Saturday Morning Wood

Posted by jdg | Saturday, January 06, 2007 |

Juniper turns two this month. Over the course of the past year, we watched her transform from a crawling infant into a running and jumping toddler. I'd always heard that the first 12 months of a child's life were the most awe-inspiring, but no one ever told me much about the second year, when your kid goes from grunts and haphazard fingerpointing to being able to tell you what she's thinking about, or that you'd grab your chest in mock pain over the unbearable cuteness at least twice as often. This year, I think we got glimpses of what Juniper's personality will be like once she completely sheds her babyhood. Let me say it here first so that I have a record that I can point to when it is confirmed 10 or 20 years from now that I called it early: this kid is a whole lot like her dad. It may have something to do with the fact that their birthdays are only six days apart, meaning that I share my house with two water-bearers. It might also be because Dutch is way more stubborn than I am, and his stubborn genes just beat my easygoing ones down in the negotiations, forcing them into submission. Either way, it means that this kid is intense. And willful. Also: precocious and clever. I predict that 2007 will be the first of many years to see more of this trend.

For the new year, I wrote down some resolutions for the first time since high school. I spent New Year's Eve at home, with Juniper sleeping upstairs, while Dutch relived his college days with his best friends. I figured that as long as I was at home, I might as well reflect on the past year and my hopes for the new one. I even got out a pen and paper. I'll spare you the details, and just say that they have a lot to do with being more creative, more productive, and healthier.

One thing I didn't write down was being more fun, but maybe I should have. Instead, I rang in the new year fasting, thus officially making myself the least fun person to be around for the majority of the week. I can occasionally be easily-influenced, and being in the near-constant daily presence of my cancer-surviving, uber-fit health-food junkie secretary I was convinced that fasting was the way to cleanse myself of the sorts of toxins that might be giving me migraines. I can hardly write these words without gagging on my own patchouli stench. But I did it anyway: until I devoured an entire can of British Heinz baked beans this morning, I hadn't consumed anything that requires chewing since Tuesday.

The hard thing about fasting isn't not eating. It's telling people why you can't have a bite of that chocolate cake, or go out for a latte run, or meet for a beer after work. Telling someone that you're fasting is pretty lame. Everyone assumes you're trying to lose weight, and to convince them otherwise, you have to talk about toxins and cleansing. That's a little too close to telling someone about your last visit to the proctologist. It's also the sort of thing that makes your husband eat a bowl of Honeycombs for dinner because he feels bad for you (and also maybe because he's a little lazy).

It's true what they say: when you fast, your body isn't hungry so much as you are bored and your brain is tantalized with thoughts of food. I genuinely missed it. The only solution is to go to bed at 9:00 p.m. just to stop thinking about it. Watching Top Chef on Bravo, as I unwisely did on Wednesday night, is a really bad idea.

Now that I have broken my fast, I am hereby resolving to be more fun for the rest of 2007. Besides, my only hope that my daughter will ever take after me lies in my ability to be the fun one.