Berry Prickly

blackberry

Berry Prickly

 

Gavin (age 4) is picking berries with his mom and grandpa in the woods outside his grandpa’s house. He’d picked a few himself but encountered a thorn … and now is quite content holding the bowl, nursing his owee finger, and ‘directing traffic’ to the “good ones.”

Gavin: “I know why it called a Berry.”

Mom, intrigued: “Why?”

Gavin: “Because it berry prickly!”

 

 

For The Daily Post

Tintinnabulation

multisyllabic

“I found some words with lotta syllables!” she announced and pulled a crumpled list out of her back pocket.

She and I have been working together for some time. Born very prematurely and with various – if not always visible – neurological challenges, she has had to work hard for every milestone, every skill, each speech-sound. At nine years old, she had good intelligibility in short words and brief phrases, but her clarity was still vulnerable in longer words or sentences.

“Hi-ppo-po-ta-mus,” she read, tapping syllables on the table. “Five!”

I smiled. This girl never needed prodding. Her internal motivation put most people to shame. If she put her mind to something, you better believe it that she’d go the distance for it, and then some. She wanted to be an actress and actresses needed good diction. She was going to make sure hers measured up.

“Ca-li-for-ni-ya and Phi-la-del-phi-a … both five! I-ma-gi-na-ry … five!”

She read several more words, repeating any one that lost a sound or two in the process. When she got it right, she repeated it again, insistent on perfection.

“My dad helped me find them,” she pointed to the list. “We had fun thinking them up in the car. We found lots of words with four … like ‘as-pa-ra-gus’ and ‘par-ti-cu-lar’, but not so many with five. Are there any words with even more, like … with six syllables?”

“Quite a few,” I smiled again. “Some you probably know.”

“Like what?”

“Responsibility.”

“Oh!” She whispered to herself and counted the syllables on her fingers, “yeah, six!”

“Capitalization”

“Like in writing?”

“Exactly like in writing. Then there’s: identification, autobiography, veterinarian, personification, generalization …”

She wrote each word down. Practiced saying it. “Do you know any weird ones with six syllables?”

“Hmm,” I nodded. “How about ‘discombobulated'”?

She laughed. “My grandma says that one.”

“How’s ‘extemporaneous'”?

She twisted her lips. “That’s not weird, just boring.”

It was my turn to laugh. “Fair enough.” I thought a moment. “Infinitesimal?”

“Not weird.”

She was going to make me work for it. “How about …” I winked, “mispronunciation?”

“Ha-ha, very funny,” she rolled her eyes. “Try again.”

She raised her eyebrows and waited. A moment ticked by as words trickled into my brain, six-syllabled but certainly not weird enough to qualify: visualization, spirituality, irregularity, disorganization, availability, cardiovascular. …

The room darkened as clouds passed over the sun and the wind picked up. The forecast promised thunderstorms. I was about to give up to a google search when a chime jangled in my window and with it came inspiration.

“I have it!” I exclaimed. “Tintinnabulation!”

 

 

For The Daily Post

Dish Dash

greek handbroom

She walked into the house to a flurry of activity: broom in one set of hands, brush in the other. Guilty faces. Unidentifiable smell.

“What…?”

“He started.”

“She told me!”

The woman narrowed her eyes and scanned the room. The counter looked okay. No scorch marks. No splatter on the stovetop and walls like the last time when they had experimented with tomato lava. A foot in pink sock moved in the periphery of her vision and she lowered her gaze to the floor: the toes had attempted to nudge away a white bit of something. Paper?

She sniffed. What was that smell. She knew it from someplace … reminded her of dusty flea markets. Like old ceramics. Ceramics? Ceramics!

The distance to the garbage pail was covered in one giant step, arm already extended to reveal … a heap of shards, jagged shiny white, all sizes.

To the cabinet, still unbelieving: Bowls, mugs, cups. A suspiciously bare corner.

Little feet shuffled, oh so guilty.

There were no plates in the sink. None in the dishwasher.

“What have you done?”

They spoke over each other. “He did it She told me to We had a Greek wedding …”

“…so we had to break the plates,” the younger one emphasized with more hope than conviction. Even at not-quite-four-years-old he knew he was in trouble.

As for the seven-year-old? No added confirmation was required beyond how this child who disappears whenever there’s anything resembling cleaning up, had gotten herself voluntarily busy with the broom.

She shook her head, too stunned to truly feel angry. Yet.

“Where’s your big sister?” The fifteen-year-old was supposed to be watching the younger ones. She better have an explanation!

Chins tilted in the direction of the basement. Eager to shift blame. Muffled sounds filtered through the closed door. She listened. The tune was eerily befitting.

“Doing what?”  … even though she already knew the answer.

The little one piped up. “She watching big fat Greek one wedding!”

 

 

For The Daily Post

A Local Princess

hello kitty slippers

Most late afternoons she arrives to session in frilly sleepwear and pink plush slippers, locks of hair damp from her bath. I’m on first name basis with her three varieties of Elsa nightgowns, her Dora robe, her Hello Kitty slippers, her Eloise headband.

She has no qualms traipsing the urban outdoors in jammies (or on a rare rescheduled morning, with brush-phobic bedhead). It may be that she’s five … but the short commute sure helps: she lives right across the street. No fuss. No sweat. No need to primp.

After all she is donning royalty to sleep.

 

 

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

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.”

 

 

For The Daily Post

 

Knackered

melissa_puglise_yankee_4baabf6ee6781a20edc78cf3f55e8b3f.today-inline-large

Photo: today.com/parents

When you’re out of juice

Depleted

Wrung out

Brain-mushed

Yawn-injected …

Take the time to rest.

When you’re harking for the days

Of face plant in spaghetti …

It’s time for slug-fest.

When you’re putting keys in fridge

And eggs in pockets …

Take the hint

And

Make a nest.

 

 

[Dedicated with much love to Adele, who I have a feeling understands … :)]

 

For The Daily Post

“I pleased her!”

siblings2

 

The cacophony coming from the children’s room was deafening.

She walked in to two small teary faces. One red with indignation, one blotchy with enraged demand. A pile of blocks depicted fresh ruins. A toy car spun a morose wheel toward an apathetic ceiling.

The wails rose to crescendo, a duet for justice.

She knelt to wrap an arm around each sobbing set of shoulders. “Shhh….” she cooed, “What happened?”

“He …” the girl accused, an index finger poking emphasis at her brother. “He broke my castle.” Tears flowed.

“I didn’t!” he protested, matching tear to bawl. “She push me! It broked!”

“He put the car on my castle! Castles are for princesses!”

“But …” he cried, insisted, “but … I said please, Mommy! I pleased her first!”

 

 

For The Daily Post