Sunday, May 31, 2009

I Love You. You Love Me.

This morning, on our way to daycare, I tried to get Dylan pumped about her soon-to-be big sister status.
"Dylan, do you know Mommy has a baby in her tummy?"
"Mmm-hm," came the reply from the back seat.
"Is it a baby boy or baby girl?"
"Are you going to be a good big sister?"
"I love ..."
Dylan paused. I tightened my grip on the steering wheel. Finally! Dylan was officially excited about having a little brother. Until now, her reaction has been, at best, dismissive.
"Yes?" I asked.
"I love Barney."
Barney? Really? That stupid I-love-everyone dinosaur isn't even on TV anymore. Fortunately for Dylan, Grandma has a VCR and a pile of old movies.

For our part, we've been busy surrounding Dylan with babies and boys, just to get her prepped for July. Malcolm, her Oakland homey, visited last weekend and helped transition her to a house that's equal parts estrogen and testosterone, like a well-mixed Manhattan. For a much better recap of the weekend, check out: Malcolm's dad has better recall than I do and has awesome photos from their visit.

Malcolm, too, is an only child, and two of those playing together is usually more heated then Israeli-Palestine peace talks. Not this trip. The two got along terrifically and their toy-tug-of-wars always ended with hugs rather than slugs. Dylan even appropriately ignored the boy when he ran around the yard in his nudie and put on a little burlesque show with his mom's hat.
Last night, we took her to Derek and Shelly's wedding. It was a huge valley party and you couldn't walk ten feet without stepping on a small child. Parents don't like it when you step on their small children, but I say put lights on them and I'll see them. Anyway, it was another great opportunity for Dylan to meet babies -- maybe even baby boys -- and take another step toward acclimation. It turned out to be a great opportunity squandered. Dylan ran around the dance floor, pushed anyone off who tried to join her, and got shushed by old ladies. Regina and I pretended we didn't see her as we ate as quickly as we could. As we finished our meal, we realized that sharing the dance floor was as likely as sharing her toys with her brother, and we knew we had a lot of work ahead of us. We finally caught her when she blew out her flip-flop and were able to load her in the truck.

While Dylan pretends that Mommy's pregnant tummy is hiding either puppies or kittens, we are getting excited. We've decided amicably on a name (hint: it rhymes with "silver angst") without resorting to a rock-paper-scissors tournament or Indian leg-wrestling. We've set up the crib, again, and even picked up a pack of diapers (one ought to do it, right? I've heard that boys to all their business outside).

I think we're ready. And who knows, maybe by the time Bilver Pangst (hint: not his real name) is old enough to be seduced by television, the big purple dinosaur will be back in fashion, and he and his big sister will snuggle up on the couch together and sing along with every song.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


It was rodeo-time here in the Valley, unfortunately for Dylan, it was also nap time. So, after watching a few brave (or forced) mutton busters, she took off her pink cowgirl hat and decided she'd had enough. The rodeo puttered along without a hitch; it went so smoothly, in fact, that by the time Dylan and Mommy made it back in, the Lions' Club was discounting their Lion burgers and the performance was over.

As per customary rodeo tradition, we hung around with people whose coolers weren't quite empty and watched Dylan play in the dirt. She and her buddy Aiden found a pile of wheat (you know it's a good place for a rodeo when it's easy to find piles of wheat) and played the "pour wheat in your hair" game.

At one point, Dylan and I had to walk to our truck (our "friends" let their coolers get empty). As we passed behind the roping chutes she pointed to a pile and said, "Horsey poopy." It was a courteous gesture to warn her old man and I was impressed that she could differentiate between horse and "other" poop. But, what do you expect from a horse-crazy girl?

Yep, it's official: Dylan's crazy about horses. It's a lot better than being crazy about Saving You Money at Crazy Eddie's Furniture Gallery, or just, you know, plain ol' crazy. It helps that we have a new foal in our front yard (we've named her Sugar) and that the rest of the cavvy is in our back yard. We go on horse watching expeditions nearly every day and Dylan's new favorite word is "Penny," because that's the last horse she rode on a cattle drive.

I have a few horses here to start training, and I think Dylan will like having little rodeos right here at the house every night. Who knows, if the horses don't like me, I'll send in Dylan ... they'll surely like a horse-crazy girl with wheat in her hair.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Dylan Hanna & Parliament Funkadelic

In 1994 Regina and I, along with a few friends, went to Lollapalooza. We left before the headliner, the Smashing Pumpkins, played because, well, it was the Smashing Pumpkins. But we did see A Tribe Called Quest, the Breeders, and the Beastie Boys. We also saw people who shouldn't have been topless and a fistfight in a bathroom. Between the Beasties and the Breeders was George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. I hadn't heard much about ol' George and for the first hour of his set I thought he was a roadie on stage setting up mics for the Beasties. When I realized the jamming/singing/growling coming through the speakers wasn't mood music or a sound test, and was, in fact, an actual guy singing, I thought, "Who in the hell is this big dude with rainbow dreads and giant sunglasses? And why is he freaking me out so much?"

Dylan's second birthday was last weekend and Regina and I had a Lollapalooza flashback, or a lolla-back, as the professionals call it. Dylan was pretty pumped up about her big day and when the first guests arrived, she grabbed a pink pair of sunglasses that were attached to her gift. When the next guests arrived, she swiped the curly-q ribbons off their gift and put them in her hair. She added a princess crown, platinum necklace (genuine Chinese plastic), and a ring that looked like something Run DMC wore in 1988. "Our little Funkadelic George," Regina said to me. "Yikes," I think I replied.

The party was pretty fun for Dylan. Last year she opened one gift, cried, then quit the party entirely. This year, she opened each gift carefully (sort of), added more ribbon to her birthday dreads, and gave appropriate ooohs and aaahs at every unwrapping.

Dylan is getting pretty good with forming sentences, but there are long sentences, even multi-syllabic words, that tongue-tie her a little. "Bicycle" comes out as "Factory yo-yo." "Greg" has three syllables. And the Gettysburg Address starts out great but gets off track ... "Four score and a blee-blooo dobbie do da."

It must have been right between roping cats and polishing off her fourth cupcake when Dylan's words failed her and she resorted to toddler-scatting. The babbling reminded us even more of George Clinton, and we knew our best bet would be to put her to bed. It took a while to come off the sugar-high, but she finally fell asleep, sunglasses askew and ribbon strewn around her room. Regina and I finally sat down, relaxed, and, since our little George had finished her set, waited for the Beastie Boys to come on stage.