immortal charlie

stone, girl, originally uploaded by kelanew.

"mama, you know what? every time charlie dies, he just comes back to life again! he comes back to life every time. charlie's special; he's the only one who can do that. and so guess what? someday a long time from now when all the people in the whole world are dead, charlie will still be alive. he'll be the last person alive in the whole world. and that's what makes him special."

so, maybe everyone has conversations like that with their three year old about her imaginary friend who dies many times per week. maybe, as it has been suggested, it is just the normal thing at this age to start discussing life and death with that combination of matter-of-factness and awe that only a preschooler can manage. and, maybe other people know exactly how to respond all the time... but despite feeling like i've got a pretty good handle on how to guide her through the great mysteries of life, every so often i'm just completely speechless.

so not only are you telling me charlie is immortal, but that you've thought it through regarding how this will play out at the end of days? really? i'm pretty sure i have no response to that.


she of course experienced significant loss at what turned out to be a key time -- when she was old enough to "get" what was going on, but young enough that it has been part of her life for as long as she can really remember. consequence or coincidence, she does talk about death often. not in a morose way, but just as a topic of unending inquiry. all kids do process this eventually, but i suspect it might be a little sooner than normal in her case -- whether because of our experiences of the past year and a half, or because she is simply more curious about working out every little detail than is the average kid, i can't say. i guess i'm not overly concerned, but sometimes i am struck by it all.

but man, do i love charlie. charlie helps eva figure things out, and his (or her!) form changes to suit the needs of the day. sometimes he's in school, sometimes he's a teenager (the holy grail to a three year old!), sometimes he's a teacher. sometimes he lives in new york city, or has moved to guatamala. sometimes he has sixteen dogs, or is a big sister, or has a baby sister who is too loud in the car. and in this way, based on who he is that day and what he's going through, i get an extra glimpse of eva's view of the world, and know how she's processing the joys and challenges involved in growing up.

but charlie sure is a moving target; you never know what you're going to get. sometimes, from the beginning of the conversation to the end, i'll discover he has shifted -- to protect her from the appearance of having made a mistake or contradiction in her narrative. (she has a strong aversion to ever being wrong, which is a story for another day...)


"so, charlie will live forever and ever?"
"uh huh."
"hmm. i curious what he thinks about that."
"oh, he won't be lonely or anything."
"silly mama! he's just a robot!"
(aha, i forgot. every since maker faire, charlie is periodically a robot.)
"uh huh, and that's why he'll be the only one left when the dinosaurs come back."


the shift

stand up

so in a two week period right around christmas, hazel: got her first tooth, learned to sign, started crawling for real (not just the army crawl thing), began pulling up, ate her first food. and grew some hair.

the shift. she used to be a baby baby, and now we've transitioned and she's a kid baby. as in, a baby who explores, has opinions, looks for people if they leave the room, and laughs at her sister's jokes. it's really fun, but man, were we caught off guard. we returned home from our christmas visit in ND to a home that was not at all ready for a baby that moves around. we also launched directly into several weeks of larry working round the clock for a big deadline, so it was a bit of a rough time there for a while. (he's still working enough to make himself loopy, but things have settled back in a bit.)

hazel, here are some details and thoughts on your fast flurry of milestones (sorry my love, if you wanted a doting write-up on each one like your sister got, you should have spread them out a little! think ahead next time.): your first food was... cheerios. not too exciting, but it was on christmas, so that's fancy, right? after all but begging for food since you were four months old, we were all a bit amused to see your less-than-enthusiastic reaction to this new taste and texture. your famously expressive eyebrows were working overtime in trying to sort out what exactly was going on. but you quickly warmed up to the idea, and soon you were munching away happily on carrots, broccoli, pasta and more.

it's been so fun watching you learn so much in such a short time. you figured out that you could pull up, and suddenly your realm of movement expanded from the three inch layer directly above the carpet to a so much more. it doesn't seem like it would be a big difference, but it was like a whole new world for you. you could go wherever you wanted to go, stand up when you got there (assuming a suitable vertical surface was nearby of course), and sit back up if you managed to fall over. at first, we all noticed that we could find baby contraband on the floor just by plotting your trajectory -- whenever you got that look of focused determination, you were clearly heading slowly but surely toward something you didn't usually get to have. well, those days are already long gone... you're always heading somewhere, and you're fast enough that by the time we notice, the baby contraband is already being gummed to death.

so, for the record (since i've not yet managed to write anything in a baby book for you, and as you can tell even this blog is proving difficult to keep up with):
first tooth 12/18 lower left-middle 6.5 mo
second tooth 1/10 lower right-middle 7.5 mo
first food 12/25 7 mo
crawling 6 mo (speedy by 7 mo)
pulling up at 7 mo -- love this photo set, look how excited your papa was!
signing at 6.5-7 mo. first sign: dog, followed by light and fan

and now you're awake and making some very loud grunts, so i think that's it for today.