b Papa Dog's Blog: November 2006

Papa Dog's Blog

A Thing Wherein I Infrequently Write Some Stuff

Monday, November 20, 2006


The other day, she announced thoughtfully (and without discernable precedent in the conversation), “I should be a bus driver.” We take this to be her first announced career aspiration.

No, You’re Not Seeing Things: This Is a New Post

Charles has been in town off and on this past month. When he was here at the start of November, he made some crack about how my next post really ought to be called “Baby Dog’s Third.” The next day I set out to write a post about anything, just so long as it would be done before next June. I got as far as “Charles is in town” before I was overwhelmed by work obligations and had to put it aside.

Having made it through an entire first paragraph, I have to say that things are looking up today.

For those not in the know, the last year has been the busiest one of my life. I have a full-time job, the familial obligations with which you’re familiar if you’ve read the faversham, and a couple of very involved extracurricular projects that have made it impossible to post regularly here. Even after dropping the paying freelance work I’ve done the last few years I’ve been too busy to do more than think about blogging. Still and all, it’s time I did a little catch-up before Baby Dog exits the terrible twos.

Though she’s been exhibiting many signs of a will of her own, the twos haven’t been that terrible. She has learned new rhetorical devices to forestall policies with which she disagrees (“But I do want to stay up! I really really do!”) and is not above resorting to tantrums. Last night at Halmoni’s she showed unexpected signs of having studied the oratory of Benito Mussolini, emphasising each syllabic break with a shake of her fist as she forcefully intoned “I want to get out of the high chair right now!

Mostly, though, she just can’t help being her cute, diligent, sweet-tempered self. Here, for Charles to roll his eyes and skim past until the third birthday, is a list of cute Baby Dog items that I’ve been meaning to post about should I ever have time.

Friend Shark: Among her newer stuffed toys is a killer whale that Mama Dog found somewhere or other. I think it’s Shamu, but I’d have to check the label to be positive. Baby Dog decided early on that it was a shark and cannot be convinced otherwise. We told her it’s a killer whale, thinking maybe she’d find that cool, but the best compromise we could arrive at is that it’s a killer whale named “Shark.” In the last week or two, Baby Dog has decided that the critter is in fact named “Friend Shark.” A favourite game right now involves me circling Friend Shark around Baby Dog’s head, doing the Jaws theme: “Doo doo…….Doo doo……Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo….” until at last Friend Shark attacks and gobbles Baby Dog’s back. For some reason, it always has to be her back.

The Horse on Seventh Avenue: Baby Dog has had many additions to her bedtime songbook in the nearly six months since I last posted. I’m not sure how it got in there, but “The Boxer” by Simon and Garfunkel was one of the additions. I remember very clearly the first time I sang it to her at bedtime, I was doing the “seeking out the poorer quarters where the ragged people go” part when I flashed ahead and realised that I had a dilemma coming up. Namely, that part about the “come-on from the whores on Seventh Avenue.” That’s the problem with a folky light rock song that’s thirty years old and has long since been mulched for muzak. You forget that it really sprang from those same gritty streets from the Sidney Lumet movies. Not wanting Baby Dog to entertain her little friends at daycare by singing about whores, and thinking as fast as I could, I sang the line as “the girls on Seventh Avenue.” The line passed unnoticed and Baby Dog went to sleep. Later, I told Mama Dog about it, and she made a suggestion I should have thought of myself: “The horse on Seventh Avenue.” That’s how I’ve sung it ever since, and Baby Dog always supplies a “neigh” as an illustrative sound effect when we get to that part. Okay, maybe it’s a cheat. Maybe she’s going to grow up thinking I didn’t know what “whore” meant. On the other hand, maybe she’ll eventually think Daddy had a particularly filthy mind, updating a simple transaction between consenting adults to some sort of horribly degrading donkey show.

Spider-Man Update: Yes, she dressed in a Spider-Man costume for Halloween. She also has a Spider-Man trick-or-treat pail (unused this year since we didn’t go out, but ready for use next year), two Spider-Man dolls, a personalized Spider-Man book, a Spider-Man sticker book, a Spider-Man colouring book, two Spider-Man pillows, a Spider-Man quilt, Spider-Man pyjamas, a Spider-Man song on her Napster playlist, and the Spider-Man cartoon opening credit sequence bookmarked on Youtube. She’s all set for Spider-Man stuff for the rest of her childhood, but thanks to everyone who’s contributed.

The Halloween Party: We took Baby Dog (in her Spider-Man costume) to a neighbour’s daytime Halloween party. It was a Child-Friendly party, with a back yard full of toys and all the kids in costume. In a “you-know-you’re-so-far-north-in-Oakland-that- it-might-as-well-be-Berkeley” moment, our little girl was dressed as Spider-Man (she could by no means be persuaded there was such a thing as “Spider-Girl”) and another little boy at the party was dressed as a fairy princess. We really ought to have gotten a picture of the two of them together. Maybe you had to be there for this part, but we thought it was funny… Baby Dog’s most enduring memory of the party was meeting Watson, the cat of the house. Watson was very friendly, and sprawled on a table in front of us, accepting petting with great equanimity. Baby Dog has hardly ever been able to touch a cat – they usually run away when a toddler approaches – and she stood on her chair, able only to giggle and beam as she rubbed Watson’s belly. After a while we got distracted by other things, and by the time Baby Dog remembered the cat, Watson had disappeared. She lumbered about the yard, calling him: “WAAAAAT-SUUUUUN!” We’ve observed that our little girl is not really a delicate little flower. She was the loudest baby in the hospital on the day she was born, and time has diminished neither her powers of volume nor her ability to drop down into most unexpected levels of bass. She sounded like a little foghorn. “WAAAAAT-SUUUUUN!” Unsurprisingly, the cat did not come.

I’m sure there were other things I meant to blog about the last six months, but that’ll do for now, I think. I’ll try to post again before next June 25.