The title may be a bit misleading. I’m not actually planning on writing about Genevieve’s entire first year. But it does weigh heavily on me. Last week was her birthday and yesterday was her birthday party. Not everyone I would’ve liked to be there was because of space and situations. It was mostly Pamela’s family and friends. My 15-year-old was there, representin’ the Gauthiers because my sister lives in Florida and my mother is unable to leave her apartment. Still, fun was had by all. The baby made out like a bandit (sorry for the cliché, I’m tired), everyone loved the cake (thanks to Cravings Café & Cakery), and the baby had a great time.
Still, the passage of time is felt. One year becomes fifteen real fast. All I needed to do was look at Courtney and Genevieve together.
One year becomes fifteen in a heartbeat, it seems. I know that’s not true. A lot has happened in fifteen years. My life changed, and changed again, and changed at least three more times. The lives of those around me also changed. The world has changed. Fifteen years ago as I write this, I would’ve been using my first computer, a gift from my parents. It wasn’t connected to the Internet just yet, and wouldn’t be for another month or two. And when it was finally connected, it was with America Online, dial-up. Now I sit at my fourth computer, a notebook computer, typing on a blog via wireless broadband. That’s but one change.
So to see that the baby is already one is a little disconcerting. There will be lots of adventures in her future. Lots of firsts. I look forward to them, and I fear them. But I mostly look forward to them. Just as I look forward to the firsts that my teenager still has to encounter, as my wife will encounter, as I will encounter.
So now that I’ve finally gotten through the Friday in Gautham essays (or essays on the Friday the 13th movies) I’m left feeling the same sense of fatigue that the previous movie series left me feeling. I had planned on jumping straight into the next series, but find I just don’t have it in me right now, not with the novel to work on.
But that’s okay, because I will do another one, and probably another, as long as readers seem interested.
So, the Genevieve turned one this past week and her 1st birthday party is this Sunday. It’s a three-day weekend that won’t feel much like a weekend. That’s probably the most difficulty I’m having as a new father this time around: losing so much alone time.
I had friends growing up, but not many. Given a choice between playing with a group of kids or playing with my action figures, the action figures always won out. This led naturally to the writing lifestyle of hours alone in a make-believe world. I like that alone time. Thrive on it. So to have my alone time so diminished is pretty frustrating.
That said, I’m extremely lucky to have lost so much alone time due to people I love. Of course, the Day Job’s squelching of my alone time is an entirely different matter, though at least my students are great and, often, inspiring. So it makes the loss of time worth it.
That said, I should get back to work. I just wanted to let you know I’m here and will be trying to post more.
Last week Pamela and I were sitting on the floor watching Genevieve play. In case you’re slow on the uptake, Genevieve is the baby, not the teenager (who is named Courtney). The teenager was at her mom’s house. As I sat there, I’d stack some blocks up and Pamela would put the Fisher-Price rings on the stand. The baby would roll (she seems to be bypassing crawling, like her sister did) to one of our nice new stacks and knock it over. Take the rings from their stand and then roll away, destruction in her wake. It was then that we realized that she’d silently decreed that There Will Be No Stacking.
Now we run into trouble. Because what’s stacking? To you and I, rational adults, stacking is placing one thing on top of the other:
But we’re not dealing with a rational adult, oh no. This is a very smart, but very rascally, baby. So to her, not only is this a stack:
And this, and this:
But so is this:
And even this:
Now, granted, that last is kind of a stack. I mean, the bottles, stupidphone, remote controls, and glass bowl are all on the coffee table which makes it kind of stacking. I think it would be admissible in court should we ever have to sue her for damages. What really worries me is what happens when she starts walking next week?
But, Bill, I hear you say to your smartphone, tablet, or (ha!) computer screen. How, pray tell, can you know that she’ll be walking next week?
Because she’s just like that. Last Friday (July 12th), she couldn’t sit up without help. By Monday she was sitting up like a pro. And pulling herself up on the side of her playpen. I also know that she’ll be walking next week because her mother and I aren’t ready for it. Look at that last picture. Besides the stupidphone, bottles, remote controls, glass coasters, and expensive glass bowl, you can see: a couch with lots of cushions; an end table with another glass bowl, the baby monitor, a picture of Courtney, and a lamp; and a plant on (out of frame) a stone pedestal that could easily cause damage to anyone it falls on. Never mind the TV, the drawers, everything on the floor (technically, stacked on the Earth)(and she’s strong), the building we live in…. Where will it end?
