Okay. I am willing to concede that possibly -- just possibly -- I am perhaps a teensy bit biased. After all, he is the Fruit of the Loins of the Fruit of my Loins.
But Oh. My. God.
Can you not just expire from the sheer, breathtaking, adorableness-osity of this child?
This was Christmas night, as the families gathered together for the first Christmas dinner with our new star.
As always, he was quiet, smiling, happy, gurgling. impeccably behaved. And you know what? If he'd been fussy or cried or put up some sort of big stink (apart from the obvious, which he occasionally does), I would have no trouble saying so. I mean, he's a baby. And babies sometimes cry. Except ... he just doesn't.
I tease Erin that what she has here is a "beginner's model": a perfectly well-behaved child who
will spoil them, lull them into a false sense of security, so that when they next decide to have a baby they will have an incredibly skewed version of what life with babies is really like.
Except both our kids were like this, too. Exceptionally easy-going, mild-mannered, happy, contented infants who made us look in amazement at people who would spin out tales of late-night car rides to just get their babies to sleep, to just stop the howling for a few hours. We'd listen to their war stories, and we'd sympathize, but it was so far outside our experience that we had no way to relate.
Oh, sure, we would have episodes where we'd play "Pass the Baby", and on one memorable occasion, I had to call my wife back from a party down the street because for all the fact I was a stay-at-home Dad, on this one occasion there was nothing I could to to stop this crying and I needed someone else there or I was scared I might snap. But 99.9% of the time? Angels, both of 'em.
As is my li'l guy, and it breaks me up that I'm going to miss a couple of weeks of cuddling him and sniffing the top of his head and watching him get fatter and happier and cuter.
I'm taking off in the morning for Winnipeg. It wasn't a planned trip. It's happening because my Dad is sick and has to undergo treatments at the hospital and my Mom is sort of a handful and my sister doesn't think she can juggle it all.
So I offered to go to Winnipeg and do whatever I could to make it all less stressful for everyone, and my sister jumped at the offer.
I'm looking at this as an opportunity, not just to help out my sisters, who have been pulling yeomen's duty with my folks, but to pitch in and make things easier for my Mom and Dad. I'm also seeing it as a chance to spend some time with Dad, to listen to him and walk him through some tough moments and give back on tiny fraction of what he's given me through the years.
It's not a holiday, but it won't be entirely unpleasant. I have friends I can call, and I'll have access to all my friends here. But if I'm too preoccupied to post regularly, I hope you'll be patient and understanding.
In the meantime, I'm a little pissed that (unless something happens tonight) I'm going to miss the birthin' of the puppies. I'll find a way to keep everybody up-to-date on THAT little adventure, too.
If I don't talk to you before next week, have a Happy New Year, everyone.
Holly is uncomfortable, waddling, sighing, groaning, but still a mom-to-be. So I cannot give you any puppy goodness. This picture of Owen will have to do for now. (Coming soon, though ... his Christmas Day outfit. Which will make your head explode with cuteness, as it did mine. So, keep some wipes handy.)
Owen, of course, did not understand a single thing that was going on yesterday. And he was one tired little boy, after being whisked pillar to post over the past two days - tired enough to sleep from 11:00 last night to 8 this morning.
He's at that age where he has started smiling a LOT and gurgling and pumping his legs and arms excitedly when he sees something that is more fascinating than anything else in the history of the entire world ... like, say, a ceiling fan. Which, when you consider his world is about 11 weeks old, I guess maybe IS the most exciting thing in history.
We took him to church Christmas Eve and I loved watching all the church ladies (and some of the men) coo and tickle him and talk about what a lovely happy baby he is.
Poor dear. She grunts when she gets up, grunts when she sits, grunts (and sighs) when she finally lays down. If you touch her belly, you can feel the roiling, squirming wrestling match going on within.
Holly was a little reserved and submissive in the first day or so (as one might expect). But the more we inundate her with love, the more we go away AND come back, the more she gets scratched behind the ears and tummy-rubbed and has her ears stroked and that spot right between her eyes kissed, the more she's settling in and showing her personality.
She's a quiet, sweet, gentle dog, very affectionate and calm. Unlike some dogs (hello, Roxy!) who push you to pay attention to them or nudge your hand for pats and tickles, Holly will sit quietly by your side, waiting until you have the time or inclination (which is impossible to resist) to pat her head or find that special spot behind her ear.
None of this, by the way, makes me feel any more warmly towards the people who abandoned her. I don't get it. It's Christmas, and I want to give the human race some slack. But ... when I ask myself "What would Jesus do?" I conclude that he would hunt those jerks down and slap them upside the head, then say "Couldja turn the other cheek for me, because I got a lot more for you." Well, I guess if Jesus was a superhero.
But you know what? Shakespeare was right - all's well that ends well. She's getting pummelled with love from everyone here, the puppies will be born in a warm, safe, comfortable place and be spoiled ridiculously from the first day, and one of our guests on Friday night - our next door neighbour - fell in love with her and if it can all be worked out, she'll be part of our lives for a long time to come.
By the way, everybody who comes to this lil corner of the internet has been very kind in saying we're doing something special and wonderful and aren't we just so great. And it's nice to hear, but it feels a bit ... fraudulent.
We do this because we can, and because someone needs to do it, and because we feel so sorry for the animals we take in and want to do the best we can by them.
But we also do this because it's fun, it's endlessly entertaining, it makes every day brighter and (unlike some humans) when you shower an animal with love they pay it back with interest, and who doesn't need that? What I'm saying is, it's nice that it helps out, but mostly we do this for US.
