Big ups to the total stranger at the Opryland Hotel who offered to take it for us when he saw me running back and forth from the makeshift, brick-column perch I had made for my camera, which was snapping one picture every 10 seconds while people wandered into the shot without knowing.
I hope everyone has had a nice run of the holidays. I know I sure have. I am a lucky, lucky gal.
A lucky gal who is still not done Christmas shopping.
Mr. Scooter Booter Butt:
Here is one thing I have learned about myself as a mother: I have absolutely no rock bottom when it comes to ridiculous nicknames for you. I’m sorry but I’m not sorry at all. And you should be warned that it’s probably only going to get more disgusting as you get older and start doing more new stuff and I start making dumb rhymes and puns and … I feel for ya, kid.
This month has been all about mobility. You sort of flipped a switch in your head and figured out that you didn’t have to just hang out wherever we sat you down; you could go from point A to point B without our blessing or input. And even though you’re not crawling per se, you are still getting around in a manner that is more or less equivalent. You do this truly hilarious/adorable commando crawl thingie, sort of like the lady half-body zombie from season one of The Walking Dead. What’s really funny is that you always seem to propel yourself with your left foot, your right leg sort of suspended in midair as you boogie your way down the hall.
You get a big kick out of opening and closing doors and of lunging at the kitties, who are completely horrified that you have finally figured out how to move around and come after them. Especially Ms. Kitty — she cannot HANDLE the fact that you can come after her.
You have a few new, weird little things you like to do that are endearing but that drive me crazy. For one, you are grinding your teeth like a madman lately. Your daddy texts me sometimes when you won’t stop and he’s contemplating yanking your teeth out with pliers and needs me to talk him down. You will grind them rapid-fire style, opening and closing your mouth like a nutcracker and making this insane staccato grinding noise. Stop doing that! You just got those teeth! Be nice to them!
You also have this crazy, insatiable desire to taste the bricks of the fireplace mantle. You scoot over to them and lower your head very carefully and either just place your tongue on the bricks or, sometimes, try to chew on them. As you might imagine, we really do not want you to do that. Nor do we want you to continue to taste the air conditioning vent in the kitchen. But you love putting your mouth on it. You are so weird sometimes. I say that a lot but I mean it!
(Somewhere out there in internet land, someone is gearing up to concern troll me to tell me you have pica because of an iron deficiency or something. Oh, internet.)
We have been getting ready for the crazy onslaught of the holidays.
Thanksgiving was nice; we stayed home and had dinner and you decided to nap right through it. Even though I was looking forward to putting your turkey bib on you, I didn’t mind. It let daddy and me have a nice, quiet dinner where we didn’t have to make sure you weren’t flinging food across the kitchen.
We debated over where to put the Christmas tree since the living room is small and putting the tree in there would be very confusing for you, as the only place for it would be smack in the middle of your play space and you might wonder why we had placed a giant, glittering toy in your area and then spent a good chunk of time telling you to leave it alone. So we put it in the bedroom and so far you haven’t tried to bring it down.
We went to Grammy and Paw’s one weekend early in December to put up their tree since Grammy wasn’t feeling very well. It was a surprise and Grammy was so happy to see you! You really lifted her spirits and had fun playing with your cousin Levi’s toys.
You and daddy have been having lots of fun adventures, too. He took you to the mall and you got to meet Santa! Even though you’re usually a big fan of facial hair, you weren’t really sure how to react to the man in the big red suit. Maybe next year you’ll decide to be good friends.
That seems like an insane thing when it seems like he was JUST THISBIG. Like so (2007):
He’s about to be a man now, about to bust into the adult world. Guh.
I got to shoot his senior pictures over the weekend. He wanted to have them done on the farm rather than on the grounds of the Pickwick Inn or wherever the standard Hardin County senior shots are done. We crammed the whole shoot into the magic hour and I had to call his brother a jackass to get him to smile showing his teeth so obviously it was fun.
He looks just like his dad but then you zoom in close to do some editing and suddenly you see my sister in all his facial features. It’s wild.
He’s a good kid and he’s got a lot of growing up to do but don’t we all?
I wonder if you can guess how you earned your new nickname. Got it yet?
You discovered your wee wee a couple of months ago, actually, but as your relationship with it has matured, your treatment of it has gotten rougher. Your daddy and I are constantly encouraging you to be nice to the family jewels because when it’s bath time and you’ve finally got access to them, you tend to try to rip them off. We might want grandkids someday, Buds! I guess it doesn’t hurt you but it hurts us to watch. So we try to distract you as best we can. And I say, “Be nice to your huevos!” more often than I ever imagined I would need to, in any context.
