…then realized why. Of course my wife is freshly grating cave-aged parmesan over the imported Italian pastina we are serving our 9 month old daughter.
Let me preface this post by reminding you that we are resolutely middle-class, and I have literally never spent a dollar that I didn’t earn. I had some really lean years, and the depredations I endured along the way undoubtedly led to my current embrace of certain food-related indulgences.
That being disclaimed…
I have developed a potentially unhealthy relationship with my butcher. The other day I told him I wanted some steaks. He knows me well enough that he walked past the case full of prime beef and made his way to the walk-in cooler. He knew that by steak I meant NY Strip, and that I wasn’t interested in anything pre-cut. He knows I want mine cut from the bottom of the short loin while I watch it happen. He knows I mean dry-aged. He knows to trim the tail but leave an extra half-inch or so of fat when he does. Told him I wanted to be good and to cut them an inch and a half on the bias; he winked and nodded before cutting me some two inch steaks. Fucker. They’re beautiful.
Jumped the gun on the fish roe with Harper. Read some websites that said nine months is old enough to eat it, so I bought her some fresh salmon roe at Russ and Daughters. I bought a half pound, actually. That’s a lot. I also had the thought while there that if salmon roe is good for her sturgeon roe must be even better. So I bought her some caviar. E made me call our doctor and he said that she shouldn’t try it before she’s a year old. So Moe and I have been eating a lot of caviar. I do understand how fucked up it is that my dog eats caviar but it does have an expiration date and I can only handle so much.
I’ve totally banned Pacific fish for the time being. Don’t want to gamble on radiation with the whole Fukushima thing. I know that sounds like something a crank might say, and I didn’t take it seriously either until Jewel Bako switched exclusively to Atlantic Ocean sourced fish. I know that’s not very sciencey of me but screw it, if my favorite sushi place is concerned why shouldnt I be? Currently researching the best mercury free, wild caught fish I can source from the Atlantic and welcome any suggestions.
That’s her new thing. Harper has learned that clapping signifies happiness. Perhaps I am overly concerned with cognitive and physical development in my child. I imagine most other first time parents are as well. You’re just incredibly eager to see your child progressing as quickly as possible and at the same time terrified that you will miss a milestone. So seeing Harper clap for a specific reason, and the specific reason being to express pleasure pleased me greatly.
The fact that it was me who made her happy is the real lede, however. I bust ass to get home from work before she goes down for the night and most nights I manage to make it. When I open the door I hear the wife saying: “Guess who it is, it’s Dada. Dada’s home”. Then I walk in and Harper looks at me. She turns away quickly then methodically pivots back to look me right in the eyes. There’s a moment of complete incomprehension that breaks my heart every time. Then she breaks into a big grin, laughs and starts clapping her hands like a lunatic.
Cannot get over what a wonderful day yesterday was. Harper was baptized, receiving her first sacrament and officially becoming a Catholic. As joyful as that was the real payoff was being amongst such wonderful friends and family. My closest friends from high school all made the trip to join us which nearly brought me to tears. My best friends from college were there with their families as well, and my Sister stood up as the Godmother. My mentor and his wife attended as well as most of Elaine’s lovely family. The reception dragged on way past the scheduled end as we all had such a nice time eating, drinking and socializing. I had times in my younger days where I was estranged from my family and felt like I was completely alone on this planet. All the more reason that yesterday was one of the happiest in my life. Being surrounded by people you love is a wonderful thing indeed.
Harper is 6.5 months old and finally developing a personality. Til now I would grade us an A- as parents. She’s had the best healthcare and nurturing possible. H has been cared for and loved by many people. We have a great nanny and truly helpful friends and family whose accumulated wisdom has been immeasurably helpful. She attends church regularly and has never watched television or looked at a electronic screen of any kind. We play her a carefully curated musical library consisting of Dylan, Johnny Cash, Bob Marley, The Ramones, Dave Van Ronk, Chet Baker, Louis Armstrong and Arlo Guthrie. We regularly read to her from both children’s books, adult books, newspapers and websites. The baby food is all homemade. With the help of our Vitamix she gets fresh organic food pureed to a deliciously slurry consistency…
But still, I read articles quoting people like this:
"Both our children - age 3 and 5 now - are top in their preschool classes in their Mandarin language abilities (as well as English)"
and think what the fuck. How hard do I have to push, what is appropriate? This is all going to be a messy work in progress.
edit: Need to add something on the positive side of the ledger. For 48 hours every week she is cared for collectively by the wife and me, her parents, her grandmother and at least one additional aunt or cousin of some sort. Above all else H benefits from such an extended loving, hands-on family.
We were having lunch with a friend’s family when his eight year old son sat down across from me.
W: I have two separate and unrelated things to tell you.
Me: Okay, shoot.
W: First, I’m writing a book.
Me: What’s it called?
W: Ninja School. I have the first page done, which coincidentally is also the entire first chapter.
Me: Cool. What’s the second thing?
W: We’re having apple pie for dessert.
I know it’s too early for this really, but…
Harper is surrounded by rather ample-chested women. Her mother, and her mother-in-law, and now her Nanny. Genetics and all considered the odds are in her favor but for fucks sake what if she isn’t overly endowed?
ironically I’m much more of a booty guy and the whole chest thing…well I fell in love with E because of who she is. The rest is like, well, okay, great and all. But I’m raising my daughter amongst the cast of extras from a Russ Meyer film and I just don’t want to mess with her head.