Calix is just over four months old, and today is my first father’s day. Xie got up when Calix woke up and let me sleep in. He usually goes down for a nap after eating and a little playing in the morning, so he got to nap in bed with me. For the past few weeks, Calix has been mostly sleeping in the crib, in our bedroom. He used to sleep in the bed with us every night, and I miss that, so napping with him next to me this morning was a nice treat. Later Xie brought down a yummy breakfast of coffee, bacon, eggs and toast.
My father’s day surprise was that Calix and Xie took my old Raleigh Sports three speed bicycle into a shop to get it cleaned and tuned up. That was pretty exciting, but I only got to take it for one quick spin down the block and back. It will be challenging to ride a three speed up the hills around here. My fantasy is to some day and a front derailleur and turn it into a nine speed.
We went for a nice walk in the Cougar Mountain Wildland Park. Even though Calix was pretty fussy for much of the walk, it was very nice to be out. It was sunny, between the clouds, with occasional thunder claps coming from the storm clouds over yonder. The trail went through a nice alder-maple-hemlock forest, with all of the nice native underbrush plants. Salmon berries were at their delicious bitter-sweet best. The thundery-stormy clouds got closer and closer. Just as we leisurly strolled up to our car, and were bucking Calix into his seat, it started dumping down rain. “Big drops, not wimpy Washington rain”, as Xie described it. We felt lucky to get such nice weather perfectly for the length of our walk.
Becoming a father has been a fantastic experience for me. It has only been four months. So much has happened, it feels like a long time. Xie and I spent some time this morning looking at pictures from February and March, back when Calix was so young, just a baby, really. It is so interesting to see how his face and body have changed. He looks so different, while showing traces of how he looks now. We also looked at a couple of pictures of me when I was baby and a kid. I looked a lot different. In one of the photos, my nose is so small, and was pointed up a little. It certainly does not point at all up, now. I’m so curious to watch Calix’s changing face and body shapes.
Watching him learn about his world, learning to pay attention to different things, learning to recognize things, interact with everything that he can. It’s so fun. He sings, talks, touches to feel, touches to move things. He processes the outer and inner world and reacts. He feels hunger and cries. He sees me or Xie and smiles. He talks seriously to his mobile. He sings to himself at night. All of these things are tiny, normal. But when I am watching my kid develop, grow, learn, interact, then every tiny thing is so special, so neat, so exciting.
One little anecdote. Calix hates riding in the car, in the backseat, by himself. If someone is sitting next to him, then he’s usually pretty ok. But when he’s by himself, he’s miserable. He cries. He screams. Nothing will console him. Xie will talk and sing to him, from the front seat. She installed a mirror, so that she can see him, and he might be able to see her. D0esn’t help. Mirror has music and lights. Doesn’t distract. I’ll often get text messages from Xie saying that bug screamed the whole way from home to Madison valley, where she goes to First Months groups. Poor little guy; poor mama. Anyway, one evening last week, Xie and Calix were coming to pick me up from work, to go home. Of course he was screaming and crying his little head right off. As soon as I got into the car, and he could see me, he started smiling hugely, laughing, talking. He laughed and laughed and smiled bigger and bigger. It was a real crack-up, super, super cute. Of course it made me feel great, that he was so happy, so glad to see me. One could easily see, though, that he was on an emotional crash course, tired, careening from one extreme to the other. And sure enough, he soon burst into tears, and wasn’t very consolable, until we got him home for a milky meal and a hard-to-get-down-for nap. But those several minutes of such huge smiling and laughing out loud over and over. That was some joy, for a new father.
We didn’t see too many mushrooms on our walk today, but as we were getting close to back to the car, we came across these delightful purple, velvety-fuzzy stemmed Panus conchatus mushrooms growing on a dead alder log. They usually aren’t so big, when I’ve seen them, and I mistook them for oyster mushrooms, from above.