Monday, November 17, 2014

Extra Laps

Six degrees this morning.  Blue skies and all the parking lines downtown smudged away with snow and ice.  We bundle you in a coat that makes you look like the Michelin Man and an ear-flapped hat and mittens that velcro around your wrists.  You rip the mittens off and by the time we get anywhere, your hands curled into cold comma marks.

Anytime we ask you for a word, you say "gah-gah" which sometimes sounds like "cracker" or "dada" but nothing like "boat" or "spoon" or "weevil."  Unlike Thisbe, who resorted to anger and screams of rage when she didn't obtain desired objects as a toddler, you resort to acting like a heartbroken teenager.  Yesterday, after I mixed the batter for a pan of brownies, you pointed at the bowl emphatically.  "No," I said, "all done."  Then I even washed the bowl and showed you the glow of the clean glass to further reassert my point.  But your face simply melted downwards, the edges of your lips threatening to run over the bottom of your jaw, tears streaming freely.  You sat, cried mournfully for a few seconds, and then laid on the floor, cheek to linoleum, and cried further.  You did this until your sister entered with a drum over her head at which point you promptly got up and started following her, signing "please, please" against your chest. 

You repeat this process (desire, grief, desire, grief) probably ten times every hour about tragedies like: not getting to go outside, not being permitted to play with Mommy's computer, not getting to touch the pot of boiling pasta, not getting to color with permanent markers.  It's like the Gestapo around here as far as you're concerned.

Your sister is decidedly your sister.  She likes to spend her post-dinner hours leaping from the couch to the ottoman and back, often for hours.  She also enjoys drawing pictures of houses, stars, flowers and carriages pulled by slaves (thanks, Sunday school).  On Saturday, in the middle of a playdate, I found Thisbe and her friend Mae sitting on the floor of Thisbe's room sliding their legs open, closed, open, closed.  They were pretending to be swimming instructors.  Inspired by the fact that she is now forced to sit through the entire service on Sunday mornings, she often spends Sunday evening carrying around a Lutheran Book of Worship and offering us songs and prayers composed on the spot.  Yesterday one included the line, "this is my chance to walk away / God loves Jesus and the day."  Last week there was a lengthy section that went back and forth between "God have mercy on me" and "God worship me."

Your father and I spend our days scrambling eggs for you in the morning and picking up tambourines and rubber ducks in the evening.  Your father wore the same purple sweater every day last week as part of an exercise for his creation/environment class.  I tell my students to cut up facts and information, to spread it across their dorm room floors and rearrange.  Your father shovels, heaves bags of dirty diapers out the back door, washes the dishes while you head-butt his thighs.  I exclaim over the new design in the foam of my latte at Blue Monday, carmelize sweet potatoes and onion and kale, return library books before they expire.  Every once in awhile we walk together around the track at the YMCA and every once in awhile we have to think about a big change or the absence of the possibility of change.  Every once in awhile his eyes glaze with tears or mine do and for a few laps we hold hands.