Friday, April 24 2020

excitement, real life, letters, and krenchins

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Dear Journal,

Good morning everyone! Happy Friday. I hope you're feeling good, and having a wonderful day so far. The weather has been beautiful this week, and heading into a weekend, I have plenty to be thankful.

But there's been a very palpable change in the air. I'm starting to feel like we could have the baby at any time. Between scheduling the induced labor and Marissa's due date still being a few weeks away, at first I was feeling pretty laid back about the timeline - until recently. Maybe it's because our go bags are finally packed and resting in the corner of our bedroom. Maybe it's because we've already given our neighbors instructions for letting the dogs out, and we've made arrangements for Rodney to stay at my boss's house. I think the more prepared Marissa and I get, the closer it feels.

It's the good kind of excited, just in case that wasn't clear. My nerves are still as cool as a cucumber. I'm just eager to get this show on the road.

Sip. I had a great day yesterday. I ended up finishing my "paper", successfully handing it into the "teacher" with plenty of time to spare. Of course it wasn't really a paper, as much as it was a help center article, and the teacher was a technical writer at our company. And unlike high school, rather than shredding the essay with a demoralizing wall of corrections and leaving it practically dripping with red ink (wasn't that the worst feeling?), she made the inline edits herself and sent them back to me. We're told school was meant to prepare you for the real world, but isn't it funny how often the real world is more forgiving than school?

I found a typo in your writing? No problem - I know how to use Google docs, I'll just fix it myself for you. Are you going to slip on a deadline? No problem - I know it's important to you, and I understand you have other priorities.

Maybe school is intentionally harder than real life. It's a lot to learn in a short period of time, so maybe at some point the powers that be decided that a good school should be a more potent, concentrated version of real life. Like a job stress centrifuge - real life simulator.

The work day continued, and at some point throughout the day, Marissa set a letter on my night stand. "CRAP!" I yelled.

"I told you it was an 8," she laughed. I stared at the letter in horror.

I can explain. About a week ago, this letter was accidentally delivered to our house, and it sat on the coffee bar downstairs for a few days. When I was finally ready to take a little walk down the street to deliver it, I sat down at the computer to look up the address.

"I think it's a 9," I said. Marissa leaned in to study the envelope.

"No, that's an 8," she countered.

"Really? Have you ever known anyone to write an '8' like that?" I spun around in my chair as my rant continued. "Even if you draw your 8's incorrectly... where instead of making a figure eight with your pen, you draw two circles stacked on top of each other, they would never turn out like that. That would have to be drawn like a... a backwards three that curls in on itself."

"I think it's a 9," said Marissa, as she shrugged and walked away.

"A crap," I said to myself. "If it is a 9, that's going to be a long walk - that's all the way at the end block."

A week later, here was the letter again, and perhaps I deserved to have my nose rubbed in my error. When I think I'm right, I dig in pretty hard. I thought the world was a lot simpler. There were people that wrote 8's the right way, and people that wrote them the wrong way. The world is a complicated place, and evidently there are lots of wrong ways to write an 8. But not all of them will get your letter to where it needs to go.

I finished out the work day, rewarding my efforts with some time hacking on a side project. Meanwhile, Rodney was confined in his room, as he usually is for daily quiet time. Rodney was in rare form yesterday. As Marissa put it, "he just didn't feel like being a kid." He was involved in every action, discussion, and movement of ours.

From his confinement, Rodney lobbed colorful blocks at me from across the hallway. One hit me in the back of the head, and I shot him a cartoonishly angry face. We wrestled for a bit, then we both headed downstairs to hang out until our ordered food arrived.

Rodney began practicing bottle flips in the living room, and seeing me snap some pictures of him, he wandered over, reaching for my phone.

"Dada, gimme phone," he said. Normally our policy as parents is to only honor demands when prepended by a nice, Midwestern please, but I wanted to see where we was going with this.

"I take a snapshat," Rodney said, staring down at the screen, fiddling with the buttons. The screen went black. "Ope, what happened?" he said handing the phone back to me.

I set him up with the camera. He held the phone in one hand while doing flips with the other. It became clear he was mimicking me. I've been using Snapchat to save my best quarantine bottle flips in hope of putting it all together in a highlight real someday.

"Just kidding it's a bottle flip," he said in a bellowing voice, dropping the bottle to the ground. I was impressed that not only was he imitating my voice, but that was also a pretty deep joke reference that only our family would recognize.

After finishing dinner, I took Rodney upstairs to put him to bed. Usually before bed I ask him about his day, beginning a bout of questions with "Hey - I have questions for you." I quiz him about what he ate, what he played with, and even what TV shows he watched. I have to think that taking a minute to reflect on the day is a healthy exercise for his little vibrating brain. Last night Rodney attempted to turn the tables on me.

"Dada, I have krenchins for you," he said. He still struggles with the 'q' sound, so questions becomes "krenchins".

"OK what do you got," I replied. Rodney fell silent.

"Um... I don't know!" he finally said after a moment of deliberation. Seeing Marissa pass in the hallway snatched away his attention.

"Oh momma! Hi! I have krenchins for you," he said repeating himself.

"Oh is that right?" replied Marissa.

"Yeah! I have SO MANY krenchins," he continued. Rodney jumped to his feet and flapped his arms, bulging his eyes, his antics earning an easy laugh.

"Dude, you're crazy," I said. Rodney turned toward me.

"Dada, waabout my..." Rodney paused, searching for the sounds to make. "Verssker... bribish... DEElin?"

"Dude what did you say... OHHHH," I answered. "You want me to tuck in jouw verschillinde kleine zachte dieren!" Rodney's eyes lit up. He was trying to say a silly Dutch phrase I use to refer to his animals: your various small soft animals. I got to hand it to him for trying, although if he can't even say questions yet, I don't know what made him think he had a chance.

What a funny day. Thanks for stopping by this morning. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.