"Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!" --Ms. Frizzle

"Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!" --Ms. Frizzle

Monday, May 2, 2011


About a month ago my camera battery decided it had had enough. We had been charging it with a knock-off brand charger-- gasp!-- ever since leaving the original Nikon charger in our honeymoon suite. Apparently five years of sub-optimal charging made our battery bitter, because it decided to give us the finger by expiring the day before our family left for a week-long trip to Tacoma followed by a photography class. And while I have really fantastic notes from that photography lecture, I have no photographs from our trip. In fact, I have no photographs for the month of April. To give you some perspective, my monthly photo folders usually contain between two hundred and three hundred files. Last July we happened to go on two camping trips and attended a birthday party, and that folder contains nine hundred files. It's wonderful and it's a pain, because while I end up with some really great pictures of some really special moments, I do tend to spend a lot of time with a camera jammed in front of my face. Then I creep down to the basement and sit hunched over the computer for hours, sorting and editing and usually getting so tired that I never actually post the fruits of my labor here, for the world to see. So for the last month I've been, in a sense, free. I have experienced every moment without the filter of a lens, and I haven't had to worry about adding to the immense backlog of pictures yet to be edited. I've been reminded again and again that if I want to capture a moment then I'd better just try really hard not to forget it. I wouldn't say it's been nice, but it's been... healthy.

Here are some things I've committed to memory rather than film, and a few things that would have been impossible to photograph anyway:

* During our trip to Tacoma, Geneva and I visited the Point Defiance Zoo and happened to stumble across six different animal feedings! It was amazing, and cemented both the shark and the walrus firmly in Geneva's top ten favorite animals. Even now, based solely on that trip, Geneva can (and often does) quickly name four different animals that eat fish. After all, she's seen it firsthand!

* One afternoon Geneva awoke from her nap asking for Maya, who was also just waking up. I took Geneva in to peek at Maya and they both beamed sleepily at each other. They then spent the next ten minutes rolling around on the bed, petting and cuddling one another with such fondness that I wonder if Geneva will think of the baby as being a different sort of relative than Maya, or if in her mind she already has a sister.

* My next door neighbor Cristina is within a week of her due date, and it has been such a blessing to have someone with whom to celebrate and commiserate the ups and downs of pregnancy. With both of my babies I have had at least one good friend who was pregnant at the same time as me, and I just wouldn't want to do it any other way (not that it's my choice). Seeing Cristina preparing for the birth of her new little girl is getting me even more excited to meet mine, and there's something about sharing that weird, alienesque third trimester experience with another person that makes it easier to laugh about. It has been wonderful... and all I'm missing is a picture of the two of us together in our gestational glory!

* Little G continues to be a fountain of words. I gave up many months ago on keeping a list of her vocabulary, and at any rate it changes so quickly that I would hardly know how to document what she's doing and saying these days. Some of her cute kid phrases are already obsolete (for instance, when someone sneezes she now says "bless you" instead of "mushrooms") and others are just appearing (when it's warm out she now asks for a "pocketsicle"). My favorite Geneva phrases are her (overly?) candid observations about the world. She once summarized the benefits of wipes over toilet paper as "moist butt." She declares, after tasting ANY food, whether that bite was sweet, sour, or nice. She started calling the neighbor cat's bottom his "button," and then announced one day "Sunny's button is warm." Shudder. She's very specific about body parts in general, making sure to tell us that she intends to play with a toy with her hands or eat a snack with her mouth. When she feels like joshing around with someone she'll say "oh, __________, go take a bath!" (sort of like "go fly a kite" I suppose). And the girl loves a good pun; she enjoys faking us out by saying the first part of a word, pausing dramatically, and then laying the rest of the word on us, as in "Mommy, I like pepper...... oni!" And yet, for all this linguistic prowess, I'm still the only one that can understand her half of the time. I chalk it up to language immersion, as my brain is constantly awash in her little voice. It does make me think of all the kids her age who are in day-care situations, where no one person is around all of the time to learn that "elpey" means "elephant." I wonder if those kids are saying a lot more actual words than anyone knows. I don't think those kids are necessarily suffering because people understand less of what they say, but I do feel grateful yet again that I can be home with Geneva and learn to speak her language as she learns to speak mine.

* Twice in the last few months we've been out to Harrah to visit Auntie Jen and the boys, and twice it has been knock-your-socks-off gorgeous outside. I'm thinking the next time I need some sun I'll just ask if Jen doesn't mind having us over and see if our luck holds! Regardless of the weather, those visits were fabulous and reminded me of how important it is, every so often, to just sit all day and do nothing in the company of a good friend. It has been a real treat to see how kind and patient Owen-- and the other older cousins, too-- are with Geneva. I think they're teaching her something very important about what it means to be in a position of responsibility, and if she learns anything from their examples she's going to be a really fantastic big sister.

* This year, for the first time, Geneva and Maya were able to grasp the concept of Easter egg hunting. Seeing them totter around Nana's yard and watching them light up and change trajectory every time they spied a new egg just about made me cry happy tears. I think it's because they're old enough now to participate in traditions, and Easter egg hunting just happened to be the first one that they "got." I love the idea of Geneva being involved in something that is community-wide and generations-deep; that's what it means to be a part of a culture, after all. Yesterday we hung May Day baskets on the doorknobs of our neighbors. I can only imagine how amazing this Christmas will be.

Okay world, I've learned my lesson. I'd like my camera back now please. In the meantime, here's a look back at March....

Geneva and Thomas

The moms and the kids on our way to the zoo!

"Owl Truck," as it came to be known. This vehicle is famous at our house.

Thomas, Avery and Geneva viewing the otters.

That afternoon we found Charlie Kitty stuffed in the back of the car. He had been missing for some time. It was a joyful reunion!

Geneva and Maya turn a large stomach into art.

Rocking out to Jesus Christ Superstar over lunch.

...still rocking out...

Okay, that's too much rocking out!

Play dough-- or, as Geneva calls it, roll it and pat it and mark it with a B and throw it in the oven for baby and me.

The sculptors.

Maya chose this accessory herself.

My little artist.

Sharing Cap'n Crunch at Franklin Park.

Peeking in.

They like each other.

Maya, in a thoughtful moment.

This was the day we discovered that the play structure had been torn down. Geneva improvised a slide using a hill, some leaves, and a lot of wiggling.

Maya Rose

Enjoying the textures.

Sharing with Mommy.

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