Meddling

cherry tomatos

 

It took a full sixty seconds before she could get hold of her giggles long enough to tell me why she called.

“What’d he do now?” I smiled.

You see, she has a four-year-old and an 18 months old. Both precious. One precocious.

The preschooler omits some speech sounds and makes a salad of most others. He knows what he wants to say (and has much to impart from dawn to evening), but the production message from his brain to mouth muscles doesn’t always come through organized. We’ve been working on improving motor planning and sound production, and he’s been making steady progress. He is a studious little dude and follows instruction well enough, but what he really adores is experimenting: With his father’s shaving cream and his mother’s makeup, with his little brother’s haircut and diaper-rash cream, with words and their meaning.

“I was making him a salad,” the mom hiccupped, still not quite over her laugh-a-thon, “and silly me, I thought I could slip in a tomato.”

I grinned. Silly indeed … This boy loves some vegetables … but he is also the kid who declared “tomatoes are mean because they look like cherries but they taste yucky.”

“So, he takes one look at the plate and shakes his finger at me, saying ‘Mommy, I told you five times already. Why you meddling my dinner?'”

 

 

For The Daily Post

Temporary Paragon

grandmas graphics

illustration: grandmasgraphics.com

She is a paragon of deliberateness. Personifies all things just-so aligned. Her veggies must be on the left, her french-fries on the right.

She draws her letters so they march in perfect rows. No effort (or eraser) spared to ensure strict discipline among her lines.

She is a model of sheer focus. She will not be dissuaded. She absolutely won’t be rushed.

She examines every detail for correctness, chooses only hues that match.

She rejects any suggestion to skip corners or leave even the least uneven mark.

She will garner no discussion. Her exactness is fiercely protected.

All things must be in place. Each squiggle inspected.

Until an ice-cream truck chimes outdoors … and messy life once more accepted.

 

 

 

For The Daily Post

Half-Punctured

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She came in half-victorious, half-blushing.

“I have a earring,” she announced.

“Emphasis on the singular,” the mom added pointedly.

The five-year-old glanced at her mom, narrowed her eyes in potential protestation and shrugged. “I still have a earring,” she stressed. “See?” she turned her face to showcase a glittery heart on an exposed earlobe. I peeked around her head: the other earlobe was conveniently concealed under a lock of hair.

“She refused to have the other one done,” the mom sighed.

“It hurt!” the gal accused.

“I told you it would hurt a little,” her mom responded, “you said you wanted earrings anyway.”

“Yeah, but it hurt a LOT!”

I had a feeling this was a dialogue with some accumulated mileage.

“So …” I interfered, “you have one pierced ear … Doesn’t it mean you can wear only half of your new earrings?”

She considered that.

“Yeah,” she twisted her lip in contemplation. “But … maybe I’ll have the other one done … I mean … when I’m older. Maybe like, twelve. Or even nine.”

 

 

 

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Natty Patty

fashionista stool

 

Her closet is a playground. Her vanity and mirror reflect paradise. She prances with a feather boa. She jingles bangles, beads, and bracelets. She twirls her skirts and points her toes for glimpses of a toenail polish. She sings as she applies her makeup, adores her hair elaborately done. She claps at tutus, ribbons, purses. Has ensembles de rigueur for the library, parties, park benches. She dresses up for the bathroom. She spruces up old pajamas for pizazz. Savors weekend deliberations for outfits in the days to come. She dreams of owning a boutique and her bedroom offers a perpetual rehearsal: dots and stripes, waves and glory, gold and hearts, purple and pink. Her shirts have flare, her shirts can sparkle, her shoes light up, her ribbons glitter, she is a glory in the sun.

She’s the family fashionista, put together to the ninths.

 

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A New Friend

seat

Photo: duffylondon.com

 

There needs to be an extra chair now at the table, another place setting, extra fork. The bath requires extra towels. Reading choices necessitate an added pause. There are lively conversations from the bedroom, laughter, whispered dialogue, deep monologues. A seat to save in rides, a window-or-middle deliberation. Opinions of a first-line advisor, a determined intermediate, a confidante.

Granted, he is secretive, selective, and exclusive. It doesn’t mean he isn’t a good friend.

