Sunday, April 27, 2008

Our Thanks to the Village

For those that haven't met Stellan personally, it would be an understatement to say that he is an independent and friendly child. Case in point: yesterday we went to an awesome party at the Los Olivos (Spanish) branch with all our old amigos.
It was actually a basketball game between the Santa Barbara Spanish branch and the not-too-distant Santa Paula Spanish branch. So Stellan and I came to support Kevin, the SB branch's secret weapon. Stellan was thrilled to see all the branch buddies - he practically leapt out of my arms to give Marta Castrejon a hug. (I think he's met her once, maybe, when he was a few weeks old.) He tried the same thing with Arian Ramirez, a 9 year-old boy near us in the "stands" (the folding chairs on the stage in front of the basketball court).
Stellan was insistent that an egregious error had been made, and that he was also meant to play in the game. I had an extremely difficult time keeping him from stage-diving. However, all the other people there were very helpful in distracting him, obstructing him and grabbing him when necessary.
After the game (SB won), there was of course food. Lots of food. Really good food. And we definitely enjoyed it. But what I enjoyed more was setting Stellan on the lawn and letting him go, free range baby that he is. He quickly found a pack of little girls (aged 15 months to 5 years) to play with; later, he found the kids' dining table, and was nearly successful in his attempt to pilfer food from one of the Mendoza kids' plates. Later, he made his way over to Presidente Obispo, who tried to ignore him and keep eating, but Stellan was very insistent and very cute and eventually won him over.
But that's not all. Later that night, we had the Fleming family over for a backyard picnic dinner. They have three young kids (none as young as Stellan), who are an absolute delight. It was about the easiest Stellan maintenance meal ever. He just followed the kids around, climbed in and out of various adults' laps, stole carrots off plates and played the "Now I'm Inside, Now I'm Outside" game.
Today at church, he was restless in Relief Society, so I let him loose. Sure enough, he crawled over to the row with the young women and their leaders, made cute faces, and one of them picked him up. He eventually got bored, so he got back on the ground and was almost run over by the person who just finished a prayer and was not expecting a baby 2 inches from her feet (because he wasn't there when she started). Luckily, some nice ladies stopped the prayerer (I know, not a real word) from stepping on him.
This is pretty much the story of my life, and will be for the next several years, I'm sure. He's a free spirit and doesn't sit still well, so I'm just going to let him loose and have faith that people around him are patient enough to not get annoyed, kind enough to keep him from getting trampled, friendly enough to pick him up, and interesting enough to keep him entertained. I'll always be there, watchfully standing by and silently thanking the village that is raising my child.

Stellan, the Free Range Baby

Stellan's harem

1 comment:

Jess said...

What a beautiful Harem! Lucky boy. Don't worry, the free-range thing gets a little easier once you can actually communicate with him. Brem was very much the explorer and walking at 10 months (which makes it all the more fun to keep up) so the wait until nursery was looonnnnggg. Now that I can use the threat (often followed-through) of time-out, he has learned some boundaries. Yeah, much easier.