Sunday, July 1, 2012

Toddler Tales

“Look!” Ever since I can remember I’ve been a curious child. And when I am considered an “Old Woman,” I shall still be a curious child. I remember asking my older brother questions and this was before the Internet, and he would tell me to go look it up. I think he became tired of my questions. I don’t know that I had the proper tools to look things up at the time, but eventually I would.

I’ve exhausted some people with my constant need to point out little details of life, “Look! Look, at the tree, look at the flower. Look, look, look!” My feelings have been hurt at times because this type of wonder and curiosity can be exhausting for some and they let me know. I don’t hold it against them. I must respect our differences in how we appreciate life and in that constant need to look and share. I have learned to curb this enthusiasm when amongst certain individuals because it only leads to exhaustion and dejection. The enthusiasm is still there; it’s just that it becomes quieter with the spoken word. I admire from my quiet world, careful not to overwhelm. It’s an interesting quandary to want to be vocal about all the simple fascinations, but that’s where this blank page comes in handy. I know that I can tell the page what I’m thinking and seeing and it will either stay quiet or it may talk back. In some way, the blank page is comforting. It’s another way for me to say, “Look,” and to help me see what I see.

I’ve had this quote that I saved from my daily Zen Calendar. It speaks to me and it also in feels connected to this blog and the journal entry that follows that I had intended to blog when I wrote it up a few days back, but didn’t and now we’re upon a new month, so it seems fitting to tie it all together.

Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and
more. Stare, pry, listen,
eavesdrop. Die knowing
something. You are not
here long.

—Walker Evans 


Toddler Tales

Digging in the “Sand”

Little A. Man, as I like to call him here on this page, is my significant other’s cousin’s boy. My significant other is also his Godfather. Little A. Man is two and a half years old. We see him from time to time, and during one point we saw him over several weekends because there were barbeques and other happenings all strung together. He was especially shy with me at first when he was much younger and I’m naturally shy myself, so there’s that. Over the recent weekend’s where he had more exposure to me, it was quite nice to enter Little A.’s world.

On one of these visits he wanted to go outside, so my significant other’s father took him and I decided to go along because I preferred the outside and playing to being inside. I went over to the small tree with loose dirt that was slightly dry and he was having such fun digging in the dirt. I was enjoying watching and running my fingers through the dirt too because this is second nature for me. And then he said, “Look Rebbecca.” He pointed at the tree. He seemed to want to be sure that I did not miss seeing this small tree right there. I believe it was a special tree that was a birthday gift from wife to husband that they dug up and brought to their new home. I am still flabbergasted that Little A. can say my name so well for a two and a half year old. I said, yes. A., what a nice tree. He dug some more, very intent on the task at hand. I saw a rolly polly bug and I said, “Look A.” He came to attention, “What is it?” he said. I took it in my hand and I said it’s a little bug. It’s a rolly polly.” The rolly polly began to unroll and then I put it back in the dirt. Later on A. saw it and said, “Look a bug.”

“Yes, you found the bug. A bug, yes,” I said.

When his grandmother and grandfather said goodbye from the other side of the gate, A. was too much in his world. He just wanted to dig. He was content.

Lego’s and Unicorns

Another time we went over to visit, A. was playing with his mother in his playroom. He had all of his animal toys out, his legos, and many other toys all spread around. He has a kitchen with a BBQ and microwave, fruits, vegetables, hamburger patties, all he needs to create a lovely picnic. I sat down and watched him and his mother play. I mostly watched and chit chatted with her. She had to get up to clear a space for where dinner would be set. I nibbled on plastic strawberries and A. called out each piece of food that he placed before me. Strawberry. Orange. Bread. Cheese. I repeated back and said, “Mmmm. Thank you.” When I didn’t understand that he was saying, “Turkey,” his strategy was to keep saying it louder and louder until he was practically screaming. I stopped saying “What” so that I could figure it out. It didn’t look like what it was and then the bulb flashed. I said to him, “Ohhh, Turkey.” And he said, “Yes.” He is a smart boy. He knows many words and seems to understand the concept of pretend. He tells stories and has quite an imagination. He knows when he’s funny and cute.

We were playing with Lego’s and then he handed me a strip of three red Lego’s and said, “unicorn.” I put the Lego’s to my forehead and said, “I’m a unicorn.”

“Yes, he said.” He smiled. He then put together another three red Lego’s and went to his mom and made her a unicorn too. “Thank you, Baby,” She said to him. He was happy. He sat back down and he continued building worlds with his Lego’s and saying out loud what he was creating and then he took his empty and dry bubble tray and he found his bubble wand and he said, “And pretend bubbles.” He blew pretend bubbles over his creation and he knew they were pretend.

I love the imagination of children. I have an imagination of my own—it’s called forth by nature—I always lose myself on a cloudy day. The last several days, in fact, have proven to be lovely cloud days. I could have tripped over my feet as I kept looking up at the clouds in the sky and the formations they made and where they took my imagination and the way the half moon shone. I wanted so badly to take a photo. I didn’t have any gadgets to snap that day. So I kept looking and I jotted a few memorable words in my notepad later, hoping that I will be able to weave a tale out of those clouds that I can still see in my mind’s eye, but that I will save for another day.  

Talking About It

On one of our last visits, I was off in the background in the TV room, but near enough to observe. Little A. was enjoying his time with his grandma, grandpa, mom and dad, having fun and telling stories. It was time for grandma and grandpa to go and A. didn’t want them to go. He was feeling upset and he slumped and he began to almost whine. His grandma said she would see him later in the week. He wasn’t appeased, so she sat down on the steps, put her hand out and lovingly said, “Do you want to talk about it. Come here, let’s talk about it.” He walked toward her, sat down by her side and she put her arm around him and said, “Let’s talk about it.” These very words seemed to calm him and she said, “You were having so much fun with grandma and grandpa, huh. And you don’t want us to go?”

“I don’t want you to go,” he said. He crinkled his feet, looking down, and looked sad, but her words gave him the acknowledgement that he seemed to need. “We’ll see you in a few days, baby, and we can play some more, OK? Give me a kiss.” He didn’t cry. He didn’t continue to almost whine, he felt better, but was still a little sad. He let her go though without out a fuss. “Talking about it” made all the difference.

Next time I saw his grandma at Father’s Day I told her how much I admired her strategy in asking, “Do you want to talk about it?” And she said with one of her own sons it was, “Let’s make a deal.” Her now grown son was there that day and remembered that yes he used to do that when she asked. She said that she actually tried this approach one day at her job. She is now retired. She had pitched something to one of her co-workers and when she could tell he wasn’t quite on board she reverted to this similar tactic and said to him, “Why don’t you take the weekend to think about it, Bob.” We both laughed when she related this story. She said after the weekend he actually had changed his mind.

No matter how I old I become, I will always be a child at heart. I can imagine from a distance how wonderful it is to bring life into this world, to feed the soul, and watch the growth.

And with writing: Blowing life onto the page, finding out by going in, taking what we see and exploring what it means to us—this form of birth—I imagine that that’s what many of us feel—with our relationship to words.


Vincent said...

I enjoyed this a lot.

Rebb said...

Thanks for reading, Vincent. I'm very glad you enjoyed this one.