Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Spring and Easter photos

Here are the Petey pix from the Spring, including Easter in Davenport with both sides of his family.

Pete Art #7

Pete art mommy.jpg
Originally uploaded by Childe_Erik.
Greeting Card
Peter Simpson, 2005- [and studio]
Mixed media

This piece echoes the use of pre-fabricated children's heart stickers in Valentine. Here the stickers attach a found object to the work: a four-line, jingling poem seemingly narrated by a small child to its "Mommy." The hue of the handprint varies, its lighter shades suggesting the simple pink of the child's card hinted at in the poem, its darker shades approaching the color of blood. The babyish innocence of the handprint is belied by the grotesque dislocation of the thumb and by the eight-foot height of the hand in the displayed piece, a signal that the "hands [that] were once so tiny" have expanded colossally and unexpectedly out of control.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Under the Table

From Carolyn--

Pete's new favorite place in the house is under the dining room table. He likes to go there to be chased and caught and tickled and kissed. You can tell he's heading under the table because he gets over-excited: breathing audibly and crowing with anticipation. He puts up a pretense of hurrying to get away, but he so clearly can't wait for me to catch up to him. The time I will spend under the dining room table in 2006 will far surpass the time I have spent there in previous years.

Monday, May 15, 2006


From Carolyn--

Pete was tired after daycare today, and he kept making a sound like a small, high-pitched, grumpy wookie.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Parental expectations

I think, on the whole, I do a pretty good job of limiting my vicarious ambitions for my son. I'll let him do what he wants to do. But I have to say, it would be awfully cool if he could learn to do this. Or this. But the choice between the two is his alone.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Anthropological linguistics

It's been interesting to see ways in which Pete's language acquisition takes unexpected turns. Last week, he was bending his head sideways whenever we read a book's page that said, "A train runs across this track." It took us a while to figure out that he was hearing "track" and "neck" (of another book's "bend my neck") as the same word. He separates them now. And sometimes his metonymies are strikingly clear: he saw the big wooden cross at church and immediately made his sign for "fan," and as soon as he learned a sign for "train," he explored how well it worked for other big wheeled things such as trucks. And he started calling me "baba" (for "papa") a while ago. When he figured out that he could use "baba" to mean himself ("baby"), that meaning took over. Forget papa! But now, there's a fascinating confusion between the meanings. For instance, if he's downstairs with Carolyn and hears me upstairs, he'll listen, point to himself, and say, "baba?" I've heard that other male babies use the same name for themselves and their fathers, too, even when the same isn't so similar to "baby." Hmm.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


From Carolyn--

Pete kisses! Best Baby Ever.

He's been making kissing sounds in the appropriate places in a song he likes that involves a baby being kissed, but this evening he started making kissing noises out of the blue, and when I made one back, he leaned in and kissed me! (Well, smashed his lips against my mouth sort of awkwardly, but intentionally and very fondly.) It's the greatest thing. And when I put him into his crib right now, he was back at it. Kiss, kiss, kiss. I may never go to work again.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Train sounds

Did you know that your brain makes repetitive sounds appear quieter if you don't attach emotional significance to them, louder if you do? When we moved to Grinnell almost five years ago, I couldn't believe how loud the train horns were. I didn't care about them one way or the other, though, so they started to sound softer and softer until I almost never noticed them at all. Now, Pete is obsessed with trains, and I think that's great, so if I hear one approaching, I'll try to scoop him up and go see it. And quite suddenly, the horns have gotten dramatically louder. The brain just fries my chicken.