July 31st, 2008

Mya is one year old. She isn’t walking yet, mostly because she has two older brothers who dote on her and bring her everything she desires; and really, who needs to walk under those circumstances? She has teeny tiny feet, chubby arms and legs, short, curly, brown hair, and hazel-green eyes. Much of the time, she entertains herself by roly-polying around on the floor, but occasionally she invents games that require other participants.

Once, for example, she surreptitiously peeled a bracelet from her mother’s wrist while she was distracted by adult conversation, and dropped it onto the floor. She leaned forward while doing the splits, picked the bracelet up with her mouth, put it on her own ankle, admired her handiwork, took it off, threw it back on the ground, and did it all over and over again - and all with no hands - for at least half an hour: bracelet, floor, splits, mouth, ankle, admire, repeat. Before long, all of the adults had forsaken their conversation in favor of Mya’s compelling gymnastics.

Another time, I was charged with feeding her a roll and, concerned that she not choke on too big of a bite, I pinched off little crumbs for her one at a time. But she ate them so voraciously and with such take-charge command, that I was slightly taken aback. If I didn’t pinch crumbs fast enough she’d get her whole mouth around the roll – as well as my hand, which was clutching the roll – before I knew what had happened. Throughout this exchange I could only see the top of her head - but at one point, just as I was starting to feel some concern that she might eat my fingers, I saw a flash of a wicked wee grin; that was when I realized we were playing a variation on tag, and I was loo-ooo-osing.

But this was my favorite game – I was sitting by the fireplace paying attention to the grownups, and Mya was sitting on the floor about three feet away. She made a sound, just a discreet baby exhortation, so I glanced at her and found she was staring right at me. She immediately stuck her arms out, like little pistons, in the universal baby-sign for “Pick. Me. Up. Now.” So of course I did. No sooner had she settled onto my hip, than she pitched her small body out at an alarming angle. I headed for the couch instinctively, knowing that if I sat down I’d correct the sudden sense of being off-kilter. Just as she’d planned, apparently. Because as soon as I settled onto the couch she started hurtling her tiny torso backwards into open space; then she stared at me pointedly, through slightly narrowed eyes, until I figured it out… Oh, I was supposed to tickle her! So I did, and she screamed and wiggled and laughed. Then she stopped and stared at me again. I lifted her back up, and she immediately pitched backwards so she was dangling upside down again… but this time she refused to oblige with a scream and a giggle until I figured out that the LEFT ribs like to be tickled, not the right ribs… and we continued.

I am completely beguiled by Mya – and by her total, wordless, command of her world. No wonder her brothers bring her everything!

Entry Filed under: Observable Phenomena