But the big news this month is not about your junk but about all the food you’re eating! You are LOVING your foray into solid foods. You have tried sweet potatoes, oatmeal, prunes, carrots, squash, apples, yogurt, avocado, peaches, green beans, and more. And for the most part, you like all that stuff! You are especially a fan of prunes and sweet potatoes. When I feed you in your Bumbo chair, you like to act like you’re in a rodeo on a bucking bronco. It’s really funny. You get your right hand up in the air and you jump around and try to buck out of the chair because you are so excited to be eating food.
Your two little teeth nubs have turned into real teeth! So I bought you a little toothbrush and sometimes even remember to use it. And you’re drooling so much lately that I suspect we’ll see some new teeth (up top, maybe?) in the next few weeks.
You’re sitting up on your own now for longer periods of time. Your daddy and I like to time you and make a big deal when you break your previous record. You’re pushing upwards of three minutes before falling over or crumpling in half! However, you still have no interest in rolling over, as you are still no fan of tummy time beyond the first couple of minutes. Once the novelty of being on your stomach wears off, you get very grumpy.
Speaking of very grumpy, this month your impatience really started to show itself. I mean, of course newborns and babies are impatient in general, as every time they need or want something, they cry until they get it, and sometimes they keep crying just because you made them wait so long that it hurt their feelings, but you have started communicating your impatience with an incredibly grating grunt noise, which the internet can experience in this video:
You like to hit us with this prolonged impatient grunt thing whenever you are wet or bored or in need of a change of scenery or hungry or in need of a good poop or impatient for us to shovel food into your mouth faster than you can swallow it. I’ll be honest: I cannot stand this sound. It plucks at something primal deep within me that makes me want to DO WHATEVER IT TAKES VERY QUICKLY TO MAKE THIS BABY STOP GRUNTING, which is a neat little evolutionary trick you’ve got going. All other sounds you make are adorable, but this grunt? No me gusta.
I got to celebrate my first Mother’s Day this year, and your daddy did something very sweet for me and got me a couple of things for the office with your bright-eyed face on them. It helps make my time away from you easier to know that you’re at home having fun with daddy. He takes you running with him and you guys still make your trips to the library to get new books every week or so. Every time your daddy walks into the room and you see him, you go BANANAS. He is really your favorite person on the planet, and you love to grab at his beard and give him hugs. I am grateful every day that you two are building the bond you’re building.
Daddy does a really funny impression of the way you get excited and flail around. If you’re lying on your back, your legs go crazy and your arms flap up and down and smack your thighs and tummy. When daddy does this in front of you, it makes you do it too, and I feel like I am living in some kind of wonderful madhouse of flailing limbs.
Even though you’re not keen on rolling or sitting up on your own all the time, you are really good at standing when we’re holding you. You’ve gotten even better since you learned that you can sit in the exersaucer and bounce to your heart’s content. Bounce, bounce, stand. Bounce, bounce, stand. Gnaw on whatever is in front of you. Bounce, bounce, stand. Oh, and you can scoot forward, too, when you’re on your belly, in that sweet spot of time just before you notice you’re on your tummy and get too irritated. The other day I sat your monkey friend a little ways in front of you and you scooted your way toward him and gave him a big mouth hug.
You finally got to meet your cousin Levi this month! The whole family gathered for a group portrait but you two didn’t have much to say to each other just yet. Levi slept a lot and you were very busy trying to determine why all of the people around you were yell-talking to each other and to you, since you’re not hard of hearing.
We did some pretty fun stuff this month. We took you to your second museum ever, the Stax Museum. You got to see Isaac Hayes’ big gaudy Cadillac and dance to the smooth stylings of Soul Train. I bought you a little pool for the back yard that we will enjoy this summer once the Memphis air turns to bathwater. Our inaugural swim did not go as well as I had planned because I didn’t leave the pool out in the sun for long enough to let the water heat up a little bit. So when your skin touched that cold water, you were like I DON’T THINK SO, YOU CRAZY OLD BAT and recoiled. But I proved how tough an old bat I am by sitting in 2 inches of cold water in a big plastic disc out in the yard and letting you sit on my lap in your tiny swimming trunks. I bet that was a weird things for your daddy to see when he came home that day but he very graciously did not mention my too-small bikini bottoms.
Six-month checkup on 5/7/12: 26.5 inches long (55%), 13 lbs 7 oz (3%), 42-cm head (12%)
My brother and his fiancée are so funny and cute together. They had me shoot some photos of them while I was in town last month. I have finally gotten around to uploading them! Here are some favorites.
I just got word that my nephew has been born! Welcome to our crazy family, Levi Brantley Turner. Can’t wait to meet you!
They’re from the late ’80s, when my brother and sister and I would leave our boombox on record for hours on end, until the tapes would run out. They are packed with preciousness and hilarity. I have fuzzy memories of making some of these recordings in our old house, perched on a bunk bed with the bedside lamp on, a blanket hanging from the top for some privacy.
My mom let me hear some snippets when she was in town this weekend because she has a tape player in her Explorer. I have got to find a tape player so I can get them all recorded digitally before the tapes themselves melt or worse.
