Friday, July 22, 2011

Ne plus ultra

I've done some calculations with the available data, and I’m pretty sure Ben is the Cadillac, as they say, of husbands. Forgive my boast, but as far I can tell (and I’ve been watching him closely for close to a decade), this guy is the Sistine Chapel, Beethoven’s Fifth, the Hope diamond, and that ancient sequoia in California that they call the General. He asks for so little, gives a lot, works crazy hard, and shows his love for Bee and me in a thousand ways.

Lest you believe I’m purposely shorting you, Dear Reader, on the real details of what makes my fella so special: it suffices to say that the man is honorable, compassionate, and brilliant; in fact, he is the most honorable, compassionate, and brilliant person I know. Because Ben is who he is, I endeavor to be a better me. There! Now you know some things about my guy, and about me, too.

Anyhow, Ben's sensational enough that I’m occasionally inclined to wonder what keeps him around, to tell you the truth. It’s certainly not my financial prospects, my housekeeping, or my hearty good health. Because… it just isn’t. Oh, wait, it has to be my rainbowy disposition every morning! Except that I’m a colossal bitch before having my coffee. (Welcome to EVERY MORNING FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, sweet husband. I'm sorry!)

So, to summarize, I’m both messy and grumpy, I accidentally break stuff all the time, I lose things (including, on one infamous occasion, an expensive thing), I get sick a lot, I spend our money on yarn while he hesitates even to buy shoes for himself, and, if I may exaggerate slightly, I owe a million dollars on student loans. Also, I’m pretty lazy.

So, see what I mean? Don’t get me wrong, I’m told I have my splendid qualities, but, really, I can take me or leave me. But Ben – there’s a personage I can really get behind!

Bee, of course, loves both of us devotedly. But she, like her mom, appears to worship the ground Ben walks on. It is sweet, Dear Reader, to witness! She grins open-mouthedly and ear-to-ear when Ben gets home from work, gazes at him with pure delight, and chatters with her papa in a joyous language only the two of them comprehend. And have I mentioned that Bee has spoken her first word*? Although I've been joking (because I am hilarious) that she is actually referring to her favorite nihilistic art movement, it has become very, very clear that when Bee says “Dada,” she means Ben. And as one of the people who have taken care of this baby since she came into the world, I’m amazed and fascinated by the creature’s ability to produce an actual word, with, you know, an actual meaning that she understands and intends. Not baby babble (although she does lots of that, of course), but a word: a verbal and conceptual representation of a thing (and in this case, a person).** She labors so hard to get all the parts of that little pink mouth into the right position to create the sounds. To hear her produce the word “dada” as she looked into her dad’s eyes (once in particular, last week – the first time I was convinced of the true word-ness of her first word) was, Reader, one of my most breathtaking parenting experiences so far – a zenith.

* It's on the early side, but we're convinced. Doubt if you must.
** Speaking of language and semiotics, we have been using a few signs with Bee since around six months, but it's not clear whether she's picking up on them. She might recognize some of the signs, but hasn't used them herself, as far as we've noticed.


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