Tuesday, March 31, 2009

First Second

Cash & Dad’s Third Three Months

Cash you are our first second child, forever. Being the first second has significant advantages. Your parents are less likely to fumble you as experience reduces game time choking. You also have a larger fan base that includes an enthusiastic (though reluctant toy sharing) brother and an adoring (though smelly) golden retriever. Most importantly, the household has already adjusted to the shock of being, well, a family.

You see, becoming a parent is being plopped unceremoniously into a vast ocean of uncertainty. Or, I should say, back into that vast ocean. When I was young, I struggled to break free of family in a campaign to forge my own identity. I succeeded … only to find myself splashing around, flailing for a social beachhead, a place to belong. Eventually I grasped islands of friends, developed a craft to voyage, and learned to navigate life’s geography with a semblance of grace.

Then babies: Curplunk! Back in that ocean again. Having kids is realizing your hard won individuality is a plurality. You are soul-tied to your children and you see things through their eyes pulling your heart and mind into a frame of reference outside yourself -- a more exposed, less controlled, vexing yet exciting perspective! With the birth of a child, a parent is reborn, wet.

That’s why it’s so fun to go to birthday parties with you! Watching parents wrestle with the new psychology of shared identity with every spilled milk or thrown cake (“shared-personality-development-episodes”) is a ball. At XXXX Burnquist’s party on April X, 2009, you took a toy from XXX Kissel and promptly smacked him on the head. His father, Aaron Kissel, who up until that moment was a friend of mine, flashed with anger at me -- as if I’d hit him!

You see, Aaron’s boy was manhandled by you, a much younger and courageous CASH MACHINE! (Mom's nickname for you). I shouldn’t have enjoyed this, but I did. My little perpetrator showed initiative and, despite my better judgment, I loved it. Yes, yes, it’s a sick, sick thing and it’s funny. Good thing Rachel isn’t reading this.

You, our first second baby, are about relishing this madness. Indeed, the first second experience turns our prior child rearing tenants on their head. With Luke I couldn’t believe how complicated “it” was to maintain with the dirty diapers, bottles, feeding, pooping, etc. In your case, Cash, I can’t believe what an elegant machine you are. Just feed you a little milk and you keep humming!

Or keep demanding. As your birthday party behavior hints, you’ve expanded your behavioral spectrum beyond cool blue into the redder, more aggressive regions. You’ve started jabbering and you’ve learned the power of volume. Your voice remains deep for a baby, and while you don’t scream much, you are persistent. You let us know what you want: a toy, food, a break from Luke. What you hate most is being left out of the action which is challenging because, in our house, the human train moves perpetually from room to room.

It’s no surprise then that you picked up crawling early on January 29th, 2009. So far, your approach is entirely an upper body effort with your arms and chest propelling you along with your legs free riding. This style of locomotion evolved out of Luke’s impatience with your crawling progress and the fact we have slick hardwood floors. Luke took to pushing/sliding you around the house with his arms, so you got the general idea of arm propulsion but got no reference for the use of legs!

You are now eating solids and, unlike your brother, you are an absolute omnivore. You eat anything and everything in sight. On top of our copper table, fastened into your eating chair, you power through food like a tree shredder splattering food all over your face. With your food war paint, you sit like a fat, satiated warrior having consumed his kill. You are still 70th percentile in height, but, in some gross miscalculation, they say you are still 50th in weight!? Kids in the U.S. must be getting incredibly fat.