Blackbird: 2 Years

“Froggy, Daddy. See froggy?” (froggy is a lawn sculpture in the neighborhood)

“Um, I’m not sure, sweetie. Where is the froggy?”

“Might be down the street?”

That, in a nutshell, is how things have changed since one year ago. Blackbird is no longer a little mystery. She’s a little girl. She has opinions, preferences, thoughts, and observations. All of which she can communicate. And act on.

Let’s look back over the last year.

Blackbird as seen close up, touching a PECO Wind Energy sticker on a window.

Blackbird gives her imprimatur to our decision to support wind energy. I bet we’d get more done in Congress if those cute little pudgy baby hands pointed out policy initiatives on the floor of the Senate.

Blackbird oversees her legion of duckies and manages her book collection. Overseeing and managing tended to yield the same results: Daddy picking things up off the floor. Back then, that poster was just a nice picture. Nowadays, Blackbird can sing the alphabet with ease. Though L,M,N,O,P is sung as “elmmmmpee”.

Blackbird, lost in thought. Or tired. Hard to tell with her sometimes.

Uncle Brian makes both his wife and his niece squeal with delight. Not sure if the same scenario would play out if Aunt Rebecca and Blackbird switched places.

Blackbird has always been a go-getter when it comes to physical feats. Here she is at the playground. Keep in mind this is before she could walk. Notice the soft-soled shoes. Now she takes those steps standing up on her way to the big spiral slide, in her big girl sneakers.

These are the moments you just sit back and drink in. Blackbird pulled herself up on the door frame to look at the spring blossoms on all the trees that morning.

Of course there are always moments like this one, which I love because it turns my little pip into the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Her love of the outdoors and animals, coupled with her curiosity and her inability to walk, meant that trips outdoors were often sweaty affairs featuring lots of carrying (I have a hard time leaving her in the stroller).

But usually we could find someone happy to lend a hand or two.

My hiking baby goes bohemian with Uncle Brian’s cap. She’s quite choosy about hats. In that she usually chooses not to wear them. Notice that I’m now holding her. She has ended the bipedal locomotive portion of the day’s activities. But later that day…

She walks! At a BBQ with our good friends, Blackbird found her land legs and starting zipping around. These are some of her earliest steps. The look on her face says it all: “And next, the world!”

Cooling off on the porch. Summer has been my favorite time with Blackbird, by far. I can’t wait for next summer, now that she can frolic on her own.

I’ve seen this girl get flummoxed by some pretty minor things, but she had this popsicle handled. Thank god she didn’t get any brainfreeze. Not looking forward to that.

One of my favorite images of Blackbird. I love it when she’s absorbed in what she’s doing, and not just because it means a respite for me. Her unselfconscious focus is fascinating and often perplexing. She’s just as likely to be taking the same two objects out of a bag and putting them back in over and over again as anything. But all the same, it tickles me to see her so fully absorbed in a task. I can hear the little gears turning, as they do all day.

Bar fight! Blackbird performs an extra-cranial experiment in light polymer structural dynamics. Her willing assistants give it their all. Particularly Jackie. This is truly a working vacation for this intrepid scientist, seen here at the Spring Thing.

I expect this will be a pretty good visual metaphor for much of our father-daughter relationship: “Get-off-of-me-daddy-you’re-embarassing-me-oh-my-god!”

This is “My Bumble Bee”. A work done by my daughter about 4 months after her first birthday. This is the kind of thing they include in a horror movie. You know, the one where the kid draws the scary monster and a picture of their parents being eaten, or their family with a ghost next to them, or whatever. Except this is clearly a dread Shoggoth, traveling across the membranes that separate our world from one outside of time, where foul beings of unknown geometries swim in the endless chasms of mindless infinity.

So Blackbird clearly gets around, is what I’m saying.

This is Blackbird in her “avoid eye contact at the bus station” outfit from the summer of ’09.

Rocking out with Aunt Becca. This kid knows good music when she hears it. You’d know it was bad music if she was rushing the stage with her cup raised instead.

One of Blackbird’s favorite places: BB and Pop-pop’s house. These stairs are so emblematic of the experience of her grandparents’ house that she talks about them in front of pretty much any set of stairs leading to an unfamiliar house.

Blueberries.

BLUEBERRIES.

Mmm… peaches.

Dude. Check it out. There are blueberries in here. Get a photo. Quick. I can’t stop myself.

Blackbird loves tomatoes.

No tomato is safe.

Really, it’s just that she loves to eat. When the food is right, she is fully committed.

All gone. (wah wah wah waaaaaaah)

Blackbird loves champagne grapes. (Cue Eddie Izzard shouting “Champagne!”) That is a happy kiddo right there. I think she ate the whole bunch that day. Bless the farmers’ market.

Her walk says one thing: I own this place. This is my town. Let’s roll. ‘Stayin’ Alive’ would be fantastic theme music at this moment.

