Rhyme Time

 

dragonhillart.blogspot.com

Photo: dragonhillart.blogspot.com

 

“Hi, bye, my, spy,” he walked in, grinning.

I smiled at the five-and-a-half year old. A head of brown curls and melt-you-on-the-spot dark-chocolate eyes, green glasses, summer freckles, a missing tooth from playground accident at age three, a superhero hearing aid. Pure charm.

“Why, shy, guy, cry?” he challenged.

“Why indeed?” I chuckled.

“Ask my dad,” he giggled. “He told me that one. One, sun, fun, done.”

“You’re rhyming a lot today!”

He nodded. “I’m practicing. My grandpa gives me a dime every time I rhyme.”

 

 

 

For The Daily Post

A Little Closer

vugust on tumblr

Photo: vugust on tumblr

 

“Granpa is no here anymore,” he stated, morose, “he go back to very far.”

The little boy raised impossibly long-lashed honey eyes to me but I didn’t think he was looking at anything in the room. His eyes were seeing through the walls and out to where a presence is not constrained by oceans, mileage, and topography.

His little face was pinched in a sad frown and he fingered the edge of his shirt, before taking in a long breath that seemed to fill not only his lungs but also return the sparkle into his eyes. He pointed a small finger at the center of his chest. Exhaled. Took another breath.

“But Granpa no really faraway,” he declared, the last two words blended into one in a sing-song. “My heart think so he only little closer very far.”

 

 

For The Daily Post

In the Buff

 

He is an avid little streaker.

The first skills he had learned, a peanut little newborn, was how to shake off hats and kick off socks. These followed soon by talents for wriggling out of diapers, twisting out of bottoms, and shrugging off his tops.

He is a master of no-clothing.

An expert a-la-nude.

He chortles as you chase him.

He protests when he’s clothed.

He’s beaming when his skin meets air.

He’s glowing in the buff.

His mama is exasperated.

His da is not amused.

Grandpa laughs and names the child “Dote gan a stitch”

Grandma, “mo Stoirin (shore-een) Selkie.”

 

 

 

For The Daily Post

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.”

 

 

For The Daily Post

Shine

fall back clock

From Etsy

She looked at me with sparkles in her eyes: “My Granny’s coming tomorrow!”

I smiled.

“We going to have so much fun!” Her eyes shone. “Granny is my favorite grandma ever forever!”

“You’re excited she’s coming,” I stated.

The child gave me the “that’s-the-understatement-of-the-year-look.”

The mom and I exchanged glances and laughed.

“Can you imagine her as a teenager?” the mom noted, chuckled. “She’s practicing the eye-roll already …”

The little girl transferred “the look” to her mom, but only half-heartedly. They were both of them quite giddy with the prospect of the visit. The grandma lives out of the country but the bond is evident. I often hear tales of simultaneous cookie-baking on both sides of the Atlantic, bedtime stories on FaceTime, and daily checking-ins. Now Granny will manifest in real life, and Mom’s eyes–an only child herself–were just as shiny as her daughter’s.

“She going to stay in my room,” the four-year-old danced on her feet, shoes alight with strobes and glitter. “I have the best comfy bed for her …” she lowered her voice in exaggerated gossip-conspiration, “because she old … but …” she glanced at her mother, maybe aware of the weight of possibility or maybe remembering the source of the added information, maybe both, “…she not dying yet. She just a little bit very old.”

 

For The Daily Post: Shine

 

 

A Zoo in the middle of NYC

“My grandpa is very old,” the boy told me in a hushed tone.

“He is?” I smiled.

“Yeah, he even lived when it was no iPhone and no TV!” he announced. “That’s even very old.”

“I guess so,” I noted, keeping to myself the fact that I, too, lived well before there were iPhones (and when there were only black-and-white TVs).

“I think maybe they had a little iPhone, though,” the boy reconsidered, disbelieving a possible reality without the device. “Because they taked pictures … like with iPhone camera. My grandpa showed me a picture from when they had a zoo in the middle of New York.”

“The Central Park Zoo?” I offer.

“No!” the admonishing tone lets me know I am completely off track. “We still have that zoo. Its not from old times. It is there now even. I mean a zoo in the middle middle middle of New York. In the middle of the street Empire building. With wild animals and elephants.”

“Maybe you are thinking of the Museum of Natural History?” I tried.

“You not listening,” he shook his head at me, exasperated at my inability to follow such a simple narrative. “I telling you and you’re not listening. They had a zoo in the middle of the middle of the street. Zebras and things. Walking around. Maybe it was when the dinosaurs still lived …” he mused.

I looked helplessly at the mother, who was doing all she could to keep a straight face.  This little guy did like tall tales, and I was wondering if this story was a combination of dream, stories, and wishful thinking. His mother’s levity confused me further.

“I’m sorry,” she giggled. “He did the same to me … You see, what happened was that my dad showed him some photos of old New York in a book and they came across this photo of … well … here, you’ll see …” She pulled out her phone (yes, an iPhone) and flipped through some apps before turning the screen so I could see.

“Told ya!” the boy trumpeted. “When it was a long time ago and my grandpa was still a little old they had a zoo in the middle of the middle of the street Empire Building! See?!”

NYC 1968 Circus in town

NYC 1968 Circus arriving in town, 33rd Street

Be a Light

be a light

“Can people be like light?” The question comes from a bright-eyed five-year-old (who in my view lights the room wherever she goes …).

“What do you think?” (my almost standard response to children’s questions–lets me know what they already have in mind …)

“I don’t know,” frown, scowl, “that’s why I’m asking YOU!”

(Oops, strategy backfired. Okay, I guess I deserved that)

“Why are you asking?” I am treading carefully here, asking again in a different way, but I am really interested in knowing what the question is about.

“My Nana told me I’m her light,” the girl’s young forehead creases in concentration. “She said, ‘you the light of my life!'”

“Aw … it’s a great expression! And a very sweet thing for her to say. I can totally see why.” Children of her age group often begin to notice that there are some things people say that do not quite make sense: the words don’t add up, and they realize that there has to be another meaning, something else that’s being conveyed by the words but is not the words themselves (e.g. “she has a sharp tongue” or “he has no heart” or “raining cats and dogs” …). Sometimes they can infer the meaning, sometimes they are lost or have some sense they are not sure about. I love it when they ask. “What do you think she meant?”

Girl shoots me a “there she goes again with her Speech Pathologist questions again” look, but she relents. She’s patient with me. “That she loves me?”

“Yep … and what else do you think it can mean that you are the light of her life?” I wait.

Eyebrows up, lips scrunched in thought, “… and … that she’s really happy to have me or happy to see me maybe?”

“Yes! Both. Very much so. Also that you are important to her, and that you bring her joy, and that you make her feel better by simply being you. All of that.”

The child smiles. Beams, more like.

We go on with the session. Suddenly she stops again and asks (it is very often that things percolate a while before another level of query bubbles up to the surface): “Can someone be a light for other people?”

“Do you mean for more than one person?” I want to make sure I understand.

A nod.

“Absolutely. I think you can be a light in many people’s lives.”

Pause, thought, creased forehead. Smile. “Oh, like, if you turn the light on then it is light for everyone?”

My turn to nod. My turn to smile. Super smart cookie, that one.

“Cool!” Eyes wide.  Now that she’s got it, she runs with it. “I wish … I wish I could be a light for every every EVERY ONE in the whole wide world!  A big light that goes all over around! You think I can?”

She may not know it, but I think she already is one …