Monthly Archives: November 2012

A boy by any other name

The Babycenter list of 2012’s top names came out today (a bit different from the official Social Security list, but still interesting).

I always told Steve I wanted our kids to have names that were unusual enough so that they wouldn’t have to go by their last initial in elementary school classes, something he and I (Steven & Jessica, Nos. 20 and 8, respectively, in 1976 ) both had to do, year after year. Jessica B., Jessica B., Jessica B. When I was a kid I used to “joke” that I wished my name were Ambrosia, because at least I wouldn’t have to be Ambrosia B.

But anyway, after all that talk, both our kids have names that are in the top 100. Which is fine — almost as annoying as getting branded with a last initial is having your name constantly mispronounced. My maiden name: Hard G? Soft G? Who cares? Just call her Jessica Burgers.

Henry’s name, especially, is zooming up the ranks.


I don’t care, though, because I LOVE HIS NAME I LOVE IT. (It’s sort of a family name, but it doesn’t hurt that it’s also the name of a History’s Greatest Hero. Don’t be surprised if we someday have a pet named after a state, hoping Henry takes his cue.)

Sebastian’s name we took from a Shakespearean character. I love the way it sounds. It’s a hard name to say, though. For a long time, he called himself “Sha-sheben,” which is pretty cute. But he has emerged triumphant; not only can he now say his name, he can spell the heck out of the whole unwieldy thing.

Here are the meanings of our names, which we didn’t even look at before bestowing them on our offspring:

Jessica — Wealthy

Steve — Kingly

Henry — Ruler

Sebastian — Majestic

Wow. We are a pretty intimidating household. Rich, powerful, majestic.



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Das baby

It looks like he’s reading, but he’s really just smacking the pictures of babies.

This kid. He’s babbling now, still not by the book — he gets big eyes and pins you with an intense stare and says, “RA RA RA RA RA RA” instead of fluttering his eyelashes and giving us a sweet and cute “ma ma!” But I’ll take it. I’m on pins and needles waiting for language development. PINS AND NEEDLES.

We put him in pajamas all the time because… well, I really don’t have an excuse.

We’re doing this dirty-hippy approach to feeding called “baby-led weaning.” It basically means you skip purees and head straight for finger foods. HE LOVES FOOD. Food food food. Bananas, toast, anything squishy. Gimme gimme gimme.

Baby-led weaning — empowering for baby! “I CONTROL MY OWN DESTINY! AND THIS PIECE OF BREAD!”

He’s good and sweet and really no trouble, which is good, because his brother trips the trouble-o-meter all day, every day.

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At the park

We try to get out of the house every weekend day to run Sebastian like a dog  you know, create memories and stuff.

I like living in Dallas; our weekend options are many. There are museums and parks and restaurants aplenty. But what to do last weekend, what, what?

Well, it turns out the gigantor Woodall Rogers deck park has just opened up near downtown. To be honest, this park wasn’t really on my radar — we live in an inner-ring suburb that’s a short drive from downtown, and we’ve got parks of our own — but after a Facebook friend recommended a kids’ yoga class there last week, I thought, oh yeah. Big fancy deck park. I remember. Then some other friends visited a couple of weekends ago and gave it a ringing endorsement. After all that, I decided, we bettah check it out.

This thing is literally built on top of a highway. The flacks like to say it’s a green space created “out of thin air.” It’s pretty unnerving to look up from your ice cream sandwich and see cars zooming right at you. This is the edge of the park facing east.

There’s a kids’ area within the park that is amazing. Water features, astroturf, bouncy synthetic-stone sidewalks.

Sebastian hated it and never wants to go back.

Don’t forget even for a moment: We are in Dallas.

HISSSS!!! MUSEUM TOWER, IT BURNSSSSS! Also, note the food trucks. They were ah-mazing. However, food trucks are kind of fancy and expensive. I felt bad for the guy in front of me who was just trying to order a cheeseburger. “We don’t have any pickles,” the white-coated chef snootily informed him. “Only truffles.” Also, where was the coffee truck? I’m going to hang out down there with a thermos of Folgers and make a killing.

