Wow. What a month. It is a real pleasure when your mom takes one of the monthly newsletters because it helps me recharge and get more energy and enthusiasm for writing. This month is a pleasure to write not just because of that break though. So much has happened in the past month, I barely know where to begin.
I guess I want to start with your verbal development, as despite everything else, that has what has impressed me so consistantly this month. It’s been great to watch (or, I guess ‘listen to’). Your words are evolving. Not so long ago, you would talk about an airplane by saying (‘ba’) and waving your left arm up. We only knew it was airplane because you’d say it in response to the presence of a plane or in response to our saying and signing it. This evolved recently into (‘ah’ ‘pah’) — though you didn’t sign it as much, it was easier to tell what it was. Now, it’s (‘eh’ ‘paine’) though you hardly sign it at all. You also now meow at cats, and other things you like. Things like airplanes. Could there be any question you’re my daughter?! You also like trains. Often when we hear the distant whistle of a train, you ask for more “More More Choo Choo (‘mo’ ‘mo’ ‘tue’ ‘tue’).
We try to contribute to this growth however we can, and this has been a busy month for the broadening of your horizons. We went to the Oakland Zoo with your playmate Meri. We saw lions, zebras, monkeys, elephants, giraffes and meerkats. I mention the meerkats last because you loved watching them. You also had the cutest thing to say about them. You know that your playmate Meri has a cat (named ‘Nickel’) and you love to talk about her. Despite knowing the names of some of the neighborhood cats, you refer to Nickel as “Meri’s kitty cat” (‘meri’ ‘kee’ ‘kah’). So, when we told you about the meerkats, you responded quizzically, (‘meri’ ‘kee’ ‘kah’?) As if to say, “Hey, why does /she/ get all those cute cats?!?
We traveled to Virginia this month as part of the Capehart family spring gathering. We flew into Dulles after having been trapped in Dallas for far too long due to thunderstorms. It was already going to be a late night, as we had planned to arrive around midnight eastern time, rent a car and drive down to Charlottesville arriving between 2:00 and 3:00 AM. It was made that much later by the delays in Dallas so that we didn’t arrive into northern Virginia until between 2:00 and 3:00 AM. We had decided to forego the late night drive down to Charlottesville, and instead look for a hotel there, and drive the next day. Unfortunately, the places we called were all full, so we gave up, got one of the very last rental cars — a free “upgrade” to a minivan, and drove down to Charlottesville. We arrived in Charlottesville just as dawn started to break, and the clerk at the desk of the hotel expressed a moment of confusion and asked me to confirm that I was checking /in/ then, not out. You managed to get some sleep on the plane, and some sleep in the car, and still slept like a champ in the hotel that morning. It was a relief because it let me catch some Z’s too. Mom wasn’t so lucky as she had a morning appointment to see a friend (‘aunt’ Skip), so she only got a couple of hours that night. Still, we all survived and eventually caught back up. You did pretty well on the sleep front that trip, especially at the hotel. When staying with great aunts and uncles, you didn’t fare quite as well. We stayed in the pop-up at Scotty&Janet’s and in the basement guest suite with John&Jane, and both of those nights you pretty much needed to be resting on top of mom to fall asleep. Still, your sleeping was a lot better than your eating. You nibbled your way through Virginia, missing out on some great meals. You have been doing a lot better since we got back though, and Mom and I are no longer very worried about your weight. I think your days of falling off the bottom of the weight chart are now over.
You did enjoy some aspects of the trip though. For some of the time we were stuck in Dallas at DFW, we took skylink. You loved it. You stood up at the very front of the two-car trains that circle around the airport and watched out the window. Every stop (there are 2 in each terminal), after the train came to a stop. You’d ask for more. We rode around the whole airport twice. You and I also killed time at the airport on the escalators — you loved going up and down, up and down. I also let you walk the wrong way along the moving sidewalk so long as no one was coming. The good news is that the sidewalk was just a little bit faster than you, so when we had company, it was an easy snag to pick you up and move to the escalators. I also let you go up the down escalator for a bit. You seemed surprised and delighted as each step would disappear as you’d try to walk up it.
Also in Virginia, you got to meet one of our friends for the first time (CJ), and we all got to meet Benjamin Marcus for the first time. You guys were great together. Although you were shy at first, and liked having us around, you enjoyed playing in his play pen, and studying another child. And Ben-ben was quite friendly with you as well. You have recently learned “kiss” which for you is pretty much “bring your face near.” But we asked you to “Kiss baby Benjamin” and you obliged, providing us with an approximately “Hallmark moment” picture of the two of you.
