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Saturday, August 28, 2010

17 months

Dear Asa,

What happened to my baby? Was he swallowed by this giant toddler I see before me? For you are certainly that, a toddler. You have sneakers and real jeans with a zipper and a button. You have hair that sticks out at all angles and scrapes on yours knees. You eat popcicles and feed yourself. You have opinions and ideas and your very own quirky personality. It's amazing love, truly.

(Asa blue)

One of the cutest changes this month is that you have begun to recognize what is on your clothes and PJs. You have a pair of jammies with firetrucks and ambulances on them. One morning, after just waking, you sat on the couch with your morning baba sort of distractedly waving your arms in the air and looking around. And then you saw it, the truck on your arm. You froze. "Tuk tuk? Tuk tuk?" And when you realized that yes, they were indeed tuk tuks you came running over to show me. Ever since then you look on your clothes to see if they have anything interesting on them. A favorite of yours right now is the shark shirt. Every time I put it on you say "raawr!" because it seems logical that something with so many teeth would roar. I feel ya babe.

(put the hat on mom)

This month we spent our first ever night apart. Can you believe it? Nine months in, 17 months out and every single night together. Until now. I was in Portland photographing a wedding and visiting your Aunty Mar, your grandpa and yaya Murray and your good buddy Connor and his parents. It was a fabulous quick trip, but it was hard leaving you. As soon as I pulled out of the drive way I just sobbed. I can't even say why really. I knew you were happy and safe with your dad, I was excited for my upcoming adventure, all was well. But there's something about that separation, that initial tearing apart that ripped into me. When I came home though, there you were. Happy, naked, grubby and smiling - my boy! My heart melted to see your bright shining face again, I raced through the front door, ready to scoop you up.....when you saw your grandma, or "Ammaw" as it were. You scooted right around me with a big side step to the right and ran directly into your grandma's arms. It was adorable, if not a tad stinging. You love your grandma very, VERY much. But later that night, when I was getting you to bed, I held you in my arms and said "baby, I sure did miss you" You laid your head on my shoulder, wrapped your arms around me as far as they would stretch and, patting me, said "mama, my mama" and snuggled right in. I think it was the best moment of my life.

You started hugging lately, though I think that night was your first. And the best part of the hugs is that pat. It must be because I am always patting your back, and the feeling of your little hands reaching as far as they can with a little pat pat pat on my side, my shoulder, my back is just the best. You've also started jumping and that is just the funniest sight. I never stopped to think about all the complicated components, the precise movements that make up a jump. First you get down real low, bending your knees. Sometimes it's too low, a complete squat that doesn't allow you to get any air. Sometimes it's only a cursory bend, for show not for bounce. But sometimes, sometimes you get it just right with that perfect slight bend to the knee. The arms play a big part in your jump and the timing involved in coordinating the upward arm swing with the flexing leg bend is incredible. Often your arms will swing too early or too late, causing a sort of jerking plop of the body. When you're trying real hard you can even knock yourself over with these flapping arms. But when you get it right, when the timing is on its the combination of these flapping arms and those bending knees that propel you upward, pushes you skyward, your toes even leave the ground. Occasionally. Jumping is hard business, but your are determined. I can hear you in your room jumping in your crib some mornings after you've woken up but before you've called for me to come get you. The tell tale thump-thump-WHACK on the wall that is the bar of your crib slap-slapping on the wall. What's great about it though is that you can hold on to the railing and bounce on the mattress, making this whole vertical jump thing a lot easier. It does seem to confuse and upset you a tiny bit when I finally lift you out and you try to continue with the jumping though. One step, er jump, at a time.

This month you were sick with a nasty cough that lasted for weeks. It was horrible to hear, but amazing to watch. No one would ever have guessed that you were sick unless they heard that awful, retching cough. Your appetite was the same, your attitude was the same and your energy was, well, exuberant. Which is to say the same. You also learned how to open the fridge by yourself. You plant yourself in front of it, grip the handle with both hands and force all of your might back on it. You strain and grunt with the effort, body shaking, face turning red. And right when I think you're not going to be able to pry it loose, the suction pries loose and there it goes. You usually pick something in there, grab it and close the door again, only to repeat the process to open the door once more and replace the item. I like to encourage this game near bedtime, it's quite a little work out.

