Thursday, August 11, 2011

Board Books

Yesterday afternoon Mabel Watson Payne fearlessly decided to explore a big yellow cast-iron pipe at Huntington Park playground.

She spent some time on the swings, as well, but has not yet evolved any deep enthusiasm for this form of recreation. What she liked best about sitting in the swing was having a favorable vantage point to observe the bigger children and their doings. She has an almost endless appetite for sizing up the playground antics of others. I often see her watching pigeons and dogs with the same studious, serious expression.

Back at home, in fresh clothes, she was in the mood to share various current favorites like the purple and green plush creature above (species not determined).

Little by little she led me over to the floor-level shelf in the dining nook where her board books live alongside a carefully curated box of the stuffed animals currently in highest favor, such as the large flattened monkey below.

She knew that the other books on nearby shelves were off-limits, but that she could take anything and everything she wanted from her own shelf. My daughter wrote earlier this week about the infant pleasures daily derived from this collection of board books.

Mabel Watson Payne wanted to make super-sure that I saw and appreciated certain favorites.

Below, she got absorbed in studying the wavy reflection visible in a curvy mirror built into one of these much-handled volumes. Baby in the Mirror is a game we play every time we find ourselves at the bathroom sink and confront our reflections in the medicine cabinet door.

Later on, after the parents had returned, there was cooking in the kitchen (and the baby-gate was deployed). Mabel Watson Payne could not think of anything in the world she wanted more than to get into that kitchen, once it had been barricaded.

She kept a vigil there for several minutes, hoping against hope, but then her daddy came and asked for help in getting the table ready for dinner. And she was happy to oblige.