Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Photocopied Finger

Regina and I went to the doctor's last week for our second sonogram (which is just the technical term for an ultrasound -- we asked -- and is not to be confused with a Sonicare or a mammogram, unless the technician is extra-thorough). After they dumped half a bottle of green slime on Regina's belly, the technician measured just about everything on our squirmy baby. (We remembered that Dylan, too, was a wiggly baby. I think Regina and I are in for it.)

The coolest thing about our tech was her "working voice." While she looked and clicked and measured, she told us exactly what she was doing in a lilting voice that was like a soft, pleasant song, like something from Sara McLachlan or The Cranberries. "Now I'm measuring baby's kidneys," she'd sing. "Encore!" Regina and would shout as we waved our arms and held up our lighters.

As we neared the end of our concert, I mean appointment, the technician asked if we still wanted to know the gender of our baby. Regina and I aren't into surprises, and we'd already made up our minds that we wanted to know as much as possible about the new roommate we were getting. I looked up at the monitor to see if I could tell before she told us. Every image she'd captured up until then looked nothing like a baby to me. "See the baby's nose," she'd point. "There?" "No, that's MY nose, but nice try," she'd reply. Other, more plausible, options that I saw on the ultrasound's screen were 1) the surface of the moon, or 2) leftover casserole. But a baby? No.

But this time, when she asked the gender question, I glanced up at the screen and saw something that looked like a photocopied finger. I'm no doctor, but I was pretty certain Baby Turtle was a boy. I was right.

With Dylan, we had decided on a boy's name (or, rather, a different name for a boy, since, let's face it, Dylan is kind of a boy's name), but were uncertain about a girl's names. For Turtle, the opposite is true. This means either giving our son a girl's name or that we have only four months to come up with a boy's name. The name negotiations will probably take longer than California budget negotiations, and ours involve thumb wrestling and Google searches.

Dylan, we think, will be happy to have a little brother. After all, there aren't too many girls who are her age around here, so she's used to boys. And, as Maddock pointed out, a little brother will come in handy for deterring young grinders when high school dances roll around (and I won't have to chaperone).

Until then, we'll keep our image of the photocopied finger on the refrigerator and try to convince Dylan that Mommy doesn't have a full tummy, rather, she's having a boieeeee.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dancing: A Cautionary Tale

A friend of mine recently chaperoned Etna High's homecoming dance. He was only slightly disturbed by the grinding on the dance floor, but was generally unimpressed. That is, until he noticed his daughter dancing, a recipient of the aforementioned grinding.

I've seen this guy completely dismantle men in fist fights, and, I suppose, his first reaction was to do the same to the young grinder. Instead, he calmly told the boy that if he danced like that with his daughter again, he'd break his arms off.

The story is both a cautionary tale (be careful with whom you choose to grind) and a beautiful story for fathers of daughters. I know I'll hang on to it for a long time and will retell it to Dylan before her first school dance.

But really, what it makes me think about is how soon that first dance will be. No, Dylan's daycare isn't holding a Spring Formal (good thing, the girls outnumber the boys 3:1), but, as the old cliche goes, she's growing up too fast.

It seems like yesterday Dylan was sticking her fingers up my nose and asking, "Booger?" Okay, maybe that was yesterday, but it'll be sooner rather than later when picking her father's nose, or even her father picking his own nose, in public will embarrass her.

It feels like overnight Dylan has gone from coo-ing and drooling to a little monkey who can climb into her dinner chair, answer questions (How old are you? "ONE!" Did you poop? "Mmmm-Hmm."), and count to ten (one. THREE! nine. TEN!). Time seems only speeds up exponentially. This is only good during the NBA season and bouts of the stomach flu, but it's too fast for parenting.

As the old joke goes: when boys start showing up like tom cats at our door, I only have to shoot the first one and word will get around. I know that only a father of a daughter could have written that, and soon I'll probably start seriously considering if that's a viable option. I'll know that it won't be, but the break-off-the-arms-thing, that just might work.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Super Baby

We broke in the new addition last weekend with a Superbowl party. Dylan thinks any gathering of three or more people is a party for her, and she's usually right. And why wouldn't she be? People brought snack foods (her favorite) and most of the kids who came were boys (her other favorite -- until I teach her that boys are icky).

We had a table loaded with awesome treats: smoked salmon dip, chips, nacho cheese, smoked cheese, stuffed mushrooms, little smokies ... it was a dangerous gastronomical cocktail which gave me a food induced hangover. Well, that and the beer. But Dylan loved it; she parked herself next to the table like a stray dog begging for table scraps. "Chip?" she'd ask anyone who approached. Most thought that Dylan was a kind and thoughtful hostess, offering her guests chips.

We know better. "Chip?" as a question simply means For the Love of God, Give Me a Chip. Now. Once everyone caught on to her chip gathering scheme and her tummy was full of pressed corn goodness, she ventured outside to play with the boys.

She still says "boy" like Flavor Flav says it ... stretching out the Y at the end of boy, like it's a long i-eeeee. Flavor Flav isn't the best role model, he's not even good for language lessons, so we won't be getting her the giant clock medallion or a creepy show on VH1 any time soon. Although we would let her duet with Chuck D if he wanted to do a Public Enemy reunion tour (80s rap joke alert!).

Outside, Dylan accosted anyone who came out to the cooler for a beer. "Swing?" she'd ask the party guests who, by now, were a few beers in. They'd politely tell the persistent little urchin who was guarding the cooler that, no thank you, they'd rather not swing on a full stomach, and besides, halftime was about over, but thanks for asking. Little did they know that "Swing?" is neither a question nor an option -- it's a command. Much like "Chip?" is a demand.

Those unfortunate enough to deny Dylan her swing time found out the hard way that a five minute session pushing Dylan on the swing was a prerequisite for getting a beer from the cooler. Most of the guys started bringing in four or five beers at a time.

As the afternoon faded into evening, everyone came inside. Like a little Martha Stewart, Dylan roamed the party and made sure the guests were happy and didn't have any unwanted chips on their plates.

When bedtime finally rolled around, Dylan was hesitant to leave her party, but her snuggly jammies and warm milk trumped etiquette, so, with a wave and a loud, "Night-night" to everyone, and after several escapes from bed -- just to make sure everyone still missed her -- the queen of the party finally fell asleep.