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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Personal: Grace on the Phone; Memory; Seeing the Cubs at Wrigley 
4th-Mar-2008 11:54 pm
Nieces
Grace talked to me on the phone today!!! No, I'm not making too big a deal about this! Grace and Haley have shown a long and more-or-less unwavering shyness about the telephone. One tease of a mini-conversation about two years ago, after I had stayed with them for a few days, was the only crack that ever appeared in their policy. And yet today, for no apparent reason, Grace got right on the phone with me and talked away when I (without hope) asked Leslie to ask her if she wanted to talk with me. Haley continues to simply proclaim that she's "Ti-red," the clever little thing having already stumbled onto an evasive tactic she can use right up until she's shipped out at eighteen.

Now, granted, Grace is five and not yet the master, or rather mistress, of the gab that her Irish heritage will demand of her. There were plenty of questions that I tossed her that allowed her to simply answer "yes" or "no," which was clearly more easy for her. But we talked about school, about her friend Hailey having the same name as her sister Haley ("but it's spelled differently"), about little Sophia getting better at walking ("she can walk from the stairs to the living room"), how much she likes playing games on the computer, and how she warms this teacher's heart by trying to teach three year-old preschooler Haley the lessons she's learning in kindergarten.

When I asked her if she'd been playing out in the snow, she said that no, it was melting now "because spring's coming." So we talked about Spring, which she had clearly been studying a bit in school. I asked her if she remembered last spring, and she said that no, she didn't. I told her that that was understandable since she was still young, but she did say she could remember – and you could hear her smiling – last summer when we all went on our annual trip together to see the Cubs play at Wrigley, and how I was holding her and talking about the game with her. Since she had been playing t-ball that summer, she understood the rules for the first time and was now actually interested in and really watching the game for the first time, at least when you drew her attention to something. Leslie captured those moments with a series of these great shots of us.

So Grace completely made my day (though I enjoyed talking with Leslie about her and Jim's anniversary, too) and I've completely fallen in love with her. Again. I'm getting good at it.

Comments 
5th-Mar-2008 01:16 pm (UTC)
Absolutely adorable (she says sleepily).

Though of course, the photos suggest a perfectly reasonable explanation for Haley's continued veto of the phone -- really, voice is only a tiny part of the overall experience of any conversation, and that goes approximately triple (quadruple? quintuple?) in RE: you.

(why yes, I do realize that logic makes me a rank hypocrite for avoiding video chat...)
6th-Mar-2008 07:40 am (UTC)
Heh. Funny logic. :-) But of course I too recognize that there has to be a certain level of abstraction there for phone conversation to make sense or seem attractive, though by everything I can tell, my nieces have been particularly shy about the whole thing.

I did forget, though, the other past exception to the previous habit of silence when, 11 months ago, Haley got on the phone momentarily to announce with great excitement and pride, "I pooped on the potty!"

Edited at 2008-03-06 07:43 am (UTC)
6th-Mar-2008 03:30 pm (UTC)
Well, clearly such a moment of import requires a break in the silence, really -- Haley's wise beyond her years.

I dunno if I'd call it particularly shy -- I mean, I still am a little weirded out by the immediacy of voice directly in my ear, on occasion.
6th-Mar-2008 04:20 pm (UTC)
Whoops! My bad: I just accidentally clicked the following, looking for the other links was writing for you! (The historian's attention to detail at work....)
5th-Mar-2008 06:21 pm (UTC)
Okay, that is seriously adorable.
6th-Mar-2008 07:43 am (UTC)
Seriously! And when I was putting that together, I did in fact think about you and Dan and all this coming up for you guys and Abi.... Too cool.
17th-Mar-2008 06:24 pm (UTC) - Hope you're feeling better
Hi my friend.

These are great pictures. I'd like to meet you there some summer day.

Hope you are well. I'm over my sick. It went screaming through the little town of Ely with a vengeance. Three weeks later everyone was still coughing.

Happy Monday, Tim
20th-Mar-2008 06:52 am (UTC) - Re: Hope you're feeling better
Heh. That would be great fun. (The meeting at Wrigley, not the lung infection.)
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