Sunday, September 02, 2007

Update from the barnyard: a weekend report

It's the end of the summer. We're trying to have one more summer weekend before school is back in session and Pynchon 's busy season gears up. We've got one day left of our long weekend, but I can tell you that, so far, it's really been a highlight of the whole summer for me.

I wondered last week why Munchkin needed to know the various noises made by sundry barnyard animals: how could I have been so daft as to forget there's a 'farm' in the local giant park? Seriously. There's goats and chickens and pigs and peacocks and llamas and a tortoise and bunnies and deer and a mule. Additionally, train tracks run through the park, and a tourist-service local passenger railway runs through every hour or so. It's baby heaven:

Look! It's a goat! And that red blur is the train. We were bleating and tooting like crazy there for a couple of minutes.

Munchkin and I were on a mother-daughter expedition, leaving Pynchon at home to do the vacuuming and listen to loud rap music. I like getting some time by myself with Ms. Munchkin: our time during the week feels very rushed, and weekends allow me the leisure to just go with her flow, to get to know her again. It's kind of amazing to me how much she changes from Saturday to Saturday, and how it happens when I'm not looking: in the rush of morning, trying to get to work; in the rush of evening, making sure she's fed, cleaned, and put to bed on time; in the hours of daycare, when I can't see her at all. This weekend I learned that she can tweet like a bird; she can walk; she looks around for her audience before pitching a fit; she smiles for the camera, on cue; she shakes her head no, or yes. New.

She has a new game: she has discovered that our kitchen linoleum is slippery, and that if she lies on her belly, she can propel herself backwards at a pretty good clip, using her hands. To wit:

She's just crashed into the heating grate, and is gearing up for a second go at it. I'm laughing a lot lately. She's just so fun.


So I got up with her at 6 on Saturday morning, letting Pynchon sleep in. We all went out for brunch together later, but I brought her to the park to play, and say 'hi' to the animals. She mutters to herself in the solitude of the carriage, and I delight in her unselfconsciousness, her simple pleasure of making noise, of waving at people, of pointing at squirrels.

Here's something good to know: babies who crawl probably shouldn't wear white socks in their maryjanes through the morning dew:

Can you see the outline of her shoes? Please note her funny crawl technique: right foot flat on ground; pull forward; drag left foot underneath bum; sit on bum; repeat. That's why the left sock is so much filthier than the right.

We are so lucky to live where we do: we walked to the park with the zoo and the train. It also has a lake and a boarwalk, with benches and a gazebo, beautiful shaded picnic areas, and sportsfields. Across the lake, we look through the windows of a beautifully designed research institution that holds public lectures and concerts. We exit the park, onto the edge of uptown, where we buy new socks (natch) and head to Starbucks, where Munchkin eats and outrageously priced fruit salad and poses for the camera.

I can't help but laugh when I look at this. She's looking less like a generic baby, all button nose and big blue eyes and stunned vacant look. This is a face she makes deliberately when the camera comes out; it is her own unique arrangement of her features for the delight of others, her own self-presentation to the world. Goofy and beautiful. Heartbreaking.

It's all happening so fast, this coming to self-hood, growing out of all her summer clothes, making up games on the kitchen floor. Today I cut her bangs: she could hardly see. Running my hands through her hair, I idly made little ponytails, and was shocked to discover how much hair she actually has. Then:

Can you see her little ponytails? We have matching mother-daughter hairdos. I've spent the rest of the day staring at her, crawling around, standing, staggering, with this big-girl hairdo, little face open to the world, exploring. Watching her sit in the grocery cart like a big girl, lobbing food-stuffs into the back of the cart when they are handed to her. She knows what to do.

I like the weekends. I get caught up. I like this post: it's disjointed and full of images. Like my weekend. Random bits of happiness and a little bit of wonder.


Kyla said...

It was a beautiful weekend! Very fun.

And she is growing in leaps and bounds, it seems. It just happens so quickly!

You both are dolls with the mother-daughter hairdos. I love it.

Your photo made me miss you! Ahh, if only we lived close enough to meet you at your lovely park with these (little) big girls of ours.

Mad Hatter said...

The first time I realized I could put Miss M's hair in pig tails I thought she had aged a year overnight. It's amazing how the hair catapults them into another sphere of being.

It also strikes me Mimi that your baby has now given way to toddlerhood. Yup, that would be a toddler in those pics.

Mimi said...

Kyla, seriously, how much fun would we have? Kaytar would have a thing or two to teach Munchkin, and they could both make barnyard noises like crazy while we delicately sipped our grandenonfatlattes. :-)

And Mad? You're exactly right. Aged a year overnight, and yup, she's no baby. What happened?

slouching mom said...

Oh, mimi, she's adorable. I love the photo in Starbucks. You're right that's she's so very conscious in it...

A toddler! You have a toddler!

cinnamon gurl said...

Gorgeous! Both of you. And I have serous floor envy for your checkerboard.

Omaha Mama said...

Love the floor and red walls - I got all distracted!

Anyway, I love how you describe going with her flow. This is why I enjoy outing with my kiddos too - just me and them. No other adults to push the agenda. Your park sounds awesome!

Those piggy tails! So cute (on both of you). I picture the change between you in the white t-shirt and the goth girl picture you posted previously! Changes in you both, I think.

Beck said...

SO CUTE! Both of you in your matching ponytails! Aw!
It's SHOCKING how dirty they get once they're mobile, isn't it?
I actually have a post in the works - inspired by yours - about why it's important for toddlers to know about farms. It may or may not happen!

kittenpie said...

I like weekends as catchup time, too. Except today, when we are catching up on testing and fighting, apparently. Sigh. Every once in a while...

My mom used to take me to that park when I was wee, and she a student. All I can remember, though, is that you have to watch out for the geese!

Alpha DogMa said...

Please relinquish your hipster parent moniker. You are dressing like your (very very cute) child, hence you are (very, very) unhip. Patently unhip. Welcome to the Uphipster Parent club. There's room on the bench next to me!

Gabriella said...

Oh sounds like you live in a wonderful place to be able to walk to such a great sounding park!!!
And it's funny how much they change from Sat to Sat. Now that I've gone back to work I see it now so clearly.

motherbumper said...

Oh happy weekend (I guess it's over now... boo...). that last photo *gasp* is so beautiful - it made me sigh. You two are so freakin' cute :)

nomotherearth said...

She looks just like you! I love the weekend time too, because I feel that I miss so much during the week. The week is about getting things done, and the weekend is just doing things. It's nice.

NotSoSage said...

What Mad said about the ponytails? It's so true. And my little one HATES them, but I find I have this crazy fascination with doing her hair like that just to freak myself out.