Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ivan the Entertaining

We're at a funny stage right now with Dylan (usually funny-weird, sometimes funny ha-ha). She's walking, true, but changes in terrain, footwear, or climate drastically effect her mobility. On laminate flooring with bare feet, she's a whirling dervish. Sometimes she even breaks into a run. But throw some sandals on her or put out a throw rug and she becomes, literally, physical comedy.

Dylan is also expanding her vocabulary. That's not entirely true; she hasn't picked up any new words lately, but she makes some nice stabs at repeating what we say. It always comes out as gibberish, and she sounds remarkably like the Swedish Chef, which is really funny. She's also learned that loud grunts and squeals are a great way to give direction. If we turn the pages to Go, Dog, Go too slowly (e.g. in time to read every page), she'll let us know by grunting. If we skip pages or breeze through the book too quickly, she'll scream.

Aside from trying to mimic what we say, she also tries to copy what we do. I put up a swing for her and she immediately learned to climb to the first step on our foot stool. She loves grabbing the wheel if we're taking a short trip in the truck (no farther than Medford), and running the blinkers ... and the wiper fluid, and the wipers, and the radio .... She's also getting good at using a fork. By "good," I mean she holds a fork with one hand and feeds herself with the other.

This walking, babbling, curious stage reminds Regina and me of one thing: drunk people. Or, more precisely, living with Dylan is like having and old, Russian, drunk for a roommate. Cute and cuddly one minute (like all drunk Russians), belligerent and ornery the next. Dylan stumbles around, demands things by pointing and screaming (food, toys, books), and makes us guess what she wants, falls into joyful dance when we get it right, then farts and passes out in blissful slumber.

I guess the fun part is that her behavior reminds us of our college days, except when Dylan falls asleep, we don't write "smelly" across her forehead. Yet.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Baby Bonds

When a nurse hands you a prescription for your baby's croup, and offhandedly mentions that, "The steroids might make her a little moody," take that to heart.

To be fair, it might not have entirely been the steroids that turned Dylan from a wild thing to an uber-wild thing. First, she is often outrageous in public settings. Attention in from strangers is her caffeine. Attention from waitresses in Thai restaurants is her Red Bull. Second, she may have been rejoicing the fact that she received a clean bill of health (minus the croup) for her ear infection. Or, third, she may have been a little giddy, having just been in her first automobile accident. Yeah, some dillweed pulled out in front of Regina and turned his Toyota pickup into a hood ornament for the Pilot. No one was hurt, thankfully, but the crash may have left Dylan feeling invincible.

But I think it was the 'roids.

I'm not trying to give steroids a bad rap. They're great for lots of things: hitting the long ball, sprinting faster than Big Brown, creating a mass between your head and shoulders that does not resemble a neck, or, shrinking those pesky giant testicles. And, they're also great for getting rid of the croup.

Dylan laughed and giggled and made her presence known to everyone at Ali's Thai Kitchen. At one point, I looked up from our chicken curry and asked, "Where's Dylan?" Then we heard the shrieks of delight from the kitchen and figured everything was okay. "Pass the Tom Yum," Regina said.

We only had to give three doses of the "juice," and, by the following day, Baby Godzilla had calmed down (relatively) and now is just a boogery, wild, ex-steroid user. Like Jose Canseco or Barry Bonds, but with less whining.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hodeo Dodeo

Did you know that the name of the rodeo grounds in Etna is the "Pleasure Park"? It's an unusual name, for sure, and I like to think that when the old rodeo arena drifted away in the big flood, the Board of Directors opened up the naming of the new facility to the local schools. And, after tallying up the votes, "Pleasure Park" narrowly beat out "Dirt Field," and "Rodeo Rotunda."

Kids always come up with the best names. When I was a director on the rodeo board, we'd hold an annual contest at the local elementary schools to name the rodeo parade's theme. My favorites: "Hodeo Dodeo, Let's Have A Rodeo," and, "Strawberry Dirt." I voted for them both, and they lost by a margin of 8:1.

This is just a long way of telling you that this last weekend was full of rodeos for the Eastside Gang. Lacy was in her final high school rodeo and the May Rodeo was on Sunday. We took Dylan to both. Remember, Dylan is no rodeo rookie; in fact, she spent a majority of her weekends last summer snuggled inside a Baby Bjorn, watching bucking bulls and fast horses. That did little to prepare us for the '08 rodeo season.

Now that Dylan is both mobile and in love with animals, the rodeo grounds were like a giant amusement park for her. We had to pry her tiny, but unusually strong, fingers from the fencing around the bucking horses. I think if we walked away, gone to the Lion's Club booth for a Lion Burger and a Coors, she still would have been clinging to the top rail of the fence, saying, "Hor-seee," when we returned. The bull pen was a little more problematic because once she saw the bulls -- "Mooooo," -- she wanted to crawl in there with them. Luckily, Donny, the bullfighter, brought his dog and that gave her something else to maul.

Between bulls, horses, dogs, a shiny crown on the queen, daycare buddies, and lots of dropped food to nibble on, Dylan was in Seventh Heaven at the Pleasure Park. She went to bed early on Sunday night and was asleep as soon as her head hit the crib, immediately dreaming of eight second rides and strawberry dirt.