Sunday, February 28, 2010

What a big boy!

James is bigger to me today, as if he's loosing some of his infant tendencies and becoming a little boy. This is exactly the case, of course, but it's odd how it seems to happen in a sort of punctuated equilibrium: I've spent every day with him for countless months and yet today, suddenly, here is my boyish toddler. This is a photo taken at the pool as we waited for kiddie-swim to begin. Don't worry, we weren't outside in February in our swim trunks; he's standing in front of a window.

Jamie's First Bald Eagle

James is learning the birds. Though he's yet to master the pronunciation of Colaptes auratus, he does happily repeat "magpie" whenever we see one on our walks, which is often. Yesterday, as we left the house on a cloudy afternoon to set out on a bicycling adventure, the sparrows and finches in the neighbor's trees sounded their chirpy alarms. I peered at the barren treetops, expecting to see a hawk, usually a Swainson's or red-tailed, which is not unusual but still exciting. I was startled to noticed the outline of a bird much too massive for a hawk; it was a bald eagle! While our family is certainly not known for our affinity to patriotic symbolism, this was still very exciting: these once near-extinct birds are majestic and regal (which adjectives, when linked to the word "bald," always make me happy). He or she was perched atop a towering cottonwood, peering down sternly and serenely (and, one might surmise, hungrily) at the neighborhood. I gave James a quick history lesson on DDT, raptor eyesight, and habitat range, which he mostly absorbed. The photo here is not great, but you can clearly see this is an adult Haliaeetus leucocephalus.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Jumping Cherub

Yesterday, in honor of cherubs everywhere and in celebration of St Valentine's Day, James enjoyed some Run Around Naked time. This involved snuggling with his big, fuzzy blanket, dancing, and his new favorite activity, jumping. He was practicing his leaping skills off this book for at least 20 minutes without pause. The attempt immediately following the one you see here was interrupted by peeing all over the book (daddy's good bird book).

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Jamie Sleeping With Puppy & Kitty

Owie! Owie!

James has learned to say "Owie" this week to indicate that something hurts. While all advances in communication should be applauded, the timing here is a bit unfortunate: he is also suffering from several molars poking their way through his gums this week, which has given him ample opportunity to employ his new vocabulary. He has had a difficult time falling asleep and staying asleep, which of course means he's also exhausted and much less tolerant of the discomfort. Today while strolling him around the house before his nap, he appeared sound asleep and I thought I'd walk a few more minutes before moving him to his crib. With his eyes still closed, he reached up, removed his pacifier, and muttered "Owie, owie, owie..." in a small, pathetic voice. I rubbed his soft head and replied, "I'm sorry, sweetie." Later in the afternoon, as he screamed at full volume with fresh tears streaming down his cheeks, I held and soothed him. We had maxed out on ibuprofen and orajel, so this palliative was the best I could offer. In this moment of heart-melting sympathy for my boy, I became suddenly relieved, almost happy: I knew that, despite the awful pain of teeth poking through soft flesh, it would pass. James would be OK, would go on to chew all sorts of tasty and exciting things with these new teeth, and was otherwise fit and happy. Parenting can bring moments of gratitude in the oddest moments.

Amidst this teething drama, one of James' most favorite people in the world came over for the afternoon: Iris. She will turn one in April and is the daughter of our friends Ann and Ben. James loves her, adores her. He sees Iris every day at school (Ann teaches at P.S. 1 as well), and he knows it -- as we pull up in front of the school, each day without fail, he says, "IRIS, IRIS!" It is something to see the two of them interact: despite the books telling me that children don't develop compassion for several more months, if not years, James seems genuinely caring of her: he tries to feed her, hands her toys, and lets her maul him with her eight-month-old version of affection. Ben tells us that sometimes in the afternoon when Iris is fussy, James will seek out her bottle and bring it to her.