Getting any sort of formal photo of a toddler isn’t easy. Add in a dog and some only passable familiarity with off camera lighting and you have the recipe for a long afternoon. Or three. It took multiple shoots, multiple days and multiple treats (for both Lola and Cece), but after a couple hundred shots we managed to get three photos for the holiday card. We have a long blooper reel. Here are a couple of my favorites. I argued long and hard for some of these to get the official endorsement, but Chelle insisted we try to remain classy. Good thing she had no veto power on the potty seat post!
A part of parenting that is much more evident once you’re on this side of the fence is how much of it is learning to let go bit by bit and let the world at large in sliver by sliver. Sometimes it’s big things like dropping them off at daycare for the first time or watching them wave goodbye from the school bus window (or so I imagine) and sometimes it’s little things like their first juice box.
Chelle and I aren’t big juice or soda drinkers. At home, it’s pretty much water or things of things derived from water: tea, coffee, cold water, whiskey, beer. And so far for Cece it’s been milk or water until at a recent friend’s birthday party someone let slip that there was more to life’s taste buds than just the bare survival essentials. There was juice! Apple juice! And it was wonderful. Like warm sunshine. Like the Rapture. Like Elmo whispering secrets in your ear.
Now on sunny days we don’t have to watch Ce’s taped caged fights for entertainment we just punch through the foil top, give her a sip and watch her ricochet around the yard like a flea on speed.
I’m not sure The Books prep you enough for the drastic and seismic shifts that come with baby mobility. So, in the spirit of the USA’s rousing Winter Olympic performance, I present a few humble suggestions for the IOC’s consideration:
Event: Speed Crawling
This usually occurs on the oval track in the lower level of Spring Street Stadium. The competition is brutal as we have a dog who is also very skilled at making quick turns and has a keen sense of smell to guide her. Cecilia’s crawling has improved all season and the committee awarded her a silver medal.
Final Result: Gold Medal to Mom, for she has both the finesse and strength to out crawl all competitors. A surprising bronze to Papa who showed good form in the grandparent division.
Event: Uphill Stairs run
The stairs at Spring Street Stadium are known for their soft track and easy turns. The trickiest part of this course is figuring out where to jump as there are some corner stairs that are larger and call for increased agility and stamina. Cecilia takes the ‘one stair at a time’ approach and has a history of being distracted by the guard rails, fuzzes on the track, the starting mat (aka rug). Her usual nemesis, Daddy also has challenges on the stair run. Spring Street Stadium Stairs has a nasty overhang that is a disadvantage to tall people. One false move and Daddy can (and has) scrambled his brain, putting him out of competition for a few hours.
Final Result: Gold Medal to Lola, the dog just knows how to climb stairs and beats the whole family up them every time. Lola’s signature victory dance entails her sitting patiently at the top peering down at the competitors below her as if to taunt them on their human slowness.
Event: Downhill Stairs run
This course had to be temporarily shut down. We apologize to those who already purchased your tickets for this event please do not go to the course as there is a gate blocking the entrance to go downstairs. Hopefully this event will be active again by 2014.
Event: Water Luge
The water luge event takes place in Spring Street’s lower level aquatic center. The course winds from floor to tub, then through a toy obstacle course, back to the floor in a matter of 15 minutes. Cecilia enjoys putting on her skin suit for this event and has a habit of taking off her warm up diaper seconds prior to her start time. Cecilia always gets a good head start, but then slows down when it comes to the toy obstacle course. She finds the floating ducks and boats a distraction. Lola has been disqualified from this event every time due to a graphic doggy paddling injury in her youth. At least that’s what she claims. There are also rumors that she just doesn’t like getting her fur wet. Mom also routinely withdraws from this event. She finds that Water Luge is an event for Daddy and Cecilia and decides to wash the dinner dishes instead.
Final Result: Gold Medal to Daddy, somehow Daddy always outwits Cecilia on this event. He has learned that he doesn’t even have to go in the water to complete the course. He is so skilled at the water luge that he is always at the end of the course waiting for Cecilia’s finish with a warm towel.
Event: Pairs Kitchen Dancing
Kitchen dancing usually takes place before or after dinner. Pairs teams are usually Daddy and Cecilia and Mommy and Lola. Daddy and Cecilia have some nice synchronized moves such as the triple cabinet drawer opening and the double dog bowl pick up. Mommy and Lola also have a few tricks up their sleeves like the dishwasher dip, and the dropped peas round up. This year Cecilia did take a risky but not life threatening fall on the tile floor. Luckily Daddy was there to pick her up.
Final Result: Gold goes to Daddy and Cecilia for their artistic interpretations, winning smiles and dueling air guitars.
Closing Ceremonies: This 10 month 2010 Olympics has been an inspiration for all. Through injury, sickness, training, and achievement all of these athletes reached their goals. Stay tuned for 2014!
From the Complaints Depts: “Where’s Lola on the Christmas card?”
Okay, it was always our intention to get Lola on there. Originally we wanted a family-family card to go out to relatives and then a friends and associates card, but, as is wont to happen Mike greatly underestimated the time (and expense!) and we ended up with only time for one card.
The day we had our little photo shoot was cold and Lola wasn’t all that open to sitting on the chair with Cece. We did get a few shots, but none that ended up working with the card dimensions. So please rest assured Lola is still very much a part of the family. Given the outcry, here are some outtakes to prove it.
We should probably play the lottery given what happened one morning this week. Like I imagined most homes on weekday mornings, ours is one of delicate routine. A spinning top on a slick, glass table. Sometimes the top spins along effortlessly. Sometimes a slight wobble can be corrected. Sometimes the wobble upends the top and sends it skittering across the floor. Then there are the mornings that the top skitters off the table, across the floor, knocks over a candle, sets the drapes on fire and just submarines your day. This morning wasn’t quite a five alarm job, but it was close. Let’s just say this is one scenario that none of The Books covered.
Here’s how it all went down:
First, it was cold this morning, so Michelle went outside to start the car, leaving Cece and Lola alone for a moment in the living room. I imagine most crazy stories include the words “for a moment” at some point in the narrative. Anyway, our front door squeaks on its hinges. One of those repairs that Dad has still not gotten around to fixing. That signature squeak is a claxon for Lola to come running and check things out in case a butcher is dropping by with a case of ribs and franks. On cue, Lola jumped from her perch on the couch, knocking the blanket to the floor, and dashed to the door. Now the remote was on the blanket, which is now on the floor. Cece manages to roll over and find the remote. (Hey a toy!) It doesn’t stop there. She manages to both turn on the TV and change the channel to 399. Extreme cage fighting. Pay per view. Turns out Cece is a fan of the fights. She had no qualms about forking over $39.99 for a fight. Even hit the confirm button a few times for good measure. I mean who doesn’t want to see blood and cauliflower ears before seven in the morning?
After patiently listening to a lecture from a Comcast rep, we found out that we weren’t all that unique. Comcast even has a policy for it. Call within five minutes and they grant you a one time get out of jail free card for this type of scenario. It only takes two more days of follow up pestering to get them to follow through and credit your account.