Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Alex’s First Year

Knowing that I’ll eventually forget everything Alex would’ve done in the first year, I’ve decided to compile a somewhat brief but hopefully telling list of things so that my son can brag to his friends about his developmental advancement when he’s got friends. This is in no order whatsoever because it would imply mental clarity on my part.

10. Alex is taking awkward steps that last short distances. He is definitely wanting to walk now, sometimes opting to stay on his feet without being prompted. He still has some problems with speed and turning, but he’s making some good progress.

9. He can dance, but most often only when there’s some kind of music. Some of it are pelvic thrusts, some of it’s bending down and springing back up with a hearty laugh. A lot of it is shaking his upper torso from side to side until he’s dizzy.

8. He can say Da-Da, Ah-Bah, Bah, Da, and different pitches of squeals. He can sometimes imitate a sound - the other day I was fencing with him with potatoe masher and he said, “Hi-Ya”, repeating after me. He also sometimes says, “This.” I doubt he has any comprehension to what any of it means.

7. He thinks farts, burps, people getting hurt, surprises, Mommy crying, kitty meowing for its dear life, and little sleeping sister is funny. He does a lot of things for approval, often doing a smirk after an action or seeing if people are enjoying him. He’s pretty cheerful, laughing hysterically often and to himself just as much. He’ll sit in his car seat with no one looking and laugh to himself. He’ll also join into laughter, when I’m laughing about something else, he’ll join in the joke.

6. He likes to bonk his head against the wall, smash things with his hands, and hit little sister on the head while she’s sleeping. He also goes for glasses, eyeballs, mouths and tounges, as well as his own reflection.

5. He can feed himself, though he’ll often shove everything in his mouth with little room to chew. This, of course results in constant choking on things. This also pisses Mom and Dad off a great deal. Take the time to enjoy your food, man.

4. He doesn’t like being changed. You have to distract him with a toy or a bottle or he’ll cry and wiggle like a worm, or just squirm away crying at the top of his lungs. For those reasons, I try not to change him unless I’ve got a clown or some form of pyrotechnics handy.

3. He has a set schedule. Wakes up at around 8:30 to 9am, and goes for his first nap at 12:30pm. He sleeps till 2:30 to 3:30, then gets up to have lunch, and rule more of the world. He has dinner at around six, and bedtime’s at 8:30pm. You sleep through the night, and your parents thank you for that.

2. My favorite memories of you are too many to list, but here’s some. We were at the zoo and an elephant was shaking his head, and I pointed to it and told you about it, and you shook your head. That make me happy. When we were at Mt. Rainier’s Visitor Center, I sat you on my lap and swayed side to side, going, “Whoa...” and then stopped. You swayed side to side on your own, making a similar tone, and you just about broke my heart and made me cry. When you took your first steps, we were all very proud of you and cheered you on. That encouraged you some more and you took more steps. When you were born, you made me weep because it was one of the happiest days of my life. When I kiss you goodbye and you smack your lips back, it makes me happy. When I came into your room and you stuck your lips between the bars, and I kissed them, making you laugh. And when I stuck my lips between the bars and you wanted to kiss them, but kept laughing before you kissed me, that made me happy. Sigh. Like I said, too many to list.

1. You get stranger anxiety, which is actually not that bad. Makes Mommy and Daddy feel like your most important people in the world, and that’s how we like it!

Happy First Birthday, Alex!!!

Dear Alex,

When you’re reading this during your 18th birthday, and you think we’re just the most uncool, socially inept parents in the world, think about your first birthday and the purity of it all. Being able to shove all the cake frosting in your face and not a single person in the room judging you for it. Only cool parents allow their kids to do that.

We celebrated your birthday a day early, on Labor Day, because it was the best day for everyone to show up. Grandma, Uncle Ron and Auntie Eriko drove up from Redmond, your oldest sister and her your brother-in-law (yikes, I just realized that.) showed up with your niece Jane and Nephew Joseph, who are both incidentally older than you, and Uncle Brendon showed up too as well, probably mostly to see you get nutso.

Of course, first things first... We started off your party with a nap. You needed your afternoon nap before the festivites so that you wouldn’t conk out on it halfway after being a super cranky baby. So while you were napping, Uncle Brendon and I got a cake for you, a 45-dollar chocolate cheesecake for your Uncle and Daddy, and some more balloons from Haggen because the ones we got you the day before crapped out severely. Everyone knows a deflated Sponge is just not the same.

Midway through your nap, we got some pizza for the masses, and when you woke up, you had a slice as well. Everyone was getting a little restless because they had arrived at noonish, and you didn’t wake up till almost 2:30, so we had to entertain ourselves by sitting around and watching a “What Not to Wear” Marathon on TLC. That’s a program on cable TV that abuses fashion-impaired people and forces them to dress and look metrosexual, even though most of us could probably do it ourselves if we had the show’s budget.

Shortly after, your playmates and your sister arrived, and all of you launched a destructive course of action against the balloons. It was a balloon smackdown. You were tugging on the strings, Joseph was beating them down, and Jane was just sitting on them. The adults sat on the perimeter of the room and their energy levels were involuntarily sucked out of them by watching you kids massacre the balloons. Don’t worry, none of them popped, though SpongeBob does look a little defeated today.

When it came time for your cake, you had a special one all by yourself because you’re the birthday boy! When two digital cameras and a video camera trained on you, you devoured the cake with gusto. For some reason, the green icing that spelled out the one overrode all the other colors, and your mouth looked as if you’d just ate a frog. You were actually quite clean, to your credit, until I stuck a SpongeBob hat on you. You reached up to get it, and the frosting was then in your hair. Some of it got in your eye and we wiped it off, but with a fell swipe, you made it ten times worse. Fearing that I was going to be responsible for blinding my only son with frosting, I took you out for a bath. Dude, I had a slice of the cake, maybe a fraction of what you had, and I was done. That thing had enough sugar in it to cause a school riot.

During your bath, Uncle Ron took a bunch of nudie pictures of you. I had to drain the original bath water because the frosting was so greasy, and there were chunks of cake in there.

And after your bath, you peed on us.

Then it was present time! Mom helped you open all your presents, and you were very very please with... the wrapping paper. The toys were all sorts of different varieties, from developmental destructive (the ball and hammer contraption) to entertainment (the carnival one) to developmental constructive (stacking cups) to plain destructive (the military helecopter). There was also a ride on tricycle, and toy cars, and crayons. There was also a crack pipe in there somewhere, but that was just Daddy being careless. Silly Daddy!

More desserts and some spring rolls, and everyone went home. The rest of the night was pretty quiet, Auntie Maralise stopped back, and then Daddy went to bed somewhat early because it was going to be his first day back from paternity leave the next day.

Happy Birthday, Son!

Monday, September 06, 2004

Happy Birthday, Alex!

As you can see, he had cake!