Eskimo Kisses

Hayden potato

Thank you, dear readers!  A Map of California has reached the milestone of 100 followers.  I am humbly grateful for your support.

It’s amazing watching my grandniece learn to walk.  Now, this may be old hat to many of you out there, but it’s a rather wondrous experience for those of us who skipped the whole having children thing.

My grandniece is still more comfortable on her knees than on her feet, but she seems to have figured out that there are two alternate means of locomotion, kind of like choosing between taking the bus and taking the train.  Only she hasn’t quite mastered the timetable for the train yet.

What’s really funny is how she surprises herself when she is able to take several consecutive steps without falling on her bottom.  She raises her hands to balance herself and assumes an open-mouthed, shocked expression, as if to say “Holy crap, I can do this!”

We are blessed to have the little one over here for at least a few hours each day, and all day and evening at least a couple of times per week.  Now that we’ve been here for a month, I am starting to become more comfortable playing with her.  And it touches my heart that the feeling seems to be mutual.

She doesn’t seem to be averse to a little roughhousing, as long as I don’t overdo it.  I might throw her over my shoulder or hold her upside down so she can do a headstand while I pretend to read a “this end up” label on her little feet.  I don’t know what the heck I’m doing, but that doesn’t seem to bother her any.  She puts up with me.  I’m just glad she hasn’t learned how to do the eye roll yet.  Whatevs, Uncle Guacamole.

Speaking of which, we have ripe avocados again.  I’m saving them for tomorrow, so we can make (and eat) guacamole together.

I’m really lucky that my wife and her mom take care of the business end of things (diapers, powder, ointment) and let me just play.  I am fortunate that I am a night owl who sleeps til the afternoon and blogs in the wee hours, as I don’t get much of anything done when Li’l Miss is visiting.

I think she’ll have her own blog pretty soon, and I can only imagine that I will blush at the things she has to say about me.  I know she digs this scene because she is forever banging on the keyboard or yanking at the cords of either my laptop or my wife’s.  She also likes to play with our iPhones.  I have to hide the mouse and my headphones when I see her coming this way, or else I know they will be summarily disconnected and whisked out of sight, whereupon I will spend an hour searching for them under the couch, behind the TV and in the kitchen cabinets.

You think I’m joking?  Earlier this week, the little scamp did something to my wife’s keyboard, after which she unable to type the letters H or C.  Then she changed the text notification tone on my wife’s cell phone to a ring tone so that my wife keeps thinking someone is calling her every time she receives a text.  Hello?  Hello?

I don’t know what my grandniece did to my laptop, but after she got her hands on it, I couldn’t get any sound through my headphones for two hours.  Then she grabbed the TV remote and recorded one of her Baby TV shows.  I kid you not!

We’ve been calling the little one Bug since she was born.  But now my wife has come up with another highly appropriate nickname:  Screech.  The lung power of someone so small defies logic.

I feel badly that we have to tell her “no” every minute or so, but the kiddo grabs at anything in sight and proceeds to investigate its qualities by tasting it.  When the prohibited item is removed, she likes to express her disapproval of this untenable situation by screaming her lungs out.  As I mentioned, I sleep during the mornings, and I am accustomed to hearing, with one eye open, “No.  No!  NOOO!!” followed by “Waaaaaaahhhh!! Wah-ah-ah-ah-wahhhhh!”  My wife and Pastor Mom must have incredibly deep wells of patience to draw upon.  If it were me, I’d be blogging from the looney bin.

If it can be knocked over, it will be.  If it can be dumped, it will be.  If it can be flung, it will be.  My grandniece particularly enjoys turning over the trash can and playing with our discarded paperwork.  When she comes near, I must quickly remove my glass of iced tea as well as the tea pitcher, or both will end up poured over her head, her clothes and the carpet.

A writer must have a pad to take notes, and I keep one next to my computer.  There are always loose pages stored inside the cardboard backing.  If I look away for a minute, the loose pages will be strewn every which way and my grandniece will be sitting among them while she sucks on the pad itself.  This has already happened at least four times to date.  As the magical masters of legerdemain point out, the hand is quicker than the eye.  That is, her hand is quicker than my eye.

So now it seems that my wife is schooling the little one in the operatic arts.  They perform a two-part tune known as “The La-La Song.”  My wife cacophonously screeches “la, la, la laaaaa!!” and then says “your turn.”  Li’l Miss then sings her part in what is actually a fairly good imitation of my wife.

She has also been teaching Screech how to rub noses, known as giving “Eskimo kisses.” I remember my aunt doing this with my sisters and me when we were little.  Where this particular maneuver got its name I have no idea.  Do the inhabitants of the Great North actually rub noses to greet each other in their fur parkas?  If so, I think the time has come to update to the modern age and be a bit more PC.

But who am I to say?  Somehow, “First Nations osculation” doesn’t have quite the same ring.


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