We were hardly home this summer. And when we were, we had guests – a full house of both relatives and friends. Katmai went on 3 expeditions this summer, a week, a week, and finally – a month in the Arctic. So of course his blog has languished, but we’ve got a billion pictures of him. Here are some from our most recent journey (described in detail on the Ground Truth Trekking blog – start here for the first installment).
I have a mischievous plan
Tossing mom’s hat!
After two long book tour trips, and this long expedition, I am even more convinced that shaking up the usual routine leads to great leaps in development. In the course of a month, he’s become a chatterbox, speaking in 6+ word sentences often, and picking up new words as soon as we say them.
“I see spruce tree. I see uh-oh tree. Uh-oh tree fall in Noh-tak. I see not uh-oh tree.”
“Buh (bird) fwying! Up in buu dye (blue sky)? No. Up in grey dye. Buu dye all bye-bye”
“Leaf float down in Noh-tak”
Wearing mom’s shoes
On the plane
What kid wouldn’t like spending nearly every day on some sort of beach, throwing rocks in the water? And pointing out every possible color of beach trash. “I see buu twash! Buu twash bad?” “Yes, trash is bad” “Buu twash bad. Purp (purple trash) bad?” “Yes” ….
Katmai throws rocks in a lagoon on the Chukchi
And the rest of the days either picking berries on the tundra or eating muktuk (whale blubber) amidst adoring crowds of village kids?
Picking blueberries with mom
Eating muktuk in Point Hope
Finding trash on the Chukchi coast
Carrying Katmai, I was carrying maybe 22+ pounds of him, another 20 or so pounds I’ve gained in pregnancy weight, and finally, a front pouch weighing maybe 5 pounds. So even though Hig had all the gear, I was fairly loaded. (It’s the front pouch under the coat that makes me look so odd – not the baby bump!)
All bundled up for rain
Katmai’s favorite was the cloudberries (poof berries to him), but he enjoyed all kinds.
Diaper changes in the chilly air? Not so cool.
“No wipe on butt!”
Charging down the mountain
“Pink walk stick!”
Walking a narrow sand spit on a Chukchi Sea lagoon
Unfortunately, he did have to ride in the back seat when the car was actually moving… The two months since I last posted have been a busy time for Katmai. We left the Seldovia blizzards behind to take him to southern realms where the ground was showing, dragging him around on book tour with us for a month. Katmai toughed it out through over 4,000 miles of driving, sleeping in 20 different places, and attending all but one or two of our 15 hour-long presentations. He’s an adaptable kid.
And though I feel like we provide him with stimulation at home, seeing all those new people and places brought out an explosion of development. When we left he was 13 months old. He would take a few steps, only occasionally, mostly with the right foot, but basically was crawling. He knew around 10 signs and gestures to communicate.
In Eugene, at his aunt Valisa’s, we took him out to look at the moon – prompting his very first word. It all snowballed from that first word of “moon”. Now, he’s 14 months old. He’s walking everywhere, has a pretty good overhand throw, can climb down stairs, and between signs, sounds, and words, can communicate over 50 different things! Most of it happened in just a couple weeks. That’s a lot to show for a bunch of hours talking to mama in the car seat.
But with all the great leaps, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed: Go-rounds. Whether it’s the wind farms of Wyoming, the ceiling fans in a restaurant, or the loose knobs on someone’s kitchen cabinets, Katmai has a passion and obsession with spinning things that has lasted well over half his life. Did you know that lampshades often spin? That nearly every house has at least one loose drawer knob? Thanks to Katmai, I know all this and more.
He’s added a number of secondary passions along the way. After go-rounds, moons and horses are his favorite things to point out and talk about, though balls and books are still the best toys. He likes most animals, but I think my friend Rachel started the horse obsession by taking Katmai to see and pet her horse. I’m not sure why he loves the moon so much (he’ll find it in every story book, as well as outside). Wait until he finds out that the moon goes around.