Monday, March 24, 2014

He Eats Anything

We were simply elated to begin feeding Jonah baby food.  This month, we began something called “stage 2” baby food, which is a tad different, mostly because it’s the kind of food that you wouldn’t eat at gunpoint. 

The mixtures that come from “stage 2” baby food sounded like some kind of high-school-cafeteria-dare where everyone at the table puts the leftovers in one tray and they pay one guy five bucks—usually named Junior, Bruiser, or Mitch—to eat it. I always thought it was interesting to note that Junior, Bruiser, or Mitch would never eat the food straight from cafeteria workers—it’s just too nasty—but they’ll happily gobble up anything they’d been dared to eat. (Why don’t girls ever get dared to eat stuff?  I digress).

Anyway, we were not paying Jonah to eat this food, but he seemed to nosh on this stuff as fast as we could force it down his neck.  I was shocked to discover that he really didn’t care about the taste of it. As long as there was plenty, he’d be ok. 

There was a major temptation, though, that I figure is pretty universal:  the temptation to eat this baby food.  Now I’ve heard some people explain to me that some baby food is really good:  the fruit mix, Dutch apple, and some of the other “fruit-based” food.  From Jonah’s reaction to these strange concoctions, he loved it, which is the trap. 

We used to have a dog, Annie, who would not only dine on her Gaines Burgers, or whatever we gave her, she would devour them like they were chocolate-covered or something.  One day, in one of my weaker moments, I thought, “She eats that food with abandon.  I wonder if I, too, would enjoy such canine fare…”  Then, my weakness overcame my culinary standards, and I tried one of the Gaines Burgers.  Not one to take small bites, I had half that thing in my mouth before I realized that Gaines Burgers were, in fact, truly heinous.  I have since vowed never to eat the food of another species. 

Thus, my curiosity of Jonah’s food had been tempered by my Gaines Burgers experience.  When he was gobbling down “puréed turkey with camel-snot gravy” I could safely assume that I shouldn’t try it out.

Here are some of Jonah’s favorite things to eat.

Any kind of fruit food.
Sweet Potatoes
Eye of Newt
Turkey and Macaroni
Beef and Macaroni
Chicken and Macaroni
Cheese and Macaroni
Fists of Macaroni

and, of course, Gaines Burgers.

Friday, March 14, 2014

My Bilingual Son

Sunday and I had been having an on-going discussion about whether Jonah had reached the cusp of his linguistic potential.   We disagreed on whether he was actually saying words, and if he understood those words that he may or may not be saying.   Sunday, the ever-hopeful one, had not only heard words emanating from his mouth, she understood them.  I, on the other hand, was much more technical about such things, although I do consider the sections of the New Testament that discuss “interpretation of tongues” whenever I attempted to determine whether he was speaking a heavenly utterance or not.

I remembered when my nephew Tyler started “talking.”  My younger brother, Luke, told us that Tyler was talking up a storm.  When we visited them a week or so later, I discovered that Tyler’s “talking” only included his mother, Faith.  It didn’t include smiling, friendly uncles, nice Nanas, or even Dad.  It took a full year after Tyler started “talking up a storm” before I heard a word other than please, thank you, and school bus. 

I hoped Jonah progressed as quickly as Tyler.  At this rate, Jonah isn’t even talking well enough for his own mother to understand him.

Here are a couple times when Sunday or I have heard him “say” something.

Situation #1:  We were in church, with a small group gathered around Jonah, making faces and funny noises, in the hopes of getting him to smile.  Since Jonah smiles in order to exist, they didn’t have to try very hard.  (He’s kind of like The Joker, who has a perpetual-smile).  Anyway, as they mercifully began leaving the area, they all screwed up their faces in grotesque smiles—all of them looked like they had been getting a contact high from all that cheery goodwill—and they waved too enthusiastically yelling, “Good bye! Good bye! Good bye!”  They were having so much fun, I wanted to vomit. 

