Vale Turns One

Vale turned one recently. We already celebrated her birthday with family a couple of weeks earlier, so we did not have another party. However, she did have a little celebration at daycare, and exhibited some pretty greedy behavior, reaching for a second donut while the first was still unfinished, in her mouth (let’s be honest – there’s no way she can even finish the first donut, much less the second!)  On the actual day of her birthday, she received a visit and some neat presents from her buddy Luka from San Francisco. They played together a little, though Vale was abnormally shy about it.

Later in the day, we took her to the park (her favorite!), where she enjoyed climbing slides, throwing sand, and other playground gadgets. In the early evening, we gave her presents mailed from Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle Aaron. She liked chewing on the panda bear’s nose, and was immediately interested in the Chinese version of Hungry Hungry Catepillar. We gave her a percussion instrument set, including a xylophone, maracas, jingle bells, claves, a small drum, and a guiro. She took to it quickly and could be a future bando in the making.

At night, Dad baked her a chocolate chip cookie (from scratch!), and we sang happy birthday to her in Mandarin and English. She refused to try even a bite of the cookie, unfortunately. She appeared confused by this birthday spectacle.

Vale loves animal crackers and bananas and is increasingly developing a personality. Her likes and dislikes are always in flux, and she has even exhibited some rather intense fears. Grandma gave her a pretty cool Curious George-in-the Box for her birthday, but she is not yet a fan. She was initially terrorized by George popping out of the box, and attempted to flee the scene, but also proved curiously drawn to it. Her fears have somewhat diminished after interacting with the toy multiple times, but it seems George still continues to put her somewhat ill-at-ease.

Another toy that has really ruffled her feathers, is a talking teddy bear given by a kind family member. The bear recites a prayer, Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the lord my soul to keep, guide me through the starry night, and wake me with the morning light (or something along those lines). We actually received this item before she was born, and it creeped me the fuck out, so I put it away in a drawer. Recently, I pulled some toys out of the drawer, including this bear, and pressed its belly to make it talk. Vale immediately dropped to the ground on all floors and started bawling. Due to the extremely dramatic display, I questioned whether her reaction was some kind of a coincidence, and related to another external stimulus. However, when I again brought the bear near her a few minutes later, her lips curled downward like she was going to cry.

In contrast, when I cruised her down the aisle of Halloween decorations at the 99 cent store, and waved dead bodies, bloody skeletons, and murderous clowns in her face, while saying, “oOOooOOooO,” she was much less concerned. The combination of these circumstances could be an indication she is a heathen, or worse, some unholy daemon.

She still loves In Hell I’ll Be In Good Company by The Dead South, and likes to bob her head and bounce her butt to the song, while watching the music video.

She continues to enjoy bath time, and even jumped in with all her clothes on before I could stop her on one occasion. She likes riding around in her Cozy Coup, and has another fun car in the works, a present from her uncle, auntie, and cousins.

Vale at 11 Months

At this stage in life, it is apparent Vale has opinions about things. She does not like putting on clothes (let’s see how this plays out when the weather gets cooler, kiddo!). She does not appreciate being dragged away from things and “goals” she intends to pursue, e.g. breakable dishes, electrical sockets, bottles of wine, picture frames, etc.

She remains quite social, but tends to be much more charmed and interested by older kids, as opposed to babies closer to her own age. She had a grand time playing with a 3 or 4 year old boy and a couple of 12 year old girls at Crack Shack. They played with giant Legos and made fast friends.

She made her second trip to Mexico (TJ), and accompanied the adults on various taco and beer adventures, where she enjoyed a few bites of taco meat, washed down with yummy Horchata.

She loves toddling around, exploring her environment, and being outdoors. She’s starting to get quite a tan, and mom has restricted direct sun exposure to after 3:00 p.m., especially since she refuses to keep a hat on her head. Her favorite toys are constantly changing, and recently, she enjoys taking things in and out of a small makeup pouch.

She’s eating more and more solid foods, though unfortunately, this includes some junk food, such as cheese balls. Dad got her a gigantic tub of these at WinCo. One questions why these cheese balls only come in a 3 gallon tub, but then you eat one and remember  they are about as addicting as crack. After a stint without cheesy poofs, she will walk over to the container and pound on the lid to demand more.

 

Wasting

She came home smelling like him, his scent lingering pleasantly all day
Lost her Jack to a cop
Forgot who Arvan was (possibly someone’s drug dealer)
Resolve bubbled and floated away into the air along with sobriety
She was tracing his contours at the end of the night
While ravaging liquids romanced in the bones
Her heartbroken friend gave her a letter to deliver, on patterned paper, sealed in lipstick
You are the catalyst
To the deconstruction
Of my purposeful design
She cried
And that night it seemed
They were surely going to succumb to a trite wasting
At the age of 20

Vale at 10 months

We went to Maui this month, and Vale proved again to be a relatively compliant little traveler on the plane. However, due to the slight time change and new environment, she woke up twice a night to eat for almost the whole trip. On the positive side – she pooped three times on the toilet, and took one step on our vacation. She loved playing in the pool water, splashing in the ocean waves, and visiting with the staff at Java Jazz cafe/bar.

Over the next couple of weeks after we returned from Maui, she added more and more steps, and we think she’ll be fully walking any day now. She has finally started to be amenable to solid foods once again, and is back to eating avocado. She also likes string cheese, Pirate’s Booty cheese puffs, celery, and unfortunately, cat food.

