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Sunday, July 2, 2006

All the way to Train Town today, Kylie and I had our first meaningful conversation. It started with a long look into each other’s eyes, and then mutual grins. Before long she was talking and I was answering. It was mostly “mum mum mum” and “la la la,” but still. It was meaningful to me, because it was a step forward in our relationship. And it was obvious she knew what she was trying to say, because she had that look. It might not have been coming out in words you and I would understand, but it meant a lot to me because it meant something to her.

I was sitting in the back seat of the van when we went to Train Town. Kylie was in her car seat in the middle seat, facing backward (as the law requires, since she’s only ten months old) so that she could look directly into my face. I tried to maintain an expression that wouldn’t scare her, because it was a long ride. So it was a joyous occasion for me when it evolved into something more meaningful.

With Aiden I have no trouble communicating. His words are very precise, and he tends to repeat himself until he’s sure you understand. Sometimes the sounds get twisted, but when says, “The train goes around on the tracks,” you know he’s making sure you see the same reality he does. And when he says, “I have two belly buttons,” you know he’s making a joke. (“I have two noses,” he says. But then it’s “Uncle Mike has one nose. Daddy has one nose.”)

So we rode the little train through the tunnels and over the bridges, stopping to feed the llamas and the big old goats. As we were getting back in the van after our train ride, Aiden shouted, “All aboard!” On the ride home, we passed a yard sale that featured a drum set, and for a couple of miles we heard Aiden’s announcement, “I want a drum set.” He wouldn’t be dissuaded, but the yearning sort of petered out on its own. Not that it won’t pop up again, because he never forgets anything.

Before we went home, we stopped at the lake to feed the ducks. Kylie just watched, but Aiden was all about tearing up bread and throwing it into the water, watching the ducks and geese scramble for each piece. After the bread was gone, he invented more games. He picked up a small stick and started hammering away at the ground with it. “Bang! Bang! Bang! I’m building a cabinet.” (Guess what his daddy does. And his grandpa.)

2 July 2006

At the lake. More photos here and here.

When we got back to the house, Aiden wanted to show me his new police car that he drives around the patio pulling people over. Then we moved back inside so that Kylie could join the fun. She’s crawling all over now, picking up anything within her reach to see how it tastes. (Apparently plastic bread is almost as good as the real thing, because she says something like “bread bread bread” as she sucks on it.)

Things got a little sideways when Aiden hit her in the back of the head with a celery stalk (and just missed her with a baseball), but after a lecture on throwing things around his baby sister, he got the message. I think. Probably not, actually, but eventually he’ll get it. Anyway, before long he was bouncing up and down on his mom’s back (“I’m jumping on Mama, Uncle Mike.”) and running back and forth between his dad and me, pouncing on each of us in turn. “I need to tackle Uncle Mike,” he would say. “I need to tackle Daddy.” Well of course he does.

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Sometimes the biggest hit of the game isn’t a hit at all. Today it was a walk, an 11-pitch walk to Randy Winn, who fouled off pitch after pitch before taking his base. That at bat knocked Padres’ ace Chris Young out of the game, and the Giants took advantage against the bullpen. A double by Omar Vizquel and a home run by Pedro Feliz brought the Giants from behind, and the five-run inning led to a 6-2 win that salvaged a split in the four-game series and left the Giants just one game out of first place in the anything-can-happen NL West.

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