There’s nothing like having a baby to make you realize just how true all the cliches are. The days are long and the years are short. Time flies. I can’t believe she’s already graduating from college (I mean a year old). Happy birthday, Ali. You are the best thing that’s ever happened to me, and I’m kind of choking up just writing this sentence. Also, fuck it. Happy gave birth day to me. Because this past year was the hardest and best of my life and if that doesn’t deserve a toast, I don’t know what does.
What’s In a Name?
Michael comes from a long line of badass women. They’re so badass, in fact, that a couple centuries ago (maybe more) they said screw the patriarchy and created a family tradition of naming their first born badass baby girls “Alice.”
In instances where an Alice has only sons, her firstborn son carries the name to his firstborn daughter. Michael’s mother is Alice Maria (Alma). Her mother (Michael’s grandmother/Ali’s great grandmother) is Alice Carolina. Her mother was Alice Pool. Her father was George, whose mother was Alice Bell of Melrose. That’s as far back as we can trace the name based on living memory– to a woman who, according to the eldest living Alice (Ali’s great grandmother), was present at the battle of Waterloo (1815) alongside her husband, who fought beside Willem II (Prince of Orange).
Beyond Alice Bell, apparently, we have to go to Scotland to see how far back this Alice business goes for sure. Supposedly it goes way back, but I have yet to see the primary sources. The skeptical side of me wonders if George simply named his daughter after his mother, then Alice Pool named her daughter after herself/her grandmother. Then Alice Carolina did the same. Then Michael/Alice Maria/Alice Carolina got me to buy into the tradition and name our daughter, Alice Aria, after the lot of them.
Regardless, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and I think Alice/Ali suits our tiny human perfectly.
First Swim Lesson… Almost
Ali and I started swim lessons this past Friday. We waded into the 92 degree pool, and as Ali felt neck-deep weightlessness for the first time, she relaxed into the sensation and giggled with glee. This was going to be fun, despite my mild hatred for communal pools.
The lifeguard explained the pool rules to us first timers, and just as he finished his spiel on swim diapers, one of our fellow little classmates had a perfectly timed blowout. (The kid was wearing a well-fitting swim diaper. It was just one of those things.) Poop in the pool = pool closed for the rest of the day, just as the lifeguard had explained only moments earlier. Until next week…
The troublemaking of toddlerhood has begun. Left briefly unsupervised, Ali has…
- Swished and splashed in the toilet bowl
- Unraveled an entire roll of toilet paper, then proceeded to eat it
- Climbed atop dad’s very expensive audio equipment
- Emptied a full water bottle onto the floor
- Taken every last shoe down from the reachable shelves of our closet
- Lifted the heating vent off the floor and nearly dropped it down the heating ducts (didn’t realize that was possible), but thankfully she didn’t quite turn it completely vertical and we were spared a very expensive visit from the HVAC guy
She also frequently…
- Opens and closes doors, closing herself into the powder room on more than one occasion
- Drops food she doesn’t want on the floor, with pizzazz
- Voices her opinion when you take away/take her away from something she wants, like iPhone chargers or, oddly, the little levers that open and close our windows
But, you know, otherwise she’s a damn dream of a kid. Really and truly.
Being the Joy
My Bompa, Ali’s great grandfather, passed away at the age of 96 a couple of weeks ago. Ali and I flew out to Montreal for the funeral and shiva, but really we were there so Ali could bring some joy to those who were grieving most, my grandmother and my dad especially.
Bompa only met Ali once (I wrote about it in Ali’s four month post). I wish they had had more time together. The man built a wonderful legacy, with family at the center, and it’s only now that I’m older and have a family of my own that I have been able to grasp what a wonderful life he built for himself, his boys, and the generations that have followed. He’s missed already and I’ll always remember him doing boatloads of pull ups in the basement of his Stowe, Vermont home in his white tank top and 80s short shorts. It was definitely a look, and he definitely pulled it off. I probably didn’t say it enough when I was young, but I’ll say it now: I love you, Bompa.
Rapid Fire Ali Updates
Loves: Showing off her new skills, like walking with her wagon or balancing on her own. Also, blueberries.
Hates: Having her diaper changed.
Tooth Count: 9. We got a molar this month.
How She Gets From A to B: Crawling really fucking fast.
New Skills: Walking with her wagon, unassisted standing, high fives, saying things that sound very, very, very close to real words (hello, ball, mama), saying “uh oh,” sticking out her tongue on command.
My Favorite Thing About This Age: The kid is full of opinions. It’s fun to watch our baby become a human with preferences of her own.