New Mama Musings

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Twenty Months on Tuesday

Henry's language has exploded in the past month and he's constantly surprising me with words I had no idea he knew. I guess he really does listen to me.

He's also started telling me "stories" about experiences he's had, which I then translate into the long version for him. For example:

Henry: "Stow! Daw! Stih! Mau! Puhpah!"

Translation: One day, while Mama was pushing Henry in the stroller and Henry was holding a stick in his hand, a dog came along and grabbed the stick with its mouth. The girl walking the dog said, "Copper! You silly dog!"

Henry: "Puh-poe! Boom! Pop! Moh!"

Translation: The purple balloon Henry had been enjoying for weeks popped. He was upset and asked for another one, but Mama said there weren't any more balloons in the house.

These are the stories that make up the fabric of a toddler's life.

He loves being outside ("side!") now, dragging things out of the garage and hunting for sticks. I showed him a worm the other day, suppressing my urge to tell him it was icky and instead letting him carry it around until it was lost.

We washed hands especially well after coming inside that day.

The park is a popular outdoor destination, too, what with the swings and slides and pretend car and sandbox and other fun stuff. It's only a few blocks from our new house and it's pretty hoppin' when the weather is nice.

Henry has also been very into drawing lately, as evidenced by the ink on his clothes and occasionally, his body.

I hear a desperately shouted "DAW!" multiple times a day. His preferred writing implements are pens (he's too mature for crayons) and while he will scribble on his own, he'd rather I sit with him and draw instead. He loves to recognize my squiggles -- bikes, hammers, garages, stop signs, etc. Essentially anything in his world that I can draw he finds fascinating.

And while my artistic ability is lacking, I try very hard not to say anything negative about it. I've noticed other people making self-deprecating remarks when they sit down to draw with Henry and I find it sort of sad. Yeah, even my stop signs are all out of proportion, but it's art, and anyway, Henry doesn't care.

I mean, have they seen how he draws?

Finally, my smart little boy is learning his colors, letters and shapes. I don't know if this is unusually early or right on track, but I find it amazing. I've been spelling out "stop," "dada" and "mama" and he seems to recognize the words. He sees the letters he knows everywhere we go. He also knows a square and a triangle when he sees them, though he calls a circle (and the letter "o") a moon. And I think he's gotten most of the basic colors down, too, though he likes to say "boo" first before settling on the correct color.

Just to keep Mama guessing.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Just Because

I have many, many things to say about what Henry's been up to, but because it's getting late I'll just post a photo for now. It's not the best -- a little out of focus -- but his smile is just the cutest.

Back on Track

I have been a bad, bad blogger lately. I would blame the move and subsequent settling in except that we essentially reached a level of functionality soon after getting here and have not progressed much since. Mainly I think I've just gotten out of the groove of blogging. But that doesn't mean I don't have things to say.

First, I must tell you that our new neighborhood rocks even harder than I thought it would. My quality of life has already improved about ten thousand percent. (Yes, ten thousand. It's on the internet, so it must be true.)

In our old neighborhood we had sidewalks but taking walks was not very appealing. Here I put Henry in the stroller and we walk for miles and miles. Everyone is so friendly; the houses are so gorgeous (old half-million dollar mansions abound, though not on our block!); and there are things worth walking to: the library, the lakefront, the grocery store, the coffee shop.

Ah, the coffee shop. I've been spending a lot of time (and too much money) there lately. Since Henry has become resistant to napping in bed I've started letting him nap in the stroller, and he's usually asleep by the time I reach Starbucks. I throw a blanket over him and sink into an armchair with a mocha and a book. It's completely, utterly decadent.

And then there are the neighbors. We've met about half the people on our block, both sides of the street, and have learned the names of many more. And it's only been a month. In winter.

Also, we had people bring us pound cake and brownies to welcome us to the neighborhood. (Yes, this apparently actually happens outside of movies.)

And now a titch of defensiveness about our new community: When we told people we were moving here, a common (and unoriginal) response was a wordplay on the name of the village indicating that only white people live there.

I ranted about this to a friend who also lives here and she pointed out that there is actually a fair amount of diversity -- Asians, Russians and Poles, for starters. There is also a large Jewish population, and although I can't say this with authority, I'm betting a fair amount of gay people.

This week at the library I saw a man and his (apparent) granddaughter speaking Russian and a mother and daughter who looked Indian, speaking with accents. I also heard a family at the park speaking Spanish and two women with British accents at Starbucks. And we learned that one of our new neighbors is an older German woman.

So, okay, maybe there isn't a big African-American population. But does diversity have to mean black people? Is our new community not diverse just because none of the people I just mentioned are African-American?

Maybe I'm rationalizing. All I know is that I love where we live. It's interesting. It's neighborly. And best of all, it's home.