A few months ago, the bracing winter cold back off for a few days, so I drove Baby to a nearby playground for 30 minutes of old-fashioned run around exercise. Baby is still too small, and her legs too unsteady to master this iron caterpillar, but she was still fascinated by it. She stood three feet off, looked up into its massive cartoonish eyes and said “ooooh.” Right away, I recognized Hubby’s influence on my daughter. He is the hiking, fishing, camping and roughing it type. The one who will take her into the surf at the beach, introduce her to wild animals and crawly creatures. It’s all in an effort to introduce her to the real world. She has to try things, he says. I agree completely .
Then there are times when Baby is impatient and demanding about how things should be done. Spilled yogurt should we wiped up right away. She always shrieks when she has a runny nose: “Boo-ger. Boo-ger!” Until I clean her face, there is no letting up. And if I ask her where her white mary jane shoe has gone, or her toy dinosaur, she’ll walk me straight to the spot. In that way, she’s a lot like me. I hate messy dwellings. Can’t stand dirty ears or noses, and I’m usually good at putting everything it is particular place or tracking it down when it is not.
As Baby continues to develop, I see so many instances of her responding to her father’s guiding hand, and coming out of thin air, apparently, with something I would have certainly done at age 4 or 5. This will help her in life, I hope. We live in a part of the country where it almost seems like everyone we know is driven forward by an agenda for their own lives and that of their children. That’s where my ambition, as Hubby puts it, might help Baby identify something she loves and pursue it wholeheartedly. Hubby is a diligent go-getter on his own, to be sure. He is a freelance writer who works very hard, and is able to provide well for us. But his work is a means to an end. He likes to sample exotic cheeses, the smellier the better. He takes hikes and goes on annual camping trips with friends from university.
He tries and tries to get Baby to nibble interesting foods, like the ones he enjoys. And he has already informed me that Baby will be going camping and fishing with him, at some point. Fair enough. I think the explorer in Hubby should inspire an adventurer in Baby. We are both avid readers and professional writers, so she’s got the intellectual curiosity mapped out before her. When I get hold of that curiosity, and start to teach her about her black and biracial l background, I hope she’ll attack it with gusto. The same kind that she had when she went barreling down the slide in this photo.