If you have the physical space and time to do so, you should consider fostering a pet in need. It's not forever, it makes a difference, and it will make your life better. If you need more reasons, I'll have a whole bunch coming up in the next seven weeks or so.
And if you just can't, that's okay. There are lots of other ways to help. Your Humane Society is crying out for volunteers to do everything from feeding animals and cleaning their cages to walking the dogs, cuddling the cats, and hugging the bunnies. And if you have no time they also need blankets, and pet food, and medicine, and leads and leashes and chains and dishes and a million other things money can buy ...
... and oh, yes, they also need money. Lots of money. And they don't mind taking it in little bitty increments.
I don't mean to turn this into a diatribe about how important it is to give. But hey, 'tis the season, and there are lots of worthy places to donate your money. Just want you to know that it's not just people who need it.
More updates as the blessed event draws nearer. Look for a star in the East ...
Today Allison got a call from the Humane Society. A man came in with a dog; his tenant had moved out a couple of days ago and only today had anyone heard the whining from the apartment.
The first thing that was obvious - and if you have a peek at Holly's belly in this picture, you'll see it too - is that Holly is a few days away from being a family. And since the Humane Society is not set up to properly care for litters of puppies - and even if they were, could there be a worse time of year to add work to a staff already stretched thin? - they called Allie.
So now my girls - Lily and Flower, who sorta stayed behind after their kittens were adopted - have a roomie. Flower is unimpressed, but Lily seems to be accepting it all with a certain equanimity - aided by her occasional forays over to the newcomer's food bowl.
And in a few days (a very few days, from the looks of it) we'll be immersed in puppy goodness.
I would feign resignation, or annoyance, or exasperation. But I think you all know me better by now.
"A VERY INTENSE LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM OVER EASTERN UNITED STATES THIS
MORNING WILL TRACK THROUGH NORTHERN NEW BRUNSWICK SUNDAY MORNING. SNOW
AT TIMES HEAVY THIS EVENING WILL CHANGE TO RAIN OVERNIGHT. NEAR 20
CENTIMETRES OF SNOW IS EXPECTED BEFORE THE CHANGEOVER. STRONG WINDS
WILL ALSO ACCOMPANY THIS SYSTEM WITH GUSTS TO 90 KM/H TONIGHT."
Over the past 15 years, most times it's been touch-and-go as to whether or not we'll have a White Christmas.
This year, we've already been hit with snowstorms twice and another is headed our way. This one promises freezing rain and ice pellets in addition to the knee-deep snow. The winds will cause heavy drifting and white-out conditions - not to mention power outages and assorted other damage.
To add to my joy, on Friday what started off as a tickle in my throat kicked into a full-blown cold. I'm fighting the good fight, but the virus, she is winning.
If you're looking for me, I'll be hunkered down in front of my wood stove with a glass of rye (rest, and drink plenty of fluids!), watching football. No leaving the house today.
Update: 12:31 AM. Wind howling ... rain falling. Ice building up. I dunno if the power lines will take it, but so far ... we're getting through. Meantime, my forehead feels like it's been injected with cement. One more check of the fires, then off to bed.
If I'm not around in the morning, it's because I'm shivering in the dark ...
Tonight we were watching TV while Allie was in the kitchen, making cookies. A commercial came on for Kohl's Department Stores (which I don't think we have in Canada), and the background music was Cole Porter's "De-Lovely":
"The moon is out, the skies are clear, And if you want to go walkin', dear, It's delightful, it's delicious, it's de-lovely."
Now, as it happens, I love the show "Anything Goes". It was the first musical I ever performed in, back in high school in (mumbles).
So I know "De-Lovely" by heart, and when they faded the music and went into the spoken part of the commercial, I just kept on singing:
"I understand the reason why You're sentimental, 'cause so am I. It's delightful, it's delicious, it's de-lovely.
You can tell at a glance, what a swell night this is for romance, You can hear dear Mother Nature murmuring low.
Let yourself go!
So please be sweet, my chickadee, And when I kiss you, just say to me: "it's delightful, it's delicious, it's delectable, it's delirious, It's dilemma, it's de limit, it's deluxe, it's de-lovely.""
I thought it was a lovely performance (dare I say "de-lovely"?)
Woke up this morning to a fierce winter storm. The power was out between about 4 AM and 9, and has been sporadic since then. Schools and government offices and many businesses are closed, the airport is closed, and the RCMP and city police are warning everyone to stay off the roads as plows do their best to cope with tons and tons of wet, heavy snow being blown around by winds gusting upwards of 90 - 100 kmh (50 - 60 mph).
So, of course my wife wanted to try and get in to work.
She's a medical professional, and has that annoying conviction so common in her line of work that she is utterly indispensable. So after shovelling out the car (and brushing a full 12 inches of sticky, wet snow off every surface), we made a run up the driveway and turned onto the highway towards town.
Well. On the radio, the driving conditions were described as "not ideal", and in fact, I would concur. When you are making an educated guess not just about the location of your lane but on the whereabouts of the road itself, those are not ideal conditions. When the whiteout is so severe that you would not see the oncoming car until it had actually collided with you - yeah, not ideal.
At one point in the drive I muttered through gritted teeth that if there was a car coming in the opposite direction, " ... the good news is, we'll still get to the hospital."
But I made it, and made it back, and the medal for incredibly skilled driving still doesn't make up for the eyerolling idiocy of setting out in the first place.
Pictures to come, once things settle down a bit out there. It's the kind of snow that should lend itself to dramatic shots.
In the meantime, I'm gonna throw a couple more logs on the fire and get some work done between power bumps.