Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summertime musings

We have a baby bird hopping around our yard today.

The parental nest is high up in the one, ubiquitous, poorly located tree in our backyard, and this little guy has apparently fallen out and can't get back up. We found him in the north corner of the yard, then the south corner of the yard, then in the raised bed, then hopping madly around the perimeter of the tree. Lucky for the little one, the mama is closely guarding her baby and regurgitating worms as necessary as all good mamas should. I hope that Abby knows that if she ever needs me to regurgitate a worm, she need only ask.

A couple of nights ago we were supervising the pool splashing after dinner, and this is what I saw. Two parents sitting in comfy chairs with their feet in the pool while the baby splashed to her hearts content. (Why is it that the kid abhors having her hair carefully rinsed out in the tub but laughs delightedly when she accidentally splashes herself in the face?) A beautiful, cloudy sunset. A small ranch with fenced in backyard. Flowers. A small patch of garden. Potted plants on the patio. A sprinkling of kid toys. As I was lounging there taking in the scene, it occurred to me how very middle class suburbia the whole scene was. It felt very Normal Rockwell, very Pleasantville.

I find it incredibly interesting how kids learn habits, words, actions even though they can't always verbalize their understanding in a literate fashion. It reminds me how much Abby really is learning and developing even though sometimes it feels like things aren't progressing that quickly. For example, Abby has taught us so many different ways to express delight. She quickly picked up on several things about the door that leads to the garage. When I left for summer school every morning, when she saw me grab my bag, she would immediately come to the door and stand there waving energetically. (Thanks little one for making it that much harder to leave for work...!) It didn't take her long to figure out that whenever we go that same door, she needs to hold onto someone's hand to go down the step, and is so excited to go out that she comes toddling over as quickly as she can with her right hand outstretched. And, she LOVES her red wagon so that now whenever we go out to the garage, she zooms over to it and stands there with one hand on the side making excited squeeks. Her dad is the bigger sucker for that trick and often gives her impromptu wagon rides unless we're leaving to go somewhere. So many ways to demonstrate happiness and all so innocent. We can't get over how babies have such pure joy of life. Sure, parents teach a lot by example, but we can't forget how children do as well!

On a different note, I have little precedence for understanding when babies are old enough for certain things. When is Abby old enough to use crayons? Finger paint? Sidewalk chalk? These seem like rites of passage to me, and it seems like our oldest niece was "coloring" around 15 months...so, soon? I just don't know. So we tried this past week, all three. Big bust. Ah well, that's what summer is for. No worries and we'll try again another time. At least she enjoys her pool...another prerequisite of toddlerhood!

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