It’s blurry because she’s quick. Gone! Just like that.
Not happy with just knocking the blocks down, she decided to eat/make-out with a plastic frog. Will she know any bounds?!
Well…I guess that stack isn’t so bad to knock down.
The decree has been issued, the law laid. There will be no stacking. Of anything. For a long, long time.
Didja hear the one about the two massive winter storms that merged and battered the Northeastern United States over a 24-hour period? Yeah, I did, too. I lived it, man. I’m sure some of you did, too. It was something to behold and, in my mind, the worst storm I’ve lived through. That’s not to say there haven’t been worse storms in my lifetime, there have been. The Blizzard of ’78 and Hurricane Katrina come immediately to mind. Except, I was six months old for the former and didn’t live on the Gulf Coast for the latter (neither beforehand nor afterward). Like most people around here (Southeastern Massachusetts), I took the weather people’s warnings with a grain of salt. I’m not one of those who think the TV weather people are always wrong, I don’t. They’re right more often than not, welcome to the 21st century! But I’ve been around long enough now to know that when storms hit Southeastern New England, they tend to fizzle out.
So imagine my surprise by what happened next.
I went shopping Thursday night, not to load up with pre-storm frozen pizzas, chicken pot pies, milk, and bread, but to do my normal grocery order. Thursday was when I got paid and that’s when I went. I had my iPod Touch with me so when I finally got my groceries, I could read in the long, long lines. It helped. A voice in my head warned me as a grabbed the dozen eggs, and the two gallons of milk, and the package of chicken breast, but the few times we’ve lost power in my life, it’s been turned on fairly quickly. And the worst of it happened because of hurricanes when I was a child. Even the Superstorm that hit the Northeast only knocked out our power for about three hours.
We lost power sooner than I expected. Not all power, roughly half of our apartment still had power. But some of the lights and the tv went out at 6:50 Friday night. The refrigerator also went out at that time. As did the heat.
No sweat, I thought. They’ll get it back on soon.
Twenty-four hours later, I began to worry. Forty-eight hours later, I was downright scared. We did our best. What we could plug into the places where power existed, we did, which meant extension cords across the apartment Sunday night and Monday morning.
Oh, and I forgot to mention, my 3-month-old daughter had her first cold from her first week at day care.
Yeah, that put everything in perspective. Luckily, my 14-year-old was with her mother and they didn’t lose power. But the baby with the cold was bundled up and watched diligently for the 64 hours we went without power. Finally, the power came on at 11 AM on Monday morning.
The fucked-up thing is that when the power went out Friday night, my immediate thought was, Shit, we lost the internet. By Saturday night, I couldn’t have cared less about the internet. All I really cared about was getting the heat on so the baby would be okay.
She is okay. Her cold is mostly gone though she has an ear infection. I had two bonus days off from work, and next week is vacation, so that’s a good deal. It’s easy to forget when you deal with teenagers (which I do every day between my older daughter and my students) that they have to get there. They have to get to that point where they’re gaining independence. They have to be taught and nurtured to get there. Nothing brings that home like having a baby in your arms, whose cherub-sweet face turns up to yours and smiles, not because she wants something, not because something funny is happening, but because you’re Daddy.
It still happens with occasionally with the teenager, though I spend a great deal of time wondering how badly I’m screwing up, and those moments are sweet. But as a high school teacher, I’m all too aware that the clock on childhood is ticking and soon, she’ll be Away, At College. Making A Life For Herself. With the baby, I’m helping to make her life. And that means something huge.
We were lucky in this storm. I have friends who only just got their power back today. There are plenty who still don’t have power or heat. Or the internet. Hopefully, they have something to remind them about life, like I did.
I’m remiss that this is my first post of 2013. With the 3-month-old, you can imagine how easy it is to get to the computer. When I do, I tend to be catching up on work for the Day Job or working on The Novel. There is progress there, I promise. Hopefully, I’ll be back here sooner than later. Be safe and warm, my friends.