Sam, you know, your middle-of-the-night sickness shenanigans really puts a damper on my plans to sit at the river all weekend.  I am so tired, I just want to be sit inside, not frolic or veg or relax or swim or whatever it is people do when they go to the river.  And while I’m sitting here, I want to have the kids clean the house, and then make me some brownies, which I’ll eat after dim sum.  And since they’re cleaning the house anyway, they might as well unpack some of these boxes in my office.

You know how each child has his own special style of illness?   Yours is to gag on mucous and throw up all night.  Honestly, I’d take that any day over a high fever or screaming ear infection.  But geezus, the piles of laundry are tiring on the eyes.

Before I forget, I have to mention that you now casually say, “hi” when people pass by.  And then you say, “bye-bye” — no longer gye-gye.  You say “bye-bye bruchrs” when your brothers leave, and you say “bye-bye dada” when you see him grab his softball attire (before he even puts it on).

For months, you’ve said “wow” when you see something new or amazing or impressive in any way.  “He-er wow” at the passing helicopter. 

You love to play with the wooden trains — we make ramped hills for the trains to slide down.  “Weeeee.”  You are very good at not destroying the complicated tracks that your brothers lay.  You might move a piece or two, or trip over a bridge, but you don’t pick up the whole thing and throw it back down like you did when you were younger.

Oh, you love cheese.  I know I can’t keep track of all the words you say, but you say cheese with enthusiasm.  Cheeeese!  Your voice goes a bit higher, and you draw out the eeee like an excited squeal.  You love cheese.  (Especially wrapped individually in plastic. Ayayay.)

I have no new pictures to share.  In your frenzied shouting way of demanding to hold my camera, you dropped it and I can’t get the lens cap off.  It’s fine, really, I’m sure.  The camera will be on the shelf (literally) until I get more sleep.

You have quite a will, my boy.  Just don’t think I’m falling for that trick again.

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July 19, 2010

You’ve always liked shoes.  Especially your dad’s shoes.  Especially walking around in them.

But you also have recently shown us your affection for socks.  Your dad’s socks.  And you want them on your legs, sometimes over your pants and shoes.  It makes for some slippery stepping on our slick floors, but you’re a careful walker.

You’re pretty cute, Sam.

You’re the baby that lets me slather him in sunscreen.  In fact, you are fascinated by the bottle of sunscreen.  (One night you wanted me to put it on your leg, dot by dot, so that you could rub it in with your index finger.)

You’re getting a little rough these days.  Turning playful tapping into hitting, throwing train cars instead of balls, poking just a bit too hard on my eye (you used to just touch the eyelid gently). 

You’re reaching out, further into the world.  Walking further away from us, walking into different rooms without us.  You walk straight out the open front door now.

You’re throwing bigger and bigger tantrums.  Your dad spent an hour cajoling you into the carseat last week.  I know how hard it is to force you in to the seat, but get ready, because that’s what we’ll have to do.  (I’m sorry, in advance.) 

At the river last week, you sat in my lap for 15 minutes, listening to our conversations with our friends that just joined us.

After your nap one Sunday, you sat in my lap, listening (with alarm) at the raucous voices shouting at the World Cup match.  (There were at least 10 of us in that tiny room.)

Maybe a week ago, it was almost 11, you sat in my lap, listening to the story I read.  I don’t remember falling asleep, but we finally did.

And last night, at the Dell’Arte show, you sat in my lap.  You sat in my lap and watched the show.  Do you know how wonderful this is?  I know, it was the perfect show for you, and the sun was hot, and the crowd was close — you could have taken many other actions.  But you sat in my lap for the show, and I can’t deny how nice it is.  (Thank you.)

Remember that scrunch-face you used to make?  Where did it go?  You change so fast.

You’re a good communicator.  “Boo boo,” you say, when you see a bit of Kesey’s poo on the floor.  (Kesey’s an old cat — I’m not sure if you’ll remember him — and he has a bit of an elimination problem.)  You don’t touch it, (well, you did pick it up that one time, but then we had to wash your hands and oh god, who wants to go through that again?) you just point it out to us to remind us.  You also like to peek into the litter box and say the same thing, and you’re so good to give yourself a foot of space, and to not touch the box at all.

You say “catch” when you see a basketball hoop, and you say “moooon” when you see the moon.  You say, “baaak, baaak” when you see a plum (because we feed them to the chickens) and you say “beeberrery” and “stwehwbehwy.”  And you eat the giant sweet strawberries like a lion gorging on a gazelle.

