Miles ’09

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:26 am

I’m totally copying Darah on this one.

These are my favorite pictures of Miles from 2009—not necessarily the best ones, but the ones that sum up the year for him.  Click for larger version.


2009 roundup

Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:58 pm

The annual round-up post:

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
I swam with dolphins.  That was pretty cool.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
If I made one, I don’t remember it.  Maybe I should make one so I have something to write in this space next year.  Okay, my resolution is to finish my current book in ’10.

3. did anyone close to you give birth?
No one terribly close to me, but I keep pressuring my girlfriends to get on it.

4. did anyone close to you die?
Fortunately not.  I only went one funeral in ’09, a well-aged relative by marriage whom I didn’t know.

5. what countries did you visit?
The U.S. and the Bahamas.

6. what would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
Job satisfaction.  Things are kind of frustrating right now.

7. what date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
If I had to pick something tied to a date, I would go for February 14.  It was Valentine’s day.  I was working on the film, and the process was making me absolutely miserable.  I was freshly back at work after being home with Miles for a year, which was hard enough, and then I was spending all my free time (many evenings, all weekends) on this film.  It was overwhelming and stressful, and I missed Miles so much I thought I was going to barf.

On Valentine’s day weekend, we had to be on location, which meant the film people put us up in a motel (nice of them).  It was kind of a crappy motel (not their fault—small town, the only thing available).  I was seriously not looking forward to spending my Valentine’s day that way.  But Denny and Miles met me there and spent the weekend with me, and Denny brought me Valentine’s day presents even though I don’t think I had the wherewithall to get anything for him.

I love my guys.

8. what was your biggest achievement of the year?
I feel like I haven’t achieved much, personally.  I guess the greatest achievement isn’t really my own—Miles sleeps well more often than not now.  That was a long time coming.  He knows the whole alphabet (uppercase and almost all the lowercase letters).   He can, in his own funny way, count to ten.  He is good at personal hygiene.  Those aren’t all my doing, but I guess I can take partial credit.

9. what was your biggest failure?
I made a few mistakes, but I learned from them.  I don’t believe in dwelling on the past, so I’ll cease the discussion there.

10. did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing serious.  I had a 104F fever a few weeks ago, but it was short-lived.

11. what was the best thing you bought?

New appliances for the kitchen.

12. whose behavior merited celebration?

Miles, Miles, always Miles.  We clap and say “YAY!” a lot.  He can say so many words, dance with such energy, laugh so jolly-ly.

Denny, for being virtually ‘tude-less.

Many of my coworkers, for being awesome in these tough times.

13. whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Um…the Iranian government?

14. where did most of your money go?
I think the largest single expenditure was the appliances.

15. what did you get really, really, really excited about?
I was really psyched about introducing Miles to the ocean on our Bahamas trip.  We rented this lovely condo just steps from the beach with a beautiful pool overlooking the ocean.  Miles mostly wanted to play on the stairs.  We did get him to enjoy the sand toward the end of the trip, though he never really liked the sea.  It was a little rough for him.

16. what song(s) will always remind you of 2009?
Embarrassing but true:  “Music Again” by Adam Lambert.  I stand by my assertion that this is less embarrassing than a certain male, 33-year-old friend of mine’s Miley Cyrus Pandora station.

17. compared to this time last year, are you
i. happier or sadder?:  Happier, so much happier.  Last year at this time I was dreading going back to work, dreading leaving Miles with a care provider (though that part was fine).   Now we’re all adjusted and doing well.
ii. thinner or fatter?:  Same, I think.
iii. richer or poorer?:  About the same.

18. what do you wish you’d done more of?
Writing books.

19. what do you wish you’d done less of?
Reading dumb websites.

20. how did you spend Christmas?
We were in Ames with my family.  Our travels got reduced a little due to inclement weather, but we still managed to see most of the family we hoped to see.

22. did you fall in love in 2009?
Every day, Miles and Denny do something that makes me fall in love with both of them again.

23. what was your favorite TV program?
The Office, probably, or 30 Rock.

24. do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nah. I had an increase in some dislike levels, but I don’t hate anyone.

25. what was the best book you read?
I hardly remember what books I read, though I read every night.  Right now I’m working on Trainspotting. It’s okay.

26. what was your greatest musical discovery?
Adam Lambert, which counts as a discovery because I never watched American Idol.  I just stumbled upon his music.

(I don’t know what happened to 27 and 28)

29. what did you want and get?
Some nice gloves.  I lost my beautiful gloves Denny got me for my birthday in Rome, but fortunately I got some replacements.

30. what did you want and not get?
A trip to the British Virgin Islands.

31. what was your favorite film of this year?
I saw The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Up, and The Time Traveler’s Wife.  I think I saw another but I don’t remember what it was.  I’d give the edge to Mr. Fox.

