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Saturday, October 1, 2005

Dakota was a delight today. This was the first time Iíve stayed with him without his vividly verbal older brother around, and I wasnít sure how it would go. Dakota is a quiet boy, but with a lot going on below the surface. And he talked more than Iíve ever heard him talk before. Maybe he just needs a chance to get a word in.

I stayed with him for several hours this afternoon while D.J. went to a friendís house for a sleepover, and Tammy and David took the littlest ones to an out-of-town event. I was more than happy to be asked to spend time with Dakota. He wanted movies playing on the TV one after the other, but we did not simply sit and watch them. When he was watching, he was narrating the action, delighting in recognizing familiar characters and scenes. And when he wasnít watching, he was reenacting the parts that meant the most to him.

He also read books by himself and played with his toy cars. I didnít have to guide him much. In fact, I was pretty much guided by what he wanted to do. Thatís the advantage of being one-on-one with a child for whom you donít have full time primary responsibility. You can let him tell you what he needs and what he wants to do, and then you can respond without worrying about anything else. And, by the way, without three other kids in the house to distract either of you.

The one time I had to get serious with him was when I found him out in the sandbox tossing sand around. Some of it was getting on the deck and some was getting in his hair. I asked him to stop a couple of times before giving him the warning that he would have to come inside if he didnít stop. When he did it again I had to be the enforcer. When I told him to come in, he asked me why but he didnít resist. He knew why. Besides, it was starting to get chilly and time to come in anyway.

When I asked him to put his pajamas on, he said no and then went and did it. When I could tell he was so tired that he could hardly keep his head up, I told him it was time for bed. He said no, and then he willingly put himself to bed with no argument. I guess you have to learn when ďnoĒ becomes a flexible concept. He was sweet and cooperative all day, and I would have no problem watching him again, if the need arises.

1 October 2005


Itís a little hard to get a handle on his eating habits, though. He asked for grilled cheese, so I got out the bread and he said, ďNo bread.Ē Then he asked for grilled cheese again, and I asked him, ďBread? Or no bread?Ē He said, ďBread,Ē so I fixed him a traditional grilled cheese sandwich, which I had to eat myself because it turns out he just wanted another piece of cheese. Maybe if I do spend more time with him, Iíll learn to understand him a little better. We made some great strides today, though.

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Thereís playing out the string, and then thereís going in the tank. The Diamondbacks donít have anything more to play for than the Giants do, but theyíre finishing the season on a higher note. The Giants have lost five in a row, while the Diamondbacks have won seven straight, including their 2-1, 11-inning victory over the Giants this afternoon in the next-to-last game of the season. Thank goodness.

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