I’ll tell you what’s awkward—getting stared down by a one-and-a-half year old. I know that Clara smiles when she sees the Piehs and when we practice saying “Anna” while we read Kelsey’s blog together and when I tickle her neck and when she helps mop the floor, but when we “share the peace” at church and all the friendly people say “goochie goochie goo,” Clara shares the peace by staring. Straight into their eyes. Without flinching. To their very core. And, then they look away and say, every Sunday morning, “Aw, she must be tired.” No, she’s not. She just doesn’t smile that often. I will see other babies sitting contentedly in high chairs for up to five minutes and smile at the slightest provocation and think, Is my baby happy?
Everyday is a lesson in letting go, in letting Clara, even at this age, just be herself. Today at the grocery store, Clara goes vocal on us when we refuse to let her chew on the ITunes gift card in the checkout aisle. Aaron walks her over to the jewelry section while I finish loading up all my high hopes of health for the week in the form of bulgur and celery and fiber-rich, wheat, Vitamin A, B12, D, and K rich semolina orzo pasta. The woman ahead of me says, “Oh, that’s okay. I didn’t need that ear drum anyway.” I know this is supposed to be a joke and I know that when you have a baby, people says all kinds of weird junk to you in the checkout aisle. But, it’s not really a funny joke, so I don’t hold it close with a giggle and a nod or tuck it away for later; I let it go. It rolls off my right shoulder and lands, not too loudly, on the ground next to the Pay Day bars and the other bottom-shelf candy people stopped buying in 1994.
Clara is going through a clingy stage, which I think just means she’s bored with toys that require her to sit still unless she has someone to play with. To celebrate her own special version of Clara happiness and to re-introduce her to some anti-cling, Clara and I chase each other around the cabin with the popping popcorn toy while Dad washes dishes.
Later, Dad and Clara built “Innovation Twin Towers 5000.”
Finally, I finished the night marveling at Clara’s hair. It’s still so curly and thick, and since there’s never a good reason to take a picture of the back of her head, I’ll post one that serves no other purpose than to show you what I mean.