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Ever have the itch to create a table? Yeah, me too.

I wanted to start this record of JaM preferences before they fade from memory. Not surprisingly, the entries in the following table reflect my personal interests: language, music, and dogs.

I’ll need Katie’s help to add some more.

Jackie

McLain

______________ _________________ __________________
Catchphrase (under 2 yrs) “What’s that right therrrrrre?” “What’s that guy doin’?”
______________ _________________ __________________
Baby & toddler nicknames BK (Beanie Katie), Chaygers, San Diego Chaygers, Jacks, Bowl Full of Happy Jacks, Jacks on Jacks on Jacks LOB (Little ‘ol Boy), John C. McGinley, Emcee Lain, Bigun, Brooklyn, Sprite Remix
______________ _________________ __________________
First indie rock song sing-along “While You Wait for the Others” by Grizzly Bear — the “OooAaaOooooOooo” part “Wordless Chorus” by My Morning Jacket — the “OoooAhhOooooOoOo” part
______________ _________________ __________________
Favorite dog Baxter (even though he growled at her a lot when she was a baby) Robah (even though he accidentally knocks McLain down to this day)
______________ _________________ __________________
Most endearing mispronunciation “Re-lune-lun” (Reunion) “Gael” and “Waeld” (Girl and World)
______________ _________________ __________________
Favorite adverb to start a sentence “Actually, blah blah blah…” “Yesterday, blah blah blah…”
______________ _________________ __________________
Favorite song from an old kids’ movie “I Want It NOW” sung by Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory “It’s a Hard Knock Life” from Annie
______________ _________________ __________________
Favorite old song that Dad sings poorly “On the Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady, written by Frederick Loewe “I’m An Old Cow Hand” sung by Bing Crosby, written by Johnny Mercer

 

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Some two-year-olds are capable of providing for their younger siblings. At least, that’s how the following video begins. Around the two-minute mark, Jackie is eager to escape the awful racket that our mini food processor makes. In fact, Jackie says she wants to get far away from the food processor, “so it doesn’t kill me.” Dramatic? Maybe a bit. But in her defense, that food processor makes a harsh and ghastly noise.

McLain just started eating food other than breast milk last week, and there’s no better place to start than with what I believe to be the perfect food: the North Carolina sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas). He’s since tried banana and avocado, but if he shares his sister’s tastes, a large part of his diet during the next year will consist of sweet potato.

 

Oh, and it’s March 8, 2011, which marks the sixth birthday of Baxter Burns Jones. Goodness knows we thought our reckless and crazy dog might kill himself long before now, so we have much to celebrate. Baxter is the eldest (and certainly weirdest) of our four dependents. He’s been with us during some drastic changes to our family unit. He usually listens better to the voices in his head than he does Katie and me, but we love him.

Textbook pointing form -- probably hunting a tennis ball

Even though our family is now well beyond the transition from only two dogs to two kids and two demoted dogs, the title of this blog remains the same. When I started this little thing, that transition was on my mind.

The adage that says one picture equals a thousand words doesn’t need validation, but it if did, I think this photo by Jessica Lobdell would do the trick. This image is a visual equivalent of this blog’s title.

The holiday buzz has us busy lately, but I will post Burns Thanksgiving and Jones Christmas content soon. Oh, and I’m already plotting my impressions of the best music of 2010.

Content from Halloween is still in post-production and not yet bloggable, so I thought I would post a comparative video study of McLain.

The first video features footage from mid-October, a phase of McLain’s development that I classify as the end of being a newborn. His eyes are usually closed and eyelids swollen, his range of movement is limited to the space he was used to in the womb, and the only sounds he can make are frail cries. The video shows one of his first horse baths (and a large wet spot on my shirt), lunch with his mother, floor time with his sister and canine brothers, and his first real bath (no one was peed on during that one).

Note: The large wet spot on my shirt in the beginning clip is not water. Katie wouldn’t be laughing so hard if it were.

The second video shows him about a week ago, as an infant. He spends a few hours a day alert, soaking in the sights and sounds of home life with his family. I used to think that new humans developed so slowly compared to other animals, but now I know that what’s going on in the human brain is complex beyond comparison to, for example, Robah’s cognitive growth during his puppyhood.

