Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Henry in Love

Mabel Watson Payne was just waking up from a nap when I called in this afternoon. Her thoughts were still occupied with dreams of the faraway land she lived in before getting born and launching herself into a world where time steadily passes. How rosy her cheeks and how mild her gaze.

Despite much effort, my daughter and I could not conclusively decide what to call the color (or colors) assumed today by this girl's eyes in the full light of the west-facing windows. The iris's rim and the pupil appeared as navy blue, while the iris itself seemed to combine glowing tints of green and gray and gold – with perhaps a lurking under-layer of pure blue (from the not-so-distant epoch when these eyes really were blue).

In honor of my daughter's birthday earlier this week I took her out shopping for some new office clothes downtown in San Francisco as soon as the daddy came home from work. Mabel Watson Payne spent a pleasant wakeful interlude with him, chiefly practicing her standing-up technique in many different locations around the apartment.

Later – after we had come back to the house with our purchases and had eaten burrito dinners – I enjoyed the privilege of reading the ritual bedtime story to Mabel Watson Payne. We read her current favorite. It is called Henry in Love.

The anti-Disney aesthetic prevails in up-market current-days children's books. Where Disney creatures had over-large facial features and over-large feet and paws (or hands or gloves), these postmodern creatures have everything minimalistic.