February 6, 2019
7:40 a.m. Amelia in her pajamas, on my hip, holy hush of her front yard. The weather is mild, if moist, and there’s a pleasant breeze. We do some close exploring of tree bark: oak tree, gum tree—quite a difference. And such a reverence in the way Amelia touches bark, so carefully, palm outstretched. Then she gazes upward into the canopy.
We notice the gum tree is fixing to bud.
8:30 a.m. Something about wood: As she sits in her high chair, thoughtfully accepting bites of ‘fruit blend’ mixed with oats, she remembers a game: slap the corner of the breakfast table. This is my cue to slap it too. We go on in this vein for a while. Then she looks at me from under that devastating fringe of auburn lashes and…scratches the corner of the table. My cue to scratch it too. Then we perform some variations. Today I introduce…a knock. She picks it up pretty quick. As if she already knows it and has been holding it in reserve. This is our sign language.
We are often quiet together. I the wordy poet, adoring. And she murmuring the thoughts of thirteen months. Eventually, in the spirit of education, I try some spoken language on her. The word ‘kiss’ gets a rise—a lip-smack followed inexplicably by revelation of her lower gum…two teeth and some pale buds. All righty then! Maybe she’s thinking of the gum tree.
8:45 – 9:40 We undertake a perimeter patrol of her neighborhood. Rooster crowing—doves courting— squirrel chirring—startle of a dog arfing behind its fence—breeze in our hair—a little bit of heaven! She holds the hand rail, leaning forward in interest. Then she leans back and props her feet. My only job is to keep us moving.
10:00 So, so sleepy. Honey puts her to bed. From the living room I watch the monitor, smiling: She does some tentative lying down. Then she’s sitting, peering through the bars. Now she’s up. She deliberately drops the pacifier on the floor. Then the blankie-pig… Never mind. Not sleepy after all. I wait for the summons.
10:40 She greets her granddaddy with a huge shy smile, and some flirting. Then…more work to do, more murmuring, more power-crawling. She’s perfected crawling with her little pink blankie-pig clenched by its ear between her jaws.
11:30 Oh joy! Oh quivering and beaming! She hears the garage door open and lo, it’s the next set of adoring servants, that is to say, more grandparents!