(I see you)

Another interesting change this month is your new found clingy-ness. Always my little independent boy, this is new to me. Especially in crowded situations, when we're around lots of unfamiliar people, you ask to be picked up, a little frantically, and as soon as you're in my arms its "mama, mama, mama!" You point directly at my face and look around at the strangers, imploring them with every new "mama" to recognize that I am your mama. There is such a sense of urgency involved, much like when you see or hear a truck and we all have to acknowledge it's passing too. Only this is ratcheted up a notch. You seem to do it right when you're uneasiest, right when you begin to feel overwhelmed or insecure. And all it takes to calm you down is to point out that this person right here is my mom and my mom only and as soon as someone else recognizes this too "yes, that's your mama Asa" you are fine again. You wiggle right out of my arms and hit the floor running, ready to continue playing now that the whole mom business is cleared up.

One of the things you love best in the world these days is to look at yourself in the mirror and do things. Mostly you like to put on different hats and look at them on you in the mirror, but lately you've been bringing things back there to sit on, or drum on or eat, all while watching yourself in the mirror. It cracks your dad and I up! You are so intent, so interested, so unabashedly into yourself! And you'd prefer to do this alone. You like it if someone else dresses up with you, but if we're hanging there just watching you are not at all pleased. Sometimes if there happens to be an article of clothing near you, usually mine or your dad's, you will work that into your show right away. You try to put on clothing by grabbing a piece in both hands and pulling it around you neck. The article of clothing usually ends up draped over your shoulders, kind of like a scarf. To walk into my bedroom and see you sitting there on one paint can, drumming on another wearing nothing but my nightgown as a scarf and your dad's hat on your head is the best thing ever. It may embarrass you someday, but I've already decided that I'll have to sneak up on you and film you doing this someday. It must be archived. It's just too good. I'm sorry.

(little cowboy or small stockman?)

Your favorite things to eat lately are yogurt (though only if you are allowed the bowl and spoon all to yourself, no help from mom) and blue berries. You love tiny PB&J's and scrambled eggs which you call "didgits" or dip-its because you get to dip them in a pile of ketchup. I've been making you popcicles this summer in those little plastic molds just like I had when I was a kid. You drink water from a cup and you use a spoon. You help me get you dressed some days and you assist in putting the groceries away every time. Your favorite movie is UP and you've learned that picking flowers and bringing them to mom almost always gets a good reaction. You know that after I take a picture of you with my digital camera that you can see yourself on the screen in back and you actually are gentle with the cat most days. Now, if we could just get a handle on this whole sharing business....maybe next month?


A current list of your words:

mom - mama
dad - dada
bottle - baba
Papa John - papa
Grandma - ammaw
Drew - Doooo
Dalbo - Dado
Steve - deeve
Tahvo - tahbo
truck - tuk tuk
tractor - tracthar
wheel - weeew
ball - ba
clock - tock tock
thank you - day du or daint do
no - nonono
all done - a'don
rock - dock
blue berry - babu
hammer - boom boom
apple - apoe
banana - anana
dip it - didgit
phone - hewow hewow (like hello hello)
balloon - bawooo
hi - hiii
bye bye - ba bye
chip - dgip
melon - nenon
book - bok bok
bird - booood
moon - mooooon
tree - teee
dog - dag
cat- tat
poo poo - poo boo
buddha - boobah
angel - jhool
bug - buda
duck - dudt
didgeridoo - doo doo doo

Monday, August 9, 2010


A weekend in Eugene, Oregon at The Faerieworlds Festival with Marleigh, Grandma and the boys...

(Faerie flags fly high)

(nightime drum circle)

(a gathering of faeries)

(caught his eye)

(in motion)

(grandma faerie looks on)

(backstage faerie)

(light me up)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

15 and 16 months

Dear Asa,

Well, this sure has taken me awhile. But you know what? I've been busy! You're quite the hand full these days and we've been on the road a lot with your dad this summer. It's hard to keep up - with you and these letters - sometimes, but we're getting there, one step at a time.

(dancing in the sun)

These past two months have gone by in a flash and you are cruising right along. You are eternally curious, investigative and intent in your inspection. Bugs are quite fascinating these days, especially ants. You follow them along for a good while, watching the line of marchers heading to and fro. Once observation is done, you pick one out and point to it, tracking it's movement up the wall. Your little pointer finger moves in closer and closer, zeroing in on this one tiny ant until it is smashed on the end of your finger. You usually take it to someone, still smeared across your index, giving it up to them saying "Dis, dis, DIIISSSS" (which is Asa for "this" since bug isn't in your vocabulary yet) until they acknowledge your amazing find.

