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The age of yes

Last week Asa had a spurt of language development. 

Since about 11 months old, he's gotten by with only a couple of words, mostly Mama and Dada (though he understands far more).

This past week he more than doubled his repertoire, adding Yes (and its Amharic equivalent, Awo), No, and Oh dear.

Of these words, the one he uses most is Yes.

Ask him anything -- say anything with rising intonation at the end of the phrase -- and "Yeh" is what he'll most likely say in response (often followed by laughter).

Folk knowledge and parenting books have prepared us for the Terrible Twos, an age when "No" becomes children's favourite word, and they refuse to cooperate in any plans they haven't hatched themselves. 

Asa won't be two for another 4 or 5 months, and hopefully he'll skip the terrible part. In any case we're enjoying his willingness to go along with our plans for the time being.

His tolerance was clear last Friday, on our night walk across London.

I was struck by it as we were crossing Lambeth Bridge.

Wind and rain were buffeting us. But Asa sat contentedly in his buggy -- looking out through a visor studded with raindrops at a world of blurry, refracted streetlights and darkness.

As long as there was food in his belly; he wasn't too hot or cold; and we were there, I figured, the world would be all right by him.

A long walk

The walk turned out to be more of an adventure than we'd expected.

We'd taken the wrong bus from Peckham, and reached Waterloo after the other walkers had left. Hurrying to catch up with them, we were handed a map, oriented briefly, and set off.

En route, opposite Westminster

It wasn't until we got to the first checkpoint, where shelter and refreshments were meant to be available, that we realised something was awry.

Finding the place closed and locked, we called back to base. 

We were in the wrong place. 

It turned out that we'd been given the 15-mile map rather than the 6-mile one.

There were two walks happening that night, the longer one looping around South Kensington, and the shorter one confined to Trafalgar Square, the City, and the South Bank.

We'd gotten most of the way to South Ken before we realized what had happened.

By the time we got back to Waterloo, most of the other 6-milers had already finished and gone home. 

And the 15-milers were just setting off; we caught sight of their backs as they headed off towards South Ken with a whoop.

Some wore orange wigs, and one or two were dressed as carrots.

A word for our sponsors

It would have been nice to have gone with the rest of the crowd, but the three of us enjoyed the walk anyway. 

We got outside of our usual tramping grounds, saw some new parts of the city, and had some quiet time to ourselves.

And in the process we raised over a thousand pounds for retinoblastoma research.

Many thanks to everyone who sponsored us!

More soon on Asa's IAM procedure, which went smoothly.

The website for donations for eye cancer research remains open:


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Maybe it's all the to-and-fro'ing we've done on the trains between London and Birmingham for his eye exams, or maybe it's due to some kind of innate fascination with large moving things, but Asa loves trains.

I post these drawings of his partly to cheer myself up. It's been a pretty rough week, watching the US elect a con man as President.

Asa is an American citizen, and in 13 years time he'll be eligible to vote. I'm grateful that he's healthy, and that he stands an excellent chance of living a full life. But I worry about the world that he and his generation will inherit.

Let us pray for wisdom in our leaders, and for strength and resolve for those who resist them in the cause of the greater good.