Sep 29 2008

Ever Notice

How when two babies are in a restaurant or something, they’ll start calling to one another across the crowds? I call it “babysong” because it reminds me of whales sounding through the deep.

Robin’s vocabularly is expanding; he now has probably a dozen words that he says regularly. None of them are English and I’m not sure any of them have a fixed meaning, but they are syllabic patterns that he repeats frequently. Some examples:

    gi! (Yes, always with the exclamation point.)
    ma! (It’s not clear that he means this particularly as a way to get my attention, but I do always respond)
    dadada (For some reason “ma!” is short and urgent, but dadada is generally babbled at length.)

On the walking front, he now will regularly walk a few steps here and there; he must have done it five or six times today. But for going long distances he still crawls.

Sep 26 2008

We Like Baths Now

Breaking, breaking, this just in. Robin likes baths now!

As I posted earlier, Robin went through a very marked bath-phobia phase. He loved to splash in fountains, but just try and lower him into a bathtub and he would SCREAM like monsters were eating his toes. He was all right—barely—if we took him into the shower with us, but he’d just cling and look wide-eyed and unhappy until it was over.

I guess he just started getting better and better with the showers, until one day he was actually smiling and reaching out his hand to the fall of water. So that day I tried lowering him down to stand in the tub while I soaped him up. He found he really liked it; the next day we tried the same thing but let the tub fill up a bit; and by the third day we could just take a normal bath. Now he loves the bath! As soon as anyone starts running the faucet he will speed into the bathroom, pull himself up on the side of the tub, and start pointing inside while hooting urgently.

I still have no idea what the original problem was.

Sep 22 2008

Don’t Tickle the Baby

Sep 19 2008

Baby Steps

Robin still isn’t really walking or talking, but he continues to improve his skills in both areas. He spends more and more time upright—either clinging to furniture, or walking while I hold his hands—and his range of verbalizations continues to increase. One funny thing he’s doing now is imitating another boy at the park, Dino, who’s a year older and can actually talk a little bit. Dino tends to repeat a single word over and over in a sing-song inflection: for example, when he wants to play with Robin’s shovel, he’ll say “Digger digger digger digger!” So Robin has started imitating Dino’s pattern of speech, substituting syllables that are easier for him to say: “lee-oh lee-oh lee-oh lee-oh,” but in the exact same tones. It’s hilarious and scary at the same time. He’s already imitating the bigger kids! How long can it be before he starts demanding hi-tops and cheesy poofs?

Sep 9 2008

Cute Things Robin Does

Sometimes? When I have a plate of food in front of him that I’m feeding him, but he’s full? Robin will grab a fistful of food and shove it in my mouth. If I let him do this, he’ll chortle in delight, and keep shoveling food in my maw basically for as long as I’ll let him. I think it’s a fundamentally nice impulse on his part. He wants to give back to his community!

Sep 9 2008

First Step

Robin took his first step today!  He was holding onto our TV stand, and I was sitting on a chair in front of my computer, only a little bit away, and he totally let go of the TV stand and walked over to me.  It was amazingly great!

Before Robin performed this incredible feat of human ambulation, I was thinking about writing a post to this blog titled “Robin’s Projects.” I was going to tell you all that even though Robin isn’t really talking yet, it’s become very obvious to Sam and me that there a few things his brain is really focusing on right now.  One of those things is the whole concept of containers.  Robin is fascinated by things that can be put inside other things, or conversely, things that can be taken out of other things.  He has a whole array of expensive toys but probably his favorite right now are my hair curlers, which he can remove from their setting and drop into all kinds of other containers, like the bathtub.  But he also likes rounding up things (like blocks) and dropping them into other containers (like my lap).  Nanita got to experience this obsession first-hand when she introduced Robin to a set of stackable cups and a tray that held them.  Hours of fun!

Another of Robin’s current projects is physical: he loves gravity.  Dropping things is a big pastime.  At some point, of course, the physics experiment becomes a psychological one: it turns from “What will happen when I drop my stuffed doggie over the side of my stroller?” to “How many times will Mommy pick my doggie up for me before she stops giving it back to me?” But still I think that dropping things has an intrinsic interest.

