The Turner Chin

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Thirtysomething female in natural habitat, from unflattering angle

One of the ways in which you can pinpoint the source of my DNA is my weak chin/double chin. This thing torments me. It’s particularly annoying when I’m overweight (as I am now and, uh, have more or less always been) because I can feel fat snuggling my neck like a skin turtleneck. Ew, I just grossed myself out.

Anyway, this chin has ancient origins, I’m sure, that I could try to track down if I put some effort into it. My great-grandmother had it and hated it so much that in her later years, she would tape up her double chin with a Band-Aid, so that it would rest suspended in a little turkey-neck hammock. My grandfather (her son) always had a robust double chin situation, and his was covered in grey stubble throughout many of my brief memories of him. My dad (his son) hides his chin under a generous layer of beard, although in recent years his facial manscaping has allowed the chin to peek out more and more in favor of a more mutton-choppy look.

As for me, I’ve gone about my life trying to hide the chin with long layers of hair that have traditionally fallen in my face so much that my grandmother has probably repeated the phrase “Get your hair out of your face!” at least two hundred times to me. (See also: “Pull your sleeves up!” and “Black attracts everything but men and money!”) I hate this damn thing but it’s one of the very few and very obvious ways in which you can draw a straight line from me to my family, so I suppose it’s endearing in its own way.

That doesn’t mean I don’t entertain fantasies of neck lipo on a regular basis.

And just like that, it’s over

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We’ve had a blast up here in the campiest little strip in the mountains. Tomorrow we will resume regular life.

My mom really went out of her way to make sure we had a great time, even though she knows I have no money to spend on fun stuff. She’s a keeper.

My kiddo — despite being bitten by the whiny bug while we were here — has been a trooper through sickness and schedule upheaval and my insistence that he ride amusement-park rides (which he contemplated stoically, for the most part).

We made lots of good memories and when we come back, we’ll be able to do even more fun stuff.

Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, you’re a weird little area that vacuums up our money but you consistently churn out good memories for us, so thanks.

This is the only family picture we have

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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.

12.5.12: Thirteen months old

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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.

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ANYWAY!

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.

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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!

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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.)

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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.

Visiting Grammy Pure terror Holden Crockett

My oldest nephew graduates high school this year

That seems like an insane thing when it seems like he was JUST THISBIG. Like so (2007):

casey's birthday — June 30

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?

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6.5.12: Seven months old

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Mr. Banana-Grabber:

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.

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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.

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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.

This Buds is a sitter To all the mothers Enough, paparazzo!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Meeting Isaac Hayes' caddy Pool time! One scary face, one cute face

Six-month checkup on 5/7/12: 26.5 inches long (55%), 13 lbs 7 oz (3%), 42-cm head (12%)