Lately in the mornings, Claire Helen, Betty and I garden in the hour or so before the sun worms its way through the trees and scorches any bit of earth it can find. It's pity gardening; our garden is extremely sad and neglected, and though an hour a day spent on a postage stamp sized lot probably sounds like a lot, please recall that a)I am pregnant and quite the wilting flower (haha) about it, and b) I did tell you I was out there with Betty and Claire Helen. A full half of the time is spent fishing a rock or stick out from somebody's mouth, or convincing someone not to dig up my prized poppy, please.
I think Claire Helen is going to be a good little gardener, when she gets a little older. She has so much fun collecting rocks and putting them in the flower garden by the tool shed, and moving leaves around in the dirt, and trying to get to the sprinkler head without getting wet. Also beheading flowers, but we are working on redirecting that toward weeds.
Her shy self is definitely asserting itself (can shyness do that?) a bit more lately. We go to a music class on Mondays, and apparently the teacher scares Claire Helen to bits. The room is down a long hallway, and she walks cheerfully with me most of the way, checking out bits of paper and molding, until we get to the room where the class is, and she sees the teacher, and all the kids and parents. Then her feet mysteriously glue themselves to the linoleum, and if I have made the mistake of not wearing pants, she grabs a fistful of leg so hard I am surprised it doesn't just come right off like a glob of silly putty. I tend to pick her up and bring her in the room, as experimentation in this situation has proven that she will actually remain stock still in that very spot for the entire class if I let her, and then I bring her to the circle, where fear appears to give way to a sort of stunned horror. She doesn't cry- she never cries- but she does stand in my lap, mouth agape, eyeing the tambourine extremely suspiciously. I tell myself that Claire Helen just has good taste in music, and as the class seems to involve what I consider an inordinate amount of country music (that is to say, any at all), she is dubious of what this exposure will do to her long term musical appreciation abilities, but more likely she is just an introvert. When we first walk into a playgroup, most one year olds will clap and grin and run around when they see everyone is looking at them(as they do, to say hello), but Claire Helen smiles coyly and peeks out from behind my leg. It's awfully awfully cute.
She also takes this shyness to her speaking, and generally refuses to speak in front of strangers or people who did not witness her birth, so being the goof that I am, I took her baby animals book to her one year check up to see if I could cajole her into talking in front of the doctor, to make sure that I hadn't Snufflalufagussed some baby speech, or just finally gone crazy from keeping up a one sided running commentary for an entire year(no, not really. But she doesn't finish words, and she had that bump, so I was worried was doing something weird to her speech development, so I wanted him to hear them, but it turns out it's normal and doesn't matter, and hopefully this will be the last you hear of me freaking out about her speech for a while.). Of course she completely broke character and chatted up a storm with the doctor, as well as immediately playing with him.
Also, during her one year vaccinations, she DID NOT CRY. One of them is even supposed to sting a bit, and the most we got was a frowny face. I react more than she does when being poked with a needle. She is so tough.
Here are a couple pictures of Miss Tough Stuff, after a hard morning of helping me in the garden. Down there a little further are some pictures from a beach trip this weekend, but that's probably pretty obvious.