Robin also loves stairs, as I think I’ve mentioned before—but he particularly loves them when he can drag something up to drop down once he reaches the top.  But even when he doesn’t have anything to drop, he’ll make beeline for any staircase in his vicinity.  Watching him pull himself up, step after step—or toddle down, clinging to my fingers—I can’t help but think that he sees this as his work.  He’s practicing for something, something important.

And today, after watching him take a step all by himself, I think all his hard work has paid off!  This little human is creating himself, bit by bit, just like he did when he was in my womb.  He knows what he needs to do in order to become the human he’s meant to be.  And it’s my job to boost that instinctual understanding as far as it will carry him.

Sep 4 2008

So Fast

Reading back from the pictures I posted today—to the pictures I posted two weeks ago—I’m astonished at how much Robin has changed.

Everyone says they grow up fast. Once again, I guess, I’m here to report what everybody else already knew. I just—I just wasn’t prepared for it to be this fast.

Sep 4 2008

Our Trip to St. Louis

Yesterday evening I was scolded by Pops and Mo for not updating this blog for a while.  “We have developed certain expectations,” I was informed.

In my defense, we’ve been gone—we’re just back from a plane trip to St. Louis.  So I’ll try and post a lot of pictures to make it up to those discerning Robin-lovers whose expectations have not recently been met! Here’s Robin in his Nanita’s car:

Robin was thrilled with Nanita and with Nanita’s house.  It was filled with baby-friendly things, like a toy truck he could push:

And a high chair he could sit in:

And when he sat in that chair, Nanita fed him fresh Missouri peaches, which he ate with gusto.

But the highlight of the trip for Robin was a visit to the St. Louis Zoo.  We saw baby tigers and baby wild asses (“How pleasant to see a baby ass I don’t have to wipe!”), but just like in San Francisco Robin was much less excited about the animals than he was about all the other people.  Then we went to the children’s zoo.  They had a petting zoo just like in San Francisco, but one thing the St. Louis zoo had that the San Francisco zoo did not was a play area filled with water spouts:

This place, this place was like heaven to Robin.  We must have stayed there for almost an hour.  He crawled from one waterspout to another, screaming with laughter.  He got soaked to the bone and loved every second of it.  It’s so weird because he still hates baths with a fiery passion.

We had a really good time in St. Louis.  We showed Sam more of the urban parts of the city, like the Central West End and the Loop, as well as residential neighborhoods like Southampton and the Hill.  My fantasies of owning a little brick bungalow returned full force.  It’s a topic we’re planning to revisit in about six months.

When I was going to high school there, I saw St. Louis as provincial and backwater, a city lacking in any culture or sophistication.  Now I see a city that has suffered from neglect and decay, but one that retains a great deal of character and charm in its completely unpretentious streets.  Its architectural heritage is marvelously intact (largely because St. Louis was a city built in brick); its history is proud and vibrant (like New Orleans, St. Louis benefitted from a rich cultural stew of French, Spanish, American and native influences, and in the steamboat age she was a queen of commerce); and its neighborhoods are becoming revitalized, with little shops and restaurants opening up in the old once-empty storefronts, and new families moving into those sweet old houses.  There’s a lot to love in St. Louis.  I think life could be easy there in a way that it isn’t in San Francisco: much as we love this city, it’s not family-friendly.  It’s really a city for young childless people, people who want to go to shows and make art and have wild parties, to have their consciousness expanded and their horizons broadened.  It’s easy to do those things in San Francisco.  But it’s not easy to find quiet shady streets where little boys can ride their tricycles, and it’s not easy to buy a house with a garden in back, and it’s not easy to find communities of middle-class parents who can help you with the work of raising your child.  Those things are easy in St. Louis.

I don’t want surburbia: I don’t want subdivisions of identical houses, where even the most trivial daily chores require a lot of driving.  I want city life, but I also want the quiet shady street and the pretty little house with the garden, and neighbors who have kids.  And I want these things for cheap.  So more and more I’m looking outside of San Francisco.  Of course, once I get to this point in the chain of thought, I start having a panic attack about the thought of leaving this beautiful, spirited, mythic city, that has given me so much happiness.  We have many friends here, and real roots.  It would be painful to tear them up.

Even if we do leave, it pleases me to think that Robin was born here, and that fact can never change.  San Francisco is indelibly a part of his personal heritage.  We have given him that.