You have a new found love of books or "buk-buks" as you call them, since everything must have two syllables. Your favorite books at the moment are the ones with animals that make noise. Your face lights up at the question "What sound does the cat make?" And you are still grinning when you reply "Maaaaooooow, maaaaooooow" nearly at the top of your lungs. After we've gone through a litany of animals - your funny "maaaow" for cat and and little "uuff, uff" for dog, we get a "bit-bit" for frog (which almost sounds like ribbit) and, your favorite, a big "Raaaoor!" for dinosaur - you are on to body parts. Once one trick starts you usually like to run through them all. "Where's your nose Asa?" I ask. You positively light up when you smash your finger into the end of your little nose. We go through ears, hair, eyes, toes and mouth now too, saving your favorite for last. You love to stick your little pink tongue out and grunt when you point to your mouth. We're working on arms and legs now, fingers and hands too but these parts are still a bit confusing for you. We're getting there baby. After we finish up the body parts you dart to the fridge for the magnets. We have ten or fifteen up there that have pictures of various animals, machines and plants. I think you can pick out about six or seven of them now, running back and forth from the fridge to me with the requested piece. "Where's the airplane?" I start. You run to the fridge, eyes searching wildly. Once found you run back to me, the airplane magnet clenched tightly in your little fist. Next we look for the motorcycle, the cow, the tree, the truck and the tractor. The pig and the horse get in there sometimes, but the sheep is a bit confusing still and so are the different trucks, like a fire truck or a dump truck. At this point anything big and rumbling is a "tuk-tuk" and anything with mechanical arms that come off of it are "tactors". Makes sense to me.

(laughing with Uncle Dalbo)

Speaking of trucks and tractors, they have definitely made it to the top of your "things that are amazing" list and you must point out every, single one that passes. Even if we're in the house and hear the tell tale rumble of that diesel engine outside, you come screaming around the corner, shouting "Tuk-tuk! Tuk-tuk!" or "Tactor! Tactor!" while pointing to the road. This will go on and on until someone else recognizes this momentous occasion along with you. Your insistence in these situations is astounding. It really is important to you in that moment that we knowledge you and your "tuk-tuk" and you are quick to tears if we take a little too long in our recognition.

One place you are not quick to tears however is on the playground. Or the backyard, sidewalk, store, etc. When you take a tumble, even those really good ones where you end up with a bloody knee or a scraped hand, you very rarely cry. I've watched you walk right into the corner of our dining room table at lest 10 times since you've been tall enough to reach it. Every time your eyes are down, searching for something at your feet and THWACK! you catch that corner right above the eye. You stop, stumble backwards a sec, reach your hand up to your head and say "boom, boom" while making the sign for pain. You delight in telling me this, excited, I suspect, at being able to tell me about what happened. And then you're off, on to whatever it was you were doing before bashing your head in. Just yesterday we were at The Lake of the Woods out swimming and exploring. You spied a bird ("Boood, booood!" you shouted) and veered off the path to get a closer look. On the way you tripped and wound up with a nice, long scrape down the length of your left leg. It wasn't terrible, but bad enough to get a little bloody and make a nice scab. At the time though you just fussed a bit, came over holding your knee and presented your injury. In the end you were way more upset over the fact that the bird had flown away, tears streaming down your face you pointed to where the bird had been calling "Booood? Booood?!" My little man, tough as nails but sensitive at heart. Your dad calls you a sensitive little bruiser and I think it fits perfectly.

(riding your motorcycle with Uncle Drew)

Your sign language has improved considerably, but as you've also become more vocal I find us both relying on it less and less. Your two new favorite ones are baby - and you delight in pointing out every baby you find, even if that "baby" has a year or two on you - and dada. You love the sign for dada, especially when it seems that you are trying to tell other people that he is your dada. We've been on the road a lot these past two months, in Santa Cruz, LA, Portland, Eugene and many truck stops in between. During our travels you've been able to see a couple of your dad's shows, which is pretty new stuff for you. Now that you're a bit bigger, there's no doubt that you recognize your dad up there. And you want everyone watching to know that too! As we watched him up on stage at The Faeriewolds Festival this past weekend in Eugene you signed for dad over and over and over again, somewhat frantically searching around, waiting for people to see you and acknowledge that yes, that man up there is Asa's dad and Asa's dad only!

