April 27, 2006

My boy can mostly sit up now, but has a bad habit of occasionally pushing himself backwards with great vigor. If there is no smooshy surface to absorb the collision, his head then pounds the floor with a thumped-coconut thonk! sound and after the initial moment of shock passes, the wailing and garment-rending ensues.

Most people like to talk about how bright and gifted their babies are; me, I’ll freely admit that the child has styrofoam packing material for brains sometimes. “Dude,” I told him last night as I helped him up for the third time (we were on the bed to minimize the chances of his skull getting Britney’d), “even Dog doesn’t ram her head into the ground. Plus, she poops outside. You’re seriously coming up short in comparison.”

I’ve been kind of eager for him to master this sitting business because I want to stop worrying about whether or not it’s weird that at eight months he’s still flopping over while other babies are pulling up, crawling, participating in gymkhana equestrian events, etc. At the same time, I’m trying to relish every moment that he’s not particularly ambulatory. After all, you gotta do the sitting first, then when you do the sitting, you get the power. Then when you get the power, you get the women.

(Hmm, that attempt at quoting Scarface in an amusing manner didn’t really pan out, did it? Note to self: stick head up ass, see if it fits.)

What I mean is, once he starts moving around we’re going to have to make some serious changes to our house. Hide the snarl of wires erupting from the entertainment center. Put locks on the kitchen cabinets. Shoo away the pack of slavering, foam-flecked dingos in the hallway. And so on.

There’s a baby at Riley’s daycare who scoots around on her butt, and I’m amazed and a little frightened by just how fast she can move. She’ll just be sitting there all innocent, and the next time you look she’s shot across the entire room as if her plump little rear grew a set of wheels and a small rocket propulsion device.

Well, Riley might not be the best sitter-upper yet, but I put him in the jumper this morning and after a brief period of why-have-you-thrust-me-in-this-instrument-of-torture complaining, he suddenly started bouncing, kaboing, boing, boing, and laughing up at me with his toothy pink wide-open-mouth smile. He bounced all through my shower and while I dried my hair and got dressed. BLISS.



I dropped Riley off at daycare this morning and filled out the daily form that they use to record when and how much he eats, the frequency and contents of his diaper changes, and his nap schedule. Whoever takes him in has to write when he woke up, when he last ate, make notation of any changes from the norm – contact info for the day, medication, etc – and as always, there is a little section called CHILD’S MOOD.

JB and I usually just write “good”, except for the day a couple weeks ago when Riley’s MOOD the previous day had been decidedly not good at all; rather, it had been completely horrendous from teething. JB took him in that morning, and when I picked him up I noticed something on the sheet that made me laugh out loud: under MOOD, he’d written “BIT CRANKY”.

“Bit cranky?” I said that night. “BIT CRANKY? ‘Oh, sorry about Damien here, he’s just a BIT CRANKY.’ Talk about the understatement of the year.”

The next day Riley’s MOOD notation read “I’VE SEEN BETTER.” JB was clearly starting something, so the time after that I wrote “FAIR TO MIDDLIN”. The next time it was JB’s turn the form read “NOT BAD BUT DEFINITELY SUSPICIOUS”. This morning I wrote “NEEDS IMPROVEMENT.”

No one’s said anything to us about the notes so either the MOOD requirement is pretty much useless and not being read, or they just think we’re a couple of freaks.


It seems weird to end this post on a completely sober note, but if you have not seen this amazing piece of photojournalism about the aftereffects of Chernobyl, I think you should. It’s heartbreaking and very hard to watch and I personally had absolutely no knowledge of any of it. There was a brief segment on the national news last night about the anniversary of the disaster, and they didn’t show anything like what you’ll see on that link. A fucking unbelievable tragedy.


40 Responses to “Sitting in mood swings”

  1. Amie on April 27th, 2006 2:30 pm

    I wouldn’t worry about the not sitting thing yet. My boy is a month older than yours, and he just got it about 3 weeks ago, completely out of the blue. Shortly after, standing and cruising followed. Now, we’re just waiting for teeth. And for the floor to crack open and demonic forces to take over the house.

    When I went through this with my daughter a good friend who already had kids recommended I trip her every time she tried to walk. At the time, I thought she was kind of mean, but now I completely understand where she was coming from. *grin*

    Oh, and Chernobyl? I’ve seen a lot of documentaries on it lately, some that will rip out your heart, stomp it a few times, spit for good measure, then shove it back in. Such a hard thing to take in.

  2. Jay on April 27th, 2006 3:58 pm

    I happened to come across another Chernobyl photo site yesterday… I figured for sure you were linking to it. Not as large as your linked site, this one still has some amazing photos from an unspeakably tragic event.


