Friday, September 29, 2006

Dear Nutbag,

I seem to spend so much time freaking out about the stuff of growing up a boy (oh my god, will he nap!? is the floor clean enough!? will I ever be able to watch him eat a Cheerio!?) that I forget to remark in any permanent way about all of the little things you do that crack me up or melt my heart or scare the hell out of me. But today I'll give it a shot because you, my son, are fucking compelling (thank god you can't read or you would totally be learning the eff word right now).

It is completely unpredictable what will make you laugh. I could make funny faces and zrrburts until the end of time and you'd just look at me like "Lady, step it up. This is the majors." But strap you in and feed you some pureed carrots? That's the funniest thing EVER. Daddy doing the "dun dun" sound from Jaws? Comedy gold. Pulling mommy's hair is pretty hilarious to you, too. Unless you're just mean & you like it when mommy winces.

You hate all of your toys.

Mommy: Dash, may I offer you this think-tank-approved-rattle-smart-maker gar-ON-teed to increase IQ by 25 points?
Dash: Yawn. I'll take that copy of Good Housekeeping please.

Mommy: How about this light-up bear with a vocabulary bigger than mine?
Dash: Pshfft. I'll take that salad bowl full of Tupperware, thankyouverymuch.

Mommy: Oh, Dash, lookit! A board book with textures! And funny animal faces! Nice bunny. Nice horsie. Sooooooft.
Dash: Nah, I'll just reach behind you--excuse me--and chew on this blanket.

You love remote controls so much that you have two of your own. TWO! But they're not good enough! You want the real one! You're not fooled! Also, paper. Oh my god, dude, you chew paper and it makes Mommy gag. Seriously. It's disgusting and you should stop. I'm thisclose to handing you some beef jerky in trade.

When one of us comes home and you're on the floor you just start slapping it with your open hand until we pick you up. It is the most adorable thing ever. I know you wish you could run up to us, or at least give us a, "Wassup, Mommy & Daddy!" But all you can do is pound on the floor. It's the helplessness that makes it extra-delicious.

You've just figured out how to get from prone on your belly to sitting down on your buttsky. And it is truly your favorite thing in the world to do. I wish I could describe it (this would be a good time for that whole video-posting deal, huh?) but it looks like breakdancing to me. There's some spinning with one leg out and some anti-gravity effects for sure. When you really get going you'll just do circles: tummy to ass, tummy to ass, tummy to ass.

It's slightly less adorable at 2am when you can't complete a round in your crib so you scream bloody murder until Mommy comes and gets you so you can practice your skills some more. Although I guess I admire your tenacity. I hope you work that hard at buying me a phat Escalade with 22s.

I just realized there's no organic way for me to end this. I am not out of things to remember about you. I'll never be out of things I want to remember about you. Seriously. Every breath. But I'll stop here. For today.

I love you,

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I've been giving Dash non-liquid food since we got the thumbs up from his pediatrician at 6 months. I buy organic fruits & veggies, steam 'em up, run them through the blender & freeze into adorable heart shapes. I don't offer anything even a minute before Super Baby Foods says I can.

He LOVES avocado and butternut squash and bananas with cereal and he's thinking about his feelings for peaches and green beans and goat's milk yogurt. He loves them but he's not in love with them. He'll open wide for just about anything except sweet potatoes. The kid eats like he was born to do it.

But here's the catch: I was supposed to start him on finger foods more than a month ago and I hit a wall. I am just too scared. Every time I put a little bit of something in his mouth I watch him and freak out until he swallows it, and then I have to rest and recover for a week. My heart can't take it.

So, what's the solution? Will I be blending him up some steak and potatoes when he's 17?

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Corn Dip

Well, it's actually Aunty J's Corn Dip (with thanks to Emeril), but Uncle Pookie loves it so much he has a special sound effect for eating it.

Jamie's Corn Dip

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup small diced onion
2 tbsp minced jalapeños
1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
3 cups canned corn kernels
1 small can diced green chiles
1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped (green parts only)
4 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
4 ounces Monterey jack cheese, grated
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup mayonnaise
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a sauté pan set over a medium high heat, add the butter. Once the butter is melted, add the onions and sweat for 3-4 minutes. Add the jalapeños and the garlic and sweat for 2 more minutes. Add the corn and sweat for 5-6 minutes.

