Thalia's Cute Non-Sucky Thing of the Day

Many years ago, when I was best defined as The Single Girl around the office, I had a co-worker and friend with whom I worked quite closely. He was the quintessential proud daddy of a newborn son, and every morning he had the same routine. As we settled into our seats in preparation for another day of creating life-altering ads about gin, there would be this moment where his eyes locked on nothing in particular and suddenly he was far away.

Then the grin would emerge.

It started out small at first, something that you might not even notice were you not actually looking for it. But over the course of the next minute or so, it transformed from subtle harbinger of contentment into this thing with a life of its own. It taxed his cheeks, crinkled his eyes, stretched his lips to their physiological limit until it could no longer be contained as anything less than a full-blown smile.

At this point, my co-worker would set his coffee down, lean toward me and ask, "wanna hear Luke's cute thing of the day?"

And I did. I mean anything that could generate a smile like that, right?

But each time I answered, "sure!" I became the recipient of information like Luke turned his head or Luke's hand opened and closed or Luke burped all by himself.

And I'm like, very nice thank you so much now excuse me while I RSVP to this party at Lot61.

I couldn't have possibly understood why something as small and (I thought) insignificant as Luke noticed his right foot today! would generate such unfettered joy. I mean a first tooth? That I could understand. Waving bye-bye? I'm all over it. Little bit of hair? Great! Show me the pictures and I'll ooooh and ahhhh and awwww with the best of them. But this stuff? Eh. Didn't get it.

If I've learned anything over the years, it's that the universe always has plans for us beyond what we plan for ourselves. Also, the universe is a big fan of irony. (If you ever have to buy the universe a gift, I would suggest an early edition hardcover of Gift of the Magi. Signed, if possible.) And so now I find myself in my co-worker's proverbial shoes with a baby who's doing new things by the minute. And to top it off, I've got a big mouth.

Oh, also a blog.

Enter: Thalia's Cute Thing of the Day.

Scratch that--it's Thalia's Cute Non-Sucky Thing of the Day. Because while I may get all excited about the sucky things like her teeth poking half a millimeter further out of her gums, or a new consonant that she's babbling non-stop, I'm not nearly a good enough writer to get you excited about them too.

This week, my nine and-a-half month old daughter has discovered reading. For real. I thought she had done so months ago, but after seeing her reaction to Brown Bear Brown Bear this week, I realize I had been mistaken. (Sort of the way I rushed to the hospital at 41 weeks pregnant shouting, "my water broke!" only to discover that I was leaking KY from that morning's internal exam. Good times.)

Until this week, books were drums. They were teething biscuits. At best they were time with mommy. Now, they are stories, each one with words to be smiled at, pictures to reach out and touch, and pauses between lines during which she can look up at me wide-eyed and giddy as if to say, "this is SO COOL!"

Plus, she's turning the pages. Herself. Oh yeah. So not sucky.

And Craig? I'm so sorry. I get it now. If you have any of Luke's milestones to share with me, sucky or otherwise, I am here and ready to listen. I know he's probably about to shave by now, but still. If you want to talk about which shaving cream he picked out or how he missed a spot on the right side, I am here. And I'll smile right along with you.


Blogger J said...

That's the sweetest thing I've read all day. And boy, do I melt over kids with books. There's a picture on this page (http://web.mac.com/teddyboy3/iWeb/Site/10%20Years%20of%20Monkey!.html)
(left column, 6th row)
of Maya passed out with a book on her face, because she fell asleep 'reading' it...she had memorized it...and I used to tempt her to 'crawl' across the room with a 'goodnight moon' board book. Really, good times.

4/23/06, 10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for Thalia! She is becoming quite a little reader. Turning the pages is a big thing!

I recently posted about Aiden (now 11 months) and his ability to locate a book from his bookshelf (or floor, as he likes to pull all the books down from his bookshelf - possible things to come for Thalia?) when I would recite it.