  3. warcrygirl on April 27th, 2006 5:05 pm

    My friend’s oldest child didn’t walk until he was 14 months old. He now plays tackle football. Please don’t fall into that trap of comparing your child’s development against other kids; when he’s ready it’ll happen overnight.

    I just spent five minutes trying to explain Chernobyl and birth defects to my 7 year old. I didn’t want to but he asked. It was all I could do to explain it without crying.

  4. Alex on April 27th, 2006 5:49 pm

    If at all possible, can the pictures of Riley be bigger, like before? Grassy ass.

  5. Kristin on April 27th, 2006 6:00 pm

    I just watched that link and I can’t quite believe it. Horrifying. Fucking unbelievable is right.

  6. Amy on April 27th, 2006 6:37 pm

    Every kids develops at his/her own pace. Riley is good to go…especially since he’s now discovered the unparralled joy of jumping!

  7. aibee on April 27th, 2006 7:21 pm

    Sixty Minutes ran a story on Chernobyl last weekend. There’s a link on their site for anyone wanting to help the children: Chernobyl Children’s Project, Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster Charity, Adi Roche, Relief, Humanitarian Aid For Chernobyl Children, Charitable Donations for Chernobyl Children

  8. sundry on April 27th, 2006 8:02 pm

    Ms. Grassy de la Assy: you need but to click on the photo, and lo! It is large and in charge. But yes, I think I’ll mostly stick to posting the regular size images rather than this wee thumbnail business.

    Aibee: thank you for posting those links.

  9. Lesley on April 27th, 2006 9:37 pm

    Re Chernobyl. I highly recommend the travelogue of Elena, a Russian woman who journeyed on her motorcycle through the radiation-filled area surrounding and within Chernobyl. Ground Zero is what it’s called. The lands were almost completely deserted, although some animals managed to survive and she met a few people who were determined to stay in spite of the prohibition. She’s the daughter of a senior physicist – through him she got a permit to travel through the lands affected by the meltdown. It’s eerie, terrifying in places, and very moving. Imagine seeing trees that glow in the dark! Here’s the link in case the html above doesn’t take: http://www.kiddofspeed.com/chapter1.html

  10. robin j. on April 27th, 2006 10:24 pm

    I have no idea when my son started to sit up by himself, but I know it was later than ‘average;’he didn’t crawl until 9 months, or walk until 15. Now he’s 26 months old and runs all over the place.I’ve done an informal poll of a few dozen moms of toddlers and so far haven’t found a single exception to my theory that babies either walk early or talk early, so maybe your son is going down the ‘talk early’ path.I figure that most of them are walking and talking and potty-trained by highschool, by which point the number of milestones they ‘missed’ will be lost in the mists of time. Misseds of time? Anyway.

  11. robin j. on April 27th, 2006 10:25 pm

    there were paragraph breaks in there, i swear!

  12. Pete on April 27th, 2006 10:30 pm

    The sooner Riley starts to crawl/walk the sooner you will spend all of your time chasing him. Enjoy your time.

  13. Anne Glamore on April 28th, 2006 6:30 am

    I’m still snorting over “Fair to middlin'”. That’s kinda how I feel.

  14. wealhtheow on April 28th, 2006 6:47 am

    A friend’s mother died of cancer fairly recently–she was in her 40s. Their whole family lived in the Ukraine. When Chernybol happened, their father sent them all to St. Petersburg. Still, half of my friend’s parents’ high school classmates are dead from cancer. Sometimes I look at my friend and wonder when he will get cancer. I love Russia and I love Russians, but the Soviet government had some pretty evil moments, and forgoing safety for cheapness was a big one.

  15. Liss on April 28th, 2006 6:48 am

    My mood this morning was definitely registering “a bit cranky” until I read your post. Thanks for the guffaw (and thank god I have a door to my office or the coworkers may think I went from a bit cranky to “needs serious medication”).

  16. Sande on April 28th, 2006 6:59 am

    K, the damn lime and coconut song is currently playing on my radio. I will be singing this all day again.

    The Chernobyl disaster is just unbelievable. I too knew nothing about it until a few weeks ago I saw a documentary on HBO. Just speechless. So sad.

  17. Jessie on April 28th, 2006 7:44 am

    I saw the thing about Chernobyl on the news too, right after I had told my husband of what I had seen in that gallery. His comment after the segment was, “well it doesn’t seem like it’s that bad”. I definitely informed him his opinion would be different if he looked at those pictures. It’s so sad.

    What is not so sad is you and JB’s comments on Riley’s day care form. I would die laughing if I saw something like that. You two crack me up.

