Saturday, February 28, 2009

All You Do To Me Is Talk, Talk

I like to drive. Radio on. Sun glinting off the windshield. Thoughts racing randomly. In fact I get some of my best ideas in the car. For some people (like my husband) it's the shower, but I'm a car girl. There's something about the split focus of it that I find freeing. You instinctively know how to drive; if you're me, you've been doing it for more than twenty years. You know where you're going. You're on auto-pilot. After a while your mind just glides from one subject to next, until it starts circling one idea. Honing it. Perfecting it. It's almost subconscious. You just kind of hit this sublime place that I can never quite get to sitting at a desk.

The other day, while driving to the Mommy/Baby play group, when I had just about gotten to that perfect mental space. I was beginning to feel the germination of a fantastic idea, when "Ack!", yes, "Ack!", came from the back seat. Still in my zone, I subconsciously "Ack!"-ed back and was met with a return "Dada dida dida do". Well, as you can imagine, this pulled me out my own head. I thought for a moment and realized that the polite thing to do was to respond, so I threw a "dada dida dida do" right back. To which my little passenger responded "ba ACK da!" So I replied, and thus started a twenty minute exchange.
It seems the conversation with Dash has begun.

About a month and a half ago he started waving bye-bye. But it's turned into more of a "hi" wave, which I have to say I'm much happier with. I mean, who thought it was a good idea to teach babies "bye-bye". Think about it, if you were a baby why would you ever want to practice that skill? Every time you do it, the person you were just playing with leaves. How horrible. I'm much more delighted by his combo wave/high-five thing when I enter a room.

After he kind of got the wave-thing down, we started him on sign language. He recognizes the signs for drink and eat, but has yet to model them himself. Maybe someday. We'll see. I've also tried to teach him the sign for "no more" (hand parallel to the floor, palm down, wave back and forth) but he's come up with his own version in the last couple days (head turned as far to the side as possible, nose in the air, lower lip jutted out, back arched and sometimes he makes his face turn bright red just to punctuate it.)

But even if sign language doesn't work out for him, I think he'll be all right. The kid is a talker. He started babbling at 2 1/2 - 3 months and just last week he really kicked into gear. Talking in tub, talking while playing, talking in the stroller, obviously, talking in the car. He talks and talks and talks. (And it's getting louder and louder!)

And he listens. He definitely recognizes simple commands, as well as a few all-time favorite words like "Arlo" (our dog) and "car". In fact, my in-laws swear they've heard him say "Arlo" and I definitely think I've heard it too. (Isn't that great... not mama or dada, in a discriminate way. It's Arlo. The dog trumps us every time and all he has to do is show up. We're the ones doing a freakin' tap dance. Thanks a lot kid!)

I'm intrigued to see where this all goes. How it evolves. I love that we're beginning to "talk". I hope it's a conversation that lasts the rest of my life.

Today we went to Charlie's first birthday party. Although Dash and Charlie are little too young to talk to each other, they did communicate in other ways: Dash enjoyed poking at Charlie's overall buttons and Charlie, the little thief, had a good time stealing Dash's hat! Since it was his party, we restrained ourselves from pressing charges. Just kidding, Charlie. (But we'll definitely be wearing a hat with a chin strap next time we meet!)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stand Off

Now that Dash is crawling like crazy, life has definitely changed. He moves swiftly from one activity to the next and not much gets in his way, except maybe a threshold. Yep, that's right. It's as if an invisible force field exists between the room he is in and next room. He will propel himself forward until half his body is in one room and half in the next and then splat on his tummy and whine. (I got to tell you, it's pretty amusing.) But today everything changed.

This morning after two attempts to cross from his room into the library, both of which ended in a well executed whining tummy splat (high marks from all the judges), he managed to muster up enough courage to advance into the next room. His motivation? The heated pursuit of our pets.

Up until now Floyd, our cat, has been cautiously curious about our new addition. He's been able to check out Dash from a safe distance, lounging casually on the carpet, not a care in the world. Oh Floyd, as of today it's a brave new world my friend!!

This morning Dash had Floyd on the run. Floyd's anxiousness was palatable. You knew he was imagining two tiny hands digging into his sleek coat and pulling out two fistfuls of well-groomed hair! Every time Dash would get too close Floyd would rear back and lift a front paw as if warning him to get back. This trick doesn't work on Arlo, our dog, and certainly didn't work on Dash.

Eventually Dash had him cornered. And as Dash was advancing on his target, Arlo swept in to lick Dash's face giving Floyd the opportunity to make a break for it! This didn't faze Dash one bit and without a second's thought he switched focus from Floyd to Arlo. But Arlo was much cleverer than Floyd and ditched the little rascal effortlessly to join Floyd out on the balcony.

Much to Dash's dismay, all he could do was stare at them from other side of the door, Mission: Terrorize Pets aborted (for now!)

Monday, February 23, 2009


This weekend Dashell went to the Long Beach Aquarium for the second time in his young life. It was the perfect day for it, a little overcast, not too cool, not too warm. So we packed up the family, including Dashell's Nanna and Jimbo who are out for a visit, and took off for a day of underwater excitement.

