So Simon gets his picture taken! He is always thrilled about that. Actually, I shouldn't joke. He is thrilled about pretty much everything we do, aside from taking him into the snow today, which impeded his access to the boobs (my extra layers). And also putting him the carseat, as he is convinced we have just left him on the jungle floor for a python to come eat. But anything else.
I don't think there has ever been such a sunny, happy baby. Whenever he can see anyone, he giggles and coos and even belly laughs for them. If they get close enough he'll reach out to grab their nose and maybe blow a raspberry at them. Everything about him says LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME! Pleeeeeease look at me! He is the paragon of baby flirting behavior, so good at making you feel he really loves you, and only you(long time readers may recall that Claire Helen, at this age, mostly wanted to know what in the hell was wrong with you that you would make such weird cooing noises at her. Were you having an epileptic seizure? Should she call someone?). The easiest way to get a belly laugh, however, is to hold him upside down. Apparently my children are bats, as this was Claire Helen's favorite position around this age as well. I am such a sucker for his rolling, gurgling laugh, though, that I would hold him that way all day if he wanted. Man it's cute.
He has discovered toys, and oh what a wonderful world they are. You can almost hear him saying "Duuuuuuuuuude" as the dragonfly passes by on his carseat mobile (in an effort to lower the decibel level in our car, we have attached all manner of bright, shiny, noisy things to his carseat. It looks like a deranged Christmas tree back there, but at least it distracts him- if only mommentarily- from his imminent death-by-python). He whips his head around and eyes his rattle very suspiciously before trying to make his hands grab it when I shake it off to the side. He is working very hard on reaching for things, and sometimes can grasp whatever it is he's going for, but you can tell he doesn't quite know why sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. We're cheering for him.
Claire Helen has been busy learning all sorts of things. I love this age. I don't understand why toddlers get such a bad rap. It's fantastic. She is old enough to realize that some things are wonderful and out of the ordinary. We went to the zoo last weekend, and I thought her eyes might pop right out of her head when she saw a peacock. Today we went sledding up in the moutains (so so nice to live in a place where it's sunny and gorgeous, but you can drive up to the mountains to sled!), and she was clearly taken with the snow- you can dig in it, but it won't make you dirty. ("snow no mess?") She and Mat sledded down a long, gentle hill, and she would say "Dop!" when Mat was supposed to stop, and "Doooooh" when he was supposed to go.
And oh she has fun bossing the dog. Everyday, all day, it's "Bay-ee, Sit! Bay-ee, Bess! No! Bess!(place) Off!" Betty ignores every bit of it, but Claire Helen is so proud when Betty is on her way to her pillow and she orders her to her place. When Betty gets there, she turns and beams at me, one hand still on her hip, the other pointing pointedly at the pillow. Last night she learned how to jump (but then continued bending and straightening her legs while saying "Claire jump!" without catching any air for half an hour to see if we would keep clapping for her). She worships older children- even more than most toddlers- and will while away a whole afternoon watching four year olds dig at the park while the other toddlers climb and slide and swing. She's such a quiet soul.