Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A/B Testing

We do our best to keep to the "no screen time before age 2" rule, barring skype, but we make exceptions when Walter is sick, or when Mommy or Dadda is sick (or just exhausted.)  Mostly Henson-related with some other stuff thrown in as we discover it or recall it.  While Walter used to be content to just judge these videos as we presented them to him, lately he's been making requests, in particular the "ABs" or alphabet videos.  We've been diving deep into the Sesame archives, and turned up some real classics like ABCD-Cookie-Monster.  CTW/Sesame Workshop have a surprisingly diverse catalog of original alphabet tunes that manage to be catchy without distracting from the actual ABs – cool stuff like Kermit's African ABs with Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Walter's not impressed by such novelty.  When Kermit (or Mhermie, as Walter pronounces it) starts, "Amazing!  Beautiful creatures dancing..." Walter supplies his own take on Bohemian Rhapsody.  "No, no, no, no, no, no, no."  Sometimes upset, but usually measured, resolute.  This boy is on a mission; canonical ABs only, please.  No extraneous lyrics.  Preferably sung by lovely young women.  Actually, that might be Walter's real mission.  India.Arie inspires a certain blissful look in his eyes, and he's granted Tilly and the Wall concessions unavailable to, say, Daddy or Richard Prior.

To what end all this ABing?  Well, he doesn't join in singing with us or the videos, but he gets this shy little smile that suggests he's biding his time until he can let it rip from start to finish.  Last night, in a fit of ecstatic bathing, he managed to recite the whole thing: ABABABBBBBBB-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh-eh!  He even transcribed it with bath crayons, so we know he's serious about it.

If you haven't already heard, we've been getting so much mileage out of the sick/exhausted loophole because we've got another baby on the way!  Little Newbie is scheduled to arrive on August 30th, although I'm guessing that's just penciled in.  We're absolutely thrilled, but well into the second trimester, Walter's perennial ear troubles (currently experiencing a reprieve!) are joined by what seems to be worse morning sickness for Annie this time around.  More persistent, at least.  And, in the first of what I'm sure will be a million "Your brother Walter never did that..." observations that I intend to keep mostly to myself, I'm finding this pregnancy is a lot more tiring for me.  (Pregnancy is hardest on husbands, obviously.)  With Walter, when Annie was feeling out of commission, I could get the essentials covered, with only some minor slipping, like dishes stacking up in the sink.  But now the minor slipping could be Walter, slipping down the stairs.  So, we yield a little extra sleep in the name of constant vigilance.  Totally worth it.  Honestly, it's hard to sleep with that image in my head anyway.

One byproduct of my big case of the sleepies has been a hit to my productivity, already a bit tenuous to begin with.  Indeed, this was meant to be our baby announcement post, and here I am publishing – well, not at the final hour, but certainly later than traditional.  I was planning a long reflection on how becoming a bigger family would mean sharing our attention fairly (if not evenly) with Walter and Newbie, in all things, right down to blog posts.  But as time wore on, and Annie's excitement about Newbie grew to bursting – well, not literally bursting yet, just a cute bump – we decided we couldn't wait for a magnum opus.  And I'm glad we didn't.  As intentional and conscientious as we'll need to be with our time and resources as parents, and as incomparably comfy as a soft hand-me-down t-shirt is, it's nice we were able to start Newbie off with something entirely new and personal.

BTW, for my money, you can't beat Patti Labelle.  I mean, she's got AB right in her name.

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