In honor of Rachel's 10 month birthday I asked her how she wanted to spend the day.
"Well," she sighed, "Dad already ruined my plans for the day. I wanted to stay at home and play with his laptop but he says he has to take it to work. Sometimes he's like, so lame!"
"Oh, that's too bad," I consoled her, "Is there anything else you'd like to do?"
She debated for a minute and then asked, "Can we go to that place with lots of books?"
"The library? Hmmm...That sounds like an excellent idea to me. Storytime starts soon so you'll have to hurry and get ready to go if we're going to make it in time!"
After Rachel was dressed and we had packed a snack and gathered up our library books, we left for the library. She fell asleep when we were about halfway to the library but woke up when she heard the crowd of excited children gathering around her stroller. She was a little embarrassed to be found sleeping in front of all those kids but soon cheered up when she saw another little baby who was all covered in drool.
"Hey, guys, stop laughing at me," Rachel said, "At least I don't drool."
"Now, now, Rachel," I chided, "Be nice. He's teething."
"Oh," she said guiltily, "I know how that goes."
"You don't have to tease someone else just because you were being teased. Now go make friends."
She crawled over to the boy she had pointed to and laughed at and they poked around each other's faces and played tug-of-war over a particularly interesting board book. Soon they settled down to listen to some stories about seeds, gardens, and farmers.
"Gee, mom! Playing in the dirt sounds like fun right now!"
"Oh, but Rachel, there's another storytime in just a few minutes," I stalled, hoping that she would want to go to the next storytime and would therefore forget about playing in the dirt.
To my relief she answered with a swift, "Oh, boy!"
So we went to the "big kids" story time with her friends Kelsey and Melanie. This one was much more fun than "laptime" was today. The storyteller handed out shakers to the kids and they got to shake them everytime they heard a certain word. Rachel was sitting in the back with the grownups so she was able to comendier my shaker, Julia's shaker, and the shaker of the Grandma sitting next to us. She now thinks noisemakers are the best thing in the world.
"Gee, Rachel," I whispered, "Maybe we should have gone to play in the dirt..."
"Dirt?" she asked, looking up at me, "Where?"
I didn't mean to draw her attention away from the story, but I did, so we had to leave storytime, with Rachel squirming to get out of my arms in order to either find another noisemaker or a nice pot of dirt.
Right before I dropped her, she relaxed in my arms, and pointed straight ahead.
"Books!" she grunted.
I put her down and let her choose a few books. She chose more than a few and we ended up leaving half of them behind to be reshelved (sorry, librarian). We checked out quite a few more books by Nancy Tafuri and since she enjoyed reading Whose Chick Are You? so much, I let her renew it instead of turning it in. She was so happy that she gave the book a nice big hug...and kiss (sorry, librarian).
"I'm hungry, mommy!" she said when we were in line to check out the books.
"We can't eat in the libary. You'll have to wait," I told her.
"But I'm really hungry!" she said, rather annoyed.
"Be patient, please."
"But I'm hungry, Mommy! I'm really, really hungry! I'm hungry! I'm hungry! I'm hungry!"
"It will just be a minute," I said, shushing her.
"I'm hungry, I'm hungry, I'm hungry, I'm hungry!" she continued, "I'm hungry! I'm hungry! I'm...oooh, that baby can walk...where was I? Oh, yeah! ...HUN-gry! I'm hungry! I'm hungry!"
"Thank you," I said to the librarian. And then to Rachel, "Say bye-bye!"
"Bye, bye!" she waved, "Mom, I'm hungry! Did you know I'm hungry? 'Cuz I am! And I really want to eat because I'm hungry! I'm hungry! Mo-om! I'm hungry! Feed me NOW! I'm hungry!"
"Yes, Rachel, thank you. That's enough,"
"Hungry? I know." I said, pushing the stroller with one arm while wrestling her with the other and somehow managing to get my wallet back into the diaper bag at the same time.
We walked outside.
