Monday, April 30, 2012

On emasculation

You give her a book to read and tell her you'll be right back. And then the door creaks open. And you have some 'splainin to do.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Stay alive! I will find you!

I go to the gym two or three times per week, always with my daughter in tow. We call it the "kids' place," since while I'm working up a sweat she chills out with the other ankle-biters in the 2-hour-limit childcare room.

I started my LA Fitness gym membership a month or two after moving to Southern California. The day my wife and I casually wandered in to check out  membership pricing (a word to the wise, there's no such thing as casually getting prices from LA Fitness, something I learned the hard way), Addison got one glimpse of the slide in the "kids' place" and forgot entirely about us. She was in heaven for the entire hour that we ended up negotiating with the sales staff, and we had to literally drag her away.

So, imagine my parental anxiety when this was the face I got the next time I brought her to the gym for my first real day of working out:

This is the face of abandonment, and it tore me up. I almost dropped the gym membership, but when we debriefed the experience at home later Addison cheerfully agreed that the kid's place was "fud" (fun), so I decided to at least work through a trial period. Every time I dropped her off I felt like Hawkeye in The Last of the Mohicans,* trying to convince her that I'd be back, and not to give up on life:
"You be strong, you survive . . . I will find you! No matter how long it takes, no matter how far, I will find you!"

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I know it's wrong

but when Addison learned to say "a sock," sometime around 18 months, her articulation of it made me want to accuse her back, saying,
"No, you suck!"
Perhaps I even said it. Once or twice. Maybe three times.

Socks are a big part of our lives here. She'd be repeating "a sock" over and over again, gleefully waving the offending item at me. Lindsay came down one day in the middle of a rather repetitive, invective-laden argument between me and my 18-month old, and I got a scolding (my daughter just sitting there smiling innocently, soggy sock in her mouth, as though she'd played no part in it). So I don't say it out loud anymore, but I still say it in my head and smile.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

On naming my daughter

"What's in a name?" muses Juliet in soliloquy. "It is nor hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face, nor any other part." The egg-head semioticians of my college theory classes would agree. A name, as with any word, is merely our way of referencing something that we never fully comprehend, that has no "essence" that we can ever quite articulate. It's the definition game, the adult version of the game your five-year-old cousin plays with the one-word query "why?" One academic makes an argument and his insufferable opponent asks him to define his terms. And then the bastard asks him to define the terms that were used to define the terms. And again, and again, in a never-ending chain. *I'm so glad I'm done with college.* And at the same time, I can't quite look away from the abyss that education opened up beneath my feet. What's in a name?

This is an essay about naming my daughter (who is two now), but I'll start first with a story that began twenty-one years ago, in my mother's hospital birthing room.