: Altars & Artifacts

Embra August King

This has been a big year for Gus. He's flown in his first airplane, dipped in his first pool and got caught off-guard by a wave of the Pacific Ocean. He inspeced the teeth of his great grandfather Pike and watered the lawn of great grandfather Barnes. He's been to Denver, Charlotte, Pasadena and Berkely; up into the Rocky Mountains, and the Smokey Mountains and over the (repaired) Bay Bridge. He danced with his great grandmother King and slid with his great grandmother Pike and rearranged he great grandmother Barnes's furniture. He's had his first haircut and fallen in love with his first jack-o-lantern. He walked barefoot on his granmothers King's gravel drive like it was velvet; and slid, chin first, down his granmother Barnes's marble steps. He chased his first dog (apologies to Jo) and hunted lizards with Nathan and Drew. His grandfather Barnes introduced him to a whole herd of horses, and his grandfather King introduced him to baboons. A big year.

In no time at all, he's gone from a wobbly crawl to an all out run; and when eh's particularly happy he can work up a pretty good jig. He'll climb anything he can get his toes onto, then spread his arms for a swan dive. At his last Dr.s appointment he screamed and kicked about getting weighed and measured, but lay still and utterly absorbed by the sight of having his blood drawn. He likes to pour salt on the counter and to unfold laundry. He thinks velcro's pretty hip, and toothbrushes too. His first favorite word was Humpty Dumpty (or maybe it was Hose), and though the Dr. doesn't think howling for wolf and mooing for cow counts as language, it pretty much does the trick. He likes to follow long drinks of apple juice with a lip-smacking "Ahhh"; and when he responds to the sight of Watt asleep by tilting his head and making snoring sounds, I think the message is pretty clear.

He's started attaching the first sound of words to things: ssss for snow, fffff for fish, bu for bottle or blanket or book. Ap is apple and ice for icicle. He points outside and says: Ca which I'm thinking means car, but it might also mean train. And recently he's been pointing and saying curl which might actually mean squirrel. Pretty neat. He says Bye with a nice soft southern lilt which his Daddy won't give him credit for. And eye for Hi. And Gu of course for himself.

Last weekend Watt was making breakfast and Gus and I were on the couch reading The Little Golden Book Christmas Story. I asked where the baby was and Gus pointed to Jesus. I asked where the mama was and he pointed to Mary. I asked where the daddy was and he pointed to Watt. So I guess that's where we stand.

Every morning he waves hello to the Raggedy Ann on the landing; and every night, after we've sung a little and said our prayers, he snuggles down and waves goodnight to me.