November 3, 2016 by bhjames78
The last time I posted anything on my blog was March 22, 2014. Two-and-a-half years ago.
Here are things that have happened since then. All these things are about me, which seems self-involved, but then it is my blog, so…
An increasingly regular responsibility in my capacity as a high school English teacher is convincing/encouraging/suggesting/urging teenagers not to end every statement with so…. Or so yeah…. Or just or…
So, here are the things:
Thing #1: I quit blogging.
Thing #2: I had a second kid.
Thing #3: I (we) took first kid and second kid to Disneyland. Twice.
Thing #4: I wrote a book with my wife.
Thing #5: I was informed I have high cholesterol.
Other things (in no particular order):
- Read a lot of David Foster Wallace
- Read Finnegans Wake (spellcheck understandably wants me to put an apostrophe on Finnegans but there’s no apostrophe)
- Got a part time teaching job to go with my full time teaching job
- Sold my horse, thereby becoming horse-less for the first time since I was 14 years old.
- Wrote/compiled a story collection
- Got said collection rejected
- Started a novel
- Started another novel within that novel
- Built a patio
There are other things, of course.
Here’s more about the first two:
Thing #1: I quit blogging
I started blogging in 2011 because I had a book coming out. It was one of the things you were supposed to do. For the same reason, I also opened a Twitter account and added like 2,000 strangers as friends on Facebook.
There’s no big reason as to why I quit blogging. It wasn’t a conscious decision. It was just much easier to stop than to continue. In that way, it’s like jogging (and blogging and jogging rhyme, so…). And like the opposite of smoking, or eating cookies. It’s like this thing you do that you know you should do more often—in fact, you’ve been told by people for whom it seems supernaturally easy that if you aren’t doing it blank many times per week then you may as well not be doing it at all. So then it becomes this thing that when you do do it you feel pretty good about it (Dorothy Parker: “I hate writing, I love having written.”) but mostly you just feel guilty all the time for not doing it or not doing it enough, hence it being much easier when you finally make the decision to just stop doing it altogether.
But it (blogging)’s not like jogging because it’s fun. Nothing about jogging is fun. It’s good to do but not fun. Writing, though, is fun. And it’s no-or-at-least-less-pressure writing, so there’s less of that ohmygodthisisallcrapi’mafraudihatemyself part.
But, anyway, I’m gonna give it another whirl, so we’ll see.
Thing #2: I had a second kid.
The second kid’s name is Sam. Sam is eighteen months old. His older brother, by the way, is Tom. Tom is four.
Sam’s birth story is far less dramatic than Tom’s birth story. Because Tom’s birth story ended with a C-section, Sam’s birth story begins as a planned C-section, planned C-sections, as you can imagine, eliminating much of the apprehension and anticipation surrounding imminent birth because you make an appointment.
The wrinkle in this planned C-section, though, was that when we arrived for our appointment, come to find out, Liz was in labor. The very early part, but labor (and then Liz read the handwritten draft of the sentence currently being parentheticalled and shouted at me across the kitchen that it wasn’t the early part of labor it was labor labor then insisting that I add parenthetical reference to said shouting).
But other than that, it all went as planned and it all went fine, and Sam was born and he was healthy and, to be honest, he was much easier than Tom had been, which may very well have had a lot or mostly to do with the fact that this was our second rodeo, but, anyway, Sam screamed less and “latched” better (those two probably related) and, speaking of Tom, the most challenging part of the entire three days in the hospital came when Tom’s Grammy, with whom Tom had spent the last three days, brought Tom to the hospital to see the parents he had not seen for three days and also to see his new baby brother, Grammy and Tom happening to arrive at the hospital at the same time that Tom’s other grandma and Tom’s aunt and uncle were also visiting, such that the scene Tom walked into was just about half the people he knew on the planet all huddled in this strange room, plus this baby. He immediately lost his s-word. What followed can best be described as an existential meltdown—think Luke Skywalker after finding out Darth Vader is his father, but of longer duration and with more agony—the shrill screams of No No No prompting everyone but Mom and Dad to file out into the hall, the nurse shortly thereafter rushing in to retrieve the bassinet because apparently it’s against the maternity ward rules to carry a newborn into the hall, the screaming toddler evading both parents, dodging behind medical equipment, eventually taken against his will into the arms of Dad and held literally kicking and screaming for the what-seemed-like-much-longer-but-was-probably-like-five-minutes that it took Mom to coax him back from insanity.
Existential crisis if not resolved then at least silenced, consensus was reached to just send Tom back home with Grammy. But, in the hall, before leaving: a curious peek, on tippy toes, over the bassinet wall; a glance up at the adults; “Do you want to see your baby brother?”; a nod in the affirmative; a trip, for baby brother, around the ward, pushed ever-so-carefully by big brother; a reading, with considerable concentration, of I’m a Big Brother; a kiss for everyone, including Sam, before leaving.
Sam is now eighteen months old, and several of those months ago he ceased being Tom 2 and became his very own Sam.
He smiles a lot.
He roars a lot. He has various roars. A tiger roar, for example, and a dragon roar.
If the roars don’t work, he’s a pretty good screamer.
He climbs. Everything. Chairs must not be left adjacent to things taller than chair or Sam will be on top of that thing.
He runs. Walking seemed to take a while to get going and I guess we were worried at the time but that’s a distant memory because now he’s a runner.
He signs. He uses the signs for All done, More, and Please. More is the most often used sign and has evolved into the sign for More as well as for Do! Like, Hey one of you two tall people that does things, do something. Do something else. Do it now. Determine from my pointing and other wild gesticulations what it is I exactly want and do that thing. More. Please.
We were worried about having two brother—you know, because of Sam Shepard plays and the Book of Genesis—but so far they get along great. Sam will begin speaking in sentences soon, though, limiting Tom’s ability to say, “He said I could I have this” without protest. So we’ll see.