Chasing Life

chasing pigeons1

Photo: Chagit Moriah-Gibor

 

For all the little ones in my life: Right here, nearby, quite far; right now or not but in my heart you always are … For all of you who chase life (and sometimes Central Park pigeons), and grab hold of every moment’s possibility with two tenacious hands:

You teach me lots more than I ever could teach you.

You are each life, exemplified.

 

For Tuesday Photo Challenge

Mnemonically Challenged

 

teachingmomser.com

Photo: teachingmomster.com

 

“I failed the test,” she sighed and let her book bag slump to the floor.

“What test, and I’m so sorry.” I responded.

“Social studies. History stuff. I studied so hard!” She plunked herself into the chair. Dejection personified. “Who put all those stupid names and dates in there, anyway?”

“Names and dates can be really difficult to remember,” I noted. “I find it helpful to connect them with the story of what happened, or with something else to remind of what the name or date relate to.”

“Yeah, well,” her eyes rose to meet mine, accusatory at my not understanding she just needed me to let her vent. “But you are not mnemonically challenged!”

 

 

For The Daily Post

Life, Simplified.

draw a baby

Photo: King College, London

 

“It’s not hard,” she said. “Here, I’ll show you.”

“You make a circle …” she demonstrated. “Then you make eyes and mouth and little bit of hair and hands and legs. See?”

She held the drawing up to show me. Lines for arms and legs sprouted out of the crooked circle ‘head,’ topped by a few smaller lines of a sparse mohawk.

“Then,” she planted the paper back on the table, “you go to the hospital and the doctor makes magic and it’s a baby.”

 

 

For The Daily Post

It’s a Puzzle!

snake ef-e AmitaiAsif

Photo: Amitai Asif

 

“Can animals be naked?” he asked, his little forehead creased in perplexed concentration.

“Naked how?” I responded. “Animals don’t usually wear clothes. People may dress their dogs with coats or booties if its raining or snowing, but even that only sometimes.”

He waved me off. “I’m not talking about dogs, even.”

I smiled. The kindergartener’s contenance was a smaller version of adolescents’ exasperation at the ‘know-nothing-adults’ they are somehow expected to live with.

“Oh, okay.” I conceded, “I guess I misunderstood. What did you mean, then?”

“Other things. Like, um … snakes.”

“Snakes?!” I repeated.

“Yeah.” He moved his head up and down for emphasis. “Because I think maybe a snake took his clothes off and ran away and now he’s naked.”

Comprehension slithered in to lift my confusion. “Was this when you went to visit your grandma in Arizona?”

He nodded again. “It looked like a snake but it was only snake clothes.”

I grinned. “I think you saw a snake skin shed! How cool! But don’t worry, it still has skin on its body. You see, when a snake’s skin is too small for it, it grows new skin underneath and then it wriggles out of the old skin and sheds it inside out like a sock.”

The little boy narrowed his eyes and inspected my expression to see if I was perhaps pulling his leg. What he saw in my face must’ve reassured him.

“Good,” he said. “Because I didn’t want everyone to see his privates.”

 

 

For The Daily Post

Tooth Booth

craftgawker tooth

Photo: Craftgawker.com

 

“I have a cavity in my mouth!” she announced, elated.

“You do?” I couldn’t suppress a smile. The contrast between the child’s delight and the mom’s anguish was too funny.

“Yeah,” the girl expounded, lisping all the way. “It’s a hole! The dentist has a special magic mirror for my teeth and she looked all over and she said I have a cavity.”

“Wow,” I managed and raised an eyebrow at the mom, who nodded solemnly.

“Next week,” the mother sighed. “I’m not looking forward to it …”

I understood why. This little girl could raise roofs at the mere sight of needles. Just ten days prior the mom had shared with me her mortification at the horrified looks people had given her when she’d emerged with her child from a routine blood draw. “Everyone in that waiting room must have been convinced we were slicing her in pieces,” the mom had vented. “I can’t believe they hadn’t all called Child Protective Services or 911.”

“Laughing gas …” I mouthed.

The mom inhaled and shrugged and nodded all in one. Skeptical and perhaps a little hopeful.