32. what did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 32 (whoa…question 32 and I turned 32).  I need to keep better notes because I really don’t remember what I did.  I just looked through my blog archives, and it looks like I dealt with a poor sleep situation with Miles, and we went out to dinner at our favorite spot.

33. what one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More sleep, I guess.  But that’s getting better.

34. how would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Way cuter than 2008, which was all about the jeans and fleece.  The best part of going back to the office is the opportunity to wear my outfits.  Business cazh, kiddos.

35. what kept you sane?
Meal planning, many crossword puzzles and Sudoku, Miles’ laugh, Denny’s general pleasantness.

36. which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Michelle Obama, maybe?

37. what political issue stirred you the most?
The legalization of gay marriage in Iowa.  I was (and continue to be) really proud to be an Iowan because of that.

38. who did you miss?
Miles, mostly, when I was working on that film.  Also my usual missees:  Sarah, Sara, Ruby, Emily; Granddad and Maw; Tyler, because I don’t see him as much as I used to.

39. who was the best new person you met?
Dr. Thomas Cook of the College of Public Health is a really stand-up guy.  He’s been instrumental in helping convey medical knowledge to under-resourced health care providers in developing countries.  I’ve been bitching about my job, but knowing the technologies I support are actually enabling people like him to save lives is very satisfying.

40. tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:
Sometimes it’s smarter just to ignore the problem and go about your business.  Not every problem requires a solution.

41. quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
From “When I Grow Up,” by Michelle Shocked

In the summer we’ll sit in a field and watch the sun melt
In the winter we’ll sit by a fire and watch the moon freeze
Me my old man and a hundred and twenty babies
Me my old man and a hundred and twenty babies
I said, me my old man and a hundred and twenty babies
Oh, when I grow up I want to be an old woman



Filed under: — Aprille @ 9:55 am

We’ve been working on various phrases with Miles, and he’s getting a lot better at combining words.  His favorite joke recently is to call everybody “uncle.”  He had “Uncle Ty,” “Uncle Mi(chael),” “Uncle Mark,” and “Uncle Joe” down pat, but a few days ago he started cracking himself up by saying things like “Uncle Mommy,” “Uncle Daddy,” and “Uncle Mubby.”

I’ve been trying to get him to say “I love you,” which he will kind of do, but only in a mimicry way.  That is, if I say “Can you say ‘I love you’?” he’ll spit something out that contains mostly the right sounds, but it’s not something he’s really doing on his own yet.


Last night we were going through our usual bedtime routine, and the time came that we had finished brushing Miles’ teeth, finished brushing his stuffed animals Bear and Bob’s teeth, and gone in to cuddle with Daddy.  I deposited him onto Denny’s lap and leaned in to say night-night and give him a kiss.

Miles looked up at me, and, unprompted, said “Alyoo.”

Aw, alyoo too, Scoop.


Translation win

Filed under: — Aprille @ 12:36 pm

Denny and I were watching Little People, Big World last night, and the episode dealt with an Iraqi family who came to the States to help their kids get the medical attention they need.  The Iraqi family stayed with the Roloffs (the central family in LPBW) for a short time, and before they shared a meal together, the father of the family said a prayer in Arabic.

Because I always pay attention to translation, I made special note of the choices in the closed captioning.  I was pleased to note that the translator decided to use the word God instead of Allah.  Islam is an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion, and the deity therein is the same Old Testament figure that Christians and Jews worship.  Allah translates literally to God.  It is simply how you say the word God in Arabic.

Language matters, and in this whole anti-Islam spin that the western media has taken, choosing not to translate that one word makes a big difference.  It sets up Middle East versus the West, as if it’s Zeus and Thor duking it out to determine who’s the one true European god.

I remember on September 11th, some right-wing blowhard (Pat Robertson?) said that too many Americans were gay, which meant that Allah had won, and he brought his wrath.  There’s no need to address the obvious stupidity of the argument, but he fell into the fallacy of depicting Allah as some Ultimate Fighter jumping into the cage with God, when really they’re two words for the same figure.

I also find it funny that Allah is on the side of the gays, in his vision.  Wouldn’t that be funny if it were true, if the ultraconservative Muslims (equally offensive to ultraconservative Christians–I’m not giving the bombies a free pass by any means) had gotten it completely wrong and the Muslim god was actually a giant, wrathful drag queen in the sky?


Monthly Miles Memo #23

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:25 am

Dear Miles,

Little Scoop, you’re almost 2.  This is your last month as a 1-year-old, and it’s about time, because you’ve been counting to 2 like a maniac lately.  Everything countable is “one, doo, one, doo, one doo.”  You’ve thrown on a “ee, oh” (“three, four”) a few times, but mostly you’re stuck on the 1-2 repeat.

You know all about the fact that your birthday is coming up, that you’re going to be two, and that you’ll have a cake with two candles and you’ll blow them out.   Last weekend we celebrated your Papa’s (Grandpa Denny’s) birthday, and you were pretty sure he was turning two as well.

