Suburban Butch Dad Report: family time

The day after the day after Thanksgiving was very enjoyable here in Casa de Kyle.  First, we got to sleep in until about 9:00 before the baby decided it was time to get up and play.  The day continued to ramble onward at a mellow pace from there.  By mid-morning, I was outside clearing the driveway of its muck layer of leaves, moss and unidentifiable gunk. I also used my flathead shovel to scrape the lush green moss of the concrete retaining walls that define our narrow driveway.  Lots of work, lots of wheelbarrows dumped onto the compost pile and lots of satisfaction for a job well done.

While I was enjoying the cool air and solitude of my task, my wife and ElderSpawn played Spite & Malice.  Spite & Malice is the family card game, my wife and her mom almost always play a few games when visiting, sometimes going late into the night.  I join in occasionally, and win rarely, my wife being the reigning champion.  My MIL is in town for the holiday and my wife decided it was time to teach ES how to play, so she could join in on the fun.

It’s the kind of game you can learn quickly, but it takes a bit longer to master all the strategy.  The name comes from the defensive strategy.  You want to set up plays for yourself, without setting up plays for your opponents, so holding cards rather than playing them, or purposefully blocking plays, is part of the strategy.  ES won her very first game against Mrs. Kyle and MIL, but that was a combination beginner’s luck and coaching from Mrs. Kyle.  On Saturday, as I worked outside, the two of them played several games, without as much coaching from my wife.  ES loves the game and I think both of them enjoyed spending so much time together, away from the TV.  That day the TV didn’t even get turned on until well after dinner.   After finishing up my outdoor work, I came in and lounged in my recliner with Bunny (aka Little Bit).   The whole four-day weekend was like this, lots of family bonding time, time for napping and playing and conversation.  I enjoyed it a lot.

Here’s the report for those of you eager for news on our little Bunny (aka Little Bit).  Yes, she is Bunny now, or Bun-Bun, or Bunnerds, or other varieties of that nickname.  I coined the name a while back and now everyone in the family calls her Bunny and she answers to it.  Bunny is 16 months old now.  She has a great ASL vocabulary, commonly signing “eat/food”, “please”, “fruit”, “milk”, “cat”, “dog”, “more”, “finished’, “cereal”, “cold’, “hot” (she signs this and says ‘hopp!’).  Teaching her about ‘hot’ was very important once we started having fires in the fireplace.  Now she immediately recognizes that flame is hot, whether its in a fireplace or on top of a candle.   Her signing vocabulary is growing but it’s dwarfed by the words and phrases she understands.   When she gets up on the table, it’s not because she doesn’t understand that we’re telling her not to, it’s because she’s willing to defy us in order to reach her goal.  Her speaking vocabulary is still small.  Her first word was ‘up’, a couple of months ago and it is her all-purpose action word.  ‘Up’ can mean ‘pick me up’, ‘let me down’, ‘give me that thing’, etc.  She says ‘Ma’ and ‘MaMa’ but not with a lot of consistency yet.  She speaks fluent cat, and has entire conversations with Libby and Walter.

She continues to defy all manner of baby-proofing.  You have to be careful not to let her see you unlatching things because she’ll be right behind you mimicking and repeating your actions.  She delights in showing off these new skills, applauding herself and giving us her dimpled, toothy grin.  We’re trying positive reinforcement, which she responds well to, and limiting punitive action when we can.  If she gets something out of a drawer, we ask her to put it away and reward her with applause (she joins in).  The downside is that she really likes all that celebration, so she’ll sometimes repeat the cycle several times, until we distract her with something else.

She’s a great eater, not in quantity, but in variety.  She’ll eat pretty much anything we put in front of her, usually she’s got a scaled down plate of whatever we’re having.  She loves feeding herself with her hands or using a little spork.  She already eats a wider variety of foods than her big sister does now, which we point out to Big Sis, much to her chagrin.  Along with eating more solids, she’s nursing less, much to Mrs. Kyle’s relief.   This newfound partial independence from the One Who Makes Milk has led to a stronger bond with me, which is wonderful and sometimes difficult.  For example, this morning Bunny woke up just before I left for work.  She called to me from bed, pushing away from Mrs. Kyle and holding her arms up “Maaaa.. Maaaaa.. Up! Up!”  Of course, I went in and rescued the wee bairn, how can I resist?  I delayed going to work a little, carrying her warm little body against my chest while she worked on waking up.  She’s such a fuzzy headed little mole first thing in the morning, burying her face against my neck to avoid the bright lights.  Before long she was signing ‘please, food, please’ and we got some grapes for breakfast.  I cut them in half for her, she scarfs them down in happy-slurpy delight.  Eventually, though, I had to get going.  I handed her off to Mama, but she was having none of that.. she cried and reached and called for me.  Oh man, as if going to work isn’t hard enough, that kind of scene makes it excruciating.  I did go, however, blowing kisses and waving, her returning the kisses and waves in her sweet way.

It looks like she’s tossed out her extreme Mama favoritism for now.  It’s a good thing for all of us, because my wife needs a break and Bunny and I need our bonding time.  Bunny is sleeping better, longer at night, not as much during the day.  She’s eating more and nursing less, not gaining much weight, but gaining height.  My Little Bit is growing up, it seems.

I know I’ve been a bit less prolific with posts lately and I’m sorry if that disappoints you, but it’s just one of those things.  I’m multi-processing like crazy, but there’s only so much time in the day.  Some things I’m up to:

  • Working on finding new work.  My contract ends in 7 months, and I’m working my network of geek contacts for new opportunities.  That means doing a lot of research, reworking my resume and lots of email/chat/messaging.  The good news is that I’ve got some promising leads.
  • Finishing my submission for the Stalled anthology.  I’m pretty much finished except for submitting it.  I figured letting it chill on a back burner for a few days before the final read through would be a good idea.
  • Considering writing something for a Lesbian BDSM Erotica anthology.  I’ve got an idea, I’ve written a few sentences.  I would very much like to come up with something, but I’ve only got until the end of the year, so we shall see.
  • Pizza Klatch:  I’ll be facilitating my first Pizza Klatch group tomorrow and I’m nervous excited about it.  I’ve been reading through a large binder of material prepping for it.
  • Seasonal stuff:  holiday planning, shopping, winterizing the house, inside and out.  Splitting wood:  great exercise rewarded by cozy fire heated evenings.
  • More geeking.  The process of looking for new work has me thinking about expanding my geekly skills:  new programming languages, new technologies, new development practices.  A lot of the creative energy I was putting into writing posts has been siphoned away into geeky pursuits, which is a good thing for me, but means a bit more sparse reading for you.

If my lack of frequent posting on erotica, butchness, gender, etc. has you feeling a bit empty, feel free to fill up by clicking on any of the fine links in my blogroll.  There are a lot of great blogs there, writers who inspire and inform me.  Take care and I’ll see you back here soon.

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