I can imagine McLain, a decade or more from now, looking back at the antiquated blog his father maintained so infrequently. Because he inherited a penchant for keen observation from his mother, he’ll quickly notice that Jackie was the subject of weekly updates during her first five weeks and that he was the focus of only two updates (with his father’s ramblings about a novel in between). He’ll think to himself:

Wow…unbelievable…it’s true that the first child gets all the attention and the second child plays second fiddle his whole life. This is the proverbial straw. I’m NOT doing my chores, especially dog poop patrol in the back yard, anytime soon.

He’ll read this post and decide to go punch his sister, tell Baxter to “get outta here” even though he’s 16 years old, ridicule Robah for slobbering, or do something else to vent his second-child frustration.

Well, I want to set the record straight. His mother and I love him just as much as we love his sister. And if that isn’t enough to placate him, he hasn’t worn any pink hand-me-down clothes at any time. Maybe there was a gently-used toile nightgown in his wardrobe once or twice, but nothing overtly pink and Jackiesque.

McLain has gained significant weight, and is now a thriving baby instead of a shriveled newborn; Katie deserves all the credit. His diapers are printed with the numbers 1-2, rather than the N for newborn. His blue eyes are open for an hour at a time now. He has settled into his schedule, even though he hasn’t yet totally settled into ours. Like his sister before him, he sleeps for long stretches at night and spends his daylight hours squirming, alert, and sometimes screaming. He’s also earned his first nickname, Lil’ Main (Main instead of Man, like the Memphis-area pronunciation in Hustle & Flow).

Bob Pollard of the band Guided by Voices wrote a song called My Son Cool for his little guy. You can listen to it here. I expect hear it live Friday night at their show in Carrboro. When I do, I will think of that little guy and how daggone cool he is.

Here are some of our favorite pictures from the weeks after his birth.

 

McLain is now two weeks old and doing just great. Two weeks might not be quite enough time to really get to know someone who doesn’t talk or even open his eyes very often, but I will attempt to describe what I know about him so far in the form of a bulleted list:

  • I don’t know if there’s such a thing as a “Tar Heel born,” but McLain definitely shares one characteristic with Rameses. He bleats. What I mean is that he makes a staccato sound similar to that of a baby sheep. You know, something like baa-aa-aa-aa-aa-ha-aa. So, his first nickname is hereby McLamb.
  • His newborn temperament is relaxed, and he’s fairly quiet when he isn’t bleating or crying for a nursing session.
  • His eyes are bluish and greenish, although that is subject to change in the next several months.
  • The little guy has George Gershwin/Jelly Roll Morton-type fingers. His phalanges seem to be more mature than the rest of him. I remember Jackie having similar fingers.
  • Just as Jackie seemed to favor a particular electronic album, The Field’s From Here We Go Sublime, McLain is fond of Black Noise by Pantha du Prince. I only have two data points, but my theory is that infants enjoy contemporary minimalist European techno.

Overall, Katie and I feel like the addition of McLain to the family has gone very well. Katie continues to manage McLain’s nursing schedule, and he continues to gain weight. Jackie has been completely accepting of her new brother; I haven’t yet seen her show any sign of jealousy toward him. She amazes me with her ability to accept dramatic changes and put her best Ked forward (she gets this from her mother).

The only really rough patch was when I contracted a stomach bug on an outing with Jackie to the Museum of Natural Sciences downtown. I was incapacitated and quarantined in the guest bedroom for about 30 hours. Katie could have handled everything on her own, but we were lucky to get a visit from Steve Saville the second night of my illness. He was finishing a project in Fayetteville and made the drive to Raleigh last Thursday evening. Steve bought dinner, helped with the kids, and made us all feel better about things when we needed it most — just the kind of thing a good friend does when you really need the assistance.

Last and also least, Robah and Baxter are looking to each to each other for entertainment now more than ever before. But, with all the time they’ve spent hanging around with a newborn and a toddler, there hasn’t been the slightest problem. I expect this kind of cooperation from Robah. With Baxter, you just can’t know what to expect, but he’s been really good as well.

Here’s a video with footage from the first hour after McLain’s birth, his first real meeting with his mother, and the introduction of his big sister.

