needless to say, a milestone was brewing on the horizon. or three.
at some point friday, the chewing on my fingers felt different. a bit like the shell from a popcorn kernel scraping away. a tooth! and he hadn't even been fussing like it hurt.
brian took off half of friday and we left for tyler around 5pm. a little over halfway there, we hypothesized that oliver has been conditioned to fear the dark to a high degree. he let us know this by waking up and screaming bloody murder until we stopped at Love's truck stop for a break and continuing when we got back on the road and stopping when we rolled past another brightly lit gas station and continuing once we'd rounded the corner into more darkness. so brian sat in the back seat entertaining oliver with the backlight on his cell phone. i saw this coming. we always keep the television on all night as a super fancy nightlight and as an activity to keep me from going completely mad the nights i can't get back to sleep. the boy doesn't know darkness.
we finally arrived at my parents' house on a tangled bed of frazzled and frayed nerves and, after setting ttyki up in the house, we left again for el charro. i went a little crazy and ordered the frozen-margarita-that-knocks-me-on-my-as
the ride home was fine and dandy until something not-so-fine-and-dandy happened and then everything temporarily crumbled. but that's a post for another time.
somewhere in there, milestone #2 occurred: oliver was propped up on the kitchen counter and sat for an extended time unsupported. so i'm calling it... he can sit up. my parents own the photographic evidence. so just imagine with your mind's eye, if you will.
saturday was for getting my car inspected. i do this in tyler because i'm cheap (not to mention poor). tyler doesn't enforce air quality like dallas does. ergo, tyler's air is much filthier. that's not true. i just suppose they're waiting until it's particularly nasty before they start requiring the more expensive emissions testing.
anyhow, that taken care of, we were off to the caldwell zoo with my mom, lisa, and ashleigh. it took me all of two seconds to spot the faded hickey on ashleigh's neck (her first). it didn't help she had her hair up. i love knowing she would pass out from sheer embarrassment to learn this information now lives on the internet. i asked if she had managed to burn her neck with her curling iron much like my sister had done in high school. the whole thing freaks me out.
so the zoo was grand, but sad in the way that zoos are inescapably and intrinsically sad no matter how ultra fancy the quarters. the animals pacing frantically break my heart. we did our best to distance ourselves from the family quoted as saying (as pertained to the colobus monkey): "now that's an ugly monkey. you gotta love an ugly monkey." this after i had likened his distinctive features to those of an elderly man in a medieval portrait. whatever. i guess you can't let a caged monkey have any attempts at grace.
nearing gunther's dik dik
beautiful autumn day
insane bird house
cats much larger than ours
duck river bordering native america where turkeys of normal weight live
we retired to mom's to eat chips and sauce from weinerland and beer from miller while lisa took ashleigh home. lisa was the only member of her family interested in eating the cabbage rolls my mother had spontaneously decided to make. oliver chilled in the 14 year old playpen my parents had purchased for ashleigh (ahaha... i say words so that it sounds like the playpen is for my 14 year old niece ahaha. with her and all of her hickey madness, i suppose that's not such a bad idea though.) that was adorned with the most hideous, mauve-fueled bears i ever did see. during dinner, i feuded with my sister over barney and babies drinking water (let's not even talk about her insistence that my baby innately loves coca cola marketing) and felt myself reaching a breaking point. the breaking point just resulted in me feeling like never leaving town again instead of in some fantastic fistfight with sparklers raining down from the sky.
sunday, we went to the park so i could pack oliver into his little carrier and take him on a swing with me. so oliver fell asleep and didn't wake up even after we pulled his carseat out. second on my agenda was swinging without oliver. so i swung with brian and then he got off his swing and he kept pushing me but i didn't want him to push on me so i tried to kick him in the nuts with each backstroke of the swing and then i finally stopped my swing so i could start it all over so it would be just my swinging and none of his angry, crooked swinging and then i called him Donkey Face once he was safely on his way to walk around the amphitheater. so my mom took his swing and we swung in such perfect harmony that the swingset didn't clickety clack and we didn't have to worry about it breaking apart and hurling us to our permanent incapacitations. and then brian came back and i challenged him on the monkey bars and then we both discovered how damn much monkey bars hurt so we stopped and he pretended like it was fun walking over the little bridges that don't even sway (i guess someone sued over that since we were little) and i went down the curly slide three times. and then we went back over to the swings and brian thought he was cool throwing an acorn at a tree and making leaves fall off so then he started throwing handfuls of acorns at the tree and i told him he'd be sorry this winter when he was griping that there aren't any leaves on the trees. and i think he believed me, but he threw a few more handfuls to try and make me think he wasn't scared.
after killing enough time, we went to the book sale at the tyler public library. i hadn't been there in ages. high school probably. we found heaps of children's books and a couple of children's albums (so what if we no longer have a turntable between us) and a vhs copy of the best of bert and ernie and a couple of books from a series about things like cells and the body and energy and drugs. just for hoots, i grabbed a book on proper photographic lighting for photos that sell from the 80's. nothing was over a dollar so we wound up with a box full that cost only $16. it was hard to stop once you got going.
our afternoon was already running well beyond late so i canceled our visit with christie before we wolfed down tofu at ming's express. we stopped by my grandparents for a quick visit. my grandfather got in trouble for just saying "tickle tickle tickle" and poking him in the belly. he didn't even really tickle him. but my grandmother has always been such an anti-tickle nazi that she nipped it right in the bud. and boy howdy if my grandfather didn't issue a soundless finger retraction instantly. "i cain't stained to see someone get tickled... i just always remember how much i hated being tickled," she said. the lecture we always got as children when we attempted to tickle one another was how my father was ambushed ages ago by a tickle squad on the front lawn and tickled until he passed out. one bad apple spoils the bunch. where was she when my uncle was chasing me around the house with The Claw!?
we went back to my parents to speed pack and let ttyki have one last gander around the backyard. but then she started playing this unexpected game of seeing just how freakin' fast she could run to the side yard where my father has thoughtfully replaced the privacy fence with wrought iron fencing designed for feline egress. after three rounds of this, she was grounded and we drove away from tyler lickety split learning spanish as we went. la mano el brazo el codo la rodilla el hombro el arbol la oja el ojo la boca.
oliver gave us quite the scare when we reached home, placed him in his activity center, and then watched him not activate the center but instead sit arms outstretched (with the right one customarily bent at the elbow) to his long lost baby einstein dvd. we've created a monster.