The First Annual1 Christmas letter. I assume we are all Christians here, if not Catholics, but I just don’t want to miss saying to “happy Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Happy ‘Īd ul-’Aḍḥā’.”
The dogs Nigel, Karma and Bella2 and the cat Maggie have finally gotten used to Maconnell but are still wary of Scarlett, especially when she grabs their noses, which tends to happen a lot when she is in her highchair eating and the dogs will come by, sniffing to see what she has dropped, or as more often is the case, what she is holding out to the dogs so that they come close enough for her to grab onto their noses. Because we know this and we know the dogs know this, we have to shoo the dogs out of the living room so that Scarlett can focus and eat her food.
Scarlett—as you are all have noticed by now—eats. She is in constant food retrieval and disposal mode, and if you refuse her food, she will let you have with some serious piercing screams of annoyance: Do. Not. Mess. With. Her. Food. I think she needs all this food to just keep up with her constant squirming. I have spent several days just documenting the fact that she does not stop moving—ever.
As for her ability to walk, we were off on that one. We thought surely by Thanksgiving she would be taking a few independent steps3 but for now4 she just hangs on the furniture and kind of falls forward, not resembling walking so much but evoking tentative zombie stagger steps. Crawling as you know, she has down; she’s fast and constantly underfoot. I finally understand why Jenn wants Scarlett to start waking: It will slow her down. As for cognitive development, Scarlett understands that meaning of “No.” Of course, she also understands that she is too young to understand this concept, and so will hesitate for about a second after she is told “No,” before she quickly plops another found object into her mouth.
Maconnell has also improved his locomotive abilities. He is starting to build up speed to where he is almost running, he isn’t quite lifting his knees high enough, but his legs are starting to glide a bit better and his feet are starting to bounce more and his transition from step to step is quicker and on occasion he seems to be almost running—i need to find the right words—but as he picks up speed he seems to teeter more and more but no longer falls head long forward and bites it, like he use to. He also almost knows the fundamental issues involved in operating a truck: He knows where the keys go and to turn them, he understands he needs to downshift into drive, he understands the wheel turns the truck left and right. I have personally seen him demand the keys and head off to the truck ready to go boggin.5 Note I have notes about him that I am still working on and intend to put up soon.
What else, while we did not remodel the house on the level of my dad, we painted the house a wasabi green. We also painted the chimney red, but from across the street it looked like a bloodied shiv sticking out of the roof, so we had to go back and paint it black. We also ripped out several trees and weeds in the front yard, and now have a perfect view of our neighbor’s dilapidated hovel which was quite exciting to realize after all that hard work and money was spent.
Death of a Truck.
I got a new truck, no name for it yet though. Several months ago, my beloved Ford F‑100 Ranger “Bocephus” was rear-ended and so after much thought, we traded in my WRX Subaru and got a bright blue Toyota Tacoma. I suppose it’s exactly what I’ve wanted and, if need be, can cross the coastal range in four-wheel drive via the logging roads, the kids in the back of the super-crew cab and the dogs safe in the truck bed, covered and protected by a canopy.6 However useful the truck will turn out to be, it cannot compare to Mr.Whitman’s Mini-Cooper which just brings out all sorts of envy in me.
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- this is not actually true since this is the first letter, but I hope to make it an annual event [↩]
- named after Flavius Belisarius [505? – 565] is often described as one of the greatest generals of the Byzantine Empire; he helped Emperor Justinian reconquer much of the Western Roman Empire [↩]
- This morning dec 11, 2008 she managed I think to take one step but quickly sat down. Dec 14th at 4pm, she took 3 successive steps before taking another nosedive. Dec 15th, at 6:30pm she took two steps before faceplanting. Each crash quickly followed by peels of frustrations that just have to be heard to be believed: This is a little serious girl who is going to get her way. [↩]
- Now being when I started writing this on Dec 7th. [↩]
- This four-wheeling in mud pits for you Mid-Westerners. Think of an outdoor Monster Truck Rally track about 15 minutes from our house out in Warrenton. [↩]
- Again highly useful if driving through zombie infested woods. [↩]