Her new favorite activities include tearing into the spice drawer and playing with her new alphabet flashcards. She also enjoys playing in the sand pit and turf at Crack Shack while her parents enjoy beers.

We attended a beer and cheese tasting at Alesmith brewing, hosted by our real estate agent, and decided to bring Vale along. She enjoyed a fancy, dry, gouda with excellent flavor crystals. She also tried and liked the triple cream brie, goat, and bleu. Unfortunately, she was not of legal age to pair these cheeses with the recommended Alesmith Nut Brown, .394 Pale, Horny Devil (Belgian), or Speedway Stout, respectively.

 

Happy Father’s Day

To my dearest love,

It’s not easy to write blog posts one-handed, on the phone, in the dark while our hellion has a death grip on my arm but… This is my last chance to write this message in secret.

One unexpected thing about parenthood is how much more sensitive it has made me to the plight of suffering children. The news, always a source of horror and disappointment in humanity, now has an even deeper layer of poignancy for me when I read about the cruelties visited upon children and sometimes their parents. My mind involuntarily places me in their shoes and I’m frightened, but I take comfort in knowing you’ll always be here for me and Vale.

I wish I had another surprise for you to open since you already know about the botanical gardens, but I’m excited to stop and smell the roses together many times in the coming year.

I love you so much!

“Jen N”

Vale at 9 Months

Vale enjoyed playing with her buddy Sienna when we went to visit Matt & Jess in Arvada, CO. On this trip, she thoroughly enjoyed the outdoors, the grass, time by the lake, and discovered her love of slides. She enjoys climbing up slides, though she’s a bit less certain about the sliding down part. She was slightly less cooperative on the plane this time, but still slept most of the way there and back.

 

Overall, she is quite social and enjoys interacting with other babies and people. She had a blast at a couple of birthday parties for her buddies recently.

Vale has learned to like the water a bit more: she enjoys splashing during baths and playing in the hot tub/pool. She was less fond of putting on a bathing suit and being slathered with sunscreen, but the fun times that followed appeared to be worth it, as she had a great afternoon playing in the water at her cousins’ birthday party.

She detests shoes, and broke down in a tearful demonstration of melodrama when we tried to put some cute, sparkly, silver shoes on her feet. She doesn’t walk, and thus doesn’t really need them anyway, though she has stood unassisted a couple of times and just might be walking soon.

She has proven to be an active baby, and hates being confined. If we don’t let her crawl around and explore, she gets extremely frustrated. She’s also a bit stubborn – with shoes, solid foods, hats, and bottles. In the solid food department, we are making some progress though – she regularly eats yogurt now, and has taken a few bites of mozzarella.

Welcome To Modernity, Ireland

Ireland finally legalized abortion, which was previously banned per their Constitution. Wow Ireland, welcome out of the dark ages! Congratulations on your long-awaited recognition of women as human beings. You deserve a real gold star and a pat on the back for finally elevating the rights of women above that of embryos and fetuses.

In other news, I unfriended a “libertarian” on Facebook who likened this legislative act to legalized murder. Ugh, I cannot handle the drivel of people who think governments should force 10-year old rape victims to give birth and/or condemn women to death for the sake of human reproduction.

Where Are The States Rights Supporters When It Comes To Sanctuary States?

Conservatives like to whine about “states rights” when it comes to abortion, drugs, and butt sex, but are curiously silent about “states rights” when it comes to California’s sanctuary laws. While the term “sanctuary state” can vary in meaning, it essentially refers to a state that refuses to assist the federal government and its armed agents in the enforcement of federal immigration law.

While this sounds radical, it’s actually not; it is in fact a well-settled constitutional principle that the federal government may not force state law enforcement agencies to do its bidding. In Printz v. United States, the federal government sought to enforce the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which required state law enforcement agencies to perform background checks of prospective handgun purchasers. Local sheriffs from Montana and Arizona challenged the law on the grounds it was unconstitutional to force, or “commandeer” state officers to execute federal law.

The Supreme Court ruled the Brady Act’s attempted commandeering of local law enforcement violated the 10th Amendment. The opinion, authored by none other than conservative darling Antonin Scalia, reasoned as follows:

Enactments of the early Congresses seem to contain no evidence of an assumption that the Federal Government may command the States’ executive power in the absence of a particularized constitutional authorization… The Government misplaces its reliance on portions of The Federalist suggesting that federal responsibilities could be imposed on state officers. None of these statements necessarily implies-what is the critical point here-that Congress could impose these responsibilities without the States’ consent. 

He continues on to explain the concept of dual sovereignty and the impact of a policy that would require state agencies to enforce federal law:

The Framers rejected the concept of a central government that would act upon and through the States, and instead designed a system in which the State and Federal Governments would exercise concurrent authority over the people. The Federal Government’s power would be augmented immeasurably and impermissibly if it were able to impress into its service-and at no cost to itself-the police officers of the 50 States.

So apparently states rights is a big fucking deal to conservatives in selective circumstances (because they hate women and gay people), yet it’s nothing but crickets when it comes to immigration. Suddenly, the 10th amendment, constitutionalism, and small government are a distant memory. So very shocking.

Not that we should cut the liberals any degree of slack. I’ve never heard any mainstream liberal politician come out in support of completely open borders. Their calls for reform and compassion are still framed in the context of an unduly restrictive and violative immigration scheme, and thus are unrealistic and disingenuous. Essentially, they fully support ICE tearing families apart as well, just perhaps at a somewhat lower rate than conservatives (my, aren’t you the humanitarian then?!).