It turns out that Lennie’s a big fan of the great outdoors. We’ve had her out plenty, but this Spring, she’s aware enough of her surroundings to really enjoy it. She and M planted 40 daffodil bulbs a few weeks ago and have made a habit of going out to count the ones that have come up (32 made it). Today, they went out to weed our little (mostly herb) garden in preparation for the coming seasons, and she had great fun. Judging from the dirt smudges around her mouth, we have a little pica baby. I watched for a few minutes as she played with a spade, transferring dirt from a pot to the ground. Later, when I was done with work and was able to come out and really play with her some, she grabbed our garden gnome (yes, I know, dorky) and ran around the yard with him. She identified him pretty clearly as Santa without being prompted, which is especially weird because I don’t remember playing up Santa very much over the holidays. We sit out together on the swing on our back patio (during the first three or four months of her life, I was able sometimes to rock her to sleep swinging out there), and she climbs around on the swing and then hops down and putters around the yard, perking up when she hears birds calling. She’s such a little cherub, and it’s such a nice, pastoral little scene.
Lennie Lou. It’s a silly name, we know. It started out as a joke, really, but it’s a cute nick for her occasionally, and she wrings all the hillbilly out of it. Her friend Lowen, with whom we have several videos of her walking great long distances holding hands, has taken to calling her Lennie Lou, but he doesn’t have those initial ells yet, so it comes out Ninny New.
We almost feel safe having Lennie around stairs now. Ella has been negotiating her stairs for months now with no problem, and Dave and Karen could take their gates down but that we’re over there so frequently with our daredevil toddler. This weekend, she did much better on the stairs, bumping down them on her butt rather than leaning her big toddler noggin out at a 45-degree angle in front of her and trying to take them standing up. I don’t mind so much if she takes a little fall now and then (her recent exploits outside have resulted in a few scratches here and there, and I’m pretty stoic about it all, though M’s a little worse for the wear), but I really don’t relish the thought of her tumbling all the way down a flight of stairs. I think we’re not too far from the time when that won’t be so much of a worry, when we can turn Lennie and Ella loose without fear of a bad fall and without spending half the evening camped out on the stairs to cushion whatever fall may (but never does) happen.
We think Lennie’s going to grow up to be a pleasant mixture of girly girl and tomboy. She likes to play in the dirt (a few months ago, she was very prissy about getting her hands dirty) and was enthusiastic about poking at some sort of larval bug we found and about holding a toad (which M didn’t let her hold for fear of a squeezy Of Mice and Men moment). She’s also quite the little athlete, with a pretty good arm and abdominal strength that, proportionally, puts most people to shame. One of her latest tricks is to climb up onto an end table and dart across the length of the couch, dismounting onto the other end table and stepping at full height onto the arm of my big chair, where she stands and grins at her horrified parents, who’re afraid to move lest the lightest stirring of the air knock her to the floor or provoke her to leap floorward to certain and serious injury. So she’s rough and tumble, in other words. But at the same time, she’s the little girl who tucks her stuffed animals and babies into bed with kisses and (a recent development) nurses her baby dolls. She’s the little niblet who’ll point to the tiniest scratch or bump and tell you about the ouchy. She’s the powder puff who asks constantly for lotion to rub on her legs or hands or her stuffed duck (not a great outcome that). So she’s rough and tumble, but she’s also delicate and girly, and we think it’ll be a fun combination. She defies the old nursery rhyme, composed as she must be of snakes and snails and sugar and spice.