Here’s a bit I caught on my phone of my mom and me listening to a tape (meta!) where I am singing a Bon Jovi song and then, later, trying to get my 2-year-old brother to talk.
Hope you enjoy my drawl, y’all.
ETA: ARGH WHY WON’T THIS PLAYYYYYYYY
Friday night. Taking a break at work while I wait on my pages to get the go-ahead. Coffee to prop up droopy eyelids, even though that’s ill-advised at 10:30 when I know I’ll be trying to sleep in two hours. I spent my entire morning and afternoon chasing naps after Holden decided 4 a.m. was as good a time as any to get up. That boy has put us through the ringer this week in the sleep department. We got spoiled to his sleeping 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. thing, even if 6 is painfully early for me to rise after getting home so late. But this week something’s up: At least two nights he woke up every 2-3 hours, and not because he was hungry. Just because he wanted to party. Buds McKenzie, you know better than that!
I am trying to get psyched up for the weekend. We’re hitting the road tomorrow morning and heading to Shiloh, where my dad will be taking part in the huge 150th anniversary to-do. Of course he wants me to photograph the battles and encampments at the crack of dawn, but there is no way that’s feasible for me and I’ve tried to explain that to him so he won’t be disappointed. I remind him often that back in November, remember that time I had a baby? Yeah, he is still here, the baby, and he is in charge, and he does not want to go hang out in a grassy, hot-ass field all day while the dulcet tones of gunfire and cannon shots echo around us. My one clear objective for the day is to photograph Mom and Dad’s vow renewal ceremony, which is taking place after the battles end and before the big ball begins. It’s where all the men in their dressy wool with brass buttons and the ladies in their giant hoop skirts and lace will join hands and dance a respectable distance from one another. My parents are going to do this thing in full period regalia, a fact I have repeated to people around me a dozen times and the novelty never seems to wear off. They’ve been planning it since their 25th anniversary but time got away from them. This year’s the year, though!
Then we are going to attempt our first overnighter away from home because I am 100 percent positive I am going to be exhausted and have a major headache by the evening. The prospect of an overnighter away from home is sort of terrifying but a little less so thanks to our week of broken, weird sleep patterns that have spooked me out of my hard-won comfort zone. If ever there’s a time to break routine, I guess this is it. Our bedtime routine is pretty sacred so I wonder to what degree Holden being away from his bed and his creature comforts will result in his not understanding that it’s time to sleep for a long time. On the other hand, the bedtime routine could be total superstition on our part, but I’ve been too paranoid to break it or else risk a completely sleepless night.
My parents are giddy at the prospect of getting to spend more than just a few hours with him, which is sweet. They speak often of longing for the days when he can spend weeks in the summer on the farm. That’s all well and good but he is NOT ALLOWED to ride four-wheelers until he’s 30. Okay? Okay. AND KEEP HIS TINY BABY HANDS AWAY FROM THOSE HORSES’ MOUTHS!
It would be really great if Sunday could be extra laid back and leisurely, with me catching up on five months’ worth of lost sleep while the family passes the baby around while sipping tall sweating glasses of sweet tea out on the veranda beneath the whirring fans, but I am not delusional enough to think that’s a possibility at this age. Also we don’t have a veranda with a fan; this isn’t The Help. I am sort of diplomatically letting go of the notion of ever being able to truly relax again. At least not until he’s grown.
Christmas at my parents’ was even more hectic and insane than I could have imagined. I was up at 5 but wanted Ray to get plenty of sleep since he’d taken the night shift, so we ended up not leaving until well after 10. I managed to get a shower and blow dry my hair — the latter of which is reserved for special occasions now — and get a non-pajama outfit on, but Holden decided after our final feeding of the morning to puke on my shoulder. No big whoop, I thought, and wiped it and him off. Except that he did it again, this time in my hair too, at which point I had to change shirts because for holidays I’ve always tried to have a one-puke limit on my clothes. And that was when I was single! (Rimshot.)
Anyway, we got to my parents’ after noon, and there was a huge spread of finger foods laid out (Ray was so grossed out by the term “finger foods” — is that a regional thing? I would feel like a phony calling them hors d’oeuvres). Holden was passed around quite a bit and Ray and I were on edge thanks to my parents’ idiot yipping dog that kept making like he was going to jump on the baby (that for some reason they wouldn’t put in the basement … grrr) but did fine except when he got hungry and wanted to nurse. It was loud — my family yell talks — and crazy and we were only there six or so hours but it made for a long, exhausting day. I didn’t even have a chance to eat any of my birthday cake, and no one got a picture of Ray, Holden, and me like I wanted. Bleh.
My sister made us a sweet DVD of photos of me and Ray as kids and of Holden. I asked her to send me the file so I can see if I can upload the little movie. It’s pretty cute. It made me cry. I am a sentimentality factory these days. Oh please, more like always.