The other day, The Kidling was wrapping herself in a blanket. She was, of course, pretending to be a ghost.
Once she had successfully enshrouded her tiny form with the soft, white fleece, she began to furiously push her hair out of her face and under the blanket. As you might expect, The Mama inquired as to what exactly The Kidling was up to. I was earnestly informed that “Ghosts don’t have hair. Not even ghosts with underwear.”
Thank goodness we cleared that up.
One day last month, we had guests over for dinner. We ate something yummy and, as is often the case, we ate that very same something yummy the next night.
Leftovers, dear readers, are the key to happiness.
On night two, The Family sat at the dinner table partaking of our reheated goodness when Alice commented,
Alice: This is scrumptious!
The Mama: Yes, it is. It’s the same as last night.
Alice: Except I don’t have a large quantity of it. I don’t have as much of it. I have a good quantity!
Meal one: too much. Meal two: just right.
Recently, Alice has taken a liking to a game she calls “Beauty Shop.” The game is simple: The Mama (or The Dada) sits perfectly still, The Kidling yanks a comb through my (or his) hair for
ever several minutes, and expects me (or him) not to cry real tears of pain.
Sometimes, barrettes are involved. Other times, it is just scalp torture.
The game ends when Alice declares her work a success, using some positive adjective related to our physical appearance. Beautiful… Lovely… Gorgeous…
Alice was doing my hair for a pretend wedding one fine December day when she began to speak in anticipation of the fruits of her labor:
“You’re going to look beautiful! You look like a red booby! You look like a brown booby! You look like a blue-footed booby!”
The resemblance, dear readers, is uncanny.
I am still awake at 2:17 am Central Standard Time because I am wrapping gifts. Gifts for my dear friends, for my wonderful parents and their equally wonderful spouses, for my amazing in-laws. For my nieces. For my nephews.
And for my daughter. My precious, precious child who is safe, upstairs in her bed.
Oh, thank god— thank fate— thank— whatever you choose, but thank it loudly, and with tears of relief and so much sorrow.
I cannot get Leonard Cohen’s Anthem out of my head. I remind myself often of that poignant lyric, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” It reminds me to accepts flaws, wounds, and breaks. To embrace the beauty of this life, even when it unfolds so differently than I imagine.
And today, it is just so damn wrong.
There is, yes, a crack.
But there is no light.
I wish, dear child, I could wrap up safety. I wish I could tie a ribbon on your adolescence and put a bow on your ripe old age. Alas, I have books, toys, and that cheetah sweater you asked for. I can only hope and pray and hope and pray and pray and pray and pray for those other gifts.
A wise man often tells me tomorrow is never guaranteed. I know that and I hate that, and tonight it feels too real.
The Kidling has a strong grasp of the English language.
You’ve probably noticed.
She took to speaking at a tender age and increased her vocabulary faster than— faster than— a speeding bullet? too cliché… Faster than a BMW on the autobahn? no. too racy… Faster than The Mama races for her pen when The Kidling says something funny? just right!
As a result of her love of words, I am occasionally surprised by their misuse. Remember, this is the child who knew that adverbs ended in “-ly” and therefore created a double adverb by changing “well” to “well-ly.” See what I mean?
This story involves a tree and another pesky adverb. I found an unused anecdote from one of my many notebooks of alice last night. On this particular late autumn day, The Kidling observed several leafless trees and commented, “The trees kind of look deadly right now.”
One tiny change, and my vision of a lovely late fall day morphed into this:
This is one seriously deadly tree.
“Mom, can I look at those bean crunchers?”
-Alice Munchkin Kidling
(whilst eyeballing the Nutcrackers at the store)
November 15, 2012
I’m not sure what they are teaching The Kidling in pre-school these days, but she appears to be far ahead of where I was at the tender ago of four. Case in point, this dinner table conversation from late last week:
Alice: Did you know Pluto was once a planet?
The Mama: Yes, it was once, but now it isn’t.*
Alice: Yeah. Who lived on it?
The Mama: No one.
Alice: (shocked) Huh?
The Mama: Alice, of all the other planets, how many do you think have people?
Alice: Lots of them.
The Mama: Actually, Alice, none of them. Earth is the only planet with people.
Alice: (again, shocked) Huh? But this is a very big planet so there is room for all the people. (enormous belch) Excuse me!
* Fine, so this isn’t technically accurate. It isn’t like Pluto itself actually changed. The poor thing just had its membership in the planet club revoked. As such, a proper response would have been “Astronomers once thought Pluto was a planet, but now they know it isn’t.”
I sure as hell wasn’t going to tell Alice it is a dwarf planet. I would have been stuck explaining that a dwarf planet is a planet of abnormally small stature.
The Kidling, like most children, is honest to a fault. And I love it. Her lack of a filter is
always usually a beautiful sign of her lack of inhibition and ignorance of the notion of judgment. And sometimes it is little embarrassing. Sometimes it is awfully embarrassing. Hell, sometimes it is incredibly embarrassing. Sometimes it is even inappropriate for this blog.
Regardless of whether The Kidling’s candor is a little embarrassing or unbloggable, it is always refreshing. Even when it bruises my not-at-all fragile ego. Case in point? Dinner.
The Mama loves to cook, but I don’t do recipes. Sometimes this yields a delicious, healthy meal and sometimes it means a meal that is, at best, edible. One evening just after Thanksgiving, I made a delicious soup (if I do say so myself). The Kidling, however, was not convinced. Taking a small bite, she smiled.
Well done, Mama, I thought to myself. She likes it!
Self-satisfied, I continued to eat my soup. The Kidling took another bite before offering her assessment, “I like it more than I hate it.”
Thank goodness for the not-at-all-fragile ego.