H is up from his nap. He smiles enthusiastically when he sees me, his body jumping with excitement. Up up, I say, picking him up, and he points at the bedroom door. We descend the staircase, H bouncing and kicking his legs, and round the corner into the living room. H points at the back door. I put on my shoes, open the door, and his body lunges ahead of me as we step off the stoop. We approach a T in the sidewalk. Would you like to go this way or that way? I ask, turning my whole body as I point in each direction. H points right.
We walk toward the alley, H grinning as he looks up at me. He touches the five metal posts that line the alley, three times each, and then we are at another T. Would you like to go this way or that way? I ask, pointing first left, then right. H points left.
We move toward the bus stop, stopping to examine a security door along the way. H touches the deadbolt lock with his tiny index finger, pulls at the door knob, then thrusts his arm out. Keep going? I ask. Yes, he points.
We continue down the sidewalk to the intersection. H points enthusiastically at the cross walk signal. It’s a solid red hand, I say to H, extending my arm with my palm flexed up in demonstration. It means don’t walk. We have to wait for the sign to show a person. I point at the cross walk signal for the opposite direction. Like that, I say. We wait, me explaining traffic rules and H pointing wildly from one cross walk signal to another. The light changes and we cross, H pointing back at the signal behind us, legs swinging, torso bobbing up and down. We arrive at the other side. Would you like to go straight or turn left? I ask. H points straight.
We continue down the hill, H pointing at trucks passing by and the Asian-themed bookstore nestled into the hillside. We stop to examine a weathered wood fence, dry and bleached by the sun. H finds the knots and puts his index finger through them, skipping from one knot to the next, and then thrusts his arm out again. Keep going? I ask. He points. Okay, we’ll keep going, I say.
We walk and H points at buses, a motorcycle, and people walking on the other side of the street. We stop to examine a laurel hedge, tall and encroaching on the sidewalk. H touches leaves while I point out evidence of an unseen very hungry caterpillar. Would you like to keep going? I ask. Yes. H points straight.
We resume walking. He requests brief stops to touch a bus stop sign, a rusty fire hydrant, and another laurel hedge. Each time he swings he legs excitedly as we stop and his finger touches the object of his interest. He lunges his body and thrusts his arm when he is ready to move on. Now we are at a 4-way stop. Would you like to go straight or turn right? I ask. H points straight.
We cross the intersection, H riveted by a spinning silver and purple pinwheel on a sign announcing a neighborhood party. We stop and he grabs at the blades, pulling them left and right in his small fist. He spies the other pinwheeled sign across the street. He points at it and swings his legs maniacally.
We cross again and make a beeline for the pinwheel. He grabs this one and shakes the blades. I pull us away to let it spin in the wind and move close so H can grab it again. We do this dance over and over, the pinwheel spinning in the breeze when I pull us away, H arresting it when I move us close. Then I ask if he would like to keep going. He is not sure. He looks at the pinwheel, then up toward the park. He grabs at the pinwheel again, then thrusts his arm toward the swings. He still has the pinwheel, so we stay a moment longer. Then he lets go.
We travel across the grass. H points and bounces at the sight of the tennis players, or maybe the crows. Look, the swings, I say. Would you like to go on the swing? We are standing right next to them now, but H is interested in something else. I point at the swing and H points beyond. We walk to the play area, H becoming more excited the closer we get. We pass the bench, the play structure with the slides, and the bouncy bird. H has pointed his way to the merry go round. I set him down and he crawls off in search of wood chips.