Monday, January 17, 2005

Frank & Leica

What's this, 2005 now? If all goes well, Franklin will graduate from high school in 2023. And I will be 52 years old.

Bloody Hell, I don't feel like writing any more.

Soldiering on. I paid a stranger to clean our flat yesterday for the first time in my life. I spent three evenings previous to her arrival cleaning the place, so I could pretend that I live in a manner other than that to which I have become accustomed. But now that I've moved Maggie and Franklin back home from the maternity care center, with Maggie's 15 shopping bags of relics, I feel that the clutter is returning to the house and I can breathe again.

I'm sitting in a counterfeit La-z-Boy recliner in our reading room. It used to be a TV room until we swapped the tube for texts. Friends of my father-in-law built a shelf for our books which were previously distributed amongst 6 bookcases around our flat. Now, a 180 cm section of our wall is covered by two layers of shelves. The front row of shelves slide back and forth on a track to reveal the books behind. Frank probably has the largest collection of English books of any infant in this apartment block.

Things have really fallen in place quite nicely the past couple of days. When we got back this afternoon, it looked like a new place. It certainly has changed.

The tile floor squeaks as I walk back and forth holding Franklin as his mother prepares a bottle for him. I walk with him to all corners and tell him about all the furniture and where it came from, the tatami stand from Uncle Gary, the kitchen table from grandma and granpa. We talk about the art on the wall and the view from the window. Franklin is transfixed by the sight of the sky. As I watched him in his baby seat this afternoon, his pearl black eyes always turned towards the sky. I can't wait for him to see a view unsullied by pollution.

Leica loves this new thing in the house. He immediately knew what was up when we all came through the door. He hadn't seen Maggie since December 14th and was obviously very happy to see her, but more interested in sniffing that wriggling bundle in her arms. And he did. He jumped up on the bed and checked the kid out a bit more while I was putting the finishing touches on the crib (that's the baby bed, not he flat) and was so knocked out by the little sounds that Frank was making that he wanted to hear more. So Leica began to prod his new playmate with his nose, as if trying to turn him over, but really only wanting to hear another awk! He got it. And then some.

Frank's been digging his new bed. Crib. Whatever. He's got a couple musical thingies inside. One plays "The Teddy Bear's Picnic," a tune which I first heard on a Jerry Garcia album. The mobile it's attached to was lots of fun to put together once I found all the parts again. The other music box is a stack of stuffed animals, purple, yellow, and pink. The donkey at the bottom of the stack gets pulled down and the cow in the middle plays half a verse of "Here Comes the Sun" over and over again. I can handle it.

Actually, Leica is also of the impression that the music box has some magical qualities. At eight o'clock this morning when any human being with more sense than an infant is dutifully sleeping and the infant in our house was raising a ruckus, Leica assumed the responsibility of string puller. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it with my own two eyes, but as Franklin was bawling his poor eyes out and waiting for the formula to be brewed, Leica reached into his crib and pulled the donkey not three, but four times. That dog heard that the song had finished, but the crying hadn't, so he pulled it again. Damndest thing you ever did see.

The other thing I discovered today altered some of my perceptions about the line between fact and Hollywood. You see all these movies about men raising children and you come to the scene in the changing room. I know I've seen this over and over again. The guy opens up the nappy and a golden shower arcs through the air landing on him, or his buddy standing next to him. Never thought that really happened. Proportionally, if I could pee as far as Franklin, I could quite possibly hit Mainland China from here if the wind were at my back. That boy is incredible.

All of his bodily functions are met with astonishment when they happen the first time. How does a kid this little fart this loudly? He's a month old and already belching the alphabet! Maggie was very impressed last week when he lifted his head up and looked around. I think he was three weeks old when he did it. Precocious little feller, ain't he?

Ok, he's stirring. Time to change into my SuperDad costume.

1 comment:

G said...

Thanks for the "shout" of credit for the Tatami stand. i had that made my first month in Taiwan with very minimal Chinese skills. I always wished I would have hung out with that carpenter more often. You know, Banqiao gets a bum rap-its crowed (even for Taiwan), polluted and lacks green space- but the folks were so freaking genuine.

I can't believe I read your entire Jan 17th entry about Franklin! What is wrong with me? If I'm going to continue such bizarro acts, you better keep it entertaining! Or, or, I can't even threaten you. You're a giant. Click away.