Saturday, March 12, 2011
For Posterity's Sake: Week in Review 112
For me, things happen one small fragment at a time. The laundry gets done in partial, interrupted cycles, my train of thought lulled away by requests for sippy cups or a make-it-up-as-Audrey-goes game involving "abc" flashcards at the kitchen table as the dryer buzzes (resulting in extremely wrinkled clothes and Jason's dress pants crumpled in a corner to be washed again). From the passenger seat, a design on the latest craft project comes to be, a stitch at a time, the car arriving in a parking lot or driveway before I can get the current row finished. Books are read a paragraph at a time (several with a notebook and pen close by with the hope that I if I take a few notes, I might just remember what I've read). And, ironically, for every task I complete, the to-do list seems to grow by two.
My children are different. For them, things happen in bounds. Something clicks - a letter finally pairing with a sound - and suddenly words come alive to Audrey as if she has swallowed a magic pill sending her down the vocabulary rabbit hole, leaving her brain ten inches taller. A father-son game of "catch" inspires Nate to stretch his muscles and I find myself with a new pastime of pulling him down from the couch and the stool his big sister uses to help me cook. The children move about their days, laughing and running, masquerading their lessons as play, until I find myself caught off-guard by the words sounded out, written with magnets on a cookie sheet, and the ball that lands by my feet, kicked by this little man who seems less baby and more toddler at every glance. They like to pack a punch, double-teaming me with these milestones, growing by twos.
Luckily, laundry (and most any mundane task) goes down better with a little shock and awe (not to mention laughter) to keep you company. Here are the moments of childhood wonder that kept us company this week:
Audrey began Tuesday morning by telling me she wished to call her father to tell him something (he had already left for work before she woke up). I knew he had a morning conference call scheduled, but told her she could send him a text message. She agreed, and promptly dictated the following:
I hope you'll be here for my tea party. I hope you won't have to go to work. I love you, too. And listen to your boss. Listen to all your bosses and do what they tell you to do and just do it if you care. You really have to listen to your bosses. And eat all your food. And I love you.
Tuesday afternoon we were in the car when she informed me, "I already named the baby."
"What did you name him?"
Tuesday night, while eating, she saw Jason put his piece of garlic bread back on a plate sitting in the middle of the table rather than in his bowl. She asked him why he did it. "I don't have room on my bowl, so I put it back on the plate," he said.
"That doesn't make sense," she said.
"Honey, sometimes, little girls don't get everything," he answered.
"No, I get it. You don't have room in your bowl and you don't have another plate, so you put it back on that plate."
"If you get it, then why did you say it doesn't make sense?" he asked.
"That's just something I said."
Jason has been packing Girl Scout cookies in his lunch this week. Tuesday night, Audrey drew him a picture of cookies and left it on the counter to remind him not to forget to take them. The next morning she asked me if he had remembered. "I'm sure he did," I said.
"He's only allowed to take two," she said.
Wednesday morning, I read Audrey the story of Zaccheus out of her illustrated children's Bible. Later, while running an errand, I asked her what she had learned from the story.
"If you climb a tree and there was a mama bird and a baby bird in a nest, you might scare them," she said. (Oh the power of illustrations).
Thursday, Audrey began her morning in song. And dance. She crafted lyrics, swaying her hands in the air, occasionally turning in circles. Her brother watched, a couple feet away. Audrey paused, "Your turn, Nate," she said. He bounced up and down and suddenly began singing in nonsense syllables, matching her volume. Then he stopped and she picked up the tune, again pausing to tell him it was his turn, to which he began to bounce and sing.
Friday, I was trying to get everyone ready to attend a meeting of my mom's club. I had five minutes to get the breakfast dishes cleared, Audrey's teeth brushed, both kids into shoes and coats and car seats, and the car loaded to make it on time. Odds weren't good. Audrey watched me as I helped her brush her teeth. "Mom, are you mad?"
"You look like you have a mad face," she said.
"Honey, I'm not mad. I'm just focused. I'm trying to get us there on time."
We finished brushing her teeth. As she fumbled with her coat and shoes, I finished getting her brother ready and into the car. Then I went to strap her into her car seat. "How long are you going to have a mad face?" she asked.
Each of us gets twenty-four hours a day. What we do with them is up to us. I spend mine growing a to-do list - one that will probably never be completely crossed off. It's not that I want to procrastinate on everything, or that I don't wish the house were a little cleaner or a few more rooms were painted. But the simple truth is this: I have better things to do. I have wonders to witness and impromptu concerts to attend. (Not to mention, a new face to grow.) And, at the rate these two are growing, if I spend too many moments hidden in the laundry room, they just might pass me by - by next week.
*The bottom two photos were taken by Jason on Saturday at a Lowe's Build & Grow workshop where Audrey completed her first woodworking project. She spent the rest of the afternoon telling me about all the projects she intended to hammer.