Cute off-leash dog park. Also, I didn’t get a picture of this, but there’s a covered library area where you can play board games and look at books — kids’ and grownups’ — and newspapers.

The leading edge of the park, facing west.

Verdict: We loved it. Look for us on Saturday mornings doing downward-facing dog as a family.

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My favorite reality-show contestant of all time. When Angelo Sosa was eliminated from Top Chef I was lightheaded with rage. It was more horrible than Season 2 of Friday Night Lights.

We had an adventure today! I plan to write a big, bursting-with-pictures post about it… tomorrow.

Steve and I are catching up with the new season of Top Chef, one of our favorite shows. I never used to watch TV — for a time, I was one of those jerks who literally didn’t have a TV — until I met Steve. Now our sofa has a Jessica’s-butt-shaped indentation and I am OK with that.

Here are our current (or coming-back-soon) can’t-misses: Survivor, Top Chef, The Amazing Race, Breaking Bad, Madmen. Except with Breaking Bad we’re a season and half behind because IT’S TOO INTENSE I CAN’T TAKE IT ACCK.

Since having kids, TV is more of a zone-out than real entertainment, though. I remember watching The Office in Season 2, 3, and 4 on the very edge of the sofa, quickly logging onto Television Without Pity the second it ended to see if anyone else thought Pam and Jim were gonna get it together pretty soon now. And we watched Lost and The Wire with wide-eyed eagerness. Now I get mad if our shows get too confusing. I just don’t have the headspace to spare. BE STRAIGHTFORWARD, SHOWS. I HAVE TWO KIDS.

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Days become the weeks become the months become the years

Sound the klaxons, today’s a no-napper, folks, A NO-NAPPER.

So while we deal with the neighborhood cranky baby, I’ll leave you to ponder what six months can do.

Freshly cooked baby, maybe two weeks old. He still seems slightly underdone, doesn’t he?

I just took a 30-minute break because Sebastian just woke up howling. Anyway:

Six-month-old baby shoveling a pear? Boiled potatoes? Banana? Into his face.

From May to November. Enough time to get in shape. To take a trip around the world. To write a book. To fatten up a tiny human.

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It was a good day, full of extended family I rarely see. As I had hoped, I barely held heavy-butt Henry at all. Sebastian spied a dish of chocolates on a shelf as we walked in and I was reminded about their delicious presence 1,472 times. I had two kinds of pie AND was sent home with leftover pie. All in all a great success.

Full of rolls, turkey, and chocolate.

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Snuggles and hugs, I hate you

The only reason I am able to semi-cheerfully do this stay-at-home mom thing is because Sebastian goes to school for three hours a day, and Henry also naps for two or three hours while he’s gone. I am usually holding onto sanity by the merest whisper of a thread by the time the bus shows up. I toss Sebastian up the stairs of the bus, throw Henry in the general direction of the swing, then collapse into a chair and stare blankly into space for an hour or so before I am able to get anything else done.

Today there was NO school, and because of the inescapable, monologuing, high-pitched voice running at top volume in the house, there was NO NAPPING either. I’m not gonna lie, it was pretty terrible. Sebastian is what we might politely term “high needs,” and while Henry is a pretty average baby, there’s no 6-month-old on Earth who can go 10 hours without sleep and remain a jovial little fellow.

There’s also the fact that I, oh, can barely tolerate human touch, and Sebastian needs hugs and loves and laps and snuggles pretty much constantly. Henry needs to eat, he needs to be held, he needs to be changed…SO NEEDY, EVERYONE IS SO NEEDY. By the end of a break-free day with the two of them, I’m emotionally and mentally tapped, like a small keg at a big party.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving; I am thankful that lots of grabby family hands will be eager to hold my beautiful kids.

Today’s scenic view.


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