(little drummer boy)

You also want to get yourself up there on stage now. But not just to see your dad. You want to get up there to play the drums! Man oh man, do you love drums, especially the ones on Dalbo's big drum kit. He set you up there last weekend, gave you a couple drumsticks and let you go. Now, I know this is to be expected, but I was so impressed! You sat up there for a full 30 minutes and would have stayed longer had they not had a gig to play. You tried out every drum, every cymbal. You hit them each with your left hand and your right. You loved every second of it. You let Dalbo show you a few things, like crossing your arms in order to hit a drum and a cymbal at the same time. You dutifully mimicked as best you could, then continued banging right along. I may soon regret this, but I think you'll be needing your own drum kit!

We've had you in the water a lot more these past two months, but so far you're not terribly interested in anything over your waist. You love to splash in the shallows, and run in the sprinklers, but as soon as I take you in the water with me, holding you as I walk in, you start to squirm and screech. I must admit it is a bit comical love, the sound you make is much like a kitten, a poor pathetic kitten who's all wet and doesn't like it. You don't make too big of a fuss, but you definitely make it clear that you would like to be back on solid ground, thankyouverymuch. Your dad and I both want for you to be in the water as much as possible. Both of us grew up swimming and diving and splashing ourselves and want to have that experience with you. We'll just give it a little more time, eh?

(four generations)

Another of your newest explorations is jealousy. Wow baby, you sure are a fierce little thing when you want to be! It started in Los Angeles at our friends the Weichelt's. With a 6 year old, a 2.5 year old and a 1.5 year old running around, there was plenty of fodder for some jealousy flares. You were having a blast, running around their house and yard, playing with new toys, interacting with the kids and having a grand time. Until Harry, 2.5, sat down in my lap. You saw it from outside, through the sliding glass door. Your face contorted into a screaming yell. Not tears, but full on yelling. Around the corning you came, reaching out for me and yelling still. What happened next was surprising to me, because I thought for some reason you'd be mad at Harry, that you'd try to kick him off your mama's lap and claim your stake. But noooo, it wasn't Harry you were after, it was me! You ran right up to us, leaned in and bit me right on the leg. It was the last thing I was expecting and when I felt the pinch of those little teeth (all 14 of them!) I yelped. Loud. And this of course did make you cry. I sat in front of you, tears streaming down your face and said "No biting mama, you can't bite the mama!" and you scooted yourself closer to me, never taking your eyes from mine, leaned over my arm with your mouth open and pretended to bite me again! You didn't actually chomp down this time, but you made it clear you wanted to. Wow baby, it was intense! You had your little teeth bared, your eyes angry and holding mine and I swear a growl came up from your belly that was completely animalistic. "Mama, my mama! Mama, mama, my mama!" you shouted. It was quite a moment. This happened twice more that day, but never since, though you've still had some jealous moments since then. None, thankfully, that involved biting. You've now started to act jealous between your father and I, and, baby, it's pretty funny (though I'm sure you don' think so). It's just the little things that seem to make you jealous and get you worked up. Like when I'm holding you and we're walking somewhere. If your dad comes up and puts his arm around me you will imediatedly grab his hand and force it off of my shoulder. The same will happen if dad is the one holding you and I swing my arm around you. Grab it and throw it right off. I guess only one of us is allowed to love you at a time, huh?

(swinging with "Ammaw" and "Gigi")

You're working it all out kiddo - calculating, investigating, plotting. I love that I can see your ideas emerge, watch the thought process and see you as you begin to understand, as the dots connect and things fall into place. Every day you are more a little boy, less a baby. Every day you seem longer, taller, heavier. You seem to have been stretched out recently, your legs so long and straight, no longer chubby baby legs that curl into your body, they are strong and straight. Legs for running and jumping and climbing. Your hair is getting longer, blonder and curlier by the day and it's probably time I started brushing it. Your feet are long and wide, sturdy platforms for all the running around you do. Your hands are quick, and deft. The sound of your voice is like nothing else and when you snuggle into my arms cooing "Mama, mama, mama" I know that I am exactly where I'm meant to be. I love you baby.




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