So Jonah did something I had been wanting to do all night:  He laughed at them.  Then, Jonah said, “Buh, Bye”

By the reaction he got, you would have thought Jonah had fired a shotgun after them.  They arrested their excited salutations and came screaming back to us, yelling, “He talked!  He talked!”

In response, Jonah said, “WaAAAHHHH!!!!  WAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!”

His yelling made them go away, much to my good pleasure.

Situation #2: Jonah and I spend most mornings together as we interrupt each other’s work.  I work by reading or writing.  Jonah works by rolling trucks across the living room floor or throwing small teething rings at my head.  Either way, we converge on the floor about once an hour, to play or check on one another’s progress in the day’s work. 

One morning, Sunday came home to find us not working at all, but crawling around on the floor playing.  She joined in our games, talking to Jonah and getting the information on our day. 

She asked, “Jonah, what did you do today.”

“Heehee.  OoOHH.  Bababababa,” was his response.

“OH! That sounds very fun.  What else did you do?”

“ahhadiosajkdfd” was his reply.

There, in our apartment, we stopped cold.  He had just said “adios”.  He said adios!  While we would have loved to have a child who speaks English, a child who knows multiple languages is even better—provided that he eventually learns English.  We translated Adios, which means “see you later” in Spanish, but it also means “we crawled around on the floor vomiting and eating bits of dust” in Croatian.  Since the Croatian came closest to making sense, we have come to the conclusion that Jonah has decided to speak Croatian before he speaks Spanish.  We really don’t know when he’ll fit in English, but with this progress, I don’t think it’ll matter much.

Either way, he’s been “adiosing” all day long.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Clearing the Deck

Have you ever wanted to go into your boss’s office, get into a great big argument and then sweep everything off his desk in one angry motion?  Wouldn’t it be great to do that?  I think it would be cathartic in some way, to use your arm to “clear the desk”. 

During this month, Jonah lived that dream every day.  In fact, Jonah’s major occupation throughout the day was to make sure that we had nothing on any of our tabletops.  From the coffee table books to the pictures on our side table, Jonah’s mission in life was to keep them free of clutter. 

Here’s how he did it.  He waited until I had three books stacked in front of me on the coffee table, a fourteen-inch stack of papers (organized alphabetically) on the side table, and a steaming cup of coffee beside me before he struck.  (If he couldn’t wreck my train of thought, how fun would it truly have been?)  Anyway, he crawled along the floor, ninja-like, and waited for his opportunity to pounce. 

Usually, he would sit on the floor, playing with a truck or creating a Rockwellian scene that can only be captured by our nation’s finest artists.  In addition, Jonah had a weapon that many babies have, but few use to cause mayhem:  it is cuteness. With a heart full of sweetness and a diaper full of other things, he created a diversion by being cute.   So, he waited until I looked up from a book and think “Aw, isn’t that cute?”  Before he began. 

Picture the scene:  I began contemplating my supreme fortune at having such a cute child, wondering what other, less-than-cute children did to cope with life.  Yes, I was downright arrogant in my estimation that my son is an adorable creature and, at the same time, I was also empathetic to those people who were forced to raise ogres and act like they’re cute.  After my reverie, I went back to reading, forgetting I had such a child. 

Then, Jonah struck.  He moved quickly to the coffee table, where he took his chubby little arm and scattered the books I stacked there.  While I went over to the disheveled pile of books, Jonah spun around, performed a double back flip with a twist (he’s a ninja, remember?) and landed on his feet with his hands firmly planted on the sides of the table.  He would giggle loudly as he scattered the papers and watched them float to the floor. 

At this point, everything moved in slow motion.  As the papers fell around me like snow flurries, I realized that Jonah was looking at my steaming cup full of coffee. 

I turned around.  His little hand reached for the cup.  My larger hand reached for the cup, barely getting it before he could grab for it.   As I snatched it away, however, I slung coffee all over the books, the papers, and me.  There we stood:  coffee-soaked books and papers all over the floor as Jonah smiled triumphantly at the newly-cleared tables. 

It was his duty in life, nay his holy mission, to keep everything off the tables.  He’s done a great job.