Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The lanyard

My favorite poem, thus far, is "The Lanyard" by Billy Collins. Here is the line I love best:

"Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp."

Yeah. That's pretty much how it goes. I look forward to handprint turkeys and refrigerator worthy spelling tests as a testament to my daughter's great respect and affection for me.

On a side note, Alice now enjoys clenching objects in her teeth and roaming the house with her prize. Usually it is a ring shaped toy, giving her a passing resemblance to Ferdinand the Bull. Today however, as Tony washed his hands for dinner Alice slipped into the entryway, stood up to her full height (2ft+), took Tony's wallet from it's resting place next to his keys, and put it in her mouth.

Then the little bandit crawled away with her purloined treasure safely locked between her two thieving baby teeth and her accomplice gums.

Here is the poem above in it's entirety:

The Lanyard - Billy Collins

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.


Alice bit me on the toe.

And the cheek.

I went in for a hug before bathtime and when I pulled away she had the neck of my shirt still clenched in her mouth.

She also bit the cat.

pointy bird

While taking Tony to work this morning I saw a bird fly out of Payless Shoes with a shoestring clenched in it's beak. Not an everyday occurrence so I mentioned it to Tony.

So he says, "Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that yesterday when I got the mail a bird flew out of our mailbox!"

Trumped again.

Friday, April 24, 2009

UD day at the Capital

Last night we went to our Alma Mater's day at the Texas State Capital, or rather Tony went to the Capital and Alice and I joined him for free drinks and empanadas at the mixer afterwards. No one from our class was there but we met friends of my Grandparents, classmates of Tony's peeps, and some local alumni that might be work contacts/friends/potential babysitters.

Alice clearly enjoys networking with her Daddy. I enjoy empanadas.

This would have been a very sweet picture but Tony was negotiating two diaper bags and the camera at the time

To our great surprise Alice had no problem being out slightly beyond bedtime. On the way home after the good times we decided to document Alice's good mood. 1st we gave our best impressions of "we are out way too late" Alice grumpface.

Here is her actual face:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Flying Monkeys


"I'm gonna get you!" is Alice's favorite game and Tony is her favorite playmate. Right now Tony is feeling down due to a cold so I instigated the game before he got home to tucker the little beast out.

This is the shirt Grammy bought Ally last week and but it also makes a handy dress/straightjacket for our madwoman.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Alice recieved a kiss on her head this morning from Grammy who said, "This is a kiss my Great-Great Grandmother gave to my Grandmother, who gave it to me, and now it belongs to you."


When Tony gave Alice her bath tonight I thought about all the baths his parents must have given him and how he probably squeaked happily and splashed them in the face many times.

As I nursed Alice before bedtime I rubbed her little earlobes and thought about how my Mother must have done the same for me when I was Alice's size.

Obvious revelations I'm sure, but they have some depth of meaning when you realize how blessed you are to be gently cared for and to give that care again and again for generations.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


On Saturday morning I asked my Mom to take in a yoga class with me. Instead of saying, "At 8am..after a thirteen hour road trip? Did I raise you to be a crazy person?" she said:

"Can I have a cup of coffee first?"

When the instructor asked "When was your last yoga class?" my Mom said, "Thirty years ago". I thought Mom would like the instructor because she doesn't play new age twaddle and uses anatomy terms to explain the purpose behind the stretches. As it turned out Mom rocked the class and held moves that I was dropping. I deduced that Mom enjoyed the experience as we enjoyed some post-class chai tea when Mom asked if we could go again later in the week.

Jump to Monday night as we geared up for a second 6pm yoga class. Alice had spent so much time climbing her Grammy and singing the "DaDa" song that she had skipped an afternoon nap and for an added bonus was teething like mad.
I worried about abandoning Tony to a scream-filled bedtime, trying to explain to Alice why Mommy wasn't in her appointed place for bedtime nursing. I made a unilateral decision to abandon yoga and apologized to Mom for causing her to miss her new favorite pastime. Mom looked crestfallen though she said it was fine and we decided to take a walk instead.

Rather than just orbiting the neighborhood I made for the Evangeline Cafe", which is a cajun place. When we walked in they had a real zydeco band playing full tilt and folks dancing all over the place. We ordered fried shrimp and dirty rice and had a Mother/Daughter beer at the bar while we waited. "Do you like this place?", I asked. Mom turned to me with a huge smile.

"This is WAY better than yoga!"

crazy lady

Alice is becoming less of a baby and more of a person.
A deeply silly person.

Especially where her father is concerned. When Tony gets home from work Alice chases him down screeching like a deranged bird and smiling like this:

Happy Easter

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I've got a new way to walk

Alice took a nap in her carrier this afternoon as Mommy tried to burn some calories by taking a walk at naptime. My back was killing me by the time Alice woke. Yoga usually cures what ails my spine so I let Alice play by the couch as I went through a few moves.

I was performing the downward dog yoga pose (rear in the air) when I looked through my legs to make some eye contact with Alice. She was standing by the couch laughing at my silly pose. Then to my utter surprise she took one steady and unwavering step towards me, then two, three...four!

I watched my daughter's *first steps upside down.

*Caveat: Alice's "First Step" (singular) was actually witnessed by both Tony and myself as Alice did a magnificent swivel move on her heal in order to switch from standing on Mommy's toes to standing on Daddy's feet.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

New word

Today a family member said a new word for the first time. This afternoon Alice was happily wailing on the floor (and the cat) with her foam bat.

Tony noticed her and said, "Check out Alice, she's going Ape-poop over there!"


Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Alice and I went to the store today on an endless quest to find foods she will ingest voluntarily. She doesn't have enough teeth to chew and most solid food makes her gag. Alice is very sweet about accepting offered morsels, but she mostly just holds them in her mouth and looks at you as if to say, "May I spit this out now?"

She is not swayed by sweets, or bright colors, or parental mimicry. So far I have the best luck distracting her with an interesting texture on her tray (birdseed, velcro, whatever) and spooning in the food while her mind is elsewhere. My Mom thinks she has a residual tongue thrust reflex. I am looking forward to her visit next week so we can all work on getting around that impasse.

Anywhodle, that was the reason we were at the store. While we were perusing the frozen veggie isle a lady in a wheelchair told Alice that she had pretty blue eyes in sign language! Alice tried gamely to wave some baby nonsense back at her. Aside from the obvious pleasure this lady's complement gave me it also made me realize that I need to get on the stick teaching Alice some baby signs.
Something else I can work on with Mom when she gets here.

Alice stole my phone

To Tony's parents:

If you received an anonymous heavy breathing call this morning from a person saying "Da Da Da itty aaaa", that was Alice. I see you guys in my call history and my phone is damp.

Springtime @ Daddy's Office

Alice and I went to visit Tony at St. Edwards today and she took full advantage of the University Groundskeeper's well manicured grass.

This was in fact Alice's first real introduction to grass as our yard is a nest of weeds and snakes. She seemed to have a grand time pulling up tufts of the green stuff.

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