Minimal

black-dot

 

“What is that?” I asked about the dot the four-year-old had just purposed onto the page.

We’d been talking about living and non-living things, sorting pictures and ideas.

He looked up at me. “It a minimal.” His tone stated this was obvious.

“A what?”

He raised a small eyebrow, slowed his speech to meet my apparently plummeting intellect. “A Mini-Mal. A very teeny teeny animal.”

 

 

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Biggest in his eyes!

Giraffe

“My daddy is more bigger,” he announced after examining a photo on my wall of my niece and her (rather tall) husband. His curls bounced in certitude and his tone spanned the space from pity to challenge.

“Is he?” I noted, winking at the boy’s mom.

I know the father. Objectively this little guy’s dad isn’t particularly tall, but this wasn’t about being objective … To his son, the father may as well be the giant of all giants.

“Yea,” the preschooler nodded emphatically. “My daddy is even more bigger than …” he scanned the room for inspiration, “… a whole Empire State Building house or even more bigger than …” he narrowed his eyes in concentration, opened them wide, “a giraffe!”

 

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For The Record

dressup

 

For the record, she is fierce, even if she is in fluffy skirts and fleecy socks and every color of barrette holding on to dear life in her hair.

For the record, she is loving, even if she screams at her baby brother, narrows her eyes to daggers when she doesn’t get her way, and pushes every one of her mother’s buttons till something gives and tantrums fly.

For the record, she is smart, even if she cannot quite “do numbers” the way some of her classmates can and even if her words tend to come out upside down and sideways and in the wrong order and all too often not quite on the topic.

For the record, she has lots to say, even if she shrugs an “I don’t know” or grunts a precocious “whatever” because explaining feels too hard and some words hide and narrative does not form the way she senses that it ought to.

For the record, she is funny, even if she may not laugh at some jokes other people say, because she doesn’t get the puns and is still out to lunch on idioms and doesn’t quite see humor in confusing riddles.

For the record, she is thoughtful, even if she often acts before she seems to think (because she cannot always get the thought in time to matter), and reacts as if she doesn’t care (when she if fact cares more than many).

For the record, she is brave, and utterly indomitable. She works harder than most realize and deals with more frustration than is reasonable. And yet, she does still try. She may do so in frowns and pouts and at times even in ways that appear less than fully loveable. But she has no bone in her that isn’t kind. Just all too many that are over-tender.

For the record, she is a handful and a heart-full. She is bubbling with spirit and wriggling with life. She’d keep you on your toes, but oh boy would you earn a good dance for it! For a little body, she packs some serious soul punch.  She is fabulous personified. A guaranteed-to-wake-you-up-in-the-morning child.

 

 

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Mini Picasso

 

“This is a big big big mountain and it have a train and it go ‘choo-CHOOOO!’ round and round and also flowers but you see them fast because it a train and rainbow and my name.” (J.N, age 3:4)

 

mini picasso

 

 

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English: Tough Enough?

Bel Air Library Baltimore

 

English …

The impossible nuance of words that do not follow through

And rules that leave one without clue

Enough to grow a frown on many brow

As they doggedly attempt to plough

A minefield of delivery so rough

It leaves them justifiably gruff …

 

This video never fails to make me … laugh!

 

Butterflies

butterflies-photographer unknown

 

She had butterflies in her tummy. Her heart was in her throat. Jitters like little worry critters jumbled through her thoughts. She felt apprehensive, anxious, wary, shaky. Her feet felt twitchy, her hands clammy. She was timorous and nervy.

Not quite frightened. Not quite sorry. Hyper with a smidge of happy and a sprinkling of uneasy.

She was both hungry and queasy. She kept fretting. She felt trembly.

Recital day in all its glory.

 

 

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In Plain Sight

 

His face gave him away.

Guilt wrote itself into every centimeter of his little visage. It colored his cheeks cherry and turned his lips downwards and his eyes up and away. He pressed his lips together to prevent admission. Tucked his hands deep into his pockets, one fist bulging in a telltale sign of something hidden.

Or not so well hidden.

I raised an eyebrow, more amusement than ire.

“I didn’t take anything,” he blurted.

