Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Nine Weeks, Chalk, and Driveway Hopscotch

Spring has been bounding through our lives with such abandon that it will be Summer before I finally register that we ever experienced it. Not that the fickle weather has been much help in that regard; blowing biting, aggressive winds one day, sobbing heavy raindrops the following, and pouring down hot, steamy sunshine the next.

Today turned out to be a sunshiney day, though it was not immediately clear in the damp, dewey hours of the morning when Nana and I wrangled up all three monkeys to rush out to Mia's two-month wellness assessment.

She's nine weeks. Nine. How it ever happened I still cannot say, but there it is. And she's growing without pause. Though the nurse marked her length at 23.5 inches, I'd wager it was closer to 24, since her squirmy little leg didn't achieve a perfect straightness for the measurement. Regardless, that puts her solidly in the 87th percentile. She's not quite as high-achieving for weight- though very nearly so- settling her 13 lbs and 1.2 oz squarely into the 85th percentile, instead.

Her unique newborn physicalities have largely faded: she no longer sports a fine fuzz across her back, though she's retained a stubborn lining on her ears; her baby acne has come and gone between her fifth and seventh weeks; her face has filled, eyes darkened, cry evolved, neck strengthened to support her expanding head. Though she was spared the inconveniences of cradle cap and blocked tear duct(s) (Praise God for the latter!), and had the mildest case of acne that I've seen among my three children, her stork bites remain, to fade away by some undetermined date within her first year. It's odd to me to see them linger still, when her siblings' seemingly evaporated in the first three weeks, but surprisingly endearing all the same. The sight of them allows me to support my stubborn denial, just a little, of her recent transition into Infancy. Those newborn days are behind us, now.

You'd hardly know it from the way she sleeps. She's lost to the world, lightly drooling against the rise and fall of my chest, a good 90% of the day. That's starting to change, however, and she's finding the time to observe her world through wide, glittering eyes, in the comfort and safety of my arms, or just within my reach on the sofa cushion nearby. Though we're working on getting comfortable in her bouncy chair, physical discomforts still often send her, screaming and crying, back into my embrace. Therefore, with some reluctance, I've decided to treat her reflux with medication, and hope that perhaps her gas issues will go the way of her tummy troubles once we get things under control.

But back to the sunshine. It was quite the sight, once we broke free of the van like clowns from a clown car, to see the yard engulfed in brightness nearly untainted by cloud. Having managed, with Nana's valiant efforts from the back seat, to largely keep the elder children awake from the ride home, I had only to keep them occupied for one more hour before lunch, and then Nana and I hoped to find a space of time in which to rest while they engaged in synchronized napping on the floor above.

Though I tried to lead them to the climbing equipment in the back, they kept making their way out toward the driveway, where they'd spent so much time on our Memorial day cookout. After relocating them several times, it finally occurred to me how to keep them occupied- there was a large space of asphalt available that is usually covered by Tom's parked car. Perfect for chalk!

This was a splendid solution for Abby, but Michael was only marginally interested in coloring. He took a few swipes with a piece of chalk and moved on, straight toward the street. As Nana and I began to huff and puff from our efforts to corral him, I searched around for some kind of makeshift barrier and settled on the two strollers folded under the front overhang. They wouldn't stop him, but they might slow him down.

At the sight of the strollers, however, Michael wanted in. I acquiesced, though I wasn't sure how long he'd be willing to hang out in it sans an actual walk around the neighborhood, which wasn't really in the plan.

He was surprisingly patient from his newfound perch.

Of course, it helped that there was chalk to play with...

... and unceremoniously drop.

Also, Nana was around to provide the compulsory bit of motion, even if they didn't really go anywhere.

Nana also had the brilliant idea to draw a hopscotch grid.

She first showed Abby how to jump in numerical order, which Abby either didn't quite understand or found too uninteresting to try.

However, she took to the second jumping game that Nana showed her right away, spreading her tiny feet apart, then together, in the pattern of the scribbled pink squares below.

Up, down. Hop, skip. Haltingly, at first, she followed the chalk shapes like an amateur but eager student of dance might follow painted footprints across the floor.

But only to a point. Her joy and creativity were not to be contained; in the end her movements were her own- perhaps the product of some beautiful music deep within. I can almost hear it, when I search her expression. Almost.