Monday, March 15, 2010

Compalining Spring

It could be Spring out there, if it would stop snowing. Not even worthwhile snow, just sloppy, wet "snow" that melts into mud the instant it hits the ground. Somehow, the juniper are still spreading their toxic dust even in this chill, and now I get the double joy of the worst part of a lingering, dank winter and allergy season all rolled into one. On top of that, the chickens have pretty much come to the end of their time as house pets, but the sudden cold snap means they'll be inside for another week. There's a reason people keep chickens outside. To spell it out: they smell bad and crap everywhere.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thoughts On Turning Two

Bryce turned two on Saturday.

So, yes, another milestone. But, I can’t help but think that there’s something different about this one. Oh, sure, every milestone has been unique, of course, but there’s an odd quality to a Two Year Birthday that sets it apart even further. Let me try to put this in words.

During Bryce’s first year of life, he changed rapidly and dramatically, seemingly from one day to the next. Beginning with the sudden, irrevocable fact of him existing at all, continuing through the first day of opening eyes, the first smiles, the first time he laughed or grasped or sat up or ate solid food, right on through his first words and finally, a little over a year ago, his very first steps- every change was sudden, monumental and utterly transformative. The baby we had the first day in the hospital was completely different than the one we had at one month, or three months, or six or twelve. And when his first birthday came, it didn’t really seem like a milestone in itself, it was more of a sigh of relief, a celebratory denouement after a relentless year of wild, building milestones, one after another after another.

And then, it all sort of stopped. Well, slowed down. He has changed, oh yes, in countless important ways since the last birthday, but the changes have been more gradual, a filling in and a deepening. For example, it was a shocking moment when I heard his first word, just over a year ago, and as I told Courtney at the time, I wouldn’t have been any more nonplussed if the dog had spoken his name instead of the other way around. But since then, his vocabulary and overall communicative ability has grown gradually, and the day that he told me, “Dogs like to eat dog food, and trains like to eat train food” I took it in stride, even though his first real extrapolative analogy is no doubt representative of some vitally important cognitive leap or other. Similarly, his first unassisted step was greeted with cheers and applause, but when walking was joined by running (with a bit of daredevil hopping thrown in), we greeted it with quiet, assured smiles. And that’s how it’s been the last year: his abilities have grown and expanded rather than suddenly appearing out of nowhere, and as a result we tend not to celebrate the changes as they happen, instead only doing so when we take the time to notice them.

That's what a second birthday is for: taking a day to notice who he is. And that's what all subsequent birthdays are for.

A first birthday is a baby’s birthday, and a baby is a chaotic, shifting being, a series of explosive manifestations, an entity that keeps you off balance and in a constant state of wonderment. A second birthday is, well, a person’s birthday, a person that you’ve gotten to know, and yes, a growing and changing person, but one for whom the changes are now building on the familiar. And so, on this birthday, we celebrate Bryce and the person that he has become. Happy birthday, Bryce, I love you.

Birthday Video Dump

Here's Bryce and the family on Birthday # 2-

And here's Bryce enjoying one of his presents- a toy garage from his Mimi!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Firetrucktoddler BED

Tomorrow is Bryce's 2nd birthday.

Today, he received his Fire Truck Toddler Bed from Grandpa and Grandma, and he is thrilled. The box arrived just before his nap, and I had it assembled by the time he woke up.

Bryce upon waking from his nap - very excited:

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


I’ve been informed that I’m overdue for a chicken update, and indeed, it’s been a week and a half since we picked them out: long enough for some major changes in chick terms.

The most important even, at least when it comes to our relationship to them, is that we’ve given the chicks names. This, naturally, goes hand in hand with our increasing awareness of their personalities (chickenalities?). Here, then, is the first chicken roll call:

“Blackie”- She was the first to really stand out, mainly because she is the friendliest. She always rushes over to my hand when I put it in their box, sometimes even going so far as to jump and flutter to get my attention if I’m just passing by. She likes to be held, and will happily roost on a finger. We called her Blackie before we knew it was her name- there are three dark spots on the top of her head, and it was natural to say “You, with the black there. Come here, Blackie”.

“Bess”- Bess is the smallest and, as of a few days ago, the meanest. She seems to have calmed down now, but when we gave her the name she was constantly pecking at the feet of the other two, and bore some sort of minor wound that marked her beak with a spot of blood (remnant of the egg tooth?). I suggested “Bloody Bess”, thinking of some sort of vicious poultry pirate, and it’s more or less stuck even as her bloody whats-it healed up and her demeaner softened. Whereas the other two are friendly, Bess is, unfortunately, scared of us. She runs from the hand and pitches a fit when picked up. I’ve been picking her up and being nice to her just as often as the others, but she doesn’t seem to be growing any warmer to me. I suppose it’s just how she is, and I doubt that she’ll ever become friendly toward us. Oh well. You had better be an egg-laying machine, Bess. Not that I’m threatening you. Yet.

“Audrey”- Audrey was the last one named. At first we called her “the one with no distinguishing features”, but later changed that to “the pretty one”. Since we already had a Blackie, we briefly flirted with the idea of naming all three after Twin Peaks characters, but Bess was already Bess and it just fit too well to trifle with. Still, Audrey stuck, and Audrey she remains. She’s friendly, but not quite as eager as Blackie. She typically hangs back until Blackie is picked up, then moves herself into position to be next out. Now that Bess has lost her blood spot, she and Audrey are virtually indistinguishable, and I usually judge them apart based on their behavior alone.

As you can see from the video, the girls have doubled, if not tripled, in weight since we got them. They also have acquired real, if miniature, wings and are capable of, well, extended fluttering jumps. A few tail feathers are making an appearance as well.