I find that every day brings exciting (and sometimes sucky) stuff. Enjoy!

4/23/06, 10:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, pretty much happens in all of life's milestones. You don't get all the fuss about weddings until it is your own. Definitely the kid thing. I'm trying to enjoy each moment before the empty nest thing kicks in.

4/23/06, 11:09 PM  
Blogger nonlineargirl said...

That's a great Cute Non-Sucky Thing! Ada is a big fan of that book too. (and of its rolicking companion - Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? - says nonlinear papa)

4/23/06, 11:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sometimes, when my son was having trouble going to the bathroom (he was around 3) he'd sit on the potty, and i'd sit on the floor, and we'd play the "spelling" game, which went something like this:

"give me a word, mommy"

"okay, cat"

"c...a....t! now give me another word!"


"b...a...t! another?"

"hmmmm...this is a hard one. sat?"

"oh mommy. that's easy! s...a...t!"

i think you get the idea! it was a lot of fun (aside from the not going to the bathroom part)! and, basically, that's how he learned how to sound out letters and spell words... and read. and read. and read.

(of course, when he got older, books were exchanged for ipods and/or video games, but that's another whiney rant for another rainy day) : D

4/23/06, 11:50 PM  
Blogger ms blue said...

Tee hee, funny false labour story. Thalia is Smart!

Books are still a delicious treat for Buttercup. I'm looking forward to your moment.

4/24/06, 12:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn that KY. LMAO.

And that's one of Q's favorites. But, a question, do you think the teacher (whatever...) is a man or woman? (not that I'm about gender and all).

But, I call him a man (we figured we'd hear man before TEACHER) and huz says woman.

Dude looks like a lady... For real.


4/24/06, 12:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to complain about the pregnant women who talked about nothing but pregnancy. my hubby and I were members of the Childfree by choice group. Then I got pregnant with Samantha and lost her, so hearing about pregnancy made me angry. Now that I am pregnant with Mya, it's all I cna talk about- the first time we had an ultrasound. The first time we heard her heart beat. The first time I felt her move. Imagine what kind of mother I will be...LOL. I get it now too.

4/24/06, 1:00 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

And by the time you have your fourth, you are so over it once again. I wish I had that excited first feeling. I'm not that numb, but numb enough not to notice my youngest's molars breaking through until they were almost all the way in.

So, with the whole KY thing, I think a story of the actual birth is in order. That is pretty damn hilarious.

4/24/06, 1:12 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

My sister in law has a new baby and, as I am the mother of 3, I have to remind myself of how exciting each of these new milestones is for her... even if I tend to have a "been there done that" attitude towards sleep/poop/bottles/burping/teeth!

4/24/06, 1:13 AM  
Blogger Juli said...

I know EXACTLY where you're coming from. I didn't have the time of day for friends with kids til I became a mom myself. You're a kick-ass writer, so go on and describe those first consonents if you want.

4/24/06, 2:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, my little guy is 9 months old. Now I am terribly excited that this month he too migvht turn the pages himself!! Tee Hee!

I laughed about you and your co-worker. You rsvping to a club while she talks baby. Reminded me of me and my friends (who are all in thei mid 20's without kids still)

4/24/06, 7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The KY thing totally cracked me up!

I'm the same way with Hailey and all her silly milestones. Thank God for blogs otherwise I'd probably drive all my coworkers nuts.


4/24/06, 8:15 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

I don't remember when books became exciting for my son, but now I find him in his room "reading" books all by himself. And, he likes to take a book to his nap with him. Some light reading before he goes to sleep. And, he's only 22 months.

As for your writing, I pretty sure you could make poop interesting.

4/24/06, 8:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, I am sure my eyes used to glaze over when my friends with kids would tell me about the mini-milestones that their kids would achieve. But once I had my girls, everything once mundane is fresh and exciting! Luckily my parents love to hear the stories so I can call with even the silliest tidbit and they are thrilled.

Another book lover. Nothing better than having your kids develop a love for books and reading!

