Home From November

November is Big Word Country, with dreams that span beyond the horizon. It is a land of work, and like most work involves pain, sacrifice and failure. All for the maddening glee of working in November, and finishing the job. Which I did, some 99k of it. Most of it was joy, so much in fact that I searched out blog posts, not about the despair of November, but about the joys of kicking-ass and making words. The dark time did come, and I was thankful that I had bookmarked a couple of posts about our shared misery, but for the most part it was all win.

Now though, it’s revision time and I have this 280-page gorilla sitting on my chest. The gorilla keeps me up at night, I can hear it breath, I can feel it watching me. Never-not on my mind, I’ve been up far too late, listening to fears and worries. The land of November is great, because it has a pit you can kick all that first-draft fear into and you get to high-five your fellows as you do it. That’s no longer the case; it’s just the big gorilla and me. Or maybe it is still the case and I’m just scared because so little of my writing hobby, read none-at-all, has involved heavy revision. Whatever the case, the only way to proceed is by getting to work, and Ninety-nine thousand words proved I could get to work!

November is also the land of, the now poorly timed, Thanksgiving. It was Felix’s first Thanksgiving, and we took a plane ride up to Grandma’s to visit Michelle’s side of the family. It was filled with mostly fun times, a little bump, but plenty of good food and cheer.

When I roll through the mall everybody looking at me.

When I roll through Boise everybody looking at me.

I left Idaho with an observation about family. Family is like bath water. It’s nice and refreshing at first, rejuvenates you, cleans all that dirt and pollutants from the outside world off real good! Light some candles, add some bubbles and you can just steep for days. But steep too long and you become weary of the water. It looks a little murky, but it is your murk, so why not linger a bit longer before having to go and face the world. Seriously though it is getting a little gross in here so I think I’ll get out. Do you want to use my bath water?

I missed the Bray Family this Thanksgiving and you were often in my thoughts. It was nice to be so welcomed by the Halby/Jung side of the family. It’s so refreshing to see other families and sit back and go, “humpf just like us. Humpf-humpf.” Nice bath water to ease into and all that.

Now to a more interesting topic, and the reason we are all here, Felix. The almost 11-month-old presents an interesting look at human behavior. My family lives close enough to us so we see them once a month, sometimes more. They met him while he had no fear of others, no stranger danger. We could hand him off to my Mom, Sister, Brother-in-law, Brother, Niece or stray transient, and he was content until he actually had a physical need.

Now he has learned stranger danger, –except strange babies or kids he welcomes them openly– Michelle’s family could barely hold him before he was crying and jumping for Momma. Heck, I could barely hold him at times. What’s interesting is that he had no concept of trust, so he gave it, but now that he kind of understands trust, he’s hesitant to give it out and will work back to a point of being secure with others.

Towards the end of our trip he had a better understanding of who his Grandma Connie is, and even hustled over to her when she had a big stack of paper cups, a favored toy they are. As the week wore by he became more comfortable playing with her and ventured further from us each time. We are hoping he remembers her and is a little more comfortable when she visits us for his first birthday.

Back to the topic at hand unlearning, relearning, expanding knowledge? Whatever we call it, the same is true of sharing. Felix is a social guy. We started taking him to play areas where the kids run wild, and I do mean run! Parents scream after their kids, “Be careful! Share! Don’t take that!” because they have learned mine, and exercise that knowledge greatly. Felix hasn’t learned mine. So even when we brought one of his own toys to the play pit, that is a mistake, and kid after kid grabbed it (sometimes from him), he just laughed. When he learns mine, he will again work back to the point he is now, where it’s okay for others to play with his toys when he’s not using them.

Babies have a neat kind of Zen. It is rooted in the lack of knowledge, but it’s an interesting stage to observe. It makes me wish I could strip away the useless “knowledge” I’ve gained that makes it hard for me to share, trust, or just be a decent human being. One of my goals is to pass as little baggage to Felix as possible. I want him to be a happy, friendly, outgoing dude. A whole person, and not just a baggage handler left unfulfilled by the weight of crap dumped on him. (I wonder if all this baggage talk is supported by our recent trip?)

His little mind is growing, learning, and all of it is through play and observation. He’s playing peek-a-boo with everything, clothes, books, and blankets if he can cover his eyes with it then its fair game. We can already tell he will be a big helper kid. He cries the moment we start sweeping unless we let him help. We bought a mini-push-broom for his birthday/Christmas and think it will be the radest gift ever once he can walk or stand on his own.

I’m looking forward to teenage years when he whines, not about having to sweep, because we will have a robo-vacuum by then, but about emptying/cleaning/unclogging whatever manual task comes with future robo-vacuums. I’ll hand him an old human powered broom and say, “Here you used to cry so much if we didn’t let you sweep. So do it the old way.” Only to watch his eyes rollback with that “ugh, parents” look all children can give, even adult children. Haha, I love you kiddo. 😀

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