"Ooh! A tree!" Rachel said, pointing.
"And a person! And a car! And the sky! Ooh, that's bright...what's it called? The sun! Yeah, the sun! Grass! Can I play on the grass! A bike! Mom, I want a bike! That boy has a book! I want a book..." she nattered on and on.
We sat on the grass.
"It's kind of damp," she noted, "I'm not sure I want to sit here...ooh! A leaf! I found a leaf! Hey, Mom, look! I found a leaf! I wonder if it tastes good...ew! Not so much. But maybe this one tastes better. Hey! That leaf is moving! Oh, it's not a leaf. It's a bug. There's a tree! Hello person! Look how cute I am! What's in my hand? Oh! A leaf! I found a leaf! I wonder if it tastes good...ew!"
I opened up her snack container and handed her a graham cracker.
"Hey, thanks, Mom!" she said, "How did you know I was hungry?"
"Lucky guess," I sighed, relaxing into the lawn, glad to have a few minutes to myself...
"Can I have another one?" Rachel poked me with her gooey hands.
Just then a man walked down the sidewalk. He looked at Rachel and put his hands up on either side of his head. Then, raising his index finders he pawed at the ground and charged at her!
She looked up at him and laughed, "Mom, that man is being silly!"
"I'm sorry," the man said. "She just looks like a..." he waggled his index fingers sheepishly, "Uh, yeah.."
He walked away laughing. Rachel watched him go.
"Oh, Funny Man!" she called out, "Don't go! You're funny! Hey, Mom! He's not listening to me. Make him do what I want him to do! He can walk. I can't walk. I wonder what he thought I looked like. Hmmm...I don't know... Oh! Can I have a cracker? Why didn't you give me one before?"
When we were finished our snack and had a quick diaper change (Rachel, not me) we set off for home. She fell asleep on the way home.
The minute she woke up from her nap Rachel wanted to read the stories we had just checked out from the libray. She happily held story book after story book to me.
"Read this one!" she said, "Now this one!"
We read a lot of stories. When my voice had all but given out, Rachel crawled off of my lap and stood mournfully by the door.
"Please, Mom, please can we go outside? We haven't been outside all day! Why don't you ever take me outside? Let's go. Please, please, please? Pretty, pretty please with a cherry on top? Oh, you're getting on your shoes! That's a good sign! No, wait! Why are you walking down the hall? That's very bad, Mom! Outside is this way!" she gave the door a good banging.
"This way, Mom! You're going the wrong way! Oh, you just wanted a hair elastic. Okay, let's go! I'm ready! What? you want me to put on pants? But that takes time! Daylight's burning, lady! Maybe if I put both my legs down the same hole..."
"Rachel, cooperate, please,"
"But I'm just experimenting, Mom..."
"I thought you wanted to go outside," I said.
"Oh, yeah! I remember! Outside! Did you know we can see a tree from our window? We can. It's right there! See? See? Do you see? Oh, she's picking me up! Where are we going? Outside?! Yippee! I love outside!"
We played outside until Daddy came home from work. We saw his car drive by and waved. Rachel was very happy to see him.
"It's Daddy!" she shrieked, "He's back! I thought he'd never come back! What does he do all day, anyway? Ooh! He has his backpack on! Maybe he has his computer! I like his computer! Can I play with it? Oh, hello, Daddy!"
"What did you do all day?" asked Daddy.
"Pretty much nothing," Rachel admitted, "Mom never lets me do anything fun. All we did is stay inside all day and do nothing. Sometimes she's like, so lame! Can we do something fun, Daddy? Like, toss me in the air? I like when we play that game! Ooh, getting the mail is fun! Can I sit on your shoulders and pull your ears? Oh, you want kisses? Okay, here you go. Now, about something fun..."
"Uh-oh, Daddy! Mommy fell down. Mommy! Mommy! Can you hear me? Mommy, mommy! Oh dear, I think she's fainted."
Perhaps it's for the best that Rachel can't talk yet.