Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Video Killed the Radio Star

Does everyone know that was the first video ever played on MTV? That was back in the day when there were actually more videos than commercials. Ahhhh, the days of youth.

Yesterday was Carrie's 32nd birthday, and much like mine it passed without incidence, save one of her graduating senior running into her classroom and inciting a chorus of Happy Birthday from her students. Much like the video killed the radio star, having a baby killed all romantic birthdays and anniversaries. We also have less music and way more commercials between episodes of our mediocre reality show.

Kidding. Sort of.

When Carrie and I met she was such a huge fan of birthdays - hers specifically - that she would start counting it down after New Year's. "Only five months and 14 days to go..." As an inspired new boyfriend, fiancee, and then husband, I did my best to match her enthusiasm with birthday surprises ranging from fully decorated living rooms to balloons spilling down on her as she exited our house to birthday signs taped up along Highway 1 from our apartment to her restaurant job.

On the latter occasion a policeman pulled over and asked me why the heck I was putting signs up all over town at midnight. A little embarrassed in the face of such obvious testosterone, I confessed my romantic gesture and he said, "Well, technically that's illegal,...but it's also a really cute idea. Promise me you'll take them down later." I'm pretty sure that's the only good interaction I've had with a policeman, and I'm also pretty sure I saw him putting up similar signs later that year. Plagiarizer!

This year I had planned to steal Carrie's keys and decorate her classroom at the high school, but I couldn't even muster the energy to make up a good lie to leave the house. Instead, after she went to bed, I pulled out last year's decorations and tried to spread them around the house enough to look as though I'd made an effort.

My birthday present? The same thing she got me two months ago...A BABY!!! Only mine's cuter, older, and can do more stuff.

In fact, Amari is now sitting up on her own, and with the exception of the occasional tumble onto her face or back, she's quite happy doing so and plays independently for longish stretches of time. And by long stretches I mean long enough to go to the bathroom. Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on how tired I am) this joy of sitting has replaced her desire for tummy time and will probably postpone crawling. She's still making progress, but it has slowed considerably. Now when she gets on all fours and rocks back and forth, she adds the occasional knee movements. Still uncertain of what to do with her hands, as her knees grow closer to her palms, she invariably falls onto her face and either cries, starts over, or lies there looking like a break dancer pausing for applause.

Another recent development is the emergence of a mild case of separation anxiety. Even though she plays by herself, she likes to know exactly where Carrie and I are. If we get up and walk away without her permission, she'll start fussing. And by permission I mean when she's not fully engaged with a teething ring, a doll, or some music-making contraption. The fun part is coming back to her. The cry subsides immediately and is replaced with a smile. If I walk away and come back quickly enough she sounds like a little accordion. Awesome.

I also tried to give Carrie the present of a full night's sleep before her birthday by taking all the nighttime feedings and fussings. Amari has lots of sniffles and pain and hopefully teeth soon, so this present became increasingly challenging as the night went on. Every time I tried to leave Amari's futon at the foot of our bed, she would start crying again. I would pat and rock and sooth and feed then sneak away and she would cry. By two-thirty in the morning I was so frustrated that I grabbed her pink bunny and flung it across the room making a distorted "Twinkle, twinkle little..." sound as it hit the wall. Having blown that birthday gesture, I assure Carrie that I was fine now, that throwing stuffed animals is a common form of parental therapy, and I took Amari downstairs to her favorite rocking chair where we both eventually drifted to sleep.

Happy Birthday, Carrie. You will always be my commercial free MTV. I love you.

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