The fish looked fetching as always. It's interesting to see them in their "natural" habitats: to see which fish swim in schools and which are loners, which like to swim laps and which like to cling to the rocks. To see a glimpse of what it must be like to live under the sea.

I watched Dash look intently at the fish and watched some of the fish look back at him and I realized that, like the fish, I've been watching him lately. A lot.

I know all the books say that as you play with your child you should carry on a continuous dialog about what you are doing, but lately I catch myself sitting there mute, watching him. Wow, what will he do next? Look, he's taking the toys out of the bucket. Oh wait, now he's putting them back in. He's on the move. Where's he going? I find him utterly fascinating!

Periodically I think I catch glimpses of the little boy he's becoming. He's really not a baby anymore, but he's not quite a toddler either. He's in middle. But sometimes if you look hard enough, and wait, and watch you can almost see a visual flutter of where he's going to end up.

And when I think about it, it's not just Dashell I've been watching lately. When his grandparents come to visit I like to watch them too. Sometimes I think I catch glimpses of what they must have been like as young parents. What their interactions might have been like with Dave and with me when we were Dashell's age. How patient they were with us, how loving and how much fun!

But it's all just glimpses. Whether it's me seeing Dashell's future, or my past. Or us witnessing life under the water, or even the fish catching a glimpse of life on land. It's fleeting, but fascinating... and it definitely keeps me coming back and patiently watching for more.

The boys are suited up and ready to roll!

Three generations of men-folk...

Lovin' him some fish!

Dash wasn't too sure what to think of the birds...

...but they loved him.

He even got to pet one!

 did Nanna and Jimbo.

Dash also got to pet the baby sharks...

...and the starfish...

...and the stingrays.

All in all it was a pretty good day.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Lately I've had three (little) men in my tub: the slurper, the splasher, and the mover-n-shaker. This all started out rather simply...

Dash thought is was fun to slurp the water from the washcloth. We thought it was cute that he just couldn't get enough and let him run with it.

Then came the splashing. Splash, splash, splash, mommy's drenched. Splash, splash, splash, water up the nose, cough, cough, sputter, sputter, slurp, slurp (you got it... back to the washcloth), splash, splash, SPLASH! Mommy looks like a drown rat; heeheehee! Dash thinks that's HI-lar-ious.

Now roll those two in with crawling and standing (yes, in the tub) and you've got a little bit of bath-time craziness. Don't get me wrong, I don't long for the simple days. It's amazing to watch him learn and grow at such a fantastic rate (it's almost like you can see the synapses firing), but I definitely wish I had another set of arms (or two... or twelve!!!)





...splash, splash, splash...


...stand! The first time, ever. It caught me a little off guard...

...then he did it again...

...and again.

The kid just couldn't get enough!

So we took away his water...

...but it didn't dampen his spirits one bit.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

More Than A Puppy...

Over the last week or so Dash has learned a bunch of new tricks. Every time I ask him to do one, I go back in my mind's eye to the times when we were training our dog and our pig.

People would come over and say "Wow! What a good looking puppy/pig!" And we would beam proudly and say, "Yes, we think so. Would you like to see him fetch/close the door/ring the bell for food/go in a litter box (the pig not the dog)?"

For a while I would catch myself teaching Dash a new trick or asking him to perform one for his Daddy (or others) and think, is this demeaning? Am I treating him like a new pet instead of a son?

And then I realized that we're learning new tricks our whole life (and constantly being asked to perform them for others). Whether it's walking, or algebra, or soccer, or union negotiations, or keeping a marriage strong and happy while caring for a newborn, we're constantly learning and growing and... performing "tricks".

So, I've come to the conclusion that I am aiding him in a life long journey toward success and understanding. And with that, I'm ok.

That said, I now would like to direct your attention to the series of videos below in which Dash performs all of his new tricks for your viewing pleasure. You're a good boy Dash! Yes, you are! Yes, you are! What a good boy!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Small Pleasures

There's nothing like having a hard day and then finding some escape by indulging in your favorite gastronomical delight (and being able to do this all by yourself!) My comfort food is anything with melted cheese. Dashell, on the other hand, has not had the opportunity to sample this delicacy, so instead he chooses to indulge in... Cheerios. I guess there's something to be said for their delicate oat flavor and natural fiber-y goodness!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine Safari

What says Valentine's Day more than a family outing to the zoo?! Yesterday Dashell got witness some true love animal-style. Whether it was the Giraffes peacefully grazing side-by-side, or the male Flamingos preening, trying to show that they were the most worthy of the females adoring glances, or the great Silverback giving his mate a not so gentle love tap (and she screeching at him to remind him who is boss!), the zoo is definitely the place to realize that there are all kinds of relationships and that love and companionship comes in many forms.

And then later that day... flowers from Daddy and a heart-melting giggle from Dash! What more could young(ish) gal want for Valentine's Day?!