As you’re enduring the Imelda Marcos fraternity brothers; licking your wounds about the abrupt end to Cinderella Man and the lack of (nasty) snacks on the airplane, perhaps I can improve your outlook with a few tales from home.
You see, I had an epiphany tonight. All these perfectly behaved children, who sit in restaurants and don’t melt down about this or that, who sleep through the night and who probably obey their parents at least 60% of the time…..perhaps these children are dull.
It’s really the only glimmer of hope that I can cling to in these dark days as a single parent: perhaps we are raising exceptionally un-dull children.
Last night was a rather long and sleepless night. Blame it on the chickpeas and squash, but your children did NOT slumber last night. Perhaps tahini is loaded with caffeine? I really don’t know. But it was 2am and the Hen was talking in his crib and G lay beside me, eyes wide open, staring at the ceiling. As Anne Lamott said in that one essay on motherhood: ‘What fresh hell is this?’*
My coffee cup was filled to the brim this morning, of that you can be certain. After breakfast, G decided he wanted to take some pictures (only when I tried to wrestle the camera away from him, mind you.) He took some fabulous shots of the carpet. (Not really). But then he went to the front door and said: ‘I want to take a picture of the diamond.’ And sure enough, it was an interesting shot, albeit with a little bit of assistance on my part. But, his idea.
Consider that the Gort, when I asked him what dessert we should make for his Ouma’s visit, suggested we make Oatmeal Pie. ‘First, you take the baking soda, then the white sugar, and then the flour and then you add the oatmeal.’ Which doesn’t sound like any kind of pie I’d like to eat, but nonetheless, the kid had made up a recipe. Was Mozart’s first sonata any good? Well, yes, it was.
It can only be an un-dull child who will throw an enormous fit when his mother pulls up to the ‘wrong’ coffee shop…..’not the one with the wooden car, the one with the painted car!’ And who will then completely sabotage a family outing and let everyone within 500 yards know of his unhappiness. [You may have heard some yelling, down in the Cities, around 2pm?]
I mean, any wunderkind can race tinker toy wheels down the stairs with his mother to see who wins. But only an un-dull child will actually render his vehicle incapable of moving and still expect to win.
And surely only an un-dull baby would hold his brother’s favorite stuffed animal in his arms and, once his brother notices, run away with the bunny firmly in his grasp. Or dare to tackle his older brother during a wrestling session with surprising tenacity especially considering his age. Or sit at a gathering of women and eat more pieces of zucchini bread than all the women in the room, put together. Or lick the hummus off his plate like a canine. Or bathe standing up, refusing to let his bum touch the water.
So, rest easy. These little people likely will not solve the problems of the world, or even obey us in the near future. But they are not dull.
Guess whose un-dull baby just woke up?
*From Anne Lamott’s book Plan B, p.122