From the time Ben was a few weeks old, he has found the outdoors pleasurable and soothing. Sometimes when he's particularly fussy and refuses to be content with me sitting anywhere else, he's completely at peace if I sit on the stoop with him. I don't know if it's the air or the sense of space or the clouds and trees or some other thing I haven't thought of.
Recently it's become chilly enough that heading outdoors isn't as simple or quick as it was a month ago, but we've found that he likes to look at the bird feeder through the window every bit as much, and finds it just as soothing. It helps that the feeder is only about six feet from the window, so the birds (and squirrels and chipmunks) are large as life. He'll stare at the little woodland scene for twenty or thirty minutes at a stretch, completely content, utterly absorbed.
Some day he'll be happily successful as a wildlife biologist or painter of trees or bird handler to the stars, and he'll roll his eyes when I trot out this blog post and say, "See? I knew it all along!" It's fun to play "What Will the Kid Be?" because the possibilities are limitless, and it's a wonderful meditation of hope and promise.
The obverse of that notion is something I had never thought about before having a child. Everybody you've ever known, everybody you've ever heard of, was once a baby. Somebody burped Julia Child. Alan Greenspan was somebody's precious little muffin. Keith Richards stopped somebody's heart with gummy baby smiles.
I mean, of course, right? I didn't think Mr. Beitman, principal of my middle school, burst from his father's head full-grown or stepped ashore wave-kissed from a clamshell. But it's about as easy to imagine him arriving as a Greek goddess as to imagine him as the very embodiment of hope and promise, let alone with smoochable toes.