We had a photo session with Jessica Lobdell the Sunday before last. She and Simon are good people, and they were really patient with us. If you live in the Triangle, and need a professional with an excellent eye, call Jessica. She posted several pics of our family on her blog: http://jmbentonphoto.blogspot.com/2010/09/new-baby-boy.html. The next-to-last image on her blog speaks volumes (from Baxter’s perspective, at least). More on that later.

Finally, here are a slew of pictures that Katie and I took, mostly from McLain’s first several days.

Thanks again to my parents and Katie’s parents. My mom and dad held down the fort during those first couple of hectic days. Katie’s mom has made a couple of trips from Georgia to help for extended periods, and her dad entertained Jackie during her second trip to Kenan Stadium the weekend before last.

McLain has almost a full week of worldly experience, and he couldn’t be doing better. His mother, when she isn’t cuddling with him or taking care of the rest of us, has his nursing schedule completely under control. His sister adores him, asks to hold him at least 10 times a day, and hasn’t poked him in the eye (yet). His canine brothers have only licked him (Baxter) and drooled on him (Robah) once.

Things are going really well for the expanded family unit. We truly appreciate the ongoing help and love from his grandparents, as well as the calls, visits, and food from friends and family. Two special shout-outs are warranted: to Nana for quarantining herself Saturday when she had a stomach bug, and Sarah for joining Katie and me the early morning of his arrival.

I plan to make a couple of more polished posts after I go through the many pictures and videos waiting for me on our hard drive. In the meantime, here’s a link to a Picasa album, and the first picture of our expanded family: http://picasaweb.google.com/katiebjones/McLainIsBorn?authkey=Gv1sRgCLmdkYDDzPuZowE#

Family, September 2010

McLain Moore Jones was born early this morning at Rex Hospital in Raleigh. He’s quite lovable.

Birth stats:

  • 7 lbs., 10 oz.
  • 20.5 in. long
  • born at 7:45 a.m.

Katie’s initial assessment of his appearance is that he, like Jackie when she was an infant, looks like my father. He’s been sleeping pretty hard during his first few hours. Of course, I think he’s amazing in every way. I also think the same of my wife. By the way, Katie is already scheming about how to get out of the hospital as soon as possible.

Dr. Littleton was wearing a Tar Heel-themed surgical hat when he delivered McLain, which Katie allowed. The planned aspect of Katie’s admittance and McLain’s birth made it seem like a very controlled and predictable process. Jackie’s two-week-late arrival surprised us, but McLain arrived according to the schedule laid out for us yesterday.

My only disappointment this morning was the Steve Miller Band playing in the operating room during the McLain extraction. When will hospitals defer to parents for a child’s first ex-utero music? Seriously though, I couldn’t have been happier with the treatment we received this time and last time from Rex Hospital. Everyone has gone out of their way to welcome us and make us comfortable.

Tonight I looked back at what I tweeted during Jackie’s birth in December of ’08. Here’s a screenshot of the twitter archive; the entries are listed chronologically from oldest at the bottom, to newest at the top.

Tweets from Jackie’s birth

This is the image linked to the post-birth tweet shown above, “Love”.

I speak for Katie, probably not Jackie, and certainly not Baxter and Robah, when I say we are giddy with excitement about meeting McLain.

In less than six days, Katie will give birth to McLain Moore Jones. Unlike Jackie’s birth, this one will be a scheduled c-section. We know that McLain will be extracted at 7:15 a.m. on Tuesday, September 14.

Here’s the PR plan for McLain’s birth. Friends and family, if you want to know how things are going on Tuesday, choose one of these info-dissemination options:

  • Go to http://twitter.com/senojydna to follow live-tweets of McLain’s birth, including pics and video (depending on the REX wifi).
  • Most of the same updates to my twitter account will be posted to facebook, but only FB friends can access my profile.
  • I will probably post something to the blog, http://www.dogfoodmoney.com, from my phone soon after McLain is born. I’ll update the blog with a comprehensive post sometime on Tuesday night or Wednesday.
  • Of course, you can call, text, or email me directly whenever you want.
  • Image from Raleigh

    Urban dirt-biking

    I took this post-apocalyptic picture outside Jones Barber Shop in Raleigh last year.

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