Friday, March 7, 2014

An Icon of Fame and Beauty

Yesterday, Sam and Henrietta and I went downtown to the Tucson Museum of Art, and we found a little pocket of downtown Tucson that felt like a real downtown. It wasn't just a sad whisper of Boston, but a genuinely hip part of Tucson with green space and cool restaurants. This was exciting. We looked up at the few high-rise apartment buildings and imagined living right around there, in walking distance to interesting shops and cafes and parks.

We were walking down the block, trying to find a place we'd heard about with good reviews and good prices for dinner, and Henrietta was holding my hand. She's taken to holding my hand lately, really holding it. Her hand is so small, and she grips mine like I matter more than I sometimes suspect I do. I hold on tight, in case she decides to dart away, but she's not interested in running off (yet). She's happy to walk right with me, connected to me, seeing the world pass by on the sidewalk.

In the crook of her other arm she held her lamb by the neck--the lamb you see at the top of the last post, a gift from her dad for Valentine's Day. Henrietta had on polka dot socks and little white summer shoes she'd insisted on wearing, and I could hear her feet slap-slap-slapping along the sidewalk next to me. Now and then, a pleasant gust of wind would hit us, ruffling our clothes and hair, and Henrietta would laugh and laugh. The wind, apparently, is hilarious.

People walking the other direction, leaving work with serious faces, would see her and smile. They'd point her out to someone walking with them, they'd comment on how lovely she was. And I thought I would burst. She was lovely. She is lovely. It felt for a moment like I was walking with an icon of fame and beauty, a celebrity. And babies are sort of celebrities, aren't they? Sam sometimes asks Henrietta, "You know who loves you?" And then he answers: "Everyone who meets you."

I hope I can remember how that felt, walking down the street with her, holding her hand, prouder to be with her than anyone, grateful to feel, even in small part, beautiful and famous by association.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Habits of Babies

Contraband Pacifier + Lamb

Henrietta does these three things that I find so charming. The last of the three is charming and deeply disturbing. You'll see what I mean.

The first is that every time I change her top for any reason--to change her out of her pajamas, to put on her dress for the day, to change her dress when it warms up to 80 degrees in the afternoon--she waits until her head has popped through, and then says "Boo!" This on its own is plenty endearing, but to me what's even more endearing is when she forgets to say it right away, and then, with one arm partway through a sleeve, she says, "Boo. Boo." Quickly, almost apologetically, twice for good measure. This is so fascinating to me, as if we've signed a very serious contract that she must say "boo" while getting her shirt changed. We've signed no such contract, but it's lovely to me that this small thing matters to her. It amuses her, and she knows it amuses me because I still laugh every time she does it, so she considers it her obligation to never forget.

The same is true for saying "uh-oh" when something drops to the floor. And I know both of these things (this one especially) are fairly typical for this age, but what's fascinating, again, is how devoted she is to the practice. She does it not just when something falls, but when something is already on the floor and appears to have fallen some time previously. The other day at the grocery store she saw something on the floor, and from her perch on the cart she pointed to it and said, appropriately, "Uh-oh!"

And for this last one, I do hope you're not eating lunch as you read it. She's taken to spilling liquid--on purpose. Milk, water, applesauce in a pouch, yogurt in a squeezey tube--whatever it is gets deposited in a small puddle on the tile or the couch or the coffee table, and then she gets down really low, in her best crouch, and slurps it. She looks up at me, and says, "Mmmmm!" This happens quickly, very quickly, before I can cross the room to stop her. I try to tell her yucky, yucky, nonono, but again, she seems to simply find it amusing. I don't know where she got this behavior from. She's definitely not modeling me. But my hunch is that she gets it from the cats. She watches those guys all day, and they, of course, crouch down to eat their food or lap their water. I haven't heard them say "Mmm!" But maybe that's a Henrietta signature addition.

And even as I type these out, I'm realizing she does them less often. They change so quickly, don't they? She seems to be this particular way, this little personality with quirks and particular intentions, and almost before I can cross the room to record it, she's onto something else, changing faster than I can manage to keep up with. I must do better at trying.