It seems like every day you learn new things.  This month you mastered a lot of compound and two-syllable words, like eyeball, Corn Chex, snowman, cookie, Mubby, and boobie.  That last one started out as a mispronunciation of “bootie,” which has been hot in your vocabulary ever since Mubby brought you a pair of Elmo booties, but you took the opportunity to tell me you knew its other meaning as I changed into my exercise clothes the other day.

You also demonstrated that knowledge in a tactile manner on the swimsuit mannequins at the mall a few days ago:

Poke, poke. “Boobie!”  Poke, poke. “Boobie!”

This continued long after we left the sporting goods store.  Ah, Miles.  You’re nothing if not persistent.

Your dad and I have noted lately that ignoring you just doesn’t work.  We should have figured it out already; our early and earnest experiments with letting you “cry it out” were complete disasters.  I don’t want to go into the details again, because it makes me feel sick, but I honestly think you would scream until your vocal cords eroded their way out your throat.  You don’t scream a whole lot these days (though the recent forays into whining are their own special kind of grating), but if you want to talk about something while we want to talk about something else, forget it.  You will chant whatever is on your mind ceaselessly until we acknowledge you.

And often, that’s all it takes.  You just want to be heard.  You would rather be told no than ignored.

(Which is not to say you like being told no, but this is common among your contemporaries, I hear.)

We had a really fun Thanksgivsmas with the Clarke side of the family.  You’re a little shy around new people, especially kids, probably because they’re loud and unpredictable and get in your face.  Still, you thought your cousins Maxwell, Meredith, and Anna were just fascinating, and you do a great job naming them in pictures.  Meredith comes out more like Meh-deh, but it’s recognizable, and I appreciate your effort.

You could look at pictures and home videos all day long, which I don’t let you do, but we spend at least some time every day looking at family multimedia objects.  I had to stop letting you play with my iPhone (or, as you call it, Duck-Cuckoo, because of an animal sounds app I have) because you were getting obsessed with it.  You really got the hang of the touch-screen, the downside of which is the fact that you think my laptop screen is also a touch-screen, and now it’s fingerprintier than ever.

Gosh, you can do so much now.  You can play the recorder (just one note, and a squeaky one, but still).  You know every capital letter of the alphabet and a lot of the lower-case ones.  You can pick out your own clothes, which often involves a vest and gives me happy memories of your Uncle Tyler’s argyle vest phase.  You can gallop on a stick horse and make giant choo-choos out of Legos.  You can put together simple puzzles and, with help, more complicated ones.

Along with all the new words you’ve learned, you’ve started doing some complex communication units that incorporate nontraditional methods as well.  We saw two of your favorite people, Aunt Suzy (“Ah-ah”) and Uncle Joe, at Thanksgiving, and you love to talk about them.  It goes something like this:

Miles:  Unco Joe.
Mommy:  Yes, we saw Uncle Joe, didn’t we?
Miles:  Ba-boom!
Mommy:  That’s right, he fell off his bike.   [This happened the last time they visited my parents, and Miles won’t let it go.]  He’s all better now, though.
Miles:  Ah-ah [pucker-kiss noise]
Mommy:  Yes, Aunt Suzy gave him a kiss and made him feel better.

We repeat this sequence every time you think about Uncle Joe or when you see someone on a bike.  That’s one good thing about the cold weather setting in:  fewer cyclists to trigger your obsession with Joe’s bike accident.  Of course, that doesn’t address the dog on a bike on the inside cover of one of your favorite books.

Another example of your communication sequences:  a couple of weeks ago, your dad had to go out of town for several days, so Mubby and Skittergramps came to keep us company.  You were wearing a shirt with no onesie, and when you lifted it up, Mubby jovially threatened to tickle you.  You shook your head, puckered up, and made a kiss noise.  No tickling, you were telling her.  Just a tummy kiss, please.  You bet you got one.  You probably got twenty.

Enjoy your last month of one-dom, sweetheart.  I don’t know if they make onesies much bigger than the ones you’re wearing now.  This may be the last month your tummy goes mostly protected.  I don’t care if you’re a big-boy two-year-old.  That tummy is getting kisses.




The first joke

Filed under: — Aprille @ 11:08 am

I think Miles made his first joke yesterday afternoon.  We were goofing around, playing on the bed, talking about relatives (or “our big family,” as we call them).  He’s quite adept at saying Uncle Joe, and he loves doing it.  After a bit of general squirreliness, he said “Uncle…NO.”

I laughed and said, “Do you mean Uncle Joe?”

He shook his head and said it again.  “Uncle NO!”  He laughed and laughed, and he said it about twenty more times.

I think he’s starting to understand rhymes and puns, because later that night as we were reading bedtime stories, he spontaneously listed a bunch of rhyming words:  Ty, guy, Mi (short for Miles), buy, ni.  I blame/credit the high penetration of Dr. Seuss books in our home library.

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