“Not next week,” the child pointed out. “Tonight!”

The mom and I exchanged looks.

“What do you mean, tonight?” the mother asked. “Doc Dee said she’ll see us after lunch next Tuesday.”

“Yeah,” the little girl waved this information away. “But I have a cavity,” she stressed. “So the Tooth Fairy is going to get it first.”

She opened her mouth to give us both a good look before turning to me. “I don’t know why the dentist needed a magic mirror,” she added and her voice rose in puzzlement. “I can see my cavity right away already.”

She held her mouth agape and pointed to a newly lost incisor. “See? It’s right here.”

 

 

For The Daily Post

Know Everything

 

child in water fountain

Photo: Atara Katz

 

 

“How did you learn how to know everything?” she asked.

“I don’t think anyone knows everything,” I responded, only half-attending. A siren from a fire-engine distracted me. The driver leaned on the horn. Someone must have not given the emergency vehicle the right of way.

“But how did you learn how to know everything?” she insisted.

The First Grader’s tone brought me back to full attention. She hung her big brown eyes on me.

“You mean, how do people work on knowing more and more?” I tried.

A shadow of a frown passed over the small visage, then the girl seemed to decide this not-at-all-what-I-asked-about-reframe is as comprehensive as this adult in front of her can probably muster at the moment. She nodded.

“Different people may have different ways of learning,” I replied, “but for me, I like finding out new things. So I observe and try to listen. I read a lot, and I ask plenty of questions …”

“… you do ask a lot of questions,” she interrupted. “But sometimes I think you already know the answers.”

I grinned. “Sometimes I do … And sometimes,” I teased, “I think you know the answers to your questions, too …”

 

 

For The Daily Post

It’s a Zoo!

its a zoo

Photo: Pinterest

 

“It’s a zoo over there!”

She exclaimed. Out of breath.

Cheeks still red from the stairs

And the cold evening air.

“It’s a zoo in the store.

It’s a zoo in the park.

It’s a zoo … at the zoo,”

Her smile grew.

She cracked up.

Couldn’t stop.

Her delight

Only matched

By the first time she ‘got’

“Slipped my mind” meant forgot.

 

 

 

For The Daily Post

No Underdog!

Photo Marnie Russ

Little Roo. Photo: Marnie Russ

 

The runt of the litter. The smallest of smalls.

A birth’s afterthought. The last of the lot.

She was given some frowns.

She was given less hope.

She was not much to look at.

A long shot, underdog.

Yet inside her she had something fierce

At her core

She was never the winner

But she was something more:

She worked harder than hard

She learned patience from woe

She grew up,

She believed

She perceived and she saw,

She found footholds in smiles

She made steps from each praise

She climbed up rungs of hardship

Found her stride

Found her ways

To amaze.

 

 

Click her for more about Little Roo’s story 

For The Daily Post

Find a Home

 

 

The prompt for today was just too on point to ignore, when the paperback became available TODAY (!!!) and when so much of this novel is about what a home is, or what may at any moment become a place one is pushed out of or needs to run away from. The connection felt even more apt with how the holidays bring up for so many the very realities and stories of a home (or lack thereof).

“Apples in Applath” is a work of fiction, yet very real children do fall victim to policies and realities not of their choice or making. Also real is that what makes a home or family is not always immediately obvious; and that hope and wariness, need and conscience, often compete inside one’s soul as one seeks a safe space to call home.

I’m very excited for “Apples in Applath” – my fourth book and third novel. I hope you’ll check it out and share it with others who may find an interest. I hope that it may find a home in yours.

Even more so, my wish for you — and for all who are or once were children — is that you’ll always have a safe nest to call home.

 

For The Daily Post

In Particular

Little_girl_drawing_with_blue_pencil Daniel Foy

Photo: Daniel Foy

 

She is deliberate. She takes her time.

Each line is drawn with distinct goal. Each color chosen with remarkable concentration. Each curve labored on in exact determination.

After all, the letters aren’t ‘just’ a prelude to a word expressed. It is none of it ‘just’ idle practice …

It is her name she’s working on, a profound soul-expression.

 

 

For The Daily Post