Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Days of Future Past

Bean's Auntie Lucy asked me to post about what it is I want for the little guy in his future, but to be honest I haven't really given that very much thought. Sure, I wonder what he will turn out like and all that jazz, how my decisions will impact him, but as far as any real projection of his life in the future goes I really don't have any.

There are important attributes that I truly hope I (or anyone) can teach him, somehow, and also plenty of traits of mine that I hope to Lord Xenu he does not inherit.

I really hope Hunter picks up the ability to think critically and independently. The amount of information we have access to and are bombarded with increases exponentially by the day, even today there's just far too much for anyone to process; who knows what it will be like when Hunter grows up. I hope he picks up the skills never to be inundated and overwhelmed by the glut, because wading through our culture of excess and finding the small, hidden pockets of worth is one of my all time favourite things to do. I would hate that he missed out on that.

I hope he can find a few good people that he can call family; I don't know what I would ever do without my crew. There's no point in wishing that he develops the supernatural wisdom to weed out the snakes and avoid the mistakes we have all made in the past, because that's all part of it. But I hope he at least gets half as lucky on that front as I did.

If there was some way of ensuring he didn't have certain parts of me within him - that he had better self-discipline, more patience, is never forced to understand addiction, and had a greater capacity for forgiveness - then I would do it in a heartbeat. But there isn't, so at least he'll have someone who understands all those shortcomings very, very well.

Most of all (and most clich├ęd) I just hope he is free. Free to be happy, free to make his own decisions, free from the imposition of others values and systems of thought, free to struggle where he (or anyone else) isn't free. I can only do so much to make that happen, but hopefully I can help arm him with the tools to do the rest himself.

That's about it, nothing particularly original or enlightening. Sorry I don't have some vivid imagining of how Hunter's life might pan out, but this is such an unstable world I wouldn't know where to begin. Maybe as a post-apocalyptic intergalactic grey market courier. Yeah, that will do.

Friday, January 9, 2009

You're so Pretty When You're Angry

I don't know when it happened, but at some point I became the exact type of parent I didn't want to be. I know there's nothing wrong with adoring your kid, but I didn't want to be one of those parents that pushed that adoration onto others. I know too well that most babies, to eyes not their parents', look like shaved monkeys, and I have no interest in awkwardly forcing other people to lie about that. Maybe it's because there are always so many people around fawning (in seemingly genuine fashion) over little Hunter that I lost my bearings. I don't know, either way there's no excuse for it really. I entered Hunter in a beauty contest.

Now, now, it's not as bad as it sounds. It's not one of those creepy dressed up like weirdly sexualized mini-slut, face-stapled, Vaseline smile, win-or-you-get-the-jug-chord type of things. You may recall, those of you who have been with us since day one, that the first piece of clothing I got for little Bean, before he had arrived, was a little green Billy Bragg onesie featuring a Joe Strummer stencil. This came from a very cool website called Baby Wit; it was their beauty contest.

They asked customers to send in pictures of their kids rocking the Baby Wit gear, and they were going to pick their favourites to receive some free stuff. Being a big fan of free stuff I submitted the following:

Bean was just a day old at that point and a little bit yellow due to his jaundice. Even so, the little dreamboat took out runner up place and won himself an organic fleece hat. Unfortunately I neglected to tell the nice people that he was no longer one day old but rather a bonny seven months, and so the prize they sent is far too small. Oops.

So if anyone is in need of a rather lovely hat for their infant drop me a line. And not to worry, we will just win something even better next time, imagine the damage this devastating little bombshell would do to the competition now. Yeah, no pressure at all.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Of oh so Many Christmases

Starting in November with our trip down to Hamilton and lurching through until a few days after Boxing Day, the festive season just refused to lay down and die in '08. In total we ended up having four different Christmas celebrations, which is certainly well beyond the pale for someone who thinks just the one is far too much. Still, we were well fed and little Bean had many tributes heaped upon him, so I can't protest too loudly.

Bean enjoying his new moose Christmas present.

The too-early pseudo-Christmas in Hamilton aside, our first Yuletide jaunt was when we were invited to lunch with Bean's granddad (Mama's Dad) ahead of time as they were trekking down south for the main event.

Hunter has quickly developed a talent for ripping through wrapping.

It was an absurdly hot day, but Hunter didn't mind at all; he had real carpet to roll around on (a far cry from our dirty old, worn-bald flooring at home) and a whole heap of gifts from the family; chief among them a giant stuffed caterpillar with the alphabet on its side, which Hunter loves. An oversize novelty toy to cram into our already suffocatingly packed apartment, cheers guys!

The giant Spell-erpillar, in the fuzzy flesh.

Later that week my folks popped in for an impromptu gift giving session, with some wonderful wooden blocks for Hunter. While he's not yet up to playing with them in the intended manner the rest of us are certainly enjoying using them to spell out inappropriate words.

Hunter and his Grandmother raving it up on Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve saw us truck off to Hunter's Grandmother's place (Mama's mama) for a bit of a bash. The place was packed with people I mostly didn't know, but they all fawned over Hunter and there was plenty of wine to go around, so things stayed nicely festive.

Jolly Jumping results in rather a lot of drool.

Getting his gift a little ahead of time, Hunter was permitted to play in his brand new 'jolly-jumper' (a spring-supported harness that affixes to a door frame, which lets him bounce up and down on his own) that night, to entertain the troops. He was a little beguiled by the apparatus at first, but was soon grinning manically as he bobbled about -- jumping is pretty much his favourite thing to do these days.

Our staggeringly awesome Justice Tree.

We stayed the night there and did the Christmas Day gift unwrapping in the morning before returning home where I quickly retreated into a book, desperately wishing for the rest of the day to pass me by promptly; I'd had my fill of Merry Christmases.

Bean doing his best Paulie impersonation.

There was still one to come though, an event referred to as 'Real Christmas' in which our crew gather together on the nearest convenient date for us all (this time December 27th) and eat fine vegan cuisine, drink the cheapest stuff we can get our hands on, and generally make fools of ourselves.

Chum on the drums at Real Christmas.

Throughout the year I have been trying to hone my meager cooking skills, and Real Christmas was an opportunity for me to put them to the test. Based loosely on the feast I prepared the previous year I managed to serve up a relatively competent version of the following meal:

Me Metaling it up on Guitar.

Creamy Asparagus Soup
Sizzling Santas in Blankets (quartered vege sausages wrapped in sundried tomatoes and grilled)
Creamy Mushroom Puffs
Almond Broccoli with Garlic sauce
Sesame Roasted Potatoes
Nut Roast with sage and red wine stuffing and mushroom gravy

Mama spits some ill rhymes for our band 'The Party'.

People seemed to dig it and there was definitely enough food to go around. In between eating and drinking the day was peppered with enthusiastic attempts at becoming the worlds worst Rock and Roll group with my Christmas gift, the video game Rock Band. While the neighbours might not have enjoyed the racket, Hunter was certainly entertained by all the trashing and banging.

Neither Lucy nor Bean are appreciative of our avant-garde musical style.

All told the Christmas Season was (like most of this year) hectic but worthwhile, even for a Grinch like me. I hope everyone had a killer New Year's and good luck with all your ridiculous resolutions. I'll be hoping for an '09 that's a little less stressful and terrifying; somehow we made it through, here's to just as much dumb luck this year.

Bean lays down some backing vox for The Party's first single.