4/24/06, 9:06 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

That's awesome! Cordy loves books, too. Her favorite currently is "That's Not My Tractor". OK, sounds weird, and it is, but it's a cute touch n feel board book.

And how cool that she's turning the pages already? Cordy used to let us turn the pages, but now she insists on looking at books by herself, without me touching it. She has a bookcase full of books, which she routinely empties onto the floor, and then sits in the middle of her pile of books to read.

4/24/06, 9:11 AM  
Blogger Lumpyheadsmom said...

Lumpyhead squeals at the "Children, children" page. Every. Time.

The great thing about the page-turning is that you can tell which pages they like best (it's a nice clue in addition to the squealing).

The black-and-white pages in Good Night Moon? Fabulous. Let's linger. The colored ones? Bah. Next!

4/24/06, 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with you, 101. Sometimes, I think the real reason that we all have blogs is because people in the real world are sick of all our cute little baby stories. God bless the internet!

4/24/06, 9:33 AM  
Blogger Cristina said...

Wow, this gives me hope that my baby will soon be listening to me read instead of trying to shove the book down his throat like he's feasting on a Big Mac. Congrats on Thalia's latest accomplishment!

4/24/06, 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's fantastic. Milestones are the best, especially when they come as a surprise and not something you're presured into. Try telling my parents that.

4/24/06, 10:11 AM  
Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said...

Don't sell yourself short. Something tells me you could make a story of Thalia moving up a diaper size sound interesting.

I also never understood what the big deal was about a baby finding their fist... Until my pacifer-hating infant learned she could soothe herself by popping her hand in her mouth. I almost took out a full-page ad in the local paper on that day!

4/24/06, 10:13 AM  
Blogger gingajoy said...

that really is so cute and non-sucky. I remember my boy at that stage. pure gorgeousness. thanks for reminding me why i am doing it all again;-)

4/24/06, 10:41 AM  
Blogger Jaelithe said...

I think I made an effusive announcement to at least 10 different people when my son started turning book pages :)

4/24/06, 10:48 AM  
Blogger zinalasvegas said...

Hey! The books thing is real and large. I too remember when my oldest boy was surrounded by books, at just that age, and it's what he always gravitated toward.

A friend of ours came over one time and said that the Japanese believe the toy the child goes for, in a room of toys, indicates what their interest will be in life. I don't know about Thalia, but given her Mommy's articulate nature, she might be in for books too.

My boy is 8 now and still has his nose in any book he can get his hands on.


4/24/06, 11:57 AM  
Blogger Binky said...

Oh, 101, I am so with you on this one. I will never forget the first day that Tolby turned a page with the intention of turning a page, and not with the goal of pulling it closer to her mouth to eat it. It is still not an everyday occurance (she's usually hungrier than she is literary), but the foundation is there. The first book to elicit that reaction was "Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?" and she laughed at every sound I made. For that reason, it's my favorite book now...even though she has moved on. So very, very unsucky. Welcome to the world of words, Thalia!

4/24/06, 12:21 PM  
Blogger Perstephone said...

I love this post! I used to think the same things as I smiled and nodded through the stories by my friends with kiddos.

Hilarious about Gift of the Magi, too. Did you know that Squirrel Nut Zippers wrote a song about that? It is on their Christmas CD.

4/24/06, 12:43 PM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

Aaargh! Blogger ate my comment! Let's try this again. Point one: You are the awesomest of the awesome, and I will live vicariously through you until I have kids capable of being cute. Point two: Hung out with an adorable one year-old this weekend and actually applauded with glee every time he yodeled: "OdieodieodieodieodieO!" *sigh* I said it better the first time. :)

4/24/06, 12:44 PM  
Blogger tracey clark said...

Something about books and a child's infatuation with being read to...it is indeed a magic milestone. Wait until she picks up that book and says, "Bwown beow, bwown beow, what do you see?". It just keeps getting better.
Thanks for sharing.