  18. suzanna danna on April 28th, 2006 7:59 am

    My boss just walked by, “why are you crying?” So I sent him a copy of the link for Chernobyl website that you posted Linda. How could I not know about this when it is such a big deal? I have heard the name Chernobyl, I have heard the jokes about the three headed fish and the like… but my perception has been changed. Thank you and damn…. that was tough.

  19. bad penguin on April 28th, 2006 8:34 am

    I saw that photo essay on Slate the other day and just sat here at my desk looking at it and crying. I had no idea that people who weren’t even born when Chernobyl happened were getting so horribly sick from it. They always make it sound like Chernobyl happened, people died, end of story.

  20. andrea on April 28th, 2006 9:12 am

    That kid has awesome hair. I bet it smells good too.

  21. Holly on April 28th, 2006 9:38 am

    You have to check out this site http://www.angelfire.com/extreme4/kiddofspeed/chapter1.html It’s one of those sort of cheesey angelfire sites but the content is far from cheesey. This crazy crazy chickie takes you on a ride through Chernobyl on her motorcycle! She takes tons of photo’s and explains a lot about what happened and the aftereffects etc. There are even some before/after pictures. Chernobyl used to be a lush green wonderful place to live *next to a nuclear reactor* and now it’s a nuclear wasteland. A desert! This site has been up for years. I first saw it maybe 7 years ago… There have been some new photos added since the first time I saw it but most of them are old. You wouldn’t be able to tell, Chernobyl has looked to same for 20 years! So creepy when you see things like peoples clothes hanging out on the line etc and know they have been there so long! She goes into some of the apartments too and school’s, it’s really chilling and always makes me cry! You’re right, total fucking tragedy! Especially love the part where her government denies that more then 10 (yes, *10*) people even died there *they did evacuate a bunch of people but still…* so that they can continue to use nuclear power! AHHH! -h

  22. Annie on April 28th, 2006 10:56 am

    I saw the Chernobyl stuff on Slate as well. So heartbreaking. Building them a new town is all well and good, but they’re still sick.

    Okay, I have to say the MOOD comments cracked me up. I might start posting my own mood on the fridge for my husband’s information. Could keep him out of trouble. Is tired, technically, a mood?

  23. Michelle on April 28th, 2006 11:34 am

    Not that Chernobyl isn’t horrid, and the pictures are terrible, but….just had to pass this on for the other side of the story…fairness in reporting and all.


  24. stephanie brown (alwaysworried) on April 28th, 2006 12:27 pm

    he looks like you in that picture :)

    that was very sad to watch….i really had no idea. makes ya wonder what is really going on…

  25. Jen on April 28th, 2006 7:33 pm

    Thank you for the Chernobyl link. I had no idea.

  26. fifi on April 30th, 2006 1:58 am

    The pictures on the link are terrible, even having seen documentaries about Chernobyl , years ago. The Russian people were terribly betrayed by their government.Living on the European side of the ocean, we were very aware of, and very scared by, the reactor disaster at Chernobyl. There are still areas of Britain where the grazing land is contaminated from rain that fell there after Chernobyl. On mainland Europe, people whose existence depended on reindeer herds, were very badly affected. Every old nuclear reactor in the world, (and every new one in a developing country that chooses nuclear power), will pose the risk of another Chernobyl, and certainly will eventually have to be decommissioned.
    Human error will always be the unknowable factor in the safety or danger posed by nuclear power.
    It is understandable that you might have not heard about Chernobyl, in the same way that many people will have forgotten the chemical gas accident at Bhopal in India, years ago, which was another instance of horrific consequences for people who lived and worked nearby. Commercial interest, and political gain, will always come before the cost in human suffering.
    I think becoming parents makes us more keenly aware of how fragile we all are.
    It links us to the rest of the planet in ways that a good way. Some folk pay a small amount towards an environmental group, such as Greenpeace, or Friends of the Earth; or global health organisation, like Medecins Sans Frontieres. It might not be much, but what else can one do, but look on helplessly?

  27. MRW on May 1st, 2006 10:35 am

    Can’t look at the Chernobyl pictures now because I have a strict no crying at work policy – will depress self at home this evening. But I can comment on the sitting up thing: My son didn’t sit up until later and he didn’t walk until he was 14 months old and now that he’s three I exhausted trying to keep up with him. He is evidently STILL making up for all that time he couldn’t go where he wanted to when he wanted to and is constantly running around. Oh how I miss the put him down and he stays there days…

  28. Kim on May 3rd, 2006 12:56 pm

    I’d seen the motorcycle website referenced above, but never anything about the children of Chernobyl. Thank you for posting that, Linda. It made me sick, but I think it’s important to look at things like this full in the face. My biggest question: WHY ON EARTH IS THIS NOT COVERED BY THE MEDIA, especially on the anniversary? Why keep the world ignorant of this?

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