One

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A whole year. My beautiful boy. Even-keeled, high-hearted, generous, bold, affectionate, deft, keenly attentive. He has some words: Ada, ‘bye, ball, this, that. On his birthday he closed a drawer: “Sssut.” He put his face in a rose: “F’ow’.” There’s language ready to boil over. He doesn’t walk quite yet, but he’s quick enough as it is, scampering to the stairs if I’ve been forgetful with the door, waiting for me to race after him, then shrieking and chortling in madcap glee as he begins a rapid ascent. It’s the game he enjoys as much as the I can. He’s feeling his oats and his muscles; his lavish kisses now have teeth in them sometimes. My face looks like I’ve lost a fight with a house cat or a blackberry patch where he’s been too exuberant with a set of strong hands and those fingernails he hates to have trimmed.

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The twenty-first: he opened some presents. In this box, once we helped him look beyond the ribbon, were a pair of blue shoes. They are a little too big to wear right now, but he was very interested in stuffing them with pieces of bread.

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This photo was not staged, I swear.

There was beautiful weather, so we went to the Japanese Garden to see the Noguchi sculptures. Jolyon exhibited fine sensibilities, pointing at the art and exclaiming, “Dis! Dis! Dat! Dat! Dat!” (His favorites seemed to be some simple black ink paintings that accompanied the show.) Down at the koi pond, the irises and waterlilies were blooming. The fat fish were entrancing, of course, and so were the waterfalls. But Jolly was the only one among us to notice something else. He jabbered and pointed across the pond until I followed his finger and saw the refracted light from the waterfall dancing across a rock face and glimmering like myriad fairy lamps in the azalea branches. I’m afraid the tranquility of the garden was somewhat punctured, but I hope the other visitors at least appreciated the pure enthusiasm in the squeals.

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All photos in this post are courtesy of my dad. Thanks, Dad!

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Our Jolly. He’s an armful. But we’re all pretty crazy about him. It’s been a good year. A challenging year, to be sure, but quite possibly my favorite one yet. So glad you’re here, little man.

Steek

I have discovered the single most compelling reason to knit large, flat, multi-colored objects in the round and then cut them apart with scissors. It’s that right before you assault those thousands of precious stitches with sharpened steel you can make a comically adorable Shetland burrito.

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Seriously, I think these are my favorite work-in-progress photos ever. And do you want to know what I did next, soft in the head as the terminal cuteness had rendered me?

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First time using scissors. “I’m doing it, Mama! I’m doing it!” Two years, nine months, twenty-four days old and she cut a real steek. Bursting my buttons here.

If you don’t instantly recognize this pattern, it’s the inimitable Kate Davies again: Rams and Yowes. Katrin and I tag-teamed this one for our dear friend Martha’s baby Mateo, who will be arriving in the next few weeks. Actually, we had to gift it on the needles at the shower yesterday. We really should have read ahead to discover that the edging is self-faced and therefore twice as long as it looks. And a word to Americans queuing up this pattern: we ran really short of yarn. The three lightest colors all ran out during the edging; I think Katrin may have fudged it with the fourth as well, and that’s before we even got to the turning round to begin the facing, which repeats all the colors. So we’re something like 4,000 stitches short with each of the pale colors. I was baffled as to how other knitters were finishing the blanket with the recommended quantities of wool until I did some research and realized that Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift 2-Ply Jumper Weight DOES NOT EQUAL Jamieson’s Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight, formerly known as Natural Shetland, which is apparently unavailable in the United States. They are both fingering weight, but Supreme is a 4-ply yarn and there’s also a difference of 63 yards in the put-up. So if you’re substituting Spindrift, buy extra!

Grow

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANew in the garden, such as it is: a bean tepee! A bean-cucumber tepee, to be exact. My friend Betsy once trellised some pumpkins; why not cucumbers, I thought? Nothing growing on the ground stands a chance against the gamboling dog, after all, and we do love cucumbers around here. (Hendrick’s gin and tonic with mine, thanks.) Ada and I did the planting together.

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“Kentucky Wonder” pole beans and “Muncher” cucumbers, to join the bush beans and carrots growing in pots. They’d probably like it if the sun decided to come out some week soon. And may fortune protect them from squirrels and snails. I have high hopes of a leafy bower with a tiny seat beneath for my girl to enjoy in a few months. My girl. She is growing tall of stature and of tale.

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“Mama, last weekend I had FIVE ARMS so I could hold a lot of bird feeders with toast inside and the chickadees came and ate it ALL UP and they flew up my shirt and their tickly feet was SO TICKLY!”

I like her so much.