Accepting him is fact, not question. Get used to it. He’s there. He may not show up to explain, but he will not be ignored or shunned. Be nice. He has deep feelings. He has needs. A keen mind.

Should not matter that he is a dragon-human made of magic. Invisible to all but a certain little one.

 

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Nana the Notorious

RandyDinkins-grandparent

Betterphoto.com

 

He strode up the steps with a grin as wide as the Mississipi, a cup the size of Texas in his hands. The bright contents were positively florescent. His teeth were cornflower blue. His tongue looked painted.

“I have a slushy!” he announced.

“I see!” I commented, amused.

“Nana got me,” he added.

I smiled. I didn’t think his mom – who kept close watch over her son’s intake of junk of any form – would have gotten him this “certainly-no-food-in-nature-has-this-color” slushy, let alone a bathtub of it.

“Mama’s not home,” the boy declared. “She coming back Friday.”

“In San-Francisco,” Nana made an appearance at the landing leading to the last flight of stairs. “Business meetings.” She was a little out of breath but seemed as ebullient as her grandson. Her arms were laden with the boy’s panda bear backpack, her purse, a shopping bag, a phone, and her own cup of icy drink. Coffee, from the looks of it.

“Nana taking care of me,” he stated the obvious. He snuck a conspiratorial grin at his grandmother. “We got candy!” he pointed to the bag.

“For after dinner,” she blushed.

“But I can have one now,” he clarified. “Nana said.”

Her blush deepened and I chuckled.

“For right now, how about you take another sip or two from your slushy, then we’ll put it in the fridge where it can stay cold while we work,” I said.

The boy deflated some and glanced at his grandma, maybe to see if she’ll support him in a mutiny if he refused to part with his icy treat.

“I’ll take a sip from my ice-coffee and we can put my cup in the fridge, too,” she soothed. “This way we’ll both have some for the ride home, too!”

He pondered, eyebrows still in a huddle. “But I can have candy, right?”

She looked at me. “It’s gummies.”

“Sure,” I nodded. “You can have one, like Nana said you could. The rest will wait in the bag for you.”

His smile returned and he slurped more of the blue liquid. Then we ceremoniously made room for it in the fridge. Even without the tall straw, it dwarfed Nana’s “grande” cup.

The boy wiped both hands on his shirt, reached into the shopping bag and dug out a yellow gummy shaped suspiciously like a spider. He laughed at my exaggerated fright. “You’re silly! It’s not real. It’s just candy!”

He stuffed it into his mouth and spoke around it as he shimmied to his seat. “We having pizza for dinner, and we’ll watch a whole movie after. With popcorn even!”

“Sounds like you two are making the most of it,” I laughed.

“She’s so strict with him,” the grandmother confided. “She’s a great mom, don’t get me wrong, but all this no this, no that …” She caressed her grandson’s cheek and lowered herself to the couch with a sigh. “These stairs!”

“A kid’s gotta’ live a little,” she added. Her eyes sparkled. “I have him for two days and I intend to do my very best to spoil him.”

 

 

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Make My Bitter Better

chocolate eggs

candy dish: theartofdoingstuff.com

 

“I think I need three chocolates,” she noted after assessing the contents of the candy bowl.

“How come?” I smiled. She knew she was allowed one candy, and the ever so slight emphasis on the word need was expertly done.

“Well …” she paused, little brain wheels hastily cobbling up a good-enough rationale. Her eyes brightened, “… because I even had pepper for lunch when it was before … and … more chocolate is going to make my bitter better.”

 

 

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Pancake Danger

 

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This “Danger!” photo challenge made me laugh (okay, chuckle nervously, more like). Because to a child – or the adult remembering – the mismatch between what they know should happen and what seems not to, defies any sense or comprehension.

This was my reaction, as a young child, to the Balancing Rocks in Zimbabwe (at the time Rhodesia), to the southwest of Harare (at the time Salisbury). People strolled their leisurely horror … pointed and laughed and photographed their versions of pre-selfie memorabilia. My siblings climbed onto their certain crushing deaths, and no one seemed perturbed by the giants waiting to turn ant-humans (or their vehicles) into pancakes.

 

balancing rocks zimbabwe

Balancing Rocks. Photographer Unknown

 

Photo Challenge: Danger!