Sunday, December 20, 2009

International infant of mystery

“Let’s get you zipped up, Dr. Evil,” I said to our son Evan as I zipped him inside his fleece car seat cover. Evan winced as the first winter wind he’d ever experienced swept across the parking lot. Technically, it was a fall wind, since it happened before December 21, but really, when a wind is cold enough to make you question the series of life decisions that resulted in your living in the Northeast, that’s a winter one.

While Dr. Evil is the perfect nickname for any infant, the name works double-time for Evan, who just discovered the joys of sucking on his hands, so he often unintentionally strikes the pinky-to-the-lips Dr. Evil pose. He doesn’t yet show an inclination toward world domination, but sometimes I get the impression that it might be on his list of things to try, right after solid foods.

Evan was born in June, so I fear that the past few weeks have been a bit of a shock for him, as we drag him from store to store in search of non-sweater Christmas gifts. My wife Kara and I are trying to shake it up a bit this year, since over the past few Christmases, we have distributed more sweaters than L.L. Bean.

The upshot of our travels is that Evan, who probably until very recently thought he lived in Florida, is getting his first real taste of winter. Winter is most definitely an acquired taste, like beer, salt-and-vinegar potato chips and many other things that are bad for you, which is what your body was trying to tell you in the first place, before you went ahead and acquired the taste anyway.

Fortunately for Evan, his old man has a thing or two to teach him about surviving tough winters. For instance, if it weren’t for me, who would teach him what to do after you run over the garden hose with your snow blower? I feel that I am uniquely qualified to offer advice in this department. Answer: You take a kitchen knife to the garden hose, but only after you’ve told your fingers how much you’ve enjoyed knowing them.

As an addendum, if one little area of snow is lumpy, but the rest of the driveway isn’t, you probably shouldn’t run over the lumpy spot with the snow blower. No good can come of it.

Evan will also need to be taught that while the dog normally needs to take a walk every day, if it’s really cold outside, you can skip it. This will cost you one sock. The dog will be happy to take payment behind the couch while you’re watching reruns of Supernanny.

Someone also needs to tell him to make sure he has warm pajamas once he gets married, because if any expeditions need to be made beyond the covers, he will almost certainly be leading them.

“Oh, I just heard my phone ringing downstairs. Can you go get it?” Kara asked a couple of nights ago.

“Dude, it’s cold out there. Ugh. Where’s your phone?” I said. I may whine, but of course I will go get things for her, eventually. In our house, chivalry is not dead, despite my best efforts.

“In my purse,” she said. This is her answer every time she asks me to retrieve something, even though her purse has never rested in the same place twice. The Northwest Passage is easier to find.

“Where’s your purse?” I asked.

“In the diaper bag, somewhere downstairs,” she said, making my target a bit larger. Since having a baby, her purses have become like Russian nesting dolls. This process apparently continues, with bigger bags swallowing up the smaller ones, until you have no choice but to buy a minivan.

You can wreck Mike Todd’s snow fort at


  1. You may as well stop putting it are destined for the minivan. Just think of how many sweaters you'll be able to buy for next Christmas.

  2. May you all enjoy all of God's blessings for a safe, peaceful, and very Merry Christmas.

  3. Loon -- Thanks so much! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas as well, and that you'll be able to stay up until midnight on New Year's Eve, 'cause I don't see that happening around here.