Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The unbearable cuteness of Clara

High cuteness
Originally uploaded by Spamily.
Clara was a pumpkin for Hallowe'en. We went to Lettuce Knit and she flung candy around. So. Much. Cuteness.

Lots more pictures on my Flickr stream.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hoops of wood

I took this while sitting in the armchair next to my thesis carrel in Clapp Library at Wellesley while I was nursing Clara. The sun was setting and everything felt exactly right.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Home is where I want to be, but I guess I'm already there

There's been a lot going on in the past month and a half. At the end of September we spent a week out west with my mother's extended family, attending my cousin's wedding. (I was the flowergirl at her parents' wedding many years ago.) I gained some new perspectives and was glad to have some time to spend with my sister and her girlfriend, who is good people. My parents are working on selling their house so that they can move to a town just outside Buffalo in order to be closer to Clara, so things are awfully chaotic for them.

The wedding was beautiful, and it was nice and a little sobering to see people I hadn't seen in a couple of decades. Oddly enough, we're all older.

We were back for two weeks (including Clara's birthday, celebrated at Lettuce Knit) before we left again, this time on our first long roadtrip since Miz Thang was born. We went to my twenty-year high school reunion, visited the old neighbours for the first time in fifteen years, had an all-too-brief visit with friends in western MA, spent five days with one of my best friends and her husband and three kids, had dinner on the Wellesley campus, and then went to the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival. If it all sounds like a bit much, that's because it was. I couldn't have asked for a sweeter, more satisfying homecoming, but the ten days were starting to make me think that some guy was about to step out from behind a tree, film crew behind him shining lights in my face, and bellow, "Emily Krapsnart, THIS IS YOUR LIFE!" It was 1974 to 1992 packed into just over a week, except that this time my husband and baby daughter were along for the ride. And wow, what a ride.

The reunion was fun, I guess; I got a very welcome chance to see two of my closest high school friends, but wished that more were there (Italophile, I'm talking to you). My old neighbourhood has changed a lot; my childhood home is unrecognizable. The wonderful people next door had us over for dinner, a marvellous spread that fed my soul. (Margaret takes care of her daughter's kids, so there's kid paraphernalia all over. I had not been at all prepared to see my tricycle in front of their house; the sight of it made me burst into tears.) Two of my high school teachers who were major figures in my adolescence are now divorced; I talked to him and saw her. Life goes on.

Five days in a house with four kids six and under: exhausting. But it's always great to see AM. I sent Dave out geocaching a lot so he could get some Dave Time in before the yarnulence of the weekend. We also managed to see some more old neighbours who have moved to eastern Massachusetts, and they suggested that Pina drop in for dinner while we were visiting them, so we got a bit of time with her. Somewhere in the five days there was dinner with Steve and Peter and David B.; it was really good to see them, too.

Wellesley is more beautiful than ever; every time I'm on campus I shake my head in disbelief that I spent four years there. We walked around the misty, luminous campus and took pictures, and then ate in the new student centre, surrounded by students who, when I was in school, were not much older than Clara is now. The intellect and potential and youth of all those women in that magical place made me hopeful and happy.

And then, Rhinebeck. My God, Rhinebeck. I'd spent fifteen years convinced that I wasn't homesick for Dutchess County, but oh, I am. I am. It is unspeakably beautiful in the fall, and the nostalgia that the fairgrounds evoked after everything that had come in the few days before -- well, it was more than a little overwhelming to be back there.

I bought yarn, a lot of yarn. As I knit it, it will continue to remind me of home.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

One year

Dear Clara,

Today is your first birthday. You're pretty cranky today because you haven't had enough sleep: you're still a little jetlagged from our trip west to your cousin Amanda's wedding, and your Grandma and Grandpa wanted to see you first thing this morning before they left to go camping. Grandma baked you an angel-food cake, and was so happy to watch you dig into it with your little hands while the "1" candle dripped wax all over the frosting.

I've been writing this letter in my head for at least a month now. Every time I think about your being a whole year old, I want to touch your cheek and nibble your toes and hug you close to me as I feel my heart expanding yet more in my chest. You are already such a remarkable little person, with an irresistibly cheerful disposition and an infectious giggle that we hear so very often.

You meet new situations with curiosity and aplomb. Yesterday was your first Kindersports class, and your first swimming lesson, and in between them a very persistent five-year-old named Grace made sure that we went to the drop-in centre nearby. The Kindersports class was far, far above your age level -- you were the only one there not walking yet, and you didn't seem that interested in passing balls around or rolling down an incline -- but you still giggled and waved all your arms in happiness. At the drop-in centre you worked for a very long time on the new toys, turning them over in your hands and inspecting them and trying them in your little mouth. Su, who runs the place, introduced herself to you, and you laughed, and charmed her. You charm just about everyone.

You love water. You like to crawl into the hall bathroom and dip your hands into the cats' water bowls, and you sit on the bathmat and gesture at the tub and urgently move your fists up and down in front of your chest to make the sign for "bath". At your swimming lesson I dunked you a few times and you barely flinched. You splashed and giggled and thoroughly enjoyed yourself, and when I brought you home you passed out within the hour. Sweet baby.

You and I walk around the city a lot, you tied close to me in your beautiful mei tai. You point at things and flirt with strangers and sometimes tweak my nipples, hard, and laugh. People smile broadly at us and ask how old you are and gush about your cuteness. When you've been carried for too long you get restless, and you want to get down and crawl. You love being outside; one of your favourite places is on the grass, grabbing sticks and leaves and waving them around while you sing happily.

Your dad is completely smitten with you. He sits on the floor with you and plays little games like "where's the block?" and sings little songs that he makes up on the spot. He takes you out geocaching at least once a week, taking you places where you can get plenty of Grass Baby Time. Every night he straps you onto his belly in the blue carrier, and walks you up and down the hallway outside our door until you fall asleep. I watch him with you and love him more than ever.

Your favourite food is probably ice cream; smoked salmon and garlicky garlicky hummus are pretty high on the list too. Your favourite song is Ladytron's "Destroy Everything You Touch" (seriously) and you get a huge kick out of stroking the soft soft bunting that Kerry and Mary and Toby sent last year when you were born.

Tonight we're taking you out to see the knitters, who are fans of yours. Megan at the yarn shop said we could celebrate your birthday there, so we're about to head out.

I love you very, very much, and I feel so honoured and privileged to be one of the people responsible for helping you find your way in this world. I'm proud of the job we've done so far and I know there will be many challenges in the years ahead. I hope we can continue to do right by you.

Happy birthday, my beloved little daughter.