My eyebrow climbed along with a corner of my mouth.

The four-year-old’s eyes darted down his arm, eyes magnetized by a conflicted conscience. “I don’t have anything in my hand …”

“I see …” I noted.

His looked up at me in alarm and the cherries on his cheeks bloomed beet.

“But …?” he examined the opaque fabric of his pants before exclaiming in half-question, half-fact: “Oh, you have magic eyes!?”

His little chest sighed and he pulled his hand out, candy clutched in guilty fingers. “I … I didn’t take it. … Uh … I only did … um … can I have one?”

 

dish-of-candy

 

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The Sounds In The Silence …

 

“Hello darkness,

My old friend,

I’ve come to talk to you again …”

The song plays incessantly in my head, sparked awake by the words of a pre-teen who shared her nighttime worries with me.

She finds it difficult to sleep. Her ears strain to pick up any errant sound: A car’s brakes, a slammed door, people’s voices, steps, a distant bark. She’s afraid they’ve come.

She’s been told she shouldn’t worry. She’s done nothing wrong. Yet there are those who hadn’t, and still had loved ones taken. And she’s not from here. Not really. Not from birth, anyway.

What if the rules change and she’s deemed “returnable”?

What if they keep her away from her parents, send her back to where she’d come from? What if she cannot find the words, if they not let her explain that she is finally, finally, home?

She lies in bed at night. Listening. Making and discarding plans. Fretting in the dark.

Maybe she’ll hide. But where? Someone at school said they sometimes have dogs. She loves dogs. Police dogs — beautiful and focused and proud — never used to scare her. They do now. At their handlers’ command, they can hunt her down. She’s seen it. On TV. In her mind. Now her dreams.

“I listen to the sounds in the silence,” she whispered, eyes bright. “And I wait. Even in my dreams, I listen … and I cry when they come.”

 

 

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Expectant

 

“My mommy have a baby in her tummy!” she announces even before her little feet clear the steps.

“How lovely!” I’ve known for a while, but delight never gets old.

“But the baby not coming out yet,” she clarifies soberly.

“Oh,” I match my tone to hers.

The girl nods sagely. “It not ready yet.”

“I see.”

She shrugs out of her coat and wriggles a bit as she lets me help her remove her snow boots. She pauses mid-wriggle. One socked foot liberated.

“Will mommy have to blow?”

“Blow?”

“Yeah,” the almost-four-year-old cocks her head with bewilderment at my lack of immediate understanding. “When the baby come out.”

I look up, slightly flustered. Someone did a tripe-knot on that other boot. Fort Knox.

She stares at me.

It is one of those times when I have a feeling that my hypothesis about her question is quite different than what she is actually asking about.

“What do you think?” I default to my when-in-doubt-return-the-question-to-the-kid.

She nods vigorously. “Yeah. Because when the baby finish cooking it going to be too hot.”

 

hot-food

 

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Do It Anyway

He has stage fright. The real deal.

Social phobia with all the trimmings.

Speaking in front of anyone renders him paralyzed with irrational but no less numbing terror.

Talking to a store clerk makes him sweat.

Let alone giving a speech in front of assembly.

The whole school. Faculty, too.

He trembles at the thought.

“You don’t have to do this.” His mother. She is distressed by his distress. Protective.

“But I do,” he says.

He’s scared.

Determined, too.

He asks me to teach him how “to speak even when my throat gets stuck.”

We work on it. On breath, on visualizing, on rhythm and on parsing and on tone and pitch and breath again. He practices. With me, at the mirror, with family, with a good friend.

He knows the words by heart. He wrote them. A speech about things that oh-so-matter and are so very needing-to-be-said.

“The words come into my dreams,” he tells me. “Is that weird?”

I shrug. I don’t think so. “What do you think?”

He smiles shyly. “I think they want me not to be afraid. The words. Like we are friends now, words and me.”

 

The day comes.

He calls me in the evening.

“I threw up twice and I trembled like crazy,” he says, but his voice is giddy. “Then I thought about the words. My words … like friends. The beads on the necklace like we practiced … and I could breathe … I was still scared but I did it anyway!”

 

learn-how-vvg