4/24/06, 1:14 PM  
Blogger Table4Five said...

I would like to hear more about Thalia's milestones! Every single new thing a baby does is an absolute miracle.

4/24/06, 1:17 PM  
Blogger Julie Marsh said...

Ditto the irony. That's really what it boils down to when they say, "It's different when it's your OWN child." Now I understand the magic of those ordinary milestones, and I can appreciate them, not only when my own kids achieve them, but when other people's kids do too.

4/24/06, 1:21 PM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

yes yes yes yes yes yes YES.

I've been similarly astonished at the fact where a big day once meant publication approval, fellowships awarded, or even just a kick-ass lecture it now means something else entirely. A big day for me now - a goddammed Red Letter day - is one in which WonderBaby eats her foot! Holds a rattle! Doesn't spit up! Sleeps through the night (ooooh ringing choral odes on that last one)!!!!

But reading? That. Is. Hyoooooge!

Choirs *and* trumpets! And streamers and fireworks!

4/24/06, 1:37 PM  
Blogger Carolyn S. said...

I'm still getting over you thinking KY jelly leakage was your water breaking.

Congrats to Thalia! She's following a great tradition of literary geniuses in your family.

4/24/06, 1:42 PM  
Blogger Stacy said...

I could not stop laughing about the KY thing!! Lol! Anyway, welcome to the club. There are plenty more cute non-sucky things to come!

4/24/06, 1:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very cool. I loved it when mine noticed books.

I think it's something only new parents would care about. Like, my kid peed in the potty.

4/24/06, 3:29 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

SO not sucky!
I will never forget how glad I was when my older girl fell in love with books... :)

4/24/06, 3:59 PM  
Blogger Movin Mom said...

Oh that KY was hysterical - initially glancing my brain said Kentucky but then it kicked in heeheehee

what a fabulous story and believe me it doesn't end when their babies, My husband takes note of the people he works with who actually ask about our kids....then whether or not it's by name , he always makes a point of trying to take time to listen because he works with so many that have new babies.

I think you should get some props for listening to Craig BEFORE Thalia entered your universe.

4/24/06, 4:08 PM  
Blogger Antique Mommy said...

At this point, the non-suckey cute things comes fast and furious and by the end of the day you won't be able to remember them all. Love those Eric Carle books.

4/24/06, 4:10 PM  
Blogger MrsFortune said...

(I thought Kentucky at first, too when I saw KY. God I am a geography dork).

I love hearing about the non-sucky things. And paybacks are a bitch. :-)

4/24/06, 4:23 PM  
Blogger Shalee said...

Do me a favor and go get "Moo Baa La La La" by Sandra Boynton and every time you get to the "La La La" part, sing it out loud like you are on stage.

The day your child does the same thing when looking at the book will be the day that you realize that you never knew you could smile SO BIG; it will also frighten the daylights out of you because you now know for a fact that she is paying attention to Every. Thing. You. Do.

You've got lots of good times ahead... And fortunately for you, you also have people who will get why you are so excited about your child.

4/24/06, 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember when I was single and childless, being so clueless that when a friend invited me to her daughter's first birthday party, I was incredulous. And miss the Sunday flea market with my peeps? I remember taking a horribly inappropriate gift.

But when I had Kira? It was, "Hey everyone! She's fifty five days old! Come to a party!"

4/24/06, 8:33 PM  
Blogger Sandra said...

Non sucky for sure!!! Cute.

I remember having that same realization when my son was born and all of a sudden I felt bad for every single-childless-eye-roll I gave to my friends and their baby stories.

4/24/06, 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those little non-sucky things are the best. Even when they're big!

4/25/06, 7:30 AM  
Blogger Nichole said...

Gotta loooove Eric Carle! My 8-month-old daughter is really digging "Today is Monday." I, too, had the same reactions when listening to baby stories...and I notice that all my childless friends behave that way with me now.

4/30/06, 7:30 PM  

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