5.17.99

Your first real time at Camp. We’re here for the week and you seem to have settled in – listening to the birds, marching into the lake, playing with your cousins. The walking is an wonder. You hold on to my or Daddy’s fingers, bolt upright between our legs, then toes pointed out, knees bent, you sweep your feet, one at a time, in an outward semi-circle to a point a long stride ahead of you. For all the support it requires and all it’s inefficiency (not not lack of grace, it’s quite pretty to watch), it is decidedly purposeful. We go – to someone or somewhere – and then, it it’s not something behind a solid object (like . person) you want in which case you move on (though you’re stationary) and then you stop, let your legs go loose and we sit and play with the object of your mission. On Saturday you marched up to your chest into the lake. It’s cold, which you registered, but not so cold as to deter your explorations.

Your emotional/[indecipherable, sorry] range keeps expanding. Often by the time your Dad and I have figured something out, you’ve moved past it. A big task now seems how to make sense of a world that contains the known, the familiar, and the unknown. Until recently, I think, you didn’t discriminate much about the unknown, except live vs. inanimate, with the live eliciting active excitement and outreach and the inanimate, interest or not depending. It struck me that your biggest smiles and most explicit interest (leaning forward, bouncing, grinning) were for those you didn’t know, a kind of irresistible diplomatic overture from a small island to the world beyond. Now, though you still do this, you’ve developed delight for the known – people, passages of books, toys, as though, having situated yourself safely in the world you can now take pleasure in your local surroundings.

5.10.99

Yesterday – mother’s day – you stood alone for 4 or 5 seconds, rock solid, despite your usual perpetual motion persona. You’re also working hard, when the opportunity affords itself, at pulling yourself up. Right now you’re in a bit of a bind: you’d like to walk, but are not able to get yourself, by any means, to standing (i.e., to a sit). So you need to rely on us, your sometimes dense devices.

5.3.99

You have the most wonderful smile. Really a number of them. One, a little shy, is mostly with your eyes. You bring your lips together, make a line of your mouth, but smile around the edges. Another’s just a trace of an upturned mouth. Another I can see best from behind when the balls of your cheeks appear – a smile, which from the other side is a classic grin. Then my favorite – a smile that’s almost all eyes. You square your mouth – though it’s totally clear it’s a smile and just sparkle. Somehow, your eyes are their grayest blue in these smiles and your face is so open – it’s an unusual smile that reminds me of Raetha’s, You’re sitting without any trouble now and stood – mostly I think by accident on your own with Ruth today. Recently you’ve discovered animals – as distinct from, but as delightful as, other children. Today we went to the zoo, in the hopes of showing you more than cats, dogs squirrels. Like giving you toys when there’s tupperware around, this proved misguided. Not that you didn’t like the animals (you definitely registered the flamingos, gorillas, elephants and snakes) but they were in the end certainly no more interesting than Max, the Shepherds dog or the boxer at Ruth’s.

5.2.99

We borrowed a walker for you, which leaves you free, now that you’ve gotten the hang of it to explore. Textures are especially appealing – the hamper, a zipper on Nana’s sewing kit, but motion, too, is thrilling.

So much – you love Uncle David, make your “ah haah” noise of approval whenever he’s around. He’s very loving with you, playing with you, holding you, helping me interpret what you want. You were enthralled with his arena soccer game today. Standing up on the edge of the rink that forms the arena, gripping the net which protects the spectators with your hands and hooting. You often pat now when you are happy and reach for David whenever he’s near.

I like watching the games that develop between you and others. Grandpa plays a game with his baseball cap – first on his head, then on yours that pleased you yesterday when you were very tired and sad. You were crying and crying in my arms on the bird walk – so much that I resorted to almost labor-esque breathihng – a panting sigh, which soothed you. Then he played with you. First you smiled, gamely, through tears, and then engaged smiling.

5.1.99

[Side notes for the entry: walking, reaching for me, turning to me in bed, pointing at the helicopter, ouch] We’re in LA, your second long plane trip accomplished. Today it seemed, you crossed enormous physical and psychological thresholds – which, compounded by jet lag – left you somewhat fragile but so very adept. Most amazing to me was walking.  I held your hands and you stepped across the kitchen floor. Big steps – starting with your left knee cocked way up, then reaching out  a more vertical keep on trucking followed by bringing your right foot up even. You go a few steps, then you crane your head to look at me.

4.25.99

Things – you – move so quickly. You’re sitting up now with a straight, straight back – in command as you reach for this and that and completely unperturbed when you tip – as you always eventually do either back or to one side (though if you fall to the side you pass it off as a move to get onto your stomach). Everyday you’re more and more in control of your movements. Sitting upright in the stroller, surveying your increasingly large domain. Your latest discovery: your hair, which you tug at, sometimes so resolutely that I worry you’ll pull it out (your remind me of Steve Graff’s only being able to think if he’s tugging at his forelock), especially when you’re nursing. Your hands are lovely, soft, yet solid things, gentle and purposeful, as they range over my chest, your hair, my necklace, the air as you nurse. Your body when you nurse is not at rest, but active, ranging, though it’s not clear what for. It seems that for you to fall asleep you need to fight your way through a physical barrier. You kick, push with your feet, rear your head back, and then you’re gone. Again you were medicine tonight. George Mosely was sad, fighting depression and he came over and spent the afternoon and evening with us. You let him feed you, and like you did when Papa was sick in the hospital – beamed at him each time he sought contact. You’re a lovely girl.