2. Remove the corn, jalapeños, garlic and onion mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl and blend well. Season the dip with salt and cayenne pepper.

3. Place the dip in a casserole dish, and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the dip begins to bubble. Serve with tortilla chips.


I have, honestly, the worst singing voice known to man. It is so bad that Josh literally cringes when I start wailing along with the radio.

Dash, however, thinks it's just lovely. This is the song I sing to him (his face lights up every time).

You are Mommy's Butternut, Butternut
You are Mommy's Butternut Squash

You are Daddy's Creamed Corn, Creamed Corn
Eat you with a spoon

You are Baba's Apple Pie, Apple Pie
Eat you ala mode

You are Gamma's Matzo Ball, Matzo Ball
Eat you in some soup

You are Grandpa's Baked Potato, Baked Potato
Eat you fully loaded

You are Aunty J's Chicken Wing, Chicken Wing
Eat you dipped in ranch

You are Uncle Pookie's Corn Dip, Corn Dip
Eat you on a chip

You are Aunt Pookie's Chardonnay, Chardonnay
Drink you by the glass

You are Aunty Shmust's Jicama, Jicama
Eat you from a salad bar

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Speaking of Nicknames

These are some things we call Dash in lieu of his actual name. Somehow, though, he seems to know his name is Dash. Uncanny.

The Professor - This one has been retired because he no longer makes the snooty face that prompted it. But oh my god, when a weeks-old infant looks down his nose at you there is, literally, nothing cuter.

Slotkin - My Russian mother, Baba Rima, takes care of Dash 4 days a week and coos to him in her native tongue. One day Josh emailed me at work to ask what the word "slotkin" means in Russian because he heard my mom say it to Dash. It took a minute until I realized that he had heard her call him "slodkee," the Russian word for "sweet." Obviously Slotkin rules over Slodkee.

Mansie - I started calling him this for no reason I can remember. But as soon as I started I tried to stop because I hated it. You know what happens when you try to get a song out of your head. This was like that but worse. So we embraced it.

Butternut - Remember the Jerky Boys? No? You're lucky. They used to call some of their marks Butt Nut and I insanely started wanting to call Dash this. When I realized that a butt nut could easily be fecal-related, I forced myself to add an "-er" and started calling him Butternut. Wrote a whole song about it. I'll post that later.

L'Aysh - A contraction of Little Dash pronounced the way his Grandpa John says it, "Daysh." No idea why he says it like that. He's from LA, born & bred, but somehow he has a drawl. Also, it looks like Hebrew.

Belly Shromp - Dash was conceived via in vitro so we have many, many pictures of him in utero at every stage of the game. The first time we actually saw something resembling a life form on the ultrasound he looked exactly like a shrimp (which we pronounce "shromp," because clearly we're insane.)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Things I Don't Want to Forget, Part 1

When Dash was in the hospital after having been yanked out of my uterus (I almost just said "unceremoniously yanked," but I have no idea if the doctors performed any kind of ceremony so I'll keep my conjecture to myself, thankyouverymuch) he was given a teensy little hat. The hat was small even for his tiny little baby head, so it kinda rolled up on the sides and barely hung on to his downy scalp. This looked exactly like the hat worn on the HBO prison drama Oz by a brutal rapist named Adebisi.

And thus was born our precious baby's first nickname.


And it begins

Because we don't devote enough time or effort to obsessing over our child, we now have a forum to post adorable anecdotes, darling pictures and sweet little videos about our boy, Dash (Dashiell Olson Engel, if you're planning on sending him a wedding invitation).

He was 8 months old yesterday (one day before Talk Like a Pirate Day! Here's a joke: How much does corn cost on a pirate ship? A buck an ear! Arrrrr. No? How 'bout this one? A pirate walks into a bar & the bartender says, "Why is there a steering wheel in your pants?" And the pirate says, "It's driving me nuts!" Arrrrr! Yes? Yes?).

Dash currently has two teeth (bottom center) and is learning to crawl but is really just kinda humping along on his belly by pushing off with one foot. It's pretty effing cute. Here are some pictures to illustrate:

We'll post a video as soon as we can figure out how. Which could be a long, long time from now. But we're optimists.