I let your brothers watch you (it’s so helpful) and mostly I don’t have to come running when you scream.  Because you scream.  A lot.  You scream when they have something you want and you scream when they don’t.  You want to do what they do and have what they have, but you’re a little bit tiny for some of these things, and boy does that make you mad.  We haven’t figured out any words for mad or angry or frustrated.  I better find some good sign language for this.  I admit, we’re starting to tune out your screams a little. 

I’m sorry.

Some day you’ll have the words for this frustration, and I hope that you use them.  I hope that we remember to listen.

15 months

July 4, 2010

You’re 15 months now.  You shake your head no, you sing in the car, you babble.  You throw yourself down when you’re frustrated (a lot) and sometimes get really mad when we try to feed you.  You want to do it yourself, which also means we better keep our hands off our own water when you want a sip.  You smile, a lot.  You tell jokes and laugh and laugh.  You laugh at our jokes, too. 

Bernal Heights library playground, San Francisco. June 2010.

You say whheeeee when you go down the slide.  You say boo (balloon), ball (ball), get go! (let’s go!), hi (hi), cat (cat), cat (dog), hot (hot), hat (hat), gye-gye (bye-bye) and lots of gibberish (but we know exactly what you’re saying).  You’re saying cement truck and catch the ball and big truck and big bus.  This is your world — trucks and balls and big things and little bugs.  You hold out your hand, rubbing your fingertips together, and call out kee, kee, kee (kitty kitty kitty). 

You love to say hi, and since I know you so well, I can say that you have a couple different meanings for hi.  There’s good morning, i love you, i missed you, how’s it going, hi, hey, and check it out i can talk and get almost anybody to talk to me with just one magic syllable.  Today we sat outside while your dad walked to town.  “Bye bye da da,” you said, over and over until he was out of sight.

You’re picking up sign language faster than we can teach it to you (where did that sign book go anyway?).  You say more food, no more food, nurse, fan, and you tried to say i love you back to me.  Yesterday, we were at a cornhole tournament (what? look it up) and since you just woke from your nap, I held you on my hip while I played.  My opponent picked up the bags for me each time it was my turn.  You signed “thank you” each time (he didn’t notice).

Backyard patio, studio apartment, San Francisco. June 2010

You love flowers, and feeding dandelions to the bokbokboks (chickens).

You still startle easily — loud noises, big trucks — which worked well for us in San Francisco.  We spent the weekend there with you after your older brothers went off to San Diego.

This time we rented a studio apartment — costing less than a hotel room — in a quiet steep-hilled neighborhood.  Bernal Heights seemed exceedingly family-friendly, with a sweet playground behind the library, a children’s resale shop (amazing deals!), and strollers and pregnant bellies everywhere I looked.  I loved it (again, loving that city), and I tried to picture living there, and our other boys’ life in that city, how their adventures would transform from the earth and wild into the city’s wild culture, how their excited stories would shift from a fox-sighting to… what? Ha. I think they would turn inward — more video games (is it possible) and more tv.  Less playing at the park and riding bikes ’round the neighborhood.  What romantic notions I have that the city would work for us.

You were scared on that one bus ride — the crowded one on the last leg to the ball park.  It was hot, the bus was late (which always makes it so packed full of people) and the stroller penned us in.  The old man beside me mumbled about that maybe I was holding you too much, and when you reached for your daddy, the man asked me, “what’s he got that you don’t?”  Too much to explain, old man.  A woman on the other side smiled.  I told her, “he’s a good daddy.” She agreed.

You also didn’t like the crowd into the ball park, but when we got up to that middle level, and you saw the field, and you heard the noise, your eyes lit up.  “Baseball, baby!” I told you.  You smiled, clapped, swung an imaginery bat, and said, go go go!

Just waking up, San Francisco.

When we got home from our trip, you looked under the covers for Max in his bed.  The next morning you did the same.  You walked through their room saying hi, looked out the back door, then back to Max’s bed to look under the covers.

We have a great big house now.  We have a great big kitchen and three great big bedrooms and a great big living room, neatly divided into “Sam’s area” and the rest of the living room.  We have a smaller back yard, but lots of sunshine for the vegetables I have been wanting to grow for years.  Our neighbors’ chickens live beyond our yard, and we have sweet moments feeding them through the fence.  We still can’t have a dog, but it’s OK for now.  Our cats are happy here too and almost every day we’re sure to find three of them napping in the same room.

You’re a tough kid, Sam.  You had your first bloody injury yesterday, and with a small cry, you climbed into my lap only to be distracted by a ball, which you stood up to toddle after.  Even when you bumped the back of your head today, you barely cried.  You love to climb, and we love to watch you maneuver your body.  You have great balance, and a good awareness of what each of your limbs is up to. 

Your awareness is amazing.  So observant.   Ahh, baby — remind me to slow down, and show me what you see.

Humboldt Bay Wildlife Refuge, Loleta.