At the rest of the family reunion, you were quite the hit as before, but also took a while to warm up to folks. Fortunately, for all concerned, you did remember Grandmere and seemed pleased to see a familiar face. You can point out the rest of the family that was there in your little photo book of “people of love me”, but I think you haven’t made the connection between the picture people and the real people. Similarly, we stayed in the “pop-up” and I couldn’t tell the difference in your enunciation of “pop-up” as compared to “pop-pop” who was also there. He and Grandma Carolyn continued to shower you with gifts — mostly of the hand-me-down variety from your step-cousin Sarah Elisabeth, but still quite appreciated by all concerned.
Your other adventures were all closer to home, but still quite a month. As I mentioned above, you had a zoo trip. Elsewhere in the blog I noted that we all went to the SF MOMA to see a Picasso exhibit there. It was a thrill to me to get to be so close to the art. I wanted to reach out and touch the textures. Fortunately for the whole family, neither you nor I touched the art, though I’m not sure who was tempted more. Picasso is another one of the words that has evolved this month from (‘kas’) to (‘kasso’). You also went to the library at UC Berkeley with your mom (or ‘Cal’ as they call it around here.) You went to Jack London square in Oakland where we got a personal tour of a lightship that’s being restored there. And this weekend, you went to Cliff House and got to see your first ocean, along with seal rocks. When you were born, if someone asked what would be the first ocean you’d see… Well, let’s just say that the Pacific would have been my second guess.
You also went swimming for the first time this month. No, not in the pacific, but in Meri’s kiddie pool. I hope to get you signed up for swim lessons at some point. You love playing in the bath, and I’d like for that love of water to be a life-long experience for you. I know I love it, and one of my retirement fantasies is to own a catamaran and cruise around the Bahamas, maybe taking on occasional passengers, snorkeling, diving, etc.
While that might be appealing to you at some point in your life, your main excitement comes from a game you call “I chase you” — kind of an all-run-together (‘I’ ‘shay’ ‘shoo’). This game comes in three forms — two inside, and one outside. In the first form, I chase you. My arms raised high, and growling like a zombie, I thud around the house after you. You run to the kitchen or the front door, but you can’t wait for me to catch you, so by the time I’m about two-thirds of the way there, you turn around and run back to me and give my legs a hug. I bend down to hug you too, tell you I caught you and tousle your hair. You then pull away and ask for “More chase you?!” (‘mo’ ‘shay’ ‘shoo’?). In the other interior variant, you chase me around the hallway loop of our home. I stay far enough ahead of you that you get just a glimpse of me — as you round one corner, I round the next. Each time you get a glimpse of me, you cackle with delight and patter after me. Sometimes, I’ll duck into a side room while you aren’t looking. Usually, you figure it out from the lack of my feet thudding around the loop, and you peek in the obvious places for me. Eventually, you find me, squeal with surprise and delight, and immediately want more. The outside variant is pretty similar to the interior one, but it takes both parents. When we walk somewhere — like to a playground, or the local thai restaurant ((You have no idea how much it pleases me to talk about walking to the local thai restaurant)), you’ll hold one parent’s hand (usually mom’s) and the other parent will run ahead and hide. It doesn’t take too much hiding to be out-of-sight for you. I’ve hidden behind trees that weren’t as big around as I am. Still, it’s enough. You toddle along to where you last saw me, I jump out and say “boo”. It’s clear that you’re startled briefly, but then you howl with pleasure and giggles, and say “more, more, more”. As far as you’re concerned, this can continue for the entire duration of the walk!
Once at the playground, you’re doing much better there too. You still get a little intimidated by all the other kids, but your balance and gross motor skills are improving markedly. You’re willing to slide on your own now. You’ve even climbed ladders onto the play structure, and this funky arched ladder with concave, half-moon rungs. You have gotten more friendly with other kids including a play date with a pair of sisters, the elder of which has taken quite a shine to you.
There’s more, too. In fact, there’s more “two”. You recognize the letters A and B, and you recognize letters generally, pointing to words in your books and saying ‘A’, ‘B’. You also recognize plurality, pointing to the presence of more than one thing and saying ‘one’,’two’ — often itself repeated as ‘one-two-one-two’. You know when something’s “all gone”, you know when something’s present, and you know when there is more than one of something. The difference between 2 and 3 or even 8 of something still escapes you, but that’s what growing up is: Continuing to refine your distinctions.
Reading to you is also frequently a delight. Sometimes, you like to ‘read’ to yourself. You’ll say “Sam read” and keep the book to yourself. You turn the pages of the book in order, and make vocalizations. Not unlike the babble I get to hear when I talk to you on the phone. You also pick out words in your books. In the “Three little kittens” when we get to “then you shall have no pie.” you call out “No, No pie!”
There’s more. Lots more, in fact, from foods you’ve eaten (mostly you eat what we do now) to pretend trips to work (taking a lunch bag just like Daddy), to your first punishment (time out for refusal to stop playing in the water) but this entry has already become ponderous for a blog post, and while not as late as some entries, I don’t think will benefit much from further delays.
Suffice it to say, I’m greatly looking forward to more surprise and delight in you.