Monday, October 23, 2006

Entitled Number One

Gabe was bent over the fender, his head buried deep under the hood. His hand rested on a metal part of the engine. He breathed slowly, like he was trying to give life to the rusting hulk.

Stefan watched from a distance. He didn't know what to do. He couldn't understand this man who seemed so eager to show him how he was destroying his life. It was all very hard to bear.

First the sound goes. It's subtle and it happens so fast. Gabe grows distant and eventually he fades from view.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Carlos at the Bat

The outlook wasn't good for the Mighty Mets that day.
The score stood three to one with half an inning to play.

Molina's blast on top of the ninth set them to despair.
They were at the edge of elimination, it just wasn't fair!

But they might have a chance if they could just reach the top of the order.
Then Valentin gets a flare, Chavez a single and the crowd jumps with ardor.

Their Mets are still fighting and Wainwright's a rookie.
And Cliff Floyd's going to pinch hit, he's one tough cookie.

But then he whiffs, I guess the rookie's slider still has life.
And Reyes doesn't have a chance, is the end really in sight?

But look, in the batter's box, right behind LoDuca.
It's the mighty Carlos Beltran, his terrible swing ain't no fluke-a.

If they could just get another flare, a grounder with eyes.
Even a walk would do the trick, no opportunity will be minimized.

And sure enough he walks, the bases are loaded!
Mighty Carlos strides to the plate and 50,000 hearts get bloated.

Wainwright looks in, did I tell you he's only a rookie?
From the left Carlos gets ready, you know he won't be looking.

Everyone's on their feet, the sky is electric blue.
Then Carlos finds himself behind not only one strike, but two.

The crowd falls to a hush, shouts turn to whispers.
Mighty Carlos can't fail, he's not the disease, he's the cure.

Then the rookie looks in, checks the runners and lets fly.
Everyone waits with anticipation, the tension is high.
And the lifelong Mets fans simply want to cry.
Because Carlos, their hero, who was supposed to bid the Cardinals goodbye.
Mighty Carlos, the man they could always count on to at least try.
Simply let a wicked slider go right by.

Somewhere, someone is cheering, somehwere a city shouts.
Maybe in St. Louis because in New York...the Mighty Carlos has struck out.


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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Two Years (24 Months)

Mimic vs Learning

One of the rather endearing aspects of our little guy is how he collects our shoes when he knows that we are heading out into the world. One reason he does this is because we're training him properly to be our slave and another, more realistic reason, is because he loves to go out. He is a social butterfly. Both Xtina and I don't quite understand what made him so eager to see the world since we love to simply enjoy our home with our lonesome selves and if the rest of the world doesn't catch wind of us until our bodies begin to decay..well, that's just fine with us. He must've inherited it from his Muncle Rick (that's Spider Rick via the web) who would be happy networking with satan (regardless of the heat) as long as it was only a social call.

Anyway it's a wonderful pleasure when we're running around the house trying to make sure that we don't forget anything and here comes Lucas holding up our shoes with an eager smile on his face (he loves to please). I have to stop and give him the biggest hug or else my heart will simply spill over with love.

But the real reason I bring this up is because we've finally reached the point where Lucas has now moved from the mimic phase to actual learning. He still mimics us constantly, which we love (he learns a new word everyday, sometimes one or two that we really don't want him to learn), but the other night I was perhaps the proudest papa on the planet.

Okay, here's the situation. Whenever we would ask Lucas to bring us our shoes we 'd say, “Lucas, will you bring me my shoes please?” and he'd dutifully walk over behind the door and grab whatever shoes he felt we should wear that day. Alternately, when we'd put his shoes on we'd say, “Let's put your shoes on little man!” then we'd all head out the door on our various adventures. So my shoes were “mine” and his shoes were “yours”, which all sounds right and makes sense. But when he'd bring our shoes over he'd say “my shoes” and as we pushed his shoes on his feet he'd say “your shoes” simply because he was mimicking us. Eventually it reached the point where Xtina and I were constantly saying “No, these are my shoes.” and he'd nod and say “mine” and we'd say “No, these are your shoes” holding up his shoes and he'd say “yours”, which ultimately became frustrating because it left us wondering how the heck am I going to explain this one. We really wanted Lucas, the mimicker, to truly understand what it is that we were really trying to say to him. These are “yours” but to you they're “mine” and my shoes are “mine” but to you that means “yours”.


That's just an example of the conversation that I had with him one or two times. Until, of course, I realized how stupid I sounded. I'm supposed to help him grow right, not revert, which is what my brain was doing during this laborious dialog. Finally I woke up and treated him like a normal person. Sometimes when you have a very young child, you find that your beginning to talk like them and translating it into your version and then repeating it back to them so that they'll understand that you understand them. Quite become a mimic as well. Well, miraculously, I snapped out of it for a moment and decided to teach him as if he were my equal and had the capacity to understand everything that I was saying regardless of how advanced my grammar was (don't you dare end that sentence with a preposition!). I searched th recesses of my mind and found the antidote. I simply had to teach him what possession meant. That his shoes were “his” and my shoes were “mine” and when you talk about your own possessions then they're “mine” and when you talk about other people's...well, you get the idea. The best part of the entire lesson was he stopped mimicking and really listened! So, I put it down as a success!

It wasn't until a couple weeks later that I saw the fruition of all my labors. We were out running errands (being social) and had to stop by Xtina's work. While she went inside for a few minutes Lucas and I waited out in the car. I usually take him out of his car-seat and allow him to run amuck during our wait. He was prancing around the car; on my lap, into the passenger seat, fiddling with all the dials, listening to Bob Marley, and just having a good ole time. Outside the window people walked by with their dogs in tow when all of a sudden the song “Try Me” came out of the speakers. But, here's the best part, whenever Bob would sing “Tryyyyyyyy Me” Lucas would sing “Tryyyyyyyy You”!

What a smile I had in my heart at that precious moment.

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"I hope that I never become rich and fat, if the chief result is to make one talk as fat rich men have always talked."

--Edward Abbey

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