How little kids can sleep all contorted in their carseats is beyond me. Blackbird is pretty good at it. And thank god. Because when she’s awake in the car, it’s a like the request lines are open. Luckily Alisa is a good singer.

Does that giant slide at Smith look like the coolest thing ever? Well that’s because it pretty much is when you have a toddler in your lap. “Again, Daddy! Again! Slide! Again!”

But remember, even after a hard sweaty day of running around and playing, be sure to eat your sandwich “pinkies out” style. Anything else would be improper.

Stylin’. Rocking the rhinestone sneaks. Readin’ about pandas.

“Efficiency is priority number one, people. Because waste is a thief.”

Blackbird and Mom check out the Summer Palace at Morris Arboretum. After a brief period of uncertainty, she went in. Then out. Then in. Then out. Then in… we had to drag her away.

She will eat an avocado with nary an adornment. She will eat it right out of the skin. “Ah-cado” is a big hit.

Dioramas at the Academy of Natural Sciences. She could’ve spent all day running between them and shouting the names of the animals. I’m pretty sure those horns aren’t hers.

Autumn walk with Blackbird. She discovered kicking leaf piles.

This is what TV does to families. Blackbird is a couch potato and I am a Barcalounger. Let us serve as a warning to others.

The visual metaphor continues. She is going to develop a killer teenager face. And I will respond accordingly.

::cough, cough:: “Monsters Inc, daddy?” A sick Blackbird blobs out on the couch and recovers from one of many colds.

The first fort of many, if I have anything to say about it.

The Please Touch Museum in Philly is incredible. Blackbird loves it. It is the “Please Touch Zemo!”

She got so excited last time, she laid an egg.

Was mesmerized.

And was beside herself with glee.

Most adorable terrorist ever? Could be. She will run around the house with this hat over her face. No collisions yet.

Blackbird finally latched onto some stuffed animals this past summer. I was in a local toy store with her and the only toy she wouldn’t put down after picking it up was a black and white stuffed cat. She’s picked up others, but kitty is the original. Doggy is also pictured here.

This is where we are now with the buddies. Soon she’ll figure out how to just build a ramp out of animals and hop out of her crib on her own.

Halloween! That’s my little puppy peeking past the pumpkin.

“I know I brought some cider. Not sure about you, but I’ve got my cider.”

Face painting is a favorite of Blackbird’s.

My Halloween ladies out on the prowl.

This puppy has a lollipop. This is one happy puppy. At one point in the evening, she was walking along from house to house with a bouquet of lollipops clutched in her hand, plastic pumpkin in the other.

I love this getup. It’s Astro Boy in the legs and Captain Jack Harkness in the coat lapels.

Blackbird got into Thanksgiving a bit more this year. I think next year she’ll really get into the whole Thanksgiving feast thing.

Friends who ride swings together, cry together.

A little taste of snow to start the winter off right. Overall, Blackbird was intrigued but left unsatisfied.

This was the real deal. And it was met with great trepidation once the initial novelty wore off. A little battle of the wills ensued later on during our walk, with Blackbird insisting that we carry her for a few blocks. We refused. She refused to move. She won.

If there’s anything she likes more than Uncle Brian, it’s watching videos of herself with Uncle Brian. Blackbird has a bit of a narcissistic streak when it comes to videos.

“Am I not fabulous in my penguins? Do you not also see my candy jamas? Are they not also fabulous?” Christmas day was spent in our newly acquired finery.

Blackbird entertains Uncle Larry with… whatever that is whipping around there.

“Don’t look at the light, honey. Stop. Please stop looking at the light… You’ll hurt your eyes. Kiddo, I need you to… OK, I’m turning this thing off.”

At least I got the shot of the face painting eventually.

This was Blackbird’s reaction to Alisa adding green food coloring to homemade play dough. For whatever reason, it blew her tiny mind.

We had a little get-together for Blackbird’s big day.

As I hoped, she was surrounded by friends and family to celebrate her second year.

Mommy made her one heck of a cake, too.

Happy second birthday, kiddo.

7 Responses to “Blackbird: 2 Years”

  1. jwreezy says:

    She is beautiful. Excellent collection, and running commentary. You two are clearly infatuated with her; it bleeds out of every photo, every word. Props to Alisa for that awesome cake. Think she could do a bust of Hegel?

  2. vanderleun says:

    Very nice and very loving. Happy Birthday Blackbird.

  3. s. rugen says:

    Gram loved watching Blackbird grow and develop through your yearsworth collection of photos. Kudos to the photographer/s!

  4. Jon says:

    I can’t show this to any of my female friends; their ovaries will overheat and destroy the entire West Coast.

  5. Elaine says:

    Jon’s right, my ovaries are twitching. She’s beautiful & so is this montage! Happy 2nd Bday to J!!

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Hullabaloo Costumes, Chris Rugen. Chris Rugen said: At long last, the 2 year J post: http://bit.ly/9SyYxG Drink it in, people. All 78 images of it. […]

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