a new Dr. Seuss story for me and I squeezed him in kinda impromptu.  If you have a chance, try to look up the story- it’s pretty dark for a child’s book.

Thidwick, Things, Sam I Am, and Sneetch

Sam I Am in the back corner above is from an inside cover. It might have been Dr. Seuss’s nod to surrealism.

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Hop on Pop, Foona-Lagoona Baboona

The Sneetches on Beaches is about two types of sneetches not getting along because the starred ones thought they were better than no starred sneetches. They end up getting along. There’s a sleeping Foona-Lagoona Baboona in the tree and all the fishes and a fisherboy. You can’t tell very well, but the fish parachuting down is wearing snorkel gear. If Scout grows up in Missoula the fisherboy sitting in the tree might unfortunately be the most diversity he gets.

Cat In the Hat, Fox in Sox, Mazzy and Kodiak, Corpse Lily, Little Buggy

Kylie painted the homes on the hill. Hop on Pop under the tree with a Corpse Lily in the foreground. In real life Corpse Lilies grow to be three meters wide (and they smell like a rotting corpse!) Whatever, I get to have some fun with this mural. The Cat In The Hat is reading stories to a little bug from Thidwick’s book.

Horton and the Monarch

Somebody took a bite out of that mushroom! Horton is listening to the Monarch while Fox in Sox is welcoming everyone down the trail. Our dog Mazzy and her best friend Kodi are waiting for us to get on that trail. There are a lot of other little fun facts and trivia, but you’ll have to stop by the house to hear those.

Well, that’s it. Now let’s place bets on how many years it will be until Scout says, “Papa, can I just have a plain walled room like all the other kids?”

Cliché

Scout!

What’s going on in there little thing? You are eleven weeks, three days today. Congratulations, you are the size of a fig. Your great grand-nana loved figs. She had a tree in her back yard in Chula Vista. I used to watch her pick them off the tree and eat them- I thought it was disgusting- I think I just don’t like seedy things. Anyhoo, she died over a year ago. I would have loved for you to meet her- mostly because I would have loved to watch her scare the shit out of you. She was an absolutely loving grandmother, but she also like to yell at us as kids. “IF YOU KIDS DON’T LISTEN TO ME I’M GOING TO BEAT YOUR BRAINS IN!!” On occasion she followed it up with, “IF YOU HAVE ANY!”  We, as children, would scream, scatter, and run away. The adults in the room would laugh out loud. As an adult, I got to watch her yell at my younger cousins- I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. Her husband, on the other hand, your great grandpa, was the polar opposite. He would sit quietly in his chair and just observe everything. Every once in a while he’d quip a joke out and everyone would laugh. He died about six years ago while your mama and I were living in a shitty apartment in Flagstaff.

You have one great grandparent left right now- Red. Red is your grandpa Jared’s dad who lives in New York. You’d like him- I had the pleasure of meeting him this year in June. He’s quite the character with stories galore. He reminded me a lot of your late great grandpa Harvey from West Virginia. In fact, both of them had messed up a couple of their own fingers by the time I came around. Your great grandpa Red mangled a couple of his with a chainsaw (they are still there though). Your great grandpa Harvey lost one at the knuckle while working at a sawmill. He used to draw a face on it and move it around to entertain us.

But let’s stop talking about your late Greats. Let’s talk about your balls! Or your vagina! That’s right, I went there. By now you are forming one or the other- and quite honestly, I don’t care which! As long as you are healthy- I know, how cliché of me. But it’s true. I will let you know right now, if you are a girl I’m going to try like hell to raise you like a tomboy- and if you are a boy I’m going to try like hell to raise you into the most sensitive and caring man I can. And if you end up being gay, I’ll be absolutely happy and supportive with that too.

If you can help it though, please don’t be racist, sexist, homophobic, or a bully, or a football player, or in a fraternity or sorority… This will be a longer and more defined list some day, but this is all I can come up with right now on the fly. Actually, if you follow this list of don’ts then you should have a good foundation for being a good person.

Okay, I am about finished with my cappuccino, so I will bid you adieu. I hope you are warm and well inside your mama’s belly. I might put a stethoscope to your world tonight even though the internet says that it is pointless this early in the pregnancy. I wish I could come in and hang out with you for a bit but you’d probably freak me the fuck out with your creepy underdevelopedness at this stage- so I am perfectly happy to wait till June. Hugs and kisses little one.